Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 14, chapter 82

post by FAWS · 2012-04-04T02:53:41.790Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 794 comments

The new discussion thread (part 15) is here


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 82The previous thread passed 1000 comments as of the time of this writing, and so has long passed 500. Comment in the 13th thread until you read chapter 82. 

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: 12345678910111213.

As a reminder, it’s often useful to start your comment by indicating which chapter you are commenting on.

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Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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

794 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by 75th · 2012-04-11T04:36:01.910Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Eliezer_Yudkowsky, None, gwern, Percent_Carbon
comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-04-11T06:06:47.433Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why are people downvoting this? It's a testable prediction.

Replies from: Alsadius, 75th, Spencer_Sleep
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-12T22:28:53.916Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's reasons besides unfalsifiability for downvoting. Like poor logic, or asserting p=1, or writing so melodramatically that my eyes glazed over.

Edit: I stand by my downvote, for the last two reasons, but I'll give him props for a correct prediction.

comment by 75th · 2012-04-12T05:08:18.346Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for having my back, but I have to ask if I've missed the boat on some Less Wrong policies or unspoken understandings somewhere. What I said may have been a testable prediction, but I wasn't aware that people's posts had to be testable predictions to deserve upvotes. Am I required to list all my supporting evidence every time I make a future-looking statement? If I don't, or even if I do, must I disclaim them the way corporations do on quarterly earnings conference calls?

gwern said above that (s)he'd "be happy to record" my prediction. I had no idea my predictions were being recorded at all. I thought this was just a discussion forum. Is Less Wrong actually a simulation of the prediction markets from Three Worlds Collide? Is Less Wrong a subsidiary of Intrade? Do I have cash or prizes waiting for me somewhere thanks to one of my earlier correct predictions?

Replies from: thomblake, Eliezer_Yudkowsky
comment by thomblake · 2012-04-12T23:15:47.951Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

but I wasn't aware that people's posts had to be testable predictions to deserve upvotes

No, it's severally sufficient, not necessary - testable predictions deserve upvotes.

gwern said above that (s)he'd "be happy to record" my prediction. I had no idea my predictions were being recorded at all.

Predictions about MoR are commonly recorded on PredictionBook, which sadly does not offer prizes but can tell you how good your past predictions were so you can get better.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-04-12T06:59:50.030Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If so, I missed the same boat. I looked at the downvotes and was like 'Wha?'

comment by Spencer_Sleep · 2012-04-11T06:17:55.688Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I can also make the testable prediction "The universe will cease to exist on May 19th, 2034 at 10:03:09PM", but unless I had some truly excellent supporting evidence which I posted along with that prediction, I would not expect people to think well of my statement (particularly if I made it in a rambling, melodramatic way that made it difficult to determine the purpose of the post).

Replies from: 75th
comment by 75th · 2012-04-11T16:14:57.985Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I thought it was pretty obvious that it was a direct response to the information and imagery in the chapter posted last night.

Yes, it was rambling and melodramatic and over-the-top; it was supposed to be amusing, while at the same time accurately expressing my belief that some seriously dark shit is coming.

Sorry for offending everyone.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-12T06:56:16.755Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sorry for offending everyone.

I think that anyone you offended is probably not worth apologizing to. Downvote should not only be for offensive content.

Or were you just being melodramatic again?

Replies from: 75th
comment by 75th · 2012-04-12T17:38:52.558Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

See my reply below; by "offending" I meant that people seemed to be downvoting me for breaking a rule, rather than just posting a crappy comment.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-12T05:29:23.673Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Out of curiosity. Given that Eliezer's cited this post as his inspiration for creating SPHEW, how likely do you think it is that he's aware of the "women in refrigerators" trope, and if he's aware of it, that he would ignore the objections to it and use it anyway?

comment by gwern · 2012-04-12T02:02:34.602Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd be happy to record this, but I need some more specifics (I can't just say 'Hermione will die' - what if Eliezer fastforwards 10 billion years or some other mindblowing epilogue). Dies by what chapter? Or alternately, something like the end of the school year? What happens if she gets better?

Replies from: 75th
comment by 75th · 2012-04-12T04:57:31.636Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Record this"? What? Did I, like, fail to perceive some unwritten rule that every future-looking statement on lesswrong.com has to be a formal prediction written in academic prose with explicitly enumerated premises?

I just thought this last chapter represented Quirrell's final decision to kill Hermione, and I posted as though I was eulogizing her, to try to prepare myself for the darkness I believe is coming. I think it's all about to hit the fan, and I was expressing how I felt about it, not trying to score points in some game I didn't know existed.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-12T05:04:29.015Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

gwern is referring to his use of PredictionBook.

Replies from: 75th
comment by 75th · 2012-04-12T05:20:34.791Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thank you. That helps, but it doesn't explain why my post was downvoted into oblivion (until people upvoted it to conform to Eliezer's opinion) apparently based on a rubric that judges posts solely on their suitability for copying and pasting into a prediction market.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-12T05:29:49.719Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, to give one data point: I downvoted your comment when it was at -1 for being (what seemed to me) pointless and depressing. When you explained it was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek I reverted the downvote, although to be honest I still don't get it.

I also downvoted Eliezer's comment for being weirdly irrelevant as far as I can tell, and upvoted Spencer_Sleep's criticism.

I think gwern might have just mixed up where your comment was posted; a lot of people have made top-level comments in his PB thread just containing similar predictions which he's asked for clarification of.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-12T15:01:34.748Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Predictions know no article bounds! Such confidence in predictions as 75th deserves either reward or punishment.

Replies from: 75th
comment by 75th · 2012-04-12T17:26:07.795Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Heh. To be honest, I'm not that confident that Hermione will die. If this story has a happy ending, I would hope Harry has somebody close to him left after the dust settles. I do think this chapter means that Quirrell's plan is to kill Hermione, but I'm not supremely confident that Harry won't pull another trick out of his bag.

What I am supremely confident of is that when it does hit the fan, things are going to be bad. Harry hasn't gone through all that very much yet, he needs something tragic to happen. Hermione dying horribly is about the most tragic thing that could happen to him, and Eliezer knows that, and I don't trust or expect Eliezer to show mercy to Harry or Hermione or me.

So like I said elsewhere, my original post was not meant to establish a prediction that I can point to later, it was simply my attempt to look into the abyss, to be pessimistic, to imagine the worst possible thing happening, so hopefully nothing worse ends up happening.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-12T17:53:03.257Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think Hermione dying is anywhere near the worst thing that could happen; I mean, come on, there's plenty of worse possibilities. Draco and Hermione could do a mutual slaying; Draco could kill Hermione and then Harry has to kill Draco; heck, Hermione could unjustly kill Draco and then Harry has to kill her. That sort of thing.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-11T04:55:04.055Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Melodramatic and without support.

Do you want to fill us in on your reasons or do you just want to try to make us sad?

Replies from: 75th
comment by 75th · 2012-04-11T16:09:52.624Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Melodramatic

Well duh, that's what I was going for. It was supposed to be ridiculously over-the-top to the point where someone somewhere might be amused by it. I guess that prediction was foolish.

and without support.

Given the conversation we just read, and the imagery thereabout (lit by soft light at the beginning of the conversation, silhouetted as a black outline at the end), I hardly think it's without support. I think everything Hermione thought in that scene was absolutely correct. Quirrell was behind the plot, he did want her out of the way of his plans for Harry, and he will try to absolutely eliminate her next time.

Some actual tragedy in this story is far overdue, and Hermione's going to be the one to pay it.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-12T06:53:54.411Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It was supposed to be ridiculously over-the-top to the point where someone somewhere might be amused by it. I guess that prediction was foolish.

It is said that bad jokes are downvoted. Subjectivity should be expected.

It was supposed to be ridiculously over-the-top to the point where someone somewhere might be amused by it. I guess that prediction was foolish.

In its original form it was unsupported. Now you've added support in a child comment or two, so it is no longer unsupported. I'd probably remove my admittedly petty but legitimate downvote for bad joke if EY hadn't made it sound like downvote shouldn't happen to that comment. Now I'll have to think about whether I don't care as much about the bad joke or am just subject to what passes for demagoguery in this crowd.

But you've no reason to care about my control over little karma point.

Replies from: 75th
comment by 75th · 2012-04-12T17:37:35.965Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, I don't care that much about being downvoted in general. If people didn't like my writing or understand my intent, that is a perfectly acceptable reason for being downvoted and I will take that into account for future posts.

What I was piqued by is that people seemed to be downvoting me not primarily for a bad joke, but rather for not presenting a "prediction" formally.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-04T12:37:44.375Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One thing I find really interesting about this story is that nobody has any idea what's going on, and nothing is going according to anyone's plan.

(1) It seems clear that Hat and Cloak = Quirrellmort. Less clear, but still likely in my view, was is that the point of this plot was to eliminate those friends of Harry's who would make him resistant to manipulation by Quirrellmort ("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," Ch. 66). Instead, while the plot may be the end of Harry's friendship with Draco, it's probably strengthened his bond with the morally pure Hermione, and convinced some members of the Wizengamot that Harry is Voldemort, which probably doesn't have a place in Quirrellmort's plans. Furthermore, Quirrellmort may not realize what he's done.

(2) It occurred to me that giving Draco Veritaserum might have made Lucius realize that Harry is not Voldemort. However, if you look at some of Lucius' dialog closely, the subtext appears to be, "Dark Lord, you have lost your humanity, and therefore cannot possibly understand the love I have for my son. I am willing to risk your wrath over this, especially since I suspect you are much weaker trapped in the body of a child. And why do you bother telling such ridiculous lies about your motives?" If Lucius knows that Harry confessed to Draco that he had no idea what the conversation in Ch. 38 was about, Lucius probably dismisses that confession as a well-told lie.

(3) Dumbledore believes that Harry has just signaled to Lucius and the other Death Eaters that he will pay any price to save his friends. But Dumbledore is wrong, at least about Lucius. Lucius believes he has just fallen victim to an incomprehensible plot of Harrymort's, possibly designed solely to torment Lucius, and therefore does not see this as relevant evidence to how far Harry(mort) will go to save his friends in the future. Indeed, Lucius accused Harry of lying when Harry explained that "his stake" in the situation was just that Hermione was Harry's friend.

(4) Harry is deeply conflicted about his actions. Yet there's a case to be made that that Harry's decision making process (the one he's now feeling conflicted about) was better than Dumbledore's. Not perfect, but better than Dumbledore's. Not only is Harry ignorant about the consequences of his actions (as described in points 1-3 above), he was in the no position to know anything at all about those consequences... except for the consequence of "save a little girl from getting eaten by Dementors." Under those circumstances, Harry's arguments in Ch. 77 may actually apply here. Unfortunately, that may mean Harry ends up learning the wrong lesson from this incident.

Replies from: None, buybuydandavis, buybuydandavis, Bugmaster
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-05T01:33:50.314Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

RE: your (1).

I think that Quirrelmort's aim was to turn Harry.

From Quirrel's point of view, Harry has shown incredible promise except for his pesky humanist streak. All Quirrelmort needs to do is to kill his faith in humanity off and he's ripe for the job of future Dark Lord. What better way to accomplish that than to have the wizarding world at large sentence the one person he believes to be wholly good (Hermione) to death? Dumbledore will refuse to help Harry destroy Azkaban and bust Hermione out, at which point Harry will lose all faith in him and his methods, and turn to Quirrel for help. Quirrel says, "Poor dear, didn't I tell you that people were basically evil if left to their own devices? They need a ruler to help them to be good. Let's break your chum out of Azkaban and take over the wizarding world for good measure as soon as we can, although I'm afraid that by the time we are in position to get her out and keep her out she'll probably be a vegetable..." So Harry and Quirrel sear Azkaban out of existence, free the crims (many of whom will now follow Harry into fire out of gratitude). Harry is left with a broken England and a broken Hermione and the only thing left for him is to rule with an iron utilitarian fist, Quirrelmort at his side.

And look how close it came to working! Harry's backup plan was to kill almost the entire sitting parliament of Wizarding Britain in cold blood! There's no coming back from that one. I don't think avoiding this plot inoculates him against similar attacks, either - if anything he's in a weaker position now and is therefore more vulnerable to being forced into the kind of irredeemable, desperation-induced act that he won't be able to put back in the box.

Replies from: buybuydandavis, ChrisHallquist
comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-05T07:02:33.248Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd earlier made this point. The key

And the reason it is easy for you to forgive such fools and think well of them, Mr. Potter, is that you yourself have not been sorely hurt. You will think less fondly of commonplace idiots after the first time their folly costs you something dear.

In the Wizengamut:

But by then he'd (Harry) already declared war on the country of magical Britain, and the idea of other people calling him a Dark Lord no longer seemed important one way or another.

When their idiocy threatened something dear to Harry, he declared war on them. Mission accomplished. I've been wondering if Harry is ever going to remember that conversation. It's just so obvious. All that's missing is the "told ya so" speech from Quirrell.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-05T05:14:03.777Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This occurred to me, but in retrospect I tend to think Quirrellmort must have realized he couldn't have accomplished so much with one plot. And where does Bellatrix fit into all this?

Replies from: DSimon
comment by DSimon · 2012-04-12T03:27:29.679Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Maybe she's part of Plan B?

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-04T20:23:29.342Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

convinced some members of the Wizengamot that Harry is Voldemort, which probably doesn't have a place in Quirrellmort's plans.

Quirrellmort has already pontificated on the benefits of ambiguity, and his desire to let both sides think Harry is on their side.

Harry: “On our first day of class, you tried to convince my classmates I was a killer.”

Quirrell: “You are.” Amusedly. “But if your question is why I told them that, Mr. Potter, the answer is that you will find ambiguity a great ally on your road to power. Give a sign of Slytherin on one day, and contradict it with a sign of Gryffindor the next; and the Slytherins will be enabled to believe what they wish, while the Gryffindors argue themselves into supporting you as well. So long as there is uncertainty, people can believe whatever seems to be to their own advantage. And so long as you appear strong, so long as you appear to be winning, their instincts will tell them that their advantage lies with you. Walk always in the shadow, and light and darkness both will follow.”

Replies from: pedanterrific, ChrisHallquist
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-04T20:31:36.595Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Now that I think about it, it's odd that he stated that with such certainty. It's not like Voldemort or Dumbledore used that strategy - maybe he's thinking of Grindelwald? Apparently his motto was "for the greater good"...

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T05:54:09.615Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps it's the whole "People fought like crazy to stop me, and even though they failed, it was really annoying" thing?

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-05T01:07:43.072Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yet that's not exactly what happened as a result of Harry's actions. The "afterword" of the trial suggests that any members of Lucius' faction who follow story-book logic will see Harry as a dangerous enemy, as will members of Dumbledore's faction who have "walked the path of a powerful wizard."

Though that actually raises an interesting question--what happens when, say, Alastor Moody goes to Dumbledore and says, "Albus, I think Harry is Voldemort"? Does Dumbledore tell Alastor he's wrong, and convince Alastor that there is a better explanation for Harry's actions? Or does Dumbledore say, "dear God, Alastor, you're right!"

On a related note, what does Dumbledore know about horcruxes? Dumbledore's dialog has suggested that Voldemort may have gone around destroying a lot of information on horcruxes, so Dumbledore may know less in this story than he did in canon. Hmmm...

EDIT: See also JenniferRM's comment below.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-05T05:37:44.477Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Please link the comment you mean. I don't know which one.

Edit (so to not raise the comment count): Thanks.

Replies from: ChrisHallquist
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-05T06:29:15.984Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Done.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-05T06:48:54.278Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

(4) Harry is deeply conflicted about his actions. Yet there's a case to be made that that Harry's decision making process (the one he's now feeling conflicted about) was better than Dumbledore's.

I think it was. Dumbledore was considering it a blackmail situation, which it clearly was not. Malfoy didn't want the money, he wanted revenge and punishment. Harry did not give in to blackmail, he found a way to save a friend against someone trying to kill them.

People may conclude that Harry can be pushed to extremes by attacking those he cares about. Sounds a lot like Malfoy. This tends to imply some susceptibility to blackmail, but it's not very strong evidence. I'd say it's stronger evidence that's it's dangerous to mess with his friends, but potentially useful to do so if you can direct the retribution to a target of your own selection.

comment by Bugmaster · 2012-04-05T20:25:47.996Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore believes that Harry has just signaled to Lucius and the other Death Eaters that he will pay any price to save his friends.

Another way to interpret the events would be to say that Harry is willing to commit any act to save his friends as quickly and efficiently as possible. If Harry happens to have some money, he will use money. If he doesn't have any money, he may use some hitherto unknown, yet unimaginably horrific power, which is so destructive that it is capable of frightening a Dementor. I suspect that at least a few Death Eaters on the Wizengamot might be thinking along these lines.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-05T21:11:59.757Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Scaring the Dementor may have saved his bacon. Blackmailing someone is a positive utility move. Blackmailing someone who seriously believes they can destroy hundreds of unkillable soul-eating monsters, and backs that up is a move with totally unknown utility, possibly very, very negative.

comment by Larks · 2012-04-04T04:44:38.763Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It seems both Harry and Dumbledore are missing one of the big payoffs of Harry saving Hermione: making it very attractive to become his freind. There's no explicit enemy around at the moment, so he can't rally minions like Dumbledore did by using the threat of Voldermort; love might be his best option.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon, FiftyTwo, MarkusRamikin
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-04T05:34:04.611Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Everyone knows that Draco was trying to be Harry's friend.

He almost died for his trouble, and Harry's not the one that saved him.

Replies from: ArisKatsaris
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-04T10:08:31.110Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

He almost died for his trouble,

There doesn't seem to be any causal connection in anyone's mind (other than Harry & Dumbledore) between their friendship and Draco's attempted murder.

Replies from: FiftyTwo
comment by FiftyTwo · 2012-04-04T15:26:42.879Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Friends with Harry -> Interact with crazy mudblood girl -> Crazy Mudblood girl tries to kill you, and Harry defends her.

Replies from: J_Taylor
comment by J_Taylor · 2012-04-05T02:40:23.329Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Friends with Harry -> Interact with crazy mudblood girl -> Crazy Mudblood girl tries to kill you, and Harry defends her.

->Can't come back to school. -> Loses local positions of power. -> Odds of becoming future bigwig of magical England are reduced.

comment by FiftyTwo · 2012-04-04T15:31:22.991Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hermione was a special case in many ways, they were already thought by many to be 'true loves' and she did save him from a Dementor, so it would be unlikely to count as a guarantee. Also Hermione did still have significant costs from this, she was imprisoned, exposed to Dementors, her reputation ruined and now she is bound to the service of the (possibly Dark) Lord Potter. So not an insurance scheme I'd be particularly willing to take up.

Replies from: drethelin
comment by drethelin · 2012-04-04T18:10:58.328Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What he really needs to do is save draco in the same way

Replies from: Alsadius, loserthree
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T05:35:18.954Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Save him from who? His father's(perfectly reasonable) educational decisions?

Replies from: drethelin
comment by drethelin · 2012-04-05T05:55:29.064Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Clearly some unforeseen horrible situation, considering he just saved Hermione from an unforeseen horrible situation.

comment by loserthree · 2012-04-05T02:38:54.027Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Only if the author wanted to cheapen the whole thing.

And that doesn't seem to be the author's style.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-04-04T11:14:22.808Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Then again Dumbledore just pointed out that being Harry's friend will now make you a target.

Replies from: gjm
comment by gjm · 2012-04-04T13:11:41.742Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Being Harry's friend already made you a target, hence what happened to Draco and Hermione.

Replies from: LucasSloan
comment by LucasSloan · 2012-04-04T13:27:20.920Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

True, but there was a ceasefire in place regarding friends and family and such. That's what accepting the death of Aberforth, and the murder of Narcissa were about. All of the players anyone knew about had kept to the truce since then.

comment by JoeA · 2012-04-04T12:35:28.500Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think the most interesting part of this chapter (82) is another two clues about the Harry's Dark Side/Voldemort connection:

"Why was there a part of him that seemed to get angry at the old wizard beyond reason, lashing out at him harder than Harry had ever hit anyone, without thought of moderation once the rage had been raised, only to quiet as soon as Harry left his presence?"

Hmm, Harry's dark side mysteriously hates Dumbledore but doesn't remember why..? This is just one more clue that his dark side is an obliviated Voldemort or a horcrux - Voldemort's memories influence his dark thinking even if he doesn't remember why.

Also,

" 'Step aside, foolish woman, if you have any sense in you at all -' An awful chill came over Harry as he spoke those words from his own lips, but he shook it off and continued."

This could just be a creepy thing to hear yourself say about your mother, but could it be even more creepy if you realized you'd already heard yourself say it? Thinking back to the Remembrall incident, it's likely Harry has memories of Voldemort that are slowly coming out...

Replies from: JenniferRM, buybuydandavis, Swimmy, Tripitaka
comment by JenniferRM · 2012-04-04T16:30:20.809Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Good insight! This would also explain why "Harry's worst memory" was something he shouldn't actually remember. If it was actually Voldemort's memory passed through Harry's loyalties and emotional valuation, it might be the thing that popped out. Which also makes Harry having revealed this memory to Dumbledore in Ch 82 pretty significant, and suggests a radically different interpretation to this text:

"It's a funny thing," Harry said, his voice wavering like something seen through underwater. "Do you know, the day I went in front of the Dementor, what my worst memory was? It was my parents dying. I heard their voices and everything."

The old wizard's eyes widened behind the half-moon glasses.

"And here's the thing," Harry said, "here's the thing I've been thinking about over and over. The Dark Lord gave Lily Potter the chance to walk away. He said that she could flee. He told her that dying in front of the crib wouldn't save her baby. 'Step aside, foolish woman, if you have any sense in you at all -'" An awful chill came over Harry as he spoke those words from his own lips, but he shook it off and continued. "And afterward I kept thinking, I couldn't seem to stop myself from thinking, wasn't the Dark Lord right? If only Mother had stepped away. She tried to curse the Dark Lord but it was suicide, she had to have known that it was suicide. Her choice wasn't between her life and mine, her choice was for herself to live or for both of us to die! If she'd only done the logical thing and walked away, I mean, I love Mum too, but Lily Potter would be alive right now and she would be my mother!" Tears were blurring Harry's eyes. "Only now I understand, I know what Mother must have felt. She couldn't step aside from the crib. She couldn't! Love doesn't walk away!"

It was like the old wizard had been struck, struck by a chisel that shattered him straight down the middle.

The eyes widening and seeming to be shattered... what if Harry and the reader are meant to think this is just Dumbledore being all human and weak and sympathetic and stuff, but actually Dumbledore was surprised by learning that Harry is Harrymort in a deeper sense than he'd realized and then covering it with acting?

Replies from: ChrisHallquist
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-05T01:13:09.396Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Very good point. Will be looking for evidence of this theory in the future.

Replies from: ChrisHallquist
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-05T06:41:11.416Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Though on further reflection, if Harry is Voldemort in a straightforward sense, what is Dumbledore's interpretation of Harrymort's motives for saying what he said? Alternative hypothesis: this is the moment when Dumbledore figured out that Harry is a horcrux. Also, Dumbledore may see an important clue in the fact that Voldemort offered Lily a chance to flee. Or Dumbledore figured out the love shield thing. Or a combination of the above.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-05T07:27:28.834Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Why was there a part of him that seemed to get angry at the old wizard beyond reason...

Because that's what taboo tradeoffs are all about. You feel a sacred value that cannot be traded for a mundane one. The human response to a threat to a sacred value is anger. Also, at least in Harry's case, the anger seems to be a defense mechanism of the sacred values against reason. Get pissed off as a means of mental evasion. The part that defends the sacred values will lie, refuse to think, and refuse to see reality. Also, there's some resentment at Dumbledore at making him see his own inconsistency and self duplicity.

It is interesting. EY is treading perilously close to politics here. As I think about politics, almost all idiocy centers on various Taboo Tradeoffs, where some sacred value is at odds with a seemingly mundane one, and the idiocy floweth.

The sacred values that worked in small bands on the savannah don't scale to people in societies of hundreds of millions trying to make collective decisions. What are people to do? Is it true that humans can't live any other way?

I'm interested in seeing what he has to say on this.

I don't think it has anything to do with magic and horcruxes. It's a human problem. That's why it's interesting.

Replies from: Sheaman3773
comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-26T01:02:51.979Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It sounded to me like he was speaking far more broadly about their interactions than just the one after the "trial."

comment by Swimmy · 2012-04-04T19:21:08.305Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think you're right. If Eliezer is keeping the Harry-as-horcrux plot element, and we're still living in a world without souls or an afterlife, the horcrux in Harry would be a part of Voldemort's memories and personality, because that's what a "soul" really is.

I don't know if it's been mentioned before, but this probably explains Quirrel's trances. He has distributed a large part of his mind across several parts of the globe he no longer has access to. This means his mind can't function properly 100% of the time. (Would his mind function better when he's near Harry?)

Replies from: None, None, Bugmaster, buybuydandavis
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-04T23:52:10.250Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or, instead of your mind being distributed across multiple processors, a horcrux is a copy. And if you're killed, you survive not as a ghost, but by virtue of the fact that there's still a copy of you extant and functioning in the world. The same way uploading counts as survival.

Which means that by filling the world with horcruxes, Voldemort is executing the Hansonian strategy of flooding the labor market with EMs.

ETA: Hey, would Voldemort care what happened to a copy of himself? Perhaps the "power Voldemort knows not" is TDT. :)

Replies from: None, bogdanb, Alsadius
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-05T01:25:16.442Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, I've solved the story. Harry defeats Voldemort by tricking him into doing the "rational" thing and defecting against himself. Posting this in a new, unedited comment just in case it turns out to be more than a bad joke.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-05T00:11:00.325Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If a Horcrux is a copy, it’s more of a redundant rather than an independent one. Voldie had several horcruxes, some of them for years, and yet there was exactly one “resurrection”.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-05T00:25:00.145Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A resurrection requires a host body, though. And his other horcruxes didn't find their way into anyone's hands. Except, perhaps, for the button he threw to Hermione.

Replies from: JoachimSchipper, bogdanb
comment by JoachimSchipper · 2012-04-05T07:18:50.643Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The "diary of Francis Bacon" may also be relevant. (Quirrel had been building up Harry before learning about Harry's dark side in ch. 20, suggesting he had plans involving Harry before that; in canon, Ginny Weasley is possessed by a diary of Tom Riddle. On the other hand, Quirrel gives the "diary" to Harry in ch. 26, i.e. knowing about Harry's dark side.)

Replies from: David_Gerard, Xachariah
comment by David_Gerard · 2012-04-05T16:31:43.823Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Roger Bacon.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-04-06T05:27:39.543Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

According to word of God gur qvnel vf abg gur Ubepehk, vg npghnyyl vf gur qvnel Ebtre Onpba. Vg'f n qnatyvat cybg ubbx Ryvmre chg va whfg va pnfr Uneel arrqf gb yrnea fbzr sbetbggra yber.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-05T04:06:06.888Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A resurrection requires a host body, though. And his other horcruxes didn't find their way into anyone's hands.

I don’t think the restoration requires the presence of the horcrux. In canon there’s no indication of any horcrux present at Quirell’s possession in Albania (in fact, there’s a vague handwavy indication that Quirell was made into a kind of horcrux), nor at the graveyard resurection.

(AFAIK, no horcrux could have been present at either event. Albania was where he made the diadem into a horcrux, but he hid it in Hogwarts before his death, the diary was destroyed before the resurection, and I don’t think Bellatrix was there, nor that the Hufflepuf cup was taken out of the Lestrange vaults before it was destroyed, and all the others were hidden.)

So, I don’t think it’s required for someone to be near a horcrux for the resurrection.

Replies from: pedanterrific, None
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-05T04:57:29.717Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or [...] a horcrux is a copy. And if you're killed, you survive not as a ghost, but by virtue of the fact that there's still a copy of you extant and functioning in the world. The same way uploading counts as survival.

If a Horcrux is a copy, it’s more of a redundant rather than an independent one. Voldie had several horcruxes, some of them for years, and yet there was exactly one “resurrection”.

A resurrection requires a host body, though. And his other horcruxes didn't find their way into anyone's hands.

I don’t think the restoration requires the presence of the horcrux. In canon ...

In canon Horcruxes bound the original spirit to survive beyond the death of the body. If Horcruxes are just copies there wouldn't be an extra spirit floating around to do the possessing / resurrecting.

Replies from: bogdanb
comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-05T08:39:06.652Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Granted. But there still needs to be a mechanism for possession, and something simple like a trigger on the horcruxed object, waiting for someone to touch or approach it, does not quite fit the story. It wouldn’t make sense to hide the horcruxes, for one thing. (And, although Quirell didn’t say he hid them, I think Eliezer meant that scene as a hint, not a trick.)

Also, while there might not be souls as metaphysical items, we have here a universe in which magic at least appears responsible for (a) ghosts and portraits, who retain a lot of their originals although in some sense not really alive, (b) a castle that constantly rebuilds itself since centuries ago and seems to have an architectural artistic sense, and (c) a mind-reading hat that became self-aware with surprising ease. Oh, and pouches that burp. It’s not much of a stretch from that to horcruxes being in some sense alive, self-aware and active (e.g. being executed as some sort of simulation on magic substrate rather than just storing a brain state), with some magic ability, though perhaps only after the original dies.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-05T05:17:20.199Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Graveyard resurrection? A misunderstanding. I meant Quirrell. This is not a canon-compliant hypothesis I'm proposing. It's speculation on how far the rules might be changed to fit the restrictions of a world without souls. As such, it needs to be consistent with the story so far, play to OB/LW themes, and be generally cute. But it depends on facts we haven't been given and changes that haven't been established, and I don't have any strong reason to believe it's actually the case.

Replies from: bogdanb
comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-05T08:23:48.687Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh, OK. I took that “requires” as statement of (in-universe) fact.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T05:50:23.822Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Care to give the long version of EM and TDT?

Replies from: JoachimSchipper
comment by JoachimSchipper · 2012-04-05T07:22:36.464Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Emulated human (see Robin Hanson's http://overcomingbias.com for lots of material), Timeless Decision Theory (which includes "I'll cooperate with copies of myself"; search LW for much more.)

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-05T21:15:55.598Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it's more likely that the Horcruxes are static copies, like system backups, and Quirrel's zombie periods are because the original Quirrel is, in fact, still present in some lobotomized form, and Voldemort is merely imposing his soul / brain state onto the tissue by force of magic. While he can maintain it, it is costly, and he conserves strength by letting the damaged brain run the body most of the time. It might also be the case that this is to preserve the livespan of the possession, since Voldemort's presence in Quirrel's body appears to be slowly killing him.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-06T12:39:55.219Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A static copy couldn't learn, think, or experience time. A static copy is inert. I could imagine horcrux-magic automatically overwriting the brains of people who come into contact with them, so that Quirrell would become Voldemort, but the horcrux can't be static if Quirrell is still present in lobotomized form. In that scenario, neither one is a running copy of Voldemort.

But the idea of horcruxes as copies may be correct.

"Harry, how could Voldemort have survived the death of his body if he did not have a soul?" [...] "Good question," Harry said, after some internal debate about how to proceed. "Maybe he found some way of duplicating the power of the Resurrection Stone, only he loaded it in advance with a complete copy of his brain state. Or something like that."

If he didn't die at Godric's Hollow, perhaps he rescued Bellatrix to create a flesh and blood copy of himself from one of his horcruxes, and we really will be treated to the sight of two Voldemorts betraying each other. I'd like that.

Replies from: Xachariah, loserthree, None
comment by Xachariah · 2012-04-06T16:36:45.358Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Interestingly, the copy of Voldemort we get to see in canon is very much a static copy. He comes back fifty years later with the exact same plan that he abandoned before. It's not even a good plan; his older self abandoned it since it would arouse suspicion and wouldn't particularly help him in his goals. Hell, diary-riddle could have just not written on the walls in blood and succeeded easily. It's like that instance of him had not only failed to grow at all since he created the diary horcrux, but it was perpetually fixated on the state of mind it's creator had at the exact moment of creation.

Obviously HPMoR is different from canon, but it seems like an interesting parallel.

Replies from: Benquo
comment by Benquo · 2012-04-06T17:58:26.052Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Now I'm wondering whether the HPMOR Voldemort is not the original Tom Riddle, but just another Horcrux, and a rather degraded one, at that.

Replies from: Rhwawn
comment by Rhwawn · 2012-04-06T20:03:25.196Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

'HPMOR Voldemort' - you mean the original taking-over-England-and-meeting-an-unexplained-fate-at-the-Potters' Voldemort? That's odd... but why would Tom Riddle let one of his Horcruxes go wild like that, and whose body did it steal?

Replies from: Benquo
comment by Benquo · 2012-04-06T20:15:03.300Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think I have enough info to generate good hypotheses yet, but it seems odd that the original would be intellectually more degraded than, e.g. Quirrelmort (unless the Quirrel himself has/had a formidable brain already). The "pretending to be brutish and lose" plan is also improbable because it violates Malfoy's Rule of Three. (OTOH Lucius, while clever, is not the smartest plotter around, and knows this, so perhaps the rule doesn't apply to truly superior plotters.)

Replies from: Rhwawn
comment by Rhwawn · 2012-04-06T20:18:19.879Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The original might not necessarily be 'degraded' compared to Quirrel - he had different strategies, yes, but Quirrel has observed a lot of things since 'his' defeat. Those could explain his change in strategy.

comment by loserthree · 2012-04-06T16:09:15.876Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

From chapter 79:

old, old tales of wizards possessed, doing mad deeds, claiming the names of Dark Lords thought defeated; and there is usually a device, of that Dark Lord, which they wield

So the mind-state-thing is backed up to some kind of sustained magic on an object. And then whoever possesses that object is possessed by the mind-state-thing.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-06T16:33:39.253Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, I've suggested that myself elsewhere in the thread. I was pointing out here that if it's possessing Quirrell, not overwriting him, it can't be a static copy. A Voldemort emulation has to be running on either the horcrux or Quirrell.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-06T17:26:00.506Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

To clarify, by 'static copy' I didn't mean permanently static, I meant 'inert until activated.'

Though I guess there's no evidence that they aren't alive (in a ghostly, and mostly useless state) at all times.

EDIT: Actually, thinking of canon, the horcruxes did seem decently alive. Enough so to mess with Ginny Weasely a lot.

comment by Bugmaster · 2012-04-05T20:32:52.623Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Would his mind function better when he's near Harry?

I don't think we've seen any evidence of that; in fact, we have seen the opposite, since Harry (and possibly Quirrel as well) experiences an overwhelming sense of doom whenever they're in close proximity,

Replies from: Sheaman3773
comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-26T01:14:13.629Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Definitely Quirrel as well:

Harry walked forward a step, then another step, until a sense of unease began to pervade him, a disquiet in his nerves.

He said nothing, lifted no hand; the pervading sense of unease would say it for him.

From behind the closed door of the office came a whisper, carrying through the door as though no door were present.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-05T02:36:50.488Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's interesting. Are Harry and Quirrell sharing the Dark Side module in Harry's head, so that only one can use it at a time?

comment by Tripitaka · 2012-04-04T22:57:55.028Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thinking back to the Remembrall incident, it's likely Harry has memories of Voldemort that are slowly coming out...

The far easier explanation for this, which does not have all the problems of being an ridiculousness easy and yet unknown method for detecting of Obliviation having occured is that Harry forgot that he is strictly forbidden to use a Time-Turner in view of the public!

Replies from: JoeA, bogdanb, pedanterrific
comment by JoeA · 2012-04-05T14:34:30.927Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That makes sense.. but immediately afterward both Harry and McGonnagal thought it was unusual how bright the remembrall shined; neither seemed to think it was solely due to the use of the Time Turner:

"The Remembrall was glowing bright red in his hand, blazing like a miniature sun that cast shadows on the ground in broad daylight."

and

""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.""

And then of course she doesn't. Perhaps the courts simply don't use Remembralls because they would never definitively prove obliviation - only that something was forgotten. Harry's remembrall "blazing like a miniature sun" may be due to an overwhelmingly large obliviation - like an entire life as a Dark Lord? Obliviating a day or week may just produce a normal glow...

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-04T23:41:34.799Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That would make sense, except that it was really bright, I was under the impression that McGonnagal was puzzled about it.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-04T23:10:31.439Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What Obliviation?

Replies from: TimS
comment by TimS · 2012-04-04T23:31:30.168Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think he's referring to JoeA's Obliviated-Voldimort-Memories theory. I agree that forgetting about the Time-Turner rules is a more likely explanation of the phenomena.

Replies from: Sheaman3773
comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-26T01:06:34.267Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd place a very low probability on that possibility, speaking strictly from a narrative point of view. It has been far too long since that event for the answer to be that mundane.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-04-04T10:06:19.237Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Something that bothers me: what do fights involving the Killing Curse look like? What is it that made Voldemort so much more powerful and the conclusion of Lily vs Voldemort so foregone? His ability to pronounce the phrase faster?

Avada Kedavra seems like the Snitch of combat technique; trumps everything most of the time and dumbs the whole thing down.

Replies from: Desrtopa, Nornagest, faul_sname
comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-04T13:12:57.765Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In canon, when Dumbledore and Voldemort fought in Order of the Pheonix, they weren't just launching high level spells like missiles, they were apparating around and manipulating the landscape around them. On one occasion, Dumbledore has Fawkes catch an Avada Kedavra for him (reducing him to a chick,) and I believe he may also have blocked another with an animated statue (although that might have been a different spell.)

I was extremely disappointed that the movie adaptation reduced their confrontation to a highly pyrotechnic instance of magical arm wrestling. J. K. Rowling may not have thought all her ideas out properly, but at least she managed to show that when wizards of Dumbledore and Voldemort's caliber duel, they get creative.

Replies from: RomeoStevens
comment by RomeoStevens · 2012-04-05T02:49:09.021Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

you would probably enjoy the Read or Die OVA, which is one of the few instances I've seen on super heroes using their power instinctually (as they would if they'd had them from birth) rather than intentionally.

If anyone knows of anything else in this vein do share, I find it enjoyable.

Replies from: q4-g03olf
comment by q4-g03olf · 2012-04-08T14:34:30.696Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Check out "Supreme Power", a comic series published by MAX, Marvel's mature-audiences line.

comment by Nornagest · 2012-04-04T10:24:59.489Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

After the Azkaban sequence, Quirrell mentions Avada Kedavra as a technique that can't be blocked and must be dodged, and therefore essential to magical duels. So that's half your answer. If spamming AK isn't the dominant strategy, it follows that there must be other considerations: perhaps it takes more time to execute, or drains more magical power.

In canon I believe it requires actual hatred for the target, not mere killing intent, which would limit its usefulness for people who aren't YA-lit Nazi pastiches, but I'm not sure if we can consider that reliable in MoR. It doesn't seem to fit comfortably into the fic's themes.

Replies from: ArisKatsaris
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-04T10:33:43.274Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In canon I believe it requires actual hatred for the target

In HPMoR too: Chapter 25: "Who'd been silly enough to build in a spell for Avada Kedavra that could only be cast using hatred?"

It doesn't seem to fit comfortably into the fic's themes.

Perhaps update your model on what the fic's themes are?

If anything, HPMoR makes a person's mind-state even more significant than in canon. It buffs up the Patronus charm, it affects pretty much anything having to do with Dementors (how they look like, whether you can hear them, how much they affect you, even how they act like or whether they'll obey you), it directly affects how the Sorting Hat will behave towards you (as it borrows intelligence from your own mind), spells don't work if you only know the incantation and nothing else about them, "knowledge" can't pass backwards more than 6 hours, knowledge of powerful charms can't pass through books at all as it requires person-to-person communication...

Replies from: Nornagest, bogdanb, VincenzoLingley
comment by Nornagest · 2012-04-04T10:44:33.781Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hmm, you're right. Odd that Quirrell was able to use it on Bahry, then. My model of Quirrell(mort) allows for him killing obstructive strangers if it happens to be expedient and not feeling at all bad about it, but hating them? That seems a little personal to mesh well with what we've seen of his style.

Perhaps he's got the narcissistic-personality thing where any impediment automatically becomes a hated enemy, but if so he's hiding it exceptionally well. Or perhaps he's using an Occulumens trick to self-modify into such a person... that seems to fit pretty well, actually. And would be a significant advantage in combat, not to mention a significant obstacle to using AK if you can't self-modify that way.

Perhaps update your model on what the fic's themes are? If anything, HPMoR makes a person's mind-state even more significant than in canon.

Nope, I'm going to stand by this one. It's made fairly clear that MoR magic is tied closely to wizards' thoughts and expectations -- it imposes Aristotelian physics, for crying out loud -- but in this specific case, I read the canonical situation as an intrusion of J.K. Rowling's moral universe into the Potterverse. We've seen enough subversions of that ethic elsewhere in the fic that I didn't want to allow it to constrain my expectations of the text.

Replies from: Desrtopa, JoachimSchipper
comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-04T13:07:02.595Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hmm, you're right. Odd that Quirrell was able to use it on Bahry, then. My model of Quirrell(mort) allows for him killing obstructive strangers if it happens to be expedient and not feeling at all bad about it, but hating them? That seems a little personal to mesh well with what we've seen of his style.

I've never parsed "cast with hatred" as "you must hate the target." In canon, Crouch Jr. as Moody demonstrates it by killing a spider (although I suppose it's possible he's an arachnaphobe.) I imagine that it's like the patronus charm, which you can cast by calling up a happy thought, even if you weren't already happy. Even if Quirrelmort doesn't hate everyone personally, I doubt he has any trouble calling up feelings of hatred.

Replies from: loup-vaillant
comment by loup-vaillant · 2012-04-04T22:45:20.678Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I doubt he has any trouble calling up feelings of hatred.

I doubt any one of us would have much trouble calling up feelings of hatred. Or feelings of nearly anything for that matter.

Replies from: tgb
comment by tgb · 2012-04-05T00:06:35.760Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Typical Mind Fallacy.

Do not be so quick to assume that everyone is like you. I have great difficulty recalling emotions and, in a minute of introspection, am unable to make myself feel or relive hatred towards anything.

Replies from: Desrtopa, Bugmaster, None, MarkusRamikin
comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-05T00:29:52.523Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As Quirrel said in his very first class

If, for any reason, you find yourself incapable of casting the Killing Curse

So it's surely not unheard of.

Canonically, I think it also took substantial magical power to be able to cast it, so I suspect that the average adult witch or wizard wouldn't be able to use it (most ordinary adults were made out to be fairly incompetent at the magical skills they didn't use regularly,) but Quirrel seems to be imposing rather higher standards on his students.

Replies from: tgb
comment by tgb · 2012-04-05T11:42:12.143Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wouldn't be surprised if Quirrel could recall emotions - I was only defying the claim that "any one of us" could do so without much trouble and am using the counter example of me.

comment by Bugmaster · 2012-04-05T20:38:37.790Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As a perfect Occlumens, presumably Quirrel would be able to generate a mental construct who is full of hatred, then use it on demand whenever he needs to cast AK.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-05T01:13:50.923Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Interesting... Can I please interview you as a case study for my paper on Wittgenstein?

Replies from: tgb
comment by tgb · 2012-04-05T12:20:38.259Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

PM'd.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-04-05T06:39:38.342Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's very interesting. If you don't mind elaborating, what happens when you try to recall an event or person that made you feel hate in the past (like Harry uses the memory of Snape)? Are you able to recall the memory itself at all, but it doesn't cause the emotion any more?

Replies from: tgb, Incorrect
comment by tgb · 2012-04-05T12:16:44.890Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

First, I have very few events that I can recall where I was angry, and for most of them I can't really seem to recall the exact reason I was angry or else it seems fairly unimportant now. For example, I have vague memories of anger toward a sibling in childhood, but I don't remember why other than some generic reasons - no specific reason. I can recall being angry at a computer for crashing or whatever, but in retrospect this is not much of a thing to get worked up over and I cannot recreate the emotion. Or being angry at an unintended insult to my abilities to play a game I considered myself good at - this was perhaps the angriest I have ever been but I cannot relive that emotion now. Other than that, I guess I am not a very angry person or life has happened to not give me many angry situations.

In general, though, even for emotions that I have a clearer memory of, I usually cannot relive the emotion. Feelings of success may be a counter-example - recalling being successful in the past seems to make me feel like I will be/ am being successful and recreates some of the associated emotion. I can also make myself sad to nearly the point of crying by recalling either a specific memory or general 'sad' things - atomic wars, death, etc. Physical feelings such as heat, cold, pain, and nausea I cannot recall at all.

I wonder if the 4 upvotes my comment has indicates that anyone else here is in the same situation as me or just support for questioning assumptions?

Replies from: pjeby, RobertLumley
comment by pjeby · 2012-04-05T22:50:11.246Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I can recall being angry at a computer for crashing or whatever, but in retrospect this is not much of a thing to get worked up over and I cannot recreate the emotion.

This is way OT at this point, but... when you remember these things, is your memory represented as third-person or first person? Still image or moving? For that matter, is there an image at all?

Replies from: tgb
comment by tgb · 2012-04-06T00:30:33.377Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

First person, definitely. I am basically recalling events that happened and narrating to myself what happens and thinking through my actions, with some very vague imagery. I wrote about my visualization ability and mental thought process in the "Describe the ways you think" thread if you really want details...

Replies from: pjeby
comment by pjeby · 2012-04-06T19:43:07.958Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I actually meant, "do you see memories as though through your own eyes or from an omniscient POV". Sounds like from your link that you don't see them at all.

Are you able to recall positive memories in a way that stimulates emotion? (If you can, I'm guessing they are not recalled in verbal form, but are represented in some other sensory system.)

Replies from: tgb
comment by tgb · 2012-04-07T12:10:18.569Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, I don't really 'see' them, but other sensations such as motion and touch are more tangible to me and those I see relative to my head - as I experience them in actuality. So it is very much a first-person experience from my POV even if color, texture, etc. is missing.

comment by RobertLumley · 2012-04-05T21:53:11.522Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I upvoted both because you are correct and because I am the same way. I am somewhat skilled at manufacturing happiness, but can not make myself angry for the life of me. Which, TBH, I'm fine with.

comment by Incorrect · 2012-04-05T13:08:43.765Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I also don't have the ability to recall and feel anger but that might just be because I can't remember any instance being significantly angry for the past few years (I don't believe any have occurred).

I used to be able to make myself cry by remembering sad events but I can't anymore for the same reason, there have been no recent incidents of sadness.

comment by JoachimSchipper · 2012-04-05T07:06:32.787Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Quirrel is known to be good at dissociation. Harry's (Demented) dark side hates everything that moves. Even if Harry's dark side is not (part of) (the original) Voldemort, I wouldn't be surprised if Quirrel can dip into a hate-everything personality for the time it takes to cast the Killing Curse.

(Of course, there is insufficient evidence either way.)

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-04T23:52:26.619Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Who'd been silly enough to build in a spell for Avada Kedavra that could only be cast using hatred?"

I’m not sure exactly what Harry was thinking, but if it simply means that you must “call up feelings of hate” as suggested below, then it might simply be intended as a simple safeguard. Presumably almost anyone can call up such feelings if they tried, but it wouldn’t happen by accident unless you really hate someone. (Given the apparent age of the spell and its character, I don’t think its creator would worry much about accidentally killing someone you hate, if it even occurred to them.)

comment by VincenzoLingley · 2012-04-04T19:36:22.183Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In HPMoR too

Quirrell was planning to teach it.

comment by faul_sname · 2012-04-04T22:29:03.661Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Many things in real life are much like that. See nuclear weapons. No law of nature says that there can't be a brute-force technique that overpowers creativity and finesse.

Replies from: Veered, Veered
comment by Veered · 2012-04-17T06:31:35.028Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry may need to make another wish...

comment by Veered · 2012-04-17T06:19:37.875Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sounds like Harry might need to make another wish...

comment by daenerys · 2012-04-06T01:32:50.476Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In his Author's Note, EY mentions that he's considering releasing the next plot arc in one fell swoop, instead of doing weekly chapter releases. Personally I prefer the weekly chapter releases for the following reasons:

  • You get to consider and digest each chapter, instead of flying through them
  • Each chapter gets discussed- people make predictions, work on rationality skills
  • Builds community, as my HPMoR friends and I can get excited together for each chapter
  • Draws out HPMoR release experience over a couple months.
  • Have something fun to look forward to on Tuesday nights

I was wondering if other people felt the same way, or if I'm alone in preferring the weekly releases to a one-fell-swoop release.

Replies from: Eponymuse, Gastogh, culdraug, Raemon, Brickman, thomblake, Benquo
comment by Eponymuse · 2012-04-06T02:48:33.359Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would much prefer to have them released all at once. I could read them and re-read them at my own pace. There would still be plenty to discuss. The cliff-hangers mean that I currently think about each update more than is productive. It would be nice if the disruptive effect they have on the rest of my life was more localized.

Mostly, though, I'm happy to read it whenever EY gets around to posting it.

Replies from: Paulovsk
comment by Paulovsk · 2012-04-06T17:43:53.386Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It would be nice if the disruptive effect they have on the rest of my life was more localized.

I think exactly like that.

I vote up to have them released all at once.

Replies from: anandjeyahar
comment by anandjeyahar · 2012-04-06T18:07:48.679Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

+1 for the very same reason. Reading a HPMOR chapter is a day-long distraction. it simply won't leave my brain alone for work on the rest of the day.

Replies from: Paulovsk, Percent_Carbon, Alex_Altair
comment by Paulovsk · 2012-04-06T21:17:24.008Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Waiting for a whole week is the worst part.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-10T05:18:15.588Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sounds like a good opportunity to practice mental discipline skills that will serve your well for the rest of your life.

comment by Alex_Altair · 2012-04-10T02:27:21.336Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

it simply won't leave my brain alone

I take the opportunity to apply Harry-like awesomeness to my own life. What other options aren't I considering? What epicness can I plot? What resources am I not taking advantage of?

comment by Gastogh · 2012-04-08T10:59:31.483Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have no strong preference either way on this issue, but I suspect that spacing the updates out is more useful.

One reason for this is that a lot of updates means that the story spends more time on the first page of ff.net's HP story list. The HP fandom is one of the most active ones and stories tend to get bumped off the first page quite fast. To that end, I also think it would be a good idea to occasionally update the story at some other time of the day than the usual 7 PM Pacific Time. Who knows, maybe that alone would bring in some readers who miss the story again and again for no other reason except that it's updated at an inconvenient time of day.

The communal aspect shouldn't be overlooked, either, and having time to discuss chapters is definitely a legitimate reason to draw out the process. This doesn't apply to everyone, of course; I gave myself five minutes to think of solutions for the end of chapter 80 and refrained from discussing them with anyone, and I doubt I'm the only one who plays the game that way.

IMO, the optimal update rate would be once per four or five days. Enough time for folks to talk things over if they wish, but not so long that the anticipation has the time to collapse.

Replies from: RobertLumley
comment by RobertLumley · 2012-04-08T15:31:36.212Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

To that end, I also think it would be a good idea to occasionally update the story at some other time of the day than the usual 7 PM Pacific Time

This. In particular.

Replies from: Velorien
comment by Velorien · 2012-04-11T12:13:45.610Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would vote for a time earlier than 7pm, as this would allow European types such as myself to read the update on the same day that it's published, and comment accordingly. As it stands, I can choose to stay up until 3am or so to wait for the update, or turn up the next day to find that the discussion has progressed a long way before I could join in.

comment by culdraug · 2012-04-06T07:39:59.995Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would also like to vote in support of weekly releases.

comment by Raemon · 2012-04-06T04:08:45.221Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I prefer them spaced out, although maybe slightly more frequently than once per week. Mostly for a "draw out the HPMoR experience" reason.

comment by Brickman · 2012-04-06T03:21:19.345Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Personally, for anything except comedy I like to read moderately-long bursts rather than short snippets--when I follow works that update daily but have updates that are too small I often stop reading for a while on the assumption that when I start again later I'll have a juicy backlog to trawl through. (Part of me wonders if it's just a matter of how good the author is at finding good stopping points though). HPMOR updates are not that small, but with its plot-heaviness I think I still found that I enjoyed it better when I read entire arcs at once than when I read chapters as they came out. I even considered not reading chapters once or twice until the next existed.

Of course, individual chapters are healthier for my sleep schedule...

comment by thomblake · 2012-04-09T17:38:53.200Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Very much agree. Co-readers and discussions are cool.

comment by Benquo · 2012-04-06T02:45:34.273Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree.

comment by Spurlock · 2012-04-07T18:12:28.750Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd like to predict that whatever actually happened with Dumbledore and Narcissa, it will turn out to have been foreshadowed by whatever happened in Chapter 17 between Dumbledore and the chicken.

That is, I can't actually figure out whether he seriously burned a chicken alive, made it look like he burned a chicken alive, or that actually is what a Phoenix looks like right before regenerating. But he appeared to set fire to a chicken, and I predict that he used essentially the same move on Narcissa, as suggested by the law of conservation of detail.

I don't think its possible that he just whisked her away with Phoenix-travel, as this apparently doesn't actually look anything like someone burning alive, viewed from the outside. But whatever he did with the chicken at least looked enough like burning to fool Harry:

The chicken's beak opened, but it didn't have time for so much as a single caw before it began to wither and char. The blaze was brief, intense, and entirely self-contained; there was no smell of burning.

Replies from: bogdanb, 75th
comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-07T20:46:08.961Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But faking her death (and even the type of death) doesn’t really match the rest of the story. There’s no obvious reason not to return her after he thought Voldemort was gone, or at least to let Lucius know what happened in case she’s alive and didn’t want to return—which is unlikely, we had no indication that she was really unhappy or didn’t wish to be a part of her son’s life—or if she died in some much-less-objectionable way (he could give Lucius the memory).

Not doing this led to the last ten years being rather complicated due to Lucius’ enmity; Dumbledore mentions to Harry he’s quite constrained in his political actions. Eliezer also seems to write his stories such that serious actions have serious consequences.

None of it proof, of course, just strong evidence IMO that she really is dead and either Dumbledore or an ally he’s protected did it.

Replies from: Desrtopa, Eponymuse, Spurlock
comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-08T03:25:39.619Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But faking her death (and even the type of death) doesn’t really match the rest of the story. There’s no obvious reason not to return her after he thought Voldemort was gone, or at least to let Lucius know what happened in case she’s alive and didn’t want to return—which is unlikely, we had no indication that she was really unhappy or didn’t wish to be a part of her son’s life—or if she died in some much-less-objectionable way (he could give Lucius the memory).

But he never thought Voldemort was permanently gone in the first place. The Hogwarts inner circle knew Voldemort was still around as of the beginning of the story. And in any case, he's still maneuvering against Lucius, so he has an incentive to uphold the notion that he will not cooperate with blackmailers and that he will resort to equal retaliation, even while his greater enemy is absent.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-04-08T04:03:53.644Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not saying I think Narcissa is alive, but...

There’s no obvious reason not to return her after he thought Voldemort was gone

Except that Narcissa could then testify in front of the Wizengamot that Dumbledore kidnapped her.

or at least to let Lucius know what happened in case she’s alive and didn’t want to return

Dumbledore believes Voldemort will return. This would limit his ability to threaten Death Eaters in the next war.

Replies from: bogdanb
comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-09T04:27:51.944Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore believes Voldemort will return. This would limit his ability to threaten Death Eaters in the next war.

Point. I forgot he knew about the Horcruxes since basically the beginning.

comment by Spurlock · 2012-04-07T20:53:00.346Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think Dumbledore would risk leaving her as a loose end, what I suspect is that he really did kill her, but only appeared to burn her alive.

Replies from: bogdanb, Alsadius
comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-08T02:54:51.298Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh, no, he did much worse:

He switched her brain with that of a chicken (with Magic!), then burned the chicken alive—in her body—so that the chicken’s thrashing around in horrible agony left marks around the room (while he forced Narcissa to watch, with Magic!). Then he kept Narcissa alive (with Magic!) in the chicken’s body, to keep company to Fawkes; he kept her hidden (with Magic!) right near his perch, so that every time Fawkes re-spawned she was reminded of what her captor was capable of. Then he burned her in front of Harry (with Magic!) just because he thought it was funny :-)

By the way, Lucius is not actually mad because he killed her—Dumbledore told the first part the above to him, but he kept silent about the details because it was embarrassing to have his wife turned to a chicken. That’s why Dumbledore had trouble during the trial; he felt a bit embarrassed about having killed Narcissa after all.

Also, Draco actually picked “fire” as his army’s symbol because he’s secretly fantasizing about being burned alive.

Replies from: pedanterrific, moritz, thomblake
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-08T03:14:26.221Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It all just clicks seamlessly into place!

Replies from: Alejandro1
comment by Alejandro1 · 2012-04-10T16:51:28.869Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Surely, you mean it all clucks seamlessly into place.

comment by moritz · 2012-04-10T07:49:58.195Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's chickens all the way down, isn't it?

comment by thomblake · 2012-04-09T17:44:23.748Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This fits together so well I'm going to have trouble remembering that Dumbledore didn't switch Narcissa's brain with a chicken.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-08T03:33:32.288Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why is it so hard to believe that he did it? He's a general who led in a nasty little war, I don't think he's bound by the moral judgement of an 11 year old unfamiliar with war. And frankly, there's no humane way to die, so it'd be criminally stupid to murder a woman "nicely" and then fake torturing her in order to torment her husband. If you're going to do a job, best to do it right.

Replies from: TheOtherDave, wedrifid
comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-04-08T04:08:01.956Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

And frankly, there's no humane way to die, so it'd be criminally stupid to murder a woman "nicely" and then fake torturing her

Wait... are you arguing here that we oughtn't value different types of death differently... that I ought to be indifferent between dying painlessly and painfully, for example?
Or have I misunderstood you?

If I've understood you right, that claim probably is worth supporting rather than just asserting as a premise.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-08T05:04:08.275Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm saying that killing someone and then trying to feel good because you did it nicely seems incredibly hollow to me. It's the same reason why I've always thought that restrictions on classes of weapons because they kill "inhumanely" are a bit ridiculous. The difference between a really painful death and a humane one pales in comparison to the difference between living and dying, so placing more emphasis on the former than the latter is terrible preference order. The value is not literally zero, but it's smaller than the disutility Dumbledore would gain from being caught out as having faked it.

Replies from: Desrtopa, TheOtherDave
comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-10T15:11:21.014Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm saying that killing someone and then trying to feel good because you did it nicely seems incredibly hollow to me.

It might seem a bit hollow, but it's better than killing someone in a slow, excruciating way, and telling yourself it doesn't matter because they were going to be dead at the end of it anyway.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-12T22:08:05.811Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

He's killing for a reason, and if we assume that Dumbledore isn't lost to morality(as he seems not to be), then he certainly believes that the reason justifies an innocent death. If you're paying that sort of price though, you've got a pretty serious obligation to ensure that you get what you're paying for - in this case, an end to the murder of your family and the families of your allies. If killing her nasty does a better job of that than killing her cleanly, then light up the BBQ. It's better than killing her for nothing.

Also, before I sound like too much of a psychopath, I should point out that I'm well aware of how slippery a slope this sort of argumentation is, and how incredibly careful you need to be in applying it. But war involves lots of death, and if you're paying in lives either way, you really should try to get the best price you can. It sucks, but it was the best choice open to Dumbledore in the situation, so I won't fault him for following that path.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-04-08T14:22:36.771Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I certainly agree that the difference between living and dying is typically much greater than the difference between being tortured for a while and not being tortured.

OTOH, situations do arise where killing X becomes necessary but torturing X remains optional. I completely agree that it's typically far far far better to avoid such situations altogether, but once I've tried and failed at that I still see no reason to torture X.

Agreed that if D's chances of being caught out are high enough, the expected cost of faking torture might well exceed the expected cost of torture. But I suspect that if we eliminated the death from the equation, and his choices were to fake her torture or to actually torture her, and he chose to torture her because the expected costs of doing so were lower, most readers (even here) would censure that choice.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-09T01:55:39.784Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But the whole point of killing Narcissa is to shock the Death Eaters. If you've gotten to the point where it seems like a good idea to murder someone for shock value, you don't do a half-assed job, you do it nasty. To do otherwise would be a waste, because if you murder her and it doesn't have the desired effect, then you did it for nothing.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-10T05:12:27.844Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There is a difference between killing someone in a messy but expedient manner, like a weapon deemed inhumane, and torturing someone to death.

1) the killer must sustain killing intent throughout the torture

2) the killer is vulnerable to counter-attack while torturing when, instead, they could be done and absent

3) the things we do change us, a torturer is likely to (almost must) become less empathetic than one who quickly executes, and empathy is a valuable skill in many activities

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-12T22:02:25.050Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Most weapons deemed inhumane are the sort of thing that would be about as unpleasant as being tortured to death. The de facto ban on poison gas in WW2, for example - if I had to choose between mustard gas and napalm, I'm not sure which way I'd go. For that matter, plenty of people are burned alive in ordinary wars(naval combat is particularly bad for that, along with the aforementioned napalm), and that's never been deemed worse than any other death in any legal sense.

Also, all we know is that she was burned to death. Ordinary fire deaths are not the sort of torture you're suggesting - they're relatively quick in most cases(minutes, and not many of them), so 2) in particular doesn't apply strongly.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-04-08T11:45:46.976Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

And frankly, there's no humane way to die, so it'd be criminally stupid to murder a woman "nicely" and then fake torturing her in order to torment her husband.

That doesn't seem to follow. If the faking has the same expectation of success and torture of noncombatants has some degree of negative value then the fakery is superior.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-09T14:57:33.241Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But faking does not have the same expectation of success. There's always a chance that the fake may be discovered, whereas if you do it for real, there is no such chance.

Replies from: thomblake
comment by thomblake · 2012-04-09T17:46:21.706Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's always a chance that the fake may be discovered, whereas if you do it for real, there is no such chance.

Trivially true only if you're not counting the chance of the real death being erroneously discovered to be a fake.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-09T17:57:17.761Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But that can happen if it's actually fake too - getting the right answer from the wrong argument is hardly unprecedented. In any case, the odds of it being believed to be fake(with the consequent effects on Dumbledore's reputation as someone who is willing to go to great lengths to protect the Order's families) go up if it's actually fake.

comment by 75th · 2012-04-10T00:10:57.219Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it's pretty obvious at this point that Amelia Bones is the one directly responsible for Narcissa's death.

Replies from: 75th
comment by 75th · 2012-04-10T04:04:17.128Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Minus two points! Shocking! I guess I should have explained myself:

  • Amelia Bones thinks "Someone would burn for this" as her default revenge scenario.
  • Narcissa Malfoy's sister killed Amelia Bones's brother.
  • Amelia Bones was the one to tell Dumbledore during the Wizengamot session not two chapters ago that he couldn't tell Lucius what he knew about Narcissa's death.

Three solid clues all pointing the same direction. Thus I deem it "obvious".

Replies from: Percent_Carbon, thomblake, ArisKatsaris
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-10T05:07:01.491Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
  • Draco said that Lucius said that Dumbledore said he did it

  • Dumbledore explains why it would have been very useful to kill Narcissa

  • Amelia thinks that Dumbledore did things that were not soft toward the end of the war

Three clues is not enough for obvious.

comment by thomblake · 2012-04-11T16:19:17.048Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Minus two points! Shocking!

Well, Hermione only got minus two points for failing to try to kill Quirrell.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-11T23:42:21.113Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

With a stunner?

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-10T11:43:20.045Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I didn't downvote you, and I also consider it most likely that Amelia Bones killed Narcissa Malfoy.

But I'm not sure these suffice to call it obvious, if obvious means something like >95%. I'd assign it something like a 70-75% likelihood.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-04T09:50:24.304Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Okay, I was wrong. It's not at all likely that Dumbledore had the prophecy and Lily's death in mind when he turned Lily against Snape. He hadn't yet become willing to make that sort of tradeoff when the two of them were in school. And it beggared belief in any case that he could have correctly predicted the effects of his actions on Snape so many years in advance. So, no. Whatever his intentions were back then, if he's responsible for the prophecy, he merely capitalized on the outcome.

Despite that, I think it's now a little more probable that Dumbledore deliberately sacrificed the Potters, hoping to defeat Voldemort with Lily's sacrificial protection.

"After the day I condemned my brother to his death, I began to weigh those who followed me, balancing them one against another, asking who I would risk, and who I would sacrifice, to what end."

It also looks significant that Harry twice enumerated Lily's options as: leave, or stay and cast a curse. Voldemort offered her a third choice.

"Very well," said the voice of death, now sounding coldly amused, "I accept the bargain. Yourself to die, and the child to live. Now drop your wand so that I can murder you."

We know from canon that if she'd accepted, it would have saved her son. But Voldemort told her it wouldn't, and laughed at her for considering it. So she refused his offer and tried to kill him. Does that affect whether the protection is activated? Is it relevant that she had to willingly give her life out of love, when she died casting a curse that's powered by hate? Dumbledore didn't hear about this part. I'd love to know what he'd say.

Replies from: Desrtopa, ArisKatsaris, loup-vaillant, Alsadius
comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-04T13:17:23.053Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I parsed that sequence as Voldemort deliberately manipulating Lily so as to avoid her placing any magical protection on her son. I don't think MoR Voldemort would have been stupid enough to overlook major feats of magic just because they involve something as unpalatable as love.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-04T09:57:58.431Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

We know from canon that if she'd accepted, it would have saved her son.

We can assume that it would have saved her son in canon. The universe of HPMoR doesn't need follow the exact same rules.

Does that affect whether the protection is activated?

You're assuming that such a protection by sacrifice need exist at all in HPMoR.

comment by loup-vaillant · 2012-04-04T22:52:44.620Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Does that affect whether the protection is activated?

Unlikely. The avadra did backfire.

Now, Voldie could have set up a backfiring scene and retired for 11 years on purpose, but then I can't fathom why: he was winning at the time.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-05T05:51:42.270Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The avadra did backfire.

It almost certainly did not.

Beneath the moonlight glints a tiny fragment of silver, a fraction of a line... (black robes, falling) ...blood spills out in liters, and someone screams a word.

AK sheds no blood. Of course, this could have been referring to another incident, but we'be been given no clues for what that incident might be.

The Killing Curse is formed of pure hate, and strikes directly at the soul, severing it from the body.

It leaves no marks, either.

The Killing Curse reflected and rebounded and struck the Dark Lord, leaving only the burnt hulk of his body and a scar on your forehead.

It never burns anything.

(And somewhere in the back of his mind was a small, small note of confusion, a sense of something wrong about that story; and it should have been a part of Harry's art to notice that tiny note, but he was distracted. For it is a sad rule that whenever you are most in need of your art as a rationalist, that is when you are most likely to forget it.)

And Harry should have noticed the discrepancy right away, but he was all weepy and shit. I suppose you or anyone else could have the same excuse. It is, after all, well written.

Replies from: loup-vaillant
comment by loup-vaillant · 2012-04-08T18:57:25.603Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Okay. It almost certainly did not backfire. But I'm still very very confused: what on Earth actually happened? Why on the Universe did it happen? Though I must say, I didn't take 5 minutes to think about it yet.

Replies from: loserthree
comment by loserthree · 2012-04-09T19:37:12.868Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, there is this post from See that makes a suggestion regarding backfirage.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T05:43:13.299Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well we know that the protection exists, because Harry is still alive.

Replies from: ArisKatsaris, bogdanb
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-05T09:14:41.233Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well we know that the protection exists, because Harry is still alive.

We don't even know that Voldemort attempted to kill Harry that day. I've made a prediction at http://predictionbook.com/predictions/3237 against that idea.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-05T09:06:56.587Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well we know that the protection exists, because Harry is still alive.

We don’t know he had to have been protected from something. People in-universe thinks that Voldie cast AK and it rebounded, but in MoR we’re not told of any witnesses other than Harry and Voldie, the body found was burned, and his Dementor-triggered memory ended when Voldie locked eyes with him. It’s not a given that the canon scenario really happened in MoR.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T17:21:11.259Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

True, but assuming even a modicum of forensics(prior incantem, say), it seems likely. What other process explains Voldemort's "death"? He's not stupid enough to try a plot that clever.

Replies from: bogdanb
comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-05T18:34:36.387Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have no very compelling scenario, but just because we have no obvious alternative is not very strong evidence in a universe with many smart characters and complex magic of which we don’t know most of the rules. Also, Eliezer changed lots of things from canon without removing them completely (e.g. the wicked step-parents stuff, the mess with Sirius and Pettigrew), and everyone believing a certain explanation for what happened without any witnesess which turns out to be wrong kinda’ sorta’ feels like his style.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T19:01:51.944Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

True, I'd stick p=0.2, maybe, on the official story being wrong in some important respect. Still, the canonical version is by far the most likely.

Replies from: ArisKatsaris
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-06T09:35:03.811Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The canonical version doesn't work.

  • What's the probability that Avada Kedavra will leave a scar, when it has never left a scar before?
  • What's the probability that Avada Kedavra will burn Voldemort's body, when it usually kills without a trace?
  • Why would Voldemort have given his wand to Bellatrix before going to the Potters (as she mentions in Azkaban)?
  • From a story-external perspective, why does the story keep hinting that this is not what happened (we are told Harry should have felt confused when he first heard the story, and ch.81 says the wisest wizards in the Wizengamot wonder why Godric's Hollow night happened, if it did happen, or why Dumbledore is lying if it didn't)

All those bits and pieces don't make sense if the events went down as in canon.

What other process explains Voldemort's "death"?

That would depend on figuring out what Voldemort wants, and we don't really know much about that. Even Dumbledore is at a loss in figuring out what motivates someone like Voldemort.

If it's just amusement, perhaps he just found being Voldemort to be boring, and sought to start another game.
If he wants to control the world, not just Britain, perhaps he felt he had no chance doing so as an open villain, he had to present himself as a hero instead (like Dumbledore being given the Chief Warlock position after he defeated Grindelwald).

And the above ideas are assuming the night went as Voldemort planned. If he was planning something different than what occurred, but what actually happened was caused by e.g. some magical trap set up by Dumbledore, the possibilities expand.

Replies from: wedrifid, see, Alsadius, gRR
comment by wedrifid · 2012-04-06T10:39:27.497Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
  • What's the probability that Avada Kedavra will leave a scar, when it has never left a scar before?

As far as I know it has left a scar on every single person who has survived it!

comment by see · 2012-04-08T22:23:03.018Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
  • What's the probability that Avada Kedavra will leave a scar, when it has never left a scar before?
  • What's the probability that Avada Kedavra will burn Voldemort's body, when it usually kills without a trace?

In canon, of course, we know that a Killing Curse hitting an inanimate object rater than its target results in a release of kinetic energy. In which case, both the scar and the burning are, in fact, reasonably probable results, given the prior that Harry couldn't be killed by the curse. The curse hit Harry, couldn't kill him any more than it could kill an inanimate object, and was converted into kinetic energy just like if it hit an inanimate object. The scar is the result of part of the kinetic energy being transferred to Harry through a not-perfect-but-adequate-to-save-his-life protection, while the rest bounced and hit Voldemort (and the cottage) with a lot of kinetic energy, causing blast and burn.

As HPMOR has (I believe) no examples the Killing Curse hitting inanimate objects, and we do not have enough data on magic theory that would allow us to construct an independent theory as to what a Killing Curse should do if it rebounded, how could we possibly construct a prior that would make the scar and blast improbable in HPMOR?

Your other points work, of course.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-09T02:03:57.672Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is the first actually plausible-sounding explanation for this I've ever heard.

Replies from: see
comment by see · 2012-04-09T03:26:08.122Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's got a definite defect, in that the levels of kinetic energy shown in Order of the Phoenix were substantially lower than the "blow up the cottage" level.

But hitting an inanimate object versus a life-sacrifice-love-warded subject, and not being able to precisely measure how much power/concentration Voldemort put into different castings makes it, well, at least good enough for a Dumbledore explanation to the curious in a culture without the scientific method.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-06T18:53:50.189Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
  • Why would Voldemort have given his wand to Bellatrix before going to the Potters (as she mentions in Azkaban)?

She mentions that she has his wand, not that he gave it to her. Perhaps she stole it after he died?

And you're right, the possibilities of traps are fairly open - though of course, the canon version could be considered a trap, if one laid unconsciously.

comment by gRR · 2012-04-06T23:21:59.582Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In Chapter 26 ("Noticing Confusion"), Quirrell reacted rather violently on hearing about a prophecy in the Daily Prophet:

"He didn't have any choice," said Harry. "Not if he wanted to fulfill the conditions of the prophecy."
"Give me that," said Professor Quirrell, and the newspaper leaped out of Harry's hand so fast that he got a paper cut.

This is evidence for the canonical version, I think.

comment by Nominull · 2012-04-04T06:00:33.892Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So one thing to notice in this chapter is the parallel between Dumbledore's situation during the War and Harry's situation in court. In particular, the price of a life was one hundred thousand Galleons in each case. That the price should be the same makes the story more dramatic and the moral lesson more clearcut, but neither of those are a reason for something to actually be true in HPMOR, are they?

It could easily be a coincidence. One hundred thousand Galleons is a nice big round number, and so two big-number-pickers might both pick it for that reason, the same way people write songs about what they would do if they had a million dollars and not $1,349,921. I'm not discounting that as an explanation, but I will note that Lucius Malfoy was a high-ranking Death Eater and probably knew about the Aberforth ransom. And given that he had recently been talking about the death of his wife, it should have been salient. And he did suddenly take a cold smile on his face as he demanded compensation of one hundred thousand Galleons. And he certainly expected it not to be paid.

If we assume he assumes Harry is Voldemort, which seems like a good assumption given his recent behavior, he would think Voldemort would see the symbolism in the price. And then... what? Is he taunting Voldemort? I mean sure he's angry, but taunting Voldemort doesn't seem wise. But it doesn't even make sense as a taunt unless he expects Voldemort to accept, which he doesn't. Does he see it as the winning move? Voldemort now has to back down or admit he was wrong about the value of family? That would explain why he got so pissed-off, I guess, it sucks when your opponent starts cheating. Was it another dig at Dumbledore? Gotta constantly troll Dumbledore as vengeance for your wife's death.

Another possibility, which seems a little implausible but I'll mention it, is that the scene was faked by Dumbledore. Either things didn't happen quite as he said they did, or things basically happened that way but Dumbledore touched up the evidence to appeal to his sense of narrative drama by getting the numbers right.

Replies from: Jherek, Nornagest, FiftyTwo
comment by Jherek · 2012-04-04T21:13:52.988Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Was it another dig at Dumbledore?

It wasn't just a dig, it was a stab. My rereading of the passage leads me to think that Lucius gave that number expressly because of Dumbledore. Remember, Lucius knows that Dumbledore doesn't bargain - and that he gave up on his brother, rather than pay a hundred thousand. Lucius wanted his offer to be rejected, and he was counting on Dumbledore to reject his offer. That explains Lucius's cold smile when he made his offer. And also his confusion, and reassessment, when Harry strong arms Dumbledore into giving assent ... "You pretend you can destroy Azkaban, and Dumbledore pretends to believe it."

It also explains Dumbledore's extremely heavy handed reaction to Harry's decision. The hundred thousand triggered his memory of Aberforth, and to see Harry then choose differently, invalidates Dumbledore's beliefs at some level. Always a painful thing.

comment by Nornagest · 2012-04-04T06:18:59.020Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If we assume he assumes Harry is Voldemort, which seems like a good assumption given his recent behavior, he would think Voldemort would see the symbolism in the price. And then... what? Is he taunting Voldemort? I mean sure he's angry, but taunting Voldemort doesn't seem wise.

First possibility that comes to mind is that it was a nicely salient price point that Lucius could be sure Voldemort wouldn't be willing to pay to get back a valued ally. After all, Voldemort implicitly said as much before, if Dumbledore's testimony about his reaction during the last war is to be trusted.

Lucius probably doesn't want to taunt Voldemort, but he does want to win, and by persisting when Harry made it clear where his interests lie, Lucius has already implicitly opposed himself to Voldemort in the current conflict. I can't think of any other price point that'd work better, either, now that the precedent's been set -- a little lower sends a message that Voldemort is less serious in his intentions than Dumbledore, a lot lower risks being paid in full, and higher makes Lucius look desperate.

Depending on how well known the ransom story is, he might also have been trying to score points off the other people in the room by drawing an implicit parallel to those events. Of course, by doing so and getting a different outcome, he's lost some of the moral high ground; I'm not sure how much, though, given how cold Harry was being and given the little stunt with Umbridge and the Dementor. Lucius is also probably updating his estimate for the Harrymort interpretation downward now (previously he had a hypothesis that matched all his data; now he has new data both for and against and should be very confused), but I'm not prepared to say what the consequences of that might be.

comment by FiftyTwo · 2012-04-04T15:44:58.093Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Remember what Eleizer said in the authors notes about simple vs. complex explanations? I'd default to the 'big round number' hypothesis.

Replies from: Brickman, Desrtopa, Alsadius
comment by Brickman · 2012-04-06T02:43:44.600Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think that "Lucius chose the exact same number as a stab against Dumbledore" is a very complex hypothesis. We already know that he knows part of the story and can reasonably assume he knows the whole story about Aberforth. So of course if the situation already demands that he hold someone on Dumbledore's side (sort of) for ransom for some obscene amount of money, on the assumption that it won't be paid, how could he resist rubbing that bit of salt in his nemesis's wounds?

It's not part of some bigger plan. It's not some fancy maneuver. It's just an emotional attack of opportunity aimed at Dumbledore, probably just for pride's sake.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-04T15:47:41.346Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Even if he was influenced by Aberforth's ransom, it might just have been to the extent that the amount Aberforth was ransomed for was the first to pop into his head.

Replies from: gjm
comment by gjm · 2012-04-04T18:11:48.382Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

the amount Aberforth was ransomed for

Wasn't ransomed for.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T05:38:03.188Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

And a whiff of the law of narrative causality.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-04-04T06:28:06.938Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry, why are you going to classes? Why is he not talking to Lucius, to Draco, to Dumbledore, or Quirrel? Hell, even Cornelius Fudge could probably use a chat right now.

I feel Quirrel's frustration, and it burns.

(Dumbledore, apparently, does not realize yet that Harry was involved in Azkaban, or realized it all along and does see a reason to act on that knowledge. That seems hard to believe given that he forgot Harry's parents were dead.)

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-04T06:35:02.111Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Forgot Harry's parents were dead? What in the world?

Replies from: moridinamael, Vaniver
comment by moridinamael · 2012-04-04T14:50:45.711Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I read it more as forgetting that he had sacrificed Harry's own parents so he had no right to lecture Harry about the costs of sacrifice. Harry has lived with those costs his whole life.

If true, it makes me curious how Sirius was involved in the betrayal, if at all.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-04-04T08:13:13.159Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"I - I'm sorry, Harry - I -" The old wizard pressed his hands to his face, and Harry saw that Albus Dumbledore was weeping. "I should not have said, such things to you - I should not, have resented, your innocence -"

Replies from: pedanterrific, NancyLebovitz
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-04T09:14:28.852Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What do Harry's dead parents have to do with his inability to sacrifice the lives of his friends?

Replies from: Vaniver
comment by Vaniver · 2012-04-04T16:53:52.067Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Whose inability to sacrifice the lives of his friends? I fear we may have gotten into pronoun confusion a while back.

I presented two possibilities: either Dumbledore knows about Azkaban but doesn't see fit to discuss it yet, or Dumbledore doesn't know. The quoted section in the grandparent struck me as evidence against the first view.

(To answer your question, though, and assuming that "his" means "Harry's", if Lilly died because she was unwilling to go on living after having sacrificed her son, it is unsurprising that that aversion to guilt might be hereditary and pass down to Harry.)

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-04T17:22:53.345Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't know how much clearer I can make it: what makes you think that Dumbledore forgot Harry's parents were dead?

Replies from: Vaniver
comment by Vaniver · 2012-04-04T17:43:11.306Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore is an old man who has learned to be cold through years of pain. Alastor Moody is an old man who has learned to be paranoid through years of conflict.

Harry Potter is a young boy whose "unique genius," as Dumbledore put it, is in creativity that is willing to consider evil. Dumbledore's hope was that Harry would behave as Dumbledore and Moody do, without having needing to live through their pain and conflict, simply because he could imagine what would happen if he were soft when he needed to be hard. And so when Harry behaves as Dumbledore and Moody wouldn't, Dumbledore's reaction is "if you had lived through the pain and conflict we have, you would behave like we do." The implication is that Harry has not lived through enough pain.

D's reaction to H's "my parents are dead" speech, specifically the phrase about H's innocence, matches what I would expect if D looked at the 11 year old boy in front of him and saw an 11 year old boy, not someone who had spent long nights contemplating that he was an orphan. When H reveals how much hurt he carries, D realizes that his approach was mistaken, and apologizes.

An alternative interpretation is that D's surprise and apology were because he didn't know H had the memory of H's parents' death, and thought that because of H's adoptive parents he didn't consider himself an orphan / didn't have much hurt there. That is, D remembered that H's parents were dead, but didn't realize how important that fact was. It's a possible interpretation but I prefer the first.

[edit] It is unclear to me, though, why D doesn't use the Pensieve to teach Harry about Voldemort, Riddle, or his parents. If the boy lacks in experience, and you have a magical experience transference device, the solution should be obvious.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-04T18:02:28.218Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I read that reaction as being primarily to "Only now I understand, I know what Mother must have felt. She couldn't step aside from the crib. She couldn't! Love doesn't walk away!" After all, Dumbledore's on record as saying

Rather it is evil which does not know love, and dares not imagine love, and cannot ever understand love without ceasing to be evil. And I suspect that you can imagine your way into the minds of Dark Wizards better than I ever could, while still knowing love yourself.

Replies from: Vaniver
comment by Vaniver · 2012-04-04T18:25:12.911Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps. I didn't take D to be that infirm of purpose. D already knew that H sided with the Phoenix over wisdom, like the younger D that lost too many friends by softness, and so has been trying to guide H to wisdom. That may have been a "why would I seek to replace H's morality when he's driven by love," but D knows why. It looked more to me like a "how can I seek to replace H's morality when he's driven by love"- clearly, this path will not work. But D still knows what must be done, and why it must be done, even if H is not yet willing to admit it.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-04T19:15:12.373Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Less "clearly this path won't work", more "I chose this path for bad reasons" - Dumbledore let it get to him, he was genuinely angry that an eleven year old was unwilling to sacrifice the life of his friend. Sort of "if I can't be idealistic, neither can anyone else."

Replies from: Vaniver
comment by Vaniver · 2012-04-04T19:26:39.486Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Certainly possible. But H hasn't presented any reason to be idealistic beyond, well, ideals. And so either D is hard, and is trying to figure out a way to get through to H, or D is soft, and has not learned his lesson well enough to teach it to H.

I am genuinely disappointed with how H botched this whole affair, and would turn that disappointment to anger if I thought it would change H's behavior for the better.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-04T19:44:29.048Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I view Dumbledore as having a hard shell around soft gooey insides. Lemon drop anyone?

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-04-04T13:34:03.258Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was going to ask whether Harry could know that Dumbledore had never deliberately hurt him, but here's the answer.

comment by gwern · 2012-04-11T03:43:19.618Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Did anyone notice the bit about the Philosopher's Stone? I had initially assumed that the PS was following canon, and the reason that the PS remained intact in Hogwarts was that Voldemort made no attempt on it and bypassing the incredibly elaborate protectings (per book 1) prompting its destruction by Dumbledore & Flamel.

But now we have Harry suggesting it be moved, Dumbledore agreeing and it not being moved because Flamel wants it at Hogwarts. Well, in book 1 when they discovered it could not be kept safe at safest place #2 (Gringotts) they moved it to safest place #1 (Hogwarts) and when safest place #1 failed, they just destroyed it. Dumbledore breathes no word of destroying it, despite both him and Flamel consenting to it in canon.

And notice, if you check MoR carefully, at no point is Harry aware that the guarded object is the Stone; nor has Flamel been mentioned anywhere near Harry as creator of the Stone - Flamel has only come up in conversations with Dumbledore/McGonagall/Snape/Quirrel. (Although the topic is one would expect to be of keen interest to Harry: the Stone, recall, grants immortality or at least anti-aging.)

Conclusion: Eliezer has diverged from canon and carefully kept Harry ignorant because the Stone is going to play a role in future plot events. Given its properties, probably a large role - it's now a massive Chekhov's gem.

EDIT: See especially http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=722rasd1fu9p8mn5fdcbp572&page=89#2214

Replies from: Alsadius, thomblake, Percent_Carbon
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-12T22:23:02.110Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ever since I read the Potter books, I knew that the Philosopher's Stone stood a very high chance of being MoR!Harry's weapon of choice.

(Yes, I read the actual Potter books for the first time after reading the first few dozen chapters of MoR.)

comment by thomblake · 2012-04-11T15:35:26.614Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Slightly less Chekhovy though, since the removal of the reference from Chapter 4.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-11T16:19:11.350Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I must have read it after it was removed because I don't remember it there.

Replies from: thomblake
comment by thomblake · 2012-04-11T16:26:37.680Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

When Harry asked Griphook what he could do with a ton of silver, Griphook originally looked at him suspiciously and asked if he had EDIT: expected to soon /EDIT come into possession of a philosopher's stone. It seemed pretty awkward really - I'm glad it's gone.

Replies from: gwern, chaosmosis
comment by gwern · 2012-04-11T16:33:34.585Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, that is awkward. In alchemic lore, there are projections and steps in the process that would let you turn base metals into silver, but this is extremely obscure stuff and so Griphook jumping from 'ton of silver' to 'possession of a Philosopher's Stone' looks simply like an error on the author's part since 99.9% of everyone reading it only knows of the Stone turning base metals into gold and not silver.

Replies from: fubarobfusco
comment by fubarobfusco · 2012-04-12T06:55:49.000Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The expression is "the medicine of metals", I think — the use of the Stone of the Wise to heal metals of the infirmity which causes them to be less noble than gold.

comment by chaosmosis · 2012-04-13T15:50:58.868Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, but almost. Griphook said "are you expecting to find a Philosopher's Stone soon"? He was probing Harry to see if Harry knew that the Stone was at Hogwarts, and then McGonagall scolded him for giving away a hint. I liked it. And Harry totally missed the hint, which is reasonable but I was kind of bummed because I want him to be a superhero.

Replies from: Random832
comment by Random832 · 2012-04-13T15:52:55.547Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The problem is, hearing this would almost certainly cause Harry to research what a Philosopher's Stone is, and given his stance on immortality vs death, would almost certainly do everything he can to try to get one (unless there turn out to be insurmountable obstacles to using it to mass-produce elixir of life for general distribution).

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-13T16:11:34.545Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

unless there turn out to be insurmountable obstacles

There's an active prediction on PB.com that making Stones requires human sacrifice etc.

Replies from: Random832
comment by Random832 · 2012-04-13T16:18:12.697Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Only an issue if making the elixir consumes the stone (which is more what I was getting at) - one already exists, so it's a sunk cost.

It could also be an obstacle to mass production if the rate at which it can be produced with the existing supply of stones is insufficient to make enough volume for mass distribution.

Replies from: LauralH
comment by LauralH · 2012-04-14T03:24:45.572Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The best "theory" I read was that only the person who makes the Stone can drink the Elixir, which would explain why only Mr and Mrs Flamel have benefited from it.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-11T04:56:13.883Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Quirrell to Snape, I think, not Harry.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-11T13:34:32.163Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Whups. Yes. So that makes Harry entirely ignorant of Flamel and also the stone.

comment by NihilCredo · 2012-04-04T19:33:05.396Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If Dumbledore believes that Harry's action told Voldemort that blackmailing will be effective again, shouldn't he now proceed to move Harry's parents to safety at Hogwarts, as Harry suggested when the issue was raised after Azkaban?

Replies from: Raemon
comment by Raemon · 2012-04-04T20:25:07.667Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

He may very well do that, but also remember that people ARE still up against Dumbledore, who DOES have his reputation intact.

Replies from: NihilCredo
comment by NihilCredo · 2012-04-04T20:29:17.052Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Unfortunately, Harry has just shown that he is both able and willing to overcome Dumbledore's refusal to offer concessions.

Replies from: GeeJo
comment by GeeJo · 2012-04-05T00:47:05.785Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the other hand, he doesn't currently have much in the way to offer potential kidnappers.

...unless a family member of someone locked up in Azkaban takes him at his word that he's capable of destroying the place. I'm not sure Harry would pause even as long as he did for Hermione if that was the price demanded for the safe return of his adoptive parents. The narrative demands of the story make that unlikely, though.

comment by CronoDAS · 2012-04-04T03:03:06.567Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Honestly, Harry is placing far too little weight on the hypothesis that Hermione actually did do exactly what she confessed to under Veritaserum.

Story-logic would indicate that she is indeed innocent, and we as readers have evidence that someone has indeed been messing with her mind, but Harry doesn't know what we as readers know. And, to be honest, in a similar situation in the real world, I'd also conclude that the 11 year old probably did indeed do exactly what she is accused of doing.

Replies from: ArisKatsaris, maia, Brickman, ChrisHallquist
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-04T03:16:44.132Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Story-logic would indicate that she is indeed innocent, and we as readers have evidence that someone has indeed been messing with her mind, but Harry doesn't know what we as readers know.

Harry's had 7 months to know that Hermione isn't a sociopath or a psychopath, that she's a very kind and moral and ethical person instead.

What's the prior probability he should therefore assign to this person, out of all of Hogwarts, to be the one to commit a cold-blooded murder on another 11-year-old kid? I think he's giving the hypothesis of her actual guilt pretty much all the weight that it deserves - effectively zero.

Replies from: Eugine_Nier, Eliezer_Yudkowsky, Eugine_Nier, CronoDAS, Vaniver, CronoDAS
comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-04-04T05:38:51.111Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Outside view: when someone in a similar situations does do something horrible, all of his friends and family insist that they "have no idea how he could have done something like this".

Replies from: bogdanb, Grognor
comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-04T06:22:08.363Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wonder how much of that is a “don’t speak bad of the dead” reflex, or “nobody could have seen it, so it’s not my fault I didn’t”, or even just “I’m such a good & loving friend/relative I didn’t see anything wrong with him”.

I’m sure there are cases that really came out of the blue, but I also have a nagging feeling that if you could interview the same people before the something horrible, and do it from an insider point of view (i.e., a question asked by another friend of the interviewee rather than by a reporter), a lot of answers would be of the “he’s kind of a weirdo” type.

Replies from: DanArmak, NancyLebovitz
comment by DanArmak · 2012-04-04T15:52:35.233Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Now update on the amount of people who call somebody "a weirdo" who does not end up murdering anyone. And add the negative halo effect, and fundamental attribution fallacy, from knowing in hindsight that the person you're talking about has recently murdered someone.

Replies from: bogdanb
comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-04T23:33:10.121Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As I said, I don’t really have any real evidence, and I believe it’d be very hard to collect. That said:

Now update on the amount of people who call somebody "a weirdo" who does not end up murdering anyone.

I’m not quite sure I understand what you mean by this. Let H=(did something horrible), S=(really suspicious), W=(just a bit creepy, weird, etc.).

I suspect that (H & S) > (H & W & !S) > (H & !W & !S) and that 1 > H/S >> H/(W & !S) >> H/(!W & !S). All fractions are low, but I’m not sure what you mean to say by that.

And add the negative halo effect, and fundamental attribution fallacy, from knowing in hindsight that the person you're talking about has recently murdered someone.

I’m pretty sure such effects are not linearly additive. Especially when there’s a conflict (friend/non-hated-family, did something bad), I don’t think you can determine the result just by logic, you have to see what people actually do.

Notice how media narratives tend to become either “I always knew he was up to no good” or “I’d never have thought he would do something like that”, but you almost never hear something in the middle. I’m even having trouble finding a concise wording for a middle case other than “meh”.

I’m sure the media has a lot to do with that, showing just the witnesses with the most “interesting” story, but I’m almost sure people also do this more-or-less automatically in their heads.

Replies from: DanArmak
comment by DanArmak · 2012-04-05T09:17:44.814Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I’m not quite sure I understand what you mean by this.

You said,

if you could interview the same people before the something horrible [...] a lot of answers would be of the “he’s kind of a weirdo” type.

What I meant was: you should also consider the amount of cases where people said the same "he's kind of a weirdo", but that person did not go on to do something horrible. And also the amount of cases where people did not say it, and yet the person did something horrible. All three are necessary to calculating the strength of the evidence "people say he's kind of a weirdo" in favor of the hypothesis "he will do something horrible".

There's a common fallacy, which you may not have committed, but which your comment as written seemed to me to evoke. Logically it's equivalent to base rate neglect. In conversation, it's often triggered like this: a nontrivial value for P(A|B) is given, but the probability P(A|~B) is not mentioned. The listener doesn't have a good estimation of P(A) or P(B), and he doesn't think to ask; instead the high value of P(A|B) makes him think B is a good predictor of A, which is a fallacy. (Here, A=be called a weirdo, B=commit horrible deed.)

I’m pretty sure such effects are not linearly additive.

I'm not saying they're linear or otherwise well-behaved, but I'm pretty sure they are all generally additive in the sense that in any given combination, if you increase any of the factors, the total also increases.

Notice how media narratives tend to become either “I always knew he was up to no good” or “I’d never have thought he would do something like that”, but you almost never hear something in the middle. I’m even having trouble finding a concise wording for a middle case other than “meh”.

It may also be that "I'd never have thought he'd do that" is the middle, the default way in which people think of anyone they have no reason to specially suspect. After all, I don't expect a random stranger on the street to suddenly commit a horrible deed; why should I expect it more of an acquaintance unless there are concrete warning signs, which would make me say "I always knew he was up to no good".

The true opposite of "I always knew..." would on this view be like Harry's reaction to Hermione confessing attempted murder: "I don't believe she did it, it's a priori so improbable there must be another explanation or very special circumstances". However, when the media has concluded someone has committed a horrible deed and is morally culpable, of course you won't hear many people saying this to the media, even if they think so privately.

Replies from: bogdanb
comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-05T19:15:49.048Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

you should also consider the amount of cases where people said the same "he's kind of a weirdo", but that person did not go on to do something horrible. And also the amount of cases where people did not say it, and yet the person did something horrible. All three are necessary to calculating the strength of the evidence "people say he's kind of a weirdo" in favor of the hypothesis "he will do something horrible"

Well, yeah, I agree, but I wasn’t trying to do that. At least I don’t think I was, and if it’s an implied assumption in what I said I don’t see it.

My original comment just said that I suspect many of the “I had no suspicion” after-crime statements are false (consciously or not), and was based mostly on how I suspect people’s brains might react, not on the rates of horrible acts.

My second comment I think said the same thing your quote above does, except adding that I also suspect a certain ordering of rates. But as I said in my first comment, I don’t have the actual rates and I believe they’re hard to obtain, so it’s just a suspicion.

After all, I don't expect a random stranger on the street to suddenly commit a horrible deed; why should I expect it more of an acquaintance unless there are concrete warning signs, which would make me say "I always knew he was up to no good".

The true opposite of "I always knew..." would on this view be like Harry's reaction to Hermione confessing attempted murder: "I don't believe she did it, it's a priori so improbable there must be another explanation or very special circumstances".

That’s true. I guess there are just very few people with this kind of reasoning (à la the Wizengamot); once they heard it happened, most probably take it for granted it was so, and they have only the “knew it all the time”/“didn’t see it coming” alternatives.

After all, I don't expect a random stranger on the street to suddenly commit a horrible deed; why should I expect it more of an acquaintance unless there are concrete warning signs, which would make me say "I always knew he was up to no good".

For a random stranger you have only the base rate to go on, you’ve got no other evidence. (Though for specific strangers you might have stuff like “he looks like a mobster” or “I’m in a dangerous neighborhood”, or maybe “he’s black and wears a hoodie”, which are a bit different as signs go.)

My claim is not quite that “weird people murder more often”. Instead, I suspect that “of the people who murder, a big majority were not stable/calm enough before and did give signs before”, and many if not most of the cases of people claiming there were no signs are because they just forget or ignore those signs.

(The two sentences are different if it so happens that there are very few people that give no signs, enough so that the fraction of them who do horrible things is less than the fraction of those who did give signs. Which I believe unlikely but not quite impossible.)

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-04-04T13:23:54.253Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In some cases, people who commit major violence have a history of minor violence.

However, another possibility is that even people who commit major violence have people they like and/or want to please, and behave better in some contexts than in others.

comment by Grognor · 2012-04-04T14:38:02.015Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This could easily be face-saving. You can't well publicly say, "You know, I thought he might have been a dangerous criminal, but I didn't bother trying to prevent any crimes."

And you're ignoring the many more cases where people expected a person to be a murderer and he wasn't.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-04-04T06:19:48.393Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

See also: Amanda Knox.

Replies from: Luke_A_Somers, khafra, Alsadius
comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2012-04-05T06:02:04.754Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Who, it may be noted, was eventually found innocent.

comment by khafra · 2012-04-04T12:32:02.795Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was pretty sure that "prior probability of a normal girl just hauling off and murdering someone in cold blood" was a Knox allusion. I wonder if Ms. Knox herself has read it.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T05:06:48.334Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, this set of chapters started making a lot more sense when I realized it was a gigantic Amanda Knox allegory.

Replies from: Eliezer_Yudkowsky
comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-04-05T05:50:03.772Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, sure, but it's also an allegory for everyone sent to prison for using marijuana by politicians who somehow manage to care more about other things than about smashing the life of some nice person who never hurt anyone; and an allegory for the public response to 9/11/2001. Et cetera. If story events only allegorized one insanity at a time, the story would have to be three times as long to make the same set of points.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T06:21:07.690Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Which public response to 9/11 would that be? I'd wager you're not referring to the "outpouring of grief, sympathy, and CNN ratings" thing here.

And I disagree, it's not much of a marijuana allegory. Marijuana users aren't even accused of harming people.

Replies from: ArisKatsaris, Xachariah
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-05T06:33:02.203Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Which public response to 9/11 would that be?

Something like the following?

Harry had read the Daily Prophet that morning. The headline had been "MAD MUGGLEBORN TRIES TO END ANCIENT LINE" and the rest of the paper had been the same. When Harry was nine years old the IRA had blown up a British barracks, and he'd watched on TV as all the politicians contested to see who could be the most loudly outraged. And the thought had occurred to Harry - even then, before he'd known much about psychology - that it looked like everyone was competing to see who could be most angry, and nobody would've been allowed to suggest that anyone was being too angry, even if they'd just proposed the saturation nuclear bombing of Ireland. He'd been struck, even then, by an essential emptiness in the indignation of politicians - though he hadn't had the words to describe it, at that age - a sense that they were trying to score cheap points by hitting at the same safe target as everyone else.

As for the following:

And I disagree, it's not much of a marijuana allegory. Marijuana users aren't even accused of harming people.

It's not an Amanda Knox allegory either, then, as the person that Knox was accused of killing wasn't the last scion of an aristocratic house.

I think you're perhaps misusing the word "allegory" to mean "applicability", the thing that Tolkien also complained about in regards to people reading things into his work... Allegory pretty much demands pretty much everything to be a 1-to-1 mapping to something else, like the events and characters of Orwell's "Animal Farm". Applicability just means that you can apply the lessons of the story to real world events...

Replies from: NancyLebovitz, Alsadius
comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-04-06T02:52:58.980Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Was that an accurate description of the British reaction?

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T07:28:58.685Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

9/11: Honestly, the response to 9/11 was astoundingly restrained, all things considered. I didn't get that vibe from it at all. The war was fought in surprisingly subtle fashion, and most of the commentary was about things like "Let's not blame Islam for this".

Marijuana: I meant that line to be somewhat snarky ;)

Replies from: ArisKatsaris
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-05T07:51:55.154Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

9/11: Honestly, the response to 9/11 was astoundingly restrained, all things considered.

The response was two major wars that lasted a decade, and atleast one of them against a country completely unconnected to the 9/11 attacks.

If that was restrained, then so was the Noble Houses' response to the attempted attack by a mudblood against House Malfoy. After all they could have been launching counterattacks against anyone who ever befriended Hermione, or against Hermione's family.

Indeed at least Malfoy thought Hermione involved. The people who excused the Iraq war by referring to 9/11 don't even have as much an excuse.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T08:52:40.480Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Iraq was hardly a "response to 9/11". It'd been a festering sore of American foreign policy for over a decade, and(idiotic public perception aside) it wasn't sold as a response to 9/11.

Replies from: Randaly, ArisKatsaris
comment by Randaly · 2012-04-07T10:53:59.936Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's untrue. I quote from the Iraq Resolution, the document passed by Congress declaring war:

Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;

Whereas Iraq's demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi regime will either employ those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United States or its Armed Forces or provide them to international terrorists who would do so, and the extreme magnitude of harm that would result to the United States and its citizens from such an attack, combine to justify action by the United States to defend itself;

Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist organizations;

Whereas the United States is determined to prosecute the war on terrorism and Iraq's ongoing support for international terrorist groups combined with its development of weapons of mass destruction in direct violation of its obligations under the 1991 cease-fire and other United Nations Security Council resolutions make clear that it is in the national security interests of the United States and in furtherance of the war on terrorism that all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions be enforced, including through the use of force if necessary;

Whereas Congress has taken steps to pursue vigorously the war on terrorism through the provision of authorities and funding requested by the President to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;

Whereas the President and Congress are determined to continue to take all appropriate actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;

Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to take action in order to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States, as Congress recognized in the joint resolution on Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40); and

I estimate that around half of the clauses in the preamble, which were official justifications given by the US for the war, deal with international terrorism, of which around a half mention al-Qaeda or 9/11.

Also, more broadly, do you really think we would have invaded Iraq without the hyper-jinoistic atmosphere caused by 9/11? (Remember, Bush campaigned in 1999 as an isolationist, who wanted to end Clintonian nationbuilding.)

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-05T09:09:49.332Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Iraq was hardly a "response to 9/11". It'd been a festering sore of American foreign policy for over a decade

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War_and_U.S._Global_War_on_Terror

"At the outset of the war, the U.S. Congress and public opinion supported the notion that the Iraq War was part of the global war on terror. The 2002 Congressional resolution authorising military force against Iraq cited the U.S. determination to "prosecute the war on terrorism", and in April 2003, one month after the invasion, a poll found that 77% of Americans agreed that the Iraq War was part of the War on Terror"

So, yeah, the war on Iraq was very much a response to 9/11, in the sense of being sold as being part of the same "global war on terror" that was supposedly launched in response to 9/11.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-04-06T06:05:36.395Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The 9/11 reference makes more sense if you've read "when none dare urge restraint." It's about how people constantly said we should be stronger against terror (punish hermione) and nobody suggested that we just rebuild and not go to war.

The marajuana is a reference to Amanda Knox. She was convicted based on the theory that she killed her roommate in a fit of REEFER MADNESS. Less Wrong, armed with some logic and the sword of Bayes, made a write up called Amanda Knox, how an hour on the internet beats a year in the courtroom, and figured out the likelyhood for her guilt. We had a you be the jury and later a post mortem, and mostly considered her innocent when the court (and world) said she was guilty.

They're both strong inspirations for the recent arc.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-04-04T06:35:29.131Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, then condition on the fact that Querril caught her and she has memories of doing it.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-04T06:44:12.840Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Quirrell didn't say he caught her. He did not claim to observe Hermione at or departing the duel. Time-travelling Dumbledore did not claim to have observed Hermione at or departing the duel.

We are meant to learn from Rita's Folly that memories are not worth trust.

Just what condition is your condition in?

comment by CronoDAS · 2012-04-04T03:26:12.453Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What's the prior one would assign to this person, out of all of Hogwarts, to be the one to commit a cold-blooded murder on another 11-year-old kid?

Pretty small - but not that much smaller than any other random 11 year old trying to kill someone. And in a place like Hogwarts, you've got a whole lot of 11-year-olds running around with what can be used as lethal weapons.

Replies from: ArisKatsaris
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-04T03:34:10.364Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Pretty small - but not that much smaller than any other random 11 year old trying to kill someone

I'm sure that Harry's suspicions won't be primarily focused on other 11-year olds either. Snape/Quirrel/Voldemort's ghost would be his prime suspects. If and after he's eliminated them, he'll probably move to other professors, and then to upper-classmen students.

If he's in the end reduced to investigating 11-year old suspects, he'd probably still be first considering people like Zabini, or Crabbe, or Padma first. And now that i think of it, Susan Bones too, since who knows whether her double-witch powers are in reality a hint of some dark power possessing her or whatever.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-04-04T06:18:10.667Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think he's giving the hypothesis of her actual guilt pretty much all the weight that it deserves - effectively zero.

0 is not a sensible probability.

Replies from: David_Gerard
comment by David_Gerard · 2012-04-04T07:55:36.799Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"effectively zero", meaning "so small as to be utterly negligible", is however.

Confusing the difference between utterly negligible non-zero probability and small non-zero probability that's enough to pay attention to is an annoying but common fallacy. There should be a name for it already, does anyone know what it is?

Replies from: Vaniver
comment by Vaniver · 2012-04-04T08:18:02.204Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm having a hard time thinking of evidence that would be stronger than the evidence against Hermione. Even if Harry saw her hex Malfoy with his own eyes, I wouldn't put it past him to suspect he was memory charmed. It doesn't seem like Harry is seriously considering the possibility that Hermione is actually guilty. Can you think of evidence that would cause him to raise the probability, not even to 50%, but to 5%?

And why does Harry believe in the innocence of Hermione? Take the outside view. It is the first crush of a child. Natural selection did not spit out such a thing as pure innocents.

Replies from: Alex_Altair, NancyLebovitz, faul_sname
comment by Alex_Altair · 2012-04-04T13:41:01.670Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There could be multiple witnesses, Harry could have seen it himself, there could be indications of premeditated anger at Malfoy (older than what the court legilimens found), or some reason why she would be extra angry at him.

Replies from: Vaniver
comment by Vaniver · 2012-04-04T17:16:58.436Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Okay.

Hermione knocks on the door of the Headmaster's office, while Harry and Dumbledore are having a chat. "I thought you'd like to know," she says, "I'm going to kill Draco Malfoy." She then turns around and leaves. Harry laughs nervously, but Dumbledore looks worried. "We probably ought to follow her."

They arrive at the trophy room just in time to see Hermione stun Malfoy and cast the blood-cooling charm on him. She turns around and sees Harry, and smiles. "Well, now you're safe, Harry."

The subsequent investigation reveals that, as a protest against Binn's teaching, she'd been submitting plans of ways to kill Malfoy as her homework for months now, and then stopped a week ago, with the last one involving the blood-cooling charm.

What's Harry's probability that Hermione was the hand behind the dagger? (Or, to put it another way, is there enough evidence out there that's stronger evidence for "Hermione did it of her own free will" than "Hermione was the pawn in someone else's game" that could put Harry up to even 5% probaiblity that Hermione did it herself?)

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-04-06T02:49:31.708Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If I remember correctly, one of the reasons Harry has a crush on her is that he's impressed by her moral good sense.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-06T05:34:50.587Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What crush? Can you link a passage that shows that EY means us to understand that Harry has a crush on anyone other than his Time Tuner and Quirrell?

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-06T06:02:56.022Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What in the world are all these downvotes for?

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-06T07:12:46.127Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Rabid defenders of the H.M.S. Harmony, I'd guess. Some of them thought Harry and Hermione were married in 81 in a creepy D/s ceremony.

EY has attracted them because there's a ship tease or toy ship or whatever. And because maybe he's a bit of a Harmonizer himself, as he had said he couldn't get into the later books.

The downvotes are leaking away, though. So that's something.

comment by faul_sname · 2012-04-06T22:28:08.313Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

To be fair, there isn't much difference between the amount of evidence needed for 5% confidence and 50% confidence.

comment by CronoDAS · 2012-04-04T03:18:25.580Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry's had 7 months to know that Hermione isn't a sociopath or a psychopath, that she's a very kind and moral person instead.

All the more reason to wonder what she's capable of.

Replies from: maia, ArisKatsaris
comment by maia · 2012-04-04T04:09:05.965Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You're using TVTropes here to generalize from fictional evidence. Normally you can apply this effectively to other works of fiction, but I think Methods is written largely with the aim of avoiding conventional 'story-logic' in favor of logic that could actually work in the real world.

Replies from: DanArmak, CronoDAS
comment by DanArmak · 2012-04-04T16:01:09.175Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm sorry? Dog-latin magic that runs on Aristotelian physics and enables non-Turing-computable time travel is "logic that could actually work in the real word"?

No matter how much Eliezer may want to avoid story-logic, to actually do it would require completely contradicting canon every other sentence. Logic that works in HP, even HPMOR, is not the same logic that works for us.

The fact that we as readers can divide the story into elements where we apply magic-logic and elements where we apply real-world-logic is exactly evidence that the story as a whole runs on story logic and TVTropes. Story logic allows such compartmentalization, because humans tend to think that way. Real world logic doesn't.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-04T16:38:35.048Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dog-latin magic that runs on Aristotelian physics and enables non-Turing-computable time travel is "logic that could actually work in the real world"?

No, it's a set of premises which happen not to be true in the real world. Logic consists of starting with a set of premises and making conclusions. Obviously Harry Potter is going to arrive at different conclusions about his world, than we will arrive at about ours. That doesn't mean that he is using a special kind of logic called "magic-logic".

comment by CronoDAS · 2012-04-04T04:23:18.247Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you have to look along the shaft of an arrow from the wrong end, if a man has you entirely at his mercy, then hope like hell that man is an evil man. Because the evil like power, power over people, and they want to see you in fear. They want you to know you're going to die. So they'll talk. They'll gloat. They'll watch you squirm. They'll put off the moment of murder like another man will put off a good cigar. So hope like hell your captor is an evil man. A good man will kill you with hardly a word.

— Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms

That's what happens when you convince a very kind and moral person that there's someone who needs to be killed.

Replies from: maia
comment by maia · 2012-04-04T04:53:55.584Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You're still using entirely fictional evidence.

Also, you are suggesting that Hermione was convinced that killing Draco was the right thing to do. That's probably incorrect: she was described as saying she stunned Draco in a "fit of anger" and felt horrible afterward.

(The only reason I say "probably" is because the court Legilimens did, in fact, find her fantasizing about how she thought Draco might cause harm to her or Harry.)

Replies from: CronoDAS
comment by CronoDAS · 2012-04-04T05:00:02.322Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, the non-fictional relevance of the quote is that it represents the views of the author, who may or may not be basing his opinion on fictional evidence.

Also, you are suggesting that Hermione was convinced that killing Draco was the right thing to do. That's probably incorrect: she was described as saying she stunned Draco in a "fit of anger" and felt horrible afterward.

(The only reason I say "probably" is because the court Legilimens did, in fact, find her fantasizing about how she thought Draco might cause harm to her or Harry.)

Yeah, you're probably right about this.

Replies from: ArisKatsaris
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-04T09:35:23.978Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, the non-fictional relevance of the quote is that it represents the views of the author,

Can we even assert as much? I think we just know that Terry Pratchett just thought it good for his book to speak this idea through the narrator. Probably because it lets him (rot13 spoilers for "Guards! Guards!") unir Pneebg xvyy gur ivyynva dhvpxyl va pbyq oybbq, jvgubhg gur ernqrefuvc fhqqrayl srryvat nf vs gurl bhtug gb guvax gung ur'f n cflpubcnguvp zbafgre.

comment by maia · 2012-04-04T05:00:22.352Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually, based on the Legilimens finding all the fantasies about Draco and Snape conspiring to hurt Harry and her, I've adjusted my probability estimate that Hermione actually did it significantly upward.

Hermione has been having paranoid fantasies about her friends being harmed by Draco -> Draco attacks her, she weakens Draco -> Hermione is suddenly in a position of power over someone she views as a threat to her friends -> Hermione temporarily goes crazy and tries to eliminate Draco.

However, my probability that she did this without mind control being the deciding factor is still virtually zero.

Replies from: Alejandro1
comment by Alejandro1 · 2012-04-04T07:47:05.412Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My belief is and has always been that she did it, and was not given false memories, nor Imperiused or controlled in any way beyond the Groundhog Day attack. Eliezer believes that humans are hackable (cf. AI box experiments) and this Hermione storyline is showcasing it. Hat-and-Cloak had to find the right hack by proof and error, but once he found it, it was just ordinary words and no magic which influenced Hermione to "freely" decide to murder Draco (just like the AI gatekeepers who "freely" let the AI escape).

ETA: by "proof and error" I meant "trial and error". I guess the reason for the mental typo is the Spanish equivalent "prueba y error".

Replies from: NancyLebovitz
comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-04-04T13:26:35.137Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What about the possibility that Draco attacked Hermione with sufficient force that the blood-cooling spell was plausibly self-defense?

Replies from: Random832, DanArmak
comment by Random832 · 2012-04-04T13:42:09.955Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A "blood-cooling charm" doesn't sound like it would have had enough stopping power to be effective in self-defense.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-04-04T15:49:31.947Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In that case: she knew when she awakened next morning that it should have killed him. If she had known that the night before, then after disabling Draco with the charm, she should alerted a teacher, or maybe woken him up and stunned him the usual way. If she didn't do any of that, she was knowingly leaving him to die.

comment by Brickman · 2012-04-06T03:02:37.157Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Personally my problem with Harry wasn't so much that he immediately assumed there was a trick (shouldn't get a probability of 1.0, no, but certainly a basket worth piling some eggs in) but that he assumed the truth would get her off. He never once stopped and asked Dumbledore and Snape "If it was proven that she had been tricked into doing this with false memories, but still cast the spell willingly and with her own hand, would the Wizengamot still convict her?" I don't even know the answer to that question, but I'd certainly ask before I assumed it was "no".

Especially considering how draconian the law is and how one of the two most important members of the judge/jury is not only the victim's father but someone already predisposed to dislike her (for what amounts to unapologetic and on-record racial discrimination). In advance I wouldn't have been surprised to see a show trial that blatantly ignored the evidence to get a conviction, though Dumbledore's faction was a bit too vocal for me to expect that with my current knowledge.

Replies from: Eugine_Nier
comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-04-06T04:39:23.636Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

He never once stopped and asked Dumbledore and Snape "If it was proven that she had been tricked into doing this with false memories, but still cast the spell willingly and with her own hand, would the Wizengamot still convict her?"

Harry doesn't know about the GHD attack and so his working hypothesis is that her memory of attempting to kill Draco is false.

Replies from: Brickman
comment by Brickman · 2012-04-06T14:28:05.522Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Ah!" Harry said suddenly. "I get it now. The first False Memory Charm was cast on Hermione after Professor Snape yelled at her, and showed, say, Draco and Professor Snape plotting to kill her. Then last night that False Memory was removed by Obliviation, leaving behind the memories of her obsessing about Draco for no apparent reason, at the same time she and Draco were given false memories of the duel."

Since that was the last theory Harry proposed before he switched from theories to lines of attack, and nobody fully shot it down (there was an objection, but the objection was just that it'd be difficult), I have to assume that was his working theory when he left the room. And I would not automatically assume that this scenario, which we know to be very close to the correct one, would count as "innocent" in front of a wizengamot led by the angry, racist father of the victim.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-04T12:51:34.932Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is a really interesting point.

We know for a fact that Hermione has been manipulated because we've seen the scene with Hat and Cloak. That may bias us in favor of thinking the evidence is clearer than it really is. Yet Harry knows that in this universe memories can be tampered with. The prior probability of a morally upstanding little girl trying to murder someone is much less than the prior probability of someone else trying the memory-charm plot, especially given that Hermione is friends with Harry and Harry's status as the Boy Who Lived makes him a target.

Now, I might put a probability of something like 0.2 on the possibility of Hermione casting the charm after someone messed with her mind. But if you're the plotter, it's so much easier to do a false memory charm to make her remember casting the charm, than to do all the delicate manipulation to get her to actually cast it. So more likely than not, Hermione didn't cast the charm.

Harry is making a subtle mistake here, though: he's over-confident about his ideas about the details of what was done to Hermione. For example, he thinks a false-memory charm was used to cause Hermione to start obsessing over Draco, when in fact that was based on true memories of a conversation (albeit one involving lies and some kind of shape-shifting/illusion magic). Feminist bank tellers and all that.

Replies from: qjmw, tadrinth
comment by qjmw · 2012-04-04T21:02:34.784Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Anybody believing Hermione was meddled with ought to be asking who will be next. The mentioned mistake has Harry assuming Hermione didn't go undetected for six months, so he is far less alarmed than he should be.

Replies from: tadrinth
comment by tadrinth · 2012-04-05T01:49:17.433Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Neville is the most likely next target for an attack intended to separate Harry from his allies. Voldemort is probably too clever to try the same trick twice, though.

comment by tadrinth · 2012-04-05T01:47:30.030Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the last point: Hermione almost certainly was false memory charmed twice; H&C would have removed the memory of their final conversation and replaced with with something innocuous at the same time as he implanted the false memory of casting the blood-cooling charm, so as to not leave a suspicious gap. He might also have implanted false memories immediately after the groundhog day attack, either to cover up the time gap or to not have Hermione wandering around with an extremely suspicious memory in her head (If Dumbledore or Snape had seen the memory of H&C, or his less-creepy disguise, they probably would have been fairly suspicious).

comment by JoachimSchipper · 2012-04-05T08:54:56.098Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm surprised that people think saving Hermione for ~$3.4MM was expensive. It does mean Harry needs money soon, but if her intelligence plus magic gets her a VP position at an investment bank, she can earn up to $.5MM per year (worked example: [1]). And Harry and Hermione could almost certainly come up with a better (ethical) plan.

Some presumably sophisticated real-world investors have actually invested in people in this way, e.g. investing $250K for a 2% stake in a "technologist's" income (worked example: [2]).

Again, Harry does need money soon-ish; but even if his magical hedge fund doesn't pan out, the-Boy-Who-Lived should be able to secure ten house-sized loans (abroad if necessary; Unbreakable Vows greatly reduce credit risk, and there must be people other than Draco who see the value of loaning money to HPJEV.)

(There are many possible objections, but both of these kids are really smart and have years to think about it. And magic.)

[1] Hermione takes five years to get to VP level, then saves an average of ~.5MM/year for fifteen years. After twenty years, she gives all of her savings to Harry and is freed from all further obligations. Harry has earned ~30% per year over this period, and Hermione has well over 150 years of life left. This may not be optimal, but it's clearly better for both than letting her rot in Azkaban.

[2] Multiply by 15 to get an investment of $3.8MM for a 30% stake. Harry pays less and ends up with whatever stake he likes - and unlike the investor, he can order Hermione to maximize her income. Hermione being a witch raises the value of the investment further.

Replies from: NihilCredo, aladner, Alsadius
comment by NihilCredo · 2012-04-05T09:37:16.584Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

1) Those numbers are about American finance in 2011. British finance in 1991 probably did not have salaries quite that ridiculous. But more importantly:

2) As Dumbledore explains, it's not this rescue price that is the problem, so much as all the cumulative rescue prices Harry's enemies will now expect him to pay for each of his friends (not necessarily once, either... Hermione could well be attacked again).

Replies from: JoachimSchipper
comment by JoachimSchipper · 2012-04-05T14:29:28.209Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, those are 2011 numbers, but far lower salaries suffice to carry the argument. (If Hermione lives for another 170 years, she has to pay Harry just $20K/year to repay him.) Also, this plan does have her working in finance in 2011 (when she's ~22, she can't start that much earlier.)

It does set a bad precedent, but I wasn't talking about that - and this exact situation (completely legal, Harry doesn't want to destroy Lucius) is unlikely to ever come up again. (Future challenges of this kind could plausibly be met by having a Dementor eat the kidnapper, optionally after paying the ransom.)

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-06T04:42:52.582Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

this plan does have her working in finance in 2011 (when she's ~22, she can't start that much earlier.)

She'll be in her thirties in 2011.

comment by aladner · 2012-04-05T17:55:39.295Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"It comes due when you graduate Hogwarts," the old wizard said from high above.

It looks to me like they don't have quite enough time for Hermione to get a job as an investment banker. Of course, he still has plenty of options if the arbitrage trick doesn't work.

Replies from: disinter
comment by disinter · 2012-04-06T01:48:06.708Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The present debate is not how he can fulfill his obligation. They are arguing specifically if Harry made a justified investment by paying such a high price to save Hermione's life. It seems conclusive that the pure monetary investment is actually sound, he can directly gain the money he invested back at a decent rate even besides the additional benefits of rescuing her.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T17:43:25.980Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The approximate actuarial value placed on a human life is $6-8 million. Even after inflation, this seems somewhat cheap(assuming that she would literally die, and not merely be traumatized and sidelined for a decade).

Replies from: linkhyrule5
comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-04-11T03:23:13.855Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore says her mind wouldn't take the strain. To be entirely honest, I doubt he's exaggerating. If Hermione came out of Azkaban alive (yes, if), I'd put her chances of still being sane or curably insane at <10%.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-12T21:52:46.858Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

True, but I figured I'd stick the qualifier in anyways, for the sake of precision.

(It should also be noted that a young person who's ruined for life may actually be worth more than a dead person, since a dead person doesn't need to be cared for for the next several decades).

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-04T03:24:43.217Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Congrats to all the people that figured out that the death of Aberforth was likely causally connected to the death of Narcissa Malfoy.

It was indeed logical and elegant that the two non-canon deaths we know about should be connected to each other...

Replies from: loserthree
comment by loserthree · 2012-04-04T15:35:05.534Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks, but I don't know how much being wrong about the connection counts for being right about there being a connection.

And anyway, all we know for certain is that it is believed that there is a connection.

comment by 75th · 2012-04-07T01:13:09.324Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think we're starting to outgrow the original spec for the lesswrong.com discussion functionality. Plenty of discussions from previous threads were not strictly related to the most recent chapter, and I can think of a few such threads I'd like to start, but I'm holding off because I know that as soon as a new chapter is posted, all past threads will be made obsolete by the creation of a new discussion page.

What are everyone's feelings about putting some dedicated forum software on a subdomain of hpmor.com?

I do know that these discussions are responsible for a significant percentage of Less Wrong's traffic, and obviously I don't know what the actual statistics are, but I do know that all my Less Wrong binge sessions have been instigated by links from commenters (which would still be made on external forums) or by links from the Author's Notes (which are not part of Less Wrong) or by other causes, none of which were related to my posting in the MoR discussions here.

So unless raw pageviews and user accounts are very important to this advertisement-free site, I think it's at least possible that Less Wrong might not be adversely affected by these discussions moving to a closely related external site. But again, I don't know any relevant statistics, and there may be a lot of considerations I haven't thought of, so please don't crucify me if this was a blasphemous suggestion.

Replies from: razor11
comment by razor11 · 2012-04-07T11:31:40.421Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One possible deterrent to implementing that might be that people who initially came here to discuss the story might also participate in other non-HP related reading activities, such as going through the Sequences and discussing other posts, becoming better rationalists in the process. I don't have the statistics either though so I don't know how accurate this is.

Replies from: Xachariah, Alsadius
comment by Xachariah · 2012-04-07T23:43:11.472Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If the 'How did you come to find less wrong' thread is accurate, a lot of people came here through HPMoR. I'm not sure how many would have come if the HPMoR forums were elsewhere, but it seems like a non-negligible fraction of the community.

Replies from: 75th
comment by 75th · 2012-04-08T01:04:06.928Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I got here through HPMoR, too, but not at all because of these discussions; I got here through Eliezer's links in the Author's Notes. Indeed, I had no idea this was the primary venue for MoR discussions until the link on hpmor.com made it obvious. I don't think it was very obviously linked to from anywhere on FFN before; or at least, I never saw it.

If we had dedicated forums, I think a series of banner "ads" ("Learn everything Rationalist Harry knows by reading the Sequences at Less Wrong", etc.), in addition to the frequent links to MoR-related posts by commenters, might be just as good as (or maybe better than) these suboptimal discussion threads for awareness and traffic.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-08T01:09:16.518Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I read a couple of the Sequences as a result of these discussion threads, FWIW. I've been familiar with EY's work for some years, but this brought me back in.

comment by RobertLumley · 2012-04-05T22:24:37.132Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Having just started following these threads, I've decided to reread the entire fic from the beginning. I'm only in chapter two, but has anyone considered why Harry has a 26 hour sleep cycle? This always seemed like a bad excuse to get Harry a time turner to me, and when I was reading it the first two (I think?) times, I excused it as bad writing. Now I'm thinking it may be deliberate, and my model of EY was wrong. Perhaps Horcrux!Harry has control (strongly put) over Harry for two hours every day, and this is the rise of his odd sleep cycle.

Replies from: Rhwawn, ArisKatsaris, Incorrect, disinter
comment by Rhwawn · 2012-04-06T20:01:09.657Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps Horcrux!Harry has control (strongly put) over Harry for two hours every day, and this is the rise of his odd sleep cycle.

So you're thinking a Fightclub sort of control? I don't think that works: we have no unexplained gaps and things happening of themselves, or characters whom Harry could be hallucinating (Quirrel doesn't work). And the problem goes away with the Time turner, which a Horcrux!Harry wouldn't. As well, existing Horcrux!Harry moments seem evenly spaced out through the day (like in the latest plot arc, which was noon-1ish, IIRC).

Replies from: None, RobertLumley
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-06T23:39:31.602Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"The first rule of the Bayesian Conspiracy is that you don't talk about the Bayesian Conspiracy. To laypeople, I mean."

"The nth rule of the Bayesian Conspiracy may be deduced from the (n-1)th rule."

Replies from: Alicorn, gwern
comment by Alicorn · 2012-04-07T01:07:40.095Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, no, "The first rule of the Bayesian Conspiracy is that you talk about the Bayesian Conspiracy just as much as a typical member of the general population does."

comment by gwern · 2012-04-07T00:10:22.725Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"The Bayesian Conspiracy was just the beginning, now it's moved out of the classroom - it's called Chaos Army."

comment by RobertLumley · 2012-04-06T20:40:17.153Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Never seen Fightclub, so hard to evaluate. But I meant more "influence". Whenever the story says Harry's "blood goes cold" I would evaluate that as control.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-06T01:41:07.343Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm roughly 50/50 on whether there's some deeper meaning behind it, or if it's just a piece of rather bad/inelegant writing...

comment by Incorrect · 2012-04-06T04:02:09.858Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think HP is partially based on EY. For example, EY once bit a teacher. Also he stopped attending school for different reasons.

Replies from: RobertLumley, Alex_Altair
comment by RobertLumley · 2012-04-06T05:36:12.948Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That is really interesting. But I can't help but feel like I'm violating his privacy when I read that:

"Likewise, please do not mirror or duplicate this page."

In light of that, it's difficult for me to feel OK reading it on WayBack Machine...

Replies from: arundelo, Anubhav, thomblake
comment by arundelo · 2012-04-09T18:31:08.173Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm sure Eliezer knows that old stuff of his is on archive.org. If he wanted to, he could have it removed.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-10T05:25:05.376Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Indeed, information security is a process, not a status.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-04-10T11:47:01.225Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Duplicating the page, maybe, but he absolutely can't forbid quoting it or linking to it; those actions'd fall under fair use in most cases.

(That is, if you care about copyright law at all.)

comment by thomblake · 2012-04-09T17:37:15.370Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was going to forward you the link I had to that page somewhere in the wild, but looks like my bookmark is to the wayback machine as well. Whoops...

comment by Alex_Altair · 2012-04-10T02:52:46.189Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is everything I've wanted to know about Eliezer.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-10T05:24:00.761Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It probably shouldn't be everything you wanted to know about him.

This is what EY thought of his own history in 2000. He was only 21, at the cusp of adulthood.

Now EY has a better understanding of present EY, of EY in 2000, and of his own history throughout. And he's still probably wrong about things about himself that are obvious to others and go unmentioned anyway, like almost everyone.

You could reasonably want to know less than everything, you could reasonable want to know all the things on that page, but you are probably not serving your own interests well if the things on that page are all you seek to know.

Replies from: Alex_Altair
comment by Alex_Altair · 2012-04-10T12:19:03.346Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, I wasn't being literal. What I meant was that I really enjoy reading a personal narrated biography of someone that I really admire. Usually you can't get that until they're super famous or dead.

comment by disinter · 2012-04-06T01:37:13.305Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's a real disorder If that's what concerns you. But if you're asking "why use that excuse to exclude Harry from public school and give him a time-turner at Hogwarts? Is there a logical progression that definitively gives Harry a reason to have such a disorder?" I had never considered that.

Replies from: malthrin, RobertLumley
comment by malthrin · 2012-04-06T19:05:10.642Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks, I didn't realize that was a real thing.

Harry's sleep schedule wasn't on the red herring list. Further investigation warranted.

Replies from: erratio
comment by erratio · 2012-04-07T14:59:13.564Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But equally not everything that happens is intended to have further meaning, eg. the Bacon diary was just intended as a character piece

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-10T12:47:06.602Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

How do you know this?

Replies from: erratio, Percent_Carbon
comment by erratio · 2012-04-10T13:18:50.156Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One or two chapter discussions or so back, someone spoke to Eliezer in person and got super secret spoilery information about the diary, which they posted under ROT13. The first part is that the diary wasn't meant to be anything special. Second part is gung orpnhfr bs nyy gur ernqre fcrphyngvba urf qrpvqrq gung ng fbzr cbvag uneel jvyy tb onpx gb vg naq qvfpbire fbzr eryngviryl zvabe ohg urycshy cvrpr bs vasbezngvba nobhg jnaqyrff zntvp

Replies from: Eliezer_Yudkowsky
comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-04-11T01:33:32.945Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That would've taken too much time, actually, I've got new plans now. But by reader demand, it will reappear.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-11T01:43:16.877Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I admit I'm kind of surprised. You thought you could have Quirrell give Harry a spelled-indestructible diary for no apparent reason and that wouldn't be a red herring?

Replies from: ArisKatsaris
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-12T07:45:14.777Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As I've said recently I think Eliezer severely overestimates the readiness of people to let go of perceived patterns.

The indestructible diary was meant by Eliezer to be a red herring for the duration of a couple paragraphs, until the readers were told it was the diary of Roger Bacon, not Tom Riddle. At which point, I suppose readers were supposed to smile at themselves for being deceived.

But of course readers just pattern-matched "indestructible diary" to "super-significant plot-point and Horcrux" and wouldn't let go.

Replies from: Salivanth, None, MugaSofer, thomblake, Eliezer_Yudkowsky, summerstay
comment by Salivanth · 2012-04-14T03:24:32.047Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Similar to this is Quirrel's mannerisms at the very start of his first class, meant to get you to think he'll be the typical Quirrel before he bursts into a confident diatribe, but people have speculated on that one, too.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-05-02T15:33:12.589Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As for myself, I quite liked the inclusion of Roger Bacon's diary as part of the background. Though it did lead me to expect a bit more information on 'leakage' between the magical and mundane worlds.

comment by MugaSofer · 2012-08-18T02:43:13.570Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

For the record, it never occurred to me it could be Riddle's diary, and yet I assumed it was a horcrux because it was indestructible. I was probably pattern-matching with the Pioneer probe, which Quirrelmort also said he had spelled to be indestructible and this was, indeed, a Clue that it was a horcrux.

Also, in canon, a horcrux can possess you if you become emotionally attached to it. The diary seemed calculated to become a prized possession of Harry's, and that when Harry learned Latin he could well be in for a nasty shock...

Perhaps I should have updated when it was never mentioned again. Hmm.

comment by thomblake · 2012-05-02T15:56:18.487Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The indestructible diary was meant by Eliezer to be a red herring for the duration of a couple paragraphs, until the readers were told it was the diary of Roger Bacon, not Tom Riddle.

Even that's strange though. I didn't seriously entertain the thought that it was Tom Riddle's diary or a horcrux. And then it being Roger Bacon's attempts to apply science to magic was super-awesome - it was sort of a Chekhov's Gun and I kept expecting Harry to gain some sort of insight or initial boost or secret knowledge from reading it.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-05-02T01:51:22.584Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's probably a fair analysis.

comment by summerstay · 2012-05-02T18:11:29.908Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was thinking the same thing. The things he thinks should be obvious by now (such as the quirrel/voldemort connection) ought to be made explicit in an appropriate point-of-view so we can puzzle over the things that he wants the reader to be puzzling over.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-10T13:14:47.744Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

EY said so in a post. He said he didn't think anything of it and didn't mean to go back to it, but the readers wouldn't stop asking about it.

I guess that means Erratio should have ciphered?

comment by RobertLumley · 2012-04-06T05:40:08.595Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I knew it was a real disorder, but the probability of having it is so low as to bother me - why does he need a disorder and why locate that disorder in all of diseasespace? And if it's based on EY, I don't believe he has that disorder, unless I've missed something.

Replies from: Xachariah
comment by Xachariah · 2012-04-06T16:20:01.249Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's also the sort of disorder that people are told to suck up and deal with if they get it in real life. I mean, I'm sure there are some people who get lucky, but a lot of others get misdiagnosed as being bad sleepers who just stay up late. There is, IIRC, no cure other than rearranging your life. Harry's parents get marked as understanding and caring (and affluent). And the magic world gets to show off it's 0th world status.

Although I agree that it sounds mostly like a contrivance to get him a time-turner. They do have sleep spells afterall.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-10T05:26:32.932Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Upvoted for calling out privilege.

comment by taelor · 2012-04-05T02:16:33.773Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You were monstrously unfair to Dumbledore, said the voice Harry had been calling Slytherin, only now it also seemed to be the Voice of Economic Sensibility and maybe also Conscience.

This is awesome.

Replies from: Vaniver
comment by Vaniver · 2012-04-05T03:45:29.487Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Indeed. It makes me wish I had written up my complaint about Harry mistaking desires for competences before he improved his internal names, though, as it seems less relevant now. Oh well.

comment by Nisan · 2012-04-09T16:50:31.710Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I noticed this gem on my second reading of Chapter 81:

"As we have far exceeded our allotted time, I now, in accordance with the last decision of the survivors of the eighty-eighth Wizengamot, adjourn this session."

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-09T17:43:42.353Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I actually didn't understand the third clause. My best guess is that it's hinting that the 88th Wizengamot broke out into open warfare/dueling among the factions? (And no one could leave until the head let them? That would be a sensible power for the Line holder to have.)

Replies from: Nisan, Bill_McGrath, 75th
comment by Nisan · 2012-04-09T17:56:27.494Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My interpretation is that there was no time limit for sessions during the time of the 88th Wizengamot, and one session went on so long that some of the lords and ladies starved to death — or died of old age. I don't know which is funnier.

comment by Bill_McGrath · 2012-04-10T00:35:40.021Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I just read it as a throwaway gag; Rowling's style often has funny little background references to violence or bizarre happenings. I took this as being something similar to Rowling specifying the Quidditch match that caused the rule banning broadswords to be introduced.

comment by 75th · 2012-04-09T23:56:54.116Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I thought that too, basically. Like, maybe in the past there were strict rules of order about when you could adjourn a session, so even the Chief Warlock couldn't adjourn until the formalities were concluded, and that in the 88th Wizengamot a war broke out in the chamber before the formalities were done.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-04T20:29:21.086Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Shouldn't the next small chapter have been posted already, according to the time mentioned in ch.82?

EDIT TO ADD: Eliezer has posted it as an author's note.

Replies from: smk, Alicorn, FAWS
comment by smk · 2012-04-04T20:57:52.343Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's posted in the hpmor.com author's note due to FFN being unresponsive: http://hpmor.com/notes/83/

comment by Alicorn · 2012-04-04T20:52:40.715Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Notes on hpmor.com say login.fanfiction.net is down. It wasn't down when I tried it, and that doesn't explain why it's not on hpmor.com itself.

comment by FAWS · 2012-04-04T20:33:49.053Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, and the FFN update alert already went out. My guess is that Eliezer posted the chapter and deleted it immediately afterwards, perhaps due to some formatting problem.

comment by FAWS · 2012-04-04T03:20:17.121Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore seems a bit off in equating the two situations. Lucius isn't threatening to send Hermione to Azkaban in the hope of getting something from Harry/Dumbledore; in fact he made clear that he would rather send her to Azkaban than receive the money. Therefore paying of the blood debt does not equal giving in to blackmail and Harry can save her while still maintaining a consistent position of not giving in to blackmail. Engineering similar situations without making apparent that they are engineered (and therefore blackmail) is probably too impractical to be worth the effort.

Replies from: Alejandro1
comment by Alejandro1 · 2012-04-04T04:44:40.446Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That Lucius' intention was not to blackmail Harry, does not change the fact that now Lucius and Harry's other enemies know that Harry would be willing to sacrifice any amount of money to save a friend.

Replies from: FAWS, Desrtopa, ChrisHallquist
comment by FAWS · 2012-04-04T12:23:19.075Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

And there is no problem with that if it's restricted to non-blackmail interactions (except perhaps to the degree it's mistaken by others to also apply to blackmail). Not responding to blackmail as a principled position and not valuing the life of the hostage highly enough for the amount asked for are completely different things.

Otherwise it would have made sense for Voldemort (who wouldn't care about Death Eater families) to keep taking family members hostage and ask for lower and lower amounts until hitting the sum they are valued at. Either that sum would have been low enough to devastate the morale of the Order members (e. g, 100 galleons and Voldemort asks for 101 the next time) or it would be high enough to drain their funds.

A refusal to respond to blackmail needs to be unconditional.

Replies from: Luke_A_Somers
comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2012-04-05T05:52:19.634Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Still, there must be a price low enough that it'd be paid.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-04T13:27:09.175Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The fact that Harry proceeded to scare Lucius afterwards is probably to his advantage in this case though. In his position, I would probably make it a priority to get Lucius to forgive the debt, which not only saves him the money, it sends the message "you can try to blackmail me, but I'll make the consequences of forcing me to pay out worse than letting me walk."

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-04T12:53:12.288Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Except Lucius doesn't know that, because he thinks this was part of some inscrutable plot by Harrymort!

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-05T07:41:48.019Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One thing I found very interesting - it was Voldemort who blinked first when families were targeted.

Replies from: ChrisHallquist, Percent_Carbon, major
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-05T13:12:52.727Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore suggests a plausible explanation for this when he says "If my opponent had been Lucius, perhaps." Suggests that Lucius is not a rational agent in the sense that he will make negative expected value moves for the sake of vengeance. Voldemort, however, is a rational agent in that sense.

Though I'm not sure Voldemort "blinked," exactly. Voldemort probably didn't care if the families of Death Eaters were killed in retaliation for things done to family members of the Order of the Phoenix. Instead, he made the following calculation: (1) I can afford to tell Lucius I will torture him to death (and maybe kill his baby boy) if he does anything stupid in retaliation for Narcissa's death and (2) but if I go on killing family members of my opponents, my Death Eaters may rebel to protect their families, Dark Mark or no.

Replies from: roystgnr, TimS, buybuydandavis
comment by roystgnr · 2012-04-06T01:53:30.764Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Be careful when describing negative-expected-value vengeance as irrational. "I will precommit to be the kind of person who takes vengeance, even after it's too late for that to have positive expected value" is almost just a sub-case of "I one-box".

Replies from: ChrisHallquist
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-07T06:54:12.944Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hence the "...in the sense... ...in that sense..." qualifiers. If you can suggest a better term, I might switch to using it, otherwise next time I'll wave my arms even harder to show I'm tabooing my words.

comment by TimS · 2012-04-05T13:30:07.913Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's interesting in part because Harry is right that the behavior is unusual. Historically, the group that (1) is led by a strong leader who encourages personality cults, (2) doesn't believe in the rule of law, and (3) resorts to violence at the slightest excuse is not the group that unilaterally ends dynamics like hostage taking and hostage killing.

Replies from: Eugine_Nier
comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-04-06T04:15:56.222Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's interesting in part because Harry is right that the behavior is unusual. Historically, the group that (1) is led by a strong leader who encourages personality cults, (2) doesn't believe in the rule of law, and (3) resorts to violence at the slightest excuse is not the group that unilaterally ends dynamics like hostage taking and hostage killing.

They're the only group that can unilaterally end it since the other side wasn't doing those things to begin with.

Replies from: TimS
comment by TimS · 2012-04-06T13:38:39.485Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As I understand the historical dynamic, there is a conflict and the status quo is that dependents are safe. One side (call them Blue) escalates by attacking dependents, breaking the status quo. The other side (call them Green) might not have chosen to break the prior status quo, but once it is broken, they decide to start attacking dependents. Green might even escalate further.

Historically, these types of conflicts seldom return to the prior status quo. Most frequently, a new (bloodier) status quo is reached, or one side wins and ends the conflict. Occasionally, Green does not escalate, or decides that the new status quo is unacceptable and unilaterally deescalates (which doesn't always successfully return to the old status quo). What essentially never happens is Blue escalates, Green escalates, Blue unilaterally deescalates, old status quo returns.

In short, I notice I am confused by Dumbledore's story of the safety of dependents at various times during the last war.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-04-06T14:27:27.800Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What essentially never happens is Blue escalates, Green escalates, Blue unilaterally deescalates, old status quo returns.

Just to make sure I understand, consider the following hypothetical account: Sam and I are having a nonviolent argument. I get furious and punch Sam. Sam punches me back. I apologize for having turned this into a violent interaction and promise not to do that anymore. Sam agrees not to do it anymore either. We return to our nonviolent argument.

Is that an example of the sort of situation you're describing, which you claim essentially never happens?

If not, can you clarify what excludes it?

Replies from: TimS
comment by TimS · 2012-04-06T14:45:36.175Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The historical assertion is in the context of group political conflict involving violence.

Apocryphally, the Mafia had a rule that they didn't target families. Assuming this was true even in conflicts between families (and I don't know this to be actually true), I'm saying that the family (Blue) that first broke that norm was not likely to be the family that unilaterally returns to the "don't kill dependents" rule. Particularly if a lot of the unity of the Blue family is based on the strong personality of Blue's leader.

(Mostly, I'm thinking of the Cold-War era internal conflicts between proxies of the United States and the USSR, especially in Latin America and Africa i.e. the Sandinistas. I'm not saying every conflict of that type escalated in the way I'm describing, just that the escalator basically never deescalated while the conflict continued).

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-04-06T15:00:26.570Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah, gotcha. Cool, that makes sense... thanks for clarifying.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-08T23:44:42.775Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't agree with your inferences about Voldemort's intentions.

First, I tend to think that Lucius was in fact Imperioused, so his will to vengeance was not a concern. And the undesirability of an all out war from Dumbledore's side was obvious - Dumbledore's side had the numbers. In a Total War of attrition, Voldemort was bound to lose, as Quirrell spelled out in his speech.

His goal is a political one. He has the Great Leader view of politics, and wants all of Britain resolved to follow the Great Leader. How to achieve that? Attack magical Britain with a ruthless enemy, to make them more ruthless in kind, and more ready to follow a ruthless Great Leader. Then create his own Ruthless Leader to fill that position. Who better to fill that role than the one who defeats the first Dark Lord? Twice? And has been prophesied as his enemy? And then he uploads into Harry when Harry supposedly defeats him again.

Dumbledore got his power by defeating Grindelwald. Harrymort will get his power by defeating Voldemort.

Replies from: Benquo, ChrisHallquist
comment by Benquo · 2012-04-08T23:56:24.238Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If Lucius really was imperiused, why does his son think he sided with Voldemort deliberately?

"You're right, it's fair, I can't complain," Harry said instead. "So what about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? Not as bad as he was made out to be?"

Draco looked bitter, at that. "So you think it's all just making Father's side look good and Dumbledore's side look bad, and that I believe it all myself just because Father told me."

"It's a possibility I'm considering," Harry said evenly.

Draco's voice was low and intense. "They knew. My father knew, his friends knew. They knew the Dark Lord was evil. But he was the only chance anyone had against Dumbledore! The only wizard anywhere who was powerful enough to fight him! Some of the other Death Eaters were truly evil too, like Bellatrix Black - Father isn't like that - but Father and his friends had to do it, Harry, they had to, Dumbledore was taking over everything, the Dark Lord was the only hope anyone had left!"

Replies from: buybuydandavis
comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-09T02:07:06.054Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Consistency bias?

I grant that it's a good point. But that story sounds like just the kind of political justification the Death Eaters would tell their children. Whatever power Dumbledore has, has he really been that despotic? Particularly, in comparison to Voldemort?

Draco isn't in a position to know first hand. He must have been just barely born when Narcissa was killed.

I often interpret on a narrative basis as much as a "factual" basis. I think Malfoy is being portrayed sympathetically, and I don't think the "save us from Dumbledore" story holds much water. If the story had been that "Dumbledore is destroying the wizarding race by promoting Mudbloods", then that would have been a credible ideology for a sympathetic Malfoy - one who was actually for something positive.

Also, I find Lucius's story moderately credible

“The Dark Lord could hardly have begun recruiting among pureblood families without the support of House Malfoy. I demurred, and he simply made sure of me. His own Death Eaters did not know it until afterward, hence the false Mark I bear; though since I did not truly consent, it does not bind me. Some of the Death Eaters still believe I was foremost among their number, and for the peace of this nation I let them believe it, to keep them controlled. But I was not such a fool as to support that ill-fated adventurer of my own choice—”

And since no one believes it anyway, why would he tell it to the Longbottoms, who certainly won't believe it, unless it were true?

I expect at some point that the non-binding nature of his dark mark becomes a plot point.

“My son is my heart,” said the senior Malfoy, “the last worthwhile thing I have left in this world, and this I say to you in a spirit of friendship: if he were to come to harm, I would give my life over to vengeance. But so long as my son does not come to harm, I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors. And as you have asked nothing more of me, I will ask nothing more of you.”

This seems like an earnest speech. That he would speak to Voldemort "in the spirit of friendship", and expect that to mean something to Voldemort, is another interesting bit of info that seems incongruous to the usual Dark Lord narrative.

There are all sorts of incongruities in the onstage actions of Voldemort and Malfoy, and the stories of what happened offstage. I'm leaning toward taking what Malfoy says here as the truth.

Replies from: pedanterrific, ChrisHallquist, None
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-09T02:13:18.569Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But that story sounds like just the kind of political justification the Death Eaters would tell their children.

Exactly. But in your theory, Lucius isn't a Death Eater, he's an Imperius victim. So why would he do everything he could to raise his son to want to grow up to be a Death Eater?

And since no one believes it anyway, why would he tell it to the Longbottoms, who certainly won't believe it, unless it were true?

Literally the very next sentence was

"Ignore him," Madam Longbottom said, the instruction addressed to Harry as well as Neville. "He must spend the rest of his life pretending, for fear of your testimony under Veritaseum."

And I agree that it's incongruous for Lucius to speak to Voldemort "in the spirit of friendship", I just think it's more incongruous with the Imperius narrative.

Replies from: buybuydandavis
comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-09T04:13:39.314Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So why would he do everything he could to raise his son to want to grow up to be a Death Eater?

He wants him to grow up to be the leader of the Purebloods, which exactly the same thing as leader of the Death Eaters.

"Ignore him," Madam Longbottom said, the instruction addressed to Harry as well as Neville. "He must spend the rest of his life pretending, for fear of your testimony under Veritaseum."

And how would that constitute evidence that he was not a willing Death Eater if everyone believes he is faking? Certainly he should never affirmatively say he was a willing Death Eater, but this little speech that no one believes amounts to evidence that he wasn't a Death Eater to who? The speech does him absolutely no good.

In fact, I'd say the speech only harms him. The Longbottoms of the world won't believe him, but those who sympathized with the Death Eaters, much of his natural power base, would likely be annoyed at the disavowal, even if they didn't believe it either.

When a schemer says something that does him absolutely no good, a reasonable interpretation is that it is true.

And I agree that it's incongruous for Lucius to speak to Voldemort "in the spirit of friendship", I just think it's more incongruous with the Imperius narrative.

As pointed out, he needed Lucius to draw Purebloods. First he asked. When Lucius declined, he spelled him. He forced compliance. Not so friendly, but the least abusive path that achieved his goal. That might count as friendly with a Flawless Instrument of Death.

I expect we get the backstory on Lucius filled in some day. Although I'm wondering if EY has made a major change in the plot. Seems like a lot of work went into the Draco character, but he seems like a soap opera character who hit it big in the movies, and was quickly written off the show.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-09T06:42:15.283Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The "in the spirit of friendship" thing makes no sense if Lucius was imperioused. It's incongruous with cliche villainy, but I think it makes sense in context, as a way of saying "I do not bear a grudge against you for leading me into that disastrous war, but I will not be your follower anymore" (because a friend is not a follower). It's almost a subtle insult.

And Lucius is a bit sympathetic, but he's not THAT sympathetic. It's pretty clear that he's a power-hungry bigot. "Dumbledore is destroying the wizarding race by promoting Mudbloods" is probably closer to his real motivation for joining Voldemort, but "save us from Dumbledore" is a better message to broadcast publicly, since it has a chance of swaying non-blood purists.

This may, in fact, be partly a matter of what Draco chose to emphasize when talking to Harry. At one point, he thinks to himself that fear of the magic going away (because of those damn mudbloods!) is the reason people become Death Eaters, but he doesn't say that to Harry, presumably because he knew Harry wouldn't find that convincing.

Replies from: buybuydandavis
comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-09T07:18:04.299Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The "in the spirit of friendship" thing makes no sense if Lucius was imperioused.

A person without context would find Harry's continued friendship with Draco after Draco tortured him unfathomable, and yet it was true. Dumbledore announced to Harry that he would be a well kept prisoner in Hogwarts. That too, requires context to appreciate. A great many things that Dumbledore has done require a lot of context for justification.

We don't have the context of Malfoy's and Voldemort's relationship in the same way, and the friendship comment is hard to reconcile absent that context.

Harry was clear that he prefers a scientific civilization over a magical one, but I think he could respect someone who wanted to preserve a magical civilization if it was threatened with destruction.

I think we just don't have enough of the back story to make definitive conclusions; our priors are slightly differently and we come up with different conclusion. I'm not the confident in my conclusions. I'm less confident in yours.

Replies from: ChrisHallquist
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-09T07:32:18.885Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fair point about context.

But I disagree with your last paragraph. Had Draco given the "preserve magic from the mudblood menace!" defense of the Death Eaters, Harry had fairly good reasons to think they were wrong about that, so it just makes them look murderously insane. But the "Dumbledore killed my mother" line actually made Harry stop and think for a second.

And even if Harry might have sympathized, Draco didn't know that.

Replies from: buybuydandavis
comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-09T07:58:45.460Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

And I disagree with your disagreement, sir!

Harry had fairly good reasons to think they were wrong about that, so it just makes them look murderously insane.

No, I think it just makes them look wrong about a factual matter.

Replies from: ChrisHallquist
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-09T08:21:09.244Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's maybe the rational reaction, but it's not necessarily how Harry would react. He fantasized about guillotining blood purists, remember?

I'd also reiterate what we know about Lucius' characterization. He has a deluded view of the world (blood-purism), and he reacts to evidence against that view (the experiment performed by Harry and Draco, which Lucius learned about when Draco got veritaserum'd) by shouting lies! He also has put a great deal of effort into maintaining his power in the wizarding world, and also into grooming his son for a similar role.

In other words, he's a power-hungry bigot. Exactly the sort of person who would follow Voldemort out of hated for mudbloods and then spin other justifications for public consumption. Also, I get the impression that very few people believe Lucius was imperious'd, and he tells the story not so that others will believe it, but for the sake of plausible deniability

But maybe our priors are just different, as you said.

Replies from: Random832
comment by Random832 · 2012-04-09T13:22:19.707Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"I'd also reiterate what we know about Lucius' characterization. He has a deluded view of the world (blood-purism), and he reacts to evidence against that view (the experiment performed by Harry and Draco, which Lucius learned about when Draco got veritaserum'd) by shouting lies! -- But maybe our priors are just different, as you said."

Consider Lucius's, and Draco's, priors. Namely, they do not actually have the priors to explain why the result of their experiment means what Harry says it means - not independent of Muggles, anyway, and possibly not independent of Harry. Without replicating all the experiments (or, at least a significant number) on different color peas or whatever, to arrive at a basic understanding of genetics (and an explanation for awkward questions like "why doesn't skin color or height work that way? who says that, or something else entirely, isn't a better model for magic?), the simpler explanation (to Lucius - and, honestly, to Draco, divorced of his complex motivations for wanting to stay in the Bayesian Conspiracy) is that Harry examined the data in advance and made up a theory to fit the numbers to what he wanted to convince Draco of.

P.S. Unless Veritaserum in HPMOR works similarly to how truth serum works in (of all things) The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, we can't conclusively assume that Draco necessarily told Lucius any particular fact. What line of questioning leads to Lucius finding out about the experiment?

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-09T05:37:25.398Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

And since no one believes it anyway, why would he tell it to the Longbottoms, who certainly won't believe it, unless it were true?

A good question to ask. Might he not be telling it for the benefit of Harrymort? I still don't understand why he would do this, but at least Malfoy has a track record of saying confusing things to Harry. It could mean "I am no longer your follower" or "You need my support" or "I am the one in charge of your Death Eaters now, and don't forget it" or even just "In case you don't know, this is my official position at the moment."

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-09T06:49:33.857Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But even after Narcissa died, I don't think Voldemort was facing a Total War against a united Magical Britain. It was the Death Eaters vs. the Order of the Phoenix, and what evidence we has indicates that the Order was losing, even when led by a more ruthless Dumbledore.

That's what's so puzzling here. This version of Voldemort isn't stupid, but it still looks like he screwed up.

Replies from: linkhyrule5
comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-04-11T03:25:07.291Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's possible he was simply too intelligent - trying to lose without appearing to try to lose, but still too brilliant to be defeated.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-05T08:07:33.041Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

More likely it was his intention that things sit like that.

He 'lost' on purpose. But before he did, he taught Dumbledore to lose in the hostage and ransom thing.

Step 1 : gather the fearful and lead them by fear

Voldemort championed the old blood that felt threatened by muggleborn and was very cruel to them to keep them in line.

Step 2 : force most powerful opponents into taking actions contrary to their ideology

Voldemort probably did any number of nasty things to break lower rank ideologists and might have done an evil thing or two that did not break Dumbledore, but eventually he was successful.

Step 2a : keep a lid on things so they cannot resolve themselves through reasonable application of voilence

Voldemort killed Narcissa once he knew Dumbledore was conditioned to accept the blame and the conflict extending truce that came after.

Step 3 : watch for an opportunity to exit the stage, take it

Voldemort faked his death when he found circumstances that could make a death event of sufficient believabilty for the masses.

Step 4 : hide out under assumed identities while enemies and former subordinates continue to not resolve things either peaceably or voilently for as long as necessary

Voldemort is Jeffe or Quirrell or any number of other people for ten years. He might also have been technically dead for some or all of that time. That does not significantly alter the scenario.

Step 5 : gather tools and staff as opportunities present themselves

Voldemort has the Resurrection Stone, Bella, and who knows what all else.

Step 6 : watch for an opportunity to stage a coup over either side of now old conflict, take it

Voldemort may have multiple scenarios for returning to power. Right now he is playing king maker for Boy Who Lived.

Step 7 : smash opposing side of nearly meaningless conflict because they have been conditioned to fight entirely the wrong kind of war, unite as many factions as possible

Step 8 : dominate world

Step 9 : throw tasteful party with select guests and absolutely, positively, never, ever monologue

Replies from: ChrisHallquist, GeeJo, None
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-05T13:13:15.925Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Downvoted for massive violation of Lucius' Law.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-05T13:52:19.580Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Please elaborate.

Replies from: ChrisHallquist
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-05T14:15:09.545Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

From Ch. 24:

That was when Father had told Draco about the Rule of Three, which was that any plot which required more than three different things to happen would never work in real life.

Father had further explained that since only a fool would attempt a plot that was as complicated as possible, the real limit was two.

Your plan is unworkable, because the probability that everything needed for the plan to happen would happen is too low. HPMOR!Voldemort is not a fool, so he would not have planned an unworkable plan (and, as Hat and Cloak, advised Blaise Zambini not to try such plans). Therefore this is not Voldemort's plan.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon, alex_zag_al, moridinamael
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-06T05:03:26.547Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fine. You accept that Voldemort did rise to power, yes? Let that be one plot that had however many "different things to happen" but worked. That is one plot with one payout that is collected without being dependent on other plots and covers step 1.

In step 2 his plot depends on his most idealistic enemies breaking from their ideals. That is 1 "different things to happen". He maybe tries a lot of different time, and eventually the Aberforth Event occurs, so the plot progresses.

Step 2a is the same plot and includes another "different thing." After he kills Narcissa, his formerly idealistic enemies must claim responsibility. He has conditioned them to do this in the way he has spread terror and treated them, so it does not come out of the blue, but it is the second "different thing" for that plot.

It works and he is rewarded with a conflict without escalation, where he can continue to amass power while his own side does not get out of control and his enemies become more reasonable and less idealistic, therefore easier to manipulate and less unpredictable. This second plot covers steps 2 and 2a. He could continue at this point as he had, building power for a faction, taking different steps or starting different plots.

The third plot has the goal of unity and only depends on two "different things." The first is that he have an opportunity to step out of the game, the second is that he has an opportunity to step back in. Again, there is the throwing shit at the wall approach, here. He can set up situation after situation that might lead to an opportunity to step out or in, and take the ones that he expects to work best.

When this plot is completed, he is rewarded with control of a new third side in a two sided war. He can do what he wants with this new faction, execute any number of plots from this point forward. This covers steps 3, 4, & 5.

The fourth plot is what he is preparing for, but isn't executing as far as I can tell, taking over the government. Whatever this depends on, you know he's up to something and this is no worse an answer than many other reasonable answers.

I'm fairly certain that Voldemort is not planning a party, though. That was a joke.

comment by alex_zag_al · 2012-04-05T16:35:42.552Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, yes, if it was planned from the beginning. It could have been improvised. To summarize Percent_Carbon in a way that brings out the potential that the plan he explained was improvised... Step 1. Conquer Britain as Voldemort. Doesn't work as well as hoped, Britain is divided, not united. Step 2. Use power to try to set up a situation that you think you can exploit later. Wait years before you see a good way to exploit it Step 3. See the way Harry Potter came out, see an opportunity to conquer a united Britain, and go for it

comment by moridinamael · 2012-04-05T16:28:31.195Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Probability is in the mind. If you're that much better at chess than you opponent, you can execute excessively complicated traps just to amuse yourself, and still be quite certain of victory. If Riddle knew more and thought better than Dumbledore, enough so that he can model his reactions precisely (as he seems able to) then what seems like an unlikely plot may be to Riddle merely an entertaining diversion.

That said, I agree that Godric's Hollow probably didn't go as Riddle planned.

Replies from: Alsadius, ChrisHallquist, Desrtopa
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T17:40:34.362Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Doing stupid things to amuse yourself seems like exactly the opposite of everything Voldemort has ever done. If ever anyone has epitomized ruthless efficiency, he's the guy.

Replies from: moridinamael, thomblake
comment by moridinamael · 2012-04-05T18:25:08.445Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Quirrell frequently brags about things he shouldn't mention, things with massive blowback potential. He also obvious relishes outsmarting and dominating others.

I'm not just disagreeing for argument's sake. Look at the plot that resulted in the three-way tie in the underwater Defense battle. Clearly the universe of this fic allows absurdly complex plots to work when the plotters are of a high enough level.

Replies from: Desrtopa, thomblake
comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-05T19:54:02.107Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Look at the plot that resulted in the three-way tie in the underwater Defense battle. Clearly the universe of this fic allows absurdly complex plots to work when the plotters are of a high enough level.

Quirrel himself noted that plans that contingent on uncontrollable events tend to fail. Dumbledore wasn't counting on that plan working, as he said, "That's why it's important to have more than one plot going at once." The plan that resulted in the three way tie succeeded largely due to luck.

comment by thomblake · 2012-04-10T20:05:30.610Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Look at the plot that resulted in the three-way tie in the underwater Defense battle.

It only looks complicated. Yes, it was not extremely probable that Blaise would be amongst the last few standing. But very quickly all teams raced towards an even score in a fairly predictable self-organizing way. So there weren't really a lot of moving parts there, just one complicated system with fairly predictable behavior, and some complicated-looking plotting to get Blaise's cooperation, and just a bit of luck that Blaise didn't get knocked out earlier (helped by Blaise being mostly interested in survival instead of racking up points)

comment by thomblake · 2012-04-10T20:07:23.665Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Doing stupid things to amuse yourself seems like exactly the opposite of everything Voldemort has ever done. If ever anyone has epitomized ruthless efficiency, he's the guy.

That does not match my model of canon Voldemort, and I assume that MoR pre-Harry Voldemort was very similar.

I expect Voldemort to kill/torture valuable minions because of impulses ("to amuse yourself") even if it would harm his overall goals.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-11T00:42:44.637Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I assume that MoR pre-Harry Voldemort was very similar.

Why would MoR Voldemort be different pre-Harry or post-Harry?

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-05T22:29:17.361Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"The Rule of Rationalist Fiction states thwat rationality is not magic."

In other words, such a hypothesis about Voldemort's plan is defensible only if there's a better explanation for how he could pull it off than "he's just that good."

Granted, Voldemort also has access to magic. But based on what we know about how magic works in this universe, it seems unlikely that, even given magic, Voldemort could acquire the knowledge necessary to be confident of making such an excessively complicated plan work.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-05T19:51:13.862Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Chess is completely orderly. In chess, you don't have to deal with unknown unknowns, or pieces getting moved around by chance, or your opponent inventing new pieces in the middle of the game, etc. Just because you can execute extremely complicated plans in chess doesn't mean that the plausibility transfers to real life.

comment by GeeJo · 2012-04-05T08:40:18.168Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Considering that he was winning the war before making his untimely exit in the early 80s, this strategy seems overly complicated.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-05T09:53:16.355Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

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

Replies from: ArisKatsaris, Alsadius
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-05T12:08:12.430Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You seem to be doing the opposite than what the quote indicates, trying to find ways in which Voldemort supposedly benefitted, in order to present him as the person behind every ploy.

If Voldemort benefitted from his supposed defeat at the night of Godric's Hollow, we've not yet seen how.
If Voldemort benefitted from the burning of Narcissa Malfoy, we've not yet seen how.

You are following the exact opposite process than the quote indicates. Which may be okay, after all it's only one technique, not the ONLY possible technique, but nonetheless quoting it as an explanation for your reasoning seems misguided.

Replies from: thomblake, ChrisHallquist, Percent_Carbon
comment by thomblake · 2012-04-09T16:05:35.504Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

quoting it as an explanation for your reasoning seems misguided.

This line seems to have caused some confusion downthread. On Percent_Carbon's view, t's a very good explanation for the reasoning, in that it seems to have generated understanding of the reasoning.

Perhaps equivocating on 'explanation'?

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-10T05:41:47.480Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, I don't know about "very good." But it worked this time. I don't think that was a good way to do what I wanted done, though. So I'll probably not do that again.

Thanks for the defense, though.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-05T13:17:02.976Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Mostly agree with this comment, but it seems likely to me that HPMOR!Voldemort's intentions in going to Godric's Hollow were different than Canon!Voldemort's, given that HPMOR!Voldemort is a lot smarter than Canon!Voldemort.

I don't think similar reasoning applies to Narcissa's death, because it's less likely that Voldemort would have been able to foresee its effects.

Replies from: ArisKatsaris
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-05T13:23:27.923Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Mostly agree with this comment, but it seems likely to me that HPMOR!Voldemort's intentions in going to Godric's Hollow were different than Canon!Voldemort's, given that HPMOR!Voldemort is a lot smarter than Canon!Voldemort.

I agree with this. For that, and also for other reasons, I assign less than 20% probability that Voldemort went to Godric's Hollow for a purpose as simple as "attempt to kill baby Harry".

Replies from: ChrisHallquist
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-05T14:17:56.848Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh, but even Canon!Voldemort meant to make a Horcrux when he went to Godric's Hollow (or so speculated Dumbledore in book 6, IIRC). So I think there must have been more to it than even that.

Replies from: ArisKatsaris
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-05T16:33:52.189Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Canon!Dumbledore speculated that Voldemort was going to kill Harry, and then create his last Horcrux using that death -- but killing Harry was his primary purpose for going there; the fact that Voldemort also meant to make the last Horcrux at the time was incidental.

If you need further clarification about what I believe, I don't think HPMoR!Voldemort purposed to kill Harry at all that night - atleast not physically.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-05T12:21:45.278Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Seems to have worked, though. You understood. And if others wouldn't have then you've explained it.

Replies from: ArisKatsaris
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-05T12:25:30.274Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Seems to have worked, though. You understood.

I understand you're following false reasoning, so I don't know what "seems to have worked". I, for one, don't believe that it was Voldemort who killed Narcissa Malfoy.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-05T13:56:35.042Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I said something. You understood what I meant. You explained it pretty clearly, too.

In that post, and I guess in the next one and maybe even in this one, I am advocating that those 9 steps are accurately Voldemort's plan. But it is not important that I convince you, or anyone, that they are accurate. It is enough that I convince you to consider them. The theory's own merits and flaws will determine its fate.

So, yes. "Seems to have worked."

Replies from: TimS
comment by TimS · 2012-04-05T14:12:51.635Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Respectfully, discussion and debate are not consider successful if all you do is cause the other person to understand your position. If no one's position changes, something is wrong.

Replies from: Percent_Carbon
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-06T05:10:16.904Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Again, my goal is not to convince you or anyone else.

My goal is to test the speculated scenario. I advocate for it not because I want to convince others, but because it doesn't get much mileage on its own.

As it gets picked apart, I learn more about the the scenario itself, about the material it's built on, and about the speculative process.

Respectfully, it is silly to assume that no one's position is changing.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T17:39:23.878Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So Dumbledore was hiding behind a curtain, aced Voldemort, and carved a tasteful little scar into Harry's forehead? Because that seems to be the closest thing to a conclusion one can draw from that method as applied to Godric's Hollow.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-06T14:55:13.196Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd propose that he has a slightly different plan. I'm going to give you my pet theory here so hold onto your hats.

I think Quirrellmort probably decided at one point in the past that it would be way easier to take over magical Britain if everyone thought he'd already failed at doing so. I think he's probably going for control of both sides. Imagine if Darth Vader had created the rebel alliance in order to funnel potential opponents into a harmless straw-opposition: he could let them attempt the occasional coup, always avoiding any real cost to himself and throw them the occasional minor victory to keep them on the hook.

To quote the chapter Contagious Lies:

"Yess," Harry hissed dryly, "very amussing, I am ssure. Except now am sstuck in Hogwartss for next ssix years, for ssafety! I have decided that I will, indeed, sseek power; and confinement iss not helpful for that. Musst convince sschoolmasster that Dark Lord iss not yet awakened, that esscape was work of ssome other power -"

Again the rapid flickering of the snake's tongue; the snakish laughter was stronger, dryer, this time. "Amateur foolisshnesss."

"Pardon?" hissed Harry.

"You ssee misstake, think of undoing, ssetting time back to sstart. Yet not even with hourglasss can time be undone. Musst move forward insstead. You think of convincing otherss they are misstaken. Far eassier to convince them they are right. Sso conssider, boy: what new happensstance would make schoolmasster decide you were ssafe once more, ssimultaneoussly advance your other agendass?"

Harry stared at the snake, puzzled. His mind tried to comprehend and unravel the riddle -

"Iss it not obviouss?" hissed the snake. Again the tongue flickered sardonic laughter. "To free yoursself, to gain power in Britain, you musst again be sseen to defeat the Dark Lord."

That's obviously not the same plan I'm talking about, but we can see that Quirrell has at least been thinking along similar lines to me. I can see a number of different ways he could have formulated this plan, but the simplest one seems to be:

  • Set up evil organisation and make an attempt at taking the country over. Allow everyone to gauge your intelligence from your actions, and to form the strongest alliance they are capable of forming against you. Everyone's gauge of your intelligence will in fact be off by several points, since this isn't really your big ploy - it's actually a feint and you intend it to fail.
  • Fake your own defeat, simultaneously creating a (young, impressionable) hero for your opponents and removing yourself from all further suspicion, since almost everyone will think you're dead.
  • Become a role model to the aforementioned young hero and mould him to your will. The kid is in the perfect position to take over the leadership of your opposition, so you now effectively have control of both major players in the game.
  • Win.

This is also foregrounded in Coordination Problems 2 and 3. Quirrell wants Harry to bind the population together under him and Harry makes a short speech about the dangers of group thinking. Quirrell's reaction is one of anger - obviously he can't have Harry breaking the monopoly that the Order of the Phoenix has on do-gooding, because that opens the field up for thousands of free-agent challengers to Quirrell's power. It also mirrors Harry and Draco's plan to play the two sides off against each other, except obviously Harry is aiming for world optimisation, not domination.

Finally, Dumbledore seems to think Voldemort is still alive, but he's either pretending to have irrational justifications for this or he really does. I think it's waaaay more likely that Dumbledore is just playing dumb, since he's definitely smarter than he lets on, as evidenced by his and Snape's big discussion about the Bellatrix thing, but I'm not entirely sure how much Dumbly knows for sure. Quirrell knows Dumbledore acts as though he thinks Voldemort is still alive. The real wildcard is Harry, because Quirrell probably wasn't expecting him to be such a major agent in all this, he's almost certainly playing Xanatos chess at this point trying to keep ahead of Harry and keep his plan alive.

Or at least that's my theory.

Replies from: Desrtopa, jkwaser
comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-06T15:13:17.196Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If I were in Voldemort's shoes I definitely wouldn't want to stake decades of work on a plan that could be derailed by my "hero" simply dying in an accident, and that's disregarding all the ways he could fail to be properly impressionable.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-07T03:07:09.195Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think either of those represent a big risk to him. Consider that he knows this particular child will be under Dumbledore's constant care, and that Voldemort himself will always be available to step in and rescue the kid if there's a risk of him dying early. Obviously that doesn't lower the risk to zero, but it's still a big reduction. Also, remember that during the "grooming" phase of this plan it'll be an eleven-year-old against the most intelligent and insidious wizard in history: given what Voldemort did to Bellatrix it seems like he would be very confident of successfully being able to brainwash Harry.

So, the risk of Harry dying or being unbrainwashable seems low, but it also pays to consider that either contingency wouldn't stop the plan in it's tracks. If Harry dies (or has to be killed because he can't be brainwashed) there are a whole battalion of potential replacements who could emerge as the new posterboy for good - Neville being clearly at the top of the list. Harry is the >best< choice, but he isn't the only one.

I've actually cooled a little on this theory since the latest arc began because I think someone is clearly trying to turn Harry evil (see my theory from earlier in the thread). That said, I still think this would be a workable plan for attaining uncontested dark lordship.

Replies from: taelor, Desrtopa
comment by taelor · 2012-04-07T19:04:26.051Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Imagine if Darth Vader had created the rebel alliance in order to funnel potential opponents into a harmless straw-opposition: he could let them attempt the occasional coup, always avoiding any real cost to himself and throw them the occasional minor victory to keep them on the hook.

So, basically the plot of 1984.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-08T02:53:54.497Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh is THAT the plot of 1984? I never bothered to read it. In that case, yes, I guess.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-11T02:24:34.269Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Did I really just get down-voted for my taste in literature? I'm sure it's a very nice book and that you enjoyed it very much, Mr Down-voter, but I don't see how there's anything objectionable about it not appealing to me. I've been told before that I spend /too much/ time reading the classics so don't worry that my intellectual growth has suffered. I prefer Huxley to Orwell, although the former seems to have been a little touched, judging from his correspondences.

I know I'm new to the forum and all that, but I feel like that shouldn't be what the voting system is for. Surely in most circumstances up- and down- votes would be better used to indicate how /rational/ you think a post is, not how close to your own opinion it is. People's karma score shouldn't suffer just because their opinions differ from the majority. Anyway, regardless of what the actual forum guidelines are you'll only see me disliking arguments that display poor logic. On that note, consider that down-vote down-voted.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-11T03:40:38.142Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Downvoted the grandparent comment just now for pointlessness (I wasn't the original offender). It adds nothing to the discussion, and I generally downvote comments that I'd rather didn't exist.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-11T04:19:36.393Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I retract my criticism, I hadn't considered that utility.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-07T19:38:14.042Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Voldemort won't always be able to step in and rescue him, he doesn't have him under constant tabs, it's not like he'd instantly know if something bad were about to happen to him.

There are other ways aside from being oppositional that Harry could have failed to be properly impressionable. For instance, he could have been extremely stupid (there would be no way to tell when he was a baby,) and it would have been impossible to set him up as a figurehead leader because he was too obviously incompetent.

In Voldemort's place, I would never attempt a plan like this, because the odds of success, even at their best, do not justify sinking a couple of decades into its execution. Given the same amount of time, I'd expect him to be able to take over the country several times over. I could probably take over the country several times over in his place, given the same level of power along with an outside perspective on wizarding society, and I don't think I'm as good at plotting as Quirrelmort.

I'm betting on what happened with Harry not being intentional, because, for all the ways that one can postulate that the events that followed benefited Quirrelmort, I think the fact that he lost his body, much of his power, all his servants, and a decade of time, should shift our prior considerably away from whatever happened that night being deliberate.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-08T02:40:21.482Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Again, I've cooled on this theory myself, so I think I probably agree with you in the broad sense that I don't think this is exactly what happened. I'm still going to argue a few of the points you made though, because if we share an opinion but disagree on the justifications for it I still think that's a disagreement we should try to heal. Better to be justified but coincidentally wrong than unjustified but coincidentally right, right?

Anyway, I agree with your first point. remember that I said:

Obviously that doesn't lower the risk to zero, but it's still a big reduction.

So what I'm saying is, having Voldemort hanging around in the wings won't save you from everything, but it certainly won't hurt your chances of survival. There's nothing to say Voldemort hasn't done little things to increase Harry's survival like magically lower the risk of lightning strikes in Surrey. Wizards are more durable than muggles AND Harry also has Dumbledore's protection AND there's no absolute reason Voldemort has to use /Harry/ as his posterboy for good - he's just the best available choice. So I don't think the risk of Harry dying unexpectedly is great enough to invalidate this plan, although I do agree that it would be inconvenient if it happened.

Your second point, on the other hand, I have to disagree with prima facie. The wizarding world in general has no problem taking idiots as leaders - look at Fudge. If anything, a stupid figurehead would be BETTER, because it would give Quirrelmort more control. The only thing I can see being a barrier here is if Harry had some obvious, crippling mental condition. That sort of thing, though, WOULD have been obvious from a young age and as I've said, in that case he can tragically kill off Harry in such a way that Neville becomes the new posterboy. So again, whilst there is a risk here it is low, manageable and avoidable. I don't think it's enough to rule out this plan.

Your third argument. I've discussed the odds of success already, but I think the effort and time involved is an important point. You're absolutely right that Voldemort could have taken the whole country over several times by now - he was winning when he disappeared, after all. The difference, though, is that before Voldemort would have had control over a broken, wretched country and a whole generation of wizards who had no goal except vengeance. On the other hand, if he fakes his own death at the eleventh hour, lets the goodies think they've won and then takes them over from the inside eleven years later, he now has control over a strong, united country AND their opposition. He's unopposed because he controls both sides. I had only heard the term "super villain gambit" when I came up with this theory, but having read the article here on LW since I think you'll be able to see the utility in this ploy. I think it's worth ten extra years.

Finally, I should point out that I'm theorising he FAKED the Godric's Hollow scene. If this is what happened then Voldemort wouldn't have been hit by a rebounding curse that night and wouldn't have lost his body or his power. Harry's scar would have been intentionally created to mark him as the storybook hero everyone wanted and Harry would have been intentionally made a horcrux to in order to keep tabs on him. Also, in cannon horcruxes are close to indestructible: if this carries over in some form then it would be a good way to keep Harry safe.

To reiterate: I now doubt that this is what happened, because it looks like someone is trying to turn Harry evil.

Replies from: Desrtopa
comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-08T03:11:12.683Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Your second point, on the other hand, I have to disagree with prima facie. The wizarding world in general has no problem taking idiots as leaders - look at Fudge. If anything, a stupid figurehead would be BETTER, because it would give Quirrelmort more control.

Fudge isn't particularly stupid, he's just not particularly smart. He occupies a position of nominal power with significantly more competent people maneuvering around him, so he looks dim by comparison.

A not-very-bright figurehead would probably be better than a very clever one, but a legitimate dimwit, someone significantly less intelligent than average, not merely about average, would be very unlikely to make it into high office.

It's possible that Voldemort faked the Godric's hollow scene, but I seriously doubt it; real or fake it took too much time and resources for too little return for me to think it's likely.

comment by jkwaser · 2012-04-11T09:32:14.235Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Imagine if Darth Vader had created the rebel alliance in order to funnel potential opponents into a harmless straw-opposition: he could let them attempt the occasional coup, always avoiding any real cost to himself and throw them the occasional minor victory to keep them on the hook.

According to the (admittedly non-canon) game The Force Unleashed, this is the original source of the Rebellion.

Replies from: MartinB
comment by MartinB · 2012-04-11T15:25:24.945Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Something like this was done in the book ''Hair carpet" by German author Andreas Eschbach. Readworthy. I think it is generally wise to found the opposition by oneself. The government in 1984 did it as well.

comment by major · 2012-04-05T13:10:01.349Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Care to elaborate? 'Interesting' is a word with many connotations.

Replies from: buybuydandavis
comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-08T23:12:05.561Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You got downvoted for a request for an elaboration? I just don't know what people are thinking sometimes with their downvotes.

I found it interesting because it was out of character for the usual Evil Dark Overlord, who is generally portrayed as wanting violence for the sake of violence and terror, or at least willing to match you death for death.

It's almost as if his goal was to push Dumbledore's side into doing/supporting something horrible. Having accomplished that with minimal losses, he stopped. I can see that as making a lot of strategic sense. It would solidify the resolve of his side - and Malfoy in particular - but wouldn't get into an escalation that he was sure to lose, given the numbers on Dumbledore's side.

Interesting also that much the same happened to Harry. Malfoy was after revenge against Hermione, not capitulation to blackmail from Harry. But from Harry's perspective with respect to the magical government and Dumbledore, it would have been much the same result if Harry hadn't paid off Malfoy. Instead of Narcissa tortured to death by the forces of "Good", it would have been Hermione.

comment by LucasSloan · 2012-04-04T03:10:28.027Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

How much of the cost of saving Hermione was announcing that Harry responds to blackmail? He made his entrance onto the stage of players in a way that cannot endear him to any of the others. No matter what he did, he would antagonize Lucius, but he demonstrated an extreme disrespect for the rules of the game and preserving the existing order is in the interests of all the players. Not to mention, he implicitly declared challenge to the ministry of magic. If he actually had the power that Lucius believes he does, he might get away with that, but he cannot survive for long against the Aurors. As it stands all that is keeping him safe is Dumbledore, shock and bluff.

I rather expect the first of those to disappear sometime in the story. I have no idea how General Chaos can develop an ultimate weapon powerful enough to stand off the nation of Britain.

On the other side of the coin, Hermione is extremely valuable. She's almost the 1st or 2nd best duelist in 1st year and her aid probably doubles Harry's ability to do research on magic. Unfortunately for Harry, while those skills would be decisive if he could go hide and research for a few years, I doubt that he'll get the time.

Replies from: thelittledoctor, shminux
comment by thelittledoctor · 2012-04-04T06:51:51.287Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, if his trick for deactivating other wizards' patronuses (patronii?) works, he basically has an unblockable army of instant-death assassins, the only defense against which would be Apparition... That's a pretty good ultimate weapon in a Mutually Assured Destruction sense. And as long as we're discussing mutually assured destruction, there seems little doubt that Harry would be able to transfigure nuclear weaponry. Or botulinum toxin (of which it would take an appallingly small amount to kill every human on Earth). Etc, etc. Harry does not lack for access to Ultimate Weapons.

Replies from: LucasSloan, CronoDAS
comment by LucasSloan · 2012-04-04T07:03:28.196Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

He does have the ability to turn the world into a lake of fire, true. All powerful wizards have this ability and it is implied that every magical power in the world would turn against him if he tried anything that foolish. He has a giant hammer which he dare not use, if only because he's not evil. Also, he is still amazingly vulnerable to almost any adult wizard who wishes him ill - powerful weaponry doesn't imply a powerful defense. He might have been able to assassinate every member of the Wizengamot, but I doubt he would have survived the attempt. If it comes to open warfare he's toast, and his stunt made it much more likely that someone would decide he had stepped over the threshold of open warfare. He's safe for now at Hogwarts, but it was still stupid.

The first item was "I will not go around provoking strong, vicious enemies"

Good advice, and advice Harry failed to follow.

Replies from: cultureulterior, Xachariah
comment by cultureulterior · 2012-04-09T15:31:21.901Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

All powerful wizards have this ability and it is implied that every magical power in the world would turn against him if he tried anything that foolish.

I've always felt that that was peculiar. Iraq used chemical weapons and no-one cared in the least.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-04-06T06:48:16.916Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also, he is still amazingly vulnerable to almost any adult wizard who wishes him ill - powerful weaponry doesn't imply a powerful defense.

If he were to go nuclear, his perfect offense would be his perfect defense. If he truly wanted to end the world, he'd cancel the world's patronii, seize the wizengamot with the entirety of the world's dementors, and tell half a dozen of them to go out and replicate until they turned the planet to dust. Nobody could come in because they'd be toast without the presence of a patronus, they couldn't nuke the building from the outside, and dementors are an unstoppable weapon that reproduce like Von Neumann machines. Hell, even if people obliviated each other to be able to recast the patronus charm, without Patronus 2.0, dementors could just replicate off the muggle population until they could overwhelm any defense.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-06T06:54:36.377Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Since when do Dementors reproduce?

Replies from: Xachariah
comment by Xachariah · 2012-04-06T07:07:41.254Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Assuming it's not different from canon, they do so in book six. It's not really clear how they reproduce, but they were spreading all over England, reproducing and spreading mist and despair.

Presumably they disappear somehow (old age?) as well, since Harry isn't asking them questions from the days of Atlantis. We know that they existed at least as far back as the founders' days, and he's also not pumping them for info about magic from Lord Foul / the Founders. I still operate on the idea that things are unchanged from canon unless explicitly mentioned. Plus I can't imagine hundreds of idiots summoning dementors and nobody figuring out that they're the manifestation of death.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-06T07:19:11.086Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Presumably they disappear somehow (old age?) as well,

Do I really need to quote the bit where Quirrell talks about how they are "undying"? I rather highly doubt that the shadows of Death die of old age.

since Harry isn't asking them questions from the days of Atlantis. We know that they existed at least as far back as the founders' days, and he's also not pumping them for info about magic from

Harry can't hear them speak. He doesn't even think they have anything like minds or memories, either.

Plus I can't imagine hundreds of idiots summoning dementors and nobody figuring out that they're the manifestation of death.

Do we have any indication that more than one person has performed the ritual to summon them? Maybe all the Dementors that exist today were created by one madman in Atlantis.

Edit: Or, here's a thought: suppose some incautious Dark Wizard performs the ritual to summon Death. The end result of which is - oops! - he's suddenly face-to-nothingness with a Dementor. In all likelihood the thing's first instinct is to give him a big ol' smooch in gratitude.

comment by CronoDAS · 2012-04-04T06:56:17.585Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A lethal dose of botulinum toxin is indeed tiny; using it as an Ultimate Weapon, though, requires a delivery system.

Replies from: JenniferRM
comment by JenniferRM · 2012-04-04T16:34:08.575Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Which is also easy with magic.

Replies from: CronoDAS
comment by CronoDAS · 2012-04-04T20:37:53.563Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Probably; magic makes everything easier, but you still have to find a way to get the people you want to eat it, inhale it, or get it into their bloodstream, and the Harry Potter world isn't defined well enough to give an obvious way to distribute it in such a way that, say, wearing a gas mask and only eating thoroughly cooked food wouldn't defeat.

Replies from: wedrifid
comment by wedrifid · 2012-04-05T01:50:21.730Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

and the Harry Potter world isn't defined well enough to give an obvious way to distribute it in such a way that, say, wearing a gas mask and only eating thoroughly cooked food wouldn't defeat.

Gas mask? That doesn't defeat the most obvious distribution mechanism: transfiguration into oxygen or nitrogen. But of course this would require an actual source of botox. If trying to use transfiguration as an ultimate weapon purely in the sense of 'creating stuff for free' (rather than untransfiguring stuff inside folks) it would be far simpler to transfigure something into radioactive isotopes of common airborne gasses. Oxygen-15 seems like it has a half-life in the right ballpark.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T05:13:09.524Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or just transmute cyanide into oxygen. Or their face into cyanide.

Replies from: wedrifid
comment by wedrifid · 2012-04-05T09:53:12.678Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or just transmute cyanide into oxygen.

I think we have well and truly established that the untransmute-from-gas-hack constitutes a superweapon - whether you use botox, cyanide or rocks. The context, however, was exploring the possibility of using tranmutation itself (without untransmutation) to create powerful weapons (such as botox). Whether the poison you consider is botox or cyanide you can either use transmutation to create it or transmutation to deliver it past the gas masks but not both. In that context the task is to create a lethal substance that can be devilvered easily.

Or their face into cyanide.

If only time travel wasn't limited to 6 hours. Then the natural improvement would have been "Or their mom's face into cyanide". As it happens, though, we are left with considering "transmute their face into cyanide" as a line of sight attack spell. But as Quirrell's explained in his first battle magic class the best spell for that role is pretty much always avada kedavra.

Replies from: Alsadius, pedanterrific
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T17:18:10.677Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Except that can be dodged. How do you dodge transmutation? It's been established that it has been used in combat by an expert duelist(albeit incredibly dangerously), so I'd wager that it's not without use.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-05T17:47:16.873Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

How do you dodge transfiguration?

You make sure your opponent doesn't touch you with his wand.

Replies from: cultureulterior, Alsadius
comment by cultureulterior · 2012-04-06T12:07:45.003Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You transfigure (a one atom line in the air to the person and his face) to cyanide.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-06T17:24:20.616Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry can do partial transfiguration; he can't transfigure gases.

Replies from: cultureulterior
comment by cultureulterior · 2012-04-09T15:43:45.117Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I guess you're right, even though there's no reason for that limitation either, given how the physics of transfiguration works- e.g is there really a difference between the electron clouds in a metal and clouds of gas.

Anyway, he can transfigure through the ground, up through a leg, and to the face.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T18:59:21.082Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Huh, somehow I missed that restriction.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-05T19:14:16.079Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

wedrifid did it first.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-05T17:49:51.401Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As it happens, though, we are left with considering "transmute their face into cyanide" as a line of sight attack spell.

Do we have any examples of transfiguration occurring without wand contact?

comment by shminux · 2012-04-04T03:57:45.595Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There was no explicit blackmail, was there?

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-04T03:42:18.437Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This should probably also be the discussion thread for tomorrow's Chapter 83.

comment by mtaran · 2012-04-04T03:05:51.374Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

HP:MoR 82

The two of them did not speak for a time, looking at each other; as though all they had to speak could be said only by stares, and not said in any other way.

Wizard People, Dear Readers

He gives up on using his words and tries to communicate with only his eyes. Oh, how they bulge and struggle to convey unthinkable meaning!

Was there any inspiration?

Replies from: JenniferRM, RomeoStevens
comment by JenniferRM · 2012-04-04T16:14:19.321Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

For others who didn't catch the allusion, and didn't notice the googlepation, here is the relevant "movie".

comment by RomeoStevens · 2012-04-05T02:57:57.206Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

HA I love that I read that in Neely's voice.

comment by smk · 2012-04-04T21:08:45.999Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So Draco will have to build political power without the benefit of growing up in Slytherin. I wonder if Lucius will try to influence other families to pull their kids out of Hogwarts too?

Replies from: LucasSloan, buybuydandavis
comment by LucasSloan · 2012-04-05T01:40:25.308Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, almost certainly Crabbe and Goyle are pulling out too.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-05T06:33:39.988Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

For a time. He's young, though, and Lucius probably plans to do something about Harry (and perhaps Hermione) in the near future. Once they're out of the way, no reason that Draco couldn't come back.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-04-04T04:24:57.878Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

... So.

Prediction, since I can't be bothered to put it on predictionbook: Harry will apologize by sending Dumbles a list of people versus Galleons - an implicit admission of a mistake.

Replies from: FAWS, NihilCredo, linkhyrule5, Benquo, TraderJoe
comment by FAWS · 2012-04-04T14:19:14.345Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If he apologizes he'll probably either do it in person or in a similar way to last time, when he apologized for being unfair after Fawkes started shouting via Flitwick.

One major problem with such a list is that he currently doesn't know how difficult it would be to earn more money.

comment by NihilCredo · 2012-04-04T13:36:24.431Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm going to dismiss this hypothesis because I don't think Eliezer would be happy to have HPMoR's discussion threads taken over by the inevitable "How many Galleons is Person X worth?" disputes.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-04-04T04:25:19.074Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Derp. Probability 10%, because it seems a little OOC.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-04T04:29:03.441Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What's the total probability that Harry will apologize, then?

Replies from: linkhyrule5
comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-04-04T04:32:15.950Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

... 11%.. If he does apologize, I can't imagine him doing it any other way. (Particularly not just saying "Sorry.")

Replies from: ArisKatsaris, None, ChrisHallquist
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-04T12:28:29.318Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is absurd: You thought up a detailed scenario, and you assign it ten times more probability than all other alternative scenarios of apologies put together:

  • Harry apologizes in person
  • Harry apologizes in writing (but without making a list of people versus Galleons)
  • Harry apologizes through an intermediary (e.g. "Professor McGonaggal, please tell the Headmaster I'm sorry for the things I said", or "Fawkes, give Albus a hug for me.")
  • Harry apologizes indirectly by defending Dumbledore's actions in public to Hermione's classmates.
  • Harry apologizes through an elaborate prank that utilizes the Time Turner, the True Cloak of Invisibility, and exploding birthday cake.

Etc, etc...

Replies from: Paulovsk
comment by Paulovsk · 2012-04-04T14:44:03.015Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry apologizes through an elaborate prank that utilizes the Time Turner, the True Cloak of Invisibility, and exploding birthday cake.

I laughed so hard that it hurt.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-04T04:51:00.550Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One thing I learned from the Imperius debt experience is that this sort of impression can be misleading.

I thought that the possibility of Harry bringing up the Imperius debt was unlikely because it seemed like one of those crack fic ideas and the story so far was very much unlike those. What I failed to consider was that a lot of my impression of the plausibility of the story depends on the external details surrounding it: the writing style, Harry's internal thoughts, the reactions of the other characters, and so on. It was somehow a lot easier for me to come up with such details for other ideas, and so I thought they were much more likely.

Similarly, here, the "Send Dumbledore a conversion table" idea is already a Harry-like thing to do as stated, so it's easy to imagine in a story (it seems a little OOC, but not significantly so). "Just say he's sorry" is not a Harry-like thing to do at all, it's a very generic thing to do. So you don't imagine it being in the story.

But it's easy to wrap the plot feature of Harry just saying he's sorry in believable detail. Have him approach the table while angsting about some psychological experiment related to apologizing. Maybe have him start talking like a book for a minute and then stop and say "So, I guess, what I'm trying to say is... I'm sorry." Have Dumbledore put on a penitent, yet wise and understanding expression and say a Dumbledore thing. Now it's much easier to imagine, isn't it?

Edit: Or let's go the other way. You are, in particular, saying that Harry is ten times as likely to apologize to Dumbledore in writing as he is in person. Stated that way, does it strike you as plausible?

Replies from: linkhyrule5
comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-04-04T05:31:45.003Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sadly, yes, it does. I could see him apologizing in person, yes... maybe your scenario brings it up to 10 and 3 - three times as likely. But it still seems that apologizing through writing is much more likely.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-04T13:02:06.105Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry knows he was wrong. His commitment to rationality and honesty might be enough to make him apologize. Most likely way he'll apologize, IMHO, is just tell Dumbledore what he was thinking, and why he realizes Dumbledore was right. However, the "Human beings can't live like that" line suggests Harry's inner conflict might keep him from apologizing.

comment by Benquo · 2012-04-04T15:59:47.383Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is related, and is a good way to become smarter about taboo tradeoffs too:

Making Big Decisions about Money

comment by TraderJoe · 2012-04-04T09:57:15.011Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

[comment deleted]

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-05T05:30:51.572Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore is the strongest piece the Light has, bar Potter himself(and he's higher only due to prophecy). Emptying the vaults for Albus would probably be a good trade.

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-09T08:42:43.769Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd like to give an updated version of my thinking about the Night of Godric's Hollow:

1) The official story requires Avada Kedavra to behave in very funny ways against a love shield (a normally invisible kill turning a body into a burnt crisp.) Furthermore, as far as I can tell, the only way it can be known to be true is if someone cast prior incantum on Voldemort's wand. Which seems unlikely, because Bellatrix snatched it (See Ch. 53).

2) This indicates the good guys are lying or deceived. Possible reasons

a) Godric's Hollow was a trap laid by the good guys, who don't want to reveal their methods, so they made up a story about how it happened to fool the Death Eaters. Unlikely, because if they had, they probably would have prevented Bellatrix from getting Voldemort's wand.

b) Voldemort faked his death. The good guys showed up, noticed they were confused, and figured Voldemort had just executed some inscrutable plot. They make up a story to prevent a panic.

c) Voldemort faked his death. Bellatrix switched a look-alike wand that had, recently, only been used to cast Avada Kedavra, fooling the good guys.

"Voldemort faked his death" is also supported by what we know of his intelligence.

The question is why did Voldemort fake his death? Everything we know about Eliezer's philosophy in this story suggests Voldemort should not have tried a plot that was more complicated than necessary. And it doesn't seem like this plot is necessary. The evidence we have indicates Voldemort was winning the war. So thus far, no theory I've seen for why he would do that looks convincing.

But perhaps, contrary to what we've been led to believe, Voldemort realized he would not win the war if he kept fighting it in a straightforward manner?

Replies from: Danylo, Alsadius, 75th, rdb
comment by Danylo · 2012-04-11T03:04:45.951Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Assume for a moment that Quirelll was being honest with Hermione, in a twisted way. He was the hero and he invented Voldemort in order to defeat Voldemort. He then realized that being a hero wasn't working out for him, so he went away, but unlike his Riddle persona, Voldemort would continue to be hunted, so he had to fake his death.

Replies from: ChrisHallquist
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-11T05:00:50.191Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just back from reading the new chapter, and assumed it without a second thought when I read that scene.

[Editing rest of comment to put it in rot13, because I don't want to spoil chapter 84 for anyone who hasn't read it. May be unnecessary, but I'm erring on the side of caution.]

Nyfb nffhzvat gung Gbz Evqqyr vf jub Nzryvn Obarf fhfcrpgf Dhveeryy gb or. Nyfb nffhzvat gung Gbz Evqqyr vf jub Nzryvn Obarf fhfcrpgf Dhveeryy gb or. Ohg nppbeqvat gb Obarf, Evqqyr qvfnccrnerq va 1973, jurernf gur Avtug bs Tbqevp'f Ubyybj jnf va 1981. Gung fhttrfgf gung "V... jrag bss gb qb fbzrguvat ryfr V sbhaq zber cyrnfnag" ersref gb gnxvat hc gur Qnex Ybeq tvt va rnearfg.

Bu Tbq. V whfg unq n greevslvat gubhtug. Jung vs ur qvfcbfrq bs gur Ibyqrzbeg crefban sbe ab bgure ernfba guna gung vg fgbccrq orvat sha?

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-11T05:06:27.977Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also assuming that Tom Riddle is who Amelia Bones suspects Quirrell to be.

Extremely unlikely. Dumbledore, Snape, McGonagall and Moody at a minimum know that Riddle = Voldemort; there would be no reason not to inform Amelia of this. Also, I'm pretty sure Dumbledore always knew Riddle = Voldemort- he wouldn't be foolish enough to use his real name for his hero persona.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-09T20:49:26.065Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

2b seems unlikely given Harry's memory of the night matching the official line. Did Dumbledore do a FMC on baby Harry?

Also, remember that for someone with Horcruxes, one can de facto fake one's own death by actually dying and waiting for the resurrection. There's no particular need to assume that he survived that night in the traditional sense of the word.

Replies from: ChrisHallquist, gwern, malthrin
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-09T22:42:12.232Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But Harry's memory didn't include Voldemort casting Avada Kedavra on Harry. That memory is neutral WRT the "rebounded Avada Kedavra" hypothesis.

Also, no part of a rebuttal to your comment, but re-reading the scene, what's with this line?:

And the boy in the crib saw it, the eyes, those two crimson eyes, seeming to glow bright red, to blaze like miniature suns, filling Harry's whole vision as they locked to his own -

Replies from: staticIP, bogdanb
comment by staticIP · 2012-04-11T04:02:10.853Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

they locked to his own

legilimency of some sort? or simply dramatic license. I don't remember any example of that particular action being pointed out that wasn't leglimency.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-11T04:06:58.027Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In canon? In MoR eye-contact has happened a bunch of times since Harry got good enough to detect Legilimency, it's just been the usual dramatic device.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-09T23:21:11.537Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Didn't Moaning Myrtle recount something similar about her own death in canon, in which the glowing eyes were the Basilisk's?

It'd be funny if the rock Dumbledore gives Harry were actually a piece of petrified: a) James (and Dumbledore knows) b) Voldemort (and he doesn't) c) Harry himself (and the scenario for that would be ridiculous).

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-10T00:29:31.181Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "your father's rock", doesn't it?

comment by gwern · 2012-04-09T21:12:45.461Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Did Dumbledore do a FMC on baby Harry?

A FMC is described as completely envisioned and controlled by the caster, putting as much time into it as the memory covers; so Dumbledore in FMCing a baby Harry is choosing every detail of the scene. Given that... why would Dumbledore direct a scene like Harry recollects? It has several oddities which reduce its value as a 'you killed my parents! In the name of the Moon, I will punish you!' memory.

comment by malthrin · 2012-04-09T21:05:31.355Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This memory?

Into the vacuum rose the memory, the worst memory, something forgotten so long ago that the neural patterns shouldn't have still existed.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-09T21:42:03.551Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's the one. It certainly came from somewhere - IIRC, it's got details he wasn't told that have been confirmed, which means that it's not an internally-generated false memory. So either it's real, or it's been implanted by someone familiar with the tale.

Replies from: gjm
comment by gjm · 2012-04-09T22:02:23.371Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or he imagined it and merely believed it to be a memory.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-10T00:28:44.324Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

IIRC, it's got details he wasn't told that have been confirmed, which means that it's not an internally-generated false memory.

My memory may be in error on this point, but I did consider your hypothesis and explicitly reject it.

Replies from: gjm
comment by gjm · 2012-04-10T18:25:29.304Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps one of the at-least-two people who downvoted me would like to tell me what these details are that make it impossible for the memory to have been internally generated.

So far, all I can come up with is this: on the basis of Voldemort's mild reluctance to kill his mother in this memory, Harry deduced (via a rather tenuous chain of reasoning) that Dumbledore told Snape about the prophecy, and when he confronted McGonagall with this she behaved in a manner consistent with what he deduced. This doesn't seem all that conclusive to me. What am I missing?

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-10T19:20:31.875Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This doesn't seem all that conclusive to me.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that events did not happen as Harry deduced them. In canon, Snape overheard the prophecy being given. This seems to match up with what Snape says in the chapter formerly known as 77:

I thought I had merely happened to overhear it, when in truth it was I who was overheard.

Therefore I suggest that Dumbledore did not tell Snape about the prophecy. I'm not sure why or how McGonagall knows: possibly, in a departure from canon, she was conducting Trelawney's interview instead of Dumbledore himself.

The beginning of Harry's line of reasoning is that Voldemort was not terribly eager to kill Lily Potter. This seems likely to be true, but is also not indicative of anything. It's a mildly strange thing to imagine, but we imagine strange things all the time.

Quirrell suggests that Harry can see Thestrals due to his memory of that night, which would suggest that it's a true memory. But Harry seems to think that he saw the Thestrals because he has realized that Dementors are death, so that he has "seen death and comprehended it" in a more literal sense.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-10T19:32:16.577Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not sure why or how McGonagall knows: possibly, in a departure from canon, she was conducting Trelawneys' interview instead of Dumbledore himself.

Yep:

The old wizard's face turned grave. "The same reason it must be kept secret, Minerva. The same reason I told you to come to me, if Harry made any such claim. Because it is a power that Voldemort knows not."

The words took a few seconds to sink in.

And then the cold shiver went down her spine, as it always did when she remembered.

It had started out as an ordinary job interview, Sybill Trelawney applying for the position of Professor of Divination.

[Snip prophecy]

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

"Perhaps not, then," Dumbledore said after Minerva tried to explain. [...]

comment by 75th · 2012-04-10T00:01:50.199Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Your suggestions are based on a faulty premise. Even in canon, Avada Kedavra has varying effects. Usually it causes an instant, silent death. At the end of Half-Blood Prince, it blows Dumbledore's body over a railing and off the tower. In Godric's Hollow, the rebounded Killing Curse exploded the upstairs of a house, and we never actually hear what happened to Voldemort's body.

I don't think we're necessarily meant to suspect something amiss here; I think Eliezer just filled in a blank that was left open in the novels.

And I also don't necessarily think a "love shield" is what's involved in this story. In canon, Lily's nonviolent sacrifice is what protected Harry. Eliezer presumably doesn't believe that attempting to defend yourself makes your sacrifice any less noble, so it's probably something different here. I think the likely story in MoR is that when Voldemort sarcastically said "I accept the bargain, yourself to die and the child to live", he accidentally created a magically binding oath.

Replies from: ChrisHallquist, TheOtherDave
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-10T02:04:44.502Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"The Dark Lord came to Godric's Hollow," said McGonagall in a whisper. "You should have been hidden, but you were betrayed. The Dark Lord killed James, and he killed Lily, and he came in the end to you, to your crib. He cast the Killing Curse at you. And that was where it ended. The Killing Curse is formed of pure hate, and strikes directly at the soul, severing it from the body. It cannot be blocked. The only defense is not to be there. But you survived. You are the only person ever to survive. The Killing Curse reflected and rebounded and struck the Dark Lord, leaving only the burnt hulk of his body and a scar on your forehead. That was the end of the terror, and we were free. That, Harry Potter, is why people want to see the scar on your forehead, and why they want to shake your hand."

The storm of weeping that had washed through Harry had used up all his tears; he could not cry again, he was done.

(And somewhere in the back of his mind was a small, small note of confusion, a sense of something wrong about that story; and it should have been a part of Harry's art to notice that tiny note, but he was distracted. For it is a sad rule that whenever you are most in need of your art as a rationalist, that is when you are most likely to forget it.)

I actually think the clearest clue here is probably the "but how does anyone know that's what happened?" problem. Other problems: reference to souls, bizarre behavior of the killing curse, total lack of explanation for why a totally reliable spell backfired so spectacularly. But Eliezer has pretty much told us that something is wrong with the story.

Replies from: 75th
comment by 75th · 2012-04-10T03:55:09.112Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, but we saw the actual event in Humanism, part 1. We saw it right up until the moment Voldemort cast the Killing Curse. The "small, small note of confusion" refers to what Harry realized much later: "Dark Lords were not usually scared of infant children." The confusion was about the reason Voldemort was so intent on killing Harry in the first place.

The reference to souls is simply because that's what Dumbledore believes, not because of any plot. Yes, the Killing Curse behaved bizarrely, but we're supposed to think "Why did it behave bizarrely?", not "That must be a lie!", especially given that it sometimes behaved bizarrely in canon.

If "Eliezer has pretty much told us that something is wrong with the story" and we don't know what it is, that means he lied to us in Chapter 43.

Replies from: ChrisHallquist, ArisKatsaris
comment by ChrisHallquist · 2012-04-10T04:40:53.780Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thank you for quoting the bit in chapter 46. I had forgotten it, and it is worth taking into account. But in context, I don't think it shows what you think it does:

Lord Voldemort had killed James Potter. He had preferred to spare Lily Potter's life. He had continued his attack, therefore, with the sole purpose of killing their infant child.

Dark Lords were not usually scared of infant children.

So prior to recovering that memory, Harry didn't have nearly as much reason to think Voldemort had been afraid of him. In Ch. 3, for all Harry knew Voldemort was just the sort of person who would murder his enemies' children given the opportunity, and he would have been largely correct to think that.

But it seems Harry's inference that Voldemort meant to kill him may not be as safe as Harry assumes. It is equally consistent with everything Harry notices to think that Voldemort meant to do something else to Harry. Consider this part:

"I give you this rare chance to flee," said the shrill voice. "But I will not trouble myself to subdue you, and your death here will not save your child. Step aside, foolish woman, if you have any sense in you at all!"

"Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead!"

The empty thing that was Harry wondered if Lily Potter seriously imagined that Lord Voldemort would say yes, kill her, and then depart leaving her son unharmed.

"Very well," said the voice of death, now sounding coldly amused, "I accept the bargain. Yourself to die, and the child to live. Now drop your wand so that I can murder you."

Suppose Voldemort meant to do something else to Harry other than kill him, and that he succeeded in doing whatever he meant to do. If so, "your death here will not save your child" would turn out to be true. In that case, perhaps what amused Voldemort was realizing that Lily had misunderstood what he was going to do to Harry, and that she had offered up her life to prevent something that was not going to happen anyway. In that case, "Yourself to die, and the child to live" also reflects Voldemort's true intentions.

At this point, it looks to me very much like Voldemort somehow decided killing baby Harry was not the right response to the prophecy. The prophecy looks like a key clue here; probably Voldemort wouldn't have bothered with such a complicated plot as he appears to be pursuing without the prophecy. But what thought process led to that plot?

Replies from: BarbaraB
comment by BarbaraB · 2012-04-12T08:29:49.017Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Chris Hallquist wrote: "Suppose Voldemort meant to do something else to Harry other than kill him, and that he succeeded in doing whatever he meant to do. If so, "your death here will not save your child" would turn out to be true. In that case, perhaps what amused Voldemort was realizing that Lily had misunderstood what he was going to do to Harry, and that she had offered up her life to prevent something that was not going to happen anyway. In that case, "Yourself to die, and the child to live" also reflects Voldemort's true intentions."

That makes sense. Maybe all he wanted was to turn Harry into a horcrux, and suceeded. Since creating horcruxes requires killing someone, killing James Potter was a convenient horcrux-energy source, while killing Lily could be an extra, but unnecessary bonus.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-10T18:02:34.363Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

We saw it right up until the moment Voldemort cast the Killing Curse

You're misremembering the chapter, that scene ends like this:

And the boy in the crib saw it, the eyes, those two crimson eyes, seeming to glow bright red, to blaze like miniature suns, filling Harry's whole vision as they locked to his own -

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-04-10T00:08:58.675Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

An experienced mage making an unforced error of that magnitude sounds an awful lot like the Idiot Ball to me.

Replies from: 75th
comment by 75th · 2012-04-10T03:57:00.454Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Held the Idiot Ball" does not mean "made a large mistake". It means "behaved implausibly stupidly so as to cheaply advance the plot". If Voldemort could never make significant mistakes then Harry could never defeat him.

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-04-10T12:57:50.767Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree with you about what "Held the Idiot Ball" means.

I evidently disagree with you about how implausibly stupid it is for Voldemort to accidentally, for no apparent reason, magically bind himself to the infant Harry in the middle of a fight.

Or do you imagine this to be a thing that happens a lot when wizards fight, such that it happening in this case is plausible?

Replies from: 75th
comment by 75th · 2012-04-10T16:55:35.579Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think it happens a lot, because I don't think such ironic offers are made very often. The reason for Voldemort to say what he said was to be prideful and cruel, to make Lily feel how futile her sacrifice would be. In the heat of the moment, in his cruelty, he might not have thought of the magical significance of verbally accepting such a bargain. If indeed this theory is correct, his first fall was a result of his hubris, which fits his character well; and it also fits his character well for him to have learned from it and to not make the same mistake again in the future.

I'm not married to this theory. I'd put it at maybe 50% or 55% confidence? But it seems clear to me that Voldemort made some large mistake that night, because no explanation I've seen for Voldemort willingly stopping his war in 1981 holds any water at all.

Replies from: ArisKatsaris
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-10T18:01:08.130Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But it seems clear to me that Voldemort made some large mistake that night, because no explanation I've seen for Voldemort willingly stopping his war in 1981 holds any water at all.

Still... one of the very first lessons of Quirrel was about pretending to lose when that gained you more than fighting would.

Granted that Voldemort back then was seen to be winning. But he was winning a war we still don't know his motivations for starting in the first place...

because no explanation I've seen for Voldemort willingly stopping his war in 1981 holds any water at all.

True, no explanation offered so far explains it convincingly, but I don't see the idea that an Avada Kedavra bounced off a baby holding any water either.

comment by rdb · 2012-04-10T13:10:24.151Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

2d) Something Voldemort didn't expect. If Slytherin's Monster transferred it's secrets with a Dark Ritual, Salazar could have planned for Rule 12 and plotted to transfer secrets to future heirs. How would you identify a baby as a parselmouth?

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-10T14:13:03.242Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why would (how would) the Basilisk transfer its secrets with a Dark Ritual rather than just, you know, talking?

Also, in canon Harry wasn't a Parselmouth until after that Halloween, and stopped being one when the Horcrux was destroyed.

Replies from: gwern, rdb
comment by gwern · 2012-04-10T18:36:41.889Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why would (how would) the Basilisk transfer its secrets with a Dark Ritual rather than just, you know, talking?

Efficiency: speed & certainty. How many secrets would you be leaving behind before this incredibly baroque scheme was worth putting in place? How long would it take to communicate hundreds of ultra-advanced spells by one of the pre-eminent wizards of that golden age? How long can a student afford to be sneaking off to the Chamber?

We've seen legilimency used to read minds, but Order of the Phoenix also showed that it could be used to write to minds as well.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-10T18:45:40.228Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This seems to defeat the purpose somewhat. Isn't the point of the Basilisk to ensure that only Parselmouths can access the secrets? Presumably legilimency is, if not impossible, at least difficult to use on a creature with the Gaze of Death, but if there were rituals to transfer information from its mind to yours, obtaining consent under duress seems a small enough obstacle.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-10T18:53:31.875Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't follow. The Parseltongue requirements controls access to the Chamber and also communication with the Basilisk. What more is needed?

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-10T18:58:02.274Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So you're thinking a Dark Ritual that only works for Parselmouths? That might work, I guess.

comment by rdb · 2012-04-10T22:16:47.996Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Because a Dark Ritual could force a sacrifice that adds redundancy. Leave the Basilisk alone, mostly satisfied. Kill it and you are bound to transfer the knowledge to the next heir. Attempt to kill the heir and end up as a horcrux.

Replies from: pedanterrific
comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-10T23:01:08.187Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Again, Harry wasn't the Heir of Slytherin when Voldemort was plotting to kill him, or attempting to kill him, or even afterwards. He was only ever a Horcrux of the Heir of Slytherin.

comment by cultureulterior · 2012-04-08T00:02:04.471Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm noticing the Hugo nominations just came out. I'm not sure about which category it would be eligible for, but I think it would be worth trying to push for a nomination next year. For one thing, HPMOR is definitely in the same class as Ender's Game, which did win a Hugo.

Replies from: Alsadius, 75th, ahartell
comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-08T04:36:17.496Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

From a cursory glance, it seems that the categories it'd be eligible for are "Best Novel"(>40k words) and "Best Fan Writer"(non-paid work). I'd advise the latter, because the competition will almost certainly be lighter.

Replies from: Eliezer_Yudkowsky
comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-04-11T01:42:13.486Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

When the book is done I'm going for the former, but the rules call for the book to be complete, I believe.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-11T02:24:54.212Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why would you go for the former - what's the reasoning here? Yes, it's gotten praise from some writers, but not the kind of rapturous praise that would give it the most important prestigious prize they have. MoR is amazing for a fan work... and good for a novel. Is this some sort of satisficing reasoning, where it's better to be nominated for best novel than win best fan work?

Replies from: Alex_Altair, Eliezer_Yudkowsky
comment by Alex_Altair · 2012-04-11T03:23:23.921Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

MoR is amazing for a fan work... and good for a novel.

I know I'm not an average voter, but HPMOR is literally the best book I have ever heard of. Are there some other books I have missed out on?

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-11T17:28:40.965Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Try looking through the Hugo or Nebula best novel awards. Most of them are not didactic like MoR is which makes comparing MoR to them a little unfair since you lose out on the 'I want to base my life on this' effect, and MoR is length-wise at... a trilogy? now, so comparing them to MoR is unfair, and it definitely helps to have read multiple times the heavy influences on MoR like Godel, Escher, Bach or Ender's Game, but I am doing it anyway! Looking through the list, here are ones I've read (~1/3) and would rank as either not much inferior, equal or better than MoR:

  • The City & The City
  • Rainbows End
  • A Fire Upon the Deep
  • Hyperion
  • Ender's Game
  • Claw of the Conciliator (I'm really judging the whole New Sun quartet here)
  • Ringworld
  • Lord of Light
  • Dune
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz
  • The Demolished Man

And this is far from a complete list; for example, Blindsight is fantastic but was only nominated for a Hugo in 2006 (losing to Spin which I have not read).

Replies from: NancyLebovitz
comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-04-12T14:15:08.001Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I liked Spin a lot-- it's a perfect balance between a mainstreamish novel of character and big ideas science fiction. Gur rnegu vf chg va na nyvra rairybcr juvpu znxrf gvzr cnff zhpu snfgre-- nyy bs gur fhqqra, gur fha orpbzvat n erq tvnag vf n frevbhf ceboyrz.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-04-11T02:34:59.039Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's gotten sufficiently rapturous praise. I see no reason not to try.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-11T02:41:29.506Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I found citations for ESR and David Brin (only the latter is a SF writer), who praised it but did not receive it rapturously; are there writers I have missed?

Replies from: Percent_Carbon, Eliezer_Yudkowsky
comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-04-11T05:20:55.381Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am curious about your concern.

Do you want to save EY from a hubris born smackdown?

Do you want to keep public attention off fanfiction so you aren't tempted to publicly defend it and publicly identify as a fanfic fan?

Do you fear a loss of face for the Singularity Institute?

Forgive me for visiting your intentions, if that is unwelcome.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-11T13:33:33.600Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You only get one shot at the awards. My best calibrated guess is that MoR has a chance at best novel somewhere between 'not a chance in hell' and 5%, while best fanwork moves the odds of victory to 50+%. Which one do you think is better?

(I'm also a little concerned that EY is casually making what looks to me like an incredibly obvious mistake.)

Replies from: TheOtherDave, Eliezer_Yudkowsky, NancyLebovitz
comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-04-11T13:51:52.348Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My best calibrated guess is that MoR has a chance at best novel somewhere between 'not a chance in hell' and 5%, while best fanwork moves the odds of victory to 50+%. Which one do you think is better?

I expect you meant that as a rhetorical question, but I'm not sure it is. I generally agree with your confidence estimates, but of course it's also worth looking at the payoffs. It's also worth comparing the payoffs for being a Hugo nominee for best novel and a Hugo award winner for best fanwork.

I don't have an informed opinion about those payoffs, just saying that it's not as simple as "50+% chance of winning an award" vs "<5% chance of winning an award."

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-11T14:18:31.401Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Which is precisely why I am asking these questions, because there are many ways Eliezer could conclude it's a good idea:

  1. maybe, as I already suggested, best novel nominee > best fanfic award
  2. perhaps Eliezer likes the idea of being a best novel nominee or winner so much that he doesn't mind the significantly reduced expected-value
  3. he has non-public information

    • eg. there are famous writers who have told him they will propagandize for MoR and order their fans to vote for it
  4. he has not thought about it in any detail or come up with calibrated probabilities like I have
  5. he plans to publish MoR as multiple books (given its length) and first books in series are the best to go for best novel and later books can shoot their wad on less prestigious awards
  6. the rules favor MoR in some way I am unaware of

    • eg. he thinks he can issue a call for MoR fans to attend and vote, erasing the disadvantages I otherwise accurately assess

etc.

Replies from: Eugine_Nier, cultureulterior, Eliezer_Yudkowsky, TheOtherDave, Alsadius
comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-04-12T05:36:18.573Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My theory is that Eliezer is overestimating his chances of winning best novel.

comment by cultureulterior · 2012-04-12T13:28:45.724Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

All you need to vote is a supporting membership, cost $60 or so. You don't have to attend.

As soon as HPMOR is finished (hopefully not soon), I will buy a supporting membership to the next year's worldcon. On that note, let me urge Eliezer to finish HPMOR in the summer of some year, so enough supporting memberships can nominate it by January 1.

Replies from: gwern, LauralH
comment by gwern · 2012-04-12T14:29:26.973Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

All you need to vote is a supporting membership, cost $60 or so. You don't have to attend.

I'm not sure that materially increases the number of votes one could expect. Gee, only $60...

Replies from: cultureulterior
comment by cultureulterior · 2012-04-12T14:55:38.715Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You only need 100 votes to get nominated, and then the nomination itself will get more people reading it.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-12T15:16:03.154Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That page is old, as I noted in my other comment, and if you read the Constitution (article 3) which governs the Hugo award, the nomination is not so numeric; for example:

Except as provided below, the final Award ballots shall list in each category the five eligible nominees receiving the most nominations. If there is a tie including fifth place, all the tied eligible nominees shall be listed.

and

3.8.5: No nominee shall appear on the final Award bnominatallot if it received fewer nominations than five percent (5%) of the number of ballots listing one or more nominations in that category, except that the first three eligible nominees, including any ties, shall always be listed.

Going back to the 2011 data (and being mindful the vote counts have set records frequently in the 2000s as the convention apparently grows), we see the last place novel is 306 ballots. pg17 gives us the original nomination votes: last place novel there was 78 ballots.

So, yes, MoR could probably get on the ballot if >78 people all remember to register by 31 January of that year (good thing MoR isn't finished yet because it's too late for 2012) so they are eligible to vote on nominations, and actually put MoR #1 on their ballots; see the Constitution again:

Each member of either the administering or the immediately preceding Worldcon as of January 31 of the current calendar year shall be allowed to make up to five (5) equally weighted nominations in every category.

comment by LauralH · 2013-02-07T20:32:42.497Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I also think this is a good idea, and hereby vow to buy a membership when HPMoR is finished for this purpose of voting it for Best Novel. As pointed out, even being nominated would get it a lot more attention.

I'm hoping for something like Neil Gaiman had when he won and then they banned comics/graphic novels afterwards.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-04-12T10:33:46.624Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think the main thing you're missing is that nothing bad happens to me if I don't win. This could serve as a mantra for a whole lot of things in life that are worth trying.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-12T13:28:14.073Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

'Nothing bad happens to' two-boxers either. Do I really need to explain that loss of a gain is as bad as a gain of a loss?

Replies from: JGWeissman
comment by JGWeissman · 2012-04-12T17:17:22.320Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore would say that is why you go for multiple gains in parallel.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-12T20:08:36.840Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I didn't understand what you meant so I asked on IRC and you seem to be referring to multiple plots.

Replies from: JGWeissman
comment by JGWeissman · 2012-04-12T20:40:34.257Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, that is the story reference. As it applies here, is there any reason that Eliezer could not attempt to win multiple awards?

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-12T20:59:57.880Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes. First, the Constitution specifies that if a work is ever successfully nominated, it cannot be nominated again, so MoR can only be done once. (Examining the categories carefully, pg 6-7, it may or may not be technically possible that MoR could be nominated in one year for Best Novel and then Eliezer himself - on the strength of fandom arising from MoR - nominated for 'Best Fan Writer'.)

Second, the rules get very complex on pg 8 about multiple categories, which is why I did not bring it up before:

3.8.2: The Worldcon Committee shall determine the eligibility of nominees and assignment to the proper category of works nominated in more than one category.

3.8.3: Any nominations for "No Award" shall be disregarded.

3.8.4: If a nominee appears on a nomination ballot more than once in any one category, only one nomination shall be counted in that category.

3.8.5: No nominee shall appear on the final Award ballot if it received fewer nominations than five percent (5%) of the number of ballots listing one or more nominations in that category, except that the first three eligible nominees, including any ties, shall always be listed.

3.8.6: The Committee shall move a nomination from another category to the work’s default category only if the member has made fewer than five (5) nominations in the default category.

3.8.7: If a work receives a nomination in its default category, and if the Committee relocates the work under its authority under subsection 3.2.9 or 3.2.10, the Committee shall count the nomination even if the member already has made five (5) nominations in the more-appropriate category.

I... don't actually know what all that means. Clause 3.8.4 seems to indicate that putting MoR up into multiple award categories would have the effect of splitting and diluting all votes, which seems like a bad thing.

Replies from: Incorrect
comment by Incorrect · 2012-04-12T22:24:07.309Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually I'm pretty sure that's not what Clause 3.8.4 is saying. I think it means that you can't have two entries on the ballot for MoR under the same category just like you can't have two entries for "Obama" for president.

That would be kind of funny though. Would you like to vote for:

  • Obama
  • Obama
  • Obama
  • Romney
  • Obama or
  • Obama
Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-12T22:33:19.922Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Have you got anything without spam?"

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-04-11T14:39:30.308Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

maybe, as I already suggested, best novel nominee > best fanfic award

Why, so you did. Careless reading of me... my apologies.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-12T22:16:55.810Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

5) is not a believable option, since the legalities of fanfic prohibit any conventional sort of publication, and just slapping "Book 1"/"Book 2"/etc. on top of chapter headings does very little.

The rest is good analysis, though.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-12T22:42:00.473Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

since the legalities of fanfic prohibit any conventional sort of publication

No, they don't. They just mean it takes a publisher with a little guts, willing to defend it under fair use grounds (in MoR's case, parody).

Replies from: komponisto
comment by komponisto · 2012-04-13T16:11:39.049Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

since the legalities of fanfic prohibit any conventional sort of publication

No, they don't. They just mean it takes a publisher with a little guts, willing to defend it under fair use grounds (in MoR's case, parody)

They would lose, and probably correctly so. If that defense worked for MoR, it could be applied to any situation where someone just made up their own story using someone else's characters, and the whole concept of copyright would be effectively abolished.

(Not that abolishing copyright wouldn't be a policy worth considering...)

Actually, in fact, it seems obvious to me that any publication at all -- "conventional" or not -- of fanfiction is blatantly illegal, just like distributing your own modified version of Microsoft Windows would be.

(Note that "is illegal" is not the same thing as "should be illegal".)

Replies from: gwern, Random832
comment by gwern · 2012-04-13T16:34:26.812Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

They would lose, and probably correctly so. If that defense worked for MoR, it could be applied to any situation where someone just made up their own story using someone else's characters, and the whole concept of copyright would be effectively abolished.

Are you under the impression that fair use has never worked before or parody in particular? Because otherwise I don't understand why you are so certain of what you are saying.

Replies from: komponisto
comment by komponisto · 2012-04-13T16:54:08.297Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it's clear that MoR is not (merely) parody, but a literary work in its own right that happens to be derived from an existing work by someone else.

It's a kind of thing that I think ought to be allowed, but which I don't think actually is.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-13T17:06:17.192Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it's clear that MoR is not (merely) parody, but a literary work in its own right that happens to be derived from an existing work by someone else.

Something that could be said with equal justice of _The Wind Done Gone_.

Replies from: TimS, komponisto, None
comment by TimS · 2012-04-13T17:19:00.020Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But see Dr. Suess Enterprises v. Penguin Books.

In brief, someone used elements of Dr. Seuss to criticize the OJ verdict. Held: not parody fair use because the target of the parody was not the infringed work.

So, how reasonable is it to say that MoR is a parody of canon!Potterverse? I honestly don't know the answer, but I suspect it would be dispositive of the fair use analysis.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-13T17:43:00.453Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

How reasonable? I think pretty reasonable; MoR directly criticizes canon on numerous occasions, from the exchange rate to Hermione being Sorted into Gryffindor to Harry using random curses on Slytherins and on and on. Reading through one link on that, I see nothing about the Seuss parody parodizing Seuss, and plenty that fits MoR, eg.:

Parody achieves its status as social commentary by disparaging the original work, however slightly, by "pointing out faults, revealing hidden affectations, emphasizing weaknesses, and diminishing strengths.^1^

or

The court concluded that the infringing work broadly mimicked Dr. Seuss' characteristic style, but it did not ridicule that style. 170 The court noted that Penguin's use of the Cat's stove-pipe hat, Dr. Juice as a narrator, and a title similar to the original's title were all means of drawing attention to the new work, perhaps "to avoid the drudgery in working up something fresh."171

Finally, with regard to the purpose and character of use, the Ninth Circuit considered whether The Cat NOT in the Hat! merely superseded the Dr. Seuss originals or whether it "transformed" those works. 172 The court did not recognize any effort to create a transformative work. 173 As a result, under the first factor, the court concluded the scale tipped against fair use because the infringing work was neither a parody nor transformative. I74

...When considering a parodist's claim to fair use, a court must first determine if an infringer's work meets the threshold requirement for the defense: "whether a parodic character may reasonably be perceived. >7232 Courts have recognized parody as a work containing a discernible direct comment on the original. 233 Although the Ninth Circuit conceded Penguin's work did broadly mimic Dr. Seuss' style, it concluded that the work was not a parody because The Cat NOT in the Hat! did not target the "substance" of the original work.234

Replies from: TimS, None
comment by TimS · 2012-04-13T18:07:29.489Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's surely some kind of sliding scale. My HP fanfic:

Harry took the machine gun, and gunned down the Dursleys for being abusive parents. The End

is critical of something - but if it isn't the Potterverse, then it isn't parody. That doesn't mean that the work is not fair use (I think the third and fourth factors weigh heavily in my favor).

In short, I don't think that an interpretation of fair use (of which parody is the relevant type) that protects all fanfic is likely to be adopted, even if MoR was fair use of the Potterverse.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-13T18:11:03.619Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In short, I don't think that an interpretation of fair use (of which parody is the relevant type) that protects all fanfic is unlikely to be adopted, even if MoR was fair use of the Potterverse.

Naturally, but we're discussing MoR here.

Replies from: TimS
comment by TimS · 2012-04-13T18:24:37.643Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As I was trying to say, it is hard to articulate a test that is both (1) sufficiently clear ex ante and (2) correctly divides works like MoR from the mass of fanfic. Specifically, I doubt that there is sufficient consensus on where the dividing line should be.

And in general, the major critique of fair use is how unpredictable it is in practice.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-13T18:00:10.052Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Courts have recognized parody as a work containing a discernible direct comment on the original.

Thanks for the data, that's very helpful.

But imagine you had to defend MoR as parody. What would you say is MoR's discernable direct comment on the original? Would you say that this comment is leveled specifically at JKR's world? Is this comment the central aim of MoR?

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-13T18:07:54.411Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What would you say is MoR's discernable direct comment on the original? Would you say that this comment is leveled specifically at JKR's world? Is this comment the central aim of MoR?

My thesis would be something like 'the world of JK's HP is ill-thought out, inconsistent, and bears a message with regards to death with characters & ideals that is morally repugnant'. This is easy to defend as Rowling has been kind enough to specifically state that the overall theme of her books is accepting death, and Eliezer has been kind enough to have Harry explicitly assail this theme.

Is it the central aim? I don't know. (I think it is, but I could be wrong.) Depends on where MoR goes. If it ends with a world transformed and enriched by use of, say, Elixir of Life and all Dementors destroyed, well, the argument practically makes itself.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-13T18:36:07.354Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That does sound plausible, thanks. My sense is that MoR is written with the aim of demonstrating rationalist principles and cognitive biases. Many (maybe all?) of the chapters are titled so as to indicate the principle or biases they discuss. I see your point about death, but I guess I get the impression that the structure of the work is centered around educating people in a certain philosophy. That said, one of the fair use categories is 'educational'.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-13T18:46:25.365Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It can do both - it's not just asserting that 'death is bad, mmkay?', but explaining/demonstrating the facts & reasoning which lead to that conclusion so you understand why death is bad.

(Somewhat like how canon sort of tries to justify death: fearing death makes you do bad things and yields a fate worse than death, to state it baldly.)

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-13T19:29:16.773Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It can do both - it's not just asserting that 'death is bad, mmkay?', but explaining/demonstrating the facts & reasoning which lead to that conclusion so you understand why death is bad.

I know it's a pain, but could you point me to a chapter in which the badness of death is argued for? I thought to look in 'pretending to be wise', but the badness of death was very much assumed there. There's a diagnosis of Dumbledore's view on death as being a reaction to fear, but that's obviously not a valid argument against his position, or a valid argument in support of the view that death is bad.

Also, what does the topic of death have to do with the stanford prison experiments, the fundamental attribution error, the scientific method, the efficient market hypothesis, delayed gratification, Bayes theorem, Dominance hierarchies, locating the hypothesis, etc.? These chapters, for the most part, just don't discuss death at all.

ETA:

(Somewhat like how canon sort of tries to justify death: fearing death makes you do bad things and yields a fate worse than death, to state it baldly.)

Hmm, should I be worried that I think this is right? It seems straightforward to me, if there's any such thing as courage: to be courageous is ultimately to value some good over your own life. If this valuation is rational, than fear of death can make you choose your life over the good thing, and that's bad. And it can lead to a fate worse than death: namely, your being alive and the good thing not being achieved.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-13T19:39:45.003Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think you're trying very hard here.

locating the hypothesis

Privileging the hypothesis of a meaningful afterlife rather than Occam's razor that it doesn't exist or it is the same as ghosts and photographs. (This is one argument against death being good: the wizarding world is in a vastly epistemically superior position to Muggles as far as evidence for life after death goes, but Harry pokes holes in it anyway.)

stanford prison experiments...Dominance hierarchies

The mechanisms by which religion and other sadistic beliefs can spread.

the scientific method...Bayes theorem

Do I really need to explain this one?

delayed gratification

Useful for having the patient to investigate and hold off on conclusions (which lead to confirmation bias & backfire effects - you missed those).

the efficient market hypothesis

That one's just criticizing canon's worldbuilding. (I think. Imaginative suggestions about how that could be related are welcome - perhaps an argument from silence that if the afterlife existed the market would be exploiting it somehow?)

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-13T19:51:08.617Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Privileging the hypothesis of a meaningful afterlife rather than Occam's razor that it doesn't exist or it is the same as ghosts and photographs.

Okay, against an opponent who says that death is good because there is a good afterlife, I can see how this one would work. That's not an argument that death is bad, of course, or clearly an argument against 'accepting death' (whatever JKR meant by that), but it's progress. The chapter itself doesn't mention death at all though.

The mechanisms by which religion and other sadistic beliefs can spread.

And your thought is that it's 'sadistic beliefs' that teach that death is not bad? Why does explaining these mechanisms show that death is bad? I'm afraid this seems very indirect to me.

the scientific method...Bayes theorem

Do I really need to explain this one?

Yes, that one especially, if you have the time and inclination. I recognize that I'm imposing on you here.

Useful for having the patient to investigate and hold off on conclusions (which lead to confirmation bias & backfire effects - you missed those).

The question was, 'how does this relate to the thesis that death is bad'? I mean, if we think death is bad, then in some sense we could take any good epistemic principle as relating to that thesis, insofar as good epistemic principles relate to true beliefs. Is this as direct as we can get?

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-13T20:36:28.459Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The chapter itself doesn't mention death at all though....I'm afraid this seems very indirect to me.

Education frequently is indirect. If you want direct statements, you wouldn't be reading MoR, you'd be... well, here, reading LW articles and stuff. Not everything is directly relevant, of course; for example, we could view Harry negotiating with the Sorting Hat as isomorphic to negotiating with an Omega in various precommitment scenarios devised for discussing the advanced decision theories like UDT/TDT. Is this directly relevant to arguing against theism and deathism and pro-agism? Not that I can think of.

The question was, 'how does this relate to the thesis that death is bad'? I mean, if we think death is bad, then in some sense we could take any good epistemic principle as relating to that thesis, insofar as good epistemic principles relate to true beliefs. Is this as direct as we can get?

Is that such a bad thing? If good epistemic principles don't lead to true beliefs, then that would make MoR more propaganda than anything...

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-13T21:39:54.383Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fair enough. Thanks for taking the time.

comment by komponisto · 2012-04-13T17:11:36.237Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Something that could be said with equal justice of The Wind Done Gone.

...and sure enough, there was a lawsuit.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-13T17:17:20.221Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Which they won, paying nothing to the plaintiffs and continuing to publish The Wind Done Gone. Which is why I am using it as an example!

Replies from: komponisto
comment by komponisto · 2012-04-13T17:19:32.218Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, it says they settled:

the case was settled in 2002 when Houghton Mifflin agreed to make an unspecified donation to Morehouse College in exchange for Mitchell's estate dropping the litigation.

...thus in effect purchasing the right to publish, which is what they were supposed to have done all along.

Replies from: TimS
comment by TimS · 2012-04-13T17:25:09.155Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Given that the Mitchell estate lost on appeal, I'm not sure the settlement after that decision is evidence of anything but nuisance payment.

Replies from: komponisto
comment by komponisto · 2012-04-13T17:32:16.078Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As I understand it, that was an appeal of an injunction, not the merits of the case (despite the WIkipedia article's implication that it was a ruling on the merits).

Is there a legal distinction between a "nuisance payment" and an ordinary settlement?

Replies from: TimS, gwern
comment by TimS · 2012-04-13T17:59:51.203Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Injunctions are decided in part by whether there is a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits. Saying that one isn't entitled to injunction often means that the court thinks you will lose if the case went to final judgment. In this case, the appellate court directly addressed the fair use issue. Text of decision here

If I'm a doctor, and you sue me for medical malpractice, and we settle for $5 million (the cost of treating your injuries) - probably not nuisance settlement. Same amount of injury, but we settle for $5,000 - that's "go away so I don't need to spend more on legal fees." (A more realistic Pascal's mugging).

Replies from: komponisto
comment by komponisto · 2012-04-13T18:28:26.284Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Injunctions are decided in part by whether there is a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits

Agreed.

Saying that one isn't entitled to injunction often means that the court thinks you will lose if the case went to final judgment.

Agreed. But that judgement on the court's part is not, itself, a ruling on the merits of the case. It represents nothing more than their probabilistic prediction about what the verdict will or would be. Vacating an injunction does not dismiss the suit.

Text of decision here

Should be interesting, I'll take a look. But already, on p.3, I notice the following:

Alice Randall, the author of TWDG, persuasively claims that her novel is a critique of GWTW’s depiction of slavery and the Civil-War era American South.

If that is the case, then I agree that that is fair use. But I see that as different from fanfiction. If you don't, I don't want to get into a detailed argument here about what the difference is. But, in short, if the primary purpose of MoR were to serve as commentary on Rowling, I would see it as fair use. As it is, however, it seems to me that that isn't the primary purpose of MoR (although it does do that among other things). Primarily, MoR is another great and compelling story by Eliezer Yudkowsky, but which happens to have used J.K. Rowling's universe as its setting in order to take advantage of the popularity of the Harry Potter books in order to attract readers. Now, I don't think there's actually anything inherently wrong with that (and even if I did, I would make an exception for MoR because it's just so damn good) but it is my empirical opinion that current copyright law is in fact (unfortunately) designed to make this kind of thing illegal.

If I'm a doctor, and you sue me for medical malpractice, and we settle for $5 million (the cost of treating your injuries) - probably not nuisance settlement. Same amount of injury, but we settle for $5,000 - that's "go away so I don't need to spend more on legal fees." (A more realistic Pascal's mugging).

My question was whether there was a legal difference. So far as I know, there isn't, and in neither case does the outcome serve to establish jurisprudence.

Replies from: TimS, thomblake
comment by TimS · 2012-04-13T18:37:22.840Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As I stated here, I think you are correct that fair use protection for MoR turns substantially on whether MoR is interpreted as parody of canon Potterverse.

Regarding settlements, I agree that there is no legal difference based on the amount of settlement. My point was that the fact of a settlement was not evidence of who won the court case, particularly because the appellate court discussed likelihood of success on the merits in evaluating the preliminary injunction.

Edit: and if you think "likelihood of success on the merits" is a prediction about the future rather than a legally binding statement of the content of the law, then I assert my expertise to say that you are legally incorrect.

comment by thomblake · 2012-04-13T18:43:04.096Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If that is the case, then I agree that that is fair use. But I see that as different from fanfiction. If you don't, I don't want to get into a detailed argument here about what the difference is. But, in short, if the primary purpose of MoR were to serve as commentary on Rowling, I would see it as fair use. As it is, however, it seems to me that that isn't the primary purpose of MoR (although it does do that among other things). Primarily, MoR is another great and compelling story by Eliezer Yudkowsky, but which happens to have used J.K. Rowling's universe as its setting in order to take advantage of the popularity of the Harry Potter books in order to attract readers. Now, I don't think there's actually anything inherently wrong with that (and even if I did, I would make an exception for MoR because it's just so damn good) but it is my empirical opinion that current copyright law is in fact (unfortunately) designed to make this kind of thing illegal.

I don't think that's quite right.

MoR can be construed as parody of Harry Potter - in fact, a lot of reviewers point specifically to where it pokes fun of holes in Rowling's worldbuilding, and (as noted elsewhere hereabouts) a major theme is the reversal of Rowling's stance on death.

But that's just a special case of transformativeness:

Transformative uses may include criticizing the quoted work, exposing the character of the original author, proving a fact, or summarizing an idea argued in the original in order to defend or rebut it. They also may include parody, symbolism, aesthetic declarations, and innumerable other uses.

In practice, it lets the courts say "I would make an exception for MoR because it's just so damn good".

Replies from: komponisto
comment by komponisto · 2012-04-13T18:59:18.288Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

MoR can be construed as parody of Harry Potter - in fact, a lot of reviewers point specifically to where it pokes fun of holes in Rowling's worldbuilding, and (as noted elsewhere hereabouts) a major theme is the reversal of Rowling's stance on death.

Actually, I will say that I thought of it as a parody myself at first, and even described it to other people as a "spoof". However, I feel that it has grown into more than that over time, as the story has developed. At this point, the original seems almost irrelevant. (My personal familiarity with the canon is limited, but people have told me that it pales in comparison.)

(Understand that I find it utterly perverse that what ought to be a profound compliment amounts in this peculiar context to an argument "against" the story.)

comment by gwern · 2012-04-13T17:37:23.557Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

When a court looks at the binding precedent of Suntrust v. Houghton Mifflin in which fair use and parody specifically was upheld for novels, will they care about a settlement in which the plaintiff received not one penny? I don't think that's how precedents work...

Replies from: komponisto
comment by komponisto · 2012-04-13T17:50:46.844Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, settlements are not precedent, only court rulings are. The point is that merits of this case were never ruled upon by a court. The appeals court ruling in Suntrust was about the injunction that had been granted, not the merits. So, yes, the next time someone sues over this in the Eleventh Circuit, there won't be a preliminary injunction granted, and whatever work is being disputed will able to be published until the case is resolved by a jury (or settlement). But that doesn't bind how the jury will rule. And it certainly doesn't bind other circuits -- in fact, a court in a different circuit could even issue an injunction, in which case there would probably be a Supreme Court case about the injunction issue.

EDIT: To put it succinctly: the precedent is "the book can be published until the case is decided", not "writing a new novel using someone else's characters constitutes fair use". (And it is only binding in the Eleventh Circuit.)

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-13T17:23:19.635Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

EY originally wrote the thing while (on record) attributing the characters and context to JKR, and then (on record) mentioned that JKR said she is fine with fan works and doesn't require attribution, after which he stopped.

I'm no lawyer, but I expect this means that EY is on record acknowledging his creative debt to JKR, and doing so because he thought he was legally obligated to. It seems like it would be hard to argue that MoR is fair use. This shows that the intent of the work was something the author thought was in range of her copyright, and thus not something like parody.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-13T17:35:24.042Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm no lawyer, but I expect this means that EY is on record acknowledging his creative debt to JKR, and doing so because he thought he was legally obligated to. It seems like it would be hard to argue that MoR is fair use. This shows that the intent of the work was something the author thought was in range of her copyright, and thus not something like parody.

This makes no sense to me.

EDIT: and specifically, acknowledging the debt is more of a good thing; from one discussion:

Whether the infringer copied the original in good faith or for a commercial interest may contribute to the court's understanding of the context of the infringement.72 Any aspect of the infringer's conduct, including whether the infringer acknowledged the copyright owner or whether the infringer sought permission, can be considered.73 Acknowledgment of a source, however, does not excuse infringement when other § 107 factors are present. 74 Additionally when the second work is a parody, the parodist is neither expected to seek nor obtain the copyright holder's permission.75 Understandably, few authors would grant permission to have their character or their work mocked.76

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-13T17:56:31.394Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I just looked up JKR's statements on fan fiction, and I got the impression that she would sue in case something were published for profit, or just published in some print medium (I suppose a book or magazine).

I don't think you could defend MoR as a parody with JKR's original books as the target. Some MoR chapters point out absurdities in JKR's work, but EY doesn't make it his business to lampoon the original series. Judging from the wiki page on fair use, this makes MoR a 'satire', and these fare much worse in fair use cases.

The point about acknowledging debt is just that EY apparently went in with the intention of publishing something within range of JKR's copyright. This would speak against an argument that the intention was parody: if the original intention were fair use parody, then why the legal disclaimers at the heading of each chapter? If that was out of respect only, then why the word 'disclaimer', and why stop doing it after JKR had given legal permission to FF writers?

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-13T19:24:12.988Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The point about acknowledging debt is just that EY apparently went in with the intention of publishing something within range of JKR's copyright. This would speak against an argument that the intention was parody: if the original intention were fair use parody, then why the legal disclaimers at the heading of each chapter?

Parody is by definition 'within range of JKR's copyright'; anyone wanting to write a parody is going in with that express intention. Attribution is just common courtesy and useful metadata. Per my previous quotes, this probably only would matter to the judge as indicating that the author's intent is not malicious.

If that was out of respect only, then why the word 'disclaimer', and why stop doing it after JKR had given legal permission to FF writers?

JKR hasn't given legal permission, she's merely made some intent clear which at most, from what I recall of my classes on the topic, gives fanficcers a weak promissory estoppel. Why stop? Because he did it a few dozen times before, and the purposes have been served.

Some MoR chapters point out absurdities in JKR's work, but EY doesn't make it his business to lampoon the original series. Judging from the wiki page on fair use, this makes MoR a 'satire', and these fare much worse in fair use cases.

Exclusively focusing on criticizing canon is not necessarily helpful; original content helps pass other criterion like being a transformative use of the original and not being a replacement but a complement:

The Ninth Circuit also found Penguin's use of The Cat in the Hat non-transformative based on its conclusion that Penguin made no effort to incorporate "new expression, meaning, or message" into the secondary work.323 As a result, because market substitution was more certain, the court was willing to infer market harm under the fourth factor. 324 The Ninth Circuit, in its failure to analyze what would constitute "new expression, meaning, or message," at the very least, missed an opportunity to clarify the nature of a transformative work. This consideration was important because if The Cat NOT in the Hat! was transform ative , the first factor may not have weighed against fair use, despite the commercial character of the infringing work.325 Additionally, market substitution would be less certain and market harm might have been less readily inferred.326

...The Ninth Circuit cut short its analysis, or at least any presentation of its deliberations, regarding whether The Cat NOT in the Hat! was transformative.351 The court did not explain how the new work failed to incorporate original expression, meaning, or message.352 The court also failed to indicate how this new work would have superseded the original work.353 A full consideration of these subfactors under the analysis of purpose would have led the court to recognize the new work as transformative.354 As a transformative work, The Cat NOT in the Hat! could have been considered a fair use, after a full examination of the other statutory factors. 355

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-13T19:31:23.870Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the issue of transformation, I can now see how a case would be made. Thanks for the post.

comment by Random832 · 2012-04-13T16:26:50.757Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It wouldn't abolish the whole concept of copyright - just characters-and-scenarios copyright, of which I am not sure what the actual legal basis it originates in is, or to what extent it has been tested in court.

Replies from: komponisto
comment by komponisto · 2012-04-13T16:44:44.453Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, I meant for the word "whole" to modify the word "concept", not the word "copyright". That is, my sentence was meant to be read as:

[T]he whole concept of copyright would be effectively abolished.

Distinguish between the scope of copyright (i.e. what kinds of items it applies to) and the force of the same (how much activity it prohibits within its scope). The emphasis of my claim was on the force rather than the scope.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-04-12T07:06:09.937Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm curious as to what would have been your original probability estimate for "Given that Eliezer writes a Harry Potter fanfiction, it becomes the most popular Harry Potter fanfiction on the Internet." Or, for that matter, getting out of the AI Box. Not everything impossible that I try, works - nobody coughed up $1.6 million to get faster HPMOR updates this time around, which I tried because, hey, why not - but to me, not trying for Best Novel, given feedback so far, just seems horribly, horribly non-Gryffindor. To me it seems like you're the one making this obvious, horrible mistake whose reference class of timidity errors could put a shadow over someone's entire life. Don't ask her out, don't interview at the hedge fund, don't try for the scholarship, go for Best Fan Work instead of Best Novel...

Offer 20-to-1 odds against HPMOR winning Best Novel and I'll buy in. Hm, now I'm curious as to which side of the bet Zvi or Kevin would take.

Replies from: gwern, David_Gerard
comment by gwern · 2012-04-12T18:15:14.930Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm curious as to what would have been your original probability estimate for "Given that Eliezer writes a Harry Potter fanfiction, it becomes the most popular Harry Potter fanfiction on the Internet."

I would have assumed that the proper reference class was all your other fiction, which as much as I enjoyed them, were all short compared to MoR even the popular ones like 'Three Worlds Collide'. (One of my favorites, the Haruhi fanfic, was, what, 2 pages on FF.net?) Short fanfics cannot become the most popular, so I would have assigned it a very low probability. Had you asked an estimate for 'wrote a full trilogy of HP fanfic novels', my estimate would be quite different. I won't pretend to know what it would have been. (I remain surprised and amused that it has become as large and popular as it has been, and that you now procrastinate on both your rationality book(s) and the Center by writing MoR. Truly, fortune passes everywhere!)

Or, for that matter, getting out of the AI Box.

Oh, I would've bet for you back on SL4. You already had succeeded in getting SIAI running, after all. (Although here again the counterfactual gets hard - I barely remember what I was like back in 2003-4 when I joined SL4 and IIRC you had already won an AI Box by then.)

Offer 20-to-1 odds against HPMOR winning Best Novel and I'll buy in.

Sure. I am poorer than a church mouse, so I can risk no more than ~$100. How's this:

"For any Worldcon 2013-2017, MoR will win the Hugo 'Best Novel' award. The stakes will be $100 against $5 (non-inflation adjusted). Payment by either Paypal or Bitcoin (at that day's exchange rate on the largest exchange eg. Mt.gox) to the winner or a charity of the winner's choice. In case of any dispute, the verdict will be judged by Carl Shulman or another person mutually acceptable to Eliezer Yudkowsky and gwern."

Hm, now I'm curious as to which side of the bet Zvi or Kevin would take.

I've pinged them.

Replies from: Eliezer_Yudkowsky, gwern, Kevin
comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-04-13T01:01:29.824Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Okay, it's on.

Replies from: gwern, None, gwern