The pros and cons of being a Seeker
Seekers might spend a lot of time in the limelight, but some of the trickier aspects of this Quidditch position might have your Seeker aspirations disappearing faster than a Snitch in a storm…
According to Quidditch Through the Ages, Seekers have ‘immense importance in the overall outcome of the match’, and often snatch ‘victory from the jaws of defeat’. Given that capturing the Snitch earns your team one hundred and fifty points, as well as ending the game, one of the pros of being a Seeker is that you are often the player who gets the most glory. Harry found this out during his time at Hogwarts, particularly when Gryffindor finally won the Quidditch Cup: ‘As a sobbing Wood passed Harry the Cup, as he lifted it into the air, Harry felt he could have produced the world’s best Patronus’.
Traditionally ‘the best fliers on the pitch’ according to Quidditch Through the Ages, the position of Seeker can often be pretty glamorous. With flashy moves like the Wronski Feint and the Plumpton Pass – the latter being ‘a seemingly careless swerve that scoops the Snitch up one’s sleeve’ – the position of Seeker really allows a player to show off their own individual style and skill. This perhaps allows Seekers like Viktor Krum to become famous and celebrated, in a way that other players can only dream of, due to the individuality and style permitted by a Seeker’s particular role and position on a team.
Protected by their team’s Beaters, Seekers get to soar above the gritty, and often violent brawl that the Chasers, Keepers and Beaters often engage in with the opposing team. No matter how poorly the game is going below them, a Seeker can ignore the score and search for the Snitch, independent of anything occurring below. To that end, a Seeker is both a team player and a lone flier, who is able to rely on their own skill, rather than their team mates, to carry out their objective of catching the Snitch, but also enjoy a team victory all the same.
As Oliver Wood told Harry when he was introducing him to the game of Quidditch, Seekers get fouled A LOT. And Harry’s experience as Gryffindor Seeker definitely backed that up given the number of times he ended up in the hospital wing after a game. Quidditch Through the Ages mentions this con of being a Seeker too: ‘they are usually the players who receive the worst injuries'. ‘Take out the Seeker’ is the first rule in Brutus Scrimgeour’s The Beaters’ Bible. Eeeesh. And considering that apparently ‘Seven hundred Quidditch fouls are listed in the Department of Magical Games and Sports records,’ danger is certainly a big argument against trying out for Seeker.
The flipside of glory in a Seeker’s Quidditch life, is certainly pressure and responsibility. The Snitch is worth one hundred and fifty points – that’s a lot of points to win or lose to the Seeker on the opposing team if you’re not quick enough. Not to mention, as Seeker, it is your responsibility to end the Quidditch match. This is highlighted in an entry in Quidditch Through the Ages: ‘There is a tale that a Golden Snitch evaded capture for six months on Bodmin Moor in 1884, both teams finally giving up in disgust at their Seekers’ poor performances’. What a nightmare!
The other side of the Galleon of being a somewhat independent flier on the Quidditch team, is that it can also leave you quite isolated and out of touch with what is happening in the game. It can’t always be fun to be soaring above the clouds, looking for that tiny glint of gold. There was a particular game in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when Harry couldn’t even hear the commentary because the weather was so bad. We reckon that sometimes a Seeker would rather help out the Chasers, Beaters or Keeper in the game below, rather than stay aloft and out of touch.