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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93

5 [deleted] 06 July 2013 03:02AM

This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing chapter 93. The previous thread has passed 300 comments. 

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: 1234567891011121314151617,18,19,20.

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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 (353)

Comment author: buybuydandavis 06 July 2013 08:53:21AM 25 points [-]

I don't know if our love has any magical power under your rules, but if it does, don't hesitate to call on it.

Foreshadowing alert, particularly given canon.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 06 July 2013 12:46:54PM 22 points [-]

I found 93 incredibly refreshing-- it was good to see so much cooperation, good will, and clear communication after a tremendous amount of earned and unearned mistrust.

It can't be completely stable, of course, not least because Quirrel is around, but also because I think stories don't work to maintain high points before the end.

I wasn't horrified at McGonagle's announcement. This is a story where learning how to do better is a good thing, and I respect the idea that children need to be raised to be adults.

Undoing the problem of people who've been trained to do nothing is going to be harder than it sounds. Having rewards for doing something sounds good at the moment because very few people did anything, but all rewards are subject to Goodhart's Law. I expect to see people doing a lot of ill-thought-out somethings because the reward structure is too simplified.

Harry's father's letter is emotionally excellent, but I wonder whether the idea that adults should be protecting children rather than the other way around entirely applies to Harry's situation. On the other hand, if it's foreshadowing, that could be a relief. Arguably, Harry learning how not to be isolated is a major theme of the story.

As for Eliezer's rant, my first thought was HGMOR would be delightful, and it wouldn't take bending canon nearly as much. It's a lot easier for me to imagine canon Hermione taking an interest in theory of how to think better than canon Harry.

Meanwhile, if you want a brilliant-Hermione-at-the-center-of-the-story fanfic, try Amends, or Truth and Reconciliation. Any recommendations for more of the same?

I have mixed feelings about reading through a gender-focused lens. It gets really claustrophobic, and I find it spoils a lot of fun for me. On the other hand, I'd forgotten how disappointed I was in HermioneMOR compared to canon Hermione. I don't think Eliezer expects as much of his female characters as he does of his male characters, and even if the story plays out in some surprising way (a female wizard playing behind the scenes at Quirrel's level?), what's on stage for most of the story matters at least as much as revelations at the end.

Comment author: Velorien 06 July 2013 01:49:26PM 17 points [-]

On the other hand, I'd forgotten how disappointed I was in HermioneMOR compared to canon Hermione.

I think this is because canon!Hermione plays the voice of reason and maturity to the childish Harry and Ron, whereas HPMOR!Hermione in some ways serves the opposite role, being a real (and thus immature and limited) eleven-year old girl next to super prodigy Harry and trained-to-perfection Draco. Seen in that light, the extent to which she does manage to keep up is actually pretty amazing.

Comment author: Intrism 06 July 2013 03:38:23PM 19 points [-]

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

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 07 July 2013 08:53:42AM 11 points [-]

I'm not sure about that last-- remember the bit in MOR where Hermione is right to trust the adults about the dangers of transfiguration and Harry wasn't?

Comment author: RobertLumley 06 July 2013 03:21:06PM 15 points [-]

I kind of recently came to the realization that I think Eliezer meant Harry and Hermione's relationship to personify what he says often, which is "Utilitarianism is what is correct, virtue ethics is what works for human beings".

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 07 July 2013 08:52:25AM 8 points [-]

It's been a while since I've read canon, but I remember that Hermione as largely motivated by love of learning (with loyalty to her friends as a strong second, but we don't see the two motivations in conflict, and loyalty isn't distinctive to her-- all the good characters are loyal), and HermioneMOR as largely motivated by wanting to maintain her self-image. MORHermione isn't as awful as that might be because the self-image she wants to match is (mostly?) built around virtue ethics, not vanity or status, but the two characters are very different to me.

From my point of view (and I don't know if anyone shares it), in the early parts of MOR, Hermione was this weird brittle conglomeration of traits that didn't even seem like a human being. I blew up about it, and upset Eliezer, and he did something to how Hermione was portrayed, I don't know what, so that she didn't make me crazy even though her character wasn't drastically changed. I leave the possibility open that Eliezer being affected by what I said calmed me down rather than that he changed the character, though I certainly didn't intend to affect him that strongly.

I have to take it on faith that Eliezer and practically everyone here likes MORHermione as much as they say they do because this isn't how I react to the character.

Comment author: taelor 07 July 2013 01:55:30PM 2 points [-]

From my point of view (and I don't know if anyone shares it), in the early parts of MOR, Hermione was this weird brittle conglomeration of traits that didn't even seem like a human being. I blew up about it, and upset Eliezer, and he did something to how Hermione was portrayed, I don't know what, so that she didn't make me crazy even though her character wasn't drastically changed.

When exactly in the story did this shift in portrayal occur?

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 07 July 2013 02:03:51PM 4 points [-]

The back of my head says around chapter thirty or so. I don't have a convenient way of tracking down my original comment to make sure.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 06 July 2013 10:53:17PM 10 points [-]

I found 93 incredibly refreshing-- it was good to see so much cooperation, good will, and clear communication after a tremendous amount of earned and unearned mistrust.

Also, good to see Harry see it, and maybe correct his not entirely accurate assessment of other people.

I'd forgotten how disappointed I was in HermioneMOR compared to canon Hermione.

Really? I like this one so much better. Her only real failing I see is her preoccupation with feeling inferior to Harry, which should be irrelevant regardless and is inaccurate besides.

Comment author: atorm 06 July 2013 02:39:02PM 4 points [-]

Eliezer has said that Hermione hasn't been powered up as much as other characters because she was already so great in canon. This is one voice who hasn't had any issues with Eliezer's handling of Hermione.

Comment author: wedrifid 06 July 2013 04:36:52PM 17 points [-]

Eliezer has said that Hermione hasn't been powered up as much as other characters because she was already so great in canon.

And went so far as to observe that if Hermione were to be upgraded in the same way that Harry, Quirell and Draco had been upgraded then she would surpass the intellectual capabilities of the author himself, and his ability to emulate.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 06 July 2013 10:26:07PM 12 points [-]

It's possible to write about characters cleverer than oneself by two means I can think of.

  1. having unlimited time to think about what your character arrives at in an instant

  2. getting multiple people to help with the above.

Comment author: benelliott 07 July 2013 02:18:23AM 5 points [-]

But at some point your character is going to think about something for more than an instant (if they don't then I strongly contest that they are very intelligent). In a best case scenario, it will take you a very long time to write this story, but I think there's some extent to which being more intelligent widens the range of thoughts you can think of ever.

Comment author: Larks 06 July 2013 10:55:46PM 7 points [-]

It's going to take a very long time for Chimpanzees to write Hamlet.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 07 July 2013 01:53:42AM 6 points [-]

Sure, the method I mention only allows you to write characters a single level above yours.

Comment author: ikrase 07 July 2013 02:51:27AM 9 points [-]

You can also have characters make original discoveries that you read about in books.

Comment author: Benquo 07 July 2013 05:53:07AM 11 points [-]

Or correctly apply in real time techniques that you have only read about in books.

Comment author: linkhyrule5 06 July 2013 06:27:04PM *  8 points [-]

As Harry himself points out, Harry is cheating, and hard. He has a dark-side, he has a time turner, he's been training his mind from birth... and Hermione is still beating him in raw intelligence, and was just starting to learn to be a hero before her death.

Aside from that, take a look at Hermione Granger and the Burden of Responsibility, which is a recursive fanfiction of HPMoR diverging during her trial. It's really only just getting started, but I have hopes.

Comment author: tondwalkar 07 July 2013 02:01:23AM 6 points [-]

Aside from that, take a look at Hermione Granger and the Burden of Responsibility, which is a recursive fanfiction of HPMoR diverges during her trial. It's really only just getting started, but I have hopes.

I've just read the first chapter and this is excellent. Though I'm concerned that the title indicates that it might culminate in Hermonie angst-mongering. If that happens, I might just start a fanfic of order 3 with Amelia Bones as the main character.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 27 August 2013 07:11:08AM 2 points [-]

Hermione wasn't powered up at all.

a basic theory of MoR is that all the characters get automatic intelligence upgrades, except for Hermione who doesn't need it and starts out as exactly similar to her canon self as I could manage, thus putting everyone on an equal footing for the first time.

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 06 July 2013 07:28:46PM 2 points [-]

HPMOR kinda feels off because canonically, Hermione is unambiguously the most competent person in Harry's year, and has a good chance of growing up to be the most competent person in the 'verse. Harry is kept at the center of the story by his magical connection to Voldemort. In HPMOR, in contrast, Harry is kept at the center of the story by competence and drive. It's going to be very hard to do that without it feeling like Hermione is getting shafted.

That said, Hermione's death was an excellent decision from a storytelling perspective. Death is a major theme of both canon and HPMOR, but in canon Harry the most important deaths in Harry's life are those of his parents, who he had no memories of.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 07 July 2013 08:57:44AM 3 points [-]

Harry is kept at the center of the story by his magical connection to Voldemort.

Not just that-- he's also got a good bit of competence and drive, and Dumbledore's Army is a good example of canon Harry taking initiative in a way that's unusual for fictional characters but rather in the spirit of MOR.

Comment author: Kindly 07 July 2013 05:44:30PM 15 points [-]

Dumbledore's Army is a good example of canon Hermione taking the initiative, Harry just went along with the idea, if I recall correctly.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 07 July 2013 06:05:57AM 3 points [-]

Harry is kept at the center of the story by his magical connection to Voldemort. In HPMOR, in contrast, Harry is kept at the center of the story by competence and drive.

Harry's thinks his competence and drive, at least in extremis, are tied to his superhuman dark side that makes him smarter, more competent, and fearless.

Comment author: pleeppleep 06 July 2013 03:35:38AM 16 points [-]

I cried twice reading this. That puts it just below Humanism part 3 on my list of most touching chapters.

Comment author: atorm 06 July 2013 12:32:53PM 11 points [-]

I cried for real for the first time in years, and it made me very confused/uncomfortable with my feelings.

Comment author: ygert 08 July 2013 08:21:22AM 11 points [-]

Calling it now: Harry pulled off a double bluff. The rock is just his father's rock, and the ring is Hermione's transfigured remains. The ring (with inset diamond) registered as magical, so Dumbledore checked that the diamond was still his father's rock and not secretly Hermione's remains. But he didn't check the ring itself. This is a perfect, classic, trick. Harry is playing at just that one level higher...

Comment author: bramflakes 08 July 2013 11:39:18AM 2 points [-]

But that relies on Dumbledore forgetting to check the ring, and since Dumbledore is very clever, that's a very big gamble for Harry to make. If he's going to carry around Hermione's transfigured corpse on his person, he should at least have it as something completely innocuous, like a button.

Comment author: gjm 08 July 2013 12:58:27PM 4 points [-]

like a button

No. Then when Dumbledore waves his wand it goes bing-bing-bing when he gets to the button. With ygert's theory, it goes bing-bing-bing when he gets to the ring, Harry detransfigures the stone, and then (with non-negligible probability, at least) Dumbledore doesn't think to re-check the ring itself.

I don't find the theory convincing, but if Harry were going to do something along those lines then using the ring seems smarter than using the button. (Better, for topological reasons, to transfigure Hermione's corpse into part of the ring. Otherwise, what happens if Harry's asleep wearing the ring and someone casts Finite Incantatem? Eww.)

Comment author: ygert 08 July 2013 12:59:46PM 2 points [-]

Did you read chapter 93 yet? If not, go and read it before you see anymore spoilers. Otherwise, recall that Dumbledore used that magic-detector thing to check Harry's person and all objects in Harry's possession for if they were transfigured from Hermione's remains. Several things turned up magical, and those like Harry's emergency portkey were checked to see if they were transfigured from something else. When Dumbledore got to the ring, that detected as magic (of course) and Dumbledore suspected that rather than the diamond being his father's rock, Harry had secretly transfigured Hermione's remains into the diamond. But when Dumbledore dispelled the transfiguration on the diamond, it was the diamond after all. Thus, Dumbledore's check checked out, and Dumbledore concluded that Harry was not hiding Hermione's remains.

Comment author: shminux 08 July 2013 04:50:35AM 11 points [-]

It wasn't until the next morning that it was discovered that Hermione Granger's body was missing.

Just wait 3 days.

Comment author: Randaly 06 July 2013 07:32:15AM 10 points [-]

From the most recent author's note:

The story of HPMOR is built around the parallel-universe versions of those roles, and those roles (with one exception) retain whichever genders they had in canon.

What is the exception?

Comment author: [deleted] 06 July 2013 08:07:19AM 4 points [-]

Well, we don't have a child villain to replace Draco. I keep hoping Tracey will discover her ambition, and that it's to be something other than a running gag. Dumbledore nudged Hermione into becoming a true warrior of the Light. Quirrell got the Darke Lady with an E. He can't be happy with that.

Comment author: Randaly 06 July 2013 08:14:24AM 5 points [-]

...You know, given that the entire point of the previous chapters was how people can change roles, I probably should've realized that when he says roles, that doesn't necessarily map onto individual people.

Comment author: JTHM 06 July 2013 06:51:32PM *  7 points [-]

Nicholas Flamel, who is already known to change identities frequently, is the obvious candidate.

(And Flamel could also be Quirrell; Of the canon characters, there are four people likely to be as powerful as MoR Quirrell is: Dumbledore, Grindelwald, Voldemort, and Flamel. He's not Dumbledore; Grindelwald is probably still in Nurmengard; Voldemort is a distinct possibility, but that-one-infamous-post-we-all-know-about is, in my opinion, more likely to be a red herring than truth; Flamel is most likely. If Quirrell were not Flamel, Harry would be correct in assuming that Quirrell would kidnap Flamel if the stone were genuine. Lack of access to the elixir of life would also explain Quirrell's illness and the accelerated aging that Harry observed when Quirrell was in the infirmary. It also explains why Flamel knows that the Stone is hidden in Hogwarts. And if Quirrel/Flamel is female, that would explain how an attacker managed to intercept Hermione in the girls-only staircase. This theory also explains Eliezer's hints that a future story development will make it obvious that he is in no way shortchanging the female gender.)

I suspect that, if Flamel is Quirrell, the presence of the stone at Hogwarts is some elaborate trap to draw out Voldemort, whom Flamel may believe resides in, or is, Harry.

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Comment author: William_Quixote 06 July 2013 07:18:24PM 4 points [-]

Another possibility is that Amelia Bones replaces Barty Crouch as the plot relevant hardcore anti-deatheater government official

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 06 July 2013 06:32:21PM 4 points [-]

I'm pretty sure the exception is McGonagall taking over Hagrid's role, in addition to her canon role.

Comment author: Qiaochu_Yuan 06 July 2013 07:35:06PM *  7 points [-]

No, I think it was mentioned in an earlier author's note or something that Eliezer explicitly changed the gender of exactly one character (not role); furthermore, that character hadn't appeared by the time that author's note was written.

Comment author: cody-bryce 07 July 2013 03:04:37PM *  2 points [-]

In fact, he said that it was the one character he had a choice with...

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 06 July 2013 07:51:08PM 21 points [-]

Prediction: Snape will end up playing a crucial role in the climax of the story, similar to canon but even more satisfying. Evidence:

  1. I forget where, but at some point Dumbledore tells Harry that Snape is one of his most valuable allies.
  2. The most Snape-centric chapter is called "sunk costs." Notice that this is the name of a fallacy. Snape thinks his life is an unfixable wreck, but he is wrong, and good story telling demands that this be revealed in a suitably moving fashion.
Comment author: Spurlock 07 July 2013 02:29:58AM *  14 points [-]

I believe Snape's "Sunk Costs" hangup is also alluded to in Ch 91:

"Do you intend to declare that your life is now a ruin and that there is nothing left for you but vengeance?"

"No. I still have -" The boy cut himself off.

"Then there is very little advice that I can give you," said Severus Snape.

Comment author: gjm 06 July 2013 10:59:00PM 6 points [-]

at some point Dumbledore tells Harry that Snape is one of his most valuable allies.

I can't help suspecting that what you're actually thinking of is this:

My beloved son:

I would say that you have been so fortunate as to meet someone who enjoys the intimate confidence of our friend and valuable ally, Severus Snape.

in chapter 7, which of course was written not by Dumbledore but by Lucius Malfoy.

Comment author: drethelin 06 July 2013 11:29:55PM 7 points [-]

Snape is in a perfect position to cleave together the cleft worlds of wizardry. If he can convince Malfoy that not Dumbledore but Voldemort threatened the life of his son, he can make these old enemies into allies against voldemort.

Comment author: ikrase 07 July 2013 02:47:51AM 3 points [-]

Snape is also the most Muggle-aware main character.

Comment author: William_Quixote 06 July 2013 09:06:53PM 2 points [-]

2 is very interesting. Nice job noticing that detail on sunk costs

Comment author: Izeinwinter 06 July 2013 09:22:06AM *  14 points [-]

Good lord, Harrys parents are very good at this parenting gig.

The combo of the intellectual and the emotional appeal, in particular is a thing of beauty.

Let us see; Quite a few options were taken off the table in this chapter in particular because noone was missing, which rules out all the "substitute someone else" gambits people kept suggesting in a really impressive display of etics fail.

So Hermione got up and left. Or her body was absconded with. Correction: if she got up under her own power, she was most likely still absconded with, as otherwise she would have let people know she was mobile. I mean, even if she wanted to keep the world thinking she was dead to avoid further attempts on her life, she would want to tell Harry.

Possibilities;

Quirrell hid the body. On the grounds that Harry would find it difficult to do anything stupid without a body to do anything stupid to.

Snape. Yes, I am still on about the oxygenating potion. Exotica in bottles is what he does, and heck, he even uses "put a stopper in death" as an example of what a master potioner can do. In which case, he is keeping her incommunicado to avoid whoever is responsible finishing the job with fiendfire.

Harry: Stasised the body, and hid it to avoid burial, autopsy, ect.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 06 July 2013 11:01:20PM 4 points [-]

Snape. Yes, I am still on about the oxygenating potion. Exotica in bottles is what he does, and heck, he even uses "put a stopper in death" as an example of what a master potioner can do.

Good catch.

Comment author: Benito 07 July 2013 08:27:44PM 3 points [-]

Chapter 93, just after Harry has spent two minutes with Hermione; McGonagall seeing Hermione

the upper body waxy and doll-like

And in chapter 53,

a small doll

Becomes

a fresh corpse

In fact, perhaps Harry replaced the body, and them someone else stole a copy.

Just a thought.

Comment author: ChristianKl 06 July 2013 06:10:51PM 5 points [-]

At the end of his rant over the anti-feminism complained Eliezer said

I’ll state outright that at the end of the story Hermione comes back as an alicorn princess.

One interpretation would be that Hermione goes FOOM.

Harry already knows how to create sentinent artificial entities. He made the hat sentinent.

He knows that trolls are magicial creates that constantly self transmute.

He likely has put hermonine's body into a safe place. At the end of chapter 91 he wants a last one and a half minutes with the body of hermoine.

When the door opened again, Harry seemed to have changed, as though that minute and a half had passed over the course of lifetimes.

"Seal up the room," Harry said quietly, "and let's go, Professor McGonagall."

The fact that he wants her to seal the room suggests that he used his time turner during the time in the room to bring hermoine's body to safety and telling McGonagall to seal the room prevents other people from finding out that the body is gone.

Comment author: gjm 06 July 2013 11:03:01PM 4 points [-]

The fact that he wants her to seal the room suggests [...] the body is gone

At the end of chapter 91, McGonagall looks into the room and sees (something that looks sufficiently like) Hermione's body. So whatever's meant to have happened by that point, it isn't that Harry has just taken it away without any measures to make it look as if he hasn't.

Comment author: Fermatastheorem 07 July 2013 01:39:12AM 9 points [-]

What if Harry transfigured the bedsheet to look like Hermione, and the transfiguration wore off some time later?

Comment author: gjm 06 July 2013 11:00:45PM 2 points [-]

One interpretation would be [...]

Another, which I find more plausible, is that Eliezer was just making a joke, the whole point of which is that he isn't revealing anything.

(I don't think it's completely impossible that he did mean something by it, but I wouldn't give that more than 5% probability.)

Comment author: Fuyu 06 July 2013 04:12:05AM 5 points [-]

" I’ll state outright that at the end of the story Hermione comes back as an alicorn princess."

Was this meant as an omake at the end of HPMoR? What is the appropriate reaction to this?

Comment author: Michelle_Z 06 July 2013 04:20:26AM *  23 points [-]

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume laughter is the appropriate reaction. It's a joke.

Comment author: Baughn 06 July 2013 10:22:14AM 9 points [-]

It's a joke, yes. MoR has been known to be hilarious at time, although not so much recently.

Given Eliezer's commitment to truth, however, I'd say there's about a 30% chance he was telling the explicit truth, though I wouldn't think she'll stay that way.

Comment author: Gabriel 06 July 2013 12:40:42PM 7 points [-]

The plot of HPMOR was planned from the start and Eliezer started writing it before FiM premiered. What reason would he have back then to consider putting horned, winged horses into the story? And I think that if Hermione does return, it won't be in a way allowing for some sort of cross-fandom referential side-joke added as an afterthought. I wouldn't give it 30%.

Which is all a great shame, because everything is better with ponies. ;)

Comment author: Baughn 06 July 2013 05:32:48PM *  4 points [-]

Planned out from the start, but there's bound to be blank spots.

I don't think there'll be any real ponies in here (which is a shame), but there's a good chance Harry won't be able to bring back Hermione until he's cracked magic to the point where people can take arbitrary forms, and Hermione becomes an alicorn for a few paragraphs just to test it out.

Actually, this sounds increasingly probable the more I think about it. Troll regeneration is.. a form of continuous self-transfiguration. Some combination of that and however-the-heck animagus forms work might be the key to bringing her back - the regeneration to fix the bodily damage, the animagus bit to get her mind back (or convince magic that it's back, I suppose).

Let's call it.. um, 20% that self-transfiguration is involved with her resurrection (a number that includes the chance of resurrection), and 30% that alicorns are at least temporarily involved.

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 06 July 2013 06:07:57PM 3 points [-]

I had a similar thought--"Harry cracks magic to the point where people can take arbitrary forms"--and actually, I'd put the probability at >50%. In fact, I am slightly worried Eliezer will be disappointed in everyone who didn't immediately realize he was almost certainly telling the truth. He doesn't strike me as the type to say false things as a joke without a clearer warning that it is a joke. Unless someone can find an example of him doing that previously.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 06 July 2013 12:51:42PM 4 points [-]

I'm playing with the idea of a transhumanist angle on Hermione coming back-- does she come back as previous Hermione, or is she able to take whatever form she wants? A mind is entangled with its past and its body, but maybe going through as a large a change as being rewritten from the universe's memory includes the ability to be rewritten in more ways.

Comment author: Fuyu 06 July 2013 04:29:59AM *  3 points [-]

Thanks. My first reaction was just this seems too surreal. Any other story in which Harry Potter does not kills dementor and there's a reasonable explanation and laughter would have been my first reaction.

Comment author: DanielLC 06 July 2013 05:22:11AM 8 points [-]

Or Professor Quarrel saves Harry from a horde of yaoi fangirls and there's a reasonable explanation.

Comment author: linkhyrule5 06 July 2013 05:52:39AM 16 points [-]

... Unicorn blood is known to be useful in life extension.

Alternatively, Harry sadly fails at resurrection and memorializes her in the wildly successful edutainment cartoon My Little Pony: Rationality is Magic.

Comment author: Mestroyer 06 July 2013 07:12:43AM 12 points [-]

While Harry is embroiled at Hogwarts, unbeknownst to the wizarding world, a muggle named Hanna is building an artificial intelligence to run a My Little Pony MMO, which will discover magic, hack time travel, and bring Hermione back to satisfy her values through friendship and ponies.

Comment author: Baughn 06 July 2013 10:19:04AM 3 points [-]

To anyone who sees the above comment and dismisses it with "Huh, that seems weird"...

It's actually a very good story, with good chances of being interesting to anyone reading this forum. It's been discussed here before, too, but I don't expect everyone to read every article.

Comment author: Michelle_Z 06 July 2013 03:44:06AM 5 points [-]

Somehow this troll succeeded in injuring a student, without alarm from the wards until the point of her death.

So someone tricked those wards, wards that were apparently working when Draco Malfoy was attacked. (Someone tricked them before, but that was by killing him so slowly the wards didn't notice, not by disabling them so no one noticed a student was in mortal peril.)

Comment author: Intrism 06 July 2013 04:27:23AM 18 points [-]

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

Comment author: Desrtopa 06 July 2013 03:38:05PM 4 points [-]

I wouldn't infer from this that the culprit was necessarily different, since after all in the case of the attack on Draco, the intent was to frame Hermione, and thus the methods used should not have involved anything Hermione herself was not capable of.

Comment author: [deleted] 06 July 2013 04:00:47AM *  4 points [-]

Sorry in advance for the giant comment. But this

"Albus Dumbledore was smiling with a strange sad look in his eyes, like someone who has taken one more step toward a foreseen destination."

makes sense of this

"And Minerva made it clear to me that Hogwarts required a competent Defense Professor this year, even if I had to haul Grindelwald out of Nurmengard and prevail on old affections to persuade him to take the position."

which looked like a type 3 foreshadowing. I think Dumbledore expects and intends to die soon. Certainly we're moving in that direction, with the recent talk of McGonagall succeeding him as headmaster. It looks likely to me that Dumbledore is plotting to end his own life at the hands of Grindelwald, whose return as an antagonist to Dumbledore was foreshadowed by the story of Peter and Sirius. This, in turn, reminds me of this

Are you ready? Good. I am going to pretend to cast the Killing Curse on Professor McGonagall - DO NOT REACT, Hermione!

which looks like utter lunacy, but apparently is Dumbledore's idea of inspiration. He means to go out like Gandalf.

Probably. The alternative would be that he just thinks his time as a mysterious old wizard is almost up. Or it'll be gur Cbgvbaf Znfgre again. (Spoilers for the original novels.) But I think it's more likely than not that he'll be the one to give Grindelwald his role in the story, given that Dumbledore names himself as the one to haul him out of Nurmengard and ur ratvarrerq uvf bja qrngu va pnaba. Two birds with one stone.

In any case, in this story, Dumbledore wishes to die to escape a wasting death from advancing senility, not a phefrq unaq. To collect the relevant quotes in one place:

Professor McGonagall looked a little sad at that. "Not on purpose, Miss Granger, but I think... well, it probably is true that sometimes the Headmaster has trouble remembering what it's like to be a child."

Professor McGonagall finally spoke, and she said in a whisper, "I'm so terribly sorry, Miss Granger. I did not think the Headmaster would say such things to you. I think he truly has forgotten what it is like to be a child."

"Maybe you're right, Harry. Maybe I have forgotten over the decades what it's like to be a child."

She swallowed, hard, and said, "Mr. Potter, at thirty hours per day, you'll - get older, you'll age faster -" Like Albus.

Plus the zillion uses of the phrase 'the old wizard', and the dog that didn't bark: the fact that still nothing has been made of the connection between Dementors, Dementation, and dementia. Dementors are named for the death of the mind, both of them eat away at memories and personality, and this has gone entirely unmentioned. Even the author's notes that listed the similarities between Dementors and death left it out.

Oh, and the fact that Dumbledore's really old, and that's what happens to people when they get old.

So there's a suitably heroic reason for Hermione to research the Philosopher's Stone - either to prevent it from happening or to prevent it from ever happening again.

Edited repeatedly for clarity.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 06 July 2013 09:02:50AM 7 points [-]

Just a small note: If you plan to be reusing your "type 3"-style numberings regarding types of foreshadowing, I suggest that you not only include a link to your old comment, but also edit the old comment to make it have clear "type 1: " "type 2: " "type 3: " headings at the relevant paragraphs in question, because I barely had the patience to read through that whole thing too -- it'd be much better if I knew where in the comment to look at.

Comment author: [deleted] 06 July 2013 09:15:48AM 4 points [-]

On reflection, I've shifted my probability estimates around, so here's the short version of my comment.

And forgive me, but I hate rot13, so please don't read this comment if you haven't read the original novels and don't want to be spoiled for them.

I am certain - the human sort of certainty, where you can still change your mind - that the euthanasia metaphor from Book 6 will be recapitulated in some way in HPMOR. I am strongly confident that Dumbledore is suffering from plain old age-related cognitive decline and that it won't be dealt with metaphorically. I'm expecting Grindelwald to show up in a villain's cape at some point. I have a clue, not crushing evidence, but telling, that Dumbledore will be involved in his return. I think these things fit together neatly in any case - he wants assistance, and someone wants to volunteer. I don't have a better candidate at present. We'll see.

Comment author: Eneasz 06 July 2013 09:05:41AM 11 points [-]

From the Author's Note One Should Not Read:

I’ll state outright that at the end of the story Hermione comes back as an alicorn princess.

Here's the thing - based on both the tendency of characters in HPMOR to state the literal truth as a "joke" to hide the truth in plain sight (when asked where the real Quirrell is, the Defense Professor says "What makes you think I did not steal his body outright using incredibly Dark magic?"), and Eliezer's own admitted reluctance to speak outright falsehoods... well... this could be a joke. But (perhaps scarily) I'm putting a high probability on this in fact being true. Like, at least 40%.

Comment author: Velorien 06 July 2013 01:54:21PM 12 points [-]

Alicorn is the author of Luminosity, the rationalist Twilight fanfic, right? Could it be that this is to imply Hermione comes back as a vampire?

[ducks from rotten tomatoes]

Comment author: Alicorn 06 July 2013 08:50:50PM 5 points [-]

Alicorn is the author of Luminosity, the rationalist Twilight fanfic, right?

Yep.

Could it be that this is to imply Hermione comes back as a vampire?

As it happens, I have written no characters who are both undead vampires and also princesses. There is one princess half-vampire, but half-vampires in that universe are not a form of undead. </missing the point>

Comment author: Izeinwinter 06 July 2013 03:35:44PM *  5 points [-]

This is as, previously mentioned, perfectly plausible. Harry injected her with something immediately prior to her death. The potterverse has vampires. Timeturning + a bit of stealthy substitution, and she may have died under the correct circumstances for rising undead. Given chapter 93, it would have to be the work of Snape, as the other players are all ruled out for time turning to the correct period, and making a shot of vampire blood look like an oxygen potion would not exactly stretch his abilities. Or he could have faked her demise with more conventional alchemy, but that would require him to either brew the necessary potion in <4 hours, or to just have it prepared already on general principles. (for faking his own death in extremis? Just general "Ways I could have saved Lily" brooding?)
The main thing "vamping" has going for it is that vampires do die and come back, so that plan does not involve faking the death, and locating some vampire blood quickly is presumably simple.

Comment author: atorm 06 July 2013 12:29:11PM *  6 points [-]

I wish I'd listened to the little voice telling me not to finish reading the comment.

ETA: not because it was bad, but because now I'm going to wonder if she comes back as an alicorn. I listened to EY's warning and didn't finish his rant. I should have followed the same course here.

Comment author: ikrase 06 July 2013 09:41:57AM 2 points [-]

... or metaphorically...

Comment author: cousin_it 07 July 2013 02:51:52PM *  7 points [-]

Maybe we should try harder to decode the prophecies. For example, there was a cool theory on Reddit that "the very stars in heaven" refers to members of the Black family, who are all named after stars. In particular, Bellatrix might be feeling like she's in heaven right now.

But I'm more interested in the first prophecy. What does it mean that "these two different spirits cannot exist in the same world"? The word "cannot" seems to say it's impossible from some point of view, not just dangerous.

1) Maybe any interaction between Harry's and Quirrell's spells would cause a time travel paradox for some reason?

2) Maybe any interaction would trigger a bug in the Source of Magic and cause it to crash, because Harry and Quirrell are using the same username and password to access magic, which the developers assumed cannot happen?

Comment author: DanArmak 07 July 2013 07:05:40PM *  3 points [-]

It's a prophecy: information about the future. Maybe it's simply saying that either one could win, but there's no possible future where both exist (except for a remnant). Any "why" is a just-so story for human consumption; the raw prophecied fact is simply that fork in the road.

Comment author: Velorien 07 July 2013 07:15:59PM 3 points [-]

Contradicted by several statements that prophecies are for human consumption, and specifically for people who have the power to fulful or prevent those particular prophecies. See discussion of seers and temporal pressure.

Comment author: cousin_it 07 July 2013 09:03:58PM 2 points [-]

In HPMOR prophecies are riddles:

And the messages would come out in riddles, and only someone who heard the prophecy in the seer's original voice would hear all the meaning that was in the riddle. There was no possible way that Millicent could just give out a prophecy any time she wanted, about school bullies, and then remember it, and if she had it would've come out as 'the skeleton is the key' and not 'Susan Bones has to be there'. (Ch.77)

Comment author: elharo 07 July 2013 07:31:32PM *  2 points [-]

I really like the idea of "the very stars in heaven" referring to the Black family for several reasons. For one, Sirius has been alluded to several times, but has not shown up yet. "He is coming" and "He is here" don't really seem like they could apply to Harry or Quirrell or anyone else we've actually seen at Hogwarts so far. The question of what happened to Sirius and Pettigrew in this reality is one of several dangling plot threads I expect the author to wrap up before ending the story, and Eliezer doesn't have many chapters left in which to do it. It seems likely this happens at the same time he answers what really happened in Godric's Hollow on October 31, 1981; and perhaps leads to Harry's final break with Quirrell. There are a couple of other dangling plot threads that could be wrapped up here too: why did the Remembrall light up, and what about Bellatrix?

Secondly, although Harry's clearly interested in the source of magic and the nature of reality, the story becomes too much of a Monty Haul if he really does achieve star-destroying omnipotence. Stories about omnipotent beings just aren't very much fun (insert citations to several hundred Marvel Comics storylines of the last 30 years) and I think Eliezer is just too good an author to fall prey to that.

On the other hand the story has huge amounts of interest and foreshadowing around matters of time: ComedTea where the future causes the past, time turners, prophecies, timeless quantum mechanics, timeless decision theory (used repeatedly by Harry but not identified as such by name) and I've probably forgotten one or two. I expect Harry to at least try something funny involving time to save Hermione. And if it works I expect we're going to realize we should have seen it coming. However I will be very disappointed if it's nothing more than a deus ex machina resurrection like Superman II.

Comment author: cousin_it 07 July 2013 09:09:44PM 6 points [-]

There were some more direct hints that time travel was involved in events that already happened. In the story of Weasley's pet rat:

Guy was convinced he was ninety-seven years old and had died and gone back in time to his younger self via train station. (Ch.29)

In the dictionary attack on Hermione:

"Just what do you think you know, and how do you think you know it, anyway?" -- "Time -" The voice seemed to catch itself. "Time enough for that later." (Ch.77)

Comment author: elharo 08 July 2013 11:53:35AM *  2 points [-]

Good ones. At the time I read "Guy was convinced he was ninety-seven years old and had died and gone back in time to his younger self via train station." as being a shoutout to several other time-travel based fan fiction stories like Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past, Oh God Not Again!, Backward with Purpose, and His Own Man; but it could equally well be hinting at a time traveler or two working behind the scenes in this story.

Honestly, there have been so many time travel based stories that I really hope this doesn't turn into another one.

Comment author: thakil 06 July 2013 05:37:02PM 7 points [-]

To be more positive, I really did like the letter from Harry's parents. In the previous chapter where Harry was thinking that he had ruined his relationship with his parents, I remember thinking that it was extremely unlikely that his parents would react that way. And, indeed, it was demonstrated that Harry's beliefs were based on his emotional immaturity rather than an accurate assessment of recent events. I wonder if Harry's undervaluing of the power of emotional bonds is in part caused by Quirrel's influence.

Comment author: CAE_Jones 07 July 2013 05:38:43AM 8 points [-]

It's interesting that chapter93 is mostly Harry being shown that he is not, in fact, the only sane person in the world; his parents, the other students, and especially Minerva Macgonnagle all completely put his Slytherin side in its place. (That's the nice reading, anyway; Dumbledore and Quirrell's interpretations are worrysome.)

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 07 July 2013 09:05:02AM 6 points [-]

I hope we get to see Harry's Slytherin side updating itself.

Comment author: William_Quixote 07 July 2013 06:40:53PM *  7 points [-]

Yeah, his Slytherin side has gotten too pessimistic. In fact, the Hogwarts students did about as well as could be expected for a random group of people.

Using Milgrim stats, 35% of people don’t kill the innocent man when they have to press the button themselves and 7.5% don’t kill him when they’re just helping.

In Hogwarts, Harry, the Weasley hive mind, Susan, Ron, and 7 random kids helped. And Neville and Lesath Lestrange each get half credit so that’s 12 people helping. That’s what you would expect from groups of 35 and 160 respectively. Since we are told there are a little over a hundred people there, Slytherin would have done better just going with social science based priors.

Comment author: CrimsonWool 08 July 2013 05:29:31AM 8 points [-]

It's worth noting that in the Milgram experiment, there is no perceived punishment for failure to participate, just a polite repetition. Further, the Milgram experiment models willingness to stop acting in accordance with orders, rather that willingness to act against orders, which, while morally fairly indistinguishable, are psychologically (and legally) substantially different.

Comment author: jkaufman 08 July 2013 03:54:14AM 8 points [-]

In the Milgrim experiment the subject would be the first actor to defy authority, but here Harry was already pointing out the problem and asking people specifically for help.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 09 July 2013 09:18:24AM 7 points [-]

I think of Slughorn as the only real Slytherin in canon. The Pure Blood contingent are a bunch of posers who've forgotten that the purpose of dominance is to make your life better, not to pursue some ideal which has a noticeable risk of getting you killed.

Comment author: EndlessStrategy 08 July 2013 06:48:32AM *  3 points [-]

Ch: 94 I'm confused. If no one directly attacked Hermione, why did the wards single out Quirrell?

Also, here's an interesting question: I wonder how Harry would react if Hermione left a ghost? Surely he would still want the real Hermione back, but how would he deal with the ghost, especially is she thought of him as the original Hermione did?

Comment author: hairyfigment 08 July 2013 08:24:43AM 3 points [-]

They didn't single out Quirrell.

The wards of Hogwarts record that no foreign creature has entered, and that it was the Defense Professor who killed Hermione Granger.

"We're meant to conclude that the enemy has control of what the wards tell us. But that's actually something the enemy can only do with difficulty, or under special conditions; they're trying to create a false appearance of omnipotence."

.....

The old witch's eyebrows rose. "How did he identify you to the Hogwarts wards, then?"

A slight smile. "The Headmaster drew a circle, and told Hogwarts that he who stood within was the Defense Professor.

At first I thought he had a house-elf there, or his original body in some form (though snakes have no legs). Now I figure at least one of the N Defense Professors was a shrunken troll. (I just checked, and Lethifolds don't have legs either.)

Comment author: monsterzero 06 July 2013 03:22:37AM 3 points [-]

...for all I know, the teachers at your school are giving everyone lessons in advanced necromancy every Monday.

If only.

I can't wait to see Hermione resurrected as the first p-zombie.

Comment author: solipsist 06 July 2013 03:26:33AM *  29 points [-]

I can't wait to see Hermione resurrected as the first p-zombie.

How would we ever find out she was a Philosophical Zombie?

Read a chapter explicitly labeled as Hermione's POV, and have the chapter be blank?

Comment author: Alejandro1 06 July 2013 03:32:54AM 11 points [-]

Maybe using Leglimency would give a blank answer? Assuming consciousness is non-physical, magic might be able to detect its absence directly even if physical behavior is unchanged.

Comment author: solipsist 06 July 2013 03:41:18AM 3 points [-]

That's true. If wizards have souls, and their minds are not caused by brains, absence of consciousness could be detectable. The sorting hat might think her head is a rock.

But then she wouldn't quite be a Philosophical Zombie.

Comment author: elharo 06 July 2013 11:04:19AM 5 points [-]

Now there's a hypothesis: the difference between wizards and muggles is that wizards have minds while muggles merely have brains. Or wizards are not p-zombies and muggles are. I don't think that's where this story is going, but it might make an interesting premise for a different story.

Comment author: TobyBartels 09 July 2013 05:15:09AM 2 points [-]

So Muggles are like the inzcverf in Blindsight? That kind of fits, particularly from Quirrell's point of view.

Comment author: monsterzero 06 July 2013 04:10:09AM 9 points [-]

Given your username, isn't everyone else a Philosophical Zombie?

Comment author: jaibot 06 July 2013 04:24:21AM 16 points [-]

Everyone is aware of Eliezer's P-Zombie Apocalypse film script, right? http://lesswrong.com/lw/pn/zombies_the_movie/

Comment author: solipsist 06 July 2013 04:36:20AM 4 points [-]

That was awesome.

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 06 July 2013 08:28:09PM 8 points [-]

I want to speak up in defense of McGonagall, and Eliezer's treatment of her.

One of the central conceits of HPMOR is that, basically, everyone in the wizarding world except Harry and Riddle/Voldemort/Munroe/Quirrell are stupid. Yes many Order of the Phoenix members got slight upgrades from canon, but from their point of view they were still losing and it's pretty clear Voldemort could have defeated them easily at an early point except for some reason he didn't try.

Add this to the fact that while McGonagall screwed up, a bunch of allegedly responsible adults plus Harry watched her screw up and didn't correct her. When Harry chews her out, he implicitly chews out everyone; he sees himself as the only person capable of taking responsibility for what happened.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 07 July 2013 03:28:09AM 5 points [-]

One of the central conceits of HPMOR is that, basically, everyone in the wizarding world except Harry and Riddle/Voldemort/Munroe/Quirrell are stupid.

One of the central conceits is that the viewpoint character, Harry, comes across as believing that everyone who has not earned his respect is stupid. But it is not really in the interests of most wizards to prove the full extent of their magical or reasoning abilities to every judgmental 11-year-old who comes along.

(I commented on this back in December.)

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 07 July 2013 04:43:10PM 3 points [-]

Well, "stupid" may be a little unfair in the case of Order members or Lucius, but there's clearly a big intelligence gab between Harry and Riddle on the one hand and everyone else on the other hand. It's not just lack of positive evidence that tells us this. We have Dumbledore's own testimony that he (and the entire rest of the Order of the Phoenix) was totally outmatched against Voldemort in the first wizarding war.

Comment author: thakil 06 July 2013 09:33:55AM 15 points [-]

Disclaimer: I am thoroughly enjoying HPMOR. That said, I just don't think Eliezer is quite grokking the substance of feminist complaints.

It makes complete sense within the story for all the female characters to do what they do, given what they've defined to be and what circumstances have arisen. The death of hermione makes complete sense. But its a fridging, of course its a fridging, because you are the author. You created these characters, and put them into the situation. If you tell a Superman story where he kills, and you set up circumstances where the only thing he can do is kill, then, sure, within the story, we buy that Superman needed to kill in that circumstance. But you, the author, put him in that circumstance, made him and his opponents make choices which led to that death, because you wanted him to kill.

I don't think Eliezer necessarily intended to make the female characters in this fic weaker than the male ones, more passive, more timid, more prone to mistakes, but thats how it has turned out. And for the defence that this is what he got from canon? Well to be honest its quite clear that many of these characters aren't the characters from canon. Moody is far more competent, Dumbledore very different, and Quirrel... Yet Hermione and McGonnogal are essentially as flawed as they were in the original text.

A feminist reading does not negate the quality of something, and I wouldn't necessarily say the story should be modified at this point at all, but its something to be aware of. We can enjoy problematic things even while acknowledging they're problematic. HPMOR isn't the first and won't be the last piece of fiction to fail at a feminist reading.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 06 July 2013 02:18:38PM 19 points [-]

Yet Hermione and McGonnagal are essentially as flawed as they were in the original text.

Amelia Bones, Susan Bones, Daphne Greengrass, Padme Patil (and even more minor characters like Hannah Abbot and Tracey Davis) are all significantly stronger and more relevant characters in this one than they ever were in the Harry Potter series.

If you compare ratio of the genders of relevant characters, HPMOR is better than the original Harry Potter ever was. You say Hermione is as flawed as in the original but you forget that it was Ron who was completely downgraded to peripheral status.

And as Velorien said, fridging is defined by its narrative purpose, and we don't know its narrative purpose yet.

Comment author: Alejandro1 06 July 2013 02:34:58PM 6 points [-]

On the other hand, major female characters Luna and Ginny are entirely absent from HPMOR. I guess it was inevitable given the decision to make the story take place only within Harry's first year (since they are not in school yet) but I would have loved to see an HPMOR version of either of them.

Comment author: Desrtopa 06 July 2013 03:52:00PM 2 points [-]

Luna isn't entirely absent, she's been mentioned by name and her own musings have been published as fact in the Quibbler.

Ginny does seem to be entirely absent so far though.

Comment author: Velorien 06 July 2013 04:03:54PM 5 points [-]

Not so - she was involved in Fred and George's plot in some way (otherwise she would kill them upon seeing her photo in the newspaper).

Comment author: Michelle_Z 06 July 2013 06:30:37PM 2 points [-]

They're not old enough to be in Hogwarts yet.

Comment author: thakil 06 July 2013 05:33:34PM 3 points [-]

Yeah I meant to mention Amelia Bones, who is by far the most competent female character we've encountered thus far. She is not, of course, a particularly major character thus far.

I guess when a character has an exciting fight off stage and we as readers perceive them as mortally wounded and helpless, and our male character swears vengeance at their death.. thats pretty much fridging to me. Regardless of the conclusion, the next few chapters at least will be devoted to Harry's actions which are entirely predicated on hermione's death.

If she had, as some suggested, died saving someone, as part of her arc, if we'd seen more of her fight, I do think that scene would have come across better. There may, of course, be excellent reasons that we did not get to observe that scene: perhaps we'll find out. I'm talking about the response now, and immediate feelings associated with that.

Comment author: Ambition 06 July 2013 04:10:00PM *  14 points [-]

Sorry, how are Hermione and McGonagall, "essentially as flawed as they were in the original text", exactly? I always saw their characters as being a step up from their original descriptions, and it's clear that the difficulties that Eliezer is having them overcome are not random things that no other characters have, but rather, the sorts of problems with thinking we see in the real world. Hermione and McGonagall have made more progress over the book than many of the other characters. You can point out that this means they started out weaker, but there are clear, justifiable reasons for this, and not simply downgrading all the females.

You have to acknowledge the backgrounds of these characters.

Moody? Dark Wizard hunter for a hundred years. You can't expect McGonagall to be able to compete with that. Quirrell? In order for the story to work, we needed a villain that would be a match for the upgraded Harry, so it's obvious why he would need to be seriously ramped up. Dumbledore? After defeating Grindlewald, he had to wage the war against Voldemort for ten years, so his character needed to be the sort that could realistically withstand that pressure.

While I can't pretend to know exactly what Eliezer meant, I suspect these sorts of things are what he was referring to when he said canon was constraining him. If you're going to turn the PotterVerse into a world that makes sense, with actual cause and effect, you need Dumbledore to plausibly be able to have accomplished what he did, and unfortunately canon does not give him a strong backstory for a character like McGonagall. At least, not a backstory as strong as these other characters have, like Moody or Dumbledore.

If you're going to go out and call HPMOR problematic, and say it fails at a feminist reading, you need to at least understand why the story is like this.

I'm not even going to go into the fridging comment.

Comment author: thakil 06 July 2013 05:27:07PM 2 points [-]

I do understand why the story is like that, and, to be clear, its fine for HPMOR to fail a feminist critique! Lots of fantastic stories fail feminists critiques: this will bug some readers more than others, and it might be useful for a particular author to consider that a particular choice might alienate some readers because of the history.

Yes, there are lots of great reasons for Moody and Dumbledore to be how they are, but McGonnogal is an order member, so could easily be different (and in earlier chapters, often is!) .

To be clear, I do think this story in general does portray women pretty well, but the bullying arc and this death feel like misfires because they embody certain tropes without, perhaps, intending to.

Comment author: Creutzer 06 July 2013 06:13:05PM *  11 points [-]

If it's okay for something to fail a critique, doesn't that kind of mean there's something wrong with the critique?

And I think there is something wrong with the critique. You don't quite seem to appreciate the point Eliezer is making in his response.

I take it as a given that it is perfectly legitimate to have the main character of a story motivated by the death of his best friend. It is a premise of the whole endeavor that the main character is a super-smart Harry. So now we have to find a friend. Who could that naturally be? Well, it so happens that the smartest student in Harry's year in the original is a girl; naturally, she will now be the second-smartest student in the class, because otherwise we'd have to dumb her down. She has the brains and personality to be Harry's friend - so unless Eliezer takes additional pains to move further away from the original, she is going to be that friend. And it just so happens that she is female, which is entirely irrelevant.

Indeed, one could also turn it around and point out that it's a positive thing that the person smart enough to be such good friends with Harry that their death motivates him suitably is a girl. But that would be equally besides the point, because Eliezer never chose her gender. The character was already there, gender included, and everything just falls into place as it is. He would have had to distort the original even further to prevent this; which is not the point of such a derivative work, and also the same people who have complained now would then probably have complained about him putting a smart and important female character from the original into a different, necessarily less central role, or removing her altogether (like Ron, who was unusable).

So what exactly is it that people are complaining about? Isn't this really a problem with their own pattern-matching, which in this case turns out to be inappropriate? Maybe it's making them uncomfortable, but that's their problem; it's not something on the basis of which to critique the story, because we can objectively argue that the pattern-matching went awry. Issues are not a purely subjective thing.

Note that this takes care only of the alleged fridging issue. It does not address the S.P.H.E.W. arc, which is more suspect of being genuinely problematic. I found it at least weird.

Comment author: thakil 06 July 2013 06:45:23PM 6 points [-]

No, it doesn't indicate a problem with the critique. If I tell you that super mario is not a particularly feminist piece of work I don't think you'd disagree, but I imagine you'd probably not agree that we shouldn't play it.

Criticism isn't about saying that something is unworthy of our time: quite the contrary, its about looking at worthy pieces of work and seeing where they fail and they succeed.

Yes, the best friend dying to motivate our hero is a classic motivation, and not one that is inherently bad. However, because so many heroes in literature and film are men, and so many of the friends that die are women, it begins to be problematic. Pointing out tropes and their abundance in culture isn't to say that an individual instance is necessarily bad, but to say that it might be worth thinking of new ways to approach the problem. For example, being sexually assaulted in one's past might be an excellent motivation for a female character, except it occurs in fiction a hell of a lot, so it has become tiresome.

For more on this I might point to the good (if a little feminist 101) tropes vs women in video games videos.

http://www.feministfrequency.com/tag/tropes-vs-women-in-video-games/

Comment author: Creutzer 06 July 2013 07:26:48PM *  7 points [-]

No, it doesn't indicate a problem with the critique. If I tell you that super mario is not a particularly feminist piece of work I don't think you'd disagree, but I imagine you'd probably not agree that we shouldn't play it.

Criticism isn't about saying that something is unworthy of our time: quite the contrary, its about looking at worthy pieces of work and seeing where they fail and they succeed.

When you say something fails, one of two things is the case: either the thing you're talking about is deficient in some way and should or could be improved; or you're making an irrelevant statement. Otherwise you shouldn't have used the language of "fail" and "succeed".

Also, people are not just saying that HPMoR isn't particularly feminist. That I would take as meaning that it's simply orthogonal to feminism. But they are saying it in a way that suggests they think it is a flaw. I don't think anybody will deny this.

Now, if I understand you correctly, what you're saying is that people are wrong to utter this as a complaint, but that it's legitimate to point out that HPMoR instantiates certain patterns. Even if you are explicit that you're not saying it shouldn't conform to these pattern, I think it's not relevant. And the reason is this:

However, because so many heroes in literature and film are men, and so many of the friends that die are women, it begins to be problematic.

I'm not saying that it can never be problematic. There is this problematic pattern. What I'm saying is that this pattern-matching leads you astray in the case of HPMoR because its conforming to this pattern is an accident brought about by completely feminism-irrelevant meta-issues (namely the relation between certain unobjectionable story premises and the original from which it is derived). Instantiations of tropes that come about in this accidental way don't count; in the same way that someone who doesn't speak Chinese by chance producing a sequence of sounds with the right pitch contour that by a Chinese speaker would be perceived as a word doesn't count as that person having spoken a word of Chinese.

Comment author: Protagoras 06 July 2013 10:13:02PM 8 points [-]

Quite a number of things feminists find problematic in fiction are so not because of anything intrinsic in them (surely stories don't really have any intrinsic meaning, really; they always only mean something to people who have interpreted them somehow), but because in the context of broader culture those things have Unfortunate Implications. Now, simply avoiding doing anything that has Unfortunate Implications severely restricts what can be said about women, which in turn has Unfortunate Implications of its own. So, short of just fixing all of society so the context isn't so troublesome any more, there are always going to be hard choices, and reasonable people are going to disagree about whether the right choice has been made. The present critique is pointing out, correctly, that Hermione's fate has Unfortunate Implications. Perhaps there was a better way to tell the story, but one can point out the UIs without knowing such a better way, and even if one doubts that it really exists; drawing attention to UIs may improve understanding and contribute to other projects even if there is no fixable deficiency in the present target.

Comment author: Creutzer 07 July 2013 06:05:23AM *  6 points [-]

If a text can have Unfortunate Implications even if there was no alternative way to tell the story and the story is legitimate, then I don't understand this concept of Unfortunate Implications and I think it oughtn't to be called "Unfortunate Implications". Because there is no implication of anything.

These things seem to me to work like implicatures. "The author could have told the story in a different way. But she didn't, she told the story in a way conforming to this or that culturally prevalent pattern. Interesting.". But if the author couldn't have told it in any other way anyway and the conformity with the pattern is a purely accidental property and the cultural prevalence of the pattern has nothing to do with anything in how it came about, then this isn't interesting.

Comment author: redlizard 11 July 2013 02:00:58AM 2 points [-]

If a text can have Unfortunate Implications even if there was no alternative way to tell the story and the story is legitimate, then I don't understand this concept of Unfortunate Implications and I think it oughtn't to be called "Unfortunate Implications". Because there is no implication of anything.

That sounds a lot like Conservation of Expected Evidence to me, by analogy if not quite literally.

Comment author: David_Gerard 07 July 2013 08:59:29AM 2 points [-]

You appear to be saying that readers are unfair to authors. Well, yes, they are.

Comment author: thakil 07 July 2013 08:04:33AM 4 points [-]

The point is that once an author is made aware of a trope which can be off putting to some readers, they can attempt to avoid it in future. Obviously the author doesn't have to, and sometimes this particular trope might be necessary, but I don't think its bad to go "hey, this doesn't work for me for x y and z reasons".

From a story telling point of view, ignoring feminism for a minute, I personally find characters dying "randomly" unsatisfying. Joss Whedon does this occasionally, killing off characters essentially at random, rather than letting said character have a heroic moment then dying. I appreciate that this is deeply realistic, but the story lover in me rebels. This is, of course, a different issue from the one I'm approaching, but I wonder if it isn't adding to some people's reaction.

Comment author: DanArmak 07 July 2013 07:38:13PM *  9 points [-]

This was anything but a random death. It was foreshadowed for a long time, we knew who'd do it and why, it's an integral part of the main storyline. Part of the story worked exactly because we were expecting this, but the characters were not.

Comment author: TrE 06 July 2013 07:58:29PM 2 points [-]

Well, you can of course argue that Hermione, being the second smartest first year student, is the obvious candidate for te role of the best friend who dies too early, do you think it'd be equally plausible if Eliezer had killed Neville? Neville should be able to stand just as close to Harry as Hermione did (since Harry has not hit puberty yet, and thinks girls are "icky"), but I don't think it's reasonable to assume that Neville's death could have brought forth the same emotions both in Harry and in the readers that Hermione's death did. Eliezer probably also knows this and thus chose Hermione to die.

Comment author: Creutzer 06 July 2013 08:19:43PM 11 points [-]

Yes, exactly. Neville's death would not have created these emotions, but the reason is not that he is male and Hermione is female. Neville should not be able to stand just as close to Harry. Neville is in no position to be anything as close to a comrade or equal as Hermione was. Neville is just someone who Harry has sympathy for and by whose development Harry was impressed. This is a very different thing from the "the two of us are different from the rest of the world" connection that he quickly developed with Hermione at the beginning (and which then faded off a bit, not least due to the questionable SPHEW arc).

Comment author: William_Quixote 06 July 2013 09:03:17PM *  8 points [-]

I think this may be taking Harry at his word a bit too much when it comes to his views on Hermione. Just because Harry allways speaks in "rationalist" vocabulary, doesn't mean he is allways rational or free of bias. He is often unfair to people when he's emotional. And his blind spot for Quirrel is a mile wide. "It was the defense professor last year, and the year before that, and the year before that..." Someone actualy starting from priors and adjusting finds Quirrel very quickly, particularly when you factor in the sense of doom.

Harry thinks he doesn't like Hermione that way, Harry's dad is pretty sure he does. I think regarding Harry's statements as the more objective one here may be a mistake.

Comment author: CAE_Jones 07 July 2013 05:51:02AM 7 points [-]

Harry thinks he doesn't like Hermione that way, Harry's dad is pretty sure he does.

In my experience, relatives are pretty sure the kid likes any friend of the opposite gender that way if they get brought to their attention. At least, in the culture in my general area.

Comment author: TobyBartels 09 July 2013 11:52:33PM 3 points [-]

Harry seems to think of puberty as purely binary. It's not; it's a gradual process. I don't know what deficiency in Harry's education led him to think this way, but it fumbles all of his thoughts about puberty.

Harry almost seems to be reasoning as follows:

  • I'm not sexually attracted to anybody.
  • Therefore, I haven't hit puberty yet.
  • Therefore, I can't possibly be romantically attracted to anybody.

Puberty doesn't work that way.

Comment author: Intrism 10 July 2013 01:51:50AM 3 points [-]

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

Comment author: ShardPhoenix 06 July 2013 09:51:10AM *  23 points [-]

I think it's a bit absurd to call something a "fridging" when the character in question has been around for 90 chapters and had their own major story arc, etc. That's really getting away from the spirit of what the "women in fridges" idea is complaining about (ie women who only serve to die in order to motivate the male characters).

Comment author: Desrtopa 06 July 2013 03:49:40PM 10 points [-]

While personally, I think this is a entirely legitimate direction to take with the story, I'll point out that on some level those 90 chapters of relevance can exist for the purpose of heightening the impact of the character's removal.

It's entirely possible to deliberately write a female character who exists purely for her death to motivate a male character (or vice versa, but it's likely that fewer people would complain,) who's well developed and active in the story for a long time, if the author is doing so simply to set up the extent of the motivation. And I think some people are concerned that, given that Eliezer planned Hermione's death from the very beginning, this is just what he did.

Comment author: thakil 06 July 2013 05:34:35PM 3 points [-]

Yup, this is pretty much my point. Of course, this fic being as it is, Hermione may be back alive in a couple of chapters time, which will change things.

Comment author: hairyfigment 06 July 2013 05:02:06PM *  5 points [-]

I would be shocked if someone were criticizing comic books for too much planning and coherence, if the Fridge critique referred to the character as a whole rather than her death. So in part this seems like a non-sequitur.

Back to MoR, the "major story arc" could indeed lead to Hermione doing something awesome, and her apparent death might not destroy that possibility for the sake of Harry's character development. But right now, you're dismissing the criticism out of hand because of an arc that led some readers to call Hermione silly. You're talking about a story that led people to question her characterization before now.

As far as malign coherence goes, Eliezer chose to throw in a dig at some strain of feminism during "Self Actualization," which ends with Harry and some men saving Hermione and friends. Now, Eliezer has said that he made SA longer than it strictly needed to be because he didn't realize he could take a different road to setting up (an arc where Harry saves her again, and she suffers and feels incompetent and stupid before her apparent death). But in a finished work, it would look like he put all this in for a reason. And looking back from chapter 92, a lot of it does in fact look like deliberate trolling of feminists.

Were this a finished work, certain feminists reaching chapter 89-92 could reasonably delete the file. And if I told them that later chapters improve the issues in question, I would not expect to be believed without major spoilers. Because I'm more like (a dumber version of) Eliezer than they are, and I still don't know what the Hell he's doing.

Comment author: Rukifellth 07 July 2013 03:33:10AM 3 points [-]

You know, I thought 89 trolled feminists the most.

Comment author: hairyfigment 07 July 2013 05:44:51AM 4 points [-]

Er thanks, that was an odd mistake on my part. Prime, even.

Comment author: Randaly 06 July 2013 10:13:44PM *  3 points [-]

That's not what fridging is- it refers to a specific type of death, where a female character is killed by a villain and left for the hero to find, specifically for the purpose of affecting the hero mentally. We don't know yet who killed Hermione and why, but it's possible that it was meant as a fridging.

TvTropes:

A character is killed off in a particularly gruesome manner and left to be found just to offend or insult someone, or to cause someone serious anguish. The usual victims are those who matter to the hero, specifically best buddies, love interests, and sidekicks.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 07 July 2013 04:00:37AM 2 points [-]

Also keep in mind the tropes are not bad.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 06 July 2013 04:41:19PM 3 points [-]

I think it's a bit absurd to call something a "fridging" when the character in question has been around for 90 chapters and had their own major story arc, etc. That's really getting away from the spirit of what the "women in fridges" idea is complaining about (ie women who only serve to die in order to motivate the male characters).

That might have some validity, but the validity is detracted by the difference in scale in what Hermione and Harry have dealt with. Harry has been discovering new magic (some small amount with Hermione but only because he helped), destroying avatars of death, rescuing people from prison, putting the son of the most evil person around on the past to redemption. Hermione's arcs consist mainly of fighting school bullies, and even doing that to a large extent with Harry handling a large fraction of the problem, and occasionally beating Harry in a mock combat situation where he was clearly holding back. It is also noteworthy that Hermione's death occurred after there were already largescale complaints about the role of women (and Hermione) in the story. And Hermione's death didn't even accomplish much: she wasn't saving the life of another student for example (a student getting in the way of the troll would have been an obvious thing to matter), and despite all her intelligence, she never in the course of her arc developed new magic or the like.

Comment author: Rukifellth 07 July 2013 03:39:59AM 5 points [-]

This is only relative to Harry though. Draco didn't even start doing anything until he was very heavily prompted by Harry, and throughout the story i get the impression that Draco was learning more from Harry than Harry was from Draco. Is Hermione really doing worse than any male student other than Harry?

Comment author: buybuydandavis 06 July 2013 10:33:30PM 15 points [-]

Yet Hermione and McGonnogal are essentially as flawed as they were in the original text.

Hermione is the most admirable character in HPMOR, and it looks like McGonagal could soon join her at the top. If their portrayal is an affront to feminism, it's feminism that has the problem, not HPMOR.

Comment author: Benito 07 July 2013 08:15:53PM 2 points [-]

Excellent point.

Don’t worry, Headmaster,” said the boy. “I haven’t gotten my wires crossed. I know that I’m supposed to learn goodness from Hermione and Fawkes, not from Professor Quirrell and you.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 07 July 2013 09:03:07PM *  1 point [-]

Hermione is the most admirable character in HPMOR, and it looks like McGonagal could soon join her at the top. If their portrayal is an affront to feminism, it's feminism that has the problem, not HPMOR.

This isn't an argument, but a conclusion. It also misses the primary issues at hand here. Hermione might be a very impressive character in any other story, but her total accomplishment set when compared to the primary male character is much smaller. Hermione fights bullies (with Harry's help). Harry's equivalent accomplishment: rescuing a prisoner from the most secure prison in the world. Harry, finds a way to kill an avatar of death. Hermione is killed by a troll, without even saving someone's life to show for it. Etc. The problem here is not feminism.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 07 July 2013 10:11:28PM 12 points [-]

I said most admirable, not most powerful.

But let's take your example as is, because it demonstrates another point. When Hermione fought bullies, that actually brought about a lasting change in Hogwarts. Compare the good of that accomplishment to the good of setting free one prisoner from Azkaban, the one most likely, capable, and intent on wreaking destruction in the world.

Who has done more good? I don't think that's a slam dunk win for Harry, and could be a devastating loss.

In a similar way, recall that Hermione won the first battle of the generals because neither Harry nor Draco knew how to effectively organize a group of people to a shared goal. Also, if Harry is supposed to learn goodness from Hermione, isn't that a rather huge power, determining whether the world gets one more Voldemort, or one more Dumbledore? Influence of others is power to do good as well. Similarly, it's McGonagall who actually runs Hogwarts and sets an example for students, not Dumbledore.

Hermione had a lasting power for good. Harry is "exceptionally good at killing things". If you want something killed, you want Harry on your side. Or Quirrell. Or Voldemort. Or Dumbledore. If you wanted a leader to delegate authority to run an organization to build something good instead of destroy something evil, you want Hermione without question. Same for McGonagall.

The main change between HPMOR and canon is the hugely increased power, intelligence, capability, and potential for evil of the protagonist, who yes, we assume has a penis. If your mind pattern matches this as an affront to women everywhere, you have a problem.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 07 July 2013 10:28:18PM *  3 points [-]

So to the first part, lasting amount of good from a long-term consequentialist standpoint isn't the same as how much impact someone has. And if one is trying to think of long-term issues then Harry has also discovered how to destroy otherwise unkillable creatures, and has set Draco Malfoy on the path to redemption. Even if Harry dies tomorrow, the total utility of there being one less dementor in the world will add up a lot over the long term. (In canon dementors can reproduce, but I strongly suspect this isn't the case in HPMOR.)

The main change between HPMOR and canon is the hugely increased power, intelligence, capability, and potential for evil of the protagonist, who yes, we assume has a penis.

This isn't the only change. There's also a massive increase in power, intelligence and capability of the antagonist, who, yes, we assume has a penis. There's a massive increase in Dumbledore's genre awareness and awareness of the cost of his actions to others, and his general power level (using Time Turners), who yes, we assume has a penis. There's a massive increase in Draco Malfoy's manipulative skill, who yes, we assume has a penis.

Moreover, while some female characters have become more interesting (Daphne and Tracy are obvious examples), they still are orders of magnitude less important. And there have been other possible options which could have been interesting. For example, rather than just having Petunia as a helpless housewife, while her husband is a professor, Eliezer could have had written something where she was also an academic, or a successful businesswoman, or a lot.

If your mind pattern matches this as an affront to women everywhere, you have a problem.

I'm not sure if this is a strawman or a genuine failure on my part (and possibly others who are concerned) to explain our concerns. No one anywhere in either this discussion thread or the previous HPMOR discussion thread has made the argument "that this is a general affront to women everywhere". And I'm pretty sure that I don't believe that. (Introspecting quickly, it is possible that my stated and actual beliefs don't align. However, if I did think that it was such an affront I douubt, I would have used as my interesting icebreaker fact last Friday that I had cosplayed as a character from a Harry Potter fanfic, and then used that as a way of getting an opportunity to tell people to read Methods of Rationality.)

To state it more explicitly problem is that this is a set of not great role models. My guess is that close to half the readers of HPMR, or certainly a large fraction, are female, and likely pretty young, which makes them impressionable. So, subtle (or not so subtle) differences in what male and female protagonists can do are important. And if some young girl gets pushed slightly over the edge by this into not becoming a chemist or a biologist, or just becoming interested in rationality, we all lose. Moreover, if part of the goal of the story is to get people as a whole interested in rationality and Less Wrong, then for women of all ages, having a substantially weaker female lead is going to make it harder for them to identify with the characters, and all the more so, when that weaker female is (apparently) killed off without even saving anyone in the process.

There's a lot of room for legitimate concerns without thinking that this is an affront to women everywhere.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 08 July 2013 12:19:33AM 13 points [-]

To state it more explicitly problem is that this is a set of not great role models.

If the issue is the set of role models, I submit that Hermione is the best role model in the book.

You can't model yourself after Harry, redo your birth, and have a superhuman dark side to call on. Similarly, you can't choose to have a university professor as a parent, who can serve as a role model to you in scientific method, and fully support your efforts in studying science. You can't trade in your two dentist parents, who think your intelligence is "cute', for parents who will respect and support your gifts.

But you can be diligent, hard working, honest, caring, and brave. You can do what is right. Though you won't be as smart as Hermione, she is the best role model the book has to offer.

having a substantially weaker female lead is going to make it harder for them to identify with the characters,

Because it's much easier to identify with a 10 year old with a superhuman dark side who wants minions and a sparkly throne. Much healthier too.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 08 July 2013 04:43:51PM 3 points [-]

Role models in fictional works are by nature characters who are interesting more than they are perfect role models. No one wants to read a story about a character who is perfectly good, goes to classes every day, and never gets in trouble. The nature of role models is more subtle than simply being good. For a young child, they aren't someone with magical talent, but they can still identify with characters with magical talent, and that's easier when the character is of the same gender. (I remember at last year's Vericon there was a panel on feminism and science-fiction and fantasy, and every single female author on the panel, including Tamora Pierce, expressed how much frustration they had growing up with the depiction of female characters, not just that they weren't protagonists, but that when they were a side-kick or a secondary protagonist, how utterly boring they would be. This is a very old set of problems.)

Comment author: roystgnr 08 July 2013 04:21:39PM 7 points [-]

has set Draco Malfoy on the path to redemption

That's assuming that Draco's half-year of interacting with his new friend can't be countervailed by his subsequent several years of interacting with his loving-but-evil father. I would barely rate that as a possibility, much less an obvious assumption.

The question of Draco does have interesting is-HPMOR-feminist implications, though. Suppose we swapped the genders of Draco and Hermione, both of whom just had many of their often-similar arcs cut short for very-similar reasons. Now, Herman is the one who maintains his convictions in the face of an overwhelming villainous threat, and so the villain is forced to murder him via a plot using the third most perfect killing machine in nature, properly prepared using sabotage and magical upgrades because otherwise the troll would have lost. Now, Draca is the one who gets taken out of the action by half-a-plot (a plot which depends on Draca making rash egotistical mistakes), but she survives under her father's thumb because ending her influence on Harry doesn't even take killing her. Did the story just become more gender-equal, or less?

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 08 July 2013 09:10:35AM 3 points [-]

And if some young girl gets pushed slightly over the edge by this into not becoming a chemist or a biologist, or just becoming interested in rationality, we all lose.

I hope I understand your model correctly as "p(girl scientist | no HPMoR) < p(girl scientist | current HPMoR) < p(girl scientist | feminist HPMoR)".

Comment author: JoshuaZ 08 July 2013 04:37:19PM 2 points [-]

I wouldn't call it "feminist HPMoR"- as I've said before, there's a big difference between a feminist tract and simply taking into account certain concerns that might be described as feminist. But yes, I agree that's an accurate summary of the model (heck I wouldn't have gone and told a 16 year old girl to read it this weekend if that weren't my model).

Comment author: Larks 07 July 2013 09:20:34PM 12 points [-]

rescuing a prisoner from the most secure prison in the world.

demonstrating that, unlike Hermione, he can't distinguish dangerous quests with high potential pay-offs from dangerous quests that will make the world worse even if he succeeds.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 07 July 2013 09:31:05PM 1 point [-]

demonstrating that, unlike Hermione, he can't distinguish dangerous quests with high potential pay-offs from dangerous quests that will make the world worse even if he succeeds.

Which is true, but also completely missing the point. What matters to a large extent is the scale of things. Harry does big stuff. Sometimes that results in what may end up as massive screw ups, but his total scale of what he is impacting is much larger.

Comment author: wedrifid 08 July 2013 09:42:50AM *  2 points [-]

This isn't an argument, but a conclusion.

Yes, it is. One of the premises in the simple syllogism is implied and is sufficiently obvious as to make a claim that it is not an argument disingenuous. It would be plausible that someone could reject the argument and reject the premise. It is not plausible to claim that it is not an argument at all.

It also misses the primary issues at hand here.

It misses the issues that you consider primary. But to me it seems to touch on the essential issue: Feminist memes are incompatible with HPMoR and feminism would be much improved by becoming more like Harry Potter: Methods of Rationality.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 08 July 2013 04:32:16PM *  5 points [-]

It would be plausible that someone could reject the argument and reject the premise. It is not plausible to claim that it is not an argument at all.

Ok. So help me out here, what is the premise I was missing?

But to me it seems to touch on the essential issue: Feminist memes are incompatible with HPMoR and feminism would be much improved by becoming more like Harry Potter: Methods of Rationality.

If you phrase the "essential issue", that way, then I agree denotationaly but disagree connotationaly. Sure there are bad feminist memes (this shouldn't be surprising, almost every movement has bad memes), and there are definite trends in feminism which are outright awful. There's a heavy anti-science attitude in a large part of the feminist movement, and feminism in many forms almost raises identity politics to a weird combination of an art form and a religion. Lots of things could benefit from being more like HPMoR. But that doesn't mean that HPMoR couldn't also benefit from some aspects of feminism, it doesn't mean that the (by and large) healthy memes in feminism are incompatible, and it doesn't mean that HPMoR couldn't benefit by taking those ideas into account.

(Incidentally, someone in the last few hours apparently went through and downvoted almost everything I've written in the last few days, including a bunch of comments completely unrelated to the feminism/HPMoR issue. It is intriguing what provokes controversy here.)

Comment author: gjm 08 July 2013 06:50:26PM 5 points [-]

It is intriguing what provokes controversy here.

The only time I've been (or at least noticed being) mass-downvoted, it was immediately after having some slight involvement in a discussion of feminism or PUAistry or something of the kind, and making some comments on what, for want of better terminology, I'll call the pro-women side. I just went looking to see if I could find the incident in question to check my facts; I didn't (though I didn't spend ages looking) but did turn up a remark from someone else that they'd seen that happen. I think there is very good evidence for at least one LW participant who has made a habit of punishing people for feministish opinions by this sort of mass-downvoting.

Anyone got evidence of other topics that provoke mass-downvoting?

It seems to me that this isn't "controversy" but outright abuse, and the kind of abuse that merits severe sanctions, because (1) it poisons the environment for everyone and (2) it seems like an attempt at coercive manipulation and coercive manipulation is generally harmful. I would guess that the LW moderators can, with at most moderate effort, find the answers to questions of the form "so, who just downvoted 20 of JoshuaZ's recent comments?"...

Comment author: wedrifid 09 July 2013 05:11:23AM 2 points [-]

I would guess that the LW moderators can, with at most moderate effort, find the answers to questions of the form "so, who just downvoted 20 of JoshuaZ's recent comments?"

As far as I know that feature isn't implemented. It would certainly be something that could be implemented if it turned out to be sufficiently desired. This would catch lazy mass-downvoters and force dedicated mass-downvoters to use a little more effort and patience.

Comment author: shminux 08 July 2013 07:04:38PM 3 points [-]

Anyone got evidence of other topics that provoke mass-downvoting?

Flash downvoting happens occasionally, and people post about it once in a while. I tend to get it when talking about MWI and instrumentalism, for example. I recall others mention it in connection with other topics. I agree that it is an underhanded tactics and a nuisance, but probably no more than that, and is hardly worth the admins' time or the potential effort of the code change required to log every vote or to limit the number of targeted downvotes per user per day or something, or to do anything semi-automated. There already is a trivial inconvenience of not being able to access the vote button from the user view, and I don't believe that a determined attacker will find it difficult to bypass more serious measures.

Comment author: gjm 08 July 2013 08:07:53PM 2 points [-]

The reason why it might be a good idea for the admins to stomp on such behaviour isn't just that the behaviour is harmful in itself, it's to establish a culture of not doing that sort of thing.

The votes must all be logged already (or something functionally equivalent) because the system already knows to stop you upvoting or downvoting the same thing twice. Providing a UI to make it easy for admins to look for mass-downvoting would be the trickier thing, and indeed it might not be worth the effort. Though, on the whole, I think it probably would be, in order to establish LW as the sort of place where that kind of thing just doesn't happen.

Comment author: Velorien 08 July 2013 07:38:16PM 2 points [-]

If this is not the kind of abuse of the system that a moderator should invest time in dealing with, where do you think the line should be drawn for their intervention?

Comment author: shminux 08 July 2013 07:46:21PM 2 points [-]

A utilitarian approach would be to weigh the benefits of dealing with rare occurrences like this against those of other useful tasks, like getting bugs fixed, features added and what not. Not being one of the admins, I have no idea what the pressures are.

Comment author: Dentin 06 July 2013 03:01:39PM 10 points [-]

I have seen many things in many years, and I'm pretty sure I 'grok the substance' of the feminist complaints. The problem is twofold:

1) Feminists pattern match for feminist issues, so they sometimes find issues even where issues don't actually exist, and

2) feminists have integrated feminism into their identity.

The end result is that even minor perceived issues can directly affect their identity, resulting in offense. It is not a good combination, making discourse difficult and littering the discussion landscape with hot-button triggers. It's a common political pattern - similar logic holds for many different 'righteous belief' systems.

Regarding your comment, "We can enjoy problematic things even while acknowledging they're problematic.", I personally feel that's more than a little unfair. In this case at least, the audience that finds it problematic is at best a vocal minority.

Perhaps "We can enjoy things that some people find problematic, while acknowledging that those people find those things problematic." While a less potent soundbite, I find it more appropriate.

Or perhaps even, "Some people will always find certain things problematic. That doesn't mean that it's anybody else's problem."

Comment author: monsterzero 06 July 2013 03:39:34PM 15 points [-]

they sometimes find issues even where issues don't actually exist

Issues are subjective. Something that's not an issue for you can still be an issue for someone else.

For example, you have a problem with thakil's phrasing and have offered a "corrected" version. However, you've destroyed the point of thakil's sentence, which is that it's possible that ((Person A finds X enjoyable) AND (Person A finds X problematic)). I know from direct experience that this is true; I have been Person A in that situation.

If you have not personally been in that situation, it doesn't follow that another person has not, nor that they are somehow being "unfair".

Comment author: tondwalkar 07 July 2013 02:27:24AM 4 points [-]

Disclaimer: I am thoroughly enjoying HPMOR. That said, I just don't think Eliezer is quite grokking the substance of feminist complaints.

I agree, but I don't think you're quite groking his responses either. His main point is that it's an exercise in futility to apply critical theory to an incomplete work, in particular one that claims to be more complicated than Death Note; for all we know HG asked AD to help him fake her own death, or maybe she's been outsmarting everyone from behind the scenes all long. (Though I admit that both of these are unlikely, they would be within the level of "where did that come from?" that EY's already done)

Comment author: Michelle_Z 06 July 2013 06:34:33PM 2 points [-]

I think it would be prudent to wait until the story is completed to make those kinds of judgements. We simply do not know the intention yet.

Comment author: cody-bryce 07 July 2013 03:08:22PM *  1 point [-]

That's ridiculous.

That only serves to shut down discussion. Not only are analysis based on only part of the work fundamentally valid, they are exceedingly popular at the moment, and they are being participated in by the author. Besides...as Akin's 9th law of spacecraft design states, "Not having all the information you need is never a satisfactory excuse for not starting the analysis."

Comment author: Velorien 07 July 2013 03:44:13PM 10 points [-]

Whether or not I agree with the conclusion, your argument here is weak.

  • Calling an opposing viewpoint ridiculous (with formatting for emphasis, no less) does not advance the discussion. It's just a way of saying "I disagree with you strongly enough to be rude about it".

  • Saying that analyses based on only part of the work are fundamentally valid doesn't automatically make it so. You have to actually justify your claim.

  • Popularity is no indicator of validity.

  • If Eliezer is indeed participating in critical discussions of unfinished works, that might make his objection to having the same done to his own hypocritical, but it still tells you nothing about whether doing so is legitimate or not.

  • You provide no evidence that Akin's laws of spacecraft design are relevant to this discussion. Having Googled them, I can't even imagine how most of them could be relevant here.

I do, however, agree that Michelle's argument can easily be used to shut down discussion, and that this is an issue that needs addressing.

Comment author: Velorien 06 July 2013 01:51:27PM 2 points [-]

I think you are missing at least one of his key arguments. A fridging is defined by its purpose, that a female character died for the sake of a male character's development. And you can't judge an event's purpose within the story until you have the full thing in front of you and can see all of that event's effects, short- and long-term.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 06 July 2013 10:41:26PM 9 points [-]

IMO, Hermione died because she was in fact the most admirable character in the book. The stakes in our fight against death are all the things that make life worth living, not nameless drones in the security detail dressed in red.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 07 July 2013 09:05:02PM *  2 points [-]

not nameless drones in the security detail dressed in red.

Ensign Ricky's friends and family will miss him as much as Kirk will miss Spock.

Comment author: smk 07 July 2013 08:10:03AM 4 points [-]

The episodic nature of this story is wearing on me a bit. I'm not talking about wanting to know what happens and having to wait for that knowledge to be doled out bit by bit. That's pretty much fine. It's the feeling that there's a grand overarching plot that's being distracted from by Plots of the Month. Even if the PotM do contribute to the overall plot--and they probably do--it feels like they do so in a rather meandering, patchwork way. Where's my beloved "use science to figure out the nature of magic, and use that to cure death for everyone" plotline? Will we finally get back to it now that Hermione's dead?

Comment author: atorm 07 July 2013 09:08:42AM 8 points [-]

I feel the complete opposite. I want to read the serial story of "Ender Wiggin goes to Hogwarts" and his repeated elaborate schemes of awesomeness. I'm disappointed that it looks like this fic could end soon.

Comment author: TuviaDulin 06 July 2013 03:24:22PM 4 points [-]

Calling it. Voldemort is a well-intentioned extremist who did everything that he's done for the sake of bringing a being like Harry into the world so that he can remake it into a paradise.

Comment author: bramflakes 06 July 2013 08:15:01PM 12 points [-]

But that requires more than 3 things to happen.

Comment author: Discredited 07 July 2013 04:20:40PM *  4 points [-]

Then he would have prepared for those >3 things failing to happen.

The path leading to disaster must be averted along every possible point of intervention.

~ Quirinus Xanatos Quirrell

Comment author: Velorien 06 July 2013 08:14:21PM 6 points [-]

Assuming Quirrell is Voldemort, this is badly at odds with what appear to be his constant attempts to encourage greater cynicism in Harry, to the point of taking away the people who serve as his anchors to the rest of humanity.

Even forgetting his attempts to shape Harry into a copy of his pessimistic self, his behaviour over the course of the story simply does not match that of a person who believes that paradise is possible.

Comment author: gjm 07 July 2013 12:17:12AM 5 points [-]

I think MoR!Voldemort is probably better-intentioned than canon!Voldemort (not that that would be hard; the latter is a cardboard-cutout evil-for-its-own-sake villain) but I don't think well-intentioned people who want to make the world a paradise act like MoR!Voldemort seems to have acted. (Unless, perhaps, that were truly the only way to bring about the good outcome, but really, how credible is that?)

Comment author: solipsist 06 July 2013 03:57:30AM *  5 points [-]

I'm having anaphor resolution problems. What does this sentence mean?

And an ancient wizard to whom that ward meant nothing gazed upon them both, the witch and the weeping young wizard.

I can't figure out what "that ward" refers to. If *that ward" meant "description", then it could refer to the adjective "ancient". But "ward" doesn't mean "description". Replace "ward" with "district", "department", "wing", "parish", "charge", "dependent, ""protection", "wall", or "guard" does not make sense to me either. If I grasp at straws, "that ward" could refer to Hogwart's Ancient Wards, but that's a stretch.

Comment author: Intrism 06 July 2013 03:58:44AM 33 points [-]

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

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 08 July 2013 02:17:02AM 5 points [-]

Ack, several people complained about this. I've edited Ch. 93 to make it clearer (update should propagate shortly). The ward is Prof. McGonagall's vision-blurrer.

Comment author: kilobug 08 July 2013 09:50:52AM 3 points [-]

Ch 94 - I notice I'm confused. In many ways. Which each confuses me even more.

  1. Why don't anyone take seriously the hypothesis that Quirrel did it ? That he could trick the wards, but only to a point, and he had to use the fact he was a teacher to do it, which somehow make the wards point at him. And assuming everyone will think it can't be that straight-forward, they'll think Quirrel was framed.

  2. It really seems like Harry didn't do anything special with Hermione's body, that he didn't do anything in the many hours since Hermione's death until the night, which sounds very unlike Harry.

  3. The ease at which "the enemy" suspiciously overpowered all the wards and precautions taken is surprising. Hogwarts is supposed to be the safest place, built by the most powerful wizards of the last centuries, protected by the most powerful spell, and with the acting Headmaster being the most powerful alive wizard. Outsmarting Dumbledore/Hogwarts is definitely possible, but overpowering them that way ? Why doesn't anyone suspects he didn't actually control the wards, but just cleverly cheated them (like the slow-killing spell on Draco cheated them without altering them, but with a more complicated scheme) ?

  4. Anti-Phoenix wards ? A phoenix can go everywhere, including to/from Azkhaban, Hogwarts, the Wizengamot, the Department of Mysteries, and yet any Death Eater can cast anti-Phoenix wards ?

  5. How is Neville safer outside Hogwarts ? Sure, Hogwarts has shown to be vulnerable, but the rest of the world is too. McGonagall and Dumbledore especially should be aware of that, since they believe it was Voldemort who broke into Azkhaban. How do they plan to protect him, Fidelius charm ? Having Neville stay in Hogwarts, but always with one teacher (and neither Quirrel nor Snape) with him at all time would sound safer for Neville to me. It makes sense for Harry's parents to not "draw attention to them", but it's not like attention wasn't already drawn on Neville. And what about the Weasley twins ? They are also known friends of Harry, and just 3rd years, so why aren't supposed in danger too ?

I have even more questions storming in my head, but I'll stop here now... point is, I notice I'm confused, the actions of Harry (and of McGonagall/Dumbledore) don't match my expectations. So either there is a lot we aren't being told about, or I had a wrong model of them, or something even more fishy is going on...

Comment author: mare-of-night 09 July 2013 12:36:07AM 2 points [-]

I hadn't caught 4, but it's a very good point.

5 - If Harry's enemy aims to isolate him, then Neville is no longer a target if he isn't Harry's companion anymore. It does seem odd that Neville is the only student whose safety people are worrying about, though.

Comment author: fractalman 08 July 2013 10:54:27AM *  2 points [-]
  1. in-cannon? some do suspect him. however, there MIGHT be something in the curse on the profession. Either way, whoever IS behind the attack has got to be laughing at their brilliance.
  2. :shrugs:
  3. dumbledore walks through other people's wards like they're water. Quirrel pretends that simply sneezing is enough for him to dispell an incomming hex at one point. hacking into the hogwarts wards might be possible if one of these were to take their time and nobody was upgrading the wards.

  4. MoR Azkaban prohibits pheonix-travel OUT, just not in. I think that anti-phoenix wards are probably one of the more difficult ones to cast, and not all wizards think that way even in MoR. but any dark wizard that thinks to have them cast can probably get them cast.

  5. If the culprit is trying to cut harry off of his support structure, then [neville leaves hogwarts] looks much the same as [neville gets killed] from the culprit's perspective.
Comment author: Aharon 08 July 2013 10:36:34AM 2 points [-]

The points you noticed confused me as well. My (very strong) gut reaction was that obviously Dumbledore is behind it all - he is the one with most control about the wards, and he is the one who gives both the readers and the participants of the meeting the information tha the wards point to the Defense professor as culprit. Also, the line about the heir triggered a mental alarm.

As I said, this was a gut reaction, and it has been quite some time since I read the rest of the story - this is just based on chapters 90 to 94, and the general impression I got from the story so far that this Dumbledore is definitely very different from canon Dumbledore.

Comment author: Tripitaka 08 July 2013 10:16:53AM 3 points [-]

Regard Phoenix-travel, in STPE it is explicitly mentioned that the wards of Azkaban allow it as one of a few fast ways in, but also that there is no fast way out. Makes sense in respect to the priors of phoenix-companions: usually good, usually heroic, but not immune to coercion.

Comment author: [deleted] 06 July 2013 05:30:20AM *  5 points [-]

Reax to Chapter 93:

1) I loved the letters to Harry from his parents. Genuinely moving, and also surprising, because generally speaking people who Harry "puts in their place" in this fic tend to stay meekly chastened. (McGonagall is a glaring example, but Dumbledore and Snape have been treated the same way.) I was very happy that Harry's parents got a chance to respond, after all, and that they acquitted themselves so well.

1a) The difference in [s]James'[/s] Michael's and Petunia's letters didn't do anything to help HPMOR's overall treatment of gender difference, although I would be happy to stipulate that the fic has rescued the character of Petunia every bit as far as she can be rescued.

2) Moving on to the author's self-described "rant" on anti-feminism: I do think it's a bit odd that he holds criticism of the work at this point to be categorically unfair, since he seems perfectly happy to accept praise.

3) EY seems to believe that Chapter 93 is going to be some kind of slam-dunk answer to critics--especially since he goes so far to demonstrate/insist that nothing was changed as a response to those critics. I actually suspect that the events of this chapter -- in which, Minerva McGonagall, having submissively accepted her character assassination at the hands of Harry Potter, now submits herself for public humiliation and complete self-abnegation -- will be largely taken as something less than a triumph of enlightened feminism.

3a) I think the fic's treatment of McGonagall has been one of its weakest elements throughout. This isn't even the first time we've been treated to a scene where Harry delivers a righteous dressing-down of McGonagall, and she's meekly accepted it. At this point it's a recurring theme. (I recall first complaining about the mischaracterisation of McGonagall in early 2011.)

4) I do wonder if there's a numerical cutoff, relating to feedback from female readers, at which EY would stop to reconsider whether -- despite his egalitarian principles and best conscious intentions -- his fic might not have become skewed by gender bias. Would it take a hundred discrete pieces of feedback? A thousand? Is there any such number that would actually give him pause? The Author's Note as it stands reads as a piece of knee-jerk defensiveness -- it doesn't seem that he's really spent any time asking himself whether the female readers might be seeing something he doesn't.

5) Again, I thought the letter from Harry's parents (well, from his dad) was really great, and I was truly moved by it.

Edit: 6) Also, the last line of the author's "rant" was very funny, and I laughed.

Comment author: Unnamed 06 July 2013 08:12:29AM 36 points [-]

I guess different readers see things very differently, because I thought that McGonagall was a total badass in this chapter.

When someone makes a major mistake, based on an accumulation of errors from years of acting on a distorted version of their values, it takes a high-level rationalist and an impressive level of control and insight to be able to acknowledge their mistake, clearly see the values that were distorted, and set a new course that repudiates their old ways and appropriately takes their values into account. To be able to do that within a few hours, publicly, when they learned of their mistake through a vicious, personal, inappropriate chewing-out, seems like it might require one of those rumored double rationalists.

Or, if you must view it as a Harry vs. McGonagall conflict, McGonagall kicks his ass. In precisely the way that he needed to have his ass kicked.

Comment author: pjeby 06 July 2013 06:13:16AM 31 points [-]

Minerva McGonagall, having submissively accepted her character assassination at the hands of Harry Potter, now submits herself for public humiliation and complete self-abnegation

I don't see it like that at all -- I saw McGonagall:

  1. Trying bravely to take blame away from Harry because, in her words, if she didn't, he would have no one to say those horrible things to, and

  2. Bravely taking a public stand for her principles, trying to turn over a new leaf (or as she put it, "trying to do better")

At least, those are pretty clearly how she sees herself in those situations, not as submitting to Harry.

(I interpret the discussion about House points as simply meaning she 1. doesn't care about the points to anybody but the Weasley twins, and 2. is trying to be more inclusive and trusting of her students.)

Comment author: linkhyrule5 06 July 2013 06:15:43AM 18 points [-]

Fundamentally, regardless of out-of-universe complaints, McGonagall was wrong in the way she dealt with this problem, and by extension in how she dealt with Gryffindor House.

She has taken the first step towards becoming a PC in this universe, which is being rational and changing yourself to fix your mistakes.

... she may also have just learned how to lose.

No, I think we'll be seeing much more of intelligent!McGonagall starting now...

Comment author: buybuydandavis 06 July 2013 06:48:38AM *  27 points [-]

No, I think we'll be seeing much more of intelligent!McGonagall starting now...

Yeah, I don't get the complaints about "meekness" in Minerva. She showed more strength than she ever has. Some people see admission of mistakes as submission; I see it as having the strength to accept the truth, regardless of status considerations from ninnies who don't.

Comment author: Benito 06 July 2013 07:59:24AM 29 points [-]

It's funny that you see McGonagall's changing her mind as a flaw, not a strength.

Comment author: philh 06 July 2013 11:13:53PM 7 points [-]

I do think it's a bit odd that he holds criticism of the work at this point to be categorically unfair, since he seems perfectly happy to accept praise.

This isn't accurate. He says that: if, in the event that your criticism is untrue, he is still unable to defend himself; then it is unfair to make that criticism.

Comment author: David_Gerard 07 July 2013 09:02:09AM 2 points [-]

I believe he has noted elsewhere that authors have no appeals against reader perception - that this is in fact the author's problem. Though I can't find a quote.

Comment author: CAE_Jones 07 July 2013 06:22:16AM 3 points [-]

I do think it's a bit odd that he holds criticism of the work at this point to be categorically unfair, since he seems perfectly happy to accept praise.

In an early author's note that has since been removed (the one that pbasvezrq Dhveeryy vf gur ningne bs Ibyqrzbeg), EY mentioned having to be meak about accepting praise prior to revealing that there is a certain spell on the Pioneer Plaque, which seems somewhat similar to (if weaker than) what he said in the rant, about the criticism not being wholely warranted until people see where the story winds up. At the same time, he opened the rant by stating that if people overwhelmingly missed the point, it reflects on his skill as an author. (Also from the redacted author's notes are counterpoints to this, where he shows exasperation that people fail at understanding things like "No, I do not, in fact, advocate what the villain does".)

I believe it was stated that those notes were redacted because it was pointed out to him that readers like to self-handycap their analysis of the story for sake of suspense (aka why there are still loads of people convinced Quirrell != Voldemort), or restrict their understanding to that of the viewpoint character, etc. With this in mind, he's kinda had to deal with it from all sides: praise/criticism/speculation/etc are all littered with people missing something crutial, and he seems to have given up on pointing this out at some point in the middle of the fic, at least until the shitstorm that spawned around these last few chapters.

Comment author: hairyfigment 06 July 2013 08:23:08AM 2 points [-]

I don't think the chapter was supposed to be a slam-dunk answer. I thought it was supposed to be the beginning of an example (implied to be an extended process of character development) showing how reading an incomplete story can mislead you on specific points. I'm somewhat torn about this, because if everything the author writes leads you to one conclusion, he doesn't get to complain when you believe it. This holds true even if the work is already finished, because he doesn't get to make people finish reading. But I do tentatively expect later chapters to change the current anti-feminist message.

Quite possibly Eliezer did miss something. For example, female billionaire J.K. Rowling said, "Hermione is a caricature of what I was when I was 11". Eliezer used her characters and world to (correctly) argue for his philosophy and against hers. He has frequently snarked at her. He made some readers ask why he was making her caricature sillier in the S.P.H.E.W. arc, and so inferior to his own altered stand-in. I don't know if he's thought these events through. Nor do I know what it would mean to miss this, as an author.

At the same time, I think I completely disagree about the treatment of McGonagall in this chapter. Harry is the one giving a factually incorrect apology. And I do think she'll show more competence after this, subject to the constraint of being in a story where children save/end the world. (TV Tropes link removed for your protection.)

Comment author: cody-bryce 06 July 2013 03:25:52PM *  2 points [-]

EY seems to believe that Chapter 93 is going to be some kind of slam-dunk answer to critics

My thoughts exactly. When I read the chapter, I really didn't see why EY was so damn proud about it in that regard.

Comment author: pjeby 06 July 2013 07:18:12PM 14 points [-]

I really didn't see why EY was so damn proud about it in that regard.

Because Hermione's death was motivating a female character, not just a male one -- i.e., an answer to the "fridging" complaint.

(Hence the importance of pointing out it was written that way to start with, rather than as a "half-hearted sop" to patch the fridging issue. i.e., he's pointing out that he didn't kill Hermione just to get a rise out of Harry -- the death is going to affect the whole school, and Gryffindor in particular, through McGonagall.)

Comment author: David_Gerard 06 July 2013 08:21:04PM *  -1 points [-]

If you do something that looks just like a fridging in a story, to the point where people read it as a fridging, and it works as a fridging in the story so far ... if it looks, walks and quacks like a duck then it might be a platypus but it's not reasonable to tell people they're wrong to feel it's another bloody fridging. Authors don't get to do that - even if it was a preplanned fridging in the great arc of the story - and neither do those of their fans who think they can do no wrong.

Comment author: pjeby 07 July 2013 12:59:06AM 6 points [-]

I think perhaps you've misread the context of my comment. The grandparent comment asked why Eliezer felt chapter 93 was an answer to the critics, and I explained why. More precisely, I explained why he was concerned that 93 might be interpreted as an attempt to fix a perception of fridging.

In a previous LW thread, someone defined fridging as killing off a female character solely to further a male character's arc; chapter 93 demonstrates that Hermione's death was not solely to advance Harry's arc: many other people are affected, most notably McGonagall.

What I expect is pissing off Eliezer (or so I imagine, putting myself in his shoes) is far less the criticism of fridging per se, than the idea that he changed the story in order to avoid the accusation, when from his POV it was never a valid criticism in the first place under the given definition.

it's not reasonable to tell people they're wrong to feel it's another bloody fridging

Whether people "feel" it's a fridging is frankly irrelevant, since an author's control over people's feelings is rather limited. However, under the definition Eliezer's working from, as of ch. 93, people are in fact wrong that it's another bloody fringing. In addition to it not being solely to motivate a male character, it's actually the direct result of Hermione's brave stance against Quirrel -- part of her arc, not Harry's. (Something that I missed myself at first due to how long ago it was I read that chapter, plus the fact that we're not directly shown Quirrel's subsequent machinations to arrange her death.)

(Come to think of it... why didn't the phoenix also come for Hermione that night? She, too, was making a choice to save another (Harry) in the face of mortal danger to herself. I suppose Eliezer would say that this is too abstract for a phoenix's brain to process, since the danger is not immediate, and the thing to be saved too vaguely specified.)

Comment author: Nornagest 07 July 2013 01:53:47AM 2 points [-]

Whether people "feel" it's a fridging is frankly irrelevant, since an author's control over people's feelings is rather limited. However, under the definition Eliezer's working from, as of ch. 93, people are in fact wrong that it's another bloody fringing.

Eh? We're not playing Scrabble here; anyone Eliezer's pissed off with the last few chapters isn't going to suddenly feel retroactively fine about them if it turns out that the events don't count as fridging by a strict dictionary definition. Whether people feel it's a fridging, or functionally equivalent to one, isn't just relevant; it's the only thing that's relevant in this particular context.

Comment author: DSherron 07 July 2013 05:05:53AM 12 points [-]

You see an animal at a distance. It looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck. You start to get offended by the duck. Then, you get closer and realize the duck was a platypus and not a duck at all. At this point, you realize that you were wrong, in a point of fact, to be offended. You can't claim that anything that looks like a duck, but which later turns out not to be, is offensive. If it later turns out not to be a duck then it was never a duck, and if you haven't been able to tell for sure yet (but will be able to in the future) then you need to suspend judgement until you can. Particularly since there is no possible defense that the thing is not a duck except to show you that it is not a duck, which will happen in time.

Comment author: shminux 08 July 2013 05:01:45AM 2 points [-]

Spelling:

a Heir of Gryffindor

I'm pretty sure the H is silent...