August 13, 2009

'Warts and All

Generally speaking, I like the Harry Potter series of books – even though J.K. Rowling’s storyline sometimes stretches the bounds of credulity. I mean seriously, Dolores Umbridge, a woman with no prior experience, positioning herself to take over the highest-ranking office of Hogwarts, all the time warning her detractors to “not tell lies” and over-exaggerating the “evil plans” of those currently in power? Where does the author come up with this stuff?

But all kidding aside, is there a dumber set of rules that could have been created for the fictional game of Quidditch, featured prominently throughout the seven volumes of the Potter saga? If you’re unfamiliar with the sport – and indeed it is a sport, since there is no “highest possible score” which can be attained – four balls are released into the field of play by the referee at the start of a match. Operating under “magical bewitchment” several of these balls fly about the field of their own accord. Two, called the “Bludgers,” try and attack players and throw them off of their broomsticks. (Did I fail to mention the whole game is played in mid-air? Just go with it…) While avoiding the Bludgers, the two teams play a hybrid of rugby, basketball and polo, tossing around a ball called the “Quaffle” in an attempt to toss it through one of three “goal hoops” at 10 points a pop.

Simultaneous to this action, one player on each team, called the “seeker” is flying around, attempting to spot, and then grab hold of the fourth ball, the nearly-invisible “Golden Snitch” which is flitting about, trying to avoid capture. Only when one of the seekers successfully captures the snitch does the game end, meaning that a Quidditch match could last as little as three seconds, or perhaps as long as three months.

Now I would be perfectly willing to get on board with that, if that was all capturing the snitch did – end the game. After all, there would be a strategic point to whether or not you wanted to catch the snitch and end the game… if your team was ahead in goals, you would. If not, you’d want to play “defense” – simply keeping your opponent from ending the game before your side was able to even the score. However, that isn’t all. Capturing the snitch earns your team 150 points – the equivalent of 15 goals!

So what’s the point of even having any scoring other than the snitch if 999 times out of 1000, if not more, the winning team is simply going to be the side who captures the snitch? It fails every test of logic. It would be the equivalent of if during baseball games there were two players in the bullpen playing “pin the tail on the donkey” and as soon as one of them hit the target exactly, the game would be called immediately and his/her team would be awarded fifteen runs.

Why create a sport where 99 percent of the action is rendered irrelevant by a completely separate competition? That would be like playing two hours worth of soccer only to have the championship decided on a penalty kick competition… sheer lunacy!

I tell you, this J.K. Rowling is totally out of touch with reality.

1 comment:

  1. Why not just admit you selected the wrong Hogwarts to your snitch fantasy team?