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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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128 Points

Pfff….. Why don’t make those parents their children to avoid advertisements? They’re full of alcoholic drinks and etc. (even in England, too)
Are they complaining against their favourite TV channel, too????

Posted by Liara on July 30, 2009, 04:49 AM report to moderator
823 Points

God, are u kidding me?? People in wizarding world come of age at 17!! Of course they can drink earlier than people in the muggle world!!!!

Posted by pine-fresh[ROAR] on July 30, 2009, 05:05 AM report to moderator
2866 Points
I hven’t seen the film yet and I can judje only by book which has only two scens with alcohol and in both scans that’s Slughorn their so it doesn’t mean that whole Hogwarts drinks that’s just Slighorn-an old man who’s losing his mind I think!
Posted by ~ Asi ~ on July 30, 2009, 06:19 AM report to moderator
98 Points

Haha @Bookworm Jen above, yes if they’d put Winky in the films or Trelawney’s empty sherry bottles I’m sure New York Times would have called for a boycott.

The New York Times doesn’t seem to like JKR. I think it has something to do with her being a successful woman.

Posted by hereward on July 30, 2009, 06:40 AM report to moderator
140 Points

Hahahaha! This is almost as bad as a Melburnian columnist (who hasn’t read the books) who complained about HP being TOO SEXY for her 6 year old!! I mena – hello!! – the film is too VOILENT for your daughter, not too sexy, haha..

Anyway.. I don’t see the big deal, myself. Teenage drinking is popular where I live and the norm, and I would imagine it is very similiar to British teen culture.

Anyway.. I don’t see the big deal, myself. Teenage drinking is popular where I live and the norm, and I would imagine it is very similiar to British teen culture.Whats going to happen in DH where 16-year-old Harry and 15-year-old Ginny have firewhiskey shots with the adults? Oooooh!

Posted by WickedLoz on July 30, 2009, 07:12 AM report to moderator
420 Points

i dnt see what the problem is. JKR had chapters where alcohol was consumed in her book, and nobody complained about that 4 years ago.
Anyway, in the cinema i was in, there were kids being taken out of the cinema because of the slightly more upsetting scenes (inferi, sectumsempra"), so i dnt think most parents were all that worried about the “drinking” scenes"

Posted by StefanM94[WBM!] on July 30, 2009, 07:51 AM report to moderator
517 Points

I saw this article – someone linked it to me on facebook, and me and all my other Potter friends had a bit of a mini FB-localised rant. Basically we came to the same conclusions – one, that the level of drinking is minor, realistic, and even if the kids are having “alcohol” (I seriously don’t think Butterbeer counts), they’re still shouldering huge burdens and going off to save the wizarding world, not getting pregnant and dropping out of school to live in a trailer park – alcohol is not pure evil, get a little perspective. The second point – what was she doing taking her 10 year old to an M-rated movie?

Posted by Araminta1987 on July 30, 2009, 08:02 AM report to moderator
123 Points

omg get over it!! It’s like were harry and ron binge drinking? where they taking vodka shots in potions.. no. it’s in the book aswell, and also hermione and ron are 17 which in the wizarding world is considered adulthood so technichally they are allowed to drink as much as they like. But i don’t really understand why parents are sooo omg! about it, i took my 8-year-old sister, and i really don’t think i’ll be seeing her downing whiskey any time soon because she saw Hagrid drunk… :P In fact she didn’t even seem to mention anything about drink.

Posted by justanargle on July 30, 2009, 08:03 AM report to moderator
27 Points

I actually tought butter beer was non-alchoholic. and I give the damn in what this “the kids must not see that or that” freaks, one day the kids will have to face our cruel world

Posted by GohandoWiz on July 30, 2009, 08:05 AM report to moderator
19573 Points

OMG What the hell is this person talking about?? She shouldn’t even be writing an article like that! What Hermione gets tippys? She is a 16 year old girl for gods sake!

Posted by R-for-H {ROAR} :D on July 30, 2009, 08:09 AM report to moderator
337 Points

Uncool get a life

Posted by Mugglejeff on July 30, 2009, 08:19 AM report to moderator
304 Points

Seriously? “Does Hogwarts have a drinking problem?” If the adults are drinking, then they can drink. No one’s over at the Hog’s Head getting Ogden’s Best Firewhiskey. What, does Draco think he can poison Dumbledore by sending him tampered-with-Pumpkin Juice? That one’s part of the plot. And if the kids are drinking, you can darn sure believe – in the scene – they’ve been allowed to by the parents (ex. Ron and Harry w/ Slughorn).

I really can’t. The article should be titled “Does America have a drinking problem” for thinking that there’s a problem with regards to that with this movie – as a country we’re just so good at seeing trees and missing the forest. I can’t stand writers like this. If this was a commentary on the public mindset regarding alcohol use, that’s one thing. But to nitpick a movie for the sake of pointing fingers? This just seems low.

Posted by Alison on July 30, 2009, 08:31 AM report to moderator
69 Points

This is the comedy side of it hermione having a laugh,where would it be without its humour,very over the top article

Posted by emmabonkers on July 30, 2009, 09:09 AM report to moderator
54 Points

I did notice in the books and the movies that they do drink quite a bit of butterbeer and mead. Even when they were like 11 or 12 years old. And the adults seem perfectly okay with it. But again it is a book. And I don’t think Hermiones reaction is that affected by butterbeer. Although I do find the interpretation that she needs alcohol to show her affection to Ron very interesting. But I find that she shows her affection more than once even without alcohol. But I agree with Jain I find the increasing death and torture much more to worry about than the alcohol. Overprotective parents like that usually end up having kids that drink behind their backs and then really. My parents were always leniant on me and alcohol and I am 21 and have yet to be completely drunk.

Posted by leonix on July 30, 2009, 09:20 AM report to moderator
642 Points

hmm yeah..i kinda confused with this problem,,,but please! it just a funny scene!!! I agree with Petra!

Posted by TheTom K* *SQUEE* on July 30, 2009, 09:22 AM report to moderator
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