Thursday 30 July 2009


The Spectator's Alex Massie has highlighted an ominous article in the New York Times.

Does Hogwarts have a drinking problem? As Harry Potter fans crowd movie theaters to catch the latest installment in the blockbuster series, 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...recreated on the big screen, the images of teenage drinking are jarring. 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...

Of course, there was much righteous brow-furrowing about it, especially from the doctor who has, quite coincidentally, written a paper about the devilish Harry Potter alcohol problem before. Fancy that.

It's all following the template, natch. Where anti-tobacco leads, anti-alcohol follows at a discreet distance.

Mildly concerned articles like this soon lead to more proscriptive pieces and the 'issue' gains momentum amongst the righteous. Finally, there will be calls for alcohol displayed on screen to be taken into account during classification. It's in the miserablists' guidebook. Rather like this.

Films featuring characters who smoke could soon be handed an automatic 18 rating while showing in Liverpool.

Liverpool Primary Care Trust (PCT) wants young people banned from exposure to smoking actors because of research suggesting they influence children.

Expect a "we don't want to stop kids watching Harry Potter but ..." type announcement from Alcohol Concern's Don Shenker any day soon.


Anonymous said...

Surely anyone that has read the books will be very aware this scene is in it?

Anonymous said...

Haven't the righteous missed a trick? The tables at Hogwarts are groaning with food (as JK might put it). Surely this sends the wrong signal to our young people who live in an epidemic of obesity...

I think that it's time JK got on message and depicted young people living in an institution in which they eat healthy vegetarian dishes and don't indulge in dangerous games but in productive labour. Oh, hang on, that was Oliver Twist, wasn't it?


Anonymous said...

There simply is no end to intolerance once it has achieved a good head of steam. The logic goes 'They didn't like that and got it stopped: I don't like this, so I want it stopped.' Equal opportunity fascism.

Against a wave of lies and deceit, I fear that logic will not prevail: no amount of pointing to scientific evidence will unwrite a single line of their cynical farago. 'They' will have to be overthrown, or we will have to live in a puritanical world of living by numbers and dying on time.

BTS said...

May I be so bold as to be the voice of reason on this subject? Harry Potter and friends drinking? I couldn't give a flying toss.

Adults reading the books and watching the movies though? I'm afraid they deserve a death equal only in suffering to those of Liam Fat C*** Donaldson and Gordon Yes I Do Find Sesame Street Sexually Arousing Brown..

Children shouldn't be allowed near this tripe on educational and artistic grounds for fucks sake. Ban the fucking things is my vote..


vincent1 said...

Edgar, your words are a sad reflection of what the future holds for all of us, and the chiiildren. What the f**k are the kids going to be allowed to do.
The temperance movement are rearing their ugly heads again.

Angry Exile said...

Yeah, that sounds a bit iffy. Best that worried parents take their kids to see Antichrist instead.

Unknown said...

I remember the outrage in the gutter press when they found out that Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter himself, actually....*pause for effect*...smokes.

I thought the outrage was bloody hilarious. Bad role model seen in pics smoking. Well, don't take pics of him smoking and put it on the front page of the tabloids. Job done!

Until later books I didn't think that butterbeer was alcoholic as they drank it from a very young age, but it appears that it is. What amuses me more than them showing so much alcohol in the movie is that no company has jumped on the butterbeer bandwagon and produced something to appeal to the kiddies. Probably too scared of being accused of child abuse.

BTS, I know your thoughts on the HP movies and suchlike. Stop being such a miserable git ;-) I love HP and can't wait for the final movie(s). Just annoyed at the moneygrabbing gits making the last book into 2 movies.

Antipholus Papps said...

I declared jihad on Harry Potter many ramadans ago.