Yes, really! This ancient wizard’s game, which resembles marbles, comes with a bit of a twist. For example, if you lose a point, your gobstone sprays you with foul-smelling liquid. So much fun! Known as a ‘minority sport’ due to its dwindling popularity, the chance to partake in a historical wizarding tradition from years gone by simply thrills us Muggles – even in the era of video games.
You can read all about the history of Gobstones, by J.K. Rowling, here.
‘No, I was merely reading the Muggle magazines,’ said Dumbledore. ‘I do love knitting patterns.'
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
With the power to fly, transport wherever they need, and summon items to them in mere moments – you’d think any sort of Muggle labour would be above wizards. However, Albus Dumbledore is known to be quite fond of knitting patterns, and was once seen enjoying the Muggle magazines at Horace Slughorn’s hideaway.
He’s not the only one. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, we see Hagrid knitting what looks like a ‘canary yellow circus tent’ (and to this day, we still have no idea what this was for) and of course there was Hermione’s short-lived pursuit of making little house-elf hats. Alas, quite unfairly, witches and wizards can knit magically, which surely takes the therapeutic nature out of the whole thing.
A step up from Gobstones, we’re sure you all agree. Although we’d argue that this dangerous wizarding sport is not for everyone, most people would leap at the chance to get on a broom and start throwing Quaffles. Yes, Quidditch truly does seem like one of the most envy-inducing sports that wizardkind has over us, quite literally elevating our own sports, like football, to the next level. From magical mascots to state-of-the-art brooms, to an intriguing number of creative fouls, us Muggles simply can’t compete with the entertainment value. Although...
Having said that, there is a strange fascination with the Muggle sport rugby in the wizarding world. This all stemmed from the story of Angus Buchanan, a Squib who resided in the 19th century, who was kicked out by his father after lying about his lack of magical prowess, and joined the Muggle community to become a top-league rugby player. After publishing his book, My Life as a Squib, Angus’s rugby stardom achieved cult status in the wizarding world, with fans of his coming to attend matches. The thrill and theatrical nature of rugby appealed to wizards, although amusingly, they could never get their head round cricket, with one Daily Prophet review describing it thus: ‘A Beater who is unable to fly defends three sticks instead of a hoop, while a Snitch without wings is thrown at the sticks. That’s it. Sometimes for several days.’
Alright, this particular hobby may be specific to one Arthur Weasley, but nonetheless his fascination with all things Muggle is a truly endearing trait – and also very ‘dad’ of him. Among Arthur’s favourite Muggle artefacts are definitely plugs – which he collects – but he’s also quite partial to screwdrivers. And then there’s his Ford Anglia, which he enjoyed taking apart and reconfiguring with magic. Imagine if you simply asked Arthur to put up some shelves for you - he would jump at the mundane opportunity.
Chess in the Muggle world is one of our oldest strategy games and has been around in some form since the 6th century. For wizards and witches, the boardgame is slightly edgier, with the chess pieces actually obliterating each other once they are taken.
The most Muggles can do to replicate the magical game is to get really grumpy whenever they find themselves in stalemate - and start just throwing the pieces off the table in a huff. It’s not magical, but it gives the game a bit of a kick, maybe.
What wizarding hobby would you pick?