- "Bad news, Harry. I've just been to see Professor McGonagall about the Firebolt. She — er — got a bit shirty with me. Told me I'd got my priorities wrong. Seemed to think I cared more about winning the Cup than I do about you staying alive. Just because I told her I didn't care if it threw you off, as long as you caught the Snitch on it first. Honestly, the way she was yelling at me... you'd think I'd said something terrible. Then I asked her how much longer she was going to keep it [...] "
- —Oliver Wood's intense devotion to Quidditch[src]
Oliver Wood (born c.1975 or 1976) was a Scottish wizard who was the Keeper and Captain for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. He attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from 1987 to 1994. Oliver was known for his determination and skill on the playing field, and his long lectures before practises. He led the Gryffindor team to victory in the Quidditch Cup in his seventh year.
After leaving school, Oliver joined Puddlemere United as a reserve player (presumably as Keeper). In 1998, Oliver returned to Hogwarts to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts against Voldemort and his Death Eaters, alongside his former school friends and teammates.
Oliver was born in Scotland in 1975 or 1976, likely into a wizarding family.
Hogwarts years (1987-1994)
Oliver Wood attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from 1987 to 1994. He was sorted into Gryffindor and presumably shared a dormitory with Percy Weasley. He joined the Gryffindor Quidditch team as a Keeper, and during his first game, he took a Bludger to the head two minutes in, and woke up a week later in the Hospital Wing; he mentioned this to Harry Potter when Oliver was in his fifth year, as Harry was nervous for his first Quidditch match. Oliver also mentioned that he didn't really remember his match. He attended Hogwarts with Charlie Weasley and Hufflepuff Nymphadora Tonks for four years before they graduated. Before he graduated, Oliver attended Hogwarts with fellow Gryffindor Harry Potter for three years.
In the 1991–1992 school year, despite assembling a good team, he was unable to find anyone skilled enough to play as Seeker for the team after the departure of Charles Weasley in the previous year. However, his search was ended when his Head of House, Professor McGonagall, observed Harry Potter catch Neville Longbottom's Remembrall on a broomstick from a fifty foot dive. McGonagall claimed that it was a move that even Charlie Weasley couldn't have pulled off, convincing Oliver that Harry was indeed something special. He immediately saw that Harry's build was perfect for a Seeker, and impressed upon McGonagall the need for Harry to have a decent broom to fly.
Oliver gave Harry his first Quidditch lesson in private, immediately seeing that Harry was a natural flier on a broomstick. Wanting to use Harry as a secret weapon during the first match of the season against Slytherin, Oliver tried to keep his presence on the team under wraps. Despite his best efforts, however, word got out about Harry's presence, although his skill level was a secret from everyone outside the team.
Captaining the side against their nemesis, Slytherin, in the first game of the season, Oliver was delighted when Harry captured the Golden Snitch in his first match, winning the game for Gryffindor. However, the second game of the season, against Hufflepuff, gave Oliver cause for concern, when he found out that Professor Snape would be refereeing the match in place of Madam Hooch. Fearing that Snape would not be fair to Gryffindor following their defeat of Slytherin, he urged Harry to catch the Snitch as soon as possible. When he caught it within five minutes, Oliver was overjoyed. If Gryffindor could beat Ravenclaw in the final match of the season, then they would surely capture the Quidditch Cup.
Shortly after, Gryffindor House lost one hundred and fifty house points due to the actions of three first year students, including Harry Potter. Harry offered his resignation to Oliver, who declined it, his reasoning being that if they didn't win at Quidditch, they had no chance to recoup the lost points. Despite this, Oliver likely felt somewhat irked towards Harry, as, during team practise sessions, his angry teammates simply referred to Harry as "the Seeker".
The final match of the season against Ravenclaw was a disaster. Harry was in the hospital wing after facing Professor Quirrell and Lord Voldemort, and recovering the Philosopher's Stone. Forced to play with only six players, the Gryffindor team lost, and suffered its biggest defeat in three hundred years.
- "It'll be down to you, Harry, to show them that a Seeker has to have something more than a rich father. Get to that Snitch before Malfoy or die trying, Harry, because we've got to win today, we've got to."
- —Oliver telling Harry to catch the snitch at any cost[src]
Oliver spent the summer of 1992 devising an entirely new training schedule that included early morning practise sessions. He was determined to win the Cup, and his enthusiasm for regular training sessions knew no limits. He was annoyed, however, that his team didn't seem to be taking it as seriously as he was, but that may have been a result of getting them all up earlier than they expected on the day of their first training session. On the first Saturday back at school, he booked the Quidditch pitch to begin training earlier than the other teams. His plan was cut short by the arrival of the Slytherin team, who had been given permission to use the pitch by Professor Snape in order to train their new Seeker, Draco Malfoy.
Gryffindor won their first match of the season against Slytherin, but the unexplained attacks on Muggle-born students (later found to be caused by the reopening of the Chamber of Secrets and the freeing of the monster within) forced the cancellation of the year's remaining matches. When Minerva McGonagall announced the good news that the school would not be closing, many students shouted "Dumbledore's back" or "The heir of Slytherin has been caught". Wood instead showed his intense love for Quidditch by shouting "Quidditch matches are back on."
- "This is our last chance — my last chance — to win the Quidditch Cup. I'll be leaving at the end of this year. I'll never get another shot at it."
- —Oliver's last shot at winning the cup[src]
In his final year, Oliver Wood was especially desperate to win the Quidditch Cup. He knew that he had the best team in the whole school, and he felt that the Cup would have been Gryffindor's for the past two years if events hadn't so conspired against them. Training his team hard for the first match against Slytherin, he was shocked to find out that Slytherin had indeed managed to postpone the match owing to an injury to their Seeker, Draco Malfoy. Malfoy, injured by a hippogriff after insulting it during a Care of Magical Creatures lesson, was overplaying his injury to get out of playing the match during such extremely bad weather. Gryffindor were to then play Hufflepuff instead.
During the match, Harry was overcome by Dementors, who were attracted to the large gathering. He fell from his broom while chasing the Golden Snitch and it was captured by the Hufflepuff Seeker, Cedric Diggory. When he realised what had happened, Cedric immediately offered Oliver a rematch, but Oliver declined it, knowing that Cedric had caught the Snitch fair and square, and assuring Harry that he didn't blame him for failing to catch the Snitch despite his previously impeccable record.
However, Oliver knew they still had a chance to win the Cup if they won their remaining matches and other results went their way. He urged Harry to buy a new broom, since his had been destroyed by the Whomping Willow after the last match, and was also worried about the Dementors appearing again and affecting Harry. Harry assured him that Professor Lupin was teaching him to deal with Dementors, and that he had received a Firebolt broomstick for Christmas. Oliver was amazed, then disappointed to learn that Professor McGonagall had confiscated it to check for signs of tampering or sabotage, as she feared that Sirius Black may have sent it to harm Harry. Oliver tried to appeal to McGonagall, telling her that having the Firebolt would greatly enhanced their chances of winning the Quidditch Cup. McGonagall, however, accused Oliver of placing victory above Harry's life in his order of priorities. Finally, though, the Firebolt was given a clean bill of health, and returned to Harry, much to Oliver's joy.
In the run up to the second match of the season against Ravenclaw, Oliver upped the training sessions to five times a week, and monitored the status of the Ravenclaw Seeker, Cho Chang. Knowing that she had a lot of trouble with injuries, he hoped that she would not be fit to play, and was disappointed to learn that she was able to. During the match, Oliver told Harry to stop being a gentleman and knock Cho off her broom if he had to.
Gryffindor beat Ravenclaw, and other results went their way, meaning that, in the final game of the season against Slytherin, if they could win by two hundred and ten points, they would win the Cup. Oliver took to constantly reminding Harry that he must not catch the Snitch unless they were ahead by at least sixty points, and ordering that Harry should be accompanied everywhere he went, to prevent anyone from harming him before the game, which numerous Slytherins made it clear was a clear and present danger.
During the match against Slytherin, Oliver took two Bludgers to the stomach early in the game. Harry, though, managed to capture the Snitch when Gryffindor were ahead by at least sixty points, resulting in Gryffindor winning the Quidditch Cup. Oliver, overjoyed and ecstatic, lifted the Cup aloft, finally achieving his dream.
Later life (1994-1998)
After leaving Hogwarts, Oliver became the Keeper for Puddlemere United's reserve team. In the summer of 1994, he attended the Quidditch World Cup, where he saw Harry and introduced him to his parents and told Harry of his new career.
In 1995, Harry Potter made a joke with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger about how the new Gryffindor captain, Angelina Johnson, seemed to be copying Oliver's intense competitiveness, and that perhaps they should check with Puddlemere United that Oliver is still alive and hadn't been killed during a training session.
In 1998, Oliver returned to Hogwarts along with former Gryffindor Quidditch players Angelina Johnson, Katie Bell, and Alicia Spinnet to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts against Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. During a lull in the battle, which was granted to them by Lord Voldemort as time to gather the dead, he assisted Neville Longbottom in carrying the dead bodies of Colin Creevey and others into the Great Hall.
Oliver was well built and burly, and had a commanding presence, especially to those in his team. He was known to get a maniacal look in his eyes when he was enthusing about Quidditch.
Personality and traits
Wood was described as an intensely driven, competitive personality. He was singularly focused and determined to creating the best Quidditch team in the school. His ambition and dedication to the sport was such that he forced his players to train relentlessly, including early morning starts and all-weather training. Wood's obsession with winning occasionally became somewhat maniacal. In 1992 he told Harry to "catch the Snitch or die trying" and in 1993, Fred and George Weasley declared, with only mild exaggeration, that Wood was attempting to drown himself in the showers after a defeat as he refused to come out when they did. They also said in 1996 that "Wood might have done the Slytherins if he could have," after someone asked who would try to kill off a Quidditch team. He regularly scheduled three practise sessions a week, rising to five a week before an important match. His overriding ambition was to win the Quidditch cup before he graduated, a dream which he finally achieved in 1994.
Despite this, Wood was remarkably humble concerning his own skill, putting the team's success down to the other members of the team. He would often be more concerned about his teammates than himself, like urging them to eat breakfast before a match, yet touching nothing himself. He was also extremely loyal to Gryffindor and saw the success of the Gryffindor team as Gryffindor House's success as a whole. He was also very fair and did not accept a replay after Harry fell off his broom against Cedric Diggory in 1993 since he knew that Diggory had caught the Snitch fairly, also assuring Harry that he didn't blame him for the loss as he respected that there had to be at least one game where Harry wouldn't win.
Although he was fair-minded and approachable, Wood (which is an irony given his position as Captain of his team) appeared to struggle with interpersonal skills, as he often seemed oblivious to the way in which he came across to people. He never seemed to realise that his long-winded pep talks did not engage the rest of the team, and indeed frequently disgruntled them, possibly decreasing their motivation. After Harry's Firebolt was confiscated, Wood protested to Professor McGonagall that he didn't care if it threw Harry off as long as he caught the Snitch on it first, apparently not understanding that this implied that he cared more about winning than about Harry's welfare. Despite this, he generally had a good relationship with the rest of the team.
Magical abilities and skills
- Quidditch: Oliver was captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team during his fourth year onwards. He later became a Quidditch player for Puddlemere United's reserve team.
- Duelling: Though not much is known about his skills on the battlefield, he must be an exceptional duelist to be able to survive the Battle of Hogwarts.
- Wand: The wand of Oliver Wood was made of an unknown length, core and wood. It was purchased by him, prior to his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1987, probably from wandmaker Garrick Ollivander.
- Broom: Considering Oliver was a dedicated Quidditch fan and player it's likely he had a broom of his own.
- Stopwatch: Oliver used his stopwatch during Quidditch training.
The olive branch often is a symbol of peace. The olive tree's symbolism also includes a great harvest and long life. Wood is a place name (like Brooks or Field) and suggests ancestors who lived near or in a forest, or who were woodcutters. It is possible that Wood was meant to be the opposite of the name Flint, the name of the Slytherin Quidditch team captain and Wood's rival.
Behind the scenes
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, when Oliver was explaining Quidditch to Harry Potter, he said that the team that catches the Snitch will win the game. This is inaccurate as in the World Cup in 1994, Viktor Krum caught the snitch, but Ireland won as they were ahead by more than 15 goals (150 points). However, he could have meant that the team would usually win the game due to the amount of points that the Snitch is worth (Incidentally, in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it is not revealed that Ireland won in this way).
- Oliver was portrayed by Sean Biggerstaff in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, although he did not match J. K. Rowling's description of Wood as "burly." Biggerstaff portrayed Wood as a Scot, although this is never mentioned in the books.
- Though Oliver was not a member of Dumbledore's Army, having left Hogwarts two years before its formation, Wood fought with D.A. members in the Battle of Hogwarts. He was most likely alerted to the Battle of Hogwarts by former members of his Quidditch team who were members of Dumbledore's Army.
- Oliver did not know what basketball was. This suggests that he comes from a purely magical family. However, Oliver used golf balls when first practising with Harry Potter, suggesting he may be a half-blood, or at least have a family member who knows about golf.
- Oliver once borrowed Quidditch Through the Ages from the Hogwarts Library and was due to return the book on 9 April.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Oliver appears to be leading an aerial attack on Death Eaters in the Battle of Hogwarts.
- The hair and head pieces of the Oliver Wood minifigure in the LEGO Harry Potter sets are identical to those of the minifigure for Mutt Williams, a character from the Indiana Jones series.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Quidditch Through the Ages (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
Notes and references
- ↑ World Exclusive Interview with J K Rowling
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Oliver does not know what basketball is, implying he is from a wizarding family. His parents also attended the Quidditch World cup in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. However, Wood uses golf-balls, which gives credence to the possibility that he is a half-blood.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 11 (Quidditch) - "“We know Oliver’s speech by heart,” Fred told Harry, “we were on the team last year.” This implies that Oliver was captain in the previous year, 1990, as he was giving the same speech.
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 6 (The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters) - "Bill was head boy and Charlie was captain of Quidditch." As Charlie's last year at Hogwarts was 1990-1991 it's likely that he would be Quidditch Captain his final year with Oliver becoming captain the next year, 1991.
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 10 (Hallowe'en)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 13 (Detention with Dolores)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 34 (The Forest Again)
- ↑ Source file: File:GQT refPoA.PNG