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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 7

7 Post author: Unnamed 14 January 2011 06:49AM

Update: Discussion has moved on to a new thread.

The load more comments links are getting annoying (at least if you're not logged in), so it's time for a new Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread.  We're also approaching the traditional 500-comment mark, but I think that hidden comments provide more appropriate joints to carve these threads at.  So as of chapter 67, this is the place to share your thoughts about Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter fanfic.

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.  The fanfiction.net author page is the central author-controlled HPMOR clearinghouse with links to the RSS feed, pdf version, TV Tropes pages, fan art, and more, and AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author's Notes.

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Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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

Comments (495)

Comment author: Unnamed 25 August 2011 02:20:53AM 0 points [-]

Eliezer has posted a new chapter (the 73rd) and I've started a new discussion thread (the 8th).

Comment author: [deleted] 13 August 2011 11:11:58AM *  10 points [-]

I just figured out a possible bit of twisty logic while listening to the podcast that I didn't notice on first read through.

I've spoilered this entire thing even though I probably don't need to, just so that you can can figure it out yourself If you want. I think it explains Dumbledore's otherwise incomprehensible behavior in chapter 17.

Cebsrffbe Qhzoyrqber frg hc gur ragver guvat jvgu Uneel'f Nhag, naq ur ncbybtvmrq sbe znavchyngvat guvatf va gung snfuvba. Naq Uneel qvqa'g haqrefgnaq vg orpnhfr Qhzoyrqber vf n ovg qvfgenpgvat.

Puncgre 1: "Naljnl," Crghavn fnvq, ure ibvpr fznyy, "fur tnir va. Fur gbyq zr vg jnf qnatrebhf, naq V fnvq V qvqa'g pner nal zber, naq V qenax guvf cbgvba naq V jnf fvpx sbe jrrxf, ohg jura V tbg orggre zl fxva pyrnerq hc naq V svanyyl svyyrq bhg naq... V jnf ornhgvshy, crbcyr jrer avpr gb zr," ure ibvpr oebxr, "naq nsgre gung V pbhyqa'g ungr zl fvfgre nal zber, rfcrpvnyyl jura V yrnearq jung ure zntvp oebhtug ure va gur raq -"

Cbvag 1: Uneel'f Nhag Crghavn qenax n cbgvba sebz Yvyl Cbggre gung znqr ure fvpx sbe jrrxf, naq gura zber punevfzngvp.

Puncgre 17: "Juvpu ubyqf n greevoyr frperg. N frperg jubfr eriryngvba pbhyq cebir fb qvfnfgebhf gung V zhfg nfx lbh gb fjrne - naq V qb erdhver lbh gb fjrne vg frevbhfyl, Uneel, jungrire lbh znl guvax bs nyy guvf - arire gb gryy nalbar be nalguvat ryfr."

Uneel pbafvqrerq uvf zbgure'f svsgu-lrne Cbgvbaf grkgobbx, juvpu, nccneragyl, uryq n greevoyr frperg.

Gur ceboyrz jnf gung Uneel qvq gnxr gung bnguf yvxr gung irel frevbhfyl. Nal ibj jnf na Haoernxnoyr Ibj vs znqr ol gur evtug fbeg bs crefba.

"Qb lbh frr gurfr abgrf," Qhzoyrqber fnvq va n ibvpr fb ybj vg jnf nyzbfg n juvfcre, "jevggra va gur znetvaf bs gur obbx?"

Uneel fdhvagrq fyvtugyl. Gur lryybjvat cntrf frrzrq gb or qrfpevovat fbzrguvat pnyyrq n cbgvba bs rntyr'f fcyraqbe, znal bs gur vaterqvragf orvat vgrzf gung Uneel qvqa'g erpbtavmr ng nyy naq jubfr anzrf qvqa'g nccrne gb qrevir sebz Ratyvfu. Fpenjyrq va gur znetva jnf n unaqjevggra naabgngvba fnlvat, V jbaqre jung jbhyq unccra vs lbh hfrq Gurfgeny oybbq urer vafgrnq bs oyhroreevrf? naq vzzrqvngryl orarngu jnf n ercyl va qvssrerag unaqjevgvat, Lbh'q trg fvpx sbe jrrxf naq znlor qvr.

"V frr gurz," fnvq Uneel. "Jung nobhg gurz?"

Qhzoyrqber cbvagrq gb gur frpbaq fpenjy. "Gur barf va guvf unaqjevgvat," ur fnvq, fgvyy va gung ybj ibvpr, "jrer jevggra ol lbhe zbgure. Naq gur barf va guvf unaqjevgvat," zbivat uvf svatre gb vaqvpngr gur svefg fpenjy, "jrer jevggra ol zr. V jbhyq ghea zlfrys vaivfvoyr naq farnx vagb ure qbez ebbz juvyr fur jnf fyrrcvat. Yvyl gubhtug bar bs ure sevraqf jnf jevgvat gurz naq gurl unq gur zbfg nznmvat svtugf."

Cbvag 2: Ba svefg ernqvat, V gubhtug "Bu ybbx, n Q&Q ersrerapr naq Qhzoyrqber vf whfg orvat enaqbz."

Ohg npghnyyl, Rntyr'f fcyraqbe vf n fcryy juvpu obbfgf punevfzn. Naq vg'f vzcyvrq gung Gurfgeny oybbq jbhyq punatr vg gb znxr lbh fvpx sbe jrrxf.


Puncgre 17: Nu, lrf. V'z fbeel gb fnl, Uneel, gung V nz erfcbafvoyr sbe iveghnyyl rirelguvat onq gung unf rire unccrarq gb lbh. V xabj gung guvf jvyy cebonoyl znxr lbh irel natel."

"Lrf, V'z irel natel!" fnvq Uneel. "Teee!"

Uneel'f Vagreany Pevgvp cebzcgyl njneqrq uvz gur Nyy-Gvzr Njneq sbe gur Jbefg Npgvat va gur Uvfgbel bs Rire.

"Naq V whfg jnagrq lbh gb xabj," Qhzoyrqber fnvq, "V jnagrq gb gryy lbh nf rneyl nf cbffvoyr, va pnfr fbzrguvat unccraf gb bar bs hf yngre, gung V nz gehyl, gehyl fbeel. Sbe rirelguvat gung unf nyernql unccrarq, naq rirelguvat gung jvyy."

Zbvfgher tyvfgrarq va gur byq jvmneq'f rlrf.

Cbvag 3: Cebsrffbe Qhzoyrqber grnef urer vaqvpngr ur srryf crefbanyyl erfcbafvoyr sbe Uneel'f ragver fvghngvba. Gung qbrfa'g znxr nal frafr, hayrff ur npghnyyl unq qbar fbzrguvat .

Comment author: MatthewBaker 11 August 2011 09:37:57PM -1 points [-]

"Because you are a responsible git, just like your dad." Sirius sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. It was still a bit long, but much neater than Harry remembered. "Coming back the way you did," his godfather said after a moment, "you have a lot of advantages. But it's not everything. Maybe it's easier to feel like it's your fault than admit you can't control everything."

Harry thought about that for a moment. There was a certain… perverse logic to that, he supposed. At the same time, he felt bands around his heart, bands he didn't even realize were there, slowly loosen a bit. "When did you get so wise?" Harry asked.

Sirius shrugged. "I nicked your mum's notes every chance I got."

Harry laughed at that, feeling a little better. Just like bloody Sirius to slip a joke in to break the tension. After a moment, he looked up at his godfather. "My dad was 'responsible'?" Harry asked in a small voice, remembering Snape's memory of James publicly taunting him.

"Yes," Sirius replied. "Good thing too. Maybe, anyway." He looked away, going suddenly serious. "When I was bloody pissed at Snape, I set him up to walk in on Moony on a full moon. James found out and decked me, then caught up to him and Stunned the tosser right before he opened the door." Harry noticed the man's fists clenching. "Of course, with what you told me, if he'd snuffed it, Voldemort would never have heard the prophecy and your parents would still be alive."

Harry's eyes narrowed. "Remus would never have forgiven you if he hadn't," he snapped.

Sirius sighed. "It seemed appropriate at the time. Remus' books had been scattered during a scuffle our seventh year and I saw Snape picking up a letter from his parents before McGonagall sorted everyone out. A week later, Death Eaters attacked their hideout and burned it to the ground. I thought it was too big a coincidence to ignore and arranged a little payback for the Lupins."

"That's quite a stretch," Harry said, still a little annoyed, even though it was years ago and Remus had obviously forgiven him.

Sirius shrugged. "They'd gone into hiding over a year before, but the letter might have held clues as to their location and I never said Snape was stupid." He shook his head. "It couldn't have been a coincidence."

"Even so, I don't think Remus would have accepted that," Harry said.

"Probably not," Sirius agreed. "It took a month before he'd even talk to me after what did happen. But I think what Snape did later with that prophecy means I was right."

Harry scowled. He didn't think this argument was worth continuing. They'd probably never know.

Sirius seemed to agree, because he changed the subject; sort of. "So what did the greasy bastard do after you got him sacked?" His lips curled into a rather evil leer.

Harry grimaced. "I don't know. He was gone by the time Dumbledore made the announcement." He frowned. "If he really was accepting money from Lucius to spy on me first year, he may have gone to the Malfoys for help."

"Better to have him clearly on the opposite side then," Sirius said with a grim smile and a satisfied nod. "Harder for him to play us off against each other."

Harry needs to hear this common fanon about his father and snape... right now he thinks his fathers a douchebag not a crazy kid that grew into a responsible adult who saved the lives of so many.

Comment author: Raw_Power 10 August 2011 12:54:02PM 5 points [-]

I have hesitated before posting this, "is it appropriate", "is it relevant", I wondered. But this siteis deeply concerned with morality, and the application of rationality threin. Hence, I submit the following, knowing that I am not alone in the predicament I describe, and that people who are in my current state are among the greatest obstacles we have to overcome in our way to saving humanity from the UFAI. Here is my report:

I have been rereading this fic aas of late. I am dismayed to find out that the distance between me and Rational!Harry has grown immensely. While on one hand this has allowed me to see shades of meaning and interaction which I couldn't see when I was utterly immersed in Harry's perspective, including Harry's less obvious mistakes, on the other, I find myself unable to care about him and his goals as much as he used to. Maybe I've been tainted by my disastrous inteactions with some charismatic but ultimately idiotic social manipulators, or maybe I've read too much Robert Greene and my "Humans Are Flowed" notions are sliding dangerously towards "Humans Are Bastards AND Idiots AND Hopeless".

The reason I haven't embraced this attitude is that I agree with Harry's humanism on principle, I just dn't think I could possibly be assed into the hard work and grave perils he faces. Lately all I've been caring about was the preservation of my own existance, wealth, mental integrity, and freedoms, specifically freedom of speech. I feel like I've been corrupted, and emptied. Some people I know have always been like that, and happy about it, but I'm not. But I don't care enough to try to leave.

So, tell me, you ragtang bunch of raging humanists, where shall I find a light that will move me to stand up again, and endure the constant wear of disappointment, withouth ever letting it stop me, in my walk towards... what, exactly? Prevention of existential risk? Right now I wouldn't care if we all died...

Comment author: Raemon 10 August 2011 02:11:49PM 1 point [-]

The things that inspire people vary wildly. We (I) can't answer this without knowing more about you (possibly more than would make sense to share in a public space). Are there particular things that have made you feel like humans are hopeless?

There's a narrow subset of people who are inspired by the all-encompassing vision of a utopian future that Harry desires. I think most people are inspired by more specific things - addressing issues of racism that they have particular exposure, addressing specific issues of government corruption that they care about, etc.

Are there things you care about that are more specific than "fix the entire world?"

Comment author: Raw_Power 10 August 2011 05:44:14PM *  2 points [-]

Eh, how can I put this... I used to think I could make huge improvements in that sense through the invention, perfection, production, and distribution of useful machines. Hence why I decided to become an engineer rather than an MD as my parents intended: I thought I might help more people the first way rather than the second. But then I find out about the FAI, the ultimate machine, which, in sixty years or so (the time I thought it would take me to cause any actual change), would make all my efforts as a drop into into the ocean... And I'm cmpletely useless at math higher than Calcuculs II, and hate coding, so I'm also irrelevant in making the AI, so I feel like whatever I'd be doing until the Singularity would be... passing the time, basically.

Plus I thoght I'd eventually need politics, social manipulation, etc. if I wanted to neutralize those on whoe toes I would inevitably step. But the more I learn bout that stuff, the less I feel like people are worth the sacrifice, and ALSO the less worthy and capable I see myself of those tastks, since my ideals hav been tested against real-life situations, and I have failed to reach my own standards, time and again.

I mean, I know I have a very strong Neutral Good inclination, but in practice that usually translates into "fuzzy-maximizing" rather than "utility-maximizing". I need to feel I'm useful right now, immediate gratification, otherwise... are any of you familiar with the Rage Comic meaning of "Yao Ming"? Yeah, that tends to be my reaction to stuff s simple to "rise in the morning, take a shower, go to class, take notes, work at home, do it again tomorrow".

Oh, and the "you're putting too muc wieght on your shoulders" argument does not work for me: if you tell me I'm getting ahead of myslef and nobody needs me and nothing really matters I'll just go in a basement and dedicate the rest of my life to jerking off or something.

The reason I'm sharing all this here is that, from what I can tell, these traits aren't so unique, Akrasia seems to be a very typical problem here, and (frustrated) humanism and altruism seem fairly common, so I'm guessing my case is ot so exceptional, except maybe in how dramtic I'm being about it, but I'm a Large Ham, that's something I just can't switch off.

Comment author: Eneasz 26 August 2011 07:42:50PM 1 point [-]

We're a HIGHLY specialized society. For several dozen people with just the right skills, capabilities, and motivations to get together and dedicate their efforts to creating FAI requires a support society that numbers in the hundreds of thousands. People to sell them goods, people to build their houses, people to patrol their streets, people to keep their governments running. People to transport their goods to the store, people to have built them in the first place, people to grow their food. People to mine the ore and smelt it into steel and shape it into tractors and harvesters to grow that food in the first place. People working at all levels of all the corporations in between, making sure things keep flowing smoothly - accountants, clerks, managers, salesmen, janitors. And all those people are also supporting each other at the same time. And in between being productive, people need to rest and recharge, which requires entertainers, and maybe inventors to create new devices which make life easier so they can spend less time washing their dishes and more time being productive or enjoying their time.

You are contributing directly even if you are only a cog in this vast machine. It is a wondrous machine of humanity that makes the creation of FAI possible, and just because you are not in the group putting the lines of code together doesn't mean you are unimportant to the final product.

Comment author: Raw_Power 27 August 2011 04:01:25AM 2 points [-]

Thanks ;_; Then this means I should dedicate all of my efforts to be the best engineer I can. I may only play the role of a speechless extra, but like Brad (Glee's Pianist), I'll still give it my all! (Also, my life has gotten ''much'' better as of late, and new opportunities for advancement both academic and social have opened up... Germany, here I come!)

Comment author: hairyfigment 16 August 2011 05:06:31AM 2 points [-]

Don't know if this has helped me yet, but I'll ask anyway: what would you want to do a few subjective years or centuries after the Singularity?

If you find an answer then by your assumptions you have something to live for. This at least gives working for survival some added value.

Comment author: [deleted] 10 August 2011 01:45:39PM 1 point [-]

If you only care about reclaiming a superficial feeling of humanism, I find listening to Carl Sagan's old recordings helps. But somehow I feel that's not what you're looking for.

Lately all I've been caring about was the preservation of my own [existence], wealth, mental integrity, and freedoms, specifically freedom of speech. I feel like I've been corrupted, and emptied. Some people I know have always been like that, and happy about it, but I'm not. But I don't care enough to try to leave.

To be perfectly honest, I feel like this most of the time, too. Humans are bastards, but only because the bounds on their rationality tend to be rather tight. Humans are idiots, more or less. But I think the crux of the problem is whether or not humans are really hopeless.

We have some evidence, in the litany of heroic spirits, that every once in a while some humans can rise above being bastards and idiots. In my own view, the short-term purpose of humanism is to make that happen more frequently. Who better to start with than oneself...

Comment author: TuviaDulin 09 August 2011 01:50:54PM -1 points [-]

Is this thread the right place for asking when I can expect the next chapter by?

Just finished the existing chapters. I may have some fan art on the way.

Comment author: Tesseract 19 July 2011 01:20:55AM 5 points [-]

The Atlantic put up a piece today using HP:MoR as the take-off point for discussing fanfiction and fan communities.

Comment author: TobyBartels 28 August 2011 09:38:35PM 0 points [-]

That was nicer than Time magazine's recent piece fanfic, which focussed on the example of Harry Potter (often stuff) on FanFiction.net) but never mentioned the most reviewed example.

Comment author: Pringlescan 06 July 2011 10:21:04PM -2 points [-]

Also I hate to be one of those people screaming, 'UPDATE UPDATE' but does anyone who has been following this longer then me have any clue when the next update is coming? There's nothing in the author's notes and there has been over a month long delay from the last posting.

Comment author: MatthewBaker 05 August 2011 07:44:28PM *  1 point [-]

Eliezer works better when we leave him alone in a room and say that hes doing a good job. Which he is ^^

Comment author: Circusfacialdisc 04 July 2011 01:56:36AM 4 points [-]

I remember the author's comments some time ago to the effect that he was surprised that many readers (myself included) weren't immediately sure that Quirrell is Voldemort. Has anyone considered that this might be a trans-forth-wall version of Bystander Effect?

The (presumably omniscient) narrator isn't pointing out that Quirrell is Voldemort. The (presumably well informed) Professor Dumbledore has disclosed no such suspicions to the reader. (Presumably cunning and logical) Rationalist!Harry hasn't made any connections between the sense of doom, harmonic magic interaction, and the constant encouragement to be evil.

Thus, any doubts the reader has about Quirrell's identity can be easily rationalized away by the apparent lack of concern from the (apparently) intelligent, fictional characters.

Comment author: TobyBartels 28 August 2011 09:37:15PM 1 point [-]

The narrator isn't omniscient; he only tells us things from certain characters' points of view. I agree that it is suspcious that neither Dumbledore nor Harry think of this. But in fact neither has any reason to suspect that Voldemort is still alive, while we (having read the original series) do. (Also, Dumbledore was really bad about this sort of thing in canon.)

Comment author: Pringlescan 03 July 2011 03:43:25AM *  1 point [-]

I'm sorry in advance if someone already has mentioned these ideas but I'm not sorting through 1000+ comments to find out

Quirrel/Voldemorts ultimate goal with battlemagic is to teach the students of Hogwarts how to be more useful soldiers in an army to be lead by Harry. The purpose of the three armies is obviously a continuation of this plan, with the goal of teaching harry to be a good general, giving Harry a platform to develop a cult of personality around himself (an important thing to have for any aspiring Dark Lord), and finding and developing lieutenants for Harry. However I'm not sure yet as to Voldemort's plan for the army and Harry as its leader.

Harry could either be magically dominated and used as a figurehead OR Harry could be puppet-mastered into leading the army of his own volition. One likely scenario is to raise the Death Eaters again forcing Harry to raise his army in opposition. Then he has harry publicly defeat voldemort, followed by an immediate introduction of an outside existential threat, probably war with magical Russia or something, I will use Russia as a placeholder for this existential threat. This forces harry to pardon and enlist the death eaters and conquer magical Russia to end the war. During the war with Russia some sort of system of political thought is introduced which requires them to conquer even more countries, like how Communism advocated World Wide Revolution. Perhaps based upon science and rationality governing instead of tradition, with Harry as a de facto benevolent Dictator.

Upon victory against Russia they enlist their fallen foes and with the new Political system as an excuse continue to spark wars to conquest other nations until they rule the magical world and therefore the muggle world as well, after all no one will be able to stop them from imperiusing anyone they damn well want to.

tldr - Step 1 - Turn Hogwarts students into useful soldiers via teaching battle magic, Step 2 - Manipulate Harry into raising an army, Step 3 - Control Harry via magic/manipulation and use the army to conquer the world.

Comment author: wedrifid 02 September 2011 04:44:03AM 0 points [-]

probably war with magical Russia or something

War with Russia? Because that usually turns out well!

Comment author: MatthewBaker 05 August 2011 07:43:48PM 1 point [-]

I dont think the story will be that long, but if you write that as an alternate ending ill read it.

Comment author: JamesAndrix 01 July 2011 09:11:05PM 1 point [-]

Hypothesis: Quirrell is positioning Harry to be forced to figure out how to dissolve the wards at Hogwarts. (or at least that's the branch of the Xanatos pileup we're on.)

Comment author: MatthewBaker 15 June 2011 04:09:02AM *  4 points [-]

In fact this is a fabulous fic, but it's kinda like you grabbed a terry pratchet novel stuck it in a blender with a Steven Hawkins essay and a book on the theory of string theory, turned the blender on and then spiked the mixture with LSD. In a good way, i think.

I love this review

Comment author: Duncan 31 May 2011 12:47:59AM *  4 points [-]

I am having trouble scanning the HPMoR thread for topics I'm interested in due to both it's length and the lack of a hierarchical organization by topic. I would appreciate any help with this problem since I do not want to make comments that are simple duplicates of previous comments I failed to notice. With that in mind, is there a discussion forum or some method to scan the HPMoR discussion thread that doesn't involve a lot of effort? I have not found organizing comments by points to be useful in this respect.

Edit: I'm new and this is my 1st comment. I've read a lot of the sequences, but I don't know my way around yet. It's quite possible I'm missing a lot about how things work here.

Comment author: Unnamed 31 May 2011 04:14:44AM 2 points [-]

You're right, the MOR discussion threads aren't very well organized for that. They work well enough for having an ongoing discussion, but not so well as an archive of the discussion that's already happened.

If you have a particular subject in mind and you want to see what's been posted about it, the simplest thing is probably to search the thread(s) for relevant keywords, including the chapter number. You could either use ctrl+f on each one of the threads that might contain relevant discussion, or the site's search function.

Don't worry so much about duplicating previous comments. It's worth doing a quick search to try to avoid it, but when it happens it's not so bad (especially with threads like these ones).

If you don't have a particular subject in mind and you just want to skim the discussion to see what's interesting, I don't have anything better to suggest than sorting by karma points.

Comment author: TobyBartels 29 May 2011 10:00:37AM 4 points [-]

I like this line:

"I do not give you, but loan you, my cloak, unto Hermione Jean Granger. Protect her well."

At first you think that he's talking to Hermione!

Comment author: FAWS 28 May 2011 10:41:23PM *  3 points [-]

Chapter 72:

Did whatever Snape was planning for Rianne to do already happen?

There is his weird clap in the great hall, and his smile after chiding Jaime Astorga. Apparently he warned Jaime and others that morning, perhaps he anticipated them reacting in this particular way and be beaten by the girls? Why? And it seems the fight was fairly close run, so he shouldn't have been able to predict the result unless he just got lucky (or relied on future information). Perhaps he planned for either outcome, but what is he even trying to accomplish?

And how does Rianne fit into everything? Did she do something to influence Jaime or cast the jinx on Hermione (why?), or is her part still to come? And why does she need to be memory-charmed? The stakes don't seem to be high enough to require something like that, unless this whole plot is part of something greater (if it was just a high cost of his allies (either group) learning about it why should he take such a risk in the first place?).

Comment author: Danylo 29 May 2011 05:26:45AM *  6 points [-]

Well, Snape himself was bullied, and earlier in the story he asked HP to stop a bully, so I'm guessing he orchestrated the fight to raise the reputation of SPEW and marginalize the bullies. It was mentioned that a first year wouldn't be able to break the protego spell, so perhaps he helped out?

This would, of course, mean that he delivered the letters and/or orchestrated the "prophecy" as well.

As a side note - it's been so long since the last update that it took me maybe 1/4th of the chapter to fully understand what's going on. Perhaps I should have skimmed 71 before reading.

Final side note - Eliezer, what do you think of ASOIAF?

FFSN - On the whole 'forgetting the story' theme - who was Rianne?

Comment author: hairyfigment 30 May 2011 10:18:15PM 2 points [-]

Rianne appeared in the previous chapter when Snape offered her fifty Galleons for something that, much to her dismay, was probably not sex.

As for Snape's goal, maybe the Head of Slytherin House has his own, in-character plan to restore Slytherin's reputation?

Comment author: rdb 05 June 2011 07:00:34AM *  3 points [-]

Is the Half-Blood, Legilimens, Snape sending a message to Quirrell with the SPHEW setup? Harry's use of Slytherin messaging and Margaret Bulstrode's Time-turner declare a Slytherin confederate, if Snape has looked. [Snape requested the check of Harry's time turner after Azkaban (para 62.99)]

"a successful Legilimens was extremely rare, rarer than a perfect Occlumens, because almost no one had enough mental discipline." (Dumbledore, Snape, Mr Bester, presumably Quirrel)

"Harry noticed that he was confused. And his threat estimate of the Head of House Slytherin shot up astronomically."

[Rianne being memory-charmed would be required for information security if she was part of the SPHEW setup using Bulstrode's time-turner, perhaps also in tuning Jaime Astorga's fall to Daphne's Most Ancient Blade.

If Hermione or another SPHEW member, (Tracey?) remembers that Quirrel has permission to teach the Killing Curse, the dynamics change.]

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 May 2011 11:44:45AM 26 points [-]

As of 4:17am PDT, HPMOR is the #1 most-reviewed Harry Potter fanfiction on the entire Internet.

Comment author: Nisan 06 June 2011 08:09:39PM 0 points [-]


Comment author: Psy-Kosh 30 May 2011 02:42:54PM 2 points [-]


(Now, you must aspire to make it the fanfic for which the reviews themselves are most reviewed!)

Comment author: cultureulterior 28 May 2011 06:38:07PM 6 points [-]

How did the pair writing go? I'd be interested in trying something like that myself.

Comment author: wedrifid 28 May 2011 12:27:09PM 1 point [-]

Congrats! How far to go until it is the most reviewed fanfiction on the entire internet?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 May 2011 07:50:30PM 1 point [-]

There was a Twilight fanfiction with 55,000 reviews but it seems to have disappeared off FF.net; I don't know what was #2.

Comment author: LauralH 10 January 2013 01:41:56AM 0 points [-]

...and that Fanfic is now 50 Shades of Gray.

Comment author: Raemon 28 May 2011 06:49:24AM 1 point [-]

I'm curious: did the "plausible deniability" theme of chapter 72 arise from the very beginning, because of Harry's explanation, or did you come up with it later in the chapter and then reinforce earlier scenes to make it more cohesive?

Comment author: Eneasz 08 May 2011 07:30:38PM 2 points [-]

Holy crap! The audio-book podcast just tipped 1000 downloads! That's an average of 250 an episode!! I dunno if that's good or not, but it's WAY more than I was expecting for 4 weeks as an amateur! :D

Comment author: Document 06 May 2011 10:57:48PM 2 points [-]

The Rachel Aaron interview mentioned in the latest Author's Notes update should probably appear under celebrity endorsements. I should probably post that as a review, but right now I don't feel like registering an account there.

Comment author: radical_negative_one 06 May 2011 02:24:32AM 1 point [-]

Has Eliezer said how long the story will be? How many chapters the full story will have, or do we possibly have an expected ending date? I've read and enjoyed the first several chapters, but i'd rather have the entire thing when it's done instead of waiting for each next chapter. The current author's notes state that there is a predetermined ending to the plot arc, but i haven't seen an estimate of how far along the story currently is.

Comment author: TobyBartels 28 April 2011 11:28:53PM *  5 points [-]

We're told that Azkaban cannot interact with its past. I take this to mean that there are no loops of causality within Azkaban, where time A affects time B, which in turn affects time A. More generally, no information from a later time in Azkaban can be sent to an earlier time in Azkaban (since the converse seems always possible). Similarly, it's implied that, even through a chain of time turners, no information can be sent more than six hours backwards in time anywhere.

By the understanding of modern physics, these cannot be hard-and-fast rules. A slight alteration of air currents has chaotic effects (in the technical sense of chaos) that necessarily impart information around the globe. More generally, in relativistic statistical physics (including, and perhaps most obviously, in quantum versions), one takes it for granted that information flows from one event (a specific time and place) A to another event B if it is possible to travel from A to B (that is, without going faster than light).

Thus, if there are any two overlapping (by more than a few microseconds) time-turner trips on Earth, with a total backwards trip of more than six hours, then microscopic amounts of information must be going back more than six hours in time, regardless of whether these time travellers try to communicate with each other. Similarly, if any one time-turner trip (going back more than a few microseconds) takes place anywhere on Earth while Azkaban exists (with its wards against time travel), then information must go from Azkaban's future to its past, regardless of whether the time traveller goes anywhere near Azkaban.

We've already seen signs that whatever controls the laws of magic is based on a pre-modern understanding of physics. So there's no contradiction here; only modern physics knows about and recognises these microscopic bits of information. But small bits of information, judiciously applied, can have large effects. Somebody who understands modern physics (like Harry, and quite possibly Quirrell) could get around these restrictions.

This is sort of the converse to Harry's attempts at partial transfiguration. In this case, Harry effectively had to impose his understanding of modern physics onto the magic in order to make the magic do what was thought to be impossible (but which, according to modern physics, is essentially the same as normal transfiguration). But if Harry wants to send information more than six hours back in time, or any amount back in time within Azkaban, then he has to do this without letting magic catch on that there is actually any information involved.

Alternatively, if there is a central store of intelligence that determines what the laws of magic know, then one might possibly teach it, once and for all, the physics that I've mentioned above. Then you wouldn't be able to turn your time turner back to more than six hours before the time that anybody began going back, if they went back to before you begin (or indeed if there's any overlapping chain that does this); and you wouldn't be able to go back at all while Azkaban exists (and maintains its wards).

So if this six-hour limit is as absolute as Wizards seem to think that it is, then time travel is possible at all only due to Atlantean ignorance.

ETA: JoshuaZ reminds me that they wrote about this before. The application to Azkaban is due to me, but even so, I wrote about that before. I don't know why I didn't remember this; maybe it hasn't happened yet in my personal timestream?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 29 April 2011 12:00:55AM *  2 points [-]

Yes, this point has been made before. In general, magic seems in many ways to operate on a human scale according to human intuitions. See e.g. my remarks here and the subsequent discussion.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 20 April 2011 09:52:57PM 4 points [-]

All the way back in chapter 1, Petunia says:

And Lily would tell me no, and make up the most ridiculous excuses, like the world would end if she were nice to her sister, or a centaur told her not to - the most ridiculous things, and I hated her for it.

The main (although not the only difference) between canon and HPMR is Lily and Petunia's interaction in this context. In canon, centaurs are creatures which see the future. This makes me very worried that a centaur foresaw that if Lily helped Petunia bad things would result. Since this is the main departure from canon, is this a reason to think that the story is going to have a really downer ending?

Comment author: Xachariah 28 May 2011 07:49:40AM 3 points [-]

To comply with the prophesy, her actions need only result in a bad ending for centaurs.

Comment author: HonoreDB 22 April 2011 03:53:42AM 0 points [-]

The end of the world is not necessarily a downer ending.

Comment author: [deleted] 18 May 2011 07:15:59AM *  1 point [-]

The only ways I can imagine the end of the world not being a downer ending are:

1) There was an even worse alternative in the cards (since this is LessWrong, let's say it was 3^^^3 years of agonizing torture for the whole human race) and we managed to dodge it by dying. But the fact that we were even faced with such a choice sounds pretty down-ish already.

2) You're some kind of negative utilitarian. Or perhaps a Buddhist.

3) From a certain point of view, you could describe the emergence of a new utopia as "the destruction of the old world" or something like that. That's how they got away with it in Alexander Senki. Or else "the end of the world" refers to something that would have happened anyways, like the end of Sol or the heat death of the universe. Thus, it will happen if Lily is nice to Petunia - it just neglects to mention that it would also happen if she wasn't nice to her sister, too, thus letting the listener believe there is a causal connection where none exists.

Comment author: hairyfigment 30 May 2011 10:38:29PM 0 points [-]

Promethea used a version of #3, saying the end meant the end of our ideas about the world.

Thinking about this, it occurs to me that perhaps the centaurs saw history along this path proceeding up to a certain point in time and then (it seemed to them) stopping. They might have explicitly told Lily that they couldn't perceive anything after the Event Horizon, and the subtlety got lost along the way to the second repetition.

Comment author: Desrtopa 30 May 2011 06:19:10AM 0 points [-]

I figured he was talking about an "end of the world" as in The Sword of Good.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 21 April 2011 05:48:30AM 2 points [-]

Perhaps. Or perhaps it meant that the Second War would be much worse this way, though they still are victorious. Or perhaps even just that the possibilities were worse, not necessarily that it could only end in failure.

Comment author: Alexandros 10 April 2011 06:00:50AM *  7 points [-]

So, I was curious to see how each chapter was getting reviewed. Here are some numbers as of a few minutes ago:

The reviews cover a total of 856,252 words, more than double the size of the fic itself.

Some charts: reviews per chapter total review words per chapter avg. words per review per chapter

The 10 most reviewed chapters are:

  • chapter 05: 758 reviews
  • chapter 01: 411 reviews
  • chapter 10: 387 reviews
  • chapter 09: 358 reviews
  • chapter 06: 342 reviews
  • chapter 07: 306 reviews
  • chapter 47: 305 reviews
  • chapter 17: 299 reviews
  • chapter 08: 294 reviews
  • chapter 70: 282 reviews

In terms of average words per review, the top 10 are:

  • chapter 39, words per review: 158
  • chapter 27, words per review: 110
  • chapter 20, words per review: 106
  • chapter 63, words per review: 105
  • chapter 55, words per review: 103
  • chapter 54, words per review: 96
  • chapter 40, words per review: 95
  • chapter 35, words per review: 94
  • chapter 36, words per review: 94
  • chapter 49, words per review: 94

Top 10 for total review wordage produced per chapter:

  • chapter 09, words: 32684
  • chapter 05, words: 29331
  • chapter 63, words: 28956
  • chapter 01, words: 28198
  • chapter 20, words: 27191
  • chapter 47, words: 25956
  • chapter 27, words: 25288
  • chapter 70, words: 23945
  • chapter 06, words: 23936
  • chapter 07, words: 22852

So overall, the first chapters are the best reviewed, and while the latter ones tend to attract longer reviews, the earlier ones still attract higher word volume overall.

The data is updated on a daily basis and you can explore it yourself here.

If you want to see the scraper's code, have a look here.

Consider this (and this) as fancode.

Comment author: Alicorn 06 April 2011 03:23:15PM 1 point [-]

V svaq gung zl jropbzvp vf ybfvat vgf fuvar. Gur vqrn vf frireny lrnef byq ol abj. V tbg bire n frevbhf tnc va zbgvingvba ol fjvgpuvat gb na rcvfgbynel sbezng sbe n srj jrrxf, fb V pbhyq qb zhpu yrff qenjvat, naq abj rkcrpg gb or noyr gb svavfu gur fgbelyvar jvgubhg vagreehcgvba va zl fpurqhyr. V'z abg fher vs gurer'f n pbzcnenoyr fglyr punatr Ryvrmre pbhyq rzcybl vs gur bznxr qvqa'g bofreinoyl uryc.

Comment author: FAWS 06 April 2011 07:20:26PM *  3 points [-]

I think that in your case it might be because you as a writer have outgrown that story. I couldn't stomach reading beyond the first chapter of the original Elcenia (I'll certainly give the rewrite a chance though) and while HTHT had some nice touches from the beginning it's rather bland and sometimes cringe-worthy. Once Luminosity gets going there is a night and day difference in quality. At first I thought it was because world building and characters are your weak point, but now I'm pretty sure it's because you have just become that much better.

You introduced a somewhat interesting moral dilemma in HTHT recently, but the world still doesn't feel alive and the mages still don't feel like a credible threat or in any way interesting as antagonists. I'm not sure if that's just because you are limited by what you did earlier (it seems like the setup necessitates that the mages continue to be idiots collectively or it's game over, and the room for the protagonists to lose in important ways without ending the story seems very limited), but there is simply no comparison to your take on the Volturi as far as villain quality goes.

Another problem might be the genre: HTHT seems to be somewhere between a straight take on mahou shoujo and a deconstruction. I think the protagonists are too old, and the world, simplistic as it is, too constrained by logic for a straight take to work, and it's too much of a straight take to work as a deconstruction.

If you could find a way to break out of the story you were originally writing and turn it into a story actually worth your time you would probably find the experience more enjoyable. You already seem to be doing that to some extent. If you are holding back because you don't want to change the tone too much please feel encouraged to stop worrying about that ;)

Comment author: Alicorn 06 April 2011 07:52:52PM 2 points [-]

Note that both Elcenia and HTHT have their origins in a collaboration, although Elcenia's was longer-lived. HTHT's co-creator (who is very invested, in general, in straight-up mahou shoujo tropes) was no longer on board by the time I started publishing, but I didn't feel like I was free to arbitrarily discard bits of the original concept. But I think it's mostly a matter of my having improved as a storyteller, as you say - that, and I'm a lazy, amateur artist, which makes webcomicking an awkward juggling act between leaning on the writing and failing at "show don't tell", and leaning on the art and having everything be incomprehensible and take forever to draw. At this point I'm not having fun with it, but I feel obliged to finish it (in part on the urging of my erstwhile co-creator). That's not exactly inspiring me to new heights of quality.

Luminosity is sort of collaborative in the sense that I'm using a borrowed world, albeit with no direct participation from Meyer herself, but I honestly do not think worldbuilding is my weakness, nor character creation (Radiance in particular mostly runs on characters who are original or so far diverged from their canon origins that they might as well be).

Comment author: bogus 01 April 2011 11:47:07PM *  2 points [-]

Fanfiction.net user Black Logician has announced Harry's Game, a spinoff of HP:MoR which branches out around Chapter 65-67 of the original fic. From his post at the HP:MoR review board:

...Hermione has already formed SPHEW. Quirell though doesn't dismantle Harry's army, but goes for an alternative condition to make the army wars more of a challenge to Harry. ...

Please use ROT13 for spoilers when discussing Harry's Game.

Comment author: Mycroft65536 29 March 2011 09:31:54PM 3 points [-]

Something occurred to me lately about the story. It seems likely that there's another character in the shadows (if not more then one).

What exactly has been going on with Nicholas Flamel?

He exists within the story, Dumbledore has consulted with him. The philosopher's stone is still being hidden at Hogwarts, and presumably Voldemort still wants it.

This seems like a decent hypothesis on who/what Quirrell is if he isn't Voldemort.

Comment author: Desrtopa 01 April 2011 02:14:21AM 0 points [-]

Quirrell is canonically Voldemort, that's not a secret.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 16 April 2011 08:55:45PM 1 point [-]

There is a vast difference between being possessed by Voldemort and actually being Voldemort.

Comment author: Alexandros 24 March 2011 11:56:32AM *  7 points [-]

I was curious about the status of the review race, so I wrote a scraper to extract all HP fanfics of all ratings, with more than 40,000 words, and a bunch of data about each from ff.net. That is about 23,952 fanfics.

Here you can see the top 50 sorted by reviews, and if you know sql you can fiddle with the query whichever way you like. For those interested in the scraper itself, it's here (Click on edit to see the code. Please don't edit it unless you know what you're doing)

[edit: the data is updated daily]

Comment author: quirrellinvenice 22 March 2011 12:17:51AM 4 points [-]

I have begun blogging an extended discussion of HP:MOR at quirrellinvenice.tumblr.com. Read it!

Comment author: gjm 28 March 2011 12:45:39AM 2 points [-]

Those seem to have been a very long "few hours"...

Comment author: HonoreDB 22 March 2011 02:50:06AM 2 points [-]

This looks interesting! I'll be following it.

It seems like a very ambitious project. In particular, approaching a piece of serial fiction as a classically structured work is possibly doable, but seems scary. The shape of the story can vary in the author's mind from chapter to chapter, so you'll be picking up contradictory clues, and end up seeing the story as a whole as a superposition of different patterns (or multiple time-displaced instances of a single one; I agree that Harry seems to be starting a second hero's journey before finishing his first.)

Comment author: [deleted] 21 March 2011 11:59:20PM *  2 points [-]

Ch 50

And Harry had reached into his pouch and pulled out some odd books, loaning them to her on condition of complete secrecy, saying that if she could comprehend those books it would change the pattern of her thinking enough that she'd never fall into harmony with Parvati again...

What sort of books would Harry have lent to Padma?

As of Chapter 70, we now have both Patil sisters acting together, probably on an adventure of sorts; I wonder if we'll see any evidence of her recent reading!

Comment author: Pavitra 06 April 2011 05:07:35AM 4 points [-]

I assumed he gave her a copy of Gödel, Escher, Bach.

Comment author: simplicio 21 March 2011 11:30:04PM 5 points [-]

Julia Galef (of Rationally Speaking) recently posted an excellent essay/review of HPMoR.

Comment author: gwern 19 March 2011 03:23:29AM *  4 points [-]

On #lesswrong, br1an mentioned that he wanted "to start an enjyn project to do a high quality professional grade audiobook production of HPMOR". (Enjyn is a lot like Kickstarter.)

moshez apparently listens to a lot of audio material ('escapepod, podcastle and with a little help'), and says "when they're done by a freelance voice actor, they always say how they can be hired", which suggests that VAs might be pretty cheap. One might only need a single VA, which is how a number of professional audiobooks like the Discworld books are done, and the results are not necessarily bad (drethelin: 'In my experience a single awesome voice actor for an audiobook is way better than a cast').

So what are people's thoughts? Does anyone know what sort of cost estimate we would be looking at? MoR has a lot of reviewers, but I don't know how many we could expect to kick in $20 or $50.

EDIT: There is actually an existing audiobook on Kickstarter; looks like they did it for $5k, with multiple actors and background voices, but on the other hand, their book seems to be much shorter than MoR is/will be and at least part of it was funded by a grant.

EDIT': Eneasz tries doing it himself: http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/50h/hpmor_audio_book_pilot/

Comment author: drethelin 21 March 2011 06:47:56AM 0 points [-]

unfortunately a quick googling gives me a ball park of over 100 thousand SO FAR, based on voices.com's prices. I don't know how feasible that would be to kickstart/enjyn. We might have to shoot for a level below "professional grade"

Comment author: br1an 19 March 2011 03:35:20AM 2 points [-]

Thanks so much Gwern! I was actually planning to just try and do a first chapter or two sample with whatever agreeable actor I could lay hands on and a friend's home recording studio, but seeing if there's interest first couldn't hurt! Glad to introduce myself to some more of the community too!

Comment author: drethelin 19 March 2011 03:26:28AM 2 points [-]

The best example for a single VA doing a great job is Stephen Fry doing the actual Harry Potter books.

Comment author: br1an 19 March 2011 03:32:17AM 2 points [-]

That's my dream, that somehow someone who knows him has shown him MoR and he loves it and will somehow become convinced to do this audiobook for us for free, or for whatever we manage to raise :-)

Comment deleted 11 March 2011 11:38:53PM [-]
Comment author: Alicorn 12 March 2011 12:56:28AM 1 point [-]

Shhh! Eliezer is the type of writer who does not hold up well when asked about that.

Comment author: Pavitra 09 March 2011 04:07:15AM 4 points [-]

I wonder if Quirrelmort has been every DADA teacher since the supposed "curse". If V. was the one who supposedly cast it, it would have been simple enough to remove it, make an exception for himself, or simply not cast it in the first place. He is known to be many people, and to desire the position. Why not make maximum use of it? The constantly changing identities would both enable him to give a highly inconsistent quality of education from year to year without raising eyebrows, and would make his activities harder to track in general.

Comment author: Desrtopa 10 March 2011 03:22:39AM *  3 points [-]

Why would he want to give a highly inconsistent quality of education from year to year?

Whatever Quirrelmort's goals, I personally doubt he would accomplish them by way of a plan that involved a four-way with a group of fifth years in a closet.

Comment author: Pavitra 10 March 2011 10:26:42PM 0 points [-]

Not terminally, but instrumentally. There's no obvious reason to constrain himself to give a highly consistent quality of education, so why not make himself some room to move around? It's not like two consecutive unrelated teachers must provide totally different qualities of education.

He probably wouldn't actually do that, but he might Memory Charm them into thinking he had, or Crucio or Imperius them into saying he had.

Comment author: Armok_GoB 08 March 2011 08:36:23PM 5 points [-]

One theory I've had for a while:

Maybe the death needed to make a horocrux is not needed to preserve the mind. it is needed for the minds ability to cast independent magic. One could make a perfectly fine horocrux without killing anyone that had the only problem that you'd be a muggle when you were brought back.

This is the most important consequence of a more general theory: What a wizard means with the word "soul" is their independent magic power source, and that follows some conservation law. Evbidence for this includes wizards not considering mugles to be persons, and paintings appearing to have most of the information needed to completely reconstruct them in an easily readable form even if it can't be exceuted peroperly.

Comment author: Pavitra 08 March 2011 09:37:38PM 1 point [-]

This would make Draco's statement that muggles don't have souls accurate. Combined with McGonagall's statement that AK strikes directly at the soul, it would seem to imply that (1) AK should have no effect on muggles, and (2) AK should be nonlethal, only rendering the wizard nonmagical.

Comment author: TobyBartels 13 March 2011 09:54:45AM 3 points [-]

Canonically, AK causes destructive side effects (inanimate objects' blowing up when hit, etc). It could be that it strikes at the soul, severing a Wizard from their magical power, and additionally causes a blast that would kill an ordinary Muggle (but not a Wizard that remained a Wizard). So it kills Wizards by a two-step process, and Muggles by one. However, modern Muggle technology might be able to defend against it, unbeknownst to the Wizards.

I think that this makes AK a little more complicated than it should be. But the canonical AK (and especially the AK as seen in the movies) already is more complicated than it should be.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 30 May 2011 11:47:30PM 1 point [-]

I don't think it would be a "blast" in the sense of blowing up a desk, since people hit by it are left (according to canon) "in seemingly perfect health, except for being dead."

Comment author: TobyBartels 31 May 2011 09:25:16PM 0 points [-]

That's true; the problem is that this is not how it's shown in the movies, nor is it consistent with the side effects in the books. Further research is needed.

Comment author: Armok_GoB 09 March 2011 12:03:10AM 2 points [-]

McGonagall might simply be WRONG about it striking directly at the soul.

Comment author: Pavitra 09 March 2011 12:54:13AM 0 points [-]

Of course. And likewise, wizards in general could be completely rather than partially wrong about the nature of souls.

Comment author: Armok_GoB 09 March 2011 01:08:04AM 1 point [-]

um, I think you misunderstood my theory: what wizards mean with the sequence of symbols "soul" is not "that which makes you, you" but "magical power source that can't be copied". It's not about if they're right or wrong, it's about what concept the symbol references. Their beliefs ABOUT souls, such that people without souls are of less moral worth, can and is still often wrong.

Comment author: Pavitra 09 March 2011 01:52:50AM 1 point [-]

That's what I thought you meant. Perhaps you misunderstood mine: that the concepts wizards associate with the sequence of symbols "soul" does not even slightly resemble anything in reality.

Comment author: Armok_GoB 09 March 2011 02:45:30PM -1 points [-]

Well, it's possible but it doesn't seem very likely. The only requirement of reality for that concept to make sense is that magic requires somehting that is in some way scarce, for example such that wizards have it but muggles or spell effects don't. If this comes in discrete chunks or not, if if's made of information or some more tangible magic substance, if it can be duplicated with sufficient effort, etc. do not place strict requirements.

Comment author: DavidAgain 08 March 2011 09:56:51PM 2 points [-]

If McGonogall is right, then agreed on (1). But not (2): if wizards have integrated a magic source into themselves sufficiently to use it, presumably destroying it could have knock-on effects. If I strap a jetpack to myself, something which strikes directly at the jetpack could still lead to me being left in small, burning fragments when it exploded.

Comment author: Pavitra 08 March 2011 10:00:21PM 0 points [-]

That's a good point. And even if the magic doesn't explode, the body might have grown dependent on the magic; we know that wizards don't break easily, and it seems reasonable that there might be other health benefits as well.

Comment author: DavidAgain 08 March 2011 10:03:03PM 1 point [-]

Indeed, especially the really old ones who presumably haven't bothered to use anything else to sustain their bodies. Rather like vampires descending into dust as the supernatural forces holding them together disappear and the entropy catches up with them.

Which is why newly-created 25 year old vampires becoming grave dust in Buffy always distressed me.

Comment author: MinibearRex 05 March 2011 02:28:37AM 6 points [-]

I have a couple of theories about how Fred & George managed the Rita Skeeter prank. We know from Quirrel's response that Rita Skeeter's article included evidence from a variety of sources, difficult to fake, and certainly costing more than 40 galleons. The obvious implication is that either they got some covert support (Professor Quirrell/Tom Riddle?), or they found a simpler method. I can think of two.

  1. Modify Rita Skeeter's memories. Make her remember viewing all the evidence, when in fact she hadn't seen them. Hiring someone to do that probably wouldn't have been all that difficult.

  2. Impersonate Rita Skeeter with Polyjuice and turn in the completed article to her editor. Maybe some memory modification as well, to make her not deny it.

This passage does perhaps contain a subtle indication that this is the case:

"How very foolish," the man said dryly. "It would have been wise to memorize the face of the disguised Death Eater training Harry Potter to be the next Dark Lord. After all," a thin smile, "that certainly sounds like someone you wouldn't want to run into on the street, especially after doing a hatchet job on him in the newspaper."

Rita took a moment to place the reference. This was Quirinus Quirrell?

I would expect that if I wrote a newspaper article, even if I didn't memorize the face of the subject of my article, but I would expect that I would have seen it at some point. Rita Skeeter, however, seems completely ignorant of what Quirrell looks like. It is possible, however, that this would be the case if the memory of writing the article had been implanted.

This seems extremely subtle, even by EY's standards, and there are some alternate explanations I'm considering as well. However, I still think that these methods are much more plausible than any theory of Imperiusing centaurs.

Comment author: Eneasz 02 March 2011 05:26:07AM 6 points [-]

I was a bit sad to see today that the last bit of Chapter 1 had been changed. I really enjoyed the original.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 08 March 2011 08:45:13AM 7 points [-]

Point 1 - it wasn't stylistically consistent with later chapters. When I wrote the original Chapter 1 I didn't realize that this story was going to be funny. The part where Harry bites a math teacher in the original Chapter 2 is the exact part where I realized this story was going to be funny.

Point 2 - I got tripped up by the differences between the published SF I knew and the expectations of fanfiction. If you saw a character talking like that in a published SF novel, you would know that he was an alien or genetically engineered or that the author meant you to know something was funny about him. In fanfiction they assume that it's either the author's conceit or, more probable yet, you're just a terrible author who can't write realistic eleven-year-olds. I thought it was so blatantly lampshaded that nobody could possibly mistake it for an accident, but no, fanfiction readers just don't think like that - they don't look for clues and they do assume lousy authors. So I made Harry's intellect slightly more subtle in the first chapter and let it dawn slightly more slowly.

Comment author: BenLowell 09 March 2011 08:37:59AM 3 points [-]

I think that with the popularity of the fic, most people are making their way to it with recommendations that it is already good, so they will have a different reading strategy than somebody browsing for something worth reading.

Comment author: komponisto 09 March 2011 06:29:36AM 0 points [-]

I noticed quite a while ago with considerable disappointment that you had changed

Harry looked up at the sky, and began laughing. He couldn’t seem to help himself. This is the most improbable day of my life.


There was a long silence in the backyard. Then a boy's voice said, calmly and quietly, "What."

(with annoyance at the inappropriate punctuation on top of it: if you must avoid a question mark here, use an ellipsis, not a period!)

...but until seeing Eneasz's comment I totally failed to notice that you had deleted that whole paragraph! Shame!

As a regular reader of neither SF nor fanfiction, I don't really care about the "expectations" of those genres. As far as I'm concerned, Methods of Rationality is its own genre, and that paragraph was very much stylistically consistent with the rest of the story, funny parts and all, and it was particularly consistent with Harry as we have come to know him.

Actually, this part (minus the phrase "unmotivated conspiracies") sounds like something out of British children's fiction:

Even if Harry tried to explain the day’s events by sudden insanity or unmotivated conspiracies, that didn’t put everything back to normal. It didn’t make the day’s events expected. It didn’t make him feel not-confused. There was no denying that something very, very, very odd was going on

Anyway, maybe the passage could be tweaked for lightheartedness if that's what you prefer, but I was really sorry to see the point about noticing confusion disappear.

Comment author: wedrifid 09 March 2011 09:57:20AM 4 points [-]

But, but... that was the defining introductory moment! It set the tone for the entire fanfic!

Comment author: komponisto 10 March 2011 01:02:11AM 0 points [-]

I'm not sure why this was a reply to my comment, beginning with "but", since it seems to be an expression of agreement.

Comment author: wedrifid 10 March 2011 01:46:20AM *  0 points [-]

Conversational emphasized disbelief, not directed at yourself (as implied by the subsequent words).

Comment author: komponisto 10 March 2011 02:33:35AM 0 points [-]

That's what I first thought, but then I worried that I might have misunderstood.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 02 March 2011 11:47:21AM 1 point [-]

What was the change?

Comment author: Eneasz 02 March 2011 02:39:51PM 13 points [-]


There was a long silence in the backyard. Then a boy's voice said, calmly and quietly, "What."


Harry just stood there, stunned. That was... unexpected... The skeptical part of himself noted that he still hadn’t seen anything that violated the known laws of the universe. Surely a little conspiracy was far, far less improbable than the universe really working like that. But it was also a technique of rationality to notice when you were confused. To stop and say: wait a minute, that feels a little off, my understanding of the world didn’t predict for that to happen. Even if Harry tried to explain the day’s events by sudden insanity or unmotivated conspiracies, that didn’t put everything back to normal. It didn’t make the day’s events expected. It didn’t make him feel not-confused. There was no denying that something very, very, very odd was going on. Harry looked up at the sky, and began laughing. He couldn’t seem to help himself. This is the most improbable day of my life.

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 09 March 2011 10:44:42AM 4 points [-]

That looks like a really good change.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 02 March 2011 05:50:09AM 5 points [-]

I agree. I prefer the original form.

Comment author: Raemon 07 March 2011 06:37:55PM 3 points [-]

Me as well.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 01 March 2011 08:09:22AM 1 point [-]

Just noticed, they new matrix omake.

I found it awesome, but noticed that the last line is a plot hole. Even if the world doesn't run on mathematics, that doesn't preclude physics textbooks.

After all, humanity must have understood how the world works well enough at some point to built the AIs.

Comment author: Pavitra 08 March 2011 03:32:33AM 4 points [-]

I kicked myself when I read it for not having considered the doesn't-run-on-math possibility before.

Consider what Neo knows: the world he grew up in, which resembles ours, is really a computer simulation. Which features of that world should he most expect not to hold in the real world? Near the top of the list should be that the fundamental laws of physics look suspiciously like a computer program.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 February 2011 07:17:07AM 27 points [-]

Today I met a relative of mine named Eliezer Yudkowsky. First words out of his mouth: "Oh, it's you! You're the one who ruined my life!"

I also met Avi, who (I was told) used to come over to babysit me, and I would do his math homework for him.

And I was told that at one point during my distant youth, I was holding a camera and kept tilting it, and Uncle David kept telling me "Hold it steady!" without effect, and then Dad said "Hold it in a plane perpendicular to the floor" and that worked.

Just in case anyone was still claiming that my eleven-year-olds are unrealistic.

Comment author: CarlShulman 28 February 2011 07:06:13PM *  7 points [-]

Today I met a relative of mine named Eliezer Yudkowsky. First words out of his mouth: "Oh, it's you! You're the one who ruined my life!"

Which particular effects were annoying him?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 17 March 2011 08:01:44PM 4 points [-]

Google shadow, of course.

Comment author: Nominull 28 February 2011 06:12:32PM 6 points [-]

Some eleven-year-olds might be that way, but if your sample consists mostly of relatives of geniuses, it's going to be pretty skewed, I would think.

There's no causal link between Harry and Draco and Hermione and Blaise and... I dunno who else people are claiming is unrealistic. Still, four unrelated genius-level children out of the, I don't know, one hundred first year Hogwarts students? It's not entirely unfair to see that as statistically unlikely, even if theoretically possible.

Comment author: Desrtopa 04 March 2011 04:55:52PM 4 points [-]

I don't get the impression that Draco is especially brilliant (for a real eleven year old, he would be, but Eliezer's characters don't act eleven in general,) but rather that he's especially well trained. He might be a one-in-a-hundred intellect, but he's had an education that not one muggle in millions gets.

Blaise is clever, but likewise learned from an exceptionally duplicitous mother, and had Dumbledore passing him notes.

Comment author: hairyfigment 03 March 2011 06:27:56AM 2 points [-]

Hermione of course has great scholarly talents in canon. Harry -- I've seen people argue that he would have been a genius in canon if the abuse didn't warp him, and here he obviously had an excellent environment for developing mental abilities. But Harry does see himself as an anomaly. Some people here (apparently not believing nurture can explain that much) have a theory to account for him. As for Draco and Blaise, we know for a fact the former had extensive training. On a meta level, increasing Harry's intelligence required a smarter Voldemort and thus a smarter Dumbledore. Lucius Malfoy then needed smarts in order to produce a more-or-less canonical starting point for the story. And his erstwhile (?) Lord would not pick an idiot as a servant (not if he could find a way to control a smart minion.) Notice this means that, if MoR!Voldemort affected Harry's intelligence, three out of the four names you mention would have an indirect causal link in-story as well as in reality.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 01 March 2011 04:38:37AM *  10 points [-]

Keep in mind that Blaise's plan was Dumbledore's.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 28 February 2011 07:21:08PM *  2 points [-]

They have magic, and they are physically sturdier than Muggles. Maybe they are also on average smarter than Muggles.

Which constitutes evidence for Terry Tao being a wizard.

Comment author: Desrtopa 28 February 2011 09:44:54PM 8 points [-]

Their being smarter on average than Muggles doesn't seem particularly well supported by the story so far, except insofar as the average intelligence of characters in the story is raised by virtue of being written by Eliezer.

Comment author: TobyBartels 28 February 2011 07:56:20AM *  7 points [-]

Just in case anyone was still claiming that my eleven-year-olds are unrealistic.

People still won't buy your character, because reality is unrealistic (TVTropes). Orson Scott Card got the same reactions to Ender (although I can't find the reference now).

Comment author: see 12 April 2011 01:11:24AM 8 points [-]

It's in the introduction to (later printings of) Ender's Game, starting on page XIX:

For some people, however, the loathing for Ender's Game transcended mere artistic argument. I recall a letter to the editor of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, in which a woman who worked as a guidance counselor for gifted children reported that she had only picked up Ender's Game to read because her son had kept telling her it was a wonderful book. She read it and loathed it. Of course, I wondered what kind of guidance counselor would hold her son's tastes up to public ridicule, but the criticism that left me most flabbergasted was her assertion that my depiction of gifted children was hopelessly unrealistic. They just don't talk like that, she said. They don't think like that.

And it wasn't just her. There have been others with that criticism. Thus I began to realize that, as it is, Ender's Game disturbs some people because it challenges their assumptions about reality. In fact, the novel's very clarity may make it more challenging, simply because the story's vision of the world is so unrelentlessly plain. It was important to her, and to others, to believe that children don't actually think or speak the way the children in Ender's Game think and speak.

Yet I knew--I knew--that this was one of the truest things about Ender's Game. In fact, I realized in retrospect that this may indeed be part of the reason why it was so important to me, there on the lawn in front of the Salt Palace, to write a story in which gifted children are trained to fight in adult wars. Because never in my entire childhood did I feel like a child. I felt like a person all along--the same person that I am today. I never felt that I spoke childishly. I never felt that my emotions and desires were somehow less real than adult emotions and desires. And in writing Ender's Game, I forced the audience to experience the lives of these children from that perspective--the perspective in which their feelings and decisions are just as real and important as any adult's.

The nasty side of myself wanted to answer that guidance counselor by saying, The only reason you don't think gifted children talk this way is because they know better than to talk this way in front of you. But the truer answer is that Ender's Game asserts the personhood of children, and those who are used to thinking of children in another way--especially those whose whole career is based on that--are going to find Ender's Game a very unpleasant place to live. Children are a perpetual, self-renewing underclass, helpless to escape from the decisions of adults until they become adults themselves. And Ender's Game, seen in that context, might even be a sort of revolutionary text.

Because the book does ring true with the children who read it. The highest praise I ever received for a book of mine was when the school librarian at Farrer Junior High in Provo, Utah, told me, "You know, Ender's Game is our most-lost book."

Comment author: TobyBartels 14 April 2011 02:18:08AM 1 point [-]


Comment author: Carinthium 26 February 2011 09:07:32AM 0 points [-]

RE Chapter 64: Would a Dragon Ball Z o-make be possible? Or is there just too much stupid in it to get rid of?

Comment author: Desrtopa 09 March 2011 03:24:45AM 2 points [-]

The trouble isn't so much that there's too much stupid to get rid of, but that if you get rid of all the stupid, there's hardly anything left. The setting of DBZ is pretty much baloney all the way down.

Although an omake doesn't really require much material, so I suppose it might be possible to pull something off.

Comment author: Carinthium 10 March 2011 09:16:11AM 1 point [-]

I'm not sure if anybody's seriously writing this up, but I'm bored so I may as well make some points just in case.

1- Going by the manga, Krillin's Destructo Disk move (presumably made based on first use when training for the Saiyans post-Raditz) can literally cut thing through anything. Going by the anime, Cell blocked one but he's several sagas after the start. 2- There is an ACTUAL AFTERLIFE in the DBZ-world (and they know it- Krillin died and was brought back, for one thing). For an ordinary person this might not mean much, but a rationalist acting under the assumption is going to seem insane. 3- Ironically, there is one point where being rational MIGHT work to a character's disadvantage. After Goku idiotically believes Raditz's claims to have reformed (his tail has been grabbed making him vulrnable), Raditz knocks out Goku making the situation appear hopeless. This is solved by arguable deux ex machina (I can't quite remember if it was foreshadowed)- Gohan gets angry, and manifests enough power to seriously wound Raditz and give the good guys a fighting chance. Gohan's just a kid, so if he were rational he'd probably stay out of it since he doesn't know about his hidden power. 4- The saiyan Royal family has an Artificial Full Moon technique, which factoring for power loss to make it multiplies their power level by 10 (in terms of actual effectiveness going by the series it rises considerably but not that much). There are pros and cons to sharing it of maintaing power v.s effectiveness of the Saiyan race.

Comment author: Pavitra 09 March 2011 03:57:07AM 1 point [-]

The obvious focus would be the not-quite-eponymous wish-granting dragon.

Comment author: Carinthium 09 March 2011 10:24:48PM 2 points [-]

The obvious things to do with it (mass-immortality etc) are undermined the premise- from what I remember of the manga (good read when out of brainpower), Kami created the Dragon Balls so that mankind would have a hope even in the darkest of times- he failed to anticipate the Dragon Radar which made finding them trivial.

Upgraded Kami would probably realise that given the power of Shenron, he could create the Dragon Balls in such a way that, directly or indirectly if necessary, he could mold the world and prevent such dark times in the first place. It would then be down to whether he was smart enough to WANT everybody to be immortal.

Comment author: Unnamed 25 February 2011 06:45:43AM 8 points [-]

through chp 70

I'm surprised that Harry hasn't tried to learn everything he can about wizarding history, wizarding society, and everyone who's important in the wizarding world. Since before he got to Hogwarts he's thought that he would have a major role in the wizarding world, possibly very soon. He needs to learn about how the wizarding world works, what problems it has that need solving, what good things need protecting, what obstacles could get in his way, what resources there are to draw on, what traps to avoid, who his potential enemies are and how they can be dealt with, and who his potential allies are and how he can win them over.

He's destined by prophecy to fight the Dark Lord (as he learned in chp 6), so you might think that Harry would be using every method available to learn as much as possible about Voldemort, but as far as we know he hasn't been doing that. Dumbledore is one of the most important people in Magical Britain and one of the main people shaping Harry's life, but we know that Harry didn't make much of an effort to learn about Dumbledore (chp 46). He ought to be learning what he can about Grindelwald's war, the Ministry of Magic, Quirrell, Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix Black, the other Death Eaters, Aurors, Snape, his parents, Sirius Black, the Longbottoms, and so on. But apparently he hasn't been, as it's not mentioned in the story and there are hints of his ignorance (like not knowing that L. Malfoy is behind the Daily Prophet, chp 25).

Hermione would've read all the books (and has been when she's recognized their relevance), but she's been crippled by her lack of knowledge of Voldemort's survival. I would've thought that this Harry would have done it too. Are there good within-story reasons why he hasn't?

Comment author: Nominull 25 February 2011 07:15:53AM 5 points [-]

Harry canonically disdains "people stuff", and while some of that may be an act for Draco, it does seem in character for him to be more interested in the sciences than the humanities, more interested in learning the rules by which magic operates than facts about the past actions of people who have operated it. As I recall, the only reason he knows so much about the historical decline of Slytherin House is that it came up in the course of his research into the Patronus Charm.

Comment author: Alicorn 24 February 2011 06:47:18PM 1 point [-]

I approve of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles reference.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 24 February 2011 06:39:27PM 3 points [-]

Re: chapter 70...

A nice capsule summary of the problem with endorsing non-instrumental heroism.

That said, Hermione raises a decent question that gets lost by the end:

"maybe people who are going to be heroes, will be heroes no matter what. But I don't see how anyone could really know that, aside from just saying it afterward."

Dumbledore has a clear opinion on the matter, and he does have some credibility, but he isn't showing his work. And Hermione's skepticism seems warranted.

If Hermione is actually interested in finding out, it would seem that some experimentation is called for. I wonder if that will occur to her. (Presumably it will occur to Harry, but it's unclear that he cares.)

Perhaps, if she learns anything reliable about how to learn heroism, she could dedicate herself to training up the next generation of heroes. Write a book, or something.

Also, while I'm here...

Harry Potter hadn't smelled the chicken burning. Which meant that it had probably been a pebble or something, Transfigured into a chicken and then enclosed in a Boundary Charm to make sure that no smoke escaped into the air

I'm intrigued by the implications of this line.

On the face of it, while the lack of smoke is reasonable evidence of a Boundary Charm or equivalent, it's extremely weak (read: negligable) evidence that there was any Transfiguration involved. After all, when I cook chickens, I turn on a ventilator to keep smoke from escaping into the air, entirely for aesthetic reasons; it seems likely to me that even Great Googly Moogly wizards similarly don't care for getting smoke everywhere.

So... how do Flitwick, et al, get from "no smoke" to "Transfiguration"? What do they know here that I don't?

Comment author: [deleted] 24 February 2011 07:01:11PM 1 point [-]

Well, if it was Transfiguration, it would be really important that none of the particles escape into the air. I think we're supposed to infer that there wasn't so much smoke as to be objectionable for its own sake--if there was visibly a lot of smoke, Harry probably would have noticed it behaving oddly, instead of having to rely on smell.

Comment author: TobyBartels 24 February 2011 07:30:51AM *  7 points [-]

Reactions to Chapter 70:

Why, just a few centuries earlier -

What exactly is she talking about here? From the reactions, it appears to be rape (forcible rape of women by men), but unfortunately there's no reason to go back centuries for that. Even if Sinistra ignorantly assumes that votes for women put an end to rape, she still doesn't have to go back any farther in her history than she's already gone.

I think that's the most overtly evil Defense Professor we've ever had.

A good line made great by the follow-up.

she realized that it was Professor Quirrell who was Harry Potter's mysterious old wizard, and not Dumbledore at all

She finally gets it!

I mean everyone in Gryffindor's been through it by now -

Well, naturally!


I would expect Hermione to know that the correct PC thing to do is to use "hero" as a gender-neutral term. (This is probably because "hero" can also be used as a synonym for "protagonist", so that "heroine" simply means the leading female character, who is usually not a hero[ine] in the sense that Hermione wants to be. Example: The heroine of Super Mario is Princess Peach.)

Comment author: Mass_Driver 26 February 2011 10:06:31AM 5 points [-]

Why, just a few centuries earlier - What exactly is she talking about here?

Overt slavery. Prof. Sinestra also has dark skin.

Comment author: TobyBartels 27 February 2011 08:09:04AM 2 points [-]

Thanks. That fits the timeline, but I don't think that it fits the students' reaction:

"Merlin preserve us," said Penelope Clearwater in a strangled voice. "You mean that's how men would treat us if we didn't have wands to defend ourselves?"

Of course, slavery ties in to rape (my reading of their reactions), but it doesn't make sense for Penelope to say "us" here. (Penelope has white skin.)

There's also the sense of slavery in which men were (or are) owners of their wives and unmarried daughters, but that doesn't seem to be what you mean.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 27 February 2011 03:06:23PM *  4 points [-]

If I see George being treated badly by Bill, I might conclude that Bill would treat me badly in the same circumstance, even if I know that George has green eyes and I have hazel eyes and Bill has some weird prejudice I don't entirely understand having to do with eye color.

Someone raised in a culture that considers skin color of no more significance than eye color would presumably react similarly even if they know that George has brown skin and they have pink skin and Bill has a prejudice having to do with skin color.

Comment author: TobyBartels 27 February 2011 04:19:14PM *  1 point [-]

Yes, but bringing in eye or skin colour distracts from the matter of sex, which is the focus of every other remark in the conversation.

So it's an interesting hypothesis, and I don't have a better one, but it still leaves me confused. I'll provisionally accept it, but I still hope that somebody can think of a better one.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 27 February 2011 05:04:19PM 4 points [-]

Professor Sinistra was talking about the unequal role of women in Muggle society, and brought up her mother as an example. "And that wasn't the worst of it," she continues. "Why, just a few centuries earlier -"

The writer cuts off at this point, but it seems entirely plausible that Sinestra went on to talk about how women like her mother were treated a few centuries earlier, and slavery is a pretty major component of that narrative.

If they were discussing "the matter of sex," then I agree it's a distraction from the discussion.

OTOH, if they were discussing how Muggle society treats its low-status members, with sex simply being an example of that, then it's a continuation of the discussion.

This sort of situation arises all the time in real-world conversations, where what one person considers a reasonable continuation of the conversation strikes another person as a confusing change of subject. All I can say is, it seems like a reasonable continuation to me.

Comment author: TobyBartels 28 February 2011 07:50:25AM 0 points [-]

I agree that discussing slavery would make perfect sense, given the conversation that preceded it. However, this ignores the conversation that followed it, whose participants seemed to be entirely unaware that they had been discussing any examples of discrimination other than on the basis of sex.

Based on Quirrell's remarks in particular, I'm pretty sure that they'd been discussing rape, in one context or another. As I said in my last comment, I'll provisionally accept that they were discussing it in the context of slavery, since I can't think of any better fit. But it's still not a very good fit.

Another point that I just thought of: Sinistra's "several centuries earlier" should have been simply "a century earlier", for this hypothesis to fit. Several centuries earlier than the early 20th century almost predates modern race-based slavery. (By the way, can we assume that Sinistra's ancestors were enslaved? Her ancestors may well have come from slave-holding British colonies, but are there any likely alternatives?)

Comment author: CronoDAS 24 February 2011 05:01:45AM 3 points [-]

What is "Professor Barney" a reference to? (A certain purple dinosaur?)

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 24 February 2011 05:57:25PM 1 point [-]

Yep, B'harne.

Comment author: MichaelHoward 27 February 2011 11:35:01AM 3 points [-]

(sing to On Top of Old Smokey)
On top of a small hill, all covered with mud
I shot Barney's head off and blew out his blood
I shot him with pleasure, I shot him with pride
I shot Barney's head off, I watched as he died
I went to his funeral to see Barney dead
He was much less ugly without any head
I saw a Sponge Minion crying by Barney's grave
I took a machine gun and shot Barney's slave
-- Eliezer Yudkowsky

Barney vs. the Federation: Part One; Part Two; Part Three.

(sing to "Deck the Halls")
Fill Barney with gasoline!
Na na na na na, na na na na <sing after each line>
Light a match and watch it gleam
Now Barney is purple ashes
Aren't you glad you played with matches?
-- Eliezer Yudkowsky

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 February 2011 07:12:55AM 15 points [-]

Important note: This is not the same Eliezer Yudkowsky. This Eliezer Yudkowsky is like 13 years old or something.

Comment author: CronoDAS 25 February 2011 01:01:17AM *  0 points [-]

Thanks. I added it to the list of references on the TvTropes page.

Comment author: see 23 February 2011 07:11:37PM 1 point [-]

"(Hermione was starting to worry about what exactly the impressionable youths of the Chaos Legion were learning from Harry Potter.)"


Comment author: Nominull 24 February 2011 02:09:04AM 4 points [-]

That line put me in mind of chapter 21, where Hermione says that Harry Potter is one of those rare cases where she can't tell Good from Bad just by looking. She can, she just doesn't want to admit he's Bad, because of their friendship and possible romantic entanglement.

Interestingly, the chapter is entitled "Rationalization"...

Comment author: Raemon 23 February 2011 03:27:58AM *  0 points [-]

ARRR!!! I just started going to the New York Rationality group, and next week when they're doing an actual HP:MOR meetup, I'm going to be in.... San Francisco, of all places.

Don't supposed the meetup could be Sunday....?

Comment author: Danylo 23 February 2011 06:41:22PM 0 points [-]

Oh, send me a link to this rationality group.

Comment author: ata 23 February 2011 10:05:02PM *  0 points [-]

Raemon might have been referring to the New York OB/LW meetup group.

Comment author: Raemon 24 February 2011 02:03:59AM 1 point [-]

I was indeed.

Comment author: gwern 23 February 2011 08:33:42AM 0 points [-]

Much the same thing happened to me - I live on LI about an hour from NYC, and I flew out to SF in part to meet LWers... and then I read in yesterday's MoR that Eliezer is out in NYC organizing stuff there. Consarn it!

Comment author: ata 20 February 2011 04:24:11AM 4 points [-]

Withdrawal symptoms... starting...

Comment author: Alicorn 19 February 2011 09:45:02PM *  10 points [-]
Comment author: Acrinoe 19 February 2011 09:23:19PM 2 points [-]

I am confused as to why Quirrell/Voldemort would leave behind the false clue of the animagi potion. Revealing an escape mechanism that may prove usefull later doesn't make sense.

So now Amelia Bones changed the rules of visitation at Azkaban to prevent forming a new animagus. However, the prison is still vulnerable to an unregistered Animagus from escaping (unless they have detection methods?). Escape like this would still lead to a Sirius style manhunt unless a realistic corpse was left behind.

Interestingly, Sirius whom in this fiction is probably already escaped (how he did it un-noticed is beyond me) may have free run of Hogwarts. Per cannon, Pettigrew in animus form was not warded from Hogwarts proper. I wonder if Sirius's presence within the castle was the glitch Fred and George noted on the Marauder's Map in chapter 25. They noted two glitches, one intermittent and one permanent. Pettigrew's whereabouts if still indeterminant as well since he didn't hid in plain sight as Scabber in this fiction (perhaps his death wasn't faked this time).

Comment author: Desrtopa 23 February 2011 04:39:08PM 1 point [-]

Interestingly, Sirius whom in this fiction is probably already escaped (how he did it un-noticed is beyond me) may have free run of Hogwarts.

It's possible they were tricked in believing they had ever captured him in the first place.

Comment author: Unnamed 08 March 2011 08:05:16AM 0 points [-]

There was some discussion of that in thread v; search the page for "Sirius".

Comment author: TobyBartels 24 February 2011 07:05:34AM 3 points [-]

"I'm not serious!"

Comment author: TobyBartels 08 March 2011 07:01:25AM 2 points [-]

I don't deserve all of these upvotes; it's not my idea originally.

Comment author: Pavitra 08 March 2011 02:38:41AM 1 point [-]

It's probably Pettigrew in the cell.

Comment author: orthonormal 23 February 2011 05:30:01AM 2 points [-]

They noted two glitches, one intermittent and one permanent.

Oh, I see it now: the intermittent glitch is Tom Riddle, who disappears when Quirrell is in zombie-mode.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 23 February 2011 06:14:39PM 3 points [-]

I thought that the intermittent glitch was there being two Harry Potters, when he's using the Time Turner. Though, theoretically, they should have noticed this before, given that Harry's not the first student to use one.

The permanent one could be that the name Tom Riddle is constantly juxtaposed with Quirinus Quirrell.

Comment author: Acrinoe 12 March 2011 01:12:06AM 0 points [-]

Time Turners and the Marauder's Map didn't mix in canon works. Double entry glitch seems likely.

I can't recall, did canon works show Harry in the Marauder's Map despite being under his invisibility cloak? I would assume from dialog in HPMOR that it wouldn't be able to detect him as it's ability to hide is such that he can elude even death's detection.

Comment author: TobyBartels 13 March 2011 10:01:56AM 0 points [-]

Lupin saw Harry & friends on the Map while they were under the Cloak in Book 3.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 13 March 2011 10:02:40PM 0 points [-]

Yes...long before Rowling decided to make Harry's cloak legendary.

I don't have any solid proof of it, but too many things don't match up if you assume that the Potter Cloak was a Deathly Hallow from the beginning, starting with the fact that no one realized that the idea of a functioning heirloom Invisibility Cloak is apparently an oxymoron, and definitely including that Moody's eye (buffed to an insane degree in MoR) and a toy invented by four pranksters in their teens (also buffed in MoR, if to a lesser degree) are able to see where Death may not.

Comment author: TobyBartels 15 March 2011 07:43:08PM *  0 points [-]

Yeah, things don't make much sense in canon, but what do we do about it? Eliezer has been fixing this continuity glitch by going through the things that could beat Harry's cloak and buffing them up, not (as he might have) by denying their powers over the cloak. (I think that there's a slogan in here somewhere, to the effect that only an Epic Item can beat an Epic Item, and Harry's cloak is Epic.) So Moody's eye must be the Eye of Vecna/Vance, and the Marauder's Map must be an invention of the Founders of Hogwarts (only lightly tweaked by the Marauders, assuming that this is the same group as in canon). So it goes right along with what Eliezer's been doing that the Map should see under Harry's cloak. The Four Founders are better than Death at finding people, after all.

Comment author: TobyBartels 24 February 2011 07:05:07AM 3 points [-]

The permanent one could be that the name Tom Riddle is constantly juxtaposed with Quirinus Quirrell.

That one's so obvious that even a couple of Gryffindors ought to be able to figure out what it means.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 24 February 2011 08:20:44PM 2 points [-]

Even when they don't know that Voldemort's real name is Tom Riddle?

Comment author: Desrtopa 09 March 2011 03:37:37AM 0 points [-]

Considering who it is they're dealing with, I'd think that a more immediately available hypothesis is that Tom Riddle is another identity worn by the person who now calls himself Quirinus Quirrel. I certainly wouldn't discount the possibility that magic related to true names exists, and if so, anyone with an interest in concealing their identity in the long term is likely to have messed around with it.

Comment author: TobyBartels 24 February 2011 10:52:38PM 2 points [-]

Good point! They ought to be able to locate the hypothesis that it really is two people in one, but with no understanding of the second person's importance, they might well just consider it "anomaly".

Comment author: orthonormal 23 February 2011 05:27:36AM *  9 points [-]

I am confused as to why Quirrell/Voldemort would leave behind the false clue of the animagi potion. Revealing an escape mechanism that may prove usefull later doesn't make sense.

The reason for it was actually ingenious- look at the actual result:

Albus sighed. "Indeed. But even if he has tricked me perfectly, we may at least rely on the conclusion that it was not Harry Potter."

Since Quirrellmort wanted to divert suspicion from Harry in the event of some mishap, he left what amounts to a "VOLDEMORT WAS HERE" flag at the scene of the crime. Not even Mad-Eye Moody would suspect that Voldemort and Harry Potter pulled off the prison break together.

Comment author: hamnox 04 April 2011 11:15:35PM *  1 point [-]

Not even Mad-Eye Moody would suspect that Voldemort and Harry Potter pulled off the prison break together.

Truly, it is insanely mind-boggling to think about. I'm still freaking out about it myself a little, even as I, a reader, was privileged with a much broader perspective on the circumstances leading up to the event than the characters. Except maybe Quirrelmort, he's a grand mysterious meddler.

Comment author: MinibearRex 19 February 2011 06:38:03PM 2 points [-]

In a couple of conversations with Fred and George, references are made to some prank involving "kevin entwhistle's cat". Do we know what that refers to?

If anyone's looking for an example, Chapter 27 has a reference in the fourth paragraph.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 14 March 2011 05:48:05AM 2 points [-]
Comment author: Jonathan_Graehl 18 February 2011 05:16:55PM 1 point [-]

Ouch (ch 68):

Minerva was going over the Transfiguration parchment due Monday, and had just marked down to negative two hundred points a fifth-year parchment with an error that could have potentially killed someone. During her first year as a professor she'd been indignant at the folly of older students, now she was just resigned. Some people not only never learned, they never noticed that they were hopeless, they stayed bright and eager and kept on trying. Sometimes they believed you when you told them, before they left Hogwarts, that they must never try anything unusual, give up free Transfiguration and use the art only through established Charms; and sometimes... they didn't.

"It's better if you don't even try" - I wonder what inspired that sentiment.

Comment author: knb 09 March 2011 04:06:22AM *  2 points [-]

When I read that I assumed it was a critique of people who are bright enough to plausibly create an AGI but not bright enough to make sure it is friendly.

They shouldn't "try anything unusual".

Comment author: gwern 18 February 2011 05:37:03PM 1 point [-]

I took it as yet another veiled criticism of the original books, although I'll admit I don't offhand remember any transfiguration mistakes in Order of the Phoenix.

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 19 February 2011 07:25:52AM 2 points [-]

Looks definitely like a real-world reference to me though.

Comment author: Jonathan_Graehl 19 February 2011 03:40:55AM 3 points [-]

I only read the last book (or two). Maybe you're right, but I took it as an expression of frustration with well-meaning but net-harmful people in some area of Eliezer's interest.

Comment author: orthonormal 13 February 2011 06:18:40AM 2 points [-]

Rather belated (and possibly noted already), but in case there was any lingering doubt as to Mr. Hat-and-Cloak's identity:

(Chapter 35): Mr. Hat and Cloak gave a whispery chuckle. "Indeed," said the whisper. "With the murder of one student five decades ago being the exception that proves the rule, since Salazar Slytherin would have keyed his monster into the ancient wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself."

(Chapter 49): Professor Quirrell sipped from his own waterglass again. "Well then, Mr. Potter, I shall freely tell you what I know or suspect. [...] Therefore [Myrtle's] murder was performed either by Headmaster Dippet, which is unlikely, or by some entity which Salazar Slytherin keyed into his wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself."

Comment author: Sheaman3773 14 February 2011 01:13:19AM 2 points [-]

That has been pointed out before.

Comment author: endoself 13 February 2011 06:23:42AM 0 points [-]

No way. That would be too expected,

Comment author: GeeJo 12 February 2011 06:51:26PM 14 points [-]

Given the number of people struggling with the "Azkaban Saturday" timeline, I thought I'd have a go at mapping it out and uploading the result to Google Documents. If anyone's got any corrections, feel free to say so.

Comment author: Vaniver 09 February 2011 06:14:27PM 4 points [-]
Comment author: Xachariah 03 February 2011 01:20:36AM *  6 points [-]

I can't help but think that Harry dropped an incredible idiot ball on deciding to go to Azkaban. I don't mean his deciding to trust his Professor and Mentor. I'm having trouble reconciling Harry's timeline with either his or (more importantly Quirrel's) decision making style.

8 AM - "Well, I have a big day of breaking into Azkaban today. So much to set up, I've got to be super careful!"

3 PM - "Hmm, it seems that the failsafe Quirrel setup in case anyone believes I was involved in Azkaban was triggered. Better go through with the plan anyways."

5:55 PM - "Hey Mr Quirrel, our failsafe triggered and McGonagall suspects me of illegal use of my time tuner, indicating something went terribly wrong. Think we should abort the plan?"

6 PM - "Welp, time to go to Azkaban!" . . . "Oh no! It's going horribly wrong, how could we have ever anticipated this?!?"

I'm aware you can't use a time tuner to solve problems, but from Harry's/Quirrel's point of view the most logical action would be to abort the mission and send back the note to prevent paradox. I can understand that Harry has already been established as acting irrationally at this point in time. However, it is unimaginable that Quirrel, a planner far more than one level above me, would simply ignore the failsafe being triggered and continue onward.

The only option I can fathom is that Quirrel intentionally planned on failure and had them go forward with the plan anyways. But this doesn't explain why Harry doesn't use it as very strong evidence that Quirrel is evil and out to get him. Harry doesn't even reflect on the fact that, in retrospect, going onward even after they knew the failsafe was triggered was an idiotic move.

This seems be either a glaring plot hole or an idiot ball, but I may be misunderstanding all interactions of time travel or getting the timeline wrong.

Comment author: Nominull 03 February 2011 05:09:04PM 0 points [-]

I know Azkaban is warded against time travel, I don't know in what way that would play havoc with a time loop that passes through Azkaban.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 03 February 2011 02:43:38PM *  6 points [-]

Harry got the note from himself at around 3:10pm. He left for lunch with Professor Quirrell in the late morning, went back in time, went to Azkaban, went back in time again to Mary's Room, and was grabbed by Dumbledore and rescued at around lunchtime. Those two time-loops did not intersect; they are separate time-loops.

Comment author: TobyBartels 05 February 2011 05:38:02AM 4 points [-]

So not only did they break into the most heavily guarded prison ever, not only did they break out the[*] most dangerous criminal known to be still alive, not only did they get away with it all to boot, but they did it BEFORE LUNCH!

[*] (assuming that MoR!Voldemort already killed Grindelwald)

(OK, I know, they had plenty of time in their own personal timelines to eat lunch. And they didn't finish until after lunchtime. But still.)

Comment author: Xachariah 03 February 2011 08:32:50PM *  4 points [-]

Thank you, that clears up my confusion.

I am afraid that I am too used to intelligent fictional characters having supernatural powers of planning and foresight. I suppose it is much easier to have readers be impressed with intelligence if smart characters are simply omniscient rather than acting rationally at all points. Therefore, if you were to be writing Quirrel with maximum intelligence, he simply MUST have planned it all at the earliest possible moment. It didn't occur to me that they could just be making the best of a bad situation, since that doesn't maximize the illusion of cleverness. He's a very smart human; he's not L/Light.

I'll try not to be so hasty to make assumptions in the future and scan for any unspoken assumptions that are coloring my view when reading MoR. On further reflection, that's a good general life lesson too.

Comment author: major 03 February 2011 11:56:42AM 1 point [-]

Harry was tested (via Veritaserum) after the Daily Prophet incident. The fact that he is being tested in regards to Quirrell's illegal activity is not evidence of it's failure, it only shows that it's impossible enough to make someone suspect Harry Potter was involved.

A flashback where Quirrell explains the failsafe to Harry might have helped, though. For example, he would have foresaw the hide-from-dementors nature of Patronus 2.0 as a clue for Dumbledore (which is probably what prompted him to make this particular failsafe in the first place). How much of it did he explain to Harry?

It is not really important, however. The moment Harry recieved the message at 3PM, he was committed. DO NOT MESS WITH TIME!

Still, your question made me notice my (possible) confusion, so... good one.

Comment author: Xachariah 03 February 2011 01:46:00PM *  0 points [-]

The alarming thing about being tested isn't that they tested Harry specifically; it is that they were aware that tests needed to be performed at all. Had the plan gone successfully, nobody would have ever have known that Bellatrix was removed. Remember that the entire advantage of Patronus 2.0 (to Quirrell) was the undetectable nature of it. It allowed a person to commit a perfect crime without the guards or dementors being aware that a crime ever occurred.

From the point of view of Harry, sitting with his invisibility cloak in the empty room at 3:00 PM, only a small number of possible futures could exist:

No note - Either the plan will go successfully, Harry shall be captured/killed in the attempt, or they abort for some other reason.

Do not mess with time note - This also should result in aborting the mission since some terrible paradox occurred and you DO NOT mess with time.

Passcode note - Harry will not be apprehended, but the plan will fail in some way and Harry is a suspect. Or Harry will chose to abort the mission and send back a false passcode preserve a stable time-loop. This is the result that actually occurred and is the only one that confirms a definite partial failure.

I admit it is possible that, once the message was sent back in time, Harry and Quirrell were committed via fate to perform the prison break. The problem is that both Harry and Quirrell act as if No Note was received. In the TPSE chapters, we do not see characters who are aware that their plan will be detected. They do not seem to act as if their plan is definitely going to partially fail. Neither does Harry take heart in nor mention the fact that he has already survived escaping Azkaban. Contrast with the same situation in cannon!PrisonerofAzkaban where it is a major plot point.

Edit: There is the possibility it is related to "Azkaban's future cannot interact with it's past", but then you run into the problem of Harry being able to send the note at all. If they abort or are just more paranoid on their mission, Azkaban's future is still effecting its the past either way.

Comment author: wedrifid 06 February 2011 03:37:51AM *  0 points [-]

Do not mess with time note - This also should result in aborting the mission since some terrible paradox occurred and you DO NOT mess with time.

Such loops are stable even without any paradox. The extent to which one can deduce whether bad things happen depends on the psychology of the individual and existing priors.

I admit it is possible that, once the message was sent back in time, Harry and Quirrell were committed via fate to perform the prison break.

But so is this. A message 'Abort! X, Y and Z bad things will happen if you try!' can be reproduced and sent back in time perfectly well - and this kind of thing has been observed already in MoR.

Comment author: TobyBartels 07 February 2011 01:18:27AM 1 point [-]

Have we had the version with X, Y and Z listed? (I agree that we have had Abort! messages reproduced and sent.)

Comment author: wedrifid 07 February 2011 04:18:50AM 0 points [-]

Have we had the version with X, Y and Z listed?

No, haven't. This seems to indicate a failure of rationality of the part of the time turner users. :)

Comment author: TobyBartels 07 February 2011 05:13:05AM 0 points [-]

They may be trying to avoid sending more information than necessary into the past, since there are known limitations on that. (No information can be sent more than 6 hours in the past, even through a sequence of time-turners.) I can't think of a situation where it would be safe to send the information that something has gone wrong but not the information about how, and maybe they can't either, but they could just be playing it safe.

Comment author: Danylo 05 February 2011 08:58:51PM -1 points [-]

Let's speculate.

Say, Harry Potter tried, failed, and sent a note to the past. What happens to the Harry in the future? He presumably continues to exist, in an alternate universe where he didn't get a note and went on with the plan.

Thus, we have a scenario where, if the test was planned for, Harry must have both Gone on the mission and Not Gone on the mission, and we're merely following the one that did in the narrative.

Comment author: TobyBartels 06 February 2011 03:13:00AM 1 point [-]

That's not how time-turners work in canon, nor in this fic (other fics notwithstanding). See TVTropes:Stable Time Loop.

Comment author: cata 03 February 2011 02:34:10PM *  0 points [-]

One obvious option is that Harry might have chosen to commit to sending a note back with opaque instructions to himself either way, even if no test were being performed. In that case, getting the note would mean only that he returned in one piece. Is there an advantage to that?

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 03 February 2011 10:02:38AM *  3 points [-]

8 AM - "Well, I have a big day of breaking into Azkaban today. So much to set up, I've got to be super careful!"

He doesn't know about Azkaban in the morning.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 03 February 2011 01:30:23AM *  0 points [-]

3 PM - "Hmm, it seems that the failsafe Quirrel setup in case anyone believes I was involved in Azkaban was triggered. Better go through with the plan anyways."

Isn't that a Harry version that's gone back in time again a few hours?

Edit: It actually might be nice if Eliezer could provide a diagram that has everyone's worldlines to help keep track of this. It isn't as bad as Primer but it is getting there.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 03 February 2011 10:01:16AM 1 point [-]

Harry didn't go back in time to 3 PM.

Comment author: Atelos 03 February 2011 06:14:08PM *  8 points [-]

Indeed. Harry's personal timeline looks like this.

Wakes up, does morning stuff.

Goes to lunch with Professor Quirrell.


Back in time to be picked up by the Professors at Mary's Room.

Receives coded note, delivers message to Professor Flitwick.

Reports to McGonagall's office, receives message to be passed to Flitwick.

Back in time one hour from 9 PM to send coded note through Slytherin mail to Margaret Bulstrode who will/did bring it the rest of the way back to 3 PM using her own time turner.

Visit to Dumbledore's office to hear his theory on Bellatrix's escape, and it turns out, to help Fawkes yell at him.

Comment author: orthonormal 30 January 2011 06:08:40PM 3 points [-]

Listening to the Hitchhiker's Guide today, I noticed another reference in Chapter 13 that the TVTropes page seems to have missed:

Zaphod (after Trillian mentions picking up the hitchhikers): "Okay, so ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking, yeah?"

Comment author: orthonormal 30 January 2011 12:27:58AM 4 points [-]

What Hermione really needs is Something to Protect- her own autonomy isn't big enough.

Comment author: rdb 30 January 2011 11:42:44AM *  0 points [-]

Perhaps SPHEW will help there. Harry has had knowledge of the nature of the "magical remnant of the Dark Ages" since meeting Draco at the station, reinforced by Azkaban,.

Hermione would know intellectually (quoting Harry) "So the world is broken and flawed and insane and cruel and bloody and dark. This is news? You always knew that, anyway...", but should lack direct experience, that her fellow students may have.

Will Draco conspire to protect Hermione against the Slytherin bullies?