Ordinary Bookclub: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (Chapters 78-87)



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20 Responses

  1. Avatar James K says:

    Strongly agree with Moody being The Best.

    I’ll start by saying Harry was monstrously unfair to Dumbledore – no one’s life is infinitely valuable – one one treats their own life as infinitely valuable and no one treats anyone else’s life as infinitely valuable in practice. Anyone who doesn’t truly understand this point has no business trying to make cost-benefit calculations.

    As an aside, one of last week’s chapters suggests that the True Patronus was once known, but lost. Remember the ritual Quirrell mentioned that was said to summon death? Well, Quirrell doesn’t know what a Dementor really is, but we do. Also note that he said that the “spell to dismiss death was lost”? What spell can get rid of dementor? Not hold it at bay, but actually dismiss it? I submit Harry did not create something new, but rather rediscovered something old.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Then that makes Patronus 2.0 less irritating.

      (And I still think that there should be reference to partial transfiguration in the histories as well. Something as simple as a healer talking about the marrow in the bones of the world or a magical creatures aficionado talking about the yolk in the egg of the rock or something.)Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

      Damn it. I’ve visited these comments a few times and it’s only now striking me what you are actually saying. That is a very interesting interpretation, and I think it’s likely correct.Report

  2. Avatar Vikram Bath says:

    One might say this book changes after the visit to Azkaban, but IMHO, the S.P.E.W. chapters were the last ones that had real light-hearted fun. These chapters and the remainder of the book are darker and more serious. They are still great, of course, but like Rowling’s series, there’s definitely changes as we get down to brass tacks.

    For everyone who is on their first run through the book. I have a hint. Do you want it? OK, here it is.

    Remember this?

    Draco and Hermione have a conversation while fighting and Hermione is very, very upset. Draco deduces that she thinks that he’s plotting against her too and he resents the implication because, in this case, it’s wrong.

    Something has changed with Hermione, specifically with how she thinks about Draco. Why has she changed?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I assume, at this point, she’s bathing in her false memories.

      (And, yeah, I was going to say something about how these chapters are more “intense” than “fun” at this point. I was reminded of the evolution of the books themselves… the Philosopher’s Stone was about as intense as a particularly scary Scooby Doo episode. Order of the Phoenix involved discussion of Rights Theory. The last one was a WWII novel. It was a strange phenomenon and this fanfic has recreated it.)Report

  3. Avatar North says:

    I very much enjoyed the second phoenix’s arrival and test of Harry. An important chapter and one that paid off and paid in advance for a lot of Harry’s insufferable-ness before and after that event.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog says:

      Yeah, that was interesting – maybe in part because it was a thing Harry didn’t get.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        For me it was downright cathartic. Harry is a fun character but he is so very full of himself and his mortality so the phoenix episode was REALLY helpful. I applaud the author for having the insight to write it.Report

        • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

          In case anyone is curious, there is a fanfic of this fanfic where Harry takes the phoenix. It is just one chapter. https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8804070/1/InnocenceReport

            • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

              The intro with the talk about what Dementors are or are not was tedious for me. In general, I could easily tell this writer wasn’t the same person (which might be an unfair standard). But somehow I like the “closure” this alternate ending gives to the what-if-Harry-went-with-the-Phoenix question. I’ve incorporated it mentally as effectively canon that this is what would have happened to Harry. And I think I needed that because I wanted Harry to goReport

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Yeah, I wanted him to go as well.

                (You know, assuming canonicity, if Voldemort wanted to kill Harry, the best way to do that would have been to somehow get the information to Harry that phoenixes only make the offer once.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Now that I think about it, the information that only about 1 out of 4 Phoenix Takers survive the first mission probably would not have made its way into Voldemort’s potential areas of research nor would it be information that he’d have felt the need to keep had he merely encountered it while searching for something else.Report

              • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

                Voldemort knows that however he defeats Harry, the prophecy must be fulfilled. This precludes a lot of possible paths. Harry can’t just get in a car accident and die because he knows “EITHER MUST DESTROY ALL BUT A REMNANT OF THE OTHER,

                So, Harry’s destruction must be due to some action by Voldemort, and it must leave some remnant of Harry around (though who knows, maybe that could be s innocuous as an idea).

                Though if Voldemort is the one who arranges for Harry to get in the car, maybe that’s enough. So, manipulating Harry to take the phoenix might be enough tooReport