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Thoughts on HPMOR?

Discussion in 'FanFic Discussion' started by RottedKarma, May 28, 2018.

  1. RottedKarma

    RottedKarma First Year

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    The opinion here seems generally neutral/negative for what I consider to be a decent story. Anyone care to share some thoughts?
     
  2. TheLazyReader

    TheLazyReader Seventh Year

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    For a self-insert fic, it has really creative and fun ideas.
     
  3. EsperJones

    EsperJones Death Eater

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    It's not the absolute worst of the fanfic world (in fact the writing is competent and it's actually plotted out, which by default places it in the top 10%) but the fan club is incredibly annoying.
     
  4. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Professor DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    (In light of the DLP great again thread, and it has been a few years since this was discussed again, might be a change in general level of feelings)

    So I understand that DLP and MoR have quite a history between them and I've seen bits and bobs about it over the years, and ended up doing a binge of Yuskowsky's(misspelt) writings about it out of curiosity at some point, but I hadn't read MoR at all while it was at its most popular and only a year or two ago tried to read a bit so that I could at least understand what was generally found to be objectionable.

    I didn't get too far, but I can no way pretend I came in with an unbiased mind, even if I felt I was attempting to be reasonably open minded about it.

    For me, I got switched off, as I do by a lot of the rational fics I've encountered in one setting or another, by how it interacts with the world it's in.

    Particularly in Harry Potter fiction: I Like the canon. I definitely don't think it's without faults, and certainly the plot isn't something I hold up as an exemplar, but the canon world and magic and characters, I love them. Where the gaps of canon exist, or where there are only edges and room to shade in everything else, I don't assume there are easy exploits or stupid barely-rational behaviours that no one in world has ever realised. And that forms a fundamental criterion for me to enjoy a fic, I'm just not gonna persist if I don't think it 'gets' magic.

    I didn't find that to be the case in the early attempts to rationalise Harry Potter in MoR, and so I dropped it fairly quickly. This was after the ending had come out and even some fans were saying it tailed off, so I decided not to pursue the effort. Also, I think I found Worm fanfiction at around the same time.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
  5. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I didn't think it was all that great to be honest. Took me forever to read it and then I was trying to figure out why so many people like it. Still don't know. Just not good.
     
  6. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    1. The writing isn't good. Yes, in terms of technical writing there are few if any errors. But good writing is a lot more than an absence of errors. MoR is full of characters monologuing or the narrative going off on an extended tangent. Brevity, flow, structure and focus are all key parts of good writing, and MoR lacks them.
    2. The pacing is terrible. This is probably the worst aspect of the fic. It just goes on and on, meandering here and there but without any overarching plot structure. Some people raise the defence of "it's episodic like a TV show" but no, it isn't. Even episodic TV shows have structure. MoR isn't like Friends, MoR is like an alternate idea of Friends where it's season 7 and they've still only known each other for a week.
    3. I don't like the magic. This is largely personal, I suppose, but I hate the nerfed temporary transfiguration, the complete reinterpretation of Dementors as representing death rather than depression and decay, the Sorting Hat, etc. It's just so much less romantic than canon, so much more mechanistic. It loses something in the translation, I think. I also rather dislike the abuse of "loopholes". This ties in with "mechanistic magic", I suppose. Magic only has loopholes if it acts mechanistically. I prefer to think of magic as capable of closing its own loopholes e.g. if you try to use Felix Felicis to brew more Felix it'll backfire.
    4. It's disrespectful of canon. While I can accept that fanfic going a different direction with magic is a matter of personal taste, this is something more objective. MoR doesn't just say "Hey, wouldn't it be interesting if Dementors were creatures of death", it says "Dementors must be creatures of death, the idea that they're creatures of depression is ludicrous". In doing so it's making itself out to be a superior kind of canon to that which JKR wrote. Not only is this insulting the source material, it also means that MoR opens itself up to all sorts of argumentation regarding canon compatibility, because it's now making claims to be a superior interpretation of canon events than JKR's. But the author's "arguments" are weak and display a shallow knowledge of canon.
    5. The kids act like they're adults. This doesn't need much explanation. The fic fails to make the distinction between intelligence and maturity.
    6. It's a mess of different ideas. MoR reminds me of Partially Kissed Hero by Perfect Lionheart, where the author just shoved every single idea they had into a single fic, regardless of thematic unity or how they relate to the plot. MoR is like an ideas document, a fanfic sandbox.
    7. Thematic clash. Voldemort sending his horcrux into space is the perfect example (which is also an example of bad pacing, in that you've basically set up a villain who can never be defeated). Is it logical? Yes. Does it fit with the feel of the HP universe? No. There's a reason why people don't write HP wizards in space, outside of crackfic, and that's the simple fact that combining space travel with a HP magic/society clashes awfully.
    8. The author used it as a cash cow. Admittedly this has nothing to do with the story per se, but it still makes me want to stay away. The author promised accelerated chapter releases in exchange for monetary donations. Yes, it was to a not-for-profit organisation, but it was a not-for-profit that the author has a financial interest in, given that they pay (paid?) his salary. Given how the fandom feels about authors holding chapters hostage for reviews ("I'll post the next chapter when I get 20 reviews!"), you can imagine how a lot of people felt about asking for money. It's just unacceptable.
    9. Finally, if it is meant to be a kind of educational literature, it's not even good at that. The way it presents many concepts is shockingly poor. See here for full details.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
  7. Anarchy

    Anarchy Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    It's the quintessential "My First Fanfic." There are thousands of people who rave about the story, but at the time they read it, they didn't know better. They had a sample size less than ten. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but people can't claim it's the best fanfic ever when they've only been reading for two weeks.

    The story itself is deeply flawed. The author's "smart" ideas just aren't as smart as he thinks they are. I'm not going to list them all because plenty of other people have done that dozens of times in the past. It just comes off as a bit of try-hard, and while I don't want to use the word "cringey" that apply too.

    Also, it's 600k words of a first year fic, and who really wants to deal with that?

    And, on the idea of making "dlp great again" I'm not sure if beating more dead horses to death is really going to help, unless we're really deadset on quantity of discussion over quality.
     
  8. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    Okay, look. I'll be frank. There are few things about the fandom I despise more than MOR.

    On its own, it's a thoroughly mediocre story. It's not offensively bad, the first couple chapters are well-done comedy (even if they foreshadow how insufferable the author is) but it quickly goes off the rails.

    Among the arguments defending it is one that MOR is episodic, like a TV show, which therefore absolves it of sins regarding pacing and plotting and really anything else that goes into structuring a novel. But I don't accept that. This thing wants to be a fanfic, a meta-dissection of fandom tropes, a work of popular science and it also wants to lecture the fandom about how things should be interpreted because of course that's the correct way. It wants to be all these tings at once, and consequently fails at all of them.

    So plotting/pacing - done goofed.

    Characters - it's hard not to see HJPEV as the author's super-rational self-insert. The protagonist holds all the views the author does and is just as annoying in espousing them, complete with pwning adults because. Quirrellmort is the only character that I thought was good, but in the end LessWrong had to contrive to let Harry be the victor because his failure means that Voldemort is right, and Harry must be right, because Death is the Final Enemy and every second humanity doesn't pursue immortality is evil. There was something interesting going with Draco at some point, but I honestly lost the thread over 6 years and 600k words (I actually skipped like a good third of the fic because I could not fucking stand it, I just wanted to see what contrivance LessWrong would pull to hand his protagonist the win).

    It's not well-written. Proper grammatical sentence structure and general lack of typos do not constitute good writing. Good writing is about so much more than that, and a key part of good prose is brevity, which is something MOR fails miserably at.

    Then there's the condescencion that radiates off of the whole thing. The author doesn't say "wouldn't it be interesting if dementors were avatars of death?". He says "dementors MUST be avatars of death, the idea that they represent despair and decay and not death is ludicrous". Thus MOR engages in a singularly unique kind of bashing, which I've yet to see elsewhere in the fandom: magic-bashing. And that's on top of the incessant muggle-wank. "Have wizards been to the moon?" HJPEV (what a stupid name btw) is superior not because he's a better wizard than others, but because he's a muggle with magic.

    And if all that weren't enough, there's the author's generally distasteful antics, chief among which is trying to monetize his fanfiction, which, by the fandom's social contract, is a big no-no. Thou Shalt Not Make Money from fanfic, cause that could potentially ruin it for everyone else. Fanfic is allowed to exist in a grey area as long as the original authors tolerate it. Let's not be dicks about it. Let's not give WB's army of lawyers reasons to shut us down.

    So, you know, fuck MOR.

    edit: fucking ninja'd -- I fully admit that the dementor bit is stolen from Taure because it's a great way to present this argument; I will never not upvote @Taure's MOR copypasta
     
  9. Microwave

    Microwave First Year

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    It's basically just a crap tonne of filler with occasional entertaining parts. Most of the story is just obnoxious, and the writer seemed to have, with each chapter, transcended to extreme levels of pretentiousness. Its only redeeming quality is that it's technically sound. The author milked its popularity to the depths of hell, promoting the story through every medium imaginable. Just look at the HPMOR website and you can see how ridiculous all of this is. Instead of keeping fanfiction as something simple to be shared, HPMOR's author just linked it to a billion other things, ruining the authenticity and possible legality of fanfiction.
     
  10. TheLazyReader

    TheLazyReader Seventh Year

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    Damn, ninja'dx2
    I was about to make fun of you.
     
  11. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    Looking at active users in the thread like

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Professor DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    This is quite interesting, in that at least in the initial review before the melodrama, I remember opinion being more evenly split than was later represented.

    I get that there's a lot of older fiction now that hasn't aged well, so it's hardly surprising that something like MoR may get very few or no proponents beyond OP here in 2018, but out of interest, is this something that's reflected in the wider community?

    I dont spend time on hpff Reddit or look through ff.net profiles really anymore. What would you say the general opinion is on MoR nowadays outside of DLP? I'd actually be quite curious about what you guys see now, or what you think @RottedKarma?

    Edit: I would love to see Taure's attempt at gelling wizards in space. He's done wizarding cultures around the world and time, time for the final frontier. :D
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
  13. Palindrome

    Palindrome A bigger, darker mark Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Tried to read it a few times out of curiosity, but either I got in too late or it's just that bad: the writing is just a slog to get through. I couldn't get past the first two chapters. It needed a solid hook to keep me going but it didn't feel like there'd be a light at the end of the tunnel beyond the shopping trip and a whiny, know-it-all character.

    I don't mean to sound like I'm hating on it just for its reputation, but rather that, for a story that has caused as many waves as it has within the fanfiction community, it's just always baffled me that I wouldn't have been able to pick it out of a crowd of other shitty fics without the context. What is it about the story that made people love it?
     
  14. Red Aviary

    Red Aviary Hogdorinclawpuff Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I despise Yudkowsky, his peers and his followers deeply, and that's before even considering his shit fanfic.
     
  15. RottedKarma

    RottedKarma First Year

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    Well damn.

    Regardless of the previously mentioned issues, I must say that I remain especially fond of how the author wrote Quirrellmort- probably my favourite portrayal of his character.

    I'd be surprised if no one's ever thought this, but I had a teensy weensy little issue with how Hermione was written. Other than that, damn, didn't notice most of the mentioned issues when reading it. Good to know, though.

    Edit: @Blorcyn Considering the tropes used have mostly died down, I'd say the rest of the world would retain its mostly favorable impression and some criticism with a rise in indifference or disinterest.
    Edit:
     
  16. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I remember finding the first couple chapters very funny back when I first read it, but then I realized that it was actually not a parody and was instead trying to take itself seriously. The funny petered out quite quickly, and all that was left was bad writing that was obviously written with only one hand as the other appeared permanently busy.
     
  17. EsperJones

    EsperJones Death Eater

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    It was (and is) the first introduction to fanfiction to many, many people. Think back to how novel the concept appeared for the first stories you read. And at its core, it's a 'fix it' fic - those hold a lot of appeal by default.
     
  18. Thaumologist

    Thaumologist Chief Warlock

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    So, spoilers below. But this is a discussion thread, and the story's been out a while....

    The first time I read MoR, I was still relatively new to actually being invested in fanfiction. I really enjoyed it - seeing someone take a completely new spin on the entire world, lore, and plotlines of Harry Potter was The Golden Needle in the haystack of Severitus. It introduced some interesting ideas on rationality, and as a young, white, middle-class, atheist male, that was pretty interesting to me. But there were lots of big words involved, and having to go for a wiki-walk to even attempt to understand each article in the 'recommended reading order' meant I soon lost interest in all that side of it.

    I can't remember where or why I stopped reading the first time, but I know it was after the first war-game.


    The second time I read the fic, it was more recently - someone said the whole thing was being tied up, and I had fond memories of the story. I re-read it, and got up to chapter 2,000,000 of the Azkaban trip (when Harry starts riding a rocket), at which point I'd caught up to the actual story, and didn't bother going back when it next updated.


    The third (and final) time I tried to read the fic (I think it had finished by then), I gave up at the Comed-tea section on the train. The writing was dull, I was familiar enough with the story that I could skip the sermons, but it was unfamiliar enough that I couldn't remember every detail and so kind of needed to re-read them anyway...



    The story still does some interesting things. Having Hermione be a likeable character, and then killing her off is pretty rare, and I don't think I can really think of many other fics that do it (although having checked to make sure that happened... Apparently she comes back later?) without that being the major part of the plot. But, at the same time, that links in with my other complaints...

    I agree with Taure, in that the story takes the whimsy out of magic, and treats it as a set of codified rules, which you can trick your way around just by being smart. By itself, that's not a terrible thing, you could have a good story built around an outsider trying to understand this entire new framework, and exploiting the gaps that people haven't noticed because they grew up with them. It's a fanfiction staple (even if it isn't normally done decently).

    There's (as mentioned multiple times) the dementor thing. The Super Patronus. Time Travel because he's a snowflake. Magical trunk. The list of tropes, and 'corrections' to canon, goes on.

    Maybe these weren't all tropes at the time. But the story reads like someones first foray into fanfiction, but weren't actually familiar with other works - it bounces between almost unique points, to tropes that were dead and buried before this fic was first conceived of.

    And yet it's this *huge* piece of work, rather than the omakes or oneshots a lot of fanfiction writers start with. The story also heavily feels like the author wasn't interested in writing a Harry Potter Story, so much as they wanted to spread the message of Rationality out there. I've heard (but don't know whether it was true) that Crichton was frustrated with the public take on Jurassic Park - he wrote a story about Chaos Theory, but had to pretty it up with dinosaurs so people would read it.

    I mean, would an original story about a schoolboy who lectures everyone about how they're wrong about everything have been anywhere near as popular?

    Because that's where the fic just slides into bad. An 11 year old child (raised by a SCIENTIST!) lectures his parents on how to argue. Then lectures his potential new teacher on science. And then everyone on everything. Some of it can be precociousness, or being confused by their worldview being turned upside down (although when I was 11, I was more concerned with which pokemon was the best, and I would fight you if you said Charizard. Maybe I was just a dumb child). Some of it can be a single child being a shitty little brat. But the majority of it comes across as the author typing with one hand, whilst jerking themselves off with the other, and screaming "I'M THE SMARTEST!", because this is pretty close to an SI.

    I've read much worse fanfiction. And this did have some potential. But it also did a lot of things that just rubbed me the wrong way.
     
  19. TheLazyReader

    TheLazyReader Seventh Year

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    Allow me to play devil's advocate once more then.

    I'll make the following assertion: MoR as a pure humour story is excellent.

    No, it's not the apex of humour, hell it's not even intelligent humour to begin with. But it's a kind of silly, innocent humour we might find in children's cartoons on Saturday morning. The armies' competitions, the 'filler' chapters full of character interactions, plotlines like Harry and Draco's secret club; full of pop-culture/nerd references, they're not examples of high-level comedy, but they're all pretty fun to read and enjoy.

    Aside from Harry and Hermione, the characterization of children is good, not excellent, but good. Neville, Seamus, Dean, Tracy, Pavarty, Lavander, Ron, Crabb, Goyle, and sometimes Draco feel like children. You can see their actions don't have much thought put into them and (from the bits I remember) almost always result in hilarious situations.

    This does not excuse MoR of its many, many flaws already mentioned. It does not make it a good story. But if you don't try to take it too seriously, open up a chapter of the Chaos Legion vs Dragon Army vs Sunshine Regiment and I guarantee it'll be hard not to get at least a half-smile out of it.
     
  20. Selethe

    Selethe Don't Assume My Gender

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    I don't think I can add more to the discussion of the story itself, but what continues to annoy me is how pervasive the fic is. Whenever harry potter fanfiction comes up in unexpected places, the same two fics are always brought up: My Immortal and HPMOR. Everyone knows My Immortal's a joke, but with HPMOR, it's treated like the pinnacle achievement of the fandom. The recommenders come off as people who've just read a handful fanfics and as one-off pieces of entertainment at that. Maybe only My Immortal and HPMOR. I dislike MoR, yes, but what I hate is how it's managed to embed itself into wider culture. There are far more deserving fics.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
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