- The Golden Snitch is worth too many points in Quidditch, and it can quickly undo a team’s hard-earned lead and potentially lead to a loss.
- Prior to the Snitch, Quidditch led to the extinction of the Golden Snidget bird, as demand for the bird increased with the popularity of the sport.
- The focus on the Snitch in Quidditch scenes in the Harry Potter movies makes the game seem more one-dimensional and less exciting than it could have been.
Quidditch is one of the most interesting aspects of the Harry Potter universe, and there are differing opinions on the best and worst parts of the fictional sport. However, there is one aspect in particular that detracts from the game’s excitement. With most team sports in the real world, the action is confined to the field. The fact that most of the action in Quidditch consists of high-octane broom flight and avoiding violent, enchanted spheres brings into question why another element is needed.
However, J.K. Rowling clearly felt the need to separate the game even further from its Muggle equivalents. She did so through the addition of the Golden Snitch. The winged ball carries so much weight in Quidditch that it’s the sole job of one player on each team to track its movements and capture it. Achieving this feat gives their side a much-improved chance of victory, and it brings the game to an end. The gravitas of the Snitch is one that’s often discussed in the Harry Potter fandom, and for good reason. Some people think that Quidditch scoring makes sense, while others object to the system.
The Golden Snitch Is Worth Way Too Many Points
To add context to the value of a Quidditch team’s Seeker catching the Snitch, it’s important to address the other method of scoring. Each team has three players known as Seekers. It’s their job to score by throwing a ball, known as the Quaffle, past the opposing team’s Keeper and into one of their three hoops. Each time a Chaser manages this, they score 10 points for their team. This is all achieved at high speeds in midair, emphasizing how difficult the task is and how talented each Chaser needs to be. However, all of their hard work can be undone in an instant.
Even with a lofty 14-goal lead, which would total of 140 points, a team could quickly find themselves losing the game if the opponent’s Seeker catches the Snitch. This is because the act of catching the Snitch is worth 150 points. In the blink of an eye, a huge advantage that takes great effort to accrue can be wiped out. The fact that the Snitch is worth so many points is the definition of unbalanced. In theory, a Quidditch team could win by only having an efficient Seeker, while the other players merely attempt to avoid conceding 14 goals in the time it takes for the Snitch to be snagged.
The Role Of The Snitch Forced An Entire Bird Species To Go Extinct
One of the things fans may not know about the Golden Snitch is that Seekers didn’t chase it at all in the very early games of Quidditch. In fact, their role was to capture a small, round bird called a Golden Snidget. The function of the bird was the same as its modern-day equivalent. However, for a wizarding community that was already enchanting rocks to use as its first Bludgers, it’s hard to imagine they didn’t have the capability to enchant another inanimate object to use as an artificial Snitch from the start.
Quidditch became so popular that the demand for Snidgets increased exponentially. Although the Golden Snitch was eventually developed to replace the sought-after bird, it was already too late. The Golden Snidget went extinct as a result of the sport-hungry witches and wizards who wanted to play Quidditch. Players had become so obsessed with the chance of singlehandedly winning their team the game that they forced an entire species out of existence. This is one of the darker things fans may not know about the history of Quidditch.
Golden Snidgets make an appearance in the 2023 game Hogwarts Legacy
The Team That Catches The Snitch Can Still Sometimes Lose
The position of Seeker is so unique when compared to the rest of a Quidditch team that they may as well be playing a different sport altogether. Although Seekers have the potential to win a game for their team in a single move, the act of catching the Snitch can also mean immediate defeat. The Seeker is a highly specialized position, with some teams having to make do with subpar players filling the role.
The Seeker’s role is so complex because they need to be one of the best fliers on the team and be able to keep an eye on the scoreboard as they search for the agile and elusive Golden Snitch. If their team is trailing by 140 points or more, then catching the Snitch will accomplish nothing more than bringing about their loss. Adding such situational awareness to an already challenging position makes a Seeker even more overburdened.
Considering that catching the Snitch often ensures the quickest route to victory, it seems unusual that the same act can have the opposite effect. Additionally, the presence of the Snitch can not only undermine the efforts of the rest of the team but also stop a comeback dead in its tracks if the ball is captured at the wrong moment.
It Makes The Quidditch Movie Scenes More Boring
For some viewers, the Quidditch scenes are the most exciting sequences in the Harry Potter movie franchise. However, the majority of the focus is drawn to Harry and his pursuit of the Snitch. This makes the Quidditch scenes difficult to depict, making them less exciting than they could have been. Although the films do show other aspects of the game, they’re displayed in a way that communicates their near irrelevance when compared to the vital task of catching the Golden Snitch.
Although the battle for the Snitch can be entertaining, as proven by the contest between Draco Malfoy and Harry in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, viewers tend to miss out on the bulk of a game of Quidditch. The short bursts of screen time that the rest of the team gets are not sufficient to give a complete picture of the overall drama that can occur in a match.
How Harry Potter Could Have Fixed Its Snitch Problem
The removal of the Golden Snitch from Quidditch would cause two shifts in the rules of the game. The first would be the inability to score 15 times the value of a goal in a split second. The other would be how and when the game would draw to a close. The first change would ultimately make the game more challenging and result in a more balanced game.
The issue of the game’s conclusion could be easily rectified by installing the use of a game clock, as used in countless other team sports. As for the number of players on a team, the role of Seeker could simply be swapped out for a second Keeper to help guard their three hoops. A last-second goal to win the game is infinitely more exciting than the match coming to an abrupt halt at any moment. So, someone like Harry would likely still make it onto their house team in the Harry Potter movies; they’d just be playing in a different position.
- Created by:
- J.K. Rowling
- First Film:
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- First TV Show:
- Harry Potter
- Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, Alan Rickman, Matthew Lewis, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Richard Harris, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Alfred Enoch, Harry Melling, Gary Oldman, Robert Pattinson, Warwick Davis, Oliver Phelps, James Phelps, David Bradley, David Thewlis, Katie Leung, Jason Isaacs, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant, Jamie Campbell Bower, Timothy Spall, Robbie Coltrane, Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Johnny Depp, Mads Mikkelsen
- TV Show(s):
- Harry Potter
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
- Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Rubeus Hagrid, Dobby the House Elf, Draco Malfoy, Sirius Black, Ginny Weasley, Voldemort