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In Quidditch, the entire game ends and a team is awarded 150 points when the Snitch, a golden flying ball, is caught.

To have a golden flying ball with flesh memory, there seems to be a need for many different enchantments on the Snitch.

For instance

  • Flying
  • Flesh Memory recording
  • ???

What are the different enchantments on the Snitch, and what keeps a player from using magic of another sort to give them an edge to catch it?

Edit: One would assume Felix Felicis would be easily obtained by a rich and famous Quidditch player....

  • 2
    What stops them from cheating? A little something called sportsmanship. – Valorum Mar 30 '16 at 20:01
  • @Richard As much as I'd love for that to be the answer, it's a bit naive to think that's the right answer, especially when there's money (sponsorships, bonuses, etc.) on the line. – Anoplexian Mar 30 '16 at 20:02
  • 3
    Well, sportsmanship and the threat of getting beaten to death by an angry crowd. – Valorum Mar 30 '16 at 20:05
  • Surely WWADA (Wizard World Anti Doping Organisation) would do blood and urine tests for Felix Felicis as well as having a long term blood passport system set up. – Cearon O'Flynn Apr 4 '16 at 14:14
  • 2
    don't you know? snitches get stiches – NKCampbell Mar 27 '18 at 0:36
3

Snitches are enchanted to stay within the Quidditch pitch.

Other than the enchantments mentioned in the question (flying and flesh memory, there’s at least one other enchantment on Snitches - they’re enchanted to stay within the Quidditch pitch.

“The Golden Snitch, as Bowman called his invention, was a walnut-sized ball exactly the weight of a Snidget. Its silvery wings had rotational joints like the Snidget’s, enabling it to change direction with the lightning speed and precision of its living model. Unlike the Snidget, however, the Snitch had been bewitched to remain within the boundaries of the field.”
- Quidditch Through the Ages

It’s also against the rules for a player to go out of the boundaries of the pitch.

They’re also enchanted to avoid capture as long as possible.

The Snitch’s difficultly to catch is also part of the enchantments placed on it.

“The Golden Snitch is walnut-sized, as was the Golden Snidget. It is bewitched to evade capture as long as possible.”
- Quidditch Through the Ages

They’re enchanted to actively try to avoid being caught, so the game is more challenging.

Using magic is against the rules - but it’s unclear if Snitches repel spells.

It’s never mentioned if there are enchantments on Snitches to stop players attempting to use magic on them. Using magic on any of the balls in Quidditch is against the rules.

“6. Wands may be taken on to the pitch2 but must under no circumstances whatsoever be used against opposing team members, any opposing team member’s broom, the referee, any of the balls or any member of the crowd.”
- Quidditch Through the Ages

However, it’s not clear if there are also enchantments on the Snitch to prevent players from using magic on it, or if anyone who tried will simply be punished afterwards.

  • What's considered the "pitch"? – DCOPTimDowd Mar 27 '18 at 18:39
  • The green thing with the goals in. Seriously, though, I believe there's a line going round the outside which denotes the boundaries. – The Dark Lord Mar 28 '18 at 7:47
2

Adding to the list of enchantments in the question, strong protection against magical tampering might be involved. Of course, Dumbledore obviously does perform magic on the snitch, but well, he's Dumbledore from which it follows that it is tough to tamper with a Snitch if one is not Albus Dumbledore.

"... This Snitch” — he held up the tiny golden ball — “will remember your touch, Potter. It occurs to me that Dumbledore, who had prodigious magical skill, whatever his other faults, might have enchanted this Snitch so that it will open only for you.”

-- Rufus Scrimgeour, The Will of Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows

There is no other case of anyone being able to tamper with a Snitch. If it were possible, I'm pretty sure Scrimgeour, with the power of the Ministry behind him, and being a pretty powerful wizard himself would've cracked the Snitch open as he we know he most likely tried to do.

"... So is this what you’ve been doing, Minister, shut up in your office, trying to break open a Snitch?..."

-- Harry Potter, The Will of Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Also, its pretty obvious that snitches had anti-collision jinxes -- A more specialised one, where the snitch couldn't fly into something, but something, say a Seeker's hand could collide with it. Catch it, I mean. -- If you take the first book / movie into account, the Snitch 'pulls' out of a dive and flattens out its trajectory over the grounds of the Quidditch pitch. This isn't mentioned in the books, but only in the movie, but taking the movies as canon (a little, at least), and that she was okay with the snitch not flying into the field.

I'm not really sure about this, but its mostly been indicated by the books that the Snitch usually doesn't leave the Quidditch pitch, except maybe upwards -- In the movie Prisoner of Azkaban, not the book. In the movie, we see Harry going up pretty high into the Dementor swarm, following the Snitch. In the book, it's only about 50 feet, so this attribute of the Snitch is debatable -- during a Quidditch match. But it can be taken out of the pitch boundaries, in a box, or it could be stolen.

“Me too,” said James. He put his hand in his pocket and took out a struggling Golden Snitch.

“Where’d you get that?”

“Nicked it,” said James casually.

-- James Potter / Sirius Black, Snape's Worst Memory, Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix

This seems like a pretty awesome bit of magic to me, if there is magic here. -- The very non-existence of any written content mentioning the snitch leaving the Quidditch Grounds is proof I suppose

It probably has an anti-freezing jinx? I don't think it freezes in the 3rd book in the presence of the Dementors. Don't know if this qualifies as magic though -- Again, there is no mention of the Snitch freezing or frosting up near Dementors and the movie also seems to accept that

Also, I think a Snitch might be adapting itself to the level of Quidditch being played. Maybe. It seems kinda intuitive to me, that a Snitch might behave differently when played in school and in another way in international matches. Magic? This could be explained by citing the superior skills of the international players as well as their top-of-the-line broomsticks. Taking this into account, it isn't too much of a stretch to assume that the Snitch flies faster, takes sharper turns and is much more random in it's movement that in Hogwarts matches.

Also, as mentioned in one of the comments, Felix Felicis and it's effects on the Snitch, if any . This is an unclear situation. The only concrete evidence we have of the potion being used is when Ron uses it -- or thinks he does, at least -- and he goes nowhere near the Snitch. Slughorn does mention Felix being illegal in competitions, which probably includes Quidditch.

“Now, I must give you warning that Felix Felicis is a banned substance in organized competitions … sporting events, for instance, examinations, or elections. So the winner is to use it on an ordinary day only … and watch how that ordinary day becomes extraordinary!

-- *Horace Slughorn(, The Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

This implies that the potion might have an effect on the Snitch, or maybe just on the Seeker's ability to catch it which really doesn't have anything to with the actually working of the snitch.

  • 2
    Awesome answer, any canon references? – Anoplexian Apr 18 '16 at 17:06
  • you mean, quotes? For each supposed enchantment? – Sphoorthy Nutulapati Apr 18 '16 at 17:07
  • 1
    @SphoorthyNutulapati - Quotes generate upvotes. – ibid Apr 18 '16 at 19:17
  • I think it's more likely that, as it is not an electronic device with a very narrow operating temperature but rather controlled by magic, extreme cold does not affect it particularly severely. The movement of the wings as powered by magic would be sufficient to break up any ice that is forming in moving areas before it hardens to the point that it would cause it to jam. That seems like the more likely reason that it did not freeze. – forest Mar 26 '18 at 5:34
-1

The Golden Snitch was originally first made by Bowman Wright who was a metal charmer to replace using Golden Snidgets in Quidditch. Metal Charmers craft the metal they worked with with "magical properties via Charms" according to HP Wika but it doesn't state what these are. And as you also noted in your question they have flesh memories instilled. Also stated on HP Wika was that Dumbledore enchanted the snitch to contain writing that only appeared to Harry when he touched it with his lips and also present the Resurrection Stone to him before he was to die.

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