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Thoughts on HPMOR?

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

  1. momo

    momo Third Year

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    I read MOR after years of reading fanfic but before I joined this site. I approached it with an unbiased perspective. In fact, I might have been biased in the favor of MOR because of all the people in the wider community raving about it.

    I can tell you now that I absolutely detest that story. I rate stories on this site simply based on my own enjoyment and if there was an MOR review thread, I would give it a 1.

    Why? Because it's so mindbogglingly boring. I get that people who haven't read that much ff might see it as amazing and they read it because of its massive popularity. But to anyone who has read fanfiction for years, there's nothing special about it. The fic is slow, it's boring, and it's not magic.

    Honestly, even going beyond HP, the connotation of the word magic just brings about a feeling of mysteriousness, something that can't be explained. If the author was really trying to get fans, they should have capitalized on that feeling instead of completely trying to ignore it.

    HPMOR is a slow and boring shitfic. The fact that there are people who praise the author seems crazy to me.
     
  2. Stealthy

    Stealthy Fifth Year

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    I read HPMOR a few years back, and I got through it by pretty much skipping over the rants about rationality and the religion Harry's preaching to the wizarding world. Highly recommend this practice to anybody bothering to read the story. The rants are akin to pointless and poorly inserted exposition. You lose nothing by skipping them, and was really the only way I managed to slug through to the end.

    Thing is, at first you think, okay, this is an odd but unique and decent fic. Overall pretty cleanly written, especially if you're on the newer side to fanfiction. Some weird tangents but a solid tale otherwise. Then you realize there are some rather significant flaws to the writing, such as no sense of what an 11 year old is or that anybody in the world could be attracted to Severus Snape (though points for that being Snape's first kiss). Then you realize that the fic's bashing on everything besides Self-Insert Jr and Sr. Then you realize that the tangents aren't going away, and Harry's horrible personality is supposed to be a feature. Then you realize that the author hasn't even finished reading the books. Then you realize that the author is essentially extorting readers for the organization he co-founded. And all that sums up to this story being nothing more than Yudkowsky exploiting the popularity of the HP franchise for an "educational" fundraiser and publicity effort for his organization by proselytizing the values of "Rationality" which strongly appeal to and prop-up the self-image of the nerds who read his fic.

    What's hilarious to me is how strict rationalism tends to actually work. While reduction of bias is good, frequently you see those appealing to Rationalism wanting to get rid of other people's biases, not even recognizing their own. Clearly I see the world logically and clearly, and others are not thinking rationally and need to use logic to see things properly. It's a debate tactic, but of course those other people using rationality as an argument are doing so falsely, as they are not practicing rationality well enough. Certainly not as well as I am. And of course, rational can be converted into the verb rationalize. Rationalizing your actions doesn't come with a positive connotation; it's you justifying your actions to yourself with logical-sounding reasons. A big part of its appeal comes from the link of rationality and intelligence, and don't you just want more reasons to feel good about how smart you are? And about how that intelligence makes you better and superior in judgement thanks to the logical thinking skills you developed in science and math classes? It's incredibly effective against people who so highly value their intelligence, something that frequently applies to science nerds. God knows it applied to me back when I was an arrogant twat of a teenager.

    Oh, and at the end he "tested" the readers by making them use the logical and deductive skills he taught us to guess how Harry would beat Voldemort. 1) Fuck off. 2) The answer was obvious (partial-transfiguration abuse) because of basic genre savviness, so your "test" was a waste. 3) Fuck. Off.

    Strip away Yudkowsky's preaching and shilling out his organization and this is a mediocre story that's mostly dragged down by the typical problems of an inexperienced writer (poor/easily distracted pacing, bashing of things the author dislikes, monologuing, and a badly characterized Mary Sue Self-Insert). Still has a lot of flaws. There's a reason why the rational fics it spawned are poorly received, as the gimmick just doesn't make a good story. Though while it certainly wouldn't deserve its popularity, it's not something to get outraged over.

    Keep those things in? It's bullshit that breaks one of the basic rules of fanfiction.
     
  3. Kevizoid

    Kevizoid First Year

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    MoR got me into fan fiction. First thing I ever read. I thought it was hilarious and amazing. I distinctly remember almost rolling on the floor laughing at the "The snake is sentient?!" bit. I loved every bit of it.

    Then I read fan fiction for a few years, went through that phase where you read a LOT of trash, then eventually reached fanfic snobbery that most here are familiar with. I tried going back and reading it and it was....bad. All the flaws were finally visible without the whole novelty of the experience.

    MoR is a stepping stone on a wonderful journey, but a stepping stone is also just a dumb rock.
     
  4. Andrela

    Andrela Plot Bunny DLP Supporter

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    I feel personally offended by MoR, and the ideals it attempts to represent. The story doesn't work, because it is a story about magic written by someone who dislikes the idea of magic.
     
    e1, Trig
  5. fire

    fire High Inquisitor

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    HPMOR is utter shit, a bad textbook masquerading as terrible fiction, one populated by sockpuppets which barely look or act human.
     
  6. pbluekan

    pbluekan Professor DLP Supporter

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    This is basically the core issue I have with MoR. I’ve said this before, but the shit writing and rabid fan base aside, HPMoR and “rational” fics in general, essentially professes itself to be “intelligent.” They are, apparently, pieces of writing written by the über-intelligent that can only be understood by those of intelligence. It’s hilariously pretentious and you end up with the bullshit that “rational” fics present, which has been noted in detail above.

    The entire “genre,” for lack of a better word, is absolutely terrible.
     
  7. Rhaegar I

    Rhaegar I Order Member

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    Ah, Methods of Rationality. That "lovely" "little" "story" that has as much to do with HP as The Fountainhead does with architecture.

    Instead of just repeating the many faults people already said, here's Gul Dukat expressing my true feelings towards that...thing.

     
  8. Sataniel

    Sataniel Groundskeeper

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    MoR was my first HP fanfic and in the beginning, I was quite fond of it - then I started thinking more about it.

    Anyway, points that weren't really brought up. For all his science-talk Yudkowsky screwed up middle school level biology. And then tried to lamely explain his mistake away as intended.

    And after preaching about his villains. and characters in general, being rational and intelligent he has Voldemort infodumping his whole plan to Harry at the end of the story.
     
  9. Horton

    Horton First Year

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    Actually, it rather does remind me of Ayn Rand's stuff in a lot of ways, preachy, pretentious, author thinks he's objectively smarter and more rational then everybody else...and best of all, it's even got a little cult that worship the ground the author stands upon!

    :rolleyes:

    I mean I'd tolerate it more if it was so long. But you need to have some level of progression, I recall getting through the first 100K words and thinking that we must have been near the end of the first year, so I read more and more and more; until I got to 300K words and realized that the author had no concept of progression in the story-line and was just rambling on and on, which at that point I gave up on it as I had better things to do and enjoy.

    And surprise me not, I later found out the entire fic only went up to the end of the first year and seriously? Fuck that, I'd rather see how Harry grows up, develops and progresses with his "rationality". No actual progression and I lose enjoyment.

    It's pretty funny when there are 3 star rated guilty pleasure fics and even 2 star rated guilty pleasure SI fics that I have enjoyed more, MOR is just boring, it's not fun, it's not good and it's not even educational, being filled with scientific garbage by an author who has no actual background in serious science from what I gather.

    1.5 Stars, Bible Stories I got read to as a kid are more interesting to reread then MOR.
     
  10. Rhys

    Rhys High Inquisitor

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    I've defended a lot of questionable fanfics in the past, and I feel amidst this boner-train of hatred and bashing reminiscent of a Harry/Ginny fic in 2008 I would be remiss if I didn't come to a bit of a ranting, drunken defense of MoR here as well.

    First, I think that a lot of the hate for Yudowsky and everything he did, the constant drama, the fucking donation campaign, the questing interlude, it shouldn't really have a huge bearing on the story as a piece of work. The story is there, you can just click on it and read it. People do that with plenty of other stories, stories written by authors with all manner of who knows what on their profile pages. If hating Elizer ruins it for you, then fine, but I don't think it's very fair to the story as an entity to punish it overmuch for his various sins.

    Outside of that, I'll be the first to say MoR has a lot of problems. The kids often act like adults despite being 11. The story takes itself very seriously. The pacing is a wandering morass at the best of times. There's "educational" content and monologues and a lot of cliches.

    But these are problems a lot of other fanfics have, and problems they're often forgiven for. Incredibly mature 11 year olds playing political games is practically a cliche in the genre. Overdramatic protags are probably a thing in half the stories in the library. 5th year Summer in many troubled fics can take 500,000 words in itself. I think criticizing these elements is ok, but seriously people, look around at all the other glass houses laying about to throw rocks at too.

    Taure in particular doesn't like the magic interpretation we see in HPMOR, and I can see that from where he's standing. But there are a lot of other fics where magic is completely different, and those differences are portrayed as just the way it is, and often we call them an inventive new take or a breath of fresh air. Wit of the Ravenwas a much loved story in its time and it had a radical departure from the magic system as well, not to mention classics like Ectomancer. There are dozens of other such fics I could probably name. Sure, these departures were in different directions, but isn't that the nature of taking a step away? Trying something new, something that hasn't been done?

    Maybe HPMOR has some attraction to me because I largely cut my teeth on the genre with D&D, a place of hard rules and deadly truths and broken combos, where the story was about the rules and the rules were about the story, if that makes any sense. And in an environment like this? You have to be serious about the rules, the rules have to feel like they're etched in stone, because that's the whole fucking aesthetic of the thing. Doing fic in this genre without rules with their own narrative weight would like be doing LOTR without all the made up languages.

    Sure, the fic spends a lot of suspension of disbelief with Harry coming up with some of this shit at his age, but hey, he's fucking Tom Riddle, we would cut 11 year old Voldemort some slack. But in any case, while some of the specific decisions might not even be to my taste, I'm in love with the magic style, even if it isn't very true to canon.

    When I think back to the Azkaban Prison breakout or all the Chaos Legion battles or even Moody's old story about the Eye of Vance, I look back at them with a smile, because I thought they were cool scenes, and anyone who wants to tell me otherwise can fuck right off. Not every fic makes an interesting person out of Draco Malfoy, or Professor Quirrel. Not every fic has the courage to kill off Hermione Granger when she's the second lead (and when you're dead until practically the last chapter, yeah, you got killed off.) Not every story even manages to complete itself with a reasonably three-quarter-assed ending or better.

    Really, I think if you strip away all the memes, all the Yudowsky drama, and all the annoyance at how big it got, and just looked at the bloody words, I think this would be the sort of story people on this site put on the plus side of 3/5. I'd still make my ranting post about what it did well and why I thought it was fun and how everyone needed to lighten up then too, I suppose.
     
  11. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    @Rhys I have just looked at the bloody words. There are a few good nuggets in there, but they're buried in a shitpile. So no, MOR still sucks. I won't rate it higher because it's only 97% shit.
     
  12. Trooper

    Trooper Order Member

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    I'll address this one by one.

    First of all, there's a MoR thread in the Recycle Bin ((?), I'm not sure if its that or the hall of shame). Ideally, people should go through that to know why DLP looks down on MoR or if you have time to waste, just as plain entertainment.

    As far as Yudkowsky (the author, I presume?) is concerned...I do not know him, nor do I care to know about him. I do not read author's comments. Not in the chapters, nor in their profiles. I don't care about any of that shit apart from the story that is presented to me.

    And as far as the story is concerned? Well, to put it simply, its a shitfic. It doesn't just have a "few" problems with it, it sucks as fiction. To put it into perspective, I would just close any window with a story that has the words "Harry Potter Griffindor Ravenclaw Peverell Lee Pattison McShaw". (The Lee is so that he can have a katana ofc). If I remember correctly, something like that exists in the first chapter of MoR, doesn't it?

    The examples that you gave, "Ectomancer" and "Wit of the Raven", are much loved exactly because the authors took the time and put so much effort into building the world, took time to flesh out the story that they're presenting to the reader. This is what keeps me hooked on to their story line and keeps me wanting more.
    MoR is just "This is wrong, that is so simple and I wish the other thing would be like so". Replace the italics with things the author likes/dislikes about canon. Incidentally, this is also the formulae for most shitfics. They're rarely adding anything interesting.

    So, in essence, MoR is pretty much on the same shitfic level as this one Harry/Milf!Tonks fic I wrote, way back when. They carry the same weight. Its using the platform of fanfiction to project their own wishes. I happen to like smut. The author of MoR likes his elaborate exposition on his version of rationality.



    On the subject of the Magic systems, while most of us hate the "Magic core" system due to its ridiculous usage in fanfiction. But presented in a good way, written well so to speak, most of us don't even mind the magic core.
    We're not all @Taure. In matter of fact, I'm averse to taure's own magic system because it feels restrictive to me.
    So, this has nothing to do with the system of magic.

    Also, I'm half genuinely offended that you even brought up LotR in a discussion of MoR. If you actually think removing made-up languages would remove something from the weight that Lord Of the Rings carries as story... I would suggest reading the Lord of the rings again. The Hobbit, written so simply and beautifully, without any of the baggage of the Lord of the Rings is a testament to this fact. Just... please stop bringing in the classics into this discussion.

    And no, its not the lack of suspension of disbelief either. Simply put, MoR is not a story. It is unimaginative, not entertaining and uninteresting on the whole. If it was at the least one of the three, I would slog through it.

    That brings me to the final paragraph and the most interesting one. If I have to peel layers of shit, vomit and literal disgust from a fic to "get to the good parts", its really not worth it. Parsing through 100k words just to get 3-4 good scenes? Shitfic. Lengthy-shitfic, but shitfic.
    Amusingly enough, I imagine if this fic was brought to the attention of DLP in its Teenage Ginny-Pig days of 2002-08 (?), this fic probably would've gotten a different possibly slightly better reaction. I also imagine more than a few people would've trolled the shit out of the author.
    At this point in time, like someone else (I think taure probably) said, we're taking time out of our work/life to read fanfiction. Time we could've been reading actual original fiction (fantasy or otherwise). Shit needs to be of at least a minimum standard to impress or even get 3/5.
     
  13. fire

    fire High Inquisitor

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    su3su2u1's critical review of HPMOR is worth reading. The original tumblr post was taken down, but you can an archived version is available at https://danluu.com/su3su2u1/hpmor/

    The most damning part is probably this:

     
  14. Andrela

    Andrela Plot Bunny DLP Supporter

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    Makes you suspect that the ol' Yud thinks people who are less intelligent than him should be, ahem, disappeared...

    Heil Potter?
     
  15. Crownworthy

    Crownworthy First Year

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    I think that "decent" is quite a neutral term itself.
     
  16. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. DLP Gold Supporter

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    Stripping away all those things and just looking at it as a story, it still suffers horribly from pacing issues, which is enough to make it at best a 3/5 story. Yes the writing style is a bit entertaining the first time you read it, but it has little staying power and zero rereadability. Yudkowsky's style doesn't translate well into longer pieces of fiction, which makes his pacing problem especially egregious.

    He has some cool scenes, sure, but stories are just about some cool scenes and they certainly don't redeem the other parts of the story.
     
  17. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti Groundskeeper

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    Large part of MoR's fame came from the very early days, when it was a lighthearted fun way of teaching people about Bayesian theorem and other counter-intuitive ideas via the medium of fantasy fanfiction. Most of the blog posts claiming it's superb were written way before it was complete, when it wasn't the huge mess it's now.

    For me it was the first fanfiction I ever encountered, and I though it was funny and interesting enough to start following, and I still have fond memories of some of the scenes in it. But I have never read it all the way through, because it just bogged down and became preachy to the extreme. And I wouldn't even start reading it as it is now: 600 000 words just is way too much for any fanfic; if you can't tell your story in less than that, you simply suck at storytelling.

    It's like a TV show that has a great first season, and then doesn't know what to do in the next ten it has to wade through simply because of inertia. Only that most shows get canceled before they get to the point where MoR got.

    Overall I would give it 2 stars: good enough to hook you at the start and to get through the first few chapters, not good enough to read all the way through. It would be a lot better if it had simply been abandoned after, say, twenty chapters.
     
  18. iamnotreal

    iamnotreal Second Year

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    It was the first story I read as well. I suppose back then I thought it was interesting how he took the setting of the Harry Potter magic and turned it into... a form of impossibly advanced scientific constructs that gave access to those of Atlantean descent? The more you think about it though later the worse it gets unfortunately, after all what ridiculously advanced race would build a system which needs you to say words, swish a wooden instrument and think yourself into particular mind/emotional states to make use of any part of it? This is of course not accounting for the aggravating intellectualism beaten into you at every opportunity.

    I really liked some of his ideas though; Merlin's Interdict, Quirell, His take on the powers of the Mirror of Erised (probably my favourite part).

    As others mentioned all the fights felt really mechanized and lifeless. Power essentially could be ascribed to if you knew better spells (they can really be alikened to computer programs and those with greater access (knowledge) can use more of them) then you're opponent is literally fucked since nothing they can do can overcome you're offensive and defensive spells. It's from this kind of perspective it seems all the rationality struts its stuff since the author has Harry essentially game or hack the magic system through various loopholes to wreck everyone.

    Honestly Voldemort's defeat the first time around read like a straight up bug to me which triggered and infinite feedback loop. Something like Tom Riddle casts spell on Tom Riddle (error: cannot target self with selected spell) and then power kept building (as the system tries to exit the loop which has no default state) as result of the 'bug' until he just blew up.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  19. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    I started it one time. Got about half way through a chapter or two and gave up. To me, the writing just seemed dry and unnecessary. More like insert tab a into slot b and see? I'm right.

    No thanks.
     
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