Harry Potter isn’t real, so we did our best to devise a real-world tournament inspired by the Tri-Wizard Tournament
Are you a Harry Potter geek? Good. If not, you are really missing out. I love the entire series, but the third and fourth installments are really when things start getting good. The characters (and readers) aren’t little kids anymore, interesting and important things start happening. The plot thickens.
Book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, can accurately be described as the moment when Harry Potter goes from being a kid’s series to a young adult series. The plot: young wizards from across the wizard world (which pretty much means the UK and Europe) come to Hogwarts to compete in the Tri-Wizard tournament. The winning wizard will come away with the Goblet of Fire.
The tournament features three main events in which the wizards compete for the goblet. Each involves completing a very dangerous task about which the contestant knows nothing beforehand. Such magical creatures as giant spiders, mermen and mermaids, and dragons appear. As much as well wish all of these things were real, we did the next best thing.
What if the Tri-Wizard tournament could be staged in real life? Which (semi) realistic events could simulate the contests taking place in J.K. Rowling’s fantasy world? We thought of a few. To bet on sports in the UK like football and basketball is one thing, but to bet on real-life simulations of fantastical wizard tasks is a whole different ball game.
Stealing diamonds from hippos
In the first event of the Tri-Wizard Tournament the contestants compete to retrieve a golden egg from under the nose of a dragon, the Hungarian Horntail. As dragons don’t exist in real life (we think), what if contestants attempted to retrieve a giant tennis-ball sized diamond from a hippopotamus? Yes, a hippopotamus isn’t the best substitute for a dragon. But it’s a huge, dangerous and exotic creature. It’s the best we could do.
We have three contestants each competing to seize the diamond first. Hippos are known for being especially brutal. Despite being herbivorous, they can be prone to attacking humans without provocation. There have even been cases in Africa of hippos destroying vehicles. You really don’t want to piss them off. So for contestants, death is a possibility, maybe even a probability.
Imagine internet betting sites in the UK making odds and taking bets on such a brutal event. I don’ think they would have any trouble attracting wagers.
Diving for pearls
The second event of the Tri-Wizard tournament involves completing an underwater task. The contestants are not told what, only that they will be required to breathe underwater for an hour. The task turns out to be: rescue someone from the merpeople. If you are like me, you choose to believe that merpeople really exist, despite the lack of hard evidence.
For everyone else, diving for pearls looks like the next best real-life event. The dangerous and fascinating activity is one of mankind’s oldest professions. Divers sometimes braved depths as low as 100 feet to retrieve mussels, fighting any hostile creatures they may come across. Sure sounds like something I would bet money on.
Picture it, Bet365 spokesman Ray Winstone flashing across the screen telling you about all of the unique proposition bets you can make on pearl diving. Not only on how many pearls the diver will retrieve, but: will the diver die? How deep will they dive? How long will they remain underwater? Which creatures will they encounter? The possibilities are endless.
In my opinion, pearl diving is more enchanting than anything you will read about in a fantasy novel. People holding their breath and diving to great depths with no equipment with the purpose of retrieving precious jewelry items? Forget free diving, this is absolutely fascinating. It appears that no land-based or online sportsbooks in India, Japan or other traditional pearl diving societies have never taken bets on it. Part of that may be that online sportsbooks cannot legally operate in India or Japan.
The world’s most dangerous mammals brought to a maze in France
The final task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament required contestants to travel through a maze, besting any obstacles which may come in their way. At the center of the maze lay the mythical Goblet of Fire, the object of the entire tournament. The way that it happened in the novel, the wizards navigate the maze, fighting several unsavory figure including a death eater on their way to the heart of the maze, where they must successfully battle an Acromanutal (giant spider) which is guarding the goblet.
And we mean GIANT spider. Over fifteen feet in length and featuring poisonous venom. Females lay beach ball-sized eggs. What self-respecting sports bettor wouldn’t salivate at the thought of placing wagers on a human battling one of these things?
Tragically, giant spiders don’t exist (why can’t Harry Potter be real??!!). But we did our best to construct a real-life scenario involving a maze full of dangerous creatures and a giant cup. Would such an event make gambling news? We think so.
For the locale we chose the maze at Reignac-sur-Indre (http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/featured/most-incredible-mazes-labyrinths/4117?image=5) in Touraine France. This 10-acre maze is altered every year to make it an especially challenging feat for visitors. We could place bets of a number of contestants maneuvering through the maze, encountering and battling nasty creatures such as komodo dragons and chimpanzees (yeah, we know chimps are thought of as cuddly as cute, but when they get pissed off they are brutal).
Let’s hope that at least one lucky contestant makes it past these warm-up challenges to battle the big boss: an African lion (we think it’s a decent substitute for a giant spider). Lions are large, extremely powerful and move very quickly. Anyone who defeats a lion in one-on-one combat deserves whatever prize lies behind it.