Real Life Quidditch Team
Whether it’s in fan fiction, quidditch leagues, or searching the galaxy for the perfect – and actually edible – recipe for rock cakes, the legions of Harry Potter lovers have taken that world to heart and pushed it back out into their own worlds.
This is due, in part, to the very particular sort of fantasy fiction the Potter books are, says Cecilia Konchar Farr, a professor of English at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn. She uses the seven Potter books to teach literary theory.
“They are fantasy, but they do not create so much an alternate world as a parallel world,” she says. This gives readers a sense that Harry and all his friends palpably exist right around them in their present world, she says. “This is not an escapist world, as perhaps the Narnia or even Lord of the Rings series are,” she notes. Her students report that the books teach them “how to live in a world with terrorism, for instance,” she says.
Take sports. Only a true Harry Potter-inspired fan would understand that a game based on soaring broomsticks and a golden, winged, flying ball must be transportable to the real world. When a buddy proposed it to the now 23-year-old Alex Benepe, Commissioner of the International Quidditch Association (IQA), five years ago, he didn’t bat a quaffle.
“It was just a matter of adapting the rules to the things we can do,” he says matter-of-factly. Now the just-incorporated, nonprofit league, having wrapped its second annual world cup event this past week, has launched a membership drive. Some 55 dues-paying members ($200 for colleges, $100 for high schools) help it look forward to a long – and potentially profitable – future.
A cheeky mix of dodgeball, flag football, lacrosse, rugby, and basketball, real-world quidditch will survive well beyond its origins as a gimmicky homage to a beloved book, Mr. Benepe says. “We have plenty of players now who may or may not read the Harry Potter books,” he says, but that doesn’t matter. “What does,” he says, “is that something that has been an essential part of the way we grew up has inspired us to create something new in the real world.”
Potter Stars ‘Talk’ American
Listen to the stars of Harry Potter use American slang.