A beater was a position in a Quidditch team assigned to two players. Among the seven players that formed the Quidditch team, only the two beaters were allowed to carry bats with them to beat the bludgers away from them and their teammates and to send them toward the opponent team. Harry Potter fans closely relate the memory beaters to the Weasley brothers as they are a very important pair of characters and were also beaters in the Gryffindor Quidditch team for the first five years of Harry’s Hogwarts stay.
It is believed that while beaters were the only players allowed to use bats, it wasn’t always a foul if they offered the bat to some other player in their team, especially a fellow chaser who was not in possession of the Quaffle. They were allowed to do that in special circumstances as it was backed by the rules of Quidditch.
Beaters in Quidditch
The wizarding sport of Quidditch is probably the most popular social event in the wizarding world. Played by wizards and witches together, it was one game that brought together a large crowd to cheer into stadiums in the world of magic. Quidditch season always brought a lot of joy at Hogwarts too. There were four positions in the game of Quidditch – the chaser, the keeper, the seeker, and the beater. Three types of balls were used in Quidditch – The quaffle, the bludger, and the golden snitch. While the chasers were assigned the task of scoring goals by sending the quaffle through the large goal hoops at the end of the Quidditch field, the keeper was supposed to prevent that from happening for the opponent team, which meant preventing the opposing chasers from succeeding.
The seeker awaited the appearance of the golden snitch and had to catch it before the opponent team’s seeker did. The beaters were assigned to stop the bludgers from hitting their chasers when they tried to score goals or when the seekers were in hot pursuit of the snitch. Sometimes, beaters would also protect their own team members from getting hit by bludgers. especially when the beaters of the other team would hit the bludgers at the keeper to distract them from saving goals. In the Harry Potter video game Hogwarts Mystery, the main character, Jacob’s sibling, is a beater for their house team in the academic year 1986-87.
A Little History
Beaters have existed in the game of Quidditch ever since bludgers were used in the game although beaters may not have existed in the early 1100s snidget-hunting games. While snidget hunting was a big sport in itself, the snidgets played a crucial role in the game and bludgers weren’t a part of it. The only upside to having a beater in this game would have been to stop the seeker from barbarically killing these little birds while trying to catch them. However, beaters were brought into Quidditch along with the chaser or catcher, keeper, and referee. The standardized game of Quidditch has always had a beater.
Appearances in the Harry Potter Universe
Beaters are first seen in the Harry Potter universe during the first Quidditch game of the season in Harry’s first year. George and Fred Weasley are the two beaters of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. They help Harry amidst the match by circling underneath him when he is almost thrown off the broom by Professor Quirrell’s incantations. Fred and George continued to be the beaters of the Gryffindor team till the year they left Hogwarts. In the second year of Harry’s time in Hogwarts, Fred and George were crucial in preventing the rogue bludger from hitting him during their Quidditch game. This bludger was later found to be bewitched by the house-elf Dobby. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it is revealed that Ludo Bagman was a beater for the Wimbourne Wasps. However, all the male champions of the Triwizard Tournament were seekers. Viktor Krum was the seeker for Bulgaria, Cedric Diggory was the seeker in the Hufflepuff team and Harry Potter was the seeker in the Gryffindor team.
Tactics used by Beaters
A beater is presumed to be one of the most interesting positions in the Quidditch team layout. This may be because unlike the others like the keeper, seeker, and chaser, the purpose of the beater is to just improvise and throw players from other teams off their guard. Also, unlike every other Quidditch player on the team who is not allowed to carry anything, the beater’s bat is allowed to be carried by the beaters. This too adds to the complexity of tactics that beaters can use to their advantage. One of the most popular beater moves is the dopplebeater defense. This involves a simultaneous attack on the bludger by both beaters. This increases the travelling speed of the ball by almost double, adding extra power and more danger to the opposing team.
Another trick called the Bludger Backbeat is used to confuse opponent players. In this move, the beater attacks the bludger with a backhand swing holding the handle of the bludger in the opposite face, instead of a conventional front hand swing which sends the bludger backward on an unsuspecting player of the opponent team.
Furthermore, beaters are expected to be very strong physically as they have to sometimes be ready to let go of the broom and even balance it on their legs. Although other players have sometimes been known to do that, especially for moves like the Sloth Grip Roll, the beater is more likely to have to do it as holding the bludger with one hand is sometimes not enough to generate power. Like tennis players who sometimes use both hands to send the tennis ball to the other side of the court or volleyball players who use both hands to direct the ball into a small target corner, beaters are sometimes forced to use both hands mid-air.
Beaters in the Muggle World
There are several games in the Muggle world that use player positions similar to Quidditch. However, the beater position is rare, unlike the keeper and chaser who is almost always present in many games. One of the games that are known to have a similar position as the beater is dodgeball. In dodgeball, the very objective of the game is to dodge the balls that are being thrown at a player. This game is therefore supposed to have several players with functions similar to that of a beater, although they do not use bats to hit the ball at the player of the opponent team.
Can you score with a bludger in Quidditch?
No, you cannot score with a bludger in Quidditch. Only a Quaffle can be used to score ten points in Quidditch and the Golden Snitch can be used to score 150 points in the game. However, the bludger is only used by beaters to distract players from the opposing teams and for no other reason. However, the rules are a bit lenient on who can hit the bludgers using the beater’s bat as there exist several occasions where other players, especially chasers, have used the beater’s bat to aim bludgers at the opposing team players.
Can a beater hit a seeker?
Yes, a beater can hit any player of the opposing team. However, there are some ground rules for how and when a beater can hit a seeker with the bludger. For instance, the beater can only hit the seeker with a bludger if the seeker has already made at least one move after the game has started. If not, the beater must wait for the seeker to make a move and then send the bludger towards them. Similarly, the beater can only hit the chaser if they are in possession of the Quaffle. Any other instance of the chaser getting attacked by a bludger constitutes a foul.
Who are the Gryffindor beaters?
Fred and George Weasley are the Gryffindor beaters. They had been the beaters of the Gryffindor Quidditch team ever since Harry joined the team in his first year as a seeker. Interestingly, Ginny Weasley, their younger sister, also joined the team as a chaser eventually and would sometimes play as a substitute seeker. Their younger brother Ron Weasley too joined the team as a keeper in his sixth year.