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From the explanation on flesh memories from Rufus Scrimgeour, it seems as if the first seeker to touch the snitch wins the game.

"Correct," said Scrimgeour. "A Snitch is not touched by bare skin before it is released, not even by the maker, who wears gloves. It carries an enchantment by which it can identify the first human to lay hands upon it, in case of a disputed capture. This Snitch", he held up the tiny golden ball, "will remember your touch, Potter.

So the first seeker to "lay hands" on the snitch wins, right?

There is a contradiction though. When Wood explains the rules of the game to Harry, he specifically says a few times that in order to win the game the seeker must catch the snitch.

"This," said Wood, "is the Golden Snitch, and it's the most important ball of the lot. It's very hard to catch because it's so fast and difficult to see. It's the Seeker's job to catch it. You've got to weave in and out of the Chasers, Beaters, Bludgers, and Quaffle to get it before the other team's Seeker, because whichever Seeker catches the Snitch wins his team an extra hundred and fifty points, so they nearly always win. That's why Seekers get fouled so much. A game of Quidditch only ends when the Snitch is caught, so it can go on for ages...

Further more, there is a game that happens where the Slytherin seeker touched the snitch first (but didn't catch it), and the Gryffindor seeker (Harry) caught the snitch first, and Gryffindor won.

"Oi, Harper!" yelled Harry in desperation. "How much did Malfoy pay you to come on instead of him?"

He did not know what made him say it, but Harper did a double-take; he fumbled the Snitch, let it slip through his fingers, and shot right past it. Harry made a great swipe for the tiny, fluttering ball and caught it.

"YES!" Harry yelled: wheeling around, he hurtled back toward the ground, the Snitch held high in his hand. As the crowd realized what had happened, a great shout went up that almost drowned the sound of the whistle that signaled the end of the game.

So-

Either the first seeker to touch it wins, and when Harper fumbled the snitch Harry wasn't supposed to win but he won anyway for some reason, and when Wood was explaining the rules to Harry he got confused and he taught Harry that he needs to catch the snitch.

Or the first seeker to catch it wins, and the flesh memories charm is made in a way that it detects only the first person that catches the snitch and not necessarily touches, and Scrimgeour was getting confused between touching the snitch and catching it.

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  • @Valorum- what do you mean?
    – MBEllis
    Jan 24, 2021 at 14:00
  • @Valorum- I get that, but it contradicts the flesh memory that as we see remembers the first person touch it, so I'm asking how would you explain the contradiction.
    – MBEllis
    Jan 24, 2021 at 14:05
  • @Valorum- Wouldn't it determine who got it first if both seekers claim they did?
    – MBEllis
    Jan 24, 2021 at 14:12
  • No. All it would determine is that one party had touched it first. Which we already know from prior observation.
    – Valorum
    Jan 24, 2021 at 14:13
  • 1
    Highly related, possible duplicate: What good is the flesh memory of a Snitch? @Valorum That quote isn't as conclusive as you think, since a small enchanted ball might slip through someone's fingers without touching them. In fact, I'd say the other quote is more conclusive, since what use would a flesh memory be to resolve disputes if the only thing it determined was something that didn't settle the dispute?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 24, 2021 at 20:35

2 Answers 2

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The rules of Quidditch are very clear about the game ending when the snitch is caught by one of the two seekers on the pitch.

  1. A game of Quidditch ends only when the Golden Snitch has been caught, or by mutual consent of the two team Captains.

Quidditch Through the Ages

Note that the rules don't define what a "catch" is (unlike, for example competition cricket), but it does make a distinction between touching and catching when it refers to fouling the snitch, which strongly implies that simply touching the snitch isn't sufficient to end the game.

Snitchnip [Foul]: Any player other than Seeker touching or catching the Golden Snitch


As to your quote, in reference to the enchantments on the snitch, note that Scrimgeour doesn't state that the flesh memory determines the winner, just that it can be used, by the referee, to help to determine the winner in the event of a "disputed catch" (e.g. one where both seekers end up holding the snitch at the end of the game).

It carries an enchantment by which it can identify the first human to lay hands upon it, in case of a disputed capture.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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It's actually simpler than what you're making of it. For the game to end the Snitch has to be captured. If you only touched it, it's not over.

Imagine the scenario where both Seekers catch the Snitch at the same time. Neither is grabbing it but the Snitch is indeed caught. (Maybe in between both's hands). The first Seeker to touch it is the winning one.

“Correct,” said Scrimgeour. “A Snitch is not touched by bare skin before it is released, not even by the maker, who wears gloves. It carries an enchantment by which it can identify the first human to lay hands upon it, in case of a disputed capture. This Snitch”—he held up the tiny golden ball—“will remember your touch, Potter.

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  • Can you offer any evidence to back up these bold statements?
    – Valorum
    Feb 1, 2021 at 23:55
  • sure. added the quote to the answer. it clearly states that the only importance of who touched it first is on "disputed captures" this is similar to most real-life sports laws on disputes. the last to touch loses/wins
    – raiton
    Feb 2, 2021 at 0:00
  • That same quote appears in the question.
    – Valorum
    Feb 2, 2021 at 0:01
  • yes it does however it appears with a false deduction from the asker "it seems as if the first seeker to touch the snitch wins the game." nowhere does it say that the first seeker to touch it wins. it clearly says it's the rule only for disputed caches.
    – raiton
    Feb 2, 2021 at 0:03

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