Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 28, chapter 99-101

post by palladias · 2013-12-12T05:10:56.208Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 368 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 99, 100, and 101The previous thread is at nearly 500 comments. 

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

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

Also: 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12,  13,  1415,  16,  17,  18,  19,  20,  21,  22,  23,  24,  252627

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Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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

368 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by palladias · 2013-12-12T05:25:25.394Z · score: 33 (33 votes) · LW · GW

"Tell me, son of Lily, do the Muggles in their wisdom say that soon the skies will be empty?"

Interesting tie-in to:

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

So the centaur and Trelawney seem to be reading from the same playbook. Any guesses to who the centaur approached sixteen years ago and what lines he crossed? Seems like a plausible time to be Lily, no? Could possibly be the payoff to this from Chapter 1:

"...And I begged her to use some of that magic on me so that I could be pretty too, even if I couldn’t have her magic, at least I could be pretty.”
Tears were gathering in Petunia’s eyes.
“And Lily would tell me no, and make up the most ridiculous excuses, like the world would end if she were nice to her sister, or a centaur told her not to – the most ridiculous things, and I hated her for it."

comment by [deleted] · 2013-12-12T08:44:44.120Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

the world would end if she were nice to her sister

Plausible, if her being nicer to her sister is why Harry got the upbringing he did instead of the canon one.

comment by jkaufman · 2013-12-13T12:27:36.507Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Via: "Lily is nice to Petunia" -> "Lily makes Petunia prettier" -> "Petunia ends up with Michael and not Vernon" -> "Harry learns science instead of ptsd".

comment by HungryHippo · 2013-12-13T20:56:11.990Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's even worse if one believe that Harry is Harry!Mort.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-12-12T11:08:42.159Z · score: 14 (16 votes) · LW · GW

“There is nothing above the folly of men,” whispered the voice from the emptiness. “There is nothing beyond the destructive powers of sufficiently intelligent idiocy, not even the stars themselves.

“The Sun is very large, after all; I doubt the Dementor would have much effect on it. But it is not a test I would like to try, Mr. Potter, just in case.”

“Is the Sun still in the sky?” said Professor Quirrell, still with that strange gentleness. “Is it still shining? Are you still alive?”

The destruction of the sun is a recurrent theme with Quirrell.

comment by EricSlusser · 2013-12-13T00:25:19.970Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW · GW

"...The stars themselves proclaim your innocence, ironically enough."

comment by ygert · 2013-12-12T12:23:06.599Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

This seems to be the case. It all ties together to nicely not to be. Sixteen years ago, Firenze (I assume that is who the centaur is, from his views and attitudes) told Lilly that "the world would end if she were nice to her sister", based on the same prophecy based on which he tried to kill Harry: One that was similar to the one Trelawney made.

Remember also the twice-repeated wave of prophecies over the world, despite the fact that we are told that disturbances in time are never enough to cause more than a single prophecy. It would make sense that if any prophacy could be of such import, it would be one about the end of the world.

comment by drnickbone · 2013-12-13T16:49:13.901Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

What puzzles me about this:

  • The centaur foresees that Harry is "the end of the world"
  • Quirrell has also heard that Harry is"the end of the world"
  • Quirrell is really afraid of this (it's the only credible threat to all his horcruxes)
  • The centaur is conveniently about to kill Harry

But then Quirrell saves Harry's life. Why?

Is the only reason because Quirrell has already seen future Harry in Chapter 100 (under the cloak), so knows that Harry has to make it out alive somehow, so he might as well do the saving?

comment by kilobug · 2013-12-13T17:35:35.451Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

If Quirrell wanted Harry dead, he would kill him. Even without being able to use magic against him directly, there are plenty of ways for him to do it.

I think Quirrell still wants or hopes something from Harry. Maybe it's just that Harry needs to be still alive for the "blood, bones, flesh" rituals, but I think it's something much more specific, linked to Harry's dark side and why their magic can't interact.

comment by Tedav · 2014-02-24T16:24:17.336Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Personally, I think Quirrell killed Hermione, in the hopes of getting Harry to actually figure out how to defeat death - something no one else has ever done.

The reason he was happy when he heard the prediction that Harry would break the Universe is that this was near-confirmation that Harry would be successful.

In short, here is my version of Quirrell's plan:

1) For deniability reasons, be anti-resurrection from the start, and horribly worried about what Harry will do - tell Harry this

2) Kill someone Harry won't allow to stay dead (Hermione)

3) Become convinced by Harry to help with the plan - provide magic knowledge he doesn't have access to on his own

4) Use any means necessary (Unicorn blood) to stay alive until Harry is close to success

5) Harry is now the solution to whatever is slowly killing you

comment by Velorien · 2014-02-24T16:49:39.848Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The reason he was happy when he heard the prediction that Harry would break the Universe is that this was near-confirmation that Harry would be successful.

That is the exact opposite of how he reacted.

Unseen by anyone, the Defense Professor’s lips curved up in a thin smile. Despite its little ups and downs, on the whole this had been a surprisingly good day— “He is here. The One who will tear apart the very stars in heaven. He is here. He is the End of the World.”

His attitude after hearing the prophecy can be summed up by his words to McGonagall, which are consistent with everything he does thereafter:

And though it is not my own area of expertise, Deputy Headmistress, if there is any way you can imagine to convince the boy to stop sinking further into his grief and madness—any way at all to undo the resolutions he is coming to—then I suggest you resort to it immediately.

comment by Tedav · 2014-02-24T16:57:44.384Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

His attitude after hearing the prophecy can be summed up by his words to McGonagall, which are consistent with everything he does thereafter

I would say that his request to McGonagall is consistent with my theory - he knew that her attempts to stop Harry would have the opposite effect. I am guessing that Quirrell has some alternate interpretation to the prophecy.

One possibility for this is "The End of the World" corresponds to an change to the natural order that makes the world unrecognizable, such as the removal of mortality.

It is possible that instead of burning up his own life to destroy all the dementors or defeat death, Harry could burn up some stars, which could explain the rest of the prophecy.

I'm not saying that I am correct, but I still see no actions that are inconsistent with my theory.

I think part of the confusion is that we are interpreting the punctuation differently. I don't interpret your second quotation (first quotation from the text) as meaning that he was happy, until interrupted by hearing the prophecy, but rather that the prophecy was the reason he had smiled.

comment by Velorien · 2014-02-24T21:48:14.825Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Regarding the sequence of events, here's how it goes:

Trelawney, who had been sitting behind him on the two-person broomstick that had just blazed through Hogwarts burning directly through all the walls and floors in their way, hastily pulled herself off and then sat down hard on the floor, a pace away from the red-glowing edges of a newly made gap in the wall. The woman was still breathing in gasps, bending over herself as though she were on the verge of vomiting out something larger than she was.

[Quirrell analyses the emotions he'd felt coming off Harry]

Unseen by anyone, the Defense Professor's lips curved up in a thin smile. Despite its little ups and downs, on the whole this had been a surprisingly good day -

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

(quoted from hpmor.com rather than the .pdf this time for greater accuracy)

I really don't see how you can get any sequence of events out of that other than "Trelawney is about to make prophecy -> Quirrell analyses Harry's emotions and is happy with what he finds -> Trelawney makes prophecy". Quirrell doesn't even get a full stop at the end of his thought before the quote marks open for Trelawney to speak.

comment by Tedav · 2014-02-25T00:31:25.916Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Fair enough.

I must admit, this makes my theory less likely, but I still don't see your reading as the unambiguously correct interpretation, but I will freely cede that it look plausible that it is an interrupt, not an elaboration. This may, in part, stem from the fact that I am a big proponent of using "-" in my writing, and my usage is somewhat nonstandard.

Even if that is right, I don't think it rules out my guess about Quirrell's plan, but again, I'm significantly less confident now.

comment by drnickbone · 2013-12-13T19:14:32.955Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

If Quirrell wanted Harry dead, he would kill him.

Not strictly true: if Quirrell both wanted Harry dead and was able to kill him then he would kill him.

It seems to me we have to consider two hypotheses, each of which is problematic:.

  1. Quirrell can't kill Harry
  2. Quirrell can kill Harry, but Harry is so supremely valuable that Quirrell is willing to risk the destruction of the whole universe (including himself, and all his horcruxes) to keep Harry alive.

Both hypotheses contain a puzzle. If Quirrell is unable to kill Harry, why is that? (One guess: his offering to spare Harry in exchange for Lily's life created a binding dark ritual, and Quirrell can't get out of it.) Alternatively, if Quirrell is able to kill Harry, what exactly makes Harry so supremely valuable? Using Harry in a resurrection ritual, or as a puppet ruler of magical Britain, don't seem to be high enough value when measured against the risk, do they?

My initial thought was that Chapter 101 provides evidence against 1 and in favour of 2: if Quirrell's problem is an inability to kill Harry, then Quirrell could just let the centaur do the job instead. But then, the Time-Turner evidence means that Quirrell already knows that the centaur's attempt will fail anyway, so he might as well stop it himself (and stay in Harry's favour). I still don't think we can rule out hypothesis 1.

comment by bramflakes · 2013-12-13T19:24:38.405Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell said he considered killing Harry at some point, so there are 3 possibilities: 1) he's lying, 2) there is a dark binding ritual that he doesn't know about, or 3) there is no dark ritual. Considering his knowledge of dark rituals we can rule out number 2, and since there isn't a clear reason why he'd tell this specific lie, I'm going to go with 3.

If Quirrell doesn't want Harry dead then obviously he'd stop the Centaur, and if he does want Harry dead, he wants to do it on his own terms, with nothing left to chance and no loose ends, so again he'd stop the Centaur.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-12-14T01:25:40.842Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Or 4) He considered it, and discarded it because of a dark binding ritual.

comment by drnickbone · 2013-12-13T19:34:31.251Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell might have been referring to his initial plan (as Voldemort) to end Harry's life back when Harry was a baby. Quirrell/Voldemort could not have known about a dark ritual then, because he hadn't created it.

I still don't think the "dark ritual" hypothesis is very strong, because I can't see why Quirrell would have done it deliberately, so it happened accidentally. It's not clear whether "accidental" dark rituals are even possible in the HPMor universe, but if they are, Quirrell ought to be more careful to avoid them.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-12-14T22:58:38.376Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

We have an outcome pump on our hands that says that Harry is going to tear apart the stars. He can do that for better or worse reasons, and with a better or worse outcome. Quirrel thinks that a Harry that isn't crippled by a centaur (since Quirrel already knows Harry won't die) has a better chance of producing a good outcome than another Harry.

Remember that he offered in chapter 95 to read some of his science books and speaking of what comes to mind (...about a month ago. Why isn't Harry omnipotent yet? When I read that Quirrel's suggestion, I thought the rest of the story would have to be squeezed in the time it takes Quirrel to regain sentience.)

comment by shokwave · 2013-12-17T12:55:12.409Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It seems plausible that Quirrel read the science books and isn't going to tell Harry anything reality-breaking, since he did a similar thing with the library - after telling Harry that Memory Charms are just filed under M, he says he's going to put some of his own special wards on the restricted section.

comment by Dentin · 2013-12-19T05:47:43.346Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It could always be possible that Quirrel's "special wards" happen to let Harry through more easily, or allow Harry to browse the section more covertly, though I'd put odds of that fairly low given his mention of the situation to Minerva.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-12-17T22:36:29.696Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

While I didn't realize Quirrel might be lying about his willingness to cooperate, the Memory books aren't in the restricted section and we haven't heard anything about him sabotaging Harry's attempts at taking over the universe since chapter 95 (except for some sort of deception in 100/101... "what a fiasco" is not something you would hear Quirrel say to himself audibly and honestly). Maybe he was in Zombie mode until 99? We wouldn't know, since we weren't in Harry's POV since 2 days after that chapter, although in his shoes I would have attempted contacting Quirrel as soon as possible.

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-17T15:33:32.966Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

While both the former and the latter are entirely plausible things for Quirrell to do, it is also worth noting that Quirrell would happily play the Role of a concerned tutor before McGonagall at this time. It would make her trust him more at a time when he may need to use her and other teachers on short notice to fulfil his own objectives, even if he doesn't intend to do anything about the Restricted Session at all.

comment by Decius · 2013-12-16T08:43:37.708Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If Quirrell can't solve the problem of future Harry seeing and hearing someone that he thinks looks and sounds like himself, he isn't the dark wizard we deserve.

comment by BarbaraB · 2014-01-17T20:42:44.422Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Why everybody believes that centaur wanted to kill Harry ? It rather seems like centaur was disarming him. And it is even possible, he was under imperius curse (from Quirrel) while disarming Harry. He seemed to be surprised about what he was doing (looked up with widened eyes) and he apologised. I believe Quirrel just wanted to interrupt the conversation between Harry and Centaur.

comment by SyncHole · 2013-12-14T04:04:16.831Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

As a thought, maybe - possibly - Quirrell anticipated the possibility of point 4 (Centaur.) It might be an effective way to make Harry look at his current goals (and their potential repercussions) from another perspective. I wouldn't think the anticipation would be that the encounter was certain, but if it were considered possible...

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-12-19T03:51:40.376Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The final book in Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant Series has a theme of the stars disappearing and the end of the world as well. Anyone read it and sees a tie in? I'm only a few chapters in.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2013-12-14T19:26:46.939Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Wow. So, now it's pretty unambiguous that Harry is going to completely remake the universe somehow. The only question that remains is: does this go well?

comment by HungryHippo · 2013-12-13T20:52:03.712Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

One way Harry can fulfill the prophesy of tearing apart the very stars in heaven is to somehow send the whole universe back in time far enough to reverse stellar formation. Not sure how to fit the "end of the world" part, though.

comment by gjm · 2013-12-14T00:17:45.146Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I suppose it doesn't, strictly, say which end.

comment by kilobug · 2013-12-12T11:05:46.641Z · score: 30 (34 votes) · LW · GW

I know Harry is just a kid, but his reaction towards unicorns don't seem very rational to me. Remember, Harry became vegetarian for a while when he was afraid animals could be sentient. And now, he speaks about massively killing unicorns, magical creatures whose sentient status isn't very clear (like with phoenix), for a "temporary" stop of death at a cost of "permanent side-effects", without inquiring how temporary temporary is, what are those side-effects, and how sentient unicorns are. Without measuring those three parameters, there is no way to know if utility(killing unicorns in St Mungo) is positive or negative.

comment by drethelin · 2013-12-12T11:11:43.848Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's less that Harry is a kid right now and more that he's specifically extra-freaked out than usual by perma-death at the time. Plus the Quirrel Distortion Field is keeping him from ever seriously considering anything Quirrel does as really evil.

comment by Ishaan · 2013-12-12T22:05:14.717Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Except for its attraction to innocence, there's no particular reason to think that the unicorn is more sentient than a horse, is there? Did I miss something important in the story?

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-12-13T15:37:39.888Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think there's any particular evidence in the story which bears on the intelligence of unicorns, save for the fact that some non humanoid magical creatures such as acromantulas are much smarter than their mundane kin. This alone should be sufficient to raise it to the point of being worthy of consideration.

Here's another possibility which Harry failed to consider; the side effects of drinking unicorn blood may in fact be worse than death, not for the individual, but for society, if it does something like permanently compromising the recipient's morality. Quirrell is already amoral enough not to care, but if Hermione had been saved with unicorn blood, she might have come out like Demented Harry.

It might not be the sort of thing which is obviously likely enough to be worthy of consideration in his position, but the way Dumbledore described in in the original canon, I think suggests it as a distinct possibility.

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-13T15:51:44.890Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I would say that "living a cursed half-life" sounds more detrimental to the individual than to wider society. And in general, the limited discourse we hear ("you have slain something innocent to save yourself") sounds more like that of punishment than corruption to me.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-12-13T16:17:41.196Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I always interpreted it as more of a corruption effect; a cursed half-life sounds to me like something where you lack various things that people consider important elements of being alive, perhaps things like taste and touch, perhaps also things like empathy.

comment by kilobug · 2013-12-13T17:32:17.846Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So did I, in canon, I imagined unicorn-blood-drinking to be somewhat like horcrux, ripping you of the ability to love, feel empathy, ... and that's what Dumbledore and others consider "half life". It's an hypothesis that is worth probing before just saying "oh let's farm unicorns".

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-13T21:06:37.167Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Makes you wonder if anyone has ever tried to research magics that restored someone's empathy etc., or gave it to people born without. Somehow, I doubt it.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2014-01-04T03:46:40.732Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's likely observation bias, but the whole of the wizarding society seems to lack empathy; I join you in doubting that much research on the subject has been done.

comment by MathiasZaman · 2013-12-12T23:56:13.214Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think you did and neither was there anything in canon about this. Unicorns are about as sentient as any other magical animal. The taboo of killing unicorns stems from the bad effects it has, rather than the sentience of the creatures.

comment by kilobug · 2013-12-13T08:42:39.713Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, the point is that "magical animals" have very varrying degrees of sentience - some, like acromantula are fully sentient, some like phoenix are half-sentient, the status of unicorn can't be established without some inquiry.

comment by kilobug · 2013-12-13T08:35:30.365Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Well, the magical world is full of sentient or half-sentient things, from house elves to phoenix. The hypothesis that unicorns are half-sentient like a phoenix can't be excluded a priori, it's something a rationalist should inquire before taking any decision. And the scope and nature of side-effects should be inquired. Harry doesn't even do the simplest inquiry, asking Quirrel about it, but jumps to conclusion with incomplete data, doesn't sound like him at all.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-12-13T05:57:22.671Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

That's true, but unicorns are immortal, and they have to be killed in order to give a human a few more years of life. Presumably some number of horse-years are worth a human-year; horses aren't quite so negligibly intelligent that the life-value of infinite horse-years converges to zero.

comment by somervta · 2013-12-13T07:52:48.795Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

perhaps, but the unicorns don't actually have infinite life-spans.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-12-13T22:03:50.188Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well yes, because people keep vamping on them.

comment by Mestroyer · 2013-12-12T11:53:47.486Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

He does at least know that "temporary" is long enough and the side effects are small enough for Quirrel to consider it worthwhile.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-13T09:40:18.751Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

He also knows that Quirrell is totally amoral: Quirrell himself admits that he does not comprehend the thing that people call morality.

Thus, he knows that Quirrell considering something worthwhile is only evidence about that thing's utility to Quirrell, not its moral validity.

comment by gjm · 2013-12-13T11:19:44.654Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

mortality

I'm not generally in the habit of calling out typos, but that particular one is probably worth fixing. I think Quirrell understands mortality rather well.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-13T13:59:34.461Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

True, very true. Edited.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-12T15:13:26.302Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

He's only brainstorming now, not actually rounding up unicorns or even in a position to do so. That said, I would have expected him to go into more depth about the possible downsides, to be in character.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-12-13T00:31:23.962Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Harry has dropped the Batman code. Life is full of trade offs.

Being alive and sentient trumps side effects and consuming animals, magical or otherwise.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-12-13T01:47:20.429Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Not if those animals themselves are (note that sentience is not really the relevant quality here, that should actually apply to most animals above a certain level of complexity) also sapient.

Considering that other magical creatures such as centaurs, goblins and house elves are known to be sapient, and animals not normally considered so, such as snakes, may become so due to magic, the prospect is certainly worth considering.

comment by knb · 2013-12-14T04:43:28.844Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It's weird that you're assuming Harry doesn't know that unicorns aren't sentient. You don't know that, but Harry has already researched the known intelligent magical creatures, and he could easily know that unicorns are just magical horses that are pretty.

Harry isn't even a vegetarian, of course he would be OK with someone killing unicorns to survive.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-15T05:51:03.174Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's a good point (that Harry might well already know). Then I blame the author for not telling us; this should have come out in an earlier chapter where Harry was reading about unicorns, just so that the readers don't end up distracted from the story by a non-issue.

comment by knb · 2013-12-15T08:30:18.502Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There was a chapter in which Harry does research to determine which animals are known to be intelligent. I don't remember if unicorns were specifically mentioned, but I think we should assume Harry already knows they are non-sentient by his lack of concern.

(I guess that the new, colder Harry might actually think Quirrell's life is even more valuable than some number of intelligent unicorns--because Quirrell has a lot of extremely valuable knowledge that Harry believes might save many lives some day. But I really don't think this is what Eliezer is going for here.)

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-16T02:20:09.989Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There was a chapter in which Harry does research to determine which animals are known to be intelligent.

Can anybody find this for me? I'm not having luck.

comment by gwern · 2013-12-16T04:32:09.415Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

animal intelligence research site:hpmor.com; first hit: http://hpmor.com/chapter/49

Harry still hadn't decided what he was allowed to eat for lunch.

His library research hadn't turned up any sign of wizards speaking to nonmagical plants. Or any other nonmagical animals besides snakes, although Spell and Speak by Paul Breedlove had recounted the probably-mythical tale of a sorceress called the Lady of Flying Squirrels.

which is not explained in the chapter, so one looks back to http://hpmor.com/chapter/48 and http://hpmor.com/chapter/47 for the full context of Harry freaking out about talking to snakes and being carnivorous.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-16T14:38:55.737Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, I stopped looking too soon!

comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-12-16T08:26:57.577Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Something else not explained there is the namecheck to Paul Breedlove's "Speak and Spell". I suspect the Lady of Flying Squirrels also means something but I don't know what, although the French version of Speak and Spell was called La Dictée Magique, and one of its modules was Les Animaux Familiers.

comment by gwern · 2013-12-16T14:50:16.252Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect the Lady of Flying Squirrels also means something but I don't know what

Just Eliezer throwing in more allusions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squirrel_Girl / http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ComicBook/SquirrelGirl (this was identified in the discussions for those chapters, and Squirrel Girl actually appeared before in the Ultimate Meta Mega Crossover IIRC).

comment by ygert · 2013-12-12T12:18:13.877Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This is true. However, in his defence, I will say that he has no real idea of whether unicorns are sentient or not, and although it was remiss of him to assume they are not, under the assumption that they are not sentient it is a good plan.

Yes, though. It is out of character for Harry, who has in the past done things like become vegetarian when he though that there was the slightest possibility that animals could be sentient. He was still in shock, sure, but the Harry that we know should have known to ask.

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-12-19T01:55:30.527Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What leads people to even suspect that unicorns are sentient?

comment by kilobug · 2013-12-19T09:09:07.627Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW
  1. Sentient is not a binary thing, but a more fuzzy ones. The sentience of apes or newborn for example is hard to quantify in a binary way.

  2. Many magical creatures have a higher level of sentience than mere animals. Some are fully sentient like centaurs or acromentulas, some are half sentient like phoenix. Even magical owls or cats tend to be more sentient than their mundane counter-parts.

So it really seems from 1. and 2. that the level of sentience of unicorns has to be carefully evaluated, to be able to figure out if the harm done to them would be worth a "temporary cursed" life, it depends of the values of the three parameters : how sentient they are, how "temporary" it is and how "cursed" it is.

comment by iceman · 2013-12-13T04:36:01.780Z · score: 28 (28 votes) · LW · GW

Premise: Quirrell plays the game one level higher than Harry Potter.

Observation: This entire incident is uncharacteristically sloppy. Why were the unicorn corpses found? Why was Quirrell discovered?

Observation: Harry Potter is now really pissed off that herds of unicorns to slay aren't standard procedure for stable-izing people with life threatening injuries. He has just been given another "if only" to fixate on. It has been brought to his attention in ways that wouldn't trip his "why am I being told this" sense.

Father had told Draco that to fathom a strange plot, one technique was to look at what ended up happening, assume it was the intended result, and ask who benefited.

Hypothesis: Reminding Harry that there were ways the wizarding world could have saved Hermione was the primary effect. Possible secondary effects may include impressing on Harry just how ridiculously powerful he is. Perhaps implanting the desire to save Quirrell into Harry's mind? Quirrell may not actually need the blood right now, though I suspect it doesn't hurt.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-12-13T15:21:31.444Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think knowing that unicorn blood has uses which may not be properly exploited by wizarding society changes his opinion of wizarding society much anyway. It's kind of a straw on a logpile.

I think it's more likely that Quirrell's planned reveal to Harry was his impending mortality (which, considering the horcruxes and the spell which can restore him to his original state, is probably not so unavoidable as he implied.)

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-13T15:48:59.456Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

(which, considering the horcruxes and the spell which can restore him to his original state, is probably not so unavoidable as he implied.)

While he's certainly determined to make Harry believe he's going to die ("this is the last time I will be able to do this for you"), it is likely he is lying for a couple of additional reasons. The man obsessed with not dying, prepared to tear his very soul to shreds to stay alive, has

a) been trying to prevent Harry from seeking a way to bring back the dead, and

b) been doing so purely as part of an effort to save the world - which he has no reason to care about unless he expects to remain in it.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-12-31T19:55:16.056Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

a) been trying to prevent Harry from seeking a way to bring back the dead

If Quirrell is going through time by using up bodies and moving to new ones, applying a bring "back from death" spell to a former host might force him back to his previous used up body.

comment by pjeby · 2013-12-14T07:18:26.519Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry Potter is now really pissed off that herds of unicorns to slay aren't standard procedure for stable-izing people with life threatening injuries

I don't think unicorns are actually kept in stables, despite their horse-like anatomy. ;-)

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-12-19T07:24:42.941Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Related point that I haven't seen: chapter 100 increased the probability that Harry would bring any clever idea for defeating death straight to the Defense Professor.

I like to think that 101 decreased it again, and that Harry might have talked to Draco about those false memories (thereby learning that Quirrell couldn't make guilt feel real). But we'll see.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-12-13T22:04:08.068Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hypothesis: Reminding Harry that there were ways the wizarding world could have saved Hermione was the primary effect.

Hermione was dead before she could have killed a unicorn and drank it's blood.

comment by kilobug · 2013-12-13T23:13:28.231Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Depends exactly how it works. Is someone dead when the heart is stopped, but can still be restarted ? What happens if someone is forced fed unicorn blood (and the unicorn dies in the process) just after cardiac arrest, but when no damage is done to the brain yet ?

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-12-14T01:10:16.367Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

By the time a capable wizard (Dumbledore) was on the scene, Hermione was dead.

I doubt there's anything unicorn blood can do that phoenix tears can't, so.

comment by Xachariah · 2013-12-15T00:24:06.703Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

I'd think that unicorn blood has unique properties on phoenix tears.

Otherwise Quirrel would be tracking down Phoenixes and... showing them the first 5 minutes of 'Up' or something.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-15T06:31:21.222Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. "Up" was a fairly good movie, but it doesn't hold a candle to the short film that constituted its first 5 or 10 minutes. That should have won an Oscar.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-12-27T23:53:19.243Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Here it is

comment by TobyBartels · 2014-12-28T02:33:49.875Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I prefer the original audio, but that might be too much to hope to find on YouTube.

comment by Baughn · 2013-12-15T21:22:16.964Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I could rewatch Up, except that doing so would require rewatching the first ten minutes.

And I can't do that.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-16T02:22:49.036Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I know that you're probably not serious but … you can always skip that part. You already remember what happens.

comment by keen · 2014-05-30T23:58:24.798Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Doesn't this plan seem rather risky if the primary benefits are so limited?

On the other hand, now Quirrell has a way to convince Harry to help him get the Philosopher's Stone, or to consider leaving Hogwarts in spite of the danger to help him with a "life-saving ritual".

On the other other hand, telling Harry about these life-saving methods could just make him angry that no one mentioned them with respect to Hermione.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-12-31T19:58:35.346Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Another effect - Harry's now thinking about the power of unicorn blood to keep people alive.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-13T09:32:31.657Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Intresting. I do think that Quirrell needs the blood, but tipping his hand this way did seem to have those effects on Harry, and I would be very surprised if that was unintentional on Quirrell's part.

comment by Ishaan · 2013-12-12T22:13:10.292Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

Why did Quirrell allow the unicorn corpses to be found? Why didn't he dispose of the corpse by making it disappear, instead of trying to pass it off as a predator? Would anyone notice if a unicorn vanished without leaving a corpse? ( I suppose they might, since they're medically valuable, but since unicorns are known not to have predators the predated corpse is hardly a good cover, as we saw. Vanishing the corpse would have made it take longer to notice.)

Anyway, this is one of the few times we see Quirrell's plot clearly failing without anyone actually acting to thwart him. Is it plausible that he was actually unable to kill and drink a unicorn without anyone immediately noticing?

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-12-13T15:09:01.515Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The alternative is that Quirrell does want people to know that unicorns get attacked.

If you want to make a magical reanimation ritual, a species that helps people on the verge of death seems to be a path to go. This whole interaction gave Harry information about unicorns.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-13T09:33:54.497Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Hagrid would have noticed. Hagrid named each individual unicorn in the forest, and if one disappeared, he'd definitely go to Dumbledore about it.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-12-13T14:35:27.639Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Doesn't work. Hagrid says explicitly in the chapter that he's had almost no interaction with the unicorns.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-14T15:31:18.377Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

He did notice when one died... No interaction does not mean being unaware of their existence (or lack thereof.)

Specific proof is that he knew Alicorn was dead before they found the body.

He can know that the unicorns live in a place, see the signs of their passing, without actually going up to them and interacting with them.

comment by xian16 · 2014-03-21T01:45:44.617Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Right? How could he, he's not a young virgin (probably).

comment by Waffle_Iron · 2013-12-13T05:33:05.129Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Since school children were being used to investigate the dead unicorn it seems that passing it off as a predator worked fairly well.

comment by Mestroyer · 2013-12-12T23:09:43.854Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This bothered me too. To fanwank something, perhaps when near death and desparately in need of unicorn pony blood Quirrell's mental capacity is reduced.

comment by Ishaan · 2013-12-12T23:30:45.348Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, that's possible too. I was more implying that since such a mistake is implausible, it must have been intentional on Quirrell's part- for example, perhaps it was a purposefully orchestrated plot to kill Draco. (actually, now that I thought of that, it seems obvious that this is exactly what it was)

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2013-12-13T00:33:08.846Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How does he arrange for Draco to go to a Silver Slytherin meeting at exactly the right time to get caught by Filch, and then for Filch to give Draco that precise detention? That's a lot of Imperiuses or other manipulation.

comment by Ishaan · 2013-12-13T01:10:53.240Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

He did it with hermione, no?

He just needs to know about SS meeting beforehand and tip off Filch about it without linking the tip to his ID. Only one hard manipulation here, which is to suggest a specific detention.

comment by ikrase · 2013-12-13T08:34:43.880Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And that could probably be done with appropriate False Memory Charm.

He's got to have a time turner.

comment by Mestroyer · 2013-12-12T23:48:53.578Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If he wanted to kill Draco, why not just AK him without being seen in the middle of the forest, and not reveal that the unicorn-eater is Draco's murderer? Revealing that gives the heroes a place to actually strike back against the student-killer, which is the unicorn population.

comment by Ishaan · 2013-12-13T00:03:34.362Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

1) Dunno, but I'm guessing it's for the same reason why he didn't just AK Hermione instead of using a troll? We haven't been told the full extent of magic useful for forensics in this story - for example, in canon there is a spell that allows you to check which spells have been recently cast, so if you find an AK'ed corpse it would be fairly simple to check everyone's wands for recently cast AK to narrow down suspects. (Not that there aren't other ways to discreetly kill, but my main point is that we as audience aren't aware of the constraints involved.)

2) Hogwarts ward doesn't operate outside of Hogwarts, and the ward pointed fingers at Quirrell for Hermione's death (presumably he possessed the troll or something). It wouldn't do for that to happen repeatedly - how many times can one use the "framing" defense? Doing it in the forest avoids the wards, the dead unicorns were a pretext for getting Draco out to the forest, and the unicorn killer identity creates a possible extra suspect,

Or, are you saying that it allows the heroes to fight back by simply relocating the unicorns? That's true...which means that Quirrell doesn't think he will desperately need additional unicorn blood in the future.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-12-13T01:42:20.653Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Dunno, but I'm guessing it's for the same reason why he didn't just AK Hermione instead of using a troll? We haven't been told the full extent of magic useful for forensics in this story

An AK'ed corpse in particular should be pretty easy to diagnose; the total lack of any other apparent causes of death should give it away.

However, there's nothing in particular to prevent feeding the corpse to any of the various horrible creatures in the Forbidden Forest.

comment by Mestroyer · 2013-12-13T00:11:03.348Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, is the Forbidden Forest within Hogwarts wards? Because I thought the reason he didn't kill Hermione himself was so that Harry wouldn't take it seriously when the wards said that "the defense professor" killed her.

comment by Ishaan · 2013-12-13T00:26:34.111Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If the wards do extend to the forest, Tracy can say she saw a dark thing which was not Quirrell kill Draco. If the wards don't extend to the forest, killing him in the forest doesn't alert the wards. The first is a motive against discreet killings, the second is a motive against doing it inside hogwarts.

comment by alex_zag_al · 2013-12-20T16:57:05.413Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And if he's going to leave a corpse, he could at least do it silently.

Remember that Tracey ran towards the sound of a unicorn being attacked?

That's what makes me sure that Quirrell wanted to get caught. There's just no reason for him to skip the silencing spell, otherwise. (Unless he's hiding from someone that can detect the use of magic?)

I don't know how he got Tracey to approach, though.

comment by jaime2000 · 2013-12-13T07:13:03.411Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

A nausea was in his stomach, a churning sensation that, looking back in memory, seemed both like and unlike a sense of guilt, as though it had the sensations but not quite all of the emotion.

Heh, so Quirrell doesn't know what guilt feels like.

Centaur spears can block many spells, but no one tries to block if they see that the spell is a certain shade of green. For this purpose it is useful to know some green stunning hexes.

This reminds me, if you can make a homing version of the stunning spell, can you make a homing version of the killing curse? Sounds like that would be useful.

The chapter endings for 100 and 101 are a little odd. They stop very abruptly, specially 101. Usually you would get an extra sentence or paragraph to give the chapter a sense of closure.

The reason Quirell and Harry cannot interact magically is supposed to be so Quirrell cannot read harry's mind, memory charm him, confound him, or outright imperio him. But this feels a little weak to me. What's stopping Quirrell from threatening, bribing, tricking, imperiousing, etc... a third party to do it on his behalf?

comment by SyncHole · 2013-12-14T03:53:28.103Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

And if the homing version of "Stupify" is "Stuporfy," how ridiculously twisted would AK get? "Averder Kerderber?"

comment by shminux · 2013-12-14T08:58:17.565Z · score: 23 (23 votes) · LW · GW

Abracadabra, surely.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-12-14T15:24:29.767Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Centaur spears can block many spells, but no one tries to block if they see that the spell is a certain shade of green. For this purpose it is useful to know some green stunning hexes.

At no point does Quirrell say "I just used such a spell on this centaur". I'm not ruling out that he killed the thing, and made an inferius in front of Harry. That would explain the unusually (?) sharp sense of doom that Harry felt when he "revived" it.

Also a possibility: memory charming a centaur is a lot harder, since they're only passingly similar to humans, so Quirrel had to draw more heavily on his magic, which in turn resulted in a sharper sense of doom.

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-14T16:20:42.714Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

At no point does Quirrell say "I just used such a spell on this centaur".

This doesn't matter very much, though, since we know Quirrell would not hesitate to utter a direct lie if it served his purposes.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-12-16T13:33:32.004Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's true. Quirrell has played the "mislead without lying" game in the past though, hence I'm not ruling it out.

comment by alex_zag_al · 2013-12-20T17:39:51.618Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Wow, it's amazing how obvious the Inferius seems now that you've said it.

I was reading another comment elsewhere on the page which claimed there must be some magical explanation for how Harry's managed to miss that Quirrell=Voldemort. And my first thought was, "yeah, he sat there with his wand on the centaur for a long time instead of just saying 'Innervate' and then 'Obliviate' and Harry still believed him". That actually seemed to me like an extraordinary thing that needed explaining.

But, then I remembered: I didn't think of it. I read this chapter days ago, I've been talking about it, theorizing, and *I didn't see it. And now it seems so obvious that I look for a supernatural explanation for why Harry didn't see it?

EDIT: As I brought up elsewhere, another reason Quirrell would be drawing heavily on his magic is to read Firenze's mind everything he knows about the future.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-21T06:02:55.609Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But you're forgetting that Harry is smarter than you! :-P

comment by Nornagest · 2013-12-21T07:24:17.614Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm actually not sure how bright Harry's supposed to be.

He's not stupid, obviously. But, from a Watsonian perspective, he's leaning very heavily on rationality skills and an unusual reading list for an 11-year-old, Hermione seems to have him beat in some respects as far as raw intelligence goes, and being the smartest person in a class of a hundred and change isn't that great an achievement in the scheme of things.

From a Doylist perspective, making Harry get a lot of mileage out of raw intelligence would undermine the message Eliezer's presumably trying to preach.

comment by avichapman · 2014-01-15T02:53:05.338Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

An increase in the sense of doom? What if Quirrel can possess many bodies at once. He created Voldi to have a villain to fight back in the olden days and then retired Voldi when he got sick of it. He periodically takes over other people's bodies for his own ends, sometimes even when he's not in his 'zombie mode'. Perhaps the variability in the sense of doom is correlated with his extra-body activities. When he takes over the body of a dead centaur, you get an increase in the sense of doom. The fact that he's not in 'zombie mode' at the same time as possessing the centaur might makes things even worse.

This would mean of course that Voldimort isn't Quirrel - Quirrel is Voldimort. Quirrel isn't out and out evil the way Voldi is. He simply invented a larger than life character so that he can play the good guy. Being possessed of normal human emotions, his fondness for Harry could be real.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-01-17T10:52:15.046Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrel isn't out and out evil the way Voldi is. He simply invented a larger than life character so that he can play the good guy.

Whether Voldemort's persona was or wasn't real, the suffering caused by him was real.

If I would for some reason decide to pretend that I'm Voldemort, and I would kill many people (shooting them by gun while pretending to cast Avada Kedavra), finding out this all was a disguise would prove that I'm not Voldemort, and that Voldemort's professed beliefs don't have to be my actual beliefs... but I would be a horrible person anyway.

comment by Vulture · 2014-02-23T02:25:53.248Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

but I would be a horrible person anyway.

It depends on what your reason for adopting the persona in the first place was.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-01-15T06:43:10.856Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think inferii are possessed by their creators. Pretty sure they're just zombies that do the summoners' bidding. I always thought the sense of doom was related to how strongly Quirrel was drawing on his power.

comment by Velorien · 2014-01-15T11:41:54.583Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What if Quirrel can possess many bodies at once.

Then he would rule the world the day he decided to rule the world (which he did at one point, at least extending to magical Britain). A single Quirrell is among the most powerful wizards in the world. A team of Quirrells would have no meaningful opposition, even before he took advantage of the hive-mind benefits of instant coordination and reaction.

Being possessed of normal human emotions, his fondness for Harry could be real.

That would imply that all the words and actions that portray him as a sociopath are an act for Harry's benefit. What would his motivation be in doing this?

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-12-31T19:50:04.915Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The reason Quirell and Harry cannot interact magically is supposed to be so Quirrell cannot read harry's mind, memory charm him, confound him, or outright imperio him.

The reason for a fact of the HPMOR universe is narrative convenience for the author?

Maybe so, but I've been wondering if the in universe reason is that Harry is a time turned Quirrell.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-12-31T20:03:41.978Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In canon, Harry and Voldemort have a complicated magical relationship due to two separate spells placed on Harry due to the events at Godrick's Hollow. Harry and Quirrell's connection in HPMoR appears to be a simplified version of that.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2014-01-01T21:48:16.764Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In canon, was there any reason Harry couldn't cast a spell on Voldemort?

comment by CAE_Jones · 2014-01-02T10:00:53.260Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In canon, Harry only ever tried casting spells on Voldemort twice, and both times it was Expeliarmis, and in both cases, Voldemort simultaneously fired Avada Kedavra, and in both cases, wandlore ended it in Harry's favor (in the first case, it was because their wands share a common core, which may or may not be due to their magical link. This one is notable, because it prevented Harry from casting on Voldemort as much as it prevented Voldemort from casting on Harry, but without his wand, Harry was still vulnerable to Voldemort's crucio. This effect was a flashier version of what happened in Azkaban, including a light show and images of the last few people Voldemort killed climbing out of his wand.)

Voldemort tried using Luceus's wand in later books to get around the wand problem, but this failed for reasons that did not seem adequately explained (something to do with wand ownership?)

I expect Quirrell was using his Alder wand in Azkaban instead of Foldemort's yew, in which case the connection in HPMoR presumably recurses a level.

If we use canon as a guide, if Harry touches Quirrell, it will cause them both pain (sense of doom), but to Quirrell it will do physical damage (Lilly's sacrificial protection). I expect there to be less of an imbalance in Harry's favor in HPMoR, but I didn't expect the troll or the unicorns, so my HPMoR predictions aren't so high confidence.

comment by CronoDAS · 2013-12-13T10:27:28.592Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

He doesn't trust a third party to do this without getting caught?

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-12-19T01:32:38.266Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

iirc, that spell wasn't homing, it just turned to the side at the end.

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-19T09:38:28.563Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But the side it turned to was the side necessary to hit its original target. Given that spells have some sort of natural AI (like the enchantment on Harry's pouch), and that basic wanded magic is just a matter of triggering a pre-defined effect by saying an incantation while moving in the right way, it seems more likely that the spell was intelligent enough to change direction to hit its target than that Harry pre-programmed it with that specific directional change during casting.

comment by ikrase · 2013-12-13T08:44:10.761Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

IDK. Moody suggests that the spell might already be mildly homing or at least very easy to target.

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-13T15:21:37.901Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In canon at least, the protagonists do nothing but dodge Avada Kedavras in a number of confrontation scenes. It has to be that way, because no Death Eater would be stupid enough to use anything but Avada Kedavra on a target they weren't trying to take alive, and most characters had enough plot armour not to die in a random firefight.

comment by kilobug · 2013-12-13T17:26:18.095Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

no Death Eater would be stupid enough to use anything but Avada Kedavra on a target they weren't trying to take alive

Doesn't AK use more magical energy than a simple stun ? Or just require longer to cast ? "Avada Kedavra" is longer to say than "Stupefy" or "Expelliarmus", at least.

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-13T21:00:05.664Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But it is unblockable and precludes the target being revived in the first case or recovering their wand/grabbing someone else's/running away in the latter. In particular, HPMOR makes a very big deal out of any decent wizard being able to put up a dozen different shields, sometimes all but instantly, so unblockable spells are an extremely big deal.

comment by ikrase · 2013-12-17T20:03:32.553Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In HPMOR, it also penetrates at least some thickness of cover, according to Moody, who also suggests that it does need significant mana. (How much mana? I'm getting the impression that Stupify is acceptable for Auror-level combat despite being castable by top first-years.)

It also cannot be countered. We don't see much of countering in HPMOR, but we do see Susan try to counter an extremely powerful bully's spell in the SPHEW.

comment by EndlessStrategy · 2013-12-13T04:14:45.100Z · score: 13 (15 votes) · LW · GW

This isn't a particularly bad thing, but I must say, chapter 100 was perhaps the most self indulgent this story has had yet.

comment by somervta · 2013-12-13T07:39:17.849Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Tto whom is it indulgent? Harry, Eliezer, or the reader?

comment by EndlessStrategy · 2013-12-13T16:13:27.624Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

I would say Eliezer. Introducing another event from the first year of school and subverting it utterly. Blatantly referencing Twilight AND My Little Pony (to the point of bending canon for its inclusion) AND a Methods or Rationality fanwork AND an obscure math program AND Several other cameos sprinkled throughout.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-12-13T18:07:58.663Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Does it matter for this discussion that MLP canon unicorns are sentient?

comment by gjm · 2013-12-12T22:29:24.450Z · score: 13 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Nothing specifically to do with these chapters, but it's only just occurred to me: Is it supposed to be significant that the initials of Potter-Evans-Verres are also the start of "Peverell" (indeed, you can get more if you take a few more letters of "Verres")? It seems a rather superficial observation, but "Verres" is a really unusual surname and it would be nice to have an explanation for why Eliezer chose it.

comment by drethelin · 2013-12-13T18:18:53.018Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think there's a good chance Eliezer started writing before he read any of the books that have the name peverell in them?

comment by Dentin · 2013-12-13T21:43:41.290Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Peverell -> Potter Evans Verres Quirrel?

Yay pattern matching.

comment by somervta · 2013-12-14T08:15:01.742Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

PEVQ? erell = rrel? Doesn't really work.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-15T06:14:00.992Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

AFAIK, he still hasn't read them, but he should have read ABOUT them before beginning.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-12-14T11:30:52.108Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer mentioned in a past discussion where he got the name Verres. Iirc it was a reference to someone/something, though I don't remember who/what. (This falsified my standing hypothesis at the time, which was that EY got the name from Latin for "truth".)

comment by sketerpot · 2013-12-14T20:17:22.992Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

"Verres" came from combining "Vassar" and "Herreshoff". Here's the thread you're remembering.

comment by Coscott · 2013-12-13T20:13:30.587Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Lets talk about chapter 99.

Chapter 99 was there for a reason. I think the most likely reason is to emphasize the 10 days later. Chapter 98 was April 20, and chapter 100 was May 13. For some reason EY wants the first attack to happen on April 30. This could be because QQ only needs to drink the blood every couple weeks. However, why not just make the first unicorn found on May 12 and have no chapter 99? This would make more sense. I would expect the forest to be searched immediately afterwords. This is empathized further in chapter 100:

Draco nodded; he distantly remembered hearing something along those lines a couple of weeks ago, toward the end of April.

Maybe the goal with this is to give some character a full 2 weeks to research unicorns or make a plan.

Other theories for chapter 99:

He wanted the reveal of the unicorn to fall under the Roles sequence for some reason.

He wanted to build suspense. (But then I would expect him to have posted 99 on Sunday and 100 on Wed.)

He wants chapter 99 to be written in passive voice to hide the identity of the person who "found" the unicorn.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2013-12-13T21:55:56.292Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I think that the fact that chapter 99 falls into the 'roles - aftermath' title, indicates it's relatedness. This is the consequence of the roles arc, somehow - perhaps this is Quirrell's response to the new regulations, whyever that might be.

comment by Coscott · 2013-12-13T22:10:06.245Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I didn't think of that. I think that is more likely than my hypothesis. EY is telling us that the unicorn attack is a consequence of the roles arc.

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-12-15T04:28:46.860Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Or he's telling us that Quirrell is playing the role of someone who is on the verge of dying.

comment by wwa · 2013-12-22T14:41:07.182Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

The Severing Charm wouldn't bring down a tree, so he'd started partially Transfiguring cross-sections through the wood.

Quirell saw that. Partial transfiguration is not the power the dark lord knows not.

comment by mjr · 2014-01-17T12:32:50.421Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've pretty much assumed that cat to be out of the bag since the escape from Azkaban. Though he didn't see how Harry penetrated the wall, he could probably reason it out with decent probability. But sure, beside what Sheaman said about PT being already counterindicated, this does clinch it.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2014-01-04T03:02:10.669Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

http://hpmor.com/chapter/28

Those dreadful words, spoken in that terrible booming voice, didn’t seem to fit something like partial Transfiguration.

http://hpmor.com/chapter/86

it will be something stranger to him than Muggle artifacts. Something perhaps that he cannot comprehend at all, even having seen it...

Still, good catch.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-12-12T10:07:18.251Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Not sure what to make of Harry's willingness to go to any length to preserve Quirrel. Immediate emotional reaction to the death of a 'friend'? Or change in underlying morality?

Not a fan of Twilight Sparkle dying.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-12-12T11:00:52.555Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

We're getting less of Harry's inner narrative than we did before the troll, so it's entirely possible that he's fully aware that Quirrell is almost definitely the big bad, but still wants him to live in spite of this.

After these latest chapters, though, I'm starting to think Harry's mind is being blocked specifically from anything that would harm Quirrell directly. Quirrell's perspective in chapter 89 says that he can't influence Harry directly through their connection, but Harry's "Dark Side" might be another matter. (How did Quirrell think talking to an Inferius like he was modifying its memories would help? He knows exactly how smart Harry is!)

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-12-12T14:24:47.049Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Good point about getting less of Harry's inner narrative-- I'd been thinking I was feeling less connected to the story and wondering why because the prose seemed to be at least as good as it's been, and probably better.

"Less inner narrative" gives me hope for a plot payoff, and it's much more subtle than a character explaining a plan to other characters without the details being given to the reader until the plan is acted on.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-12-12T18:51:51.958Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

... Huh. I didn't even consider the possibility that it might be an Inferius before now - I just assumed it was Imperius.

comment by loup-vaillant · 2013-12-12T22:46:18.880Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

But when you think of it, if you assume the centaur Firenze wasn't dead, Imperius is probably not the best option anyway

comment by alex_zag_al · 2013-12-20T17:47:10.033Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

a magically murdered and revived centaur is a big political problem, though, between Hogwarts and the centaurs of the forest.

Unless this kind of thing is routine, why would he expect to get away with this?

EDIT: There's also another explanation for why he took so long, which is he was in the Firenze's mind, learning exactly what the centaurs had divined.

comment by Leonhart · 2013-12-13T23:14:50.887Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Twilight Sparkle, specifically, is associated with stars (in FiM, the symbol of Magic generally is a six-pointed star). More meta-foreshadowing for the stars dying?

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2013-12-12T19:36:51.939Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

That wasn't Twilight Sparkle. It was a unicorn who was a reference to Twilight Sparkle.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-12-12T21:39:24.213Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Well, yes, in the sense that Alicorn isn't dead either, and this isn't a crossover universe with MLP (as far as I can tell). But it depends on how you interpret this.

I think something about giving unicorns in the HPMoR universe (whose only plot relevance is that valuable things can be extracted from their corpses) cutie marks skeeves me out, and makes their death that much more tragic.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-12-13T14:34:53.900Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting, I had almost the opposite response: I thought it seriously undermined the seriousness of the chapter and gave for a very conflicting feeling.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2013-12-13T18:57:00.952Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

In fact, I had both these reactions.

It made it sadder but also kind of stupid.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-12-14T11:17:11.027Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

In the MoR universe, being able to do magic is a sign that the underlying Source of Magic recognizes you in some way. Wizards make ghosts, muggles don't; as Draco puts it, the simplest explanation for that is that wizards have souls and Muggles don't. (Suppose the soul is just some part of the self that persists that taps into the Source of Magic for computation. Then it doesn't require the physical body for computation, and Harry's intuitions about souls from "the brain makes the mind," which is true in our world but possibly not exclusively true in the MoR world, are not necessarily correct.)

In the MLP universe, a cutie mark is the physical manifestation of having found your purpose in life. MLP unicorns can also do magic. If we transport Twilight Sparkle from MLP to MoR with the least number of changes (i.e. the Source of Magic recognizes her and the philosophical interpretation of the cutie mark is the same), we end up with a being who has more directly observable evidence for being morally valuable than wizards... whose only purpose (in the eyes of the story* and protagonist) is to die to extend the life of wizards.

Alternatively, we assume that it's basically a horse with some magical properties, that's just colored that way as a referential joke. Then, yeah, jokes like that do decrease the seriousness of the chapter.

*Originally this was "author," which is not quite fair; the primary purpose of Rita Skeeter in MoR is to be murdered by Quirrel, but as the author's note / other commentary that Eliezer almost put in McGonagall telling Skeeter's children that their mother had gone missing showed that Eliezer was modeling her as an actual person, and the same might be true for the unicorns Quirrel is murdering.

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-17T18:58:22.543Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps as a result of reading Harry Potter and the Natural 20, I have problems with the various cameos in HPMOR, including this one. People who have distinctive names and characteristics are automatically marked somewhere in my mind as "important NPCs", but then there are so many of them, and so few of them actually turn out to be important, that the relevant part of my mind gets confused. It's like the literary device where you introduce a character with a lengthy background and description, only to promptly kill them off - except unless your name is George R. R. Martin, you're unlikely to do this more than once per book, whereas Eliezer's version is less extreme but can happen multiple times per chapter.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-12T12:14:23.965Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer: I got the math joke.

Explanation and implementation (spoiler if you haven't spotted the joke yet): http://tinyurl.com/hpmor100mathjoke

(But this only covers the first half of the joke; I had not heard of the second half before!)

comment by Subbak · 2013-12-12T14:59:16.610Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

If you want to play with a (rather tame, since it doesn't always use its regeneration powers) Bucholz Hydra, here's a link for you: http://www.madore.org/~david/math/hydra.xhtml

For my part, I knew about hydra games and had forgotten the name, but the context made it fairly obvious that this was a joke about the hydra being so hard to kill that you can't prove you do it with only Peano arithmetic.

comment by loup-vaillant · 2013-12-12T23:04:02.472Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I have defeated the hydra! (I had to cut off 670 heads). Feels like playing Diablo.

comment by NoahTheDuke · 2013-12-15T01:00:54.893Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

670? Lucky. I finally bested it after 1750-ish, yesterday. Once I hit 1000, I thought, "Why am I doing this? What am I proving?" and then I started clicking again.

comment by Vulture · 2013-12-17T22:42:12.795Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

1750? I forced myself to give up and get back to work somewhere around the 6500 mark.

(I had decided, somewhere around 1000 or so, to try out the strategy of preferring to cut normal rather than dire heads when possible. Maybe that's a bad idea)

comment by NoahTheDuke · 2013-12-17T23:01:17.835Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I worked top-to-bottom, without change. If a new branch grew higher than my previous cuts, I focused it immediately. I know there's an optimal way, but I'm not quite clever enough to think of it.

comment by Vulture · 2013-12-18T00:15:34.356Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, for this applet the optimal strategy might depend heavily on how exactly its tameness is executed, which isn't very enlightening.

Edit: Derp, I tried out top-to-bottom and got it in 572. Definitely better than left-to-right or normals-first-ltr.

comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-12-20T18:43:00.685Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I used top-to-bottom, but dires first on each level, and that seemed to work consistently pretty well.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-12T12:28:01.050Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I got it too, and I think Eliezer was vastly under confident in his estimate of the number of people who would get it: We have a very mathy community around here.

In any case, I am glad Eliezer ended up including it. HPMOR is good enough to make me actually laugh out loud at least once every chapter, and the bit about the hydras was chapter 100's contribution.

comment by lmm · 2013-12-13T18:41:16.041Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I found it jarring. Either the characters were making jokes at a very uncharacteristic time, or just saying things that make no sense; either way this derails them. It seems to be a general problem in fanfic.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-14T16:14:20.081Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How come? They were not saying things that make no sense, if that is how hydras operate in that world...

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-15T05:54:46.530Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That (the mathematical hydras related to ordinal arithmetic) can't possibly be how hydras operate in that world. Wizards don't know ordinal arithmetic, they only go on experience, and experience would tell them that a hydra with more than a few heads is impossible to kill. The mathematical existence of success is irrelevant when it takes longer than the age of the universe.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-15T08:20:04.450Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

These are wizards. They can do, if not quite everything, a lot that we consider impossible or insanely hard. Maybe hydras have the magic property that they "stop time" nearby. For anyone near a hydra, time seems to freeze, at least until the hydra is dead. So if they can kill the hydra, the world pops back to normal with not a second past since the hyda attacked, but if not, they just get eaten.

This is a powerful attack/defense mechanism for the hydra, as the hydra's opponent must spend eon upon eon fighting it to win, and almost all give up before then.

At least, that is how I imagine Eliezer would write it if that kind of hydras appeared in canon and Eliezer had to come up with a reasonable explanation to it. Many things "don't make sense". How can dragons fly? They are to big to reasonably do so. But an intelligent author can "fix" things, and give a reasonable explanation.

Eliezer did that a lot to certain things from canon, and such is the correct attitude for facing a fictional thing you deem "impossible".

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-16T02:21:40.001Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In that case, fighting hydras is something that any decently curious Wizard should attempt as a matter of course. Even if you're spending most of your effort watching the hydra, it still gives you a long time to think. No way (unless that's part of the hydra's spell) that you're coming out of that experience the same person!

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-12-16T03:30:50.224Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well over periods of time that long, you might come out of it a new person who differs from the old one by being bugfuck crazy.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-12-12T13:58:15.347Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Chapter 99?

comment by ygert · 2013-12-12T17:17:42.337Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

OK, fine. But that wasn't a real chapter.

comment by TheTerribleTrivium · 2013-12-12T17:27:17.207Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Chapter 99 made me laugh, just because I read the author notes beforehand due to how they updated in my RSS reader and was fearing something as mental as worm 27b

comment by itaibn0 · 2013-12-13T00:04:34.398Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, none of the commenters explicitly mentioned the relevance of 'second order' and 'comprehend', and some gave indications they didn't notice those hidden puns. Personally, I read the author's note before the chapters themselves so I knew it was coming, but I believe I would have noticed it anyways. However, I didn't recognize the name Paris until after looking it up.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-13T09:44:59.636Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I mentioned that I laughed aloud at the hydra joke. the actual specific point which I laughed out loud at though, was the "second order, iterate" part. It was just so... appropriate, if out of context and only that way due to the speaker's accent.

comment by somervta · 2013-12-13T07:49:38.736Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

OK, I got those puns, but didn't get the hydra reference (I'd never heard of them), and I spent some time trying to figure out what they were related to.

comment by Adele_L · 2013-12-12T17:57:20.614Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I got about 80% of the joke - I pattern-matched the description to being something like Tbbqfgrva'f gurberz, but I didn't recognize the names Paris or Buchholz.

comment by Unnamed · 2013-12-12T05:15:21.673Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Reddit discussion of chp 99-101, which includes a few words from the author.

comment by CCC · 2013-12-13T14:01:03.080Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Sooo... Quirrel knows a stunning hex that looks like Avadra Kevadra?

Then, back in Azkaban, facing that auror, when Quirrel used Avadra Kevadra in an attempt to force the auror to dodge, and Harry stopped it with his patronus...

...why did Quirrel not use the green stunner, unless Quirrel actually wanted to kill the auror?

And how long will it be until Harry asks that question?

comment by maia · 2013-12-13T16:49:50.913Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW · GW

As in this comment: Probably Quirrell is lying. When he realized Harry was upset about the centaur dying, he thought fast and Inferiused the centaur and made up the bit about green stunners.

IIRC, in canon Avada Kedavra has a distinctive color not shared by any other spell.

comment by CCC · 2013-12-15T06:28:19.530Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

If Quirrell is lying, then asking the question "Why not use the green stunner in other circumstances where Avadra Kevadra was used?" may lead to that lie being uncovered.

I admit I had not considered Inferius on the centaur. However, I rather suspect that Quirrell is priming Harry here; he does something (hitting a centaur with a green stunner) that looks evil, then demonstrates that it is less evil than it was. In the future, then, Harry will be more inclined to believe that Quirrell has done something less evil than it looks like he has done; he could, for example, use Avadra Kevadra on Dumbledore later (making it look like a green stunner to Harry) in circumstances where a green stunner would not be evil and then rely on Harry to prevent any immediate revenge against himself (long enough to portkey away at least).

comment by jkaufman · 2013-12-14T01:48:32.457Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

in canon Avada Kedavra has a distinctive color not shared by any other spell

On the other hand Quirrell, via the basilisk, has spells that are not shared with any other wizard.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-12-18T00:21:06.142Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

True (probably). The more troubling evidence includes the fact that he acted like he thought Harry would accept his first explanation, and that we saw him Obliviate Bellatrix without ordering her to forget. Plus, Quirrell uses the phrase "stunning hexes", but those don't prevent breathing (unless that really was "her last breath escaping" in chapter 33).

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-16T19:01:49.164Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Also, recall that Eliezer hasn't read all the HP books. We can't have 100% confidence that he is aware of any given fact that is true in canon.

comment by Muskwalker · 2014-02-17T05:28:07.560Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

IIRC, in canon Avada Kedavra has a distinctive color not shared by any other spell.

In MOR, though, "green light the exact shade of the Killing Curse" is a spell first-year Draco can cast (ch47).

comment by Tenoke · 2013-12-13T18:58:16.745Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Presumably, an Auror knows more about hexes than a centaur.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-12-13T14:22:13.222Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

But an auror's shields might be able to block a green stunning hex, and might be able to tell the difference between the two hexes prior to that regardless.

comment by JGWeissman · 2013-12-15T06:43:03.901Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Then, back in Azkaban, facing that auror, when Quirrel used Avadra Kevadra in an attempt to force the auror to dodge

What do you think you know about which spell Quirrell used, and how do you think you know it?

comment by CCC · 2014-01-21T08:01:04.956Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think Quirrel used a powerful killing curse. I think that this is the case mainly because I don't think a stunner would have had as much effect on a patronus as the spell which Quirrel used; also because, even when facing a significant decline in his reputation in Harry's eyes (in hostile territory) Quirrel did not think to try to claim that it was a green stunner, leading me to the tentative conclusion that Quirrel had not thought of a green stunner at that time.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-12-13T20:58:06.235Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrel could have learned the spell after the endeavour. On the other hand Quirrell is probably lying.

comment by garabik · 2013-12-13T13:58:22.640Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

You had to try to live the other person's entire life inside your own head, at least if you wanted to create the False Memories with less than a sixteen-to-one slowdown as you separately crafted sixteen major tracks of memory

Was this by any change a reference to Permutation City? That was 17× slowdown, but that could be explained by taking the ratio of real+simulated time. But I do not get the "sixteen major tracks of memory" then.

Far fetched, I know...

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-12-14T23:52:07.015Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nah, Permutation City specifically said that slowdown was due to the best known designs for brain emulations on current hardware, and to be made less severe in due time.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-12-12T20:33:01.584Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

It seems the entire race of centaurs have taken something of a hit - in the books, they were perfectly aware that their divination was based on one's state of mind and could easily be applied to the patterns perceived in, for example, twisting smoke from a campfire.

I wouldn't mind much - Eliezer may not even have known or remembered that - except that this is not a new lesson for the readers, and it seems a missed opportunity to talk about pattern-matching, maybe tie it in with some of the other stuff about subconscious knowledge or desires in that scene.

I'm torn between vaguely hoping Eliezer will decide to change this, and uncertainty as to whether he even reads these comments. Heck, why should he? I certainly can't write anything like HPMOR, why would he expect to get a useful suggestion from such a comment? (And it doesn't help I'm signalling incompetence with typos from this darn phone, props to TobyBartels and others for reminding me to fix them.)

comment by gjm · 2013-12-12T22:11:41.905Z · score: 13 (15 votes) · LW · GW

It seems that your entire first paragraph -- which one might have expected to end with something explaining what it seems is true about the entire race of centaurs rather than stopping in mid-sentence.

[EDITED to note that now MugaSofer has fixed the mistake I was commenting on.]

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-12-13T14:37:06.936Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think the missing phrase from context is something like "don't know that in HPMR".

comment by gjm · 2013-12-13T18:47:36.205Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I think so too.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-12-23T02:39:38.074Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks! Forgot to update one end of the sentence when I changed the wording at the other.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-15T06:12:28.523Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, please fix the typos! You have a good point, and it's getting lost.

comment by drethelin · 2013-12-12T11:15:47.618Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

We know Quirrel can't directly influence Harry with magic, but Bellatrix was broken out of Azkaban long ago and barely mentioned since. Has anyone noticed if harry is particularly more irrational/credulous in the chapters after this than he was before? Because Harry knows Quirrel can't mind-rape him he might be less suspicious than he should be of his mind being bent by Bellatrix to be less suspicious of Quirrel.

comment by gjm · 2013-12-12T22:17:12.601Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

We know Quirrel can't directly influence Harry with magic

We know Harry thinks that. We know Quirrell has let him go on believing it. We have some further evidence that it's true (e.g., the business with the AK in Azkaban) but it's hardly conclusive (e.g., because blocking an Avada Kedavra is an unusual enough thing that it might have weird consequences for reasons other than interaction between Quirrell's magic and Harry).

his mind being bent by Bellatrix to be less suspicious of Quirrel

Unless there was a lot of deception going on in the Azkaban section of the story, she wasn't in a great state to do anything so subtle the last time she and Harry were in the same place. If it can be done from a distance (which most magical things in canon HP and HPMOR alike apparently can't), why single out Bellatrix in particular? There are other powerful nasty wizards around.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-12-13T06:48:34.640Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It's worth keeping in mind that even if she's completely useless for any sort of mission, Bellatrix may still be useful to Quirrell, by providing materials for the spell to restore his original body. This was discussed shortly after she was broken out; the spell would be at its most effective if the ingredients used were the most powerful of their kind; not merely the flesh of a servant, but the most faithful servant, and so on.

No matter how much the story diverges from the original HP canon, it's still an option for characters to do the same things they did in the original, as demonstrated by Quirrell in the last couple of chapters.

MoR Riddle still made his horcruxes, and he didn't do it for nothing.

comment by ikrase · 2013-12-13T08:41:17.495Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Plus she still might carry secret ancient magic that could be taught to Harry or to someone else without Quirrel needing to.

comment by drethelin · 2013-12-12T23:06:39.901Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not saying she's doing it from a distance. If quirrel can get a troll into Hogwarts why not Bellatrix?

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-12-13T01:07:46.465Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Even so, it's an awfully short amount of time to get Bellatrix in any state for an infiltration mission.

comment by drethelin · 2013-12-13T18:23:27.794Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In canon, Sirius Black broke into Hogwarts a few weeks after escaping from being in Azkaban after 10 years.

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-13T21:05:00.868Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

IIRC, Sirius was able to resist the Dementors' influence because they didn't register his Animagus form properly, and thus retained much of his strength and sanity.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-12-12T23:31:52.784Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Trolls have inherent magical immunity that might make it easier to slip them into hogwarts without setting off alarms.

comment by drethelin · 2013-12-13T18:09:10.906Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

sure but Bellatrix is intelligent and not an enormous violent troll. That probably balances out?

comment by BarbaraB · 2014-01-17T22:28:37.286Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"If quirrel can get a troll into Hogwarts..."

It was not Quirrel, but Dumbledore, who got troll into Hogwards. In analogy to canon, Dumbledore brought a troll to Hogwards as a training device for Harry and Hermione, see the book HP and Philosophers stone. In canon the purpose was fulfilled, because the children had some sparring with troll and defeated him safely afterwards. In HPMOR, the plot is reversed, because neither Harry nor Hermione fall for this training trap. When told they should NOT go to Hogwards basement, because the troll is there, they are immune to the reversed psychology. Rather, they reasonably decide to obey and not to do the dangerous thing. They simply ignore the basement. Dumbledore makes another try later by telling Harry once more NOT to go to the basement and NOT to use the Alohomora spell to unlock the basement door. In vain again. So the troll stays in the basement for a long time, until Quirrel unleashes him, transforms him to be sunlight-immune and uses him as a weapon on Hermione.

comment by drethelin · 2014-01-17T22:47:10.411Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Quirinus_Quirrell%27s_first_mountain_troll also you seem to have a very shitty understanding of canon.

comment by BarbaraB · 2014-01-17T23:01:02.154Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

OK, I admit, maybe I do not remember canon as well as I thought. I am sure, Dumbledore made some RPG game there for Harry and company, Hermione had a mathematical puzzle there etc. Was the troll plot separate from that RPG ?

comment by Velorien · 2014-01-18T00:14:52.911Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You didn't even read the wiki entry you were just linked to, did you? If you'd so much as glanced at it, you'd have seen that there was no "troll plot" beyond Quirrell using a troll as a distraction to allow him to try to get the Philosopher's Stone.

If you'd further gone on to use said wiki to refresh your memory, you'd have found that there was no RPG made by Dumbledore - there was a chess game, made by McGonagall, and later the Mirror of Erised, placed by Dumbledore. The puzzle Hermione solved, meanwhile, was logic rather than mathematics.

I very strongly suggest that you abstain from further discussion until you've used the wiki (or the books) to remind yourself what really happens in canon.

comment by cultureulterior · 2014-03-09T21:41:19.834Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Who is Sirius? Fudge!

  • It is well known that Sirius was replaced before he went to prison (the repeated "I'm not serious", the phoenix screaming particularly loudly at one particular door)
  • Fudge was present at the capture of Sirius, and made Sirius go to Azkaban without a trial- which means Fudge needs to keep the person in Sirius's body locked up for some reason.
  • Sirius can switch bodies somehow (Someone who looks like Sirius enough to fool everyone else is in prison)
  • Fudge is under the thumb of the Malfoys- why? He's using them for support, but there has to be a reason why they can dominate him completely- and being able to expose him as a death eater does that.
  • Harry predicts that Evil!Pettigrew would be with the Malfoys- or in the caribbean? Why not predict the caribbean first? Because Evil!Sirius is with the Malfoys.
  • Meta-dramatic point: Harry has never talked to Fudge. Every time he has a chance to talk to him, like during Harry Potter Day, he hasn't- even during the trial, Fudge never says anything.
comment by gwern · 2014-03-10T00:33:49.908Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So in this theory, Pettigrew is just innocent and dead, and Sirius was the one who betrayed the secret to Voldemort?

http://predictionbook.com/predictions/24307

comment by cultureulterior · 2014-03-10T21:04:22.744Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-12-31T20:18:40.963Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Harry thinks every death is a horrible tragedy. So, wouldn't he want to bring back everyone in the past as well? Make their deaths "not happen"? So he goes back in time to Atlantis, to arrange a self consistent history where no one has in fact died, but only seemed to die, much as he suggested Dumbledore do for Hermione's death.

One of the first lessons was ComedTea, and thinking about causality going backward in time. There's people like Harry and BDumbledore thinking about history as a story. There's the ridiculous levels of foreshadowing we see. History looks like a story because it is one, written by Harry. There was more powerful magic in the past because future Harry took those powers back in time with him.

There's even the foreshadowing of Harry going back in time to play a trick on himself.

"Ssalutations from Sslytherin to Sslytherin."

comment by Alejandro1 · 2013-12-15T23:25:43.337Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Discussion on HPMOR (along with other Potterverse topics) on the blog Crooked Timber.

I found it interesting because Crooked Timber is a (very good by the way) mainstream-liberal-academia blog, and I got a sense of "worlds colliding" by reading the opinions of their commenters on LW and its more niche subculture.

comment by Algernoq · 2014-05-23T03:40:42.925Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I have an alternative explanation for Harry's Dark Side: Harry's mother is narcissistic, impressed by education, and not particularly smart.

"by far the simplest explanation for this unverbalizable fear of yours is just the fear of losing your fantasy of greatness, of disappointing the people who believe in you" (ch. 77) is textbook thinking for a child of a narcissistic parent. The child feels perpetually ignored because the narcissistic parent needs validation from the child's accomplishments but refuses to actually listen to the child. Thus, the child is spurred to ever greater heights of intellectual achievement by the parent's need for more status and withholding of love.

"The black rage began to drain away, as it dawned on him that...his family wasn't in danger" (ch. 5) suggests that Harry's Dark Side is Harry desperately trying to stay close to his family.

Typically, children of narcissistic parents inherit either narcissistic or people-pleasing traits. Comparing Harry’s personality to these traits (google “Children of narcissistic parents”, 1st link) shows that Harry has textbook narcissist traits:

Grandiose sense of self-importance? Check. He wants to “optimize” the entire Universe

Obsessed with himself? Check. He appears to only care about people who are smarter or more powerful than him -- people who can help him. He also has contempt for most students and their interests (Quidditch, etc.)

Goals are selfish? Check. Harry claims to want to save everyone, but in practice he tries to increase his own power most quickly. The saving-Hermione thing is still selfish because Harry sees Hermione in the same way he sees his mother -- weak in many ways and bound by emotions and convention, but someone Harry must impress. “It’s disrespectful to her, to think someone could only like her in that way” (ch. 91) makes sense in that a child would be disgusted by Oedipal implications. If Harry’s mother was not narcissistic, then Harry would not have worked so hard to impress Hermione and would have been less disgusted by the thought of being sexually attracted to her.

Troubles with normal relationships? Check. Harry is playing high-stakes mind games with those he is closest to (Quirrell, Draco, Hermione, Dumbeldore), which is emphatically not normal friend behavior. Harry has contempt for nearly everyone else, and is currently hiding alone under an invisibility cloak.

Becomes furious if criticized? Check. When Snape mocked Harry in Potions class, Harry tried to destroy Snape’s career. Quirrell explained, “When it looked like you might lose, you unsheathed your claws, heedless of the danger. You escalated, and then you escalated again.” (Ch. 19)

Has fantasies of unbound success, power, intelligence, etc.? Check. Harry wants to conquer the entire Universe with the power of his intelligence.

Believes that he is special and should only be around other high-status people? Check. Harry avoids average students when possible, and certainly does not hang out with them for fun. A possible exception is Harry’s army, but minimal text is devoted to Harry instructing them, while much text explains how powerful (in battle) and high-status the students in the army have become. In Harry’s mind, the army is a tool to use and an opportunity to show off, not an opportunity to give back and help friends improve their skills for their own sake.

Requires extreme admiration for everything? Check. Harry takes anything less than admiration for his brilliance as an insult, and responds by striving for new levels of intellectual achievement and arrogance, until the others recognize his dominance. Quirrell’s lesson on how to lose described how to avoid making powerful enemies, not how to empathize and care for others -- the insatiable need for admiration is merely delayed and repressed, not corrected.

Feels entitled - has unreasonable expectations of special treatment? Check. Harry requires subservience from the school administration, and special magic items such as the time-turner. “McGonagall said, "but I do have a very special something else to give you. I see that I have greatly wronged you in my thoughts, Mr. Potter...this is an item which is ordinarily lent only to children who have already shown themselves to be highly responsible” (Ch. 14).

Takes advantage of others to further his own need? Check. "I only used you in ways that made you stronger. That's what it means to be used by a friend." (Ch. 97)

Does not recognize the feelings of others? Check. “Er, can I take it from this that you have been through puberty?" (Ch. 87)

Envious or believes they are envied? Check. Quirrell said to Harry, “You have everything now that I wanted then. All that I know of human nature says that I should hate you. And yet I do not. It is a very strange thing.” (Ch. 74)

Behaves arrogantly? Check. “Minerva's body swayed with the force of that blow, with the sheer raw lese majeste. Even Severus looked shocked.” (Ch. 19) I can’t think offhand of a single instance when Harry is not arrogant.

"The Drama of the Gifted Child" by Dr. Alice Miller (Google for the .pdf) spells out what a child raised by one narcissistic parent and one distant parent typically looks like. It looks a lot like H.J.P.E.V.

I can relate personally -- my mother drove me to extreme academic success so she could feel good about herself. I succeeded, then (99th percentile on standardized tests, attended a prestigous and excellent college that I will not name here) but it harmed my ability to relate to people, to distinguish my actual dreams from my mother’s grandiosity/insecurity, and to succeed academically once I had surpassed my mother’s ability to judge progress. When I first found HPMOR I was overjoyed that I was not alone in my arrogance and hope for immortality. It’s only recently that I realized why that is, and what that cost. “Every time I call on it... it uses up my childhood.” (Ch. 91). Suffice it to say that I studied obsessively for years.

I thought about spoiler-warning this to avoid memetic hazard, but apparently on this site “that which can be destroyed by the truth should be”.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-05-23T09:41:41.466Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

While this is an excellent explanation, I can't help but wonder if it's not metafictional. Remember, Harry is "almost but not quite" like 18-year-old Eliezer, and I would not be at all surprised if, well, certain stereotypes about pushing one's child relentlessly (usually labelled "Jewish mother" but actually trans-ethnic) held true for 18!Eliezer, and therefore for his model of Harry.

As a show of respect and allegiance, I can say that they definitely held true for my mother and thus for me, and it's only after spending a lot of time out of her house and away from her influence that I've even remotely mellowed down into a decent adult. Actually, my mother still manages to give me neurotic freak-outs whenever I visit home, due to the massive swings in her evaluations of my life choices that can take place inside five minutes. Like, yeah, I was the dickface kid who mentally compared himself with Paul Atreides.

By the way, the easiest way to deal with the arrogance is just to continually take note of how blatantly unadaptive and useless it actually is. If you're really trying to get what you want by blatantly using other people (and this is not nearly as evil in real life as in fiction: in real life, this is what a purely professional relationship actually is and everyone knows it), then quite often the most useful move is to acknowledge that status hierarchies are situation-dependent and treat them as just another component of the situation, subject to optimization like everything else, rather than as a component of your utility in that situation.

(Wow, that sounded a lot less sociopathic in my mind.)

comment by Algernoq · 2014-05-24T03:39:34.244Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that HPMOR is intended to describe reality: the entertaining story is the vehicle meant to entertain, and the theoretical content is the payload meant to be remembered. Long before I found HPMOR, I reacted to the death of a family member by planning how to defeat death with science, because nothing less would give me safety. I was baffled that most people preferred to cry for a bit and then forget about it, without making any effort to save themselves or even to fix the particular problem that caused the one death. I read somewhere that EY had a similar experience and reaction, that is mirrored in HJPEV's reaction to Hermione's death.

I've also mellowed out (e.g. learned, mostly, to seek my own approval instead of my mother's or that of managers, etc.) I'm glad to hear you can relate. There are many similar labels that might fit: "Jewish mother", "tiger mother", "helicopter parent", etc.

I suspect most people here have not had this experience, and many that have can't not idolize their parents, due to denial. Harry claims "Suppressed memory is a load of pseudoscience! People do not repress traumatic memories, they remember them all too well for the rest of their lives!" (Ch. 6), but this is inconsistent with "Her mind was slow to remember [the negative information] for a few seconds, which frightened her" (Ch. 84), and denial is a well-known defense mechanism against trauma. The American Psychological Association website says "shock and denial are typical" reactions to traumatic experiences, a well-known historical example is FDR's refusal to accept the incurability of his polio, and I can attest from personal experience that denial/repression sometimes happens.

I'm not sure what you mean by "acknowledge that status hierachies are situation-dependent". It sounds like you mean that it's usually best not to challenge higher-status or higher-arrogance people, because in most situations that's the best way to get what you want. This matches my experience at least in professional situations -- challenging people risks the failure of negotiations or looking incompetent, and is rarely rewarding because if you actually are right or higher-status you can get the same benefit by using your knowledge/skill in a less confrontational way.

I don't agree that purely professional relationships are optimal for work relationships -- I have learned more and gotten more done (both for myself and for my manager) when I feel that the manager truly cares about me and wants me to succeed, and when I truly care about the manager and the team's success.

I'm not bothered by well-meant but sociopathic-sounding thoughts -- if I was, I would not have finished HPMOR. The question of how self-awareness changes moral responsibility is problematic, because there appears to be no scientifically-testable moral authority as well as many opportunities to claim ignorance/feelings as a mask for thoughtful evil intent. That said, I want to do the right, moral, thing, in the hope that there truly is a right thing to do and that my search for meaning is not just my reaction to loss of my mother's imposition of good/evil judgments.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-05-26T06:41:07.044Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure what you mean by "acknowledge that status hierachies are situation-dependent".

There are different kinds of status. My adviser might have higher science-status than me, but I have higher otaku-status than him. The situation determines which sort of status is salient.

I don't agree that purely professional relationships are optimal for work relationships -- I have learned more and gotten more done (both for myself and for my manager) when I feel that the manager truly cares about me and wants me to succeed, and when I truly care about the manager and the team's success.

Oh no, I didn't mean they're optimal. But they're a very useful fallback when you realize that you're just never going to actually like someone but still need to maintain collegiality with them.

Long before I found HPMOR, I reacted to the death of a family member by planning how to defeat death with science, because nothing less would give me safety. I was baffled that most people preferred to cry for a bit and then forget about it, without making any effort to save themselves or even to fix the particular problem that caused the one death. I read somewhere that EY had a similar experience and reaction, that is mirrored in HJPEV's reaction to Hermione's death.

I will admit that I never thought of transhumanism on my own, but I've ended up endorsing it simply because I can't actually think of an involuntary or unwanted death where I actually thought that we shouldn't have saved the person even if we could have. Then again, I only ever lost a grandmother and grandfather who were extremely old, and seemingly quite ready to pass on.

Harry claims "Suppressed memory is a load of pseudoscience! People do not repress traumatic memories, they remember them all too well for the rest of their lives!" (Ch. 6), but this is inconsistent with "Her mind was slow to remember [the negative information] for a few seconds, which frightened her" (Ch. 84), and denial is a well-known defense mechanism against trauma. The American Psychological Association website says "shock and denial are typical" reactions to traumatic experiences

I think it depends if you merely sustain a trauma or actually develop PTSD.

That said, I want to do the right, moral, thing, in the hope that there truly is a right thing to do and that my search for meaning is not just my reaction to loss of my mother's imposition of good/evil judgments.

Well of course there's a right thing to do. I'm just not going to tell you what it is, because I want to know if other people's conclusions when they research the issue converge with my own. :-p

comment by ygert · 2013-12-15T11:29:51.570Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Unrelated to the latest chapters:

Inspired by RomeoStevens's comment in this thread, I am going over HPMOR, summarizing each chapter in a haiku. Tell me what you think:

Chapter 1:

Unexpected truth

Must still be updated on

Yes, magic is real

Chapter 2:

A show of magic

Tales of bitten teachers

The saga begins

Chapter 3:

Diagon alley

A peek into a new world

Stories of the past

Chapter 4:

Metal currency!

No real financial system

To speak of at all

comment by Unnamed · 2013-12-16T21:08:14.289Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Chapter 23:

A blood purist, Draco by name
Proved that all wizards' blood is the same
So the boy who tricked him
Became his next victim
Draco would never do science again

comment by Unnamed · 2013-12-22T03:38:23.283Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Jumping ahead to my favorite chapters, though the tone is nonstandard for the medium.

Patronus (chp 43)

His wrist motions were right on the mark
But his wand? Not even a spark.
What is wrong with this boy?
Is his heart short on joy?
Or is it just that it means that he's Dark.

Dementor (chp 43)

From its cloak it stroked his dark side
But he'd face it, with his wand and the sky
Then it struck a deep chord
Out came the Dark Lord
"Headmaster, you annoy me, so die."

Dementation (chp 44)

His mind hateful and empty of bliss,
Unmoored in that Dark abyss
Who can reach the boy now?
He won't respond to cacao
It can only end with a kiss.

comment by Kindly · 2013-12-15T15:39:07.497Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Poetry is a union of form and content. Putting something into the form of a haiku is essentially trivial, so most haiku writers focus on content instead; however, your content should also be familiar to everyone reading, so you can't win there. (Also, #2 and #4 have 6 and 5 syllables in their respective second lines.)

Limericks would be good, if you could pull those off. Obviously, it would be harder. That's sort of the point, though: to impress people with form, you have to do something that isn't easy to do. On the other hand, if you write 101+ limericks, you'll probably be good at limericks by the end.

(Half good; I'm told the other half of limerick writing is that they have to be dirty and/or funny, ideally both.)

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2013-12-16T10:02:35.170Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

your content should also be familiar to everyone reading

Not for those who've had the time to forget about the contents of the story. This could be a useful way for people to remind themselves of the rough structure of the story without re-reading everything.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-15T17:23:27.621Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know. I think there is a virtue in succinctness, an art that appears when things are put into a tightly limited form. It makes you look at what is essential, and so shows the essence.

Maybe I'll try limericks next. It's as good an idea as any, I suppose.

Different people pronounce things differently, so arguing over syllable numbers is going to be be frustrating, but can you tell me how you see 6 syllables in line 2 of #2? Do you pronounce "tales" as a single syllable?

You are certainly right about #4 though, so thanks for the pointer. I changed it. It lost a bit of punch, but whatever. If I am building elegance out of restrictions, I had better keep to them.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-16T14:53:42.054Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Some more:

Chapter 6:

A resolution:

Understanding this world

Is a task indeed

Chapter 7

Journey to Hogwarts

Platform nine point seven five

Meeting new friends

Bonus one:

Quidditch needs a clock

The snitch is ridiculous

Reformation now!

And another:

All-powerful tea:

Harry impregnates Draco

So says The Quibbler

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-19T15:03:25.035Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Nice.

Rewrite of Chapter 6:

A resolution:

Understanding this world:

What a task it is!

comment by ygert · 2013-12-19T17:02:27.867Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I like it. I think that's definitely an improvement on the last line.

Here are a few more:

Chapter 8:

Meet Hermione

Riddles and experiments

Start a new friendship

Chapter 9:

Waiting for sorting

Genetics are confusing

Never this before

Chapter 10:

The hat is conscious!

By asking, making sentience

Oops. A big mistake.

And another:

Ravenclaw sharpens

But Hufflepuff dulls his coldness

Where to put Harry?

And:

On this day fate splits

A great fork of destiny

Which path is right?

And:

One lone shouted word:

SLYTHERIN! ... Wait, what was that?!

Kidding! RAVENCLAW!

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-16T02:28:26.445Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Like Kindly, I pronounce 'tales’ with one syllable, but if it's two for you, then OK.

As for content, I'm fairly pleased with these, except for #4. Having the last two lines run together as a single sentence without a break seems inappropriate. Maybe rewrite it so that ‘Metal currency!’ is the last line?

comment by ygert · 2013-12-16T14:35:06.310Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I had to quickly rewrite #4 at the last minute after Kindly pointed out that my original version had an unambiguous 6 syllables in line 2. So it is no surprise that my hurried rewrite was less good.

Out of interest, how do you pronounce "tales"? I seem to pronounce it something on the order of "tay-uls". So how do you pronounce it as a single syllable?

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-16T15:06:49.572Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

When speaking naturally and counting syllables, I pronounce ‘tales’ and ‘tells’ largely the same; the vowel in the first is longer and slightly higher (/e:/ vs /ϵ/). But when emphasizing (‘not tells, TALES’), I would do more like your ‘tay-uls’.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-12-17T02:56:49.574Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Strength of will is demanded for the cursed fire not to turn upon you and consume you;

Narcissa?

comment by gwern · 2013-12-17T03:23:16.144Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Been suggested many times, yes.

comment by WalterL · 2013-12-12T19:36:01.803Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Oof, this was a punch to the gut of a chapter. I've gone from "Harry, Wake Up!" to a sort of baffled expectation.

What on earth is up with you, Harry? You are usually so clearsighted! Are you still grieving for Hermione? What possible ethical system justifies the decisions of this chapter?

A speech about the power of truth, then a cover up. Punishment for Filch and Hagrid, but mercy for the centaur and Quirrel.

Feh, this is just what the entry describes as refusing to process something I've already processed. There's an easy description for what's going on here, for treasuring some grievances and renouncing others. Harry is doing exactly what Snape told him Lilly did. He is being shallow, and I hope he's able to change.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-12-13T14:42:51.395Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

A speech about the power of truth, then a cover up. Punishment for Filch and Hagrid, but mercy for the centaur and Quirrel.

Consequentialism in action? Hogwarts would be better off with Filch and Hagrid removed, but no future purpose is served by exposing Quirrell or killing the Centaur.

comment by kilobug · 2013-12-13T17:29:27.397Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think Hogwarts would be better without Hagrid - Hagrid as teacher is dangerous and terrific, but Hagrid as gamekeeper is quite good in his job. He just needs a bit more of supervision to ensure he doesn't keep a dragon or an acromantula as a pet.

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-13T21:02:54.162Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

He just needs a bit more of supervision to ensure he doesn't keep a dragon or an acromantula as a pet.

Then again, supervision of teachers is something that would never ordinarily happen in Hogwarts.

comment by Mestroyer · 2013-12-12T23:16:37.165Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

power of truth, then a cover up

Harry recognizes the power of truth, and doesn't want give that power out indiscriminately. That makes perfect sense.

Punishment for Filch and Hagrid, but mercy for the centaur and Quirrel.

Harry doesn't care about sentient-but-not-sapient things (or thinks that animals including unicorns are mostly not even sentient), so under his ethical system, Quirrel hasn't done anything wrong (which he knows about). Harry didn't have the power to "punish" the centaur through anything short of death. He knows the centaur is only after him, and not children in general, and that it probably won't get another chance to kill him. Filch and Hagrid have not only done things that are bad, but they are dangers to students.

comment by WalterL · 2013-12-13T08:58:27.827Z · score: 7 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I disagree. Harry watches Quirrel stun the professor and 3 Aurors, let them tumble off their brooms and false memory charm them, but Quirrel hasn't done anything wrong? That's, what, 8 felony equivalents at least? (Assault x4, and presuming False Memory Charm would be at least equivalent to assault, probably more like rape).

Filch's crime, for which Harry wants him to serve jail time, is that he sent Draco & co to the Forbidden Forest, potentially exposing them to assault. Quirrel actually assaulted them.

To grossly simplify, there's a consistent set of ethics that says that Filch and Quirrel both need to be punished. (action -> consequences) There's another, which says both ought to be forgiven. (no harm, no foul) Forgiving those who are cool and punishing those who are lame is unethical, particularly given the disparity between their offenses.

On another tack, how on earth can Harry know anything about the Centaur? It attacked a child after rambling on for a while. Jumping to the conclusion that its fixated on him and won't just attack some other child is really arbitrary. I mean, plenty of serial bad guys fixated on their victims, it doesn't make them safe for other folks. Today 'the stars' told Centaur to kill Harry. Tomorrow they tell him to kill Ron, or Hagrid, or set himself on fire. I wonder what they told him to do yesterday?

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-12-13T19:06:59.869Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Filch's crime, for which Harry wants him to serve jail time, is that he sent Draco & co to the Forbidden Forest, potentially exposing them to assault.

Filch testified that he intentionally wanted to expose them to assault and a chance of dying. Quirrel didn't do anything that gave Draco a chance of dying.

Quirrel on the other hand drinks the unicorn blood to safe it's own life. As far as Harry thinks Qurirrel also only stunned the centaur and wanted to safe Harry's life.

For Harry morality being alive and saving lifes is very important. Short term pain and being stunned doesn't factor much into Harry's utility calculations.

comment by maia · 2013-12-13T16:53:56.618Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Jumping to the conclusion that its fixated on him and won't just attack some other child is really arbitrary.

Maybe this is just my narrative epistemic advantage talking, but: the centaur mentioned stuff relevant to the prophecy, knew specifically who Harry was, and probably was trying to kill him for a very specific reason.

Even if Harry doesn't realize what the centaur is talking about, it seems to me that of the people who try to attack and kill Harry Potter, probably most of them are actually trying to kill him specifically and are not just random psychopaths.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-12-13T14:38:45.177Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The net result of Quirrell's actions were to prevent some people from knowing that he was feeding on unicorns. Consequentially, that's keeping Quirrell's secret, which McGonagall (and Dumbledore?) seems to want in the first place to keep him as Defense Professor.

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-12T23:34:27.468Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry recognizes the power of truth, and doesn't want give that power out indiscriminately.

If we interpret the power of truth as being "the power to know whether things are true", or "the power conferred by believing true things rather than false things", then giving that power out indiscriminately, to every sentient being in the world, is the exact thing that Harry wants to do.

comment by Mestroyer · 2013-12-12T23:53:09.115Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That is the interpretation I'm thinking of, and no he doesn't. When he describes science to Draco, he says that not keeping secrets is one of their mistakes. Spreading the power to everyone has bad consequences he wants to avoid (things like knowledge that could enable a small faction of people to destroy the world). In this case, it would have consequences he thinks are bad, which are people interfering with Quirrell's plans to stay alive.

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-13T00:00:33.994Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Surely that is "the power granted by possessing specific items of true information"? This is a very different thing from what I said. I think that to Harry the power of truth relates to rationality rather than knowledge.

comment by Mestroyer · 2013-12-13T00:08:17.552Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, I thought that's what you meant by "the power conferred by believing true things rather than false things", which is what Harry is withholding in the cover-up.

Why do you think he wants rationality for everyone?

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-13T15:29:41.550Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

He attempts to instruct people in it at every reasonable opportunity (at least in the earlier parts of the story), and strongly indicates that his ideal world is one where everyone is "sane". In addition, we know that the fic's explicit purpose is to promote rationality to those who might otherwise not encounter the concept (specifically HP fans and fanfic readers in general), and that Harry is the author's primary mouthpiece to this end (though this is not to say that his own use of the methods of rationality is always successful).

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-12-13T16:57:40.059Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry doesn't believe in death or Azkaban as valid punishments. Harry would oppose killing Filch or Hagrid.

If Harry would reveal what Quirrell did the punishment might be Azkaban.

comment by WalterL · 2013-12-13T21:09:20.925Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Imagine that I'm a pal who explained the modern analogous position to you. I tell you that I think our prisons are inhumane, and the death penalty is problematic. I know a guy who beat up 3 cops, a teacher and some kids and drugged them so they forgot what happened when they interrupted him slaughtering some horses, but I don't report him, and in fact helped him cover up his crimes because of my belief. We still buds?

Setting that aside I'm not clear at all on why Harry would still have a problem with the Azkaban/death penalty. Earlier, sure, it made sense, but now that he's declared himself the Vanquisher of Death he just seems confused.

Suffering is certainly bad, but Harry's cool with False Memory charms, and those can negate suffering. The time lost becomes the issue, and Harry intends that folks shall live forever.

I mean, he's going to conquer death, right? Not only that, he's going to resurrect Hermione, who is dead and whose body is gone presumably by now decayed. So he's confident that he will be able to resurrect someone based on, effectively, name and description. Surely he doesn't think his abilities as a researcher are terribly singular, never to be duplicated.

I mean, if he might in theory do it then its ultimately doable, then someday it'll be done, and all will rise.

So.what matter then, when precisely any given individual dies, so long as it does not alter this future? Worst case scenario. Quirrel goes to Azkaban for a few months before his disease overcomes him, and dies a howling deranged lunatic. Later on he's resurrected, false memory charms fix his trauma and bob's your uncle.

comment by Dentin · 2013-12-13T23:14:48.720Z · score: 21 (21 votes) · LW · GW

Let's try an analogy that's a bit closer to the mark:

"I know a guy who needs to eat freshly killed bald eagle meat every now and again to stay alive, and while doing so he was discovered by some forest rangers and kids out hiking on public land. He quickly used a gas grenade to knock them out without harming them, then gave them a drug that caused them to lose their short term memory of the event. He then dialed 911 on one of their cell phones and watched from a distance to make sure they didn't get eaten before help arrived."

Note that there are several things here which don't have good conversions into Real Life due to magic. In cases like that, you can't just pick the 'closest equivalent' and expect it to make sense. Sometimes, you'll have to drag something magical into the real world as well.

Analogies are hard, at least if you're trying to be accurate. Doing a double analogy to see if you can get back the original helps. For example, let's take your analogy, and try to convert it back into the original scenario:

"I know a guy who was killing some horses in the forest when he was discovered by a group of aurors, a school teacher, and some kids. This guy beat up everyone using curses that take weeks to heal and must heal painfully and naturally, then he stunned them and memory charmed them to get away with it"

This is a good way to tell where your analogy breaks down. In particular:

1) [minor] horses in the muggle world are typically owned by someone, with the very rare exception being free range horses on public land. Be default, the reader of your analogy will assume that the horses are unspecial and owned by someone. This is very different from killing something unowned but special, like a bald eagle.

2) [major] "killing a unicorn because my life depends on it" is turned into "killing some horses with no justification."

3) [critical] beating up a person to the point that they can't function is a much, much bigger deal in the real world than using stunning magic, where the stuns are reversible and extremely temporary, and healing magic makes major wounds no more threatening than a hangnail.

4) [minor] Quirrel did not leave until he knew that the aurors, teacher, and students would be safe (because of the presence of Harry's future copy), but this is lost in your analogy.

5) [minor] Dumbledore himself uses memory charms to wipe Harry's patronus 2.0 from the minds of three aurors, so memory charms are clearly less 'against the rules' in wizarding society than mind altering drugs are in muggle society.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-12-13T21:49:57.647Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Imagine that I'm a pal who explained the modern analogous position to you. I tell you that I think our prisons are inhumane, and the death penalty is problematic. I know a guy who beat up 3 cops, a teacher and some kids and drugged them so they forgot what happened when they interrupted him slaughtering some horses, but I don't report him, and in fact helped him cover up his crimes because of my belief. We still buds?

You confuse agreement about moral principles with the judgement that a moral system is consistent. There are a lot of possible ethical systems that I don't like. That doesn't mean they aren't consistent ethical systems.

Let's say I know a homosexual from a country where it's illegal with the death penalty. He was in a situation where 3 cops witnessed him engage in an homosexual act. He managed to make them temporarily unconscious and drug them up to forget that they found him.

Would I let that person get away with that? Probably yes. How I treat someone who opposes a cop depends a lot on whether I believe in the law of the land of that cop.

Suffering is certainly bad, but Harry's cool with False Memory charms, and those can negate suffering.

I don't think there's evidence to the claim that false memory charms can negate all suffering.

Not only that, he's going to resurrect Hermione, who is dead and whose body is gone presumably by now decayed.

I don't think it decayes in the transformed form.

comment by gjm · 2013-12-14T00:14:58.267Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I mean, he's going to conquer death, right? [...] So what matter then, when precisely any individual dies [...] ?

I think it's worth distinguishing between "Harry intends to conquer death by any means possible" and "Harry knows that he will succeed in conquering death". If the first is true and the second false, he still has ample reason to try to stop people dying prematurely.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-12-18T02:13:25.459Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hermione, who is dead and whose body is gone

I tend to disagree. In fact, if you really meant to write "decayed", I think you're transparently wrong, because Quirrellmort wouldn't let it decay - he'd stick the body in box A (so to speak).

That seems like the main alternative to the obvious fulfillment of the ancient prophecy. I do worry about it, since why wouldn't Q have done this? (If he's figured out reflective decision theory, I'm officially confused about the direction of this story.) But if Harry transfigured the body quickly enough, he might have left Q without a good opportunity.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-12-14T01:17:01.552Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You're allowed to have a utility function over things you can't perceive. I'm allowed to say that I value a life where I got tortured and mind-wiped less than I value a life where neither happens.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-12-12T05:50:54.179Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

So, I am mildly amused that Eliezer appears to have killed off Alicorn.

Also, that the second unicorn appears to be Twilight Sparkle.

(And thirdly, the not-very-hidden Twilight reference.)

Didn't get the proof-theoretic joke until I looked it up, unfortunately, but it was rather amusing once I did.

And finally: I think Quirrell just got himself added to the "to be resurrected" list...

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-12-12T09:35:47.425Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Oh - and I notice that Draco is thinking in Bayesian terms. Good for him - and good for Harry, too!

comment by wobster109 · 2014-04-03T16:20:59.127Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm a bit bothered by Dumbledore's behavior in 101. He's supposed to be at least reasonably wise and reasonably cunning, with a dead brother and a room full of gravestones. He knows all about prioritizing people's lives. He's just had the first student fatality in 50 years, and now he almost had a second. So how could he possibly have taken Filch's side?

comment by CillianSvendsen · 2014-07-20T06:59:44.471Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

From the Azkaban chapters:

From what Amelia heard, Dumbledore had gotten smarter toward the end of the war, mostly due to Mad-Eye's nonstop nagging; but had relapsed into his foolish mercies the instant Voldemort's body was found.

Dumbledore's lesson from his room isn't that you needed to shut up and multiply, it's that war is so terrible that you must be willing to sacrifice anything so prevent it from occurring again. He prioritized people's lives to stop a war, but he's not willing to sacrifice anyone except to prevent more violence. Dumbledore never wanted to sacrifice his sacred values for the greater good, he was forced to by the war. From "Taboo Tradeoffs":

He had to choose between losing his war and his brother. Albus Dumbledore knows, he learned in the worst possible way, that there are limits to the value of one life; and it almost broke his sanity to admit it.

In "Pretending to Be Wise", Dumbledore says that the reason he doesn't subscribe to purely utilitarian ethics is because he doesn't trust himself:

"Grindelwald was my dark mirror, the man I could so easily have been, had I given in to the temptation to believe that I >was a good person, and therefore always in the right. For the greater good, that was his slogan; and he truly believed >it himself, even as he tore at all Europe like a wounded animal."

So he sticks to his virtue ethics, unless he is forced to, since he doesn't trust his morality enough to do non-virtuous things in service of it, lest he become another Grindelwald. It is only when forced to that he abandons his principles, and only to prevent further violence. Choosing to sacrifice someone is against his nature, his room might remind him of the costs of that course of action, but it doesn't change who he is, only make him regret his failure in the War.

Add to that the fact that Filch is someone Dumbledore feels much sympathy toward, and the fact that he wasn't facing Lucius or anyone on the other side, him taking Filch's side is understandable, if not expected.

comment by solipsist · 2014-02-05T00:52:17.386Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry can obliviate people well enough to make them "lose every single life memory involving the color blue". This is a Big Deal. It allows for things like:


O-


October

After walking Herminone to Broomstick class, Harry wandered alone about the upper hallways of Hogwartz pondering Neville's rememberal. He must have forgotten about something important, but w-

Ow!

A Green Elephant appeared out of nowhere and struck Harry's head. It was a stuffed animal, the type you might buy for a small child, if the child's favorite color were Eerily Glowing Green. Harry removed an index card pinned to the elephant's side.

Forget something? Jog your memory at the north-northwest stacks of the main Hogwarts library, letter M.

Yours,

You

p.s. Don't think about the green elephant! (smirk)

Harry rubbed his temple. It was at times like these that Harry wished he had less affinity for cryptic clues and assaulting people with glowing megafauna.

Less than 5 minutes of search at the library Harry and found the next hint: a fluorescent green post-it labeled "Elephant" on the book Mind Magic: A Modern Approach.

Harry kicked himself. Well, that solved the mystery of the glowing rememberal. He had forgotten a task he had assigned himself his first day at Hogwarts:

Todo 1̶2: 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.

Harry opened the book at a green elephant-shaped bookmark and read.

The unpracticed wizard can manage only coarser obliviatons, such as removing every single life memory involving fish or the colour blue.

...Or every life memory involving Green Elephants, Harry thought. So that's what he was up to with the elephant. Harry had ensured that every memory he made while learning obliviation would be tagged with a obvious marker. If Harry ever needed to plead ignorance of mind magic in the future, he could obliviate all his life green-elephant memories (be prepared!). Alright, new plan. He would study obliviation in secret, always thinking about a green elephant when doing so.

A grinning Harry wandered out of the library and into the Weasley twins.

"Harry! We got you a present." said Fred or George.

"You'll never guess what it is."

Harry put a finger on his cheek "Is it...A glowing green elephant?"


April 16th, 1992.

2:34 PM

Harry slowed the broomstick to a halt in midair of a hallway, his wand already coming into his hand, the driving will to protect Hermione Granger rising to the front of his mind like a sun of silver fire and flowing down his arm as he cried

"EXPECTO PATRONUM!"

and the blazing white humanoid burst into existence like a nova, the Weasley twins' voices crying aloud in shock.

"Tell Hermione Granger - that there's a troll loose in Hogwarts - it could be hunting for her - she needs to get into direct sunlight, now!"

The silver figure turned as though it was departing, and then -

A floating green elephant appeared

Harry's Patronus raced out of the room. It took forty agonizing seconds before the silvery figure returned, opened it's mouth and said .

An invisible voice shouted "EXPECTO PATRONUM!".

A second true Patronus appeared next to the floating green elephant.

The invisible voice instructed "Send the following message to me: 'Hermione Granger says,'" the invisible voice rose in pitch in a poor imitation of Hermione, "AHHHHHHHHH!"

The floating green elephant disappeared.

"Merlin's underpants," breathed Fred or George.


Battle with the troll:

One hand held a tremendous stone club as long and as wide as an adult human, and the other hand held a green elephant and

...

The troll snorted and spun around to face them, dropping a green elephant and

into the red pool that had spread out beneath its feet, raising its club high.

Aftermath:

Harry told Dumbldore about the , though he knew later he would be unable to process the memory later.

...

But Harry didn't see anything helpful he could do using spells in his lexicon, Dumbledore wasn't being very cooperative, and in any case this was several minutes after the critical location within Time and Harry's green elephant weilding, time-traveling double would be more chronologically equipped.

Dumbledore walked to Harry's side, George moved to keel next to his brother, and Fred lay supine.

Why had future Harry shown him the Green Elephant?

"Harry," the Headmaster whispered, laying his hand on Harry's shoulder. "Harry, you must go from this place"


Harry sat outside the infirmary storeroom clutching his time-turner. He could go back; he could save her. But not yet.

Think of a green elephant

He knew too much. He could't go back now -- the information carried in his mind would strech time too far.

Think of a green elephant

There was only one way left. Harry turned his wand on himself, his fingers forming the motion he had practiced all year.

Think of a green elephant

In a flash, his mind would race his memories of a Green Elephant and wipe them out forever.

Harry drew his breath.

-bliviate

comment by Velorien · 2014-02-05T11:20:06.448Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I had the exact opposite interpretation of that line. I thought it meant that Harry still had so little control that if he was trying to get rid of a memory which involved the colour blue (presumably referring to the unicorn and its blood, which was "not white, but pale blue, or appearing so"), he would instead end up removing all such memories without meaning to.

That's rather like saying "he couldn't perform surgery unless he wanted somebody to lose every single organ in their abdomen". Not something you want to use as a tool - at most, it's a very blunt weapon where Harry has access to far better ones for most situations.

comment by solipsist · 2014-02-05T16:16:25.926Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The color blue might be a throw away line, except this story has obliviation puzzles. The author needs to give the reader constraints on obvliviation to enable the reader solve the puzzles, which is why I think the line is a Chekhov's gun.

In case it is not clear, the grandparent post quotes oblivation puzzles found in the text from chapters 88-90, e.g. this one from chapter 90:

“Dumbledore wasn't being very cooperative, and in any case this was several minutes after the critical location within Time

"Harry," the Headmaster whispered, laying his hand on Harry's shoulder. He had vanished from where he was standing over the Weasley twins and come into existence beside Harry; George Weasley had discontinously teleported from where he was sitting to be kneeling next to his brother's side, and Fred was now lying straight with his eyes open and wincing as he breathed. "Harry, you must go from this place.”

Note the missing period after "Time". The story I laid out above explains how those obliviations could have been caused by Harry himself on April 16th. I admit that mechanism isn't terribly likely (I suspect either the Big Bad or Harry in a later chapter). Nevertheless, it demonstrates the sorts of stunts Harry may pull later given the color constraint.

EDIT: The forgotten todo item is from Chapter 12.

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.

EDIT 2: I totally misread your post :-). Here's the line in question:

Harry had been studying Memory Charms, these last couple of weeks - though he couldn't have helped cast the spells, unless he was willing to exhaust himself almost completely, and for some reason they wanted an Auror to lose every single life memory involving the color blue.

Harry has learned to obliviate, therefore he will obliviate someone. I can see the blunt instrument interpretation, but the subtle knife interpretation would be allowed by more plot lines so I think it is more likely.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2014-01-06T07:56:24.575Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell:

This truly dangerous wizard shall perhaps be bent on some project of which he anticipates great renown, and the certain prospect of losing that renown and living out his life in obscurity will seem to him more vivid, more aversive, than the unknown prospect of destroying his country.

The Sorting Hat:

“You know—you aren’t letting yourself think it, but in some quiet corner of your mind you know just exactly what you aren’t thinking—you know that by far the simplest explanation for this unverbalizable fear of yours is just the fear of losing your fantasy of greatness, of disappointing the people who believe in you, of turning out to be pretty much ordinary, of flashing and fading like so many other child prodigies...”

comment by knb · 2013-12-12T20:26:24.872Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I assume the centaur tried to kill Harry because he prophesied that "the skies will soon be empty" because of Harry. Based on what we know about Harry, the skies could be "emptied" because of Dyson spheres or star-lifting.

Although, if you look at it that way, it would still take thousands of years before the skies appeared "empty," since we're getting light from thousands of years ago. I'm not sure if a centaur would use "soon" in this sense, so perhaps Eliezer has something different in mind.

comment by RomeoStevens · 2013-12-13T00:53:29.129Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

time turners exist
harry wants to become god
people have died in the past

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-13T05:05:58.944Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

You should edit that so that the last line has only five syllables.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-13T09:49:49.814Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

time turners exist

Harry wants to become god

not all still live, yet

Perhaps?

Or:

time turners exist

Harry wants to become god

There are some still dead

comment by VAuroch · 2013-12-14T01:03:29.089Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

time turners exist

harry wants to become god

some already died

comment by Alsadius · 2013-12-13T22:32:42.220Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"people have died before" "people have died in past"

comment by ygert · 2013-12-14T15:33:54.301Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In the past. You lose elegance points if you have to drop words in order to fit what you want to say in the requisate number of syllables.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-12-14T18:05:52.855Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"in past" is a perfectly valid form. How I talk, really.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-15T06:10:50.803Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've heard "in future" before (my mind tags it as British), so "in past" makes sense. But you still have 6 syllables (unless "people have" is only 2, as "peep-lav"?). I came up with "Folks have died before." myself.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-12-16T06:44:24.831Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm bad at syllables. Any time I try haikuing, I almost invariably think one word quickly, ignore the excess syllables I'm not pronouncing, and mess it up.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-15T11:40:07.786Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Inspired by this, I wrote some more of these, summarizing the first five chapters of HPMOR.

comment by knb · 2013-12-14T04:24:06.238Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What is your point?

comment by RomeoStevens · 2013-12-14T22:01:49.175Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If Harry unlocks magical godhood the transformation might be instantaneous from this timeline's persective.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-12-12T19:29:08.616Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Just to check: Chapter 100 is the scene foreshadowed in the opening quote, right?

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

(Unicorn blood)

(black robes, falling)

(The aurors and McGonagall falling from their brooms)

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

...this doesn't quite fit, unless I'm picturing the scene wrong.

Edit: Uncertainty. Based on replies, I'm now leaning against this being the foreshadowed scene.

comment by MathiasZaman · 2013-12-13T00:03:47.048Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think it does for meta-reasons. The opening quote is build up too much to not be perfectly fitting and clear. It's also more narratively pleasing to have it return in the final chapter.

comment by 75th · 2013-12-12T22:11:01.996Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think any of it fits. "Tiny fragment" and "fraction of a line" don't sound like blood spatters, or anything liquid. The sound of black robes falling doesn't sound like bodies hitting the ground, and if this were the fulfillment of the Chapter 1 epigraph, I would expect there to be at least a mention of their robes.

This whole scene doesn't seem significant enough to be such a heavily anticipated revelation. I'm going with "No" on this one.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-12-12T10:54:52.697Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I've already forgotten why, but I wound up wondering how Quirrell confronting Grendelwald might go in HPMoR. I can't think of a reason it would happen, but it'd doubtless be entertaining, if canon is anything to go by.

(In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Voldemort goes to Normengard to interrogate Grendelwald over that device Dumbledore mentioned. Grendelwald believes from the moment he detects Voldemort's approach that he's probably going to die, and still deceives and verbally belittles Voldy, until he laughs at the Avada Kedavra aimed at him. Not being a complete idiot, Voldemort saw through Grendelwald's lies, but it was still fun to read. Our current Defense Professor would, if he wanted that same information, be likely to come up with it without visiting the previous dark lord, and Grendelwald's attitude would likely lose its effect on him, but "Have you come to kill me lollollol" ... eh, a smart interrogator would probably resort to torture instead. Which I guess means Grendelwald is a perfect Occlumens, for all the good that does.)

comment by JTHM · 2013-12-12T14:22:10.929Z · score: 12 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Grindelwald accepted the inevitability of his death, and did not fear it—hence the laughter. Remember, Rowling is a deathist, and considers this to be a mark of Grindelwald's maturity (he is a foil to Voldemort).

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-12-12T15:03:00.362Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

True. I tend to think a combination of losing while invincible and being stuck in prison for 50 years might have had something to do with his feelings on the situation, though. He also recognized Voldemort, implying either they'd made contact before, or Grindelwald had access to information from the outside world. I could see his personal deathism making much better sense in context (I wonder if Normingard has anti-suicide measures? No one seems to concern themselves with death at Azkaban, but Normingard doesn't have Dementors.).

I suppose it comes down to a question of "How does one coerce someone who just doesn't care?"

comment by beoShaffer · 2013-12-12T06:20:18.713Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It seems like a stretch but is there any chance

Imps as can't be seen or heard or remembered, even while they're eatin' yer face.

is a shout out to

But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face.

from the Dresden files?

Also could the spell Quirell used to destroy Hogwarts walls in earlier chapters be used to dungeon bypass the third floor corridor by going through the back of the room with the mirror of desire Erised>

comment by chris_elliott · 2013-12-12T07:05:21.059Z · score: 20 (20 votes) · LW · GW

Imps as can't be seen or heard or remembered, even while they're eatin' yer face.

It's probably a reference to Worm (which has a character called Imp whose superpower is to selectively stop other people from noticing or remembering her).

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-12-13T15:16:22.684Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd say their mention also raises the question of how trolls were able to secure the top third spot for most dangerous predator over them. Or even dementors, for that matter. A threat you don't know to run away from until it's too late is worse than one that you can't defeat, but can easily escape.

Possibly a single imp will eat its fill from a human being without ever doing fatal harm. But a few Imperiused imps would be an absurdly deadly weapon.

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-13T15:38:57.437Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It may be that there are simple charms that can be used to defend against the imps in advance (say, a basic proximity alert charm that covers all moving creatures in high-visibility sparkles a la Glitterdust).

In regard to the Imperius, it's possible that an imp's natural "cloaking" prevents potential masters from being able to remember them long enough to make practical use of them. It's also possible that they don't speak human languages. Has it ever been established how Imperius commands are conveyed to targets?

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-12-13T15:45:37.291Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In regard to the Imperius, it's possible that an imp's natural "cloaking" prevents potential masters from being able to remember them long enough to make practical use of them. It's also possible that they don't speak human languages. Has it ever been established how Imperius commands are conveyed to targets?

Maybe even a captive imp is too well concealed to Imperius, although if they're that well cloaked it raises the question of how people even know they exist.

In the original canon, Crouch Jr. as Moody was able to Imperius a spider, which implies that it does not require that the recipient have human language capacity, or even be intelligent.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-19T09:55:13.763Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Also, in canon, in book 7 the protagonists themselves use the Imperius themselves (as part of the break-in to Gringotts.) There we get the best look at the actual mechanics of the Imperius, including that we see Imperius commands being issued telepathically as it were, from the caster's thoughts.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-12-14T23:56:57.801Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

When I heard their mention in the story, my first thought was "But then how does anyone know of them?"

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-15T00:34:40.160Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Divination, corpses of imps killed by natural causes/accident, magical creatures immune to their effects (or unusual charms that grant immunity)... The great thing about magic is that it's not just broken, but broken in every direction.

comment by ikrase · 2013-12-12T06:28:45.114Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Potentially, although it would presumably raise huge alarms and might be impossible to stealth with. Meanwhile, I imagine that the traps are not readily bypassable.

comment by Random · 2014-04-08T15:08:47.687Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My theory about HPMOR and what is going on.

"Voldemort's final avenue is to seduce a victim and drain the life from them over a long period; in which case Voldemort would be weak compared to his former power."

But raw power is nothing compared to intellect and Harry Potter seems like the best possible candidate for resurrecting this way.

  • Quirrell and Harry both have a dark side, and dark sides are parts of Volondemort soul. They are horcruxes basically.

  • Quirrell's dark side took control over good old Quirinus Quirrell. He is in the same condition Harry was when he was under dementation.

  • Quirrell is trying to push Harry to his dark side. He tried dementation, he tried to take all Harry's money and friends away, he killed Hermione. And he gave Harry his diary to "seduce a victim and drain the life from them over a long period".

What we will see next? Quirrell doesn't have much time so he will act now.

I think Quirrell will kill Dumbledore and provoke Harry to fight against Death itself. They need a Dumbledore wand + resurrection stone + Harry's cloak + magic resonance + some Quirrell's and Harry's wisdom. And I don't think that we will see happy ending. There will be a disaster.

If plan fails then Voldy has a golden plate on Voyager as a backup horcrux.

p.s. Apologize for my English :)

comment by Strangeattractor · 2014-02-11T02:10:12.975Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think Harry might have been the one to secure Hermione's body. He managed to convince McGonagall to remove the restrictions on his time turner. He probably used the time turner right after he was allowed to be by himself in the room with Hermione's body. That would have given himself more time to think and act. He was also checking his wristwatch a lot, especially when he had to leave the room, and when he had interruptions.

In the scene where he convinces Dumbledore and the others that he doesn't have Hermione's body, we don't get very far inside Harry's head. It shows what he says and does, but not his thoughts. Also, he doesn't spend a lot of time speculating about where Hermione's body went, in later chapters.

I'm not sure where he would have put it though. Could he get out of Hogwarts to take her body elsewhere? Or is there a suitable place in the Hogwarts grounds where he could stash it? Would he have to keep visiting the body to renew the spell on her body to keep it cold, or could he figure out a muggle way to cool it, or a different magic way that didn't need to be renewed?

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-01-11T12:01:54.051Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry if these questions are stupid, but with the long pauses betwen the chapters I find it difficult to remember what exactly happened.

1) What exactly is the puzzle we are trying to solve?

If I remember correctly, Eliezer wanted us to solve something before the story is finished. Which pretty much means now or never. I just don't know what exactly is the question. (Yeah, knowing the question is half of knowing the answer.) Who is Voldemort? Seems obvious that it's Quirrell. What should Harry do? What exactly is happening? What are the motivations of the main characters in the story? Who killed Narcissa Malfoy? Do we have a list of unanswered questions? How likely it is that answering them will provide a new view of the story, and will uncover some new possible strategy for Harry?

2) Does Dumbledore know or suspect that Quirrell = Voldemort?

I am not sure. At some moment it seems to me that yes: Dumbledore expects that Quirrell will cause some problems (e.g. when bringing a dementor). At some moments it seems to me that no: Dumbledore explains Harry that Voldemort should be killed without mercy at the first opportunity... and yet does nothing against Quirrell. I am specifically condused about the part (after Draco was attacked) when Dumbledore took the map and asked about "Tom Riddle". What did he know at that moment?

Also, I am disappointed that Dumbledore plays an idiot so successfully, that Harry actually treats him like an idiot. Thus two people who have best chance at defeating Voldermort, have trouble communicating.

Quirrell may have some blind sports about humans, but he is good at disrupting communication channels.

comment by mjr · 2014-01-17T08:27:01.184Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I got the impression it'd be a more acute and visible thing within the final arc. (Edit: As with Three worlds collide.)

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-01-17T11:10:45.774Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Some of the recent chapters were about an importance of not wasting time, and I'm not sure if that was or wasn't a hidden message.

I mean, in the story universe, Harry will not be suddenly given a huge dialog window saying: -- "Harry, now you have to make an important choice, and the fate of the world depends on it. Will you: a) trust Quirrell, b) say everything to Dumbledore and ask him for information and help, c) ask Minerva to join your heroic team and help you research meta-spells, d) do a dangerous ritual involving time turners, advanced Patronus, invisibility cloak, and partial transfiguration?"

Instead, the possible solutions will be gradually taken away from him without a warning. He will probably not even get a feedback when the last one is gone.

But of course I am mixing in-universe and out-universe here. It is still possible that the dialog window will be displayed to us, readers, at a proper moment.

comment by EndlessStrategy · 2013-12-14T00:48:35.423Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

For what reason does Harry think Quirrell is applying false memory charms to everyone? What's wrong with what they saw?

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-12-14T01:05:25.429Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

The last bit, from Draco's perspective, is the False Memory. If they had remembered what really happened they would've seen blindingly fast spellcasting, which implies ridiculously powerful wizard and would be dealt with very differently.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-12-13T21:32:37.335Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The silver from the begging of HPMOR seems unicorn blood. Eliezer said:

V’yy fgngr bhgevtug gung ng gur raq bs gur fgbel Urezvbar pbzrf onpx nf na nyvpbea cevaprff.

Tvira havpbea oybbq vf nobhg ceriragvat qrngu, jr unir gur vaterqvragf sbe n zntvp evghny.

Tvira gur cebcurpvrf gung evghny vf cebonoyl tbvat gb unir n punapr bs qrfgeblvat gur jbeyq. V guvax vg cebonoyl qbrf.

comment by HungryHippo · 2013-12-16T19:27:03.677Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Two unrelated ideas:

Drain Hermionie's blood and fill her up again with unicorn blood. (Would that even work?)

Kill a dementor and use it to make a horcrux. (Does killing a dementor spilt your soul?)

comment by UnclGhost · 2013-12-15T03:33:53.211Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Silver seems to be a running theme for anti-death things (add the Silvery Slytherins and the Peverell crest to that list). Unicorn blood is a likely candidate, though. (Also, that bit you mentioned is probably worth rot13ing since it came from a source that he suggested not reading.)

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-12-15T17:05:17.509Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I hadn't seen that he suggested against reading it. I edited to rot13.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-12-13T22:38:42.199Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Where/when did he say this?

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-12-14T01:06:04.182Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

OOC as a joke in one of the author's notes.

Though, mind, he could be telling the truth.

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-14T16:17:00.427Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Given that:

1) Quirrell believes that bringing back Hermione would be the surest way to prevent Harry from destroying the world. ("Miss Granger was the only one whose worries he truly heeded - with her gone - all checks on the boy's recklessness are removed"; "You truly do care about that girl (...) I do not understand it, but I know the lengths you will go to because of it. You will challenge death itself, for her. Nothing will sway you from that.")

2) Preventing the prophecy from coming true appears to be at least one of Quirrell's top priorities as of the Roles arc (which, for some as-yet unestablished reason, the beginning of the unicorn deaths falls into).

3) Quirrell has been killing unicorns and storing away their flesh.

4) Eliezer has said, as above, "I’ll state outright that at the end of the story Hermione comes back as an alicorn princess".

Semi-serious hypothesis: Quirrell is intending to bring Hermione back using unicorn blood.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2014-01-04T03:28:20.559Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell has been killing unicorns and storing away their flesh.

http://hpmor.com/chapter/100

Then a final gesture from Professor Quirrell ripped a huge chunk out of the unicorn's side, leaving behind ragged edges; the raw meat hovered in the air, then wavered in Vanishment and was gone.

Though unreliable narration is always possible.

comment by somervta · 2013-12-14T08:01:46.483Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It was in the feminism rant.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-12-14T13:32:05.007Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Link?

comment by Tenoke · 2013-12-14T18:16:09.019Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

here

It's the third link when you google "I’ll state outright that at the end of the story Hermione comes back as an alicorn princess."

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2013-12-13T19:31:24.798Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm just curious how Hagrid felt about his own role in Hermione's death. I'd wondered if I'd see evidence that he thought about it.

Perhaps his personal hero Dumbledore persuaded him it's none of his fault and that he'd acted reasonably.

comment by drethelin · 2013-12-13T19:44:45.871Z · score: 5 (9 votes) · LW · GW

What role? Standing in the way of an overly brave 11 year old who wants to go out and fight a troll is probably the morally correct action to take. If any other kid than Harry had done what he did, they would've died along with Hermione. (Well actually they probably never would've guessed to use a patronus to find her and thus been fine). It's not actually reasonable for humans to recognize another human as the player character and themselves as NPCs, much as eliezer would like the world to work that way.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-12-17T02:18:59.422Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Harry was not looking to fight a troll, he was looking to save Hermione from the troll.

Harry Potter spoke again. “We’re not going to fight the troll. ...
“Great, now can we also keep Hermione Granger safe? You know, the student framed for a murder she did not commit who needs someone to help her?”

Further, if Hagrid had authorized a 7th year to help, they could have followed Harry's plan of searching for Hermione and bringing her back with the most powerful wizard then available to aid and protect the search.

Hagrid could have had authorized 2 seventh years ride the broom, giving ample power to ward off a troll and protecting the supposedly helpless Harry at the same time.

Hagrid clearly prevented effective aid from riding to Hermione's rescue, and he was the first "responsible adult" to know that she was missing. He is more responsible for the outcome than anyone but the Troll and the attacker using the troll.

comment by Mestroyer · 2013-12-12T11:37:34.901Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Is the unicorn who was "not white, but pale blue, or appearing so beneath the moon and sky," with a mane that was "green-black but with a sheen like pearls," and a cutie mark which is "a small white shape like a starburst, a center surrounded by eight straight rays" Alicorn's ponysona?

comment by thakil · 2013-12-12T08:50:04.834Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Harry's blindness to Quirrel being pretty obviously bad news at this point is definitely something I'd like to see explained. I know that as the reader I get to see things more clearly than Harry does, but when you start thinking painfully murdering magical creatures to preserve your life for a short amount of time is fine if the person doing it is someone you like, something is going wrong there! I am fully expecting at this point to understand that Harry's thinking on Quirrel is being deliberately suppressed. After all, Harry's meant to be fundamentally curious about magic... why has he not investigated what could cause the anti-magic effect?

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-12-12T09:12:47.550Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, no, he outright approves - he doesn't think unicorns are sapient, which means that their suffering is automatically worth less than a wizard's life.

Also, there's no anti-magic effect, Quirrell is just blindingly fast at casting and then False Memory Charmed Draco.

comment by thakil · 2013-12-12T11:05:59.669Z · score: -2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, apologies I mean the fact that their magics interact in weird ways. He's known about it for a long time, but hasn't really gone out of his way to research it. Unless I'm forgetting, I don't think he's even looked it up in the library.

Re: the unicorn, yeah I'm aware of his thoughts, but that is an extremely uncritical approach. Even if we accept that a unicorn is less than a wizards life, he is basically saying its fine to kill something to gain at most a year (as far as we can tell? Its implied that unicorn blood is not an indefinite cure?). There should be some attempt at moral calculus there at least.

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2013-12-12T18:22:59.995Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Well, really now, Harry eats meat. In other words he will accept the death of a nonsentient creature for purposes, not even of keeping himself alive for a few additional hours - he could eat veggies - but just because they taste good. To preserve life? Pff. The argument about sentience is one he ought to have, but conditional on unicorns being nonsentient, they are just not valuable compared to additional months of life.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-12-12T14:02:14.158Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

His best friend just died and it looks like his mentor is next. Good recipe for motivated reasoning.

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-12-19T01:52:59.247Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There aren't any clues that unicorns are sentient, so there's no reason why Harry should find QM killing a unicorn more thought provoking than eating pork.

comment by keen · 2014-05-30T23:32:11.525Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Who says he's blind? He won't so much as drink from his own containers in Quirrell's presence because Quirrell might teleport something nasty inside. And even if he decided that Quirrell was totally irredeemable, Harry should still be upset about losing the enjoyable aspects of Quirrell's personality.

comment by BlindIdiotPoster · 2013-12-19T01:50:48.940Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Painfully murdering nonsentients to preserve one's own life is considered fine in almost all human cultures. In fact, painfully killing animals for fun is considered acceptable by most people, so long as the killing is done in a non-sadistic manner.

comment by Velorien · 2013-12-19T09:49:43.158Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In fact, painfully killing animals for fun is considered acceptable by most people, so long as the killing is done in a non-sadistic manner.

Unless you have hard data to back that up, I will accept "many people" but not "most". In the US, for example, less than 5% of people hunt.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-12-19T13:44:48.487Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In the US, for example, less than 5% of people hunt.

But how many of the population disapprove of hunting?

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-19T14:50:51.278Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

(Make that sport hunting, to fit the original better.)

I actually suspect less than half in the U.S., but more than half over the whole world. (But I really don't know.)

comment by danielc · 2014-02-24T01:18:05.842Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hey guys, I have a couple of mutually exclusive theories:

  • If I understand correctly, the author thinks that a body can be "repaired" after death. So he believes that Hermione can be resurrected by nanobots or engineered microorganisms, or some advanced muggle device like that. And we know that he can't just transfigure some water into nanobots and make them do their job, and them just let them turn into water, or take them out. In the case he couldn't sustain the bots until they finish, then he can make a molecular 3d printer, purify some silicon using partial transfiguration and make the bots in the 3d printer.

It's a no brainer really, we know he has her body and is up to something. She will one way or another return back to life. Another implied thing is that humans have souls, and once a soul it's gone it cannot be brought back. BUT that's not what we see actually. What if the real deal was the neurons, and that surge of magic coming out of her so to speak was actually the veil at the Departement of Misteries obtaining an imperfect copy of someone's consciousness? What if that veil is just a failed try by the atlantians, Merlin, or whoeevr at, say, the magical version mind uploading? Like when people simulate neuronal networks on their computers and think "just if I had a map of the synapses in a brain I could simulate it". Right, you may get something resembling consciousness. But it wouldn't capture the subtleties of the millions of chemical reactions ocurring in a particular neuron. Like people resurrected with the stone, or proffessor Binns. People who cannot learn new things, who really don not function as normal human beings.

Harry said something like "magic in hpmor works intent-based". BUT what if that's limited by whoever programmed "intent" in magic? Say, the atlantians. It can do just as well as they could at their time. Maybe they roughly understood how the brain works, but didn't understand enough of the neuron's internal mechanism. Maybe whoever programmed "reparo" built in certain things in it, like a complete enough feature set for everyday's work, but left things out that were algorithmically too complex, like fixing cloth. Maybe the creator of the resurrection stone/veil set (the vail stores the data, the stone let's you get it back) didn't know how neurons exactly worked, and couln't simulate them properly with magic or make the neurons alive again. I think the atlanians had science, and maybe that's exactly why they perished, and that's the reason they could program so many spells, they knew the algorithms.

What if the universe is just a lisp-like interpreter, and runs the earth as software? Someone discovered how to execute an eval from within, and everything is data, so they just self-modified the code to include different functions which are activated when someone with a particular genetic code says some random words with the "intents" of the wizard as parameters. But their sciece wasn't that advanced actually. The muggle world could have discovered magic a while ago if it wasn't for that genetic lock which someone along the way put to monopolize magic. And that's where Harry comes in. He has the algorithms (or can write them with his scientific knowledge), and he can mess with the source code. And that's what Quirrel is trying to stop (I don't know why though). He doesn't want Harry to know about spell creating, and Mcgonagal doesn't realize why he advises her not to let Harry have access to that, she thinks it's just because they are being "responsible adults" and children just are not meant to have access to that.

  • Mayby souls actually do exist, and when you use the resurrection stone you are actually bringing back the spirit, but as it doesn't have a body anymore it cannot function in this realm of reality. So he will get her spirit back, fix her body in the usual scientific ways (see above) and join the two with the elder's wand.

  • He brings her back somehow (duh) but I still don't know how.

  • He is going to surprise us all and take a dramatic deathist approach. Actually Dumbledore is right, Hermione now just belongs to another realm and is gone forever from this world. Harry's attempts end up in failure, or he actually somehow brings her back but she is in zombie-mode and wants to go back to heaven, just as Rowling wold have liked (very unlikely given the author of the fic).

EDIT: Thanks, I thought line braks would be kept, but it seems like I need an extra new line every paragraph.

comment by Velorien · 2014-02-24T14:46:38.711Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Please break your first theory up into paragraphs. It's rather hard to read as is.

comment by BarbaraB · 2014-01-17T20:47:11.211Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Why everybody believes that centaur wanted to kill Harry ? It rather seems like centaur was disarming him. And it is even possible, he was under imperius curse (from Quirrel) while disarming Harry. He seemed to be surprised about what he was doing (looked up with widened eyes) and he apologised. I believe Quirrel just wanted to interrupt the conversation between Harry and Centaur.

comment by Velorien · 2014-01-18T00:26:23.015Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"You are innocent, as the stars say. And to slay something innocent to save oneself, that is a terrible deed. One would live only a cursed life, a half-life, from that day. For any centaur would surely be cast out, if he slew a foal."

The spear made a lightning motion, too fast for Harry's eyes to follow, and smashed his wand out of his hand.

Another powerful blow smashed into Harry's solar plexus, and he went gasping and retching to the forest floor.

Harry's hand reached up toward his robes, for his Time-Turner, and the spear-butt knocked his hand away, almost hard enough to break fingers, he reached with his other hand and that was knocked away too -

"I am sorry, Harry Potter," the centaur said, and then looked up with widened eyes. The spear spun about and came up, intercepting a red spellbolt.

The centaur talks about Harry's apocalyptic destiny. Then he talks about the implications of a centaur killing a child. Then he attacks Harry. Then, once Harry is fully disarmed and vulnerable, he apologises. Then he's surprised by Quirrell's assault.

You appear to be offering two alternative interpretations.

a) The centaur talks about Harry's apocalyptic destiny. Then he talks about the implications of a centaur killing a child. Then he attacks Harry. Then, once Harry is fully disarmed and vulnerable, he apologises. But he's just disarming Harry for its own sake, with no intention of killing him, because... he felt like it?

b) In the middle of the conversation, Quirrell Imperiuses the centaur to attack Harry, and to apologise in the middle of doing so, before coming to the "rescue" himself. The fact that the centaur was talking about centaurs killing innocent children right before this is a complete coincidence.

comment by BarbaraB · 2014-01-20T10:50:54.503Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Why did the centaur disarm Harry at all ? To remove a wand (I imagine thin stick) from somebodys hand, that requires very good aiming. Why not simple kill Harry with the first spear, if killing was really the intention ?

comment by Strangeattractor · 2014-01-08T16:52:24.319Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I have some thoughts about the HPMOR story going forward, various clues I've noticed, and speculation.

Avada Kedavra

I am intrigued by the possibility that Avada Kedavra might be used for prolonging life.

What if, when Lily Potter started to cast it, she was not casting it on Voldemort, but on Harry? Avada Kedavra involves a complete preference for death over life in the mind of the caster. What if she had a complete preference for life over death in regard to Harry, and so was attempting to protect him with the spell? What if it partially worked, and that's why Harry lived?

I think it is plausible, considering it appears the Potters were doing research into immortality.

Dementor-defeating thoughts

I also wonder if the way Harry thinks about things in order to defeat dementors will be challenged at all. His present dementor-defeating point of view fits in very well with how whoever made all of the spells and summoned dementors might think (though taking the opposite stance). It still seems like the Aristotelian logic of how the broomsticks move to me, not something more correct like Newton's laws of motion. If you look at it more closely, what would it actually mean to defeat death? While a person is alive, the cells in that person's body die and are replaced all the time. The only examples that I am aware of, of cells that don't die on time, are in cancer tumors. Death is a part of biological systems in a way that isn't acknowledged by Harry's dementor-defeating thoughts, or at least that is my impression of it. It seems odd to me, given that in so many other areas of the story, details about how the world works are important (like in partial transfiguration.)

Not that I want to see Harry lose the power to defeat dementors, or give up the quest to help humans have long healthy lives, or give up the quest to save Hermione if he can, unlikely as bringing someone back from the dead (or cryogenic storage?) seems. But it would be nice if he was a little more correct while defeating dementors. And if that more correct understanding gave him better powers (like it has done in other areas of the story.)

Prophecy

My thoughts when I saw the bit of the prophecy "HE IS HERE. THE ONE WHO WILL TEAR APART THE VERY STARS IN HEAVEN. HE IS HERE. HE IS THE END OF THE WORLD." were along the lines of "Cool! Harry's going to figure out how to make fusion practical." Not something like "Harry's going to blow up our sun."

I hope the prophecy involves something awesome like Harry figuring out how to make fusion power sources practical, and doesn't involve lots of destruction and death.

Although, re-reading it, I suppose I've glossed over the end of the world part of it. Hmm.

A few other clues

I think Quirrell knows how to make a dementor, but might not realize it. In Chapter 74: "Even so, the most terrible ritual known to me demands only a rope which has hanged a man and a sword which has slain a woman; and that for a ritual which promised to summon Death itself - though what is truly meant by that I do not know and do not care to discover, since it was also said that the counterspell to dismiss Death had been lost."

Also, at one point Dumbledore mentioned that one of Voldemort's methods of seeking immortality required doing something "in coldest blood". Perhaps that is more literal than Dumbledore realizes, and that's why Draco had a blood-cooling charm cast on him. Though, I'm not sure what evidence there was of the blood-cooling charm besides Hermione's presumably fake memories and Quirrell's testimony, so perhaps something else happened at that time.

comment by Velorien · 2014-01-08T17:51:42.304Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Avada Kedavra involves a complete preference for death over life in the mind of the caster. What if she had a complete preference for life over death in regard to Harry, and so was attempting to protect him with the spell?

You may need to elaborate on this one - as it stands, it simply does not compute. There's no evidence that casting a spell with the exact opposite of the necessary mindset makes it have the exact opposite effect to normal. It's like saying "if you cast Lumos, but you really want everything to be dark, it'll put out lights instead of generating them". There's also a problem with suggesting that a partially cast spell can have partial effect. There are a lot of partially cast spells both in canon and in HPMOR, and they never have any effect.

If you look at it more closely, what would it actually mean to defeat death? While a person is alive, the cells in that person's body die and are replaced all the time.

Harry wants to defeat person death, not cell death or any other kind of death (which by a broad enough definition would also include things like nuclear decay). Person death is a very specific phenomenon where damage, disease or degeneration reduce a functional biological system to an inert mass of organic matter. Harry wants to prevent this from happening; or at least to prevent a person's "self" (in the sense of their data as stored in the brain) from being permanently lost in the process.

Also, at one point Dumbledore mentioned that one of Voldemort's methods of seeking immortality required doing something "in coldest blood". Perhaps that is more literal than Dumbledore realizes, and that's why Draco had a blood-cooling charm cast on him.

This would suggest that the attempted murder of Draco was performed in order for Voldemort to gain immortaility. More than one problem with that, from Voldemort already being immortal, to all the evidence suggesting that Draco was targeted in order to influence Harry rather than for any other reason. The full quote, BTW:

There is a human sacrifice, a murder, of that I am certain; committed in coldest blood, the victim dying in horror. And old, old tales of wizards possessed, doing mad deeds, claiming the names of Dark Lords thought defeated; and there is usually a device, of that Dark Lord, which they wield...

comment by [deleted] · 2014-12-11T20:05:00.517Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Quick! Disarm Dumbledore! He claims that Grindelwald has been defeated, has convinced some people through expressing doubt in his own sanity and/or goodness that the very idea of him being Dark is laughable, and ... actually wields a wand he took as a trophey:)))

comment by Strangeattractor · 2014-02-11T01:30:06.805Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Avada Kedavra and Lily

Avada Kedavra is repeatedly pointed out to be an unusual spell.

The caster's state of mind doesn't seem to matter when casting Lumos or other ordinary spells. But for Avada Kedavra, the person casting the spell has to feel a certain emotion and achieve a certain state of mind. As Harry puts it in chapter 86 the spell is "A magically embodied preference for death over life."

In the conversation with Moody and Dumbledore, it is also mentioned that the first time to cast Avada Kedavra is a big psychological hump for most people to get over, though it usually becomes easier on subsequent occasions.

What if the way Avada Kedavra really works is that it amplifies the preferences of the caster for life or death, but only if it is extreme? What if having an absolute preference for life over death is also a psychological hump that you have to get over?

I think it is plausible that Avada Kedavra doesn't work exactly like the wizards think it does. Moody says it works by striking at a person's soul. If souls don't exist, then maybe it works a different way.

I think it is plausible that over many years many people could use Avada Kedavra without discovering its additional properties.

In some ways, Avada Kedavra would be a very safe spell to experiment with, if the caster didn't really want the other person dead. However, it would take an immense amount of trust to allow another person to cast it at you, without dodging. How well do you know the caster, and can you really believe that they don't want you dead? Or, from the caster's point of view, would you really want to risk using something called the Killing Curse on someone you care about and love?

In Harry's memory of Godric's Hollow, his mother Lily first gets the Dark Lord to agree to save Harry in exchange for her death. Only then does she start to cast Avada Kedavra.

It's true that she was interrupted by the Dark Lord also casting Avada Kedavra. And I don't think we've seen very many examples of wizards collaborating on spells, so maybe that part of this theory doesn't work so well.

There have been hints that not everything at Godric's Hollow was as it seemed. Lily had been experimenting on life extension. What if under these extreme circumstances, her baby about to die if she did nothing, she decided to risk an experiment? What if she managed to outwit the Dark Lord?

That would be pretty awesome. It would be an expression of a mother's love in actions, not just in feelings.

Harry's memory of the event has Lily shrieking "Avada Ke-" in desperate hate, but he was under the influence of a dementor when he was remembering the scene. He might not have all the nuances of the scene, or all of the emotional flavour of it. And the scene doesn't show where Lily's wand was pointing, just has the sound of her voice.

Death, cell death and dementors

Does Harry really just want to prevent person death? His actions would be consistent with that, but the way he thinks of things and what he says isn't completely consistent with that.

Harry says things like "I won't let Death touch me, I won't let Death touch the ones I love," in Chapter 45 when facing down a dementor, and "I thought of my absolute rejection of death as the natural order," in Chapter 46, shortly after destroying a dementor.

To me, saying something like "I will not let them be touched by Death" makes about as much sense as saying "I will not let them be touched by molecules."

I would ask, how are you going to go on living for the next month without touching death?

Even if a human being decides to live by strict dietary rules like the Jains do (eating only fruit that has fallen to the ground, etc.), how will they avoid the cell deaths inside their body? The death and replenishment of cells is part of biology, part of living.

I would also ask, what does Harry mean when he says death is not part of the natural order? Aside from the idea that the death of large scale sentient sapient organisms is not desireable, that is. (Or is that the only thing Harry means?) From empirical observation, it would appear that death is part of all living organisms found in nature, at the level of cell death at least. I'm willing to entertain the idea of alternatives, but I'm not aware of any viable ones. I'm kind of bothered that Harry doesn't seem to see the need to propose any, or to make any distinctions between different types of death, if indeed he thinks cell death is different than person death. When he talks about death it is usually death with a capital D, and somewhat anthropomorphized, or a somewhat awkward abstraction. It doesn't seem to have much relationship to biology as we know it.

I think it might be the vestiges of the idea of having souls, or of the ghost-in-the-machine model of consciousness.

If you think of a person as being sort of a collection of emergent properties, and if you think that their body is part of who they are, then ignoring the deaths that happen at the smaller scales of the body doesn't really fit.

I'm used to overlooking this sort of thing most of the time, but one of ways HPMOR appeals to me is that on many topics it strives to be more correct and accurate about how things work and how to think about things. On the issue of death, at least with regard to dementors, it falls short of this for me. I would not be comforted by the thoughts Harry uses to resist dementors.

Voldemort and rituals

I think it is quite possible that Voldemort is doing rituals to attempt to survive. For example, assuming Quirrell is Voldemort, he managed to get a sample of Harry's blood when he grabbed the newspaper from him and Harry got a paper cut in chapter 26. In Chapter 61, Dumbledore says of Voldemort's possible plans for resurrection: "His second avenue is nearly as strong: The flesh of his servant, willingly given; the blood of his foe, forcibly taken; and the bone of his ancestor, unknowingly bequeathed." So, Quirrell has Bellatrix Black, and it seems likely she would willingly give him flesh. He has Harry's blood. He probably has some way to get bone from an ancestor. I don't think it would necessarily have to be from his father or immediate ancestors, though Dumbledore says that's the most powerful combination.

I'm not sure what Voldemort's motivations are beyond avoiding death. His present mode of survival might not be something he can maintain indefinitely. And if he thinks the universe is at risk, he would want to save that, to save his own skin.

He seems to be doing something with Harry, but I'm not sure what. When asked about it while in Azkaban, he said in Parseltongue "Plan iss for you to rule country, obviossly, even your young noble friend hass undersstood that by now," but that might be an outright lie, or just what he thinks Harry would find easy to believe.

In Chapter 89, from inside Quirrell's head, we can see that he feels Harry's emotions, but cannot directly manipulate them, and he thinks "With any luck, the boy had just discarded his foolish little reluctances." So it seems like Quirrell wants Harry to have fewer hesitations or ethical restrictions, but I'm not sure why.

It is possible that the main reason for the attack on Draco was to influence Harry, but I don't think it is obvious that this was the case, or that it is necessarily the only reason.

Also, Dumbledore might not be correct about the details whether there has to be a murder in coldest blood. He is simply repeating stories and legends from books he managed to track down about how to seek immortality. He might have interpreted it differently than Voldemort did.

comment by Velorien · 2014-02-11T15:21:34.428Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I understand your theory about Avada Kedavra and Lily now. It has a few problems.

  • There's no reason to believe that Avada Kedavra is that unusual. It is one of two advanced spells whose workings are explained in detail, and the other is the Patronus Charm, which also requires a special state of mind. From this, it is entirely plausible that emotion-based spells are common among advanced casters, and not a great rarity that a) has special unique features and b) no-one's ever thought to study.

  • Your theory relies on all of our sources of information being incomplete or wrong (the entire wizarding world for all of its history, as well as Harry's memory), which surely merits some kind of penalty.

  • "Lily had been experimenting on life extension." Where do we know this from?

  • "In Harry's memory of Godric's Hollow, his mother Lily first gets the Dark Lord to agree to save Harry in exchange for her death." I'm not sure how this ties in to your theory, but either way, I suggest you review her actual words.

“Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry!”

“Not Harry! Please... have mercy... have mercy...”

“Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead!”

Unless Lily is an amazing actress, these are not the words of a woman trying to manipulate someone into completing a ritual.

In looking up quotes, I did find a line that strongly supports your theory, however. It's when Fred and George are planning rumours to spread about the Defense Professor:

“...like when he claimed that you could only cast the Killing Curse using love, which made it pretty much useless.”

And this is Eliezer we're talking about, and it also does so happen that if your theory is correct, Voldemort would have observed the results of Lily's experiment and taken note of its success.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2014-01-06T09:28:08.478Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell

“Ordinary folk do not do as much, for those they call friends.” The voice sounded more distant now, abstracted. “Not even for those they say they love. Their companions die, and they do not go in search of power to resurrect them.”

Self pity because people someone didn't come to look for a way to resurrect him?

comment by Velorien · 2014-01-06T12:11:57.022Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Are we to believe that Voldemort had friends? If so, this is the first piece of evidence for such a claim.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2014-01-08T23:45:59.788Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Self pity because there was no one who might have been inclined to do so, even if they thought of it?

comment by Velorien · 2014-01-08T23:49:29.666Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's not impossible, but I have to say the Quirrell we see seems to view friendship as something of an alien phenomenon. To him, after all, "friend" is just a role people attempt to play for their own personal benefit, or from a sense of social obligation. It is doubtful that he has some concept of "real" friendship which he wishes he had.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2014-01-09T04:48:49.699Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Alien, but he's coming to understand it through Harry.

He often specifically asks about friendship, about how Harry feels towards others, and particularly Hermione (as Harry's clear #1 friend). And when he asks, he contrasts his own feelings and experience to Harry's.

The Defense Professor ate several spoonfuls of soup in silence, then; and when he spoke again, his voice was oddly flat. “You really care about that girl.”

" I suppose that is why she was able to bring you out of your Dementation?"

“I did not have any friends like that when I was young.” Still the same emotionless voice. “What would have become of you, I wonder, if you had been alone?”

“Then here is what I might have done at your age, if there had been anyone to do it for—”

And

“It is a very strange thing,” the Defense Professor said, his voice now soft again, almost inaudible. The man was not looking at Harry, and Harry saw only his back. “A very strange thing... There was a time when I would have sacrificed a finger from my wand hand, to work upon the bullies of Hogwarts as we have worked upon them this day. To make them fear me as they now fear you, to have the deference of all the students and the adoration of many, I would have given my finger for that. You have everything now that I wanted then. All that I know of human nature says that I should hate you. And yet I do not. It is a very strange thing.”

Compare to, where Quirrell's voice is "filled with some indecipherable emotion."

“You truly do care about that girl,” the man’s dim outline said softly. “You care about her in the way that none of them are capable of caring for their own lives, let alone each other.” The Defense Professor’s voice had become strange, filled with some indecipherable emotion. “I do not understand it, but I know the lengths you will go to because of it. You will challenge death itself, for her. Nothing will sway you from that.”

IMO, it's unlikely that EY makes Quirrell an unqualified monster. EY, like Harry, wants to save everyone. Even a psychopath has some feelings - is not a completely alien Clippy.

I hadn't considered it before, but perhaps that is what happened to Quirrell - like Harry, extremely susceptible to Dementors, but unlike Harry, with no friends who might have pulled him out of his dementation.

“What would have become of you, I wonder, if you had been alone?”

comment by Velorien · 2014-01-09T20:10:06.326Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Very interesting. I don't think Quirrell is intended to be an unqualified monster either, but the evidence you draw together is well-juxtaposed.

comment by UnclGhost · 2013-12-15T03:26:30.631Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Huh, add unicorn blood and the Silvery Slytherins to the list of silver anti-death things.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2013-12-13T06:32:05.493Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Rot13 for being partly based on a author's note Eliezer has recommended people not read:

Abg fher ubj gb gnxr guvf hcqngr vagb nppbhag jura svthevat cebonovyvgl Urezvbar ernyyl qbrf pbzr onpx nf na "nyvpbea cevaprff." Ba gur bar unaq, ersrerapr gb "nyvpbea" frrzf gb or frggvat gung hc. Ba gur bgure unaq, V'z univat n uneqre gvzr cnefvat "havpbea ubea cevaprff" guna "jvatrq havpbea cevaprff." Ba gur guveq unaq, guvf.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-12-13T08:32:44.152Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Be, lbh xabj, guvf. Abg fher vs gebyyvat.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2013-12-14T11:53:24.167Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That's a hypothetical question, not an assertion. I'm beginning to build up a model of Eliezer as someone who is quite good at implying false things for the sake of trolling, but is very particular about not actually saying false things without very clear THIS IS A JOKE markers.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-12-18T02:49:24.409Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Seems pretty jokey on its face, so that doesn't help much. Also, vs Uneel unf gur obql cerfreirq va fbzr sbez, ur gurbergvpnyyl unf n jnl gb oevat ure onpx gung frrzf gurzngvpnyyl nccebcevngr naq svgf gur Crireryy cebcurpl. Fbzrbar nyernql abgrq gung Ercneb zvtug jbex ba uhznaf vs hfrq jvgu Uneel'f erqhpgvbavfg senzr bs zvaq. Abj, gur fcryy beqvanevyl pna'g svk Yhcva'f eborf, fb gung nybar jba'g jbex. Ohg pnaba tvirf hf ernfba gb guvax gung gur Ryqre Jnaq pna vapernfr gur fcryy'f cbjre, naq gung Uneel jvyy fbzrubj trg uvf unaqf ba vg. V ubcr gur Erfheerpgvba Fgbar cynlf vgf ebyr ol yrggvat fvz-Urezvbar rkcynva gur jnaq cneg gb Uneel.

comment by Swimmy · 2013-12-13T19:03:02.031Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ha, clearly Gjvyvtug Fcnexyr vf Oryyngevk va qvfthvfr naq gur jubyr guvat jnf fbzr ovmneeb frghc gb znxr Uneel guvax Dhveeryy vf qlvat.

comment by shminux · 2013-12-12T16:11:54.651Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Nice double (well, one and a half) cameo for alicorn, under different names.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-12T14:55:33.923Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · LW · GW

an overlarge metal blade whose edge did not gleam beneath the moonlight; a gleaming edge, Harry had once read, was the sign of a dull blade

Of course, the real reason that it's not gleaming is that Eliezer once read that!

comment by atorm · 2013-12-13T14:32:28.538Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I would like to know where he read it.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-12-13T19:14:25.275Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I have also read it, I don't remember where. It's not a particularly outré piece of knowledge, just a piece of knife-sharpening lore. The reason a properly sharpened blade does not show a visible edge is that the edge is thinner than the wavelength of light.

I do not know if this is true, which puts me in much the same position as Harry. It's just something I've read but never put to practical test.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-12-14T01:19:36.257Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

As an owner of a penknife that I occasionally sharpen: It is definitely true that a dull blade gleams, but I am not sure if it is true that a sharp blade does not.

comment by jimmy · 2013-12-18T04:55:27.958Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sharp edges don't reflect any light visible to the naked eye, but it'll show up on an illuminated microscope.

The edge width is on par with the wavelength of light at ~300-500 nanometers at best

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-15T05:57:20.452Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry, or Eliezer? :-P

comment by ygert · 2013-12-12T17:23:00.438Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

And when it says that Harry read something in The Feynman Lectures on Physics, that is because Eliezer read it there and thought that it was the kind of thing Harry would have read. Of course Eliezer and Harry read similar things, Eliezer built Harry based in part on himself. It is hard for any author to do otherwise. If Eliezer had not read that, there is no way he could have had Harry read it.

Perhaps that is the curse of authorship: All you characters must be a subset of you. You cannot, however hard you try, write a character that is more than you. The author always has to at least be able to imagine each thing his character does.

comment by roystgnr · 2013-12-12T19:35:53.414Z · score: 20 (22 votes) · LW · GW

Your characters can be mentally superior you in at least three ways: they can think much faster than you can, they can independently think of things for which you needed outside help, and they can come to correct conclusions based on less evidence and/or less obvious evidence than you would have required.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-12-13T02:03:25.853Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

While these mechanisms can potentially make a character seem smarter than the author, the last one can also backfire; you can slip up and make the character leap to the right answer on the basis of less evidence than could plausibly isolate that answer.

This is one of the main issues which prevented me from buying into to the conflict in Death Note.

comment by ygert · 2013-12-13T10:05:43.339Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. In the heat of the moment when the character needs to make a split second decision, the author can sit back and and think long and hard about the answer.

When the hero has a choice and no opportunity to research it, the author can still do that research, or make up how the answer goes in his world.

What I was driving at is something subtler: I cannot count the times I have heard someone praise HPMoR for, among other things, teaching them something new to them. People loudly talk about how the got into rationality and Less Wrong from it, and how they got from HPMoR ideas that change their lives. This is good, and a sign that HPMoR is a darn good piece of fiction.

But: Eliezer did not gain any of those things. Eliezer cannot read HPMoR and be enlightened, for every piece of enlightenment contained within came from his mind. No, Eliezer is not perfect either, and I am sure he makes many mental mistakes that he has the smarter HPMoR character avoid. This is a point. He can write smarter characters than him. But, everything he has the characters do is something he knows, and it must be that way.

Eliezer may only know some of the things he has the characters do on the type 2 level, but know them he must.

comment by kilobug · 2013-12-13T12:44:49.925Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer did not gain any of those things. Eliezer cannot read HPMoR and be enlightened, for every piece of enlightenment contained within came from his mind.

I get where you're going, and I mostly agree, but technically it's not 100% exact. Eliezer, like every human, forget things all the time, and reading HPMoR can makes him rediscover things, or can make him see things under a new light. It can also teaches him things about himself, about how his vision of things evolved with time.

Re-reading things (be it "serious" stuff like LW posts/comments, fiction work or even to a point source code) I wrote a while ago regularly enough does "enlighten" me, making me remember things I forgot, making me "propagate" some updating I did since but didn't fully propagate, and improving my internal model of myself.

comment by alex_zag_al · 2013-12-20T17:32:34.290Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But, everything he has the characters do is something he knows, and it must be that way.

No, no... that's true in a limited way, I mean the characters don't know about any real-world experiments that he doesn't, for example.

However, they can have novel insights. This is a good reason to write fiction, in fact. I write dialogues between characters in comics that I read when I'm stuck on math or programming problems. When I do this, it's still me that's thinking of it, of course. But it comes to me in a character's voice.

So that might happen with HPMOR, too. There might be things in HPMOR that Eliezer only figured out when he heard, internally, one of his characters say them.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-12-13T19:13:27.855Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer may only know some of the things he has the characters do on the type 2 level, but know them he must.

That assumes that the words specify exactly what the characters do in the interpretation of the reader. That isn't the case.

Meaning get's created by the reader based on his own mental background.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2013-12-12T19:31:19.757Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

You can go and choose to read things that the character would that you under other circumstances would not. The set of things I've read pretty much solely so as to be able to write in character is small but nonempty.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2013-12-12T17:46:52.383Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure what point you're making.

We can also say that the real reason it's not gleaming is because it doesn't exist at all; there is no blade, only words referring to a blade that doesn't exist.

But why would we say either of those things?

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-12-13T05:02:41.339Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's not a deep point. The reference to Harry's having read such an odd fact just struck me, that's all.

comment by brazil84 · 2013-12-15T19:51:13.527Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Probably a stupid question, but wasn't Draco was out of the picture already?

comment by kilobug · 2013-12-16T11:28:54.793Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

He went back after the negociations between Harry and Malfoy and the enforcement of "eductional decrees" to make Hogwarts safer, re-read chapters 97 and 98.