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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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282 Comments

Geiles_filmplakat_thumb
54 Points

@prisoner of askaban: In Germany the movie is not free for people under 12 (PG 13 in the US) and honestly if parents think they can take their 8 year old in a movie for 12 year olds(I have seen them too) well then it is THEIR fault not the movies fault. The inferi scene was a little creepy yes but I have seen movies in this age category that had much worse horrors. I find it appropriately rated and if parents think they decide different than the law then they have to blame themselves for the consequences.
About the alcohol. I regularly watch the Gilmore Girls and a thing that I find much worse there and that I think really paints a wrong picture is Lorelei (and later on Ron) draining three or 5 martinis and wine during the dinner at her parents and afterwards climbs drunken (and she is drunk because she staggers) intop her car and drives off. Where is the article about the dangers of that?

Posted by leonix on July 30, 2009, 09:29 AM report to moderator
394omggggg--chibi_rei_thumb
594 Points

@Bookworm Jen and hereward, indeed, if they had included Winky in GOF and OOTP movies, and Professor Trelawney’s sherry bottles in OOTP and HBP movies (wasn’t she already emitting a “whiff of cooking sherry” in OOTP?), NY Times would probably have rallied for a nationwide boycott of the movies. :-D Nationwide in the US, that is.

Apparently none of the people working for NY Times have actually read the books, considering that they’re only cottoning on to things now, two years after the last book was released. eyeroll And instead of talking about a student cutting his fellow student open with a violent spell, or about a major character being brutally murdered, they’re going on and on about fictional characters drinking fictional substances. another eyeroll

And why the heck is that lady taking a 10-year-old to see a movie like HBP anyway? I don’t have kids but if I did, I don’t think I’d let someone that young to see a movie with scenes like the Sectumsempra scene and The Cave scene with the Inferi. Even the Attack At The Burrow scene might be too much for someone so young.

Posted by MischiefManaged on July 30, 2009, 09:45 AM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb
27 Points

I agree with the article, there was way too much drinking was involved. The first thing I did after I saw the movie was go out and get wasted at a local bar – and I’m only 10.

Posted by rightsideup on July 30, 2009, 09:54 AM report to moderator
Micleakyavatar_thumb
1126 Points

Ridiculous!

Posted by shellymione {WBM} on July 30, 2009, 09:54 AM report to moderator
Triogrounds2cut_thumb
857 Points

“The message is that it gives you liquid courage to put your arms around the guy you really like but are afraid to.”
Ummm…no. That’s not the message at all. Hermione puts her arms around Harry and Ron, and she’s not into Harry. It’s not like Hermione never touches Harry or Ron, did you see the massive hug she gave Harry as he walked into the Burrow? Lady, please read a book before you give Harry Potter a bad name in a very well-respected newspaper.

Posted by kayzz on July 30, 2009, 10:31 AM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb
519 Points

Was my comment deleted??? Ah well.

Posted by Robbie Rowe on July 30, 2009, 10:34 AM report to moderator
Triogrounds2cut_thumb
857 Points

I was just sitting here thinking…clearly she’s never read fanfiction…how much would she freak out about that?

Posted by kayzz on July 30, 2009, 10:38 AM report to moderator
Ronhermionesilly_thumb_thumb
48 Points

I quite agree! The scene was funny, and dosn’t suggesst to anyone that they should go out and find some butterbeer! It’s a shame that things can get so blown out of porportion…

Posted by lachamp on July 30, 2009, 10:55 AM report to moderator
Tumblr_lnohl1j5ya1qenanjo1_500_thumb
2525 Points

wow people thats just sad i mean its a moive!

Posted by The Nerd on July 30, 2009, 10:56 AM report to moderator
Da1a_thumb
1749 Points

Obviously this lady is very uptight! I’m an American,I’m an adult, I’m a parent, I’m a teacher…I found nothing wrong with the books or the movies. Are there parts of the movies I don’t let my 8 year old see? Sure…because I don’t want him to have nightmares. Has my 3 year old seen Harry Potter? Of course! (again…not all parts). At some point, I’m sure my kids will see all of these films beginning to end. No matter what they watch, read, or hear, I will make sure they understand all the “Dangers” in life, and can take a realistic, hopefully mature view of it. I was exposed to alcohol growing up…responsible use of it…and even given some from a very young age…I rarely have an alcoholic drink…sometimes I do…1 or 2…sometimes 3…but my exposure to it growing up showed me that it wasn’t a big deal!

By the way….there IS a small amount of alcohol in butterbeer…

Erin

Posted by Rin68nyr on July 30, 2009, 11:38 AM report to moderator
9013438_thumb
690 Points

Again parents need to parent, and not let movies parent their kids. Let see what could bea bigger issue in Half Blood Prince murder? Hermione drinking something that isn’t neccessarily Alcoholic? Harry attacking Draco and the movie showing no consiquences? I don’t know but parents need to be parents.

Posted by carebie on July 30, 2009, 12:56 PM report to moderator
384_thumb
60 Points

It was remakes like these that made me read these wonderful books in the first place. It never amazes me how people will get out of a book or movie. The remark earlier about parental guidence was right on. See the move before you take your children to it. Then you will not be shocked by the contents!! Or read the book yourself first!

Posted by PetraN on July 30, 2009, 01:23 PM report to moderator
Photo_on_2011-03-13_at_16
4906 Points

oh gosh. BUTTERBEER ONLY HAS ENOUGH ALCOHOL TO MAKE A HOUSE-ELF TIPSY. okay sorry. but really, if you write an article about something that most people don’t notice, nobody will really care. all the other comments about sum up what i think. and you really shouldn’t take your kids to a Harry Potter film expecting it to be perfectly kid-friendly. they made this one PG, i thing it should have been PG-13 maybe.

Posted by Darth Luna on July 30, 2009, 02:07 PM report to moderator
Photo_on_2011-03-13_at_16
4906 Points

oh gosh. BUTTERBEER ONLY HAS ENOUGH ALCOHOL TO MAKE A HOUSE-ELF TIPSY. okay sorry. but really, if you write an article about something that most people don’t notice, nobody will really care. all the other comments about sum up what i think. and you really shouldn’t take your kids to a Harry Potter film expecting it to be perfectly kid-friendly. they made this one PG, i thing it should have been PG-13 maybe.

Posted by Darth Luna on July 30, 2009, 02:07 PM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb
1690 Points

Do these people not realize that the drinking age isn’t the same in the U.S. In most parts of Europe there isn’t one at all. And the drinks they are drinking don’t have strong amounts of alcohol in them. Harry even say in the Goblet of fire when they are down in the kitchen talking to Dobby, and Winky is getting out of her mind drunk off butterbeer, that butterbeer isn’t that strong.(but it is strong for house-elfs). Also if they noticed in the books they only order butterbeer when they go to the pub, they’re not allowed to order other drinks like fire whiskey. And doesn’t Professor Slughorn only offer them wine? Thats nothing compared to most alcoholic drinks.
And what American tv show or movie doesn’t have drinking in it. There is tons of underage drinking everywhere in the media.
And if parents are concerned, they need to use this opportunity to talk to their kids about it, and not just freak out.

Posted by Carley McCormack on July 30, 2009, 02:52 PM report to moderator
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