|Reviews for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality|
| Benquo chapter 63 . 12/30/2010
Loserthree raises some good points. Swapping bodies at the price of his memory would seem to satisfy the desire shared by Harry's Dark Side (and attributed to Voldemort by Dumbledore) Not To Die, though not in any meaningfule sense the desire to live or continue as the same person.
But I'm worried about resolving every funny little thing by saying that *yet another* person in Voldemort; this isn't Battlestar Galactica, they can't *all* be Voldemort. And Quirrel drops too many very specific hints, such as "My family is long since dead at the dark lord's hand"/"I resolved my parental issues to my own satisfaction", so any explanation for HV needs to take into account Quirrel's apparent belief that QV (one possible though much less probable hypothesis being QG...)
| Him-mione chapter 63 . 12/30/2010
Maybe I missed it, but what does Harry intend to do with the criminals in Azkaban?
He wants to destroy it because it's just such a terrible place, but what's his plan for afterwards? Maybe some of the prisoners are innocent, but it's improbable that all of them are. Certainly the Dementors are terrible, but Harry wants to blow up the *prison,* which is something else entirely. He said to Dumbledore "maybe the phoenixes are just waiting for us to take the prisoners out of their cells."
There comes a point when kindness to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent, which I think he may be starting to realize with the whole "we broke Bellatrix Black out of Azkaban because Quirrel said to!" at the end of ch. 63, but he's still not thinking long-term. It's great that he's got a moral center that says "Dementors are bad, mmkay" but the justice system still has to go on, and something has to be done with those who break the social contract.
I agree that the way Azkaban works is wrong, because (IMO) the point of the justice system is to repair the hurt caused by criminal action, and, if possible, rehabilitate the wrongdoer. Azkaban simply punishes, but offers no restitution for the victim, nor rehabilitation for the guilty (mostly due to the Dementors). What is Harry's plan for after he destroys Azkaban?
Looking forward to the next chapter!
| Kristoffer Forslund chapter 1 . 12/30/2010
This applies to the work as a whole, and to its many facets. I cannot praise this enough. I think I understand exactly what the author is trying to say and present, both philosophically and as a work of fiction, and I have been looking for exactly that in so many places. I would go so far as to say that it is worth it to read Harry Potter solely for the purpose of then getting to fully enjoy Methods of Rationality. I fully mean this.
If there is one thing I would point out as detracting, it would be that Harry sometimes displays a slightly patronizing chivalry towards Hermione. But this is a small detraction only, and somewhat balanced by her own efforts to work against it.
| AlexMBrennan chapter 45 . 12/30/2010
The following is probably not all that helpful, but the death/immortality themed scenes here (and in previous chapters) seriously made me want to stop reading - I read this for my enjoyment, and there are things I don't enjoy reading.
That's a bit unfortunately as the story is otherwise quite interesting.
| danielolhotmail.com chapter 63 . 12/30/2010
I read through the current 63 chapters in about a day, so obviously I enjoyed it. I just wanted to share one thought - not that I imagine it will change much, but it's the only one I got to put in a review.
I think sometimes the story switches genres a bit. In some places, it is a parody; in some places, it is a dark psychological thriller; and sometimes it's a kind of science fiction introduced to fantasy. Of course a work can incorporate several genres at once; but it is my impression as a reader that these genres rather bump heads than co-exist. To put it in another way, it does not seem natural to have parodies of the characters in one chapter and in others they act like manipulative bastards (I think Dumbledore is the one I have the most problems with; he seems like two characters that happens to share name and thus take turns in appearing in the story).
I think if this was to take the jump from being a fanfic to an independent story it should decide on which type of genre it wants to devote itself too. Aspects of the other genres should only be allowed then, if they do not disrupt the impression of the prevailing genre.
Of course you may be satisfied with this being a fanfic, or simply disagree with my assessment. That's more than fair, it's your story. I just wanted to leave a review, be a good reader so to say, now that I have enjoyed your story so much. Thank you for the read, and I hope my criticism causes no offence. I have included my e-mail since it would be unfair to leave these words and give no chance of an answer, but you are of course not obligated in any way to answer me; it was just in case.
| Joarib chapter 4 . 12/30/2010
A good thing that Harry asks all the questions that were unasked in the original books but I think that he might be a little too long forward in his shoes. I mean he's only 11.
| Ivar Hugo chapter 63 . 12/30/2010
First, let me begin by saying that this is a most magnificent story. You must have the best command of the *awesome* that I’ve ever seen in a fan-fic. Contrary to most other fan-fictions, the rewards and pay-offs never feel cheap, but perfectly justified within the context of the story. For instance, in the chapters “Reductionism” and “Humanism” (the entire sequence) Harry’s progress does not happen out of the blue; instead, you’ve put effort and work into the process and consequently his breakthroughs are all the more satisfying. It seems I can only credit your Rationalist Fanfiction Principle for this; such a marvellous idea.
There is a little point I wanted to bring up, however, and it concerns the aftermath of the “Coordination Problems”-sequence. It seems to me that both Hermione and Draco erred somewhat when they announced that their wishes from Quirrell were that their respective Houses win the Cup. Wouldn’t they alienate all the soldiers in their armies who belong to Houses other than their General? Since Harry did not ask for such a divisive (arguably) favour, shouldn’t he be able to motivate his own soldiers much better than Hermione and Draco, since Harry’s soldiers would know that when they fight for their General, they do not undermine their own Houses, whereas such thoughts must be on the minds of the soldiers fighting for Dramione’s Sungon Argiment. To my mind, at least the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff soldiers in Draco’s and Hermione’s armies would be ripe for treason and defection to Harry’s side. It would be very interesting to see if this impacts any future developments in these wargames.
I’m looking forward to your next update. Keep up the good work.
| Anon chapter 63 . 12/30/2010
Where is the new chapter, Less Wrong?
You said there would be a new chapter.
| LadyRowyn chapter 63 . 12/30/2010
I just want to say that I love this story (I read every installment to date in one giant gulp on my phone, which doesn't handle the review function, hence you only get one review. Sorry!) I am not a big reader of fanfic - in fact, I can't name any other fanfic I've read, although there've been a few over the years - but this one grabbed me from the start. It's smart, funny and unpredictable. And the characters really feel true to their alternate-universe originals. Well done!
| loserthree chapter 63 . 12/30/2010
In before the update.
It's Speculation Time again!
HJPEV is not actually Harry Potter. HJPEV is Voldemort. He transferred himself into the infant Harry Potter and then was obliviated. Perhaps he swapped bodies and the body of Tom Riddle, in which rested the infantile mind of Harry Potter, was then burned to a crisp.
This was all done with the assistance of Bellatrix Black who then left the scene and traveled to some 'safe' location before obliviating herself. After she had obliviated herself, she attempted to return Voldemort's wand to him, but of course could not find him and heard he was destroyed by an infant he had, apparently, confronted alone. She then stored his wand under his father's gravestone.
This answers the question of how Bella got the wand without knowing what happened to Voldemort when Voldemort needed his wand to use the Killing Curse on James and Lily Potter. We find out about Bellatrix and the wand in Chapter 53, "I hid it in the graveyard, my lord, before I left," even though she doesn't know what happened to him.
Why would Voldemort obliviate himself? For one thing it would fulfill that pesky prophesy without dying and for another it would allow him to lay low and one day renew his pursuit of his goals from another angle. Also it may have made Voldemort more compatible with Harry Potter's infant body. In Chapter 46, Quirrell says, "One can never quite disentangle the mind from the body it wears."
In Chapter 43, Quirrell says, "Our worst memories can only grow worse as we grow older." This may be a hint about What's Wrong With HJPEV, namely, his obliviated memories of his life as Tom Riddle's have made him very capable with disassociation, prone to cold rage, vulnerable to dementors, and exceptionally good at broomstick riding.
That's why the rememberall lit up like a sun. He had forgotten an entire lifetime.
That's an in-universe hint, something the characters could guess. But there are hints for the readers, too.
Chapter 38, my favorite, is _packed_ with hints. The _wonderful_ conversation with Lucius Malfoy shows us that Malfoy has figured out at least part of the Dark Lord's JC Two-Step, but it's the Quibbler hints that _really_ shine.
HJPEV is 65 years old because he is Voldemort. Since Lucius knows this, Lucius has a very different understanding of the line, "I prefer to deal with the part of House Malfoy that's my own age." than HJPEV does.
HJPEV is betrothed to Bellatrix Black because he is Voldemort. Poor Bella.
HJPEV's betrothals to Luna Lovegood and Hermione Granger are less clear and perhaps more likely the product of Xenophilius' wish-fulfilling interpretations of Luna's vision. Of course I might also be missing something here.
As I've mentioned before, the suggestion "Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew were secretly the same person" is probably related to how Sirius got out of Azkaban as suggested in chapter 6, "The best way to get out would be to not go there in the first place."
But who and even what, then, _is_ Quirrell. He is _not_ a good person; we know that much because he killed Rita Skeeter and the author likely killed off Skeeter specifically so we would know that Quirrell is not a good person. He is amazingly powerful; although there were hints before, we _know_ that because of his performance against the auror in Azkaban. He is either _very_ intelligent and clever or in possession of very dependable foreknowledge; we know this because of just about every damn thing he does, but a good example is how he reacted when confronted with Snape-in-HJPEV's-form. He chose to lose to Snape when we know he did not have to, and he must have either chosen to do so in an instant or planned to do so ahead of time.
I believe Quirrell is some kind of key that Voldemort prepared ahead of this infantilization, so that he could recover his knowledge at a later date. Quirrell might even _be_ that knowledge. Or perhaps Quirrell is a horcrux. Perhaps the reason for HJPEV's feelings of DOOOM is the soul fragment leaking out a bit and clashing or something. Does that even make sense?
But are they souls? What is a soul in Less Wrong's rationalist take on the Potterverse?
So if HJPEV _is_ Voldemort, then who is the antagonist?
I suggest that Dumbledore is the antagonist. He is the most powerful wizard in the world and has done some very nasty things, like waiting to face Gindlewald until the point where he would gain the maximum power from doing so, mercilessly burning Narcissa Malfoy alive, sending the infant Harry Potter to live with cruel step-parents, setting fire to a live chicken, setting up Snape to play James Potter for a Uriah, abusing and killing his sister, and treating people as though they were pieces on a game board.
Dumbledore is deathist, so there's Author Appeal for him to be the antagonist.
Also, there's the way things worked out in The Sword of Good.
And HJPEV as Voldemort makes a lot of things make sense, but there's a problem: the last line of the flashback from Chapter 43.
"And the boy in the crib saw it, the eyes, those two crimson eyes, seeming to glow bright red, to blaze like miniature suns, filling Harry's whole vision as they locked to his own -"
Until that point, the whole flashback thing makes _more_ sense with HJPEV as Voldemort. After all, why would anyone have such a clear memory from when they were not even two years old?
So.. yeah. I'm not sure how that would work.
I had suggested, before, that Quirrell is manipulating HJPEV into a closer relationship using tools that Less Wrong was identifying for us. Since then I've noticed that Dumbledore has tried and failed to do the same.
Reciprocation pressure is described in Chapter 7 when Draco uses it on Harry. In this case HJPEV notices and Less Wrong lets the reader in on how it works. Later, in Chapter 20, Quirrell uses reciprocation pressure when he confesses to HJPEV that he did _something_ to the Pioneer Plaque. In this case HJPEV does not notice the manipulation, but it sure seems to work. Dumbledore uses reciprocation pressure in Chapter 17 when he reveals the terrible secret in the diary and likely again when he confesses to HJPEV that he tried to make his childhood miserable. In this last case HJPEV apparently does not recognize the attempted manipulation and the manipulation also fails for the same reason: HJPEV is exceedingly freaked out by how crazy Dumbledore is.
"This was your father's rock." is actually a ploy by a _very_ clever Dumbledore to create a weakness in HJPEV that would be known to very few. If Dumbledore later (much later) faces HJPEV in earnest combat, he may be able to deliver a crippling attack just by removing the transfiguration on HJPEV silly ring. HJPEV would lose his finger, possibly his hand, and be rather distracted for a little while.
If there is a character without a known identity and there is any conceivable reason for Quirrell to take the actions the unidentified character takes, that unidentified character is probably Quirrell. _Especially if he seems to act at odds with Quirrell in some odd way or another.
Mr. Cloak and Hat comments, "Salazar Slytherin would have keyed his monster into the ancient wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself" in Chapter 35. Quirrell says, "some entity which Salazar Slytherin keyed into his wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself" in Chapter 49.
In Chapter 37, HJPEV thinks something like, "It would have been nice if there had been a mysterious figure who entered your house in the night and brought you presents." Then Quirrell shows up. Quirrell is 'Santa Claus'.
Quirrell is the one who whispered to HJPEV that he should introduce himself to Hermione Granger.
Quirrell is the reason the Dark Lord's body was burned, instead of actually being hit by the Killing Curse. This is the problem to which our attention is drawn by the line, "a sense of something wrong about that story," in Chapter 3.
What if the old bearded man introduced in Chapter 52 is Quirrell's _true_ form and the young balding man is a mask he wears?
From Chapter 54, "Polyjuice, Bahry would have called it, if he'd thought that anyone could possibly do magic that delicate from inside someone else's body."
Alternately, Quirrell is Peter Pettigrew, the metamorphmagus, the Dark Lord's real most trusted and utterly unknown servant, somehow 'blessed' with the Dark Lord's knowledge and power, on a mission to prepare the Dark Lord to resume his pursuit of world domination, for the Good of All Mankind!
Then who's in Azkaban? Another body switch?
Perhaps Voldemort did all the horrible but not necessarily useful things that he did because he was subject to some persistent dementation. The last segment of Chapter 49 may hint at this. With no one to pull him out, he reach horrible conclusions about the right things to do, and did them.
Or perhaps he wanted to be seen as a monster, to catch his opponents off their guard when he moved into the phase of his plans were he did not act as a monster while his opponents had turned into monsters to fight monsters.
Neville is the real subject of the prophecy. HJPEV is the Dark Lord who is on his way to marking Neville as his equal and Neville has kindness and the true power of friendship, which HJPEV knows not.
Luna is knowingly, diligently working from offstage to advise HJPEV through the Quibbler. She is getting mixed results.
Because there is a time and season for everything, including throwing out the old and starting anew, Snape kills Dumbledore.
| Y.Chip chapter 63 . 12/30/2010
I owe you a review, because I read all 63 chapters in less than a week of being introduced to this fic.
Sadly, I don't have much to say. It's certainly very engrossing, especially whenever McGonagall's in the scene. Ahh, that poor woman, what did she ever do to deserve have Harry Potter-etc. thrust upon her? I can't say I'm a fan of the changes done to Quirrel. Even if/when he does turn out to be Voldy, he's not the same blurred image that all the other characters are. With everyone else, you can see the changes you've made, but the original character is still lurking in there, somewhere. Voldy is sort of this new guy, but not quite enough, so it just doesn't work right. I don't know.
So, in any case...
| Bob chapter 29 . 12/29/2010
.Hermione. I have read at least 15,000 words, which means I should review.
Very nice story. Harry's a prick though.
| aughoti chapter 63 . 12/29/2010
This is hugely entertaining! Loved the humor in the earlier chapters - particularly Harry and Draco's first meeting - and then became increasingly caught up in the plot.
It's quite a lot of fun to see how/where the this plot twists away from (and sometimes back to) the original storyline. It certainly has kept me guessing.
And I'm very glad that these last two chapters did tackle the "elephant in the room" of Harry only rarely sounding - or reacting - like an 11-year-old boy, no matter how intelligent. (He's a marvelous character, and the internal debates are hilarious, but it was becoming an increasingly odd note to leave unaddressed.)
Thanks very much for sharing this!
| w chapter 26 . 12/29/2010
Yes, it's clear Q is going to give Rita a hint about the room.
Nice summary about attitude to Muggles.
Harry had asked if he needed the Headmaster's permission before he could start a bank.
Is Q playing with Rita even before he kills her? And the way he kills her is _very_ well executed.
How nicely Q is executing the standard influence tactics on Harry without him noticing. Why doesn't he notice, though? He should at the very least notice somewhere around 63, where he pauses to think about Q for the first time.
| FaeBreeze chapter 63 . 12/29/2010
Wow,this story was astonishingly well written. It really is a work of art and art should never be work so work at your own pace!I especially admire the way all your plots have been woven together. Keep on painting this beautiful tale and I will keep on being absolutely addicted until the very end.