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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality - What if Harry was smarter than Ender? (Page 9)

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Author Topic: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality - What if Harry was smarter than Ender?
King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
IIRC, pursuit of the Philosopher's Stone is also a common way to come to a bad end.

I don't believe you can support this from canon.
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Juxtapose
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Then I would argue, in that case, that Dumbledore wasn't saying the right things...
There's no way that this Harry would ever give serious consideration to the argument, "In my professional opinion, the temptation of immortality is not something that you, at eleven years old, are ready to contemplate facing."
But that's not the argument that Dumbledore needs to make. His goal is to stop Harry from seeking immortality at some indeterminate point in the future, not right at that very moment.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
His goal is to stop Harry from seeking immortality at some indeterminate point in the future, not right at that very moment.
Well, I'm pretty sure Dumbledore believes that he will be able to have future conversations with Harry. [Smile]
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Juxtapose
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Right, but what he's doing in that conversation is decreasing his influence with Harry in later conversations.
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TomDavidson
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He has no way of knowing that, given that Harry is actively deceiving him. But, yes, were Dumbledore in fact a Slytherin instead of a decent human being, he'd probably figure that out. [Wink]
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Juxtapose
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It seemed like the portion where Harry was deceiving Dumbledore was earlier in the discussion. Harry seemed to me to be quite in earnest when discussing immortality.
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TomDavidson
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Oh, I believe he was. That's not what he's being deceptive about. He's deceiving Dumbledore about his willingness to actually care about and/or process anything Dumbledore says. Dumbledore is under the erroneous impression that Harry considers him a source of advice, an impression that Harry has encouraged; he does not realize that Harry considers him to be a delusional and potentially dangerously insane fool.

This version of Harry is only tolerant of other people's ignorance when they demonstrate a willingness to let him lead them out of it, on his terms and his schedule. It's his most Dark Lordy trait.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
I think Quirrell, as written, respects Harry's intellect only up to a point. [Smile]
He has, in fact, made that perfectly clear, as with his response to Harry's objections to the benefits of an 'enlightened' dictatorship.
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Juxtapose
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"Dumbledore is under the erroneous impression that Harry considers him a source of advice, an impression that Harry has encouraged..."

Well, Dumbledore may have before this conversation, but if he still does, then he really is a fool.

At any rate, I appreciate your thoughts on it. [Smile]

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
I think Quirrell, as written, respects Harry's intellect only up to a point. [Smile]
He has, in fact, made that perfectly clear, as with his response to Harry's objections to the benefits of an 'enlightened' dictatorship.
I don't think that's true. Certainly, he disagrees with Harry; strongly, in fact. But he does not despise Harry's opinion; he objects to airing their disagreement in public, not to having a disagreement in the first place.

As for Dumbledore, fair's fair; Harry disregards his opinions at least partly because Dumbledore disregards Harry's, on the grounds that Harry is 11.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
"I am trying," said Professor Quirrell quietly, "to make allowances for the fact that you are young. That I myself, at the same age, was a quite extraordinary fool. You speak with adult style and meddle in adult games, and sometimes I forget that you are only a meddler. I hope, Mr. Potter, that your childish meddling has not just killed you, ruined your country, and lost the next war."
I don't know, Samprimary, it certainly sounds like Quirrel despises Harry's opinion, and rejects it at least in part on the grounds that Harry's youth and inexperience render him too stupid to recognize wisdom.

quote:
As for Dumbledore, fair's fair; Harry disregards his opinions at least partly because Dumbledore disregards Harry's, on the grounds that Harry is 11.
Heh, does Quirrel actually regard Harry's opinions? Or is he just seducing a potentially extremely dangerous (for a variety for easons) enemy, either to neutralize or turn him? When I'm reading this story, I don't come away with the impression that Quirrel has much respect or regard for Harry, or at least certainly nothing to compare to his own schemes for him.
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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
Heh, does Quirrel actually regard Harry's opinions? Or is he just seducing a potentially extremely dangerous (for a variety for reasons) enemy, either to neutralize or turn him?
From Harry's perspective this is irrelevant, assuming that Quirrel is sufficiently good at pretending. I do think that Quirrel does genuinely respect Harry as a smart person, even if he ultimately doesn't respect Harry as person in general. He knows that Harry is a potentially dangerous enemy precisely BECAUSE he is smart.

quote:
He's deceiving Dumbledore about his willingness to actually care about and/or process anything Dumbledore says. Dumbledore is under the erroneous impression that Harry considers him a source of advice, an impression that Harry has encouraged; he does not realize that Harry considers him to be a delusional and potentially dangerously insane fool.
I agree with this, but this is one of the primary reasons why the statement "Dumbledore won that conversation" completely baffle me.

quote:
This version of Harry is only tolerant of other people's ignorance when they demonstrate a willingness to let him lead them out of it, on his terms and his schedule. It's his most Dark Lordy trait.
This I agree with completely.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
From Harry's perspective this is irrelevant, assuming that Quirrel is sufficiently good at pretending. I do think that Quirrel does genuinely respect Harry as a smart person, even if he ultimately doesn't respect Harry as person in general. He knows that Harry is a potentially dangerous enemy precisely BECAUSE he is smart.
Oh, sure, it's irrelevant for Harry largely because it appears he's forgotten most of the lessons in life that aren't strictly related to a scientific outlook and rationality. For all their faults, there is some value in a sort of emotion-regarding thinking as opposed to discarding thinking that other folks might display, because then their EVIL! buzzers might be blaring. I think what Quirrel feels for Harry isn't so much respect for intellect, but respect for perceived like-mindedness. He doesn't seem aware, for example, that Harry would side with Muggles over Wizards six days a week and twice on Sundays. I think whatever respect he might have for Harry, intellectual or otherwise, would evaporate rapidly if he knew that, because after all, for all his pretense, there's a lot of hatred in the dude.
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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
Oh, sure, it's irrelevant for Harry largely because it appears he's forgotten most of the lessons in life that aren't strictly related to a scientific outlook and rationality
I'm referring specifically to the issue of whether Quirrel genuinely or only pretends to respect Harry. If Harry believes that Quirrel gives him more respect than any other given adult then he's more inclined to look up to him.

I'd also note that most of those lessons in life are, as Snape points out, things you have to experience as opposed to read about, so Harry isn't forgetting them. He just hasn't learned them yet.

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Seatarsprayan
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quote:
(She actually specifically said things like "I don't think logic is all that important").
My mother said that too. Very sad.

Interestingly, in my case she was the atheist, while I met a preacher who used "Come, let us reason together" as a mantra.f

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Raymond Arnold
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That is interesting. Which did you wind up believing in the end?

[ August 26, 2010, 06:17 PM: Message edited by: Raymond Arnold ]

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Raymond Arnold
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The author's notes for chapter 41 are particularly interesting.
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Seatarsprayan
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quote:
Which did you wind up believing in the end?
I'm a theist. Which means among (supposedly) rational people, I'm ignored for my religious beliefs, and among (most) religious folks, I'm ignored for my insistence on applying rationality to religion. It's fun though.
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Raymond Arnold
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Heh. 'kay.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Seatarsprayan:
Which means among (supposedly) rational people, I'm ignored for my religious beliefs, and among (most) religious folks, I'm ignored for my insistence on applying rationality to religion. It's fun though.

*high-fives*
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Seatarsprayan:
Which means among (supposedly) rational people, I'm ignored for my religious beliefs, and among (most) religious folks, I'm ignored for my insistence on applying rationality to religion. It's fun though.

*high-fives*
Can we start a club?
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Raymond Arnold
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So.... chapter 42......


yeah not sure at all what I think about that.

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Rakeesh
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Yes, it seems there's a good bit of strangeness that doesn't really make sense yet. In a society as conservative and procreation-oriented as the British Wizarding World, why is homosexuality so much more tolerated there than amongst Muggles? Seems peculiar to me. Also, yes, we know Harry can't stand Quidditch. Something of an old gag by now, isn't it?

It's a bit odd also seeing Harry being so hard on his own father for childhood transgressions while saying he feels that way because he judges himself, a child, harshly...but it really seems to me that his harsh judgements are pretty inconsistent and in some cases quickly forgotten.

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sinflower
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Well, a large part of the reason we have homophobia is sexism and the idea of traditional gender roles in romance. Men are dominant, women are submissive, if a man's with a man that must mean he's being a pussy and omg, those gay men are wearing makeup and acting like girls! But it stands to reason that sexism of that type wouldn't exist in the Magical world. For one thing, witches are equally powerful as wizards, rendering the physical strength discrepancy irrelevant. Also, witches and wizards don't have religion! No almighty God has told them that gayness is a sin. So while homophobia could conceivably exist, it should only exist among pureblood elites who are obsessed with continuing their bloodlines, and no one else.

So while that premise is logical, the way this chapter is written... doesn't make a lot of sense. It's kind of schizophrenic in its pacing, and I don't really understand why Sirius killed Peter. There's no real unifying storyline or theme.

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Rakeesh
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Hmm. Well, I grant that one of the big contributors to homophobia is sexism, but I don't grant that it's not much of a factor in the HP world. Thinking back to the books, aren't the overwhelming majority of teachers, administators, politicians, and big power figures men?
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sinflower
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That is true. Hmm. Could we ascribe this to Rowling not thinking the issue through enough, and just writing that aspect of the story based on her own experiences? The canon magical world seems too culturally similar to ours in general, which doesn't make sense. I'd expect centralized government to be a lot more difficult to carry out, for one thing, when each citizen is so independently powerful.
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King of Men
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The whole point of the fic is that Rowling didn't think a lot of things through. But why do you say that Wizarding Britain has no homophobia? We have the word of Rowling that Dumbledore is gay, yes; what we do not have is any canon assurances of how other people react. They might not even know, above the wink-wink, nudge-nudge, he sure spent a lot of time with Grindelwald level.
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Juxtapose
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quote:
It's a bit odd also seeing Harry being so hard on his own father for childhood transgressions while saying he feels that way because he judges himself, a child, harshly...but it really seems to me that his harsh judgements are pretty inconsistent and in some cases quickly forgotten.
In terms of forgetting his self-judgment quickly, it's worth remembering that entire days or weeks might be passing between chapters (not every chapter, of course).
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dabbler
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I was pleased with how upset he was over Hermione, and his quick acceptance of the punishment.
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Raymond Arnold
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I know from experience that it's a lot easier to judge myself harshly than it is to actually modify the behavior that caused myself to do so. I also know that repeatedly judging myself harshly for something before I've had time to adequately modify it overal makes the quality of my life, and those around me, worse.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Seatarsprayan:
Which means among (supposedly) rational people, I'm ignored for my religious beliefs, and among (most) religious folks, I'm ignored for my insistence on applying rationality to religion. It's fun though.

*high-fives*
Can we start a club?
Seriously.
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TomDavidson
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I wonder how you can tell the people applying rationality to religion from the people who don't.
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Rakeesh
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And I was wondering how long it would be before someone came along and suggested it couldn't be done. In the unofficial pool, Tom was a strong contender.
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TomDavidson
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Note: I have not suggested that it could not be done. Rather, I have wondered aloud how it might be done. Should someone choose to demonstrate a method, I would be grateful.
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Raymond Arnold
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Much as I share Tom's bewilderment, I have plenty of evidence suggesting to me that such demonstrations and accompanying discussions are remarkably fruitless (in particular given that all the people likely to participate here have already had multiple almost identical such discussions in the past). So rationality suggests that the only expected benefit is the bizarre joy that comes from discussing controversial issues that you feel strongly about.

On another day that might have been enough for me. (Don't get me wrong, I love me some bizarre joy that comes from discussing controversial issues that I feel strongly about). But right now I'd prefer we not turn this thread into an identical such discussion.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Note: I have not suggested that it could not be done. Rather, I have wondered aloud how it might be done. Should someone choose to demonstrate a method, I would be grateful.
Heh, sure, Tom, OK.

ETA: That's all I'll say about it, since I'd rather avoid the thread dropping into fruitless controversy too.

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TomDavidson
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Let me just say this: if someone actually has a reliable method by which they can effectively distinguish religious people who are being rational about their religion from religious people who are not, I would in fact be sincerely grateful to them for sharing that method, either here or over email.
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King of Men
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Simple: The rational ones have deconverted.
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Rakeesh
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So...politely worded requests not to turn this thread more controversial about topics largely irrelevant to the subject that have been hashed out many, many times on Hatrack...not enough?
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TomDavidson
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I hardly think a three-post digression is going to derail the thread, unless you intend to generate more posts whining about it.
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Rakeesh
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That wasn't addressed to you, Tom, but to KoM. But thanks!
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Rakeesh
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In the immortal words of McFly: "This is heavy."
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King of Men
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SPOILER for chapter 44 below!
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That was powerful. A better argument in the death-versus-life conversation than any amount of reason; I found myself choking up when the light that came from Harry's wand took the shape it did. The one species that can, in the end, cast defiance against the night: Of course that would be the most powerful Patronus of all.

The author put it thus, in a different place: "I don't like the way this place is run; the Universe disagrees with me. We shall see who is still standing when this is over."

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Raymond Arnold
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MORE SPOILERS:

This latest chapter is particularly interested because not only was it, well, really freakishly intense, but it provided not one but two or possibly three sources of "original inciting incident that drives most of the plot." My first thought was "in this universe, Lily Potter is more hateful," which could have influenced Petunia in a number of ways. Later on we see some possibilities as to how Dumbledore might be orchestrating things differently, and indeed, if he is, that would cause a LOT of things to change from the get go. Then I was reminded that the prophecy is different here too. Different prophecy = different Dumbledore = different everything."

Also, I'm wondering if Quirrel already HAS made all those Horcruxes at the locations Harry describes, or if he is right about to. Either way, another great moment.

I'm a little baffled by the Hermione leaving after she kisses Harry moment. Harry says something like they've already talked about that sort of contingency... or something? Did anyone understand that better than I?

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Rakeesh
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quote:

That was powerful. A better argument in the death-versus-life conversation than any amount of reason; I found myself choking up when the light that came from Harry's wand took the shape it did. The one species that can, in the end, cast defiance against the night: Of course that would be the most powerful Patronus of all.

The author put it thus, in a different place: "I don't like the way this place is run; the Universe disagrees with me. We shall see who is still standing when this is over."

Yes, I agree. Perhaps because the whole life and death thing tends to hit, well, the overwhelming majority of human beings on such emotional levels, it really needs an emotional argument instead of a rational argument in order to really hit. I was faintly reminded of Pastwatch, actually, when Harry thinks of future generations, having conquered death and its horrors and the pain it inflicts, not telling their children of it until they're old enough to bear it. It reminded me of Pastwatch because in that story, people looked back on the incredible, by modern (in the story) standards unbearable suffering and simply couldn't bear it, had to do something, even if it took a superhuman effort.

I haven't made up my mind about the meaning of Lily's 'hatefulness' in this story. I'm certain that was written carefully for a reason, but it just sounds so reasonable to me-of course she hates, bitterly, this thing that is coming up her stairs to massacre her child in his bed. I don't find anything even slightly wrong with that, and in fact there are some ways I would think there would be something wrong if she didn't feel that way. But it is nonetheless a significant departure, and of course her attempted spelling.

On the one hand, the author couldn't quite resist mocking James Potter even in the moment of his death, but on the other at least Harry seems finally to be realizing, or remembering, hey, there are other virtues besides rationality that are important too, and sometimes rationality ain't worth crap without `em.

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King of Men
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Hermione has just sacrificed her chance of being a main character. Now she's "Harry Potter's love interest" for the rest of her life.

The Lily memory: It is not to be taken literally. Harry is remembering this under the influence of a Dementor; it twists everything good about the memory. Observe that Harry doesn't believe it himself: "He had regained an impossible memory, for all that the Dementor had made him desecrate it." A desecrated memory is not accurate.

Reading the comments, I observe with some sadness that practically nobody understands really obvious points like that one; alas, Eliezer hasn't really, really grasped how stupid the average human, even the average reader of fanfic, is, and doesn't hammer his points home. He's too subtle, in spite of knowing intellectually about inferential distances. A common mistake among massively smart people, unfortunately.


quote:
But it is nonetheless a significant departure, and of course her attempted spelling.
A major point of the fic is that there are times when violence and killing is the correct response, and hesitating will only get you and your loved ones killed in turn. Unlike the original books, this fanfic is not for kids; only in a children's book can you spot which side is the good guys by their absolute refusal to kill, whatever the circumstances.

quote:
On the one hand, the author couldn't quite resist mocking James Potter even in the moment of his death,
Again, this is what Harry thinks with the Dementor draining his mind. You really, really ought not to take it as the author's opinion. I remind you of Niven's Law.

[ September 06, 2010, 01:40 AM: Message edited by: King of Men ]

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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
Hermione has just sacrificed her chance of being a main character. Now she's "Harry Potter's love interest" for the rest of her life.
Huh. I was going to say "eh, she's genre savvy enough to work against that, that's what the whole general thing was about." But then I read a comment in the "review" section (maybe this was also you?):

quote:
It took me a little while to get it, far longer than it should have in hindsight. Hermione just undid very thing she sought to gain by becoming a General, her identity as an individual. This would just be sad if she did it without thinking, but knowingly writing herself off makes the deed seem so much more valuable.
That interpretation makes the subsequent exchange with Harry more sensical.

quote:
The Lily memory: It is not to be taken literally. Harry is remembering this under the influence of a Dementor; it twists everything good about the memory. Observe that Harry doesn't believe it himself: "He had regained an impossible memory, for all that the Dementor had made him desecrate it." A desecrated memory is not accurate.
I really didn't think that was that obvious at all. Especially since I recall the original story's Dementors causing a similar memory-echo that wasn't particularly "demented." (Least not that I remember). I was already expecting the story to alter the manner in which Voldemort died, or least exploring its ramifications differently. You may be right, but I certainly take exception to the notion that I must be stupid for not have noticing.
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Raymond Arnold
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Another random point from the "reviews" that I thought worth cross posting:

quote:
Harry's chosen hiding places:

The super-heated mantle, by way of a volcano - Fire

Buried under tons of solid rock - Earth

At the bottom of an undersea trench - Water

Floating in the stratosphere - Air

Launched into outer space - Void

It would seem that Harry knows his Musashi.


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Rakeesh
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quote:
A major point of the fic is that there are times when violence and killing is the correct response, and hesitating will only get you and your loved ones killed in turn. Unlike the original books, this fanfic is not for kids; only in a children's book can you spot which side is the good guys by their absolute refusal to kill, whatever the circumstances.
Well, yeah, that's a given. I'm just wondering if, in addition to serving that point, there might be another bit of meaning to it, that's all.

Hadn't thought about Hermione as Secondary now, though, but now that you mention it she has certainly thought in those terms before.

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Raymond Arnold
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Heh, thought I just had about Hermione: there doesn't ACTUALLY have to be a rule that kissing Harry makes her his love interest and therefore a secondary character that will probably be killed off. But Hermione does believe that, to some degree. So rather than her genre-savviness protecting her as I originally supposed, it may be her undoing.
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