Reviews for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
Olafr chapter 22 . 6/6/2010
hypothesis 7: historical aggrandizement a.k.a. my-hero's-better-than-your-hero aka. godhead :-)

Enjoying this, by the way. It must be well written because sometimes I want to strangle Harry.
deitarionSSokolow chapter 23 . 6/6/2010
Now THAT is what properly-done minimally-gradual character development looks like. None of that cliché melodrama crap. :)

I also love the conclusion you had them reach. Beautifully reasoned and tested and taking into account the readers' inherent inability to forget/ignore that the author is ultimately responsible for an unpleasant outcome.
malcolm75k chapter 23 . 6/6/2010
Nicely done. The long awaited "Draco proves himself wrong" moment arrived nice and dramatically.

Hermione is getting pretty annoying. She seems to believe all answers are in her books and that achievement is measured by how well those answers can be memorized and applied (ie, I can cast faster than you, my books know more than you...)

Her limitation, which I am waiting eagerly to see exposed, is that this sort of thinking discovers nothing new. It does not lead to a deeper understanding of reality. It's like knowing the land pictured on a map very, very well but never expanding your experience by leaving the boundaries of that map.

Her reply of "Why not?" to Harry's query seems like willful ignorance to me. There is a rule there...Find it!

If Harry can break any new ground, discover something more fundamental than the, I assume, piecemeal rules in his texts, he could leverage that understanding to excel at things the way Hermione could never match without learning from him.

I would guess that the spell does not rely on the vocalization of the words, or even a wand movement, but rather on the neurological patterns evoked by such actions. Hence you can have wordless magic if you train yourself to create these thought patterns. Its like training wheels: You need them at first to get the feel of what its like to ride, then you can jettison them as you get better.

Other topics I would suggest Harry to explore:

Magical resistance - Is this a sort of anti-magic to magic? Does magic have poles or modes? Practical applications would be for shielding muggle equipment that Harry might want to acquire to use in future experiments that would otherwise fry at Hogwarts.

Hogwarts frying modern tech - What are the limitations, how does it work? It would be hard to have chemical reactions not work right, say, as human life is bio-chemical. Things oxidize normally, so gunpowder, say, should work. Mechanical items as well - watches should work, I believe. Electronics, not so much. So what is the fundamental relationship there?

Units of magic - Creating potions involves the addition of measured amounts of magical components. Do these things have a measurable magical density? Can the magic be defined for a given ingredient the same way molar weights are defined for elements, say? More exact ways of measuring and weighing should result in greater alchemical accuracy...

What is the source of magic? Does it have poles? Is it internal or external force? Is it a force, an energy source, an expression of the fundamental underlying reality, an entity with some level of awareness?

Is it experience or growth that makes a wizard stronger? ie, does the magical core or whatever develop, or does the wizard just become more adept at using what he has? Where does the magical core tie into the physical being, if at all?
Arwen Amorita chapter 23 . 6/6/2010
Well, I'm glad that magic isn't fading, though I'm not surprised that I don't remember all of the hints leading up to that conclusion...

Anyway, I'm curious. What effect could something such as inbreeding have on the population of wizards, since the wizarding population is fairly limited, secluded, and has a pureblood prejudice? Would it affect the strength of magic (or lack thereof) or would it affect intelligence or the ability to learn (magic and otherwise)? And would it only affect the "purebloods" or would it affect the entire (or majority of the) wizarding population?
DarkHeart81 chapter 23 . 6/6/2010
Good chapter! Am glad Harry has found that magic isn't fading. Knowledge disappearing over time make sense, though it does pose a question as to how much is known about magic compared to the days of the Founders or before.

Many things have been forgotten over time and I could see it being possible for wand making in Britain becoming a lost art. Why? Olivander does not seem to have an apprentice or son/daughter to pass his knowledge on to and, as far as we know, he is the only wand maker in Britain, if not all of the UK. Once he is gone there will be no one around to make wands so it could be considered a lost art.

When it comes to magical strength, I think magic may be more like a muscle than a limit truly preset by genetics. I imagine life at the time of Merlin or the Founders being much harsher with witches and wizards using magic more often. The more magic is used the stronger and more powerful a witch or wizard can be. How else can you explain Molly, a housewife who uses magic all time at home to cook, clean, or punish pranks, holding her own against Bellatrix when the Death Eater has taken on and killed groups of Aurors.

I hope Draco gets into serious trouble for what he did to Harry.
Violet Shadows chapter 23 . 6/6/2010
Heh, that was some cold shit; good two chapters.
Luiz4200 chapter 23 . 6/6/2010
Please update.
Omgoth chapter 11 . 6/6/2010
WIN! Just, you so completely win at life. I truly admire you. I really don't think I could stop laughing if I tried. That reincarnation bit and him being sorted into headmaster were my favorites.
yesimahuman chapter 22 . 6/6/2010
"The opinions of characters in this story are not necessarily those of the author. What warm!Harry thinks is often meant as a good pattern to follow, especially if Harry thinks about how he can cite scientific studies to back up a particular principle. But not everything Harry does or thinks is a good idea. That wouldn't work as a story. And the less warm characters may sometimes have valuable lessons to offer, but those lessons may also be dangerously double-edged."

This disclaimer ought to have been posted in bold letters in the beginning of your story, so as to serve as a reminder to all readers that the author does NOT, in no uncertain terms, endorse child abuse as a method by which humility be taught.

This is an awesome story, by the way, rationalist!Harry is undiluted win. The ongoing characterizations of both Harry and Draco are spot on. My only issue thus far is Harry's "dark side"- it seems contrived, and Harry's arrogance and pride could be wrapped up in a much cleaner manner by having it just be anger management.
anon chapter 23 . 6/6/2010
This was an awesome chapter! I love a) that Harry is starting to be smarter about things (going to flitwick etc.) and b) that Draco was a jerk even though he's changing. One bit of information can't replace patterns of behavior learned over a lifetime. The one thing I don't like it the Harry/Hermione pseudomance but whatever...

can't wait for more.
Guest chapter 23 . 6/6/2010
I'm really enjoying your fanfic. I'm glad you didn't conclude that magic is fading or the wizards are getting weaker, because the evidence really doesn't support it. If that were the case, then why is Merlin such a big name and then hundreds of years pass, four people in their generation do great feats, and you don't hear about great magic in the generations shortly before or after them?

This seems much more consistent with the Wizarding community being tiny. As Harry pointed out, for a Muggle if you have a one in a million level of ability, there are thousands of you. For a true genius to be notable, you need the ability, the appropriate upbringing, and whatever other factors come together to make someone able to truly contribute notably. If you want a one in a billion level of accomplishment, well Muggles these days will have six in every generation. How many generations of wizards does it take to get an extreme outlier on the bell curve who has the right circumstances to foster it?

Plus, wizards hide info and only pass it on directly. So, how much gets lost when a great potential wizard doesn't find the right tutor (or the tutor doesn't like him). And since great wizards don't always tell what they did, how many great wizard accomplishments aren't even known to most wizards?

Great minds work better in the presence of other great minds. But if one in a million intelligence is so rare in wizards (I'm assuming they have average human traits other than magic ability and fit the same bell curves as Muggles) then you have trouble putting together the sorts of gifted classes that help the Muggles on the left end of the bell curve. Maybe Hogwarts was created because of the sheer luck of having four great minds in the same generation able to work together.

However, I am also looking forward to Draco's realization that if magic and wizards are no weaker than they were, and if the only difference is study, work, and talent - then there is nothing to stop him from trying to be as great as Merlin. And that the belief that they can't do magic on that level has probably been holding back most other wizards. I wouldn't be surprised if part of why Voldemort managed so much was that he didn't just accept the idea that he couldn't be as great.
irfane chapter 23 . 6/6/2010
Interesting chapter. Ironically, Harry has proved much of the pureblood core beliefs true. IE some external factor is the cause of squibs (as no two magics can produce a squib... though possibly there are more than two states for the relevant gene, though, with incomplete dominance one mid gene and one magic gene make a magic person, while one mid gene and one muggle gene make a muggle, and two magics make a magic...etc


Following his line of thought, either magical theft is taking place, or all squibs are the children of adultery, or something else screwy is happening. I'm inclined to think magical potency rituals, whether for the caster or his/her children, are responsible, and they steal the potential from elsewhere.
Mana's Cinder chapter 22 . 6/6/2010
While I enjoy the round about way you're explaining various 'rules' of rationality, I have to question.. Does this story have an actual plot? Is there something you're working towards, or are you writing 'randomly' as the mood strikes you without too much of an idea of what comes next? Are you planning on Harry discovering the 'truth' of magic, stopping Voldemort and doing.. something about Dumbledore? Or do you plan on making Hermione the subject of a ridiculous number of experiments before she becomes the next Merlin and the story ends with B.C. staring at her gobsmacked?
Dormant Account 24 chapter 23 . 6/6/2010
Wow. What a price to pay for winning. I hope Draco is worth it.
Nongarak chapter 23 . 6/6/2010
Well! That was an ok chapter. It's unlikely you can just demolish blood purity with a test conducted in a day using information only gathered from portraits and a few books. Are the portraits reliable? Is anything lost in translation? Are portraits able to retain their memories? Can they gain knowledge? Before you can ask a portrait about blood purity, you've got to find out if you actually CAN ask a portrait anything, and get the right answer.

Other than that, it was a pretty straightforward chapter. Kind of disappointed that there weren't more jokes like usual, but not bad.
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