Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

hp half blood prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Rating: PG
Released: 2009
Run Time: 153 minutes
Directed By: David Yates

Cultural Rating: pawpaw

In addition to positive messages regarding friendship and teamwork this film engages with gender by having strong male and female characters.

Summary

Harry learns more about Voldemort’s past during his sixth year at Hogwarts.


Ratings

Language: poo

  • Demeaning language- “tosser,” “barmy,” “coward,” “barking,” “lunatic,” “vile,” “git,” “loser”
  • Mild swearing- “bloody hell”

Violence: poopoo

  • Fantasy violence- spells, wand fighting, some blood
  • Harry’s nose breaks when Malfoy kicks him in the face- some blood
  • Ron chokes on a poisoned tonic
  • Major character death-no gore

Sex: poo

  • Hand-holding
  • Kissing

Drugs and Alcohol: poopoo

  • Slughorn appears to be slightly drunk on beer.
  • Harry, Ron, and Hermione drink butterbeer.
  • Ron is served a “tonic” to calm his nerves.
  • Hagrid and Slughorn drink at Hagrid’s and appear drunk.

Cultural Analysis

 Pros:

Gender:

Race:

  • Minor characters appear to be of a number of marginalized races/ethnicities.
  • A biracial relationship is depicted between Ginny (who appears to be white) and Dean (who appears to be black).
  • Flirting occurs between Harry (who appears to be white) and a minor character of color. Dumbledore describes the same girl as “very pretty.” This is important because oftentimes the black female body is overly sexualized or depicted as “Other” and undesirable.

Sexual Orientation: N/A

Disability: N/A

Body:

  • There is one fat-bodied character in a minor role.
  • Professor Flitwick is a little person and is depicted in a positive manner as he is a respectable professor at Hogwarts.
  • Hagrid is half-giant and is depicted as kind, caring, and helpful.
  • Harry Potter, the lead character in the film, has a lightning bolt shaped scar on his forehead. Rather than constructing the scar as something that needs to be hidden or something that is ugly, Harry’s scar represents his parents’ love and Voldemort’s failure to kill Harry as a baby.

Cons:

Gender:

  • Stereotypical gender roles are reinforced throughout the film as women are interested in love potions, Cormac aggressively pursues Hermione, Lavender is very clingy and is depicted as a “bimbo,” and Ginny is saved by Harry.
  • Dumbledore’s interest in knitting, a stereotypically feminine activity, is considered comical.

Race:

  • The majority of the characters appear to be white.

Sexual Orientation:

Disability:

  • There are no characters with visible disabilities.
  • As Harry, Ron, and Hermione walk through the “scary” part of Hogsmeade they pass by a man talking to a wall in an alleyway. This can be understood as a common stereotype surrounding mental illnesses in the media as people with mental illnesses are often depicted as “crazy” or “bad” people.
  • The word “lunatic” is used as an insult.

Body:

  • Professor Slughorn is a fat-bodied professor and is depicted as absent-minded.

Suggested talking points

  • A common theme in films is romantic love between a man and a woman. This can be problematic on two levels as romantic love is depicted as necessary for happiness and as heterosexuality is a prerequisite for romantic love.
  • A common theme in films is that a hero is male, muscular, and usually stereotypically attractive. The film challenges the traditional male hero stereotype as Harry has glasses, is not exceptionally muscular, and isn’t friends with the “cool” kids. It is important to remember that heroes come in all shapes and sizes (and genders).
  • When Harry thanks Luna for saving him she says, “That’s all right, it was like being with a friend,” to which Harry replies, “I am your friend, Luna.” When choosing friends, Harry considers moral character rather than “popularity.”

Image: Amazon.com

Keywords: harry potter, based off book, harry potter and the half-blood prince, half-blood prince, fantasy, movie, adventure, action, gender, family

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