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Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series



 
 
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  #201  
Old August 21st, 2007, 6:46 am
soccerstud652  Undisclosed.gif soccerstud652 is offline
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What is butterbeer...?

I have always wondered exactly what butterbeer is. Is it supposed to be the wizard equivalent to rootbeer, or is it an alcoholic beverage used to get "drunk" (ie Winky...)?

I know Harry and the gang drank it at their first Hogsmeade trip, but they weren't too old then. I don't know what the drinking laws are in London, but I could just never figure this one out.

On another note, is the mead that Slughorn offers Harry (and Ron drinks) alcoholic as well?

The kids at Hogwarts seem to hang out at pubs on their trips, so is this a casual British custom, because in America, the drinking laws and bar policies are VERY strict.



Last edited by soccerstud652; August 21st, 2007 at 7:02 am. Reason: spell check
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  #202  
Old August 21st, 2007, 9:53 am
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Re: What is butterbeer...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by soccerstud652 View Post
I have always wondered exactly what butterbeer is. Is it supposed to be the wizard equivalent to rootbeer, or is it an alcoholic beverage used to get "drunk" (ie Winky...)?

I know Harry and the gang drank it at their first Hogsmeade trip, but they weren't too old then. I don't know what the drinking laws are in London, but I could just never figure this one out.
It appears to be a low alcohol beer that has the flavour of butterscotch. Jo has told us its flavour and its alcohol content is evidenced by the phrasing used by the characters when referring to it ("under the influence of", "strong for a house-elf", etc).

The legal drinking age is 5 in Britain, although 16-18 in pubs and restaurants. Wizards seem to be a bit more liberal on that point.

Quote:
On another note, is the mead that Slughorn offers Harry (and Ron drinks) alcoholic as well?

The kids at Hogwarts seem to hang out at pubs on their trips, so is this a casual British custom, because in America, the drinking laws and bar policies are VERY strict.
Mead is pretty alcoholic (around 15% alcohol by volume) - it's made by fermenting honey.

Hanging out in pubs is definitely a British custom! Probably not so much at the age of 13-14, since most pubs wouldn't believe someone of that age would be 18 (age at which you can drink in a pub). Drinking laws are not so strict in Britain as in America, nor is there so much of a negative cultural attitude towards drinking.


  #203  
Old August 21st, 2007, 10:26 am
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

Wow! You guys in the UK can drink when your 5 in your own home? i don't think I can believe that, lol. Here in Australia you have to be 18


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  #204  
Old August 21st, 2007, 11:53 am
no_seatbelt  Female.gif no_seatbelt is offline
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

I imagine that butterbeer has a very low alcohol content, for example when Ron says "Its not strong that stuff" or something similar... it may even be Harry who says it.

I imagine the mead has a higher alcohol content and is "proper" alcohol, but Ron is 16 at this point so its not so shocking they are drinking alcohol.

This does lead me to wonder if Wizards would have different laws for drinking alcohol as I'm sure butterbeer does have SOME alcohol and they seem to be allowed to buy it in the pub from their first year, which is different from normal laws in Britain which say you must be 18 to drink alcohol in a pub.


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  #205  
Old August 21st, 2007, 12:08 pm
loonyluna0114  Female.gif loonyluna0114 is offline
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

I think that the wizarding community is very relaxed with regards to drinking laws, perhaps it is thought that they can be more responsible at a younger age, remember they come of age a year earlier than us Brits do aswell.


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  #206  
Old August 21st, 2007, 12:18 pm
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

I think butterbeer is kinda like gingerbeer. Because eveyone could drink it, but it's strong for house-elves or goblins.


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  #207  
Old August 21st, 2007, 12:47 pm
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

Butterbeer will be more from the Ginger Beer angle, than Root Beer. We don't drink Root Beer at all in the UK really. It goes back to the tradiitonal British features in the books. Ginger Beer is a traditional soft drink. Same with the other drinks. Not very popular anymore, but traditional non the less. Mead is often drank at Christmas time, probably due to it having an old tradition.

In the UK, drinking has gotten to the point where it's part of the countries culture . It doesn't suprise me drink features in the books.


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Last edited by Drazer; August 21st, 2007 at 12:50 pm.
  #208  
Old August 21st, 2007, 4:55 pm
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

If you do a search for butterbeer from the mugglenet home page, it will link you to a recipe for it.


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  #209  
Old August 21st, 2007, 5:40 pm
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

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Originally Posted by somerandom592 View Post
Wow! You guys in the UK can drink when your 5 in your own home? i don't think I can believe that, lol. Here in Australia you have to be 18
It should be said that most 5-year-olds aren't remotely interested in alcoholic drinks: give one a choice between a sip of wine and a sip of fizzy drink and I guarantee he would always go for the second option. It's an old law that's never been repealed.


  #210  
Old August 21st, 2007, 5:52 pm
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

Yes, but Butterbeer sounds like it tastes nicer than your average alcohol. And it doesn't sound like strong stuff, not if Harry was surprised to hear that Winky got drunk on it. And I don't really see his expectation of what would happen to Ron and Hermione at Slughorn's party under its influence as any indicator of its powers as an intoxicant, or a strong one at any rate.
I don't see why it's anything to have a fuss about. Butterbeer, if anything, sounds like a wizarding world alcopop more than anything else and they must be fairly relaxed about it if Remus Lupin could give Harry a bottle as a treat while he was still his teacher. As Harry says, it isn't strong. And Firewhisky, mead and the like seem to be things consumed by slightly older wizards, Harry was nearly sixteen when Professor Dumbledore offered him the mead in the Dursleys' living room and almost of age when we first see him drink Firewhisky.



Last edited by Drusilla; August 21st, 2007 at 7:02 pm.
  #211  
Old August 21st, 2007, 6:16 pm
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

I don't think we need to discuss our personal taste or general attitudes in UK here. Kindly keep this strictly to the HP books.


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  #212  
Old August 21st, 2007, 7:12 pm
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

When I said 'they' I meant the wizarding community as shown to us in the Potterverse...


  #213  
Old August 22nd, 2007, 4:52 am
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

I think the wizarding world it's more liberal. And also, i think butterbeer it's a very soft alcoholic drink. But i mean, they were almost 14, which it's natural to have a go for that type of drinks. One more thing, don't forget it was very cold when they visited Hogsmade, they needed something hot in their throats


  #214  
Old August 22nd, 2007, 5:02 am
Chris90  Male.gif Chris90 is offline
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

I thought it was kind of weird when I read the books how much alcohol was involved, but then I thought about it and it wasn't that weird. Butterbeer has barely any alcohol in it, just enough to get something as small as a house elf drunk. Also, when Harry does drink the firewhisky and wine its usually only a glass or two, but it doesn't go into much detail. Either way, I agree with LudwigVan that the wizarding world is more liberal, especially since there's a magical cure for almost anything! (No-More-Hangover Charm)


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  #215  
Old August 22nd, 2007, 6:16 am
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

I kind of found it unnecessary to have all of those references but then again it is a magical world, it kind of reminded me of Gandalf and his weed. Drinking alcohol is a lot more common in European countries for youngsters so I am sure when they read the book they felt like they could relate.


  #216  
Old August 23rd, 2007, 9:59 pm
POTTER_FREAK  Female.gif POTTER_FREAK is offline
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

I think it would have been weird if they didn't mention fire whiskey.

All magic aside, it's a story about a boy growing up, and for a seventeen year old boy never to have tried something like firewhiskey wouldn't quite ring true for me.


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  #217  
Old August 23rd, 2007, 11:47 pm
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

I think butterbeer is proberly like shandy.


  #218  
Old August 24th, 2007, 10:36 pm
NeilSquib86  Male.gif NeilSquib86 is offline
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

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Originally Posted by kissclairekiss View Post
Yes they do drink small amounts of alcohol, but we have never seen the young characters drunk have we? Its teaching teenagers alcohol in moderation is OK ...

xxx
Exactly clairekiss. Good point. The problems that the world today has with alcohol is not that it is introduced too early to children, but that it is not introduced to them. it is made taboo and therefore young people want to go out and try it, resulting in drunkeness and an ignorance of the dangers of alcohol abuse.

I think JKR has introduced the use of alcohol in a sensible way and, in doing so, has made the novels more "human." everyone in their lives is likely to try, or be affected by, alcohol, and JKR was showing, subtly, that this too transcends the wizarding world.

And remember, harry only has alcoholic beverages once he is "of age" (i.e. 17)


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  #219  
Old August 25th, 2007, 11:09 am
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

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Originally Posted by RavenEye View Post
It should be said that most 5-year-olds aren't remotely interested in alcoholic drinks: give one a choice between a sip of wine and a sip of fizzy drink and I guarantee he would always go for the second option. It's an old law that's never been repealed.
I agree. I think that usually children are given "alcohol" at like christmas or similar...I remember at about 5 or 6 being given a drink that was 1 part wine to something like 10 parts lemonade...that diluted isn't going to have any effect, but seemed to add to the festivities. It's not like people are getting their kids drunk on whisky at age 5, it's just that if children are exposed to alcohol this early then they aren't going to go mad on it later in life. I think that this goes the same with the wizards, it makes sense


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  #220  
Old August 25th, 2007, 3:50 pm
RaynePhoenix  Female.gif RaynePhoenix is offline
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Re: Alcohol in the Harry Potter Series

I can't say I have ever thought butterbeer was alcoholic, really. By the way JKR described its effects, I just presumed it was a sort of Tea or Coffee, but served in a bar. Like Liquid Chocolate!

As for Wine and Mead, I was given a small glass of wine at every important meal,just as Christmas dinner, or Easter Sunday etc. It never occured to me to be something of great importance.


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