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WIP Harry Potter and the Prince of Slytherin By The Sinister Man - T

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by iamnotreal, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. kinetique

    kinetique Headmaster

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    I've never seen a fic with more Slytherin tropes than this. I'm sure there's something out there...
     
  2. Darkarus

    Darkarus First Year

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    Dodging Prison and Stealing Witches and Sarcasm and Slytherin both use way more of the Slytherin tropes than this story.
     
  3. AlexIY

    AlexIY Banned

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    I thought I might put my hat in the ring with my first review being this story.

    It's a pretty egregious read, and I'm going to be honest, and say there isn't much good about it so I'll start with what is.

    The Magical Concepts presented (Wild Magic, certain parts of Magical Theory etc...), "Pureblood Etiquette" and rapport between Harry and his general cast (post-first-year). I don't really care about Magical Cores or Magical Exhaustion as much as most people on this thread seem to.

    It's fanfiction, changing the Magical System is what many great fics choose to do. And adding it doesn't really detract or add to the story much. It's sort of like the difference between creating a movie where Spider-Man can create webs or one where he uses web-shooters, it's only really ever going to be a plot element when it isn't working well/it has to come into play.

    That being said, I do not like the Magical Exhaustion play at all. Mental exhaustion? Go for it. Physical exhaustion? Sure. Turning into a blue demon if you use too much Magic? Weirdly specific but still much more interesting than Magic being a canister of water essentially that can spring leaks at the author's earliest convenience.

    The "In canon there is no Magic limit" argument though is completely stupid and needs to stop being used. It's fan fiction, the author is definitely not binding himself to the laws of canon whilst having first years preform the Accio charm on their first try, you most definitely shouldn't expect him to also follow other canon magical formalities.

    Magic is presented as this wide and completely expansive force in this story, but it is severely limited in almost every way. Harry and Hermione in their first year learn the Accio spell without any fuss and continue learning spells without any difficulties for the remainder of the series. There is a large focus on Magic for the first book and then characters are just said to know things after that.

    Couple that with completely unrealistic interactions even for thirteen-year-olds or eleven-year-olds all the same. The dialogue in the story doesn't flow naturally at all, it goes from point A to point B with little in mind of any sort of consistency or character details/traits. The easiest way of showing this would be telling you to look at Chapter 5 where Harry and Hermione have a conversation that just immediately consists of Harry condescending to Hermione about not reading wizarding etiquette books.

    The idea that you can read etiquette and learn politics all from books without being subject to a bias political narrative is astounding to me. Harry somehow is a young person that can just see the objective truth regardless of what he is reading and what is intaking. The fic isn't just written with an Omniscient Narrator. The main character may very damn well be Omniscient himself.

    In order for this story to work, it needs severe rewrites. And in my opinion, could very well do without pretty much everything we've read thus far. Because it doesn't really matter, at all. Have the story start where it starts and Harry can just piece us in later, we don't need to read all seven years from the beginning, because it doesn't matter.

    The author could've saved themselves a lot of grief over writing children too by doing that as well. As along with the Americanisms it just feels so unreadable at parts that I physically cringe at the sight of the words "ginger kid" being used as a descriptor for someone.

    Finally, can we please stop calling Theodore Nott, Theo. It just feels so off to me for someone to not only start off calling a Slytherin by his first name but an abbreviation/nickname of his first name. Just keep the Slytherin Harry trope of him calling everyone by their last names. And for the love of god, if Harry is so cold and noir because of being starved to death™ why does he talk so damn much to everyone about everything he does. He practically wears his heart on his sleeve more than Jim does.

    1/5
     
  4. VitaminAgua

    VitaminAgua Squib

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    Re-Occlumency levels, I think a good analogue is something like languages (which are very intangible skills that can't be categorized easily). And yet language learners talk about "CEFR Levels" and test scores all the time. It's human nature to codify and assign arbitrary levels to skills. I don't see the difference between Harry bragging about being a "Level 5 Occlumens" and people bragging about being "C1 at French". If anything, I find the author talks about these levels in a very realistic way (e.g., only nerds who are obsessed with Occlumency talk about them, the levels don't actually matter and are arbitrary, elitists in the community flex their levels and "tricks" for no reason, etc.).

    Yes, it's annoying, but also it's 100% realistic. This completely matches my experience with the language learning and music communities to a tee.

    The idea of "magic being reduced to linear algebra" isn't a problem for me (I actually think it's unrealistic to assume that a society that lives and breathes magic wouldn't have studied and codified it to death - look at the atrocity that is American high school math). In general the magic system of this fic is one of its strong points to me (and an area where I think canon falls very flat).

    I do agree on the point of "Certain subplots are genuinely clever; their execution then drags on for 300k words"
     
  5. Comnenus

    Comnenus Sixth Year

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    The problem with this is that realism isn't a good thing if it doesn't serve the story. It would be realistic if every chapter there was a scene where Harry takes a shit. That doesn't mean anyone should write it.

    The issue with this kind of realism is that it ruins the unique flavour of the universe. It's needless systematization that adds nothing except making it seem less magical when that's the whole point of the universe.

    This equally applies to stories which bring in magical cores; power levels; guns or any other pointless muggle technologies or ideas that don't belong in universe.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
  6. VitaminAgua

    VitaminAgua Squib

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    I guess that's just a difference of taste then (which is completely fine). I think fleshing out the universe like this is a fun exercise. It also adds a nice back-and-forth dynamic where the reader knows how these systems work and can come up with cool ideas on their own. O

    But I agree there's ways to do either take effectively. If Sanderson is a good "magic as a system" writer, then Borges (or Fuentes) would be a good "magic defies explanation" writer. This fic isn't the greatest take on the concept, but most of the other fics that explore these ideas are really bad. Which is one reason I keep on reading this fic.

    FWIW I think canon is not great at this either, but that's really a pet-peeve I have with canon.

    This was actually pretty funny :). I guess my counterpoint would be that there's also no problem with mentioning sometimes that Harry did go to the bathroom. I don't think the use of levels in PoS is so obtrusive that it ruins my enjoyment of the fic, and I don't dislike the concept on principle. So it just adds a shade of realism/worldbuilding that's more a positive than a negative for me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
  7. Acquiescing Avian

    Acquiescing Avian Second Year

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    There is a reason why people complain about bashing and OOC behaviour; if any specific element of a fic is inferior to canon, readers have a right to address it. Any complaint, as long as it is backed up with logical and sensible reasons, is not stupid. A magic system where the author's favourite characters can cast complex spells simply by pointing their wand and willing it into existence is a cheap way of making a few characters better (magically speaking) than others.

    Cause vs. Consequence.

    The author's magic system makes this possible. Not the other way around.
     
  8. kinetique

    kinetique Headmaster

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    It's meant to be a story, not a dissertation. Studying magic in the Harry Potter universe appears to be similar to studying something scientific in our universe. The people who are the best with casting spells appear to be the people who have the most understanding of what exactly they're meant to be doing; in other words, some combination of intuition, research and experience leads people to perfecting a spell.

    In this universe we have neither, there are one million words and very little of it is devoted to showing Harry and co actually learning like the magic system implies should happen. The reader doesn't need to study magic, because it's nonsense, the reader needs to see Harry studying magic, or making a reference to it, or really something other than cracking open a book and reading an incantation.

    This would not be a problem necessarily if Harry were built up like some Ramanujan like super genius. He is decidedly not.

    This story, like so many other rationalist stories totally miss the point that rationalism of one universe does not necessarily transfer to another. In fact, it is the total lack of understanding which belies just how unrational they truly are, when a million words is laid onto paper to explain how the author totally missed the point. In doing so they reduce our perspective of a magical world to one that is absolutely not magical. As an analogy, Ron Weasley should not think twice about a library with floating candles, we should. Hence, my observation of the magic in this story being reduced to something as exciting as matrix multiplication.
    You don't understand; I get what he's trying to imply, I just think it's stupid.
     
  9. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    You may have noticed we're discussing a piece of fanfiction, so criticising it for not following canon is ridiculous.

    Ok, so back up your complaint with logical and sensible reasons. Don't use "its not canon" and claim thats a good reason to criticise it.

    A magic system where some users are more powerful than others is perfectly sensible. In the real world some people are more intelligent, are stronger, are faster than the average. Do you criticise canon for the author's favourite character (Hermione) being smarter than the others, or do you see her intelligence as a perfectly reasonable way to write the character?

    And yes, I know that you can work to make yourself stronger, faster, or more intelligent. If you put the physical or mental work in you'll do better than your baseline. But some people are born with naturally higher baselines, that is indisputable. And to say the same couldn't reasonably be true of magic in a world where magic exists seems to me to be ridiculous.

    So yeah, please feel free to bring up some actual logical and sensible reasons, or to stop criticising a fanfic for not following canon.
     
  10. Darkarus

    Darkarus First Year

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    Also outside of a spell that is designed to weaken you to save someone else the only times that we see people being exhausted when they fight Voldemort solo. In this fic we are both told and shown that Voldemort is second only to Albus Dumbledore himself and so we see both James Potter and Auror Burke in memories that Mad Eye shows Harry of their fights with Voldemort and in this sense their exhaustion shows the effort it takes to simply not die when fighting the Dark Lord as he No Sells their every effort without seeming to even be bothered.

    It isn't even that that are unable to cast spells it is that they are defeated upon seeing how hopeless even bothering to fight Voldemort is. For example we learn that 10 people have 'fought' Voldemort one was Mad Eye who Voldemort never intended to kill, Albus who Voldemort couldn't kill, James Potter who managed to last 12 seconds before being about to die, four managed to escape after 8 seconds and three who lasted more that 10 seconds (but not likely much longer) before dying. And even still when these examples of exhaustion happen the character in question had done incredibly advanced magic. But to be clear there is not a hard magical system around power levels and exhaustion in the story as the Rule of Cool is used and characters are described as exhausted only when it serves the story.

    It isn't like Harry is thinking in combat how many times he can cast a spell before he is out of magic etc. It exists to show a character having reached their limits and as such it works. It would be different if for example we had a scene where Harry learns that he as a magic core of 9000 Merlins and the Lumos spell drains one Merlin per second. One of many things I find disturbing about Dodging Prison and Stealing Witches which while not this blatant does explain the magic.
     
  11. Acquiescing Avian

    Acquiescing Avian Second Year

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    I certainly don't criticise canon for making Hermione intelligent. Natural advantages definitely exist. Harry himself picked up spells in canon without slogging in the Library for hours (Levicorpus and Sectumsempra), or with minimal theoretical instruction and practice (Patronus). Some people having the potential to be better than others isn't a problem.

    Hermione is far more intelligent than Harry and Ron in canon, but that didn't mean she could slack off and still be better than them. She worked her ass off to get where she did. And even then, Ron had the advantage of being born in the Wizarding World, and knew more about folktales and bedtime stories.

    But when natural advantage automatically trumps hard work, it is unrealistic. A naturally gifted, athletic person cannot outrun an average guy if he spends months eating junk and slacking off.

    For example,

    Jim's eyes flared. "Points aren't everything. And while your little study group has been playing around, I've been getting real lessons from the upper years on the Quidditch team." He whipped his wand, waved it and said "ACCIO REMEMBERALL." To Harry and Neville's surprise, the glass globe slipped out of Neville's pocket and floated lazily through the air and into Jim's hand.

    "That was a Fifth Year summoning spell, by the way." Jim smirked and then looked down at the globe in his hand. "I still remember the day I first saw this thing, Longbottom. While your buddy Harry was standing around slack-jawed, afraid to stand up to a filthy Death Eater wannabee like Malfoy, I was up in the air, facing him head on, risking my life to get this back to you." He took a few steps towards Neville and Harry, idly tossing the Rememerall in his hand as he did.

    "I know I was kind of a jerk in the beginning, but I'm sorry. And I've gotten better, both at not acting out like I was and at working magic. Forget Harry and Granger and their stupid little club. Let me help you." He looked down smugly at the Rememberall. "After all, I've just proven that I'm better at magic than..."

    "ACCIO REMEMBERALL." Suddenly, it was Jim's turn to be surprised, as the orb shot out of his hands like a rocket and slapped into the waiting hand of Hermione, who had been standing off to the side out of sight.

    Harry smiled, while Jim stared dumbfounded. "Nicely done," said the Slytherin. "When did you learn that spell?"

    "Just now. Well, you told me the incantation on the train but didn't know the wand pattern, which Jim kindly just demonstrated. It's not really hard at all. Just a double reverse swish as you say 'Accio' and then a ten-degree-above-horizontal flick in the direction of the target object as you describe what it is. Mass and especially range will probably be quite limited until we're older and our magic is stronger, but the basic spell is simple enough for nearby objects you can clearly see."

    Harry considered that and then lashed out with his own wand. "ACCIO REMEMBERALL!" The orb then shot out of Hermione's hand and into his own just as fast as it had for her. "Wow. That was easy." He looked up at Jim smugly. "Thanks, little brother. You 're a really good teacher!"

    Jim was speechless. It had taken him two days to master the charm that Hermione and his brother had just performed effortlessly after watching him demonstrate it once. Finally, he shook off his surprise in favor of anger. "Go to hell, snake!" he said. "And you two traitors can go with him!" Then, he turned and stalked off.

    The whole scene establishes that Harry and Hermione are much better than Jim can ever be, which isn't a bad thing. But it also implies that they don't need to put in any work at all to master spells they're supposed to learn 3-4 years later. What!?

    I didn't complain about the author changing parts of canon. Plenty of fics change characterisations from what they originally were in canon, and do it really well. But canon is changed in a way that negatively impacts some characters and glorifies others in this scenario.

    For example, Harry being more intelligent and skilled than in canon is a common theme in most fics. But some of these, like A Cadmean Victory, reduce Hermione's skills down to essay writing and good memory. The first change is good, because it doesn't shit on any character. The second one is a clear example of author bias negatively impacting certain elements of their own fic.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
  12. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    I still don't see your point. So Harry and Hermione are talented at magic. So what? You get 11 year olds who are substantially naturally stronger than their peers, or naturally faster. Thats distinctly not uncommon.

    And the fact you're comparing Hermione being noticeably intelligent to Ron knowing some bedtime stories is frankly laughable. The characters aren't even remotely similar in terms of demonstrations of intellectual ability.

    As for this...

    IQ isn't the be all and end all of intelligence but its a decent enough metric for giving an example. A poorly educated, but slightly educated, person with a 170 IQ is going to be far more capable academically than a person with a 100 IQ who has a average education.

    Your use of "eating junk and slacking off" is inappropriate. You're using an example where someone actively harms their ability to do something. Spending time not actively learning magic isn't harming you're ability to do it, its simply not expanding on it. The more appropriate version of your example is a naturally gifted, athletic person who lives an average life that involves a moderate amount of cardiovascular exercise and an average diet. Could they outrun an average person who lived a similar life? Definitely. Could they outrun an average person who had received a modicum of training? Potentially. That would be a toss up, depending on specific details.
     
  13. kinetique

    kinetique Headmaster

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    Look no further than Ramanujan for probably the perfect example. As close to no education as you can get and undeniably more academically adept than almost everyone who's ever lived.
     
  14. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    Precisely, that level of capability is within the realms of reality. And I'd say in PoS Harry is not the equivalent of Ramanujan, he's several levels away from that level of comparison. He's clearly far more capable than you're average 11 year old, but he's not Ramanujan levels. He's not inventing magical fields of study in isolation.
     
  15. kinetique

    kinetique Headmaster

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    Interestingly enough, canonically Dumbledore and Voldemort might actually be on that level. Unfortunately fanfiction authors for the most part equate genius with memory and how fast one can do mental arithmetic, so we almost never get to see a genuine depiction of genius, despite the existence of at least two in the series.
     
  16. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    Yeah, I think they're probably comparable. Or at most a level below Ramanujan. Dumbledore being described as "doing things with a wand that hadn't been seen before" would definitely fit the bill, inventing whole new things at 15. Maybe Voldemort is the level below, able to understand it all, but not able to invent it himself?
     
  17. kinetique

    kinetique Headmaster

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    Who knows, but both are certainly more capable then most everyone else in the series. Realistically the wizarding population is small enough that truly brilliant minds just don't come to existance all that often. There haven't been all that many Von Neumann's in recorded history, and our population is 7 point something billion. Magical Britain is a few thousand? A few tens of thousands?

    What I do know is I find the wizarding world being described as illogical to be annoying.
     
  18. Acquiescing Avian

    Acquiescing Avian Second Year

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    Physical factors are, more often than not, based on genetics. That doesn't really work for the magical world. One of the major themes of the series was that ancestry doesn't matter.

    Just because something has a perfectly acceptable real-life explanation doesn't mean it's appropriate for the Wizarding World too.

    In canon, natural magical ability was based on personality (Neville's self-doubt affected his ability), mental state (Tonks couldn't change her appearance in HBP, Harry was unable to cast the Patronus when he was overcome with grief over Fred's death) etc.

    According to this, based on Harry, Hermione and Jim's character, Harry (who is similar to TMR) is better than Hermione and Jim. Jim (who is basically a caricature of James) and Hermione would approximately be at the same level.

    Instead, Harry and Hermione appear to be equals, and outclass Jim.

    Why? What is it based on? Randomly assigned, different sized magical cores?

    I didn't compare their intellectual ability. I never said Ron was capable of assimilating and understanding information at the same rate as Hermione. But his knowledge of common wizarding tales is simply greater than Hermione's. Intelligence is not a substitute for acquired knowledge.

    There are other examples of this. In Philosopher's Stone, Ron knew the specific year when Dragon breeding was outlawed. In CoS, he knew about the exception for the use of underage magic as well as the specific decree. He knew about the Dark Mark, Death Eaters, Imperius Curse and Triwizard Tournament despite slacking off in history and not reading ahead for classes.

    In any case, my original reason isn't wrong. There is no real basis for Harry and Hermione's greater magical capability other than author bias. That is inferior to canon, where different levels of intelligence, natural ability or acquired skill didn't automatically make one member of the trio woefully inadequate as compared to the other two.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  19. Darkarus

    Darkarus First Year

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    Um Jim has his own strengths in the one case you described Hermione was able to cast accio after seeing Jim do it and thus she saw, memorized, and was able to replicate the wand motions required for the spell. She then explained it to Harry who also was then able to cast the spell.

    However, in book two for example Jim is a more skilled duelist as he spent his summer getting combat magic training while Harry was focused on learning in a more general sense. In the third book Jim managed to become an animagus something that neither Harry or Hermione have even attempted to start. Furthermore, if Harry wasn't being such a try hard when it came to magical combat tricks Jim would still be a better duelist.

    Jim has plenty of ability on his own Harry and Hermione just happen to have advantages that Jim doesn't.
     
  20. Acquiescing Avian

    Acquiescing Avian Second Year

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    All of this is true.

    I don't really care about Jim's skill. I'm only taking about the method the author chose to assign different "power levels".

    Heck, part of my comment was about how Ron had other advantages, despite Harry being naturally gifted (to some extent) and Hermione's superior intelligence. I never said everyone had to be equals in all fields.
     
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