|Reviews for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality|
| Cinnamon Selkie chapter 14 . 11/22/2010
Oh, right, she's expecting me to blackmail her for information about the prophecy.
Eh, Harry'd get around to that some other day.
Harry's mind seems to be a highly disturbing place.
Wow! He was going to get some sort of neat magical item as a quest reward! Apparently that business with refusing offers of monetary rewards until you got a magic item actually worked in real life, not just computer games.
Ditto my previous comment. Although I have often wondered about that myself...
"Excuse me," Harry managed to say, "but this sounds really really really REALLY DANGEROUS!" Harry's voice didn't quite rise to a shriek, he couldn't possibly scream loud enough to do this situation justice so there was no point in trying.
Harry makes a very good point. However, giving a child a time machine to cure a sleep disorder is definitely on a par with some of the wizarding world's other spiffy ideas. Giving a child a time machine to attend extra classes, for example.
Every mystery ever solved had been a puzzle from the dawn of the human species right up until someone solved it.
"When you try to find the Great Hall, you will get lost." Penelope stated this in the tones of a flat, unarguable fact. "As soon as you do, ask a portrait how to get to the first floor. Ask another portrait the instant you suspect you might be lost again. Especially if it seems like you're going up higher and higher. If you are higher than the whole castle ought to be, stop and wait for search parties. Otherwise we shall see you again three months later and you will be two years older and dressed in a loincloth and covered in snow and that's if you stay inside the castle."
*Gapes in horror and fascination* Hogwarts is about as strange and disturbing as Harry's mind. They deserve each other. Cinnamon.
| jcr chapter 60 . 11/22/2010
As I feel I have little to add in a way of constructive criticisme, I have not reviewed your story until now.
Still I have nothing much to add here, but I wanted to thank you for the effort you are putting into this very entertaining take on the story of Harry James Potter. I have been enjoying this read very much indeed. It is well written, challenging at some times, a rollercoaster-read at other times. I'll be back for more!
| ender13sfd chapter 13 . 11/22/2010
| lukstafi chapter 60 . 11/22/2010
I like the recent chapters a lot. Just a week ago I've been chatting how the Aristotelian to Newtonian (to Einsteinian) physics can be plotted as an obvious progress in hindsight and here you go.. But I like the emotional play around values even more.
| Apprivoisu chapter 5 . 11/22/2010
I haven't laughed this hard about a fanfic in a long time. This is a hilarious chapter. D I'm looking forward to more situations like that.
| Mind's III chapter 12 . 11/21/2010
I loved chapter 12. The idea that Harry might have retrospectively made Dumbledore act insane - or actually BE insane - was ingenious, funny, a remarkable twist on canon, and maybe even added an obstacle to Harry's progress, in accordance with your first rule of fan fiction. Still, I'm glad on the whole that he wasn't really to blame, because it seemed a bit cruel, a bit too heavy, too early on.
Actually it reminded me of the webcomic "Darwin Carmichael Is Going To Hell", in which the eponymous character accidentally makes the infant Dalai Lama retarded.
In retrospect, Harry wanting to drink the comed-tea immediately followed by "Harry inhaled his own saliva and went into a coughing fit" should have clued me in a lot earlier about the actual answer to how it worked; I'm kind of embarassed about NOT working it out on my own.
The Hogwarts song being sung with each person's favourite tune AND words is a nice escalation from canon.
| Mind's III chapter 11 . 11/21/2010
The chapter 11 omake is all enough to make me want to slug back a mug of comed-tea, especially the first few.
And I've got to say, at moments later in the fic when I didn't understand why things were happening as they were, a little voice in my head would tend to yell, "Fooled you again! HUFFLEPUFF! SLYTHERIN! HUFFLEPUFF!"
| Mind's III chapter 10 . 11/21/2010
For chapter 10, "the Sorting Hat singing its version of Evanescence's "My Immortal", which has never happened before" is a hugely better idea than the ghostbusters theme. Seriously, it's a hilarious image, maybe something that could be explored in omake? :P
On the topic of hilarious images, the concept of kicking the hat in its metaphorical balls has also stuck with me, for some reason.
Anyway, this chapter is brilliant in its exploration of what the sorting hat might actually BE, in terms of consciousness and what sort of processes are needed to sum up all the factors that go into sorting, and what they entail.
Brilliantly well-written, too, and the "Just kidding! Ravenclaw!" is definitely a crowning moment of awesome.
It's interesting that the hat has enough knowledge - for want of a better word, since it claims to mainly just be reading his thoughts and only have a vague clue about the minds of those it has sorted before - to warn him about legilimency. Enough sense of self-preservation, too, if it's motivation is to avoid having its reflective nature revealed.
All in all, the hat manages to have the perfect responses to all of Harry's wit and rhetoric, and sees through the bad thinking he engages in during the sorting. It's enough to make me want it to become a recurring character, since Quirrell is portrayed as basically malevolent-god-like in his discourse and seldom addresses Harry's thought processes at a level like this. The hat just makes a better foil.
| Mind's III chapter 9 . 11/21/2010
Chapter 9 is astute as usual with the canon ridiculocities:
"In what weird alternative universe would that girl not be Sorted into Ravenclaw? If Hermione Granger didn't go to Ravenclaw then there was no good reason for Ravenclaw House to exist."
And Neville going to Hufflepuff, naturally. I like that not only do you send the students to where in any sane universe they would have gone, but you also have already built up the justification for these two changes (Gryffindor prefect being useless in the train).
Monty Python references are for the win, of course. There's some nice immediate foreshadowing with Harry's "encounter with the ghosts" immediately before the much-maligned ghostbusters bit.
But... that ghostbusters thing. Even with the authorial note explaining it, and Lee Jordan, etc, it both
a) Breaks the suspension of disbelief, and
b) Is baffling and pointless to those, like me, who never really knew anything about ghostbusters beyond internet references to 'crossing the streams', and
c) Immediately made me re-sort the fic into the annoying-trashy-audience-pandering-genre when I first saw it. Luckily for me, I then did a double-take, since the apparent anti-immersive derailing was completely at odds with the favourable impression I'd built up of your work so far. Basically, I blotted it out of my mind and - well, not exactly had to force myself to go on reading, but certainly I became less keen for a while.
With a little rewriting, putting Lee Jordan explicitly in there suggesting it, and showing a bit of the background work that must have been involved in carrying out the Weasley plan, I think it could actually work. Barely. But I think it'd be better without it at all. Just my two knuts' worth.
And that said, the teaching staff's reactions seem to me to be EXACTLY how they would actually react.
| Mind's III chapter 8 . 11/21/2010
In chapter 8, Harry seems to have assimilated the 'dark lord lives on and only you can destroy him' pretty well, especially since he hasn't actually heard any details - him treating it all as a cliche story quest or computer game quest is pretty hilarious, particularly "PC or NPC, that is the question".
This version's Hermione annoys me for some reason I can't describe well. I think it's the combination of eleven-year-old naivety and fearsome intellect, or perhaps her strong unexamined moral stances. Something with her thinking, anyway. I'm glad she's at least a step ahead of Harry in not fearing a mere word, talking about "he who must not be named though I don't know why not".
Another pretty good chapter.
| mynameisthedoctor chapter 60 . 11/21/2010
Personally I always thought your version of Harry thought of stupidity itself as his natural enemy and that on a subconscious level it was his mission to enlighten people without alienating people to "Raise the overall standard of living" if I remember the wording from his description to Hermione of how he wants to take over the world. I think if I knew the things he knew about Azkaban I would orchestrate some kind of educational school field trip to the wizarding prison with as many Hogwarts students as I can as an investment that they will remember what they seen when they are adults either as ministry politicians or the people who vote for them.
| Mind's III chapter 7 . 11/21/2010
I don't have much to say about chapter 7. The comed tea is genius, of course.
The mention of the mechanical watch does make me surprised that Harry hasn't, throughout the fic, looked further at this thing about electronic devices not working in the presence of magic (or Hogwarts, whichever it is). I'd be worried about the sort of dangerous magnetic fields or radiation, etc, that might disrupt electrical things. It also sounds like a Clue about the nature of magic, and by the time he's capable of transfiguring devices, he really should be exploring this limitation.
| Mind's III chapter 6 . 11/21/2010
Chapter 6 is a brilliant and emotionally charged piece of writing. I had just a few problems.
Unfortunately, the paragraph starting "Harry stared at her in puzzlement. That was a self-evident axiom" is long enough that it might cause the reader to skip over it in self-defense. This is a pity since
a) it deflates the emotional tension and
b) it is one of the important rationality tracts and
c) it introduces the planning fallacy, which crops up again later.
You also have the spelling error 'anticpated' five-sixths of the way down the chapter.
"Possibility one: Magic was so incredibly opaque, convoluted, and impenetrable, that even though wizards and witches had tried their best to understand, they'd made little or no progress and eventually given up; and Harry would do no better.
Possibility two: He'd be taking over the world."
An interesting piece of foreshadowing here, with Harry setting up this false dichotomy. He conveniently ignores both the possibility that it's all controlled by a computer in Atlantis which needs certain keys, and the possibility that magic REALLY IS that arbitrary and you need to stir a potion six times clockwise and three times counterclockwise on monday to get it to do what you want.
I was still a teenager when I read the potter books, pretty much when they first came out, and I remember being extremely disappointed that we never get told ANYTHING about arithmancy. I couldn't understand why anybody would choose 'divination' or 'care of magical creatures' over something that sounded so interesting. Harry's little bookshop outburst here reminded me of that.
I'll also note that every time I read this fic, I notice Harry's black rages happening a bit earlier. And I realise they've been in there from the start. And there's all sorts of hints which suggest you have the general skeleton of this all planned out very far in advance.
Also, reading again for the purposes of reviewing, I realise just how much drama is in this chapter. It could have easily been split into two or three shorter ones, or each drama-cluster could have been fleshed out into a chapter of its own. Not that it's a bad thing, having condensed awesomeness.
Superb chapter on the whole.
| TempestDash chapter 60 . 11/21/2010
The one thing I'd really like to see is the rationalization for the paradox protection that seems to exist in the world established here. While I understand that there doesn't appear to be any alternative to have an internally consistent universe, I wonder how the safeguard works. If it was built into the time turner magic, that implies someone had a reason to incorporate such a protection, so wouldn't that also mean it is in fact possible to cause a pardox? Conversely, if its a feature of the universe, doesn't that mean the universe itself is conscious? I'm piqued.
Anyway, I just read this story from start to now over the last month and I have to say this is far and away one of the most facinating alt universe fics I've ever read. While I agree with some criticism I read prior to starting about the first 5-10 chapters being somewhat awkward (confirmation bias, I know...), with the Ghostbusters part almost being enough to get me to stop in its own, this story quickly rose to the top of my fanfiction hierarchy.
What you've got here is an excellently thought out story, filled with surprising twists and a definite lack of idiot ball holding, which is a pleasant change from many of the fan fics as I've read over the years. I've also enjoyed the lessons in rationality presented in the story, which have helped me recognize the inner rationalist within myself.
All in all, great job!
| w chapter 15 . 11/21/2010
Refund on the dark side.
I want to see Flitwick in action.
Terrible light of helpfulness.
The last line.
BTW, in 60 and elsewhere, Harry doesn't ask himself the obvious question - if not Azkaban, then what? He should come up with alternative first, before criticising, and indeed, in the chapter with Lestrange he does seem to realize an alternative is needed. Or maybe these are just his emotions (well written too).