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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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430 Points

That is SO stupid! Drinking was hardly featured, and when it was, it was as it was in the books. Hermione ‘drunk’ was just a fun way to show her, and when I watched the movie, I didn’t even get the feeling that she was drunk, maybe that’s because I didn’t hear what they sad. But still.

Posted by Edna_Turnblad on July 29, 2009, 05:01 PM report to moderator
12005 Points

Actually the inferi were what I would worry about showing to young folks. Nightmares anyone?

Posted by budgie on July 29, 2009, 05:04 PM report to moderator
329 Points

They’re so annoying, it’s not like they’ve really drank anything. Can’t they just stop being such pains? come on. It’s not like they did drugs and stuff like that.

Posted by Jillian {WBM} on July 29, 2009, 05:05 PM report to moderator
189 Points

Me thinks the author doth exaggerate – alcohol is not in scene after scene of HBP (and butterbeer doesn’t count). And I find her description of Hermione rather insulting; as if young girls will see this and think the best way to get closer to the boy they like is to consume vast amounts of alcohol?!

Posted by enchantedsocks on July 29, 2009, 05:06 PM report to moderator
65 Points

Just the media finding some other asinine B.S to whinge about, nothing new.

Posted by Atticus on July 29, 2009, 05:06 PM report to moderator
29 Points

Funny how they needed to keep butterbeer in the movie to “remain as faithful to the source material as created by J.K. Rowling” but didn’t see a need for…say, Dumbledore’s funeral!!!!

Posted by Iwnt2bHP on July 29, 2009, 05:09 PM report to moderator
1839 Points

Oh please! Yes, alcohol is present, but I certainly didn’t feel like it was even CLOSE to the “OMG concern level.” I am an “older” HP fan & did not feel the use of alcohol in this film in anyway condoned alcohol in excess or promoted drunkeness. You know, to be honest, it wasn’t even something I particularly noticed.

It amazes me the way some folks have to always find SOMETHING to harp about. I suppose all the blood, guts, & horrific violence that many parents allow their children to watch is OK, as long as they don’t pick up a glass of wine on the way to the murder! Crikey.

Posted by Lillylove on July 29, 2009, 05:21 PM report to moderator
64 Points

The whole Hermione getting drunk thing didn’t even happen in the books, and WB is like, “We want to remain faithful to the material…” way to try to defend yourselves! And butterbeer can’t be that alchoholic anyway, because Lupin gave it to Harry in Third Year. But Harry Potter doesn’t focus on drinking too much. Stupid New York Times.

Posted by makandcheese on July 29, 2009, 05:22 PM report to moderator
67 Points

This stupid woman doesn’t understand that the main theme of the book/movie is addiction (hbp book, felix felicis, love potion,) !

Posted by WeasleyBoy on July 29, 2009, 05:22 PM report to moderator
879 Points

They were drinking butterbeer when they were thirteen! They make a big deal out of it now I think it doesn’t matter when you are a wisard!

Posted by readhp1008 on July 29, 2009, 05:26 PM report to moderator
288 Points

Good thing they don’t read the books and realize how wizards metabolize chocolate or they’d be carping about that too! Obsessing over butterbeer is just silly. IMHO, of course. I wonder why wizards like pumpkins juice so much. You think there’s more there than just vegetable squeezings? Hummm? Perhaps that needs looking into also. ;p

Posted by Fereverto on July 29, 2009, 05:30 PM report to moderator
747 Points

First and foremost Herminone was not drunk!!!! One butterbeer would not do that. Herminone has hugged Ron and Harry for the past seven years. She does not need to get tiptsy to do so. This women should get her facts in order before putting pen to paper. I think this was a gross misuse of her position to voice her opinion, based on her lack of knowledge of “cannon”, in the paper. If the NYT’s would like to give space to the fandom of HP so that they can rebutt her editorial that would be nice. Lady, be a parent and view the movie, book, play, concert, etc before you let your “child” see it. Then you would not have to voice an opinion at all. Oh, by the way, I am a mother.

Posted by Tonks1OoM4,CW[ROAR] on July 29, 2009, 05:30 PM report to moderator
2573 Points

I find this hilarious! There are scenes of Death Eaters and Inferi and they’re worried about alcohol.

Posted by felicitas on July 29, 2009, 05:39 PM report to moderator
10839 Points

its ridiculous … thats all i have to say… all they want is to talk bad about harry….

Posted by ϟ☮Sindi a.k.a Remy [ROAR!!]☮ϟ on July 29, 2009, 05:39 PM report to moderator
8736 Points

I didn’t know Hermione was drunk at first to be honest, people are making a big deal out of something that was just put there to be funny. This is exactly why the movie shouldn’t have been PG, people complaining about it’s influence on young children. Everyone knows the books weren’t targeted at kids passed the third, study up on things before you go and complain about it.

It makes giggle to be honest.

Posted by Rumbleroarϟ{WBM!}ǝıʞɔnp! on July 29, 2009, 05:39 PM report to moderator
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