Harry Potter Rationality

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Despite being a spin-off of J.K Rowling’s popular fantasy book series, Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality has many of the characteristics associated with classic science fiction. While science fiction and fantasy both deal with new worlds and experiencing events that could be considered impossible given our current understanding of the world, science fiction usually adds to this by making scientific ideas and advanced technology a key element of the story. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality should be added to the class syllabus because it fits the themes of classic science fiction by embodying exploration and scientific principles, and because it functions as a transformative work that would allow us to analyze…show more content…
Due to this one change, Harry James Potter Evans-Verres (his new name in this work) grows up in a nurturing home, where he learns the art of science and the methods of rationality from his uncle. As a result of his training, Harry gains a strong background in scientific knowledge, which aids him in his journey into the magical world. What Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality does to change fantasy into science fiction is to have Harry’s constantly analyze the magical world. In the initial Harry Potter, magic was a mystical force. The characters simply accepted magic as it was. However, in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Harry refuses to take magic at face value. Regarding magic, he says: “That 's just a word! Even after you tell me that, I can 't make any new predictions! It 's exactly like saying 'phlogiston ' or 'elan vital ' or 'emergence ' or 'complexity '!” (Yudkowsky, Ch. 6) His outburst shows that Harry will only accept a rational, logical explanation for any event that he experiences. Throughout the rest of the novel, every time Harry meets a problem, he attacks it with the scientific method, with logic and with reason. He studies blood purity through the lens of genetics, discovering that it only takes one magical allele to create a wizard. (Yudkowsky, Ch. 22) He works with Hermione to try to discover the governing rules of magic through a series of scientific experiments on spell casting (Yudkowsky, Ch. 22). He is even able to use his knowledge of physics to make an original discovery in transfiguration. By understanding that objects are actually clouds of subatomic particles, rather than the solid forms we perceive them as, he is able to partially transfigure an object, something that cannot be done by anyone else
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