By Daniel Morand
Sheel Radia has been a Harry Potter fan since he was eight years old.
So when the Triwizard Tournament was announced earlier this month, signing up for it was an obvious choice for the second-year civil engineering student and co-captain of the Ryerson quidditch team.
“Seeing that part of the book come to life would be awesome and I’d love to represent Ryerson and compete against other schools,” said Radia.
The Triwizard Tournament is a fictional sporting event from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series brought to life by students at York University’s Harry Potter club, aptly named the Ministry of Magic.
“[The challenges] will be physical in a sense and mental like puzzle solving,” said Alessandra Di Simone, president of the Ministry of Magic.
One representative from each of the three Toronto universities, Ryerson, York and the University of Toronto, will be chosen by York’s Harry Potter club on Oct. 4 during the club’s opening feast.
The first task, which will happen on the evening of Oct. 18, will also be revealed on Oct. 4. The following two tasks will take place in February and March of next year.
“If competitors reach a [task] that they find incredibly hard, it’s easy to just give up,” said Di Simone. “But we want to see who is able to push themselves and see what they can accomplish.” In Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, the fourth book of the series, a chosen representative from three wizarding schools compete in various tasks that test their physical, mental and magical strength.
In the book, the first task forces wizards to steal an egg from a firebreathing dragon, the second task has them saving loved ones from a haunted lake and the third requires them to navigate their way through a giant maze full of mythical creatures.
Prizes are still being determined, but a trophy is guaranteed.
“It’s going to be similar to the book’s tasks. We’ve tailored them to make it so that it’s still enjoyable but doable and realistic,” said Adam Palmer, head of the ministry’s games and sports.
Radia has been going to the gym to keep in shape for quidditch season, and says that if he gets chosen to represent Ryerson he’ll increase his regimen.
He’s read all seven Harry Potter books four times.
However, playing on the quidditch team is not mandatory to apply as anyone can fill out the online application, Harry Potter buff or not.
The application has three parts to it – the first asks for your personal information, the second part asks you to rate you physical abilities, such as speed and flying skills, and the third part tests your Harry Potter knowledge.
However, Palmer won’t give away the way they choose each school’s representative.
“There’s a method to the way we choose the representative. There’s a way that we do it that will make it fair for everyone but it’s also a bit random,” said Palmer.
To date, 17 students have applied from the three Toronto universities.
The phenomenon gained popularity in 2011, first by the University of Western Sydney and has since been done by Indiana University, Penn State and York University earlier this year.
This is the first time the three Toronto universities will collaborate in a Triwizard Tournament, but Palmer says its creation was only natural given the success of quidditch.
“If they could do it with something as unrealistic as quidditch, which is flying around on brooms and making it doable, why can’t we do that with the Triwizard Tournament?” Palmer said.
Di Simone sees the event as a chance to bring Toronto universities together.
“I think a big element of our Triwizard Tournament is to bring the different schools together in a common task,” she said.
The tasks may be veiled in secrecy, but Radia is a seasoned quidditch player who understands the qualities needed to compete in the Triwizard Tournament.
“You’ll need the same things as in the books: intelligence, courage and determination,” said Radia.