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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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29 Points

I would like to just say that no matter what a child sees, hears, or expierences, the parenting behind them should delegate what choices that they make. I saw my peers drinking in high school but I did not partake myself because I knew that I was too young and immature to handle it and my parents would kill me.

Also in Europe it is more common for families to partake, even children, they’ll mix wine with a bit of water. I believe that they handle it much better than just “pretending” alchohol, drugs and sex do not happen until a child is 18 or 21. Thats why we have so many problems with these issues in the united states, or that’s why I personally believe we have so many problems with these issues in the united states.

Get over it, its all fiction in the end.

Posted by AnnieW on July 29, 2009, 07:03 PM report to moderator
53 Points

I always saw butterbeer as a type of soda…y’know?
Likre rootbeer and for all that lady knows maybe Hermione just felt like laughing and being silly…

Posted by KarmaHunter on July 29, 2009, 07:09 PM report to moderator
857 Points

Actually, in the UK children as young as 5 may be given alcohol in their own home if given to them by their parents or guardians. At 16 they may legally go into a Pub and order alcohol if accompanied by an “adult” (I think that means someone 18 or older, not necessarily a parent or guardian).

In the US there used to be a product called Near Beer that was 0.5% alcohol. it was considered to be “non-alcoholic” and was legally sold to minors with no age restrictions.

Most of the colonists lived on cider with no preservatives and the longer it sat in the barrels, the more it fermented. Yes, they gave it to the children as well as the adults drinking it.

We knew from Winky that Butterbeer had some alcohol content, but in the books, it seemed too weak to affect humans of 13 and up. Its greatest effect seemed to be on the tiny (knee high or less to an adult human) non-human species.

In very recent times there has been widespread consumption of low alcohol drinks in much of Europe and there are advocates to bring it back:

Read the entry on Table Beer.

Some of these people need to learn a little before condeming a work of fiction that really just mirrors real, everyday practices. ;)

Posted by Deanie on July 29, 2009, 07:17 PM report to moderator
1925 Points

Parents drink in front of kids every now and then its not a bad thing to show a short clip of them drinking something and for all we know that drink could have had lots of sugar in it!!!

Posted by Parkinsonpansy on July 29, 2009, 07:23 PM report to moderator
271 Points

i always thought butterbeer was just like the equivilant of Root Beer… in the series it only makes Winky tipsy…. it’s firewisky that they keep talking about…. and they keep getting shut down… unitil Mad Eye’s death…and then it’s a sign of mourning…and not a joyous event at all..

Posted by Amy Darlene on July 29, 2009, 07:23 PM report to moderator
88 Points

I haven’t read the other comments….but I would hope these children don’t watch Looney Tunes or any of our oh-so-innocent Disney classics. They are full of alcohol, gun play, and a bit of an innuendo or 2. If Harry Potter is poisoning their innocent children….they should steer clear of every other media directed toward children. People are ridiculous, think about what you saw growing up…Your kids are fine!

Posted by KimerblyAnn on July 29, 2009, 07:41 PM report to moderator

omg, really? first of all my kids are 11, 9 & 8 and they are hip enough to realize that things are a little more liberal in the UK, oh, and these kids are NOT REAL. It’s kind of like asking if they used too much magic as a coping mechanism. If you ask me it’s a miracle Harry isn’t a falling down drunk by now .

Posted by LunaMum on July 29, 2009, 07:42 PM report to moderator
2573 Points

Sectumsempra scene with a bloody Draco or three friends and a butterbeer. Really people, get a grip. I’m a mom of two, took both to see the movies three times. Neither of my kids made any comment about drinking, but they sure were glued to their seats when Draco was on the bathroom floor and when the inferi grabbed Harry into the depths of the lake. Parental guidance, common sense and a healthy dose of reality will help children to understand these movies. We don’t need a national anti-alcohol campaign because Hermione put her arm around Harry and Ron. Some people will complain about anything. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it but don’t stand on a soap box and yell at the rest of us.

Posted by ErinM {Roar} on July 29, 2009, 07:43 PM report to moderator
491 Points

oh come one! big deal!! i didn’t even notice that!! i thought the scene of hermione acting a bit different was funny!! there is no drinking problem!!

Posted by megan_702*ROAR* on July 29, 2009, 08:03 PM report to moderator
161 Points

it just shows that it takes parent and adults to notice the mead… like what the hell were they thinking.


Posted by #1pottyfan:ROAR! on July 29, 2009, 08:10 PM report to moderator
322 Points

These remarks are about as bad as saying that Harry used too much magic as a coping mechanism. It’s FICTION! I’d wager that these parents who are complaining probably thought there was too much violence in Pocahontas or that Ariel in the Little Mermaid was too scandalously clad. Give me a break!

I thought it was all very natural and followed the book. The butterbeer scene with Hermione was a bit cheeky, but it was in the movie (in my opinion) to show how the relationship drama is effecting Hermione. She doesn’t normally do that, like they say she’s “tight-laced” but my goodness, even if you’re tight-laced you should be allowed to let loose once! I think it also showed the Trio as growing up. Hermione didn’t even DO anything in that scene—she was just giggly. It’s also evident that in the Wizarding World drinking butterbeer is okay because they’ve been doing it since their first year!!

The scene with Hagrid and Slughorn was a form of remorse and coping. They’re adults. I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen adults drunk when we were children; It happens. This is just someone trying to complain about something. They need to find something more constructive to complain about; how about the injustices of modern day politics, starving children in literally every country in the world, etc., etc?

Posted by PineappleCrush on July 29, 2009, 08:16 PM report to moderator
12569 Points

Some people just have too much time on their hands. Jeez!!! shakes head

Posted by tinagin [ROAR]! on July 29, 2009, 08:18 PM report to moderator
7475 Points

yeah the hermione thing was a little bit odd…

but hagrid is an adult he can do what he likes. You can’t prevent ur child from drinking when they are that age.

Posted by Luce-Lupin !~ROAR~! on July 29, 2009, 08:27 PM report to moderator
439 Points

Thing’s like this make me ashamed of living in the US. We act so sensitive to certain thing’s that it’s embarrassing.

Posted by CandyCane2304 on July 29, 2009, 08:30 PM report to moderator
341 Points

I suppose it’s time to add “drug and/or alcohol use” to ratings descriptions, like they do with video games.

Either that, or fine people for public whining.

Posted by ScottMan on July 29, 2009, 08:32 PM report to moderator
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