MyLeaky Login

Join the largest Harry Potter Social Network on the Web! | FAQ

In the News

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.' "

Previous Article | Next Article Browse all Recent HBP Film News


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, 08:33 PM report to moderator
142 Points

Well gess those people just have to remember that most movies are worse

Posted by goodegogo on July 29, 2009, 08:48 PM report to moderator
177 Points

This is ridiculous!!

Posted by HattFerg on July 29, 2009, 09:19 PM report to moderator
31 Points

Lol! This is brilliant…who cares about fight scenes, sudden death, teacher/student threats? No!!! Let’s make a big deal because we saw Hermione laughing a little more than usual.
Gosh, some people are unbelievable…

P.S: There’s probably nothing that gives me more curiosity than tasting butterbeer… it’s frustrating not to be able to!

Posted by Paperback Writer on July 29, 2009, 09:29 PM report to moderator
261 Points

Oh sure… Harry Potter is the cause behind underage drinking!
C’mon!! First of all: this is ridiculous!
Second of all: don’t ever expect WB to worry about what they are teaching your children! Learn to educate them yourself and teach them what is right and wrong! That way they will always know what is good for them and you can stop whinning about some comedy scenes in a summer movie!

Posted by Thio on July 29, 2009, 09:35 PM report to moderator
113 Points

wow, what do you expect? books aren’t supposed to be about rainbows and butterflies. since when is it a crime to portray life?

Posted by watchmen_roadkiller on July 29, 2009, 09:38 PM report to moderator
82 Points


Posted by Jewunit on July 29, 2009, 09:53 PM report to moderator
184 Points

‘This is a stupid article. And the scene when Hermione gets “butterbeer” on her, was not because she “slopped” it on her self, it was a foaming drink, and it was part of the whole “teens are awkward” theme, and her embarrassing herself in front of Ron, who she obviously has a crush on. Not to mention, Hello it’s the wizard world, where wizards become adults at 17.

Like some other poster, I find it weird that in a movie where Harry slices open Draco with a spell and is shown to not have any kind of punishment (book it happens, but movie, all he did was have to “give up his book” as if it were some addiction), but teens drinking butterbeer, to which Rowling never said exactly how alcohol filled it is……. sigh. Every HP movie we have to get a few articles about how its influencing are precious breakable youth, for part 1 of DH, what do you think it will be? Causes youth to want to run off on camping trips?

Posted by Bookwormjules on July 29, 2009, 10:08 PM report to moderator
150 Points

Oh, boo-hoo your daughter doesnt understand drinking? but she seems fully aware that it is a magical world where people can fly, and curse, and create things out of thin air,…..ya sure. That makes perfect sense (note sarcasm)!

Posted by AndreaB09 on July 29, 2009, 10:10 PM report to moderator
1091 Points

goshh. people are just jealous that harry potter is such a great franchise that they have to frame something on it.
just like the Minisrty of Magic in OotP.
people these days. lol : )

Posted by LoSushi! [[ ROAR ]] on July 29, 2009, 10:11 PM report to moderator
165 Points

My goodness, the characters have been drinking butter beer since the first book. If it was an alcoholic drink, they wouldn’t have it served to them at age 11 would they?

Posted by biiigbob on July 29, 2009, 10:11 PM report to moderator
427 Points

There must not be much news to report.

I mean, it’s the NYT. Seriously?

And I agree with others: Nevermind the girl who screamed and flew into the air, or the Inferi, or the old man that was flung off a tower, or Ron being poisoned. We shouldn’t expose ten year olds to vague, humorous scenes involving alcohol….
And I don’t even drink.

Also, no way did the ten year old not understand what was going on. She’s ten years old!

Posted by Olivia on July 29, 2009, 10:13 PM report to moderator
182 Points

And an old man falling off a tower isn’t as bad as the implied drinking…

Posted by RemusRox on July 29, 2009, 10:28 PM report to moderator
12005 Points

And I thought Hermione was just feeling good for being with friends.

Posted by budgie on July 29, 2009, 10:46 PM report to moderator
648 Points

Ok, if you are bothered when you take your kids to this movie and are bothered by the drinking, but not the ending scenes, I think that is a bit out of order. I must say that I was surprised when the movie was made PG, but I still think that if the parents were concered about something enough to write about it after seeing it and was planning on taking their kids to it, I would think that parent would have been concered enough to watch the commercials before hand and perhaps read the book to know what might be coming. And if the problem they have with it is the little drinking involved and not the fighting or death scene, I think there is something wrong with that. And if they had a problem with there kids seeing the fighting and death scenes, then I think it is their own faults. The commercials showed what the feeling of the movie was and it was darker, and they could have read the book to actually know what was coming. I think they need to get something else to complain about.

And I thought Butterbeer was non-alcoholic? Remember in the third movie when Harry couldn’t go to Hogsmead, but Ron and Hermione went just the two of them? Didn’t Ron come back telling Harry that he needed to try the Butterbeer when he got to go? I think that if Butterbeer was alcoholic, third years would NOT be drinking it all the time. Butterbeer seems to be one of the more common drinks of the wizarding world besides pumpkin juice.

And the deal about Hermione putting her arms around Harry and Ron afterwards does NOT need to be the result of alcohol. Is Hermione not allowed to do anything that is not up-tight? Everyone needs a break every-now-and-then especially seeing as it is a Hogsmead weekend, perfect time wouldn’t you think? Even Hermione can take a break for 2 SECONDS!

Posted by tomboy54 ROAR! on July 29, 2009, 11:04 PM report to moderator
You must be logged in to MyLeaky to comment. Please click here to log in.

Finding Hogwarts
PotterCast Interviews Jo Rowling! Click here to Listen! The Books Everything...Half-Blood Prince...and the rest of the HP Films Leaky Apps
Learn to knit your own 'Weasley Sweater'. Learn to brew your own 'Butterbeer'. Find out how at Leaky Crafts!

Guess That Book

Mr. Weasley was slumped in a kitchen chair with his glasses off and his eyes closed. He was a thin man, going bald, but the little hair he had was as red as any of his children's. He was wearing long green robes, which were dusty and travel-worn.

Scribbulus Essay Project

Issue 28 - Aug. 2014

Scribbulus is THE place for Leaky Cauldron readers to submit their essays and opinion pieces!
See more over at Scribbulus!