Who doesn’t love Quidditch?
This chapter is ridiculously fun. It’s action packed and exciting. It also creates a balance of showing vs telling. We get to watch Harry fly around on his broom. The bludgers soar past his head. Goals are scored and Gryffindor wins! But what adds to the chapter is the consistent commentary from Lee Jordan.
I can hear it now. Some says, but doesn’t Jordan tell us the game? Isn’t it better to just watch Harry fly around? Show don’t tell.
The reality is that sometimes, telling helps.
Here, I think J.K. Rowling does a decent job of doing both. Jordan’s commentary doesn’t just tell us what we already can see, but rather adds to the experience. It makes it feel real.
As muggles we are keenly aware that this game is different than anything we’ve experienced. There’s different rules, there’s different balls. We can see that they’re flying through the air, something that we don’t normally do, so, how do we relate?
As a writer, it is important to think about these things. How can it be conveyed in a way that others who have no experience can relate to this event because if the reader can’t relate, what’s the point to it?.
Using commentary in this situation helps ground the reader. While showing a bludger fly around or Katie Bell score a goal, it may not help the reader understand exactly what they are seeing. Did Katie put the ball in the right goal? Is Harry supposed to be flopping around on his broom? The commentary helps us understand these phenomena.
Indirectly, the commentary helps build our understanding of Jordan’s character. We know he is friends with the Weasley twins, so we assume he’s funny. The commentary here shows us that he is. To McGonagall’s chagrin, Jordan adds his own colour to the action he sees. We come to see Jordan not just as a stand in, but as a person.