Posts

Unlimited Pomodoro Works: My Scheduling System 2013-05-13T00:36:14.487Z · score: 11 (12 votes)
Reinforcement and Short-Term Rewards as Anti-Akratic 2013-04-13T20:47:29.405Z · score: 24 (25 votes)

Comments

Comment by intrism on August 2013 Media Thread · 2013-08-28T04:31:40.391Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Just so you're aware, it's fairly easy to dump the script files from Umineko if you'd prefer to read it that way. There's also an auto mode, which is irritatingly slow, and a skip mode, which I used to skim through the art after reading the script file.

You might prefer the story of the Higurashi visual novels to the anime, and the English release has a configurable (and pleasantly fast) auto mode.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 24, chapter 95 · 2013-07-18T14:10:01.419Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW
  1. The real Quirinus Quirrell was most likely lobotomized long ago, to become the Defense Professor's "zombie mode."
  2. The going theory is that Monroe and Voldemort were the same person, and that the real Monroe did not return from Albania. Usually, this is because the Defense Professor wanted to manipulate Wizarding Britain to concentrate power in the Ministry, and then put himself at the head of it.
  3. I strongly doubt that the Defense Professor intends to die with his body. The real Quirinus Quirrell, however, probably will.
Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-12T13:07:17.867Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You could probably make Arresto Momentum relatively safe by having it choose between the caster's frame of reference and the earth's (at the caster's position) based on whichever results in the spell doing less work. It's still dangerous, obviously casting it on someone else's moving vehicle would be a bad move, but it avoids making anything go "zoom" in a privileged frame of reference.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-12T00:47:10.020Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Arresto Momentum itself looks very safe on first view, and nobody warns about, say, casting it while inside a moving vehicle

Every single casting of Arresto Momentum ever was performed on a moving planet, which resulted in no issues. It's possible that casting from inside of a moving vehicle to outside of it might result in problems, but I strongly doubt that it'll do anything which would seem bizarre from the caster's frame of reference.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-10T14:49:59.430Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think Rita Skeeter is good evidence. It would not do for Quirrell to have Harry notice an unexpected, strange burst of magic when he's trying to quietly kill someone; Quirrell would have found a way to suppress it, if it had existed. (It's also possible that her Animagi transformation suppressed the effect.) The absence of the burst of magic in Harry's parents' deaths, on the other hand, has led me to an inverse suspicion to yours...

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-10T02:02:43.770Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It is notoriously difficult to trail someone who is wearing the True Cloak of Invisibility, with added anti-detection charms because apparently the Deathly Hallow just wasn't enough.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-10T01:51:50.682Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Or, Harry is summarizing a wide variety of observations on the topic of puberty in a pithy and relatively un-embarrassing fashion. We don't know Harry's actual basis for claiming that he hasn't yet begun puberty, but his comments on the subject are just a little too flippant to be the complete truth.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-09T22:50:03.218Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

The problem is that "bypassing the Interdict" is not, on its own, useful; it's only valuable if Harry happens to have written notes on powerful magic spells that are censored by the Interdict. Apparently, there's a loophole allowing Interdict-restricted material to exist (wizards can keep notes for themselves, implied by chapter 23), but it seems unlikely that Harry would be able to get ahold of much of it. (Possible exception: Bacon's diary? Quirrell didn't think Bacon found much of interest, but he could be wrong.)

Related: since Muggle physics can apparently contribute to powerful magics (see: partial transfiguration) would the Interdict apply if Harry ever wrote a physics book? What would the Interdict do if a Muggle happened to accidentally write (presumably as fiction) the details of a powerful magic spell? Can Muggles read Interdict-restricted works?

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-09T14:08:18.973Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW
  1. Time-Turners are in frequent and authorized use by a fair number of students, as well as Dumbledore himself and possibly other staff members. Any such ward would be constantly triggering, for no particularly important reason. Even if one exists, I can't imagine that Dumbledore pays much attention to it.

  2. Dumbledore is only looking for Hermione. There's no reason for him to be much interested in Harry's magical devices, beyond proving that they aren't Hermione. The portkey was only mentioned because it was a part of Dumbledore's body search; the Time-Turner, presumably, wasn't on his body.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-08T22:32:08.235Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Inferi appear to be common knowledge; they're cited in casual contexts in chapters 70 and 78, by Lavender Brown and the narrator respectively.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-08T19:51:35.217Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Harry can return to the present via the long route, if necessary. It doesn't appear that anyone bothered to check for extra Harries in the morning, so he wouldn't need to do anything more exotic than hide in the washroom before the previous Harry iteration got there in order to fool the Professors.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-08T19:48:49.168Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Remember that Harry had just been hastily awoken long before his accustomed time. It's not unreasonable for Harry to be behaving a little bit awkwardly, and it certainly isn't enough of a tell for Dumbledore to draw any conclusions.

What does seem to be a bit of a tell is his strange behavior around the ring; he seems to deliberately create tension before the ring is verified in order to, apparently, play for sympathy afterwards.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-08T19:43:41.809Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Remember that Harry only needed to keep Hermione in the ring until after his stuff was searched; it strikes me as improbable that Dumbledore will demand to search the gem again. (Of course, having Hermione's body magically appear would still be a bit awkward, but the losing-a-finger part was the only one which I would expect to truly scare Harry.)

I still don't think the ring theory is correct, though. Harry has no reason to bring Hermione's body with him to the meeting; at best, it is an unnecessary risk. There's a Time-Turner theory elsewhere in the thread that seems far more elegant to me.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-08T00:38:33.172Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

(Ch. 94) Wow. That discussion we got after the meeting was the first legitimately silly theory we've heard from Harry, and I'm astonished that the Professor humored him. Hopefully this is a symptom of sleep deprivation.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-06T15:42:46.398Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

If I had to guess, I'd say Quirrell. He's a person of very many identities; there's no reason that the first one necessarily was male. The only problem with that is that Dumbledore still seems to think Voldemort was Tom Riddle (see Chapter 79) but as Voldemort is said to have changed twice in his career as a Dark Lord (after murdering the House of Monroe, and after the last Monroe vanished) it's possible that he was replaced and Dumbledore didn't notice.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-06T15:38:23.124Z · score: 18 (18 votes) · LW · GW

Her "reason and maturity," in canon, is basically playing the role of a responsible young girl. Rowling seems to think this is impressive; obviously, Eliezer does not.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-06T04:27:23.261Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

Of course, the attacker could also have chosen to kill Draco slowly in order for the ward circumventions to go unnoticed...

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-06T03:58:44.450Z · score: 33 (35 votes) · LW · GW

"Ward" almost certainly refers to the spells McGonagall cast to protect herself and Harry from public view.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-06T02:42:04.196Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

The House Points are more of a way to formalize Minerva eating crow for all the students that broke the rules and acted when the situation required it. And, of course, most of the points talk was really about extending them to more students, which was extremely necessary for Harry. The Neville talk was probably the least justified, but there is a shard of importance in that Harry had to forgive and defend Neville during it.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T15:23:42.923Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

My estimate of Trelawney in Methods has, for quite some time, been that she may or may not be good at formal Divination, but that she is a terrible teacher and an excellent seer, and that Dumbledore keeps her around primarily for the latter reason.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T14:17:07.372Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Or the Killing Curse destroys the soul (as does the Dementor's Kiss), whereas bleeding to death merely releases it from the body.

McGonagall tells Harry that the Killing Curse "strikes at the soul, severing it from the body".

Well, looks like that objection is dealt with.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T13:13:12.476Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That hypothesis is one that I considered. However, Harry can see every other magical effect just fine; he has no problem with the Avada Kedavra or any of Voldemort's special effects. Of course, if the memory is real, it must have been stored magically, and "enough magic to record magical memories but not enough to see the special effects" sounds like a very specific level of magic. The AK rebound, if it actually happened, may also indicate that Harry had enough magic for his resonance with Quirrell.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T05:01:51.192Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I might accept that if it weren't for the fact that I have plenty of other good reasons to suspect that particular memory. This piece of evidence, like any other, isn't conclusive. But it certainly helps. (Also, all of your qualifiers incur some complexity penalty, particularly "types of wizards.")

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T04:55:29.071Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

The "soulsplosion," in Hermione's death, was extremely hard to miss. But it was notably absent in a previous wizarding death we supposedly witnessed: Harry's mother's death. This has provided some unexpected confirmatory evidence for an old pet theory of mine: that Harry's memory of his parents' death was faked. I can only assume someone else brought a similar theory up around here before, so I won't go into too much detail.

If it were a false memory, though, why would the soulsplosion be missing? Well, we get an answer for that in Chapter 86: some things can't be adequately faked in false memories. If whoever created the false memory had included a false wizard's death, Harry might have wondered what exactly the strange light show was; if he had researched it, he might have realized that what he remembered was faked. But Harry had never seen a wizard die before; an omitted soulsplosion would therefore arouse no suspicions, whereas a faked one might. Hence there was none.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T03:57:47.502Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Quirrell can't prove it, but as it happens, the Headmaster has recently heard a true prophecy with (likely) very, very similar wording. Since Quirrell didn't hear more than a few words of the other one, the fact that the two are so like each other would be strong evidence that Quirrell's prophecy is also genuine.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T01:00:50.199Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Lifetimes" could also be literal (though this is a bit dubious considering that it's from McGonagall's POV) - perhaps Harry managed to reanimate Hermione for multiple brief periods? Or, perhaps Harry experimented with animating, killing, or reanimating other, smaller creatures?

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-05T00:18:41.842Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, she did both of those things. And, incidentally, it's the false memories bit that would be impossible in Methods - Hermione, of course, did not spend years to give her parents what are apparently years worth of memories.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-04T19:51:25.233Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

It means that it's confirmed that Quirrell wants people to think he's secretly David Monroe. I'd be wary of drawing any other conclusions, though it does seem more likely that Quirrell pretended to be Monroe during the war.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-04T18:22:36.136Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

James Potter was not a David Cameron-level celebrity before his death; even if he were a celebrity, I strongly doubt that one could understand his reasoning processes from only what was reported in the Daily Prophet.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-04T17:14:40.556Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

It's possible that he would reject it, yes, but I don't think it's that easy to compare it to Fawkes' song. If memory serves, phoenix songs actually change one's mood; the stars wouldn't do that, just comfort him. And, even if Harry does reject it, it's unlikely to cost Quirrell anything to make the offer.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-04T16:15:27.344Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Harry didn't freeze her. He cooled her to 5° Celsius, equivalent to 41° Fahrenheit and well above the freezing point.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-04T16:00:41.623Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

That's fair enough, but I just thought of one more thing that Quirrell could do that he's choosing not to... Why isn't Quirrell doing the star thing again, or at least offering to do so?

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-04T15:03:25.855Z · score: 27 (27 votes) · LW · GW

Or, perhaps, Madam Pomfrey is taking them to see the body, since it is in her medical ward.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-04T15:01:36.653Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

These chapters caused me to update more in favor of Quirrell being genuinely scared. However, there are still some things that confuse me. First, Quirrell's not citing the prophecy in his favor, even though McGonagall was the one who paired him with Trelawney in the first place, and there's absolutely nothing incriminating in hearing a prophecy under those circumstances. Second, well, this is a problem with a murder-based solution, and I would expect Quirrell to take it unless (for some magical, personal, or prophetic reason) he finds death preferable to a world in which Harry is dead.

As far as Harry destroying the world goes, I'm most worried about Fred and George. In canon, they become quite skilled at spell creation in later books, and it's suggested that they experiment in earlier books; they're probably not especially good yet, but they might know enough information (or have enough books) to be dangerous already.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92 · 2013-07-04T13:55:03.597Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Probably because Quirrell is insanely good at being a Defense Professor. After a long string of incompetents, I might be willing to overlook a little "obviously evil" if it meant getting the best Defense Professor in a century.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-04T04:14:50.702Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, speaking of shrapnel... If one were to be hit by shrapnel from an object that had been Transfigured into a smaller one, would the shrapnel explode troll-style when the Transfiguration is Finite-d? If so, this seems like an useful effect...

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-03T19:01:07.663Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This isn't so. Quirrell was off campus when Dumbledore used the map. The only suggestion that it eliminates, assuming that Quirrell wasn't using his Potterdar at the time, is the idea that Harry is persistently labeled Tom Riddle.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-03T16:18:52.833Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I really wish that were so, but it just doesn't make much sense to me. Draco left because of both politics and security concerns; while Hermione's death may make the politics a little bit easier, the first death at Hogwarts in fifty years isn't going to soothe Lucius' nerves any.

I suppose that sending Draco back to Hogwarts might be a way for Lucius to signal that he was behind the attack on Hermione, but I think Lucius cares about Draco's safety rather more than signaling. He also has many other, less dangerous ways to signal that; I wouldn't be surprised if he forgave Harry's debt, for instance.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-03T02:36:55.317Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think Harry wears the cloak often enough for the Weasleys to notice it. Even then, a missing Harry could be caused by many things other than the Cloak - perhaps the Weasleys just missed him, for instance, or he could be out to lunch with Quirrell. They'd have to watch him as he put the Cloak on for it to be notable.

... Although, hmm... If memory serves, the interaction of Cloak and Map is discussed in canon. Does anyone remember how that worked?

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-03T02:29:40.659Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

I decided to enumerate all the map errors I could think of.

Name errors: any error in which someone's name is persistently not what you'd expect.

  • Quirrell being named Defense Professor.
  • Anyone (probably Quirrell, maybe Harry) being named Tom Riddle.
  • Quirrell or Harry being named Heir of Slytherin.

Map errors: any error in which the map itself is drawn incorrectly, or in a way you wouldn't expect.

  • The Chamber of Secrets entrance being drawn on the map if/when Quirrell accesses it.
  • Quirrell being drawn inside a wall if/when Quirrell accesses the Chamber of Secrets.
  • If Quirrell can become a spirit, Quirrell being drawn inside a wall when he is in fact inside a wall.
  • Harry being drawn in strange and incorrect places when he's inside of his trunk.

Name persistence errors: any error in which someone changes names.

  • Harry changing names while using his "dark side."
  • Quirrell switching between Quirinus Quirrell and "Defense Professor," possibly when Quirrell "rests."
  • Quirrell being labeled Salazar Slytherin, particularly when he accesses wards.
  • Harry being labeled something more commonly associated with Professor Quirrell when he uses his Potterdar.

Multiple dot errors: any error in which one person is in multiple places.

  • If the Dark Lord can become disembodied (perhaps while Quirrell is "resting"), separate "Quirinus Quirrell" and "Defense Professor" dots in different locations.
  • Any student with a Time-Turner showing up twice on the map.
Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-02T23:37:14.803Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm actually not sure why they assumed the troll would be a distraction. The 3rd floor corridor is important, but IIRC it's not kept continuously guarded; the troll fiasco won't draw any guards away from their posts. Perhaps the thinking is that the troll might cause the professors to ignore the corridor wards, but I doubt they would be quite that stupid. And, of course, roving bands of professors searching for the troll on high security alert couldn't possibly be good for intruders, even if they're not specifically looking for them. Certainly, attempting a troll "distraction" seems far inferior to drugging Filch and sneaking in at 3AM.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-02T20:31:10.239Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore and Harry don't actually do anything very different from each other in that scene. They're both blaming themselves instead of McGonagall. What's different is in how they express that. Harry is very clear about who he is blaming, and why; he tells McGonagall exactly what she did wrong when she asks to be blamed, although he still does not in fact blame her. Dumbledore, on the other hand, offers only comfort; he doesn't even tell McGonagall that he's going to blame himself, although she can very well guess.

It's also worth noting that Harry chooses an interesting fault to explain to Professor McGonagall. He doesn't suggest that, like Quirrell, she should have checked on all the high-value targets before leaving the room. Instead, he told her to trust her students more. This is something that McGonagall could actually do; it's much better suited to her than the more complicated, strategic options Harry would suggest for himself or Quirrell. So, although it's definitely not explicitly said this way, it's pretty easy to read Harry as giving advice here, which Dumbledore notably fails to do.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-02T16:18:20.589Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That solution has the disadvantage of requiring the students to move through the halls, which is extremely hazardous. The Great Hall has its own risks, but the seventh year armies should be sufficient to secure it.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-02T14:13:24.211Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I agree that his parents are not necessarily the perfect solution to this problem. However, you must consider that there is no one else to turn to, unless Draco returns or Harry brings Hermione back. What other plan do you think has a higher probability of success?

(Note that bringing Harry's parents to Hogwarts is also foreshadowed; Dumbledore tells Harry that he will try to have them see him at Hogwarts all the way back in Chapter 62, and yet they apparently haven't visited yet this Easter break.)

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-02T12:37:11.830Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It might be dangerous; Dumbledore, however, will blame his own absence for the danger and rationalize that nothing will happen with him there. He kept on overrating Hogwarts' security after the last incident; this one seems no different. Anyways, as McGonagall put it, "What now, Albus? If he will not listen to me, then who?"

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-02T03:28:47.573Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

He doesn't necessarily learn anything regarding the Restricted Section in his conversation with Harry; however, immediately after his conversation is probably his best chance to have McGonagall listen to him about the Restricted Section.

Dumbledore and McGonagall don't really have very many options to cheer Harry up. It's suggested that they already tried other students. Regarding friends, his closest would be McGonagall and Quirrell, neither of whom worked, Hermione and Draco, who are both inaccessible for obvious reasons, and his parents. Of all of these, the last seem like the best option. This is particularly so considering that Harry would very likely want to shield his parents from his present emotions in a way that is not true of Dumbledore and McGonagall. We can debate how well it would work, but short of explicitly using magic on Harry (which might not even be possible, now that he's an Occlumens) it's the only thing McGonagall and Dumbledore could do that would have any kind of chance of success.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-02T02:52:11.863Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

It's possible that Quirrell himself intends to be Harry's source of information, but so far he's only been manifestly unhelpful. Basically every response he gave was a brush-off; he didn't even name his spell of cursed fire. When directly given an opportunity to suggest spells or rituals of his own choosing ("There's some magics I mean to learn"), he wasted it. It's possible that he did so out of concern that he was being listened in on, which would also explain his choice not to switch to Parseltongue; still, it certainly doesn't seem like he's trying to point Harry in any particular direction.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-02T02:30:09.392Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect Quirrell's closing statements to McGonagall at the end of this chapter are not quite what they seem. I'm thinking of two in particular: the first, that he wants Harry kept away from the Restricted Section, and the second, that he wants McGonagall and Dumbledore to try to restore Harry's mood by any means necessary.

The trick to the first one is that he hasn't mentioned sealing off a certain other means of discovering arcane secrets at Hogwarts. Admittedly, Quirrell's suggested that it's probably blocked off anyways. But it might not be; even if the basilisk itself is gone, there might still be useful books. So it looks as though Quirrell is trying to push Harry into finding the Chamber of Secrets. There could be any number of reasons why - though the fact that it's a secret, hidden place at least partially exempt from the Hogwarts wards seems like a good place to start.

The trick to the second one is that McGonagall's way of cheering Harry up is actually going to be quite predictable: she and Dumbledore are likely going to try bringing Harry's parents to Hogwarts. Naturally, this opens up a whole world of possibilities for Quirrell; he could use them as hostages, kill them, Imperius them, or do any number of other nasty things if necessary. Or, if he's interested in understanding Harry better, he could use Legilimency to learn all about his background.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T15:09:58.145Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Harry may not be in the best PR position right now, but he's a wizard of Noble House and great renown. Killing Harry would work much, much more poorly for Lucius than killing a Mudblood that everyone believes escaped Azkaban on technicalities and dirty tricks. And, y'know... their whole thing would appear to outsiders to be an elementary-school romance, so it's not unreasonable for someone in Lucius' position to assume that Harry will get over it before he's in a position of causing any serious damage.

Comment by intrism on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T14:48:37.050Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Honestly, I think you're the one overestimating the Wizarding public. The arguments from the wards aren't bad ones, necessarily, but they're technical ones. They won't play well. At best, they'll turn into conspiracy theories. Most of the public is going to look at the scene and see Lucius triumphant and Dumbledore with a black eye, and make the obvious conclusion.

It will still be basically the same in front of the Wizengamot. Having Hermione killed under his own protection means trouble for Dumbledore - it would be the second major security incident at Hogwarts in less than a month, and the first student killed in fifty years. It's not an impossible black eye for Dumbledore to overcome, and he could surely take it if necessary. But... Dumbledore doesn't have a compelling reason to take the hit. Framing Lucius is not an especially good motive, particularly considering that half of the Wizengamot cares not one whit about Hermione Granger's life or death. And, if he did want her dead, he could have avoided the fallout by sending her home over Spring Break with a snake in her trunk.

The technical argument... is still a bit above the Wizengamot. They might understand, "well, because of the wards this should have been impossible," but this will translate to "Lucius Malfoy found a way to trick Dumbledore's magic" and not "Hmm. Should Lucius Malfoy and his hired help really be in the same weight class as the Founders' wards?"

Finally, you're assuming that Lucius wants to clear his name. I don't think this makes very much sense, either. Sure, it's bad PR in many circles, but Lucius already has a horrible reputation, and I don't expect he'll be terribly concerned. On the other hand, killing a student right under Dumbledore's nose would be an excellent show of force, and it would impress people that he cares rather more about. It might be exactly what he needs, in fact - I imagine his credibility took quite a hit when Hermione Granger managed to escape punishment for an attempted assassination.