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Pottermore: a sporting interlude (rugby; Quidditch World Cup part one)

17 Jul

Goblet of Fire hasn’t updated in quite a long time, but JK’s been busy with some very odd extra content. During the Six Nations rugby tournament a few months ago she provided a short entry stating that the entire wizarding world are huge rugby fans and all support Scotland including the non-Brits, though of course this has nothing to do with her personally being a Scottish rugby fan…

LOTEN:

Regarding the HP rugby thing, the actual entry on Pottermore itself doesn’t say anything else new, just the obligatory backstory involving horrible people – some kid in a family known for being big and muscley was born a Squib and his siblings helped him hide it because their father was pureblood elitist scum. They even forged a Hogwarts letter for him and flew him there via broom and he pushed in front of someone at the Sorting, so the Sorting Hat yelled to the entire hall that he wasn’t a wizard and he got thrown out. Father wouldn’t take him back, so he wandered off and was adopted by some Muggles (instead of dying or being kidnapped by unpleasant people as you’d expect from a sheltered 11 year old boy suddenly being homeless in a world he’s never been in before) and grew up to be an amazing rugby player, blah blah blah. No explanation of why anyone except his siblings would care, or why the entire WW supports Scotland because of it when apparently there are rumours that there’s a Squib on every team (lol as if; Squibs get secretly killed off except Filch and the random Weasley accountant, we know this already). Pointless BS as usual, basically.


MITCHELL:

Ugh, that’s… well, I was going to say “that’s something special” but it really isn’t, it’s of a piece with everything else she writes these days. Pointless cruelty, casual anti-Muggle bigotry, utterly implausible sequences of events glossed over by narrative smoothness…


Pottermore then decided to capitalise on all the footballing World Cup hype by staging a Quidditch World Cup. This started with the first of two posts about the history of the tournament…

LOTEN:

So, here we go. History of the Quidditch World Cup… blah blah blah sporting tropes blah… the rulebook for on and off pitch magic is nineteen books long? Sorry Rowling, you’re long past the point where hyperbolic exaggeration is cute or funny.

Probable numbers fail! Up to a hundred thousand spectators routinely attend the finals. I think that could only add up if every single member of the WW is a die-hard Quidditch fan with the time and money to get to the Cup every time. Though actually now I think about it, as a percentage of the worldwide population that’s honestly not much, she might be okay there.

Sometimes the locations are in deserts. I wonder how many idiots die of heatstroke or dehydration. Or why they use Muggle campsites given how many empty areas of the globe exist – oh, wait, so JK could torture Muggles, silly me.

Fun stories of lovely wizards:
-In 1809 a Romanian player somehow jinxed an entire forest to come and flatten the stadium and kill a lot of people. Apparently a lot of wizards forgot they can do magic to get out of the way or stop the trees. Also Rowling evidently liked the Lord of the Rings movies.

-In 1877 the entire WW was mindfucked. Not kidding. Every single witch and wizard has no memory of the tournament:

Neither those in possession of tickets nor any of the players could remember a single game. However, for reasons none of them understood, English Beater Lucas Bargeworthy was missing most of his teeth, Canadian Seeker Angelus Peel’s knees were on backwards and half the Argentinian team were found tied up in the basement of a pub in Cardiff.

Cardiff. Despite the final taking place in Kazakhstan. Okay. Anyway, I’m interested in why the WW didn’t panic on discovering someone or something is capable of erasing the memories of every single one of them across the entire globe, because that seems like a threat to me. Or it would, if it was remotely possible.

-Boring story about a strict committee chairman in the 70s, probably a dig at a football or rugby manager at the time, I don’t really care. He tried to ban wands in the stadium, which sounds bloody sensible if you ask me.

Wow, three whole stories. The damned tournament’s been running every four years since the 1400s and that’s all she could come up with.

The GoF cup took place on Dartmoor. Nice to get a location at last… but Dartmoor’s a national park. It’s riddled with campsites and villages and wildlife-watching stations and farms. In summer it’s full of tourists. What moron would pick somewhere like that, instead of somewhere that’s actually deserted?

In part two of this exciting entry, released next Friday March 21, J.K. Rowling details amusing recaps of Quidditch World Cup games from 1994 through to the upcoming 2014 World Cup.

Gosh. I can’t wait. (Especially since the first final after GoF would have been in 1998 about a month after the Battle at Hogwarts. I wonder if JK will remember that.)


MITCHELL:

I’m not even sure what to say about this one, because for the most part it seems entirely uninteresting and within her usual style (I am entirely sick of the unthinking hyperbolic exaggeration also, you can’t do that and simultaneously expect your setting to be taken seriously. Stop trying to have your cake and eat it, Rowling :P).

The numbers fail is more of the same really; I’m honestly not sure whether a hundred thousand attendees is plausible or not. I don’t think it’s plausible if we go by the number of schools that’s been established (whether the three discussed in canon, or the eleven she’s claimed in Pottermore), but if you consider a typical American football stadium holds around 60k people and can often fill up with primarily residents of a single city/region, it doesn’t seem *entirely* absurd for a worldwide event. There’s really no way to assess the size of Rowling’s wizarding population though, because she doesn’t understand maths πŸ˜›

The stories she tells are complete and utter fail, though. The “somehow, this absurd magical calamity occurred, isn’t it so funny?” schtick lost its appeal a long time ago, and never made any sense; it’s another one of those things that’s utterly terrifying if you take the setting remotely seriously and only works if you’re going for childish whimsy. Rowling never did make up her mind which she was doing, did she? πŸ˜›

LOL, excellent point about the 1998 thing, it’ll be interesting to see if she fails that one πŸ™‚


LOTEN:

It’s not even that, she’s trying to have her cake and eat it and win a prize for it at the same time πŸ˜› This wasn’t anything new though, you’re right – boring and not thought out, with the occasional wtf story that just makes it even clearer that all her imaginary people are terrible.

Regarding the numbers, if a regular stadium can hold that much, and the Quidditch pitches are absurd multi-storey affairs meant to be much larger, then 100k is actually not very good πŸ˜› but really, I’m sure 100k would have to be almost every adult not actually playing in the stupid match, plus at least half of them bringing at least one child. Not every single person loves sport, JK. Honestly. Your supposed ‘self-insert’ didn’t, you ought to pay more attention. Anyway, I really am interested in the population dynamics and the numbers here, and not just to prove her wrong πŸ˜› let’s see what Google can tell me…
-There are about 3200 secondary schools in England, which at the last census had a population of about 53 million. That works out to one school for every 16,600 people, approximately. So if there are eleven schools in the wizarding world that would work out at a population size of around 182,000. Obviously not everywhere has the population density that England does, but given that JK grew up in the UK and would be most familiar with the frequency of schools here, let’s say that’s about right in terms of the HP world. I don’t know how to adjust for the fact that wizarding schools have much smaller class sizes than our secondary schools tend to have, either. Nor do we know that those eleven schools are all secondary schools just because Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang are. But she’s pretty much claiming that over half the entire global population go to one sports game.

Yeah, I would legitimately be terrified if it was possible to fuck with the minds of the entire world, this is not a funny story πŸ˜› Not to mention the casual hilarious violence…

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3 Comments

Posted by on July 17, 2014 in loten, mitchell

 

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3 responses to “Pottermore: a sporting interlude (rugby; Quidditch World Cup part one)

  1. emmyaist

    July 20, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    [Off topic, but I have no idea if there’s any other way to message you Loten & Mitchell, sorry.]

    There’s an incredibly popular post making rounds on Tumblr, which goes “friendly reminder that if harry would have been a girl snape would have treated her like petyr baelish treats sansa stark.”

    What do you think? I’d say false, but it’s more more intuition than logical reasoning; however, I’d really really really appreciate it if either/both of you could help me come up with a refutation.

    Thanks in advance!

     
    • Loten

      July 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      Oh, that’s a very interesting thought. Interesting enough that it’s sparking a blog post in response! Keep watching, it should be up shortly and hopefully will help you come up with a counter-argument πŸ™‚

       
    • mcbender

      July 21, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      Let me just say I really appreciate your bringing that to our attention; it’s a really interesting thing to think about and it took me a while to figure out why I thought there was so much wrong with it.

       

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