Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

So for the first time since like… 10 years ago, I just spent multiple days reading a book straight through, front to back, pausing only when I absolutely had to for work, food, and sleep. I cannot remember the last time a literary work so captured my imagination.


Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is technically fan fiction. It’s also about as long as the first five Harry Potter books put together, a beginner’s introduction to various logical concepts underpinning rationalism, and one of the funniest things I’ve read in quite some time. A few highlights:

[li]Harry Potter teaching wizards the scientific method[/li][li]A dark ritual whereby one sacrifices the elder gods in order to summon Harry Potter[/li][li]101 creative uses for a timeturner[/li][li]101 creative uses for transfiguration when you know about muggle technology[/li][li]A very convincing argument as to why the snitch is everything wrong with quiddich[/li][li]The ethical implications of Azkaban[/li][/ul]

Basically imagine if J. K. Rowling had a threesome with Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, and they did so while rolling around in a bed made out of printouts from LessWrong and script notes from TeamFourStar, and you might get some idea of how this book works. I cannot recommend it highly enough, although admittedly the first chapter or two are a bit slow. (The work itself recommends that the piece hits its stride around chapter 5, and if you don’t like it by chapter 10, give up.)

Give it a look. I promise, it’s worth your time if you were ever into Harry Potter.

It’s been described here previously as Ender Wiggins Goes to Hogwarts, and I can’t disagree. I liked the piece, though, particularly a section where Harry explains the trap of confirmation bias to Hermione, but I started to lose it in some of the later chapters when the author kept introducing relatively obscure characters from the Potter series, and since I never read any of it, the story became harder to follow and I didn’t finish.

One day, though.

I literally don’t know any of the characters except in the books. They’re not really important.

And the Ender’s Game stuff is honestly skippable, if you really want. Though I don’t get why “kids fight other kids” is Ender’s Game. It’s not as if the twist for Enders Game is in this. These are just kids doing tournaments.

Started it, found it insufferable and gave up I’m afraid.

Which is weird because I find the whole rationalist thing pretty interesting.

Not meaning to dump on the OP, but there are a LOT better Harry Potter fan writers. I heartily suggest the work of an author I know only as little0bird. She wrote 23 stories of varying length in that world, and I honestly thought some of her best work was better than the first few of Rowlings. She even manages to redeem and and make sympathetic characters like Dudley.

I have never read Ender’s Game, but judging from what I’ve heard about the character, that does seem quite apt. And very funny.

Perhaps to sweeten the deal: the grand finale is absolutely glorious in all the best ways. The author literally posed his readers a “final exam” to use only their brains and rationality to get Harry out of a seemingly impossible death trap - quote:

“If a viable solution is posted… the story will continue to Ch. 121.
Otherwise you will get a shorter and sadder ending.”

It does not disappoint. :smiley: