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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

Noavatar-thumb
519 Points

Yay, I am gonna go drinking and fall all over the place then get hit by a car and ruin my life. YEAH! Hardly. I would NEVER ruin my life in such a grotesque manner, willingly or not. I think this poinion is highly misguided and that there are a lot of worse things for children and teenagers to copy off of, such as Dexter, Smallville, Death Note, Skins… these things should not be copied off of in any way if you want my opinion. People should learn to make decisions by what they perhaps think is right or maybe even learn from what people say and not what they do. For example, in Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman, the characters kill people, but do not say it is wrong or right. Morality only ever truly matters in REALality. At least that is what I think.

Posted by Robbie Rowe on July 29, 2009, 04:00 PM report to moderator
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112 Points

Really?!? This is what people have to complain about is the amount of alcohol that is consumed in the movie?!? The scene with Hermione was cute, but it sure didn’t make me want to go out and drink! And the scene with Slughorn and Hagrid happened in the book, so why shouldn’t it be in the movie? Maybe the movie should have rated higher than PG if moms are concerned next time.

Posted by hrslvr529 on July 29, 2009, 04:00 PM report to moderator
Screen_shot_2010-06-07_at_7
2939 Points

Seriously, it’s just nitpicking at this point; there are far worse things for parents to worry about. In fact, alcohol is only a big deal in this country because people make it one. We actually employ reverse psychology by putting such a big taboo on alcohol – it becomes desirable. If they want to blame anyone, they should blame themselves.

Posted by Awakened on July 29, 2009, 04:01 PM report to moderator
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523 Points

I guess the violent death of a major character is nothing compared to the implication of teen drinking for uptight Prohabitionists. (BTW I believe in the UK the age of majority is 16)

Posted by Rhiannon on July 29, 2009, 04:01 PM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb
2661 Points

I’m not even sure if Butterbeer is alcoholic, because they drank it in third year. But even though it shouldn’t matter, it does seem like there was quite a bit of drinking in that movie.

Posted by Wingardium Leviosa ❄WBM❄ on July 29, 2009, 04:08 PM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb
156 Points

again…some person who loves to see her name printed finds something , congratulations.
We had that drinking discussion in our german HP Forum before, Hagrid, Winky, all the Professors including Fudge ordering harder stuff at Rosmerta s…
For the European folks your american attitude is quite funny, you are not allowed to drink in public, you have to be adult or even older to order a beer(which in Bavaria counts as “basic food” by the way, invented by Monks..), but you can join the army and get shot perfectly sober.
If ever they try and make a politically correct film, it ll be boring!
Mrs “Seemynameprinted”, are you sure your 10year old daughter never saw Grandpa being tipsy from chrismas eggnog???

Posted by Giant Fairy on July 29, 2009, 04:20 PM report to moderator
Upclose_of_me_thumb
3271 Points

Come on! This is all ridiculous! They act like this is the first film to ever have alcohol in it! And I agree with others stating that watching movies with alcohol in it, does not make the kids want to drink… its what they experience at home that does! If this is the only thing that parents are worrying about in these films then they should be happy… especially with all the drugs and sex scenes in other teen movies that are out now. Besides, I never saw Butterbeer as “actual beer” anyways… I thought it was like root beer or something to that affect… it wouldn’t be anything too alcholic in my opinion anyways. And if parents are so worried about this stuff in the movies then they shouldn’t have let their kids read the books, since all this is in the books to begin with.

Posted by Half-Blood Princess66[ROAR!] on July 29, 2009, 04:29 PM report to moderator
Upclose_of_me_thumb
3271 Points

Come on! This is all ridiculous! They act like this is the first film to ever have alcohol in it! And I agree with others stating that watching movies with alcohol in it, does not make the kids want to drink… its what they experience at home that does! If this is the only thing that parents are worrying about in these films then they should be happy… especially with all the drugs and sex scenes in other teen movies that are out now. Besides, I never saw Butterbeer as “actual beer” anyways… I thought it was like root beer or something to that affect… it wouldn’t be anything too alcholic in my opinion anyways. And if parents are so worried about this stuff in the movies then they shouldn’t have let their kids read the books, since all this is in the books to begin with.

Posted by Half-Blood Princess66[ROAR!] on July 29, 2009, 04:35 PM report to moderator
Upclose_of_me_thumb
3271 Points

Come on! This is all ridiculous! They act like this is the first film to ever have alcohol in it! And I agree with others stating that watching movies with alcohol in it, does not make the kids want to drink… its what they experience at home that does! If this is the only thing that parents are worrying about in these films then they should be happy… especially with all the drugs and sex scenes in other teen movies that are out now. Besides, I never saw Butterbeer as “actual beer” anyways… I thought it was like root beer or something to that affect… it wouldn’t be anything too alcholic in my opinion anyways. And if parents are so worried about this stuff in the movies then they shouldn’t have let their kids read the books, since all this is in the books to begin with.

Posted by Half-Blood Princess66[ROAR!] on July 29, 2009, 04:35 PM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb
2482 Points

ok, this people is clearly OVERREACTING! gosh, do you have any idea of what kids see on tv every day? semi-naked women, violence, drugs…there’s violence even in cartoons. And now they start complaining about HP growing up a bit?

Posted by ele0206 -ROAR- on July 29, 2009, 04:43 PM report to moderator
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33 Points

Oh-my-god…people really have way to much time on their hands! People need to find better things to do with their lives then to complain. It’s like people need to complain to be happy! I think it is ridiculous that people are actually complaining about a “drinking problem” in the new movie! I think that parents should be more concerned about their children watching things like Gossip Girl, and maybe even Twlight, and listening to inappropriate music. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it’s not like they are promoting drinking and saying it’s a bad thing, in fact they’re doing the opposite. They are saying that love potion is bad and could lead to bad things, mead could poison you, and Felix Felicis could get you expelled or something! And about the Butterbeer and Hermione, come off it! So, maybe she was a little tipsy, but it’s not like she had mug after mug after mug of Butterbeer. She had one. And maybe they weren’t even displaying that she was drunk. So, worry more about your children watching Gossip Girl, and Twilight and listening to inappropriate music, because they are far far worse examples than Harry Potter is. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is an amazing film, I think the best one out of all of them so far. Dan, Emma and Rupert gave their best performance yet and were amazing in this. So were Tom and Bonnie and the rest of the cast. Maybe if people weren’t focused on the “drinking” in the movie, they would realize how amazing this film is. I think that this is a slightly juvenile thing to complain about. If your going to complain about anything, let it be the violence in this film, which is a much better complaint than the drinking! Yes, I do realize that drinking is a big issue, and I fully understand that, and I do think that there are some forms of media that do promote drinking in a horrible way, but to go so far as to complain about “drinking” in Harry Potter! Please! Let it go, people, relax, loosen up and for heaven’s sake, stop complaining!

Posted by rogue-bludger on July 29, 2009, 04:47 PM report to moderator
Triple_thumb
327 Points

the film kept the stuff in the books true!
FFS does everyone have to be so politically correct?
after all the film is a 12A or PG13 and so it is the parents responsibility to think their children should see hagrid fainting, or hermione being a bit merrier than usual

Posted by HudMug1712 on July 29, 2009, 04:50 PM report to moderator
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115 Points

oh for christ sake!
1st of all, the film only tries to be as accurate as the book and if that mother didn’t understand that sometimes the adults – JUST LIKE IN REAL LIFE – drink alcohol when they feel like it in the book while reading it to her son/daughter i think she has nothing to come babling about alcohol and idiotic stuff…

2nd of all, her son/daughter does not need to be influenced by a film seen in the theatre, because that her son/daughter can pick bad influences by thheir friends, neighbours, parents family for sure…

3rd and last one of all, in the books, was never explicitally told that butterbear had alcohol in it… AND why do parents read books to theis kids if they are not even in the age to understand that santa claus do not exist?? HP IS NOT a only for kids books. It may start with a young kid that does not know about life, but the books are about to show how can the character grow, aprehend the environment and evolve. This is a given… And I’m sure that what JKRowling wanted to show: that even though in a different ‘world’, kids and adults may have the same problems, conflicts and also the same joys and pleasures. HP is not about obscuring the mind of a young kid in order to hide from them the darkness of the world they live in!

Posted by Finny ..::WBM::.. on July 29, 2009, 04:50 PM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb
36 Points

My goodnes the Hermione doesn’t need alcohal for encouragement. She has always had confidence. She also has alway hugged Harry and Ron if you look at the past movies you’d see that. In the Order of the Phoenix I recall ron asking Hermione, who are you and what have you done with Hermione. Because she was acting gigly and tipsy thats just Hermione. The movie was good I didn’t think anything bad about it.
Tracy Ford

Posted by tracy ford on July 29, 2009, 04:51 PM report to moderator
Iconavmeg_thumb
3266 Points

This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. People are hystericals. There is a lot of more sirius issus that alcohol in the world! And in this film and they comment on the alcholol!! Oh my God!
I’ve always liked the fact that they drink alcohol in the seris, It seems like a natrual part of it all..

Posted by Cheimonas on July 29, 2009, 04:52 PM report to moderator
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