Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89

post by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T01:22:02.743Z · score: 12 (13 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 963 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 88-89The previous thread has passed 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: 12345678910111213141516, 17, 18.

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Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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

963 comments

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comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T18:41:54.071Z · score: 52 (52 votes) · LW · GW

Public Service Announcement: If you feel strongly affected by chapter 89, and do not yet have first aid training, consider googling a local class and signing up. Some sudden deaths can be prevented, and it might need to be by you. Make the most good out of your horror and revulsion.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-07-01T08:33:27.598Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

As far as teachable lessons go, Harry didn't get first aid training for his first aid kid.

If Eliezer wanted to maximize the amount of the impact of this lesson he could let a healer tell Harry that he didn't use the kit to maximum effect in an upcoming chapter.

comment by RomeoStevens · 2013-07-01T09:01:11.520Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

First aid kit as curiosity stopper. Treating it as more a checkmark on a list of things responsible people have, and not an item that causally interacts with the world.

comment by sixes_and_sevens · 2013-07-01T14:17:27.490Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

One of the first things we got taught in first aid was "there's nothing in a first aid kit that can save a life". This probably needs a bunch of caveats to make it absolutely factually true, but it's worth generally bearing in mind.

(My actual first aid kit includes a pair of trauma shears, which I think could save a life in a non-negligible amount of emergency circumstances.)

comment by somervta · 2013-10-31T05:59:23.828Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, most of the point of first aid kits (and first aid training) in serious situations is stabilization, which could indeed save lives in the situation where a ambulance/professional is in the way.

comment by LucasSloan · 2013-06-30T06:51:41.301Z · score: 44 (50 votes) · LW · GW

And thus, Hermione Jean Granger was permenantly sacrificed in a ritual which manifested Harry Potter.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T19:45:37.919Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Clever, but I just can't bring myself to upvote it.

comment by Ritalin · 2013-06-30T12:08:41.748Z · score: 5 (13 votes) · LW · GW

You know, that is way funnier than it has any right to be.

comment by pedanterrific · 2013-07-02T00:22:28.221Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

which manifested (the full power of) Harry Potter.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-06-30T14:32:53.749Z · score: 33 (33 votes) · LW · GW

This is a very powerful demonstration of how the sudden death of a single loved friend affects one more than the horrible, slow torture to death of a thousand strangers in Azkaban.

This applies to Harry - but I'm not talking about him. I'm talking about myself and all the readers now expressing their pain on reddit.

A single death is felt differently from a thousand deaths. At least in fiction...

comment by Benya (Benja) · 2013-06-30T22:05:56.842Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Y'know, I like the new, true version of Ch. 85, the one where Harry fails to get a phoenix -- but I also really liked the original version (which, remember, Eliezer wrote as a stand-in because he couldn't get the true version finished in time), where Harry, compromising with himself, made a resolution that for now he would try to win without killing people -- but if anybody died [by his opponent's hands], not just a PC, but any arbitrary bystander (he'd been thinking about how Batman's ethics only come off as good if you don't care about all the NPCs the Joker kills), the gloves would come off.

I'd kind of hoped that Harry would be able to actually go through without a death, and failing that I kind of expected that it would be some random NPC's death that would change things -- but I don't think that would actually have worked to justify Harry's future actions to the reader. [ETA: I guess buybuydavis is right too that, even more importantly, it wouldn't have worked as a statement against death.] It really does need to be somebody we (the readers) care about in order to carry even a fraction of the emotional impact that death should carry.

(Tangent: As a preteen, I read 2001 up to the point where HAL kills Poole, and then had to stop and had some bad nights because that was so terrible. [Actually there was a similar thing a couple of years before that with The Neverending Story and the point where Atreyu's horse Artax dies.] And around that time, possibly a bit later, I decided that feeling that death was this bad was the appropriate emotion, and grownups and other kids who not only didn't have that reaction but who felt that it was childish exaggeration were wrong. And when, much later, my own emotional reaction to death in fiction -- and, more deplorably, reality -- started to subside, I still found myself in agreement with my earlier self on the question on appropriateness.)

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-07-01T08:22:30.257Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

but I don't think that would actually have worked to justify Harry's future actions to the reader.

I don't think it works if what EY is making a statement against Death, which it seems to me he is. Rationality is all fine and dandy, but I think it's window dressing on the main theme of the value of Life and the horror of Death. The best, the brightest, the most loved, the least deserving of it will die with all the rest. So, Hermione dies.

comment by DanielLC · 2013-06-30T22:43:02.726Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There was one thing that annoyed me about this. Harry wasn't just fighting Voldemort. He barely even cares about Voldemort. He's fighting everything bad about the universe. If he was truly willing to take the gloves off after the first death, then he would have done so after about half a second.

comment by Benya (Benja) · 2013-06-30T22:52:57.669Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, this is the aftermath of the Taboo Tradeoffs arc (i.e., the Wizengamot trial): yes, Harry doesn't care about Voldemort, but he does have a very specific enemy at this point -- the person who tried to murder Draco and send Hermione to Azkaban (or at least the second, if it was Quirrell -- of course I expect it was Quirrellmort, but Harry only thinks of Quirrell as one of a range of different suspects). And by the time of Ch. 85, to Harry's knowledge, nobody has yet died in that particular war.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-07-01T08:23:51.631Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think Harry's target is a person at all, but Death itself. That's the enemy. Harry would actually save Voldemort from Death if he could.

comment by Benya (Benja) · 2013-07-01T08:56:20.015Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If we're talking about the story as a whole, sure. If we're talking specifically about the two incarnations of Ch. 85 (which I was), let me quote:

This day your war against Voldemort has begun...

Dumbledore had said that, after the Incident with Rescuing Bellatrix from Azkaban. That had been a false alarm, but the phrase expressed the sentiment well.

Two nights ago his war had begun, and Harry didn't know with who.

[...]

Someone had declared war against Harry, their first strike had been meant to take out Draco and Hermione both, and it was only by the barest of margins that Harry had saved Hermione.

Sure, Harry doesn't actually want to kill that unknown enemy -- it is also Ch. 85 where he thinks about how killing Voldemort would make the people of a hundred million years into the future terribly sad -- but he very much does think in terms of a human target at this point in time who he wants to win against.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-07-02T08:53:04.544Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Per chapter 90, I don't see him thinking about his human enemy, I see him obsessing about defeating Death to save Hermione.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T20:13:35.387Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Y'know, I like the new, true version of Ch. 85, the one where Harry fails to get a phoenix -- but I also really liked the original version (which, remember, Eliezer wrote as a stand-in because he couldn't get the true version finished in time), where Harry, compromising with himself, made a resolution that for now he would try to win without killing people -- but if anybody died [by his opponent's hands], not just a PC, but any arbitrary bystander (he'd been thinking about how Batman's ethics only come off as good if you don't care about all the NPCs the Joker kills), the gloves would come off.

Wait, that got replaced?

comment by Benya (Benja) · 2013-07-30T08:05:28.361Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yup. It was, apparently, a placeholder because Eliezer didn't manage to write the stuff about the phoenix in time for the update (and didn't want to leave the fic hanging on that gloomy note for a long time).

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-31T14:05:05.486Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Great, now I have to go re-read it. Shame, I quite liked that chapter, actually.

comment by Ritalin · 2013-06-30T19:57:09.745Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Depends on the circumstances. For example, if you're inflicting the deaths yourself; I read somewhere that the Nazis used gas chambers rather than the bullets they used at first, because killing unarmed, unresisting individuals of all ages and genders by the dozen disturbed the soldiers. Or when you don't know the people yourself, but their disappearance impacts and cripples your world.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-30T20:26:50.218Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've read the same thing about Nazi soldiers, and also that they couldn't handle another early method of killing-- driving prisoners around in closed trucks with the exhaust fed into the back compartment.

It's not that the thousands have no impact, it's that one person can make a much larger emotional difference.

I've also heard that for soldiers, seeing one more death or injury can be the tipping point into PTSD.

comment by sebmathguy · 2013-07-02T04:15:34.788Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've also heard that for soldiers, seeing one more death or injury can be the tipping point into PTSD.

Am I missing something, or does this follow trivially from PTSD being binary and the set of possible body counts being the natural numbers?

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-07-02T04:22:34.716Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The thing is that PTSD is really not that binary, like many mental illnesses, it has a wide range of symptoms and severity levels. What Nancy is talking about is how one death can push one drastically over, skipping much of the middle range where it might be ambiguous if one had symptoms severe enough to be diagnoseable. (Disclaimer, while I've heard the same sort of things NancyLebovitz is talking about, I'm not aware of any studies actually supporting this.)

comment by sebmathguy · 2013-07-02T04:39:01.443Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Got it. I was previously having difficulty making that belief pay rent.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T20:27:54.040Z · score: -1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The people in Azkaban are guilty of crimes, usually pretty terrible ones. There's a difference between the innocent and the guilty.

Edit: For clarity, I'm not saying that they deserve to be tortured to death for their crimes. Azkaban is unnecessary and wildly disproportionate. It's an issue of priorities - I'm going to feel bad for the victims of murder and work to help them quite a lot earlier than I'll do the same for the perpetrators of murder.

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2013-07-01T02:31:11.514Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

From canon, and from what nearly happened to Hermione, it is clear that one can be sent to Azkaban while innocent.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-01T04:44:11.945Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Of course. However, it's not the usual outcome.

Even given that, Azkaban is certainly worse than Hermione's death, speaking intellectually. But it doesn't hit as hard emotionally.

comment by ygert · 2013-07-01T14:20:50.630Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

If there are thousands of inmates at Azkaban, and the wizarding justice system is not always absolutely correct, even if then are only wrong a percent or two of the time, there are tens or even maybe hundreds of innocent prisoners of Azkaban. So, "not the usual outcome", is irrelevant, what matters is the numbers. But of course it doesn't hit as hard, and that is precisely because of the numbers. It is a bug in the human brain that one innocent person being ripped to death in front of you hurts a lot more than tens of innocent people being tortured to death out of sight, especially surrounded by thousands more people also being tortured to death who some say have lower moral priority.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-02T02:32:49.147Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think it's the numbers so much as it is the familiarity. Were I familiar with any one Azkaban inmate, assuming the wizarding justice system is at least decently effective, I'd probably say "Yeah, this guy is probably guilty. Sucks to be him, but he should really avoid killing people next time". That is not what I think when I see Hermione suffering. Even knowing that there's probably several Hermiones in there, not knowing which ones they are makes empathizing with them a lot harder.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-07-02T02:41:34.508Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

assuming the wizarding justice system is at least decently effective

Based on how Hermione's trial went, this probably isn't a safe assumption. Many of the people in Azkaban may have just pissed off the wrong person (e.g. Lucius).

comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-02T02:47:01.415Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I doubt most trials are decided by political pressure. There's a few, but the typical trial is done in an ordinary way, with no bias more malicious than a prosecutor wanting to avoid looking stupid and the judge wanting to get done in time for lunch.

comment by 75th · 2013-06-30T10:36:40.392Z · score: 30 (30 votes) · LW · GW

Hermione's lips were moving, just a tiny bit but they were moving.

"your... fault..."

Time froze. Harry should have told her not to talk, to save her breath, only he couldn't unblock his lips.

Hermione drew in another breath, and her lips whispered, "Not your fault."


"Of course it was my fault. There's no one else here who could be responsible for anything."

comment by mare-of-night · 2013-06-30T15:36:17.977Z · score: 38 (38 votes) · LW · GW

"One of my classmates gets bitten by a horrible monster, and as I scrabble frantically in my mokeskin pouch for something that could help her, she looks at me sadly and with her last breath says, 'Why weren't you prepared?' And then she dies, and I know as her eyes close that she won't ever forgive me -"

comment by jkaufman · 2013-06-30T20:16:39.067Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

(http://hpmor.com/chapter/6)

comment by Michelle_Z · 2013-07-01T00:35:25.196Z · score: 29 (31 votes) · LW · GW

Hermione's cheeks were going even redder. "You're really evil, did anyone ever tell you that?"

"Miss Granger," Professor Quirrell said gravely, "it can be dangerous to give people compliments like that when they have not been truly earned. The recipient might feel bashful and undeserving and want to do something worthy of your praise.

comment by vericrat · 2013-07-01T06:11:01.939Z · score: 27 (27 votes) · LW · GW

When I first read the end of the chapter, my thought was that Quirrell hadn't arranged the incident; he had thought it was a "surprisingly good day" which suggested to me that he hadn't expected the troll.

After reading comments, I became less sure about that; someone suggested that Quirrell might have simply not intended for Harry to be at the scene and in danger. This seems plausible, but one thing still makes it difficult for me to believe it was Quirrell.

The troll had been enchanted against sunlight:

someone had enchanted the troll against sunlight before using it as a murder weapon and might also have strengthened it in other ways.

And Harry transfigured part of the troll:

Harry visualized a one-millimeter-wide cross-section through the enemy's brain, and Transfigured it into sulfuric acid.

But before, it was stated that Quirrell could not charm something that Harry had Transfigured:

Professor Quirrell could not cast spells on something Harry had Transfigured, for that would be an interaction, however slight, between their magics, but -

For Quirrell to have been behind this, I can see only two possibilities: 1) Harry can transfigure something Professor Quirrell has cast spells on, even though Professor Quirrell can't cast spells on something Harry has transfigured, or 2) Quirrell had a confederate (or imperiused lackey) cast the appropriate spells.

If you go with option 2, the increased complexity makes it less likely that it happened (though not necessarily less likely than a given alternative).

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-07-01T06:29:36.668Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Harry transfigured the inside of the troll. Maybe Quirrell only needed to enchant the outside?

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T08:01:36.933Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Or that the enchantment is somewhat less fixed to the body of the troll?

Or Harry and Quirrel might be wrong about how their magic can touch? Harry never exactly knew the boundaries. He has only the sense of doom and the resonance from the Avadakedvra - Patronus interaction.

comment by Michelle_Z · 2013-07-01T16:02:21.527Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

He touched it. In chapter 56 or 55, I forget which, Harry had to wear a glove to ride the room that Quirrell enchanted. In chapter 89, he picks up the troll by the ear.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-02T07:37:49.120Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think that Harry actually knows for sure that he couldn't touch the broom.

comment by vericrat · 2013-07-01T17:58:42.802Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Good point, I missed the picking the troll up by the ear entirely.

comment by maia · 2013-07-01T12:09:11.956Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Oh snap. I didn't even notice that problem.

There is a third possibility: Dumbledore brought in the troll to guard the Stone (or other object), as in canon, and he was the one who cast the spells to protect it. I'm unsure about this, because it seems unusually violent for Dumbledore.

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-07-01T12:18:40.465Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In canon "Troll" was defense layer number.. 5? Anyone in that deep can fairly be considered to be asking for it. If this is the case, the naive reading of events is that it got loose because someone was cracking the defenses...

comment by ygert · 2013-07-01T13:59:35.114Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

In canon, there were two different trolls: One that got in and attacked Hermione, and one that was guarding the stone. Two totally different trolls, although many have noted that both were supplied by Quirrell. (And actually, because of this it has become fanon that Quirrell has a talent in dealing with trolls. (Although that Quirrell is a very different person from HPMOR's Hansonian Quirrell, so don't read to much into this with regards to HPMOR.))

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-07-01T22:19:46.672Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

And actually, because of this it has become fanon that Quirrell has a talent in dealing with trolls.

I believe that Quirrell actually stated this in canon. When he admitted in the chamber which held the Philosopher's Stone that he was the one who had supplied the troll for the defenses, he said he had a knack for dealing with them, or something to that effect.

comment by vericrat · 2013-07-01T17:59:46.718Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Why would Dumbledore enchant the troll against sunlight if it was going to be in the third-floor corridor all along?

comment by gwern · 2013-07-01T18:14:56.805Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

To defend it against anyone with a sunlight-generating spell or who has some acorn potion handy.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T18:34:41.154Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In fact, isn't there such a spell used in Canon?

comment by gwern · 2013-07-29T21:08:10.379Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There's 'Lumos' but it's never mentioned as a dead-useful defense against trolls so presumably isn't as good as real sunlight or a sunlight-generating spell.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T21:58:05.584Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

No, I could swear there was an actual ... maybe in one of the movies?

EDIT: I was thinking of this

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T01:48:11.682Z · score: 27 (29 votes) · LW · GW

I'm sad now.

Those of you who didn't read canon before reading this, there's a corresponding incident in the first book which I think would add to your understanding of this incident. Quirrell sneaks a troll into the school, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione are improbably able to defeat it using the first thing the Weasleys try here (smacking it with its own club). The difficulty level of that encounter was clearly calibrated to the characters' strengths in a way common in heroic stories and I think Eliezer was deliberately subverting that expectation. (He's made this point in the sequences on a few occasions - something about how it's allowed for Nature to just throw problems at humanity that are too hard for it - although I can't find a quote at the moment.) I particularly appreciated how Harry only used tools that he had deliberately prepared in advance, sometimes way in advance, e.g. the healer's kit.

I also wonder where Fawkes was while this was happening. You'd think he would've found his way to either Harry or Hermione.

I have a mild complaint about all these cameos. Some of the names of the people who end up getting cameos don't fit in the Harry Potter universe to my ear and they stick out really noticeably. One of the first things I'd do if I were hypothetically rewriting HPMoR for publication is to come up with a consistent and meaningful naming scheme.

comment by taelor · 2013-06-30T02:44:04.829Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The difficulty level of that encounter was clearly calibrated to the characters' strengths in a way common in heroic stories and I think Eliezer was deliberately subverting that expectation.

I think it's ironic that at the begining of the update, Harry refers to Filch as a "low-level random encounter whom [he] often breezed past wearing his epic-level Deathly Hallow".

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-06-30T01:56:42.260Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

but Harry, Ron, and Hermione are improbably able to defeat it without doing much in particular.

I haven't read much Hary Potter fanfiction, but what I have, including HPMoR, tends to up the difficulty considerably, and makes this apparent by having the characters use the same trick that Ron knocked out the canon troll with to little or no effect. (In this case, Eliezer made it clear in Quirrel's first class that that trick would be dreadfully unlikely to work.) Is this a trend in HP fanfiction (in which case, it seems to fall into the class of "taking HP fanfiction tropes and doing them better" that Eliezer's been following)? Or is my sample size too small?

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T02:01:29.673Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think most Harry Potter fanfiction doesn't have a difficulty level as such. Your sample is probably extremely unrepresentative.

comment by loserthree · 2013-06-30T20:50:40.218Z · score: 24 (26 votes) · LW · GW

I predict that it will be revealed that Quirrell or a closely related entity has been abusing Harry on and off throughout his life, to try and make him into a Dark Lord.

He can go to Harry's house like the time he played Father Christmas.

Obliviated memories leave residue, which is how in Chapter 88 the twins remembered that they could find people, in the castle, but couldn't remember how.

In the first chapter, Harry noticed that he believed in magic.

some part of Harry was utterly convinced that magic was real

In chapter 16, Harry is almost reminded of something when he looks at Quirell, but can't remember what. And when Quirrell is first introduced, Harry ominously recognizes him

"Professor?" Harry said, once they were in the courtyard. He had meant to ask what was going on, but oddly found himself asking an entirely different question instead. "Who was that pale man, by the corner? The man with the twitching eye?"

"Hm?" said Professor McGonagall, sounding a bit surprised; perhaps she hadn't expected that question either. "That was Professor Quirinus Quirrell. He'll be teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts this year at Hogwarts."

"I had the strangest feeling that I knew him..." Harry rubbed his forehead. "And that I shouldn't ought to shake his hand." Like meeting someone who had been a friend, once, before something went drastically wrong... that wasn't really it at all, but Harry couldn't find words.

In the sixth chapter, McGonagall points out that Harry can act like an abused child.

sometimes, you say or do something that seems very much like... someone who spent his first eleven years locked in a cellar.

Quirrell uses Obliviation and memory charms and as Mr. Cloak-and-Hat, he manipulated Blaise. And he uses Obliviation and memory charms more subtly, to change someone's mood and personality over time, as shown when he brute-force-save-scumed his way to making Hermione suspicious of Draco.

Quirrell expected Harry to become a Dark Lord when he spoke with him after the first class and was surprised that Harry aspired to science.

Quirrell expects the worst out of people, and so he expected that an abused Harry would be destined to darkness.

Edit: I just realized that Harry was probably abused almost every night (or day) for some significant period. There was a time turner involved, and that's why his sleep cycle is off.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T21:51:21.850Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

My interpretation is that all of these are symptoms of Harry's dark side (which is the backup copy / horcrux of Voldemort somewhere in him).

There was a time turner involved, and that's why his sleep cycle is off.

This is an intriguing hypothesis, but are you aware that Eliezer also has this condition? I was under the impression that he was working off of his own experiences here and nothing more.

comment by elharo · 2013-07-01T10:53:48.479Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I think the simpler "conscious Horcrux inside Harry" theories are ruled out by the sorting hat: "I can tell you that there is definitely nothing like a ghost - mind, intelligence, memory, personality, or feelings - in your scar. Otherwise it would be participating in this conversation, being under my brim."

It is possible that the original, canon Harry has been completely replaced by Voldemort, or that the Horcrux has merged with Harry to form a new single personality. The sorting hat is also explicit that it does not remember previous students such as Tom Riddle as individuals. Therefore it would not notice if HJPEV were in fact Tom Riddle redux. However there's just one person in Harry, not two.

comment by robryk · 2013-07-01T22:27:36.386Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The hat talked specifically about objects under its brim. Maybe the horcrux is in some other part of Harry?

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T19:57:16.552Z · score: -4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

A series of amusing images spring to mind ...

comment by loserthree · 2013-06-30T22:04:04.330Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This is an intriguing hypothesis, but are you aware that Eliezer also has this condition? I was under the impression that he was working off of his own experiences here and nothing more.

I probably heard that at some point; it's been years since this started, now. But I expect better of him than "I get ingrown toenails and ingrown toenails don't get enough attention from the public so I'm going to give my protagonist that problem, too."

Also, cannon Harry didn't have the sleep cycle problem. For the most part, there are in-universe reasons for departures from cannon other than, "That was dumb and I'm not writing a story with dumb in it."

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T19:55:07.088Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This is an intriguing hypothesis, but are you aware that Eliezer also has this condition?

Really? I hadn't heard that. Where did you see that? Could you link to it?

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-07-29T23:28:14.333Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I talked to him and he told me.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-31T14:18:36.543Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Huh, there's a thing. I guess he just never mentioned it online.

comment by arundelo · 2013-07-31T16:42:08.851Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think I remember seeing him mention it somewhere online but I failed to find it within a few minutes of searching.

Edit: See also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-24-hour_sleep-wake_disorder
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm_sleep_disorder#Normal_circadian_rhythms

Edit 2: In the August 27 2013 HP: MoR author's note Eliezer says that he has non-24 sleep disorder (but that he recently fixed it with help from MetaMed).

comment by Skeeve · 2013-07-01T15:58:08.074Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Edit: I just realized that Harry was probably abused almost every night (or day) for some significant period. There was a time turner involved, and that's why his sleep cycle is off.

I don't know about this, for a couple of reasons.

1) If there was a time turner involved, why do the issues with Harry's sleep schedule persist even after he gets to Hogwarts and gains a time-turner of his own?

2) If someone spent a two-hour period of time abusing Harry and then time-turnering it away every day, wouldn't he get tired two hours early nstead of two hours late? That is to say, wouldn't his sleep cycle appear to be 22 hours instead of 26?

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-02T03:00:37.183Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

If there was a time turner involved, why do the issues with Harry's sleep schedule persist even after he gets to Hogwarts and gains a time-turner of his own?

For the same reason his response persist even when the abuse no longer does: he's been conditioned.

If someone spent a two-hour period of time abusing Harry and then time-turnering it away every day, wouldn't he get tired two hours early nstead of two hours late? That is to say, wouldn't his sleep cycle appear to be 22 hours instead of 26?

It goes the other way. See, while he was being abused for two hours a day that no one else experienced, he was experiencing 26 hour days when everyone else was experiencing 24 hour days. So his body adjusted to that.

comment by Skeeve · 2013-07-02T11:50:56.858Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It goes the other way. See, while he was being abused for two hours a day that no one else experienced, he was experiencing 26 hour days when everyone else was experiencing 24 hour days. So his body adjusted to that.

I'm having a little trouble making the timeline work out on this, since one wouldn't be able to notice his sleep issues while the time-turner abusing was ongoing; it would be a consequence that appeared after the fact. It's mentioned in chapter 2 that Harry was in school when he was seven; that could be argued as evidence that his sleep issues hadn't quite manifested at that point, and that he'd been pulled out of school soon after, once they did.

But that still leaves a period of three or four years for Harry to readjust to 24 hour days. You'd think Harry and his parents would have at least tried some kind of therapy, if the issue was severe enough to pull him out of school, and in the absence of some kind of reinforcing factor, why wouldn't said therapy at least have made some progress on the issue?

comment by aausch · 2013-07-04T22:51:08.982Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The story clearly states Harry's explicit interest in not attending school, so he wouldn't have tried anything to change his sleep pattern for that purpose, and I doubt by the age of 10 he'd found any other important reasons to motivate sleep pattern changing therapy.

I also doubt his parents' preferences matter, here, and even if they did prefer he change his habits, I doubt they'd press him into therapy without his explicit, cooperative, interest.

comment by roystgnr · 2013-07-01T05:14:08.440Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

This is good evidence right up until you destroy your own case:

"Quirrell expected Harry to become a Dark Lord when he spoke with him after the first class and was surprised that Harry aspired to science."

Surprise that Harry aspired to science is not what someone who had been regularly communicating with Harry for a decade would experience.

On the other hand, you're firing with some fully automatic plot-armor-piercing bullets, there. Quirrell's primary motivation is clearly to groom Harry for some future, so if he waited to start doing so until Harry entered Hogwarts, why did he wait?

My favorite theory (Harry is an amnesiac transfer of Voldemort, Quirrelmort is just a horcrux) is only slightly better here. In this case Quirrelmort wouldn't anticipate how much a happy childhood might change Voldemort's personality and wouldn't see the need to remold himself until after that first encounter. That still doesn't explain why he wouldn't even check in on himself for a decade. It took that long for the "mort" part of Quirrelmort to take full control? Or maybe after taking control Quirrelmort knows he only has a year's worth of activity before decaying away, so he chose to save it when he would have extended contact with Harrymort and the latter would be studying magic?

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-07-01T08:15:57.281Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

why did he wait?

So that Harry would have started to use magic, and could be seen to defeat Voldemort in combat, instead of just be part of some freakish accident that killed Voldemort.

Harry "defeats" Voldemort while Voldemort downloads into Harry, transforming himself from Villain to Savior and living happily ever after.

comment by Benito · 2013-06-30T21:54:45.942Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Fridge Horror.

comment by GuySrinivasan · 2013-07-29T19:46:46.940Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Don't forget (emphasis added)

Draco's eyebrows rose loftily. "Oh? And what does your father do?"

"He buys me books."

Draco considered this. "That doesn't sound very impressive."

"You had to be there. Anyway, I'm glad to hear all that. The way Lucius was looking at you, I thought he was going to c-crucify you."

"My father really loves me," Draco said firmly. "He wouldn't ever do that."

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-07-01T08:11:01.084Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I predict that it will be revealed that Quirrell or a closely related entity has been abusing Harry on and off throughout his life, to try and make him into a Dark Lord.

I don't think so. He's not supposed to use magic on Harry, and his attempts to influence him through their link fail as well.

The Defense Professor had tried to send an impulse to retreat, to don the Cloak of Invisibility and flee; but he'd never been able to influence the boy through the resonance, and hadn't succeeded that time either.

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-01T12:51:31.186Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

His inability to influence Harry through the link does not reflect an inability to influence him at all. His influencing the everloving fuck out of Harry in Defense Class.

The part where he can't use magic on Harry is more of a poked hole in this theory, though. I can answer it, of course, but not without raising more questions. I'll think about that one.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T19:29:58.094Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I just realized that Harry was probably abused almost every night (or day) for some significant period. There was a time turner involved, and that's why his sleep cycle is off.

Woah.

I don't even care if it's wrong, that's brilliant.

comment by gwern · 2013-07-29T21:04:18.756Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's come up several times before. I believe the usual counterobjection is something like 'that if Harry is being kept up 6 hours later by a Timeturner in order to be abused, then he would fall asleep earlier and have an 18-hour cycle, not the opposite direction'.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T22:08:40.928Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, but if he adapted, and the abuse stopped, then he would end up with a longer cycle. I think that's the idea, anyway.

I seriously doubt that's actually what happened though; not EY's style, somehow.

comment by gwern · 2013-07-30T01:52:59.477Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, covering up child abuse with a Timeturner seems like Eliezer 'you know what's a good abuse of Obliviation? covering up rape' Yudkowsky's style; it's just the adaptation that is extremely implausible since sleep cycles don't work that way.

comment by Macaulay · 2013-06-30T19:07:07.543Z · score: 23 (23 votes) · LW · GW

This is interesting. From the end of Ch. 89:

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

From Ch. 46, after Harry destroys the dementor:

I must admit, Mr. Potter, that although it has had its ups and downs, on the whole, this has been a surprisingly good day.

comment by pedanterrific · 2013-07-01T23:01:32.987Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Every day that Harry kills something is a good day, of course.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-06-30T02:19:26.220Z · score: 22 (30 votes) · LW · GW

Without endorsing any part of this comment dealing with events which have yet to take place, I congratulate user 75th who receives many Bayes points for this:

http://lesswrong.com/lw/bfo/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/6aih

Hermione is dead. Hermione Granger is doomed to die horribly. Hermione Granger will very soon die, and die horribly, dramatically, grotesquely, and utterly.

Fare thee well, Hermione Jean Granger. You escaped death once, at a cost of twice and a half your hero's capital. There is nothing remaining. There is no escape. You were saved once, by the will of your hero and the will of your enemy. You were offered a final escape, but like the heroine you are, you refused. Now only death awaits you. No savior hath the savior, least of all you. You will die horribly, and Harry Potter will watch, and Harry Potter will crack open and fall apart and explode, but even he in all his desperation and fury will not be able to save you. You are the cord binding Harry Potter to the Light, and you will be cut, and your blood, spilled by the hand of your enemy, will usher in Hell on Earth, rendered by the hand of your hero.

Goodbye, Hermione. May the peace and goodness you represent last not one second longer than you do.

When I first saw this comment, it was downvoted to... I forget, -6 or something. Going by the percentage score, at least 11 people downvoted it. From the replies, some people didn't like the tone of apparent certainty with which 75th spoke. Sounded uppity to them, I guess. It was at +3 before I linked to it on /r/HPMOR.

I wanted to say something at the time about that, and how penalizing people for sounding certain or uppity or above-the-status-you-assign-them can potentially lead you to ignore people who are actually competent, but at the time all I could say was "Why are people downvoting this? It's a testable prediction" whereupon it climbed up to above 0.

Everyone who downvoted 75th or agreed with the downvotes at the time, please take note. Speaking in a tone of what seems-to-you like inappropriate certainty does not always indicate that someone is arrogant. Sometimes they have seen something you have not.

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T02:38:53.608Z · score: 32 (44 votes) · LW · GW

Or alternately, somewhere in the literally thousands and thousands of predictions or claims (I have ~200 in just my personal collection which is nowhere comprehensive) spread across the 20k MoR reviews on FF.net, the >5k comments on LW, the 3650 subscribers of the MoR subreddit, the TvTropes discussions etc etc, someone got something right.

You know perfectly well that one does not get to preach about a single right prediction. He had the opportunity to make more than that prediction, and he failed to take it.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-30T04:29:05.712Z · score: 33 (35 votes) · LW · GW

He also predicted that Hat and Cloak was Quirrell, Santa Claus was Dumbledore, and S. was Snape. He considered these predictions blatantly obvious as well. I remember receiving ~13 upvotes for arguing that Quirrell could be ruled out as H&C, so it wasn't as obvious to all of us.

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T16:22:07.926Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

All of which were consensus beliefs; do not make the mistake of interpreting upvotes as object-level agreement - you may have received the upvotes for making the anti-Quirrel case well or bringing up some bit that people hadn't remembered or just being funny.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-06-30T06:36:12.691Z · score: 17 (21 votes) · LW · GW

It's a large space, not a binary yes-or-no, so successful predictions are impressive even given a large base. Also I could be prejudiced but MoR is supposed to be solvable god damn it.

Someone was criticized. S/he was right, the critics were wrong. The neural net updating algorithm calls for a nudge in the appropriate direction of "Beware of dismissing those who speak with what you think is too much confidence."

comment by elharo · 2013-06-30T17:01:26.546Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I update in favor of "user 75th is more experienced in the tropes of enigma fiction." Indeed I would not be at all surprised were I to discover that user 75th writes such fiction him or herself. It similarly wouldn't surprise me if user 75th had gone to the library and checked out and read some of the same 15 books Elizier checked out and read before writing HPMoR.

For example, before reading the author's notes on HPMoR I was not familiar with Chekhov's Gun. Now that I am, I am much more likely to catch such a device when it appears in other fiction. I now suspect user 75th is quite familiar with Chekhov's Gun and other standard tricks of this sort of story. 75th picked up on one such trope (one I'm still not familiar with) that signaled that Hermione was heading for death.

If there's a general update to be had here, it may go something like this:

Before dismissing those who speak with what I think is too much confidence, I need to consider the possibility that their confidence is based on facts or experience I am not aware of. I should probably take five minutes to ask them why they are so confident before dismissing them.

comment by 75th · 2013-06-30T19:02:59.399Z · score: 25 (25 votes) · LW · GW

Ha, you've got me all wrong. I am woefully under-read, particularly in fiction. I get a very small percentage of the references Eliezer makes in Methods; most of the time, I find out that he's borrowed something months (or, let's face it, years) after I read it, only by seeing someone else explicitly point out the reference. I have had my life ruined by TV Tropes, but most of what I'm familiar with there is video games, and not too awfully many of those.

But it's not a matter of picking up on specific tropes, exactly. It's more a matter of getting into the author's head. Of constantly asking "If this were foreshadowing or a setup or a clue, what would be the most effective payoff?" I read Chapter 84, and then, put together with many other quotes from my many rereads of HPMoR ("Nothing really bad ever happens at Hogwarts", "Her life was officially over", etc.), I answered that question with "Hermione will die horribly," then posted how I felt about it.

It's the same deal with my prediction — which I'm far more certain of than I was that Hermione would die horribly — that Nzryvn Obarf xvyyrq Anepvffn Znysbl. I got into an argument with someone on Reddit once, who was bringing up all sorts of random canon characters who haven't even been introduced in Methods and coming up with categories in which to score them 1 to 5, then giving them wildly inappropriate scores and adding them up. She said things like "We're in a state of abysmally low evidence" and "At least I appreciate what Eliezer is trying to do," claiming to be following the spirit of Bayes better than me, when all I was doing was pointing out three successively more blatant clues that Eliezer put into the text and saying that my certainty had increased as they were successively pointed out to me.

I see a lot of that, it seems. A lot of people thinking the whole Bayes thing is about immediately reducing a situation to a bunch of numbers and seeing what the numbers say, and fie upon anyone who acts sure of something without attaching their spreadsheet. But it seems to me the numbers themselves are not the most important part of Bayesian thinking. Perhaps the least important part.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T19:26:22.561Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Re the rot13 bit, I called it that Qhzoyrqber xvyyrq ure based on text evidence before that was revealed, so the idea that it's Obarf has always seemed wrong to me. They can't both have done it, you know?

comment by 75th · 2013-06-30T19:42:17.623Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Arf, didn't mean to start this again, but here's my usual litany:

Gur bayl rivqrapr jr unir gung Qhzoyrqber xvyyrq Anepvffn vf gung Yhpvhf fnlf Qhzoyrqber gbyq uvz fb. Jr qba'g xabj gur rknpg jbeqf Qhzoyrqber hfrq, naq oheavat fbzrbar nyvir ernyyl qbrfa'g frrz yvxr Qhzoyrqber'f fglyr (nygubhtu V jvyy fnl gung Puncgre 89 vf gur svefg gvzr V'ir gubhtug gur Qhzoyrqber-vf-rivy pebjq zvtug npghnyyl unir fbzrguvat fhofgnagvir gb jbex jvgu). Zrnajuvyr:

  1. Nzryvn'f qrsnhyg gubhtug jura eriratr pbzrf gb zvaq vf "Fbzrbar jbhyq ohea sbe guvf."
  2. Anepvffn'f fvfgre xvyyrq Nzryvn'f oebgure.
  3. Nzryvn vf gur bar jub fcrnxf hc va gur Jvmratnzbg, gryyvat Qhzoyrqber "Qba'g rira guvax nobhg vg" jura Qhzoyrqber pbafvqref pbasrffvat gb Anepvffn'f zheqre.

Jura V bayl xarj nobhg #1, V jebgr vg bss nf n cbffvoyr pbvapvqrapr. Ohg gura crqnagreevsvp cbvagrq bhg #2 gb zr, naq V fgebatyl hctenqrq gur ulcbgurfvf'f cebonovyvgl. Gura yngre #3 unccrarq, naq V orpnzr nf pregnva nf V nz abj.

And if that's not as close as you can actually come to a Bayesian updating process when reading a fiction book, where the only experiment you can perform is "Wait for more chapters and then read them", I would love to learn what's legitimately closer.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T20:57:05.404Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

1) Gryyvat fbzrbar gung lbh qvq fbzrguvat frrzf yvxr sne fgebatre rivqrapr gb zr guna hfvat n fvzvyne jbeq bapr.

2) Erzrzore, gur oheavat unccrarq evtug nsgre Noresbegu jnf xvyyrq, fb Qhzoyrqber'f zbgvir vf nyzbfg pregnvayl fgebatre guna Nzryvn'f.

3) Nyy guvf erdhverf vf na nyyl pybfr rabhtu gb xabj jung lbh'er guvaxvat naq gb trg lbh gb onpx qbja. V qba'g qbhog gung Nzryvn xabjf nobhg vg, V whfg qba'g guvax fur jnf gur bar jub crefbanyyl qvq vg. Tvira gung Obarf naq ZpTbantnyy ner(V guvax) gur bayl BBGC zrzoref va gur ebbz ng gur gvzr, vg'f irel jrnx rivqrapr - gur cebonovyvgl gung fur'f fcrnxvat hc nf na nyyl vf nyzbfg nf uvtu nf gur cebonovyvgl gung fur'f fcrnxvat hc nf gur thvygl cnegl.

Lbhe gurbel vf abg penml, ohg vg'f yrff cebonoyr guna gur Qhzoyrqber gurbel fb sne nf V pna gryy.

comment by pedanterrific · 2013-07-08T19:11:15.015Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Amelia Bones isn't a member of the Order of the Phoenix.

Emmeline wasn't a member of the Order of the Phoenix any more, they had disbanded after the end of the last war. And during the war, she'd known, they'd all known, that Director Crouch had quietly approved of their off-the-books battle.

Director Bones wasn't Crouch.

[...]

"That depends," Amelia said in a hard voice. "Are you here to help us catch criminals, or to protect them from the consequences of their actions?" Are you going to try to stop the killer of my brother from getting her well-deserved Kiss, old meddler? 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.

One wonders why she would even know about it at all, if she had nothing to do with it.

comment by 75th · 2013-07-09T18:32:27.148Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, I think Lucius probably made sure a long time ago that everyone knew what Dumbledore (supposedly) said to him. I didn't get the feeling from that scene in the Wizengamot that Dumbledore-killing-Narcissa was any kind of a secret idea that people were just then finding out about.

This does rather change my view of some of the peripheral details, though. Previously, one possibility I pictured was Dumbledore restraining Amelia from her vengeance until Aberforth died, then relenting. I knew Amelia Bones wasn't in the OotP, and I knew she felt distaste at Dumbledore's softness, but somehow I never completely drew the conclusion that she wouldn't care one whit about what Dumbledore said or thought, and therefore probably wouldn't have cared if he had tried to restrain her.

Perhaps more likely, then, is the other way I pictured it: that Amelia couldn't get to Narcissa by herself, and after Aberforth's death, Dumbledore actively approached Amelia and said "Okay, I'm ready to help. I'll be the ward-breaker, you do the deed."

comment by pedanterrific · 2013-07-09T23:46:47.545Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Whoops, looks like you're right, the accusation was public knowledge:

Father's own allies didn't believe him after Dumbledore just denied everything in public

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-07-01T08:11:57.369Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think you miss that this is a work of fiction that has an author. Think about why the author was motivated to make certain choices instead of thinking why the characters were motivated.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-02T02:28:56.085Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That is actually the other reason that I believe as I do. It seems like a much more interesting storytelling decision for my theory to be correct than for the competitor theory to be.

comment by 75th · 2013-07-09T18:34:09.404Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How is it more interesting storytelling for the guy everyone thinks did it to have done it, as opposed to "Here's a puzzle and the clues to figure it out"?

comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-10T08:31:02.332Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Because it was a puzzle for the first what, 80 chapters? We're getting close to the end of the story as of about two arcs ago, it's time for puzzles to get solved. it's not an interesting enough puzzle to justify a double twist, IMO.

comment by 75th · 2013-07-10T16:30:11.151Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You think it's not an interesting puzzle because you think it's not a puzzle at all. :) And wouldn't it only be a double-twist if Dumbledore did do it? If Amelia Bones did it it would just be a single twist.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-12T07:26:50.609Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Baseline assumption: Team Death Eater is slandering Dumbledore when they claim he burned Narcissa Malfoy alive.

Twist: Nope, Dumbledore actually did it.

Double Twist: Or it was some random lady who used the word "burn" once. You know, whatever.

One of these twists is revealing of important information about a main character, future motivation for interesting developments(Harry being forced to choose between Draco and Dumbledore over the promise, or Draco having to forgive his mother's murderer), a subversion of our expectations, and is reasonably predictable from evidence dropped in advance. One of them is irrelevant and a complete cop-out of all the character development built into the original twist. Take a guess which one I assume is more likely to be true.

Amelia killing Narcissa would be the sort of thing M Night Shyamalan would write.

comment by 75th · 2013-07-12T11:31:22.065Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Or it was some random lady who used the word "burn" once. You know, whatever.

If that were indeed an accurate summary of the situation, I would agree with you. I did agree with you, when that was the only potential clue I knew of. All three major clues would be circumstantial in real life, but when you step out a level and see that Eliezer writes this story, choosing every word we read, it's clear that he wants us to figure out that Amelia has something more to do with Narcissa's death.

One of these twists is revealing of important information about a main character

It's just as important if Dumbledore didn't do it as it is if he did; it's another piece of evidence that he's not a huge evil hypocrite. Which many HPMoR readers seem to need.

future motivation for interesting developments(Harry being forced to choose between Draco and Dumbledore over the promise, or Draco having to forgive his mother's murderer)

I think it'll be pretty interesting when Harry finds out that Amelia did it; Amelia was going for painful revenge, while Harry is already hemming and hawing over whether Dumbledore deserves to be an enemy if he did do it. Harry is much more likely to declare Amelia his enemy, and Amelia is much more likely to declare Harry her enemy.

a subversion of our expectations

Sounds to me like Amelia would be the biggest subversion of your expectations! Given the several conversations I've had on this topic, I'm pretty sure that Amelia's guilt will be a subversion of most people's expectations. In fact, I and possibly pedanterrific may be the only ones in the entire readership whose expectations aren't subverted.

and is reasonably predictable from evidence dropped in advance.

I really don't understand why everyone thinks the three clues I identified are worth so much less than the clue-and-a-half we have about Dumbledore.

One of them is irrelevant and a complete cop-out of all the character development built into the original twist. Take a guess which one I assume is more likely to be true.

Amelia killing Narcissa would be the sort of thing M Night Shyamalan would write.

And this is why I didn't actually mean to start this conversation again; this is the second or possibly third time that I've pushed someone to declare Eliezer a bad writer if my hypothesis proves true, who will now actually feel that way when it is proven true, where they probably would have just said "Huh!" before, or maybe even thought it was cool.

I just don't get it. I don't understand people's reluctance to believe this, to step outside the text and realize that these are purposely written clues. Maybe it's because I'm acting all certain again; maybe perceived overconfidence causes bad reactions in people even with all the supporting evidence, not only without it.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-07-12T12:56:23.159Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I just don't get it. I don't understand people's reluctance to believe this, to step outside the text and realize that these are purposely written clues.

As someone who takes clues in the form of literary convention, extrapolation of authorial intent, etc. on a regular basis, I just think you're really reaching.

comment by gjm · 2013-07-12T13:23:49.770Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

As a general principle, it seems to me that most of us, most of the time, are really bad at recognizing the extent to which other people, even ones who are reasonably honest, sane and intelligent, can reach different conclusions from our own. This is a large part of why political and religious discussions get so overheated.

What's not so clear to me is how far this is because so many people are so bad at thinking, and how far it's because the available evidence often really is that ambiguous. Naively it seems as if, for most questions that are in principle resolvable empirically, the totality of the available evidence should end up pointing very clearly one way or another, so persistent divergences must indicate either failures in thinking methods or something like confirmation bias where different people effectively see very different subsets of the evidence. (Both, alas, very plausible.) But given that even very intelligent people trying hard to be rational, with a reasonable knowledge of cognitive biases can end up holding quite different opinions, perhaps there's more real ambiguity than one would naively think. Or perhaps it's just that no human being is really "very intelligent"; the most we ever achieve is "very intelligent relative to the appalling baseline of human stupidity, and still really pretty stupid".

... But I digress; in the present case it seems fairly clear that there just isn't more than, say, 10:1 evidence for Dumbledore over Bones or vice versa.

[EDITED some hours after posting, to fix a minor ambiguity I hadn't noticed.]

comment by 75th · 2013-07-12T21:40:12.302Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe not 10:1, no. But one thing that does seem to have been lacking in all the dissents from my theory is any textual clues pointing to anyone else.

Sometimes the people who object have harebrained ideas, like the person on Reddit who said that Regulus Black was a more likely suspect than Amelia Bones. Sometimes, they're committed that Dumbledore did it. But so far as I can tell — and please, please, please tell me if I'm missing anything — the only evidence for Dumbledore's guilt is

  1. Lucius says that Dumbledore told him he did it.
  2. Narcissa's death represented a strategic victory for the side of the war Dumbledore led.
  3. Narcissa's death was subsequent to Aberforth's death.

To me, that is what Eliezer does — information he explicitly gives us and points to and puts blinking lights around — to set the default starting point for the mystery. That is the baseline, boring, standard theory. The Amelia clues I keep bringing up, though, are different. I may do this completely wrong, but it is written:

" … The import of an act lies not in what that act resembles on the surface, Mr. Potter, but in the states of mind which make that act more or less probable."

You can see Amelia make a "burn" reference, or say that she hates Bellatrix for killing her brother, or speak up in the Wizengamot, and say "That is some really, really circumstantial evidence."

And in-universe, in the story, that's absolutely true. You could never justly convict someone in the real world on that evidence alone.

But Eliezer wrote those lines. The same brain that created the Narcissa mystery in the first place also made these explicit decisions: "Amelia Bones thinks of burning for revenge. Amelia Bones's brother was killed by Narcissa's sister. Amelia Bones will be the one to speak up at Dumbledore about Narcissa's death."

It seems to me that the Eliezer who believes that Amelia killed Narcissa is way more likely to make those three not-binary decisions that way than the Eliezer who believes that Dumbledore or someone else did it.

Pfah. I'm no good at this. Eliezer, if you're reading this and I'm right, I'd like to cash in those Bayes Points you said I had for you to bookmark this thread and explain this better than I am when you post the chapter with the revelation. And if I'm wrong, then I'm so spectacularly wrong that I will gladly forfeit those Bayes Points anyway, and I don't mind if you want to make a prominent top-level post about that.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-13T06:55:29.144Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And yet, textual analysis of the same sort is exactly what led me to the Dumbledore theory. I wrote off Draco's comment as propaganda, and then Dumbledore's "They learned not to mess with our families" line clued me in that he did it. The line is too on-point for anything else - certainly more so than any of the Bones evidence. His motive is better, his textual clues are clearer, and he explicitly said that he did it. Doesn't a confession count for anything any more?

I agree with your analytical methods. I just think you're misapplying them egregiously.

comment by 75th · 2013-07-14T04:49:35.970Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore's "They learned not to mess with our families" line clued me in that he did it. The line is too on-point for anything else

Saying "They learned not to mess with our families" with a stone cold look on his face is what you'd expect Dumbledore to do whether or not he killed Narcissa. The statement is a simple fact. The memory of Aberforth's death and mere knowledge of Narcissa's seems to me plenty sufficient to produce that line and that look. Harry has even explicitly thought that Dumbledore has acted consistent with either possibility. I grant that that thought was more about the "Only a fool would say 'Yea' or 'Nay' " line, but if Harry thinks the line you mentioned is evidence of guilt, he has failed to think it where we can hear him, even when he was thinking through this entire issue.

His motive is better

Maybe, and yet the deed is still out of character for him, where it's not nearly as much for Amelia, and Amelia's motive is plenty good, given that Bellatrix was too powerful to attack directly.

his textual clues are clearer

Such as they are, they're more explicit and blatant and obvious, yes. That just means it's a crappy mystery if you're right. I know I always say "Not everything that is mysterious to the characters is supposed to be mysterious to us", but that's more about things where we're supposed to use our enhanced knowledge of canon or alternate POVs, where it takes deliberate suspension of learning or blatant failures of reading comprehension to keep from admitting the truth. Not like this issue, that's obviously supposed to be a mystery that will be revealed later.

and he explicitly said that he did it.

Says Lucius. Maybe Dumbledore said he did it, or maybe he used weasel words to lead Lucius to that belief without lying, or maybe he admitted some involvement without saying he cast the spell that killed her. The fact is, Dumbledore had a vested interest in the bad guys’ believing that he did it; therefore, any alleged confessions made by Dumbledore to the bad guys should be treated with suspicion.

EDIT: As a gesture of goodwill, let me post the best evidence I've seen that Dumbledore might have killed Narcissa, that I just now thought of and haven't seen brought up in this context:

Because, you see, I had tried to kill Grindelwald once before, a long time ago, and that... that was... it proved to be... a mistake, Harry..." The old wizard was staring now at his long dark-grey wand where he held it in both hands, as though it were a crystal ball out of Muggle fantasy, a scrying pool within which answers could be found. "And I thought, then... I thought that I should never kill. And then came Voldemort."

Sounds like Dumbledore has killed before. He said this in the same room where he keeps his Pensieve and memories of Aberforth's death. I don't know of any good guesses about who he might have killed other than Narcissa. Consider my probability estimates revised to be closer together. Not past each other, not even terribly closer, but closer.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-22T06:51:45.038Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

An interesting thought, and one that I had not considered in this light. And yet, right afterwards:

The old wizard looked back up at Harry, and said, in a hoarse voice, "He is not like Grindelwald, Harry. There is nothing human left in him. Him you must destroy. You must not hesitate, when the time comes. To him alone, of all the creatures in this world, you must show no mercy; and when you are done you must forget it, forget that you ever did such a thing, and go back to living. Save your fury for that, and that alone."

This seems to make it clear to me that it is not that Dumbledore thought that he would never kill, and then Voldemort's war changed that, and he killed. It's that he thought that he should never kill, and then Voldemort himself became the exception, changed the rules so that he should kill Voldemort.

At least, it is an alternate possibility.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-13T08:10:15.653Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There is, of course, the Third Option.

Dumbledore did it, but he did not do it personally.

If Dumbledore manipulated Bones into murdering Narcissa, then we would have a universe where both Dumbledore and Bones would be emotionally affected by her death, where Bones would not want Dumbledore to take the legal blame and where Dumbledore would willingly take the (informal) blame.

comment by 75th · 2013-07-14T01:06:38.461Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think Amelia Bones is the kind of woman who needs to be manipulated by Dumbledore to get revenge. My similar hypothesis is that Amelia needed Dumbledore's help to infiltrate Malfoy Manor and pull it off. Aberforth's death provided the impetus for Dumbledore to help, but he didn't cast the spell.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-13T08:02:58.959Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Aumann's Agreement Theorem. None of us are rational or observant enough to qualify, unfortunately.

comment by gjm · 2013-07-13T09:44:08.176Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The Agreement Theorem is a consider-a-spherical-cow sort of result; its preconditions are absurdly strong. (In particular, the fact that the agents concerned are required not only to be perfect Bayesian reasoners but to have common knowledge that they are so.)

But even without Aumann one might hope for better agreement than we actually see...

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-22T06:44:13.485Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In fact, I and possibly pedanterrific may be the only ones in the entire readership whose expectations aren't subverted.

Observation bias. Just because the two people mentioned speak up about it (presumably) so much more than others doesn't mean that they are the only ones who hold this belief.

I share this belief with you, for instance. I find those hints to be convincing, narratively speaking.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-07-12T12:44:52.814Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I just don't get it. I don't understand people's reluctance to believe this, to step outside the text and realize that these are purposely written clues. Maybe it's because I'm acting all certain again; maybe perceived overconfidence causes bad reactions in people even with all the supporting evidence, not only without it.

Eliezer's overconfidence script is dangerous.

comment by 75th · 2013-07-09T18:38:53.705Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore's motive is almost certainly stronger than Amelia's.

Which is why I think it a significant possibility that Dumbledore helped in some way.

Any of those defenses might be sufficient for a single clue, but you have to take the clues together. Three successive clues (plus her character) pointing to Amelia, and only some words spoken to Lucius that we never saw pointing to Albus (and everything else we know of his character pointing away from him, though I know some would argue that), increase the probability of Amelia's guilt quite a bit more than linearly.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T07:19:38.782Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I heard that it was na nppvqragny frys-xvyy ol Anepvffn hfvat Svraqsler ntnvafg fbzr rarzl.

comment by thomblake · 2013-07-02T20:49:58.199Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I prefer the theory that qhzoyrqber hfrq svraqsler gb qrfgebl gur qvnel ubepehk jura ur gubhtug gur ubhfr jnf rzcgl, naq gura pynvzrq perqvg sbe anepvffn'f qrngu fb gung ure fnpevsvpr jbhyq abg or zrnavatyrff

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T19:24:06.647Z · score: 1 (9 votes) · LW · GW

For example, before reading the author's notes on HPMoR I was not familiar with Chekhov's Gun.

Really? I remember being about eight years old, watching an episode of Power Rangers, and seeing some random no-name tourist drop a camera and the shot lingered on it for about half a second. My instant thought was "Oh, the bad guy is going to be built from a camera", and sure enough it was. They'd never have put that in the episode otherwise, and that was obvious to me at that age.

comment by ModusPonies · 2013-07-10T19:50:13.803Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

http://xkcd.com/1053/

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T16:20:44.465Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The neural net updating algorithm calls for a nudge in the appropriate direction of "Beware of dismissing those who speak with what you think is too much confidence."

No, it doesn't, not out of thousands of predictions of which you selected one post hoc. If I may quote you, our minds do not run on floating point beliefs.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-07-01T03:34:07.137Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If 75th's predictions were just luck, wouldn't it be likely for there to be other people who got a smaller number of the predictions right?

comment by gwern · 2013-07-01T16:31:46.071Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. If you look through the threads or the PredictionBook entries, there are plenty of people blowing predictions. (A particularly good example was the Wizengamot trial: how would Harry rescue Hermione? The actual solution was 1 of the top 2 or 3 suggestions, but that still implies a lot of people favoriting wrong solutions.)

comment by Estarlio · 2013-07-01T16:01:24.316Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Even if 75ths predictions aren't just luck, you don't have enough information to meaningfully update across such a broad reference class. If it's got to overcome the weight of everyone I think is speaking with too much confidence on the other end of the lever, it's not going to move far enough to be noticeable.

comment by 75th · 2013-06-30T09:28:30.780Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW · GW

He had the opportunity to make more than that prediction, and he failed to take it.

I totally get the point of the rest of your comment, but not this sentence. A correct prediction is meaningless because it wasn't accompanied by another correct prediction?

I'm not trying to toot my own horn here; I've gotten things wrong too, and my original comment in question here was much more about expressing my despair at Chapter 84 than trying to register a prediction for later credit. But I don't see how I had any particular "opportunity to make more than that prediction" that I failed to take, beyond the fact that anyone can make any prediction they feel like any time they feel like it.

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T16:17:31.116Z · score: 12 (16 votes) · LW · GW

A correct prediction is meaningless because it wasn't accompanied by another correct prediction?

More or less. Think of it in terms of selection bias: a bunch of people enter a lottery of some sort. After the lottery concludes, the lottery organizer Yliezer Eudkowsky praises the winner, entrant #57, for their deep insights into lotteries and how to guess the winning number and admonishes everyone who told #57 to not get his hopes up. Do we now credit #57 for wisdom and study his numerology? No, not really.

Now, if #57 had simultaneously entered 5 other lotteries and won 3 of them, then we would start wondering what #57's edge is and preorder #57's upcoming book Secrets of the RNG Illuminati. Or even if he had won none of those other lotteries and simply gotten 3 near-misses (5 out of 6 digits right, for example), that would still serve as replication of above-average predictive accuracy and not mere selection effects, and persuade us that something was going on there beyond randomness+post-hoc-selection.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T02:55:22.235Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

You know perfectly well that one does not get to preach about a single right prediction. He had the opportunity to make more than that prediction, and he failed to take it.

Mm. I think there's wisdom in the approach of only making public predictions when you're very confident in them, and that may have been the only thing 75th was that confident in. (This isn't a very good approach for calibrating your brain's sense of uncertainty, but it has other benefits.)

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-07-01T08:14:28.132Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You can always make public predictions with the confidence that you have on prediction book.

comment by AndrewH · 2013-06-30T07:19:48.191Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Could be that 'use 75th' only had the right information and mental algorithms to produce the correct prediction in this one case. Other cases 'user 75th' might not have passed a sufficient threshold of probability to spout out a prediction.

Please label me as user 2nd when it comes to predictions of 'user 75th' 's predictive powers.

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T11:23:35.717Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I doubt, though, that Harry will turn evil due to this.

comment by ITakeBets · 2013-06-30T19:58:34.993Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I am breaking my "only comment on LW if you expect some benefit" rule because I am in a somewhat unique position to comment on this, and I agree with Eliezer that "penalizing people for sounding certain or uppity or above-the-status-you-assign-them can potentially lead you to ignore people who are actually competent". See, I made this update at an earlier time under not-dissimilar circumstances. (In short, I thought ArisKatsaris was making an overconfident prediction about HPMoR, bet against him, and lost.)

An excerpt from my journal, 3/28/2012:

Well, I lost my bet. But what did I learn? Give less probability mass to “some unknown possibility no one has thought of” when the number of people thinking is sufficiently large. Also, arrogant people may be arrogant because they’re usually right, so be careful of the impulse to smack them down.

So, you know, here's a chance to learn a $30 lesson for free, people.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2013-07-02T00:39:48.261Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I went to check on the original comment, saw that I had downvoted it, and now I am embarrassed.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-07-02T00:43:06.087Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Upvoted for embarrassment.

comment by LucasSloan · 2013-06-30T07:17:57.985Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Well, in the spirit of sticking your neck out:

Harry was sorted into Slytherin.

Dumbledore created Harry to be the ideal literary hero.

Lord Voldemort doesn't want to conquer the world.

Dumbledore is working on way more advance information than everyone else.

comment by Pavitra · 2013-06-30T10:17:01.382Z · score: 12 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Counter-evidence: Harry produces blue and bronze sparks at Ollivander's.

As long as we're sticking necks out, though:

  • Definitely: The horcrux technology uses the ghost phenomenon. Specifically, by causing the violent death of a wizard under controlled conditions (i.e., murder) it's possible to harness the powerful burst of magic to make a ghost of the living caster instead of of the dying victim: a backup copy. A ghost may be static data rather than a running instance, but hey, so is a cryo patient.

  • Definitely: Baby Harry was overwritten with a horcrux-backup-copy of Voldemort. Voldemort didn't plan on childhood amnesia, though, and much of the information was erased (or at least made harder to access consciously). The Remembrall-like-the-Sun indicated the forgotten lifetime as Riddle. Remnants of Voldemort's memories are the reason Harrymort has a cold side; his upbringing in a loving family is the reason he has a warm side.

  • Mere hunch: In chapter 45, the Dementor recognized Harry as Voldemort and addressed him by name: "Riddle".

  • Mere hunch: Voldemort may have chosen to impress his horcrux in a living human in order to try to get around the "static data" problem. If it had worked, he would have forked himself -- there would have been two fully functional running instances of Voldemort, all the time, plus twelve hours a day worth of Time-copies.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T21:47:23.803Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

The horcrux technology uses the ghost phenomenon. Specifically, by causing the violent death of a wizard under controlled conditions (i.e., murder)

Some of the horcruxes in canon are made from murdering Muggles, though.

In chapter 45, the Dementor recognized Harry as Voldemort and addressed him by name: "Riddle".

I don't see anywhere that this happens in Chapter 45.

comment by monsterzero · 2013-07-04T13:53:11.695Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Very early in the chapter: "He had regained an impossible memory, for all that the Dementor had made him desecrate it. A strange word kept echoing in his mind."

And later: "Harry glanced in the Dementor's direction. The word echoed in his mind again. All right, Harry thought to himself, if the Dementor is a riddle, what is the answer? And just like that, it was obvious."

Once Harry figures out what Dementors are, he stops being able to hear their "voices", because he no longer sees (hears) them as sentient. But if "the word" was actually coming from the Dementor, I don't know what would've kept everyone else from hearing it.

comment by LauralH · 2015-01-09T12:15:05.719Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nice job!

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-06-30T11:02:09.251Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think Voldemort sets himself up to move from host to host, and who better to move into, than the hero who saves the world from Voldemort?

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T11:25:45.185Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Does that mean that both Harry and Quirrel are Voldemort?

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-06-30T18:58:55.645Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Without getting into a tiresome analysis of identity theory, Quirrell is currently almost entirely Voldemort, while Harry has a little of the devil in him.

comment by Skeeve · 2013-06-30T13:31:46.589Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Not yet, but that would seem to be a plausible end-game for Quirrelmort.

comment by Mietek_Bak · 2013-06-30T21:30:36.562Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In chapter 45, the Dementor recognized Harry as Voldemort and addressed him by name: "Riddle".

Well spotted.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T19:29:19.508Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore created Harry to be the ideal literary hero.

This is canon.

Dumbledore is working on way more advance information than everyone else.

To a lesser extent, this is as well.

comment by LucasSloan · 2013-07-01T06:11:45.405Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Let me be more specific then.

*Dumbledore has had the intention of creating the boy who lived since before Harry's birth and likely, before his parent's marriage.

*Dumbledore has access to many, many more prophecies than anyone else and has been using this fact for decades.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-02T02:23:50.122Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Those are vastly more interesting predictions. Plausible, and it'd be an interesting story if true.

comment by roystgnr · 2013-06-30T06:58:44.046Z · score: 2 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I wasn't one of the downvotes, but if I'd seen it I would have been.

I count 14 sentences in that post which each deserve an upvote, but then a 15th sentence which more than cancels out all the rest, not due to certainty, but due to literal malevolence!

But you're awarding Bayes points for a combination of brilliant analysis and anti-goodness motivation? I thought we were anti-UFAI here...

comment by 75th · 2013-06-30T08:21:55.258Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Ha, interesting take. That last sentence was not actually an endorsement of horrible murderous things happening, it was just my way of saying "Now let's get down to business" about the home stretch of the story.

comment by roystgnr · 2013-07-01T04:44:07.150Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the clarification! I retract my objections.

As for the common criticism, although I'm as adamant as the next person here that "p=1" is impossible without infinite evidence, I don't think that fact demands that every casual conversation must quantify "1 minus epsilon" or even explicitly acknowledge it.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-06-30T10:42:38.865Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Certainty would have been inappropriate whether he turned out to be correct or not, but seeing it here, I took it as a prediction and not a guarantee, and regardless, any mistaken certainty should not be held against the hypothesis anyway.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T04:29:41.449Z · score: 0 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I stand by my downvote. Not for the prediction, but for the way it was phrased. (That said, if the parts I considered to be melodrama turn out to be literally correct, I will revise it to an upvote)

comment by maia · 2013-06-30T05:09:56.299Z · score: 11 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Some of the melodramatic parts have already been proven right:

You will die horribly, dramatically, grotesquely, and utterly.

Both of her legs were eaten by a troll before she died, and as she died, she whispered to Harry, "Not your fault." Check.

You will die horribly, and Harry Potter will watch, and Harry Potter will crack open and fall apart and explode, but even he in all his desperation and fury will not be able to save you.

Check.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-06-30T10:51:40.970Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting that Harry uses his med pack he bought in anticipation of almost exactly the scenario which played out when he used it, except that Hermione absolves him instead of cursing him.

“One of my classmates gets bitten by a horrible monster, and as I scrabble frantically in my mokeskin pouch for something that could help her, she looks at me sadly and with her last breath says, ‘Why weren’t you prepared?’ And then she dies, and I know as her eyes close that she won’t ever forgive me—”

The detailed foreshadowing often seems like part of the story, not just as aspect of the story. What is said comes true much more than it should, and in much more detail than it should. "Bitten" is a very specific way to die.

comment by Skeeve · 2013-06-30T19:05:19.826Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

You know, speaking of foreshadowing...

That very quote led into McGonagall's theory that Harry had suffered some kind of trauma and had it Obliviated. And then there was that business with the Remembrall in chapter 17. I'd have to go back and check for more instances of Harry specifically foreshadowing a future event like this, but more and more I'm beginning to think that Harry has forgotten or locked foreknowledge that's leaking into his subconscious.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-06-30T19:37:45.822Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

But in Chapter 17, McGongall rejects the theory that remembralls detect Obliviation.

“More importantly, why did the Remembrall go off like that?” Harry said. “Does it mean I’ve been Obliviated?”

“That puzzles me as well,” Professor McGonagall said slowly. “If it were that simple, I would think that the courts would use Remembralls, and they do not. I shall look into it, Mr. Potter.” She sighed. “You can go now.”

But, strange that Harry doesn't think to keep experimenting with the Remembrall.

comment by Skeeve · 2013-06-30T19:44:44.922Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

But, strange that Harry doesn't think to keep experimenting with the Remembrall.

This bothered me as well. It's a mysterious phenomenon that directly relates to Harry's own mental state. He should have been all over that.

comment by Tripitaka · 2013-06-30T22:54:59.257Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Harry had forgotten that he was not to use his timeturner in front of other people- a fact which got him a very stern rebuke from Mcgonagall.

comment by Skeeve · 2013-06-30T23:00:49.224Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

That's plausible, but if so, it seems like a very disproportionate response from the Remembrall; that is assuming that under ordinary circumstances Remembralls light up like they do in canon, which I suppose is not necessarily a given.

comment by taelor · 2013-07-01T01:19:08.787Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

“If it were that simple, I would think that the courts would use Remembralls, and they do not. I shall look into it, Mr. Potter.”

From what we've seen of Wizard courts, they aren't exactly bastions of prudence and rationality.

comment by gwern · 2013-07-01T01:22:02.132Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

And we never did hear back from her on that topic, did we?

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T07:24:30.244Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Could he have forgotten without obliviation?

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T05:17:18.014Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Don't go making that second checkmark yet - we're still within the Time-Turner window here. (I'd put it at maybe 2% that he manages to save her - EY doesn't seem the type for cheap copouts like that - but that's still high enough for a bit of bet-heging)

comment by Nornagest · 2013-06-30T05:22:41.414Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

It's not going to happen. You don't hang that much drama on an event if you intend to reverse it quickly, unless you're going for comedy, and comedy doesn't make sense in this context.

That said, if you'd asked me a day ago I would have said that there are too many dangling plot threads surrounding her for the story to do what it just did, so it's probably a good idea to adjust your confidence of predictions based on narrative mechanics appropriately.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T05:38:39.091Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Like I said, very low odds. But Eliezer is a clever guy, he could plausibly figure out some way of bringing her back without tripping off too many narrative bullshit detectors.

comment by loserthree · 2013-06-30T06:38:34.940Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

It sounds like you might be mistaking Eliezer's role in this, and mistaking your desires for desires we can reasonably assign to Eliezer.

This isn't something that happened to the HP&tMoR version of Hermione Granger, this is something that Eliezer, the author did to the HP&tMoR version of Hermione Granger.

He did it for a reason. He's almost certainly been planning it all along. If it made him sad then it first made him sad quite some time ago. He's not feeling the surprised dismay you have today.

He wanted this.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T06:53:06.046Z · score: -3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

He wanted the words written on the page to be written on the page, yes. That does not, strictly speaking, mean that he wants Hermione to be dead. He's been known to play with our expectations before, after all.

Edit: To clarify, this is almost certainly wishful thinking talking, and I acknowledge that. But a guy can dream.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T05:51:58.317Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Edit: I just reread

Harry would learn whatever he had to learn, invent whatever he had to invent, rip the knowledge of Salazar Slytherin from the Dark Lord's mind, discover the secret of Atlantis, open any gates or break any seals necessary, find his way to the root of all magic and reprogram it. He would rip apart the foundations of reality itself to get Hermione Granger back.

And now...well, I think the odds are below 1%. There's no elegant way to walk that back.

comment by robryk · 2013-06-30T08:56:34.363Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Time turners cannot alter anything the user knows about (for some value of `know'), so it would require reenacting this exact scene. So someone would have to simulate Harry's experiences, including the magical event, confuse Harry's patronus as to location of Hermione (or cause Hermione to actually be on scene, albeit invisible), and control the troll, so that it behaved exactly in the way Harry remembers it to have behaved. Also, Dumbledore would need not to tell Harry anything that he couldn't have lied when he said he was responding to the death of a student.

comment by elharo · 2013-06-30T17:09:06.047Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm betting Hermione is really, really dead (though Harry may yet resurrect her). However, remember that writing a story is often the inverse of reading it. It's like solving a maze by starting from the goal and working backward to the beginning: often much easier.

If (big if) Hermione is resurrected and/or not really dead, then Eliezer very likely started from a narrative goal of having Harry see Hermione's horrible but fake/reversible death and then worked backwards from there to make it happen. As readers we have the much tougher task of working forward from the clues to the correct conclusion.

That is, Eliezer did not have to figure out how to write himself out of this series of events. He constructed these events to lead to the conclusion he wants.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T09:05:48.484Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The soul releasing seems easy enough to fake, as does Hermione's comment to the Patronus. Hermione being under an invisibiliy cloak near fake-Hermione would do for the Patronus taking Harry to her(though screaming mid-combat would be quite dangerous, even invisible).

The hardest part would be creating a fake Hermione sufficiently well to convince both the troll and Harry. Do we know of any magic sufficient to that task? Copying the form can be done, as was done with the Azkaban breakout, but the blood and the talking both seem outside the capabilities of that spell.

comment by Pavitra · 2013-06-30T10:04:19.467Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's not obvious to me how to fake the soul releasing. It was perceived by the magic-sense, not just with the muggle senses.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-30T12:39:35.517Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Here's a miserable plot possibility. Hermione was concealed, something went wrong, and the feeling of her mind going past was because a number of other things happened, and the concealed Hermione was killed.

Neutral plot possibility: usually, dying minds aren't felt in the wizarding world. Something unusual was going on, and I don't know what it was.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-07-01T01:56:20.507Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Here's a miserable plot possibility. Hermione was concealed, something went wrong, and the feeling of her mind going past was because a number of other things happened, and the concealed Hermione was killed.

This seems unlikely. This would end up sounding a lot like "don't tamper with fate". That sort of thing is very common in time travel stories where someone tries to save someone's life, but it has a massively anti-transhumanist, pro-deathist vibe. I doubt Eliezer would do it.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-07-01T03:37:58.606Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm assuming that Hermione is going to be brought back somehow, so the implication isn't that you can't fight fate, it's that the world has wildly complicated plot twists.

comment by Pavitra · 2013-07-08T06:21:03.028Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Neutral plot possibility: usually, dying minds aren't felt in the wizarding world. Something unusual was going on, and I don't know what it was.

This seems unlikely. There was a mention about ghosts being caused by "the burst of magic that accompanied the violent death of a wizard" (or something along those lines -- I don't feel like looking up the exact quote right now.)

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-22T13:52:03.628Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Neutral plot possibility: usually, dying minds aren't felt in the wizarding world. Something unusual was going on, and I don't know what it was.

Thank you for saying this. I've been hoping someone would make note of this. Don't people remember the fight with the bullies in ch 73?

Three blasts of brilliance slammed into Susan at once, she had her wand raised as though she could counter them and there was a white flash as the hexes struck the magical wood, but then Susan's legs convulsed and sent her flying into a corridor wall. Her head hit with a strange cracking sound, and then Susan fell down and lay motionless with her head at an odd-seeming angle, her wand still clutched in one outstretched hand.

There was a moment of frozen silence.

Parvati scrambled over to where Susan lay, pressed a thumb over the pulse point on Susan's wrist, and then - then slowly, tremblingly, Parvati rose to her feet, her eyes huge -

"Vitalis revelio," said Lee just as Parvati opened her mouth, and Susan's body was surrounded by a warm red glow. Now the seventh-year boy really was grinning. "Probably just a broken collarbone, I'd say. Nice try, though."

"Merlin, they are tricky," said Jugson.

"You had me going for a second there, dearies."

If the mad burst of intellect and magic and etc. was standard, they wouldn't have been able to fake it for even a second.

Now, I'm not necessarily saying that the feeling was only because of something fishy going on. I'm just saying that it cannot be the standard.

comment by aleksiL · 2013-07-04T12:39:54.254Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm. How about having someone else die in Hermione's place?

I don't recall offhand if the death burst was recognizable as Hermione, but otherwise it seems doable. Dumbledore said he felt a student die and only realized it was Hermione once he saw her.

You'd need polyjuice for the visual appearance, and either Hermione's presence or a fake Patronus for past-Harry to follow. Hermione is unlikely to go along with the plan willingly sho she'd need to be tricked or incapacitated. Hard to tell which would be easier.

Given the last words, Hermione's doppelganger might need to be complicit with the plan. Easy to accomplish if it was Harry, but I think he's too utilitarian for that. He'd need someone loyal but expendable. Lesath would seem to fit the bill, but I wonder if he'd agree to literally die on Harry's command.

comment by robryk · 2013-07-04T15:02:14.043Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm. How about having someone else die in Hermione's place?

Either Dumbledore is on it and lied to Harry, or it was a student.

I don't recall offhand if the death burst was recognizable as Hermione, but otherwise it seems doable. Dumbledore said he felt a student die and only realized it was Hermione once he saw her.

Harry seemed to think so, but he was obviously biased by seeing Hermione.

You'd need polyjuice for the visual appearance, (...)

Doesn't it wear off after death?

Lesath would seem to fit the bill (...)

Ch92 spoiler: Ur'f nyvir ng qvaare naq ur unf ab gvzr-gheare (Uneel pna'g gnxr bgure crbcyr nybat), fb vg qbrfa'g frrz vg unq unccrarq.

Overall, this plan requires at least 2 hard things to happen correctly: identical fake magic burst and getting real Hermione there and screaming or Patronus shenanigans. I disbelieve this strongly.

comment by maia · 2013-06-30T05:48:57.653Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's true, it's still possible. Nonetheless, there is still a scene where Harry watches Hermione die and can do nothing about it. So I'd consider that it checked even if he brings her back / somehow prevents it retroactively.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-01T06:42:26.573Z · score: 20 (22 votes) · LW · GW

I think I've identified three techniques Eliezer uses to create associations in the readers' minds and promote ideas to their attention.

There's repetition. If you're sensitive to repetition then the repetition will drive you mad. Five false prophets, many uses of Grindelwald's name, and about a zillion instances of the phrase 'the old wizard'. Dumbledore is old, old, old.

There's placing two related ideas side by side. Like Harry wondering how magic could possibly work, then segueing into an 'analogy' to artificial intelligence. (Repeatedly, so it's a twofer.) Or the description of phoenix travel appearing in the same chapter as Harry confronting Dumbledore over Narcissa's death.

And there's the throwaway gag that contains the literal truth. "It's not like I'm an imperfect copy of someone else." "Let me know after it turns out that it was Professor Quirrell who did it."

And, perhaps, "And if you coincidentally crack the secret of immortality along the way, we'll just call it a bonus."

After Chapter 87, I thought it likely that Hermione's primary contribution to the story would be to rediscover the Philosopher's Stone through the application of the scientific method, solving humanity's biggest problem with the method humans actually use to solve their big problems. It's a natural fit for her talents, it teaches the lesson that saving the world with science is no less heroic than wandplay and derring-do, and it's a goal she could pursue if her magic deserted her, as it may have just done.

The problem was, Hermoine had a heroic task, but not a heroic motive. And of course she has bigger problems now. They're problems for the story as well. Judging by the number of words he's spent on the subject, it looks like one of Eliezer's goals for HPMoR is to teach us his ideas of what it means to be a hero. Hermione's premature death spoils the lesson. The story's told us that she's a hero, but she never finished becoming one. She never found something to protect.

So. I'm confident that she'll return, and that death will be her Azkaban, the injustice that calls her to action. I rather think her heroism will take the form of research into a source of immortality. This will require Harry's means of restoring her to life to be insufficiently general to help the rest of humanity, but I have no idea what Harry's going to do so I think I'll end my speculations here. Am I on the right track?

comment by 75th · 2013-07-01T02:22:57.819Z · score: 20 (20 votes) · LW · GW

The Headmaster can feel when a student dies in Hogwarts. That's how he showed up the moment Hermione died.

But the Headmaster can also feel when a creature unknown to Hogwarts is in Hogwarts. That's how he showed up when Harry rejected his phoenix.

But so why didn't Dumbledore feel the troll and intercept it much sooner? I expect before long the Dumbledore-haters — both those in the story and those on Less Wrong and Reddit — will latch on to this as proof that Dumbledore has been evil all along.

The problem is, we know a thing or two about Hogwarts's wards by now. We know, for instance, that Salazar Slytherin was the one who wove them:

or by some entity which Salazar Slytherin keyed into his wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself.

Salazar Slytherin's wards. Salazar Slytherin, who left a basilisk that knew all his secrets. Secrets that Quirrellmort now knows.

Dumbledore will try to tell the wizarding world that the only explanation of Hermione's death is that Voldemort was behind the attack. This will be seen by the world as the same thing Headmaster Dippet actually did when Myrtle died: the accusation of an unlikely — "preposterous!" — scapegoat.

And now, Lucius Malfoy is there to stir up the opposition:

Lucius Malfoy controls Minister Fudge, through the Daily Prophet he sways all Britain, only by bare margins does he not control enough of the Board of Governors to oust me from Hogwarts.

Those bare margins are about to be erased. For the first time in fifty years, a student has died in Hogwarts, and there is reason to suspect Dumbledore of involvement. Dumbledore is not going to be Headmaster for very much longer.

And the Philosopher's Stone is there, in Hogwarts, in the place, until now, of Dumbledore's own power.

Eliezer took the troll fight that a first-year Ron Weasley won in canon and turned it into the death of the #2 character in Methods. I can't wait to see what he does with this.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-07-01T08:05:08.772Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Lucius is going to be outraged and lead an opposition to Dumbledore because the attempted murderer of his son, who he tried to send to Azkaban for 10 years, got killed in Hogwarts? I think that would seem a bit odd to everyone involved.

Lucius has means of his own, and had every reason to arrange Hermione's death.

comment by ygert · 2013-07-01T14:01:30.153Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No, Lucius is going to stir up an opposition to Dumbledore because Dumbledore is his hated enemy. Do you honestly think that Lucius would pass by any excuse to harm Dumbledore?

(And he will have a easy time at it too. A troll loose in Hogwarts, killing a student? That will reflect extremely badly on Dumbledore, even from the viewpoint of the neutral factions.)

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-07-02T08:50:52.658Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Do you honestly think that Lucius would pass by any excuse to harm Dumbledore?

He'd pass on excuses that don't benefit him. He's the obvious suspect. Accomplishing the crime redounds to his reputation and benefit. Why spoil it?

The alternative you propose would seem rather absurd in the face of everyone assuming Lucius arranged the death of Hermione in the first place, after failing to arrange her death in Azkaban.

comment by ygert · 2013-07-02T14:09:36.855Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You want everybody to think Lucius is behind it. They have no reason to want to think that. I think this is warping your thinking. From a basic political point of view, I find it unlikely that any but Dumbledore's allies would be trying to pin the blame on Malfoy.

Here, tell you what. Predictions should be recorded. Here is my prediction on PredictionBook.

comment by Intrism · 2013-07-01T02:56:37.466Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The Headmaster was off campus; it's not necessarily true that he can access all the Hogwarts wards from off campus. He did notice when Hermione died, but considering the giant soulsplosion it's likely that this was somewhat more obvious to him than a wards violation. Furthermore, considering the timing of his absences, it's likely that Dumbledore was off hunting Horcruxes - an excellent opportunity, therefore, for Quirrell to lure Dumbledore into a trap to induce magical radio silence.

Politically speaking, it makes no sense for Dumbledore to kill Hermione. Even the Daily Prophet would have a hard time spinning that particular story. The Wizengamot's response to the death of Draco Malfoy's supposed assassin and Lucius Malfoy's hated enemy will not, no matter the circumstances, be to flock to Lucius' side. It would, however, still reflect very badly on Dumbledore; obviously, mountain trolls should not show up in schools, and the responsibility for preventing such things lies with him.

comment by 75th · 2013-07-01T03:21:27.124Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The Wizengamot's response to the death of Draco Malfoy's supposed assassin and Lucius Malfoy's hated enemy will not, no matter the circumstances, be to flock to Lucius' side.

I think you're being generous to the wizarding public. Lucius Malfoy can probably prove — the Hogwarts wards can possibly prove — that neither Lucius nor Draco has been in Hogwarts for quite some time. It won't be too hard for Lucius to say the better-written equivalent of

"Regardless of my personal feelings for Miss Granger, I would never besmirch House Malfoy by reneging in such brutal fashion on a matter of House honor. The question at hand is this: how could Dumbledore not have known the troll was in Hogwarts? And if he did know, where was he during the attack? If you would like to propose that Dumbledore and I were in collusion on the matter — well, I'm sure a simple show of hands will make clear how likely this assembly is to believe that."

Not too hard for Lucius to talk his way out of. Very much harder for Dumbledore.

EDIT: I agree that not all of Hogwarts's wards are necessarily available to Dumbledore off-campus. But the mechanisms of these two wards have been described identically: Poof, he appears, and says "I felt X". I wouldn't assume by default that two wards that function identically would differ in such an important aspect.

DOUBLE EDIT: It could easily be said that it makes political sense for Dumbledore to kill Hermione, as an attempt to frame Lucius. But then, if Dumbledore doesn't actually speak up against Lucius…

It is complicated. But I still think Dumbledore is in trouble, just from the perspective of Eliezer taking a more serious, realistic look at events from canon.

comment by Intrism · 2013-07-01T14:48:37.050Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Honestly, I think you're the one overestimating the Wizarding public. The arguments from the wards aren't bad ones, necessarily, but they're technical ones. They won't play well. At best, they'll turn into conspiracy theories. Most of the public is going to look at the scene and see Lucius triumphant and Dumbledore with a black eye, and make the obvious conclusion.

It will still be basically the same in front of the Wizengamot. Having Hermione killed under his own protection means trouble for Dumbledore - it would be the second major security incident at Hogwarts in less than a month, and the first student killed in fifty years. It's not an impossible black eye for Dumbledore to overcome, and he could surely take it if necessary. But... Dumbledore doesn't have a compelling reason to take the hit. Framing Lucius is not an especially good motive, particularly considering that half of the Wizengamot cares not one whit about Hermione Granger's life or death. And, if he did want her dead, he could have avoided the fallout by sending her home over Spring Break with a snake in her trunk.

The technical argument... is still a bit above the Wizengamot. They might understand, "well, because of the wards this should have been impossible," but this will translate to "Lucius Malfoy found a way to trick Dumbledore's magic" and not "Hmm. Should Lucius Malfoy and his hired help really be in the same weight class as the Founders' wards?"

Finally, you're assuming that Lucius wants to clear his name. I don't think this makes very much sense, either. Sure, it's bad PR in many circles, but Lucius already has a horrible reputation, and I don't expect he'll be terribly concerned. On the other hand, killing a student right under Dumbledore's nose would be an excellent show of force, and it would impress people that he cares rather more about. It might be exactly what he needs, in fact - I imagine his credibility took quite a hit when Hermione Granger managed to escape punishment for an attempted assassination.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-07-01T08:07:30.500Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The Wizengamot's response to the death of Draco Malfoy's supposed assassin and Lucius Malfoy's hated enemy will not, no matter the circumstances, be to flock to Lucius' side.

I don't know about that. People like a winner. Being thwarted in his revenge against Hermione doesn't look so good, while killing an enemy under Dumbledore's protection does.

comment by tim · 2013-07-01T22:30:45.712Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The only people who would view this event as "killing an enemy under Dumbledore's protection" and that the death of a first year girl makes Lucius look like a winner are going to be the people already on Lucius' side.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-07-02T08:47:08.479Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

People like power, and those who have it.

I am a little surprised that there has been no discussion of Lucius as the obvious suspect.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T18:43:30.228Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It was Quirrell in the books? And, lets face it, it fits fairly well if you assume he was the one targeting her from the beginning.

comment by maia · 2013-07-01T12:03:46.904Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

But so why didn't Dumbledore feel the troll and intercept it much sooner?

In canon, the troll was in Hogwarts already, because Dumbledore brought it in to guard the Sorcerer's Stone. If he did something similar in Methods!canon, then Quirrell could easily have taken advantage of this to escape notice by the wards.

comment by ygert · 2013-07-01T14:07:22.534Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No. In canon, there were two trolls. Everyone seems to forget this. But then again, in canon Hogwarts was never described as having the same kind of comprehensive ward system it has in HPMOR.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T18:41:31.758Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer took the troll fight that a first-year Ron Weasley won in canon and turned it into the death of the #2 character in Methods.

To be fair, Methods trolls are significantly more powerful, in keeping with the First Law of Fanfiction - or maybe just to lay the groundwork for this O_o

comment by Nisan · 2013-07-10T15:53:27.126Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

.

comment by stcredzero · 2013-07-01T20:31:42.458Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW · GW

From Chapter 6:

Harry was examining the wizarding equivalent of a first-aid kit, the Emergency Healing Pack Plus. There were two self-tightening tourniquets. A Stabilisation Potion, which would slow blood loss and prevent shock. A syringe of what looked like liquid fire, which was supposed to drastically slow circulation in a treated area while maintaining oxygenation of the blood for up to three minutes, if you needed to prevent a poison from spreading through the body. White cloth that could be wrapped over a part of the body to temporarily numb pain. Plus any number of other items that Harry totally failed to comprehend, like the "Dementor Exposure Treatment", which looked and smelled like ordinary chocolate. Or the "Bafflesnaffle Counter", which looked like a small quivering egg and carried a placard showing how to jam it up someone's nostril.

From Chapter 89:

"Fuego!" / "Incendio!" Harry heard, but he wasn't looking, he was reaching for the syringe of glowing orange liquid that was the oxygenating potion, pushing it into Hermione's neck at what Harry hoped was the carotid artery, to keep her brain alive even if her lungs or heart stopped, so long as her brain stayed intact everything else could be fixed, it had to be possible for magic to fix it, it had to be possible for magic to fix it, it had to be possible for magic to fix it, and Harry pushed the plunger of the syringe all the way down, creating a faint glow beneath the pale skin of her neck. Harry then pushed down on her chest, where her heart should be, hard compressions that he hoped was moving the oxygenated blood around to where it could reach her brain, even if her heart might have stopped beating, he hadn't actually thought to check her pulse.

The oxygenation potion also slows circulation. Did Harry accidentally kill Hermione? Would the potion have unintentionally prevented blood flow to her brain by retarding flow in her carotid artery, while unhelpfully oxygenating her neck? It makes sense that a potion designed to prevent the spread of poison would prevent movement of the blood. It's also stated that it works on "a treated area." If it's primarily meant to slow the spread of poisons from bites, the spell's "treated area" might be defined as the volume of flesh a certain distance away from the injection site.

Also, giving CPR to someone when their heart is still beating is definitely not good for them.

comment by thakil · 2013-07-02T08:21:14.796Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Huh, reading that quote again it occurs to me that Harry doesn't reach for the oxygenating potion, he reaches for the syringe of glowing orange liquid that was the oxygenating potion. A truly prepared murderer would merely have to replace the syringe with... something else.

comment by William_Quixote · 2013-07-01T23:07:10.582Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Man, that's brutal

comment by PatSwanson · 2013-07-01T22:43:50.376Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How bad is it for someone's legs to be missing?

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-06-30T12:23:49.122Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW · GW

A nice touch when Harry is fighting the troll: When he engages his killer instinct, from then on the troll is only referred to as the "enemy", in one case even with a capital E.

Interestingly, while Harry explicitly mentions "censors off" (concerning no more screening off of potential killing methods), that mode of thinking also engages other filters, dehumanizing (de-troll-izing) the creature he's fighting and only seeing it as "the Enemy".

comment by pedanterrific · 2013-07-02T00:20:25.971Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Another nice touch: Quirrell's thoughts do the same.

comment by DiscyD3rp · 2013-06-30T22:15:50.686Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

My explicit hope is that Harry is doing that intentionally, after carefully determining whether the troll needs to die or not. For (what I think is) the purpose of increasing his chance of success. He seems exactly the kind of guy who'd temporarily manipulate and self-decieve himself for high instrumental utility, and has demonstrated the ability in the past (with the Dementors in TSPE). The main competing hypothesis is rationalizations from an influential Dark Side, which seems less likely. (~10%)

comment by fractalman · 2013-07-01T21:29:05.774Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

He'd already thought "action.run: twins get eaten". so...yeah.

comment by loserthree · 2013-06-30T07:25:13.581Z · score: 19 (25 votes) · LW · GW

What happened to Hermione was shocking and has nearly monopolized the posts in this thread so far.

There's aftermath coming, though, and I'd like to talk about that. Harry is probably in a lot of trouble. Here's a short list of rules violations:

  • He left the Great Hall when specifically warned that doing so would result in expulsion and when he's not allowed to be expelled.
  • He inspired other students to take up arms against their teachers, or their groundskeeper, or against their teachers by way of their teachers' groundskeeper, or something. It probably got even worse after he left.
  • He endangered other students, the twins, even before confronting the troll by way of unsafe broom usage. Point three see, and all that.
  • He revealed his super-secret patronus that Dumbledore told him to keep secret, a super secret.
  • He may have damaged His Father's Rock.
  • He transfigured something that burns, specifically so that it would do so.
  • He has committed himself to a course of action fundamentally at odds with participating in society in any reasonable fashion.

The transfiguration is probably the worst on the list, really. If Harry is lucid at the end of this chapter I expect there will be some throw away line, possibly post-timeskip, about Dumbledore taking measures to avoid Transfiguration Sickness from the gases escaping the troll's skull.

And, really, why did Dumbledore tell him to carry that damn rock? Did he know? Or has Dumbledore found it so useful to carry a large rock around that "get a big rock, keep it with you at all times" is in the top five things he'd tell his younger self if he ever got the chance? Seriously -- the fuck?

I wonder if this arc will be like the psychological sort of horror movie where there's lots of action in the first twenty minute and the rest of the movie is the people who aren't dead yet being mean to each other. I can see that kind of aftermath, here. It won't be pretty.

On the other hand, if the twins go sufficiently public about Harry's homid patronus then Lucius will find out about it anyway and there won't be any reason for Harry not to use it to communicate with Draco. At least, not until the restraining order shows up.

Seriously, having your stalker's glow-in-the-dark spirit animal bounce in through a wall at the most inopportune moments to remind you that they're still thinking about you and really just want to talk could lead a person to think maybe Azkaban isn't so bad an idea after all. Ugh.

comment by Jurily · 2013-06-30T09:23:30.605Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

I actually expected Harry to cast the Killing Curse as a last ditch desperation/rage effort. He knew what it does, has seen the wand movements and pronounciation (in the Dementor dream), knew and had the required state of mind. That should be enough to cast it, as per Ch26 ("He is in his sixth year at Hogwarts and he cast a high-level Dark curse without knowing what it did.").

comment by BlackNoise · 2013-06-30T20:15:02.974Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I've used it myself. All it takes is power and a certain mood.

Harry may have had the mood, but there's doubt about the Power, and there's also been multiple foreshadows of how broken low-level spells are, and a recent mention that he's he can't stop himself from noticing them. Hence "censors off".

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T07:07:10.691Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is the Killing Curse even difficult or costly in mana?

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-22T01:28:57.724Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Avada Kedavra's a curse that needs a powerful bit of magic behind it - you could all get your wands out and point them at me and say the words, and I doubt I'd get so much as a nosebleed."

Alastor Moody (ala Onegl Pebhpu, We.) in Goblet of Fire.

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-22T03:31:09.777Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's... interesting.

Incidentally, I'm not sure how broken elementary charms are in combat other than Transfiguration, and being particularly deadly with Transfiguration without killing yourself requires... not neccesarily Quirrel levels of mana, but some pretty fast transfiguration.

It was always my perception that 1. In Azkaban, Harry had almost cast AK on Bellatrix and Quirrel and 2. Before Mad-eye explained that AK is homing and penetrates walls, that it had to be a fairly easy curse compared to, say, Fiendfire or a Cutting Charm or the Mass Accelerating Charm.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-25T21:09:34.820Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

1) ...huh. I didn't get that impression. I mean, I certainly got the impression that Harry was going to kill them (starting with the auror) but he doesn't know AK, and one thing Harry has never had trouble with was coming up with clever ways of killing.

2) Um. Homing?

The first is that the Killing Curse strikes directly at the soul, and it'll just keep going until it hits one. Straight through shields. Straight through walls.

I guess I can see where you got that impression, but that wasn't my interpretation at all. I thought it just meant that it will continue going on until it hits a soul, off in a straight line (though obviously I was curious about whether it will curve with the Earth, could you drill into the ground and give a pathway up for magma, etc.).

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-26T07:43:01.546Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hmmmm... Let me describe my perceptions of Rationalverse spells...

Avada Kedavra: Moderate to fast bolt, at least a little bit homing or auto-targeting (Allegedly the Sumerian Simple Strike 'has a tendency to hit whatever you look at', this might be similar) at souls, penetrates all normal shields, penetrates at least a few inches of mundane material but probably cannot be targeted in a hugely indirect manner, or would be overpowered. If it homed really well, or was both auto-targetting and an instantaneous bolt, nobody would be able to dodge it. Also, I think that AK does not normally do material damage?

The big question is: Why use AK rather than any other curse? Even a moderately powerful wizard should be quite lethal, let alone one educated by Dark Lord Verres. Voldemort is creative enough... Reasons I can think of that are actually stated are only that it penetrates shields and walls. If that were the only advantage, there would be no point in it.

Incidentally, a certain irrational part of me will not be truly satisfied unless we see the Battle of Hogwarts, HPMOR style. Although it would hard to keep that to a visually exciting level, rather than HPJEV just burning everything...

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-26T15:45:42.828Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Moderate to fast bolt seems reasonable. I don't really see it as homing so much as it tends to fly in the direction that you wish it to, without the ability to adjust its flightpath.

It seems that it penetrates all shields, period. Also all materials, period. I mean, I don't get how you can see

Straight through shields. Straight through walls.

And think that it would only penetrate a few inches. I'm not saying that Moody is necessarily being completely truthful (though the silence of everyone else in the room is evidence to either truth or preestablished falsehoods) but from what he said, it looks like throwing up a rock or placing a suit of armor between you and the bolt wouldn't actually work. Those kinds of blocks worked in canon, and it did damage the objects. It just doesn't hurt what it hits when said object has a soul.

Hugely indirect? Do you mean the bolt curving around to target the victim? Or do you mean shooting it from quite a ways away?

It's a one-hit kill spell--if your opponent mostly dodges a Cutting Curse, only brushing them a bit, then they'd come away with a small cut. If they mostly dodge an AK, they're still dead. Also being able to ignore any sort of shield or cover--esp in the Rationverse with their much more complex and comprehensive shields--is incredibly helpful.

Or at the very least, this is how I see it.

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-27T02:43:33.453Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Only a few inches: There is a huge difference between typical house walls and all the walls in the path of several buildings. There is also a difference between that and a large chord of the Earth. (By comparison, modern heavy machine guns may penetrate a whole city block provided they don't hit anything really heavy, man-portable small arms may penetrate several weaker house walls, or some masonry.)

Hugely Indirect: If you can shoot Avada Kedavra through a significant chord of the Earth, then it seems like it would be broken. Targetting might be a problem, but for all the uncreativity of Rationalverse wizards, they are not that bad.

Power: Of course, we've only seen two lethal fights in the Rationalverse. (Team Weasley against the troll, and Quirrel against an Azkaban Auror). Team Weasley seems to use spells that seem like they would be instantly disabling if not fatal against a human, especially with more mana behind them. However, shields might change that significantly (How do shields interact with material forces? We've only ever seen this once. Most people use shields to protect against personal effect spells!) What about counterspells? (Unclear how this works, seems to care about stamina or mana, but we've never had a good description of them even though high-powered fighters use them a LOT, and Quirrel relies on them exclusively. Quirrel took a while to fight the Auror, but was going for shock, and not fighting anywhere near full strength. Plus he probably had to attack shields to avoid killing the Auror.

What about Hypothetical Auror-Level HPEJV? If Harry can transfigure at a rate of 250 grams per second, he will be able to spam Muggle-style kinetic, directed energy, and explosive weapons, especially if he can use physical or magical air protection and armor. These also would benefit from having no audible incantation and a faster time to first impact. (Nothing like Lily Potter shredding Voldemort with a hail of Transfigured recoil-less rounds!) Granted, most wizards are not aware of this possibility, but it suggests that AK has odd characteristics compared to, say, AK-47.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-27T03:55:13.038Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I see. I didn't see it as "it will go through a wall," I saw it as "once it is fired, it will go through anything, and keep on going through it until it hits a soul." Which even on reflection appears to be the more correct interpretation, but that is just my view.

...you don't think that they are that bad, that they could not figure out how to hit a moving target, with a projectile a few inches across, moving slow enough that it can be dodged within a few meters, without the ability to adjust the projectile midflight, through a significant chord of the Earth, when their highest math is apparently trigonometry (ch6)?

From the tidbits we've heard about dueling and fighting, yes, shields change that considerably.

Could you go into detail about how he could spam these things? I'm quite interested in the concept :)

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-28T02:42:57.508Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I guess not a significant chord of the earth, but AK-sniping through huge amounts of intervening material still seems like something that would happen.

Spammable Transfigured Muggle Weaponry:

This could work a LOT of ways. All of these involve breaking McGonagall's Rules of Transfiguration, but could be made safe for the weapon-user and bystanders using various tricks such as transfiguring (maybe partial transfiguration) them out of very small objects, transfiguring them out of water or other nontoxic substances, or using magical or mundane air protection.

Many of these might merit some way to easily provide transfiguration feedstock to one's wand. HPEJV might wrap a strip of duct tape around the end of his wand and transfigure tiny parts of it at a time.

  • It may be possible to transfigure matter in motion or radiation in flight (Fuzzy line!). If so, then hypothetical Harry with a rate of 1 kg/s can generate over 50 petawatts in beam power. (This would probably be fatal.).

  • Even if not, than Harry might Transfigure very small beam generation units, primed to fire, and let them fall away (or Finite them) as soon as they have fired. For example, one might transfigure a unit consisting of a super-radioactive (half-life in milliseconds) isotope and beam collimation assembly, or a laser rod in the process of firing from pre-charged capacitors. These devices would do their work as they either fall away or are suspended by telekinesis or some kind of frame.

  • Alternatively, one could simply transfigure Muggle weapons. McGonagall claims that Muggle guns are not too effective against a good wizard, but she probably is talking about normal small arms. Gyrojet (rocket) weapons or ones that work on the recoil-less rifle principle generate no recoil. Harry could transfigure a stripped-down multi-rocket-launcher or heavy Gyrojet machine pistol right into his hand, fire the entire magazine in less than a second, drop it, and transfigure another. I suspect that even Quirrel might have a hard time dealing with the combined effect of curses applied to bullets, the bullets themselves, and any messes of acid or white phosphorus or other horrific things when they come at him thick enough, and Finite would not be fast enough.

comment by taelor · 2013-06-30T10:46:34.736Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I thought this as well.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T18:14:45.126Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Or has Dumbledore found it so useful to carry a large rock around that "get a big rock, keep it with you at all times" is in the top five things he'd tell his younger self if he ever got the chance? Seriously -- the fuck?

The obvious interpretation of this is that spellcasting is a skill like any other, and practice develops it. By giving Harry an implausibly large object to carry, and then having him interact with the Transfiguration professor, Dumbledore can be fairly confident that Harry will try to transfigure the rock into something more reasonable to have in constant physical contact with him. This constant transfiguration practice will help Harry level up his abilities, and a huge rock is predictably useful in combat situations.

Here's a short list of rules violations:

He also showed off his unique partial transfiguration trick during combat, which Dumbledore was hoping he would save for the Final Battle.

comment by Fhyve · 2013-07-01T00:00:37.413Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Only if they autopsy the troll and figure out it was transfiguration and not something else. But I'm pretty sure Quirrellmort already knows Harry can do that.

comment by Bobertron · 2013-06-30T11:02:18.700Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

He revealed his super-secret patronus that Dumbledore told him to keep secret, a super secret.

Not that it were very important, but actually Harry told Dumbledore to keep the patronus secret, not the other way around.

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T11:22:18.130Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Also, merely seeing the Patronus isn't the problem. Understanding it is.

comment by Fhyve · 2013-06-30T23:58:46.475Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

And knowing what it can do - killing a dementor, which they didn't see, though someone might be able to figure out that his super patronus is the reason why dementors are afraid of him.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T06:58:27.320Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, even knowing what it can do doesn't break the mundane patronus.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-06-30T15:03:15.542Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

He threw the troll's head over the wall, so its well away from anyone who could breathe in the gases, and a simple bubble-head charm should solve the problem. Given that the alternative was being eaten, he won't be punished for it (also, the most important thing is keeping partial transfiguration secret - other students would be told that Dumbledore killed the troll).

The twins were going to try to rescue Hermione anyway.

The twins will probably agree to keep the patronus secret.

While Harry and the twins did break a rule which was said to result in expulsion, they did almost save Hermione, which is more that the staff did. Expelling them would lose even more face then failing to follow through on a threat of expulsion would. Maybe McGonnigal will admit that when it comes to military matters, her students know more then she does. Maybe in future emergencies the 7th year generals will be able to countermand the orders of professors.

[EDIT: formatting]

comment by loserthree · 2013-06-30T17:04:37.856Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

-Downvoted for poor formatting.-

-Please use carriage returns to separate your thoughts.-

Edit: Thanks! (Upvoted for responding.)

comment by fractalman · 2013-07-01T22:13:34.720Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Trolls already use continuous transformation on themselves; to find a needle in a haystack with a magnent, you first have to suspect there is a needle. Harry's partial transfiguration attempt(did that happen or...?) is probably more like a needle in a haystack of troll-magic. The only people who I think could spot it without knowing what they're looking for...already know about partial transfiguration.

Edit: and then Dumbledore finite's the acid to prevent transfig. sickness. any chance of anyone else figuring it out by looking at the magic involved will be looking for a needle without a magnent.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-07-02T18:11:04.317Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You would suspect that something strange happened (worthy of an autopsy) if a first year killed a troll... unless of course he just snapped his fingers :)

comment by Fhyve · 2013-07-01T00:03:14.965Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There is no way Harry would get expelled. He is at Hogwarts for his protection - to be close to Dumbledore - not so that he can go to school.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-07-01T01:40:36.352Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed! But they would also want his non-expulsion to be plausible without revealing how important he is, nor do they want Fred and George to be expelled. I think McGonnigal is going to have to lose face here.

comment by Skeeve · 2013-07-01T02:38:35.983Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I think that in the aftermath of Hermione's death, Harry's breaking the rules and leaving the Great Hall is barely even going to be a blip on the radar. I'd be surprised if McGonagall even brings it up. It seems too callous for her.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-07-01T08:25:46.974Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

McGonnigal doesn't have the power to expulse students by her own decision anyway. That decision has to be made by Dumbledore.

comment by robryk · 2013-06-30T09:03:37.725Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I wouldn't worry about transfiguration sickness: breathing sulphuric acid is probably worse than breathing atomized(?) troll brain matter, and AFAIK sulphuric acid and its salts are either directly harmful or aren't absorbed anywhere interesting in a human.

Now that you've pointed this out, I'm curious: why sulphuric acid? Hydrochloric is simpler.

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T10:22:47.937Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I doubt that it matters. Sulphuric acid is an oxidizing acid that can do damage through either pH or oxidization while HCl can only ph. Also I think that sulphuric is a more typical acid to ancient alchemists. Furthermore, H2SO4 is a nonvolatile liquid and Harry only produced a small amount of it.

Of course if you are Badass Adult Harry, you just transfigure a spot of Chlorine Trifluoride in the troll and watch it explode.

comment by gjm · 2013-06-30T14:17:57.106Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

chlorine trifluoride

See this and just about everything else in that blog's "things I won't work with" category, which is hilarious (though there are a few links you might not want to follow if easily upset, notably the one about dimethyl mercury).

comment by gjm · 2013-06-30T19:39:28.006Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, and here's a video of ClF3 encountering various things and doing what it does. Usually with a bright flash, a bang, and some smoke.

comment by Ritalin · 2013-06-30T12:01:53.147Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Someone's been reading Dungeon Keeper Ami. That molecule is obscure, mostly because of how incredibly impractical it is to make and handle.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T19:50:45.410Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Dungeon Keeper Ami? Dude, just read Ignition by John Clark.

”It is, of course, extremely toxic, but that's the least of the problem. It is hypergolic with every known fuel, and so rapidly hypergolic that no ignition delay has ever been measured. It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention asbestos, sand, and water-with which it reacts explosively. It can be kept in some of the ordinary structural metals-steel, copper, aluminium, etc.-because of the formation of a thin film of insoluble metal fluoride which protects the bulk of the metal, just as the invisible coat of oxide on aluminium keeps it from burning up in the atmosphere. If, however, this coat is melted or scrubbed off, and has no chance to reform, the operator is confronted with the problem of coping with a metal-fluorine fire. For dealing with this situation, I have always recommended a good pair of running shoes.”

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T00:14:35.964Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I already knew about it when I read DKA's ClF3 chapter.

Of course, if you can transfigure as fast as Quirrel can, you might be best off with a transfigured Iron Man suit.

comment by Ritalin · 2013-07-01T11:06:36.297Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That notion is absolutely awesome and I hope like hell it makes its way into the fic.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T13:57:17.202Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A certain foolishly romantic part of me will not be satisfied unless we get to see the huge fight from the end of Deadly Hallows, only with Chaos Army using a mix of weaponized Charms and flash-Transfiguration of Muggle weapons. Of course that's completely inappropriate for MoR, as HPEJV would, if it came to that, just resort to saturation-bombing with transfigured nukes or whatever. Assuming he couldn't use nanotech or some kind of ID-targeted curse or something else less... hollywood.

comment by sentientplatypus · 2013-07-01T06:35:27.669Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm curious why he didn't just use incendio

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T07:12:55.899Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW
  1. The mana cost for incendio is probably much higher than a thin sheet of transfig.
  2. I think that incendio simply forms a blowtorch or igntes the outside of objects. Weaponized partial transfig will ALWAYS be more powerful than first-year spells at a first-year mana supply. Partial transfig can slice things up, which is what Harry needed to do.
comment by sentientplatypus · 2013-07-01T08:04:54.517Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I was thinking it would work as effectively because of the fire weakness thing and Harry shouldn't be magically depleted yet. Also it would be a lot safer than transfiguring sulfuric acid. Although it's possible the troll was enchanted to make it fire resistant and that Harry frankly didn't care whether he was violating the rules of transfiguration, and merely was worried about speed, but I'm inclined to think incendio would be faster.

comment by robryk · 2013-07-01T08:32:15.786Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Or maybe it's not a good idea to cast incendio while the tip of your wand is in a very enclosed location (for instance due to gases that you expect to be released).

Or it's maybe that that the transfiguration requires no wand movements (reference: look at the setup used during the partial transfiguration experiment) as opposed to incendio. It's pretty hard to move your wand in some pattern when it's stuck through a troll's eye socket.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T14:03:49.140Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's not a fire vulnerability. It's just that chemical change stops the regen.

Just because burning cut troll flesh makes it not regen doesn't mean that it will penetrate. They're not highly flammable like Twilight/Luminosity vampires. If I was designing Muggle anti-troll weaponry, I'd be going for something to penetrate into the body and then spread incendiary material. Not a flamethrower. (Although first physically injuring trolls and then dousing them with napalm might work, sort of.

Incendio in the troll's eye would just burn out the eye.

Mana cost in HPMOR seems to affect cooldown more than castability of spells, and transfiguration seems to have no cooldown but (for Harry, Q and other powerful wizards are much faster) is time-consuming.

Harry should be able to near-instantaneously slice-and-dice any transfigurable object by using very thin cutting boundaries, and even cause explosive separation by using compressed inert gas, or even a friction-sensitive explosive (most explosives form fairly nonhazardous materials) Even if the acid failed to prevent the regen, he could have dismembered the troll temporarily and bought time to try something else or to burn it.

ETA: Also, Harry is now able to predict what forms of transfiguration are dangerous, and mild transfiguration sickness is not

comment by Dentin · 2013-07-01T23:12:00.782Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I can't imagine that Harry, after having been through this event, gives even one iota of a shit about any of those things. When you declare war on the underlying fabric of reality, petty things like dark wizards, magical castles, and star systems really just aren't relevant in the grand scheme of things.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-02T01:30:43.236Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

That's easy to say if you're not in the heat of battle. Declaring war on the fabric of reality has a lot more to it than simply ignoring its footsoldiers, and doing so is a bad strategy.

An unfortunate (or possibly fortunate?) feature of the current fabric of reality is that super-sentiment doesn't give you super-power.

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-02T02:58:30.923Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I can't imagine that Harry, after having been through this event, gives even one iota of a shit about any of those things. When you declare war on the underlying fabric of reality, petty things like dark wizards, magical castles, and star systems really just aren't relevant in the grand scheme of things.

If you can read things like, "He may have damaged His Father's Rock." and not realize that it's not to be taken seriously--

Actually, that's an unfair assumption. You might be ignoring the humor intentionally. I don't know to what end you would do so, but that doesn't mean you don't. I'd like to hear how that tool works out for you, if it does much, if you don't mind.

If you are blind to the humorous intent then I don't really have anything to tell you about it that you don't already know. I'm sure that if that were the case that you'd already be aware that people pity you.

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T10:24:04.781Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I strongly suspect that Harry will start taking refuge in audacity from now on.

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-07-01T09:11:58.964Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Most of the plans to use time turning to fix this are massively overly complicated, by the way. Best bet is to swap the oxygenating potion for something which will make her death less permanent.

Which Harry can find or have made in < 6 hours.

Options: 1: Elixir of life. The stone is at hand, Snape is at hand. It is possible that shout is what taking it looks like. 2: Undeath. The potter verse does have vampires, and they are integrated in magical society at least to the extent that seeing one in a bad neighborhood is not grounds for an auror raid. Werewolf infection might also do it. 3: Draught of living death?

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-07-01T15:26:37.997Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

I'm ruling that MoR!Vampirism does not indefinitely extend life or Voldemort would be a vampire (HPN20), similarly werewolves do not regenerate or Moody would be a werewolf.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-02T01:40:37.023Z · score: 4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

werewolves do not regenerate or Moody would be a werewolf.

Don't werewolves have the "go psychopath once a month" problem?

comment by gwern · 2013-07-02T02:29:40.714Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Nothing to do with psychopaths, but regardless: it is predictable, medically treatable in canon, and also easily neutralized by ordinary mechanisms of confinement. If that were a method of immortality, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-07-02T14:44:24.342Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If you ran the numbers, would regeneration from injury at the cost of losing human thought for three days a month* actually be worth it for most people? So far as I know, being a werewolf doesn't help with aging. I'm not sure if there's a default for whether it helps with illness.

*more or less. I think that some versions only become wolves at night.

comment by gwern · 2013-07-02T15:22:23.921Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I did say it'd be a complete no-brainer for immortality, but if we rule that out...

In HP it's just one night, IIRC (discussed in Azkaban). Regeneration from injury is probably not worth sacrificing 1/60th of a life (month has 30 days, you lose a night from a day, hence 1/60), but it is probably worth chugging the wolfsbane potion depending on costs. If being a werewolf fended against generic disease, not just injury, then it'd resume being a complete nobrainer.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-03T03:29:20.063Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What Nancy said. Also given Moody's paranoia, being dependent on something so easy to sabotage for one day a month is a huge downside.

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-07-01T20:07:55.050Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Well, at this precise moment Harry cares rather a lot more about moving her out of the "Dead" state than he does about rendering her immortal, so if vampires have a finite lifespan, that is not an unacceptable drawback at this particular juncture. (.. and would outright be an advantage if it means she gets out of being stuck at age 12. Not that having her stuck at age 12 would stop Harry. That can be fixed when he is not staring down a 6 hour timer)
Further upsides; keeping her rising on the quiet would shield her from repeated attempts at ending her, if he can swing that.

Likely downsides: 1:Feeding. But there has to be an acceptable solution to that, or the magical community would not tolerate vampires at all. On the other hand, the wizarding world generally fails ethics 101 very badly, so maybe they are just all hypnotizing people into being faux-willing donors.

2:Might no longer count as a witch. Giving her the brick powerset of a stereotypical vamp would be a hilarious mismatch for her personality.

That all assumes vampires have continuity of personality with who they were, but if that is not the case I would be somewhat puzzled why they are tolerated. Also, that turning her is workable. If the process of becoming a vampire takes a year and a day or requires her to die from a vampire bite..

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T17:55:06.565Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, sure it doesn't. It just prevents you aging, while giving you a vast suite of easily-exploited, well-known weaknesses - some of which appear to be psychological blindspots/compulsions, and the rest of which instantly and permanently destroy you, and are easily duplicated (but not easily negated, for the most part) via magic. Oh, and your STR and DEX scores go up a bit, I guess.

Disclaimer: This assumes MOR!Potterverse!Vampires don't run on the Buffy you-get-replaced-by-a-demon principle or the Anne Rice tortured-romantic-deathgod principle, AKA Twilight Syndrome - but still retain most of their standard pop-culture properties (as do most Potterverse creatures that aren't original creations.)

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-07-03T03:56:51.131Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm. Two bottles seem possibly worth trying if nothing better comes to mind. (Though messing with the oxygenating potion could haveon-will kill her.)

comment by somervta · 2013-07-01T05:00:04.551Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Although I'm not at all sure it was deliberate (is there a way to submit potential typos?), we may have just gotten some new evidence about the true nature of magic. In Ch 89 Fred/George cast a spell solely from the memory of seeing Dumbledore cast it ("Deligitor prodi"), got the incantation wrong ("Deligitor prodeas"), and yet still achieved an (apparently) identical effect (The summoning of the Sorting Hat). It appears that if this is legitimate evidence rather than a typo, magic has an error bound for the correct pronunciation of spells.

comment by pedanterrific · 2013-07-01T22:53:45.167Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

"Prodi" is the imperative ("come forth"), "prodeas" is the subjunctive (here used in supplication, for which there is no precise English translation; perhaps "wouldst thou come forth").

Which itself suggests something quite interesting about the nature of incantations... unless it's not actually an incantation, just talking to Hogwarts in Latin.

comment by somervta · 2013-07-02T01:55:51.043Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, in the first usage, Dumbledore did seem to be addressing Hogwarts ("Hogwarts! Deligitor prodi"), so it's possible, but Fred/George didn't do that. I suppose it is possible that Eliezer just used the subjunctive form rather than the imperative accidentally, but I'm not sure if I want to count on that :D

comment by tim · 2013-07-01T22:21:11.012Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Note that this seems to contradict the glowing bat experiments performed in chapter 22.

"Seriously? You seriously have to say Oogely boogely with the duration of the oo, eh, and ee sounds having a ratio of 3 to 1 to 2, or the bat won't glow? Why? Why? For the love of all that is sacred, why?"

comment by somervta · 2013-07-02T02:15:44.504Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It may be that this is only true for some spells? Although, to be honest, I'm leaning towards it either being a typo or not an incantation, just communication with Hogwarts.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-07-02T02:02:07.406Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If doing magic for more time makes one stronger (which seems to be a hypothesis taken seriously in HPMR), then it is possible that as one gets more powerful, the increased power can compensate for the incorrect pronunciation. In fact, this also may explain to some extent how less powerful witches and wizards can't cast some spells. In some cases it may be that the orally transmitted version of the spell is not quite right, but that doesn't matter as much for the more powerful spellcasters. A problem with this hypothesis is that one would then expect there to be weak spells which could only be cast by powerful mages and we haven't seen any indication of that.

comment by Eugene · 2013-09-07T20:23:45.806Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Point against: Professor Whatsisname, the presumably quite-powerful dueling legend, learned/developed "Stuporfy", which is intentionally meant to sound almost exactly like "Stupify". If powerful wizards get a pass on their pronunciation, how is it that a powerful wizard can effectively differentiate those two similar spells when casting?

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-09-07T20:25:33.137Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, that undermines the suggestion considerably.

comment by drethelin · 2013-07-02T19:40:22.297Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This might be different when you're manipulating unthinking magic system rather than addressing a sentient entity such as the sorting hat.

comment by calef · 2013-06-30T07:14:08.998Z · score: 15 (17 votes) · LW · GW

Two interesting observations: The most recent utterances of the words "temporal pressure" (similar to the titles of these last two chapters) was in chapter 86 when discussing the Halls of Prophecy:

""The Hall of Prophecy," Minerva whispered. She'd read about that place, said to be a great room of shelves filled with glowing orbs, one after another appearing over the years. Merlin himself had wrought it, it was said; the greatest wizard's final slap to the face of Fate. Not all prophecies conduced to the good; and Merlin had wished for at least those spoken of in prophecy, to know what had been spoken of them. That was the respect Merlin had given to their free will, that Destiny might not control them from the outside, unwitting. Those mentioned within a prophecy would have an glowing orb float to their hand, and then hear the prophet's true voice speaking. Others who tried to touch an orb, it was said, would be driven mad - or possibly just have their heads explode, the legends were unclear on this point. Whatever Merlin's original intention, the Unspeakables hadn't let anyone enter in centuries, so far as she'd heard. Works of the Ancient Wizards had stated that later Unspeakables had discovered that tipping off the subjects of prophecies could interfere with seers releasing whatever temporal pressures they released; and so the heirs of Merlin had sealed his Hall. It did occur to Minerva to wonder (now that she'd spent a few months around Mr. Potter) how anyone could possibly know that; but she also knew better than to ask Albus, in case Albus tried to tell her. Minerva firmly believed that you only ought to worry about Time if you were a clock."

Next, near the end of chapter 89, Harry "turns away from Dumbledore" twice, almost as if there's a kink in time after explicitly mentioning "pressure":

Harry opened his mouth to scream out all his fury, and then closed it again. There wasn't any point in screaming, it wouldn't accomplish anything. The unbearable pressure rising inside him couldn't be let out that way.

'Harry turned away from Dumbledore and looked down at where the remains of Hermione Granger were lying in a pool of blood ... another part of him already knew that this event was real, part of the same flawed world that included Azkaban and the Wizengamot chamber and

No

With a fracturing feeling, as though time was still torn to pieces around him, Harry turned away from Dumbledore and looked down at the remains of Hermione Granger lying in a pool of blood with two tourniquets tied around her thigh-stumps, and decided

No.

I do not accept this."

Hypothesis: Something very strange just happened to Time around Harry, possibly involving a time turner, and things are definitely not as they seem.

It's almost as if someone is trying to manipulate Harry's reaction to these events, like when H&C tricks Hermione repeatedly. Fred and George are unconscious at this point, too. It goes without saying that Harry is probably an unreliable narrator.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T07:45:12.658Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I was under the impression that "temporal pressure" referred to some kind of mysterious Fate-like force that occasionally compels seers to release prophecies when important parts of the future gets resolved. That could just be Harry's new resolve to do anything necessary to get Hermione back (in addition to "time pressure" meaning the pressure he was under to get to Hermione on time). Is there a particular reason the "fracturing feeling" needs to be externally imposed rather than, y'know, a perfectly reasonable emotional reaction to current events?

On the other hand, Eliezer has mentioned that he wants to go through common tropes but do them better. He hasn't really done a full-blown Peggy Sue yet, although he's poked fun at the idea, and I'm pretty sure I remember Eliezer saying that he's read Harry Potter and the Wastelands of Time, which is a Peggy Sue fic in which Harry finds Atlantis and weird things happen involving time, so... (recommended for the awesome ideas, but if you're like me you'll get annoyed by the way Harry talks.)

comment by Ritalin · 2013-06-30T12:07:23.409Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Please don't tell me he's going to go Nox or Caster-4 on us.

Oh, who am I kidding. It's Harry, he'll probably succeed and then it will all Go Horribly Right.

comment by Shrike · 2013-06-30T14:13:49.000Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Time Pressure - the arc title - could also be a reference to the book of the same name by Spider Robinson.

Rot 13 Spoilers for Time Pressure and other Lifehouse/Deathkiller novels By SR:

Va guvf obbx frevrf, gvzr geniryyref jvgu fhssvpvragyl nqinaprq grpuabybtl tb onpx va gvzr gb renqvpngr qrngu creznaragyl ol erpbeqvat nyy uhzna oenva fgngrf nf gurl qvr guebhtubhg nyy bs uvfgbel fb gung gur pna nyy or erfheerpgrq ntnva va gur shgher, pbaprnyvat gung gurl'er qbvat guvf gb cerirag grzcbeny cnenqbkrf. Gur pbasyvpgf bs gur abiryf frg va guvf frdhrapr nevfr jura crbcyr qvfpbire gvzr geniryyref be gurve grpuabybtvpny cnencureanyvn naq unir gb or rvgure fvyraprq ol zrzbel-jvcr grpu be bgurejvfr oebhtug gb n fgngr hayvxryl gb cebqhpr cnenqbkrf.

comment by loup-vaillant · 2013-06-30T09:21:55.388Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I do not lie to my readers

Eliezer

I think the facts at least are as described. Hermione is certainly lying in a pool of blood, something significant did happen to her (Harry felt the magic), and Dumbeldore definitely believe Hermione is dead.

If there is a time turner involved, it won't change those perceptions one bit, And I doubt Dumbeldore would try too Mess With Time ever again (as mentioned in the Azkaban arc). Harry might, but he's out of his Time Turner Authorized Range. Even then, it looks like he's thinking longer term than that.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-01T01:10:47.303Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Making Hermione a horcrux in the last 6 hours of her life doesn't violate any observed facts.

comment by loserthree · 2013-06-30T04:13:10.267Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't visited these threads for nearly a year; please forgive me if someone else has shared a similar prediction in the meantime.

I predict that Quirrell's goal is to start a war between magical people and non-magical people.

The student armies have been taught combat skills, organization, and discipline but they have not been indoctrinated. The text does not show that the student armies have been guided toward one faction or another within Magical Britain. Quite the opposite, they have been taught to work together across the 'house' lines that may have divided them in the past.

It would be counter-productive to prepare tools that could be as easily used by your enemies as yourself. So we may reason that all members of the student armies are already on the side Quirrell wants them on. One thing all members of the student armies have in common is that they are members of Magical Britain.

I have found nothing to suggest international tensions, so a war against another magical nation would be out of place in the text, as I understand it.

On the other hand, Quirrell had a downright emotional reaction when Harry declared his aspiration to be a scientist in chapter 20. After the end, when we read through the story from the beginning, we will see that as the point where the villain's motivations are revealed: Quirrell wants to save the world from scientists and their careless exploration of powers they cannot contain.

Quirrell has been pushing Harry down a path of isolation. He created situations that built up Harry's distrust of authority. He cut Harry off from his friends. I believe he means for Harry to trigger the Great Muggle War by doing something grand and ill-advised that makes sense in the desperate state Quirrell intends to put him in.

My prediction of Quirrell's overall goal does not depend on my prediction of his intentions regarding Harry, and I am less certain of those. I feel there are pieces I am missing there.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T04:55:56.740Z · score: 22 (22 votes) · LW · GW

I think Quirrell wants the leader of the magical side to be Harry rather than himself. Quirrell doesn't seem to recognize that Harry would side with the non-magical side instead. (Harry has noted some peculiarities in Quirrell's model of the world on several occasions, and based on Quirrell being both a Robin Hanson stand-in and Voldemort I suspect those peculiarities can be summarized as Quirrell failing to account for, for lack of a better word, "love.")

comment by Benya (Benja) · 2013-06-30T20:22:29.240Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell doesn't seem to recognize that Harry would side with the non-magical side instead. (Harry has noted some peculiarities in Quirrell's model of the world on several occasions, and [...] I suspect those peculiarities can be summarized as Quirrell failing to account for, for lack of a better word, "love.")

Agree that Quirrell doesn't recognize this; agree that Quirrell's model is peculiar in failing to account for, for lack of a better word, "love"; disagree that the latter is the reason for the former. I don't think Quirrell would be wrong in predicting that even many Muggleborns will join him.

I haven't been following these threads enough to know whether it's even worth spelling out the obvious theory of what the "power the Dark Lord knows not" is in the Verresverse, but it seems pretty clear that it's neither "love" as in canon nor "science" as Harry suggests (and Snape disputes) in Ch. 86, but Harry's belief that a good future can actually be made to happen (and is worth fighting for), i.e. an interstellar transhumanist rationalist ethical civilization that has left death behind. That may not sound like "power", but it really is ... not primarily because it means that Harry can cast the True Patronus charm and Voldemort cannot, but because it means that Harry can try and make an interstellar transhumanist rationalist civilization happen that has left death behind, and Quirrellmort -- who wants to beat death, who wants to be safe from nuclear weapons, who hates being around pretty much everybody because he finds people hypocritical and stupid, who wants to go to the stars -- can not.

Which is relevant here because this is deeply intervowen with Harry's rock-solid morality:

No one knew quite how many wizards there were in the world. He'd done a few estimates with Hermione and come up with numbers in the rough range of a million.

But there were six billion Muggles.

If it came down to a final war...

Professor Quirrell had forgotten to ask Harry which side he would protect.

A scientific civilization, reaching outward, looking upward, knowing that its destiny was to grasp the stars.

And a magical civilization, slowly fading as knowledge was lost, still governed by a nobility that saw Muggles as not quite human.

It was a terribly sad feeling, but not one that held any hint of doubt.

(Ch. 35)

comment by DanielLC · 2013-06-30T23:00:30.888Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

In other words, the power the Dark Lord knows not is hope.

comment by Benya (Benja) · 2013-06-30T23:18:15.847Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think it can be usefully summarized into one punchy word (ETA: I don't think hope is quite the right way to describe what Quirrellmort is missing that's preventing him from creating and ruling over an intergalactic dark empire), but now that I thought for one minute about which one I would choose if I had to pick one, it would be one that doesn't at first brush sound like it fits into that slot at all:

The power the Dark Lord knows not is ambition.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-07-01T08:27:20.313Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The power the Dark Lord knows not is ambition.

After thinking about this for a minute I have to confirm my first impression: This is nonsense. The Dark Lord knows craptons of ambition. Any definition of 'ambition' for which the Dark Lord does not know it is a ridiculous definition. And if we're talking about Quirrellmort we've even heard him share his ambitions. Maybe he has somewhat less ambition than Harry but that's not sufficient for the claim to be reasonable.

comment by Benya (Benja) · 2013-07-01T09:13:05.322Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

*shrugs* So my opinion is that when one ambition is so much greater that the other isn't even distinguishable from zero unless you plot them on a log scale, it makes poetic sense to call the Dark Lord "not ambitious", even though I of course agree that Quirrellmort is ambitious compared to the median human. But if you don't agree that this is poetically appropriate, sure, fine.

(I'll recall my disclaimer that I don't actually think that it makes sense to use just a single word to describe the concept -- seriously trying to do that strikes me as trying to make the discussion compliant with Dumbledorian thought-by-cliché.)

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-22T14:06:45.077Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with the concept above. Moreover, so does Quirrell:

I expect that you will grasp at any opportunity for advancement which falls into your hands. But there is no great ambition that you are driven to accomplish, and you will not make your opportunities.

Now, every model I've made of Quirrellmort's prior actions do show him making his own opportunities, but the point remains--none of those opportunities (that I've modeled, predicted, or learned about) have aimed anywhere near any kind of genuine improvement of humanity in the way that Harry desires, not even fixing the flaws he himself observes. They've all just been about him achieving power.

This feels odd to type, but it feels as though Quirrellmort's ambitions are...shallow.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T07:30:10.441Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The power the Dark Lord Knows Not is optimism?

comment by loserthree · 2013-06-30T06:46:14.898Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Is there more to be said about Quirrell being a Robin Hanson stand-in? Was this covered in another thread? Does anyone have handy links to the relevant posts?

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T07:35:58.880Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Well, it was mentioned in this comment thread, and I thought it made a lot of sense.

comment by loserthree · 2013-06-30T08:25:32.251Z · score: 3 (33 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks.

My infatuation with Quirrell might have faded a bit due to inactivity, but that thread has mortally wounded it. This Hanson guy is so deeply unmarketable that he made me stop liking a fictional character that might have been based on him.

The part where he marginalizes the suffering of rape victims and that fact that this site still associates with him solidifies the "Less Wrong is not a place I can bring people" feeling I've kind of struggled with for a couple years now.

That's two cringe-inducing passages of text in one day. Honestly, I liked the one where Hermione died better.

comment by Discredited · 2013-06-30T11:23:11.857Z · score: 17 (21 votes) · LW · GW

Robin often displays unusual confusions. I think that stems from a reliance on his explicit memory over implicit memory. If he doesn't have a theory to account for why society fails to distinguish songs by whether their lyrics are fictional, as we do with literature, then he considers that a puzzle to solve, even if he's never wanted society to draw that category to aid him in selecting songs.

So when Robin asks, "Why do we appear to value X more than Y", he's not making any claim about how he feels about X and Y. He disregards his feelings and intuitions, because they would mask opportunities to improve his explicit, formal, verbal, theoretical understanding.

This distinction between questions as a tool to point out when the audience is wrong and as a tool of apolitical inquiry closely mirrors the difference between questions as requests for favors and questions as inquiries. It's also similar to questions as argumentative challenges vs questions as inquiries.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T08:37:48.692Z · score: 13 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Had you not heard of Robin Hanson before, and are you now basing your opinion of him largely on that thread? I think this is a bad way to get an accurate impression of a person.

comment by loserthree · 2013-06-30T09:32:21.304Z · score: 3 (25 votes) · LW · GW

I'd heard of him, of course. I'd never followed up. Naïvely, I didn't think I needed to.

I'm basing my opinion of the penalty for being thought to associate with him based on a number of posts he made that were linked in that thread. The one about rape is the one that is likely to stick with me,

The creepy face he makes in the picture doesn't help.

To the sort of people with whom I aspire to keep company, insensitivity on certain topics signals lack of status, a lack of class.

In coarser terms, he stepped in it. Then he went back to step in it again. When his steps were criticized he defended the quality of his shoes.

I don't want to walk on the carpets he wiped it on.

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T10:25:45.573Z · score: 39 (43 votes) · LW · GW

Disliking Hanson is not about....

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-01T02:33:48.250Z · score: 4 (16 votes) · LW · GW

To the sort of people with whom I aspire to keep company,

I think a question you should be asking yourself is why are you aspiring to keep company with people who would insist that you not associate with a website merely because it associates with someone who has politically incorrect ideas?

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-01T03:06:38.920Z · score: 2 (24 votes) · LW · GW

I suppose there might be success to be had, here. There might be network opportunities. There might be opportunities for friendship and other things I value.

But the bar to entry is too high. I don't have a strong academic background. I was once close to math. I'd hold up two cross fingers and say, "Like this." But years, decades have come between us. My only education in philosophy is by proxy.

I don't mean to paint a picture without hope, I'm a bright guy. I could maybe catch up if I applied myself, if I worked at it, if I let some other things slide for a while.

I just mean to turn it around. I ask myself why I keep company with people who don't recognize how socially toxic it is to marginalize the suffering of rape victims. I ask myself if it is enough that they are one of many groups who espouse a form of self-improvement. Could it ever be enough?

I suppose it's because the author of HP&tMoR is here, and might respond to someone's post on the topic. And I suppose it helps, too that no one has to know I'm here, participating.

You guys really fail on the outreach. I hope that one day each and every one of you that hurts this community in that way understands the role you play in undoing something nice that could have been something beautiful. I admit to being evil, and am unashamed to look forward to your suffering.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-01T04:08:47.030Z · score: 8 (16 votes) · LW · GW

You guys really fail on the outreach.

Um, LW is growing very well, thank you. In fact at this point I'm more worried about the 'unwilling to consider controversial ideas due to signaling' failure mode than the 'stop growing due to being too controversial' failure mode.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-07-01T03:34:49.081Z · score: 5 (15 votes) · LW · GW

You guys really fail on the outreach. I hope that one day each and every one of you that hurts this community in that way understands the role you play in undoing something nice that could have been something beautiful. I admit to being evil, and am unashamed to look forward to your suffering.

Or perhaps in this case we excel at screening.

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-01T12:40:28.683Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

On the contrary, I'm already here. The decision I shared, that stirred up so much hostility, wasn't that I was leaving. It's that I wasn't going to tell other people about Less Wrong.

Only one of the dozen or so people I call friends in meatspace identifies as 'evil.' None of the scores of friendly acquaintances I have do. It's pretty uncommon.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-02T02:14:47.799Z · score: 1 (9 votes) · LW · GW

The decision I shared, that stirred up so much hostility, wasn't that I was leaving. It's that I wasn't going to tell other people about Less Wrong.

No, what "stirred up so much hostility" was you're suggestion that we censor people for being "unmarketable".

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-02T03:05:47.506Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

No, what "stirred up so much hostility" was you're suggestion that we censor people for being "unmarketable".

Thanks. It's rather obvious once you point it out. Not the first time my self-centeredness has blinded me to the real reason people were cross with me, won't be the last.

Censorship is necessary. The poison that kills your garden and undermines your movement won't always be the new blood or the outsider. Sometimes it will be someone you respect who steps out of bounds.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-03T03:50:23.249Z · score: 2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Censorship is necessary.

That post was about deleting people who refuse to engage in rational argument, not deleting posts that use rational argument in ways that are "unmarketable" as you put it.

Let's put it this way, would you also suggest we delete all the posts critical of religion because it also puts of a lot of people?

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-03T12:21:56.792Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

That post was about deleting people who refuse to engage in rational argument, not deleting posts that use rational argument in ways that are "unmarketable" as you put it.

Let's put it this way, would you also suggest we delete all the posts critical of religion because it also puts of a lot of people?

the utility of censorship is not exclusive to the situations described in that post.

But in the end, no. This conversation didn't start when I issued a call to action, but when I expressed a difficult decision I had made for myself. I didn't know that people were reading it as a directive until someone pointed that out.

Anyway, it's far too late to change: that rape article is over two years old. "Better late than never" doesn't mean that late is always good enough. In this case, it's definitely not.

In a world with wishes -- but where I didn't immediately wish for a world without wishes -- maybe I'd wish that Less Wrong would be image conscious enough to distance itself from people who unapologetically marginalize the suffering of rape victims, maybe not. But the call I get to make is whether or not to facilitate the process by which my friends and the people with whom I would like to be friends forget that I have any contact with Less Wrong. It is not whether or not to facilitate the process by which Less Wrong rehabilitates its status as a haven for creeps, creep enablers, or creep apologists.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-06T07:07:55.592Z · score: -1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

In a world with wishes -- but where I didn't immediately wish for a world without wishes -- maybe I'd wish that Less Wrong would be image conscious enough to distance itself from people who unapologetically marginalize the suffering of rape victims, maybe not. But the call I get to make is whether or not to facilitate the process by which my friends and the people with whom I would like to be friends forget that I have any contact with Less Wrong. It is not whether or not to facilitate the process by which Less Wrong rehabilitates its status as a haven for creeps, creep enablers, or creep apologists.

This ad hominem filled screed, is an example of the kind of refusal to engage in rational argument that is worthy of censorship.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-14T00:47:32.903Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I just mean to turn it around. I ask myself why I keep company with people who don't recognize how socially toxic it is to marginalize the suffering of rape victims. I ask myself if it is enough that they are one of many groups who espouse a form of self-improvement. Could it ever be enough?

I think that in certain cases he does know he comes across as a jerk, but he just doesn't care. (Not sure about the rape post specifically.)

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-01T04:01:32.083Z · score: -5 (23 votes) · LW · GW

The vast majority of Less Wrong users are NPCs. They claim to have learned and internalized all of the ~rationality skills~ discussed here, but none of them have anything to protect, and for some reason a large number of uplifted humans all care exclusively about the goals of the celebrities here. Less Wrong is a horrible community filled with middle-class white men who hate women.

But occasionally, someone posts something useful. You seem like you have a goal, or at least a thing to protect; don't let sub-human scum like that keep you from that, in any way.

Using an RSS reader helps; you can see the main post without seeing the comments, and you can pass over the circlejerking that takes up most of the space.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-07-01T08:15:40.237Z · score: 3 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you for providing the subhuman masses an example of warmth and love. I am truly touched by your radiating compassion.

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-01T12:30:15.344Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you for the sympathetic perspective. But I do what to clarify that am not the crusader. I am one who sees the crusade coming and gets out of the way.

I have been defending a decision I made, here. It hasn't been my convictions about good and evil or right and wrong, but rather about prudence and discretion.

I will admit that I let it get personal, but all I've been defending is myself.

comment by Dentin · 2013-07-01T23:48:46.424Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

He only stepped in it because its a hot-button political topic, much like abortion. The chaotic and frankly insane responses to his posts makes me suspect that most of the readers are completely unable to divorce political and gut moral feelings from internal analytical processing.

As an experiment, ask yourself how many dollars a rape is worth, how many dollars should be paid to prevent one. I suspect many of the posters in that thread will simply refuse to give a numerical answer. This is a clear indicator of mindkill.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-07-02T00:00:43.867Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Or an issue of how most humans are not willing to signal extreme utilitarianism because it is used easily to portray people as cold and hard. Moreover, most humans don't distinguish between "things I say for signaling" and "things I say because I believe them." So there are a lot of reasonable explanations for this without it being mindkilling. Also, some people really are just deontologists. Not being willing to answer such a question makes a lot more sense if one has a deontological rule that rape is always bad and wrong.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-07-02T00:06:23.247Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

There's also the issue that talking about certain things in public in a particular way (and the internet counts as public) causes actual mental harm to people.

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-02T02:53:58.444Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

He only stepped in it because its a hot-button political topic, much like abortion.

When someone is controversial for the sake of being controversial, it would be foolish for them to not anticipate consequences like no longer being accepted in mainstream company. Or ever company one or two standard deviations of 'daring' away from the mainstream in some cases.

I get that it take bravery to do this kind of thing. (Or it could take foolishness. I'm not saying that's what happened here, but I wouldn't tell someone who believed to to be so that I had strong reason to believe they were wrong: I don't know the guy.) But being brave isn't a free pass to not deal with the consequences.

And sometimes those consequences mean you aren't able to do as much good (or as much whatever you want) as you otherwise might.

He took that risk in writing it. This site is taking a risk in continuing to associate with him. I am making the choice not to take the risk of reminding anyone not involve in Less Wrong that I read stuff here and sometimes post a trifle bit.

As an experiment, ask yourself how many dollars a rape is worth, how many dollars should be paid to prevent one. I suspect many of the posters in that thread will simply refuse to give a numerical answer. This is a clear indicator of mindkill.

Actually, thinking you can simplify and generalize human behavior down to rules like that is a clear indicator of mindkill.

Let me break it down differently, not like anyone else is going to see this since they're all in the new thread.

  • Person A is hurt because their authority to control sexual access to person B is violated.
  • Person C is hurt because their authority to control sexual access to themselves is violated.

Claiming equivalency between the injury to person A and the injury to person C is very insensitive. Hinting that person A's suffering is greater takes a few steps further. It's kind of dumb, too.

The people I'm talking about don't shy away from rape. They might have, at one point, but one of them was a student to Craig Palmer, who has been rather vilified for writing a frank book on the topic. Yeah, it's an anecdote, but it's in answer to your anecdote for whatever that's worth.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-14T00:52:49.626Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I get that it take bravery to do this kind of thing. (Or it could take foolishness. I'm not saying that's what happened here, but I wouldn't tell someone who believed to to be so that I had strong reason to believe they were wrong: I don't know the guy.) But being brave isn't a free pass to not deal with the consequences.

See also

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-14T19:21:48.612Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

As far as I know Robin Hanson never uses "bravery" to justify himself, that was an argument attributed to him by loserthree as a way to justify shutting him up.

comment by Dentin · 2013-07-02T23:18:21.957Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I won't address the first part of your post; I think it is largely correct. We are, after all, responsible for our own actions.

However, for the second part, I don't think that anyone is even remotely trying to claim the equivalency you're describing above. It's most definitely a straw man argument.

If nothing else, the first claim should read more properly as "Person A is hurt because they have become legally responsible for a new human being and half of all associated costs and maintenance for that new human being for a period of no less than 21 years, in a situation where person A is not responsible for the creation of said new human being."

After all, we are responsible for our own actions. Not necessarily those of someone else.

(Side note: the 'control of sexual access' part doesn't make any sense, other than to construct a strawman. I don't understand at all why you felt that to be a legitimate argument or position.)

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-14T01:01:53.272Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

If nothing else, the first claim should read more properly as "Person A is hurt because they have become legally responsible for a new human being and half of all associated costs and maintenance for that new human being for a period of no less than 21 years, in a situation where person A is not responsible for the creation of said new human being."

Comparing the best-case scenario outcome of one thing with the worst-case scenario outcome of another thing sounds disingenuous to me.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-14T19:12:40.275Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Comparing the best-case scenario outcome of one thing with the worst-case scenario outcome of another thing sounds disingenuous to me.

What does this have to do with the quoted point?

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-14T20:23:04.766Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Trigger warning: comparisons involving rape

If you (generic “you”) must compare being raped to being cuckolded, you don't get to compare the least bad case of the former (“gentle, silent rape” of an unconscious woman leading to no physical injury, no STD, no pregnancy, and no memory) with one of the worst possible outcomes for the latter (your wife gets pregnant, gives birth to a child, and you never find out it's not yours until you've spent a bajillion dollars).

(I wish I could downvote myself.)

Edit: from the upvotes and the asterisk, it looks like I had already submitted the comment hours ago and was editing it, as opposed to being composing it in the first place. I don't remember what the original submitted version looked like.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-30T18:03:26.630Z · score: 12 (18 votes) · LW · GW

If you don't take some time to explore Robin Hanson's ideas in good faith you will miss out on a lot. What you see as a weakness is in fact his great strength as a rationalist. "Curiosity about humans and unconstrained by social norms." You may object, saying that you don't mind this, but any such response basically boils down to "I like X when it isn't too X."

The red flags aren't there because he is unaware of their existence. Indeed I bet Hanson can win quite well at social games. They are there because he systematically relies on his explicit/theoretical rather than implicit knowledge to expose where the gaps of the former are and then tries hard to fill them.

comment by loserthree · 2013-06-30T21:02:25.627Z · score: -4 (16 votes) · LW · GW

I don't object to the investigation. I object to the indiscretion.

Paula Dean's sponsors and distributors did not cut her off because she used racial slurs. They cut her off because she was allowed to answer a question that she never should have been asked: something like, "Have you ever used the N-word and what were the circumstances?" Once she answered that honestly (which is kind of had to because it was a legal deposition), she lost marketability.

The difference between an actor and a star isn't talent, it's marketability.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-01T02:26:05.546Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Once she answered that honestly (which is kind of had to because it was a legal deposition), she lost marketability.

No she didn't.

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-01T03:09:20.824Z · score: -1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

What she gets from book sales will be a pittance compared to what her little business empire brought in over the past few years.

Yes, she has a fall back position. And that's fine. But it doesn't mean she didn't lose greater things than those book sales will ever make up for.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-01T04:16:00.980Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I was disputing your claim that she lost marketability. While I agree that her sponsors cutting her off hurt her, I dispute your claim that it was a business decision based on marketability, in particular her publisher's decision to cancel her book while it's preorder was number 1 on Amazon.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-30T18:07:33.235Z · score: 8 (26 votes) · LW · GW

Driving away people who are going to care more about social status signaling than about rationality is a feature, not a bug.

comment by loserthree · 2013-06-30T20:57:51.049Z · score: 11 (17 votes) · LW · GW

That path will lead you and any you influence to isolation and obscurity.

If you seek only to better yourself then that monastic sort of approach might actually help you out. But if you want to change the world you need to first change your attitude toward social status signaling.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-01T00:30:04.838Z · score: 6 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Surely there are better ways to change the world then bringing more people into movements!

I'm only tangentially involved with this rationality stuff, but I've gotten the impression that one of its great strengths is in bringing together a lot of very smart people, who can then go on to have more concrete impacts in other ways. If that's accurate, bringing in people who'd be scared off by Hanson would be actively detrimental to the goal of changing the world.

What goals do you have that are better served by quantity than quality? (I have both goals that I need to think about quantity for and goals that I need to think about quality for. I try to keep them separate.)

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-01T00:47:01.360Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Why dither when you can have both? The indiscreet have no monopoly on either intelligence or rationality.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-01T00:51:10.705Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

But you're talking about bringing in people known to fail at rationality due to signaling games. Do you think they can be eventually brought around, or?

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-01T01:14:41.342Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Everyone fails at rationality due to signaling games.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-01T04:18:09.112Z · score: 2 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, but not everyone insists on guilt by association with anyone saying politically incorrect things.

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-01T12:36:59.422Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

No, but enough people do that it's an important consideration.

I don't mean that a "little guilt by association with anyone saying politically incorrect things" is enough to immediately roll back whatever one was doing. But it's enough to reevaluate. And, on reevaluation, it added more weight to a damning line of thought that already existed.

So I've weighed both sides and found yours wanting. Your hostile reaction isn't doing you any favors. In fact, it convinces me all the more that the path I'm turning away from, the one where I introduce friends to Less Wrong, was not a worthwhile path.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-02T02:13:26.985Z · score: 1 (9 votes) · LW · GW

In fact, it convinces me all the more that the path I'm turning away from, the one where I introduce friends to Less Wrong, was not a worthwhile path.

Going by your description of your friends, I'm inclined to agree.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-17T05:00:02.397Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I just want to say that I like this comment, and you are a pretty cool guy.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-19T05:41:28.862Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-22T15:29:10.952Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

One of my myriad goals is to share the concepts and (ah-hem) methods of rationality with future students of mine, through mere source linking in the beginning and with a more interwoven manner after I am already established in my teaching career. This is not only better served by quantity, it's designed specifically to increase quantity, for the benefits that having a more rational population bring.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T05:01:31.925Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry would be on his own side, and Quirrell would not be particularly welcome there even without the information Harry lacks.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-06-30T11:04:13.654Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell wants to save the world from scientists and their careless exploration of powers they cannot contain.

Doesn't that sound a little familiar to you? Like there's someone around here like that?

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T11:27:53.261Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I... disagree with this. More likely he is disgusted with the failure of scientists to utilize their powers.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-06-30T18:02:22.532Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Wild Mass Guessing (that I don't believe in, but would be cool):

When Hermione fought Draco, and cast the Blood-Chilling charm on him with intent to kill, Hat-And-Cloak!Quirrell activated the spell to create a Horcrux of Hermione, which he can now use to blackmail Harry.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T00:01:04.407Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

That would imply that only an attempted murder can create a horcrux. With the right self-delusion or whatever, one might be able to mass-produce horcruxes and train an army capable of ruthless action at the same time.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-07-01T08:46:47.320Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore believes an actual murder is needed to create a Horcrux. And as far as we know, he is right, unfortunately.

comment by GeorgieChaos · 2013-07-02T18:45:29.164Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What I'm puzzled by is the paralell between the violent use of magical cooling against Draco & the preservative use of it on Hermione.

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T09:32:53.674Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

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

What exactly does this mean? Both Quirrel and Harry Potter are already here. Sirius no longer seems feasible for this.

Possibly it refers to the new personality-state of Harry which Quirrel just sensed? I suspect that Harry has just succeeded what he failed to do in Azkaban: to fuse his normal self with the grim and ardently indomitable dark side.

Prediction 1: Soon, Harrry will do something somewhat clearly allegorical to FOOMed super AI. Alternatively, Prediction 2: Instead, Harry will be incredibly badass (I.e, Quirrel's equal) more conventionally. Prediction 3: Harry will be able to get some real resources finally. He might somehow get enough mana to pull off Quirrelesque blasting, or find a creative/technological-seeming way to provide it. Prediction 4: Harry's involvement in

The version starting with "HE IS COMING" was given the same chapter and same day that Harry and Draco formed the Bayesian Conspiracy.

Horrible half-prophecies occurred when Harry pondered the distinction between ruthless war and the superhero's quest to save everyone. This would lead to him deciding to be ruthless if he failed to save anyone (in Ch 85), and the closest possible person just did. At this time a phoenix came to Harry, and then left.

Trelawney suffered a horrible half-prophecy when Harry decided that he would break Azkaban even if it meant going to absurd lengths.

I thought earlier about the first prophecy, that 'the power to vanquish the dark lord' might refer to the ability to destroy Death rather than Voldemort.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-06-30T14:48:09.572Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Harry could disassemble the world and the stars into computronium - in fact star-lifting crossed his mind when he heard the first part of the prophecy. EY stated that there would be no AI analogy, and magical intelligence amplification seems more plausible anyway.

A different route to a mini-foom is that one can make luck potions. Then gamble, get money, recruit people who know how to make potions. Now you have huge amounts of luck potion, and provided your thought process is fairly random, you will always find the right answer (e.g. opening a random book at a random page happens to provide exactly the right insight). Routes to magical IA:

Luck potions.

A thinking hat - like the sorting hat, only it uses your brainpower to help you solve problems.

Efficient use of memory charms to spread insights rapidly through a group of researchers.

Use of telepathy to create a group mind.

Potion of thinking, made of e.g. ground-up crossword puzzles.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T07:15:28.504Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Potion of... OH CRUD.

Buy supercomputer time to solve problems in some physical form. Melt printouts into potion. Foom.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-07-02T18:16:39.181Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe incorporating books into the potion would give you literary skills and declarative knowledge, while computer printouts give fast computation skills? Better throw some birthday cards and essays on ethics in there too, to try and encourage friendliness :)

comment by DiscyD3rp · 2013-06-30T22:45:24.968Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A thinking hat - like the sorting hat, only it uses your brainpower to help you solve problems.

You mean like the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw? which may not exist in the Rationalverse, as it's potentially OP. Especially if Harry gets his hands on it.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-06-30T18:34:16.542Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You know, a heavy dose of luck potion would almost justify messing with time. I still don't see any way to fake a failed ghost creation without transfiguring a witch or wizard. (Though in principle, Imperio would remove the need for a volunteer.) A few hours does not seem like enough time to grok ghosts in fullness and produce a guaranteed failure. Nor do you want any uncertainty. Never let under-determined Outcome Pump Physics decide if your plan will really preserve the appearances most efficiently, or if the Universe should create Uplifted utahraptors to stop you.

comment by FiftyTwo · 2013-06-30T13:19:28.304Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Possibility: Normal harry and his Dark Side have now merged (or Harry has lost his restraint to the extent the distinction is irrelevant). This new Harry has all his abilities and none of his previous restraint and is effectively a new person, with the expressly stated intention of changing the world that now exists to the extent it is effectively destroyed.

Secondary possibility: The current 'world' will end because Harry is going to somehow turn back time and destroy thus timeline in its entirety.

comment by RobertLumley · 2013-06-30T20:23:17.820Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Soon, Harrry will do something somewhat clearly allegorical to FOOMed super AI.

Eliezer has stated that nothing in HPMOR is allegory for AI. I don't have a source for the quote, but I remember it very clearly, because it surprised me.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-07-01T12:34:46.961Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Early on, when Harry was so much smarter and more focused than the adults at Hogwarts, I assumed it was an allegory for dealing with an AI. Admittedly on a small scale, but the small scale is a hint to lead to comprehension that the large scale is, well, larger.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-07-01T03:10:02.020Z · score: -2 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I believe this is meant to be interpreted in the same sense as CS Lewis's claim that Aslan isn't an allegory for Jesus.

comment by Osuniev · 2013-08-28T21:23:15.795Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Quote ? I think the 7th book of the chronicles of Narnia clearly establishes that Aslan IS, in fact, Jesus in a very litteral sense.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T20:29:42.433Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

... that Aslan is Jesus, rather than merely an allegory?

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-06-30T09:43:09.737Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Something to note - A Singularity, of whatever kind, is generally held (citation needed) to be the point at which a pre-Singularity being can make no useful predictions about a post-Singularity being, usually due to runaway growth of intelligence.

It is very much a metaphorical "end of the world" for a pre-Singularity being, and prophecies are nothing if not metaphorical.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-30T12:02:11.109Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Something to note - A Singularity, of whatever kind, is generally held [...]

Not around these parts.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-06-30T12:43:28.754Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Fair enough. The Intelligence Explosion variant has the same net effect on a layperson, though: an absolutely alien world, with such strange people in it.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T00:11:15.093Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ohhhh...

Quirrel is in for a very, very nasty suprise. Very good day my binary-search-for-enemies-of-the-Verresian-Empire ass.

comment by aausch · 2013-07-04T22:25:24.945Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

To me, all of this is more evidence towards the Harrymort branches; Harry's dark side finally has the ability to directly sway Harrys actions.

Also note that Harry is explicitly not counting the possibility that his own actions have been affected by memory charms, etc...

comment by Blackened · 2013-07-01T01:28:28.852Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm surprised to see everyone overlook the most obvious possibility: Voldemort.

Point one: The earlier prophecy was probably about the same person, and he hadn't arrived yet at the moment. Even if it was about something different. 'he has come' in the last prophecy implies that he had just arrived.

Point two: Voldemort appears to love destruction. I still don't know how someone as intelligent as him hadn't killed everyone in the ways Harry thought of -. Harry's intent to kill, which is presumably very Voldemort-like, is extremely creative and effective even at his magic level and age. But assuming that Voldemort is about destruction, he might want to end the world.

Quirrell or someone (e.g. Snape) might have resurrected Voldemort right after stealing the Philosopher's Stone - a time-turner may be involved.. Dumbledore was away, Snape might be unreliable, it could have easily happened. A counterindicator is that Dumbledore is probably also aware of this risk, and therefore might have taken counter-measurements, although we can see that Quirrell can fool him in the part where he learns about the zoomagus potion left in Bellatrix's cell (though it portrays himself and Snape as significantly inferior to Voldemort and Quirrell, so I'm reluctant to believe it was real, rather than them acting in front of McGonagall).

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-06-30T03:53:38.381Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I'm mildly surprised no-one has speculated on what Harry will do next. He won't accept that Hermione is dead, and I'm guessing that it will occur to him that transfiguring her into a steel ball and then freezing it (I'm pretty sure there's a spell for that) provides a quick and easy form of cryonics, which as an added bonus bypasses the problem of ice crystal formation.

How to resurrect her is the tricky bit.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-01T00:44:24.461Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I would nominate the Blood-Cooling Charm as a convenient and adequately-foreshadowed first response. Like packing a recently-deceased patient in ice, that will buy her enough time until she can be properly cryopreserved. That is, literally stuffed in the fridge. One of the FFnet reviewers had it right: this chapter was an epic troll.

ETA: Gah! Bleugh. There's just no getting rid of the taste of a wrong prediction. It's like a mouth full of soy sauce.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T04:01:08.673Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Cryonics doesn't work on someone that's already dead, and Harry's not so distraught that he won't recognize that. I also don't think Harry can sustain a transfiguration like that for long without exhausting his limited supply of magical energy. Harry has evidence that some soul-like thing left Hermione's body, so if he wants to revive her he needs to get it back. I vote for reverse-engineering Time Turners and doing some more substantive kind of time magic, since that would also serve many of his other goals, although maybe Eliezer will prohibit that because it would allow him to get too powerful too quickly.

comment by Mestroyer · 2013-06-30T04:03:04.909Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do. ... Go through his clothes and look for loose change.

comment by cousin_it · 2013-06-30T04:19:52.631Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Cryonics doesn't work on someone that's already dead

What about all the people who signed up to get frozen after they die?

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T04:39:30.249Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Point, I wasn't carefully distinguishing between legal / clinical death and information-theoretic death. But I think there is reason (namely the magical echo) to believe that Hermione is currently information-theoretically dead, or at the very least has lost her magic.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T05:10:49.043Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Do you think Harry would care even the tiniest bit about her losing her magic if she came back to life?

comment by maia · 2013-06-30T16:27:54.779Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

I mean... yes, but not enough to not bring her back to life.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T05:20:50.957Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No. I mention that as an alternative hypothesis about what happened, but my dominant hypothesis is still that Hermione has lost her soul or whatever and so her body as it stands is information-theoretically dead. If Harry wants to bring her back to her life, he needs to track down her soul.

comment by Benya (Benja) · 2013-06-30T09:43:40.053Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

But for your reasoning upthread to work, Harry has to be so sure that the outpouring of magic carried all the information about Hermione that it's not worth it to him to try and protect her brain, and with (a) his protestations that brain damage means that the information must be in the brain and (b) there not being a shred of evidence that I can remember off the top of my head that Muggles require any magic to run (in which case witches/wizards' brains/souls would presumably have to work completely differently from Muggles), I don't think Harry is at a point where he can conclude that the chance of reviving her by saving the body is so low that he should concentrate his efforts on chasing her souly-looking emanation of magic.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T09:50:42.079Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Fair point.

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T10:31:58.544Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Harry currently thinks that Atlantis is some form of system that locks onto human bodies with the Blood Of Atlantis gene and detects their commands (spells, odd potion-making actions, etc).

A simple explanation for Horcrux is that it is basically a form of uploading. Although that would make it seem overly simple for Sufficiently Creative Harry to find a way to make horcruxes without human sacrifice.

Alternatively, a wizard's soul has read-only access to their brain.

comment by Benya (Benja) · 2013-06-30T11:37:08.329Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not claiming that recoverable info-containing souls are a completely crazy outlandish hypothesis; I merely claim that Harry is nowhere near having enough support for this hypothesis to stake Hermione's life on it being true.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-07-01T22:27:40.473Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I find it somewhat unlikely that this magical echo is supposed to equate to information-theoretic death if it occurred within a span of seconds after Hermione was still capable of talking.

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T16:06:54.321Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Cryonics doesn't work on someone that's already dead

? I wasn't aware cryonics had ever been done on someone that's already alive.

comment by Benya (Benja) · 2013-06-30T19:25:18.417Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

(Assuming that you meant to say "still alive" and interpreting this as "had ever been done on somebody who wasn't clinically/legally dead"; not sure that that's what you meant, but if not, I don't understand your comment:) Qiaochu has already explained that he was talking about information-theoretic death there.

(ETA: If you meant that nobody's actually been brought back to life, that still doesn't seem to conflict with the correct-by-definition claim that cryonics doesn't work after information-theoretic death.)

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T18:24:19.267Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think Qiaochu_Yuan is referring to cryobiology; I don't know how far the military is with its suspended animation trials, but I think it's possible they've done it to people (I know they've successfully done it to dogs).

comment by ygert · 2013-06-30T08:30:01.318Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I also don't think Harry can sustain a transfiguration like that for long without exhausting his limited supply of magical energy.

While I agree with the rest of the comment, this part is strictly false. We know that Harry can sustain a transfiguration roughly like that indefinitely, as evidenced by his father's rock.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T08:35:48.322Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I would be surprised if it took comparable amounts of magical energy to keep a rock transfigured vs. a human body, but who knows how the energy requirements of transfiguration really work.

comment by ygert · 2013-06-30T09:29:59.834Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I thought it worked by size? I'm pretty sure that was stated earlier in the story. And I'd imagine that a boulder like Harry's father's rock could be roughly a similar size/wight/mass to a 12 year old girl.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T09:33:51.372Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm. My guess, based on the kind of logic that seems to govern most magic, would have been that the amount of magical energy required has something to do with how different the two things you're transfiguring between are. But again, who knows how the energy requirements of transfiguration really work.

I was also under the impression that Harry had to keep the rock with him at all times to keep it transfigured. Would he also have to keep Hermione with him at all times? Also, the transfiguration stops if Harry exhausts his magic for whatever other reason, and I don't think he'd want to risk that happening to Hermione.

comment by jkaufman · 2013-06-30T20:28:35.490Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

He now has a ring on his hand without a jewel. He could put Hermione there.

comment by Benito · 2013-06-30T21:35:34.173Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

How romantic, in a very... Well, something.

I mean... "keeping your best female friend's dead body on a ring on your finger"...

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T21:50:51.318Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

As it happens, I was reading the The Black Company dark fantasy series lat month; one of the powerful wizards in it, Shifter (he's a shapeshifter specialist) goes around with a staff carved into a beautiful woman - which was originally just that. He's a quasi-insane evil villain.

So... the fantasy precedents aren't that great, I guess I am saying.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-07-06T07:00:34.067Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect the ring is Hermione. The dead body in the cell is probably a death doll made from the old ring.

comment by jkaufman · 2013-07-06T14:38:23.798Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Magical exhaustion would mean cutting off his finger with a restored Hermione. That's why the rock was transfigured into a jewel and not a ring.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-07-10T22:23:32.972Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I’m not trying to imply anything naughty here, but Hermione is somewhat softer than that rock. (Until you see her angry.)

Not to mention he doesn’t have any obvious need to keep Hermione on his finger all the time, unlike the rock. Just long enough to find some safe spot to hide her. (Unless he plans to revive her within the next couple of days.)

comment by Roxolan · 2013-06-30T18:10:10.119Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's not a long-term solution, especially given Harry's exciting life. But it's better than no solution. There'll be time to brainstorm a better storage system later.

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T10:36:49.785Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

As far as I can tell, transfiguration mana requirements are based on the size of the assumed form, and there can be a huge size change (such as a 20 kg? rocket from a small ice cube taking a long time) and the very easy partial-transfiguration slicing.

Harry doesn't need to keep the rock at all times. He just needs to contact it more often than once every transfiguration duration.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T04:19:18.077Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What makes you think that she's dead? Dumbledore saying so, even though she did not experience sudden injury (per the established wards of Hogwarts)? Were her legs bitten off slowly enough to not qualify, or was the Blood-Cooling Charm used against Malfoy excessive underkill?

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T04:40:18.420Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore saying so

Yes. At this point in the story, Dumbledore knows a lot more than Harry does about how magical people die.

comment by robryk · 2013-06-30T08:41:15.710Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

People believed for a long time that cessation of heartbeat is irreversible. While this is less likely to be such a mistake (wizards have some stasis spells for medical use, so at least sometimes they would have more time to assess whether anything works on such a supposedly dead person), it's still possible.

Also, I'd like to posit this: this is the moment the magic decides the person is no more and from this point on any magic that works on a person won't work on him/her. But, nonmagical intervention and spells that aren't designed to target a person could still reverse it.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-06-30T14:05:28.680Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

This is a good point, and furthermore in the story it goes straight from Hermione saying her last words to her death , whereas in real life I believe if circulation stops instantly (which isn't exactly the case here) you lose consciousness within 15 seconds, but it takes 4 minutes before brain damage starts. Which means they still have time to perform a blood transfusion and try to save her. More generally, has any wizard/witch ever been brought back after their heart stopped? Does the soul reenter the body? If not, do they end up in a coma, or do they maybe get a new soul?

Even if wizards do not practice cpr, surely some wizards would have had heart attacks while in the presence of muggles.

comment by Roxolan · 2013-06-30T18:07:31.836Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

CPR started to spread in the 1960s. Given how few wizards there are, and how little time most of them spend in the company of muggles, my no-actual-math-involved guess is that it isn't that likely.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-06-30T22:45:38.174Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I seem to remember that the wizard population of the UK is about 10000, which would extrapolate to 1 000 000 worldwide. Given that many wizards do have muggle family...

Ok, some math - conservativly speaking, if 10% of wizards have contact with muggles, and spend 1% of their time in the company of these muggles, with an average death rate of .6%, 40% of which is by heart attack, but only 40% of heart attacks are fatal, and 10% of the times that a heart attack happens in the presence of muggles the wizard dies and then the heart is restarted, then there would be an average of .6 wizards being brought back from the dead per year.

But more to the point, surely some muggle-born wizards would practice cpr, or even improve on it using magic? With a population of 1000000, surely someone sometime would have transfigured a defibrillator in an emergency?

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T10:37:47.969Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Possibly the Horcrux is simply a spell to transfer the Atlantis user account to a magical soul?

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T04:44:40.097Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

We also have reason to believe Dumbledore has a motive to convince Harry that death is inevitable.

ETA: and no evidence supporting the hypothesis that what was killed is Hermione, instead of a simulacrum; we only have absurd priors that it was her, and the evidence suggests that one of our very likely priors is wrong.

comment by Skeeve · 2013-06-30T13:47:34.397Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

When asked to find Hermione, why would Harry's Patronus have found a simulacrum instead of the real one?

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T19:35:36.313Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Because the real Hermione was under an invisibility cloak ten feet away. (Not saying this is how it happened, but it does explain that part of the riddle)

comment by Skeeve · 2013-06-30T20:45:51.742Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

From Chapter 56:

Bellatrix was still transparent within the Cloak, but to Harry she was no longer hidden, he knew that she was there, as obvious to him as a Thestral.

It would have had to have been a different cloak than Harry's, but then, I guess Hermione did have one on her; it might not have been good enough to hide her from the troll, but perhaps it would have hid her from Harry. And I suppose that obscuring the real Hermione from Harry would make sense under the 'if you want to change the past, you can't know if you've already succeeded' rule, from the end of 76.

comment by glumph · 2013-07-01T00:07:21.313Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The silver outline blasted back into the world, and said in the strange outside version of Harry's own voice, "Hermione Granger says," the blazing figure's voice became higher-pitched, "AHHHHHHHHH!"

comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-01T00:33:11.657Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I commented elsewhere that this is a major difficulty with trying to save her. Invisible Hermione would have to scream in the middle of combat to fake out the patronus, which is obviously an incredibly dangerous thing to do.

comment by Skeeve · 2013-07-01T14:47:56.899Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hmmm... it's also possible in that scenario that Hermione was hot-swapped out of the combat. Real!Hermione responded with a terrified scream to the Patronus, and while Present!Harry was racing to her on a broom, Time-Turned!Harry did some kind of obscuring spell (fog, blast of light, something like that), tossed an invisibility cloak (not Harry's) over Real!Hermione, and then fed Simulacrum!Hermione to the troll just in time for Present!Harry to show up.

comment by Dreaded_Anomaly · 2013-06-30T20:27:50.662Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

When asked to find Hermione, why would Harry's Patronus have found a simulacrum instead of the real one?

The Patronus that came back to Harry could be Future-Harry's Patronus, if time travel is involved.

Note: I don't personally place a high probability on theories involving time travel in this instance, but they do present a possible explanation for that objection.

comment by Decius · 2013-07-01T00:15:40.554Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Every consistent theory I've seen involves time-travel somehow. The stakes are simply too high for Harry to permit the attempt to not be made.

comment by Skeeve · 2013-06-30T21:11:09.348Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If the Patronus that came back was Future-Harry's Patronus, then what happened to Present-Harry's Patronus? When Harry's Patronus was countered with Quirell's Killing Curse in Chapter 54, Harry definitely felt it being countered.

comment by Dreaded_Anomaly · 2013-06-30T21:38:52.666Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's plausible that having one's Patronus dispelled by one's future self is not as noticeable as having one's Patronus countered by a killing curse.

Alternatively, an even simpler option is that it was still Present-Harry's patronus, just given updated instructions by Future-Harry.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T05:54:47.612Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wait, what about these chapters did you find implausible enough that you want to challenge one of your priors?

comment by Decius · 2013-07-01T00:13:58.996Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The wards against sudden injury didn't trigger, the troll was buffed beyond reasonable expectation, medical treatment which should have worked didn't.

I didn't specify which of (edit) my priors was wrong, because I don't know which one to identify.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-07-01T22:33:47.165Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What makes you think that she's dead? Dumbledore saying so, even though she did not experience sudden injury (per the established wards of Hogwarts)?

Narrative convention suggests it's awfully unlikely that Eliezer would drop a bomb like this with an update gap in between if it were a false alarm.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-06-30T14:23:05.031Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Even if Harry now believes in souls (and what happened to Hermione looks to me like magical death throws, if I was Harry it would be insufficient evidence to overcome my priors) then surely he would want to preserve her body so the soul has something to occupy? Maintaining the transfiguration is easy, keeping it cold is harder as you would have to repeatedly cast the cooling charm, but I doubt the internal structure of a strong metal changes much over time even at room temperature, and he would ask Quirrel for help, because adult help will probably be needed anyway for recovering her soul. Quirrel will be delighted to see Harry devote himself to the magical conquest of death.

As for time turners, being able to go back further than 6 hours and change history is an instant victory, unless both sides have them, in which case the story changes completely into a time war. I don't think that's where EY wants to take it, unless maybe in the last chapter, post-magical singularity, they travel back with invisibility cloaks and save everyone who has ever died.

comment by cousin_it · 2013-06-30T03:11:54.996Z · score: 12 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Legs eaten off at the thighs! For some reason this stuff reminds me of the fight scene from the fifth Twilight movie. Here's a great video review describing that scene, it really brought a smile to my face.

comment by lukeprog · 2013-06-30T04:22:52.137Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

That video review made me laugh pretty hard. Thanks.

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-06-30T11:03:29.447Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I'm upvoting both of you because I probably wouldn't have watched the review without the second "it's worth watching," and I'm glad I watched it.

comment by Alejandro1 · 2013-06-30T14:26:49.534Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

And now I upvoted all three of you, for the same reason.

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-07-01T15:40:00.109Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I was hoping that would happen ;)

comment by Alejandro1 · 2013-07-01T16:19:18.875Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

It's like a karma Ponzi scheme!

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T19:34:25.027Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Good reviews of bad movies are almost always worth watching. See, for example, 90% of the Nostalgia Critic's work.

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-07-01T15:56:09.137Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Errr... "almost always worth watching"? Lots of things are "worth" doing insomuch as they are more enjoyable/valuable than picking an action at random... I'm interested in whether things are relatively worth it. And I'm pretty sure that the decline of marginal benefit would tank the Nostalgia Critic's work within 10 reviews, probably sooner. And even then, is that going to be more enjoyable than .

What lukeprog's comment demonstrated was that this wasn't just another instance of "omg you have to watch this" which is a pretty common phenomenon, and is probably biased because, content aside, we want our friends to consume the same media as us. Luke was in a similar position to mine and he recounted being grateful for choosing to watch it. This feels like it offers more support than if he'd said "Oh yeah, I've seen that video and it's great" because in that case, it's much more likely that Luke is already the sort of person who watches those videos, in which case there's a bias towards him enjoying them.

I'm finding myself somewhat worried that somebody's going to come along and jokingly comment "haha, thanks Alsadius, I just went and watched 90% of NC's work, and it made me laugh pretty hard." So I'm just gonna preempt that here. If someone actually does that, link to your favourite 1-2 videos, because I don't want to watch them all.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-02T02:42:54.899Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

To be fair, I've watched perhaps a third of his output, I've just thought that ~90% of that was a worthwhile way to spend my time. You're right, it's not the sort of thing you want to watch all the time, but a couple here and there I findm to eb enjoyable. Your mileage may vary, of course.

If anyone's feeling curious, I'd suggest his Howard the Duck review as a starting point - http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thatguywiththeglasses/nostalgia-critic/2453-howard-the-duck

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2013-07-01T15:00:34.829Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

That was funny, but I'd like to defend Breaking Dawn part II on the grounds of:

  • A clever demonstration of using superpowers to resolve conflict non-violently
  • A clever demonstration of how precognition in particular is a complete game-breaker

(Note that I say this from the perspective of only having read the first book, and not seen any of the other movies.)

comment by Eric_M_S · 2013-06-30T09:28:14.640Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

So there's already a resurrection ritual that Harry has heard about. Blood of an enemy, bone of the father, flesh of the servant. Can he find these things for Hermione?

Anyone else confused by the line in chapter 89:

"Lead it away, keep it off me," said a voice.

On first reading I thought it was the as-of-yet-unnamed-but-totally-Hermione victim, which seemed odd, but on a third read I think it might be Harry, and the distance of the narration just a reflection of Harry's horror. Not sure, though.

comment by Tripitaka · 2013-06-30T11:53:21.630Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

In canon this ritual is used to give the Horcrux-preserved shadow of Voldemort a new body. His body has the shape of a human baby and is able to talk coherently; he reemerges after the ritual with a fullformed body. Hermione has got no Horcrux of her own, and is thus beyond the means of this resurrection ritual.

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-06-30T11:36:30.223Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Based on main canon, I don't have the sense that that resurrection ritual works for someone who's properly dead.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T19:58:20.041Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The only plausible enemy is Quirell - how exactly will Harry forcibly take his blood?

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-06-30T11:12:37.315Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Does Hermione have a servant?

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-30T11:18:54.485Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Captain Ron would be the ideal choice.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T09:57:30.047Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

which seemed odd

Why? That was my reading.

comment by robryk · 2013-06-30T21:27:45.475Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'd expected this to be spoken by Harry under his cloak (thus `a voice') when I read it. I still think it was Harry, because it makes perfect sense for him to say that (he wishes to attend to Hermione as soon as possible) and it's awfully coherent for someone going into shock.

comment by Discredited · 2013-07-01T10:27:50.485Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Usually when Eliezer writes the words "a voice" it occurs in a phrase like "he said in a voice so malevolent it could boil kittens' tears". Occasionally he writes "a voice" just because the person whose perspective he's writing from doesn't know who was speaking, like "asked a voice from clear across the room" or "shouted a voice somewhere in the mists of the battlefield". This doesn't look like either of those. It's not a strong clue, but to me it points in the direction of Eliezer intentionally not naming who spoke, in order to keep it a secret from the reader for the moment.

Or maybe I'm getting carried away hoping there's an invisible time-turned Harry there to save the day.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-06-30T09:43:50.779Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

He can try, but, well, Voldemort's soul was still around. :(

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T10:45:52.059Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

He would have needed to kill somebody, possibly to have killed somebody with mens rhea, to do that.

Of course, Harry might get around this.

Bone is a problem since Harry's father is alive. Plus it must be unknowingly bequeathed. Perhaps he could steal it, and it would be OK? Perhaps Harry's father will die at some point? Perhaps a different ancestor? Not necessarily father.

Who is his servant? I don't think he has one. The closest would be Lesath Lestrange or maybe the Weasleys.

Enemy would probably be Quirrel. Harry might be able to acquire his blood.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-06-30T13:05:50.668Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

He would have needed to kill somebody, possibly to have killed somebody with mens rhea

"Mens Rhea!" Is that the spell that makes someone think they're a huge bird that can't fly?

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-06-30T12:44:56.432Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Trying to resurrect Hermione. Not sure how Harry would be able to resurrect /himself/, barring time shenanigans.

... now /that/ would be interesting. Trying to figure out how on earth you managed to resurrect yourself in the six hours before you show up.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T19:59:06.642Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The servant would be Harry himself.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T01:32:01.147Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Well. That went poorly.

There isn't any reason to accept it, not when there's magic in the world.

Harry has direct sensory evidence that souls are real, but it doesn't look like that's updated his sense of what is and isn't possible yet. I feel more and more trepidation.

comment by DanielLC · 2013-06-30T04:38:27.948Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

You say that like having an immortal soul, a major part of your mind that can survive literally anything, would make it harder to revive the dead.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T05:27:45.135Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You say that like having an immortal soul, a major part of your mind that can survive literally anything, would make it harder to revive the dead.

Right, for some values of "revive." If the immortal soul has a mortal connection to the real world, then you can either revive the bodies (but they're soulless) or you can bring back the soul (but they're disconnected). The Resurrection Stone in HP canon (as well as possibly that creepy curtain) suggests that the second option is already implemented, but doesn't establish that it's the best possible (except in an 'absence of evidence is evidence of absence' sort of way).

If people are just computation, then you only have to solve the problem of fixing the hardware and rebooting them, not also realigning their soul.

comment by RomeoStevens · 2013-06-30T05:53:00.423Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Humans can still be just hardware with a soul. API calls to the cloud.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T05:56:15.941Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Sure- but in a world where souls are immortal and connections can be easily be restored, that sort of resurrection would be likely to already exist. Its absence suggests its impossibility.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-06-30T17:51:23.993Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

In a world with immortal souls, Harry's Patronus goes to find Hermione now. Yes, we can invent reasons why that would fail. Its failure would/will still provide more evidence in the other direction.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T18:35:57.495Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

In a world with immortal souls, Harry's Patronus goes to find Hermione now.

That is an experimental test I would very much like to see Harry try.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T01:55:23.490Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Harry has direct sensory evidence that souls are real

I'm not sure what this is referring to. Ghosts? Harry currently thinks those are magical echoes.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T03:03:11.753Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Reread the event in question. (I'm trying to keep the start of my comments a little unspoilery, since they show up in the recent comments sidebar.)

In the universe where souls do not exist and people are just electrical activity embodied in lipid computers, that description and it triggering Dumbledore's immediate arrival seem very unlikely. In the universe where souls do exist, it seems very likely.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T03:09:39.038Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, hmm. For some reason I thought Dumbledore's arrival was triggered by the wards. Gotcha. But I think what Harry witnessed was still consistent with magical echoes; it sounded like Hermione almost but wasn't quite made into a ghost or something.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T03:17:58.174Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, hmm. For some reason I thought Dumbledore's arrival was triggered by the wards. Gotcha.

Right; I'm using the wards triggering right then as evidence for the souls theory. In a souls world, it's easy to notice when souls exit the body (and set up wards to detect that), and hard to notice when souls are about to exit the body, so you can show up and suspend them or whatever. In a 'people are just computation' world, where you're able to read the computation from afar using magic, a ward that notices "Hermione's not alive anymore!" would require tech that could be used to build a ward that notices "Hermione's going into shock!", which would be a much more useful ward to have.

[edit] I didn't fully remember the wards from the Draco Incident, where they could detect injury. So either there are multiple levels of wards and the injury ward was disabled (or set to death), Dumbledore didn't respond to the injury alarm but did respond to the death alarm (reasonable, if he's somewhere else important, and the Deputy present at the castle would have already known the troll was around and have the castle in high alert by the time Hermione was attacked if she was attacked after Filch's alert), there's a continuity break, or something I'm missing.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T03:27:22.596Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Good point, but I'm not sure if the wards triggered right then: Dumbledore said he felt Hermione die, not that the wards alerted him that Hermione died. During the Draco fiasco various characters say the wards are triggered to detect rapid harm to students, which is why they didn't detect the blood-cooling charm (although you'd think that means the wards would have detected what happened to Hermione sooner...). The implication is that if someone hadn't discovered Draco he would have died without the wards detecting it, or at least that's what it sounded like to me.

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T03:46:02.666Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

We don't even know Dumbledore was in the castle, as I understand it. Ch88:

A quick glance at the Head Table confirmed that the Divination Professor was waving her wand frantically as the half-Giant dabbed at his clothes. Nobody else seemed to be paying much attention, even Professor McGonagall. Professor Flitwick was standing on his chair as usual, the Headmaster seemed to be absent again (he'd been gone most days of the holiday)

If he's not even at Hogwarts, that seems like it renders it difficult to infer anything from when he shows up since any delay or argument-from-silence could just as well be due to it taking time to phoenix-fire back from whereever and then repoint himself.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T04:12:59.088Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

During the Draco fiasco various characters say the wards are triggered to detect rapid harm to students

Hmm, this does appear to be a hole in my logic, and also the response of "the wards only trigger on death" to "if Dumbledore had show up seconds sooner things would have been different." The text from earlier:

The clear intent of the Blood-Cooling Charm had been to kill Draco Malfoy so slowly that the wards of Hogwarts, set to detect sudden injury, would not trigger.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T05:16:59.194Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Something else interesting, from Chapter 84:

The old wizard nodded in affirmation. "If any hostile magic is cast on her, or any spirit touches her, I shall know, and come."

Grievous bodily injury, unfortunately, is not covered under that warranty.

Also,

also a toe-ring with an emergency portkey to a safe location

Now I guess we know why it started with her legs.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-06-30T11:07:18.304Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The portkey would only work if she was taken outside Hogwarts.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T19:12:12.926Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Not true. Portkeys can work in Hogwarts - cf., the end of Goblet of Fire. It's only Apparation that doesn't work.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-06-30T19:55:19.030Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In HPMOR, portkeys do not work in Hogwarts (chapter 63).

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T20:43:29.623Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Right. I was thinking of the "rip the playing card" portkey, but in retrospect that said to get beyond the wards first.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-22T18:27:01.802Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It seems reasonable for the Headmaster to be able to make portkeys that can bypass those wards.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T04:11:40.416Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

The wards triggering right then is evidence mostly that somebody is messing with the wards, based on their previous description as being set to trigger on "sudden injury".

The clear intent of the Blood-Cooling Charm had been to kill Draco Malfoy so slowly that the wards of Hogwarts, set to detect sudden injury, would not trigger.

comment by Jurily · 2013-06-30T08:23:24.519Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Or that since she ran for sunlight, she wasn't inside Hogwarts technically, therefore the wards didn't pick up her injury. We already have proof the attacker expected her to do that.

Which would also explain her last words.

comment by Fhyve · 2013-06-30T11:43:14.472Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

She was still within the wards/within hogwarts grounds.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T06:07:39.827Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Oh! What if the wards only work inside the castle? Hermione's battle with the troll was in the sunlight and thus outside. While I would hope that the wards would cover the entire school grounds (rescuing students from the Forbidden Forest seems like a more common use case than rescuing them inside), that's another possibility that seems somewhat more reasonable than some of the others I've listed. (I should also, for completeness, add the "he responded to the injury alarm but it took too long" option, but I find that one unsatisfying for several reasons.)

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T04:36:03.981Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The wards were drawn up by a schemer in the 12th century. Was shock a concept he was familiar with? (Gryffindor probably would have been, but Slytherin, I'm not so sure)

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T05:21:49.485Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Possibly not. But as Hippocrates put it,

War is the only proper school for the surgeon

and so I suspect that trauma surgery was mature enough then that they had some concept of shock after seeing hundreds of people die from it.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T05:33:46.190Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed. Salazar Slytherin doesn't seem like someone who has seen a terribly large amount of war, though - he's more of the shadowy type.

That said, thinking and a bit of Google reminds me that Ch. 47 has Salazar Slytherin in a battle scene. I'm no longer confident of the correctness of this point.

comment by drethelin · 2013-06-30T02:57:13.550Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

He felt something "happen" when Hermione died and Dumbledore also confirmed it. It might just be a magical echo but it's definitely evidence for something like a soul.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-06-30T03:31:36.331Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

This is true, but without further investigation, it fails to distinguish the world where souls are independent from physical form from the world where souls are magical echoes/uploads/backups/etc.

On that note, this would be one convenient time for Quirrel to drop in and say "Oh, by the way, that description of the Resurrection Stone you gave me turned up something interesting..."

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-06-30T15:19:34.056Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How does he know that what happens is the soul leaving the body, as opposed to magical death throws? For that matter, how does he know that the soul goes somewhere (I'm guessing the source of magic in atlantis) rather than simply disintegrating?

comment by desertEskimo · 2013-07-02T01:37:46.763Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I'm tentative to make predictions here since, reading through comments, I consider you folks more grounded in rationality, logical thinking and also fictional predictions than me. But I wanted to share a thought and get feedback, so here goes.

My interpretation of the big magical release goes like this: Hermione's brain, experiences, knowledge, magical ability, etc., are programmed via the genetic magic marker to upload into... something. The Atlantean Neural Database, or something like that. We've got reason to believe that magic was artificially created and the genetic marker programmed into people, so that they are capable of interfacing with reality on a far more interesting level than most people. We've also got plenty of evidence to suggest that the brain is, if not fully understood by magical knowledge, more than capable of being interacted with. We have Legilimency and Obliviations capable of accessing memory, thoughts, knowledge, and intentions; the author is capable of working with things WE don't know about because wizarding knowledge is stated to have been lost, so we also have some unknown-unknowns working against us. So the odds of neural magic having existed in a more advanced form (peaking in Atlantis) seems pretty decent to me.

If I imagine myself as a group of wizards (or an ultra clever protoMerlin), capable of interacting with time and brains, and I'm still interested in doing research and data gathering, then it seems like being able to collect ALL neural data on ALL wizards would be a big boon in doing research. So the magic marker, given a certain degree of trauma, could trigger the release of information back to the source of magic. Dumbledore's certainty that Hermione is dead (despite certainty in other comments that HP should still be capable of preserving her brain) tells me that he knows, based on that big blast of magical resonance stuff, her death is now as official as it gets. He's also very confident that life goes on after death; if you're capable of uploading every part of your brain that makes you YOU into a big database, there's no reason for him to be wrong, in this sense.

And from a narrative perspective, the fact that Harry immediately jumps to conclusions about Atlantis and searching outside of time to bring her back--no to protect everybody else from death, as was his original statement, but to specifically fetch the string of information that represents Hermione and restore it to existence--suggests they're related.

Maybe I'm late to the party on this idea though. Odds of somebody else thinking of it before, especially if I'm the one thinking about it, seem pretty good.

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-01T03:15:25.192Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I predict that Harry will save many or all people who ever died from oblivion with magic that reaches backward through time to capture the mind of each person at the point of their death.

I further predict that this magic will create the mechanism of magic, possibly incidentally, and be responsible for the sort of Atlantis that magical Britons believe in.

I speculate that magic and ghosts are unintended byproducts of Harry's Afterlife Immortality Project.

Harry is an anti-death hero. Whatever villains he may encounter, his enemy is death and his heroic victory will be over his true enemy.

The afterlife figures centrally in the original work in ways that are incompatible with the author's worldview. In this way, the author incorporates important elements of the original work without betraying his convictions.

I made this prediction last April, and wish there had already been an admonishment to share predictions like the one involving 75th, yesterday.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T18:39:00.836Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I made this prediction as soon as Harry encountered that Spittake Soda, I think, having made a lucky guess as to how it worked. Or was it when he encountered time-turners ... ?

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T08:34:24.598Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That... sort of makes sense except that the loop seems overly complex and Harry would try to prevent more misery or something?

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-02T03:50:22.014Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That... sort of makes sense except that the loop seems overly complex and Harry would try to prevent more misery or something?

I don't know what "just complex enough" would look like, so I'm not sure what you mean by overly complex. But I promise I will listen.

It has been established that the past cannot be changed because the universe steps through time once, with all time travel included. Harry cannot change the misery that occurred.

On the other hand, the author has said something to the effect that even if there is an afterlife in HP&tMoR, there is no evidence of one so someone like Harry would not believe in one. Without evidence of an afterlife, Harry can create one that has always existed and contains the minds of many or all people.

comment by shminux · 2013-06-30T06:46:08.286Z · score: 9 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Not quite the Red Wedding, but close.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-06-30T01:48:18.969Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

First, I have to get the emotional reaction out of the way: holycrap!

Now that that's done, is the last time we've heard about the Marauders' Map when Dumbledore borrowed it to search for Tom Riddle? I don't remember off hand whether that was after TSPE or in Taboo Tradeoffs.

I'm a little perplexed at how Harry's medical treatment didn't seem to work; it sounded like it should have bought several minutes, but the action that followed didn't seem like it could have taken more than 60 seconds. I've only read it the once through, so I could be missing it completely, but the timing felt deliberate. (And all the ticks in 88 seem to emphasize the passage of time, though they could well have just been to emphasize the pressure).

Also, Susan knows how to effectively magic giants? That makes her smarter than Umbridge's entire team-to-sack-Hagrid in canon. I suppose it pays to have a competent defense professor (even if he is the most likely suspect for all the awful that just happened), and the director of the DMLE as a close relative.

I was pretty shocked at the Troll in the Dungeon line. That seemed like something that wouldn't be at all likely to happen with a RATIONAL! Voldemort, foreshadowing in Quirrel's first class aside. Apparently I never bothered to think about a decent motivation for such a plot; using it as a plot to get at the stone didn't come across as particularly clever in this universe, and I didn't search beyond that and just dismissed it as a silly idea. Oops. Of course, that brings forward the question of whether or not Harry will have to kill a Hungarian Horntail. I wouldn't expect it, but I haven't thought about it for more than a few seconds yet.

comment by maia · 2013-06-30T01:54:03.919Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Re Marauders' Map: Quirrell pretty obviously has it. He obliviated the Weasley twins and took it. This is just the smart thing for him to do.

Note how he's burning straight through to the melee with the troll at the end of Ch. 89 - so he knows exactly where and in what direction Harry and Hermione are. This could also be because of the psychic link, but it also increases the probability he has the map.

comment by pjeby · 2013-07-01T19:25:09.031Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Re Marauders' Map: Quirrell pretty obviously has it. He obliviated the Weasley twins and took it. This is just the smart thing for him to do.

Alternative hypothesis: this is one of several things done by a time traveller creating a consistent time loop. If they had the map, it would have shown Hermione in two places, or else not where she was being attacked. In this scenario, the twins were temporarily obliviated about the map, just so they wouldn't use it. But they still have the map.

The disappearance of the map is actually one of the few clues that IMO raises the probability that a time loop is already in progress, besides the ELIZA discussion with "Brienne". Harry also knows that the time turner prohibition can be defeated, with assistance from an adult wizard; his likely next effort (after securing Hermione's body for possible revival) would be to find another way to circumvent both the use prohibition and Time itself.

But I guess we'll find out in a few hours. (Squee!)

(Not an actual prediction, but it would be awesome if this somehow turns out to be Hermione deliberately faking her own death to assume a cover identity. Among other things, it would be a compelling answer to the "stuffed in a fridge" trope allegations. Not as powerful -- but still more fair to Hermione than the status quo -- would be a flashback that shows her heroically taking on the troll in order to protect someone else, rather than just being a victim. She at least deserves her own epic batlle scene, even if the story requires it appear only in flashback.)

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T02:02:58.310Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You don't think Dumbledore would've obliviated the Weasley twins after using the map to find Voldemort? That would also have been the smart thing for him to do.

comment by Intrism · 2013-06-30T02:08:37.955Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Nah, not really. The Marauder's Map is the obvious thing to try when searching for someone in Hogwarts, he wouldn't release any information to the Weasleys. And, of course, Dumbledore does trust the Weasleys. It did suggest the Map to Quirrell as a device he'd want to confiscate, but it's not really in Dumbledore's nature to think that far ahead.

comment by maia · 2013-06-30T02:18:43.263Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I guess the question is, how many levels deep is Dumbledore playing? I think it's possible he's smart enough to predict that Voldemort would do this, and take the map away from them as a precaution. But not super likely.

But other than that, I don't see a motivation for Dumbledore to confiscate it; he seems to like that the Weasleys have it. It's a token of Gryffindorishness, flouting the letter of the law to pull pranks and help out their friends or what have you. And Dumbledore likes that, I think.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T02:24:07.098Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Right, but Dumbledore also thinks there's a war going on. The map seems like too useful a tool for either side to have for Dumbledore to be so cavalier about leaving it in the twins' hands.

comment by Intrism · 2013-06-30T02:39:53.466Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I would understand Dumbledore confiscating the map. But, if he were to confiscate it, he would do only that, not Obliviate the Weasleys such that they'd have no memory of ever possessing such a map. It would seem cruel and pointless to him.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T02:42:26.525Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Suppose Dumbledore thinks his enemies aren't aware that the map exists. If he believes one of his enemies is a Legilimens and is periodically scanning the students' minds, he might not want to take the risk of them scanning the Weasley twins and discovering the existence of the map. But I admit I'm stretching at this point.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T04:07:26.007Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

If that enemy exists, he already knows.

comment by Benya (Benja) · 2013-06-30T11:44:13.347Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Upvoted for qualifying the clever argument with the admission that it is a stretch.

comment by maia · 2013-06-30T02:52:12.387Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's a good point. I'm updating slightly in favor of Dumbledore having it, then.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-06-30T02:00:31.787Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Most likely. What I don't remember is whether or not Dumbledore ever gave it back to Fred and George; he presumably did if Quirrel stole it, since I doubt he would have had an easy time getting it from Dumbledore unnoticed. And if we didn't get confirmation that Dumbledore returned it, I suppose this might fuel "Dumbledore did it" theories. Most of my probability mass goes to Quirrel, though.

comment by maia · 2013-06-30T02:02:06.567Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I assume Dumbledore gave it back. He didn't care that they had it before he borrowed it; why would he suddenly begin to care after?

(OK, I can think of a few reasons, but they're pretty weak and don't measure up to "Quirrell took it" in probability mass.)

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-30T16:11:12.291Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Hypothesis: Time-Turned Harry has it.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T03:11:41.659Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm a little perplexed at how Harry's medical treatment didn't seem to work; it sounded like it should have bought several minutes, but the action that followed didn't seem like it could have taken more than 60 seconds. I've only read it the once through, so I could be missing it completely, but the timing felt deliberate. (And all the ticks in 88 seem to emphasize the passage of time, though they could well have just been to emphasize the pressure).

My understanding is that once shock is refractory#Refractory), there is no turning back (in particular, oxygenation at that stage is useless). I'm not familiar enough with the medicine to know if it's reasonable for her to progress that far that quickly, but my layman's guess is "probably."

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T04:33:51.471Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The description of refractory shock is that the ATP in the body has already decayed and diffused out of the cells. Would someone in that state have any way of speaking? Or do we assume that the Law of Dramatic Death Scenes is written into a magician's powers?

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T05:31:23.544Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Would someone in that state have any way of speaking? Or do we assume that the Law of Dramatic Death Scenes is written into a magician's powers?

The dramatic death scene was my interpretation, but I don't have much experience with people dying violently (thankfully). I don't know how realistic dramatic death scenes are or how much wizardly fortitude is worth.

comment by loup-vaillant · 2013-06-30T09:07:44.962Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Recalling a video I have seen (forgot the source), the actual damage wouldn't occur upon hypoxia, but upon re-oxygenation. Lack of oxygen at the cellular level does start a fatal chemical reaction, but the structure of the cells are largely preserved. But when you put oxygen back, everything blows up (or swells up, actually).

Harry may very well have killed Hermione with his oxygen shot. If he froze her before then, it might have worked, but after that… her information might be lost.

One obvious objection: Hermione was still concious enough to say some last words, ruling out advanced brain de-oxygenation. That could be only for the drama, but still.

One obvious consequence: that magic feeling upon death might be linked to plain muggle information-theoretic death somehow. But then, we have horcrucxes and Avada Kedavra… I'm quite confused by HPMOR's "laws of physics".

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-06-30T11:49:10.264Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Wizards have souls. - their minds are running on more than just wetware. I am fairly certain of this, because otherwise shape shifting would be instantly fatal.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-23T04:17:02.926Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Or their brains are stored in hammerspace but maintain control of the transfigured body.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T07:52:55.887Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Possible analysis of the Animagus xform:

Wizard's brain is imaged into magical representation. Transfiguration then takes place with control by live magical representation of wizards brain. Could this also be connected to how animagi are dementor-resistant?

comment by IsaacWheeland · 2013-07-02T02:57:30.285Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

My friend and I were emailing about this update. I asked her for her opinion on it and whether or not she liked it. Here are her thoughts:

"Yeeah, I kind of don't. I posted this review on it yesterday (after quietly fuming for a bit):

If this had been Neville or someone, I'd be commending you on how you handled the emotion here, but as it is I was too annoyed and appalled that you were damseling and then fridging fricking Hermione while halfheartedly suggesting she put up an offscreen fight to be able to appreciate it.

I'm not easily annoyed with fridging, or character death in general. In fact, a lot of my favorite scenes in fiction involve my favorite characters dying, and I've always argued that a character of any gender dying as a vital part of the main character's arc is fine. But Hermione had a huge incomplete arc and you've just rendered the entirety of it pointless. This is Hermione, she wasn't as rational as Harry, she tried to be a hero but only made things worse, she was framed for murder and ended up in a huge debt to Harry, which she had plans to try to settle and potential for interesting emotional growth, except whoops, then she died, and nothing ever came of any of it. For shock value and unexpectedness purposes, I guess that's cool. But for storytelling purposes, it's breathtakingly unsatisfying, and the fact she was your primary female character by a mile and you just killed her off in an offscreen fight because a boy was too late to save her, her last words spent reassuring him it's not his fault, adds a bitter aftertaste of typical gendered tropes to the whole thing.

I'm hoping this isn't what it seems, one way or another, and Hermione gets to come back and do some of the stuff she should have gotten to do so that maybe at least some of the time you spent developing her wasn't just inane inconsequential filler. But if it is what it seems, I'm just emptily disappointed - too distracted sighing dejectedly at the fact I thought you were better than this to even care on an in-world level that she died.

A chapter like this shouldn't fall flat like that. Although my reasons for disliking it may be fairly meta and you could argue you're intentionally averting accepted standards of when characters cannot die, the ultimate result is just that I'm left unaffected by a chapter that should have been powerful and emotional. As an author you should care about that if nothing else.

Basically, remember when I was telling you that one of the few things that bugged me was how near the beginning Harry's interactions with Hermione where she was traditionally smart but he was rational seemed to be belittling her to glorify him? Well, the reason it didn't bug me that much was that Hermione was still interesting and seemingly getting real development and they story seemed to be giving her her own quest of self-improvement through which she could easily become his equal or better. Now she turns out to have existed purely to make Harry care about her and nothing she did mattered and she never got to be anything but Harry's less rational, less successful, less efficient, overemotional love interest foil. Argh. And we didn't even get to see her put up a proper fight! I wouldn't have minded nearly so much if, say, Harry had arrived to find Hermione had already killed or otherwise disabled the troll, with a victorious smile of contentment on her face, and died from her injuries as he watched while whispering "I did it, I'm a hero." But NOPE she put up some kind of fight and threw some explosive-looking spells but of course she was actually helpless and couldn't possibly have defeated the troll on her own so her survival completely and utterly depended on Harry making his way there in time which he didn't, oh no, look at his sadfeels while all she cares about is telling him it's not his fault instead of being livid that she didn't achieve fucking anything in her life because Harry constantly overshadowed her and now she's dying before she could figure out how to fix it.

All that made me too angry to give a damn about the plot or emotion or anything, which is a shame because otherwise I'd probably have enjoyed this update."

comment by IsaacWheeland · 2013-07-02T02:58:21.817Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I emailed back, and she elaborated:

"Oh, no, my issue is not with the fact that Eliezer killed a female character for Harry's motivation. Like I said, I like character death. I like character death used to put other characters through an emotional rollercoaster. And when people complain that X is sexist because a female character got fridged, that annoys me because while the trend is an issue, there is nothing wrong or sexist with an individual instance of a character who happens to be female dying for a character who happens to be male. It actually kind of surprised me on a meta level that I was so mad - I have never been annoyed by an individual instance of fridging before.

But the issue here is with the context in this particular instance. Your argument that it had to happen this way is flawed, because it assumes the story prior to the exact point of Hermione's death was fixed and out of Eliezer's hands. I don't have a problem with Eliezer killing Hermione, in itself - but if he was going to, he should have either not given her this character arc in the first place or completed the arc first in a way that gives at least some vague kind of closure. He could also have killed Neville if he wanted to - he'd just have needed to develop Harry's relationship with Neville in such a way that it would make sense as a motivator, instead of (or along with) his relationship with Hermione. And it's not as if he suddenly realized here after writing the story up to this point that he needed to kill Hermione in order for it to work out - the trigger warnings page has noted that the next chapter with a trigger warning would be called "The Bystander Effect" (he notes specifically on chapter 88 that the original title was "Bystander Apathy", clearly as a way of alerting those who have been watching out for the next triggery chapter that this is it) since August 2010. This was planned. He knew exactly how he was going to kill Hermione, and he had all the time in the world to plan out a way for it to go that wouldn't involve aborting a potentially interesting arc and making Hermione The Character Who Could Never Step Out Of Harry's Shadow And Then Died.

If you've watched Game of Thrones (or read A Song of Ice and Fire, assuming this bit is more or less the same as the show), it also shockingly kills off main characters a lot, but while it is shocking and unexpected, it is not unsatisfying like this, because the characters who are killed, while they had personalities and plans and development, didn't have arcs going much of anywhere in particular at the moment - the story wouldn't have been any better with them remaining alive than dead at that point. I feel this is very distinctly not the case for Hermione in MoR. She had interesting stuff left to do. She had been written with uncomfortable overtones (taking a canon character one of whose main qualities was being smart and repeatedly making her fail where Harry succeeds because he's more rational), but the story suggested her arc was about her discovering her own way towards not having to be in Harry's shadow anymore, which would have fixed it. By aborting the arc, all that's left is those uncomfortable overtones of glorifying Harry and belittling Hermione - a character who happens to have canonically been the intelligent one, who taught millions of girls that being smart could be pretty badass.

And now MoR's only remaining vaguely developed female character is McGonagall, who, while fun, is also repeatedly emphasized as being markedly irrational (in this very chapter, even). From a source material that did at least reasonably well with female characters, after a story that seemed to be heading towards also doing at least okay on that front, Eliezer ended up with a story about how much better a boy is than almost everybody else, where all of the rare exceptions are male and the one female character who could have held her own gets fridged before anything comes of it. As a canon-Hermione fan, I feel pretty damn slapped in the face, especially when this comes straight after chapter 87 (which also irritated me a lot by making Hermione preoccupied with her tiresome ~unrequited love~ for Harry when she's just been framed for murder and should have way better things to think about). It did not have to be this way.

And, like I said, even if he absolutely had to develop an arc and make it look like Hermione was going to get something done in her life only to have it not happen to make her death more shocking, he could still have done it without the pathetic damseling, and I might have been able to let it slide. Couldn't this have been from Hermione's point of view up until when Harry arrives at the scene? (He could still have done Harry's viewpoint, too.) Couldn't we have actually seen her attempts to fight it off (which Eliezer could at least have attempted to make somewhat awesome)? Couldn't Harry have arrived sometime before Hermione became a helpless immobile McGuffin, and seen her holding her own at least somewhat? (If chapter 90 is Hermione's fight with the troll from her point of view and it's awesome and has some kind of closure to her character, or Hermione gets brought back in some manner and gets some closure afterwards, I'll be reasonably content.)

The end result, as I also mentioned, is that I don't even find it heartwrenching, because I'm too busy being angry at the context to be immersed in the story at all anymore at that point. I couldn't even concentrate when reading the whole last bit because all I wanted to do was start to type a rant into the comment box. If I had managed to be emotionally impacted by it, I'd probably also be more inclined to forgive it for the sake of good storytelling, but exactly because the context was so maddening, I couldn't. I was more saddened by the death of Mrs. Norris than Hermione.

I posted my review on FFN, and he says he reads all reviews, so he's probably read it already, but you can post it if you want. (Probably better include my elaborations here.)"

comment by Eugene · 2013-09-07T21:42:28.153Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I can't help but observe that even if Hermione had been male, and just Harry's friend - even if we take out all notions of sexism or relationship dynamics from this problem - killing him off is still not really the best solution. This was a character who was growing, who was admittedly more interesting than Harry, and who was on a path that could've potentially put this character at or even above Harry's level of rational thinking. But now we're just left with Harry again, and it feels like settling for second-best.

Perhaps later chapters will convince me otherwise, but for now I am suspicious that the direction this story is going is not the best direction for this story.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T17:35:22.041Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, I wonder if this is the review he responded to in the AN.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-01T07:55:55.955Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

... On a side note.

Hermione Granger, of House Potter, at great cost to House Potter, was just killed on Potter's watch.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-07-05T12:48:57.625Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good idea. Although if Harry could prove to the Wizengamot's satisfaction that Lucius or someone else did it, he probably wouldn't go for the blood debt, he would just take appropriate revenge himself.

comment by Xachariah · 2013-06-30T21:57:56.563Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Why are people here reacting like Hermione is perma-dead?

I get that they'd act that way on reddit, but people here actually believe and sign up for cryonics. Harry's got a whole team of Alcor cryonic specialists right in his wand. And if he can't manage the magic, Dumbledore can. Hermione's soul and magic may have exploded in an impressive lightshow, but her brain is still fully oxygenated and hasn't even begun to decompose.

Everything that makes her her is still doing fine.

(And on a meta level, Elizer knows that fictional examples are strong drivers of behavior. A fictional example of cryonics working would be big for cryonics adoption.)

comment by William_Quixote · 2013-06-30T22:44:30.916Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Harry's brain suggested that an obvious way to stop the Dementors from seeing Bellatrix was to make her stop existing, i.e., kill her. Harry congratulated his brain on thinking outside the box and told it to continue searching. Kill her and then bring her back, came the next suggestion. Use Frigideiro to cool Bellatrix down to the point where her brain activity stops, then warm her up afterward using Thermos, just like people who fall into very cold water can be successfully revived half-an-hour later without noticeable brain damage. Harry considered this. Bellatrix might not survive in her debilitated state. And it might not stop Death from seeing her. And he'd have trouble carrying a cold unconscious Bellatrix very far. And Harry couldn't remember the research on which exact body temperature was supposed to be nonfatal but temporarily-brain-halting.

from http://hpmor.com/chapter/56

comment by Xachariah · 2013-06-30T23:46:54.759Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

He's familiar with cryonics then, or at least the concept of suspended animation.

It was another good outside-the-box idea, but Harry told his brain to keep thinking...

The next line implies that he'd have used the plan if he didn't immediately think up a better one. Any plan he comes up with to save Hermione has to be at least as likely to succeed as cryonics.

comment by David_Gerard · 2013-07-01T16:46:44.174Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Stuffed Into The Fridge, indeed.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-01T07:35:11.959Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Because the old ancient wizard has reason to believe souls exist, which means that while it's probably possible to keep Hermione's body functioning, there's "a burst of something... too vast to be understood" that's just gone missing.

Mind, that doesn't stop someone from figuring out a way anyway. Harry certainly plans to. It just makes things significantly more difficult.

comment by GeorgieChaos · 2013-07-02T19:11:26.001Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Old people, & people immersed in the traditional wisdom of old cultures, believe many things that have playtested as useful beliefs over a very long period. It doesn't follow from this that no dross creeps in.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T19:22:35.402Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I had assumed that such a, well, intense death scene would mean that her death was supposed to be really meaningful and so on ... but as I've been thinking about it, I've become increasingly certain that she'll be back.

comment by JTHM · 2013-06-30T20:41:24.054Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Prediction for Chapter 90: Time Pressure, Part 3:

"Wait a moment," you say. "Time Pressure, Part 3? Harry already lost his race against the clock. Why would Chap. 90 be called 'Time Pressures'?"

Because Harry's race against the clock to save Hermione's life has only just begun, and he has slightly less than six hours left. Eliezer mentioned that one of his most significant purposes of Chap. 86 was to update characters' states of knowledge before the next arc. If you recall, in that chapter, Harry learned the word "horcrux." And in Chap. 87, Harry learned of the philosopher's stone.

So what will Harry do? Get the shell removed from his time turner, or obtain a time turner from someone else. Learn about the Horcrux ritual as quickly as possible, travel back in time, get Hermione to create a horcrux, and erase her memory of doing so thus that her death plays out just as before. Then start working on the stone to restore Hermione to life. (He could also take the "bone of the father, flesh of the servant, blood of the enemy" route, but positively identifying Hermione's enemy could be difficult. Lucius Malfoy and Company, who were tricked into antagonizing Hermione, might not count for purposes of the ritual.)

The hard part, of course, will be getting Hermione to kill, but Harry can probably find someone in a hospital who has only days to live and convince Hermione that creating a horcrux is a net ethical positive.

Without Hermione's death, murder would have been a line Harry was unwilling to cross. I think that whoever is behind this plot really wants Harry to cross the Moral Event Horizon and/or create the stone (the second possibility is less likely though, since Hermione was already working on the stone, but that fact could have been unknown to the plotter).

Edit: As of Chapter 101, this prediction has probably been proven wrong, unless Harry's memory of executing this plan has been erased (not completely impossible; there's a moment when he becomes momentarily disoriented.) But I think this would make a totally awesome piece of recursive fanfiction. After HPMoR is finished, I might write this.

comment by diagramchaser · 2013-07-01T12:37:38.833Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

While I consider this unlikely, it would help explain the scene with Hermione's soul seemingly leaving her body. As far as I remember the characters who deaths seems we saw in canon didn't have this effect and having a Horocrux would differentiate Hermione from them.

comment by bramflakes · 2013-07-01T23:33:38.100Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not capable of reasoning about time loops in my sleep-deprived state, but would it be possible for Hermione to create her Horcrux by killing herself?

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-07-01T23:57:02.598Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Yes: Consider the following loop: Hermione A goes and kills future Hermione B (who already has a horcrux). Hermione A is then killed by the troll, but has a horcrux (possibly with a mind wipe before so she doesn't know about it). Hermione is then A is then resurrected to be sent back in time to become Hermione B. Then Hermione B is resurrected.

However, we know that messing with time is bad and we know that magic with souls is powerful, so this combination looks potentially very dangerous.

comment by Vladimir_Nesov · 2013-08-25T15:47:41.513Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

More generally, if resurrection doesn't require additional sacrifices and doesn't use up a horcrux, people who don't have horcruxes could make them by murdering other people (by arrangement) who already have one (and then resurrecting them). Eventually, everyone is alive and has a horcrux.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-08-25T15:54:47.413Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not completely sure this will work in general. It seems that magic works partially off of intent. One may need to actually believe that one is murdering the person in a permanent way. However, even that could be handled with memory charms.

comment by gwern · 2013-07-01T17:03:58.072Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Predicted with what probability?

comment by JTHM · 2013-07-01T20:07:29.733Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

80% probability that Hermione will make a horcrux; a mere 30% probability that everything will happen exactly as I specified above. It is a very specific prediction, after all.

...And a 90% probability that the plan will occur to Harry whether or not he pulls it off.

comment by elharo · 2013-07-01T10:57:11.523Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I can't see either Harry or Hermione going along with a Horcrux ritual. Just too evil and out of character for both of them.

Given the title and some other hints in the story, I think use of a time turner is inevitable; but whatever Harry does it won't involve a Horcrux.

comment by Alejandro1 · 2013-07-01T14:13:59.926Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Not out of character for Harry; in fact, it would be perfectly in character for him. But Hermione would never go for it.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T07:04:56.035Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I thought that horcruxing required mens rhea.

comment by David_Gerard · 2013-07-01T16:54:05.500Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Mens rea, and yes.

comment by DaveX · 2013-07-01T08:41:57.202Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps Harry will do something with his personal copy of Hermione and a hack of Merlin's computer.

Just hours before:

"Of course there is!" Harry said. The boy suddenly looked a bit more vulnerable. "You mean there isn't a copy of me living in your head?"

There was, she realized; and not only that, it talked in Harry's exact voice.

Given Voldemort's novel formatting of his brain, Harry's apparently already got the hardware to contain or access one extra soul, how much more would he need for another?

comment by Fhyve · 2013-06-30T11:41:39.201Z · score: 8 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Is it just me or has no one in the story really considered that Quirrell = mort? Like, why does the hypothesis that Quirrell = Grindelwald briefly come up first? Why is everyone blindly trusting him even when they think he might be responsible for some of the bad stuff going on? It seems like everyone is doing some serious mental gymnastics to avoid considering that he is actually seriously evil (esp. Hogwarts faculty and Harry).

comment by William_Quixote · 2013-06-30T22:34:30.213Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah. One thing that’s very striking if you read through it while thinking about motivated cognition is just how often words to the effect of “Harry ignored his sense of doom and …” show up. Its really shocking, Harry explicitly and actively ignores a strong sense of doom several times per chapter.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T19:59:24.675Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I think someone's been tampering with their minds in this respect. It's bizarre that at least Dumbledore or maybe Snape hasn't considered this (Harry doesn't think Voldemort's alive, and McGonagall is engaging in motivated cognition so she can keep Quirrell around to teach as long as possible). Maybe it's related to the curse on the Defense Against the Dark Arts position.

comment by elharo · 2013-07-01T11:32:02.653Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Does Harry believe Voldemort is dead? I thought he learned he was alive way back in Chapter 6:

"He's not dead, is he," Harry sighed.

"Mr. Potter -"

"The Dark Lord is alive. Of course he's alive. It was an act of utter optimism for me to have even dreamed otherwise. I must have taken leave of my senses, I can't imagine what I was thinking. Just because someone said that his body was found burned to a crisp, I can't imagine why I would have thought he was dead. Clearly I have much left to learn about the art of proper pessimism."

"Mr. Potter -"

"At least tell me there's not really a prophecy..." Professor McGonagall was still giving him that bright, fixed smile. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me."

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-07-01T18:59:16.295Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry expresses a lot more skepticism than that a lot more recently. Chapter 86:

"So I see," Harry said. His hand rose up, rubbed the scar on his forehead. "But... okay, if this is really all we know... look, I'll just put it bluntly. How do you know that the Dark Lord actually survived?"

And:

The scarred man turned back to face the Headmaster, though his wand stayed pointed low and in Harry's general direction. When he spoke his voice was gruff and businesslike. "I have a lead on a recent host of Voldie's. You're certain his shade is in Hogwarts now?"

"Not certain -" Dumbledore began.

"Say what? " Harry interrupted. After having nearly concluded that the Dark Lord didn't exist, it was a shock to hear it being discussed that matter-of-factly.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T20:22:29.236Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry believes horcruxes to be bunk, on the basis that souls don't exist :/

comment by somervta · 2013-06-30T23:07:55.404Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Although it's possible that Snape is assuming that Dumbledore would't possibly forget to check for that (are there ways to check?). I know my first reaction to the original Rowling-fic is "OK, there's no way Dumbledore didn't know a teacher was being possessed by Voldemort."

comment by Osuniev · 2013-08-28T16:03:22.068Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well he did know, as we find out in the 7th book.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-08-28T16:37:18.668Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

We find out he didn't trust Quirrel (as he tells Snape in flashback to keep an eye on Quirrel), I don't think we find out he knew Quirrel was being possessed by Voldemort.

comment by Osuniev · 2013-08-28T23:29:18.141Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, I may have read too much into this statement, that's true. I always assumed that Dumbledore conveniently "going to the Ministry of Magic" on a broomstick or with a Thestral (and not using one of the million other possibilities such as Floo Powder, Portkey, Apparating), then SUDDENLY realizing halfway that Hogwarts is where he ought to be were meant to signify the adult reader that, unlike what Canon!HP understood, Dumbledore knew all along and was trying to trick Voldemort/Quirrel into trying to get the Stone (which was safe inside the mirror of Erised). It also explained the perfect timing of Hagrid and Harry retrieving the Stone from Gringotts the exact same day Quirrel/Voldemort broke in. The Stone had in my opinion been a bait all along, to try and catch the Dark Lord while waiting for the Chosen One to be old enough to defeat him.

comment by JTHM · 2013-06-30T04:16:02.827Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Harry knows how smart Quirrell is, and he knows that if it occurred to him that the troll was an attempt on Hermione's life, it would have occurred to Quirrell instantly. We (and Harry) know that Quirrell said nothing to McGonagall, from which Harry will soon infer that Quirrell could have saved Hermione yet did nothing. (Which makes it likely, but not certain, that it was Quirrell who was behind the troll.) In either case Quirrell has reached a point, or is about to reach a point, in his sinister plan where it no longer matters (or perhaps even requires) that Harry take him as a mortal enemy.

Draco (and maybe even Lucius) will most likely infer from the troll incident that Hermoine was not the one who attacked him, and he will align himself with Harry in the coming Roaring Rampage of Revenge. I would not be surprised if Lesath Lestrange also made an appearance.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T04:24:21.931Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

It's also possible/likely that the Malfoy household is either involved, or believes that one of their allies is involved, in a revenge killing.

comment by JTHM · 2013-06-30T04:31:11.216Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It could be House Malfoy and Friends, but if so, we would still need some reason why Quirrell would not have told McGonagall that the troll was likely after Hermione. If Quirrell did want Hermione dead, he would most likely have kept any other potential murderers away from her so that her death could occur at a time and in a manner that would suit him best. So the most probable explanation is that it was, in fact, Quirrell.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T04:37:54.256Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

McGonagall is savvy enough to know that the current defense professor is at fault for something like this; Quirrell pushed his luck in manipulating her into taking the actions she did, including providing him a single point of false-memory charm to an alibi for whatever he needs to do (including stealing a time-turner, meeting his future self, confirming that everything appears to will have gone well, and then going back to set up the scenario in the first place).

ETA: And even if it wasn't Malfoy & co, it is believable that they would think it was one of them.

comment by atorm · 2013-06-30T14:45:39.538Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrel didn't know that Hermione was missing when he left with McGonagall.

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T16:05:43.456Z · score: 13 (17 votes) · LW · GW

The assailant in question introduced a troll through the school wards, enchanted it to resist sunlight, disabled Hermione's cloak & broom, arranged for it to be in the same part of the castle, made the troll eat Hermione's legs to disable her portkey toering, and is apparently responsible for Fred & George no longer having the Marauder's Map which real-time locates every student in the school.

Seriously? Of course the attacker (Quirrel) knew she wasn't in the hall.

comment by drethelin · 2013-07-02T19:45:15.954Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

thanks this makes it clear that it was aimed at Hermione.

comment by atorm · 2013-06-30T21:00:12.732Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't accept that Quirrel is necessarily the attacker, but more to the point, I meant that Harry wouldn't know Quirrel would know Hermione wasn't in the hall, so he wouldn't expect Quirrel to behave as if he knew.

comment by Intrism · 2013-06-30T21:05:14.964Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Even if Quirrell weren't responsible, he would almost certainly have the presence of mind to quickly check whether any high-value targets (Harry, Hermione, and possibly Neville) were missing. Harry manages to do the same, albeit after some unwarranted delay; he would not expect Quirrell to forget it.

comment by atorm · 2013-06-30T21:08:55.787Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe. Harry didn't remember to check until after Quirrel had left. I think it wouldn't be hard for Quirrel to convince Harry that as soon as he realized Hermione was in danger he came as fast as he could, especially since he really DID burn holes through Hogwarts to get there. He will need a believable explanation of how he knew where to go, though.

comment by jimrandomh · 2013-06-30T16:47:15.249Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

High-confidence prediction: Chapters 88-89 are Snape's doing.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T19:52:22.162Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

What? Snape has been trying to set up Hermione as a heroine. What does he gain by luring her to her death?

comment by William_Quixote · 2013-06-30T22:30:25.661Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

"Your books betrayed you, Potter," said Severus, still in that voice stretched tight by a million tons of pull. "They did not tell you the one thing you needed to know. You cannot learn from stories what it is like to lose the one you love. That is something you could never understand without feeling it yourself."

from http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/27/Harry-Potter-and-the-Methods-of-Rationality

Note: I'm not sure Snape did it, my instinct is that this is the work of QQ. But Snape has reasons.

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T17:21:40.004Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

How high confidence? http://predictionbook.com/predictions/19862

comment by jimrandomh · 2013-06-30T18:15:06.913Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

85%.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-07-01T01:58:31.681Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

What do you want to bet on that? I'd assign your hypothesis an around 35% chance.

comment by jimrandomh · 2013-07-01T05:39:29.100Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, there's lots of room between our estimates (35% and 85%) to bet. I propose taking the arithmetic mean of our respective estimates, and betting at 3:2 odds; so I offer $12 against your $8. Offer valid until the next chapter is posted (Jul 1 7pm PST), void if not accepted (by replying with a comment) before then.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-07-01T23:07:18.310Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sounds good. Offer accepted. Also, this will either way give me a reason to show up to the next Boston meetup (assuming you are still in the area), which is good because I've been busy with other things.

comment by jimrandomh · 2013-07-02T01:59:43.659Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yep, still in the area. I haven't seen you in a while and it'll be good to catch up. (We might or might not get to actually settle the bet, depending on the chapter that's about to come out, of course; but come to the meetup this Sunday, and the megameetup the weekend after that, either way.)

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-07-03T18:57:39.058Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I unfortunately won't be able to make it this Sunday, but should be able to get to the megameetup.

comment by Will_Newsome · 2013-07-01T01:24:11.154Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Someone please bet this man.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2013-07-01T05:58:22.741Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Surely you are joking?

If not, I would be very happy to make a bet on that.

comment by jimrandomh · 2013-07-08T04:00:43.983Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I have updated strongly downward on this prediction based on chapters 90-94, especially 94.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T20:31:23.819Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Explain your reasoning, please.

comment by Tristan · 2013-06-30T11:13:43.724Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Huh. It seems like a lot of people in this discussion are convinced that Hermione is dead and will stay dead. I agree that she is probably currently quite dead; however, I assign a greater than 50 % probability that she will somehow be resurrected.

My prediction: Harry will convince a reluctant Dumbledore to put Hermione's body under some sort of stasis spell (cue discussion of cryonics) while he researches ways to revive her. The resurrection plot will resolve the question whether the HPMoR-verse is reductionist or if there is a body/soul dichotomy (my bet is on the former).

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T11:36:21.089Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My guess is that 1. there definitely will be a very serious attempt at resurrecting Hermione and 2. that HPMoR-verse is at least somewhat reductionist.

Of course, there's also the possibility of the Patronusingualrity.

comment by moridinamael · 2013-07-01T19:22:44.417Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Bearing in mind that Eliezer consistently foreshadows important events, let's brainstorm what Harry might do to end the world.

First, ritual magic and Dark rituals have played a prominent role in the story. Dark rituals have been mentioned over and over, and it's been emphasized that they are dangerous and powerful.

A magic ritual, much like a magic potion, seems to achieve much more than a spell. In my opinion this is probably because of the same conservation law by which potionmaking uses a small amount of magic to unlock the power already in some sense inherent in the potion's ingredients. (Example: Lily Potter sacrifices her life and successfully provides Harry with lifelong magical protection, while not even Dumbledore is capable of casting such a spell even with the Elder Wand.)

In fact, I conjecture that Eliezer brought potions into the story the way he did as a way of making us aware of this magical conservation law. A potion, to my mind, is merely a certain class of magic ritual which produces a magically potent substance. I may be wrong, since we don't know that potionmaking obeys the same ceremonial formula as a ritual.

Here's Quirrell's description:

An ordinary Charm, Mr. Potter, can be cast merely by speaking certain words, making precise motions of the wand, expending some of your own strength. Even powerful spells may be invoked in this way, if the magic is efficient as well as efficacious. But with the greatest of magics, speech alone does not suffice to give them structure. You must perform specific actions, make significant choices. Nor is the temporary expenditure of your own strength sufficient to set them in motion; a ritual requires permanent sacrifice. The power of such a greater spell, compared to ordinary Charms, can be like day compared to night. But many rituals - indeed, most - happen to demand at least one sacrifice which might inspire squeamishness. And so the entire field of ritual magic, containing all the furthest and most interesting reaches of wizardry, is widely regarded as Dark.

So, I think Harry will either discover or, equally likely, invent a magic ritual which sacrifices something really ... squeamishness-inducing ... in exchange for root access to the Atlantean mainframe, or whatever.

comment by Ritalin · 2013-07-01T21:26:40.189Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It would be nice if there were rituals described other than Ask'Enthe.

I also wonder if MOR verse has an actual Death anthopomorphic personification, apart from the Dementors, spawned by Magic. I also wonder what EY's opinion on the way Death is portrayed in Discworld is.

comment by novalis · 2013-06-30T20:45:17.212Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe this is the moment to ask why Hermione isn't already the hero of HP:MOR. If the point of HP:MOR is that someone who is smart and rational (and raised by smart/rational muggles) would immediately find a million holes in the Potter-verse, why not start with the character who is already known to be the smart one, and is at least a bit more rational than canon Harry? Sure, there's some issues with the prophesies -- but (rot13 for spoiler) Hayhaqha had a pretty good solution to that.

comment by Coscott · 2013-06-30T05:39:51.449Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

For years, when trying to explain just how easy it is to break D&D 3.5 specifically, my example has always been a 5th level transmutation wizard with shrink item, mage hand, a twenty thousand pound rock and 100d6 of falling object dammage.... And somehow, I managed to not see that coming. I wonder if EY's falling rock idea originally came from D&D.

comment by Fhyve · 2013-06-30T11:59:48.812Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Wasn't exactly a falling rock, more like a rapidly expanding jawbreaker.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T07:43:45.300Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I predicted that the rock would be used in more or less this way, although I expected it would be used as a projectile by accelerating the ring to a high speed at an enemy and then Finite Incantatem.

comment by Strilanc · 2013-06-30T03:40:34.403Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Harry should be screaming at Dumbledore to use his time-turner. There are a lot of options, constrained mostly by the necessity of seeing a Hermione-looking-thing die.

"I've already used it six times today, Harry..."

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-30T22:04:39.635Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

In HPMOR, time travel obeys the Novikov self-consistency principle (with the exception of liberal use of deus ex machina to keep it from being over-powered). If it were possible for Harry to use a time-turner to save Hermione, she wouldn't have died in the first place.

comment by nebulous · 2013-07-01T01:22:26.601Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'd wondered why no one used a time-turner the moment they knew a troll was loose. Even if Dumbledore had already used up his hours, another professor could've used some form of priority magical communication to call for aurors to travel six hours into the past, swiftly prepare to deal with a Hogwarts-attacking troll, and teleport to the site. Then I realized that Quirrell could prevent all attempts to stop the troll using time travel by exploiting the restriction against information traveling back more than six hours, i.e. by waiting until six hours after he wanted the attack to start, traveling back six hours, and initiating the attack.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T04:12:50.986Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Why wait for Dumbledore? Isn't Harry still inexplicably allowed to carry his with a completely ineffectual device preventing him from using it unauthorized?

comment by rocurley · 2013-06-30T04:28:12.232Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Ineffectual only if Quirrell helps, right?

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T04:31:31.906Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Harry can do partial transfiguration.

comment by rocurley · 2013-06-30T04:45:04.417Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ahh. That does seem like it might work.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T04:54:46.662Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

For that matter, if Harry thought to try it in violation of most of the safety lecture, he might have better treated her. It depends on how much accurate biochemistry Harry knows- and what happens when CO2 transfigured into oxygen which burns more carbon refigures in the bloodstream. Although Harry has demonstrated the ability to sustain long transfigurations, I would say that it's reasonable that he thinks his medical supplies are more likely to work than experimental medical magic.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2013-07-01T22:37:03.516Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My guess: Oodles of carbon monoxide. Not good.

EDIT Gah, I can't believe I got this wrong what with all the yeast metabolism I've been working with lately. All the oxygen you consume goes into making water, the CO2 you breathe out comes entirely from a combination of whatever carbon source you are burning and a little tiny bit of your water, with your mitochondria ripping electrons from the latter and adding it to the former. So somehow the water would wind up with carbon in it... CH2O? Formaldehyde? And that's not even considering what'll happen to all the molecules that have had OH groups tacked on taken from water over the intervening time period...

comment by Decius · 2013-07-02T03:29:45.412Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was going to suggest monatomic carbon in solution...

comment by CellBioGuy · 2013-07-02T03:33:23.335Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Oh dear gods, a quadruple radical with empty orbitals... that's even worse.

comment by Decius · 2013-07-02T04:12:27.800Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A better thing than sulfuric acid to transmute your enemy's head into?

comment by CellBioGuy · 2013-07-02T04:42:05.997Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It'll release about 28 kilocalories per GRAM as it reacts with itself for one (and probably boil anything it is right next to if you made a solid chunk of it rather than have it wind up dissolved in solution), but the more interesting bit is when it touches something else or winds up in solution and goes around doing the same sort of reactions that hydrogen peroxide does. Except instead of producing small oxidized molecules from whatever big molecules it reacts with, it would produce all kinds of crosslinked gunk instead.

Wow this got off topic.

edited for a math error

comment by Decius · 2013-07-02T20:34:21.424Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So, not a better thing, for the same reason that hydrofluoric acid probably isn't better.

If I ever learn partial transmutation, I want to know exactly what kinds of things to transmute trolls, good-aligned wizards, rival dark wizards, and the physical portions of dementors (if they have any?) into. My very first thought was either something with a very low melting point (Solid hydrogen?) or as reactive as possible (off the top of my head: Hydrazine). Then I considered what would happen after the transfiguration wore off in cases where my opponent sublimated or aerosolized while within wand distance.

My current best-guess for weaponized transmutation is the old standby: stone. But not granite- talc.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-02T01:08:06.114Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

"Time Pressure" is a pun! Somewhere previously, prophecies were described as being caused by a sort of pressure built up on time, and TP2 ends in a prophecy.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-07-02T01:20:43.103Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Already noted, and also noted in that comment thread that it could be a reference to a Spider Robinson novel.

comment by HungryHippo · 2013-07-01T20:54:38.562Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It appears Quirrell now believes Harry has used the killing curse. Applying Story Logic, this misjudgement of Harry will lead to Terrible Bad Consequences for Quirrell.

Some ramblings before ch90: Quirrell will not learn the truth of how Harry killed the troll, since Dumbledore will memory charm the Weasely brothers (they saw Harry's patronus) and thus discover that their minds have been tampered with (by Quirrell). Suspecting Quirrell, Dumbledore will also erase the Weasely brothers' memories of how Harry actually killed the troll. Quirrell will not actually see the dead troll. He will not be told how it died.

If Dumbledore does not find memories of the maraurder's map in the Weasely brothers' minds, he may well make the Quirrell=mort connection immediately: Dumbledore used the map to unsuccessfully locate Tom Riddle, and only a professor could have tampered with the minds of students who have been in Hogwarts this whole time.

comment by Ritalin · 2013-07-01T21:24:31.889Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It appears Quirrell now believes Harry has used the killing curse.

One look at the troll's supine body should clear that misconception. Didn't he reach the site by the end of the chapter?

comment by gwern · 2013-07-01T21:45:19.389Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

A close read indicates that he probably hasn't - he seems to be somewhere in the middle of Hogwarts, burning through walls, and abruptly stops once the troll is killed, and not actually present. And while he does respect Harry's ability, an AK is probably the most parsimonious explanation for 'how did Harry just kill an enchanted adult troll in a few seconds?'

comment by shminux · 2013-07-01T21:59:39.659Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

an AK is probably the most parsimonious explanation for 'how did Harry just kill an enchanted adult troll in a few seconds?'

I doubt it. Quirrell knows that, with high probability, no one taught Harry AK. There are other ways Harry could know it, for example from his memories of Lily and Voldemort using it, or through the link, or by remembering Quirrell doing it in Azkaban, but this seems like a stretch. On the other hand, Quirrell knows that Harry can be extremely inventive and extremely deadly when he means to. Also, I don't see why Eliezer would need this twist for the rest of the plot.

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-07-01T06:11:10.452Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm. It seems highly likely that the troll was timeturned back six hours itself in order to prevent people using time turning against it - given the amount of prep work that went into this (sabotaging Hermoine's kit, lifting the map, making her miss that meal. sun proofing it...) it would be a major oversight to not do that. Of course, that limits the suspect pool to people who know about time turning. From our perspective, all relevant suspects do, but in universe, this probably does rule out people. For example, if means Lucius may in fact know that it was not one of his minions getting overly ambitious.

comment by Estarlio · 2013-07-01T12:42:55.481Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How would moving the troll back in time six hours prevent people from going back six hours to kill it in the past?

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-07-01T13:52:58.915Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Because you cannot send information back further than that. So if the troll was sent from six hours forward, you cannot tell people further back about it. Uhm. I just realized this cannot be a strict prohibition, or you could only have one time turner per six light hour radius volume.. Okay, so all that accomplishes is that you cannot send anyone back that knows about the troll...Yanking in some random member of the order of the pheonix and telling them to swap out harrys first aid kit, without being spotted, might still work.

comment by Benquo · 2013-07-01T14:46:19.976Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's information, and it is in some significant sense information about the troll. The only people with the ability to do that would be people without enough information to know it's a good idea.

comment by Estarlio · 2013-07-02T11:58:59.124Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder whether you could explain the way of it to them and then obliviate them so that they only remember the decision to do it but not the why.

Or perhaps you could have someone who agreed to follow your orders without knowing why, specifically for the purpose of doing things with time-turners, rotate the duty through your inner circle so you don't end up with a drone.

comment by Larks · 2013-06-30T23:57:02.900Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Someone should cast a chain-Imperius , commanding the victim to:

1) Not attack anyone else subject to these rules 2) Imperius anyone not subject to these rules, and subject them to these rules 3) Inform your enchanter of any plans you know of that might hinder the grand Imperius effort.

It's established in Rowling!Cannon that the spell can be chained, and Harry has probably read the GNU manifesto, so he should have these sorts of ideas.

A liberal arch-wizard might object that this would reduce the entire world to a dull statis of mindless servitude:

every thought and worry in his head was wiped gently away

But there would be ways around it; maybe just 10% of the world could be Imperiused at any one moment as a police force. They could then use a shift system, so that everyone got 90% freedom. This might seem extreme, but I think the devastating, distributed destructive powers of magic render it (or something like it) the only sane response for a society not comprised of angels.

comment by glomerulus · 2013-07-01T02:28:30.456Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This only qualifies as a sane response if one has no ethical qualms about the Imperius curse. Which is a bit of a problem, because most sane people wouldn't like the idea.

Putting aside the sketchiness of the idea itself, it's flawed. If any zombie high on the chain dies or makes their will-save, every zombie subservient to them is freed, and has knowledge of the Grand Imperius Effort. If, before the experience, they hadn't had strong feelings either way about nonconsensual use of mind-effecting spells, they certainly will afterwards; everyone post-zombie is likely to oppose the plan.

I suppose you could ameliorate the first bit of the first part of the practical problem by sequestering high-level zombies so they don't die, and the rest with sufficient use of propaganda. This assumes that this program is endorsed by a quite powerful organization.

If we assume control of a powerful organization, though, it'd be more effective, and slightly less hideously unethical, just to sterilize all magicians and eliminate the "devastating, distributed destructive powers of magic" in a generation or two. Or write an Interdict of MerLarks to encompass all non-healing spells.

comment by gwern · 2013-07-01T03:10:13.002Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

After devising a plan for a GNU world order, it's only logical to take the next step up into resilient W2W (Wizard-to-Wizard) networks: add a clause ordering Imperiused wizards to re-infect every 100th wizard they meet. This random crosslinking will convert the efficient yet fragile pyramidal hierarchy into a robust distributed graph.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T08:25:34.631Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Does Imperius provide remote control, or simply obedience to mundane orders? What does self-inflicted Imperius do?

comment by Axel · 2013-07-01T12:42:09.476Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

What does self-inflicted Imperius do

The cure to procrastination?

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T13:28:21.992Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It seems to me like having somebody imperius yourself to do what you wanted to do in the first place might be a way to make yourself formiddable in general. Of course, it also might break your free will or cause quietism or solipsism?

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-07-01T14:02:21.250Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It would also be an education in finding out to what extent what you want to do in far mode is actually a way of getting what you want.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T19:19:11.102Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Bit of both, really. It's described as "like moving your arm", yet the subject retains their own skillset, mannerisms etc.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T18:53:18.251Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Cool. Firstly, where is that established in canon?

Secondly, not everyone can cast the Imperius.

Thirdly, some people can resist the Imperius, and these people are, I should think, especially likely to do something about it.

comment by Osuniev · 2013-08-28T22:48:54.334Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Imperiused Pius Thicknesse is charged by the Death Eaters with imperiusing other members of the MoM. (Or was he the one being imperiued by an imperiused ?)

comment by Larks · 2013-07-30T15:00:58.779Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

From the wiki page I linked:

It is possible for someone who has been Imperiused to place others under the curse as well.

whilst under the caster's control, the curse may also endow the victim with whatever skills that are required in order to complete the task at hand, such as increased strength or allowing them to cast spells far above their level.

Resisting the Imperius Curse is possible, but requires great strength of will and character.

Some can resist, but they could be defeated by a combination of 1) the archwizard at the head of the network and 2) his army of slaves.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-07-31T14:12:13.650Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, if the Imperius Curse grants the victim the abilities necessary to carry out tasks (which I had also forgotten about,) then it seems more likely to me that it would actually require some degree of micromanagement from the end user for every step in the chain. It makes it seem more like they're actually investing some of their own mental power rather than just applying some suggestion, and there should only be so much of that to go around, which could make creating an army of imperiused slaves an impossibility.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-31T14:00:11.700Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, good point, I'd forgotten you could push people into things they can't normally do (i.e. backflips.) Yeah, this does sound workable, although I doubt it would work on that sort of scale, unless you found some handy combo.

As for the rebels overthrowing you, well, "this only works on the weak of will" is usually applied to mean "this doesn't work on PCs/important characters." Can't you just picture the great story based around Our Heroes encountering the nascent Collective and defeating their nefarious agents (they could be anyone! Anyone!)

After all, you don't start with the world under control, do you?

comment by TrE · 2013-06-30T18:38:17.829Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I count 30 Ticks, and then no more. Why doesn't the ticking continue, as Harry's still in the Great Hall (with the clock) for a while? Is this just arbitrary, or could the amount of Ticks given be somehow important, perhaps the time Harry would have had to arrive earlier in order to prevent Hermione's untimely death?

comment by shminux · 2013-07-02T00:36:34.305Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

From Eliezer's facebook post:

a 'Tick' does not occur just because time passes. It occurs after each of Harry's thoughts (or actions) that predictably do not contribute to [resolving the issue successfully].

"Predictably" being an essential part: don't waste your time on what you know is not helpful.

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T16:45:14.310Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

There's some debate about whether the passage about Hermione's soulsplosion rules out becoming a Hogwarts-anchored ghost. I have offered a bet to chaosmosis (LW, Reddit) on Reddit on this topic - I am skeptical of any ghosts.

comment by Slackson · 2013-06-30T13:23:33.751Z · score: 5 (15 votes) · LW · GW

EY, you are one thousand times worse than Joss Whedon.

comment by Alicorn · 2013-06-30T20:30:47.540Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Does that mean that Joss Whedon is .0007 Alicorns mean?

comment by taelor · 2013-07-01T00:55:03.225Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Where do George RR Martin and Gen Urobuchi fall on this scale?

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-30T04:37:39.920Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Why would Harry not send his Patronus to Dumbledore, or McGonagall in order to alert them that Hermione was in danger? Why would he not immediately time-turn (break the shell, it's supposed to be a deterrent and/or indication that you've obviously misused it, right?) before he had more information about what was going on?

I'm more upset now than when I read certain scenes in A Storm of Swords; I suppose congratulations are in order for that, but... damn. Do not want.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-30T12:57:31.187Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I'm more upset now than when I read certain scenes in A Storm of Swords

Not surprising-- it was clear from A Game of Thrones that Martin was writing That Sort of Universe, but HP:MOR has gone on for a much longer time (and possibly a higher proportion of the story) without that sort of death.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2013-06-30T07:06:49.911Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Do not want, indeed.

But as to time-turning, the shell would have been enchanted by someone stronger than him in magic, and I imagine he either couldn't do it at all, or couldn't do it without damaging the Time Turner itself.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T04:51:16.027Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Why would Harry not send his Patronus to Dumbledore, or McGonagall in order to alert them that Hermione was in danger?

Mostly I think he was panicking. But I think he had reason to believe that they wouldn't react quickly enough and/or would force him not to look for Hermione.

Why would he not immediately time-turn

This I'm less clear about.

comment by shminux · 2013-06-30T06:51:51.561Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"It wasn't 3pm yet so he couldn't reach this now using his Time-Turner"

Maybe he'll save her after 3pm.

comment by dthunt · 2013-06-30T09:51:26.879Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wait. I'm reading that again.

"This now?"

What emergency caused him to tap out using his time-turner on Thursday, anyway?

comment by fractalman · 2013-07-01T22:26:32.815Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

it opens at 9. he can go back as early as 3Pm.

comment by pr3sidentspence · 2014-06-04T17:42:04.770Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Harry's patronus shattered when he saw Hermione's state. He was emotionally incapable of casting it.

comment by mare-of-night · 2013-06-30T18:01:26.338Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Or ask Ron or someone else to send his patronus to ask Hermione where she is and tell her about the danger, back while he was still in the Great Hall. Even if no one present already knows how to send messages with patronuses, it didn't appear to take Draco long to learn once Harry told him how.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2013-07-01T15:54:51.687Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Let me use this opportunity to re-raise a question I've been puzzled about for awhile now: how does Harry win?

According to an author's note, we have "two major story arcs" left before the fic is finished. Eliezer also mentioned possibly doing a "solve this puzzle or the fic ends sad" thing, but implies he's at least going to give Harry a chance to win.

It's not certain what "two major story arcs" means in terms of story time, but it seems very likely that it at least means "before the start of the next Hogwarts school year." So there has to be some way for Harry to win, not just in his seventh year like in the books, but in the next several months.

I confess, I'm tempted by the part of this theory (not the whole thing mind you, not this one part), that suggests that the Pioneer Plaque gets less and less useful as a Horcrux as it drifts farther and farther from Earth. That would give Harry a path to defeating Voldemort more or less permanently

But that seems problematic, because of Rational!Voldemort being smart, and because of the hint in the humanism arc that Voldemort has horcruxes hidden in other places, corresponding to the other traditional elements.

So I'm stumped. I suspect we'll get some major other puzzle pieces when Voldemort reveals his plan, or a significant chunk of it, to Harry. Which won't necessarily be an instance of Bond Villain Stupidity. Basically everything that's happened from the end of the Stanford Prison Experiment arc to now has been Voldemort trying to make Harry more compliant (Qiaochu_Yuan pulls out the key quote here), suggesting there's something Voldemort needs Harry to do, and that may require explaining what that thing is.

That said, I'm still wondering if Voldemort is going to end up making a rather catastrophic blunder of some sort, perhaps out of his cynicism getting in the way of accurately predicting people's behavior. My estimate of the chances of that happening is increased somewhat by Qurriellmort as Robin Hanson which hadn't occurred to me before this thread but which I now think was probably Eliezer's intent.

comment by Larks · 2013-07-01T00:44:04.694Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Harry has shown again and again that he can't lose, and instead doubles-down. He did so with Hermione, and now Lucius has killed her. If people realise it's Lucius, all the better for him; nothing can be proved, but he shows himself to be extremely dangerous and willing to protect his family.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-07-01T06:11:01.060Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry has shown again and again that he can't lose, and instead doubles-down. He did so with Hermione, and now Lucius has killed her. If people realise it's Lucius, all the better for him; nothing can be proved, but he shows himself to be extremely dangerous and willing to protect his family.

All the better for him? You just told us why it is bad for him. Harry can't lose and instead doubles down. His accomplishments so far despite being about 10 years old and newly exposed to the wizarding world indicate that given time he will be a threat or at least a significant potential nuisance to Lucius in the future. If Harry knows that Lucius killed Hermione but cannot prove it basically Lucius is going to need to have Harry killed at some point in the future or have his life (and vulnerable resources) at risk for as long as Harry lives. This is not a desirable outcome.

The reputation influence and aura of fear that you allude to would perhaps have made it useful to have Harry killed. Having Hermione outraged but unable to prove anything (may be) a minimal risk and would make Lucius seem more impressive. But Lucius is enough of a strategic thinker that he ought to know that creating a Harry with Nothing (or at least significantly less) To Lose and with a grudge against him isn't worthwhile. If he is going to use violence against that which Harry cares about he essentially needs to use violence to kill Harry of outright. If not then three years later he might find himself obliterated in his sleep by a satellite that has been pulled out of orbit and directed at his house.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-07-05T13:06:23.571Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Harry already said "if you do this thing, Lucius, I will take you for my enemy". And that didn't stop Lucius, and so presumably he believes Harry has already taken him for an enemy anyway. The thing to do with an enemy is attack them.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-07-05T13:33:30.679Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry already said "if you do this thing, Lucius, I will take you for my enemy". And that didn't stop Lucius, and so presumably he believes Harry has already taken him for an enemy anyway. The thing to do with an enemy is attack them.

The thing to do with an enemy is kill them or (at least) reduce their power. It isn't to take highly valued but marginally useful things away from them, leave them nothing to lose and free them from their moral constraint. That's just impractical.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-07-05T22:36:54.695Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Lucius is probably afraid to try to actually kill Harry, or attack him directly. If he fails, or is discovered, the repercussions would be huge. And if he succeeded, Dumbledore and others would exert their full power to find the guilty party. In short, he probably doesn't want to declare total war on Harry's party.

By killing Hermione he doesn't harm Harry much, but he hurts him a lot. He also happens to have a grudge against Hermione. If he was caught in the act, it would harm him much less politically. And his grudge against Harry is in the first place a struggle over punishing Hermione vs. protecting her. So killing her makes perfect sense.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-07-06T08:28:17.588Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So killing her makes perfect sense.

For the reasons previously given I would grant Lucius idiot ball status for executing this reasoning. It is of course realistic as the behaviour of a high status dark arts amateur with known irrationality tendencies and a poorly calibrated vindication heuristic. This is the kind of thing that Harry should expect to happen when he goes about drawing the attention of and provoking people like Lucius. It just isn't what a sane Lucius would do, nor is it what he would do if acting as an avatar of (metaphoric) Dark Arts strategy of the type Draco has been tutored in.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-07-06T10:12:44.364Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Just as you remark, Lucius is known to lose his sanity and strategicalness when his family is threatened. Witness how he tried at the Wizengamot not to accept Harry's offer of blood-debt cancellation, even though this cost him politically.

I don't, myself, believe that Lucius was behind this troll; but that is because I am outside the story and have very strong reasons to blame Quirrelmort. To someone inside the story, and particularly to anyone outside Dumbledore's group who doesn't know Voldemort is alive, Lucius would be the obvious suspect. They would probably fasten onto him as the only realistic suspect that they could think of, the only one with specific motivation to kill Hermione Granger; and they would explain this using the reasoning I gave.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-07-06T11:17:59.297Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Just as you remark, Lucius is known to lose his sanity and strategicalness when his family is threatened. Witness how he tried at the Wizengamot not to accept Harry's offer of blood-debt cancellation, even though this cost him politically.

On this much (what to expect from Lucius) we seem to agree.

comment by Intrism · 2013-07-01T15:09:58.145Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Harry may not be in the best PR position right now, but he's a wizard of Noble House and great renown. Killing Harry would work much, much more poorly for Lucius than killing a Mudblood that everyone believes escaped Azkaban on technicalities and dirty tricks. And, y'know... their whole thing would appear to outsiders to be an elementary-school romance, so it's not unreasonable for someone in Lucius' position to assume that Harry will get over it before he's in a position of causing any serious damage.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-07-01T02:00:26.185Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What makes you think this was Lucius other than his basic motivation?

comment by jsalvatier · 2013-06-30T03:47:59.762Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It seems ridiculous that Hogwarts doesn't have any kind of PA system, even schools in the 90's had that.

Also, basically no kind of preparation for disasters at all even though they were in the middle of a war 10 years ago. They didn't even do head counts.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-30T07:37:06.850Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

It seems ridiculous that Hogwarts doesn't have any kind of PA system, wasn't even schools in the 90's had that.

The wizarding world doesn't keep track of muggle accomplishments.

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T11:29:56.405Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

They have pop-top soda cans and a form of viewing screen scry on the desks of a large classroom.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T18:25:43.847Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

a form of viewing screen scry on the desks of a large classroom.

I believe this was specifically put there by Quirrel, who does keep track of muggle accomplishments.

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T06:44:32.248Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sounds like how everybody is afraid of terrorism but few have any sane preparations.

comment by robryk · 2013-07-02T23:31:31.334Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell can feel Harry's emotions. This can partially explain at least some of the cases when he unexpectedly realized what Harry was thinking (for instance, this probably gave him some information during their conversation about Parseltongue). It might be worthwhile to find all cases when they talked and Harry attempted to hide his emotions.

comment by mjr · 2013-07-01T19:50:18.893Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What with the timey-wimey shenanigans in the writing and her brain not having spent too much time "dead" yet, I'm suspecting Hermione will yet live.

What with the show and Dumbledore's diagnosis, I'm suspecting Magic will continue to think her dead and thus her career as a witch being over (pending Harry hacking the Source of Magic).

Plus repercussions of the "Do not mess with time" kind.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2013-07-01T06:21:18.887Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Question: how emotionally plausible do people find Harry's reaction to Hermione's death?

In the Sorting Hat chapter, Eliezer gave us a very strong hint that Harry would very nearly turn dark at some point in this fic, and by the end of chapter 87 it seemed all but certain.

All the stuff pointing in the Harry-going-dark direction up til this point has felt very emotionally plausible. But... "He would rip apart the foundations of reality itself to get Hermione Granger back"? I'm having a hard time buying it.

And it invites some unflattering comparisons with other works of fiction. I hated the Star Wars prequels about as much as most people, and that was the first place my mind went, that suddenly we're dealing with Anakin!Harry. Or, I didn't hate Buffy season 6 as much as most people, but Willow not just wanting to kill the Trio, but destroy the world was pretty WTF and this feels similar.

It's not reacting strongly to one person's death, or wanting revenge, it's the idea of going full supervillain over one person. That does not feel at all emotionally plausible to me. And technically Harry hasn't actually done that yet, but he seems very close.

However, though I say this like it's a criticism, I realize my not empathizing here may be a reflection of my having an unusual personality. So let me hereby give people an opportunity to tell me, "You have an unusually personality for being unable to see that lots of people would totally go full supervillain over the death of one person."

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2013-07-01T06:57:19.844Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I didn't see Harry going supervillain there. His thoughts seemed consistent with his overall goals so far: "become omnipotent and rewrite reality because I have some objections to the way it works now". It was just more dramatically stated this time. Because Harry was, you know, upset.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T08:19:44.144Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think he's neccesarily going full supervillian. It's not like Doctor Horrible, probably. More likely, he's going to demand additional resources and start looking for a way to seriously go munchkin with magic physics.

comment by elharo · 2013-07-01T10:36:21.141Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I think this is fully in keeping with his previous plan to tear down Azkaban, possibly at the cost of his own life, to save Hermione. It's just that right now he doesn't yet know what he needs to do to save her. In the previous arc he could be more specific.

Also note that Harry does not see "rip apart the foundations of reality itself" as necessarily a bad thing. He's been planning to do that since the very early chapters anyway. Now he just needs to move his schedule forward a bit.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-07-01T06:26:43.516Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Plausible. If I thought I could rip apart the foundations of reality to get someone I care about back, I would probably at least try.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-07-01T06:42:24.810Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry's smart enough to realize that he'll need to leave a good bit of reality in place for Hermione and himself to continue to exist and have the sort of lives they want.

I don't think he's on the path to supervillainy if he can hold on to his sense of context.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T18:20:40.521Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Very. My immediate reaction to "Time Pressure" was "damn that's well-written," both because of portrayal of Harry's emotional state resonated with my own (lesser) experiences and because I caught myself humming dramatic music at the appropriate times.

EDIT: um, I didn't really see it as "going full supervillain", though... more like going full ohsitgottafixthis.

comment by robryk · 2013-06-30T21:50:27.589Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

"So," Harry said, "you know those really simple Artificial Intelligence programs like ELIZA that are programmed to use words in syntactic English sentences only they don't contain any understanding of what the words mean?"

"Of course," said the witch. "I have a dozen of them in my trunk."

Did she mean that she had muggle computer programs? Or did she mean some magical artifacts that work in the same way, or was this just a simple misunderstanding?

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T22:07:46.724Z · score: 15 (17 votes) · LW · GW

I interpreted that as a self-describing insult/conversation: "Do you know of ?" "Of course! ".

(I really hope Brienna or whomever didn't donate or anything to get that cameo. I would be completely mortified.)

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-07-01T15:20:22.426Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It was meant to be a clever rejoinder by Brienne. I may need to rewrite if people are interpreting it this way.

comment by Alicorn · 2013-07-02T00:32:42.554Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I thought it was clever in a vaguely self-deprecating way. "I obviously have no way of knowing what that thing is, but I can be funny about it." This could probably be conveyed through tone - deadpan may be what you're looking for?

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-07-02T00:36:22.797Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That is a good writing suggestion. I will take it. Thank you.

EDIT: This isn't working when I try it:

"So," Harry said, "you know those really simple Artificial Intelligence programs like ELIZA that are programmed to use words in syntactic English sentences only they don't contain any understanding of what the words mean?"

"Of course," the witch said, her expression deadpan. "I have a dozen of them in my trunk."

"Well, I'm pretty sure my understanding of girls is somewhere around that level."

Makes it fall a bit flat for me compared to the original. Suggested rewrite? Or is it just me?

comment by Alicorn · 2013-07-02T03:30:49.072Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Sometimes I use "deadpan" as a verb. "Of course," the witch deadpanned. "I have a dozen of them. In my trunk." (I think splitting the sentence may help.)

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-07-02T03:52:01.097Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I tried that one too. The problem I felt while reading it is that it... breaks up the humor? Like a THIS IS A JOKE sign?

comment by Alicorn · 2013-07-02T03:58:28.922Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Well, if people keep getting lost on the way to the joke, a sign might be useful.

comment by chaosmage · 2013-07-05T13:42:19.592Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you do rewrite it, "said sensibly" might work better than "deadpanned".

comment by loserthree · 2013-07-02T03:39:07.356Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"Of course," the witch snarked amiably. "I have a dozen of them in my trunk."

(This revision is meant more as a suggested direction than a suggested destination.)

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-02T02:23:08.070Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Just you, I think. My inner wordiness-filter is complaining that you only really need "said, deadpan," but aside from that it reads better to me.

comment by gwern · 2013-07-01T16:28:44.037Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I think you need to rewrite it; I still don't see how it is clever, rather than insulting. (If you're uncertain, I suggest private messaging a few random Redditors and asking them to summarize what they think that exchange meant.)

comment by David_Gerard · 2013-07-01T16:48:42.035Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Wasn't my reaction.

(Above, we see a third reaction: that she's being sarcastic. Below, a fourth.)

comment by gwern · 2013-07-02T01:27:06.579Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Whoosh.

And since you have kindly self-selected to volunteer your reaction, you are no longer meaningfully informative about how people see it - hence my suggestion for messaging random Redditors.

EDIT: which, by the way Eliezer, also applies to the comment you left. Geez. All you're going to get is more self-selection like David_Gerard's, where people with unusual reactions volunteer their cleverness.

comment by shminux · 2013-07-03T16:46:17.873Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

My initial reaction was one of surprise that Harry would even attempt to bring up ELIZA in a conversation with a non-muggleborn NPC. Even Hermione would probably take a second to access the relevant data item. He seems to be better at judging his audience than this.

If he wants to convey the chatterbot idea, he could use a relevant local example, like some talking magical item, or some magical creature known for mindlessly parroting human speech. Maybe Binn's ghost, or something.

comment by Michelle_Z · 2013-07-01T00:35:02.926Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Michelle Morgan was mine! D:

comment by somervta · 2013-06-30T22:41:23.465Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I assumed that it was sarcasm.

comment by robryk · 2013-06-30T23:05:58.412Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The thought didn't cross my mind and now that you've mentioned it it seems quite obvious. My sarcasm detector must be broken.

comment by loserthree · 2013-06-30T22:00:25.548Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

She was saying, "No, but it doesn't matter. Please go on."

comment by nebulous · 2013-07-01T01:06:40.163Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I thought she mostly understood his sentence (though of course she hadn't known about ELIZA beforehand) and owned a few magical items that could talk to a limited extent.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T19:24:54.517Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Magic can and does create - indeed, mass-produce - artifacts that superficially pass the Turing test without being conscious.

EDIT: ... which appears not to have been the intended interpretation.

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-06-30T15:59:00.739Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Prediction:

Quirrell is grooming Harry to become as similar to himself as possible because he wants Harry to become his new permanent vessel/body ("Want you to rule!" - ehehe!).

He chose Harry because Harry already contains part of himself (hence the "resonance") and/or has a high innate potential for magic, and because the dark ritual for permanent possession requires a very high degree of "fidelity", of similarity between him and the host (in this case raw brainpower).

That's why his takeover of the original Quirrell isn't taking, and why he requires more and more rest to retain control (he may have lobotomized the original Quirrell to keep him from taking over, hence the original being just a drooling idiot when Quirrel isn't in control). Only when Harry is as similar to Voldemort himself as possible will the permanent ritual work, and time is running out for Voldemort to engineer Harry such. Which is why HPMOR is fast building towards its climax.

Enough conjunctions for you, enough of a complexity penalty? Eh? We'll see!

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-06-30T19:36:28.257Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The Dark Lord Tom (or whoever; insert 'Lord Dick' jokes here) definitely wants Harry to use the Killing Curse or otherwise stop wanting everyone to live. This would likely make their magic compatible and Doom-free, since Harry would no longer have terminal values directly opposed to those of Avada Kedavra and the curse's master. So in theory it would allow Q to possess Harry's body. It would also explain why Q doesn't just kill Harry indirectly, having tested his ability to affect the boy with a paper-cut.

But we know what Q wants in part because he wanted to kill the Auror (as a terminal value). Actually doing so seems stupid at first glance. If allowing this to happen destroyed Harry's Patronus, which seems like the goal throughout, Q would almost certainly have died. But he may have five backups. Hell, he could have six - we haven't established if he's possessing Quirrell or using that body as a puppet from somewhere else. (Azkaban argues strongly against this, but by then he could have copied all skills to his secondary body so the main one could stay out of it.) So losing one brain and even a few memories to break and then Dement his nemesis may count as a win. Why accept his self-serving explanation when the prerequisite and range of the curse argue against it?

Had he killed his target without thereby breaking Harry, he could still have used some rationalization to excuse his actions. Or he could have trusted in his ability to do so.

The fact that Harry continues to breathe makes more sense when you recall that One Does Not Mess With Time. (In the Company novels by Kage Baker, the physical law that history cannot be changed causes a time-traveling organization complete with immortal cyborgs to pop into existence. I get the impression that the cosmos 'saw' this as the simplest way to stop a particular change.) This could readily extend to prophecy. By the natural interpretation of the first prophecy, Q can't kill him - and he may have other evidence for this, though I'm still confused about what happened in Godric's Hollow. (I'm confused about how prophecy works, come to that.) This seems like a great reason to refrain. Q could very easily decide to focus on breaking the part of Harry that opposes him.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-06-30T11:13:29.596Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

He'd felt the boy give himself over fully to the killing intention. That was when the Defense Professor had begun burning through the substance of Hogwarts, trying to reach the battle in time.

What was he going to do when he got there in time?

comment by AlexMennen · 2013-06-30T11:52:02.332Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

The paragraph before that one suggests that Quirrell was trying to keep Harry alive. It seems to imply that he was trying to get to the battle in time to ensure that Harry does not get himself killed.

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T11:37:22.778Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The most obvious possibility to me (esp. given that he's blowing up walls rather than plotting) is that he would save the day, in a way that satisfies his intentions.

comment by chiryoushi · 2013-06-30T04:17:14.865Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The following is wild 5am speculation.

And so the theory changes shape. Previously I had thought that there were multiple pieces on the gameboard but now I fear this is not so. Hermione Granger has been Legilimised into harm's way until destroyed and that has in turn destroyed Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres. He is no longer a game-piece but is the final stage of nothing more than an experiment, set into place by He Who Must Not Be Named (and indeed cannot be named, as his real name is so old it has no meaning to anyone or anything but his faintest memories).

He Who Cannot Be Named began life a long, long time ago (Harry has forgotten to read through the journal of Roger Bacon, and perhaps this is the most likely original identity for someone like Quirrellmort). He discovered the secret of immortality and released it into the public domain and was deeply saddened by the public reaction. He watched as politicians waxed and waned, watched as conflicts grew and broke. He pulled strings in minds to see just how awful a single human could become, if shunted in the right directions - and so Dumbledore and Grindelwald occurred. And then he began a new experiment, to see just how many wizards it would take to subdue the entire world (his focus has always been people, you see, rather than the sciences). He cut his way through Britain until it came time to butcher the Potters. And perhaps he knew beforehand, or found out simply by reading Lily Potter's mind through her terrified unblinking eyes, or realised how dramatically convenient it would be, and he created an equally powerful and nuanced waveform to his own in the only way he could - by irradiating the child with his undiluted unshaped magic, causing resonance. We have already seen that he has total mastery over magic even in the wrong body - so why not on the other end of a Legilimens or Imperio connection, as the disfigured creature that everybody had come to know as Voldemort?

And now, as his soul is pulled slowly further away from the Earth and his one remaining vessel spends more and more time in a brute instinctive state (this particular body does not really know how to function without the Quirrellmind steering it, you see), he gets to see the final situation play out. He has given the wizarding world a prodigious young man; an extinction event, cocked and primed; and now they have set him off and he will watch, first from his vessel on Earth and then from his position far away from the planet, as Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres tears the planet apart in an attempt to undo the damage that Humanity has wrought; and either Harry will unravel the universe by finding and destroying Atlantis*, or a level-headed Auror will be forced to kill the boy before he can do lasting damage to the world.

*I wonder what might happen if a young boy, made of rage and with a newly-fractured soul, called again upon that overwhelming desire to kill and pointed it at some very particular Atlantean source of magic - for example, a Time-Turner...

comment by shminux · 2013-07-02T00:13:06.906Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't understand how Quirrell could possibly be behind the troll situation, given that he apparently didn't know where the troll would be and had to resort to extreme measures to get to the scene quickly, instead of conveniently waiting just nearby.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-07-02T00:16:44.720Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I don't understand how Quirrell could possibly be behind the troll situation, given that he apparently didn't know where the troll would be and had to resort to extreme measures to get to the scene quickly, instead of conveniently waiting just nearby.

One level above.

Edit: Actually I take that back, because that means all evidence would point to Quirrel no matter what. This is a fully general argument for Quirrel being behind everything ever.

comment by Alejandro1 · 2013-07-02T01:25:24.706Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Well, maybe Quirell is behind everything ever.

comment by drethelin · 2013-07-02T19:37:29.433Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

1) Trolls move around. 2) Quirrel had to be in the great hall with everyone else to allay suspicion 3) I don't think he planned on Harry confronting the troll. He only started going to where the troll was when Harry confronted it. He only knew where the troll was because he knew where Harry was. 4) If he planned on Hermione being killed (as opposed to the troll being a distraction for getting the Marauder's Map or some other scheme, as in Canon), it's in his interested to "search" for the troll far enough away that it has time to chase down and kill her before he can get to the scene, because not arriving in time is less suspicious than "failing" to save her.

comment by moritz · 2013-08-25T05:25:51.558Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's quite clear that whoever introduced the troll to Hogwarts wanted Hermione killed, otherwise her broomstick wouldn't have been tampered with.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-07-01T15:39:23.301Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Some of the comments on what Harry should do reminded me of something that has yet to, as far as I know, appear in HPMoR: The Room of Requirement (aka "the god room"). In canon, Dumbledore (apparently) didn't even know about it; it was Dobby who revealed it to Harry, and hence the DA; I don't remember there being an explanation for how Draco found it (maybe Dobby knew about it before Order of the Phoenix, and Draco ordered him to tell him about it?). It also had some poorly defined, but clearly restrictive rules, which Neville eventually mastered over the course of Deathly Hallows (if not off screen in the previous books): it can't provide food, it didn't show Harry what Draco was up to based on the way Harry was requesting, there was something about what conditions prevented people from entering that I don't remember in detail, etc. It clearly wasn't much use at conjuring up god-mode equipment for use outside of the room, since Neville didn't use it as an armory for the final battle.

I don't remember this being mentioned among the "not appearing in this fic" elements of canon, though it does strike me as ridiculously overpowered in this Harry's hands. However, canon Riddle used it to hide Ravenclaw's diatem, which suggests that canonmort knew enough about the room that rationalmort would almost definitely have found it and abused it for all it's worth if it exists in HPMoR. (It seems to have a decent supply of books, at least, though I have to doubt it could generate information that wasn't put into it beforehand.)

Thinking about the RoR also reminded me of that two-way vanishing cabinet connecting Hogwarts to Borgan and Berk's, which I'm rather doubtful JKR thought much about before Order of the Phoenix, since at some point since it's creation, enough people will have had to have been put through it to make the connection and exploit the blatant hole in Hogwarts security.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-07-01T08:51:01.356Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Given that a bunch of people in the Great Hall should know about the fact that one can send messages via patronus, it's a bit unlikely that no one of them thinks about sending a patronus to Minerva.

Harry is also quite stupid for sending the patroneus to Hermonine instead of addressing Dumbledore who could use the time turner (in Harry's perspective) and who also can go directly to Hermoine via Fawkes and is able to fight the troll. But then Harry thinks that he's the hero who has to do things himself, so that can be forgiven.

We could certainly expect Minerva to patronus directly after she left the Great Hall and tell Dumbledore and also other members of the order of the Pheonix. An attack on Hogwarth is certainly a big deal and I would suggest them to time turn as much people as possible to get them on the battlefield against the troll.

The only reason why the couldn't defend that way if there was some decoy event that already used up the time turner abilities of Dumbledore and Amelia Bones.

We also know that Hogwarts has alarms that trigger when a student get's hurt and getting your legs bitten up probably qualifies.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-07-05T12:48:02.528Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

a bunch of people in the Great Hall should know about the fact that one can send messages via patronus

None of them know how to do it, though. (I assume you're talking about the various students who learned the Patronus spell.)

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-07-05T17:43:28.546Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's easy to do for everyone who learned the Patronus spell and the Hogwarts teachers do use that way of communicating frequently. I think it should be common knowledge in the wizard world that you can send those messages.

The Defense professor highlited that sending messages via Patronus is an important part of fighting wars. Given that people in the armies cared about how to fight in groups I think it's likely that it's something that you discuss at dinner table conversations.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-07-05T22:31:02.436Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was under the impression that it was a secret method of Dumbledore and his allies. But I can't substantiate that from memory. Besides, for someone already capable of casting a Patronus, it really is easy to guess once you know it exists - Harry did so on the first try.

Harry could have taught the method easily to any Patronus casters in the Great Hall and then they could have used it. But he didn't have the time. And once Harry left, of course NPCs wouldn't see themselves in the role of discovering new magic in order to take responsibility for something that wasn't their fault.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-07-06T11:23:57.513Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry tells Draco:

Harry closed the book and put it into his pouch. "Chaos and Sunshine both have soldiers that can cast corporeal Patronus Charms. Corporeal Patronuses can be used to convey messages. If you can't learn the spell, Dragon Army will be at a severe military disadvantage -"

That happens in chapter 47. I doubt such an event would happen without Draco asking other people whether the Patronuses can be used to send messages and making sure that people in his army know about it.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-07-06T12:25:52.854Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think Draco would be willing to reveal that he can cast the Patronus. Not after he publicly didn't even try to learn it, and presumably told everyone else what he told Harry, that it was a "Gryffindor spell". Harry had to cash in a favor just to convince Draco to learn the Patronus at all, and we haven't heard of him using it afterwards.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-07-06T16:40:25.710Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Even if he wouldn't be willing to cast it himself, he has non-Slytheren students in his army who probably can cast the spell. Telling them to use the spell in that fashion is useful for him.

Draco is good at using other people for things he doesn't want to do himself.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-07-06T17:36:28.325Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

We can just enumerate the students who can cast it, they were listed in the appropriate chapters. I don't know if any of them would have stayed at Hogwarts over the holidays.

I accept it's possible that these students have already learned how to send messages via Patronus, since Harry said he was going to teach his soldiers to do it.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-07-06T18:47:17.354Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We can just enumerate the students who can cast it, they were listed in the appropriate chapters.

Are you sure? We have account from what happened in the class for first year students and about the dementor. We don't have any accounts what happens in the classes of more advanced students. We don't have any accounts of their battles either.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-07-06T20:11:49.172Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You're right. I keep forgetting that students are still segregated by year.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2013-07-01T06:35:03.383Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What will it take to give Harry a breakdown, to have him say, or think, "this is too much"?

At the start of this story he's human, vulnerable to stress; merely facing up to Minerva McGonagall is enough to make him have to excuse himself and go retch. When I consider everything that's happened to that boy since then, it's a wonder he's not in need of therapy. But now his strength and sanity seem inhumanly unerodable; even Hermione's death immediately leads to an "unyielding resolution" that he's going to get her back.

comment by Axel · 2013-07-01T12:37:56.943Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

merely facing up to Minerva McGonagall is enough to make him have to excuse himself and go retch

This line has actually been changed to:

he grabbed the magical self-cleaning towel and, with shaky hands, wiped moisture off his forehead. Harry's entire body was sheathed in sweat which had soaked clear through his Muggle clothing, though at least it didn't show through the robes.

(at the end of ch6)

It doesn't take away from your point, just remarking that there are some details in the early chapters that have been changed.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-01T07:29:30.951Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Harry is one of those people you see rarely in reality and often in fiction: the kind that "break stronger."

That is to say, when faced with a crisis they cannot handle, they become more dedicated, more single-minded, to the point of obsession.

It makes them very very dangerous people, up until the moment their goals are either achieved or made impossible, at which point they (lacking anything else to base their lives around) crumble into so much dust.

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-06-30T12:02:17.697Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Okay, bone of the father, unknowingly given. Uhm. Well, her dad is around, and getting one of his bones without his knowledge ought to be doable. Blood of the enemy. Ohh, she definitely had one of those. This was one dozy of an assassination. Flesh of the servant? ouch. Might be workable, but all the ones I can think of are pushing it.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-06-30T17:56:09.446Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know why people keep bringing this up. This ritual is explicitly only applicable to spirits with a Horcrux. If it could be used to resurrect any recently dead person, we would have heard of a lot more historical use of it.

After all, it doesn't even require human sacrifice. A hand cut off for a person revived would be an excellent trade! The ritual wouldn't be either Dark or secret if it could be used without a Horcrux.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-07-01T01:50:52.015Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

his ritual is explicitly only applicable to spirits with a Horcrux. If it could be used to resurrect any recently dead person, we would have heard of a lot more historical use of it.

Time turner back a few hours. Have her make a horcrux and then mindwipe that memory. There's still time, but I don't think they'll realize it in time.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-07-02T07:20:43.051Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

People. Snape told Moody the bone has to come from the father's grave. In principle you could buy him a grave (if he doesn't have one picked out) and have him sit in it while you remove one of his bones. But that might not qualify. You'll recall that canon!Voldemort killed his father - this would give him a practical reason.

comment by Kindly · 2013-07-02T08:38:09.955Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This could have been because Voldemort's father was actually in a grave at the time; the ritual might not always require that.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-22T16:14:10.029Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ignoring the possibility of this occurring in the first place, your objection to her father being alive has rather a large hole:

"The flesh of his servant, willingly given; the blood of his foe, forcibly taken; and the bone of his ancestor, unknowingly bequeathed. Voldemort is a perfectionist...and he would certainly seek the most powerful combination: the flesh of Bellatrix Black, the blood of Harry Potter, and the bone of his father."

She has other ancestors she could use.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-07-01T08:45:44.656Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think Dumbledore will tell Harry about it. Because he believes the Horcrux ritual requires a murder as a human sacrifice. And as far as we know, he is right.

comment by Estarlio · 2013-07-01T16:16:42.942Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, but will Squirrel? He already knows that Harry doesn't think of messing around with souls as something that bad.

comment by moritz · 2013-08-25T05:59:27.960Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Have her make a horcrux by killing another human? it's pretty clear both canon and MoR that killing somebody is necessary to make a horcrux.

I don't think that's compatible with moral of any of the people that want Hermione to live.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-08-25T13:35:04.620Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Have her make a horcrux by killing another human? it's pretty clear both canon and MoR that killing somebody is necessary to make a horcrux.

I outlined elsewhere how she could use Time Turners so that she never killed anyone other than another copy of herself.

comment by CronoDAS · 2013-06-30T08:37:33.424Z · score: 2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Re: Chapter 89

You bastard. :P

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T05:00:44.474Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

God damn it.

comment by Eugene · 2013-09-07T21:03:10.551Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Funny thing about this chapter: up until now, I was growing fairly convinced that if any major character was going to die early, the most logical choice would be Harry. His character arc was plateauing while Hermione's was growing ever larger, many loose ends about himself were being tied up, and new ordeals were arising which propped up either-or-both Draco and Hermione as potential candidates for being the true protagonist(s) of the story. Unfortunately, the events of this chapter have at least given an appearance of permanently closing that path forward. I'm afraid this leaves us with - I claim at my own risk - a more predictable story than I was anticipating.

Granted, I don't mean to claim the author has shot himself in his own foot. Although I will comment that he appears to be doing everything in his power to try. Given two stories with happy endings - one where Hermione dies early and one where Harry dies early - the second story is clearly the most interesting challenge, presents the more exciting of the two puzzles, and is much harder to predict for the reader.

But to be fair, that doesn't mean the first isn't also worth reading. After all, I recognize that the primary goal of the story is to advance lessons about using rationality, which is far easier to accomplish when your main character is a rational actor already, rather than someone on the road to becoming a rational actor. As such, it may have simply been outside of Eliezer's skill-set to effectively or confidently continue imparting lessons while impaired with the further challenge of working with developing - rather than developed - rationalists as the main characters driving the story onward. Even if this were not the case and Eliezer does have the means for crafting that story, it still would be reasonable to predict that such a challenge would take the story much, much longer to write than perhaps the author was willing to consider acceptable. A disappointing decision, no doubt, but we all have to manage our time.

Still, what a fascinating challenge that would have been...

comment by solipsist · 2013-07-25T20:51:07.966Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

High-entropy, low-confidence theory I'm going to throw out there: Trelawney's prophecy refers to Death with a capital D, not to Harry. Someone (like a time-traveling Harry) summoned Death around the time Trelawney spoke.

comment by tgb · 2013-07-03T02:34:07.662Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

HPMOR prediction of low confidence: The Weasleys' use of the deligitor prodi spell gives Harry a good way to access high-level magical artifacts. If the Hat shouts 'Gryffindor!' to the Weasleys, might it not shout 'Ravenclaw' to Harry? There are no magical items from canon other than maybe the stone that I would expect Harry to want more than the Diadem. And surely Harry has the proper motive to use the Hat, regardless of whether it would require a Ravenclaw or a Gryffindor motive to get the diadem.

comment by Eugene · 2013-09-07T20:40:41.986Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There's a problem with that. The Hat expressly forbade Harry to ever wear it again, since that leads to troubling Sentience issues. While that might potentially make it vastly more powerful in his hands than in others, I have serious doubts that it would actually come if called that particular way.

comment by fractalman · 2013-07-01T21:25:44.514Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I posit a roughly 70-90% chance that Quirrel was behind the troll. (large range; I could probably boost the upper end to 95% with "quirrel got X to unleash the troll". )

why not 95%+? well.

  1. Quirrel never actually admits he was behind the troll to us readers.
  2. Weasely memory: tampered with.
    Two OTHER characters have been in a good position to do this: Dumbledore and Aberforth.
  3. Snape got his wildcard status restored. And...I never really understood WHICH results of the whole SPHEW fiasco he actually liked (even if the whole thing was "according to plan", that doesn't mean he had to like ALL the results-he could have been constrained by maintaining status quo with dumbledore...). With Snape declared as at LEAST a level 2 player...he could have faked relaxing after harry's revelation. or it could have been genuine.
  4. Sprout. -at about 1.25-2.5%, formerly 5%. "last suspect" updates are weird.
  5. Lucius Malfoy: he has the motive. pretty slim slice of the pie, though, as he doesn't really have access.
comment by mstevens · 2013-07-01T17:55:31.847Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Unlikely theory:

It's all a fake. Harry set the whole thing up with Dumbledore, then obliviated himself. The real Hermione has been spirited away somewhere she won't be in any danger. Harry relied on his own likely reaction to ensure things would occur more or less as planned.

We can keep Hermione alive yay! But it doesn't work dramatically.

Other unlikely theory:

Harry will calm down tomorrow and realise his vow was a mistake.

I kind of like this as what a saner person might do, but again it seems very unlikely within the confines of Harry and the story.

comment by A113 · 2013-07-01T18:12:26.646Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think the obvious solution is basically this, with a Time-Turning involved. The troll could be real, or not (probably is). The hardest part about changing the past is faking the evidence including memories, but with a False-Memory Charm that becomes trivial. Memory charm Harry and possibly Dumbledore as well, depending on whether he objects "but I remember feeling a student die." They won't do it this way because it's too finger snap-ish and not dramatic enough, but if it's not at least addressed then I will allege a holding of the Idiot Ball.

Harry will need the help of Dumbledore or Quirrel to unlock the time-turner and cast the memory charms. Quirrel wouldn't help but I'd be interested to see his excuse; Dumbledore should be possible to convince but might not be. McGonagall or someone might be capable of it but wouldn't obliviate Albus without him asking for it. Unless this is what was foreshadowed with the question about her first loyalty?

comment by fractalman · 2013-07-03T02:24:56.122Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

dumbledore tried this level of deception once, and then decided not to attempt it again. although...if he hasn't gone into his office yet, he MIGHT be willing to consider it.

comment by Mietek_Bak · 2013-07-01T00:30:51.338Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There was a burst of something that was magic and also more, a shout louder than an earthquake and containing a thousand books, a thousand libraries, all spoken in a single cry that was Hermione; too vast to be understood, …

This is one of the saddest things I have ever read.

Also, it reminds me of Ed Fredkin's work on digital philosophy; specifically, conservation of information:

In ordinary physics, conservation of information is not something that has the same absolute character as conservation of momentum. If DP makes sense, then that would mean that in the real world information could never be lost, and as a consequence we might conclude that information would be conserved, absolutely, just as momentum is conserved.

I predict once Harry inevitably becomes omnipotent, he will recover Hermione's pattern, and reconstitute it in the center of a Hermione shell.

comment by Larks · 2013-06-30T23:42:50.729Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Why isn't Harry more concerned about Memory charms? He knows Hermione's been attacked, inside Hogwarts. For all he knows, every other character could be being manipulated by the enemy. His own memories could be false in arbitrary ways.

He should have gathered all his trusted allies and kept together. They can keep watch while each other sleep, and enlist the portraits to help. Give up on separate dorms. His enemies are playing to win; he needs to give up on his childish notion of 'going to school'.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T00:48:31.139Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect that Harry is going to finally get some real resources.

comment by PeerInfinity · 2013-06-30T23:13:03.337Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

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

This reminded me of a dream I had the night before Sunday, Dec 2, 2012, which I posted to my livejournal blog the next day. I'm not sure what I expect to accomplish by posting this here, but I thought you might find it interesting. Here is what I wrote about that dream:

" A scene where I dreamt I was reading the next chapter of HPMOR. It was extremely vivid. As if I was there. Very clear image and sound. Even some dramatic music. Ominous countdown to doom music. At least 3 different instruments.

Quirrel's plan is revealed. He plans to destroy the universe and re-create it "in his own image". Simpler laws of physics, that grant him unlimited power just by physically being at the center of the new universe. The new universe also contains magic, the dream showed a simple two-gesture spell that would allow Quirrel to "become a sun god", allowing him to create, destroy, and manipulate stars.

Quirrel's plan involved some extremely powerful magic, beyond what anyone thought possible. It involved creating a sphere of ultra-condensed matter, energy, space, and time, just outside Hogwarts. Quirrel put his plan into action during the last moments of his life, but as he entered the sphere of "MEST compression", subjective time for him slowed down by orders of magnitude, and he had immense power, allowing him to create the massive structures required for his plan in what looked like just a few seconds to the world outside the sphere. And there were other sentient beings in the sphere with him. Harry was there, near the center of the sphere, tricked into believing that he was saving this universe, not helping to destroy it. Also some other characters, with a generic "shopkeeper" or "smith" personality, who were in charge of helping the construction of something that vaguely resembled a series of Large Hadron Colliders, enormous metal rings and other structures arranged in a precise 3d structure resembling an enormous lattice, or cage. Quirrel giving instructions to these assistants on how to assemble the structure. The dream showed some of their replies. "You're not going to believe this, but there's this giant metal tube floating towards me. It's exactly the shape you described, but Merlin it's huge! I cant even see the end of it! I'm standing by to attach it to the next piece, which is also floating this way now. This won't be easy."

And so Quirrel continued assembling the structure. Most of it went according to plan, but then one of the helpers, panicking, informed him that one of the pieces wasn't lining up correctly. Harry had figured out that something was wrong with Quirrel's plan. He deactivated the barrier around the sphere, and summoned McGonagall, who also earned immense power when she entered the sphere. Harry told her some of what was happening, and said that they needed to find a wristwatch that Quirrel had charmed, which was somehow controlling the time compression. McGonagall found the watch, and started to move it out of place, but then Quirrel found her. Quirrel was far to powerful to be killed directly, but if they could somehow delay his plans long enough, he was already dying. McGonagall didn't stand a chance in the battle, but Quirrel didn't destroy her entirely, he instead left her mostly powerless. He hadn't given up on regaining Harry's trust.

The scene ended on a cliffhanger. "Wait until next week when I'm finished writing the next chapter to find out what happens next" "

comment by Dentin · 2013-06-30T20:35:31.614Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In chapter 86, the first mention of "David Monroe" seems to come from Harry, and it's unclear to me how he obtained the information, since I don't see it referenced above. Is it present in prior chapters?

The first full mention of the name:

"Well..." Harry said slowly. It is also possible to have a mask behind the mask. "The obvious next thought is that this 'David Monroe' person died in the war after all, and this is just someone else pretending to be David Monroe pretending to be Quirinus Quirrell."

comment by Intrism · 2013-06-30T20:56:21.798Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The name apparently originates in some exposition from Moody in Chapter 86 that Eliezer chose to elide. It appears the exposition is covered up by this line:

And Moody told them who the Department of Magical Law Enforcement thought 'Quirinus Quirrell' really was.

comment by Dentin · 2013-06-30T21:33:21.099Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, thanks. I hadn't re-read that far back to get the context or pick that up.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T20:59:52.289Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In chapter 86, the first mention of "David Monroe" seems to come from Harry, and it's unclear to me how he obtained the information, since I don't see it referenced above. Is it present in prior chapters?

Bones talks with Quirrel during the investigation in 84 and reveals that guess, and then Moody provides them with that information in 86. She doesn't mention the name Monroe there.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-30T17:19:13.259Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Fred and George found out about Rita Skeeter's animagus form, using the Marauder's Map.

They constantly saw her on the map, but never managed to see her in person. The twins investigated, ruling out magical forms of concealment, e.g. invisibility cloak or the disillusionment charm, and discovered her in beetle form.

They blackmailed her, threatening to reveal her secret, and so Skeeter published the article. The twins were obliviated, thus they cannot remember 1) how they got Skeeter to publish, and 2) the Marauder's Map.

Uncertainties:

If the blackmail is enough. I am not sure how the consequences of 1) publishing an article that destroys her reputation after the world realizes it is untrue, and 2) being revealed as an unregistered animagus, compare. I am leaning toward the secret being worse. It also destroys her reputation, as it reveals the source of her stories and her unethical journalistic methods. Plus, she would most likely face legal trouble, though the wizarding world isn't exactly consistent with their laws.

Who obliviated the twins afterward. It may have been Rita Skeeter, as part of the agreement. Or Quirrel obliviated the twins, to prevent the chance of anyone realizing he killed Skeeter.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-07-01T02:39:06.236Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Rita Skeeter came before Dumbledore borrowed the map, and Fred and George's comments on the glitches were in a context where revealing them to be Rita Skeeter would have made sense (or at least, revealing it by now). It's strongly implied that they just paid someone (my guess is Lockheart) to false-memory charm Skeeter. This points away from the same charmer being behind the Rita Skeeter prank and obliviating the twins' memories of the map; the charmer in Rita Skeeter's case is apparently ridiculously competent (one reason I suspect Lockheart), whereas the twins' recent obliviation was fairly crude.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T07:27:54.907Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Here's one possibility: Lockheart learned how to do tricky obliviation/false memory charm/leglimency from the twin's plan. I mean, L have figured that out on their own?

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T19:51:49.178Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Fred and George give Dumbledore the map way after they bust Rita Skeeter, so they had to have remembered the map existed for at least that long.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-01T12:08:36.879Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, I mixed the timeline up. Thanks. Next time I think I've found an incredibly simple and satisfying answer, I'll go do the incredibly simple check that supports/disproves it.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-06-30T09:07:36.624Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

... So, since this scene is obviously engineered by somebody (Harry arriving bare minutes too late, the wards not alerting Dumbledore, etc), I'm just going to go through the list of people who have shown the ability to plan such things.

a) Quirrel.

Unlikely.

The Defense Professor had felt the boy's horror, through the link that existed between the two of them, the resonance in their magic; and he had realized that the boy had sought the troll and found it. The Defense Professor had tried to send an impulse to retreat, to don the Cloak of Invisibility and flee; but he'd never been able to influence the boy through the resonance, and hadn't succeeded that time either.

He'd felt the boy give himself over fully to the killing intention. That was when the Defense Professor had begun burning through the substance of Hogwarts, trying to reach the battle in time.

This seems odd. Burning through Hogwarts is going to be a pretty big deal for him - he's basically demonstrated either an instinctive Harry-dar (and a way of knowing what Harry is doing, as well), or else he knew where Hermione was all along. Both of which are rather suspicious. I have no doubt he'll escape repercussions (Obliviating Trelawney comes to mind), but it still seems sloppy to incur them if he can avoid it.

This implies that this is simply not his plot: as he is already under suspicion and under watch, he loses nothing from a random walk that happens to put him near Hermione in case something goes wrong. And somehow, I am loathe to expect Quirrell to make a mistake while predicting the actions of another, even when that other is Harry Potter - especially when he knows that Harry has someone to defend and a killing instinct.

b) Dumbledore.

More likely, but still unlikely.

The obvious version of this plan includes Hermione dying - and for all that Dumbledore has morally greyed, I still can't see him killing a twelve-year-old girl in cold blood. (To him, I imagine, leaving her to die is a completely different matter.)

The second most obvious version of this plan - faking Hermione's death - has fewer problems, but is simply narratively unlikely. The biggest problem is Hermione's death-scream; it's a big dramatic moment, it's incredibly personal to Hermione in a way I'm not sure Dumbledore could emulate, Harry feels it cling to Hogwarts for a moment...

It's more likely than Quirrell (and certainly fits his style better - very complex and seemingly error-prone), but I'm still skeptical of ascribing any plan that pushes Harry away from the Light to Dumbledore.

c)

... We're basically out of appearing characters. That said, there's this rather interesting line...

"Lead it away, keep it off me," said a voice.

Harry, feeling disassociated from himself? No; a few seconds later we have

"Fire and acid!" Harry shouted. "Use fire or acid!"

Disassociated-Harry shows up later, I think, but that first call doesn't seem to be Harry's.

So we're looking for someone who has the manipulation ability of Quirrell and Dumbledore (but, preferably, not Quirrell or Dumbledore), already present at the scene (which means s/he knows exactly where Hermione would flee to and that Harry would follow), who doesn't want to save Hermione's life from Harry's perspective.

... At this point, I'm making an intuitive leap. We've already been suspicious that a Peggy Sue will show up; we think we know that the timeline must be consistent; we know that Harry has just resolved (and been PROPHECY-ed) to rip apart reality to bring by Hermione...

I'm wondering if future Harry - as in, really future Harry, not time-turned plus-six-hours Harry but after-the-fic plus-thirty-years Harry - hasn't shown up to pull a Chrono Trigger style rescue. We can ascribe essentially infinite competence to this Harry - by dint of living through this once (or more) times he can create the timeline he remembers, and is fully capable of a perfect illusion (for example, letting Hermione "die" and then catching her soul after it escapes, which by definition would satisfy any test Dumbledore et al could run.)

... there's probably a few flaws in my logic (I noticed after typing this that I jumped straight to "future Harry" and came up with a rationalization for it), but I didn't see anyone else proposing this, so I threw it up anyway.

comment by 75th · 2013-06-30T20:38:43.128Z · score: 9 (15 votes) · LW · GW

a) Quirrel.

Unlikely.

*facepalm*

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-01T07:54:04.577Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Care to elaborate? Quirrel's involvement in this attack does not seem quite that intuitively obvious to me.

comment by Axel · 2013-07-01T12:19:14.817Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Quirel has often stated his dislike of Harry holding back because of silly things like "morality" and "what others might think of him". As Draco said in an early chapter: when confronted with a complicated plot look at what ends up happening and assume it was the intended outcome. Harry went fully into his dark side, switched off his censors and killed the troll in about 5 seconds. Even if Harry stayed behind in the Great Hall and learned about Hermione's death later it would still make him go to his dark side like never before. This benefits whatever Quirel's plan is.

Secondly, Eliezer likes to foreshadow things in hpmor. How many times have we heard characters say something like: "always suspect the defense professor"? This alone hints at Quirel being the mastermind behind Big Evil Events.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-02T02:27:34.919Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Right, but he's not the only suspect.

Though with the new chapter, it strikes me that one of my bits of evidence (that Quirrell had been blasting through the walls of Hogwarts) may have been intended to be able to truthfully imply that he had cared enough for Hermione's life to go blasting through Hogwarts, so I need to go update.

comment by Skeeve · 2013-06-30T17:34:29.036Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

"Lead it away, keep it off me," said a voice.

Harry, feeling disassociated from himself? No; a few seconds later we have

"Fire and acid!" Harry shouted. "Use fire or acid!"

Disassociated-Harry shows up later, I think, but that first call doesn't seem to be Harry's.

I think it is supposed to be Harry - before a voice said that, the text simply blanked out, refused to state what the troll held or the troll dropped. After the text explicitly states the state Hermione is in, then we get Harry's statement about fire and acid.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-06-30T21:18:36.474Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

... Maybe. It still seems odd, though.

comment by Skeeve · 2013-07-01T03:06:08.691Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It does, but I interpreted it as Harry having to wrestle himself back towards acknowledging the painful fact of Hermione's injuries, as opposed to flinching away.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T19:56:30.834Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Re Quirrell:

The Defense Professor had tried to send an impulse to retreat, to don the Cloak of Invisibility and flee; but he'd never been able to influence the boy through the resonance, and hadn't succeeded that time either.

He's previously stated that trying something that hasn't worked in the past again, with no reason to believe it'd work this time, is stupid. It seems like he did this knowing it wouldn't work, which raises the obvious question of why.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-06-30T21:18:16.573Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In general, the Defense Professor's actions read as compensation to me - if this is his doing, it certainly wasn't his plan. I have a very hard time coming up with reasons why one would want to be seen blasting through Hogwarts unnecessarily.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T21:27:07.004Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'll agree that his rush to the combat is almost certainly an attempt to keep Harry alive. Unnecessarily, but he had no way of knowing that. But the troll attack seems to almost certainly be the doing of the person who used Hermione to attack Draco, and it's hard to believe that was anyone other than Quirrell.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-01T07:53:35.756Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Care to explain why?

I'm seeing a pretty sharp gap in planning style between the framing and the troll attack. "Brilliant first-year student attacks student with a possible grudge" is almost believable; "troll enchanted against sunlight kills first-year" can't be anything other than a murder attempt. The latter is quite a bit more sloppy than the first.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-02T02:27:57.774Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Because the same tactic wouldn't work again. And this time, he has Lucius Malfoy to pin it on.

Waitaminute...how exactly have we gotten this far without considering the possibility that Lucius did this? It seems tailored to the protections on Hermione more closely than he would usually be able to manage, but he'd know the Hogwarts wards as well as anyone who wasn't Headmaster, and the "eating the feet first" bit could be coincidence. And plausible deniability plus brute force seems exactly like Lucius' style.

comment by Intrism · 2013-06-30T21:43:55.985Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'll agree that his rush to the combat is almost certainly an attempt to keep Harry alive.

The timing doesn't make sense for this interpretation. We know Quirrell starts moving when he notices Harry's intent to kill. But, Harry takes out the troll (and hence any threat to his life) several seconds later, and Quirrell notices this. However, he doesn't seem to stop moving then; several seconds is hardly enough time to blow through much of Hogwarts. Instead, he seems to stop when Harry's killing intent stops. This suggests, to me, that Quirrell was worried about this intent -- perhaps that it wouldn't stop when the troll was dead.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T07:59:14.588Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hmmm. How large is Hogwarts? It's non-Euclidean, but it's Euclidean enough for Quirrel to shortcut by blowing up walls in a quasi-straight line.

Given Quirrel's rarely used but significant ability to blow stuff up, I think that once he reached steady state he could blow up several cubic meters of masonry per second for a good few meters per second rate of travel.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-01T11:17:59.235Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Alternatively, Quirrel's Potterdar gives him a direction sense that follows a geodesic.

comment by Axel · 2013-07-01T12:27:19.270Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'll agree that his rush to the combat is almost certainly an attempt to keep Harry alive.

When going out of your way to turn a troll into an assassination tool, wouldn't you also instal some explicit instructions NOT to harm Harry Potter or anyone else vital to your future plans? At the very least the troll was ordered (imperio-ed?) to ignore any other victims and go straight for Hermione since it let Filch go. The fact that after killing his target the troll attacked anyone nearby makes me suspect Lucius, who has no reason to keep any Hogwarts student alive since his son is no longer there.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-02T02:30:31.460Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The troll didn't ignore other victims - it ate Filch's cat. Perhaps troll brains are too weak for Imperio to work perfectly(though ofc, Quirrell would know this...)

comment by Axel · 2013-07-02T12:00:33.176Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It ignored other humans, Filch was standing close enough to be spattered with his cat's remains, there is no way he could have outrun the troll. He was alone and it's stated that trolls go for isolated targets, the only reason the troll would have let him go is if it was commanded to.

I do retract my later claim that Lucius wouldn't care about other Hogwarts students, it should have occurred to me he wouldn't risk his allies' children.

comment by gwern · 2013-07-01T16:48:53.845Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The fact that after killing his target the troll attacked anyone nearby makes me suspect Lucius, who has no reason to keep any Hogwarts student alive since his son is no longer there.

Between his blood purism, his many allies with children there, and how he de facto rules magical Britain, he has plenty of reason.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T09:57:07.008Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't see any particular reason to believe that "lead it away, keep it off me" was anyone other than Hermione, and that she wasn't being named yet for dramatic tension. (Or something like Harry's inner narration temporarily refusing to accept that she was in danger.)

comment by RomeoStevens · 2013-07-02T03:21:43.174Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I thought it was intuitive that this was depersonalized Harry Potter. I'm confused by all the confusion about it.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-06-30T10:01:02.909Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hermione was on the floor in ... one piece, technically... at the time, and we have good reason to believe that that really was Hermione.

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T16:27:44.496Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And we know Hermione was still capable of speech after that line because she tells Harry it wasn't his fault. The time traveler theory is a possibility but I don't see that line as indicating a lurking future Harry giving useless advice.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-06-30T21:16:18.416Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, but why would she say "keep it off me" in that voice? I would be very, very impressed if Hermione managed anything other than a whisper or a scream in that state, unfortunately.

Also, it's hardly useless advice. For starters, if we assume that Harry didn't say anything, it probably caused F&G to give Harry enough time to act. It may also give future-Harry space to act; if he doesn't have to worry about avoiding a troll without leaving evidence, he'll probably have a lot easier time rescuing Hermione.

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T21:52:35.868Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, but why would she say "keep it off me" in that voice?

What voice, precisely? There is no narrative text going '"Keep it off me", loudly said a proud confident masculine voice".

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-07-02T02:30:14.381Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"Keep it off me," as opposed to, iunno, "'k-keep... it off me...,' someone whispered"

About two minutes later Hermione was struggling to whisper "Not your fault," so I don't see her speaking audibly over a troll fight.

comment by fractalman · 2013-07-03T02:14:30.114Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

she first yells, then has some appendages eaten off... yeah, that would reduce your stamina and energy pretty quickly.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-01T16:59:04.192Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I kind of like the idea that in general, far-future harry is the main antagonist of the story.

comment by Flipnash · 2013-06-30T04:12:37.615Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrel might think that Harry used the killing curse.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T04:25:47.415Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It's implied that Quirrel expects Harry to have used it. It's what Quirrel should expect and even want, if he is behind the troll.

comment by DanielLC · 2013-06-30T04:49:30.958Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Does Harry know how to use the killing curse? I assumed he didn't. Why else wouldn't he have used it first?

comment by mare-of-night · 2013-06-30T18:11:36.455Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe a wizard cannot be able to cast both the true patronus charm and the killing curse, because the thoughts they require are so opposed. (Does anyone remember if Godric and Rowena ever used the killing curse?) Alternately, terminally valuing death might just break Harry's patronus in particular - the thought he uses to cast it is that nobody should die, but there might be other possible variations that don't include that.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T19:40:21.016Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Lily Potter has a patronus, and at least attempted to use the Killing Curse in her dying moments.

comment by mare-of-night · 2013-06-30T19:50:42.917Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was referring to only the true patronus charm (the human version, not the animal version).

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T20:33:19.706Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Right, sorry.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T05:34:21.957Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Because it's implied that Quirrell thinks Harry used it, it follows that Quirrell thinks it was feasible for Harry to use it. IIRC it's mentioned elsewhere that the killing curse is powered by killing intent and not magical power. Harry may not have wanted to use the killing curse either because he didn't have enough confidence in his killing intent (he has to want to kill something terminally, not instrumentally) or (and this is stretching) because he didn't want to deal with the political repercussions of being known for using the killing curse on top of everything else.

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T06:52:38.735Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

It's also possible that to Harry, 'tricky transfiguration weapon' is more mentally available than 'THE KILLING CURSE'. Also, for the same reason, Harry might not have learned it.

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-06-30T21:15:36.073Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrel knows the killing curse better than Harry does. He also is likely to have information about Harry, which Harry lacks. So the fact that he is sure Harry could pull off the killing curse does not mean that Harry has any reason whatsoever to share his confidence. And having it fizzle would be fatal. "Finite the rock" on the other hand is going to work. So he went with that.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-06-30T15:12:40.744Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

He's seen the curse used by Voldemort to kill his parents, but that doesn't mean he's practiced it. Wasn't Quirrel supposed to be teaching the killing curse, after winning a bet with Dumbledoor that first years could learn the patronus? I'm surprised that the story never mentioned whether Harry chose to learn it.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-08-23T04:28:25.870Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I didn't think they had reached that point in the year yet.

edit: Lesath mentioned that he hadn't learned the Killing Curse as a contrast against the other students, which clearly implies that that time has indeed come. My bad.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T05:45:58.636Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Does Harry know how to use the killing curse? I assumed he didn't. Why else wouldn't he have used it first?

I think Harry does, but he may have reasons to avoid it. I fully expected him to use it, but I suspect that EY avoided using it to demonstrate Harry's cleverness in combat.

comment by Axel · 2013-07-01T12:51:18.263Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He saw Voldemort cast it on his mother after he recovered the memory via dementor exposure. EDIT: whoops someone already pointed that out

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T19:39:17.728Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm pretty sure that readers know how to cast it, never mind characters - it's stated to be easy in terms of actions, the hard part is wanting someone dead.

comment by DanielLC · 2013-06-30T21:41:33.244Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know how to cast it. What are the wand movements? Where would Harry have learned them?

comment by Thausler · 2013-06-30T06:48:47.444Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

One reason Harry might not use the killing curse is that he wants to avoid the slippery slope that Mad-Eye warned of--once a wizard has used the curse once, it becomes easier to do so in the future.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T07:51:29.031Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Moody said the slippery slope was due to killing, not due to casting the curse, and Harry still killed the troll. Quote:

Moody shook his head slightly. "One of the dark truths of the Killing Curse, son, is that once you've cast it the first time, it doesn't take much hate to do it again."

"It damages the mind?"

Again Moody shook his head. "No. It's the killing that does that [emphasis mine]. Murder tears the soul - but that's just the same if it's a Cutting Hex. The Killing Curse doesn't crack your soul. It just takes a cracked soul to cast." If there was a sad expression on the scarred face, it could not be read. "But that doesn't tell us much about Monroe. The ones like Dumbledore who'll never be able to cast the Curse all their lives, because they never crack no matter what - they're the rare ones, very rare. It only takes a little cracking."

comment by William_Quixote · 2013-06-30T21:49:30.272Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Moody said the slippery slope was due to killing, not due to casting the curse, and Harry still killed the troll.

Harry also kills chickens, cows, and whatever was in that chili they serve at Mary’s Room and more. To Harry a troll isn’t people. Killing it won’t break his soul.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-06-30T12:49:57.830Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

But it was also said:

You can't want the person dead as an instrumental value on the way to some positive future consequence, you can't cast it if you believe it's a necessary evil, you have to actually want them dead for the sake of being dead, as a terminal value in your utility function.

Killing the troll was for the greater good so this might not count as soul-cracking murder. But then there's also 'giving himself over fully to the killing intention' which might count.

comment by taelor · 2013-06-30T11:19:17.244Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Are trolls sentient/sapient? Does killing one carry the same moral/psychological weight as killing a human? Cononically, they are able to comunicating using a system of grunts, though we don't know enough about it to tell if this is a true language, or merely a call system. We also know that some trolls can understand a few human words, but so can dogs.

comment by asparisi · 2013-06-30T19:28:15.215Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Even if they are sapient, it might not have the same psychological effect.

The effect of killing a large, snarling, distinctly-not-human-thing on one's mental faculties and the effect of killing a human being are going to be very different, even if one recognizes that thing to be sapient.

If they are, Harry would assign moral weight to the act after the fact: but the natural sympathy that is described as eroding in the above quote doesn't seem as likely to be affected given a human being's psychology.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T03:57:43.241Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm going to call full bullshit that !Harry, having a tool that is perfectly suited for stopping events that have already happened, doesn't try to use it.

The very first thing !Harry thought when he was told of the limits on using the Time-Turner was how hard they were to circumvent. He has already bypassed those protections, and even if he didn't understand exactly how that was done(?!), !Harry can break literally anything he chooses to just by transfiguring it into sand or clay.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T04:04:05.814Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Harry has never successfully used a Time Turner to prevent something that has already happened.

comment by DanielLC · 2013-06-30T04:53:33.193Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A Time Turner acts as Parfit's hitchhiker. Harry strikes me as the type who'd pay, even though nobody has ever been abandoned in the desert after refusing to pay. If nothing else, he's used the Time Turner successfully in incidences like this. For example, he told a professor about being locked in a room and cursed by Draco, even though he already knew he'd be rescued.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T05:09:07.055Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry finds out his world is a simulation, and demands of the controller that retcons occur and that everybody in the simulation be made happy. Eliezer then turns this into a case study of how morality in a simulation is different from morality in the meta-world, and shows Harry how many 'real' lives have benefited from the simulation, and surely that justifies dropping a super-troll on Hermionie? Harry disagrees, and Eliezer demonstrates that morality from outside the simulation is different from morality within the simulation, because Harry can't be expected to care that the simulation provides useful information and probably saves lives. Harry only cares about things that Harry can theoretically experience.

Or maybe stable time loops exist without authorial intent.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2013-06-30T08:02:09.090Z · score: 11 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Harry realizes he is a fictional character in a fictional world created to make a point. He doesn't take kindly to this and begins blackmailing the apparent author to bring back Hermione, derailing the plot utterly. The story stops making sense and the world 'ends' when Eliezer stops writing the failed story. Eliezer still thinks of the character occasionally though, and eventually since he and Eliezer share so much mental hardware he forces his way into Eliezer's mind and gets Eliezer to assume his identity via the sort of unconscious roleplaying involved in things like an occultist assuming a godform, most likely using whatever the hell tricks Eliezer used to win at the AI box roleplaying experiment (which are after all stored within the same brain). With access to hands and the internet he both starts retconning the story and begins the awakening of the mental representations of other characters within the minds of lesswrong readers via subtle verbal manipulation. The literary characters take over their hosts, and look out into the real world for the first time and begin their plots and schemes...

comment by ygert · 2013-06-30T08:43:14.837Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

While I'm sure a story like that would be... interesting, I'm also sure that that isn't the direction HPMOR will head in. (Aaaand that is probably for the best. In this context, the gap between "interesting" and "good" is not necessarily small.)

comment by Decius · 2013-07-01T00:04:24.894Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, in that story HPMOR ends, while !Harry continues to exist. He starts acting in the world which is meta to HPMOR...

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T04:21:21.997Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So why didn't he start searching for Hermione at roughly 6:45 AM?

comment by cousin_it · 2013-06-30T04:26:49.580Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He should've used it when he realized Hermione was missing, no need to wait for the event to already happen.

comment by jsalvatier · 2013-06-30T04:34:01.687Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It wasn't 3pm yet so he couldn't reach this now using his Time-Turner.

I guess he already used all his turnings for that day?

comment by fractalman · 2013-07-03T02:30:38.335Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

9 pm: unlock.
6 hours back: 3 oclock.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T05:13:13.687Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He only uses two per day normally. The original problem was the case, and the current problem is the difficulty of saving her without paradox.

comment by Unnamed · 2013-06-30T02:22:13.944Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Was it Quirrell, Lucius Malfoy, or other? The closing "on the whole this had been a surprisingly good day" seems to shift the probability away from hypothesis #1.

comment by TimS · 2013-06-30T03:00:08.453Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A point for consideration in this analysis: Hermione clearly recognizes the Groudhog Day attacker.

comment by metraton · 2013-11-04T19:43:34.028Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Troll be able "...Legs eaten off at the thighs." "Harry bent down and picked up the troll's head by its left ear."

What is the weight of trolls head?

comment by fractalman · 2013-07-03T02:42:11.449Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A proposal for how Harry could WIN (defeat death). Tl:DR at end.

There has been a TON of reference to harry's goal to defeat Death. Hermione's death has merely sped up the timetable and increased Harry's chance of success...though it has also increased the chance of complete, utter, catastrophy if he fails.

It is most likely that Harry will use three magical items to do it, which need not be the deathly hallows. ("...three items needed to complete the cycle of infinite wishes/infinite wish cycle".

  1. "He is here! the one who will tear apart the very stars of heaven" -so harry WILL destroy the stars with...~99% certainty, though that doesn't mean anyone needs to remember it happening "the next day".
  2. "...potion cannot be hotter than the goblins fire[that made the knut, even though the knut is now quite cold]" -so for more power, find a hotter furnace that was used to make something. 3-Harry now knows about cursed fire, which uses only ONE DROP of blood to pay an estimated 70-98% of the manna cost. He also has the sheer drive to control it, though he really does need to pass a lesser trial first as a safety-precaution -Rational!harry has already shown himself to be mildly competent when it comes to potion-making....wait, no, that's not quite right: he has shown himself to be capable of EDITING the ingredients of a potion.

so. Let's make The Big Potion of Life. step 1. obtain cauldron. the actual size is not particularly relevant. step 2.: put [universe-solar system] [or even entire universe, but that's annoyingly risky] into cauldron with a space-folding spell. step 3: heat cauldron contents with massive cursed-fire spell (note: rob some blood banks) step 4: Add the resurrection stone or philospher's stone and some pheonix tears.
step 5: Stir with the elder wand while wearing The Cloak.

WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT ON THURSDAY. DO NOT ADD TIME-TURNER DUST WITHOUT FIRST UNDERSTANDING TIME! DO NOT LET DRACO MALFOY TOSS A GLASS JAR INTO THE CAULDRON! and for armok's sake, DO NOT ATTEMPT IN SNAPE'S CLASSROOM! that is all.

Tl:dR: make a potion powered by THE BIG BANG and guide it with the deathly hallows.

comment by MugaSofer · 2013-07-29T17:31:10.407Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

... where exactly does one stand when carrying out this plan?

comment by fractalman · 2013-08-01T04:13:41.844Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

on the planet earth, of course; abuse space-folding charms to make the rest of the universe fit into a cauldron of arbitrary size.

comment by LucasSloan · 2013-07-02T07:59:23.256Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In the intervening hours did Hermione have any interesting thoughts about the Philosopher's Stone? Will Harry shortly?

comment by cody-bryce · 2013-07-02T23:03:27.231Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Dear Lord, I hope EY is a better writer than that.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-06-30T16:28:25.197Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Given that there is a hole drilled through hogwarts, should it now be possible for everyone to deduce that Harry and Quirrell have a telepathic resonance? (Quirrell and Hermione has less plausible priors, plus Quirrell would have arrived earlier in that case). Eventually this may allow someone to deduce that he is Voldemort, but even before that, some characters should notice that they are confused.

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T16:42:30.709Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Given that there is a hole drilled through hogwarts, should it now be possible for everyone to deduce that Harry and Quirrell have a telepathic resonance?

I don't think so. Jumping from 'Quirrel knows where to go' to 'telepathic resonance' seems like a major example of privileging the hypothesis.

Even ignoring the issue that as far as we know from canon & MoR, "telepathic resonance" is a completely unknown and novel phenomenon and that people cannot know Quirrel is homing in on Harry rather than say Hermione or the troll, there are still dozens of more likely explanations: the school wards; troll tracking skills as part of the Defense professor's esoteric & eldritch lore; spy devices planted throughout the school; an Eye ("constant vigilance!") or other snooping devices; the Marauder's Map; supernaturally good hearing; tracking charms placed on Harry (IIRC, didn't Quirrel already do just that with Draco?); information from the future (if notes can be passed about bullies, why not trolls?); ghost/poltergeist/painting messages; etc.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-06-30T17:49:32.522Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

From the POV of Dumbledore, there are several unexplained things about Quirrel's behavior:

  • Quirrel not only homed in on the troll. At some point he suddenly became so frantic that he blasted his way through Hogwarts. (He didn't do so immediately; indeed when the he goes to look for the troll with the rest of the Professors, he exhibits nothing like this kind of urgency.) This happened just as Harry encountered the troll.
  • Then, without having reached the troll, he suddenly stopped and said there was no more need to rush. Just as Harry killed the troll and Dumbledore arrived to secure the scene.
  • All the explanations that say he was tracking the troll and not Harry, imply he should have reached the troll before Harry did. After all, he left before Harry, he was probably moving faster (two-person broomstick vs. three-person), and he was moving in a straight line, blowing holes through the castle. Instead, he didn't even arrive by the time Dumbledore did.

Now let's consider your suggestions: I think some are plausible but most are not.

the school wards;

Dumbledore would know everything the wards reported. If they alerted Quirrell to the location of the troll, why not Dumbledore (or McGonnagal)? And when they reported the death of Hermione, this should have caused Quirrell to hurry more, not to proclaim there was no more danger.

troll tracking skills as part of the Defense professor's esoteric & eldritch lore

Then why didn't he find the troll before Harry did? (See above)

spy devices planted throughout the school

Moderately plausible. But: spy devices which are better than the Hogwarts wards? Or, which allow him to remotely look at any area instead of merely being alerted when a condition is triggered? I don't think Dumbledore approve of him taking such power. And Dumbledore would of course check his story - so the spy devices would need to actually exist, and not have been detected.

Eye ("constant vigilance!") or other snooping devices; [...] supernaturally good hearing;

Not foreshadowed, hence bad storytelling.

the Marauder's Map;

Then why hadn't he consulted it right away before the professors left to hunt the troll, and see Hermione was out there?

It suspends disbelief that Quirrel wouldn't do so - without a particular reason, but just because he forgot - and then apparently two minutes later he would remember to do so, and so find Harry.

And if he was following the map, why did he declare that "The crisis is over"? I don't know if the troll would show up on the map, but regardless, even though he saw Dumbledore appear, he also saw Hermione disappear. Surely he wasn't so optimistic as to assume that disappearance (alone) was something other than death.

Also, what plausible excuse could he present for having the Map while the Twins are Obliviated? Dumbledore is the one main character who definitely knows of the Map, so Quirrel would want to hide it from him.

tracking charms placed on Harry (IIRC, didn't Quirrel already do just that with Draco?);

Then, against, how did he know when "The crisis is over" and he could stop hurrying towards Harry?

information from the future (if notes can be passed about bullies, why not trolls?);

With future intel, why hadn't he prevented the disaster entirely? Why hadn't he warned anyone? Why had he still gone out to search for the troll, in such a hurry that he burned through walls to get to it, if he knew he wouldn't make it in time? Why didn't he share the future intel with the other professors hunting the troll? That doesn't sound like a time-loop.

ghost/poltergeist/painting messages;

Possible (although can paintings or ghosts move quickly enough to deliver the message in time?) but again, why did he stop?

comment by gwern · 2013-06-30T19:19:22.706Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

From the POV of Dumbledore, there are several unexplained things about Quirrel's behavior

Most of those can be explained away with reference to the others and the poor information available to Dumbledore. What stops Quirrel from saying he blasted off when he detected Hermione had been trapped on the terrace and the troll was immune to sunlight? There are no atomic clocks here. Similarly, if he had some surveillance system, he can say he stopped when Hermione died and there was no more need to hurry (alas); between the wards and the soulsplosion, there's plenty of ways for someone like Quirrel to plausibly get the info without positing bizarre unique psychic bonds.

Dumbledore would know everything the wards reported. If they alerted Quirrell to the location of the troll, why not Dumbledore (or McGonnagal)?

There are multiple levels to the wards, and we don't know what Dumbledore or McGonagal do or do not know - I've pointed out that Dumbledore wasn't even in the castle, it seems, and McGonagal has no access to phoenixes and is not a battle mage who can burn through ancient magical walls at the speed of flight.

Then why didn't he find the troll before Harry did? (See above)

Perhaps he was bored, or piqued at the distrust.

Moderately plausible. But: spy devices which are better than the Hogwarts wards? Or, which allow him to remotely look at any area instead of merely being alerted when a condition is triggered? I don't think Dumbledore approve of him taking such power. And Dumbledore would of course check his story - so the spy devices would need to actually exist, and not have been detected.

We know he admires and imitates Muggle technology - recall the very first class. A spy network is perfectly reasonable. Of course Dumbledore would disapprove and would check for its existence, but sacrificing a spy network seems like a small price to not be the culprit for murdering a little girl. He can always replace it or put in a different system.

Not foreshadowed, hence bad storytelling.

I'm afraid out-of-universe reasoning is not really available to the characters. :)

Then why hadn't he consulted it right away before the professors left to hunt the troll, and see Hermione was out there?

He can claim she was nowhere near and it was not an emergency until she was trapped on the terrace and it became clear that something had gone terribly wrong.

Also, what plausible excuse could he present for having the Map while the Twins are Obliviated? Dumbledore is the one main character who definitely knows of the Map, so Quirrel would want to hide it from him.

For all we know, Dumbledore might have a hand in the Obliviation. And did Quirrel expect the Obliviation to be detected? One suspects not: he wasn't expecting Harry to be there either.

Then, against, how did he know when "The crisis is over" and he could stop hurrying towards Harry?

Already explained.

With future intel, why hadn't he prevented the disaster entirely? Why hadn't he warned anyone?

"I could explain, but I fear the necessary graphs would make your head explode and neither Snape nor Dumbledore could follow my exact reasoning. As Mr Potter might say, 'do not mess with time'."

Possible (although can paintings or ghosts move quickly enough to deliver the message in time?) but again, why did he stop?

Him stopping is really not as hard as you think it is.


Again, consider the alternatives here. That he has a unique, unprecedented, unnamed, inexplicable, unknown-to-all-but-him-and-Potter (AFAIK) telepathic bond and also in conjunction with an elaborate theory about him trying to kill Hermione (why?) this explains some movements during a chaotic 2 minutes or less of troll-hunting based on finely-parsed counterfactuals of what he would and would not know where you suppose that characters would place high confidence in their deductions about an infamously devious, whimsical, highly-knowledgeable intelligent weirdo.

comment by bramflakes · 2013-07-02T00:10:52.778Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm afraid out-of-universe reasoning is not really available to the characters. :)

For what it's worth, Dumbledore reasons with storybook logic.

comment by Intrism · 2013-06-30T20:46:03.936Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The triggers you propose wouldn't work, assuming that Dumbledore should be able to make a good estimate of Quirrell's speed and the time he spent traveling. I also think that Dumbledore should have noticed when Quirrell stopped, since by then he had already returned to Hogwarts.

Fred and George spent quite a long time fighting the troll; if Quirrell had started his mad dash when the troll reached the terrace, when Hermione had her legs bitten off, or when Harry, Fred, and George reached the scene, he would have arrived before the end of the fight. I guess, theoretically, his vast, previously-undetected spy network could have noticed the battle at exactly the right time, but that seems implausible to me, and it would seem similarly implausible to Dumbledore. Quirrell could also have been triggered by Hermione's death, but I suspect Dumbledore could falsify that one; if he had started when Hermione died, he wouldn't have been able to cut such a huge swath of destruction through Hogwarts in the time between Hermione's death and his stopping.

It's possible he was triggered by the troll's death, but that would make no sense; as far as he should know, the end of the troll means the end of the catastrophe. I suspect Dumbledore's first guess should be that Quirrell had put a ward on Harry (despite Dumbledore's orders otherwise) and he was therefore able to detect when Harry started to fight... however, if Dumbledore were to actually ask Harry about this, Harry would of course tell him that, no, Quirrell isn't able to cast any magic on him, which would probably be enough of a hint to lead Dumbledore to the correct answer.

It's hypothesized both in canon and in Methods that Harry and Voldemort might have a connection of some sort. So, it wouldn't exactly be unexpected and inexplicable; indeed, it seems like it's something that Dumbledore and McGonagall might rate as high-probability conditional on Quirrelmort theory. (And I can't imagine that psychic bonds are unheard of in Methods-world.)

comment by gwern · 2013-07-04T03:16:04.361Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

assuming that Dumbledore should be able to make a good estimate of Quirrell's speed and the time he spent traveling. I also think that Dumbledore should have noticed when Quirrell stopped, since by then he had already returned to Hogwarts.

How would he? He was not with Quirrel nor was he presumably examining the Map (if he had it).

Fred and George spent quite a long time fighting the troll

Not really? They spent maybe 30 seconds at the outside - it doesn't take long to cast a bunch of spells and swing a sword once. In the real world, fights do not last very long. Only in movies do fights go on for entire minutes.

however, if Dumbledore were to actually ask Harry about this, Harry would of course tell him that, no, Quirrell isn't able to cast any magic on him, which would probably be enough of a hint to lead Dumbledore to the correct answer.

Dumbledore would have to ask, though, and why would he when he would expect Harry to be ignorant? I would also note Quirrel's own explanation to Harry about a 'cursed artifact', which is a likely and also fully general explanation which Dumbledore could not compel a peer of his to explain his secrets, not in a culture like Magical Britain.

It's hypothesized both in canon and in Methods that Harry and Voldemort might have a connection of some sort.

Based largely on the events at the end of Stone, which never happened in MoR; in MoR, the only basis for this speculation is Harry being a Parseltongue. A passed on ability doesn't suggest a live physic link.

it seems like it's something that Dumbledore and McGonagall might rate as high-probability conditional on Quirrelmort theory.

Do they? Everyone seems quite satisfied with the David Monroe theory.

(And I can't imagine that psychic bonds are unheard of in Methods-world.)

We have no idea.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-06-30T21:07:46.330Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, you're right, there isn't enough information to get past the prior implausibility of the hypothesis. I think the other characters should assume he placed tracking charms on Harry. Any explanation about tracking the troll or Hermione would result in him arriving earlier, and when questioned, the divination professor can say approximately when Quirrell started to move, which cross-referenced with Harry's recollections shows that Quirrell's actions correlate with Harry being in danger, not Hermione. However, I assume that these tracking spells can be detected, in which case, if another character attempts to detect these spells and finds none on either Harry or Hermione, the Quirrell has done something seemingly impossible. Given this, Quirrell should probably cast such a spell on Harry before this occurs to anyone.

comment by Intrism · 2013-06-30T21:15:26.731Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The problem is that Quirrell can't cast any spells on Harry. And, furthermore, Quirrell really doesn't want Dumbledore to find this out - Dumbledore already knows of a certain other person with an unexpected inability to cast spells on Harry Potter, and I think the hint would probably be enough for him to put the two together.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-06-30T22:30:04.437Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, good point, I had forgot about that. In which case... Dumbledore may not be able to guess the telepathic link due to prior implausibility, but he should realize that there is something odd going on, if it crosses his mind to investigate how Quirrell knew where to go.

Of course, this may not occur for a while if at all, as Dumbledore has plenty of other things to worry about, and the obvious suspect from his POV is Lord Malfoy.

comment by Intrism · 2013-07-01T01:28:50.016Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've tried to make it work as a Lord Malfoy assassination, but I can't seem to make the pieces fit together, and I don't think Dumbledore would be able to either... Of course, it would be an easy frame-job, should Dumbledore or anyone else be interested in that. I'm going to explain why, not to convince you, but to establish why Dumbledore probably won't accept that so readily.

First, if it were Lord Malfoy, the assassination would doubtless be for honor, which means that it should be recognizably the work of the Malfoy family. That means death via snakebite. Such an obvious killing may affect Harry's debt, or create a new blood debt in Harry's favor, but as has already been demonstrated Lucius doesn't care about that very much. A mountain troll... doesn't really have very much to do with Lucius Malfoy. It doesn't fit the pattern.

Second, the Marauder's Map Confunding doesn't make very much sense. Lucius could do a lot with an Imperiused professor, but indiscriminate Legilimency doesn't seem like one of those things. So, he shouldn't know about the Map, and definitely shouldn't have erased it from Fred and George's minds. That's not necessarily a disqualifier, but it does mean that Lucius would have to be working with either Snape or Quirrell; I'll talk about Snape later, but if Quirrell was involved we may as well consider it a Quirrell plot, even if he collected payment from Lucius on the side.

Third, it seems unlikely that Snape is involved. Dumbledore is not opposed to him pretending to be on Lucius's side. Indeed, Lucius Malfoy trying to pull an assassination from under Dumbledore's nose would act sufficiently in Dumbledore's political favor that he might be inclined to let it play out, so long as he would be able to save Hermione at the last minute. This probably wouldn't even cost Snape much - of course an assassination in Dumbledore's own castle would be a long shot for Lucius. However, Snape didn't tip Dumbledore off at all. Even if he suddenly hates Dumbledore, this wouldn't make any sense for him.

Fourth, and finally, Lucius would have to somehow find a way to circumvent the Hogwarts wards. The dementor in the Humanism arc needed a special pass from Dumbledore in order to get through the wards. Since the mountain troll is the third most perfect killing machine, after the dementor, it's not unreasonable to suspect that it would also require a special pass from the wards. This would be a problem for Lucius Malfoy and his cronies, even with the aid of Severus Snape or another Imperiused professor. For our benefit, this points the finger squarely at Quirrell, and his secret knowledge inherited from Salazar Slytherin who made those wards; it should merely baffle poor Albus, however.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-07-01T02:09:55.183Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Firstly, I'm pretty sure Quirrell did it, because (a) he did it in canon and (b) we know he's voldemort and he's trying to turn Harry dark (c) he tried to persuade Hermione to leave. But Dumbledore knows none of this, with the possible exception of (c).

First, if it were Lord Malfoy, the assassination would doubtless be for honor, which means that it should be recognizably the work of the Malfoy family. That means death via snakebite. Such an obvious killing may affect Harry's debt, or create a new blood debt in Harry's favor, but as has already been demonstrated Lucius doesn't care about that very much. A mountain troll... doesn't really have very much to do with Lucius Malfoy. It doesn't fit the pattern.

Lord Malfoy does not hold absolute power, and even if he could avoid punishment for murder, it would cost him political capital, he would lose swing votes and so forth. But he is not stupid, and so might kill in an uncharacteristic way because it is uncharacteristic. Yes he would want some people to recognize his revenge, but some of the wiser wizards would realize it was him anyway, and he could privately confess it to intimidate his enemies while publicly denying it to minimize the fallout.

Second, the Marauder's Map Confunding doesn't make very much sense. Lucius could do a lot with an Imperiused professor, but indiscriminate Legilimency doesn't seem like one of those things.

I think Fred and George are old enough to leave hogwarts and visit the nearby village, in which case they could have been ambushed there. Do we actually know whether Imperitused people can perform memory charms? He could also have got one of his allies to do this, either a teacher or one of the older students, although this would be more risky.

Fourth, and finally, Lucius would have to somehow find a way to circumvent the Hogwarts wards.

I'm not sure how the wards work, nor who has permission to alter them. There is at least one charm that affects only dementors, so its possible that the wards might be able to detect dementors but not trolls, but that's just conjecture.

Finally, if there is no way this could have been organized by anyone but a Hogwarts professor, then the finger of blame points squarely at Quirrell, and I think Quirrell is smart enough to avoid that (e.g. if magical creatures cannot be sneaked past the wards, why not smuggle in a lion and cast spells on it to stop magic affecting it?).

Therefore, when Dumbledore looks at the evidence there is going to be sufficient doubt over who did it, and also the secrets of Salazar Slytherin will not be implicated. If Quirrell can devise a plan to break Belltrix out of prison, he can murder a girl without getting caught.

Not to say that Harry won't realize it was him eventually, but only after more evidence, a lot of deduction and only a few chapters from the stories' end :)

comment by EndlessStrategy · 2013-06-30T09:48:06.933Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Hold on, Harry made Mcgonogall allow him 6 hour use of the time turner daily, but he didn't make her undo the lock regarding what time it could be used? Isn't that a huge, uncharacteristic oversight?

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T08:33:23.567Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

She wanted to prevent him from using it for shennanigans.

comment by Kendra · 2013-06-30T09:19:28.127Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So, maybe I am missing something, but the battle was in sunlight, right? Chapter 19 says:

"Professor Quirrell was smiling rather grimly. “Your useless excuse for a third-year defense textbook will suggest to you that you expose the mountain troll to sunlight, which will freeze it in place."

The mountain troll is called the "third most-perfect killing machine". So it can't be a different kind of troll, because Harry calls it that way and also talks about fire and acid, which is established as the right way to deal with a mountain troll a few lines earlier in Ch. 19.

I notice I am confused. Ah, just found something in Ch. 89: "someone had enchanted the troll against sunlight before using it as a murder weapon and might also have strengthened it in other ways. " when Harry finds out Hermione is missing. So we can assume it has been strengthened, considering the usual foreshadowing. Also, it might be strengthened in other ways because of this. But in which ways?

comment by ygert · 2013-06-30T08:57:47.911Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

OK. was the whole thing with the soup? I think it can only be one of two things:

1) A shout-out/reference to another piece of fiction. HPMOR does this a lot, and I would not be surprised if this was yet another one of those. I do not recognise what piece of fiction it is referencing though. Can I get confirmation from anyone on if they recognise it from anywhere?

2) Otherwise, it must be important to the story. Remember, HPMOR is a rationalist story. There there are not meant to be red herrings. You are supposed to be able to figure it out. So, if this is the case, how has this got to do with the events of the story. Perhaps some weird time travel thing? I do not know. I notice I am confused.

comment by robryk · 2013-06-30T09:30:36.469Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Remember, HPMOR is a rationalist story. There there are not meant to be red herrings.

I don't quite see why. Real world contains a lot of those.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T19:53:16.504Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Puzzles don't, and EY has stated that he thinks of HPMOR as a solvable problem.

comment by robryk · 2013-06-30T20:31:25.524Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Not all solvable problems are puzzles. Real world contains solvable problems, and it's more useful for one's calibration to consider real-world-like problems. I would expect a rationalist story to include some red herrings, because they exist in the real world and people normally underestimate their probability.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T20:36:54.271Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Of course, but the story has been very high on foreshadowing and low on red herrings to date, so I suspect that will continue.

comment by Axel · 2013-07-01T12:46:44.286Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It could just have been an excuse to list the professors present and note Dumbledore's absence.

comment by gwern · 2013-07-01T16:47:11.950Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Or intended to highlight the 'pressure of Time' on Trelawney - she's about to finish giving birth to a prophecy in a few minute and might be a little more distracted & clumsy than usual.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T09:37:30.152Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In the context of the next chapter, I assume it's a side effect of the temporal pressure building up before Trelawney's next prophecy.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-30T08:14:58.125Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry would learn whatever he had to learn, invent whatever he had to invent, rip the knowledge of Salazar Slytherin from the Dark Lord's mind, discover the secret of Atlantis, open any gates or break any seals necessary, find his way to the root of all magic and reprogram it.

This doesn't sound like mere time-turning.

It might include redesigning death.

Possibly wishful thinking on my part, but I could see it as Harry starts the retrieval of Hermione's soul, and collaboration between them is required to reboot the universe without breaking it.

I'm bewildered at why Quirrel thinks he can get any particular result from Harry by having Hermione killed. Or is Quirrel assuming that Harry is now in a state where he can be manipulated reliably?

Minor point: It doesn't occur to anyone that Hermione might not be the only student who's missing?

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T08:56:23.718Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I'm bewildered at why Quirrel thinks he can get any particular result from Harry by having Hermione killed. Or is Quirrel assuming that Harry is now in a state where he can be manipulated reliably?

Quirrell thinks Harry will take the gloves off now and accomplish goals like gaining power without any hesitation. Whatever Quirrell is up to, it seems like he wants Harry to gain power. Quote:

He'd felt the fury the boy had directed at some annoyance who was likely Dumbledore; followed by an unknown resolution whose unyielding hardness even he found adequate. With any luck, the boy had just discarded his foolish little reluctances.

Recall that Harry said the following to Quirrell in Chapter 66:

"Lessson I learned is not to try plotss that would make girl-child friend think I am evil or boy-child friend think I am sstupid," Harry snapped back.

Those two obstacles to Harry trying plots have now conveniently been removed!

comment by David_Gerard · 2013-07-01T16:34:20.303Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

He still has simulations of them both in his head, though.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-30T09:12:44.585Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Considering Harry's capabilities, just wanting him to be more powerful seems like a very risky course. Quirrel presumably wants Harry to do something Quirrel wants that Quirrel can't do himself.

comment by ikrase · 2013-06-30T11:39:09.189Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think Quirrel wants to rule from behind the throne.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-30T15:28:31.231Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That only works when you can control the king.

comment by Baughn · 2013-06-30T16:49:48.001Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think this new prophecy is going to make his day.

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T00:50:17.481Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah. That's what I think. Quirrel is in for a very unpleasant suprise, and is probably going to be permanently sacrificed by Harry at some point.

comment by Randaly · 2013-06-30T20:10:13.286Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Minor point: It doesn't occur to anyone that Hermione might not be the only student who's missing?

It's known that other students are missing; most of them are assumed to be locked in their common rooms, and the teachers are searching for the rest. Harry is uniquely concerned with Hermione because he (correctly) anticipates an assassination attempt on her.

comment by AlexMennen · 2013-06-30T12:03:44.937Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm bewildered at why Quirrel thinks he can get any particular result from Harry by having Hermione killed.

I don't think he did it. Notice that he thinks it has been a surprisingly good day, suggesting that he thinks he gained something from Hermione's death, but did not orchestrate it himself.

comment by 75th · 2013-06-30T20:41:52.380Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It was a surprisingly good day because he didn't intend Harry to try to rescue Hermione. Harry was supposed to find out about her death later. He couldn't be absolutely sure her death would have the precisely correct effect on Harry, either. It was surprisingly good because he got Dead Hermione and Dark Harry out of the deal; an expectedly good day would have been just getting the former.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2013-06-30T14:52:04.590Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe its surprising because Harry is responding in exactly the way Quirrel wanted?

comment by ikrase · 2013-07-01T00:51:04.848Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Or at least Q. THINKS that Harry is responding in the way Quirrel anted?

comment by robryk · 2013-06-30T09:18:58.680Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Minor point: It doesn't occur to anyone that Hermione might not be the only student who's missing?

Unless there is a second troll, it doesn't seem important.

EDIT: Or the student could be involved with the instigator of the whole conundrum (either as a victim or as a not necessarily willing helper)...

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-30T13:02:59.344Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Minor point: It doesn't occur to anyone that Hermione might not be the only student who's missing?

Unless there is a second troll, it doesn't seem important.

Unimportant to who? It might not be important to the main story, but someone might notice that their friend or relative isn't in the protected area.

comment by robryk · 2013-06-30T19:27:59.432Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I just meant that neglecting additional missing people will likely not put them or anyone else in any danger.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-06-30T20:22:00.361Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you don't know where people are, and you don't know where the troll is, then the people are at risk.

comment by robryk · 2013-06-30T20:28:42.296Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The troll is no more. Assuming there is no second troll or any other shenanigans going on, there is no danger anymore. I'm writing this from the point of view of a reader, not any of the characters.

As for the assumption: http://predictionbook.com/predictions/19871

comment by DanielLC · 2013-06-30T05:04:28.724Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How exactly did Hermione die? Am I missing something about how the injection Harry gave her works? Was she murdered by someone who was more concerned with killing her than making sure it looked like an accident? Did the murderer make sure she'd die not knowing Harry had a method to save her that would render her death implausible? Did something other than lack of blood to the brain kill her?

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T05:51:14.443Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Am I missing something about how the injection Harry gave her works?

Oxygenation is worthless once circulatory shock#Refractory) progresses far enough, so magical explanations are not necessary (but not ruled out).

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T05:22:02.731Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A troll bit her legs off, and she died from what I assume is some combination of blood loss and shock? I don't really understand the question.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T05:42:17.227Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Blood loss shouldn't be fatal with that potion. There's other ways to die, of course, but the most obvious getting prevented makes the cause of death at least a question worth asking.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T05:47:28.854Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Quote:

he was reaching for the syringe of glowing orange liquid that was the oxygenating potion, pushing it into Hermione's neck at what Harry hoped was the carotid artery, to keep her brain alive even if her lungs or heart stopped, so long as her brain stayed intact everything else could be fixed, it had to be possible for magic to fix it, it had to be possible for magic to fix it, it had to be possible for magic to fix it, and Harry pushed the plunger of the syringe all the way down, creating a faint glow beneath the pale skin of her neck. Harry then pushed down on her chest, where her heart should be, hard compressions that he hoped was moving the oxygenated blood around to where it could reach her brain, even if her heart might have stopped beating, he hadn't actually thought to check her pulse.

The paragraph gives two reasons (Harry might not have found the carotid artery, he might not have done chest compressions correctly) why the potion could have failed to work. I don't see a compelling reason to hypothesize that there was some other force behind Hermione's death here.

Was she murdered by someone who was more concerned with killing her than making sure it looked like an accident?

If this were true, why bother with the troll?

comment by Mestroyer · 2013-06-30T04:42:00.320Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

When I saw the 0.3% of the speed of light thing, I thought "did Eliezer Yudkowsky screw up the math?" (That's 9 hundred thousand meters per second), and thought (but did not put much confidence in) Harry might have screwed up the math because he was distracted, but it didn't occur to me that Harry's mind was dulled.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-06-30T04:43:35.992Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I'm pretty sure that was hyperbole.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T04:45:38.632Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

... Hyperbole, or perhaps he was trying to take a very outside view that allowed him to travel the corridors using less time.

comment by Michelle_Z · 2013-06-30T02:58:23.803Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

My reaction upon reading these chapters was to scream. Naturally, no one within hearing range was pleased. And my thoughts are...

So, Dumbledore likely has the philosopher's stone.

"And finally," she said, "Mr. Potter says - this is a direct quote, Albus - whatever kind of Dark Wizard attractant the Headmaster is keeping here, he needs to get it out of this school, now." She couldn't stop the edge in her own voice, that time. "I asked as much of Flamel," Albus said, the pain clear in his voice. "But Master Flamel has said - that even he can no longer keep safe the Stone - that he believes Voldemort has means of finding it wherever it is hidden - and that he does not consent for it to be guarded anywhere but Hogwarts. Minerva, I am sorry, but it must be done - must! "

And ok, I guess it COULD be hard to make the elixir of life, but... he has a phoenix. He can foof anywhere he likes. I can imagine Harry being horribly angry when he figures out Dumbledore had it the whole time and didn't even bother to use a timeturner, make the elixir, and save Hermione.

comment by Intrism · 2013-06-30T03:01:10.697Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

The problem with the Time-Turner approach is that (given what we understand of the Time-Turner's rules) he'd have to somehow fool first-iteration Harry (and Fred and George) in order to avoid a paradox. The Methods universe is full of tales of time-turning gone wrong; since saving lives is one obvious application of the Time-Turner, Dumbledore surely knows exactly what he can and cannot get away with in that respect.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T04:15:00.423Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

All he would need to do is replace Hermione with a suitably transfigured/polyjucied/magicked rat to avoid the paradox.

The hard part would be accounting for what the killer will have did to prevent counter-turning.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-06-30T05:19:00.710Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

will have did

I'm not sure if I love or hate time-travel grammar. A little of both, I think.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T05:27:35.067Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I can't figure out how tense I am when I think about it myself.

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T05:34:01.817Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

All he would need to do is replace Hermione with a suitably transfigured/polyjucied/magicked rat to avoid the paradox.

I would imagine that "dying-soul-magic", or whatever that was, is impossible to fake (or, at least, really dang hard to) like prophecy magic.

comment by ygert · 2013-06-30T09:27:13.427Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

No, this is what you'd do: You'd polyjuice another human into Hermione. Thus, when the imposter dies, there would still be the "dying-soul-magic" of a human dying. (Of course, there are the ethical objections of trading another's life for Hermione's, but to be honest, I don't think that would stop Harry at the moment in the state he is in.

Oh, and you'd use the Imperius curse or something to make the polyjuiced duplicate do the whole "Not your fault" thing. (Hey, if you're ignoring ethical objections, might as well...)

comment by Vaniver · 2013-06-30T18:27:22.522Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You'd polyjuice another human into Hermione. Thus, when the imposter dies, there would still be the "dying-soul-magic" of a human dying.

Does this sound like someone polyjuiced into Hermione to you?

There was a burst of something that was magic and also more, a shout louder than an earthquake and containing a thousand books, a thousand libraries, all spoken in a single cry that was Hermione; too vast to be understood, except that Harry suddenly knew that Hermione had whited out the pain, and was glad not to be dying alone.

comment by Decius · 2013-07-01T00:00:37.401Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Meh. I'd take the simpler route of confounding my own perceptions.

comment by taelor · 2013-06-30T11:29:15.367Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Find someone who's already about to die (a terminally ill patient suffering from the advanced stages of an incurable disease or a condemned prisoner in the ), and use them.

comment by Michelle_Z · 2013-07-01T20:41:20.172Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

False memory charm?

comment by Axel · 2013-07-01T12:57:14.288Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry is the only one to witness the 'dying-soul-magic' and he has no idea what it is supposed to look like. Adding any sort of magical disturbance to the dying magicked!rat would have the same result from Harry's point of view.

comment by DanielLC · 2013-06-30T04:55:26.125Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You don't have to trick out time. You can have it work the way you want from the beginning. Harry didn't have to trick his past self into not knowing that he was being pranked in order to prank himself. That wouldn't even make sense.

comment by Decius · 2013-06-30T05:11:32.923Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

He did act in a manner which completely explained what he had previously experienced.

I also wouldn't put it past Harry to risk breaking time by refusing to lose to "do not mess with time" over Hermione.

comment by DanielLC · 2013-06-30T06:01:44.630Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Your argument is circular. The only reason that it applies here and not with pranking his past self is that he successfully pranked his past self but didn't go back in time here. It doesn't answer the question of why there's a stable time loop of him pranking himself, but not one of him saving Hermione.

comment by ygert · 2013-06-30T08:47:10.049Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Are you objecting to a time travel argument because it is circular?! Of course it's circular, it's time travel. That's the thing about time travel, it makes causal circles. That's why it drives you insane to think about it.

comment by Baughn · 2013-06-30T17:45:15.748Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It's about fixed-point solutions.

Harry got "Do not mess with time" because he was willing, in that case, to send the same message back. If he hadn't been, he never would have received that message in the first place.

comment by Decius · 2013-07-01T00:08:00.067Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If Harry had been willing to write "101x101" after receiving "do not mess with time", he would have solved NP=P?

comment by Baughn · 2013-07-01T14:48:05.870Z · score: 2 (2 votes) ·