Reviews for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
Smooth Trooper chapter 8 . 3/3/2011
The more I read this the more I want to learn well...everything in this lol
Smooth Trooper chapter 7 . 3/3/2011
Pretty interest stuff, canit wait to see what happens.
No need for names chapter 30 . 3/3/2011
I tried, I really did, but I have to say that your story just lacks... everything that makes a story readable. I read up until this chapter when I finally decided that enough was enough. There is no consistency with the characters, at all. It's not about them being too complex, rather it really shows you do not know what they should actually be doing/feeling next. I am the kind of person that will keep with a story simply because I need to know how it will finish, but with yours I can honestly say I don't care how it finishes. It is not funny enough to get me to care, and the drama is badly fabricated and forced. I am sure a lot of people enjoyed it, but if you ever desire to become a serious writer... you will have to address this issue.
HadrasVorshoth chapter 70 . 3/3/2011
Great fic! Hopefully you'll get the next chapter up soon, but don't rush it, I've found in my own experience that my own fics die VERY quickly if I rush things... *feels guilt about the fact that I've yet to ever actually finish writing a story since I was 8 years old*

I found a lot of things interesting, mainly Harry's approach to reality... Refreshing to see in a protagonist, and you used various tropes effectively without overdoing them... Which I guess makes sense, after all I did find it on TVTropes (I think it was on the "What the Hell, Hero" page...)...

I'm now going to read your other stories, keep up the good work!

*imagines Death Note as a play, then decides it'd actually be pretty fun to write in that format*
twistyguru chapter 70 . 3/2/2011

Nice Chapter!

Two words: Silly Bints...
Circaea chapter 1 . 3/2/2011
Okay, I've been reading other reviews, and saw a bunch of people saying they wanted to see one thing or another in more depth. "What are the classes actually like?" "What do the students do all day?" Sometimes people point out that Rowling didn't give us very much of that either.

The universe of the Harry Potter books leaves a lot of readers feeling like there is a big gap between the potential for stories and what stories they have actually been told. I recently set out to try my own hand at fanfiction (motivated in no small part by the awesomeness of this one, which is, to me, the gold standard for fanfiction awesomeness). /story/149388 , if anyone cares. I decided to take things at a nice leisurely pace, explore lots of those corners, and not try to structure anything like a novel.

I think I can safely say that MoR already does a _lot_ of delving into those hidden corners that reviewers keep asking about. MoR will be, in another 65k words, the length of the first four Harry Potter books _combined_. And it's what, 3/4 of the way through the timeline of the first book? This _is_ what exploring those corners looks like!

The problem with going into everyday details, e.g. with a class, is that it is very hard to make it as exciting as the rest of the story when it has to compete with action sequences. I don't even try in my fanfic, but MoR has a mission - the author really wants to get and keep new readers so that he has an expanded audience for ideas he cares about. He has an incentive to try really hard not to lose fickle readers with a slow chapter, but so far the whole thing is really good! It is _very hard_ to take the Harry Potter universe and slow stories down as much as MoR does while _consistently_ maintaining the qualities that make it so engaging. If he went any further in that direction, MoR would be a very different story than the one he wants to tell.
artemisgirl chapter 70 . 3/2/2011
Greatest. Fanfic. Ever. I read it straight through, pausing only to eat and pee. I love it! I have never laughed so hard at a fanfic as I have at this one. Chapter 5 was incredible - I could not stop laughing. I hope the humor returns again soon; it's been very dramatic lately, and humor would make a nice counterpoint.

Thank you so much for writing and sharing this with everyone!
Circaea chapter 70 . 3/2/2011
I just wanted to note that MoR is nearly 400k words. According to Wikipedia, that puts it in the same league, sizewise, as _Anna Karenina_ and _Gone with the Wind_. Congratulations!
Rob the Cauliflowerian chapter 70 . 3/2/2011
I felt pretty bad about not writing a review until now, but now that Yudkowski has been revealed to be a living breathing person, I feel worse, so here we go:

This is the best fan-fic in existence. (Note: I assume most fanfics are pretty awful, and haven't read any great ones. However, even among real, published books, very few are as good as this.) It is smart, funny and exciting, a combination I have very rarely seen elsewhere. One of a few examples of hilarious remarks which actual enlighten you (unless you studied AI in college, in which case you smile even more broadly delight):

"The rules seem sorta consistent but they don't mean anything! I'm not even going to ask how a pouch ends in up with voice recognition and natural language understanding when the best Artificial Intelligence programmers can't get the fastest supercomputers to do it after thirty-five years of hard work," Harry gasped for breath, "but what is going on?" "

(Most of the similar amazing lines show up early in the story. Chapter 6 is the best, in this regard.)

In this book Harry Potter is smart. Not the phony intelligence of Ender's Game (and the rest of the series), where the characters are all theoretically "geniuses" but never actually display strong cognitive abilities. Additionally, where most sci-fi books will consistently feel convoluted (Ender stands out again), as the author desperately tries to make utterly bizarre decisions appear intelligent, Yudkowski (who is actually pretty smart) considers what he would actually do in a given situation and then has Harry act. (Fortunately, only Harry [and possibly the antagonist, though it's hard to tell] is particularly bright, allowing the story some needed flexibility.)

This story is funny where it wants to funny, exciting where it wants to be exciting and an enthralling read throughout. It mocks the silly parts of Harry Potter as necessary (see Knuts, Quidditch) but never enough to bog down the story.

A riveting read. Mr. Ebert and I give it multiple raised thumbs.
Professor-Evans chapter 24 . 3/2/2011
Omg that chapter was... WOW. Also... You watched DeathNote, didn't you? A ring, Light, and Lawlet. Light dies... KIRAAAA!... Ahem. I LOVE THIS FANFIC!
Nait chapter 15 . 3/2/2011
While the transfiguration theory is quite interesting - I found it to be somewhat doubtful. Especially in light of the fact that this universe's Petunia had her appearence altered either by charm, transfiguartion or a potion.

A potion's effects are either timely limited or permanent forced through effect (e.g. death) and charms do not alter an object - they can make a person to be seen different, but they can hardly charm the body to feel exactly like that.

Thus only transfiguration seems to remain as a way to permanently transfigure Petunias appearence.

But according to the rules of transfiguration, permanent transfiguration is impossible - and thus Petunia cannot be transfigured. Thus her beauty must either be of natural cause over years (that is, accidental) or was created through a mixing of magical means. The latter however, would require a magical perpetuum mobile, as two of the three means are bound to fall victim to time. Thus the theory of transfiguration seems to be inconsistent to the actual application of transfiguration throughout the story.
JChan chapter 70 . 3/2/2011
Sheesh, you sucked me in. This is literally the only long work of fan fiction I have ever read. I always found fan fiction to be pretty much worthless...the few times I did start reading something I would be disgusted right away and quit reading. But the alternate world you've created is so inviting and interesting that I couldn't stop reading. Thanks for the read...I'll be looking forward to more chapters. The only thing I didn't enjoy was how sad I was when I realized you left out Ron and Hagrid because they really aren't very interesting characters. Oh well, doesn't tarnish my enjoyment of the original much.
12 years and counting chapter 4 . 3/2/2011
That is So awesome. Very artemis Fowl although I don't know what SF&F book is. Possibly Science fiction and fantasy? I really enjoyed this chapter and it is probably the best HP fanfic I've read so far - excluding Draco Malfoy The Amazing Bouncing Rat of course. Even my fanfic won't be as good as that. Anyway I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this chapter as it was very amusing. I will read faithfully to the end now. You'll probably be hearing from me again soon as I always have something to say and your story seems a valuable enough topic to spend some time discussing. I'm so generous with compliments. Just wanted to say again how awesome I think your story is : D
Smooth Trooper chapter 6 . 3/2/2011
Not much to say, pretty good chapter.
Hunterw chapter 69 . 3/2/2011
REVIEW PART 1 (ff.n won't let me post the whole review 'cause it's too long; part 2 is under ch.70):

This will be a rather unusual review of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality as it stands at the end of Self Actualization, Pt 5. I'll start by saying that the story as a whole is great, the writing great, etc, etc, ad nauseum. There is almost nothing I idon't/i like about it, except waiting for updates. So, instead of a simple review of the work, or this or that chapter, I'm going to give an analysis.

I came across a passage which seems to me to be idesperately/i applicable to HPMoR in general, and the last few chapters in particular (especially the parts about Q's 'cynicism about cynicism', Harry and Dumbledore's argument about death, Harry's actual world-changing goals, and Hermione's ideas on what it takes to be a hero(ine)), and thought I'd share, with commentary. My analysis of the Methods of Rationality will consist of commentary on this is paragraph from Theodore Adorno's iMinima Moralia/i, called '127 - Wishful Thinking' (I've broken it up to make it a bit more manageable):


Intelligence is a moral category. The separation of feeling and understanding, that makes it possible to absolve and beatify the blockhead, hypostasizes the dismemberment of man into functions. Praise of the simpleton has an undertone of anxiety lest the severed parts reunite and put an end to the derangement. A verse of Hoelderlin's entitled 'Good Advice' runs "If you have understanding and a heart, show only one./Both they will damn, if both you show together."


This should be relatively straightforward, and sets the theme of the rest of the piece: the necessity of the reintegration of 'feeling' and 'understanding' for a person to be truly moral, underlined by a refusal to cede the moral high ground to any sort of anti-intellectualism. The meanings of 'feeling' and 'understanding' in this context will be elucidated below. As an aside, I can think of no better introduction to Luna Lovegood than that beautiful two line poem (just a thought, should the MoR ever make it to the point that she actually shows up).


The defamation of limited understanding in comparison to infinite - but because infinite, to the finite subject forever unfathomable - reason, which resounds throughout philosophy, chimes in, despite its critical claims, with the jingle: "Be honest evermore and true." When Hegel demonstrates the stupidity of understanding (Understanding: Verstand - the limited analytic intellect opposed by Hegel to the infinite grasp of Vernunft or Reason), he not only accords isolated reflection, positivism of every designation, its full measure of untruth, but he also connives at the prohibition on thought, cuts back the negative labour of the concept which his method itself claims to perform, and endorses on the highest peak of speculation the Protestant pastor urging his flock to remain one instead of relying on their own feeble light. It is rather for philosophy to seek, in the opposition of feeling and understanding, their - precisely moral - unity.


So now the jargon 'understanding' is explained: 'limited analytic intellect'. However, Adorno has no time for the usual course 'philosophy' takes. Indeed, Infinite Reason's condemnation of Finite Understanding comes off as an ad-jingle for 'philosophy' which hurts Adorno's ears as much as ours, and Hegel's (correct, as far as it goes) condemnation of positivism goes too far and ends up licensing the very anti-intellectualism that Adorno will have no part of. The theme is restated, this time as an alternative and superior critique of mere understanding.


Intelligence, in asserting its power of judgement, opposes anything given in advance, by at the same time expressing it. The very judgement that excludes instinctual impulses compensates them by a moment of counter-pressure against the force exerted by society. The power of judgement is measured by the cohesion of the self, but therefore also by that dynamic of instincts which is entrusted by the psychic division of labour to feeling. Instinct, the will to withstand, is implicit in the meaning of logic.


So now we see the feelings we are saddled with: on the one hand, instinct and on the other, social force (if we were in a Freudian mood, these could be the id and the super-ego). The definition here of instinct as "the will to withstand" is fascinating in its evo-psych implications: evolutionarily all we have are instincts to pass our genes on, but our minds can and do supersede this order. We know this is true because we can create hypotheticals in which it is reasonable to commit suicide (e.g. extremely painful, terminal illness with no real chance of recovery, before cryogenics was invented: evolutionarily even the small chance that sex could happen should militate against suicide, but our minds know better). Intelligence (here meaning more than mere understanding) refuses to admit instinct or social force as legitimate axioms, but nonetheless expresses these constraints implicitly in any of its reasoning processes (at least, when it's working properly).

This, then, speaks directly to Harry's argument with Dumbledore: in a world where it is ipossible/i to live forever, ino/i correctly functioning intellect should be able to conclude that death is a igood/i, and it is just this will to withstand that constitutes the instincts that evolution necessarily imbued us with. All the instincts that are orthogonal to this need are contingent historical facts that attest to the vicissitudes of survival in the world our ancestors happened to inhabit, but the raw need to live is constitutive of any evolutionarily determined instinct. Again, this need is expressed in a correctly functioning intellect inot/i axiomatically, but implicitly. The same could be said of the various social pressures we are subjected to: we internalize some of them, but true intellect admits none as axioms, and implicitly displays all and only those that are necessary and proper for mindful creatures to live in relative harmony with one another. When we feel what is right (or more often, when we feel a wrong), our feelings may or may not be in accord with the proper functioning of our intellect. They ishould be/i in accord; that is: when we are moral, they iwill be/i in accord. And it is wiser by far to listen to phoenixes than wise old wizards, and if you just keep doing the right thing, you'll get in enough trouble.

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