|Reviews for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality|
| Isa Knightwalker chapter 32 . 7/17/2011
Quirrel is basicaly a new character, I like him though in general (although I agree with Hermione that he seems evil). Anyway, nice chapter, light and fluffy~
| Isa Knightwalker chapter 31 . 7/17/2011
Interesting, lovely to see how it worked out!
| Incog chapter 6 . 7/17/2011
I have no nitpicks about the dialogue at the beginning of this chapter. It is lovely and IC.
The muggleborn math feels a bit out of sync with canonverse. That might be deliberate, for your genetic magic system. But really I somehow got the impression in the books that there were more. Eh, whatever.
""And just why," said Professor McGonagall with rather heavy skepticism, "do you expect to need a healer's kit, young man?" (After the unfortunate incident at the Potions store, McGonagall was trying to avoid saying "Mr. Potter" while anyone else was nearby.)"
Um, the incident at the potions store didn't seem to involve her saying "Mr. Potter"... and just a little bit earlier she says ""But it is magic, Mr. Potter."", which unless you're saying didn't count because there were people nearby, doesn't make sense.
There's a bit of mood whiplash with the shopgirl scene. On the other hand, it is the sort of thing that should induce mood whiplash, so that's fine.
I join the WMG crowd over at tvtropes in suspecting that the line "Sometimes you just don't seem eleven years old or even all that human" is intended as foreshadowing, although the conversation is interesting at face value, too.
""No," McGonagall said, "you're right." Her voice held a note of apology, and yet still a note of self-pride alongside that, as though Harry ought to notice how very, very honored he was to have Professor McGonagall apologizing to him."
I dislike this line. Primarily because little lines like these, in which Harry is displays very very negative opinions about the world around hm, should at least be marked with a "Harry thought", rather than stated from the POV as if they were factual. Since they're very much a matter of interpretation.
In general, this section has Harry acting like a particularly arrogant little snot. I mean, he is, but this is a section where it shows particularly blatantly.
""The salesman, unctuous once more, pointed toward a door set into the wall with a gold-handled knob. As Harry started to walk away, he heard from behind the salesman ask in his oily voice, "May I inquire as to who that was, Madam McGonagall? I take it he is Slytherin - third-year, perhaps? - and from a prominent family, but I did not recognize -"""
Ew ew ew I really don't feel like you needed to include this it feels gross and weird for him to be saying that. You could have transitioned more effectiely straight into the sweat and retching. (which is a good touch since it effectively counterbalances snotty Harry)
| Isa Knightwalker chapter 30 . 7/17/2011
Awesome chapter. "If we lose, the whole universe just blinks out like a light bulb. And now I realize that most of you don't know what a light bulb is." - lol Harry's entire speech was pretty hilarious.
One of my favorite chapters so far!
| Isa Knightwalker chapter 29 . 7/17/2011
Quirrel was awesome! I loved this line "Your friendship for Hermione Granger does you credit," Professor Quirrell said dryly. "Especially as you are able to be friends with Draco Malfoy at the same time. Quite a feat, that." - lol
I also can't wait to see what Hermione will do, she is awesome as well. Plus I think that she could be an awesome general.
| Incog chapter 5 . 7/17/2011
The description of the coin transfer is not exactly one of your most gripping sections of writing, but it's interesting )
And then there's the old man. I think you could have transitioned into it better. Like:
An old man walked by. And then, unfortunately...
"Are you really Harry Potter?" whispered the old man, one huge tear sliding down his cheek.
Because the problem is the way you have it now, it's "the old man", as if you're referring to a particular, specific old man we already know, except... we don't. It feels awkward.
Other than that, though, I appreciate the message of the encounter as a whole. That and the later one with the shopgirl. It's nice seeing Harry learn that his words have consequences.
(As for his rant about attribution... on the one hand, it's a bit long. On the other hand, one of my hugest pet peeves about HP is that it's ridiculous to have Harry be so ridiculously special just because his mother sacrificed her life for him. That's not exactly such a crazily uncommon event... Plus, it was an interesting rant, so I didn't mind ))
oh, and "People don't care about me, they aren't even paying attention to me, they want to shake hands with a bad explanation" is a lovely line.
"awesomecool blonde-white hair"
I cannot be the only reviewer completely not understanding this line. Huh? What?
"Harry could predict where this conversation was about to go, and he decided in a split second of frustration that enough was enough."
See, on the one hand this trait of Harry where he deliberately derails conversations is rather obnoxious.
...on the other hand, it's really funny.
So he should get more of a social penalty- it is the sort of thing that turns people off, being made fun of for no reason- but on the other hand, please don't let it ever change D
"Oops. That last part might have sounded a little odd, like he was hitting on Draco or something."
For heaven's sake.
IF you do not want any of your friends to make fun of you that this is H/D slash...
Then do not make Harry think things that would, in any other fic, be taken as Denial.
THE DRACO AND HARRY CONVERSATION:
The first time I read this, I didn't understand it, so I went back and re-read it and though I sort of got it and the confusion was my fault.
On my re-read, however, I've come to the conclusion that the confusion is on the part of the writing. This section is extremely unclear. The primary question that needs to be answered is whether Draco is completely aware that Harry is kidding with him, partially aware, or unaware. Unfortunately, different parts of the section make sense only under different conclusions.
A lot of Draco's dialogue in this section is extremely stilted, and some of his lines downright odd and out-of-character from his behavior in the rest of the series.
""I think you ask an unwarranted familiarity with my person! What have you ever done for the Malfoy family that entitles you to such a request?""
"And for you, I should guess House Hufflepuff, or possibly House Elf.""
""Your flattery was great, or I thought so, anyway - you'd do well in Slytherin House, too.
seemed to imply that he was aware of what was going on.
Only then of course he was disappointed when Harry actually didn't know what was going on.
There are other lines that are very off, not in dialogue, like "he other boy lobbed back, accompanied by a smile such as the highest of kings might bestow upon the least of his subjects, if that subject were honest, though poor."
But in general this section is very confusing. Very fun premise, but really needs a rewrite to flow better, read more easily, and be much much much more IC. And clear.
After that, my next point of confusion is Draco's response to Harry. I am making the assumption that he is being extremely sarcastic. However, I wish you would include a facial clue to make this clearer. A grin, or something along those lines.
Actually, some facial clues would be helpful in sorting out this entire dialogue. Just tiny little descriptions, to give a sense of how the character is saying what they're saying. I think it's sorely missing, and that's why this section is confusing.
Anyway, end of the gripes, since Lucius Malfoy just burst in the door and Harry and Draco's team play here is brilliant and hysterical and awesome. I laughed for the rest of the chapter, right till the end.
((My guesswork, by the way, goes like this:
1. Harry decides to flatter Draco
2. Draco is very aware that this is flattery. He responds by playing along because Harry lays it on too thick? Except that doesn't make sense because he then compliments Harry on a job well done. He decides to play along anyway? Then why is he disappointed at the end? Argh, still confused at this part
3. After Harry comes clean about having no clue about Draco's identity, Draco gets his revenge by fake-gushing about Harry, just to annoy him.
4. Unfortunately then his father walks in.
5. So Harry fake-gushes at Lucius while Draco fake-gushes at McGonagall and everyone is amused.
As you can see, it's really #2 that needs the most clarification, although making 3 a little more clear wouldn't hurt.))
| Isa Knightwalker chapter 28 . 7/17/2011
I always find it surprising when you change other little details, like Minerva knowing about Snape's past (which she obviously didn't in the books)- why does she know anyway? It seems weird that he'd be willing to tell her so easily (or even Harry). The prophecy especially, I wonder what you plan to do with that.
Also, since Krum transformed only his head into a shark (which was said to be a transfiguration and not an Animagus transformation), did he already do a "half-transfiguration?" And if he could do it, then one assumes that other wizards could do that as well. So I don't really get how Harry is doing something that hasn't been done before since changing a human head into a shark head without changing the rest of his body clearly seems to be a more advanced version of changing half of a ball's material into something else.
Otherwise an interesting chapter! lol at the aftermath parts.
| Pulsifer chapter 72 . 7/17/2011
May I congratulate you on an excellent novel. This is one of the best books I've read in a couple years, and I've been leaving it open on people's internet browsers all month for them to find. Keep up the good work, I hope it's falling into place for you :)
| Isa Knightwalker chapter 27 . 7/17/2011
Now Harry is using the term Mudblood in private? And Harry is guilty because he can't get people who deserve to be in Azkaban out? And ugh, criticizing Lily's decision to be angry at Snape for calling her a Mudblood too by having Harry do the "right" thing when he clearly is a very morally ambiguous person himself with a god complex. Plus saying that she ended up with James because he was rich or handsome, wtf. Snape had clearly been on the dark path for awhile and ended up as a Death Eater since he went with his other friends instead of trying to stay after her, so I'd say that he is also to blame for their friendship failing. Plus Harry has never met his parents and yet he seems fine with describing them as shallow and a bully based on anecdotes, not very scientific of him to fall to that fallacy so easily. (Although I actually like how he is more like his canon self in that sense).
I sometimes feel like this fanfic is more about criticizing the canon instead of establishing your own story since every chapter there seems to be some insult towards the original story.
Personally I hope there will be more chapters more like Harry and Draco and/or Hermione investigating something using the scientific method or humorous things since those are lots of fun to read.
Also I really did love Snape's reaction since he clearly loved Lily so deeply so it makes sense that he would be angry by what Harry said about her, especially since she died to protect someone who actually describes her as a shallow gold digger.
Despite all the criticism/ranting, I think that you write very well and the story itself is rather interesting.
| randomling chapter 72 . 7/17/2011
Okay, so this is going to be mildly incoherent. I've been reading all 72 chapters of this fic every spare minute since Wednesday. It is amazing. And making me want to read everything I can get my hands on about rationality.
(I'll be blogging about this as soon as I can find a way to be coherent about it...)
The science impresses me. But not nearly as much as this story does as a reworking of the original books. It's a fantastic reimagining of Rowling's world which takes into account so many little details and answers so many questions I had forgotten I had. And takes a much more thorough and interesting view of the different Houses and what qualities and values are distributed between them.
I'm loving the intersection between science and magic, and the intersections between the wizarding and Muggle worlds, and the beautiful recasting of Harry. And I'll be coming back, because I'm desperate to know how this turns out.
Thank you for writing this.
| Mavarax chapter 34 . 7/17/2011
I can believe I didn't see this the first time I read it. Quirrell does nothing as at ne point in the future there ravenclaw will win the cup and at another Slytherin. If they had said that year however...
And Quidditch without the snitch would admittably be epic.
| Incog chapter 4 . 7/17/2011
I loved the economics at the beginning of this chapter. (I decided to suspend all disbelief in terms of what Harry knows. I can still have issues with how he expresses that knowledge, but even though it doesn't completely make sense to me that Harry would know about arbitrage and not about more advanced genetics, I'll assume there's no rhyme or reason to the pattern of what he knows beyond "whatever interesting books were lying around his house when he was growing up". aka, anything goes)
""payable to his ki-" McGonagall swallowed the word. "To whoever might defeat him.""
wayyyy too obvious. There was no reason for her not to just finish the lie.
""I fear I cannot deny the logic of your words, though I very much wish I could."
Ever so slightly stilted. Maybe shift the syntax a bit more towards "conversational", so it sounds like something people would /say/, not write.
"Griphook was favoring Harry with a gaze of frank respect, possibly even outright admiration."
Wait what? What the heck is this doing here? I strongly recommend getting rid of this line, it makes no sense for Griphook and feels a bit too much like you're applauding for your hero.
""But oh, Professor McGonagall, why rain on my parade? Surely this is a happy day, when I discover all things wizarding for the first time! Why act the part of the grumpy grownup when instead you could smile and remember your own innocent childhood, watching the look of delight upon my young face as I buy a few toys using an insignificant fraction of the wealth that I earned by defeating the most terrible wizard Britain has ever known, not that I'm accusing you of being ungrateful or anything, but still, what are a few toys compared to that?""
See, this sounds artificial but here it isn't a bad thing, because it makes sense, tone-wise, for Harry to be talking in a deliberately artifical manner here. Just pointing it out as a contrast to other places where it was a problem.
In general, lovely chapter, again. I notice that I'm spending most of my time pointing out nitpicks. This is not meant in any way to suggest that I did not enjoy this fic so much that I pulled an all-nighter to complete it, and proceeded to bombard all my friends with requests to read it, too.
| Bittersweet Freedom chapter 51 . 7/17/2011
Excuse me. I need a moment to pick my jaw up off the floor.
| Incog chapter 3 . 7/17/2011
"Harry blinked, then rallied. "Well, yes, you're very perceptive; most people don't realize that quite so quickly -""
I feel as if some of Harry's off-the-cuff rapid response hilarious BS got lost over time... Which, on the one hand, makes sense, as people get to know him, but on the other hand is kind of sad because it was one of the things which made HJPEV grow on me as a character in the first place. (He's pompous, arrogant, and doesn't seem to understand that he might have a lot of intelligence at 11 but that doesn't really correspond to emotional maturity... but he's also really funny and essentially well-intentioned so you forgive him)
Woohoo, first meeting with Quirrel! Definitely very different on a re-read, since the first time through I didn't know how much of the story was going to be changed beyond Harry's personality and therefore interpreted the encounter as if it had happened in canon!HP.
"...which hollowed into a hole, and dilated and expanded and shivered into a huge archway, revealing a long row of shops with signs advertising cauldrons and dragon livers.
Harry didn't blink. It wasn't like anyone was turning into a cat."
This line amused me. Primarily because I remember watching this scene in the movie and thinking to myself "yeah, not so impressive". D
"There were merchants hawking Bounce Boots ("Made with real Flubber!") and "Knives 3! Forks 2! Spoons with a 4 bonus!" There were goggles that would turn anything you looked at green, and a lineup of cushy lounge chairs with ejection seats for emergencies."
A little bit break-the-4th-wall distracting, but I guess if you can't even stick nerdy shout-outs into your fic it isn't as much fun.
"It was like walking through the magical items section of an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rulebook (he didn't play the game, but he did enjoy reading the rulebooks)."
Again, one of those moments where if you identify with that particular trait, the line is much more interesting. D
"And she told him of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, the Dark Lord, Voldemort."
This line was very, very off. I strongly recommend rewriting it.
(Actually, this section in general was a bit weak, which is a pity, considering that it could have been ever-so-cunningly written as a gigantic treasure chest of misleading red herrings and foreshadowing.)
But the problem with this line is that it switches... not exactly tense or POV or anything like that, but flow. Since it's "she told him about this", and then suddenly switches awkwardly to what she told him, but as if skipping part of what she told him...
There's also too much heavy description where bleak, simple language would serve a much more powerful emotional punch ("like a wilding wolf, tearing and rending at the fabric of their everyday lives"- seriously?).
And of course it was your decision to have these things stated in the text, not in McGonagall's voice, and on the one hand I guess that makes it easier...
On the other hand, the emotions at the end of the chapter were done fine.
""Um. You can go ahead and call them my parents, if you want, you don't have to say 'genetic parents' or anything. I guess there's no reason I can't have two mothers and two fathers.""
| Incog chapter 2 . 7/17/2011
See, the beginning is more author's mouthpiece, but done in a perfectly reasonable and in-character way. It makes sense for harry to be belaboring the point in this context.
Your description of McGonagall is excellent.
""You turned into a cat! A SMALL cat! You violated Conservation of Energy! That's not just an arbitrary rule, it's implied by the form of the quantum Hamiltonian! Rejecting it destroys unitarity and then you get FTL signaling! And cats are COMPLICATED! A human mind can't just visualize a whole cat's anatomy and, and all the cat biochemistry, and what about the neurology? How can you go on thinking using a cat-sized brain?""
This was the exact point in the story where I started smiling and realized that I was going to /enjoy/ this.
""Harry sent his parents a glare. "I am a conscientious objector to the child draft, on the grounds that I should not have to suffer for a continually disintegrating school system's abject failure to provide teachers or study materials of even minimally adequate quality."""
This sounds word for word like my brother at age eleven.
I've seen other people say that the parents' hilarity at the teacher-biting incident is a bit of a stretch. I think it makes sense, if you think of it as one of those family teases that refuses to die after years and is hilarious less because the incident itself was funny than because of the abject humiliation of the subject of the story, each and every time. Based on Harry's reaction, it seems to qualify.
""Fine, I won't bite anyone who doesn't bite me first."""
I join the chorus of people who sincerely hope this line was foreshadowing, please please please. If you can use the word "crush" literally in the most disturbing way, you should also use bite.
Cute chapter, no real gripes, it's fun reading through the banter.