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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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235 Points

I don’t really see what the big deal is. Plus, I didn’t even think about it until this article.

Posted by LexNox6 on July 29, 2009, 03:14 PM report to moderator
86 Points

This article just goes to show that some people will pull anything out and make a huge deal out of it. They have been drinking butterbear since the 3rd book/movie whenever they go to Hogsmead they go to the 3 Broomsticks.. I always thought that butterbear was something sparkling cider or rootbear.. looks like alcohol but isn’t actually alcohol. Now, Hermione may have been a bit buzzed if some of the drink that slughorn spilled got in her glass, but I doubt it was enough to do anything. Dumbledore talks about having “a large brandy” in POA, at Hagrids hut.. soo Hagrid keeps brandy around. No big deal there. If the thing that stuck out most was the DRINKS in the movie, this person was looking for something to gripe about. Because ya know, the sectumsempra scene was soooo lame and there was nothing that could bother kids at all (end sarcasm).. I think I’d be more concerned about kids seeing that, draco bleeding from everywhere, than some drinking that could be explained by any parent.. like alcohol should be even if it wasn’t seen in hbp (or any other movie).

Posted by Chetti on July 29, 2009, 03:14 PM report to moderator
279 Points

If they are ten years old and don’t know what alcohol is you haven’t done your job as a parent.stop complaining!

Posted by Lord Dumbledore on July 29, 2009, 03:22 PM report to moderator

OMG its butterbeer why don’t you find out what the movie is rated before you start complaining about the movie people get killed and thats alot worse its butterbeer is there actually any proof that it was the butterbeer that made her act like that?
or maybe hermione was just having some fun!!!!

Posted by hpfreak7 on July 29, 2009, 03:26 PM report to moderator

OMG its butterbeer why don’t you find out what the movie is rated before you start complaining about the movie people get killed and thats alot worse its butterbeer is there actually any proof that it was the butterbeer that made her act like that?
or maybe hermione was just having some fun!!!!

Posted by hpfreak7 on July 29, 2009, 03:27 PM report to moderator
292 Points

Wait till Deathly Hollows, and they have the knife to Hermione. They will forget all about the butterbeer, and start complaining about the violence.

Posted by Necrotoxin on July 29, 2009, 03:27 PM report to moderator
2801 Points

Hermione was acting tipsy…well, honestly, I didn’t absolutely relate her behaviour to the Butterbeer she drank. Perhaps, some people have nothing important to worry about and so end up pointing out things like that…what about some really bloody and violent videogames and movies (even cartoons) kids are exposed to?
By the way…I always thought Butterbeer was non-alcoholic…

Posted by snowyowl77 on July 29, 2009, 03:29 PM report to moderator
3560 Points

Harry Potter books are a dark tale about good verses evil and the ultimate sacrifice. The movies do a wonderful job of interpreting such deep works into a wide spread medium. They have issue with a few drinks, but showing the mentor and spark for the main character dying, that is alright. A child was shown being killed 2 movies ago, and they are pissy because Hermione finally loosened up. In the novels butterbeer is indicated as a warming drink. And it may have some mild intoxicating effects, as shown with the house elf, Winky. As for Hagrid getting drunk, he was morning the loss of an old friend, and it is custom in that part of the world to drink to their memory. And the lush of a potions master was shown clearly to enjoy the luxury of good food and drink. And a word for that fan that is slightly too young to be seeing such a sad movie, the first 2/3 of the movie had to be done in a comedic fashion to offset the ultimate depression that follows the ending.

Posted by Brosia, OoM 2 [WBM] on July 29, 2009, 03:33 PM report to moderator
80 Points

I don’t understand this. I mean, sure, there was drinking, but this movie was clearly meant for more of a teenager audience than before, not little kids. Besides, what does it matter if they were drinking if the kids these parents are worrying about were too young to understand it anyway?

Posted by darkprincess637 on July 29, 2009, 03:37 PM report to moderator
110 Points

I don’t mean any harm, but isn’t the drinking age in Britain lower than it is in America. If so, then weren’t the trio well within their rights to have a butterbeer. Especially considering that the age of adulthood is 17 in the wizarding world. I think the author of this article should have taken these circumstances into consideration before writing this article. As is obviously evident, these stories take place in England, NOT the US, so law, rules, etc. are a good bit different.

Posted by LadyCake on July 29, 2009, 03:43 PM report to moderator
110 Points

I would like to add that the trio are 16 years old in the Half-Blood Prince, if I’m not mistaken. If I am, I apologize, but if not, she defeated her own purpose with this article.

Posted by LadyCake on July 29, 2009, 03:48 PM report to moderator
5413 Points

Umm seriously… They are worried about a 10 year old watching Hermoine get drunk. ..(which she stated she didn’t think her daughter understood anyway) HELLO wheres the worry in the death and fighting and all the dark magic… Hmmm what about the bathroom scene were Harry almost kills Draco and the blook is every where!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jezzz people tend to take the fun out of EVERYTHING!! Get over it!

Posted by Harry Potter 4 Ever!! on July 29, 2009, 03:51 PM report to moderator
44049 Points

Wow, I need to meet this woman. I have some lumps of coal and I bet if I put them in the right place I’ll have diamonds in no time.

Posted by Dolemite [FTC!] on July 29, 2009, 03:53 PM report to moderator
5413 Points

AND PLUS IT IS MAKE BELIEVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t get me wrong I Love Harry Potter but it isn’t real and the drinking age could be totally different in the Wizarding world .. Plus they might not even have a drinking age.. if you notice they drink Butterbeer all through the books

Posted by Harry Potter 4 Ever!! on July 29, 2009, 03:55 PM report to moderator
27 Points

Oh, get over it. It’s a movie! The scenes involving alcohol were funny, as there were meant to be. Be a parent to your children and if they are too young to get it, then ignore it, and if they ask about it explain honestly to them. As a teacher, I took absolutely no offense to the scenes.

Posted by IDGriffwitch on July 29, 2009, 03:57 PM report to moderator
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