In the Goblet Of Fire film, Cornelius welcomes everyone to the 422nd Quidditch World Cup. According to the Harry Potter Wiki, the first Quidditch World Cup was in 1473 and the tournament itself is held every four years.

So if the first one was in the year 1473 and it is held every 4 years, the 422nd World Cup would be in the year 3157, and not the year 1994 as it claims to be.

Now I am, by my own admission, a Harry Potter amateur. Am I missing something with this? Is there an alternative Wizarding date system that the films completely bypass?

  • 44
    If you're asking for Rowling to have consistent, sensible arithmetic, boy are you in for some disappointment Apr 3, 2015 at 15:25
  • 15
    WARNING!! TVTROPES LINK!!! FOLLOW AT YOUR OWN PERIL!!! tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WritersCannotDoMath JK Rowling has admitted (numerous times by now) that math is not her strong point. You're absolutely right in it making no sense at all, yet are hardly the first person to realize this.
    – BMWurm
    Apr 3, 2015 at 15:25
  • 1
    Even so, there is a big difference between maths not being one's "strong point", and this. However, as I mentioned, I have never read the books or seen any interviews with JK Rowling. It was merely something I noticed in the film and wondered whether there was an explanation other than the authors limitations. Apr 3, 2015 at 15:27
  • 8
    @jonnyknowsbest this isn't merely a case of math not being her strong point. It's a case of her not even considering the possibility of doing the math, but rather, throwing out two different, random-sounding numbers are two different times.
    – KutuluMike
    Apr 3, 2015 at 15:33
  • 3
    @MichaelEdenfield: Yes, but she calls it "not good with math". Apr 3, 2015 at 17:46

2 Answers 2


It's probably just a discrepancy, but I personally handwave it by pointing out that just because it's currently every four years does not mean that it was in the past. Maybe it was yearly for the first 400 years and then the last 22 have been every four years. (Yes, I know that the math doesn't exactly work out either but it's closer than Rowling's, haha. If it's that important I can go work out the scenario that would accurately put the 422 championship in 1994.)

Yes, it's flimsy and a poor handwave, but I've really got no other excuse for how she could reconcile those two statements.

  • 27
    +1. There are plenty of scenarios that could explain the discrepancy, especially by the somewhat cartoony logic of Wizards. Maybe there were multiple leagues with multiple World Cups for a while which got combined, inflating the number. Maybe 1473 was just the first Modern World Cup, the way the modern Olympics picked up from an older tradition. Maybe the league just skipped the 200s altogether, because one game was just that good.
    – Nerrolken
    Apr 3, 2015 at 16:53
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    World Cups have been held on both even and odd years, so the "every four years" thing was probably a somewhat more recent addition.
    – Cat
    Apr 3, 2015 at 17:41
  • 2
    or we can assume they used time turners and have how-much-ever-th Quidditch World Cup at whenever-we-want
    – user13267
    Apr 3, 2015 at 20:35

Similar to how magic can make things bigger on the inside (the Weaseley's car, the tents in Goblet of Fire, Hermione's handbag) there could be magical slowing effects in the wizarding world. This would allow the event to be held every four years while it is still 1994 when the 422nd comes around. This seems like a possible answer because there does seem to be a stark difference between the muggle and wizard worlds. For instance, the Knight Bus in Prisoner of Azkaban was not seen by muggles. Then there is the Black family's house, which grows out of a neighborhood and goes unnoticed. The Ministry of Magic's phone booths, or toilets that also go unnoticed.

To explain the warped timing, there are some references in canon. The Knight Bus slowed down to prevent hitting other buses. Hermione's time turner allowed her to travel backwards in time. It wouldn't be unreasonable for there to be an affect in the wizarding world that would allow the time to be warped like this. However there is no canon evidence of its existence.

  • What do you mean by a "stak difference"?
    – user1786
    Apr 3, 2015 at 18:07
  • 1
    Stark difference?
    – eatonphil
    Apr 3, 2015 at 19:11
  • 4
    You know nothing, @JonofAllTrades Apr 3, 2015 at 20:44

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