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1884 riot at the British Ministry of Magic Headquarters

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1884 riot at the British Ministry of Magic Headquarters
Event information
Location

Ministry of Magic, Whitehall, London

Date(s)

21 June, 1884

Participant(s)
Description

Quidditch fans demontrate against the introduction of the Stooging Penalty

"At this point the Departmental representative was forced to retreat as the angry crowd started to bombard him with Quaffles. Wizards from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement arrived to disperse the crowd, who were threatening to stooge the Minister for Magic himself."
—"Our Chasers Aren't Cheating!"; Daily Prophet, 22 June, 1884.[src]

This riot took place at the Ministry of Magic Headquarters, over the night of 21 June, 1884, after the Department of Magical Games and Sports decreed the institutionalisation of the Stooging Penalty in Quidditch. This innovation caused widespread discontent among British Quidditch players and fans, who demonstrated profusely and had to be dispersed by wizards from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.[1]

History

Background

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]

By the seventeenth century, as recorded on Quintius Umfraville's The Noble Sport of Warlocks (1620), there was the addition of "scoring areas" around the goalposts. Keepers were advised to remain within these scoring areas, guarding their goal baskets from the other team's Chasers.[1]

By the last quarter of the nineteenth century, however, it was not uncommon to watch multiple Chasers tackling a Keeper at once. The Stooging Penalty, as it was called, aimed to outlaw such practise by only allowing one Chaser into the scoring areas at once. It was proclaimed by the Department of Magical Games and Sports in June of 1884 as a matter of fairness, after a careful examination of the situation.[1]

The riot

""Instances of stooging have been on the increase," said a harassed-looking Departmental representative last night. "We feel that this new rule will eliminate the severe Keeper injuries we have been seeing only too often. From now on, one Chaser will attempt to beat the Keeper, as opposed to three Chasers beating the Keeper up. Everything will be much cleaner and fairer.""
—"Our Chasers Aren't Cheating!"; Daily Prophet, 22 June, 1884.[src]

In the evening of 21 June, 1884, the Ministry led a news conference in response to the stunned reaction of the wizarding community, who met the news with distaste.[1]

As a representative of the Department of Magical Games and Sports was noting that the change was aiming at reducing the all too common severe Keeper injuries, and that everything would be "much cleaner and fairer", he was forced to retreat as the angry crowd gathered in the hall started to bombard him with Quaffles. A riot then broke out, and demonstrators threatened to stooge Faris Spavin, the Minister for Magic himself. Wizards from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement were duly dispatched there, and the crowd reluctantly dispersed.[1]

This was not without precedent: just over a year before, another riot had broken out at the Ministry as the Department of Magical Games and Sports had decided to get rid of "goal baskets" in favour of the current goalposts.[1]

Aftermath

""I loved stooging," [a freckle-faced six-year-old] sobbed to the Daily Prophet. "Me and me dad like watching them Keepers flattened. I don't want to go to Quidditch no more.""
—"Our Chasers Aren't Cheating!"; Daily Prophet, 22 June, 1884.[src]

Despite the generalised discontent of the wizarding population, the Ministry of Magic found the uprising unjustified, and carried on with the change, while the demonstrators were silenced.[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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