|Reviews for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality|
| 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.
| Incog chapter 1 . 7/17/2011
Time for me to re-read this story!
Any fanfiction that is already longer than the first 3 HP books combined that I am choosing to REREAD is obviously rather... special.
I'm not even someone who in general reads HP fanfic at all. I found this through the book-reviews blog of the friend of an author I really like. They raved, I clicked, I raved, etc.
Now it's time for me to join the project of "Make HP:MoR the most reviewed fic on "...
so here we go, what i liked, what i didn't...
I don't generally like mysterious italicized prologue bits. This one was very short, which was helpful, and probably had to do with how the heck Voldemort became Quirrel, which I'm crazy curious about, so I can forgive it.
The description of a house lined with books is exactly the sort of thing that will immediately appeal to anyone who lives in such a house. for example, me. (Except for the idea of old tissue-boxes, which is definitely a much better solution to that two-layer problem and it's kinda pathetic I never tried it before.)
People who do not, might find the description less interesting. Actually, there's a lot of this fic that I enjoyed primarily because I strongly identified with it (every time it attacked one of my pet peeves with Rowling's books, for example), and I wonder how enjoyable the fic is to people who don't really identify with that sort of stuff. I think this ties in to other issues I had in terms of character balance but that might come up in later reviews.
In general I am immediately opposed to any parents who insist on saddling their child with that many last names, and that was the first thing that turned me off about this fic, but I did eventually reconcile with it. It's still a few names too many, but I decided to view it as part of the important character point wherein Harry actually likes his parents.
By the way, I really do love that you did that.
The Lily and Petunia thing is foreshadowing, or not foreshadowing? "like the world would end if she were nice to her sister, or a centaur told her not to".
"And I thought to myself, what kind of parent names their child Dudley Dursley?"
This is the exact moment in the chapter where I started to become interested.
I really, really appreciate you making Petunia the emotional one because it makes sense for her character in canon and here.
"""Then you don't have to fight over this," Harry said firmly. Hoping against hope that this time, just this once, they would listen to him. "If it's true, we can just get a Hogwarts professor here and see the magic for ourselves, and Dad will admit that it's true. And if not, then Mum will admit that it's false. That's what the experimental method is for, so that we don't have to resolve things just by arguing.""
This was where Harry sounded less like a character and more like an author mouthpiece. As you're already aware, this is a problem throughout the fic... here, it's easy to pinpoint why. It's not because the idea Harry is expressing isn't IC for him, it's because he uses really stilted, forced language to say it, not what you'd expect him to say when breaking up his parents fight but rather what you'd expect him to say when explaining To The Reader what the point of the experimental method is.
There has to be some way of rewriting that snippet of dialogue to flow better, while still expressing the same point. And since this is an entire 72 chapter story that has many additional moments where it discusses the experimental method, it's not that urgent that Harry give a definition of it now. The readers can pick it up as they go along. So in this case, definitely a better idea to rewrite for stronger character and weaker infodump.
"Harry's mouth twisted bitterly. He was treated well, probably better than most genetic fathers treated their own children. Harry had been sent to the best elementary schools - and when that didn't work out, he was provided with tutors from the endless labor pool of starving students. Always Harry had been encouraged to study whatever caught his attention, bought all the books that caught his fancy, sponsored in whatever math or science competitions he entered. He was given anything reasonable that he wanted, except, maybe, the slightest shred of respect. A tenured Professor who taught biochemistry at Oxford could hardly be expected to listen to the advice of a little boy. You would listen to Show Interest, of course; that's what a Good Parent would do, and so, if you conceived of yourself as a Good Parent, you would do it. But take a ten-year-old seriously? Hardly."
This whole rant is a bit over the top.
The concept and characterization behind it is important and part of Harry characters, but there's something about it that's off.
Not the central idea- that Harry feels disrespected just because of age, no, that makes total sense- but the fact that he thinks about this in terms of everything else his father does for him, and insinuates that his father does this for appearances sake ("You would listen to Show Interest, of course; that's what a Good Parent would do, and so, if you conceived of yourself as a Good Parent, you would do it.") when in fact later in the fic he is shown to believe that his father genuinely cares for him...
I think you were trying to dump in a bit too much info about Harry's upbringing (again, not necessary, since much of this comes up more naturally later in the story), possibly in order to introduce the point of departure that is the premise... But the whole paragraph would be more effective if it was shortened and focused more on Harry's very specific frustration about not being taken seriously.
The fight between the parents is well done, and very sad (
Ending was funny, and it was nice to see you using canon reveals from much later in the series immediately.
Onwards to chapter 2!
| Sjsofi chapter 1 . 7/17/2011
| rtyui chapter 6 . 7/17/2011
"A potential collaborator is someone who thinks that getting the job done is more important than making sure I know my place."
I couldn't here you over the lack of introspection here, Harry.
| Joe chapter 72 . 7/17/2011
Very good story, I check it every day for updates. The machiavellian wizard politics is great, and wizard battles are much more interesting than quidditch. I love how fucking long it is also, a true treasure to be directed to by the fine fans of this work.
Please keep writing, this is great.
| MisCelineous chapter 72 . 7/17/2011
You are a genius. Seriously. Can't wait for the next chapter!
| Isa Knightwalker chapter 26 . 7/17/2011
One thing that I don't really like is how you point out things that Harry does in the actual books and then say they are extremely stupid. Obviously Harry does some stupid things, but I think it's rather annoying to have them all pointed out one by one as though Harry would never do those things (even though his actual character did) since he's basically insulting his canon self, "I do not understand how anything with that small a brain could walk upright," which is rather harsh of you. I don't know, it's a good story and obviously this Harry is very different, but does it really make him smarter/better in your opinion when he insults his canon self? Since all people make stupid mistakes and the important thing is that they learn from them so they won't do them in the future, etc. Plus I thought that in the earlier chapters that Harry said he didn't like when others purposely asked questions, etc to make themselves seem smarter or belittled others to make themselves smarter and that is what you are doing with this Harry versus canon!Harry imo. /rantish since I really do like canon!Harry and in general I hate when people bash others to make themselves seem smarter (although I'm sure everyone does that at some point, but it seems to be becoming a pattern with this Harry).
Also "Let the stupid ones die before they breed" and Harry not even arguing with that statement, wtf. It makes they both seem like eugenicists, quite disgusting. Harry kind of reminds me of an even more unsympathetic evil-ish Dr. Brennan (from Bones) at times.
Anyway, for some positives! I like when you explain the actual studies or experiments since I often have not heard of some of them (being a psych major) that involve more science-like things. I also liked the rumor stuff lol.
I did like when Harry showed some caring, although sad that it managed to go away so soon. And omg did Quirrel seriously kill Rita? He's so evil and Harry trusts him so much, it's like Barty!Mad-eye all over again and Harry fails to see what he is truly like even with his new intelligence (or he is evil and this is actually a dark!Harry fic and perhaps I just failed to notice lol).
| ahd chapter 72 . 7/17/2011
The scenelet with Professor Sprout probably needs a bit more context added to either end to make it clearer for those of us who are hard of thinking.
And does "around six years above their level" (i.e. plus or minus some years, not just a one-sided error bar) imply an actual formal level of wizard education beyond seventh-year Hogwarts?
Otherwise, this is well up to your usual standards of awesome.