Quidditch can be quite confusing if you don’t understand the rules and the equipment used to play. Like, you see Harry Potter Chase one kind of ball to score points, but everybody else is chasing and throwing another kind of ball, and then there are these players with bats, swatting around a third kind of ball. What’s going on here?
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one confused with Quidditch, but luckily for you, you’re in the right place. Here’s a list of all Quidditch balls ranked from biggest to smallest, and in the end, we’ll briefly discuss the rules of the game, so the next time you watch the movies, you’re a bigger expert than Harry himself.
1. The Quaffle
The Quaffle is the biggest ball used to play Quidditch, and it’s the only non-enchanted ball in the game. It’s a twelve-inch ball with four indented patches used for better grip for the players. The players primarily focusing on the Quaffle are the Chasers.
There are three Chasers on each team, and they pass around the Quaffle between themselves, trying to score points for their team by throwing the Quaffle through one of three ring-shaped goals. The goals are protected, however, by a Keeper.
There is one Keeper on each team, and each goal is worth ten points, regardless of which of the three rings/hoops the Quaffle goes through. The handling of the Quaffle is allowed to players other than the Chasers, too, but it’s not a common practice, as they have responsibilities of their own. Once a goal is scored, the Quaffle is thrown into the game again by the Keeper.
2. The Bludgers
Three types of balls are used in every Quidditch match, but the game is played with four balls. That is because there are two Bludgers in the game. Bludgers are enchanted, ten-inch balls made out of the dark, almost black iron. The Bludgers fly around the pitch, enchanted to knock players off of their broomsticks.
Two players on each team, called the Beaters, are carrying bats to smack the Bludgers away and protect their players while batting them in the direction of the opposing team’s players at the same time. It’s important to note that the Bludgers aren’t enchanted to hurt the players but only to knock them off their broomsticks to disrupt the game.
The situation in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, where a Bludger was enchanted with the sole purpose of hurting Harry Potter, is not common. However, there were situations where Quidditch games were rigged, and Bludgers were enchanted in unfair ways, much like the other balls.
3. The Golden Snitch
Lastly, the Golden Snitch (also referred to as just the Snitch) is the smallest but most valuable ball in the game of Quidditch. It’s about the size of a large walnut (think, a little bit larger ping-pong ball), completely coated in gold, with silver wings.
The ball was enchanted to be incredibly quick and agile, and its tiny size made it incredibly hard to spot. It flies all over the pitch until the Seeker on each team – a player that’s usually the smallest and fastest on a broomstick – spots it and attempts to catch it.
Due to its size and speed, catching the Golden Snitch is incredibly hard, which is why Seekers were usually more experienced players that were incredibly talented broomstick flyers. Harry Potter was an exception to the rule, becoming a Seeker in his first year at Hogwarts. Should a Seeker catch the Snitch, the game ends, and his team is awarded 150 points.
Quidditch rule overlook: How does the game end, and how do you win?
Now that you know everything about the balls and equipment used for Quidditch, let’s briefly go through the rules of the game.
So, each team has seven players on the pitch: one Keeper, one Seeker, two Beaters, and three Chasers. They can fly as high up in the air as they want, but they must not leave the pitch’s boundaries – otherwise, it’s a foul.
The game begins when the referee releases the four balls in the game. Three balls – the Bludgers and the Snitch – fly off on their own, while the fourth ball – The Quaffle – is thrown into the game by the referee, much like it’s done in basketball, for instance.
Each goal with the Quaffle is worth ten points, but the game has no time limit. The game ends if – and only if – one team’s Seeker catches the Golden Snitch. That awards 150 points to the Seeker’s team, which is usually enough to win the game.
However, it’s not always the case. For instance, in the 1994 Quidditch World Cup Finals, the Bulgarian Seeker, Viktor Krum, caught the Snitch, but the Irish Chasers were so good that they scored enough points for it not to make a difference. So, despite the fact that Bulgaria caught the Snitch and that they earned 150 points that way, Ireland still won the World Cup.
Seeing that the only way to stop a game was to catch the Snitch, the games sometimes went on for days – even months. The record for the longest Quidditch game is six months, and the snitch wasn’t caught. Rather, the captains of the teams agreed to end the game.
Some argue that the game is highly flawed because, in almost every case, the winning team will be the one whose Seeker catches the Snitch, making the other players quite irrelevant. Still, the 1994 Quidditch World Cup Finals showed that it wasn’t the case as long as the Chasers and Beaters did their job extremely well.