Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97

post by palladias · 2013-08-15T02:18:54.850Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 505 comments

This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing chapter 97The previous thread is at nearly 500 comments. 

There is now a site dedicated to the story at hpmor.com, which is now the place to go to find the authors notes and all sorts of other goodies. AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author’s Notes. (This goes up to the notes for chapter 76, and is now not updating. The authors notes from chapter 77 onwards are on hpmor.com.) 

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.

Also: 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12,  13,  1415,  16,  17,  18,  19,  20,  21,  22,  23,  24,  25.

Spoiler Warning: this thread is full of spoilers. With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13. More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it’s fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that “Eliezer said X is true” unless you use rot13.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by AlexMennen · 2013-08-15T07:13:40.885Z · score: 33 (33 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I seem to recall that at some point, Quirrell told Harry that his ultimate plan involved Harry leading Britain. Now Harry tells Draco that his ultimate plan involves Draco leading Britain. I can't wait to see Draco reveal his plan that involves Quirrell leading Britain!

comment by Kindly · 2013-08-15T12:15:30.295Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If we think that Quirrell is somehow Voldemort...

...and also think that Harry Potter is somehow Voldemort...

...and understand why Harry Potter's plan involves Draco leading Britain...

...then we should be able to make a guess why Quirrell's plan involves Harry Potter leading Britain, by analogy.

comment by Roxolan · 2013-08-15T13:22:28.853Z · score: 26 (26 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"I had to promise my keepers not to sign anything you gave me. So I made sure to compose this myself, and sign it before I left."

Like hell you did. Mad-Eye Moody just told you not to. But it sure is a game-theoretical advantage to convince the other player that the conditions of the deal cannot be renegotiated at all, and that it's now or never.

"I also promised not to touch a quill while I was in Gringotts,"

Similarly, what a convenient excuse to expose the muggle-hater to a small example of muggle technology just as you're trying to make him realize there may be a lot more to muggles than he thought.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2013-08-15T13:33:26.139Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I doubt Lucius was very impressed with a "muggle quill".

But if Harry keeps it up about the wealth of the Muggle world, I wonder if the Malfoys won't end up setting their sights on Muggles and their resources. I'm imagining a "what have I done" on Harry's part when that happens.

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2013-08-15T17:02:42.134Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think Harry would laugh all the way to 10 Downing Street, as he allies with sixty million people who agree with him on human rights and have at least a notion of science, security, and total war, even though most of them, of course, aren't trained in it. Notice his remark about "[Muggle lawyers] would think yours are cute". Harry may be mistaken, but I think he believes that for Lucius to tangle with Muggle Britain would be the last mistake House Malfoy ever made.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-15T17:40:38.980Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Lord Malfoy wouldn't bother with Muggle lawyers, he'd use magic and take what he wants. Remember, he doesn't see Muggles as people. The only ones who could stop him from doing anything he wanted would be other magic-users.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-08-15T17:49:36.642Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There has to be some pre-existing mechanism in place to stop this (and also most plain trade). "Take what you want from other people" is too short a sentence in Human Language not to have occurred to various wizards over time, likewise "Imitate the way that person gained status".

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-15T18:46:04.966Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Minerva and Griphook weren't surprised by the idea of taking raw gold and turning into coins. Presumably this happens sometimes; it's not the case that all the Galleons in the world were first minted thousands of years ago. So how did the gold in the wizard economy get there in the first place? And what is the mechanism that prevents it now but didn't prevent it then?

Are all wizards in the world unaware that Muggles possess gold at all? Surely not; Muggles probably own much more gold, and operate many more gold mines, than wizards do. If wizards ever went looking for un-mined gold, they'd encounter Muggle competition.

Wizards have an apparently trivial method of acquiring gold: Apparate into a bank vault, fill your Bag of Holding, Apparate away to Gringotts. It's doable by most wizards, carries no real risk, is unnoticeable by the bank, untraceable when they do notice the gold is missing, and the other wizards and goblins probably don't care if some Muggles were robbed by an unknown wizard.

comment by thomblake · 2013-08-16T15:51:32.672Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hypothesis: The muggles don't possess much gold. Most of the huge stacks of gold in places like Fort Knox are clever magical replicas, and have been for a very long time. Any wizard can easily see through the ruse, but the muggles are clueless.

How do we have gold that we use as a conductor? Perhaps when a muggle handles fake gold, it gets magically swapped with real gold from a small supply elsewhere. Or else, maybe fake magic gold is a really good conductor.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-16T19:24:20.979Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If most of the gold we think is in the Muggle economy is really in the wizarding economy, then wizards possess up to 170,000 tons of gold. 100,000 tons of gold divided between 1 million wizards is 100 Kg = 20,000 Galleons per wizard on average.

We actually observe that 100,000 galleons is a princely ransom and a rich fortune. Lord Malfoy is one of the richest people in Britain and he probably has on the order of a million Galleons. This seems compatible but somewhat unlikely; I would estimate less gold in the wizarding economy than 100,000 tons. And yet if they stole all the Muggle gold they'd have closer to 150,000 tons, not counting whatever they may have mined themselves.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T17:17:08.888Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

... and Eliezer raised the value of Galleons significantly for this fic. Hmm...

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-22T21:31:00.882Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What Wizards even know that electrical conductivity is a thing?

comment by Watercressed · 2013-08-21T18:27:47.173Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps the only difference between fake gold and real gold is magical--if there's a ritual that permanently transfigures a rock into gold, people can switch that with the gold in vaults. Of course, no one in the magical world would accept transfigured gold as payment.

comment by TrE · 2013-08-16T17:28:22.955Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And what about all the new gold the muggles mine, day by day? Wouldn't that cause inflation in the wizard economy? And where does the swapped-out gold go?

comment by thomblake · 2013-08-16T19:40:53.746Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Alternately: The wizards already mined all the real gold too.

comment by thomblake · 2013-08-16T19:05:24.123Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's like bitcoin mining - whoever steals Muggle gold first gets to keep it. Of course that's the Americans.

comment by alex_zag_al · 2013-09-28T03:38:15.908Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry's going to be disappointed when he gets muggle rich, and Gringottts rejects all his muggle gold

comment by ThrustVectoring · 2013-08-17T04:38:53.110Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

How do we have gold that we use as a conductor? Perhaps when a muggle handles fake gold, it gets magically swapped with real gold from a small supply elsewhere.

When a muggle handles fake gold and it doesn't work as a conductor, the Statue of Secrecy comes in and they get Obliviated and the gold gets swapped over so that it works properly.

If most Muggle gold is a clever Wizard fake, then the fakes are getting watched to ensure that those who handle the fake gold stay convinced that it's real gold.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-08-17T14:21:19.198Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's an awful lot of surveillance. Would a spell which detects a Muggle trying to use jewelry/store of value gold for conduction and sounds an alarm be possible?

comment by Baughn · 2013-08-18T10:55:27.320Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, it's magic. Meaning 'If the author wants it to be'.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-22T21:30:34.015Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's not what it means in this fic.

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-08-15T21:21:01.682Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Simplest; The goblins, and wizard society just do not approve of outright theft, even from muggles, and there are magics that will reliably mark stolen goods. So if you want to come up with gold by the tonne, you need to either actually engage muggles in trade (eewww) or go hunting for treasure with no (living) owners.

More amusingly: I am not at all sure competent wizards have much need to care about coin at all. Lucius is a political creature, so he needs ways to bribe idiots, but a wizard that keeps their newt skills up to scratch is pretty much carrying around a cornucopia machine in their pocket. Sure, you could spend a bunch of effort and rob a bank, then use that gold to have a house built.. Or, you know, save yourself the hassle and raise a cute little tower from the bones of the earth/bend space and live like a king in a post office box.. ect.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-16T08:40:20.112Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Simplest; The goblins, and wizard society just do not approve of outright theft, even from muggles, and there are magics that will reliably mark stolen goods.

That is the first suggestion that would actually work. It's just that I can't believe that the average wizard thinks of muggles as persons (or humans) that can be stolen from. It's less plausible than that they would care about the stability of the economy.

Besides, what magic can create, magic can destroy. People would invest serious effort in developing magic that would erase the "magical signature" of stolen gold if it would help them become billionaires.

More amusingly: I am not at all sure competent wizards have much need to care about coin at all.

The reason bribing people with money works in the first place, is that most people don't have as much money as they would like. If wizards didn't really need money, as you suggest, then they wouldn't care about it and couldn't be bribed.

Since money translates into power over others, Lucius too would always want more money.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T17:47:15.985Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's just that I can't believe that the average wizard thinks of muggles as persons (or humans) that can be stolen from.

I don't know. They have a fairly insular view of the world, but putting them on a par with animals seems to be a fringe notion, albeit one popular with those in power (ie purebloods.)

The reason bribing people with money works in the first place, is that most people don't have as much money as they would like. If wizards didn't really need money, as you suggest, then they wouldn't care about it and couldn't be bribed.

Magical goods can be sold for money, and therefore are. You want a new broomstick? Pay up, bucko.

(Also, food is hard to create magically, according to canon, although God only knows how that works.)

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-21T20:50:30.949Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Right? You're Muggles," said the boy. He smiled twistedly. "You have as much standing in the magical British legal system as mice. No wizard is going to care about any arguments you make about rights, about fairness, they won't even take the time to listen. You don't have any power, see, so they don't have to bother."

Admittedly he was overstating it to make a point, but it's still mostly true.

comment by Houshalter · 2013-08-17T20:26:30.676Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps wizards are superstitious and believe that stolen gold is cursed (or perhaps it actually is.) It's a bit of a ridiculous explanation, but it's not implausible that wizards would be easily susceptible to superstition or weird curses. And there are plenty of benefits of either spreading the rumor or creating actual curses, since they don't like theft either. That it benefits muggles is just an accident, not their intention.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-17T20:59:02.070Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Are there notable instances of wizards stealing gold (or other precious objects) from other wizards and/or muggles? If there are, are any of them every cursed due to the inherent act of theft?

comment by Atelos · 2013-08-17T21:23:32.314Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nothing for gold that I recall, but Mundungus Fletcher stole a bunch of heirloom silverware and other such valuable things from Grimmauld place after Sirius died, and possibly even while he was alive, and didn't seem to be particularly cursed, just throttled by Harry for disrespect to Sirius's memory.

On the other hand with Sirius's attitude towards his relatives he could easily have made a statement declaring his disinterest in his heritage that intentionally or unintentionally revoked his ownership over such items.

comment by gwern · 2013-08-17T21:35:55.515Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fletcher is portrayed as a sketchy thief/fence pretty much from book 1, IIRC. It's hard to imagine that so many people could have intentionally or not abandoned their magical ownership as to make such a career feasible.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T17:56:32.874Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He refers to cauldrons that "fell off the back of a broomstick". Perhaps he meant it literally?

But no, he tells an amusing story about stealing toads from a fellow thief and selling them back to him. It's clear that their relationship is built on selling each other things they "nicked".

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-08-18T06:56:02.628Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You mean, aside from Bacon's diary?

comment by wiserd · 2013-08-16T15:55:48.160Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Simplest; The goblins, and wizard society just do not approve of outright theft, even from muggles, and there are magics that will reliably mark stolen goods"

This makes a lot of sense. In a society where theft from even most wizards should be theoretically pretty easy, blanket 'anti-theft' measures seem most workable. Which, of course, implies that ownership is an intrinsic property of matter in the wizarding verse. Ayn Rand would squee.

Alternative; HPMOR is a sometimes a sideways critique of the Rowling universe, and should, perhaps, sometimes be viewed in that light.

Rowling's universe does have poor wizards, and it does have money and currency constraints. Gold seems to be both intrinsically valuable and rare which is strange. There do seem to be strong cultural taboos against interaction with muggles, despite the obvious benefits (gold, sex, etc.) But the origin of those taboos have never been adequately explained. Such an explanation might allow for a Voldemort who was guided by something other than a quest for personal power, but who was some matrix-esque control mechanism from Atlantis. But I don't want to get too Deus Ex Maquina in my explanations if something better presents itself. In any case, the taboos could easily be outdated. The existence of long-lived wizards suggests a larger ratio of old people to young, and a more conservative society (as in 'resistant to change') in general.

Alternately perhaps Harry's experiment regarding inheritance was wrong or inadequate in some way and magic really can be diluted by interacting/breeding with muggles. We've been told that the most powerful wizards tend to have few children. Grindelwald seems to have been Gay. Dumbledore is both Gay and childless/asexual in his adult life. If we assume a given number of Atlantean 'magic markers' (genetic markers which confer magic ability, which is what a strict Mendelian wizarding gene is likely to be ;-) ) then perhaps having a larger number of a particular marker in a population really WOULD decrease the average power of anyone else who held one of those markers. This would allow for the cultural evolution of a wizarding world that was strongly insular, since familiarity breeds children and indiscriminate genetic dispersal would lead to collapse or diminishment of that family's wizarding powers.

Which suggests that either Neville has a lot of distant relatives somewhere, or remarkable magical potential.

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-16T02:16:07.372Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think that most people can't do that.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T18:36:11.792Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, in canon you need to pay for food - although it's mentioned that you can cast enlarging charms o food you already have. Aaand ... that's kinda it. Water, free. Shelter free. Furniture, free.. Transport, free. Magical artifacts, to be fair, will cost you somewhat, so entertainment, medicine (is it mentioned if St. Mungos is public healthcare?), and certain conveniences (owls, broomsticks, floo powder ...) will require a least intermittent income, but I would say an unemployed wizard is still quite comfortable compared to a muggle. And most magic items will last for years or decades, judging by the Weasleys.

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2013-08-16T07:33:02.690Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Maybe the goblins have established some sort of monopoly on Galleon production, and regulate the amount of it that may be produced in one year? Plausibly the wizards might support that kind of a monopoly to prevent rampant inflation and destabilization of the economy.

Even if their knowledge of economics hadn't caught up with muggles and they were still thinking in mercantilist terms (and so didn't properly understand the concept of inflation), they could still understand that things will remain more stable that way. There have always been monopolies on the production of the official currency, with counterfeiters being harshly punished, and the (guild-like) goblins controlling it would fit with the general "old-fashioned" nature of the wizarding world.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-16T08:19:14.723Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If the goblins allow wizards to bring in gold to be minted, as Griphook told Harry, then how would they decide what wizards to work with? Every wizard can steal an effectively unlimited amount of gold from Muggle vaults. If many wizards did so, and then the goblins refused to turn most of that gold into Galleons, this would probably act to break their monopoly as a market in gold and/or other coins naturally emerged.

Unless wizards all agree not to value raw gold at all, only Galleons. That seems implausible.

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2013-08-16T09:10:53.615Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Unless wizards all agree not to value raw gold at all, only Galleons. That seems implausible.

Why? There are vast advantages in using the currency that everyone else accepts. Real-world alternative currencies rarely replace the official national currencies, either. (Even if you believed that Bitcoin had the potential to eventually do so, gold and Galleons are both physical currencies, so gold wouldn't have the advantages of a digital cryptocurrency.)

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-16T09:59:48.954Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Muggles have never agreed not to value gold, even though vastly more money exists in non-gold-backed currencies today. Which is why those gold vaults still exist.

On the other hand, the main reason Muggles value gold is for jewelry, and it's more likely that wizards use magic to substitute.

But, again, the fact is that Griphook agrees to convert gold into Galleons at only 5% overhead. So even if a wizard only values Galleons, he'll want to acquire gold and give it to Griphook.

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-17T08:47:34.884Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What if the Galleons are actually fake gold created by Goblins, and they can tell 'fake' currency because it's real?

That way, only the Goblins can test for 'real' vs. 'fake' currency because the wizards all have it backwards.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-08-18T13:22:13.239Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Griphook says earlier in the fic that "only a fool would trust anything other than goblin stamped galleons", or words to that effect. So maybe wizards are free to trade gold with Muggles, but raw gold is easy to fake, so nobody is interested in raw gold, and only galleons are valuable. The goblins will stamp some galleons for you for a fee, but they don't want to hyper-inflate the economy so they only do small batches. Either its near-impossible to fake up galleons, or the threat of goblin war against counterfeiters is too scary for people to try. Or have I missed something?

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T17:25:29.840Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Either its near-impossible to fake up galleons, or the threat of goblin war against counterfeiters is too scary for people to try.

I think you're onto something. Specifically, in the books, Goblins possess magic metalworking techniques wizards don't know how to duplicate - and they know how to detect them. (It's a point of contention as part of the whole "give us wands" thing.)

comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-08-17T19:59:09.235Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What if the Galleons are actually fake gold created by Goblins, and they can tell 'fake' currency because it's real?

You're suggesting that there are two substances, difficult to tell apart, both called "gold". On what grounds does one decide which to think of as "the real thing" and which to think of as "an imitation of the real thing"?

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-17T21:49:33.730Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the grounds that if the goblins can tell them apart, there must be some difference. Remember, something doesn't need to have a physical use to have value - see Bitcoin, or intellectual property, or stock options. Simple scarcity is sufficient to create value if people decide to value it.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-08-18T06:33:27.294Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Simple scarcity is sufficient to create value if people decide to value it.

"If people decide to value it" makes that a tautology. Leaving that aside, scarcity is necessary but not sufficient. The only surviving painting by a contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci of little renown will be valued, but less than one by Leonardo.

Silver has two stable isotopes, in roughly equal proportions. I doubt there's much monisotopically refined silver in the world. It would cost more to make it, but it wouldn't be worth more, unless someone wanted some that badly for a practical purpose.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-18T22:12:16.174Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

As phrased it's tautological, but my point was the implication - people can choose to value whatever they want, value is not intrinsic to an item. Lack of scarcity does provide an upper cap, though - air will never be valuable on the surface of Earth - so if people have chosen to value something, then scarcity is the remaining factor needed for it to have value. (I phrased it poorly, but I think it's still strictly correct)

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-22T21:28:04.589Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Neither air nor water are scarce on Earth; but clean air and clean water have value.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T17:27:42.932Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

air will never be valuable on the surface of Earth

Actually, some cities have featured "air stations" or "air bars" due to smog, historically. I don't know if they still exist, I haven't heard of a contemporary one.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-08-18T06:21:56.158Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But which is "real" and which is "fake"? "Real" and "fake" are not objective properties of things. If only goblins can tell the two golds apart, why would anyone care? For practical purposes, for everyone else except Harry Potter there would just be "gold the goblins for unknown reasons say is type 1" and "gold the goblins for unknown reasons say is type 2". Harry would be trying to find out what objective properties distinguish them.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T17:28:36.285Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fake in the sense that Goblins claim that gallons are made from raw gold, when they actually aren't.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-18T22:14:42.606Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The goblins are the central bankers of the wizarding world. They are entrusted with providing a reasonable money supply, and they're free to use methods of their choice to create that(well, subject to assorted speciesist laws). I don't care why the Federal Reserve says to use cotton money instead of plastic, as long as they run the money supply sufficiently well that I trust them.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-17T12:14:40.802Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't believe that goblins' magical power could outsmart that of wizards in this way. Particularly with the emphasis on wizards having access to wands and spells.

Also: why would goblins do this?

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-08-17T14:18:40.134Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Because the goblins don't like having real gold go out of their hands.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-17T14:43:32.381Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But then goblins would still want wizards to bring in real gold for "minting". And wizards would still steal or trade for all the Muggle gold to give to goblins, and billions of Galleons would be circulating as a result. And we don't observe that.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T17:20:50.635Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

'cause it can be turned into money, so they would want it, so it would be valuable.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T17:21:49.746Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I suspect anyone bringing in such a large pile of gold would be immediately arrested, or at least investigated, unless they had a damn good story.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-21T20:56:02.633Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why? The goblins take a percentage for the minting, so they want the minting to go ahead.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-24T12:15:27.931Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But does the Ministry - who are the ones with aurors - want muggles wondering why there's so little gold nowadays? Not to mention the sudden rich people messing up the established power balance.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-24T14:01:40.546Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Again, why would the Ministry not take the gold for themselves instead of guarding it for the Muggles? Note that the explanation has to hold across all of recorded history, in many nations and times.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-26T15:49:58.620Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why would the Ministry do that? I'm kind of drawing a blank here. Sure, the Magical government (maybe not the Ministry, since you can be fined for breaking the statute of secrecy) could probably pull it off (although it would have all sorts of repercussions.) But ... I'm having a hard time imagining them doing so.

Honestly, can you imagine a Muggle government doing something like that? I mean, it's not perfectly analogous, but I'd say your average army could fill in for magic here.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-26T16:07:18.069Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I didn't mean the Ministry would steal Muggle gold and put it in the Ministry fund. I meant some Minister, or Head Auror, or other well-connected person, would steal it for himself (plus bribes to the guards to look the other way).

And yes, I totally believe that Muggle ministers would do that if they could, and in fact have done so many times in Muggle history.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-26T16:45:42.503Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I didn't mean the Ministry would steal Muggle gold and put it in the Ministry fund. I meant some Minister, or Head Auror, or other well-connected person, would steal it for himself (plus bribes to the guards to look the other way).

Oh, right. Yeah, that's a bit more plausible, I have to admit.

And yet ... still very hard. Unless you're already really really rich? I guess?

And yes, I totally believe that Muggle ministers would do that if they could, and in fact have done so many times in Muggle history.

Well, maybe via war...

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-26T18:26:59.575Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, maybe via war...

It used to be that governments would debase their coinage whenever they needed money. Today, of course, we're all taught that constant inflation is good for us.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-26T18:37:00.678Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Which, while admittedly very annoying to those poor suckers who already possess money, is rather different to launching a strike team to physically empty bank vaults.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-26T19:15:03.708Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Everyone does what they can. There have been many incidencts when Muggle governments expropriated privately owned gold (or other riches). They wouldn't do it to themselves, of course, so the central bank vaults remained safe.

But the point is, only the arbiters of ultimate power (or their clients) can be truly rich; if anyone else is richer than they are, they will tend to take the riches by force. In the HP-verse, wizards have the ultimate power.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-26T21:45:07.620Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Except wizards don't view themselves as the "arbiters of ultimate power" over the Muggles. Statute of Secrecy.

Now Voldemort, I admit, would probably have done something like this once he took power. Or Grindelwald. But neither of them won, so... manifestly, no wizard has successfully seized power to rule over the Muggles (except maybe waay back and it got covered up) because the SoS is still a thing.

comment by Larks · 2013-08-26T17:41:05.265Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, maybe via war...

Nope, sometimes the government just steals everyone's gold.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-26T18:38:33.434Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That ... doesn't seem like a great example.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T17:16:07.335Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wizards have an apparently trivial method of acquiring gold: Apparate into a bank vault, fill your Bag of Holding, Apparate away to Gringotts. It's doable by most wizards, carries no real risk, is unnoticeable by the bank, untraceable when they do notice the gold is missing, and the other wizards and goblins probably don't care if some Muggles were robbed by an unknown wizard.

My guess is that they actually do care, if only because they don't want Muggles getting too suspicious.

But yes, minor rights violations probably go on; the books note that dosing a muggle you have a crush on with love potion is seen as romantic.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-08-15T21:30:14.403Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Serious problem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_gold_production = 2700 metric tons annually produced today. If there are one million wizards in the world, it takes 1000 tons of gold to have one kilogram of gold / 200 Galleons per person (~$50K at today's prices). Or they have to produce a ton a year for a thousand years. How much gold was in pre-industrial e.g. Aztec civilization?

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-16T08:34:28.425Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's a good point. I also add that Wikipedia says that:

A total of 174,100 tonnes of gold have been mined in human history, according to GFMS as of 2012.

But still, if just a few wizards stole appreciable fractions of the Muggle gold vaults, they would be individually very rich. The same 1000 tons of gold would be a (ETA fixed calculation) 200 million Galleon fortune if owned by one wizard. Therefore, the question is how much gold is concentrated in one place (already mined) and available for stealing.

Wikipedia provides a list of officially reported gold holdings by country. The top few are: US, 8133 tons; Germany, 3391 tons; IMF, 2814 tons; Italy, 2451 tons; France, 2435 tons.

But where is the gold physically kept? Well, Wikipedia says that Fort Knox holds 4578 tons of gold. In any case, a wizard could Apparate to people, ask them where most of the gold is (Legilimency/Veritaserum/Imperius), Memory-Charm to erase the few minutes of the encounter, and Apparate away. If the person doesn't know where the gold is, they can tell you who does know. Start with someone like a bank CEO, unlikely to have magical protection (unlike heads of state), and work your way on - in a day or two you'll find the gold.

How do we know this hasn't actually happened? The gold in the bank vaults may not be actually there. But the wizarding economy doesn't have a known history of occasional sudden billionaires. Lucius probably never even heard about fortunes of more than a few million Galleons.

comment by Jadagul · 2013-08-16T09:28:03.331Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's another big pile of gold, about 7,000 tonnes, in the New York Fed--that's actually where a lot of foreign countries keep a large fraction of their gold supply. It's open to tourists and you can walk in and look at the big stacks of gold bars. It does have fairly impressive security, but that security could plausibly be defeated by a reasonably competent wizard.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-16T09:57:08.549Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

More to the point, whatever security Muggle vaults had 100 or 200 years ago definitely wouldn't have stood up to wizards. (Their powers wane by the year, while ours wax.) Since all the Muggle gold didn't vanish long ago, there must be a different explanation than Muggle vault security.

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-16T19:20:17.406Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think that a lot of the Hogwarts Founders and Merlin stuff was actually setting things up so stuff like this wouldn't happen.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-17T21:47:20.653Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Possibly, but why couldn't it have happened prior? There was plenty of gold around in the ancient world, and not enough of it got stolen. Nor is enough sitting in the wizarding economy.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-08-18T03:02:20.029Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The statute of secrecy also didn't exist back then.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-18T22:16:22.795Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What are the relevant implications of that? I'm not coming up with any.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T17:38:31.491Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
  • Muggle society could hire wizards to punish thieves.

  • Wizards would know more muggles personally.

  • Maybe there really were fortunes made in those days, and it was covered up on our end. (Small fortunes, because muggles hadn't had time to mine as much gold?)

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T17:33:50.637Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hypothesis: Aurors simply put alarm spells in large repositories of gold.

(This may not be widely known, because everyone who realises that muggles can be stolen from does so and is jailed.)

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-21T20:55:19.398Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It doesn't matter that much if some wannabe thieves get caught. Only one thief needs to succeed per vault per century to make all the Muggle gold disappear. An alarm isn't enough against several wizards who take the time to prepare a raid. Only a round the clock guard would be enough. If Aurors guard all the big Muggle gold vaults (or that the goblins or their dragons do), that might be a sufficient deterrent.

What isn't clear is why they would install alarms or provide guards, instead of just taking the gold themselves.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-24T12:31:21.160Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Only one thief needs to succeed per vault per century to make all the Muggle gold disappear.

Well, if it's an unusual idea to start with, and hard to hide - I mean, if you don't get suddenly and suspiciously rich, what's the point? - and most people get filtered out because their brilliant and original plan was actually anticipated (remember, the whole point of stealing from muggles is that they wont have magical protections) ... I can see it being pretty much a non-starter.

Also, is that actually true? I mean, there's only so much gold per vault, only so much time for this to have happened in, and so on. Heck, would we even still use vaults if "police baffled by fort knox raid" showed up on the news every so often, to the point that the majority of Earth's gold was lost that way?

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-24T14:00:06.521Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

there's only so much gold per vault, only so much time for this to have happened in

There's enough gold per value to make a successful thief the richest wizard in the world. And there have been big gold vaults for many centuries, with royal treasuries preceding them. And yet there hasn't been even one case in Muggle history of all the gold disappearing from a vault without explanation.

would we even still use vaults if "police baffled by fort knox raid" showed up on the news every so often

A thief could still succeed once. That we still use vaults indicates a thief has never succeeded. There's still something to explain.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-26T15:45:28.030Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's enough gold per value to make a successful thief the richest wizard in the world. And there have been big gold vaults for many centuries, with royal treasuries preceding them. And yet there hasn't been even one case in Muggle history of all the gold disappearing from a vault without explanation.

Funnily enough, it occurred to me that I have no idea if any such cases have occurred. I still don't, because all the top Google hits seem to be conspiracy theories or something about how various gold reserves are totally empty. (Maybe a coverup would actually be possible with magic? Hmm ... Fort Knox hasn't been audited in 60 years, supposedly, so who knows?)

But honestly, who cares if you're the "richest wizard in the world" if you're in jail and your "wealth" is an unspendable stolen asset (remember, raw gold needs to be converted into coins)?

A thief could still succeed once.

Yeah, I just meant that muggles wouldn't actually lose all the gold. It's a moot point, since clearly this hasn't happened either way.

comment by LucasSloan · 2013-08-15T22:56:36.203Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A little digging suggests less than a thousand tons. Most of the metal wealth extracted by the Spanish empire was in the form of silver, not gold. The spanish were able to mine about a ton a year from hispanola for some unknown period, and the inca paid a ransom of 24 tons for their king.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-17T18:51:36.081Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So that Hermione found a wizarding way to make money (as she was trying to do) through trade with the Muggle world, and was assasinated by this mechanism?

comment by Lumifer · 2013-08-16T17:15:42.575Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Trade is a bigger problem than theft.

It's (relatively) easy to handwave into being prohibitions on theft -- pretty much every society dislikes it and you can posit both morality and anti-theft magics as making outright thieving to be not too useful for wizards.

On the other hand trade is generally seen as good and there are huge and obvious benefits to trade between Muggles and wizards. Especially given how easy it would be for less scrupulous wizards to make sure the terms of trade are very very beneficial to them (and yet do not descend into outright theft).

I'm not sure the problem is solvable without introducing major new mechanisms of how the world works.

comment by bramflakes · 2013-08-17T12:12:22.101Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the other hand trade is generally seen as good and there are huge and obvious benefits to trade between Muggles and wizards.

The mutual benefits of trade are non-obvious to humans, and many cultures have seen merchants as low-status because of a naive notion that they don't contribute anything.

comment by Protagoras · 2013-08-17T16:15:35.172Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In most societies, there was no remotely adequate solution to the problems of tracking reputations and punishing violations of trust for merchants who operated outside the narrow circle of their own communities. So merchants were largely viewed as scammers because they mostly were; nothing naive about it.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-08-18T14:29:45.860Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Evidence that merchants were mostly scammers?

I would think that most merchants were working territories and dealing with the same people repeatedly, but I'm guessing, too.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-08-18T22:23:09.513Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Second thought: of course dishonest merchants exist, but it's also true that merchants upset static status arrangements like controlling land being the only important thing.

comment by Lumifer · 2013-08-19T18:00:50.748Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think this is historically true. Humans actively traded since paleolithic times (there are archeological finds like amber far away inland or stone tools made out of stone that does not occur anywhere locally).

Merchants were typically seen as of lower status than the nobles and the military (for rather obvious reasons), but of higher status than craftsmen and peasants.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-08-28T21:44:06.371Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

but of higher status than craftsmen and peasants.

I don’t think that was intrinsic to being a merchant, just a consequence of (some of them) being richer.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-17T13:30:18.127Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think even simpler than this is the fact that the wizards don't have anything of worth to trade to the Muggles, since non-magical people have a hard time even seeing magical artifacts, much less using them.

Muggles have plenty of things that would be useful to Wizards, but the reverse isn't true.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-17T14:08:14.771Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wizards have plenty to trade to Muggles - by providing services, not products.

  • Magical cures to deadly diseases and accidents. A replicable cure can't be traded, but wizards can individually cure powerful and wealthy people. (Harry speculates that wizards would probably cure cancer in members of the Muggle government.)
  • Military and covert operations, assassinations, coups, revolutions, etc. Apparate in, kill the enemy government and generals, win the war. Toppling any regime in the world that hasn't purchased magical protection of its own would give you a lot of money. In fact, every wizarding community should be able to demand arbitrary amounts of protection money from its local Muggles.
  • Theft and spying (industrial and government).
  • Subversion and interrogation of enemy leaders (by Legilimency, Veritaserum, Imperius.)
  • Creation of single-action devices via Transmutation (like some of the things Harry tried in his experiments). Muggles can then study, analyze, experiment on, or copy the Transmuted devices while they last.
  • Transportation. Launch satellites by Apparating into orbit! Rescue trapped people!
  • A wizard could easily play a Muggle Superman - flying, being invincible, combatting crime...
comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T17:11:54.118Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Great list. Upvoted.

Creation of single-action devices via Transmutation (like some of the things Harry tried in his experiments). Muggles can then study, analyze, experiment on, or copy the Transmuted devices while they last.

I think that actually failed ...

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-21T21:01:19.352Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, it's not clear why it failed exactly. It might have been because it never existed before, but it seems more likely to me that it was because Harry didn't know what it was exactly. He didn't try to transmute "this molecular structure I have in my mind", he tried to transmute "a substance I know nothing about except that it cures Alzheimer's". That was probably not specific enough for the spell. (Otherwise, why not transmute a black-box device with a big red "kill Voldemort where-ever he is" button, or a mysterious "bring a dead body back to life" device?)

In any case there are things who physical properties we know, and which exist or have existed, but would be very valuable to create in laboratories. Like creating a string of DNA to order, which can then replicate itself into ordinary non-transmuted matter - very valuable in 1993!

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-21T17:30:51.939Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, Harry discovered that you can't transmute something that hasn't already been created through more conventional means.

comment by gwern · 2013-08-17T14:56:31.237Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nothing of worth? The canon explanation for the Wizarding world's masquerade, from just a few chapters into the series, is that wizards would be in such demand by muggles that it would be too irritating and waste too much time.

comment by bramflakes · 2013-08-17T13:59:08.752Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Magical goods maybe, magical services certainly not. There are many things that magic could do to add value to non-magical objects, which then do not require any further magic to sustain (see Harry and Hermione's discussion about helping to manufacture nanotechnology and/or Alzheimer's cures).

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-17T23:53:11.418Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's true. Everyone's talking so much about stealing gold and magical artifacts that I didn't think of magical services.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-08-17T08:15:31.762Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Many, many post-agricultural societies have restrained trade, often to particular privileged individuals. I believe this is what a 'patent' used to be.

comment by Lumifer · 2013-08-19T17:56:31.264Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Many, many post-agricultural societies have restrained trade, often to particular privileged individuals.

Yes, but notice what this implies. This implies that trade is such an awesome value-producing mechanism that we (=elites with political power) want to keep it for ourselves and our friends.

The idea is not to forbid trade, the idea is to restrict access and thus collect what the econospeak calls rents. Everyone wants to be a gatekeeper at a fountain of gold.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-17T14:11:53.087Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This usually requires that the person holding the patent provide enough trade to satisfy demand. Otherwise the pressure to create a black market is irresistible. So trade could be restricted to a few powerful wizards - perhaps to each wizarding government - but it could not be eliminated entirely.

And since wizards can provide extremely valuable services to Muggles in trade, they would capture almost all the Muggle gold in return. Then we would observe wizarding billionaires, making fortunes of a 100,000 Galleons negligible in comparison. That we don't observe this is strong evidence that trade either doesn't exist at all or is universal and unrestricted. Since the story offers ample proof that trade isn't universal, it must be nonexistent. But it's not clear what is preventing trade.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-17T21:52:11.933Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wizarding culture. Trade with muggles was basically worthless until a single wizard's lifetime ago, so the prejudice hasn't had time to evolve away yet.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-17T22:19:49.975Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Muggles had a lot of gold a hundred years ago, too. Certainly if you count in terms of just a few wizards taking possession of it. And it was easier to find because currencies were gold-backed.

If they were unwilling to just steal it (for whatever reason), then spending a few weeks performing services for the richest people in the world in exchange for half their wealth (amounting to many millions of Galleons) would have been a great bargain for wizards.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-08-18T03:49:56.155Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I recall reading that somewhere (maybe Pottermore?), Rowling said that the Malfoys gained their great family wealth by trade with muggles, until the establishment of the statute of secrecy, at which point they were quick to join the "Yep, we knew those dirty muggles just wanted to exploit and burn us all along!" crowd. I don't remember if there is any similar detail about other wealthy families in canon or MoR; there's Flamel with the Philosopher's Stone, and the Potters with a combination family inheritance/bounty on Voldemort, but the Malfoys appear to be decidedly the richest family in Magical Britain, and I'd imagine that even with a 400 year gap, being those to most thoroughly exploit trade with muggles would be more than sufficient to explain their success.

comment by William_Quixote · 2013-08-19T18:51:46.510Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's a long history of witch hunts inquisitions etc. a taboo on wizard muggle interactions makes sense and is consistent with history. It's also has the merit of requiring fewer other pieces to be set up for it to work as an explanation.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-08-20T02:40:52.268Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yet, this doesn't stop them from intermarrying on a regular basis.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-23T04:51:11.342Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, but that's true love. You can't stop that!

Wait, are we applying narrative logic here or real logic?

comment by fractalman · 2013-08-23T03:47:28.841Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

that...said...it didn't do them much good whenver they caught a real witch/wizard, they'd just freeze the flames and scream to keep up with the act

One witch deliberately got herself caught repeatedly (14 times?) because she liked the tingling.

Yeah. it's cannon.

comment by elharo · 2013-08-16T11:01:18.167Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is a huge problem with HP, and pretty much all urban fantasy; and most especially ones that posit an entire separate magical society. There are just too many plot devices like the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy needed to keep the story world looking anything like the real world does.

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2013-08-15T17:49:59.613Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The point about lawyers is just that Harry sees the wizard world as rather quaint and old-fashioned; Lucius is a big frog in a very tiny pond. Let the Masquerade be broken in any serious way, and within a year or two Muggle Britain will have produced anti-curse body armour (possibly made of tinfoil) and guns that will reliably break a wizard's shields. In other words, it's not just wizard lawyers that are cute; wizard soldiers are also fundamentally non-serious. This may not be actually true, but I think it is what Harry believes.

By the way, in the Rowling-verse, the Prime Minister is supposed to know about the Ministry of Magic; he's the one official point of contact between Muggles and wizards. I wonder if that's also true in the canonical version?

comment by elharo · 2013-08-16T10:57:58.280Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

By the way, in the Rowling-verse, the Prime Minister is supposed to know about the Ministry of Magic; he's the one official point of contact between Muggles and wizards. I wonder if that's also true in the canonical version?

Did you just upgrade HPMoR to canon, and downgrade the Rowling-verse to non-canon? Bwa-ha-ha!

comment by DanielH · 2013-08-19T05:26:43.535Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've done that with Luminosity and Radiance over the four Twilight books (and I've only read the latter because of the former), and will probably do that with MoR once it's actually complete.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2013-08-20T18:25:30.287Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

For purposes of HP:MoR, yes. Canon is relative.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2013-08-18T08:43:00.256Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's not body armor and such that matters. It's control. Wizards have mind magic. They can alter memories and control people. That would let them act through agents who already possess muggle resources, and who already understand (and can explain whenever necessary) the strengths of the muggle world.

At the end of the day, if wizards seriously get interested in the muggle world, and muggles in the wizard world (not that they should get the chance, if the Malfoys are smart), and both learn about each others' strengths, wizards will still be the ones with the edge.

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2013-08-18T19:24:14.672Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wizards have mind magic. They can alter memories and control people.

Hence my mention of anti-curse body armour made of tinfoil. :)

comment by tadrinth · 2013-08-19T18:53:26.267Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Body armor only protects against weak curses like Somnium that are standard first year hexes. Stupefy, which is castable by first years, is not blocked by armor.

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2013-08-20T15:49:48.745Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think you are rather missing my point, here. The body armour that Muggle Britain would invent would not be the kind available to Harry as a desperate improvisation. In a year or two, after a crash research program, Muggle Britain would understand how magic works, what materials block it, and would mass-produce the resulting body armour that does block curses up to and including Avada Kedavra. It would be based on tinfoil because everyone knows that tinfoil hats block the government's mind-controlling rays.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-17T21:54:23.729Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why would a gun be more lethal than current combat magic?

comment by metastable · 2013-08-17T22:22:32.759Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

1) Same reason muskets trump trained knights and longbowmen. Even though heavy plate was actually effective against primitive firearms, and longbows worked more reliably and with excellent range, you could kit out a peasant with an arquebus for much less than the cost of mounting and armoring a knight, and a fraction of the training (you had to train for years to be able to fight effectively in mail or on horseback and drawing a longbow was an elite skill that required extreme muscle hypertrophy. It took a few hours to learn how to operate your firearm, and a few weeks to learn how to coordinate with other peasants.) Similarly, even if wizards were significantly more lethal and/or survivable than dudes with carbines, they'd be incredibly outnumbered.

2) In the Harry Potter World, combat magic is really weak. It's almost all short range and slow, often nonlethal, rarely provides area effects, and nobody really trains it. Automatic weapons have cyclic rates of hundreds or even thousands of rounds per minute, and trained operators can hit a target at half a mile or more. And that's just small arms. They wouldn't even need special anti-magic weapons, unless the wizards were extremely well organized.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-08-28T21:37:45.336Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

With regards to (2), I think you’re confusing first-year war games with actual combat magic.

Actual “I really want to kill you” spells are probably much more powerful. Fiendfyre for example has at least the destructive potential of a tank, and in canon even Goyle could cast it. (It’s hard to control, but then again so is a tank.) Avada Kedavra can probably kill you even through a nuclear bunker wall, and it can be used by at least some teenagers. Sectumsempra is probably a instant-kill against a muggle, even with body armor, and it was invented by Snape while he was still a student.

By contrast, pretty much the most powerful potential weapon normal people (well, outside the US at least) have ready access to is a car, and a very tiny fraction of people can easily make something much more destructive than a crude bomb. Also, due to the effects of magic on electronics, pretty much everything other than kinetic impactors would be fried by any kind of spell that manages to connect.

We’re never shown really bad stuff, and during a discussion in MoR it’s mentioned that thermonuclear weapons are only a bit worse than most really bad spells, and that Atlantis was erased from time.

comment by metastable · 2013-08-29T03:45:44.010Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Good points, all. Fiendfyre seems robust.

I might counter that most combat magic, even the adult sort, seems to be line-of-sight, which is a huge handicap. It also seems to be very inaccurate. If Harry & Co can literally dodge Deatheaters on foot and brooms, supersonic jets and HALO insertions are going to be really hard to target. Not to mention artillery shells in flight. And Wizards seem weirdly resistant to (biased against?) using magical heavy weapons or fire team tactics. They have a real duelist mentality.

But the ability to erase from time does really trump. I concede.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-09-02T22:58:35.010Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A couple more recent thoughts:

  • Dodging Deatheaters (at least competent ones) on a broom is not something I expect to happen in MoR. Well, not unless it’s rocket powered, and I wouldn’t expect that to work more than once either.

  • Most of the big, non-line-of-sight weapons we (muggles) have arose for the purpose of killing lots of people in big battles (even though we’re using them of other stuff now), which isn’t really useful for wizards due to their low numbers, but:

  • The Interdict of Merlin is MoR-specific, and at the beginning of the Ministry chapters it is specifically mentioned that the purpose of that was to prevent what appeared to be the wizard equivalent of a nuclear holocaust. So in while magic can probably get really bad, you’re probably right that living wizards in MoR don’t know anymore extremely destructive non-line-of-sight spells, or at least they’re very rare. (Though that doesn’t mean that they aren’t much more powerful than handguns. I expect almost every spell thrown in that Quirrell–auror duel was above “high caliber machine gun” in deadliness, were it not for the shields.)

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-18T22:08:17.249Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I grant 1), of course. But wizards have shields that ought to be proof against handguns. My question was asked in response to the line "guns that will reliably break a wizard's shields".

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-19T02:00:07.137Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

'ought to' is often not the some as 'do' especially when the subject is Wizarding Britain.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-19T05:04:40.292Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wizards aren't totally stupid. You shoot down a dozen or so, and the rest will remember their Bullet-Repelling Charms quickly enough.

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2013-08-17T23:38:58.166Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, first you have to ask whether wizard shields actually do prevent inert lumps of lead from hitting their caster. They seem well-optimised for stopping charms, but presumably that relies on the magic in the charms, opposed by the magic in the shields. No doubt a wizard can shield against firearms, but do they as a matter of routine?

Second, because Muggle Britain has thousands of scientists who would like nothing better than to crack the Secret Of Magic and, incidentally, mass-produce magic bullets each with the force of a low-level anti-shield charm. Which you can then fire from machine guns wielded by conscripts with two weeks' training.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-08-28T21:14:14.935Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

ask whether wizard shields actually do prevent inert lumps of lead from hitting their caster

Almost certainly they do. Minerva mentions that guns aren’t a big threat to a prepared witch, and even if you assume she’s not really knowledgeable, I’m pretty sure someone would have tried throwing (with magic) hard, heavy things at their opponent during life-and-death fights. Or at least using bows and arrows.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-16T09:19:27.920Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In other words, it's not just wizard lawyers that are cute; wizard soldiers are also fundamentally non-serious.

I wouldn't say that they aren't dangerous, but I agree that they're unserious. Harry is one of an apparently very limited number who takes wizarding power seriously enough to learn how it works, and really think creatively about how it can be leveraged.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-15T16:59:32.027Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Iunno. Screwing with the Muggle economy in non-legitimate ways would be genuinely hard on the scales the Malfoys would want to do it on. There might be some high-effort methods - insider trading based on reading the minds of CEOs, for example - but barring just Imperius'ing Bill Gates into giving you all his money (which would be widely publicized) there's only so much they can do.

I think. I've given this all of five seconds of thought, there might be something creative (okay, there is something creative) they can do.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-08-15T17:07:14.236Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There might be some high-effort methods - insider trading based on reading the minds of CEOs, for example - but barring just Imperius'ing Bill Gates into giving you all his money (which would be widely publicized) there's only so much they can do.

One can use time-turners so you know what the market will do in advance (making sure that for any given stock you trade in small enough quantities that it won't substantially alter the asking price to avoid messing with time issues).

If magic isn't limited by speed of light issues then one can send trading signals faster (already attempts are made to put computer systems as close as possible to get a jump on slower traders. How much this actually matters is unclear.)

One could apparate to and assassinate people who are in specific corporations or governments, being able to anticipate resulting economic problems and short-sell accordingly.

These are only the most obvious sorts of things, deliberately restricting to those that don't add value to the system.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-08-15T18:20:33.459Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Imperius Bill Gates and a number of other wealthy people to give you 1% of their money.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-17T21:43:00.737Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The thing about wealthy people is that they have accountants. Also, their assets are generally in the stock of companies they own, which means that they'd have to sell shares, which in turn triggers reams of insider-trading paperwork and income tax audits. You'd do better to do Time-Turner work on the LSE.

comment by Baughn · 2013-08-18T10:58:46.810Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Time-Turner work on the LSE.

Now, how did I miss that possibility?

Harry's stinking rich anytime he wants, then.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-19T04:10:37.012Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Except that observed information can't be changed using the Time-Turners. So the scope of his actions are somewhat limited. Doesn't stop him from being able to short a stock, but he can't single-handedly cause a stock's fortune to reverse. That still leaves plenty of possibilities to make money, but it wouldn't be as easy as it sounds. He'd be mixing the complicated natures of stock trading and time travel, and that's before he starts thinking about avoiding insider trading laws.

comment by Baughn · 2013-08-19T12:59:41.681Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's pretty easy, isn't it?

Check the exchange status, go back in time, buy stocks that are about to go up in price. He can't stop them from going up in price, sure, but him buying is perfectly consistent. I expect he could get a few percent per day without even trying hard.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-19T15:39:17.161Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's true, but to make the REALLY big bucks, you need to make the bet no one else does a la Trading Places.

comment by Baughn · 2013-08-19T18:45:59.921Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

5% per day is already a 54 million-fold increase per year, what more do you want? ^^;;

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-20T01:31:29.949Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Entirely the wrong question. Harry Potter is planning on taking over both the Muggle and Magical world. That's going to take some capital!

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-20T15:15:32.131Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's going to take some capital!

What world domination process are you imagining? Money doesn't buy you power. It buys you bribes, and lobby groups, and campaign funds, and mercenaries for coups, and so on. With some creative thinking, any and all of those should be obtainable through a combination of magic, blackmail, manipulating the weak-minded, and other means already at Harry's disposal (especially if he has someone like Draco to supplement the latter).

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-21T02:40:46.411Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You sound like you think he doesn't need capital at all. Why would Harry avoid using a resource that would facilitate reaching his goals? Wouldn't the rational thing to do be to use the methods that accomplish your goals in an effective and timely manner?

There are times when solutions other than money would be more effective, and there are times when money would be more effective or efficient. So why should he eschew that resource just because he can?

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-15T17:41:33.587Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Apparate into secure bank vaults and take all their gold. That's all a wizard wants at first, gold, not Muggle money.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-22T20:52:15.005Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

They say ‘gold’, but they really mean Galleons. Especially given the wonky exchange rates, the Goblins must add more (or at least different) value to those than just a guarantee of purity and size.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-22T22:03:37.561Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, since the Goblins do agree to convert gold into Galleons for a modest percentage of the total, the point is moot - wizards will want gold to convert into Galleons.

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2013-08-15T17:52:18.453Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Do bank vaults actually contain gold, these days?

comment by Lumifer · 2013-08-15T18:11:39.003Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York happens to have around 6,700 tons of physical gold stored in the basement of its building in Manhattan (http://www.newyorkfed.org/aboutthefed/goldvault.html).

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2013-08-15T19:06:51.343Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There are definitely places gold is stored.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-15T18:06:28.538Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Surely they do. People trade in gold and banks are supposed to be holding the actual gold they own.

comment by hirvinen · 2013-08-19T18:53:22.370Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Do not sign anything that Lucius Malfoy gives you," Mad-Eye Moody said. "Nothing, do you understand me, lad? If Malfoy hands you a copy of The Wonderful Adventures of the Boy-Who-Lived and asks you for an autograph, tell him that you've sprained a finger. Don't pick up a quill for a single second while you're in Gringotts. If someone hands you a quill, break the quill and then break your own fingers. Do I need to explain further, son?"

"Not particularly," Harry said. "We also have lawyers in Muggle Britain, and they'd think your lawyers are cute."

That's close enough to a promise. Besides, Dumbledore could have made him promise more explicitly off-screen and this is just Moody doing the same independently or reiterating it.

comment by Roxolan · 2013-08-19T21:08:58.846Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's not a promise. It's not even agreement.

Besides, Dumbledore could have made him promise more explicitly off-screen and this is just Moody doing the same independently or reiterating it.

This is quite possible. However, it does not sound like Moody's reiterating. And I find it improbable that Dumbledore included the "don't touch a pen" clause (that's more Moody's style), but no other clause, and then Moody independently, coincidentally added that clause and no other clause.

comment by hirvinen · 2013-08-20T07:19:03.937Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A: ". [] Do you understand?" B: "I understand."

I claim that in normal human communication that type of exchange is viewed as B accepting what A says, unless B somehow signals explicit disagreement. Then, if B knows this, and assumes that A thinks likes this, and only explicitly affirms understanding while withholding knowledge of their disagreement, B is at the very least deceiving A.

Of course Moody should know to be more paranoid in what he forbids Harry from doing. Especially with him having witnessed Harry showing cunning and paranoia on a level he finds promising.

comment by undermind · 2013-08-15T19:17:58.610Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thank you for pointing out these subtle clevernesses.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-08-15T05:31:16.996Z · score: 26 (34 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I really liked this chapter. I've always liked the HPMOR version of Draco, and now I like the HPMOR version of Lucius as well. It's fun to watch smart competent people being awesome at each other.

I wish the chapters with girls in them could be like this too.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-08-15T16:32:26.199Z · score: 31 (41 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think this is the heart of feminist complaints about this story. Yes, the female characters are honest, and levelheaded, and moral, and quite a bit more realistic than male characters. Yes, the male characters have massive, gaping flaws in their character, and if you tried to have a conversation with them in the real world they would appear unbearably pompous. Yes, clever repartee does not replace genuine kindness. I agree with all that.

But the thing is, this fic (on its surface) doesn't value kindness and morality nearly as much as suave, articulate word-poker and beautifully intricate schemes and counter-schemes and "I know that you know that I know..." insanity. I think you're going to get people accusing you of sexism even if you provide your female characters with traits that are valued and truly matter in the real world, as long as you still hold back the traits that are valued in-story.

In the original Harry Potter, Hermione was quite a bit more immature in her first year than in HPMOR - but the backbone of HP was bold derring-do and wandsmanship and remembering the right spell, and she (and McGonagall and Ginny) was essential in that environment. Intricate conversations and ingenious plots like this are the backbone of HPMOR, and we don't see any women involved there. That's what people are complaining about, I think.

I predict that if Hermione's death had come at the end of a long, complicated plot/investigation carried out by her, there would be far fewer complaints. As it is, she did not win anything other than Harry's increased resolve - didn't reveal any schemes, didn't execute any of her own, didn't discover any MacGuffins (as far as I know).

comment by undermind · 2013-08-15T18:33:06.663Z · score: 12 (14 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The character who seems to be the best response to this, and whom I hope we will see again shortly, is Amelia Bones. She seems to kick just as much ass as Moody, without the significant aid of a literally all-seeing eye. Watching her Azkaban defense was quite impressive, and I hope that the hints of "Bones" in this chapter mean we'll see her in action again, and not just as a potential signatory.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-08-15T19:42:29.413Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would have loved to read a counterfactual HPMOR with Bones in the role of McGonagall (or McGonagall with the personality of Bones). It's true that her personality makes more sense in an Auror than a teacher, and that means we don't get to see her very much. But then again, virtually every major male authority figure in Hogwarts looks like he should belong in an elite war chamber rather than a classroom. Seriously, what are these people doing running a boarding school?

comment by undermind · 2013-08-15T19:54:36.988Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the topic of illogical career paths, Bones has a real job that requires being a very good auror, rather than being an errand-boy for Dumbledore, as Moody seems to be.

And as for "what are these people doing running a boarding school", they run a school based on reward and (mostly) punishment, rather than the growth of their pupils; they teach a rigid curriculum that seems to have remained unchanged for centuries, in spite of advances in both the magical and muggle worlds; and they socially condition people into narrow roles, largely defined by negative attitudes towards others, based solely on the House a piece of fabric sorts them into.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-08-19T02:47:22.398Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

To be fair, that's more support than Muggles give students choosing a major in college.

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-16T00:31:28.209Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

they teach a rigid curriculum that seems to have remained unchanged for centuries, in spite of advances in both the magical and muggle worlds

As a point of accuracy, it's been stated a couple of times that Hogwarts is meant to follow the Ministry-mandated curriculum, so this one is not entirely "these people"'s fault.

comment by undermind · 2013-08-16T00:48:55.220Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for the correction.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T16:04:22.378Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

they teach a rigid curriculum that seems to have remained unchanged for centuries, in spite of advances in both the magical and muggle worlds;


comment by knb · 2013-08-16T06:35:55.169Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hogwarts is the entire British magical education system (with the exception of some private tutors). Controlling education is not optional for people who want to control a country. The fact that education is all centralized the most powerful fortress just makes it even more important to control.

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-16T14:07:52.423Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hogwarts is the entire British magical education system (with the exception of some private tutors).

Do we know this for a fact?


  • Going to Hogwarts is prestigious, meaning there must be lower-status options available.

  • Hogwarts regularly hires apparently British replacement teachers, most of them with at least the appearance of educational experience. It is improbable that said experience comes exclusively from abroad or from being a private tutor.

  • There are too few pupils at Hogwarts to account for the entire underage wizarding population, given the size of the overall wizarding population and assuming the majority of wizards' children are also wizards (not to mention having to factor in Muggleborns).

  • It seems improbable that the booming school equipment business of Diagon Alley survives on one school's worth of customers, especially if most of them only shop once a year.

  • If most of the population of magical Britain have been through the same school, we would expect an extremely high degree of social interconnectedness, with most people knowing everyone of the same age at least by sight. There's no evidence of this.

On the other hand,

  • It is implied that letters coming on one's 11th birthday can only come from Hogwarts.

  • If one is expelled from Hogwarts, one is forbidden from practising further magic altogether.

  • No other British schools, or pupils or graduates thereof, are ever mentioned in canon that I can remember.

comment by Jadagul · 2013-08-16T22:40:12.505Z · score: 13 (15 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Canon is fairly clear that Hogwarts is the only game in Britain. It also leads to glaring inconsistencies in scale which you just pointed out. (Rowling originally said that Hogwarts had about 700 students, and then fans started pointing out that that was wildly inconsistent with the school as she described it. And even that's too small to make things really work).

But the evidence, from HP7 (page 210 of my first-run American hardback copy):

Lupin is talking about Voldemort's takeover of Wizarding society, to Harry and the others.

"Attendance is now compulsory for every young witch and wizard," he replied. "That was announced yesterday. It's a change, because it was never obligatory before. Of course, nearly every witch and wizard in Britain has been educated at Hogwarts, but their parents had the right to teach them at home or send them abroad if they preferred. This way, Voldemort will have the whole Wizarding population under his eye from a young age."

"Most wizards" in Britain were educated at Hogwarts, and the exceptions were homeschooled or sent abroad. It's really hard to read that to imply that there's another British wizarding school anywhere.

comment by kilobug · 2013-08-16T14:26:19.993Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It seems improbable that the booming school equipment business of Diagon Alley survives on one school's worth of customers, especially if most of them only shop once a year.

It didn't seem to me there were so much school equipment business. If you look at the shops Harry went to the first year, it's a dress shop, a book shop, a wand shop, a potion ingredient shop, a broomstick shop, a pet shop, ... none of them sound dedicated to school equipment. They probably have a lot of school equipment in stock/display during august, like supermarkets do here too, but continue selling their goods to adult wizards the rest of the time.

The rest of your objections do hold, but I just fold it into "canon HP isn't very consistent" suspension of disbelief... of course, it makes things tougher for EY when he's making a consistent version of it. But that's part of what makes HPMOR funny/interesting.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-08-21T15:16:45.412Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I took the implication from reading the books that Rowling had different ideas at different times whether there were intended to be multiple schools of magic in Britain or not. It was referred to in the beginning as the "best" school in Britain, but by the end of the series, the Voldemort-run Ministry instituted mandatory Hogwarts attendance for all youth, and a character remarked that parents had at least had the option of homeschooling their children before.

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2013-08-19T14:50:53.516Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If one is expelled from Hogwarts, one is forbidden from practising further magic altogether.

It doesn't seem too implausible for them to have a law saying something along the lines of "a person who has been expelled from one magical school may not be admitted to any other magical school".

comment by knb · 2013-08-17T23:33:35.293Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The Magical economy generally doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. In canon it seems like every witch/wizard works for the Ministry, Hogwarts, or for a small restaurant or shop. I think wizards can pretty much conjure every basic material into existence except food and gold. That does leave an interesting question of where magical Britain is getting its food and gold from. There might be some witch/wizard farmers out there that we never hear about, or they could be just stealing food from muggles. Maybe the ministry sanctions some small scale trade between the magic/muggle world?

comment by fractalman · 2013-08-23T01:27:36.993Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

well... In cannon, the weaselys have a garden...and you can enlarge food with magic, though rowling never specifies what the multiplicative limit is. (it is STRONGLY implied there is one, though. seventh book.)

So a little bit of gardening by the women goes a long way, though it may only be poor families that actually resort to it.

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2013-08-15T20:15:29.299Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Draco seems to believe that Hogwarts is an impregnable fortress, a secure base for whatever power Dumbledore wants to project. Headmaster of Hogwarts appears to be a title awarded by the Wizengamot, which also elects the Chief Warlock, and Draco regards it as a significant increment to the power of the Chief Warlock. Its function as a boarding school may be secondary and incidental. :)

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-16T02:28:36.623Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hogwarts is more like a university than most boarding schools.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-08-17T00:44:09.565Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I predict that if Hermione's death had come at the end of a long, complicated plot/investigation carried out by her, there would be far fewer complaints. As it is, she did not win anything other than Harry's increased resolve - didn't reveal any schemes, didn't execute any of her own, didn't discover any MacGuffins (as far as I know).

Vanishingly low-confidence idea: Hermione realized that the Philosopher's Stone is hidden at Hogwarts, went to retrieve it, and somehow in there the troll got loose.

Evidence against: canonically, the stone troll and the bathroom troll were distinct, Snape went to guard the third floor corridor, the troll was pretty deep within the gauntlet in canon, meaning that if it was placed similarly in methods, something complicated happened off screen, and Dumbledore's wards over the corridor would doubtless have alerted him. And it wouldn't be much of a victory for Hermione, since the stone's actual canon protection was the mirror of Erised charmed to give the stone only to someone who wanted it, but not to use it, and Hermione was seeking the stone to help pay off Harry's debt.

Evidence for: In Chamber of Secrets, Hermione manages to convey information in spite of being petrified, which would probably have been found sooner had Harry/Ron been more observant. And even then, she managed to get petrified rather than killed, since she knew what to expect. And in Philosopher's Stone, she was the one who figured out the stone was at Hogwarts (though, admitedly this wouldn't have been as likely without Hagrid's extremely loose tongue, but in MoR she was researching the stone last we saw of her).

So yeah, I could see Hermione having accomplished something off screen between chapter 87 and 89, but for now I'll keep my confidence of this happening below 50% barring stronger evidence.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-16T09:07:19.882Z · score: 1 (35 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But the thing is, this fic (on its surface) doesn't value kindness and morality nearly as much as suave, articulate word-poker and beautifully intricate schemes and counter-schemes

Harry says:

“Don’t worry, Headmaster,” said the boy. “I haven’t gotten my wires crossed. I know that I’m supposed to learn goodness from Hermione and Fawkes, not from Professor Quirrell and you.

You learn goodness from Hermione, and how to kill things efficiently from Quirrell. Who do you think is being valued here?

What the fic values above all else is a love and respect for life. Even the child who wants a sparkly throne and minions feels that way. Especially that child. All the various high powered smarty pantsing is entertainment and eye candy, not the core values of the fan fic. Not by a wide margin.

These "I'm offended" isms seem to be a very effective way to entirely miss the point of what someone else is saying, as you root about for the offensive kernel. It's a fine hobby. You need never fail; find a difference and spin it negatively. Ta da! I'm offended! Whee! What fun!

Maybe I should try it. I suppose I could get my undies in a bunch over the misandrism in HPMOR, since as even you say

the female characters are honest, and levelheaded, and moral,

Huff huff huff. Stomp stomp stomp. I'm so offended.

Hmmm, just didn't work for me. I'm not offended, and don't want to be. Instead of getting huffy about how wonderful Hermione is portrayed relative to males in the story, I'd rather just love the Hermione character even though she doesn't have the same genitalia that I do. Imagine that.

I think it's sad that people are trapped in this ideology, looking for ways to be offended, casting a pall over everything they see.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-08-19T00:57:56.823Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think you misunderstood. I wasn't claiming to be offended myself, I was trying to get at the cause of people's emotional reactions. Whether or not you believe those emotions are justified, they are almost always triggered by something.

I also specified that HPMOR values wit and scheming on its surface - that is, the scheming is what provides almost all the entertainment value and keeps people in their chairs long enough to hear the deeper ideology. What do we want from characters in a story at their most basic level? We want to have fun watching them. That's why most people read stories, and it's why most people read HPMOR. And the ones who are the most fun to watch are the male characters.

I didn't claim this was intentional, nor that it was wrong, just that it was probably the cause of feminist complaints. It was in part an answer to "But the female characters are good people". Being a good person is not always the same as being good in the story. In Disney movies, you have to be a wide-eyed dreamer. In Tarantino movies you have to be a stone-cold killing machine. In HPMOR (and Death Note) you have to be a hyperintelligent byzantine plotter. And then comes the ideology.

comment by AndrewE · 2013-08-16T15:13:58.283Z · score: 5 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This may not have been put in the most diplomatic way possible, but I think the last sentence has merit. My first reaction upon reading the chapter was "wow, Harry did a masterful job of manipulating the hell out of the Malfoys" (not that the manipulation will be to the Malfoy's detriment, but that's beside the point). Then I find out that people are impressed with the competence of Lucius Malfoy and therefore sexism? I suppose it was good that Lucius wasn't blinded by irrational hatred or greed, but that's an awfully low bar to be setting for characters that impress you. He walked in with one plan that Harry saw through in a second.

I anticipate a few possibly short scenes where Harry does basically the same thing and manipulates Bones and Madam Longbottom into supporting him as well. If this scene is being held as evidence of sexism, the laws of evidence tell me those scenes should be held as evidence against, but somehow I don't see it happening that way.

That said, if other people can see what they're looking for then so can I, but that's my take.

comment by Oscar_Cunningham · 2013-08-16T23:11:33.379Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I anticipate a few possibly short scenes where Harry does basically the same thing and manipulates Bones and Madam Longbottom into supporting him as well. If this scene is being held as evidence of sexism, the laws of evidence tell me those scenes should be held as evidence against, but somehow I don't see it happening that way.

Actually, the law is that the average scene that isn't Harry manipulating Lucius must be evidence against sexism, not that any such scene is evidence against sexism. Many of the possible scenes in the set {Harry doesn't manipulate Lucius} are sexist.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-16T22:04:08.232Z · score: -3 (15 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If this scene is being held as evidence of sexism, the laws of evidence tell me those scenes should be held as evidence against, but somehow I don't see it happening that way.

Heads I'm offended. Tails I'm offended. As we used to say at the college poker game "Muahahahaha, I can't lose!"

comment by wedrifid · 2013-08-17T00:30:24.415Z · score: 3 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd rather just love the Hermione character even though she doesn't have the same genitalia that I do.

This tends to be my default preference...

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-17T23:02:05.946Z · score: -6 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-15T05:53:55.627Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think we'll be seeing more of Bones...

comment by solipsist · 2013-08-15T18:06:35.667Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I fear you are right. I really like Bones (pyromania aside), but her future doesn't look good....

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-08-15T17:11:00.477Z · score: 18 (22 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm concerned if, this late in the game, Harry's only reason for suspecting the Defense Professor is "just because he's the Defense Professor." It would seem that he has way too many excellent reasons to suspect Quirrell no matter what his title. The sense of doom. The fact that he was able to cast Avada Kedavra on a random guard. The fact that he carried Harry off on a disastrous plot to free Bellatrix Black. The fact that he happened to be there on time to save Draco's life when the wards were disabled. The fact that he is one of only a handful of wizards with the ability to disable Hogwarts' wards. The impassioned speech advocating benevolent fascism. The fact that no one knows who he really is and Harry can think of at least three different identities he's taken on. The weird zombie mode that seems to roughly correlate with Bad Things happening. The excessively harsh and sometimes downright abusive way he runs his class. The lack of empathy and inability to accept or even understand love.

My question is, do you think Harry has realized all this and is really strongly suspecting Quirrell for other reasons, and he only told Lucius that the only reason was the curse on the Defense Professor's position? Or do you think Harry is still reluctant to seriously entertain the possibility that it was Quirrell?

comment by [deleted] · 2013-08-16T18:27:52.358Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You left out "The wards explicitly say that the Defense Professor killed Hermione."

I mean, it is quite literally spelled out. I'm completely baffled at how both readers and characters are not promoting Quirrell to the top of the suspects list by a mile.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-17T19:46:09.803Z · score: 20 (22 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The old witch’s eyebrows rose. “How did he identify you to the Hogwarts wards, then?”
A slight smile. “ “The Headmaster drew a circle, and told Hogwarts that he who stood within was the Defense Professor. Speaking of which—”

Quirrell is Baba Yaga, a "she", and some "he" also in that circle is the Defense Professor. EDIT: The Troll is the Defense Professor.

Past Professors of Defense have included not just the legendary wandering hero Harold Shea but also the quote undying unquote Baba Yaga, yes, I see some of you are still shuddering at the sound of her name even though she’s been dead for six hundred years.

" quote undying unquote Baba Yaga"

Quote hint unquote.

“Here of course we have the Sorting Hat, I believe the two of you have met. It told me that it was never again to be placed on your head under any circumstances. You’re only the fourteenth student in history it’s said that about, Baba Yaga was another one

Gee, Baba Yaga's mind had the same effect on the Hat as Harry's. Do we hypothesize his brain being like anyone else's brain?

And I daresay that most wizards would be hard-pressed to name a single Dark Lady besides Baba Yaga.”

Yes, they'd be hard pressed to name a single Dark Lady besides Baba Yaga. Note how that doesn't say there weren't any, and indeed many. Maybe, let's say, the quote undying unquote Baba Yaga masquerading as other people? Do we know anyone else who masquerades as other people? Anyone else with a brain like Harry's?

I will say this much, Mr. Potter: You are already an Occlumens, and I think you will become a perfect Occlumens before long. Identity does not mean, to such as us, what it means to other people. Anyone we can imagine, we can be; and the true difference about you, Mr. Potter, is that you have an unusually good imagination. A playwright must contain his characters, he must be larger than them in order to enact them within his mind. To an actor or spy or politician, the limit of his own diameter is the limit of who he can pretend to be, the limit of which face he may wear as a mask. But for such as you and I, anyone we can imagine, we can be, in reality and not pretense.

There are 3 and only 3 mentions of Baba Yaga in the book so far, and they tie Harry, the Dark Lord, and Quirrell together.

“Oh, now I see!” said Tracey Davis, speaking up so suddenly that Hermione gave a small startle. “You’re joining our protest because you’re worried that not enough girls are becoming Dark Witches!”
There was a half-smile on Professor Quirrell’s face as he replied,...

Probably a good idea to pay close attention to what Quirrell says when he smiles to himself.

EDIT: Guess who else Harry is like?

“Congratulations indeed,” said Dumbledore. “Even I did not make any original discoveries in Transfiguration before the age of fourteen. Not since the day of Dorotea Senjak has any genius flowered so early.

Latest half baked idea. Harry is Quirrell. I'd been operating on the theory that Quirrell is preparing Harry to take over the world, and then take over Harry. He's actually already taken over Harry as a baby, and lived out a new life as Harry. There are multiple scense of Quirrell comparing events in his life to Harry's, with the implication that Harry's life is the new and improved one.

The whole "Sense of Doom" business is the potential coming together of one person in two time turned bodies in the same space time.

With the ridiculously rampant and specific foreshadowing, some kind of time turning solution seems likely. And causality back through time was already set up with the Comed-Tea incident

but it all makes sense once you draw the causal arrows going BACKWARDS IN TIME!”

Here's a fascinating quote by Dumbledore about Fawkes:

as close to undying as any creature that exists in this world, for whenever their bodies fail them they immolate themselves in a burst of fireand leave behind a hatchling, or sometimes an egg.”

And Harry is discovered as a baby next to the presumed immolated remains of Voldemort.

comment by gwern · 2013-08-17T21:38:55.617Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You make a better case for Quirrel=BY than anyone I've seen to date.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-18T00:06:03.671Z · score: 6 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Reading the PDF and using the search function is very handy. 3 comments on BY doesn't take a lot of effort to analyze. I was surprised there were so few comments.

A harder piece of analysis would be to look at Quirrell's views on gender. Harder to search on.

But the SPHEW protests provide some interesting tidbits. First of all, that Quirrell is there at all. Of the faculty, it's predominantly the female faculty, and Quirrell doesn't seem your prototypical human rights protester. He even had a button.

“You mean that’s how men would treat us if we didn’t have wands to defend ourselves?”

There was a short, sardonic laugh from the direction of Professor Quirrell. When Hermione turned her head to look she saw that the Defense Professor was still idly toying with the button, not bothering to glance up at the rest of them, as he said, “Such is human nature, Miss Clearwater. Rest assured that you would be no kinder, if witches had wands and men lacked them.”
“I hardly think so!” snapped Professor Sinistra.
A cold chuckle. “I suspect it happens more often than any dare suggest, in the proudest pureblood families. Some lonely witch spies a handsome Muggle; and thinks how very easy it would be, to slip the man a love potion, and by him be adored alone and utterly. And since she knows he can offer her no resistance, why, it is only natural for her to take from him whatever she pleases—”

Maybe Quirrell speaks with some authority about what women with power would do. EY has a habit of having his characters smile or laugh to themselves when they're think thing they're not entirely sharing with others.

“Professor Quirrell was testing Hermione to see if he wanted to be her mysterious old wizard,”

So that Quirrell took Hermione seriously in ways that others didn't. He also awarded her "100 points for doing what's right". And he tried to get her out of Hogwarts before she died. He looks to be another character who values Hermione more than EY's "feminist" detractors.

comment by fubarobfusco · 2013-08-18T02:24:18.291Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Maybe Quirrell speaks with some authority about what women with power would do.

The story Quirrell recounts here seems very much like the canon story of handsome muggle Tom Riddle's seduction by pureblood witch Merope Gaunt — the parents of Tom Riddle, Jr. aka Voldemort.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-09-03T00:38:24.018Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Very good catch. It lessens the support of that particular response to my thesis, but I still think the scene as a whole still does lend some support.

comment by Tenoke · 2013-08-18T23:31:14.322Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Twist: Quirrell is Voldemort's mother.

comment by Fhyve · 2013-08-19T20:36:35.619Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

aka Baba Yaga

comment by gwern · 2013-08-18T03:07:07.044Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Reading the PDF and using the search function is very handy. 3 comments on BY doesn't take a lot of effort to analyze. I was surprised there were so few comments.

I think it's more that I never took the idea seriously enough to note the links between the Sorting Hat, Occlumency descriptions, etc all formed a reasonably persuasive picture.

comment by tegid · 2013-08-19T14:22:52.831Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You make really good points. The 'laws' of storytelling go against it, though, in the sense that with only 3 mentions, Baba Yaga being important would be unsatisfying. In any case, if this were true there must be other things on top of it that are more meaningful (i.e. Quirrel is Voldie who is BY, or whatever...)

comment by Dentin · 2013-08-18T20:41:54.663Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Probably just pattern matching on it, and Quirrell is ridiculously powerful, but he was the one to notice and stun 100+ females summoning Harry to the ground.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-19T04:03:01.248Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And note Quirrell's comment:

“I should have foreseen it myself,” Professor Quirrell said,

He thinks he should have anticipated the actions of young girls taking actions based in romance. That's about the last context a grown man expects to be able to anticipate events.

Pattern matching as well, but the pattern matches quite a lot.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-09-03T01:18:10.180Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the original point, of who the Defense Professor is, I saw a great idea on Reddit - the Troll is the Defense Professor.

“Not so,” said Dumbledore. “If Voldemort has not fully mastered the wards, then the wards had to believe that some Professor’s hand was at work. Else they would have cried out at Miss Granger’s injury, and not only upon her death.”

So if you need an agent in Hogwarts to kill a student, you want the wards to think that they're a Professor.

Also, about Quirrell stealing bodies

The smile that the Auror gave had absolutely no mirth in it. “So where’s the real Quirinus Quirrell, eh? Under an Imperius in the bottom of a trunk somewhere, while you take a hair now and then for your illegal Polyjuice?”
“You are making highly questionable assumptions,” the Defense Professor said with an edged voice. “What makes you think I did not steal his body outright using incredibly Dark magic?”

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-08-24T15:51:20.556Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Quirrell aka Baba Yaga aka Voldemort is Harry's biological mother. (James Potter is his father.) That would explain their similarities better than the hypothetical brain surgery / horcrux thing.

comment by atorm · 2013-08-26T12:01:11.901Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Boy-Who-Lived Gets Draco Malfoy Pregnant

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-27T23:53:47.882Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Given the extreme and multiple foreshadowing EY indulges in, I wouldn't count it out.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-27T23:48:46.747Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's interesting. Baba Yaga, traveling through time by uploading her mind into host after host, decides to make a more compatible host, and produces a child to be her next host.

My position for a while is that Quirrell is grooming Harry to be his next host, and who better for the Dark Lord to move into, than the Boy Savior as he defeats the Dark Lord?

Though as Quirrell, presumably "he" could have fathered Harry through Lily. However, it kind of fits the story of that Munroe guy that Harry is actually a replacement baby left behind when the Potter family was exterminated. That would be the 2nd Old House that was killed off and left with a single replacement survivor.

But the thing is, if uploading is an integral part of the story, he's already committed to that complication, and so it adds little further complexity to say that he uploaded some chunk of himself to Harry, and a biological explanation becomes superfluous.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-16T22:43:24.918Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You mean Dumbledore says that the wards say that the Defense Professor killed Hermione. We would have to trust both Dumbledore and the wards for that. But you are right, it leaves only Dumbledore and Quirrel as plausible suspects.

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-16T22:22:44.517Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This only narrows Harry's list to 'The Defense Professor and people who could rig the wards to say the Defense Professor killed her.' Dumbles is easily on that list.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-08-19T00:49:18.892Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, but "The Defense Professor" and "anyone else who can rig the wards" shouldn't have the same probability in his mind. What with all the rest of Quirrell's strange behavior and the curse on the position, "The Defense Professor" should be allotted a massive probability, with a comparatively smaller piece left for "whoever else has the ability to do this." He should be suspect number one by far.

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-19T01:57:36.216Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

For that, I'd point to undermind's comment that this is only what Harry wants the Malfoys to know.

There might also be an element of Harry's art as a rationalist being forgotten when he needs it most.

comment by undermind · 2013-08-15T18:24:59.496Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry's reason given to the Malfoys for suspecting Quirrell is "just because he's the defense professor." I'm sure he knows all of this other evidence as well, and would consider it appropriately if actually given a chance to sit down and consider the possibilities (though he might be rather distracted by Draco's Dumbledore hypothesis).

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-15T17:28:39.493Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Given his extraordinary caution when meeting Quirrell in the woods earlier, he is at least willing to seriously entertain the possibility.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-09-05T00:28:58.394Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not to mention this, even before the troll:

Harry had politely declined tea, even knowing that Professor Quirrell would know what it meant. He’d considered bringing his own can of soda—but had decided against that as well, after realizing how easy it would be for the Defense Professor to teleport in a bit of potion, even if the two of them couldn’t touch each other with direct magic.

comment by Houshalter · 2013-08-17T21:02:37.682Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I thought that he just didn't want to talk to Quirrell at the time and wanted to continue his walk alone for another hour.

comment by Kindly · 2013-08-18T05:17:46.493Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Aside from that, he also prepares to use his Time-Turner to "flee upon an instant's notice"; furthermore, after the starlight spell wears off, Harry's first thought is to guard against an attack from the Defense Professor while Harry is temporarily blinded.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2013-08-15T19:16:47.068Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Considering that (as of this comment) the story says that he only said that to avoid attracting attention to Quirrell, I'd go with option 1.

comment by westward · 2013-08-15T20:36:05.081Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry has been suspicious of Quirrell for a long time.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2013-08-15T13:30:13.678Z · score: 18 (18 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If Dumbledore is Harry's legal guardian and can overrule him, should Harry's 11-year-old signature be worth anything to Lord Malfoy?

comment by Watercressed · 2013-08-16T01:55:05.265Z · score: 25 (25 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore may be able to overrule the contract, but that would do little to stop the political effects of Harry's statement that Lucius did not kill Hermione. Since it would also reinstate the debt, it doesn't seem like a net benefit to Dumbledore.

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-15T13:49:25.060Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A very good point.

Then again, if Dumbledore contests it, we might just end up with another round of

The Headmaster of Hogwarts, who acted as Harry Potter's legal guardian in the eyes of magical Britain, had overruled his ward's assent.

The Debts Committee of the Wizengamot had overruled the Headmaster of Hogwarts.

The Chief Warlock had overruled the Debts Committee.

The Wizengamot had overruled the Chief Warlock.

After all, Lord Malfoy has already secured the Wizengamot's support in the matter of the blood debt and his right to deal with it as he sees fit. Nor is it likely to defy Harry's attempt to pronounce House Malfoy innocent of Hermione's murder.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-15T16:34:59.736Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nor is it likely to defy Harry's attempt to pronounce House Malfoy innocent of Hermione's murder.

And nor is Dumbledore likely to argue before the Wizengamot that House Malfoy is not innocent.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-08-15T16:09:26.355Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think for the time being Malfoy wants this to happen and chose to accept Harry's right to enter an agreement...but if something goes wrong, I wouldn't put it past Lucius to spin this into an invalid contract due to Harry's age. Or maybe Harry has done so many crazily adult things so far this actually feels perfectly normal, not only to the readers, but the characters.

comment by hirvinen · 2013-08-19T19:59:24.393Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

From what we have seen so far, it would rather appear that Harry's signature is just as valid as if he had been an adult. He can be overruled by Dumbledore but it is not required that Dumbledore signs the papers for him.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-08-19T23:11:52.238Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think we've seen evidence that normal minors can make and enter contracts - I think Harry's just been implicitly granted an exception to all the rules of normal minors because he's the Chosen One. But the bad thing about implicit agreements is that the ones with official power can revoke them when convenient and the other party has no recourse.

comment by hirvinen · 2013-08-20T15:01:47.072Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I do not recall Harry or Hermione requiring adult input to enter their contract except for McGonagall advising them on the form and possibility of such contract. Granted, it was overseen by the Wizengamot and their legal guardian, but if they could not have done it legally by themselves, we should have seen Dumbledore's explicit approval instead of just lack of overruling it.

comment by atorm · 2013-08-15T14:01:29.359Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Possibly he still has the power of the Scion of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter.

comment by monsterzero · 2013-08-15T12:34:22.829Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Even if the other humanoid races are essentially human, it seems like Harry should be talking to them more. Getting different viewpoints and information could be incredibly helpful. If the differences are primarily cultural, well, there can be an awful lot of variation between cultures. Not to mention the differences in magical ability and techniques.

Of course, in canon, Harry didn't catch on to this until the fourth year or so.

comment by gthorneiii · 2013-08-15T15:42:54.147Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree that it would be a useful exercise, but given constraints of time as well as opportunity cost, Harry may simply be prioritizing other pursuits.

comment by monsterzero · 2013-08-17T21:51:07.780Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wasn't thinking particularly about recent events. If Harry wanted to unravel the secrets of magic, he should have been interviewing goblins and house elves since he learned they existed. Hagrid would have been another good lead, as he could potentially be networked to allow introductions to centaurs, giants, etc.

Asking Draco about Dumbledore has yielded some really interesting new hypotheses. More viewpoints = more data!

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-22T04:52:51.117Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

People seem to constant forget--Hagrid's status as a half-giant is secret. Everyone had a different theory as to why he's that big, but nobody thought it could be because he has giant blood, because then obviously he wouldn't be employed in civilized society.

I agree otherwise, however.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-08-22T06:42:51.710Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What Harry doesn't know that canon Harry figured out quickly is that Hagrid knows a lot about magical creatures. (He eventually became care for magical creatures teacher, after all.) He ventures into the forbidden forest, tends the nonmagical part of the Hogwarts gardens (which get attacked by magical creatures on occasion), etc. And if Harry did more digging into the Chamber of Secrets incident, he might learn about Aragog.

Knowing most of this, though, requires Harry to actually interact with Hagrid more than is strictly necessary, which doesn't seem to interest him.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-08-22T07:57:34.524Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hagrid nose a lot about magical creatures.

Either you are making a pun about the ability to identify said creatures by smell or you mean "knows".

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-08-22T11:51:54.605Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ehehehehe, that was a mistake on my part, thanks! Fixed now.

comment by noahpocalypse · 2013-08-16T20:14:00.425Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not to mention infeasible, what with his nigh imprisonment.

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2013-08-15T15:48:51.865Z · score: 13 (17 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"I only used you in ways that made you stronger. That's what it means to be used by a friend."

My favorite line in this chapter.

comment by Kindly · 2013-08-15T16:05:33.369Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Which calls back to this bit in Chapter 51:

But then Professor Quirrell had also seen Harry taught Occlumency, he had taught Harry how to lose... if the Defense Professor wanted to make some use of Harry Potter, it was a use that required a strengthened Harry Potter, not a weakened one. That was what it meant to be used by a friend, that they would want the use to make you stronger instead of weaker.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-08-15T21:00:52.908Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-08-15T22:53:32.809Z · score: 21 (21 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't know about the parent, but personally I liked this line because it debunks the cached thought that "using" someone is always wrong. Humans use one another all the time for all sorts of things, from a grad student using his mentor to advance his career to an overworked executive using her goofy laid-back friends to keep her blood pressure down. People tend to only consider one very narrow and destructive meaning of the word "use", and then come to the conclusion that you can't have a genuine caring relationship with someone if you pursue it for personal benefit. The grad student can still admire and love his mentor even though the main point of that relationship is so he can get a PhD. If you do care about the person, you'd try to arrange it so that your use will help them too.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-08-16T03:03:42.197Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's one reading, I guess. Another reading is that this is the kind of line you might use to justify the narrow and destructive kind of using to yourself. Seems a little dangerous is all.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-08-16T04:34:12.936Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's true, and in this context it doesn't seem like Harry was being entirely fair. I liked that line better the first time around, when Harry applied it to how Quirrell used him. He was wrong, but I thought it was interesting that he chose to view it in that light.

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2013-08-16T07:54:52.351Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Because of what OtherHandle said, basically. Yes, it can be a dangerous and self-serving attitude that you use merely to rationalize your abuse of another person, but I also find there to be something refreshingly honest about it, at least if you're open about it (which Harry admittedly wasn't).

Reading that line caused me and a friend to have a very pleasant conversation of the ways in which we are going to use each other for our mutual benefit in the future. :)

comment by moritz · 2013-08-30T14:13:44.206Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Did you notice that from Quirrel's perspective, that's exactly what he has done to/with Harry? Killing Hermione had the effect of hardening Harry's resolve, and removing some of his scrupels. For Quirrel that's "stronger".

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-09-03T01:06:44.716Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And not just obvious current scruples. Hermione is an external scruple-generator for Harry.

comment by shminux · 2013-08-16T17:30:15.692Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is there a list of currently remaining mysteries/Chekhov's guns/loose ends somewhere? Like, what happened to Hermione's body, what happened to Beatrix Black, who H&C is, who has the marauder map... And maybe a list of solved mysteries, too.

comment by JayDee · 2013-08-17T00:56:15.139Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There is at least one list on Reddit.

comment by atorm · 2013-08-16T20:32:36.929Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm currently rereading and annotating and will provide such a list when I am finished.

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-08-15T10:00:08.916Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)


No. Persuasive theory, but it has flaws in it - specifically, the Troll was too successful at neutralizing Grangers defenses to have been a misfired plot. Arranging for her to be wandering the halls alone? Sure. Sabotaging her broom? sure. Invisibility cloak not doing what it was supposed to? Well, I can see that. Telling the troll to eat her feet first so that the emergency portkey does not work?

That absolutely requires lethal intent. The rest of it all fits, but having Granger get ported out of harms way if Harry flies into a wall while en-route or something does not even require D to put a backup plan in place, it merely requires him to not neutralize a precaution already in place.

The anti-troll weapon.. Well, if the troll got stolen from the philosopher stone defenses...

however, that does not mean D was not hat and cloak. Because, as Harry so ably demonstrated, breaking someone out of askaban is not difficult. Sending Granger there would not require D to intend to leave her there, even if he was expecting the wizengamot to enact a lesser sanction.

comment by undermind · 2013-08-15T19:16:11.248Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it's relatively plausible, actually. The troll did not necessarily have specific orders to eat her feet-first.

As a matter of character, Dumbledore does have odd notions of what it takes to be a hero. And he may think Harry needed to see the real toll of wars by having someone close to him die.

Or he really was confident that Harry would save her, and he would use the troll attempt as evidence against Malfoy (which would have worked).

And my favourite part of your comment:

"Invisibility cloak not doing what it was supposed to? Well, I can see that."

Yes; that's the problem :)

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-22T20:20:14.625Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore does have odd notions of what it takes to be a hero. And he may think Harry needed to see the real toll of wars by having someone close to him die.

So it's Dumbledore who's the sexist fridger, not Eliezer!

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-23T12:57:30.840Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So it's Dumbledore who's the sexist fridger, not Eliezer!

I realise you're probably just being flippant, but I should note that Hermione is the only person Dumbledore knows and has access to that really matters to Harry. If he was going to fridge anyone, it would be her, for that reason rather than sexist ones.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-08-28T22:03:55.771Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

only person Dumbledore knows and has access to that really matters to Harry

Well, he could have killed Harry’s parents. It might not trigger Harry’s “kill death by any means necessary” reaction, but then I don't think anyone would have anticipated that in-universe, given that even Q was surprised by the prophecy.

comment by Velorien · 2013-09-01T12:13:03.715Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)


That said, I suspect that to Dumbledore Hermione's self-proclaimed hero status automatically signals "willing to die for the cause", whereas Harry's parents are innocent bystanders in every possible way.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-09-08T12:46:42.896Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps, although “story logic” can imply parents being willing to sacrifice for their children. That’s a problem with thinking of the world in terms of stories, you can find a trope to justify almost anything. Authors always can (and often do) pull deus ex machinas out of their nether regions.

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-16T00:23:51.671Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Telling the troll to eat her feet first so that the emergency portkey does not work?

There's no need to do that. The portkey is already blocked by the Hogwarts wards prohibiting Apparition. If the murderer instructed the troll to eat Hermione feet-first to disable the portkey, that would mean they expected her to be able to make it out of the castle and across the grounds while being pursued by the (much faster) troll - something she could not do without a working broomstick or some other asset that in itself foiled the assassination attempt.

comment by gwern · 2013-08-16T00:57:13.360Z · score: 3 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's no need to do that. The portkey is already blocked by the Hogwarts wards prohibiting Apparition.

Just like Harry was not portkeyed out of Hogwarts in Goblet of Fire?

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-16T01:12:01.646Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Exactly like that. [sigh]

While your example is undeniable, Santa Claus does instruct Harry to get outside Hogwarts before using his playing card portkey, and I'm fairly confident there are other instances to the same effect. It seems that the state of the evidence, both in canon and MoR, roughly amounts to "Portkeys and Apparition do not work within Hogwarts wards except when they do".

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-08-26T12:47:03.201Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

All mentions of portkeys in HPMoR explicitly describe themselves needing to get out of the Hogwarts wards first. The "Santa Clause" letters, the emergency toe-ring portkey, when Quirrel and Harry leave together they walk out of the wards first before Quirrel throws a portkey to Harry, etc.

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-08-17T05:54:59.221Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In GoF they had to set up an apparition-is-allowed-zone at the end of the maze in order for the portkey to work, which is why Crouch had to wait until Harry had won the cup instead of just turning a piece of silverware into a portkey or something.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-08-26T12:42:20.479Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Problem is that in the book Crouch says:

"I offered to carry the Triwizard Cup into the maze before dinner," whispered Barty Crouch. "Turned it into a Portkey."

Doesn't say "added an extra Portkey location" or anything such. That would have been the perfect place for JKR to say so.

comment by ygert · 2013-08-18T18:44:18.520Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is definitely not canon. I think it's pure fanon, but it may be Word of God, I don't know. In any case, this makes the argument from this point a fair amount weaker.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-22T05:02:12.170Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nobody was surprised when Harry showed up with the Cup. They all just got up and started clapping.

To me, as well as many others, it makes sense that the Cup was made into a portkey that specifically bypassed the Hogwarts wards, which Barty Crouch then subverted to give it an extra stop along the way. It's also the only reason I can think of (besides Bahl's Stupefaction) for the Cup to then send Harry back to Hogwarts--not the center of the Maze, where it originated, but to another location, one that happened to be centered right before the audience.

If anyone can think of an alternate theory, I'd love to hear it.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-08-26T12:11:45.437Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nobody was surprised when Harry showed up with the Cup. They all just got up and started clapping

You're thinking of the movie. In the book it just says: "A torrent of sound deafened and confused him; there were voices everywhere, footsteps, screams. ... He remained where he was, his face screwed up against the noise, as though it were a nightmare that would pass. . . ."

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-26T15:30:06.535Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

...bugger. I hate making that kind of mistake.

Alright, granted. That does weaken my argument somewhat, but it still appears to stand overall.

comment by atorm · 2013-08-26T12:04:09.594Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Poor writing on JK's part?

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-26T15:49:09.430Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's always a possibility, but it's also a cop-out.

This fact doesn't match my theory? W/e, I'll just throw it out.

Besides, the kinds of discussions that happens in places like this depends on extrapolating on small details.

The logic seems to hold up to me. Does the theory presented above seem faulty to you?

comment by atorm · 2013-08-26T21:02:09.709Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No. If we want to actually explain something that looks like it's just bizarre, it seems a decent theory. But I don't want to spend too much time explaining why the side of the plate farther from the heat source is warmer, especially from the canon, which I think is less well-planned than HPMOR.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-27T03:22:19.107Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't feel that your metaphor applies, but okay. Plenty of other things to devote time and energy to.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-16T01:06:05.073Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Besides which, Dumbledore made the portkey in the first place - unless he's the culprit (which I doubt), he's very unlikely to forget to make the portkey bypass the wards somehow.

comment by maia · 2013-08-15T11:30:38.939Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Telling the troll to eat her feet first so that the emergency portkey does not work?

To be fair, it ate her legs, not just her feet. It seems likely enough that if a troll is trying to kill you, it might as well eat your legs as any other part of you.

On the other hand...

The powerful and enigmatic Defense Professor was 'resting' or whatever-the-heck-was-wrong-with-him, his hands making fumbling, hesitant grabs at a chicken-leg that seemed to be eluding him on the plate.

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-08-15T13:18:57.097Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Try thinking the plots through from the perspective of whoever plotted them. The hat-and-cloak plot? That all fits someone who is reluctant to kill or overtly coerce, but free with memory charms. (Hi there Snape. Welcome to the suspect pool!) If the assumption is that the alarm on Draco was known, then at no point is anyone in serious danger. Worst case scenario, Hr gets to spend a night in azkaban before being quietly extracted. Heck, if Harry goes ballistic and kills off the dementors? Win for the light! .. and the fact that this might kill Harry is severely non-obvious. The standard patronus does not tax the caster.

.. Checking chapter 46. Right, first question. Dumbledore asks is what the toll of Patronus 2.0 is. Given Harrys answer, I think he may well be under the impression that Harry could safely kill off every dementor in britain if backed up by a phoenix. That could have been the entire point. Getting azkaban purified by Ûber-patronus..

So, yhea, this could all be the work of Dumbledore. If it was the work of someone else, the plotter still exercised some restraint. The plotter still fails actual etics, of course, but this could all be the work of someone who thinks they are one of the good guys.

But the troll plot? Uhm. Not so much. At some point while disabling Hr's defences and buffing the troll to the heavens, some niggling little thought along the lines of "Ehh.. this is quite likely to end up with a corpse on the ground" would have to present itself to the most senile Dumbledore I can plausibly model. It reeks of malice.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-15T17:02:24.493Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

More than that, it's trivial to nullify that possibility. Just watch the battle. If you know it's happening, and you know where it is, then just use one of the many, many scrying implements we know Dumbledore has to watch the battle. The moment the troll ate her legs Dumbledore should've been there; even if he wanted Harry to save her or something he could've discreetly stabilized her, Harry had no way to notice.

comment by noahpocalypse · 2013-08-16T20:23:10.126Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore was absent from the castle.

And he made it sound like the wards only alert him when a student has died. It's reasonable to expect them to warn ahead of time, after serious injury or something, but going by canon Dumbledore had no external alarm when Harry broke however many bones however many times on the Quidditch pitch.

comment by Michelle_Z · 2013-08-18T00:48:27.967Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore placed a ward on Hermione that alerted him to any "hostile magic" or "evil spirit" that touched her. Someone either got very lucky, or knew about the wards.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-17T01:50:11.209Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And yet the explanation for the method of the attempted murder of Draco was that the slow cooling of his blood would cause his vitals to drop too slowly to trigger the wards until he died. Which explicitly relies on the common knowledge that Hogwarts DOES have wards that track the vitals of its students and that those wards are keyed to track sudden changes, and the removal of significant portions of the body would certainly constitute a "sudden change" in vitals.

So in the attempted murder of Draco, the wards were circumvented; in the troll attack, they were actively compromised.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-17T12:39:54.608Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or the wards only detect sudden vital changes caused by hostile magics.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-16T22:40:33.395Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

My grandparent is working on the assumption that Dumbledore is the culprit and would have had simple ways to make sure Hermionie doesnt die by mistake as a result of the attack he coordinated.

comment by noahpocalypse · 2013-08-17T01:27:11.304Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah, I see. I was also working on the assumption that McGonagall was correct; no reason Dumbledore couldn't say he was leaving, head to his office, sit back, and watch.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-17T12:38:58.628Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If it was him and he wanted Hermione to die, then he also had an excellent excuse to watch the battle with wards without acting on it, namely that he supposedly timeturned back after the fact and couldn't change anything.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-08-28T22:06:15.499Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

To be fair, it ate her legs, not just her feet.

To be even fairer, that might be just because the legs were bite-sized, and polite trolls are taught by their mothers not to nibble their food.

comment by redlizard · 2013-08-23T16:00:13.910Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

To figure out a strange plot, look at what happens, then ask who benefits. Except that Dumbledore didn't plan on you trying to save Granger at her trial, he tried to stop you from doing that. What would've happened if Granger had gone to Azkaban? House Malfoy and House Potter would've hated each other forever. Of all the suspects, the only one who wants that is Dumbledore. So it fits. It all fits. The one who really committed the murder is - Albus Dumbledore!

I think if you use this line of reasoning and then allow yourself to dismiss arbitrary parts of it as "not part of the plan", you can make a convincing argument for almost anything. For that reason, I consider the entire theory suspect.

comment by Benquo · 2013-08-25T00:26:22.622Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, Harry trying to save Hermione could have been part of the plan, but it seems like both major candidates (Quirrel and Dumbledore) thought (or at least hoped) that Harry would not succeed.

comment by Tripitaka · 2013-08-15T17:52:53.049Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Telling the troll to eat her feet first so that the emergency portkey does not work?

Although this is often assumed, it has most likely not been the perpetrators real concern. CF:

Also a toe-ring with an emergency portkey to a safe location, in case someone kidnaps Mr. Longbottom and takes him outside Hogwarts's wards.

I strongly suspect it was to heighten the emotional impact on Mr. Potter, to be able to see her face.

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-08-15T18:05:21.804Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That still indicates lethal intent and malice. Does not fit with the "Plot misfire" theory.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-08-15T22:36:05.628Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Telling the troll to eat her feet first so that the emergency portkey does not work?

I wouldn't plan that way. If I would order the troll I would tell it to knock the person unconscious to prevent the person from triggering port-keys.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-17T21:39:26.551Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or eat her head-first. That would prevent the activation of portkeys too.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-08-17T23:19:29.903Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Grabing someone and moving them in a way that the head is near the mouth of the troll takes a tiny amount of time. It's faster for the troll to simple hit her head directly to knock her unconscious.

If I think a bit more about it Hermonine should have been able to portkey away if the key isn't manipulated in any case. The troll makes noise so she would be aware that something is happening and turn in the direction of the troll. Seeing it should trigger a direct portkey activation.

Anybody who can deactivite the invisible cloak probably has no issue to deactivate the portkey as well.

comment by WalterL · 2013-08-16T18:39:18.919Z · score: 9 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hmm...a few thoughts.

I'd always read this series as Rationalist propoganda, and this chapter doesn't really work in that light.

Dumbledore, I'd figured, represented the world's Conventional Wisdom. Benevolent, on the whole, deranged, absolutely, and far more powerful than Harry could ever be. Harry and Co. can no more overcome him than the LW's readership can defeat the billions of non-rationalists.

With that interpretation in mind I didn't really doubt that Dumbledore could ever be guilty of something, but figured Harry would have to let him off the hook. People with good intentions do bad things but you can't go all Steerpike, ya know? I sort of figured that this was confirmed in Harry's speech to McGonagall about blaming Voldemort vs. himself. Heroic responsibility means save even those who have erred (and I can't really conceive of Dumbledore/humanity being judged to have sinned save by error).

But now we have Harry teaming up with Lucius and Draco, ostensibly to take down Dumbledore. I figured Draco represented your smart friend that you are trying to get to be a rationalist, and Lucius their peer structure. Inducting them into the Conspiracy shouldn't allow you to overcome the deranged and benevolent Majority.

I suspect that Harry is securing their agreement to investigate Dumbledore while, himself, believing Dumbledore will be shown to be free of malice. Basically the blood purity science experiment all over again. I figure his goal here is to bring them into alliance, just as he says to Draco. Once the Malfoys abandon Blood Purity there is no reason they can't be allies to the Dumbeldore power structure, save for both side's past sins. Harry is drawing Lucius and Draco into investigating one of these sings in the hopes of effectively explaining it away, which coupled with their renunciation of Blood Purity as a doctrine should allow the formation of an alliance.

Also, I'd like to add that its hilarious to watch all the characters try and figure out who HARRY's enemy is. They've been listening to Dumbledore's 'Life Is A Story' pitch a bit too much. If someone tries to have a girl sent to a hell dungeon and then has her eaten by a troll they don't like her. They aren't trying to impede the Hero's Quest by Sundering his Fellowship, they are acting out their animus. I predict that Hermione's framing and murder were about her, not Harry.

Thanks for reading this long comment

comment by JayDee · 2013-08-17T00:49:24.529Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

They've been listening to Dumbledore's 'Life Is A Story' pitch a bit too much.

Seems likely to me that tearing this down will be the climax of the Roles chapters. Dumbledore is the big character we have left who hasn't had a 'meeting' with Harry. And all throughout the story - referencing Gandalf and LotR, "that's not his style" - Dumbledore has been about playing a role in a story.

Also, revealing Dumbledore's secrets is one of the big elements of Rowlings' book 7, and one of the things HP:MoR would have to deal with to resolve all the canon plots in Harry's first year.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2013-08-18T08:50:40.067Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore is the big character we have left who hasn't had a 'meeting' with Harry

"The first meeting:


...Harry found himself, still in his pajamas, facing Albus Dumbledore..."

comment by JayDee · 2013-08-18T22:55:24.195Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Facepalm, of course. I was thinking there would be a meeting along the lines of the previous private conferences - pretending to be wise in particular. Didn't actually get around to checking which meetings had happened versus which characters I'd expect.

comment by ygert · 2013-08-16T23:29:03.731Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think you are reading into it a bit too deeply, and making analogies where analogies aren't. It's a story, so read it as such. I am not convinced that, say, Lucius is meant to represent Draco's peer structure any more than the amount which he is part of Draco's peer structure in-universe (being his father).

Oh and one more thing: For Dumbledore's 'Life Is A Story' pitch, think a level up. The character's don't know it, and they probably never will, they are just that, when all else is stripped away. In the end, at the highest level, their life is a story. Ponder that for a while...

comment by bogdanb · 2013-08-28T20:43:29.461Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In the end, at the highest level, their life is a story

I wouldn’t put it above Eliezer to find a way of having Harry be “the End of the World” literally by just ending the story somehow. But I can’t think of any explanation in that vein for destroying the stars, other than maybe breaking the ceiling in the Hogwards hall, which doesn’t fit. And style-wise it doesn’t feel right.

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-08-15T19:27:48.716Z · score: 9 (25 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Malfoy Manor exuded all the subtlety of a Baroque castle, overstuffed with the trappings of power, filled to the brim with trinkets, tapestries and timeless artifacts. It seemed excessive even in the dark of night, with only some of the item galleries illuminated.

Harry didn't care for any of them. Politics, let Draco deal with all this signalling nonsense.

Yet Draco was absent, it was only him and Lucius Malfoy, his unlikely new ally, planning and plotting over minutiae, phrasings, contracts.

Laying a foundation for the next decades of Magical Britain, a blueprint for a saner Magical world, even?

That didn't help in devising the statement to be read in the Wizengamot, at least not after the first few hours. Harry couldn't help but think that Lucius enjoyed being the superior mind for once, and dragged it out just to non-so-subtly remind Harry how out of his element he truly was.

They had already used the Time Turner to its fullest effects, working in the Witching Hours of the morning, to get the most out of the Borrowed Time. As far as Dumbledore was concerned, Harry was soundly sleeping in the Ravenclaw quarters.

Muffled sounds were coming from outside Malfoy's private study, in which they worked. At least they startled Harry back into wakefulness. He turned to Lucius. "You should've given Crabbe or Goyle a break, we're in one of the most secure places in Magical Britain, and you let them stand guard in front of your room?"

The door burst open. "I said no interruptions!" a clearly irked Lord Malfoy barked at his underling, seemingly annoyed at displaying this breach of etiquette in front of Harry Potter. He turned rigid as he picked up on the slumped over Crabbe lying lifelessly in the corridor, and on the wand Goyle was levelling. "What - ?" Malfoy's reflexes were fast, his cane springing to life in his hands, its eyes radiating with ruby fire.

Harry's own wand was in his hands quicker than he himself would have expected, a sudden rush of adrenaline firing him up. He was ready to support whatever stronger magic Malfoy would choose, silently cursing that he didn't bring any of his own new devices, too mindful that their detection would have caused the as-yet fragile alliance to crumble.

A bright shield sprang up around Malfoy, encompassing only himself. Which each pulse of his cane's flaming eyes, a new shimmering layer seemed to be added to the already daylight-bright protective bubble. At least that shows where your priorities lie, dear ally. Harry thought, as he noticed that Goyle's wand wasn't pointed at his master. It was pointed at Harry Potter, who suddenly twitched, his arms -- wand in hand -- pointing at the floor, unable to move.

I don't have much time, I can't aim, I need to do something.

Help. He needed to get help. From the only one who might be able to cross most of the mansion's wards, who would still instantly spring into action to help the wayward hero and who had the power to help.

EXPECTO PATRONUM! Harry thought, pouring all his energy into the thought, thinking of the ring with Hermione's remains which he left safely in his trunk in the Ravenclaw quarters, security by obscurity. Thinking of her coming back to life, amongst the last ever to have died.

For a terrible second, nothing happened. Then it was like a new sun blazing into existence right in Malfoy's study, as the humanoid made of starlight appeared between him and Goyle, who could not but flinch back. Harry felt the invisible strings weaken, and managed to mumble through clenched teeth. "Get Dumbledore here, tell him he is our only hope." The light winked out.

"Well, that ssshould make eventsss more interesssting. I had it planned out of courssse, but thisss particular branch was mossstly a tangent."

Harry instantly recognized the voice, and a fraction later realized it was spoken in Parseltongue, as the enormous snake -- as Professor Quirrell, Harry's mentor, his ancient wizard! -- slithered towards the door frame, oblivious of the crumbled heap that was Crabbe. Into the study stepped Quirrell's human form.

"Thank you, Lucius, for providing me with your very own weapons, ready to be Imperius'ed. How very thoughtful. I may have had a hard time constraining Harry Potter otherwise, our magic ... is, well, not meant to coexist in the same world. You may say our magics are two sides of a coin."

Lucius had gone pale through the shield.

"Or, you might say", Quirrell continued, "Two sides of the same coin". The Defense Professor pressed his wand -- which had appeared in his hand effortlessly -- against his forearm as Lucius let out a whelp of pain, gripping his arm to his chest, nearly dropping his cane.

"That was a good charade, hiding your mark. You know your binding to me went deeper than that. Would you like to know just how deep our ... bond ... truly goes?"

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-08-15T19:28:06.639Z · score: 8 (28 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Malfoy was staring transfixed at Quirrell, his cane quivering, as if he had suddenly lost his confidence in all those barriers.

"I am running out of time, I give you this one chance. You know what I can do, you know how little I care about your trinket. Remove all your barriers immediately, bow to me, bow to your Lord, to your God, to me, Voldemort!"

There was a deadly silence in the room. Quirrell -- Voldemort? -- Quirrell apparently did not see the need to add anything, Harry couldn't speak -- could barely think! -- Lucius might as well be a deer staring into a truck's headlights, his eyes flickering back and forth between his cane, Quirrell standing there with a seemingly relaxed poise, and the hearth. The hearth across the room, it could as well have been on another floor, impossibly far away.

The cane cluttered to the floor, Lucius Malfoy's forehead followed immediately as he prostrated himself on the floor, voice quavering. "Forgive me, my Lord, for I have sinned. I am yours, now and forever, I will prove my loyal - "

There was a flash, Harry didn't see Quirrell so much as move his lips, yet Lord Malfoy, of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Malfoy, became part of history himself, his detached head plopping on the floor, looking -- surprised. Harry felt his patronus slipping beyond his grasp as he was looking at the ruins of his plans rolling across the study, leaving a trail of blood. I hope it delivered the message! I have to buy time, somehow.

"I hate this role, it was necessary right then, but I really hoped to never adopt it again." Quirrell wasn't missing a beat, switching his attention to Harry.

"I know you can't speak, and there's nothing much to be said. Nothing to make a difference. Suffice it to say, yes, I used to play that comically evil character 'Lord Voldemort', yes I did kill your parents, an exit strategy was needed when noone rallied behind my Monroe alter-ego, not even the Goblins. Noone questions death-by-innocent-infant, not even Dumbledore. So no, I'm not sorry for that, it was for the greater good. For differing values of good, I suppose", he added, musingly.

"I suspect you're wondering where Dumbledore is, well, he must have met my anti-Phoenix ward by now. Improved by your very own methods of rationality, if you can believe it. Thank you for that. The ward may have killed a lesser wizard, but with him, you never know. In any case, it may be best if we do not tarry."

Quirrell stepped towards Harry, a determined look on his face, staying well clear of the path that Harry's wand was pointing. Where it was pointing. Harry's mind was racing. It was pointing at nothing in particular, it was just pointing at air. Pointing at air! It's a dumb idea a part of Harry thought, but it was his only idea. This may well prove to be a Pyrrhic victory; pro: you'll surprise him, con: you'll surprise him by killing yourself, probably.

Still, it was the last, best hope for victory -- any kind of victory -- that Harry had, a trump card he doubted Quirrell suspected. There was a glow emanating from his wand at Harry transfigured the air into nerve gas. Quirrell remained unaffected and a bubble head charm sprang up near instantly around Harry's head, but Goyle's head violently jerked backwards, his control wavering. Harry still couldn't move, but yet again the strings relented, ever so slightly. It was enough. I may not be able to touch Quirrell -- but my patronus might. Let's start our own version of the Big Bang, those were Harry's thoughts as he pictured Hermione coming back to life, "Expectopatronum!" once again bursting from his lips as fast as he could speak, as the glowing humanoid threateningly stepped towards Quirrell.

"Haaaaaaarryyyyy." It was Hermione's voice. It was impossible. The voice emanated from a walking husk, a corpse stumbling into the now crowded study. It was Hermione.

"I found your 'secret' 'ring', made her an Inferius, bound her to my will. She'll never live again. Watch!"

Events seemed to happen simultaneously, Quirrell twitched his wand, Hermione's tortured remains melting into a puddle on the floor, seeping between the wooden boards, Harry's glowing human reaching for Quirrell, a sense of doom heavily protruding upon the room. The patronus shattered into shards of lights that bounced harmlessly off the floor, missing Quirrell, as Harry processed his words, the reality of the deed done.

"I suspect that was the last patronus you'll ever cast, and right at the nick of time, too. We may finally be compatible enough. For what's it worth, I'll let you know that I am David Monroe, at least to a higher degree than any of my other sockpuppets. Much more so than I am evil Voldemort, the character I conjured up to unite the sheep. I'll make up a more convincing caricature this time. And, as I promised, you will rule Magical Britain. Those galaxies, too, in time."

David Monroe closed the gap between them. "At least, your body will." His head was touching his wand, his wand touching, impossibly touching, Harry's temple.

"Mens eo ipso imago infiniti est quo eius capax est!" [*The mind is the image of the Infinite, in that it is capable of it and can contain it.]

There was a splash as Goyle exploded as a magical vortex between Harry and Quirrell's empty shell tossed them like dolls to different corners of the room, splattered in blood.

Then, for a time, there was silence, apart from a young boy, heavily breathing.

The study's small window was ripped outward, taking most of the wall with it. A dishevelled Dumbledore appeared in the opening, eyes frantically scanning the room.

The-Boy-Who-Will-Live-Forever sat up.

"The danger is passed, Albus. The lingering illness is over at last. Voldemort is gone. I killed him."

The headmaster, looking all his long years, opened his mouth as if to speak, only to suddenly cough, as if sniffing something in the air. His grim wand twitched towards his own head, no that's not right, his hand did so. His wand had fallen out of his fingers which were flexing and unflexing uncontrollably, dropped on the floor. Dumbledore looked at his hand that had deserted him, a bewildered look on his face.

The boy watched dispassionately. "As I'm killing you now. Or rather, as Harry is killing you now."

There was a lot of work to be done, he thought as he picked up his new wand.

comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-08-15T21:15:45.034Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

... Interesting, if an incredibly anticlimactic ending.

Is this supposed to be a theoretical future?

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-08-15T21:32:44.858Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

An alternate ending: Quirrell taking over Harry as a final host, Quirrell admitting to his true identity: being Monroe more so than Voldemort, and to staging his own death, also tying up a few loose ends.

Probably my last prose contribution, judging by the reception. I did have an hour to kill, so I thought why not contribute the above speculation in a more interesting format.

What did you find so anticlimactic? Maybe the "Boy-Who-Will-Live-Forever" is easy to accidentally skip over, the last line is a reference to a poem and a chapter ending of Sanderson's The Way of Kings.

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-16T01:04:54.569Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Probably my last prose contribution, judging by the reception.

Speaking as one individual, it's not that I dislike what you've written, or do not find it interesting in its own right.

It's just that I come here, to a discussion and analysis thread, for information-dense texts which present their ideas clearly and concisely, because I find they give me the most value relative to time spent reading. Accordingly, when I see here a long prose text which is written to prioritise quality of narrative over efficiency of communication, I skim it quickly or not at all, and move on to other posts. They will contain a similar amount of value, but take a tiny fraction of the time to read and comprehend.

Also, I speculate that some people will think it inappropriate for you to "showcase" your own writing in a thread meant for discussion of someone else's work, though I realise that's not your intention.

comment by undermind · 2013-08-16T00:55:53.894Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I, for one, liked it. I'm not sure here is where it belongs (though I couldn't say where else it does).

Seems pretty well-written and reasonably plausible; I like being reminded that Voldemort winning is a real possibility, and this seems like a way he might do so.

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-16T02:09:30.777Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Maybe on ff.net as a one-shot spinoff?

comment by David_Gerard · 2013-08-17T22:32:05.006Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Commentfic" is a thing, after all.

comment by Kindly · 2013-08-16T15:48:28.375Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It seems weird for Harry to actually be disinterested in "all that signaling stuff". He says he is to Draco in Chapter 24 (in nearly the same words), but this is because he wants Draco to try to plot against him.

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-08-16T19:09:09.862Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, Harry probably was on the certain fora on the (early) internet too much and got annoyed at the high signalling-to-((object level) information) ratio. He did. Harry, I mean.

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-08-18T10:15:33.574Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

anticlimactic ending

Changed the ending, better now?

comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-08-18T14:22:20.159Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think the anticlimax comes from the fact that Harry has basically no agency in the story at all. We get 4 lines of internal monologue, but really, this is Quirrelmort's story, not Harry's.

This isn't because he wins, so much as it is because his winning suddenly in this manner basically invalidates the entire rest of the story. While this might be an accurate rendition of events according to characterization, it ignores almost every subplot, begs the question of why this didn't happen at any other earlier event in the story, and doesn't really fit Quirrell's wistfulness over Harry's similarity yet difference from himself. Obviously that could all have been a lie, but even assuming everything done recently was to bring Harry to the point of matching Quirrell enough for the spell, this doesn't seem like the cutoff. The loss of Hermione's body shouldn't be the Despair Event Horizon for Harry - he was dedicated to getting to godlike power so he could just will it to happen.

Quirrell's knowledge of Ringmione also puts him in the reader's shoes really, it is something he could not have known, unless we assume a lot of things about the story were false.

I suppose a better term to describe the ending is "unsatisfying and plot ignoring".

comment by Kindly · 2013-08-15T20:26:43.195Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Professor Quirrell looked at Harry Potter, his face expressionless. For a moment Harry wondered if the man would reveal all his secret identities, quietly reveling in all his deceptions, all the wool he had managed to pull over Harry's eyes. Or perhaps the Defense Professor would mockingly explain that it was by mastering Harry's own techniques that he had managed to win so utterly.

Instead, Quirrell pulled out a gun and shot Harry.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-08-15T02:35:20.636Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Would you believe I was expecting more of what we've gotten since Chapter 90, only starring Draco? I'm pretty sure Hermione would/will not like that contract one bit.

The transition from "Now I'm going to defeat death!" to "These are my plans to overthrow the government" was... actually pretty believable. I would like to know what Moody thought of Harry out-preparing him (and kinda wonder if someone in the wizarding world is going to invent a magical equivalent of the ball point pen--it shouldn't be that hard, just use a space-folded inkwell and maybe apparate it to the tip. Maybe the Weasely twins could do it in a couple years, if not already.).

comment by undermind · 2013-08-15T18:29:42.874Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Moody should have expected Harry to outprepare him (and probably did) - based on past experiences, plus general caution. What Moody completely missed was the direction of Harry's preparation - of having set up the meeting with his own goal in mind.

comment by ThrustVectoring · 2013-08-17T04:52:51.686Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, the entire direction of Moody's advice was basically "don't let the adults take advantage of you". It didn't even cross his mind that Harry was willing or able to get an advantage out of Lucius.

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-08-15T09:02:37.285Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

it shouldn't be that hard, just use a space-folded inkwell

This made me smile, Ahh, magic.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-15T09:03:36.566Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

On a side note - why didn't Moody see the pen and paper going in?

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-08-15T09:06:41.959Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He did. He also has never seen Harry without those things on him. I mean, really now? Harry is not going to go anywhere without pen and paper on his person. The real question is why he did not read it.

comment by Baughn · 2013-08-15T10:19:06.063Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It doesn't look like he can read it while it's folded up, for whatever reason, or the reveal at the end of the chapter couldn't have gone as it did.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2013-08-15T15:01:36.783Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's a bit stretched. He can see through things but not when they're folded up? I think he was just waiting for the writing to stop being upside down.

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-15T17:36:53.512Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Presumably while they're folded up, he's seeing two overlapping sets of writing at the same time, and they interfere with each other, like overlapping OHP slides. To overcome this effect, he'd have to spontaneously tune his x-ray vision to the fineness of a millimetre or so (the thickness of the parchment), which may plausibly be difficult or impossible.

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-16T02:45:46.278Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also isn't there a suggestion that his eye gravitates towards magic (such as Harry's invisible flash grenade attack or Disillusionment (which seems to just be active camo) marking one as 'trying to hide')?

comment by Baughn · 2013-08-16T13:37:55.624Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

All that scene really needs is for such tuning to be annoyingly difficult when Harry is already unrolling the paper, i.e. so there's no point in trying when he'll see the text clearly in another few seconds anyway.

comment by thomblake · 2013-08-16T15:38:26.884Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The problem was Moody not having read the paper when Harry brought it into the meeting.

comment by drethelin · 2013-08-20T17:52:01.294Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

doesn't harry just need to carry a few sheets of paper or have it folded into a book? I don't remember this being the case but it would prevent moody from reading it, presumably.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-08-18T20:27:39.066Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A good point. But of course he was looking for threats to Harry, not threats from Harry.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-20T09:07:50.921Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, but this is Alastor CONSTANT VIGILANCE Moody dealing with someone who actually landed a hit on him. Even if it involved massive cheating and handicaps.

comment by Benquo · 2013-08-20T17:57:06.305Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Constant vigilance does not mean unlimited attention.

comment by hirvinen · 2013-08-19T20:21:09.524Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Do we have evidence that his Eye sees through things like that? It sees in all directions and through hiding-magic but does it see e.g. through walls?

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-20T18:20:36.609Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It can see through his head and in canon it spotted a boggart on another floor.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-08-15T15:59:51.577Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If it were in an extra-dimensional area (the bag of holding) that might be harder to read.

comment by undermind · 2013-08-15T18:49:37.804Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry did not have his bag with him when he went in.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-08-15T18:59:02.020Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, that destroys that hypothesis

comment by Discredited · 2013-08-26T04:47:22.903Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Quirrell, Dumbledore, Snape, Harry, and (increasingly) Draco have something in common. They are all creepy. These characters are intentionally inauthentic - acting as though they posses the specific beliefs, preferences, and abilities that they want others to attribute to them.

I feel unusually strong revulsion about this kind of deception - more than toward someone hiding their faults to manage their appearance, much more than toward someone being tactful and withholding or biasing sensitive claims to avoid conflict.

When I try to unpack "creepy", my mind suggests it has components of outrage at violations of close interpersonal social norms, distrust of unfamiliar thought patterns, fear of people with motivations that need to be hidden, and a special kind of disgust related to fears of idols, photographs, glassy eyed dolls, humanoid robots, and other simulacra. - the disgust toward an exemplar that doesn't fall clearly in or out of the human-mind category, toward a soul that has been captured in the depiction of a face and deprived of its intelligence and agency.

Are very intelligent people generally creepy like that? If I were a standard deviation smarter, would my peer group consist of people strategically concealing their identities and mutually modelling their mutual modelling up to the nth order of meta? Or is that inauthenticity just an abnormal personality type that doesn't correlate much with intelligence, but does fit nicely into a rationalist literary drama?

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-08-31T10:23:58.058Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

As a sidenote, intelligent people may seem creepy to the general population even if they don't try to deceive anyone. The mere fact of being more intelligent makes them more difficult to model for the average person. Then, when their actions violate the (wrong) model, the author of the model may feel deceived. The basic human irrationality: "if things don't work according to my model, the problem is not with my model but somewhere else".

Another contributing factor may be the illusion of transparency, when the more intelligent person thinks they made their intentions obvious to the people around them, but the average people don't get the message, and then they are surprised when the intelligent person does the (unclearly) announced thing.

EDIT: Even the rational thing of "changing your opinion when faced with evidence in the opposite direction" may feel like a dishonesty to a person not used to this. ("Yesterday you believed X, and today you believe non-X; were you lying to me?")

comment by Dentin · 2013-09-07T18:02:40.173Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've traditionally avoided seeming 'creepy' by blatantly violating various unimportant norms early in relationships. People don't like feeling deceived, and they don't like it when they are shown to be wrong after assembling a model. The trick is to make it clear from the outset that 'this person is extremely hard to model', or 'this person doesn't fit into any of my prefab models'. That way they don't get irritated about being wrong, they just assume it's par for the course.

Examples of norm violation:

  • I am male and maintain a prominent 3 foot long braid which I often wrap around my neck

  • I make childish faces at people and things

  • My default vocabulary is apparently pretty exotic

  • I don't flinch and easily participate in sexual topics when they come up

  • I squeeze in comments about how the human race is going to fix this 'death' problem whenever I can

  • When asked occupation, I say that I started as an engineer, then started a video game company (wtf?)

  • When asked belief (common in the US), I state 'true nihilist/atheist' and that I'm quite possibly the least spiritual person they will ever meet

All this stuff combined generally jams up people's predictors to the point where they give up on being correct, which largely fixes the creepy problem. Most people have stuff like this available, the trick is to emphasize and export the pieces which generate the most conflict with existing models.

Be aware that there's also 'sexually creepy', which is a whole different ball of wax. Openness and being comfortable with sexual topics helps tremendously. It's also a very good idea to focus your attention and eyes on faces, not reproductive hardware, when you interact with someone.

comment by Nornagest · 2013-08-26T05:53:03.682Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Conscious control over social presentation is a learned skill; it doesn't come in the same box with intelligence or rationality, although either or both might make it easier to pick up. I suspect it's prominent in Methods mainly because it serves the particular type of wheels-within-wheels plotting that Eliezer seems fond of.

We could have a conversation at this point about whether constructed social presentation is unethical or "creepy", but I don't think it'd get us anywhere. Some people have the squick response, some don't.

(Incidentally, I don't feel like Snape's got this in-story. He's certainly got a facade, but it's the sort you build semi-involuntarily when you hate parts of yourself and desperately want to hide them, not the kind you consciously build to optimize social outcomes. Harry does have it, but shouldn't have had the opportunity to develop it; it may be part of his Mysterious Dark Side/possible Harrymort package.)

comment by Discredited · 2013-08-26T20:59:40.617Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

For Snape, I was specifically thinking of the scene in Dumbledore's office where Harry reveals that he knows about the prophecy and Snape reacts without hesitation as though he hadn't heard of it. Snape was also a double agent during the war, and continues to maintain close relationships with Dumbledore and Lucius Malfoy. His actions do seem crude, awkward, uncontrolled or mostly defensive in other scenes such as in the bullying arc or his conversation with Quirrell in the forbidden forest in Chapter 77. But then, one can act with false impulsiveness too.

I suppose the characters are in a cold war and in the shadow of a hot war. That circumstance makes "offensive" deception in one's social presentation more useful.

comment by gattsuru · 2013-08-26T22:18:34.489Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

They're also in an environment where creating an artificial persona is not merely useful, but a fundamental survival tactic: each of these characters would be dead by now if they were not Occlumens (and Lord Mafloy is an Occlumens, see chapter 47), which requires the person to also juggle a separate and highly artificial persona.

And of course, McGonagall acts similarly, even though her reaction is not similarly perfect, possibly because she's not a perfect Occlumens (and had just dealt with a full day of Rationalist!Harry).

There's some correlation between IQ and various measures of social awareness, despite the stereotype to the opposite, but it is a learned ability and many experts either don't learn it, or harness it to different ends. Feymann's writings on public speaking and instruction suggest that he, for one example, was highly aware of how he made his words and how his public face appeared. At the same time, I'm not sure how much of that was foresight and how much was later introspection -- and artificially controlling the flow of a Congressional inquiry may be less 'creepy' than artificially controlling the flow of information to an eleven-year-old.

((Yudkowsky's style may be part of the issue, as well. As in /Three Worlds Collide/ and /Sword of Good/, character dialogue, even from 'normal' characters, comes across as artificial at times. That more than the complexity of thought may trigger the creepy vibe.))

comment by elharo · 2013-08-16T11:16:49.585Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry was thinking about the Goblin Rebellions and goblins' ongoing resentment at not being allowed to own wands and certain facts which hadn't been in the first-year History textbook, which Harry had guessed at by pattern-matching and which Professor Flitwick had confirmed in a very quiet voice. Lord Voldemort had killed goblins as well as wizards - an incredibly stupid move on Lord Voldemort's part, unless Harry was really missing something.

Of course, Harry is really missing something; and he should be noticing his confusion about this. It's a failing that he isn't. For some reason, he seems very resistant to the idea that Voldemort was actually smart. I wonder if Harry's going to realize what he's missing before the big final battle in which the villain monologues his secret plan.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-08-16T12:37:15.483Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It is hard for me to tell if this is that there is a big secret plan or more lampshading of problems with the original source material.

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-08-17T05:37:35.884Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I used to think like this, but recently I've updated into seeing everything as potential foreshadowing.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-08-17T05:50:40.324Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think the things that's missing is that we or Harry don't know Voldemorts goals.

comment by cousin_it · 2013-08-16T07:09:08.778Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What a clusterfuck. I love it. Reminds me of how Sam Hughes made his heroine summon a demon into her bed, explaining that stories are more interesting when characters don't have perfect reasoning.

comment by DaveX · 2013-08-20T16:10:19.020Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Link: http://qntm.org/daemons

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-15T18:40:54.138Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Lucius Malfoy nodded distantly. "I could not think of any reason why you would pay a hundred thousand Galleons to save a mudblood's life. No reason save one, which would account for her power and bloodthirst alike; but then she died at the hands of a troll, and yet you lived.

What was the reason Lucius Malfoy thought of?

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-08-15T20:12:39.783Z · score: 16 (20 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That Voldemort is her father, and her muggle background a lie. "Secretly a pureblood" really is a very credible explanation if you actually believe in blood purism.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-16T08:41:40.606Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And Bellatrix Black is her mother?

But why would they place her in custody of Muggles, instead of purebloods?

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-08-16T14:08:42.587Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Break the trail connecting her to Bellatrix?

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-08-16T19:39:29.748Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fostering her out would be insurance against defeat. Placing her with pure-blood allies would not suffice for that eventuality, as such allies would most likely be going down with the ship too. Placing her with muggles takes her out of the war entirely, and the trace means she gets back into the wizarding world 11 years later no matter what happens..

Uhm. This is spookily compatible with Canon. For a girl with supposedly loving parents, she spends an inordinate number of holidays at hogwarts and the burrow. Worse, we never actually meet said parents at all in canon. We are told. By Hermione, that they get shipped to Australia with a case of amnesia. And I mean, "my parents are dentists" is exactly the kind of lie a clever 11 year old orphan might tell people to get them to iose all interest in further enquiries. So, basically, her family could oh-so-easily be entirely fiction in-universe.

comment by Atelos · 2013-08-16T21:42:34.061Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually her parents, or at least people claiming to be such do appear in canon, if barely. They get no dialogue, but during the shopping trip in the second book there's some mention of them being uncertain around all the magic and weirdness, Arthur Weasley saying something along the lines "oh wow, I get to meet real muggles, look they're exchanging muggle money!", and few lines about them being unnerved by the confrontation between Arthur and Lucius in the bookshop.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-23T05:47:28.696Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

‘The great tragedy of Science — the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.’

comment by Baughn · 2013-08-18T03:22:18.031Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah, but surely an orphan's guardians might be similarly uneasy.

comment by Kindly · 2013-08-16T00:36:30.009Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

None of the theories suggested thus far explain the last part of the quote:

but then she died at the hands of a troll, and yet you lived.

The way I see it, Lucius could have been thinking one of two things (originally, before Hermione's death) to say that:

  1. Killing Hermione would also kill Harrymort (e.g. Hermione is some quasi-Horcrux Lucius may have heard of).

  2. Hermione would certainly survive anything that Harrymort survives (e.g. Hermione also has all the magic skill of Voldemort).

comment by mjr · 2013-08-16T08:13:19.968Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In the Bellatrix theory I'd interpret that as meaning that Lucius seriously doubts that Harry would survive something that manages to off Bellatrix. But I acknowledge that the phrase sounds like it means something more than that.

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-15T19:10:02.790Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps that Hermione is also Voldemort in the same way HJPEV is Voldemort (since, Horcrux or not, that seems the likely explanation for Harry's power and bloodthirst)?

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-15T19:34:26.224Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Unlike Harry, Hermione has no past link to Voldemort. And, if you're unaware of how Horcruxes work, it would seem much more likely that Voldemort's spirit is possessing some one person, rather than two.

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-15T19:56:03.964Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

True, Hermione doesn't have a link to Voldemort.

I am aware of how horcruxes work and V had eight in canon (although only one was another human - the only example of such a horcrux that we have. There is no mention anywhere whether it's impossible to horcrux two humans). I tried to leave the possibility open that V and Harry's connection is something other than a horcrux, although my wording wasn't as clear as it could have been.

I like the Bellatrix possession idea a bit better than my own, but I don't think we've hit on Lucius' reason yet.

comment by elharo · 2013-08-16T10:51:58.064Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually in canon (or at least word of Rowling) there were two human Horcruxes: HP and Quirrell. That Quirrell was a Horcrux isn't explicit, and isn't relevant by the time Harry learns about Horcruxes, but Rowling has confirmed that he was.

comment by fractalman · 2013-08-29T17:04:04.163Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Er, really? every thing i've read in the books indicates that quirrel was NOT a horcrux, but was posessed by the central voldemort who had previously been possessing snakes...or any other animal he could get ahold of.

So it was probably a blunder on her part when she said that quirrel was a horcrux, IF she said that.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T16:00:05.141Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Having looked into this, it appears that Harry was "technically" not a Horcrux, due to being an accident rather than prepared with the correct rituals; while Quirrel simply contained the soul fragment that was "original" Voldemort, temporarily.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-19T06:35:28.330Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

How does that tie into the numerology? It's stated that Voldemort wanted to have seven total shards of his soul - Riddle himself, diary, cup, diadem, snake, ring, and locket. Seems like she's contradicting herself.

comment by fractalman · 2013-08-23T04:15:52.226Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He DID want 7 total fragments. Then he accidentally turned harry into one and didn't realize he'd done so. I can't quit recall if he made nagini before or after the diary got zapped.

Quirrel is not a horcrux. he is possessed by voldemort himself.

Cannon Harry is an Accidental horcrux. Canon voldemort never realized harry was a horcrux BECAUSE he'd never used the incantation to seal the soul fragment within harry.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-23T06:50:00.651Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Quirrel is not a horcrux. he is possessed

This is my point.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-08-19T02:55:20.159Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-19T03:43:08.106Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Last paragraph of this Pottermore screenshot describes him as an 'effective horcrux' I presume because he's possessed by the remaining part of Voldemort's soul.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-19T04:00:04.177Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Effective" is not the same as "actual." Quirrel wasn't a horcrux in the sense that Harry or Nagini were horcruxes, even with what she's saying there. She just meant to say that Quirrel was like a horcrux. No ritual was done to make him into a horcrux.

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-19T04:13:13.310Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not the same; agreed. However, there was no ritual done to Harry!Horcrux in JKR-canon either.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-19T05:55:53.976Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think the idea was that with Harry the requirements of the ritual were fulfilled, though accidentally. One of those requirements is the death of an innocent.

But the HP wiki says that there's some kind of incantation that goes along with it, so that's either optional or... whatever. It seems to be like the Goblet of Fire portkey. The rule is the rule except when it isn't.

The biggest difference between Harry-as-horcrux and Quirrel-as-horcrux is that Voldemort doesn't seem to have killed anyone (as far as we know) to possess Quirrel. So even if Harry might have accidentally become a horcrux, Quirrel didn't, although he might have served the same purpose a horcrux does in "keeping the soul anchored to the mortal world."

I'm definitely not trying to argue that these things are consistent here, though. The point is that when people say something is "effectively" something else, they mean "practically" or "almost" rather than "actually." Unless someone finds some corpus data that suggests that Rowling's dialect (or, hell, her ideolect might be workable since she HAS written several rather large books) has a different usage...

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-21T15:57:52.395Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think the idea was that with Harry the requirements of the ritual were fulfilled, though accidentally. One of those requirements is the death of an innocent.

In HPMOR, maybe (I think so, anyway). Rowling has stated that her version of the ritual is lengthy, and involves hings that made her ... publisher, I think? ... throw up.

comment by mjr · 2013-08-15T20:35:31.656Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm only coming up with Hermione having perhaps been replaced by a certain escapee.

comment by Manfred · 2013-08-15T18:50:48.374Z · score: 4 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Bellatrix black, I assume.

comment by JTHM · 2013-08-15T20:22:24.031Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

For those of you confused by this comment: I believe Manfred assumes Lucius suspected that Hermione was replaced by a polyjuiced Bellatrix Black. Lucius implies that he believes Harry to be a de-powered Voldemort in their discussion at the train station, and also believes Harry to be behind the rescue of Bellatrix from Azkaban. If you rescued your powerful minion, you would want to keep her close about you for your own protection and to accomplish tasks beyond your magical abilities. Hermione Granger is known to associate with Harry Potter, so she would be the ideal candidate for someone to replace with Bellatrix.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-15T18:56:32.959Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't understand. Lucius thought that Harrymort wanted to bring up Hermione as his new Bella?

comment by Kindly · 2013-08-15T19:04:19.292Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or that Hermione was possessed by Bellatrix in the same way that Harry Potter was presumably possessed by Voldemort.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-15T19:35:49.284Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That makes no sense. First, Bellatrix is not dead (or whatever state Voldemort is in). Second, she could have had no contact with Hermione before escaping Azkaban.

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2013-08-15T20:07:39.807Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Lucius thinks in terms of plots within schemes within intrigues; he does not necessarily assume that the body in Azkaban belongs to the real Bellatrix Black, or that the escape was real.

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-16T02:18:58.553Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That she is Bellatrix Black? That... doesn't quite make sense...

comment by fractalman · 2013-08-23T04:22:58.166Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It makes sense enough, if you already believed Harry Potter was voldemort and don't have harry's perspective.

comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-08-15T21:06:45.582Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

To save her in order to use her as Voldemort used Bellatrix, to bind her to him with the bonds of love as Voldemort did, because she was a powerful witch to be used as a tool.

Hence the bloodthirst comment.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-15T04:03:21.715Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Two things made me confused in this chapter.

First, the false dichotomy: it is obviously unlikely for Lucius to not know that Draco was framed, and yet kill Hermione - it presumes two people capable of evading and manipulating Hogwart's wards - but why is it unlikely for him to have not known, and also not been responsible for killing her?

(A caveat is that whatever the answer is, it needs to make sense from the perspective of a random person reading the Daily Prophet.)

The second: what is Harry's plot with the pen, or alternatively with whatever's happening as Lucius signs the paper? What is he really up to here?

comment by DanielLC · 2013-08-15T04:13:16.981Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

unlikely for him to have not known, and also not been responsible for killing her?

It's unlikely for him to currently not know, and also not be responsible for killing her, since the fact that she was murdered shortly afterwards shows that someone wanted her dead, and is powerful evidence that she was framed.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-15T04:29:08.631Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Neeevermind. Reread that section. Fair enough.

comment by gwern · 2013-08-15T15:20:17.850Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

and is powerful evidence that she was framed.

Reminds me a little of Komponisto's argument about the Amanda Knox case: to show that she and Raffael killed Meredith, it is sufficient to show that they tried to cover up her murder by faking a breakin: http://lesswrong.com/lw/35d/inherited_improbabilities_transferring_the_burden/

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-22T18:01:25.897Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, that's how Encyclopedia Brown solves all his cases.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-15T04:25:07.060Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, yes. But that's not the context - it's something that Lucius' fans could figure out - Harry says that "they can't have it both ways, either Lucius knew she was framed at the time or killed Hermione."

comment by Benquo · 2013-08-20T01:32:52.810Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

but why is it unlikely for him to have not known, and also not been responsible for killing her?

The point is not what he knew then, but what he knows now. If he didn't kill Hermione, someone else did. Whatever would motivate someone to kill Hermione is very likely to motivate them to frame her and get her sent to Azkaban, and require the same ability to evade the Hogwarts wards. So if Lucius did not kill Hermione, this is strong evidence that she was framed. Contrapositively, if Lucius still denies that Hermione was framed, that is a tacit admission that he probably killed her.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-15T08:58:26.938Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So that's interesting.

Bar yvar tbg erzbirq sebz gur svp:

Nyzbfg tbg zr gurer, Yhpvhf.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-08-15T16:19:23.885Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That line confused me - I think we were expected to draw a lot of subtle inferences to figure out why it would make sense in this context.

On a side note, it is really jarring not to know everything Harry knows this late in the game. I always just read the third-person point of view as a matter of convenience, and accepted that we were fully immersed into the head of the current speaker. This distant outsiders' perspective ("I've done some research", "I have a plan") is making it really hard for me to draw conclusions.

It's also showing me just how much I relied on Harry running me through all the steps of some ridiculously complicated deduction. I wonder - does having a character who is both very intelligent and very honest mean that the reader has to be significantly less intelligent and active to follow along?

comment by falenas108 · 2013-08-15T16:44:21.938Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I figured that referred to him changing the wording of the contract, from exonerated.

comment by Larks · 2013-08-18T00:45:08.997Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The pen is dirty; the dirt, now on Lucius's hands is something lethal, transfigured. Harry can of course just wash his own hands.

comment by pjeby · 2013-08-18T18:34:54.505Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The pen is dirty; the dirt, now on Lucius's hands is something lethal, transfigured. Harry can of course just wash his own hands.

That is not at all sane; the same dirt would be equally lethal to Harry, and Draco, and anyone else the pen or those people's hands encounter.

comment by gwern · 2013-08-18T19:32:54.300Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

My trouble with this theory is not that the dirt is lethal - after all, Harry has already decided Lucius's life is forfeit the moment he ceases to cooperate and that could happen at any time, contract or not contract, signing just means Lucius doesn't die soon - but rather that it seems like an extremely risky booby trap which could blow up (literally) the moment someone casts a finite-incantatem (which could happen anywhere by anyone for any reason), and it's actually more than a little suspicious if the ultra-high-security Gringotts meeting room where everyone is supposedly disarmed didn't involve a precaution like eliminating any transfigurations...

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-19T02:07:22.582Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thief's Downfall probably does this.

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-19T14:10:50.509Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You know, I'm suddenly starting to see why goblins aren't allowed wands.

  • Compare what we've seen of Gringotts and Hogwarts security, given that the latter arguably contains the more valuable resource.

  • IIRC, there is such a thing as "goblin nations", meaning they've managed to preserve national sovereignty despite being being as inferior in magic to their oppressors as the Native Americans were in technology. And despite starting a number of wars (the Goblin Rebellions) against said oppressors.

  • They hold exclusive control over Britain's only bank, and this goes unquestioned by the general public.

  • They can already legally hire wizards to do magic for them (cf. Bill Weasley, Curse-Breaker for Gringotts).

The fact that spellcasting is an enormous force multiplier in battle (free teleportation, perfect camouflage, armour-piercing hexes...) may be the only reason why they're not already the master race.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-22T18:20:03.688Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In canon, Thief's Downfall undoes transfigurations.

comment by Larks · 2013-08-19T17:13:30.890Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry washes his hands as soon as he leaves the room (or even cuts off his hand!) and then undoes the transfiguration before Lucius has a chance to do the same.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2013-08-20T18:52:44.527Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That would be stupid. Come on.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-22T18:20:38.967Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In canon, Thief's Downfall undoes transfigurations.

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-22T19:32:05.623Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Do you have an example of this happening?

comment by gattsuru · 2013-08-22T20:10:10.213Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ron's disguise in the book 7 Gringrotts break-in was a transfiguration (as contrasted to the polyjuice used by Hermoine), and explicitly removed by Thief's Downfall. It's not clear that Rational!Harry's transfiguration operates by the same rules as conventional ones, and could have been stored in some way to protect against exposure, but this provides both narrative and practical evidence against the theory.

I expect that point of the pen is to demonstrate to Lord Malfoy that a) Harry is a man of his word, and thus his words are worth examining, and b) Harry is a man of /exactly/ his word, and thus worth respecting.

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-23T04:00:54.103Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thank you!

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-23T13:00:57.450Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I expect that point of the pen is to demonstrate to Lord Malfoy that a) Harry is a man of his word, and thus his words are worth examining, and b) Harry is a man of /exactly/ his word, and thus worth respecting.

It occurs to me that for a normal person "his words are worth examining" and "worth respecting" would be the other way round in that sentence.

comment by ygert · 2013-08-15T03:35:32.172Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A short time later Harry Potter handed his wand over to an armored goblin guard who frisked him with all manner of interesting-looking probes,

Huh. With all the "the goblins aren't allowed to have wands" stuff, I wouldn't expect that this is how they'd have done it. It is true that all in all, the goblins couldn't do all that much of practical value with the borrowed wands of those in Gringotts meetings, but still... It means that the prohibition on goblins using wands is far from absolute.

comment by fubarobfusco · 2013-08-15T07:16:53.089Z · score: 15 (17 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You have to spend time practicing with a wand in order to effectively use one. This is like handing your laptop to someone who's literally never used a computer or even a keyboard before — they aren't going to guess your password and read your email; they'll have a hard enough time knowing what parts do something.

comment by JTHM · 2013-08-15T13:17:39.015Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Canon contradicts you: In book four, the house-elf Winky was able to conjure the dark mark with the use of a wand despite presumably never having wielded one before.

comment by Jadagul · 2013-08-15T14:03:16.836Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I believe this is a misreading; Winky was there, but the Dark Mark was cast by Barry Crouch Jr. From the climax of Book 4, towards the end of Chapter 35:

I wanted to attack them for their disloyalty to my master. My father had left the tent; he had gone to free the Muggles. Winky was afraid to see me so angry. She used her own brand of magic to bind me to her. She pulled me from the tent, pulled me into the forest, away from the Death Eaters. I tried to hold her back. I wanted to return to the campsite. I wanted to show those Death Eaters what loyalty to the Dark Lord meant, and to punish them for their lack of it. I used the stolen wand to cast the Dark Mark into the sky.

comment by JTHM · 2013-08-15T18:23:18.715Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You are entirely correct. I mis-remembered the events of book four.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-22T17:58:51.933Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This still shows us that people found it plausible that Winky cast a spell using a wand. (Of course, these were far from disinterested people, plus people are stupider in canon.)

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-23T13:02:46.722Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't even want to come up with a list of things the general population thought plausible at various points in canon; it would be too depressing.

comment by atorm · 2013-08-15T14:04:04.905Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wasn't it the invisible Barty Crouch who did the conjuration?

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-15T13:53:04.218Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

While this is true, Winky is not a representative case for magical creatures in general, since house elves are powerful magic-users in their own right (though admittedly their magic doesn't appear spell-based).

comment by kilobug · 2013-08-16T07:48:01.960Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The prohibition is on using (and owning, I think), not holding wands. You can put wands in your Gringotts vault, ask an House Elf to bring you your wand, ... but goblins or elves aren't allowed to use wands. If they try to do it was a borrowed wand, I doubt it would go unnoticed for long. There is "priori incantatem" to check how a wand was last used for, and there may be global spells like the Trace that will warn the ministry if a magical creature uses wands.

comment by Creutzer · 2013-08-16T08:26:17.998Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by Benquo · 2013-08-28T12:49:07.455Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, Slytherin and Ravenclaw may both "win" the house cup now. But how is this going to result in the removal of the Snitch? A security measure?

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-28T17:48:51.544Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And how is it going to be credited to a cunning plot by the Defense Professor, when he had no part in the current initiative?

comment by Benquo · 2013-08-29T20:33:17.955Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A true Slytherin never reveals the secrets of how he did it. The fact that he made the promise, and then the outcome happened, will be sufficient.

comment by kilobug · 2013-08-28T18:29:17.089Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If he's the one who attacked Hermione and framed her, it could be said that he was planning for Hogwarts uniting itself. In fact, seeing his previous speech where he wanted Magical Britain to unite under a dictatorship, it would perfect sense for him to do so.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-28T21:05:06.480Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But he's not going to explain to his students, at the end of the year, that that was the cunning plot that he had promised them. Think of the legacy he wants to leave behind as the greatest Defense Professor in history!

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2013-08-15T15:23:24.342Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I do not know if this is widespread, but I've always been confused by how Legilimency is used. I thought it was used only to read minds, and again, in this chapter, it is mentioned that Dumbledore Legilimensed Hermione as though this explained something. Reading this explained it for me.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-15T09:42:51.986Z · score: 4 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The fourth is a catchall category called Everything Else."

Harry has been reading his Jaynes, keeping a "something else" alternative hypothesis.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-15T09:30:19.491Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I like that Harry's gloves have come off, and he's planning on making full use of transfiguration as a weapon. About time.

Harry had by now caught the general rhythm of Professor Quirrell's cynicism and was able to generate it independently.

Lot's of Quirrellness coming out.

comment by TrE · 2013-08-15T10:16:36.577Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And bear in mind that sulfuric acid is only one possibility among several!

Liquid oxygen, which is also pretty easy to produce or acquire, expands quite a bit when it evaporates, and rapidly oxidizes all of your pretty organic chemistry. If you could ship enough liquid oxygen (transfigured into something else) inside a human, they would burn and explode when the transfiguration wears off.

Botulinum toxin was also mentioned in the fic and is the weapon of choice for DIY genocide.

Pyrophoric substances, transfigured and then finely ground, will start burning in an oxygen-containing atmosphere.

Obtain nuclear weapons material (the hard part) and transfigure several subcritical pieces into iron, assemble them to give one large ball, drop it (or bury it underground), and run.

Certainly not all of these are practical, but all of them sound awesome.

comment by Dreaded_Anomaly · 2013-08-16T03:57:48.749Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

We could just run through the whole list of Things I Won't Work With.

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-17T08:56:00.109Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

prolonged scream

comment by monsterzero · 2013-08-17T00:28:16.627Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thank you for that link. I particularly enjoyed reading about "Azidoazide Azides, More Or Less".

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-08-19T03:00:52.510Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The compound exploded in solution, it exploded on any attempts to touch or move the solid, and (most interestingly) it exploded when they were trying to get an infrared spectrum of it.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-08-15T20:43:15.880Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Chlorine trifluoride?

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-08-19T03:01:41.864Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's been done, in Dungeon Keeper Ami.

comment by somervta · 2013-08-16T01:34:27.969Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd like to think that Harry isn't crazy enough to play with ClF3.

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-16T05:07:27.880Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

(...but we know he is.)

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-18T19:36:38.420Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Get Fred and George to transfigure half a supercritical sphere of nuclearbombium each (lasts a few hours), transfigure Freds into the same shape made of lead (lasts maybe half an hour), combine them into a sphere and teleport away with the phoenix that plan undeniably earned. (Yes, I know it was said everyone gets only one chance for a phoenix and Harry failed his)

comment by bogdanb · 2013-08-28T22:13:49.938Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also: Metallic sodium and potassium, as well as phosphorus, are quite reactive with human tissue. For bonus points you can make a mixed projectile with two transfigurations, e.g. a core transfigured from ice surrounded by a shell transfigured from sodium, which will explode once the two transfigurations end.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-17T01:40:07.028Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm morbidly curious to know what forms of genocide aren't DIY genocide...

comment by TrE · 2013-08-17T06:06:28.080Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The Holocaust, the Bosnian genocide and the Rwandan genocide I would not consider "DIY" genocide since they weren't the result of a single human's actions, but required support from their society. In contrast, a single competent evil (or mad) wizard is, as Harry put it, an extinction event.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-19T15:56:24.661Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, just to clarify, by DIY you mean one person effects the entire genocide rather than many people personally involved in the genocide, doing the killing themselves. In a sense, the Y in your DIY is singular, and the Y in mine is plural.

Also, my general schema of "DIY" is that it's a cheaper but more difficult alternative to the normal approach--which usually involves hiring someone to do your project for you or buying a ready-made product. Since most genocides tend to be executed the hard way-- you can't buy genocide in a box, although some chemical weapons might come close-- I felt that genocide is fundamentally a DIY project. It's just a ... fun ... project for the whole community, rather than one person. Like building a playground. That kills people. (This is going to a very bad place isn't it?)

I'm able to accept your definition of DIY, though I still prefer to think that genocides require a certain degree of personal agency from its participants and that second person pronouns can be plural.

comment by monsterzero · 2013-08-15T12:20:32.283Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fulminated mercury.

Edited to add: Sorry, been rewatching old Breaking Bad. You'd have to trick them into chewing it or something, wouldn't you?

comment by bogdanb · 2013-08-28T22:42:25.668Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think the rapid expansion when the transfiguration ends would be enough to set it off.

comment by TrE · 2013-08-15T14:02:43.104Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, for the first two of my suggestions, the victim would need to have ingested or inhaled that stuff. So smoke would probably also work. Though I wouldn't want to be nearby in that scenario.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-15T17:08:30.400Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Honestly, I'm more worried about this. See the Ethical Injunction mini-Sequence.

There are options now available to him that genuinely are more powerful, but... even Harry makes mistakes, and even Harry falls prey to overconfidence sometimes.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-16T09:11:55.949Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've never been impressed by the Ethical Injunction business. It seems a "get out of unpleasant implications of my explicit moral claims free" card.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-16T18:44:12.934Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not really. Ethical Injunctions really mean "design an AI to do this, but don't do it yourself because you're probably wrong."

It's entirely possible to create a problem involving an epistemic state a human can't hold: see Pascal's Muggle.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2013-08-18T08:56:16.645Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)


Pascal's Muggle

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-18T20:12:44.393Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's a real thing. Look it up. It's basically the symmetric problem to Pascal's Mugger.

comment by gjm · 2013-08-19T09:06:19.931Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In a slightly eccentric sense of the word "real".

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-19T18:44:56.209Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

As in "well-known idea, not specific to myself."

comment by undermind · 2013-08-15T18:53:51.622Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Counterpoint: it appears that Harry is now serious about using Transfiguration as a weapon. However, he has not recently been considering very much else, meaning that he has fewer backups than perhaps he should, in the case where someone counters his Transfigurations (e.g. with good shields, or casting finite on Harry before a fight).

comment by EndlessStrategy · 2013-08-18T21:23:27.838Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't quite understand: why is Draco so upset in this chapter? Is it because he's playing the role his father expects of him? It's not like he obtained any new information about what Harry was trying to do since the Self Actualization chapters. He already knew that he was being manipulated to give up blood purity. So what's the issue?

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-19T02:38:44.223Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Up until then, he thought Harry accidentally took his belief in blood purism from him, along with his ability to become a faithful Death Eater. Now Lord Malfoy has told him that no such belief-sacrificing rituals exist, and Draco realizes that it was no accident and not everything that Harry taught Draco about how the world works (existence of Scientific Rituals) was true.

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-19T13:48:00.736Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

How would Lord Malfoy be able to refute the existence of Scientific Rituals?

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-19T19:32:48.579Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

We don't know, but it is quite likely that he did since the lies/tricks-exchange, containing this:

What I told you was a self-fulfilling prophecy; you believed that you couldn't deceive yourself, so you didn't try.

clearly can only have referred to Harry telling Draco that he doesn't believe in Blood Purism anymore, and Draco must have figured that one out somehow.

comment by cultureulterior · 2013-08-26T10:48:23.806Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What steps has Harry taken to investigate the characters of those killed by Voldemort? You'd think that he'd kill/order killed, in particular, people that he did not care to have around in his future realm, once he took power. I'm assuming that the Dark Mark comes with its own self-destruct switch, so he does not have make sure any Death Eater dies. People killed by Death Eaters in self defence do not count.

This might explain why, for example, he did not kill Dumbledore, or any of the truly awesome people in the OOTP (Moody, et al), because he knew that they would be reasonable subjects.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-08-23T00:16:51.757Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It occurs to me to wonder if Dementors=death can be tested experimentally by bringing a dementor into the Hall of Prophecy. Of course, if the Dementor isn't attacked by orbs about death, that could mean that there aren't any death-prophecies, they only react to Death rather than a single wound in the world, or something else; but if a dementor does run into a prophecy that is about death, that would determine that the hall recognizes them as death for the purposes of prophecies.

(Alternatively: if prophecies about something different, such as fear / depression / whatever show up, that'd be pretty strong evidence against.)

comment by bogdanb · 2013-08-28T20:26:43.986Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think the orbs only come to people (things that think, and can make decisions), and it’s not clear Dementors pass that test. (In particular, Harry leans against that hypothesis. He’s certainly not infallible, but he’s basically the best expert on the subject whose thoughts we have access to.)

Otherwise prophecies mentioning things like life, wands and clothes would attack everyone.

comment by JTHM · 2013-08-15T18:20:27.334Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If Harry Potter already had the contract written before going into Gringotts, how did Moody's eye not see it? I suppose it is possible that Moody's eye cannot see into the folded space of Harry's pouch, but Harry has no reason to assume as much, and is smart enough not to take the risk. And whether or not Moody can see into folded pouch-space, this line makes no sense at all: "Moody paused as his Eye caught sight of the second half of the document as Harry Potter slowly, as though reluctantly, began to unfold the top upward." Moody's eye can easily see through mere paper. Why would he be able to see only the unfolded portion of the document?

This chapter would make a lot more sense if Harry committed the wording of the contract to memory beforehand and wrote it down at the meeting, and if McGonagall or Dumbledore was escorting Harry, not Moody.

comment by William_Quixote · 2013-08-16T00:22:46.440Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Does the eye of Vance have infinite zoom or does it just see in all direction through all objects? I can't read small print that's on a piece of paper 8 feet away from me even if I have a clear view of it.

comment by somervta · 2013-08-16T01:42:15.575Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But it would make him suspicious to see Harry carrying paper (with words already written on it - he may carry paper around as a matter of course)

comment by undermind · 2013-08-15T19:10:35.985Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's even worse than this; Harry did not have his pouch as he went in.

A plausible response is that Harry wrote it out during the waiting period before the Malfoys entered.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-08-19T01:21:28.556Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wait, even if he did write it in the meeting room, can't the Eye of Vance see through walls?

Now I want to know what exactly the limit of Moody's superpower is. How far can the Eye see in every direction? How many barriers can it see through? How far can it "zoom", if at all? To what resolution? Can the Eye read fine print from 1000 feet away?

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-19T02:41:29.387Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry promptly reached into his robes and drew out a parchment, unfolding it and spreading it across the golden table. "I've taken the liberty myself, actually," Harry said. He'd spent some careful hours in the Hogwarts library with the law books available.


comment by Velorien · 2013-08-19T13:50:16.164Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Technically, that quote doesn't say where he wrote it. It just says he did his research first.

comment by JTHM · 2013-08-15T20:28:15.453Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah, you're right. This raises the question: is this a plot hole, or is Eliezer giving us a subtle hint that the person we think is Moody was in fact someone polyjuiced as Moody, without the real Eye of Vance?

comment by undermind · 2013-08-16T00:59:58.764Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Now you're just being paranoid.

Which is totally appropriate.


comment by snafoo · 2013-08-16T22:03:16.503Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by fezziwig · 2013-08-19T14:46:59.210Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"What the crap" is also not a very Moody-like exclamation.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-08-20T20:04:51.691Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

...That's a very Harry-like exclamation. But I don't think even HJPEV could manage to replace Mad-Eye Moody with a Polyjuiced and Time-Turned version of himself. But then again, this whole chapter was in distant third person, and we don't know what Harry knows or how he knows it...

comment by gjm · 2013-08-20T23:54:26.213Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I could OTOH easily imagine him saying "What the hell" instead.

comment by bramflakes · 2013-08-17T13:08:23.693Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why would he be able to see only the unfolded portion of the document?

Because in the folded parts, the words would be all on top of each other and difficult to make out. Take a sheet of transparent cellulose acetate and write some words on it, roll it up, then try to make out what the words say.

comment by ygert · 2013-08-28T16:33:45.359Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So... Draco in Leather Pants? Or Draco as Leather Pants? Awesome.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-08-28T09:17:23.192Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Observations from Chapter 98:

  • We might have an answer for what the twins and Floom did to scam Rita Skeeter soon, since Harry just pointed the twins back toward that chain (I'm still betting on Gildaroy Lockheart as the Memorymancer, but Lockheart is probably a terrible candidate for smuggling whatever scary muggle equipment Harry wants).
  • I think Daphne has joined Susan in the "SPHEW girls who are not useless comic relief" camp. (Padma can probably outrational both of them, but she doesn't appear to be doing anything useful at the moment. Susan did exactly the sort of thing Harry would have done during SA (see Harry's strategy against Moody in 86 Vs Susan recruiting Tonks).) I don't expect them to be competing with the powerful male characters any time soon, but at least they're doing something and can probably keep it up even if Harry and Draco go off to do something more explody.
  • Lord Jugson has been built up as an irredeemable bastard (he was the one who brought up Azkaban at Hermione's trial, is all but confirmed as a Death Eater, and in spite of most certainly being a political enemy of Dumbledore, opposed the security measures put forth by Harry's coalition... and his son beats up 11 year old girls, though his approval of that isn't outright stated anywhere). I can see four likely fates for him, if he isn't ignored outright; two of them involve Harry or one of his allies being some kinda master manipulater (n spite of leaving Jugson out in the current plotting--maybe there was a reason for that beyond Lord Jugson just not being on board?), the others look rather unpleasant for Lord Jugson (and involve less manipulation and more pain and possible humiliation).
  • I'm not the only one whose first reaction upon Daphne encountering the figure in silver was "Hermione!". (Other reactions I went through were "A ghost (the bloody Barron maybe?)?" and "Hat-and-Cloak?")
  • Dumbledore is not having a good year. Odds that it will get better for him in the final arc are quite slim, so far as I can tell. Still wish I hadn't forgotten that wonderful idea on how him setting fire to a chicken made sense.

I certainly don't expect Harry to be going on a Horcrux hunt in the final arc, though. That took one giant book in canon--that after two had already been destroyed in two separate preceeding books--so I'm counting it unlikely that Voldemort gets wiped out by the end, barring epilogs (including "leaving the Pioneer Plaque alone" endings). But from the looks of it, Voldemort is about to get what he wanted anyway, so the more important questions are whether Harry gets what he wants, and how many stars get torn apart in the process. And how steep the escalation curve for this arc will be; it almost has to escalate as quickly as things did from 87 to 88. All of which is to say "Give me three chapters for Christmas plz". (Which, of course, is internet for "Very good, Author! Have a (secretly IQ-boosting) cookie!")

comment by Larks · 2013-08-18T00:49:26.244Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why did Harry admit he had a pen he could use? He wasted his advantageous bargaining position. Perhaps poison.

Also, Harry seems to have lost a lot in this chapter. All he's gotten out of Malfoy

  • Some debt cancelled he cares not for
  • Agreement that Draco will be King

but Lucius already wanted Draco to be King! On top of that, Harry has given away much information:

  • That he isn't Voldermort
  • That Dumbledore gave him a special weapon
  • That he manipulated Draco

and Draco can attest to these under Veritaserum!

comment by drethelin · 2013-08-18T02:36:16.215Z · score: 25 (25 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Giving away the information that you're NOT voldemort is actually pretty useful when you're trying to cooperate with people

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-08-18T04:30:38.489Z · score: 9 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Erm, he also got 40,000 Galleons.

comment by Larks · 2013-08-18T10:42:10.002Z · score: 5 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A trifling amount of money by muggle standards, even if he didn't have the arbitrage trick, or the ability to make arbitrarily large amounts of money using the time-turner on FX markets.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-18T16:35:09.529Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He doesn't have to explain where the money came from, and the tricks you named require starting capital.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-08-18T20:33:37.129Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It was also unclear to me that Harry could take enough gold from the wizard economy to wind up with 100,000 galleons (even in sickles) without someone noticing and perhaps interfering. And that ignores the problem of leaving Hogwarts.

comment by drethelin · 2013-08-20T17:39:41.763Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would wager that neither of those methods would actually work. We know that quirrel, snape, and other very intelligent wizards know both about the muggle world and about time turners. An idea about Arbitrage harry had within a few days of finding out about the ENTIRE wizarding world is extremely unlikely to have never been thought of. Harry is able to come up with new techniques and things no wizard would come up with but things like partial transfiguration took him days and are extremely non-obvious. Plans to make millions upon millions of dollars are something people have all the time.

Another important concern: Be careful what you call a "trifling" amount of money. You can get a LOT MORE done with a hundred thousand dollars than you can with zero dollars. You can hire bodyguards, you can rent a house, you can buy equipment, there are a vast world of things you can do that are prohibitively expensive without needing to be bill gates. We talk about vast amounts a lot when we're talking effective altruism and existential risk ending but Harry's not fighting to end hunger, he's simply fighting a relatively small-scale war.

comment by fractalman · 2013-08-23T04:49:44.713Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He gets it NOW. without having to run a risky feedback scheme between gringots and the muggle economy with only 100 galleons of seed money.

comment by cultureulterior · 2013-08-19T21:08:04.123Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But not in a particularly interesting way

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-20T15:02:12.316Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He got Lucius Malfoy to give him a huge sum of money in exchange for admitting something true at no cost to himself, and gained goodwill from Lucius in the process (which set up for his subsequent conditional alliance), and probably left Lucius feeling he'd got the better side of the deal. All in a matter of minutes.

Personally, I find that somewhat more interesting than half a chapter of watching Harry mess about with economics.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-08-18T06:41:05.194Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

They actually agreed that if Dumbledore gets removed because of Harry, then Draco Malfoy will take power when he comes of age. This replaces a strong position for Lucius with something less predictable.

comment by tadrinth · 2013-08-19T18:42:39.249Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He got Lucius to agree to proposed next steps which we don't know about and secured an alliance with House Malfoy.

Also, when he added the bit about exonerating House Malfoy, he showed Lucious one wording, then wrote down his original wording. He might have changed something important, and Lucius might not have noticed.

comment by Benquo · 2013-08-19T18:59:07.482Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That seems like exactly the sort of thing Lucius Malfoy would be sure to notice, and even if it weren't, it wouldn't be worth the risk.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-08-27T22:21:16.724Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If Draco speaks under Versitaserum that Harry successfully manipulated him into disbelieving in blood puritythat's not something that Lucius wants to happen.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-08-28T20:36:23.803Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

and Draco can attest to these under Veritaserum!

Technically speaking, Draco can only attest that Harry claimed those things. (Harry’s an Occlumens, and the way Occlumency works in MoR implies that an Occlumens is very good at lying. So he can plausibly claim that he lied to his enemies.)

I don’t remember, does Eliezer allow unbreakable vows, or are those nerfed in MoR like Felix Felicis? Because I’m pretty sure even an Occlumens can’t lie if he vows to say the truth without suffering the penalty.

comment by Dentin · 2013-09-07T18:08:01.529Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

IIRC unbreakable vows require some large, permanent sacrifice of magical power and as such are fairly rare in HPMoR.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-09-09T08:21:46.862Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You’re right, I remember now.

Hmm, it still sounds like they should be used more often. If you’re falsely accused and about to be condemned to Azkhaban, wouldn’t you sacrifice a portion on of your magic if it could compel your accuser to confess? As corrupt as the Wizengamot is, it should still happen on occasion.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-08-15T18:52:52.264Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, would someone explain to me the exonerate/indemnify subplot? I don't understand the drama over the wording first being "indemnify" and then later changing to "exonerate" even after Harry makes it sound like Malfoy was pulling a fast one by suggesting "exonerate".

EDIT: I misread the relevant sentence. Harry originally wrote "exonerate", not "indemnify." It seems likely writing the latter would have given Malfoy room to claim compensation at a later date.

comment by thomblake · 2013-08-15T19:36:46.253Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Theoretically, indemnity implies compensation which makes the person indemnified as well-off as they would have been before the harm occurred. At the least, this change could have later been construed as a debt owed to Malfoy from Potter.

comment by jefftk (jkaufman) · 2013-08-15T19:20:22.198Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Malfoy: "Good enough, I suppose. Though to have the proper meaning, you should use the legal term indemnify rather than exonerate -"

Potter: "Nice try, but no. I know exactly what that word means, Lord Malfoy."

The word is "exonerate" in Potter's prepared text, Malfoy suggests "indemnify" as if it's a legal term that means the same thing, Potter rejects this and stays with "exonerate".

There's probably something tricky Malfoy could do with "indemnify", but looking up their definitions it's not obvious to me:


  1. (esp. of an official body) Absolve (someone) from blame for a fault or wrongdoing, esp. after due consideration of the case.

  2. Release someone from (a duty or obligation).


  1. Compensate (someone) for harm or loss: "insurance carried to indemnify the owner for loss".

  2. Secure (someone) against legal responsibility for their actions.

comment by Benquo · 2013-08-15T19:36:21.414Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Indemnify applies to future evidence as well, and possibly to future actions.

comment by JoachimSchipper · 2013-08-15T21:04:27.995Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Unless I am badly mistaken, indemnify would mean that Harry has to pay etc. if e.g. Dumbledore decides to demand recompense of his own. (Note that Dumbledore may well have similar power over her as he has over Harry himself.)

This is obviously much worse than just giving up his own claim ("exonerate").

comment by William_Quixote · 2013-08-15T22:37:48.749Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Exonerate means hold not responsible for. Indemnify mean cover all costs incurred in relation to. So Lucious was trying to trick Harry in to covering any costs incurred by the Malfoy family in relation to this case. Harry obviously wants no part of LM's legal fees.

comment by Kindly · 2013-08-15T19:09:28.425Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's not quite that confusing: Malfoy suggests "indemnify" rather than "exonerate", and Harry refuses, and in the end it is kept "exonerate".

I'm not sure what the difference between the two means. I think in Muggle law the term "indemnify" suggests some sort of monetary compensation, while "exonerate" does not, but this doesn't quite make sense. I don't think it will be relevant to the plot, however. Just a minor detail to show us that Harry did his homework.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-08-15T19:32:28.591Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh, I must have read that line backwards. I thought Malfoy was suggesting "exonerate".

Just a minor detail to show us that Harry did his homework.

I don't know, it could be relevant wrt to the deleted line (see rot13 in another thread).

comment by [deleted] · 2013-08-16T22:25:07.353Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't know why everyone is making this so complicated. Basically, the two words have opposite meanings. In context, "exonerate" means "absolve of", "indemnify" means "secure against". So in the original contract, the clause gets Harry off the hook, while Lucius' suggestion would change the meaning to have Harry still liable. He's just trying his luck because Harry is 11 and might not know big words.

comment by Kindly · 2013-08-16T22:49:07.924Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry's not on the hook. The wording of the document is "exonerate House Malfoy of any involvement in Hermione Granger's death". Nobody's suggesting Harry should be exonerated of anything; this clause benefits the Malfoys only, and presumably "indemnify" would benefit them more.

comment by pjeby · 2013-08-17T15:57:30.594Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Off the hook for the debt, in exchange for the exoneration. Indemnification would just replace Harry's debt with another form of debt.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-15T18:05:30.531Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

[...] with Moody's bright-blue eye rotating wildly in every direction, as though to signal to any possible attacker that he was On Guard and Constantly Vigilant

Why does he advertise it? Why not hide it behind an eyepatch, as a secret advantage in a fight?

comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-08-15T19:03:00.910Z · score: 18 (18 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He does hide it. In the part in the graveyard where he is talking to Snape while they are poisoning Riddle Sr's grave, he keeps spinning around, despite the fact that the eye lets him see 360 degrees regardless of where it is pointing.

If he's escorting Potter around, everyone KNOWS he'd be on high alert, so they expect to see the thing whizzing around. Then they expect that when it isn't whizzing around, it means he can't see behind him.

And when they try to exploit that, that's how he catches them.

comment by Kindly · 2013-08-16T13:34:52.642Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's somewhat like the reason the Dark Mark isn't always invisible. People will look for a weakness to exploit, so before they find one you should provide them with a fake one.

(If the Dark Mark were invisible and Moody wore an eyepatch, you'd just look for a different avenue of attack.)

comment by undermind · 2013-08-15T19:06:41.532Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You miss the point - he is still hiding it. The eye provides full 360-degree vision at all times, but few people know this, so he maintains an appearance of some level of vigilance.

This means that anyone who sees him respond quickly to a threat (i.e. evidence of vigilance) will have an immediate explanation of how he was able to do so (being vigilant), and not look beyond it to find out the extent of his abilities.

Quite well thought out, really.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-08-15T18:39:38.730Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It seems to already be widely known among magical Britain what his noble phantasm is. (Curiously, this didn't seem to be the case in canon -- the Eye doesn't even have a name there -- but Moody is still not sufficiently cautious about it there.)

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-15T18:40:23.804Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It wouldn't have been known if he always had hidden it behind an eyepatch. People need not even suspect that there was anything other than a missing eye.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-08-15T18:48:49.808Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

When Alastor Moody had lost his eye, he had commandeered the services of a most erudite Ravenclaw, Samuel H. Lyall, whom Moody mistrusted slightly less than average because Moody had refrained from reporting him as an unregistered werewolf; and he had paid Lyall to compile a list of every known magical eye, and every known hint to their location.

When Moody had gotten the list back, he hadn't bothered reading most of it; because at the top of the list was the Eye of Vance, dating back to an era before Hogwarts, and currently in the possession of a powerful Dark Wizard ruling over some tiny forgotten hellhole that wasn't in Britain or anywhere else he'd have to worry about silly rules.

That was how Alastor Moody had lost his left foot and acquired the Eye of Vance, and how the oppressed souls of Urulat had been liberated for a period of around two weeks before another Dark Wizard moved in on the power vacuum.

He'd considered going after the Left Foot of Vance next, but had decided against it after he realized that would be just what they were expecting.

Apparently he was unable to obtain the Eye of Vance secretly. Besides, the presence of Moody plus the death of a dark wizard known to possess the Eye of Vance plus the missing Eye of Vance is enough to conclude Moody has the Eye.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-15T18:57:59.070Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's still a big difference between a very few very knowledgeable wizards hearing about it, and flaunting it everywhere he goes.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-08-15T19:43:52.900Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've already outlined how a merely knowledgeable wizard can conclude with some degree of certainty that Moody became the owner of the Eye of Vance.

It only required specialist Ravenclaw research to obtain an extensive list of magical eyes. We don't know how famous the Eye itself is.

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-16T02:38:38.342Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What about signalling / intimidation?

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-08-15T03:39:50.725Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm confused: why does the amount owed to the Malfoys seem to keep changing? I read first 58,203, then 100,000, then 40,000 Galleons.

comment by Coscott · 2013-08-15T03:43:53.266Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The amount is 100,000. About 40,000 has already been paid, so he still owed 58,203.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-08-15T03:56:37.811Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks! I think I missed when Harry paid off the 40,000. Did he empty his vaults and give Lucius a 40,000 lump sum, leaving him with 60,000 to pay off over a few years?

Edit: I remember, that is what he did, which is why it was such a huge deal and Harry is broke on top of being in debt.

comment by Atelos · 2013-08-15T03:47:23.900Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

100,000 is the total wergild, ~40,000 is the amount already payed, 58,203 is the amount still owed.

ETA: meh cross posted because I got up to do something before submitting the comment

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-23T13:52:44.331Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

it turned out that sulfuric acid would freeze at just ten degrees Celsius

That does not appear to be correct. If http://science.howstuffworks.com/sulfuric-acid-info.htm is accurate, then frozen sulfuric acid ice cannot get much warmer than frozen water and the more usual concentrations freeze at much lower temperatures. However, high concentrations (98%, freezing at 3°C), while more expensive, are easily available online http://www.sciencecompany.com/Sulfuric-Acid-Concentrated-1L-P6550.aspx (plus it doesn't seem hard to concentrate yourself http://chemistry.about.com/od/makechemicalsyourself/a/How-To-Make-Sulfuric-Acid-At-Home.htm), so Harry could probably get a supply that would still work; he'd just have to keep it in ice, rather than merely keep it refrigerated.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-08-28T20:20:53.425Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wikipedia claims 10°C, but it also says “Sulfuric acid in solution with water causes significant freezing-point depression of water's melting point”, which suggests that both Harry and HowStuffWorks are right. Harry is probably thinking of the pure acid.

(Also, that wouldn’t affect his plan. He only needs it solid so he can transfigure it, and the only significance of the freezing point is that it’s easily reachable, not exactly how high it is above 0°C.)

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-31T19:59:39.886Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So it does; that must be Harry's source (^_^). It would be consistent that 98% freezes at 3° and 100% freezes at 10°, but HSW also says that you can't get more than 98% (presumably because it draws water from the air, it doesn't say).

I agree, this doesn't really affect anything. If Harry can't make a concentration that freezes at 10° but can make one that freezes at 3°, then that's what he'll use. (I only looked into this because it was such a surprising claim.)

comment by Dentin · 2013-09-07T18:13:27.413Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And, he can easily get to 4 degrees on fairly large masses using the cooling spell he used on Hermionie's corpse.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-09-14T07:14:28.704Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Cooling spell, right, no need for ice!

comment by J_Taylor · 2013-08-15T04:27:33.610Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This was a delightful chapter. I very much look forward to the next one.

comment by undermind · 2013-08-15T19:08:24.757Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Now is the time to start speculating as to the contents of the secret agreement between Harry and House Malfoy...