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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

My_hero_neville_thumb
6352 Points

WOW, I actually agree with WB! I’m not a parent so I watched the drinking from a different perspective. But I think parents sometimes overreact to situations while their children couldn’t care less. I wonder if her 10-year old even remembered the drinking.

Posted by KB Prez [ROAR!] on July 29, 2009, 12:11 PM report to moderator
Lunagreen_thumb
1457 Points

Ummm…. did they actually read the books? or watch the film for that matter? I always thought butterbeer was like rootbeer or gingerbeer…not alcoholic. In fact, everyone is surprised that Winky reacts so crazily to it…and the alcohol Ron drinks POISONS him…obviously not a positive message. And they are in the UK…and Hermione is in love, not drunk…duh…and most of the stuff they drank were potions! AND it is a fantasy…not reality…get over it. I am a mom who read and watched with my 13 yo son and have no worries that he is at risk of alcoholism b/c of Harry Potter. gimme a break.

Posted by Flora Lovegood {<3WBM<3} on July 29, 2009, 12:11 PM report to moderator
Lunagreen_thumb
1457 Points

Ummm…. did they actually read the books? or watch the film for that matter? I always thought butterbeer was like rootbeer or gingerbeer…not alcoholic. In fact, everyone is surprised that Winky reacts so crazily to it…and the alcohol Ron drinks POISONS him…obviously not a positive message. And they are in the UK…and Hermione is in love, not drunk…duh…and most of the stuff they drank were potions! AND it is a fantasy…not reality…get over it. I am a mom who read and watched with my 13 yo son and have no worries that he is at risk of alcoholism b/c of Harry Potter. gimme a break.

Posted by Flora Lovegood {<3WBM<3} on July 29, 2009, 12:12 PM report to moderator
D474f2f9722352f367d45028747f7d7d_1562290_thumb
6690 Points

__

so. what.

please remind me not to be a stupid parent when i grow up [everything will not taint your child] your own parental stupidity will.

Dhonesheet_thumb
1661 Points

Does the NY Times seriously not have anything MORE important to write about than fictional alcohol in the HP movies? I mean it’s not like they’re downing shots of VODKA!! The drinking age in Britain is alot lower than it is in the US, so it’s not that big of a deal for 16/17/18 year olds to drink. But the thing that makes this article even MORE ridiculous is that fact that the characters are drinking butterbeer and Mead!!

The scene involving Hermione being tipsy is clearly meant to be taking that way. But it’s supposed to be funny because Hermione is the last character who would ever get drunk. It’s not like she’s wasted. Plus the main Harry Potter audience has grown up with the books/films and most of us are in our late teens and early 20s and 30s now. I think we tell the difference between some fictional drinking and the real thing. America is way too uptight when it comes to things like this. The more it’s “forbidden” the more young people will want to do it. Other countries with lower legal drinking ages do not have the same problems that we do here.

I wonder if they brought up Harry’s reaction to the Felix Felicis?? That seemed alot more “controversial” than Hermione getting a little tipsy.

Posted by cghambright on July 29, 2009, 12:14 PM report to moderator
Lunagreen_thumb
1457 Points

oops…sorry about the double post! but I will add: Our kids are far more often exposed to alcohol use on TV everyday! The commercials are designed to make it look fun and cool…I dont even see where that came in in HP? whatev…

Posted by Flora Lovegood {<3WBM<3} on July 29, 2009, 12:14 PM report to moderator
Safe_image_thumb
209 Points

imaooo this article is funny. Some looser mother woke up today saying “mmm how can i call attention” then she when online saw that half blood prince is everywhere because of the money made and fan loved and she said “this is my chance” imaooo I am telling u is crazy the thing people do this days to call attention.

Posted by Picazo on July 29, 2009, 12:18 PM report to moderator
Avvie_thumb
13187 Points

Haha, there’s dead bodies walking around and they’re worrying about the alcohol. Lol.

Posted by ❤MischiefManaged★☆ROAR☆★ on July 29, 2009, 12:18 PM report to moderator
Lumos_thumb
184 Points

If I remember correctly, the reason Hermione gets a little buzzed is because Slughorn sloshes a little of his mead into her butterbeer with out her catching on to it. That’s the joke. “All hands on deck, eh, Granger?!?” I mean, the students have been drinking butterbeer for three years now in the movies and no one’s acted that way yet. It’s an addition that’s supposed to show the irresponsibility of Slughorn and his love of the drink in preparation for the scene in Hagrid’s hut. As well as giving us a jolt between the comedy of that realization (“OMG! Hermione’s buzzed!”) and the fright of what happens on the path back to the school.

Silly Muggle.

Posted by Pardus Demensarx Sinclair on July 29, 2009, 12:19 PM report to moderator
Cimg2325_thumb
118 Points

seriously?! It didn’t even occur to me that the alcohol was a problem in this film. I think the creepy inferi and the murder of Dumbledore were a lot scarier than an innocent glass of butterbeer!

Posted by MadameSuede on July 29, 2009, 12:20 PM report to moderator
Harry_potter__hbp_promo__3_thumb
8316 Points

Hey, why is it being an issue?

Posted by forgetmenot_007 on July 29, 2009, 12:21 PM report to moderator
L_s_icon_thumb
404 Points

Hmm…Yeah, and there are people being terrorized and murdered left and right. Way to pick your priorities. IT’S. A. MOVIE.

Posted by VeganMudblood on July 29, 2009, 12:22 PM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb
226 Points

Like many, to me, butterbeer is more like rootbeer (at least that’s how I imagine it to be). About the Hermonie scene and arms around the boys… Uhm, HELLO, they’re friends, and she’s just having fun with her best friends. Why does alcohol have to be involved when one is brave enough to hug a boy?

See, here’s where dense, grown-up minds come into play. The younger crowd, and those young at heart (like me) look at scenes like that with innocence, not making a big deal out of nothing. Half-Blood Prince is about so much more important subject matter, and instead of musing over this weak attack at the series, one should focus on the love, loss and hurt this book/film is talking about.

Focus on what’s important lady… and don’t start a row on something that has no grounds. We are talking about an imaginary world here. Honestly, get with it.

rant over.

Posted by emdash84 on July 29, 2009, 12:22 PM report to moderator
Aberforth_thumb
91 Points

I’m no prude, but I did notice the few instances of underage drinking in the books. It’s not a big deal, but I still find it curious that JKR would choose to include it in her books. Doesn’t butterbeer first appear in POA when the kids are 14? Again, not a big deal, but not exactly a great choice either, in my opinion.

Posted by Squibmeister on July 29, 2009, 12:22 PM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb
929 Points

Why do they make this such a big deal. Its not like Hermione was throwing up all over the place. And Butterbeer had been in Harry Potter since Book 1. So why does it matter. People dont have anything else to do with their time but try and ruin it for the rest of us. Haters keep on hating!

Posted by impoohnfrenz on July 29, 2009, 12:23 PM report to moderator
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