Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81

post by bogdanb · 2012-03-27T18:07:15.176Z · score: 6 (9 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 1112 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 81, which should be published later today. The previous thread passed 400 comments as of the time of this writing, so it will pass 500 comments soon after the next chapter is posted, if not before. I suggest refraining from commenting here until chapter 81 is posted; comment in the 12th thread until you read chapter 81. After chapter 81 is posted, I suggest all discussion of previous guesses be kept here, with links to comments in the previous thread.

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.) When posted, chapter 81 should appear here.

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: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight,nine, ten, eleven, twelve.

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

Spoiler Warning: this thread is full of spoilers. With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13. More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it’s fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that “Eliezer said X is true” unless you use rot13.

1112 comments

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comment by jimrandomh · 2012-03-27T23:10:45.653Z · score: 43 (49 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is probably not the solution Harry's going to use in Chapter 81 (I'm writing this before it was posted), but a friend and I were discussing it and came up with a possible solution. I decided it would be much more fun as a piece of fanfanfiction rather than an abstract description, so here it is. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing.

Chapter 81b: Alternate Solution

Beyond all panic and despair his mind began to search through every fact in its possession, recall everything it knew about Lucius Malfoy, about the Wizengamot, about the laws of magical Britain; his eyes looked at the rows of chairs, at every person and every thing within range of his vision, searching for any opportunity it could grasp -

And the start of an idea formed - not a plan, but a tiny fragment of one. He spelled out N-O-T-E on his fingers, and, as discretely as he could, drew a piece of paper out from his bag that he did not remember putting there. It read:

"Mess with time if you want!"

And then he heard a loud bang, and another while he was stuffing the note back in his bag, and he looked up to see that a circular piece had pushed out from the wall, (that wall that could've withstood a nuclear explosion), far in the back where no one had been looking. Heads turned in unison to look as four glowing, silver human shapes emerged from the three-foot diameter hole, and began walking down the aisle towards Hermione. No one in the room but Harry and Dumbledore suspected they were Patronuses.

Prime Minister Fudge should have been angry, that magical creatures would dare barge in; but for some reason he couldn't quite place, he was calm. Auror Gawain was too busy casting shield spells to acknowledge how scared he was. Harry had a pretty good idea where this was going, but decided that "confused" was the best expression to wear. Professor McGonagall nearly had a stroke. Lucius Malfoy's angry expression had vanished, leaving his face perfectly blank. His entire row had stood up, and drawn their wands. To his left, five wizards Harry didn't recognize were pointing at the human Patronuses; to his right, seven wizards pointed their wands at Dumbledore.

Lucius himself had his wand, and his gaze, fixed firmly on Harry. For a brief and accidental moment, the boy who thought he was a rock looked back.

Wands too numerous to count followed those glowing figures, as they walked down the aisle towards Hermione. Harry noticed that Fawkes had perched silently on her shoulder, and she was taking slow, deep breaths.

Behind each wand, a wizard thought that someone else ought to do something. A rare upside to the bystander effect, Harry would later note. For the time being, his mind was busy choreographing the movements of four invisible figures, who were definitely not bumping into each other. When the Patronuses had reached the bottom-most platform, where Hermione sat, they stopped, and looked up at Dumbledore's platform.

"Who dares interrupt these proceedings?" Dumbledore's voice boomed out. In fact, he was glad that they had been interrupted, and knew exactly who he was talking to; but as Chief Warlock, he had to express indignance, or else someone else would have gone and done it for him.

This better be good, Harry thought, because I won't be able to think of anything else once I've been anchored.

"We are the Guardians of Merlin", said the first Patronus, in Harry's best impression of a Scottish accent.

"In that case, I yield the floor to the Guardians of Merlin", said Dumbledore. "May I ask why you are here?"

"We were a safeguard created by Merlin, to protect the purity of the Wizengamot. In his wisdom, Merlin set down a list of especially vile deeds; should this assembly should decide to perform one, we awaken. And so we are here."

Lucius turned away from Harry, and towards the front. "Ridiculous. This is no different than the many other times we have punished murderers, and no ghosts or apparitions appeared then." He put a slight emphasis on "ghosts or apparitions". He had no idea what they really were, but there was ample precedent saying ghosts and apparitions weren't allowed to do things.

Harry wondered what lie his future self would tell. Then the second patronus spoke, in exactly the same voice as the first. "It is different, because sending this girl to Azkaban would satisfy the first requirement for a ritual!"

The murmurs stopped. Several members of the audience suddenly noticed the dementor in the room, on a level where they had not noticed it before. Professor McGonagall actually did have a stroke, but it was a small one, of a kind that could be fully repaired by magic later. For a moment, Dumbledore lost himself in his role and forgot that he was speaking to four copies of Harry Potter.

Five seconds passed before Dumbledore broke the silence. "Are you saying that this trial is part of a dark ritual?"

"Yes", said all four patronuses simultaneously, convincing several members of the assembly to abandon the idea that they were all controlled by one person. The figures were new, important, and mysterious. Hermione was no longer salient.

"Do you know who could be behind this?" Dumbledore asked.

Heads turned towards Lucius, who looked around and noted exactly whose heads they were, handling the sudden deluge of important information by recording only the ways in which it differed from what he would have expected. Lucius knew then, that he had to lose; not only was he facing four new and completely unknown pieces, pieces which had been powerful enough to carve a hole in the indestructible wall of the Wizengamot, his own role was looking altogether too suspicious. He looked left, met the eyes of his servant, August Stoessel, and sent a thought.

Two seats left, August stood up and shouted, "It must be Lord Voldemort!" The audience's attention shifted slightly. Lucius decided that four days later, Stoessel - Imperiused and falsely rumored to be a perfect occlumens - would confess to the whole thing, claiming (though no one would believe the last part) to have been Imperiused by Lord Voldemort himself.

Dumbledore looked very disturbed. Onlookers did not find this surprising, but they would have been surprised by the reason, if they knew. Dumbledore had just put the pieces together - Harry had performed an advanced plot, and time turned in spite of his time turner's locked shell, just as he must have done on the day Bellatrix Black broke out of Azkaban.

"Talk of dark rituals is unfit for discussion here", Dumbledore said, a little shakily. "If there are no objections, I believe we can suspend the previous vote and reconvene tomorrow morning, after the Ministry has had a chance to speak with these Guardians. We will vote whether to release or punish Hermione then, with fuller information."

Lucius did not object. He would have a whole day to plan his next move. Harry did not object. He would have a whole day to plan his next move.

The Guardians of Merlins left first, through the strange hole from which they had come. Then the Aurors left, taking Hermione, their patronuses, and the dementor, slightly smaller but still intact. Then the audience left, Harry among them, and he excused himself to go to the bathroom, where he anchored his time turner inside its shell like Quirrell had shown him, and spun the shell twice. Finally Dumbledore left; but he was only two steps out the door when he disillusioned himself, spun his time turner twice, and reentered.

Two hours earlier, an invisible Harry Potter was wandering around the Wizengamot building, first looking for his earlier self so he could place the "Mess with time if you want" note, then looking for the other side of the wall he had seen cut open. He found it in a secluded storeroom, with ten minutes to spare, set down a piece of paper and marked it with a single tally. Soon he was joined by another Harry, who had used his time turner only once, and another, and another. Rather than take off their invisibility cloaks, they announced their arrival by marking the paper with a second, third, and fourth tally.

Dumbledore watched invisibly from inside the Wizengamot chamber as four invisible Harry Potters used partial transfiguration to cut a hole in the wall. He watched invisibly as four Human Patronuses entered the room. And then an invisible Harry Potter bumped into the invisible Dumbledore, changing events from how they were meant to go; and the entire twisted tangle of time loops collapsed into a paradox and never was. Reality would take a different path, one in which Harry chose a simpler solution, one that did not require three things to all happen.

comment by NihilCredo · 2012-03-28T14:23:12.159Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The next time Eliezer puts up an omake page, he definitely needs to include this.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T17:47:00.275Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hell, you could damn near make an omake page out of all the alternate theories we posted.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-28T00:37:48.978Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Highly unlikely for something like this to happen in the actual HPMOR -- but I actually enjoyed it, so I thank you for posting it.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T02:31:26.458Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Seconding this.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-28T01:59:40.432Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I love it!

Especially the last paragraph.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-03-28T00:24:46.328Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

and he excused himself to go to the bathroom, where he spun his time turner twice.

So, you didn't explain how he could do that. Last time it took a spell from Quirrel to hold the shell in place. I'm guessing it's not as simple as holding the shell with one hand and spinning the hourglass inside it.

Also, Harry can't clone (loop) himself four times during the trial if he goes back two hours. That would result in looping himself four times for the time period from 2 to 1 hours before present. To loop himself four times (or he could make it five) during the trial itself, he should go back only one hour.

comment by jimrandomh · 2012-03-28T00:31:51.763Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, you didn't explain how he could do that. Last time it took a spell from Quirrel to hold the shell in place. I'm guessing it's not as simple as holding the shell with one hand and spinning the hourglass inside it.

Quirrell anchored the hourglass with a spell, and then Harry spun the shell around it. We never see Harry perform the anchoring spell, but we don't have any information about its difficulty, so presumably Harry could do it too if he prepared.

Also, Harry can't clone (loop) himself four times during the trial if he goes back two hours. That would result in looping himself four times for the time period from 2 to 1 hours before present. To loop himself four times (or he could make it five) during the trial itself, he should go back only one hour.

He's giving himself an extra hour to prepare. The second, third, and fourth iterations only involve going back one hour, so that leaves a turn to spare. I'll edit to make that clearer.

comment by play_therapist · 2012-03-29T22:29:14.433Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I love it. I didn't realize you could write fiction so well!

comment by moritz · 2012-03-28T10:00:59.063Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for writing that, I enjoyed it.

There's a tiny problem with it: Patronuses speak with the voice of the one who cast them, and the members of the Wizengamot have already heard Harry talking, so they'd notice there's something wrong with the Merlin connection.

comment by jimrandomh · 2012-03-28T15:08:14.270Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This may be pushing the limits of Harry's control over his Patronus, but humans can speak in funny voices even without magic, and doing so to prevent characters from recognizing who they are is a standard trope. This deserves mention, though, so I'll edit to include one.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-28T18:04:10.045Z · score: 35 (43 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Idea: Making the money back will be much more difficult than most people anticipate, including Harry.

Reason: Many wizards are highly motivated towards finance and would exhaust every opportunity to generate infinite gold. The rich wizards of the Wizengamot considered 100,000 galleons to be a lot of money.

First, imagine all the ways a wizard could make effectively infinite amounts of muggle money. Arbitrage. Use a time turner and win at the stock market. Use a time turner and win the super-lotto. Imperius (or love potion, false memory charm, groundhog day attack, etc) any billionaire and take part of their fortune. Mind trick some bankers with fake documents (as Dumbledore does in book 6). Go rob some banks with invisibility and teleportation (and/or a time turner). Use magic to secure a job with a 50 million dollar golden parachute with very generous terms. Make huge amounts of drug money as a courier via teleportation/portkey. Sell 5 galleon trinkets to muggle collectors for millions of dollars each. Etc., etc., etc..

Some of them are more risky, some of them are less risky, but I bet that any member of these forums could get at least $50 million in a week if we were wizards.

And yet, when they mention a price of 100,000 galleons people are shocked. The reaction does not look like it's 1/15th of a week's worth of effort he's got to worry about. Dumbledore views it as a major problem that Harry is 60,000 galleons in debt. We know from chapter 70 that it's a known thing that witches and wizards will trick a muggle with a love potion and rape them. Yet nobody thinks to slip Bill Gates a love potion, convince him to part with $2 billion, and blow Lucius out of the water with 100 million galleons. And these are among the most financially motivated people in all of wizardry, not the common population, who consider 2 million pounds as more than weekend spending money. I notice I am confused.

I'll brainstorm some possible explanations:

  • Gringotts won't mint your gold for a nominal fee: Griphook could have been lying, mistaken, or omitted something. Maybe you bring in a ton of gold and they just laugh at it for not having a special magical signature. Unlikely but possible.

  • Gold isn't available to purchase with muggle money: Wizards could own the gold exchanges and gold mines. They do nominal trading for electronics and jewelry, but the vast share of gold goes to the wizarding world. Possible, but it would drastically change the face of the real world (eg World Reserves would be a lie, and Ron Paul is a wizard).

  • The Department of Magical Law Enforcement is way more effective than I imagine: They can find and intervene in not only all cases of magic misuse (eg imperius or bank robberies), but check other means like love potions. Seems unlikely, considering the current crime investigation and how the last war went. Result - Arbitrage and stock/lottery manipulation work.

  • The wizarding world is full of complete inverse-omega class idiots: Always a good theory. But it doesn't sound right for the entirety of the wizarding world (including a ton of muggle-born) to act so completely stupid.

  • The financial tycoons on Wizengamot actually do this: Maybe most of the Wizengamot fortunes exist due to questionable sources. That would explain the majority of evil people doing the voting. Still, that doesn't explain the reaction to the 100,000 galleons.

  • The people who would do this are not on the Wizengamot: Maybe this does happen. Perhaps all the muggle-born realize how easy it is to live a life of luxury in the muggle world and do exactly that, and only venture into the magical world when the want to go shopping. They have the best conveniences of both worlds and none of the dangers of either. This... actually sounds kinda plausible. Plus, there isn't a great job market for muggle-born.

Something doesn't add up. The Wizengamot is full of bright, ambitious people, most of whom have dedicated their lives to finance (makes 4 unlikely). If they're arguing over lucrative ink importation rights it means they've already figured out arbitrage. They wouldn't worry about importing ink, if they weren't leveraging different prices between the market where they're purchasing ink and the market where they're selling ink. Something as simple as triangle arbitrage should be figured out immediately. If wizards already discovered arbitrage, but they don't try and arbitrage in the muggle markets directly, it would be evidence that 1 or 2 is in play. 3 and 5 are already unlikely, so I guess 1&2 or 6 make sense.

I'd be interested to see if Harry actually manages to make infinite money, and if so what it means about the world.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-28T18:23:09.549Z · score: 32 (36 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think that taking advantage of muggles in lots of ways is against the law, so imperiusing or memory charming a billionaire would be forbidden. I wouldn't be at all surprised if people have thought of and maybe tried using time turners to cheat the muggle lottery, so I'd give fair odds that's illegal too. When it comes to arbitrage though, remember that while wizards in general may not be tremendously stupid, they tend to be incredibly clueless about the muggle world; remember that Arthur Weasley can pass as a premier expert on muggle artifacts. The fact that the values of gold and silver in the muggle world are totally divorced from their value in the wizarding world is likely to be very little known, and the concept of arbitrage may be completely foreign to them as well (look how primitive their whole financial system appears to be.)

The fact that Mr. Bester, Harry's occlumency instructor, said he wished he could remember "That trick with the gold and silver" implies that a) the idea is not obvious to most wizards, and b) he thinks he would at least stand a chance of getting away with it.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-29T00:23:24.652Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I completely agree. Recall also Draco's speech about muggles scratching in the dirt, and his reaction to Harry's estimate of the lunar program budget. It's not just wizards not paying attention to relative values of gold and silver in the muggle world---for the most part, the possibility that there could be a substantial amount of either in the muggle world doesn't occur to them. Now you might expect muggleborns to know better, even after making allowances for the fact that they enter the wizarding world at age 11. On the other hand, if a muggleborn is clever enough to see the potential for profit, they might also be clever enough to see what Harry apparently does not---that calling attention to the fact that the muggles are ripe for exploitation is a Bad Idea.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-29T05:21:37.198Z · score: 12 (14 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would actually suspect parents of a half blood (is there a name for this?) would be the weak link, rather than muggle-born children.

You've got people who have lived their whole lives as muggles, then suddenly they fall in love and get married and find out their spouse is a wizard. They've spent ~20 years in the muggle world and probably have a career of their own. No way they don't ask their spouse to spend a couple hours and let them both live like kings for the rest of their lives. And if they don't even get that much information about their other's life, that's some seriously messed up power dynamics in that household.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-29T07:46:07.398Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Pop quiz: What percentage of Muggles have ever heard the word "arbitrage"?

(Retracted because reply makes sense)

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-29T08:02:41.464Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm thinking more "Go magic that banker and we'll be rich."

Or "Hey can you use that wicker spinmaster thingy to get us the lotto numbers?" I presume if the witch/wizard owned one they'd figure out what it does eventually. They'd have to after a long enough time living together.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-29T00:31:48.229Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also, as Harry himself speculates, muggleborns, like his mother, probably tend to fall into the habit of not thinking of muggles as Real People anymore, because it's too emotionally taxing, and they're living in a different world. They may stop concerning themselves with the muggle world much by the time they're grown up. The muggle raised wizards in the original canon certainly seemed to.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2012-03-29T17:36:17.832Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

All good points, but I don't think Harry is planning on "calling atttention to the fact that the muggles are ripe for exploitation". He's presumably planning to make the money without anyone except one or two adults he needs for transportation/permission/whatever knowing how he did it.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-28T18:42:03.276Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh, I'm sure taking advantage of muggles is treated even worse than taking advantage of pets. But there are a lot of rich people and a lot of ways to steal their money. Ditto with the lottery. Maybe they police the lottery, but do they police stock exchanges, leveraged currency trading, futures markets, prediction accounts, sports betting, Vegas, etc.? It takes ten minutes to think of a dozen ways to get effectively infinite muggle money with magic.

There's no way to stop it all. Hence, the block (if it exists) has to be at the interface point. Somewhere in between when muggle money turns into galleons.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-28T18:46:32.464Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

My guess is that rather than policing any of various muggle institutions, they investigate, as we do in our own world, whenever anyone appears to suddenly come into possession of large amounts of money for no clear reason, and if they find out they did something illegal, they throw them in jail.

Maybe people are already using wizardry to get huge amounts of money through the muggle world, but if so they may have to store and use the money very inconspicuously.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-28T23:49:30.932Z · score: 15 (17 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wonder if they do. The wizarding world is a bizarre mix of modern and ancient traditions. It seems just as likely for them to have an income tax as not. So, they may or may not have the bureaucratic apparatus in place to know how much money people have and make.

I also wonder what the official stance would be on, say, bilking the stock market. It seems like standing up for muggle rights would be an unpopular political stance. Since there's no direct victim and you're doing things that aren't even illegal in the muggle world (nevermind they don't have time-travel), it seems unlikely the authorities would care to stop you, unless they have a blanket ban on anything that would result in inflation.

God, I'm such a double-nerd. There's a dark lord to be fought and I'm hoping the next plot arc is about wizard tax law and how magical Britain handles inflation.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-29T08:06:03.285Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The funny thing is, it's not really bilking the stock market. The whole argument for stock trading is that traders create value by accurately pricing securities, and thus allocating capital efficiently. Time travel is just a ridiculously efficient means of doing so. Given common access to Time-Turners, the stock market would literally be perfectly efficient(assuming that using turner-induced stock prices doesn't violate the 6-hour rule). People without them would be very pissed off, but I'd actually argue it as being the right and proper way to run a stock market if the technology existed.

comment by Username · 2012-04-01T00:22:05.177Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The only thing is, once you have enough time turners to control most of the volume of the market, there are no longer any linear-time causal inputs (read: people) deciding what directions the market will take. Market fluctuations would literally come from nowhere, though it might be best said that they would come from Time. And given Harry's previous scary experiment (DO NOT MESS WITH TIME, ch. 17), I'm not sure it's such a good idea to let Time be the one to control this.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-29T13:41:53.064Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I also wonder what the official stance would be on, say, bilking the stock market. It seems like standing up for muggle rights would be an unpopular political stance. Since there's no direct victim

Bolded word is redundant. This is a service being provided and nobody is having wealth that they have 'rights' to taken away. This is different in nature to using using time travel or to win at cards or roulette.

The muggles end up better off than they were AND Harry is better off. Almost as though it is a trade.

(Essentially I just agree with Alsadius.)

comment by TuviaDulin · 2012-03-28T20:17:51.777Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is by far the likeliest explanation I've seen. It does lead one to wonder how many wizards are sitting on huge piles of muggle money and slowly converting it into galleons as needed.

comment by fubarobfusco · 2012-03-28T21:19:48.818Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In canon there is a Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office, but it's not terribly competent.

However, the Minister of Magic also liaises with the Muggle Prime Minister; and presumably there is some exchange of information between their staffs. Any financial irregularities large enough to register on a national level could register that way.

comment by kilobug · 2012-03-28T21:33:56.342Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In canon at least, it's pretty clear that there is few interaction from Muggle Prime Minister and Minister of Magic, unless exceptional events occur. IIRC, in first 5 years, there is only two interactions : the Minister of Magic informing the Prime Minister about the escape of Sirius Black, and the dragons for the Triwizards Tournament. And there seems that not once did the Muggle Prime Minister directly contact the Minister of Magic, it only went the other way around.

So I'm sceptical about that. More likely the Ministry of Magic has someone working in the staff of the Muggle Prime Minister and informing the Ministry if something odds is happening.

comment by RobertLumley · 2012-03-28T22:58:41.240Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

My guess is that rather than policing any of various muggle institutions, they investigate, as we do in our own world, whenever anyone appears to suddenly come into possession of large amounts of money for no clear reason, and if they find out they did something illegal, they throw them in jail.

This would require a wizarding equivalent of the IRS, which I've never heard of. I've never seen mention of taxes, but they obviously have to pay the ministry employees something. One of the consequences of their primitive monetary system is that it is very easy to obtain money without the government knowing it. Perhaps they could use muggle taxes to buy gold to be minted into galleons, and pay employees that way. In cannon, the prime minister knows about the wizarding world, and it's possible that information of it is just highly classified.

I suppose money could be magically tracked, but there would still need to be a ministry department. And if that is possible, it easily defeats most money-making strategies.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-28T23:31:41.042Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If any money tracking is going on, I suspect it's done by the goblins, who I believe canonically have means of magically tracking things.

You don't need to magically track money though, to keep record of how much money is in people's bank accounts, and take notice if someone who's not supposed to have lots of money suddenly starts making a lot of very expensive purchases.

comment by RobertLumley · 2012-03-28T23:56:32.433Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You don't need to magically track money though, to keep record of how much money is in people's bank accounts, and take notice if someone who's not supposed to have lots of money suddenly starts making a lot of very expensive purchases.

That's assuming you put it in a bank account.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-29T00:02:13.586Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you don't put it in a bank account, then assuming no magical tracking, you could spend lots of money so long as you don't reach a point where anyone starts asking "Hey, where did you get all this expensive stuff?"

Since the wizarding world has so much smaller a population than ours and seems to be quite class stratified, it's quite conceivable that every person who's supposed to be really wealthy is already known and identifiable, and any Joe Shmoe who tries making a thousand galleon purchase is instantly flagged as suspicious.

comment by alex_zag_al · 2012-03-29T19:55:21.832Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's another motivation for secrecy. Anyone who makes money off the Muggle world benefits from being the only one making money off the Muggle world. If they're making lots of money, they don't want other people to start thinking about how.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-29T03:46:03.457Z · score: 28 (28 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

First, imagine all the ways a wizard could make effectively infinite amounts of muggle money. Arbitrage. Use a time turner and win at the stock market.

Neither of which are known to the Wizarding world, as evidenced by the Occlumency teacher's reaction to his discovery of it. (and his discovery of it, and his discovery of it... :) )

Something doesn't add up.

Your assessment of the Wizarding World's evaluation of the Muggle world. To the supermajority of Wizards, science is a total unknown. Economic and sociopolitical theory are terms they've simply never heard of.

They are isolated and effectively are like the apocryphal Chinese Emperor who burned his fleets because there was nothing left to discover; or the equally apocryphal Patent Office official who wanted to close the Patent Office in the 1800's because there was nothing left to invent.

So basically what you're seeing is what's called "hindsight bias". It is obvious to you, who knows what "Muggles" have, that the Wizards are vastly disadvantaged here -- insanely so -- but remember that as further demonstrated by Draco's total ignorance of Man's visit to the Moon, Wizards believe Muggles are "wallowing in the mud". The idea that they might LEARN from Muggles is actively suppressed by a concerted political campain by a powerful and long-standing major political faction.

comment by David_Gerard · 2012-03-28T20:50:28.747Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The people who would do this are not on the Wizengamot: Maybe this does happen. Perhaps all the muggle-born realize how easy it is to live a life of luxury in the muggle world and do exactly that, and only venture into the magical world when the want to go shopping. They have the best conveniences of both worlds and none of the dangers of either. This... actually sounds kinda plausible. Plus, there isn't a great job market for muggle-born.

Like going off to live in a poor country if you have a first-world income to live on. I believe it's already been remarked that this is about how magical Britain views muggle Britain.

comment by FiftyTwo · 2012-03-29T13:58:19.566Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Theres also a psychological dimension to consider. To most wizards, and especially the rich pure bloods who this would be most relevant to, muggles, muggle-borns and anything associated with them are incredibly low status. Mere knowledge of muggles is seen as a major social negative (see treatment of Arthur Weasley). As such they would have a strong incentive not to investigate muggle knowledge, and if you suggested to Lucius that he made his fortune and power from dealing with Muggles his brain might actually explode from shame.

comment by kilobug · 2012-03-29T15:37:08.823Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, but if it were just that, you would except a few low-status wizard to suddenly become very rich through muggle-side tricks. Arthur Weasley is probably too Gryffindor to do it himself, but since he has quite a lot of work with wizards doing tricks with "muggle artificats", you could except a few of them to get very rich by fiddling with the muggle world (especially muggle born, at 11 you know about stock markets and lottery) if it were so easy.

My best guess is that it's illegal and the law enforcement is strong enough to not be worth the risk. Like, if you suddenly arrive at Gringotts with gold coming from nowhere, an investigation is done, and if that gold comes from a "muggle source", you're in trouble.

comment by see · 2012-03-28T21:46:13.243Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Let's quote the current author's notes:

One thing I did notice was that many readers (a) neglected simple solutions in favor of complex ones, (b) neglected obvious solutions in favor of nonobvious ones, and (c) suggested that the correct hints had been put there for deliberately deceptive purposes.

General announcement: I do not lie to my readers. Almost everything in HPMOR is generated by the underlying facts of the story. Sometimes it is generated by humor – I can’t realistically claim that comic timing that precise would occur in a purely natural magical universe. But nothing is there to deliberately fool the readers.

Methods of Rationality is a rationalist story. Your job is to outwit the universe, not the author. If it taught the lesson that the simple solution is always wrong because it is “too obvious”, it would be teaching rather the wrong moral. There are some cases where people have scored additional points by successful literary analysis, e.g. Checkov’s Gun principles. But the author is not your enemy, and the facts aren’t lies.

Now, yes, it is possible that Eliezer Yudkowsky's Author Note on this very chapter is a lie, and he will suddenly reveal a whole series of barriers to paying the debt that will shut off everything from arbitrage to time turners to Dumbledore using the Philosopher's Stone in the manner allowed in canon, without having given us any previous hints as to what they are. But I think Eliezer Yudkowsky is not lying, and that at least one of the many simple solutions proposed (or another simple solution) will work.

comment by ajuc · 2012-03-28T22:06:10.079Z · score: 2 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So everybody except Harry are holding idiot balls?

comment by RobertLumley · 2012-03-28T23:01:21.332Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think that's an inescapable result of the idiot world J. K. Rowling made. There is just so much in cannon that makes so little sense.

comment by anotherblackhat · 2012-03-29T03:10:52.543Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Doing something stupid, or just being an idiot in general isn't the same as holding the idiot ball.

the person carrying the idiot ball is often acting out of character, misunderstanding something that could be cleared up by asking a single reasonable question or performing a simple problem-solving action, but that he isn't doing solely because the writers don't want him to. It's almost as if the character is being willfully stupid or obtuse.

comment by see · 2012-03-28T22:35:05.778Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There are at least three methods of paying off the debt relatively easily, mentioned earlier in this discussion, that are fundamentally unavailable as ways of making money for the vast majority of wizards on the Wizengamot. One, using the Philosopher's Stone, is explicitly mentioned in the very comment you replied to.

So, no, I don't think the people in the story are holding Idiot Balls.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-29T07:01:11.894Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In terms of the knowledge that Muggles have culturally accumulated, yes. They're at least 500 years behind the times.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-29T07:17:46.808Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It varies. There are trains and gaslamplikethings and indoor plumbing.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-30T20:54:13.413Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm willing to bet most of them run on a non-negligible ammount of magic, though.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-30T21:20:47.682Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Descending through the illusory roof while invisible was a strange experience, and then Harry found himself in a metal corridor lighted with a dim orange light - which, Harry realized after a startled glance, was coming from an old-fashioned mantled gas lamp...

...for magic would fail, be drained away after a time, in the presence of Dementors.

But the others, maybe. Or maybe not; we also have

Minerva gazed up at the clock, the golden hands and silver numerals, the jerking motion. Muggles had invented that, and until they had, wizards had not bothered keeping time. Bells, timed by a sanded hourglass, had served Hogwarts for its classes when it was built.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-30T22:02:08.683Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I revise my position. 500 years seems to be excessive, in many areas. I would guess that the Hogwarts Express, and potentially even the toilets do rely on some level of magic, though.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T13:40:43.088Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

My understanding was that most of the “modern” items (excepting things like the lamps in Azkhaban) are magic-based items, they simply got the ideas from muggle items. There’s no obvious indication that Minerva’s clock was purely mechanical; the one Trelawney used had voice recognition, for example.

Even torches are a “muggle-inspired technology” if you think about it. Purely magical lighting would be a glowing globe, or even unexplainably-lit rooms like the Wizengamot hall, there’s no reason to have it shaped like a torch (albeit proximity self-lighting and ever-burning) unless you got inspired by real torches and just went on with tradition, and at least many of those are probably not created by enchanting a manufactured torch. (Given how many there are in Hogwarts, and that you seem to find them even in rooms that didn’t exist yesterday, I’d guess the weird self-building architecture just includes most of them by itself.)

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-28T20:13:23.352Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Some counter-evidence for getting gold being difficult: In chapter 27, Mister Bester (the Legilimens who trained Harry) said:

Though I do wish I could remember that trick with the gold and silver.

Implying that it was at least somewhat practical as a means for getting rich quickly.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2012-03-28T20:20:10.657Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Bester has only thought about it for a few seconds so there could be problems that would occur to someone who is knowledgeable about the wizarding economy if they thought about it for a bit.

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-28T22:24:15.641Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I meant it as Bayesian evidence. (updating P(Arbitrage works) down on Bester regretting means updating up on him not Regretting)

Plus, this is stronger evidence for us than for Harry due to Conservation of Details and the recent disclaimer by EY that there are no red herrings, and that simple solutions != bad solutions (and in fact, the opposite is usually true).

ETA: Also, Bester probably thought about it more more than a few seconds, at least the first time he saw it in Harry's mind - Remember that he didn't just see those Ideas/secrets, he's also seen key moments of his previous conversations.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-29T03:52:09.415Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Bester also knew he wasn't going to be able to Remember it. And that he was supernaturally compelled to forget it. So why intentionally build anguish over something that would be awesome if you had it but that you simply can't have?

I don't think his failure to follow through with it, given his obligations -- and compulsions -- to not do so -- should be counted as weighting against the efficacy of the principle.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-29T08:08:03.631Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't follow your point. Who was discussing anguish? It seemed like mild annoyance in the original text, and a comment that annoyance does not imply truth in Joshua's comment.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-29T00:33:37.771Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Remember, most of wizarding Britain is either people who were taken out of the muggle world at age 10-11 and don't come back, or people who never lived there at all. How many of them are actually going to understand finance well enough to have a sense of how to exploit it? And the ones who actually have money at Gringott's are almost by definition the ones who never even spent those 11 years in the muggle world, so they may well not have any idea that finance exists. And even if they do, the ignorance and prejudice is rather overpowering, and may well prevent proper use of it. Someone who has both seed capital and the knowledge of how to exploit the crap out of it is going to be rare, and the DMLE is likely going to step on anyone who gets too egregious about using wizarding advantages to do so.

(Edited first sentence for accuracy)

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-29T03:50:21.185Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Remember, most of wizarding Britain is people who were taken out of the muggle world at age 10-11 and don't come back.

I don't believe this is correct. In fact, isn't there a section in MoR where McGonagall relates to Harry that less than 10 "muggleborn" Wizards are being inducted into Hogwarts that year? (With Harry being one of them?)

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-29T08:10:07.283Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Right, I meant to edit that and got distracted. Replace with "Remember, most of wizarding Britain is either people who were taken out of the muggle world at age 10-11 and don't come back or people who never lived there at all".

comment by Alicorn · 2012-03-29T04:06:32.447Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Halfbloods are more populous, and their Muggle parents probably give them some nontrivial connection to the Muggle world.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T05:29:13.655Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Halfbloods" the way you're thinking don't actually exist in MoR. Wizard + muggle = all their children are squibs. Yeah, half the children of a wizard/squib pair are wizards, but how often do you think that occurs? Canonically Harry is referred to as a halfblood because his mother was muggleborn; that sort of thing- not muggleborn, but not "pure"blood either- probably accounts for most of the population.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2012-03-29T05:34:40.399Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

We don't know if this is the case. Looking at squib/wizard descent rates from wizard/muggle marriages would be an obvious additional test of Harry's genetic hypothesis, which he hasn't done. We don't know if Harry is correct about there being a single wizard gene.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2012-03-29T17:23:55.811Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I really don't get how the genetics works in either MOR or canon. In canon, there are wizards with one wizard parent and one muggle parent, who aren't squibs (Snape and Riddle for two). That implies it's dominant. Also, squibs in canon are born to 2 wizard parents (Neville's pure-blood and was thought to be one, and it's mentioned in the definition), and squibs are implied to be pretty uncommon, which they wouldn't be if they were all heterozygotes. In the end, though, I support EY's right to make it work out however he feels like, because canon is confused and self-contradictory and MOR's point about complex adaptations being either ubiquitous or absent is true.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-29T20:21:34.366Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In canon, there are wizards with one wizard parent and one muggle parent, who aren't squibs (Snape and Riddle for two).

In canon they call “squib” the non-magic-capable child of two wizards.

In MoR, that means the child has only one copy of the recessive magic gene. (Either mommy didn’t love only daddy, or one copy of the gene got messed up somehow.) But in MoR you need to distinguish between genetic|squib (has one copy of the gene), and genealogic|squib (can’t do magic but has wizard/witch parents).

All genealogical|squibs are genetic|squibs, but wizards use the word “squib” only for the former, since wizards don’t know much about genetics, and about the magic gene in particular. They call anybody who isn’t a part of magic Britain a muggle (genealogical |muggle), even though they might actually be genetic|squibs.

An example: Wizard Nasty Pants does the nasty with lots of muggle women a couple of centuries ago. He doesn’t like commitments, so he abandons the women to raise their children alone.

All his children are genetic|squibs, but they’re raised by muggles and—after Mr. Nasty dies because he tried that with a witch married to a Gryffindor—nobody knows they had a wizard parent.

Mr. and Mrs. Ancient Robes have a squib (Mr. Robes was often away on ancient business), and Mrs. Robes leaves him to be raised by a muggle family, because she doesn’t have the heart to see him killed (Mr. Robes is kind of old-fashioned that way), and claims he died at birth or something.

A couple of generations later the magic gene still exists in a lot of Mr. Pants’ and Mrs. Robes’ muggle-raised descendants: half a genetic|squib’s children are also genetic|squibs, if the other parent is genetic|muggle, and people used to have lots of kids until recently. But they’ll be genealogic|muggles, and any wizard will call them muggles, because they’re not known to have a magic parent.

And then, two of these genetic|squib descendants marry (either the two trees intersect, or a couple of kissing cousins decide to do more than kiss), and a quarter of their kids are wizards. Magic Britain will call them muggle-born (or mudbloods, depending on political inclination), although in fact they’re lost descendants of wizards.

Similarly, when Ms. Broad Horizons, a witch of liberal inclination, falls in love with young muggle (but genetic|squib) Bendsinister McPants, half her kids will be wizards, and Magic Britain will call them half-bloods.


Since there is a single magic gene (apparently), it is also possible that a mutation will toggle between the magic and non-magic alleles. So it is also possible, though probably much rarer, that a squib (or, even less likely, a wizard) appears from completely non-magical parents, or that two magic users have a squib or non-magic child, due to simple mutation. How likely that is depends on the complexity of the gene, but it’d have to be much rarer than the above scenarios, unless there’s magical interference in mutation rates for that specific gene.

comment by kilobug · 2012-03-30T09:25:52.299Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also, we cannot completely ignore the possibility of the "magic machinery" (the one that recognize the genetic marker) to have some kind of shuffling process that'll occasionally turn on or off the magical marker when an egg is fertilized. Either randomly, or based on events (triggers like "an egg fertilized exactly at the second where the moon is the fullest will have a high probability of having the magical marked added").

We have no hints towards that, so Occam's Razor would tend to give it a low probability, but it would seem coherent to me with the twisted, not really occamian, way magic seems to work. Harry's and Draco's experiment on the genes was low-scale enough so they had no chance of detecting any such shuffling.

But sure, adultery is a much more plausible explanation of why squibs would occasionally appear in pure magical couples, and why there are "muggleborn".

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-03-31T05:23:43.054Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also, we cannot completely ignore the possibility of the "magic machinery" (the one that recognize the genetic marker) to have some kind of shuffling process that'll occasionally turn on or off the magical marker when an egg is fertilized. Either randomly, or based on events (triggers like "an egg fertilized exactly at the second where the moon is the fullest will have a high probability of having the magical marked added").

Or that there is no genetic marker at all and the machinery uses some algorithm of its own to determine who should have magic which is heavily biased towards children of wizards.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T13:32:50.566Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, Harry and Draco’s “experiment” (I’d say “poll” would be a better term) didn’t have a huge support population, but their numbers suggest that the bias would have to match suspiciously well with a genetic marker. That is, it seems that the actual results would be the same either way.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2012-03-29T18:57:09.860Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree with most of this. However, I think it is worth noting that JKR's understanding of biology is about as good as her understanding of math or astronomy so I don't expect her to have even thought of this sort of thing. I don't think the nature of complex adaptations is a great argument in this context given that we've already found that magic doesn't seem to act very much like what science tells us to expect in general.

While I support Eliezer's right to do what he wants, I suspect that Harry will turn out to be wrong about this, and that we'll find out in the story.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-29T05:02:00.271Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wasn't "muggleborn" a term that referred not to blood-purity ("mudblood") but rather to where you were born-and-raised?

I'm not up on my canonical!HP.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-03-29T05:27:18.492Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In canonical!HP, halfbloods are wizards/witches with one witch/wizard parent and one Muggle parent. "Dad's a Muggle, Mum's a witch. Bit of a nasty shock for him when he found out." Muggleborns have two Muggle parents.

Sometimes people with a Muggleborn and a pureblood for parents are called halfbloods (Harry is one of these). Finer gradations aren't referred to (I'm not sure what Harry and Ginny's kids would be called).

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-29T05:31:24.249Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm familiar with "pureblood", "squib"/"halfblood", and "muggle"/"mudblood".

I was under the impression that "muggleborn" wasn't a synonym for "mudblood". I guess I'm mistaken about that, but in reading your response I don't seem to be able to put a pin on coming to that conclusion.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-29T08:14:16.583Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Squib" is a nonmagical child of magical parents, at least in canon. MoR seems to be using it as a genetic marker, which I'm honestly not sure is compatible with canon.

(Now that I think about it, if Harry's genetic theory is correct, doesn't a squib child of a wizarding couple imply that Mom was getting some on the side?)

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-31T18:44:33.590Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

.. Not nessesarily. I just had an amusing thought. The number one use of polyjuice is quite obviously as a sex toy, right? Depending on how deep the transformation goes, it is entirely possible that the genetic lines of wizardry if anyone ever tested them would be enormously confusing, and a lot of squibs are technically the decendants of Jane Russell and Rudolph Valentino.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-29T08:33:05.741Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Go, Mom.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2012-03-29T17:30:04.895Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Probably! That or a mutation, anyway. But a few weeks ago I read about an interesting situation * in which a parent with AB blood and one with A blood can have an O child without adultery, because of another gene that sometimes suppresses the A and B antigens. That wouldn't allow for varying power levels with blood purity, and would sort of be still "one thing that makes you a wizard."

  • I can't remember the name, and would appreciate if someone could remind me.
comment by loserthree · 2012-03-29T16:02:17.103Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

if Harry's genetic theory is correct, doesn't a squib child of a wizarding couple imply that Mom was getting some on the side?

Not necessarily. Genetic code changes in ways that do not make an nonviable specimen now and then.

Adultery is more likely, though.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-29T13:04:20.315Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

doesn't a squib child of a wizarding couple imply that Mom was getting some on the side?

Accurate deduction! Here, have a cookie.

comment by taelor · 2012-03-29T06:54:21.878Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Mudblood means non-pure ancestry, and is thus broader than muggleborn; the children of two muggleborns would still be considered to be mudblooded, despite both parents being wizards.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T07:14:32.902Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Where did you get this idea?

comment by AspiringKnitter · 2012-03-29T05:02:49.427Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2012-03-28T20:22:24.899Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

f they're arguing over lucrative ink importation rights it means they've already figured out arbitrage

Not really. All sorts of arguments and fights over importation rights occurred even during the height of merchantilism. That importing goods can be profitable is a much more obvious claim than that moving goods between markets can be profitable. The second is more abstract. Moreover, they don't think of the Muggle world as that important, so the fact that the Muggle world has imbalanced prices may not be obvious to them as something to even think about.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-29T15:43:58.827Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I disagree. Harry can do partial transfiguration. If he cannot figure out ways to earn insane amounts of cash just through that then he is too retarded to be called rational (remember that he can actually extract resources in ways the wizarding world cannot - as I write in another place: mining ++).

Plus you underestimate the degree of separation between the two worlds plus the extreme lack of respect the wizarding world holds for muggles.

And about the 100.000 galleons: well if they're bright, ambitious and socially aware plus they're using questionable sources they SHOULD act surprised. Not acting surprised would give away their game to the idiots remaining.

I will be severely disappointed if EY will waste time on the money issue. It doesn't deserve much more than a paragraph. Perhaps two just to let us know that Harry won't abuse it, because he doesn't want to call too much attention to himself.

comment by MixedNuts · 2012-03-29T17:34:56.307Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

How would one legally extract money from partial transfiguration? If you have a large object you want transfigured, is it cheaper to hire the only wizard in the world who can do partial transfigurations, or a team of powerful wizards who can just work on the whole thing? And how often does that happen anyway? He could make money from teaching it, but that'd be slow.

Eliezer seems to believe that wizards are selectively stupid about economics, so you're probably right about the general issue. They could need to import it because they can't produce it locally at all.

Also, please don't use slurs.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-31T02:27:16.212Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think partial transfiguration gains power by being a literal carving device. Normal transfiguration can force an object to take a shape, but they always revert. Partial transfiguration can carve pieces off selectively and have it be permanent. Eg, "the sculpture was always in the block of marble, I just removed what was not the sculpture." Although you'd need to set up incredible safety protocols. Presumably you'd transform the waste into a non-evaporative liquid while keeping a bubble headed charm on until you finite'd everything.

Harry Potter is his own little subtractive universal CNC machine. He's infinite axis; he can work on any material; he can work on any size. A mail order service could be a multi-million dollar a year business, depending on how tight he could control his tolerances. This goes doubly so because it's in 1991 compared to modern day.

Edit: Actually, I suppose sufficiently powerful wizards could do this too. They would just transfigure the whole block of steel into an engine+oil, drain it all, then finite it back so just an engine remained. And I don't think there's a big enough market for Harry to work exclusively on sculptures in the sides of the mountains or anything. Drat, foiled.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-29T20:30:16.496Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Slurs? (oh you mean "idiots"? I'd refrain from that in the future; I didn't mean to be offensive EDIT: later clarified to referring to retarded which I'll also refrain from using in the future... me not being a native speaker will end up being expensive karma-wise).

Transfiguring a whole mountain would: a) take more magical energy than most wizards could muster. b) not extract any resources.

Partial transfiguring has the distinct advantage of not having to transfigure entire objects (such as mountains). Perhaps a spell could also help with actually finding valuable resources.

Besides that partial transfiguration is an excellent break in/out spell (as seen earlier in TSPE) and I do not recall saying that Harry had to stay legal. He's shown already his ability to disregard the law (again TSPE) if he thinks it's worth it.

comment by arundelo · 2012-03-29T21:11:53.677Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Slurs? (oh you mean "idiots"?

MixedNuts meant "retarded".

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-29T21:15:27.484Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

... I need a slur to describe how dumb I feel now...

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T21:33:44.183Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Slow"? Edit: or no, that's the same thing, isn't it. Um. Probably a dumb question, but what's wrong with "dumb"?

comment by AspiringKnitter · 2012-03-29T23:16:22.764Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumb used to mean mute. Personally, I think that's going a little overboard with the political correctness, though. (And this from someone who doesn't use retarded as an insult, or even crazy.)

comment by Will_Newsome · 2012-03-29T23:29:43.880Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

(Basically unrelated, but: Do you or does anyone reading this know of anywhere online to read lots of case studies of schizophrenics, ideally without selection effects for "interesting" cases?)

comment by AspiringKnitter · 2012-03-29T23:52:51.211Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, but my local library has two autobiographies. Both seemed interesting to me, though.

Maybe you could look for internet support groups or forums or something. Stuff people write about themselves is probably more useful than stuff doctors write about them if you're looking to learn about their thought processes.

comment by Will_Newsome · 2012-03-29T23:58:32.692Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Good suggestions, thanks much.

comment by Dmytry · 2012-03-30T18:27:41.798Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Something oddly relevant that i came across recently, tendency to interpret things too literally:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17372545

It is sort of a stereotype though, so I do not know how real it is.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-29T15:57:01.454Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps two just to let us know that Harry won't abuse it, because he doesn't want to call too much attention to himself.

I really hope Eliezer doesn't spend more than a sentence on that - and even then I would want the sentence to be mild. Any more than that and it would strike me as too much use of explicit sloppy thinking to justify narrative convenience.

comment by Nornagest · 2012-03-29T03:09:02.521Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He's got plenty of time, and doesn't need that much seed money or that high a growth rate -- unless Lucius has a plan that'll get intolerable well before his payment comes due. I ran some numbers, and if he's making 3% profit on each of one-third of all trading days for six years (which I think is if anything conservative -- the arbitrage hack early in the story would be a couple orders of magnitude more profitable until someone catches on), he needs a principal of a little under 40 Galleons to break the 100,000 mark by the end of year 7. For 60,000, it's more like 25.

That's a decent amount of money if we're going by the prices we've seen for goods, but I'd be surprised if he couldn't borrow it from any of the suitably impressed adults he's surrounded himself with. Especially if they've got a motive to screw the Malfoys over.

comment by ygert · 2012-03-29T09:29:03.279Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Note that Harry secretly buried 100 Galleons in the backyard of his parents' house back in chapter 36, so having seed money is not an issue.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2012-03-29T03:30:15.510Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Upvoted for an essentially accurate analysis. However a minor nitpick: The marginal fees and resources involved will likely make this not very profitable if one started out with a small amount of money. So it would make more sense to start out with say at least a hundred Galleons or so. (Incidentally, why are Galleons capitalized? Is that convention? Other currencies like pounds, dollars and euros aren't generally capitalized.)

comment by billybobfred · 2012-03-30T06:29:34.130Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It seems to be a convention of fiction. Lots of fictional terms are capitalized when real-world analogues are near-universally left lowercase. (Species names immediately come to mind.)

comment by Nornagest · 2012-03-29T04:01:16.613Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The coin names are capitalized in the Potter books, yeah. Don't know why.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-29T05:04:51.093Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And for ridiculousness, have him start with a 100 million superlotto payout and get 5% instead of 3%. He'd have a couple hundred quadrillion dollars by the time he had to pay Lucius back. Obviously he couldn't earn that much. Aside from that much money not existing, they'd shut down all trades well before he got to the first trillion dollars.

But still, it'd be amusing to have him with a giant mountain of gold equivalent to all the worlds combined reserves. "Lucius, you just grab that double-life-sized solid gold statue of myself. Don't worry about the small change, I've got extra."

comment by Nornagest · 2012-03-29T05:49:08.849Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, sure, that's exponential growth for you. I'd actually rule out the scenario I present in the grandparent on narrative grounds: it's not interesting from a plot or a rationalist perspective to be interrupted every chapter or two with a description of Harry's latest trade, or even with his latest plan to wring another 5% out of his capital. (Maybe not that latter -- Spice and Wolf pulled it off. But that's a different kind of story.) Point is, this doesn't need to be attention-getting in or out of story, just repeatable. There are boring options that would work (day trading with a Time-Turner being only the first to come to mind). Since that's an unstable state for a story and the debt could easily have been omitted, at this point I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I'm not expecting that shoe to come in the form of unexpected changes to the financial structure that the early chapters set up, though. That does paint the Wizengamot in a rather unflattering light, but these are people that have only the vaguest idea of what cars are -- an enormous blind spot concerning the Muggle world is quite consistent with the established culture.

comment by RomeoStevens · 2012-03-28T20:23:14.423Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

maybe I'm forgetting some piece of evidence but couldn't the simple explanation be that muggle gold isn't actually wizard gold and vice versa? Magical signature as mentioned or any number of other ways.

comment by IneptatNormal · 2012-04-06T04:47:06.391Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it's also important to remember that all these fancy smancy new ways of making money haven't really been around that long.

Wizards live to be more than a hundred years old, and in general don't have a bunch of children. There's been only a couple generations in which many of these money making methods have been around - for example, the stock market has only existed in a convenient form since, say, 1910? And this story takes place in 1992. Eighty years really isn't that long in wizard years. And while a small percentage ten-year-olds in the 1990s might happen to have some idea of how the stock market can be manipulated for personal gains, probably only a vastly smaller number may have known in, say, 1940 - before the information age.

The noble houses - the wizards that probably make up the majority of the Wizenagamot - are kind of implied to have been rich and powerful for a long time. If any of these people are young enough to have gone to Hogwarts after the thirties, and been humble enough to have taken Muggle Studies, and really paid attention when it came to the Great Depression, and happened to do background reading on the subject in order to exploit it, then sure, maybe it's already done.

But given the information we have, I doubt this is widely known and regularly done enough to be a problem for Harry.

comment by anotherblackhat · 2012-03-29T03:38:21.668Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Certainly, the planning fallacy applies. And even if, for example, arbitrage worked the way it seems, and without the extra pitfalls that have been mentioned, there's a lot more to it than just swapping silver for gold and back. Harry's 11, he can't leave Hogwarts, his finances are tightly controlled by Dumbledore, 100,000 galleons = 1.7 million sickles ~= 17 tonnes of silver. Your dad doesn't just slip that into his back pocket. You're going to need help lifting it, security to guard it, vehicles to move it...

On the other hand, Harry has a lot of resources that haven't even been mentioned yet. There's a house in Godricks hollow for example, and the Granger's would probably be willing to contribute.

He hasn't even really made an accurate count of his vault. He described the stacks as a rough pyramid, but then estimates they're 20 wide and 60 tall - so in other words, each step of the pyramid is only three coins high. I made a small model out of poker chips, and it looks more like a flat than a stack. If it were a normal author, I'd figure the description was bad and the "estimate" was spot on, but EY is smart enough to realize that estimates aren't that accurate. Harry might have underestimated and already have 100,000. Of course, he might have over estimated instead.

Maybe he should learn a magical counting spell.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-29T07:08:24.569Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

and the Granger's would probably be willing to contribute.

A good chance they could pay off the entire debt. They seemed very well off.

I've got a friend who is a dentist. He could pay it off if he wanted to. 2 dentists? If they had decent business sense, it wouldn't be a problem. This is in the US, however. I'd guess that pay scales are different in Britain.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2012-03-29T17:12:42.594Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think you may be thinking of 100,000 dollars or pounds. 100,000 galleons is 2 million pounds.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-29T19:12:41.855Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And he still owes 60,000 galleons, which is 1.2mil.

A pair of dentists with over a decade of practice? My friend with 15 years of practice by himself could handle that. It's not pocket change, but this was to avoid the torture execution of their daughter. I think they could pony up for that.

comment by Exotria · 2012-03-30T11:25:28.750Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This has its own problems, though. The Grangers were concerned enough when it seemed Harry might be dangerous, since he was temperamental at their house. They'd pull Hermione out of the wizarding world if they knew that she nearly got locked in a place that actively sucks away happiness.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-30T17:52:18.294Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

First, I don't know whether it's an option to bail out of the wizarding world at this point. She has a blood debt to Malfoy which has yet to be paid off by Harry. I'm sure Harry would be fine with whatever she chose to do, but I don't know that the wizarding world is going to let her walk, at least until the debt is paid.

And she better hide very well is she does walk, because Malfoy wants her dead. The only protection she has from that is the wizarding world.

Second, if a boy saves your daughter from a torture execution, throwing away his fortune, and going into hock for a fortune besides, you might feel obligated to pay down that debt, and even repay him his lost fortune, regardless of your choices about being a part of the wizarding world.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T13:28:19.477Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Besides what dandavis says, even in canon Hermione memory-charmed her parents.

comment by drethelin · 2012-03-29T05:35:51.521Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

As far as transporting, Harry has a magical chest that contains entire rooms and can walk on its own. Dumbledore, Quirrel, or any bribeable adult wizard can teleport him to gringotts or to any muggle bank or jeweler he would like to go to, and there are definitely spells for swiftly transporting items across a room or whatever. I think by far a bigger problem would be getting any muggle bank to accept 17 tons of silver in a single transaction without any sort of possible background checks.

comment by ygert · 2012-12-13T16:53:39.296Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Luckily, there are magical methods. Confundus charm, say, or the Imperius curse. (Yes, that does have the downside of being unethical, so Harry probably would not do it.)

comment by Jonathan_Elmer · 2012-03-30T01:20:54.466Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why not just chose a muggle institution that has a lot of gold and is corrupt enough you don't mind stealing from(shouldn't be hard) and walk in under the cloak of invisibility, alohomora the locks and fill up the bag of holding with gold? I agree that sounds too easy to not already have been done though.

comment by MinibearRex · 2012-03-31T06:57:06.125Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think this one would fall under the jurisdiction of the DMLE. In Canon, there were a few scenes with Arthur Weasley in which he discussed criminal cases involving wizards using magical powers against muggles.

comment by moridinamael · 2012-03-30T16:47:57.462Z · score: 2 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Further, perhaps ambiguous evidence that Harry's machinitions won't be as successful or simple as he imagines. From Chapter 20, in reference to Quirrell's insistence that Dumbledore pay for Harry's Occlumency lessons with a neutral party:

Dumbledore was frowning. "Such services are extremely expensive, as you well know, and I cannot help but wonder why you deem them necessary."

"If it's money that's the problem," Harry spoke up, "I have some ideas for making large amounts of money quickly -"

"Thank you Quirinus, your wisdom is now quite evident and I am sorry for disputing it. Your concern for Harry Potter does you credit, as well."

Dumbledore immediately identifies Harry's money-making scheme as a terrible idea (even without knowing what exactly it is) and is actually willing to compromise his prior stance merely by being reminded how ignorant and childish Harry can be.

Dumbledore is probably the number one character, except for perhaps Snape, who has demonstrated the most knowledge of Muggle technology, culture, and institutions. I think it's a good bet that Dumbledore, hearing Harry's statement, immediately realized that Harry had hatched some hare-brained scheme with all kinds of horrible consequences that were obvious to Dumbledore, with his knowledge of both worlds, but opaque to Harry.

comment by TimS · 2012-03-30T17:28:18.918Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

For what it's worth, I interpreted this exchange as Dumbledore recognizing why it would be bad for someone to read Harry's mind. In other words, a competent plotter who didn't have society's interest at heart could implement Harry's ideas successfully to cause significant harm. I didn't take the exchange to show that D believed the ideas wouldn't work basically as intended with a minimum of unanticipated consequences.

In short, Lucius Malfoy shouldn't be able to read Harry's mind to gain a destabilizing amount of wealth.

comment by GLaDOS · 2012-03-29T10:11:27.293Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Gringotts won't mint your gold for a nominal fee: Griphook could have been lying, mistaken, or omitted something. Maybe you bring in a ton of gold and they just laugh at it for not having a special magical signature. Unlikely but possible.

"I wonder who came up with the idea of suspending liquid latinum inside worthless bits of gold. "

comment by RobertLumley · 2012-03-28T23:12:14.309Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hm. What if there is an enchantment on all galleons that prevents them from being melted down? Or better yet, just prevents muggles from seeing them? That would solve a lot of these problems, and still would not violate what Griphook said. I can't think of anything in cannon or in HPMOR that contradicts this. But I could be forgetting.

comment by AspiringKnitter · 2012-03-29T02:55:07.422Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I can't think of anything in MoR that contradicts it, but in canon, when a wizard tries to pay a muggle, the muggle later comments about someone trying to pay with a bizarre kind of coin. IIRC, it's in Goblet of Fire, and it's the muggle who runs the campground where they're having the World Cup. He got memory-charmed afterward.

So he definitely saw some kind of wizard money.

comment by billybobfred · 2012-03-30T06:38:45.928Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"You're not the first one who's had trouble with money," said Mr. Roberts, scrutinizing Mr. Weasley closely. "I had two try and pay me with great gold coins the size of hubcaps ten minutes ago."

Page 77 in my copy of GoF. So, yes, Muggles can see Wizard money, at least in canon.

comment by dspeyer · 2012-04-04T05:22:06.950Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Apparently confirmed by Dumbledore's dilemma in Chapter 82. And we're pretty sure that Dumbledore is smart and had access to a time turner.

Perhaps the simplest answer is that there's no easy way to move large amounts of money from the muggle to magical world. Is it really possible to buy 17 tonnes of silver without attracting a ton of attention from governments?

On the other hand, if the real criminal is found before the debt comes due, it's presumably a non-issue.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-04T06:02:59.585Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The more I think about this the stranger it seems. The war chest was five million pounds? Apparently Dumbledore doesn't have any rich Muggle friends who'd be willing to spot him a loan on that whole 'saving all Britain from a super-powered psychopath' thing.

It's not like the DMLE is all-powerful or anything, Moody thinks that the Eye of Vance was "currently in the possession of a powerful Dark Wizard ruling over some tiny forgotten hellhole that wasn't in Britain or anywhere else he'd have to worry about silly rules." What's stopping any enterprising wizard from knocking over an African diamond mine?

And while yes, Harry's debt is almost certainly going to be made irrelevant long before it comes due, the fact remains that one of the most powerful wizards in the world considered five million pounds to be really serious money. I'm kind of interested if (how) the story will address each and every possible moneymaking scheme and present reasons why Dumbledore couldn't do them.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-25T19:29:21.407Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just because the debt could be made irrelevant long before it's due--not to mention long after the story is set to be finished--doesn't mean the "certain rights [that Malfoy has] over [Harry] before then" won't be a major factor in the story.

comment by moridinamael · 2012-03-28T19:57:36.001Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps Griphook's "nominal fee" is, like, a permanent portion of your magic, or one of your fingers.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-28T20:20:19.565Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"I mean, suppose I came in here with a ton of silver. Could I get a ton of Sickles made from it?"

"For a fee, Mr. Potter-Evans-Verres." The goblin watched him with glittering eyes. "For a certain fee. [...]

"Give me a wild guess. I won't hold Gringotts to it."

"A twentieth part of the metal would well pay for the coining."

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-28T21:01:25.144Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also, IIRC McGonnagal was there, presumably she would have said something if Griphook was obviously lying or omitting something important, as suggested above. (Also, I got the impression goblins were really serious about money.)

comment by gRR · 2012-04-03T02:10:17.184Z · score: 22 (22 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hypothesis: the Source of Magic is an AI with the goal to work in the way (magical) people really believe it should work. Or maybe, to make the world work in the way (magical) people really believe it should work. The strength of belief appears to be important, so a strong belief can override weak ones. On the other hand, when something is already "generally known" to work in a certain way, this is a very strong belief.

Examples:

  1. Broomsticks work by Aristotelian physics [because it was what people believed when the broomsticks were invented, and now people just know (=believe really strongly) that's how broomsticks should behave]
  2. Spell names and laws [inventors create spells by finding sounds they believe should work. When spells become known, they stabilize in that form]
  3. Potions Law
  4. Ritual magic [people really believe in sacrifices and not getting something for nothing]
  5. Ghosts (and afterlife?) [effects of religious beliefs]
  6. Harry's partial transfiguration [very strong belief, finds a loophole to not be in conflict with existing strong beliefs of other people]

Magic doesn't make sense to Harry because it now reflects lots of ad hoc rules and beliefs accumulated in centuries. Wizards and witches believe them from childhood. [No wonder they are half-insane.]

Interestingly, this hypothesis implies that Dumbledore's narrative causality may actually work - people do believe in stories.

comment by Mass_Driver · 2012-04-04T07:06:16.839Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wow. That's just an absolutely fabulous theory. In one fell swoop, you explain why EY appeared to leave AI out of his largest story yet, plausibly account for a vast array of in-story phenomena, and rehabilitate a character (Dumbledore) who seems suspiciously irrational for someone who's supposed to have oodles of meaningful in-story-real-world accomplishments. The theory has falsifiable, concrete predictions -- for example, we should not expect the AI to care if Harry asks it really nicely to give everyone magic powers; nor should we expect magic to be able to do anything that a super-intelligent AI couldn't do (simulating cat-brains is AOK; uncomputably complicated time loops are not OK). The theory also seems to fit with Chapter 82's hint that people subsumed by pheonix fire are re-instantiated "instances" of a more general Fire. In other words, the AI can maybe call the "Harry" subroutine somewhere else if it wants.

I'm in awe.

One possible victory condition if the AI in fact is coded to enforce the beliefs of people with a particular genetic marker is for Harry to find a way to put that marker into most people / his friends using a retrovirus. Does anyone else find it in the least suspicious that Harry's father is an expert biochemist?

So, have there been any fundamentally uncomputable events in the story so far? :-)

comment by Spurlock · 2012-03-28T03:51:04.084Z · score: 22 (22 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you're Lucius at this point, how the hell do you now update your "Harry is Voldie" hypothesis?

On the one one hand, he just paid 100K galleons to save a mud blood girl. On the other hand, he spooked a dementor. On the other other hand, while that feat may be impressive, it's certainly not anything the Dark Lord had been known to do previously. And is he consprasizing with Dumbledore, or against him?

Probably a very confusing time to be the Lord of Malfoy.

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-28T04:49:13.421Z · score: 22 (22 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It makes a great deal of sense as a purely political ploy. Harry just greatly strengthened the legend of the boy who lived, and since that is the result, Lucius is likely to suspect that it was also the intent.

comment by erratio · 2012-03-28T12:42:43.574Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That mudblood girl is also the most talented witch of her generation. Maybe Harrymort just wants another Bellatrix and this is the first step towards it. Maybe the debt doesn't matter because Britain is going to be at war / Lucius will be dead before Harry would graduate. Also, Harry just gained a sworn minion out of it, which is arguably a lot more useful than a large sum of money.

comment by FiftyTwo · 2012-03-29T14:29:21.217Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Confirmation bias remains and this is Lucius who whatever his cunning isn't a rationalist. So he's more likely to be thinking "Why did Voldemort save the mudblood girl?" than consider that he was wrong thinking Harry was Voldemort.

comment by hairyfigment · 2012-03-28T05:57:34.662Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If Harrymort regains 'his' former power, he'll have the use of all House Malfoy's wealth. But Lucius still doesn't know what the Dark Lord wants with Hermione Granger.

comment by ajuc · 2012-03-28T21:40:54.898Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Great point. If Harry is Voldemort, Voldemort will keep Harry money because Lucius have them. If Harry is not Voldemort, Voldemort will earn Harry money, because Lucius have them now.

Win-win once again. Lucius is a competent player, and Harry is underestimating him.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-30T21:09:05.608Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Where is Lucius thinking Harry is Voldamort coming from? I've heard this being discussed as cannon, but I didn't pick it up from the story. Was it in the author's notes somewhere, or did I simply miss something?

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-30T23:36:41.598Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's implied in Ch. 38 and all subsequent Lucius/Harry interactions. Specially relevant is the ironic "I prefer to deal with the part of House Malfoy that's my own age", which Lucius understands in a completely different way than Harry intends.

comment by tadrinth · 2012-04-04T02:08:28.903Z · score: 21 (21 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not sure if anyone has commented on this, but I just noticed it while rereading the Self-Actualization chapters:

Hermione went to tremendous lengths to be her own person rather than just something of Harry's, including becoming a general and fighting bullies. Now she has sworn herself into Harry's service and house forever. That is really sad.

comment by TuviaDulin · 2012-04-04T05:51:45.763Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's only a legal formality, though. Harry hates the wizard society and wouldn't use its laws against her, and he'd discourage others from acknowledging it.

Still, Hermione (unlike Harry) cares what others think of her, so being surrounded by people who act as if she belongs to Harry is going to hurt her.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-04-05T01:56:33.228Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's only a legal formality, though. Harry hates the wizard society and wouldn't use its laws against her, and he'd discourage others from acknowledging it.

He's just (ab)used the laws of wizarding society to get Hermione out. I can certainly imagine him using his position over her if it is useful for solving the next crisis he has to deal with.

Also, Harry has a dark side, it might also do things.

comment by GeorgieChaos · 2012-09-22T10:54:34.313Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The laws of Wizarding society are, broadly speaking, insane. There is a vast gulf between twisting or breaking a rule that makes no sense and violating the trust of a friend like Hermione.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-28T03:29:14.742Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, new speculation: who are the sharp players in the Wizengamot who are drawing up lists on Harry?

They're not Lucius or Dumbledore, both of whom already know a great deal, and the former is too enraged to really be thinking beyond 'why did Voldemort just sacrifice all his wealth for a "friend"?'

I would be a little shocked if Umbridge was meant; she's so moronic in canon that even a MoR brain-upgrade still leaves her dim and bureaucratic, and she certainly doesn't match. And the powerful-wizard background is much more of a 'male' thing, to boot.

Mad-eye Moody could be expected to be making a list, but as far as I can tell he's not present and is remarkable enough that if he was, he would be mentioned. He's also apparently busy watching over & poisoning graves. In one chapter, Bones mentions he just retired, so he wouldn't be there in an Auror capacity. EDIT: Aftermath would seem to imply Moody was not there, because Harry didn't recognize the Moody in the Pensieve memory at all, despite him being quite striking.

Madam Bones seems too much on Dumbledore and Harry's side to be so suspicious, and not 'new' in any plot-meaningful sense. She's otherwise a decent enough candidate.

Bartemius Crouch is a candidate: as a Ministry head of Magical Law Enforcement he might be at a Wizengamot meeting (the Crouch family is highly respected and pure-blood and related to the House of Black, but the HP Wikia doesn't list them as nobles), is old, and canon seems to imply he was powerful & competent in Dark-hunting (speaking hundreds of languages) and about as suspicious as Mad-Eye, so he meets all criterion. And he's been mentioned in MoR before as alive & active, and more importantly, still part of the Phoenix network.

Does he appear in the chapter? Well, there is a nameless male wizard who takes Harry's threats very seriously, who apparently can command the Aurors:

A strange male voice spoke from somewhere far away, "Be sure that the girl is taken directly to Azkaban, and put under extra guard."

I'd say there's a good chance that that is Crouch, and he is also one of the 'certain few' in the epilogue.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-28T06:41:40.636Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Bartemius Crouch is a candidate: as a Ministry head of Magical Law Enforcement

Amelia Bones is Director of the DMLE, not Crouch.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-28T15:28:36.707Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He was a Ministry head at some point; we don't know yet how closely his story follows canon in MoR.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-28T16:03:55.994Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Pretty closely, I think; we have

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

Director Bones wasn't Crouch.

and

[...] while Amelia tried to weigh her own thoughts. She must not leave this prison alive... Albus Dumbledore wouldn't turn into Bartemius Crouch without a strong reason.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-28T03:37:01.023Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

the Crouch family is highly respected and pure-blood and related to the House of Black, but the HP Wikia doesn't list them as nobles), is old, and canon seems to imply he was powerful & competent in Dark-hunting

Not just imply, I'm pretty sure that in the fourth book Dumbledore explicitly calls Bartemius Crouch "powerfully magical."

The relevance of that may be limited if Eliezer hasn't read the book itself though.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-03-28T06:24:31.687Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, he's certainly on the list now.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-28T23:15:17.105Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

D'oh!

comment by faul_sname · 2012-03-28T06:22:13.035Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Moody saw it though. The Eye of Vance sees everything.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-28T06:34:12.542Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think "The Eye of Vance saw the full globe of the world in every direction around him, no matter where it was pointing" necessarily means he can count the grains of rice in China without turning his head.

comment by faul_sname · 2012-03-28T07:02:53.979Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not necessarily, but this does seem the sort of thing Moody would go out of his way to keep an eye (ha) on.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-28T04:47:40.414Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Scrimgeour seems like a likely candidate for the strange male voice.

comment by DeevGrape · 2012-03-28T04:51:46.803Z · score: 19 (21 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or, depending on how the interrogation went, ScrimQuirMort.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-28T15:19:15.802Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, Rufus is also good. He's not noble, but he is old, powerful, and apparently head of the Aurors, under Bones. And we just saw him on-screen for the first time ever, interrogating Quirrel - if the Ministry suspects him of being Dark (as how could they not, by this point?) it makes sense they'd interrogate him with one of their best hunters, who would be one of the people most likely to think about what they just saw.

('ScrimQuirMort' just gives me a headache.)

comment by Nominull · 2012-03-28T03:33:09.886Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think "the old wizard" was Dumbledore.

comment by gwern · 2012-03-28T03:43:24.386Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Re-reading it more carefully, yeah. I thought he switched to Crouch and then back to Dumbledore in the pronouns, but guess not.

comment by ahartell · 2012-03-28T03:41:04.296Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Agreed.

comment by Locke · 2012-03-28T02:32:32.093Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So how many other ex-death-eaters now officially owe House Potter? Surely they can pay him.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-28T03:52:33.287Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It would be a bad use of political capital considering how easy he could gain money in other ways while keeping a majority(? - at least combined with some help from Dumbledore's side) vote on pretty much whatever issue up his sleeve...

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-03-28T09:35:56.843Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Now that Harry's invoked the debt and alerted all ex-death-eaters, I imagine it will remain useful only until they figure out a way to nullify or lessen its importance. Like change the law or whatever, I don't know how they'd do it but I imagine they won't sit idly. So perhaps he should cash in while he still can.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-28T11:31:05.538Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Highly unlikely: blood debts have probably been a significant political currency for a long time, and both due to institutional path-dependency and a lot of vested interests, I highly doubt that they'd change the importance of blood debts. Also: it seems like a lot of the justice system is built up around this concept. It would require a total overhaul of the justice system to deal with the blood debt. Otherwise they'd have to change the significance of being imperiuse'd which is also unlikely due to most of them otherwise being Azkaban(ne)d

comment by MarkusRamikin · 2012-03-28T11:44:00.875Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

How about a concerted campaign to persuade the public to lessen the importance of that particular debt? Remind everyone that Harry was a baby at the time and couldn't have intended to defeat the Dark Lord, emphasise that it must have been some kind of freak accident, start spreading rumours with alternative explanations...

Anyway my point isn't about any single thing they could do; the point is that there are a lot of powerful and politically-skilled people who would very much want to do something, and I don't feel at all confident that we can assume they'll be unable to come up with anything now that the gambit is no longer a surprise one.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-28T14:12:01.726Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You may very well be right. Due to free-riding and buck-passing I'd still expect a lot of them to do nothing.

Recall also that they're all in internal power struggles over ink monopolies and what have you, plus Lucius lack of complete control has already been pointed out by Lucius.

For all those who think the blood debt will hurt their rivals more than themselves there's good reason not to change the framing of the debt. Not to forget being the one to start this campaign will be both financially and politically costly. A beautiful collective action problem. Either way, we've too little insights into the political power balances to make qualified estimates about the "wall-paper's" reaction.

comment by Lavode · 2012-03-28T11:48:05.954Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry probably wont call in any blood debts himself, but any former deatheathers with substantial spare coin will jump at the possibility to get out from under a debt to Harry by giving Lucius money, so that 60.000 might well be paid in full before he makes it back to hogwarts, let alone sets any money making schemes in progress.

comment by SkyDK · 2012-03-28T14:07:37.870Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A possibility. Though for some of the lesser wealthy houses that is probably not the first option. For some a blood debt might also be a good way to join Harry's side if he seems to start winning. For the opposite reason a lot might do nothing because they expect Lucius to crush him before he makes claim to his debts.

Free-riding and buck-passing are frequent solutions in the political game.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-30T16:55:53.551Z · score: 18 (18 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wish to register my alarm at this:

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

Given that he was "amazed" at our performance this time, presumably an equivalent performance would pass the future test — but even if that's true it doesn't comfort me much.

I humbly beg our author to consider simply withholding updates, rather than issuing an ultimatum that may result in us never getting the "true" ending. "I won't post any more chapters until you solve this," rather than "I'm going to torch the last few years of your life if you're not smart enough."

comment by AspiringKnitter · 2012-03-31T03:52:00.758Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree, this is a bad idea. I didn't figure out the answer when it was just for fun; my performance will probably only get worse under stress (and there's not much farther to fall from "uh... well, maybe it has to do with destroying Dementors, I give up").

I know this shows no confidence in my own rationality, or that of the other readers, but can we please just have a normal story?

comment by James_Blair · 2012-03-30T17:31:28.439Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's nothing to worry about. We were presented with the same challenge in Three Worlds Collide. If we don't succeed, we will just get a false ending instead of a true ending.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-30T22:42:18.890Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A always thought the false ending was better.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for stories where everyone lives happily ever after. :-)

comment by Alex_Altair · 2012-04-02T14:50:53.599Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree. The "false" ending definitely ranks higher in my CEV than the "true" ending.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-30T19:47:44.987Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

…did you mean "along with a true ending"? Because "instead of" is precisely what I fear, but your links seem to indicate that we might get both endings? I don't understand, and Three Worlds Collide predates my awareness of Less Wrong so I don't have firsthand knowledge of exactly how that went down.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-30T22:27:04.340Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think he meant that in case of failure, the happy ending will simply become the "false ending" instead of the "true ending". Since we get both either way, there really isn't a difference.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-31T02:31:11.989Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Gotcha. As long as we do get to read the full, complete, unbesmirched and unabridged "good" ending, I can live with that.

comment by James_Blair · 2012-03-31T01:19:17.329Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes. The exact phrasing of the challenge was:

With a sudden motion, the Confessor's arm swept out...

  1. ... and anesthetized the Lord Pilot.

  2. ... [This option will become the True Ending only if someone suggests it in the comments before the previous ending is posted tomorrow. Otherwise, the first ending is the True one.]

comment by James_Blair · 2015-03-08T08:25:43.859Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, after what happened.. turns out I was both wrong and right.

If a viable solution is posted before 12:01AM Pacific Time (8:01AM UTC) on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015, the story will continue to Ch. 121.

Otherwise you will get a shorter and sadder ending.

So failure would have just meant the end, and yet there was nothing to worry about: the much larger audience managed to figure out a space of much more effective solutions, along with a much more hilarious space of failures.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-28T05:45:20.609Z · score: 18 (24 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry Potter is not so clever, part 2. (Perhaps I should call this "advice for Harry," to be less negative.)

"I accept your offer," said Harry's lips, without any hesitation, without any decision having been made; just as if the internal debate had been pretense and illusion, the true controller of the voice having been no part of it. "I should have the whole amount ready by the end of the month." It would take his arbitrage trick, but certainly the Headmaster would let him do that instead of going into debt to Malfoy.

Lucius Malfoy stood motionless, frowning down at Harry. "Who is she to you, then? What is she to you, that you would pay so much to keep her from harm?"

"My friend," the boy said quietly. "As is your son- I would have fought as hard and paid as much to keep him from Azkaban."

"Save it," Harry suggested.

"Let us all go home, indeed." His blue eyes were locked on Harry, as hard as sapphires.

Harry looked further up.

"This is how far I go for my friends, Lord Malfoy. And now that Hermione is safe, I would like your permission to visit Draco. "

Overall: what the heck is Harry's model of Malfoy? Why has he not put any effort into developing it? Why, for the love of wisdom, scare him in public?

It may not be too late to turn him from an enemy to an ally, but Harry is making this too hard on himself. His flair for the dramatic is not helping things, either.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T06:43:07.643Z · score: 18 (20 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry may be an overachiever, but he's still 11 - he's allowed to be bad at manipulating people. He's still at the "All I have to do is out-clever everyone and I can take over the world" stage. He has the tools to pull it off much of the time, but he still thinks of his opponents as pieces, not as players, which is a pretty serious hole in his worldview when it comes to things like manipulating Lucius Malfoy.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-28T14:41:17.332Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry may be an overachiever, but he's still 11 - he's allowed to be bad at manipulating people.

"I'm a young boy," Harry said, "and I judge myself."

He's still at the "All I have to do is out-clever everyone and I can take over the world" stage.

Hence why I have been titling this "not so clever."

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T18:41:19.923Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh, of course. He just reminds me a lot of the obnoxious little shit that I was at that age(albeit much more well-read, which is a feat), and has some of the same gaping flaws in his mental model of the world.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2012-03-28T12:48:52.069Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"I should have the whole amount ready by the end of the month." It would take his arbitrage trick, but certainly the Headmaster would let him do that instead of going into debt to Malfoy.

Even if he does his arbitrage trick, what benefit would he get from telling it to Malfoy in advance. Why share unnecessary information with a potential adversary? Why risk additional penalties if something unexpected happens and the arbitrage takes five weeks instead of four?

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-28T14:38:31.960Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The point there was to avoid the "I can't let you do that, Harry" by making it obvious to Dumbledore (who knows Harry's current wealth) that Harry has a trick up his sleeve. Mentioning the arbitrage trick in public would be a terrible decision, which is why Harry just thinks that.

comment by kilobug · 2012-03-28T12:08:12.917Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm doubtful about the arbitrage trick to really work that smoothly - goblins will get suspicious quickly, and it'll probably be seen as a threat to the Statute of Secrecy and would lead to legal troubles from the wizarding side. It would have to be done slowly and quietly to go on, not to be rushed in a few months.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-28T14:47:48.126Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also problematic is that the Wizarding world undervalues Galleons and overvalues Sickles. If he can pay the debt in 1.7 million Sickles, then he's fine- but if he has to pay them in Galleons, and he just modified the Galleon-Sickle exchange rate to 50-1, then he's worse off. (He might have made enough from the arbitrage to pay back Malfoy, but maybe not.)

Worst comes to worst, he asks Dumbledore to cure some rich muggles with cancer who are willing to pay.

[edit]Remember, the trick only needs to work once. Take out 40k galleons, convert it to muggle gold (probably necessary, but maybe not), convert it to 50 times as much silver by weight, convert it to Sickles, and now he has (if they're the same weight coins) 2M Sickles, minus conversion losses. Hand off 1.7M of them to Lucius (or get them changed at Gringotts), and the debt is cleared.

Now, Harry triples his money every time he does the trick- so he'll probably want to try it several times before losing a lot of his principal. But that's not a big issue.

comment by NihilCredo · 2012-03-28T15:54:56.187Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Worst comes to worst, he asks Dumbledore to cure some rich muggles with cancer who are willing to pay.

I think that the can of worms of why wizards don't immediately go cure world hunger etc. is best left to be opened near the end of the fic, if at all.

comment by Multiheaded · 2012-03-28T22:49:04.880Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually, there's a fairly complicated question of why don't we immediately go cure world hunger. I mean, the production and logistics aspects wouldn't be very difficult compared to what today's industry can output on an everyday basis. I guess that it's 80% pure irrationality and only 20% politics.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-29T07:52:40.685Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You mean IRL? It mostly boils down to "we've tried giving hungry people food, it doesn't work, and that's pretty much all the ideas we've got". It's a much messier problem than it seems at first glance, and it isn't all politics or insanity. To pick the most obvious, when you dump planes full of grain on the tarmac in Zimbabwe, what did you just do the finances of the local farmers who now need to compete with free? And what does that do to next year's crop?

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-03-29T01:32:06.118Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I guess that it's 80% pure irrationality and only 20% politics.

I'd reverse those. (Although one could be considered a subset of the other.)

comment by Multiheaded · 2012-03-29T01:41:11.178Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I might agree with such a reversal, provided that you agree with the well-known maxim that "The personal is political"* and make one more step towards embracing our insidious corruption :)

(in the relevant sense, this refers to why don't various charities just rain megatons of food, water, schools and hospitals from the sky, given how much private 1st world citizens have to spare)

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-03-29T02:39:21.405Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

(in the relevant sense, this refers to why don't various charities just rain megatons of food, water, schools and hospitals from the sky, given how much private 1st world citizens have to spare)

This is much harder to do then you seem to think.

comment by Multiheaded · 2012-03-29T18:14:29.693Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The linked article does point out the difficulties of raising overall quality of life and human development. Is that what you're saying is harder to do than just throwing money at the problem? If so, I agree completely (and join the anti-PC crowd in suggesting that the very best of currently conceivable general solutions for Africa is reinstating colonialism).

However, I was talking specifically about satisfying the most elementary physical needs of individual destitute Africans (sustenance, health, peace), not grand questions of policy or structural change. Why I took such a narrow view is because I feel that pushing the self-sufficiency, ground-up angle when talking about ways to fix the whole mess is quite limited and even hypocritical; maybe sharing a little of our wealth to guarantee those needs for everyone (and enforcing birth control, and dealing with a whole separate can of worms, but that's a problem with every approach) could indeed ameliorate the ongoing nightmare while our social engineering looks for a way to kickstart the aforementioned self-sufficiency.

Yes, increasing dependency and taking away responsibility is a clear instrumental evil, and according to many just evil, period. But if we could first stop people from 1) being born into suffering to do little but increase that very suffering and 2) dying quickly and miserably, maybe that's worth the tradeoff.

Yes, I'm exploring a view I know to be naive.

comment by see · 2012-03-29T23:10:13.149Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

maybe sharing a little of our wealth to guarantee those needs for everyone . . . could indeed ameliorate the ongoing nightmare

When there is hunger, there is power in controlling the distribution of food. When people have power from something, they do not simply allow outsiders to come in and take it away without a fight. You can ship all the food you like for free to African ports; the people of the country itself will still go hungry, because the people with guns will control the distribution to maximize their power.

If a man is intentionally starving and beating his children, you can't solve their hunger and bruises by giving him material goods. You need to remove his power over the kids and put the kids in care of someone who won't abuse them. If you want to grant the "the most elementary physical needs of individual destitute Africans (sustenance, health, peace)", what you will have to do is overthrow their governments and install colonial governors.

There currently seem to be few volunteers for the job.

comment by Multiheaded · 2012-03-30T00:14:12.488Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, this problem is quite obvious, and yes, I'm in favor of full-scale colonialism, but couldn't a heavier presence by UN/coalition-of-the-willing peacekeepers, with powers to override local authorities when it's needed to prevent open violence and abuse, also keep the scum that floats to the top there in check? What's the tactical record for peacekeeping operations that had a reasonably broad mandate for use of force? (Hmm, here's one account. My cached thought that a "firm hand" brought decent results in Somalia appears to be confirmed.)

...Of course I realize how unlikely any international body would be to approve such powers against the protests of an "independent" local regime (Somalia being an unusual case in that regard), so such policing of aid-receiving countries would have to be carried out unilaterally and without foreign oversight by whatever nation could be willing to implement it. Which creates a power dynamic that's basically colonialism. Which, again, would IMO be quite OK with purely selfish intentions and better yet with benevolent ones, but should be done openly anyway for clear generic reasons.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-28T15:46:18.126Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's an interest-free loan. Unless the "certain rights" Lucius has over HJPEV until graduation are troublesome, it is in probably HJPEV's best interest to delay paying the loan back as long as possible.

Or unless, I suppose, he expects significant deflation before graduation. I don't think any of the HJPEV's plans that we know of are likely to result in deflation, quite the opposite in fact.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-29T00:11:06.717Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's an interest-free loan. Unless the "certain rights" Lucius has over HJPEV until graduation are troublesome, it is in probably HJPEV's best interest to delay paying the loan back as long as possible.

Dumbledore was willing to send Hermione to Azkaban to prevent Lucius from getting those rights (well, and the money). It seems likely to me that they're troublesome.

comment by TimS · 2012-03-30T21:12:35.036Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or that it doesn't fit Dumbledore's narrative.

comment by mjr · 2012-03-28T20:41:42.076Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

True as such. But storywise it would seem weird to leave this hanging. That's one reason why I'm already irrationally overinvested, I notice, in my theory that it'll get taken care of pretty much on the side by finding out the true culprit and thus cancelling the debt through the Wizengamot or, failing that, possibly through Draco.

There are other options, of course. There have been good points about Dumbledore now having an interest to Make Money Fast for Harry, and about possible other people who might be willing to bankroll a business venture for the newly brightened legend. And, again storywise, I can see handling the "leave it hanging" option in a decent manner as well, if there's some closure about the relations of houses Potter and Malfoy (presumably with Lucius dead or imprisoned and stripped of his status).

comment by drethelin · 2012-03-28T17:12:22.265Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is only true if you assume harry won't have any other use for money for that whole time, which seems unlikely to me.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-28T17:15:18.106Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Either I misunderstand you or you have it exactly wrong.

If HJPEV pays back the no-interest loan early, he has less money to spend in the meantime.

If HJPEV pays back the no-interest loan at the latest possible time, he has plenty of money he can use to make more money, and to spend, in the meantime.

comment by drethelin · 2012-03-28T17:47:37.487Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The way I imagine it working is that any money Harry might acquire is automatically spent on paying off his debt, but he doesn't get into trouble if this doesn't pay the debt until he turns 18. I don't think the situation where he makes plenty of money and does not pay off the loan will be allowed. So either Harry can not worry about the debt and pay it off eventually at the cost of not having any money til then, or pay it off sooner and then have free use of money.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-29T16:26:28.875Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think we need to rely so much on your imagination.

"I think there's about forty thousand in my Gringotts vault," Harry said. It was strange how that was still causing more internal pain than the thought of taking an over-fifty-percent risk to his life to destroy Azkaban. "As for the other sixty thousand - what are the rules, exactly?"

"It comes due when you graduate Hogwarts," the old wizard said from high above. "But Lord Malfoy has certain rights over you before then, I fear."

If a debt isn't due, it need not be paid on. There's nothing here that says he's required to pay anything else before he graduates.

In fact, it's possible that the author meant us to understand that HJPEV didn't have to pay anything right now and that the whole hundred grand isn't due until graduation. But that would mean the author had been a bit sloppier than I'm fairly confident he is.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-29T20:35:14.810Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Lucius was still wearing the cold smile. "One hundred thousand Galleons. If you have not that much in your vault, I suppose I must accept a promissory note for the remainder." [...]

"I think there's about forty thousand in my Gringotts vault," Harry said. [...] "As for the other sixty thousand - what are the rules, exactly?"

"It comes due when you graduate Hogwarts," the old wizard said from high above. "But Lord Malfoy has certain rights over you before then, I fear."

Emphasis mine. I think (most of) whatever he has must be payed immediately, and the “due” part is only for the rest.

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-28T18:53:32.266Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wasn't it noted that Lucius would have some extra powers over Harry while he holds the debt?

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-29T15:46:09.576Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wasn't it noted that Lucius would have some extra powers over Harry while he holds the debt?

No, not "extra powers." Only, "certain rights," which I mentioned in my post.

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-29T17:24:47.806Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Weird - I didn't see that the first time.

Out of curiosity, is there a relevant distinction between "extra powers" and "certain rights" as used here?

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-29T17:47:10.519Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Out of curiosity, is there a relevant distinction between "extra powers" and "certain rights" as used here?

Only that one is what Dumbledore said and I quoted, and the other is what you thought I'd left out.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-28T13:04:53.752Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why, for the love of wisdom, scare him in public?

Better than scaring him in a dark alley. At least he'll have time to think through his reaction.

Far more important than not scaring Malfoy in public is not insulting him in public. Public scaring isn't too much of an issue unless the nature of the scare is also insulting.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-28T21:14:49.569Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why, for the love of wisdom, scare him in public?

Better than scaring him in a dark alley. At least he'll have time to think through his reaction.

Also, he scared pretty much the entire Wizengamot (plus a Dementor!), not just Lucius. “I scared him, and people know why” is different than “I scared him, and people know it”. [ETA:] It’s no loss of face to be scared by someone who more or less scared everyone else.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-03-28T13:10:57.244Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think that being pushed into showing fear is something like an insult, especially if anyone twits him about it.

comment by Alejandro1 · 2012-03-28T17:01:09.558Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I read that at first as "if anybody tweets him about it" and spent some moments pondering the possibility of a magical Twitter (functioning by owl post, of course).

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-28T17:19:45.925Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, Hooter?

comment by ajuc · 2012-03-28T18:13:03.824Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Arbitrage trick is overengineering. Just trade on forex and use time turner to go back and choose the deal.

With 40 000 galleons even going back a few minutes could suffice.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-03-28T19:48:13.354Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm loving the idea that time travel is being proposed here as the simpler, less over-engineered solution to making a bunch of money.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-03-29T00:09:32.082Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would be surprised if this did not quickly lead to the revocation of his time turner, but presuming he asks McGonagall and it's deemed responsible that is also an option.

comment by BlackNoise · 2012-03-28T18:29:37.021Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just trade on forex and use time turner to go back and choose the deal.

You sir, are a genius.

comment by Paulovsk · 2012-03-28T20:12:15.525Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Didn't get. Could you explain?

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T21:32:56.817Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The foreign exchange(i.e., currency) market is both very liquid and very volatile. With advance knowledge of major changes from a Time Turner, it's easy to make very fast exponential growth of your seed money - even a 1% change per day, in any direction, multiplies your money by a factor of 12 every year(or x3 million before he graduates Hogwarts). Of course, anyone with that sort of record would get investigated hard and fast, but a more cautious approach can still result in absurd growth.

comment by ajuc · 2012-03-28T22:14:49.627Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And there is leverage, so you can invest 100 $, but get profits or loses like you invested 10000 $. So if theres 100x leverage, and 1% profit to make on currencies each day, you can double your money every day.

So to turn 100 galeons to 100000 galeons Harry would need 10 transactions with 1% profit each.

http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/06/forexleverage.asp#axzz1qS7tVBFp

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-29T00:52:46.103Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

True, but there's no way an 11 year old would have access to 100:1 leverage, even with derivatives. LTCM wasn't much higher than 100:1, and they're just about the all-time kings of leverage. There's things like regulatory limits and credit checks to contend with here.

Edit: Silly me, I should actually have read your link. I'm used to limits on equity leverage, apparently forex works damn near an order of magnitude higher. Disregard the above.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-29T05:58:26.227Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry has a father who is quite respectable. He could act through his father.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-29T07:57:03.775Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was in an equity mindset, where the rules are much tighter, because the underlying assets are so much more volatile. Doing that sort of leverage there would require you to post some pretty hefty collateral(likely beyond the means of Prof. Verres) and be in a low-regulation jurisdiction for it to even be legal(which the UK is not).

comment by brilee · 2012-03-28T03:54:59.963Z · score: 18 (18 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

After this chapter, a lot of people are going to deduce that Harry was in fact the person who broke out Bellatrix. Including, probably Dumbledore.

Quirrell will likely be forced to show his hand when Dumbledore accuses him of having engineered the escape. Somehow, this turns into Quirrell leaving his post. End of story seems imminent :(

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-28T06:25:41.020Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No. Mind the Conservation of Detail.

Harry doesn't know that Dumbledore's patronus recognizes Harry's patronus. This is a trap EY has laid for Harry.

For no internal reasons, but for story reasons, Dumbledore will not figure out that Harry was in Axkaban until the next time both he and Harry have their patronuses up at the same time. It is set up to be a shocking reveal, maybe a cliffhanger.

comment by thelittledoctor · 2012-03-28T04:13:28.480Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, Dumbledore's icy glare at the end seems to imply that he figured it out.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-28T07:36:05.041Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or just that he's pissed with Harry for putting himself in Malfoy's debt.

Or for painting a giant bulls-eye on himself.

The icy glare could really mean anything.

comment by FiftyTwo · 2012-03-31T13:37:24.838Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

OR for doing a stupidly flashy solution when an easier one was available, which he will now berate harry about in the next chapter....

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-28T20:12:32.382Z · score: 17 (19 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ha!

Remember when H&C told Hermione that Harry would sacrifice her if she became inconvenient to his plans for global domination? Guess Hermione can tell him to kiss her ass on that one.

comment by Jonathan_Elmer · 2012-03-28T22:14:08.835Z · score: 18 (20 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I doubt she remembers any of that conversation.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-29T07:12:37.145Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I hadn't thought of that.

On the other hand, those statements seemed like manipulation to a purpose, and it's hard to see what's the point if you're going to wipe the memory of it away.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2012-03-29T17:01:51.413Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

She doesn't remember that iteration of the conversation. She remembers the last one (unless it was obliviated after the duel), which is the one where she was successfully manipulated.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-29T17:05:56.826Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He obliviated Blaise, he'll have obliviated Hermione.

And Blaise Zabini went on walking toward the Headmaster's office, smiling, content to be a quintuple agent -

For a moment the boy stumbled, but then straightened, shaking off the odd feeling of disorientation.

And Blaise Zabini went on walking toward the Headmaster's office, smiling, content to be a quadruple agent.

comment by hairyfigment · 2012-03-31T07:09:02.848Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, technically it looks like he obliviated her much later -- after the final conversation led her to either curse Draco or think thoughts that made that story halfway plausible.

comment by GeeJo · 2012-03-31T12:15:15.560Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In theory, the groundhog day attack could be only indirectly related to current events. The obsessive paranoia could merely be a side-effect of H&C trying to gain information, and the botched duel an unforeseen consequence.

I don't actually think that's the case, but it's a plausible enough scenario.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T13:24:05.364Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Interesting fact: just making her angry was not enough for setting up the murder attempt. She had to accuse Draco of plotting and overcome his magic, in public, to have him forced into a duel. Also, if the death-blow itself was faked, a public duel would not have been enough, Draco had to think of the first private duel.

Thus, if it is a plot to frame Hermione, whoever did it was really good (or ridiculously lucky) at predicting the consequences, not just Hermione’s reaction. So either its an extremely good Xanathos gambit, and everything was anticipated, or a completely unplanned series of consequences that just happened to have a lot of results all of which are in favor of a certain bad guy. On narrative grounds I lean towards the first version.

Hmm. On second thought, it could be just that someone set-up a very volatile situation and took advantage of each resulting opportunity instantly with extreme precision, but that seems about as hard as predicting all the consequences outright.

comment by clgroft · 2012-04-03T03:09:24.598Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or he could just be tracking everything that happened to Draco. Q has admitted to casting alarm charms on him.

In fact, it just occurred to me that Q could very well have been using Legilimency on Draco as well. Would the Aurors have checked for that? Would Lucius?

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-03T03:18:40.317Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In fact, it just occurred to me that Q could very well have been using Legilimency on Draco as well. Would the Aurors have checked for that? Would Lucius?

Quirrell seems to think it's a real possibility:

"Legilimency, on Malfoy's heir? Did Lucius Malfoy learn of it, he would have me assassinated outright."

comment by clgroft · 2012-04-03T03:21:29.368Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's what made me think of it!

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T13:13:19.611Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

She had three drops of Veritaserum, she would have mentioned that last iteration if she remembered it, but it’s apparent that her anger is not justified. So she was certainly obliviated before the interrogation.

comment by Jonathan_Elmer · 2012-03-30T01:08:10.850Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think the point of the groundhogs day attack was to find a convincing lie. I'm pretty sure the point was to identify a convincing memory. Once that was identified the entire conversation was oblivated and the false memory inserted.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-28T04:01:14.776Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Lucius Malfoy's eyes narrowed. "By the report I received, you cannot cast the Patronus Charm, and Dumbledore knows this. The power of a single Dementor nearly killed you. You would not dare venture near Azkaban in your own person -"

Has Lucius not spoken to Draco in private yet?

If he hasn't... when he does, and tells Draco what happened at the trial, and finds that Draco isn't surprised (or at least, not more than usual when it comes to Harry)... what will he think then?

comment by alex_zag_al · 2012-03-28T14:02:53.563Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Even if he knew, saying that would be a good way to try to get Harry to reveal something. What he would have heard from Draco is that Harry has a super-bright Patronus whose form he keeps secret; he would be curious. So I don't think this quote is strong evidence that Lucius hasn't heard about the Patronus from Draco, since it is pretty likely that he would say something like this even if he has.

EDIT: Actually, since he believes Harry is Voldemort, he probably thinks the Patronus light he showed Draco was an illusion, and not useful for getting out of Azkaban at all. If he thinks Harry is Voldemort he's unlikely, then, to pry for information about it in this way.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-28T15:57:12.447Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also, Draco may be more inclined to separate his observations from the implications of his observations. He's a scientist now, don't you know.

That may provide Lucius with superior intelligence, relative to what he would otherwise have obtained from a child raised by a doting Darth Vader.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T04:12:36.487Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I expect the amount of time he had was not sufficient for a full report on everything Draco knows of Harry. Perhaps the Patronuses didn't come up? Seems an odd omission, but not an impossible one.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-28T04:18:45.752Z · score: 18 (18 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Lucius didn't ask if Harry could cast a Patronus, I could buy that. But Draco's Patronus didn't come up? Harry's vow of vengeance against Narcissa's killer didn't come up? That whole thing was possibly the single most important interaction Draco and Harry have had, next to when Harry tricked Draco into sacrificing his belief in blood purity.

comment by Rejoyce · 2012-03-28T05:10:29.357Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I thought Draco promised Harry that Draco wouldn't tell Lucius about their interactions. Several times.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-28T05:11:47.590Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wasn't aware that Draco was an Occlumens. (If he can't beat Veritaserum, those promises mean precisely nothing.)

comment by Rejoyce · 2012-03-28T05:22:50.921Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Draco's a manipulative little snake. Lucius never probably never asked, "Son, are you able to cast the Patronus Charm?" because he was probably under the impression that Slytherins weren't able to cast Patronuses so why bother asking. Hence, the topic never came up. Draco's a scientist now, he doesn't completely believe everything that Lucius says anymore. Draco's probably avoiding talking about dangerous subjects with his father. And of course, he could always lie.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T06:37:38.249Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually, he couldn't lie - he was interrogated under Veritaserum. That doesn't mean that the topic came up, of course.

comment by ajuc · 2012-03-28T18:22:33.504Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If regular courts had veritaserum, I imagine the first question they'd ask would be "What are the things you don't want to tell us?".

comment by GeeJo · 2012-03-28T19:20:50.962Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But that is such a vague question. I could go on for hours about entirely irrelevant observations I wouldn't want to get out in public - how I feel about people at work, how much I enjoy certain bodily functions, sexual kinks. Nothing I'd want to tell them, but stuff I would objectively prefer for them to know than that I'd committed a heinous murder.

comment by ajuc · 2012-03-28T19:33:52.214Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, phrasing it right wouldn't be trivial, but much easier than making wishes for UFAI, because Veritaserum is the equivalent of perfect box for AI, and Draco is human, so most of the definitions and assumptions he shares with the judges.

So maybe: "Tell me the things, you think I would want to know about, according to the best model of me you can construct."

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-29T13:58:17.234Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

because Veritaserum is the equivalent of perfect box for AI

Except if I'm an AI in a perfect box I can't do as I please and destroy everything but if I'm a free agent drugged with veritaserum I can but I'm completely honest and forthcoming about it. As in:

[Harry is under the influence of a truth serum]
Samir: Is there anything you'd like to tell me before we start?
Harry: Yeah. I'm going to kill you pretty soon.
Samir: I see. How, exactly?
Harry: First I'm going to use you as a human shield. Then I'm going to kill this guard over here with the Patterson trocar on the table. And then I was thinking about breaking your neck.
Samir: And what makes you think you can do all that?
Harry: You know my handcuffs?
Samir: Mmm-hmm.
Harry: [holds up his hands] I picked them.
[Samir gasps. Harry springs up from his chair and grabs Samir, using him as a shield while he kills the guard, then breaks Samir's neck]

And... Ok, that name collision just completely changed the way I visualize MoR!Harry.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-29T16:36:12.686Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Someone will want to know that you're quoting True Lies.

Someone else, I suppose.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-29T07:38:39.681Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's the sort of sentence that'd cause most people who don't post at LW to look at you funny. It's sort of impressive how much we seem to have forked English.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-03-29T14:34:43.646Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's been my experience that simply being the sort of person who would choose to post at LW given the option is sufficient to cause most people who wouldn't to look at one funny.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-29T13:50:21.794Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's the sort of sentence that'd cause most people who don't post at LW to look at you funny. It's sort of impressive how much we seem to have forked English.

They would look at us even more funny when the people who post even more at LW instantly reply "NO! Give that as a command to any sufficiently intelligent agent and everything is lost!" And Draco is across that threshold now that he has spent time with Harry.

Even comparatively weak genies are dangerous if you give them orders.

comment by MugaSofer · 2012-08-05T15:45:50.188Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

the people who post even more at LW instantly reply "NO! Give that as a command to any sufficiently intelligent agent and everything is lost!" And Draco is across that threshold now that he has spent time with Harry.

How so?

comment by wedrifid · 2012-08-05T16:27:27.730Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

How so?

The genie was given the command requiring the creation of the best that they can construct without even any time or resource limitations. If the instruction is obeyed successfully then everything (except the immediate physical form of the speaker) is converted to computronium.

comment by MugaSofer · 2012-08-12T15:27:20.131Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Draco would take into account his father's wish for life as we know it to continue and lacks the resources to transform anything into computronium.

Talking to Harry does not transform one into a genie.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-08-13T01:01:08.007Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Draco would take into account his father's wish for life as we know it to continue

He can do that, to the extent that he is able to ignore the influence of the drug. (ie. You are just denying the counterfactual.)

and lacks the resources to transform anything into computronium.

No he doesn't. It would be hard and potentially take years. He could also be stopped by force by others or killed while making the attempt. He certainly has the resources available though and to the extent that the mind control magic is assumed to work he has perfect, concentrated motivation.

Talking to Harry does not transform one into a genie.

Not assumed and not required. He just needs to be a vaguely competent intelligent agent (although the fact that he is already a gifted, machiavellian wizard also helps). The rest came in the ridiculously careless question given under the power of potent mind control magic.

comment by MugaSofer · 2012-08-14T19:36:52.366Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah, I think I see the problem. IIRC, veritaserum forces Draco to be truthful, not to obey any given commands. Presumably if he was under such control (have we seen how the imperius curse works in the MORverse?) then he would indeed attempt to augment his own ability to perform the task, using whatever means available, and his conversations with Harry might indeed have suggested the possibility of computronium to him.

That said, he might seek a faster method if one was available, since time is almost certainly limited - whether by the limits of the spell (most spells wear off with time, it is likely his friends and allies would attempt to cure him, and he has a limited lifespan assuming he does not anticipate immortality.)

comment by kilobug · 2012-03-28T11:49:56.364Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Was Draco under Veritaserum when he spoke privately with Lucius, or only when he was interrogated by the Aurors ? We don't know how long Veritaserum lasts, nor how much time elapsed between the two.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-03-28T16:35:06.518Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nevertheless, I believe it was two drops used, not three - so Draco didn't have to volunteer information.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-28T16:05:11.808Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It doesn't have to be about Draco's status as a scientist. We know from the text that he is very afraid of disappointing his father. That could be enough to keep him quiet until he's asked about anything it might possibly pertain to. Then he's forced by the drops.

comment by smk · 2012-03-28T05:52:27.107Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

My speculations were:

Maybe Lucius decided to let Draco keep some privacy.
Or he just hasn't gotten around to fully questioning him under veritaserum yet.
Or he's pretending that he doesn't know that Harry has a Patronus.
Or someone obliviated Draco of this information before Draco was returned to his father.
Or Draco is secretly an occlumens and he just pretended to let the veritaserum work on him.

I don't think Draco is an occlumens. I also don't think Lucius is such a nice dad that he would respect Draco's privacy after Draco was nearly killed.

I suppose he might not have had the chance yet, but if I was Lucius I would have tried really hard to get the chance to question Draco in detail before the trial. Unless Lucius was overconfident of his influence with the Wizengamot?

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-28T16:02:18.307Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Draco knows that HJPEV claims to be able to Patronus. Draco knows that HJPEV presented himself as though he needed to hide his Patronus. Lucius knows that the 'light' side regards the ability to Patronus as a 'light' qualifier.

If Lucius also knows what Draco knows, then he would know that inviting HJPEV to Patronus would probably result in one of two things: either he learns something HJPEV may believe to be a valuable secret, or he casts doubt on HJPEV's 'light' side qualities.

it's win-win, just like you know he likes it.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-28T06:54:06.625Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, Draco has been missing for a while. EY moved through this very fast. There's been a murder attempt on Draco, and a trial about it, and I don't remember seeing Draco since he was plotting to challenge Hermione.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T11:04:27.014Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He's probably still healing.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-29T04:20:04.917Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Has Lucius not spoken to Draco in private yet?

Draco promised to keep Harry's secrets. Including everything that comes up in the Bayesian Conspiracy. Harry's and Draco's Patronuses are just additional items in that subset.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-29T16:32:03.689Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

We are told that Occlumens can beat Veritaserum.

We are not told that promise-makers can beat Veritaserum.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-29T19:44:31.061Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Correct, but to put one under Veritaserum requires that you have sufficient information as to ask the question. And I don't believe that Veritaserum is described as forcing the volunteering of information which has not been requested of the subject.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T19:49:45.240Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"What do you know about Potter that he wishes to keep secret?"

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-30T03:54:06.186Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Honestly, that doesn't map very well to my model of MoR!Lucius.

It would be an admission of defeat in terms of manipulation; and it would also disrupt his plans/designs to create a worthy successor in Draco.

comment by Nominull · 2012-03-28T03:31:13.560Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The next chapter is going to be horribly depressing, you know. Harry is going to have to have it explained to him why it's a bad idea to do things that are a bad idea. Otherwise this arc would have the wrong moral...

comment by see · 2012-03-28T05:50:12.025Z · score: 23 (23 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the other hand, it's now in Dumbledore's interest to see Harry make a lot of money quickly in order to discharge the debt, which means he's far more likely to approve of things that otherwise would be considered unacceptable, like:

  • 1) Tricks with the Time Turner involving lotteries, stock markets, and the like.
  • 2) The gold/silver arbitrage idea.
  • 3) Personal appearance fees and other financial trading on his fame as The Boy Who Lived.
  • 4) Calling in debts owed by other Imperiused or supposedly-Imperiused victims of Voldemort.
  • 5) Dumbledore himself using the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone to make a lot of gold.

In short, a sixty thousand Galleon debt, while it feels huge, is not obviously a major obstacle given the number of possible solutions already implicitly presented in HPMoR, and it would almost seem a cheat for it to be one

That wiping out the debt easily might have its own negative consequences, on the other hand, is potentially interesting.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-28T06:33:15.727Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Making gold probably breaks the 'no counterfeit' rule as far as the goblins are concerned. Before it was edited out, there was a bit where a goblin was suspicious of this in an early chapter. It was silver, but still.

Lucius has some kind of control over what Harry does because of the debt. That may limit some of these choices or just weaken them.

Harry doesn't need to use the Time Tuner to make money on a stoke market. He just needs to open a stock market.

But Dumbledore hasn't sacrificed his (twisted) ethics to suit his cause before. He is no more likely to do so now, just because it's convenient. This latest event is probably not strong enough to make him twist his ethics again, if you believe he twisted them in the past.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T06:46:33.922Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But Dumbledore has given no sign that he finds it unethical to make money. All he's said was "You're not ready to play, I'm not going to give you the bankroll to upset the board". If the cash is going to something this concrete and hard to abuse, he'd likely allow it. I doubt he'd abet with a method as easy as the Philosopher's Stone, but he'd likely not stand in the way.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-28T08:18:27.422Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That is convincing and I'd change my post if this was that sort of place.

Still, with more that six years before the debt comes due, Dumbldoe can say the same thing, "Not old enough."

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-03-29T05:33:42.120Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And Harry can say, "Old enough to storm Azkaban. Old enough to get Lucius Malfoy to back down. Old enough to be deeply in debt."

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-29T05:55:13.767Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That would be arguing that you should be allowed to do something because of all the things you were not successfully disallowed to do. It does not necessarily follow and probably does not Dumbledoredly follow.

comment by see · 2012-03-28T20:46:22.538Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Before it was edited out, there was a bit where a goblin was suspicious of this in an early chapter. It was silver, but still.

Of course, I could be wrong, but given that it was considered a legitimate source of "as much money and life as you could want" in canon, I'd expect HPMoR would be more explicit if it were considered illegitimate in HPMoR. Griphook's original reaction (which I have in a PDF I downloaded before the change) looked to me not like Griphook was wondering if Harry would be counterfeiting, and more like he thought Harry was planning to steal the Stone itself. (I assume it was edited out probably because the HP version of the stone, unlike the one in the AD&D DMGs, only makes metal into gold, and thus couldn't make silver.)

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-29T05:16:39.442Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Would you please quote that passage here?

I believe it was cut because it told Harry the Philosopher's Stone exists. Harry is interested in eternal life, so finding out about the Stone would cause a confrontation EY means to save for the end.

comment by see · 2012-03-29T19:17:57.764Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

“I mean, suppose I came in here with a ton of silver. Could I get a ton of Sickles made from it?”

“For a fee, Mr. Potter-Evans-Verres.” The goblin watched him with glittering eyes. “For a certain fee. Where would you find a ton of silver, I wonder? Surely you would not be... expecting to lay your hands upon a Philosopher’s Stone?”

“Griphook!” hissed McGonagall.

“A Philosopher’s Stone?” Harry said, puzzled.

“Perhaps not, then,” said the goblin. His body, which had been taut, seemed to relax slightly.

“I was speaking hypothetically,” Harry said. For now, at any rate.

While the current version says

"I mean, suppose I came in here with a ton of silver. Could I get a ton of Sickles made from it?"

"For a fee, Mr. Potter-Evans-Verres." The goblin watched him with glittering eyes. "For a certain fee. Where would you find a ton of silver, I wonder?"

"I was speaking hypothetically," Harry said. For now, at any rate.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-30T05:53:44.658Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thank you.

Based on canon, the Stone was being removed from the care of Griphook's organization at that time. It seems less likely he'd be concerned about theft and more likely he'd be concerned about what impact the Stone might have on his people.

It's still a stab in the dark. But since pretty much the only thing we know about MoR!goblins is that they run 'banks' and they are in a constant state of war with counterfeiters, I think it's the best guess possible without diving out of MoR and into canon even more.

comment by linkhyrule5 · 2012-03-28T04:56:02.664Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dunno about that. The debt will have concsequences, certainly, but Hermione is not in Azkaban.

comment by Nominull · 2012-03-28T05:07:36.187Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, it's super sad to let a little girl be tortured to death. But there is a cost large enough that it is not worth paying to prevent it, even if the cost is only in terms of mere cash, political capital, personal reputation as not being more fearsome than Fear itself, keeping important military secrets for the coming war secret, and the enmity of those you failed to lose to. That's the meaning of the phrase "Taboo Tradeoffs", it's that stating you kept Hermione out of Azkaban is not enough justification.

Of course, if he had counted the cost, he would have been an awful hypocrite. Recall what he said after Hermione rescued him from the Dementor:

I'll say that no matter what it ends up costing you to have kissed me, don't ever doubt for a second that it was the right thing to do.

At least he's holding himself to the same standard, even if it's a bad one.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-28T15:42:29.681Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A lot of people would pay a lot of money for a reputation for being more fearsome than fear itself. Speaking entirely in terms of money, I think that this was probably a clear cut good idea, because in the long run, for Harry, money is likely not to be a limited resource in practical terms. Sure, millions of dollars worth of gold could theoretically be used to save a lot more people, but Harry doesn't have management of his account for the time being. By the time he's old enough to actually access his account at will, his debt to Lucius is likely to be a triviality, or already dispensed with.

comment by NihilCredo · 2012-03-28T14:07:16.495Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The math here depends entirely on what the "certain rights" Lucius has over Harry are. Were the debt a purely financial issue, saving Hermione would be a no-brainer. Did those rights allow Lucius to realistically cripple Harry's efforts to fix the world, not saving Hermione would be a no-brainer.

We still don't know, although the fact that Dumbledore ultimately went along with it suggests that it's closer to the former than the latter.

comment by faul_sname · 2012-03-28T06:21:19.253Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The cost wouldn't be worth it, except that it may well allow Harry to amass wealth in excess of what he had before if he plays his cards right.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-29T04:28:23.739Z · score: -1 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

, political capital,

Any political capital that could only be preserved by NOT rescuing a 12-year-old-girl from having her dreams, hopes, and life tortured out of her until she dies... isn't political capital I'd be willing to preserve, frankly.

Also; consider the political capital he just GAINED that day. "The Boy-Who-Lived is so powerful that even Dementors fear him! Clearly, he is a power to be reckoned with!" <-- political capital out the wazzoo.

comment by TimS · 2012-03-30T21:02:21.328Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think you are equivocating political power and political capital. Scaring dementors doesn't show legitimacy quite the way winning elections does. In other words, political capital is a kind of political power, but not the only kind.

The blood debt was political capital. Scaring the dementor will create political power of another kind.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-04-02T03:26:35.533Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not equivocating; I'm equating. Political power is political capital; political capital is political power. If you have one, you have the other.

comment by FAWS · 2012-03-28T13:12:12.681Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why does Dumbledore not give a quick Summary of the worst consequences of being in debt to Lucius Malfoy? It's hard to see how that could necessitate telling secrets that cannot be revealed in public, the laws involved should already be known. Naming a few of the "certain rights" Lucius would have shouldn't take more time than Dumbledore actually spends trying to convince Harry.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-28T13:20:52.523Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

For that matter, why didn't Dumbledore mention the Imperius debt when they were talking about debts?

Dumbledore's being awfully incompetent... Wonder why that would be.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T18:45:08.925Z · score: 22 (24 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I suspect that everyone discounts the "I was Imperiused!" claim for being an obvious lie, and thus discounts the implications of it being officially true. It's certainly a plausible hole in worldview - ignoring the implications of a false statement being "true" is an easy mistake to make.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-29T03:29:12.479Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It seems like a pretty glaring one to me; I argued in the tvtropes discussion thread that I didn't think this solution was going to be implemented, because I found it hard to believe that Dumbledore wouldn't have thought of it. It was actually the first thing that came to my mind when I was reading chapter 80, and trying to think of holds Harry had on Lucius; when you know someone's been lying, catching them out in the consequences of it is one of the handiest ways to gain advantage over them. By the time I finished the chapter, I had already dismissed it on the grounds that if Dumbledore, who's been maneuvering against Lucius in the realm of politics for over a decade, hadn't suggested it, there was probably some reason why it wouldn't work. The fact that he would let such a clear opportunity to use his opponent's deceptions against him slip has forced me to revise my estimate of his cunning considerably downwards.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-29T04:05:14.532Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore may simply not have considered Hermione WORTH the debt.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-30T18:10:12.071Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That seems rather more cynical than I'd expect from a Gryffindor with a phoenix riding around on his shoulder.

comment by Nornagest · 2012-03-31T01:14:56.711Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Do we actually know that Dumbledore came out of Gryffindor in the MoRverse? He did in canon, and he certainly talks a good game, but neither one's necessarily decisive in this context.

comment by see · 2012-03-31T02:33:14.433Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Chapter 27:

But everything was still all right, they’d tell Dad someday, and meanwhile...

...meanwhile Dumbledore had happened to sneeze while passing them in the hallway, and a small package had accidentally dropped out of his pockets, and inside had been two matched wardbreaker’s monocles of incredible quality. The Weasley twins had tested their new monocles on the “forbidden” third-floor corridor, making a quick trip to the magic mirror and back, and they hadn’t been able to see all the detection webs clearly, but the monocles had shown a lot more than they’d seen the first time.

Of course they would have to be very careful never to get caught with the monocles in their possession, or they would end up in the Headmaster’s office getting a stern lecture and maybe even threats of expulsion.

It was good to know that not everyone who got Sorted into Gryffindor grew up to be Professor McGonagall.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-31T01:26:43.861Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it's been mentioned a few times, but I can't remember a specific citation off the top of my head.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-30T20:38:37.164Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

... who also watched as his friends, loved ones, and family all died in a pointless, futile war against an enemy who is not dead.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-31T00:18:18.995Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Pointless and futile? They didn't lose.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-04-02T03:28:54.588Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The mere fact that they defeated their enemy does not mean that they did not lose. A war fought for no greater reason than that your opponent wishes to fight you is a pointless and futile one: you have nothing to gain, and only things to lose.

They were victorious, yes; but they lost. Based on the descriptions of how "everyone" has someone they lost in that war -- they lost greatly. Winning a war doesn't mean you don't lose things during the fight.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-02T03:58:34.276Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you suffer far lesser consequences than if your opponent were victorious, you didn't lose. Obviously, yes, you lose things in the process, unless you have a ludicrous mismatch like the Anglo-Zanzibar War, but if you're going by a definition by which nearly anyone who has fought in a war on any side has lost, you're being misleading and abusing your words.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-04-02T04:24:35.825Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

but if you're going by a definition by which nearly anyone who has fought in a war on any side has lost, you're being misleading and abusing your words.

The mere fact that you, personally, dislike the contextual definition I am using does not make that context nor the definition illegitimate.

If you suffer far lesser consequences than if your opponent were victorious, you didn't lose.

You didn't lose ... as much as you could have. You still lost. If you do not gain at least as much as is taken from you, that is a loss. If you gamble twenty dollars and win a five dollar pot; you have won your wager but have lost fifteen dollars. Did you lose as much as you could have had you lost the wager altogether? No. But you still are down in real terms; you have still lost compared to before the wager.

There is absolutely nothing misleading about this. There is nothing abusive of the words about this. It's a simple factual and literal use of the term "to lose". It really doesn't matter if you were forced into the wager; you have still lost.

This is a legitimate usage of the term, "to lose", and I really don't see why you're so vehemently opposed to it.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-02T05:07:21.297Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is a legitimate usage of the term, "to lose", and I really don't see why you're so vehemently opposed to it.

Because there is already a contextual definition of "lose" with association to war that is so well established that it's assumed by default.

If Voldemort hadn't started the war, they would almost certainly be better off. We would also be better off if we never got dustspecks in our eyes. Some utility hits are for practical purposes unavoidable. But Dumbledore's faction resisted, and resisted successfully; they were not overcome by their aggressor and did not take the major utility hit of defeat. If they had resisted ineffectually, failed to even delay his conquest, that would have been pointless and futile, but that didn't happen. Nor did they "win" the war in a way that left them at least as badly off as if they had been defeated. The effort they invested into resistance paid utility dividends.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-04-02T08:29:35.120Z · score: -4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Because there is already a contextual definition of "lose" with association to war that is so well established that it's assumed by default.

Ahh, I see. Because your availability heuristic tells you it's obvious. I'm afraid you might want to consider recalibration of your Level I cognition. It's off.

What I here mean to say is that your rejection of other contexts within this topic demonstrates an inability to take the outside view; what's obvious to you just, well, isn't.

Please note: I never said that anyone had "lost the war". I said that the war itself was futile. And it was -- because they could do nothing in it but hope to mitigate losses. They had no avenue to gain. They won the war, sure; but it was a pointless war fought against an enemy who fought only because he could.

So yes. Please update your modal thinking. Yours is not the only legitimate usage of "to lose" here. After all; they did not lose the war but they sure as hell all lost something/someone. And for no good reason.

If that's not a pointless and futile loss, I'm afraid that I simply no longer know how to speak the English language.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-02T14:53:24.819Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So yes. Please update your modal thinking. Yours is not the only legitimate usage of "to lose" here. After all; they did not lose the war but they sure as hell all lost something/someone. And for no good reason.

If they lost things "for no good reason," every war of defense ever engaged in is pointless and futile. You might be able to define your terms such that this is the case, but it's tremendously misleading. Sometimes we have to expend efforts to stop bad things from happening, not just to cause good things that wouldn't otherwise have happened.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-04-02T18:49:49.489Z · score: -4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If they lost things "for no good reason," every war of defense ever engaged in is pointless and futile. You might be able to define your terms such that this is the case, but it's tremendously misleading.

Reductio ad absurdum much? Wars of defense fought against an enemy with at least the facsimile of a legitimate cause -- historical hatred, societal need to expand (or else face their own extinguishment), and so on -- represent something more than "for the hell of it". Fighting a defensive war against an enemy who is doing it for the hell of it is what I labelled "pointless and futile".

There is nothing "misleading" about this claim; there is nothing "deceptive" about this claim.

Are you even trying to read-and-comprehend anything I write here? I'm not getting that impression.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-04-02T22:52:35.698Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So instead of a war, let's look at a potential asteroid strike. It takes an enormously expensive project to deflect an asteroid which has absolutely no motive to hit the earth, and nothing to gain from it. It's just there, and unless we funnel countless billions of dollars into stopping it, civilization is screwed. Would the project to stop it be pointless and futile? If not, what distinguishes it from the Voldemort scenario?

In any case, Voldemort almost certainly had motives for going to war (MoR Quirrelmort at least is very much not a "for the hell of it" sort of guy,) his motives are simply opaque.

I am trying to understand what you write, but the idea that it's somehow more pointless to resist utility hits from people who're acting for bad reasons than sensible ones doesn't make sense to me, and I don't see how anything you've said so far clarifies why that should be the case.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-04-03T03:02:43.033Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So instead of a war, let's look at a potential asteroid strike.

I didn't say that there weren't good reasons for resisting the pointlessly-occurring phenomenon. I said only that it was pointless. Or are you now going to impose fundamental purposefulness and agency onto the very fabric of the cosmos? This gets exceedingly ridiculous. I have never once argued that your usage is invalid. Why do you insist on refusing to recognize mine, despite the legitimacy of the terms and the framing with which I have presented them demonstrating clearly that I was using a definition you were not?

This is what passes for reasoned discourse?

Revise your position.

but the idea that it's somehow more pointless to resist utility hits

Oh bloody hell. I never said anything of the sort. Update your position, and stop tilting at windmills. This conversation has ceased, in the meantime, to be worthy of any investment by me.

comment by nshepperd · 2012-04-03T03:35:44.538Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It looks like the pair of you are having trouble communicating. Would you like to:

comment by hairyfigment · 2012-03-31T16:42:18.616Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Interesting. I'd thought this chapter gave us evidence of Snape being evil, because a greater-than-or-equal-to-double agent should think immediately of disguises that need to seem real. And if we assume he's not evil then he probably sympathizes with Hermione's anti-bullying campaign. But he might not go against Dumbledore if DD didn't want to use the debt. (Still seems slightly sinister that he didn't tell Harry secretly. But not much, given their history and the likelihood Harry would think of it anyway.)

comment by Logos01 · 2012-04-02T03:29:57.494Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wait -- where does Snape, of all people, come into this discussion?

comment by hairyfigment · 2012-04-02T04:19:15.718Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Eh? Snape was there when they discussed a possible exchange of debts. I was saying that I'd expect him to think of the solution even if Dumbledore did not.

comment by kilobug · 2012-03-28T13:45:53.016Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think Dumbledore is more into the "general wanting to win a war" mindset. In that mindset, you don't spend a trump card like a blood debt from one major enemy just to save one life. So he shouldn't (in his pov) speak about that issue to Harry.

comment by Desrtopa · 2012-03-29T03:31:48.273Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think this would be a more meaningful consideration if he had much reason to expect he'd be able to control how Harry would cash in that debt, and by the time it came up I think his acquaintance with Harry should have largely disabused him of that.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2012-03-29T17:51:57.372Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He has shown to be a slow learner with respect to his ability to control Harry. In the last chapter, in fact, when he tries to stop Harry from accepting the debt. This slow learning is to be expected, because he's been able to control every other rebellious child he's had to deal with in N years of being headmaster, plus most of his political opponents, etc. And he believes that of course the Hero will listen to the guidance of the Wise Old Mentor.

comment by pjeby · 2012-03-29T18:08:21.265Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And he believes that of course the Hero will listen to the guidance of the Wise Old Mentor.

I think it hasn't sunk in yet that he's not Harry's mentor; Quirrel is.

comment by mjr · 2012-03-28T14:03:19.726Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

At this point Harry is feeling pretty (over)confident in his ability to keep Lucius in check, so it's not a big deal to him. Witness his riddle.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-28T15:24:28.422Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was going to say it sounds like a lien, but it turns out that word means something different outside the US.

It sounds like a security interest.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-29T13:08:35.926Z · score: 13 (15 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Prophecy update!

Like most readers, I took Trelawney's magical clock for a listening device. What if it transmits instead of receives?

We've seen Dumbledore manipulating events into storylike patterns. He was the instigator of the three-way tie, and he precipitated Snape's fall and eventual redemption by the power of love.

In his Fortress of Regrets, Dumbledore gave the surface appearance of being terribly reluctant to allow his decisions to cause the deaths of others. But in the last chapter he was ready to let a small child be tortured to death - with much trembling reluctance, of course - in order to preserve his plans.

Could he have caused Trelawney to deliver the prophecy, triggering the other half of Snape's destiny, while feeding the Potters to Voldemort to create his orphan hero?

Dumbledore meant for Voldemort to have been killed by Lily's sacrifice. He believes it happened. Instead, Voldemort, taking the obvious trap (thanks Vladimir!) as a challenge to his wit (thanks Gwern!), pretended to lose (thanks buybuydandavis!), while fulfilling the letter of the prophecy in a manner maximally advantageous to himself.

He disarmed the trap by goading Lily into attacking him. He left a burnt husk of a body - not his, Avada Kedavra leaves no marks - and departed unharmed. Voldemort's not a ghost possessing Quirrell. He stole Quirrell's body the way he stole Harry's, although the defect in the copying process is different. He doesn't need Bellatrix's flesh to rise again. He rescued her, at least in part, while acting in the role of someone who'd been fooled by Dumbledore's ruse.

Events have followed the course of prophecy because someone created one as a deception and someone else played along as a counter-deception.

It looks viable to me. What do you think?

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-30T00:05:42.095Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh hey. And we have a confession.

"I'm sorry to say, Harry, that I am responsible for virtually everything bad that has ever happened to you."

I actually noticed the dissonance when I read this, that Dumbledore had apparently overlooked the biggest and most obvious tragedy of Harry's life. But I didn't realize what it meant. Whoops.

comment by FAWS · 2012-03-31T23:30:33.575Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And more significantly:

"Severus," Albus Dumbledore said, and his voice almost cracked, "do you realize what you are saying? If Harry Potter and Voldemort fight their war with Muggle weapons there will be nothing left of the world but fire!"

"What?" said Minerva. She had heard of guns, of course, but they weren't that dangerous to an experienced witch -

Severus spoke as though she weren't in the room. "Then perhaps, Headmaster, he is sending a deliberate warning to Harry Potter of exactly that; saying that any attack with Muggle weapons will be met with retaliation in kind. Command Mr. Potter to cease his use of Muggle technology in his battles; that will show him the message is received... and not give him any more ideas." Severus frowned. "Though, come to think of it, Mr. Malfoy - and of course Miss Granger - well, on second thought a blanket prohibition on technology seems wiser -"

The old wizard pressed both his hands to his forehead, and from his lips came an unsteady voice, "I begin to hope that it is Harry behind this escape... oh, Merlin defend us all, what have I done, what have I done, what will become of the world?"

There aren't really any other good candidates for what he might have done to cause this particular problem (even if he felt responsibility on account of e g. not having been able to beat Voldemort permanently himself it seems unlikely to phrase it like that).

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T12:33:04.647Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, he might just mean that he used the prophecy as a trap (by having Snape relate it to Voldie), not necessarily that he faked the prophecy itself.

comment by alex_zag_al · 2012-03-29T19:27:56.282Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He disarmed the trap by goading Lily into attacking him.

Unnecessary detail, may or may not be the case. If he was aware of the trap, it would not matter whether this disarmed it; he just needed to not cast Avada Kedavra on Harry. Harry's memory of the event does not end with Voldemort casting the Killing Curse on him.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-29T22:11:13.672Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You're right. I would go ahead and flag everything in that paragraph as questionable. The method of Quirrell's possession, for example: perhaps Voldemort erased his mind and is possessing him through an artifact. It wouldn't change the overall picture.

comment by alex_zag_al · 2012-03-29T13:58:20.026Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Avada Kedavra leaves no mark, but getting killed by Lily's ritual sacrifice might. Even so, that the body was burned, which makes identification harder, is suggestive that it is not really Voldemort's.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-29T14:27:32.317Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, I'm less confident in the notion that Voldemort survived Godric's Hollow, and it's not integral to the hypothesis, but that's the obvious explanation for a burnt body, and the last few chapters have given me a new respect for obvious explanations.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-04-01T16:29:21.337Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's also difficult to see why Voldemort would want to pretend to die at Godric's Hollow. He was winning the war. Why pretend to lose, throw away what he had built up to then, and try an entirely different approach to gaining power? I think the more obvious explanation for the burnt body is that whatever ritual magic protected Harry was very destructive to Voldemort. I think it is clear that some ritual magic is involved here; how else can we explain the danger of Harry's and Quirrell's magic interacting? And the violence of their magics' interaction in Azkaban makes it plausible that if Voldemort were to cast a killing curse directly at Harry, he might end up as a burnt corpse.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-02T23:07:37.230Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why pretend to lose, throw away what he had built up to then, and try an entirely different approach to gaining power?

Tentative explanation: he was hedging his bets. If it's a trap, to walk into it would be stupid. If it's genuine, to ignore a warning like that would be stupid, too. He acted in a way that accommodated either possibility.

I think the ritual he performed that night was copying himself into Harry (note to self: this may or may not be the same thing as horcruxing), and the resonance between their magics is a side effect of that. As to which explanation is more obvious, well, I don't think an argument from obviousness is valid in the face of a genuine disagreement, so I withdraw mine. It's reasonable, though.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T12:37:35.839Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also, if there was no one left alive except Harry, how did they know it was Avada Kedavra that rebounded from Harry, instead of some other spell?

(When the Dementor attacks him, Harry sees the green flash and hears the words, but only when Voldie kills his parents, not when he’s attacked himself, as I recall.)

They could have tried Legillimency on baby Harry, but nobody actually mentions that, and other than Moody it doesn’t seem like anyone would think of it.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-04-02T01:02:32.656Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Looking at the last spell cast by Voldemort's want.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-02T01:52:42.755Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Of course, you’re right, I forgot you could do that. In MoR at least they should have thought of it, though they didn’t seem to try it on Hermione’s. Prior Incantato* doesn’t show who was target, though, and shows only the last spell IIRC, so it’d be easy to camouflage.

I wonder if it “wandless” spells are still cast through the wand (just without holding it), or if they’re completely independent of it.

(*Edit:) The first version of this comment mistakenly said Priori Incantatem, a different spell than the one I was actually describing.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-02T02:09:21.732Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Priori Incantatem doesn’t show who was target, though,

Not only does it show who the target was, it summons a pseudo-ghost if the target was the victim of a Killing Curse.

and shows only the last spell IIRC,

The one in canon showed at least the last four or five, I'm pretty sure.

Edit: Whoops, sorry, didn't get the context. "Priori Incantatem" is the brother-wand effect, "Prior Incantato" is the analytical spell, which we know a lot less about- I don't believe there's evidence either way whether it's possible to use it to display the target or show multiple spells.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-02T13:17:12.007Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was right by accident. I was actually thinking of the Priori Incantato (the analytical one), which seems to behave how I described above. I didn’t remember the other one, but it just happens it doesn’t apply to the situation, since Harry didn’t have his wand yet. I’ll fix it above.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-03T02:59:11.355Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's 'Prior (no i) Incantato'. The link in the great-grandparent is broken because you inserted an extra 'i'.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-03T07:51:25.951Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thank you!

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-31T22:09:17.275Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ha! So Dumbledore inserts prophecy as a trap, and Voldemort plays along to set his own trap. Nice!

One reason I like implanted prophecy theory is that it would play into rationalist biases against prophecy. I expect magic to be explained as commands to some AI in Atlantis. But prophecy? Seeing into the future? Messages from Atlantis?

Maybe it's just my bias against backward in time causality, which he has really committed to anyway, with Comed-Tea. Me, I'd rather that prophecies are explainable by other means.

But wouldn't this imply that Dumbledore doesn't really see Harry as the destined savior against Voldemort? Maybe he is just saving him to use as a trap again, unaware that Voldemort had already seen through the trap and was playing it for his own purposes? Yeah, saving him as a trap again makes sense, since the dark ritual should still be binding.

As long as we're adding in people playing the prophecy, how about Lily and James? They could have been playing the honeypot knowingly, in league with Dumbledore. I'm reminded of Dumbledore bringing up Lily Potter as a heroine, and noticed the incongruity at the time, though I didn't notice my confusion, as it were. Now that I do, saying she was a heroine seems like she was promoted beyond her station, unless she played a knowing part in her sacrifice to attempt to bring down Voldemort. That would certainly qualify her for the ranks.

One thing - a Voldemort plan to upload into Harry could be said to keep the terms of the dark ritual by allowing Harry to live on a permanent basis. And Harry as Dark Lord also satisfies those terms.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T12:31:05.663Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm reminded of Dumbledore bringing up Lily Potter as a heroine, and noticed the incongruity at the time, though I didn't notice my confusion, as it were. Now that I do, saying she was a heroine seems like she was promoted beyond her station, unless she played a knowing part in her sacrifice to attempt to bring down Voldemort.

I’m not sure I understand, what incongruity do you see there? IIRC, at least in MoR, the prophecy says something like “born to parents that have thrice defied him”, so James and Lily did take part in the war other than just trying to defend Harry when Voldemort came after him. (They had to have defied him three times so that he would know who the child is, assuming he went after him because of the prophecy.) That sounds kind of heroic even without them doing it just as a trap, given what used to happen to Voldie’s opposition.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-01T20:12:56.453Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

McGonagall's description:

[...] Everyone wished for something more to be done, and no one dared take the lead to propose it. Whoever stood out the most became the next example.

Until the names of James and Lily Potter rose to the top of that list.

And those two might have died with their wands in their hands and not regretted their choices, for they were heroes; but for that they had an infant child, their son, Harry Potter.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T21:01:02.017Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is this meant to explain the incongruity (if so, I still don’t get it), or to support that they were heroic (as McGonagall claims it)?

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-01T21:57:04.180Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Support. It seems difficult to read that passage, then go on to see Dumbledore's naming Lily a heroine specifically as "promoting her beyond her station". Regardless of whether it's true or not, Lily = Hero is apparently the official Light-side position.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-01T19:56:20.924Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Point in your favor - when discussing heroines during his time as Headmaster at Hogwarts with Hermione, he suggested she might add both Alice Longbottom and Lily Potter to the list. I'd count that as a point in favor of "thrice defying" as membership to the club.

But still, does defying the Dark Lord thrice really put you in the top 3 witches of 40 years, and the top 15 or so witches and wizards? With all the people who died, with Dumbledore's room full of dead friends, there aren't others who had done more and risked more?

Lily and James were in hiding. Are they really the best examples of heroes in the last 40 years - two people in hiding from Voldemort?

Dumbledore:

Many have stood their ground and faced the darkness when it comes for them. Fewer come for the darkness and force it to face them.

Hiding in Godric's Hollow sounds more like the former than the latter to me.

Unfortunately, even in canon, "thrice defied" occurred offstage, so we don't know the details. Just to keep it clear, though, the prophecy occurred before the births of Neville and Harry, so well before the deaths of Alice and Lily, so whatever final defiances they had at their deaths are not part of the 3.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T20:59:06.247Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Unfortunately, even in canon, "thrice defied" occurred offstage, so we don't know the details.

Yeah, so I can’t quite contradict you. (Also, I haven’t read all books, and for those I read I wasn’t very careful with the details.)

That said, my understanding was that first Lily and James fought Voldemort before they had Harry, and perhaps for a while afterwards. And presumably fought well, since they survived to do it thrice, and courageously, if they didn’t stop after the first time (which would qualify both as heroes). In contrast, the journalist mentioned at some point was killed, together with his entire family, after simply writing an article. He was possibly brave (or maybe just an optimist), but not quite heroic.

(It’s not perfectly clear, but the wording of the prophecy seems to suggest that they defied V. thrice before H.’s birth, and possibly again afterwards.)

My understanding was that they went into hiding after they learned that Voldie was going after Harry; presumably this was because of the prophecy, but it doesn’t mean they knew it was a trap (if it was). Note that in MoR Dumbledore says he taught Voldie & Co. not to go after families of the Order of the Phoenix just for blackmail—which obviously had to be before his death—which suggests that they went into hiding only because (and after) they knew Voldie had a better reason to go after Harry, the prophecy. But nothing (AFAIK) indicates that they’d be aware that it was a trap (if it was one).

Also, going into hiding is not necessarily selfish or cowardly (i.e., wanting just to protect themselves and their son). If they knew and believed the prophecy they could just be trying to protect the future defeater of Voldie. Everyone was surprised at baby Harry (apparently) destroying Voldemort, including those that knew the prophecy, so their theory must have been that he’d defeat him after he grew up.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-01T21:24:01.799Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also, going into hiding is not necessarily selfish or cowardly (i.e., wanting just to protect themselves and their son).

But not what I'd call heroic, either.

On the other hand, it would be definitely be heroic to set yourself up as bait for Voldemort on what was fully intended as a suicide mission.

If we go with the theory that Dumbledore was setting a trap for Voldemort, based on a dark ritual, I would think it's rather important to make sure that Lily fulfills the dark ritual. IN fact, I think this theory requires that Lily and James are in on Dumbledore's plot, otherwise why not just apparate away? Have port keys set up? At least have Lily and James attack him together?

The prior odds that Lily will just happen to fulfill the terms of a dark ritual seem miniscule, even if we assume that Voldemort had been prepped to give Lily a chance to live.

If it was a plot by Dumbledore to have Lily perform a dark ritual, Dumbledore would tell her to increase the odds that she actually fulfills the ritual. Otherwise he's spending the lives of two members of the Order for a miniscule chance at killing Voldemort.

IN fact, if Dumbledore is going to do this kind of plot, he'd want to set it up in advance with the people involved, not draft them after he got the ball rolling, so that he could arrange a proper prophecy.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T23:10:47.193Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If it was a plot by Dumbledore to have Lily perform a dark ritual.

I’m not quite sure how you got to the dark ritual part. At least, I see no hint of this, nor any indication that Lily would go with it. Even if you’re going with the “love sacrifice as old magic” in canon and calling it “dark” just because it has a sacrifice, I’m not quite sure it would work if you did it with the explicit purpose of stopping Voldie (intent might taint the sacrifice). Dumbledore might create a situation where Lily would sacrifice herself for Harry, because Dumbledore intends to get rid of Voldie, but this (I think) requires that Lily not know about it, so that her intent is pure.

Canon is careless enough with details to be hard to use for explanations. For example:

otherwise why not just apparate away?

It does sound weird, but then again if it were that easy even Voldie would have much more trouble killing people than it appears. http://harrypotter.wikia.com/ suggests that for side-along apparition (i.e., for taking someone with you who can’t do it themselves) the “passanger” needs to be a wizard, and might need to have a wand. So maybe they just couldn’t take Harry. Also, Voldie might just have a policy of casting Anti-disapparition jinxes when he attacks, it’s not clear how hard they are to make. Something like this might also explain why someone who’s hunted by Voldemort, even in hiding, doesn’t have with them a dozen intercontinental portkeys, just in case. (In MoR, at least. In canon they probably just didn’t think of it.)

[...] for a miniscule chance at killing Voldemort.

If he’s actually thinking in story terms rather than faking it, he’d likely think it almost certain rather than minuscule.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-01T23:59:36.469Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why did you link there rather than here?

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-02T00:23:40.140Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Mental hiccup. It’s 2AM here :)

By the way, there’s quite a bit lore on that site that would be quite interesting if we knew what parts of it applied to MoR, such as some info about Snape and Lily that don’t quite match what Snape says.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-02T04:24:30.226Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In canon, portkeys aren't affected by disapparation jinxes - or so sayeth some site.

You couldn't portkey out of Azkaban, so there must be some way to stop them. But probably not a lot, since Quirrell was relying on a few of them after they cleared Azkaban. But yes, I agree that canon is weak here. That's the benefit of this scenario - it makes a tighter plot that makes sense. They didn't run because it was a trap.

If he’s actually thinking in story terms rather than faking it, he’d likely think it almost certain rather than minuscule.

Can't but this one at all. The assumption I'm working under is that it was a plot of Dumbledore's to destroy Voldemort. Why would thinking like a story mean that Lily would automatically fulfill the conditions of a dark magic ritual? Just because it would be convenient if she did? That just seems like massive wishful thinking on Dumbledore's part.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-02T13:23:01.074Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wouldn’t bet on it, it was just my impression that in stories good mothers sacrifice themselves for their babies in such situations—see canon for an obvious example—perhaps more often than in reality.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-02T17:05:44.665Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Two aurors would be most likely to beg for mercy for their child and let themselves be slaughtered instead of fighting back? Harry himself noted the absurdity of thinking that would work, and I believe called it her "final failure as a mother".

And wouldn't there be a whole lot of dark rituals going on, if mothers making sacrifices for their children would unknowingly and automatically invoke a dark ritual?

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-02T17:20:44.755Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Alice and Frank Longbottom were Aurors, not the Potters. And it was Demented!Harry who thought "final failure as a mother"; Warm!Harry went on to think "He had regained an impossible memory, for all that the Dementor had made him desecrate it".

It's my understanding that in this theory, it was Voldemort's line "I accept the bargain. Yourself to die, and the child to live." that fulfilled the description of a ritual, not anything Lily did.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-02T20:35:37.088Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

At least James was an auror, as testified by Remus, top of page 697. Perhaps not Lily. I've seen it concluded from the "thrice defied" that they fought him and lived to tell about it, but I don't think any of that has happened on stage.

If she didn't offer it, I don't see why he would have said what he did out of the blue, or that it would have fulfilled the terms of a dark ritual even if he did, unless by saying that Lily instantly dropped dead. In this case, I see the ritual made by offer and acceptance. Without an offer, there is nothing for him to accept.

The desecration was of his memory, not of his attitude toward it. I took that to mean that Lily actually did not try to cast the killing curse. (Although I personally don't consider that a desecration of the memory. It seemed quite sensible, if she was not trying to fulfill a dark ritual.)

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-04T02:21:34.691Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The desecration was of his memory, not of his attitude toward it. I took that to mean that Lily actually did not try to cast the killing curse.

Apparently not!

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-02T20:49:38.996Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

At least James was an auror, as testified by Remus, top of page 697

Sorry, this doesn't help at all. ffnet doesn't have page numbers, and page 697 of the pdf version mentions no such thing. Could you find the quote you're thinking of in the actual posted chapters, say on hpmor?

I've seen it concluded from the "thrice defied" that they fought him and lived to tell about it, but I don't think any of that has happened on stage.

This is true in canon; neither Lily nor James are Aurors in canon.

In this case, I see the ritual made by offer and acceptance. Without an offer, there is nothing for him to accept.

Rituals do not require consent, they require that someone names that which is to be sacrificed, then that which is to be gained, in that order.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-04-02T21:37:56.338Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Don't know that pdf version you're looking at. I'm looking at the pdf link on the front page of hpmor.com.

pg. 697

James was an Auror, and it was hard for him to look properly imposing with his wand shining like that—”

Interesting for EY to deviate from canon and make him an auror.

If it's true in canon that Lily and James fought Vodemort and lived to tell about it, then I think we should accept that as true here until there is evidence to the contrary, particularly with the "thrice defied" requiring some accounting.

So two wizards, one of them an Auror, and both of them having fought Voldemort before and lived to tell about it.

Which is the better strategy for them when confronting Voldemort? Fight him together, or have one fight separately, and one beg for mercy for their son? Also, just in cost benefit analysis, in one scenario, Voldemort has some chance of defeat, which should count for a lot in that strategy's potential benefits.

Rituals have got to require more than you say, otherwise every promise of something for something would become a dark ritual. That the foremost Dark Wizard would unknowingly complete a dark ritual all on his is another of the great improbabilities. Prior probability too low.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-02T22:05:17.869Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

From the current version:

"Well, let us begin at the beginning. When you were born, James was so happy that he couldn't touch his wand without it glowing gold, for a whole week. And even after that, whenever he held you, or saw Lily holding you, or just thought of you, it would happen again -"

So, no.

Which is the better strategy for them when confronting Voldemort?

The better strategy is "run (and/or portkey, fly, apparate, floo, etc)". The fact that they didn't do this probably has to do with the fact that they were taken completely by surprise in their place of safety.

Rituals have got to require more than you say, otherwise every promise of something for something would become a dark ritual.

And yes, the fact that if rituals could be done accidentally the world would look different is the main argument against this idea. Which is why its proponents have started to come up with conspiracy theories about Dumbledore planning everything, etc.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-03T00:39:22.459Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think perhaps I wasn’t clear enough: I’m not saying it makes sense, just that Dumbledore could plausibly think it does, and Lily could plausibly have reacted as she’s described to have done, even though that might not be very probable for most reference classes she might be part of in general.

If you’re certain he’s actually completely sane and just pretending to be mad, with a few layers in between, then yes, it would be absurd for him, too. But Eliezer made his behavior sufficiently ambiguous that, even given his successes ( # ) I’m still not sure that he’s not biased to wishful narrative thought, his (apparent) successes explained in part by being powerful enough and in part by luck(**) and not-yet-revealed high-level plots.

Note that several apparently rational and very competent characters—including Harry, Quirell, Amelia Bones and IIRC Moody—appear to believe or suspect this. I’m not saying it is so, but The Author seems to have made it really ambiguous on purpose. Note that we have no view into Dumbledore’s thoughts in any part of the text, so most of the evidence we have the other characters have, too.

(#: He’s an old and powerful wizard who survived at least two great Dark Lords. See Moody’s musings on how hard that is.)

(**: Given magic and that Felix potion, we can’t exclude that luck actually exists in MoR.)

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-30T21:03:02.018Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Seems unlikely that the original prophecy was caused by Dumbledore, at least by the method of the magical clock. As in canon, Trelawney seems to have made the prophecy during a job interview, presumably before she was regularly sleeping with the clock. I expect that if Dumbledore wanted her to make a false prophecy at a specific time, something like an Imperius folled by Obliviation would be more expedient. Furthermore, we have seen Trelawney spontaneously prophecy in the dining hall; this prophecy at least appeared unplanned by Dumbledore.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-31T04:47:33.764Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Regardless of what the clock is for, it didn't play a part in the first prophecy, since Trelawney didn't receive it until after she was hired. And it's less likely that there are two ways of forcing someone to speak a prophecy than only one. The obvious explanation for the clock is that it's a listening device. The clock is evidence against Dumbledore being the source of the prophecies.

The issue of the second prophecy is trickier. For a prophecy to be 'accidentally' overheard would be history repeating itself, if Dumbledore caused it. That would also be consistent behavior for a liar who tries to trick people into believing in destiny, as he did when he told Harry that his father's cloak had found its own way to its destined wearer. But it certainly looked like Dumbledore was surprised that morning, so I don't know.

I think the weight of evidence is still on Dumbledore. For the reasons I've given in this thread, and also this: In the aftermath of the prophecy, his manipulation of Snape and Lily netted him a defeated Dark Lord, a double agent and powerful ally, and a newly horcruxed hero. If the prophecy hadn't occurred, he'd instead have... a bouncing baby boy. It's hard to see what he hoped to accomplish by driving Snape and Lily apart if he didn't intend to prod Voldemort into attacking the Potters. His plot has a prophecy-shaped hole in it.

But I can't account for that damned clock, which means I've gone wrong somewhere. Ugh. I hope someone else gets interested in this question soon. I could use the help.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-31T05:42:29.800Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That would also be consistent behavior for a liar who tries to trick people into believing in destiny, as he did when he told Harry that his father's cloak had found its own way to its destined wearer.

How do we know he was lying?

But I can't account for that damned clock, which means I've gone wrong somewhere.

Obvious solution: real prophecies exist and fake prophecies exist.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-31T16:06:12.284Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In the aftermath of the prophecy, his manipulation of Snape and Lily netted him a defeated Dark Lord, a double agent and powerful ally, and a newly horcruxed hero. If the prophecy hadn't occurred, he'd instead have... a bouncing baby boy. It's hard to see what he hoped to accomplish by driving Snape and Lily apart if he didn't intend to prod Voldemort into attacking the Potters.

One possibility is that he didn't intentionally drive Snape and Lily apart. I don't think there's enough evidence of that to overcome the prior probability that Trelawney's prophecy was genuine. Note that Dumbledore himself seems to regard the prophecy as genuine---witness, for example, his apparently genuine interest in discovering the "power [Voldemort] knows not."

Here's another way of looking at it. Assume Dumbledore planned in advance to defeat Voldemort by (i) convincing Voldemort of a false prophecy that would lead him to attempt the murder of a baby, and (ii) somehow manipulating the baby's mother into either performing ritual magic herself, or causing Voldemort to perform ritual magic that would bring about Voldemort's death when he attempted to kill the baby. We might now ask, is there a simpler way that Dumbledore might have tried to enact (i) and (ii), other than the means you have suggested?

Note that a priori, assuming that Dumbledore is primarily concerned with defeating Voldemort, there is no reason for Dumbledore to deliver the false prophecy to Voldemort via an agent who is in love with the mother in question. He must then rely on the agent not understanding the prophecy in time. Furthermore, if the agent figures out the prophecy after relaying it to Voldemort, Dumbledore must then rely on Voldemort disregarding the agent's request to spare the mother. So going out of his way to push Snape and Lily apart, and then using Snape as a messenger, seems like a very unintuitive way for Dumbledore to execute this plot. Why not keep Snape and Lily together, see that they have a child, and then deliver the false prophecy to Voldemort via some other agent?

Now, personally, I do think it's a possibility that Snape and Lily were driven apart by Dumbledore, maybe even intentionally. But I don't think it was for this reason.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-01T02:34:41.423Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah. See, my prior probability that Trelawney's prophecy was genuine is not very high.

This story has an epidemic of false prophecy. This looks to me like it's intended to prime the reader to accept that an apparently true prophecy is actually false. I also think this is a consideration, but that appears to be a minority view. I'm expecting a false prophecy, and I'm looking for a reason for it to have occurred and apparently been fulfilled despite its falsity.

I think Dumbledore expected the story to play out as it did in the novels. He would get a hero who was bred with the heroic qualities of his parents, bullheaded but pure of heart. Snape, who in HPMoR is terrible at riddles, would fail to solve this one, and his guilt at causing Lily's death would cement his status as a lifelong soldier of the light. Lily would die a martyr, and her sacrifice would ensure Voldemort's defeat. From canon:

"It was love. You see, when dear, sweet Lily Potter gave her life for her only son, she provided the ultimate protection. I could not touch him. It was old magic. Something I should have foreseen."

This is a complex plot that hinges on storybook logic, but that's not out of character for Dumbledore.

"There was a great rivalry between students, and their competition ended in a perfect tie. That sort of thing only happens in stories, Mr. Potter, and there is one person in this school who thinks in stories. There was a strange and complicated plot, which you should have realized was uncharacteristic of the young Slytherin you faced. But there is a person in this school who deals in plots that elaborate, and his name is not Zabini."

(Yes, it's Quirrell saying it, but remember that he was right.)

The plot is not too complex to be Dumbledore's, but it is too complex to succeed. That's why it didn't. Snape is no longer Dumbledore's. Instead of canon!Harry, he got HJPEV. Harry's mother attacked Voldemort, so her protection doesn't exist; Quirrell can pass the wards around his house at will.

And although it failed, it has the outward appearance of having succeeded, because that's what Voldemort wants Dumbledore to believe.

Apologies for repeating things I've said upthread. I wanted to set my beliefs in their proper context. I hope I've addressed your objections. One that I missed was Dumbledore's apparently genuine interest in discovering the "power [Voldemort] knows not." Dumbledore's relationship to storybook thinking is something I still don't understand. He seems to genuinely believe in the pattern, the rhythm of the world, but also acts as though events need to be nudged into following it. I'm not sure whether this is a dragon in my garage situation of conflicting beliefs and anticipations, or that he thinks you can cause storybook outcomes by setting up storybook premises, or something else I haven't thought of.

comment by Nornagest · 2012-04-01T05:14:26.515Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

My working theory for Dumbledore's emphasis on story logic is that it's a pragmatic decision supporting several different lines of influence.

First, we know he's pretending to be a lot crazier than he is: he acts like a character in a roleplaying game with "Insanity" marked down in the flaws section of his character sheet, not someone with an actual personality disorder, and going out of his way to act like Gandalf fits in fairly well with that.

Second, he spends a lot of his time working with kids, who're probably a lot more familiar with stories than with their real-life cognates: how many times does Draco make an analogy to something he's seen in a play?

Finally, people really are prone to generalize from fictional evidence, and maintaining a semi-fictionalized persona can aid in achieving instrumental goals when they're aligned with the narrative patterns it corresponds to. The Self Actualization storyline provides a good example of this in action: I read Dumbledore's part in that early on as using his persona to nudge Hermione into the high-fantasy hero role that Harry occupies in canon (and considerably more shakily in MoR). When she went off script, so did he. (I suspect that Riddle's Lord Voldemort persona was adopted for similar reasons, incidentally. He might even have picked up that trick from Dumbledore.)

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-01T05:32:20.750Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I like this. More support from the text: the narrator draws a distinction between wizards who have walked the paths of power and everyone else. According to the narrator, it's the latter who apply story-reasoning to real life. Dumbledore is one of the former.

ETA: This too.

Dumbledore's face was still cold. "I am beginning to doubt your suitability as the hero, Mr. Potter."

Which is a downright strange thing to say if you think Mr. Potter is the one with the prophesied "POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD". It's exactly what you'd say if you understood that the power of stories was a power you wielded over other people, and your hero was just another of your pawns.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-04-01T16:22:25.949Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps its not such a strange thing to say if you don't think Mr. Potter knows about the prophecy, and are trying to correct his insubordination. In the following chapters, Dumbledore doesn't act as though he has decided Harry is unsuitable as a hero. Rather than trying to replace him, Dumbledore begins to confide in him.

Does Nornagest's explanation of Dumbledore's relationship with story-book reasoning affect your previous analysis? If you agree that Dumbledore feigns a story-book persona, rather than taking story-book logic seriously, then doesn't it seem strange that he would hatch such a plot? Note that his manipulation of the last battle in December is consistent with having realistic view of the world. Yes, Dumbledore did manage to acheive a "story-book outcome," but he clearly didn't expect this to happen---he had a contingency plan.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-01T03:16:42.762Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So the explanation for

"It is important to understand," said Dumbledore, "that this book is not a realistic depiction of a wizarding war. John Tolkien never fought Voldemort. Your war will not be like the books you have read. Real life is not like stories. Do you understand, Harry?"

is that Dumbledore is lying, or...?

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-01T03:43:43.825Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

As I said, I don't really understand what's going on in Dumbledore's head.

"You start to see the pattern, hear the rhythm of the world. You begin to harbor suspicions before the moment of revelation. You are the Boy-Who-Lived, and somehow an invisibility cloak made its way into your hands only four days after you discovered our magical Britain. Such cloaks are not for sale in Diagon Alley, but there is one which might find its own way to a destined wearer."

This is a lie. He claims to have deduced Harry's possession of the cloak by seeing the storylike pattern, when he personally wrapped the cloak and placed it next to Harry's bed. He's trying to convince Harry that life is like stories. Then he contradicts himself in a later chapter. Why? I don't know. "He did it because he's crazy" is an answer that can justify any outcome, doesn't concentrate probability mass, etc., but he sure isn't acting in anything like a coherent fashion.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-01T06:40:24.592Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In that chapter, he uses the "life is like stories" excuse to "deduce" the identity of the cloak without revealing that he already knew it. It works. Harry still has no idea that Santa Claus is Dumbledore.

comment by TimS · 2012-04-01T04:31:26.675Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dumbledore does think in stories, but he probably doesn't realize it. Some stories don't fit his model (if the villain carries too large an idiot ball or something?).

That's the best explanation I can come up with.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-31T22:12:42.709Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The obvious explanation for the clock is that it's a listening device. The clock is evidence against Dumbledore being the source of the prophecies.

If it's a listening device. If it's a just a clock, it's not evidence of much. If it's a transmission device, I'd say it's evidence for Dumbledore being the source.

comment by MartinB · 2012-03-29T14:40:34.743Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

while feeding the Potters to Voldemort to create his orphan hero?

Sometimes the so called good commits serious atrocities to achieve a greater goal. This would be bad.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-29T15:10:34.103Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree. But y'know, it's odd that the three people most affected by the prophecy had their major life outcomes determined by Dumbledore's machinations. That's a coincidence that needs explaining, I think.

Another implication just hit me: it could make Sirius his accomplice, not Voldemort's. Odd that he didn't get a trial while Dumbledore was Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, come to think of it. Huh.

comment by folkTheory · 2012-03-30T19:20:27.076Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The old wizard reached out toward another metal door, from behind which came a endless dead mutter, "I'm not serious, I'm not serious, I'm not serious..." The red-golden phoenix on his shoulder was already screaming urgently, and the old wizard was already wincing, when -

I'm not too sure Sirius has been Azkabanned at all...

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-28T04:13:41.032Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

By this point Harry Potter had entirely forgotten the existence of Professor McGonagall, who had been sitting there this whole time undergoing a number of interesting changes of facial expression which Harry had not been looking at because he was distracted. [...]

So Harry, who at this point had a fair amount of adrenaline in his bloodstream, startled and jumped quite visibly when Professor McGonagall, her eyes now blazing with impossible hope and the tears on her cheek half-dried, leapt to her feet and cried, "With me, Mr. Potter!" and, without waiting for a reply, tore down the stairs that led to the bottom platform where waited a chair of dark metal.

It took a moment, but Harry ran after; though it took him longer to reach the bottom, after Professor McGonagall vaulted half the stairs with a strange catlike motion and landed with the astonished-looking Auror trio already pointing their wands at her. [...]

"Both of you stop being silly," Professor McGonagall said in her firm Scottish accent (it was strange how much that helped). "Mr. Potter, hold out your wand so that Miss Granger's fingers can touch it. Miss Granger, repeat after me. Upon my life and magic -" [...]

And then Minerva McGonagall, who was Head of House Gryffindor even if she didn't always act like it, looked up high above at where Lucius Malfoy stood; and she said to him before the entire Wizengamot, "I regret every point I ever gave you in Transfiguration, you vile little worm."

One hundred points to Gryffindor doesn't seem to cut it.

comment by shminux · 2012-03-28T04:43:00.651Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

One hundred points to Gryffindor doesn't seem to cut it.

-100? She just doesn't know when to talk and when to keep her mouth shut.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-28T06:57:31.056Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

She just doesn't know when to talk and when to keep her mouth shut.

You're so upset that McGonaggal's intervention prevented Harry from asking Hermione's hand in marriage? You're a Ravenclaw girl at heart, I see. :-)

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-29T00:12:34.804Z · score: -3 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You know, even if I'm wrong about the marriage, getting voted down to -10 seems a little excessive...

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-29T06:03:15.803Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps you're expected to gracefully retract at some point.

I think the striken out posts can't be further down voted and you are expected to use that tool to defend yourself against excessive down votes. That is entirely a guess and I am new here.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-29T07:28:45.397Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's a fact that stricken out posts can't be further downvoted, but I don't know about being expected to use that tool as a form of defense.

This was implemented because previously some people just deleted comments that got them lots of downvotes, and this caused disruptions in the flow of the conversation (one could no longer see what people were responding to).

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-29T07:41:02.833Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not really. It's a pretty silly theory.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T11:08:50.278Z · score: -6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Huh? McGonaggal helped Harry marry Hermione.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-28T11:19:35.085Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You misread the passage. McGonaggal helped Harry take Hermione into the sworn service of House Potter. A very feudal type of thing, but certainly no marriage.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T11:42:23.718Z · score: -10 (16 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sounded like marriage vows to me, though we have no idea what the standard marriage vows are in Magical Britain, nor the service vows. Context seemed to indicate that they just got married as well.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-28T11:59:17.674Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sounded like marriage vows to me,

Can you please reread them instead of just going by memory? Here, I'll make it easy for you:

"Upon my life and magic, I swear service to the House of Potter, to obey its Master or Mistress, and stand at their right hand, and fight at their command, and follow where they go, until the day I die"

"I, Harry, heir and last scion of the Potters, accept your service, until the end of the world and its magic"

Now, please actually read the above sentences again, and tell me now whether they sound like marriage vows to you?

And if you still think they've gotten married, in short if you're arguing that P(they've gotten married)> 50%, then I'll put my money where my mouth is and bet you they haven't. I'll bet 10 of my dollars for every 1 of yours, up to a maximum of $10,000 of mine. That should be an easy way for you to make some money.

comment by lavalamp · 2012-03-28T17:22:15.156Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, after yesterday, I certainly won't be betting against you, even though my odds are (slightly) lower.

My reading is that Harry intended to get married, because that's the only applicable law he knew of-- but McGonagall figured out what he was about to attempt and instead triggered some sort of fealty or adoption law.

But I don't think it's totally inconceivable that the wizarding world has marriage vows that sound like that.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-28T17:36:13.579Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

My reading is that Harry intended to get married, because that's the only applicable law he knew of-- but McGonagall figured out what he was about to attempt and instead triggered some sort of fealty or adoption law.

Agreed mostly, but I don't think McGonagall figured out that he was about to propose marriage to Hermione. She just came up independently with the idea of inducting Hermione into House Potter; and of course she preferred to use a more age-appropriate (and less emotionally-charged) path than marriage. The alternate option of service, which Harry didn't even know existed.

comment by lavalamp · 2012-03-28T18:55:43.219Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not sure how good McGonagall's model of Harry is, so maybe you're right, and she didn't figure out what he was planning.

Hm. In my model of the wizard world, what McGonagall did was a totally obvious solution to every wizard in the room except Harry; everyone in the room not on Malfoy's side probably even came in expecting Lucius to extract this fealty vow or something similar from Hermione before Azkaban was mentioned-- it should have been fresh in their minds.

"...The girl is no part of House Potter..."

So I kinda feel like Lucius must have picked up the idiot ball to utter this. I can't explain why he didn't think of the obvious counter (was he so fixated on Azkaban that the fealty thing never occurred to him this whole time?). Unless he was trying to get Hermione joined to House Potter, but that seems really unlikely. Perhaps he didn't think there was any way he could lose to an 11 year old and thus didn't try hard enough.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-03-29T02:11:50.290Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I assumed the vow was obscure, ancient, Almost Never Done in modern times for good reasons (consider the content!), and that Lucius just wouldn't have imagined his model of Harry doing that with a mudblood girl.

Would've been fun to see Lucius's expression if Harry had actually proposed marriage, but that wouldn't have fit quite as well.

comment by lavalamp · 2012-03-29T16:30:07.303Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah, that makes sense. I forgot that Lucius thinks he's dealing with Harrymort (and expects him to have a pureblood bias). Hm, that implies that Lucius didn't use Veritaserum on Draco after all (or he's really blinded by his bias). Well, either way I imagine Lucius is extremely confused right now...

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-29T21:39:25.613Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oddly, people seem to be assuming that "Lucius used Veritaserum on Draco" means "Lucius knows everything Draco knows". Which wouldn't follow even if Draco was given 3 drops, let alone the 2 he actually got.

comment by lavalamp · 2012-03-29T21:57:56.536Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think that's a reasonable default scenario. Truth is entangled (and Draco/Harry/Hermione's dealings is more so than usual); I would expect that as soon as Lucius asked a question with an unusual answer, he'd keep asking questions until he figured out nearly all that Draco knew. If Lucius used Veritaserum and managed to not ask any such questions, then he might as well have not used Veritaserum at all...

comment by APMason · 2012-03-29T21:46:22.502Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And I believe he was interrogated by aurors investigating this crime - in which Harry was not involved - not by Malfoy.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T21:40:36.864Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"What have you been intentionally hiding from me, in descending order of importance?"

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-29T21:54:55.972Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That first, while Lucius was primarily concerned about Draco's safety and what happened that night?

And it seems like a major breach of trust to ask that directly, which Draco will remember so that it will harm their bond permanently.

Also, I wonder how long Draco would be able to ponder which thing is the most important before starting to answer. It might be a moot point, since I'm pretty sure Veritaserum tends to make people think out loud.

"Well, I hide a lot of things from you intentionally. That's what you taught me after all. But which one is the most important? I'm not even sure how to rank things like this, so I suppose I'm solving a problem. Harry would say that in this sort of situation, one should hold off on proposing solutions. So let me think of the salient features of how to sort a list of secrets in order of importance..." (no effort on my part to make this in Draco's voice)

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T22:02:33.133Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, not that first. But I'd expect him to get around to it eventually. And it won't harm their bond if Draco doesn't remember it- the Hogwarts wards only protect students from being Obliviated while they're in Hogwarts.

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-29T22:10:51.289Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

it won't harm their bond if Draco doesn't remember it

I doubt that's true in the purely consequentialist sense, and I don't expect Lucius to think like a consequentialist.

A major violation of trust from the person Draco cares about and respects most of all, seems like exactly the sort of damage that could survive Obliviation (as McGonagall hinted in Chapter 6).

And my model of Lucius would not want to violate Draco's trust, even if Draco couldn't remember it - he genuinely cares about being a good father to Draco. Old-fashioned nobles believe in virtue ethics, if any.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T23:04:43.710Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Albus hesitated. "Harry... whatever you have done with Draco, you must assume that Lucius Malfoy will soon know of it."

Harry's head sank into his hands. "He'll give Draco Veritaserum."

"Yes," Albus said quietly.

So, for what reason do you believe you have a better model of Lucius than Dumbledore does?

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-29T23:27:48.936Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't. But I think I have a better model of what sorts of things Harry has been up to with Draco, than Dumbledore does.

I think Dumbledore thinks that "whatever you have done with Draco" is one thing, and will be most salient to Draco. He's not expecting the Bayesian Conspiracy, and Draco's Patronus, and Harry's Patronus, and discovering that the blood purist hypothesis is false, and actually becoming friends with Hermione, and becoming pregnant with Harry's baby, and trying to reform Slytherin house, and so on...

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T23:38:28.413Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So, if I'm understanding you correctly, you think that Lucius giving Draco Veritaserum is not in itself a violation of his trust?

In the context of "assume Lucius will know" "he'll give him Veritaserum" the clear implication is that Lucius would use enough Veritaserum to make answering involuntary, which would seem a clear violation of trust to me.

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-29T23:44:15.641Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Right, I assumed that the Veritaserum itself was just necessary as part of the legal process, for outside observers to make sure Draco isn't lying, and that instance is what they were talking about. Even in that context, "Tell me things you wouldn't want to tell me normally" is a violation of trust.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-30T01:37:22.652Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Okay, back up even further. You think that investigating Aurors will give a child victim Veritaserum and then leave him alone with someone else before it wears off? That's horrifying.

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-30T01:58:21.183Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, I thought that the investigating Aurors would not give a child Veritaserum without his legal guardian there, and thus Lucius would have access to whatever Draco said under Veritaserum. It occurs to me now that Lucius wouldn't be too prying in front of Aurors.

comment by Sheaman3773 · 2012-06-25T21:25:28.102Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why are you not assuming that Lucius could get his hands on Veritaserum himself and interrogate Draco later in private?

comment by thomblake · 2012-06-25T21:26:47.797Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If we wanted to assume he would do that, we could assume that at any time - Harry should have been just as worried after the Christmas break.

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-29T23:47:08.342Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

On reflection, I do believe I have a better model of Lucius than Dumbledore does. I've read a lot of the same fanfic as the author has and I know a decent amount about the author's thought processes, neither of which is true of Dumbledore. And Dumbledore thinks of people in absolutes, and would probably think Lucius is incapable of honestly wanting to be a good father to Draco since he's "Dark".

comment by APMason · 2012-03-29T22:10:07.042Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Did Eliezer say that Lucius interrogated Draco himself? I can't find it - I had assumed it was aurors, who in the course of investigating this particular crime would have no reason even to mention Harry's name.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T23:07:48.028Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think so, no.

comment by APMason · 2012-03-29T23:19:20.765Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh right. Slightly careless reading. Sorry about that.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-29T06:14:36.656Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It looks like readers didn't get this. They were overdosed on age-inappropriate romantic hopes or did not notice the gap between Harry's idea and MacGonagal's.

Is this the sort of thing you respond to by changing the chapters that are already out? The whole service thing will probably be explained in the next chapter anyway, along with Lucius's "certain rights."

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-29T21:37:47.445Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

They were overdosed on age-inappropriate romantic hopes or did not notice the gap between Harry's idea and MacGonagal's.

Waitwhat.

I did not think anyone thought Harry was marrying McGonagall. Or am I missing something here?

comment by APMason · 2012-03-29T21:42:35.427Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Marriage at eleven is inappropriate.

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-29T21:47:56.833Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Aha. Missed the cultural context. Thanks!

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-30T05:37:29.614Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, I mean that romance at eleven is inappropriate. I suggested marriage was seen because it would signal romance and signals of romance were desired because of hopes.

But thank you, Perry. If you hadn't responded I would have answered the wrong question. I thought he misunderstood when I wrote about the gap between Harry's marriage idea and MacGonagal's fealty idea. And then maybe I would not have been clear enough again and there would have been more confusion and we might go on until one got fed up and both simply logged the other as 'dense' and left it at that.

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-30T13:57:50.748Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, it would not have occurred to me that romance at age 11 is inappropriate, as I knew a lot of romantically-inclined people at age 11, and I tend to think of Wizarding Britain as a backwards, medieval society so "marriage at 11" doesn't ring any alarm bells. Plus, 11ish-year-old characters have already talked at length about romance in the story.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-30T14:22:18.441Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Plus... polyjuice.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T19:28:28.395Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And since we know no one has the idiot ball, that suggests that the fealty vow (or possibly wedding vow) to Harry was totally unexpected. My impression was that the Wizengamot was stunned by the events.

what McGonagall did was a totally obvious solution to every wizard in the room except Harry; everyone in the room not on Malfoy's side probably even came in expecting Lucius to extract this fealty vow or something similar from Hermione

Yes, they expected Lucius to extract something similar from Hermione. They weren't thinking of Lucius's debt to Harry, so until Harry mentioned it and stunned the room, McGonagall's actions wouldn't have occurred to them.

comment by lavalamp · 2012-03-28T19:37:25.842Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

They weren't thinking of Lucius's debt to Harry, so until Harry mentioned it and stunned the room, McGonagall's actions wouldn't have occurred to them.

I meant that it should have occurred to everyone immediately after Lucius's statement "...The girl is no part of House Potter..."

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T19:54:01.365Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

True. Maybe they were just so stunned by everything.

On the other hand, Lucius gets 100,000 gold and Potter in his debt, which apparently gives him some kind of control. And maybe he realized Hermione wasn't the actual killer, but couldn't back down at that point because he'd lose face. So it's not like he ends up with a bad deal.

Alternatively, if he thinks Harry is his real enemy and Hermione just a minion, maybe having Harry in his debt is just as good as putting Hermione in the clank, according to his utility function.

comment by Danylo · 2012-03-28T17:51:31.498Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"to obey its Master or Mistress"

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-28T18:48:09.961Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think it's totally inconceivable that the wizarding world has marriage vows that sound like that.

comment by MartinB · 2012-03-28T18:59:35.116Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It sounds more like a oath of obedience.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-28T19:11:30.066Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes. I agree. I was just saying that the gender-inclusive language specifically isn't a good reason to think that, given Wizarding Britain's displayed attitude toward homosexuality.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-29T08:23:19.780Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's not the "gender inclusiveness" that's the problem, it's the vagueness. Harry is male, why not call him "Master" instead of "Master or Mistress"? It's because the oath is a fealty oath sworn to the House, and after Harry dies, the mastery of his house may pass to a daughter of his (which Hermione would then be still sworn to obey).

Marital oaths are between specific people. In this case obedience was sworn to House Potter, and Harry accepted it as the heir and last scion of House Potter.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T08:39:26.164Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes. I agree.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T19:25:06.724Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So was the traditional wedding vow... "I promise to love, honor, and obey."

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-28T21:18:07.766Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

“I promise to love, honor, and obey you”, not “the master or mistress of your house”.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T21:21:34.581Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, yes, agreed that points more towards an oath of servitude. But I could easily imagine someone marrying me and promising to obey "the master of my house" as a poetic and formal way of referring to me. My point in the comment you were responding to was that obedience is hardly foreign to wedding vows.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-28T21:27:08.736Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Point.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T19:42:32.467Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The problem is that I don't know enough about Magical Britain's culture and customs to make a good estimate. There's so much weird stuff going on there that there's not much that would surprise me.

You are correct that taken completely out of context like that, they sound like service vows. And I'm biased because I want them to be marriage vows; after reading your posts I've updated in favor of service vows.

I don't think P(marriage) > 50%. But you're offering me 10 against 1, and I am sure P(marriage) > 1/11. So I accept your bet. I'll put up $30 against your $300, to be judged either by an unambiguous statement in a future chapter of MoR, or by a comment on LW by Eliezer.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-29T02:43:09.281Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

ll put up $30 against your $300, to be judged either by an unambiguous statement in a future chapter of MoR, or by a comment on LW by Eliezer.

It's a deal on my part -- but I'll also understand/forgive/excuse you if you don't pay up, because I think Eliezer has effectively already confirmed my position in a comment, before I got to say "Deal".

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-29T10:28:09.253Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This one?

It was posted after I said "I accept your bet," so I am honor-bound to pay up. But if you feel bad taking the money I can always donate to SIAI instead.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-29T11:10:45.352Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah that was the comment I was talking about, and nah, I am okay with taking the money, if you also consider it fair enough. I'll PM you paypal detail. If paypal is not convenient for you, we'll figure some other way.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-30T00:38:15.204Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sent via paypal.

Someone make more bets with me so I can come out ahead ;)

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-29T08:42:06.122Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'll understand/forgive/excuse you if you don't pay up

When you do that you are robbing Blueberry of a valuable and inexpensive learning experience.

comment by Alex_Altair · 2012-03-28T15:56:47.587Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This blew my mind.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-28T16:02:53.646Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What do you mean? Which part?

comment by Alex_Altair · 2012-03-28T17:19:58.941Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The part where I totally didn't notice that they didn't get married.

But I'm still confused; why not? What are the benefits of servitude over marriage?

I'm also confused about what actually happened.

The boy took a deep breath, and opened his mouth -

Did he actually say anything? Or did McGonagall come up with the idea right before? And then didn't mention to Harry that she was making Hermione his servant instead of his wife?

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-28T17:32:08.241Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What are the benefits of servitude over marriage?

Fewer shrieks of horror from their parents? Also Hermione doesn't need to change her name into Hermione Potter-Evans-Verres-Granger.

Did he actually say anything? Or did McGonagall come up with the idea right before?

He didn't. It was right before. Harry knew of only marriage as a way to induct Hermione into his House. McGonagall knew of a somewhat simpler way, and one less emotionally charged than marriage.

And then didn't mention to Harry that she was making Hermione his servant instead of his wife?

I think he realized it the moment he heard the words McGonagall was having Hermione say. Keep in mind that it's not as if McGonaggal realized Harry was considering marriage at all.

comment by Alex_Altair · 2012-03-28T17:43:00.457Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I personally would find marriage to be vastly preferable to indefinite servitude. Servitude would definitely be emotionally charging for both of them, as humanists. And they're already deeply in love.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T18:39:10.453Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I find it quite astonishing how often I have to remind people that they're eleven years old.

comment by Alex_Altair · 2012-03-28T19:05:31.735Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I didn't forget that (but sometimes I do). We can have a 12 year old be a slave to an 11 year old, but we can't have them get married?

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T19:17:50.526Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Welcome to feudalism.

comment by MartinB · 2012-03-28T22:32:12.838Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Legal system do not have to be consistant. In Germany you can inherit since the time of conception, but still legally aborted afterwards.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T23:54:58.330Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That is seriously weird.

comment by MartinB · 2012-03-29T00:16:37.458Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not that much. Both rules have their reasons. Real consistency is hard.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-29T02:40:57.005Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's not implausible, or necessarily wrong, but it is weird. What are the rules for inheriting from a fetus?

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-29T04:33:55.080Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Next of kin would be the mother (surely?). She now has an incentive to legally kill a wealthy heir to take their estate. That's... something of a moral hazard or at least an unpleasant tradeoff to thrust upon someone.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-29T06:24:49.409Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If I recall correctly, in Louisiana, if a man dies and leaves children and a widow but no will, his estate goes to his children and his widow gets nothing.

If Louisiana inheritance law works that way because it is based on Code Napoleon and if the German laws of inheritance also come from Code Napoleon, then maybe the mother would not be incentivized if there were other surviving siblings.

That's a lot of ifs.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-29T05:55:58.967Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, that was my first thought too.

comment by MartinB · 2012-03-29T08:58:38.894Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You don't inherit from the fetus, the fetus is the one getting the inheritance. Which makes sense, since she is related to the person who died. This might cause problems once someone makes a kid with frozen sperm of a dead person.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-31T18:05:29.859Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Think of this situation. 1) Dad dies. 2) Fetus inherits. 3) Mom gets an abortion. 4) Does Mom inherit? And if so, did we just give her a huge financial incentive to kill her kid?

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-03-31T19:14:25.323Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, she certainly has a financial incentive to terminate her pregnancy in that scenario. She also has a financial incentive to murder her co-parent. (Still more so if Mom can inherit directly from Dad.) Also, given the costs of bearing and raising a child, I'd expect that most pregnant women have a financial incentive to terminate their pregnancies.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-01T03:28:31.399Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But killing Dad is murder, and you go to jail for that. Killing Baby is an outpatient procedure. with no legal sanction(and, in many places, outright subsidization). I'd say that the situations differ.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-04-01T14:13:08.219Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The situations differ in several ways, including their legal status.

You were discussing financial incentives, and I responded accordingly.

If your actual intention is to discuss more generally the similarities and differences between killing fetuses and adults (or babies and adults, if you prefer that language), then I'll drop out here.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-02T18:24:09.102Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, a generic debate about abortion is the last thing I want to partake in. It makes everybody stupid, and I suspect that I'm on the same side as most people here anyways. I just find this particular situation interesting, and that seemed like convenient shorthand.

comment by MartinB · 2012-03-31T20:45:11.832Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Good for us that few people are mother economicae.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-04-01T01:45:46.941Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I do not know what that phrase means.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-01T03:29:52.903Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it's a riff on "homo economicus" - i.e., the theory that humans are rational economic actors.

comment by MartinB · 2012-04-01T09:57:28.901Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, that is what I was aiming at. If it is the rational choice to end a pregnancy, than it is good for us that not everyone in the past did so. I am aware that the OP wrote about the financial incentive, not about the most rational choice.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-04-01T12:13:20.950Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm speaking of a peculiar situation, not of a generic pregnancy. Still, I suppose that as "financial reasons to have an abortion" go, the fact that not having one obliges you to raise a kid does seem like it ought to weigh highly...

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T19:23:32.978Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

They're not, mentally.

But yeah, they may not be able to get legally married. Surprising that they can get legally enslaved, though.

comment by Nominull · 2012-03-28T23:54:20.407Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Feudal vassalage is a few steps up from slavery, I think.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-29T00:08:43.703Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, but there's no verb that means to put someone into it...

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-03-29T02:16:35.214Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Vassalize.

comment by Incorrect · 2012-03-29T05:04:41.792Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually I think it's envassal. (I really wonder how I knew that)

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-29T06:19:30.629Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

They are, mentally.

The mind is the body, and this is a rationalist fic.

Precocious children have a history of demonstrating they are not socio-emotionally prepared for some adult situations they are capable of confronting on an intellectual level. However smart or clever we are, we are still wet machines and we still grow in particular rhythms at particular times.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-29T18:07:39.781Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But I'm still confused; why not? What are the benefits of servitude over marriage?

Non-violation of bigamy laws if you marry someone else.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-29T14:24:28.444Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But I'm still confused; why not? What are the benefits of servitude over marriage?

Before McGonagall's stunt, I was worried the marriage would require consummation to be legally binding.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-29T15:37:47.517Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"I told you, no kissing!" and then some.

Before McGonagall's stunt, I was worried the marriage would require consummation to be legally binding.

This doesn't strike me as much of an issue. Considering what was at stake it would be an utterly trivial cost and a requirement comparatively easy to fulfill. Just another taboo tradeoff.

"Let's see... is drastically underage sex with my girlfriend better than her death by torture?". Death by torture really makes decision making easy at times!

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-03-29T16:10:56.500Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, yes. I mean, a canonical purpose of torture is to simplify decision-making.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T18:22:25.537Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Canonical?

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-28T16:25:21.891Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-28T15:29:20.100Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Your idea of marriage vows seems rather lifestyle-specific.

comment by NihilCredo · 2012-03-28T15:55:36.167Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45lXXiLbTxM

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T19:10:31.352Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Goreans are the creationists of lifestyle BDSMers...

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-29T06:06:22.267Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Goreans are the creationists of lifestyle BDSMers...

I think that statement is likely to be insulting to just about everyone involved in the comparison. So I would like to learn exactly how you mean that.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T06:30:56.296Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't see how it's insulting to non-Gorean lifestyle BDSMers. And the others, well.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-29T06:53:06.654Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Goreans are to lifestyle BDMSers as creationists are to ___."

I filled that in with 'theists" because that is the group creationists are part of like Goreans are part of the BDSM community. Now that community has their safe, sane, and consensual lifestyle choices compared to allowing the belief in an imaginary friend to control your life with little restriction. The believers have their faith compared to the depraved antics of perverts. The enlightened science of the creationists is compared to the escapist delusions of the Goreans. And finally the compared to the mockery of science and clumsy apologetics of creationism.

Offense for everyone!

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-29T20:23:31.260Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was alluding to a Larry Summers quote:

A gold standard is the creationism of economics.

The point was to insult the Goreans by comparing them to creationists, and that I hoped no one took them as a representation of lifestylers. I'm not sure why I got voted to -2, though.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-30T05:39:13.417Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's a fantastic quote.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-30T10:53:25.817Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, isn't it?

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-29T06:41:01.108Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What pedanterrific said. Fringe groups with false and harmful beliefs that act ridiculous.

comment by Spurlock · 2012-03-28T04:50:24.926Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

+100. Prudence is really more of a Slytherin virtue.

comment by LucasSloan · 2012-03-28T04:49:14.033Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sure, but that's a Slytherin virtue.

comment by cultureulterior · 2012-03-31T21:12:52.812Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Progress of Eliezer vs JKR, Fvapr Ryvrmre unf fgngrq gung gur fgbel jba'g or ybatre guna gur frira obbxf, cre jbeq, naq gung vg'f zber guna unysjnl qbar

comment by Paulovsk · 2012-04-01T13:37:47.316Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't get it pretty clear. Could you explain in few words?

comment by cultureulterior · 2012-04-01T14:05:07.514Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The individual colored patches are the five first JKR books, and the overlapping patch is The Methods of Rationality, plotted by chapter and book, vs the number of total words written. MoR is now longer than all the first four books put together. The reason I made the graph was I was wondering if those two individual EY statements (rot13'd in my statement above) were would add up to make more than one bit of information, but they did not.

If Eliezer finishes Methods of Rationality at 150% of current length, we'd end up midway into the sixth book.

comment by Rejoyce · 2012-04-01T18:52:12.139Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm confused; you said you plotted the first five of JKR's books, but you said that MoR's longer than the first four books. The graph shows that MoR is longer than the first three books but halfway through the fourth.

And why did you graph five books when Mr. Yudkowsky says it won't be longer than seven books? Shouldn't you have done seven?

comment by aladner · 2012-03-30T16:49:46.788Z · score: 11 (15 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Enough, Mr. Potter," said Professor McGonagall. "We shall be late for afternoon Transfiguration as it is. And do come back here, you're still terrifying that poor Dementor." She turned to the Aurors. "Mr. Kleiner, if you would!"

Is it just me, or does that NOT sound like someone who just found out that dementors, thought to be manifestations of fear, are afraid of her student? I'm guessing it's one of two things:

  • She's so relieved that one of her student isn't going to be tortured to death that she isn't really processing everything else that's going on or

  • She thinks the whole thing is a trick Harry and Dumbledore came up with, and dementors aren't really afraid of Harry.

Either one could lead to a very entertaining aftermath.

comment by FAWS · 2012-03-30T21:10:42.461Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Unlike most of the room she knows Harry well enough that even him scaring a Dementor, no matter how surprising, wouldn't make her personally afraid of Harry; she might be worried about what trouble he could cause but she knows perfectly well that he wouldn't do anything to her. Besides it was less of a surprise for her since Dumbledore already told her Harry had developed a new charm.

comment by aladner · 2012-03-30T21:59:57.974Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree that her being afraid of Harry isn't something I would expect, but her comments make me think she isn't taking the situation seriously.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-31T02:34:29.288Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

~And furthermore, in her post-Azkaban-breakout council with Snape and Dumbledore, Dumbledore explicitly told her that Harry has unique magics that would help orchestrate an Azkaban breakout. She doesn't know the specifics of Harry's ability, but Minerva would certainly be able to deduce that it has something to do with Dementors.~

[EDIT: Apparently I did not read your last sentence before deciding to post this.]

comment by TimS · 2012-03-30T21:28:03.112Z · score: -4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Isn't Harry's destruction of a dementor public knowledge at Hogwarts

Edit: Oops, missed it.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-30T21:39:00.805Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Only Quirrel and Dumbledore know of it, since even the three accompanying Aurors were False-Memory-Charmed.

We don't know what the cover story was that Dumbledore thought up to justify the lost Dementor.

comment by kilobug · 2012-03-30T21:37:54.018Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

« And so remained only Harry, Professor Quirrell, Headmaster Dumbledore, and an Auror trio.

It would have been better to get rid of the trio first, but Harry couldn't think of a good way to do that.» from chapter 45

Harry ensured that very few people saw him destroying it.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-31T00:23:09.721Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I believe that the Auror trio was memory charmed.

There was a distinct body-hitting-the-ground-with-a-thuddish sort of sound.

"Thank you for taking care of that, Quirinus," said Dumbledore to Professor Quirrell, who was now standing above and behind the unconscious forms of the three Aurors. "I confess I am still feeling a bit peaky. Though I shall handle the Memory Charms myself."

-Chapter 46

However, both McGonagall and Snape know that Harry has developed a charm which can affect the behavior of Dementors:

Albus nodded grimly. "Unfortunately there is now another wizard who laughs at impossibilities. A wizard who, not long ago, developed a new and powerful Charm which could have blinded the Dementors to Bellatrix Black's escape.

-Chapter 61

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-30T20:18:10.741Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or, she's simply ceased to be surprised at the extent of Harry's abilities outpacing her expectations of them.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-31T06:54:08.172Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

McGonagall is House Head of Gryffindor.

She is just that unflappable.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-31T07:51:10.679Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You have no idea how tempted I am to go back through the story and come up with a montage of Minerva sputtering incoherently / tearing her hair out / sticking her fingers in her ears and going la la la / at a loss for words / blurting something inadvisable / etc.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-31T14:58:46.148Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

She's so unflappable that she's the best choice to demonstrate that a situation inspires the maximum amount of flap, I guess.

comment by erratio · 2012-03-31T20:08:45.902Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or, you know, relief + dry sense of humour = exactly that kind of reaction as a coping mechanism.

I am reminded of why I prefer British comedy to American - in American comedies everyone tends to be very obvious and melodramatic, while in British the tendency is more towards understated and deadpan. McGonagall's reaction fits perfectly into the latter category, trivialising the entire situation rather than mugging for the audience. (Not that some of the humour in the earlier chapters hasn't been overblown melodrama. Harry's parents leaving the room to have hysterics stands out as the most obvious example)

comment by summerstay · 2012-04-01T01:11:27.300Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fawlty Towers is a good example of the understated and deadpan nature of British comedy.

comment by summerstay · 2012-04-04T13:22:37.137Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm kidding, by the way. Anyone who has seen it would know that it has a lot of broad slapstick humor.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-31T21:41:52.848Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Watch the original Bob Newhart series for understated and deadpan.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T11:50:57.382Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or, she’s the head of Gryffindor, and she felt the need to at least appear to put up a brave front in support of her students.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2012-03-31T15:47:48.350Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or, in addition to everyone else's reasons, she's already working hard to maintain a calm demeanor for the sake of Hermione and Harry.

comment by dspeyer · 2012-04-04T05:04:00.598Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A possibility is that she thinks very fast* and realizes that Harry ought to move away from the dementor (since it is effecting him some) but that it must be done in a way that makes Harry look strong, not weak. Showing that Harry has no problem standing undefended next to a dementor but walked away out of pity reinforces his strength nicely.

*= fast may actually mean that Dumbledore went back and gave her carefully edited information so she could make plans in advance

comment by MartinB · 2012-03-30T20:37:03.410Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or she already knew.

comment by jimrandomh · 2012-03-29T16:55:15.988Z · score: 11 (17 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Prediction: Harry will try to explain the general concept of arbitrage to Dumbledore, and it will be blocked by the Interdict of Merlin.

Because otherwise, certain things about the wizarding economy make no sense at all.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-29T21:44:02.757Z · score: 20 (20 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Funny, but unfortunately people telling other people things is exactly what the Interdict of Merlin doesn't forbid.

comment by FAWS · 2012-03-29T21:45:34.067Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The Interdict of Merlin blocking transmission of non-magical knowledge between living minds?

comment by [deleted] · 2012-03-29T18:20:41.353Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The magics of Echo Gnomics from the Counterweight Continent?

comment by Alex_Altair · 2012-03-29T17:12:48.878Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't quite understand. Arbitrage has nothing to do with magic.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-29T17:41:54.593Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's a joke, I think. And if it is it's hilarious.

I laughed aloud.

comment by jimrandomh · 2012-03-29T21:03:21.885Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It was't a joke, but rather a completely serious prediction of a joke. That's hardly the same thing at all.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-30T06:00:25.786Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That one is funny too.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T11:00:10.921Z · score: 11 (15 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I love Chapter 81, but it would have been way better if Draco was the one accused of murder, so Harry could marry Draco.

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-28T18:54:37.229Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I smell omake

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-28T13:00:36.932Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He didn't marry Hermione.

comment by anotherblackhat · 2012-03-28T21:10:55.211Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He also didn't get Hermione pregnant.

comment by Alex_Altair · 2012-03-29T01:24:36.801Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That will certainly be in the Epilogue.

comment by Alejandro1 · 2012-03-29T06:49:39.610Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

As long as their child is not named Albus Severus...

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T07:10:40.681Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In this story, it seems a lot more likely to be Quirinus Tom Potter-Evans-Verres-Granger.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2012-03-29T17:54:30.700Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd feel sorry for that kid. But considering the genes and upbringing he'd have, I'm suddenly too busy feeling sorry for everyone else.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-03-30T05:00:50.985Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not to mention being the son of the person who became God/FHI.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-04-02T06:44:10.184Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

God/Future of Humanity Institute?

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-04-03T03:43:57.084Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

God/Friendly Human (super)Intelligence

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-02T06:47:56.043Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I read it as Friendly Human Intelligence.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-29T05:53:31.004Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not so certain:

  • Either character may die

  • Either character may decline romantic relations

  • We may fail to earn our happy ending.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T19:09:31.982Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, if it were Draco, he would never have agreed to be in service, so it would have had to be marriage. Besides, we know he's hot for Harry but doesn't want to admit it, so it gives him an excuse to marry Harry.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-29T16:20:35.997Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually, Draco muses on the history of House Malfoy at some chapter I can't find right now, and how they're always the second-in-command to greatest leaders. Saying Draco would never agree to service is probably disregarding important and relevant information.

Given your belief that the oath of fealty was a marriage vow and your claim here that Draco would not submit, a carelessly judgmental spectator Might come to possibly unfair conclusions about you. Namely, that you place such a high value on dominant roles for males and submissive roles for females that your perception is skewed.

I'm curious if you think there might be some accuracy in that.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-30T01:35:03.433Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually, Draco muses on the history of House Malfoy at some chapter I can't find right now, and how they're always the second-in-command to greatest leaders. Saying Draco would never agree to service is probably disregarding important and relevant information.

I was more looking for an excuse to get Harry and Draco married. ;)

But no, I think Draco is way too proud to swear subservience to Harry.

Namely, that you place such a high value on dominant roles for males and submissive roles for females that your perception is skewed. I'm curious if you think there might be some accuracy in that.

I'm not exactly sure what you're asking. Those have historically been the usual gender roles. I obviously don't think that everyone follows them or that everyone should follow them, because I'm not an idiot.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-28T21:11:45.268Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I know the wizards are relaxed about yaoi romance, but do we actually have any examples of actual same-sex marriage? (In MoR, I mean. I’m sure examples abound in slash-fiction.)

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T14:11:27.720Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually, it seems that they do have same-sex marriage. Chapter 42:

"Wow," Daphne said, sounding a little shocked. "You mean Muggles really do hate that? I thought that was just something the Death Eaters made up."

"No," said an older Slytherin girl Hermione didn't recognize, "it's true, they have to get married in secret, and if they're ever discovered, they get burned at the stake together. [...]”

By exception probat regulam it seems that there are same-sex marriages between MoR wizards.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-04-01T20:08:03.010Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Awesome! Good to know.

comment by 75th · 2012-03-28T21:50:28.230Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Given that the wizarding aristocracy is supremely concerned with perpetuating its bloodlines, I doubt that the issue of same-sex marriage has ever been brought before the Wizengamot.

comment by Armok_GoB · 2012-03-29T20:14:32.595Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That shouldn't be a problem, polyjuce has been shown able to change gender, and to sustain the transformation indefinitely if taken regularly.

Edit: This also explains (and is made more likely by) how harry getting Malfoy pregnant got taken seriously enough to end up in a newspaper.

comment by QuicklyStarfish · 2012-03-29T23:12:10.813Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Urg... you now have me imagining what happens if polyjuice wears off someone eight-months pregnant.

comment by NihilCredo · 2012-04-02T10:15:10.274Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just a bad film: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110216/

comment by Armok_GoB · 2012-03-30T14:35:27.494Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks, mission accomplished! ^_^

comment by Karl · 2012-04-02T19:31:24.389Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think taking polyjuice modify your genetic code. If that was the case, using polyjuice to take the form of a muggle or a squib would leave you without your magical powers.

comment by Armok_GoB · 2012-04-02T23:14:52.982Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So? It should still create egg cells. There's some lower fertility from the yy possibility, and 66/33% rather than 50/50% of a boy. And maybe some increased risk of chromosomal diseases, but that should be it.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-04-02T19:43:12.683Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This comment makes no sense to me at all. Are you presuming that genetic code controls the presence of magical powers independent of phenotypic expression?

comment by Karl · 2012-04-02T20:19:34.213Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's explained in detail in chapter 25 that the genes that make a person a wizard do not do so by building some complex machinery which allow you to become a wizard; the genes that make you a wizard constitute a marker which indicate to the source of magic that you should be allowed to cast spells.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-04-02T20:33:04.278Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Whoops! Shows you how long it's been since I've read ch25. Thanks for clarifying that.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-04-02T19:37:22.237Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Do we know that it doesn't?

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T21:18:46.988Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I thought there was a Quibbler headline involving same-sex marriage, but upon checking I realized I was thinking of the one where Harry gets Draco pregnant.

No, I don't think we have any information on the status of same-sex marriage or civil union in Magical Britain.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-28T23:49:24.172Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Quibbler headline [...] the one where Harry gets Draco pregnant.

The Quibbler is known for having ridiculous content, but I didn’t get the idea that reached the completely impossible level. Given magic, that headline might actually be physically possible.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T23:54:57.390Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

True. And the existence of that headline makes me think Magical Britain is at least somewhat supportive of same-sex relationships being formally recognized, though it's weak evidence.

comment by fubarobfusco · 2012-03-29T06:03:58.528Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Romantic?" Hermione said. "They're both boys!"

"Wow," Daphne said, sounding a little shocked. "You mean Muggles really do hate that? I thought that was just something the Death Eaters made up."
Chapter 42: Courage

In other words, the wizarding world is sufficiently accepting of same-sex relationships that Death Eaters could use the idea that Muggles are homophobic as a somewhat believable slander against Muggles.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-29T06:39:06.338Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ooh yes, there it is! Thanks.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T14:12:25.523Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think I actually found a hint.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T18:43:12.040Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nah, that'll probably be the clever solution in the next series.

comment by thelittledoctor · 2012-03-28T03:26:49.523Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Something I just noticed on a second read-through - the reuse of the word "riddle" in context here seems like a reminder to Lucius of who he thinks Harry really is, and this is not the first time it's come up when Harry is exposed to Dementors. Perhaps this lends credence to the theory that riddle is the "strange word" he learned when first exposed?

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-28T06:38:48.478Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Voldemort used the word to tease as Quirrell and as the cloak and hat. He probably did it in the last war, too. Lucius may think that Voldemort is teasing him just like he used it, when Harry says it.

It's not a strange word, though. That's probably so we know the spell being cast was not AK.

comment by thelittledoctor · 2012-03-28T02:34:12.228Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think my favorite part of this update comes not from the chapter, but from the Author's Notes:

"If you write sufficiently good fanfiction, you can realize your romantic dreams!"

(Although "Make him go away" is either tied for the position or a close second.)

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T03:00:30.259Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have a suspicion that the average fanfic-created relationship is not caused by anything best described as "good".

comment by Incorrect · 2012-03-28T03:05:00.470Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm genuinely curious how you came to that suspicion.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T03:08:48.266Z · score: -1 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, Sturgeon's Law for a start, combined with the fact that people who don't bother to create their own universes are statistically going to be less-motivated, less-experienced, and/or less-competent authors. There's a reason that the stereotype of fanfic authors is 13 year old girls. I'm glad for the exceptions, but they are exceptions.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-03-28T03:18:50.359Z · score: 29 (29 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

people who don't bother to create their own universes are statistically going to be less-motivated, less-experienced, and/or less-competent authors.

Do you have this opinion of realistic fiction too?

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-03-28T06:32:48.926Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have always thought that but the story makes the point even better. Click on that link, everyone.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-03-29T02:25:54.262Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Uh, wow, I have linked this story on LW before, but your endorsement apparently makes a great big screaming difference to how much traffic a link gets.

Please endorse more of my things. I am addicted to web hits.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T03:40:03.179Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, it mostly suffers from the problem that the people who write it are trying to create Art, and that never ends well.

Or, to answer the question you're actually asking, I'm arguing probabilities, not absolutes. Good fanfic exists - hell, we're on a thread to debate a fic sufficiently good that it caused me to read the original Potter books(seriously, the number of references in those first 30 chapters I missed the first time is kind of staggering). But it is not the majority.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T11:06:42.896Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah I love that story.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T20:36:11.299Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Really? Seemed rather preachy to me. I got the point within a couple paragraphs, and got bored.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-03-29T02:18:11.381Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Could've been shortened with further editing (I think) but there was more than one point in it.

comment by Blueberry · 2012-03-28T21:01:30.738Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What did you think it was preaching?

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-29T00:40:41.561Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"SF/Fantasy is as good as realistic fiction". It's a point I agree with, I just think it was overdone.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-03-29T00:58:28.802Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It is preachy (there's a warning for that in the stories index) but the preached idea was a little more complex than that. I gave earthfic the status and market wherewithal of real-world fanfiction (and promoted fanfiction to a respectable position), and was also making a point about fanfiction.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-29T01:13:55.946Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

True, it was more generally a "Don't be snooty about genre perceptions" piece. Good literature is good, bad literature is bad, and genre be damned. I'm not arguing with you, I just wasn't a fan of the style.

comment by thomblake · 2012-03-29T21:34:31.443Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There were also non-genre-related criticisms of fanfiction being addressed. Basically, a lot of criticisms of fanfiction can be plausibly applied to earthfic. For example, "If you're too lazy to create your own characters / world, then you're not a real writer" is bandied about by anti-fanfic folks, and yet they do not consistently apply it to biographies, or historical fiction, or older 'fanfic' writers like James Joyce and T.H.White, or sequels/series.

comment by AspiringKnitter · 2012-03-28T07:53:31.073Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sorry, the reason for the stereotype is the fact that fanfiction is findable only on unmoderated internet archives where anyone can post. If you had to look on the internet for all your original fiction, you'd have the same problem. Also, it's in some ways harder to use someone else's voice and be bound by characters that maybe have traits you're scared to write about than to be able to write in your own voice and avoid certain kinds of characters.

But when you compare cherry-picked original fiction weeded through by editors until you get to read only a fraction of the total submitted for consideration and utterly unmoderated, undifferentiated fanfiction by good and bad authors alike side-by-side in the same archive, of course the original fic is going to be better.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-28T12:53:24.451Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you had to look on the internet for all your original fiction, you'd have the same problem.

Kindle Store

Or so I heard, at least.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-03-28T03:52:52.878Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Do you feel the same way about published by known publishing houses fiction that based on other fiction? I'm thinking about The Once and Future King, Wicked, The Ayre Affair.....

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T04:08:43.436Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Gatekeepers raise average quality levels.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-28T07:17:29.533Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And we should be concerned about average quality... Why?

comment by Nornagest · 2012-03-28T04:18:39.104Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think that's probably true -- but not for the reasons you seem to be implying, and not with any particular implications for authors' romantic success. Fanfic seems to be a highly generational phenomenon; there have been shared universes and exchanges of what we now call fanfic going back arguably to the Twenties (the weird fiction genre was highly incestuous), but the form only really took off with the arrival of the Internet. So its authorship's going to be heavily skewed towards younger writers, who are almost by definition less competent and experienced.

However, literally every fanfic writer that I've ever met -- which is nowhere near an unbiased sample and skews somewhat older than the average, but still -- has work in at least one original universe as well. I suspect you'd be hard-pressed to find many genre fiction fans with writing skills that don't. So I doubt you can use that feature of the form to prove much about its authors.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T04:45:06.680Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Granted, most of the popular stuff is good(or occasionally legendarily bad). Popular opinion is a gatekeeper too. I suppose it depends on whether you sum over stories or over readers.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-28T04:21:04.682Z · score: -3 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, Sturgeon's Law for a start, combined with the fact that people who don't bother to create their own universes are statistically going to be less-motivated, less-experienced, and/or less-competent programmers. There's a reason that the stereotype of hackers is 13 year old script kiddies. I'm glad for the exceptions, but they are exceptions.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-28T06:48:58.760Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'll see your credential challenge and raise you the inevitable creation of immortal boredom.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-01T18:00:20.409Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just an odd thought about something Draco said in Chapter 48:

Before them was a small empty place of stone set against the night sky. Not a roof like the one he'd dropped Harry from, but a tiny and proper courtyard, far above the ground. With proper railings, elaborate traceries of stone that flushed seamlessly into the stone floor... How so much artistry had been infused into the creation of Hogwarts was something that still awed Draco every time he thought about it. There must have been some way to do it all at once, no one could have detailed so much piece by piece, the castle changed and every new piece was like that. It was so far beyond the wizardry of these fading days that no one would have believed it if they hadn't seen the proof in Hogwarts itself.

...is - is Hogwarts sentient? If it's animate, capable of creative expression, and self-constructing, it's not out of the question that Hogwarts might be in some sense intelligent or alive. It'd also explain some things about the Hogwarts security system, to say nothing about the Room of Requirement, in canon.

comment by Rejoyce · 2012-03-31T17:09:56.755Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A matter with the Comed-Tea that was bugging me for a while:

Chapter 14:

SO THAT'S HOW THE COMED-TEA WORKS! Of course! The spell doesn't force funny events to happen, it just makes you feel an impulse to drink right before funny things are going to happen anyway!

Hypotheses: Comed-Tea on person = impulse to drink, Comed-Tea not on person = no impulse to drink.

According to Chapter 12:

Harry couldn't help but feel the urge to drink another Comed-Tea. (And when he didn't...) Harry inhaled his own saliva and went into a coughing fit just as all eyes turned toward him.

So no matter what, even if you don't end up drinking it, you will get the Impulse before something funny happens.

Chapter 46:

I have been saving them for special occasions; there is a minor enchantment on them to ensure they are drunk at the right time. This is the last of my supply, but I do not think there will ever come a finer occasion.

So Harry has used up all of his Comed-Tea. (edit: it appears that Harry actually has tons left unless he's not mentioning some he drank/gave away, look at bottom of post)

...

WHY? WHYYY?!

It is apparent that you'll still get the impulse to drink whether or not you do end up drinking. So why didn't he save a can he's never ever going to drink?

Even if Harry will end up choking on his saliva, wouldn't the early notification of something ridiculous happening be helpful to him in any way? Like... it'd be an early warning to be prepared for whatever another person could say/do in conversation. Or if he's looking for interesting information, say from the library, he can just walk by all the shelves until he gets the Impulse-- that'd be an indicator that he's near the shelf that has the interesting book. There might be more uses.

Chapter 14:

Thankfully, Harry’s panicking brain remembered at this point that he did have something he’d been planning to discuss with Professor McGonagall. Something important and well worth her time. It was at this point that Harry realized he was faced with a priceless and possibly irreplaceable opportunity to offer Professor McGonagall a Comed-Tea and he couldn’t believe he was seriously thinking that and it would be fine the soda would vanish after a few seconds and he told that part of himself to shut up.

The charm even works for other people. If, for example, Harry wishes to test whether or not someone knows that Voldemort is alive, he could see if he has the Impulse to give that person a drink, all while thinking about saying that "The Dark Lord is still alive". If he gets the Impulse, they don't know. If he doesn't, then they already know/has been suspecting that he's been alive.

Chapter 8:

The boy reached into his pouch and said, "can of soda", retrieving a bright green cylinder. He held it out to her and said, "Can I offer you something to drink?"

Hermione politely accepted the soda. In fact she was feeling sort of thirsty by now.

In fact, just asking, "Are you feeling thirsty?" seems to be enough to trigger the charm's apparent spit-taking powers. Harry could think about talking about Voldemort, and ask if the other person's thirsty. If yes, they would take whatever he's going to say as a surprise, if no, then they won't. Geebus this thing is powerful.


edit: actually, I'm going to check the text and see Harry actually used up his supply. Be right back.

Chapter 7: “Two dozen cans please.” (24) He tossed a can to Draco and then started feeding his pouch... (23) (Harry's drinking one too) (22) Harry snarled, threw the can violently into a nearby garbage can, and talked back over to the vendor. “One copy of The Quibbler, please.” He paid over four more Knuts, retrieved another can of Comed-Tea from his pouch... (21)

Chapter 8: The boy reached into his pouch and said, “can of soda”, retrieving a bright green cylinder. He held it out to her and said, “Can I offer you something to drink?” (20)

Chapter 12: Harry reached into his pouch and whispered, “Comed-Tea”. (19)

Chapter 46: “Three sodas." (16)

Nevermind, Harry lied, he still has tons unless he's been drinking them and not mentioning it. However the Comed-Tea hasn't been mentioned since, so it might actually be all gone.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T11:31:11.792Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Chapter 17:

"I'm feeling thirsty," Harry said, "and that is not at all a good sign."

Dumbledore entirely failed to ask any questions about this cryptic statement.

He doesn’t seem to choke after this, but there follow several occasions where might have, had he been drinking. Anyway, the sentence means he kind of does use the Comed-Tea to kind-of-sort-of-predict the future, albeit not systematically.

Regarding the counting, his line in chapter 14 might be meant to suggest he had been doing more experiments “not on camera”. There are only three occasions where he’s seen using it until then; he shouldn’t have been that frustrated about the explanation after that few tries.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-31T22:13:55.313Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If, for example, Harry wishes to test whether or not someone knows that Voldemort is alive, he could see if he has the Impulse to give that person a drink, all while thinking about saying that "The Dark Lord is still alive". If he gets the Impulse, they don't know. If he doesn't, then they already know/has been suspecting that he's been alive.

Unless he actually followed through with saying that Voldemort is still alive, this wouldn't be enough.

comment by Rejoyce · 2012-04-01T18:47:19.241Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What if he actually planned on going through with saying "The Dark Lord is still alive", but got Silencio'd by an invisible time-turned Harry he wasn't aware of right as he's about to say it? It'd be obvious, but at least he wouldn't actually release the secret?

comment by FAWS · 2012-03-31T23:14:01.177Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

We don't know that, committing to saying Vldemort is alive conditional on actually giving them a can might suffice.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-04-01T00:33:34.765Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry could still get a false negative. Remember, Harry will feel the impulse to offer a drink to Alice if and only if if Alice is about to be surprised. So not feeling an impulse to offer her a drink would indicate that either that Alice would not be surprised that Voldemort is alive, or that Harry will not actually end up telling her.

comment by FAWS · 2012-04-01T01:00:29.132Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Harry could still get a false negative. Remember, Harry will feel the impulse to offer a drink to Alice if and only if if Alice is about to be surprised.

Again, we don't know that. The soda working in two steps as you seem to suggest (detecting future surprise, then determining whether that surprise is sufficient to cause soda spitting when drunk at the right time) is consistent with what we know about the soda. But that's not the only possibility consistent with what we know. The soda could also work in a single step and detect whether soda drunk at various points would be spit, without directly detecting surprise at all.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-04-01T01:42:38.962Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So from what we know of Quirrell, it would be just like him (having recently learned about Comed-Tea) to have a policy of spitting out soda that he drinks, so that no one gains information on whether or not he is surprised.

comment by Jonathan_Elmer · 2012-04-01T04:18:40.379Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Regardless of the reason for the spit Harry would still have to follow through with whatever that is for the signal to be sent back in time to cause the urge to drink. Otherwise it would be like Harry escaping from that locked classroom after Draco tortured him without then going back in time and sending the Professor to let him out.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-04-01T04:58:00.506Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You are right, those are both possibilities. Though, one of them has been explicitly presented by the author, and endorsed by Harry. I don't think we have much reason to doubt the canonical interpretation.

"SO THAT'S HOW THE COMED-TEA WORKS! Of course! The spell doesn't force funny events to happen, it just makes you feel an impulse to drink right before funny things are going to happen anyway! I'm such a fool, I should have realized when I felt the impulse to drink the Comed-Tea before Dumbledore's second speech, didn't drink it, and then choked on my own saliva instead - drinking the Comed-Tea doesn't cause the comedy, the comedy causes you to drink the Comed-Tea! I saw the two events were correlated and assumed the Comed-Tea had to be the cause and the comedy had to be the effect because I thought temporal order restrained causation and causal graphs had to be acyclic BUT IT ALL MAKES SENSE ONCE YOU DRAW THE CAUSAL ARROWS GOING BACKWARDS IN TIME!"

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-04-01T02:03:09.737Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Earlier thoughts on Comed-Tea here

comment by brilee · 2012-04-01T01:56:26.240Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I interpreted Comed-tea as the simplest example of backwards causality - an event A causing event B, where A occurs /after/ B in time. Eliezer introduced Comed-Tea to make the point that the HPMoR universe does not operate by what we imagine to be standard causality rules.

I suspect that, the same way that messing with Time somehow results in a message saying "NO", it would be similarly impossible to commit to drinking Comed Tea.

comment by AspiringKnitter · 2012-03-31T19:48:19.234Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You know, that is a really good idea.

comment by DanPeverley · 2012-03-28T03:34:54.154Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am really interested in how this is all going to work back at Hogwarts. Harry has already been pushing the envelope in the past, but this was a public power display. Draco's out for a while, Hermione will be considered a murderess by significant portions of the school (and apparently she's now magically sworn to obey Harry?), Quirrel is doing... something... and all the schemers and plotters are scheming and plotting on overdrive. I think the money will really be the least of Harry's concerns before this tangle is unwoven. I sort of enjoy learning little bits about Eliezer in the author's notes. "Why yes, I do lead the same sort of life as fanfiction characters, thank you for noticing," made me laugh quietly to myself. This is doubtless because I am a gossip-monger and a hopless platonic voyeur of other peoples lives.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-28T19:16:23.366Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hermione will be considered a murderess

That's attempted murderess and Minion#1 in Harry's Dark Army.

Maybe Hermione needs to join Chaos Legion now. I don't see how she can be credible as a leader in opposition to Harry anymore, even in a game.

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-29T04:33:59.626Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"I order you to do everything in your power to beat me. Including cheat."

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T05:33:28.856Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He'll say that publicly, but how's anyone else supposed to believe he didn't give contradictory orders in private?

comment by Logos01 · 2012-03-29T06:30:51.740Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

... He's The Boy-Who-Lived. EVERYONE knows everything he does is insane.

Also, he already has history giving multiple individuals exactly that order. And one of them made good with it (which is why Dragons also wear green goggles.)

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-29T06:34:18.681Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm with you on that. Few will believe, and the doubt in Sunshine Army will be a liability.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-03-29T12:49:05.834Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm with you on that. Few will believe, and the doubt in Sunshine Army will be a liability.

At this point... who cares? Surely both Harry and Hermione have reached the stage where they realize that they have things more important than children's team sports to worry about! There's a world to win, their own security to protect and a government that... they may decide is a liability at some point in the future.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T07:30:02.457Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not only is Sunshine's morale likely irreparably damaged, Dragon Army's general is rather unlikely to return to Hogwarts. The games are going to undergo some serious changes one way or another.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-29T09:20:18.528Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps they'll lose all three generals and each be led by a former Chaotic Lieutenant.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-29T16:50:07.729Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This sounds easier to write than another over-the-top battlefield miracle from HJPEV.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-28T06:27:16.214Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Unless EY adds it in, Harry forgot to snap his fingers.

comment by Alsadius · 2012-03-28T06:44:06.213Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But he threatened to, and that's almost as bad.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-28T21:22:47.988Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Snapping fingers means “I can do anything”. Saying “Boo” means “I scare Dementors”.

comment by Armok_GoB · 2012-03-29T20:22:23.588Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

He doesn't need a miracle to scare dementors.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-28T06:40:48.705Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sweet! That would have been much better than Boo!

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-28T09:51:48.415Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nah, snapping fingers doesn't possess meaning for the Wizengamot, that's what Harry is known for in Hogwarts. "Boo!" is better in the circumstances.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-28T19:11:56.336Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it's better to tie his miracles in Hogwarts to his miracles elsewhere. Consistent product branding.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-28T16:10:01.328Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hogwarts news seems to hit the Quibbler. I think Magical Britain is aware of HJPEV's antics.

Snapping his fingers, though, could have been a bit beneath the dignity of the institution, or something.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-28T19:10:43.079Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Saying Boo shows more dignity than snapping your fingers? Our dignity meters are uncorrelated.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-29T15:41:28.463Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If a child says 'boo' that's just childish. But snapping fingers is rude where I come from. It says that whomever's attention you are trying to get by snapping your fingers is below you.

That would be everyone in the room.

And so it might be below the dignity of the Wizengamot.

comment by kilobug · 2012-03-29T16:14:31.708Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

To me the "boo" issue is somehow a way for Harry to remind everyone he's still a child, to both unsettle them a bit more and make them more prone to forgive his impertinence.

Or maybe it's not that calculated. After all, Harry is still a child, as smart and rationalist as he is, and it just pleased him to say "boo" and he didn't think much about that part, not sure.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-03-30T03:48:26.287Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think I figured out how Dumbledore knew about Harry wanting to change the rules of Quiddich. Instead of reading student minds he used the cloak:

This is the Cloak of Invisibility [...] Your father lent it to me to study shortly before he died, and I confess that I have received much good use of it over the years.

(Emphasis mine. Well, of course, that he would use it is obvious and the note is not proof of anything, but that’s what triggered the idea. Also, it makes a lot of sense that Harry’s father would lend the cloak to Dumbledore for study.)

If he did this on the train platform (which would make sense as an opportunity to be mysterious to new students, or just to Harry) there’s a bit of other interesting stuff he might have heard. Whatever Draco cast (the description doesn’t quite match Quietus, and it was wordless or at least not heard by Harry), it probably doesn’t work for a cloaked guy near you, and certainly not Dumbledore if he really wanted to listen.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-30T05:58:44.807Z · score: 2 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Then maybe the cloaked Dumbledore is the one that told Harry to talk to Hermione.

Would that make the mysteries less complicated, or more?

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-30T07:44:55.339Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Then maybe the cloaked Dumbledore is the one that told Harry to talk to Hermione.

We already know it was McGonagall that told Harry to find Hermione, no? Where's the mystery?

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-30T08:21:02.176Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No? No, I suppose. Could you tell me how we know that?

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-30T08:34:05.291Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Chapter 6:

"I am unlikely ever to forget it. Thank you, Harry, that does make me feel better about entrusting you with certain things. Goodbye for now."

Harry turned to go, into the Leaky Cauldron and out toward the Muggle world.

As his hand touched the back door's handle, he heard a last whisper from behind him.

"Hermione Granger."

"What?" Harry said, his hand still on the door.

"Look for a first-year girl named Hermione Granger on the train to Hogwarts."

"Who is she?"

There was no answer, and when Harry turned around, McGonagall was gone.

Chapter 8:

"No," Hermione said. "Who told you about me?"

"Professor McGonagall and I believe I see why."

While reading, I never considered this to be a mystery, or even a question.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-30T17:49:32.390Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

To add another data point: When I read that, and after some subsequent events, I couldn't quite manage to ignore the fact that Quirrell was in the Leaky Cauldron at the time.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-30T09:10:25.168Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

While reading, I never considered this to be a mystery, or even a question.

Perhaps you should.

McGonagall said what she meant to say, and then she said goodbye. Also, McGonagall doesn't do the Batman Exit at any other point in the fic or the source.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-30T09:45:56.167Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

McGonagall said what she meant to say, and then she said goodbye.

The way I see it, she then had a last minute thought that the loneliness avid book-reader Harry mentioned and the loneliness she saw in avid book-reader Hermione might be healed if they met each other. But she didn't want to say anything more, because it'd be inappropriate to actually discuss another student to Harry.

Also, McGonagall doesn't do the Batman Exit at any other point in the fic or the source.

I think Eliezer just being silly with the dramatic-ness of the thing has a higher prior than Dumbledore going around invisible and playing ventriloquist to make him think that McGonagall told him to find Hermione -- especially when Dumbledore could have accomplished just as much by e.g. telling McGonagall to tell Harry to find Hermione. (And there's no other player at this stage, neither Quirrel, nor Snape, nor Lucius, that would know or care about Hermione at this point. It's unlikely that even Dumbledore knew anything about her beyond that she was a new Muggleborn student.)

But I don't think this is anything more complicated or mysterious than Minerva thinking that Harry & Hermione would be a good match for each other.

Now I do find it slightly more plausible that Dumbledore was following Harry around invisible during his King's Cross station visit -- but that's mostly because in that occasion Harry Potter was known to be in a known location and thus might have been a potential target for enemies and therefore require protection.

comment by Percent_Carbon · 2012-03-30T11:01:33.257Z · score: 2 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You are making excuses for your assumptions by piling on more assumptions. Chapter 6 is written in a way that does not make the speaker clear. That looks deliberate. We are given Harry's opinion of who said it, but he never confirms that with McGonagall. We've been in McGonagall's head quite a few times, and she has never thought back to playing match-maker.

You may believe that was McGonagall. You may be right. But when you say, "we already know," you are mistaken.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-30T11:16:25.921Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You are making excuses for your assumptions by piling on more assumptions.

You're misusing the word assumption. I don't *assume" that was McGonaggal's reason, I simply judged it to be the most likely and most natural explanation, given the facts in evidence. But yes, I did assume that my initial reading of the text and that Harry also wasn't being mistaken about who told him about Hermione. As I said, I didn't even realize some people saw this bit as a mystery. That's what true assumptions look like, I guess, when one doesn't even realize some people consider it a question.

You may believe that was McGonagall. You may be right. But when you say, "we already know," you are mistaken.

Okay. As I said, when I wrote that sentence, i didn't even realize there existed people who considered this a question. Discussing more about this would probably just be about what the word "knowledge" means.

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-30T22:58:44.993Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You would think that Harry, on hearing a mysterious voice, would mention something. Harry turned around expecting McGonagall, not expecting some random person. Harry heard McGonagall.

The author would also mention that the voice changed owners or sounded strange. It's clever writing to drop clues in plain sight to the reader. It's not clever writing for your story to omit sensory experiences that are immediately apparent to all the involved characters, but are not conveyed to the reader.

comment by Anubhav · 2012-03-31T02:20:31.738Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would be very surprised if there were a grand total of 0 voice-changing charms in existence.

And besides, it's a whisper. That's probably significant in some way.

comment by Benquo · 2012-03-31T02:43:02.211Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"SLYTHERIN!"

Seeing the look of horror on Harry Potter's face, Fred Weasley thought faster than he ever had in his life. In a single motion he whipped out his wand, whispered "Silencio!" and then "Changemyvoiceio!" and finally "Ventriliquo!"

"Just kidding!" said Fred Weasley. "GRYFFINDOR!"

comment by Xachariah · 2012-03-31T03:05:18.502Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You're multiplying hypothesises unnecessarily.

Every member of Hogwarts could actually be Dumbledore with polyjuice and a time turner. Remember we only know about the 6 hour limit from him (or people that could be him, or forged by him). There's no reason it couldn't be so, just like there's no reason that the person Harry was having a conversation with couldn't have changed out by a an invisible man with a 'changemyvoiceio' spell.

But it's way more reasonable to assume that people are who they think they are, and that the person that starts a conversation is the same one that finishes it.

comment by Alex_Altair · 2012-04-02T15:00:40.540Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Suddenly, Dumbledore EVERYWHERE.

comment by Pavitra · 2012-03-31T16:27:23.953Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Between this and the auncle comment by pedanterrific, it seems plausible that it was Quirrel who said that line.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-03-31T17:49:41.512Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's an ugly hypothesis, because so far Hermione's influence in Harry has been that of greatest opposition to Quirrel's influence... If Quirrel set it up so that they met, then this would have all been to his purpose since the beginning, setting up some future betrayal from Hermione from the start. (e.g make a paragon of goodness friends with Harry, so that he'll do anything to keep her from Azkaban, even if that means declaring war on magical Britain?)

Thankfully, I don't consider it very likely. I think this being McGonaggal who matched the two of them is still much more likely.

comment by Pavitra · 2012-04-05T12:58:34.243Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Alternatively, perhaps Quirrel thought Hermione would make a good straw foil to himself. Set up the main anti-Quirrel voice in Harry's life as someone who's conspicuously naive, and Harry will be more inclined to see Quirrel as the voice of reason rather than the voice of evil.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T12:14:15.323Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

“[...] Goodbye for now."

Harry turned to go, into the Leaky Cauldron and out toward the Muggle world.

As his hand touched the back door's handle, he heard a last whisper from behind him.

From this I understand that she said goodbye outside the LC (in the magic side), then he entered, presumably closed the front door, traversed the LC, reached the back door that leads to the muggle side, and then he heard a whisper behind him. Unless the distance between the front door and back door is very short, if it was McGonagall she had to have gone to the trouble of crossing that long distance and exit the front door in the time it took Harry to turn around, or disappearing outright, or casting her whisper across the distance. While not impossible, none of that is very much in character for her, and Harry was distracted enough at the time not to notice.

I think it’s supposed to be a Clue, or at least a Mysterious Foreshadowing Event (TM). I’m not saying it was Quirrell, but the fact that he was noted to be there earlier seems like a hint. Although Hermione seems to have been an opposite influence to Quirrell, as Aris mentions below, remember that Quirrell is a very high level player. Much of that might have been intended as part of a complex Xanatos gambit, which can have more than three steps if you have access to prophecy and time-travel. “Make goverment crush hero’s girlfriend, hero crushes government” was suggested as a possible Quirrell plot, you need only prepend a “Make hero love girl” step to justify him being the whisperer.

(But don’t anchor on that one, plots that involve time knotting have plenty of opportunity for weird facts being explained as someone’s intent.)

comment by clgroft · 2012-04-03T02:08:56.718Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

FWIW I agree with your interpretation.

To take it further: McGonagall accompanies Harry to Diagon Alley, while (on Dumbledore's orders) learning as much as possible about him. She attempts to report to Dumbledore, but is speechless; Dumbledore may or may not be reading her mind, I don't know. Before this, he was happy to delegate the responsibility, but after this meeting, he naturally decides he'd better investigate personally. Platform 9.75 is the next convenient opportunity.

Yes, that's a lot of detail, but I think the story bears it out.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-28T17:55:47.376Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Edit: While some points may remain useful for the sake of reference, this theory is disproved in Chapter 82, and Aberforth's death no longer lacks narrative purpose.

Who killed Narcissa?

Suspects:

  • Dumbledore

  • Bones

  • Lucius

  • Voldemort

  • Someone else

HJPEV tells us that this doesn't fit the headmaster's style. His style is curiously consistent.

There is one offhand remark, vengeance, and a practical cold-heartedness favoring Bones. "Why not Bones?" is only a little better than no argument at all.

Lucius is presented as a devoted family man. It would be inconsistent characterization for him to do this. That works for real life, but HP&tMoR is fiction, which must make sense.

Voldemort has reason not to do this, as it made a fool out of one of his tools and weakened his side by making them less willing to strike indiscriminately.

I have a 'someone else' theory: Aberforth killed Narcissa. Aberforth is dead, and meaningfully so due to Conservation of Detail. We know little else about him from HP&tMoR. Only that he didn't testify against his brother in the death of his sister, and his brother got quite stern when he died. Basically, this theory allows me to put a piece in a puzzle because it fits, not because the image on the piece makes me think it goes with the pieces next to the hole. Also, I get to write the following paragraph.

In a world where innocents are dying, where evil is winning and good people live in fear for their loved ones, one man had the courage to do what must be done. Aberforth Dumbledore is Narcissa's Immolator.

Aberfoth kills his enemy's wife, informs his brother of what he's done, and then dies either at his own hand or, less style-consistently, his brother's. He knows that his brother will take this atrocity/sacrifice and make the best of it, and in so doing he saved countless 'light side' family members.

He did it all to make up for killing his sister and allowing his brother to kind of take the blame. Maybe.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-03-29T01:25:34.673Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There is one offhand remark, vengeance, and a practical cold-heartedness favoring Bones. "Why not Bones?" is only a little better than no argument at all.

Also there is the fact (mentioned by someone else, sorry I forget who) that Narcissa's sister, Bellatrix, murdered Bones' brother. Edit: I am an idiot, you already mentioned this.

Bringing in Aberforth is a really interesting idea. Now that I think about it, even given the wizarding wars, it is remarkable that so many siblings have died or nearly died:

  • Albus/Aberforth

  • Bellatrix/Narcissa

  • Bones/her brother (who, exactly?)

  • Petunia/Lily

The last one is interesting with the role of survivor exchanged as well, since there is a hint that Petunia may have threatened suicide in order to convince Lily to brew the beauty potion.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2012-03-29T07:24:24.895Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also there is the fact (mentioned by someone else, sorry I forget who) that Narcissa's sister, Bellatrix, murdered Bones' brother.

Also, Bones is the one who speaks up to stop Dumbledore from "confessing" to killing Narcissa.

I think it's Bones. Too many coincidences otherwise.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-29T15:39:43.102Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Eponymuse, I think I covered that with the word 'vengeance.'

Those coincidences are otherwise satisfied by the fact that Bones' motives are served by Narcissa's Immolation, whoever did it. Given what we know about her, she'd act the same way if Dumbledore or Moody were Narcissa's Immolator. Still, it does make some narrative sense for her be the one.

I am not at all confident that Aberforth was involved. I would like it very much, though, if someone could add something more to or take something away from the rickety scaffold propping this theory up.

Aberforth may have died just to emphasize the harshness of the war in ways the source did not. If that's the case, I'm making a red herring out of a pointless bit of the set. However, there was nothing in the text that tells us that Aberforth was a tragic casualty of a meaningless war or anything of the sort. For now he looks, to me, like a gun on the mantle.

comment by Eponymuse · 2012-04-02T00:43:12.968Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sorry, apparently I'm illiterate.

Also, I guess "siblings getting killed" isn't much of a pattern. Given that people were getting killed in the war, and that people have siblings, you can count the people getting killed as siblings.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T05:00:31.726Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also there is the fact (mentioned by someone else, sorry I forget who) that Narcissa's sister, Bellatrix, murdered Bones' brother.

It was meee. Also there's the Bellatrix idea.

/shameless self-promotion

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-29T15:35:36.502Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, it's Amelia herself in Chapter 56.

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

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T17:11:54.089Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't get it. Why did you quote my first link?

comment by hairyfigment · 2012-03-31T07:54:00.274Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Voldemort has reason not to do this, as it made a fool out of one of his tools and weakened his side by making them less willing to strike indiscriminately.

I disagree. The last part is an inference, and I think we have more evidence that the killing prevented any peace between Lucius and Dumbledore in Voldemort's absence.

(I don't know how much stress to put on this, but we learn that Draco thinks the death had this effect in the same chapter where he tells us to understand strange plots by looking at the outcomes. Seems at least 90% certain the author meant us to suspect Voldemort when he wrote that.)

Now, Donny just pointed out that Voldemort could have faked his death entirely by, say, transfiguring some chickens and burning them. We also know that his treatment of Bellatrix ensured her devotion to him would not count as a happy memory and would thus continue in Azkaban. I think he intended this effect, meaning he planned for the possibility of seeming to lose. It sounds like he planned for that from the start.

Setting fire to a chicken back in Chapter 17 should increase P(Dumbledore did it, and is a sadist). But supposedly DD's weakness lies in doing evil "For the Greater Good," not in having fond memories of the time he burned a woman to death. Seems more likely to me that he suspects Voldemort faked a burned body (per Donny's guess), but can't say so because he has no convincing explanation for why V hasn't visibly acted since then. So he just taught Harry to doubt such appearances.

comment by Aharon · 2012-03-31T10:09:28.005Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Should you take into account the possibility that the chicken was just something transfigured before increasing the probability of Dumbledore being a Sadist?

comment by hairyfigment · 2012-03-31T16:28:47.939Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, for a qualitative change in various probabilities we can ask if Dumbledore has unpleasant associations with burning -- like a memory of something he wishes he didn't (have to) do, or of a sad time for his family. These would reduce the chance that he sees "setting fire to a chicken" as clever.

Seems like a sadistic DD who killed Narcissa would enjoy alluding to this event, in a way that would disturb Harry without making him suspect the purpose behind it. But that seems to me like a more complicated hypothesis than a Dumbledore who shares Donny's suspicions, given that DD looks like a 'bad guy' of a radically different kind.

comment by Aharon · 2012-04-06T14:23:51.290Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ok, I'm a bit lost here, I haven't dealt with probabilties for several years and would like to find out where I was wrong. Please correct my reasoning:

P(Dumbledore did it \bigcap Dumbledore is a Sadist) =P (Dumbledore did it) x P(Dumbledore is a Sadist)

P(Dumbledore did it)=1-P(Dumbledore didn't do it)

P(Dumbledore didn't do it)=P(Dumbledore didn't do it | He burned a real chicken) + P(Dumbledore didn't do it | He burned something transfigured to be a chicken).

Now, we don't know the probabilities P(He burned a real chicken) and P(He burned something transfigured to be a chicken), but it is something that has to be taken into account, isn't it?

@your answer In your answer, you assume he did it. If he didn't do it, he wouldn't neccessarily have negative associations with burning, only with the fact of being thought to have burned her.

comment by Aharon · 2012-04-06T13:59:31.794Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If I understand you correctly, your reasoning regarding unpleasant associations with burning already assumes that he did it.

If he didn't do it (and we don't know yet wether it was him or, for example, Amelia Bones), he wouldn't have unpleasant associations with the method of Narcissa's death, only with the fact that it was ascribed to him. So there is the possibility that he didn't do it, and doesn't have negative associations with burning that would be brought up when burning transfigured stones or tablecloth or whatever.

comment by orthonormal · 2012-03-31T18:45:56.246Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It has to be Dumbledore, by Conservation of Narrative Detail: There's no way that the conditions of Harry's promise to Draco would have been spelled out in such detail if learning the truth would be all it took to expiate it.

It's going to turn out that Dumbledore did intentionally burn an innocent Narcissa Malfoy to death, but for a justifiable reason (though it's going to be interesting to see what that could be), and thus Harry is going to have the impossible task of convincing Draco to let him out of the promise.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-31T21:11:19.187Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Other than my desire for Snape to kill Dumbledore, I don't see any reason why HJPEV should talk Draco into letting him out of the promise.

It is more important to the themes of the work for HJPEV to follow through on a promise so dramatically given, than to shirk it. Likewise, it would be important for Dumbledore to face the consequences as administered by HJPEV.

You have an interesting point about the promise. It is awfully detailed for something that would just be set aside. Still, it could have been so detailed just to allow a semi-light character like HJPEV to bond with a semi-dark character like Draco. Or maybe to allow the author to demonstrate the practice of thinking things through, through HJPEV. Or, as the Pedant One points out, something else entirely.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-31T19:31:52.942Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It has to be Dumbledore, by Conservation of Narrative Detail: There's no way that the conditions of Harry's promise to Draco would have been spelled out in such detail if learning the truth would be all it took to expiate it.

Always be aware that there may be a possibility you haven't thought of.

comment by MatthewBaker · 2012-03-29T04:43:06.506Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In a world where innocents are dying, where evil is winning and good people live in fear for their loved ones, one man had the courage to do what must be done. Aberforth Dumbledore is Narcissa's Immolator.

I like this possibility, it furthermore postulates that Albus was confused for Aberforth which is very likely IMO.

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-28T18:54:33.912Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Voldemort has reason not to do this, as it made a fool out of one of his tools and weakened his side by making them less willing to strike indiscriminately.

When do you think Narcissa died? There's, let's see, seventeen months between Draco's birth and Voldemort's "death", right? I had assumed it happened afterwards.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-29T15:44:56.319Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sorry to quote the same passage at you twice, but the best we have for dating this other than the necessary birth of Draco is in chapter 56.

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

I don't have a quote to back me, just now, but don't the common folk regard the death of Voldemort as the end of the war? (That's insensitive to Neville's parents, of course, but there it is.)

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-29T17:14:20.035Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I hadn't thought that was evidence either way, since apparently no one but the Death Eaters believed that Dumbledore actually did it.

comment by clgroft · 2012-03-30T03:31:35.027Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Interesting idea.

My pet theory for some time has been that Narcissa was a Horcrux, and that Dumbledore was destroying said Horcrux by the only means he could—Fiendfyre. Are there any obvious gaps?

(EDIT: pedantarrific below points one out.)

comment by pedanterrific · 2012-03-30T03:48:28.185Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes: why would Dumbledore allow McGonagall to think that Voldemort only had one Horcrux?

"Perhaps not, then," Dumbledore said after Minerva tried to explain. "I confess I had been hoping for something that would help in finding Voldemort's horcrux, wherever he may have hidden it. But..." The old wizard shrugged.

comment by clgroft · 2012-04-03T03:13:46.911Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is a very good point.

comment by loserthree · 2012-03-30T15:49:01.468Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Probably as much "not the headmaster's style" to kill someone who happened to be a Horcrux so directly instead of weaving a complex plot to something, something, something, and then something else.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-01T14:04:57.667Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Canon seems to imply that living horcrux anchors can be killed normally to destroy the horcrux. (Magic apparently can’t actually fix death, and a horcrux is destroyed when the anchor is “damaged beyond magic repair”.)

I’m not sure MoR retains that, but it would be a huge game-breaker if it didn’t, and one that Voldie would have seen and taken advantage of: You could protect your army from all but a few arcane dark spells by having your minions horcrux each-other. Note that the rare Fiendfyre is mentioned as necessary to destroy a horcrux, but the much more common Avada Kedavra is not—which suggests that, if it were to work like that, horcruxing would make you invulnerable even to AK. (In other words, AK is not mentioned as one of the few horcrux-destroying spells because it only works on living people, and living horcruxes can be just killed normally instead of requiring advanced methods.)

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-04-01T21:26:41.957Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Canon seems to imply that living horcrux anchors can be killed normally to destroy the horcrux

Canon gave us an example of two living horcruxes (Nagini and Harry Potter), and for the former the same sword of Gryffindor that had been used to destroy other horcruxes was used, while for the latter the weird stipulation that Voldemort had to kill Harry Potter himself was added.

The latter especially didn't make much sense... But either way I suggest we not be too sure of what is required to kill a living Horcrux in HPMoR.

comment by clgroft · 2012-04-03T03:17:36.423Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

While I'm no longer convinced of the Narcissa-was-a-Horcrux hypothesis, I don't buy this argument. Even if Voldie thinks of it (which, okay, that part's reasonable), it assumes that he needs an invincible army more than he needs to keep the idea of Horcruxes secret. This is wildly implausible. His non-invincible army was doing just fine.

Also, ArisKatsaris' comment.

comment by bogdanb · 2012-04-03T08:09:06.949Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I’m not 100% convinced myself, it just seems likely. I won’t argue about the sword (nobody ever tried without it), canon is too fuzzy about the details and Eliezer explicitly said that he makes them up as he goes along.

About Voldie, if Horcruxes worked that way at the very least he would have thought to make himself the Horcrux of someone else, like Bella, just to gain the benefits as a back-up (even though he had horcruxes, reviving is a chore, and at least in MoR he’d be prepared against accidental defeat). And if I was him, I’d have at least my top followers horcrux a small object that I can easily destroy and that I can keep on me at all times (he had easy access to basilisk venom and magic pouches), and Obliviate them about the process to keep the secret. Of course, we have no indication he didn’t do that, except that a lot of his followers were killed and Fiendfyre is still considered rare.

But I still think such an effect would be too powerful for MoR, it’d basically remove anything but Fiendfyre and Basilisk-venom from the offensive options. (And it seems that Salazar’s basilisk might no longer available, though characteristically cannon seems to suggest that breeding a basilisk is ridiculously easy, just forbidden.) Also, if living Horcruxes are not killable by normal means, that would suggest that mean they don’t die of old age, either, which again would not quite fit.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-03-28T04:02:54.726Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

My prediction doesn't seem to have paid off in anything but karma, so I'm wondering how Eliezer's clue about Harry