Quidditch is, naturally, not the safest sport in the world whichever way you look at it – on account of being played many feet in the air with Bludgers flying at you every minute. But just like any other sport, Quidditch does have a set of rules around fouls that are to be abided by – 700 of them, in fact.
At the 1473 Quidditch World Cup final, all 700 of these fouls were committed over the course of one game, in fact, the game originated a few of them. This included quite a lot of violence, such as opponents being attacked with axes and clubs, but also featured more niche incidents, such as Transfiguring a Chaser into a polecat or releasing one hundred blood-sucking vampire bats. We saw some eventful Quidditch matches in Harry’s time at Hogwarts, but we’d quite like an entire book to unpack this one...
Another story about creative rule-breaking now – this time, around the subject of wizarding fashions.
You might’ve noticed that witches and wizards tend to have rather eclectic dress sense, such as the jovial fellow in a violet cloak Vernon Dursley once bumped into. It is actually against the rules for the wizarding community to wear more wizard-y things in the presence of Muggles – as to not arouse suspicion, as this member did with Mr Dursley.
It is said that the wizarding community gravitate towards more old-fashioned looks due to the fact that it was during the seventeenth century when the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy was first introduced – i.e. the time where wizards and witches had to go into hiding from Muggles. The separation meant that the wizarding community were hardly following the latest trends – and probably would hate the very idea of skinny jeans.
Indeed, due to favouring cloaks and robes and more swishy items over the ensuing decades, wizarding kind began to resent the more constrictive attire they were required to wear in Muggle public, particularly trousers. In fact, the disdain rose to such an extent that a fringe movement, ‘Fresh Air Refreshes Totally’, was born to counter it. Here, members of the group argued that trousers stemmed ‘the magical flow at source’ and continued to wear robes around Muggles despite fines and warnings. The president of the fringe movement, Archie Aymslowe, even went as far as to wear ridiculous combinations of Muggle items to purposely flout the rule – such as combining a sombrero with football boots.
A very amusing story indeed, especially when you notice that the ‘Fresh Air Refreshes Totally’ movement’s acronym is... F.A.R.T.
Finding out that Mrs Figg, Harry’s harmless cat-loving neighbour of many years, was in fact a Squib and confidant of Albus Dumbledore was certainly surprising to say the least. But what we were even more interested to learn was that even Mrs Figg’s cats seemed to be in on the act too. After two Dementors shockingly turned up in Little Whinging, Mrs Figg leapt into action with the help of Mr Tibbles. Along with Snowy, Mr Paws and Tufty, we later learnt that Mrs Figg’s cats were part-Kneazles, as she enjoyed breeding the magical creature in her spare time. We really would’ve loved to have learnt more about Mrs Figg’s kitty kingdom, and what other missions Mr Tibbles and co. got up to.
Whatever rules may be in place to keep magic away from Muggles, sometimes awkward occurrences can’t be avoided. Upon their dog stumbling across a Portkey (disguised as an old trainer), intended for fans of wizarding world singing sensation Celestina Warbeck to be transported to her latest concert, some Muggle dog walkers ended up going to the gig instead. One of the Muggles even ended up going on stage with her. Amusingly, despite the Memory Charms put in place, they ended up writing a hit song that bore striking similarities to 'A Cauldron Full of Hot Strong Love' – Celestina was apparently not amused.
Cornelius Fudge certainly had his moments, but over the years the wizarding world has had quite a few ‘eccentric’ Ministers for Magic. Take Lorcan McLaird, who took the post for only two years in the 1920s and was known for only communicating in monosyllables and puffs of smoke from his wand.
Then there was Nobby Leach, a Muggle-Born wizard who may have interfered with England’s 1966 World Cup win. Priscilla Dupont used to terrorise the Muggle Prime Minister Lord Palmerston by turning things in his pockets into frogspawn, and then there’s the magnificent Millicent Bagnold who allowed wizardkind to celebrate the downfall of Lord Voldemort openly by saying, ‘I assert our inalienable right to party’.
Before Harry’s time at Hogwarts, Peeves the Poltergeist has had quite a long history with avoiding removal from the castle. In 1876, the most famous example, Peeves had the entire school evacuated when he got hold of various weapons and tried to attack the entire castle, leading to a three-day stand-off. He eventually relented when the Headmistress of the time, Eupraxia Mole, agreed to let Peeves swim in the boys’ toilets once a week and gave him a new hat, custom-made by Madame Bonhabille of Paris. A poltergeist with priorities, he certainly was.
What are your favourite strange wizarding world stories?