Quidditch as a Metaphor

I was thinking about Quidditch last night. It just doesn’t make sense, does it? The golden snitch is worth 150 points, whereas each goal is only worth 10, so the team whose seeker catches the snitch almost always wins. There is literally one example in seven books and countless Quidditch games where a team was far enough behind to lose after their seeker caught the snitch. But if that’s the case – if it all comes down to one player on each team – then isn’t the rest of it pointless? You could argue that the beaters still have a useful role to play, but the chasers? The keeper? If you need a 150 point lead to win without the snitch, isn’t everything they do futile?

That sounds a lot like something else from the Harry Potter series, doesn’t it?


Harry himself – who incidentally plays seeker on the Gryffindor Quidditch team – is the “Chosen One”, the only one capable of taking down Voldemort. Both sides fight to the best of their abilities, and it’s not as though the things they do are irrelevant. It matters a great deal that Ron and Hermione stand by Harry and help him. It matters whose side Snape was truly on. It matters that the Order of the Phoenix fight Voldemort throughout the last 3 books, and that many of the teachers and older students rally to defend Hogwarts at the end of Deathly Hallows. But in the end, it all comes down to Harry and Voldemort. “Neither can live while the other survives”, and the battle between them decides the outcome of the war.

But it gets better: near the end of Deathly Hallows, when Harry seems to be dead, his friends don’t simply surrender. They continue to fight. Neville turns down the chance to join Voldemort, pulls the Sword of Gryffindor out of the Sorting Hat (much as Harry did earlier in the series), and beheads Nagini, Voldemort’s snake. The battle continues, even with Harry supposedly gone – and not only are they fighting, they are winning: “Everywhere Harry looked, Death Eaters were folding under sheer weight of numbers, overcome by spells, dragging arrows from wounds, stabbed in the legs by elves, or else simply attempting to escape, but swallowed up by the oncoming horde” (page 735, American hardcover version). To continue the Quidditch metaphor, the defenders of Hogwarts are determined to win even without their seeker.

And yet, it is not until Harry reveals himself for one last duel with Voldemort that the battle is won. In the end, it was always meant to come down to the two of them.

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