With the Slytherin v Ravenclaw match soon approaching, February is being heralded as the month for exceptional Quidditch. It’s a striking line up this year, with seasoned players like LaFleur from Ravenclaw but almost an entirely new set of players in both teams. There is much speculation in the frosty air over who will win both this game and take the trophy back to their common rooms in July. Will previously unsuccessful Slytherin dominate this year, paving the way towards their final game with the defending champions, Hufflepuff, or will the Ravenclaws’ tactics prove successful against the Slytherins where it failed them in their first game? Who better to ask than the captains of both teams, John Raiden and Esmee Squeegee, themselves?
My co-author, Rae Katana, and I sent our most urgent questions to them in the hopes of relieving some of our readers’ curiosity.
Q1. Arens: Let’s start with your previous games. What did you think of them?
Squeegee: I think they were well played by both teams but unfortunately the Slytherin team seemed (at least back in October) to be a bit more prepared than the Gryffindor one.
Raiden: My team performed in perfectly well prepared synchronisation just as expected. Not surprisingly, we were concise and lethal, consequently leading us to a smashing and perhaps humiliating first victory. This sort of performance will follow through the entire year, just watch us closely and you’ll see our path to glory.
Q2. Arens: This is the first year for both of you as captains, how are you finding it?
Raiden: I’ve waited and trained really hard on my own, being accepted as captain on my very first year in the team. I was well received by all the players. After all, more importantly than my players, they’re my friends and we all get along perfectly well. You can’t win a match of Quidditch on your own, strength is found in a united and cooperative team.
Squeegee: Challenging. Especially since I’ve only been able to play on a team my second year. But just like any Ravenclaw, I’m up for the challenge and relishing in it. We have a great and component team.
Q3. Arens: What are your influences/motivations for playing, for applying for captaincy?
Squeegee: I actually didn’t apply for be captain. It sort of fell into my lap when our old Captain, Jenny Anne Cragmore seemed to vanish from the face of the earth. Well actually she just sort of decided she no longer had the inclination or desire to do it. So I, being one of the only outspoken team members, took the spot.
Raiden: When younger, before even moving to the UK from Brazil, my family made sure to attend every Quidditch World Cup. It was decided for me that my life would somehow be related to Quidditch. Be it take part on a national team, or just the school house team. Before applying, I’d talked with my fellow team mates and we unanimously agreed on who should take the spot.
Q4. Katana: Do you have any techniques on how to rile your teams up or inspire confidence?
Squeegee: No. We are all capable of building our own confidence aren’t we?
Raiden: We sometimes open our trainings to players from other houses. By making my team play with our future adversaries, I believe they feel much more confident about our superior capabilities.
Q5. Katana: Do you have any traditions you do before or after games?
Raiden: I don’t really believe in any sort of superstition if that’s what you’re looking for. However my team-mates have a series of their little own things. Annabelle (Pike, Slytherin seeker) for example, has some sort of snake dance. It’s entertaining to say the least.
Squeegee: No. We’ve only had the one game and unfortunately we weren’t able to make our own traditions because Professor Adler decided to hold a house meeting just before the game.
Q6. Arens: It appears you have almost entirely new teams, what do you think of your players?
Squeegee: They are fantastic! Most of our team is new, as you said, but some of the older players such as Mariette LeFleur (Ravenclaw seeker) who has brought with us the required calm experience. But I wouldn’t rule out any of our new players. They can all definitely hold their own.
Raiden: With all due respect to all other players and captains, my players are the very best. On a daily basis I find myself surprised with their performance. Just yesterday Annnabelle (Pike) broke the castle’s record for game snitch catch time.
Q7. Katana: This game is being highlighted as pivotal, perhaps even the game of the season. How are your teams viewing it?
Arens: We have heard much speculation over Ravenclaws’ strategies and what exactly Raiden’s playbook may contain, care to comment?
Raiden: Game of the season? If that’s so, I would expect a lot more from the Raven’s team. I hope they will deliver some competition for such a special game. And oh, they bore me with their faith in many lateral strategies being used at once. They make things too excessively complicated. They don’t understand that you just need to find out what works for your team and stick to that.
Squeegee (while laughing): I actually find it just as interesting that the question was asked as if John Raiden was the entire of Slytherin and yet for Ravenclaw it was just said “Ravenclaw” instead of Squeegee. That right there shows what and how the teams are formed and operated.
Arens: Yes, we’ve heard the common rumour in the hallways. It’s a long held belief that the captains of Slytherin Quidditch teams, present and past, dictate how their teams play. I’ll let the readers decide after reading this article.
Q8. Katana: What do you think of the games this year?
Arens: Are there any particular players or teams you consider worthy rivals?
Raiden: I do have names which I constantly keep an eye out for, but none truly significant or relevant enough to mention during this interview.
Squeegee: I don’t think of anyone as a rival but rather just a new and exciting challenge. There’s always something to learn from every situation. Yes I know this makes me sound like the stereotypical Ravenclaw but it’s also the best way I’ve found out to think of things so that 1) I don’t get nervous and end up psyching myself out and, 2) Everything IS in fact a new learning experience.
Katana: Despite the new players, I’ve heard that Sephirah Larkham has been accepted by Puddlemere United for their reserve team. Do you think this has any influence on the strength of Gryffindor’s team?
Arens: You know what I find more interesting? The national teams. The Irish national team outbid the Spanish for the latest in the Cirrus series a while back but now the brooms are available in Hogsmeade. I hear a few members of certain teams have acquired them.
Q9. Arens: This season started off with the Slytherin captain’s broom being stolen in a prank, any other.. curious events off pitch?
Raiden: Efforts to bring my team down with pranks and sabotage operations won’t be tolerated. I won’t even bother going down to her level.
Squeegee: I wasn’t even aware that that had happened.
Q10. Arens: So.. Which team do you think will be winning this year?
Raiden: Every captain deserves respect for all the effort they put in their teams. It takes hard work to properly construct and organise a team and each house has their own way of doing so. It’s an honour to be playing against other teams who are as hard working as we are and will likely achieve better game performance as the season goes on. However, I have absolute faith in my snakes and am absolutely sure of our victory as any proper captain would be, but sure, a little more competition would be warmly welcome right now. Let’s hope the Ravenclaws deliver that.
Arens: Let’s do!
Katana: Oh, we will.
Squeegee: The best team.
As with all captivating Quidditch seasons, this year is turning out to be one that demands our attention with all the subtlety of a stampeding herd of hippogriffs. What are your views on the upcoming match? Who do you think will win and why? Make any wagers? What do you think the score will be, who will catch the snitch? Get in contact with me, send me notes or let me know in person, before the upcoming big game if you’d like your comments to feature in my follow up article.