IT is a game that came straight from the imagination of JK Rowling; a key feature of her Harry Potter novels and a real-life sport played around the world. Now, though, Quidditch has changed its name to distance itself from the Scots-based author.



Harry Potter’s literary adventures are the best-selling book series of all time, having sold more than 500 million books around the world since their debut 25 years ago. But if you are not au fait, ‘quidditch’ is a fictional sport created by Edinburgh-based Ms Rowling for her books about the boy wizard.


Harry plays it?

The game appeared in the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and eventually Harry becomes a pivotal player in the team sport that is played on broomsticks in the fantasy books, with players flying through the air to try and score goals by throwing a ball through any of three hoops set up at either end of the large oval pitch.


And it is now played in real life?

Quidditch on the page tipped over into reality, with two teams of seven players competing against each other. Obviously, unlike Harry and co, they don't fly and there are no magical elements to the game, but players mount broomsticks and play by running, largely following the rules as laid out by Ms Rowling.


It’s global?

It began at Middlebury College in Vermont in the United States in 2005 but is now played around the world are there are international tournaments as well.



Real-life quidditch is officially being renamed “quadball” by the sport's governing bodies in part as a bid to "distance themselves from the works" of Ms Rowling. US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch said at the end of last year they would carry out surveys to determine a new name, saying the reasons included “quidditch" as a name being trademarked by US film company Warner Bros. - which produced the Harry Potter movies - but also because of Ms Rowling.


What did they say?

The International Quidditch Association said the sport inspired by quidditch is “looking to grow like other sports that have sprung from humble origins”, but stressed that “Ms Rowling has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions. LGBTQ+ advocacy groups like GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign as well as the three lead actors in the Harry Potter film series have criticised her stances”.


As for JK?

Ms Rowling initially came under fire in 2019 for announcing her support for a researcher who lost her job for tweeting “men cannot change into women”, and then commenting on an article that said "people who menstruate", by saying, "I'm sure there used to be a word for those people…” She has been the focus of 'cancellation' efforts ever since, with her address posted online, online trolling and death threats. In an article in 2020, explaining her reasons for speaking out, she said: “I stand alongside the brave women and men, gay, straight and trans, who’re standing up for freedom of speech and thought, and for the rights and safety of some of the most vulnerable in our society - young gay kids, fragile teenagers, and women who’re reliant on and wish to retain their single sex spaces."