Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 27, chapter 98

post by Vaniver · 2013-08-28T19:29:17.855Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 310 comments

This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing chapter 98The previous thread is at nearly 500 comments. 

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

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

Also: 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12,  13,  1415,  16,  17,  18,  19,  20,  21,  22,  23,  24,  25, 26.

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Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-08-28T22:01:42.961Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, this chapter is just full of delicious puns, apart from the entire plot advancement thing.

Auxiliary Protective Special Committee.


Absurdly Powerful Student Council.

Daphne worried that Draco would be skinned and turned into Leather Pants.

Draco returns "at the turn of the tide" wearing white (silver) robes. He's Draco the White.. err.. Silver.

Considering the short length of the chapter, and combined with the call forward to Book V's Ministerial Education Decrees, that's a good number of references.

The real question is where does it go from here.

Replies from: undermind, shminux
comment by undermind · 2013-08-29T16:22:06.063Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Where it goes from here: If the enemy actually wants to defeat this coalition, nothing happens. This is a temporary alliance against an outside threat, and if said threat goes away, the alliance will probably collapse of its own accord. (It may bring some lasting changes to the leadership of Hogwarts, but people will chafe against the strict security, and old and new grudges will emerge, and the coalition will break.)

If the enemy has been breeding Harry/Draco as the future leader of Magical Britain (much more likely), they will continue to attack or otherwise be active, probably conceding many victories to the new Kids' Coalition.

Replies from: WalterL
comment by WalterL · 2013-08-29T19:04:33.856Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well said.

I do think there's a difference between the enemy setting up Harry and Draco as future leader though. If they wanted Draco, well and done, and they'll do as you say. If they want Harry to lead, however, they are unlikely to be thrilled with his new role of invisible assassin.

Replies from: gattsuru, Baughn, hairyfigment
comment by gattsuru · 2013-08-30T15:44:21.934Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That may depend on who wants Harry to lead. To Canon!Voldemort, invisible assassin was a sort of leadership. To HPMoR!Dumbledore, not as much, albeit still more so than most. On the other hand, Yudkowsky takes the strong version of Aumann's agreement theorem. To Rationalist!Harry, the person matters less than the rationality and the priors.

What Quirrelmort wants... that's more complicated.

comment by Baughn · 2013-08-30T15:20:35.644Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Draco as future leader? Well, that just means Harry is the power behind the throne.

Which, to be fair, is pretty much correct.

Replies from: ChristianKl
comment by ChristianKl · 2013-08-30T21:38:44.588Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Over the long run Harry wants to be a scientist and no politician.

Replies from: Fermatastheorem
comment by Fermatastheorem · 2013-08-31T04:32:28.930Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

World dom... er, optimization doesn't include politics?

Replies from: fractalman
comment by fractalman · 2013-09-02T00:34:31.132Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

He thinks draco is much more suited to dealing with the politics, and that it's much less work to optimize draco's morals and hand power to him than to figure out how to navigate a political atmosphere for himself.

To put it crudely, harry plans to use draco as a puppet.

Replies from: mjr
comment by mjr · 2013-09-02T06:23:04.914Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But no doubt as a strong puppet ;)

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-08-29T20:00:08.093Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What if they want a more assassin-like version of Harry to lead?

I think an intelligent enemy won't consider Draco, or the manipulation thereof, much of an obstacle. But yes, it could irritate such a person.

comment by shminux · 2013-08-28T23:17:50.376Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

And its elite SS (Silver Slytherin) troops?

Replies from: CAE_Jones
comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-08-29T00:32:05.293Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Silver Slytherin reminds me of the Silver Snakes (one of the teams on Legend of the Hidden Temple), though that particular alliteration and image-matching could very easily have been generated independently given there's a literal silver snake in the room.

comment by jefftk (jkaufman) · 2013-08-29T10:41:09.590Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

it was the reason for the old tradition of the Noble families synchronizing the birth of their heirs, to put them in the same year of Hogwarts, if they could

This is a nice solution to "magical Britain is much too small for Hogwarts to be this big" and "why is everyone important in Harry's class?". Go cicadas!

Replies from: undermind, Luke_A_Somers
comment by undermind · 2013-08-29T16:16:44.534Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It reads like a very forced solution - there would be significant gains to one noble house going against the tradition, so their heir could have several years of Hogwarts students rally behind them - and also kind of impossible to implement, given that we don't know much about their birth control methods, and the Noble Houses are unlikely to all marry at the same time etc.

That said, the HP universe which Eliezer took on as his setting is full of such bugs, and this is a reasonable patch.

Replies from: drethelin, Desrtopa, ChristianKl
comment by drethelin · 2013-08-29T17:46:25.227Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Several years of poor commoners are not worth weakening alliances with great houses

Replies from: undermind
comment by undermind · 2013-08-29T20:17:12.364Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

For most people, probably not, but having the support of the masses might be more valuable for a house that is either not a major player among the existing alliances, or not going to win any friends anyway (such as Malfoy).

Replies from: atorm
comment by atorm · 2013-08-30T12:05:04.145Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The House of Malfoy seems to win friends among Slytherin very easily.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-08-30T16:22:06.066Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It reads like a very forced solution - there would be significant gains to one noble house going against the tradition, so their heir could have several years of Hogwarts students rally behind them - and also kind of impossible to implement, given that we don't know much about their birth control methods

That doesn't make it impossible to implement, it just means it draws on implicit background information we don't have access to.

Considering the edges that wizards appear to have on muggles in terms of medical care, I suspect that not only do they have access to effective magical contraception, they also have access to magical methods of conception promotion.

Replies from: loup-vaillant
comment by loup-vaillant · 2013-08-31T22:57:33.877Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Chapter 78

Thus it had been with some trepidation that Mr. and Mrs. Davis had insisted on an audience with Deputy Headmistress McGonagall. It was hard to muster a proper sense of indignation when you were confronting the same dignified witch who, twelve years and four months earlier, had given both of you two weeks' detention after catching you in the act of conceiving Tracey.

Apparently, contraception isn't always used 7th year students. I count that as mild evidence that contraception, magical or otherwise, isn't widespread in the magical world. Methods of conception promotion are probably just as rare —though if they exist at all, Great Houses are likely to use them.

Replies from: Desrtopa
comment by Desrtopa · 2013-09-02T21:48:48.475Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If contraception is significantly less widespread among wizards than among muggles, then considering their quality of medical care, their population seems anomalously low.

Replies from: loup-vaillant, Eugine_Nier
comment by loup-vaillant · 2013-09-02T22:22:32.719Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Maybe we could explain it by magical risks, and violence. I wouldn't be surprised if wizard kill each other more than muggles. With old-fashioned manners, may come old fashioned violence. The last two wars (Grindelwald and Voldemort), were awfully close, and it looks like the next one is coming.

If all times and all countries are the same, with a major conflict every other generation, it could easily explain such a low population.

Replies from: Velorien
comment by Velorien · 2013-09-03T01:23:12.777Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wouldn't be surprised if wizard kill each other more than muggles.

I think this point merits more extensive discussion. A few observations:

  • Wizards can learn shielding spells fairly freely, whereas the average muggle has no counter to a gun, and little they can do even against melee weapons unless they have sufficient self-defense training.

  • Underage magical violence is restricted by the Trace - it is considerably harder for magically-powered youth gangs to exist within magical Britain if powerful and merciless authorities (cf. Harry's treatment during the Dementor incident) are instantly alerted whenever they cast a spell.

  • While wizard forensics are generally laughable, a simple spell will reveal the last spells cast by a person's wand, and few people have multiple wands (since the things are apparently horribly expensive, among other reasons). This is a significant deterrent to the use of magic for illegal purposes that are likely to draw attention, such as murder. (I assume that it reveals more than the single most recent spell, since that would make it useless against anyone smart enough to cast a quick breath-freshening charm after their misdemeanours).

  • The last war at least was allegedly marked by most of the population of magical Britain cowering in their homes while a few brave champions fought on their behalf. The Death Eaters, meanwhile, only numbered fifty or so. That doesn't sound like it should result in a high casualty level relative to the total magical population.

  • Wizards are exceptionally resilient, and can survive all manner of injuries that would kill a muggle ten times over (cf. Neville Longbottom). In addition, magical healing is outstanding.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-09-06T02:08:35.261Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That depends on how often they have sex, which depends on the relevant culture.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-08-30T18:38:04.262Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

and also kind of impossible to implement, given that we don't know much about their birth control methods, and the Noble Houses are unlikely to all marry at the same time etc.

I guess there should be spells for that purpose ;)

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2013-08-29T15:58:10.137Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I see it as a solution to the latter, but the former? I'd heard rather the opposite problem.

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2013-08-30T07:58:45.225Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't quite get it. Why are children making all these announcements, and not a member of the faculty or the Board? Why is Susan Bones giving orders to an Auror? (And why is nobody rolling their eyes at all the trying-to-be-cool?)

Replies from: William_Quixote, ChristianKl, EternalStargazer, drethelin, Rukifellth, Carinthium
comment by William_Quixote · 2013-08-30T19:56:56.973Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think that people may be confused as to what's happening with this announcement.

The early phase details of the agreement were negotiated first between Harry and Lucius. Harry represented house Potter here because he's the entirety of house Potter. Lucius negotiated with Harry because Harry (as the boy who lived) has a lot of clout and credibility and he offered to throw that behind Draco. On an emotional level, HP also offers revenge against whoever attacked Draco and the possibility of revenge against Dumbledore.

Step two, the adults negotiate amongst themselves. In this second phase Lucius goes to the board of Governors with the agreement he and Harry made as a starting point.

The Knott and Greengrass votes are naturally inclined to go with Malfoy by faction alliance. Knott is also incentivized to go with the plan for other reasons. His son is a friend and chief lieutenant of Harry Potter. That's a potentially very valuable connection, but its a connection that can't be used when the votes are split death eater v Dumbledore. Realignment effectively "monetized" that asset. Greengrass doesn't have that and so asks for a few sweeteners on its deal. Also, the plan reduces their children's risk of death which is a non trivial inducement.

Bones runs the aurors. That's a strong base, but the aurors are generally kept out of Hogwarts, which was previously described as an invincible fortress. This puts her people inside Hogwarts which expands her domain of influence. While she probably wouldn't be willing to do that at the expense of being kicked from the order faction to the death eater faction, its worth it if she gets to keep most of the same allies (which she does via Harry) while isolating Juergen and other of her more extreme opponents. Also, the plan reduces the childrens' risk of death which is a non trivial inducement.

Neville inherits the Longbottom vote when he turns 18, so Longbottom is in Harry's camp in the long run and so his aunt has reason to at least reap the benefits of being on Harry's side since they pay the costs regardless. Like Bones she benefits from isolating extremists like Juergen. Based on her comments in prior chapters both at the war game and about QQs speech she favors a higher level of military readiness and is getting that from this deal.

So once the adults agree on the deal. Why announce it this way vs some other way?

An announcement through official channels goes through Dumbledore. Bypassing that contributes to sidelining / undermining Dumbledore, so Malfoy has a clear interest in the announcement through non official channels.

For Bones and Longbottom an announcement from the board has the two of them seen as going along with house Malfoy. Given their current alliances this would be damaging and bad for their images. By having the children give the boards's announcement right on the heel of an announcement by Harry and Draco the optics are that Draco is bringing the Greengrass / Knott votes and Harry is bringing the Bones / Longbottom votes. This allows them to maintain the optics of their factional alliance. They are seen as Harry's votes rather than as Malfoys votes.

Greengrass and Knott are in similar situations. As parts of Malfoys faction they also benefit from sidelining Dumbledore. They are lesser houses than Malfoy and are voting with Malfoy and are seen to be voting with Malfoy. Their houses get much more visibility and 'airtime' with this plan than if the board announced a vote. The chapter notes that it had all been negotiated and rehearsed and that the prominent role Daphne got was one of the carrots thrown to Greengrass.

Basically it happens this way because it is in the parents interests for it to happen this way.

Replies from: Gurkenglas, bogdanb, buybuydandavis
comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-31T23:52:17.069Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

-Knott+Nott, -Juergen+Jugson.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-09-02T20:03:28.143Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree with your analysis, but I also thought this was intended as a straightforward signal to the other students that “we have to fight for ourselves” is not just the usual adult “lording over” the kids. I think it was meant to reinforce solidarity, defuse instinctive teenage rebellion against “the adults’ rules”, and also reinforces the message that the professors are no longer to be trusted to handle things.

Replies from: Sheaman3773
comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-09-05T02:21:59.675Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This makes sense, but thinking along the same lines, I would see a lot of the upperclassmen getting upset at being told what to do by firsties.

Replies from: bogdanb
comment by bogdanb · 2013-09-08T12:37:54.913Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wouldn’t be surprised if it did happen, at least once or twice. After all, it happened with the adults too, e.g. Juergen or whatever his name was.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-09-01T05:46:42.004Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Basically it happens this way because it is in the parents interests for it to happen this way.

Plausible deniability for the adults, who have a shared interest in the welfare of their children, but have otherwise been opposed and have a lot of mistrust to overcome. It's a first step they can back out of without losing face.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-08-30T18:33:20.166Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry and Draco make a power play to illustrate that they can make the anouncements and Dumbledore doesn't have the power.

Replies from: TobyBartels
comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-31T23:29:55.146Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I particularly liked going to the other side of the room.

comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-08-30T14:23:05.748Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Because these are children who have been force-matured by both becoming (kind of fake) child soldiers and death, because the agreement specifically was created by two of said children, because all of the parents have other things to do, because the children are already there, because part of the theme of the first half of this story if you remember was "Children are people too, and not subhuman simply because of their age".

Susan Bones is giving the Aurors orders because it is her Aunt that runs the Auror office. She's basically the stand-in. The kids are the few actually sane people in Hogwarts.

Replies from: MarkusRamikin, TobyBartels, ikrase
comment by MarkusRamikin · 2013-08-30T17:06:54.714Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh, sure, I'm not saying the kids aren't capable of performing the actions they did. What I'm wondering about is why the rest of the world is playing along. Even if these children - 11 year olds if I have that right - are the sanest people in Hogwarts, does the Hogwarts faculty recognize this, and the Auror office, and the Board of Governors, and their own parents? Or are all these people magically aware of the story theme that you mentioned, and the title of the last few chapters.

Susan Bones is giving the Aurors orders because it is her Aunt that runs the Auror office.

I don't think that's how police forces generally work...

Replies from: EternalStargazer, PhilGoetz, loserthree, anotherblackhat
comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-08-31T03:01:53.384Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It isn't, but keep in mind that this is still a pseudo feudal system, which still has existent Noble families with laws favoring them on the books. In a feudal system, that is absolutely how a 'police' (private army) force actually works. If you're the Prince, you can command them. In such a system, it wouldn't seem as strange that the daughter of the house is giving the commands. You'll notice they also all announce themselves by House first.

As an aside, if you are Amelia Bones, and you have to give one person preferential treatment, control, and ease of communication with your Aurors (and by extension, yourself), who do you pick from the group of kids who are making the announcement? Which one do you trust most?

Replies from: MarkusRamikin
comment by MarkusRamikin · 2013-09-01T14:12:38.713Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You have a point.

comment by PhilGoetz · 2013-09-04T20:46:08.098Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Possibly it's to suggest that if a group proclaims its own authority to act, and acts with certainty, most people will go along with it.

comment by loserthree · 2013-08-31T02:30:23.577Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

11 year olds if I have that right

By this point in the year most if not all of them are probably 12.

The difference between 11 and 12 might only matter to an 11- or 12-year-old, but you probably didn't have that right, for whatever that's worth.

comment by anotherblackhat · 2013-08-31T15:47:45.065Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I notice you are confused. I think you've made two questionable assumptions;

Assumption 1. Wizard Children are not generally treated as competent at age 11.

Assumption 2. The children making the announcement at Hogwarts are responsible for brokering the deal. I.e. they aren't just mouthpieces for their respective families.

Assumption 2b. The Hogwarts staff is aware of 2.

Assumption 1 might be true - but I note that the age of majority has been increasing over time, and wizarding society is in many ways old timey. It seems reasonable to me that allowing a child of 12 to command a wizarding army is no stranger in wizard society than allowing David Farragut to command a ship at age 12 was during the war of 1812. Also, we haven't seen the reactions of the wizarding world in general - maybe everyone who isn't on the Hogwarts staff is scandalized. For that matter, maybe the staff is too, they're just not openly scandalized.

But assumption 2 seems completely wrong to me, and likely the main source of the confusion.

Replies from: MarkusRamikin
comment by MarkusRamikin · 2013-09-01T07:42:02.339Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I notice you are confused

^ Don't do that.

No, I'm not assuming that children brokered the deal, but I can see that it may have looked that way, especially if you miss the context (that I was responding to the specific things EternalStargazer said).

To some extent, yeah, wizard children are, and are treated as being, more competent than muggle children. But there's still a very real difference between an adult and a child. For example, Harry Potter still needs a legal guardian. And I assume that McGonaggal's "She is a twelve-year-old girl, Albus!" isn't strongly atypical.

Anyway, no matter how mature they are (read the various dorm and SPHEW scenes for some sanity checks on that idea), they still don't have any authority; there are people whose responsibility is to make announcements such as these, and to have the kids do all this posing instead makes it a bit farcical to me.

I think if they really wanted to, the parties involved could make this happen, but why would they want to? I don't expect the world to be scandalized, I just expect some eye-rolling and mild incredulity. Not something you want if you're making a political move and want to be taken seriously.

But hey, I'm one of the probably small minority of readers who've never quite accepted things like, say, how easily Harry Potter gets away with being rude to Dumbledore.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-31T23:29:29.671Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Did Susan really give the Aurors any real orders, or just notify them that it was their cue to do as her mother had previously instructed?

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-30T16:04:09.091Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also because these children have the initiative and at least three of them are nobles.

Replies from: linkhyrule5
comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-30T17:51:08.422Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is the big one. Child or not, if you're noble you're a Big Deal, so long as you have the backing of the rest of your family.

Replies from: Velorien
comment by Velorien · 2013-09-02T12:58:27.899Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Seconded. It is repeatedly implied in MoR that a noble child is, by default, a legitimate representative of their family, and anything that they do, or is done to them, is as if it was done by/to the family. For example, noble Slytherins get private chambers, even though they've done nothing to earn them within the context of the school's own regulations. Pretty much everything Draco does is considered to be a reflection on the House of Malfoy. It is considered natural for prepubescent children to know spells and rules of challenge designed for formal duels between noble houses.

In general, Rowling's universe assigns improbable values of agency and responsibility to children (socially speaking), and Eliezer only enhances this trend. Let's not forget that the Wizengamot doesn't blink an eyelid at sentencing a twelve-year old girl to die of slow torture for her crimes, or at a twelve-year old boy spontaneously giving away one of Britain's bigger fortunes to settle a blood debt. Death is an acceptable risk in exchange for having your child study at a wizarding school, with Hogwarts's no-deaths-for-fifty-years being seen as an amazing exception rather than a reasonable standard. Powerful magics are taught to children as soon as they are physically and mentally capable of casting them, with no reference to issues of maturity.

Replies from: gattsuru, Sheaman3773, Eugine_Nier
comment by gattsuru · 2013-09-06T03:25:19.473Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This may reflect the relatively slower pace of cultural development inside the Wizarding World : it's actually a rather recent change for young children to be treated as Western Civilization treats them. There are still people alive today who remember being allowing to carry rifles to school, as long as they kept the guns in their lockers between classes.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-09-05T02:33:58.442Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Erm, to be fair, they most certainly do blink an eye:

the roar of simultaneous gasps from the Wizengamot.

Replies from: Velorien
comment by Velorien · 2013-09-05T12:51:55.334Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There are many plausible explanations for that other than Harry's age, though. I suspect they'd have reacted the same way were he an adult giving a way his entire fortune in one fell swoop to save a Muggleborn attempted murderer.

Replies from: Sheaman3773
comment by Sheaman3773 · 2013-09-05T22:50:10.826Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Freely acknowledged. I was just pointing out that they didn't react with aplomb.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-09-06T02:36:36.998Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Seconded. It is repeatedly implied in MoR that a noble child is, by default, a legitimate representative of their family, and anything that they do, or is done to them, is as if it was done by/to the family. For example, noble Slytherins get private chambers, even though they've done nothing to earn them within the context of the school's own regulations.

I don't see how that follows from your example.

Replies from: Velorien
comment by Velorien · 2013-09-06T13:41:58.313Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Noble Slytherins are accorded privileges based on their noble status, thus being treated as representatives of their noble families, rather than just children who happen to have important parents and have to earn things on their own merit (as non-noble children would).

Replies from: Eugine_Nier
comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-09-08T06:16:09.451Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You seem to be confusing two things.

1) Children inheriting some of their parents' status.

2) Children being able to speak on behalf of their house.

Replies from: Velorien
comment by Velorien · 2013-09-08T12:09:42.149Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think you are bringing "parents" into this unnecessarily. If there were Gryffindor noble chambers, I doubt anyone would deny one to Harry on the grounds that he was an orphan. Conversely, if a hypothetical Malfoy of lesser parentage (a cousin X removed, perhaps) were to enter Hogwarts, I doubt they would be denied noble chambers because their parents were low down within the Malfoy hierarchy. For as long as they bore the Malfoy name, any discourtesy to them would be considered an insult to the House of Malfoy.

It's not about inheriting parents' status, it's about membership of a noble house. Membership of a noble house confers the right to noble chambers where they exist. It confers a bunch of legal rights, as we saw with the Wizengamot, which again are not restricted to adults. It apparently also confers the right to speak on behalf of the house. Most children do not do so, probably because they have no reason to, and are aware that they will get into terrible trouble if they end up saying anything that embarrasses their house. On the other hand, someone like Draco, who has been groomed for this sort of thing extensively, never for a moment hints that his words don't carry the full authority of his house (and is ever mindful of what his father will think of his words and actions as a result).

Replies from: Eugine_Nier
comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-09-12T04:51:49.857Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think you are bringing "parents" into this unnecessarily. If there were Gryffindor noble chambers, I doubt anyone would deny one to Harry on the grounds that he was an orphan.

He's still inheriting their status. The fact that they're dead is immaterial.

Conversely, if a hypothetical Malfoy of lesser parentage (a cousin X removed, perhaps) were to enter Hogwarts, I doubt they would be denied noble chambers because their parents were low down within the Malfoy hierarchy.

Being a Malfoy is apparently higher status than being a commoner.

It's not about inheriting parents' status, it's about membership of a noble house. Membership of a noble house confers the right to noble chambers where they exist. It confers a bunch of legal rights, as we saw with the Wizengamot, which again are not restricted to adults. It apparently also confers the right to speak on behalf of the house.

One of these things is not like the others. Being a US citizen also confers a lot of rights. That doesn't mean you have the right to negotiate treaties on behalf of the US.

comment by drethelin · 2013-08-30T12:28:50.043Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

this also rubbed me hella wrong.

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-09-02T04:09:16.131Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This also bothered me- no matter what reasoning I read here, I'll still regard this scene in the same light as the now removed scene where Harry Potter walks up to the Sorting Ceremony while the Weasley Twins play the freaking Ghost Busters theme.

Replies from: MarkusRamikin
comment by MarkusRamikin · 2013-09-03T05:50:34.728Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I confess I liked the Ghostbusters scene. I guess the difference is that Gred and Forge goofing around (as part of their scheme to keep Harry Potter on the Light Side), and Dumbledore playing along (as part of his crazy old wizard act) makes sense to me. :) Nobody is trying to be taken seriously there. And it certainly makes more sense than what's left of the chapter now that the song was pruned out...

comment by Carinthium · 2013-08-30T09:35:57.929Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Probably a plot hole, but I'll try to fill it in: Harry is trying to build alliances that will last among the children rather than their parents, and Lucius appreciates Draco having a moment of glory. Between them, they can get whatever the hell they want in terms of symbolic gestures from their 'allies'.

comment by kilobug · 2013-08-29T07:52:15.129Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Am I the only one with the feeling that it's just too easy, too fast ? Harry uniting all of Hogwarts and most of Magical Britain, despite generation old hostilities, remaining hatred from a war that only ended 10 years ago, personal quarrels, and frontal opposition in terminal values (I don't see how persons sharing Dumbledore ethics can so easily accept to side with wizards who just voted to torture to death a 11yo girl, nor how blood purists can easily side with muggleborn).

I can get Harry, the ultra-rational boy who wants to save Hermione at all cost putting back his rightful horror at siding with people who voted to send her to Azkhaban, but I just can't see how the whole magical Britain letting aside their personal quarrels, hatred, and value conflicts that easily, just for one death, especially since "that still made Hogwarts safer than Beauxbatons, let alone Durmstrang".

Replies from: DanArmak, Protagoras, linkhyrule5, ShardPhoenix, Carinthium, bogdanb
comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-29T09:41:04.225Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The alliance is so far just in the Hogwarts board, not in the Wizengamot. Perhaps they feel it's a limited alliance with a limited purpose, and can be broken off if the purpose at hand changes - safety of the students in Hogwarts.

Even so, I agree that we haven't seen what exactly the people outside Lucius's faction and the House of Greengrass got as an inducement to enter the alliance.

comment by Protagoras · 2013-08-29T14:37:10.720Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've felt like the whole story is too fast, but there are apparently reasons EY wanted to cram the story into a single year. To have only one defense professor? To avoid having to deal with Harry's sex life? I'm not quite sure what all the reasons are (I imagine they're multiple, and that some have probably been mentioned by EY and I'm forgetting), but while I think I would have preferred having Harry develop over 7 years as in canon instead of solving everything as an 11 year old, it's obvious that as the story is actually set up some things just are going to have to happen implausibly quickly.

Replies from: Viliam_Bur
comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-08-31T19:46:33.198Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps the reason is that a rationalist wouldn't waste time. A superior mind does not need 7 years to conquer the world with magic. It just needs to find the ways to recursively self-improve and then... FOOM!

Replies from: Eugene, gjm
comment by Eugene · 2013-09-07T22:45:08.032Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That fine, except a perfect rationalist doesn't exist in a bubble, nor does Harry. Much of what's making the story feel rushed isn't Harry's actions, but rather the speed at which those actions propagate among people who are not rational actors.

Harry is not an above-human-intelligence AI with direct access to his source code. Therefore he cannot "FOOM", therefore he's stuck with a world that is still largely outside his ability to control, no matter how rational he is.

comment by gjm · 2013-08-31T21:26:09.033Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If that's the reason, then any implausibility in how rapidly it happened (I mean, aside from any that's the result of the people involved being wizards, Harry being superintelligent, etc.) is (weak) evidence against those claims about what a superior mind would do.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-29T10:47:01.638Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is just starting. Harry has little formal power right now; ditto Draco. And while this alliance is landmark and a place to start, it's also for the explicit purpose of dealing with Mr. Childkiller - it won't hold up under any other circumstance, half the people still loathe each other, etc.

This is a very important move, but it's nowhere near the last one.

comment by ShardPhoenix · 2013-08-29T08:59:48.513Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it's partly a matter of moving the story along so we can finally get to the end.

comment by Carinthium · 2013-08-29T08:29:08.983Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hypothesis: Perhaps the alliance is temporary, and to limited aims, at this point? Less likely from a narrative standpoint, but from a suspension-of-disbelief perspective maybe the Imperius Curse is about.

In the first possibility it would be less about Hermoine's death, and more about the behind-the-scenes balance of power having drastically shifted (though the death makes a nice pretext) and about the threats and concessions we haven't seen yet making it possible. In the second, this would be I Notice I am Confused, part two.

From an OOC perspective I doubt either sadly, but from an IC perspective we can't rule it out yet.

Replies from: bramflakes
comment by bramflakes · 2013-08-29T10:55:52.008Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

the behind-the-scenes balance of power having drastically shifted (though the death makes a nice pretext) and about the threats and concessions we haven't seen yet making it possible.

Remember that everyone saw Harry threaten a Dementor.

There are a certain few of the Wizengamot who have read through half-disintegrated scrolls and listened to tales of things that happened to someone's brother's cousin, not for entertainment, but as part of a quest for power and truth. They have already marked the Night of Godric's Hollow, as reported by Albus Dumbledore, as an anomalous and potentially important event. They have wondered why it happened, if it did happen; or if not, why Dumbledore is lying.

And when an eleven-year-old boy rises up and says "Lucius Malfoy" in that cold adult voice, and goes on to speak words one simply would not expect to hear from a first-year in Hogwarts, they do not allow the fact to slip into the lawless blurs of legends and the premises of plays.

They mark it as a clue.

They add it to the list.

This list is beginning to look somewhat alarming.

My guess is that those in power who noticed all this are trying to ally themselves with this powerful new piece on the gameboard, and used their sway to get people to agree to it.

comment by bogdanb · 2013-09-02T20:19:20.970Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, regardless of whatever other plotting among each other, all participants actually do have a very good reason to join—their kids still go to Hogwarts, they want to keep them safe but at the same time groom them to inherit the family fortunes, and as was pointed out explicitly in the chapter, there are still good reasons, both politically and for safety, not to go to the other schools. An (at least temporary) alliance for the protection of their children is actually quite logical for all concerned.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-08-28T19:46:52.414Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hardly the most important thing in the chapter, but I was delighted to see a moratorium on house points.

Replies from: arborealhominid, William_Quixote, undermind, buybuydandavis
comment by arborealhominid · 2013-08-29T00:01:47.238Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wonder if this will somehow play into Quirrell's plot to have both Ravenclaw and Slytherin win the house cup.

Replies from: undermind
comment by undermind · 2013-08-29T16:10:35.005Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, obviously. Even in the unlikely event this wasn't all planned by Quirrell with his talk of unity, and role in the Hermione Affair, it is now really easy for him to accomplish this goal.

comment by William_Quixote · 2013-08-29T20:04:29.285Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think the moratorium on house point is one of the most important details this chapter. I'd been wondering for a long time how QQ would have both Slytherin and Ravenclaw win the house cup. The points lock seems to be a way to make that happen.

The reason that's so important is that it means this is part of the plan. Harry, Draco and the rest are all in place playing their assigned roles. If they had gone off script, then they wouldn't be advancing QQ's scheme.

comment by undermind · 2013-08-29T16:23:48.334Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm just imagining the professors' frustration: "Well done, , and five points for AAAAGHHH CURSE YOU HARRY!"

Replies from: DanArmak
comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-29T18:15:02.679Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A clear win for the Quirrel Points system.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-09-01T05:34:59.452Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I thought Rowling was actually moving toward something of the kind, questioning the house system and bringing back together the houses under one roof in the persons of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2013-09-04T22:44:39.869Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

All of whom were Gryffindor. JKR definitely had some issues of inappropriate focus in her stories, didn't she?

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-29T00:38:25.411Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

They see you as small and helpless, They see you as just a child...

Wow. I expect that from Harry at this point, but this just rubbed in the fact that the eleven-year-old protagonists are very much more heroic than most of the adults.

So, here's a question: Aside from uniting Malfoy and Bones, and in general every House in Hogwarts, and the Boy-Who-Lived on top of that in to a single anti-childkilling power bloc, what else is going on here?

The first thing that comes to mind is that this is probably part of Quirrell's plot to set up Harry as Light Lord...

Replies from: Eugene
comment by Eugene · 2013-09-07T22:56:23.433Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"The first thing that comes to mind is that this is probably part of Quirrell's plot to set up Harry as Light Lord..."

If it's as patently ridiculous as his plot to invent a fake Dark Lord who publicly reveals himself and challenges Harry to a fake public duel where he casts a fake Avada Kedavra that fake-backfires just so Harry can spend summer vacation at home, then I sure hope not.

comment by loup-vaillant · 2013-08-28T20:18:16.923Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

War. With children.

I fear the consequences if we don't solve this.

Edit: I'm serious:

This was actually intended as a dry run for a later, serious “Solve this or the story ends sadly” puzzle

Replies from: undermind
comment by undermind · 2013-08-29T15:32:21.699Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree that it's important and has serious consequences, but what is the puzzle?

Replies from: EternalStargazer
comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-08-29T15:59:22.567Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In a previous story, EY posted the penultimate chapter along with an ultimatum: You will earn a Bad Ending by doing nothing, and a Good Ending by guessing, following the internal logic of the story, what the correct solution to this problem is.

The problem could be solved by combining a revelation in the latest chapter with information from an infodump in the first chapter, explaining how space travel worked in universe.

It was in fact solved, and he posted both endings.

This is the danger, that he may do the same thing here, and we must be ready to solve the problem.

I doubt it will be much of an issue however, the raw processing power we have to work with here is much higher, since HPMOR is much more popular than Three Worlds Collide.

Replies from: William_Quixote, PrometheanFaun, tgb, undermind
comment by William_Quixote · 2013-08-29T20:09:29.660Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A fun idea, but I doubt he will do that again here. HPMOR was written as a teaching device and a way of promoting rationalist thinking to a large audience. That is, its not just a fun piece of writing, its a tool and so the ending will be whatever makes it better accomplish the purpose for which it was created. EY won't blunt his tools based on a poll.

Replies from: AndrewE, atorm
comment by AndrewE · 2013-08-30T19:37:44.853Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I rather hope he does do it, though I doubt it will be as much of an ultimatum was TWC was. If it happens, I expect it to take the form of "the climax will be posted when somebody figures it out, or after X months otherwise".

comment by atorm · 2013-08-30T12:11:47.171Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

He does sometimes use his tools bluntly, however.

comment by PrometheanFaun · 2013-09-05T22:41:41.060Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think he's never going to do that here. He did that in TWC because if we were able to come up with the winning strategy when pressed, that would indicate that one of the crew members in the story definitely would have, too, proving it would have been unreasonable to write an ending where they did not. In this case our ability to solve the puzzle doesn't really say anything about the plausibility of the work's characters' solving it. Our success would not necessitate theirs, as we're more populous, experienced, and have access to a huge written record. Nor would our failure necessitate theirs, as Harry has magical insights. The groups' capacities say little about each other.

Replies from: alex_zag_al
comment by alex_zag_al · 2013-09-28T03:05:39.395Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

re: magical insights, yeah - we could have theorized about how potions worked, but we could not test those theories the way Harry did. Since Harry has experiments we don't have access to, he has magical insights we don't have access to

Replies from: PrometheanFaun
comment by PrometheanFaun · 2013-10-01T01:49:18.693Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was referring more to that shadowy part of his mind that knows just what to look for. A source of insight that doesn't obey natural human cognitive constraints.

Replies from: alex_zag_al
comment by alex_zag_al · 2013-10-01T06:30:56.445Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This would be explicitly against Yudkowsky's stated goals for the story,

The Rule of Rationalist Fiction states that rationality is not magic; being rational does not require magical potential or royal bloodlines or even amazing gadgets, and the principles of rationality work for understandable reasons. A rationalist!hero should excel by thinking - moreover, thinking in understandable patterns that readers can, in principle, adopt for themselves. As opposed to the hero just being a born “genius” who comes up with amazing gadgets through an opaque discovery process, or who flawlessly pulls off incredibly complicated gambits that would fail miserably if the reader tried something similar in real life.

All he has that we don't is more facts. (Which is often a hindrance; it was easier for us to figure out Lucius's blood debt, because we had less "memory" to search through.) If he could also exceed natural human cognitive constraints, this wouldn't be rationalist fiction.

(source: http://hpmor.com/info/)

Replies from: PrometheanFaun
comment by PrometheanFaun · 2013-10-03T08:12:31.893Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Assuming that Harry's Dark Side is integral to a significant proportion of plays(assuming rather than noting because my memory is patchy and I don't remember if it was like this or if the dark side was more a background character than an oft-employed tool), perhaps we could infer from this that EY considers it to be an natural state of mind that also happens to flourish rarely enough that no character Harry will ever meet is likely to be able to correct his misperception of it. I'd then assume EY must have visited it himself to write it.

Replies from: alex_zag_al
comment by alex_zag_al · 2013-10-04T20:46:12.569Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wouldn't be surprised if it was a magical dark side. But I'd be shocked if it was a magical dark side that could think better than a well trained adult.

Now that I think about it, he definitely has a source of insight that doesn't obey natural ten-year-old cognitive constraints.

Replies from: Velorien
comment by Velorien · 2013-10-05T12:05:06.961Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But then, it is pretty much the premise of this fic that Harry doesn't obey "natural" ten-year old cognitive constraints because he is a prodigy by birth (with top-rate education that has allowed him to draw on his full mental potential). That premise accepted, there is nothing implausible about his dark side simply focusing his mental capabilities and allowing him to reach new levels of performance (at the cost of limiting processing in other areas such as empathy).

comment by tgb · 2013-08-29T17:26:24.225Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That depends on the nature of the challenge. In TWC, it was merely "have at least one person state this solution as a possibility." If EY wants to make it hard, he can have it be some sort of consensus-gathering executed by a poll, or similar.

comment by undermind · 2013-08-29T16:06:13.881Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I also doubt it will be an issue. But it will be fun. And I'm wondering if we could try to get a head start...

Replies from: roystgnr
comment by roystgnr · 2013-08-29T22:36:22.617Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I hope we don't have to get a head start. There's something to be said for enjoying a mystery yourself before collaborative problem solving explains it for you and you have to shift to enjoying it as dramatic irony immediately rather than upon reread. I've been refraining from trying to evangelize my most certain personal theories here in part because I don't want to spoil The Eventual Reveal for others, but if there's a strong likelihood that reader preparation is going to, say, make the difference between dead-Hermione and revived-Hermione, then it's going to be likely-spoilers time...

comment by PhilGoetz · 2013-09-04T21:24:33.869Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Draco seems insufficiently clever--he's gotten a lot of character development, and could be an agent in the story, but so far he just reacts. (He's already too clever for a 10-year old, but Harry is far too clever for a 10-year-old, so fair's fair.)

I can imagine an alternate HPMoR in which instead of Hermione, Harry had died--preferably later in the story, say at a false climax in the middle of a full-scale war--and Hermione and Draco had to step up to being the protagonists. Possibly I'm just getting tired of Harry's perfection, but seeing them develop towards what Harry is now seems to have more potential drama than seeing Harry develop anywhere (that can be portrayed in fiction and understood by a wide audience) from where he is already.

Replies from: Eugene, Velorien
comment by Eugene · 2013-09-07T22:04:27.563Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wrong thread

comment by Velorien · 2013-09-05T12:50:11.618Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

(He's already too clever for a 10-year old, but Harry is far too clever for a 10-year-old, so fair's fair.)

More like a 12-year old now.

I can imagine an alternate HPMoR in which instead of Hermione, Harry had died--preferably later in the story, say at a false climax in the middle of a full-scale war--and Hermione and Draco had to step up to being the protagonists. Possibly I'm just getting tired of Harry's perfection, but seeing them develop towards what Harry is now seems to have more potential drama than seeing Harry develop anywhere (that can be portrayed in fiction and understood by a wide audience) from where he is already.

You're not a Qrngu Abgr (rot13) fan by any chance, are you?

Replies from: PhilGoetz, Gurkenglas
comment by PhilGoetz · 2013-09-05T23:46:37.569Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Heh. Yes, but the death you're talking about killed Death Note for me.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-09-10T17:21:06.888Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ugh. rot13, please?

Replies from: Velorien
comment by Velorien · 2013-09-11T02:47:03.811Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fixed. Apologies.

comment by loserthree · 2013-08-29T13:11:55.959Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is Theodore Nott wearing his scary face because he learned it was a good idea to do so in Chaos, or because there is also a conspiracy of Green Slytherin: those who can cast Avada Kedavra, the green spell?

Harry courted the company of both Draco and Hermione. He adjusted his presentation to meet their expectations, as he understood them. Draco could be doing the same because why have one secret power base when you could have two?

I don't consider this terribly likely. It came up in that pattern-matching way, but feels like it's needlessly complicated.

Hopefully someone else can undermine it more decisively or support it better.

Replies from: EternalStargazer, Watercressed, undermind
comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-08-29T16:18:13.434Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Even ignoring the rest of the post, the idea of a Green Slytherin based off of Avada Kedavra is interesting for many reasons.

Let's look at some of the implications:

  • Avada Kedavra and the Patronus Charm (2.0) are basically mutually exclusive. In order to cast the first, you must want someone dead for the sake of being dead, and in order to cast the latter you must value all life to the point of denying death altogether.

  • Avada Kedavra and the Patronus Charm (2.0) cancel each other out. We saw this in Azkaban, and at the time we probably assumed it was just a result of Quirrell and Harry's magic going out of control, but on closer inspection it seems that both simply destroy the other, matter and antimatter style, which makes sense considering what type of magic they are created from. A magically created preference for death over life, and a magically created preference for life over death.

  • They both also follow the political lines, as you mention above. Avada Kedavra is more likely to be known and cast by those desperate for someone to hate, and the True Patronus is more likely to be cast by those who are trying to cooperate, simply because those mindsets are more likely to lead to those specific preferences.

  • Now that I think about it, the two groups are also the 'Cooperators' and the 'Defectors' in the Prisoner's Dilemma.

  • The interesting question is if they are going to devolve into standard Green vs Blue political idiocy. If Harry has a controlling power, they may not, but I don't think Draco has progressed enough as a rationalist to be able to avoid all those old lessons yet.

There is probably more here, but I need to sit down and think for five minutes, and do a quick read through of the archives.

Replies from: ShardPhoenix, kilobug
comment by ShardPhoenix · 2013-08-30T06:10:43.633Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It seems likely that many adult wizards (eg Snape) can cast both. Can't remember if this is the case in canon or not.

Replies from: somervta
comment by somervta · 2013-08-30T07:54:58.739Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is true in canon. I would see no problem even in HPMOR with wizards casting Patroni and AKs. It's only with Patronus 2.0 that there might be some incompatibility.

Replies from: ikrase, EternalStargazer
comment by ikrase · 2013-08-30T16:06:54.642Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It seems vaguely possible that Harry's Dark Side compartementalization might allow him to cast both AK and True Patronus.

comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-08-30T14:19:14.288Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, that was my point, it's the True Patronus charm that is the exact opposite of AK, the Patronus Charm 1.0 is really a Dumbledore spell. It avoids fear of death by thinking about something else.

comment by kilobug · 2013-08-29T17:32:21.962Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm still unconvinced about "Avada Kedavra and the Patronus Charm (2.0) cancel each other out". My interpretation of it in Azkaban is more "Harry and Quirrel magic cancel each other when they interact" than anything related specifically for those spells.

For the rest, there is a significant difference which, while it doesn't matter much in absolute, matters a lot of HPMOR, is that 11 yo can't cast Avada Kedavra, while they can cast Patronus. So you can have 1st years in Hogwarts who are "Silver Slytherin" because they can cast Patronus, but you can't have "Green Slytherin" that can cast AK in 1st year, because it's too advanced magic for them.

Replies from: loserthree, EternalStargazer, somervta, hairyfigment
comment by loserthree · 2013-08-30T03:17:14.612Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


That pulls a bit of the rug out from under that unsteady pile of pattern-matching.

Replies from: loserthree
comment by loserthree · 2013-08-31T14:41:03.224Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


That pulls a bit of the rug out from under that unsteady pile of pattern-matching.

This got downvoted to -2. If anyone would like to see fewer postings like the above, they can improve the odds that they'll see the change they'd like by explaining what it is about the above post that was disliked.

Thank you, in advance for your help with this.

Replies from: gjm, linkhyrule5, TobyBartels
comment by gjm · 2013-08-31T21:23:47.421Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I didn't downvote it but I'd guess that one reason why some people did is that they thought it was rude and would prefer LW to be a more civil place.

(My initial reaction to your question about downvotes was: "Ah, I bet those people didn't notice that the person being so rude was the same as the person whose 'unsteady pile of pattern-matching' they were being so rude about" -- I was very surprised when I checked and found it was just garden-variety rudeness rather than self-deprecation.)

Replies from: ciphergoth
comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) · 2013-09-02T16:43:08.791Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it is self-deprecation, ie it refers to this not this.

Replies from: gjm
comment by gjm · 2013-09-02T18:32:10.034Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Aha, I think you're right. Score one for my intuitive self-deprecation sensors, then.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-31T20:06:55.786Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have no idea. Upvoted for admitting you're (more likely to be) wrong, though.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-31T23:23:33.621Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, it's -1 now, since I often upvote comments with negative totals that I think don't deserve them. Sorry that I can't help you more!

Replies from: loserthree
comment by loserthree · 2013-09-01T16:16:20.709Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Less worried about downvotes I've received, more interested in the things that lead to me getting them.

Thanks, though.

comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-08-29T23:50:13.081Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Our direct evidence doesn't completely pan out, because of the uncertainty of the Quirrel reaction, yes. But even without that we have evidence for the underlying theory: ie: AK is Death>Life: the spell and PC2.0 is Life>Death: the spell.

I can post quotes from both of these, in fact, I would argue that the Harry and Moody conversation on Avada Kedavra exists for the sole purpose of including that data in the narrative. Remember, these are Harry's words, a "magically expressed preference for death over life" and the Patronus Charm being cast by "rejecting death as the natural order."

comment by somervta · 2013-08-30T03:28:06.410Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Slitherin --> Slytherin

The Patronus defending against the AK makes sense in terms of what we know about the two spells, as well as the evidence from Azkaban, as others have noticed. Also, the Patronus responded to Harry's desire to protect the Auror - the response of the Patronus seems more likely if it was a property of the spell rather than of the magic of the person casting the AK (weak evidence, sure).

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-08-29T20:17:32.817Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

See, however, Lesath Lestrange.

Replies from: Gurkenglas
comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-31T22:59:19.033Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That guy is in fifth year, though.

comment by Watercressed · 2013-08-29T22:48:57.224Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

First-years can't cast AK for reasons of raw magical power, so an organization of first-years can't use the Killing Curse as a membership criteria.

Replies from: EternalStargazer
comment by EternalStargazer · 2013-08-29T23:46:33.269Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But if say third years can, than ones who got their wands early may be able to. And it isn't all first years either.

Plus, it's more about the mindset than the actual ability.

Replies from: somervta
comment by somervta · 2013-08-30T03:33:26.259Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's stated that the reason first-years can't cast it is magical power, not skill, which is age-based, not practice-based.

Replies from: fractalman
comment by fractalman · 2013-09-02T00:52:15.784Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

And then quirrel won a bet with dumbledore when it turned out that first-years could cast the patronus.
Fake-moody's statement that he'd get no more than a bloody nose...You woudln't want to try that in the MoR verse. one of the students might be tempted to test it. and if the've been in quirrel's wargames, well...

you get the idea.

cause in MoR, it IS largely practice-based. in cannon rowling left it vague.

Replies from: somervta, somervta
comment by somervta · 2013-09-02T01:55:52.118Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nope! It's stated in MoR that, unlike other advanced spells, the patronus is considered too difficult because of things like precise movements, and the emotional/willpower aspect, not magical strength.

So the gestures were complicated and delicate. That didn't stop you from learning it when you were eleven. It meant you had to be extra careful and practice each part for a lot longer than usual, that was all.

Most Charms that could only be learned by older students were like that because they required more strength of magic than any young student could muster. But the Patronus Charm wasn't like that, it wasn't difficult because it needed too much magic, it was difficult because it took more than mere magic.

comment by somervta · 2013-09-02T02:04:21.840Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Additionally, Quirrel states in Roles, Pt 1, that Harry has insufficient raw power for the Killing Curse.

The Defense Professor inclined his head. "I shall teach you almost any magic you wish to know, Mr. Potter. I do have some limits, but you may always ask. But what specifically do you seek? You lack the raw power for the Killing Curse and most other spells deemed forbidden -"

comment by undermind · 2013-08-29T15:39:05.042Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I like the thought, because awesome complications & pattern-matching. I also really hope it doesn't exist. It seems more likely that Jugson would have started such a faction.

comment by bramflakes · 2013-08-28T19:44:11.525Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, speculation for what Harry wants the twins to buy for him. After thinking about this for 5 minutes by the clock, this is what I came up with:

1) A nuclear device (foreshadowed, one of the few things Quirrel fears, useful as a bargaining chip/MAD)

2) Some other form of muggle weapon (superset of #1)

3) Some muggle tech that can speed up Hermione's resurrection process if the main plan fails

4) Related to #3 - ingredients for a magical ritual/potion which will resurrect Hermione if the main plan fails (foreshadowed)

Replies from: chaosmage, Izeinwinter, DanArmak, TsviBT, gattsuru, Benito, undermind, JTHM, atorm, mare-of-night, DanielLC, Nornagest
comment by chaosmage · 2013-08-29T09:29:28.933Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My guess is computer hardware and a source of electricity, so he can finally get started on one of those big projects to gain large amounts of personal power / resources.

The economy-disrupting arbitrage scheme was introduced as early as chapter 4. Lots of money would have helped Harry in pretty much every arc. He could think of many, many other schemes to help him finally start world optimisation in earnest. But he never did that. In story logic, he never got round to doing it due to interference from all sides. In writing logic, this can only happen in the final arc because otherwise, the story will be known as "Harry Potter gets really rich" and cease to be about the methods of rationality anymore.

That doesn't necessarily point to computer hardware, but chapter 87 mentions them as a powerful tool that wizards lack ("If there's a money-making method in this book that sounds difficult for a wizard, but it's easy if we can use Dad's old Mac Plus, then we'd have a plan.") and I have a hard time thinking about world optimisation plans that wouldn't benefit from at least some sensible organisation of data, scheduling and on-the-fly printing.

Replies from: Velorien
comment by Velorien · 2013-09-01T12:39:50.684Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This would have the inconvenience of requiring an undefended secondary base, perhaps in Hogsmeade or London - Muggle technology doesn't work in Hogwarts, and Harry can't Apparate, so he would have to keep travelling back and forth to wherever he kept his computer whenever he wanted to use it.

Replies from: Gurkenglas
comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-09-01T13:28:26.743Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harrys mechanical clock works, so set up a typewriter as input, a seismograph as output and ropes as wire to remote-control a computer.

Replies from: LM7805
comment by LM7805 · 2013-09-19T13:23:38.808Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I doubt Harry has read many RFCs, but IP over avian carrier had been around for just over two years at this point in the story.

comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-08-28T22:19:13.785Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Most of the ideas listed so far are either much too nasty, better done with magic, or both. Mostly both. So, what contingencies could Harry procure from the world for a reasonably modest amount of money that do things he cannot just transfigure, or do by wand, and which the twins would not recognize?

First thing that comes to mind are various non-lethal drugs, since those are going into the targets body, which means transfiguration is out if you want the subject to live. So, LSD (lethal dose absurdly higher than effective dose. .which is useful if you want to dose a crowd) Tranquilizers think this fits on all counts?

Lets see, what else would it be a bad idea/impractical to transfigure. Muggle photography gear? But the twins would recognize that.

Smoke grenades. (Not subject to finite, a counter for every spell that requires you to see your target.)

Protective kit good enough to count as valid precautions for transfiguration stunts.. would break the budget given.

Id say bugging kit, but a purely mechanical recording device would be a museum piece, and cabinet size..

Replies from: fubarobfusco, ikrase
comment by fubarobfusco · 2013-08-29T03:06:02.120Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


Dosing the water supply might well work better on wizards than on muggles. Muggles chlorinate their water supply, and even a small amount of chlorine will rapidly inactivate LSD.

Replies from: bramflakes
comment by bramflakes · 2013-08-29T10:58:43.718Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Then again, some natural water sources have that amount of chlorine in them anyway.

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-28T23:47:00.508Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Don't forget useful drugs to use on allies ratehr than enemies.

Small quantity of chemical explosives.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-28T21:39:09.720Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

1) A nuclear device

You can't buy nuclear or other WMDs for a hundred Galleons. And the instruction implied buying, not to stealing (and what wizard capable of stealing nuclear warheads would want or need such a paltry payment?)

More to the point, Harry - or any wizard - can just Transfigure WMDs. Quick, free, and no need to carry dangerous stuff around.

He can also Transfigure antimatter. If he can come up with a reliable remote trigger, that is gram per gram the deadliest thing known to Muggle science. It was also foreshadowed a bit (chapter 14):

Say, Professor McGonagall, did you know that time-reversed ordinary matter looks just like antimatter? Why yes it does! Did you know that one kilogram of antimatter encountering one kilogram of matter will annihilate in an explosion equivalent to 43 million tons of TNT? Do you realise that I myself weigh 41 kilograms and that the resulting blast would leave A GIANT SMOKING CRATER WHERE THERE USED TO BE SCOTLAND?

2) Some other form of muggle weapon

As above for any weapon I can think of. Antimatter and nuclear weapons trump any area-effect attack. Poisons and biological or chemical agents can be Transfigured too, unless you need them to last for a long time before acting. Magic trumps Muggle personal weapons. ETA: not Harry's magic, though, and guns can be useful against weak or unprepared wizards. Electronics, computers, and software are Sirs Not Appearing In This Fanfic.

Ingredients for a magical ritual/potion which will resurrect Hermione if the main plan fails

Interesting. An irreplaceable Muggle artifact that was created by expending life in some manner, so sacrificing it would release "life energy"? I think though that defeating Death in such a purely magical would not be appropriate for Harry.

Replies from: ikrase, topynate, TobyBartels, RolfAndreassen
comment by ikrase · 2013-08-28T21:58:50.092Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What? Harry doesn't want a gun because his magic is weak? In canon, guns are moderately effective against wizards. Carrying a pistol or a submachine gun around is the most blatantly obvious force multiplier, especially given that any other spell Harry can cast has at least a half-second casting time AND a two second cooldown.

Replies from: DanArmak, Benito
comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-29T08:52:48.885Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Guns would be useful against opponents who 1) were not prepared to face them (as the troll was prepared to face specific threats like sunshine), 2) were not adult wizards with shields raised. So yes, that leaves some options against which a gun in the bag of holding would be useful. (Harry will need to practice firing it though.) You're right, I'll update my comment accordingly.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2013-08-29T18:55:16.695Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Where are guns in Canon please?

Replies from: CAE_Jones
comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-08-30T01:04:04.855Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The only mention of guns in canon that I can recall is at the start of Prisoner of Azkaban, where the muggle side of the Sirius Black scare mentions him as armed and dangerous, and the Daily Prophet agrees that muggles are saying he has a gun, which they describe as being something like a muggle wand that they can use to attack one another.

I assume that a great many wizarding children went on to imagine the muggle world as some very interesting variant on the stereotypical Wild West, where "boomstick" was probably a better description of a shotgun than usual.

comment by topynate · 2013-08-28T22:24:33.176Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I doubt he can Transfigure antimatter. If he can, the containment will be very hard to get right, and he would absolutely have to get it right. How do you even stop it blowing up your wand, if you have to contact the material you're Transfiguring?

Maybe Tazers! They'd work against some shields, are quite tricky to make, and if you want lots of them they're easier to buy. Other things: encrypted radios, Kevlar armour (to avoid Finite Incantem). Most things that can be bought for 5K could have been bought in Britain in the early 90s, apart from that sort of paramilitary gear. Guns are unlikely because the twins would have heard of them.

Replies from: CAE_Jones, ikrase, TobyBartels, DanArmak
comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-08-29T00:38:37.033Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Guns are unlikely because the twins would have heard of them.

Consensus on /r/HPMOR was that Harry would have specified a type of gun and its ammo, since if he just said "guns" the twins would probably have brought muskets.

Replies from: DanArmak, ikrase
comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-29T08:48:28.180Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Where would they even get muskets today? In a museum?

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-29T08:07:07.841Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My opinion too. Guns capable of killing a troll or being highly effective against powerful wizards would break the budget AND be hard to obtain (Anti-material rifle for the former, which Harry probably cannot fire, and submachine gun for the latter), but there are other possibilities. Early in the fic Muggle rocket launchers are mentioned. I think that in the Third World, an RPG with a few rockets may go for under $1000.

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-28T23:49:03.966Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The twins just scanned the list, and the twins probably wouldn't have recognized, say '9mm automatic pistol' even if they know what guns are.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-31T22:25:32.812Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think that Tasers were really a thing until 1994, which saw the first version that didn't use gunpowder as a propellant (and hence was not legally a firearm). Harry could still have heard of them by good luck, of course.

Replies from: Gurkenglas
comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-08-31T23:57:46.599Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

He transfigured a taser for his fight against Moody.

Replies from: TobyBartels
comment by TobyBartels · 2013-09-01T09:31:21.846Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

OK, thanks.

comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-29T08:48:07.315Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I doubt he can Transfigure antimatter. If he can, the containment will be very hard to get right, and he would absolutely have to get it right. How do you even stop it blowing up your wand, if you have to contact the material you're Transfiguring?

Transfigure the containment device first. Then find a way to transfigure the antimatter inside it. To solve the wand contact problem, transfigure the empty container into a full container. Then his wand is in contact with the container, but the container doesn't actually change.

Granted, it's extremely dangerous, especially when practicing.

Replies from: Baughn
comment by Baughn · 2013-08-30T19:16:57.171Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, there is the problem that no-one knows what containment for macroscopic amounts of antimatter looks like. We have some ideas, but nothing that would be safe for Harry to try.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-31T22:32:26.161Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Electronics, computers, and software are Sirs Not Appearing In This Fanfic.

It's pretty standard fanon that magic interferes badly with electronics. (Canon is similar but less specific.)

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2013-09-04T22:38:54.443Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Which bugs me. I want to see glorious contraptions based off physics real and fake alike. Too many people try to replicate Tolkein's bucolic countryside scenes with their fantasy universes.

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2013-08-28T22:13:32.396Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

just Transfigure WMDs.

Transfigure a critical mass of uranium, ok. Transfigure several subcritical masses with a working trigger? Much more difficult. Since, as far as I can tell, you have to be within visual range of the thing you are Transfiguring, this would be a bit of a last-ditch option. At least with war gases you could work on the contents of a bottle, or something.

Replies from: topynate
comment by topynate · 2013-08-28T22:17:58.117Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If he can make a model rocket, he can make a uranium gun design. It's one slightly sub-critical mass of uranium with a suitable hole for the second piece, which is shaped like a bullet and fired at it using a single unsynchronised electronic trigger down a barrel long enough to get up a decent speed. Edit: And then he or a friendly 7th year casts a charm of flawless function on it.

Replies from: ikrase
comment by ikrase · 2013-08-28T23:52:48.156Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That was a lot more than a model rocket.... probably weighed at least 5kg. Also, the fact that either he OR Quirrel could make a working large rocket engine without knowing the exact composition of propellant, precise geometry of nozzle, etc indicates that Transfiguration can work at a really high level of abstraction. He probably would have no trouble at all transfiguring a nuclear weapon with a mechanical timer trigger.

Replies from: alex_zag_al
comment by alex_zag_al · 2013-09-28T03:21:22.683Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

well of course, can't you transfigure animals?

Replies from: ikrase
comment by ikrase · 2013-09-28T09:13:55.891Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually, yeah, you can. I think.

Replies from: Sheaman3773
comment by Sheaman3773 · 2014-01-04T02:41:56.590Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


Her wand came down and tapped her desk, which smoothly reshaped itself into a pig.

comment by TsviBT · 2013-08-28T20:32:37.100Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

And the acid from the previous chapter.

Replies from: Rukifellth, sketerpot
comment by Rukifellth · 2013-08-29T02:45:19.087Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Jugson refused to support Malfoy, if I recall.

comment by sketerpot · 2013-08-29T02:40:20.808Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This also has the advantage of being cheap in bulk, since it has so many industrial uses. Current prices are under $400/ton.

comment by gattsuru · 2013-08-29T00:37:54.889Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't see a particular advantage to those things. Quirrel doesn't fear a single nuclear weapon -- Voldemort can survive such a thing -- he fears nuclear annihilation or MAD, which is a separate matter and not much overlapped with an individual bomb. Muggle weapons are useful and a matter that might require someone to go outside of the country to get... but even a firearm requires training that Harry doesn't have, and can not kill a Dementor or a Troll. Where firearms could threaten the average unaware Wizard, we've seen that most major players are aware of firearms (including McGonagall, Dumbledore, and Snape, see chapter 61), and thus it would not likely fall under things that a Muggle Expert's sons would not recognize.

And the set of things that Rationalist!Harry knows can resurrect someone is very, very small, and not much overlapped with the Muggle world. Most rituals and potions require ingredients that already have significant magical power.

The "things that Fred and George can't recognize" is an interesting set. Canon!ArthurWeasley isn't very knowledgeable, but he at least had an interesting in electrical power, heavy-than-air non-magical flight, and chemical fueled engines. I think we can expect him to be of similar intelligence or smarter in MoR. It's possible that he's better at hiding his interest in Muggle technology or that Rationalist!Harry intentionally wrote non-standard descriptions for the items, but that seems unlikely. ((We're also taking 1990-ish tech, so some 'obvious' stuff from today either didn't exist or would exceed his budget.))

The first thought is dry ice, and the tools necessary to maintain it. Rationalist!Harry has broken several rules of transfiguration, including "don't burn anything", but the ability to transfigure CO2 is probably the easiest way to 'safely' violate that rule, not terribly expensive, but not within his normal abilities to easily produce otherwise.

Replies from: gthorneiii, ChristianKl
comment by gthorneiii · 2013-08-29T01:05:05.591Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Canon!ArthurWeasley isn't very knowledgeable, but he at least had an interesting in electrical power, heavy-than-air non-magical flight, and chemical fueled engines. I think we can expect him to be of similar intelligence or smarter in MoR.

I don't think so, per chapter 61:

Madam Bones's voice continued. "We brought in Arthur Weasley from Misuse of Muggle Artifacts - he knows more about Muggle artifacts than any wizard alive - and gave him the descriptions from the Aurors on the scene, and he cracked it. It was a Muggle artifact called a rocker, and they call it that because you'd have to be off your rocker to ride one. Just six years ago one of their rockers blew up, killed hundreds of Muggles in a flash and almost set fire to the Moon. Weasley says that rockers use a special kind of science called opposite reaction, so the plan is to develop a jinx which will prevent that science from working around Azkaban."


"Severus?" the old wizard said. "What was it actually?"

"A rocket," said the half-blood Potions Master, who had grown up in the Muggle town of Spinner's End. "One of the most impressive Muggle technologies."

It seems pretty clear from chapter 61 that MOR!ArthurWeasley knows precious little about the muggle world.

Replies from: linkhyrule5, J_Taylor
comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-29T04:17:03.763Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On a side note, I'd like to see the spell-research attempts at preventing "opposite reaction" from working.

I mean, I'm sure they'll get it eventually, but they're going to get some rather hilarious results in the meantime...

Replies from: Baughn
comment by Baughn · 2013-08-30T19:16:04.441Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So would I, and I wouldn't mind writing some, but posting such snippets here has been previously discouraged.

Hmm.. I guess this is what ff.net is for, at that. I'll send you a link if I end up writing it.

Replies from: Armok_GoB
comment by Armok_GoB · 2013-09-07T23:25:30.882Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd like to see it to, and probably so would many reading this.

comment by J_Taylor · 2013-08-29T03:59:32.470Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It seems pretty clear from chapter 61 that MOR!ArthurWeasley knows precious little about the muggle world.

When it comes to wizards who lack recent Muggle ancestry, Arthur may well be the most knowledgeable expert regarding these matters. Considering the racism of even well-meaning wizards, this likely gives Arthur a certain degree of clout in certain circles.

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-08-30T18:51:28.434Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Voldemort can survive such a thing -- he fears nuclear annihilation or MAD, which is a separate matter and not much overlapped with an individual bomb

Detonating a single nuclear bomb in Washington or Russia would have triggered nuclear attacks in 1993 where the events of this story take place.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2013-09-04T22:42:20.869Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The story is currently in April 1992.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2013-08-29T18:54:26.364Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm thinking sulfuric acid?

comment by undermind · 2013-08-29T15:34:41.006Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Don't forget Space Stuff.

comment by JTHM · 2013-08-29T00:30:45.507Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, we know that the Weasley twins don't recognize anything on the list, and since older muggle technology has a way of gradually seeping into the wizarding world, it's not likely to be anything developed too recently. It also probably isn't something that an Oxford professor would be able to obtain inconspicuously, or else Harry would probably just ask his father. (Though it still might be something his father could obtain at the cost of drawing attention to himself, and Harry just doesn't want anyone to guess that said purchase was really for him.) Anything electronic is unlikely, as we've seen no foreshadowing that Harry has invented a way to make electronics work near magic. So I looked through some timelines of important inventions, starting with the 1920's, for anything that might be remotely useful for a young magical inventor to have. My results:

Tommy guns, lie detector machines, jetpacks, polaroids, radar, photocopiers, LSD, teflon, electron Microscopes, slinkies, silly Putty, submachine guns, nuclear weapons, velcro, rocket-Propelled Grenades, super Glue, various antibiotics, fiber optics, lasers, halogen Lamps, kevlar, high-temperature superconductors, various chemical weapons and poisons,

Harry mentions that someone would likely have to go out of the country to obtain some of the items on his list. The only items on my list which would be difficult to obtain on short notice in Britain would be weapons and body armor, owing to strict UK gun laws; this makes it likely that Harry is looking for weaponry. Can anyone else think of a non-electronic 20th century muggle invention that would be difficult to obtain in the UK but not overseas?

comment by atorm · 2013-08-28T23:43:33.931Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Plastic explosive.

Replies from: atorm
comment by atorm · 2013-08-30T12:14:00.548Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually, thermite.

comment by mare-of-night · 2013-08-28T22:39:23.547Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd assumed it would be a variety of muggle items that were generally useful but hard to get, rather than preparations for any one specific thing. My "mental image" was basically a chemistry set, since Harry probably knows some tricks that require specific chemicals that you can't get at a normal shop because most people don't want them.

That wouldn't require going outside Britain, though. Something illegal or highly controlled, like Izeinwinter's suggestion of LSD, or the weapons a lot of other people are suggesting. I don't /think/ Harry would go for warheads, but guns maybe.

comment by DanielLC · 2013-08-28T21:05:48.001Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was thinking it could be something for cryonics.

Replies from: Nornagest, monsterzero
comment by Nornagest · 2013-08-28T21:09:57.110Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Eliezer has mentioned elseforum that Harry hasn't heard of cryonics.

(I'm assuming this qualifies as a public statement.)

Replies from: buybuydandavis, ikrase
comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-29T02:20:35.948Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The uber genius science wiz kid who wants to live forever, whose father is an eminent professor of biochemistry at Oxford, hasn't heard of cryonics?

Replies from: Eliezer_Yudkowsky, kilobug
comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-08-29T04:39:28.661Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would guess >90% of whiz kids haven't.

Replies from: buybuydandavis, drnickbone, TobyBartels, JoshuaZ, fractalman, ikrase
comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-29T10:09:04.201Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Let's even grant that.

How about factoring in "plans to live forever through science"? That's probably the most relevant prior information.

Estimate P(never heard of cryonics | read tons of science and scifi books and researches interests and plans on living forever through science). Isn't that basically Harry before magic came along? He somehow missed mention of cryonics when he looked into means to live forever?

Replies from: linkhyrule5
comment by linkhyrule5 · 2013-08-29T10:42:47.131Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I missed it completely and was doing much the same thing at that age. I actually ran right over cryonics - it showed up in Artemis Fowl and my absurdity heuristic/Colfer's tone tossed it aside.

Replies from: Luke_A_Somers
comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2013-08-29T15:56:50.464Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Space Seed? Several 1970s sci-fi novels feature it.

2001: A Space Odyssey comes close, as does Planet of the Apes. Alien, too (though I wouldn't expect him to have seen that)

HP is set in 1991, so we're too early for Babylon 5 ("The Long Dark") or especially Futurama.

You might have dismissed it, but I doubt he would have. Maaybe if his father dismissed it as rubbish.

Replies from: buybuydandavis
comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-08-29T20:21:10.274Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Space Seed?


How could a nerd not know that?

Harry's also interested in space travel and a human diaspora. Cryogenic hibernation is the standard way to travel to other planets, barring warp drive.

Replies from: Luke_A_Somers
comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2013-08-29T20:31:27.481Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, but to be fair, usually in those stories they're sending live people.

Replies from: buybuydandavis
comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-09-01T05:27:55.903Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Except for legal issues, there's little reason to wait until someone is dead to preserve them.

comment by drnickbone · 2013-09-04T19:08:23.893Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, your Harry has heard of "nanotechnology a la Eric Drexler" (Chapter 28), so I find it very surprising that he wouldn't also be aware of Drexler's views on cryonics. Engines of Creation was published in 1986... I would have expected Harry to have read the whole book.

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-31T22:14:34.312Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would guess >90% of whiz kids haven't.

Surely you mean ‘hadn't’ here?

And yet, 8 years later, Matt Groening and David Cohen could assume that fans of The Simpsons would know what it is as a matter of course; the pilot episode of Futurama offers no explanation beyond the word ‘cryogenics’, an icy cartoon effect, and a dial with a timer on it. You could blame that on the Internet, but that's for popular culture to learn that a sci-fi genius didn't know.

On the other hand, I could easily believe that Harry has only heard of this in a way that makes it sound like nonsense, and he never followed it up. Its absence doesn't detract from the story for me.

Replies from: gwern, None
comment by gwern · 2013-09-01T01:08:21.535Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

And yet, 8 years later, Matt Groening and David Cohen could assume that fans of The Simpsons would know what it is as a matter of course; the pilot episode of Futurama offers no explanation beyond the word ‘cryogenics’, an icy cartoon effect, and a dial with a timer on it.

I've seen Futurama mentioned negatively as having introduced cryonics to a lot of people in a ridiculous light, and Groening's Simpsons has always indulged in a lot of very obscure references (read the Simpsons Archive's annotated scripts for an episode and note how many you did not notice on a single watch), so merely appearing on his shows doesn't necessarily mean a lot - especially since Futurama goes to considerable lengths to make the cryonics completely understandable to people with zero idea about it, with Fry falling into a glassy supermarket-style freezer*, being flash-frozen (not vitrified), and then a long timelapse montage explaining visually the lapse of time. The concept comes through clear as a bell to anyone who has ever used a freezer, which in the USA is pretty much everyone.

* note, by the way, how they went with a common piece of technology used in every supermarket for many decades, which looks completely different from every dewar ever used by actual cryonics organizations.

Replies from: TobyBartels, fubarobfusco
comment by TobyBartels · 2013-09-01T09:41:45.032Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If Futurama really introduced it to many people, then I'm wrong. I always thought that Groening & Cohen expected the viewers to already know about it, but that doesn't mean much, since I already knew about it (even though only as a crackpot idea yet).

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2013-09-01T14:45:45.187Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's hard to prove that people were ignorant, of course, but I think it did bring cryonics up to a lot of people who didn't know about it. (If nothing else, all the kids and teens watching it - the younger you are, the less time you've had to run into the idea.) Some links:

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2013-09-02T07:39:22.111Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm kind of surprised by how few books have mentioned Futurama in recent years. (Then again, ISTR that Google Ngram Viewer sampled pre-2000 books and post-2000 books in different ways.)

comment by fubarobfusco · 2013-09-01T06:07:46.064Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well before Futurama, there was a Woody Allen movie called Sleeper with a similar premise. It seems to be a pretty common way to do the Rip Van Winkle scenario.

Replies from: RichardKennaway
comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-09-01T06:24:07.920Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

And before that was the British TV series of 1966-67, Adam Adamant. And before that, Heinlein's The Door into Summer, which Harry has surely read, takes cold sleep back to 1957. So the concept is available to him, and with his mind, he can take it seriously even if no-one else has yet.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-09-02T07:30:44.877Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Er, Fry was alive when he got frozen. I hadn't heard about the idea of cryopreserving legally dead people in hope that not-yet-available technology to revive them will be invented until years later than I watched that Futurama episode. (Then again, I read way less sci fi than HJPEV.)

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-08-29T13:56:24.854Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That he would fall into that category seems doubtful given that he's been exposed to so much science fiction though. Cryonics is a staple of scifi, so it shouldn't take him that much thinking to see how plausible it could be or to note that people have actually tried it.

Replies from: Joshua_Blaine, Eliezer_Yudkowsky, gattsuru
comment by Joshua_Blaine · 2013-08-30T00:53:17.784Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As someone who read Ender's Game at the age of 11, and consequently a lot more sci-fi since then, It took Eliezer's "You Only Live Twice" post six years later to properly elevate my knowledge of cryonics to actual conscious awareness. It took an actual proponent of the procedure telling me about it and that people are actually doing it in real life for me to notice it as a useful idea.

And the only thing I needed for convincing was the feasibility of the science, not any moral qualms about the implications of it all. I was (and still am) in the same mind-set concerning life extension and widespread immortality as Harry, and a single afternoon reading about the procedure had me basically convinced.

So no, I don't really think it's incredibly unlikely that Harry hasn't properly heard about cryonics as used in the manor he needs. Of course, I'm but a single data point. How many smart kids have you met that are or aren't knowledgable about existing cryonic procedures?

Replies from: Mestroyer
comment by Mestroyer · 2013-09-02T05:44:58.936Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I remember reading a cartoon as a kid about cryonics which portrayed it cynically if I remember correctly. I didn't realize it was actually a thing people did, but I remember thinking "This sounds like something I would want to do in real life. There has to be some reason it wouldn't work though, because I'm hearing about it in a cartoon and not in real life."

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-08-29T17:22:46.192Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

SF readers don't know either.

Replies from: roystgnr, LucasSloan, JoshuaZ
comment by roystgnr · 2013-08-29T22:45:29.110Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What if we narrow it down to "Niven readers"? "Corpsicles" feature in a Niven-verse novel and a novella from the 70s, and Harry makes an offhand reference to Niven-verse Puppeteers in HPMOR chapter 9. Harry might not know about Alcor but he should at least be aware of the general idea.

comment by LucasSloan · 2013-08-29T17:52:17.204Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Does your theory have anything more to say than "the internet has changed things" to explain why I knew about cryonics at Harry's age?

Replies from: Izeinwinter, Eliezer_Yudkowsky
comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-08-29T18:18:54.279Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry is very, very likely to have come across the concept of cold sleep. That is not cryonics. Cryonics is the idea of freezing the dead in the hope of fixing the problem later with better tech, even if you do not even know how to revive the frozen at the time. As a serious idea, it is new and fringy, as fiction.. It does come up, but not very often - even people wishing to throw a character into the future usually handwave a stasis field.

Replies from: LucasSloan
comment by LucasSloan · 2013-08-29T20:45:00.842Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sure. That still doesn't answer the question of who does hear about it. We could just say that 1% of people who read SF have heard about it, but then my experience is hard to explain - I hadn't read all that much SF by age 11. It seems quite reasonable to say that the 10 years that the Internet existed between me and Harry was decisive, but I'm asking what variables explain the difference between two SF readers, only one of whom has heard of cryonics.

Replies from: Izeinwinter, hairyfigment
comment by Izeinwinter · 2013-08-30T03:45:55.098Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Uhm - an personal experience like this holds approximately zero data about its own frequency. The sheer number of things you encounter and learn about while growing up, and the universe of learning are both so vast that if your exploration of the library strays from the beaten path of school assignments, bestsellers and nigh-compulsory classics at all, you will learn many, many things which only small minorities have also encountered.

comment by hairyfigment · 2013-08-29T21:16:22.883Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, how did you hear about it? I didn't (or didn't see it as a real possibility) until I read a mostly non-fiction book by Robert Anton Wilson, long after the age of 11.

Replies from: LucasSloan
comment by LucasSloan · 2013-08-29T23:45:47.634Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I can't recall at this distance.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-08-30T08:05:10.658Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

...not especially? I heard about when I read "Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition", memory says at age 11 but the book's publication date might imply I should have been 12. "The Internet has changed things" - yes it did.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2013-08-29T22:05:13.906Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This claim is surprising. The Psychomech trilogy (published in the mid 1980s) involves deliberate cryonic preservation of multiple characters in the hope that when one of them becomes a functional god he'll be able to resurrect them. In that case, one of the characters who is preserved is the love-interest of the protagonist. And the later books in that series imagine a world in a not too distant future where cryonics is extremely common. Lem's "Fiasco" deals with medical cryonics and is also from the 1980s. Pohl's "The Age of Pussyfoot" also has explicit medical cryonics, albeit with a somewhat reactionary message.

Ettinger himself was inspired to think about cryonics as a practical thing from the short story "The Jameson Satellite" (admittedly fairly obscure).

As a matter of pure anecdote, I had encountered the idea in multiple contexts when I was about Harry's age, and Harry if anything has been exposed to more scifi than I had at that age.

Replies from: NancyLebovitz
comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-08-30T13:52:44.232Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the other hand, I'd never heard of Psychomech, and I thought I knew sf from that era fairly well. Perhaps the book is better known in the UK.

comment by gattsuru · 2013-08-30T02:50:32.682Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's important to remember that we're talking 1991, rather than present day. While there are a number of older works featuring cryonics, they tend to include themes you probably don't want to expose a ten-year-old to (Heinlein's Door Into Summer) or are soft science fiction or outright fantasy (Star Wars, Captain America), or use a generic stasis instead of cryogenics (Aliens). Harder popular fiction versions like Futurama, Bujold's Mirror Dance, and Cowboy Bebop wouldn't come out for a few years.

There were older hard fiction pieces that mention it -- Niven, at least -- but it's fairly recent for the concept to be an automatic assumption for near-future or even far-future works. If Rationalist!Harry read and remembered everything, he'd have to be aware of it, but honestly he's got a bit too wide of a knowledge base to be reasonable as it is.

comment by fractalman · 2013-09-02T00:21:16.057Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

what about from science fiction? star trek: TOS. kirk meets kahn. kahn has been on ice. many other star trek episodes. see also nancy's comment.

Replies from: Eliezer_Yudkowsky
comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-09-02T03:55:11.188Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Having a futuristic, nonexistent technology which can reliably, reversibly, demonstrably execute suspended animation, is not the same as the realization that mere modern-day liquid nitrogen works to preserve brain state right now and future tech can grab it later.

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-29T08:08:20.412Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or have only briefly heard of it as something for the rich akin to Lenin's tomb.

Replies from: NancyLebovitz
comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-08-29T10:42:33.903Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I thought he'd read a fair amount of science fiction. Shouldn't he have heard of it there?

Second thought: I have a vague impression that there used to be more cryonics in science fiction from before 1975 or so. If I'm right (and I'm not at all sure that I am), would that affect what Harry would be likely to know?

comment by kilobug · 2013-08-29T17:52:05.949Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I also find it unlikely Harry hadn't heard of cryonics. I mean, I'm born in 1981 almost like Harry, and when I was Harry's age, I definitely had heard of it, like I had heard of robots, or long-distance space travel, or life expansion, or robotic prosthesis, as a scifi device. I had seen 2001 and Star Wars. And I did think at that time "oh, it's something cool we'll have in the future". Sure, I didn't know it was something actually existing in the real world. But while I wasn't a dumb kid, I wasn't the supergenius Harry is, and I didn't even think defeating death was something possible.

So, yes, I would say it's unlikely for Harry not knowing about cryonics. But... not "1 chance in 1000" unlikely, more like "1 chance in 10" unlikely. And if you have 10 "one chance in ten unlikely" things, well, statistically one will actually happen. And it's fully within the author's "rights" to say "well, among those ten things there is only one chance in 10 Harry doesn't know about, it's cryonics he doesn't know about".

So while it's unlikely that Harry didn't hear about cryonics, it's not unlikely enough to really sound artificial. Harry knows a lot, not all, and cryonics is where he fails, ok, fine.

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-28T21:59:11.701Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

He could still be inventing it (sort of already did.)

comment by monsterzero · 2013-08-30T13:13:11.034Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If Harry can figure out how to reverse a Time-Turner and send Hermione's body into the future, he doesn't need cryonics. And there's no worry about paradoxes, so possibly the six-hour limit wouldn't apply.

Replies from: DanielLC
comment by DanielLC · 2013-08-30T18:32:34.530Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think paradoxes have much to do with it, but it's a limit of six hours into the past. Since negative a thousand is less than six, sending her a thousand hours in the future doesn't violate the six-hour limit.

It seems hard to believe that Harry managed to reverse engineer it in six hours with no special equipment.

comment by Nornagest · 2013-08-28T21:02:51.591Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A nuclear device was the first thing I thought of as well, but I'd expect obtaining the parts to be prohibitively difficult for any plausible contacts. Stealing a finished warhead would probably be easier. But it's not that much easier, and either way I can't think of any plausible motive: the wizarding world and the Muggle world are so intertwined that MAD is quite problematic. Nor are there many plausible targets; the wizarding population is so spread out that a single warhead couldn't do much that couldn't be done far more easily, less disruptively, and with less collateral damage using a truck full of ANFO or something. Azkaban may be one; I can't think of any others.

On the other hand, Muggle weapons or controlled substances of some kind (perhaps dangerous chemicals?) seem quite likely. Britain's a wealthy first-world country with plenty of international trade going on; if you've got enough money on hand, about the only reason you'd need to leave the country to get something is if it's not legally for sale.

Replies from: DanArmak
comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-28T21:11:22.610Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Azkaban may be one

That would kill the prisoners and the guards, and would not destroy the Dementors.

Replies from: fractalman, Nornagest
comment by fractalman · 2013-09-02T00:15:04.253Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

...a last ditch effort to at least make their deaths quick, while opening up a window to hit the dementors with a point-blank patronus 2.0 without worrying about the guards? Not that I think it very likely, mind you. harry may be broadening his options somewhat, but he has a ways to go before he's quite THAT desperate.

comment by Nornagest · 2013-08-28T21:14:26.035Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

At this point I don't think Harry would consider the guards protected by his ethics, and I'm not sure about the prisoners. The Dementors are indeed a problem.

I don't actually consider this a good option, though, just less bad than all the other targets in magical Britain.

Replies from: DanArmak
comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-28T21:41:32.314Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you kill the prisoners, and you don't harm the Dementors, what's the point of attacking at all? The idea is to rescue the prisoners and destroy the prison, and the prison is just the Dementors - a non-magical building is easy to replace.

Replies from: TobyBartels
comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-31T21:38:01.651Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's not a non-magical building; it has several protective wards, such as the time-loop prohibition. But otherwise, I agree with you.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-09-14T08:56:23.143Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why doesn't the magical world have something resembling the internet? There are a few things resembling closed networks--the dark mark, Quirrell's monitors and other tricks for the battles, and canon Hermione's trick with the DA Galleons--and there are simple two-way communication methods, like the floo and the two-way mirrors, but the only military use of networking that we know of is the dark mark (and the DA Galleons in canon). This makes me wonder if the power of the dark mark wasn't just that it was terrifying and exerted mental influences, but that it's a secure means for Voldemort to coordinate his forces without requiring individual conversations or everyone gathering in Malfoy Manner. (In canon, it seems to have mostly been used as a signal to meet up, but surely a smart Voldemort would recognize its other uses? Even if it can only send one bit of information--touching or not touching--it could still be used to encode useful messages. Hermione's Galleons actually sent and stored a few bytes of data, and it's a little worrying that they weren't used in Deathly Hallows; did Madeye think Voldemort could hack into the network, or something?)

I suppose the question is: if Voldemort and canon Hermione can create useful networks, why didn't the Order of the Phoenix or the DMLE develop something similar? Even if you must be at least Hermione smart to manage this, the Order had Dumbledore, who studied the dark mark (perhaps it was too little too late in the first war, but if MoR Dumbledore hasn't set up the OotP with a magical LAN after TSPE, I'll want to know more about why it doesn't happen. Too much like the dark mark? Has Magical Britain never heard of an arms race?)

comment by HungryHippo · 2013-08-30T11:36:09.191Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

When Harry lists all the ways he could have prevented Hermione's death to McG, he is quite upset and mentions that he could have asked for everyone to get communication mirrors. This is overheard by Dumbledore, as we learn later in the chapter. However, as far as we know, Harry has seen communication mirrors only once: when he was in Azkaban. Dumbledore should be able to deduce this and thus that Harry was indeed involved in the break out.

Replies from: ArisKatsaris, mare-of-night, ChristianKl
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-08-30T11:55:41.549Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Are "communication mirrors" supposed to be a big secret of the Aurors that Harry wouldn't have been able to learn about otherwise? I doubt it.

Replies from: DanArmak, CAE_Jones
comment by DanArmak · 2013-08-30T12:55:51.201Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Indeed, the Auxiliary Protective Force Aurors gave them to all the APSC members, and Susan used hers publicly in the last chapter to signal them to enter.

Susan took a small, round glass object from within her robes, one of the communicators that the DMLE used, which they'd all been given

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-09-03T02:39:45.952Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The only ones seen in canon belonged to Sirius and James, but they're so tactically useful that of course all MoR aurors have them. This somewhat implies that they aren't exactly easy to come by, but doesn't make it clear if this is because they're too costly to make and mass produce, if they're strictly regulated, or if the Marauders were supposed to have developed them. (Even if the marauders developed them, you'd think they would have shared the secret with the Order of the Phoenix in the first war, so I doubt that's the explanation. They're probably just difficult to produce on mass, either because the process requires a highly skilled wizard, or because the wizarding world can't seem to mass-produce anything but candies and newspapers.)

comment by mare-of-night · 2013-08-31T12:21:57.970Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's relevant that Dumbledore had it pointed out to him that mirrors could have saved Hermione, and he didn't procure them for Harry and Neville

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-08-31T19:50:52.264Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Given that Harry talks with the Defense Professor about how the magicial world works and reads a lot of books I find it unlikely that Dumbledore would think that Harry doesn't know about the mirrors.

Replies from: buybuydandavis
comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-09-01T05:48:33.211Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Given that Harry talks with the Defense Professor about how the magicial world works and reads a lot of books

and would be especially interest in militarily useful magic...

comment by shminux · 2013-08-28T23:23:55.598Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My general impression of this chapter: Pathos Overflow.

comment by BabyBoo · 2013-09-11T05:31:06.157Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hey folks!

I just got twigged back to MoR after having wandered away for a long while -- I think the chapter I had left off with before was 'Interview with the Confessor' -- so I spent most of last week re-reading the story and then working my way through the discussion threads here (most of them, anyway -- it was around the Chap. 84 discussions when the pressure of "arrrgh I just want to go back and tell all these people in the past that Hermione's trial ain't nothing on what's coming!"). Along the way I made some notes and I'd like to dump them on you, if I may.

None of these are focused toward any specific theory -- of the various speculations I've read, some strike me as more convincing than others, but I haven't got any "pets" among them. These are just things that I don't think have been remarked on much, though they may have come up in the discussion threads I skipped; I'm just putting them here in hopes they might strike some clever neurons in new ways.

  • EY, 26 Nov 2010:

    Tom Riddle got a Time-Turner in his third year and Legilimized himself.

    This offhand comment is probably a joke... but it does seem to me that Yudkowsky may on occasion have said a couple things about the idea of a self-improving intelligences being sort of noteworthy.

  • "Information cannot go back more than six hours"

    This description of the limits of time-travel in the MoRverse comes from non-Rationalist Dumbledore, so he's likely not using 'information' in the same way that, say, Claude Shannon would, but rather meaning 'knowledge' -- in the sense of 'facts known by a person'. I only mention it because a couple of debate-lines, over such things as Amelia Bones' "I have knowledge from the future" and other extrapolations of time-foolery have been pinning points on the transmission of rigorous-sense Information. But it seems more likely that the magic 'source code' only counts it in the colloquial sense. If a smarter cookie like Harry were to try to make use of things like air-current distortions to send knowledge back more than six hours, he'd probably get a DNMWT error of some sort.

  • Some discussions about the Santa Claus notes, and Dumbledore's honesty, have involved the statement that "If Dumbledore saw a chance to possess one of the Deathly Hallows he would never let it escape his grasp."

    I figure the record ought to show that while Dumbledore has been seen to let the Cloak literally escape his grasp, the sentence as written remains true, that he has never yet let the chance to possess it do so.

  • On the death of Rita Skeeter:

    I think the reason some readers were happy to be bloodthirsty over this scene has to do with something Mike Smith observed (though he was talking about about Umbridge) -- that in a sort of intuitive sense of 'dramatic balance, the narrative weight of her villainy just wasn't countered with enough weight of punishment. Skeeter, set up as someone who callously ruins careers through acts of public humiliation, racks up an emotional/dramatic debt that would call for her own career to be ruined similarly; instead, she just gets mildly humiliated in front of only two people, and left perfectly free to trash the lives of anyone who isn't Hermione's buddy.

    I can't prove it of course, but I do strongly suspect that readers would have seen less 'comically overstated satirical payback' and more 'cold-blooded murder' in the scene if she'd gotten a more satisfying come-uppance in the original book. Of course, the satirical aspect plays in here too -- MoR on the whole has a sufficient comic tone and any number of sly swipes at the original that the emotional weight of the scene as something happening to a person is easy to overlook, since the 'satire' reading encourages comparison to such gleefully bloodthirsty comedies as, say, Robot Chicken or MAD magazine, rather than comparison to murder scenes in a drama or thriller.

  • Chapter 57:

    I know," said the old wizard. "My apologies, Amelia." He sighed. "Some of the more recent prisoners had scraps of their magic left, when I looked upon them, but I sensed no uneaten power; the strongest had only as much magic left as a first-year child.

    Um, so yeah, he opened the door and looked right at Harry during the Azkaban escape. What the hell is he playing at?

  • Anyone notice how often Lethifolds are mentioned in this fic? I didn't notate them, but there seem to have been at least three or four characters saying or thinking things along the lines of "scary as being eaten by a Lethifold" or "there's bad things out there, like Lethifolds". That was mostly in earlier chapters, but it sure felt to me as though the author wanted to make sure we're all aware that Lethifolds are part of the background here.
  • re: Harry's peculiar lack of interest in pursuing the "sense of doom":

    A lot of responses keep bringing up the scene where McGonnagal firmly shuts him down on this point. Um, are a large number of readers here seriously proposing "McGonnagal said no" as a strong, ongoing influence on Harry's actions?

    I can conceive of several possible causes for Harry not to even wonder much about the weird, ominous sensation affecting his mind, but lack of permission from McGonnagal -- even when backed by a graphic, over-the-top threat -- is right down there with gravitational influence from Mars as a significant factor.

  • "I accept the bargain. Yourself to die, and the child to live."

    This bargain -- proposed by Lily, agreed to by Voldemort -- is subsequently carried out to the letter, despite a thwarted effort on her part to renege. Just tossing that out there as a flat fact about the scene; make of it what you will, but of the threads I've read through, every discussion appears to tangle this whole scene up with the 'love sacrifice' from JKR!canon while overlooking that this bargain is put forth, accepted, and carried out.

    To go from that fact to something more speculative, it looks to me like Voldemort here deliberately provokes Lily into proposing said bargain, so that he could seal it by accepting, and is amused as hell when she walks into it.

  • re: Dumbledore's Chicken:

    Friendship is Magic provides corroboration that Phoenixes (Phoenices?) look uncharacteristically goofy and awkward, to the extent of seeming an almost entirely different species, as they approach their natural immolation point.

    (Just a joke. If you don't already get it, the amusement value is not worth the necessary research.)

  • And finally:

Chap. 17:

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

Chap. 43:

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

That's... quite interesting, don't you think?
comment by gjm · 2013-09-10T21:59:34.617Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A rather obvious clash I hadn't noticed before, and don't recall seeing discussed on LW:

In chapter 46, after going in front of the Dementor and (apparently) remembering his parents' death, Harry abruptly comes up with a rather complicated set of deductions about the events surrounding Voldemort's learning of the prophecy about him. It all seems plausible enough (though who'd trust so long a series of merely probable deductions?), and a key point is that McGonagall must have been the one who heard the prophecy, she must have told Dumbledore, and Dumbledore must have told Snape, foreseeing that he would go to Voldemort and maybe get Lily's life spared.

In chapter 86, Harry asks Snape about the prophecy, and Snape says he heard it himself; there's no obvious sign that he's lying or deceived, nor that Harry (then or later) thinks he is. But this is completely inconsistent with his earlier reasoning, which he has seemed pretty confident about.

I notice that someone is confused. Is it only me?

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-09-09T10:00:16.176Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I really need to start collecting these, as they are so blatant.

Foreshadowing Alert:

“You’re nuts,” Daphne stated with conviction. “Even if you had kissed him first, you know what that would make you? The sad little lovestruck girl who dies in the hero’s arms at the end of Act Two.”

And it just so happen that the little girl who kissed Harry first in fact does die in his arms.

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

Hermione’s lips were moving, just a tiny bit but they were moving. “your... fault...”
Time froze. Harry should have told her not to talk, to save her breath, only he couldn’t unblock his lips.
Hermione drew in another breath, and her lips whispered, “Not your fault.”

Didn't this seem like a rather peculiar glitch in The Matrix? Like the story got rewritten in real time?

And then

With a fracturing feeling, as though time was still torn to pieces around him, Harry turned away from Dumbledore and looked down

find his way to the root of all magic and reprogram it.

” She’d known she wouldn’t be able to explain. “It’s not about glory, it’s about being— something that belongs to someone else!”

And of course:

I don’t know if our love has any magical power under your rules, but if it does, don’t hesitate to call on it.

comment by shminux · 2013-08-28T23:32:14.560Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Remind me to buy you a copy of the Muggle novel Atlas Shrugged," the sourceless voice said. "I'm starting to understand what sort of person can benefit from reading it."

I don't understand this statement, given the preceding paragraphs. Why would the twins benefit from it?

Replies from: gattsuru, ikrase, mare-of-night, gwern
comment by gattsuru · 2013-08-29T02:18:13.546Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Atlas Shrugged spends a sizable period of time criticizing the flaws of Comte's positivism, considering it destruction of the ego and involuntary servitude for the sake of psuedo-Catholic guilt-based mysticism. The twins' thought processes echo Comte's ethics system very heavily, as do the Weasleys in general: they'd do anything for Rationalist!Harry without asking payment because they consider him worth serving without regard for themselves.

The resulting rule morality is directly in conflict with Rationalist!Harry's desire for preference utilitarianism, in addition to being rather risky on its own level.

Rand's Objectivism identifies reasons to do things without cash payment, despite the pop history version of her viewpoints. See Dagny and Galt, or for a platonic version (despite the HoYay) D'Antonio and Rearden. But that's done because you think the other person or their requires are worth the cost.

comment by ikrase · 2013-08-29T00:17:14.017Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yvain's All Debates are Bravery Debates might be useful to read here. (and possibly inspired that). Basically, Harry thinks that it would be healthy for the twins to realize that they don't have to be selfless all the time, always. Yvain writes that he had met someone who had been raised in a family that demanded ridiculous selflessness and reading Rand changed his life.

Replies from: shminux
comment by shminux · 2013-08-29T01:51:10.942Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I thought the twins, beyond playing pranks, were not above selling magical trinkets and stuff to fellow students, thus making a bit of profit and so not being completely selfish. Or was it in canon or some other fanfic?

Replies from: Rukifellth, hirvinen
comment by Rukifellth · 2013-08-29T02:40:45.627Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not in this one. In the earlier chapters it's narrated that the twins have been selling prank goods at 0% mark-up, unknown to their supplier.

Replies from: CAE_Jones
comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-08-29T02:58:54.282Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

They insisted they sell Floom's smuggled goods at 0% mark-up; they said nothing about anything they've come up with on their own. Though I think most of their inventions came later (extendable ears, for example).

comment by hirvinen · 2013-09-06T22:47:25.262Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

They wanted to be able to testify under veritaserum that they had not been profiting.

comment by mare-of-night · 2013-08-28T23:49:18.593Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry thinks they're too selfless?

comment by shminux · 2013-08-28T23:20:51.112Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Susan Bones, who stood beside and anext to Daphne Greengrass, beside whom she had fought

Google refuses to recognize "anext" as an English word.

Replies from: arundelo, gwern, TobyBartels
comment by gwern · 2013-08-29T00:10:09.587Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It might be a typo for 'anent'?

comment by TobyBartels · 2013-08-31T22:52:43.403Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think that it's fine, but Reddit is correct: it shouldn't take ‘to’.

ETA: And also, it's redundant.

Replies from: RichardKennaway
comment by RichardKennaway · 2013-09-01T06:38:41.304Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

And also, it's redundant.

Like "spick and span" and "aid and abet". Eliezer is reaching for an elevated style and not quite hitting the mark.

Replies from: TobyBartels
comment by TobyBartels · 2013-09-01T09:37:48.919Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Etymologically, ‘aid’ and ‘abet’ are different: to aid a crime is to help another to do it; to abet a crime is to encourage another to do it. (But since ‘abet’ is only used in this sense, dictionaries now give it the entire meaning, so ‘aid’ has become redundant.)

Anyway, this doesn't affect your point.

Replies from: ciphergoth
comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) · 2013-09-02T17:50:17.326Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I can't find it on Google now, but ISTR that the meaning of "abet" you give here is an urban legend; "abet" just means "aid" and was only put in to make it sound more grand.

Replies from: Eugene
comment by Eugene · 2013-09-07T23:09:46.648Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It is not an urban legend. From etymonline:

from a- "to" + beter "to bait," from a Germanic source, perhaps Low Franconian betan "incite," or Old Norse beita "cause to bite"

comment by alex_zag_al · 2013-09-28T02:49:33.597Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Roles has given me all sorts of troubling thoughts about my life.

I think I've always tried to be a good student, a good friend and a good scientist, but, McGonagall fulfilling her image of a good teacher got one of her students killed.

That's what it took to break her out of her vision of her role. I know there's something that important to me, something that I'd act outside of my picture of myself to protect, and regret not doing it earlier.

But I don't know what it is, or how to look for it, and I don't even seem motivated to look for it

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-09-12T02:19:12.671Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think I figured out Quirrel's ultimate scheme.

Va pnaba, Ibyqrzbeg cbffrffrf Uneel, gnxvat pbageby bs uvf obql.

Va ZbE, gur ernfba Dhveeryzbeg jnagf Uneel nyvir, fgebat naq vasyhragvny vf fb ur pna znxr uvz vagb uvf arkg ubfg, guhf nyybjvat Zntvpny Oevgnva gb tebj haqre n fgebat yrnqre. Gur Qrzragngvba ng gur ortvaavat bs gur lrne jnf fb gung Uneel'f zragny qrsrafrf jbhyq or jrnxrarq sbe shgher nohfr. Dhveery'f fngvfsnpgvba ng Urezvbar'f qrngu (orsber urnevat gur hcqngrq cebcurpl) jnf va nagvpvcngvba ng shegure ihyarenovyvgl.

Replies from: gwern, buybuydandavis, BabyBoo
comment by gwern · 2013-09-12T02:33:52.505Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's one of the common interpretations, yes.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-09-21T10:31:02.679Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's been my interpretation for a while, at least with Quirrell developing Harry to be his new host - take over the body of he who saves the rest of the magical world, from you.

Replies from: Rukifellth
comment by Rukifellth · 2013-09-23T20:21:48.308Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by BabyBoo · 2013-09-12T09:19:58.202Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think this or something very close to it is strongly likely to be correct; so much so that at this point, I'm very close to shifting the question to the level of whether, univat tebbzrq Uneel nf n fgebat prageny yrnqre sbe zntvpny Oevgnva, uvf vagragvba vf gb npgviryl pynvz cbffrffvba bs Uneel, be jurgure ur jvyy or fngvfsvrq nf gur cbjre oruvaq Ehyre! Uneel'f guebar juvyr ur crefbanyyl tbrf nobhg chefhvat vzzbegnyvgl.

comment by cultureulterior · 2013-09-05T23:24:37.081Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm beginning to think the/a final enemy might be Dumbledore after all.

(1) Wouldn't Dumbledore, when he was invisibly following HP to the graveyard, have seen the millennia-old stone alight with prophecy?

(2) What if it was Dumbledore's troll, and Quirrel can prove it or, Dumbledore has had a troll guard and he can make it seem like this was it?

Replies from: buybuydandavis
comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-09-06T03:00:51.193Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hmmm. I figured Quirrell tricked Dumbledore into assigning the Troll as the Defense Professor when Dumbledore opened the wards for Quirrell. Maybe it was Dumbledore doing the tricking.

Replies from: Gurkenglas, Mestroyer
comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-09-10T18:20:23.244Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

We only know the wards thought it was Quirrel and thus didn't alert Dumbledore at the time because he said so. If he is evil, he has no reason to trick his own wards.

comment by Mestroyer · 2013-09-08T15:28:12.090Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What would Quirrel's motive be for using trickery to put his name on a murder weapon?

Replies from: buybuydandavis
comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-09-08T22:10:14.457Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


### On the original point, of who the Defense Professor is, I saw a great idea on Reddit - the Troll is the Defense Professor.

“Not so,” said Dumbledore. “If Voldemort has not fully mastered the wards, then the wards had to believe that some Professor’s hand was at work. Else they would have cried out at Miss Granger’s injury, and not only upon her death.”

So if you need an agent in Hogwarts to kill a student, you want the wards to think that they're a Professor.



“The Headmaster drew a circle, and told Hogwarts that he who stood within was the Defense Professor.

Part of my theory, at least, is that Quirrell is Baba Yaga, and hence not he who stood within the circle. The he was a Troll, the 3rd most perfect killing machine, as identified by Quirrell, and as entered into the wards as the Defense Professor by Dumbledore.

You make a decent point, though. If Dumbledore recalls how he entered the Defense Professor into the wards, he should at least suspect Quirrell is involved with the Troll.

But does Quirrell even know about the map, and thereby his potential vulnerability here?

Replies from: Mestroyer
comment by Mestroyer · 2013-09-09T07:14:26.046Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A problem with the "He" who stood in the circle theory is that Quirrel can't have been confident in advance that Dumbledore would make that mistake. Even if Dumbledore didn't think "I'd better use gender-neutral language in case Quirrel is really female," he could easily have said something like "The person in this circle is the defense professor."

Replies from: gwern, UnclGhost, buybuydandavis
comment by gwern · 2013-09-14T02:54:13.691Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Another issue I don't think I've seen anyone brought up: if the troll was identified as the Defense Professor, and Quirrel is then just an ordinary adult wizard as far as the Hogwarts wards are concerned, how was it possible for him to frame Hermione for Draco? Wouldn't the wards have screamed at the Memory Charm? It's pretty clearly implied that it had to be a professor, in some way, who cast the key spells:

"And how would Lucius even Memory-Charm Hermione in the first place, without setting off the wards? He's not a Professor - oh, right, you think it's Professor Snape."

"Wrong," said the Defense Professor. "Lucius Malfoy would trust no servant with that mission. But suppose some Hogwarts Professor, intelligent enough to cast a well-formed Memory Charm but of no great fighting ability, is visiting Hogsmeade. From a dark alley the black-clad form of Malfoy steps forth - he would go in person, for this - and speaks to her a single word."


"Legilimens, rather," said Professor Quirrell. "I do not know if the Hogwarts wards would trigger for a returning Professor under the Imperius Curse. And if I do not know, Malfoy probably does not know either. But Malfoy is a perfect Occlumens at least; he might be able to use Legilimency. And for the target...perhaps Aurora Sinistra; none would question the Astronomy Professor moving about at night."

Probably this could still be rescued, but the troll theory, while bizarre, also means that the earlier frame becomes more complicated than before.

comment by UnclGhost · 2013-09-14T02:34:51.818Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Quirrel could have suggested or stipulated that wording when zhe and Dumbledore were working out how to identify Quirrel to the wards, reasonably assuming that Dumbledore wouldn't think the "he" was the suspicious part.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-09-09T08:13:27.376Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But Quirrell didn't absolutely need the Troll to be assigned as the Defense Professor. Knowing how people talk, there was a chance for it to work.

But do the wards have error checks? If there are two persons in the circle, and Dumbledore says "the person", what happens? I don't know. But if Quirrell is really Baba Yaga, he actually was Defense Professor once, and maybe many more times a professor, and might know more about the wards than Dumbledore does.

I wish we knew what the "glitches" on the map were.

I grant your point is an issue. At least to our limited knowledge, there was some risk. But since not prying into Quirrell's true identity was part of his employment agreement, how he would be identified to the wards would have been a natural topic of negotiation between them, to be resolved prior to the actual act.

Replies from: Benquo
comment by Benquo · 2013-09-26T04:48:31.802Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wish we knew what the "glitches" on the map were.

Presumably they are not glitches at all but accurate reports of "Spontaneous Duplication."

Replies from: buybuydandavis, buybuydandavis
comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-09-27T00:56:44.488Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps not just that. Could be that some people show up with different names than their reported identities. Could be that no one shows up as the Defense Professor anymore - now that the Troll is dead.

Replies from: Benquo
comment by Benquo · 2013-09-27T19:11:35.320Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

True, though of those, Spontaneous Duplication is the most obvious if you look only at the map. The others all involve comparing the map to the territory.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-09-26T06:02:55.421Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, but what exactly do the reports say? WHo is spontaneously duplicating?

Replies from: Benquo
comment by Benquo · 2013-09-26T12:17:40.579Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry, Dumbledore, anyone else whose spimster wicket occasionally malfunctions.

comment by fractalman · 2013-09-02T00:10:48.515Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It has occured to me that IF harry does obtain the sorcerer's stone...it's quite likely that quirrel will have been the one to get it out of the mirror, WITHOUT utilizing his leet magical skills.

  1. dumbledore thinks voldemort should find the trap surrounding the sorcerer's stone to be irresistable just for being such a puzzle.
  2. Quirrelmort declares he has never seen such an obvious trap...in a way that suggest that he is quite tempted to go after whatever is inside, whether or not he knows what's inside.
  3. The troll DID happen, even though whether it was quirrel's diversion or not remains to be seen.
  4. The stone is merely the most preferred way of obtaining an actual body as far as quirrelmort is concerned, while harry very much wants to make everyone immortal, and would very much want to use the stone.
Replies from: CAE_Jones
comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-09-14T08:14:57.119Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I tried imagining how this might work, including thinking about how the mirror works, and this got me to revise my probability that the mirror would respond well to Quirrell downward. Assuming Quirrelmort and that Harry's Dark Side is a reflection of Voldemort's feelings on death (which are big assumptions, but they seem likely to be correct), I don't think Quirrell would be recognized by the mirror as someone who both wanted the stone but did not want to use it (Voldemort killed people to save himself from death, dark side is terribly afraid of death and is known for using whatever resources it can, etc). (The key question is whether oclumency works on the mirror, but given that canon Dumbledore placed this security mechanism himself, according to him, I think the defense professor would be as uncertain as we are about Oclumency's efficacy.)

What following the idea "How to retrieve the stone?" did turn up, though, was a parallel to canon, with Harry's dark side suggesting he "Use the boy." The question is which boy (Neville is the main candidate sticking in my mind, but I'm not sure why; maybe because he's the only boy in Harry's camp that seems likely to wind up in such a situation who might not want to use the stone? Most obvious candidates (Draco, maybe Ron?) seem like they'd have motivation to use it.).

comment by major · 2013-12-10T20:35:36.504Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Muggle hospital.

comment by EndlessStrategy · 2013-11-30T02:37:38.306Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, I recall coming across one of the fanfictions based off of Methods of Rationality, but I can't seem to find it anymore. Perhaps someone here is familiar with it? I only remember two things. 1: it included a battle between the three armies. 2: The battle had something to do with fire (it was mentioned that this was to complete the elemental trend the battles had been following; the forest battles representing earth, the battles high up in Hogwarts being air, and the underwater battle naturally being water).

Replies from: jaime2000
comment by jaime2000 · 2013-11-30T14:00:20.958Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think I know which one you are talking about; the one in which one of the students acts like Speedy Gonzales, right? I can't find it either. I suspect it was "Harry Potter and Selective Perception", which has since been deleted. If you're lucky, Gwern will have happened to archive it through his casual browsing.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2013-11-30T15:04:14.426Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you're lucky, Gwern will have happened to archive it through his casual browsing.

Not as far as I can tell. Not in the IA, archive.is, WebCite, Google Cache, Google in general, my current WWW archives or my old WWW archives. I also don't recall reading any fanfic of that description.

comment by BabyBoo · 2013-09-19T00:09:44.324Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just occurred to me that if D-Zbeg vf chggvat na njshy ybg bs rssbeg, naq nccnerag npghny pbaprea, vagb funcvat Uneel'f zvaqfrg gbjneq gur 'Qnex Fvqr', vs uvf cyna vf gb whfg gnxr cbffrffvba bs gur xvq yngre. Gung frrzf gb zr gb vzcyl svir cbffvovyvgvrf, va nfpraqvat beqre bs yvxryvubbq:

  1. D. pnerf jurgure Uneel'f orunivbe nccrnef cuvybfbcuvpnyyl pbafvfgrag;

  2. Fbzr fbeg bs 'flzcngul' orgjrra zvaqf vf arprffnel gb rssrpg cbffrffvba, be creuncf gb 'njnxra' gur fbhy-sentzrag vafvqr Uneel;

  3. D.vf irel qrqvpngrq gb uvf cuvybfbcul naq ungrf gb unir vg synhagrq ol fbzr qnza xvq;

  4. Gur cbffrffvba cneg bs gur cyna vf zrnag gb gnxr cynpr bayl nsgre Uneel unf qbar n snve nzbhag bs Qnex Ybeqvat nyernql;

  5. Gurer vf ab cbffrffvba vaibyirq, nf D. jbhyq engure or pncgnva bs gur F.F. Qnex Ybeq Uneel'f Ervta guna gur svtherurnq.

Other possibilities surely exist that I'm overlooking, including the possibility that this line of speculation is entirely up the wrong tree. Rot13'd to err on the side of caution.

Replies from: Velorien
comment by Velorien · 2013-09-19T12:55:17.280Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think you need to rot13 this, simply because the various notions in your post have been openly discussed in this and past threads quite a lot. Also because when I see "D-Zbeg", I instantly parse it as "Dr Zoidberg", so now thanks to you I have an uneraseable mental association between Quirrell and said character.

Replies from: TheOtherDave, BabyBoo, BabyBoo
comment by TheOtherDave · 2013-09-19T15:29:28.141Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Quirrell is helping!
Hooray for Quirrell!

comment by BabyBoo · 2013-09-20T00:32:30.818Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I thought it probably wouldn't be necessary, but I wasn't certain, and I figured it would be the better part of valor. Basically, I'm not sure how to proceed under the declaration that the identity of an extremely central character is supposed to be a spoiler now; it seems like even using the name Dhveeryzbeg unscrambled would break the rule.

I didn't make the Zoidberg connection until you pointed it out, but I did think that "D-Zbeg" was an immensely more awesome nickname than the term it was rot13'd from.

And now I can't see "Dhveeryzbeg" either without thinking it must be some relative of Dr. Zoidberg's. Dangit, now every scene he's in, I'm gonna expect him to exit going "woo-woo-woo-woo" and clacking his claws.

comment by BabyBoo · 2013-09-20T02:47:19.999Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

... and I know I really shouldn't, but I just couldn't resist.

image, SFW, foolishness

Hope that helps with the mental association problem.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-09-03T02:32:04.866Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Doubtless this is my sleeping brain messing with me, but I seem to have had a dream that Harry would go on some sort of training course/vision quest in which his patronis would instruct him to cast the killing curse. Except this is somewhere in Hogwarts (probably the second floor?), and he figures based on the angle of the curse that it's going to hit the great hall... so he runs down in time to see it hit Neville. But on the way to DUmbledore's office with Neville's body, he casts "Accio Neville's Soul", then does something with Patronis 2.0 and Neville wakes up. (Dumbledore's met him on the staircase by that point).

While I don't expect this to be at all like what actually happens, it does make me wonder if anyone's tried "accio soul" before.

comment by cultureulterior · 2013-09-01T10:47:52.741Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Does Bellatrix have a horcrux backup, and if not, why not? You'd think that if Voldemort thought enough of her importance to remove her from Azkaban, he'd have made sure to back her up beforehand?

Replies from: Velorien, Carinthium, fractalman
comment by Velorien · 2013-09-01T12:18:58.375Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Evil Overlord List, revised edition:

After discovering the secret to immortality, I will not share it with the world's third most powerful wizard (or so), no matter how certain I am of her loyalty to me, or of her ability to keep secrets. The worst case scenario then is having to train up a new powerful lieutenant, rather than having to kill an immortal ex-lieutenant or trying to contain the secret once it's out.

comment by Carinthium · 2013-09-01T13:36:40.073Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If Bellatrix was that important, Voldemort could have just ensured she wasn't sent to Azkaban to avoid the problems Velorien points out. More likely, the importance only came later and Voldemort decided on a quick ret-con.

comment by fractalman · 2013-09-02T00:57:28.342Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

her flesh is what's important-for the revival ritual (IF that's why quirrelmort broke her out, which is quite likely.). she doesn't have a servant of her own to revive her with, so getting her a horcrux would be of no use.

comment by HungryHippo · 2013-08-30T11:30:12.625Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Early in the fic, Draco tells Harry that you can't apparate to somewhere you have never been. This would suggest that Quirrell's Pioneer Horcrux is unreachable to anyone but himself. But, if Harry has something of Voldemort in him, "Harry" has technically been on the Pioneer probe, so he should be able to apparate to it.

Replies from: Osuniev, bramflakes
comment by Osuniev · 2013-09-03T19:08:54.139Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In canon, Apparition becomes unreliable across long distances (as in, very few people could reliably travel to another country by Apparating, and even less (no one ?) to another continent). If this is true in HPMoR universe, then Apparate to the Pioneer plaque is out of question.

comment by bramflakes · 2013-08-31T22:09:23.091Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry can't apparate yet, nor can he learn to for a few years, since it seems to be based on strength of magic rather than skill. Unless he makes some partial-transfiguration-style physics deduction he won't be able to apparate across a room, nevermind across the solar system.

comment by J_Taylor · 2013-08-29T04:09:22.782Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Remind me to buy you a copy of the Muggle novel Atlas Shrugged," the sourceless voice said. "I'm starting to understand what sort of person can benefit from reading it."

Although the Weasley twins are extremely willing to repay perceived debts, it would seem to me that this inclination is more likely, given their usual inclination towards public action, to be of positive utility in the long-run.

Replies from: Document
comment by Document · 2013-09-16T09:03:00.279Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I can't parse that. Did you misword something?

comment by Document · 2013-09-16T09:15:38.611Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The incantation "Crucio" seems to be a reference to Roman crucifixion, which postdates Atlantis by several thousand years according to Plato's dating. There are probably lots of other examples of recent words in magic.

Replies from: Velorien
comment by Velorien · 2013-09-17T12:16:00.446Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Could you clarify what point you are trying to make with this observation?

As for trying to draw inferences from canon incantations, that way madness lies. It seems beyond reasonable doubt that JK Rowling just used pseudo-Latinish words that fit the desired meaning, as is not unusual for a certain kind of children's fantasy story. There's little to indicate that she chose them based on some deeper historical or other reasoning.

For what it's worth, the Harry Potter Wiki claims that the Cruciatus Curse was invented in the Early Middle Ages, though it does not cite its sources.

Replies from: Document
comment by Document · 2013-09-17T16:42:46.947Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I thought that in MoR there'd been no way to invent new spells since Atlantis; but I haven't read it in a while, so I could be confused.

Replies from: Velorien
comment by Velorien · 2013-09-18T12:33:17.620Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm afraid you are. There are numerous references to new spells - for example, Flitwick's hex which he taught to Harry for the purpose of beating Moody.

comment by WalterL · 2013-08-29T18:41:47.240Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh Harry...this is Lord Kevin's path.

I'm worried about our boy. He's becoming a parody of himself. I've been concerned ever since Hermione's death, and now I think I have to declare myself persuaded by Quirrel's concerns.

Harry needs to grieve for his friend, accept her passing, and move on.

Replies from: Rukifellth, Carinthium
comment by Rukifellth · 2013-09-02T04:10:16.613Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Jokes's on Harry, by the time he revives Hermione, the difference in maturity level will make a continued friendship impossible.

Replies from: Velorien, bogdanb, Eugine_Nier
comment by Velorien · 2013-09-02T13:16:51.721Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think you're oversimplifying the issue.

First, we don't know how long it'll take Harry to revive Hermione. Given the fact that he's made a couple of completely groundbreaking, paradigm-shifting discoveries within a year of being introduced to magic, we have no possible way of predicting how long he'll take to achieve this particular breakthrough. Our own knowledge of magic, of Harry's potential, and of what resources might become available to him in the future, is insufficient to model him in this much depth.

Second, people mature at very different rates depending on their circumstances. Typically, more challenging circumstances make for greater maturity, as long as the person doesn't break down altogether. Being revived after getting murdered and a time-skip has the potential to make Hermione mature a great deal very fast (though she probably won't enjoy it).

Third, Harry's own maturing process so far seems rather non-standard, with rapid growth in some areas and a striking lack of it in others. Again, it is very hard to model what he will become as time goes by, especially given the number of significant character-shaping events that keep getting thrown at him.

Fourth, there is such a thing as friendship across maturity levels. It won't be the same as it was before, but really, we already knew that. Too much was happening to these two from the start for their friendship to maintain any one static form, both in terms of having to respond to external events and in terms of having to learn to deal with each other's somewhat alien ways of seeing the world.

Fifth, what joke is on Harry? He's Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres and his best friend is dead. He's doing it because it's the right thing to do and because she, in particular, matters that much to him, not because he expects things to go back to the way they were.

Replies from: Rukifellth
comment by Rukifellth · 2013-09-02T14:01:22.925Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by bogdanb · 2013-09-02T20:06:42.713Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, Hermione is (well, was) slightly older than Harry, and she seemed to have entered the romantic stage already. A couple years to let Harry catch up might not be such a bad thing.

Replies from: Gurkenglas
comment by Gurkenglas · 2013-09-02T22:17:21.456Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


Replies from: bogdanb
comment by bogdanb · 2013-09-02T22:34:39.864Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, she certainly was, and plausibly will be. I’m not quite sure about is, but it’s mostly because my intuition seems to think that either evaluating age() on a currently-not-living person should throw an IllegalStateException, or comparing its result with that for living persons should throw ClassCastException. But that’s probably just me :)

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2013-09-06T02:32:56.005Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or possibly he'll have done enough nasty things "for the greater good" that by the time he gets around to resurrecting her he'll have become someone she can't respect.

comment by Carinthium · 2013-08-29T23:41:51.977Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

First question- Given the facts in the HPMOR universe, why do you think Hermoine's death is inevitable?

Second question- Why do you not take the criticism of mourning as merely a form of signalling into account? Harry could easily argue that if he did mourn and move on he is being disloyal to Hermoine if there is even a 1% chance of sucess.

Third question- Even if you ignore all that, isn't actually investigating more important right now than mourning? Whoever killed Hermoine could be a long-term enemy- even if they aren't, bringing them to justice is almost certainly a Good Thing and given Harry's cunning a worthy use of his time.

Replies from: WalterL
comment by WalterL · 2013-08-30T14:59:34.534Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hmm, an expensive post. I better make it long then.

First question: I don't think her death is inevitable, I think it has already happened. Author has stated that this story isn't about tricking the readers. So I'm taking her death and her corpses disappearance at face value. Harry has watched her die, watched the time turner limit run out. Her death is as much a part of history as his parent's.

He doesn't even have her brain. His goal isn't her resurrection, if he's being honest, its her re-creation. He has his memories of her. From this, with magic, he intends to once again have a working mind.

Magic can do anything, so this isn't perhaps as preposterous as it seems, but the order of probability of him succeeding at creating a new and identical Hermione seems to be the same whether he does it now or some future wizard gets it done in a century or two as part of a "resurrect everyone who ever died" project.

If he thinks that magic will one day be able to make new people just like those who have died, or time travel beyond the turner's limits, then there's no rush.

Second question: I took it into account, it seemed plausible while he was waiting by her body, still striving to help her. Dumbledore and the other adult's inaction during this time was inexcusable. His frantic efforts to save her were heroic.

But now she's gone. So, what to do?

Well, I figured initially that Harry could dispense with grieving. After all, as his plan is currently, one day he'll make a new Hermione. He presumably won't make her such that she'll miss this period.

But its become clear (to me, that is, this is obviously jmho) that, for Harry, in this instance, declining to grieve has just thrown his emotions out of order. He's...I don't know, flailing seems like the right word. He's doing things that a previous version of him would recognize as anti-rational.

Harry is turning himself into someone Hermione would loathe in order to make a new version of her. He's declaring that he'll vanquish death one moment and then musing on how he'll murder his enemies the next. He's creeping around in an invisibility cloak begging aid from his classmates and then looking down on them for being too dumb to take compensation. (That's unfair for the sake of completing the pattern, but there's actually something way off about someone who doesn't want to be locateable, but still wants the benefits of civilization) He's... I dunno, the word that comes to mind is parody.

Third question: I would agree with you that investigating is much more important than mourning. I disagree that what he's doing is investigating.

His current behavior strikes me as being in line with demanding that his comrades be given all of the magic items, and likely to be similarly effective at preventing any future tragedies his enemy wishes to visit upon him.

I think grieving, if it gave him back his rationality, would be more valuable than what he's currently doing, but less valuable than investigating.

Thanks for reading.

Replies from: PhilGoetz
comment by PhilGoetz · 2013-09-04T20:55:24.660Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Her death has already happened." - You say that like it's a thing that can't be reversed. There are people alive today who have been dead -- or at least, declared brain-dead by doctors.

Harry is behaving rationally. The problem is that he's behaving, for good reasons, in a way very similar to how people behave for bad reasons. His entire character arc takes him further and further into territory where he has no gauge to tell whether he's gone mad.