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New York Times Article on Amount of Alcohol Use in Half-Blood Prince

HBP Film
Posted by: sue
July 29, 2009, 11:38 AM

A columnist for the New York Times has written a piece that asks "Does Hogwarts have a drinking problem?" in relation to what they seem to feel is rampant drinking that takes place in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The article starts out by claiming "parents may be surprised by the starring role given to alcohol. In scene after scene, the young wizards and their adult professors are seen sipping, gulping and pouring various forms of alcohol to calm their nerves, fortify their courage or comfort their sorrows."

The author of the piece continues: "Previous Harry Potter movies have shown drinking, but this one takes it to a new level. In one scene, Harry, Ron and Hermione order butterbeers at the pub, and Hermione ends up with a frothy mustache. While it’s never been entirely clear whether butterbeer is alcoholic, it seems to have an effect on the normally uptight Hermione, who acts tipsy walking home as she throws her arms around the boys.

As the mother of a 10-year-old Harry Potter fan, I was taken aback by the reaction of the young people in the theater. They snickered at Hermione’s goofy grin and, later, guffawed when an inebriated Hagrid passed out. While I don’t think my daughter fully understood what was going on, I wondered how other parents, educators and addiction experts would react.

Liz Perle, a mother of two teenage boys and the editor in chief of Common Sense Media, which reviews books, movies and Web content aimed at children, said she was bothered by so many scenes showing alcohol as a coping mechanism. “Hermione is such a tightly wound young lady, but she’s liberated by some butterbeer,” she said. “The message is that it gives you liquid courage to put your arms around the guy you really like but are afraid to.”

..."Overseas audiences may respond differently to the drinking scenes. In England, the legal drinking age is 18, but 16-year-olds can order alcohol if they’re eating a meal. (Even by those standards, the teenagers in the movie were flouting the law: during the pub scene, no food was served.)

A response from Warner Bros "said the drinking scenes were “open to different interpretations. 'One of our main objectives in bringing the Harry Potter films to the screen has been to remain as faithful to their original source material as created by J. K Rowling,” the company wrote in an e-mail message, adding that the wizarding world “should not be held to the same standards as the real world.' "

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and theres me worring about the death and torture. Get a sense of humour!!!!!

Posted by jain on July 29, 2009, 11:50 AM report to moderator
2200 Points

I really don’t think it’s a big deal. It seemed natural, I didn’t really notice it until everybody has been pointing it out!

Posted by Sirius17 -ROAR_ on July 29, 2009, 11:50 AM report to moderator
243 Points

Yes there was some alcohol in the film, but it’s not like they were stumbling around and falling over getting sick in an alley by the Hog’s Head…then there might have been a problem :P As I see it, they were just drinking socially as most people do when they’re of age of with friends or out enjoying themselves. I think the columnist is taking this a bit out of context. Now if they were driving a broom, they might be cited for a FWI (flying while intoxicated) and that definitely would not be sending a good message.

Posted by PaintTheSky on July 29, 2009, 11:51 AM report to moderator
667 Points

If it’s that big a deal for them, they should practice “parental guidance” instead of just being “shocked” about it. What about all the overtly sexual and violent behavior in most teen flicks nowadays?

Posted by chikitcorpuzvesterbaek on July 29, 2009, 11:52 AM report to moderator
110 Points

ugh, really… some people just aren’t happy unless they are complaining about these wonderful books and movies. :p people if you don’t like aspects of what these books/movies contain, don’t read/watch them and keep your opinions to yourself

Posted by hopieg on July 29, 2009, 11:53 AM report to moderator
2200 Points

Also it was so funny, Hagrid and Slughorn got drunk in the book so whats the big deal! People just like to overreact to everything, and act like the world’s a perfect place.

Posted by Sirius17 -ROAR_ on July 29, 2009, 11:54 AM report to moderator
1218 Points

Erm, I’m pretty sure children shouldn’t be going anyway. The inferi scheme made many many kids cry and scream during the showing I went to, some even had to be taken out of the cinema! Also I’m pretty sure killing someone is a touch worse than a glass of butterbeer :S

Some people are right idiots aren’t they?

Posted by Prisoner Of Azkaban on July 29, 2009, 11:56 AM report to moderator
218 Points

Yeah, come on, it’s the wizarding world, they’re allowed different laws…so no one cared about sectumsempra or Dumbledore’s death, just the consumption of alcohol?

Posted by ♥Sparkly Purple Cloud♥{WBM}♥ on July 29, 2009, 11:57 AM report to moderator
106 Points

I always thought of Butterbeer and something akin to Rootbeer, which is completely non-alcoholic. I would be more alarmed if they were drinking fire whiskey, which is clearly an adult beverage. But, I suppose people could find objectionable material in anything, if they’re looking for it.

Posted by maxteachLairyFights on July 29, 2009, 11:57 AM report to moderator
1293 Points

Oh, come on, where is the problem? They wanted to show Hermione in a funny way, so they did this scene where she is like “drunken”.So? That doesn’t men every girl who saw the movie and is in love, will go into a pub and drunk herself. I mean, we don’t even know is she really drunken or she did just this funny walk with goofy grin. I think real problem is in opinion of this mother who said that Hermione is a wound, young lady and it’s not appropriate for her to have a drink. What is this? Just a guy can order something in a pub? Come on!!!

Posted by Petra on July 29, 2009, 11:57 AM report to moderator
179 Points

I don’t understand how people can be so uptight about a couple of butterbeers and various “tonics” to calm the nerves… I’m a mother myself and I would trust that I could explain to my children the difference between liquid courage/ alcoholism and having a drink with friends without worrying that a couple innocent scenes would wipe all reason from their minds. After all, it’s not as if Hermione was at a table surrounded by flagons upon flagons of butterbeer.

The scene’s were true to the canon, which I find easily mirrored in real life. The movie doesn’t show alcohol in a “solve all your problems” light, neither does it glorify “tonics” as proven when Ron thinks he’s been given felix felicis (he had it in him to do well all along). If anything, the movie/book give the impression that love potions are better off left alone, felix is better used sparingly and that drinking too much of Madame Rosmerta’s mead is likely to get you poisoned (especially if within reach of Draco Malfoy).

I’m sorry, but I have a real problem with these type of mom’s that rely on the media to teach their children life lessons instead of taking charge of that themselves. If you don’t approve of the type of content your children are exposed to, then don’t expose them. But please don’t act as if the world needs to only portray what you deem as good and just.

Posted by Lisee_Lu on July 29, 2009, 11:58 AM report to moderator
1623 Points

I guess it’s a good thing they didn’t keep Winky in GoF! ;)

Posted by Bookworm Jen on July 29, 2009, 12:01 PM report to moderator
2333 Points

okay the drinking rules for england confuse me….so not fair!!! hahah kidding…..but yeah hogwarts students do seem to drink a lot……hmmmm

Posted by theREALGinnyWeasley on July 29, 2009, 12:02 PM report to moderator
730 Points

Just more people trying to give Harry Potter a bad name. Read the books, folks, that’s what counts, and there’s nothing in there condoning underage drinking. I’ve always thought butterbeer was akin to root beer anyway, with maybe just the tiniest bit of alcohol since it affects house-elves. The tipsy Hermione scene was funny, yes, but it doesn’t count as canon.

Posted by RavenclawDancer on July 29, 2009, 12:04 PM report to moderator
174 Points

oh god… ‘starring role’? If kids see people in movies drinking, it does not make them want to drink. The thing that influences children to drink alcohol is if their parents do! Besides, if you are so concerned about your child being influenced by the media, Harry Potter is the least thing you should worry about. By the time these kids are old enough to be offered a drink, they will have long forgotten this specific scene in this specific movie! Find something else to worry about, parents.

Posted by horsepatronus64 on July 29, 2009, 12:08 PM report to moderator
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