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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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5610 Points

omg REALLY that is RIDICULOUS! IM MEAN, SIRIOUSLY?hermione wasn’t “tipsy”! ugh that is SO ugh! its totally stupid,like that kid is gonna remember that particular scene in that movie when they are 18 or 21 whatever! omg!i never got the idea that butterbeer was and acholholic beverage either!don’t worry about death or evil,but drinking! omg there is drinking in a BUNCH of movies,not just this one. there is neve an uproar about any other films.
and hagrid, its his character,im not gonna go out and get drunk just because hagrid did it in harry potter!. SOOOOOO STUPID! i think some parents just need to grow up!

Posted by Peace.Love.Potter ♥ on July 29, 2009, 02:30 PM report to moderator
2641 Points

Are you kidding me?

Posted by TerieB on July 29, 2009, 02:32 PM report to moderator
865 Points

this is ridiculous. ppl are always trying to find issue with HP. give it a rest ppl.

Posted by RavenSmith {[WBM]} on July 29, 2009, 02:34 PM report to moderator
1275 Points

Its just being funny, geeze.

Posted by Jesse~{ROAR}~ on July 29, 2009, 02:37 PM report to moderator
22044 Points

please!!! I don’t see anything bad! she drank it all because she was angry! Besides, everything depend on the education that those parents give to their children! and is legal in the wizards world that young wizards drink the butterbeer! and when they are drinking other stuffs they are with adult people!!!

this kind of comments are really stupid! this always happen to successful movies! the press always try to show a BAD side! only to put it down!!!

6552 Points

This happens with almost every book or movie that is as popular as the Harry Potter series. As a mother, I don’t see a problem with the drink of the butterbeers in the movie, then again I raise my child and don’t let tv, movies, or any other media do that for me. If these moms are so worried about, then they should explain things to the children instead of crticizing something that is meant to be entertaining.

Posted by Figment on July 29, 2009, 02:47 PM report to moderator
151 Points

I’m with those who say Hermione was tipsy because Slughorn sloshed his drink into hers. And yes, she WAS tipsy, and I’m not just saying that ‘cause she put her arms around the guys’ shoulders. She was a bit on the wobbly side as she was walking.

But again, I’m quite positive the reason she’s tipsy is because of Slughorn dropping his drink into hers.

And I always thought Winky got drunk on butterbeer because it affects house-elves differently from humans (like how in The Company novels by Kage Baker, chocolate is what makes the cyborgs drunk, not alcohol).

Posted by tina_als_girl on July 29, 2009, 02:48 PM report to moderator

I didn’t even realize hermione was tipsy walking back from the three broomsticks, I didn’t even really think about it at all until someone else said something and this article came up and I’m a few months away from turning 21 and harry potter doesn’t make me want to go out and binge drink.

Posted by bballskw on July 29, 2009, 02:52 PM report to moderator
66 Points

I never saw Hermione as tipsy, I thought she was just trying, but failing to be casual friend with Ron. So it was a forced how we doing buddy thing.

Posted by Aurora Duv on July 29, 2009, 03:01 PM report to moderator
272 Points

Actually, I feel like there was an important little running theme of “drinks” and their effects in the book, just like the theme of romance. The movie was pretty true to that. The drinking and romance is not just there for nothing. Unfortunately some of that is lost in the fact that we don’t see the back story of Tom Riddle Sr. and Merope.

Posted by SarahW (Poet) on July 29, 2009, 03:04 PM report to moderator

This is ridiculous!! Harry Potter is not the biggest threat out there influencing kids. The director shouldn’t have to cut any scenes because of drinking. If you don’t like it don’t watch the movie! Your the one who’s missing out!

Posted by Kat7 on July 29, 2009, 03:04 PM report to moderator
65 Points

She’s the mother of a Harry Potter fan? Well she obviously doesn’t care what her kid’s read, just see, because the HP books have lots of alcohol. I think the US has an uptight attitude toward drinking, which is why there is such a problem with it here. In Europe especially, it’s a part of life. Get over it.

Posted by troyalg on July 29, 2009, 03:05 PM report to moderator

At least these mothers provide for good entertainment.
That’s all they deserve, though – to be laughed at. No need to waste any brainpower on them.

Posted by goldish_red on July 29, 2009, 03:09 PM report to moderator
257 Points

ooooooh! please!!!!! ….. ¬¬
they are talking as if we were some kind of stupid and susceptibles… today, kids watch more preocupant things on tv, or internet. besides, nobody start drinking because some actor in some movie did it.. the education of the kid will be more important than a movie..
this people dont have nothing to do, say b*******th about HP.
go hell, muggles!!

Posted by HereticPrincess on July 29, 2009, 03:11 PM report to moderator
2417 Points

I agree totally with Lisee_Lu’s point – teach yur kids yourself – don’t depend on the media being “right” to do it for you

Posted by Hagrid 713 (ROAR) on July 29, 2009, 03:11 PM report to moderator
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