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Considering that capturing the Golden Snitch should be a difficult task in every game but it should also be catchable by the players (or the game wouldn't end): are all snitches made equal? Do they adapt themselves to the skill level of the seekers?

And if they do scale: how does that work?

In other words: would Viktor Krum have the same difficulty catching the Snitch in the Quidditch World Cup finals than in a regular Hogwarts game?

  • I'm sure this was discussed at least briefly in Quidditch Through the Ages. There was a process of standardization, at least for the Quaffles and hoops, and the Snitch used to be a rare bird. – Kevin Aug 6 '17 at 17:21
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    Considering that the longest recorded Quidditch game went on for 3 months, and there is word of a game lasting as long as 6, all because the Seekers were unable to catch the Snitch, I think it's safe to say that Snitches don't adapt their "difficulty" to account for how good the Seekers are. – DisturbedNeo Aug 7 '17 at 10:20
  • Snitches get stitches – Paul Nov 10 '17 at 1:54
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There is no mention of scaling regarding the snitches.

However, both teams can work really well as scaling the task. Especially one team's ability to hit the opposing seeker with bludgers would be fairly significant in making his job harder, thus giving an edge to their own seeker. An edge that might be opposed or even flipped by the other team if their skill was comparable or greater.

Also, maybe the author didn't put more thought in that aspect of the game. Indeed, I think the perpetual increase in equipment performance might have an even bigger effect on the game than the team's skill, just looking at how notable the iterations are in the books from one model to the next.

  • What is "hit the opposing seeker with hoops" supposed to mean? – T.J.L. Nov 9 '17 at 20:16
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They likely don’t scale to specific Seekers - but may vary in speed.

It seems unlikely that the Snitch adjusts its own difficulty to the specific two opposing Seekers playing the game - otherwise there wouldn’t be any matches that drag on because the Seekers can’t catch the Snitch, and Harry wouldn’t be able to catch the Snitch in the first five minutes because the Snitch would’ve made it harder for him.

It’s possible that there are Snitches made with “innate” levels of difficulty, that wouldn’t scale to specific Seekers, but would naturally be a certain difficulty to catch. For example, there might be a Hogwarts-level Snitch, a professional-league-level Snitch, and a Quidditch-World-Cup-level Snitch, since it mightn’t even be possible for a Seeker at the lower levels to catch a Snitch intended to evade capture by world-class players.

Snitches don’t always fly at the same speed, one Ginny caught ‘wasn’t very fast’.

Snitches definitely aren’t all the same speed. That much, we can see. Ginny mentioned that the Snitch she caught during a game at Hogwarts “wasn’t a very fast one”, which shows that all Snitches don’t always have to fly at the same speed. That Snitch was still considered usable, and Ginny didn’t seem to find it particularly odd that it was a bit slow, so it’s unlikely Snitches have to fly at a standardized speed.

“Good catch,’ Harry told Ginny back in the common room, where the atmosphere resembled that of a particularly dismal funeral.

‘I was lucky,’ she shrugged. ‘It wasn’t a very fast Snitch and Summerby’s got a cold, he sneezed and closed his eyes at exactly the wrong moment. Anyway, once you’re back on the team –”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)

She seems nonchalant about the Snitch not being very fast, not surprised like would be expected if this was a particularly unusual occurrence. Instead, she considered it fortunate but not shocking.

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    Or possibly she's modest. I'd suspect that's a large part of it too. If you consider (and I didn't until just now) that she was still hopeful of being with Harry and consider how she used to be around Harry (she's much improved by this time) it's possible she still feels somewhat lesser in front of your master's fatal foe. I don't remember but I think they're immune from charms but I might be mixing things up (certainly bludgers aren't - well at least not immune to elvish magic). The fact she also talks about Summerby's issue makes me think more it's modesty. Just a hunch though. – Pryftan Nov 9 '17 at 20:37
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    @Pryftan It’s possible it was modesty on her part, yes, but the fact that she’d even tell Harry that, when Harry knows Quidditch fairly well, shows that it would be at least possible to have a not very fast Snitch. If it wasn’t possible, that would just sound silly to him, so it would make more sense in that case to rely on Summerby’s cold for not overshadowing Harry’s Seeker skills. – Bellatrix Nov 9 '17 at 20:39
  • I don't know about that; maybe yes but not necessarily. Until earlier this year I always made up excuses when being complimented for something even if I know that most people wouldn't be able to do it. It was easy for me; even people with less knowledge and experience could have done it (similar in a way); and many other excuses. I couldn't accept a compliment, I loathed and cringed them and I wasn't proud about anything. The story of how it changed is of course OT but the point is that maybe they can be slower and maybe not but it's not conclusive. Alternatively: the weather ? – Pryftan Nov 9 '17 at 20:52
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    @Pryftan That’s true, but my point is I don’t think she would say it if it wasn’t at least possible - if she knew all Snitches fly at a standardized speed, she probably wouldn’t use a slow Snitch as the reason for her accomplishment (especially because she’d know Harry would know that as well). – Bellatrix Nov 9 '17 at 21:19
  • Fair enough. In the end it's speculation on either end unless it's actually in Quidditch Through the Ages; and although I read it it was only once and a long time ago and it doesn't matter that much to me. I could see different speeds e.g. as the tournament advances (amongst many other reasons) but otherwise for it to be more random seems really odd to me. – Pryftan Nov 12 '17 at 17:46

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