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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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539 Points

Wow, that’s stupid. I don’t know what else to say.

Posted by Brianna on July 29, 2009, 02:02 PM report to moderator
1980 Points

Wasn’t Hermione drunk because Slughorn spilled his alcohol in her mug when Harry was talking to him? That’s what I was thinking. I thought Butterbeer was just rootbeer. I would imagine if it was alcoholic, the Hogwarts faculty would have some problems with its use…

Posted by missingmarauder22 *UWS* on July 29, 2009, 02:03 PM report to moderator
2017 Points

Wow, some people just need to relax. Half of the ‘drinking’ in the movie was essential to the plot line, and it’s not like they were full on advertising it! And I think some of the other scenes were a little more damaging to young children than the so called ‘drinking’. Inferi and Katie Bell anyone? If I saw that when I was a little kid I’d have nightmares from those, rather than being permently damaged by some ‘drinking’.

Posted by Looie [ROAR!] on July 29, 2009, 02:07 PM report to moderator
38 Points

I agree with every previous comment. Apparently, sixteen year olds drinking alcohol was of more concern then
-Katie being cursed
-Draco covered in blood
-The entire inferi scene, including the part where they try and drag Harry down into the lake
-Dumbledore dying
-etc.,etc., etc…..

I hope they didn’t have a problem with all the snogging. Come on, parents. Grow up.

Posted by WizardWheezes851 on July 29, 2009, 02:07 PM report to moderator
594 Points

I read that article earlier today, and it aggravated me so much!! As for Hermione being tipsy, I interpreted that as Slughorn accidentally spilling some of HIS drink into her glass when he stumbled. And yet another thing, if butterbeer even was alcoholic, except from the very tiny amount that affects the house-elves, how come we haven’t seen any reactions before? From what I saw in the movie, Hermione only had one glass, and maybe another that we didn’t get to see, but if you compare it with the elves that is still not enough to get her even remotely tipsy! Maybe in good spirits, but that is all. In my opinion this is taken completely out of context, and blown out of proportion by incredibly conservative American parents! I do not put this on all Americans, obviously, but if you look at the world at large, 16 and 18 are the most common ages when people are allowed to drink alcohol. The cultures are simply that different. It even goes as far down as 15 some places. I’m not saying whether that is good or not, I reserve my opinion when it comes to that topic of discussion, but making such a big deal out of this seems ludicrous to me. There are more serious things to worry about if you absolutely need something to worry about.


Posted by Kissa on July 29, 2009, 02:09 PM report to moderator
3703 Points

Blah. Who cares what other people think of this movie? We know that this article is ridiculous. It might even be up to Rita Skeeter Standard. And I agree with the other posts – they find this drinking thing more disturbing than Draco being told to KILL, Draco covered in blood, the Sectumsempra spell, etc, etc!?

Posted by Christine on July 29, 2009, 02:11 PM report to moderator
118 Points

You are all so right! I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I don’t recall a scene in the book where Hermione acts tipsy. In GOF it is clearly stated that Butterbeer does not cause humans to become inebriated, only house-elves.

Posted by SybilT on July 29, 2009, 02:14 PM report to moderator
38 Points

And I NEVER interpreted her throwing her arms around Ron and Harry as her being tipsy. Maybe it was because they were her, you know….friends? I mean, sure, she likes Ron, but this is Hermione we’re talking about, not Lavender, she doesn’t treat him like some unattainable gorgeous guy meant only for snogging, craving his attention in the same manner that Lavender does. That’s the whole point of their relationship. He’s her friend first, that’s why she’s so awkward with him in those few scenes. It’s embarrasing to have a crush on one of your best friends, no matter what gender you are.

I can’t believe that I can see that, and adults can’t. Maybe it’s just because I’ve read the books, I don’t know. Can’t they read a little more into that except “Oh, she’s tipsy”? I’m sorry, but…what the hell?

I can’t believe this movie has been replaced by G-force in the box office.

Posted by WizardWheezes851 on July 29, 2009, 02:16 PM report to moderator
174 Points

I hate stupid people like this parent!
In england your aloud to drink at 18, Im from england and 19 so i know about this and in US you cant drink till 21? but anyway its a brittish film!! – and whats wrong with the occasional drink?! – get a life!!! it wasnt like they were so drunk they created violence or started vandalising things they were obviously having a good time which by the sounds of this parent hasnt had in a looong time.
( Btw I LOVE how almost every comment above cant belive what this parents going on about either! woo)

Posted by Felix Felicis on July 29, 2009, 02:16 PM report to moderator
1980 Points

thats not much of a big deal.

Posted by floridianhp*ROAR* on July 29, 2009, 02:17 PM report to moderator
305 Points

Of course it is a ridiculous article! And here we are discussing it… everybody read it. And that is exactly what all these writers (I was going to say Dumb writer but let it be,,, I don’t know the guy… it is sure a dumb analyses though) know very well, mention Harry Potter and more people will read, criticize it and people will be talking about their articles! Just that simple….

Posted by Carol Carvalho on July 29, 2009, 02:20 PM report to moderator
305 Points

Of course it is a ridiculous article! And here we are discussing it… everybody read it. And that is exactly what all these writers (I was going to say Dumb writer but let it be,,, I don’t know the guy… it is sure a dumb analyses though) know very well, mention Harry Potter and more people will read, criticize it and people will be talking about their articles! Just that simple….

Posted by Carol Carvalho on July 29, 2009, 02:20 PM report to moderator
305 Points

sorry! didn’t mean to post twice! :(

Posted by Carol Carvalho on July 29, 2009, 02:22 PM report to moderator
88 Points

Someone needs to chill out. They are like 16-17, in the movie an age where most teens have already had at least one drink. If she is unable to explain alcohol to her child then maybe she needs to get a parenting book or be a better parent.

Drinking is just part of the world. Is she going to start going in on Obama because he invited people to the White House to have a beer? ‘OMG! He’s promoting drinking!’

Someone clearly needs to get a sense of humor and realize that it has been ages since kids and teenagers for that matter found the subject of drinking to be taboo.

Posted by lowlizah on July 29, 2009, 02:23 PM report to moderator
4138 Points

OMG protective parent or what? They’re acting as if the movie said over “buy drink buy drink.” Also the butterbeer thing… she wasn’t acting tipsy! She was acting happy! Thats what it does. It makes you feel warm inside and obviously she’s going to feel a bit lighter. I made my own butterbeer once and I acted exactly like her!! Parents are so stupid!

Posted by Calum Wilson (RuneDream54) on July 29, 2009, 02:28 PM report to moderator
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