In the second book, there is this passage:

‘Funny you should mention Draco’s father,’ said Flint, as the whole Slytherin team smiled still more broadly. ‘Let me show you the generous gift he’s made to the Slytherin team.’ All seven of them held out their broomsticks. Seven highly polished, brand-new handles and seven sets of fine gold lettering spelling the words ‘Nimbus Two Thousand and One’ gleamed under the Gryffindors’ noses in the early-morning sun. ‘Very latest model. Only came out last month,’ said Flint carelessly, flicking a speck of dust from the end of his own. ‘I believe it outstrips the old Two Thousand series by a considerable amount. As for the old Cleansweeps,’ he smiled nastily at Fred and George, who were both clutching Cleansweep Fives, ‘sweeps the board with them.’

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, chapter 7, "Mudbloods and Murmurs"

While expensive, we know that Harry had a vault full of inheritance money. He had been granted a special exception the year before to own a broom, and it seems someone else paid for that one. My question applies to both years, I suppose -- why didn't Harry just equip the team with better brooms? Even if the cost of 6 more Nimbuses would have been too much, it's insinuated that the Weasleys brooms are very old and decrepit. Why not at least upgrade them to something better? Would the team have refused his offer? Did Harry not think of it?

In the first novel, while on the train, there is this passage:

Ron had taken out a lumpy package and unwrapped it. There were four sandwiches in there. He pulled one of them apart and said, ‘She always forgets I don’t like corned beef.’ ‘Swap you for one of these,’ said Harry, holding up a pasty. ‘Go on –’ ‘You don’t want this, it’s all dry,’ said Ron. ‘She hasn’t got much time,’ he added quickly, ‘you know, with five of us.’ ‘Go on, have a pasty,’ said Harry, who had never had anything to share before or, indeed, anyone to share it with. It was a nice feeling, sitting there with Ron, eating their way through all Harry’s pasties and cakes (the sandwiches lay forgotten).

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, chapter 6, "The Journey from Platform 9 3/4"

This shows that Harry already enjoyed the feeling of being able to share the benefits of his wealth, especially with those who are less fortunate. In other points in the series, it is mentioned that Harry would have, or did offer, to buy things for the Weasleys (I can't remember what, but I remember Harry quietly saying that he would give all the money in his vault to the Weasleys if they would accept it, or something along those lines). So, why didn't it come up at this point?

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    Because it's crass and borderline cheating
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 16:26
  • 11
    @Valorum how so? In real-life sports, players often use their personal money to buy better equipment to give them an edge. Apparently, Quidditch has no issue with allowing players to use brooms of extremely varying quality. I don't see how it would be borderline cheating; crass, maybe. Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 16:35
  • 3
    Note the response of (for example) Hermione. She's outraged.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 16:57
  • 4
    He simply didn't have that much money. Yes, it seemed like an awful lot to an impoverished eleven-year-old when he first saw it. But he wasn't actually independently wealthy, he still needed to get a job when he grew up. Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 22:47
  • 6
    @HarryJohnston for what it's worth, I don't see Harry as the "yep, I can get by without getting a job, so I'll just sit back and relax and don't look for employment" kind of guy.
    – Jenayah
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 0:42

3 Answers 3


There's actually a quote to answer that very question. In the third book, when the Firebolt is taken by the teachers to be examinated for hexes, Wood suggests that Harry could buy a Nimbus 2001. However...

“Bad news, Harry. I’ve just been to see Professor McGonagall about the Firebolt. She—er—got a bit shirty with me. Told me I’d got my priorities wrong. Seemed to think I cared more about winning the Cup than I do about you staying alive. Just because I told her I didn’t care if it threw you off, as long as you caught the Snitch first.” Wood shook his head in disbelief. “Honestly, the way she was yelling at me… you’d think I’d said something terrible… then I asked her how much longer she was going to keep it. He screwed up his face and imitated Professor McGonagall’s severe voice. ‘As long as necessary, Wood’… I reckon it’s time you ordered a new broom, Harry. There’s an order form at the back of Which Broomstick… you could get a Nimbus Two Thousand and One, like Malfoy’s got.”

“I’m not buying anything Malfoy thinks is good,” said Harry flatly.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, chapter 12, "The Patronus" (emphasis mine)

Please note that while Harry is overall quite generous, he also knows that he should save money for his future, as seen when he's enjoying a newfound liberty during the last two weeks of summer holiday in the same book:

Once Harry had refilled his money bag with gold Galleons, silver Sickles, and bronze Knuts from his vault at Gringotts, he had to exercise a lot of self-control not to spend the whole lot at once. He had to keep reminding himself that he had five years to go at Hogwarts, and how it would feel to ask the Dursleys for money for spellbooks, to stop himself from buying a handsome set of solid gold Gobstones (a wizarding game rather like marbles, in which the stones squirt a nasty-smelling liquid into the other player's face when they lose a point). He was sorely tempted, too, by the perfect, moving model of the galaxy in a large glass ball, which would have meant he never had to take another Astronomy lesson.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, chapter 4, "The Leaky Cauldron" (emphasis mine)

From the answers to this question, it seems that the school brooms may be funded by Hogwarts; this answer even gives evidence some of that money comes directly from the Ministry.

Flying lessons are mandatory, at least for first-years; the brooms used during said lessons are probably "regular" ones, not the same ones as the teamsplayers', but also remember that while "first-years are not allowed to bring their own broom", they're also not forbidden to play for the team, so they probably use one of Hogwarts' brooms. Conclusion: at least some of the brooms used for the matches are Ministry-funded.

Harry's not craving for attention, and even less if said attention is coming from the Ministry. Remember that Harry gets in trouble with the Ministry almost every year, especially in year 2 because of the Dobby interference. Buying new brooms for the teams could send a "yup, the Ministry funding isn't enough, I'll take that into my own hands" message which could be misinterpreted by the authorities.

Granted, they probably wouldn't care right away, but that could come up later - trial in fifth book? Lucius Malfoy can afford to make that "generous" donation because some Ministry officials eat out of his hand, Harry would prefer to avoid giving them arguments against him.

Last note, if Harry becomes "Gryffindor's team Messiah", he's opening new attack points for the Slytherins. Malfoy is already happy enough to bash the Weasleys on their poverty. You could say the same for Malfoy's donation for the Slytherins, but hey, bad faith and all :)

  • 7
    @Aurelius - I suspect Harry wouldn't have taken the analysis beyond "Draco did it, therefore I won't."
    – Gaultheria
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 16:38
  • 3
    @Aurelius I'm currently editing my answer with more info on that "spend a bunch of bucks for the team" thing ;D
    – Jenayah
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 16:43
  • 3
    I think the quote in book 3 were Harry considers buying a firebolt for himself and doesnt, is one of the most powerful quotes of frugality (is this a word?!) while the other things he passes up are valid points, quidditch is his life and passing up a firebolt far surpasses the other items.
    – Himarm
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 9:08
  • 3
    You might also want to stress that Harry has grown up poor. Although he's prone to sporadic spending fits, overall he's liable to be quite risk-averse to splashing out lots of cash. It's only over time that he (mentally) comes into his inheritance and starts acting like someone's who's independently wealthy.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 10:30
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    @Jenayah - It's not just responsibility though, he under-corrects and over-corrects constantly, for the first few novels
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 10:46

It simply doesn’t seem to have crossed Harry’s mind.

Harry actually mentioned the broomsticks to Nearly Headless Nick, saying there’s nothing that Nick could do to help unless he knew where to get seven free Nimbus Two Thousand and Ones.

“Nearly Headless Nick took several deep breaths and then said, in a far calmer tone, ‘So – what’s bothering you? Anything I can do?’

‘No,’ said Harry. ‘Not unless you know where we can get seven free Nimbus Two Thousand and Ones for our match against Sly–”
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 8 (The Deathday Party)

It doesn’t seem like the idea of buying them for the team himself ever crossed his mind.

He’d be less worried once the team played Slytherin, and won.

When the Gryffindor team first faces Slytherin after the Slytherin team gets their fast brooms, Oliver Wood emphasizes before the match that the skill of the players matters more than the brooms.

“Slytherin have better brooms than us,’ he began, ‘no point denying it. But we’ve got better people on our brooms. We’ve trained harder than they have, we’ve been flying in all weathers –’ (‘Too true,’ muttered George Weasley. ‘I haven’t been properly dry since August’) ‘– and we’re going to make them rue the day they let that little bit of slime, Malfoy, buy his way onto their team.”
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10 (The Rogue Bludger)

He tells Harry that it’s especially important that he plays well and catches the Snitch first.

Chest heaving with emotion, Wood turned to Harry.

“It’ll be down to you, Harry, to show them that a Seeker has to have something more than a rich father. Get to that Snitch before Malfoy or die trying, Harry, because we’ve got to win today, we’ve got to.”
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10 (The Rogue Bludger)

Then, Harry does catch the Snitch and win the game, despite the Slytherin team’s fast brooms.

“He focused on the Snitch clutched in his good hand.

‘Aha,’ he said vaguely, ‘we’ve won.”
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10 (The Rogue Bludger)

After actually playing the Slytherin team on their Nimbus 2001 brooms that first time, Harry would likely be a lot less concerned that it’ll be impossible to beat them on the brooms they have, since they already did. Then he probably wasn’t worried about finding the Gryffindor team better brooms from any source, which would include him buying them all new brooms himself.

  • 1
    I think OP meant "why didn't he buy them before said match", but that's a good analysis anyway :)
    – Jenayah
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 17:00
  • 1
    Ahhh... both these answer are so good, I don't know which one to pick! Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 17:00
  • 1
    @Jenayah Yeah, I think so too. My answer for that part, why he didn’t buy the brooms before playing Slytherin, is ‘he didn’t think of it’. I just added the second part to show after that match, he might no longer consider it a problem, because I thought it might be useful. Thanks a lot, yours is good too - I’m fairly sure (if he did think of it), he wouldn’t have wanted to do exactly what Malfoy did and wouldn’t buy the brooms. :)
    – Obsidia
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 18:13
  • 5
    Stupidity, +1. But I wonder if the author made a conscious decision to not reinforce the idea that money buys you happiness, especially with that "little bit of slime" buying his way onto a team.
    – Mazura
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 19:52
  • another point i think that should be addressed, is that other then fred and george, im not sure if we know what the team has, but i believe that Wood also has a nimbus 2000, and if the chasers were on newish brooms as well, Now instead of buying the team new brooms (for a slight upgrade) its really down to harry buying just the weaslys new brooms, which he should already know would make them uncomfortable. @Jenayah (@)bellatrix
    – Himarm
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 9:12

It would be too awkward for him

Harry does not seem to know how to deal with the fact that his friends are poor. Throughout the series they almost never discuss money, even though Harry spends literally every waking moment of his life with Ron. The few times that money does come up, we find Harry feeling awkward and not knowing what to say or do. For example, in Chamber of Secrets when George expresses concern as to how the Weasleys will afford everything for the new year, we find Harry's response (or, rather, non-response):

Harry said nothing. He felt a bit awkward. Stored in an underground vault at Gringotts in London was a small fortune that his parents had left him.

Later when he goes to Gringotts with the Weasleys we see his embarrassment at the fact that he has money and they don't:

Harry enjoyed the breakneck journey down to the Weasleys’
vault, but felt dreadful, far worse than he had in Knockturn Alley, when it was opened. There was a very small pile of silver Sickles inside, and just one gold Galleon. Mrs. Weasley felt right into the corners before sweeping the whole lot into her bag. Harry felt even worse when they reached his vault. He tried to block the contents from view as he hastily shoved handfuls of coins into a leather bag.

All the times Malfoy makes fun of the Weaselys' poverty, Harry doesn't seem to know how to respond. While he might help fight Malfoy he doesn't actually deal with the underlying tension. In fact, in Goblet of Fire we are expressly told that Harry didn't know how to deal with it (my emphasis):

“Must be nice,” Ron said abruptly, when they had sat down and started serving themselves roast beef and Yorkshire puddings. “To have so much money you don’t notice if a pocketful of Galleons goes missing.”

“Listen, I had other stuff on my mind that night!” said Harry impatiently. “We all did, remember?”

“I didn’t know leprechaun gold vanishes,” Ron muttered. “I thought I was paying you back. You shouldn’t ’ve given me that Chudley Cannon hat for Christmas.”

“Forget it, all right?” said Harry.

Ron speared a roast potato on the end of his fork, glaring at it. Then he said, “I hate being poor.”

Harry and Hermione looked at each other. Neither of them really knew what to say.

In Order of the Phoenix when explaining Percy's defection, it seems like Ron can't even bring himself to explicitly say that they are poor (my emphasis):

“He went completely berserk. He said — well, he said loads of terrible stuff. He said he’s been having to struggle against Dad’s lousy reputation ever since he joined the Ministry and that Dad’s got no ambition and that’s why we’ve always been — you know — not had a lot of money, I mean —

On the rare occasions when Harry does buy things for the Weasleys he does it awkwardly, as in Chamber of Secrets when he gives Ginny a set of books (my emphasis):

“You have these,” Harry mumbled to her, tipping the books into the cauldron. “I’ll buy my own — ”

Or he jokes that that it is instead of many Christmas presents, as in Goblet of Fire when he buys omnioculars for Ron and Hermione:

“No — don’t bother,” said Ron, going red. He was always touchy about the fact that Harry, who had inherited a small fortune from his parents, had much more money than he did.

“You won’t be getting anything for Christmas,” Harry told him, thrusting Omnioculars into his and Hermione’s hands. “For about ten years, mind.”

(This last quote also provides further evidence of "touchiness" with regard to the money situation.)

Finally, when Harry wants to get Ron new dress robes (in Goblet of Fire), he explicitly tells Fred and George to say that it's from them:

Buy Ron some different dress robes and say they’re from you.”

In other words, it is too awkward for Harry to simply buy Ron new robes himself.

We do in fact find at times that Harry is somewhat impetuously reckless with his money. For example, after getting acquitted in Order of the Phoenix:

With a grin at the thought of what Hermione would say if she could see the statue of the elf, Harry turned his money bag upside down and emptied not just ten Galleons, but the whole contents into the pool at the statues’ feet.

Therefore, while it is perhaps believable Harry might be willing to waste a lot of money on brooms for the rest of the team, or even just for Fred and George, it seems likely that he would simply be too uncomfortable to do so.

While Harry does give Fred and George a thousand galleons at the end of Goblet of Fire, that situation seemed to be less of a "charity case" and more of Harry wanting to get rid of the money from the Triwizard Tournament, and figuring that funding a joke shop would be a good use for it.

“Listen,” said Harry firmly. “If you don’t take it, I’m throwing it down the drain. I don’t want it and I don’t need it. But I could do with a few laughs. We could all do with a few laughs. I’ve got a feeling we’re going to need them more than usual before long.”

Additionally, as we see in the beginning of Half-Blood Prince, the Weasley twins seem to have viewed this more as a loan than as charity:

“You gave us our start-up loan, we haven’t forgotten,” said George sternly. “Take whatever you like, and just remember to tell people where you got it, if they ask.”

The very fact that they insisted that it was a loan, and sort of tried to pay it back, might be further indicative of the awkwardness of receiving money from Harry.

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