Okay. We're gonna start this entry by pointing out that I am smart. Not necessarily in the traditional genius knowing a lot of things about a lot of highly complicated nuclear science etc things, but in the heaps of common sense and a pretty good ability at figuring out how things work, and understanding explanations, or at least knowing what I need further explanation on way. More Feynman, less Einstein is my general goal1
Being a smart kid, I tend to be interested in reading things that are also smart. I'm not saying I want to go pick up a half-dozen Highly Academic texts and plow through them, but when it comes to things like my fiction, the more I find myself saying "c'mon, *really?!*" to the characters, the less inclined I am to enjoy it. The whole horror movie "don't go in there alone, you moron!" thing? Yeah, that. I find characters with no common sense to be frustrating and uninteresting --in general, the more clever a character is, the more likely I am to enjoy watching them interact with their world.
Every once in a while, I find a character who has more common sense than I do. Not just pragmatism or enough common sense that I never go "don't do that, you moron!", but a character who I honestly feel would, if reading my story, have a fair number of moments in which he or she said "don't do that, you moron!" to me, --not just stupid moments, but things which I thought made perfect sense at the time.
Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres. Is one such character.
And he's still flawed as hell
. There are multiple other characters in his universe who are just as or differently intelligent as he is, and they are saying all the "don't do that, you moron" things that I don't even comprehend because I just don't even realize that they're a "don't do that, you moron" thing in the first place!
Flawed characters are interesting. We want them to get better, to learn more, to become more intelligent, clever, closer to perfect without ever actually reaching it, because perfection is boring. And so, a flawed (therefore, interesting) character who is flawed in ways that don't make me want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them?
If HJPEV was a real person, it is extremely possible that I would be a little bit in love, and more than a little bit intimidated by that fact. Hell, just looking at the way I interact with the people in my life who *are* decidedly smarter, and I know that I would have just about the hugest crush possible you can have on an individual without ever speaking to them (because I wouldn't know what to say
For those of you raising an eyebrow and going "Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres
??", ah. You must not follow me on twitter. You haven't had to put up with me for the last six weeks, throwing in quotes and lines and just *buckets* of squee about what really is, the single greatest fanfiction I've ever read.
It is called "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality"
. The author's description on fanfiction.net is "Petunia married a scientist. Now rationalist!Harry enters the wizarding world armed with Enlightenment ideals and the experimental spirit... "
It was first brought to my attention by ncarraway
when he twote the line "What part of 'get fitted for robes' sounded to you like 'please cast a Confundus Charm on the entire universe'!?" with a link, and I was intrigued. My first quote was from the fifth chapter, I wound up practically *devouring* all seven that were then up. By the end of the seventh chapter, I had decided that this was a hilarious way to look at the wizarding world, and was enjoying all the intelligent ideas floating around.
It was probably somewhere around the tenth chapter where I realized that the intelligent ideas were a part of it, but more importantly, I cared about the characters and wanted desperately to know what they did next.
The story is currently up to chapter 20, and while the intelligent ideas are still intelligent, and the characters are brilliant and wonderful, I now want desperately to know what the *plot* is going to do next. Especially after reading the spoiler-tastic author's notes for chapter 20, because the provide insight to a Voldemort who has actually read the evil-overlord list
and is clever enough to understand it.
So, let me just point out that I cannot recommend this fanfic highly enough. I love it enough that I actually went and reopened my account on ff.net, just so I could get e-mails whenever a new chapter was up --and believe me, my heart has soared every time one has. Foster and I just spent a highly enjoyable 20 minutes discussing the plot and ideas. I linked it to JoshZed, who has linked it to people, and at one point came to me with the ethical conundrum of "this has changed my thinking and the thinking of friends, is it wrong to link it to someone with the underlying plan of trying to change *their* thinking?"4
. I gave it to @AlBri (SCD-Alex) one night, and he came to me the following Monday at dance to squee about how brilliant it was, and how he kept wanting to read more, rather than sleep.
This fanfic? Is really really good. I've been recommending it all over the place, to people in real life and on Twitter. Now it really is time I link it to all of you. So go read. It really is worth the time.
MOOP!1: Not that I'm ANYWHERE close to either, of course, but what I know of Feynman, means that I pretty much want to do his taxes free of charge2, and yes, I don't *care* that he's dead now and doesn't have taxes to do.
2: Warning, feminism.
3: See also Sean the suitpunk boy who was in my math class and who rendered me utterly tongue-tied, because not only was he a form of gorgeous I really like (suitpunk: rumpled hair, multiple piercings, t-shirt, vest and jacket, also, skinny as a rail) but because he was not only smarter than I am at multivar calc, he managed to nerd-snipe our teacher for a class period, which was hotter than hell.
If he's somehow reading this, hello, want to go get coffee sometime? I promise I will try not to babble at you too much!
4: It was a little more complicated than that, but without permission, I don't think I feel comfortable going into details.
COMMENT POLICY: No spoilers, please. Feel free to link squee-worthy lines of dialog (that was almost what this post was, just dozens of those) but don't disclose plot elements in here right now. Catch me on IM instead.
ETA: Jesus *Christ* that got long fast. Sorry guys. But the fanfic is JUST THAT GOOD!
ETA2 (11:11, 2010 05 10): I forgot to point out (and I feel like a dick for doing so) that there absolutely needs to be a trigger warning
for chapter seven of the fanfic --a bad guy talking casually about rape specifically.