It's been a while since I read it, but off the top of my head I can't recall any blatant cases of Deus ex Machina. I'd ask for concrete examples, but I don't think it would be useful. I'm sure you can provide an example, and in turn I'll point out reasons why it doesn't count as Deus ex Machina. We'd argue about how well the solution was explained, and whether enough clues were presented far enough in advance to count as valid foreshadowing, and ultimately it'll come down to opinion.

Instead, I can go ahead and answer your question. Eliezer definitely meant to teach useful lessons. Not everything Harry does is meant to be a good example (I mean, even Eliezer knows better than to write a completely perfect character), which is probably why he gets into all that trouble. But whenever a character goes into Lecture Mode while solving a problem, it's meant to be both useful and accurate.

Wait a minute, are you talking about Lecture Mode when you say "Deus ex Machina"? I can kind of see that: the situation seems hopeless and then someone (usually Harry) gives a long explanation and suddenly the problem is solved. Thing is, these lectures don't pull the solution out of nowhere. The relevant story details were established beforehand, and the lecture just puts them together. (Or at least, that was the author's intent. As I said, it comes down to opinion.)

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1ndee3moit's entirely possible that if Harry hadn't gotten out to pass a note, someone would have gone back in time to investigate his death, and inadvertently caused a paradox by unlocking the door. Sounds like too much of a stretch to me. Doesn't this make Harry virtually immortal unless something so catastrophic happens that it destroys all the world at once? in chapter 28 when he used transfiguration to apply force. I don't remember that part, could point me to it?
1player_033moIt is a stretch, which is why it needed to be explained. And yes, it would kind of make him immune to dying... in cases where he could be accidentally rescued. Cases like a first year student's spell locking a door, which an investigator could easily dispel when trying to investigate. Oh, and I guess once it was established, the other time travel scenes would have had to be written differently. Or at least clarify that "while Draco's murder plot was flimsy enough that the simplest timeline was the timeline in which it failed, Quirrel's murder plot was bulletproof enough that the simplest outcome was for it to succeed." Because authors write the rules, they can get away with a lot of nonsense. But in this kind of story [], they do need to acknowledge and (try to) explain any inconsistencies. And here's the line I was referring to: "The earlier experiment had measured whether Transfiguring a long diamond rod into a shorter diamond rod would allow it to lift a suspended heavy weight as it contracted, i.e., could you Transfigure against tension, which you in fact could." (Chapter 28, foreshadowing the nanotube, which may or may not have been what you were talking about)

And yes, it would kind of make him immune to dying... in cases where he could be accidentally rescued.

By a time traveler, who doesn't need to do much - only to appear and make the paradox possible. That makes the list of possible cases much more extensive than a first year student locking the door.

And here's the line I was referring to:

Correct me if I don't remember something, but that episode didn't imply that he would be able to create and manipulate tentacles like he did in the book's final.

And that partial transfiguration

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[ Question ]

[HPMOR] Harry - example or anti-example?

by ndee 1 min read25th Feb 202016 comments


There is one thing that really striked me after reading HPMOR, it's a certain pattern of events that repeats many times.

1) Harry gets into grave trouble due to his self-assurance and indiscretion

2) The author saves Harry using deus ex machina

And this makes me wonder - was Harry intentionally shown as an anti-example of rationality, or it just happened this way?

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Chapter 122, paragraph beginning with "And right now, Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres was still a walking catastrophe"... and the stuff immediately preceding and following it. Seems like a pretty direct answer to your question.