Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, January 2015, chapter 103

post by b_sen · 2015-01-29T01:44:54.482Z · score: 7 (10 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 174 comments

New chapter, and the end is now in sight!

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 103.

There is 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.)

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Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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

174 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by solipsist · 2015-01-29T02:03:58.616Z · score: 66 (66 votes) · LW · GW

Confirmation the prophecy isn't about Neville:

Neville Longbottom... who took this test in the Longbottom home... received a grade of Outstanding.

        

Harry raised the parchment with its EE+, still silent.

The Defense Professor smiled, and it went all the way to those tired eyes.

"It is the same grade... that I received in my own first year."

AND THE DARK LORD WILL MARK HIM AS HIS EQUAL

comment by VAuroch · 2015-01-29T09:49:04.286Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

As was first proposed on /r/rational (and EY has confirmed that he got the idea from that proposal)

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2015-01-29T11:17:20.209Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Link(s)?

comment by MathiasZaman · 2015-01-29T12:23:19.584Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

Here was the original thread proposing this as a solution to the prophecy and here is the comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky confirming to be influenced by that thread.

comment by gjm · 2015-01-29T08:13:11.312Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

What's not clear about this is whether it's intended to be Q's joke as well as Eliezer's. (I forget: how much is he supposed to know about the prophecy?) And, if it's Q's, whether he means it as a message for Harry (he surely must realise that Harry might know all about the prophecy) or for others like Dumbledore.

[EDITED to add: In Rowling's version of the story, V. doesn't know exactly what the prophecy said, at least not at this point in the story. I forget exactly how much he does know about it. His attempts to find out the exact wording are a plot point later on in the series.]

comment by AlexMennen · 2015-01-29T17:08:50.338Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

he surely must realise that Harry might know all about the prophecy

He knows that Harry knows about the prophecy.

The Defense Professor didn't seem to notice, but only spoke on. "Has the Headmaster has told you anything - even a hint - about Professor Trelawney's prophecy?"

"Huh? " Harry said automatically, converting his own sudden shock into the best dissembling he could manage. It probably was at the wrong level to fool Professor Quirrell but Harry certainly couldn't take time to think before replying - wait, but how on Earth would Professor Quirrell know about that - "Professor Trelawney made a prophecy?"

"You were there to hear its beginning," Professor Quirrell said, frowning. "You called out to the entire school that the prophecy could not be about you, since you were not coming here, you were already here."

HE IS COMING. THE ONE WHO WILL TEAR APART THE VERY -

And that was as far as Professor Trelawney had gotten before Dumbledore had grabbed her and vanished.

"Oh, that prophecy," Harry said. "Sorry! It went clear out of my mind."

Harry thought he'd put too much force into the end statement, and was 80%-expecting Professor Quirrell to say, Aha, now Mr. Potter, what is this mysterious other prophecy you went to such lengths to deny -

comment by gjm · 2015-01-29T17:29:50.005Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

He has very good reason to suspect that Harry knows something about the prophecy. He doesn't know that Harry knows the actual wording. He may not know the actual wording himself, though I'd have thought HPMOR!Quirrell would have found a way to find it out.

comment by MathMage · 2015-02-06T18:50:43.443Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He already heard it from Snape, and can reasonably expect that after Voldemort's supposed return Dumbledore&co. would share it with Harry. It doesn't sound like Snape was thrown out partway through the prophecy the way he was in canon.

comment by AlexMennen · 2015-01-29T19:04:03.916Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good point.

comment by Michelle_Z · 2015-01-29T02:37:38.000Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I saw that and laughed irl.

There's probably no significance to a dead girl getting a grade for a class she did not complete. Probably.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2015-01-29T11:16:48.818Z · score: 3 (9 votes) · LW · GW

OH MY GOD. THAT WAS IT. THAT WAS VOLDEMORT'S PLAN. RATIONAL!VOLDEMORT DIDN'T TRY TO KILL HARRY IN GODRIC'S HOLLOW. HE WAITED ELEVEN YEARS TO GIVE HARRY A GRADE IN SCHOOL SO THAT ANY ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT WOULD BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROPHECY.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2015-01-29T22:20:47.727Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes.

Various theories have Q trying to build up Harry as appearing to be the savior of the magical world.

Q tends to have the smug psychotic smiles when he is putting something over on someone. Harry thinks he has a Hallmark moment, while Q is just gloating over the "Mission Accomplished" sign in his head.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2015-01-29T12:38:26.823Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe that's a red herring, and the true explanation was given in the previous chapter:

The Dark Lord is Harry. The power he does not know and which will destroy him at the end is:

"Indifference," Harry whispered aloud, the secret of a spell he would never be able to cast

Unlike Quirrell, Harry considers the rest of humans to be his equals. At some moment he will need their help to change the laws of physics, but they will all ignore him. Later Harry will grow old and die. Or someone will kill him for some trivial reason. There will be no one else like him in this universe, so finally the entropy will tear the stars apart.

(Just kidding.)

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2015-01-31T11:43:00.419Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Unlike Quirrell, Harry considers the rest of humans to be his equals.

Except Ron, whom he considers unworthy of existence.

comment by Alsadius · 2015-02-01T03:31:35.001Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ron's an NPC in Harry's mind. The Joker Oath he took a few chapters back was aimed at people like Ron.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2015-02-01T07:24:14.823Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Joker Oath? remind me?

comment by JoachimSchipper · 2015-02-01T15:51:17.816Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW
  • Batman is a murderer no less than the Joker, for all the lives the Joker took that Batman could've saved by killing him. ch. 85
  • "It's not fair to the innocent bystanders to play at being Batman if you can't actually protect everyone under that code." ch. 91
  • Harry had no intention of saying it out loud, of course, but now that he'd failed decisively to prevent any deaths during his quest, he had no further intention of being restrained by the law or even the code of Batman.ch. 97.
comment by dspeyer · 2015-03-04T04:10:59.692Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

More immediately relevant:

Even in the world of comic books, the only reason a superhero like Batman even looks successful is that the comic-book readers only notice when Important Named Characters die, not when the Joker shoots some random nameless bystander to show off his villainy.

comment by Alsadius · 2015-02-01T16:39:14.598Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Joachim has the relevant bits. I came up with an new term for it, though, because I don't know of a better way to refer to it.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2015-01-29T02:51:41.919Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I did not pick up on that. That's brilliant.

comment by UnclGhost · 2015-01-29T03:12:52.445Z · score: 25 (25 votes) · LW · GW

Not a spoiler, but rot13'd for explaining the joke:

"All of you in this room... have received grades of at least Acceptable. Neville Longbottom... who took this test in the Longbottom home... received a grade of Outstanding. But the other student who is not here... has had a Dreadful grade entered on her record... for failing the only important test... that was given her this year. I would have marked her even lower... but that would have been in poor taste."

Gur bayl tenqr ybjre guna Qernqshy vf "Gebyy".

comment by dxu · 2015-01-31T19:19:54.373Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Somewhat off-topic, and I obviously had an advantage from already knowing what the joke was, but I managed to decoe your rot13 word-for-word by counting the number of letters in each word and identifying a few matching letters.

I was... irrationally excited when I managed to do so.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2015-02-04T16:15:56.126Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder what, in Harry's model of the world, has been going on with Bellatrix all this time, and why he never inquired about her.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-02-05T01:55:48.957Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It seems like a serious blind spot given that Harry has to expect Quirrell to die sooner or later and take the information with him into his grave.

comment by roystgnr · 2015-02-12T17:20:26.295Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's not like this is the only serious blind spot he has regarding Quirrell, though, is it?

My current theory seems almost obvious, after I coincidentally decided to reread HPMOR myself shortly after rereading Chamber of Secrets with my daughter:

Early in Chamber of Secrets, a Death Eater gives Tom Riddle's horcrux, a nearly-indestructable magical diary, to Ginny. One of the powers that diary has is to take partial control of her as she reads it intently over the coming year, and one of the ways that control manifests itself is to make it difficult for her to even think about what's going on with the diary or the blind spots it's creating in her mind.

Early in HPMOR, a Death Eater (who is probably Tom Riddle) gives a nearly-indestructible magical diary to Harry. Harry clearly wants to read it intently, but we never see what happens when he tries, and later (because he'd need to learn Latin first? really??) he hardly even thinks about it, or about a couple other obvious blind spots in his mind, again.

I suspect that Quirrelmort was handing Harrymort a horcrux as yet another way to try to turn him to the dark side, and although that didn't work, even temporarily clouding Harry's better judgement about a few key topics is a decent secondary benefit.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-02-12T17:28:33.559Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's not really a blind spot against Quirrell. If what Quirrell says it's true and Quirrell dies soon, it's important information to acquire from him.

There no time pressure to read the diary. There's time pressure to get information from Quirrell. It requires an environment where Quirrell can cast the spells against eavesdropping.

comment by roystgnr · 2015-02-05T21:36:34.407Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"The Voldemort-and-dementor-victimized lady who we sent to a healer is being healed, but healing doubly-demented people takes a long time" would be a reasonable guess from Harry's perspective.

Guessing instead of just asking Quirrell seems less reasonable, though.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-02-06T16:33:19.894Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Even if healing her takes time it's worthwhile for Harry to learn about her location and contact details to follow up after Quirrell's death.

comment by Velorien · 2015-01-30T14:58:37.540Z · score: 5 (9 votes) · LW · GW

If someone wishes to give their readers the choice of whether or not to access a piece of information, it is in very bad taste for a third party to then take that choice away for no good reason.

comment by William_Quixote · 2015-01-29T14:44:58.542Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Draco's plan at the start of the chapter is entirely correct and Harry should have been doing it on his own. They will find out that Hermione was reading about the stone before she was killed.

In fact she was probably killed precisely because she was getting too close to the stone in her readings. She may even have said something out loud like "eureka" that gave away that she had gotten it. This, by the way, points to her being killed by someone other than QQ, since he would want her to succeed since she would tell Harry and harry would tell him.

comment by somnicule · 2015-01-30T02:49:02.515Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

I question the wisdom of reading books that someone was potentially killed for reading without better opsec than Malfoy was demonstrating.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-02-03T12:38:38.749Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Malfoy did hand the books for someone else to read.

comment by Velorien · 2015-01-30T12:16:45.289Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It could be bait - the school is more secure than ever, and he may be keeping track of who knows that the books are being read. The wisdom of this is still questionable, but given how flashy Hermione's murder was, Malfoy is probably assuming that the killer can't just walk up to him and Avada Kedavra him when no one is looking.

comment by WalterL · 2015-01-29T23:26:48.452Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

That doesn't make much sense. Villain watches Hermione getting closer and closer to the fatal information. Then she reaches it, and he kills her.

Why not just change the books, or steal them? "I'll kill anyone who tries to read this" is like the worst imaginable way to keep information in a book from being popularly known.

comment by William_Quixote · 2015-01-30T15:29:56.475Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Changing the books stealing them or altering library records may be harder than it seems. The day of Hermiones death QQ went to the library and added a number of additional wards, nominally around the restricted section, but who know what else they cover.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2015-01-30T09:27:37.996Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe the books are so boring that almost no one wants to read them. Hermione was an unlikely exception, and under usual circumstances no one else would bother reading the books. On the other hand, the library might have magical protection against damaging books.

comment by Desrtopa · 2015-02-01T06:07:52.679Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, if they have access to the dorms, they could steal the books and replace them with altered copies.

comment by Benito · 2015-01-30T23:51:09.066Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I originally interpreted the following as subtly implying the students were using prediction markets

A sudden air of attentiveness, as of long-standing disputes about to be settled. "Well, finally," someone said, as Millicent tried to catch her breath. "He's only got, what, ten days left to go bad?"

"Eleven days," said the seventh-year who was running the betting pool.

But it seems more likely that eleven days is how long the year has left.

comment by MathMage · 2015-02-06T18:54:01.954Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

They're not mutually exclusive. Doesn't the mention of a betting pool make it pretty explicit?

comment by UnclGhost · 2015-02-05T01:43:07.998Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's what I thought too, but any idea why the chapter ends by saying "nine days yet remained"?

comment by Benito · 2015-02-05T19:05:04.465Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Either EY has made a little error, or the narrator is giving us information outside the minds of the characters. Or something else of course.

comment by Gondolinian · 2015-01-29T13:06:43.946Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

As for the rest of you... those who have received Exceeds Expectations or above... have received my letters of recommendation... to certain organizations beyond Britain's shores... where your training might be completed. They will contact you... when you are old enough... if you still appear worthy... and if you have not failed an important test.

Any guesses about these "certain organizations beyond Britain's shores" that Quirrell finds capable of completing his students' training?

comment by fezziwig · 2015-01-30T15:10:37.949Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting guesses in the responses here. It never occurred to me that this organization might be anything other than "the next iteration of the Death Eaters".

comment by Alsadius · 2015-01-30T18:13:05.048Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect he's referring to other schools which he believes to be more capable of teaching Battle Magic than cursed Hogwarts.

comment by zedzed · 2015-01-30T12:34:52.221Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Salem Witches' Institute or a dojo in Asia seem the obvious choices, so we can probably safely eliminate them (because when was the last time EY used the obvious solution in MOR?)

comment by Gondolinian · 2015-01-30T13:05:05.886Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

we can probably safely eliminate them (because when was the last time EY used the obvious solution in MOR?)

That would be just what he would expect.

comment by CronoDAS · 2015-01-29T22:26:47.856Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Earlier in the story, Quirrell gave Harry a Portkey claiming it would take him somewhere that he would be contacted by people who would take him to a magic school in America...

comment by Gondolinian · 2015-01-29T22:54:25.109Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Wasn't that Dumbledore who gave Harry the portkey and told him it led to the US, and then Quirrell who checked it and told Harry it led to somewhere local? Or are we thinking about different points in the story?

comment by CronoDAS · 2015-01-30T17:52:22.333Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I remembered that wrong. Sorry!

comment by Velorien · 2015-01-29T18:14:48.403Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It is also possible that Quirrell is referring to narrower training in Battle Magic. He's made previous references to knowing assassins in other countries (whom he could put in touch with Harry), and this could be an extension of that.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-01-29T16:10:07.969Z · score: -3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'm unsure if this cleanly fits - but if by training Q means in rationality, "certain organizations beyond Britain's shores" could be referring to CFAR. A case for this not fitting is of course that CFAR does not exist in 1992.

I can't now think of other (real, this world) organizations which fit the phrases of training, old enough, beyond Britain's shores, letters of recommendation, and be something EY would reference.

Otherwise it would be a gesture to an implied larger magical world. But that gesture itself seems...unnecessary, beyond implying that Q considers the future education of his students important.

comment by fractalcat · 2015-01-29T19:25:17.094Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

At a guess, "certain organizations beyond Britain's shores" is most likely to imply "somewhere we don't have to worry about pesky 'laws'".

comment by solipsist · 2015-01-29T04:21:36.931Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

'Throw away the cheese and buy a new pair of shoes.'

Any ideas on what this is alluding to? Shrieking Eels are from The Princess Bride.

comment by shminux · 2015-01-29T05:33:55.343Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You are not the only one wondering.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-01-29T19:28:45.751Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

As a comment on the story as a whole, I used to think it was likely that the story would cumulate with Harry finding the source of magic. But with only one arc left, there simply isn't the time. It would be like the hobbits setting off to Mordor halfway through 'the return of the king'.

I also thought there might be a hunt for the horocruxes, but I doubt there will be time for that either. Without the horocruxes destroyed, Quirrelmort will at least partially survive. I'm guessing Harry will too. Dumbledore might be killed, either by Quirrel or by Harry, when Harry realises that Dumbledore has been sitting on mass immortality. Hermione might be resurrected somehow, perhaps by a combination or the resurrection stone and the philosophers stone, depending on how the philosophers stone works.

All in all, it seems likely that there will still be interesting plot threads left, and most of the characters will still be alive. So will there be a sequel? If EY is too busy working on FAI to write it, maybe it could be a community effort. After all, there's been some pretty good fiction written other LWers.

comment by MathiasZaman · 2015-01-29T20:55:49.178Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The following chapters together will be at least as long as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. There might be room for all sort of directions. Some stories work very well with endings that quickly escalate.

All in all, it seems likely that there will still be interesting plot threads left, and most of the characters will still be alive. So will there be a sequel?

Not from Yudkowsky. He has said before that he wants to wrap up all the plot points in this story.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-01-29T22:02:09.101Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Some stories work very well with endings that quickly escalate.

If he manages to fit everything in the last arc, then never mind 'quickly escalate' its going to be a literary singularity.

comment by Baughn · 2015-01-31T13:25:57.536Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The final arc is 90,000 words. That's a fairly large book on its own; there's time enough, if he's even halfway terse.

comment by Alsadius · 2015-02-01T03:32:32.137Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

90,000 words. That's a fairly large book

I don't think you read as much epic fantasy as I do.

comment by Baughn · 2015-02-01T04:20:20.267Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've read Worm. Does that count?

However, getting your point across with fewer words is also a skill. 90,000 is enough to describe quite a lot of things happening.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-02-01T12:17:47.312Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

EY for better or worse is generally quite verbose, although out of the whole of HPMOR the only part I felt was superfluous was Hermine vs the bullies.

comment by Alsadius · 2015-02-02T04:51:00.177Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It does, but my comment was intended as a joke.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-01-30T01:12:18.531Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My guess is that Hermione has already been resurrected. Her body was stolen. Harry returned from the future to a time when her body was still fresh, and took it to the future, when he has already defeated death.

comment by Gondolinian · 2015-01-30T01:28:40.584Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If Harry gains access to arbitrarily powerful time travel (That's how I've interpreted your scenario. I apologize if I'm wrong.), doesn't that make the whole plot redundant? Can't Harry just go back to the beginning and tell himself everything?

comment by Nornagest · 2015-01-30T01:36:35.811Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That's a well-established fanfiction genre, but I think its popularity is actually evidence against its use here.

On the other hand, I don't think I've ever seen a Peggy Sue that ended with the time-travel event rather than starting with it.

comment by 75th · 2015-01-30T16:59:37.822Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That would pretty much DELETE ALL THE PEOPLE AFFECTED and REPLACE THEM WITH DIFFERENT VERSIONS, so I don't think Harry would do that.

comment by WalterL · 2015-01-30T22:52:02.289Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, what if even uber-time travel still has the paradox limitation. Harry figures out his becomus-goddus spell, and can go back in time arbitrarily far.

But if he mucks about with his own past in any way he doesn't remember he may unhappen his omnipotent ass. Moreover, this is true of almost all of history. Any mucking about that might prevent his timeline from making him invincible would be verboten.

So, what could he do? Not go back and tell himself everything, it would be a big gamble that his past self could consciously fake its way through the events of his own past timeline well enough to keep him in existence.

No, he goes back and Imperiuses himself, and only interferes in his life in the manners that he recognizes must have always been his future self.

So he:

  1. Gives himself the strange sense of certainty that makes him believe in magic in the first chapter.
  2. Whispers to himself on the train to meet Hermione Granger.
  3. Steals Hermione's body (presumably what Harry did while alone with it was pointedly not observe it to leave a moment for future versions of himself to time travel in and steal it without creating a paradox)

I hope this isn't right, but I assign a relatively high plausibility that future Harry is running behind the scenes throughout the story.

Another offhand guess, he kills Volemort in the past via his own remembered dialog. Voldemort agrees (sarcastically) with Harry's mom that Harry is to live, she is to die, then requests she drop the wand and let him murder her. She doesn't, and he kills her. Then he goes to kill Harry. But I don't think "now drop the wand and let me murder you" was part of the deal.

My guess is he's unknowingly (possibly due to time travel Harry) under some magic that makes everything he says Unbreakable, and when he kills her and then goes to kill Harry he's killed by the oath enforcement mechanism, since he's agreed that she's to die and Harry is to live.

comment by AnthonyC · 2015-02-02T22:21:49.970Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In that scenario he could become a closed timelike curve: go back, become the being that invented magic in the first place, and program it to record the brain states of everyone at every moment in there lives for future recall given a spell or ritual that he would then know. This could also explain the "Atlantis erased from time" business. It would rely on magic changing the laws of physics in a way that allows magic time travel to operate before magic existed - or for the invention of magic to have happened outside the timestream.

comment by ReevesAnd · 2015-01-30T21:52:34.120Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I would guess that the time travel would keep the restriction that he can't change the past. So he could recover her body and resurrect her in the future, but couldn't change the past events.

comment by solipsist · 2015-01-29T21:38:24.020Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I also thought there might be a hunt for the horocruxes

They might be mostly gone. Dumbledore was MIA for much of the book. It has been hinted that one Horcrux has already being used.

> "There will be no second date," said the green-lit silhouette in a voice so fearsome that it sounded, not only like a Death Eater, but like Amycus Carrow that one time just before Father told him to stop it, he wasn't the Dark Lord.

> Amycus Carrow had always been one of the other problem people; Father had once told Draco to make sure he was never alone in the same room with Amycus...

> Draco's heart was hammering in his chest so hard he worried it might explode right out of his chest in a shower of blood, like that curse Amycus Carrow had used once on a puppy.

> Filch simply wasn't in Amycus Carrow's league.

Or as Father had said, while any Malfoy should certainly know much of the secret lore, the more... costly rituals were better left to useful fools like Amycus Carrow.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-01-29T22:17:42.360Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

So, Amycus Carrow is a psychopath who is willing to do dark rituals. I don't see how this means that a Horcrux has already been used ( do Horcruxes have a use beyond preserving life?)

Dumbledore was MIA for much of the book.

But Rationalist!Horcruxes are hidden in ocean trenches, on voyager 2 etc. I don't see that Dumbledoor would be able to find them, or reach them even if he knew where they were. I also think that in canon Voldemort knew when a Horocrux was destroyed, but if Quirrel thought that Dumbledoor was a serious threat (e.g. because a Horocrux was destroyed) I think he would stop holding back and just kill Dumbledoor. There must be a way for someone with the intellegence, rationality and raw power Quirrel has.

Incidentally, now that Harry has given Quirrel a physics textbook, the odds of a transfigured antimatter bomb being used just went up. Unlike nukes, antimatter weapons can be made small enough yeild that you don't flatten the whole of hogwarts when you use one.

comment by solipsist · 2015-01-30T00:09:35.016Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

HPMOR Horcruxes are devices with a ghost attached. When touched, the ghost inhabits a victim and gives it the ghost's memories. But these victims are shallow copies of the original and easily dispatched.

> "There will be no second date," said the green-lit silhouette in a voice so fearsome that it sounded, not only like a Death Eater, but like Amycus Carrow that one time just before Father told him to stop it, he wasn't the Dark Lord.

Sure bet that Carrow has a Riddle ghost inside him? No. But still, a possibility.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-01-30T11:31:14.946Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Subtle indeed. Conservation of detail might suggest that Amycus Carrow is going to play some sort of role involving dark rituals conducted in the past, but... is there an advantage to having a human Horcrux? I mean, its a lot less safe than all the other Horcruxes, but if if allowed Voldemort to posses Amycus Carrow then it would be useful.

comment by gjm · 2015-01-30T12:49:23.014Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'd suggest not so much subtle as overinterpreting. Carrow is shallow-minded and status-driven, he thinks he'll sound more deatheaterish if he puts on a particularly grim voice, and Malfoy sees right through him and tells him to stop being silly. This is simple, compatible with everything else we're told, and sufficient to explain Draco's memory described here.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-01-30T13:50:48.288Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd agree - I doubt Carrow is a Horocrux, but the repeated mentions of him might indicate that he has some further role to play, possible involving dark rituals. But the joint probability (Carrow will appear) and (his role will involve dark rituals) and (dark ritual is a Horocrux) is quite low.

Also, IIRC there are 7 Horocruxes in cannon. In HPMOR, it is hinted that we have one for each greek element (magma, ocean trench, stratosphere and buried underground) and one in space. Presumably, Harry is one and Quirrel is one. So all Horocruxes are accounted for.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2015-01-30T15:07:11.365Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Joint probabilities don't work that way if you have a designed story line. Esp. by this author.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-01-30T18:07:58.577Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm sorry I don't understand. Even when discussing a work of fiction, the probability that 'Carrow has conducted a dark ritual which makes him a Horocrux' has to be strictly lower than the probability that 'Carrow has a further part to play'.

Probability doen't stop working in certain fields, its universal.

comment by Alsadius · 2015-02-01T03:35:38.843Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Strictly lower, yes. "Quite low" was what you said, and that part can be disputed based on a read of the author.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-02-01T12:13:20.869Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sure, if you think you have a really good read of the author. But as I said, all Horocruxes are accounted for, and as gjm said, there is a simpler explanation, and so I'm sticking by my opinion that Carrow probably isn't a Horocrux, even if he does show up later.

comment by Desrtopa · 2015-02-01T06:17:52.172Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That sounds a lot more like a Rowling type twist than an Eliezer type twist. There are elements that could be interpreted as vague and oblique hints, but it doesn't suggest particularly clever or well-considered behavior on anyone's part.

comment by Velorien · 2015-02-12T13:57:09.184Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"I see," said Professor Quirrell. "And what would you have done about the threat to me if your spell hadn't worked for destroying the Dementor?"

"Plan B," said Harry. "Encase the Dementor in dense metal with a high melting point, probably tungsten, drop it into an active volcano, and hope it ends up inside Earth's mantle. Ah, the whole planet is filled with molten lava under its surface -"

"Yes," said Professor Quirrell. "I know." The Defense Professor was wearing a very odd smile. "I really should have thought of that myself, all things considered."

(...)

"Oh?" said Professor Quirrell. "But there is an interesting pattern to them, you see. One might say it sounds like something of a riddle."

What Quirrell is remarking on is that Harry's following an elemental pattern, not that he himself followed the same one.

comment by gjm · 2015-02-12T14:16:50.516Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Q is saying that he didn't think of that as a thing to do with a Dementor and should have. One possible reason for his "very odd smile" is that he did already think of it as a thing to do with a horcrux. I think it's reasonable to call this a hint that maybe there is a Voldemort horcrux buried deep underground. (Certainly far from a proof that there is, though.)

comment by solipsist · 2015-01-30T14:44:19.528Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Assuming those are horcruxes, not like parts of the Philosopher's stone or something (but Horcruxes are more likely).

Totally-not-going-to-happen reason for Hogwarts to stop playing with a snitch: the "air" horcurx is a snitch. Dumbledore realizes that Snitches are dangerous, and bans touching them. (Much more likely: Mcgonagall becomes headmistress).

comment by AnthonyC · 2015-02-02T22:30:36.638Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell in Ch46 said they " sound like something of a riddle," which I guess could be interpreted to mean Tom Riddle, which may be evidence in favor of horcrux-status or something similar.

comment by solipsist · 2015-02-02T23:47:32.748Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

OMG I never thought of that!

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-01-30T15:00:26.923Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The entire world plays with a snitch. It seems very unlikely that any one school would stop playing with a snitch (and thereby ruin their preparation for games against other schools, adult competition etc).

But, if the whole of Hogwarts stops playing altogether, perhaps because the school has been destroyed, then technically they have stopped playing with a snitch.

The last act of whoever is the head (Dumbeldoor might have died) is to declare that in the last year of Hogwarts, all houses won the cup, as a symbolic act of unity in the face of tragedy.

comment by MathiasZaman · 2015-01-30T18:24:44.395Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But, if the whole of Hogwarts stops playing altogether, perhaps because the school has been destroyed, then technically they have stopped playing with a

Harry's wish was for quidditch to be played without a snitch. Not playing quidditch doesn't fulfill the wish.

comment by AnthonyC · 2015-02-02T22:36:28.040Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is the present king of France bald? I'm not sure where Quirrell and Harry stand on the truth of vacuous statements- if Hogwarts plays zero games of quidditch, all of them do not involve the snitch.

Also, technically Harry wished that "in Hogwarts we should play quidditch without the Snitch." Should can mean "will" but it can also mean Quirrell will somehow make it a moral fact that quidditch should be played that way, not a factual matter of actually playing that way.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2015-02-02T04:28:39.038Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

is there an advantage to having a human Horcrux?

I believe so. Chapter 102:

Alsso Merlin'ss Interdict preventss powerful sspells from passing through ssuch a device, ssince it iss not truly alive.

By which I infer that if the horcrux is alive, you can pass powerful spells through it.

Also, that whole discussion simply screams of Quirrell setting Harry up for a ritual where Quirrell will transfer his mind to Harry's body, and set up shop there, the end.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2015-02-11T02:08:37.403Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry musing on what Q might have done to the Pioneer Plaque:

“Or... hm. A portrait seems to store a whole human brain’s worth of information... you couldn’t have added any extra mass to the probe, but maybe you could’ve turned an existing part into a portrait of yourself? Or you found a volunteer dying of a terminal illness, snuck them into nasa, and cast a spell to make sure their ghost ended up in the plaque.

Q later describing the Horcrux spell.

Horcrux sspell channelss death-bursst through casster, createss your own ghosst insstead of victim'ss, imprintss ghosst in sspecial device.

It seems another case where someone's musing turns up in detail later in the book. There are lots of these. Often, it just seems like EY foreshadowing (and possibly making the story nature of the events part of the plot), but in this case, it also seems very much like making up a lie that fits in with Harry's preconceptions.

comment by Nornagest · 2015-01-29T23:33:59.287Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Unlike nukes, antimatter weapons can be made small enough yeild that you don't flatten the whole of hogwarts when you use one.

...but the amount of antimatter you'd use for that is very small indeed; about 0.000023 grams for an explosive yield equivalent to 1 ton of TNT, going by Wikipedia's numbers. I wouldn't put it past Quirrell to figure out a way to transmute quantities that small, but it'd be tricky; everything we've seen transmuted onscreen has been macroscopic.

Also, all the initial yield would be in the form of highly energetic gamma rays, so we'd likely be looking at something more like a hard radiation pulse than a bomb.

comment by AnthonyC · 2015-02-02T22:37:25.146Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hermione transfigured single walled carbon nanotubes

comment by Nornagest · 2015-02-02T22:43:05.042Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hermione transfigured a macroscopic volume into single-walled carbon nanotubes. Barely macroscopic, if memory serves, but still macroscopic.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-01-30T11:38:08.512Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Do wizards generally have a reason to transmute microscopic things?

There's also the possibility of transmuting a larger portion of antimatter, levitated within a vacuum (bubble head charm maybe?) and then subdivde it, if that is possible.

comment by DanielLC · 2015-01-30T06:14:39.179Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You could transmute something into something containing trace amounts of antimatter. Once the gamma rays hit something and get absorbed, they'll turn to heat. The bomb will make the floor explode.

comment by DanielLC · 2015-01-29T02:31:48.706Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How did the grading work? My first guess was that Quirrell was telling the truth, but this seems unlikely, and would mean that the EE+ he gave Harry couldn't mean anything. My second guess was that Quirrell came up with the grades before-hand, but all he knows is how well they could actually defend themselves, and real-world ability is not a good indicator of how well you'd do on a written test. My third guess is that a Time-Turner is involved, and he'll have Harry deliver the tests to him in the past.

comment by Benquo · 2015-01-29T18:58:25.990Z · score: 24 (24 votes) · LW · GW

He ignored the test results entirely. That's why "what an amazing spell" is a joke that made the Ravenclaws indignant, and made the Slytherins chuckle.

comment by b_sen · 2015-01-29T02:42:09.370Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell could have decided that their overall grades should reflect only their ability to defend themselves, and so chosen to adjust the non-exam grades such that each student's overall grade (with the final included) matches his assessment of that student's defensive ability.

(This is really a more detailed version of your second guess.)

comment by [deleted] · 2015-01-29T03:46:36.739Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It could mean that, by surviving this long, Harry has exceeded Quirrell's expectations.

comment by b_sen · 2015-02-16T01:03:49.836Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Registering some predictions and observations before the next chapter comes out:

Predictions:

The snippet at the start of Chapter 1 is from somewhere in the final chapter. 40%

Lily wasn’t making up the "excuses" Petunia mentioned in Chapter 1; she was indeed warned through some form of Divination that the world would end if she made Petunia pretty, and a centaur did actually tell her not to do so. 95%

Magic’s full power allows the user to rewrite reality. 99% (Look at Harry’s reaction to McGonagall’s Animagus transformation: "Magic isn't enough to do that! You'd have to be a god!" (Chapter 2))

Harry is going to bite someone at Hogwarts who bites him first. 50%

There are indeed "three [items] needed to complete the cycle of infinite wish spells" (Chapter 3) or otherwise ascend to godhood / rewrite reality, and they are the three Deathly Hallows. 75%

McGonagall is unwittingly correct when she says that Harry "triumphed over the Dark Lord by being more awful than he was, and survived the Killing Curse by being more terrible than Death." 60%

Harry will learn how to "cast a Confundus Charm on the entire universe" (Chapter 5). 50%

The "Bafflesnaffle Counter" will be used at some point in the final arc. 50% (Notice that every other item specifically described within the healer’s kit (Chapter 6) has been used at some point so far.)

The surviving Death Eaters will "attack the whole school to get at [Harry]" (Chapter 6). 50%

The fact that Obliviation doesn’t erase all the effects of the experience (Chapter 6) will become plot-relevant in some way, possibly through events that have already occurred (such as the Obliviations performed on Hermione and the Weasley twins). 95%

Sirius Black is not actually imprisoned in Azkaban. 85%

At some point in Harry’s fight against the Dark Lord, "the winner shall lose and the loser shall win" (Chapter 6). 50% (If the Dark Lord is Quirrell, then this may have already happened with Harry learning to lose.)

There will be "Ninety-Five Theses of the Snitchless Reformation" (Chapter 7). 50%

Conditional on there being "Ninety-Five Theses of the Snitchless Reformation" (Chapter 7), those theses will be nailed to a church door. 50%

The customer whom Harry asked about Lucius during the Incident at the Potions Shop (Chapter 7) is Snape. 90%

Harry is "going to tear apart [Draco’s] pathetic little magical remnant of the Dark Ages into pieces smaller than its constituent atoms" (Chapter 7). 98%

Harry will become capable of traveling more than six hours back in time, then return to the train to Hogwarts, making it true that "there are three of [Harry] on this train" (Chapter 8). 20%

The unknown terrible thing that Harry fears during his Sorting (Chapter 10) is that if he fails, Death wins. 80%

Harry will eventually remember his to-do list (Chapter 12). 50%

Hermione’s and Draco’s Christmas wishes will be fulfilled by the House Cup being awarded to Harry, with some acknowledgement of both his Houses. 60%

The note accompanying Harry’s Cloak was written by Dumbledore. 80%

The Remembrall glowing for Harry (Chapter 17) indicates that he’d forgotten something other than not revealing the secret of Time-Turners. 80%

McGonagall will "sit in the Headmaster's office and hear some hilarious tale about Professor Quirrell in which [Harry] and [Harry] alone play[s] a starring role, after which there will be no choice but to fire him" (Chapter 17). 80%

Quirrell will be fired on the last day of the school year. 80%

Snape’s statement that he "can teach you how to ... stopper death" (Chapter 18) will become important. 75%

Harry will eventually investigate Quirrell’s starlight spell. 50%

He-who-is-coming in Trelawney’s aborted prophecy (Chapter 21) is the more resolved Harry after Hermione dies. 90%

Quirrell is an intended hearer (there may be more than one) of Trelawney’s aborted prophecy (Chapter 21). 80%

At some point Draco will show Harry that he’s wrong. 85% (This may refer to the debtor’s meeting.)

Quirrell intentionally gave Harry a paper cut (Chapter 26) in order to forcibly obtain his blood. 90%

Bacon’s diary will teach Harry something about how magic works. 50%

In the prophecy in Chapter 28, at least one instance of "the Dark Lord" refers to Death. 80%

Conditional on "the Dark Lord" referring to Death, Death marking Harry as his equal has something to do with his ability to block the Killing Curse using the True Patronus. 65%

Conditional on "the Dark Lord" referring to Death, the power Death knows not is intelligence and/or rationality. 90%

In the prophecy in Chapter 28, at least one instance of "the Dark Lord" refers to Voldemort. 15%

In the prophecy in Chapter 28, the phrase "the Dark Lord" has multiple referents. 2%

The sense of doom Harry feels around Quirrell is proportional to Quirrell’s strength / health if the distance between Harry and Quirrell is held constant. 75%

No one person can be capable of casting both the True Patronus and the Killing Curse at the same time. 99%

Quirrell wanted to prevent Harry from saving Hermione. 85%

Harry has Transfigured Hermione’s corpse into the ring he wears. 75%

Speculations:

The "moonlight" described in the flash-forward within Chapter 1 could be Patronus light rather than actual moonlight; Patronus light has been described as moonlight repeatedly.

When McGonagall says that she’ll "find a solution [to Harry’s sleeping condition] in time" (Chapter 2), she could have already thought of a Time-Turner as a possible solution.

The nature of Transfiguration might be meant to make readers think about caution and unrecoverable disasters.

Animal Patronuses are easier to cast in the presence of a Dementor because a Dementor’s presence makes most people flinch away from the thought of death and think about something else instead.

The True Patronus is a magically embodied preference for life over death, the opposite of the Killing Curse (which Moody describes as a magically embodied preference for death over life).

Observations:

The 'dark' power of rationality that inhabits Harry is in fact contagious. (Chapter 5)

The Verres family motto, "you can never have enough books" (Chapter 7), is about accumulating knowledge (and hopefully also skills and wisdom). The Potter family motto, "the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (Chapter 96), is about defeating death. Harry combines both of these.

Notice what Quirrell says to Hermione: "Knowing things isn't always enough, Miss Granger. If you cannot give and receive violence on the order of stubbing your toe, then you cannot defend yourself and you will not pass Defence. Please rejoin your classmates." (Chapter 16) Even when angry, Hermione doesn’t use any violent or painful spells, and she indeed doesn’t pass Defence. Even with a troll coming after her, she doesn’t try to kill it.

Two things are described as bright red and "blazing like miniature suns": the Remembrall when Harry holds it, and Voldemort’s eyes in Harry’s memory.

comment by Velorien · 2015-02-16T11:41:12.227Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Even when angry, Hermione doesn’t use any violent or painful spells, and she indeed doesn’t pass Defence. Even with a troll coming after her, she doesn’t try to kill it.

She does.

Cool blue fires clung to the floor in small masses, surrounding a blazing pool that seemed to burn with a deadlier, hotter blue.

In one narrow circle the marble tiles were scorched and shattered by some explosive spell that only the most prodigious of first-year witches could have cast, with the last of her strength.

comment by b_sen · 2015-02-16T22:33:52.881Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Point taken. (The quote is from the start of Chapter 89, in case anyone was wondering.)

comment by solipsist · 2015-02-17T00:49:28.219Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting. I have a proposition for you: I'll take a bet on the "false" side of any of the following:

Magic’s full power allows the user to rewrite reality. 99% (Look at Harry’s reaction to McGonagall’s Animagus transformation: "Magic isn't enough to do that! You'd have to be a god!" (Chapter 2))

Quirrell intentionally gave Harry a paper cut (Chapter 26) in order to forcibly obtain his blood. 90%

The customer whom Harry asked about Lucius during the Incident at the Potions Shop (Chapter 7) is Snape. 90%

In the prophecy in Chapter 28, at least one instance of "the Dark Lord" refers to Death. 80%

Snape’s statement that he "can teach you how to ... stopper death" (Chapter 18) will become important. 75%

Hermione’s and Draco’s Christmas wishes will be fulfilled by the House Cup being awarded to Harry, with some acknowledgement of both his Houses. 60%

Bacon’s diary will teach Harry something about how magic works. 50%

Harry will learn how to "cast a Confundus Charm on the entire universe" (Chapter 5). 50%

The snippet at the start of Chapter 1 is from somewhere in the final chapter. 40%

Harry will become capable of traveling more than six hours back in time, then return to the train to Hogwarts, making it true that "there are three of [Harry] on this train" (Chapter 8). 20%


I'll bet on the true side for any of the following:

The note accompanying Harry’s Cloak was written by Dumbledore. 80%


Wanna do a mass bet? I'd buy $10 prediction future contracts off you (e.g. I pay you $6, and if "The snippet at the start of Chapter 1 is from somewhere in the final chapter" false, you pay me $10, otherwise you pay nothing). We could do it for charity, if you prefer.

comment by b_sen · 2015-02-17T01:21:41.690Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I have to pass on betting, unfortunately.

comment by Benito · 2015-01-31T00:00:28.348Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Harry sat there silently. He had seen the point immediately, and even if it was a wrong point, he knew Professor Quirrell would never, ever be talked out of making it.

Anybody wish to provide arguments for why this decision of Quirrell's was a wrong one?

comment by lmm · 2015-01-31T00:17:39.243Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Public excoriation of failures usually lowers everyone's performance (in complex tasks or those that require creativity, like the candle/drawing pins test). If, in dangerous situations, his students are afraid that they will fail by dying, they're going to be less effective at defending themselves.

comment by Vaniver · 2015-01-31T17:31:10.222Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Cites? I've been relying on Hanson's read of the evidence, which points the opposite way.

comment by Alsadius · 2015-02-01T03:33:44.970Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Dying is pretty much a failure no matter how you look at it, so I doubt worries about your grades will make any marginal difference.

comment by lmm · 2015-02-02T23:13:49.725Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

People are irrational, especially in high-stress situations.

comment by Alsadius · 2015-02-03T20:40:41.760Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Granted, but that's a really unusual thing for the mind to jump to. "Oh god, who will feed my owl?!", maybe, but "I'm going to fail DADA! Ohnoes!" seems terribly unlikely.

Also, at risk of pointing out the obvious, he's fricking Voldemort. He's allowed to do evil stuff.

comment by lmm · 2015-02-05T08:00:34.952Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

DADA would be on your mind at that point. It seems pretty likely to me. Shrug.

comment by gjm · 2015-02-03T21:23:17.227Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Allowed?

(I don't think anyone has been suggesting that it would be, I dunno, out of character for Quirrelmort to make the point he's making. What's at issue is -- isn't it? -- that Harry thinks it's unwise or irrational or unfair or something of the kind. And Harry evidently hasn't figured out who Quirrell really is yet. Or maybe he has, at the very end of the chapter, though I am inclined to doubt it.)

comment by Alsadius · 2015-02-05T06:35:15.369Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Right, good call.

comment by Benito · 2015-02-04T22:33:59.486Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think the effect of his statement was to better calibrate his students' attachment to written tests (make them less worried), but also to make them more vigilant in life.

comment by DanielLC · 2015-02-01T08:22:07.982Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Professor Quirrell believes Hermione's death is final. Harry intends to make sure it is not.

comment by Benito · 2015-02-04T22:31:12.077Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That... Doesn't seem right. The important point is that Quirrell is teaching the other students what it means to truly fail. Even if she does come back, she failed that test.

comment by MathMage · 2015-02-06T19:52:32.503Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Note first that Quirrell's perspective is informed by his conversation with Hermione on the night she returned from the Wizengamot trial. In his view, her decision to stay involved, knowing the dangers, means she assumes the burden of her failure (as represented by her death).

That said, I imagine Harry thinks Quirrell is making a hasty generalization from what must be considered an exceptional case. Further, that Quirrell is mischaracterizing Hermione's death as a failure of preparation, when in fact she could not have been prepared, because her enemy was an unknown meticulous assassin who could readily counteract every preparation she could make. And finally, that these moves (starting with the attempt to frame Hermione for murder) were made against Harry, and so Harry at least shares the burden of responsibility for Hermione's death.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-02-08T23:20:19.629Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Further, that Quirrell is mischaracterizing Hermione's death as a failure of preparation, when in fact she could not have been prepared, because her enemy was an unknown meticulous assassin who could readily counteract every preparation she could make

She could have left the school the same way Longbottom did who got his "Outstanding".

Note first that Quirrell's perspective is informed by his conversation with Hermione on the night she returned from the Wizengamot trial. In his view, her decision to stay involved, knowing the dangers, means she assumes the burden of her failure (as represented by her death).

Rereading that conversation it feels like Quirrell's position is: "I know you don't like me. I don't want to you to be here and I give you the opportunity to leave. I need a decision tonight." It's all said with plausible deniability but Hermione was already thinking that Quirrell was evil enough to ask him: "Are you here to kill me?".

In particular:

No, Miss Granger. Your departure will take time for me to arrange, and I have less time left than you may think. This decision may be painful for you, but it should not be ambiguous; much weighs in the balance of these scales, but not evenly. I must know tonight whether you intend to go.

Killing her is also an example of "arranging her departure".

comment by MathMage · 2015-02-11T19:54:07.384Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Fair points. Hermione had enough information to make getting out rational, though perhaps not enough to trust Quirrell to get her out. And if Quirrell is the culprit, all the more reason for him to consider her failure to leave as assumption of responsibility for her own demise. That said, these may be blind spots for Harry.

comment by b_sen · 2015-01-30T03:25:50.531Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I realized why Quirrell gave Hermione a Dreadful grade, rather than just failing her. Recall from canon that there are three failing grades:

[passing grades]

Poor

Dreadful

[redacted for explaining a joke]

But a Poor grade indicates that the student can repeat the course. Death is final, there are no do-overs.

comment by DanielLC · 2015-01-30T06:17:49.689Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Death is final

Tell that to Harry.

comment by b_sen · 2015-01-30T14:41:52.507Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I know, I'm just explaining Quirrell's reasoning in a world where death has not yet been defeated.

comment by hairyfigment · 2015-01-30T07:08:38.056Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The scene certainly looks like evidence for my theory here, if we're talking Doylist reasoning.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2015-01-30T11:42:43.592Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

[redacted for explaining a joke]

Could you rot13 it? I have not read canon and am unlikely to.

comment by zedzed · 2015-01-30T12:42:51.734Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ybjrfg tenqr vf "Gebyy"

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2015-02-11T17:03:13.564Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

ch14

If Dumbledore saw a chance to possess one of the Deathly Hallows, he would never let it escape his grasp until the day he died.

Wait, is the message Harry got with his cloak from Dumbledore? (edit: he admits that in ch79). I thought Dumbledore refused to lie? And yet he's letting the cloak escape his grasp while saying that.

(For a moment I thought he might be saying he wouldn't let the chance escape his grasp, rather than the cloak itself, but that's just silly, and there's no particular reason why that would even be true, if the other isn't.)

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-02-11T17:09:36.302Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I thought Dumbledore refused to lie?

What makes you think that?

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2015-02-11T17:29:30.093Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In ch71 he even refused to say "I solemnly swear I'm up to no good" for that reason, so that's at least reason to think he claims to be a principled truth teller. And generally his behaviour seems consistent with that to me, like when he was teaching Harry obfuscation without lying, in ch18 when they were having their round of bargaining/blackmail over Snape's behaviour, or his reaction after Harry pressed him on the matter of whether he killed Narcissa Malfoy.

Of course he could be willing to lie for sufficiently important reasons just like Harry (though Harry ended up that way under Quirrel's influence), but I see no really pressing reason for that here, and if it comes out that the note is from him, Harry could call him on it.

comment by Velorien · 2015-02-12T13:53:30.525Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It seems transparent to me that the whole thing with the cloak was a gambit to manipulate Harry. Harry's trust in the note-sender's warning, followed by Dumbledore's noble and forgiving reaction, caused Harry to feel guilty for doubting Dumbledore, and to tend towards trusting him more and trusting people who told him to doubt Dumbledore less.

If Dumbledore was playing both sides (and thus lying his head off), he achieved his real objective (to make Harry trust him more) very elegantly.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2015-02-12T14:46:27.470Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It seems transparent to me that the whole thing with the cloak was a gambit to manipulate Harry.

Of course, I understand that part. It's not really the point. My point is that at all other times he seems to do his manipulations by misleading without lying.

Another example: the note about the escape-out-of-Hogwarts portkey, which Dumbledore later admitted to have written (and now that I checked, he admitted to writing both). In it, he misleadingly suggests the portkey leads to the Salem's Witches' institute without actually saying so. (Quirrel picked up on that for Harry).

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-02-13T14:20:14.782Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Having a reputation of not lying is valuable.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2015-02-13T14:27:01.344Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, yes it is. And you keep one by not risking it when you don't have to.

comment by Nanashi · 2015-02-13T15:01:02.619Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore clearly is not above telling the truth with manipulative intent. I think it's quite easy to make the case that the note was true to the word, that the portkey would eventually lead Harry to Salem. Same with the cloak message: Dumbledore has not let go of the chance to possess the Cloak. Harry remains firmly under Dumbledore's ward, thus holding on to that chance.

comment by Velorien · 2015-02-14T11:54:55.087Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Then the two notes contradict, as letting Harry go to Salem, and beyond Dumbledore's reach, would entail giving up on the Cloak.

comment by Nanashi · 2015-02-14T12:47:07.443Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

For the two notes to contradict:

  • Harry would have to be out of Dumbledore's reach at Salem (unlikely, given the extent of Dumbledore's influence and meddling).

  • Dumbledore would have to let Harry keep the cloak before sending him to Salem. (fairly likely, but not guaranteed).

  • Dumbledore would have to be alive (also fairly likely, although if this follows canon then Dumbledore will die at some point)

There's enough wiggle room to where I think someone like Dumbledore would feel comfortable saying it's not a lie.

comment by Velorien · 2015-02-14T13:02:42.521Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry would have to be out of Dumbledore's reach at Salem (unlikely, given the extent of Dumbledore's influence and meddling).

The second note states that magical America can protect Harry from Dumbledore. If Harry isn't outside Dumbledore's reach at Salem, and Dumbledore knows this when writing the note, then he is lying.

Dumbledore would have to let Harry keep the cloak before sending him to Salem. (fairly likely, but not guaranteed).

Technically speaking, Dumbledore can't take the Cloak from Harry by force, since its powers apparently rely on formal and deliberate transfer of ownership. I suppose he could resort to blackmail, but doing that before sending Harry to America would almost certainly result in complete breaking of ties (at least friendly ties).

Dumbledore would have to be alive (also fairly likely, although if this follows canon then Dumbledore will die at some point)

Given everything else that happens (with Hermione's death as the strongest example), I think we can be fairly certain that this story will not follow canon plot developments except by coincidence.

comment by Nanashi · 2015-02-13T14:33:13.295Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What's arguably more valuable is having a reputation of not misleading people, either.

comment by Velorien · 2015-02-12T21:02:32.603Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The Salem Witches' Institute in America accepts boys as well, despite the name. They are good people and would protect you even from Dumbledore, if you needed it. Britain holds that you need Dumbledore's permission to emigrate to magical America, but magical America disagrees. So in the final extremity, get outside the wards of Hogwarts and tear in half the King of Hearts from this deck of cards.

What does the "so" at the start of the last sentence mean, if it does not connect the tearing of the card to the preceding statements about the Salem Witches' Institute?

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-02-13T14:18:30.895Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's possible that going to the house in London is simply a step on the way to the Salem Witches' Institute.

comment by Vaniver · 2015-02-11T18:45:51.696Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

that's just silly, and there's no particular reason why that would even be true, if the other isn't.

I was under the impression that in canon, at least, the Deathly Hallows are sensitive to 'ownership,' and so Dumbledore might think that giving the cloak owned by Harry to Harry is the best way for the cloak to end up being owned by Dumbledore.

comment by buural · 2015-02-08T23:38:23.804Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Not that it matters, but I don't really understand Quirrell's grading criteria. Is Neville's score 'outstanding' because he alone made the sensible move of escaping to safety of his home from life-threatening dangers of Hogwarts and Hermione's grade low because she failed the 'ultimate' test? If so, does Harry's surivival to-date 'exceed' Quirrell's expectations?

Alternatively, is Neville's score a reflection of his rate of improvement over the term, which admittedly was outstanding, relative to Harry's (or Hermione's)?

Perhaps, grades other than OWL's and NEWT's do not matter academically, so Quirrell's grading is purely subjective/random?

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-02-08T23:40:46.512Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell likely cares about the effects of the grades and not so much about whether they are fair.

comment by buural · 2015-02-08T23:50:39.687Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that being fair is probably not at the top of Quirrell's priority list, and that his grades are meant to give a message to students. However, he is rational, and it still doesn't answer my question about the criteria he is basing his grades/signals on.

comment by avichapman · 2015-02-09T05:08:14.822Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The only answer that doesn't feel like a stretch is that the O is a reward for the phenominal progress made during the year.

comment by UnclGhost · 2015-01-30T19:50:24.008Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I rot13d it in my comment just because it's funnier if you figure it out yourself, and like many stealth jokes, it's easy to figure out once you know there's a joke to look for (if you've read canon). If it was an actual spoiler for the chapter that would facilitate discussion because it wasn't just a random throwaway joke, then I wouldn't rot13 it.

comment by William_Quixote · 2015-01-29T14:54:47.309Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A spell to grade tests is probably not an old spell that's been around forever since no one else seems to use it, but QQ may have invented it for this purpose.

Either way, it's existence is a further hint to the nature of magic in the world of HPMOR. It involves some pretty sophiscated natural languge processing. The fact that magic can do natural language processing is hinted as significant in chapter 6 while Harry is studying the retrieval charm and trying diffent phrases that point to "bag of gold". If we knew how magic could read a test and predict what the ministry would give it, we would know a lot more about magic.

Note, we can reject the hypothesis the the spell just doing something simple like implements a big data style algorithm with 800 years of prior tests and grades as its training corpus because QQs students are going to be writing answers that are very different from the training set and so the model wouldn't have good predictive power

comment by wsean · 2015-01-29T20:16:41.270Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

"an incredible spell... is it not?"

A few students on the Ravenclaw side were looking indignant, but for the most part the students just looked relieved, and some Slytherins were chuckling.

Quirrell is joking. He doesn't care about the results of the ministry-mandated test, as he already knew what grades his students had earned from him regardless.

comment by AnthonyC · 2015-02-02T22:47:42.910Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

At the beginning Quirrell had said any tests he gave would grade itself in real time so students could help each other for bonus points. So Some method of achieving a similar effect exists.

comment by Gondolinian · 2015-01-29T23:08:06.304Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell is joking. He doesn't care about the results of the ministry-mandated test, as he already knew what grades his students had earned from him regardless.

Assuming Quirrell did have the final grades already calculated before the test, did Quirrell know ahead of time how the students would score on the test and have the final grades reflect that, or did he use the grades up to that point in total indifference to the test scores?

ETA: Oops, I seem to have completely missed this discussion when I posted this here. My bad.

comment by Phothrism · 2015-01-29T15:25:17.834Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

There's a much simpler explanation: The tests came pre-graded and QQ just cast a spell to reveal the invisible grades and ignored all the answers.

comment by DanArmak · 2015-01-29T15:17:04.140Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The spell might just be querying Quirrel or a confederate in real-time to grade the results.

comment by gjm · 2015-01-29T15:17:53.957Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. Note that Q is terrifyingly fast; remember the scene where he speed-reads the newspaper.

comment by gjm · 2015-01-29T21:50:25.096Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Though now it's been pointed out by others, I agree it's pretty much certain that the actually intended meaning is that Q is joking, he ignored their answers to the official exam, and their grades were determined before they ever took it.

comment by DanArmak · 2015-01-29T19:48:23.106Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And even more relevantly, the scene where he sits in his office, grading papers, not moving anything but his eyes.

comment by gjm · 2015-01-29T21:28:36.943Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's not clear he's doing it super-fast on that occasion, though, is it?

comment by DanArmak · 2015-01-29T22:12:17.891Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's true.

comment by Jiro · 2015-01-29T16:29:15.003Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If you accept the definition of the supernatural as a physical law that applies to ontologically basic mental things, then finding the answers to a test would seem to be something the supernatural can do without having to do natural language processing, the same way a spell can turn someone into a frog without having to process DNA. We think of "the answers to a test" as a concept.

comment by EphemeralNight · 2015-02-03T16:56:51.262Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That just means that the spell inventor doesn't need to know anything about or implement natural language processing. To get magical primitives like ontologically basic mental parts you still have to have complex and fully reducible algorithms running over the base physics outputs somewhere even if that somewhere is "parallel to or between frames of the simulation".

comment by Jiro · 2015-02-03T17:19:51.254Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If "gets the answers to the test" is a primitive, no you don't. The magic just does it. That's the difference between magic and science. The spell is a black box with no parts inside.

comment by solipsist · 2015-01-29T02:35:42.791Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The Pythagorean theorem hasn't been mentioned in HPMOR. Given this, would anyone bet me at 100-to-1 odds that future chapters will reveal that Harry rederived the Pythagorean theorem, in secret, while a student at Hogwarts, before April, and had fun?

comment by JoshuaZ · 2015-01-29T03:04:12.111Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Is there some reason to locate this hypothesis? Is there some reference I'm forgetting?

comment by solipsist · 2015-01-29T03:21:20.040Z · score: 23 (23 votes) · LW · GW

I have a very, very long, not very likely, crazy theory. Here it goes.

If you recall, Harry made a number of TODOs when he started the year.

To-do 1. Research mind-alteration charms so you can test the Comed-Tea and see whether you actually did figure out a path to omnipotence. Actually, just research every kind of mind magic you can find. Mind is the foundation of our power as humans, any kind of magic that affects it is the most important sort of magic there is.

To-do 2. Actually this is To-do 1 and the other is To-do 2. Go through the bookshelves of the Hogwarts and Ravenclaw libraries, familiarising yourself with the system and making sure you've at least read all the book titles. Second pass: read all tables of contents. Coordinate with Hermione who has a much better memory than you. Find out if there's an interlibrary loan system at Hogwarts and see if the two of you, especially Hermione, can visit those libraries too. If other Houses have private libraries, figure out how to access legally or sneak in.

To-do 0: Check out what sort of information-search-and-retrieval spells exist, if any. Library magic isn't as ultimately important as mind magic but it has a much higher priority.

Did Harry forget about those TODOs?

Harry make a pass at reading through the table of contents in the Hogwarts main library in chapter 29. After Harry and Hermione finish gossiping about Pettigrew, Harry walks Hermione to Broomstick class. At this stage the Eliezer Yudkowsky in my head starts yelling "HEY GUYS! Table of contents! Broomstick class! Thursday, Thursday, Thursday! Come on! I'm putting all the pieces together for you!"

(Answer: on the first Thursday of the school year, during Broomstick class, Harry set off Neville's Remembrall. Harry had forgotten about his TODOs).

It would appear that Harry entirely forgot about the other two TODOs (study library magic, study mind magic). Indeed, in chapter 90, he asks Quirrell how he could study mind magic, and is suprised to learn that the books are to be found in the north-northwest stacks of the main Hogwarts library, filed under M.

But what if Harry had remembered his TODOs? What if Harry studied obliviation in secret, and obiviated himself during some emergency? What would we expect to see?

We might see something like this:

I guess that helped a little," said Harry. "Actually I think it helped more than playing Gobstones for an hour could've possibly helped, so thanks for being you. And no matter what, I'm not having anyone Obliviate everything I know about calculus. I'd sooner die."

"What?" said Hermione. "Why - why would you ever want to do that?"

Harry stood up from the table, and there was a rush of restored background noise as his rise broke the Quieting Charm. "I'm a tad sleepy so I'm going off to bed," Harry said...

(chapter 63)

Why would someone want to Obliviate everything they know about calculus? Well, Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote

I know many ways to prove the Pythagorean Theorem, including at least one proof that is purely visual and can be seen at a glance. But if you deleted the Pythagorean Theorem from my mind entirely, would I have enough math skills left to grow it back the next time I needed it? I hope so—certainly I've solved math problems that seem tougher than that, what with benefit of hindsight and all. But, as I'm not an AI, I can't actually switch off the memories and associations, and test myself in that way.

I imagine Harry might try to do just that.

comment by solipsist · 2015-01-29T13:29:42.514Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This Pythagorean theorem hypothesis is the best I have, but it's not all that likely. I'd expect some foreshadowing about right triangles if it were true, but I see none. Does anyone have alternative hypotheses as to why Harry said "I'm not having anyone Obliviate everything I know about calculus"?

comment by jmmcd · 2015-01-29T22:31:38.630Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Not sure if it's in HPMOR but the symbol for the deadly hallows contains two right triangles.

EDIT err, deathly, I guess. I don't seem to be a trufan.

comment by hairyfigment · 2015-01-29T21:14:33.687Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Because he was explicitly wanting to be normal, or at least wanting to do something normal?

comment by lmm · 2015-01-29T21:53:52.694Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I take it you mean bet against you? In present circumstances I shouldn't, but I'd most likely be willing to before the 15th (probably only at a scale of something like your $5 vs my $500, which may not be worth the effort).

comment by solipsist · 2015-01-30T17:25:49.393Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Meta information makes me even less confident than before. If it were true that Harry rederived the Pythagorean theorem, in secret, etc., EY would have upvoted my comment asking for a bet. My comment received zero upvotes.

comment by somervta · 2015-01-30T23:48:48.181Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think you overestimate the likelihood that EY even read your comment. I doubt he reads all comments on hpmor discussion anymore.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2015-02-02T19:39:49.874Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

cough

comment by solipsist · 2015-01-31T00:32:06.962Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd still take a 250 to 1 bet.

comment by yotann · 2015-01-29T04:21:51.142Z · score: -4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I just noticed this comic unintentionally references HPMOR. Some coincidence!

comment by AlexMennen · 2015-01-29T17:10:00.212Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How? I didn't recognize any HPMOR reference.

comment by CronoDAS · 2015-01-29T22:25:35.327Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Finger snap.