|Reviews for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality|
| William H Stoddard chapter 20 . 5/9/2010
I do have to agree with the commenter who objected to your slighting reference to Atlas Shrugged, not least because it does not appear to reflect a careful reading of the book in question. In particular, it comes up in the following exchange:
"Not to mention," Harry said, "being a Dark Lord would mean that a lot of innocent bystanders got hurt too!"
"Why does that matter to you?" Professor Quirrell said. "What have they done for you?"
Now, Ayn Rand is famous as an advocate of selfishness; and many people conceive selfishness to mean doing anything one feels like, without caring if it harms other people, and thus conceive that the prototypical selfish person would be a criminal, a slave owner, or a dictator . . . or, in this context, a Dark Lord. And thus they suppose that Ayn Rand is advocating that people should become Dark Lords, and that her heroes ARE Dark Lords. But that's not at all her conception of selfishness. Rand makes it clear that she believes in the harmony of rightly understood interests, or the principle that one person cannot attain their own self-interest by preventing other people from pursuing theirs by force or fraud. This is not the common understanding of self-interest, I agree . . . in particular, it is not the one that is embedded in utilitarian thought . . . but it has a respectable philosophical ancestry of its own, including Plato's parable of the Ring of Gyges and Spinoza's political philosophy. Rand's strikers take an oath not only not to "live for the sake of another man," but also not to "ask another man to live for mine"—and enslaving other people would violate that oath.
The only one of Rand's major heroic characters who thinks otherwise, and seeks to pursue his own interest through power over others, is Gail Wynand in The Fountainhead. And he's a tragic figure who is destroyed by his own pursuit of power.
Now, I grant that you may not agree with Rand's view of selfishness. But for you to assume that the conception of selfishness that forms part of your philosophy is valid, and the one in Rand's philosophy is invalid, and to attack her for "really" advocating what you mean by "selfishness," without regard for what she means by "selfishness"—to assume that she advocates becoming a Dark Lord—is hard not to take as begging the question. Admittedly Harry might have read her just that hastily . . . obviously some bright people do . . . but it strikes a bit of a false note in his characterization as somebody who is more rational and more a product of the Enlightenment than anyone else in sight. It's a minor false note, but I found it disappointing. If you had Harry complain that Quirrell was sounding like Nietzsche, or Stirner, or Thrasymachus (in Plato's Republic), it would have worked better and made the point you were aiming at.
| Iadia chapter 20 . 5/9/2010
Here's my 2 cents: it makes perfect sense that Voldemort would befriend Harry. You can get to know your enemy in some ways by antagonizing him, but in different ways by befriending him. And you've managed to give Voldemort a credible situation in which he was able to do both. If people don't see that Quirrell is Voldemort... well, you didn't find that out for certain until the end of the first book anyway. So why not go ahead and let them be surprised? You don't have to make it obvious; in some ways it will have that much more emotional impact if it isn't.
| NORGCO chapter 20 . 5/9/2010
And the longer it goes on the more intrigued I am about this new Quirrell. Either:
1) He was not taken by Mold in the shorts, and the whole stuttering turban wearer bit was a disguise.
2) This is a different and altogether more dangerous version of Voldemort who has decided to mould Harry for some purpose of his own.
Both are intriguing ideas. Certainly the Quirrell presented is more what a Slytherin DADA professor should come across as.
Looking forward to more.
| The Corrupted Mind of Emmaline chapter 20 . 5/9/2010
I...I don't think there's any other way to say this... But...I... LOVE YOU! You're hilarious and a great writer, and imaginative, and you know how to make an insane Harry and an insane Dumbledore a good thing and...did I mention that I LOVE YOU? Because I do, really. Like, unconditionally! If I was wherever you are right now I'd hug you and then tie you to a chair then make you write more to the story because it's so FREAKING AWESOME! I simply, no matter how hard I tried, could NOT stop laughing at some of your chapters! This chapter was a slightly more serious one, but it was still GREAT! YOU ARE AMAZING, DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE! (Insert fan-girl scream here.) YOU! (And your writing you hilarity-ridden person, you!) Haha, the chicken!
| Peanuckle chapter 20 . 5/9/2010
And so Voldemort's servant get's his claws dug into Harry early on.
I can't wait for Harry to apply the scientific process to the development of magic itself. I can only imagine the kind of stuff he'd come up with. Maybe creating true AI with the assistance of a wand?
| He Who Rules With an Iron Hoof chapter 10 . 5/9/2010
I was worried for a moment there. It was implied that Harry would end up in Ravenclaw so much that I was fully prepared for him NOT to be in Ravenclaw, but obviously you are clever enough to sort him into the blue and bronze while avoiding fulfilling our expectations completely.
| quickshot0 chapter 20 . 5/9/2010
Hmmm, I think I finally might have an inkling of where this might all be heading... I also suspect that way lies much madness and lastly I suspect that Harry and Voldemort are divided deeply in the basic principles that guide their life.
So it's kind of funny how they get along, while ultimately they might be fated to each others worst kind of enemies and not just by fate or chance. But also by perspective and philosophy this time, basically how they view reality and what needs to be done about it. Which leads to Harry's ultimate plans, which are actually rather similar to my own, also they are rather insanely dangerous. Still, such is life with reality alteration, need to take some risks if you want to pull that off. I hope his alterations are worth the risk, well on the other hand, the 'muggles' will eventually get around to it themselves anyway.
Now to think of alternate ways to get rid of people using Horcruxes that are near impossible to get at. Well admittedly you could use a faster space probe to intercept and vaporise it, but that would still take ages unless you can some how magic something over. Hmmm, maybe some kind of signalling interrupt would be possible instead... Or a transfer of the whole 'spirit' to Pioneer, that would be ironic in a way.
| Nongarak chapter 20 . 5/9/2010
Wow. What a great two chapters. I didn't get a chance to review 19 immediately, so count this for two. I immensely enjoy your stories, and I am constantly amazed at both your skill in writing and your knowledge. Thank you, and please continue to be awesome. I have a few questions, though. 1) How old is Quirell supposed to be? Canon didn't specify, but you're making him sound pretty old, even if it's Voldemort talking. 2) Why is Voldemort so nice? I realize he has ulterior motives (it would be stupid if he didn't), but he doesn't seem that Voldemort-y at all. I actually like him. Likable!Voldemort is not something that appears all that often. Anyways, continue sciencing and being awesome. Thanks.
Oh, and in case you didn't know, you're fic wasn't deemed worthy of the Dark Lord Potter forums for some reason. Laaaaaame.
| Will Newsome chapter 20 . 5/9/2010
Also, were Lily and James smarter in this fanfic than than they were in canon? I mean, nurture goes a long way and all, but Harry seems to be at least 3 standard deviations (roughly 120-165) more intelligent in the fic.
| Von chapter 20 . 5/9/2010
I confess, I didn't enjoy this chapter at all. It's irritating to see Harry be so blatantly manipulated in EVERY way and during the same breath he draws to claim he's too smart to fall for other manipulations.
I get that he's a kid and this is one of the aspects of his immaturity. He's like Granger in a way where because he knows so much, he thinks he knows everything needed - at least for social situations. But Quirrell is leading him about by the nose so blatantly at times and Harry doesn't even think about it! Where's Draco's deal when you need it?
And so what was with that bit about the food? Harry didn't eat that stuff, he ate candy and cookies. Dumbledore only tested for legimency, apparently he should have tested for the Obliviation as well.
No, I got really excited about this story because it seemed to be a clever, humerous and fascinating look at revolutionising the wizarding world. Now it's doing a Book 6 and taking a sharp right into irritating and depressing land.
Oh well. I'm sure you won't miss one little reader! Have a good one!
| Will Newsome chapter 20 . 5/9/2010
You know, now that I think about it, this would be a damn good Fun Theory universe. And I suppose that you writing about it vastly increases its measure in a level 4 multiverse (though these things are very fuzzy unto me). I wonder if a djinn is going to pop up at some point to teach Harry and the readers a lesson or two about the hidden complexity of wishes. I'm not sure if you could pull off a djinn-as-uFAI chapter and have the story continue in any reasonable way. Maybe that will become the climactic story arc, though: "don't (or don't let Riddle) hit the big green button!" I hope Harry learned a lesson from the time experiment.
Chapters 18 and 20 were awesomely awesome. (I'm going to break the second rule and brag: Steve gave me quite a few Bayes points for guessing that the Pioneer plaque was horcruxed before reading the author's notes.) I find myself wishing that the next chapter will be about Harry and Malfoy, then I change my mind and hope it has more Quirrellmort, then I want to see more of Harry experimenting with magic, then I say scratch that, I'd like to figure out more about Dumbledore's motives, or what Hermione's been up to, et cetera, et cetera.
It's so well-written that I gave my mom a link to Chapter 1 for mother's day. :)
| CurrentlyIncognito chapter 20 . 5/9/2010
I am beginning to wonder if your Professor Quirrell has a second head, because he seems to be making Harry good! Oh, hello. : ) First time reviewing. I found this only two days ago and found it to be a really really enjoyable read. It's different and queer, but thoroughly enjoyable. :D Update soon!
| ejhawman chapter 20 . 5/9/2010
Send a Horcrux into interstellar space?
Yeah, that would make it last a while longer. It would imply that distance isn't a factor in the operation of the Horcrux; it will keep his spirit anchored just as effectively as a terrestrial Horcrux.
But it seems a radical departure from the character of the Potterverse that a non-Muggleborn wizard would pay enough attention to Muggle affairs to even think of this.
Truly, this Voldemort is smarter than your average wizard, and worthy of being a Dark Lord.
| Kageshimaru chapter 20 . 5/9/2010
I find myself being more impressed by each chapter. I can't wait until the next and the next and the next. I really struggle for what else to say besides how much I love this fic.
| SomeGuyFawkes chapter 20 . 5/9/2010
This chapter was entertaining, but it had several annoying fallacies and detail problems.
EG: The primacy of intentions fallacy, confusing technology and science, the oligarchy of eggheads fallacy, and even a random smear of "Atlas Shrugged".
We are also supposed to "know" that Voldemort is Quirrell, when the clues were ¿deliberate? lies.
Canon!Quirrell is NOT possessed by Voldemort - in the canon definition of possession. No one lasts long under such possession (Rowling). No, Quirrell semi-voluntarily allows Voldemort to reside on the back of his head - thus the need for the turban. Yet this Quirrell has no turban; maybe the possession will kill him by Christmas?
Also, Harry's scar is a superb Voldemort detector. Yet, Harry has had no debilitating pain on close exposure to Quirrell.
What is the range of a horcrux? There is no evidence that wizards have made it beyond (or even into) the Stratosphere. It may be that magic is confined to the biosphere of Earth. Perhaps Riddle's soul is spread too thin in more ways than one.
Why would Harry mention Pioneer, when by this time, it was all but forgotten for the faster, sexier, Voyager Program (which also had plaques)?
Finally, Dumbledore was OOC. It's not like him to go off half cocked. Rather he seems to get too much information and wait too long to act on it.
Anywho, these are nits because we love. This is an exceptional fanfic, so it gets held to a higher standard.