The Future of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team
By R A Spottiswood
”Hermione, you’re good on feelings and stuff, but you just dont understand about Quidditch.”
“Maybe not, but at least my happiness doesn’t depend on Ron’s goalkeeping ability.
— Harry and Hermione, p. 507, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Bloomsbury paperback edition.
At the end of the Order of the Phoenix, one of the great unanswered questions was: would Harry get back onto the Gryffindor Quidditch team? It is easy to assume that he would, but by no means certain. During the World Book Chat of March 4, 2004, J. K. Rowling was asked whether Ron would make the Quidditch team. (Obviously the questioner had not read book 5.) Rowling replied, ”Well, he’s already there! The question is, whether the new Quidditch Captain will allow him to stay!” This opens up a great area of speculation, both on Ron’s future and on Harry’s.
To deal with the most radical possibility first, Rowling now has the opportunity to replace Harry with Ron as the main character on the Quidditch team. That would help Ron’s dream of being Quidditch Captain and winning the Cup in the seventh book, as he saw in the Mirror of Erised, if that is what Rowling is going to do. For the book, it would mean eliminating whole chapters on Quidditch matches and Harry having much more time in the evenings. However, it would mean eliminating an easy source of entertainment for the reader, a constant throughout all of the preceding books (if we include the World Cup and flying around dragons) and the loss of what Harry most enjoys and feels he is best at.
Assuming that the Gryffindor Quidditch team will continue to be of great interest to Harry and to us, lets look at the state of the team at the end of Phoenix. Fred and George Weasley were given lifetime bans, and then left Hogwarts in a blaze of glory. Their replacements, so far as we know, were the least worst of a very bad lot. Harry was given a lifetime ban, but Ginny Weasley for one thinks everything Umbridge did will be repealed, at least within Hogwarts. Partly due to that, Ginny plans to change from Seeker to Chaser. Her brother Ron’s position as Keeper would appear to be under threat. For the Chasers, Angelina Johnson, captain during Phoenix, and Alicia Spinnet are mentioned as leaving. Katie Bell, however, is not mentioned.
The Captaincy: Harry could become team captain, in which case Rowling was just playing with our minds, as I cannot ever see Harry kicking Ron off the team. However, the fact that Katie Bell seems to still be around means she is the obvious alternative for captain. She must have joined in her second year, that is the same year Harry joined, but she has played three more games than he has, is a year older, and would probably strike McGonagall, who apparently chooses the team captain, as more responsible than Harry. As such, Angelina was willing to keep Ron around, despite his performance in his first and second matches, but Katie might have higher standards.
The Keeper: Ron was carried off the field at the end of the last match in Phoenix. However, we were not given a score, so we don’t know how well he actually did. Angelina considered two people to be better Keepers, but rejected them for other reasons. So, we know there are alternatives, and it sounds like Ron will be under pressure to perform if he wants to stay around.
The Seeker: Obviously, if Harry plays, he plays here. If not, either this position goes to someone new, or the captain has to persuade Ginny to go back to it, and Ginny doesn’t strike me as easily convinced to do anything she doesn’t want to.
The Beaters: Andrew Kirke and Jack Sloper played in the second and third matches in Phoenix. We aren’t told how they played in the third. Their performance in training and the second match was pathetic, and the fact that they were the least worst boggles the mind. The captain would probably want to replace them, but succeeding does not look good.
The Chasers: Katie Bell seems to be staying, and Ginny is a good flyer and quite unlikely to not be selected, so that leaves just one space for a new Chaser. I rather suspect it will be another girl. Rowling seems to like balance, as the teachers are an even mix of men and women, and it would maintain the existing balance on the team. What does all this mean? Potentially, we already know the names and positions of six of the seven members of the team before The Half Blood Prince is finished. That is a surprising amount, considering the disruption the team went through during Phoenix, and that Rowling only made one remark about it. However, virtually no one is a certainty, in their position or having a place at all, especially Harry and Ron. Perhaps next time someone should ask about Harry’s Quidditch future.