Title: Quidditch Through the Ages.
Author: Kennilworthy Whisp (J.K. Rowling).
Genre: Literature, fiction, adventure, fantasy, sports.
Publication Date: 2001.
Summary: A spin-off of the Harry Potter series, this book, taken from the Hogwarts library and introduced by Dumbledore, takes the reader into the number one sport among wizards and witches - Quidditch. The book explores the evolution of the broomstick and the beginning of broom games; the origin of the Golden Snitch and its introduction into the game, as well as the other balls used in the game; the changes of the game over the centuries; the Quidditch teams of England and Ireland; most common penalties, as well as safety precautions for players and against Muggles; the spread of the game world-wide and some other more popular alternatives in some countries; and, finally, the development of racing brooms.
My rating: 7.5/10
My review: I love books like this, because I really love back-story, and I appreciate immensely when an author that creates an entire world writes small companion books like this that fill out this world. Written with a great sense of humour and wit, the book actually reads like historical fiction - in a logical and connected way it weaves the narrative of flying, broom-use, and broom-games through centuries of development, much like a book on soccer, or basketball, or tennis, would do. For any Harry Potter fan this is a great addition to the world we've grown to love, and a novelty piece of trivia that makes all the other books in the series that much more full and enjoyable.
♥ It was with some difficulty, I must own, that I persuaded Madam Pince to part with one of her books so that it might be copies for wider consumption. Indeed, when I told her it was to be made available to Muggles, she was rendered temporarily speechless, and neither moved nor blinked for several minutes. When she came to herself she was thoughtful enough to ask whether I had taken leave of my senses.
♥ I would be deceiving my readers if I said that this explanation made Madam Pince happy about handing over a library book to Muggles. She suggested several alternatives, such as telling the people from Comic Relief U.K. that the library had burned down, or simply pretending that I had dropped dead without leaving instructions. When I told her that on the whole I preferred my original plan, she reluctantly agreed to hand over the book, though at the point when it came to let go of it, her nerve failed her and I was forced to prise her fingers individually from the spine.
Though I have removed the usual library book spells from this volume, I cannot promise that every trace has gone. Madam Pince has been known to add unusual jinxes to the books in her care. I myself doodled absentmindedly on a copy of Theories if Transubstantial Transfiguration last year and next moment found the book beating me fiercely about the head. Please be careful how you treat this book. Do not rip out the pages. Do not drop it in the bath. I cannot promise that Mada Pince will not swoop down on you, wherever you are, and demand a heavy fine.
~~From Foreword by Albus Dumbledore.
♥ The celebrated annual broom race of Sweden dates from the tenth century. Fliers race from Kopparberg to Arjeplog, a distance slightly over three hundred miles. The course runs straight through a dragon reservation, and the vast silver trophy is shaped like a Swedish Short-Snout. Nowadays this is an international even and wizards of all nationalities congregate at Kopparberg to cheer the starters, then Apparate to Arjeplog to congratulate the survivors.
♥ As every school-age wizard knows, the fact that we fly on broomsticks is probably our worst-kept secret. No Muggle illustration of a witch is complete without a broom and however ludicrous these drawings are (for none of the broomsticks depicted by Muggles can stay up in the air for a moment), they remind us that we were careless for too many centuries to be surprised that broomsticks and magic are inextricably linked in the Muggle mind.
♥ The first Bludgers (or "Blooders") were, as we have seen, flying rocks, and in Mumps's time they had merely progressed to rocks carved into the shape of balls. These had one important disadvantage, however: They could be cracked by the magically reinforced Beaters' bats of the fifteenth century, in which case all the players would be pursued by flying gravel for the remainder of the game.
♥ The Quaffle may be taken from another player's grasp but under no circumstances must one player seize hold of any part of another player's anatomy.
♥ Seven hundred Quidditch fouls are listed in the Department of Magical Games and Sports records, and all of them are known to have occurred during the final of the first ever World Cup in 1473. The full list of these fouls, however, has never been made available to the wizarding public. It is the Department's view that witches and wizards who see the list "might get ideas."
I was fortunate enough to gain access to the documents relating to these fouls while researching this book and can confirm that no public good can come of their publication. Ninety percent of the fouls listed are, in any case, impossible as long as the ban on using wands against the opposing team is upheld (this ban was imposed in 1538). Of the remaining ten percent, it is safe to say that most would not occur to even the dirtiest player; for example, "setting fire to an opponent's broom tail," "attacking an opponent's broom with a club," "attacking an opponent with an axe."
♥ The Chudley Cannons wear robes of bright orange emblazoned with a speeding cannon ball and a double "C" in black. The club motto was changed in 1972 from "We shall conquer" to "Let's all just just keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best."
♥ The Harriers' Captain Rudolf Brand famously dismounted from his broom at the end of the match and proposed marriage to his opposite number, Gwendolyn Morgan, who concussed him with her Cleansweep Five.
♥ Quidditch was well established in Ireland by the fourthteenth century, as proved by Zacharias Mumps's account of a match in 1385: "A team of Warlocks from Cork flew over for a game in Lancashire and did offend the locals by beting their heroes soundly. The Irishmen knew tricks with the Quaffle that had not been seen in Lancashire and had to flee the village for fear of their lives when the crowd drew out their wands and gave chase."
♥ Oh, the thrill of the chase as I soar through the air
With the Snitch up ahead and the wind in my hair
As I draw even closer, the crowd gives a shout
But then comes a Bludger and I am knocked out.
♥ The final between Transylvania and Flanders has gone down in history as the most violent of all time and many of the fouls then recorded had never been seen before - for instance, the transfiguration of a Chaser into a polecat, the attempted decapitation of a Keeper with a broadsword, and the release, from under the robes of the Transylvanian Captain, of a hundred blood-sucking vampire bats.
♥ The Japanese practice of ceremonially setting fire to their brooms in case of defeat is, however, frowned upon by the International Confederation of Wizards' Quidditch Committee as being a waste of good wood.
♥ Starfish and Stick: Keeper defence; the Keeper holds the broom horizontally with one hand and one foot curled around the handle, while keeping all limbs outstretched (see Fig. G). The Starfish Without Stick should never be attempted.