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The Gryffindor-Slytherin match was referred to as the final in Prisoner of Azkaban. But was that the correct term to use? Wasn't it just one of six league matches?

Note

This isn't a duplicate of this question. That assumes that the House Trophy consists of six league matches, while my question asks whether there is any canon evidence for the format, depending on which one could say if the word 'final' is applicable in the case mentioned above.

My thoughts

I think this can be answered if we can say definitively whether the House Trophy consisted of six(in the round robin system) or seven(six league matches plus a final) matches.

I find that evidence kind of points to the first possibility, as:

  • The match in question was actually rescheduled, and was supposed to be the first match of the season.

  • The House Trophy typically ends with a Gryffindor-Ravenclaw match, unlikely if the system had a final. Unlikely because Gryffindor's performances are usually not strong enough to make to the 'final' (if there was one), and the team's fate usually hangs in the balance before the last match. Plus, if there was a final, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw should have met before in the group stage, but no allusion is made to such a match.

  • Wood keeps telling Harry to catch the Snitch only if they are more than fifty points up.1 That would be unnecessary if the match was a final as a final is a 'winner-takes-all' kind of match.

My question

Is there any definitive canon evidence for whether the Hogwarts House Trophy had a format consisting of six league matches plus a final? Or did it consist of just six league matches?

That would help understand if it was right to call the Gryffindor-Slytherin match in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban a final.


1 'So you must only catch it if we're more than fifty points up,' Wood told Harry constantly.
The Quidditch Final, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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    You're over-thinking it. In this context, "final match" just means "the last match of the year". – Harry Johnston Dec 6 '17 at 7:28
  • @HarryJohnston I used to think so too, but this made me rethink.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/168127/… – Harry Weasley Dec 6 '17 at 7:50
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    I think this falls into the category "ms Rowling as no idea how sports work and neither does she care". Basically anything concerning sports and numbers doesn't make sense in the hp books, the lack of expertise meet btw in the fact that they have a couple of pro teams in such a small community. – Raditz_35 Dec 6 '17 at 8:25
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    In that case, people often call games a final if they have the same character even though played in a league modus – Raditz_35 Dec 6 '17 at 8:33
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    @HarryWeasley, I think the answer you link to is just wrong on that point. Six games are played each year. To the best of my knowledge, there's absolutely no indication of a seventh. If the last game of the year was an extra game, then Slytherin and Gryffindor would have had to have played already, and they hadn't. – Harry Johnston Dec 6 '17 at 9:13
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The reasoning for 6 games in the previous question is sound, and the assumption underlying Cup victory in this question is misplaced because The Quidditch Cup is awarded based on accumulated points, not a pure bracket system. The final game of the season can determine the ultimate victor because of points, not game victory. There is much evidence for this in the books:

"..interest in the Gryffindor-Ravenclaw game was running extremely high throughout the school, for the match would decide the Championship, which was still wide open.

If Gryffindor beat Ravenclaw by a margin of three-hundred points (a tall order, and yet Harry had never known his team to fly better) then they would win the Championship.

If the won by less than than three-hundred points, they would come second to Ravenclaw

If they lost by a hundred point they would be third behind Hufflepuff,

and if they lost by more than a hundred, they would be in fourth place....

- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Ch. 24 - Sectumsempra

[formatted for easier illustration of the answer, but word for word quote of the US digital text]

Thus, we can see that Quidditch at Hogwarts is similar in some ways to Premier League (UK football) standings as well as the House Cup (Hogwarts) in that an overall winner is determined based on points, not a bracket.

As an example from Premiere Leauge (wiki) - "Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference".

This has been seen at Hogwarts as well where, "final standings in the competition are based on the total amount of points won over all matches played, rather than the number of victories.2 It is entirely possible for one team to lose to another, but still claim the Cup if their points from previous games were high enough". - source

"Slytherin was leading the tournament by exactly two hundred points. This meant (as Wood constantly reminded his team) that they needed to win the match by more than that amount to win the Cup....'So, you must catch it [the Snitch] only if we're more than fifty points up', Wood told Harry constantly. 'Only if we're more than fifty points up, Harry, or we win the match but lose the Cup'"

-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Ch. 15 - The Quidditch Final

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    Thanks for your answer! It sounds the most reasonable explanation for what I've read in the books. And yes, the similarity with soccer leagues was unmistakeable. Thanks for your answer, I've accepted and upvoted it! – Harry Weasley Dec 8 '17 at 7:21
  • I guess goal difference counts for points. – Harry Weasley Dec 8 '17 at 7:22
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    Excellent. I'd like to add that (as far as I'm aware) the only thing in-universe to even suggest otherwise is Hermione referring to one game as "the Quidditch Final". This is the woman who brought us "wonky faints", mind you. :-) – Harry Johnston Dec 8 '17 at 8:41
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In this case it just meant last match of the season which is fine since there isn't any tournament bracket (which would have an actual final) in Hogwarts Quidditch.

  • 1
    This is a decent answer, if you could provide a quote from the book to support your conclusion, that would be better. I recommend the quote that OP derived their question from. – amflare Dec 6 '17 at 18:26

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