Cocky Keepers and kooky commentary

Cormac McLaggen tries giving the orders during a Quidditch match while Luna Lovegood provides commentary

Extract from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By J.K. Rowling

'Tricky conditions!’ McLaggen said bracingly to the team. ‘Coote, Peakes, you’ll want to fly out of the sun, so they don’t see you coming –’

‘I’m the Captain, McLaggen, shut up giving them instructions,’ said Harry angrily. ‘Just get up by the goalposts!’

Once McLaggen had marched off, Harry turned to Coote and Peakes.

‘Make sure you do fly out of the sun,’ he told them grudgingly.

He shook hands with the Hufflepuff Captain, and then, on Madam Hooch’s whistle, kicked off and rose into the air, higher than the rest of his team, streaking around the pitch in search of the Snitch. If he could catch it good and early, there might be a chance he could get back up to the castle, seize the Marauder’s Map and find out what Malfoy was doing …

‘And that’s Smith of Hufflepuff with the Quaffle,’ said a dreamy voice, echoing over the grounds. ‘He did the commentary last time, of course, and Ginny Weasley flew into him, I think probably on purpose – it looked like it. Smith was being quite rude about Gryffindor, I expect he regrets that now he’s playing them – oh, look, he’s lost the Quaffle, Ginny took it from, I do like her, she’s very nice …’

Harry stared down at the commentator’s podium. Surely, nobody in their right mind would have let Luna Lovegood commentate? But even from above there was no mistaking that long, dirty-blonde hair, or the necklace of Butterbeer corks … Beside Luna, Professor McGonagall was looking slightly uncomfortable, as though she was indeed having second thoughts about this appointment.

‘… but now that big Hufflepuff player’s got the Quaffle from her, I can’t remember his name, it’s something like Bibble – no, Buggins –’

‘It’s Cadwallader!’ said Professor McGonagall loudly from beside Luna. The crowd laughed.

Harry stared around for the Snitch; there was no sign of it. Moments later, Cadwallader scored. McLaggen had been shouting criticism at Ginny for allowing the Quaffle out of her possession, with the result that he had not noticed the large red ball soaring past his right ear.

‘McLaggen, will you pay attention to what you’re supposed to be doing and leave everyone else alone!’ bellowed Harry, wheeling round to face his Keeper.

‘You’re not setting a great example!’ McLaggen shouted back, red-faced and furious.

‘And Harry Potter’s now having an argument with his Keeper,’ said Luna serenely, while both Hufflepuffs and Slytherins below in the crowd cheered and jeered. ‘I don’t think that’ll help him find the Snitch, but maybe it’s a clever ruse …’

Swearing angrily, Harry spun round and set off around the pitch again, scanning the skies for some sign of the tiny winged golden ball.

Ginny and Demelza scored a goal apiece, giving the red-and-gold-clad supporters below something to cheer about. Then Cadwallader scored again, making things level, but Luna did not seem to have noticed; she appeared singularly uninterested in such mundane things as the score, and kept attempting to draw the crowd’s attention to such things as interestingly shaped clouds and the possibility that Zacharias Smith, who had so far failed to maintain possession of the Quaffle for longer than a minute, was suffering from something called ‘Loser’s Lurgy’.

‘Seventy–forty to Hufflepuff!’ barked Professor McGonagall into Luna’s megaphone.

‘Is it, already?’ said Luna vaguely. ‘Oh, look! The Gryffindor Keeper’s got hold of one of the Beater’s bats.’

Harry spun round in midair. Sure enough, McLaggen, for reasons best known to himself, had pulled Peakes’s bat from him and appeared to be demonstrating how to hit a Bludger towards an oncoming Cadwallader.

‘Will you give him back his bat and get back to the goalposts!’ roared Harry, pelting towards McLaggen just as McLaggen took a ferocious swipe at the Bludger and mis-hit it.

A blinding, sickening pain … a flash of light … distant screams … and the sensation of falling down a long tunnel …

And the next thing Harry knew, he was lying in a remarkably warm and comfortable bed and looking up at a lamp that was throwing a circle of golden light on to a shadowy ceiling.'


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By J.K. Rowling