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Quidditch Becomes ‘Quadball,’ Leaving J.K. Rowling Behind


Quidditch, the game of boarding school wizards riding broomsticks in “Harry Potter,” will change into “Quadball” to the humans who play the sport in real life, its leading organizations said on Tuesday.

The groups cited financial obstacles imposed by Warner Bros., the producer of the movie series, holding the trademark to Quidditch, in addition to a want to “distance themselves” from J.K. Rowling, the writer of the books, and what they called her “anti-trans positions,” referring to her contentious statements on gender identity made lately.

“It is a daring move, and for me personally there is certainly some nostalgia to the unique name,” Alex Benepe, who helped found the real-life sport in 2005, said in an announcement. “But from a long-term development perspective I feel confident this is a great decision for the long run that may allow the game to grow without limits.”

The trail to the choice began in December, when U.S. Quidditch and Major League Quidditch — the youth and skilled wings of the game — announced their intention to decide on and trademark a recent name. Their statement emphasized “sponsorship and broadcast opportunities” that were missed due to licensing issues.

In a 2017 interview with The Quidditch Post, a news site dedicated to the game, Mr. Benepe praised Warner Bros. for being “remarkably permissive” in allowing a league to operate and sell tickets under the name.

He added, nevertheless, that Warner Bros. had prohibited the sale of merchandise that used the word “Quidditch” and that the game had been forced to sacrifice major business opportunities. Mr. Benepe argued on the time — before the most recent political controversy with Ms. Rowling — for a reputation change.

“I really like Harry Potter and all the time will, but when our sport needs Harry Potter to survive it must not be that great — and I feel that it’s great and I feel our players do too,” he said.

Nevertheless, on Tuesday the International Quidditch Association, the game’s top governing body, listed Ms. Rowling’s “anti-trans positions” as its primary motive for changing the game’s name.

“We’ve tried to be clear that it’s each reasons,” Jack McGovern, a spokesman for U.S. Quidditch and Major League Quidditch, said in an interview. “We didn’t intend to present a worth judgment about which reason was more necessary than the opposite.”

Quidditch matches ceaselessly appeared as scenes within the Harry Potter books and films. The actual-life version of it includes many elements taken from Ms. Rowling’s imagination of the sport: the riding of brooms, hurling balls through hoops and the necessity to evade bludgers, and eventually catch the Golden Snitch. In real life a bludger is a rubber dodgeball, somewhat than a flying ball of iron, and the snitch is a tennis ball attached to an individual, as in flag football.

1000’s of individuals play the sport in greater than 40 countries, according to the International Quidditch Association.

After her comments about transgender issues on Twitter drew widespread attention, Ms. Rowling published an essay in 2020 that raised concerns about “pushing to erode the legal definition of sex and replace it with gender” and the rise in gender transition amongst young people.

Many advocates for transgender rights have called Ms. Rowling’s comments transphobic, and a few fans have struggled to reconcile their love of “Harry Potter” with their objections to her views.Ms. Rowling’s representatives at The Blair Partnership said there could be no comment on the choice but said that the varied Quidditch leagues had never been endorsed or licensed by her.

“Quadball,” in accordance with the International Quidditch Association, refers back to the variety of positions in the game (a keeper, chaser, beater and seeker) and the variety of balls (two bludgers, a quaffle and the snitch).

Mr. McGovern said that the association of Quidditch with Ms. Rowling had change into an obstacle in recruiting recent players, and he said he didn’t understand how much the official bodies of the game would consult with “Harry Potter” in the long run.

His first exposure to real-life Quidditch, he said, got here in 2010 when he was in middle school. He persuaded one in every of his parents to drive him from Philadelphia to Latest York City to see a Quidditch World Cup. He said that he was struck by the “energy and life and forward momentum” of the sport, and that he was a “fan of obscure sports more generally.”

Almost as an afterthought, he added, “I had been reading ‘Harry Potter’ on the time.” Asked to what extent his love for the books had motivated that early interest in the game, Mr. McGovern replied: “It’s hard. I don’t need to say more now.”

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