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Harry Potter And The Methods Of Rationality

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Ponicalica from facing Buttercup
Jun 6th 2010 at 9:01:07 PM

Is it just me or is he picking the most ridiculous things to criticise? Like the names? Seriously?

As for the Author Tract stuff, I can safely say that if you've read his other writings you'll see where he basically quotes himself as Harry Potter, but Harry Potter is definitely not a Mary Sue Author Avatar. I mean, it's not like he's used his own writings to instantly convert someone within the space of a panel.

edited 6th Jun '10 9:16:48 PM by Ponicalica

the future we had hoped for
RawPower Jesus as in Revelations from Barcelona
Jesus as in Revelations
Jun 7th 2010 at 3:49:02 AM

Wow. I'm sorry, I opened the blog, clicked on "read more", and... well... T L ; D R. Pff. Seriously, what's the big deal?

'''YOU SEE THIS DOG I'M PETTING? THAT WAS COURAGE WOLF.Cute, isn't he?
Jun 7th 2010 at 5:18:32 AM

The reason I can't take the blog seriously:

In its introductory page it holds up the fact that "Methods" has its own tvtropes page as some sort of signal of how popular its become and how seriously its being taken and how things have gotten just too far.

Don't just tell us the facts; tell us the memes, tell us the archetypes, tell us the catchy ideas and symbolic roles that get planted in pe
Iaculus Pronounced YAK-you-luss from England
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Jun 7th 2010 at 6:00:49 AM

One very minor niggle regarding the latest chapters - maybe I'm overreacting (and I probably almost certainly am), but there was something about the cheap shot regarding English-speakers' lack of a work ethic that rubbed me the wrong way a little. Probably had summat to do with the fact that it came in a two-parter on racism.

Didn't ruin my enjoyment of the chapters or anything daft like that, but it definitely felt like a misstep.

What's precedent ever done for us?
Myrmidon The Ant King from In Antartica
The Ant King
Jun 7th 2010 at 6:44:18 AM

It makes a little more sense then XKCD sucks because it's an ongoing story, as opposed to a series of unrelated gags. It's still gratuitous, though.

edited 7th Jun '10 6:44:25 AM by Myrmidon

Kill all math nerds
RawPower Jesus as in Revelations from Barcelona
Jesus as in Revelations
Jun 7th 2010 at 9:30:31 AM

^^ Reverse Racism is nto acceptable. But I think what the writer was trying to imply is that people from immigrant cultures work very hard to improve their social station, hence the work ethic.

Which is actually factually wrong. But, hypocrite that I am, being a non-native English speaker, I let it pass. With a chuckle. Then came the one about that minority that got many Nobel prizes, and I couldn't help but get pissed off: in a Flame War, a typical way of trolling Muslims, especially from zionist Jews, is to point out that we didn't get any science Nobel prizes, implying that we are inherently more stupid, rather than because of historical and social contingencies. Which pisses me off immensely.

Then Yudkovsky posts in his Author's Notes that those were Harry-Evans-Verre-Potter's ideas, not his... Do we have a name for when an author refuses to take responsibility for bullshit his characters say but won't provide anything to justify it wasn't an Author Tract?

edited 7th Jun '10 9:31:03 AM by RawPower

'''YOU SEE THIS DOG I'M PETTING? THAT WAS COURAGE WOLF.Cute, isn't he?
Iaculus Pronounced YAK-you-luss from England
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Jun 7th 2010 at 12:54:52 PM

Yeah - if that were the case, he could have at least done some more to indicate it as Harry's opinion. Limited third-person only takes you so far into a character's head, and it's easy to forget that.

Likewise, there'd probably have been rather less uproar about the whole classroom child-abuse business if it were not portrayed as useful and effective, regardless of the source. Still, at least he's hinted that the disadvantage to that method and attitude's going to be turning up at some point, so I'm not going to dismiss it as a complete misstep yet. Perhaps we'll end up seeing the psychological effects of Quirrell's teachings on an actual eleven-year-old, instead of the weird hyper-rationalist automaton that is Harry.

Note that I'm not complaining about Harry's characterisation here - it's becoming increasingly apparent that his unchildishness is quite deliberate, and likely the setup for a doozy of a reveal.

What's precedent ever done for us?
RawPower Jesus as in Revelations from Barcelona
Jesus as in Revelations
Jun 7th 2010 at 2:33:51 PM

I think this Harry Potter is largely based on John Stuart Mill, who had a very similar upbrigning, and was just as unchildish.

But he's by no means an automaton! He's passionate, humourous, impatient, and, well, he's a pretty round character... but I think he's an Author Avatar Escapist Character Possession Sue, done right in that the author knows himself and his failings quite well and doesn't forget to add them to the kid, amplified to fit his idea of an 11 year old, i.e. someone who made the same mistakes as he when he was "younger". He just failed to calculate how young.

What makes Harry so fun to use is that he had a strwaman ready-made in the form of Harry Potter's canonically stupid and bigoted magical comunity.

edited 7th Jun '10 2:35:12 PM by RawPower

'''YOU SEE THIS DOG I'M PETTING? THAT WAS COURAGE WOLF.Cute, isn't he?
Iaculus Pronounced YAK-you-luss from England
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Jun 7th 2010 at 2:45:55 PM

I was exaggerating for effect - I recognise that Harry has a personality, and some lingering elements of childishness. It's just that it is very apparent in-story that there's something decidedly odd going on with him which firmly separates him from a 'normal' eleven-year-old.

One interesting distinction with Mill is the latter's crippling self-esteem issues, brought on by being inundated with concepts that he was not intellectually or emotionally prepared for at the time. Harry has lots of issues, but that doesn't seem to be one of them.

edited 7th Jun '10 2:46:24 PM by Iaculus

What's precedent ever done for us?
RawPower Jesus as in Revelations from Barcelona
Jesus as in Revelations
Jun 7th 2010 at 3:44:19 PM

How do I educated my children for maximum smarts and social skills from childhood? I mean without getting a Johan or a Stuart Mill?

edited 7th Jun '10 3:44:53 PM by RawPower

'''YOU SEE THIS DOG I'M PETTING? THAT WAS COURAGE WOLF.Cute, isn't he?
Myrmidon The Ant King from In Antartica
The Ant King
Jun 7th 2010 at 4:11:09 PM

Might be a good question for a different place.

Kill all math nerds
Chubert highly secure from California
highly secure
Jun 8th 2010 at 11:44:50 AM

My main issue with the story is how the author kinda backtracks on some of Harry's actions. For example, when Harry dresses up and freaks Neville out, Harry only admits to it being wrong... several chapters later, after reviews came in. Same thing with Chapter 19 and Quirrell. However, the rest of the story is awesome.

Whatcha gonna do, little buckaroo? | i be pimpin' madoka fics
Jun 8th 2010 at 1:20:05 PM

harry, like the author, might not realize he's done a bad thing and won't immediately apologize until other people point out how he's wrong.

i see that as a good thing.

RawPower Jesus as in Revelations from Barcelona
Jesus as in Revelations
Jun 8th 2010 at 1:56:51 PM

^ In that case, he and I are largely the same. But what is it with Yudkowsky and rape? It popped up both here and in Three Worlds Collide. Author Appeal?

edited 8th Jun '10 1:57:10 PM by RawPower

'''YOU SEE THIS DOG I'M PETTING? THAT WAS COURAGE WOLF.Cute, isn't he?
Jun 8th 2010 at 4:15:40 PM

i think he's just aware of Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil. in three worlds collide, he uses it to show how different cultures are. in rationality, he plays it straight... to harry, anyways.

RawPower Jesus as in Revelations from Barcelona
Jesus as in Revelations
Jun 9th 2010 at 12:22:41 AM

Looks like the FATALBerserk school of Historical Accuracy to me... But yeah, avoiding the Romantic mindset and painting the nearly feudal society of Harry Potter is an interesting exploration of cannon.

Also, what if Draco meets /b/?

edited 9th Jun '10 12:26:33 AM by RawPower

'''YOU SEE THIS DOG I'M PETTING? THAT WAS COURAGE WOLF.Cute, isn't he?
Jun 11th 2010 at 2:34:46 AM

New chapter and a promise for another in Saturday. Also this:

Chapter 24 notes:

To all of my friends saying that this fic is now Harry/Draco, shut up or I'll ship Draco with Mc Gonagall. Thank you.

RawPower Jesus as in Revelations from Barcelona
Jesus as in Revelations
Jun 11th 2010 at 3:32:38 AM

^ No Yay! That'd be almost as disturbing as Harry/Voldie.

But damn, he's writing fast.

"Draco's mind ran into a brick wall and splattered. He just stared at Harry Potter with his mouth hanging slack like a fool."

I was expecting something like that, but Harry still managed to make me make a Double Take.

"Father had once taken him to see a play called The Tragedy of Light, about this incredibly clever Slytherin named Raito who'd set out to purify the world of evil using an ancient ring that could kill anyone whose name and face he knew, and who'd been opposed by another incredibly clever Slytherin, a villain named Lawliet, who'd worn a disguise to conceal his true face; and Draco had shouted and cheered at all the right parts, especially in the middle; and then the play had ended sadly and Draco had been hugely disappointed and Father had gently pointed out that the word 'Tragedy' was right there in the title."

That was unexpected...

edited 11th Jun '10 3:43:40 AM by RawPower

'''YOU SEE THIS DOG I'M PETTING? THAT WAS COURAGE WOLF.Cute, isn't he?
Jun 11th 2010 at 3:40:30 AM

Draco/McG? I'd like to see that.

edited 11th Jun '10 3:40:42 AM by Hylarn

RawPower Jesus as in Revelations from Barcelona
Jesus as in Revelations
Jun 11th 2010 at 3:50:24 AM

You mean it could be pulled properly? Seriously?

Not that it wouldn't be funny, mind you.

No. That way lay madness. There had to be a limit. The Dark Lord himself hadn't been that twisty. That sort of thing didn't happen in real life, only in Father's silly bedtime stories about foolish gargoyles who always ended up furthering the hero's plans every time they tried to stop him.

Is it just me, or did I hear Malfoy's Evil Laugh back there, even if it wasn't written? I mean, you could see the Taitor Shot!

edited 11th Jun '10 4:03:24 AM by RawPower

'''YOU SEE THIS DOG I'M PETTING? THAT WAS COURAGE WOLF.Cute, isn't he?
Mapi "keionbu ni yokusou, nyan?" from Sakurakou Keionbu
"keionbu ni yokusou, nyan?"
Jun 11th 2010 at 4:04:54 AM

LOL DEATH NOTE

edited 11th Jun '10 4:05:31 AM by Mapi

My FF.net account
Jun 11th 2010 at 4:07:54 AM

Methods of Rationality? I think it's pretty good for something that doesn't work as a story at all. Rational!Harry is impossible, not because his intellect is as a brilliant beacon in the night and his memory as the Library of Alexandria, but because eleven-year-olds don't form that kind of thoughts. Abstract concepts do not work that way.

The good bits are the ones where I don't have to care. The author knows his way around words, has a knack for the ridiculous, and his explanations of various scientific theories and associated thoughts are fascinating. Seeing what he can do when he toys with the setting is great.

It's when Rational!Harry leaves SCIENCE! behind and Fixes Hogwarts With His Specialness and we seem to be supposed to take it seriously that the illusion snaps. Maybe my impressions have been tainted by the 378 similar, inane wish-fulfillment stories that came before it, I don't know. Though I hope that I'd still object to the scene where the Calm, Composed Hero Lays Out The Law And Leaves His Inferiors Gaping In Amazement if this was the first time I saw one.

I'll keep reading it as long as the author keeps on taking that wrench of his to the Wizarding World. It's a good wrench.

edited 11th Jun '10 4:15:23 AM by Kizor

Iaculus Pronounced YAK-you-luss from England
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Jun 11th 2010 at 7:36:37 AM

Honestly, there seems to be a certain level of awareness that eleven-year-olds don't work like that. As mentioned before, it's evident that weird shit do be going on with Harry.

Draco is a bit less excusable in that regard, though.

What's precedent ever done for us?
RawPower Jesus as in Revelations from Barcelona
Jesus as in Revelations
Jun 11th 2010 at 7:39:10 AM

Well, yes, I mean they could be fifteen or sixteen and it would stretch Willing Suspension of Disbelief much less. I have trouble imagining them with children's voices.

'''YOU SEE THIS DOG I'M PETTING? THAT WAS COURAGE WOLF.Cute, isn't he?
Jun 11th 2010 at 8:23:57 AM

Pretty much, yeah. Let me try for a phrasing that's brief enough to be worth reading. Harry's ridiculous, which is good because it's a vehicle for great things. But then there's a lenghty sequence with Snape that doubles the ridiculous and holds off on the great, leaving me leery of where this is going.

I also suspect that the fic will move from general theory towards the author's own views, which does not affect the fic but makes me an ass.

edited 11th Jun '10 8:27:00 AM by Kizor


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