“Reading, Writing, Rowling” Episode 15: “Quidditch-Palooza!”
Join us for an all-out Quidditch-palooza!
Do you skip over the Quidditch scenes in the Harry Potter novels? Katy and guest expert Emily Strand talk with author and wizard activist Caitlin Elizabeth Harper about the meaning of Quidditch – the sport from Queerditch Marsh – for the Harry Potter series. We look at the social and cultural value of the game in the wizarding world: its role in helping Harry feel connected to this new realm, shaping identities, and revealing the character of wizard society. But as a sport, Quidditch often frustrates readers who find it nonsensical and a sideline distraction from the main story. Emily and Caitlin both explain how central this sport really is to understanding the battle between good and evil in the wizarding world.
Emily tells us about the alchemical symbolism in the game and the way it operates as a play-within-the-play of the full narrative arc. Building on Emily’s work about Quidditch signaling major themes, plot points, and characterizations, Caitlin explains that the Quidditch story in each of the seven Harry Potter books relates directly to the major action in each book’s central plot. Quidditch mirrors plot points, but the plot also mirrors certain developments in the sporting competition at Hogwarts such that they eventually flow together – and all of it fits into Rowling’s ring composition design. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows are the most important Quidditch novels, even though there are no school matches: Emily and Caitlin tell us why.
Some have suggested that sports serve as a substitute for war in the modern world, and we analyze whether Quidditch does the same in the magical realm. We also discuss the attractions of Muggle quidditch – and its dangers! Whether you’re a sports fan or not, you will find insight and a new appreciation for the bizarre wizard sport in this month’s episode.