Why didn't Madam Hooch stop Dobby's rogue Bludger?

I know in the movie Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Madam Hooch was completely asleep at the wheel during the Gryffindor/Slytherin Quidditch match, letting Slytherin cheat themselves pretty, but I didn't think it was canon. I was surprised upon a re-read of Chamber of Secrets that Madam Hooch didn't seem to know there was a rogue bludger in play during the Gryffindor/Slytherin match. It couldn't have been more obvious! The Gryffindor team was clearly beside themselves; Slytherin was jeering and blatantly enjoying the show ... where was Madam Hooch? Quidditch Through the Ages says professional Quidditch referees are highly trained ... perhaps this only refers to the International Leagues?

How could Madam Hooch have let the match continue, or go to forfeit, when the equipment had clearly been tampered with?

An answer based in canon would be great.

‘If we stop now, we’ll have to forfeit the match!’ said Harry. ‘And we’re not losing to Slytherin just because of a mad Bludger! Come on, Oliver, tell them to leave me alone!’

‘This is all your fault,’ George said angrily to Wood. ‘ “Get the Snitch or die trying” – what a stupid thing to tell him!’

Madam Hooch had joined them.

‘Ready to resume play?’ she asked Wood.

Chamber of Secrets - page 128 - Bloomsbury - chapter 10, The Rogue Bludger

  • 13
    The trope of the unobservant referee is a common one in both fiction and real life. Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 12:20
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    I'm tempted to answer that it's because the adults in the Potterverse ignore house-elf magic... but I don't have anything concrete to support it.
    – Jim Green
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 13:08
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    I think it's because Quidditch has a tradition of continuing matches until the snitch is caught, come hell or high water, even if it takes days, and even if a hurricane and a tornado come through together. So Madame Hooch might very well have known about the tampering, but decided it was good training for real life. Or something. (No references to cite, hence a comment instead of answer.)
    – Martha
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 15:42
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    @MarkBeadles Are you trying to say she Failed a Spot Check?
    – Iszi
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 16:15
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    If the bludger is enchanted to act randon, then it is statistically possible that, during one game, it focus the same player.
    – Kalissar
    Commented Aug 3, 2013 at 7:41

4 Answers 4


In Quidditch Through the Ages, there are pieces of information about Quidditch that would suggest reasons why Madam Hooch wasn't necessarily aware of the bludger being truly rogue.

The first describes the challenges facing referees:

Page 31:

He or she [referee] has to watch the antics of fourteen players at once and the most common referee's injury is consequently neck strain.

For professional matches, the referee is often assisted (page 31):

...the referee is assisted by officials who stand around the boundaries of the pitch and ensure the neither players nor balls stray over the outer perimeter.

Madam Hooch didn't have extra officials assisting her. Also, there are a few possible explanations for Madam Hooch's reactions, or lack thereof.

Bludgers are bewitched to chase players indiscriminately. If left to their own devices, they will attack the player closest to them.

{possible Hooch reaction: Once the Bludger gets closest to Harry, it would keep attacking him while he was isolated}

(Page 23)

In a chart listing some fouls includes (page 29):

Bumphing (applies to "Beaters only"): Hitting Bludger towards crowd, necessitating a halt of the game as officials rush to protect bystanders.

{possible Hooch reaction: The Bludger had been hit towards Harry, but he was near the crowd which affected the Bludger's path}


Madame Hooch may have not realized that the Bludger was targeting Harry, given the chaotic nature of many Quidditch games. But even if she had, she might not have been able to interfere without stopping the entire game. The only similar situation in the series was in book 1, when Snape--without needing to interrupt the game--muttered a counter-spell to keep Quirrell from cursing Harry. Quirrell, however, is a wizard and uses wizarding magic. Dobby is a House-elf, and House-elves have a magic that does not abide by wizarding rules. For instance, they can Apparate and Disapparate from places where wizards cannot (e.g., Hogwarts and Voldemort's cave). It stands to reason that since Dobby would have used House-elf magic to bewitch the Bludger, a normal wizarding spell might not have been able to stop it.

  • Um, she had a whistle. If she blew it, enough adults could intervene to handle the Bludger
    – Righter
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 14:07
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    The bludger DID obey game pause rules. In the book, they repeatedly called a time-out, and then Harry could sit and discuss the situation with the Weasleys, and Wood. He was not getting clobbered while the game was paused, thus the bludger was obeying the pause.
    – PcMan
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 15:43
  • Adding to this, maybe she used some sort of magic-detection spell and it came up blank (because Dobby's magic was weird), and she decided that it was actually just random bad luck (and therefore within the rules).
    – A. B.
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 4:54

Why would she?

Hooch does NOT stop the match even when a huge swarm of DEMENTORS invades the pitch, and tries to eat Harry.

If Hooch had stopped the match, then Cedric could not have caught the snitch "after Harry fell".

If she does not stop a match because soul-eating Demons are snacking on the players, why would she stop the match simply because one bludger is being a teensy bit antisocial?

  • 2
    This seems more like an attempt to flip the question on its head, rather than provide a direct answer. Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 13:57
  • @LogicDictates It illustrates another time when the match was CLEARLY tampered with, wherein she took no action. Do we have any evidence that she ever stopped a match for tampering? She did not for the rogue bludger. She did not, when a lot of real dementors attacked the teams. She did not when malfoy and his sidekicks stormed the pitch, pretending to be dementors. when, ever, did she intervene when the match was tampered with?
    – PcMan
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 15:37

She probably wanted Gryfindor to lose . She was in Slytherin when she was at Hogwarts.

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    I don't know of any canon source which says that Madam Hooch was in Slytherin. Do you have something to back that up?
    – alexwlchan
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 10:20
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    I searched to see whether there is any evidence of what House Madame Hooch was in and came up with nothing. The Pottermore Wiki states that her Hogwarts House is unknown.
    – E. J.
    Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 14:19
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    Personally I'd have pegged her as a Hufflepuff. Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 14:41
  • @PaulJohnson really? Hufflepuffs would support fair play. Hooch never intervened when external factors disrupted the play, she let the Slytherins get away with blatant cheating, she threatened but did nothing to Potter or Malfoy when they blatantly broke her rules during the flying lesson. That all sounds quite apathetic to me, not at all Hufflepuff-like...
    – PcMan
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 15:40

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