Harry Potter and the methods of Rationality; a fanfiction review

Preface:

I've come to the conclusion that I will not translate my entries to English any more. Why? Because translating is boring, it isn't intellectually stimulating. Gentle reader, you probably understand that creating new stuff is just so much more fun than self-plagiarizing.

However, I will not stop producing content in English, because I enjoy the language. How is that, you may ask. Simple, I will create content in English. My educated guess is that it will be about 1/10 of the total output.

Also, do learn Spanish. Here might be a great way to start.

Harry Potter and the methods of Rationality


“When you walk past a bookshop you haven’t visited before, you have to go in and look around. That’s the family rule.” 
“That is the most Ravenclaw thing I have ever heard.”

Image from deviantart

This series exudes intelligence. I experience a yet to be named sensation when I talk to someone very intelligent, and this is the first time I've seen that feeling captured in a book. The book is incredibly well thought, and not predictably so.

One among many examples of the above is magic theory. It is much more satisfactory. For instance, a key theme in the series is that transfiguration is not permanent and only lasts for as long as the wizard is consciously making an effort to mantain it. Thus, it is forbidden to transfigurate anything into a gas or liquid or anything which could be accidentally eaten, because when it transformed back to the original spell, it would kill any person that had the transfigured substance in their bloodstream.  It is much more satisfactory, because magical laws have consequences, and are not just used as plot devices. In relation to this, the series also explores the plot in much depth, and hence it covers just one magic school year.

The comparison with the original series is, of course, inevitable, but while I suspect that this fanfic would fare better, I feel that the comparison would be unfair, as the author does not create a new universe; it merely tweaks an already existing one. For me, this cannot possible hold as much literary merit as creating a world from scratch.

Regarding the title: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, the book is an enjoyable introduction to the Rationality community; and a reasonably effective one, but as the plot is so gripping some of it gets dilluted in the literary side. Too bad.

The lack of empathy of some of the main characters is astounding, but not unbelievable, and it is consistent, so it doesn't impair the readers' suspension of disbelief. To conclude, I read the entire series in less than one week, and I don't quite remember switching between the third and the fourth book, so I would definitely recommend it.

Also, it's free: hpmor.com

Bonus story (unrelated, from somewhere in hpmor.com):

MORPHEUS: For the longest time, I wouldn't believe it. But then I saw the fields with my own eyes, watched them liquefy the dead so they could be fed intravenously to the living
-NEO (politely): Excuse me, please.
MORPHEUS: Yes, Neo?
NEO: I've kept quiet for as long as I could, but I feel a certain need to speak up at this point. The human body is the most inefficient source of energy you could possibly imagine. The efficiency of a power plant at converting thermal energy into electricity decreases as you run the turbines at lower temperatures. If you had any sort of food humans could eat, it would be more efficient to burn it in a furnace than feed it to humans. And now you're telling me that their food is the bodies of the dead, fed to the living? Haven't you ever heard of the laws of thermodynamics?
MORPHEUS: Where did you hear about the laws of thermodynamics, Neo?
NEO: Anyone who's made it past one science class in high school ought to know about the laws of thermodynamics!
MORPHEUS: Where did you go to high school, Neo?
(Pause.)
NEO: ...in the Matrix.
MORPHEUS: The machines tell elegant lies.
(Pause.)
NEO (in a small voice): Could I please have a real physics textbook?
MORPHEUS: There is no such thing, Neo. The universe doesn't run on math.

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