|Reviews for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality|
| queerlady chapter 5 . 5/27/2011
Thank chapter was really wonderfull.
| Ali Sara Card chapter 71 . 5/26/2011
I find, now that I begin to write this review, that I have far too much to say. Unfortunately, none of it is constructive, simply compliments on how phenomenal of a piece it is, both in the topics it covers, and the way it manages to wrap all of these topics into a single narrative strand (more or less). And while I am regularly flabbergasted by the crazy humor and situations of the story, I am loving every minute of it. Also love what I've read over on Less Wrong. Thanks!
| Curious Kiwi chapter 3 . 5/26/2011
Just a brief thought - a hammer of Titanium makes no sense - Titanium is light and strong (and associated with high technology in the normal readers' mind), but Tungsten is denser, harder, and better known than, say, Osmium, which is the densest element.
Oh yes, this is the story that introduced me to Harry Potter fanfic - my productivity may never recover ;-)
Please keep writing, and keep up the quality - I'm rereading this for about the umpteenth time.
| AnaRola chapter 71 . 5/25/2011
And... it's over.
I noticed a while ago that you hadn't updated in almost 2 months, and I was worried this moment would come. Actually, since virtually all your chapters end on something resembling a cliffhanger, I knew this moment would come.
The last couple chapters are convincingly done; I like the return of the playful tone, the characters who are convincingly 11 or 12, and, of course, the plotting in the background. Keep it Harry-focused, though...
Leaving reviews doesn't really seem to be enough for a story that consumed the last two days of my life and will probably change the way I think about things for a while. Especially since with over 12,000, you probably don't even read them.
I hope someday you update again. I'll probably check obsessively every five minutes between 9:30 pm my time and 10:30 pm (my time). for the next couple of weeks, but no pressure. It's not like thousands of people are counting on you.
| Ketch117 chapter 12 . 5/25/2011
So I want to like this story. I really do. It's engaging, well-written, and has it's own take on the Harry Potter universe that is refreshing to see, to be honest. Because you are absolutely correct about many of the points you raise.
But, to be harsh but accurate, I find it has gone downhill, or rather, never really took off. Not meaning to be overly critical, but its main problem is it's characters. Or, particularly, character singular, the protagonist. Harry doesn't act like an eleven year old on the start of a wonderful adventure, in a whole new world discovering new with every glance. He acts like a pretentious twenty year old majoring in Philosophy and Science, who has been mistakenly given Nietzsche. I don't find his behavior in anyway accurate or believable, and as a consequence can't really make myself care about the rest of the story. Apparently he is well read. Nothing wrong with that, I was well-read (though more in the genre of fiction) when I was that age, but being well-read still has it’s limits, and there is only so much he’d be capable of understanding.
First up: It doesn't matter how smart he is, or rather how good his deductive capabilities are, and how much knowledge he has in his brain. Where did all the emotional intelligence come from? Why is he acting like a grown man, when he's eleven? At the very least he should be demonstrating savant like characteristics as his mind overtakes his experience, but instead he’s slightly egocentric and mostly unbelievable.
Second up: Even if we assume he’s a Mentant or whatever, where did all this experience come from? And why is he worrying about, say, conservation of mass instead of conservation of energy? And while he does apply the scientific technique properly, he asks things like ‘where did all the mass go?’ and not things like ‘where does the energy that makes the mass vanish come from?’ or ‘why do some people have magic and others not? Is their some aspect of their physiology that makes it so?’ which seems to me to be a better use of it.
It’s possible to write a convincing child genius, and you’re idea is in the right direction, but I feel you’ve done too much too fast, presenting him as this to a ludicrous, unbelievable extent from day one rather then building it up overtime. Rather then develop these traits overtime, he’s presented this way from the start, that leaves no real opening for Character development,
Ultimately, I can’t bring myself to keep reading, despite liking the premise, but I thought I should give you a critique.
| TsukiNoBara chapter 71 . 5/25/2011
Very interesting. Definitely subscribing to the story.
Also, I was checking the TV Tropes page, and I saw that I was right about something that I failed to comment on in chapter 54. I was pretty sure that Dragon Poker was the game I thought it was (especially when the number of players and what day it was determined some of the rules), but it's been a while since I've read Myth Adventures.
Also, I just remembered something else I failed to comment on, but meant to: Hehe, Peter Pevensie at Hogwarts.
| Tennekrone chapter 71 . 5/25/2011
The more that I visit this page to find that, once again, a new chapter has not been posted, the more inclined I am to remove this page from my bookmarks and never visit it again. I have forgotten far too much of the plot line in the time since the last chapter was posted-a length of time much longer than your planned hiatus. I used to be disappointed when there wasn't a new chapter, but I now I just expect it, and I'm starting to not care anymore. I used to check every night; now I check less than once a week. I can no longer remember what made me excited to read this story, and the lack of new material does not inspire me in the slightest to go back and reread the story. It just makes me want to stop reading. And that makes me sad. So please, if you're going to update, then do it soon. If you're not, just let us all know so that we can move on with our lives and stop worrying about rationality's place in them.
| AnaRola chapter 54 . 5/25/2011
The last few chapters change tone pretty dramatically, but I think it's extremely well done. I love how - first with the Dementors, now with the Azkaban breakout - you're working within all of the cliches and traditions of the Harry Potter fandom and turning them on their head. Harry's breaking Black out of Azkaban - Bellatrix Black.
The one problem with that is that it seems like Harry is behaving in an uncharacteristically stupid manner. I don't really know what you could to to avoid that reaction - You set up Harry's dislike of Azkaban, his attachment to Professor Quirrell, and his determination to start becoming a hero/God quite well, but no matter how complete the setup is I think anyone who's remotely familiar with canon will recognize "Break Bellatrix out of Azkaban" as a monumentally stupid idea. Maybe have the book Harry reads about Sirius also mention that all trails for Death Eaters after the end of the war were show trials, and that Bellatrix's trial specifically lasted 3 minutes and did not involve the introduction of evidence?
As for what Quirrell (assuming he is Voldemort in this fic) seems to get from breaking Bellatrix out, I'm stuck. Blackmail Harry? Doesn't really make sense. That blood-bone-flesh resurrection ritual? Canon!Voldemort came back pretty powerful using Pettigrew, who was far from a loyal servant, so taking the risk to get Bellatrix (and forewarning Dumbledore that he's planning a return) seems stupid. Whatever Quirrell's motives, I have a feeling he's not being stupid.
That alone says a lot about your story; usually when reading something and a character is doing something that makes no sense, I assume the author wrote the character badly or needed them to fill a plot hole. In this story, I'm inclined to assume you're just several levels above me.
Very few fanfiction writers can write dialogue/humor/lighter stuff and write heavy/plot-driven/action segments. You did well when the action was itself pretty funny/light, with the battles, but here you show you can handle a fairly intense sequence as well. I honestly don't know how Harry is going to get out of this, but I'm sure he will, mainly because Quirrell is such an amazing character you can't give him up quite yet. I'm going to guess some people have probably criticized this for the dramatic shifts in tone/energy, and it does give me mental whiplash, but I think that's half the appeal.
I'm not going to read this chapter three times before I find out what happens next; that would just be torturing myself.
| TsukiNoBara chapter 69 . 5/25/2011
I've been meaning to point this out for a while, but the spell is "ennervate," not "innervate."
Also, you totally get bonus points for mentioning the House of Sparklypoo. Poor Daphne, though.
| AnaRola chapter 47 . 5/25/2011
And...this chapter was fantastic. Breathtaking. Adjectives don't really describe it, so I'll just say that I was crying a little. And that I cracked up at the end and it took me five minutes to calm down enough to write this.
I said already, I think, that the Harry-Draco interaction is one of this fics strongest parts. I'm not a Draco Malfoy fan, in canon or in fanfiction, but your Draco is in a lot of ways a stand in for the reader, as he learns Harry's utterly bizarre way of looking at the world. He's also very convincingly torn between Harry and his father, never more so than in this chapter, and the revelation about Narcissa is heartbreaking and brilliant.
I really appreciate that you didn't have science and rationality redeem Draco overnight. Because that isn't the way things work, and even if you can change your beliefs about somethings in an instant (you've pretty much persuaded me on death in the last two hours), completely overhauling your world view takes longer. I care about this Draco a lot, and I care about his journey as much as Harry's, and this chapter has just passed the last Harry-Draco one (Machiavellian Intelligence Hypothesis) as my favorite in the fic.
I love Draco's interpretation of Dumbledore's story, though I really, really hope there's something more to the picture. Making Dumbledore evil is too much of a cliche - no, not a cliche really, it's that it's the easy way out. Harry and Dumbledore don't see eye-to-eye on death, science, rationality, or much of anything. SO far, it's been implied that Dumbledore, like most adults in Harry's life - just doesn't question his own assumptions much, and spends most of his intelligence defeating himself. If it turns out that he's just evil, that's too easy.
It seems inevitable that Harry and Draco's deal will go wrong. The most obvious problem is if Dumbledore was destroying a Horcrux and the fire got out of control, but I know better by now than to try to predict where this story is headed.
The ending, of course, was brilliant. "SNAKES ARE SENTIENT!"
| AnaRola chapter 39 . 5/25/2011
I have to say, this chapter must be my least favorite of all the ones so far. Your characterization of Dumbledore is the only character that isn't better than canon, and when you've improved Voldemort and Harry and even Draco and McGonagall and Hermione, you need a competent Dumbledore.
Of course, seeing as Dumbledore is actually right, maybe your point is just that Harry sees him that way, not that he actually is that way. Which is interesting as a means of pushing Harry closer to Quirrell. -3 points on the Anti-Dark-Lord Harry plan, and so forth.
But even if that's your point, I don't think the execution is up to the ridiculously high standards of your writing in the first 38 chapters of this. Dumbledore seems like he's being willfully stupid in places, and so does Harry. And you'd think that discovering magic exists would be cause enough to question your beliefs about souls and the afterlife.
But if I'm honest, maybe that's my main problem with this chapter - Harry wants everyone to live forever? Really? Maybe after he's figured out FTL travel this would seem like a reasonable priority. But giving everyone immortality in the world we live in now seems like it would be a disaster. If Harry doesn't think that - and I've learned enough from this fic to suspect that I might find his/your argument persuasive - then he would need to present a solution to the problem of overpopulation, hunger, ect. that would result. And a conversation with Dumbledore doesn't seem like the best way to do that, since it's not in Dumbledore's character to point out the overpopulation argument (it's not the way he thinks about things).
SO take this as an example of the initial reaction of someone who hadn't thought a lot about death, before.
Second reading: (I read all your chapters 3 times before going on to the next one, more often if there's science I don't know) it's obvious that this is something Harry/you has thought about a lot, and it's interesting (until today it never even occurred to me to think about living forever, let alone to set that as a goal)but a world that actually does have an afterlife doesn't seem like the best setting. Dumbledore still comes across as an idiot. I'm trying to come up with objections to immortality in general (in a world where resource shortages, ect. weren't a problem) and the voice in my head that sounds like your Harry keeps smacking them down. Everybody? Live forever?
I feel like this is a dangerous path to go down in thinking, in our real world; there aren't any philosopher's stones, and there isn't much point in realizing exactly how tragic and pointless death is when we can't actually do anything about it.
Liked this a little better on the second read-through.
Third reading: (sorry, I usually don't comment on my second and third read-through of a chapter, but this chapter had so much of an effect on me I thought I'd give you the complete story):
"I'm not evil, I'm just very creative."
This story is a gold mine of awesome quotes. This chapter particularly, although I still don't like it. Dumbledore at the beginning, asking Harry why he didn't write down his conversation with Malfoy, is perfect; Dumbledore at the end, trying desperately to fit Harry into a narrative that doesn't make sense, still doesn't quite work. Or if that's only the way Harry sees him, and this chapter is colored more than most by Harry's perception, then there should be some way of making that clearer...
So I've complained a lot about this chapter, and I did find it jarring, and it remains my least favorite in the book. But yo made me think about something I'd literally never considered before, in a Harry Potter fanfiction no less, so I'll give you credit for that.I'm going to have to check out that website of yours as soon as I finish this story...I've written all this about you, and my guesses about your motivations and so forth, and its going to turn out you aren't a person at all but a group, or you're an evangelical Christian.
I'll keep reading.
| raven2103 chapter 3 . 5/25/2011
Lol, 4 spoon. I am also immediately implementing the bookstore rule. Thanks for that.
| raven2103 chapter 2 . 5/25/2011
This is brilliant. I love the last bit McGonagall leaves Harry with. I nearly burst a blood vessel laughing!
| Guest chapter 1 . 5/25/2011
Love the shout out to the Fennyman lectures - very cool premise.
| AnaRola chapter 28 . 5/24/2011
I thought I understood quantum physics, but I'm pretty sure I don't understand it well enough to do partial transfiguration. That is now my new standard for really understanding things; do I understand it well enough to make new contributions to magic, if it existed? And there's a voice in the back of my head that sounds like Harry whenever I think. You are an evil genius.
I'm loving the use-of-science-in-magic theme again. This story is at its strongest with the Harry-Draco interaction, the Harry-Hermione interaction, and all of the places where science is actually integrated into the story, instead of just being a random lecture dropped by Harry when he's showing off how good he is. I also love Professor McGonagall, and the subtle world building you do, which blows J.K Rowling out of the water at times. The comment on Dumbledore using partial transfiguration in combat, and still being alive, made a lot of sense to me.
That's the other thing about this story. Sometimes, usually when Harry's explaining science, but sometimes when someone else is explaining magic, it just clicks in my head and makes perfect sense. It's an amazing feeling, and I am in awe of you for being able to consistently achieve it.
Snape... that one doesn't make sense to me. I reread it four times, actually, since I have a feeling you're dropping clues all over this narrative if I were only smart enough to see them, and I still don't get it. Is this the change in behavior Harry commented on? What's Harry playing at, anyway? What's Snape playing at? So... I notice that I am confused. I'll leave it at that, for now.
If you're making this up as you go along, I'm going to be hugely disappointed. Otherwise, assuming you ever finish it, it may be the most fantastic thing ever written.
Unfortunately, I don't think my physics teacher will take "I was up until 3 reading Harry Potter fanfiction about quantum physics!" as an excuse when I fail her final tomorrow - scratch that, later this morning.