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1883 riot at the British Ministry of Magic Headquarters

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1883 riot at the British Ministry of Magic Headquarters
Event information
Location

Ministry of Magic, Whitehall, London

Date(s)

11 February, 1883

Participant(s)
Description

Quidditch fans demontrate against the replacement of baskets by loops in goalposts.

"At this point, the Departmental representative was forced to retreat under a hail of baskets thrown by the angry demonstrators assembled in the hall. Although the ensuing riot was later blamed on goblin agitators, there can be no doubt that Quidditch fans across Britain are tonight mourning the end of the game as we know it."
—"Bring Back Our Baskets!"; Daily Prophet, 12 February, 1883.[src]

This riot took place at the Ministry of Magic Headquarters, over the night of 11 February, 1883, after the Department of Magical Games and Sports decreed the replacement of the "scoring baskets" used for centuries for goalscoring in Quidditch with fixed, standardised hoops on poles. This innovation caused widespread discontent among British Quidditch players and fans, although their claims were, according to the Ministry, unjustified.[1]

History

Background

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A Quidditch "goal basket".

The position of Chaser is the oldest in Quidditch, and dates back to rude sport played at Queerditch Marsh in the eleventh century, as evidenced by the diary left by Gertie Keddle.[2] Players had a leather ball, undoubtedly a primitive Quaffle, and they had to "stick it in trees at either end of the marsh".[2] The trees were, in due course, replaced by baskets on top of goalposts.[1]

Chasers and Quaffles met, for a long time, little innovation: from what we gather from Zacharias Mumps's first full description of a game of Quidditch (1398) and Quintius Umfraville's The Noble Sport of Warlocks (1620), the Chaser-part of Quidditch remained virtually unaltered for over two-hundred years. Goalposts remained the same until well into the last quarter of the nineteenth century.[1]

The hoop goalposts were proclaimed by the Department of Magical Games and Sports in February of 1883, after a careful examination on the unfairness that having baskets (which the Ministry of Magic found impossible to regulate and standardise) to score goals led to. A team in Barnton had "these minuscule little baskets" attached to the opposing team's posts that "couldn't get a grape in them", and up their own end they had "these great wicker caves".[1]

The riot

In the evening of 11 February, 1883, the Ministry led a news conference in order to dispel the rumours that they were burning down every basket used in goal-scoring, and calm down the wizarding community, who met the news with cries of "Bring Back Our Baskets!" across the nation.[1]

As a representative of the Department of Magical Games and Sports was noting that the change was to standardise goal size, and make "everything nice and fair", he was forced to retreat as the demonstrators gathered in the hall threw a "hail of baskets" at him. A riot then broke out as, as the Daily Prophet went on to report, "Quidditch fans across Britain [mourned] the end of the game as we know it".[1]

Quidditch goal post's

The modern goalposts.

Aftermath

""'T won't be t' same wi'out baskets," said one apple-cheeked old wizard sadly. "I remember when I were a lad, we used to set fire to 'em for a laugh during t' match. You can't do that with goal hoops. 'Alf t' fun's gone.""
—"Bring Back Our Baskets!"; Daily Prophet, 12 February, 1883.[src]

Despite the generalised discontent of the wizarding population, the Ministry of Magic found their riots unjustified, and carried on with the change, which is still in effect today.[1]

The riots were officially blamed on "goblin agitators," presumably by the Ministry.[1]

Appearances

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Quidditch Through the Ages - Chapter 6 (Changes in Quidditch Since the Fourteenth Century)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Quidditch Through the Ages - Chapter 3 (The Game From Queerditch Marsh)

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