Reviews for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Zombie
NoriMori1992 chapter 1 . 10/18/2022
Interesting, but kind of pointless. It doesn't dovetail at all with MOR canon, even if you both grant that souls exist in that world and ignore all chapters after 94; nor does it dovetail with actual canon. Even if you ignore the ways in which it outright contradicts both canons, the implications of this story simply don't make sense given the world it takes place in. You'd expect the world to look very, very different if you could literally clone minds just by giving Muggles Polyjuice Potion. (I'd love for that to be canon-compatible, just because one could write some really fascinating scenarios probing the nature of the self; but when I look at the setting I don't see a world where that exploit can possibly exist.) You'd expect the world to look very, very different if wizard minds are not altered by brain damage. And you'd expect the world to look very, very different if Muggles can't actually think. (For instance, you'd expect them not to actually do anything, which is the whole reason that philosophical zombies are so controversial.) This is a nice story, but it can't possibly actually take place in either MOR or HP, so it's not clear who this is meant for or why they should care.

To be clear, the idea that Animagi and Polyjuice Potion work because wizards have an extraphysical backup mind running on magic is interesting and persuasive. I'm willing to call THAT canon, both to MOR and to HP. (Although you'd need to do more to explain how wizards can be affected by drugs.) Frankly, I'm disappointed that Eliezer didn't pursue this line of reasoning in MOR. So the core idea is great. But the execution, and the conclusions the story draws from the core idea, leave much to be desired.

I also find much of the story to be insulting to both the characters' intelligence and the reader's. It's an insult to the reader's intelligence to ask us to believe that Dumbledore didn't tell Harry about the Polyjuice thing or the precautions he'd taken against it, and it's an insult to both characters' intelligence for either of them to think that charm was sufficient protection. Dumbledore's explanation for why he didn't tell Harry about such salient evidence as wizards being unaffected by brain damage doesn't hold water. It's an insult to his intelligence that that's his explanation, and it's an insult to Harry's that he let it slide. It's an insult to both of their intelligence, and the reader's, for Dumbledore to claim that Harry should have considered the Veil persuasive evidence, and for Harry to let that slide. It's an insult to Quirrell's intelligence that he believes Muggles are philosophical zombies, and an insult to Harry's that he let that bold claim slide. Frankly, a LOT of things were said that MOR Harry never would have let slide. And Quirrell's description of what a soul is was really, really terrible. Firstly, it said so little beyond what had already been said that it wasn't really an answer (why did Harry accept it as one?); secondly, if the soul is doing all the work of thinking, what in the world is the brain doing?

And a nitpick: This could do with some proofreading. The most obvious issues are that "Madame Pomfrey" should be "Madam Pomfrey", and "Muggles" should be capitalized. Other errors are more subtle and I've already forgotten what they are.
Kirbilius Clausius chapter 1 . 1/26/2022

You give several canon compatible starting points. But there's so much more to delve into, like the function of thought and the tactical advantage of a smart ghost
MyName74 chapter 1 . 3/6/2021
This was an interesting read. Thank you for showing this possibility.
Livyatan Kalmanrata chapter 1 . 3/19/2020
"Professor, does legilimens work on portraits or ghosts?"
"Of course not."
"Creatures, then?"
"Same as muggles, a clear mirror surface of emptiness. What made you ask?"
"It works on muggles though? You may see nothing, but you still *see nothing*?" (*in italics)
"... Where are you going with this?"
"Ghosts and portraits can both learn new things and retain the information, but legilimens doesn't work on them, despite that they clearly have minds, and animals which have much less intelligence, perhaps in even true mindlessness, still *connects*, but shows the same as muggles."
"What if legilimens doesn't connect *minds*, but rather connects the soul? Through which it would then magically interpret the mind?"
"-" (-insert response)
Can't remember if the principles of legilimency were explained if HP:MoR, but the topic of souls and using the aforementioned spell succeeding but giving no data as evidence tickled my intellectualism.
Obscenefarce chapter 1 . 2/22/2020
Wow. Top notch, thanks for writing
TheChairIsAgainstTheWall chapter 1 . 9/9/2018
Yup. This is the stuff. I always thought another good argument against the argument that souls don't exist is the "antenna" argument: that is, the brain is an antenna to the souls, and breaking the antenna gives garbled messages to the soul, causing the soul to act on incorrect information, and for its messages to be garbled as well. It fails Occam's Razor, though. Then there is the "backup copy" argument…

One experiment Harry should conduct immediately is to see if Hermione gets the petals of the rose's rule faster this time. Antereograde amnesia allows people to build skills, if I recall correctly.
Guest chapter 1 . 11/16/2016
excellent story
Leifont chapter 1 . 7/15/2016
Hi, I just read and listened HPMoR and HPMoRpodcast twice.

I really enjoyed this story (which could be a part of HPMoR with no doubt) and I must say I was a little sad when found myself as a muggle, and then, with no soul. :(

Just a comment: Madam Pomfrey said wizards don't have what Harry calls "brain damage". I think Neville's parents do qualify as brain-damaged.

I will read you other works soon. Thanks for writing!

Harry Figment chapter 1 . 3/2/2016
You may know most of this, but I'll say it anyway: you've produced an exercise in cheating.

You've tried to come up with evidence of "souls" compatible with the text of MOR. But that story states the Harry and Hermione have many experiences beyond what made it onto the page. Most importantly, they both read a great deal in the Hogwarts library.

Now even in your story, even before we get to the bizarre situation with your "Quirrell", you come up with ways that the evidence you invented might have changed the world. It would be odd if there were actually souls that affected the world and yet neither of the students found better reason to believe in them before now.

In fact, Harry did encounter evidence nearly as good as this - for portraits. He took his time-travel-produced confusion to a lady in a painting, and she gave him the right answer. But this, like the Horcrux, seems like a straightforward case of magical copying which need not fit your preconceived notions of a "soul".
Yawrf chapter 1 . 12/10/2015
Wow, Ok. Got to the Petals around the Rose game, I was getting all the right answers by adding the odd numbers then subtracting the number of odd dice, and I was really confident. Then you explained it and my jaw dropped
YlvaThorgalsdottir chapter 1 . 10/29/2015
I'm pretty sure Myrtle could form memories in canon. She told Harry what Cedric had done the last time he'd been in that bathroom, for instance, and they (Hermion, Ron, Harry) didn't have to re-explain to her what they were doing in her girl's loo every time they came to check on the polyjuice.

Still, it makes more sense this way. Rowling can try all she likes to steal personhood from ghosts and photographs by saying that they are not "truly alive" in whatever vague sense she means; it's far more plausible that death is some kind of brain damage to the soul, or however you would put it, I don't think there is jargon for this, but at any rate ghosts are alive and people and the remember their lives but not past interactions as ghosts. And they don't notice that.
fireball900 chapter 1 . 6/19/2015
Very well done. 10/10.
I'm not sure which is creepier honestly; the HPMOR world of HP-canon world.
In one, you have muggles without souls.
And in the other, you have soul-eating creatures for no real reason.
I honestly would not like to live in either.
Lunaliceazreal chapter 1 . 6/9/2015
Mother of god did not expecat that
taogaming chapter 1 . 4/21/2015
Very nicely done.
lemon-rind chapter 1 . 3/27/2015
Fascinating proposal. Very depressing. I like it. Thanks for the oneshot.
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