Reviews for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
Jatok chapter 48 . 11/16/2016
What a child.
The Anguished One chapter 48 . 7/9/2016
So people are doubting Hermione because she's close to Harry, who hasn't exactly been winning the hearts and minds of his classmates. Can't say I'm too surprised. How will the rationalist try to help his friend?
silver chapter 48 . 6/20/2016
you know it's immoral to eat meat ANYWAY, right? Well, you probably do know. Harry is eleven, I should be patient. I like that it's brought up.
Montara chapter 48 . 1/24/2016
If Harry thinks Hermione will be able to have the same results like him with her Patronus, then should she know?

I wonder if Hermione will stay away from Harry now or accept his decision.
WatchingTheWatchman chapter 48 . 12/8/2015
Genius has its downsides... Harry probably won't ever understand why Hermione feels the way she does, which is a bit sad. More great character development in this chapter, I can't wait to see what Harry does with Hermione's advice.

Harry's imaginary personalities are hilarious, though a bit disturbing. Most people don't have multiple voices explicitly modeled in their head.
ShadowLDrago chapter 48 . 10/22/2015
I have to admit, I'm with Hermione on this one, Harry's being kinda cold, not to mention that commet on Ron was very rude and uncalled for.
Zyxis chapter 48 . 8/16/2015
I really do like the relationships you're building up here between Harry, Draco, and Hermione. Even Rowling didn't develop the relationship between the Golden Trio. I commend thee, sir or madam.
Cosmiln chapter 48 . 7/16/2015
It just dawned to me that Draco should not be so outspoken with his rationalization of WHY Lucius was right to join the Death Eaters. Lucius' official version is the Imperius defense, after all.

I don't think that at this point of the story Draco would trust Harry with such incriminating statements against his father.

(This is meant for the previous chapter but apparently I can't post 2 reviews for 1 chapter)
kabs chapter 48 . 7/12/2015
i wonder if it would be possible for him to provide himself nutrition with magic instead of other lifeforms.
or maybe photosynthesize with the assistance of magic
Concolor44 chapter 48 . 6/8/2015
Being nicer to everyone wouldn't hurt anything. Hermione is wiser than Harry, I think.
PA chapter 48 . 5/21/2015
Poor Harry. Poor Hermione.
Berlin chapter 48 . 5/16/2015
The end justifies the vegetables xD
ronald.lambert.503 chapter 48 . 2/10/2015
Most Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White passed the Biblical tests for a true prophet. She died in 1915, but many things she said seem to have modern relevance, such as the following, which relates some interesting insights into the intelligence of animals:

Consider this statement by Ellen G. White, in her book, Ministry of Healing, pp. 315-316:

"The intelligence displayed by many dumb animals approaches so closely to human intelligence that it is a mystery. The animals see and hear and love and fear and suffer. They use their organs far more faithfully than many human beings use theirs. They manifest sympathy and tenderness toward their companions in suffering. Many animals show an affection for those who have charge of them, far superior to the affection shown by some of the human race. They form attachments for man which are not broken without great suffering to them.

“What man with a human heart, who has ever cared for domestic animals, could look into their eyes, so full of confidence and affection, and willingly give them over to the butcher's knife? How could he devour their flesh as a sweet morsel?"

Here is a similar statement by White contained in Manuscript Releases, Vol. 7, p. 422:

“The affection of animals for man seems to approach so closely to human intelligence that it is a mystery. We need to consider these things. The animals were created by God. They see, they hear, they use their organs faithfully as human beings use theirs. They are the Lord's creatures. And His word declares, ‘A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast’ (Proverbs 12:10).”

By the way, the SDA Church does not require vegetarianism, only recommends it; as a result about half of SDAs are vegetarians, and a smaller percentage are vegans (no animal products at all, even dairy).

Because not all SDAs are vegetarians, but all are non-smokers, non-drinkers of alcohol, they were deemed a good population to test for the longevity benefits of diet, since all other factors but diet were ruled out. Thus definitive U.S. government-sponsored 1958-1965 scientific study was conducted of some 50,000 Seventh-day Adventists in southern California. The results of the study indicated that on average, vegetarian SDAs live seven years longer than non-vegetarians SDAs, and vegans (who also refrain from eating eggs and dairy products) on average live 12 years longer. Since even the meat eaters in the study were non-smokers and non-drinkers, they probably live longer than the average for the general population.

This study was highlighted in the book “The Seventh-day Diet,” by Chris Rucker and Jan Hoffman (Random House, 1991). Subtitle for the book is: "How the 'Healthiest People in America' Live Better, Longer, Slimmer- And How You Can Too."
thepkrmgc chapter 48 . 8/2/2014
good to see the focus shift back to harry's dark side, he really is a sociopath on many levels and needs rehabilitation as much as draco...
Rereading this chapter 48 . 7/16/2014
"us being eaten by giant monsters"

How long have you been planning this?
silverrain-shiningsun chapter 48 . 5/21/2014
"Ron is the world's most gigantic prat," Harry said.

Kipper chapter 48 . 4/7/2014
Who are you and why are you so AMAZING. Sorry had to get that out of my system. Your story is so intelligent it makes my head hurt at times so I am not even going bother trying tax what little mental faculties I have complimenting you each and every part I loved; nor will I even attempt to pretend that I have the gall to criticize any piece of this master work so I will just spell out my feelings as intelligently as my simple and mortal mind can:

Grizzmon chapter 48 . 1/14/2014
Harry being nice? They would just think is an evil plan!
Nameless5387 chapter 48 . 11/30/2013
Interesting chapter. I love the idea of sentient plants, a bit shocked that there was actually a book written about it in this chapter. Shows that the wizarding world has a broad range of philosophies and ideas.

Love the conversation between Harry and Hermione, especially regarding Ron. I thought he was tolerable in the first few books (like from Philosopher's stone to Prisoner of Askazbam (did I spell that right? Probably not)) but from book four and onwards, with him ditching Harry, getting Lavender as a girlfriend to get revenge on Hermione, I really started disliking him. I'm so glad those aspects of his character have been recognized by Hermione and Harry this early on this this version of Harry Potter. I really hope Ron gets what he deserves sometime soon in this story.
Guest chapter 48 . 11/6/2013
Probably one of my favourite lines in the whole story: "Harry's hands stop turning pages. It seemed that Harry's brain, for all its abstract knowledge, was still incapable of appreciating scope on any real emotional level, because it had just forcibly redirected his attention from trillions of possibly-sentient blades of grass who might be suffering or even dying even as they spoke, and toward the life of a single human being who happened to be nearer and dearer." If this story is purely about rationalism, then the author is pointing out a fallacy in every human – the uncontrollable sentiments, like Harry's care for Hermione. But if this is a 'growing-up story' or a story in which Harry tries to strike a balance between his rational and moral sides (more or less Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff) then this is a perfect example that Harry is not a robot incapable of human emotion. Because part of Humanism is to care for another human, to care for someone who is near and dear, and loved ones. The 'real emotional level' is feeling real emotion, like his care toward Hermione and *spoiler alert* grief over her death.
L.E chapter 48 . 5/14/2013
Awesome chapter! The Ron bashing was pretty funny, too.
emcee31 chapter 48 . 3/18/2013
"... with thousands upon thousands of different species of snakes all over the world, how could they all use the same version of their supposed language, "Parseltongue"? ..."

Surely French snakes would speak french to french parceltongues, Albanian snakes would normally use whatever they speak in that country (but maybe english to Tom) et cetera, et cetera, et cetera...
NightHerald chapter 48 . 3/9/2013
This was so brilliantly hilarious!

And Harry and Hermione are heading the same way as Snape and Lily, I can just feel it.
Guest chapter 48 . 3/2/2013
"...that the end justfies the meats."

Oh my f... god, this line had me literally collapse to the floor and gasp desperately for breath, while leaking tears and saliva onto the tiles. So well done.
Enei Emmu chapter 48 . 2/4/2013
Then he accused me of, quote, sucking you into the darkness, unquote, so I pursed my lips and went schluuuuurp.

StrangeoneXD chapter 48 . 12/22/2012
W.Kathy chapter 48 . 10/31/2012
Hermione...thanks for letting her save Harry from the Dementor by the 'kiss of true love', or whatever it was. But if she can't stand being called 'evil' or other juvenile insults, then just stop being friends with Harry. Don't get Harry to change himself to pander to the whims of others, by 'be nicer to everyone'. Don't try and guilt him into doing that, that's just not cool. The more I read, the more I can't stand Hermione. Yes, she has many redeeming traits, but also double that of irritating ones. Still, I like some of her interactions with Harry, and I really like your story so I'll continue reading. cheers.
Guest chapter 48 . 8/29/2012
I've been reading this and it's absolutely phenomenal!

The thing I find deliciously ironic is that lots of people are reading 50 Shades of Grey - descended of Twilight fanfiction- and seem to really be enjoying what a juicy little factoid this is. And here we are, reading Harry Potter fanfiction. Personally, I think this is the far more enriching story.
voodooqueen126 chapter 48 . 8/2/2012
I detect the tropes "Ron the Death Eater" and "Draco in Leather Pants"
Poetheather1 chapter 48 . 7/29/2012
Harry traumatized over food... priceless.
Mavarax chapter 48 . 3/16/2012
Wait, why does that matter? Harry can just not tell people that it can destroy Dementors or why it's so bright or a human. Most people would just assume that because it's HARRY POTTER that it's just more insanity if they found out about how it can destroy Dementors. Plus it gives him a big tactical advantage in both real life and the battles as he can use it to spy and send messages. And it wouldn't really be dangerous unless he told people about the secret which he wouldn't do. And if it gets out people can just Obliviate themselves of it and still be able to cast animal Patroni.
AR chapter 48 . 9/22/2011
"who happened to be nearer and dearer"

There you go saying things like that and making me feel bad about judging the boy too harshly..

sometimes I think youve put too much on him...

my heart broke a little for both of them.

I am 48 chapters in and still I feel surprised that every chapter increases my empathy for them
KickAir 8P chapter 48 . 9/21/2011
No new chapter yet, so I reread a few of my favorite chapters. After a long hard day, may I say that Harry's internal "cannibalism" discussion in ch48 gave me a splort-worthy giggle-fit, which was just what I needed.
andrewTHATSME chapter 48 . 9/17/2011
"There's a lot of plants in the world, if they're not sentient then they're not important, but if plants are people than they've got more moral weight than all the human beings in the world put together. Now, of course your brain doesn't realize that on an intuitive level, but that's because the brain can't multiply. Like if you ask three separate groups of Canadian households how much they'll pay to save two thousand, twenty thousand, or two hundred thousand birds from dying in oil ponds, the three groups will respectively state that they're willing to pay seventy-eight, eighty-eight, and eighty dollars. No difference, in other words. It's called scope insensitivity. Your brain imagines a single bird struggling in an oil pond, and that image creates some amount of emotion that determines your willingness to pay. But no one can visualize even two thousand of anything, so the quantity just gets thrown straight out the window. Now try to correct that bias with respect to a hundred trillion sentient blades of grass, and you'll realize that this could be thousands of times more important than we used to think the whole human species was" One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic. i realized when i read that, its true.
Chris Robins chapter 48 . 9/12/2011
I find it rather sad that Harry can show/teach Draco the secret of the patronus and yet can't bring himself to do so with Hermione. Even if it was part of a deal that forced Harry's hand it stands to reason that Draco has more connections and would be more tempted to let it slip then Hermione. Plus there's the glaring fact that Hermione is unprotected without the ability to use it. I'm also a bit surprised Harry didn't use that as justification. It's slow building, but there's more an emotional connection between Harry and Hermione too that should have added a bit of pressure. At any rate, I can see why you did it this way, but Im not sur I agree with Harry's reasoning. Not to mention if Hermione ever finds out that he told Draco and not her... That could be interesting to watch.

Awesome chapter regardless; keep it up!
Isa Knightwalker chapter 48 . 7/18/2011
Very funny beginning! Definitely interesting too (about the implications of how speaking to snakes really affects them). Also I like the Harry and Hermione stuff, very nice and intense interaction.
egg chapter 48 . 6/29/2011
What is going on with Quirrelmort?
Dirka chapter 48 . 3/25/2011
Thanks to this chapter I now have a voice in my head that shouts "CANNIBALISM" everytime I start to overthink stuff. Which is great, because worries and doubts tend to hinder me quite a bit.

So thank you Mr. Y. for this new imaginary companion, as well as this wonderful, wonderful work.
ARMH chapter 48 . 2/26/2011
What Harry said to Ron was hilarious; it's so weird that he isn't a part of this story, not that I really liked him much. I feel so bad for Hermione.
Tangerine-Alert chapter 48 . 2/16/2011
Fantastic work.

I'm reminded of Babe (the movie with the talking sheep and pigs), and in that not all sheep can talk, but after Babe learns the magic words to speak, then they can talk and then are somewhat intelligent.
Jackaroo chapter 48 . 11/13/2010
I do believe this is my favorite chapter, or at least beginning of chapter, so far. It does seem to me to be a perfect, logical conclusion to the end of the previous chapter.

I used to think noone thought the way I did when I was twelve or so, and then you write this. I'll overlook the fact that it's Harry Potter Evans-Verres and go back to trying not to laugh out loud as it's rather late at night.

Good job. Your character is a very convincing, exceedingly bright young person. To be honest, he's much less irritating than the original. Or perhaps it's merely a more comfortable form of annoying. He asks all the questions that seem obvious to people who are a little less inclined to suspend disbelief, unless someone gives them a good Reason.

Will stop dithering and keep reading.

Thanks muchly.
AspergianStoryteller chapter 48 . 11/4/2010
Oh and the funnies are back! The first half of this chapter would have made me crack up but my household is in bed so I laughed quietly. Very intriguing theory Harry! The second half was thoughtful and more serious. By the way, how come the secret to the true Patronus form is so dangerous?
Indigo Ziona chapter 48 . 10/29/2010
What if there were Poultrymouths?

Oh, poor Hermione. Ron totally fancies her. But she should marry Harry unless Draco gets there first :)
tadrinth chapter 48 . 10/28/2010
I would just like you to know that I laughed myself dizzy within the first few paragraphs of reading this update.
Kutta chapter 48 . 10/14/2010
Great chapter
AlpineBob chapter 48 . 10/13/2010

Ah, but don't forget - chocolate is derived from plants too. However, someone earlier remarked that sustainable use should be OK to eat. Plants grow fruits to be eaten, it helps spread their seeds. Nuts, while protected by a shell against depredations, are still the same. Cacao, as well as coffee beans, fall in that category too. Though if worried about plants in general, would eating fruits and nuts be like eating fetuses? Hmmm.

Anyway, as someone else has pointed out, Milk and unfertilized eggs should be safe.
ejhawman chapter 48 . 10/11/2010
Tis goes beyond what I had expected. It's well enough to start with contemplating animal intelligence in general, but then to remember your D&D spells and tackle the implications of Speak with Plants - that was a brilliant idea that was suggested to you, and the anxieties it inspires in Harry are just what an eleven-year-old might wrestle with for a few weeks.

Hmmm. If he can't eat animals or plants, what's left? Chocolate? He might look differently at Chocolate Frogs now, and wonder if the enchantment on them can be cast on an Easter Bunny, or a chocolate Santa Claus...

I'm not entirely sure the super-Patronus should be so secret. The Ministry can hire human guards for Azkaban if need be. Probably they use Dementors because they're so cheap.
Jalen Strix chapter 48 . 10/10/2010
Absolutely hysterical interlude with Harry's imaginary inner Slytherin (and Hufflepuff and Gryffindor). Also, my linguist heart warmed at the mention of recursive syntax in the opening bit. Hee!
jdboss1 chapter 48 . 10/9/2010
quite a predicament eat or not to eat

I love every new chapter of yours I never once considered the brainpower of snakes to be questionable and of all the hundreds of stories I've read with the main character talks to snakes it is never occurred to me that how could it snakes have the intelligence I could expect all it would say would be food hungry food that human level intelligence conversations thinking about it now seemed ridiculous

Best story of 2010 including professional writing
LunaSlashSea chapter 48 . 10/8/2010
Excellent chapter
DeMarquis chapter 48 . 10/8/2010

"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.
Alratan chapter 48 . 10/8/2010
The discussion of snake's sentience reminded me of an argument I once made about the nature of pureblood discrimination against Muggles, which I'll reproduce here:

Consider how we, as humans, justify our definitions of personhood. Why do we say that chimps, for example, are not people? Essentially, we come up with a list of features which we have, and things which aren’t people don’t have, like talking, tool use, etc. and then say everything which looks very similar to something which has those features is a person (why, for example, we consider a severely mentally retarded person a person).

In the Wizarding World, manufacturing a facsimile of sentience – talking, etc. is trivial. Even a very poor family can purchase multiple such objects as a child’s toy (Magical Chessmen). They would reject that these object are people, they’re simply toys, not truly free willed, despite resembling that strongly. When it comes down to it, the only difference between real people and all these simulacra seems to be the ability for autonomous magic use – so this becomes the criteria for person-hood.

For wizards, form is not a determinant of nature, thanks to the various transmutations and shapeshifting that is possible, this means the looking similar to a person cannot be assumed to have the characteristics of a person, so that criteria we have doesn’t apply.

All in all, by this rather natural definition, Muggles aren’t people. All they are is clever simulacra, with no greater moral significance than a child’s toy.

Move back to the chimp analogy. A chimp can do many things a person can do, but falls short on the key criteria. Despite this it’s being suggested that human-chimp hybrids may be genetically viable. It’s quite possible such a hybrid would then meet the criteria for personhood by our definition. Would you approve of people breeding with chimps? Or accept chimp-human hybrids as full members of society without reservation?
Sabrinasidd chapter 48 . 10/7/2010
This was a fantastic chapter. I was ROTFLMAO at the way that Harry's revelation about snakes being 'sentient' led him to paranoid scrutiny of everything that he ate... including friggen PLANTS!

And it was wonderful seeing Harry is showing himself to be such a decent, conscientious humanitarian where he absolutely refuses to eat anything, even on the mere suspicion that it might be an intelligent creature. I know plenty of folks who wouldn't have any trouble eating talking animals, simply because they were still 'animals'. But Harry realizes that all-importance of intelligence and sentient thought, and the respect and consideration due to such beings. Whenever I feel concerned about Harry's 'dark side', a chapter like this comes along which irrevocably shows how Harry doesn't have it in him to be an evil overlord after all. He just respects life and freedom too much to take it away from others.

The scene with Hermione was sad and touching... and it really resonated with me. I was ALSO rather friendless and isolated as a child. I just couldn't relate to people. It took me a while to learn how to make friends, which is frustrating considering how it seems to come so NATURALLY to most people. I've only recently come to understand that there are only a certain 'type' of persons that I can properly relate to, so it doesn't bother me any longer that not everyone appreciates the kind of person that I am.

Anyhow, I can understand Hermione's anguish at being given her first taste of having the affection and regard of her peers... only to have it jeopardized by ONE of her best friends. She's so young, so she wouldn't be able to shrug off the thought of losing all of her newly won friends easily. It would be devastating to her. Even if these 'friends' of hers do sound slightly shallow, superficial, unintelligent and even CRUEL in the way they're judging her, I can still understand why she wouldn't want to lose them.

Harry's attitude about not giving a damn about anyone's opinion (except for those people who have EARNED the right to judge him) might be more rational and even more mature... but I can also see some impracticalities over there. Harry is destined to be a leader, therefore, in many ways, he NEEDS the approval and trust of the masses. Perhaps he'll be able to maintain people's trust even if half of them are half-afraid that he's a dark wizard, but it might end up being a uphill battle in public relations all the way.

hmm, perhaps Draco can provide Harry with some tips and tricks about PR when needed.
Doug Lampert chapter 48 . 10/7/2010
I'll go with your theory that if you read 15,000 words you should post a review. So I've signed up and everything.

Nice work. I'm enjoying it.
Sarah T chapter 48 . 10/7/2010
This is a wonderfully written story...your Harry reminds me of Artemis Fowl :)

Thanks for sharing
Tall Tails - Feline Jaye chapter 48 . 10/7/2010
Aside from the fact that this chapter felt short for some reason, I have just one thing to say:

"Shhhluuuurrrrp!" *laughs*
Thom Blake chapter 48 . 10/7/2010
I recommend reading Always and Always to get a glimpse of what Hermione might be feeling about Ron and others accusing her of Harry turning her dark. It makes this chapter particularly sad, especially in that Harry can't imagine what all the fuss is about.
AlpineBob chapter 48 . 10/7/2010
re: Harry Potter & the search for Sentience

It strikes me that Harry is thinking about this from a fairly anthropomorphic point of view, even given that he's wondering if plants might be intelligent. For one thing, he's pretty much defining intelligence as "thinks enough like a human that We can tell it thinks". What about intelligences so alien we can't be sure. Do tube worms, for example, think deep thoughts as they sway in the waters near volcanic vents?

No, that was a tangent. What I really mean is, Harry is concerned about things as intelligent as we are. But what level of intelligence is too low? Most monkeys don't have language, as we define it. Dogs can learn to understand humans quite well, though the opposite is not often the case. Almost any animal you name can learn to avoid painful stimuli. In fact, that could almost be a definition of 'animal'. For those that say animals don't feel pain the same way we do, I submit that horses and cows learn quite quickly to avoid barb-wire or electric fences. Some might argue that this doesn't mean they feel it the same way, so the fact that their nervous systems work the same way ours does, as best as can be determined, is probably more telling.

Given that animals do feel pain, is it still right to eat them?

This is the quandary that leads many to vegetarianism, intelligence being a continuum.

I'm very curious to see how this will play out...
AlpineBob chapter 48 . 10/7/2010
I just read over the reviews this chapter has so far, and I think it took me longer than my first read-through of the actual chapter. Lots of interesting points.

I was going to mention that his pouch & trunk have clearly been imbued with some form of intelligence, in that they can understand commands and comply. So being able to talk to snakes does NOT mean they are necessarily intelligent. But then I read where someone brought up the pictures of wizards all over Hogwarts:

"There is clearly a method by which wizards grant the appearance of sentience to objects; it would behoove Harry to learn more about this, and whether it would apply to other life forms as well."

That made me realize that what Harry is concerned about is not just the APPEARANCE of intelligence, but whether the ACTUALITY has been created. So I guess these are separate, though related, questions. Amazing, the questions this story puts in my head.

Oh, also, I'm in a minority, of perhaps one, that isn't fond of Harry's internal imaginary House spokes-Harrys. I especially found it incongruous when Harry himself is going through an internal upheaval and a part of him takes the time to make a bad pun. But thats just my personal taste. Love the story! :)
AlpineBob chapter 48 . 10/7/2010
In my prior review, please imagine each word preceded by an i and followed by a /i has been italicized, as that is what I was TRYING to do. Darn it.

I'll use underscores to simulate that from now on...

Moving on:

"Harry was starting to wonder if the Dementor had somehow damaged their imaginary personalities."

To what does "their" refer?

Harry? or _his_ imaginary personalities?

AlpineBob chapter 48 . 10/7/2010
re: Harry's quest for sapients

OK, on my third run-through I'm starting to pick up some possible errors.

"And that was unstructured protolanguage, in a species that played complex games of adultery and needed to model other parrots."

The other possibility is that I just don't understand what "needed to model other parrots" means in this context. 'Cause I don't.

"like what Harry had accidentally done to the Sorting Hat."

I think the "what" is unneeded. But that's more a stylistic choice, I suppose.

One point that Harry doesn't cover when discussing Parseltongue as language is whether each chinese, or german, or norwegian, etc. wizard hears parseltongue as their iown/i native language. One assumes so, but Harry is trying not to assume anything...

What I find extraordinary is that a magical construct that only LOOKS like a snake (Draco's patronus) also is affected by a Parselmouth. Given that, would a parselmouth be able to converse with a legless lizard?

Wait! Could iHarry/i control iDraco's/i patronus?

And since parselmouths can control snakes by talking to them, would a parselmouth who met a serpent animagus be able to converse with, and control, that animagus?

The questions just keep coming!
Wen repaer chapter 48 . 10/7/2010
Personally I can't wait to see the introduction of Luna given that her canon character is almost complete irrationality, I think interaction between her and Harry will be extremely entertaining.

I figure I may as well mention that I find your story time consumingly wonderful.

The only real complaint I have towards it is the seemingly inevitable Harry/hermione ship for no real reason other then I find her character slightly boring. Mainly because she's another smart character whose purpose in the canon was basically to explain things to Harry so he didn't have to do any silly studying to learn about obscure knowledge that she unsurprisingly always knows and given that the Harry in this fanfic is intelligent on his own I find she doesn't really bring anything new to the table. I guess I just view her as another intelligent character, like Harry, but without all the qualities that make him genuinely likable, his charm, creativity, and wit.
Ar-Zimraphel chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
I seriously doubt I'll be able to give this story the review it deserves. This, my friend, is brilliance in a 250k-word package (which I read over the past 10 hours and change... fsm help me). Every frustration I have with the HP universe is so beautifully handled and you have done a superb job fashioning an exciting and hilarious and intelligent "Harry" who, while light years away from the Harry we know from the books, still resonates.

Not only that, but Quirrell's spell to create a kind of planetarium is one of the most beautiful things I've ever imagined. The moment I stopped reading, I got so unbearably sad that it's not a place I can visit right this second. You know what's sad? Where I live I cannot even perceive the "milky way" part of the night sky, it's just occasional stars in a black night sky, if that at all.

Anyway, as someone who is not quite so well versed in the theories and the math as yourself (though I get by well enough on a solid diet of Feynman, Sagan, Tyson, et al.) I have loved the educational aspect. It's really wonderfully done and you are a superb communicator, and a really excellent comedic writer.

The originality and invention present here (one might think that that, this being fanfiction, is paradoxical but of course we know it's not) is completely entertaining and I hope that once you have finished with this story (or even concurrent with it) you'll write and publish some fiction. Count me among your dedicated readers.

I was linked to this story via a post on Reddit, which described your story as "Harry Potter as written by Orson Scott Card" and assumed I was just going to be linked to Ender's Game's page on Amazon, but was sent here instead.

And I can say now, hours and hours and hours later, that this story (and its author) represents a category unto itself. Bravo, Mr. Less Wrong. Well done.
madgenius09 chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Only Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres would thank Azathoth...I looked it up, cause that name just struck me as odd. A Lovecraftian horror, huh? Well, he sure knows how to pick them.

(On a side note, I always have to force myself to remember oaths like that, they don't just come naturally. I guess if I remembered to use them enough...)
mynameisthedoctor chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
It looks like Ron is in for a stern talking to. I Picture he would start by telling him stories of how the old witch trials worked and how insane they were. There was no way to prove you weren't magic and sometimes it "proved" you were a witch if you drowned when they threw you into a lake while tied to a rock. How it was just as insane when they were proven innocent by sometimes being shoved over a cliff with a broom and they were guilty if they were able to fly on it to safety. To J.K.'s wizarding world the old witch trials like the ones in Salem are seen as something funny from what I remember in the beginning of the third book where Harry is reading an allegedly humorous story for history about a witch who enjoyed the ticklish fire of being burned at the stake. I always found that scene annoying because of the Fridge Horror that what the author of that history book seems to find funny was the irony of real witches and wizards being easily able to thwart attempts to kill them by Those Bumbling Muggles while hundreds of innocent muggles where subjected to torture and death due to paranoia (which may or may not have been instigated by real magic folk in this setting come to think of it) So yeah, I think what's going to happen next is that Harry will give Ron a lecture about how you can't measure goodness in a person by who they hang out with or who they're related to or aesthetics.

Note. I do not particularly like Ron more than other characters but you seem to be coming off a little strong with turning him into the strawman.
SomeGuyFawkes chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
›› "By the way, have you ever heard any stories about wizards who could speak with plants?"

By asking the question, Harry has planted the spark of an idea in fertile Ravenclaw minds. It's only a matter of time before the first persimmon-tongue speaker or melon-mouth.

Amusing musings; thanks.
artupio chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Having a quick browse of some of the reviews, it's pretty clear that your readership think very highly of themselves. A talented author will sometimes affect a person in such a way that their writing style will mimic the author's. That, combined with the likelihood that you'd have to be pretty intelligent to stick with a story such as this, gives weight to the argument that most of your readership are very "mature" and high-thinking individuals of profound mental superiority.

I'm not showing contempt to your thousands of haughty readers, but how is it possible that I've read through about a hundred comments and nobody has expressed hilarity at Harry's treatment of Ron! Instead, one reviewer believed that it showed Harry also has an immature-kid side. I thought it was pure genius! Does that make me some sort of cretin?
Luiz4200 chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Please update. Hopefully Harry will get a set of priorities.
Gamebird chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
I'm seeing some kind of parallel... or perhaps a disjunction.

If we don't care about the opinions and feelings of other human beings who don't measure up to our personal social standards, when why would we care about the opinions and feelings of non-human creatures who probably also don't measure up to our personal social standards?

I imagine it has something to do with the fallacy of infantalizing animals, but if they are sentient in the way Harry fears they are, then they are certainly not in need of our care, anymore than any other wild animal is.
Nancy Lebovitz chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
I'm wondering whether it's possible to use magic to duplicate existing food. If so, it's squicky to think that the original was once sentient, but it's not more killing and I think a utilitarian wouldn't have a problem.

Also, to what extent could magic be used to construct food which doesn't come from living beings?

CronoDas, I think you're right about the risks of refusing to accept questions, though Harry is willing to be questioned by people he respects. However, his set of people he respects may or may not be complete enough. Also, he may not realize that there are people who specialize in not being distracted by celebrity and who have enough clout to impose their will.

More generally, I like Eliezer's formulation of the relationship between status and the risk of punishment. The Catholic Church (or individual priests for that matter) couldn't be held to account for pedophile priests until it's status had been considerably lowered.
sensoray chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
yay!.suck. !. . .update!
homunq chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
4 things.

1. I think that Harry should at least tell her why he can't tell her. She already knows there's a secret, so saying "I think you could do it, but there's a lot of people who, once they heard about it, probably couldn't anymore" wouldn't increase the chances of her guessing, and probably it would (marginally) decrease the (already small) chances of her sharing the secret if she did guess.

2. I don't believe a lot of the Less Wrong stuff, despite taking the "wacky" ideas seriously; for a lot of reasons. For instance, I don't think there's more than an epsilon chance of any given person cryonically frozen today ever waking up, and I don't buy Harry's ideas about conquering death and the galaxy. But still, seeing atheist humanism vigorously espoused gave me the courage to do the same, politely, with some Jehova's Witnesses at my door today. In other words, this story is more powerful to change my behaviour than Pharyngula et al. Congratulations. (actually, that's mostly about a couple of chapters ago, but anyway).

3. Over on Less Wrong, I've gotten caught in the crossfire about another dangerous secret, which I now know (and don't believe). That experience has made me think that overvigorous secret-keeping can be counterproductive. I know that Harry's situation is different and he of course is allowed to be wrong for himself, but, although he is very wise not to tell her in the heat of the moment, I think he should seriously consider whether he can tell her.

4. Finally, this IS fanfic, and of course patronuses have no clothes. I know, he's only 11, but in another year or two, he's going to realize this fact, and I have little faith in him remaining rational at that point.
109 chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Roffles. Sentient plants? How dreadful. I guess Harry can always turn to fruits. Those don't hurt the plant when they get eaten.
Eli Courtwright chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
I definitely liked the explanation of scope insensitivity; the conversational explanations of psychological principles is what drew me to MoR in the first place. I also liked the, "Look, it's a question of multiplication" comment, which reminded me of "shut up and multiply" from your "Three Worlds Collide" story.
Benquo chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Wonderful fic - I compulsively check for the next installment a couple of times a day now...

The pace is a little fast - no, it's breakneck speed - but at least that means that when an update does happen it's at least a little more satisfying than it otherwise might be.

Is the faster pace a function of the altered Harry? Is he running straight toward the answer because that's what a rationalist does, instead of letting himself get led around by the apparent default option? His passing up the opportunity to open the chamber of secrets suggests this. IOW, he's something of a mean between normal Harry and the Omake Baconian Harry (72 Hours to Victory). Is this a subtle suggestion that Harry would do well to be more Baconian?
Not-A-Spy chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Interesting chapter... Rationalist Harry as a champion for all sentient things' civil rights is to be expected, but his thought-explosion and mini-freakout was interesting.
Unsigned chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
I would have felt bad about being a vegetarian, but I just remembered that I thought that all life was sentient.

If sentient snakes are considered evil and a part of dark magic, wouldn't wizards basically be persecuting an entire sentient species?

Oh, and I have promoted this fic. Not sure if the people I talked to about it reviewed, though.
Ronfar chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
I've been a big fan of this story, and I've been recommending it to everyone. That said...

I really have to disagree with Harry here. Not allowing people to question you is the first step in the process of turning yourself from Richard Cypher into Richard Rahl; soon you'll be jumping off the slippery slope and slaughtering unarmed protesters because they got in the way of your army. Or, to use a less silly example, it'll turn you into Richard Nixon or Leona "Only the little people pay taxes" Helmsley, and you'll end up finding out the hard way that your authority doesn't extend as far as you think it does. Because, first of all, sometimes the people questioning you are going to be right, and second, you do have to care at least a little about what other people think, because what other people think about you will affect you. Harry made Ron Weasley into his enemy today, and that's going to have consequences. (Or at least it ought to have consequences. If it doesn't, I'm going to be annoyed.)

- CronoDAS on LessWrong
wisecurledqueen chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Oh man, Harry is just doomed, isn't he? Forever more, he'll wonder what is sentient or not? But I love the return of Harr's inner houses. They just crack me up? I wonder what will happen if Harry sees a snake killed? Hmmm...

Loved this chapter!

ChuckDaTruck chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Hey MoR,

Thought I'd leave a review. Perhaps I should have left one here. I believe you saw the one on DLP (referenced the site in your author notes, altruistic blogging links, etc.) If I misread the signs, it is irrelevant because I still think its time I left another review.

It feels overstuffed. It feels like there are a hundred good ideas in your head, but you feel compelled to get them all out right now.

Why couldn't the dementor experience happen in third year?

And why does Hermione reconcile with Harry so quickly? It feels as though you gloss over problems that the characters are having.

Certain things make sense like Harry discovering he's a parseltongue. Other things don't feel organic to the story or as though you have not given them their due diligence and gravity. Take your time, unless this is a 1 year one off. Either way, it feels overcrammed.

Also, reveling in the romance of the Hermione kiss felt unnecessary with Tracey and the others discussing it.

I had other thoughts, but I am right now being called away. I shall move on to my final thought:

On an intellectual note, you should read Derek Bickerton's "Adam's Tongue" regarding development of human language. I also personally disagree with the idea of language blossoming because Humans had big brains and social pressure. It ignores an initial catalyst sparking the need for language in the first place. Social selection and larger brains were consequences of initial complex societal and brain development.

Personal Message me on DLP if you're actually interested in my thoughts or something.

Otherwise, here's my review. Briefer than I would have liked, but I felt I have enjoyed your work enough that I owed you this much.

Peregrinate chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Oh, dear. Sentient carrots! That's terrible! And here I thought I was doing so well with my animal-friendly vegetarianism. *Sigh*

Lol. :) Waiting for chapter 49.

You are seriously amazingly awesomesauce.
anon chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Just wanted you to know, the biggest words running through my head were "stupid cunt", about Hermione. I just don't see why you like her.
Another Lazy Rationalist chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Ethical philosophy mixed with romantic fluff! Yummy, yummy!

On the utilitarian ethics front, I'm glad you spent a bit of time 'arguing' the stupid approach (tree hugger / Griffendork stance) verses the smarter approach (minimizing sentient suffering). While it seems obvious to some, most people seem to prefer the tree hugger stance (at least that's what I've observed in my admittedly nonscientific non-study observations).

I'm betting it's a bit too much to ask, but I'd like to see a 'discussion' on how to value sentience vrs sapience vrs pain vrs ... Most ethical systems (including many shades of humanism) simply assume sentient / sapient utility should be maximized, but make no argument why that should precedence over the suffer of say an ant in pain.
Final-Fan chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Very good chapter. But I don't know that I agree with Harry on keeping the secret from Hermione. I mean, she's got a different view on things, and Harry is well aware of that, but she is completely capable of understanding how bad it would be if the secret got out and tons of people couldn't do a Patronus (1.0) anymore. Not to mention the unknown possible other reason Gryffindor and others had for keeping the secret.

More on snakes:

Maybe it's something about the wizard - like he projects his intelligence onto the subject somehow, so it's really more like a Harry-enabled snake intelligence than a snake that's intelligent in its own right. I think that would be consistent with the HP canon.

For that matter, are we SURE that that isn't what happened with the Sorting Hat? ;)

(Upon rereading that paragraph, it sounds perilously similar to the earlier hypothesis I discarded, but I'm confident it's different. Harry simply activating sentience with his proximity doesn't explain the snake's apparently previously existing knowledge, or suspiciously humanlike language and demeanor (which you pointed out). But if it was a Harry-snake (haven't thought of a good short-but-accurate way to put it yet), then I can easily see his subconscious noticing the sign when his conscious mind still has to ask the snake about it, and the rest is already solved.)
Entropic Specter chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Thanks for another delicious chapter.

Poor Hermione. And I really hope there is no speak-to-plants spell.

Keep up the great work and please, please update soon!
sixpacksirius chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Harry has always stuck up for people, I don't know why they think he's mean. I can see the whole "he's a dark wizard! ooo!" scare, but he's always been nice. Well, except to Ron and people who hurt innocents. But, then he's just proving how nice of a guy he is for HELPING the innocents. He should go through a courageous knight in shining armor stance again. Well, maybe not really... Harry doesn't seem the type to play pretend, or put up a face for celebrity. You'll think of something, I just wanted to review so that you could beat that effing Twilight fanfic. :) Love it, and I can't wait for more! :D
Remoara chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
What the hell, hero?

Personally, I set myself a policy of not sharing secrets with anyone unless given explicit permission from the original source. (Unless, of course, I had to for some reason that was more important to me than keeping the promise, like saving someone's life or something but really, that never happens to me).

And if I was Harry, with Harry's relationship to Hermione, I would trust her if she promised to do that, to keep the secret and only share it, and only to the extent necessary (ie some situation like Harry's with Draco), with myself-as-Harry-hypothetically involved.

Furthermore, I would just... want her to feel better, and be safe.

SURELY such benefits are worth the tiny risk of trusting a friend like that, right?

So my feelings are, I hope Harry comes to his senses and teaches her.

But in any case, rock on with more MOR!

Oh, and while I do think Harry is definitely right about not letting people be your inquisitor, I think the exact way he dealt with Ron was sub-optimal.

Was this intended as one of those elements that show that yes, Harry IS still a kid, and has plenty of room to mature?
Animekitty47 chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
You always do that. Something relatively light, like a certian dissassociative-identiy-disorder-ish conversation, and then a serious ending. As Harry points out, this time isn't as world changing as others. And the ability to ignore other's negative thoughts is a necessary life skill, so Harry does kinda have a point, but that doesn't mean we can't feel sad for Hermione. Learning that lesson is not easy, especially for someone like her who's used to more or less postive thoughts from others. Anyway, its a oft used tatic in actual works, but lacking on for obvious reasons. XD Doesn't mean its not still nice to commment on something you do right, even it is a fairly basic thread in anything resembling quality work. Though yours doesn't just resemble it. ;) It's one of those rare fanfics that gets better the more often you read it. See more threads and foreshadowings...a more high quality compliment than my previous one, I hope. ;)
wildchartermage chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
YAY! MOAR CHAPTERS! I love your fanfic ;)
Lady of the Hunt chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Sentience, eh? xD I love Harry's mind. The way he thinks is amazing.
Adeptis chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Good chapter.
arkleseizure chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
What, I wonder, would be the implications for society at Hogwarts if it were publicly known that Draco could cast a Patronus? I don't think Harry took a vow of silence on that point, but it'd definitely make other students think again about the correlation between being able to produce a Patronus, and being a good person.

Also, I'm not entirely sure why Harry thinks it wouldn't be a good idea to let others know that he can cast a Patronus, but that it needs to be kept hidden? Meh.

Moar updates plz!
Arkh Cthuul chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
A...good Chapter. Not more, not less.

I did expect more "bang" (and more Draco(Harry Interaction, heir-Discussions/etc) though, so: next Chapter? ;)
N chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
That was more emotionally turbulent that Ive founded in earlier chapters, kinda exciting.
E.A.V chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Ha! Wonderful! Clever and Insightful! I feel, to a certain extent, the same way I do when I read a Terry Pratchett book.

I'm filled with Love, Love! for this story! Your storytelling makes me want to know more about the study of rationality.

I also really liked the short story on your web page about humanity meeting with aliens...the most interesting part for me was the confessor's story of why the old shouldn't rule. I found it to be very entertaining and very strange. I recommended it to my family. It's our next family day discussion focus.
Work Designer chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Nice update. For one who truly wants to live congruent to his values, the scenario was a scary one.

"Of course that was all merely common sense, in which Harry was starting to lose faith entirely."

Poor Harry. One of his most important weapons taken away from him.
absolute-insanity chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Of course this chapter was EPIC quality-wise, but quantity and the abundant filler-content dampered the reading experience a great deal. At least the next chapter is going to be released soon!
uo-chou chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Poor Hermione. It's terrible to actually care about what everyone thinks of you.
him-mione chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
I will have to re-read to give a better review, but I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this chapter. The internal discussion between Harry's gryffindor, ravenclaw, hufflepuff, and slytherin sides had me laughing out loud the entire time.

I've sent so many people to both this fic, and to the Less Wrong website that I've lost count. I'm sure my fiance has gotten tired of me talking about this story but he puts up with it anyway LOL

I'm looking forward to the next chapter
voider chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Weren't mandrakes human-shaped?

Is it really the parseltongue's magic the thing that makes snakes able to ...think and reason? I didn't see Harry do any sorts of tests to see if that is really true... though he might not do it for moral reasons.
Paganimagus chapter 48 . 10/6/2010

That was cold. And sweet. And soft and warm and fuzzy and all that emotional awkwardness that floats around the brilliant brain-puzzles and plots of this story.

Well done.

It didn't quite have the same snap to it as some recent chapters, but I really didnt mind the variation.

It was a good character portrait/update.

And the Harry-Ron interacting was just fantastically rude.

The only minor annoyances I have is that-

1) Many readers including myself expected the vege-sentience problem/joke, so it wasn't quite so snappy, and

2)It was such a small update! I get that it was probably this short so the chapter was thematically consistent, its just I'm craving more MoR!
NotRichardBach chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
"If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem" - Richard in "Illusions - The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah" by Richard Bach
The French Dark Lord chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Luv it!
Ham Nox chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Poor Harry.. His life is troublesome enough without worrying about his vegetables being sentient.
Donteatacowman chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Poor Harry... he's operating in a world of logic, where everything makes SENSE and he's trying to do the right thing on a grand scale... but everyone else is in a world of emotion and relationships and doing the right thing to themselves and their closest friends. :(

Also-is it odd that I've worried over the sentient-plant idea WITHOUT the knowledge of magic that can make them sentient? Hahaha... guess that's OCD though. xD Man, if you start on that tangent you can never get off... Like, what if bacteria are sentient? What if there are universes like in "Horton Hears a Who," that are all so tiny that we can't see them but if we step on the wrong spot then we'll destroy them? Hnh, eventually you have to stop worrying and snap back to the definition of "Reality" you operate under on a daily basis...

Thanks for another chapter! :D As always, this is a pleasure to read! What's your source for Draco's manipulation techniques, by the way? Is it just things you've gleaned from stories, or have you actually studied enough of psychology to know them, or do you use a certain website that tells you these things? xD They're very interesting; I'd like to know more of them.
john chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
this chapter has the same problem all the other chapters have

its too short!

come on lesswrong, your story is to amazing in need to know what happens next! write faster!
NQ chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
I felt like this chapter was one that I wasn't as much of a fan of... the first half felt more like a lecture to the readers and less like a story. The second half did make up for it by providing more character development, though, so I can't complain too much. Still loving the story and looking forward to each chapter.
dinosaurusgede chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Oh my God,I kept laughing every time I read the first couple of paragraphs. poultrymouths? plants being sentient? that's hilarious! Good job, Less Wrong.

and Ron's being a prat as usual. Poor Hermione,
phoebe turner chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
i loved it!
badkidoh chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Another great chapter.

I'm looking forward to your next update.
Zealot chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Nice chapter.

I especially liked how Harry told Hermione to simply ignore what most other people think about her! Also, hopefully, he won't start wasting time by trying to be "nicer" to people.

Hope to see another update soon!
Surfwizard chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
I don't know, I'm kind of doubtful on whether or not a slytherin would make a pun. But the idea of the sentience of things that talk is a serious matter that Harry definitely needed to address at some point.
ShaThief chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
I can just see harry trying to tell draco not to discriminate between cross breed and pure oak wood. All plans should be treated as people regardless of age or size.

elej chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
it would be horrifying if he found that every animal had a complex language (well you snake thing sounded like wormtail finding his master by asking other rats). the interface idea has some merit, since draco's patronus could understand parseltongue, so it might hv been about sharing intent rather than being a feeling. i also like to comment is about your use of the diricawl as a food item. while it's a nice 'magical' animal, according to early sailors, the dodos were suppose to taste quite horrible.

keep up the story, enjoy the humour and the nice bits of philosophy.
fotherington chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Couldn't Harry bind Hermione in a magical vow not to reveal the information he tells her about Patronuses unless a) he willingly and in person authorises her to reveal it or b) he dies? There must be whole books in the Hogwarts library about different grades of magical oaths, how to administer them,, identify them or get round them, who's used them in the past and how, etc. etc. It's also something that other magic users would understand - she simply can't reveal the information, so no point asking.

We've seen in previous chapters that spell creation is intensely private, with Quirrell heading off Dumbledore's questioning of how Harry produced a new kind of Patronus. Using a well-understood and standard vow would also demonstrate to the people whose opinion Harry cares about that he's going about this in a normal (for wizards!) way.

God, the advantages to running an illegal organisation where no-one can rat on you to the cops! Or having your pirate treasure protected by the Fidelius charm. And then there's the law enforcement aspect - behaviour control, anyone? There must be books - probably mostly in the Restricted Section given the potential for abuse that they represent.

There's a couple of points in the Narnia books where the possibility that the characters are eating/killing sentient animals is raised - it must make hunting rather difficult, though not shooting anything wearing clothes or swearing at you would be a start.
Raven3182 chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Awww... poor Harry and poor Hermione. I hope they work it out, it would be a shame to have Harry lose his only real friend.

Thanks for writing!
DiscountNinja chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Great chapter! Very much looking forward to the next one - I do love the way you're treating sentience in this story, so many people forget to deal with intelligent magical items or creatures, never mind mundane ones.
Sarshi chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Oh, Harry! )) Whether plants are sentient. Poor, poor kid.

Although I get his point. *is a vegetarian, but eats eggs, because eggs were never really alive*
Gogolu chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Megafire chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Good to see Hermione is still trying to turn Harry into a nice guy.
Dureth chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Oh, I love and hate you so much. How did you manage to update just enough to push me out of MOR withdrawal, but not enough to get me my nerd high? On a more serious note, this chapter wasn't *bad* per say, but it wasn't really... Well, it did kind of feel like not much happened. I can understand not posting the story in mammoth chapters, but it's kind of a sad feeling to realize you've read a chapter of filler. Lastly, I went through exactly that conundrum Harry is going through with his food, and came to the conclusion that the cuter it was, the more delicious it looked, with the exception of animals kept as pets. And parrots. Anything that talks in spoken English is not to be eaten.
lilyoftheval5 chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
Loved Harry going on a that tangent...

Ouch! about Hermione, but am not surprised.

"Harry was starting to wonder if the Dementor had somehow damaged their imaginary personalities."

Wonderful thought, makes me grin everytime I read it.

However, is it 'their' or 'his'?
York Bezbozny chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
I'm inclined to think the sorting hat theory is the most likely explanation, a temporary transfer of intelligence. But on the other hand, the magic behind Parseltongue could be a combination of perception bending and mind control. The mind control magic makes the snake obay the wizards commands and the perception part is for the sake of the wizard so that any information relayed by the snake is translated from direct memories to seemingly perfect languege. The hissing isn't actually "snake languege", it's just that way because the wizard who created it didn't want anyone to know what he was saying (and to be unable to differentiate it from normal snake hissing). So the snakes wouldn't actually be sentient and speaking languege, they would just be percieved as sentient and speaking languege while under the mind control effects of the wizard. As for one snake being able to talk to others, it simply scans the brain of other snakes for pertinant memories and translates it into verbal information. It may seem like a bit of a complictated explanation, but manipulation of the neurons inside an animals brain so as to make them sentient and capable of fully perfected speach is a lot more complicated than fooling your own brain into thinking they can speak.

Also, I do hope that you will eventually have harry preform transfiguration under a microscope, and even an electron microscope possibly. Transfiguring a single atom while observing it could shed a lot of light on what exactly is happening.

and another question, does transfiguration create heat? if you rapidly transfigured something back and forth, would it eventually get really hot? or will it always only be the temperature that you purposly transfigure it too?
dfcowell chapter 48 . 10/6/2010
I'll leave a full review later - long time reader, just signed up to now to comment and say how much I'm enjoying this fic.

Also, I've set up a page for translations - - it's using a subdomain at the moment, but if/when the traffic is high enough, I'll be more than happy to register a full domain to host the project.

The first two chapters are up in English as a proof of concept and there is a lot more to be done, I intend to have it ready for use within the next 4 hours or so.

Hopefully it will suffice! I'm looking forward to the next chapter with bated breath, and I will be, as I said, leaving a more thorough review later.
Tiky3000 chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
Sentient chickens. The thought really scares me. I can handle snakes, but only because I don't enjoy them with dinner.
Vaughn Tyler chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
ilikebluepineapples chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
Also, I am very, very happy that you updated in the middle of the week. And today of all days! Today was a pretty awful day for me, so it was just what I needed. And the suspense factor of not knowing whether you'll post on weekdays as well as weekends keeps things fun.
ilikebluepineapples chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
So the first half was hilarious. Damaged imaginary personalities indeed :)

The second half is actually genuinely depressing. Pretty impressive feat there, making a conversation between two kids talking about school reputations genuinely depressing. Also, Harry sounds like my mom. She says the exact same thing in pretty much the exact same words about not caring what non-respected others think. It is good advice. It is also ridiculously hard to follow, so this storyline rings uncomfortably true.
Wanderer D chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
As always a good one. I had expected Harry to go on the path of madness once he started thinking everything might be -just might be- sentient. Lovecraft references are pretty appropriate considering the nature of the chapter... especially when it comes to the concept of the sentience of... things... like carrots... or Azathoth. I raise my mug to you.
Oxi-Nu chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
I get very excited whenever you update. Love the story. Moar please.
Paosheep chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
This chapter made me sad.

(I am rather susceptible to damsels in distress. Harry has more fortitude than I.)
kelpy chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
Okay the whole swearing by Cthulhu was funny and the talk about eating students was hilarious but seriously meat is meat I mean if you dont eat the brain I dont think you would even get sick so it cant be too bad. The whole idea of eating sentient food well I would sooner eat a person than an insect. I mean if they are dead I dont think it would matter anyway since dead is dead.
CassieMouse chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
I really enjoy your writing and hope you continue! Yep.
dragonblack chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
Good chapter. I like Harry's freakout about possible botanical sentience, and the inner... I guess it isn't a dialog. Forum? In any case, it is funny.

Hermione's behavior is bothering me a little, but as I write this, I realize that I am projecting my own personality onto her character and should stop.

Complaint retracted! All is well.
Violet Shadows chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
Solid chapter, the humor of Harry's moral qualms made a sharp counter point to Hermione's distress and Harry's inability to help.
Morbious20 chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
Awesome chapter .
papillon2 chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
Harry needs to discover Fruitarianism, or whatever the term is for people who only eat stuff (like fruits and milk) that is DESIGNED to be eaten and doesn't kill the organism it's taken from. If the only options he sees are "possibly kill things" and "starve" then he's obviously going to give up and eat eventually, but a little bit of research will point out that there are people who manage to eat without killing anything. Of course, a lot of them then suffer horrible nutritional deficiencies, but it would certainly give him a starting point. Then he could research the casting of Create Food And Water.
Boots chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
I very much enjoyed your story, and I can't say that I have read anything like it before. I especially enjoyed that you offered it as a PDF version, since I have an iPad that can read books offline and uses less power that way. It gives me the excuse to procrastinate on homework for my long shifts as a desk attendant at a residence hall in my university. I hope the story continues.

Fair winds and following seas,


PS-This site doesn't let me log in on my iPad, for whatever reason, but if you want to give me a response to my review, my email is .
linkhyrule5 chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
So, why is having a human patronus such a big deal? It's just more Boy-Who-Lived-ness, that apparently can be taught. The bigger deal is that it can kill dementors, but Harry doesn't have to tell Hermione *that,* and if she gets the opportunity to find out by accident it's probably a good thing. (Loss of secret or loss of someone's soul, take your pick :D)
kevin chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
I was always disappointed with canon Harry for not talking to lots of snakes just to see if they really were intelligent. Since Parseltongues can actually command snakes, it always struck me as stupid that Harry never used them to do his bidding. ITS YOUR SUPERPOWER! USE IT! GAAAAAAAH!
DigiEmissary chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
I was hoping you'd give me a chapter for my birthday. Thanks for (unknowingly) obliging! :D

I think Harry is dwelling on the consequences of the possibility of "conferring sentience" to the extent of failing to determine (or at least attempt to determine) how such an event could actually take place. The idea that "sentience" is something that can be conferred wholesale, rather than existing as an emergent, physically explainable phenomenon, would certainly seem more plausible in a world with magic than it does in the real world. In addition, the it's understandable that Harry would be overwhelmed by the potential consequences he has conceived. However, he is failing to consider some other examples in the Wizarding world that might appear to be the result of "conferring sentience," but which he has already dismissed as not being so: portraits and ghosts. They can gather information (though it's true that portraits cannot, as far as we know, gather information from other inanimate portraits), but are merely "afterimages" as Harry describes them during his and Dumbledore's conversation about death. There is clearly a method by which wizards grant the appearance of sentience to objects; it would behoove Harry to learn more about this, and whether it would apply to other life forms as well. I think Hermione has a point that Harry does tend to run somewhat impetuously in the direction of new ideas, but that's of course to be expected from 11-year-old boys.

Harry and Hermione's conversation about reputations is very similar to some that I had with a former girlfriend.
Speechwriter chapter 48 . 10/5/2010

I'm wondering whether Harry will actually consider Hermione's advice at all, or if he'll consider being nicer to everyone to be faaar beneath his intellect.

Anyway, the absolute awesomeness of this chapter was darn near incomprehensible. 'Vegetable Cunning'? I need to find that at my local bookstore!

And, of course, you've managed to make me completely reexamine the concept of Parseltongue itself as well as wondering, if not, why exactly there is no Poultrytongue.

One of my favorite parts of this chapter, I think, was where Harry was distracted by the issue of sentience of trillions of blades of grass by Hermione's distress. That was very... sweet...? Er, I hesitate to use that word in conjunction with your Harry. Ever.

Eagerly anticipating the update, as usual.

firedraygon chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
Haha, trust Harry to go down that path of common sense. I wonder how Draco's taking the news?

I really do love every character in this. Fantastic work. Please write more soon!

joelwilliamson chapter 48 . 10/5/2010

Every time you post a new chapter, it reminds me why are started reading fanfics.

kenlon chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
At some point, Harry, you have to actually trust people. Even with the dangerous things.
Pandora of Ithilien chapter 48 . 10/5/2010
intense between harry and hermione, which nicely balanced out the humor of harry's internal argument over food. it's actually a rather good point, but it seems you played it for laughs. not a bad thing. :)