Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96

post by NancyLebovitz · 2013-07-25T04:36:01.374Z · score: 6 (7 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 525 comments

This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing chapter 96The previous thread is at almost 300 comments. 

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

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

Also: 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12,  13,  1415,  16,  17,  18,  19,  20,  21,  222324,  .

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Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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

525 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by William_Quixote · 2013-07-25T14:08:56.910Z · score: 50 (50 votes) · LW · GW

Three shall be Peverell's sons and three their devices by which Death shall be defeated.

  • chapter 96

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches, born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month -

  • chapter 86

There has previously been some speculation that the dark lord in Harry's birth prophesy is death rather than Voldemort. I think this interpretation just got a lot stronger.

James and Lilly had defied Voldemort but not death. The new lines back an interpretation that the Peverells thrice defied death with the three deathly hollows and Harry is born to the Peverell line.

This is, in some ways, a more natural interpretation of that clause since James and Lilly were in the Order and were defying Voldemort on a daily basis not just 3 times. The line of the Peverells makes the number three make sense rather than being arbitrary.

comment by kilobug · 2013-07-25T15:01:06.006Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Great idea, but what of the rest of the prophecy ?

And the Dark Lord shall mark him as his equal

That I can't think how to interpret it... how did Death mark Harry his equal ?

But he shall have power the Dark Lord knows not...

That could be any of love, rationality, or hope, the most common hypothesis of what powers Harry have.

either must destroy all but a remnant of the other

The remnant would be memory then ? If death defeats Harry, Harry is dead, but people will still remember him, probably for a long while, and if Harry defeats death, the memory that death existed will stay forever in everyone. Or the remnant of death would be death of non-sentient beings ?

comment by wuncidunci · 2013-07-25T19:50:48.224Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Dementors symbolise death. Dementors can destroy humans (by their kiss), and Harry can destroy dementors (by True Patronus). That if anything marks him as Death's equal. If not, dementors obeying him can be understood as him being Death's equal.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-07-25T20:37:23.760Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I was going to point out that "Make him go away," surely marked him as a monster or source of terror in someone's eyes.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T16:46:58.991Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

[tinfoil hat]

mark him as his equal

Suppose that Killing Curse just bounced off the night Voldemort died, just refused to work for some reason. If "magically embodied preference for death over life" haven't worked on someone, I would pretty much say that it means something.

Also, possible foreshadowing in chapter 5:

"I have formed an idea..." said Professor McGonagall. "After meeting you, that is. You triumphed over the Dark Lord by being more awful than he was, and survived the Killing Curse by being more terrible than Death."

Funny to think about, but probably I just see patterns where there are none.

remnant of the other

My a bit stretched interpretation is that Bayesian Conspiracy and Chaos Legion are Harry's remnants.

[/tinfoil hat]

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-07-26T01:29:53.087Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Funny to think about, but probably I just see patterns where there are none.

The part I've emphasized is oft called apophenia: "the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data."

In this case the data isn't random, but it may well be meaningless (i.e. not foreshadowing). I find the concept of apophenia a valuable way to understand how e.g. astrology seems so potent to so many people. Also conspiracy theories, etc. The apophenic tendencies of humans underlie many biases etc.

comment by ThisSpaceAvailable · 2013-07-27T06:13:35.228Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In the canon, the "neither can live while the other survives" didn't really make sense to me. I was willing to buy/pretend that Infant Harry somehow didn't count, and Spirit Voldemort didn't count, but Voldemort spent three years in corporeal form after that.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-07-25T18:09:53.695Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In HPMoR universe there is a ritual for summoning Death. Unless it is an euphemism for casting area-wide avada kedavra, it could mean Death is a person. A super-dementor or something. (In a world with magic, patronuses, dementors, cloaks that can hide their owner from death... why not?)

Words "shall mark him" are future tense. Maybe it didn't happen yet. It could happen after Harry (or someone else) summons Death. Probably after or during the magical FOOM.

(How exactly does killing the Death-person stop people from dying, I have no idea. I guess it is just another kind of magic. Or perhaps Harry will somehow stop people from dying, and the Death-person will try to stop him, e.g. by dispelling his magic.)

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T18:15:42.308Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ritual for summoning Death is just reference to the spell of Seething Death from one of the Lawrence Watt-Evans books.

comment by atorm · 2013-07-25T18:23:11.762Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Or the Rite of Ashk'Ente from Discworld.

comment by Axel · 2013-07-25T19:12:03.356Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Or it's the ritual to create dementors. Quirrel says that "the spell to dismiss Death is lost" and nobody knows how to destroy a dementor.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-11T18:02:48.553Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I like this line of reasoning. I've been batting around the idea that Dementors and Patronuses are essentially opposite (anti) versions of one another. Perhaps a dementor is made when someone tries to cast the Patronus Charm with entirely 'the wrong kind of thought to cast a Patronus Charm.'

A dark ritual would explain their persistence compared to the patronuses, but it doesn't adequately explain their number... Also, if the ritual created a dementor, wouldn't people be saying the ritual summons a dementor, rather than Death? Most people in hpmor seem to associate the dementors only with fear, not death, and you would expect otherwise if the ritual to summon death always resulted in a dementor.

Countering that, though, most people trying to summon 'Death' are probably both very sensitive to dementors and incapable of defending against them, so people could be mistaking the results of a Kiss with 'what happens when you try to summon Death.'

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-12T01:13:12.866Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

someone tries to cast the Patronus Charm with entirely 'the wrong kind of thought to cast a Patronus Charm

Under what circumstances would such an event actually take place?

A few obstacles:

  • A caster would already have been trained in the Patronus Charm (otherwise they'd not know the wandwork etc.), and therefore would be aware that there's no point trying to cast the Patronus Charm with non-happy thoughts.

  • The basic use of the Patronus Charm is emergency Dementor protection, which you would not want to mess up by experimenting with alternative kinds of thought when casting.

  • There must be countless instances of people trying to cast the Patronus Charm in the face of a Dementor, and failing because Dementor exposure had already turned their thoughts too dark. Wouldn't people notice if such castings could generate new Dementors?

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-12T02:02:30.599Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Fair points, though a failed Patronus Charm wouldn't always produce a Dementor if it only happened with a certain subset of wrong kinds of thought. I'm not sure why anyone might be making an attempt to cast a Patronus with a negative thought, but maybe if they use a happy thought that is at its core selfish or harmful to others? In which case, learning to cast the charm would tend to produce a new Dementor every so often as people experiment with finding a suitable memory or thought to use.

As for your last point, I suppose it would only make sense if the Dementors aren't created at the place in which the failed casting occurs. This might be an explanation of why the Dementors seem to be concentrated at Azkaban... fail to cast a Patronus and something produces a Dementor there. Although I don't think this is right because it seems too complicated, and I seem to recall something saying that wizards gathered/herded the Dementors to their nest in Azkaban.

Alternatively, the initial product of the failed Patronus Charm is undetected or unrecognized and only later grows into a Dementor. But if all the Dementors are rigidly controlled by the government, you might expect them to notice new Dementors being created outside their control even if it isn't obvious what is creating them.

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-12T20:57:14.849Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This might be an explanation of why the Dementors seem to be concentrated at Azkaban... fail to cast a Patronus and something produces a Dementor there. Although I don't think this is right because it seems too complicated, and I seem to recall something saying that wizards gathered/herded the Dementors to their nest in Azkaban.

There's also the fact that Azkaban is a small isolated island in the middle of a storm-swept sea. If by some accident of magical geography it happened to be the place where all Dementors naturally spawned, the probability of someone coming across the island AND discovering the Dementors AND living to tell the tale to the government is pretty low.

But if all the Dementors are rigidly controlled by the government, you might expect them to notice new Dementors being created outside their control even if it isn't obvious what is creating them.

Has it been established that Azkaban accounts for all Dementors? I can't remember any conclusive evidence in either direction.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-12T21:48:01.483Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My inference is based on the complaints Dumbledore makes about getting permission to bring a Dementor to Hogwarts and then having to explain its disappearance. You're right, though, it implies that the Ministry makes a firm accounting of the Dementors in Azkaban or otherwise under its control, but it doesn't really say anything about all Dementors everywhere.

Again the ghost of that statement about the wizards herding them all to Azkaban rises up... I don't remember if that statement claimed ALL Dementors had been moved there or if it was just all the ones in Britain. I don't even remember if that was a statement from canon or HPMoR or how reliable the speaker is.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-09-01T22:41:14.731Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's just the ones in Britain, I understood.

they are considered national possessions, Harry, weapons in case of war.

Ah. I made an assumption here, but from this I got that they kept their Dementors in reserve so that they would not lose an advantage that their enemies had. But an equally applicable interpretation would be that they did not want to lose an advantage that they had over their enemies.

Keeping that in mind, however, I would rather doubt that other governments would allow Britain to have such an exclusive advantage, not when the weapons are all held out in the middle of the ocean. Though that assumes that all of the other governments don't have their own exclusive weapons...

comment by TimS · 2013-07-26T01:39:14.305Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Or the ritual from the beginning of Gaiman's Sandman?

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-26T14:10:26.360Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A crossover in which HJPEV meets Dream and/or Death would be awesome, if anyone's bold enough to try to write this...

comment by mavant · 2013-07-27T18:06:22.813Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That ritual required quite a number more components... But then, it didn't WORK, so perhaps Burgess and his order meant to perform the one Quirrell meant.

This is my headcanon, now.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-12-12T16:18:15.923Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But it doesn't even have to be anything super powerful, this ritual. Imagine if it really defeated Death with the capital D - people would be keen on it, wouldn't they? Maybe it is something relatively mundane, like Comed Tea. You perform it and it automatically guides you to the nearest fatal trouble. Ideal for a HPMoR version of a Triwizard Tournament, with the prize being learning the anti-spell. I mean, it certainly seems like it will be an important thing, but that doesn't mean we can privilege the hypothesis that it will be THE way Harry will win.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-29T02:11:00.012Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The remnant would be memory then ?

So Harry doesn't get to bring back Hermione then?

comment by gothgirl420666 · 2013-07-28T06:15:08.731Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I can't believe no one has pointed this out yet. One line differs from the HPMoR prophecy and the canon one:

and either must destroy all but a remnant of the other, for those two different spirits cannot exist in the same world

and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives

This has obviously been rewritten to take out any reference to life or death, and instead talking about destruction and existence. Eliezer must have done this because "killing death" doesn't make sense. I would say 75% chance this theory is either true or discussed at some future point in the fanfiction.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T08:08:49.851Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I had figured that was intended to add "all but a remnant" so Our Hero wouldn't have to let the villain die. A most cunning misdirection, it seems - I think there's a good chance you're right.

Although judging by "he is coming ... he is here", EY doesn't shy away from questionably literal prophecies. (Or that didn't refer to Harry!)

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-07T11:42:19.661Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I thought that prophecy sounded differently the second time because it was actually a second prophecy, given that the end of the world is a significant enough event to produce enough time-pressure for multiple prophecies.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-08-18T19:58:51.217Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You mean "he is coming ... he is here"? Yeah, those are two separate linked prophecies. I meant they did not, on the most obvious interpretation, refer to a literal arrival.

comment by pjeby · 2013-07-29T21:55:05.530Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer must have done this because "killing death" doesn't make sense.

I assumed it meant Harry's not going to be able to reach the Pioneer Plaque. (Though I'm not sure what Harry's remnant would be, in the reverse case.)

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T19:40:05.068Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Just remembered a serious objection, originally from Tarhish on reddit:

I had been thinking about this possibility for a while, but now it also requires Dumbledore to have lied about Lily and James hearing the prophecy in the Hall of Prophecy. Because if they did, then it means they were mentioned in the prophecy, and this theory does not, at first thought, seem to allow that.

(from here, it's only 4 months old, you still can upvote that)

This argument can be somewhat handwaved away by "James is ascendant of Ignotus Peverell, and prophecy talks about several possible futures", but still.

comment by MBlume · 2013-07-28T18:58:27.458Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Harry frowned. "Well, I could listen to it, or the Dark Lord... oh, my parents. Those who had thrice defied him. They were also mentioned in the prophecy, so they could hear the recording?"

"If James and Lily heard anything different from what Minerva reported," Albus said evenly, "they did not say so to me."

"You took James and Lily there? " Minerva said.

"Fawkes can go to many places," Albus said. "Do not mention the fact."

Frankly, this reads like a non-answer to me.

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-07-29T01:39:31.931Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think Dumbles is trying to tell McGonagall that he took the Potters there while letting her keep plausible deniability.

comment by William_Quixote · 2013-07-26T22:14:02.506Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This theory fits some lines better than others. It's not a perfect fit, but it doesn't require Dumbledore to have lied. Even if "born to those who have thrice defied him" refers to the Peverell line and Death rather than to Lily & James and Voldemort, the "born as the 7th month dies" certainly does refer to Harry's birth and Lily had a hand in that. So she's mentioned in the prophesy and would be able to hear it under either interpretation

comment by redlizard · 2013-08-10T17:55:32.928Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In canon, the assignment of eligible hearers to prophecies is done by Minesty workers. Specifically, the judgment that "the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord" refers to Harry, and thus that Harry should have access to the prophecy, was made some time after the recording of the prophecy, by a human. On the assumption that things work the same in the rational-verse, the fact that Lily and James could hear the prophecy isn't evidence of anything other than the interpretation of the Minestry worker who handled the case.

comment by wuncidunci · 2013-07-25T20:05:37.305Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

My largest problem with the Dark Lord == Death theory is that it doesn't really square with Quirrelmort being another super-rationalist and Eliezer's First Law of Fanfiction (You can't make Frodo a Jedi unless you give Sauron the Death Star). Either Quirrelmort is a henchman or personification of Death, which is unlikely considering he is afraid of dying and the dementor try to frighten him in the Humanism arch. Or Quirrelmort is not the Sauron of this story but will help Harry to defeat the main bad guy Death. This could be a really cool ending, but I doubt that it would fit in the remaining arch.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-07-27T04:51:26.276Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

give Sauron the Death Star

I don't know, I think turning Sauron into death is comparable to giving Sauron the Death Star (i.e. your 'Quirrelmort is not Sauron' interpretation).

comment by ThrustVectoring · 2013-07-26T17:16:22.759Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Or Quirrelmort is not the Sauron of this story but will help Harry to defeat the main bad guy Death. This could be a really cool ending, but I doubt that it would fit in the remaining arch.

Read Eliezer's short story "The Sword of Good". I half-expect a "The 'good' wizard is only playing the role and really isn't helping make the world be a better place, while the 'evil' wizard is actually the righteous one".

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T08:11:10.977Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

At this point, I think "Quirrel is secretly good, he just acts evil for his own amusement/cynicism" simply isn't layered enough for that to really be what's behind the mask. After all, it's what he shows to Harry.

comment by wuncidunci · 2013-07-27T07:53:47.166Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've read it but didn't consider the possibility of a twist like that here as well.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2013-07-25T19:26:19.251Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

"Three shall be Peverell's sons and three their devices by which Death shall be defeated."

When I first saw this line, I didn't think it was very important, but could it mean that Harry is actually going to use the three Deathly Hallows to defeat death, i.e. make everyone immortal?

I confess, I hadn't paid that much attention to the possibility, because the canonical Deathly Hallows don't seem well-suited for the purpose. But I suppose there could be some effect where when the Elder Wand is used to cast the Patronus 2.0, you get an Uber Patronus, or maybe it lets you lets you kill a hundred Dementors without depleting your own life force, or something. And I suppose the Resurrection Stone could easily get an upgrade from canon. But how could the Invisibility Cloak be used as part of the process of granting immortality, beyond hiding from Dementors? Could hiding from Dementors become really important at the climax somehow? Doesn't seem like it, if the Elder Wand + Patronus 2.0 takes care of the Dementors, hmmm...

comment by ygert · 2013-07-25T20:47:09.896Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

There is the theory that the Invisibility Cloak's power to hide one from Death does not only apply to Dementors, but to death in general. So if you put the cloak over someone who is dying, they would stay alive, at least until the Cloak is removed and death can find them again.

It's just another of those crazy crackpot theories floating around here, but I think it could fill in that gap in your theory.

comment by maia · 2013-07-26T02:19:26.564Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The legend in canon says exactly that; the Peverell brother who got the Cloak was most successful, and lived a long time because the Cloak allowed him to evade death (until one day he took it off and got screwed).

comment by Xachariah · 2013-07-27T04:51:29.606Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

until one day he took it off and got screwed

He took it off and gave it to his son. In canon he meets death intentionally.

comment by ThisSpaceAvailable · 2013-07-27T06:03:28.212Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think that there's a difference between preventing imminent death, and avoiding death. That is, there's a difference between being in a situation where you "should" die, but you don't, and not getting in such a situation to begin with.

And in the canon story (which may not be canon; it appears in the canon, but that doesn't mean it's canon), the third brother greeted Death "as an old friend", so apparently he had the same attitude that Dumbledore had: dying after a full life is not a tragedy.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-31T15:43:33.087Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Of course he had that opinion, Rowling was writing themes so deathist that even the me of that time--who had yet to even hear of transhumanism--was thrown by it.

Voldemort is defined as evil partially just because of his fear of and avoidance of death--if you notice, she explicitly built it so that most of his atrocities occurred after and because of the steps he took to avoid death.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T08:13:09.309Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, Harry suggested himself that they practiced on the "little deaths" of Dementors first ... so you're probably on to something ;-)

comment by arborealhominid · 2013-07-26T01:36:26.554Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you put the cloak over someone who is dying, they would stay alive, at least until the Cloak is removed and death can find them again.

I'm surprised Harry didn't try this for Hermione, then. Maybe he wouldn't have expected it to work, but it's still an easy hypothesis to test.

It was amazing how many different ways there were to kill your best friend by being stupid.

comment by mavant · 2013-07-27T18:08:53.936Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It's a shame you retracted this, because I wanted to +1 it.

comment by arborealhominid · 2013-07-27T23:36:15.080Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't actually remember why I retracted it. I tried to un-retract it afterwards, but I don't think that's possible.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T16:56:35.730Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Thing of note:

Harry in chapter 86:

...Don't get me wrong - I do realize that my interpretation sounds stretched. Trelawney's phrasing doesn't seem natural for describing only the events that historically happened on October 31st, 1981 ... But if you think of the prophecy as being about several possible futures, only one of which was actually realized on Halloween, then the prophecy could already be complete.

The prophecy can be interpreted in two ways: "Harry fights Voldemort" and "Harry fights Death" (ignoring more exotic ones like "Harry is Dark Lord and Quirrel is the hero").

At this point, both positions are justified. Yes, some lines look strange if we assume "Harry fights Death" point of view, but some lines look strange if we assume "Harry fights Voldemort" point of view: just look at chapter 76. The passage above suggests this is normal.

I find myself in a doubt about which interpretation is correct, and it looks like this is exactly as Eliezer wanted it.

comment by DubiousTwizzler · 2013-07-25T15:51:35.472Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... And the Dark Lord shall mark him as his equal. But he shall have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must destroy all but a remnant of the other, for those two different spirits cannot exist in the same world. - chapter 86

Oddly, I feel like each line in this prophecy could equally well point to Dark Lord as Voldemort OR Dark Lord as Death.

Although P(Dark Lord as Death) should get a complexity penalty since Voldemort should be the default candidate due to canon.

EDIT: The last sentence is wrong. What I should've said is that since Voldemort is the prophecy's referent in canon, and he is called the Dark Lord in both canon and hpmor, I'm still assigning >50% probability to Quirrellmort being the entity referred to in hpmor's prophecy.

comment by Manfred · 2013-07-25T16:47:46.697Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

complexity penalty

This is a misuse of jargon.

comment by DubiousTwizzler · 2013-07-25T17:21:12.423Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Since it seems like these two explanations fit this specific piece of evidence (roughly) equally well, and we know that Quirrelmort is the entity referenced by the prophecy in canon, and that Voldemort is called the Dark Lord in both canon and hpmor, then why wouldn't Dark Lord as Death get a 'complexity penalty'?

If I'm using it wrong, please explain.

comment by Manfred · 2013-07-25T17:30:18.425Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Complexity means it requires additional things to happen even if you had no evidence.

For example, a more complex hypothesis than "Bob is a human" is "Bob is a human who lives at 123 Fake St."

Voldemort being called the dark lord is evidence, and learning about new evidence does not itself make a hypothesis more or less complex. It's just evidence.

comment by DubiousTwizzler · 2013-07-25T17:41:54.050Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

You're right. Thanks for the correction!

comment by ThisSpaceAvailable · 2013-07-27T05:54:45.631Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You seem to be saying "A is more complex than B means 'if A then B' ", which is not true. The commonly used term for this is "strength". "Bob is human who lives at 123 Fake St." is strictly stronger than "Bob is human".

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T17:41:59.731Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You are talking about prior probability. P(Dark Lord is Death|no specific background information) roughly equals to P(Eliezer changes things from canon), which isn't very large; so after updating both with a equally favorable piece of evidence "Death is Dark Lord" is still behind "Voldemort is Dark Lord".

You can assign prior probabilities in various ways, and one of them is giving every hypothesis an appropriate complexity penalty (or you can just judge everything as equally likely, or give everything a simplicity penalty, or penalize every hypothesis according to how many people it affects, or...). Some ways are better than others, but:

1) Why "complexity penalty" should work in fiction, even in a rationalist fiction?

2) Why hypothesis "Voldemort is Dark Lord" is simpler than "Death is Dark Lord" in the sense of program length? One can argue that the former hypothesis points to the specific human from a pool of a 6 billion people (or 100 billion, if you want to consider every human ever lived) while the latter talks about some entity likely to be very basic from the Magic viewpoint.

Hope that clears some of confusion!

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-07-25T18:50:04.388Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

1) Why "complexity penalty" should work in fiction, even in a rationalist fiction?

Because there will still be an infinite (countable) number of finite hypotheses which could be considered and only a finite amount of probability to divide among them, which necessarily implies that in the limit more complicated hypotheses will have individual probability approaching zero. This will be true in the limit even if you define 'complexity' differently than the person who constructed the distribution.

comment by ThisSpaceAvailable · 2013-07-27T21:59:06.543Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Is "A or B" more "complex" than "A"? It seems to me that it generally takes more bits to say "A or B", but the prior for "A" should be smaller than for "A or B". Is there something in the "assign prior according to complexity" heuristic that accounts for that?

comment by Benquo · 2013-07-26T18:17:13.737Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, I suppose you could judge the "complexity" of the plot of a fan fic by how much it deviated from Canon.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-26T20:23:30.201Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's not very useful measure.

So, there is Lesath Lestrange, an original character. Which is more likely: "Lesath thinks that Harry is his Lord" or "Lesath is a 3-level (or any specific number instead of "3") player who wants to decieve Harry, and also he is H&C which is possible because he knows how to fool anti-obliviation wards"?

Your approach will just say "I don't know what to make of it. We have already departured from the canon and I can't work here" with a sad look on face.

EDIT: I re-read my comment, and it seems to be arrogant and condescending. I didn't intend it to be so, and not sure how I should change it, so I figured I should just apologize beforehand. Your approach to assigning priors is reasonable one, it just lacking some vital parts.

comment by Benquo · 2013-07-26T23:10:44.650Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that it's an incomplete measure. As you point out, we would need some measure of the complexity of divergences from Canon, which requires a more general measure.

Another way to put it would be, I don't think it's unreasonable in a fanfic to assign all the details prescribed in Canon a complexity of zero.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-26T23:15:30.020Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This seems reasonable indeed.

(if you are interested, the thing you are pointing at is conditional Kolmogorov complexity)

comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-07-25T19:24:12.018Z · score: 2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

There has previously been some speculation that the dark lord in Harry's birth prophesy is death rather than Voldemort.

Voldemort's name means "full of death". (Maybe "thief of death".) Perhaps Voldemort made himself a personification of Death in order to personally avoid it, seeking for himself alone what the Peverells sought for all?

comment by gwern · 2013-07-26T19:21:10.085Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Voldemort's name means "full of death". (Maybe "thief of death".)

Sure? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Voldemort :

Some literary analysts have considered possible meanings in the name: Philip Nel states that Voldemort is derived from the French for "flight of death,"[10] and in a 2002 paper, Nilsen and Nilsen suggest that readers get a "creepy feeling" from the name Voldemort, because of the French word "mort" ("death") within it and that word's association with cognate English words derived from the Latin mors.[11]

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Tom_Riddle :

the most accurate etymology of Voldemort would be the French sentence "Vol de mort" which literally means "Flight of death" (accurate considering the murder waves he commited and as his unique power). It is quite plausible that is the real etymology of his name as J.K. Rowling herself speaks French and had taught it once. The Catalan expression "vol de mort", also means "flight of death" or, since "Vol" may also be from the Latin root "volere" (will or desire), may mean "death wish".

comment by MBlume · 2013-07-28T19:00:15.579Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I've always assumed it meant "flight from death"

comment by 27chaos · 2014-09-23T19:25:38.383Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It would be slightly interesting to read a fic in which Naming was a mechanism of magic, and Voldemort chose that specific name for very good reasons. Reasons which explained why people feared the name. Maybe he stole the Grim Reaper's power for his very own, somehow becoming Master of Death or Flight from Death or something similar, something involving an actual title with power invested into it. Neat thoughts in this area, easy for the picking. French is kind of a silly language for it, of course.

comment by Benquo · 2013-07-28T19:38:56.598Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

may mean "death wish".

Killing intention?

comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-07-26T21:02:24.625Z · score: -4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Sure?

No, that's just the general impression the word gives me. Which seems to be how Rowling chose all the names.

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-07-26T17:38:54.499Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's a canon name, so let's not overthink it ...

comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-07-26T18:40:06.962Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Rowling certainly didn't.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-26T20:13:26.900Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Canon Tom Riddle didn't either. There are only so much words you can get from letters "TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE", after all.

comment by Armok_GoB · 2013-07-26T21:35:31.640Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Death" isn't the name of any aspect, surely you mean "Thief of Time"? :p /me imagines Volvermort in a red gear-emblazoned Vriska outfit

comment by Turgurth · 2013-07-26T17:18:51.012Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Google Translate gets me "flight of death" or "wants death". "Flight of death" might refer to AK. More interestingly, "wants death" would make no sense in reference to himself wanting death, but it would make sense in reference to Voldemort wanting the deaths of others. There's some possible support for your interpretation there.

comment by gjm · 2013-07-25T14:59:29.959Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Nice idea, but how does death mark someone as his (its) equal? Surely not just by killing his friends, else a substantial fraction would be "the equal of death", which doesn't seem right.

comment by solipsist · 2013-07-25T16:29:08.308Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Nice idea, but how does death mark someone as his (its) equal?

Hmm. How about:

HE IS HERE. THE ONE WHO WILL TEAR APART THE VERY STARS IN HEAVEN. HE IS HERE. HE IS THE END OF THE WORLD.

The destroyer of the world would be Death's equal. Being killer of Death itself wouldn't be too shabby either.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-07-25T17:01:10.066Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I don't have trouble believing that Harry is Death's equal, but this doesn't explain how he was marked by Death as his equal. The Killing Curse bouncing off for whatever reason might be the best explanation. The scar is Death's mark, not Voldemort's. That seems a bit...forced, but it does explain why Quirrellmort hasn't done anything besides kill Rita Skeeter and free Bellatrix Black only to never speak of her again. Death has struck many times, and has been the focus of Harry's rage and obsession, Voldemort has more than once faded into the background and seemed ambiguously an ally. Another reason to believe that the enemy is Death and not Voldemort is that Voldemort was defeated, as far as we know - he's not the Lord of anything anymore - while Death most certainly still reigns.

But to look at counterarguments - what if the mark we're talking about is not the scar at all? If the Dark Lord really is Voldemort, it's a bit silly to think that Voldemort would acknowledge a baby as his equal. Once Harry came to Hogwarts, Quirrell certainly recognized his rationality and intelligence, and marked him, if only psychologically, as his intellectual equal. "We're not like the rest of them, you and I..."

I'm still leaning toward the interpretation of Death as the Dark Lord, if only because I have no idea what Voldemort can pull in the next seven to ten chapters that would make him definitively the most important enemy presence in the story.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-31T16:31:59.635Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

...are you seriously that sure that Quirrellmort isn't Mr. Hat & Cloak & thus didn't Obliviate-blast Hermione & didn't set her up for murder & didn't have Draco nearly killed (not to mention that debacle with the Armies), and that he didn't have anything to do with the Troll (despite canon) & Hermione's body disappearing (though there are serious suspicions that Harry dealt with that himself), and that the deal with the Dementor eating Harry wasn't intentional, and that perpetuating the conflict with the bullies via the 100 House Points was accidental, and other things that aren't outright against the protagonists (like revealing Snape to the bullies), and honestly probably more things I'm forgetting--you're seriously that sure that he wasn't behind any of those things that you don't even mention them as possibilities for what he could have done?

Actually, thank you for this post. Forcing myself to think up and list all of the ways that I believe he's acted, contrasted against what we know he's done and given that we know via Eliezer that Dhveeryy vf Ibyqrzbeg, has eliminated some of my doubt that he was involved. It makes no sense for him to be so important and yet do so little.

comment by Benito · 2013-07-25T20:11:22.760Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The Patronus?

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-11T17:52:56.770Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think there's really reason to think this new prophecy must be evidence of any hypothesis made for the Trelawney prophecy(s). It's tempting to look at all the threes and see that that makes nice things happen to the parts of your brain that are concerned with pattern recognition, but there's no reason they have to even be referring to the same things at all. And depending on how you look at it, the simpler explanation is that they are just two different prophecies about two different things.

The time pressure explanation for prophecies suggests that it's rare for prophecies to be about the same events. By all rights we should be focusing on the fact that there seem to have been a series of prophecies and quasi-prophetic stresses all focused on one person. This is particularly true if 'He is coming' and 'He is here' refers to Harry (or more specifically the development of his mind or spirit), but even if it isn't, it seems Harry is a lightning rod for prophecies. That in itself might be more significant than the prophecies themselves.

comment by taelor · 2013-07-25T22:14:03.202Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Would this imply that Harry is descended from all three Peverell brothers?

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-07-26T08:17:11.244Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Given that the brothers lived 800 years ago and the magical world is quite small that's very probable.

comment by Kindly · 2013-07-25T22:42:29.866Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

And then he uses a Time-Turner to have three total copies of himself to do the ritual?

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T08:09:39.929Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Not really, no. Why would it? In fact, I'm pretty sure only the third brother had any children.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-04T12:53:12.836Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Voldemort and Potter are descended from two different brothers. I'm unsure if the third had any canon children or not, but I'm now imagining Dumbledore being descended from him and the three main characters going on a Death-killing mission.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-07T11:44:48.955Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The third was the only one to have a directly referenced child, he passed on his cloak to it.

comment by gthorneiii · 2013-07-25T15:28:51.285Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I strongly agree, but I'm still left wondering how to interpret the rest of the prophesy:

And the Dark Lord shall mark him as his equal. But he shall have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must destroy all but a remnant of the other, for those two different spirits cannot exist in the same world.

Edit: The prophesy still seems to be a good fit for Quirrelmort for this second half, but Death for the first half. I'm left wondering if there is some important relationship between Death and Quirrelmort that may resolve this.

We know that Quirrelmort is afraid of death (as is Harry's dark side), and that Harry is entirely sympathetic to that view. Voldemort/Riddle/Monroe seem to have an aging effect on Quirrel's body. Could it be that Voldemort/Riddle/Monroe have engaged in some sort of arrangement with Death to secure their own immortality? This would make the Quirrelmort character both ally and enemy of Death, and complicate the interpretation of the prophesy as well as Harry's course of action.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-12-12T15:06:38.002Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How can Death leave a piece of Harry undestroyed? And it 'must' do so. This seems to make more sense the spirit be a comparable thing. (On a silly note, I know exactly 1 fic in which attention was paid to another part of Trelawney's prophecy, equally vague in wording, but it was set in Rowling-verse.)

comment by gjm · 2013-07-28T11:13:17.081Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

On the other hand -- again paying close attention to the wording of Eliezer's modification -- it doesn't seem to me that Death, in HPMOR, can reasonably be described as a "spirit".

comment by redlizard · 2013-08-12T01:23:22.089Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A piece of evidence in favour of this idea is that Harry, in spite of Dumbledore's warnings, has tried to interpret the prophecy and arrived at almost exactly the canon interpretation on his first try. With dramatic convention regarding the interpretation of prophecies demanding that Harry's interpretation is completely wrong, this lends credibility to the Dark Lord Death hypothesis.

comment by thomblake · 2013-07-25T14:36:17.467Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Nice connection

comment by solipsist · 2013-07-25T16:42:14.635Z · score: 17 (21 votes) · LW · GW

Just spelling out that we have a much better idea now what the first lines of the book mean:

Beneath the moonlight glints a tiny fragment of silver, a fraction of a line...

(black robes, falling)

...blood spills out in litres, and someone screams a word.

The silver likely refers to:

Neither of them noticed the tall stone worn as though from a thousand years of age, upon it a line within a circle within a triangle glowing ever so faintly silver, like the light which had shone from Harry's wand, invisible at that distance beneath the still-bright Sun.

comment by gjm · 2013-07-26T19:35:17.909Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

If so, then:

  • Presumably what's happening is some ritual involving the Deathly Hallows, carried out by Harry or Voldemort or both
  • Most likely with the goal of defeating Death (somehow)
  • So I guess the litres of blood are a requirement of the ritual (note: in view of earlier stuff about how modest the things sacrificed in rituals are, it had better be something as grand as defeating Death)
  • Harry doesn't seem like the type to spill other people's blood even for such a goal (though, I dunno, he might) and Voldemort may quite possibly wish to spill Harry's
  • So maybe it's Harry's blood, and he's (directly or, or letting Voldemort do it) sacrificing his own life to put a permanent end to death for everyone else
  • Which would make a certain amount of dramatic sense
  • In which case, probably the word being screamed is "No!" or "Harry!" or something of the kind
  • Though maybe it ends up with him getting resurrected too; see, e.g., canon Harry Potter, Narnia, Jesus -- the first two being deliberately derived from the latter; not so congenial an idea to Eliezer as to Rowling (who is a Christian), but note Eliezer's "Ta-da" remark when Leah mentioned "Christus Victor" and divide-by-zero errors
  • So maybe e.g. Harry needs to be killed while invisible to Death because of the Cloak of Invisibility; perhaps that sends his soul-or-similar-thing to wherever wizards' souls go, but without him actually being properly dead, and enables him to fix things up there (a very "Christus Victor" idea; maybe too much so)
  • None of this seems to connect with the prophecy about "the one with power to vanquish the Dark Lord", but maybe as others have speculated the Dark Lord in question is Death or something

All, of course, pure wild ass-speculation.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-07-28T15:21:46.165Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry doesn't seem like the type to spill other people's blood even for such a goal

Why? What makes you think that the rational hero wouldn't push the fat man?

comment by gjm · 2013-07-28T16:29:39.610Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What makes you think that the rational hero wouldn't push the fat man?

From chapter 39:

Well obviously I'm not going to popularize a method of immortality that requires killing people! That would defeat the entire point!

and recall his anguished inner debate about whether he would, in extremis, allow himself to kill people on the other side in his war against Voldemort. But, for sure, that's not enough evidence to be certain he wouldn't, which is why I added:

(though, I dunno, he might).

comment by mavant · 2013-07-27T18:27:51.532Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Can't be Harry's blood; at age eleven he's certainly got less than 3 litres (if he weighs ~80 pounds), possibly little more than two (can't recall if HJPEV is as skinny as Canon!HP). If you cut off a limb, he might have as much one litre "spill" out, but the rest would just sort of... dribble in spurts.

comment by Velorien · 2013-07-28T10:42:52.423Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is there any stipulation that the blood must be freshly gathered, and not kept preserved as for transfusions?

comment by UnclGhost · 2013-07-29T03:54:22.459Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting. Some of the things that have been described as silver or silvery so far:

  • The Patronus charm (particularly the True Patronus)
  • The Deathly Hallows symbol in this chapter
  • The stars in space
  • The Invisibility Cloak (in canon, at least)

All of these seem to have in common that they represent some sort of resistance to death or indifference (usually represented by coldness, like the vacuum of space or Harry's dark side). This has probably already been pointed out a lot, but I predict that whatever is glinting silver in the prologue represents something similar, even if it's something else entirely (e.g. a dagger, the Sword of Gryffindor, etc.)

Edit: also, as someone pointed out earlier, the Philosopher's Stone now turns metals into silver as well as gold (see Hedonic Awareness).

comment by [deleted] · 2014-12-12T13:37:00.945Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

...and Harry Potter. By Draco Malffoy, no less.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T07:50:17.210Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I always figured that was a knife, flashing. Y'know, because of all the blood.

comment by 75th · 2013-07-27T22:09:50.017Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think "likely" may be an overstatement at this juncture. The entire Deathly Hallows insignia hardly seems like "a tiny fragment… a fraction of a line". I suppose it's possible that some ritual results in the glowy part being erased until only a small portion of the wand is left. But the word "glint" sounds like it's a metallic object moving and flashing light briefly, not something glowing with its own light continually for a time. And while it's possible that Harry will be driven to spill liters of blood to resurrect Hermione, that sounds more like a ritual for Little Hangleton than for Godric's Hollow.

It's definitely a candidate, though. It's in a graveyard, which as we all know is a great destination for bloody moonlit rituals in Harry Potter books. There is a silver line involved. Too early for "likely", but worth keeping in mind.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-07T12:09:06.266Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The black robes might be a Dementors cloak. The falling might mean the Dementor moving faster than any broomstick, the robes being left behind.

comment by HungryHippo · 2013-07-27T11:06:54.627Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry resurrecting his parents?

comment by Randaly · 2013-07-25T12:32:39.882Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

There'd been some discussion of why HPMOR!Hogwarts was founded around 1200, as opposed to canon Hogwarts, which was "established around the 9th or 10th century." This chapter seems to make the reason clear: the founders were near-contemporaries of the Peverells, who kept their canon birthdates. Godric Gryffindor in particular seems likely to have been involved.

silently, making less noise than the dead leaves slithering along the pavement...

This is a quote from canon, in a scene where Harry is nearly possessed by Voldemort; it's Voldemort's memories of the night he died. It's italicized, as with Harry internal conversations, suggesting that this is part of Voldemort in Harry, remembering the night he died. (?)

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-07-25T18:55:51.099Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

My model of the Peverells has them substantially earlier than Hogwarts (because the Elder Wand seems like a more powerful artifact than the Sword of Gryffindor).

comment by topynate · 2013-07-25T19:23:27.638Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Aha! The prophecy we just heard in chapter 96 is Old English. However, by the 1200s, when, according to canon, the Peverell brothers were born, we're well into Middle English (which Harry might well understand on first hearing). I was beginning to wonder if there was not some old wizard or witch listening, for whom that prophecy was intended.

There's still the problem of why brothers with an Anglo-Norman surname would have Old English as a mother tongue... well, that could happen rather easily with a Norman father and English mother, I suppose.

And the coincidence of Canon!Ignotus Peverell being born in 1214, the estimated year of Roger Bacon's birth, seemed significant too... I shall have to go back over the chapters referring to his diary.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-10T05:58:46.060Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The name isn't really an issue for a number of reasons. It could have been changed by the family itself to take advantage of political and social conditions, and storytellers also would have reason to update the name to appeal to their audiences.

In fact, considering the centuries-long game of telephone that would be at play, it's more surprising that the modern name is as close as it is to the name that appears in the prophecy itself. This makes it fairly likely that the whole story had been lost and was rediscovered relatively recently and then gallicized.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T13:57:17.080Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's interesting that Godric's Hollow was named after Godric, not Peverells. It seems that they weren't as famous as him, for some reason.

comment by Velorien · 2013-07-25T20:53:14.780Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Godric was the highest-profile member of a small group who led armies in battle, raised a castle by magic alone, and vanquished at least one and probably many Dark Lords. The Peverells created a small number of artefacts whose very existence faded into obscure myths known only to the learned. The difference in fame is entirely logical based on what we know.

comment by alex_zag_al · 2013-07-28T19:49:22.535Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

obscure myths known only to the learned

Did you know that the Deathly Hallows feature in one of the Tales of Beedle the Bard, known to all wizarding children, not just the learned?

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-07-25T18:24:44.867Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It seems that they weren't as famous as him, for some reason.

Perhaps transhumanism was already controversial in 1200, so a less controversial hero was selected for naming.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-25T19:22:00.354Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Probably not on the map, actually, but Godric was famous and spectacular.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-25T07:51:21.360Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

It strikes me that this is even more obviously a turning point than it already is.

First: This is the first hint to Harry that he is not alone. All this story, Harry has been defined by his aloofness; the one person as "sane" as he is cannot be trusted, and for all that Hermione tries she's just more of a apprentice than a co-hero, she's not on the same scale that Harry acts on.

No longer. Harry knows, now, that there are more like him, and they too are smart, and competent, and they have gifts for him from hundreds of years in the past.

Second: This also solves one of the problems I had been worrying about, which was: How can Harry solve Death without it looking like a Deus ex Machina? Sanderson's First Law: magic cannot be used to solve a problem except where it is foreshadowed and constructed from existing effects. There's been a few ideas tossed around - Summon Death + True Patronus and the like - but they all seem to have... unhelpful side effects. (In particular, actually ending "Death" would be a bad thing, because Death kills bacteria as much as it kills humans. You want to destroy "Death of Humans" or come up with a mass-producible immortality elixir, not kill Death outright.)

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T11:32:39.354Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Relevant quote, conversation with a Sorting Hat:

"And you would find loyalty and friendship in Hufflepuff, a camaraderie that you have never had before. You would find that you could rely on others, and that would heal something inside you that is broken."

It seems that something broken was healed at last.

PS: Tangentially related to the Harry's inability to rely on others: chapter 31, chapter 70 (Maybe if there were more heroes, their lives wouldn't be so lonely, or so short.), chapter 93.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-25T19:26:16.867Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Would be interesting to see what would happen to Hufflepuff HPEJV. Probably would see the graveyard earlier...

comment by kilobug · 2013-07-25T10:12:03.588Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Death, with a capital D, the one represented by Dementors, the one defeated by True Patronus means "destruction of a consciousness" in my understanding. It's why animals are unaffected by Dementors, why the Patronus charms are animals, ... so ending Death with a capital D would make prevent the destruction of a consciousness, but wouldn't prevent death (with a small d) of bacteria, plants, and most animals.

comment by Velorien · 2013-07-25T16:11:18.711Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Death, with a capital D, the one represented by Dementors, the one defeated by True Patronus means "destruction of a consciousness" in my understanding. It's why animals are unaffected by Dementors, why the Patronus charms are animals, ... so ending Death with a capital D would make prevent the destruction of a consciousness, but wouldn't prevent death (with a small d) of bacteria, plants, and most animals.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the thrust of your argument, but surely this wouldn't work in a reductionist universe like the one Harry believes he's living in, since there consciousness isn't a thing so much as a shorthand for certain electrical events in the brain? In other words, while humans differ from animals in having self-awareness, it is not the case that there is a thing called "consciousness" that humans have and animals don't. (cf. Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness)

comment by FeepingCreature · 2013-07-25T17:04:27.135Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Just because something is defined on a higher layer of abstraction doesn't mean that there is "no such thing", any more than there is "no such thing as an apple" just because physics doesn't draw object boundaries. Humans draw object boundaries, and in the HPVerse, magic listens to humans. I think the strongest thing you can say is "There is no such thing in reductionist physics as a consciousness", which is not the same as "consciousness doesn't exist" even in our universe, and doubly so in Harry's where magic gives concepts direct relevance.

comment by Velorien · 2013-07-25T21:19:47.032Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think you're missing my point. I'm not saying "reductionism prevents consciousness from existing". I'm saying that:

If consciousness in the Potterverse is the same sort of thing as consciousness in our universe (i.e. a way of describing electrical signals in the brain, and not a magical ineffable substance like a soul)

and

the differences between humans and animals in the Potterverse are same or similar to those in our universe

then

it is impossible for humans in the Potterverse to have consciousness while animals lack it

and

it is impossible to end death for humans but not animals using consciousness as the criterion for distinguishing between the two.

My original reference to reductionism was just to eliminate the possibility of Potterverse consciousness being a magical ineffable substance (in which case this argument would not apply).

comment by FeepingCreature · 2013-07-26T15:44:11.663Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think this comes down to a sloppy definition of consciousness, where what parent possibly meant was self awareness plus symbolic comprehension of death.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-07-27T08:40:59.979Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

plus symbolic comprehension of death.

Which is clearly pertinent due to how Patronus works. Good catch.

comment by kilobug · 2013-07-25T17:58:28.423Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The way I see Harry defeating death is more in the shape of casting a spell similar to Merlin's Interdict, a global enchantment, that saves the data that makes someone this person whenever a consciousness is terminated, and respawn it in a functional body. Such kind of global spell definitely can rely on high-level concepts such as "consciousness" or "self-awareness", exactly like the Interdict of Merlin relies on similar high-level concepts.

And where to draw the line for animals an implementation details, that is relevant in what Harry "should" do, but not in the core idea.

It also seems that magic already contains similar distinction in the AK spell, which doesn't seem to affect animals in MOR, and in the way only humans can create ghosts.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-07-26T09:24:45.353Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

casting a spell similar to Merlin's Interdict, a global enchantment, that saves the data that makes someone this person whenever a consciousness is terminated, and respawn it in a functional body

Maybe someone (the Peverell brothers) already did something like this, just incompletely. The data is saved... but not respawned; just collected somewhere. This may be what is referred to as "souls".

Of course, humans being what they are, even if some wizards notice the souls, they don't start thinking about reincarnating them.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-27T10:26:46.916Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect that something like this already exists, and is involved in ghosts, portraits, and the Ressurrection Stone, but does not recreate consciousness.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-07-25T18:19:55.381Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It also seems that magic already contains similar distinction in the AK spell, which doesn't seem to affect animals in MOR

Quirrell explicitly states in this first class that it will kill anything with a brain.

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-07-25T19:35:28.254Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What gave you the impression that AK didn't affect animals?

Doesn't QM go on for a while about how it allows a wizard to kill any threat other than a dementor?

comment by kilobug · 2013-07-25T19:53:11.347Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

As said in a later comment, Moody's explanation that AK directly strikes at souls.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-09-01T23:49:18.192Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The Killing Curse is unblockable, unstoppable, and works every single time on anything with a brain.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T18:07:10.461Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

AK spell, which doesn't seem to affect animals in MOR,

Don't remember it. Could you give a source?

comment by kilobug · 2013-07-25T18:32:29.575Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

From chapter 86 :

And to answer your question, boy, there’s two reasons why that spell’s in the blackest book. The first is that the Killing Curse strikes directly at the soul, and it’ll just keep going until it hits one. Straight through shields. Straight through walls.

For Moody to believe that, it means either "animals have a soul" is a frequent belief among wizards, but then we would have had hints of it earlier, or it doesn't kill animals. That's how I interpreted it at least.

comment by asr · 2013-07-25T18:43:16.281Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The killing curse works on animals in HPMOR. In Chapter 16, Quirrel tells the class that "The Killing Curse is unblockable, unstoppable, and works every single time on anything with a brain."

The view that "animals have souls" isn't particularly esoteric -- Aristotle asserted this, as did Thomas Aquinas. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul#Aristotle). So I don't think we should have expected it to be explicitly mentioned.

Both Aristotle and Thomas think of animal souls (and plant souls!) as qualitatively inferior to human souls, but they do claim they exist.

comment by CronoDAS · 2013-07-25T22:34:27.162Z · score: 25 (25 votes) · LW · GW

Now I have the image of someone wearing "armor" made of live animals of some sort in order to absorb Killing Curses.

There's a new Dark Wizard in town, boys and girls... and he's COVERED IN BEES!

comment by gwillen · 2013-07-26T04:04:45.012Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

You jest, but it seems -- depending on whether one believes that AK works on animals or not -- that you have just come up with a way to block the unblockable curse. That's some serious lateral thinking, right there.

comment by taygetea · 2013-07-26T06:10:35.845Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Creating arbitrary animals that are barely alive, don't need food, water, air, or movement, and made of easily workable material which is also good as armor seems like a good place to start, and also within the bounds of magic. This isn't as absurd as it seems. Essentially living armor plates. You'd want them to be thin so you could have multiple layers, and to fall off when they die, and various similar things. Or maybe on a different scale, like scale or lamellar armor.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-07-28T03:44:10.876Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Oogely Boogely? Summoning a desk and transfiguring it into a pig? Petrifying numerous terminally ill people, transfiguring them into something small and stable (aka the ringmione hypothesis), and using a finite to turn them into a shield? Filling a mokeskin pouch with chilled snakes? (Imagines Voldemort constantly casting AK at Harry, who constantly shouts snake and pulls something out of his pouch). Or maybe even Serpensortia, if the conjured snake counts for purposes of AK (it can be finited, after all). Or one could just summon a cloud of spiders ("The Amazing Spider-Mage! Not to be confused with Spider-Muggle!)

In canon, Faux-Moody demonstrated AK on a spider. Are spiders still vulnerable to AK in MoR?

comment by taygetea · 2013-07-28T03:59:55.823Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

According to Quirrel, yes, they are. "Anything with a brain". And I notice that you've only looked at what we've directly seen. The presence of spells like all the ones you mentioned lead me to think that you can do more directed things with spells harry hasn't come across yet.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-26T08:38:15.269Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh god.

What if you used nanotech to make your skin be made out of patches with very small brains...

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-28T20:39:55.781Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The Killing Curse only works if you want the other person to die, so it wouldn't affect the bees.

comment by kilobug · 2013-07-25T19:07:27.432Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

If wizards believed animals had souls :

  1. They would have had a different reaction in chapter 48 when Harry became a vegetarian after learning about parselmouth.

  2. It would have been hinted in a way or another in the Prentending to be Wise arc, or otherwise in all the debate between Harry and other wizards about if soul exists.

  3. In chapter 47 Draco wouldn't have be saying so seriously that muggles don't have souls.

That's not very strong evidence, I admit. But taken those 3 pieces of evidence, combined with the lack of any evidence pointing in the wide belief that animals have souls, it seems reasonable to assume the common belief among wizards is that animals don't have souls.

So it seems Quirrel and Moody are contradicting each other on how the Killing Curse actually works.

comment by gthorneiii · 2013-07-25T19:17:51.628Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

More likely still is that people really don't think on the matter much and so don't have well formed or necessarily consistent views of souls.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-07-25T21:12:51.241Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The animal and vegetative souls can die, and lack various functional properties. There's a reason some of us would prefer to abandon the word.

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-07-25T19:40:45.804Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

They would have had a different reaction in chapter 48 when Harry became a vegetarian after learning about parselmouth.

I believe that animals have brains, different from human brains mostly only in intelligence. and am not a vegetarian. Wizards probably think of muggles as having souls, and have been known in cannon to hunt them for sport. Slave masters definitely though of their slaves as having souls.

It would have been hinted in a way or another in the Prentending to be Wise arc, or otherwise in all the debate between Harry and other wizards about if soul exists.

Why do you think this?

In chapter 47 Draco wouldn't have be saying so seriously that muggles don't have souls.

Touche. Draco is still an 11 year old put on the spot, so this is weak evidence.

comment by kilobug · 2013-07-25T19:58:59.222Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I believe that animals have brains, different from human brains mostly only in intelligence. and am not a vegetarian.

Sure, but you can understand vegetarian, and a fair deal of humans are vegetarian. There isn't the slightest evidence of any wizard being vegetarian. If wizards actually believed animals had souls, not just brain, there would be more, not less, vegetarian wizards than vegetarian muggles.

Wizards probably think of muggles as having souls, and have been known in cannon to hunt them for sport.

Only a few wizards hunt muggle for the fun, the blood purist who actually believe that muggle don't have souls.

Slave masters definitely though of their slaves as having souls.

That's not really obvious. The Valladolid controversy is a clear example of the issue being actually disputed. And then again, the Hermiones opposed slavery. The Hermiones in HPMOR aren't vegetarian.

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-07-25T20:04:16.998Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm.. looks like the evidence I cited wasn't as strong as I thought.

What I mostly mean to suggest is that having a soul does not necessarily make a thing morally significant.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-07-27T08:37:01.894Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What if they believed everything had (some kind of) a soul, including (but not necessarily limited) to plants? The reactions would be interpreted differently. After all, magic beliefs and animistic beliefs were often associated in our history, and wizards actually have things like that crazy violent willow and the sorting hat. They also have examples of magical creatures, including for example centaurs who both have human-like sentience and are magic users (or at least capable of prophecy).

Perhaps Draco has just misspoken, or spoken without thinking. After all, racist beliefs are traditionally not very internall consistent. Maybe the actual claim is only wizard souls go to heaven, or something like that.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-25T19:28:56.700Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Demisouls? Alternatively, AK is only seeking and wall-penetrating against sapients but still instant death against animals (and therefore still useful since animals might be immune to stunning spells and durable enough to withstand physics spells.)

comment by Carwajalca · 2013-07-25T06:59:06.200Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

That was when the shining creature came to him, gleaming soft white beneath the candlefires of the Ravenclaw common room, as it slithered out from nowhere, the silver snake.

Any guesses why Draco is contacting Harry?

comment by Benito · 2013-07-25T20:09:35.940Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

It's just over 24 hours since Hermione died - he probably just found out. It's the sort of reason you'd get in touch with a friend you used to know pretty well until recently.

comment by JayDee · 2013-07-25T22:43:38.122Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

My second guess is that Minerva got in touch with Draco. She knows Harry taught him the Patronus from a conference in the headmasters office and has seen Harry's reaction to losing Draco.

At first I dismissed it at a silly thing for her to try, but now that she will be really making an effort it seems much more likely.

comment by monsterzero · 2013-07-28T21:42:46.727Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, when I try to imagine future events in HPMoR, my brain keeps editing Minerva out. She was an NPC for so long that I'm having trouble factoring her in.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T12:16:42.707Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Versions already mentioned somewhere: "It was sad she died", "Harry, now you don't owe anything to House Malfoy anymore", "Father wants to disband Hogwarts because it's not safe anymore, Wizengamot vote is tomorrow".

My guess: the rationality-theme of this arc is roles, and this is relevant in almost every chapter. Probably something about Lucius playing a role of loving father instead of going off-script? Or Lucius playing the role of important Wizengamot member?

My second guess: it is connected to the (former?) belief of Lucius that Harry is Voldemort. Role of Death Eater overriding Lucius's neocortex?

Third guess: "Harry, you remember the vow you gave to me about murderer of Narcissa Malfoy? Listen carefully. I swore to find the murderer of Hermione Jean Granger and..."

comment by TrE · 2013-07-25T09:07:43.055Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Draco will have heard about Hermione's death by now and probably wants to express his condolence and/or tell Harry that he has made a resolution to side with Harry as soon as he can.

comment by monsterzero · 2013-07-28T21:36:04.139Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Draco's Patronus says in Parseltongue, "OK, we have the girl-child'ss body and are keeping it cold as insstructed. Now what?"

comment by Kindly · 2013-07-28T21:37:56.760Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This probably isn't it just because it would've wasted a great opportunity for a chapter ending.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-25T07:05:53.782Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Is that even Draco? I think Gung Uneel nppvqragnyyl gnhtug Dhveeryzbeg gb Cngebahf.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-07-25T08:38:29.188Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Patroni have been previously claimed to be effectively unfalsifiable. I, for one, am certain it's from Draco.

comment by Benquo · 2013-07-25T12:44:16.243Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Are you sure you don't mean you mean extremely falsifiable? It is very easy to tell a true patronus from something else.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-07-25T13:39:24.454Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Different usages: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/falsifiable

  1. Capable of being falsified, counterfeited, or corrupted.
  2. able to be proven false, and therefore testable

I'm referring to the first usage -- it can't be counterfeited.

comment by Benquo · 2013-07-25T15:46:54.487Z · score: 21 (21 votes) · LW · GW

Ugh. Apparently the two definitions partition the set of all things.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-07-25T18:56:29.107Z · score: 18 (20 votes) · LW · GW

Great, now everything is falsifiable.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T19:13:12.875Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't get it. Could you explain it please?

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-07-25T19:37:17.581Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

The first definition of "falsifiable" means that it's easy to fake - if a Patronus is falsifiable under this definition, you don't get much information when you see a Patronus, since it could easily be something else and you couldn't tell the difference.

The second definition of "falsifiable" means that it's easy to prove that it's not fake - if a Patronus is falsifiable under this definition, you get a lot of information when you see a Patronus, since it is very difficult for something that looks like a Patronus to actually be a fake.

Because the two defintions are pretty much opposites, between them they cover everything - the ones that are easily fakeable and the ones that are not easily fakeable.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T19:52:10.683Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Aha! Thank you!

My mistake was that I kept thinking about "false" as in "false theory" instead of "false" as in "false money".

comment by mavant · 2013-07-25T20:48:54.579Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

At least one of the definitions is applicable to any arbitrary proposition. Either (1) it can be counterfeited, implying that there's no test you can perform to determine the true state of things, or (2) it can be tested to determine the true state of things.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T21:34:45.698Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

(non-native speaker here)

I was under impression that "to counterfeit" means only "to create imperfect copies in order to fraud someone", but it seems that it also means "to deceive". Thank you!

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T05:52:33.334Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That first is the primary usage. Usually there is some way to tell a counterfeit from the real thing, but one can theoretically make a counterfeit that's indistinguishable from the original. I have only rarely heard it in the sense of "to deceive".

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-25T19:31:32.870Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It doesn't actually say that it's from Draco, and Quirrelmort would probably have a snake patronus if he somehow managed to cast it after his conversation with Harry.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-07-25T19:52:55.355Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What probabilities do you assign on it being from Draco and on it being from Quirrelmort?

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-25T19:55:21.776Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Something like 60 - 40 or so.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-07-25T19:59:47.399Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Heh. Mine are something like 95% and 1%. I'd actually consider it more likely for it to be Lucius's patronus, than it to be Quirrel's.

comment by ygert · 2013-07-25T20:52:16.526Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And here is a PredictionBook link.

EDIT: And one for the second prediction.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-25T08:40:36.029Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's unfalsifiable, but we don't know what that means. We do know that two people can have the same Patronus, though, so it's not a matter of shape.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-07-25T09:15:25.017Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We do know that two people can have the same Patronus, though, so it's not a matter of shape.

In canon -- but even in canon those people who ended up with the shape of someone else's Patronus didn't seem to do so deliberately, nor with intent to deceive.

comment by gthorneiii · 2013-07-25T15:14:13.637Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We already know that Draco's patronus is a snake, and it is reasonable to assume that Quirrelmort's patronus would be a snake as well (given that he's a snake animagus).

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T15:38:02.335Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

That sounds reasonable, but unless everything we saw about Quirrel is lie, he is unable to cast animal Patronus, being cynical sociopathic rationalist with a homicidal tendencies.

There is some possibility that Quirrel have analyzed his conversation with Harry, words about "rejection of Death as a part of natural order" and picture of stars being able to keep Dementation away and re-discovered True Patronus (there is speculation about Quirrel being enemy of Death, so it at least plausible), but True Patronus couldn't look like a snake.

PS: Your argument partly applies to the Patronus of Lucius being a snake, though.

comment by anotherblackhat · 2013-07-25T17:27:53.602Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

True Patronus couldn't look like a snake.

I see no justification for that statement. Perhaps True Patronuses can't take the form of an animal, but that says nothing about what they can look like.

Would a sentient snake wizard say a True Patronus can't look like an ape?

comment by smk · 2013-07-26T23:47:51.873Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Being a transhumanist, and being good at the kind of mental gymnastics that allowed him to do partial transfiguration, Harry might be able to change his Patronus into any form he likes if he tries hard enough. We know mental stuff can change Patronuses in canon: Tonks' Patronus changed due to her feelings for Lupin, though she didn't do it on purpose.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T17:52:51.436Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

1) Research wandless magic

2) Become a cat Animagus

3) Cast a True Patronus Charm while in a cat form

4) Awesome, now you can impersonate Patronus of McGonnagal and no members of Order of Phoenix can trust each other anymore!

5) Ask an Auror friend to destroy your Animagus form.

6) Become a spider Animagus

7) ???

8) Terrify people!

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T05:39:15.373Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm fairly sure it would be easier to change your regular Patronus form than become an Animagus multiple times, even if you could choose what to become. As most people haven't learnt the True Patronus, they would be able to have animal Patroni.

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-07-25T19:45:34.157Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

For this to work a wizard would need to be able to choose what Animagus form to take.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T20:05:26.288Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Huh, I was sure you are able to choose your Animagus form, but it appears I was mistaken.

Apparently you become the animal that suits you best.

Still, there is a potential for a creative Legilemency and False-Memory Charm casted on oneself in order to create an appropriate self-image. Assuming Bellatrix was an Animagus before meeting Voldemort, was her Animagus form changed when she was shattered into pieces and re-combined into someone else?

Also, what if I Memory-Charm myself to believe that common characteristics of spiders are intelligence and courage? Will my Animagus form change depending on the beliefs of native population (e.g. if you are very cunning, you will be snake in Britain, fox in Russia and mongoose in Asia)?

ETA: Can't stop thinking about it. Created a topic on Reddit since I feel like Reddit is more suitable for a this discussion: LW is serious and I prefer it to stay this way.

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-07-25T21:25:59.003Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Lucius is pretty darn likely to have a snake patronus, yes. However, there is one other character we know of with a snake patronus. Slytherin himself. It is highly likely to be Draco - the timing is about right for him to learn Hermione died, but hey..

comment by Nominull · 2013-07-26T05:00:44.442Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Probably the only two things the True Patronus can look like are humans and snakes. Possibly flying squirrels?

comment by TrE · 2013-07-26T05:35:51.349Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What about parsley?

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-04T04:21:02.596Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Since when does this universe have parsleymouths?

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2013-07-25T15:41:57.527Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrel is said to be unable to cast the Patronus, and the established explanations for how it works makes it likely that this is true. Anyway, Harry already talked to Quirrel; no need for a second encounter.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-07-25T17:31:14.185Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Even if that were the case, a Patronus delivers its message in the exact voice of the person who spoke to it, and as far as I know, that can't be falsified. This means that not only will we find out if it's Draco (almost certainly is), but we'll also know if he's in trouble or under duress (pretty likely; he's Harry's second best friend).

comment by Velorien · 2013-07-25T16:13:58.087Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

However, Harry knows that Draco's snake is specifically a Blue Krait, and has seen it before. The probability that Quirrell would end up with a Blue Krait by pure chance is low.

comment by gthorneiii · 2013-07-25T17:23:19.062Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The reference in the text doesn't state anything more than that it was a snake, not that it was a Blue Krait. We don't even get to see Harry's reaction, be it familiarity or perceiving it as novel.

The snake is described as "gleaming soft white" and "silver", which fits with the description of a patronus. And as it doesn't match the description of Quirrelmort's animagus snake "bright green and intricately banded in white and blue", it is clearly not Quirrelmort's animagus form.

While I assign a much higher probability that we just saw Drako's patronus, we can't rule out the possibility that it was someone else's patronus, including Quirrelmort, even though I see those odds as being exceptionally low.

comment by Velorien · 2013-07-25T21:24:38.846Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, I thought you were implying that Harry might be deceived by Quirrell pretending to be Draco, not that you were making a comment on what we can predict about the next chapter.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-08-04T04:21:38.109Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The chance that Quirrell would do anything by pure chance is low.

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T05:48:32.199Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Just because Harry saw the snake Patronus doesn't mean he recognizes the species. He probably could recognize the same Patronus, but maybe not; Harry paid more attention to it than a regular snake, but if I saw a snake once, and then saw another snake three months later, I don't think I'd be sure they were the same even if I did have reason to think they were.

comment by Velorien · 2013-07-28T11:22:48.720Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

True. Then again, Harry knew when he taught Draco that one of the uses of a Patronus is to carry unfakeable messages, for which you need to know exactly what the other person's Patronus looks like. Also, it's the snake on Lucius's cane, which we know he paid attention to. If he recognised Draco's snake as that snake, it would set it firmly enough in his mind that he might recognise it when he saw it again.

File under "more evidence needed".

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-07-25T15:48:10.288Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Even if Quirrel had somehow learned how to cast a Patronus (which seems unlikely), why would he need to use it to communicate with Harry now?

Am still sure it's Draco.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-07-25T18:20:55.611Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Even if Quirrel had somehow learned how to cast a Patronus (which seems unlikely), why would he need to use it to communicate with Harry now?

Perhaps Quirrel learned to cast a Patronus as a consequence of his discussion with Harry, in which case he may want to (1) say "thank you", and (2) discuss new plans that now seem meaningful to him.

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T05:36:39.777Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It wasn't deliberate, but it wasn't coincidental either. Snape's Patronus was the same as Lily's because Snape loved Lily.

comment by Carwajalca · 2013-07-25T07:21:57.374Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A good guess, if it's someone else than Draco. But where and when did that happen? Are you referring to Harry's comment "I thought of my absolute rejection of death as the natural order." in Chapter 46? Neither of the gentlemen present thought that was sufficient information for understanding how to cast a Patronus.

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T05:32:22.859Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Even if that was sufficient understanding, neither of those gentlemen seem to absolutely reject death as the natural order. Nor, for that matter, do Harry or Eliezer. They reject death as proper and good, but I'm confident that most would admit that it is natural. The other people present don't seem to do that, though, and would be unlikely to be able to cast a True Patronus.

comment by elharo · 2013-07-25T19:20:45.453Z · score: -2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Lucius is behind the murder of Hermione.

comment by JayDee · 2013-07-25T22:39:09.118Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Something like this would be my first guess. Draco torn between the roles of son and friend, either revealing to Harry information about Malfoy faction involvement in Hermione's death or trying to convince Harry that they aren't responsible.

comment by JTHM · 2013-07-25T05:28:00.469Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

For those who don't know, the actual origin of "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" is Corinthians 15:26, specifically, the King James version.

comment by RomeoStevens · 2013-07-25T05:57:53.290Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It is unfortunately not true. Torture may very well exist after death is defeated.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-07-25T12:28:02.730Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

The last one of {X; X is enemy && X shall be destroyed } is death.

It can be true assuming that the remaining enemies are indestructible.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-25T06:26:40.059Z · score: 5 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, but those souls left in Hell and/or Purgatory post-Resurrection were asking for it.

comment by Velorien · 2013-07-25T16:16:19.195Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It may be in your interest to clarify whether you're serious or making a sarcastic comment on Abrahamic religion, otherwise you may be undeservedly snowed under with downvotes.

comment by Kindly · 2013-07-25T21:01:52.780Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think "asking for it" is one of those phrases nobody says seriously anymore.

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T04:59:39.154Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think I heard a Catholic person use those exact words seriously less than a month ago, about this very subject, but I might not remember correctly.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-25T20:44:04.697Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I would hope nobody thought I was serious, but hey, a few downvotes isn't worth getting chuffed about. I doubt all that many people care enough for it to get "snowed under."

comment by CronoDAS · 2013-07-25T06:11:11.518Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Now I'm reminded of a quote from a similar work:

To conquer death, you only have to die.

Something similar happened to canon!Harry in book 7, after he had become the owner of all three Deathly Hallows...

comment by palladias · 2013-07-25T06:29:54.671Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Well, the Christus Victor theology of the resurrection of Christ is basically that Christ broke our slavery to death by going through the process Himself, which caused a divide by zero error and broke death permanently.

comment by 4hodmt · 2013-07-25T21:57:47.039Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Hearing about this improves my opinion of Christianity. I was previously only familiar with penal substitution theory. God sacrificing himself to a third party to pay a debt to that third party makes some kind of sense, while sacrificing himself to himself to pay a debt to himself is obviously crazy.

I'm surprised that ransom theories are unpopular now. Christianity could avoid a lot of mockery by returning to them.

comment by Swimmy · 2013-07-26T00:17:22.929Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Avoiding mockery is probably not a terminal value of most of the denominations you're referring to. Regardless, if you accept the doctrine of the Trinity, God gets to be both a third party and a first party to the transaction, problem solved! And most Christians probably see it more as God making a sacrifice to appease the cosmic legal system that he instituted rather than himself directly, if that makes any sense.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-07-25T18:54:20.695Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Tada!

comment by TrE · 2013-07-25T20:41:53.730Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sounds legit.

comment by Decius · 2013-07-26T02:32:35.175Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Isn't it the case that the owner of the Invisibility Cloak has never died, but that former owners have a short expected lifespan?

comment by CronoDAS · 2013-07-26T02:42:55.747Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That's more true of the Elder Wand; in canon HP, being known as the owner of the Elder Wand made you a target for everyone else who wanted to have its power, but no such stories were told about the Invisibility Cloak.

(Or maybe I'm reading that wrong.)

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-07-26T04:41:02.387Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Owners of the Elder Wand have definitely died, that's usually how it changes hands. It seems like Decius is suggesting that owners of the Cloak have never died until they pass it on, and usually die not long after, but I don't recall any evidence for this.

comment by gwern · 2013-07-26T19:27:13.187Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Deathly Hallows strongly implies that the owners of the Cloak never died until they chose to:

But that night, another wizard stole the wand and slit the brother's throat for good measure. And so Death took the first brother for his own. The second brother journeyed to his home when he took the stone in turn in thrice in hand. To his delight, the girl he once hoped to marry before her untimely death appeared before him. Yet soon she turned sad and cold for she did not belong in the mortal world. Driven mad by hopeless longing, the second brother killed himself so as to join her. And so Death took the second brother. As for the third brother, Death searched for many years but was never able to find him only when he attained a great age that the youngest brother shed the Cloak of Invisibility and give it to his son. And then he greeted Death as an old friend and went with him gladly, departing this life as equals.

(Of course, James didn't choose to die at Voldemort's hand, so it's tempting to read this as "the Cloak defends against old age rather than dying period" - except in canon, James had lent the Cloak to Dumbledore before he was murdered, so for all we know, it really does grant effective immortality/invulnerability!)

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T05:14:50.805Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This is somewhat likely, but in canon that's a quotation from a fairy tale. Given the apparent attitude the Peverells had towards Death in MoR, I doubt things played out the same way in MoR as in The Tale of the Three Brothers, whether or not that's how it happened in canon.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-26T19:37:16.216Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

James didn't choose to die at Voldemort's hand

I don't have the books handy to check this, but the Harry Potter Wiki claims that he faced Voldemort, wandless, while buying time for Harry and Lily to flee. Sounds like choosing death to me.

comment by gwern · 2013-07-26T20:29:38.925Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, if you really wanted to argue that, I suppose you could.

comment by Decius · 2013-07-26T15:46:15.934Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There's only four known owners of the Cloak, three of them died after they had given up possession of the Cloak, and the fourth is alive and has not yet given up the cloak.

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T05:12:40.325Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore merely asked to borrow the cloak from James:

“You. You have guessed, I know, why the Cloak was in my possession on the night your parents died. James had showed it to me just a few days previously. It explained much of his undetected wrongdoing at school! I could hardly believe what I was seeing. I asked to borrow it, to examine it. I had long since given up my dream of uniting the Hallows, but I could not resist, could not help taking a closer look. . . . It was a Cloak the likes of which I had never seen, immensely old, perfect in every respect . . . and then your father died, and I had two Hallows at last, all to myself!”

In canon, Harry has been without the Cloak, after taking possession of it, for much longer than three days: in Philosopher's Stone, he left it at the top of the Astronomy Tower after giving Norbert to Charlie (I wonder if Norbert will appear in MoR...), and in Prizoner of Azkaban he left it in the Honeydukes secret passage. If being without the Cloak for a few days is enough to die, Harry should have died in his first or third year. If James hadn't died, Dumbledore would only have been borrowing the Cloak, and he returned it to Harry at close to the first opportunity. It's unclear, therefore, if he would have owned the Cloak for purposes of this theory, but if so I think he should have died well before he did.

comment by drethelin · 2013-07-28T05:35:11.298Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Giving up the cloak is not enough to kill you for no reason. You die after giving it up if you've used it to live beyond your span. Dumbledore is old but not out of bounds for a wizard.

comment by Decius · 2013-07-29T03:42:59.389Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

One possibility: The Master of the cloak dies 'shortly after' someone else becomes the master.

Null hypothesis: Owning the Cloak which was intended to hide the wearer from death has no effect on the death of the wearer.

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T06:15:04.549Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In that case we only know of one owner who may have lived longer than standard, and we don't even know about them. James was in his 20s, Dumbledore was only around 150, and Harry is only 37 in the epilogue. It seems like people are privileging this theory beyond the little evidence it would get from the Cloak being related to the Wand and owners of the Wand tending to die.

comment by Decius · 2013-07-29T03:50:09.560Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The base rate is based on the legend that the Cloak hides the wearer from Death, works, and that the first wearer dies when he leaves the protection of the cloak.

comment by Decius · 2013-07-26T15:42:10.898Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Known canon owners: Ignotus Peverell, James Potter, Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter. Peverell is explicitly said to have died when he gave the cloak up, James died shortly after giving the cloak to Dumbledore, and Dumbledore died only a few years after giving it to Harry.

And the ownership of the Elder Wand is said to typically be the result of the death of the current owner; Draco does not have a short(er than everyone else in the same situation) expected lifespan despite losing ownership, for example.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-25T08:03:50.774Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

... On a side note.

That's a prophecy. Which means it'd be recorded in the Hall of Prophecy.

I'm starting to wonder exactly how many very good reasons Dumbledore had for keeping Harry out of that Hall.

comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-07-25T16:08:34.172Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I predicted this way back in December. It seemed the most obvious explanation for Dumbledore's refusal to take him there.

The interesting thing is the recognition as Heir of the Peverells might open up even more prophecies, about he family itself instead of just about Harry. I wonder, if a Prophecy fails, does it jump to another person or is it repeated?

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-07-26T01:45:47.839Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What do you mean, if a Prophecy fails?

comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-07-26T08:28:30.624Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

If you remember Snape's ramblings on prophecy, prophicies are spoken to those with the power to "fulfill or avert them". The thing is, if they are averted, that might just delay it. If Hero 1 fails to take down Dark Lady Example, Hero 2 might try in a decade and succeed. If Hero 1 failed and thereby averted a prophecy he previously heard, does the prophecy latch onto Hero 2? If it does, does the text and memory of the prophecy itself change? Is there just a new prophecy?

This sounds impossible until you realize that we already have proof of atemporal causation in this world.

comment by Baughn · 2013-07-25T09:38:45.086Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Reasons that seem good to him, anyhow.

Me? I'd very much like to see the fallout. ^_^

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-07-25T06:56:53.438Z · score: 13 (17 votes) · LW · GW

Wow, this was awesome! I wish I had read the canon so I would have had a chance to think about/predict what would happen when Harry read that inscription. This was just beautiful - a reminder of the heritage that transhumanists often forget we have. True, we have precious little tradition or precedent to fall back on - but in every generation in every era in every part of the world, there have been people who knew death for what it was and loathed it.

HPMOR is starting to be one tear jerker after another. I hope we'll get to see a couple more moments of levity, or - ideally - a moment of euphoria, when Hermione joins millions and millions of others we thought lost to history.

Edit: I really wish the word "pro-life" were available to describe this position.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-25T07:45:08.872Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Even "Resurrection" has been hijacked.

I've been in the habit of using "Mass True Resurrection," to make the D&D reference instead of the Christian one.

comment by Benito · 2013-07-25T19:38:54.246Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

To a non D&D-er like me, it still has the other connotations.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-07-25T17:10:09.764Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"Resurrection" has been taken for 2000 years, but for a few decades there we had a chance with "pro-life." :(

Quick! Grab the third best word and trademark it!

Seriously though, I think "transhumanism" is too long and jargon-y, not to mention understanding it requires some knowledge of both humanism and Latin roots. The ideology deserves a word that is as pure and simple as the emotions behind it.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2013-07-26T19:15:12.932Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I've been using "lifeist" in my head for a while.

Another good word that's already taken: survivalist.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-07-26T21:34:03.587Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've heard "deathist" used to describe the opposing side more often than "lifeist" for the supporting side. "Lifeist" just sounds a bit awkward and silly, and "deathist", while funny, seems too much like typical Dark Arts tarring.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-26T13:48:45.783Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Immortalism?

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T09:11:41.641Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sounds evil.

comment by Ben_LandauTaylor · 2013-07-25T18:22:12.667Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've been using "anti-death."

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-07-25T18:57:14.590Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Lifeism.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-07-25T19:35:07.625Z · score: 10 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Lifeism.

Like racism, sexism, ageism,...? In a crowded world will "lifeist!" become a snarled curse at anyone not dutifully shuffling off stage after their threescore and ten?

comment by gjm · 2013-07-26T16:28:19.061Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

No. At people who don't want equal rights for zombies.

comment by Rain · 2013-07-25T22:31:04.952Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I once called my brother a deathist, and he said, "Nuh uh, I'm just an anti-liveite!"

comment by Nornagest · 2013-07-29T09:33:13.685Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Anti-death" isn't too bad, but "anti-deathism" is horribly clunky.

comment by bramflakes · 2013-07-25T10:00:51.185Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry to burst your bubble but in canon it meant exactly as Lupin thought.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-07-25T10:40:50.255Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Which is a bit frustrating in a couple ways, seeing as Paul (the most popular candidate for the originator of said line) was talking about a literal resurrection of everyone, hopefully during his lifetime, and canon Harry then proceeded to defeat death by dying and coming back.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-07-25T16:49:18.606Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

That was what frustrated me the most - how canon could preach to us about accepting death as inevitable while giving its main character the power to defeat death. It's sad that the narrative just accepts it as okay that the main character and the subject of the prophecy gets to be resurrected, but for anyone else to seek that would be folly.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-07-25T16:47:48.426Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

No I know - that's why it would have been interesting to know about the inscription and consider how HJPEV would obviously interpret it differently :)

Sorry, just realized "That was just beautiful" was ambiguous - not the inscription, but Harry's reaction to it. The inscription could not possibly have had such a humanistic meaning in canon, I know.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-07-25T21:37:05.599Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In canon Hermione explains it as "life after death", not "accepting death".

Resurrection also counts as life after death, except that e.g. Christians expect God to provide said resurrections, and Harry seeks to accomplish it himself...

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T05:24:38.279Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In canon, Hermione says it means exactly as Lupin thought, and Harry believes her (and J.K. Rowling intended it like that). As some of J.K. Rowling's quotes (no sources at the moment) about canon seem to imply that she does not see her interpretation of the books is just as valid as anybody else's, the idea that a descendant of Harry's could go to the graveyard of the Peverells, announce plans to defeat Death, and get HJPEV's results is canon-compliant.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T08:54:48.521Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In canon (as here?) it was a Bible Verse. That is, God will destroy all evils, even death, at the Last Day.

comment by Nornagest · 2013-07-29T09:36:09.054Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

1 Corinthians 15:26, to be specific. I'm not a Bible scholar by any means, but the commentary through that link seems to suggest that mainstream theology has rather a lower opinion of death than Rowling does.

comment by Spurlock · 2013-07-25T05:00:28.524Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

There had been only one thing Remus Lupin had thought of that might help, after he'd received the owls from Professor McGonagall and that strange man Quirinus Quirrell.

Harry was morally certain that Dumbledore, or both Dumbledore and Mad-Eye Moody, were following them invisibly to see if anyone tried for the bait.

It's seems that McGonagall and Quirrell are responsible for Harry spending the day with Lupin, and that Dumbledore knows exactly what they're doing. It's not entirely clear whether McGonagall and Quirrell knew that Lupin would decide to take Harry to Godric's Hollow, but Quirrell at least could probably guess.

All three of these people knew what Harry would find on his parents' grave. I don't recall McGonagall ever encountering Harry's transhumanist ideas, but Quirrell and Dumbledore would certainly know how Harry would choose to interpret the inscription.

Which makes it look as though one or more of these people might be indirectly trying to encourage Harry's efforts to resurrect Hermione.

comment by Tripitaka · 2013-07-25T10:05:10.200Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrel did not know the lore of the Hallows, until Potter told him; at which point he discovered where the stone of resurrection was, and went to retrieve it. It seems to interfere a little too much that he then went on to study the whole lore to the fullest of his ability, seeing as he was not that interested in it from the beginning. (in canon, the gang learns of the symbol by talking to the father of Luna Lovegood, thats really not an obscure enough source for him to have missed)

comment by JTHM · 2013-07-25T15:10:21.902Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The fact that Quirrell seemed not to know the symbol of the Deathly Hallows is very strange--the symbol is reasonably well-known in the wizarding world, as Grindelwald used it as his own. Which raises the question: was Quirrell's apparent failure to recognize the symbol an oversight on Yudkowsky's part, or an important clue?

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-07-25T18:52:58.218Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

As I interpreted canon: Canon!Voldemort also didn't recognize the symbol. Inference: Grindelwald studied the Deathly Hallows particularly and thus learned that symbol, to use as his own. The Deathly Hallows in general are well-known enough to have sayings like "Wand of elder, never prosper" but not the symbol.

comment by JTHM · 2013-07-31T08:24:54.513Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Plausible, I guess. I don't suppose you can give us any hints as to whether during Harry's investigation of the Hallows, he discovers that its symbol was appropriated by Grindelwald, leading him to decide that, Dumbledore being a deathist and therefore unlikely to divulge to Harry his knowledge of the Hallows, Harry should contact Grindelwald, the second-most-powerful wizard known to take an interest in that subject? (You did mention that one of your major purposes in chapter 86 was to update characters' states of knowledge, and in that chapter Harry learned that Grindelwald was held in Nurmengard, which Moody is partly responsible for guarding. This seems like a violation of conservation of detail if the information goes unused.)

comment by ygert · 2013-07-25T21:00:36.167Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

In canon, Grindelwald used it as his own, true, but no one (else) knew of it's significance. It was just considered "Grindelwald's symbol", and that's what Krum identified it as.

(Sort of like the swastika. It used to have a meaning as a Hindu symbol, but that meaning has been overshadowed by its later use, so nowadays most of the population is only aware of its meaning as a Nazi symbol.)

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-26T05:18:11.534Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

(Sort of like the swastika. It used to have a meaning as a Hindu symbol, but that meaning has been overshadowed by its later use, so nowadays most of the population is only aware of its meaning as a Nazi symbol.)

I don't know if this is actually true. It seems to me that countries that are historically Buddhist (Korea, parts of China, India, Indonesia, and etc.) view this meaning as dominant, and that of the symbol of a (comparatively) small, distant, fascist dictatorship as secondary.

comment by William_Quixote · 2013-07-26T22:53:37.804Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think the Hallows are a disreputable story, so serious researchers like QQ probably have not dug in.

In our world, if Loch Ness Monster venom cured skin cancer, this would be more likely to be discovered by a nut than a real scientist because real scientists generally don't spend a lot of time on the loch ness monster. But of course since the wizarding world is nuts, the hollows are real and you ignore the Lovegoods at your peril.

comment by shminux · 2013-07-26T23:07:20.976Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If I recall correctly, at some point Quirrell recognized Harry's invisibility cloak as the Cloak, so he must have known about the other two, as well.

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T04:13:05.816Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It does seem that a large number of people (Dumbledore, Snape, Quirrell, and Hermione—all intelligent, but not all likely to credit random crackpot theories) all know about the Cloak, and Quirrell at least has heard of the Stone and credits if existence if not the standard explanation for its powers. There's no evidence that many people know of the Wand, but the subject has never really come up so we wouldn't know if that's common knowledge. I expect that those who study wandlore would know about it, as in canon.

Probably all three artifacts' existence is common knowledge, and that they are connected in some way (I think most people would notice, upon hearing The Tale of the Three Brothers, that all three exist; additionally, Hermione recognizes "the Charm which [...] would not reveal the Cloak, but would tell you whether it or certain other artifacts were nearby."). However, even if people know about the Deathly Hallows as real objects, they may not know details (such as the sign, or the connection to the Peverells, or what "conqueror of Death" actually means). I doubt anybody today except Harry, Lupin, and possibly Dumbledore (who may have noticed it when taking Lily and James to the Hall of Prophesy) know about the prophesy; Harry and Lupin know the contents but not that it's a prophesy, while Dumbledore may know there is a prophesy but not the contents.

comment by shminux · 2013-07-28T06:45:27.276Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I assume that QQ knows much more than HP about all the wizarding history and trivia.

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T16:26:00.300Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I would agree about "most" of the history and trivia, but not "all". Given his behavior in Chapter 40, it at least seems likely that he did not know as much as Harry about the Hallows at that time. This is understandable, as Harry has a Hallow and therefore cares more than the Defense Professor, who doesn't have one and doesn't have a particular reason to search for any of them. He wouldn't decline a chance to try the Stone, but he doesn't have much reason to believe it works as advertised and therefore didn't plan to seek it out. Now that he remembers "a peculiar ring [he] saw on the finger of a man [he] met only once" (Chapter 26), he is much more interested and probably knows more publicly-speculated information about the Hallows than Harry even if he doesn't know some of the specifics Harry learned in TSPE.

Similarly, the Defense Professor doesn't seem to care about whether other beings are sentient, so he probably does not know as much about the fairy tale of the tale of the Lady of the Flying Squirrels (Chapter 49), even now that Harry has mentioned it.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T17:57:55.417Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Also, Quirrel doesn't know the story of Weasleys' Pet Rat. Did he spend a century in Albania or something?

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T12:07:28.584Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I believe only Quirrel knows that Harry intents to ressurect Hermione as opposed to just researching immortality. As far as Dumbledore concerned, Harry is thinking about replicating Philosopher's Stone. I don't remember any hints about ressurection, only "rejecting Death as part of natural order".

(though disappearing of HG's body can give Albus some ideas, I guess)

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T04:16:22.080Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure about the disappearing of Hermione's body. I believe that Dumbledore believes that Harry did not take Hermione's body. I'm not sure if I agree with that—Harry didn't seem too worried about its disappearance despite taking the five Rs as his stages of grief—but I doubt he'd take Voldemort stealing the body as evidence that Harry wants to resurrect her.

comment by mstevens · 2013-07-25T10:00:27.380Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Vague stylistic thought - I don't have anything specific to base this on, but this chapter feels like something EY has been saving up, and is now throwing in as he's decided it's time to start the ending.

comment by Kindly · 2013-07-25T15:05:50.105Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The same can definitely be said of the troll chapter.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T18:18:29.619Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

(By the way, tags on the opening post are wrong. There should be a tag reading "harry_potter", not two separate tags for the first and last name.)

comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-07-26T17:57:12.139Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I'm an idiot. I'm not sure why I didn't see this before, except that it was 2 am when I first read the chapter.

I've read the other posts below, but I think we are missing something specific here.

Þregen béon Pefearles suna and þrie hira tól þissum Déað béo gewunen.

Three shall be Peverell's sons and three their devices by which Death shall be defeated.

-Spoken in the presence of the three Peverell brothers, in a small tavern on the outskirts of what would later be called Godric's Hollow.

Spoken in the presence of them. Not by them.

It was spoken to them by a Seer, before they made the Deathly Hallows. Possibly also before they had children.

It's a prophecy and they had two things to do to ensure its completion, create the Hallows, and sire whatever offspring eventually leads to the birth of one Harry James Potter Evans Verres.

Harry's final success over Death will include the Hallows. "...by which Death shall be defeated."

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T07:48:19.122Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

... damn, nobody else got that? Eliezer might want to change the wording, then.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-07-29T22:30:43.504Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I definitely saw that as a strong possibility. And it seemed pretty clear to me too.

Wild speculation: I wondered before if all prophecies stem from Harry "End of the World" Potter and Its magic, reaching back in time. This is technically evidence for that theory.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-07-25T05:33:16.607Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Given the increasing number of prophecies that could refer to Harry, it's no wonder why Dumbledore refused to bring Harry to the Department of Mysteries. I mean, besides the possibility that he'd get knocked out by the storm of orbs. We know of four so far--at the time that Dumbledore refused to take Harry to the Hall of Prophecy, Harry only knew about the one.

comment by bramflakes · 2013-07-25T10:12:02.003Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What are the 4 again?

There was Trelawney's "all but a remnant" one, then her "he is coming!" one, and the one about the Peverells (which also applies to Harry). What is the fourth?

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-07-25T10:44:56.899Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I was treating the "He is coming!" and "He is here!" as separate prophecies. Also assuming that the mass seer freak-outs at the end of chapter85 imply that Trelawney's might have been one of several in the same vein (I suppose we'll find out if there is international news of mass prophecies any time soon, dependent on international communication regarding prophecies).

comment by Jost · 2013-07-25T10:52:02.697Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Trelawney's third one: “He is here …” (end of chapter 89)

comment by gjm · 2013-08-09T21:57:19.800Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

"You." Professor Quirrell spun, and she found herself gazing directly into eyes of icy blue.

... (a few paragraphs, whose action gives no great reason to think that eye contact was broken) ...

A wordless image crossed her mind of a patch of glass on a steel ball.

Uh-oh.

comment by mjr · 2013-08-10T06:13:08.698Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well. Quirrell has already covered for Harry's penetration of the Azkaban wall. He wasn't explicitly informed about how it was originally done but he's somewhat good at filling in the gaps. (Obviously there's room for more confirmatory evidence though, so not a complete lack of uh-oh either.)

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-07-28T15:35:25.031Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Isn't the fact that people like Dumbledore don't invest significant amount of time into thinking about ressurection a sign that they really do believe in life after death?

comment by HungryHippo · 2013-07-28T17:38:22.918Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It could also be evidence that they don't like thinking about death. (Which inference you prefer depends on your own level of Quirrellness.)

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-07-28T19:15:57.915Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore feels no fear from the Dementor's presence- only fatigue and slight ache. If he didn't like thinking about death, the Dementor ought to have affected him more sharply.

comment by HungryHippo · 2013-07-28T21:21:06.816Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Harry to Dumbledore in Ch. 39:

"... look within the part of yourself that flees not from death but from the fear of death, that finds that fear so unbearable that it will embrace Death as a friend and cozen up to it, try to become one with the night so that it can think itself master of the abyss. You have taken the most terrible of all evils and called it good! With only a slight twist that same part of yourself would murder innocents, and call it friendship. If you can call death better than life then you can twist your moral compass to point anywhere -"

comment by Kindly · 2013-07-28T21:35:16.148Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's pretty clear that Harry doesn't have a good model of Dumbledore's beliefs at this point. Later on he figures out that:

Dumbledore really wasn't afraid of death. Dumbledore honestly, truly believed that death was the next great adventure. Believed it in his core, not just as convenient words used to suppress cognitive dissonance, not just pretending to be wise.

comment by HungryHippo · 2013-07-28T21:57:48.148Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Good point! I missed that one.

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-07-29T04:11:03.782Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

When does he say this?

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-07-29T06:13:35.943Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Chapter 56

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-07-28T21:34:17.600Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore believes in an afterlife, and unlike in the the Muggle world of non-magic, the idea is significantly harder to dismiss.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-07-29T21:42:19.478Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I thought this was the point Harry got right. Dumbledore says:

I have seen and done a great many things, too many of which I wish I had never seen or done. And yet I do not regret being alive, for watching my students grow is a joy that has not begun to wear on me. But I would not wish to live so long that it does! What would you do with eternity, Harry?

He doesn't talk like he has a model of reality in which he continues to exist forever. If anything, he sounds tired (and like he correctly expects to get more tired of being who he is). Now, in principle he could have a strong expectation of radical change that makes the next life wholly unlike this one, so that his objection to eternity does not apply. But why expect him to expect this? (And if, say, he does not expect most of his memories to carry forward, then in what sense does he expect to survive?)

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-07-29T23:54:32.417Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We might ask transhumanists the same question.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-30T00:00:00.450Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, but a transhumanist who wants to survive has a) precedent (consider the difference between 1700 and 2000, for example), and b) doesn't require a radical change, because by selection bias most transhumanists are going to be the kind of person who think life is fun in the first place.

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-07-30T00:24:45.605Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Then Dumbledore doesn't require a radical change. His exact phrasing is "our next big adventure", not "our next new adventure".

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-30T04:29:21.831Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Right, but if he's tired of life, why does he want a next big adventure? At least, that's grandparent's point.

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-07-30T19:44:49.631Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He never said he was tired of life, he said that he was worried about being tired of life.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-30T22:33:37.180Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He expects to be tired of life by the time he dies. That's why he's fine dying "at the proper time."

comment by undermind · 2013-08-09T15:18:43.287Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Has it been pointed out yet that while Hermione lay dying and Harry was trying to save her, he neglected to cover her in the cloak that hides the wearer from death, and also neglected to notice this fact during the time afterwards when he was getting mad at himself for everything he had screwed up?

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-13T14:14:46.231Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Do we actually know that Harry has made the connection between "hides the wearer from death" and "may have life-prolonging effects"? For that matter, does evidence of same exist, beyond the fact that no known owner out of three or so died with it in their possession?

comment by Decius · 2014-09-24T05:23:09.976Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If the cloak protects all within it from death, I predict that Harry will simply /turn it inside out/.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-13T13:23:46.609Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He sat there for hours thinking about what he overlooked. We might simply not have seen all his thoughts.

comment by fubarobfusco · 2013-07-25T05:27:30.194Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Þregen béon Pefearles suna and þrie hira tól þissum Déað béo gewunen.

Harry perhaps now recognizes himself not as an originator of a plot against Death, but as an intermediate result of that plot.

comment by rebellionkid · 2013-08-01T12:38:24.379Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, I'm now frustrated and bored by online translators. Can someone give me a hand and translate that? I get some of it, but never enough to actually check meaning properly.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-08-01T12:43:01.666Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The chapter itself provides the translation in the line immediately following: "Three shall be Peverell's sons and three their devices by which Death shall be defeated."

comment by rebellionkid · 2013-08-03T20:10:33.088Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for that. Sorry, should have explained my meaning better. I was looking for a clue of the form "the chapter translates it as 'defeated' but it actually means 'banished'" or similar. Along the lines of Harry's massive mistranslation of 'nihil supernum'.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-07-25T18:28:42.709Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry seems to have been aware of the Peverell brothers and the Deathly Hallows before all of this happened, and now it clicked for him that they made the Hallows in an attempt to defeat Death. But what I don't understand is, when exactly did Harry learn this story? If he ever heard the full story about the three Hallows, wouldn't that have been a big deal? He would have thought about it for a while and it would have been a major plot point right? EY has been really good about placing Chekhov's Guns long in advance of when they're fired, but I don't recall when Harry learned about the Peverell brothers for the first time.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-07-25T19:03:29.416Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I may attempt to go back and make it more explicit somewhere that Harry researched the Deathly Hallows (of course, he's not stupid) and found out at least the basic rumors. Hermione learned about the Cloak from An Illustrated Scroll of Lost Devices during their research, for example.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-07-25T19:25:30.957Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, I think it's just the fact that a lot of people who never really got into the canon are reading MOR, so plot points that can pretty much go unstated in regular fanfiction have to be re-introduced here. I know a lot of implications/references are lost on me because I'm reading fanfiction without actually being, well, a fan.

comment by UnclGhost · 2013-07-26T01:52:04.154Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It can also be an issue even for canon-knowledgeable readers. A lot of the time readers are used to Harry's thought processes happening in the absence of certain key knowledge from canon (the Philosopher's Stone, etc.), so it's jarring when Harry learns major pieces of information offscreen (the Marauder's Map, etc.)

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T19:21:46.351Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think you should at least give a link to the relevant Youtube clip in A/N. I'm not sure readers unfamiliar with canon fully understand what is going on concerning Peverell brothers.

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T04:54:06.444Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

For those who are here and are unfamiliar with canon, I believe BT_Uytya meant this YouTube clip, or a similar one like it; as far as I know, none of them are authorized by Warner Bros. or J.K. Rowling, but may be short enough to qualify as fair use in many jurisdictions. I am not a lawyer.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-08-04T13:17:29.281Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's a gorgeous video.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-30T20:16:15.754Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, it was this video I had in mind.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-25T07:41:00.122Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Alas, Harry does not know Old English.

I wonder if he'll ask Quirrell?

comment by Carwajalca · 2013-07-25T07:48:33.735Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry could possibly decipher some of the meaning without asking. When seeing the original ("Thrayen beyn Peverlas soona ahnd thrih heera toal thissoom Dath bey yewoonen."), what did you make of it? I understood it was about Peverell sons and Death. The last word was somewhat reminiscent of German "gewonnen", but this Harry possibly doesn't recognize.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-25T07:55:07.763Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

... I didn't realize it was actually a language, honestly. *mildly embarrassed* I realized it had something to do with the Peverells, but...

I probably would've realized it was a language if I had thought it through a bit more (My mental model of Eliezer wouldn't throw in gibberish, and it can't be a code if "Peverlas" is so easily encoded), but then the chapter ended and I saw the Old English (which I did recognize, ironically.)

comment by Kindly · 2013-07-30T21:11:27.502Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Prediction: HPMoR will end after 108 chapters.

(Warning: TV Tropes link. Notably, Failed Utopia #4-2 is listed as an example (because 107 clauses in a wish to make people happy are not enough); moreover, Death Note also has 108 chapters. There, now you don't have to click on the link if you don't want to.)

comment by 75th · 2013-08-02T04:03:06.923Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It could happen, though I think it will take a few more chapters than that to wrap everything up.

If you're implying that Eliezer has purposely sought to achieve a certain number of chapters, though, I'm almost certain that's not correct. He's mentioned too often his uncertainty as to whether certain plot points would be resolved in a single chapter or split into two. He's expressed regret at writing ten full chapters of the Self Actualization arc instead of accomplishing its intended purpose in a few paragraphs. He's certainly had a plot outline from the beginning, but it almost certainly wasn't chapter-by-chapter granular.

comment by mavant · 2013-07-27T18:57:54.785Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Don't know if this has been suggested before, but:

Possibility: Harry's "Father's rock" is the Resurrection Stone. Giving this one low probability, since it has thus far demonstrated no other magical properties, and just seems like a way to get Harry to grind his Transfiguration and mana stats.

Possibility: Harry's "Father's rock" is the Philosopher's Stone. Giving this one even lower probability.

Possibility: The Philosopher's Stone is actually the Resurrection stone, or a similar magical construct. Middling probability; Dumbledore refers to Flamel insisting "the Stone" be kept at Hogwarts, but never mentions the Philosopher's Stone; it seems quite plausible that all of the "Philosopher's Stone" rumors are in fact obfuscations about the true nature of the object, and that Flamel's wealth has more to do with his alchemical talents and his having had six centuries to accumulate capital than an actual ability to transmute base metals into gold.

Harry dismisses the possibility of the Philosopher's Stone far too readily, especially considering he already knows that magic, at least to some degree, works the way you (or the creator of a spell) believe(s) it will work, AND knows that fruit which seems low-hanging to him is obviously not so to the rest of the magical world. This smells a little bit idiot-ball-ish to me, even if he is correct.

comment by Baughn · 2013-07-28T12:18:05.305Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Note that the Philosopher's Stone in MoR is actually supposed to transmute base metals into silver, not gold. I can't help but think that this difference is suggestive; if it was purely the result of a happy death spiral, gold would make more sense.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T07:37:20.147Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wait, could you pull a quote for that? I must have missed it.

comment by Benquo · 2013-07-29T12:30:23.725Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think there used to be something implying that in the exchange with Griphook in chapter 4, but it seems to have been rewritten.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-07-29T22:24:41.301Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. And Ch 87 says, "gold or silver".

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-31T15:54:33.392Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ho ho. That is interesting.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-08-02T13:06:45.409Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The real publication attributed to Flamel claims he transmuted silver, then some time later (years, as I recall) transmuted gold. Presumably silver is left out in most discussions of the stone because who would settle for silver when you could have gold?

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-07-28T08:41:41.733Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore (who has used Transfiguration in combat and lived) gave Harry his father's rock the day after Quirrell publicly accused Harry of always thinking purely of killing and novel ways to do it. I don't know if D wanted to encourage H in this, or to provide an alternative to some more dangerous action. (Maybe D has considered the possibility that Q has some dark reason for wanting Harry to learn the Killing Curse?) But I feel very sure that he was thinking of the use H did in fact make of it, and we don't need to imagine another purpose.

If anything, Dumbledore would want to keep the Philosopher's Stone more directly under his control, eg hidden under the lampshade in his office.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-07-27T17:31:42.936Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think this chapter explained something which has struck me as strange for a long time:

If the killing curse can be stopped by love, how come only Harry ever survived? Its not like Lilly is the only person who ever loved anyone, nor the only person who would sacrifice themselves to save another.

Maybe the Potters possessed a new, experimental deathly hallow, one capable of stopping the killing curse (or, alternativly, an old one whoes purpose has been forgotton). It must have limits on its power, otherwise James and Lilly would have lived, and probably wouldn't have been tested thoroughly, otherwise Lilly wouldn't have seemed to panic so much (unless she was acting to stop Voldemort guessing).

This could be the stone which glowed, and it may or may not require a love/sacrafice to power it.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T07:45:25.972Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I have believed, ever since Q detailed how rituals work and we saw that Voldie agreed that Harry would be spared if Lily died (because seriously, she thought that would work?), that Voldemort accidentally triggered a powerful Ritual, with Lily as the sacrifice.

Hmm ... is it possible that was deliberate? It doesn't quite seem to fit ... but then, they were pretty desperate.

comment by HungryHippo · 2013-07-30T18:44:56.777Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There are at least three plausible explanations:

  • Harry's memory is false. Harry even notes that the memory is so old it should not even be there.
  • Q lied. To his ears her plea must have sounded something like "may I please lay down my wand?".
  • Q never intended to kill Harry anyway, so he either doesn't care about any protection, or maybe even prefers for it to keep Harry safe. (Especially if Q wants Harry to rule.)

Also, Lily was clever: maybe she tried to bluff Q into relaxing his guard by feigning surrender and thus attack him at his weakest. Possibly Q, playing at a higher level, realized this and accepted her offer of "surrender" out of amusement. So either Q saw through Lily's feigned surrender or she realized that Q accepted her genuine surrender only because he thought she was trying to trick him and this triggered her into attacking him.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-31T13:47:04.378Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, it was clearly sarcastic, from the context - but perhaps the ritual didn't care.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-31T15:30:23.180Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I thought about this for a while too, more than five whole minutes by the clock, and eventually I came up with a possible explanation.

It's not that Lily sacrificed herself for her child. As you and uncountable other people pointed out, that must have happened innumerable times throughout history, even just among the witches and wizards. It's that she sacrificed herself for her child when she could have lived.

Think of the oddness of the situation. The murderer arrives to kill the child, but not the mother. How often is that the case, historically? Then the murderer offers the mother a chance to live when she gets in his way, which is still stranger. When she rejects the offer to try to save her child, he does not bother to subdue her, but then chooses to kill her, which invalidates basically all of the explanations that I could think of that fit the above two criteria.

It's not that she sacrificed herself for her child--it's that the killer came with the express purpose of killing the child but sparing the mother, and she deliberately threw away that chance for her child. It never would have worked if he had come with the intent to kill her as well.

Which implies that Snape's request was what was needed to give Lily that opening. Which further implies that Snape really did save Wizarding Britain, if accidentally.

I don't believe I've shared the theory here before, I look forward to seeing if there are holes in the story that I have not yet discovered.

comment by Dentin · 2013-07-28T23:00:17.851Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps Harry was wrapped in the invisibility cloak when the AK hit him?

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-08-04T13:32:30.604Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Seems like something Voldemort would've noticed.

comment by Velorien · 2013-07-28T10:36:59.734Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If Harry was saved by a Deathly Hallow and not by Lily's sacrifice, then it should have saved James instead, since he was killed first.

One may counter that perhaps the Hallow had range limitations or something, but in any event it would have made more sense for it to be carried by/attuned to James or Lily rather than Harry. Among other things, they can defend themselves, and kill the person who unsuccessfully tried to kill them. Whereas even if Avada Kedavra was blocked by the power of love, all it would have taken was for another of Voldemort's minions to be present and finish Harry off (possibly with a more standard hex).

That said, your criticism of the power of love is one I wholly agree with.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-31T14:43:43.098Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You are underestimating the irrational love that parents have for their children. When a family is in danger, parents constantly work to save their children first, even when doing so is stupid. It's enough that the oxygen masks on planes have explicit instructions for parents to put on their masks first, because they can just put their kids' on next if they are still conscious.

Not that I agree that such a new artifact existed.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-10T04:57:20.974Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, really, what evidence is there that Avada Kedavra EVER works on infants? There's only one datapoint here as far as we know. It doesn't particularly stretch the imagination that even the inventor of a Killing Curse might have been repulsed at the idea of the spell being used against infants even if they didn't consciously consider the possibility.

For that matter, considering how important it is for a certain kind of thought to be used for both the AK and the Patronus (or status of the soul), perhaps an infant's innocent outlook on life offers it protection from the curse.

Unless someone were to step up and risk death or infanticide, there's no way to disprove it, but I doubt there would be many volunteers for an experiment like that.

comment by Thrasymachus77 · 2013-08-11T07:21:29.281Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, the Killing Curse works on animals, or as Professor Quirrel puts it, "anything with a brain," so that's gotta count as some kind of evidence that AK works on infants. They should possess the same "innocent outlook" an infant has.

Plus, I thought it was part of canon that Death Eaters were known to have Avada Kedavra-ed whole families during the first war on Voldemort. We don't know explicitly of any other attempts to Avada Kedavra infants, but it stretches the bounds of plausibility to think that nobody else has ever tried to Avada Kedavra a baby in the history of the curse. Distraught mothers trying to kill their babies is common enough (too common), and AK would probably seem like an attractive option to such witch mothers. No pain, no struggle, just death. That's not to mention the infanticide that happens during wars and feuds.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-11T17:16:44.567Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I considered the fact that it kills animals and everything with a brain. However, it seems to me that if the target's state of mind can have any effect on the outcome of the spell (and that's a pretty big /if/), then it might well be working under the same principle as the Patronus vs True Patronus-- animal minds don't understand death and therefore don't offer as much protection from death. The obvious linchpin here is 'to what degree do one-and-a-half- year-old infants understand death?' If it's similar to either an animal or an adult human, they wouldn't have any protection.

As for AKing infants during war, I do think it is likely that it's very difficult for normal people to do. The Avada Kedavra curse has much stricter requirements for casting it than other curses capable of killing-- it requires you to want the target dead, but it also requires you to hate the target. I don't think a distressed mother trying to prevent her child from suffering would be able to cast it even if she had cast it before (unless she's an occlumens, I guess). And most infanticides are accidental, not deliberate (though we tend to hear about the deliberate ones because they get publicized more).

And as for soldiers/Death Eaters, there are other curses that can be used to kill people that are probably easier to cast on infants and don't require you to be so conscious of and hateful towards an infant. There's a lot of reasons why I think AK would be virtually impossible for a normal person to cast on an infant, but chief among them is that you have to be aware of the realities of your action when you cast AK. That means you can't dehumanize your target and you can't dissociate yourself from your action. As the mechanics of AK are explained, you pretty much have to be someone like Voldemort to pull it off [edit: against an infant].

Granted, infants might have accidentally been caught by the Curse, since it is said to be indiscriminate once it's been launched. In that case, assuming infants can't be intentionally AKd (a hypothesis that obviously hasn't been tested), it would serve as a test between an innate protection and something built into the spell that only prevents the targeting of infants.

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-12T01:04:28.211Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The Avada Kedavra curse has much stricter requirements for casting it than other curses capable of killing-- it requires you to want the target dead, but it also requires you to hate the target.

I think you're mistaken there, or working with an extremely loose definition of "hate". Did Voldemort hate the infant Harry when he tried to kill him, even though his knowledge of Harry's threat status was purely intellectual and abstract? Did he hate Lily, whom he appeared to treat with dismissive amusement at most? Or that groundskeeper at the Riddle mansion in canon? Did Moody hate the spider he used to demonstrate AK back in canon?

While we're at it, did Quirrell hate Bahry, at whom he cast AK with the alleged intent to miss?

I trust you see the point. We have far too many cases of AK being cast at random bystanders, perfect strangers etc. to claim that in each case the caster was feeling a personal hatred of the target rather than merely a brief, focused intent that the target die.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-12T02:43:34.065Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In HPMoR, Moody says-- regarding casting AK-- that it's easier to do after the first time, and that might be interpreted as saying that only the first time you cast it do you have to muster up a deep, personal hatred. Afterward, a more generalized hatred seems to work, which would be the case for any of the examples above. He DOES say that you need hatred, though. Again, it seems like a parallel to the Patronus Charm, since that also seems to be easier to cast once you've done it once.

Side note: what characters have been seen to cast both Patronus and AK? Snape does it in canon I think? Does he ever cast his Patronus after he kills Dumbledore?

I realize that doesn't particularly help my argument that AK's casting requirements might prevent its use on infants and it can't be taken as any kind of explanation for how AK is shown to work in canon. But I think you do still need to want the target to be dead, and that might be a higher bar to reach with an infant.

I just wanted to point out that we don't really have a lot of data on how AK works or if it works on infants specifically. So in order to explain what we see as an anomaly (an infant surviving the unsurvivable Killing Curse), we don't necessarily need an explanation like a mother's love protecting the infant or an unknown and mysterious new Deathly Hallow. The AK having a built-in protection against its use against infanticide is no more complicated than any of those explanations. Rather than settling on any of those explanations, I wanted to encourage people to keep thinking, because none of them sound completely right!

comment by Atelos · 2013-08-12T14:15:39.126Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Side note: what characters have been seen to cast both Patronus and AK? Snape does it in canon I think? Does he ever cast his Patronus after he kills Dumbledore?

Yes, in book 7 he used his patronus to lure Harry to the lake where he left Gryffindor's sword.

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-12T20:50:23.555Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Rather than settling on any of those explanations, I wanted to encourage people to keep thinking, because none of them sound completely right!

Upvoted because this line is music to my ears.

comment by Nornagest · 2013-08-12T21:29:30.109Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Did Moody hate the spider he used to demonstrate AK back in canon?

IIRC, that was Barty Crouch, Jr. disguised as Moody, not Moody himself. Not a very major point, but my model of Rowling says she'd be more likely to write a generalized hatred for all living things into one of the bad guys than into a good (if rather spooky) one.

comment by Manfred · 2013-07-28T05:49:44.718Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The resurrection stone functions as an anti-killing-curse device in the books. I think the model is that avada kedavra cuts the soul from the body, and the resurrection stone can hang onto your soul for a bit and glue it back into your body.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T07:47:09.546Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What? No, it doesn't. It allows Harry to qualify as "master of death" (thus fulfilling an old prophecy, presumably) and lets his dead family and friends comfort him before he sacrifices himself. He survived because horcruxes be complicated.

comment by TimS · 2013-07-25T14:52:42.297Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

No it doesn't! How would people even know what to pretend, if nobody had ever cared?

They don't know. That is what you observe.

I'm not sure I follow the second sentence. It doesn't seem responsive to the first.

comment by CrimsonWool · 2013-07-25T15:07:21.804Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW · GW

People don't know how to pretend to care, thus them being terrible at it - see, for example, not even spending five minutes to try to think of a way to bring their friends back to life.

comment by fezziwig · 2013-07-25T15:13:31.559Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Right, but how would they even know that caring is the thing they're supposed to pretend to do?

comment by CrimsonWool · 2013-07-25T16:38:16.754Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Because if you care about someone else (i.e. put a value on protecting and aiding that person), you become a resource worth preserving to that person.

comment by TimS · 2013-07-26T01:48:29.402Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So people pretend to care about others because this might cause others to actually try to help them? It's a plausible theory of human behavior, but seems awfully complicated to describe the mental processes of people we are all but explicitly told are too stupid to consistently implement their preferences.

In other words, there could actually be a reason that people think caring is the right thing to do, but trivial inconveniences and other errors of thinking prevent them from actually doing what they really think is right. This seems like a better description of most folks' mental processes than "doesn't care, and knows it" - which is the implication I get from the response sentence.

comment by CrimsonWool · 2013-07-26T02:29:32.931Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I would say the likeliest explanation is that people do care, but only insofar as it enables them to signal that they care. Caring much farther than that is pretty much pointless, from an evolutionary perspective, and probably actively detrimental.

comment by Joshua_Blaine · 2013-07-26T19:08:10.826Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Unless, of course, the machinery for caring is much simpler when it's simply "care" vs "not care". Pretending to care could be a much more complicated neurological adaptation that would be more wasteful than just implementing a nice "Sympathy" subsystem.

I mean, the way humans model each other's behavior is by looking at our own self in other people's scenarios, and then making minor adjustments for accuracy's sake, since they think a little differently. I mean, why would you invent an entire subsystem just for understanding other people? That's insane! YOU HAVE AN ENTIRE BRAIN ALREADY, AND EVERYBODY'S BRAIN IS REALLY DAMN SIMILAR, RIGHT?

Now, once you have this "self modeling and adjustment" system in place, actual caring makes a lot of sense. oh, pretending to care about your family and tribe is useful? here, i'll just slap on an extra module here. we'll call it Sympathy. It kinda works like this: you'v got that model of your brother you use to predict his behavior, right? It's running on the same hardware YOUR mind is, and you care about YOUR mind, right? so we'll just switch that "care" knob to the on position for your bro, alright? There. ha. now he'll respond by viewing you as a valuable resource!

That "Really Intelligent Sociopath Who Accurately Predicts Every Scenario In Which Pretending To Care Is Useful And Rarely Makes Wasteful Mistakes Regarding That Decision" module seems a little bit costly to implement. Honestly, it's just easier to actually freaking care about other people, albeit in a silly, ignorantly applied human way.

(I side with Harry on this one, in case you couldn't tell.)

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-27T09:53:52.463Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

and probably actively detrimental.

I dunno.

comment by chasingbutterflies · 2013-07-25T07:25:03.403Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I find myself confused by why Harry's interpretation of "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" is the logical one. The use of the word "last" in conjunction with Harry's interpretation either makes the statement pessimistic - that death is clearly more intractable than all our other problems, and thus will be last to be defeated - or implies that death logically takes the backseat to all other problems. I feel like the quote makes much more sense in the context of death being the final obstacle for each individual to grapple with and accept.

Overall I greatly enjoyed the sentiment of the chapter, and I found the incorporation of the Peverells to be especially clever, but the aforementioned line brings with it a great deal of friction.

comment by gwern · 2013-07-25T23:04:57.706Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

There's another reasonable interpretation: that once you've solved death, that's the last real problem you have, and everything else can be fixed given enough time, and there is no need to destroy one's enemies ('do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?').

With enough time, even Satan can be redeemed (which is, of course, a serious heresy).

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-25T07:46:41.793Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

It's a semantics thing. Once death is destroyed, no (human) enemy can be; they can be disabled, rehabilitated, but no enemy can ever be killed again, because nobody can ever be killed again.

The absolute end of Death also requires the absolute end of Endings.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-07-25T10:13:36.705Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The absolute end of Death also requires the absolute end of Endings.

The reminds me of Terry Pratchett. Both Hogfather and the Thief of Time have plots about ending time itself which would end Death.

comment by kilobug · 2013-07-25T07:50:34.857Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I understand it as, "when death is defeated, there won't be real enemies anymore, because there is nothing so terrible someone can do to you or your friends if they can't kill". Of course it's not fully true, Neville's parents who were driven insane by torture are in a state as bad as death if not worse. But then, it can be considered that destroying their personality is killing them. And most importantly, it's a motto, mottos are always a bit oversimplification and exaggerating.

I definitely see much more twisting in understanding this motto as "destroyed" is just "make peace with" than as "last enemy" meaning that once death if defeated, there aren't any true enemies left.

comment by OnTheOtherHandle · 2013-07-25T19:44:11.834Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's kind of the video game concept of "the final boss." Every other enemy is lesser, you have to build up your strength in order to defeat Death. "The last enemy to be defeated" doesn't mean "Death is the last thing you should ever fight" or "Death has the lowest priority of all our enemies", but rather "Death is the ultimate enemy, the worst of all, such that when we defeat it our task is done."

comment by gothgirl420666 · 2013-07-25T05:24:14.881Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm re-reading HPMoR right now, I'm at chapter 31. I'm fuzzy on what happens in most of chapter 32 on.

Stupid question: is Quirrel Voldemort? I don't really care about spoilers.

comment by JTHM · 2013-07-25T15:19:34.151Z · score: 20 (20 votes) · LW · GW

At this point, it would be the greatest fake-out in literary history if Quirinus Quirrell was actually just Quirinus Quirrell.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-07-25T19:05:59.744Z · score: 23 (23 votes) · LW · GW

Surprise! It's actually Nymphadora Tonks!

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T04:33:58.679Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That would, aside from being completely impossible in various ways, actually answer a few questions. Such as how the Defense Professor (don't want to assign him an actual name when talking about who he might be) is able to do intricate and powerful magic in any body he wears. It would be, to use his word, inefficient to just be that powerful and that in control of his magic. We already know, from Tonks-as-Susan, that a Metamorphmagus can do amazing magic while Metamorphed (probably because they have no "natural" form and are equally comfortable with any humanoid body); this makes it likely that the Defense Professor is a Metamorphmagus somehow. Of course, that doesn't explain why he needs to "rest", which other theories do, so we'd need both this and a completely separate explanation of the resting, which are less probably by conjunction.

Also, on an out-of-world note, I doubt Eliezer Yudkowsky would have made the particular comment above if the Defense Professor were a Metamorphmagus; he would be more likely to say Sprout, McGonagall, or Hannah Abbott.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2013-07-25T08:27:48.483Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Basically, yes.

Slightly pedantic answer: they're still different people, but Voldemort appears to be possessing Quirrell, through some means different than the means used in canon, so that it isn't too easy for Harry to figure out what's going on.

Fully nuanced answer: referring to the villain as "Voldemort" may be misleading, because in this version it appears the person who was born Tom Riddle has gone through all kinds of identities and personas and the "Voldemort" persona seems to be less important to him than in canon. Also, though I consider it unlikely, I'm not sure we can entirely ignore the possibility that Riddle magically forked himself, and there are multiple spirits descended from Riddle running around. Also, for all we know the original Quirrell could be flat-out dead, and Riddle (or this particular spirit descended from Riddle) grabbed the body of a random muggle to use while impersonating Quirrell (again, may not be terribly likely).

comment by elharo · 2013-07-25T10:38:35.941Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It's also possible that Voldemort/Quirrell isn't Riddle.

comment by Kindly · 2013-07-25T21:03:57.027Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I would consider it a plot twist if Quirrell turned out not to be anyone he possibly could be.

comment by drnickbone · 2013-07-30T17:20:30.759Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Some discussion of that theory here and here.

Dumbledore would have to be really amazingly stupid if Quirrell = Riddle.

comment by DubiousTwizzler · 2013-07-25T15:57:54.502Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Wait, what? I don't remember reading this, or picking up on any hints of this. Care to explain?

comment by elharo · 2013-07-25T19:39:51.702Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm certainly not sure of this, but Quirrell certainly doesn't act like canon Riddle; and "Voldemort" doesn't even look human. He could easily be anyone. Maybe instead of Riddle killing Monroe and taking his place, Monroe killed Riddle and took his place. A smart, Slytherin Dark Lord wannabe like Quirrel would want to hide his true identity from his enemies.

So far the only evidence we have that Voldemort is/was Riddle is that Dumbledore/Moody/etc. think he is. They may be wrong about this. I strongly suspect they're wrong about Voldemort's motivations, and have been since the first war began. What else are they wrong about?

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-09T15:34:17.626Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's very unlikely that Quirrel in HPMoR is THE Quirrel, since the basic biographical details given of Quirrel's time at Hogwarts line up with those given for the canon Quirrel. I think we can take both the Aurors and Professor Quirrel's assertions at face value on that score.

It seems significant to me that in HPMoR no one has mentioned Quirrel's previous tenure as Professor of Muggle Studies-- they all appear to act as though they didn't know him before his term as Defense Professor. This suggests to me that the original Quirrel has in fact been missing for some time and never actually became a Muggle Studies professor at Hogwarts. This being the case, it would be relatively simple for someone to take on Quirrel's name, and he likely wouldn't even have to LOOK like the original Quirrel.

As to who Quirrel is, I think perhaps Moody has the closest hypothesis: the John Monroe identity is probably adopted as well, and the Monroe that people remembered from the Wizarding War was never Monroe himself. This forms a pattern of a powerful wizard identifying missing and possibly dead wizards (or causing that state himself), taking their identities, and using those identities to act in current events. We know from The Incident with Rescuing Bellatrix from Azkaban that the person currently calling himself Quirrel has many other identities, so it's likely that John Monroe was also not the first.

Moody's Three Types of Dark Wizards would imply, then, that Voldemort is the second type while Quirrel is the third type.

As for who this person originally was, I have to wonder if John Monroe was the first identity he adopted. If he actually IS the original John Monroe, then he was born in the 40s and is therefore in his 50s at the time of the present story. If he isn't, then he was born before that and it begins to stretch the imagination that he might be able to pass himself off as being in his late 30s, even considering the longevity of wizards. Granted, while he doesn't have to be a Metamorphmagus to adopt new identities, it would certainly help while also solving the age problem.

Another possibility might be that our serial identity thief might actually have the same identity as another wizard we've heard of who likes to adopt new identities, as hinted in the book Hermione was reading when she was trying to find a way to get Harry's debt absolved. Were Quirrel to be Nicolas Flamel, it might answer quite a lot of questions, though there are some problems with the idea. Dumbledore is well-acquainted with Flamel and appears to be maintaining contact with him (which would be easy to do, granted, if Quirrel is Flamel) but doesn't show any signs of knowing that Quirrel is Flamel.

comment by ygert · 2013-08-09T22:10:02.752Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Best as I can tell, Quirrell was never actually a Muggle Studies professor in canon. It seems to be an entirely fanon thing.

comment by gwern · 2013-08-09T22:25:33.840Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Adwait313: Has the jinx on the dada teaching post at hogwarts been lifted
J.K. Rowling: Yes, at last! Incidentally, I know some have asked about Quirrell with regard to this question.
J.K. Rowling: He was teaching at Hogwarts for more than a year, but NOT in the post of D.A.D.A. teacher. He was previously Muggle Studies professor.

--J.K. Rowling and the Live Chat, Bloomsbury.com, July 30, 2007 (2.00-3.00pm BST).

comment by ygert · 2013-08-13T22:04:34.130Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Right, OK. Word of God then. I was unsure whether it was that or pure fanon.

comment by gjm · 2013-08-09T21:51:51.046Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

John Monroe

David.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-10T02:52:37.902Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ah yes, sorry!

comment by CronoDAS · 2013-07-25T05:47:27.000Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Short answer: Yes, but we still have no idea what that actually means.

comment by gothgirl420666 · 2013-07-25T06:14:24.206Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, I should have added "and how do we know?"

comment by Benquo · 2013-07-25T12:59:43.997Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

In addition to the rot13'd reason:

It's true in Canon.

Voldemort is the only one with a plausible motive to want Bellatrix Black out of Azkaban.

Quirrel drops a bunch of hints directly:

He says he has resolved his parental issues to his satisfaction, and he says they were killed by Voldemort.

After he got what he needed from the Muggle martial arts dojo, Voldemort comes along and destroys it. Later, when discussing the chamber of secrets with Harry, he mentioned that Voldemort would not leave an important source of power lying around for anybody else to use it, so he probably killed Slytherin's creature.

He tells his whole defense class that he used to want to be a dark Lord.

He tried to become the ruler of magical England by setting himself up as "David Monroe" against Voldemort. Later, once Harry wants to stop being stuck in Hogwarts, he suggests pretending to be Voldemort to set Harry up as a hero everyone else depends on.

He doesn't want Dumbledore to know whom he really is.

At the end of the Azkaban arc, it turns out that is a very large number of identities, so it's not particularly implausible to think that he is Voldemort too.

comment by DubiousTwizzler · 2013-07-25T16:00:59.339Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Also, mysterious feeling of doom. And Quirrel can sense Harry's feelings. And their magic can't interact.

comment by CronoDAS · 2013-07-25T06:15:59.536Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Same way we know about the Pioneer Plaque.

comment by gothgirl420666 · 2013-07-25T06:24:57.077Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell told Harry?

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-07-25T06:49:06.344Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Va ybat-fvapr ergenpgrq nhgube'f abgrf, Ryvrmre znqr gur pbaarpgvba rkcyvpvg.

comment by roland · 2013-07-26T12:14:45.243Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder if EY has been fooling us with those retracted author-notes.

comment by gothgirl420666 · 2013-07-25T14:54:16.067Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, okay, thank you.

comment by Benito · 2013-07-25T06:56:01.769Z · score: -2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

www.rot13.com

comment by fubarobfusco · 2013-07-25T05:26:35.565Z · score: 3 (9 votes) · LW · GW

What would it mean to "be" Voldemort? Quirrell seems to be entangled with past-Voldemort in some ways, but not in others.

comment by gothgirl420666 · 2013-07-25T05:30:39.941Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know... in the books, Quirrell was possessed by Voldemort or something. The omake implies that Eliezer changed this because Harry PEV would have been able to figure it out really quickly and there wouldn't have been a story. I thought that Quirrell just wasn't possessed in HPMoR, but in the recent discussion thread I saw a bunch of people saying "Quirrellmort", which confused me.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-07-25T05:46:00.420Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The omake was to show how easily HJPEV could have won if Voldemort had remained exactly the same as in canon--living on the back of Quirrel's head, hidden by a turban, causing Harry pain whenever he looked in his direction, while the professors probably wouldn't stop Harry from reporting this to Dumbledore.

In Methods, we get Quirrel with zombie mode and rationalist mode, who causes Harry to feel a sense of doom, and McG warning him harshly that the defense professor is far too valuable to be investigated before the students can have a proper education for the first time in years. Also, Quirrel has a bald spot (does this correspond to where Facemort would have appeared in canon?).

comment by gothgirl420666 · 2013-07-25T06:19:17.539Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, iirc in the books Quirrell was described as being a worldly Dark-ish badass before he became possessed by Voldemort, upon which he became very timid. The fact that HPMoR Quirrell's character matches the canon pre-Voldemort Quirrell, combined with explicitly noting that he wasn't wearing a turban, combined with the omake, seemed to me like Eliezer was basically saying "In this world, Quirrell did not become possessed by Voldemort and returned safely from his travels". I'm not really sure what the evidence to the contrary is.

comment by Velorien · 2013-07-25T16:21:25.997Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Well, iirc in the books Quirrell was described as being a worldly Dark-ish badass before he became possessed by Voldemort, upon which he became very timid.

I don't think you do rc, I'm afraid. He was basically a timid Muggle Studies professor with a latent interest in the Dark Arts. Definitely not worldly or badass in any way.

comment by ygert · 2013-07-25T21:07:38.294Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I believe the "he used to be the Muggle Studies professor" thing is merely fanon. (Or maybe it was Word of God? I don't remember. It definitely wasn't in the books.)

comment by Velorien · 2013-07-25T23:33:37.504Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hm, you're right. Everyone treats it as canon, but I can't find an actual reference anywhere.

On the other hand, Word of God says his main hobby, other than travel, is pressing flowers, which I don't think wins him any worldly badass points.

comment by Benito · 2013-07-25T06:54:06.139Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Which omake? Could you offer a link please?

comment by Jost · 2013-07-25T10:58:49.598Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

See Omake #1 in chapter 11.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-25T05:43:00.257Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's... not clear and there are a whole bunch of theories, including some in which multiple characters other than Quirrel are Voldemort.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-11T21:41:35.979Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I have to depart from the majority of responses to your question and offer, "There is yet insufficient data to answer the question."

The tendency is to answer a qualified "yes" because that would be the answer in regard to canon. However, this is not canon. It also isn't an alternate history of canon, since Eliezer has modified things where he felt it made more sense to have them changed. For example, there is in this post a comment by Eliezer stating that he places the Peverells before the founding of Hogwarts, whereas canon states that Hogwarts was founded first (the decision makes sense, considering that Hogwarts itself seems to offer enough continuity of knowledge to make strange the idea that the Peverell story could have been reduced to myth given that their artifacts actually exist).

In short, the only reason people are so sure that Quirrel is Voldemort is because he was Voldemort in canon.

I don't think there is very strong evidence for it, but there isn't really sufficient evidence against the hypothesis either. Canon!Quirrel and HPMOR!Quirrel don't even appear to represent the same character (they use the same name, but there the differences basically stop, and the HPMOR version appears to be a case of identity theft). So in that sense, not only is what we know from canon unreliable, but we're not even really talking about a character that is derivative of his counterpart in canon, so all bets are off.

What people might point to as evidence (the zombie state, the feeling of dread, and the danger of Harry and Quirrel casting spells on each other) are things that invoke enough similarity to canon to encourage people to think of them as evidence that the situations are identical, but those pieces of evidence are fundamentally different between canon and HPMOR.

In canon, Quirrel usually acts rather normal with no hint of a zombie state and actually isn't even possessed when Harry sees him in the Leaky Cauldron (he seems to give Harry the dread feeling in that scene in HPMOR)-- because we know in retrospect that he was possessed for most of the book, we have a tendency to incorrectly match that with the zombie state in HPMOR.

In canon, Harry's scar physically hurts when Quirrel turns away from him while he's possessed. In HPMOR there is the the 'feeling of dread,' which isn't reliant on Quirrel's orientation to Harry at all, but rather it is reliant on proximity and the state of Quirrel's mind (it is reduced in both Quirrel's zombie state and in his animagus form).

In canon, the resonance between Harry and Voldemort is between their wands, not between themselves (Voldemort is able to cast torture spells on Harry just fine). The encounter between Harry's Patronus and Quirrel's Avada Kedavra did not create a Priori Incantatum event in HPMOR. It also affected Quirrel rather more severely than it did Harry.

From this, one has to conclude that this evidence that Quirrel is Voldemort is inconclusive at best and is generally misleading. It doesn't discount the possibility that HPMOR!Quirrel is possessed by Voldemort in a way that results in somewhat different symptoms, and it doesn't discount the possibility that Quirrel is actually Tom Riddle in the physical and mental sense.

So, insufficient data to answer the question. But add in author agency and you have to really question the obvious solution that we're being led to by things that only seem similar to canon. And I should note that "author agency" may also freely apply to comments the author has made outside the story as himself.

comment by Kindly · 2013-08-12T15:01:08.532Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What people might point to as evidence (the zombie state, the feeling of dread, and the danger of Harry and Quirrel casting spells on each other) are things that invoke enough similarity to canon to encourage people to think of them as evidence that the situations are identical, but those pieces of evidence are fundamentally different between canon and HPMOR.

These aren't actually things I would point to as evidence of Quirrell's identity (though they are certainly suggestive of.. something). The Pioneer plaque thing may be one, but here are some clues that are less often mentioned:

  • Quirrell's "love potion" speech in Chapter 70 describes Tom Riddle's family situation fairly precisely; also, in Chapter 20, he implies (if you squint) that he killed his parents.

  • We know Quirrell to have many identities, and we are warned of Dark Wizards who have many identities.

  • Plots that we know of to be Quirrell's remind people of Voldemort's plots. (This is in equal measure evidence that Harry Potter is Voldemort.)

  • In Chapter 26, Quirrell demonstrates a rather strong interest in prophecies concerning Harry Potter.

  • In Chapter 40, after finding out that a ring which was in Voldemort's possession in canon is actually the Resurrection Stone, Quirrell immediately changes his plans and leaves to do something unspecified.

  • Voldemort has an obvious motivation to do things such as rescue Bellatrix Black from Azkaban.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-12T21:21:53.630Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Unfortunately, even those things aren't particularly strong evidence if you're really being objective.

  • Quirrel's commentary about love potions in Chapter 70 is generic enough that no one objects to it except on the grounds that it's not appropriate for the children present, so clearly his point that it DOES happen is widely recognized enough that to the adults present it's not particularly notable that he points it out.

  • That Quirrel has many identities and Dark Wizards sometimes have many identities isn't even really strong evidence that Quirrel should be considered a Dark Wizard (even though he seems pretty damn Darkish a lot of the time). It's only evidence that he has many identities.

  • Plots reminding people of Voldemort's plots is susceptible to confirmation bias, just like most of the evidence I mentioned in the earlier post.

  • Demonstrating a strong interest in Harry Potter prophecies is a matter of course/survival for ANYONE acquainted with Harry Potter, since he's Harry Potter and they might get caught up in said prophecies.

  • This is probably the strongest evidence of Quirrel being Voldemort, but it's still circumstantial since we don't know where Quirrel actually went. He might also have just realized that Dumbledore's wand is the Elder Wand... or have been a Death Eater who saw the stone in question, or have otherwise deduced the location of the ring. Still, the simplest answer here appears to be him knowing about it because he's Voldemort... but that isn't as simple if you don't automatically assume he's been possessed by Voldemort as the canon!Quirrel was.

  • Voldemort does have an obvious motivation to rescue Bellatrix, but Quirrel does actually take Bellatrix to a Healer (which you wouldn't expect Voldemort to do), and Bellatrix hasn't been sent on any missions since her rescue... that we've heard of. In canon, Voldemort basically just sets her loose. Also, Quirrel acknowledges that what was done to Bellatrix was wrong (much more strongly and genuinely than anyone else in either HPMoR or Canon, all of whom are happy to judge her on her actions), which looks more like a connection to Bellatrix rather than Voldemort, who certainly wouldn't be remorseful for abusing her. Of course, that could be a ruse.

The fact is, we aren't going to get any concrete evidence of this until we actually see Voldemort in the flesh. And when it comes down to it, I'm not exactly offering any counter-evidence that he isn't Voldemort. But the evidence certainly isn't strong enough to be as sure of it as most of the people talking about Quirrel and Voldemort in these discussions are. And frankly I keep thinking that Quirrel seems to actually care about things more than you'd expect Voldemort to be capable of emulating.

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-13T14:49:58.607Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And frankly I keep thinking that Quirrel seems to actually care about things more than you'd expect Voldemort to be capable of emulating.

The trouble is that we know very little about Voldemort's personality. Canon!Voldemort is practically a cardboard cut-out of a villain, whose attributes can be summed up as cruelty, power, fear of death and being like a snake. He is also at times clever and manipulative, but these attributes fade in and out (see the "Bahl's Stupefaction" reference, for example).

Is HPMOR!Voldemort copy-pasted from the original? It seems unlikely for a variety of reasons, such as the fact that he'd make an unworthy villain for Harry Potter to face, or the fact that Eliezer is a good writer who would not leave a major character two-dimensional.

How, then, is he different? His foes describe him as extremely intelligent, with the implication that he has been upgraded in a similar way to Harry, yet as Harry realises, a rational!Voldemort should not have had to fight a protracted campaign in the first place, never mind losing it. His treatment of Dumbledore and his brother is indeed cruel, as are a number of other actions, though they are always cruel to serve an end, not because he is evil for evil's sake. He is implied to be very powerful, though little evidence of this is provided. We know little about his attitude to death, but there's no reason to believe it's greatly altered from canon. And little is made of any possible snake affinity, though if he is Riddle, he is a Parseltongue and the Heir of Slytherin.

In short, it seems like we know very little about HPMOR!Voldemort, including what he might care about, or how much, so we're not going to get far if we attempt to use his personality as evidence.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-13T15:55:22.666Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That is the trouble indeed. We only have a few reliable pieces of information regarding Hpmor!Voldemort's character: the incident with Dumbledore's brother and his treatment of Bellatrix. The former is filtered through his enemies and the latter comes from the mouth of one of the most likely suspects. We also have Harry's memory of his mother's death.

The trouble with the ransoming of Dumbledore's brother is that we don't know about his motivations. We just know he did it and we have a report from Snape that he was pleased to force Dumbledore to start playing, as it were. We can assume that he had several reasons to take those actions-- it's win-win for him. He either cripples the Order or he strikes a compromising personal blow against its leader. That's evidence for his tactical acumen, though it doesn't speak to his character except that he's capable of following through.

Bellatrix's situation at least shows that Harry has Voldemort modeled well enough to fool a half-sane, withered and abused Bellatrix into believing he is Voldemort. And her behavior supports everything Quirrel says about how she was treated-- which points to him having insider information of some kind. He doesn't have to be Voldemort to get that information, but it would be one explanation for him knowing. On the other hand, he does seem to be making moral judgements about her treatment that you wouldn't expect him to make were he Voldemort (reading him talking about it made me think he was focused on Bellatric for more personal reasons).

Speaking of the breakout, Bellatrix does see both Quirrel's animagus form and his own appearance after the polyjuice has worn off. She didn't seem like she recognized him at all, so either she didn't remember him (which she wouldn't if he was a happy memory), or he was able to signal her somehow not to say anything (not so reliable given her state, but possible). Quirrel doesn't take polyjuice to maintain his daily form, else it would have worn off when his disguise did (and it seems like a terrible idea to overlay a polyjuice over another one). Of course, he could be a metamorphmagus, which would allow him to pretend to take polyjuice. I should point out here that Eliezer doesn't appear to be in the habit of changing characters' abilities except as a direct consequence of an alteration of their personality or mental framework. Voldemort wasn't an animagus or a metamorphmagus in canon as far as we know; a smarter Voldemort would learn to be the former but can't learn to be the latter. And we don't know certain things like, 'can you be both at the same time?'

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-09-02T21:39:00.443Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

we don't know certain things like, 'can you be both at the same time?'

WoG says no, for canon.

comment by elspood · 2013-08-11T18:56:47.707Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It was hard to muster a proper sense of indignation when you were confronting the same dignified witch who, twelve years and four months earlier, had given both of you two weeks' detention after catching you in the act of conceiving Tracey.

Given the fact that there is a Tracey, then that act of conception must have completed. So, either McGonagall caught them at exactly the right moment, or the Davises had just kept on going after they were caught...

No matter how it happened, this scene must have played out hilariously.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-11T22:03:37.498Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Er, it's not like people can't be caught during the second round or after completion. This is also from McGonagall's point of view and could be unreliable. The time she caught them probably wasn't the ONLY time they had sex within the window of time that would have produced Tracey. It could just be a convenient conceit for McGonagall to be thinking it was during the time she caught them that the girl was conceived, since she only knows of one encounter during the appropriate timeframe.

comment by Stuart_Armstrong · 2013-08-01T17:12:28.452Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Source of confusion: Harry isn't dead. Why hasn't the Mysterious Enemy (ME) had him killed?

1) Harry isn't a target: he's just in the way of some other objective.

Let's lay that theory aside for the moment, on the grounds that it's not fun. The next most likely is:

2) ME's objective is to make Harry behave in a particular way.

So Harry is intended to go huge and dramatic. But that's a somewhat stupid plan on the part of ME, too prone to random factors derailing it. Except that we've already seen plans like that working, in one particular case: where time-turners are involved, and the person is manipulating themselves.

The easier way for Harry to achieve godhood is to break the restrictions on the time-turners, and go back arbitrarily far. This is fine - but the time-travelling future!Harry has to ensure that current!Harry forms the firm resolution to achieve godhood. So the ME is a time-travelling future!Harry, working to ensure that current!Harry does indeed follow the path to making the future version come into existence.

If we want to go all Ouroboros, we could have future!Harry influencing Harry's upbringing, feeding his "dark side" to ensure he ends up sufficiently intelligent and motivated to carry the plan through...

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-07-25T19:18:39.777Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The Elder Wand couldn't protect you from old age.

Does Harry already know or suspect at this point that Dumbledore has the Elder Wand? Either way, this looks like a piece of foreshadowing worth paying attention to regarding Dumbledore's fate.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-07-25T05:06:35.472Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I was wondering why/why not about the idea of Harry talking to Bathilda Bagshot in this chapter, and thoroughly convinced myself that Harry would have avoided doing so even had he thought about it (does he even know that she lives in Godric's Hollow?). The main reason would be that he believes that Dumbledore/Moody is watching him, which would vacate the point of talking to a historian over Dumbledore directly. The next biggest is that she most likely reports to Dumbledore, or has at least been warned that Harry would be there. The only gain that would come of it would be Harry getting to see what Grendelwald looked like when he was much younger, and that wouldn't be much if any use.

I still wonder if Bathilda knows any useful historical tidbits that Harry knows not, though. Doubtless he's read her books, but it wouldn't be surprising if there were some details useful to Harry that she (or her publisher) decided didn't belong there.

comment by Decius · 2014-09-22T05:45:05.434Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches, born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies. And the Dark Lord shall mark him as his equal, But he shall have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must destroy all but a remnant of the other, for those two different spirits cannot exist in the same world.

Looking at this with my current eyes, I see no reason to anthropomorphize the Dark Lord more than necessary. I think it is reasonable to say that Harry is "born" of the Peverell brothers, who have thrice defied death. Even at this point, death/dementors have marked Harry as an equal (by dealing with him), he has power that they know not, and he has resolved to destroy "all but a remnant" of it.

comment by Velorien · 2013-08-13T14:24:05.619Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ignotus(?) Peverell created the Cloak of Invisibility, was immortal while he wore it, then passed it on to his son. As a consequence, he died and his son became immortal (presumably until he, in turn, passed it on to his child). Why didn't Ignotus simply make another Cloak of Invisibility for his son, or have his son make one for himself? They had the necessary knowledge, and however ardurous, demanding or costly the ritual, one would think it was worth performing just a few times a generation to keep oneself and one's family from dying.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-14T23:11:34.966Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is it certain that the Cloak confers outright immortality? None of the other Hallows seem to quite match that scope of power either in scale or in utility (and number of applications). Maybe that property is more exaggeration than reality, and the Cloak only protects against unnatural death?

If the Cloak does offer full immortality, you'd certainly expect crafting your Cloak of Immortality to be a coming of age ritual. Maybe there can only be one Cloak for whatever reason, or the materials needed for it are virtually impossible to acquire?

Also, how is the immortality conferred to the owner of the cloak? Does having use of the Cloak confer protection or do you have to be master of the Cloak? Does the Cloak protect you only while you're wearing it? I imagine Ignotus didn't go around wearing the Cloak every second of every day-- it might be hard to convince someone to have children with you that way.

James Potter was surely still considered owner of the Cloak when he was killed, even if he didn't have it in his possession at the time. But maybe he wasn't "master" of the Cloak.

If you have to be master of the Cloak for it to make you immortal, Harry couldn't have saved Hermione with it even if he'd tried. But if, as master, you can extend that property to people you lend it to as you do its invisibility, he might have been able to save her with it assuming "hiding" someone from death works when they're bleeding out.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-08-15T02:02:54.341Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe there can only be one Cloak for whatever reason, or the materials needed for it are virtually impossible to acquire?

Or maybe it real was given by Death himself.

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-08-08T13:47:10.200Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Prediction: Harry will have to make an unbreakable vow not to use the elixir of life himself in order to get the Philosopher's stone from the Mirror or Erisid

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-13T13:25:56.940Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Knowing Harry, an ordinary vow will suffice. Or he gets Dumbledore to retrieve it.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-09-04T01:28:04.353Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Classic Parfit's Hitchhiker.

comment by gesserit · 2013-08-06T20:48:42.402Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Greetings, forum!

Þregen béon Pefearles suna and þrie hira tól þissum Déað béo gewunen.

So, I confess myself a bit suspicious of whether the last bit really means what it's supposed to do/what the Patronus claims it does. The reason being that in both English and German, the direct object of the respective modern cognates of [ge]win[n]an, "to win" and "gewinnen", indicate the prize, not the foe: The latter is in both cases indicated as an indirect object employing a suitably confrontational preposition.

Like so: In order to win (gain) the princess, the knight must win against (subdue) the dragon.

Being neither a proper scholar of OE nor of linguistics, I obviously can't rule out that the intended/suggested sense is valid even so, but whenever English and German show commonalities of this ilk, the natural assumption is that both preserve something present in their common root, rather than that analogous changes occurred independently in both, surely.

If there are any Scandinavian-speakers around, it'd be good to hear if the corresponding constructions function the same in that branch of the Germanic tree as well.

ETA: Ah, I skipped over the assumption that the verb is indeed meant to be the one which gives us the modern "to win", rather than the one whence we get "to wean" and which would mean something along the lines of "growing accustomed to or familiar with", as another poster suggested. So, I'm retroactively adopting and stating that one now. :)

comment by Mass_Driver · 2013-08-02T21:11:07.143Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Puzzle:

Who is ultimately in control of the person who calls himself Quirrell?

  • Voldemort

If Voldemort is possessing the-person-pretending-to-be-Quirrell using the path Dumbledore & co. are familiar with, or for that matter by drinking unicorn blood, then why isn't Voldy's magic noticeably weaker than before? Quirrell seems like he could at least hold his own against Dumbledore, and possibly defeat him.

If Voldemort took control of the-person-pretending-to-be-Quirrell's body outright using incredibly Dark magic, then why would Quirrell openly suggest that possibility to the DMLE Auror in Taboo Tradeoffs I?

If Voldemort returned to life via the Philosopher's Stone, then how did he get past the 'legendary' and 'fantastic' wards on the forbidden corridor without so much as triggering an alarm?

  • David Monroe

If Monroe disappeared on purpose in 1975, and has been having random other international adventures since then, and has only just now decided to teach Battle Magic at Hogwarts (thereby ensuring his demise, per the Dark Lord's curse on the position) because his zombie syndrome is worsening and he is worried about living out the year, then what is his purpose in teaching Battle Magic? Is it just for the fun of it? This seems unlikely; he is very serious about his subject and rarely indulges in jokes or in irrelevant scholastic diversions.

Is it because he expects that teaching the students Battle Magic will help them learn to fight back and resist Dark wizards? Then why did he plan so poorly for his big Yuletide speech about resistance and unity as to allow Harry to seriously disrupt it? Could someone as intelligent as Monroe, whose major goal is to sway political opinion, really only give one big political speech and then, at that speech, fail to prevent one (admittedly precocious) student from giving a moderately persuasive opposing speech? Why not, e.g., cast a silent, wandless Silencio charm on Harry? Or simply inform him that he has 30 words in which to state his backup wish, or else it is forfeit? Or pretend to honor the wish that he would teach Defense against the Dark Arts next year? All of these alternatives (plus others) seem obviously better to me than tolerating such blatant interference with his primary goal.

  • Lucius Malfoy

If he had those kinds of powers, he would wield them openly and just take over Britain. Also, it's hard to imagine he wouldn't have been keeping a closer watch on his son, to the point where he would know if his son was involved in a duel and/or sitting around freezing for six to eight hours.

  • Slytherin's Monster

It has mysteriously powerful lore from the ancient past, and there's no firm evidence that it was killed or locked back in the Chamber of Secrets after Voldy broke in. In fact, the person who claims that Voldy's last words to the Monster would have been Avada Kedavra is...Quirrell. Not exactly a trustworthy source if Quirrell is the Monster.

OTOH, this would be ludicrously under-foreshadowed -- canon!Monster was a non-sentient beast, and the only HPMOR foreshadowing for the Monster focused on its being very long lived and able to speak Parseltongue. It's not clear how a rationalist would deduce, from available information, that the Monster was responsible -- we have very little data on what the Monster is like, so it's very hard to strongly match the actions we observe to the actions we expect from the Monster.

  • Albus Dumbledore

Lots of pieces of weak evidence point here; Dumbledore and Quirrell are two of the highest-powered wizards around, and are two of the weirdest wizards around, and have roughly the same power level, so the hypothesis that says they are both caused by the same phenomenon gets a simplicity bonus. Dumbledore is frequently absent without a good explanation; Quirrell is frequently zombie-ish without a good explanation; Quirrell is zombieish more often as Dumbledore starts to get more energetic and activate the Order of the Pheonix; I cannot think of any scenes where both Dumbledore and Quirrell are being very active at exactly the same time. Sometimes Dumbledore expresses skepticism at something Quirrell says, but I cannot think of any examples of them engaging in magical cooperation or confrontation. If they are the same person, then it is convenient that Quirrell made Dumbledore promise not to investigate who Quirrell is.

We know Dumbledore snuck into Harry's room (in his own person) and left messages for Harry warning Harry not to trust Dumbledore; perhaps Dumbledore also turns into Quirrell and warns Harry in Quirrell's body not to trust Dumbledore. It is a little unclear why Dumbledore would want to limit Harry's trust in him, but it could have to do with the idea of heroic responsibility (nihil supernum) or even just standard psychology -- if Quirrell and Dumbledore agree on something, even though Quirrell says not to trust Dumbledore, then Harry is very likely to believe it.

It is hard to imagine Dumbledore murdering Hermione in cold blood, but, as Harry has been musing, you can only say "that doesn't seem like his style" so many times before the style defense becomes extremely questionable. Dumbledore prevents Hermione from receiving a Time-Turner, was suspiciously absent at the time of the troll attack (but showed up immediately after it was complete, with just enough time in between to have obliviated Fred and George, who, conveniently, handed the Marauder's map over to the Headmaster and then forgot all about it).

OTOH, having Hermione attempt to kill Draco and then having the troll kill Hermione on school grounds is terrible for Dumbledore's political agenda -- he winds up losing support from the centrists over the attack on Draco, and losing support from everyone over incompetent security. The school, where he has been Headmaster for decades and where he must keep the Philosopher's Stone, might even be closed. It's hard to understand how putting his entire power base in grave jeopardy could be a deliberate plot on his part, nor is it easily explained in terms of feeling plot-appropriate (it doesn't) or Dumbledore's insanity (a fully general explanation).

comment by DanielH · 2013-08-03T18:32:06.210Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It is possible, though unlikely given his increasing zombieness, that "Quirrell" has found a way around Voldemort's curse. The one that comes to mind is that Voldemort cursed the Defense against the Dark Arts position. Quirrell is teaching Battle Magic, not Defense against the Dark Arts, so he may be immune. Similarly, if Quirrell is Voldemort, he may be able to counter his own curse (or have put a check for himself or a loophole on the curse); if Canon!Voldemort had thought of that, he may have been able to successfully steal the Stone.

comment by Mass_Driver · 2013-08-05T07:06:11.821Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, Voldemort could probably teach DaDA without suffering from the curse, and a full-strength Voldemort with a Hogwarts Professorship could probably steal the stone.

I'm not sure either of those explains how Voldemort got back to full-strength in the first place, though. Did Voldemort fake the charred hulk of his body? And Harry forgot that apparent charred bodies aren't perfectly reliable evidence of a dead enemy because his books have maxims like "don't believe your enemy is dead until you see the body?" But then what was Voldemort doing between 1975 and 1990? He was winning the war until he tackled Harry; why would he suddenly decide to stop?

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-10T04:23:14.173Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've been leaning away from the idea of Quirrel being Voldemort because there are so many differences between him and canon!Quirrel... They don't appear to be the same person and the details of Quirrel's affliction are different. At the very least, the possession is different, either for a fundamental reason or because HPMOR!Quirrel is more capable of resisting Voldemort.

This leads to a few hypotheses:

1) Quirrel is not possessed at all and suffers from some unrelated affliction, such as the side effects of a dark ritual. (Doesn't discount the possibility of Quirrel actually BEING Voldemort, no need for possession, depending on circumstances of his 'death')

2) Quirrel is possessed by Voldemort, but is able to resist in a way that causes or exacerbates the zombie state 2a) Quirrel is slowly losing against Voldemort (explanation for increasing frequency of zombie state) 2b) Quirrel actually overpowered Voldemort after he was possessed and counter possessed Voldemort, thereby gaining Voldemort's various resources (Voldemort rallying might explain increased frequency of zombie state)

3) The method of possession is somehow different, causing different symptoms.

Keep in mind that the only actual evidence for HPMOR!Quirrel being Voldemort is the proximity-based sense-of-doom and the problems with casting spells on each other. This is actually quite different from what happens in canon, where the issue is with the wands, not their persons. Also, the clash between the Patronus and the Killing Curse didn't cause the Priori thing to happen. So the doom feeling could have a number of different explanations while the spell-casting issue doesn't seem to be the same as that of canon (and even if it were, that's only evidence of Quirrel using Voldemort's wand, not actually of BEING Voldemort... And wasn't the location of Voldemort's wand what Bellatrix was trying to tell Harry during the escape?).

It seems to me that if Voldemort isn't actually the referent of the Prophecy (as speculated by others, it might refer to Death instead) then Voldemort might actually have died. Alternatively, I like the idea of Voldemort inadvertently casting a ritual while murdering Lily-- perhaps Voldemort's body, power, life, or a combination of the above we're sacrifices in addition to the sacrifice of the target's mother. It's hard to speculate what the actual result of that ritual might be aside from the sacrifices, but any of those effects on Voldemort would have similar consequences for Voldemort.

I think it's unlikely that it's all an elaborate decades long hoax by Voldemort since as you say it just doesn't make sense for him to give up the war like that. I would almost say that just as likely to happen might be some crazed wizard with an outsize talent for memory charms coming up with a way to effect a memory charm on a nationwide scale to completely fabricate Voldemort's entire history and existence... Maybe Mad-Eye should take another pass at Gilderoy.

comment by loxfordian · 2013-07-28T15:07:18.346Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If the invisibility cloak is so good at shielding people from death AND the Potter/Peverell family is focused on defeating death, why didn't James put baby Harry and Lily under the cloak as soon as they knew Harry was a target?

Harry is going about his daily life under cloak w/ broomstick now; surely his parents--who spent more time with Mad Eye than Harry has--would appreciate the need for constant vigilance when Voldemort wants to kill your baby.

comment by HungryHippo · 2013-07-28T17:34:57.950Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The Potters did not know that Voldemort was after their son specifically, only that they were in general danger from the Death Eaters by being opposed to them and also active members in the Order of the Phoenix. At this time, they were hidden by the fidelius charm, which is some pretty serious magics: "As long as the Secret Keeper refused to speak, You-Know-Who could search the village where Lily and James were staying for years and never find them, not even if he had his nose pressed against their sitting room window!"

Voldemort only went for their son after Snape told him of Trelawney's prophecy, which was immediately after it was spoken, making very little time for McGonagall to inform Dumbledore and for the OotP to react. (Even supposing they could decipher the prophecy instantly.)

Also, the note from Dumbledore specifically says that James left the cloak in Dumbledore's possession before he died. (Maybe to prevent it from getting into Voldemort's hands.) This explains why the cloak was not available when then Potters needed it the most.

comment by pedanterrific · 2013-08-21T16:59:35.364Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Really late reply, but: the prophecy was made before Harry was born; Voldemort and Dumbledore found out about it at roughly the same time (almost immediately); and the attack came when Harry was fifteen months old. They knew about the prophecy while they were in hiding.

comment by HungryHippo · 2013-08-21T20:34:24.314Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'll be damned. Good correction!

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-07-28T23:44:01.605Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Also, the note from Dumbledore specifically says that James left the cloak in Dumbledore's possession before he died. (Maybe to prevent it from getting into Voldemort's hands.)

Since Dumbledore was the strongest magician of them, giving the cloak to Dumbledore to fight more effectively might have been effective.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T06:45:42.710Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Of course, Dumbledore doesn't need a cloak to become invisible ... in the books, he requests it so he could study a real deathly hallow, possibly while squeeing.

comment by loxfordian · 2013-07-28T18:50:39.229Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This explanation assumes that:

1) The Potters didn't have the cloak on them because they trusted in the Fidelius Charm to keep them safe from Voldemort/Death Eaters.

2) The Potters didn't have the cloak on them because they did not trust in the Fidelius Charm to keep it safe from Voldemort/Death Eaters.

So yeah, I don't buy it.

comment by HungryHippo · 2013-07-28T21:51:33.220Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think you missed my point.

We know the Potters did not have their cloak because Dumbledore said so in his note to Harry.

To defend my parenthesis: earlier in the war, Voldemort taught Dumbledore that a human life is not of infinite worth. A corollary of this is that three humans lives may not be worth more than a deathly hallow. I.e. that the protection adequate for the safeguarding of three humans is not adequate for the protection of a deathly hallow (if the risk is that the deathly hallow falls into the hands of Voldemort).

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-07-28T19:21:27.064Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In Escalation of Conflicts

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.

In Multiple Hypothesis Testing

"That eye," said Harry Potter. There was a strange fierce light in the boy's eyes. "That isn't any ordinary device. It can see right through my invisibility cloak. You dodged my Transfigured taser as soon as I started raising it, even though I didn't speak any incantations. And now that I've watched it again - you spotted all my Time-Turned selves the moment you Flooed into this room, didn't you?"

James must have known that it wouldn't be very long before Voldemort found Lily and Harry even with the Cloak, given Voldemort's legendary powers. Trying to hold him off despite this was still a better idea, as it would at least give Lily and Harry the chance to flee rather than hide.

comment by loxfordian · 2013-07-28T19:58:28.197Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed, but wouldn't a true cloak of invisibility still be a good thing to have while fleeing? Hiding in a corner of your house would be stupid, since everybody knows that's where you live, but if the Death Eaters aren't quite sure what city you're in, it would be good to be able to walk into the supermarket without anybody recognizing you.

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-07-28T20:51:10.112Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't understand, we're talking about the instant Voldemort breaks into their house, right?

comment by loxfordian · 2013-07-28T20:02:13.082Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

On a related note: Why didn't the Death Eaters just blow up the Potter house? Sure, they wouldn't be able to find their actual bodies, but it seems like blowing up the most likely place your prey are hiding is a smart move.

Similarly, why did Voldemort go to Godric's Hollow all by himself? He KNEW the prophesy, so he should have been a bit cautious. Plus, considering the source of his info on the Potters, he should have been a little suspicious about walking into a trap. If he had gone with henchmen, the henchmen could have killed Harry/blown up the house after Voldemort disappeared, thus allowing the Death Eaters to cover up Voldemort's disappearance and at least try to figure things out for 5 minutes before surrendering completely.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-07-29T12:24:34.058Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Why didn't the Death Eaters just blow up the Potter house?

Because they would just be setting themselves up for the No-one Could Possibly Have Survived That trope.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T06:53:35.023Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Why didn't the Death Eaters just blow up the Potter house?

... can you do that if it's under a Fidelius?

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-30T00:03:10.227Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Note that the Grimmauld Place mansion took up no space in the neighborhood outside when Harry went there. I'd also imagine (purely because Fidelius is supposed to be a slam-dunk in terms of defense/secrecy) that, for example, if you tossed a baseball from one house to the other "across" a Fidelius'd house, the baseball would not vanish at the boundary as it falls into the hidden lawn. So presumably there's a spatial effect going on that would exclude such things from working.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-09-02T00:48:22.445Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Something curious happened in canon, where the Death Eaters knew enough about #12Grimwald Place to set up a vigil around it, but they couldn't enter until one of the keepers actually showed them in, so Harry et al had to stand at the very edge of the wards and apparate everywhere. What's curious about this is that it means Snape told them enough (or maybe it was Creacher? Hm.) to narrow down its location, but not enough to get in, and this never set off "Snape is hiding something" alarms among the Death Eaters. Which tells me that the naive interpretation where the secret dies with the original keeper was the common interpretation, but the Order of the Phoenix knew that it was much less secure than that and everyone who knew the secret became co-keepers on the original's death. This also begs the question of what happens when all the keepers die (what happened with Godrick's Hollow? The magical Graffiti implies that the Fidelius was broken altogether, not just by Voldemort).

So, according to canon, it's still possible to lay siege to a place under the Fidelius, and the Death Eaters eventually broke in because Yacksly was grabbing Hermione when the trio made a return trip (How would that work with a small animagus, I wonder? Tracing wards probably wouldn't work--the trace on underaged magic apparently wasn't enough to get anyone in to any of the locations under Fidelius in Canon).

comment by Atelos · 2013-09-04T00:32:03.619Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

. What's curious about this is that it means Snape told them enough (or maybe it was Creacher? Hm.) to narrow down its location, but not enough to get in

I think it was actually the constant use of the name Voldemort by Harry and Hermione, as they had not yet heard of the Taboo, that told the Death Eaters there was something worth investigating in the area.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-12-12T13:25:56.044Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Prediction: we shall see Fidelius Charm 2.0.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-31T14:33:55.646Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I was under the impression that it just appeared to take up no space. It was there, just your brain couldn't actually take notice of that. People do keep describing it in terms of it being impossible to locate, not that it spawned a pocket dimension or anything.

Using your example, the baseball wouldn't vanish at the boundary, you just wouldn't notice that it was passing a house, and couldn't be able to explain why you can't throw it as far in this spot.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-31T20:03:21.034Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The problem is, there's an easy way to break that. If you toss a ball so that it lands in the yard, it's in a place you can't access: from your point of view the ball has vanished. Then you can break the Fidelius for certain purposes by figuring out the general neighborhood and then tossing conjured balls everywhere, then picking up all the ones you can find (magically) and counting them. If you're missing a ball, it's because you can't find it, so there's a Fidelius or equivalent nearby. Repeat on smaller scales until you've narrowed it down to a particular house, then Fiendfyre.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-09-01T23:12:24.081Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, absolutely, that is a way to break it. It requires a certain level of logic that most of the wizarding world lacks, but sure.

Did anywhere state that it was perfect?

Or, more on point, do we know if people even remember the general location of the neighborhood? I didn't think that they could. If they don't remember the general location, how would they narrow it down?

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-09-02T00:05:58.846Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The thing is, even though Voldemort/Harry level competence is absurdly rare, Moody level competence is significantly more common.

And yes, the Fidelius is supposed to be the highest-end absolutely-perfect conceptual defense against being found.

As far as finding the general location... it's nontrivial, but it's a whole lot easier. Tail known Order members and track where they go; if you see a vague density start tossing balls around. Or, if you're clever/powerful, come up with a city-wide version and then go in order of population.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-09-04T05:26:04.168Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, I wasn't clear. Yes, it's referred to as the best they have. But who says it's actually perfect?

If anyone actually said it, they're wrong. If it was perfect, then Lily or James could have been Secret Keeper. Or even Frank/Alice for the Potters and Lily/James for the Longbottoms.

Moody said that the werewolf that he trusts slightly more than usual figured that most Aurors died 8.5 times before 'lucky' became 'prepared.' Assuming he wasn't lying. That doesn't indicate a higher level of competency that many people achieve. Though once you start looking at particulars, it gets difficult to distinguish higher competence in general from higher skill in a particular area.

Tail them. While they can--at least--Apparate. That may prove rather difficult, esp if they are doing so directly into the protected area. That's even assuming they were getting visitors...

And now I can't get the image of a ball-chucking Voldemort getting AKed in the back by the hidden Potters out of my head.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-09-04T17:39:53.270Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

*shrug* Ask Rowling. It's treated as perfect: Voldemort gets foiled by it twice, and both times the only way it's broken is through a mistake by the Secret-Keeper.

And "throw balls everywhere" hardly requires the top-tier of competence.

Also note that there are some obvious downsides to Apparating onto the top step. Like balance.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-09-05T02:15:26.745Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't really have very much respect for the plots, or really the cunning, that go on in Rowling's books. Those weren't really the lure of the series.

Doing it? Not a whole lot. Coming up with it? Tracking them down closely enough that it could be implemented? Maybe.

I've seen that in a fic as well. Even assuming that the boundary is the house itself rather than the surrounding property, why wouldn't they be able to Apparate into the house proper? Isn't that what they did with the whole Yaxley debacle?

Though, on further reflection, since the charm seems to work by messing with perception rather than actually making something invisible, it's possible the person wouldn't be able to perceive that the ball was missing--forgetting its existence or not realizing that it hadn't been retrieved.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-09-04T05:51:37.225Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'd say that the secret protected by the fidelius couldn't actually include the Secret Keeper (also that no secret keeper can enter a diffrent fidelius), but Dumbledore attended meetings at #12Grimwald Place, so that can't be how it worked in canon. There could be some nasty side-effect to the secret keeper hiding inside the Fidelius ey keeps, like it threatening to damage their soul or weakening the fidelius or shortening the keeper's lifespan or something, but that'd be the sort of nerfing EY has said he probably won't be trying.

I have to assume, though, that if a secret keeper dies and the secret hasn't been given to someone else, the fidelius breaks, otherwise we get permanent secrets, which are just broken.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-09-05T01:53:56.605Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I interpreted their failure to do such a thing not as being illogical--they did have Lily, after all--but as part of a downside to the spell. As in, yes, the Secret Keeper being in the hidden area would destabilize the spell given enough time. It couldn't be too little of time, or Dumbledore wouldn't risk coming in, but as I recall he just popped in and out. This is what I mean, when I say that it's not perfect--a perfect hiding spell would have allowed the weakness to be hidden inside with it.

That kind of limitation actually makes sense from an in-universe stance. When you designate a Secret-Keeper, you are entrusting someone with your life and safety--deliberately placing your lives in the hands of another. How much trust does it take, to ask someone to protect themselves? At least to me, it seems to match up fairly well with the kinds of sacrifices required for the Unbreakable Vow. The reasoning for why it doesn't work for other Secrets is shakier, but it could be along the same vein, or perhaps the charms can't really tell the difference between Keepers. Hrm.

That...is an interesting possibility. I read a fanfic which had them work like that, except that they started to destabilize after a while, a slow process that made them still very difficult to discover decades later. Kinda makes you wonder anew why Voldemort didn't stash one or two of the horcruxes behind a fidelius and then kill everyone else involved, but eh.

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-07-28T20:48:03.038Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It may be that Voldemort didn't have the manpower to take out the Potters, the Death Eaters tied up elsewhere.

In Coordination Problems, Part 2

"Make no mistake," said Professor Quirrell. "The Dark Lord was winning. There were fewer and fewer Aurors who dared face him, the vigilantes who opposed him were being hunted down. One Dark Lord and perhaps fifty Death Eaters were winning against a country of thousands. That is beyond ridiculous! There are no grades low enough for me to mark that incompetence!"

In order for fifty Death Eaters to wreak the havoc that magical Britain is recovering from, they would literally need to be working round-the-clock, the Dark Mark being an example of the extreme discipline and obedience needed to be one. Voldemort may have wanted the Potters taken out ASAP, but he'd already sent everyone out on assignments. Snape wasn't going to do it, and based on what we hear about the Potters, he and Bellatrix were probably the only Death Eaters capable of actually taking them out.

comment by gRR · 2013-07-26T19:58:23.144Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Regarding the "he's here... he is the end of the world" prophecy, in view of the recent events, it seems like it can become literally true without it being a bad thing. After all, it does not specify a time frame. So Harry may become immortal and then tear apart the very stars in heaven, some time during a long career.

comment by Petruchio · 2013-07-25T13:22:03.505Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It strikes me as strange taking the words "The last enemy to be destroyed is death" as a family motto and manifesto, considering that it orginates from 1 Corinthians 15:26, concerning the resurrection of the dead, Jesus Christ's second coming and the abolishment of death. While it is similiar to Harry's goal, it certainly opposes it by way of means. Harry seeking the abolishment of death through mortal, albeit supernatural and magical, means opposes the divine plan of God. That Harry took this as a mission pasted down the Potter line generation to generation seems a lot more unlikely than it being a suitable epitaph on a gravestone.

comment by thomblake · 2013-07-25T14:35:11.693Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Given the timing, it seems more likely in-universe that the particular English translation of that bible passage was lifted from the wizard motto.

comment by Petruchio · 2013-07-25T15:11:50.213Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I am confused.

The particular Bible passage was written in Greek a solid millennia before Hogwarts was built, it was available in Latin at least since the 4th century (Latin being the language of the educated post-Roman Empire, and the language which magic seems to be based off of), and, according to a quick Wikipedia search, translated into Old English by the Venerable Bede in the 7th century.

comment by thomblake · 2013-07-25T15:34:27.149Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

according to a quick Wikipedia search, translated into Old English by the Venerable Bede in the 7th century.

You may be thinking of the Gospel of John, which Bede translated shortly before his death. As far as I can tell, there was never an Old English translation of 1 Corinthians, and if there was it was not well-known.

comment by TimS · 2013-07-26T01:37:10.084Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I would be surprised to discover an Old English translation of any part of the Bible. The major theological movement to translate the Gospels into the vernacular (Lutherian Reformation) post-dates Old English by several centuries.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-07-27T04:54:23.848Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I would be surprised to discover an Old English translation of any part of the Bible.

Huh? thomblake just mentioned such a translation (though it's incomplete), and it's easy to verify on wiki or elsewhere.

comment by TimS · 2013-07-27T18:24:17.766Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

We can steelman my post to say we shouldn't expect many translations given the theological positions, or we can believe TimS_yesterday failed reading comprehension.

I'm putting my probability mass on that latter. Sorry, thomblake.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-29T02:02:35.050Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, the Vulgar Latin translation of the Bible was itself in the vernacular at the time it was translated.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T08:18:41.915Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hence "the particular translation".

EDIT: although, lets face it, the Bible verse probably came frist, and was then adopted by the Peverels.

comment by Kindly · 2013-07-25T15:02:35.913Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It's a fairly literal translation. I think the most likely option is that the Potter motto was first taken from the Bible in Latin, and at some point after the completion of the King James Bible (in the 1600s) the motto was updated to English.

The Peverells were, after all, contemporaries of Godric Gryffindor (at least in the HPMoR universe), so they would've been all over the Latin mottoes.

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-07-25T19:21:24.930Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was actually under the impression that the Perverells lived before Merlin.

comment by Kindly · 2013-07-25T20:41:16.596Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

To be honest, I've just been getting this idea from things other people have said. But in canon (apparently according to the book Harry Potter Film Wizardry), Ignotus Peverell was born in 1214, and I've found no evidence that this is different in HPMoR.

EDIT: Apparently it is different.

Hogwarts, on the other hand, was founded over a thousand years ago according to the Harry Potter books, while in HPMoR it is repeatedly stated to be eight hundred years old.

comment by thomblake · 2013-07-25T15:35:48.770Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

think the most likely option is that the Potter motto was first taken from the Bible in Latin, and at some point after the completion of the King James Bible (in the 1600s) the motto was updated to English.

The motto is in Old English in the story, presumably dating from the time of the Peverells. It may have been taken from the bible verse, but then your own argument raises the question, why didn't they write their motto in Latin?

comment by Kindly · 2013-07-25T16:20:59.606Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The Old English is the prophecy, not the motto.

comment by thomblake · 2013-07-25T18:33:42.278Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Right, I stand corrected.

comment by PhilGoetz · 2013-09-04T17:34:55.479Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Why would you think that? I assure you that Bible translators do NOT base their translations on popular fiction. In fact, I have to congratulate you on coming up with the most blasphemous idea I've ever heard.

King James version says, "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." New International Version (first published in 1973) says, "The last enemy to be destroyed is death."

comment by thomblake · 2013-09-05T20:12:41.171Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You're surely mistaken. The bible translators often brought in popular sayings and turns of phrase that seemed to fit. If there was a wizard motto with some currency that sounded like an appropriate translation when KJV was written, then I could totally see it being used in the bible, assuming there was any cross-pollination between wizards and christians at the time.

I don't see why the christians using a wizard motto would be particularly blasphemous, let alone maximally so.

comment by kilobug · 2013-07-25T14:10:05.884Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It doesn't seem that unlikely given two facts :

  1. Wizards don't seem to know much, nor care much, about Muggle religions. Having a reference to the Bible and Jesus Christ in a tomb of wizards strikes me as very unlikely.

  2. The Potter family is descendant of one of the Peverell brothers, inheriting the Cloak of Invisibility, a Deathly Hallow from him. That makes "The last enemy to be destroyed is death" a more likely motto for the Potter family.

comment by Petruchio · 2013-07-25T15:00:27.073Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW
  1. Wizards celebrate both Christmas and Easter. No idea why they would, but that is established in HPMoR and in canon. With the exception of Roger Bacon, we have not heard much of anything about religious witches or wizards, but it will strike me as strange the magical world has no religions, if only from the muggleborns and their descendants.

  2. The quote "The last enemy to be destroyed is death" precedes the Peverell brothers by a solid millennia. While the Deathly Hallows is provides (weak) evidence in the other direction, even if it were a family motto, the origination is probably from the bible, as would be common from an old, heraldic family. Still, it is sounds like a suitable epitaph.

And of course, this presumes another deviation from canon, or to say a myth from canon, that the Peverell brothers created the Deathly Hallows, rather than receiving them from Death. Death, who exists in as a semi-sentient semi-being in HPMoR.

On a related note… What happened to the tattered cloak left by the Dementor in Chapter 45? May there be two True Cloaks of Invisibility?

comment by DanArmak · 2013-07-25T17:00:55.431Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

What happened to the tattered cloak left by the Dementor in Chapter 45?

I thought those were ordinary cloaks, probably given to the Dementors by the Aurors, to make them look more... presentable. The cloaks are destroyed by the Dementors' presence, as all matter is, and have to be replaced.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-09-02T15:28:58.472Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The cloak came closer. It was unraveling and shot through with unpatched holes; it had been new that morning, Auror Goryanof had said.

comment by Kindly · 2013-07-25T16:32:53.843Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

As far as Christmas and Easter goes, the first of these specifically has a non-religious explanation in HPMoR:

The atmosphere at Hogwarts before Yuletide was usually bright and cheerful. The Great Hall had already been decorated in green and red, after a Slytherin and a Gryffindor whose Yule wedding had become a symbol of friendship transcending Houses and allegiances, a tradition almost as ancient as Hogwarts itself and which had even spread to Muggle countries.

No similar explanation has been given for Easter, but I think it's reasonable to suppose that one exists.

comment by Petruchio · 2013-07-25T17:21:51.647Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I took that passage to indicate the tradition of green and red colors during Christmastide, not of the origination of any holiday,

comment by CellBioGuy · 2013-07-26T03:35:12.821Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Christmas and Easter both borrow heavily from pre-Christian European traditions. Presumably those threads are carried over even more strongly than in muggle Europe.

comment by Petruchio · 2013-07-26T17:28:35.927Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That does sounds like a solid theory as to why Wizards celebrate those holidays. I'll update my beliefs with this new evidence.

comment by UnclGhost · 2013-07-25T16:42:56.003Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Canon strongly implies that the original story was a dramatization of the story of the Peverells, who actually just made powerful artifacts, iirc. Also, dementor cloaks probably aren't invisibility cloaks, since people and other dementors can see cloaked dementors.

comment by Velorien · 2013-07-25T16:07:59.604Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Death, who exists in as a semi-sentient semi-being in HPMoR.

Evidence, please?

On a related note… What happened to the tattered cloak left by the Dementor in Chapter 45? May there be two True Cloaks of Invisibility?

Since Dementor cloaks don't appear to keep Dementors invisible in any way, this seems a bit of a leap.

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-07-25T19:24:05.623Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Evidence would be the existence of Dementors, which are personifications of death and may or may not be semi-sentient.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-07-25T10:37:26.548Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It occurred to me while reading Chapter 96 that Voldemort is a descendant of Cadmus Peverelle, and Ignotus Peverelle is buried at Godrick's Hollow. My first impulse was to wonder if Voldemort would pop up and stab Harry at the end of this chapter (I quickly discounted it because of what Eliezer said about there being padding before the final arc and about ending on this sort of cliffhanger, rather than the in-universe reason of it being the wrong brother). Now I'm wondering if anyone knows where Cadmus is buried. I know Moody and Snape figured Voldemort disguised his father's actual grave, but that would have set off the Little Hangleton residents' vandelism alarms, unless he memory charmed everyone that knew anything about the graveyard (I suppose that's not beyond Voldemort, but if he knew of a better grave that no one else knew of...?).

Of course, it's entirely possible that "bone of the father" implies patrilineal descent, in which case Cadmus (and Salazar, for that matter) are disqualified and only a Riddle is viable.

comment by kilobug · 2013-07-25T11:43:53.827Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Voldemort using the "bone of the father, flesh of the servant, blood of the ennemy" ritual is a fear of Dumbledore and Moody, but I don't think it's what he really is about. There would have been plenty opportunities for him to collect blood from Harry before. We don't know exactly what, there are several theories (like, making Harry lord of magical Britain and then possessing or controlling him), but Voldemort in HPMOR seems to have a much more complicated and ambitious plan about Harry than killing him/using his blood for a resurrection ritual.

comment by Benquo · 2013-07-25T12:37:39.223Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

He's already collected Harry's blood, but there's little point in performing the ritual before he's used up his current body.

"Give me that," said Professor Quirrell, and the newspaper leaped out of Harry's hand so fast that he got a paper cut. [Ch. 26]

comment by tondwalkar · 2013-07-26T15:28:49.227Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Does Harry even count as an enemy in MoR? Seems like he'd need the blood of someone on Dumbledore's side, and if he's just as arrogant and greedy as he was in cannon, then he'd go for the blood of Dumbledore himself.

comment by 75th · 2013-07-27T22:19:30.377Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This again.

"He does have other avenues to life, should he perceive this one blocked," Snape said dryly, uncapping a fourth bottle. "And before you ask, it must be the original grave, the place of first burial, the bone removed during the ritual and not before.

I think all the sacrifices, including the blood of the enemy, must be made during the ritual.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-09-03T02:26:42.621Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That is supposition. Reasonable supposition, but supposition nonetheless.

It's worth noting that this quote also occurs in the same chapter.

I simply can’t imagine hearing that you’d hurt someone you had not made a deliberate decision to hurt.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-09T21:25:42.592Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder why the Order is taking the course of poisoning the grave rather than just relocating all the suspected graves? Given that it isn't absolutely certain that this will have an effect (though it seems likely given what Harry learns about potions), wouldn't it be better to just ensure that the ritual won't work at all? At least that way there are fewer avenues of resurrection to defend against.

comment by kilobug · 2013-08-10T08:03:27.091Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I guess they are hoping that if he attempts the ritual with poisoned bones, it'll backfire and makes it harder for him to come back using whatever means. But it seems futile to me, Quirrelmort probably already secured a bone, way before he started teaching at Hogwarts.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-13T13:26:45.728Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The bone has to be freshly removed at the site of the grave.

comment by kilobug · 2013-08-13T14:22:52.769Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hum, are you sure ? Any evidence for that ? But then, I guess he would have moved the grave to a secure and secret location. What defines "the site of the grave" ? Just where the bone lies ? Tombstone ?

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-16T11:34:53.835Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Chapter 63:

"He does have other avenues to life, should he perceive this one blocked," Snape said dryly, uncapping a fourth bottle. "And before you ask, it must be the original grave, the place of first burial, the bone removed during the ritual and not before. Thus he cannot have retrieved it earlier; and also there is no point in substituting the skeleton of a weaker ancestor. He would notice it had lost all potency."

comment by nigerweiss · 2013-07-25T09:37:26.156Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't speak Old English, unfortunately. Could someone who does please provide me with a rough translation of the provided passage?

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-07-25T10:30:31.079Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It's at the bottom of the chapter. "Three shall be the Peverelle's sons, and three their devices by which death shall be defeated."

[edit] Originally misremembered the last word as "destroyed".

comment by solipsist · 2013-07-25T16:46:29.014Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

In case anybody else made the same mistake as I did, the two bits of Old English are the same.

Thrayen beyn Peverlas soona ahnd thrih heera toal thissoom Dath bey yewoonen.

and

Þregen béon Pefearles suna and þrie hira tól þissum Déað béo gewunen.

Three shall be Peverell's sons and three their devices by which Death shall be defeated.

comment by Thrasymachus77 · 2013-07-25T20:17:42.319Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

According to the Olde English Translator, gewunen doesn't mean defeated or destroyed. It's the present subjunctive plural form of the verb gewunian, which means "to remain continue stand to habituate oneself to" which puts me in mind of "tolerate" or "get used to."

comment by topynate · 2013-07-25T21:36:27.676Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps gewunnen, meaning conquered, and not gewunen. I don't think you can use present subjunctive after béo anyway. Here béo is almost surely the 3rd person singular subjunctive of béon, the verb that we know as to be. If gewunnen, then we can interpret it as being the past participle, which makes a lot more sense (and fits the provided translation). The past participle of gewunian is gewunod, which clearly isn't the word used here.

Edit: translator's automatic conjugation is broken, sorry for copy-paste.

comment by Thrasymachus77 · 2013-07-25T22:19:33.403Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Good catch, I wasn't even thinking if there were a different, related verb that might be used there, nor of the particular grammar. That's just where that form gewunen showed up in the translator.

If the verb is winnan or gewinnan, the past participle would be gewunnen. In either case, the sense is conquering to obtain, or alternatively resisting, struggling against, enduring or suffering. And there are less ambiguous words to use if the sense was that Death would be defeated and eliminated, i.e. destroyed, or even mastered or overcome.

In other words, it still looks ambiguous enough to me that it could mean that "...three shall be their devices by which Death shall be tolerated."

comment by Velorien · 2013-07-25T20:58:34.826Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

As a point of interest, does the entire lineage of which Harry is the scion derive from a single Peverell brother? In which case, a less likely alternative interpretation would be

"Peverell shall have three descendants: his son, his son/descendant (who contributed to the quest in some important way), and finally Harry, who between them shall accomplish Death's defeat".

It's not enormously likely, but it would explain why "three shall be Peverell's sons" takes up a third of the prophecy when it is has zero value as a piece of information if taken at face value.

comment by DanielH · 2013-07-28T06:08:16.784Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Note also the "shall be". As Harry says in the chapter, this is future tense; therefore, the prophesy is not talking about Antioch, Cadmus, and Ignotus.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-07-26T10:14:02.730Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

his son/descendant (who contributed to the quest in some important way)

Tom Marvolo Riddle?

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-25T05:39:17.961Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

... wow.

New Predictions:

-Gur Erfheerpgvba Fgbar vf abg npghnyyl na rkgnag negvsnpg, be ng yrnfg abg havdhr. Uneel Cbggre jvyy ohvyq vg. (Evatzvbar?) (Zbqrengr-ybj pbasvqrapr)

-Zber trarenyyl, gur Qrnguyl Unyybjf ner abg arprffnevyl rkgnag negvsnpgf. Uneel jvyy ohvyq gurz, qhcyvpngr gurz, hctenqr gurz, be hfr gurz va jnlf gung zbfg crbcyr svaq uvtuyl habegubqbk va beqre gb qrfgebl Qrngu be erfheerpg Urezvbar. (Uneel unf gur Pybnx bs Vaivfvovyvgl, naq Qhzoyrqber vf fhttrfgrq gb unir gur Ryqre Jnaq, ohg jr qba'g npghnyyl xabj gung, naq tvira ubj inthr vg jnf va pnaba ur cebonoyl unf ab vqrn ubj gb hfr vg.) (Zbqrengr pbasvqrapr)

-Gur Pybnx bs Vaivfvovyvgl vf rira zber cbjreshy guna nalobql xabjf fb sne, naq npghnyyl unf sbezvqqnoyr nagv-qrngu qrsrafrf orlbaq zrer vaivfvovyvgl. Rivqrapr ntnvafg guvf vf gung Znq-Rlr Zbbql jnf noyr gb fgha Uneel frireny gvzrf

  • "Nyy ohg n erzanag" bs Ibyqrzbeg zrnaf Ibyqrzbeg cbfg-uhznavmvat ol Uneel.
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2013-07-25T19:34:20.389Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Skeptical of most of these, but I like the last one.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-09T21:05:05.251Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Vg frrzf snveyl fgenvtugsbejneq gung znfgrel bire gur Qrnguyl Unyybjf (rfcrpvnyyl nf gurl ner va pnaba) zvtug nyfb rkgraq vagb gurve vagrenpgvba jvgu gur Irvy.

Vs gur Irvy vf bar-jnl sbe n abezny crefba, vg zvtug jryy or gjb-jnl sbe fbzrbar va pbageby bs gur Unyybjf. Senaxyl, gur bayl Unyybj lbh zvtug arrq vf gur Pybnx vgfrys, gubhtu V guvax vg jbhyq or zber cehqrag gb znxr gur nggrzcg jvgu gur jubyr frg. Nyy lbh unir gb qb vf qba gur pybnx, ragre gur ynaqf bs gur qrnq, svaq lbhe gnetrg, oevat gurz bhg haqre gur pybnx. Nyfb, zbabzlgu.

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-09T23:06:59.848Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Buuuuuuuu....

Vqrn: Gur Irvy vf n Cer-Vagreqvpg negrsnpg (cbffvoyl znqr ol gur Crireryyf) gung vf gur zngrevny sbphf sbe n terng fcryy pnfg bire Oevgnva be gur Jbeyq gung trarengrf gur zntvpny ercerfragngvbaf bs zvaqf. Abobql (Ab jvmneq?) unf rire qvrq creznaragyl va Oevgnva. Ubepehkrf ner n pehqr znaare bs vagresnpvat jvgu vg. Gur Erfheerpgvba Fgbar vf n orggre znaare bs vagresnpvat. Cbegenvgf ergevrir ernq-bayl zrzbel.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-10T02:44:13.368Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Na vagrerfgvat vqrn, gubhtu lbh unir gb jbaqre vs gurer ner onaqjvqgu yvzvgngvbaf naq vs nyy gur cbegenvgf naq zntvpny cubgbtencuf chg n fgenva ba vg.

Lbhe vqrn jbexf jvgu gur vqrn bs vg orvat bar-jnl, fvapr vg zvtug or n sbez bs qrfgehpgvir pbclvat (gubhtu gung npghnyyl vzcyvrf zber guna bar zbqr bs bcrengvba fvapr vg qbrf zbfg bs vgf pbclvat erzbgryl).

Vs gung VF ubj vg jbexf, V guvax vg jbhyqa'g or pbzcngvoyr jvgu gur vqrn bs hfvat gur Unyybjf gb npghnyyl RAGRE gur Irvy. Va gung pnfr, lbh'q rkcrpg gb jnyx guebhtu gb nabgure cynar, ohg lbh qba'g gevttre gur pbcl orpnhfr gur pybnx vf uvqvat lbh. Ba gur bgure unaq gur Unyybjf zvtug jbex nf pbzznaq xrlf gung nyybj lbh gb ergevrir fgberq zvaqf.

Vs gung'f gur pnfr, lbh zvtug or noyr gb qb n ongpu ergevriny...

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-08-10T00:27:13.567Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I like these, ohg gung gur irvy unf bayl orra zragvbarq bapr gung V erpnyy (puncgre 39?) tvirf zr ernfba gb qbhog vgf ebyr. (Gur erfheerpgvba fgbar, ubjrire, univat orra zragvbarq dhvgr n srj gvzrf naq fgebatyl vzcyvrq gb or va Dhveeryy'f cbffrffvba, vf cenpgvpnyyl erdhverq ol aneengvir pbairagvba gb cynl n fvtavsvpnag ebyr.)

Gubhtu, gur vqrn bs Uneel uneebjvat Unqrf (naq cbffvoyl bireguebjvat zntvpny oevgnva jvgu na nezl bs gur qrnq) nccrnyf gb gur cneg bs zr gung svaqf fglyvmrq fubhg-bhgf nccrnyvat.

comment by Aureateflux · 2013-08-10T02:30:35.175Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Pbhagre gb lbhe nethzrag gung gur Irvy unfa'g orra zragvbarq rabhtu gb cynl na vzcbegnag ebyr, jung UNF orra zragvbarq zber guna bapr (rkcyvpvgyl naq vzcyvpvgyl) vf gur zlgu bs Becurhf naq Rhelqvpr.

Jurerva n zna ragref Unqrf gb fnir uvf jvsr sebz Qrngu.

Zl ovttrfg ceboyrz jvgu gur Vqrn bs Uneel Ragrevat gur Irvy gb Fnir Urezvbar vf gung gur cnenyyryf gb gur zlgu ner FB fgebat gung gur nhgube zvtug qrpvqr vg'f whfg gbb ba gur abfr. UCZbE boivbhfyl vf znxvat ab nggrzcgf gb nibvq gur zbabzlgu cnggrea (Nmxnona orvat na boivbhf pnaqvqngr sbe gur Ureb'f nqiragher va gur Haqrejbeyq/Qrngu), gubhtu.

comment by BT_Uytya · 2013-07-25T12:02:24.560Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Gur vqrn gung lbh pna fnir fbzrbar sebz qlvat ol pbirevat gurz ol Pybnx jnf gbffrq nebhaq sbe n juvyr.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-25T19:43:45.414Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Huh. I came up with it independently then. No significant counterevidence yet, although the Hallows seem to impart instructions to their master's minds.

Alternately: Lbh pna cerirag fbzrbar sebz qlvat be sbepr gurve fbhy gb or onpxrq hc fbzrubj (Fragvrag tubfg? VQX) ol pnfgvat n fhssvpvragyl cbjreshy Gehr Cngebahf ng gur zbzrag bs qrngu.

comment by Tripitaka · 2013-07-25T10:20:41.688Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Abcr gb 1. Qhzoyrqber jnaq vf rkcyvpvgyl qrfpevorq nf fgenatryl terl, Dhveery ergevrirq gur fgbar cbfgr unfgr nsgre trggvat gbyq ol Uneel nobhg gur flzoby.

comment by Benito · 2013-07-25T20:21:35.470Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Dhveery ergevrirq gur fgbar cbfgr unfgr nsgre trggvat gbyq ol Uneel nobhg gur flzoby."

Pbhyq lbh cyrnfr rkcynva jung guvf zrnaf? V qba'g trg nal bs vg hagvy 'nsgre'.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-07-27T08:59:40.636Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

At one point Harry tells Quirrell about the Hallows symbol (the line in the circle in the triangle), which I think he noticed on his cloak, and asks if he’s seen it somewhere, in the context of a discution about the stone. Quirrell then remembers he has to see a man about a horse, and leaves quickly.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-25T19:52:40.883Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Evidence? And as to the latter, it might not be real / not at full potential .

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-25T07:44:10.766Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Zbbql fghaavat Uneel vfa'g xvyyvat uvz, gubhtu. V jbaqre jung unccraf vs lbh guebj Ninqn Xrqnien ng fbzrbar haqre gur Gehr Vaivfvovyvgl Pybnx?

comment by Decius · 2014-09-24T05:38:09.538Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

More fridge logic:

The Dark Mark. Everything we know about it is that there are very specific restrictions on how the bearer can conceal or display it, and what they can say about it.

Snape, who is subject to the restrictions about what he can say about it, provided information (consistent with all previous information, all of which he is well aware) that Harry, by describing how to use the restrictions on speech to identify bearers, removed those restrictions. Snape then allegedly described the restrictions, and the description he gave is roughly the stupidest possible one that is consistent with all available data.

Which is more likely, that the Dark Lord created a mark that prevents people from saying what it does unless they are told that they will be asked to say what it does, and in that one case ceases all operation... or a Dark Mark that has the restriction "Provide as little true information as possible about the nature of the Dark Mark.", which would force a response identical to the one received.

How does one perform a Bayesian update where A is "The phenomenon produces evidence B in such a way as to minimize the value of P(B|A)/P(B)"?

comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-07-25T16:58:29.365Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Neither of them noticed the tall stone worn as though from a thousand years of age, upon it a line within a circle within a triangle glowing ever so faintly silver, like the light which had shone from Harry's wand, invisible at that distance beneath the still-bright Sun.

This is going to be vitally important in the future. Thoughts on what it could be?

Storehouse of lost knowledge from the Peverells is my guess, perhaps their notes or a Slytherin-esque way around the Interdict.

If not, the notes would be enough for Harry to start brainstorming a way around the Interdict.

comment by UnclGhost · 2013-07-26T01:38:22.291Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe certain other Deathly Hallows symbols will now light up in Harry's presence, especially if there is a lost storehouse of some sort with a similar mark.

If it doesn't end up being important, it could just be whatever enchantment is on the Peverell gravestone that makes it recognize someone's anti-Death resolve (possibly only if they're a Peverell descendant) and recite the prophecy, pointed out in the narration so the reader knows where the prophecy was coming from.

comment by Raiden · 2013-07-25T16:41:42.551Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Three shall be Peverell's sons and three their devices by which Death shall be defeated.

What is meant by the three sons? Harry, Draco, and someone else? Quirrell perhaps? Using the three Deathly Hallows?

comment by Spurlock · 2013-07-25T17:05:46.167Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I interpreted this to mean that long ago, there were 3 Peverell brothers, each of which created one of the Hallows. Harry is descended from this family. Note that it doesn't say that "Pevererll's sons" will necessarily be the ones to use their devices to defeat Death, only that the devices are theirs.

comment by malthrin · 2013-07-25T20:49:23.186Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

'Shall be' refers to a change of future state, so it can't be about the way things are now.

comment by Spurlock · 2013-07-25T23:12:15.976Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed, but this prediction could be older than the Hallows and their creators.

comment by Kindly · 2013-07-26T13:41:01.419Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Unlikely given it was "spoken in the presence of the three Peverell brothers".

comment by solipsist · 2013-07-26T16:00:01.028Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Though not spoken in Prophecy bold. It would be consistent for the brothers to have heard a retelling of a prophecy from before their birth. You could further fit evidence to this theory and claim that the Perevells' hearing of the prophecy caused great misfortune, and Dumbledore's wariness at bringing Harry to the Hall of Prophecy stems from this incident.

comment by Kindly · 2013-07-26T18:57:11.500Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It would be a little too much, I think, for the omniscient narrator to "make a game of lying with truths".

comment by Spurlock · 2013-07-27T00:21:32.964Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, I missed this, I think you're correct (upvoting you and maltrhin). I suppose that my interpretation is the one EY is trying to trick unobservant readers such as myself into making.

I do still think there's still some wiggle room for that interpretation though: Harry's whole outburst about Trelawney's "He's coming!" prophecy, where he said it couldn't possibly be about him because he's already arrived, would seem to indicate that EY is willing to use prophecies whose proper interpretation is not-quite-literal.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-07-28T03:20:01.496Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Or maybe Harry was right, and "he" in the "tear apart the very stars" prophecies refers to death; after all, "he is here!" happened as soon as Hermione died, so death had indeed arrived at Hogwarts.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-09-04T03:15:45.699Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It occurred long enough afterwards for Quirrell to realize, stop casting Fiendfyre, stop moving, land the broom, and then think for a small time. It wasn't the same instant.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-07-28T03:17:11.829Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

On Reddit, there seems to be a substantial number of users hoping for Harry, Draco and Hermione. Draco makes some degree of sense (ur jnf gur znfgre bs gur Ryqre Jnaq sbe zbfg bs pnaba Qrnguyl Unyybjf), though the Hermione ideas are pretty handwavy (still, the idea of Hermione somehow resurrecting herself and mastering the Resurrection Stone is awesome, if hard to believe possible).

The main objection to Dumbledore as the master of the wand is his devout deathism; Quirrel participating as the master of the stone is much more believable.

comment by solipsist · 2013-07-25T16:50:40.946Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think they'll go this route, but the three heirs to Gryffindor and Slytherin (Fred, George, and Harry)?

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-26T06:54:58.354Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The reason both Fred and George can be the Heir to Gryffindor is because they're magically the same person, though...

comment by solipsist · 2013-07-26T11:49:32.813Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Good point. And speaking to the broader point, I think the chance of those three being the magic three is approximately nil. Slightly more likely than nil are the three current masters of the Deathly Hallows: Harry (Cloak), Dumbledore (Elder Wand), Quirrell (Resurrection Stone, though perhaps not master). Master of the Elder wand is very important in canon, and Master of the Cloak is important in this story.