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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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287 Points

that was really silly. starring role? yeah, about as much as I starred in the film. moron.

Posted by lillyloo on July 29, 2009, 12:23 PM report to moderator
80 Points

Such morons. I always pictured butterbeer = ROOTBEER. Jeez.

Posted by Mobius on July 29, 2009, 12:24 PM report to moderator
123 Points

I also always thought Butter beer was a root beer like substance, but I agree that Hermione did act a little tipsy after the 3 broomsticks scene. I find it really funny that someone is worried about their child seeing that in a movie that has the Inferi scene, and has a beloved character murdered by a friend and almost murdered by a student. There are so many messages in Harry Potter that are positive, like friendship, standing up for the little guy, bravery, not being materialistic, liking people for who they are, and extremely clean movies/books as far as sexual content.

Posted by iamnotworriedharry on July 29, 2009, 12:26 PM report to moderator
594 Points

These people are ridiculous! Perhaps it’s the tight-ar$ed double standard thing that’s so prevalent in the US, or perhaps they’re just in need of a good sh4g or something, but I really think these people should get a life and start worrying about real issues in the real world. Like unemployment, homelessness, those millions of people in the US without a health insurance, etc.

The whole alcohol thing never even crossed my mind before I saw these headlines on my Twitter page. I’ve seen the film four times now, five after tonight, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the alcohol usage in it. Adults have wine, teenagers have something that probably has far less alcohol than a basic shandy, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

If HBP was a Finnish film, Harry, Ron, Hermione and the others would probably be drinking Firewhisky and wine, instead of some tame Butterbeer or Mead. (Isn’t the poisoned drink in Slughorn’s office Mead? The bottle that was meant for Dumbledore?)

  • skulks away, fuming *
Posted by MischiefManaged on July 29, 2009, 12:27 PM report to moderator
159 Points

i actually had fun laughing at the alcohol scenes, it added just the right amount of humor into a movie that would have been really really sad if it was not included in the movie. I am glad that they kept to the book in that regard.

Posted by sinwillys822 ROAR on July 29, 2009, 12:33 PM report to moderator
56 Points

I can see why some parents don;t like it. Yes, there are young Harry Potter fans out there. But its just a movie!! I find those scenes very funny, espcially the one with hermoine!

Posted by GinnyWeasley1 on July 29, 2009, 12:33 PM report to moderator
209 Points

i agree with Pardus Demensarx Sinclair

Posted by Picazo on July 29, 2009, 12:33 PM report to moderator
64 Points

what is the world coming to?

Posted by Zoom on July 29, 2009, 12:34 PM report to moderator
16258 Points

how stupid! firstly they are wizards and they come of age at 17 not 18. if Hermione was drunk it wouldnt have mattered seeing as she was already 17 at the beginning of the movie.wizards dont have to abide by muggle laws. these people need to get lives and stop putting down movies for stupis little things. kids that saw the movie were paying attention to the comedy, action, romance, and magic not the alcohol.

Posted by Gryffindor1991 {ROAR!!!} on July 29, 2009, 12:36 PM report to moderator
803 Points

ridiculous to the nth. it continues to astound me how much people seem to want to keep from children.

Posted by abandonedboyjon on July 29, 2009, 12:40 PM report to moderator
49 Points

If this lady were truly up with her kids she’d know that alcohol has already presented it self to her kids. If she’s so freaked out about it don’t go.

Posted by drod on July 29, 2009, 12:41 PM report to moderator
49 Points

If this lady were truly up with her kids she’d know that alcohol has already presented it self to her kids. If she’s so freaked out about it don’t go.

Posted by drod on July 29, 2009, 12:41 PM report to moderator
4644 Points

I got about half way through this and stopped reading, just stupid, that is all I have to say, just stupid

Posted by JohnB on July 29, 2009, 12:41 PM report to moderator
39 Points

C’mon! They have drinked butterbeer since prisoner of Azcaban…

Posted by nandybared on July 29, 2009, 12:45 PM report to moderator
650 Points

I’m glad someone is pointing this out. I personally think there was too much use of alcohol in the movie. I know some things like the scene with Hagrid needed to be in the movie, I’m okay with that. However, I don’t agree with Hermione acting even a little bit drunk!

Posted by hp_flower {WBM} on July 29, 2009, 12:49 PM report to moderator
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Hermione was the last person to do anything against the rules, and here she was, pretending she had, to get them out of trouble. It was as if Snape had started handing out sweets.