Quibble of the Week: Is there Alcoholism in the Harry Potter series?

Though many classify the Harry Potter series as children’s fiction, critics and fans across the world have re-opened the books in recent years and have discovered places where Jo may have infused slightly more adult themes in her magical work. MuggleNet.com has followed this discourse, and naturally we’ve featured essays here that expose religious metaphors, secret sexual tensions among the characters and political commentary in the series.

Over in our Alohomora! section, fans have been finding tons of new things as they re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone alongside our new podcast – and one fan wand_stone_cloak has written a brilliant piece about addiction presenting itself in the very first chapters of the book:

Do I believe that Hagrid is an alcoholic? No, but it is clear that he has a drinking problem that has often negatively effected his life. Very early on in the books we are exposed to a drunken groundskeeper. In PS/SS we see him imbibe several tankards of wine. He becomes jolly, flush, and even manages to successfully give McGonagall a big ol’ smooch on the cheek. This is harmless, right? When he was given drink after drink at the Hog’s Head by Professor Quirrell, who was at the time in disguise, he blacked out and revealed highly sensitive information about how to get past Fluffy and gain access to the chambers in which the Sorcerer’s Stone is hidden.

What do you think? Is there a little bit too much drinking in the books? And if so, how does it allow us to view characters differently? Is Jo making some commentary about addiction in her child-friendly series?

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