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Comment by astazha on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-18T21:58:21.101Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Lifting someone does work. Where is that energy coming from?

Comment by astazha on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-15T14:54:51.928Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

This is really the only sense in which I am disappointed in this story. One of the things that really got me excited about HPMOR was that the protagonist did not just shrug and accept that magic is magic, he sought to untangle how it's laws work, and the results were as bewildering as I imagine quantum must have been to scientists of the early 20th century. That is one of the puzzles that I really wanted to solve about this story, almost more than I wanted to know how the cloak and dagger mysteries resolved. It felt to me like we were promised that magic would be somehow logical, even if it did not initially appear so. It may in fact still be, but we have few answers about this fundamental and intriguing aspect of the universe. In short: HOW DOES IT WORK??? HOW?!? TELL ME!!!

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 121 · 2015-03-13T19:11:04.449Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I am among those with a sympathetic view of Snape. This was a satisfying chapter for me.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-13T18:28:13.513Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ideally he has been obliviated of that part of the conversation too. "the most important part of any secret is the knowledge that a secret exists", etc.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 118 · 2015-03-12T19:56:58.267Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's not nearly that simple. In a nutshell, their brains are very noticeably different from normal brains, the track record of treatment has been not only ineffective but sometimes counterproductive, and the problem is considered by many to be intractable. The studies done were not done well, and there have been some promising results with "decompression treatment" for juveniles who are mild to moderate in their psychopathy, and no other group. It would be a great boon to society if adult psychopaths could be rehabilitated, but no one knows how to do it.

I encourage you to peruse the whole thing if you have time, but here are some excerpts:

Putting these results together begins to paint a picture of the psychopathic brain as being markedly deficient in neural areas critical for three aspects of moral judgment: 1) the ability to recognize moral issues; 2) the ability to inhibit a response pending resolution of the moral issue; and 3) the ability to reach a decision about the moral issue. Along with several other researchers,149 we have demonstrated that each of these tasks recruits areas in the paralimbic system, and that those precise areas are the ones in which psychopaths have markedly reduced neural activity compared with non-psychopaths.

What does all this mean? First, it suggests that the story of psychopathy is largely limbic and paralimbic rather than prefrontal.150 This dovetails nicely with the central paradox of the psychopath: he is completely rational but morally insane. He is missing the moral core, a core that appears intimately involved with the paralimbic regions. If the key to psychopathy lies in these lower regions, then it is no mystery that the psychopath is able to recruit his higher functions to navigate the world. In fact, when he gives a moral response, it seems the psychopath must recruit frontal areas to mimic his dysfunctional paralimbic areas. That is, the psychopath must think about right and wrong while the rest of us feel it. He knows morality’s words but not its music.

The received dogma has been that psychopathy is untreatable, based on study after study that seemed to show that the behaviors of psychopaths could not be improved by any traditional, or even nontraditional, forms of therapy. Nothing seems to have worked—psychoanalysis, group therapy, client-centered therapy, psychodrama, psychosurgery, electroshock therapy or drug therapy153—creating a largely unshakable belief among most clinicians and academics, and certainly among lay people, that psychopathy is untreatable, though as we will discuss below few if any of these studies were properly controlled and designed.

Most talking therapies, at least, are aimed at patients who know, at one level or another, that they need help. Psychotherapy normally requires patients to participate actively in their own recovery. But psychopaths are not distressed; they typically do not feel they have any psychological or emotional problems, and are not only generally satisfied with themselves but see themselves as superior beings in a world of inferior ones.

Treatment not only seems not to work, there is evidence that some kinds of treatment make matters worse. In a famous 1991 study of incarcerated psychopaths about to be released from a therapeutic community, those who received group therapy actually had a higher violent recidivism rate than those who were not treated at all.

The state of the treatment literature has been described as “appalling.”

Second, and most importantly, the decompression treatment was highly effective in reducing both institutional misconduct and recidivism, but only if it was lengthy and only—and here is the less promising aspect of the study—for juveniles scoring in the low to moderate ranges of the PCL-YV (≤ 31)

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-10T23:16:32.092Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Harry has to some extent undone the work of Merlin. Merlin's interdict ensures that the most powerful magics slowly die out of the world as wizards and witches die with their secrets. Harry's scheme for immortality in the magical world puts a stop to the losses, and allows magical knowledge to be kept as it is re-discovered, however slowly. Previously the loss rate exceeded the discovery rate. I think that is about to be reversed. And the Interdict of Merlin was put in place to avoid a prophesied destruction of the world.

Ch. 80

And when (the legend continues) the Seers continued to foretell that not enough had yet been done to prevent the end of the world and its magic, then (the story goes) Merlin sacrificed his life, and his wizardry, and his time, to lay in force the Interdict of Merlin.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-10T23:08:46.116Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Unexplained recoveries are a real thing. Everyone just shrugs and celebrates, or maybe credits God or the ginko biloba. It's been Flamel all along.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 118 · 2015-03-09T22:59:43.344Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed, and add to all of those risks that Harry is an obliviation noob and he may not have gotten the wipe right. We don't know what Voldemort will or will not remember if he wakes.

Even in the medium case of possession by an amnesiac, V might figure out who he probably is, or get briefed by a servant who figures it out. The list of recently deceased epically powered wizards in the world is pretty short.

And Harry is being naive again:

On Harry's left hand, a tiny emerald glowed bright beneath the morning sun.

Not Heaven, not some faraway star, not a different place but a better person, I'll show you, someday I'll show you how to be happy -

The issue with psychopathy is not that these people are not happy, but that they are not capable of empathy. Not that it needs to be taught, but that the brain circuitry for empathy is not functional. Being raised in a kind versus abusive environment matters, but the difference that produces is between someone who is merely cold, selfish, manipulative, and calculating versus someone who is all of those things in a serial killer kind of way. Muggles have no therapy for it. Maybe magic does, but it isn't a question of teaching Quirrell to be happy. Quirrell will have to be changed into a person who is a capable of genuinely caring about people who are not him.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-07T14:18:43.793Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Also if Hermione wakes up as a copy of Harry:

4 - Harry and most of the HPMOR readers will be extremely dismayed at this development.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-07T14:10:39.900Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've argued before that HPMOR probably includes some kind of mind/body dualism. It occurs to me that an interesting experiment is about to be performed.

The body of Hermione Granger has been infused with the life and magic of Harry Potter. I assume for narrative reasons that Hermione will wake up as Hermione. But a copy of Harry could wake up in Hermione's body instead.

The mechanisms behind a person' life force, magic force, and mind are unknown to us. We don't also don't know whether or to what extent these aspects of a person are separate or connected. It should be assumed throughout this post that I am talking about the minds of magical people, and that muggles could be a separate case.

If Hermione wakes up as Hermione after being resurrected by Harry's life force and magic force I will conclude:

  1. A mind is probably not made up only of a person's life force and/or magic force. The only exception I can think of is if the mind runs on a substrate of your life and/or magic force but the Patronus 2.0 or resurrection process strip that information out of the projected life and magic, passing the substrate but not the pattern on it.

  2. Either the mind has at least something to do with the body OR magic will, upon resurrection, retrieve the mind that is supposed to go with the body OR Harry's intent is sufficient to establish what was supposed to happen here.

  3. Related to #1, atomic souls in the sense of "an animating force that contains a person's life, magic, and mind all in one non-physical object that persists beyond that person's death" would be ruled out. Life beyond death would not be ruled out, but souls could not be things with no smaller components if they exist at all.

  4. I would update to consider possibilities like "your mind is just your brain but magic stores it in other dimensions or on a magical substrate when required" more likely than I previously did.

If Hermione wakes up as a copy of Harry in Hermione's body I will conclude:

  1. Mind/body monism is almost certainly false. Your mind is not your brain in any sense; the brain is at best an interface that the mind uses or a home that it resides in. Monism could only be rescued if magic turned Hermione's brain into Harry's brain during the resurrection process.

  2. Your mind either is inseparable from your life and/or magic or it is a pattern on a life/magic substrate that is transmitted with that subtrate through the Patronus 2.0 resurrection process.

  3. I will update to consider atomic souls as described above to be more likely than I previously did.

Separately, in a world with mind/body monism, I wonder whether regeneration as a magic that always transfigures you back into yourself would prevent learning. Probably not. Magic tends to have the intended effect rather than a strictly mechanistic one.

(edited for formatting and grammar)

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-07T11:31:53.563Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, and that make sense. There's also that he may be one of the last remaining repositories for lost knowledge.

But we've seen internal monologue from Harry where he thinks about the intrinsic value of Voldemort's life and the values of the children's children's children and so on. It's incredibly naive. Voldemort is an immortal psychopath who is ridiculously overpowered and very difficult to contain. Taking that guy out is entirely in sync with valuing life in general. I'm not a fan of the death penalty, but his mere existence is threatening enough that I would make an exception with no hesitation and not feel bad about it ever.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-07T11:05:02.406Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Also:

"Has your confederacy deduced who I really am?" The words were spoken with deceptive mildness.

"Yes, in fact. Now -"

Pure magic, pure power crashed into the room like a flash of lightning, like a thunderclap echoing about her ears that deafened her other senses, the papers on her desk blown aside not by any conjured wind but by the sheer raw force of arcane might.

Then the power subsided, leaving only Hermione Granger's death certificates drifting down through the air to the floor.

"I am David Monroe, who fought Voldemort," the man said, still in mild tones. "Heed my words. The boy cannot be allowed to continue in this state of mind.

Though we don't know for sure what McGonagal and the rest of the "confederacy" really believes.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-07T10:59:07.025Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Would you quote me where Harry used obliviate in Hogwarts on someone that would have tripped wards? I don't recall that.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-06T20:48:59.349Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

and since we expect them to be quite extensive, it's very unlikely he never triggered one.

I do not expect this. Time-tuners are fine. Invisibility cloaks are fine. Draco's torture hex was fine. The only thing I can think of that Harry did that might have triggered a ward without permissions was bring in the transfigured unicorn. And that isn't conclusive at all. It was transfigured, and as far as I know the Defense Professor can't just bring magical creatures in to Hogwarts either.

I don't think it's been tested.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-06T20:34:25.307Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

No magic burst at death would be one prediction to check, though not conclusive. You could test it with Horcrux 2.0, though no one has had the opportunity to do that before now. The fact that Voldemort has expressed uncertainty about whether he is capable of surviving dementors, and that he is relying upon escaping from Quirrel's body in time to survive dementors points in the direction of him believing that a dementor might be capable of taking out him and his whole horcrux network in one shot.

None of that is conclusive, but it's all suggestive and supports the popular version of what dementors do.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-05T22:18:57.374Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I'm thinking separate systems but there's a lot we don't know about how this works and why the discrepancies are there.

Actually, we aren't sure that Harry doesn't have Defense Professor permissions, are we?

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-05T21:02:28.464Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's a good link, thanks. I'm warm to compatibilism. I think I've confused the conversation by using the wrong terms, though. Instead of pointing at a lack of free will I should have pointed at the complete lack of causality, which is more constraining. You can read EY on it here.

My interpretation of this would be that space-time would be a fixed object that exists in it's entirety. In the same sense that you could take a cross sectional scan of a sneaker and play it from rear to front, there would be a logical consistency to how the slides transformed as you progressed through the shoe, but it would not make any sense to say that one part caused another. In this analogy, 4-dimensional space-time is the shoe, and the cross section is 3-dimensional space. We play it from back to front, watching a movie of the universe, but the entire universe from beginning to end already existed; we're just looking at a slide of it at a time. Everything is consistent as the cross section passes through, but there's no causality in play, it's just an object being viewed in sequential slices. Much like EY's modified game of Life with time-travel.

This actually seems pretty unsatisfying because there is a strong impression that the world is being run mostly on causality in the normal direction, with reverse causality coming in occasionally. This seems to me to work better with the iterating model.

Regarding the time for trials and iterations, I would refer to simulation as an analogy. "World time" is happening in the simulation, and this is what the characters are aware of. From within the simulated world, how much "Meta time" has elapsed outside of the simulation (i.e. the time stream that the computer is in), or how many failed attempts have been dumped from RAM is not very relevant in the sense that these facts don't have any impact on "the world" (the simulated one) and are in fact probably unknowable to its inhabitants unless access to that meta-information has been somehow granted. To a denizen of the world, the fact that we switched from world version 721.213 to world version 779.344 last Tuesday at 9:41am is unknowable, the transition seamless, the lost attempts erased from world time even though they still occurred in meta time.

I'm not saying HPMOR is a simulated world. That's just a model I'm using to think about timelines being destroyed and recalculating.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-05T20:10:16.606Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'd read it as "Defense Professor" being a role with a package of permissions being assigned to a user. The map shows usernames, so to speak, not what roles or permissions they've been assigned in some other portion of the security system.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-05T20:05:55.991Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm skeptical. If dementors really do destroy your soul then having a horcrux may not be helpful against them. I'm a fan of taking V's wand down to the pit, in fact.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-05T03:10:33.575Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So, I don't know how these stable time loops are supposed to work. My working model is that they function by trial and error, that time iterates through a universe until it encounters paradox, at which point it returns to pre-paradox, inserts some change into the world through prophecy or whatever, and tries again. This continues until a stable timeline is found, with an unknown number of them being discarded/destroyed. It appears from within that things worked on the first pass, but they did not. Our viewpoint never follows into one of those dead ends, but they exist(ed).

If the world really works that way, Harry would be potentially throwing his victory away by forcing a paradox. Time would have to reset to before the paradox and insert a change into the world to ensure a different outcome. He may or not be victorious in that new timeline. Harry dying was already a high probability and it would certainly resolve things to Time's satisfaction. His best chance of securing his immediate past as part of the real and continuing world would be to make sure this timeline remains self-consistent.

(Plus, he's prophesied to destroy the stars and creating a time-paradox seems like a really obvious possible way to do that.)

The only other possibility I can think of for these apparently stable timelines is that the whole universe is pre-determined and no one has any free will at all. I read something from EY about universes with time travel and he seemed to be in support of this second possibility. Any other possibilities for how this would work?

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T23:09:33.238Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ch. 107

"Life-eaterss cannot desstroy me, I think," hissed Professor Quirrell. "And I will ssimply abandon thiss body if they approach too closse."

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-04T23:05:39.144Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm a fan of this.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-04T23:03:50.055Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Warning Lucius would risk paradox, particularly since Mr. Counsel was probably Lucius.

"I might think more kindly of such neglect, if you had pursued my agenda by other means... Mr. Counsel. Yet I return to find - what? A country conquered in my name?" The high voice climbed higher. "No! I find you playing ordinary politics in the Wizengamot! I find your brothers still abandoned in Azkaban! It is a disappointment to me... I confess myself disappointed... You thought I was gone, the Dark Mark dead, and you forsook my purpose. Is that right, Mr. Counsel?"

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-04T22:59:33.378Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I was thinking the same thing. If I were Harry I would call Moody and McGonagall to the headmistress' office and spill everything. As a side-note, I think Moody would rather appreciate Voldemort being taken down by stuporfy.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-04T22:56:41.322Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Snape isn't, because he can't apparate from Hogwarts. Amusingly, Snape may interpret his exclusion from the mass sacrifice as a deliberate "kindness" from the Dark Lord.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T22:05:24.447Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I missed when writing this that there was the curse preventing V from killing H. But he still could have just let the centaur kill him. If the curse also stopped him from allowing the death of H then he still could have tried to get the Unbreakable Vow from Harry before making shit hit the fan.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T19:37:38.520Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I'm with everyone else on the wand thing. It would have been simple enough to have him drop it. One narrative explanation for getting the wand back into Harry's hand would have been V asking for a demonstration of PT after Harry told him of it. Another would be to throw away the simplest timeline thing and let time-turned Harry come to the rescue with that solution, wand, cloak, etc. in hand. Though I don't know why V left him an hour on the time-turner either.

But:

My real confusion starts way before all of this. You have the idiot-child of prophesied destruction, and what you do not do is back him into a corner where he may decide to do something desperate. Making Harry feel threatened was a big risk to take with that prophecy.

V transforms into a super scary villain, putting Harry under massive duress, the exact kind of thing that would possibly cause him to destroy the world through time paradox or some other unknown power. It would have made more sense to bind him with an unbreakable vow long before then, to maintain the pretense of friendship throughout. So he guessed you're Voldemort, fine. Come clean, acknowledge what your plan to rule Britain was, and that you have been planning to place Harry as the ruler this time. Have that discussion. Come clean about the existence of a prophecy. Tell him you intend to resurrect Hermione. That you need to know what secret power he has so you can help him avoid the inadvertent destruction of the entire universe. Remind him of the centaur prophecy. Get him on your side that he is a serious risk to everyone. Brief the Death Eaters ahead of time, have a few that Harry doesn't know present out of uniform for a fake ritual of divination that supposedly requires him to be completely nude and holding no objects. At the agreed upon time in the ritual they all just AK him and Harry dies with his eyes wide going "Wait, WHAT?" and thinking you were his friend until the last.

V broadcasts his betrayal so far in advance, and that seems downright unsafe given what is at stake and what a giant question mark this boy is. You underestimate a 1st year, sure. But you don't underestimate a 1st year who is prophesied to destroy the stars and you, who you know has unknown powers.

I'm not hating though, EY. You're writing the story, not me. I know it's taken a lot of effort and I've enjoyed it immensely and I thank you for taking all of this time to write what has essentially been a free novel for all of us to consume and form a community around. I don't usually even think that hard about the fiction I read, but your story invites me to do so. It's been a great experience and I look forward to the finish.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T19:09:56.994Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Voldemort had the ability fly free from his body. The last sentence you quote is Harry thinking that he mustn't allow that to happen, not that V doesn't have the capability. If V goes free then he must be defeated again; Harry is avoiding that outcome.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T23:22:54.243Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

So... Quirrel told McGonagal that he was David Munroe, and it was implied with Madam Bones. It looks like David Munroe was killed in a battle with Voldemort, ending that noble and most ancient line, which has now been avenged by Hermione destroying Voldemort with her magic Girl-Who-Lived powers.

Are we going to get the Noble House of Granger? Does the House of Potter lose its noble status since David Munroe was apparently not previously dead to be avenged by Harry? Will they both be noble because the Wizengamot doesn't know what to do with the ambiguity?

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T23:15:24.464Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I didn't meant to retract the whole thing. Sorry, I'm new to the site and there doesn't appear to be an undo.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T23:13:22.019Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ah yes, thanks.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T23:10:38.674Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Imagine the the myths that will come up around this. "Man, if you try to use magic to kill a kid magic will fuck you up, I don't care who you are."

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T23:03:44.436Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

But it was transfigured by Harry's magic. There does not appear to have been a resonance from it, though, which surprised me.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T21:01:40.854Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

His irrational certainty is explained by the buried memories of Tom Riddle. I imagine Dumbledore steered him towards Hermione.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T20:58:20.088Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed. This result wasn't my first guess about the nature of it. I'd assumed that it probably affected V most strongly regardless.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T20:43:25.878Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

There's a parallel between Dumbledore and Reddit's approach to the Ch. 113 solution: put a plethora of plots into motion, you only need one to work out.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T20:29:26.913Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This sounds less safe because you'd need to wake him up to torture him into insanity. If you wanted the multiple layers you could torture the obliviated version into insanity, but I think I prefer the transfiguration. I'd even consider making it permanent with the Stone of Transfiguration, but this would result in a lot of lost knowledge and it's also possible that the horcrux network would consider it a death.

ETA: I rather liked the wand-in-a-dementor-pit idea.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-02T19:24:14.300Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

They all showed up when the Dark Mark was called, only one of them has a transfigured mask replica, and no Death Eaters are likely to be allies to Harry since Voldemort can apparently just will them into seven smoldering pieces at any time.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-02T19:21:58.511Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

fanfiction.net

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T02:12:02.198Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Ch. 28:

Harry's knuckles had gone white on his wand by the time he stopped trying to Transfigure the air in front of his wand into a paperclip. It wouldn't have been safe to Transfigure the paperclip into gas, of course, but Harry didn't see any reason why it would be unsafe the other way around. It just wasn't supposed to be possible. But why not? Air was as real a substance as anything else...

Well, maybe that limitation did make sense. Air was disorganized, all the molecules constantly changing their relation to each other. Maybe you couldn't impose a new form on substance unless the substance was staying still long enough for you to master it, even though the atoms in solids were also constantly vibrating all the time...

This isn't conclusive, though. That failed attempt is before he sorts out partial transfiguration. However:

Harry may only use capabilities the story has already mentioned; he cannot develop wordless wandless Legilimency in the next 60 seconds. Of course, Harry may find more clever ways to use abilities he has already been established to have.

It would need to be fairly clear, I think, that Harry was re-purposing an old technique and not doing something new.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-28T19:51:11.967Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The Lucius factor is really interesting to me. What will his calculus be between his son, his word to Harry, and the expected dominance of the Dark Lord Voldemort?

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-28T13:00:33.710Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, no one has actually consulted Hermione on whether she would like to be immortal. She might take it poorly even without factoring in her disapproval of the dark arts used to accomplish it. Adding that in, I don't think her reaction is going to be any version of "THIS IS AWESOME!"

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-28T12:55:38.654Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

EY could fairly express that frustration at unexpected and seemingly inconsistent reader reactions whether we're in the mirror or not. 111 was less believable than 110 to me, so I see where he's coming from there. But whether we're in the mirror is a question of what level the author is playing us at, and it's a separate thing from this. That comment isn't a Word of God about whether we're in the mirror. Those chapters were both written to signal that we were in the mirror. I don't know if that's a true hint or a deception, but EY can be surprised by the differential reactions regardless. That doesn't seem to be evidence either way.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-27T20:13:01.317Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I though this initially as well, but I'm not so sure. Bellatrix is not very powerful anymore after the dementors ate most of her magic. Flamel is a pretty serious target. It could have been some other Death Eater, or someone else entirely.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-27T20:09:54.670Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I would not assume that Voldemort doesn't know about it. He watched Harry do it during the temper tantrum in the woods just before the centaur attack, and there was also the Azkaban escape. Quirrel would not have missed that such a hole should be beyond a first year's magic, and Harry straight up told him that it was something that would ID Harry. Azkaban alone would not have been enough to tell him what exactly had been done, though he might guess, but it would certainly prime him to be paying close attention when Harry started silently slicing a bunch of trees in half.

Ch. 58:

A brief and terrible magic lashed out from the Defense Professor's wand, scouring the hole in the wall, scarring the huge chunk of metal that lay in the room's midst; as Harry had requested, saying that the method he'd used might identify him.

Ch. 72:

The Severing Charm wouldn't bring down a tree, so he'd started partially Transfiguring cross-sections through the wood. It hadn't let out what was inside him, bringing down a small circle of trees hadn't made him feel any better...

"Well," the man in the black cloak said thoughtfully, "you needed to fly into a rage and have a loud tantrum in the Forbidden Forest in the middle of the night, and I needed to go just outside your ability to detect me and keep watch.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-27T14:06:31.700Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

VM said he broke into Azkaban to find out where his wand was; there's also the flesh of the servant thing. Using her Dark Mark is a secondary benefit.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-27T14:03:46.090Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Reduce, re-use, recycle.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-27T04:12:05.030Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Why would he switch from Parseltongue to English and back to Parseltongue?

If Voldemort can lie in Parseltongue, then it's a ruse to conceal that fact. This has the dual effect of causing Harry to accept the literal truth of what VM says in Parseltongue without question, as well as persuading Harry to not even attempt to tell any direct lies to VM in Parseltongue. Those are both strong advantages manufactured from thin air, and VM is clever enough to spin such a deception.

And "snakes can't lie", really? That's a pretty odd inversion of colloquialisms like "speaking with a forked tongue." Ssuddenly I feel like ssomeone is trying to ssell me a bridge.

Inability to lie in Parseltongue has been established clearly enough that it would be very odd for it to be broken now.

Has it? Harry performed one simple test at a time when Voldemort expected that test to be performed, and we don't know that the results weren't influenced by other magic. We haven't seen it tested with occlumency. We certainly haven't seen it tested by a perfect occlumens. Even if we had seen those results it wouldn't be conclusive about what the most powerful wizard alive, who also knows the secrets of Salazar, is capable of.

I think for meta reasons that I'm probably wrong, but based only on in-world evidence I don't see any reason at all to take Voldemort's word that Parseltongue is a language of truth.

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-27T00:46:32.418Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Ch. 108

"What did you do with Bellatrix once she was out?"

"Ssent her to a peaceful place to recover sstrength," Professor Quirrell said. A cold smile. "I had a use remaining for her, or rather a certain portion of her, and on my future plans I shall not answer questions."

Ch. 112

For a second Harry's mind couldn't process what he was seeing, and then he saw that Voldemort was holding a human arm, severed near the shoulder; it seemed too thin, that arm.

The Dark Lord pressed his wand to the flesh above the severed arm's elbow, and the fingers twitched, twitched like they were alive; by dim moonlight Harry saw a darker mark appear on that flesh, just above the elbow.

Is everyone else making this interpretation?

Comment by astazha on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-27T00:18:37.892Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

And Voldemort is going to be so paternally proud he won't even get pissed off about it.