Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 11

post by lsusr · 2020-12-27T09:03:19.624Z · LW · GW · 22 comments

Luna closed Professor Gilderoy Lockhart's office door behind her.

"I thought our next interview wasn't until Friday," Professor Lockhart said.

"You-Know-Who is alive. He transferred his soul to Harry Potter twelve years ago. I know because both of their real names is Tom Riddle," Luna showed him the map and explained how she had gone back in time, "Harry Potter is constructing a secret citadel inside the Hogwarts grounds from which he plans to rule the world. He even told me he plans to 'save the world', which is code for conquering it."

"It is not easy to kill a Dark Lord," said Professor Lockhart.

"We must take him alive," Luna said, "Tom Riddle has all the magical secrets of Salazar Slytherin. We need them to kill the nargle. Fortunately he is in the body of a 12-year-old. You can crush him with a Finite Incantatem and then stun him. In the best case you are heralded as the vanquisher of You-Know-Who. In the worst case we Obliviate him and forget this ever happened."

"We should alert the proper authorities," Professor Lockhart said.

"Cease the humility," Luna said, "Do you not have more confirmed kills than anyone in the ministry?"

"I take credit for the kills of paranoid Aurors who want to keep a low profile," Lockhart said, "We should tell Mad-Eye Moody. He can kill You-Know-Who. I can take the credit. You can invent an exciting story about me for The Quibbler. Everybody wins except You-Know-Who."

"Mad-Eye Moody knows You-Know-Who is abusing his power. It is a joke to them. You know Mad-Eye's feelings about the law," Luna said.

"If Harry's behavior is acceptable to Mad-Eye then it is acceptable to me too," said Professor Lockhart. He rested his feet on his desk.

"Mad-Eye doesn't know about the nargle," said Luna.

"What's a nargle?" said Professor Lockhart.

Luna unfolded the Marauder's Map. Luna carefully read off the name of each being in Hogwarts until exactly one of them gave her a feeling of unimportance. She read it aloud. The name smelled warm and tasted rough on her ears. The nargle ate Luna's shoes by her bed in the Ravenclaw Common Room.

"Look here at this dot in the Ravenclaw Common Room named ˢ̴̨͔̻̘͆͌̎̾͑́̓͒̎́̎̐͘͠ͅε̵̧̭̲̭̰̭̏̾̌̂̐̋̾̓͗̽̚͠ͅl̵̢̡̧̘̫̼͙̥̖͍̫̫̖͔̤̥̆̔̎̓͆̈́̓́̎͜d̴̨̨̨͙̳̻̫̠̜̹̥͝Σ̷̛͇̙̻̪̆̀ʅ̵̢̡̖̱̯͇̙͙̜̟͔̼̭͚͌̊̽̈́̋̂̃̈́̐̈̏̓̿̈́̑Ⱡ̸͈͛͑̐̌̍̇̄̉̎̍̚̕͘̕͝͝͝ɾ̵̭̈́̆͝ι̵̧̳̮̥͉̂̄̐̀͆̎̏̈́͘̕̕ƚ̷̻͈̣̜̺̞̼̿̓́̽̽̐͐̕͝ƈ̶̡̩̯̰͙̦̲̀̓̀̅̊̇̌̽̋͗̎̚ͅԋ̸̺̟̳̠̰͔͉͎͈̳̳̻͚̩̋̈́̋̀̽̅͘͘̚Ꭷ̷̳͔͈̗͖̞̦̟̱͔͍̫̬̞̓̿́̈́͊́ʀ̸̧̫̥̙̞̱̩̟̱͍̄̊̅̊ᗝ̸͖͚̬͓̥̮̤̄̈́́̿̚ɾ̸̧̹̮͈̳̱̮̠̲͚̻̙̏́̀̍ʂ̵̙͈̉̃̌̅̉́̈́͠," said Luna, "The nargle is hunting you too now. If we go straight to Harry Potter's office then we can reach You-Know-Who before the nargle intercepts us."

"H―H―How can I be sure all this is real?" Professor Lockhart said.

"Reach into your hat," Luna said.

"What?" said Professor Lockhart. He picked up his hat from the hatstand where it had hung, untouched, since he had arrived in his office.

"Just do it, hero."

Professor Lockhart stared in horror at the Sword of Gryffindor in his hand.

There was a knock on the door of Harry Potter's office.

"Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres is plotting to overthrow the Ministry of Magic's incompetent government," said Harry dryly, "Please leave him alone."

"I possess an artifact of incredible power that can make the user smarter," Luna said.

Harry Potter opened the door.

"Finite Incantatem," Professor Lockhart said, "Stupefy."

Professor Gilderoy Lockhart's stunning hex knocked out Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres.

Finite Incantatem is a brute-force spell. The Finite Incantatem neutralized all spell effects on Harry Potter. Harry Potter wore a transfigured ring on his hand. The Finite Incantatem un-transfigured the ring into the stunned body of Lord Voldemort. The Finite Incantatem overpowered the stunning hex on Lord Voldemort, who opened his snakelike eyes.

Lord Voldemort had risen again.

Part 12 will be posted on December 31st at 12:01 pm PST. The conclusion, Part 13, will be posted on January 1st, 2021 at 12:01 am PST.


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comment by Gurkenglas · 2020-12-27T20:25:28.188Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

We're about to find out what a smart psychopath with Slytherin's lore and no episodic memory or hands does in this situation. Try to wandlessly apparate away and hit the wards, presumably. As far as he sees, Lockhart obviously just Obliviated him with that outstretched wand.

"Huh," Moody said, leaning back in his chair. "Minerva and I will be putting some alarms and enchantments on that ring of yours, son, if you don't mind. Just in case you forget to sustain that Transfiguration one day."

Reinforcements are on the way. I expect that one of the devices in Minerva's office ticks regularly while the ring exists. Time turners are a thing, but Minerva may have received a "NO." because she would have been seen on the Map.

comment by MondSemmel · 2020-12-27T13:52:10.099Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Despite my misgivings, in the HPMoR finale Obliviate worked on a Legilimens like Voldemort. So I don't particularly see what scary things he could do at this point without the memories of an adult human, let alone an evil wizard.

That said, Mad-Eye Moody teaches us Constant Vigilance. Given what we know so far, what are some things to worry about in the finale?

a) Finite Incantatem might work on Obliviate. I don't think it does - Obliviate seems like a rather permanent erasure -, but if it does, it would restore Lord Voldemort's memory.

b) Gilderoy Lockhart might kill the Obliviated Lord Voldemort with the Sword of Gryffindor. In that case, Voldemort would be resurrected by one of his gazillion horcruxes, and it doesn't seem inconceivable that he'd have a failsafe to restore his memory at that point.

c) There's a nargle on the way, which sounds like an eldritch monster à la SCP. Luna's plan requires the magical secrets of Salazar Slytherin to kill it, and I'm not sure whether either Harry *or* the Obliviated Voldemort have them.

Replies from: Gunnar_Zarncke, Dojan
comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2020-12-27T20:03:37.902Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Finite Incantatem might work...

The HPMoR Harry would have set up so many protections against Finite and other such simple attacks that this would not be convincible in the HPMoR-verse. But I guess at this point there is so much suspension of disbelief going on that that doesn't matter anyway.

Replies from: TheSimplestExplanation, amaury-lorin
comment by TheSimplestExplanation · 2020-12-27T21:10:41.189Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah it doesn't make sense that he would be that easy to ambush.

comment by momom2 (amaury-lorin) · 2022-07-30T06:32:58.917Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's not so easy, but this is the perspective of Luna. I for once really enjoy how the information (especially dialogiue) is dumbed down to what she perceives.

However they ambushed Harry is not relevant to what she thinks.

comment by Dojan · 2020-12-27T21:17:27.743Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think Obliviate would usually work through Voldemorts Occlumency barriers, but he was nocked out at the time.

Replies from: MondSemmel
comment by MondSemmel · 2020-12-27T22:46:18.507Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, I read the justifications back then, and I'm kind of beating a dead horse here, but this argument implies that Occlumency is useless against an opponent who has both physical force and a mind-affecting ability like Legilimency or Obliviate. And if HPMoR-verse worked like that, then this part from chapter 27 no longer applies:

Even the best Legilimens could be fooled that way. If a perfect Occlumens claimed they were dropping their Occlumency barriers, there was no way to know if they were lying. Worse, you might not know you were dealing with a perfect Occlumens. They were rare, but the fact that they existed meant you couldn't trust Legilimency on anyone.

And instead we have this, from the same chapter:

And so the race between telepathic offense and telepathic defense had been a decisive win for defense. Otherwise the entire magical world, maybe even the whole Earth, would have been a very different place...

Replies from: Measure, Eliyoole
comment by Measure · 2020-12-28T01:47:48.962Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Technically, even with Obliviate, you still can't tell if someone's lying, unless you're able to make someone forget how to use Occlumency.

Replies from: Idan Arye
comment by Idan Arye · 2020-12-28T14:50:59.653Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Even if you could tell - Voldemort was Obliviated while knocked out and then transfigured before having the chance to wake up, so there never was an opportunity to verify that the Obliviation worked.

comment by Elias (Eliyoole) · 2022-02-03T19:41:51.845Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think that these quotes imply that Occlumency is a perfect shield of the mind. IIRC it specifically counters any attempt to divine whether or not someone believes they are telling the truth.

To completely Obliviate someone, you don't need to read their mind first, you are just setting all the 1 to 0. (Apparently somehow only hitting memory and not vital processes.)

I don't see a problem then. If you want to find out specific information, you can not use Legilimency, unless you first somehow break the person. And you will never know if you actually did, if they are a perfect Occlumense, so this doesn't work.

It would have to be tested, what exactly happens if you try to delete something from memory, that isn't there in the first place. And also what actually happens, when you try to delete a part of the Occlumency Barrier. If I had to guess, though, you would literally just cut a hole in a pretend personality. So if the Occlumense has f.e. 2 layers active plus their "base", they could have each hold/pretend to hold the knowledge of how to do Occlumency. If you now delete it from the top layer, you will just be let in into the next one, which is being adapted to represent the changes. Also, I would expect the Occlumense to create another layer.

This also assumes that you actually see the whole personality the Occlumense pretends to be, which is not actually correct, IIRC. You only see surface thoughts. Which would probably muddle this even further.... Still, I don't see a problem there.

Did I miss something obvious?

Replies from: MondSemmel
comment by MondSemmel · 2022-02-03T20:06:43.637Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't see a problem then. If you want to find out specific information, you can not use Legilimency, unless you first somehow break the person. And you will never know if you actually did, if they are a perfect Occlumense, so this doesn't work.

Well, the way I understood the HPMoR finale, you can just KO a wizard and then do whatever you want with them, up to and including erasing their Occlumency abilities. For instance, Harry KO-d Voldemort and then selectively spared some parts of his enemy's mind when Obliviating him.

Anyway, if the world works like that, then telepathic offense overpowers telepathic defense. The resulting equilibrium should then look more like a society controlled by a telepathic dictator, than like one governed by a Ministry of Magic.

Replies from: Eliyoole
comment by Elias (Eliyoole) · 2022-02-06T12:14:38.679Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The finale was a specific instance of two people who were in a very unusual situation. You can not "just" KO a powerful wizard. The whole reason that worked, was the restrictions that arose from this situation.

If someone was able to KO Lord Voldemort in a confrontation in which he was allowed to use magic, I assume they would afterwards be able to perform rituals to change their mind, similar to how Bellatrix was broken. 

Also...I mean, you can just kill them at that point. Being also able to change their mind doesn't seem like that much of an additional burden. 


In regards to how the world looks: We already were told several ways to overthrow the Ministry of Magic. Since nobody has bothered to do so, I would assume that the same logic proposed to answer the question of "why not" in the story, also applies to this, right?


I would also like to add that the spells in this world are not at all balanced. As was also noted in HPMoR: The False Memory Charm should be unforgivable. And I think Obliviate is pretty close to that, too.

comment by Elias (Eliyoole) · 2022-02-03T19:51:30.537Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I enjoy the story, however there's at least two points here that I can't just let pass:

  1. How would Finite reawaken an unconscious person? Isn't it more likely to assume that Stupefy knocks you out, instead of the theory that seems to be put forth here of the hex actually being an enchantment that persists over x amount of time?

  2. A Finite has to be at the same strength or stronger than the spell it is dispelling. I believe that the ring has had several protections put on it, at the end of the first year. A standard Finite, from Lockhart of all people, should not suffice to overpower something that Harry and Moody together thought up. Especially considering that the protections were probably cast by Moody himself, and General Chaos has had to consider Finite in battle for months at that point.

comment by wangscarpet · 2020-12-28T16:57:11.697Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

When reading HPMOR, I thought Harry's decision to not kill Voldemort was hubris, even considering his morals. He should have known that all plans have a non-zero chance of failing, and that Voldemort coming back could be an existential risk. So, finite harm now to stop a small chance at nearly infinite harm later. Nice to see this coming to bite him. I'm looking forward to the conclusion!

Replies from: interstice, Pattern
comment by interstice · 2020-12-30T01:13:25.741Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But Harry had no way of killing him because of all the horcruxes. Memory-erasure was simply the best he could do.

comment by Pattern · 2021-06-25T05:08:19.904Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

0. Listed above.

1. You're ignoring any possible benefits. (Like

Lex Luthor in Metropolitan Man.)

2. You might say he did kill him (there was a prophecy, and prophecies may have a 'you know when it's over property').

3. Arguably (post-obliviation, it's a risk like he's a risk, except maybe less).

Replies from: magnus-anderson
comment by Magnus Anderson (magnus-anderson) · 2024-05-15T17:38:47.074Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Voldemort also saves Harry from the Lethe Touch in Significant Digits, though how he knew of the spell was confusing to me (I suppose he may have learned from Salazar Slytherin's basilisk, or some other random place, and the Interdict of Merlin prevented him from actually casting it)

comment by MondSemmel · 2020-12-27T13:33:14.613Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


  • Professor Lockart said. -> Lockhart
  • "Stupify." -> Stupefy.
  • brute force spell -> brute-force
Replies from: lsusr, Measure
comment by lsusr · 2020-12-27T21:28:26.457Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fixed. Thanks.

comment by Measure · 2020-12-27T15:44:08.669Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"forget this never happened" -> "forget this ever happened"

Replies from: mary-chernyshenko, lsusr
comment by Mary Chernyshenko (mary-chernyshenko) · 2021-01-01T14:48:02.600Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I thought this was exactly brilliant. Like the phrase "It happened long ago and not" ("Это было давно и неправда", I'd welcome a better translation; a well-known quote from an almost forgotten detective story.)

comment by lsusr · 2020-12-27T19:36:52.072Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fixed. Thanks.