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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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1245 Points

“…rampant drinking,” “scene after scene drinking…” “so many scenes showing drinking as a coping mechanism.” Did she see the same movie I did?

Posted by dcsbelle [WBM] OOM3, CW on July 29, 2009, 11:32 PM report to moderator
182 Points

Hahaha, you have to laugh. Unless these kids have been living under a rock they would have seen worse scenarios by just going out at night.

Another thing: if they were upset about the drinking in this film, wait till the blood and torture in the next two films :)

Posted by Britski on July 29, 2009, 11:34 PM report to moderator

I always thought all the drinking in HBP was a potions master hint.

Posted by syren on July 29, 2009, 11:35 PM report to moderator
80 Points

If any of you are oldenough to remember it? This is what it is if you don’t have a real story make one up. Create the news don’t tell you what the news is. Truth means nothing its making a buck that counts. I always knew butterbeer had a
small amount of alchohol but it seemed part of the wizard culture. To the members of the press who write this junk. Boo

Posted by horas1 on July 29, 2009, 11:54 PM report to moderator
202 Points

Well, I can save my time and just say “ditto” to the sentiments that everyone has expressed so far! (I agree that those parents ought not bring their kids to the next two movies— with the touture and death.)

Posted by HPHealer on July 30, 2009, 12:06 AM report to moderator
281 Points

It (the article) made it sound as if every 5 minutes or every scene change had alcohol in it. sigh After all the commercials on tv they are worried about this?

Posted by Phylis {ROAR} on July 30, 2009, 12:33 AM report to moderator
192 Points

I really didn’t even notice. It isn’t a big deal at all…plus butterbeer isn’t alchoholic. Only house elves can get drunk off of butterbeer…this is dumb.

Posted by PadfootLover4ever on July 30, 2009, 12:39 AM report to moderator
1242 Points

“Don’t go to them Harry Potter movies, ‘cuz everyone’s drunk!”
There’s always something controversial with Harry, but he still survives.

Posted by Lucia Meadows on July 30, 2009, 12:44 AM report to moderator
192 Points

ok making something clear: Only house elves can get drunk off buttebeer. Wizards don’t. That was confirmed…

Posted by PadfootLover4ever on July 30, 2009, 12:52 AM report to moderator
60 Points

whinings of an of an over reactive columnist….. I didn’t even notice such a thing until i read this. There are far more dangerous things children are watching in movies and on TV.

Posted by sanimagus on July 30, 2009, 01:23 AM report to moderator
115 Points

The reasons that house elves can get drunk with butterbeer is due to it being strong enough to effect them (and if, like Winky, they drink it constantly). There would seem to be some alcohol in butterbeer, but very small amounts that wouldn’t cause a person to get drunk. It only warms the drinker. Now, if this is the fuss we’re going to get, then the reporter better not watch DH because that’s when the trio and the rest drink Fire Whiskey.

Still, I am awed at how it took 5 years before someone to complain about alcohol useage in HBP…not to mention the many references in the other books. I mean, what’s next, people complaining about pipe smoking?

And, forgive me, we were warned a year ago, by David Yates, that the film would contain an atmosphere of “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.” Remember when we were scared for the film after that statement, but all we got was a tipsy Hermione, a snogging Ron & Lavender (and several un-named students), a drunken Hagrid & Slughorn, and a dazed/high Harry off of Felix Felicis. The outcome was better than what we imagined. Remember imagining the 6th film being nothing but students doing drugs and having sex, because of Yates’ comment.

Seriously, the films have grown (like the books) apart from its original “kid-friendly” books. Jo wanted the characters to grow and mirror serious issues. The films have started growing into more adult emotions. That’s one reason why some critics like this HP film above the others, because it appears more adult-friendly.

And honestly, this film was far tamed compared to movies like Superbad and teen movies in theaters today…far more tamed!

Posted by The Hollow on July 30, 2009, 01:26 AM report to moderator
879 Points

I was a little surprised that the movie managed to squeak by with a PG rating in the US for that fact alone— nevermind Inferi and whatnot. But then again I’ve never understood parents who blindly take children to see movies that they know nothing about simply because of the rating, either: if they’d read the books or done a little research they’d know what to expect. If I had a 10-year-old I don’t think I’d take her to see HBP. Pretty sure the hero of the story nearly killing another young man would prevent me from doing that. I don’t think she’d understand that, either.

Posted by deadtree ♥WBM♥ on July 30, 2009, 01:41 AM report to moderator
42 Points

I think that people should remember that it’s just a movie. And it is butterbeer and not real beer .

Posted by whitetiger on July 30, 2009, 01:58 AM report to moderator
428 Points

Why would some people exert effort bashing a film because it shows some characters drinking? Does that overshadow the lesson of the movie? Get a life, will you lady who wrote those stuff. If you are truly a fan, and you’ve read the books, there’s nothing wrong with Hagrid passing out because of too much drinking, because he had just buried Aragog.

And with Hermione acting strange after a butterbeer drink, it just exaggerated something on the book, it’s not even in the book at all. Why give reason to every characters’ movement on the movie?… OMG.. get a life people!! Watch G-force for all I care..

Posted by alegria35 on July 30, 2009, 03:28 AM report to moderator
16692 Points

That woman who wrote the alcohol-article is unusually STUPID! She want’s kids to grow up in a bubble, sheltered from everything instead of talking to them and explaining things, easier for her if everything “dangerous” is hidden and she doesn’t have to take the responsibility of talking to her kids. People like that make me soooo angry! What happens, I would like to ask her, when the kids grown up, and they come in contact with alcohol and s**, and other stuff adults do, and they don’t know anything, ’cause their parents has never explained these things. Then there will be trouble….

Ok, I’m done, pass me the butterbeer, please

Posted by Mrs Fred Weasley ROAR! (OoM1) on July 30, 2009, 04:37 AM report to moderator
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