I've been pondering this. I was really glad when Hermione started getting to take the spotlight, and a lot of my appreciation was from a straight-forwardly-feminist perspective. I posted a mini review talking about how Hermione had been lacking as a character, the hints Eliezer had dropped about her future development, and my appreciation for the way he eventually handled it. Apparently this comment played a role in Eliezer coming up with the SPHEW acryonym. I'm not sure if it ended up otherwise shaping the arc. He also noted that the initial setup (where Dumbledore basically tells Hermione she can't be a hero because she just can't) was intended to be a critique, but not about feminist issues.

A few months later, I think this section is an interesting case study in meta-token-feminism. I think that Eliezer in general agrees with most goals of the movement, but is probably actually opposed to token feminism. (This is based off of a few vague statements he made, I'm only 65% confident). I also think that SPHEW was originally intended to sort of lampshade the issue, addressing some real issues but in a tongue-in-cheek way. (The issues - mostly about the power imbalance that he created between Hermione and Harry - aren't inherently feminist-oriented, but they happened to interact with the gender dynamics of the original story in a way that made attempt to fix them look like token feminism. I think it could have been pulled off it a much subtler way, but in general MoR isn't particularly subtle anyway. (Or rather, it IS subtle, but you can't hear the subtlety over the sound of how awesome Harry is, unless you're actually looking for it).

And then it turned out to be a lot harder to write than he thought and it dragged on for a long time which made it seem even more long and intense than it actually was. If we were reading this story through all at once, I think the section would still be long, but wouldn't have generated the complaints it's gotten.

The important thing to remember about all of this is that this entire segment takes place before the end of year one. Hermione just leveled up dramatically. Yes, Harry got a surprise visit to Azkaban, but I'm pretty sure by the time year one ends, she and Harry will be participating side by side against serious, life threatening issues.

By the end of the section, I'm less worried about how the gender issues played out and more concerned about how the "Hermione and friends are level-grinding by picking fights with bullies" vibe.

Regardless, I think MoR definitely needed a less serious intermission before the next Dark Serious Thing, and I think some over-the-top token feminism and silly level-grinding isn't too bad a way to do that if it is also addresses some issues with the character-power-dynamics. It would definitely feel out of place in a traditional novel, but with the TV-series pacing, it's an okay diversion.

by the time year one ends, she and Harry will be participating side by side against serious, life threatening issues.

Absolutely not.

Draco will be in between them.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 8

by Unnamed 1 min read25th Aug 2011658 comments


Update: Discussion has moved on to a new thread.

The hiatus is over with today's publication of chapter 73, and the previous thread is approaching the 500-comment threshold, so let's start a new Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread.  This is the place to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter fanfic and anything related to it.

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.  The fanfiction.net author page is the central location for information about updates and links to HPMOR-related goodies, and AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author's Notes.

As a reminder, it's often useful to start your comment by indicating which chapter you are commenting on.

Spoiler Warning:  this thread is full of spoilers.  With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13.  More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it's fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that "Eliezer said X is true" unless you use rot13.