Reviews for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
capdancer chapter 49 . 10/9/2010
Struck me as a low-key chapter for building to the next climax, lacking the more poignant moments that are characteristic of the author. I missed a couple of the inferences, but that may just be me - what Harry is thinking but not quite described in the text.

Harry is facing the persistent problem of Quirrell out-guessing him, apparently not realising that the Professor always has more information to hand than Harry does. This makes me wonder when Harry will change the rules again; in the recent chapters, Harry realised things about the Dementors and the Patronus Charm that put him in control and allowed him to surprise both Quirrell and Dumbledore.

The dominoes seem to be falling...or maybe it's that the penny is dropping, too: for Harry, the ultimate rationalist, the irony seems to me that friendship & love are not rational at all...but they are all that might save him.
Overlooked Supporting Cast chapter 49 . 10/9/2010
First of all, and this is just for starters, "Then here is what I might have done at your age, if there had been anyone to do it for -" is the most ominous ending line I've seen in a long, long time. Frankly, I'm kind of disturbed at the thought you will shortly demonstrate how Quirrelmort might have expressed... youthful affections. Kudos.

Beyond that, though, I notice I am confused. You reintroduce the Chamber of Secrets, not only a key plot point, but a titular feature of the setting. Then, within the same conversation, you seemingly dismiss it entirely as one of the 'obvious mistakes' your Rational!Voldemort manages to avoid. From a narrative standpoint, this seems a little flimsy, and it provoked me to think about it.

So Salazar is a genius. He puts a secret spell on his rival's own intelligent quasi-living hat, he manages a secret chamber underneath all four Founders' noses, he puts wards around it so powerful that the geniuses that follow him, up to and including Dumbledore, cannot penetrate them. He figures out a way around the Interdict of Merlin, that which is causing the decline of magic itself, and engineers everything so perfectly that none other than a 'geniune' Heir of Slytherin ever does discover the chamber.

We're expected to buy that Voldemort foils his plans, the plans of an unmatched ancient genius who lived, fought, and died in the Middle Ages, with a single common spell? I can understand that Voldemort might think that, given his arrogance, given that none of his contemporaries are both as intelligent and vicious as he. That's the sort of mistake he might make. I don't see why Harry would reach Quirrelmort's suggested conclusion and just... stop, though. It has to occur to him that anyone who could make a snake immortal would probably rather make himself immortal instead, that -line- of basilisks makes more sense from an implementation standpoint. And that is only one possibility. It has to occur to him that Salazar Slytherin, of all people, would anticipate treachery and viciousness, given his life and times, even before his reputed attitude. It has to occur to him that Voldemort cannot outsmart everyone. That he had to miss something, somewhere.

Either way, Harry is likely to make a visit, but I can't imagine him doing so while expecting to be disappointed. Right now, he is using his ironic idol's reasoning as a stop sign. He followed along Quirrelmort's arguments and accepts the conclusions. I'll be extremely surprised if it remains that way.

So, instead of actually reviewing your writing, as I originally intended, I find myself on the tail end of four brief paragraphs of character and plot speculation. You may consider that a passing grade. I'd assign you a numeric score, a percentile of some sort, or maybe a letter, but I've abandoned such systems. You've so completely spoiled the curve that everything else pales in comparison, and I've retreated to the tribal dichotomy of acceptance/rejection in an almost bewildered consternation.

Hybrid Theory is making a good attempt at keeping up, though, for all that it outright celebrates the tired cliches of self-insert fanfiction. Thanks for the recommendation. It never ceases to amaze me just how many Ranma crossovers there are out there.
mantimeforgot chapter 49 . 10/9/2010
How odd...

So the Parselmouth is able to instill sentience in any snake-like creature... including a patronus...

Even supposing that it is personal magic, the materialistic hypothesis of consciousness is still heavily damaged, since this parsel-magic does not seem to discriminate animagus form from natural serpent. The animagus form will be "identical" to a natural serpent in terms of construction and yet a human intellect is able to inhabit it... somehow, and further still parsel-magic is able to temporarily? instill a comparable sentience into all serpent-like beings.

Quirrel almost certainly knows that Harry leaked the secret. The question is why does Quirrel not press the issue? Quirrel seems shocked that Harry is willing to be "loyal" or "kind" to him, and yet he knows that Harry is the kind of person who would destroy dementors rather than use them, hangs out with Granger, and would tell about the Slytherin secret... I notice that I am confused, but I think this is because I am missing a premise, not that any of my priors are demonstrably false.

Overall very good chapter again. I look forward to the exchanges between Harry and Quirrel in the future.
mynameisthedoctor chapter 49 . 10/8/2010
This chapter was TROPERIFIC!
anon chapter 49 . 10/8/2010
...Dang for a second I thought Quirrel was about to drop a rule from the Evil Overlord list but then I realized the list was made in 1995...
w chapter 6 . 10/8/2010
On second thought, yeah, why not simply ask Rowling for permission and publish for money. Not that she'd be likely to give one, I guess...

Good things

"With respect, Mr. Potter, I'm quite sure I don't. Unless - this is just a guess, mind - you're trying to take over the world?"

"No! I mean yes - well, no!"

"Technology isn't the same thing as science at all". Quite.

Sore loser.

"Important problem". Even more quite.

"Lightning" - quite hilarious.

Amazing conversation with McGonagall on medical kits.

Planning fallacy. Really, I don't think there's any better vehicle of teaching people about cognitive biases than this.

"MG told him to think before he spoke... wouldn't remember this tomorrow". Say what? In the light of his lecture to Weasley brothers later on?

Pet rock. Hilarious again.

Abused - there is some possible hint here , but I know I won't get any, so whatever :). Is it the dark side?

Sirius Black. The Dark Lord. Boy, I forgot how good this chapter was.

The dark side on.

Minerva is going a bit too much.

Top of the heap, nice. 1 point even more nice.

Number two position - hilarious again.

BTW, at this rate I won't get to chapter 49 for quite some time, but it is quite clear that Quirrell can't be Voldemort, given he turned into a snake, that would be way too strong indicator of evilness. I'd now bet Dumbledore.
stoictimer chapter 49 . 10/8/2010
wow. it's been a long long time since I've found a story that just blew my mind away. It's amazing that there hasn't been one huge confrontation/battle against voldemort yet. The anticipation and tension is killer for me. I love how you give us teasers and hints of the original timeline and are able to hold this story on your own terms ... and not lie heavily on Rowling's plot arches.

The draco/harry friendship and it's complications rang true to me... thank you for not making it so easy for them to shake hands and be the best of friends.

The entire time I've been trying to figure out Quirrell... i love the new re-vamped Quirrell (i hated his stutters in the series) and i'm beginning to buy that he might haven't any connection to the one in the book... other than he took on the DA position. . . can't shake my suspicions but it's one of the things that got me hooked onto your story. thank you for sharing!
LunaSlashSea chapter 49 . 10/8/2010
Excellent chapter
LunaSlashSea chapter 48 . 10/8/2010
Excellent chapter
LunaSlashSea chapter 47 . 10/8/2010
Excellent chapter
DeMarquis chapter 48 . 10/8/2010
Quote:

"Look, Hermione... if you worry that much about what other people think, if you're unhappy whenever other people don't picture you exactly the same way you picture yourself, that's already dooming yourself to always be unhappy. No one ever thinks of us just the same way we think of ourselves."

"I don't know how to explain to you," Hermione said in a sad soft voice. "I'm not sure it's something you could ever understand, Harry. All I can think of to say is, how would you feel if I thought you were evil?"

"Um..." Harry visualized it. "Yeah, that would hurt. A lot. But you're a good person who thinks about that sort of thing intelligently, you've earned that power over me, it would mean something if you thought I'd gone wrong. I can't think of a single other student, besides you, whose opinion I'd care about the same way -"

"You can live like that," whispered Hermione Granger. "I can't." Endquote.

‘’That’’ is the single most interesting thing he has written so far. It highlights exactly what is different about Harry, how close Harry and Hermione really are in spite of being so different, and why the vast mass of ordinary people can never be truly very rational.

Who among us hasn’t thought the same thing as Harry? No one can ever truly understand us the way we would wish to be understood, which is the way we understand ourselves. Never mind that other people’s idea of us may in some ways be more accurate, or worse yet, more meaningful than the idea we have of ourselves, we still want to be validated. The difference with Harry is, he’s given this up. That’s what makes him an extraordinary character. But most of us cant live that way. We’re actually doomed to be unhappy.

Harry is doomed to be unhappy as well, just in a different way.

Stop calling this a downer, tragedy is the highest form of literature: it gives the work gravitas.

The whole snake talking thing feels like a comical interlude. I cant see it going anywhere. Yudkowski seems to be using it to set up his parody of the Chamber of Secrets, but even so, knowledge of cannon aside, evaluating these two chapters as if they belonged to a stand-alone work of fiction, it feels like a digression. It has been pointed out, however, that if Quirrel is Voldemort, then Quirril is lying about his reasons for being interested in the Chamber of Secrets. It will be interesting to find out where that goes.
Squeamish chapter 15 . 10/8/2010
Your transfiguration mechanics are interesting.

I wonder what would happen if you were to transfigure food into food? Chicken into Bald Eagle, for instance.
Tall Tails - Feline Jaye chapter 49 . 10/8/2010
Hm... I wonder if he thinks Harry & Hermione fancy each other... (and I add that I hope they don't).

Horray for quick updates, nice little chapter.
LunaSlashSea chapter 46 . 10/8/2010
Excellent chapter
LunaSlashSea chapter 45 . 10/8/2010
Excellent chapter
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