Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

post by Oscar_Cunningham · 2012-03-17T09:41:23.620Z · score: 6 (7 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 1182 comments

Contents

  EDIT: New discussion thread here.
None
1182 comments

EDIT: New discussion thread here.

 

This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. With two chapters recently the previous thread has very quickly reached 500 comments. The latest chapter as of 17th March 2012 is Ch. 79.

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: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

As a reminder, it's often useful to start your comment by indicating which chapter you are commenting on.

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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.

1182 comments

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comment by loserthree · 2012-03-19T04:17:16.196Z · score: 26 (32 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore is a sonovabitch. Harry's wrong about how Snape heard the prophesy. Malfoy and Friends may be wrong about how Narcissa died. The whole matter of lighting a live chicken on fire may be a strange misunderstanding. But Dumbledore is still a right bastard for what he did to Snape, which we may put together from chapters 17, 18, 27, & the renumbered 76.

Chapters 17 & 76 tell us how Snape pursued Lily while he was her friend. (Or that's what Snape thinks of what he was doing. He was probably a 'Nice Guy' about it and it would probably have failed in the usual fashion. But that wasn't allowed to happen.)

To be clear: despite the (deservedly) doomed-to-the-friendzone fate of Snape's attempts to woo Lily, Dumbeldore nonetheless stepped in and instigated fights between Snape and Lily by writing things in Lily's potions book. While headmaster and responsible for the well being of children, Dumbledore sabotaged a relationship between children! He might even have done this because it did not fit the story he foresaw for a very Slytherin Snape to remain friends with a pretty and heroic Lily. He might have done it for even worse reasons.

Yes, worse. Dumbledore said, "Hogwarts needs an evil Potions Master to be a proper magical school, " in chapter 18. If he is willing to allow the abuse of children to keep an evil potions master, we might believe he would abuse a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old to make an evil potions master.

Chapters 27 & 76 tell us how it looked to Snape when it ended, and most importantly that he did not understand what happened and, until the events of this fic, knew he did not understand and was seeking understanding. How desperate for understanding must he have been, to ask an eleven-year-old? To Snape, the final rejection was not justified by what he knew of Lily, and so it seemed to come out of nowhere.

Snape wouldn't, couldn't know why the new fights with Lily were starting. For the fights to continue, Lily must have remained unaware that Snape was not writing in her potions book. And for Lily to remain unaware, Snape could not find out the reason for the fights. From Snape's perspective, his only real friendship suddenly encountered incomprehensible, insurmountable obstacles in his fifth year. And then it fell apart and it was all his fault.

The reason Snape does not understand why Lily didn't forgive him is that he is missing information. He does not know about the things Dumbledore wrote in her potions book while allowing Lily to believe it was Snape. When things regularly happen to a person without that person knowing why, especially when those things involve loss of something valued, it can make the person habitually insecure. Snape was probably already insecure on account of his home life and status as a target for bullies. Insecure people often become hostile and abusive to defend themselves. That is to say, Dumbledore made Snape a villain, possibly on purpose, possibly because he felt it made a more fitting story than would a life of Snape's own choosing.

It is my hope that Snape will read Lily's fifth year potions book, will understand that Dumbledore ruined his like, will dedicate himself to killing Dumbledore, and will be successful before the close of the fic.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-19T22:26:03.021Z · score: 24 (24 votes) · LW · GW

It is my hope that Snape will read Lily's fifth year potions book, will understand that Dumbledore ruined his like, will dedicate himself to killing Dumbledore, and will be successful before the close of the fic.

Snape killing Dumbledore? I don't know, it sounds a little far-fetched.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-20T04:13:46.701Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Something similar to the technique you describe is known as gaslighting.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-19T04:29:59.459Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Snape actually murdering Dumbledore at some point is too MoR-ish of an event for Eliezer not to include.

comment by Dentin · 2012-03-19T17:27:50.355Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance. Dumbledore in this fic is far from perfect and all-seeing.

comment by fezziwig · 2012-03-20T21:07:52.028Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

For the fights to continue, Lily must have remained unaware that Snape was not writing in her potions book. And for Lily to remain unaware, Snape could not find out the reason for the fights

...which implies that, in the course of all these fights, Lilly never mentioned it to him. It's not enough for her to disbelieve his denials, she must never have given him an opportunity to make them. That being so, what were they arguing about? What sort of dialogue would you write for those scenes? What states of mind do you imagine for her?

In other words: I notice that I am confused.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-20T23:49:25.942Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW · GW

If two people are in a relationship like very close friends, marriage or long-term dating, or just roommates, they often have fights about little things. These fights are not because the little things have some hidden importance that would make them not-little, but because there is a big thing that upset one or both people. They don't talk about the big thing. They never mention it. They may not understand that is why they are upset.

That is how people fight over toilet lids being left up, or dishes in the sink one day to many, or whose turn it is to take the garbage out, when what they are really hurt by is loss of autonomy, or financial insecurity, or fading intensity of intimacy, or some other big deal.

That is also why many couples cannot resolve longs series of fights on their own, and why couple's counseling works, most of the times when it does.

People rarely become rational communicators on their own.

And so she never told him.

comment by fezziwig · 2012-03-21T15:28:10.550Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

That is how people fight over [...trivia...] when what they are really hurt by is loss of autonomy, or financial insecurity, or fading intensity of intimacy, or some other big deal.

Are you really comfortable putting "hurtful and/or stupid things written in a Potions textbook" in the same category as financial insecurity? Or are you saying that Dumbledore used the textbook to induce a profound fear like that? And did it such that Lilly never e.g. tried to respond to one of the Potions remarks face-to-face?

I dunno. I'm trying to imagine how this played out concretely, and I just can't manage it. Try this exercise: pick two of your high-school friends, and try to produce the effect you're describing, without either party realizing that anyone else is involved. Give yourself all of Dumbledore's powers. I don't believe I could have done it without mind-manipulation magic - and if I were going to use that, why bother with the Potions textbook at all?

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-21T16:12:46.220Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Are you really comfortable putting "hurtful and/or stupid things written in a Potions textbook" in the same category as financial insecurity?

Yes, I am absolutely comfortable doing so. I'm talking about two children who have never been taught to communicate with intention, with raging adolescent hormones, and with typical teenage naïvete regarding bother their own emotions and those of others.

I don't have two high-school friends to rub together. The fact that I'm still in touch with one person from twenty years ago is the freak result of a whole series of unlikely coincidences. But somewhere in those years I've harbored runaways that age, I've sheltered semi-homeless kids that age, I've broken up fights between kids that age, and I've provided relationship counseling to kids that age. It's hard to make them get along if they aren't inclined to. It'd be shit-easy to imagine making them fight if you could convince one that the other was doing hurtful things, which is what we are led to believe happened.

I guess what I'm saying is that you are either limited in information on teenagers or in imagination. Sorry, but I don't know how else to answer you, just now.

comment by fezziwig · 2012-03-21T17:53:37.081Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

My apologies, I wasn't clear. I meant, pick two of your high-school friends when they were in high school. Or if you prefer, pick any two of "your kids", whatever that means to you, at an age when they'd been friends for at least five years. Not two kids who "aren't inclined" to get along, two kids who are.

What, concretely, do you write to start them fighting? I see several straightforward ways to worsen an existing argument, but creating a new one, without either participant noticing the asymmetry, is much harder.

I guess what I'm saying is that you are either limited in information on teenagers or in imagination.

No need to apologise; you don't know me. Without wanting to get too distracted by an argument over credentials: my involvement with teenagers in unending, God help me, but perhaps I do lack imagination. I'd observe in turn that you seem to have identified very closely with Snape's suffering, and have paid relatively little attention to Lilly's thoughts and feelings in this affair. That's when I noticed my confusion: I tried to model Lilly's half of this, and failed.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-23T03:22:46.197Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'd observe in turn that you seem to have identified very closely with Snape's suffering,

It happens I don't. I've never been 'friendzoned,' never hidden my courtship attempts behind friendship, and never lost a friend due to what seemed to me to be a single event. I have little sympathy for young Snape.

Teenagers aren't well-equipped to build lasting bonds and relationships. Their poorly-controlled emotional outbursts and social anxieties are more likely to lead to defensively cutting contact than building bridges. They break apart easily enough on their own, even if they are, for a time, inclined to each other's company.

Without regard to the degree of the hurt -- and teenagers do react in an exaggerated fashion to minor injuries of ego, don't they? -- people do get in arguments where they never mention the thing that upset them enough to get in an argument. I think that is what the author means us to understand took place between Snape and Lily.

comment by CronoDAS · 2012-03-24T00:17:26.718Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, worse. Dumbledore said, "Hogwarts needs an evil Potions Master to be a proper magical school, " in chapter 18. If he is willing to allow the abuse of children to keep an evil potions master, we might believe he would abuse a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old to make an evil potions master.

This is a case of You Just Told Me - Harry offers that excuse to Dumbledore, who then goes on to repeat it back to him.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-22T02:14:56.908Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore didn't say that he caused the fights between Lily and Snape. He said this:

Lily thought one of her friends was writing them and they had the most amazing fights.

"And", not "therefore" or "so". Bear in mind that this is the same scene earlier in which this takes place:

"And of course, most people who come to my office want to see Fawkes."

Dumbledore was standing next to the bird on the golden platform.

Harry came over, rather puzzled. "This is Fawkes?"

"Fawkes is a phoenix," said Dumbledore. "Very rare, very powerful magical creatures."

We're told in big bright flashing letters not to take Dumbledore's implications in this scene at face value. And we already know why Lily and Snape actually fought: because Snape was turning evil! His best friends were wannabe Death Eaters! That's why Lily actually cut off their friendship, not because of jokes written in a Potions book.

If anything, it seems like Dumbledore was trying to get Lily to think of Snape as someone who could be lighthearted and joke around, as someone who could put a smile on her face, to try to get her to have feelings for him so she could pull him away from the Death Eaters! Some parts of MoR!Dumbledore may be a mystery to us, but his desire for people to choose the light over the dark is patently obvious. Dumbledore would never, ever ruin someone's only chance to save themselves from serving Voldemort. He wouldn't.

comment by erratio · 2012-03-22T02:49:14.712Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

it seems like Dumbledore was trying to get Lily to have feelings for [Snape] so she could pull him away from the Death Eaters

I doubt it. Eliezer originally thought that Lily was dating Snape, the passage was changed to refer to her "one of her friends" after readers pointed out that they'd never dated. And if they were originally assumed to be dating then Lily would have already had feelings for him - no need to meddle like that.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-22T03:10:27.149Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You're totally right; I had forgotten about that. So I retracted my above comment, only to realize that it doesn't necessarily ruin my theory. Whether they were dating or merely friends, Lily and Snape would have fought over his Death Eater tendencies, and they are what would have ruined the relationship. Dumbledore could have seen their relationship falling apart and tried to reconcile it any way he could.

But yeah, that seems a lot more far-fetched when you take Eliezer's prior mistake into consideration.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-27T22:53:29.655Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I have to agree with fezziwig that I notice that I'm confused about this idea that D writing in Lily's book somehow destroyed any hope of friendship between them. I don't understand your scenario: you think Lily was upset about the writing, blamed Snape, but never mentioned it, and that was enough to destroy a friendship? And Dumbledore somehow knew that writing in a book would cause this effect? "I want to destroy Snape's friendship... I know, I'll write in his friend's book!"

Given all the weird things that happen at Hogwarts, souls trapped in books and strange notes found under pillows and time travel, I kinda doubt Lily would stick to the hypothesis that it must be Snape, and never mention it.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-19T02:49:12.449Z · score: 26 (28 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore correctly surmises part of Quirrellmort's motivation for this arc's events: he's neutralizing all of Light Harry's allies. What Dumbledore hasn't realized, what is completely outside his hypothesis space, is that he's not doing so to attack Harry, or at least not as part of a plan to defeat Harry. He's doing it to remove all of Harry's support except Quirrellmort himself, so as to hasten Harry's consumption by his Dark Side. With only Quirrell to rely upon in the magical world, his conversion into Dark Harry will be much swifter.

Therefore, when speculating abut the rest of this arc, we must speculate about how this plan will neutralize the rest of Light Harry's allies: Dumbledore and McGonagall. Harry has already hinted that he intends to investigate Dumbledore the next time he sees Quirrell. Assuming Quirrell gets out of the Ministry without causing a scene, he will almost certainly have manufactured evidence that implicates Dumbledore, which he will show Harry.

So perhaps one of the "taboo tradeoffs" of the arc will be Harry successfully politically attacking the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, the rediscoverer of the twelve uses of Dragons' blood, the defeater of Grindelwald, and the defender of magical Britain in order to get a first-year Hogwarts student off the hook.

That would leave only McGonagall, and Minerva would drop Harry in a heartbeat if he successfully neutralized Dumbledore. Thus his isolation from all except Quirrellmort would be complete.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-19T16:17:05.607Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting. That's a kind of reverse taboo tradeoff.

In a normal taboo tradeoff, you sacrifice a sacred value (lives, torture, ideals) to gain a mundane value (money, jobs, political influence). Here Harry would be doing the reverse: sacrifice a huge amount of mundane value (Dumbledore's political standing and his being an ally to Harry) to gain a sacred value (Hermione's life and freedom).

For an ordinary thinker (i.e. not Harry or Quirrel), this might even feel like a morally imperative tradeoff, one you have no right not to make no matter what the amount of mundane value you lose.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-19T18:43:31.501Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ooh, you're right, from Harry's perspective. But if we take Dumbledore's word that there's no way Hermione will be sent to Azkaban or Kissed by a Dementor, then from everybody else's (or at least Dumbledore's allies') perspective, it would be a played-straight taboo tradeoff.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-19T15:15:56.454Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

From a strategic point of view having Light-Harry as a gullible ally is worth way more than having Dark-Harry be so knowingly. If the plot is to gain control of Magical Britain under one single leader who you puppeteer (him being embedded with your brain patterns and all) there'd be no sense in turning him dark now. The political strategist would rather:

  1. Put Dumbledore in a bad position by allowing Harry to be the one to stand up for the students. Possibly in a way that humbles Dumbledore by the great "wisdom" of Harry, but meanwhile in a way that doesn't alienate Harry from Dumbledore's political allies before he's been groomed and positioned to lead them. A way to do this would be to present evidence that Harry would be able to deduct and present on basis of being the Boy-Who-Lived AND someone who actually thinks. It might very well involve Harry find out, and proof, that Snape burned the letters. Snape being a double turncoat means that he'd be an easy suspect. Quirrelmort already has good reason to see him gone (that's how he deals with traitors if you recall) plus it'd severely weaken Dumbledore's hold on the Slytherin part of Britain. Here the taboo trade-off is Snape's future who Dumbledore trades to keep the school.

  2. Quirrelmort might already have been there for the duel between Hermione and Draco. Hence he'd have a memory of it and be able to pull that memory to a pensive. That memory would be enough to proof Hermione innocent. If this is the case Quirrelmort ends up distancing Harry from Lucius; which might be a good idea considering that Quirrelmort probably prefers to be the one in charge of the dark side and have Harry as a champion of the light. The taboo trade-off would then be Draco's father.

I see no reason to make Harry appear dark. Actually I'd consider that extremely stupid since Quirrelmort has obtained all the political power he could hope to and now knows that that is not enough. He needs both the wolves and the sheep.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-19T19:02:21.130Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Your reasoning makes sense, but I believe we're clearly supposed to understand that Harry's going over to his Dark Side was the premeditated purpose of Quirrell bringing the Dementor to Hogwarts in the first place. Quirrell's plan was defeated that day, more or less because of Harry's love (not romantic love, necessarily) for Hermione. That day Quirrell realized that to really turn Harry Dark, he had to neutralize those Harry holds dear.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-19T20:41:29.876Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you. {EDIT} I reserve most of my nonsensical actions for comic relief in tense real life situations.

Well for me two obvious questions arise: Why are we supposed to believe so? Given that Quirrelmort is dark, wouldn't the Dementor just be the experimental method applied so as to test whether or not his brain-wave patterns interfered with Harry's ability to act as a champion of light? {added} Also any of the given actions that day might as well have been a test of Harry's current limits and willingness to follow a plan.

Even if not, shouldn't Quirrelmort realize that after the Stanford Prison Experiment other venues for reaching his goal might be more attractive?

I do believe that Quirrelmort is currently trying to get Harry into thinking Dark and acting Light. [ADDED] At least that would make extreme amounts of sense to me for Controlling Britain purposes.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-20T00:45:12.733Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Why are we supposed to believe so?

I think Eliezer gave us some good advice for understanding some of his characters' plots: “One way to fathom a strange plot is to look at what happened, assume it was the intended result, and ask who benefited."

Quirrell knows how Dementors affect him, and he knows that Harry's got a piece of Voldemort stuck inside him, so it was a reasonable guess that Harry might be similarly affected, and permanently, if he was exposed for long enough.

Quirrell certainly anticipated the possibility of failure — his experiment was orchestrated so that failure left him no further from his goal — and in fact, he almost did succeed; I think it is highly more likely that he was hoping for an easy route to victory that almost occurred, rather than that what happened was an unexpected side effect.

comment by MinibearRex · 2012-03-19T03:34:52.380Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I like the guess about Quirrellmort trying to remove Harry's allies, but there's a further detail I'm considering. Quirrellmort knows that Harry knows how to break people out of Azkaban. If Hermione is sent there, I would estimate a pretty high probability Harry would make a move to get her out. He would have to do something clever to divert suspicion away from himself, but that doesn't seem to be an insoluble problem. If Quirrell wanted to prevent this, the simplest way would be to blackmail Harry, but doing so would require him to overtly take a position as Harry's enemy, which he may not wish to do. Alternatively, he could sabotage Harry's plans, but Harry would almost certainly try again.

Any situation in which Harry knows that Hermione is in trouble is an unstable equilibrium, and Quirrell presumably knows that.

Additionally, you take it for granted that Quirrellmort is trying to turn Harry dark. What's the basis for that conclusion? I've got one guess, but it seems far-fetched.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-19T16:02:51.085Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If Quirrell wanted to prevent this, the simplest way would be to blackmail Harry

The simplest way would be not to help him. Harry can't make portkeys to and from Azkaban himself, he can't Disillusion himself once inside, fight random Aurors in the corridors (bet they've tightened security for a while), and now he can't even leave Hogwarts against Dumbledore's will.

comment by MinibearRex · 2012-03-20T02:28:21.608Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Disillusionment isn't a real problem, since Harry has a cloak, and I'm fairly confident he could find other ways to hide. Polyjuice might be another way, but it has some disadvantages. The upshot is that I would expect Harry to be able to pull it off, given enough time to prepare.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-19T07:04:06.231Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Except that Dumbledore's pretty sure Hermione won't be sent to Azkaban. No reason not to take his word on this.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-19T15:59:58.788Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

We still haven't heard from Lucius, who'll decide what punishment to request from the Wizengamot. Maybe Quirrel has influenced him somehow. Either way I feel Lucius' POV is a major piece of missing information that may be preventing us from predicting the future.

comment by MinibearRex · 2012-03-20T02:29:59.915Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You're right of course. I only really paid attention to Dumbledore saying it would be something in between the kiss and snapping her wand. But in any case, Hermione can't suffer any long term punishment without Harry trying to do something about it.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-03-20T04:46:45.077Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrellmort doesn't have to stop Harry, just make sure Hermione is already broken by the time he succeeds.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-19T19:06:49.772Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrellmort is trying to turn Harry Dark because it's now his best way of averting his death. He tried to kill Harry once and that was a miserable failure, so now he's trying to recruit him instead. The only way he can do that, though, is by turning him Dark.

I take it for granted that this is the case because I think Quirrell brought the Dementor to Hogwarts with the goal of turning Harry Dark that day. He almost succeeded then, and now he's destroying Harry's connections to his Light side to make his second attempt succeed.

comment by MinibearRex · 2012-03-20T02:26:12.258Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I don't really buy that motivation. Even if Harry becomes Dark, it's unlikely that he will then instantly become buddies with everyone else on the Dark side. Instead, I would expect Dark Harry and Dark Voldemort to be bitter enemies, trying to be the sole ruler of the world.

The best motivation I came up with for Voldemort turning Harry dark is that he intends to possess him, or dispose of him and sustain himself on polyjuice. In that case, Quirrellmort might well take actions that look like actions intended to help Harry rule, in addition to moves intended to separate Harry from his allies, since Quirrellmort presumably doesn't want to side with Dumbledore, McGonagall, etc. (BTW, this is not the far-fetched theory I alluded to earlier)

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-23T15:21:02.498Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm now considering your hypothesis about Quirrellmort instigating this to be the most plausible. I still do not believe it to have been his best move unless there's a good reason for him to turn Harry Dark. Besides I consider the option posted as a reply to Daniel_Starr to be more likely. Regardless, you get the up-vote for the better deduction.

comment by Dreaded_Anomaly · 2012-03-19T23:30:41.556Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What Dumbledore hasn't realized, what is completely outside his hypothesis space, is that he's not doing so to attack Harry, or at least not as part of a plan to defeat Harry. He's doing it to remove all of Harry's support except Quirrellmort himself, so as to hasten Harry's consumption by his Dark Side. With only Quirrell to rely upon in the magical world, his conversion into Dark Harry will be much swifter.

I made a similar, though less elaborated, observation in the previous MoR discussion thread.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-19T11:44:57.154Z · score: 23 (23 votes) · LW · GW

Here's a secret in plain sight: if this story has a happy ending, then Harry has the power to destroy Quirrelmort's brain, anytime they're together.

First clue: the WRONG DON'T BAD IDEA messages when Harry tries to make contact with Quirrell. Assume that they mean just what they say -- that something terrible will happen if Harry makes contact.

Second clue: the prophecy appears to say that Harry and Voldemort's confrontation can only leave more or less one. Storytelling convention makes us think it's a metaphor or foreseeing complex future actions. But maybe there's just an already existing spell or condition, dating from the first encounter, that's primed to cause Harry+Voldemort = boom.

There's more. But just from these two clues alone, we can see that an available though seemingly extreme interpretation of data in the story is: "If Harry ever touches Quirrellmort, one or the other will be magically destroyed".

Now the subtler clues.

Third clue: in the original canon, Harry had a piece of Voldemort's soul in him, an accidentally created Horcrux, and the destruction of that piece of soul was a critical step in Voldemort's death.

Fourth clue: in our world's science, there's no such observable thing as splitting souls, but there is such a thing as copying data, or duplicating a software neural network.

Fifth clue: Lucius thinks Harry is Voldemort.

Sixth clue: Harry has patterns of behavior in him that don't at all resemble a loved little boy, but wholly fit Voldemort.

Seventh clue: the Sorting Hat said Harry didn't have a separate mind under the Hat with him. It never said his own mind was normal.

Hypothesis:

In this universe, a "Horcrux" is a compressed or partial copy of your brain software.

Harry was accidentally imprinted with some of Voldemort's brain software at their original encounter. Ever since, he's been a child who knows how to think like Voldemort. Literally. (Harry's dark side really is an alien thing, not as an actual person, but as a range of behaviors that didn't come from his own past experiences but another's.)

Further, in this universe, a Horcrux, or at least an unstable Horcrux like Harry, destructively decompresses/uploads itself back to its source mind when brought into contact with it.

In consequence, if ever Quirrellmort and Harry come sufficiently into physical/magical contact, Quirrellmort anticipates that Harry's brain will turn into a vegetable as Harry-Voldemort destructively uploads itself into the "real" Quirrell-Voldemort, leaving behind a stronger and more complete Q+H-Voldemort.

This may require preparation on Quirrell's part to go well. Or there may be other things involved that Quirrell hasn't accounted for, such as the extent to which Harry has a (literal) mind of his own. Either way, there's a fair likelihood, depending on author intent, that the contact will destroy Quirrellmort, not Harry.

So if the story has a happy ending, where even the protagonist gets to live, then we can express the hypothesis like this:

Harry can defeat Quirrellmort. He just has to give him a hug.

There's a Care Bears Omake spawning in my brain now.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-22T02:48:05.447Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

In consequence, if ever Quirrellmort and Harry come sufficiently into physical/magical contact, Quirrellmort anticipates that Harry's brain will turn into a vegetable as Harry-Voldemort destructively uploads itself into the "real" Quirrell-Voldemort, leaving behind a stronger and more complete Q+H-Voldemort.

How about the other way - Quirrellmort uploads into Harry? Make Harry the Dark Lord, and then upload into him.
Note that Voldemort has seemingly already uploaded into Quirrell.

"My... Lord... I went where you said to await you, but you did not come...

"Sshow her your face," hissed the snake at Harry's feet.

Harry cast back the hood of the Cloak of Invisibility.

"The scar..." muttered Bellatrix. "That child..."

"So they all still think," said Harry's voice, and gave a thin little chuckle. "You looked for me in the wrong place, Bella dear."

Bella is not particularly surprised to find Voldemort in a new body. And while there are other explanations, having Harry masquerade as Voldemort does set the stage for him to do it for real. It also gets Bella on Harry's side for later in the story, so that Harry has support from both sides, as seems to be the plan.

But think of the denouement of such a scheme. Voldemort takes over the body of Harry, who appears to have saved the world from Voldemort a second time as Voldemort uploads into Harry! He rules a grateful and loyal world, which he has saved from himself. Could anything be more delightful to a Dark Lord?

Harry's objection to Quirrell's "We Need a Dark Lord Speech" even foreshadows the plot, as he identified the Dark Lord Dictator as a single point of failure in Quirrell's argument - the single point that in fact Quirrell planned on exploiting all along.

The first supposed loss to Harry was only part of the plan of creating a new and better host. The story line that Harry originally survived and Voldemort died because "mommy loved Harry, etc..." could not be more insipid. Much more believable that it was just a gambit of Voldemort, he laid low for a decade and came back as Harry became old enough to fulfill his role.

Also, the advanced power and intelligence of Harry makes sense as something bequeathed by Voldemort. But, much in keeping with EY's concerns about AI, the created tool will instead rise up and squash it's maker in the end.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-22T06:01:00.349Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

So Harry is, in effect, an AI created by Voldemort, but one that developed an unintended value system and so turned on its creator?

Harry as Unfriendly AI. (Unfriendly from Voldemort's point of view, anyway.) Nice.

comment by glumph · 2012-03-20T01:58:51.136Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Third clue: in the original canon, Harry had a piece of Voldemort's soul in him, an accidentally created Horcrux, and the reunion of that piece with Voldemort was a critical step in Voldemort's death.

The destruction of that piece was crucial. I don't believe that it ever reunited with the rest of Voldemort's soul.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-19T16:00:04.920Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This doesn't account for "the power the dark lord knows not" does it, though?

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-20T23:58:23.332Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I think that Harry's "alien power" is still unclear for the same reason that readers resisted identifying MoR!Quirrell as Voldemort. The author has so much fun writing Quirrellmort-the-clever that he has great difficulty writing Quirrellmort-the-flawed.

The only flaw in Quirrellmort that the author's actually shown is Quirrellmort's nonbelief in goodness. The backstory suggests that Voldemort had serious problems beyond mere cynicism. But there's a big difference between "the story asserts" and "the story demonstrates".

(I'm using "flawed" here in the sense of "make choices that work out badly", not "make choices that would make us readers uncomfortable." That is, "flawed" as relevant to "power", not "flawed" as relevant to "approval".)

Although it's possible that Quirrellmort is deliberately meant to be much more clearheaded than Voldemort.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-19T22:16:52.214Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Right, that's not yet obvious. At least not to me!

We do know that Quirrellmort is consistently surprised by the extent to which Harry thinks like a nice person instead of a Dark Lord. So the "alien power" could be Harry's having more of a mind of his own than Quirrellmort expects of a Horcrux.

The "alien power" could equally be that Harry can cast a 2.0 Patronus, and in general has access to certain kinds of feelings and thoughts (and their associated magics?) that Quirrelmort doesn't.

Or I suppose it could be that Dad's rock is in fact the Philosopher's Stone.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-20T14:28:07.022Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

... The Power the Dark Lord knows not is Science. I thought that was obvious.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-20T14:35:25.243Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I would be surprised if Harry's knowledge of Muggle science, as such, was his edge over Voldemort. This Voldemort Horcruxed a spacecraft.

And I would be surprised if Harry's "rationality" in the general sense was his edge. Quirrellmort seems plenty clear-thinking.

On the other hand, you're right that Harry is much more of an experimentalist than Quirrellmort seems to be. Voldemort in this fic seems to be brilliantly efficient rather than brilliantly creative.

So perhaps Harry can defeat Voldemort through the power of experimentation. Not so much Science as The Scientific Method.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-20T15:49:38.416Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

On the other hand, you're right that Harry is much more of an experimentalist than Quirrellmort seems to be. Voldemort in this fic seems to be brilliantly efficient rather than brilliantly creative.

On the other hand, this Voldemort Horcruxed a spacecraft.

comment by sketerpot · 2012-03-21T07:35:53.207Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Horcruxing a spacecraft doesn't strike me as brilliantly creative; it seems like an obvious thing to do if you're familiar enough with muggle society to have heard about space exploration. Before reading HP:MoR, I had definitely considered what I would do if I ever had to hide one or more magical artifacts where nobody would find them, and the obvious choices were things like

  1. Space, if you can manage it.

  2. An undisclosed portion of a deep-sea trench, a few meters into the mud.

  3. The concrete in a major public works project, like a large dam.

  4. The bottom of a major public outhouse of epic proportions and smelliness.

I think that canon Voldemort was just holding the idiot ball on this one.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-21T07:49:56.886Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I like most of the ideas but this one strikes me as only a small step up from horcruxing the most famous artifacts:

The concrete in a major public works project, like a large dam.

That sounds like the plot for a Nicholas Cage movie or a Matthew Reilly book.

Far better to settle for obscurity. Horcrux a non-precious stone and dump it in a random desert. Anything that you yourself couldn't guess at (specifically) if your clone was your enemy.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-21T23:13:25.022Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Why a stone? Wouldn’t a grain of sand work? You can cover air, sea, desert, and with magic even space. I wonder if you could horcrux a molecule...

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-22T03:54:48.007Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Why a stone? Wouldn’t a grain of sand work? You can cover air, sea, desert, and with magic even space. I wonder if you could horcrux a molecule...

I'm not sure what the size constraints are. All else being equal smaller does seem better. I'm also not sure what difference horcruxing something makes to the physical objects. They become near impossible to destroy, right? You might end up with the most seriously baddass helium molecule out there.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-23T09:58:25.501Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm also not sure what difference horcruxing something makes to the physical objects. They become near impossible to destroy, right?

MoR seems to imply that, but I’m not so sure about canon. From what I can tell, canon says that the horcrux itself (i.e., the attached piece of soul, not the “host” object) cannot be destroyed except by damage to the host that cannot be repaired magically. This would suggest that you can damage the horcruxed objects with even mundane methods, and they simply remain horcruxed as long as they could be repaired by magic.

The objects are not simply immutable (Ginny could write in the journal). On the other hand, the locket refused to open itself until the end—although that may have been a property of the (presumably magical) locket before being horcruxed.

Physical indestructibility would have potential, though. You could make a space-elevator out of ordinary string. (Though perhaps simpler protective magic would suffice for that.) Or stabilize stuff like unstable molecules, particles and micro-blackholes.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-23T10:10:08.130Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You could make a space-elevator out of ordinary string.

I guess that's one use to make of your soul!

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-25T14:19:37.616Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

“Associated Contractors for Magic Enterprises: We put soul in our public works!”

comment by Armok_GoB · 2012-03-25T14:07:02.738Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nah, you'd do it with someone else's soul. There are plenty of random enemies with souls you can literally tear apart and use as building materials.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-25T14:43:18.951Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nah, you'd do it with someone else's soul. There are plenty of random enemies with souls you can literally tear apart and use as building materials.

I would seem to be left with a bunch of enemies that I can never fully kill.

Perhaps use willing servants (who get the benefit of a horcrux). Use the POW/enemies as targets for the servants to split their souls on.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-25T14:17:54.772Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There’s nothing explicit saying you can’t do that in either canon or MoR, but as far as we know one needs to intentionally split one’s soul (the only given way is killing someone), and also perform some (unspecified) terrible ritual. It also seems to require a wizard of some ability. Seems like a hard thing to compel.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-21T07:54:15.791Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Horcruxing a spacecraft doesn't strike me as brilliantly creative; it seems like an obvious thing to do if you're familiar enough with muggle society to have heard about space exploration.

Creative enough to make himself unkillable. It'll do. There is no need to get too creative in these things. Find a powerful or exploitable magic. Exploit it. A lot. Don't mess around being clever.

Mind you in my books the fact that neither Harry nor Voldemort have 'won' already pretty much granted each of them an honorary idiot ball. Given their resources (magic!) and intellect they really should have.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-21T02:11:12.499Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Horcruxing a spacecraft isn't nearly the same thing as being able to do magics thought impossible by figuring out the general principles of magic.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-21T02:24:25.260Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The thought occurs: you know what would be really great? If Voldemort keeps abreast of cutting-edge physics journals and invented partial Transfiguration first, and just never told anyone about it.

Even if he didn't, the fact remains that Quirrell knows Harry was able to cut through the wall of Azkaban somehow. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he figured it out purely through deduction.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T02:48:55.993Z · score: 20 (22 votes) · LW · GW

Harry is not so clever: why did he think that telling Malfoy "this is a plot, you know it's a plot" would make it not a good idea for Malfoy to commit overkill in defending his son? The point of vengeance is deterrence, and the crack of "well, it might not have been Hermione" is not a good crack to have in your deterrence. Dumbledore even tells Harry as much. And then, to top it off, Harry threatens Malfoy.

What Harry should have done: talked to Malfoy beforehand (why didn't he?). Given that didn't happen, told Malfoy "I have information that is relevant to the attack, which I think you should know but should not be public yet, as it might diminish your capacity for vengeance for this to be known publicly."

Then, in private, Harry has a conversation with Lucius where Lucius doesn't need to play to the crowd, informing Lucius of his expectation of the plot, his respect for Draco, and his vow to punish the murderer of Narcissa, and then Lucius walks back out and asks that the trial be finished in a week.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-23T08:07:59.730Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Even if Harry couldn't get access to Lucius in private, he could have made a much better public proposal.

"Hermione was not your family's true enemy, as you and I both know. To you, she is nothing but a pawn symbolizing the foe you can't yet strike. But she has value to me. If you want the right to deliver her to Azkaban, so be it, but hold off on claiming that right, Lucius, and I will give you your real enemy. You can spend your anger on this one little child now. But then I will owe you nothing, and your enemy will laugh at you. Or take today's judgment but wait on executing it, call her a hostage for my promise between us, and I will redeem Hermione with one far more valuable to you - both for your revenge, and for the life and safety of your son."

Or something like that. It still probably wouldn't have worked, of course - Lucius does not trust Harrymort's intentions or power.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T16:28:39.282Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It still probably wouldn't have worked, of course - Lucius does not trust Harrymort's intentions or power.

As well, Lucius may have been behind the attack on Draco, to drive him away from Hermione (or ruin HP or so on). Giving Harry time to find the hand behind the dagger may not be in Lucius's best interests, but regardless of Lucius's complicity Harry should be trying to play to his stated goals, not his shame or fear.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-03-23T04:43:31.340Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Presumably, he couldn't've talked to Lucius. And he's clearly too angry to meet in private right now.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T05:06:41.063Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This post was detailing, for the audience, what Harry should have done. What Harry should do now is an entirely different matter.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-03-23T06:28:37.965Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So I was I. Apparently, there was no opportunity to contact Lucius before the trial, and he was clearly too angry to meet in private during the events of the trial.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T16:25:36.498Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I disagree. Lucius's anger is designed, and its purpose is to strike against his enemies and protect his House.

And so if Harry makes a public offer to help Malfoy get vengeance- perhaps glancing at Dumbledore while he says it- Malfoy's anger will align with a private consultation with Harry.

comment by mjr · 2012-03-22T11:38:24.171Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW · GW

Okay, I don't really think this is how it'll go down - slightly too Dark Lordish. But the image was amusing, so here goes:

"It just happens that if Hermione doesn't walk, everyone but me will lose the ability to cast Patronus. Don't buy it? Oh, well, I'll just explain it to Hermione and she'll be able to testify under Veritaserum that I can do it."

Or, you know, have Hermione figure it out herself from Harry's note and do the blackmail herself.

Anyway, the blackmail potential for this is rather great, and I'd not be surprised to see it used in a more dire situation with more than Hermione on the line.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-22T13:21:14.131Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

It occurs to me that this would actually be a potentially successful (if politically costly) way to force the Ministry to replace Azkaban with a more humane Nurmengard-style prison. The mere fact that it's demonstrably possible for anyone to do this makes keeping Dementors around far less attractive.

comment by aleksiL · 2012-03-23T08:04:12.888Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

What's the in-story justification for the dementor's presence anyway? I thought it seemed awfully convenient in case Harry decided to demonstrate his Patronus 2.0 but I couldn't figure out how it'd help enough.

I'd forgotten about the potential for ruining others' patronuses, though. That makes a lot more sense, especially considering he'd just reached into his dark side - possibly deeper than he'd ever willingly done before.

My guess: it wouldn't be enough at this point to just demonstrate a superior patronus or tell people about the possibility of ruining it for others. He tells the secret to EVERYONE present, leaving them at his mercy for protection. That gives him plenty of bargaining power and is dramatically Dark to boot. The political implications would be rather interesting, whether the Patroni could be returned by Obliviation or not.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T15:03:31.922Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What's the in-story justification for the dementor's presence anyway?

To protect Wizengamot members from dangerous criminals brought before them.

comment by Rejoyce · 2012-03-23T03:50:36.524Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Combining with this idea: Harry openly speaks about Patronus 2.0, everyone's Patronuses fail (especially the sparrow and squirrel currently guarding the Dementor, everyone would see them fail), Harry casts his Patronus to protect Hermione (or she figures it out and casts her own, not that she would get the chance to but she might figure it out at least), and the Dementor starts sucking souls until Lucius retracts his sentence.

Heck, maybe even threaten to spread Patronus 2.0 to the media, make wizarding Britain's animal Patronus population fail, then Aurors won't be able to keep their Patronuses up to guard Azkaban. So even if Hermione gets in, she wouldn't get her happiness sucked...

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-23T10:40:44.396Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hermione is chained and I’d be very surprised if she still had her wand.

comment by hairyfigment · 2012-03-23T03:26:21.456Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This might work, in combination with something that I see others have suggested. You need some way to get them to listen. This would take a lot, given that they're already recording the verdict. So: would the threat of destruction goad a dementor into breaking through two animal Patroni? Can Harry believe this would happen? (If so, coldly claiming that he can destroy Patronus ability might create enough doubt in the others' minds that it wouldn't matter if dementors follow expectations or not.)

This plan does have shortcomings, like the threat of killing someone's mind (perhaps even Hermione's) and the risk of revealing what he did in Azkaban (at least to MoR!Dumbledore).

comment by staticIP · 2012-03-23T16:24:53.241Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

the risk of revealing what he did in Azkaban (at least to MoR!Dumbledore).

Harry doesn't know of this risk. If we're modelling harry we should discount it.

comment by lavalamp · 2012-03-23T16:37:20.357Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Harry knew another patronus was seeking his own patronus, so I think he should at least know there's a risk that someone might be able to identify him.

comment by Paulovsk · 2012-03-22T18:26:41.674Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't get it.

"It just happens that if Hermione doesn't walk, everyone but me will lose the ability to cast Patronus. Don't buy it? Oh, well, I'll just explain it to Hermione and she'll be able to testify under Veritaserum that I can do it."

How exactly harry's ability (technique) to cast a strong patronus will interfere with the ability of the others?

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-22T18:39:03.530Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Harry opened his mouth, and then, as realization hit him, rapidly snapped his mouth shut again. Godric hadn't told anyone, nor had Rowena if she'd known; there might have been any number of wizards who'd figured it out and kept their mouths shut. You couldn't forget if you knew that was what you were trying to do; once you realized how it worked, the animal form of the Patronus Charm would never work for you again - and most wizards didn't have the right upbringing to turn on Dementors and destroy them -

comment by grautry · 2012-03-22T19:05:35.918Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

I'm curious now...

We know that Obliviation doesn't erase everything - it erases memories but not every effect of the experience it erases. We've even seen it in story - Rianne Felthorne felt sad when looking at her "found" ruby. McGonnagall also hypothesized that Harry might have been abused(or otherwise experienced something awful) and then Obliviated.

Either way, I'm curious how this effect would interact with something like this.

If Harry told you the secret of the True Patronus(and you weren't the sort of person who could kill Dementors with that knowledge) and you Obliviated yourself, would that be enough to restore the capacity to use an animal Patronus?

comment by Paulovsk · 2012-03-22T19:23:34.021Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Got it.

But this part is not strong enough: "Oh, well, I'll just explain it to Hermione and she'll be able to testify under Veritaserum that I can do it."

They could claim Hermione being able to testify under Veritaserum is only enough to prove that Harry could convince her, not that the thing itself was true.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-22T19:33:12.707Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It's more ethically dubious, but in theory he could do it to one person who could cast the Patronus Charm, have them testify under Veritaserum that they were no longer capable of it as a consequence of what Harry told them, then Obliviate them of the specifics- even if it doesn't restore their ability, at least it prevents them from affecting anyone else. Then the issue is proving they're not Occlumens.

But it's not like I'm advocating this idea, or anything.

ETA: Oh! He could do it to Amelia Bones!

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-23T03:37:58.784Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

ETA: Oh! He could do it to Amelia Bones!

Or even Dumbledore.

comment by NihilCredo · 2012-03-23T10:42:33.960Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Someone who isn't likely to be Veritaserum-proof is probably a better candidate for this plan.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-23T10:48:00.876Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You're right, but I'd expect Bones to be Veritaserum-proof as well.

Maybe McGonagall?

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T03:57:04.348Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I kinda lost track of which part of the conversation this was- Amelia Bones would be useful as the Head of the DMLE, which presumably runs the prison system (thus would be in a position to suggest / implement a Dementorless Reformation). Plus she's always surrounded by subordinate Aurors who can cast a Patronus, so it wouldn't put her in much immediate danger.

Plus I kinda half-subscribe to the theory that she killed Narcissa.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T04:28:48.744Z · score: 18 (18 votes) · LW · GW

PredictionBook registry - take one prediction a day to keep the hindsight bias away! - based on the speculation:

Harry's solution will be...

(These are not all mutually exclusive, and I didn't set down and make them all sum to 100%.)

comment by Spurlock · 2012-03-23T14:55:23.813Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Something about the last paragraph

his eyes looked at the rows of chairs, at every person and every thing within range of his vision, searching for any opportunity it could grasp

Makes me afraid he'll end up stabbing Lucius with the bones of a Hufflepuff.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T15:35:27.249Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If I have to be massively wrong on my predictions and Harry really does resort to violence, there had darn well better be Hufflepuff-stabbing!

comment by JoshuaZ · 2012-03-23T15:03:03.471Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There's no conveniently available Hufflepuff in the room.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T20:33:46.176Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Pretty sure Amelia Bones was a Hufflepuff.

comment by TobyBartels · 2012-03-24T11:11:14.028Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The Wikia infers this from the tendency of house membership to run in families (and that her niece is a Hufflepuff, of course).

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T19:40:11.495Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Harry has the legendary Lost Sword of Humerus Hufflepuff in his pouch.

Be prepared! As through life you march along! Don't be nervous, don't be flustered, don't be scared - be prepared!

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T17:02:50.223Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There's dozens of wizards there - surely at least one was a Hufflepuff.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T14:21:20.759Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

My reasons for assigning ~0% to some of these:

threaten to destroy Azkaban destroying one of the Dementors

They would lock him away to protect the Dementors who are Britain's most powerful magical weapon in reserve in case of war with another magical nation. (Quoth Dumbledore.)

offer the Wizengamot Voldemort's true identity (Quirrel)

Harry doesn't know that fact, so he can't offer it. Anyway, how would it help to reverse the judgement against Hermione?

using the Time-turner to alter Hermione's testimony to something easily falsifiable

Can't use it to change what's already happened. Hermione has already given her testimony, and Harry didn't even listen so he wouldn't be in a good position to subtly modify it. And the Veritaserum on her is already wearing off, precluding further testimony.

using the Time-turner to smuggle Hermione out under the Cloak

Harry and Hermione can't be both under the Cloak at once. People under the Cloak can still be caught by physically feeling around. The Aurors would stop them (certainly the one who wasn't under the Cloak at the time), and if they didn't, Hermione would be running around the building Cloaked but with no real way out.

ask for a trial by combat

Wizengamot would have to vote to make the trial-by-combat's results binding (otherwise why should it reverse the standing Wizengamot vote to punish Hermione?) Lucius will ask them not to vote so, because Dumbledore would be Harry's champion, and so they won't.

More generally, if Dumbledore could challenge Lucius to a duel every time a vote went against him, he'd have total control of the vote outcomes by virtue of being undefeatable in combat. And we know that's not the case.

have Quirrel make Bella confess to the crime

What would be the explanation presented for why Bella comes forward to confess, without implicating Quirrel? Just "Voldemort ordered me to do this and then Obliviated me"? Everyone would suspect Voldemort also false-memory-charmed Bella into believing she did it. And why would Voldemort sacrifice his most trusted and powerful lieutenant, whom he recently rescued at great risk, and not some smaller pawn? And why would Voldemort execute a plan to murder Draco or to frame Hermione in the first place? And how would Bella have gotten into Hogwarts without the wards detecting it, or Dumbledore's Map? And how could she be recovered enough already (if she appears to testify everyone will see she's not very recovered yet)?

And to begin with you'd have to explain to members of the Wizengamot that Voldemort is still alive and that he broke out Bella from Azkaban. Imagine the panic - no reasoned debate would be possible after that. But without telling them this, how to explain that Bella is turning herself in, and that she has been Obliviated of everything during and after her escape?

Oh, and by inspecting Bella they will notice she does not in fact have her Animagus form again, which will cause Dumbledore to rethink some conclusions... (Edit: she has probably regained her Animagus form on Quirrel's instructions, it would be stupid not to. See below.)

comment by QuicklyStarfish · 2012-03-24T22:52:05.342Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Regarding the Cloak, one possibility is that Harry could duplicate it using the Time Turner. (Harry[1] goes back in time, equips himself with Cloak[1], sneaks up to Harry[2] and take Cloak[2] from his pouch. He could use both cloaks to perform an impossible rescue, then return Cloak[2] to Harry[2]'s pouch.)

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T20:30:32.552Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Harry and Hermione can't be both under the Cloak at once.

They could in canon.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T01:36:15.827Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But Harry and Bella couldn't both be under the Cloak at once in Azkaban. That's why Harry had to face the Dementors after he turned off his Patronus to evade Dumbledore. So MoR!verse differs from canon here.

Edit: seems I'm wrong and the cloak is barely big enough for two children but not big enough for a child+adult. This is so in canon and presumably in MoR as well.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-24T01:49:06.502Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Bellatrix is forty years old. Even half-starved, she's a lot bigger than a twelve-year-old Hermione. (In canon, the Cloak got increasingly impractical for more than one person to use as time went on and the characters grew up.)

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T04:00:28.159Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You're right then, it's just my lack of knowledge of canon showing.

comment by Dreaded_Anomaly · 2012-03-23T22:23:33.327Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, and by inspecting Bella they will notice she does not in fact have her Animagus form again, which will cause Dumbledore to rethink some conclusions...

I would be very surprised if Quirrell did not instruct Bellatrix to regain her Animagus form after she had sufficiently recovered from Azkaban. It would not be like him to go to all the trouble to present an alternative explanation for her escape but then fail to follow through.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T01:30:36.819Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

True. The real question is how much she has recovered.

comment by Carinthium · 2012-03-24T07:45:36.590Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This is a bit of a nitpick, but although ~0% is justified from an in-universe perspective, out-of-universe shouldn't you allow for the probability Elizier is planning one of these and has inadvertently introduced a massive plot hole?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T14:05:24.384Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

My p. estimate that Eliezer introduced a plot hole (that I pointed out above, or that someone else here has pointed out) is indeed slightly higher than ~0. However, since Eliezer reads this thread, I believe in such a case he would rewrite the next several chapters. My final estimate is still emotionally-indistinguishable from 0.

comment by AspiringKnitter · 2012-03-24T00:53:32.751Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Can't use it to change what's already happened. Hermione has already given her testimony, and Harry didn't even listen so he wouldn't be in a good position to subtly modify it. And the Veritaserum on her is already wearing off, precluding further testimony.

In canon, they thought they heard Buckbeak die, too. It could already be that Hermione gave altered testimony and Harry isn't aware of it because he didn't hear what she said because he wasn't listening. In fact, that makes sense.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T01:23:46.622Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But since that altered testimony hasn't swayed the vote in her favor, why alter it in the first place?

comment by AspiringKnitter · 2012-03-24T01:43:24.122Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well... you know, this actually wasn't my idea and I'm not sure it would actually work, but playing devil's advocate here...

...anybody notice that Hermione's testimony contradicted itself? No; if they had, it would already have mattered.

...anybody notice that Hermione knew something she shouldn't at her age? No; she reads too much.

...anybody notice that Hermione knew something she shouldn't about Important Player In This Game? For instance, being able to mention what Voldemort looked like. It could be a subtle reference that Harry would have to point out because it flew under the radar. But it would really hurt Harry's relationship with Lucius.

...hey, notice how Hermione didn't know something Hermione should have known? It'd have to be subtle, but maybe if she mentioned uncertainty about something she should have known, it could do something...

Well, I don't know. Eliezer's got me stumped this time.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T04:03:14.216Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry didn't listen, and Harry is coming up with a suggestion next week. (Or in a few seconds, depending on your POV.) So this can't be relevant to that solution. So unless Harry's solution will fail, this altered-testimony thing should not exist.

comment by AspiringKnitter · 2012-03-24T05:26:04.668Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But it can be. Harry knows what the altered testimony will be because he just decided on how to alter it. He comments on the oddity, then goes back in time and causes it. Just like when he asked for a teacher's help when Draco was torturing him.

Causality is screwy in this universe, isn't it?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T14:08:37.591Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's possible. But he'd be risking someone flatly contradicting him the moment he made his statement about the testimony - "no, you didn't listen correctly, she didn't really say that". And afterwards, of course, there's no point for him to go back in time because he's received evidence that she did not in fact testify as he wished.

Your scheme would work a lot better if he'd just listened to her testimony. Then he would know what he had to go back in time to cause, regardless of the way he used her testimony now. (grin)

comment by AspiringKnitter · 2012-03-24T19:24:31.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He would risk it the same way he risked not actually being found by a teacher.

Sure, that would be the smarter thing to do, but then it wouldn't come as a surprise to the audience. This way it gives us and Harry a puzzle.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T17:06:24.120Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Can't use it to change what's already happened.

And Harry doesn't yet know what has already happened - he wasn't listening.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T17:38:55.295Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But whatever happened has already caused the Wizengamot to find her guilty and vote to sentence her to Azkaban.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T17:49:05.300Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, but the Wizengamot is stupid and Dumbledore etc wouldn't be listening for changes; all Harry needs is one clear contradiction or impossibility. (What is it? Dunno.)

comment by glumph · 2012-03-23T18:33:24.731Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

all Harry needs is one clear contradiction or impossibility.

Except that the Wizengamot is stupid. They might not care that Hermoine's testimony is inconsistent, or they might put it down to bad memory.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T18:35:16.786Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

OK, but he hasn't listened and hasn't caught this contradiction, and nobody else has, either. So he won't go back to plant anything.

And if he did, it would just raise a huge question of why her testimony differed in an important respect from the testimony she had given a day before on the same subject, also under Veritaserum.

comment by mjr · 2012-03-23T07:27:15.739Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed, I was thinking destroy the Dementor as a show of force and threaten with challenging Draco to a duel to the death (I'm presuming he can do that as a Noble House). For, I don't know, willingly participating in a travesty of justice against a friend of Harry's or whatever. Close enough to a trial by combat, which also is presumably possible in this "justice" system, so yeah, maybe that after the show of force.

I'm still slightly rooting for Draco to intervene, though. Slightly.

Edit: Oh yeah, that torture thing. Even if Draco has been wiped of it and it's thus unprovable (aside from being not sufficient debt to cancel Hermione's supposed debt), the claim would probably be sufficient grounds for such duel.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T14:26:17.470Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm presuming he can do that as a Noble House

I'm doubting he can do that, practically, as a student in Hogwarts.

comment by tadrinth · 2012-03-23T11:16:03.272Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Here's another idea: Draco uses his Patronus to tell the assembly he forgives the blood debt. Harry can use his own Patronus to beg Draco to do this.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T14:24:07.408Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Draco doesn't have authority to forgive it on his own. The blood debt is said to be owned to the House of Malfoy, and Lucius is Lord of that House, and Draco is a minor.

Besides, Draco would never antagonize and publicly embarrass his father that way. Draco is also very angry at Hermione himself, now.

comment by ajuc · 2012-03-23T22:19:07.745Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'd say Harry would trade with Lucius - Harry would testify under Veritaserum that Dumbledore confesed to Him, that he burned Narcissa. In exchange Lucius would let Hermione free.

Harry don't know if Dumbledore burned Narcissa, but probably can beat Veritaserum (according to Quirell), and with his evil side enabled he can risk trying it.

Similiar to "make Dumbledore turn himself in", but Dumbledore had chance to do that, and declined, and I don't know if Harry can blackmail Dumbledore serioulsy enough for this. But Harry don't need to blackmail Dumbledore.

comment by ajuc · 2012-03-23T22:22:06.631Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I assign 0.3 probability to my post from 23 March 2012 10:19:07PM.

0.2 to Harry going back in time and rescuing Hermione with time turner.

0.5 to Harry doing something nobody predicted yet :)

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-23T10:15:44.921Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

using the Time-turner to alter Hermione's testimony to something easily falsifiable

I thought you couldn’t change the past with a Time-turner.

comment by mjr · 2012-03-23T10:48:53.735Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Harry didn't pay much attention to the testimony after the beginning, thus the timeline doesn't have to change if he goes back to make sure it contains some new False Memoried tidbits, if he can get someone to do the charm. But I don't think there's been much indication that he can override his Time Turner limitations by himself and there may be little time left to try and get someone to do it for him before Hermione is hauled off.

Edit: Silly me, he could just decide what to make her say later and do a quick check from McGonagall if they were included (thus checking if he will manage to go back to do the deed) and go from there. But it'd be difficult to insert subtle enough bits to make a difference only when lampshaded by Harry afterward (since many others presumably listened to the whole testimony already without noticing). Not impossible though. [Re-edited for semi-clarity...]

comment by DSimon · 2012-03-24T06:04:38.512Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He could alter Hermione's testimony in a way that's contradicted by new evidence that hasn't yet been presented.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-24T03:20:13.384Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think the probabilities work out roughly as follows:

  • 50% Malfoy's Imperius debt.
  • 20% nothing anyone here has thought of
  • 10% Something involving the true Patronus(Hermione casting it, etc.)
  • 10% all the other wacky theories proposed combined
  • 10% Harry fails and Hermione goes to Azkaban.

I realize that this looks like a list designed to make me not look like too much of an idiot no matter what the result is, but I am not particularly confident, so I'll leave my error bars wide.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-23T15:27:28.342Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Missing from your list:

comment by aladner · 2012-03-23T13:23:58.113Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm thinking that Harry is about to try to either command or destroy the dementor. To do either, he'd have to leave his dark side, so I'm not sure how successful he'll be. I'm close to certain that the Eliezer put the dementor there for a reason, and that the reason probably wasn't so that Harry could say, "dementors are bad" again.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T17:04:47.231Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

the reason probably wasn't so that Harry could say, "dementors are bad" again.

It could be there to highlight the moral bankruptcy of the Wizengamot and also mislead the readers into searching for a stereotypically heroic solution (vanquish the monster and rescue the fair-complexioned maiden!) when cleverness is called for.

comment by glumph · 2012-03-23T18:17:13.862Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed:

Slowly, Harry Potter sat back down again as Professor McGonagall pulled down with her grip on his wrist.

But by then he'd already declared war on the country of magical Britain, and the idea of other people calling him a Dark Lord no longer seemed important one way or another.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-23T06:37:17.169Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

The author's clues are pushing in two different directions. "Taboo tradeoffs" in the title, and that Harry's Dark side is delivering the solution, implies an answer that is morally unnerving or at least cold-blooded.

The author's line about Harry shifting from seeing the Wizengamot voters as "wallpaper" to seeing individuals with agency, "PCs", and the line about remembering the laws of magical Britain, implies an answer that involves the incentives and 'rules of the game' of the other Wizengamot members besides Lucius and Dumbledore.

None of the solutions I've seen (let alone the few I've thought of) seem both Dark/taboo and social/voters-are-PCs.

Harry calling in the (nominally) Imperiused voters' debts: clever, invokes customs of magical Britain, makes the voters PCs rather than wallpaper, but not very Dark or taboo.

Harry threatens the crowd with the Dementor somehow, or browbeats Dumbledore into ruining his reputation: Dark/taboo, but doesn't invoke the customs of magical Britain or treat the other Wizengamot voters as PCs.

Is there a solution that both invokes magical Britain's laws / makes PCs of the voters and involves some alarmingly Dark/taboo move or trade by Harry?

Boy-Who-Lived marries Draco Malfoy?

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T17:08:43.499Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The taboo tradeoff is presumably Lucius being asked to trade off his chance at revenge.

comment by malthrin · 2012-03-24T14:10:52.266Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed. I'm not sure why everyone's so fixated on a tradeoff by Harry.

comment by WrongBot · 2012-03-23T06:53:02.208Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Harry could destroy his own reputation in order to save Hermione, by (for example) threatening to forever abandon Wizarding Britain. He is a beloved celebrity, after all, and it would be bad press for the Wizengamot if the Boy-Who-Lived defected to France.

Not sure how likely his dark side is to go for a self-sacrificing ploy, though.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-23T08:22:22.187Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Wizarding Britain doesn't know that there's a Dark Lord still out there; it doesn't know that they still need Harry Potter as anything other than a celebrity, and for him to make such a threat would appear only as the height of vanity.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-23T16:05:25.145Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Harry could destroy his own reputation in order to save Hermione, by (for example) threatening to forever abandon Wizarding Britain.

Shouldn't they take that for granted already? I mean obviously he's going to have absolutely no remaining loyalty to the state - or at least the power structure - that did that to him. They should all expect to die whenever Harry finds it convenient to overthrow them. Or is that just what I would do?

(Any sane politician who was planning to make that sort of move against a potential emergent power like Harry would also see to it that they were killed, crippled or framed as a matter of course. You don't go around recklessly making enemies and leaving them free to gather power.)

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T17:30:40.227Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

"...Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge."

--Machiavelli

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-23T17:42:10.718Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Exactly the philosophy I had in mind! Is this also present in rationality quotes somewhere? It certainly should be.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T17:48:19.005Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't see it anywhere.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T19:04:33.062Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Apart from Dumbledore and Lucius, none of them are likely to take an 11-yo child and his promises of enmity and revenge at all seriously. "Enough talk, he'll be late for his classes." And even if he might become a political counter of some significance in a decade, or a few decades, they wouldn't expect him to hold a grudge that long - normal children don't often do that.

comment by glumph · 2012-03-23T17:47:06.553Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

While Dumbledore and Lucius and other major figures might be sane, I'm not sure if we're supposed to take the majority of the Wizengamot to be anything other than, in Harry's words, "stupid, corrupt, and evil."

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T19:00:53.207Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

On the same kind of criteria, you might expect the majority of all wizards and indeed all humans to be stupid, corrupt, and evil-when-given-great-power. It's a Quirrel kind of thought. Which doesn't make it untrue.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-03-23T07:03:17.181Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Dark side doesn't care about consequences - I believe someone likened it to an UFAI.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-23T14:58:21.160Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I disagree. This is a possible, but weak solution whereto the probability calculation of good Bayesian says that it doesn't stand a good chance of succeeding compared to the cost. Right now Harry is not in an impressive social situation. Besides being the Boy-Who-Lived he's done nothing, and in this particular context he has not scored an awful lot of points.

comment by drnickbone · 2012-03-23T16:11:04.311Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Much worse, Harry sacrifices Hermione to achieve a higher level of utility (probably something involving 3^^^3). Horrible thought, but his dark side could do it, and he's just gone to the dark side for a solution.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-24T08:06:01.582Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Much worse, Harry sacrifices Hermione to achieve a higher level of utility (probably something involving 3^^^3). Horrible thought, but his dark side could do it, and he's just gone to the dark side for a solution.

That isn't a scary thought at all. In fact, in the absence of a clever solution it is the best option available.

Sometimes you just have to lose because there is no real option. If it wasn't in a story with Harry as the protagonist it would almost certainly be best to not start a war with the entire power structure to try to save her. Well, not yet.

Let Hermione go. Go research magic. Take over the world. Rescue Hermione. Use advanced magic and an FAI to heal the damage done to Hermione.

comment by drnickbone · 2012-03-26T17:07:19.303Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Rescue Hermione. Use advanced magic and an FAI to heal the damage done to Hermione.

The "scary" or "horrible" thought is if he can't do this part. (Which to me looks plausible: if a 12 year-old girl gets sent to Azkaban then she almost certainly can't recover.) The taboo tradeoff would then look like this:

Option A : Rescue Hermione, but with some big utility downside.

Option B: Don't rescue Hermione, ever, but with some big utility upside.

Incidentally, one thing that no-one - I think - has mentioned is whether Muggle law carries any weight at all in this, since what Malfoy and the Wizengamot are voting for is a grotesque form of child abuse (and a huge taboo violation in Muggle society). Can they just ignore the civil law like that and get away with it : what if it led to a breakdown in the edict of secrecy (with Harry helping)? Are Hermione's parents going to be memory-charmed or fobbed off with some random story to shut them up?

Wouldn't this also be a form of taboo tradeoff - Lucius et al following through on Wizard law to avenge a blood debt vs keeping Magical Society secret? Or (from Harry's side) - breaking the edict of secrecy to get Hermione released vs Keeping it for the greater good (e.g. prevention of war).

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-26T17:54:58.421Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Harry's Muggle parents could not authorize it because they were Muggles, and Muggles had around the same legal standing as children or kittens: they were cute, so if you tortured them in public you could get arrested, but they weren't people. Some reluctant provision had been made for recognizing the parents of Muggleborns as human in a limited sense, but Harry's adoptive parents did not fall into that legal category.

I kinda doubt wizards in general care overmuch about Muggle law.

comment by drnickbone · 2012-03-26T18:47:26.776Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But presumably they do care about rampaging Muggles on witch-hunts?

That hasn't happened for about three hundred years. But then, by a mysterious coincidence, neither has torturing little children into insanity to appease the blood lust of the "nobility", something which is likely to get those pitchforks sharpened pretty damned fast.

"She is too young! Her mind would not withstand it! Not in three centuries has such a thing been done in Britain!"

Secrecy about magic does seem to matter to these folks, otherwise why go to all the effort? Possibly because in an all-out war the wizards risk losing. They have less magic now, the Muggles have much nastier weapons, and not all wizards would fight on the same side. The magical world would be itself deeply divided if torturing a child proved to be the causus belli. Quirrell for one thinks they'd lose (Chapter 34):

"Your parents nearly lost against half a hundred, who thought to take this country alive! How quickly would they have been crushed by a foe more numerous than they, a foe that cared for nothing but their destruction?...

And if some still greater enemy rose against us in a war of extermination, then only a united magical world could survive."

comment by ajuc · 2012-03-23T21:52:50.919Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Harry promises Lucius to speak under Veritaserum, that Dumbledore confesed to Harry, that he burned Narcisa. Harry is occlumens or almost occlumens, so he can beat Veritaserum, but everybody don't know it.

Lucius Malfoy has his revenge, and his son, so he let Hermione free. Dumbledore loses, and maybe everything is lost, but Hermione is free. That's taboo tradeoff.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2012-03-24T10:30:42.429Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore knows Harry is an Occlumens, and he would say as much and have it independently verified.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-23T14:55:55.371Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

First of all: Dumbledore has visibly just traded Hermione for his own position (so that's one trade-off).

But besides that I find one hypothesis that answer your questions within the given parameters (more might dot my mind later, hence I'll number it from the get go):

  1. Harry asks Draco if Draco had submitted him to torture with no intention of helping him. Draco is already under the effects of Veritaserum, so he'll testify.

The dark part: betraying a promise.

Now the social part: Now he has let everyone in the Wizengamot see that Draco is willing to torture another kid until this kid dies/goes crazy. And this is not ANY other kid; it is The-Boy-Who-Lived.

Next Harry could ask them if they then thought it beyond Draco to have Hermione and himself false-memory charmed/obliviated so as to both get revenge over Hermione who publicly humiliated him (which Harry hadn't) AND regain his lost honour by appearing victorious in the false memory.

For kicks he could throw in the mudblood/true born-equality discovery (and that would also qualify for the taboo-part).

... Lucius would severely regret having earned that enmity. Dark side should like this.

Oh, and about the laws: this should have Draco, and thereby the House of Malfoy, owe a blood debt. This blood debt could be used to either: a. let Draco suffer the same punishment as Hermione (a good way to make sure none of them get hurt too badly) b. let him take her place (a way darker way of dealing with Lucius) (unlikely due to the sheer amount of harm done; too dark) c. have Lucius revoke his vote (uncertain about the legality)

Another option when it comes to Magical Britain's laws might be invoking some duel right. I do not know if this is possible, but it would be in line with the medieval feel of Magical Britain.

We would object that laws cannot be changed retroactively. Magical Britain doesn't follow a constitution so I cannot see why not.

Besides that I suppose a duel might actually invoked to defend Hermione's honour. I'm really uncertain about that though.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-23T15:04:55.712Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Harry asks Draco if Draco had submitted him to torture with no intention of helping him. Draco is already under the effects of Veritaserum, so he'll testify.

Draco isn't even present. His earlier testimony under Veritaserum was simply read aloud.

And also the possibility of utilizing Draco's use of torture was mentioned and rejected in the previous chapter, as Lucius Malfoy may well have obliviated anything incriminating he found in Draco's mind under his own Veritaserum interrogation of his son.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-23T15:57:15.956Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My bad. Speed reading and sleep deprivation is a bad cocktail if you want a keen eye for detail. Thank you. Given that I'll retract my previous comment.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-23T10:21:07.760Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Boy-Who-Lived marries Draco Malfoy?

How on earth does that make PCs of the voters/get Hermione off the hook?

(My apologies if it was a joke.)

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-23T10:28:50.230Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Intended to suggest pulling some kind of social stunt that would put the Malfoys under obligation or massively shake up the politics of the room...

... but mostly 'cause it's funny. I mean, it's got to be a solution to some problem Harry faces. His fanclub demands it!

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-03-23T07:04:15.726Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You know, that would almost work, except that that would basically mean the extinction of the Malfoy line.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-23T07:18:57.426Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

They could adopt/legitimize Draco's children by another lover. As Harry's fanclub says, he and Draco and the lady could have one of those, you know, arrangements...

comment by iceman · 2012-03-20T04:12:19.347Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

The Joker: I took Gotham's white knight and I brought him down to our level. It wasn't hard. You see, madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push!

-- The Dark Knight

The narrative that we, the readers, are supposed to believe at this point goes like this: Hermione was given information during her little rendezvous with H+C, giving her some information that made her think that Snape and the Malfoys had it in for her, that the duel didn't happen, and H+C (presumably Quirrell) obliviated her memory of their first meeting afterwards.

Professor Quirrell has made numerous statements doubting Hermione's goodness. For example: "She is young, and to make a show of kindness costs her little." (60) Being Quirrell, he has most likely predicted Harry's sentiment on the matter: "But 3 out of 40 subjects had refused to participate all the way to the end. The Hermiones. They did exist, in the world, the people who wouldn't fire a Simple Strike Hex at a fellow student even if the Defense Professor ordered them to do it." (63)

I would like to advance the hypothesis that Hermione actually did attempt to kill Draco. Yes, she had been set up to stew in her paranoia and obsession over Snape and Malfoy by H+C. Yes, the memories of her meeting with H+C were obliviated. The idea of the blood cooling charm may have been fed to her. But in the end, she choose to cast it in anger on Draco (at least as much as you can choose something when an attacker controls the environment).

It appears to be in Quirrell's interest to dissuade Harry Potter from believing that there are good people in the world. Quirrell wishes Harry to learn that there are no good people in the world. What better way to accomplish this than giving Hermione, as the Joker would say, a little push!

I also find Severus' comments suspicious: "The appearance of insanity..." Severus murmured softly, as though he were speaking to himself. "Could it be natural? No, it is too disastrous to be pure accident; too convenient for someone, I have no doubt.[...]"

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-17T19:47:53.595Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Suggestion: Harry (/Dumbledore) run some more almost-successful assassination attempts against Draco, while Hermione is in custody. That should suggest to Lucius and the Wizengamot that Hermione was being controlled. Bonus points for appearing to rescue Draco from said attempts. Bonus points for plausible attempts against Lucius himself. Extra bonus points for suggesting to Lucius a better explanation for the continuing attempts than the true one.

comment by Nominull · 2012-03-17T23:33:54.401Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Among other things, this runs into the same issue as pretending to defeat Voldemort - there's an actual criminal out there who actually tried to kill Draco, or frame Hermione, or something more obscure than either, and any playacting would be extremely premature until they know what's actually going on.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-17T20:04:54.238Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

That... sounds like Harry's style. So he'd need to be in the trial when it happens. Then someone storms into the chambers and tells Lucius there's been another attack, and Harry smirks inwardly.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-17T22:15:32.324Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Time Turner.

EDIT: On the other hand, if people know you have a time turner, then you have to work extra hard to establish an alibi.

EDIT Again: But then, with Polyjuice Potion, how could anyone ever have an alibi? Ehhh, maybe it's time for more suspension of belief.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-24T23:45:58.117Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's expensive, difficult to make, and Magical Britain's investigative process is pathetic. Given that a Veritaserum-given accusation and confession are considered conclusive even with known counters and a number of mind-altering spells widely taught, they most likely consider polyjuice too unlikely to bother worrying about in the vast majority of cases.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-06-25T00:30:17.480Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's expensive, difficult to make, ..

Polyjuice potion? I know they say it's hard to make, but 3 second years managed it in canon. Did EY make a point of making it particularly harder to make than in canon?

comment by pengvado · 2012-06-26T01:06:50.024Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe not harder, but more dangerous. 2 second years managed in canon, and the 3rd messed up and got turned into a catgirl. HPMOR chapter 78 has a reference to that, except this time the catgirl transformation is permanent.

comment by Jello_Raptor · 2012-03-17T20:48:05.222Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

... Can we get the weasly brothers to do it?

Also if Harry is taken off campus for the trail wouldn't that be at odds with Dumbledore's intention to keep him safe?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-17T20:56:22.768Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

In Dumbledore's personal presence he's safe enough. Especially since Dumbledore now thinks that Voldermort is in Hogwarts.

comment by glumph · 2012-03-17T22:51:01.501Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

But where will Draco be on the day of the trial? If he won't still be in St. Mungo's then he might be at Malfoy Manor, which, I assume, is rather secure. (It would be a problem for Harry if not for Dumbledore.)

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-17T23:13:34.934Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Well, what is Harry for if not thinking up solutions to "impossible" problems? Is this any harder than escaping Azkaban? People have already come up with ways to attack Malfoy Manor (transform antimatter), now we just have to attack and fail - how much harder could that be? :-)

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-24T10:54:17.185Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Harry testifies: "Voldemort did it all. He made me watch with the Imperius curse -- just like when he made me help rescue Bellatrix Black."

Harry provides details of the Bellatrix rescue that only a participant would know. His accuracy can be verified by Azkaban Security Director Amelia Bones, who just happens to be present in the Wizengamot.

Harry's knowledge of the Bellatrix rescue proves the villain who Imperiused him was really Voldemort. Who else would rescue Bellatrix?

If anyone expresses doubts about Harry's super-Patronus, Harry immediately takes the excuse to annihilate a Dementor, one of which also just happens to be present in the Wizengamot.

Harry's Occlumency lets him lie through the Veritaserum about being Imperiused and witnessing poor Hermione being framed by Voldemort. He likewise lies that "Voldemort" (not Quirrell) took him to rescue Bellatrix.

Harry explains that seeing Hermione about to be condemned to Azkaban gave him the strength to finally break free of Voldemort's Imperius curse and tell everyone the truth. (Alternately, Obliviation and a Pensieve Harry wasn't supposed to find.)

Hermione is deemed innocent. Voldemort is acknowledged back in the world and is blamed. Harry can no longer be blackmailed about Azkaban because he's admitted it.

Harry-irony points for saying right in front of Lucius: "I didn't want to help Voldemort, I was under the Imperius curse".

Author-irony points for having Harry lie to blame Voldemort for two crimes that Quirrellmort is in fact guilty of.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-25T18:40:23.529Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well you've at least managed a "confess" possibility that isn't completely insane, which is rather a feat. Of course, Dumbledore and some others know about the Occlumency thing, which means that there's a rather gaping hole in the explanation. Also, he took months to come forward, which is sketchy, and he said not five minutes earlier that he didn't know whose plot it was. Also, everyone thinks Voldemort is dead, and I didn't think an Imperius could be broken in the HP universe. Still, it's an improvement on that line of thought.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-26T02:40:51.799Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

and I didn't think an Imperius could be broken in the HP universe.

I don't know about MoR, but canonically Harry is dang near immune to the Imperius. For no particular reason, either- he just has an unusually strong will.

comment by Nominull · 2012-03-26T02:35:12.270Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well a Killing Curse can't be survived, either. Harry Potter has some precedent for resisting Voldemort's irresistible magics.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-23T15:59:39.993Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He broke Barty Crouch Jr.'s Imperius curse as well.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-24T22:25:24.322Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Harry-irony points for saying right in front of Lucius: "I didn't want to help Voldemort, I was under the Imperius curse".

I don't agree with your general thesis, but this line from Harry would be double plus ironic with Lucius believing that Harry is Voldemort.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-25T08:40:02.660Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Minor variant: "I did it all. Voldemort made me, with the Imperius curse -- just like when he made me help rescue Bellatrix Black."

Advantages:

  • requires Harry to make up fewer details about Voldemort's behavior (Harry just claims Voldemort Imperiused Harry with his orders regarding Hermione and then disappeared).
  • incredibly dramatic first line for chapter. "I did it! I'm guilty!" Readers spend several paragraphs wondering if Harry is actually setting himself up to go to Azkaban in Hermione's place.

Disadvantage:

  • requires Harry to claim that the Imperius curse gave him spell expertise he otherwise doesn't have (Obliviate and the False Memory Charm).

I personally dislike the Imperius "powerup", but it's in canon so Harry could certainly know about it in the fic. Aside from that objection this is an even more dramatic variant.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T14:02:08.851Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry can defeat Veritaserum (maybe), but definitely can't lie to a Legilemens - and the Wizengamot officially uses one to interrogate witnesses. Maybe they wouldn't do it on the spot, for whatever reason, but they would get to shortly, because this is very serious business. And if they saw in Harry's mind that he lied, they'd just interrogate him very thoroughly and then never listen to him speak freely.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-24T17:39:29.364Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

However, it's likely that Lucius believes Harry is a perfect Occlumens, which means he would fight to block a Legilimency examination.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T18:57:49.740Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Suppose enough people disbelieve Lucius, or just oppose him if he's keeping his reasoning secret. Harry is the one coming forward asking to testify, so they decide to let him.

But when testifying before the Wizengamot, standard procedure is to use a Legilemens. They even used one on Hermione, and no-one thinks she's any kind of Occlumens at all. So an Occlumens would be used, and would report that Harry is lying.

There's no way Daniel_Starr's plan for Harry would work - whether they let him testify or not - unless he is a perfect Occlumens, and I don't believe that even of his dark side, it's not been sufficiently foreshadowed. (Also, Eliezer just wrote in the A/N that in text fiction, a protagonist can't just power-up and gain new abilities during a crisis, because it makes for poor storytelling; he has to solve the crisis using abilities he already has.)

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-24T19:56:05.351Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

But when testifying before the Wizengamot, standard procedure is to use a Legilemens. They even used one on Hermione, and no-one thinks she's any kind of Occlumens at all. So an Occlumens would be used, and would report that Harry is lying.

I don't believe this is correct.

The Potions Master raised his voice. "This is not Muggle Britain, Mr. Potter!" Severus's face was as expressionless as ever, but the bite in his voice was sharp. "The Aurors have an accusation under Veritaserum and a confession under Veritaserum. So far as they are concerned, the investigation is done."

"Not quite," said Dumbledore, just as Harry seemed ready to explode. "I have insisted to Amelia that this matter be given the utmost scrutiny. [...]

The boy nodded, his eyes still directly addressing her. "Which of those spells can be detected? Which would the Aurors try to detect?"

"The Confundus Charm would wear off in a few hours," she said, after a moment to gather her thoughts. "Miss Granger would remember the Imperius. Obliviation cannot be detected by any known means, but only a Professor could have cast that spell upon a student without alarm from the Hogwarts wards. Legilimency - can only be detected by another Legilimens, I think -"

"I requested that Miss Granger be examined by the court Legilimens," said Dumbledore. "The examination showed -"

They only bothered to use a Legilimens on the direct request of the Chief Warlock; Veritaserum is normally considered sufficient.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T21:12:08.314Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good point. It's still possible that someone will request a Legilemens if Harry testifies, so such plans are risky.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-24T22:40:44.467Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore won't ask for a Legilimens, because he'll trust Harry.

Lucius won't, because he believes Harry is Voldemort and a perfect Occlumens.

And everybody else will follow Dumbledore and Lucius' lead on the matter.

Politicians hate taking risks and being caught out. Subordinate politicians really hate taking risks and being caught out.

comment by clgroft · 2012-03-24T14:45:57.652Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Unless he's a perfect Occlumens by now.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-24T14:51:55.414Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Or rather, unless his really really dark side is. Which I find quite plausible, really.

comment by Manfred · 2012-03-25T11:09:01.223Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nah, "what use is a mysterious dark side that doesn't even give him super powers?"

comment by ahartell · 2012-03-25T14:27:20.651Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

After almost a month of work, and more on a whim than any real hunch, Harry had decided to make himself coldly angry and then try the book's Occlumency exercises again. At that point he'd mostly given up hope on that sort of thing, but it had still seemed worth a quick try -

He'd run through all the book's hardest exercises in two hours, and the next day he'd gone and told Professor Quirrell he was ready.

His dark side, it had turned out, was very, very good at pretending to be other people.

Chapter 27

comment by Baughn · 2012-03-26T10:29:28.522Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Which, to clarify, it turned out that it wasn't. Quirrel saw right through it.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-23T16:03:53.375Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Do you mean Mr. Bester?

It was good at pretending to be other people, he just didn't know enough to make sure that the other person was the only one that Legilimens saw when reading his mind.

comment by Baughn · 2012-06-23T16:32:26.331Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't remember at this point which one it was, but the GGP text suggests Quirrel was in fact the one to test him then.

As for the mechanics of it - you may be right, I mostly recall that it didn't actually work.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-25T14:25:58.800Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

His dark side, it turned out, was very good at pretending to be other people.

comment by LucasSloan · 2012-03-23T05:06:29.073Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Point in favor of this all being a plot by Quirrell to cause Harry to be more willing to overthrow the ministry:

But by then he'd already declared war on the country of magical Britain, and the idea of other people calling him a Dark Lord no longer seemed important one way or another.

ETA: Evidence this is the result of Quirrell's plotting at all:

Harry's mind flashed back to another day of horror, and even though Harry had been on the verge of writing off Lord Voldemort's continued existence as the senility of an old wizard, it suddenly seemed horribly and uniquely plausible that the entity who'd Memory-Charmed Hermione was the very same mind that had - made use of - Bellatrix Black. The two events had a certain signature in common. To choose that this should happen, plan for this to happen - it would take more than evil, it would take emptiness.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T14:00:23.714Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Harry is naive. Why not assume that many people can be this non-empathetic? It's a useful quality to have, after all.

comment by hairyfigment · 2012-03-25T02:57:15.236Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Because it also requires competence? I don't actually know what a world with many super-competent villains would look like, but I'm guessing 'Not like this'.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-03-23T12:19:59.155Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

To choose that this should happen, plan for this to happen - it would take more than evil, it would take emptiness.

I'm trying to figure out what the heck that even means.

I sure hope Harry doesn't make a habit of deducing plot points - such as "Voldemort did it" here - from such vague moralipsychologising.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-23T12:35:54.095Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Harry's suggesting that Voldemort's tactics involve not just hate but an incredible degree of cynicism.

Both "Make Bella love you despairingly, on purpose" and "Mess with Hermione's brain intimately over a long period of time" reflect a person who can get to know people closely and accurately and yet not care about them at all.

A lot of evil comes from people doing bad things to people they don't bother to think about in the first place. Voldemort clearly took the trouble to get to know Bellatrix and (somewhat) Hermione rather well - solely for the purposes of undermining them.

Some police trained as hostage-situation snipers find they can't actually pull the trigger on real criminals, because they watch them so long and so closely they empathize with them. Draco Malfoy, in the fic, was coming to empathize with Hermione Granger.

Harry is observing that Voldemort seems to be immune to natural empathy, and that creeps him out.

(Agree that Harry having "Voldemort plot detection powers" as a general rule would be bizarre.)

comment by razor11 · 2012-03-23T18:06:05.850Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry doesn't know whether whoever framed Hermione knew her closely or not. He knew that her mind was probably tampered with on several different occasions, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the criminal interacted with her on a regular basis, or enough to empathize with her. Otherwise I think he would have considered Quirell as a lead suspect early on.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-03-23T13:01:20.425Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Good reply.

I'll note, however, that to me the word "evil" means what you're talking about. If we're talking about "evil' as a character trait, that is, someone being an evil person. When you say "A lot of evil comes from people doing bad things to people they don't bother to think about in the first place", I assume you're talking about "evil" as in "harm done", which is not the same thing.

comment by dspeyer · 2012-03-29T17:04:58.498Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Voldemort isn't the only empty one.

Quirell "cannot say that I bothered keeping count" of "how many different people" he is. Surely he has an empty persona. It's useful.

comment by anandjeyahar · 2012-03-23T16:19:09.591Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This also reminds of what he says to Hermione after she saves him from dementation. "The place where the dementor takes you there's no light. But you can't ever be happy, you can't even remember what it is that isn't there anymore." the second part sounds a lot like emptiness to me.

comment by staticIP · 2012-03-23T03:15:31.104Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Dementor, do you know who I am? Just say yes or no.

Do you know what I'm capable of? Once again, yes or no.

Leave Hermione be. Do not approach her or tread upon her thoughts during her time in azkaban. Run along and tell your compatriots at azkaban. Now.

Hopefully albus's belief would be enough to bolster them even if they don't have a mind if their own. If they do have a mind of their own they can be threatened, and have been in the past.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-23T04:59:59.478Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry suggested himself that dementors don't really think. It might not be able to give a meaningful response, and even if it can, there's nothing to suggest that they can learn from the experience of other dementors or instinctively recognize Harry as anathema.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-03-23T12:26:19.167Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Regarding meaningful response:

The Dementor's speech hurt their ears as it said, "Bellatrix Black is out of her cell."

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-23T14:39:10.775Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's already established that dementors can talk, but I tend to think of them like chatbots; they can exchange information in a limited domain, but get them out of the domain they usually operate, and while they'll still say things (like the dementor tellign Quirrell it would hunt him down,) it doesn't acually mean anything regarding its behavior, you're just projecting some sort of characteristic babble onto it.

comment by staticIP · 2012-03-23T15:05:22.214Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

True, but it doesn't have to actually communicate anything to its peers at azkaban. People just need to believe it did. It's obviously threatened in the middle of a court room, then starts flying to azkaban. Most people are going to presume that after something like that the dementors would leave Hermione alone. If they are consensus!dementors, not some-motive!dementors they'll still leave her alone, because people will believe they will leave her alone.

if they're some-motive!dementors, they'll leave her alone because they don't want to die. Either way he wins.

comment by staticIP · 2012-03-23T15:00:43.554Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Even if the hypothesis that they don't really think, just behave in a way that people think they will, is true; it's phrased in such a way as to cause doubt in the purple-robes (the use of "just say yes or no" to make them think there's more information then they're getting) and belief in albus. If it just answers "yes" to the first question, it's still plausible within the purple robes belief sets, but hopefully makes harry seem mysterious enough that they believe the next question can also be a yes. Then albus, who's a true believer, pushes the consensus reality over to a yes with his understanding that harry has the power to destroy them.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-23T15:10:59.823Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

My suspicion is that if Harry tried to get all high and commanding on a dementor, he wouldn't get a yes or no, but something like "Wretched child, I will come to know you when your soul fills my gullet." I don't think he has any reason to believe that a dementor would have any inclination to be cooperative with him.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T17:01:35.181Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Except that he already extorted them into backing down once.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-23T17:11:45.062Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You're right, I had forgotten about that. The fact that this dementor is in a hall full of Wizengamot members may make a difference though; its actions may be controlled more by their expectations than Harry's.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T21:26:28.046Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Of course - if Harry's right that they cater to expectations, then he can't threaten it successfully. If they actually are intelligent, he can.

(However, in that case, Harry is also a murderer. Whoops.)

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-23T17:30:55.593Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A murderer of death? I think he'd be pleased by the compliment.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-06-24T22:54:40.930Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure. He seems pretty appalled by the thought of killing even Voldemort, because causing death to an intelligent being is bad. I think he'd be very, very torn by the thought of killing an intelligent Dementor, even if they are a literal incarnation of Death, and would only do so if he thought it was necessary to end death.

comment by staticIP · 2012-03-23T17:48:59.452Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's why it needs to be phrased in such a way as to put them off guard. if they're consensus!dementors then hopefully that seed of doubt combined with McGonigal's and Albus's belief could tip the balance. I admit my own attempt to create doubt (by using "just say yes or no") was a bit amateurish. I'd imagine that dark!harry can do better. Intuitively it seems like all he'd have to do is create doubt in the non-believers and his true believers could carry it.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T21:27:54.457Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There's a lot of people in the room - several dozen, certainly. Three or four believers would not be sufficient - Harry's belief wasn't enough to outweigh a single half-dead crazy girl, so a 10:1 or 20:1 against ratio seems guaranteed to be ineffective.

comment by Vladimir_Nesov · 2012-06-23T18:09:53.831Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Or it's about how well the belief is justified, not "strength" of the belief, or number of the believers. Crazy beliefs or those based on false assumptions would have no impact in that case. And justified true beliefs can't disagree (at their level of specificity).

comment by Alsadius · 2012-06-24T23:02:21.624Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Then how is it that Harry and Bellatrix had the experience with Dementors that they did? Harry's beliefs were well-justified, but he still had to KO Bellatrix before it worked.

And of course justified beliefs can disagree. As a purely trivial matter, true beliefs cannot disagree, so you are technically correct there, but well-justified beliefs can differ if the participants have different evidence. Sharing evidence will remove the disagreement(assuming that all evidence is in a mathematical form that cannot be disagreed upon, of course), but that isn't always possible.

comment by staticIP · 2012-03-24T15:26:21.417Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Bellatrix truly believed she was doomed, that's a strong belief against harrys position. Harry himself didn't fully believe it either. I'd argue that the extent of bellatrixes disbelief was greater then the great halls, although it's hard to say. That coupled with the fact that harry wasn't a true believer leads to a consensus that they're not leaving. Now we have 2 true believer on harrys side and a bunch of people who probably don't have real strong opinions one way or the other.

Also, it's entirely possible that magical ability decides how many "votes" you get in the consensus!dementors actions. Albus has reason to very very strongly believe that the dementor will do as he's told. Whether that's enough to overwhelm the rest of the voters, who believe that the dementor will not do what harry says, but fear them and would certainly be thrown off gourd by the first question, is hard to say.

My hope is that is answers "yes" to the first question, enough to raise enough doubt that the second question can also be a yes. Once the second question has been answered in the mysterious yes manner, hopefully it confuses the expectations of the crowd enough to allow the dementor to be ordered about. You start with a question that can be answered innocuously enough, but changes the expectations enough. Then you keep doing that. Like murder gandhi.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-23T17:34:16.884Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Why does Albus have such a belief? He witnessed Harry kill a dementor, yes, but not control one.

That's not to say that he would disbelieve that Harry could do it, but I see no reason for him to have a reason to "very very strongly believe" it.

comment by staticIP · 2012-09-08T16:05:05.393Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Because harry can carry through on his threats, and it seems the standard mental model for dementors has them being self-serving. A dementor should respond to threats, as far as I can tell.

When I was arguing this I was also taking into account that albus (and the great hall) had seen the dementor be afraid of harry, but it occurs to me that that was in the future.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-18T05:52:52.703Z · score: 13 (15 votes) · LW · GW

How about, follow the money? Who gains?

Hermione, the girl who publicly humiliated Draco and the whole Pureblood cause, now owes a blood debt to Lucius Malfoy. Not only does he gain power over her, but by extension, over Harry, and further extension, to Dumbledore. All for the price of a very safe if monitored supposed attempt on Draco's life, which Draco likely would have volunteered for if given the opportunity.

Lucius has hit the jackpot, even if he didn't plan and orchestrate the whole thing. He can extract almost anything out of Harry in exchange for leniency for Hermione. It seems unlikely that the good Defense Professor would have orchestrated a plan which is entirely dependent for it's success on Lucius failing to take advantage of the situation - unless putting Harry in Lucius's debt was his goal.

Lucius personally has complete control of the outcome, and I'm surprised Harry hasn't considered contacting him yet.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-18T13:47:19.256Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It seems unlikely that the good Defense Professor would have orchestrated a plan which is entirely dependent for it's success on Lucius failing to take advantage of the situation - unless putting Harry in Lucius's debt was his goal.

Assuming Quirrell is Voldemort, he presumably had years of access to Lucius' mind (if he regularly required Lucius to drop Occlumency barriers). At the very least, we can assume he has an excellent mental model of how Lucius behaves. The plot therefore doesn't seem like too great of risk for Quirrell, particularly when we consider that Lucius is about to discover Harry's progress in turning Draco. Quirrell can safely assume that Lucius will react in a way that will pull Draco and Harry apart when he discovers this, and will therefore be less inclined to trade Hermione for something of Harry's.

comment by mjr · 2012-03-18T08:57:41.469Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed. Though I went a bit further (more likely than not too far ;) in the reviews:

"Speculation time: Lucius did it. But plot thickens: Draco will intervene on Hermione's behalf, mostly on the basis of their remembered scenario being very implausible, as explained in the chapter. The Harry-Draco bond will strengthen. Just as Lucius intended, not being quite as inflexible as pictured in the discussion, and seeing that Draco will do quite well for himself as Harry's second.

As a side benefit, he'll get the record to show that (according to the false memory) Draco won a straight duel against Hermione. (Almost nobody will think to doubt that part of the memory - Draco might, but will keep it to himself.)"

Mr. Hat presumably can't be Lucius, though (that "only teachers can cast this sort of stuff here without being noticed" thing), so ve'd have to be just under his control, but that should be simple enough.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-18T14:35:51.392Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

But plot thickens: Draco will intervene on Hermione's behalf, mostly on the basis of their remembered scenario being very implausible, as explained in the chapter.

Only Hermione's supposed cold-blooded attempt to kill him is highly implausible, and Draco doesn't actually remember nor can testify to that.

The things that Draco remembers aren't actually significantly implausible: We know he challenged her to a duel to that very place, we know he considered himself quite likely to overpower her in that duel. Then all Draco knows of that night is that he was stunned in the back.

Draco does not even need to have been False-Memory charmed for any of the above - even if Hermione didn't actually go to the duel, a polyjuiced Quirrell could have taken her place.

Only Hermione needs to have been implanted with false memories.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-18T10:28:25.337Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I like the Draco part, but the Lucius part seems a stretch to me. Lucius could have just stayed out of their way and let their bond grow, trusting to Draco to cozy up with a new power.

Actually, it appears more likely to me that this is a plot by Lucius to turn Draco away from Harry by setting Hermione in opposition to Draco.

But both Lucius and Draco are key to the resolution of this.

Mr. Hat is the trick for any Lucius Did It theory. Off the top of my head, I can't find a satisfactory Mr. Hat for this scenario. Snapes seems the only possible candidate.

comment by Incorrect · 2012-03-18T13:27:58.080Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

We know Snape wants to eliminate bullies and chose Hermione as one of his tools to do so. Perhaps this is his latest plot to turn Hermione into the ultimate bully fighting machine.

Snape considers the magical government the ultimate bullies. He will offer Hermione the power to defeat them at her darkest hour after which there will be no turning back. After destroying the magical government Hermione will see her life as serving the singular purpose of fighting bullies.

edit: I was joking :P

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T13:36:54.065Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How does Snape have the power to destroy the government, with or without Hermione?

comment by Jonathan_Elmer · 2012-03-18T18:50:10.677Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We don't know that Snape wanted to eliminate bullies. Snape's intervention in SPEW battles caused a serious escalation in the conflict, but it was Quirrel's intervention in the final battle that continued the escalation to the point where something had to be done to stop it. We do not know what Snape's intention was for that final battle.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-18T22:02:32.313Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

He might not have had an intention for that battle in the first place:

And so it was with some puzzlement, a few days later, that Daphne looked at the parchment delivered to her at lunch, drawn in a hand so shaky it was almost unreadable, saying:

2 this afternoon at the top of the stairs going up from the library REALLY IMPORTANT everyone has to be there - Millicent

Daphne looked around, but she couldn't see Millicent anywhere in the Great Hall.

"A message from your informant?" said Hermione, when Daphne told her. "That's odd - I didn't -"

"You didn't what?" said Daphne, after the Ravenclaw girl had stopped in mid-sentence.

The note from Millicent was sent by the bullies; Snape didn't send a note at all.

comment by moritz · 2012-03-19T09:19:06.357Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Right. And Lucius calls Snape his "valuable ally", so it's likely that Snape has done the dirty work for Lucius inside Hogwarts.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-20T04:10:22.698Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Or Snape is just a good double agent.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T13:13:33.399Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Hermione, the girl who publicly humiliated Draco and the whole Pureblood cause, now owes a blood debt to Lucius Malfoy.

The dictionary attack by H&C on Hermione happened before Hermione defeated Draco. (edit: sorry, not months before, but still before.) Back then there was no reason for Lucius to target her or even publicly notice her existence.

Edited to add: in fact, the attack was immediately after Hermione had been made to stop her anti-bullying campaign and publicly punished and humiliated - partially making up for any offense she caused Slytherin up to that point.

comment by Vladimir_Nesov · 2012-03-18T13:19:49.778Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The dictionary attack by H&C on Hermione happened months before Hermione defeated Draco.

The attack depicted in Ch. 77 was clearly recent, after the events of the SA sequence.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T13:35:21.771Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Oops, sorry, my bad. I was thinking of H&C's first appearance. But it was still before Hermione defeated Draco publicly.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-20T02:04:22.078Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I'd like to point out something awesome Eliezer did in the previous chapter, "Cheating". In canon, Potions as a discipline is hardly taught at all. The only thing you ever see Snape do in the books is give a list of ingredients and instructions, tell the class how long the class period is, and assign papers at the end of the class. This is one example of how J.K. Rowling wasn't really invested in developing the mythology of the universe, except as strictly necessary to make her plots happen. (There's nothing wrong with that; they're children's books, not "real" fantasy for adults.)

With the "Cheating" chapter, rather than trying to create a whole framework of Potions rules to understand as he's done elsewhere, he simply added a darn good explanation that legitimizes everything Rowling already showed us. When Hermione lectures Harry on "understanding the principles" in Half-Blood Prince, instead of scoffing about how there's never been evidence of any principles to learn, we can now imagine that there's a very good reason why Harry is never taught the principles of potion-making: if you're not smart, thoughtful, and careful enough to figure them out for yourself, you have absolutely no business knowing them at all.

When compared side-by-side as if they're in the same genre and directed toward the same audience, Methods of Rationality often makes the books look worse than they used to look. But in this case, future readings of the books will be made a little bit better. I wonder whether there are other ways that's true that I haven't noticed yet.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-20T23:30:40.348Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Seconded. In retrospect, the Canon teaching of potions now seems incredibly practical. The vast majority of students not only don't need to learn the theory, but it's a negative for them to do so. They only need to learn two things: 1) how to make the potions they'll use every day and 2) whether or not they even can make those potions or if they should just buy them from someone else. Constant repetition with minimal instruction is exactly what you need for a class that's more akin to cooking instead of calculus.

comment by anandjeyahar · 2012-03-22T17:09:58.489Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Only this can be considered a condescending attitude. And more importantly can drive some intelligent students to moonlight through schooling :-)

comment by moritz · 2012-03-20T08:15:13.515Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Potions is not the only thing that's neglected in canon; Transfiguration is also "just" taught but never used (except by the teachers). I love it that Harry!MoR puts Transfiguration to good use; after all it seems to be the most general magic manipulation.

It feels a bit as if canon and MoR aren't the same fiction subgenre. Canon is about a boy growing up, about action and an isolated society that still parallels the muggle society in many ways. MoR is more about discovering the magical world and about complicated plotting.

comment by Celer · 2012-03-23T01:59:33.998Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I never viewed them as really belonging in the same genre. Canon is character focused adolesence tale, MoR is plot focused epic fantasy.

comment by MatthewBaker · 2012-03-24T11:03:28.608Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

All I got from this is HarryMoRt*

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-19T06:55:10.067Z · score: 12 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Why are we assuming that Quirrelmort is on the up and up about wanting Harry to be the next Dark Lord?

Isn't that exactly the story you'd give a young prodigy with delusions of godhood to manipulate him, particularly if you wanted to set him against the establishment? Put Hermione in harms way, arrange to have her sent to Azkaban, where you've already arranged to have Harry rescue Bellatrix, egg Harry on to rescue her, as if he needed any egging on, then try to steal the Sorcerer's Stone while everyone is away at Azkaban.

Regardless on the details of Hermione's trial plays out, it would be a really interesting mind fuck to Harry, to find out that Quirrell was completely manipulating Harry's Messiah Complex from day one so he could someday use him as a distraction, and that all of Harry's childish science fiction fantasizing are seen by Quirrellmort as just that - childish.

And Dumbledore seems worse than Harry about taking science fiction/fantasy novels as a way to model real life.

And guess what? To the extent that we are lapping up this story, we are too. A mind fuck for Harry, Dumbledore, and us. And I can't say that we wouldn't have it coming.

Years ago, I read Point Counterpoint by Aldous Huxley, where Huxley, IMO, was a sadistic bastard who drew you into multiple parallel plots, sucking you into sympathizing and identifying with the characters, only to twist each storyline and quash all your hopes and sympathies. I thought he was just being a prick.

But if EY did a genre stomp here, I think he'd have a point, and it might even work pretty well for Harry in the story.

Such a strategy would also have a nice parallel in Harry's strategy with the armies, encouraging as much plotting and confusion as possible, because he figured that he could handle the confusion and complexity better than anyone else. It's exactly what Quirrelmort would be doing with Harry, with the Armies, with Dumbledore, with Lucius, as Mr. Hat and Cloak, etc. Get everyone scheming and doubting, then attack amidst the confusion.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-19T07:03:59.281Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Presumably if Quirrell thought he could take over the world on his own he'd have done so, and not wasted time playing a petty game to amuse himself with one boy wizard.

But you're right that "I notice I am confused" about the relationship between Voldemort, Quirrell's current mind, and Harry's mind.

If Quirrell's mind is a copy of Voldemort, and if he believes Harry's mind is also a copy of Voldemort, what is Quirrell's ultimate intent for Harry?

To overwrite him? To merge with him? Or merely to train him back into himself?

And if Dumbledore knows as much or almost as much about Horcruxes as Quirrell, does Dumbledore also know or suspect that Harry contains a piece of Voldemort's mind?

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-19T07:15:29.274Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Presumably if Quirrell thought he could take over the world on his own he'd have done so, and not wasted time playing a petty game to amuse himself with one boy wizard.

If Quirrellmort gets the Stone, he'll come back much stronger than he ever was. That's not a petty gain.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-19T07:40:58.228Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

You're right, the Stone would be worth it.

But if you know or expect the Stone to be in Hogwarts, then why take the awful risk of breaking out Bellatrix Black? If you were found out, you'd lose your chance to continue casing Hogwarts for the Stone.

Come to think of it, why did Quirrellmort break out Bellatrix before his other plans were complete? Wasn't that awfully risky?

What does Bellatrix offer that is so urgently needed?

(Possible answer: Quirrellmort is decaying fast.)

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-20T04:52:40.697Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Bellatrix is a puzzle.

Possible that he was actually in love with her, and that all the supposed torture was false memory charmed into her? I can't quite see how it would work, but my guess is that EY is a soppy old romantic at heart, so I wouldn't be surprised if somehow the relation between Bellatrix and Voldemort was transfigured.

Then again, maybe it wasn't Bellatrix at all. She was just being used again.

As DanArmak implies, maybe Quirrell is just driving a wedge between Harry and The Man. That's certainly useful, and plays into the current storyline of Hermione possibly going there. That was my first thought. Wouldn't that be a nice start to manipulate Harry into the Dark Side, a la the consistency bias? Also, it let Harry see first hand the torture, further alienating him from The Man.

And if Hermione gets sent up, I can't see Harry doing nothing about that, after liberating Bellatrix. Save Bellatrix and let Hermione rot? That doesn't seem likely.

However, didn't Hat and Cloak press Hermione that Harry would eventually sacrifice her for some higher goal? Somebody did that. Kind of a replay of Hermione looking to Dumbledore for justice, but receiving it from Quirrell instead. Maybe she gets disillusioned with Harry this time, and Quirrell rights the balance again? Maybe he wants to turn Hermione to the Dark Side?

The Bellatrix thing is a really good point, though. But it leads me to something else interesting - Dementors.

Maybe rescuing Bellatrix was just a diversion from the true point - seeing what Harry could do about Dementors. Defeating Death is central to Harry, Voldemort, and EY. Harry was extra sensitive to Dementors. Quirrell too. He asked for them at Hogwarts. He saved Harry from them. But Hermione said the Dementor's told her that Quirrell wanted the Dementors to eat Harry. And the Dementor told Quirrell that he knew him, and would hunt him down. Quirrell talked about "someone" attempting to destroy a Dementor. Death Eaters? A little joke from a guy who wanted to defeat death?

I would have to think, that given EY's values, the one transvaluation of values he'd want to achieve with his story is to get people to stop acquiescing and even loving death, and fight it. The symbolic crux of the story will be the fight against death. If so, betting on the Dementors as the issue for any plot point is a good bet.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-20T08:09:15.937Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Possible that he was actually in love with her, and that all the supposed torture was false memory charmed into her?

Charmed by someone other than Voldemort, I presume, after his death, and really they were two happy lovers all along? But then others (Lucius, Draco through him, etc) would have had quite different memories of the Voldemort-Bella relationship, and Harry would ventually hear about it when she became a popular subject of discourse after escaping from Azkaban. Everyone can't be charmed about this matter.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-20T08:35:23.533Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Has anyone besides Quirrell shared recollections about them? I only remember Quirrell. I wouldn't expect either to be the huggy wuggy pda types. Particularly with Dumbledore setting fire to spouses.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-20T16:03:36.216Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What would it mean for the story if Lesath Lestrange was actually Lesath Riddle by blood?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-20T17:18:40.894Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

He might lose his claim to inherit the vast Lestrange fortnue stored at Gringotts? I don't remember, the Lestrange and Black intermarried family trees are complex...

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-20T17:20:12.413Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Draco mentioned that Bella once Crucioed herself at Voldemort's orders.

Also, if Dumbledore could have set fire to Bella he would have, spouse or no spouse.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-20T21:38:01.094Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Draco mentioned that Bella once Crucioed herself at Voldemort's orders.

Didn't remember that one. That's a good one. No wedding bells for Quirrell and Bella, then.

But does that offstage action of Quirrell feel right to you? As Harry would say - it doesn't seem like his style. Ruthless yes, but I'd think he'd consider that kind of gratuitous sadism as childish.

comment by hairyfigment · 2012-03-23T02:04:58.529Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Actions like that ensured that Bellatrix's devotion to Voldemort was not a happy memory for her, and therefore would survive in Azkaban for as long as she did. It might even have prolonged her life (though I rather doubt he tortured her for her own good).

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-23T02:26:04.123Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Actions like that ensured that Bellatrix's devotion to Voldemort was not a happy memory for her, and therefore would survive in Azkaban for as long as she did. It might even have prolonged her life

Nice one.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-24T02:08:31.268Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Helena Bonham Carter has really bad taste in men, apparently.

ETA: It's funny because the same actress plays the role of Bellatrix and Marla, who is Typer Durden's girlfriend from the movie Fight Club, which was released in 1999.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-20T21:46:47.884Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That one action may have had a reason: to demonstrate to someone how loyal she was to him, perhaps, or what was possible with Dark rituals for mind control.

More generally, the public Voldemort persona - as exemplified by Harry pretending to be Voldemort to Bella - is very different from Quirrel's public persona. In my impression, Quirrel's is more personable and likeable, and just as powerful and scary and competent. This may be due to complexities of the Quirrel-Voldemort relationship.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-20T21:58:41.642Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know, it's kind of telling that Harry-as-Voldemort quotes Quirrell's "one must be efficient" thing to Bella without seeming to notice. And I've always been of the opinion that the glowing-red-eyes, high-pitched-giggling schtick was a conscious attempt to get people to underestimate him ever since the martial arts story. (He goes in disguise to learn, is taught to "lose" and kick butt, comes back afterwards in full regalia to kill everyone who spat on him except his one friend, in the process making sure no one else will learn what he did.) Apparently he sees a benefit in cultivating the crazy sadistic killer persona, but it's definitely done out of cold calculation.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-21T05:13:25.647Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

it's kind of telling that Harry-as-Voldemort quotes Quirrell's "one must be efficient" thing to Bella without seeming to notice.

Why? Harry himself respects Quirrel (as a powerful wizard, all questions of motivation aside) more than enough to emulate and quote him.

the martial arts story

Story makes limited sense. Why leave a single survivor to tell the story when that survivor and all the dead are muggles? Why spread fear-of-Voldemort to other Muggles who wouldn't believe in it, him, or magic, anyway? Notice that the one we see actually spreading the story is Quirrel.

It might just as easily that really he killed them all quickly and dispassionately once he learned everything, and invented the story to tell others once he became Quirrelmort and wanted stories to disparage Voldemort rather than to enhance fear of him.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-21T05:23:46.631Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Why? Harry himself respects Quirrel (as a powerful wizard, all questions of motivation aside) more than enough to emulate and quote him.

When Harry asks his brain "what would Voldemort say", the response comes out almost word-for-word what Quirrell would say. This despite Harry's previous conscious disparagement of Voldemort.

Notice that the one we see actually spreading the story is Quirrell.

It might just as easily that really he [...] invented the story to tell others once he became Quirrelmort and wanted stories to disparage Voldemort rather than to enhance fear of him.

You know, right up until this latest chapter I would have dismissed this idea out of hand for how sloppy it would be- he states that one was left alive to spread the story which no one else has ever heard? It wouldn't exactly be difficult to check, either.

But Quirrell was apparently a Ravenclaw, so I'm not sure what to think anymore.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-19T16:27:53.116Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe just to prime Harry with Azkaban, to drive a wedge between him and all magical authority that supports it, to prepare him to go Dark, and to be absolutely certain he'd act in a hurry if, say, Hermione was imprisoned there.

The other major effect of the Azkaban arc was to convince Dumbledore, and through him Madam Bones who commands the Aurors, that Voldemort has returned. While Dumbledore thinks Voldemort is around, he's less likely to suspect or investigate Quirrel as the cause of any new disasters; and he also prohibits Harry from leaving Hogwarts, which drives Harry to Quirrel for help if he must leave - such as, again, to help Hermione.

Besides, Quirrel may be right when he says he didn't think the Azkaban breakout was such a big risk (of discovery), he just didn't anticipate Harry interfering against orders and then stunning him due to the resonance.

comment by Grognor · 2012-03-21T08:48:05.101Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Regardless of whether it was awfully risky, I don't think Quirrell thought it was risky. "My planss not in habit of failing."

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-19T16:34:16.439Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But how does all this enable him to get the Stone more easily? Granted that Dumbledore and co. are preoccupied and confused, but OTOH Dumbledore also thinks he has confirmation of Voldemort's return (due to Quirrel's attack on Azkaban) and so increases the guard on the stone and his own vigilance.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-20T03:35:51.368Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore was already sitting on the Stone like a mother hen because he had assumed Voldemort was coming back. The fact that Voldemort overtly showed his hand didn't change much on that score.

A reasonable goal for Voldemort is to get him out of there, and as preoccupied as possible.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-20T08:02:54.786Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

He may leave briefly for the trial, but unless a move is made at that precise moment, in general I think he's going to hunker down inside his fortress of Hogwarts, defend it more tightly, and search it for Voldemort's soul more thoroughly.

The whole trial can't have been set up just to get him out for a few hours; there must be other important Wizengamot votes that he as Chief Warlock (and important political figure) must attend. He must leave Hogwarts regularaly for a few hours at a time for that reason.

On the other hand, he may routinely loop back with his Time Turner to cover up these absences, including Hermione's trial, so that there is always a Dumbledore in Hogwarts...

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-20T08:09:30.200Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There must always be a Dumbledore in Hogwarts?

June is coming doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-20T17:22:32.969Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Lewdly sing cuckoo?

Anyway, there had better be a Dumbledore at Hogwarts, or else both Harry and the Stone are wide open to the attacks Dumbledore expects from Voldemort.

Anyway, do you really see him going on a vacation in the middle of a war?

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-20T17:31:53.740Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Lewdly sing cuckoo?

Whaa?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-20T18:44:35.367Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A reference.

Summer is icumen in, lewdly [loudly] sing cuckoo!

I honestly don't know why, but when you said June is coming that line jumped up and down in my brain and wouldn't stop until I wrote it down too. Sorry.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-20T18:48:57.753Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, ok. You probably don't want to know what I thought at first.

(In case you didn't know, my post was a reference to "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell" / "Winter is coming" from A Song of Ice and Fire.)

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-20T19:01:27.228Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I had no idea. We were both referencing popular culture (widely defined) and both missed.

That's cool. We can both reference HPMOR in many other conversations where people won't pick up on it. :-)

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-20T08:29:31.194Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm thinking more about him having to leave if Harry raises a ruckus somewhere. Like the Azkaban breakout.

comment by matheist · 2012-03-24T00:46:35.279Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Lucius is a slytherin, and not stupid. What if he really does believe Hermione is a pawn? The question remains — whose pawn?

Lucius might believe Hermione is Dumbledore's pawn.

Lucius already believes D killed his wife, and so he would have no trouble believing Dumbledore is targeting his son. In fact, it would be to Dumbledore's advantage (so might think Lucius) to target Draco in such a way that D can avoid taking the blame. If D wanted to impose political costs on Lucius, one way he might do it is to have someone utterly beyond suspicion be found to have attacked Draco. Then Lucius would have to use up political capital to punish an innocent little girl.

If Lucius thinks this way, it would explain his willingness to punish Hermione to the extreme — she's Dumbledore's pawn, and so he's going to take her away in order to impose costs on Dumbledore. For Dumbledore to speak up for Hermione would reinforce the belief that she belongs to D.

What do we make of Harry Potter's comments, and Lucius's reaction to them, in this light (given that Lucius thinks Harry is the dark lord)? His "unheard sentences" would likely be along the lines of "No shit, sherlock!", followed by, "why is the dark lord pretending to be stupid."

The funny thing is, Quirrell's testimony of someone with a motive to harm Draco is spot on: Dumbledore attacks Draco in order to impose costs on Lucius.

... are we really so sure Dumbledore didn't set the whole thing up?

EDIT: I think Quirrell set it up— but I also think there's a good chance that Quirrell didn't just set it up to make it look like Hermione attacked Draco, but rather set it up to make it look like Dumbledore set it up to make it look like Hermione attacked Draco.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-24T01:29:08.370Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

My mental model of Lucius is here.

The summary of it is that Lucius thinks that Harrymort has turned sides and is now psuedo-allied with Dumbledore. Lucius thinks he's just aligned himself on the weak side of a 2-on-1 secret war against the two strongest wizards alive, but he has no choice because they both want to destroy him.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-24T21:52:25.158Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If D wanted to impose political costs on Lucius, one way he might do it is to have someone utterly beyond suspicion be found to have attacked Draco. Then Lucius would have to use up political capital to punish an innocent little girl.

I see him gaining political capital by destroying the mudblood girl who publicly challenged and defeated his pureblood son. The purebloods in the WIzengamot were aching to abuse her.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-24T01:16:08.054Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think Harry would buy that. If Dumbledore wanted Draco dead, he'd be dead. He's headmaster of the school for frack's sake. And he certainly has no reason to frame Granger. His only motive for harming Malfoy would be to make Lucius throw everything away on getting Harry, after all. So unless our hero is about to confess that he is guilty, I think Dumbledore is probably innocent.

comment by lavalamp · 2012-03-23T15:18:03.963Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I think Harry already failed his bargaining attempt vs. Lucius, so for flow of story reasons I don't think he's going to call in his life debt, although that makes the most sense of the theories I've seen so far.

I think Harry will bargain with the dementor. "Dementor, if you and your ilk allow this girl to enter Azkaban, I will come and destroy you all. If you refuse to let her enter, I will permit your species to continue to exist." This could be a taboo tradeoff; Harry is trading his sacred value of anti-death-ness to save Hermione.

I think this theory fits in with the story a little better, but it seems less likely to work. It also has a pretty bad failure mode; the dementor ignores Harry because everyone else in the room expects it to, and Harry has to get Fawkes to take him to Azkaban to make good on his threat. (Does Harry know that Phoenix travel is a fast way in? If not, he can probably guess so.)

comment by Dentin · 2012-03-23T21:44:08.340Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I was never comfortable with dementors being that impressionable. Harry was able to threaten a dozen of them in Azkaban, and sure, he expected it to succeed; but afterward, that dozen returned back to the main body of hundreds of dementors, all of which then refused to assist dozens of aurors, who would have expected them to. I would argue for at least rudimentary intelligence on the part of the creatures.

comment by lavalamp · 2012-03-23T23:36:39.867Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good point. Makes my idea more likely to succeed.

comment by Jello_Raptor · 2012-03-17T20:42:58.862Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Snape's plotting here is interesting, but I'm not sure what he is actually trying to accomplish.

Quick rundown of what we know:

  1. Snape was the one who sent Hermione the notes on where to find bullies.
  2. Snape destroyed those notes when asked to look for them.
  3. He went through great efforts to obliviate everyone at SPHEW's final battle.
  4. Snape had a conversation with Quirrel where he had his ass handed to him. (either he was stupid when dealing with Quirrel, or wanted Quirrel to think he was stupid)
  5. He is probably working outside of Dumbledore's ordersl, and is definitely hiding things from Dumbledore.
  6. After the SPHEW girls kept on winning he stopped the Slytherin bullies from advancing any farther.

So I suspect a few things:

  1. Snape was the one who was forcing the repeated escalation of the SPHEW situation
  2. Snape is actually working to help Harry somehow. (Because of his love for Lily)
  3. Snape is not nearly so biased against muggleborns as he pretends to be. (Remember Lily was a muggleborn)
  4. Snape is trying to restore the reputation of Slytherin house in much the same way as Harry. (He's cutting down on bullying and is, in a way consistant with his character, making the hatred of muggleborns look stupid)

Now, if we ascribe his love for Lily as his primary motivation (Which "Sunk Costs" seems to support) , his support of Hermione, and his plotting to restore the reputation of Slytherin makes sense. What I don't understand is why he needs to hide this from Dumbledore. Even if his motivations are counter to those of Dumbledore (I.E. He's actually evil), all of these actions would cement Dumbledore's trust in him. I can think of a few possible reasons:

  1. Dumbledore thinks Hogwarts needs an evil racist Slytherin.
  2. Dumbledore is a control freak and any plots that are not his are to be distrusted. (Seriously, this is Hogwarts, ancestral home of the gambit pileup)
  3. Dumbledore doesn't have the best interests of Hogwarts in mind.
  4. Dumbledore would think that Snape's methods (Making Slytherin look stupid in its current form, and hurting little girls in the process) are wrong.
  5. Dumbledore is insane. (Like a pie)

None of these are particularly satisfying or convincing, hence why i'm throwing the question out there.

Edit: People have repeatedly pointed out that Snape's attachment to Lily was either broken or reduced by Harry's analysis of the situation, and that Snape's kiss in Sunk Costs was a reflection of that, and I can't help but agree.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-19T07:16:42.189Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

I don't believe Snape values his love for Lily, past or present. I believe Snape is scheming to his own ends and by his own mercilessly practical means. He's not the best at it, but he's left the chump train.

Snape forced the escalation in order to get justification to do exactly what he did at the end of the first scene of chapter 75, where the following describes him admonishing the top Slytherin bullies:

"You will do nothing," hissed their Head of House. Severus Snape's face was enraged, when he spoke small spots of spittle flew from his mouth, further dotting his already-dirtied robes. "You fools have done enough! You have embarrassed my House - lost to first-years - now you speak of embroiling noble Lords of the Wizengamot in your pathetic childish squabbles? I shall deal with this matter. You will not embarrass this House again, you will not risk embarrassing this House again! You are done with fighting witches, and if I hear otherwise -"

Snape has cut the head off the Slytherin Bullying Machine, intending to see the machine fall apart without it. The non-Slytherin bullies were probably never that organized (fucking Gryffindors), and I suppose are meant to sympathize with the little girls and de-value bullying behaviors over time. It may be intended that they will stop 'naturally,' once there are fewer Slytherin bullies to respond to.

In fact, Snape isn't just behind the escalation, he started it all. Chapter 68 ends with Hermione thinking about who she could get as a mysterious wizard, though not in those terms, when she sees a flash of light. She thinks that light, and a little later a sound, is from Fawks follows it to her first bullies to beat at the beginning of chapter 69.

Just before Hermione hear Just Mike cry for help, we are given the following hint, alone as its own paragraph:

She never saw the phoenix.

She never saw the phoenix because there was no phoenix, only Snape.

Further, Snape was personally managing the escalation. In chapter 74, Dumbledore says the following about the battle of The Bully Jaime Astorga vs. Sugar And Spice And Everything Badass:

There is not enough magic in eight first-year witches all together to defeat such a foe. But you could not accept that, Harry, could not let Miss Granger learn her own lessons; and so you sent the Defense Professor to watch over them invisibly, and pierce Astorga's shields when Daphne Greengrass struck at him -"

The text never counters this claim. We are never presented with evidence that eight determined first-years could defeat a single Jaime Astorga other than the narrative of the events themselves. And in the same chapter as that narrative, 72, we learn that the Mr. Astorga is "a promising upstart on the youth dueling circuit" and that he does not understand how his shield was pierced. Again, we are given no reason to doubt his claim that his shield should not have been pierced, except that it happens it was.

Is it more likely that Dumbledore and Mr. Astorga are wrong about the unlikeliness of that event, or that the event did not occur as it was described from Hannah Abbot's perspective. Dumbledore has a long history of making heroes out of children, and Mr. Astorga was a competitive duelist. I suggest it is more likely that they were right, and Snape assisted S.P.H.E.W. in a wonderfully Slytherin fashion.

I don't see any obvious points where Snape helped out in the battle where Hufflepuff loyalty resulted in Tonks Time and the Snowballing Lie in chapter 73. Maybe he didn't always have to step in. And maybe he made the last bully standing (or falling down) drop his wand back in chapter 69. But even when he doesn't ditry his hands he is playing both sides, guiding the bullies and S.P.H.E.W. toward each other and ensuring that S.P.H.E.W. wins.

I'd like to know what Snape had planned for the last battle, before he was interrupted. I would guess that was the last battle he intended to happen. I don't know what he could have wanted to see next.

Anyway, after that Snape had the ammo he needed to pull the rug out from under the Syltherin bullies. And if he hurt Hermione at the end, and if he risked the emotional or even physical health of eight little girls, and if he humiliated his allies on the darker side of wizardry by shaming their children, why should he care? Snape is so Syltherin the hat spoke the instant it was on his head. His plans are cunning. His devotion to his ambition is complete.

Snape is Hermione's mysterious old wizard. (He makes up for only being thirty-whatever by being extra mysterious.) He does not need to act with her interests in order to play this role. Dumbledore attempted to send HJPEV to live with abusive step-parents and even says the following back in chapter 68:

I am not Harry's friend, alas, but only his mysterious old wizard."

comment by moridinamael · 2012-03-19T17:57:53.534Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

One interesting clue I noticed last night while re-reading HPMOR to my wife as a bed time story is that Snape is essentially ordered by Dumbledore to stop reading students' minds as a condition of his blackmail-agreement with Harry (Chapter 18), but we see later that Snape is clearly still reading minds without permission when he reads Alissa Cornfoot's mind while she is fantasizing about him (Chapter 28). Previously I hadn't thought that there was any real reason for that interlude in Chapter 28, but now I see that it tells us information about how Snape doesn't follow Dumbledore's orders.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-21T00:43:49.217Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I'm unsure that is an accurate description of the text.

You are more or less right about chapter 18. First, Harry makes his demand regarding Snape:

"Ah... he's also to stop reading students' minds."

Then there is this corresponding line within the compromise Dumbledore offers:

He will promise to only read minds when the safety of a student requires it.

We don't observe this promise actually being made. And we aren't even assured of when it would be made. A pointlessly legalistic take on the terms could be that Snape will make that promise at some point in his life.

But I think it's safe to say that the promise was made shortly thereafter.

I also think it is plausible that it has been followed. The closing of chapter 28 may be addressed by another quote from chapter 18:

"Common sense is often mistaken for Legilimency," said Dumbledore.

Hormone-addled children are ill-equipped for subtly. I think the more telling thing from the scene in chapter 28 is that Snape directly rejected her instead of leaving her pining, as he had been left pining. Previously he regarded the pain of rejection as the worst possible thing. But after his conversation with HJPEV, and I guess some introspection or whatever, he understands his acceptance of that rejection was better than eternal uncertainty.

(emphasis added as edit)

comment by matheist · 2012-03-19T18:58:27.232Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I read this as meaning that Dumbledore's order that Snape stop reading minds is just to mollify Harry. Dumbledore reads students' minds (I argue here that Dumbledore reads the Weasley twins' minds), and hence doesn't actually care whether Snape does the same.

Harry, of course, has no way of checking that Snape is following this order, so it's safe for Dumbledore to cross his fingers under the table, so to speak.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-21T00:46:23.861Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore never promised to stop reading student's minds. Not int chapter 18 when he said Snape would make that promise or in chapter 20 when he is called on reading HJPEV's mind.

Also, Dumbledore's offered compromise to HJPEV was this:

He will promise to only read minds when the safety of a student requires it.

It is not difficult to argue that the safety of some student, somewhere requires constant readings of the minds of the Weasley twins.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-24T00:11:49.382Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I suggest it is more likely that they were right, and Snape assisted S.P.H.E.W. in a wonderfully Slytherin fashion.

Agreed, but I thought it was heavily implied in Interlude with the Confessor that he had assigned Rianne Felthorne the task of assisting them.

comment by CronoDAS · 2012-03-23T23:53:24.795Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'd like to know what Snape had planned for the last battle, before he was interrupted. I would guess that was the last battle he intended to happen. I don't know what he could have wanted to see next.

Shaming The Mob, I suspect.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-17T21:02:55.426Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

I believe Snape's motivations are more personal than trying to help Slytherin House. He's remembering how he was bullied by James, and his conversation about the topic with Harry prompted him to devise this scheme to fight bullying today. He's basically looking for redemption, having perhaps abandoned his love for Lily after talking with Harry and also after the Interlude with the Confessor.

This explains why he's starting this scheme now, rather than as soon as he became Head of Slytherin.

He's hiding this from Dumbledore because Dumbledore explicitly acted against his plot: he tried to stop the SPHEW-bully fights, in the end by the drastic method of ordering Snape to disband them and publicly humiliate and punish Hermione. Dumbledore explained his actions and motivations several times to Harry.

comment by Jello_Raptor · 2012-03-17T22:38:35.656Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Point, though wanting to curb bullying, and end the racism amounts to nearly the same thing as wanting to redeem Slytherin.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-17T23:17:46.744Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Not really. Bullying is House-neutral; Slytherin and Gryffindor both bully each other as well as random other students. Note the heavy non-Slytherin presence at the last bully battle, and note that James Potter was in Gryffindor. And Quirrelmort, who was (for the sake of argument) in Slytherin, spoke of how much he once hated bullies.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-18T01:39:25.745Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How do you reconcile the scheme being conducted by Snape with one of the main victims being Hermione? This scheme could plausibly end in her death or lifelong imprisonment in Azkaban (a slower death). He had previously tried to help Hermione in an embarrassing way (and doesn't she resemble Lily in being Muggle-born?).

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T02:23:30.899Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I wasn't talking about the murder attempt story, and I don't believe Snape's behind it anyway (he's the most likely suspect after Quirrel, but he's not really very likely at all IMO). I meant Snape's scheme to stop bullying in Hogwarts - which is what Jello_Raptor posted about.

comment by Asymmetric · 2012-03-18T04:18:11.563Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I would put Lucius up there as a suspect or accomplice: he loves his son, and was noticeably offended when he saw Hermione beat him in magic. Purebloods also have a history of thinking of muggleborns as not-people (see Harry and Draco talking about Luna on the train), so he wouldn't have any moral compunctions getting in the way of hurting Hermione. He was also at the school at the time, so he has almost as much opportunity as the rest of them.

And wouldn't that just be a perfect rationality lesson? Eliezer can talk about how Lucius is blinded by perceived threats to his beliefs, thereby putting his son and an innocent girl in danger.

Of course, I really hope that it's Quirrel instead, if only because it would be impossible to convict Lucius.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T04:33:32.984Z · score: -1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

He was also at the school at the time, so he has almost as much opportunity as the rest of them.

He hasn't been at school during the various times H&C appeared, that we know of.

(Edit: retracted: And Eliezer's Author's Notes have confirmed that Harry explanation in the latest chapter is correct (False Memory Charm to make Hermione suspect Draco, then months of obsession, then more FMCs about the duel and Obliviating Hermione regarding the original FMC.) )

Edited to add: See comment below; I probably misinterpreted the Author's Notes. Also, I admit it's possible Lucius has been in the school without us knowing explicitly every time, since he's on the board of governors.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-18T05:14:21.097Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

And Eliezer's Author's Notes have confirmed

Could you do me a favor and quote the exact line that made you think this?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T13:18:57.094Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Quoting A/N chapter 79:

Anything you think will be completely inexplicable to the readers, probably won’t be - they know less background info than you, so where you see a single huge missing fact you haven’t yet revealed, they see a plentiful bag of possible interpretations. (Discovered when I compared all the reviewers’ interpretations of the Wham Line at the end of 78, to the actual interpretation revealed in 79.) [my highlighting]

Edited to add: I thought that referred to interpretation of "why did Hermione try to murder Draco? Why was she convinced Draco was plotting against her?"

But I see now that it refers to interpretations of the Wham Line specifically. So it more likely means interpretations of "how did Hermione try to murder Draco?" Or even, "what does the accusation that she tried to murder him mean? Did she really try? Or is this a combined Hermione-Draco plot to flush out whoever is manipulating her?"

I take it others adopt the second reading. It's apparently the intended one. I retract my claim.

Thanks for asking me to quote and so forcing me to reevaluate my evidence. Upvoted!

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-18T01:52:25.119Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Prediction: Snape's plan will zig-zag in some unforeseen direction (possibly through using Harry as a catspaw by giving him the right info at the right time) so as to save Hermione. Snape knew that the Hermione + Draco friendship was unlikely to survive the scrutiny of Lord Malfoy, so as an ersatz Lily + Snape, he is going to try and help Hermione and Draco by bringing the issue to a head and then resolving it in some brilliant way that this comment space is too narrow to contain.

Estimated probability: ~35%

(I'd say lower probability, but Snape is the obvious villain right now based on what we know about him destroying the notes, so unless he really is the villain, it's a misdirect, and his plan does not involve Hermione getting wand broken/enhanced interrogation/eternal noogies/other undesirable outcome.)

Edit: Disregard this, it was a fun theory, but I think I'm wrong about Snape for reasons below.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-18T02:00:44.731Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I'd say lower probability, but Snape is the obvious villain right now based on what we know about him destroying the notes

Wait, how is this relevant? Destroying the notes is just about cleaning up his SPHEW-related tracks (due to his apparent embarrassment at being a soft touch w/r/t bullying) now that Hermione and her notes are under great scrutiny as possibly being related to her framing.

And in fact, I'd say the notes are evidence against. If Snape had been plotting this all along, one might expect the notes to have been destroyed before the incident is uncovered, say after Hermione left for the duel, since Snape would not be able to guarantee he'd be assigned to look for the notes, that he would be alone or unobserved in every way, etc. If you predict an investigation will find dangerous papers you no longer need, you don't wait until the investigation starts!

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-18T04:04:17.958Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't see Snape's motives the same way. Here's why I think he's the obvious villain (if my above 'twist' is wrong :/):

We know he was behind the plot with SPHEW as the puppet master, and that it centered around Hermione. As a result of his involvement, the bullying situation escalated until Dumbledore had to end it. If not for Malfoy's involvement at the cafeteria, Hermione would have ended her anti-bullying crusade disgraced, embarrassed, and powerless. The fight with the 7th year had the potential to end things in this way with Hermione as well, but it did not due to sheer luck. It would be poor planning on Snape's part if he had wanted to help SPHEW in its fight. His presence at the last big fight is not evidence either way; he could have been there to bolster the slytherins or help SPHEW.

In any event, if we look at Snape's plotting in this light, there are now two people plotting against Hermione if H&C is not Snape. This does not make too much sense to me (from a who benefits standpoint) unless you consider Lucius as an option, but he loves Draco and would not plan something that might kill him.

Destroying the notes at the earliest opportunity is optimal, but the risk of being detected by Dumbledore OR Quirrell OR the Wards OR the Marauders' Map OR <competent time-turned investigator if the plan doesn't work> is significant if he tried to do so the night of the duel. His window of opportunity is not too large either, because Hermione would notice if they were destroyed too long before the duel. Perhaps Snape went ahead with his plan, confident in his ability as a Slytherin to maneuver the room full of shocked people into letting him search Hermione's room?

((Postscript: After I'm done typing all of this out, it occurs to me that I may have latched too strongly onto this theory and am now defending it because it's a pet theory and not because it's the best theory. I don't think that this is the case, but that's how pet theories feel 'from the inside' anyway. Bleah.))

Edit: Disregard due to reasons below.

comment by ahartell · 2012-03-18T06:32:53.885Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The fight with the 7th year had the potential to end things in this way with Hermione as well, but it did not due to sheer luck. It would be poor planning on Snape's part if he had wanted to help SPHEW in its fight. His presence at the last big fight is not evidence either way; he could have been there to bolster the slytherins or help SPHEW.

I think it was pretty clear that he was there to help SPHEW. That makes sense given his memory charming of everyone involved and it was (very) heavily implied that he was helping them in other battles.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-18T06:50:24.172Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I notice I am confused....

(I reread the Dumbledore conversation speculating that Quirrell was helping SPHEW in previous fights, and that can only be Snape helping.)

He could have memory-charmed if he didn't want to be known as working against SPHEW, but it is more likely that he was helping.

Now I do not have a good theory for who H&C is.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-18T04:43:56.682Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Snape is over Lily. He's been coming to grips with losing his love for Lily ever since Harry gave Snape his (incorrect) explanation for Lily's treatment of him. The moment he kissed Rianne is the moment he finally decided to stop living and grieving for Lily and start living for himself.

The question is what it means for him to live for himself. Dumbledore's trust in Snape is based on his knowledge of Snape's undying love for Lily. If Dumbledore were to find out that that love no longer exists, he would (gently, perhaps) kick Snape out of the Fellowship. He would know that there was no longer any reason to trust him. And if Snape has gotten over Lily, he'll probably feel no real compulsion to help Harry in any particular way.

Quirrell, being a smarter Voldemort, knows what was driving Snape when he was working for Dumbledore, and he now knows that it's driving Snape no longer. That's why he had that little conversation with him in the woods; he knows that Snape is now a free agent who might once again be a blood purist loyal to Voldemort.

Voldemort would not likely welcome Snape back into his fold once Voldie reveals himself, but now that he knows Snape's loyalties are up for grabs, he won't hesitate to manipulate him and use him however he can until then.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-19T08:22:28.473Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell ... now knows that it's driving Snape no longer.

How?

comment by 75th · 2012-03-20T00:49:52.428Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

We're told so during their conversation in the woods.

No, there is only one person who holds so much power over you, and who would be most perturbed to find you executing any plot without his knowledge. Your true and hidden master, Albus Dumbledore."

"What?" hissed the Potions Master, the anger plain upon his face.

"But now, it seems, you are moving on your own; and so I find myself most intrigued as to what you could possibly be doing, and why."

Quirrell may not know about his love for Lily, but I consider that highly unlikely, since Snape apparently still asked Voldemort not to kill her. Quirrellmort would certainly have put two and two together by now.

But that passage explicitly tells us that Quirrell knows that Snape is no longer acting under Dumbledore's orders.

comment by AspiringKnitter · 2012-03-18T05:23:14.257Z · score: -4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

If it's anything like canon in this regard, Snape made an Unbreakable Vow to protect Harry. His loyalties aren't up for grabs.

comment by glumph · 2012-03-18T05:41:46.451Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Snape didn't make an Unbreakable Vow to protect Harry. He makes one with Narcissa in the sixth book, promising to help Draco in his plot to kill Dumbledore. But Snape's protection of Harry in canon is always grounded in his love for Lily.

comment by AspiringKnitter · 2012-03-19T05:55:35.957Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Huh. I just reread that scene in Deathly Hallows after you mentioned it and you're absolutely right.

I was sure I remembered an Unbreakable Vow in that scene. I wonder what else I could be misremembering... O.O Scary thought.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-18T05:43:22.883Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Are you perhaps thinking of the Unbreakable Vow Snape swore to protect Draco in Half-Blood Prince?

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-19T00:29:54.750Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Snape is not nearly so biased against muggleborns as he pretends to be. (Remember Lily was a muggleborn)

And Snape is the Half-Blood Prince.

comment by TomM · 2012-03-19T04:17:28.922Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I can't see clearly why Snape is being presented as a likely hidden ally of SPHEW.

Without doubt, he involved himself in the group by providing information on where and when to find bullying, but this led to an escalation of hostilities rather than reducing bullying. This culminated in a massive confrontation during which he acted mysteriously, and by no means clearly in SPHEW's interests (I suspect the myriad memory charms were to hide/obfuscate his prior manipulation of almost all of those present!).

The only way in which he openly acted on the matter was to punish and publicly humiliate Hermione.

Snape is not just a tragic lover of a murdered muggleborn - he is a very bitter and emotionally stunted person, and a major bully in his own right up until his actions were curbed through Harry's influence. The idea that he would be on a personal crusade against bullying seems (to my reading) to go against almost every aspect of his character as presented so far in the fic.

If asked to speculate, I would suggest that:

  • Snape intentionally escalated the SPHEW/bully situation, and used the final brouhaha as an opportunity to trample Hermione when the bullies failed to do it for him.
  • He has observed the warming in relations between Hermione and Draco, and decided it had to be stopped - preferably by making each of them betray (or seem to) the trust of the other.
  • He decided that his own handling of the SPHEW situation had been too clumsy and ineffective - he needed to make Hermione herself a villain if he wanted her more permanently dealt with.

My main uncertainty is why Snape would pick Hermione in particular to target (I haven't done a complete re-read for a few months, so I may be remembering events a bit 'selectively' - if I am being to mistrustful of Snape, I would love to see some references to points in the text where any of my interpretation is plausibly contradicted.

Edited: for grammar and clarity

comment by matheist · 2012-03-19T05:06:10.726Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It wasn't Snape's choice to humiliate Hermione publicly — that was Dumbledore's decision, making use of Snape's "evil potions master" persona. Note that none of the other professors speak up, except for Quirrell, who is a temporary hire and need not follow Dumbledore's direction. Minerva doesn't even show up, presumably so that she doesn't have to sit and keep her mouth shut.

Dumbledore explains to Harry in chapter 77 that Hermione had to be seen to lose publicly in order to de-escalate the conflict with Slytherin. Dumbledore doesn't actually know that Snape was involved in escalating the conflict.

I'm still not sure why Snape wanted to escalate conflict between the bullies and SPHEW, but regardless, we can't look at his humiliation of Hermione as any evidence of his motives, because it's not actually his move.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-03-20T04:32:12.400Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm still not sure why Snape wanted to escalate conflict between the bullies and SPHEW, but regardless, we can't look at his humiliation of Hermione as any evidence of his motives, because it's not actually his move.

I suspect it's because we wanted SPHEW to really go after bullies and wasn't a competent enough plotter to foresee what would happen.

comment by CronoDAS · 2012-03-23T22:38:52.168Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Snape's been acting as Hermione's protector, not as her adversary. (And without telling Dumbledore about it!)

From Chapter 72:

Jaime Astorga, seventh-year of Slytherin, and until recently considered a promising upstart on the youth dueling circuit, stood ramrod straight in Professor Snape's office, with his teeth clenched tight and sweat trickling down his spine.

"I distinctly recall," said the Head of his House in a sardonic drawl, "that I warned you, and a number of others this very morning, that there were certain first-year girls who might prove annoying, if a fighter were incautious and allowed himself to be taken by surprise."

Professor Snape stalked in a slow circle around him.

"I -" said Jaime, as more sweat beaded on his forehead. He knew how ridiculous it sounded, how much of a pathetic excuse. "Sir, they shouldn't have been able to -" One first-year-girl shouldn't have been able to break his Protego, no matter what sort of ancient Charm she used - Greengrass must have had help -

But it was very clear that his Head of House wouldn't believe that.

"Oh, I quite agree," murmured Snape in a low tone, instinct with menace. "They shouldn't have. I begin to wonder if Mr. Malfoy, whatever his plotting, has a point, Astorga. It cannot be good for the repute of Slytherin's House if our fighters, rather than demonstrating their strength, lose to little girls!" Snape's voice had risen. "It is well that you had the good taste to be defeated by a little girl who is a fellow Slytherin of a Noble House, Astorga, or I would deduct points from you myself!"

Jaime Astorga's fists clenched at his side, but he couldn't think of a thing to say.

It was some time before Jaime Astorga was allowed to leave the presence of his Head of House.

And afterward, only the walls, the floor, and the ceiling saw Severus Snape's smile.

From Chapter 74:

The wands around the perimeter aimed again, low enough that their enemies wouldn't hit each other if they missed.

And then another male voice, with a similar buzz accompanying it, suddenly said "Homenum Revelio!"

An instant later there was another massive volley of shieldbreakers and hexes, fired on reflex at the suddenly revealed figure, shattering the shields which had almost immediately begun to form around it -

And then, as that same figure fell to the ground, a stunned silence.

"Professor Snape?" said the second voice. "He's the one who's been interfering?"

It was the Potions Master of Hogwarts who now lay unconscious on the stone floor, the dirt-spotted robes stirring for a final moment before they settled in place, his fallen hand outstretched toward where his wand was slowly rolling away.

"No," said the first male voice, now sounding a bit more uncertain. Then it rallied, "No, that can't possibly be it. He heard us passing the word, of course, and came along to make sure nobody screwed it up again. We'll wake him up afterward and apologize and he'll Memory-Charm the children so they don't remember, he's a Professor so he can do that. Anyway, we should make sure we're really alone now. Veritas Oculum!"

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-24T22:19:26.108Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I'm increasingly struck by the foreshadowing EY uses. Instead of pulling things out of his ass, he sets up whatever happens. Unlike the original series, I expect a satisfying ending where all the pieces fit together and make sense.

Along these lines, go back and look at the little chat Quirrell had with Harry after they broke Bella out of Azkaban. To summarize Quirrell: People are hypocritical and delusional pricks who will bleed their grandmothers for a nickel. They care nothing for people accused of crimes, but instead sadistically compete to show strength by abusing them. Being young and naive, you can still tolerate them, but once their idiocy strikes at something dear to you, you'll despise them as I do, and decide it's better to rule them than tolerate the abominations that inevitably follow when you don't.

And what happens? Hermione is accused of a crime, which is transparently improbably, but people compete to sadistically abuse her regardless. Their idiocy strikes at something dear to Harry, and in his heart, he declares war on magical Britain, musing "Dark Lord" just doesn't sound as bad as it used to.

EY and Quirrell couldn't have spelled it out more clearly.

Shouldn't this have occurred to Harry as well? When does he make the connection to that discussion?

It occurs to me, as I state in another thread below, that if Quirrell wasn't looking for a distraction to steal the stone, but really just wanted to make a point to Harry, he has done it. He could easily now save the day with some evidence to exonerate Hermione, and even tell Harry that he did the whole thing just to show Harry who was right in their discussion after the breakout. As a bonus, when Harry finds out that Dumbledore was complicit in Narcissa's murder, covering up for Bones for political purposes, Harry will see that Dumbledore was willing to trade Hermione's torture execution for political gain.

And speaking of making a point, didn't Hat and Cloak tell Hermione that Harry would sacrifice her if he had to? Maybe he'll be able to make two points with one scheme. He'll push Harry away from everyone but Hermione, but Hermoine away from him? Imagine Harry's bitterness and desolation.

That's pretty good.

But maybe the plot fails because Hermione doesn't hate Harry for not saving her, and that's something that Quirrell just can't understand. Hermoine saves the day by thinking of others over herself, and keeping Harry off the Quirrell path. Seems a likely homily form EY.

comment by Pringlescan · 2012-03-24T22:26:46.985Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I recently reread the chapter where Dumbledore gives Harry his rock. Its kind of shocking at how well it was written where the first time you are completely confused and the second time you are like, "Oh dumbledore you magnificent bastard'

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-25T00:24:28.453Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm still completely confused: what happened with the rock?

comment by Pringlescan · 2012-03-25T03:56:52.525Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Recap of Chapter 17 and how Dumbledore manages to act insane while still giving meaningful advice and not lying.
"Why?" Dumbledore repeated. "Ah, Harry, if I went around all day asking why I do things, I'd never have time to get a single thing done! I'm quite a busy person, you know."

Dumbledore means that he doesn't spend all day asking himself 'why am i protecting the magical world' he just goes out and does it. It doesn't mean he just wanders around doing random acts.

"I'm sorry," Harry said. He felt wretched at this point, he'd just told off Gandalf essentially, and Dumbledore's kindness was only making him feel worse. "I shouldn't have distrusted you."

"Alas, Harry, in this world..." The old wizard shook his head. "I cannot even say you were unwise." Since Dumbledore was the one that wrote the note in the first place Harry WAS wise to distrust him. Dumbledore manipulated Harry like a puppet.

"So... why do I have to carry this rock exactly?" "I can't think of a reason, actually," said Dumbledore.

A current theory is that it contains the Philosophers stone, its certainly more important than just a rock. Dumbledore can't think of a reason why he would need it but he is giving it to Harry Just In Case, hence why he can't of a reason why Harry might need it. Its the same reason why Harry carries around a full med-kit. edit: Okay as has been pointed out to me its a pretty poor theory that is almost certainly wrong.

"This," Dumbledore intoned, "was your mother's fifth-year Potions textbook."

"Which I am to carry with me at all times," said Harry.

"Which holds a terrible secret. A secret whose revelation could prove so disastrous that I must ask you to swear - and I do require you to swear it seriously, Harry, whatever you may think of all this - never to tell anyone or anything else.".

This book is proof that Dumbledore intervened to make Lily Evans distrust Snape, who was the friend she is referring to. Snape whose entire existence is based upon his love for Lily had it taken away from him by Dumbledore. Quite a terrible secret indeed, but until you know that you think that Dumbledore just snuck into the girl's dorms to mess with their mind.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-25T04:39:16.375Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

A current theory is that it contains the Philosophers stone, its certainly more important than just a rock.

If it's the Philosopher's Stone, why would Dumbledore say it was James Potter's Rock, or that he found it in Godric's Hollow? Then again it might be a big rock from Godric's Hollow that contained the (small?) Philosopher's Stone embedded inside. But could Harry Transfigure it if he didn't correctly know its current Form, or whatever the term is? Is it even safe to routinely transfigure the Philosopher's Stone?

Which holds a terrible secret.

It also holds the hint that Dumbledore gave Lily that enabled her to come up with the dangerous potion that made her sister Petunia pretty, enabling her to marry Harry's father Professor Michael E-V. Many people think this is the fabled "single point of departure from canon". Could be important, but it's hard to see how.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-25T18:34:20.566Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But EY has specifically said that there's no single point of departure, so I'm not sure why people are searching for one. If nothing else, the Interdict of Merlin is a departure from canon(even if it took me a while to notice - it's so natural that it seemed to fit right in), and that's 1400 years into the past.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-25T18:55:30.206Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I seem to remember that someone else quoted him as saying there is a single point of departure, and that's why we're searching for one. Can someone please find the quote if it exists? I'm lazy.

Good point about Interdict of Merlin. But if that's the one point of departure, I find it difficult to believe that Eliezer has a good explanation of why it generated so few changes after 1400 years of history that we still have a Potter vs Voldemort scenario at all.

Edit: Eliezer has written (at least) this description:

This is not a strict single-point-of-departure fic - there exists a primary point of departure, at some point in the past, but also other alterations. The best term I've heard for this fic is "parallel universe".

I presume the Interdict counts as "other alterations".

comment by Paulovsk · 2012-03-25T13:14:28.593Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I never thought about it, Maybe D isn't evil, making Snape suffering with Lili; maybe he was just trying to help Petunia.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-27T07:38:00.491Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Could someone explain how D made Snape suffer?

comment by Paulovsk · 2012-03-28T03:22:16.294Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Telling lies, plotting, sneakering invisible in the girl's dorm (writing in her book while invisible), so that Lili disliked Snape.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-23T06:28:57.790Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

...or teaching Lily more about potions, by getting her to examine what would happen with different ingredients in various potions.

comment by glumph · 2012-03-25T06:35:59.013Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

A current theory is that it contains the Philosophers stone, its certainly more important than just a rock.

It's certainly not the Philosopher's Stone. The only reason the stone isn't at the Ministry (or Gringotts) is that Hogwarts provides the absolutely best protection:

"I do not own it, that thing which Voldemort desires. It belongs to another, and is held here by his consent! I asked if it could be kept in the Department of Mysteries. But he would not permit that—he said it must be within the wards of Hogwarts, in the place of the Founders' protection—" Dumbledore passed his hand across his forehead. "No," the old wizard said in a quieter voice. "I cannot pass this blame to him. He is right. There is too much power in that thing, too much that men desire. I agreed that the trap should be laid behind the wards of Hogwarts, in the place of my own power" (Ch 79).

I can't see Dumbledore going and giving it to Harry to wear on his finger.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-25T04:12:41.561Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A current theory is that it contains the Philosophers stone, its certainly more important than just a rock.

It might just be a rock. It'd violate the rules of storytelling, but Dumbledore reasoned incorrectly, and the laws of probability are LAWS. *ominous thunder* That consideration could take precedence in an author tract like this one, Chekhov's Gun be damned.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-25T10:31:56.547Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Magic in this universe is like a muscle, the more you use it the more powerful it becomes. Transfiguration in particular is mentioned as being extremely dangerous, but learning early in life gets you disproportionate gains in your adult transfiguration, hence why they even teach it to children.

Dumbledore is probably just building up Harry's strength by constantly exercising his 'transfiguration muscle'.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-27T07:39:08.993Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wax on, wax off.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-27T07:38:46.444Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Reasoned incorrectly how?

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-25T04:09:12.205Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This book is proof that Dumbledore intervened to make Lily Evans distrust Snape, who was the friend she is referring to. Snape whose entire existence is based upon his love for Lily had it taken away from him by Dumbledore. Quite a terrible secret indeed, but until you know that you think that Dumbledore just snuck into the girl's dorms to mess with their mind.

Where are you getting this? What makes you think he intervened to make her distrust Snape, and why do you think that's the reason things didn't work out with Snape and Lily? I don't see this from the chapter.

Also, what's the deal with Fawkes and the evil parents and him running away?

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-28T09:31:37.151Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I see you already replied to the post that explains this position.

Dumbledore said the textbook contains a terrible secret. Telling a teenager how to make her sister magically pretty in a dangerous way is bad, but is it terrible?

So there's this theory that the terrible secret is that Dumbledore screwed Snape. You think that's wrong, but do you have an alternate suggestion for a terrible secret that has already been shown to the readers other than the Pretty, Pretty Potion of Doom?

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T10:22:42.882Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I figured it was just Dumbledore fucking with Harry because he's crazy, like when he told Harry to carry the rock with him, or when he said Fawkes was a chicken.

I don't understand why the writing in the book would have worked to screw Snape. How could anyone guess that it would have that effect.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-25T04:01:49.873Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's not like Dumbledore shies away from flat-out lying when it suits him. Unless you think lying in writing and lying in person are meaningfully different?

comment by moritz · 2012-03-27T06:27:38.532Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I have a theory. In canon, the fact that Harry's mother died for him produced some kind of magical protection. Harry had to live with his relatives during the summer to keep that protection alive.

Maybe in HPMoR, Dumbledore speculates that Harry can keep that protection in place by carrying a part of Harry's old home (the rock) with him.

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-25T02:02:33.860Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think he meant the note that came with the Cloak that said to not trust Dumbledore since he'll take the Cloak from Harry. which he didn't, and then said:

But you and I are both gamepieces of the same color, I think. The boy who finally defeated Voldemort, and the old man who held him off long enough for you to save the day. I will not hold your caution against you, Harry, we must all do our best to be wise. I will only ask that you think twice and ponder three times again, the next time someone tells you to distrust me.

And considering that he wrote the note, and set up the mistrust in the first place...

Hence, Magnificent Bastard.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-25T01:51:35.581Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's still in his pouch.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-25T01:57:20.444Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

(Edit: Whoops, this is wrong.) Chapter 30:

Then Harry's mind clicked on another implication, and he looked down at the steel ring on his left hand's pinky finger, and almost swore out loud when he saw that the tiny diamond was missing and there was a marshmallow lying on the ground near where he'd fallen.

He'd sustained that Transfiguration for seventeen days, and would now need to start over.

Could've been worse. He could've done this fourteen days later, after Professor McGonagall had approved him to Transfigure his father's rock. That was one very good lesson to learn the easy way.

It's been a lot more than a month since then, but that's the last we hear of it as far as I can tell.

comment by moridinamael · 2012-03-25T03:03:07.324Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

And ever since, I've looked forward to the moment when Harry, lacking access to a wand, realizes that he has the means to launch a heavy object at a very high speed by simply ceasing the Transfiguration at the right moment while swinging his fist.

comment by kpreid · 2012-03-26T19:59:26.447Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How about while flicking his finger?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-25T02:11:49.587Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Chapter 43, before confronting the Dementor:

Earlier, Harry had unTransfigured his father's rock from where it usually rested on his pinky ring in the form of a tiny diamond, and placed the huge gray stone back into his pouch. Just in case Harry's magic failed entirely, when he confronted the darkest of all creatures.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-25T02:15:07.240Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Aha! Well there you go, then.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-24T23:55:50.770Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

EY and Quirrell couldn't have spelled it out more clearly.

Shouldn't this have occurred to Harry as well? When does he make the connection to that discussion?

Harry has repeatedly shown that he's blind to Quirrell's darker motives. It seems to be a necessary contrivance: if he turned against Quirrell before he came fully into his power, he'd lose. I can think of a fictional justification for it, though. He applies the same rationalization to Quirrell's actions that we use when explaining our own, and he does it because he's a copy of the person he's making excuses for. It's probably not psychologically realistic, but it's neat enough that I could suspend my disbelief if it turned out to be the case.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-25T06:17:50.906Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

All sorts of biases are at work in Harry towards Quirrell. Halo effect from his power, knowledge, competence, and rationality. Gratitude for saving Harry's life. For helping against the bullies. For sharing the outerspace spell.

Respect for Q because he seems to respect Harry, and plays to his vanity. The Uber Competent adult mentor takes him seriously and tells him he is destined for great things, and includes in his plotting and actions. He's the Dad Harry has always wanted.

Besides Hermione, he's the only friend Harry has ever had. He didn't quit in Azkaban because he couldn't lose Quirrell.

I think that's enough justification for a blind spot in this regard. It would just show that for all his brilliance, Harry is a human being,

So I guess I'm answering my own question. It's reasonable for Harry to have this blind spot, and narratively useful for an author who wants to pontificate about biases. At some point, Harry's going to have a talk with himself, or maybe even Quirrell, about how Quirrell spelled it all out to him, but he didn't listen.

And to be fair to Harry, he does question Quirrell's motives a good deal. His values him, while not entirely trusting him.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-25T02:49:38.015Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't been able to find the article at the moment, but there is evidence that we rationalize for friends, family, and allies in the same way we rationalize for ourselves. If you consider someone on 'your side', your brain can go through exceptional mental gymnastics to explain their behavior.

comment by Dentin · 2012-03-23T14:21:06.799Z · score: 10 (14 votes) · LW · GW

The best solution I've been able to come up with on my own involves Harry breaking the compact between the dementors and the ministry:

"I am not yet done!

Lucius, while I appreciate you desire for vengeance, pointing it at the wrong target gains you nothing. However, it does inconvenience me. Hermione Granger is mine. I have claimed her, and I will have her, healthy and with her magical abilities intact.

Dementor! The compact you have made with the Ministry has been broken. I have already begun teaching the charm which was used to destroy one of your kind at Hogwarts earlier this year. You will return immediately to Azkaban and tell the other dementors to leave that place. Should any of you wish to side with the ministry, be certain that we will destroy you all. Go, now."

[dementor leaves]

"We are now at war. The spell to destroy dementors does in fact exist, a fact Albus Dumbledoor will verify. However, it is powerful, and can only be cast by very few wizards, wizards of a particular mind. Those who learn of it and fail will be permanently robbed of their patronus.

Hermione is one of the few wizards who can learn to cast the spell, and we all need her with her magical abilities intact.

Lucius, I may also need Draco, should he choose to side with me. As he is my friend, I will find who is responsible for this attempt on his life regardless of what has happened here today. As you have shown such devotion to him, I will not withhold anything I find from you.

I expect Miss Granger to be freed and returned to Hogwarts within the hour.

Professor, let us return."

This puts Harry in a position of power, where only he and his select crowd can destroy the dementors, with sufficient proof for the wizengamot to believe him. Breaking the deal between the dementors and the ministry drains Azkaban of its potency for punishing Hermione, and house Potter has claimed Hermione; but Harry has also offered to house Malfoy the dual olive branches of an unconditional offer to find the real perpetrator, and elevating Draco to a protected position of power in Harry's future hierarchy, which clearly does not involve the Ministry.

Should Lucius press Hermione to Azkaban regardless, it would be a hollow victory and serve only to piss off Harry. Harry has already demonstrated stronger control over the dementors than the Ministry, and can simply elect to send them to Malfoy Manor if he is sufficiently irritated.

The only down side is that I don't see a really good political escape for Lucius. There are a handful of minor ones that Lucius could use, for example his Imperius debt:

"In deference to the Noble House Potter and the blood debt owed it by House Malfoy, I rescind the order sentencing Miss Granger to Azkaban. I trust Lord Potter and my son to ensure that her debt is paid in full. I propose we remand Miss Granger to Hogwarts and discuss this more serious matter of the dementors."

comment by Danylo · 2012-03-23T16:11:11.446Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Hah. Fun, but completely unreasonable. The Wizengemot is ultimately responsible for the safety of wizard-kind, and though they're pretty selfish when it comes to minor issues, as soon as a Harry makes the threat to disable wizard-kind's defenses against Dementors, everyone, Dumbledore and Malfoy and Bones and so on, will be his enemy, and they will disable him.

comment by Dentin · 2012-03-23T19:33:18.458Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It says nothing about disabling anyone's defenses against Dementors; it is a fait accompli, where Harry simply states that anti-dementor spells now exist and are being actively deployed. The Wizengamot can disable him if they want, but it will not change the situation (unless they know Harry is bluffing.)

And why disable one of the few wizards who -can- actually combat the dementors? The only reason the ministry used them in the first place was because there was no way to destroy them.

comment by Danylo · 2012-03-24T12:21:41.231Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, that's not the only(or even best) solution.

It's pointed out in a previous chapter that intimate knowledge of such spells disables the regular patronus. Which is Harry's only weapon at this point - that threat. He can't say "I can kill dementors" without making the threat because he'll become an obvious man behind the break-in. What will he do, threaten to destroy them? They'll just send his ass to jail. No, he needs some kind of threat to the wizengamot, which in this case would be to ruin their Patronus spell. However, that still won't work because D knows what Harry can do and can likely stop him before he fully explains the his theory, and if that he fails at that, it'll be a pretty simple task to kill/disable him and then Obliviate the various wizards present.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-23T15:22:16.357Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Upvoted for the sheer epicness, even though I doubt it's going to happen.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T17:06:20.139Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Your plan basically relies on stripping your country of one of its most powerful weapons and then having the leaders of your country thank you for it. Good freaking luck.

comment by Dentin · 2012-03-23T19:36:48.898Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

(You mean like how the USA was stripped of multi-megaton thermonuclear weapons and how pretty much everyone was happy about it?)

My intent was that he should present it as an already accomplished fact. The alliance with the dementors was an uneasy one at best, something to be tolerated because there were no good solutions. This changes that - the alliance is broken, and there is a good solution.

comment by glumph · 2012-03-23T23:52:51.664Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In canon, at least, the Fudge/Umbridge faction of the Ministry embrace the alliance pretty wholeheartedly:

"Voldemort has returned," Dumbledore repeated. "If you accept that fact straightaway, Fudge, and take the necessary measures, we may still be able to save the situation. The first and most essential step is to remove Azkaban from the control of the dementors—"

"Preposterous!" shouted Fudge again. "Remove the dementors? I'd be kicked out of office for suggesting it! Half of us only feel safe in our beds at night because we know the dementors are standing guard at Azkaban!" (GoF Ch 36)

comment by Paulovsk · 2012-03-23T15:20:15.623Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't get it straight: will Harry declare war to whom? To the dementors?

But, your line of thought is interesting.

comment by Dentin · 2012-03-23T19:39:03.639Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I like that it is ambiguous. Its direct meaning is that magical britain is now at war with the dementors, and that the alliance between them is done; the indirect meaning is that those who would stand with or use dementors are also included.

comment by Dentin · 2012-03-23T14:28:52.682Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

(The taboo tradeoff would be along the lines of sending hundreds of dementors out into the world at large to terrorize and kill, or starting a war, all for the sake of one personal friend.)

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-25T00:26:55.295Z · score: 9 (15 votes) · LW · GW

This comment gave me the obvious-in-retrospect idea of cloning things with a Time-Turner. Consider:

  • You can make up to six copies of yourself, plus all the items you can carry in magical pouches, which will coexist for slightly less than an hour. Or fewer copies that will coexist for longer.
  • If you have n Time-Turners, you can end up with 6n copies of yourself + items.
  • We have seen that a single Time-Turner can take along an Animagus in a pouch. I speculate that many Animagi (perhaps in separate pouches) can be taken. You can thus use a single Time Turner to duplicate people besides the one actually using it. It's even possible that non-Animagi can be duplicated, if there's some suitable charm for temporarily turning people into animals, maybe.
  • You could probably also duplicate Fawkes.
  • If Dumbledore ever really goes to fight a serious battle, he'll go as an army of multiple-of-six Dumbledores. Some of them will magically disappear every hour until only one remains, but imagine the firepower!
  • Why did Voldemort ever need the Death Eaters? He should have just stolen a few Time-Turners from the ministry. No-one could have resisted an attack by an army of Voldemort clones, super-coordinated by virtue of half the clones remembering being the other half a few hours ago.
  • How are new Time-Turners made? Assuming it's not a lost art, and can be done in under 5 hours, then someone could start cloning himself, make new Turners while back in time, use those to keep cloning himself, and eventually reach literally unlimited populations of himself inside the same time period of a few hours. Those populations could then cooperate on some... trickier problems.

This is all starting to remind me of the Seventh Voyage of Ijon Tichy... It looks like I'll have to draw diagrams.

Can someone teach me how?

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-25T01:48:18.800Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think you can have more than 6 versions of yourself present at any given time, since any more than that and information is traveling more than 6 hours back. (at least from the perspectives of the earliest and latest self-clone)

But still, 6 x Dumbledore+Fawkes is quite the army.

Edit: Also,

Many resstrictionss. Locked to your usse only, cannot be sstolen. Cannot transsport other humanss.

You don't actually need to go through animagus+pouch to transport more than one person on an unrestricted Time-Turner. (Canon also agrees on this if I recall correctly)

comment by TobyBartels · 2012-03-31T04:32:54.436Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, Hermione took Harry with her in the awesome part of Book 3.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-25T02:48:48.709Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How important is maintaining continuity for the time turners? If it IS important, then you can only end up with 6 you's (It's noon, go back to 11, pick up that you, go back to 10, pick up that you, etc...)

BUT! If your mission takes more than an hour, you will end up with a discontinuity, since then 6:00!you will not be back in time to be 7:00!you so that you's can pick him up.

If continuity is NOT important: Go back an hour. Now there are two of you's. Both you's wait around two hours, then both of you go back and pick up the past you's. Now there are four of you's. All four of you's wait around two hours, etc.... You'd end up with 64 you's (assuming you can animagus into a something really small to fit in the pouch that is)

Aaaaagh! Time travel makes my head hurt

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-03-25T03:34:31.192Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Reality computes in one swoop. It simply wouldn't happen.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-25T03:05:20.169Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Consistency is important. We see this in full force in the Azkaban arc.

To get 6 of yourself, starting at noon, you wouldn't go back to 11, then "together" go back to 10. You have already created a paradox because the original 11 o'clock you was supposed to wait until noon and then go back in time. Instead, at 11, you would walk into a room with 5 other copies of you waiting, and then at noon, you and 4 of those copies would go back in time to 11.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-25T02:08:50.337Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

any more than that and information is traveling more than 6 hours back. (at least from the perspectives of the earliest and latest self-clone)

I believe the only restriction is on not traveling back more than six hours by wall-clock time. It's never stated that you can't travel back into the same hour more than six time using more than one Time-Turner.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-25T04:39:01.171Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

The universe makes it rather obvious that you can't. How do we know that? Because the economics of Time-Turners is such that they are only valuable if you have exactly one and any additional time-turners are irrelevant. If time-turners worked that way then...

... You would want as many as you could get. And Hogwarts wouldn't be able to loan them out. If each person can only use 1 time-turner (as I say), then the economic demand is at most the population who's aware of time-turners. If you can use infinitely many time turners, then demand is without limit. The price for them would increase, and Hogwarts wouldn't be free to hand them out like they relatively were inexpensive.

They would have a very high price, and powerful or rich wizards would use them as much as they want. People as rich as Lucius Malfoy would be wearing twenty five time-turners like they were the rapper flava-flav. Upon hearing about Azkaban being attacked, you'd immediately go back six hours instead of one because there would be no reason to not do it. Harry, upon exiting the Azkaban wards, would have run into a patrol of a thousand disillusioned Dumbledores patrolling the sky. Hermione would have gotten arrested, and McGonagall would temporarily recall all the time-turners so that Harry or Dumbledore could have a week of turned time to come up with a defense.

No, the universe does not appear as it would if time turners could be stacked. Indeed if they could, things would look drastically different.

comment by Nornagest · 2012-03-25T05:25:26.202Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think there's a strong economic argument against multiple Time-Turners -- I can think of a number of reasons why the demand for additional loops might run into diminishing returns pretty quickly. Starting with self-consistency problems -- if the simplest solution to a factoring problem that leverages Time-Turning is "DO NOT MESS WITH TIME", then it wouldn't surprise me too much if the simplest self-consistent solution to more complicated and dangerous tasks that involve self-reference is a mysterious death or incapacity on the first iteration. This would be noticed, and Time-Turner abuse would be avoided. Then there's jet lag, synchronization issues, and any number of other things. More than one Time-Turner would definitely be useful (and desired), but the twenty-fifth wouldn't be anywhere close to as useful as the first.

That being said, I think you present pretty solid behavioral reasons why we can probably assume it's impossible.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-25T04:55:06.640Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Harry, upon exiting the Azkaban wards, would have run into a patrol of a thousand disillusioned Dumbledores patrolling the sky.

For some reason I found this image irresistibly hilarious. The sky is filled with two thousand twinkling stars!

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-25T19:05:42.879Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Very true. Only defense is that people are generally dumb and unimaginative. But that's a pretty good defense in a fictional universe, even if it is a fully general response to some things.

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-25T02:13:32.993Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Didn't Harry ask Dumbledore if it's possible to get more than 30 hours in a day using multiple time-turners and getting a negative answer?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-25T03:13:15.904Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure he got a plainly stated negative answer. Can someone look that up?

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-25T03:28:27.131Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore doesn't give a straight answer when Harry asks if more than one time turner can be used to get more than 30 hours.

There was another slight pause, during which Harry went on smiling. He was a little apprehensive, actually a lot apprehensive, but once it had become clear that Dumbledore was deliberately messing with him, something within him absolutely refused to sit and take it like a defenseless lump.

"I'm afraid Time doesn't like being stretched out too much," said Dumbledore after the slight pause, "and yet we ourselves seem to be a little too large for it, and so it's a constant struggle to fit our lives into Time."

On the other hand, we may infer that thirty hours is the limit from e.g. Amelia Bones' behavior in the Azkaban arc:

"I'll check if we have anything from six hours forward," said the voice of Madam Bones, "if so they wouldn't have told me, but I'll have them tell you. Do you have anything you want to tell me, Albus? Which of those two possibilities is it looking like?"

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-25T04:29:42.626Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's just the usual limit on information not traveling more than six wall-clock hours back in time, total. It doesn't say or imply that you can't loop yourself more than six times within a small stretch of wall-time.

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-25T14:12:48.562Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, if you can loop yourself more than six times at any small stretch of wall-time then you can get more than 30 subjective hours in one 24 wall-time day.

But it's implied you can't actually do that, which is why I think no more than 6 copies at any given time. Plus, if it were possible you could basically use any one day as a stopping point groundhog-day style in which you can (for example) brute-force read the entire Hogwarts library.

At any rate, the general limiting principle is that information cannot travel more than 6 hours backwards, Which I think means that when you draw a graph of a person using time-turners where you represent her using an arrow (going right for positive time, and left in 1h jumps for time-turner use), Then you can't have more than 6 hours of left-arrow in any given 24h wall-time section.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-03-26T01:25:36.561Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Plus, if it were possible you could basically use any one day as a stopping point groundhog-day style in which you can (for example) brute-force read the entire Hogwarts library.

That would get rather crowded.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-25T03:25:49.853Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

McGonagall thinks so, at least:

There was another pause, and then Madam Bones's voice said, "I have information which I learned four hours into the future, Albus. Do you still want it?"

Albus paused -

(weighing, Minerva knew, the possibility that he might want to go back more than two hours from this instant; for you couldn't send information further back in time than six hours, not through any chain of Time-Turners)

comment by APMason · 2012-03-29T20:11:18.594Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Why did Voldemort ever need the Death Eaters? He should have just stolen a few Time-Turners from the ministry. No-one could have resisted an attack by an army of Voldemort clones, super-coordinated by virtue of half the clones remembering being the other half a few hours ago.

The Ministry has access to Time-Turners too. Really, once both sides are using them they'd just have the effect of making battles much, much more awesome.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-31T13:51:26.304Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And you think that's keeping either side from escalating first, similar to not using Muggle weapons?

The Wizarding War is depicted as a limited conflict in canon, IIRC, and certainly in MoR. So you have a good theory. Voldemort was known for his tactical genius, presumably he found ways to escalate that couldn't be so easily duplicated by the enemy.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-03-25T00:37:50.303Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The problem with this is that they're not clones, they're future versions. So a potion can only be used once, a Time Turner duplicated still only has six "charges," and so on.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-25T00:42:21.777Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oops. Very stupid and basic error on my part. You're right, it's not exponential duplication, if you have N turners you get 6*N duplicates. Will fix.

Still useful for clone-armies and for duplicating artifacts of power.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-25T02:43:18.756Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Some of them will magically disappear every hour until only one remains, but imagine the firepower!

They wouldn't disappear. They would, after a period, go back in time in order to become one of the other people in the battle.

Using a time turner to make clones in battle is a very, very dangerous idea. Harry has been warned, strenuously, by Professor McGonnagal that he should not directly interact with himself, and we have an anecdote about an auror/criminal pair that went insane because they abused time turners. I imagine that one of the more stable time loops would involve the original Dumbledore/Harry getting disabled before going back in time for the first time.

But yeah, the cloning objects thing is a reasonable use of a Time Turner.

Edit to add: If by collaborating on tricky problems, you are referring to e.g. academic problems, rather than problems of strength, this amounts to a rather absurd charade. If you use a Time Turner to put 6 copies of yourself in a room, and in an hour they succeed in answering the problem, that means that at the beginning of the hour, 5 of them already knew the answer.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-25T03:11:40.613Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

They wouldn't disappear. They would, after a period, go back in time in order to become one of the other people in the battle.

I realize that. For other observers' practical purposes, they would disappear.

Using a time turner to make clones in battle is a very, very dangerous idea. Harry has been warned, strenuously, by Professor McGonnagal that he should not directly interact with himself

Meh, she worries about that kind of thing too much.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-28T02:50:52.497Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There are ways to compute problems such that you do not know the information you are computing. Homomorphic Encryption for example.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-28T04:08:16.089Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good point, though I don't think this would ever be useful. In the unlikely scenario that Time-Traveling Tom has a problem amenable to a straightforward, parallelized algorithm which requires six Tom-hours while Tom needs the solution within two hours, he may as well just go back six hours, "thread" his thoughts, not bother with any communication.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-28T04:52:22.181Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well... there are other such scenarios. Spend 6 hours brainstorming on an idea. Only mention FAILED ideas aloud amongst your fellow Turn-clones. Do so in a manner that requires "keying" to what specifically you're thinking about at the time. (Such as minutes-into-the-hour). After 6 iterations, acquire profit.

This has the added advantage that it follows the "DO NOT MESS WITH TIME" restriction of following by rote.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-28T14:05:27.104Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "keying." Could you elaborate, and explain how you end up with a scenario that is more stable from "Time's perspective" than, say, clone #5 just summarizing all the ideas at the beginning of the hour? The scenarios I can come up with seem to involve information magically appearing (which the universe doesn't seem to like, as in Harry's integer factorization algorithm), or fail to provide a benefit over just thinking on one's own for six hours.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-28T16:23:03.395Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

clone #5 summarizing means clones 1-4 never actually have the ideas, but cannot contribute any further to the solution-space beyond claiming they had those ideas. This doesn't create an additive effort to deriving a desired answer from the available solutions-space of your problem.

By "keying" I mean something that informs other iterations of the idea you're currently having and its invalidity without telling them the idea. "The thought I had at 5:14 -- it won't work. Move on."

This allows all six iterations to contribute towards deriving a viable answer without running into loops which require recursion to reach a stable state, which seems to be the kinds of loops that the Turners don't allow. (Helping a previous version's okay as long as they don't know where the help is coming from; but factoring integers instantly is not.)

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-28T19:21:50.502Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I see. So I guess there is some benefit gained from this, but it is very minor. It seems to me that the simplest rule that explains why Harry's integer factorization is not okay, but, for example, the "silver on the tree" password from the end of TSPE is okay, is the following: if you would gain information at time T, and send information from time T to any time S < T, then it must be the case that you would have gained that same information even if you hadn't learned it at time S.

Now consider your "keying" scenario. We have clones 0-5, and at time 1 clone x goes back to time 0 and becomes clone x+1. When clones give a "time key," it will be a number between 0 and 6, identifying a clone/wall-clock pair. Now suppose at wall-clock time T clone 1 says: "the thought I had at time P doesn't work." Assume for simplicity that time P refers to clone 0 at a wall-clock time S > T (though it would work out the same anyway). Now at time S, when clone 0 has the thought, he has two choices. On the one hand, he can continue working out why it doesn't work, but in this case he gains only the minor benefit of knowing in advance that it will not work out. On the other hand, he can move on and not consider the thought, but at time T as clone 1 just repeat (without knowing why), the fact that it doesn't work. In that case, he gained information that he would not have learned had he not told himself. Or, in your terminology, recursion was required in order to reach a stable state.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-29T01:33:13.180Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

then it must be the case that you would have gained that same information even if you hadn't learned it at time S.

that doesn't follow. Where would Harry have gotten the pies if not from Harry+1?

In that case, he gained information that he would not have learned had he not told himself. Or, in your terminology, recursion was required in order to reach a stable state.

The recursion is non-iterative beyond the number of loops actually manifested, however. Each individual only adjusts the one previous, and only in immediately non-iterative manners. "Nope. Nope. Nope. Maybe. Nope. Nope. Maybe."

That lets you prune out failed items but doesn't recurse back to an instantaneous success.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-29T02:00:52.360Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

that doesn't follow. Where would Harry have gotten the pies if not from Harry+1?

He got them from the breakfast table. Where did he get the idea to get them? Well, he would have seen the pies later on anyway. Just like he would have learned about time turners later on in the day anyway, but a more stable scenario was obtained by learning about them earlier.

The recursion is non-iterative beyond the number of loops actually manifested, however.

I'm not quite sure how to parse this. If you would think about an idea at time T, but don't because future you tells you it won't work out, that means your whole thought process going forward has completely changed. But maybe the thing you start thinking about instead doesn't work out, so someone warns you about the idea at time T+epsilon. And so on. So if you are proposing that Time works by iterating through a number of scenarios until you get to something stable, the situation you've pointed to "requires recursion." (It's worth pointing out that Harry, when he gets his Time Turner, doesn't think this is a likely answer to how Time works.) But perhaps I am not understanding you correctly?

My main objection to the scenario you are proposing, though, is that you are gaining information as a result of some work, but that work is never performed. Try taking your scenario to its logical extreme. You sit in a room with one copy of future-you, and a large composite number N on a sheet of paper. On scrap work hidden from future-you, you write down an integer K. If you are not told that K does not divide N, you check. If it does, you keep track of the factor of N you have found. In any case, you then systematically select a new integer K' to check for divisibility. Once you have a complete factorization, you sit quietly, and at the end of the hour you go back in time. Then, you let past-you know the "keys" for all of the integers that weren't factors. Thus, you must have ended up only trying actual factors. So, you have a slightly more complicated version of Harry's factorization algorithm.

Edit to add: I guess this situation actually still is still an exponential time algorithm, since you still have to consider every possibly integer. But you could do, for example, graph isomorphism testing in polynomial time with a similar method: try constructing a map by first finding what vertex 1 should map to. Future you says "nope, nope, maybe," and on "maybe" you try to figure out where to put vertex 2, given that vertex 1 maps to whatever. If the graphs are not isomorphic, future you will say "no" to every choice for vertex 1, so you have your answer in polynomial time. Otherwise, you will construct the isomorphism in polynomial time.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-29T02:55:50.002Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He got them from the breakfast table.

No. That's where Harry+1 got them. Harry did not.

I'm not quite sure how to parse this.

Six turnings of the Turner at T=0 results in the same 1-hour segment being looped into 6 times. This allows six iterations -- but those iterations do not recurse beyond the actual number of loops.

< is that you are gaining information as a result of some work, but that work is never performed.

That doesn't follow. How do you figure?

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-29T03:06:05.664Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, I'm really not following your pie argument. Harry would learn about the pies in the near future; since it is his style, he would think about throwing them to frighten the bullies. So, his observation of Harry+1 throwing the pies is not necessary for him to think to throw pies anyway.

What do you mean by "they don't recurse"? Surely the fact that this procedure results in fast graph isomorphism testing shows that it is not a particularly "stable" solution? Or, do fast integer factorization by writing down the first digit for the least factor greater than 1, listen as future you says "no, no, maybe," and change it to whatever, and then figure out the second digit, and so forth. The scenario you've outlined results in nearly instant integer factorization (or password guessing, or whatever), so it is probably illegal.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2012-03-29T03:31:36.994Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Note that both graph isomorphism and integer factorization are problems that may well lie in P, so these aren't great examples. Traveling salesman is a bit better.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-29T13:34:45.436Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sure, though my impression is that people don't think graph isomorphism actually is in P. And integer factorization turned out to be a problem for Harry. But you're right, we can actually just simulate a nondeterministic Turing machine this way: every time you have a choice for which state to visit next, just listen as future you tells you which ones not to visit.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-29T03:17:55.246Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So, his observation of Harry+1 throwing the pies is not necessary for him to think to throw pies anyway.

Harry+0's actions or non-actions were radically transformed by the act of Harry+1's throwing the pies.

The solutionspace for Harry+0's problems were altered by the actions of Harry+1.

From this we must derive the answer that iteration can alter outcomes. However, from the factoring of primes we see that the TT resists allowing iteration to recurse beyond the actual number of iterations.

Where number-of-iterations = i, where i < 6, then Harry+0..i can perform as many recursive alterations of his own solution-seeking as can be achieved without exceeding the value of i.

comment by TobyBartels · 2012-04-01T18:13:39.611Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Most of the replies to this comment no longer appear on the main page of the topic, no matter how many buttons I push.

comment by TobyBartels · 2012-03-31T04:37:00.954Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry has been warned, strenuously, by Professor McGonnagal that he should not directly interact with himself

I forget if we're discussing MoR or canon, but either way I object. In canon, my objection is pedantic: it's Hermione who was warned, and she only later passed on that warning to Harry. In MoR, Harry has interacted with himself, a few times, and while they didn't all go well, there were no disasters.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-31T05:37:28.434Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Not that strenuously:

"Correct, I think," said Professor McGonagall. "Although wizards are advised to avoid being seen by their past selves. If you're attending two classes at the same time and you need to cross paths with yourself, for example, the first version of you should step aside and close his eyes at a known time - you have a watch already, good - so that the future you can pass. It's all there in the pamphlet."

"Ahahahaa. And what happens when someone ignores that advice?"

Professor McGonagall pursed her lips. "I understand that it can be quite disconcerting."

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-31T15:32:43.986Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You're right, I misremembered. Still, I think there is a lot to suggest that interacting directly with one's time-clones (as opposed to waiting with one's eyes closed while a clone drops off a message, for example), particularly in battle, is a bad idea. You would never observe a future-you doing something ineffective in combat---failing to dodge or block, or casting an ineffective spell, for example---since, after observing that mistake, you would be prepared for it in the future. So the only consistent possibilities involve losing or running away before you can go back in time, or winning right away.

But, since you know these are the only consistent possibilities, if you showed up to a battle intending to use a Time Turner and didn't see your time clones appear at the very beginning, you would deduce that you would not win, and therefore (if you could) you would run away. So, I expect that from Time's perspective, the most stable solution for people who intend to use Time Turners in battle is for them to not do battle at all.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-31T15:14:11.950Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He has never interacted directly with himself in a way that involves seeing a copy of himself, or coordinating actions in real-time, as would be the case in a battle. Harry has so far always heeded Professor McGonnagal's advice, and looked the other way when his time clones are around. Though, as pedanterrific points out, I have overstated the severity of McGonnagal's warning.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-25T22:19:03.703Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This comment gave me the obvious-in-retrospect idea of cloning things with a Time-Turner.

Just Say No to time travel in stories. There's no end to this kind of stuff. Use it to throw pies. Fine. But please don't make it a magic bullet to resolve some plot line.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-25T23:34:07.644Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

When time travel is well-defined, it's not a problem. For example, I don't think anyone has ever accused Primer of using time travel as a magic bullet.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-25T23:45:07.642Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

And Homestuck just doesn't have any plot point which isn't time travel in some way.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-27T12:04:03.471Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

When time travel is well-defined, it's not a problem. For example, I don't think anyone has ever accused Primer of using time travel as a magic bullet.

More as a magic LSD substitute.

comment by pragmatist · 2012-03-26T00:01:53.940Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Except Primer-style time travel, where you can actually change the future of the universe by going back in time, is not very well-defined. Leaving aside the difficulty of reconciling such time travel with relativity, it is unclear to me what the rules are that govern returning to a particular time slice. What aspects of the past state are allowed to change, and what must remain the same? Are there any constraints at all?

The sort of time travel we see in the Harry Potter books (SPOILER jura uneel naq tnat geniry onpx va gvzr gb fnir Fvevhf Oynpx) is a much better example of well-defined time travel. There's no "changing the future" involved. Every causal loop is subject to strong consistency constraints.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-26T09:27:04.767Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, every story that has people traveling or communicating faster than light basically has not-well-defined time travel in it. Which includes most scifi ever written, I'd guess.

comment by pragmatist · 2012-03-26T18:55:33.546Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That's not really what I meant. There are well-defined frameworks of physical law that permit faster-than-light travel. Newtonian physics is an example. So even though FTL travel requires some suspension of disbelief, you're not usually at sea about what the rules are that govern the phenomenon. It's not like magic.

The problem with the way time travel is often depicted is that it is like magic. There's no clear set of rules constraining which properties of the time slice can change when the traveler returns to it, and which must remain the same. Surely there must be some constraints. After all, if every single property is allowed to change, it wouldn't really count as traveling back to the same time slice. But where do these constraints come from and what are they?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-27T07:24:57.608Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's a difference, but not a qualitative one, I feel. After all, reality is entangled and there's no well-defined framework of physical law that allows FTL travel and also reduces to something like relativity as long as you don't turn on your magical engine. Everyone who doesn't have a magical FTL engine would still see your FTL travel as being time travel, and the same questions would have to be answered as you raise below: what changes are allowed, etc.

OTOH, if you go by which suspension of disbelief is easiest and most natural, and if you let go of your belief in scientific physical laws. then the most natural thing to believe in is magic. It's what all humans believed in up to historically recent eras. The kind of magic that doesn't usually have builtin rules in the sense of laws of the universe or of magic itself. It just has limitations corresponding to the knowledge/power/wisdom of the magician. The more common constraining rules in such stories are actually moralistic (good winning, etc.)

comment by Vladimir_Nesov · 2012-03-28T21:56:47.313Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

After all, reality is entangled and there's no well-defined framework of physical law that allows FTL travel and also reduces to something like relativity as long as you don't turn on your magical engine. Everyone who doesn't have a magical FTL engine would still see your FTL travel as being time travel, and the same questions would have to be answered as you raise below: what changes are allowed, etc.

This is a popular but incorrect idea. If you interpret special relativity via (neo-)Lorenz Ether Theory, you can have perfectly mundane kind of FTL without any problematic time travel, you'd just have a preferred reference frame. It'd be possible to send messages to the past according to some reference frames (in spacelike fashion), but not others, and you'd never get to communicate information in time loops. There is no serious problem with reconciling FTL and special relativity, FTL goes the way of ether for Occam's razor reasons, not because it doesn't make sense conceptually.

comment by pragmatist · 2012-03-27T23:25:16.164Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There are perfectly consistent models of a relativistic universe with well-defined rules that allow tachyons (particles that travel faster than light). Frank Arntzenius has a great paper on this. These models don't allow "future-changing" time travel, though.

Incidentally, does anyone know of a work of fantasy that has clearly articulating "law-like" constraints governing the use of magic? The awesome webcomic Unsounded seems to be attempting something like this, but the details are still fuzzy.

comment by Bugmaster · 2012-03-27T23:51:40.066Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Most works of fantasy do this to some extent. For example, the One Power in Wheel of Time has very well-specified mechanics, though of course a lot of the complexity is left as an exercise for the reader. The metal-based magic in the Mistborn books is simpler, and likewise well-defined. You can also have works like Cardcaptor Sakura, which is basically an anime about a collectible card game; here, the cards operate according to some very specific rules, and each card has a narrow function, but the card list is very large and fairly arbitrary.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-27T23:39:10.538Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting. That paper is behind a paywall, unfortunately.

But my knowledge of physics is very limited and I probably wouldn't understand the full paper anyway. (What tachyon interactions with non-tachyons does he allow?) I doubt, though, that any model of tachyons allows you to accelerate your normal-matter spaceship to FTL speeds the way most soft scifi takes for granted.

comment by Tripitaka · 2012-03-29T20:04:04.601Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How are new Time-Turners made?

Weeeeeellll, since this particular fanfiction has already been mentioned and is known to be known to Eliezer... Hear Harry,partially kissed hero, on this issue! "Do you know what makes up the dust they use in Time Turners? Powdered fairy wings."

comment by malthrin · 2012-03-23T16:08:11.279Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

What happened here?

The Veritaserum was brought in then, and Hermione looked for a brief moment like she was about to sob, she was looking at Harry - no, at Professor McGonagall - and Professor McGonagall was mouthing words that Harry couldn't make out from his angle. Then Hermione swallowed three drops of Veritaserum and her face grew slack.

comment by razor11 · 2012-03-23T17:56:50.028Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW
  1. If Hermione's testimony had changed from last time, I'd have guessed that McGonagall was mouthing a spell or trying to Confound Hermione so she gave a different testimony under Veritaserum.
  1. Since that isn't the case, she was either trying to: a) provide moral support for Hermione ("Keep strong" and such)

b) communicating something. If it's this, then I strongly suspect that McGonagall is cooperating with future Harry in some rescue plan. She might be communicating a simple message like "Don't worry" or "We'll get you out" which would imply that she has some extra knowledge about how things are going to play out.

But what she told Hermione shouldn't be very important as there was no way to know that Hermione, in her tired state, would understand the significance of whatever McGonagall mouthed.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2012-03-24T10:11:44.539Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

b) communicating something. If it's this, then I strongly suspect that McGonagall is cooperating with future Harry in some rescue plan. She might be communicating a simple message like "Don't worry" or "We'll get you out" which would imply that she has some extra knowledge about how things are going to play out.

Extra supporting evidence for this: McGonagall isn't the sort of person who would give false reassurance. If she didn't see any way to get Hermione out of this, she would say "keep strong." If she's saying "don't worry" then Hermione has some reason not to worry.

comment by dspeyer · 2012-03-29T16:43:08.562Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore says "if it is not dismissed soon, some of us may miss their entire luncheon". That means the hearing is taking place in the morning. The earliest future!Harry can show up is 3pm.

Of course, she could have information from future!Dumbledore or Harry could have sent a note via Margaret Bulstrode.

comment by Danylo · 2012-03-24T12:39:29.429Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe H&C's final form was McGonagall? That'd be a fun twist.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T17:07:11.014Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

She's the only sane one of Hermione's friends who was present?

(There may be more to it, but it's hard to say)

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T17:35:20.700Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Why would Hermione consider Harry not sane?

comment by staticIP · 2012-03-23T17:53:53.413Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Because he's insane.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T18:32:54.735Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How come?

comment by staticIP · 2012-03-24T15:38:52.441Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

My running theory is because he's a horcrux, but it's hard to say. Apparently there's one point where this fix departed from cannon, if we can pin point that you'll have your answer.

Alright, fine. An actual non-sarcastic answer. He plays with the trope of being insane. He's entire chaos legion cackles maniacally. He is very certain of strange ideas that are almost the opposite of that his experienced elders believe, about their areas of expertise.

From that point of view it's easy to see why people would think he's crazy. Not to mention the simple fact that he doesn't adhere to social rules like normal people do.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T16:07:29.866Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The short answer is that this hasn't stopped Hermione from trusting him and considering him her friend before. And she did look at Harry later (once convicted) begging for help.

The only open question is whether there was something significant Minerva mouthed to her that we're not aware of. I consider this very unlikely.

comment by staticIP · 2012-03-24T16:47:47.449Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I'm not arguing the point. I just have a weird sense of humour and "Because he's insane" tickles my funny bone.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-17T22:54:22.111Z · score: 9 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Anyone else getting the feeling that EY is doing an accelerated wrap up of HPMOR?

We've jumped forward months in the story, and it looks like everyone is in play all at once, for the highest of stakes. The major players all have their beloved pieces at risk in Lucius and Draco, Harry and Hermione, and Albus and Harry.

Also, with the approaching end of the school year, I assume it's the end for Quirrell as well.

But Chapter 83 is The Aftermath. And I believe EY talked about future installments more as novellas, which makes me think those would be retrospective fill ins for the months we've skipped.

Say it aint so. I'm in no rush to see this end, and not to get melodramatic about it, but I think HPMOR has a good chance of being the most important thing anyone on this list ever does. Rand would have been an unknown crank without the novels. A transvaluation of values is made through stories, not Sequences.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-18T01:28:47.968Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

We've jumped forward months in the story,

I checked again, and chapter 73 says "The March days marched by". Chapter 78 starts at 4th of April, and the day of Hermione's arrest was the morning of Sunday the 5th of April.

So I think your impression is wrong: we're still moving at the pace of about one month per major arc. "Humanism" was January, and "Stanford Prison Experiment" was February, and "Self-actualization" was March. This is now April.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-18T03:55:36.911Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you.

I guess I get another demerit for not paying attention in class.

comment by Nominull · 2012-03-17T23:07:19.360Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

There have been a couple Aftermath chapters already, that's what the author titles chapters within an arc that come after the climax of the arc and wrap things up usually on a character-by-character basis. Chapters 63 and 77 were both Aftermath, but they certainly didn't end the story.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T02:33:06.357Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I think HPMOR has a good chance of being the most important thing anyone on this list ever does.

Rational DanArmak knows about UFAI and how he can't weigh miniscule probabilities correctly and so on.

Emotional DanArmak is praying oh dear god when HPMOR ends please please let Eliezer go on writing fiction.

comment by glumph · 2012-03-18T03:31:56.352Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Emotional DanArmak is praying oh dear god when HPMOR ends please please let Eliezer go on writing fiction.

He's been writing fiction for a long time. I wouldn't worry.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T18:54:41.449Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I know that, but he's never written long-form fiction before, and may never do so again. It does take a lot of time.

comment by David_Gerard · 2012-03-17T23:36:55.746Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

A transvaluation of values is made through stories, not Sequences.

Correct. Stories are how humans learn most things.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-20T06:21:49.173Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There were two rushed-feeling reveals in the same chapter. That may be why you feel like things are wrapping up.

Things EY said don't figure in to the early end theory, though. He's just talking about release-pacing and word count.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-17T15:52:37.079Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Anyways, if the obvious answer is incorrect, we ought to figure out which Hogwarts staff-member has been going around casting memory charms. Now Dumbledore did specifically say "professor" and I doubt that he misspoke, so we can discount Hagrid, Pomffery, etc. So:

  1. Bathsheda Babbling, Ancient Runes. (Never mentioned in books, probably unkown to Eliezer)
  2. Charity Burbage, Muggle Studies.
  3. Filius Flitwick, Charms.
  4. Silvanus Kettleburn, Care of Magical creatures.
  5. Minerva McGonagall, Transfiguration. (Definitely innocent)
  6. Aurora Sinistra, Astronomy.
  7. Severus Snape, Potions.
  8. Pomona Sprout, Herbology.
  9. Sybill Trelawney, Divination.
  10. Septima Vector, Arithmancy.
  11. Albus Dumbledore.

Now, there is one possibility I don't think anyone has brought up yet. H&C could simply be the unwilling pawn anyone capable of using the Imperius, This explains how he/she can have quite brilliant long-term plans, given to them by their puppet-master, but make a few simple mistakes when on their own (Like taking so long to crack Hermione).

Now, we know that Hermione recognized and was very shocked by whomever she saw beneath H&C's disguise, which suggests it was someone she actually knew rather than a professor she occasionally caught sight of at dinner. First years take Astronomy, Charms, Battle Magic, Herbology, History of Magic, Potions, and Transfiguration. We can safely eliminate Quirrell, Snape, Binns and McGonagall from being imperiused, leaving Flitwick, Sprout, and Sinistra.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-18T13:52:40.047Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The inefficiency of H&C's attack against Hermione's mind is not evidence of a "simple mistake" on his/her part, but rather exceptional cleverness. Note that this attack has replaced something that would be detected (Legilimency) with something that cannot be (Obliviation). I myself take this as further evidence that H&C is Quirrell.

Were there other mistakes you had in mind?

comment by Locke · 2012-03-18T15:14:17.232Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Using obliviation wasn't a bad move, but H&C used it poorly. More specifically, he used exactly the same disguise he was running around in when manipulating Zabini, when a great manipulator would certainly change their appearance to suit the situation. Not to mention the entirety of his conversation with Hermione strikes me as, well, clumsy. Professor Quirrell can convince most people of most things without multiple trials, and even if he modeled Hermione as putting on a show of goodness H&C's methods are not the ideal way to convince someone like that.

Quirrell does not normally have the luxury of obliviation, yet I have no doubt he could have convinced Hermione entirely without it. If he did use it, it would not be enough that she would start to feel tired. He's too good.

comment by Vladimir_Nesov · 2012-03-18T15:29:30.772Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Not to mention the entirety of his conversation with Hermione strikes me as, well, clumsy. Professor Quirrell can convince most people of most things without multiple trials, and even if he modeled Hermione as putting on a show of goodness H&C's methods are not the ideal way to convince someone like that.

Experiments that involve talking may superficially resemble clumsy attempts at persuasion. The objective of those sessions was probably not persuasion, so judging their effectiveness by optimality with respect to that criterion is wrong. The objective was probably to map the dynamic of Hermione's thinking. Gaining unlikely powers of persuasion eventually is one possible product of this process, but not its character.

comment by Nornagest · 2012-03-19T20:22:13.417Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I read H&C's frustration in 77 as genuine, which argues for genuine clumsiness. It does seem to have been decisive in getting Hermione to open up about her misgivings, which could argue back in the other direction, but that's not the only place in the dialogue where H&C seems to fit poorly into their role, and the others are all dead ends. In any case, failing to consider surface appearances -- when dealing with a twelve-year-old, however bright -- is really a fairly basic mistake, and one that I'd consider out of character for both Quirrell (who has a fine grasp of psychology) and Dumbledore (who's all about narrative conventions and would probably have gone straight to the fairy godmother guise).

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-25T00:28:50.825Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I truly find it odd that no one considers that the evidence was given directly within the text.

"Because you look incredibly dark and scary and suspicious," Hermione said, keeping her voice polite, as her wand stayed level on the towering black cloak and the faceless black mist.

"That's all?" whispered the voice incredulously. Sadness seemed to infuse it. "I hoped for better from you, Hermione. Surely such a Ravenclaw as you, the most intelligent Ravenclaw to grace Hogwarts in a generation, knows that appearances can be misleading."

"Oh, I know it," said Hermione. She took another step back, her tired fingers tightening on the wand. "But the thing that people forget sometimes, is that even though appearances can be misleading, they're usually not."

It's very possible that H&C thought that if ve showed up looking like a fairy godmother, Hermione would think that ve is trying to hide their true nature behind a pleasant mask. Harry certainly would. On the other hand, by openly appearing "incredibly suspicious," Hermione might put aside her doubts with the thought that appearance are deceiving, perhaps in a manner similar to how Quirrell told Harry that as long as he appears ambiguous, people of every stripe will follow him. Ve was wrong in this case, obviously, but just because a choice is wrong doesn't mean it was a stupid one, anymore than a choice being right means it was a smart one.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-18T15:36:14.088Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

These are good observations. However, I think you are inferring plot points from what is merely literary technique. H&C using the same disguise is well explained by EY intending us to identify Hermione's manipulator with Zabini's. Similarly, the many attempts/Hermione's exhaustion are well explained if EY wants to make it clear what the nature of the attack is without spelling it out explicitly.

comment by WrongBot · 2012-03-17T19:15:00.339Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Flitwick is probably also out as an Imperius candidate, being a former international dueling champion and all.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-17T19:30:28.749Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How are the two connected?

comment by Jello_Raptor · 2012-03-17T20:46:56.786Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

He's more than capable of defending himself, and given that he's probably keyed into the wards at a level just below McGonnagal , it would be a huge security hole if he was easily imperiused.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-17T22:33:07.799Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Flitwick would be beaten in a fight by Quirrelmort, who is both more powerful in raw magic and laughs scornfully at formal dueling rules. He could be taken by surprise as well, or fall into a magical trap, given that Quirrelmort has free access to premises.

Being Imperiused by Quirrelmort isn't the same as being easily Imperiused at all.

comment by Jello_Raptor · 2012-03-17T22:40:51.309Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, given that we're discussing alternatives to Quirrelmort, that doesn't quite apply.

I'd be willing to wager that in MORverse Quirrelmort could imperius even Mc Gonnagal.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-17T23:16:21.375Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't get the sense that McGonnagal is unusually powerful or hard to Imperius, anyway. She's just as much of a candidate as Flitwick.

However, since Hermione was terrified to see the (presumed) real face of H&C... The obvious solution seems ever more obvious. (And Eliezer's last two Author's Notes seemed to suggest it as well, but that is just my interpretation. I was wrong when I stated that he "practically confirmed it" earlier.)

comment by gwern · 2012-03-18T01:30:26.678Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

However, since Hermione was terrified to see the (presumed) real face of H&C... The obvious solution seems ever more obvious. (And Word of God practically confirmed it!)

Where does Eliezer 'practically' confirm it?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T02:17:14.901Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

OK, not as much as I seemed to imply. You're right to call me on it (will edited parent comment).

I was thinking about the Author's Notes for the last two chapters talking about how readers disregard the obvious interpretation, how sometimes when something's clear enough there isn't a twist waiting to be revealed, etc. For some reason when I wrote the comment above, my brain turned that (plus the confirmation of a Quirrel-Voldemort connection) into "confirmation of a Quirrel plot behind current events". Sorry.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-17T21:11:02.840Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I don't believe that one of the professors who have never appeared onstage in HPMOR could be revealed to play such a central role. Also not those who have appeared very marginally and have not been actually characterized (Flitwick, Trelawney). We also have no reason to attribute motive to one of them.

Minerva is, as you say, definitely innocent - because we have a scene from her POV.

This leaves, for practical purposes, only Snape and Dumbledore. It's not impossible for there to be a reveal of either one, but the obvious answer is indeed obvious. Nevertheless:

Snape is suitably evil, smart, and with reason to hurt Quirrel (he's afraid of him), possibly Harry (after their talk about James Potter), possibly Draco (private war against remaining Death Eater factions or bad blood against Malfoys), and no reason for Hermione that I can think of.

Dumbledore... It doesn't seem his style, does it? :-) Certainly if he take him at his word, he believes this to be a heavy blow against himself and Harry. He could have a motive yet to be revealed, but I don't believe this is possible in a story-management sense.

comment by Pavitra · 2012-03-17T21:58:09.241Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Minerva is, as you say, definitely innocent - because we have a scene from her POV.

She could have edited her own mind afterward, as a protection against Legilimency/Veritaserum/etc.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-17T22:22:09.392Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well if she did so and didn't use a Pensieve then we'll never find out. I don't believe this can happen, and she's also not characterized in a way that would allow her to be this smart or this evil.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-03-17T21:33:12.076Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Also not those who have appeared very marginally and have not been actually characterized (Flitwick, Trelawney). We also have no reason to attribute motive to one of them.

How's their motive relevant if they're under imperious?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-17T22:29:37.358Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You're right, the Hogwarts wards don't detect or prevent Imperius cast by and on professors. That actually makes sense to add extra deniability for Quirrel (or whoever is controlling them). Edit: either I didn't see this part of the grandparent or I didn't realize the implications.

However, either the Imperius must be maintained indefinitely: too much risk of being found out one day? If something happens to the controlling character, short of death, does it provoke a Will save and break the Imperius? If the controlled character is examined, especially by a Legilemens, the Imperius would definitely be found out but would the controller be identified? Does someone being controlled necessarily know who the controller is?

Or it would be maintained for only brief periods, each time erasing the target's memory of being controlled.

Note 1: Lucius claims to have been Imperiused for years by Voldemort with at least some plausibility, so presumably all of this is surmountable.

Note 2: an Imperiused professor could be ordered to self-erase memories after each time they executed orders from the controller, so the two don't even need to meet to coordinate (pure mental control).

This looks like a game-breaking spell. A very powerful wizard who has infiltrated the enemy camp should carry out all of his actions via Imperiused agents. Are there any limitations? For instance, does maintaining an Imperius take up a piece of the controller's magic for the duration? How does one break it if one has captured a controlled piece but cannot face the controller directly? Inquiring minds want to know :-)

comment by Jello_Raptor · 2012-03-17T22:45:13.943Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Snape is suitably evil, smart, and with reason to hurt ... Harry (after their talk about James Potter), ...

See, I have trouble with that, mainly because it's been established that he's still in love with Lily Potter (which is why Harry's advice was so cutting), and hurting her only son would fall counter to that.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-17T23:31:16.388Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I dunno, I always read that conversation (and the subsequent scenes from Snape's POV) as indicating that Harry actually succeeded in convincing Snape that Lily wasn't all that great and that his carrying that particular torch for so long was pathetic.

In the process cutting the only tie holding Snape to the Light.

Oops.

comment by see · 2012-03-18T01:02:14.490Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe. On the other hand . . . maybe actually winning Snape to Harry's side.

Ch 76 - "I have had two mentors, over the course of my days. Both were extraordinarily perceptive, and neither one ever told me the things I wasn't seeing. It's clear enough why the first said nothing, but the second..." Snape's face tightened. "I suppose I would have to be naive, to ask why he stayed silent."

Let us assume that Snape no longer has any reason to be loyal to Dumbledore. Then where does Snape turn next? Back to Voldemort? MoR!Voldemort, who is not nearly the idiot Canon!Voldemort was (and thus far less likely to trust Snape), who killed Lily despite knowing how important Lily was to Snape, and who with no question would only be using him?

If that were the only alternative to Dumbledore, perhaps. But it isn't.

No, Snape has an alternative. Someone who confronts bullies, instead of leading or tolerating them. Someone who told him the truth, rather than leave him in a fog of lies. Someone of demonstrated intelligence and power. Someone who has already bested Voldemort.

Snape of course cannot bear, in pride, to simply and openly take up the banner of the alternative. But he can at least take up the role of protector of the boy, who really is not particularly like his father.

comment by matheist · 2012-03-18T02:31:19.341Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Ch 76 - "I have had two mentors, over the course of my days. Both were extraordinarily perceptive, and neither one ever told me the things I wasn't seeing. It's clear enough why the first said nothing, but the second..." Snape's face tightened. "I suppose I would have to be naive, to ask why he stayed silent."

I've actually wondered which mentor is which, in Snape's telling: my guess is that the first one is Voldemort, and that Snape thinks it's "clear enough" that Voldemort didn't tell him Lily was shallow because he either didn't know or didn't care. The second one is Dumbledore, who didn't tell him Lily was shallow because Snape was only useful to him as long as he still loved her. And Snape would have to be naive to ask why Dumbledore stayed silent, when it's obvious that speaking up could only weaken Snape's loyalty.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T02:28:52.621Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If the first mentor is Voldemort and the second Dumbledore, it's interesting that he speaks of both in the past tense.

Then where does Snape turn next?

Why does he have to turn somewhere? Can't he hide, run, sit out the next war, and not risk his life for anyone he doesn't like? Can't he start living his own life for a change? :-)

comment by see · 2012-03-18T04:30:12.011Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There's no way either Voldemort or (for example, on the other side) Moody will possibly believe that it's safe to let a Slytherin (ambition!) who has been so high in the counsels of each side to run around free, perhaps plotting to stick his oar in at just the right moment to tip things.

Is there a hole deep enough to hide in?

That leaves allying with someone who can play on the Voldemort/Dumbledore level. There aren't a lot of possible choices. Maybe Grindlewald, freed from prison, but he was hardly trustworthy. There might be a really, really powerful witch in India we've never heard of, but that would be bad fiction writing. Who else is there?

If Snape can overcome his prejudices, the logical choice of ally is Harry Potter.

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-18T16:06:04.266Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

That is the logical conclusion your sympathies incline you to. I suspect that what Snape sees in HP is at best a future Dumbledore, and quite possibly simply voldy V 2.0 Why the heck sign up for being manipulated and a pawn a third time? Uh-uh. But this may entirely explain what the heck he was/is doing with SPHEW. He picked Hermonie as the potential future ally least likely to stab him in the back when convenient, and SPHEW as the bet least dependant on a single individual. (Because it is an idea. The idea that everyone can stand up and do the right thing.)

Without telling anyone. Which is hilarious.

comment by see · 2012-03-18T20:23:51.482Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If there wasn't a prophecy directed personally to Snape that made him believe that the ultimate choices are either Voldemort or Harry, maybe.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T13:32:18.940Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

From Snape's POV, Harry's camp is Dumbledore's camp - to be around Harry he'd have to keep on being a Professor at Hogwarts, and Dumbledore will make sure he's his piece if he's on his home turf. Harry won't have his own proper camp for years yet, not something he could defend against Voldermort-level opponents by his and his allies' own magic power.

There's another reason: (edit: as far as Snape knows...) Harry doesn't know Snape was a Death Eater, a double agent, and the one responsible for delivering the prophecy to Voldemort! If Snape moves openly to support Harry where this doesn't mean supporting Dumbledore, then Dumbledore will warn Harry against him by revealing Snape's past, and Harry won't ever trust Snape after that. The impression Snape created in his last private conversation with Harry was bad enough.

Even if Snape merely tries to approach Harry privately, Harry will want to ask him questions about the last war. How did his parents die? What does the prophecy say? How did Dumbledore manage the last war? He'll be asking because Snape was there, but true answers will cast Snape in a very bad light.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-18T14:45:01.842Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Harry doesn't know Snape was a Death Eater, a double agent, and the one responsible for delivering the prophecy to Voldemort!

Harry figured this out at the bottom of chapter 46, Aftermath Minerva McGonagall. Three people know. Dumbledore had to not learn first, because then he would only tell the one person who would set the trap (Snape) and only two people would know of the prophecy instead of three. So Harry correctly deduces that McGonagall learned first and told Dumbledore who told Snape who told the dark lord.

Whether or not Snape knows that Harry knows, we can't be sure. However, he does know that Harry knows who knows the prophecy. Given just this information he is aware that Harry could deduce that Snape was the mole who helped trap Voldemort. If it seems a little farfetched for everyone to be so smart, I will note that Slytherin House practically recreated the entire scenario, minus the exact specific details, of Harry's blackmail of Snape after one day. Snape would be used to this level of deduction and plotting in his students.

comment by matheist · 2012-03-18T21:46:58.066Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, I think the Slytherin students reasoned rationally yet happened not to get the right answer.

Slytherin thinks that Snape can get away with being horrible because he's blackmailing Dumbledore, that Harry found out how Snape is blackmailing D, and that D now has to try to please both of them.

In actuality, Snape is horrible at Dumbledore's direction, in order that everyone think Snape is blackmailing him, when actually Snape is really on Dumbledore's side (chapter 77). (Or at least D thinks so, based on love-for-Lily.) But Dumbledore really does have to keep Harry happy to some extent, so he directs Snape to be horrible to only half the students. Then D can maintain the fiction that Snape is blackmailing him, and can pretend that Harry is now blackmailing him too by finding out the same secret Snape has.

D plays along with Harry's guess that he wants an evil potions master, so that he doesn't have to tell Harry that Snape is secretly on his side.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T14:58:31.601Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Good catch.

Although Harry was a little wrong; Snape overheard the prophecy, he wasn't given it by Dumbledore. I don't even know if he was a double agent at that point, or just a simple agent for Voldermort in Dumbledore's camp. He only really went over to Dumbledore's camp because 1) Lily was killed and 2) Voldermort died.

Whether or not Snape knows that Harry knows, we can't be sure. However, he does know that Harry knows who knows the prophecy.

There are other explanations that Snape might present for that. For instance, he might claim to Harry that Voldemort told all his top lieutenants about the prophecy before attacking the Potters. The major danger to Snape is a reveal from Dumbledore.

comment by see · 2012-03-18T20:41:45.845Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sure, on the gross level it's just swapping out "tied to Dumbledore's faction because that's where he can watch over his lost love's son" to "tied to Dumbledore's faction because that's where he can watch over someone who might be in his own long-term rational self-interest to support."

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T22:17:39.735Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Or more explicitly "tied to Dumbledore's faction because that's the faction that won't be evil to him, and being without a faction is too dangerous".

comment by Grognor · 2012-03-18T08:17:19.174Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You definitely put Quirrell's offer to be an ally to Snape in a new light. He may be trying to prevent just that.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T02:25:58.246Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

He may have quit loving Lily, but Snape instigated his anti-bullying scheme after his conversation with Harry. I'd say the conversation shocked him out of self-pity and into action, and the action was more or less Good.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-18T00:48:31.001Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I took it that way too.

Makes for an improved Snape, and an avoidance of the debacle in canon of the world being saved by creepy guy nursing a teenage crush for decades. Ugh.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-18T02:30:49.979Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Rationalist Hero Rule #43: don't dismiss known saviors-of-the-world because of Ugh fields.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-18T04:41:18.515Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I was more offended on Snape's behalf at what Rowling did to him than rejecting Snape. My suspension of belief was suspended. The judgments I make reading known a known fictional story and living in a story myself aren't the same.

Although I admit to feeling something of the impulse, watching the world, to judge it as if it had an author, and take offense at some of the plot points. I suppose it's a cognitive dissonance between what I in general value, and what in a particular instance turned out to be valuable. I don't expect the universe to be fair, but I am disgruntled when it seems perverse.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-17T23:14:41.956Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that it's unlikely. OTOH he isn't hurting him personally and directly by taking out Hermione. He may just not appreciate how important she is to him emotionally.

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-27T19:38:23.483Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

(Never mentioned in books, probably unkown to Eliezer)

I would not take that as a reason to think that person is unknown to Eliezer - he's well-versed in both HP fanfiction and wiki.

comment by anotherblackhat · 2012-03-18T16:44:26.483Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Technically it was McGonagall who said "only a Professor could have cast that spell upon a student without alarm from the Hogwarts wards." but I think it equally unlikely that she misspoke. Dumbledore certainly didn't correct her.

When Hermione saw H&C without the obscuring black mist the "recognition sent a jolt of terrified adrenaline bursting through her" The only person on your list that fits that description is Snape.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-17T16:24:01.485Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Is there some particular reason you left Quirrell off the list?

comment by Locke · 2012-03-17T16:35:03.878Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The purpose of the list is to propose alternatives to Quirrell, who right now is the obvious candidate.

comment by orthonormal · 2012-03-17T18:16:38.715Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You should say that, then.

EDIT: Ah. Missed that on first reading.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-17T18:21:50.303Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

if the obvious answer is incorrect, we ought to figure out which Hogwarts staff-member has been going around casting memory charms.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2012-03-17T18:24:23.451Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

First sentence... 'If the obvious answer is incorrect,...'

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-23T04:18:14.600Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Step one: Stand up and loudly explain how a patronus works, and what a dementor actually is, under the guise of arguing for a diffrent punisment - This will make the entire wizengamot, including the aurors controling the dementor present incapable of casting expecto patronum. Destroy the dementor before it eats anyone. Now the wizengamot has to shut down azkaban (Because the secret would get out). This would not exactly endear him to anyone at all, but they cannot seriously retaliate, because they need him to kill off the dementors before they run out of aurors who havent heard the truth yet. This doesnt actually free Hermonie, just stops them from sending her (or anyone) to azkaban.

Side bonus Harry cannot predict: This would probably also convince Lucius that he isnt Pottermort.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-23T04:56:47.502Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Step one: Stand up and loudly explain how a patronus works, and what a dementor actually is, under the guise of arguing for a diffrent punisment - This will make the entire wizengamot, including the aurors controling the dementor present incapable of casting expecto patronum. Destroy the dementor before it eats anyone.

I don't think that simply telling someone is enough to take away their ability to summon a patronus, they'd have to believe you. The members of the Wizengamot don't know Harry has any noteworthy insight or intellect, and so it's likely they would not believe him unless he destroyed the dementor, thereby providing evidence that he does indeed have exceptional insight regarding the nature of dementors.

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-23T08:49:05.295Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

... That isnt actually a weakness in the plan, you know. He could stand up, explain the entire theory, slowly walk over to Hermonie, hand her his wand, and ask her to destroy the dementor as proof of her righteousness and disbelief would probably keep everyone (except Dumbledore. Note: Ask him to not intervene) from interfering right up until the point where she vaporizes the dementor. After which they would be unable to deny the truth of the theorem, and be fucked.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-23T14:35:47.857Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

They might let him stand up and explain his theory of how dementors work without interrupting him, I'm pretty certain they wouldn't let him walk over to the defendant and hand her a wand.

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-23T19:01:43.893Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Eh, she is a first year at hogwarts - from their perspective, what is she going to do with it? Apparate out?

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-23T19:09:32.241Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Just because they don't expect her to be able to accomplish much with it doesn't mean that they wouldn't stop it as a matter of policy. You don't let a character witness walk up and hand anything to a prisoner on the stands without clearance.

A whole lot of plans proposed here seem to rely on the assumption that Harry can treat the Wizengamot as a captive audience who'll humor any attempt he makes to sway them or prove his points. The Wizengamot is a highly authoritarian court of law, and Harry is a first year student. They have little incentive to humor him about anything.

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-23T19:25:41.925Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The blunt force way to play it is to just expecto patronum the dementor into oblivion and go "Would you like me to explain how I did that"? They would almost certainly make him do so, veritas serum, legimens and the whole nine yards. And once they know, they are fucked. I dont think the wizengamot would go for collective obliviation of the events of the trial, so once the cat is out of the bag, its not going back in.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-23T19:40:55.129Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I wasn't that happy with that plan to begin with, but the more I've thought about it, the more I've started to like the elegant simplicity of it. He'd get tremendous political turmoil, and possibly throw suspicion on himself with respect to the Bellatrix breakout, but he can still deny that, and they've got another suspect anyway. At the same time, he has a chance to sink Azkaban in one shot. I'm calling this one the Damn The Torpedoes Option.

In his place though, I wouldn't necessarily encourage them to find out how I did it (he can resist veritaserum and leglimency,) but I'd tell them that it's already too late for them to stop the dissemination of the spell, thus rendering dementors and azkaban obsolete.

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-23T20:01:40.315Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Bluffing would be dangerous - if he doesnt actually publish the information, killing him makes the problem go away. And if he commits to "Tell the world, make dementors useless" Then the wizengamot entire are simply more information pathways, and are in fact far better ones than just about anyone else he could tell because it is much harder to obliviate them than Jane Q Wizard,.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-23T20:15:25.613Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If he doesn't get a chance to arrange, say, for messages to be sent out in the event of his death or incapacitation, then his best bet might be to tell them, but if it looks like he can get away with it it might be better for him to imply that he's already told some people, but not reveal who. That way they will conclude they can no longer rely on dementors, but the secret doesn't actually escape.

He did already give Hermione that letter which she could use to find out the secret, but it's probably too late for her to make any use of it. It would have been a good idea for her to read it as soon as she was told that she was accused of murder, except she probably never had the chance to do that, and anyway she won't have a wand in Azkaban.

comment by TobyBartels · 2012-03-24T11:07:44.499Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This is the answer that I thought of when I read the chapter (specifically with the ‘blunt force’ amendment below). Unfortunately, it doesn't fit in with the narrative clues that we've been given: there's no taboo trade-off, and it doesn't treat the Wizengamot as individuals. Nevertheless, it would be awesome.

comment by Asymmetric · 2012-03-23T04:21:02.288Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Why would Lucius be convinced by that?

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-03-23T04:34:39.340Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

... True Patronus? Voldemort?

comment by LucasSloan · 2012-03-23T07:54:24.743Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

He already interrogated Draco under Veritaserum, so he knows that Draco saw his patronus light. That seems not to have swayed him.

Also, if there were going to be a wizard to discover a charm that does something completely impossible, my bet would be on Dumbledore and Voldemort.

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-23T04:33:11.539Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Because there is no way Voldemort would be able to cast the true patronus. The nessesary mindset is much to altrusitic. Hmm. Since Hermonie could likely also master the true patronus, wrecking the animal form of the spell for everyone probably shields her from excessive punishment in general as well, at least until such time as a significant number of people other than her and Harry master it. The optimal version of this play is to have Hermonie destroy the dementor present´, but that requires enough time to prep H. Timeturner?

comment by Asymmetric · 2012-03-23T04:38:23.451Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

We think it's likely that Voldemort can't cast it, but Lucius and the Wizengamot do not, and the only information they have regarding it being a sign of altruism is Harry's word on the subject.

It's even more of a stretch to say that Lucius would be convinced that Harry is not Voldemort, because the Patronus alone isn't enough evidence.

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-23T04:43:25.303Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Point. Correction: It would eventually convince Lucius that Harry isnt pottermort once the implications have been worked out and someone else indepenantly verifies what the nessesary mindset is - likely by legimens on Hermonie. It still makes Harry and Herm indespensible right away.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T14:30:35.523Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The nessesary mindset is much to altrusitic

I'm not even completely sure that's true. Maybe Voldemort could cast it with a sufficiently strong-willed rejection of death for himself (and for his allies), and out of hatred of dementors=death, if he knew how.

comment by hairyfigment · 2012-03-17T19:43:32.955Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Chapter 26, "Noticing Confusion" : Don't know if anyone has pointed this out yet, but Quirrell says, "I...need to go off and set something in motion," before apparently going off to accost Rita Skeeter. During their conversation (Ch 25) she thinks about the alleged fact that a tipster directed her to Mary's Room, where she will shortly die. Now she may have thought this before meeting Quirrell -- she definitely had somewhere to be -- but then why would he bother to speak with her?

I just looked at the passage again, and it seems worse than that. She actually thinks,

And his hair was already falling out? Couldn't he afford a healer?

No, that wasn't important, she had a time and a place and a beetle to be.

comment by Eneasz · 2012-03-19T18:44:28.404Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

My reading:

In 25 Harry asked the Weasley twins for help, and told them not to involve Quirrell in their plot, because he didn't like publicity. The Weasley twins agree, but are amused that Harry doesn't know them that well or he wouldn't have brought up Quirrell at all, and say they'll do Quirrell on their own time.

This part is never explicitly stated, but I assume they alert Rita to Quirrell and manufacture some silly rumors about him being a former Death Eater and training Harry to be the Next Dark Lord.

Rita then publishes an article making those exact accusations.

Quirrell confronts Rita about this. He pulls up his arm to show no Dark Mark. But she clearly shows she considers herself above all the rabble, doesn't give two damns about journalistic integrity, and simply doesn't care who she hurts. It is at that point that she thinks about Mary's Room, and turning into a beetle.

It is implied that Quirrell was reading her mind as she thought that, so now he has knowledge of her snooping habits and morphing abilities. He deliberately puns on this, saying that he now can't resist the urge to simply "crush" her instead. I don't think this first meeting was orchestrated by Quirrell, it was unrelated and simply gave him the knowledge he needed to set up her murder.

I deduce that Quirrell later leaks to her anonymously that he'll be meeting with Harry in Mary's room and something juicy will happen. I find it pretty damn delicious the way he toys with her without Harry's knowledge, she must've had a hell of a sphincter-tightening moment when he audibly considers casting a spell to reveal any animagi in the room. And it's awesome the way you (as a reader) don't notice that until your second read-through.

comment by matheist · 2012-03-19T19:15:42.185Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This part is never explicitly stated, but I assume they alert Rita to Quirrell and manufacture some silly rumors about him being a former Death Eater and training Harry to be the Next Dark Lord.

I agree — though it's hard to tell because chapter 25 is written out of order. But a week passes between when Harry asks the twins for a plot and the lunch with Quirrell when Harry reads the paper: Act 2 is stated as happening on Sunday; directly afterwards, in act 3, Harry talks with Draco and borrows 40 galleons, and sometime afterwards, probably directly after, in Act 4, Harry asks the twins for a plot, and the twins also discuss pranking Quirrell. In Act 5, the twins ask Flume for help, and show him an article in "yesterday's edition of the Daily Prophet", titled "THE NEXT DARK LORD?". In Act 6, Quirrell quotes that title when he confronts Skeeter; he also mentions he has no dark mark, which is one of the elements of the twins' discussion in act 4.

So at some point in the week between Act 4 (either Sunday or soon after) and Mary's room (Saturday), the twins convince Skeeter of certain things about Quirrell. The Prophet publishes the Quirrell article. At some point early the next morning, the twins ask Flume for help with Harry's article. At some point after that, and before Saturday, Quirrell confronts Skeeter on the street.

In summary, there's almost a week of lost time in chapter 25, which makes it a little difficult to see that the twins were behind Skeeter's article on Quirrell, but there are enough hints in there to make it a sure thing.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-18T01:51:40.143Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A last chance? If she had done the right thing and apologized or retracted it, she would have shown up at Mary's Room and observed absolutely nothing of interest or been ejected or confounded or something. The trope might be Last-Second Chance, although this seems to be more of a martial-arts sort of trope where you are ultra-polite and correct as you give the other person a clear statement of their mistake and a chance to rectify it before you open the can of whoop-ass on them (Martial Pacifist).

comment by Jello_Raptor · 2012-03-17T20:44:37.974Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good catch, that is definitely making my trope sense tingle.

comment by NihilCredo · 2012-03-23T10:48:46.962Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer, could you please confirm / deny / decline to answer whether the fic is past its halfway point? I have a persistent memory that you did at one point state that it was, but I can't find that statement so I'm wondering if I just crossed a couple of brain-wires.

e: while I'm here, I was rereading random chapters and spotted a typo in Ch. 14: "Good heavens, Mr. Potter, do you think these would be allowed to students".

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-23T13:40:14.000Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I have a persistent memory that you did at one point state that it was, but I can't find that statement so I'm wondering I just crossed a couple of brain-wires.

I remember that too. I can't find that statement either.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-20T06:57:23.498Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I find Dumbledore morally confusing.

  • His main policy in the fic is inaction.
  • His reputation in the past of the story is of successful and (by the standards of the wizards) moral leadership. He earned vast respect in the wizarding world without resorting to Lucius' blood-purist politics or Voldemort's insistence on slavish obedience.
  • The few specific deeds he's done at his own initiative are somewhere between weird and vile. (Jinxing Snape's relationship with Lily; planning for Harry to have wicked step-parents; etc.)

Largely inactive in the present, good and effective in the reputed past, weird or vile when we actually see him act.

Has there been a leader in real life like this? If this was a real-life person, what would we say about them -- that they were a good leader once, and now they're a crazy one?

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-20T17:45:20.253Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore has no difficulty with action when needed(TSPE, most notably), but he's been burned too many times by the cost of his efforts to be eager about it. He'd much prefer to stop the war by passive deeds(sequestering Harry, poisoning Voldemort's father's grave, etc.), and not risk the bloodshed that open war would cause, or even the loss of political capital caused by a showdown with Lucius Malfoy. There's bound to be a big difference between an 11 year old sci-fi fan and a hundredish year old veteran when it comes to eagerness to do harm, and frankly I think that Dumbledore's caution is at least as justified as Harry's sneakiness when it comes to planning a war. After all, Harry's never seen one of his incredibly clever plots fail, and he's eleven, so he is naturally going to be far too eager. Inaction isn't always wrong.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-20T07:13:20.466Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I think you need to consider the idea that this is the way he's always acted.

His handling of the Grindelwald business can be summed up as several years of inaction followed by the most spectacular duel in recent history. Presumably he didn't explain the blood sacrifices + Deathstick = invincibility thing to everyone who asked, so he must have skated by on inscrutability.

He states with a certain bitter pride that he taught Voldemort he doesn't give in to blackmail or threats to hostages- which he (hopefully, considering the alternative) accomplished through more inaction.

When you think about it, a wizard with tremendous magical and political power who doesn't seem to actually want to do anything with that power is pretty much the best case scenario for a lot of people. Imagine that Dumbledore suddenly decided to act on Fawkes' advice: how much of Wizarding Britain is left standing?

comment by moritz · 2012-03-21T09:54:23.271Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I thought his response to blackmail of his allies was to burn Narcissa Malfoy (or at least have everybody thinking that he burned her alive).

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-21T10:02:49.291Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That would be the alternative, yes.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-25T11:02:15.132Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I went and made a new comment section because we broke 1000 posts and we're supposed to split at 500. Here's the link.

comment by TobyBartels · 2012-03-31T04:30:00.390Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's good to add links to the wiki page too (ETA: which I've now done), especially since HPMOR.com links there. (Although obviously it's better to create a new section and not add links than not to create a new section at all, so I voted you up.)

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-31T04:53:45.772Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, I had forgotten about the wiki page. Thank you.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T16:55:48.529Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

We have Word of God (in comments above) that Harry is about to come up with some plan. However, that plan may yet fail, or it may not be executable during this Wizengamot session but only a few hours or days later.

If Harry does not succeed in rescuing Hermione now, or at least publicly show that he has a credible plan in motion, then I predict (50% probability) that right afterwards Quirrel will approach Harry with a plan for 1) breaking Hermione out of Azkaban 2) consolidating a public political platform in line with destroying Azkaban (Harry's goal), incidentally destroying Dumbledore's and Lucius's factions (Harry now distrusts and hates them, and they're in Quirrel's way), and setting Harry up on the road to become Magical Dictator of Britain aka Their Dark Lord (Quirrel's goal). Reforging an alliance with Draco despite Lucius' antagonism might figure in. A sacrificial lamb might be framed by Quirrel for H&C's role (Snape?) so that Harry can offer it to Lucius, enabling Lucius and the Wizengamot to save some face, and laying that part of Harry's suspicions to rest.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-03-23T12:09:54.451Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

What I wanna know is what Lucius even thinks is going on. What his mental model of the situation is. It's unclear to me. A plot by Harrymort to inoculate future Death Eater and trusted lieutenant Draco against pro-muggleborn ideas by having him severely disappointed in Hermione? Well maybe not, but surely a man with that much control and intelligence is thinking something rather than just blindly grasping for revenge...

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-23T13:58:40.269Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

My mental model of Lucius says he believes...

  • Harry is Voldemort (Who is still strong in some ways but weak in others)

  • Harrymort has been trying to split Draco from his father.

  • Harrymort has been using a new ideology to recruit Draco.

  • This new ideology is incompatible with the previous ideology.

  • Harrymort has no use of his old allies as he hasn't let them in on anything and he's using an incompatible ideology.

  • Harrymort's gathering of power and allies/minions (eg Hogwarts students) will take at least a decade to come to fruition.

  • Harrymort is in a weak position right now and in danger of losing a key piece. (Hermoine would be his Bellatrix.)

  • Harrymort seems to be on Dumbledore's side in the court room and ideologically.

So, assuming Lucius isn't just acting on rage, he's decided to align himself against Harrymort and with whoever it is that's attacking him. Perhaps he's hoping that he can destroy Harrymort soon enough before he becomes invincible withe the passage of years. Perhaps he hopes by aligning the House of Malfoy against Harrymort publicly, whoever attacked his son won't target him again and risk losing the Malfoy's support. Perhaps he thinks Harry is strongly allied enough to Dumbledore to lie to Lucius. Although I'm more of the mind that he's acting on blind revenge, or at least it's clouding his vision enough to make poor choices at the moment.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-23T12:39:53.380Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

He might think that Harrymort is toying with his son for pure amusement, Bellatrix-style; or that Dumbledore set Hermione on Draco.

But he can punish Hermione as a demonstration of his ferocity now, while he waits and hopes to find the real villain later.

Lucius probably knows that he doesn't know enough; on that he agrees with Harry. The difference is that he doesn't see that as a reason to let Hermione off; he sees Hermione as at least an opportunity to send a message to his real enemy, whoemever he is, not to take the House of Malfoy lightly.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T16:35:21.652Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A plot by Harrymort to inoculate future Death Eater and trusted lieutenant Draco against pro-muggleborn ideas by having him severely disappointed in Hermione?

Who benefits from Draco being anti-muggleborn? It's not Harry, it's Lucius.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-03-23T16:57:22.323Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In the short term. If Harry is Voldemort and one day intends to reveal himself and get his followers back, though...

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T17:37:24.497Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If Harry hadn't been trying to "turn" Draco, then Draco would have been firmly anti-muggleborn all along.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-03-23T21:39:24.364Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Most likely, yeah. Still, Harrymort would then be able to look at the new Death Eater Draco as his own handiwork instead of Lucius', and that's something that might appeal to the Dark Lord.

No, I didn't mean that to be a terribly plausible theory, just couldn't really think of what Lucius might be thinking that would make better sense. I now agree with most of what Daniel Starr said.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T17:02:09.037Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Voldemort lost with those supporters; he may as well change his ideology, get new supporters, and the old ones that know which way the wind is blowing will come back anyway.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T05:32:26.581Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

An idea: We're discussing lethal magic, of the sort that even Quirrell is unlikely to have taught. Has anyone checked that she even knows the Blood-Cooling Charm? She reads a lot, and Quirrell is unlikely to have left a hole that obvious in his plan, but this seems like something that may be worth checking.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T05:39:31.525Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

This occurred to me, but Hermione really shot herself in the foot by publicly demonstrating the ability to successfully cast a charm above her year level on the first try, from nothing more than having glanced at the instructions once.

Plus, just from naming conventions I would expect that spell to have non-lethal uses- it's not called the Blood-Cooling Curse, or even Hex, but Charm. Maybe it's a treatment for heatstroke, or the counter to the Blood-Boiling Curse. In any situation other than under Hogwarts' wards, a Charm that takes six hours to kill an unconscious first-year isn't that big a deal, compared to, say, Levitating them off a cliff and dropping them.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T06:11:51.057Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

True, but it's a question that might get asked under Veritaserum.

(That said, we are talking about Hermione here. She can probably learn the spell from the false memory of having cast it once. So this test isn't likely to be conclusive.)

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T06:21:24.648Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

She can probably learn the spell from the false memory of having cast it once.

Exactly. Which, while awesome, is not especially helpful in this one particular case.

comment by JacekLach · 2012-03-23T13:58:16.747Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Spells that extract the history of spells casted using a wand are canon, afaik (or was that just the most recent spell?)

I would expect they were casted on hermiones wand and the usage was confirmed.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T17:11:32.452Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thing is, it only checks the most recent. Any minor spell cast afterwards clears the prior incantem, so a different spell showing is not going to count for much. And they never actually said that they had that piece of evidence, which they certainly would have if they'd known.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-23T17:38:23.532Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

We only saw it used to check the most recent spell. We don't know that it can't go further back, and in fact in fanfics it often can go through the recent history of the wand.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-06-24T22:56:15.886Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But that's not canon IIRC, which means that it should be assumed not to be the case unless EY says otherwise.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-28T15:16:19.280Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The Priori Incantatem effect of the brother wands meeting certainly seems based on Priori Incantato (though why was never explained that I could recall) and that one certainly did go back further than just the last spell.

comment by Kendra · 2012-03-21T12:23:27.240Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Has anyone suggested yet that Aberforth was threatened with the aim to let Dumbledore "give in in blackmail"? I have never read it here before and it was my first idea, when I knew Aberforth was dead and heard Dumbledore saying the Deatheaters learned towards the end of the war he does not give in in blackmail.

comment by KnaveOfAllTrades · 2014-02-22T22:28:14.267Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Boooooom.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-19T23:30:18.517Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Given Harry's knowledge about basic game theory and decision making theory how come he's so bad at producing fake information? I refer both to his dealings in conversations (where he arguably has increased his game level), but even more so in the mock battles. Not hiding the creation of green sunglasses did seem unnaturally stupid taking into consideration:

  1. He knew scouts might be sent to track his dealings (it is after all a basic of military tactics as well as the logical thing to do against an enemy you know is outnumbered when you have to figure out what he does to deal with his disadvantage).
  2. The cost/benefit was vastly in favour of benefit.
  3. He himself had trained Draco to acquire better information before acting.

Furthermore I'm rather stunned by how bad at constructing ambushes and firing lines Harry is.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-20T01:48:45.921Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

It was unlikely that his enemies would see what was being done, so unlikely that they did not think to prepare. So unlikely that, appropriately enough, it was mentioned in chapter 78:

The Dragons had started the combat with a feint to provide a distraction for Mr. Goyle's approach through the forest; Neville hadn't realized there were two brooms attacking until almost too late. But the Chaos Legion had gotten the other pilot. That was why broomsticks usually didn't attack before armies met, it meant a whole army would concentrate fire on the broomstick.

The Dragons sacrificed a broom to see what was up. This is a significant sacrifice as they have only two and their enemies have a total of four between them.

It would not be surprising for the next battle, if there is one, to include some protection against aerial espionage. Better spy-planes would be another reasonable result of this battle. The first thing you do is fly higher.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-20T06:18:37.504Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

First of all. Thank you for pointing this quote out!

Well, I'd say the first thing you do is hide better :) It hardly needed much more than a cloack over the object about to be transfigured. Perhaps another weakness of Harry's, overcomplicating? I appreciate the sacrifice made and the development by the character of Draco. Still, for any good mastermind in the making keeping your top-secret plan top-secret is usually an extremely good idea.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-20T02:07:54.005Z · score: 5 (9 votes) · LW · GW

To be a good con man, you have to think like other people. Harry's not good at that.

A con man has to be good at playing to other people's superficiality.

Harry can't stand not asking questions. So he finds it hard to model others' willingness to not ask questions. Also, he's in love with getting the right answer, which makes it hard for his brain to think over wrong answers to offer people, even enemies. This is why Harry has no instinct for ambushes and active (lie-based, rather than silence-based) deceptions.

Someone like Harry can train to actively lie, deceive, ambush, etc. He'd do fine. But active deception is one of those social skills, like flirting, that mucks with the user's own cognition and so takes more practice than smart people initially think.

As for formation tactics, drilling people to act together is another less-questions-more-cooperation trait that Harry's never been good at. Chaos is definitely his right army name.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-20T07:36:48.531Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

To be a good con man, you have to think like other people. Harry's not good at that.

Quirrel made a little speech, at the end of Azkaban, about how unusually good Harry was at that. It was plausible enough to make Harry himself tentatively believe it.

comment by TuviaDulin · 2012-03-23T06:13:18.838Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

And, as we already know, Quirrel is a very, very good con man.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-21T07:44:46.070Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, I'd say there's a clear difference between ambushing (deception in tactical combat situations) and lying/manipulating (social deception in micro-situations).

The first requires way less self-deception: the requirement here is not control of vocal tone, facial expression and knowledge innuendo and social graces; no, here an understanding of which parts of the enemy forces the enemy appreciates, and which targets he would like to hit in your own army. The second calculations; terrain and so on are also logical advantages. So in effect it can easily be a silence-based deception yet Harry is still surprisingly mediocre in this aspect. Given that they are already in military outfits, a well-constructed ambush should be able to drop more than third of an enemy force before they even knew what hit them (this just by the most simple solution: half hidden, half baiting). A little instigated chaos by the non-hiding part might very well be necessary so as to negate the counter-ambush advantage of the maps.

About the "drilling people" together; that has already been mostly done by his reputation and being in a situation very much like The Robber's Cave scenario. All he had to do was exploit the chaos he loves to create and have his running troops run so as to V around two sides of the enemy's O positions (V and O are here used as visual representations of the formations in question).

I concur with you on the second part and I applaud the sharp observation on the aspect of self-deception/mucking one's own cognition when it comes to social interactions.

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-23T16:36:37.343Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry if this was mentioned before, but I just noticed something (not related to the latest cliffhanger):

It's implied that some people break into Azkaban to give some prisoners normal sleep/Patronus time, but why go to all the trouble when you can just tell a Patronus to go there for a few hours by itself. And we already know that a Patronus can travel into Azkaban (McGonagalls' in TSPE arc)

So, plothole?

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-23T16:42:45.373Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

The trick of knowing how to send Patronuses to others as messengers has been implied to be kept in Dumbledore's close circle, as a tactical advantage. (e.g. Quirrel mentioning the possibility of Dumbledore teaching Harry this trick -- not as if it's public knowledge)

comment by rdb · 2012-03-25T03:57:51.019Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry & Draco have learnt to send Patronus messages. With the goal of preserving Hermione unbroken while working towards her exoneration, Harry could

  • Arrange teaching of sending messages to any Patronus wielders in SPHEW/Sunshine or anyone else willing to help Hermione ** will confirm whether it is possible to maintain a Patronus at a distance for long periods
  • Arrange teaching of Patronus to those willing to help who don't know it.
  • Given the Cloak & Harry's Patronus hide those protected from Dementors, research Rituals/Potions to confer that ** An aim of Quirrel's?
  • Enlist help in finding evidence for Hermione's memory charming (Daphne noting she missed the Sunshine army council of war in 79).
comment by Incorrect · 2012-03-24T22:47:42.089Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Actually Malfoy sends his to Harry with a message.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-25T00:07:40.133Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

As far as I know we have no indication that Lucius is capable of casting the Patronus Charm at all. Or are you referring to the scene where Harry teaches Draco how to send messages with it?

comment by Incorrect · 2012-03-25T02:09:47.499Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The latter. Wait why would Harry teach Draco a secret trick belonging to Dumbledore's close circle?

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-25T02:13:51.861Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"That reminds me," said Harry after a while. "Can we test my hypothesis about how to use a Patronus to send messages?" [...]

The trick - or so Harry hypothesized - was wanting to spread the good news, wanting the recipient to know the truth of whatever happy thought you'd used to cast the Patronus Charm. Only instead of telling the recipient in words, the Patronus itself was the message. By wanting them to see that, the Patronus would go to them.

He just came up with the idea independently.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2012-03-25T15:13:02.606Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Or at least he saw that it could be done and independently came up with how.

comment by lavalamp · 2012-03-23T16:40:12.534Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I was wondering about this, also. Does Harry have to be physically present to destroy the dementors in Azkaban?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T17:32:25.370Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Great point!

However, in TSPE arc, when Harry had one of his emotional "I'll destroy all dementors right now" episodes after hearing just how Bella was used by Voldemort, he had to come up fast with rational reasons not to do it. And one reason was that it would not be maximally efficient to destroy the dementors while standing in a corridor in Azkaban, and it would be better to go himself to the central pit where they lived.

So it should be much harder yet to destroy them from Hogwarts. Maybe not impossible, though. One at a time?

But Dumbledore would immediately know that it was Harry doing it, and would stop him after only a few were destroyed, unless he managed to destroy them all in one go. And Harry's internal monologue in the same instance I referred to indicates that doing so would take so much life-energy it would kill Harry.

comment by lavalamp · 2012-03-23T18:00:17.402Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

And one reason was that it would not be maximally efficient to destroy the dementors while standing in a corridor in Azkaban, and it would be better to go himself to the central pit where they lived.

I guess the question is whether it's Harry's location that matters or the location of his patronus.

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-23T17:46:51.283Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe what matters isn't the proximity of the caster but of the patronus itself. Though Harry might still not be able to send his 2.0 on a search&destroy mission while staying at Hogwarts.

His wand stayed in his hand, and a slight, sustainable flow from him replaced the slight losses from his Patronus.

There seems to be a need for constant energy transfer into the patronus, and I doubt this transfusion line can go through hyperspace.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-23T09:35:14.402Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Madam Bones killed Narcissa. "Someone would burn for this." pg. 879 of the pdf.

EDIT: This is likely the double Taboo tradeoff. The original tradeoff was going along with the innocent Narcissa being burned as a war tactic or just covering up for the Aurors and Bones after they did it because he needed them - he was protecting his pieces for the larger war. Either way, it probably served his war aims to take credit for the attack and have Malfoy believe he was ruthless enough to do it. Mutual Assured Destruction.

The new taboo tradeoff is much the same - he's protecting the same people, and now himself as at least an after the fact accomplice, by letting another innocent be tortured to death.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-23T10:21:04.180Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Why, then, did Dumbledore take the initiative to cover for her? To protect her from Lucius' revenge?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T13:37:49.371Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'd think she was magically capable of protecting herself, back then during the war. If she took such a step as torturing an enemy-affiliated civilian to death, I doubt Dumbledore would lie and say he did it merely to give her political protection in a very improbable future where Voldemort was defeated but Lucius Malfoy retained great political power.

I liked the theory proposed here a long time ago: Bones went to Malfoy Manor to destroy Tom Riddle's diary-horcrux, which we know from canon was kept there then, it required Fiendfyre to destroy a Horcrux, Narcissa happened to show up, Bones accidentally burned her as well (Fiendfyre is known to be difficult to control). Dumbledore had given her the mission and accepted responsibility for the outcome.

Only problem is that we know Voldemort, if he were as intelligent as Quirrelmort, would not have hidden his Horcrux there...

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-23T15:29:59.860Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Not only did Quirrelmort hint at much less obvious hiding places for his horcruxes, I highly doubt that Rational!Riddle, who was already writing the Evil Overlord List at that age, would have kept a diary.

comment by fezziwig · 2012-03-23T16:10:24.433Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

In canon, the diary was a trap: it was blank, but if you wrote in it, it would write back. Invest enough of yourself in it, and Voldemort could use it to steal your body. Also, it gave Arthur Weasley his best line in all seven books:

Haven't I told you kids before? Never trust something that can think if you can't see where it keeps its brain.

...which is relevant enough to MoR's themes that I've been waiting for a subversion to turn up, but no joy so far.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-23T16:12:39.019Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

As Voldemorte's horcrux it did that, but I was under the impression that it was originally an actual diary that Riddle wrote in.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-23T17:59:54.044Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If she took such a step as torturing an enemy-affiliated civilian to death, I doubt Dumbledore would lie and say he did it merely to give her political protection in a very improbable future where Voldemort was defeated but Lucius Malfoy retained great political power.

He's giving her political protection because he needed her during the war, and needs her now. He doesn't want to weaken his army. Now, the same applies, with the incentive to cover his complicity.

As for what Dumbledore said, he said it to Malfoy, who was not going to be believed by others. Even if it wasn't true, it served his war aims to have Malfoy believe he was ruthless enough to do it.

comment by LucasSloan · 2012-03-23T07:04:40.922Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore is a seasoned politician who may be assumed to know how to take the mood of the Wizengamot. However, he incorrectly predicts that they will not call for Hermione to be sent to Azkaban. Was his model of reality wrong or was he ignorant of a force on the board? I notice certain parallels to Quirrell's predictions about the Slytherin bullies.

comment by mjr · 2012-03-23T07:34:15.228Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I think he just didn't want to believe that.

comment by LucasSloan · 2012-03-23T07:39:07.411Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

"Are you all lost?" cried Albus Dumbledore. "She is too young! Her mind would not withstand it! Not in three centuries has such a thing been done in Britain!"

The leading article, written by some name that Harry didn't recognize, had called for the minimum age for Azkaban to be lowered, just so that the twisted mudblood who had defaced the honor of Scotland with her savage, unprovoked attack upon the last heir of a Most Ancient House within the sacred refuge of Hogwarts could be sent to the Dementors that were the only punishment commensurate with the severity of her unspeakable crime.

This is a definite break from the historical record.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T13:50:25.894Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed, they called for it before Lucius did. So did the newspapers, as noted below. I feel the hand of H&C continuing to guide events, and it's now clear that one goal of this plot is to maximize Harry's reaction...

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T16:39:39.656Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed, they called for it before Lucius did.

Why would Lucius call for it first? Even if he had to convince a confederate to call out for it, it would be beneath him to be the first to call for a girl to be sent to Azkaban.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T17:42:25.209Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That's possible. But there's another possible explanation: that Lucius really intended to demand a lesser punishment - as he said himself, and as Dumbledore et al. had predicted - but changed his mind on seeing that he had broad support for a harsher punishment. Which would fit my theory regarding H&C, especially if H&C is Quirrel, who knows how Harry regards Azkaban.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T19:30:49.868Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Remember that Malfoy controls the Daily Prophet, which called for Azkaban before the trial began.

comment by Randaly · 2012-03-23T06:35:37.212Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

A hypothesis: The ministry, large fractions of the ministry, or at least Dolores Umbridge, don't wind up being villians in this universe; they're also quasi-competent (on the level of canon Dumbledore).

Evidence:

a) Eliezer seemingly went to a fair amount of effort to demonstrate that both MoR!Harry and canon!Harry's thoughts were biased when regarding Umbridge- to the extent of naming the relevant chapter "The Horns Effect," and (IIRC) having this explicitly reference her

b) The Ministry seems to have gotten it right on convicting Sirius Black, even if they got the wrong actual person

c) The Ministry generally seems to be portrayed as fairly competent, to the point that the only person (that we know of) to have taken action regarding Quirrell was a Ministry employee (which, incidentally, might be how Umbridge could wind up with accurate information regarding Hermione)

comment by glumph · 2012-03-23T06:52:39.369Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

c) The Ministry generally seems to be portrayed as fairly competent...

But I'm reminded of this exchange in Chapter 61:

Madam Bones's voice continued. "We brought in Arthur Weasley from Misuse of Muggle Artifacts—he knows more about Muggle artifacts than any wizard alive—and gave him the descriptions from the Aurors on the scene, and he cracked it. It was a Muggle artifact called a rocker, and they call it that because you'd have to be off your rocker to ride one. Just six years ago one of their rockers blew up, killed hundreds of Muggles in a flash and almost set fire to the Moon. Weasley says that rockers use a special kind of science called opposite reaction, so the plan is to develop a jinx which will prevent that science from working around Azkaban."

And there's the fact that interrogation under Veritaserum seems to constitute the entirety of serious criminal investigations.

comment by Fergus_Mackinnon · 2012-03-23T21:53:02.810Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Considering how much of a threat technology can pose when combined with magic, one or more factions may have deliberately placed an ignorant pureblood into the position in order to keep knowledge of muggle developments marginal.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T22:54:11.545Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

It still says bad things that the Head of the DMLE thinks that Arthur "knows more about Muggle artifacts than any wizard alive" rather than, say, any random muggleborn or halfblood.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-23T17:35:58.644Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Especially given how competently she's been portrayed in most other areas.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-23T02:27:05.174Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

CHAPTER 80 SPOILERS BELOW

Well. We have five days to think of something. This seems to mean that Harry will think of something, and we have five days to guess what it may be. Presumably it will be something in one of the following categories:

  • Something about Lucius Malfoy
  • Something about the Wizengamot
  • Something about the laws of magical Britain
  • Anything about some person or thing within range of his vision

I propose we start by making a list of everything in the courtroom:

  • Three Aurors
    • One of whom is named Gawain Robards
  • A dementor
  • Minerva McGonagall
  • Harry Potter
    • And everything in his pouch
  • A Prophet reporter
  • Dolores Umbridge
  • Lucius Malfoy
  • Augusta Longbottom
  • Dumbledore
  • A man with a scarred face sitting next to Lucius; Fenrir Greyback?
  • Amelia Bones

What do we know about any of these people that Harry might use to sway the crowd?

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-23T02:48:41.907Z · score: 33 (41 votes) · LW · GW

I'm pretty sure the solution is as follows (I've already posted it in TV tropes forum). I'm ROT13, if anyone still wants to figure it out: Yhpvhf Znysbl pynvzrq gb unir orra haqre Vzcrevhf ol Ibyqrzbeg. Ibyqrzbeg jnf qrsrngrq ol Uneel Cbggre. Sebz Serq & Trbetr'f cenax jr xabj gung xvyyvat gur jvmneq gung unf lbh haqre gur Vzcrevhf phefr perngrf n qrog. Erfhyg: Yhpvhf Znysbl naq rirel bgure Qrngu rngre pynvzvat gb unir orra vzcrevbfrq ner abj haqre yvsr qrog gb Uneel Cbggre. Ur pna fgneg erqrrzvat.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T03:00:52.735Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Point of order: vg whfg fnlf "n qrog", abg n yvsr-qrog.

"Vg jbhyq frrz," fnvq Uneel, njr va uvf ibvpr, "gung bar Ze. Neguhe Jrnfyrl jnf cynprq haqre gur Vzcrevhf Phefr ol n Qrngu Rngre jubz zl sngure xvyyrq, guhf perngvat n qrog gb gur Aboyr Ubhfr bs Cbggre, juvpu zl sngure qrznaqrq or ercnvq ol gur unaq va zneevntr bs gur erpragyl obea Tvarien Jrnfyrl.

Also, it would need to be explained why no one ever thought of this before.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T03:08:59.680Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Also, it would need to be explained why no one ever thought of this before.

Yeah, I was going 'wow, that might actually work' and then it occurred to me that they already discussed whether they had any debts from Lucius they could call in. So unless this is so subtle that no one has ever called in such a debt before, someone must have been holding an idiotball.

EDIT: Logos01 suggests that the debt be invoked of all the Wizengamot members who also claimed to be Imperiused, to swing the vote on whether or not to convict. This might work, but I would personally dislike it as we have no idea how many such people there are.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-23T03:29:23.099Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Gurl qvfphffrq gur npghny qrogf, ohg gurl qvqa'g qvfphff guvf bar, abg rira nf n cbgragvnyvgl, fb V guvax vg qvq whfg fyvc gurve zvaqf, orpnhfr Uneel naq Qhzoyrqber qba'g oryvrir Yhpvhf gb unir orra haqre Vzcrevhf naq guhf gurl pbafvqre Ibyqrzbeg'f qrsrng gb or n oybj ntnvafg Yhpvhf, abg n snibhe gb Yhpvhf perngvat n qrog. Fb, lrnu, V guvax vg whfg qvqa'g pebff gurve zvaqf. Vg qvqa'g pebff zl zvaq rvgure gur jubyr cnfg jrrx, naq V jnf yrff ohfl (gubhtu yrff qrfcrengr sbe n fbyhgvba) guna Uneel be Nyohf jrer.

Lrnu, vg qvq gnxr zr abj bayl 10-15 zvahgrf be fb sbe zr gb pbzr hc jvgu vg, ohg V unq gur fvtavsvpnag nqinagntr bs xabjvat gurer rkvfgrq n fbyhgvba, gung V unq orra tvira fhssvpvrag vasbezngvba fhssvpvragyl sberfunqbjrq, naq gung gur fbyhgvba zbfg yvxryl qrcraqrq ba gur ynjf naq phfgbzf bs zntvpny Oevgnva, nf gur ynfg cnentencu bs gur puncgre vzcyvrf.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T14:59:37.986Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Still unusually speculative; we're told previously that an Imperius debt is not a life-debt, so it already has a burden of improbability (did they misspeak or simply mean to imply that a debt of some sort is created without reference to how heavy it is?).

And the latter suggestion, while very clever, has the problem that it requires the numbers to work out, so we couldn't conclude that it will work without numbers, so a fair author will not expect us to work it out without numbers, Eliezer is a fair author, and Eliezer hasn't given us the numbers. (We don't know what the margin for conviction is, or how much of the margin is former Death Eaters who used the Imperius defense, or that they all said it was Voldemort who Imperiused them and not, say, an unknown Death Eater whom Harry did not defeat.)

Well, we'll see in a few days.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-23T15:09:08.893Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Still unusually speculative; we're told previously that an Imperius debt is not a life-debt

Not quite. We're told it's a debt, we don't know what sort of debt it is.

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-23T15:54:04.334Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Technically, the numbers don't have to work out - Lucius is the one on who's request the trial be held, If his debt can make him withdraw charges or clear Hermione's debt, that alone should suffice.

Still, while this is a clever idea, it doesn't sound very "Taboo Trade-off" or "Think of the Wizengamot as individuals instead of wallpaper".

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T16:22:03.647Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If his debt can make him withdraw charges or clear Hermione's debt, that alone should suffice.

You misunderstand, the point is there are 2 possible debt strategies; for one of them, the numbers do have to work out.

"Think of the Wizengamot as individuals instead of wallpaper".

I'd say Logos01's strategy exemplifies thinking of them as individuals, actually...

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-03-24T05:50:34.667Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How about: invoke Lucius's life debt. Trade it for Hermione's.

comment by drnickbone · 2012-03-23T09:32:11.482Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Great idea, but where's the Taboo Trade off?

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-28T18:02:36.698Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Congratulations on correctly guessing (most of) the solution.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-23T03:50:20.495Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting... Ohg jbhyq univat n phefr erobhaq bss lbh ernyyl ubyq hc nf "qrsrngvat" va n pbheg bs Ynj? Fancr'f nanybtl bs n zna gevccvat ba n onol pbzrf gb zvaq. Fgvyy, vg zvtug yrnq gb na vairfgvtngvba vagb gur znggre, juvpu pbhyq fgnyy guvatf.

comment by HappilyDeranged · 2012-03-23T15:26:20.356Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

V qba'g guvax gung Uneel'f ntr vf eryrinag urer. Abobql qvfhchgrf Ibyqrzbeg'f qrngu jnf qhr gb uvf nggnpx ba Yvyl, Wnzrf, naq Uneel Cbggre; guhf, gur qrog jbhyq or gb gur Aboyr Ubhfr bs Cbggre, bs juvpu Uneel vf gur bayl yvivat zrzore. N qrog gb uvf Ubhfr jbhyq gurersber or n qrog gb uvz.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T03:05:13.848Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

motherofgod.jpg

I think you've hit on it. Well done.

comment by Vladimir_Nesov · 2012-03-23T04:28:51.628Z · score: -3 (15 votes) · LW · GW

I'm pretty sure the solution is as follows

Downvoted for the overconfident "I'm pretty sure".

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-23T04:36:06.075Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I don't mind the downvote -- but consider reversing it if my theory is proven right next chapter. :-)

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-23T16:22:05.183Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I don't mind the downvote -- but consider reversing it if my theory is proven right next chapter. :-)

If I know Vladimir at all then he will not - because to do so would be an error. Overconfidence is a function of your confidence and the information that you have available at the time. Vladimir finding out that it so happens that Eliezer writes the same solution that you do does not significantly alter his perception of how much information you had at the time you wrote that comment.

Even if you win a lottery buying the lottery ticket was still a bad decision.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-23T18:16:01.994Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I understand your point, but I'm not sure the analogy is quite correct. In the case of the lottery, where the probabilities are well known, to make a bad bet is just bad (even if chances goes your way).

In this case however, our estimated probabilities derive ultimately from our models of Eliezer in his authoring capacity. If Vladimir derives a lower probability than the one I derived on Harry using the solution I stated, and it ends up my theory is indeed correct, that is evidence that his model of Eliezer is worse than mine. So he should update his model accordingly, and indeed reconsider whether I was actually overconfident or not. (Ofcourse he may reach the conclusion that even with his updated model, I was still overconfident)

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-03-24T06:00:24.362Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think Eliezer's policy as expressed here is better.

I try not to downvote people when they are right.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-24T07:52:16.667Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think Eliezer's policy as expressed here is better.

And, looking at the context, not particularly relevant.

When they are not yet shown to be right downvoting is perfectly reasonable. Changing your votes retrospectively is not always correct.

Unless Eliezer believes the information available to AK is sufficient to justify being 'Very Sure' I do not believe Eliezer's actual or expressed policy suggests reversing votes if he is lucky. In fact my comment about lottery mistakes is a massively understated reference to what he has written on the subject (if I recall correctly).

Not that I advocate deferring to Eliezer here. If he thinks you can't be overconfident and right at the same time he is just plain wrong. This is one of the most prevalent human biases.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-03-25T07:22:02.333Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I believe Eliezer's policy is to criticize people when they're wrong. If they say something right for the wrong reason, wait; they'll say something wrong soon enough.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-03-29T02:02:24.229Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A number of reviewers said they learned important lessons in rationality from the exercise, seeing the reasoning that got it right contrasted to the reasoning that got it wrong. Did you?

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-29T04:17:38.283Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

A number of reviewers said they learned important lessons in rationality from the exercise, seeing the reasoning that got it right contrasted to the reasoning that got it wrong. Did you?

What do you mean by 'right' here? Do you mean "made correct predictions about which decisions Eliezer would choose for Harry?" While exploring the solutions I am rather careful to keep evaluations of how practical, rational (and, I'll admit, "how awesome") a solution is completely distinct from predictions about which particular practical, rational and possibly awesome solution an author will choose. I tend to focus on the former far more because I hate guessing passwords.

I'll respond again when I've had a chance to do more than skim the chapter and evaluate the reasoning properly.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T16:58:05.069Z · score: -6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Even if you win a lottery buying the lottery ticket was still a bad decision.

Nonsense. That's like saying that two-boxing Newcomb's problem is "right". If you win, you made the right decision. Your decision-making method may be garbage, but it's garbage that did a good job that one time, and that's enough to not regret it.

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-23T17:23:29.292Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, its a bad decision with respect to the information you had when you made it, unlike one-boxing instead of two-boxing, you can't have expected to win the lottery.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T21:23:23.393Z · score: -3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I distinguish between the decision itself and the decision-making process. If you win, you made the right decision, and if you lose, you made the wrong one, and that is true without reference to which decision made the most sense at the time. The decision-making algorithm's job is to give you the highest chance of making the right decision given your prior knowledge, but any such algorithm is imperfect when applied to a vague future. It's perfectly possible to get the right decision from a bad algorithm or the wrong decision from a good algorithm.

Also, when we're discussing things as vague as the intention of an author who is foreshadowing heavily, there's an immense amount of room for judgement calls and intuition, because it's not like we can actually put concrete values on our probabilities. The measure of a person's judgement of such things is how often they're ultimately right, so if he gets it right then I'd have to say that's evidence that he's doing his guessing well. How else are we supposed to judge a predictor? If he's good then he's allowed to put tight confidence intervals on, and if he's bad then he's not. We'll get some evidence about how good he is on Tuesday.

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-23T21:57:36.445Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with the principle, but lottery is a really poor example of this, since it implies ignorance.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T23:06:17.900Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

But you are ignorant - you know the probabilities well enough, but you're ignorant of which numbers will be drawn, which is the most important part of the whole operation. If I said for whatever reason "If I ever buy a lottery ticket, my numbers will be 5, 11, 17, 33, 36, and 42", and those numbers come up next Friday, you will have been retrospectively wrong not to have bought, even if "Never buy a ticket" is statistically the best strategy. We cannot make decisions retrospectively, of course, but if you randomly took a flier and bought a ticket for Friday's draw, then...well, I'd sound pretty stupid if I made fun of you for it, you know?

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-24T15:58:49.203Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

you will have been retrospectively wrong not to have bought

Not really; Before you know the outcome, saying "my numbers will be 5, 11, 17, 33, 36, and 42" is privileging the hypothesis. (unless you had other information which allowed you to select that specific combination)

And even if those numbers, by pure chance, were correct, there is still a reason it was a bad decision (in the 'maximizing expected utility' sense) to buy a ticket. Which is what I meant when I said that you can't have expected to win.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-24T17:20:00.136Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I just needed an example using definite numbers(so you can judge retrospectively), and not a sequence that millions of people would pick like 1,2,3,4,5,6. For sake of argument, assume I found them on the back of a fortune cookie. Or better yet, just stick a WLOG at the front of my sentence.

And I agree, buying lottery tickets implies a bad way to make decisions, even if you wind up winning. I'm hardly trying to shill for Powerball here. Just saying winning the lottery is always a good thing, even if playing it isn't.

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-24T18:17:48.140Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think my problem is with this "Judge Retrospectively" thing. Here's what I think:

Decisions are what's to be judged, not outcomes. And decisions should be judged relative to the information you had at the time of making them.

In the lottery example, assuming you didn't know what number would win, the decision to buy a ticket is Bad regardless of whether you won or not.

What I got from this:

you will have been retrospectively wrong not to have bought

Is that you think that if you had a (presumably random) number in mind, but did not buy a ticket, and that number ended up winning, then your decision of not buying the ticket was Wrong and that you should Regret it.

My problem is that this doesn't make sense: We agree that playing a lottery is Bad (Negative sum game and all that), and we don't seem to regret not heaving played with the specific number that happened to have won. Which is good, since (to me at least) Regretting decisions made in full knowledge you had at the time of decision seems Wrong.

If this is not what you meant and I'm just bashing a Straw Man, please tell me.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-25T18:16:09.005Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think there's a difference between a decision made badly and a bad decision. Playing the lottery is a decision made badly, because you have no special information and it's -EV. But if you win, it's a good decision, no matter how badly made it was - the correct response is "That was kind of dumb, I guess, but who cares?".

Of course, the lottery example is cold math, so there's no room for disagreement about probabilities. It's rather different in the case of things like literary analysis, to get back to where we started.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-23T17:41:46.947Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If you win, you made the right decision.

I will not argue about the definition of 'right decision', that is at least ambiguous. Yet when it comes to overconfidence in a given prediction that is a property of the comment itself and the information on which it was based upon. New information doesn't change it.

comment by ITakeBets · 2012-03-23T15:12:40.327Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

How sure are you?

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-23T15:19:01.768Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

85%

comment by ITakeBets · 2012-03-23T16:07:38.227Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Bet?

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-23T16:13:01.464Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know you. Can you get someone whose word I reasonably trust, like Alicorn or Nancylebov or Yvain or Eliezer to vouch for you?

comment by ITakeBets · 2012-03-23T18:26:41.438Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Your concern is reasonable. The only person on these forums who has any reason to trust me with money is Mitchell_Porter. Would his word be sufficient?

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-23T19:05:24.280Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

If Mitchell vouches for you, I'm willing to make a bet specified as follows:

  • I'm willing to bet 7 of my dollars to every 3 of yours (to provide me with sufficient margin to make the bet profitable for me, including any uncertainty of followthrough) from a minimum of $35 of mine ($15 of yours), up to a maximum of $210 of mine (90$ of yours)
  • If invoking the debt Lucius owes to Harry is only part of Harry's solution, that still counts as a successful prediction for me. It also doesn't need be called a "life-debt", if it's a lesser type of debt, that still counts. If Harry only threatens to invoke or redeem it, but doesn't actually officially "invoke" or "redeem", that still counts. If Harry claims it for a debt but the Wizengamot disagrees it is one, that still counts. (And if Eliezer states outright I figured it out, ofcourse I win then too)
  • Paypal would be my preferred method of money transfer.
comment by ITakeBets · 2012-03-23T19:18:38.272Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I will take this bet, with the following stipulations:

  • I'm putting up $30 against your $70.
  • If Harry merely mentions the debt, you don't win-- it must be a significant part of the solution. (If necessary, "significant" can be decided by a mutually agreed-upon third party.)
  • If Eliezer congratulates you for thinking of a better solution than Harry's, you don't win.
  • If for some reason Mitchell doesn't vouch for me, no one owes anyone anything.
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-23T19:23:58.519Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Done.

comment by ITakeBets · 2012-03-28T02:18:03.294Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Please PM paypal info.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-28T16:11:17.600Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

The money has been received, thank you!

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-29T21:41:11.307Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Awesome

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-23T20:34:39.195Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

You're obviously a sock puppet (not a bad one, just an anonymous one.) So I just pictured Eliezer making a sock puppet account specifically to take bets on what's going to happen in HPMoR.

My model of EY says that isn't something he would do, but I find the concept hilarious, nonetheless. (And had many giggles while imagining scheming!Eliezer posting good plot ideas he DIDN'T use under a sock account, and then swooping in as another sock to offer bets on said idea, while laughing evilly (can't ignore the Evil Laugh), and raking in the dough :P)

comment by MBlume · 2012-03-27T19:01:27.027Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

At Anna and Carl's wedding, I advanced a MoR prediction, which Eliezer offered to confirm/deny iff I first made bets with all present, and I won something like $50 =)

comment by Alicorn · 2012-03-27T19:02:38.163Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I was present and permitted to not-bet.

comment by Mitchell_Porter · 2012-03-24T07:30:49.125Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I vouch. :-)

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-03-29T02:04:23.169Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Voting up all comments in this exchange for being virtuous.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-03-29T01:59:29.130Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The great thing about being the author is that you get to go "BUURRRNNN" seven days before everyone else.

More seriously - I don't think Aris Katsaris was being overconfident. Methods is meant to be solvable; correct solutions should snap firmly into place. The vast amount of overcomplication and hint-denial and stretching that goes on elsewhere shouldn't make people less confident if they're perceiving actual solutions, because those still snap just as firmly into place.

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-29T21:46:32.696Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm confused. "I'm pretty sure" is extremely vague. I would not expect to be able to confidently call something like that "overconfidence". Is there some formalization of such terms that I'm missing?

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T02:32:36.573Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Context: Harry's dark side is amoral, destructive, will take any available option which leads to its target no matter how it may escalate or what the risks are, and cares about nothing else other than achieving regular Harry's current subgoal. (I'm convinced Eliezer regards the dark side as basically a UFAI.) Emphasis added:

...Harry plunged himself into his dark side...offering his dark side anything if it would only solve this problem for him

Who are the major players here that Harry can affect? Harry has no hold on the Wizengamot, as I pointed out any threat on Azkaban is more easily dealt with by attacking Harry.

So Dumbledore and Lucius are the keys. What can Harry do with Dumbledore - no matter the cost to Dumbledore, Harry, or anyone else - that would free Hermione? There's little he can testify to, as an Occlumens, so he can't even sacrifice himself (Lucius would refuse it), and it's not obvious how any of his magic 2.0 abilities could somehow convince the Wizengamot that Hermione is innocent or Lucius to let her go - what is he going to do, promise some more magic to an aristocrat who can buy all the magic he wants?

The answer is so obvious I'm surprised that no one seems to have suggested it yet here or in the reviews: Harry can use his leverage on Dumbledore to trade him for Hermione - "tradeoff". Dumbledore practically says as much:

"I would not do that to you," the old wizard said, a terrible weariness seeming to suffuse him as he turned to go. "Still less to Hermione. But I have no rabbits in my hat, Harry. We can only see what Lucius Malfoy wants."

What does Lucius want? Well, he is perfectly clear:

When Lucius Malfoy spoke again his voice seemed to tremble ever so slightly, as though the stern control on it was failing. "Blood calls for repayment, the blood of my family. Not for any price will I sell the blood debt owed my son. You would not understand that, who never had love or child of your own. Still, there is more than one debt owed to House Malfoy, and I think that my son, if he stood among us, would rather be repaid for his mother's blood than for his own. Confess your own crime to the Wizengamot, as you confessed it to me, and I shall -"

Why would Dumbledore do it? Because he's already half-way to turning himself in (viz his little dialogue with Madam Bones):

...The old wizard stood at the podium, his face twisting, untwisting - ...

and he really thinks Harry is on the path to darkness (in a way few others are, because Dumbledore is one of the only knowers of the Prophecy) and this Hermione incident would be more than enough to turn Harry, convince him that the system is irredeemably corrupt and turn his mission to 'taking over Magical England', as indeed the omniscient narrator tells us Harry has already done to the point of no longer caring about not being called a Dark Lord... Sacrificing himself to keep Harry on the side of good is a good deal. This is consistent with canon Dumbledore losing power and respect, and ultimately dying in the war with Voldemort while working on the Horcruxes to aid Harry's ultimate victory; and for that matter, who replaces Dumbledore as headmaster in canon? A character which just showed up in MoR for the first time ever...

It will come at a major cost - Dumbledore will either be in Azkaban or he will flee or something like that and his entire faction discredited. "Tradeoff".

To me, this is the most compelling scenario, which I give a full 40% probability of having; but I also like the debt (30%/20%) and time-turner strategies (35%), although the latter is more because time-turners are so general and powerful that I have to assume my inability to think of a really solid strategy is my inability alone.

A man with a scarred face sitting next to Lucius; Fenrir Greyback?

Wasn't that one of Lucius's lackeys from the previous chapters where they watched the battle?

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T02:43:45.208Z · score: 4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Because he's already half-way to turning himself in (viz his little dialogue with Madam Bones)

That is the optimistic view of Dumbledore.

comment by anandjeyahar · 2012-03-23T16:38:54.724Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It doesn't matter who was the real culprit as long as Dumbledore confesses. He's an occlumens and i would be doubtful if any legilimens can read his mind and find the truth.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T16:52:45.916Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, but he won't. Dumbledore's a vastly more valuable piece than Hermione, and he won't give himself up for that paltry of stakes.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T17:11:44.094Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

He wouldn't be giving himself up for a piece like Hermione, but a piece like Harry.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T21:15:36.726Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

True, but unless Harry looks like he's about to do something immensely stupid(and the only thing stupid enough that I can think of would be admitting to the Azkaban breakout, which Dumbledore doesn't know about), he's not at risk.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T21:28:09.699Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

He's already given himself up to the dark side - see his internal narration!

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-23T17:58:48.943Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Which Dumbledore also doesn't know about, though he might be able to predict it.

comment by hairyfigment · 2012-03-25T18:08:08.107Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe I'm getting too attached to my own new solution. It does seem to me that getting Hermione to swear an Unbreakable Vow to seek vengeance on Narcissa's killer would work better.

Lucius, we think, does not know what 'Harrymort' wants. If Hermione takes the Vow then Lucius will think he has the answer: "The Dark Lord's been setting up a way to take down Dumbledore, a way that looks like the work of D's own allies." Even if D kills his Muggle-born pawn, that would look suspicious and perhaps lead to his political destruction. Then the noble, grieving-but-honest Harry Potter steps into the vacuum?

comment by gwern · 2012-03-25T20:22:46.818Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A Hermione in the hand is worth publicly backing down and 2 Unbreakable Vows in the bush.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T14:56:33.260Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

he's already half-way to turning himself in (viz his little dialogue with Madam Bones):

I read that as possibly saying he was half-way to turning Madam Bones, the real culprit, in.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T15:45:54.270Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Bones isn't taking the attitude of 'don't turn me in, Albus, you owe me', but 'Albus, don't turn yourself in, you know it's the right thing but the consequences would be too bad'. At least, it's clear to me that Bones is not the bone to be thrown to Lucius.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T16:21:15.243Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I thought she might be taking the attitude of 'don't turn me in, Albus, you know it's the right thing but the consequences would be too bad right now'. Read: lose the head of the Aurors as an ally just when Voldemort has become active again, and the rest of the Ministry and Amelia's replacement wouldn't believe Dumbledore about it (going by canon).

comment by Incorrect · 2012-03-23T03:41:15.409Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

He alone spoke to defend Hermione, the man with a phoenix flaming bright upon his shoulder.

Don't forget the phoenix.

comment by Bongo · 2012-03-23T04:30:16.780Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Harry didn't hear Hermione's testimony. Therefore, he can go back in time and change it to anything that would produce the audience reaction he saw, without causing paradox.

comment by glumph · 2012-03-23T06:13:10.067Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

But since the audience's (extended) reaction includes voting to send Hermoine to Azkaban, how will changing her testimony help?

comment by aladner · 2012-03-23T13:46:38.676Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If he could change part of the testimony to something demonstrably false, that no one else in the room knew at the time, he could prove that her mind had been compromised. Actually changing the memory would be a problem, and it doesn't seem like a likely solution to me, but it's still possible.

comment by Asymmetric · 2012-03-23T02:52:09.926Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I was under the impression that we can actually influence the events of the story based upon how good our ideas are. If I may ask, Eliezer, are we trying to pick your brain for a True ending (something you have written already that we're trying to guess) or are we coming up with a Good one?

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-03-23T02:54:19.836Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

In this case the True ending is already written, and anyone who comes up with a better solution than Harry would obviously win points.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-23T03:21:01.918Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Here's mine:

  1. cold!Harry activates his Patronus charm, which depends on the wish to destroy Death, and therefore can be cast while "cold". This is done to disrupt the proceedings by destroying the Dementor. Since Harry never actually did this while at Azkaban, he wouldn't necessarily be associated w/ the prisonbreak of Bellatrix.

  2. In the confusion, Harry cloaks himself, and timeturns back an hour. This is done to give himself time to contemplate exactly what he needs to say and do. Sicne he will be cloaked, this preserves the secret of the Time turner.

  3. (version A) Immediately after destroying the Dementor, and the loop is closed, still-cloaked Harry takes advantage of his ability to get past any guards/defenses and whispers in Parseltongue into LM's ears: "No power can stop me. Even here in the Wizengamot I could reach you. If you do not relinquish your claim on Hermione your son is dead." IF LM doesn't understand Parseltongue, he would at least recognize it, and Harry could repeat himself in English.

  4. Harry Time turns again, and uncloaks in a side hall, intentionally getting himself seen during the same time that cloaked!Harry was threatening Draco's life (the sole real leverage over LM Harry has.)

This is the scenario I view being conducted.

3 (version B): instead of repeating his words in English, he could leave the his mother's potions book at LM's feet, with a note in English that says the same... with the added phrase, "Contained within this manual is the key to a terrible secret that would destroy Dumbledore. You have gained, this day, Lucius Malfoy. I have uses for the Granger child yet. Do not interfere in my plans." This has the added benefit of ensuring that LM is likely to stay quiet about the threat -- because the pot was sweetened in favor of blackmail of Dumbledore by Lucius.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T03:26:40.467Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The problem is, that plan relies on Harry realizing that Malfoy thinks he's Voldemort. I don't think he has the evidence to reach that conclusion.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-23T03:40:04.127Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

that plan relies on Harry realizing that Malfoy thinks he's Voldemort.

... I genuinely didn't think of the Voldemort angle. That only sweetens the pot. I think that ArisKatsaris's solution is far more effective/elegant than my own. (Especially since it's foreshadowed by the part about how Harry thought of the Wizengamot as 'wallpaper' and that 'this would change'. -- that could be viewed as a dropped-hint that the solution lies in manipulating the votes. I can't think of another way Harry could achieve that than through the former Death Eaters.)

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T03:32:12.172Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You don't? I think he's already got it subconsciously:

And in the Most Ancient Hall of the Wizengamot an icy voice rang out, speech the color of liquid nitrogen, pitched too high for that it came from too young a throat, and that voice said, "Lucius Malfoy."

seemed a pretty clear reference to

Then the other voice spoke, high-pitched like the hiss of a teakettle, and it was like dry ice laid on Harry's every nerve, like a brand of metal cooled to liquid helium temperatures and laid on every part of him.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T05:14:00.010Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

We're talking about a kid who literally spoke a language designed for a different species without noticing.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2012-03-23T05:18:31.159Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

True, but that's in canon also. It may just be that instinctive.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T05:39:53.313Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sure, but coming out with a scary voice when he's trying to sound intimidating is a lot less odd than coming out sounding like a snake. If he didn't notice the latter, he's not likely to notice the former, in canon or in MoR.

comment by Vladimir_Nesov · 2012-03-23T05:26:35.739Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He has the conversation to interpret. (Also, Dumbledore probably figured that out.)

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T05:33:46.554Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In addition, he was just recently told

"It is clear, from the stories, that the Dark Lords who return by possessing another's form, wield lesser magics than they once knew. I do not think Voldemort would be satisfied with that. He would take some other avenue to life. But Voldemort was more Slytherin than Salazar, grasping at every opportunity. He would use his pitiful state, use his power of possession, if he had reason. If he could benefit by another's... inexplicable fury." Albus's voice had fallen to almost a whisper. "That is what I suspect happened to Miss Granger."

So now that he knows it's theoretically possible...

Edit: I'm an idiot. He's known it was possible since Quirrell told him to pretend he was possessed by Voldemort in TSPE.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T14:41:53.396Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Since Harry never actually did this while at Azkaban, he wouldn't necessarily be associated w/ the prisonbreak of Bellatrix.

But Dumbledore's Patronus can identify Harry's Patronus, and so Dumbledore could find out that Harry was in Azkaban when Bella was broken out.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T20:32:43.324Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This would require Dumbledore to have his Patronus out, though.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T01:32:02.173Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He certainly might do it if the Dementor started acting oddly. Edit: oops, wrong scenario.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-24T01:51:13.095Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What are you talking about? The scenario under discussion is that Harry casts his Patronus out of the blue, destroying the Dementor.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T03:59:09.679Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oops, right. I got confused from all the suggestions of Harry controlling the dementor in different threads.

Still Dumbledore might get suspicious and bring out his patronus to identify Harry's, but it's an acceptably small risk to take, I guess.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-23T20:41:54.989Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Plus -- would Dumbledore even sell out Harry?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T01:35:06.155Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe not to others, but he himself would know Harry had broken Bella out of Azkaban and then lied to him about it. He would definitely force Veritaserum or Legilimency on Harry to find out the complete truth of what happened that day.

In fact, that's a point I haven't considered before. Why haven't Quirrel offered to Obliviate Harry of that day's events, maybe using a Pensieve first? This would protect them both a lot. It makes no sense if what Quirrel wanted was the lost lore of Slytherin that Bella might possess, or even Bella herself for some unknown purpose. But it makes perfect sense if Quirrel just wanted Azkaban to produce the emotional effect that it did on Harry. As a sort of prerequisite for this trial of Hermione.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-24T01:58:14.210Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Why haven't Quirrel offered to Obliviate Harry of that day's events, maybe using a Pensieve first?

That would require bringing someone else in on the secret. Quirrell can't cast magic on Harry directly, remember?

comment by ahartell · 2012-03-24T03:09:06.237Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Obliviate the third party afterwards?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T03:57:08.107Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The third party doesn't need to know what the memories being obliviated are. Just that they're being paid to obliviate everything that happened that day, and that they will be obliviated themselves of this act immediately afterwards.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-24T04:05:16.810Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, in retrospect that's not really much of an impediment- he could just Imperius, say, Sprout into Obliviating Harry, then Obliviate her.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-24T19:02:13.131Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Why bother? It's been made clear that people with mental powers are commercially available. Remember Harry's Occlumency instructor.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-24T19:01:22.169Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He would definitely force Veritaserum or Legilimency on Harry to find out the complete truth of what happened that day.

Harry is an Occlumens. Neither of these strategies would work.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T21:13:50.634Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Legilimency would work, he's not a perfect Occlumens yet.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-24T21:21:46.249Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The distinction is that perfect Occlumens can show false thoughts to a Legilimens; regular Occlumens, of which Harry is one, are perfectly capable of blocking Legilimens from learning anything, they just know they've been blocked.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-23T18:04:42.497Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

We know that Occlumens can project the persona of a rock in order to thwart Legilimency. Do we also know that there is no brute-force method for getting past the defenses?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T21:29:44.978Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I was wrong, then. Thanks.

Hmm.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T03:47:02.628Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

3 (version B)

There's no way Lucius will settle for a highly dubious IOU on Dumbledore's head after almost nailing Hermione and suffering a highly visible defeat, so this is not sufficient on its own. There's no need to bring it in.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-23T04:08:08.343Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There's no way Lucius will settle for a highly dubious IOU on Dumbledore's head after almost nailing Hermione and suffering a highly visible defeat, so this is not sufficient on its own.

Of course not. That's why 3B's additional verbiage was supplemental to 3A. So consider everything said in 3A and what's said in 3B, when assigning it a probability of success.

There's no need to bring it in.

Sure there is. To keep it quiet, thereby allowing Harry to "get away with it." There is no victory like total victory. There is no kill like overkill. And cold!Harry is a Sith: he deals in absolutes.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T03:23:32.533Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How does he hold the inner hourglass motionless without disturbing the Unspeakable's protections?

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-23T03:41:17.299Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

He doesn't need to. He can just walk out of the Wizengamot while cloaked and then walk back in. Each turning gives him an hour, after all, and while he used up his six for the previous day he hadn't used any for the day of the vote itself, as of chapter 80.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T03:47:00.967Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What do you mean he doesn't need to? That's the only way to use it before it unlocks at 9pm. Unless you think the trial is after that?

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-23T04:06:19.697Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

... Harry's already beaten that restriction.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T04:11:20.271Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Since when? A while ago he convinced Dumbledore to give him the full six hours rather than two, but I don't think we were ever told that he can use it at will now.

ETA: From Chapter 77, Self-Actualization Aftermaths, emphasis mine:

(Some time later, an earlier version of Harry, who had invisibly waited next to the gargoyles since 9PM, followed the Deputy Headmistress through the opening that parted for her, stood quietly behind her on the turning stairs until they came to the top, and then, still under the Cloak, spun his Time-Turner thrice.)

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-23T06:56:47.105Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I seem to have been mistaken. Still; Harry could simply destroy the protective measure.

comment by LucasSloan · 2012-03-23T04:16:25.807Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell did, I don't think that Harry knows the spell that Quirrell used.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T02:53:06.742Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The entire arc is already written, is my understanding.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-23T02:38:04.780Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

We should also make an account Harry's capabilities

  • Can create a Patrunus 2.0
  • Partial Transfiguration
  • Knowledge of Muggle Science
  • May have Lucius convinced that he is Voldemort
  • Is a part of the Prophecy, though only Dumbledore knows this
  • Is an almost-perfect Occlumens
  • Has non-public knowledge about Dumbledore and Quirrell
comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-23T02:49:09.352Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

May have Lucius convinced that he is Voldemort

Not much use if he hasn't figured this out.

Is an almost-perfect Occlumens

If he is, I don't think we know this. He's at the stage of being able to block veritaserum, and thus probably to put up a block to stop anyone reading his mind, but I don't think we've been given any indication that he's reached the point of being able to show false thoughts to someone attempting to read his mind.

I would add that he knows Voldemort is probably alive. If he were to testify by placing his memories into a pensieve, he could show that the Hogwarts inner circle has strong reason to suspect that Voldemort is alive and behind this plot. This might create a measure of doubt among the Wizengamot, at the cost of probably throwing the country into turmoil, so we can call this the Stupid Sentimental Hero Option.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T02:37:47.598Z · score: 4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I find it odd that Harry made no attempt to contact Lucius, or that that attempt failed, before the trial. Your list is also missing Cornelius Fudge.

The first thing that came to mind was declaring that Dumbledore killed Narcissa, but he doesn't have any evidence for that besides Draco's testimony, which is already fourth-hand.

It is worthwhile to note that Harry is a member of a Noble House too, and so there may be some obligation of Draco to him (remember that time Draco 'tried to kill him' by dropping him off the roof, and he actually was in danger because of the mob of girls?) or Hermione to him (can't think of one there, though). But those don't seem like things that he could easily pull out in the Wizengamot after a vote has been called.

I think the most likely outcome is that Harry does not, in fact, think of something. Hermione is sent to Azkaban, Draco is now his enemy, and Quirrel wins.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-23T02:49:24.359Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think the most likely outcome is that Harry does not, in fact, think of something. Hermione is sent to Azkaban, Draco is now his enemy, and Quirrel wins.

If this were the case, then good serial pacing would be to put that at the end of this installment, to leave on a clear down-note.

Leaving it on a cliff-hanger promises some answer to the last question. By the text, it looks like that question is, "How will I save Hermione?" not, "Can I save Hermione?"

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T02:56:19.657Z · score: 5 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Reality does not have to obey dramatic pacing.

A central part of Eliezer's worldview is that it is possible to lose, and lose big. An Al-Ghazali can come along and destroy the bright future of your society. A UFAI can destroy the bright future of your society. A Quirrel can destroy the bright future of Harry Potter.

If the fic is coming to an end soon, which I think has been implied, Harry's implosion and Quirrel's victory are a good place to end things.

(I should clarify that, by "most likely outcome," I mean "more likely than any other specific outcome," not "more likely than its complement." I think there's more than half chance that Harry will think of something, and I think ArisKatsaris has proposed the most likely way Harry will get out of this, but still think it's somewhat more likely Harry will fail than win that way.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2012-03-23T04:41:55.305Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Chapter breaks are a meta-aspect not in the story itself. If it were a continual story this might make sense. Dramatic pacing of the story elements with a bad ending wouldn't be an in universe lesson but an out of universe lesson. Also, I suspect that Eliezer is smart enough to realize that having a downer ending would likely turn off a lot of people to rationality who might otherwise be take some interest in it simply from the halo effect. Having a downer ending would substantially undermine that.

comment by CronoDAS · 2012-03-24T00:54:55.757Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

What did Al-Ghazali do, exactly? Wikipedia isn't illuminating.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-24T04:29:29.231Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I didn't read the wikipedia article fully, and so didn't notice that it only hinted at the primary reason he was important.

The Islamic Golden Age, from ~750 to ~1250, was the period where Islam was the intellectual center of the world. Many Greek texts only survived because they had been preserved by Muslims and/or translated into Arabic, and scholars living in Muslim lands (Muslims, Christians, Jews, and atheists) were at the forefront of science, mathematics, and philosophy. Baghdad was the commercial and intellectual center of the world. Francis Bacon may have formalized the scientific method, but the main advance in empiricism before him came from al-Haytham, six hundred years earlier.

Al-Ghazali was an influential thinker who said that the Greek philosophers were ignorant infidels and that science and mathematics were dangerous because they could lead to loss of faith.

Ibn Rushd, famously depicted in the School of Athens, argued against Al-Ghazali- that the Greeks made valuable contributions, that science and mathematics were valuable. He was too little, too late; Muslim opinion swung Al-Ghazali's way, though a few Europeans took Ibn Rushd's arguments seriously, like Thomas Aquinas (who was also heavily influenced by Al-Ghazali, but agreed with Ibn Rushd's conclusions).

Al-Ghazali, essentially, was the intellectual standard-bearer for the movement to replace openness and inquiry with closedness and faith in the Muslim world. He can't be entirely blamed for the collapse of the Islamic Golden Age, as both the barbarous Christians and Mongols were beating on the doors, but that Islam never really recovered as an intellectual force appears to be centered around him.

(Neil de Grasse Tyson tells this story here (3:24), though he simplifies it somewhat.)

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-25T09:15:01.387Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is there a book you'd recommend on the thinkers of Al-Ghazali's time? The only one that came up for me in a quick Google on his name was a screed with all the hallmarks of cherry-picking history to support a point of view about present-day politics.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-25T17:48:22.880Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I am not an expert in Islamic philosophy, but if I come across such a book I'll point it your way.

comment by Asymmetric · 2012-03-23T04:06:29.165Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And yet, he did an entire arc about the role of a hero and supporting characters. I don't think we can be sure that his decisions won't be influenced by story concerns.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T04:45:30.733Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Of course his decisions are influenced by story concerns: the way to make the point "this is not a story" is to do it in a sickening matter. Let people pattern-match on "this is the bleak moment where Harry will do the impossible and win," and then reveal that the impossible is, in fact, impossible.

(Note there is a problem with the "you have five days to come up with a solution" approach if EY has taken this plan- EY would have to be pretty confident that no plan existed to hope that fans would not come up with one.)

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-03-23T06:31:24.038Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Read above. There is a True End planned and pre-written.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T16:22:30.114Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I am aware. My point is that if you say "X is impossible" and then someone points out a way to do X, you now have a plot hole / have to admit that the fan is cleverer than the character or author. That's genre savvy evidence against the prediction that EY will say "X is impossible," whereas "he would end the chapter on a downer" isn't because he would get the desired effect more strongly if he ended the chapter on a cliffhanger, and then had the character fall off the cliff.

comment by Paulovsk · 2012-03-23T02:41:28.359Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This would be interesting. And then, Harry goes there in the next hour, destroy all the dementors and save Herminone.

A happy ending.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T02:57:15.478Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Destroys the dementors by destroying himself? Destroys the dementors, and lets out the criminals of wizarding Britain? Destroys the dementors, and is put down for rebellion?

There are no happy endings down that path.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T02:58:31.808Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW
  • The Dementor is literally death. The "sword that has slain a woman and rope that has hanged a man" ritual will almost certainly summon one, but that's known Dark, and thus probably not something that can be used in the middle of a Wizengamot proceeding. And other than altering the punishment, how would this help? Even killing the Dementor outright will just make them mildly annoyed.
  • Dumbledore did (plausibly) burn Narcissa alive, and Potter saying so openly might be enough to swing something. It'd be unlikely to turn out well - Dumbledore would of course deny it, Potter's alliance would instantly be sundered, and unless Dumbledore wound up in jail, it wouldn't save Hermione. But, it might be tried.
  • The scarred man is likely Jugson, not Greyback. Isn't Greyback in Azkaban right now? Not a solution, but it should be noted.
  • If he's learned Avada Kedavra, there's always the option of blinding everyone with a super-Patronus and then committing mass murder until your side has a majority. Somehow, I don't see that one happening.
  • Snape and/or Quirrell(or someone else - Padma Patil would be a funny choice) comes to the rescue. Vanishingly unlikely, and hardly in keeping with the message of the story, but not strictly impossible.
  • Hermione figures out the super-Patronus, with Harry's prompting. This one is actually the least crazy of the lot, I think - the super-Patronus works on the principle of love for all human life. Someone who casts it ought to be damn near incapable of murder, and if the principle could be explained to the Wizengamot without ruining everything, the fact that Hermione managed it would actually constitute exculpatory evidence. It likely wouldn't be believed, but it's closer to possible than most of the others.

As I said below though, these plans all share one common feature - they suck. I can't think of one that isn't either vanishingly unlikely or obviously stupid, and too stupid at that to be used even by a despairing child trying to save his girlfriend from a fate asymptotically approaching death.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-23T04:48:19.483Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This one is actually the least crazy of the lot, I think - the super-Patronus works on the principle of love for all human life. Someone who casts it ought to be damn near incapable of murder, and if the principle could be explained to the Wizengamot without ruining everything, the fact that Hermione managed it would actually constitute exculpatory evidence.

Love of all human life does not translate into an inability to do math or unwillingness to murder.

As well, it's not clear that guilty Hermione feels good enough about herself or all human life that she would be able to cast it.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T05:38:08.459Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's not a likely case, just less IMO unlikely than the others I listed. I'd put the odds at perhaps 10-20%. The rot13'd answer is the one I think is solidly the most likely.

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-27T21:22:39.567Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If he's learned Avada Kedavra, there's always the option of blinding everyone with a super-Patronus and then committing mass murder until your side has a majority.

You don't need that particular spell to commit mass murder. Harry would likely use transfiguration or napalm. That said, Harry-who-can-murder is not Harry-who-can-Patronus.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-23T02:28:28.923Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The obvious guess is that Harry will destroy the Dementor in full view of everyone. But this seems far too obvious for Eliezer to taunt us so.

Harry knows nothing about the aurors, the Prophet reporter, Umbridge, Fenrir Greyback (if that's a correct identification), or Amelia Bones.

That leaves

  • The dementor
  • Minerva
  • Lucius
  • Neville's grandmother
  • Himself

The dementor he can destroy, but that's the obvious answer. Minerva he knows nothing shocking or incriminating about, and I can't think of anything that would help. Same goes for Madam Longbottom, I think.

That leaves

  • The dementor
  • Lucius
  • Harry himself — Oh, and I forgot: Everything in Harry's pouch.

What could Harry say about himself that's shocking? He could confess to his role in the Azkaban breakout, but I can't see how that would help Hermione. None of his scientific knowledge or magical discoveries would impress the Wizengamot, if they could even understand him.

Does he know anything incriminating about Lucius? Well, he knows he was a Death Eater. But Harry is immune to Veritaserum and can't testify.

Is there anything he can do about or with the dementor other than destroy it, which is far too obvious?

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T02:44:08.727Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Is there anything he can do about or with the dementor other than destroy it, which is far too obvious?

He might be able to do something fancy the same way he commanded a dozen of them to "Turn and go and do not speak of this to anyone" in TSPE. Maybe silently tell it to spread the word to its brethren that no Dementor is to go near Hermione? Which still leaves her stuck in a cold metal box for ten years, so it doesn't seem to help much.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T02:46:07.570Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe. On the other hand, he's in a hall of people who all strongly believe that Dementors would never do any such thing and will obey their commands.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T02:51:40.970Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

So you're going with Harry's initial idea, that Dementors are controlled by expectations? If that's the case, then yeah, it probably won't work.

comment by cousin_it · 2012-03-23T16:03:39.582Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Is there anything he can do about or with the dementor other than destroy it, which is far too obvious?

Go in front of it and let the horrible personality possess him again. After making some sort of precommitment, I suppose. This solution was foreshadowed in the omake "Lord of the rationality".

But in truth, I lost faith in Eliezer's ability to come up with realistic solutions when Harry miraculously survived the first dementor attack in Azkaban. He will probably just have Harry use his main character powers again.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-23T02:33:50.822Z · score: -3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Hell, this wouldn't even work. They'd have him immediately arrested for destruction of Ministry Property, and never let him near Azkaban.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-23T02:53:27.673Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Hell, this wouldn't even work. They'd have him immediately arrested for destruction of Ministry Property, and never let him near Azkaban.

I doubt they'd have him arrested for destruction of Ministry property, because it would be such a PR disaster.

"Boy Who Lived Destroys Dementor, Arrested For Destruction Of Ministry Property."

It would definitely limit his ability to carry out any sort of breakouts in future though, and possibly incriminate him with respect to the Bellatrix breakout.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-23T03:18:32.354Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I doubt they'd have him arrested for destruction of Ministry property, because it would be such a PR disaster.

Doesn't seem like anything a few lies and coercion of a non-free press couldn't handle.

Or, say, stun him then let a different dementor eat him then show everyone how the delusional fool died trying.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-23T03:57:24.964Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I seriously doubt that if the Boy Who Lived killed a dementor in front of the Wizengamot, their response would be "let's let a dementor eat him to make an example of him." They may not respect him, but these are still people who've been celebrating Harry Potter Day for years.

Just because the members of the Wizengamot are stuck in a hate-spiral with respect to Hermione doesn't mean that they're exceptionally evil people regarding other issues (this is as good a place as any to take note of the chapter title.)

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-23T06:44:48.647Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I seriously doubt that if the Boy Who Lived killed a dementor in front of the Wizengamot, their response would be "let's let a dementor eat him to make an example of him."

Just be careful when you try to control people through their PR incentives. What makes them look good is not the same as them being nice.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T03:00:13.130Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Erm...isn't the usual followup to an arrest to throw people in prison? I don't think you're thinking your comments through.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T03:05:27.993Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Azkaban drains magic, he can be stupefied and tossed in, and without his wand he's going to have a hard time anyway. It's perfectly possible to just toss Harry in Azkaban and regard his threat as neutralized.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T03:09:30.511Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed, but the precise form of his comment was sort of silly.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-23T04:05:07.380Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think they throw every wizard criminal into Azkaban. There must be prisons for harmless criminals like Mundungus Fletcher.

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-27T21:02:19.392Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I am impressed that you managed to avoid listing any of the members of the "crowd" as things in the courtroom.

comment by Manfred · 2012-03-23T07:15:21.067Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder where Quirrell has been all this time. Maybe he can show up to save the day.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T14:37:55.270Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In custody at the Ministry. Unlikely to be released before trial is concluded.

comment by Manfred · 2012-03-23T22:25:29.556Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The person in custody is not necessarily Quirrell, or "unlikely to be released" can be circumvented a number of different ways. The only way the Quirrell is just sitting in custody is if that's what he wants, and I still think he's sort of a Byronic hero.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T01:29:40.778Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, the simplest explanation is that he's sitting in custody because he doesn't want to be in Hogwarts while Dumbledore scans it for Tom Riddle's soul with the Map, etc. If he doesn't have a particular plot to carry out during the trial, it's easiest to stay in custody then too, until the Aurors choose to release him after the whole matter is considered closed.

If he wanted, he could almost certainly leave, I agree. But why? If this whole thing is his plot, it's going on well enough without him, and on the other hand he possibly can't be officially present at the trial (unless invited by Dumbledore) to rescue it if something goes wrong. OTOH, if it's not his plot, it would still seem to align with his interests - he has more to gain by offering Harry to help rescue Hermione, once Harry has declared the government etc. his enemies, than he does by offering Harry to help sway the trial.

comment by Vladimir_Nesov · 2012-03-23T22:35:37.599Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

(removed after the parent comment was changed)

comment by Manfred · 2012-03-23T22:44:03.809Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think that person was just being helpful and pointing out a flaw in the reasoning :D

comment by Rejoyce · 2012-03-23T03:55:56.830Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Addition: Fawkes, he was there on Dumbledore's shoulder.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-23T03:43:21.293Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

My bets on possible solutions:

  • Destroy the dementor (not terribly smart, but given the stress. . .) or do something else 'impossible'.
  • Start talking about Voldemort being behind things. (This would be a pretty good distraction in the books. Less so here, though.)
  • Challenge Lucius to a duel.
  • Work out that Lucius thinks he is Voldemort and use that to manipulate him.

All of these look pretty obvious, though. I expect something a little more unexpected (possibly including there not being a solution).

comment by Risto_Saarelma · 2012-03-21T01:43:17.144Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Couple notes from zompist.com.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-19T04:54:03.766Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I suggest: (1) all Harry needs is time, (2) Dumbledore refuses to give it to him, (3) Harry offers Lucius an Unbreakable Vow.

In theory, Obliviations and False Memories can be broken, right? So what's Dumbledore's excuse for not insisting on a delay in punishment long enough to attempt to break the alleged tampering with Hermione's brain?

[ETA: actually, doesn't matter whether the spells are known breakable; Harry could experiment with counterspells or just hunt for the real villain. Either way, Harry will be confident that he can get the truth -- given time.]

It seems like Quirrell stands to take away three of Harry's supports - if Harry realizes that Dumbledore won't insist on even a delay in punishing Hermione to test whether she's actually innocent, he's hardly likely to ever trust Dumbledore ever again.

Meanwhile, it seems like the obvious "taboo tradeoff" for Harry to offer for Hermione is some kind of Unbreakable Vow for the Malfoys' benefit - especially since Lucius believes (sort of correctly!) that Harry is Voldemort. That would be fun storytelling, since an Unbreakable Vow for Draco's benefit also shows up in canon. Is there a more appropriate bribe Harry could offer than that?

And would Harry and Lucius actually come to an agreement in such a negotiation, or would Harry's maximum offer be less than Lucius' minimum offer? Since Lucius has Hermione as hostage, it would be tricky, though not impossible, for Harry to simply threaten the Malfoys into handing Hermione over.

But suppose Harry can't make a deal with Lucius, can't contact Quirrell in time, and can't get Dumbledore to take effective action - then what is Harry's best option at this point if he absolutely refuses to let Hermione be turned into a house-elf (or whatever)? Is Harry's best solo option to get to Azkaban on his own and lead out a Dementor army? (I didn't say good, just best...)

Is there a save-Hermione option that would make sense to us that Harry is unlikely to consider?

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-19T16:53:56.663Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Good ideas.

My thoughts:

  • Harry may be unable to talk to Lucius privately before the trial. If negotiations take place during the trial, that'll be an interesting scene.
  • Remember what each party sacrifices in an Unbreakable Vow. Lucius would sacrifice his ability to ever trust Harry again. Lucius may think this is not a problem, as he thinks Harry is Voldemort, but Harry may be hurt by this down the line. Also, they'll need to find a Binder who'll permanently sacrifice some of his magic to sustain the vow (are those routinely available for pay?)
  • Can the vow enforce factual claims about the past? E.g., "I vow that I am not Voldemort as you suspect", "I vow that I was always Draco's friend and am not to blame for the assassination attempt", etc. If yes - that is, Harry would be unable to Vow falsehoods - then he could convince Lucius of his goodwill. OTOH, if he actually tried to vow "I am not Voldemort", the result should be.. .educational.
  • The Vow can probably be engineered to enforce past-claims. E.g., "I vow to kill myself in one minute if this is not true: ..."
  • Harry has a lot to offer to vow that he values low (because he already wants to do it) but Lucius values high (because he has no guarantee of it). Ideas: eternal friendship, honesty, and political alliance with Draco; eventually public political falling-out with Dumbledore (say, on his majority or graduation); dedication to exposing and punishing the real criminal behind the attack on Draco; personal declaration of war on whoever-killed-Narcissa (Lucius may not trust Harry at his plain word on this like Draco did); future favors to be redeemed by Draco.
comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-19T23:19:19.728Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Also, they'll need to find a Binder who'll permanently sacrifice some of his magic to sustain the vow (are those routinely available for pay?)

Yes. Presumably the person who bound the Auror Legillimancer did so out of pay rather than love. Additionally, Harry could just go find a dying wizard who wants to make some galleons since he's solved that problem. I'd assume that finding a binder is not an obstacle to people like the Malfoys.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-19T19:52:20.938Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Can the vow enforce factual claims about the past? E.g., "I vow that I am not Voldemort as you suspect", "I vow that I was always Draco's friend and am not to blame for the assassination attempt", etc. If yes - that is, Harry would be unable to Vow falsehoods - then he could convince Lucius of his goodwill. OTOH, if he actually tried to vow "I am not Voldemort", the result should be.. .educational.

Should be able to, since enforcing honesty would seem to be on offer if ordinary Veritaserum can do as much... Now, the question is, does an Unbreakable Vow to tell the truth overcome obliviation/memory charming/pensieves etc? One might expect powerful sacrificial magic to be able to do that, but then again, if it did, you'd expect officials of some stripe to have such Vows as matters of course and we don't see that (on the gripping hand, wizarding society is not that efficient or imaginative).

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-19T20:11:11.880Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I would expect a Vow only binds you to tell the truth as you know it at that moment. Nevertheless:

"I vow that to the best of my knowledge in the past XXX. I also vow that if I ever discover evidence that this is false and I had been Obliviated or Memory Charmed to enable me to make this vow today, I will come tell you all about it and submit to your judgement with a specified possible penalty."

So you can at least bind yourself irrevocably to your new position.

if it did, you'd expect officials of some stripe to have such Vows as matters of course and we don't see that

Of course not, the high-grade politician doesn't exist who could vow that they'd been honest upstanding citizens all their lives :-)

If IRL we discovered a really reliable neurological lie detector, it would be used by police and courts, but do you really think politicians and CEOs would ever submit to it?

comment by lavalamp · 2012-03-20T02:23:43.930Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

If IRL we discovered a really reliable neurological lie detector, it would be used by police and courts, but do you really think politicians and CEOs would ever submit to it?

If we did that, I think we would just end up selecting CEOs and politicians with firm self-deceptions instead of those who gave accurate information.

comment by Solvent · 2012-03-20T09:19:03.794Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think you may be being too cynical here.

comment by lavalamp · 2012-03-20T19:05:05.399Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm being too cynical about... politicians?

...Maybe I need to move to wherever you live...

comment by Solvent · 2012-03-20T23:35:43.666Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm just saying that making lying extremely more difficult is also likely to cut down on lying. The advantage which you'd have to get from lying would have to be higher than the current threshold to bother.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-20T08:14:46.759Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good point, and politicians could use it to avoid the test too.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-19T20:41:36.142Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

If IRL we discovered a really reliable neurological lie detector, it would be used by police and courts, but do you really think politicians and CEOs would ever submit to it?

I'd expect some CEOs would submit to it and their stock would be rewarded for it.

comment by Jello_Raptor · 2012-03-20T02:35:12.118Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

To boot, I would be very surprised if people elected politicians who hadn't submitted to the lie detector after it had the cultural time to sink in.

People with foresight would work very hard to discredit it before that happened though.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-20T16:04:40.201Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We might not know if they already had.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-19T05:07:50.361Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In theory, Obliviations and False Memories can be broken, right?

Where'd you get this idea? As far as I know, the last word we had on that was

The courts use Veritaserum, but it's a joke really, you just Obliviate yourself before you testify and then claim the other person was Memory-Charmed with a false memory. If you've got a Pensieve, and we do, you can even get the memory back afterward. Now, ordinarily the courts presume in favor of Obliviation having occurred rather than more complicated Memory Charms.

That doesn't sound like it's possible even in theory to detect, let alone remove, Obliviations or False Memory Charms.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-19T05:15:20.298Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was reading the quote you cite as "too much trouble usually" rather than "absolutely impossible", because canon indicates that both can be removed, albeit not easily:

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Memory_Charm

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/False_memory_charm

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T03:17:21.123Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I just realized- if Obliviation can be broken, Harry (but not Quirrell) is implicated in the Azkaban breakout.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-19T05:29:03.639Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The canonical False Memory Charm is obviously not the same thing as the MoR!FMC, given what canon!Hermione did with it. I don't think we can draw conclusions from that.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-19T05:40:14.684Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good point. They're obviously at least somewhat different from canon. The rules on fixing their effects are unknowable without the author's say-so.

I suppose it isn't critical whether Obliviates and FMCs are normally removable in this universe - Harry would still be able to use a delay in carrying out sentence to either attempt to find a counterspell or find the real perpetrator or both.

So no matter what, for Harry, a one-year delay in carrying out sentence has a really good cost/benefit tradeoff.

And if Dumbledore won't exert himself sufficiently to secure that, there's no one Harry will be left trusting excerpt McGonagall -- and Quirrell.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-19T05:52:16.977Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

On reflection, it doesn't even matter whether Obliviates and FMCs are normally removable in this universe - Harry would use a delay in carrying out sentence to either attempt to find a counterspell or find the real perpetrator or both.

This is a good point; agreed.

So no matter what, for Harry, a one-year delay in carrying out sentence has a really good cost/benefit tradeoff.

I would have said a one-week delay.

And if Dumbledore won't exert himself sufficiently to secure that

I see no reason to think that Dumbledore is even remotely capable of that. Politically, Lucius and Dumbledore are near-evenly matched, and Lucius is presumably willing to exert all his influence on his end of the trial. Even assuming Dumbledore calls in every favor he's owed, I don't see that it would accomplish anything but get the situation to default to normal procedure- which is what's happening now.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-19T06:25:12.319Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that Dumbledore doesn't seem able to get Lucius to delay the trial. But I suggest that Harry could suggest an agreement to delay the (irreversible part of the) punishment.

Since the only fixed rule of the wizards' council is there are no fixed rules, such an agreement could be made. "She's guilty, and we'll house-elf her in a week." Since Lucius' priority is protecting Draco, genuine proof that someone else tried to killed Draco would be plenty of reason to release Hermione -- in exchange for Harry/Voldemort's help against the villain.

From Harry's point of view, especially, why should Lucius exact a high price to postpone the house-elfing of Hermione by a week or a month, as long as he has the formal verdict and the young villain is under secure observation somewhere?

comment by hairyfigment · 2012-03-25T02:19:12.909Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It seems more natural to have Hermione take an Unbreakable Vow to seek vengeance on Narcissa's killer (ideally with qualifying clauses). This, in principle, would seem attractive to Lucius even or especially if he can't reconsider his theory about Dumbledore (or any of his other beliefs). And I vaguely feel Lucius would worry less about Hermione tricking him than if Harry/Voldemort took the Vow. In any case, this approach to vengeance seems directly related to the trade Lucius publicly declared he would make in chapter 80.

This suggestion might work better coming from Draco's snake-Patronus. They might even get away with adding some lawyer's conditions then. Sadly, it sounds like Harry couldn't signal Draco unobtrusively unless he slips away somehow (or, I guess, casts Expecto Patronum into his Invisibility Cloak while muffling the sound). But the time-turner could work here. I was going to say that even a brief disappearance might make L. Malfoy suspicious. But if LM sees him as Voldemort, that would make faking a Patronus intuitively unlikely.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-19T17:21:19.530Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Framing someone else who is already an enemy (Snape?)...

This can be done through a false memory charm on ie. Harry. This could be a good way for Quirrelmort to get Harry darker, make him appear lighter and earn more trust points all in one move. This would also qualify as a taboo trade-off. It could easily also be done on the Weasley brothers. All it'd take would be to find out who didn't have a strong alibi at midnight (most people) and/or a time turner.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-19T21:38:50.630Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Frame Quirrell. (Assuming it's even framing and not accidentally getting the right answer for the wrong reasons.)

Harry knows he's an unregistered animagus. Harry has even better blackmail with Azkaban though he'd be loath to use it. People in universe also know that the defense professor is suspect #1.

Harry could just lie under veritaserum that Quirrell did all this. Nobody aside from Quirrell or Dumbledore would even imagine that Harry could do that (well, Snape and McGonagall). Way back in chapter 47, Harry said Bester thought Harry could beat veritaserum. Dumbledore and his faction would be unlikely to volunteer this information; Quirrell would have to GTFO of the country because he's an unregistered animagus (and also Voldemort, though Harry doesn't know that). Quirrell couldn't offer any legal challenge to Harry, so Harry could successfully pull it off against him.

comment by drethelin · 2012-03-20T01:43:23.339Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Harry is certainly CAPABLE of framing Quirrel, but I don't think he's anywhere NEAR close to framing anyone he considers a friend. I think he's more likely to frame himself.

comment by erratio · 2012-03-19T22:56:58.678Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Draco know that Harry can beat Veritaserum. And the chances are decent that he'll be well enough to attend the trial

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-19T23:38:57.192Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Draco only observed that Harry said he was an Occlumens. This was a line of thought that Draco wasn't particularly able to follow though on anyhow (since he didn't have the Veritaserum and didn't even know where to get it). He only abandons it when he realizes a more feasible test exists (via patronus).

Keep in mind Draco's first impulse is that it was a complete lie, and he knows Harry (and what Harry can do) personally. Nobody else would believe an 11 year old would be an occlumens this young. Plus, Harry has enough evidence incriminating Quirrell to make any charge stick.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-20T04:09:37.637Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry's tutor was arranged through Gringott's; I am sure that the goblins kept records. Whether or not they're obliged to show those records is another issue.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-20T08:11:39.424Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Also, being an Occlumens can be proved directly to any Legilemens, so if Harry wants to prove it to someone it's not that difficult. Just difficult to do it on the spot without any preparation.

comment by see · 2012-03-21T04:28:34.996Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

From Chapter 27:

Or if you were a perfect Occlumens, you could race ahead of any probes, answering queries as fast as they were asked, so that the Legilimens would enter through your surfaces and see a mind indistinguishable from whoever you were pretending to be.

Even the best Legilimens could be fooled that way. If a perfect Occlumens claimed they were dropping their Occlumency barriers, there was no way to know if they were lying. Worse, you might not know you were dealing with a perfect Occlumens. They were rare, but the fact that they existed meant you couldn’t trust Legilimency on anyone.

So, if Harry wants to prove he's an Occlumens, he can. But if he is intending to lie under Veritaserum as part of a framing plot, he doesn't want to prove it; he wants to lie. And if he's gotten good enough at Occlumency over the last 50 or so chapters, he might be able to pull it off.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-21T04:41:10.466Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It might be too late for that. He told Draco that he's an occlumens, and it's highly probable that Lucius questioned Draco under veritaserum. Draco may already have told him, and if he hasn't, the fact that he could could undermine any plan hinging on it.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-21T04:38:13.415Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I very much doubt Harry is already a perfect Occlumens. The last word we have on that is that he may grow to be one "in time". It would an unforeshadowed and plot-convenient superpower if he was suddenly revealed as such.

Note: even a non-perfect Occlumens can apparently lie under Veritaserum, just not lie to a good enough Legilemens (even without Veritaserum).

comment by hairyfigment · 2012-03-25T01:50:26.920Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

even a non-perfect Occlumens can apparently lie under Veritaserum

Where did y'all get this? I had the vague impression that Veritaserum worked better to detect deliberate lying. Legilimency can detect other Legilimency better, because the potion doesn't do that at all. (And neither of them can detect Obliviation or a perfect Memory Charm, per Chapter 79.)

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-25T02:01:48.335Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Waaay back in Chapter 47, we get:

Look, Draco, I'll take one drop of Veritaserum if you can get it, I'm just warning you that I'm an Occlumens. Not a perfect Occlumens, but Mr. Bester said I was putting up a complete block, and I could probably beat Veritaserum."

comment by hairyfigment · 2012-03-25T02:23:22.532Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, I'd remembered that wrong.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-19T22:25:16.297Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes that would most probably work. Even though the costs do seem rather huge (which is why I went for frame Snape).

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-25T01:01:41.240Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

In chapter 50, in Mary's room before leaving on the Azkaban mission:

Professor Quirrell gestured for the door to close and lock, and began to speak twenty-nine security Charms, one of the ones in Mr. Bester's sequence being left out this time, which somewhat puzzled Harry.

Quirrel casts the full 30 charms during their previous secret talk in Mary's room (a week before), and he casts all 30 charms when they reach the warehouse (before entering Azkaban).

So, anyone have an idea what this is about?

comment by moritz · 2012-03-27T06:28:43.078Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe one of the charms protects against time-traveling in and out of the room?

comment by Locke · 2012-03-25T01:49:39.068Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

IIRC, The two security charms we specifically know about are those to check for powerful artifacts and Animagi. Now, we know that Harry's Invisibility Cloak is apparently never detected by the former spell, so I suspect that anything in Harry's bag is not detectable by these means. Therefore, I propose that Quirrell left either a small Animagus or Magical Artifact in Harry's bag when he entered as a serpent.

As to why specifically he'd do that, I don't think we have enough information to speculate.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-25T01:59:44.820Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Now, we know that Harry's Invisibility Cloak is apparently never detected by the former spell

Refresh my memory: how do we know this?

comment by Pringlescan · 2012-03-25T02:07:25.607Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Actually if I remember correctly during the bully final showdown Hermoine gets scared because she recognizes one of the charms as one that would detect Harry's cloak in the area if not find it directly.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-25T02:08:51.267Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, but Harry's Cloak wasn't anywhere near there, so...

comment by Pringlescan · 2012-03-25T04:10:02.340Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Fully two dozen different Charms must have been spoken, then, but no more invisible people showed up. One of them in particular made Hermione's heart sink; she recognized it as the Charm which had been listed alongside the description of the True Cloak of Invisibility, which would not reveal the Cloak, but would tell you whether it or certain other artifacts were nearby.

To clarify when I said 'actually . . . .' i meant to disprove that assertion not support it.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-25T04:12:17.757Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Professor Quirrell had already deduced my possession of an invisibility cloak," Harry said. "And knowing him, he has probably guessed that it is a Deathly Hallow. But in this case, Headmaster, it so happens that Professor Quirrell was under one of those face-concealing white robes."

Edit in response to your edit: You lost me.

To clarify when I said 'actually . . . .' i meant to disprove that assertion not support it.

The example you gave was not an instance of Harry's Cloak being detected or not-detected, so it doesn't prove anything one way or another.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-25T02:43:12.394Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry would have noted if an alarm went off or the cloak started glowing or buzzing or whatnot. That would be the way an ancient artifact would be revealed, right?

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-25T02:54:58.733Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

One of them in particular made Hermione's heart sink; she recognized it as the Charm which had been listed alongside the description of the True Cloak of Invisibility, which would not reveal the Cloak, but would tell you whether it or certain other artifacts were nearby.

I assumed the caster of the spell silently becomes aware of the fact "there is an artifact nearby". I guess it might be possible it sounds an alarm instead, but that would require that mokeskin pouches can beat artifact-detecting spells, which seems unlikely.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-03-25T03:33:50.684Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My bet, honestly, is that the Cloak of Invisibility laughs at artifact-detecting spells.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-25T03:38:19.662Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If, say, Rita Skeeter knew or guessed that we would come here, it is possible that she could be in this room wearing the true Cloak of Invisibility. Or she could be an Animagus with a tiny form, perhaps. There are tests to rule out such rare possibilities, but to perform all of them would be arduous.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-03-26T07:52:46.930Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

but to perform all of them would be arduous.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-26T07:59:09.930Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Professor Quirrell grinned, then took out his wand and flicked it in the direction of the door. "Of course," he said, "people who lead interesting lives take precautions more thorough than the dalliers. I have just sealed us in. Nothing will now pass in or out of this room - through the crack under the door, for example. And..."

Professor Quirrell then spoke no fewer than four different Charms, none of which Harry recognized.

"Even that does not really suffice," said Professor Quirrell. "If we were doing anything of truly great import, it would be necessary to perform another twenty-three checks besides those. If, say, Rita Skeeter [...]

Which raises the question of what the last two Charms in the set of thirty are; but the clear implication is that the spell that would detect the presence of the Cloak of Invisibility is part of the "twenty-three checks" which he performs on other occasions in Harry's presence.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-25T03:39:50.083Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm fairly certain that's how detection spells work though. In Deathly Hallows there were blaring alarms when the gang apparated into Hogsmead.

comment by glumph · 2012-03-25T06:21:30.798Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That was actually called the Caterwauling Charm, though. There's another detection spell in DH: Hominem Revelio. The only known effects of this spell are (i) the 'swooping sensation' experienced by a detected person and (ii) the lack of any alarm when nobody is detected. It's likely, however, that there is no alarm even when persons are detected; when it's used against Harry, Ron, and Hermoine by Death Eaters there is no alarm mentioned in the text.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-25T01:42:11.155Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If this is directly explained somewhere, I can't find it. I see two possibilities- something to do with leaving the room via travelling back in time, or something to do with their future versions getting back in the room immediately after they leave.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-28T09:04:59.592Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Their future persons are in that room, under the Invisibility Cloak. The skipped one is the one that detects it, because it's awkward to interact with your future self.

It's a clue to readers who haven't read the whole arc, yet, of what all Quirrell plans are.

comment by Jonathan_Elmer · 2012-03-26T09:16:24.732Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In the next thread Xachariah pointed out that Quirrel likely has possession of the resurrection stone and was very recently(at that point in the story) told by Harry how to identify it. Given Locke's observation in his reply that one of the two privacy spells that have been identified is to detect powerful artifacts it would make sense that Quirrel omitted the spell to detect power artifacts because he had the resurrection stone in his possession. I am not sure why the resurrection stone would be useful for the mission, but surely Quirrel could find something interesting to do with it in that context.

There has also been some speculation that Harry's fathers's rock is the philosophers stone. I am not sure why people would be storing important artifacts on Harry's person, but it would be hilarious to find out that Quirrel stored the resurrection stone in Harry's pouch while he was in there.

comment by Jonathan_Elmer · 2012-03-24T05:43:44.948Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I notice a disturbing similarity between what Dumbledore did with the note he left with the invisibility cloak and the actions of H&C 1. Dumbledore increased Harry's trust in him by having his motives impugned by a note that he then discredited. Dumbledor arranged for Zabini to achieved the highest possible pinnacle of untrustworthiness and then H&C arranged for Zabini to impugn the motives of Dumbledore to Harry's mentor.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T21:34:17.372Z · score: 4 (14 votes) · LW · GW

I find it fascinating that nobody has yet considered the thought that Hermione may actually be guilty. Neither Harry nor anybody here seems to have noticed that confession(under truth serum!) is generally considered very strong evidence of guilt, certainly much more so than an appeal to demographics is evidence of innocence.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-23T22:04:35.684Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

We know that she is innocent because we saw her being effected by a mind effecting attack. It's like watching an episode of Supernatural, seeing a ghost kill somebody on screen, then saying "well maybe it was a regular homicide!"

We as readers are privy to knowledge that people in universe are not. This is why they entertain the notion that she's guilty and we don't. Harry doesn't entertain the notion because she's his best friends and twelve year old girls do not attempt cold blooded murder of their own volition.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-23T23:22:47.142Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'm aware that it's a very unlikely case from the reader's perspective - it's possible that they just warped her mind until she did it of her own accord, but that's about it. However, we're openly considering even more ridiculous possibilities(confess to the Azkaban breakout? Wut?), so the fact that it hasn't come up is odd.

My point is as much about the in-universe response as the reader's, though. Harry is acting in blatantly irrational fashion, and everybody else seems to be humouring him much more than usual as well. I find that strange.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-24T13:35:17.138Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

However, we're openly considering even more ridiculous possibilities(confess to the Azkaban breakout? Wut?), so the fact that it hasn't come up is odd.

To be honest, I still think this is a better solution than most of the stuff that's been suggested on this thread so far.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-23T16:11:39.429Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I got the impression that they weren't humoring him so much as even Snape thought that the very idea of Hermione deliberately trying to murder someone was preposterous.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-03-24T07:26:43.330Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one bothered by this.

comment by Daniel_Starr · 2012-03-23T09:57:07.036Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Harry can save Hermione by offering false testimony against Quirrell. There's a taboo social tradeoff. The odd thing is that he has to do it by telling lies about Quirrell that we know are mostly true.

Harry can give false testimony under Veritaserum, because he's an Occlumens, which of those present only Dumbledore and McGonagall and the Malfoys know (and the Malfoys wouldn't be believed).

So, what can he falsely testify that would save Hermione?

  • That he himself tampered with Draco and Hermione's memories. But he'd better have one heck of an escape planned, even if he does have the Cloak of Invisibility and power against Dementors.
  • That he did it, but he was Imperius'd into it by a mysterious cloaked figure. But then he has to account for where he found the time to alter their memories, and convince people he knows the False Memory Charm.
  • That Dumbledore did it. Dumbledore just might go along out of guilt, and the Malfoys would go along to see Dumbledore brought down. But McGonagall would probably not stay silent, doubting Dumbledore's guilt and knowing Harry is an Occlumens.
  • That Dumbledore confessed to him that he murdered Narcissa Malfoy. But that's a separate crime, so it doesn't save Hermione without a side deal with Lucius and Harry blew his chance at that.
  • That Bellatrix Black broke into Hogwarts, tampered with Hermione and Draco, confessed to him to taunt him, and fled. Too many odd events, especially since Hogwarts is supposed to be hard to break into: Lucius would suggest it was Dumbledore Polyjuiced into Bella to set up Harry with a lie.
  • That Quirrell did it and revealed it to him, as well as that he was the rescuer of Bellatrix Black, to show that Hogwarts couldn't protect his friends and in hopes of intimidating Harry to the cause of Voldemort. Bingo.

If Harry falsely testifies against Quirrell, neither Dumbledore nor McGonagall would suspect it of being a lie, especially if Harry explained he had kept silent in hopes of making Quirrell think he was actually won over to Voldemort's side. It also fits the convenient fact that it was Quirrell who discovered the bodies. And because Quirrell really did rescue Bellatrix Black, Harry can offer plenty of true testimony about the Azkaban mission as stuff that Quirrell told him to impress him. So his testimony will seem verifiable as well as Veritaserum-proved. Harry knows Quirrell wouldn't come in to defend himself from the charge Harry thinks he's innocent of (Hermione and Draco), because he'd be sent to Azkaban for the charge Harry knows he's guilty of (rescuing Bellatrix Black).

And while Harry doesn't want to turn on Quirrell... he knows Quirrell can defend himself a lot better than Hermione can. He could use his Patronus to deliver a message to Quirrell to run and hide right after he testifies (or, with a Time-Turner, right before).

For added flavor, Harry could truthfully testify about rescuing Bellatrix Black - and claim that he was Imperius'd into his role, just like good old Lucius!

I don't think "Harry sacrifices Quirrell" is the actual answer, because Harry making a big deal in his mind of "sacrificing" Quirrell would feel a little cheap for those of us who know he should turn on Quirrellmort. Dramatically it would work better for Harry to sacrifice someone we think is genuinely valuable to him, or to pull out some interesting social leverage over the Wizengamot voters. But false testimony against Quirrell is for Harry a lot more "taboo" than calling in Imperius-debts, and doesn't require a side-deal the way that pressuring Dumbledore with false testimony over Narcissa would, or the kind of shenanigans of invoking a duel with Draco over the insult to the Ancient House of Potter.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-23T02:39:01.318Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Chapter 80 spoilers ho

One last comment and I'll stop spamming the page. It certainly seems as though Amelia Bones is highly connected to Narcissa's death now. I wonder if Dumbledore really has a reason for keeping it secret that's worth sending Hermione to Azkaban over.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T02:42:37.778Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder if Dumbledore really has a reason for keeping it secret that's worth sending Hermione to Azkaban over.

It would discredit his entire side, their strategies, and their results, vindicating the opposite side. Oh, and obviously something would happen to Dumbledore like imprisonment, execution, exile, etc.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-23T03:09:33.485Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

No, it would mean something would happen to Amelia, not Dumbledore, which is much more of a fair trade for Hermione's life. I like pedanterrific's idea about an Unbreakable Vow being involved.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-23T03:13:47.552Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Why does it mean it would happen to Amelia?

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T03:39:17.007Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think 75th is referring to this theory.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T02:47:39.029Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know, to me that read kind of Unbreakable Vow-ish.

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-24T06:12:52.979Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I just realized something. The wizarding world has a strong Taboo against the free sharing of information. Harry has an entire hieracy of explosive insights he can read into the wizengamots records untill they let Hermonie go to get him to shut up Okay, this actually needs him to bluff about having a fallback that publishes if he perishes, but consider:

If he tells them about the true patronus and the true nature of dementors, the regular patronus stops working. This destroys askaban.Not enough?

If he explains the silver / gold arbritage scheme the economy of the wizardry world goes vonky for a while. Not enough?

He can explain the fundemental principle behind alchemy with great clarity.

And so on.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-24T14:11:06.458Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

untill they let Hermonie go to get him to shut up

Or until they hit him with a Quietus to shut him up. Much simpler.

comment by Carinthium · 2012-03-24T06:28:50.896Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The trouble is that from the typical wizard's perspective this doesn't work- they're much more likely to irattionally dismiss it as the babblings of a desperate child.

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-24T06:36:33.057Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

He can open by patronusing the dementor present into oblivion, after that, everything he says will be at least thought about, and once considered, you cannot unknow any of this stuff except by obliterating yourself.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-24T10:06:01.490Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

you cannot unknow any of this stuff except by obliterating yourself.

Obliterating? That's perhaps overkill!

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2012-03-24T08:54:22.993Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

you cannot unknow any of this stuff except by obliterating yourself.

This works too, but I think you meant obliviating :) Other than that, good point. Destroying the dementor present would be a good opening move for several different strategies--anything that requires him to be taken very seriously, really.

comment by Dufaer · 2012-03-24T09:08:54.407Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If his explanation about the nature of the patronus was believed, the active patronuses should dispel. So if he demonstrated and convincingly explained his patronus and chose not to destroy the dementor he would be the sole person in the room with control over the creature.

EDIT: The trouble is, that even if he manages to control the Wizengamot in this way, he can only control them for so long, as they remain in the room.

So he probably would have to rely on their status and/or 'Most Ancient Tradition' keeping them from fleeing the room or calling in reinforcements, while he threatens to release the dementor and/or the information.

(Note that he wouldn't have to reveal his dementor-destroying ability this way, just his 'perfect shield'.)

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-24T13:18:59.682Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That would antagonize the wizengamot very, very badly. Not a good long term strategy, even if you intend to dissolve it. Destroying it, explaining, and letting them work through the logical implications on their own suffices. If most people lose the ability to halt dementors at all, and a few people gain the ability to destroy them outright, they are no longer usable tools of enforcement, and disposing of them all together becomes quite urgent.

comment by mjr · 2012-03-24T09:55:15.271Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed. The Dementor is storywise too conveniently present not to destroy as a way to grab the Wizengamot's attention - Harry having been established as being in the possession of Chekhov's Gun. Certainly not sufficient in itself, as you said. Give it 0.8 as a part of the solution.

(As for potion-making, I doubt the information would be very inflammatory to this audience, but good point from OP about him being able to wonk their economy a bit.)

comment by DavidAgain · 2012-03-24T12:09:16.951Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've seen this 'convenient dementor' point a few times. But in canon, Dementors escort prisoners in other trials for serious offences, don't they? Pretty sure I remember them doing so.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2012-03-24T12:10:59.941Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't recall there being one visible in the Pensieve-memory of Bellatrix's trial, at least not one that was present for the whole thing.

comment by Carinthium · 2012-03-24T06:38:26.143Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Okay, as far as I can tell that works...

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-24T06:16:12.774Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

He can explain the fundemental principle behind alchemy with great clarity.

Harry doesn't even know Alchemy exists as a discipline, as far as I know. Or are you thinking of Potion-Making?

comment by Sniffnoy · 2012-03-24T23:59:39.103Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Do we know that the Wizengamot's records are public knowledge, and that he can say whatever he wants while speaking before the Wizengamot? I assume they at least have some procedure to close discussion against a speaker's will.

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-25T00:33:54.903Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

They dont need to be public - a roomful of aristocrats are exceedingly unlikely to submit to collective obliviation, and there are enough people and enough factions present that anything they all hear is not going to stay secret.

There are tradeoffs here - he can spill the beans on the dementors and the true patronus and probably come out with his reputation strengthened if he plays it right, - Patronus the dementor in the room out of existance, and then letting the wizengamot "compel" an explanation out of him would be wieved as the wizengamot shooting itself in the foot, so that leaves hims smelling like roses. Escalating the strategy of "Tell the wizengamot things they dont want to know" beyond that is going to make him very unpopular very quickly, as the wizarding world is very heavily committed to information control, but it is an option.

comment by CronoDAS · 2012-03-24T01:12:06.415Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Taboo tradeoff...

Is there a way that Harry could simply buy Hermione's freedom? Harry is, among other things, rich.

comment by Dreaded_Anomaly · 2012-03-24T03:33:59.159Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Lucius says, in Ch. 80:

"Not for any price will I sell the blood debt owed my son."

comment by CronoDAS · 2012-03-24T04:40:48.021Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good catch.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-24T01:29:36.355Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

From Lucius Moneybags-For-Testicles Malfoy?

comment by CronoDAS · 2012-03-24T01:48:49.760Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sure, why not?

comment by Locke · 2012-03-24T02:07:58.583Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Because Lord Malfoy would absolutely refuse. That is painfully obvious.

comment by thescoundrel · 2012-03-23T21:45:24.200Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Just a piece, but one I haven't seen discussed- why has no one done a Priori Incantatem on Hermione's wand? We know harry knows about it, from clear back in chapter 13:

"Priori Incantatem," said Sprout. She frowned. "That's odd, your wand doesn't seem to have been used at all." Harry shrugged.

I don't know if this is part of Harry's plan, but it is certainly a line of investigation that has not been followed. There is always the possibility that whoever did the memory charm used Hermione's wand to cast the blood chilling hex, but once down that track Harry can start eliminating suspects for the memory charm.

comment by glumph · 2012-03-23T23:34:12.052Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Even if that test is performed and it is proven that Hermoine's wand was not used to cast the Blood-Cooling/Chilling Charm, Lucius et al. will simply claim that Hermoine stole another student's wand before the duel.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-24T00:08:13.078Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

That seems like relevant information, though.

Three drops of Veritaserum, requiring her to volunteer all relevant information, had caused Hermione Granger to confess that she had stunned Draco Malfoy from behind, and then, in a fit of anger, cast the Blood-Chilling Charm on him, with the deliberate intention of killing him slowly enough to evade identification from the Hogwarts wards

comment by thescoundrel · 2012-03-24T00:14:46.020Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, but we have now found a thread that we can pull on to start establishing a true map. The truth is entangled- so then we find the student whose wand was stolen, or we start testing the wands of our prime suspects. At the very least, we have introduced an inconsistency in the story- when would Hermione have had the chance to steal a wand? Draco called this dual- are we to now believe that Hermione showed up believing she would be defeated and stole a wand in advance, so she could kill Draco? I don't know if this is enough to forestall the vote, but it certainly is an avenue curiously absent from Harry's thoughts, especially when he is so focused on trying to prove Hermione's innocence- if his Super Dark Side can find this in his memory, I find it hard to believe it would not be of use.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2012-04-04T20:20:37.522Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And if her wand did it? Quite possible, but it wouldn't help.

comment by thescoundrel · 2012-04-04T21:08:38.895Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I phrased that poorly- if her wand wasn't used, then it goes a long way to clearing her name. If it was, then Harry starts tracking down suspects, in order to find the wand that made the memory charm. Either way, its an investigation tool that still hasn't been used.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-23T22:48:16.406Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wait, it actually says that? Oops- Priori Incantatem is the brother-wand effect from GoF, the investigative spell is Prior Incantato.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-23T16:33:18.083Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

How much respect to the Dementors have for Harry at this point? Now that they know he can kill them and all. And how intelligent are they?

What it'd be really fun (ie. a desirable yet not likely outcome) is for Harry to make a deal with the Dementors. They will give Hermione VIP treatment in Azkhaban and minimize the damage to her in the interim until Harry can free her. In exchange Harry will give the Dementors the souls of all of Wizarding Britain's government and all the aurors. And, naturally, be granted their ongoing existence. He is clearly the greatest threat to them, has the obvious potential to do unheard of things and, most importantly, doing what they can to minimize damage to Hermione costs them almost nothing.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-23T17:34:36.919Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

And this is another reason why Harry should not tell just anyone about the True Patronus - it would drastically dilute his authority over the Dementors and his ability to broker a unilateral deal superceding the one they've got with the Ministry.

In exchange Harry will give the Dementors the souls of all of Wizarding Britain's government and all the aurors.

Playing on the fact that Harry doesn't believe in souls while most wizards and presumably the dementors do.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-23T17:46:40.084Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

And this is another reason why Harry should not tell just anyone about the True Patronus - it would drastically dilute his authority over the Dementors and his ability to broker a unilateral deal superceding the one they've got with the Ministry.

Definitely. Don't tell enemies about your strengths unless you are positioning yourself to be intimidating. (Even then it is better to have the enemies believing you have strengths that you don't have while still being unaware of your actual strengths.)

Playing on the fact that Harry doesn't believe in souls while most wizards and presumably the dementors do.

Well, failing that it comes down to the real fact that the dementors do assign value to doing a kissy-suck thing to humans that effectively destroys the human.

comment by Alex_Altair · 2012-03-24T12:18:23.871Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Does death fear death?

comment by Vladimir_Nesov · 2012-03-24T12:54:58.393Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

If death dies, there will be no more death, and death doesn't want that to happen, so it doesn't take the pill.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-24T13:09:17.185Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Does death fear death?

I don't know. Does death float around in cloaks sucking misty stuff out of victims, communicating and making decisions?

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2012-03-24T22:28:08.758Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. The Dementors in Azkaban flee from Harry's bluff, when he is constrained from casting the True Patronus.

comment by mstevens · 2012-03-23T15:08:25.310Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Wild speculation:

Harry can confess to being the one who setup Hermione, or even having attacked Draco himself.

We know from Chapter 47 he can probably beat veritaserum "Not a perfect Occlumens, but Mr. Bester said I was putting up a complete block, and I could probably beat Veritaserum.", so he can testify in a way the Wizengamot will find convincing.

As member of a Noble House and Boy-Who-Lived he should be in for a much weaker punishment than Hermione, and can probably stay out of Azkaban. Lucius may not want to challenge Harry that directly at all. It may even get him out of Hogwarts, which in some ways he would want.

However I think it's slightly out of character for Harry - he's probably not self sacrificing in quite the required way.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-23T15:57:53.521Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

As member of a Noble House and Boy-Who-Lived he should be in for a much weaker punishment than Hermione, and can probably stay out of Azkaban.

That sounds terribly noble. And silly. Harry is more important than Hermione. Risking himself puts everything he cares about at stake. If Harry doesn't make a SinguHarrity and take control chances are Voldemort or some other dark wizard will end up killing both him and Hermione.

comment by brilee · 2012-03-23T17:16:06.797Z · score: 10 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Upvote for Singuharrity

comment by MatthewBaker · 2012-03-27T10:32:21.095Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Double upvote for Zingers ^^

comment by Benquo · 2012-03-23T20:31:12.573Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Alternately, he could tell Lucius the truth.

comment by MinibearRex · 2012-03-25T00:58:12.395Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think he did. What else does he know?

comment by Benquo · 2012-03-25T03:24:54.442Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

He hasn't told Lucius that he told both Dumbledore and Quirrel how much Lucius cares about Draco. It would be something real to admit to, just might get Lucius to consider the possibility of a plot, and transfer the heat from Hermione to Harry.

comment by prasannak · 2012-03-23T06:27:43.313Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Can't see the significance of 'The Horn Effect' in the title....

Is it that the Daily Prophet, et al, are creating a Horn effect against Hermione?

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_halo_and_horn_effect

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-23T12:15:46.039Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Also Umbridge.

comment by Rejoyce · 2012-03-23T05:50:59.504Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Out of curiosity, does anyone know or have any idea what time the trial's taking place? If it's before 3 PM Harry's unable to use his Time Turner to change the events of the trial. Unless he cheats the Time Turner like last time, or gets his Time Turner's restriction taken off, but he can't do that easily while the trial is going on.

Harry had used up all six hours from his Time-Turner, and there were still no clues, and he had to go to sleep now if he wanted to be functional at Hermione's trial the next day.

"Wanted to be functional" meaning if he doesn't sleep now, he'd have little sleep. Which wouldn't have been a problem in the first place if he was allowed to sleep in.

"I think this has gone on quite long enough, wouldn't you say, Lord Malfoy? The boy will miss his classes."

...which means classes are still going on, at that moment (Monday). I'm not sure when classes end for Harry but it's probably closer to morning than evening.

Harry had read the Daily Prophet that morning.

Okay I have no clue now. But the wording implies that it's not morning anymore, so... I'm going with noon/early afternoon, 12 to 2 PMish.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-23T10:22:51.873Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

From chapter 79,

"Her trial," said Albus Dumbledore, "is set for tomorrow at noon."

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-23T12:17:01.791Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Time Tuners can't change events. MacGonagal says that when she gives it to him and the story doesn't say otherwise, yet.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-23T14:45:23.544Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Time Tuners can't change events. MacGonagal says that when she gives it to him and the story doesn't say otherwise, yet.

Which doesn't (necessarily) mean you don't go back in time and change events anyway. You will never change events but events will be arranged such that this never happens. When you are the kind of person who would do that you may find yourself getting mysterious notes and fortunate coincidences from time to time.

The details of whether or not the above is a wise strategy depends on the nature of the time-travel mechanism, decision theory.

I don't necessarily endorse a time travel based solution to this particular problem. I haven't read it am waiting till the cliffhanger is revealed fully before I get into it. I'm not a fan of delays out of my control so I'm applying pre-emptive patience!

comment by Asymmetric · 2012-03-23T04:55:56.991Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

We need a new discussion thread. Anyone want the dubious honor of making it?

comment by glumph · 2012-03-23T06:00:38.894Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

If a new thread was necessary, it should have been created before the new chapter was posted. As it is there are already dozens of posts about Chapter 80 here; a new thread would split the discussion.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-23T12:19:55.618Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

So, Tuesday? Say, at 5:00 pm Pacific?

comment by glumph · 2012-03-23T17:18:51.896Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, that's a good idea.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-27T04:30:31.845Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Cool. I hope someone does it.

comment by glumph · 2012-03-27T04:38:59.708Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, someone already did do it; now the question is whether we need part 13 before tomorrow night.

comment by NihilCredo · 2012-03-23T10:03:23.370Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've come to think that the 500 comment limit may be unnecessary. Sorting comments by "New" seems to be pretty efficient at putting the interesting stuff (i.e. the reaction to the latest chapter) in highlight.

comment by LucasSloan · 2012-03-23T04:47:13.053Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

About Harry's darkside. It seems new and weird that his darkside can be hurt by Hermione's plight. Last time he went over to his darkside strongly (after dementor exposure), he ended up in a state where he hated everyone he cares about and only came out because he didn't know how to respond to her kissing him, not because he cared.

He did achieve some progress with his darkside in Azkaban - he became less affected by them, and now it seems it shares his goals to some degree.

Last time his darkside had control its response looked like this:

There was a compulsion to chew and swallow chocolate. The response to compulsion was killing. People had gathered around and stared. That was annoying. The response to annoyance was killing. Other people were chattering in the background. That was insolent. The response to insolence was to inflict pain, but since none of them were useful, killing them would be simpler. Killing all those people would be difficult. But many of them didn't trust Quirrell, who was strong. Finding exactly the right trigger could cause them all to kill each other.

I find it hard to believe that getting everyone to kill each other is going to be the solution, but it can't be discounted.

comment by Nominull · 2012-03-23T07:12:09.329Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Get the dementor to eat "yes" voters until the "no" voters outnumber them.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-03-23T13:40:35.757Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I like the way you think.

I bet Quirrel would, too. It's kinda similar to "There is indeed a certain useful spell which solves the problem".

comment by LucasSloan · 2012-03-23T07:47:35.746Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Even if he can order the dementor around (seems likely), how in the world would he overcome the aurors already maintaining patronuses, not to mention Dumbledore?

comment by NihilCredo · 2012-03-23T10:12:10.939Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Reveal to everyone the secret of Dementors so that their animal patroni are no longer effective. Wait until the Dementor has taken out most of the room (Harry has already managed to resist Dementors without his patronus), while either protecting Hermione himself or encouraging Dumbledore to grab her and phoenix-flee.

Quirrell said that the best strategy against a Dementor is just to Apparate away, which suggests that, if the Wizengamot room has an anti-Apparition defence like Hogwarts, everyone who has neither a phoenix nor a Patronus (and isn't Harry) is screwed.

I don't think this is going to be Harry's solution, but I think it might be the best of the violent solutions.

comment by NihilCredo · 2012-03-23T10:05:17.284Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

About Harry's darkside. It seems new and weird that his darkside can be hurt by Hermione's plight. Last time he went over to his darkside strongly (after dementor exposure), he ended up in a state where he hated everyone he cares about and only came out because he didn't know how to respond to her kissing him, not because he cared.

This is in fact exactly what happened:

Without even thinking he was trying to flee inside himself, flee into his dark side, pull the cold rage over himself like a shield. It took too long, he hadn't tried to go fully into his dark side since Azkaban. And then when his blood was something like cold, he looked up again, and saw Hermione in the chair again, and discovered that his dark side knew nothing about how to deal with this type of pain, it pierced through the coldness like a knife and didn't hurt less in the slightest.

comment by Chriswaterguy · 2012-03-22T15:02:37.148Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Nothing original just now - I just want to go on record as saying that HP:MOR is amazing, brilliant work - I really enjoy it, as well as learning from it.

comment by Jonathan_Elmer · 2012-03-22T05:51:25.730Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

There has been some speculation that Snape is H&C, but what has been lacking as far as I can tell is motive. I may have one. Cannon Snape was a Death Eater who only came over to Dumbledor's side because he wanted to try to save Lilly and then stayed on his side in order to help protect Harry out of respect for Lilly's sacrifice.

However, in chapter 27 Snape has a conversation with Harry and Snape says th