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  • Writer's pictureAaron Fonseca

Harry Potter-Inspired Quidditch Rebrands to Distance Itself from JK Rowling

Quidditch, the real-life sport inspired by the magical game played in Harry Potter, has changed its name, in part to distance itself from author J.K. Rowling. It's now officially called Quadball.

U.S. Quidditch and Major League Quidditch formally announced Tuesday that they have changed their names to U.S. Quadball and Major League Quadball. The move comes seven months after the two groups signaled a rebranding in response to Rowling's "anti-trans positions in recent years."

Quadball was selected by USQ and MLQ following a survey of players and fans. The International Quidditch Association, which goverrns the sport worldwide, is also expected to adopt the new name.

Rowling has repeatedly come under fire for her transphobic comments, which have drawn rebukes from such Harry Potter stars as Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Katie Leung. Rowling's controversial stance has also led some fans to reexamine their love for Harry Potter and their financial support of the author's works.

The joint statement issued by U.S. Quadball and MLQ specifies that although Rowling's anti-trans position was the primary reason for the rebranding, it wasn't the only consideration: USQ and MLQ jointly own the "Quadball" trademark, something they wouldn't be able to do with "Quidditch," which is held by Warner Bros.

"Bringing full creative control of the name of our sport to the vibrant community of players and fans that has grown and sustained it will allow our organizations to take the next step," MLQ Co-Commissioner Amanda Dallas said in the statement. "We are now able to pursue the kinds of opportunities that our community has dreamed about for years."

Introduced in Rowling's 1997 novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Quidditch is played by two opposing teams of witches and wizards riding flying broomsticks above a large pitch. The real-life Quidditch (now Quadball) draws obvious inspiration from Harry Potter, but also incorporates aspects of rugby, basketball and dodgeball. Instead of soaring above the pitch, real-world players are mounted on broomsticks as they hurl dodgeballs instead of bludgers and a volleyball instead of a quaffle.

The real-life Quidditch began in 2005 at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, and has since grown to include more than 600 teams playing in nearly 40 countries. U.S. Quadball will participate this weekend in two panels at Comic-Con International in San Diego: "Fictional Games in RL" and "Are We Wizards? The Harry Potter Fandom in 2022."

Source: NPR

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