Sunday, August 16, 2009

Quidditch Through the Ages by J. K. Rowling

As with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages is another book taken from the world of Harry Potter, one that he refers to repeatedly in the series. Quidditch Through the Ages is not vital to the storyline of the seven book Harry Potter series, nor is it pivotal in any of the events that occur. It is simply a book to give more background on the series, in particular quidditch, the most popular sport for those of the magical persuasion.

Quidditch Through the Ages contains everything from the detailed history of the beginnings of the sport a thousand years ago, to explanations of the history and purpose of the four balls used in the game. All of the players’ roles are described. Brief histories of each of the famous teams from the UK are included, as are overviews of quidditch as played on all of the continents, following its spread throughout the world.

To quote from my review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the review can be found here): The big push of the book, as mentioned in the preface written ostensibly by Albus Dumbledore, is to raise money for Comic Relief UK, to help children living in poor countries world-wide. Using fiction as a vehicle for social good is an important aspect of the world of words that is frequently over-looked today, particularly by big name authors, so this is a breath of fresh air, and for the cheap price, more than worth the good it will do.

Continuing the trend of the super short book, Quidditch Through the Ages gives an hour or so of entertainment, and is a fun look at the history of the sport. Much more accessible and entertaining than Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, this book develops well for its short length, and is a nice diversion. Add in the cheap cost and the good cause, and this one is more than worth it.

[A brief note to those of you wondering about the absence of numerical ratings: since “Fires of War” was a single short story, and both Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages are even shorter than “Fires of War,” it is difficult to give them a serious, well-thought-out review. Therefore, to avoid drastically over- or under-rating the books/story, I didn’t give a number. These numerical ratings will return with Devil May Care.]

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