Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» 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 17)

  This topic comprises 20 pages: 1  2  3  ...  14  15  16  17  18  19  20   
Author Topic: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality - What if Harry was smarter than Ender?
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
In LWW, the protagonist is not Aslan, it's the kids. Trying to mix Jesus with an adventure story produces something that has none of the impact of Jesus' actual sacrifice and none of the tension of an actual adventure story.
Which is clearly not true for many many people or LWW would never have become such a popular book and certainly would not continue to be popular after 3 generations. Honestly, if this occurred to you when you first read the book as a kid (assuming you did), why did you even finish reading it? If this book is as totally lame as you claim, why would anyone ever read a second one, or recommend it to someone else, or make a movie out of it or read it years later to their kids? You are completely correct that it doesn't stand up to critical analysis. But the correct conclusion from this should be that standing up to critical analysis isn't what makes an enjoyable story.
Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mucus
Member
Member # 9735

 - posted      Profile for Mucus           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Or that people can enjoy lame books.
Posts: 7468 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Or that books can be lame in one area and have plenty of other great qualities that make them overall good stories. Or good enough that they attract one particular audience.

I didn't particularly enjoy LWW as a kid. I finished the first book, didn't read the others.

I was definitely bothered by all the Deus ex Machina in Harry Potter. I was particularly disappointed by Chamber of Secrets (where a magic hat shows up out of nowhere to save the day) and by Deathly Hallows. But Harry Potter has lots of other good qualities. On top of which, as Eliezer pointed out recently, Harry Potter is striving to be a good book for kids as well as adults (HP:MoR makes no such effort) and good books for kids have additional constraints on them that books for adults do not.

I'm fine with arguing about whether his critique of LWW is valid. There's plenty of room for disagreement in literary criticism. My point was only that framing the issue as "Eliezer doesn't like religion" is missing the point.

Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
Or that people can enjoy lame books.

But the heart of this debate is in fact the question of what makes a story good vs. lame. People have been trying to delineate what constitutes good story telling since at least the time of Ancient Greece. For at least 2 millennia, good story tellers and their audiences have ignored what the "experts" had to say until eventually the "experts" had to change their mind.

I maintain that there is only one definition of good story telling that matters and will stand the test of time. A well told story is one that people connect with enough that they share it with other people. If a story is able to connect in this way with a very large number of people who span a broad spectrum of humanity, it will stand the test of time and will eventually be considered a great story, despite what the critiques may say.

Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'm fine with arguing about whether his critique of LWW is valid. There's plenty of room for disagreement in literary criticism. My point was only that framing the issue as "Eliezer doesn't like religion" is missing the point.
You miss my point. I think Eliezar's critique of LWW, as well as the closely related criticisms made in this thread are spot on. My point is that being able to stand up to rational critique is not a good indicator of what will make a compelling and enjoyable story.
Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
My point is that being able to stand up to rational critique is not a good indicator of what will make a compelling and enjoyable story.
I actually agree with you. I think there's a few different arguments going on and it might be unclear who's arguing what. I'm specifically responding to a point Seatarsprayan made. I've also indicated my agreement with Eliezer that LWW is flawed because of inconsequential protagonists (which is not at all the same as flawed because the protagonists are irrational). But since the whole point of the Omake was other rationalist fanfics he could have written, being Rational was a necessary part of the joke.
Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mucus
Member
Member # 9735

 - posted      Profile for Mucus           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm just addressing the assumption here:

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
... If this book is as totally lame as you claim, why would anyone ever read a second one, or recommend it to someone else, or make a movie out of it or read it years later to their kids?

The assumption being that if the book is popular, it must be not lame. The thing is, I don't think this is really something we apply to most media. I think the phenomenon of memes makes this particularly apparant. People may very well be rick-rolling people long into the future, maybe on video phones or on holodecks, but I don't think that really has much bearing on the value of the song "Never Gonna Give You Up." Ideas may very well propagate based on factors related to how well they spread and survive among people as opposed to any inherent value they might have.

If Christianity crashes and burns, the popularity of LWW may very well follow along with it and vice versa, but in either case I think we should be able to value whether LWW is a good story independently of the history of how many human beings enjoyed it at particular times.

Posts: 7468 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Ideas may very well propagate based on factors related to how well they spread and survive among people as opposed to any inherent value they might have.
What constitutes an idea with inherent value? What constitutes a story that is truly good vs just popular? My point is that critiques have been trying to answer that question for 2 millennia and we pretty much agree that they've been wrong. Based on the the criteria of contemporary experts, Shakespeare's plays were popular trash. Huckleberry Finn had little literary merit.

[ January 05, 2011, 12:16 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
My point is that critiques have been trying to answer that question for 2 millennia and we pretty much agree that they've been wrong. Based on the the criteria of contemporary experts, Shakespeare's plays were popular trash. Huckleberry Finn had little literary merit.
Source/explanation? I don't necessarily disagree with your point, but honestly I haven't heard anything like what you're currently stating.
Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
quote:
My point is that being able to stand up to rational critique is not a good indicator of what will make a compelling and enjoyable story.
I actually agree with you. I think there's a few different arguments going on and it might be unclear who's arguing what. I'm specifically responding to a point Seatarsprayan made. I've also indicated my agreement with Eliezer that LWW is flawed because of inconsequential protagonists (which is not at all the same as flawed because the protagonists are irrational). But since the whole point of the Omake was other rationalist fanfics he could have written, being Rational was a necessary part of the joke.
There are certainly many different arguments going on, and I think you are still missing mine. You said,

quote:
That might make for a fun parody, but it wouldn't be a story Eliezer would write. Not because of his position on his religion, but his position on good fiction - the antagonist's strength should be proportionally stronger than the protagonist's, and the protagonist should be responsible for solving their own problems.
If this is truly Eliezer's opinion of good fiction, he's wrong. To the extent that his critiques of LWW, LOTR and HP reflect that opinion, they are equally off base.

If you disagree with my assessment, consider this. If in good fiction the antagonist's strengths are proportionally stronger than the protagonist's and the protagonist must be responsible for solving his/her own problems, then (virtually by definition) in good fiction the protagonist will not only always loose but the protagonist's defeat will be a foregone conclusion. If the antagonist is in all ways stronger than the protagonist, then the protagonist can not win on merit alone. He's either go to get lucky or get outside assistance (violating the second supposition) otherwise the antagonist will have to have some critical weakness or the protagonist some hidden strength (violating the first supposition).

*edited to add a missing "only" the absence of which radically changed my point.

[ January 05, 2011, 12:26 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have no opinion on the overall argument, but the fact that Shakespeare was considered a panderer to the masses (and not of literary merit, like some of his -- now far less-popular -- contemporaries) is well-established. Twain's writings were also frequently derided in his lifetime.
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
quote:
My point is that critiques have been trying to answer that question for 2 millennia and we pretty much agree that they've been wrong. Based on the the criteria of contemporary experts, Shakespeare's plays were popular trash. Huckleberry Finn had little literary merit.
Source/explanation? I don't necessarily disagree with your point, but honestly I haven't heard anything like what you're currently stating.
Sorry, my source for this was a course in literary criticism in which we read many critiques written both contemporary to the work and at various later dates. That was nearly 30 years ago so there is no way I could point you to the references without considerable work, which I'm not interested in doing for the sake of this argument. If you are genuinely interested, I'm sure you can verify this with google.
Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mucus
Member
Member # 9735

 - posted      Profile for Mucus           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
... My point is that critiques have been trying to answer that question for 2 millennia and we pretty much agree that they've been wrong.

Depends on the we, no?

They're wrong based on the general popular North American consensus, which boils down to the critiques being wrong based on popularity, which seems almost circular.

I personally have little opinion on how to measure inherent value of art. I just have an issue with using popularity because other measures have seemed to fail.

If you judge the literary "goodness" of the Koran this way, I'm sure you'll find areas of the Muslim world that consider it to be literary perfection. Similarly, you could probably find areas of the US where it is considered simply a valueless manual for terrorists and evil. Is it of different value in each of these areas or should we average across the whole world and include the Chinese that are largely indifferent?

Posts: 7468 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
If you judge the literary "goodness" of the Koran this way, I'm sure you'll find areas of the Muslim world that consider it to be literary perfection.
I wouldn't go so far as literary perfection, but the Quran is an extremely beautiful literary work.
Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think two things are being confused with Shakespeare. By my understanding (a decent bit of reading of Shakespeare scholars about nine years ago, in a class on Shakespeare), this part very much yes:

quote:
Shakespeare was considered a panderer to the masses
And this part at least mixed:

quote:
(and not of literary merit, like some of his -- now far less-popular -- contemporaries)
(Not that some of his contemporaries weren't held above him, but that Shakespeare was also considered to have literary merit, as well as pandering to the masses -- and the royals)

For instance, there are records of contemporary playwrights comparing him to Spenser. Jonson (who was considered worthy of the highest literary merit) certainly held him in high regard, even as he thought Shakespeare pandered over-much and wasn't as good as himself [Wink] .

Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Depends on the we, no?

They're wrong based on the general popular North American consensus, which boils down to the critiques being wrong based on popularity, which seems almost circular.

Not really. My point was specifically about critiques, people who try to delineate specific characteristics that are essential to good story telling. Critiques have been trying to do that for at least 2 millenia and critiques of today are in pretty much wide agreement that the critiques of earlier times had it wrong. For example, no serious critique today would argue that Shakespeare failure to honor thethe unities of time, place and action was a serious flaw in his work. Modern critiques have thoroughly rejected the idea the unities (with the possible exception of the unity of action) are at all relevant to whether or not a story is well told.
Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
fugu, fair enough.
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mucus
Member
Member # 9735

 - posted      Profile for Mucus           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
... critiques of today are in pretty much wide agreement that the critiques of earlier times had it wrong.

In other words, popular agreement between current critiques is saying that a number of previous critiques are wrong, a statement that implies that there is value in wide-agreement between critiques today.
Posts: 7468 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Similarly, you could probably find areas of the US where it is considered simply a valueless manual for terrorists and evil.
I sincerely doubt you can find anyone who has actually read the Quran who holds this opinion of it.

quote:
I personally have little opinion on how to measure inherent value of art. I just have an issue with using popularity because other measures have seemed to fail.
I can not think of a rational argument that art has an inherent value aside from its ability to affect (i.e. provoke, inspire, elevate, sway, invigorate, motivate, arouse or otherwise touch) human beings. I'm not saying that "if it's popular it's good", I'm saying that the only legitimate way to judge whether something is good story telling (or good art in general) is to observe how it affects people. Certainly that's never going to be universal but when a story has a strong impact on many people across cultures, age groups and time, it is a great story. I can't think of any other definition of "great story" that has any real meaning.

Literary criticism is one of the few areas where I find my self in agreement with OSC. Most critiques are missing the forest for the trees when they dissect a piece of art comparing each atom in it to some preconceived set of rules.

Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
fugu13, I did not mean to imply that the negative reviews of either Shakespeare or Twain by their contemporary scholars were Universal. My apology if it came across that way. The criticism that Shakespeare and Mark Twain were "popular pablum" were far from universal, but they were unarguably widespread.

More importantly, both of them were panned by many scholars for violating "rules" that were at the time widely accepted among scholars as important elements of great literature. Rules which have been overwhelmingly rejected since that time.

[ January 05, 2011, 05:29 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
... critiques of today are in pretty much wide agreement that the critiques of earlier times had it wrong.

In other words, popular agreement between current critiques is saying that a number of previous critiques are wrong, a statement that implies that there is value in wide-agreement between critiques today.
No. My contention is that the only true measure of any work of art is the impact it has on people. Art critiques and scholars have for millennia developed literary theories in an attempt to explain why art affects people. These theories get reduced to rules which could presumably be used to create and judge great art. When artists, like Shakespeare and Mark Twain, violate those rules and yet produce works that profoundly affect people across time, age and culture, critics eventually end up rejecting the theory and the rules that go with it and come up with a new theory.

But before they do that, they spend an awful lot of effort trying to explain why people shouldn't be profoundly affected by something their theory says is "bad art". Which is missing the boat.

[ January 05, 2011, 04:57 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Seatarsprayan
Member
Member # 7634

 - posted      Profile for Seatarsprayan   Email Seatarsprayan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Chapters 66 and 67 are up.

Harry does the smart thing at last and says no to getting involved in a complicated plot to impersonate and defeat Voldemort and solidify his power.

That's good. He's 11 years old. Despite his earlier screwup, he actually got away with it. Why risk everything at this point?

And then we're back to the armies. This is actually my least favorite aspect of the fic. I hope Dragon finally wins, doesn't it seem like for all of Harry's vaunted prowess that he isn't actually any better than Draco and Hermione? Even here, when he seems to have the upper hand, he spends time talking to Hermione instead of fighting...

I know the author needs to make everyone else smarter and stronger to provide a challenge for Harry, but there is something enjoyable about seeing a competent character simply dominate once in a while. In Ender's Game, which the author has repeated referenced, Ender actually is smarter and better and completely thrashes his opponents, at least sometimes.

I'd like to see Harry dominate at least once. Because otherwise it's starting to get all Worf Effect, everyone talks about how fearsome Potter is but he regularly gets beaten, so it's all just hype. Didn't they all tie for the Christmas wish anyway?

You know, if I were going into battle with armour like that, I'd try to still dodge if I had the energy. Why telegraph the "we're impervious to sleep spells" so that they figure it out, try stunners, or aim for the face? Far better to try to dodge, take cover, etc and keep the advantage hidden as long as possible.

If the opponent slowly figures it out, that prevents them from having a sudden realization, accepting it, and devising a new strategy. You want them to continue using the same old ineffective strategy.

That goes for the main Chaos legion attacking Dragon. Harry and Neville saying they are invincible is a different story, as there they are so outnumbered that it's necessary as part of their psychological ploy.

Still, I wish I could fight in a magical army and see what tricks I could come up with.

I hope Harry is planning ahead for when he faces two armies with armor though... like Bean said in Ender's Shadow, innovation can't last, sooner or later everyone comes to the most effective strategy and have to slug it out... of course with the rules of this contest the innovation can last a LOT longer, possibly longer than the school year.

Next battle with have Chaos using Green Arrow style bow-and-arrows with boxing gloves on them...

Posts: 449 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
You know, if I were going into battle with armour like that, I'd try to still dodge if I had the energy. Why telegraph the "we're impervious to sleep spells" so that they figure it out, try stunners, or aim for the face? Far better to try to dodge, take cover, etc and keep the advantage hidden as long as possible.
Unless part of your plan is to inspire fear, which Harry outlined as part of his mission statement from day one. It's been indicated a few times that Harry cares more about exploiting the psychological experiment the game presents than trying purely to win it. (When he DOES fight seriously, it takes all of Sunny and Dragon to beat them).
Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Seatarsprayan
Member
Member # 7634

 - posted      Profile for Seatarsprayan   Email Seatarsprayan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Unless part of your plan is to inspire fear, which Harry outlined as part of his mission statement from day one.
I realize that, I just think it inspires more dread to be confused about why you are getting overrun, to be filled with doubts about the efficacy of your own weapons...

Basically the unknown is scarier to me than the known. It's the difference between fighting Superman (stands hands on hips, laughing off bullets) vs. Batman (comes out of nowhere, you fire a shot, but he's vanished again!) Both will destroy you, but Supes is less scary although more powerful simply because he's more straightforward and easier to understand.

Likewise, when you are fighting your peers and they just stand there taking shots, it means they have some powerful defense. You don't know what it is, but you know they have it... start changing your strategy.

But thinking that it's a normal battle, then have the slowly dawning realization that your shots aren't having any effect... and by that time half the army is gone... and there's no time to devise a new strategy... and why aren't the shots working? I dunno, seems more scary to me.

Again, that's just for Draco's army. For the Harry/Neville offensive, standing there and taking shots is the right maneuver for maximum morale-breaking.

Just my opinion of course.

Posts: 449 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's also possible that the leiutenant (sp?) was doing it for no more complicated reason than it was fun. With or without Harry's approval. I mean, if I had invincible armor that I knew was probably only going to work correctly for one battle before people figured it out (by this point Harry should assume that his enemies will figure out innovations before he next battle) I might very well be tempted to flaunt it a little while it was still mysterious.
Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The treatment of Hermione so far had been the one aspect of this work I was wary of. It was clear that Eliezer was aware of the issues facing Hermione, both as The Friend (which Ron faced in the original series) and as The Girl. But the brief attempts to address them with Hermione becoming a general were pretty quickly reversed when she kissed Harry.

Chapter 68 looks like those issues are finally becoming a priority for the story, and I'm glad. 66 and 67 feel a lot better in context now that we know where they were headed, and the title "Self Actualization" makes a lot more sense.

-

Unrelated news: I had been meaning to respond to Rabbit for a while about good-fiction/rationalist-fiction and related stuff. First, I realize I was conflating two of Eliezer's statements. One specifically applied to fanfiction (which is that whenever you strengthen the protagonist, you must also strengthen the villain), and the other was a general comment about villains needing to be strong. You're right, you can't literally require the villain to be *stronger*. But I do think it's important for the antagonist to have at least one sphere in which they are more powerful than the hero. Most satisfying stories have the hero defeat the villain not by being more powerful than them, but by being strong in other ways that the villain was not. Specifically, strong in ways that they were *not* strong in the beginning of the story, and had to develop or discover.

For characters like Superman, the best stories are the ones where the conflict is not between his strength vs Lex Luthor's (in which he just wins if Luthor doesn't get to employ Plot-devicinite) but between Lex Luthor's intellect and Superman's goodness.

Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I had posted a lengthier version of my previous comment on the Less Wrong site, discussing the issue from a feminist perspective. At the time, Eliezer responded with:

quote:
Oh, it's a critique all right, but it's not a feminist critique. One free karma point if you can guess what it's a critique of.
After chapter 69, he also added:

quote:
High probability this comment had something to do with the surprise creation of SPHEW.
I know he has some disagreements with feminist politics, so I'm entirely sure what his underlying motivations were here, but I thought SPHEW was pretty awesome, so I'm happy either way. Yay me.
Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Seatarsprayan
Member
Member # 7634

 - posted      Profile for Seatarsprayan   Email Seatarsprayan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yay SPHEW!
Posts: 449 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Seatarsprayan
Member
Member # 7634

 - posted      Profile for Seatarsprayan   Email Seatarsprayan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
FINALLY updated! Professors Quirrell and Dumbledore get some wonderful dialogue, and Hermione seems to have the wind taken out of her sails a bit...

I was all for Hermione deciding to be a hero no matter what, and even recruiting others, but for some strange reason I thought it would express itself differently than a political protest. I don't know why I thought that though, since it's exactly what Hermione does, but hey.

The thing about a protest is it needs The Man to protest against, and Dumbledore's public persona is not sufficiently The Man to attract many followers. As he showed, he's capable of deflecting criticism quite well, he managed to undermine the protest while not actually saying anything against the purported aim of the protest (Promotion of Heroic Equality).

Do they want to BE heroes or merely work to foster an environment more supportive of female heroes? Because those are two different things.

In the absence of The Man keeping witches down, they'd better just try to be heroes themselves, and promote equality by example... which is what I had hoped they would do in the first place.

But it's a lot easier to protest against something than work to accomplish something.

Several of the member seem to think being heroic and being foolhardy are the same thing... Heroes don't go into forbidden dungeons for no good reason, because breaking rules is fun, they go DESPITE the danger and rule-breaking because there is some Heroic Goal that necessitates it.

Without a Goal, there is no need for breaking rules and getting in danger. Anyone who doesn't understand that VERY basic premise is going to cause many more problems for SPHEW than benefits.

Posts: 449 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
King of Men
Member
Member # 6684

 - posted      Profile for King of Men   Email King of Men         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Quirrell expresses the point most clearly when he makes the distinction between being ambitious, and having an ambition. It is similar, perhaps, to the distinction between wanting to be a writer, and wanting to write. Tracy is not the only one guilty of that; Hermione, too, wants to be a hero, but has not yet figured out what she wants to do that is heroic. Harry, no doubt, could point out to her several good causes: Azkaban for starters, destroying the Dementors, reforming Wizard England, immortality for everyone. The question is, perhaps, whether she will be able to take up a good cause, when Harry thought of it first. Of course that's a bad reason for not adopting a genuinely good cause, but, well, that's character development for you.
Posts: 10592 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mostly agree with Seatarsprayan, and it ties in with things that the author's on record saying elsewhere.

I don't think any of Harry's causes would be particularly good for Hermione. They're also not particularly good for Harry if we're considering "be a Hero" to be a worthwhile immediate goal. Hermione can't fight Dementors, and even Harry, who CAN, really can't afford to deal with the political fallout by himself. Right now they're level 2, and they've got a ways to go before they're ready for level 10+ encounters.

Assuming "be a Hero" is a worthwhile goal at all (it wouldn't be, EXCEPT for the instrumental purpose of staying close to Harry and Hermione doesn't know why that matters yet), the most useful thing they could be doing is helping people deal with bullies and challenge authorities that need challenging.

I actually consider her challenge to Dumbledore to be a reasonable "heroic" quest. Yes, the protest was silly. But it DID show Dumbledore that if he's going to manipulate people... he's gonna have to deal with silly protests from time to time. I think challenging him was valuable. Hermione demonstrated courage and political power here, and while she made some dumb mistakes, she's going to learn from them.

Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Also, I am REALLY frustrated, because I just started attending the NYC Rationality group, and it turns out next week Eliezer and other SIAI members will be there, and I will be... in San Francisco, where they normally live.
Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hermione may not have found her good cause yet, but she has cogently identified one of her biggest stumbling blocks between accomplishing one and her current position, should she ever decide to do so, and took action in a straightforward, expeditious manner to deal with the obstacle.

It may not look good as far as Grand, Glorious Schemes go, but it gets her exactly as close towards a high and mighty end goal as the same amount of effort in the same amount of time would in the pursuit of some Grand, Glorious Scheme would-which was rather her point to Quirrel, I think.

Posts: 16403 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ron Lambert
Member
Member # 2872

 - posted      Profile for Ron Lambert   Email Ron Lambert         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In the H.K. Rowling canon, Hermione found a cause in the liberation of house elves. Never mind that Dobbie was the only house elf that wanted to be liberated. Harry and Ron sort of humored her, because it was something she really cared about. So far in MoR, Hermione has not even found this cause, probably because she has not met Dobbie yet. She did show courage in intervening between Harry and a dementor at one point, before Harry found a way to destroy them.

As long as you have courage, sooner or later you will have an opportunity to be a hero. Being a hero is not something you go out and look for. It finds you.

Posts: 3581 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
No, I don't agree. Courage alone isn't enough. Courage, opportunity, and virtue I think are the three things necessary to be a hero. Plenty of evil bastards have courage. Now I realize virtue was kind of implicit in your formula, Ron, but I don't agree that even if you have courage and virtue, you will be a hero eventually. Not every type of heroism is the same, after all, and not everyone gets the same kind of opportunity.

The simple ones are easy, of course, but not everyone gets a crack at the easy types like running into a burning building to save a choking baby. I don't mean that that's easy, but rather that the solution - enter building, save infant - is obvious.

Posts: 16403 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ron Lambert
Member
Member # 2872

 - posted      Profile for Ron Lambert   Email Ron Lambert         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rakeesh, wouldn't you agree though that when a person is being heroic, he is not doing it to be a hero? That person who runs into a burning building to save a baby is not doing so because he wants to be a hero. That is the least of his concerns.
Posts: 3581 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ron,

Generally, yes, but I don't think it's a given. There are people who, for example, got such jobs to be heroes, and relish being seen to do it. I'm not suggesting they're a big percentage or anything. I really have no idea. I just don't think it's a universal trait that it isn't is all.

And anyway, I'd rather get away from the bigger, obvious examples of heroism like burning buildings and dyin' babies. I'm more interested in, say, Twelve Angry Men kind of heroism that is, truthfully, just as relevant because there is a life on the line but not as respected or dangerous.

Posts: 16403 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ron Lambert
Member
Member # 2872

 - posted      Profile for Ron Lambert   Email Ron Lambert         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rakeesh, you seem to be implying that the essence of heroism is self-sacrifice, accepting some personal cost, taking personal risk, or at least enduring serious inconvenience. In that light, yes, heroism can be quite commonplace.

I confess to feeling that someone who deliberately sets out to do something heroic is probably too egotistical for most of us to regard him or her with respect. This is likely why I tend not to regard politicians as being very heroic. One of the few political leaders in the last 50 years I would regard as being heroic would be Anwar Sadat, who defied decades of tradition and hate and brought peace between Egypt and Israel. He was assassinated for his heroism.

Posts: 3581 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, no, I still don't think that's enough to be precise. Heroism would require self-risk (the sacrifice might not actually happen-to use a stereotypical example, you might wander through a minefield to save your buddy without detonating a mine; a whistle blower might narrowly avoid financial ruin and imprisonment or public shame and in fact come out ahead), opportunity, and virtue.

Bravery only requires the opportunity and the risking of self. Plenty of rotten bastards are brave, after all. As for someone who deliberately attempts something heroic, how would we know? Would they tell us? Anyway, I can still certainly regard someone who deliberately attempts heroism with respect, though it would depend on the attempt itself and the root of the cause of the effort, if such things were known.

What, am I not gonna respect someone who saves babies from lions or something because he's doin' it for daps? Not likely.

Posts: 16403 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Latest chapter is up.

[ridiculous fansqueal I will probably regret later]And I know this because I just watched Eliezer put it up and then give a dramatic reading of it.[/ridiculous fansqueal I will probably regret later]

Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Stone_Wolf_
Member
Member # 8299

 - posted      Profile for Stone_Wolf_   Email Stone_Wolf_         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
"I am a conscientious objector to the child draft, on the grounds that I should not have to suffer for a continually disintegrating school system's abject failure to provide teachers or study materials of even minimally adequate quality."
I'm so glad you all pointed me at this. I would never have read a fanfic without guidance.
Posts: 5081 | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Is Felthorne at the end the Slytherin frommuch earlier in the story, who Snaps told to stop bothering/thinking inappropriatly about? Or is that someone else?
Posts: 16403 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That's what I thought at first, but I went and checked and no, it as Alissa Cornfoot. So either this is coincidence (in a decent size school it's not ENTIRELY unreasonable for more than one girl to have S&M fantasies about a particular teacher) or there is something bizarre and rather creepy going on.
Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What do you mean?
Posts: 16403 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If it's NOT coincidence, then there is some (probably magical) force influencing girls into weird fantasies about Snape. That seems bizarre and creepy to me.
Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
King of Men
Member
Member # 6684

 - posted      Profile for King of Men   Email King of Men         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hmm, this chapter didn't seem quite up to the usual standard. It was less clear what was going on. Falling prey to the illusion of transparency here, I think.
Posts: 10592 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
>Falling prey to the illusion of transparency here, I think.

Not sure what you mean.

It's clear from his notes that he's struggling a bit. I don't think this chapter would have been particularly disappointing if we hadn't had to wait a month for it, though.

Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
(Oh, reread the notes for the chapter, apparently the girl at the end is a fan-art cameo. I'm not sure if that makes her any more or less significant to the plot)
Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
King of Men
Member
Member # 6684

 - posted      Profile for King of Men   Email King of Men         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
>Falling prey to the illusion of transparency here, I think.

Not sure what you mean.

Eliezer knows what's going on in the heads of his characters, and so whatever he puts on paper looks to him like an explanation thereof - it's obvious to him what they are up to. But I'm having trouble keeping the different SPHEW girls and their schemes and motivations apart. Apart from their names they come across as one undifferentiated mass to me. Presumably they are all intended as separate characters with their own plots and schemes, probably at cross-purposes to one another, in (perhaps) a setup for another Thirty Xanatos Pileup. But my eyes glaze over when I try to tell which witch is doing what, and to whom.
Posts: 10592 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I would put it a bit differently, but arrive at the same problem: I generally don't care what's going on with any of them unless they're interacting with characters it's very clear the author cares about much more, such as Harry or Quirrel or Dumbledore. I don't think we've been given much of a reason to care what's going on with `em yet, though when they intersect with one of the others - this is even true of Hermione, for my reading, a bit - some of the interest rubs off.
Posts: 16403 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 20 pages: 1  2  3  ...  14  15  16  17  18  19  20   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2