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In the acceptance letter Harry Potter received from Hogwarts, the second page has a list of requirements for the start of school. At the bottom of the letter it states:

PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST YEARS ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICK

And yet, very early on in his first year, Harry Potter is gifted a Nimbus 2000 by the head of his house Professor McGonagall. This no doubt made Harry Potter the only first year student to be allowed their own broom.

Seems to me that McGonagall was intentionally breaking the rules to benefit her own house, which seems unethical.

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Perhaps McGonagall held it in trust for him until his second year, letting him ride it only during approved times? –  Xantec Nov 30 '11 at 19:12

4 Answers 4

up vote 25 down vote accepted

In Sorcerer's Stone, it is explained that special provisions were made to allow Harry to have a broomstick.

"Potter's been sent a broomstick, Professor," said Malfoy quickly.

"Yes, yes, that's right," said Professor Flitwick, beaming at Harry. "Professor McGonagall told me all about the special circumstances, Potter. And what model is it?"

"A Nimbus Two Thousand, sir."

Sorcerer's Stone - Page 165 - US Hardcover

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The special circumstances being that McGonagall wanted a ringer? –  Jack B Nimble Nov 30 '11 at 19:45
    
What's a ringer? curious –  Slytherincess Nov 30 '11 at 20:03
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"The expression ringer generally refers to the illicit practice of using a clearly superior competitor in order to gain an unfair advantage. " wisegeek.com/in-sports-what-is-a-ringer.htm –  Jack B Nimble Nov 30 '11 at 20:09
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Haha, yes, I would think she would want a ringer, then. McGonagall is very competitive when it comes to Quidditch! :) –  Slytherincess Nov 30 '11 at 20:47
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@JackBNimble - an untrained 11-year old with no previous exposure to the game is hardly a ringer - he just had a lot of natural talent. A 'ringer' is when a company hires an NFL player to answer phones in tech support for a few days so he can dominate the inter-departmental football game. –  Jeff Feb 3 '12 at 15:27

As Kevin noted, Harry was given a special exemption. From Book 1:

"He's just the build for a Seeker, too," said Wood, now walking around Harry and staring at him. "Light -- speedy -- we'll have to get him a decent broom, Professor -- a Nimbus Two Thousand or a Cleansweep Seven, I'd say."

"I shall speak to Professor Dumbledore and see if we can't bend the first-year rule. Heaven knows, we need a better team than last year. Flattened in that last match by Slytherin, I couldn't look Severus Snape in the face for weeks...." [ this was Prof. McGonagall speaking - DVK ]

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I think the exception was to join the team, and I think it is implied that the broomstick is for Quidditch only, and not for use outside these times. Of course, he would have needed to practice on his own at times.

IIRC, this is not explicitly stated, however, I think that Harry using it for his own purposes would have been considered breaching the rules.

Yes, McGonagall did break the rules by getting Harry into the team, but had this agreed. Part of this would seem to be him getting a broom to use.

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When McGonagall was telling Wood about Harry (or somewhere very close to that), she said she'd talk to Dumbledore about getting an exception for him.

"He's just the build for a Seeker, too," said Wood, now walking around Harry and staring at him. "Light -- speedy -- we'll have to get him a decent broom, Professor -- a Nimbus Two Thousand or a Cleansweep Seven, I'd say."

"I shall speak to Professor Dumbledore and see if we can't bend the first-year rule. Heaven knows, we need a better team than last year. Flattened in that last match by Slytherin, I couldn't look Severus Snape in the face for weeks..."

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