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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

6 Post author: Oscar_Cunningham 17 March 2012 09:41AM

EDIT: New discussion thread here.


This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. With two chapters recently the previous thread has very quickly reached 500 comments. The latest chapter as of 17th March 2012 is Ch. 79.

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

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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 (1174)

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 19 March 2012 11:44:57AM *  23 points [-]

Here's a secret in plain sight: if this story has a happy ending, then Harry has the power to destroy Quirrelmort's brain, anytime they're together.

First clue: the WRONG DON'T BAD IDEA messages when Harry tries to make contact with Quirrell. Assume that they mean just what they say -- that something terrible will happen if Harry makes contact.

Second clue: the prophecy appears to say that Harry and Voldemort's confrontation can only leave more or less one. Storytelling convention makes us think it's a metaphor or foreseeing complex future actions. But maybe there's just an already existing spell or condition, dating from the first encounter, that's primed to cause Harry+Voldemort = boom.

There's more. But just from these two clues alone, we can see that an available though seemingly extreme interpretation of data in the story is: "If Harry ever touches Quirrellmort, one or the other will be magically destroyed".

Now the subtler clues.

Third clue: in the original canon, Harry had a piece of Voldemort's soul in him, an accidentally created Horcrux, and the destruction of that piece of soul was a critical step in Voldemort's death.

Fourth clue: in our world's science, there's no such observable thing as splitting souls, but there is such a thing as copying data, or duplicating a software neural network.

Fifth clue: Lucius thinks Harry is Voldemort.

Sixth clue: Harry has patterns of behavior in him that don't at all resemble a loved little boy, but wholly fit Voldemort.

Seventh clue: the Sorting Hat said Harry didn't have a separate mind under the Hat with him. It never said his own mind was normal.


In this universe, a "Horcrux" is a compressed or partial copy of your brain software.

Harry was accidentally imprinted with some of Voldemort's brain software at their original encounter. Ever since, he's been a child who knows how to think like Voldemort. Literally. (Harry's dark side really is an alien thing, not as an actual person, but as a range of behaviors that didn't come from his own past experiences but another's.)

Further, in this universe, a Horcrux, or at least an unstable Horcrux like Harry, destructively decompresses/uploads itself back to its source mind when brought into contact with it.

In consequence, if ever Quirrellmort and Harry come sufficiently into physical/magical contact, Quirrellmort anticipates that Harry's brain will turn into a vegetable as Harry-Voldemort destructively uploads itself into the "real" Quirrell-Voldemort, leaving behind a stronger and more complete Q+H-Voldemort.

This may require preparation on Quirrell's part to go well. Or there may be other things involved that Quirrell hasn't accounted for, such as the extent to which Harry has a (literal) mind of his own. Either way, there's a fair likelihood, depending on author intent, that the contact will destroy Quirrellmort, not Harry.

So if the story has a happy ending, where even the protagonist gets to live, then we can express the hypothesis like this:

Harry can defeat Quirrellmort. He just has to give him a hug.

There's a Care Bears Omake spawning in my brain now.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 22 March 2012 02:48:05AM *  7 points [-]

In consequence, if ever Quirrellmort and Harry come sufficiently into physical/magical contact, Quirrellmort anticipates that Harry's brain will turn into a vegetable as Harry-Voldemort destructively uploads itself into the "real" Quirrell-Voldemort, leaving behind a stronger and more complete Q+H-Voldemort.

How about the other way - Quirrellmort uploads into Harry? Make Harry the Dark Lord, and then upload into him.
Note that Voldemort has seemingly already uploaded into Quirrell.

"My... Lord... I went where you said to await you, but you did not come...

"Sshow her your face," hissed the snake at Harry's feet.

Harry cast back the hood of the Cloak of Invisibility.

"The scar..." muttered Bellatrix. "That child..."

"So they all still think," said Harry's voice, and gave a thin little chuckle. "You looked for me in the wrong place, Bella dear."

Bella is not particularly surprised to find Voldemort in a new body. And while there are other explanations, having Harry masquerade as Voldemort does set the stage for him to do it for real. It also gets Bella on Harry's side for later in the story, so that Harry has support from both sides, as seems to be the plan.

But think of the denouement of such a scheme. Voldemort takes over the body of Harry, who appears to have saved the world from Voldemort a second time as Voldemort uploads into Harry! He rules a grateful and loyal world, which he has saved from himself. Could anything be more delightful to a Dark Lord?

Harry's objection to Quirrell's "We Need a Dark Lord Speech" even foreshadows the plot, as he identified the Dark Lord Dictator as a single point of failure in Quirrell's argument - the single point that in fact Quirrell planned on exploiting all along.

The first supposed loss to Harry was only part of the plan of creating a new and better host. The story line that Harry originally survived and Voldemort died because "mommy loved Harry, etc..." could not be more insipid. Much more believable that it was just a gambit of Voldemort, he laid low for a decade and came back as Harry became old enough to fulfill his role.

Also, the advanced power and intelligence of Harry makes sense as something bequeathed by Voldemort. But, much in keeping with EY's concerns about AI, the created tool will instead rise up and squash it's maker in the end.

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 22 March 2012 06:01:00AM *  11 points [-]

So Harry is, in effect, an AI created by Voldemort, but one that developed an unintended value system and so turned on its creator?

Harry as Unfriendly AI. (Unfriendly from Voldemort's point of view, anyway.) Nice.

Comment author: glumph 20 March 2012 01:58:51AM 4 points [-]

Third clue: in the original canon, Harry had a piece of Voldemort's soul in him, an accidentally created Horcrux, and the reunion of that piece with Voldemort was a critical step in Voldemort's death.

The destruction of that piece was crucial. I don't believe that it ever reunited with the rest of Voldemort's soul.

Comment author: gwern 23 March 2012 04:28:48AM *  19 points [-]

PredictionBook registry - take one prediction a day to keep the hindsight bias away! - based on the speculation:

Harry's solution will be...

(These are not all mutually exclusive, and I didn't set down and make them all sum to 100%.)

Comment author: Spurlock 23 March 2012 02:55:23PM *  14 points [-]

Something about the last paragraph

his eyes looked at the rows of chairs, at every person and every thing within range of his vision, searching for any opportunity it could grasp

Makes me afraid he'll end up stabbing Lucius with the bones of a Hufflepuff.

Comment author: gwern 23 March 2012 03:35:27PM 4 points [-]

If I have to be massively wrong on my predictions and Harry really does resort to violence, there had darn well better be Hufflepuff-stabbing!

Comment author: DanArmak 23 March 2012 02:21:20PM *  6 points [-]

My reasons for assigning ~0% to some of these:

threaten to destroy Azkaban destroying one of the Dementors

They would lock him away to protect the Dementors who are Britain's most powerful magical weapon in reserve in case of war with another magical nation. (Quoth Dumbledore.)

offer the Wizengamot Voldemort's true identity (Quirrel)

Harry doesn't know that fact, so he can't offer it. Anyway, how would it help to reverse the judgement against Hermione?

using the Time-turner to alter Hermione's testimony to something easily falsifiable

Can't use it to change what's already happened. Hermione has already given her testimony, and Harry didn't even listen so he wouldn't be in a good position to subtly modify it. And the Veritaserum on her is already wearing off, precluding further testimony.

using the Time-turner to smuggle Hermione out under the Cloak

Harry and Hermione can't be both under the Cloak at once. People under the Cloak can still be caught by physically feeling around. The Aurors would stop them (certainly the one who wasn't under the Cloak at the time), and if they didn't, Hermione would be running around the building Cloaked but with no real way out.

ask for a trial by combat

Wizengamot would have to vote to make the trial-by-combat's results binding (otherwise why should it reverse the standing Wizengamot vote to punish Hermione?) Lucius will ask them not to vote so, because Dumbledore would be Harry's champion, and so they won't.

More generally, if Dumbledore could challenge Lucius to a duel every time a vote went against him, he'd have total control of the vote outcomes by virtue of being undefeatable in combat. And we know that's not the case.

have Quirrel make Bella confess to the crime

What would be the explanation presented for why Bella comes forward to confess, without implicating Quirrel? Just "Voldemort ordered me to do this and then Obliviated me"? Everyone would suspect Voldemort also false-memory-charmed Bella into believing she did it. And why would Voldemort sacrifice his most trusted and powerful lieutenant, whom he recently rescued at great risk, and not some smaller pawn? And why would Voldemort execute a plan to murder Draco or to frame Hermione in the first place? And how would Bella have gotten into Hogwarts without the wards detecting it, or Dumbledore's Map? And how could she be recovered enough already (if she appears to testify everyone will see she's not very recovered yet)?

And to begin with you'd have to explain to members of the Wizengamot that Voldemort is still alive and that he broke out Bella from Azkaban. Imagine the panic - no reasoned debate would be possible after that. But without telling them this, how to explain that Bella is turning herself in, and that she has been Obliviated of everything during and after her escape?

Oh, and by inspecting Bella they will notice she does not in fact have her Animagus form again, which will cause Dumbledore to rethink some conclusions... (Edit: she has probably regained her Animagus form on Quirrel's instructions, it would be stupid not to. See below.)

Comment author: QuicklyStarfish 24 March 2012 10:52:05PM *  5 points [-]

Regarding the Cloak, one possibility is that Harry could duplicate it using the Time Turner. (Harry[1] goes back in time, equips himself with Cloak[1], sneaks up to Harry[2] and take Cloak[2] from his pouch. He could use both cloaks to perform an impossible rescue, then return Cloak[2] to Harry[2]'s pouch.)

Comment author: pedanterrific 23 March 2012 08:30:32PM 4 points [-]

Harry and Hermione can't be both under the Cloak at once.

They could in canon.

Comment author: AspiringKnitter 24 March 2012 12:53:32AM 2 points [-]

Can't use it to change what's already happened. Hermione has already given her testimony, and Harry didn't even listen so he wouldn't be in a good position to subtly modify it. And the Veritaserum on her is already wearing off, precluding further testimony.

In canon, they thought they heard Buckbeak die, too. It could already be that Hermione gave altered testimony and Harry isn't aware of it because he didn't hear what she said because he wasn't listening. In fact, that makes sense.

Comment author: Dreaded_Anomaly 23 March 2012 10:23:33PM 2 points [-]

Oh, and by inspecting Bella they will notice she does not in fact have her Animagus form again, which will cause Dumbledore to rethink some conclusions...

I would be very surprised if Quirrell did not instruct Bellatrix to regain her Animagus form after she had sufficiently recovered from Azkaban. It would not be like him to go to all the trouble to present an alternative explanation for her escape but then fail to follow through.

Comment author: gwern 23 March 2012 05:06:24PM 2 points [-]

Can't use it to change what's already happened.

And Harry doesn't yet know what has already happened - he wasn't listening.

Comment author: mjr 23 March 2012 07:27:15AM *  6 points [-]

Indeed, I was thinking destroy the Dementor as a show of force and threaten with challenging Draco to a duel to the death (I'm presuming he can do that as a Noble House). For, I don't know, willingly participating in a travesty of justice against a friend of Harry's or whatever. Close enough to a trial by combat, which also is presumably possible in this "justice" system, so yeah, maybe that after the show of force.

I'm still slightly rooting for Draco to intervene, though. Slightly.

Edit: Oh yeah, that torture thing. Even if Draco has been wiped of it and it's thus unprovable (aside from being not sufficient debt to cancel Hermione's supposed debt), the claim would probably be sufficient grounds for such duel.

Comment author: mjr 22 March 2012 11:38:24AM *  19 points [-]

Okay, I don't really think this is how it'll go down - slightly too Dark Lordish. But the image was amusing, so here goes:

"It just happens that if Hermione doesn't walk, everyone but me will lose the ability to cast Patronus. Don't buy it? Oh, well, I'll just explain it to Hermione and she'll be able to testify under Veritaserum that I can do it."

Or, you know, have Hermione figure it out herself from Harry's note and do the blackmail herself.

Anyway, the blackmail potential for this is rather great, and I'd not be surprised to see it used in a more dire situation with more than Hermione on the line.

Comment author: pedanterrific 22 March 2012 01:21:14PM 14 points [-]

It occurs to me that this would actually be a potentially successful (if politically costly) way to force the Ministry to replace Azkaban with a more humane Nurmengard-style prison. The mere fact that it's demonstrably possible for anyone to do this makes keeping Dementors around far less attractive.

Comment author: aleksiL 23 March 2012 08:04:12AM *  8 points [-]

What's the in-story justification for the dementor's presence anyway? I thought it seemed awfully convenient in case Harry decided to demonstrate his Patronus 2.0 but I couldn't figure out how it'd help enough.

I'd forgotten about the potential for ruining others' patronuses, though. That makes a lot more sense, especially considering he'd just reached into his dark side - possibly deeper than he'd ever willingly done before.

My guess: it wouldn't be enough at this point to just demonstrate a superior patronus or tell people about the possibility of ruining it for others. He tells the secret to EVERYONE present, leaving them at his mercy for protection. That gives him plenty of bargaining power and is dramatically Dark to boot. The political implications would be rather interesting, whether the Patroni could be returned by Obliviation or not.

Comment author: DanArmak 23 March 2012 03:03:31PM 4 points [-]

What's the in-story justification for the dementor's presence anyway?

To protect Wizengamot members from dangerous criminals brought before them.

Comment author: Rejoyce 23 March 2012 03:50:36AM *  4 points [-]

Combining with this idea: Harry openly speaks about Patronus 2.0, everyone's Patronuses fail (especially the sparrow and squirrel currently guarding the Dementor, everyone would see them fail), Harry casts his Patronus to protect Hermione (or she figures it out and casts her own, not that she would get the chance to but she might figure it out at least), and the Dementor starts sucking souls until Lucius retracts his sentence.

Heck, maybe even threaten to spread Patronus 2.0 to the media, make wizarding Britain's animal Patronus population fail, then Aurors won't be able to keep their Patronuses up to guard Azkaban. So even if Hermione gets in, she wouldn't get her happiness sucked...

Comment author: DanArmak 17 March 2012 07:47:53PM 17 points [-]

Suggestion: Harry (/Dumbledore) run some more almost-successful assassination attempts against Draco, while Hermione is in custody. That should suggest to Lucius and the Wizengamot that Hermione was being controlled. Bonus points for appearing to rescue Draco from said attempts. Bonus points for plausible attempts against Lucius himself. Extra bonus points for suggesting to Lucius a better explanation for the continuing attempts than the true one.

Comment author: Nominull 17 March 2012 11:33:54PM 10 points [-]

Among other things, this runs into the same issue as pretending to defeat Voldemort - there's an actual criminal out there who actually tried to kill Draco, or frame Hermione, or something more obscure than either, and any playacting would be extremely premature until they know what's actually going on.

Comment author: Locke 17 March 2012 08:04:54PM *  6 points [-]

That... sounds like Harry's style. So he'd need to be in the trial when it happens. Then someone storms into the chambers and tells Lucius there's been another attack, and Harry smirks inwardly.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 17 March 2012 10:15:32PM *  12 points [-]

Time Turner.

EDIT: On the other hand, if people know you have a time turner, then you have to work extra hard to establish an alibi.

EDIT Again: But then, with Polyjuice Potion, how could anyone ever have an alibi? Ehhh, maybe it's time for more suspension of belief.

Comment author: iceman 20 March 2012 04:12:19AM 16 points [-]

The Joker: I took Gotham's white knight and I brought him down to our level. It wasn't hard. You see, madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push!

-- The Dark Knight

The narrative that we, the readers, are supposed to believe at this point goes like this: Hermione was given information during her little rendezvous with H+C, giving her some information that made her think that Snape and the Malfoys had it in for her, that the duel didn't happen, and H+C (presumably Quirrell) obliviated her memory of their first meeting afterwards.

Professor Quirrell has made numerous statements doubting Hermione's goodness. For example: "She is young, and to make a show of kindness costs her little." (60) Being Quirrell, he has most likely predicted Harry's sentiment on the matter: "But 3 out of 40 subjects had refused to participate all the way to the end. The Hermiones. They did exist, in the world, the people who wouldn't fire a Simple Strike Hex at a fellow student even if the Defense Professor ordered them to do it." (63)

I would like to advance the hypothesis that Hermione actually did attempt to kill Draco. Yes, she had been set up to stew in her paranoia and obsession over Snape and Malfoy by H+C. Yes, the memories of her meeting with H+C were obliviated. The idea of the blood cooling charm may have been fed to her. But in the end, she choose to cast it in anger on Draco (at least as much as you can choose something when an attacker controls the environment).

It appears to be in Quirrell's interest to dissuade Harry Potter from believing that there are good people in the world. Quirrell wishes Harry to learn that there are no good people in the world. What better way to accomplish this than giving Hermione, as the Joker would say, a little push!

I also find Severus' comments suspicious: "The appearance of insanity..." Severus murmured softly, as though he were speaking to himself. "Could it be natural? No, it is too disastrous to be pure accident; too convenient for someone, I have no doubt.[...]"

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 24 March 2012 10:54:17AM *  15 points [-]

Harry testifies: "Voldemort did it all. He made me watch with the Imperius curse -- just like when he made me help rescue Bellatrix Black."

Harry provides details of the Bellatrix rescue that only a participant would know. His accuracy can be verified by Azkaban Security Director Amelia Bones, who just happens to be present in the Wizengamot.

Harry's knowledge of the Bellatrix rescue proves the villain who Imperiused him was really Voldemort. Who else would rescue Bellatrix?

If anyone expresses doubts about Harry's super-Patronus, Harry immediately takes the excuse to annihilate a Dementor, one of which also just happens to be present in the Wizengamot.

Harry's Occlumency lets him lie through the Veritaserum about being Imperiused and witnessing poor Hermione being framed by Voldemort. He likewise lies that "Voldemort" (not Quirrell) took him to rescue Bellatrix.

Harry explains that seeing Hermione about to be condemned to Azkaban gave him the strength to finally break free of Voldemort's Imperius curse and tell everyone the truth. (Alternately, Obliviation and a Pensieve Harry wasn't supposed to find.)

Hermione is deemed innocent. Voldemort is acknowledged back in the world and is blamed. Harry can no longer be blackmailed about Azkaban because he's admitted it.

Harry-irony points for saying right in front of Lucius: "I didn't want to help Voldemort, I was under the Imperius curse".

Author-irony points for having Harry lie to blame Voldemort for two crimes that Quirrellmort is in fact guilty of.

Comment author: Alsadius 25 March 2012 06:40:23PM 2 points [-]

Well you've at least managed a "confess" possibility that isn't completely insane, which is rather a feat. Of course, Dumbledore and some others know about the Occlumency thing, which means that there's a rather gaping hole in the explanation. Also, he took months to come forward, which is sketchy, and he said not five minutes earlier that he didn't know whose plot it was. Also, everyone thinks Voldemort is dead, and I didn't think an Imperius could be broken in the HP universe. Still, it's an improvement on that line of thought.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 24 March 2012 10:25:24PM 2 points [-]

Harry-irony points for saying right in front of Lucius: "I didn't want to help Voldemort, I was under the Imperius curse".

I don't agree with your general thesis, but this line from Harry would be double plus ironic with Lucius believing that Harry is Voldemort.

Comment author: LucasSloan 23 March 2012 05:06:29AM *  15 points [-]

Point in favor of this all being a plot by Quirrell to cause Harry to be more willing to overthrow the ministry:

But by then he'd already declared war on the country of magical Britain, and the idea of other people calling him a Dark Lord no longer seemed important one way or another.

ETA: Evidence this is the result of Quirrell's plotting at all:

Harry's mind flashed back to another day of horror, and even though Harry had been on the verge of writing off Lord Voldemort's continued existence as the senility of an old wizard, it suddenly seemed horribly and uniquely plausible that the entity who'd Memory-Charmed Hermione was the very same mind that had - made use of - Bellatrix Black. The two events had a certain signature in common. To choose that this should happen, plan for this to happen - it would take more than evil, it would take emptiness.

Comment author: DanArmak 23 March 2012 02:00:23PM 7 points [-]

Harry is naive. Why not assume that many people can be this non-empathetic? It's a useful quality to have, after all.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 23 March 2012 12:19:59PM 7 points [-]

To choose that this should happen, plan for this to happen - it would take more than evil, it would take emptiness.

I'm trying to figure out what the heck that even means.

I sure hope Harry doesn't make a habit of deducing plot points - such as "Voldemort did it" here - from such vague moralipsychologising.

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 23 March 2012 12:35:54PM 13 points [-]

Harry's suggesting that Voldemort's tactics involve not just hate but an incredible degree of cynicism.

Both "Make Bella love you despairingly, on purpose" and "Mess with Hermione's brain intimately over a long period of time" reflect a person who can get to know people closely and accurately and yet not care about them at all.

A lot of evil comes from people doing bad things to people they don't bother to think about in the first place. Voldemort clearly took the trouble to get to know Bellatrix and (somewhat) Hermione rather well - solely for the purposes of undermining them.

Some police trained as hostage-situation snipers find they can't actually pull the trigger on real criminals, because they watch them so long and so closely they empathize with them. Draco Malfoy, in the fic, was coming to empathize with Hermione Granger.

Harry is observing that Voldemort seems to be immune to natural empathy, and that creeps him out.

(Agree that Harry having "Voldemort plot detection powers" as a general rule would be bizarre.)

Comment author: razor11 23 March 2012 06:06:05PM 3 points [-]

Harry doesn't know whether whoever framed Hermione knew her closely or not. He knew that her mind was probably tampered with on several different occasions, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the criminal interacted with her on a regular basis, or enough to empathize with her. Otherwise I think he would have considered Quirell as a lead suspect early on.

Comment author: staticIP 23 March 2012 03:15:31AM 13 points [-]

Dementor, do you know who I am? Just say yes or no.

Do you know what I'm capable of? Once again, yes or no.

Leave Hermione be. Do not approach her or tread upon her thoughts during her time in azkaban. Run along and tell your compatriots at azkaban. Now.

Hopefully albus's belief would be enough to bolster them even if they don't have a mind if their own. If they do have a mind of their own they can be threatened, and have been in the past.

Comment author: 75th 20 March 2012 02:04:22AM *  12 points [-]

I'd like to point out something awesome Eliezer did in the previous chapter, "Cheating". In canon, Potions as a discipline is hardly taught at all. The only thing you ever see Snape do in the books is give a list of ingredients and instructions, tell the class how long the class period is, and assign papers at the end of the class. This is one example of how J.K. Rowling wasn't really invested in developing the mythology of the universe, except as strictly necessary to make her plots happen. (There's nothing wrong with that; they're children's books, not "real" fantasy for adults.)

With the "Cheating" chapter, rather than trying to create a whole framework of Potions rules to understand as he's done elsewhere, he simply added a darn good explanation that legitimizes everything Rowling already showed us. When Hermione lectures Harry on "understanding the principles" in Half-Blood Prince, instead of scoffing about how there's never been evidence of any principles to learn, we can now imagine that there's a very good reason why Harry is never taught the principles of potion-making: if you're not smart, thoughtful, and careful enough to figure them out for yourself, you have absolutely no business knowing them at all.

When compared side-by-side as if they're in the same genre and directed toward the same audience, Methods of Rationality often makes the books look worse than they used to look. But in this case, future readings of the books will be made a little bit better. I wonder whether there are other ways that's true that I haven't noticed yet.

Comment author: Xachariah 20 March 2012 11:30:40PM 10 points [-]

Seconded. In retrospect, the Canon teaching of potions now seems incredibly practical. The vast majority of students not only don't need to learn the theory, but it's a negative for them to do so. They only need to learn two things: 1) how to make the potions they'll use every day and 2) whether or not they even can make those potions or if they should just buy them from someone else. Constant repetition with minimal instruction is exactly what you need for a class that's more akin to cooking instead of calculus.

Comment author: moritz 20 March 2012 08:15:13AM 5 points [-]

Potions is not the only thing that's neglected in canon; Transfiguration is also "just" taught but never used (except by the teachers). I love it that Harry!MoR puts Transfiguration to good use; after all it seems to be the most general magic manipulation.

It feels a bit as if canon and MoR aren't the same fiction subgenre. Canon is about a boy growing up, about action and an isolated society that still parallels the muggle society in many ways. MoR is more about discovering the magical world and about complicated plotting.

Comment author: Celer 23 March 2012 01:59:33AM 3 points [-]

I never viewed them as really belonging in the same genre. Canon is character focused adolesence tale, MoR is plot focused epic fantasy.

Comment author: Jello_Raptor 17 March 2012 08:42:58PM *  11 points [-]

Snape's plotting here is interesting, but I'm not sure what he is actually trying to accomplish.

Quick rundown of what we know:

  1. Snape was the one who sent Hermione the notes on where to find bullies.
  2. Snape destroyed those notes when asked to look for them.
  3. He went through great efforts to obliviate everyone at SPHEW's final battle.
  4. Snape had a conversation with Quirrel where he had his ass handed to him. (either he was stupid when dealing with Quirrel, or wanted Quirrel to think he was stupid)
  5. He is probably working outside of Dumbledore's ordersl, and is definitely hiding things from Dumbledore.
  6. After the SPHEW girls kept on winning he stopped the Slytherin bullies from advancing any farther.

So I suspect a few things:

  1. Snape was the one who was forcing the repeated escalation of the SPHEW situation
  2. Snape is actually working to help Harry somehow. (Because of his love for Lily)
  3. Snape is not nearly so biased against muggleborns as he pretends to be. (Remember Lily was a muggleborn)
  4. Snape is trying to restore the reputation of Slytherin house in much the same way as Harry. (He's cutting down on bullying and is, in a way consistant with his character, making the hatred of muggleborns look stupid)

Now, if we ascribe his love for Lily as his primary motivation (Which "Sunk Costs" seems to support) , his support of Hermione, and his plotting to restore the reputation of Slytherin makes sense. What I don't understand is why he needs to hide this from Dumbledore. Even if his motivations are counter to those of Dumbledore (I.E. He's actually evil), all of these actions would cement Dumbledore's trust in him. I can think of a few possible reasons:

  1. Dumbledore thinks Hogwarts needs an evil racist Slytherin.
  2. Dumbledore is a control freak and any plots that are not his are to be distrusted. (Seriously, this is Hogwarts, ancestral home of the gambit pileup)
  3. Dumbledore doesn't have the best interests of Hogwarts in mind.
  4. Dumbledore would think that Snape's methods (Making Slytherin look stupid in its current form, and hurting little girls in the process) are wrong.
  5. Dumbledore is insane. (Like a pie)

None of these are particularly satisfying or convincing, hence why i'm throwing the question out there.

Edit: People have repeatedly pointed out that Snape's attachment to Lily was either broken or reduced by Harry's analysis of the situation, and that Snape's kiss in Sunk Costs was a reflection of that, and I can't help but agree.

Comment author: loserthree 19 March 2012 07:16:42AM *  17 points [-]

I don't believe Snape values his love for Lily, past or present. I believe Snape is scheming to his own ends and by his own mercilessly practical means. He's not the best at it, but he's left the chump train.

Snape forced the escalation in order to get justification to do exactly what he did at the end of the first scene of chapter 75, where the following describes him admonishing the top Slytherin bullies:

"You will do nothing," hissed their Head of House. Severus Snape's face was enraged, when he spoke small spots of spittle flew from his mouth, further dotting his already-dirtied robes. "You fools have done enough! You have embarrassed my House - lost to first-years - now you speak of embroiling noble Lords of the Wizengamot in your pathetic childish squabbles? I shall deal with this matter. You will not embarrass this House again, you will not risk embarrassing this House again! You are done with fighting witches, and if I hear otherwise -"

Snape has cut the head off the Slytherin Bullying Machine, intending to see the machine fall apart without it. The non-Slytherin bullies were probably never that organized (fucking Gryffindors), and I suppose are meant to sympathize with the little girls and de-value bullying behaviors over time. It may be intended that they will stop 'naturally,' once there are fewer Slytherin bullies to respond to.

In fact, Snape isn't just behind the escalation, he started it all. Chapter 68 ends with Hermione thinking about who she could get as a mysterious wizard, though not in those terms, when she sees a flash of light. She thinks that light, and a little later a sound, is from Fawks follows it to her first bullies to beat at the beginning of chapter 69.

Just before Hermione hear Just Mike cry for help, we are given the following hint, alone as its own paragraph:

She never saw the phoenix.

She never saw the phoenix because there was no phoenix, only Snape.

Further, Snape was personally managing the escalation. In chapter 74, Dumbledore says the following about the battle of The Bully Jaime Astorga vs. Sugar And Spice And Everything Badass:

There is not enough magic in eight first-year witches all together to defeat such a foe. But you could not accept that, Harry, could not let Miss Granger learn her own lessons; and so you sent the Defense Professor to watch over them invisibly, and pierce Astorga's shields when Daphne Greengrass struck at him -"

The text never counters this claim. We are never presented with evidence that eight determined first-years could defeat a single Jaime Astorga other than the narrative of the events themselves. And in the same chapter as that narrative, 72, we learn that the Mr. Astorga is "a promising upstart on the youth dueling circuit" and that he does not understand how his shield was pierced. Again, we are given no reason to doubt his claim that his shield should not have been pierced, except that it happens it was.

Is it more likely that Dumbledore and Mr. Astorga are wrong about the unlikeliness of that event, or that the event did not occur as it was described from Hannah Abbot's perspective. Dumbledore has a long history of making heroes out of children, and Mr. Astorga was a competitive duelist. I suggest it is more likely that they were right, and Snape assisted S.P.H.E.W. in a wonderfully Slytherin fashion.

I don't see any obvious points where Snape helped out in the battle where Hufflepuff loyalty resulted in Tonks Time and the Snowballing Lie in chapter 73. Maybe he didn't always have to step in. And maybe he made the last bully standing (or falling down) drop his wand back in chapter 69. But even when he doesn't ditry his hands he is playing both sides, guiding the bullies and S.P.H.E.W. toward each other and ensuring that S.P.H.E.W. wins.

I'd like to know what Snape had planned for the last battle, before he was interrupted. I would guess that was the last battle he intended to happen. I don't know what he could have wanted to see next.

Anyway, after that Snape had the ammo he needed to pull the rug out from under the Syltherin bullies. And if he hurt Hermione at the end, and if he risked the emotional or even physical health of eight little girls, and if he humiliated his allies on the darker side of wizardry by shaming their children, why should he care? Snape is so Syltherin the hat spoke the instant it was on his head. His plans are cunning. His devotion to his ambition is complete.

Snape is Hermione's mysterious old wizard. (He makes up for only being thirty-whatever by being extra mysterious.) He does not need to act with her interests in order to play this role. Dumbledore attempted to send HJPEV to live with abusive step-parents and even says the following back in chapter 68:

I am not Harry's friend, alas, but only his mysterious old wizard."

Comment author: moridinamael 19 March 2012 05:57:53PM 5 points [-]

One interesting clue I noticed last night while re-reading HPMOR to my wife as a bed time story is that Snape is essentially ordered by Dumbledore to stop reading students' minds as a condition of his blackmail-agreement with Harry (Chapter 18), but we see later that Snape is clearly still reading minds without permission when he reads Alissa Cornfoot's mind while she is fantasizing about him (Chapter 28). Previously I hadn't thought that there was any real reason for that interlude in Chapter 28, but now I see that it tells us information about how Snape doesn't follow Dumbledore's orders.

Comment author: loserthree 21 March 2012 12:43:49AM *  6 points [-]

I'm unsure that is an accurate description of the text.

You are more or less right about chapter 18. First, Harry makes his demand regarding Snape:

"Ah... he's also to stop reading students' minds."

Then there is this corresponding line within the compromise Dumbledore offers:

He will promise to only read minds when the safety of a student requires it.

We don't observe this promise actually being made. And we aren't even assured of when it would be made. A pointlessly legalistic take on the terms could be that Snape will make that promise at some point in his life.

But I think it's safe to say that the promise was made shortly thereafter.

I also think it is plausible that it has been followed. The closing of chapter 28 may be addressed by another quote from chapter 18:

"Common sense is often mistaken for Legilimency," said Dumbledore.

Hormone-addled children are ill-equipped for subtly. I think the more telling thing from the scene in chapter 28 is that Snape directly rejected her instead of leaving her pining, as he had been left pining. Previously he regarded the pain of rejection as the worst possible thing. But after his conversation with HJPEV, and I guess some introspection or whatever, he understands his acceptance of that rejection was better than eternal uncertainty.

(emphasis added as edit)

Comment author: matheist 19 March 2012 06:58:27PM *  4 points [-]

I read this as meaning that Dumbledore's order that Snape stop reading minds is just to mollify Harry. Dumbledore reads students' minds (I argue here that Dumbledore reads the Weasley twins' minds), and hence doesn't actually care whether Snape does the same.

Harry, of course, has no way of checking that Snape is following this order, so it's safe for Dumbledore to cross his fingers under the table, so to speak.

Comment author: loserthree 21 March 2012 12:46:23AM 5 points [-]

Dumbledore never promised to stop reading student's minds. Not int chapter 18 when he said Snape would make that promise or in chapter 20 when he is called on reading HJPEV's mind.

Also, Dumbledore's offered compromise to HJPEV was this:

He will promise to only read minds when the safety of a student requires it.

It is not difficult to argue that the safety of some student, somewhere requires constant readings of the minds of the Weasley twins.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 24 March 2012 12:11:49AM 2 points [-]

I suggest it is more likely that they were right, and Snape assisted S.P.H.E.W. in a wonderfully Slytherin fashion.

Agreed, but I thought it was heavily implied in Interlude with the Confessor that he had assigned Rianne Felthorne the task of assisting them.

Comment author: DanArmak 17 March 2012 09:02:55PM 15 points [-]

I believe Snape's motivations are more personal than trying to help Slytherin House. He's remembering how he was bullied by James, and his conversation about the topic with Harry prompted him to devise this scheme to fight bullying today. He's basically looking for redemption, having perhaps abandoned his love for Lily after talking with Harry and also after the Interlude with the Confessor.

This explains why he's starting this scheme now, rather than as soon as he became Head of Slytherin.

He's hiding this from Dumbledore because Dumbledore explicitly acted against his plot: he tried to stop the SPHEW-bully fights, in the end by the drastic method of ordering Snape to disband them and publicly humiliate and punish Hermione. Dumbledore explained his actions and motivations several times to Harry.

Comment author: 75th 18 March 2012 04:43:56AM 10 points [-]

Snape is over Lily. He's been coming to grips with losing his love for Lily ever since Harry gave Snape his (incorrect) explanation for Lily's treatment of him. The moment he kissed Rianne is the moment he finally decided to stop living and grieving for Lily and start living for himself.

The question is what it means for him to live for himself. Dumbledore's trust in Snape is based on his knowledge of Snape's undying love for Lily. If Dumbledore were to find out that that love no longer exists, he would (gently, perhaps) kick Snape out of the Fellowship. He would know that there was no longer any reason to trust him. And if Snape has gotten over Lily, he'll probably feel no real compulsion to help Harry in any particular way.

Quirrell, being a smarter Voldemort, knows what was driving Snape when he was working for Dumbledore, and he now knows that it's driving Snape no longer. That's why he had that little conversation with him in the woods; he knows that Snape is now a free agent who might once again be a blood purist loyal to Voldemort.

Voldemort would not likely welcome Snape back into his fold once Voldie reveals himself, but now that he knows Snape's loyalties are up for grabs, he won't hesitate to manipulate him and use him however he can until then.

Comment author: Anubhav 19 March 2012 08:22:28AM 6 points [-]

Quirrell ... now knows that it's driving Snape no longer.


Comment author: 75th 20 March 2012 12:49:52AM 8 points [-]

We're told so during their conversation in the woods.

No, there is only one person who holds so much power over you, and who would be most perturbed to find you executing any plot without his knowledge. Your true and hidden master, Albus Dumbledore."

"What?" hissed the Potions Master, the anger plain upon his face.

"But now, it seems, you are moving on your own; and so I find myself most intrigued as to what you could possibly be doing, and why."

Quirrell may not know about his love for Lily, but I consider that highly unlikely, since Snape apparently still asked Voldemort not to kill her. Quirrellmort would certainly have put two and two together by now.

But that passage explicitly tells us that Quirrell knows that Snape is no longer acting under Dumbledore's orders.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 19 March 2012 12:29:54AM 6 points [-]

Snape is not nearly so biased against muggleborns as he pretends to be. (Remember Lily was a muggleborn)

And Snape is the Half-Blood Prince.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 24 March 2012 10:19:26PM *  10 points [-]

I'm increasingly struck by the foreshadowing EY uses. Instead of pulling things out of his ass, he sets up whatever happens. Unlike the original series, I expect a satisfying ending where all the pieces fit together and make sense.

Along these lines, go back and look at the little chat Quirrell had with Harry after they broke Bella out of Azkaban. To summarize Quirrell: People are hypocritical and delusional pricks who will bleed their grandmothers for a nickel. They care nothing for people accused of crimes, but instead sadistically compete to show strength by abusing them. Being young and naive, you can still tolerate them, but once their idiocy strikes at something dear to you, you'll despise them as I do, and decide it's better to rule them than tolerate the abominations that inevitably follow when you don't.

And what happens? Hermione is accused of a crime, which is transparently improbably, but people compete to sadistically abuse her regardless. Their idiocy strikes at something dear to Harry, and in his heart, he declares war on magical Britain, musing "Dark Lord" just doesn't sound as bad as it used to.

EY and Quirrell couldn't have spelled it out more clearly.

Shouldn't this have occurred to Harry as well? When does he make the connection to that discussion?

It occurs to me, as I state in another thread below, that if Quirrell wasn't looking for a distraction to steal the stone, but really just wanted to make a point to Harry, he has done it. He could easily now save the day with some evidence to exonerate Hermione, and even tell Harry that he did the whole thing just to show Harry who was right in their discussion after the breakout. As a bonus, when Harry finds out that Dumbledore was complicit in Narcissa's murder, covering up for Bones for political purposes, Harry will see that Dumbledore was willing to trade Hermione's torture execution for political gain.

And speaking of making a point, didn't Hat and Cloak tell Hermione that Harry would sacrifice her if he had to? Maybe he'll be able to make two points with one scheme. He'll push Harry away from everyone but Hermione, but Hermoine away from him? Imagine Harry's bitterness and desolation.

That's pretty good.

But maybe the plot fails because Hermione doesn't hate Harry for not saving her, and that's something that Quirrell just can't understand. Hermoine saves the day by thinking of others over herself, and keeping Harry off the Quirrell path. Seems a likely homily form EY.

Comment author: Pringlescan 24 March 2012 10:26:46PM 2 points [-]

I recently reread the chapter where Dumbledore gives Harry his rock. Its kind of shocking at how well it was written where the first time you are completely confused and the second time you are like, "Oh dumbledore you magnificent bastard'

Comment author: Blueberry 25 March 2012 12:24:28AM 4 points [-]

I'm still completely confused: what happened with the rock?

Comment author: Pringlescan 25 March 2012 03:56:52AM *  4 points [-]

Recap of Chapter 17 and how Dumbledore manages to act insane while still giving meaningful advice and not lying.
"Why?" Dumbledore repeated. "Ah, Harry, if I went around all day asking why I do things, I'd never have time to get a single thing done! I'm quite a busy person, you know."

Dumbledore means that he doesn't spend all day asking himself 'why am i protecting the magical world' he just goes out and does it. It doesn't mean he just wanders around doing random acts.

"I'm sorry," Harry said. He felt wretched at this point, he'd just told off Gandalf essentially, and Dumbledore's kindness was only making him feel worse. "I shouldn't have distrusted you."

"Alas, Harry, in this world..." The old wizard shook his head. "I cannot even say you were unwise." Since Dumbledore was the one that wrote the note in the first place Harry WAS wise to distrust him. Dumbledore manipulated Harry like a puppet.

"So... why do I have to carry this rock exactly?" "I can't think of a reason, actually," said Dumbledore.

A current theory is that it contains the Philosophers stone, its certainly more important than just a rock. Dumbledore can't think of a reason why he would need it but he is giving it to Harry Just In Case, hence why he can't of a reason why Harry might need it. Its the same reason why Harry carries around a full med-kit. edit: Okay as has been pointed out to me its a pretty poor theory that is almost certainly wrong.

"This," Dumbledore intoned, "was your mother's fifth-year Potions textbook."

"Which I am to carry with me at all times," said Harry.

"Which holds a terrible secret. A secret whose revelation could prove so disastrous that I must ask you to swear - and I do require you to swear it seriously, Harry, whatever you may think of all this - never to tell anyone or anything else.".

This book is proof that Dumbledore intervened to make Lily Evans distrust Snape, who was the friend she is referring to. Snape whose entire existence is based upon his love for Lily had it taken away from him by Dumbledore. Quite a terrible secret indeed, but until you know that you think that Dumbledore just snuck into the girl's dorms to mess with their mind.

Comment author: DanArmak 25 March 2012 04:39:16AM *  5 points [-]

A current theory is that it contains the Philosophers stone, its certainly more important than just a rock.

If it's the Philosopher's Stone, why would Dumbledore say it was James Potter's Rock, or that he found it in Godric's Hollow? Then again it might be a big rock from Godric's Hollow that contained the (small?) Philosopher's Stone embedded inside. But could Harry Transfigure it if he didn't correctly know its current Form, or whatever the term is? Is it even safe to routinely transfigure the Philosopher's Stone?

Which holds a terrible secret.

It also holds the hint that Dumbledore gave Lily that enabled her to come up with the dangerous potion that made her sister Petunia pretty, enabling her to marry Harry's father Professor Michael E-V. Many people think this is the fabled "single point of departure from canon". Could be important, but it's hard to see how.

Comment author: glumph 25 March 2012 06:35:59AM *  4 points [-]

A current theory is that it contains the Philosophers stone, its certainly more important than just a rock.

It's certainly not the Philosopher's Stone. The only reason the stone isn't at the Ministry (or Gringotts) is that Hogwarts provides the absolutely best protection:

"I do not own it, that thing which Voldemort desires. It belongs to another, and is held here by his consent! I asked if it could be kept in the Department of Mysteries. But he would not permit that—he said it must be within the wards of Hogwarts, in the place of the Founders' protection—" Dumbledore passed his hand across his forehead. "No," the old wizard said in a quieter voice. "I cannot pass this blame to him. He is right. There is too much power in that thing, too much that men desire. I agreed that the trap should be laid behind the wards of Hogwarts, in the place of my own power" (Ch 79).

I can't see Dumbledore going and giving it to Harry to wear on his finger.

Comment author: moritz 27 March 2012 06:27:38AM 3 points [-]

I have a theory. In canon, the fact that Harry's mother died for him produced some kind of magical protection. Harry had to live with his relatives during the summer to keep that protection alive.

Maybe in HPMoR, Dumbledore speculates that Harry can keep that protection in place by carrying a part of Harry's old home (the rock) with him.

Comment author: 75th 19 March 2012 02:49:12AM *  26 points [-]

Dumbledore correctly surmises part of Quirrellmort's motivation for this arc's events: he's neutralizing all of Light Harry's allies. What Dumbledore hasn't realized, what is completely outside his hypothesis space, is that he's not doing so to attack Harry, or at least not as part of a plan to defeat Harry. He's doing it to remove all of Harry's support except Quirrellmort himself, so as to hasten Harry's consumption by his Dark Side. With only Quirrell to rely upon in the magical world, his conversion into Dark Harry will be much swifter.

Therefore, when speculating abut the rest of this arc, we must speculate about how this plan will neutralize the rest of Light Harry's allies: Dumbledore and McGonagall. Harry has already hinted that he intends to investigate Dumbledore the next time he sees Quirrell. Assuming Quirrell gets out of the Ministry without causing a scene, he will almost certainly have manufactured evidence that implicates Dumbledore, which he will show Harry.

So perhaps one of the "taboo tradeoffs" of the arc will be Harry successfully politically attacking the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, the rediscoverer of the twelve uses of Dragons' blood, the defeater of Grindelwald, and the defender of magical Britain in order to get a first-year Hogwarts student off the hook.

That would leave only McGonagall, and Minerva would drop Harry in a heartbeat if he successfully neutralized Dumbledore. Thus his isolation from all except Quirrellmort would be complete.

Comment author: DanArmak 19 March 2012 04:17:05PM 12 points [-]

Interesting. That's a kind of reverse taboo tradeoff.

In a normal taboo tradeoff, you sacrifice a sacred value (lives, torture, ideals) to gain a mundane value (money, jobs, political influence). Here Harry would be doing the reverse: sacrifice a huge amount of mundane value (Dumbledore's political standing and his being an ally to Harry) to gain a sacred value (Hermione's life and freedom).

For an ordinary thinker (i.e. not Harry or Quirrel), this might even feel like a morally imperative tradeoff, one you have no right not to make no matter what the amount of mundane value you lose.

Comment author: SkyDK 19 March 2012 03:15:56PM 5 points [-]

From a strategic point of view having Light-Harry as a gullible ally is worth way more than having Dark-Harry be so knowingly. If the plot is to gain control of Magical Britain under one single leader who you puppeteer (him being embedded with your brain patterns and all) there'd be no sense in turning him dark now. The political strategist would rather:

  1. Put Dumbledore in a bad position by allowing Harry to be the one to stand up for the students. Possibly in a way that humbles Dumbledore by the great "wisdom" of Harry, but meanwhile in a way that doesn't alienate Harry from Dumbledore's political allies before he's been groomed and positioned to lead them. A way to do this would be to present evidence that Harry would be able to deduct and present on basis of being the Boy-Who-Lived AND someone who actually thinks. It might very well involve Harry find out, and proof, that Snape burned the letters. Snape being a double turncoat means that he'd be an easy suspect. Quirrelmort already has good reason to see him gone (that's how he deals with traitors if you recall) plus it'd severely weaken Dumbledore's hold on the Slytherin part of Britain. Here the taboo trade-off is Snape's future who Dumbledore trades to keep the school.

  2. Quirrelmort might already have been there for the duel between Hermione and Draco. Hence he'd have a memory of it and be able to pull that memory to a pensive. That memory would be enough to proof Hermione innocent. If this is the case Quirrelmort ends up distancing Harry from Lucius; which might be a good idea considering that Quirrelmort probably prefers to be the one in charge of the dark side and have Harry as a champion of the light. The taboo trade-off would then be Draco's father.

I see no reason to make Harry appear dark. Actually I'd consider that extremely stupid since Quirrelmort has obtained all the political power he could hope to and now knows that that is not enough. He needs both the wolves and the sheep.

Comment author: 75th 19 March 2012 07:02:21PM 4 points [-]

Your reasoning makes sense, but I believe we're clearly supposed to understand that Harry's going over to his Dark Side was the premeditated purpose of Quirrell bringing the Dementor to Hogwarts in the first place. Quirrell's plan was defeated that day, more or less because of Harry's love (not romantic love, necessarily) for Hermione. That day Quirrell realized that to really turn Harry Dark, he had to neutralize those Harry holds dear.

Comment author: malthrin 23 March 2012 04:08:11PM 9 points [-]

What happened here?

The Veritaserum was brought in then, and Hermione looked for a brief moment like she was about to sob, she was looking at Harry - no, at Professor McGonagall - and Professor McGonagall was mouthing words that Harry couldn't make out from his angle. Then Hermione swallowed three drops of Veritaserum and her face grew slack.

Comment author: razor11 23 March 2012 05:56:50PM *  9 points [-]
  1. If Hermione's testimony had changed from last time, I'd have guessed that McGonagall was mouthing a spell or trying to Confound Hermione so she gave a different testimony under Veritaserum.

  2. Since that isn't the case, she was either trying to: a) provide moral support for Hermione ("Keep strong" and such)

b) communicating something. If it's this, then I strongly suspect that McGonagall is cooperating with future Harry in some rescue plan. She might be communicating a simple message like "Don't worry" or "We'll get you out" which would imply that she has some extra knowledge about how things are going to play out.

But what she told Hermione shouldn't be very important as there was no way to know that Hermione, in her tired state, would understand the significance of whatever McGonagall mouthed.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 24 March 2012 10:11:44AM 3 points [-]

b) communicating something. If it's this, then I strongly suspect that McGonagall is cooperating with future Harry in some rescue plan. She might be communicating a simple message like "Don't worry" or "We'll get you out" which would imply that she has some extra knowledge about how things are going to play out.

Extra supporting evidence for this: McGonagall isn't the sort of person who would give false reassurance. If she didn't see any way to get Hermione out of this, she would say "keep strong." If she's saying "don't worry" then Hermione has some reason not to worry.

Comment author: Danylo 24 March 2012 12:39:29PM 5 points [-]

Maybe H&C's final form was McGonagall? That'd be a fun twist.

Comment author: Alsadius 23 March 2012 05:07:11PM 2 points [-]

She's the only sane one of Hermione's friends who was present?

(There may be more to it, but it's hard to say)

Comment author: Locke 17 March 2012 03:52:37PM *  9 points [-]

Anyways, if the obvious answer is incorrect, we ought to figure out which Hogwarts staff-member has been going around casting memory charms. Now Dumbledore did specifically say "professor" and I doubt that he misspoke, so we can discount Hagrid, Pomffery, etc. So:

  1. Bathsheda Babbling, Ancient Runes. (Never mentioned in books, probably unkown to Eliezer)
  2. Charity Burbage, Muggle Studies.
  3. Filius Flitwick, Charms.
  4. Silvanus Kettleburn, Care of Magical creatures.
  5. Minerva McGonagall, Transfiguration. (Definitely innocent)
  6. Aurora Sinistra, Astronomy.
  7. Severus Snape, Potions.
  8. Pomona Sprout, Herbology.
  9. Sybill Trelawney, Divination.
  10. Septima Vector, Arithmancy.
  11. Albus Dumbledore.

Now, there is one possibility I don't think anyone has brought up yet. H&C could simply be the unwilling pawn anyone capable of using the Imperius, This explains how he/she can have quite brilliant long-term plans, given to them by their puppet-master, but make a few simple mistakes when on their own (Like taking so long to crack Hermione).

Now, we know that Hermione recognized and was very shocked by whomever she saw beneath H&C's disguise, which suggests it was someone she actually knew rather than a professor she occasionally caught sight of at dinner. First years take Astronomy, Charms, Battle Magic, Herbology, History of Magic, Potions, and Transfiguration. We can safely eliminate Quirrell, Snape, Binns and McGonagall from being imperiused, leaving Flitwick, Sprout, and Sinistra.

Comment author: Eponymuse 18 March 2012 01:52:40PM 5 points [-]

The inefficiency of H&C's attack against Hermione's mind is not evidence of a "simple mistake" on his/her part, but rather exceptional cleverness. Note that this attack has replaced something that would be detected (Legilimency) with something that cannot be (Obliviation). I myself take this as further evidence that H&C is Quirrell.

Were there other mistakes you had in mind?

Comment author: WrongBot 17 March 2012 07:15:00PM 3 points [-]

Flitwick is probably also out as an Imperius candidate, being a former international dueling champion and all.

Comment author: hairyfigment 17 March 2012 07:43:32PM 8 points [-]

Chapter 26, "Noticing Confusion" : Don't know if anyone has pointed this out yet, but Quirrell says, "I...need to go off and set something in motion," before apparently going off to accost Rita Skeeter. During their conversation (Ch 25) she thinks about the alleged fact that a tipster directed her to Mary's Room, where she will shortly die. Now she may have thought this before meeting Quirrell -- she definitely had somewhere to be -- but then why would he bother to speak with her?

I just looked at the passage again, and it seems worse than that. She actually thinks,

And his hair was already falling out? Couldn't he afford a healer?

No, that wasn't important, she had a time and a place and a beetle to be.

Comment author: Vaniver 23 March 2012 02:48:55AM *  20 points [-]

Harry is not so clever: why did he think that telling Malfoy "this is a plot, you know it's a plot" would make it not a good idea for Malfoy to commit overkill in defending his son? The point of vengeance is deterrence, and the crack of "well, it might not have been Hermione" is not a good crack to have in your deterrence. Dumbledore even tells Harry as much. And then, to top it off, Harry threatens Malfoy.

What Harry should have done: talked to Malfoy beforehand (why didn't he?). Given that didn't happen, told Malfoy "I have information that is relevant to the attack, which I think you should know but should not be public yet, as it might diminish your capacity for vengeance for this to be known publicly."

Then, in private, Harry has a conversation with Lucius where Lucius doesn't need to play to the crowd, informing Lucius of his expectation of the plot, his respect for Draco, and his vow to punish the murderer of Narcissa, and then Lucius walks back out and asks that the trial be finished in a week.

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 23 March 2012 08:07:59AM *  13 points [-]

Even if Harry couldn't get access to Lucius in private, he could have made a much better public proposal.

"Hermione was not your family's true enemy, as you and I both know. To you, she is nothing but a pawn symbolizing the foe you can't yet strike. But she has value to me. If you want the right to deliver her to Azkaban, so be it, but hold off on claiming that right, Lucius, and I will give you your real enemy. You can spend your anger on this one little child now. But then I will owe you nothing, and your enemy will laugh at you. Or take today's judgment but wait on executing it, call her a hostage for my promise between us, and I will redeem Hermione with one far more valuable to you - both for your revenge, and for the life and safety of your son."

Or something like that. It still probably wouldn't have worked, of course - Lucius does not trust Harrymort's intentions or power.

Comment author: Vaniver 23 March 2012 04:28:39PM 5 points [-]

It still probably wouldn't have worked, of course - Lucius does not trust Harrymort's intentions or power.

As well, Lucius may have been behind the attack on Draco, to drive him away from Hermione (or ruin HP or so on). Giving Harry time to find the hand behind the dagger may not be in Lucius's best interests, but regardless of Lucius's complicity Harry should be trying to play to his stated goals, not his shame or fear.

Comment author: NihilCredo 23 March 2012 10:48:46AM *  7 points [-]

Eliezer, could you please confirm / deny / decline to answer whether the fic is past its halfway point? I have a persistent memory that you did at one point state that it was, but I can't find that statement so I'm wondering if I just crossed a couple of brain-wires.

e: while I'm here, I was rereading random chapters and spotted a typo in Ch. 14: "Good heavens, Mr. Potter, do you think these would be allowed to students".

Comment author: Anubhav 23 March 2012 01:40:14PM 3 points [-]

I have a persistent memory that you did at one point state that it was, but I can't find that statement so I'm wondering I just crossed a couple of brain-wires.

I remember that too. I can't find that statement either.

Comment author: Alsadius 23 March 2012 05:32:26AM 7 points [-]

An idea: We're discussing lethal magic, of the sort that even Quirrell is unlikely to have taught. Has anyone checked that she even knows the Blood-Cooling Charm? She reads a lot, and Quirrell is unlikely to have left a hole that obvious in his plan, but this seems like something that may be worth checking.

Comment author: pedanterrific 23 March 2012 05:39:31AM *  11 points [-]

This occurred to me, but Hermione really shot herself in the foot by publicly demonstrating the ability to successfully cast a charm above her year level on the first try, from nothing more than having glanced at the instructions once.

Plus, just from naming conventions I would expect that spell to have non-lethal uses- it's not called the Blood-Cooling Curse, or even Hex, but Charm. Maybe it's a treatment for heatstroke, or the counter to the Blood-Boiling Curse. In any situation other than under Hogwarts' wards, a Charm that takes six hours to kill an unconscious first-year isn't that big a deal, compared to, say, Levitating them off a cliff and dropping them.

Comment author: Alsadius 23 March 2012 06:11:51AM 4 points [-]

True, but it's a question that might get asked under Veritaserum.

(That said, we are talking about Hermione here. She can probably learn the spell from the false memory of having cast it once. So this test isn't likely to be conclusive.)

Comment author: pedanterrific 23 March 2012 06:21:24AM 5 points [-]

She can probably learn the spell from the false memory of having cast it once.

Exactly. Which, while awesome, is not especially helpful in this one particular case.

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 20 March 2012 06:57:23AM *  7 points [-]

I find Dumbledore morally confusing.

  • His main policy in the fic is inaction.
  • His reputation in the past of the story is of successful and (by the standards of the wizards) moral leadership. He earned vast respect in the wizarding world without resorting to Lucius' blood-purist politics or Voldemort's insistence on slavish obedience.
  • The few specific deeds he's done at his own initiative are somewhere between weird and vile. (Jinxing Snape's relationship with Lily; planning for Harry to have wicked step-parents; etc.)

Largely inactive in the present, good and effective in the reputed past, weird or vile when we actually see him act.

Has there been a leader in real life like this? If this was a real-life person, what would we say about them -- that they were a good leader once, and now they're a crazy one?

Comment author: pedanterrific 20 March 2012 07:13:20AM 11 points [-]

I think you need to consider the idea that this is the way he's always acted.

His handling of the Grindelwald business can be summed up as several years of inaction followed by the most spectacular duel in recent history. Presumably he didn't explain the blood sacrifices + Deathstick = invincibility thing to everyone who asked, so he must have skated by on inscrutability.

He states with a certain bitter pride that he taught Voldemort he doesn't give in to blackmail or threats to hostages- which he (hopefully, considering the alternative) accomplished through more inaction.

When you think about it, a wizard with tremendous magical and political power who doesn't seem to actually want to do anything with that power is pretty much the best case scenario for a lot of people. Imagine that Dumbledore suddenly decided to act on Fawkes' advice: how much of Wizarding Britain is left standing?

Comment author: moritz 21 March 2012 09:54:23AM 4 points [-]

I thought his response to blackmail of his allies was to burn Narcissa Malfoy (or at least have everybody thinking that he burned her alive).

Comment author: Alsadius 20 March 2012 05:45:20PM *  10 points [-]

Dumbledore has no difficulty with action when needed(TSPE, most notably), but he's been burned too many times by the cost of his efforts to be eager about it. He'd much prefer to stop the war by passive deeds(sequestering Harry, poisoning Voldemort's father's grave, etc.), and not risk the bloodshed that open war would cause, or even the loss of political capital caused by a showdown with Lucius Malfoy. There's bound to be a big difference between an 11 year old sci-fi fan and a hundredish year old veteran when it comes to eagerness to do harm, and frankly I think that Dumbledore's caution is at least as justified as Harry's sneakiness when it comes to planning a war. After all, Harry's never seen one of his incredibly clever plots fail, and he's eleven, so he is naturally going to be far too eager. Inaction isn't always wrong.

Comment author: Xachariah 25 March 2012 11:02:15AM 6 points [-]

I went and made a new comment section because we broke 1000 posts and we're supposed to split at 500. Here's the link.

Comment author: DanArmak 23 March 2012 04:55:48PM *  6 points [-]

We have Word of God (in comments above) that Harry is about to come up with some plan. However, that plan may yet fail, or it may not be executable during this Wizengamot session but only a few hours or days later.

If Harry does not succeed in rescuing Hermione now, or at least publicly show that he has a credible plan in motion, then I predict (50% probability) that right afterwards Quirrel will approach Harry with a plan for 1) breaking Hermione out of Azkaban 2) consolidating a public political platform in line with destroying Azkaban (Harry's goal), incidentally destroying Dumbledore's and Lucius's factions (Harry now distrusts and hates them, and they're in Quirrel's way), and setting Harry up on the road to become Magical Dictator of Britain aka Their Dark Lord (Quirrel's goal). Reforging an alliance with Draco despite Lucius' antagonism might figure in. A sacrificial lamb might be framed by Quirrel for H&C's role (Snape?) so that Harry can offer it to Lucius, enabling Lucius and the Wizengamot to save some face, and laying that part of Harry's suspicions to rest.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 23 March 2012 12:09:54PM *  6 points [-]

What I wanna know is what Lucius even thinks is going on. What his mental model of the situation is. It's unclear to me. A plot by Harrymort to inoculate future Death Eater and trusted lieutenant Draco against pro-muggleborn ideas by having him severely disappointed in Hermione? Well maybe not, but surely a man with that much control and intelligence is thinking something rather than just blindly grasping for revenge...

Comment author: Xachariah 23 March 2012 01:58:40PM *  15 points [-]

My mental model of Lucius says he believes...

  • Harry is Voldemort (Who is still strong in some ways but weak in others)

  • Harrymort has been trying to split Draco from his father.

  • Harrymort has been using a new ideology to recruit Draco.

  • This new ideology is incompatible with the previous ideology.

  • Harrymort has no use of his old allies as he hasn't let them in on anything and he's using an incompatible ideology.

  • Harrymort's gathering of power and allies/minions (eg Hogwarts students) will take at least a decade to come to fruition.

  • Harrymort is in a weak position right now and in danger of losing a key piece. (Hermoine would be his Bellatrix.)

  • Harrymort seems to be on Dumbledore's side in the court room and ideologically.

So, assuming Lucius isn't just acting on rage, he's decided to align himself against Harrymort and with whoever it is that's attacking him. Perhaps he's hoping that he can destroy Harrymort soon enough before he becomes invincible withe the passage of years. Perhaps he hopes by aligning the House of Malfoy against Harrymort publicly, whoever attacked his son won't target him again and risk losing the Malfoy's support. Perhaps he thinks Harry is strongly allied enough to Dumbledore to lie to Lucius. Although I'm more of the mind that he's acting on blind revenge, or at least it's clouding his vision enough to make poor choices at the moment.

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 23 March 2012 12:39:53PM 11 points [-]

He might think that Harrymort is toying with his son for pure amusement, Bellatrix-style; or that Dumbledore set Hermione on Draco.

But he can punish Hermione as a demonstration of his ferocity now, while he waits and hopes to find the real villain later.

Lucius probably knows that he doesn't know enough; on that he agrees with Harry. The difference is that he doesn't see that as a reason to let Hermione off; he sees Hermione as at least an opportunity to send a message to his real enemy, whoemever he is, not to take the House of Malfoy lightly.

Comment author: Kendra 21 March 2012 12:23:27PM *  6 points [-]

Has anyone suggested yet that Aberforth was threatened with the aim to let Dumbledore "give in in blackmail"? I have never read it here before and it was my first idea, when I knew Aberforth was dead and heard Dumbledore saying the Deatheaters learned towards the end of the war he does not give in in blackmail.

Comment author: SkyDK 19 March 2012 11:30:18PM *  6 points [-]

Given Harry's knowledge about basic game theory and decision making theory how come he's so bad at producing fake information? I refer both to his dealings in conversations (where he arguably has increased his game level), but even more so in the mock battles. Not hiding the creation of green sunglasses did seem unnaturally stupid taking into consideration: 1. He knew scouts might be sent to track his dealings (it is after all a basic of military tactics as well as the logical thing to do against an enemy you know is outnumbered when you have to figure out what he does to deal with his disadvantage). 2. The cost/benefit was vastly in favour of benefit. 3. He himself had trained Draco to acquire better information before acting.

Furthermore I'm rather stunned by how bad at constructing ambushes and firing lines Harry is.

Comment author: loserthree 20 March 2012 01:48:45AM 8 points [-]

It was unlikely that his enemies would see what was being done, so unlikely that they did not think to prepare. So unlikely that, appropriately enough, it was mentioned in chapter 78:

The Dragons had started the combat with a feint to provide a distraction for Mr. Goyle's approach through the forest; Neville hadn't realized there were two brooms attacking until almost too late. But the Chaos Legion had gotten the other pilot. That was why broomsticks usually didn't attack before armies met, it meant a whole army would concentrate fire on the broomstick.

The Dragons sacrificed a broom to see what was up. This is a significant sacrifice as they have only two and their enemies have a total of four between them.

It would not be surprising for the next battle, if there is one, to include some protection against aerial espionage. Better spy-planes would be another reasonable result of this battle. The first thing you do is fly higher.

Comment author: SkyDK 20 March 2012 06:18:37AM *  4 points [-]

First of all. Thank you for pointing this quote out!

Well, I'd say the first thing you do is hide better :) It hardly needed much more than a cloack over the object about to be transfigured. Perhaps another weakness of Harry's, overcomplicating? I appreciate the sacrifice made and the development by the character of Draco. Still, for any good mastermind in the making keeping your top-secret plan top-secret is usually an extremely good idea.

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 20 March 2012 02:07:54AM 6 points [-]

To be a good con man, you have to think like other people. Harry's not good at that.

A con man has to be good at playing to other people's superficiality.

Harry can't stand not asking questions. So he finds it hard to model others' willingness to not ask questions. Also, he's in love with getting the right answer, which makes it hard for his brain to think over wrong answers to offer people, even enemies. This is why Harry has no instinct for ambushes and active (lie-based, rather than silence-based) deceptions.

Someone like Harry can train to actively lie, deceive, ambush, etc. He'd do fine. But active deception is one of those social skills, like flirting, that mucks with the user's own cognition and so takes more practice than smart people initially think.

As for formation tactics, drilling people to act together is another less-questions-more-cooperation trait that Harry's never been good at. Chaos is definitely his right army name.

Comment author: DanArmak 20 March 2012 07:36:48AM 8 points [-]

To be a good con man, you have to think like other people. Harry's not good at that.

Quirrel made a little speech, at the end of Azkaban, about how unusually good Harry was at that. It was plausible enough to make Harry himself tentatively believe it.

Comment author: TuviaDulin 23 March 2012 06:13:18AM 6 points [-]

And, as we already know, Quirrel is a very, very good con man.

Comment author: SkyDK 21 March 2012 07:44:46AM 3 points [-]

Well, I'd say there's a clear difference between ambushing (deception in tactical combat situations) and lying/manipulating (social deception in micro-situations).

The first requires way less self-deception: the requirement here is not control of vocal tone, facial expression and knowledge innuendo and social graces; no, here an understanding of which parts of the enemy forces the enemy appreciates, and which targets he would like to hit in your own army. The second calculations; terrain and so on are also logical advantages. So in effect it can easily be a silence-based deception yet Harry is still surprisingly mediocre in this aspect. Given that they are already in military outfits, a well-constructed ambush should be able to drop more than third of an enemy force before they even knew what hit them (this just by the most simple solution: half hidden, half baiting). A little instigated chaos by the non-hiding part might very well be necessary so as to negate the counter-ambush advantage of the maps.

About the "drilling people" together; that has already been mostly done by his reputation and being in a situation very much like The Robber's Cave scenario. All he had to do was exploit the chaos he loves to create and have his running troops run so as to V around two sides of the enemy's O positions (V and O are here used as visual representations of the formations in question).

I concur with you on the second part and I applaud the sharp observation on the aspect of self-deception/mucking one's own cognition when it comes to social interactions.

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 23 March 2012 06:37:17AM *  15 points [-]

The author's clues are pushing in two different directions. "Taboo tradeoffs" in the title, and that Harry's Dark side is delivering the solution, implies an answer that is morally unnerving or at least cold-blooded.

The author's line about Harry shifting from seeing the Wizengamot voters as "wallpaper" to seeing individuals with agency, "PCs", and the line about remembering the laws of magical Britain, implies an answer that involves the incentives and 'rules of the game' of the other Wizengamot members besides Lucius and Dumbledore.

None of the solutions I've seen (let alone the few I've thought of) seem both Dark/taboo and social/voters-are-PCs.

Harry calling in the (nominally) Imperiused voters' debts: clever, invokes customs of magical Britain, makes the voters PCs rather than wallpaper, but not very Dark or taboo.

Harry threatens the crowd with the Dementor somehow, or browbeats Dumbledore into ruining his reputation: Dark/taboo, but doesn't invoke the customs of magical Britain or treat the other Wizengamot voters as PCs.

Is there a solution that both invokes magical Britain's laws / makes PCs of the voters and involves some alarmingly Dark/taboo move or trade by Harry?

Boy-Who-Lived marries Draco Malfoy?

Comment author: Alsadius 23 March 2012 05:08:43PM 4 points [-]

The taboo tradeoff is presumably Lucius being asked to trade off his chance at revenge.

Comment author: drnickbone 23 March 2012 04:11:04PM 2 points [-]

Much worse, Harry sacrifices Hermione to achieve a higher level of utility (probably something involving 3^^^3). Horrible thought, but his dark side could do it, and he's just gone to the dark side for a solution.

Comment author: wedrifid 24 March 2012 08:06:01AM 3 points [-]

Much worse, Harry sacrifices Hermione to achieve a higher level of utility (probably something involving 3^^^3). Horrible thought, but his dark side could do it, and he's just gone to the dark side for a solution.

That isn't a scary thought at all. In fact, in the absence of a clever solution it is the best option available.

Sometimes you just have to lose because there is no real option. If it wasn't in a story with Harry as the protagonist it would almost certainly be best to not start a war with the entire power structure to try to save her. Well, not yet.

Let Hermione go. Go research magic. Take over the world. Rescue Hermione. Use advanced magic and an FAI to heal the damage done to Hermione.

Comment author: loserthree 19 March 2012 04:17:16AM *  27 points [-]

Dumbledore is a sonovabitch. Harry's wrong about how Snape heard the prophesy. Malfoy and Friends may be wrong about how Narcissa died. The whole matter of lighting a live chicken on fire may be a strange misunderstanding. But Dumbledore is still a right bastard for what he did to Snape, which we may put together from chapters 17, 18, 27, & the renumbered 76.

Chapters 17 & 76 tell us how Snape pursued Lily while he was her friend. (Or that's what Snape thinks of what he was doing. He was probably a 'Nice Guy' about it and it would probably have failed in the usual fashion. But that wasn't allowed to happen.)

To be clear: despite the (deservedly) doomed-to-the-friendzone fate of Snape's attempts to woo Lily, Dumbeldore nonetheless stepped in and instigated fights between Snape and Lily by writing things in Lily's potions book. While headmaster and responsible for the well being of children, Dumbledore sabotaged a relationship between children! He might even have done this because it did not fit the story he foresaw for a very Slytherin Snape to remain friends with a pretty and heroic Lily. He might have done it for even worse reasons.

Yes, worse. Dumbledore said, "Hogwarts needs an evil Potions Master to be a proper magical school, " in chapter 18. If he is willing to allow the abuse of children to keep an evil potions master, we might believe he would abuse a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old to make an evil potions master.

Chapters 27 & 76 tell us how it looked to Snape when it ended, and most importantly that he did not understand what happened and, until the events of this fic, knew he did not understand and was seeking understanding. How desperate for understanding must he have been, to ask an eleven-year-old? To Snape, the final rejection was not justified by what he knew of Lily, and so it seemed to come out of nowhere.

Snape wouldn't, couldn't know why the new fights with Lily were starting. For the fights to continue, Lily must have remained unaware that Snape was not writing in her potions book. And for Lily to remain unaware, Snape could not find out the reason for the fights. From Snape's perspective, his only real friendship suddenly encountered incomprehensible, insurmountable obstacles in his fifth year. And then it fell apart and it was all his fault.

The reason Snape does not understand why Lily didn't forgive him is that he is missing information. He does not know about the things Dumbledore wrote in her potions book while allowing Lily to believe it was Snape. When things regularly happen to a person without that person knowing why, especially when those things involve loss of something valued, it can make the person habitually insecure. Snape was probably already insecure on account of his home life and status as a target for bullies. Insecure people often become hostile and abusive to defend themselves. That is to say, Dumbledore made Snape a villain, possibly on purpose, possibly because he felt it made a more fitting story than would a life of Snape's own choosing.

It is my hope that Snape will read Lily's fifth year potions book, will understand that Dumbledore ruined his like, will dedicate himself to killing Dumbledore, and will be successful before the close of the fic.

Comment author: Xachariah 19 March 2012 10:26:03PM 24 points [-]

It is my hope that Snape will read Lily's fifth year potions book, will understand that Dumbledore ruined his like, will dedicate himself to killing Dumbledore, and will be successful before the close of the fic.

Snape killing Dumbledore? I don't know, it sounds a little far-fetched.

Comment author: Vaniver 20 March 2012 04:13:46AM 11 points [-]

Something similar to the technique you describe is known as gaslighting.

Comment author: fezziwig 20 March 2012 09:07:52PM 6 points [-]

For the fights to continue, Lily must have remained unaware that Snape was not writing in her potions book. And for Lily to remain unaware, Snape could not find out the reason for the fights

...which implies that, in the course of all these fights, Lilly never mentioned it to him. It's not enough for her to disbelieve his denials, she must never have given him an opportunity to make them. That being so, what were they arguing about? What sort of dialogue would you write for those scenes? What states of mind do you imagine for her?

In other words: I notice that I am confused.

Comment author: loserthree 20 March 2012 11:49:25PM *  12 points [-]

If two people are in a relationship like very close friends, marriage or long-term dating, or just roommates, they often have fights about little things. These fights are not because the little things have some hidden importance that would make them not-little, but because there is a big thing that upset one or both people. They don't talk about the big thing. They never mention it. They may not understand that is why they are upset.

That is how people fight over toilet lids being left up, or dishes in the sink one day to many, or whose turn it is to take the garbage out, when what they are really hurt by is loss of autonomy, or financial insecurity, or fading intensity of intimacy, or some other big deal.

That is also why many couples cannot resolve longs series of fights on their own, and why couple's counseling works, most of the times when it does.

People rarely become rational communicators on their own.

And so she never told him.

Comment author: Locke 19 March 2012 04:29:59AM *  10 points [-]

Snape actually murdering Dumbledore at some point is too MoR-ish of an event for Eliezer not to include.

Comment author: CronoDAS 24 March 2012 12:17:26AM 2 points [-]

Yes, worse. Dumbledore said, "Hogwarts needs an evil Potions Master to be a proper magical school, " in chapter 18. If he is willing to allow the abuse of children to keep an evil potions master, we might believe he would abuse a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old to make an evil potions master.

This is a case of You Just Told Me - Harry offers that excuse to Dumbledore, who then goes on to repeat it back to him.

Comment author: Jonathan_Elmer 24 March 2012 05:43:44AM *  5 points [-]

I notice a disturbing similarity between what Dumbledore did with the note he left with the invisibility cloak and the actions of H&C 1. Dumbledore increased Harry's trust in him by having his motives impugned by a note that he then discredited. Dumbledor arranged for Zabini to achieved the highest possible pinnacle of untrustworthiness and then H&C arranged for Zabini to impugn the motives of Dumbledore to Harry's mentor.

Comment author: BlackNoise 23 March 2012 04:36:37PM 5 points [-]

Sorry if this was mentioned before, but I just noticed something (not related to the latest cliffhanger):

It's implied that some people break into Azkaban to give some prisoners normal sleep/Patronus time, but why go to all the trouble when you can just tell a Patronus to go there for a few hours by itself. And we already know that a Patronus can travel into Azkaban (McGonagalls' in TSPE arc)

So, plothole?

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 23 March 2012 04:42:45PM 8 points [-]

The trick of knowing how to send Patronuses to others as messengers has been implied to be kept in Dumbledore's close circle, as a tactical advantage. (e.g. Quirrel mentioning the possibility of Dumbledore teaching Harry this trick -- not as if it's public knowledge)

Comment author: lavalamp 23 March 2012 04:40:12PM 2 points [-]

Yeah, I was wondering about this, also. Does Harry have to be physically present to destroy the dementors in Azkaban?

Comment author: buybuydandavis 23 March 2012 09:35:14AM *  5 points [-]

Madam Bones killed Narcissa. "Someone would burn for this." pg. 879 of the pdf.

EDIT: This is likely the double Taboo tradeoff. The original tradeoff was going along with the innocent Narcissa being burned as a war tactic or just covering up for the Aurors and Bones after they did it because he needed them - he was protecting his pieces for the larger war. Either way, it probably served his war aims to take credit for the attack and have Malfoy believe he was ruthless enough to do it. Mutual Assured Destruction.

The new taboo tradeoff is much the same - he's protecting the same people, and now himself as at least an after the fact accomplice, by letting another innocent be tortured to death.

Comment author: LucasSloan 23 March 2012 07:04:40AM 5 points [-]

Dumbledore is a seasoned politician who may be assumed to know how to take the mood of the Wizengamot. However, he incorrectly predicts that they will not call for Hermione to be sent to Azkaban. Was his model of reality wrong or was he ignorant of a force on the board? I notice certain parallels to Quirrell's predictions about the Slytherin bullies.

Comment author: mjr 23 March 2012 07:34:15AM 5 points [-]

I think he just didn't want to believe that.

Comment author: LucasSloan 23 March 2012 07:39:07AM 12 points [-]

"Are you all lost?" cried Albus Dumbledore. "She is too young! Her mind would not withstand it! Not in three centuries has such a thing been done in Britain!"

The leading article, written by some name that Harry didn't recognize, had called for the minimum age for Azkaban to be lowered, just so that the twisted mudblood who had defaced the honor of Scotland with her savage, unprovoked attack upon the last heir of a Most Ancient House within the sacred refuge of Hogwarts could be sent to the Dementors that were the only punishment commensurate with the severity of her unspeakable crime.

This is a definite break from the historical record.

Comment author: DanArmak 23 March 2012 01:50:25PM 4 points [-]

Indeed, they called for it before Lucius did. So did the newspapers, as noted below. I feel the hand of H&C continuing to guide events, and it's now clear that one goal of this plot is to maximize Harry's reaction...

Comment author: Vaniver 23 March 2012 04:39:39PM 2 points [-]

Indeed, they called for it before Lucius did.

Why would Lucius call for it first? Even if he had to convince a confederate to call out for it, it would be beneath him to be the first to call for a girl to be sent to Azkaban.

Comment author: 75th 23 March 2012 02:27:05AM *  5 points [-]


Well. We have five days to think of something. This seems to mean that Harry will think of something, and we have five days to guess what it may be. Presumably it will be something in one of the following categories:

  • Something about Lucius Malfoy
  • Something about the Wizengamot
  • Something about the laws of magical Britain
  • Anything about some person or thing within range of his vision

I propose we start by making a list of everything in the courtroom:

  • Three Aurors
    • One of whom is named Gawain Robards
  • A dementor
  • Minerva McGonagall
  • Harry Potter
    • And everything in his pouch
  • A Prophet reporter
  • Dolores Umbridge
  • Lucius Malfoy
  • Augusta Longbottom
  • Dumbledore
  • A man with a scarred face sitting next to Lucius; Fenrir Greyback?
  • Amelia Bones

What do we know about any of these people that Harry might use to sway the crowd?

Comment author: gwern 23 March 2012 02:32:36AM *  12 points [-]

Context: Harry's dark side is amoral, destructive, will take any available option which leads to its target no matter how it may escalate or what the risks are, and cares about nothing else other than achieving regular Harry's current subgoal. (I'm convinced Eliezer regards the dark side as basically a UFAI.) Emphasis added:

...Harry plunged himself into his dark side...offering his dark side anything if it would only solve this problem for him

Who are the major players here that Harry can affect? Harry has no hold on the Wizengamot, as I pointed out any threat on Azkaban is more easily dealt with by attacking Harry.

So Dumbledore and Lucius are the keys. What can Harry do with Dumbledore - no matter the cost to Dumbledore, Harry, or anyone else - that would free Hermione? There's little he can testify to, as an Occlumens, so he can't even sacrifice himself (Lucius would refuse it), and it's not obvious how any of his magic 2.0 abilities could somehow convince the Wizengamot that Hermione is innocent or Lucius to let her go - what is he going to do, promise some more magic to an aristocrat who can buy all the magic he wants?

The answer is so obvious I'm surprised that no one seems to have suggested it yet here or in the reviews: Harry can use his leverage on Dumbledore to trade him for Hermione - "tradeoff". Dumbledore practically says as much:

"I would not do that to you," the old wizard said, a terrible weariness seeming to suffuse him as he turned to go. "Still less to Hermione. But I have no rabbits in my hat, Harry. We can only see what Lucius Malfoy wants."

What does Lucius want? Well, he is perfectly clear:

When Lucius Malfoy spoke again his voice seemed to tremble ever so slightly, as though the stern control on it was failing. "Blood calls for repayment, the blood of my family. Not for any price will I sell the blood debt owed my son. You would not understand that, who never had love or child of your own. Still, there is more than one debt owed to House Malfoy, and I think that my son, if he stood among us, would rather be repaid for his mother's blood than for his own. Confess your own crime to the Wizengamot, as you confessed it to me, and I shall -"

Why would Dumbledore do it? Because he's already half-way to turning himself in (viz his little dialogue with Madam Bones):

...The old wizard stood at the podium, his face twisting, untwisting - ...

and he really thinks Harry is on the path to darkness (in a way few others are, because Dumbledore is one of the only knowers of the Prophecy) and this Hermione incident would be more than enough to turn Harry, convince him that the system is irredeemably corrupt and turn his mission to 'taking over Magical England', as indeed the omniscient narrator tells us Harry has already done to the point of no longer caring about not being called a Dark Lord... Sacrificing himself to keep Harry on the side of good is a good deal. This is consistent with canon Dumbledore losing power and respect, and ultimately dying in the war with Voldemort while working on the Horcruxes to aid Harry's ultimate victory; and for that matter, who replaces Dumbledore as headmaster in canon? A character which just showed up in MoR for the first time ever...

It will come at a major cost - Dumbledore will either be in Azkaban or he will flee or something like that and his entire faction discredited. "Tradeoff".

To me, this is the most compelling scenario, which I give a full 40% probability of having; but I also like the debt (30%/20%) and time-turner strategies (35%), although the latter is more because time-turners are so general and powerful that I have to assume my inability to think of a really solid strategy is my inability alone.

A man with a scarred face sitting next to Lucius; Fenrir Greyback?

Wasn't that one of Lucius's lackeys from the previous chapters where they watched the battle?

Comment author: Incorrect 23 March 2012 03:41:15AM 11 points [-]

He alone spoke to defend Hermione, the man with a phoenix flaming bright upon his shoulder.

Don't forget the phoenix.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 23 March 2012 02:48:41AM *  34 points [-]

I'm pretty sure the solution is as follows (I've already posted it in TV tropes forum). I'm ROT13, if anyone still wants to figure it out: Yhpvhf Znysbl pynvzrq gb unir orra haqre Vzcrevhf ol Ibyqrzbeg. Ibyqrzbeg jnf qrsrngrq ol Uneel Cbggre. Sebz Serq & Trbetr'f cenax jr xabj gung xvyyvat gur jvmneq gung unf lbh haqre gur Vzcrevhf phefr perngrf n qrog. Erfhyg: Yhpvhf Znysbl naq rirel bgure Qrngu rngre pynvzvat gb unir orra vzcrevbfrq ner abj haqre yvsr qrog gb Uneel Cbggre. Ur pna fgneg erqrrzvat.

Comment author: pedanterrific 23 March 2012 03:00:52AM *  7 points [-]

Point of order: vg whfg fnlf "n qrog", abg n yvsr-qrog.

"Vg jbhyq frrz," fnvq Uneel, njr va uvf ibvpr, "gung bar Ze. Neguhe Jrnfyrl jnf cynprq haqre gur Vzcrevhf Phefr ol n Qrngu Rngre jubz zl sngure xvyyrq, guhf perngvat n qrog gb gur Aboyr Ubhfr bs Cbggre, juvpu zl sngure qrznaqrq or ercnvq ol gur unaq va zneevntr bs gur erpragyl obea Tvarien Jrnfyrl.

Also, it would need to be explained why no one ever thought of this before.

Comment author: gwern 23 March 2012 03:08:59AM *  9 points [-]

Also, it would need to be explained why no one ever thought of this before.

Yeah, I was going 'wow, that might actually work' and then it occurred to me that they already discussed whether they had any debts from Lucius they could call in. So unless this is so subtle that no one has ever called in such a debt before, someone must have been holding an idiotball.

EDIT: Logos01 suggests that the debt be invoked of all the Wizengamot members who also claimed to be Imperiused, to swing the vote on whether or not to convict. This might work, but I would personally dislike it as we have no idea how many such people there are.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 23 March 2012 03:29:23AM *  7 points [-]

Gurl qvfphffrq gur npghny qrogf, ohg gurl qvqa'g qvfphff guvf bar, abg rira nf n cbgragvnyvgl, fb V guvax vg qvq whfg fyvc gurve zvaqf, orpnhfr Uneel naq Qhzoyrqber qba'g oryvrir Yhpvhf gb unir orra haqre Vzcrevhf naq guhf gurl pbafvqre Ibyqrzbeg'f qrsrng gb or n oybj ntnvafg Yhpvhf, abg n snibhe gb Yhpvhf perngvat n qrog. Fb, lrnu, V guvax vg whfg qvqa'g pebff gurve zvaqf. Vg qvqa'g pebff zl zvaq rvgure gur jubyr cnfg jrrx, naq V jnf yrff ohfl (gubhtu yrff qrfcrengr sbe n fbyhgvba) guna Uneel be Nyohf jrer.

Lrnu, vg qvq gnxr zr abj bayl 10-15 zvahgrf be fb sbe zr gb pbzr hc jvgu vg, ohg V unq gur fvtavsvpnag nqinagntr bs xabjvat gurer rkvfgrq n fbyhgvba, gung V unq orra tvira fhssvpvrag vasbezngvba fhssvpvragyl sberfunqbjrq, naq gung gur fbyhgvba zbfg yvxryl qrcraqrq ba gur ynjf naq phfgbzf bs zntvpny Oevgnva, nf gur ynfg cnentencu bs gur puncgre vzcyvrf.

Comment author: Bongo 23 March 2012 04:30:16AM 5 points [-]

Harry didn't hear Hermione's testimony. Therefore, he can go back in time and change it to anything that would produce the audience reaction he saw, without causing paradox.

Comment author: glumph 23 March 2012 06:13:10AM 5 points [-]

But since the audience's (extended) reaction includes voting to send Hermoine to Azkaban, how will changing her testimony help?

Comment author: Asymmetric 23 March 2012 02:52:09AM *  5 points [-]

I was under the impression that we can actually influence the events of the story based upon how good our ideas are. If I may ask, Eliezer, are we trying to pick your brain for a True ending (something you have written already that we're trying to guess) or are we coming up with a Good one?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 23 March 2012 02:54:19AM 8 points [-]

In this case the True ending is already written, and anyone who comes up with a better solution than Harry would obviously win points.

Comment author: Logos01 23 March 2012 03:21:01AM 10 points [-]

Here's mine:

  1. cold!Harry activates his Patronus charm, which depends on the wish to destroy Death, and therefore can be cast while "cold". This is done to disrupt the proceedings by destroying the Dementor. Since Harry never actually did this while at Azkaban, he wouldn't necessarily be associated w/ the prisonbreak of Bellatrix.

  2. In the confusion, Harry cloaks himself, and timeturns back an hour. This is done to give himself time to contemplate exactly what he needs to say and do. Sicne he will be cloaked, this preserves the secret of the Time turner.

  3. (version A) Immediately after destroying the Dementor, and the loop is closed, still-cloaked Harry takes advantage of his ability to get past any guards/defenses and whispers in Parseltongue into LM's ears: "No power can stop me. Even here in the Wizengamot I could reach you. If you do not relinquish your claim on Hermione your son is dead." IF LM doesn't understand Parseltongue, he would at least recognize it, and Harry could repeat himself in English.

  4. Harry Time turns again, and uncloaks in a side hall, intentionally getting himself seen during the same time that cloaked!Harry was threatening Draco's life (the sole real leverage over LM Harry has.)

This is the scenario I view being conducted.

3 (version B): instead of repeating his words in English, he could leave the his mother's potions book at LM's feet, with a note in English that says the same... with the added phrase, "Contained within this manual is the key to a terrible secret that would destroy Dumbledore. You have gained, this day, Lucius Malfoy. I have uses for the Granger child yet. Do not interfere in my plans." This has the added benefit of ensuring that LM is likely to stay quiet about the threat -- because the pot was sweetened in favor of blackmail of Dumbledore by Lucius.

Comment author: Alsadius 23 March 2012 03:26:40AM 5 points [-]

The problem is, that plan relies on Harry realizing that Malfoy thinks he's Voldemort. I don't think he has the evidence to reach that conclusion.

Comment author: Logos01 23 March 2012 03:40:04AM 3 points [-]

that plan relies on Harry realizing that Malfoy thinks he's Voldemort.

... I genuinely didn't think of the Voldemort angle. That only sweetens the pot. I think that ArisKatsaris's solution is far more effective/elegant than my own. (Especially since it's foreshadowed by the part about how Harry thought of the Wizengamot as 'wallpaper' and that 'this would change'. -- that could be viewed as a dropped-hint that the solution lies in manipulating the votes. I can't think of another way Harry could achieve that than through the former Death Eaters.)

Comment author: pedanterrific 23 March 2012 03:32:12AM *  3 points [-]

You don't? I think he's already got it subconsciously:

And in the Most Ancient Hall of the Wizengamot an icy voice rang out, speech the color of liquid nitrogen, pitched too high for that it came from too young a throat, and that voice said, "Lucius Malfoy."

seemed a pretty clear reference to

Then the other voice spoke, high-pitched like the hiss of a teakettle, and it was like dry ice laid on Harry's every nerve, like a brand of metal cooled to liquid helium temperatures and laid on every part of him.

Comment author: Alsadius 23 March 2012 05:14:00AM 7 points [-]

We're talking about a kid who literally spoke a language designed for a different species without noticing.

Comment author: Locke 23 March 2012 02:38:04AM *  4 points [-]

We should also make an account Harry's capabilities

  • Can create a Patrunus 2.0
  • Partial Transfiguration
  • Knowledge of Muggle Science
  • May have Lucius convinced that he is Voldemort
  • Is a part of the Prophecy, though only Dumbledore knows this
  • Is an almost-perfect Occlumens
  • Has non-public knowledge about Dumbledore and Quirrell
Comment author: Desrtopa 23 March 2012 02:49:09AM *  6 points [-]

May have Lucius convinced that he is Voldemort

Not much use if he hasn't figured this out.

Is an almost-perfect Occlumens

If he is, I don't think we know this. He's at the stage of being able to block veritaserum, and thus probably to put up a block to stop anyone reading his mind, but I don't think we've been given any indication that he's reached the point of being able to show false thoughts to someone attempting to read his mind.

I would add that he knows Voldemort is probably alive. If he were to testify by placing his memories into a pensieve, he could show that the Hogwarts inner circle has strong reason to suspect that Voldemort is alive and behind this plot. This might create a measure of doubt among the Wizengamot, at the cost of probably throwing the country into turmoil, so we can call this the Stupid Sentimental Hero Option.

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 21 March 2012 01:43:17AM *  5 points [-]
Comment author: Daniel_Starr 19 March 2012 04:54:03AM *  5 points [-]

I suggest: (1) all Harry needs is time, (2) Dumbledore refuses to give it to him, (3) Harry offers Lucius an Unbreakable Vow.

In theory, Obliviations and False Memories can be broken, right? So what's Dumbledore's excuse for not insisting on a delay in punishment long enough to attempt to break the alleged tampering with Hermione's brain?

[ETA: actually, doesn't matter whether the spells are known breakable; Harry could experiment with counterspells or just hunt for the real villain. Either way, Harry will be confident that he can get the truth -- given time.]

It seems like Quirrell stands to take away three of Harry's supports - if Harry realizes that Dumbledore won't insist on even a delay in punishing Hermione to test whether she's actually innocent, he's hardly likely to ever trust Dumbledore ever again.

Meanwhile, it seems like the obvious "taboo tradeoff" for Harry to offer for Hermione is some kind of Unbreakable Vow for the Malfoys' benefit - especially since Lucius believes (sort of correctly!) that Harry is Voldemort. That would be fun storytelling, since an Unbreakable Vow for Draco's benefit also shows up in canon. Is there a more appropriate bribe Harry could offer than that?

And would Harry and Lucius actually come to an agreement in such a negotiation, or would Harry's maximum offer be less than Lucius' minimum offer? Since Lucius has Hermione as hostage, it would be tricky, though not impossible, for Harry to simply threaten the Malfoys into handing Hermione over.

But suppose Harry can't make a deal with Lucius, can't contact Quirrell in time, and can't get Dumbledore to take effective action - then what is Harry's best option at this point if he absolutely refuses to let Hermione be turned into a house-elf (or whatever)? Is Harry's best solo option to get to Azkaban on his own and lead out a Dementor army? (I didn't say good, just best...)

Is there a save-Hermione option that would make sense to us that Harry is unlikely to consider?

Comment author: DanArmak 19 March 2012 04:53:56PM *  8 points [-]

Good ideas.

My thoughts:

  • Harry may be unable to talk to Lucius privately before the trial. If negotiations take place during the trial, that'll be an interesting scene.
  • Remember what each party sacrifices in an Unbreakable Vow. Lucius would sacrifice his ability to ever trust Harry again. Lucius may think this is not a problem, as he thinks Harry is Voldemort, but Harry may be hurt by this down the line. Also, they'll need to find a Binder who'll permanently sacrifice some of his magic to sustain the vow (are those routinely available for pay?)
  • Can the vow enforce factual claims about the past? E.g., "I vow that I am not Voldemort as you suspect", "I vow that I was always Draco's friend and am not to blame for the assassination attempt", etc. If yes - that is, Harry would be unable to Vow falsehoods - then he could convince Lucius of his goodwill. OTOH, if he actually tried to vow "I am not Voldemort", the result should be.. .educational.
  • The Vow can probably be engineered to enforce past-claims. E.g., "I vow to kill myself in one minute if this is not true: ..."
  • Harry has a lot to offer to vow that he values low (because he already wants to do it) but Lucius values high (because he has no guarantee of it). Ideas: eternal friendship, honesty, and political alliance with Draco; eventually public political falling-out with Dumbledore (say, on his majority or graduation); dedication to exposing and punishing the real criminal behind the attack on Draco; personal declaration of war on whoever-killed-Narcissa (Lucius may not trust Harry at his plain word on this like Draco did); future favors to be redeemed by Draco.
Comment author: Xachariah 19 March 2012 11:19:19PM 3 points [-]

Also, they'll need to find a Binder who'll permanently sacrifice some of his magic to sustain the vow (are those routinely available for pay?)

Yes. Presumably the person who bound the Auror Legillimancer did so out of pay rather than love. Additionally, Harry could just go find a dying wizard who wants to make some galleons since he's solved that problem. I'd assume that finding a binder is not an obstacle to people like the Malfoys.

Comment author: pedanterrific 19 March 2012 05:07:50AM 3 points [-]

In theory, Obliviations and False Memories can be broken, right?

Where'd you get this idea? As far as I know, the last word we had on that was

The courts use Veritaserum, but it's a joke really, you just Obliviate yourself before you testify and then claim the other person was Memory-Charmed with a false memory. If you've got a Pensieve, and we do, you can even get the memory back afterward. Now, ordinarily the courts presume in favor of Obliviation having occurred rather than more complicated Memory Charms.

That doesn't sound like it's possible even in theory to detect, let alone remove, Obliviations or False Memory Charms.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 18 March 2012 05:52:52AM *  13 points [-]

How about, follow the money? Who gains?

Hermione, the girl who publicly humiliated Draco and the whole Pureblood cause, now owes a blood debt to Lucius Malfoy. Not only does he gain power over her, but by extension, over Harry, and further extension, to Dumbledore. All for the price of a very safe if monitored supposed attempt on Draco's life, which Draco likely would have volunteered for if given the opportunity.

Lucius has hit the jackpot, even if he didn't plan and orchestrate the whole thing. He can extract almost anything out of Harry in exchange for leniency for Hermione. It seems unlikely that the good Defense Professor would have orchestrated a plan which is entirely dependent for it's success on Lucius failing to take advantage of the situation - unless putting Harry in Lucius's debt was his goal.

Lucius personally has complete control of the outcome, and I'm surprised Harry hasn't considered contacting him yet.

Comment author: Eponymuse 18 March 2012 01:47:19PM *  3 points [-]

It seems unlikely that the good Defense Professor would have orchestrated a plan which is entirely dependent for it's success on Lucius failing to take advantage of the situation - unless putting Harry in Lucius's debt was his goal.

Assuming Quirrell is Voldemort, he presumably had years of access to Lucius' mind (if he regularly required Lucius to drop Occlumency barriers). At the very least, we can assume he has an excellent mental model of how Lucius behaves. The plot therefore doesn't seem like too great of risk for Quirrell, particularly when we consider that Lucius is about to discover Harry's progress in turning Draco. Quirrell can safely assume that Lucius will react in a way that will pull Draco and Harry apart when he discovers this, and will therefore be less inclined to trade Hermione for something of Harry's.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 19 March 2012 06:55:10AM *  12 points [-]

Why are we assuming that Quirrelmort is on the up and up about wanting Harry to be the next Dark Lord?

Isn't that exactly the story you'd give a young prodigy with delusions of godhood to manipulate him, particularly if you wanted to set him against the establishment? Put Hermione in harms way, arrange to have her sent to Azkaban, where you've already arranged to have Harry rescue Bellatrix, egg Harry on to rescue her, as if he needed any egging on, then try to steal the Sorcerer's Stone while everyone is away at Azkaban.

Regardless on the details of Hermione's trial plays out, it would be a really interesting mind fuck to Harry, to find out that Quirrell was completely manipulating Harry's Messiah Complex from day one so he could someday use him as a distraction, and that all of Harry's childish science fiction fantasizing are seen by Quirrellmort as just that - childish.

And Dumbledore seems worse than Harry about taking science fiction/fantasy novels as a way to model real life.

And guess what? To the extent that we are lapping up this story, we are too. A mind fuck for Harry, Dumbledore, and us. And I can't say that we wouldn't have it coming.

Years ago, I read Point Counterpoint by Aldous Huxley, where Huxley, IMO, was a sadistic bastard who drew you into multiple parallel plots, sucking you into sympathizing and identifying with the characters, only to twist each storyline and quash all your hopes and sympathies. I thought he was just being a prick.

But if EY did a genre stomp here, I think he'd have a point, and it might even work pretty well for Harry in the story.

Such a strategy would also have a nice parallel in Harry's strategy with the armies, encouraging as much plotting and confusion as possible, because he figured that he could handle the confusion and complexity better than anyone else. It's exactly what Quirrelmort would be doing with Harry, with the Armies, with Dumbledore, with Lucius, as Mr. Hat and Cloak, etc. Get everyone scheming and doubting, then attack amidst the confusion.

Comment author: matheist 24 March 2012 12:46:35AM *  11 points [-]

Lucius is a slytherin, and not stupid. What if he really does believe Hermione is a pawn? The question remains — whose pawn?

Lucius might believe Hermione is Dumbledore's pawn.

Lucius already believes D killed his wife, and so he would have no trouble believing Dumbledore is targeting his son. In fact, it would be to Dumbledore's advantage (so might think Lucius) to target Draco in such a way that D can avoid taking the blame. If D wanted to impose political costs on Lucius, one way he might do it is to have someone utterly beyond suspicion be found to have attacked Draco. Then Lucius would have to use up political capital to punish an innocent little girl.

If Lucius thinks this way, it would explain his willingness to punish Hermione to the extreme — she's Dumbledore's pawn, and so he's going to take her away in order to impose costs on Dumbledore. For Dumbledore to speak up for Hermione would reinforce the belief that she belongs to D.

What do we make of Harry Potter's comments, and Lucius's reaction to them, in this light (given that Lucius thinks Harry is the dark lord)? His "unheard sentences" would likely be along the lines of "No shit, sherlock!", followed by, "why is the dark lord pretending to be stupid."

The funny thing is, Quirrell's testimony of someone with a motive to harm Draco is spot on: Dumbledore attacks Draco in order to impose costs on Lucius.

... are we really so sure Dumbledore didn't set the whole thing up?

EDIT: I think Quirrell set it up— but I also think there's a good chance that Quirrell didn't just set it up to make it look like Hermione attacked Draco, but rather set it up to make it look like Dumbledore set it up to make it look like Hermione attacked Draco.

Comment author: Xachariah 24 March 2012 01:29:08AM *  2 points [-]

My mental model of Lucius is here.

The summary of it is that Lucius thinks that Harrymort has turned sides and is now psuedo-allied with Dumbledore. Lucius thinks he's just aligned himself on the weak side of a 2-on-1 secret war against the two strongest wizards alive, but he has no choice because they both want to destroy him.

Comment author: lavalamp 23 March 2012 03:18:03PM 11 points [-]

I think Harry already failed his bargaining attempt vs. Lucius, so for flow of story reasons I don't think he's going to call in his life debt, although that makes the most sense of the theories I've seen so far.

I think Harry will bargain with the dementor. "Dementor, if you and your ilk allow this girl to enter Azkaban, I will come and destroy you all. If you refuse to let her enter, I will permit your species to continue to exist." This could be a taboo tradeoff; Harry is trading his sacred value of anti-death-ness to save Hermione.

I think this theory fits in with the story a little better, but it seems less likely to work. It also has a pretty bad failure mode; the dementor ignores Harry because everyone else in the room expects it to, and Harry has to get Fawkes to take him to Azkaban to make good on his threat. (Does Harry know that Phoenix travel is a fast way in? If not, he can probably guess so.)

Comment author: Dentin 23 March 2012 09:44:08PM 7 points [-]

I was never comfortable with dementors being that impressionable. Harry was able to threaten a dozen of them in Azkaban, and sure, he expected it to succeed; but afterward, that dozen returned back to the main body of hundreds of dementors, all of which then refused to assist dozens of aurors, who would have expected them to. I would argue for at least rudimentary intelligence on the part of the creatures.

Comment author: DanArmak 25 March 2012 01:01:41AM 4 points [-]

In chapter 50, in Mary's room before leaving on the Azkaban mission:

Professor Quirrell gestured for the door to close and lock, and began to speak twenty-nine security Charms, one of the ones in Mr. Bester's sequence being left out this time, which somewhat puzzled Harry.

Quirrel casts the full 30 charms during their previous secret talk in Mary's room (a week before), and he casts all 30 charms when they reach the warehouse (before entering Azkaban).

So, anyone have an idea what this is about?

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 23 March 2012 09:57:07AM *  4 points [-]

Harry can save Hermione by offering false testimony against Quirrell. There's a taboo social tradeoff. The odd thing is that he has to do it by telling lies about Quirrell that we know are mostly true.

Harry can give false testimony under Veritaserum, because he's an Occlumens, which of those present only Dumbledore and McGonagall and the Malfoys know (and the Malfoys wouldn't be believed).

So, what can he falsely testify that would save Hermione?

  • That he himself tampered with Draco and Hermione's memories. But he'd better have one heck of an escape planned, even if he does have the Cloak of Invisibility and power against Dementors.
  • That he did it, but he was Imperius'd into it by a mysterious cloaked figure. But then he has to account for where he found the time to alter their memories, and convince people he knows the False Memory Charm.
  • That Dumbledore did it. Dumbledore just might go along out of guilt, and the Malfoys would go along to see Dumbledore brought down. But McGonagall would probably not stay silent, doubting Dumbledore's guilt and knowing Harry is an Occlumens.
  • That Dumbledore confessed to him that he murdered Narcissa Malfoy. But that's a separate crime, so it doesn't save Hermione without a side deal with Lucius and Harry blew his chance at that.
  • That Bellatrix Black broke into Hogwarts, tampered with Hermione and Draco, confessed to him to taunt him, and fled. Too many odd events, especially since Hogwarts is supposed to be hard to break into: Lucius would suggest it was Dumbledore Polyjuiced into Bella to set up Harry with a lie.
  • That Quirrell did it and revealed it to him, as well as that he was the rescuer of Bellatrix Black, to show that Hogwarts couldn't protect his friends and in hopes of intimidating Harry to the cause of Voldemort. Bingo.

If Harry falsely testifies against Quirrell, neither Dumbledore nor McGonagall would suspect it of being a lie, especially if Harry explained he had kept silent in hopes of making Quirrell think he was actually won over to Voldemort's side. It also fits the convenient fact that it was Quirrell who discovered the bodies. And because Quirrell really did rescue Bellatrix Black, Harry can offer plenty of true testimony about the Azkaban mission as stuff that Quirrell told him to impress him. So his testimony will seem verifiable as well as Veritaserum-proved. Harry knows Quirrell wouldn't come in to defend himself from the charge Harry thinks he's innocent of (Hermione and Draco), because he'd be sent to Azkaban for the charge Harry knows he's guilty of (rescuing Bellatrix Black).

And while Harry doesn't want to turn on Quirrell... he knows Quirrell can defend himself a lot better than Hermione can. He could use his Patronus to deliver a message to Quirrell to run and hide right after he testifies (or, with a Time-Turner, right before).

For added flavor, Harry could truthfully testify about rescuing Bellatrix Black - and claim that he was Imperius'd into his role, just like good old Lucius!

I don't think "Harry sacrifices Quirrell" is the actual answer, because Harry making a big deal in his mind of "sacrificing" Quirrell would feel a little cheap for those of us who know he should turn on Quirrellmort. Dramatically it would work better for Harry to sacrifice someone we think is genuinely valuable to him, or to pull out some interesting social leverage over the Wizengamot voters. But false testimony against Quirrell is for Harry a lot more "taboo" than calling in Imperius-debts, and doesn't require a side-deal the way that pressuring Dumbledore with false testimony over Narcissa would, or the kind of shenanigans of invoking a duel with Draco over the insult to the Ancient House of Potter.

Comment author: Lavode 23 March 2012 04:18:14AM 8 points [-]

Step one: Stand up and loudly explain how a patronus works, and what a dementor actually is, under the guise of arguing for a diffrent punisment - This will make the entire wizengamot, including the aurors controling the dementor present incapable of casting expecto patronum. Destroy the dementor before it eats anyone. Now the wizengamot has to shut down azkaban (Because the secret would get out). This would not exactly endear him to anyone at all, but they cannot seriously retaliate, because they need him to kill off the dementors before they run out of aurors who havent heard the truth yet. This doesnt actually free Hermonie, just stops them from sending her (or anyone) to azkaban.

Side bonus Harry cannot predict: This would probably also convince Lucius that he isnt Pottermort.

Comment author: Desrtopa 23 March 2012 04:56:47AM *  4 points [-]

Step one: Stand up and loudly explain how a patronus works, and what a dementor actually is, under the guise of arguing for a diffrent punisment - This will make the entire wizengamot, including the aurors controling the dementor present incapable of casting expecto patronum. Destroy the dementor before it eats anyone.

I don't think that simply telling someone is enough to take away their ability to summon a patronus, they'd have to believe you. The members of the Wizengamot don't know Harry has any noteworthy insight or intellect, and so it's likely they would not believe him unless he destroyed the dementor, thereby providing evidence that he does indeed have exceptional insight regarding the nature of dementors.

Comment author: CronoDAS 24 March 2012 01:12:06AM *  3 points [-]

Taboo tradeoff...

Is there a way that Harry could simply buy Hermione's freedom? Harry is, among other things, rich.

Comment author: Dreaded_Anomaly 24 March 2012 03:33:59AM 6 points [-]

Lucius says, in Ch. 80:

"Not for any price will I sell the blood debt owed my son."

Comment author: Locke 24 March 2012 01:29:36AM 6 points [-]

From Lucius Moneybags-For-Testicles Malfoy?

Comment author: CronoDAS 24 March 2012 01:48:49AM 2 points [-]
Comment author: Locke 24 March 2012 02:07:58AM 7 points [-]

Because Lord Malfoy would absolutely refuse. That is painfully obvious.

Comment author: thescoundrel 23 March 2012 09:45:24PM 3 points [-]

Just a piece, but one I haven't seen discussed- why has no one done a Priori Incantatem on Hermione's wand? We know harry knows about it, from clear back in chapter 13:

"Priori Incantatem," said Sprout. She frowned. "That's odd, your wand doesn't seem to have been used at all." Harry shrugged.

I don't know if this is part of Harry's plan, but it is certainly a line of investigation that has not been followed. There is always the possibility that whoever did the memory charm used Hermione's wand to cast the blood chilling hex, but once down that track Harry can start eliminating suspects for the memory charm.

Comment author: glumph 23 March 2012 11:34:12PM *  3 points [-]

Even if that test is performed and it is proven that Hermoine's wand was not used to cast the Blood-Cooling/Chilling Charm, Lucius et al. will simply claim that Hermoine stole another student's wand before the duel.

Comment author: pedanterrific 24 March 2012 12:08:13AM 8 points [-]

That seems like relevant information, though.

Three drops of Veritaserum, requiring her to volunteer all relevant information, had caused Hermione Granger to confess that she had stunned Draco Malfoy from behind, and then, in a fit of anger, cast the Blood-Chilling Charm on him, with the deliberate intention of killing him slowly enough to evade identification from the Hogwarts wards

Comment author: thescoundrel 24 March 2012 12:14:46AM *  4 points [-]

Yes, but we have now found a thread that we can pull on to start establishing a true map. The truth is entangled- so then we find the student whose wand was stolen, or we start testing the wands of our prime suspects. At the very least, we have introduced an inconsistency in the story- when would Hermione have had the chance to steal a wand? Draco called this dual- are we to now believe that Hermione showed up believing she would be defeated and stole a wand in advance, so she could kill Draco? I don't know if this is enough to forestall the vote, but it certainly is an avenue curiously absent from Harry's thoughts, especially when he is so focused on trying to prove Hermione's innocence- if his Super Dark Side can find this in his memory, I find it hard to believe it would not be of use.

Comment author: wedrifid 23 March 2012 04:33:18PM 3 points [-]

How much respect to the Dementors have for Harry at this point? Now that they know he can kill them and all. And how intelligent are they?

What it'd be really fun (ie. a desirable yet not likely outcome) is for Harry to make a deal with the Dementors. They will give Hermione VIP treatment in Azkhaban and minimize the damage to her in the interim until Harry can free her. In exchange Harry will give the Dementors the souls of all of Wizarding Britain's government and all the aurors. And, naturally, be granted their ongoing existence. He is clearly the greatest threat to them, has the obvious potential to do unheard of things and, most importantly, doing what they can to minimize damage to Hermione costs them almost nothing.

Comment author: DanArmak 23 March 2012 05:34:36PM 3 points [-]

And this is another reason why Harry should not tell just anyone about the True Patronus - it would drastically dilute his authority over the Dementors and his ability to broker a unilateral deal superceding the one they've got with the Ministry.

In exchange Harry will give the Dementors the souls of all of Wizarding Britain's government and all the aurors.

Playing on the fact that Harry doesn't believe in souls while most wizards and presumably the dementors do.

Comment author: wedrifid 23 March 2012 05:46:40PM 3 points [-]

And this is another reason why Harry should not tell just anyone about the True Patronus - it would drastically dilute his authority over the Dementors and his ability to broker a unilateral deal superceding the one they've got with the Ministry.

Definitely. Don't tell enemies about your strengths unless you are positioning yourself to be intimidating. (Even then it is better to have the enemies believing you have strengths that you don't have while still being unaware of your actual strengths.)

Playing on the fact that Harry doesn't believe in souls while most wizards and presumably the dementors do.

Well, failing that it comes down to the real fact that the dementors do assign value to doing a kissy-suck thing to humans that effectively destroys the human.

Comment author: mstevens 23 March 2012 03:08:25PM 3 points [-]

Wild speculation:

Harry can confess to being the one who setup Hermione, or even having attacked Draco himself.

We know from Chapter 47 he can probably beat veritaserum "Not a perfect Occlumens, but Mr. Bester said I was putting up a complete block, and I could probably beat Veritaserum.", so he can testify in a way the Wizengamot will find convincing.

As member of a Noble House and Boy-Who-Lived he should be in for a much weaker punishment than Hermione, and can probably stay out of Azkaban. Lucius may not want to challenge Harry that directly at all. It may even get him out of Hogwarts, which in some ways he would want.

However I think it's slightly out of character for Harry - he's probably not self sacrificing in quite the required way.

Comment author: wedrifid 23 March 2012 03:57:53PM 16 points [-]

As member of a Noble House and Boy-Who-Lived he should be in for a much weaker punishment than Hermione, and can probably stay out of Azkaban.

That sounds terribly noble. And silly. Harry is more important than Hermione. Risking himself puts everything he cares about at stake. If Harry doesn't make a SinguHarrity and take control chances are Voldemort or some other dark wizard will end up killing both him and Hermione.

Comment author: brilee 23 March 2012 05:16:06PM 10 points [-]

Upvote for Singuharrity

Comment author: prasannak 23 March 2012 06:27:43AM 3 points [-]

Can't see the significance of 'The Horn Effect' in the title....

Is it that the Daily Prophet, et al, are creating a Horn effect against Hermione?


Comment author: Percent_Carbon 23 March 2012 12:15:46PM 4 points [-]

Also Umbridge.

Comment author: Spurlock 18 March 2012 06:56:13AM 3 points [-]

Meta: everyone seems to have started using the term "Groundhog's Day Attack" to describe what H&C did to Hermione. While I understand what happened in the story, I've never heard this term before, can't find any relevant looking results by googling, and don't see what the connection could be between brute forcing someone's mind and using a small furry animal to predict the changing of the seasons. Can someone please point me in the right direction here?

Comment author: glumph 18 March 2012 07:39:58AM 9 points [-]

This was addressed in the previous thread:

The movie 'Groundhog Day' is about a man who relives the same day over and over again repeatedly. Because the day is reset, he is able to re-play each interaction with any person repeatedly until he can convince them of whatever he wants or work around them ...

In chapter 77, H&C performs a similar hack. He tries to convince her, then obliviates her memory and uses his gained information to convince her even more, etc. Instead of resetting the day, he is resetting her mind back again and again.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 17 March 2012 04:54:29PM 3 points [-]

Harry in ch.79 claims that both notes were signed "Santa Claus" but in chapter 14 the note is explicitly unsigned (though it mentions Christmas).

This may have been a thematic demonstration of the faultiness of memory, a crucial topic of chapter 79, but currently it feels to me more like an authorial mistake. If the mistake was deliberate on the part of the author, I think a (3rd person-omnicient) narrative note could be edited in chapter 79 to note this failure of Harry's memory in passing.

Comment author: Randaly 23 March 2012 06:35:37AM *  6 points [-]

A hypothesis: The ministry, large fractions of the ministry, or at least Dolores Umbridge, don't wind up being villians in this universe; they're also quasi-competent (on the level of canon Dumbledore).


a) Eliezer seemingly went to a fair amount of effort to demonstrate that both MoR!Harry and canon!Harry's thoughts were biased when regarding Umbridge- to the extent of naming the relevant chapter "The Horns Effect," and (IIRC) having this explicitly reference her

b) The Ministry seems to have gotten it right on convicting Sirius Black, even if they got the wrong actual person

c) The Ministry generally seems to be portrayed as fairly competent, to the point that the only person (that we know of) to have taken action regarding Quirrell was a Ministry employee (which, incidentally, might be how Umbridge could wind up with accurate information regarding Hermione)

Comment author: glumph 23 March 2012 06:52:39AM 8 points [-]

c) The Ministry generally seems to be portrayed as fairly competent...

But I'm reminded of this exchange in Chapter 61:

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

And there's the fact that interrogation under Veritaserum seems to constitute the entirety of serious criminal investigations.

Comment author: Fergus_Mackinnon 23 March 2012 09:53:02PM 2 points [-]

Considering how much of a threat technology can pose when combined with magic, one or more factions may have deliberately placed an ignorant pureblood into the position in order to keep knowledge of muggle developments marginal.

Comment author: pedanterrific 23 March 2012 10:54:11PM 10 points [-]

It still says bad things that the Head of the DMLE thinks that Arthur "knows more about Muggle artifacts than any wizard alive" rather than, say, any random muggleborn or halfblood.

Comment author: DanArmak 25 March 2012 12:26:55AM *  9 points [-]

This comment gave me the obvious-in-retrospect idea of cloning things with a Time-Turner. Consider:

  • You can make up to six copies of yourself, plus all the items you can carry in magical pouches, which will coexist for slightly less than an hour. Or fewer copies that will coexist for longer.
  • If you have n Time-Turners, you can end up with 6n copies of yourself + items.
  • We have seen that a single Time-Turner can take along an Animagus in a pouch. I speculate that many Animagi (perhaps in separate pouches) can be taken. You can thus use a single Time Turner to duplicate people besides the one actually using it. It's even possible that non-Animagi can be duplicated, if there's some suitable charm for temporarily turning people into animals, maybe.
  • You could probably also duplicate Fawkes.
  • If Dumbledore ever really goes to fight a serious battle, he'll go as an army of multiple-of-six Dumbledores. Some of them will magically disappear every hour until only one remains, but imagine the firepower!
  • Why did Voldemort ever need the Death Eaters? He should have just stolen a few Time-Turners from the ministry. No-one could have resisted an attack by an army of Voldemort clones, super-coordinated by virtue of half the clones remembering being the other half a few hours ago.
  • How are new Time-Turners made? Assuming it's not a lost art, and can be done in under 5 hours, then someone could start cloning himself, make new Turners while back in time, use those to keep cloning himself, and eventually reach literally unlimited populations of himself inside the same time period of a few hours. Those populations could then cooperate on some... trickier problems.

This is all starting to remind me of the Seventh Voyage of Ijon Tichy... It looks like I'll have to draw diagrams.

Can someone teach me how?

Comment author: BlackNoise 25 March 2012 01:48:18AM *  7 points [-]

I don't think you can have more than 6 versions of yourself present at any given time, since any more than that and information is traveling more than 6 hours back. (at least from the perspectives of the earliest and latest self-clone)

But still, 6 x Dumbledore+Fawkes is quite the army.

Edit: Also,

Many resstrictionss. Locked to your usse only, cannot be sstolen. Cannot transsport other humanss.

You don't actually need to go through animagus+pouch to transport more than one person on an unrestricted Time-Turner. (Canon also agrees on this if I recall correctly)

Comment author: APMason 29 March 2012 08:11:18PM 4 points [-]

Why did Voldemort ever need the Death Eaters? He should have just stolen a few Time-Turners from the ministry. No-one could have resisted an attack by an army of Voldemort clones, super-coordinated by virtue of half the clones remembering being the other half a few hours ago.

The Ministry has access to Time-Turners too. Really, once both sides are using them they'd just have the effect of making battles much, much more awesome.

Comment author: linkhyrule5 25 March 2012 12:37:50AM 3 points [-]

The problem with this is that they're not clones, they're future versions. So a potion can only be used once, a Time Turner duplicated still only has six "charges," and so on.

Comment author: Eponymuse 25 March 2012 02:43:18AM *  2 points [-]

Some of them will magically disappear every hour until only one remains, but imagine the firepower!

They wouldn't disappear. They would, after a period, go back in time in order to become one of the other people in the battle.

Using a time turner to make clones in battle is a very, very dangerous idea. Harry has been warned, strenuously, by Professor McGonnagal that he should not directly interact with himself, and we have an anecdote about an auror/criminal pair that went insane because they abused time turners. I imagine that one of the more stable time loops would involve the original Dumbledore/Harry getting disabled before going back in time for the first time.

But yeah, the cloning objects thing is a reasonable use of a Time Turner.

Edit to add: If by collaborating on tricky problems, you are referring to e.g. academic problems, rather than problems of strength, this amounts to a rather absurd charade. If you use a Time Turner to put 6 copies of yourself in a room, and in an hour they succeed in answering the problem, that means that at the beginning of the hour, 5 of them already knew the answer.

Comment author: DanArmak 25 March 2012 03:11:40AM 3 points [-]

They wouldn't disappear. They would, after a period, go back in time in order to become one of the other people in the battle.

I realize that. For other observers' practical purposes, they would disappear.

Using a time turner to make clones in battle is a very, very dangerous idea. Harry has been warned, strenuously, by Professor McGonnagal that he should not directly interact with himself

Meh, she worries about that kind of thing too much.

Comment author: Logos01 28 March 2012 02:50:52AM 2 points [-]

There are ways to compute problems such that you do not know the information you are computing. Homomorphic Encryption for example.

Comment author: Dentin 23 March 2012 02:21:06PM 9 points [-]

The best solution I've been able to come up with on my own involves Harry breaking the compact between the dementors and the ministry:

"I am not yet done!

Lucius, while I appreciate you desire for vengeance, pointing it at the wrong target gains you nothing. However, it does inconvenience me. Hermione Granger is mine. I have claimed her, and I will have her, healthy and with her magical abilities intact.

Dementor! The compact you have made with the Ministry has been broken. I have already begun teaching the charm which was used to destroy one of your kind at Hogwarts earlier this year. You will return immediately to Azkaban and tell the other dementors to leave that place. Should any of you wish to side with the ministry, be certain that we will destroy you all. Go, now."

[dementor leaves]

"We are now at war. The spell to destroy dementors does in fact exist, a fact Albus Dumbledoor will verify. However, it is powerful, and can only be cast by very few wizards, wizards of a particular mind. Those who learn of it and fail will be permanently robbed of their patronus.

Hermione is one of the few wizards who can learn to cast the spell, and we all need her with her magical abilities intact.

Lucius, I may also need Draco, should he choose to side with me. As he is my friend, I will find who is responsible for this attempt on his life regardless of what has happened here today. As you have shown such devotion to him, I will not withhold anything I find from you.

I expect Miss Granger to be freed and returned to Hogwarts within the hour.

Professor, let us return."

This puts Harry in a position of power, where only he and his select crowd can destroy the dementors, with sufficient proof for the wizengamot to believe him. Breaking the deal between the dementors and the ministry drains Azkaban of its potency for punishing Hermione, and house Potter has claimed Hermione; but Harry has also offered to house Malfoy the dual olive branches of an unconditional offer to find the real perpetrator, and elevating Draco to a protected position of power in Harry's future hierarchy, which clearly does not involve the Ministry.

Should Lucius press Hermione to Azkaban regardless, it would be a hollow victory and serve only to piss off Harry. Harry has already demonstrated stronger control over the dementors than the Ministry, and can simply elect to send them to Malfoy Manor if he is sufficiently irritated.

The only down side is that I don't see a really good political escape for Lucius. There are a handful of minor ones that Lucius could use, for example his Imperius debt:

"In deference to the Noble House Potter and the blood debt owed it by House Malfoy, I rescind the order sentencing Miss Granger to Azkaban. I trust Lord Potter and my son to ensure that her debt is paid in full. I propose we remand Miss Granger to Hogwarts and discuss this more serious matter of the dementors."

Comment author: Anubhav 23 March 2012 03:22:16PM 4 points [-]

Upvoted for the sheer epicness, even though I doubt it's going to happen.

Comment author: Danylo 23 March 2012 04:11:11PM 7 points [-]

Hah. Fun, but completely unreasonable. The Wizengemot is ultimately responsible for the safety of wizard-kind, and though they're pretty selfish when it comes to minor issues, as soon as a Harry makes the threat to disable wizard-kind's defenses against Dementors, everyone, Dumbledore and Malfoy and Bones and so on, will be his enemy, and *they will disable him. *

Comment author: Alsadius 23 March 2012 05:06:20PM 3 points [-]

Your plan basically relies on stripping your country of one of its most powerful weapons and then having the leaders of your country thank you for it. Good freaking luck.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 17 March 2012 10:54:22PM 9 points [-]

Anyone else getting the feeling that EY is doing an accelerated wrap up of HPMOR?

We've jumped forward months in the story, and it looks like everyone is in play all at once, for the highest of stakes. The major players all have their beloved pieces at risk in Lucius and Draco, Harry and Hermione, and Albus and Harry.

Also, with the approaching end of the school year, I assume it's the end for Quirrell as well.

But Chapter 83 is The Aftermath. And I believe EY talked about future installments more as novellas, which makes me think those would be retrospective fill ins for the months we've skipped.

Say it aint so. I'm in no rush to see this end, and not to get melodramatic about it, but I think HPMOR has a good chance of being the most important thing anyone on this list ever does. Rand would have been an unknown crank without the novels. A transvaluation of values is made through stories, not Sequences.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 18 March 2012 01:28:47AM *  14 points [-]

We've jumped forward months in the story,

I checked again, and chapter 73 says "The March days marched by". Chapter 78 starts at 4th of April, and the day of Hermione's arrest was the morning of Sunday the 5th of April.

So I think your impression is wrong: we're still moving at the pace of about one month per major arc. "Humanism" was January, and "Stanford Prison Experiment" was February, and "Self-actualization" was March. This is now April.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 18 March 2012 03:55:36AM 3 points [-]

Thank you.

I guess I get another demerit for not paying attention in class.

Comment author: Nominull 17 March 2012 11:07:19PM *  10 points [-]

There have been a couple Aftermath chapters already, that's what the author titles chapters within an arc that come after the climax of the arc and wrap things up usually on a character-by-character basis. Chapters 63 and 77 were both Aftermath, but they certainly didn't end the story.

Comment author: DanArmak 18 March 2012 02:33:06AM 8 points [-]

I think HPMOR has a good chance of being the most important thing anyone on this list ever does.

Rational DanArmak knows about UFAI and how he can't weigh miniscule probabilities correctly and so on.

Emotional DanArmak is praying oh dear god when HPMOR ends please please let Eliezer go on writing fiction.

Comment author: glumph 18 March 2012 03:31:56AM 5 points [-]

Emotional DanArmak is praying oh dear god when HPMOR ends please please let Eliezer go on writing fiction.

He's been writing fiction for a long time. I wouldn't worry.

Comment author: DanArmak 18 March 2012 06:54:41PM 6 points [-]

I know that, but he's never written long-form fiction before, and may never do so again. It does take a lot of time.

Comment author: 75th 23 March 2012 02:39:01AM 4 points [-]

Chapter 80 spoilers ho

One last comment and I'll stop spamming the page. It certainly seems as though Amelia Bones is highly connected to Narcissa's death now. I wonder if Dumbledore really has a reason for keeping it secret that's worth sending Hermione to Azkaban over.

Comment author: gwern 23 March 2012 02:42:37AM 11 points [-]

I wonder if Dumbledore really has a reason for keeping it secret that's worth sending Hermione to Azkaban over.

It would discredit his entire side, their strategies, and their results, vindicating the opposite side. Oh, and obviously something would happen to Dumbledore like imprisonment, execution, exile, etc.

Comment author: Asymmetric 18 March 2012 10:18:48PM 4 points [-]

This thought just occurred to me: would Harry think to check the phoenix's price chamber for a picture of Narcissa Malfoy? If it is not there, how strong is it as evidence against Dumbledore immolating her?

Comment author: Anubhav 19 March 2012 07:07:29AM 7 points [-]

"These are not all the fallen of all my wars," Albus Dumbledore said. His back was to Harry, only his grey locks and yellowish robes showed. "Not even nearly all of them. Only my closest friends, and those who died of my worst decisions, there is something of them here. Those I regret most of all, this is their place."

In other words, it's weak enough to disregard completely.

Comment author: AspiringKnitter 19 March 2012 03:43:02AM *  4 points [-]

Not very. Maybe he only has shrines to his fallen allies. If there are memorials of other fallen enemies/neutrals, then it would be evidence, but I'm not sure how strong it would be...

Plus, if she was an innocent who died because of an accident that was his fault, a memorial would be more likely than if he had nothing to do with it, so...

Comment author: gwern 25 March 2012 03:50:04AM 2 points [-]

For those still keen on solutions involving violence, let me just point to this Eliezer comment: http://lesswrong.com/lw/aha/rationality_quotes_march_2012/642q

Comment author: SkyDK 24 March 2012 05:10:28PM 2 points [-]

A thought struck me.

Could Harry not personally marry Hermione, thus make her a member of the House of Potter, hence make the blood debt owed one owed by his house? After that he could burden the punishment himself hence display the absurdity of the whole justice system, perhaps off a dementor or two in the process just for the kicks.

Please enlighten me.. If this solution is possible it certainly seems the easiest (all though I do like the "blame Voldemort-option" as well).

Comment author: LearnFromObservation 23 March 2012 04:03:55PM *  2 points [-]

I was thinking about Harry's four sides: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. He's already tried Ravenclaw (presenting logic and rationality, thinking through his options) and Slytherin (plotting against Lucius Malfoy in front of the Wizgov.-"you do not want me as your enemy") But his Hufflepuff (strong loyalty to Hermione as a friend) refuses to allow him to give up, and I think his Ravenclaw and Slytherin sides will shout down the Gryffindor option (destroy the dementor with his patronus). However, E.Y. said "figure it out from there" so that implies we already have enough information. So, if we analyze it this way, we can observe:

  • Harry is not the only person with these four house sides

  • Dumbledore is not pulling anything out of a hat OR Dumbledore lied to Harry

  • Lucius is sane, according to Harry, but seems to be beyond reason

  • the Wizgov. is biased due to bloodlines

  • Quirell is detained

  • McGonagall is sitting next to Harry and is afraid/not powerful enough/not desperate enough (yet) to help

  • We have not heard from Snape in quite awhile

Therefore, we can conclude that any one of these given possible outcomes has some chance of possibility, but some are more probable than others.

  • Draco, Snape, or Quirrell will turn to one of their other house sides (Gryffindor or Hufflepuff rather than Slytherin or Ravenclaw-Draco catching Hermione, Draco's loyalty to Harry, Snape's love for/loyalty to Lily, Quirrell escaping to help Harry (he awarded those points to Hermione) )

  • Dumbledore is lying to Harry and will save her at the last minute OR Dumbledore is not powerful/rational enough

  • Quirrell is unable to help OR Quirrell will overcome the Auror (perhaps with use of the Killing Curse? losing some of Harry's trust)

  • McGonagall loves Harry and Hermione even though they are not in her house, so she is either unable to help OR so desperate that she will save the day

  • Snape will step in out of love for Draco, fear/respect for Harry, love for Lily, aid of Dumbledore, or respect for Hermione, which means that Snape was either brainwashed when yelling at Hermione in the Great Hall or it was part of a larger Slytherin plot


  • Snape is behind it, and unlike canon is actually evil, and Harry and/or Quirrell exposes him

I am very long winded. My apologies.