The best ruddy team in the school

Oliver Wood delivers yet another rousing speech to the Gryffindor Quidditch team

Extract from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

By J.K. Rowling

Oliver Wood was a burly seventeen-year-old, now in his seventh and final year at Hogwarts. There was a quiet sort of desperation in his voice as he addressed his six fellow team members in the chilly changing rooms on the edge of the darkening Quidditch pitch.

‘This is our last chance – my last chance – to win the Quidditch Cup,’ he told them, striding up and down in front of them. ‘I’ll be leaving at the end of this year. I’ll never get another shot at it.

‘Gryffindor haven’t won for seven years now. OK, so we’ve had the worst luck in the world – injuries – then the tournament getting called off last year …’ Wood swallowed, as though the memory still brought a lump to his throat. ‘But we also know we’ve got the best – ruddy – team – in – the – school,’ he said, punching a fist into his other hand, the old manic glint back in his eye.

‘We’ve got three superb Chasers.’

Wood pointed at Alicia Spinnet, Angelina Johnson and Katie Bell.

‘We’ve got two unbeatable Beaters.’

‘Stop it, Oliver, you’re embarrassing us,’ said Fred and George Weasley together, pretending to blush.

‘And we’ve got a Seeker who has never failed to win us a match!’ Wood rumbled, glaring at Harry with a kind of furious pride. ‘And me,’ he added, as an afterthought.

‘We think you’re very good, too, Oliver,’ said George.

‘Cracking Keeper,’ said Fred.

‘The point is,’ Wood went on, resuming his pacing, ‘the Quidditch Cup should have had our name on it these last two years. Ever since Harry joined the team, I’ve thought the thing was in the bag. But we haven’t got it, and this year’s the last chance we’ll get to finally see our name on the thing …’

Wood spoke so dejectedly that even Fred and George looked sympathetic.

‘Oliver, this year’s our year,’ said Fred.

‘We’ll do it, Oliver!’ said Angelina.

‘Definitely,’ said Harry.

Full of determination, the team started training sessions, three evenings a week. The weather was getting colder and wetter, the nights darker, but no amount of mud, wind or rain could tarnish Harry’s wonderful vision of finally winning the huge silver Quidditch Cup.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

By J.K. Rowling