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

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

Update: Discussion has moved on to a new thread.

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

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: one, two, three, four, five, six.  The fanfiction.net author page is the central author-controlled HPMOR clearinghouse with links to the RSS feed, pdf version, TV Tropes pages, fan art, and more, and AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author's Notes.

As a reminder, it's often useful to start your comment by indicating which chapter you are commenting on.

Spoiler Warning:  this thread is full of spoilers.  With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13.  More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it's fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that "Eliezer said X is true" unless you use rot13.

Comments (495)

Comment author: [deleted] 25 January 2011 12:16:57AM 33 points [-]

Ch. 68 I thought was particularly strong. I find I really enjoy parts of the story that dip into Hermione or Draco's POV, so I'm glad to see more of that.

Ch. 68 also mitigated a negative reaction I'd had to the previous chapter -- watching Harry and Neville wipe out all of Sunshine by themselves, my reaction was a reader was an exasperated "Okay, must we really be bludgeoned with evidence of Harry's manifest superiority to all the other canon characters? It's getting to be a bit much." So for the next chapter to dip into Hermione's head when she's having the exact same thoughts--it helps a lot to counter my objection, because it shows a self-awareness in the text. It seems to promise we're going somewhere with all this.

I also think it's kind of interesting to contrast MoR!Hermione with the canon character. Canon Hermione was pretty much totally okay with her part as a supporting player in Harry's quest. There's this exchange in the first book:

'Harry — you're a great wizard, you know.' 'I'm not as good as you,' said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him. 'Me! Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery and – oh Harry – be careful!'

And in the fifth book:

'Harry, you're the best in the year at Defense Against the Dark Arts,' said Hermione. 'Me?' said Harry, now grinning more broadly than ever. 'No I'm not, you've beaten me in every test--' 'Actually, I haven't,' said Hermione cooly. 'You beat me in our third year--the only year we both sat the test and had a teacher who actually knew the subject. But I'm not talking about test results, Harry. Look what you've done!'

Of course, canon Hermione handily beats canon Harry in every other aspect of their studies, which probably makes it a bit easier for her to be gracious about Harry's own magical talent -- but the areas that she cedes to his expertise are also the areas that she herself judges to be most important. Canon Hermione actively prods Harry into a leadership role, suggesting that he organize and teach the other students.

MoR!Harry, by contrast, sets out to compete with Hermione precisely in the area of books and cleverness. And instead of being affably modest about it, he's...well, he's an aggravating little shit. So it's believable to me that the same Hermione would find it much harder to yield gracefully to MoR Harry than to canon Harry.

And at the same time, she fears that MoR Harry is losing touch with the "more important things"--the Gryffindor things--and instead she's being called to step up on that front. Which is a much more daunting prospect for her, because these aren't her own natural strengths (or at least she doesn't think they are). I like that reversal for Hermione, and I hope the story continues to delve into her character arc.

Comment author: Raemon 25 January 2011 02:28:56AM 11 points [-]

Good comment. Upvoted.

I've been wary of the way Hermione was presented so far. A month ago I was involved in a feminist discussion of literature, and more than one person expressed an explicit lack of interest in stories about "white dudes being responsible for saving the world." Upon reading it I thought back to MoR. I know there are constraints on the story that Eliezer doesn't control, except for choosing to have written the story in the first place. Harry's already a white dude responsible for saving the world, and adding SuperRationalist to his resume is going to inherently blow Hermione out of the water in her own sphere of influence.

At the time of the conversation about feminist literature (or lackthereof) we were at chapter 63. Hermione had yet to do anything significant. There were enough hints that Eliezer was aware of the issues facing her, both as a character in general and as "the Girl™" in particular, but those issues had merely been mentioned, not addressed. She had attempted to regain her personhood by becoming the general, and then lost everything she gained when she kissed Harry.

I had a vague faith that Eliezer would eventually address it somehow, and hoped that she would be a stronger character in Act II. But wasn't sure how that would work out. The last two chapters certainly didn't help, without the context of 68. But 68 turned things around in a good way. I don't know how much of this Eliezer thinks of in terms of feminist issues and how much is just making sure all the characters are compelling. Either way I'm glad things are playing out this way.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 January 2011 08:53:50PM 7 points [-]

High probability this comment had something to do with the surprise creation of SPHEW.

Comment author: Raemon 28 January 2011 09:07:06PM 2 points [-]

Heh. As I noted elsewhere, whatever your exact motivations were, I thought it was pretty awesome.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 25 January 2011 02:46:26AM 6 points [-]

Oh, it's a critique all right, but it's not a feminist critique. One free karma point if you can guess what it's a critique of.

Comment author: [deleted] 25 January 2011 03:23:53AM *  17 points [-]

I have no idea if this was intended, but reading the chapter reminded me strongly of these two posts.

On the one hand, it is possible that Harry has simply gone on to a level where Hermione cannot follow. This suspicion, naturally, is devastating to her ego, but it's part of what she's grappling with now. And that moment is completely part of the archetypal Nerd Journey--for a lot of us it happens in college. All our lives we've always been the smartest kid at school, but suddenly we go to a much bigger school and we're confronted for the first time with the reality that we are maybe not the colossal geniuses our high school teachers and our parents always told us we were. We realize there is a level above our own. That moment can be very difficult.

But at the same time, as Hermione grapples with this realization, she's wondering if she can go any higher, and she's being told: No, because you don't have the aura of destiny.

Of course this is a fantasy story, a world with magic, and there is a special prophecy that names Harry and does not name Hermione. But I think she's right to object when Dumbledore and McGonagall refuse to give her the kind of help they're giving Harry, merely because it's not her name on the title of the story.

Comment author: [deleted] 25 January 2011 03:30:20AM 4 points [-]

The hero archetype?

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 25 January 2011 12:24:06PM 6 points [-]

I think it's something like that-- it's a critique of the idea that a hero accretes followers, and the followers didn't have anything else they wanted to do with their lives.

It may also be a critique of the idea of wanting to be an individual in a fairly loose context when sometimes it's necessary to get more involved to do what's important.

Comment author: Raemon 28 January 2011 05:16:09PM 3 points [-]

Ha. I have no idea what's intended to be critiqued here, but Society for the Promotion of Heroic Equality for Witches is hilarious. Perfectly works alongside Canon Hermione (It even spells out S.P.H.E.W, I assume intentionally).

And whatever your intentions, I think it does a decent job of accomplishing the actual goals of feminism while lampooning some of the more ridiculous efforts.

Props to Dumbledore.

Comment author: benelliott 25 January 2011 06:22:25PM 3 points [-]

My guess, its about the other side of the Tsuyoku Naritai coin. An obvious implication of "run your fastest, you shouldn't have to feel bad if get ahead of other people" is "if other people run their fastest and get ahead of you, don't resent them for it". The same point is also made briefly by Draco's internal narration in Ch67.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 25 January 2011 03:47:18PM 3 points [-]

A meritocratic critique of egalitarianism?

Comment author: Barry_Cotter 25 January 2011 10:55:22AM 3 points [-]

Agency; the idea that one person really can make a massive difference, whether that be all by their lonesome, or by setting things in motion or leadershio.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 25 January 2011 03:49:51PM 7 points [-]

Eliezer's stories are full of people who make a massive difference. That'd be a weird thing for Eliezer to criticize.

Comment author: Eneasz 25 January 2011 10:40:29PM 6 points [-]

I think it's more a critique that EVERYONE can be that one person. Obviously they can't.

Not necessarily just because the aren't the best either. Support staff is critical. Logistically it's impossible for everyone to be the hero because a hero without a support staff is just a dude waving a lightsaber around on his uncle's moisture farm.

Comment author: Raemon 25 January 2011 03:02:34AM *  4 points [-]

I'm assuming that "bad writing" is too broad an answer, whether or not the more precise answer happens to fall within it. The obvious answer is a tendency (both in writing and among humanity in general) to latch onto figureheads/heroes and give them disproportionate amounts of praise and expectations. But that seems too obvious.

For the record, I'm defining feminism in a fairly broad "women should generally be treated equally to men, for the same reason that people should generally be treated as equal" sort of way. Not that men and women are completely identical or any other specific policies that you might or might not agree with. I know you have some concerns about gender politics, although I don't know what they are. (If the answer was a critique against "objectification of people in general", I'd consider feminism a subsidiary of that)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which particular effects were annoying him?

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

Google shadow, of course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comment author: ShardPhoenix 25 January 2011 11:07:36AM *  17 points [-]

Hi Eliezer, one minor issue I have with this (awesome) story is the punctuation. In particular, you often use commas when other punctuation might read better. Here are a few examples from chapter 68:


Hermione wasn't feeling very nice right now, or Good either, there was a hot ball of anger...

Would read better as:

Hermione wasn't feeling very nice right now, or Good either. There was a hot ball of anger...


Hermione began speaking, despite her newfound resolution her voice still stumbled a little with nervousness, as...

Would read better as:

Hermione began speaking. Despite her newfound resolution, her voice still stumbled a little with nervousness as...


"That -" Harry's voice said urgently, she wasn't looking at him but his voice sounded like he had his head turned toward her. "That was...

Would read better as:

"That -" Harry's voice said urgently - she wasn't looking at him but his voice sounded like he had turned toward her - "that was...

I get the impression that you often do this in order to create a sense of rushing/urgency, and it mostly works, but other times it reads awkwardly. It's particularly noticeable at the beginnings of chapters.

Caveat: I'm not a grammarian so I'm not sure if my edits here are actually more correct, but they read better to me.

Comment author: TobyBartels 29 January 2011 02:00:19AM 3 points [-]

I'm no expert, but I'm confident in my own knowledge here; your edits are more correct by the prescriptive standards of English. They also read better to me too, although may I suggest some semicolons sometimes?

Comment author: Manfred 30 January 2011 01:08:14PM 5 points [-]

I agree that semicolons are awesome, and one would probably be the best choice for sentence two.

Comment author: dclayh 25 January 2011 05:54:38AM *  17 points [-]

Ch. 68:

Hermione wears makeup? On a regular basis?! Has this been mentioned before, in MoR or canon? Seems somewhat-to-very out of character to me.

ETA: Eliezer has now removed the reference.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 25 January 2011 06:07:07AM 5 points [-]

I was also surprised when I read this line. I wouldn't have thought it typical of her at all.

Comment author: [deleted] 25 January 2011 07:22:32AM 9 points [-]

Yeah, I blinked a bit at that too. In canon she can't be bothered to use hair product (even though she likes the effect on her frizzy hair) because it takes too much time to put on, so it seems probable that makeup is in the same category. I could maybe see a light lip gloss, if Hogwarts is dry and her lips tend to chap.

On the other hand, Emma Watson obviously wears makeup, so perhaps this is movieverse Hermione.

Lastly, I know this opinion makes me, like, ninety years old and Amish to boot, but twelve is too young for make-up.

Comment author: free_rip 25 January 2011 08:21:38AM 6 points [-]

I'm 16, female, atheist and don't wear make-up. There's nothing old-fashioned about it - it's just practical for the school years.

Comment author: [deleted] 25 January 2011 03:25:04PM 7 points [-]

It's the notion that twelve is too young that I suspect is out-of-date, not the notion that makeup is generally impractical -- lots of women of all ages don't wear any. I don't in my everyday routine, although I do if I'm dressing up.

Comment author: Raemon 25 January 2011 03:50:28AM *  15 points [-]

Something I've mentioned before, but usually as part of a reply to something else: I strongly believe that the work would benefit from being officially divided into different books. Chapter 63 was incredibly cathartic to read, partly because it was a very intense chapter that resolved a lot of stuff, but partly because at the time, we knew a hiatus was coming and that it was the End™ of a particular section. That, in combination with the fact it touched upon every single plot thread, made it feel more potent. And the PDF version, at that time, was a little over 1000 pages, which is about right for a Harry Potter book.

It's also a daunting to get new people to read something when there's a bajillion chapters. I don't know if you're planning for two parts or three, but presumably there will be at least 120 chapters when this is done, if not 180+. I had better luck getting new people to read it when I specifically said "book 1 just finished, I can give you the PDF of that," and I think that's in part because "one book" is a friendlier way of measuring length than some large number of pages.

Fanfiction.net might have specific rules, or you might want to just keep things consistent there. But I'd like it if when the next section is finished, you do a PDF that gets treated as its own separate book.

(I also feel like Part I could benefit from being divided into subsections. For instance, the first 20ish chapters end with Harry sending the letter to his parents, which felt like a good stopping point, as did the Christmas break which gives us a pause before the events leading to Azkaban kick into overdrive. I'm less concerned about that, but I do feel like having discrete chunks to show to people makes it less daunting to begin reading).

Comment author: humpolec 28 January 2011 06:04:08PM 2 points [-]

To go with the TV series analogy proposed by Eliezer, maybe it could be an end of Season 1?

Comment author: Raemon 28 January 2011 06:24:51PM 5 points [-]

Yeah, that's exactly how I'd think about it.

I actually think that usually, books should be turned into TV shows, not movies. A thousand pages of book translates into approximately a thousand minutes, so making a movie requires you to gut the book down to the equivalent of 200-300 pages, whereas making a tv series would allow you to actually flesh things out further, giving the director time to actually do something interesting with the material. I firmly believe Harry Potter should have been a TV show, not a movie. At least from an artistic, if not economic standpoint.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Zbvfgher tyvfgrarq va gur byq jvmneq'f rlrf.

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

Comment author: Alicorn 19 February 2011 09:45:02PM *  10 points [-]
Comment author: TobyBartels 29 January 2011 01:03:44AM *  10 points [-]

Ch 69

"Excuse (gasp) me," she said, "can you (gasp) Unjellyfy my legs?"

I can't believe I couldn't figure out the countercurse was just "Unjellify!" (ETA: Act I, Part 4, 9:07, if anybody cares). (Edit June 17: link changed to be more precise; it used to be this.)

Comment author: NihilCredo 28 January 2011 05:49:22PM 10 points [-]

Ch. 69:

Currently she was being referred to as the Sparkly Unicorn Princess of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Sparklypoo.


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

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

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

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

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


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

Comment author: Acrinoe 26 January 2011 03:30:56AM 9 points [-]


Hermione is very much correct. If she wants to play the hero, she needs to level up.

Hermione Skills- photographic memory, high intelligence, fast learner, high level of spell casting ability. No Patronus capability (although her minions might) Minions - several capable Sunshine luitenents, Ms. McGonigal (not very forthcoming with aid) Magic items - magic bag of holding

Harry Skills - high intelligence. Natural Occlumens. Patronus 2.0 capability. Partial Transfiguration capability. Rational thinking and scientific methods. Highly intuitive with lateral thinking. Knowledge of various Muggle technologies. Parseltongue language Minions/Allies - Chaos Lieutenant Longbottom, Lesath Lestrange, Bella Lestrange, Prof. Quirrell, Prof. Dumbeldor (not very forthcoming with aid), Prof. McGonagal (somewhat forthcoming with aid), Fawkes (?), Santa (?) Magic / Items - Deathly Hallow Cloak, Time Turner, Wealth (limited access), Chest of holding, Bag of holding, various Muggle tech artifacts (batteries, arc welder, ...)

Draco Skills – high intelligence. Patronus. Learning rational thinking and scientific methods. Trained manipulator.
Minions / Allies – Lucius Malfoy, Prof. Snape, Prof. Quirrell, Dragon Lieutenant Crab and Goyle (martial artist and skilled flyer), Slytherin network, Magic / Items – Wealth

Hermione should focus on improving her skill set. Researching into higher level spells and using her current spells in novel ways. Maybe she should read Harry's note to try and gain Patronus 2.0 capability.

She should acquire more allies and minions. Acquire a familiar (the bigger and badder the better...like a Fawkes or Naga equivalent). Get more effort out of her Luitenants and use thier resources. Maybe go the canon route and develop the House Elfs as allies. She should lobby for advanced classes and befriend higher year students as well.

She should actively seek to aquire or enchant some magic items to enhance her combat capabilities. Lieutenant Wesley should really be brought to task with acquiring some Zonko product from his brothers for the war effort.

Comment author: dclayh 26 January 2011 10:06:37PM *  7 points [-]

For Draco, you forgot Knowledge: wizard society and Status: Noble and Most Ancient House.

ETA: And Status: Boy-Who-Lived for Harry, of course.

Comment author: DanArmak 26 January 2011 11:52:00PM 6 points [-]

Hermoine right now doesn't have a goal. In a story, the strength of a protagonist is proportional to the importance of their goal or the power of their enemies.

Tsuikou Naritai won't work if all she wants is not to be weaker than Harry.

Comment author: wedrifid 26 January 2011 03:55:28AM *  8 points [-]

I like this strategizing. I'd actually like to see a Hermione and the Methods of Rationality spinoff. Like the HP one only with less of Harry confusing clever and arrogant with rational (unless Harry has changed his personality in the last 20 or so chapters since I tired of him).

Of course, with all Hermione's leveling up she still will not have a:

Chaos Lieutenant Longbottom,

Neville is badass.

Comment author: [deleted] 26 January 2011 04:26:58AM 6 points [-]

Neville is badass.

Very true. But hey, you know who Hermione does have, in her Allies column?

Harry Potter.

She should get Harry's help with her heroine project. He certainly wouldn't try to hold her back like Dumbledore and McGonagall. The only difficulty would be explaining her problem to him in a way that he could understand -- but once he did understand it, he'd want to help and he'd probably be good at it, too.

Comment author: endoself 26 January 2011 08:00:57AM *  2 points [-]

Harry doesn't exactly strike me as psychologically prepared for this particular revelation.

Comment author: derefr 27 January 2011 10:45:48PM *  7 points [-]

He's quite prepared in a Hero's Journey sense, though. In Harry's own mind, he has lost his mentor. Thus, he is now free to be a mentor. And what better way to grow, as a Hero and über-rationalist, than to teach others to do what you do?

Of course, Harry would say that he's already doing that with Draco—but in the same way that he usually holds back his near-mode instrumental-rationalist dark side, he's holding back the kind of insights that Draco would need to think the way Harry thinks; Harry is training Draco to be a scientist, but not an instrumental rationalist, and therefore, in the context of the story, not a Hero. (To put it another way: Draco will never one-box. He's a virtue-ethicist who is more concerned with "rationality" as just another virtue than with winning per se.)

Mentoring Hermione would be an entirely different matter: he would basically have to instill a dark side into her. Quirrel taught Harry how to lose—Harry would have to teach Hermione how to win.

If Eliezer has planned MoR as a five-act heroic fantasy, it will probably go like this; usually, in a five-act form, acts 4 and 5 mirror the character developments of the Hero in 2 and 3 in another character, for the purposes of re-examining the (developed, and now mostly stagnant) Hero's growth and revealing by juxtaposition what using that particular character as Hero brought to the journey.

It seems more likely to be a three-act form at this point, though, with Azkaban as the central, act 2 ordeal. That's not to say the story is more than half-over already, though; Harry has just found his motivation for acting instead of reacting (to change the magical world such that Azkaban is no longer a part of it.)

Comment author: gjm 28 January 2011 11:09:20PM 5 points [-]

That must be the first time anyone has ever called Draco Malfoy a virtue ethicist. Probably the last, too.

Comment author: TobyBartels 29 January 2011 02:14:30AM *  5 points [-]

Just because his values don't match yours doesn't mean that he's not ethical.

Whether for good or evil, evarybody in canon is a virtue ethicist. (Presumably because Rowling knows no other ethics.)

Comment author: gjm 29 January 2011 09:38:06AM 4 points [-]

For the avoidance of doubt, I wasn't disagreeing that one could categorize Draco that way. I just thought the incongruity of it was striking.

(To me, canon!Voldemort doesn't seem like much of a virtue ethicist even in the relevantly expanded sense. More of a consequentialist.)

Comment author: wedrifid 31 January 2011 07:30:26AM *  3 points [-]

To me, canon!Voldemort doesn't seem like much of a virtue ethicist even in the relevantly expanded sense. More of a consequentialist.

I had the same impression. I think it was Eliezer's-characaturization-of-canon!Voldemort that was the virtue ethicist. Voldemort harnessed, encouraged and exploited a form of virtue ethics in others to reinforce his own power. Tom Riddle was perhaps more of a virtue ethicist. As they say, power corrupts - it even corrupts away virtue systems that were fairly abominable to begin with.

I did upvote the grandparent despite this possible exception.

Comment author: Desrtopa 31 January 2011 02:48:37AM 3 points [-]

(To me, canon!Voldemort doesn't seem like much of a virtue ethicist even in the relevantly expanded sense. More of a consequentialist.)

How so?

Comment author: Desrtopa 29 January 2011 02:16:53AM 3 points [-]

Mentoring Hermione would be an entirely different matter: he would basically have to instill a dark side into her. Quirrel taught Harry how to lose—Harry would have to teach Hermione how to win.

Hermione knows how to win. She won the first mock battle quite resoundingly. She doesn't necessarily know how to hurt people for the greater good though.

Comment author: CronoDAS 26 January 2011 08:06:34AM *  2 points [-]

Lieutenant Wesley

Freudian slip? ;)

Comment author: HonoreDB 14 January 2011 05:10:09PM 9 points [-]

Animate armor.

As Dumbledore demonstrates in Order of the Phoenix, any spell, even Avada Kadavra, can be blocked by a temporarily animate statue (the spell "kills" the statue instead). Which actually annoyed me when I read it, since that implies wizards could imbue each layer of their clothing with intelligence before a battle, and gain a bunch of extra lives.

(Having your breastplate shout taunts at your enemy also frees you up to focus on fighting.)

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 14 January 2011 05:38:08PM *  17 points [-]

It wasn't the animatedness of the statue that made it block Avada Kedavra, it was that it was a huge block of solid stuff. Voldemort in the same sequence crafted a physical shield for himself, though he didn't need to block any Avada Kedavras (as Dumbledore didn't cast any).

Comment author: benelliott 14 January 2011 05:14:42PM 14 points [-]

Of course, imbuing your clothing with intelligence so it will absorb killing curses has some truly horrifying moral implications.

Comment author: sketerpot 15 January 2011 05:30:04PM 7 points [-]

Does Avada Kedavra require that its victim be intelligent, or just alive? If it's the latter, then a wizard could presumably turn a leather jacket into a flesh golem or something. It's gruesome enough that there would probably be an old book giving detailed instructions, with horrible illustrations.

Comment author: FAWS 16 January 2011 09:02:40PM *  5 points [-]

I believe Bartemius Crouch Jr. demonstrates the curse by casting it on a spider so intelligence is not required in the books, but this seems like something that might be changed in the fanfic.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 16 January 2011 11:20:00PM 7 points [-]

Quirrell distinguished himself early on in the fic as saying that the Killing Curse was a spell that solved many problems. He also said (ch 16):

The Killing Curse is unblockable, unstoppable, and works every single time on anything with a brain.

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

through chp 70

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

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

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

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

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

Comment author: TobyBartels 29 January 2011 12:29:44AM *  8 points [-]

Ch 68

feeling a lot like a sad little bug that had just been squished

Trust me, Hermione, you're still much better off than her.

Comment author: Raemon 14 January 2011 06:12:58PM *  8 points [-]

Anyways, one post someone made someone made there was kinda interesting: with the Transfiguration rules being as strict as they are, deliberately breaking those rules seems like a pretty broken combat technique if you were to use them to create biological weapon-ish things. Do wizards simply anticipate that and set up appropriate charms for defense, or what? Given how strict the rules are, it's clear that Harry would NOT be the first person to think of that sort of thing.

This chapter was fun. I'd have liked somewhat better foreshadowing in regards to "what exactly is capable of blocking a magic spell?" though.

Comment author: DanielLC 15 January 2011 05:44:27AM 11 points [-]

I've wondered if it would be a good idea to transfigure some antimatter (Or about 50 kg of uranium if you can transfigure that much) if you ever end up near Voldemort and a bunch of death eaters.

Come to think of it, use Imperious to make other people become your suicide bombers.

That reminds me of wondering why nobody ever made an Imperius virus where they just have each person cast it again.

Comment author: drethelin 14 March 2011 09:04:14AM 2 points [-]

As far as antimatter goes, considering how hard it was to partially transfigure, I Imagine it would be impossible to craft something foreign to most people's understanding without a lot of practice, and anyone who tried to practice would explode the first time they succeeded.

I can't recall If there's a canon limitation on Imperius curses, but I imagine they are strictly limited in MORverse simply because if they weren't the entire wizarding world would constantly be suffering from constant control of everyone by everyone.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 15 January 2011 12:53:01AM 3 points [-]

with the Transfiguration rules being as strict as they are, deliberately breaking those rules seems like a pretty broken combat technique if you were to use them to create biological weapon-ish things. Do wizards simply anticipate that and set up appropriate charms for defense, or what?

I think the main problem is that you'd probably take yourself out too.

Comment author: Manfred 30 January 2011 01:17:59PM 6 points [-]

Bubble-head charm.

Comment author: major 16 January 2011 11:12:44PM 21 points [-]

If you want to figure out the James' Rock thing yourself, you should probably stop reading now.

I read this in ch58

Luckily - well, not luckily, luck had nothing to do with it - conscientiously, Harry had practiced Transfiguration for an extra hour every day, to the point where he was ahead of even Hermione in that one class; he'd practiced partial Transfiguration to the point where his thoughts had begun taking the true universe for granted, so that it required only slightly more effort to keep its timeless quantum nature in mind, even as he kept a firm mental separation between the concept of Form and the concept of substance.

And the problem with that art having become so routine...

...was that Harry could think about other things while he was doing it.

and (putting my contrarian nature to good use) thought, the other reason he was good at it was, he concentrated on maintaining his transfigured ring stone all the time. Then I realized that's all thanks to Dumbledore and I started to wonder if it was intentional. In search of clues I reread ch17, specifically the part where Harry got the rock, and then went on to read the Lily's potion book part because it seemed related. That's when I realized I fell for some deliberate obfuscation, as I came away with the impression that Lily was asking questions and mysteriously receiving answers in her potion book. Realizing it was not the case, most of the rest was seen in a flash.

Just as Dumbledore challenged Lily with strange potion-related questions in order to get her to do extra research, possibly directing her to books and topics where she learned something extra about stuff, thus becoming exceptional at potions (which is canon fact), so too did he present Harry with a challenge, expecting him to find the obvious solution of maintained transfiguration in order to follow the advice of a wise old wizard.

Why would he do that? In Ch28 McGonagall seems to think this feat of Dumbledore impressive:

He had used Transfiguration in combat and he was still alive.

Now, how would you do this? Why, by having the ability to concentrate on transfiguration while paying attention to something else (such as the back and forth of a duel). Sounds familiar? To do this, being able to concentrate on transfiguration without conscious attention is indispensable. Dumbledore simply started building up his pet hero early, since, you understand,

Transfiguration must be learned and practiced at a young age in order to maximize your adult ability.

(McGonagall, Ch15)

I mention all this now because Ch67 gave me the impression it will come to light soon. Could be wrong about that.

Comment author: rdb 17 January 2011 11:27:55AM 4 points [-]

If there is a training effect in increasing magical strength, and or improving concentration, keeping the rock transfigured works that way too, without being Transfiguration specific. Quirrel's armies help too - would normal classroom activity exhaust magic that much?

Harry could try a controlled experiment over the Easter holiday if he thinks about it. With McGonagall's permission, ask his classmates to keep a loop of cord transfigured into an unobtrusive platinum toe ring (or more than one) over the holiday when they're not otherwise allowed to use magic. Then compare deltas in transfiguration scores on the next test between those who did & didn't attempt it.

Is Harry getting letters back from his parents? He doesn't yet seem to be thinking about measuring magical strength, but a tool to compare would permit some kind of scale - if it could use embodied magic in magic items as markers. That could argue for faster access to later year charms. Similarly of pre-electronic tech that may be useful, that his parents may remember. (Slide rules, Curta calcs, Microfiche & hand held readers, ...)

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

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

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

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

The 10 most reviewed chapters are:

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

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

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

Top 10 for total review wordage produced per chapter:

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

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

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

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

Consider this (and this) as fancode.

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

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

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

[edit: the data is updated daily]

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

Reactions to Chapter 70:

Why, just a few centuries earlier -

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

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

A good line made great by the follow-up.

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

She finally gets it!

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

Well, naturally!


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

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

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

Overt slavery. Prof. Sinestra also has dark skin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agree. I prefer the original form.

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

Me as well.

Comment author: Xachariah 03 February 2011 01:20:36AM *  6 points [-]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, that clears up my confusion.

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

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

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

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

He doesn't know about Azkaban in the morning.

Comment author: TobyBartels 29 January 2011 01:24:50AM 6 points [-]

Ch 69

she'd never been able to detect the magic involved

That's because, thanks to Dumbledore's knowledge of Muggles, there is no magic involved.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 29 January 2011 03:13:33AM 4 points [-]

There's no magic involved in making a tin appear out of nowhere?

So, sleight of hand?

Comment author: TobyBartels 29 January 2011 03:14:05AM *  2 points [-]

That's my guess.

ETA: McGonagall could probably detect this easily, once she actually knows what to look for.

Comment author: [deleted] 28 January 2011 06:54:55PM *  6 points [-]

Chapter 69 was adorable. Thank you for that, EY, it was wonderful from beginning to end. Your Hermione is recognizably the same Hermione that I loved in canon, just reacting to a somewhat different set of circumstances: I think SPHEW is an excellent twist. And I'm starting to feel extremely fond of Daphne as well.

Very small question: I was confused by the line the Hufflepuff boy was sitting up, and groaning and rubbing his skull where he'd been dropped head-first into the floor; it was a good thing he hadn't been a Muggle, Hermione realized, or he might have snapped his neck.

What is it about wizards that makes their necks less likely to snap? Can somebody explain that reference for me?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 28 January 2011 07:26:02PM 7 points [-]

There are some implications in canon that wizards are more durable than Muggles, although canon isn't completely consistent on this matter. It may be simply due to the unconscious or reflexive use of magic. The two data points that are most relevant in canon off the top of my head are Hagrid's remark in book one that there's no way Lilly and James would have died in a car crash, and the fact that the upper limit on the lifespan of wizards is apparently much higher than that of Muggles (Dumbeldore is well over a hundred.)

Comment author: Desrtopa 29 January 2011 03:03:59AM 14 points [-]

Of course, it's possible that James and Lilly would never have died in a car crash because they have no need to drive.

Comment author: Raemon 28 January 2011 07:30:43PM 2 points [-]

I thought it was more of a joke about the movies, where people get thrown around in typical hollywood fashion in ways that should kill a human but barely seem to phase the wizards. (Mostly during Quidditch)

Comment author: Sheaman3773 28 January 2011 09:30:15PM 6 points [-]

In chapter 36, when Harry's family goes over to the Granger's for Christmas,

She got to the front door just as her daughter came clattering frantically down the stairs at a speed that didn't look safe at all, Hermione had claimed that witches were more resistant to falls but Roberta wasn't quite sure she believed that -

I'm fairly certain there are other instances as well, but I can't seem to find any more.

My vote is on reflexive use of magic, rather than a physiological difference.

Comment author: Nornagest 28 January 2011 07:30:39PM 5 points [-]

It's not made particularly clear whether this is due to physical differences or unconscious use of magic, but there are a number of suggestions in canon that wizards tend to be physically tougher than Muggles. IIRC, Rowling's version of Neville was only discovered to be a wizard when he was dropped from a height and bounced.

Comment author: [deleted] 28 January 2011 10:06:01PM 2 points [-]

IIRC, Rowling's version of Neville was only discovered to be a wizard when he was dropped from a height and bounced.

Ah, see, it never occurred to me to read that as anything other than subconscious use of magic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One theory I've had for a while:

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

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

Comment author: ShardPhoenix 29 January 2011 01:14:26PM *  5 points [-]

"...it's not like I'm an imperfect copy of someone else"

Irony alert! Or at least one more piece of evidence in favour of the Harry = Voldemort Copy theory.

Comment author: Acrinoe 27 January 2011 12:15:05AM 5 points [-]

Two Questions/Guesses

1) Prof. Quirrell pointed out that Harry was especially vulnerable to the "Finite Incantatem" spell (to removed his transfigured armor). How does the canon mechanics of this spell work from a tactical standpoint? Is it area of effect or targeted on a per spell basis? Can a weak 1st year dispel a casting done by Headmaster Dumbledor or does caster strength play a role in its effectivity? Depending on the answers, Harry's vulnerability could be mitigated by pure strength or recursive spell depth or minor covering spells to absorb the dispelling castings. 'Just saying. :)

2) In terms of world building, I wonder if Harry is considering that he's got good evidence of living in a "matrix style" simulation with the reality glitches that is the existence of magic. It seems to me like just so many reality "cheat codes", hence Harry's inability to derive underlying principles in the operation and physics of magic. Indeed, the whole hero/quest/prophecy shtick would also count heavily towards a simulation argument.

Comment author: taryneast 30 January 2011 10:29:53AM 6 points [-]

I wonder if Harry is considering that he's got good evidence of living in a "matrix style" simulation

He already tried on "computer simulation" - but discarded it when he found out how the time-turner worked.

I'm personally wondering when Harry figures out that he's actually a fictional character :)

Comment author: [deleted] 07 February 2011 07:45:39AM *  4 points [-]

I'm personally wondering when Harry figures out that he's actually a fictional character :)

While it might be a bit too mind-screwy for MoR, I can't help but to think that it would be amazing if, say, Harry confronted Eliezer on allowing Azkaban to exist within his universe just so that the latter could have an interesting and important location to use in his story. Something like Non-Player Character. Omake opportunity, perhaps?

Comment author: Broggly 30 April 2011 10:07:48AM 4 points [-]

The obvious response is to include in the trigger warning a statement for any sufficiently advanced intelligence or humans with philosophical reservations about imagining other conscious beings that the story includes suffering, descriptions of suffering, and people reflecting on the suffering of others in detail.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 27 January 2011 02:06:15AM *  3 points [-]

1) Prof. Quirrell pointed out that Harry was especially vulnerable to the "Finite Incantatem" spell (to removed his transfigured armor). How does the canon mechanics of this spell work from a tactical standpoint? Is it area of effect or targeted on a per spell basis? Can a weak 1st year dispel a casting done by Headmaster Dumbledor or does caster strength play a role in its effectivity? Depending on the answers, Harry's vulnerability could be mitigated by pure strength or recursive spell depth or minor covering spells to absorb the dispelling castings. 'Just saying. :)

As I understand it, Finite Incantatem is an Area Effect spell, while Finite is targeted.

Additionally, strength definitely factors in--again, as I understand it.

edit: Strength has to factor in somehow. Even ignoring the ridiculous unbalancing effect that would have, they're in Hogwarts. If it would cancel every spell in the area, regardless of strength, Hogwarts itself would be affected with every cast.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 30 January 2011 07:00:43PM 5 points [-]

Haven't really thought about it until now, but I'll assume that Finite is a brute-force method requiring strength proportional to the original spell to cancel (so a Transfiguration that takes minutes would require a mass casting to cancel, perhaps) and sometimes won't work at all, while specialized counter-jinx just works if the caster has sufficient strength to cast it.

Comment author: Psy-Kosh 30 January 2011 09:18:13PM 4 points [-]

Depends... if the original spell took time/effort due to it being, well, for lack of a better word "delicate", then finite should work easily on it, while a simple spell that you can just pump more and more power into should require a really strong finite to cancel.

At least, that's how I'd imagine it.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 27 January 2011 01:35:43AM 3 points [-]

I wonder if Harry is considering that he's got good evidence of living in a "matrix style" simulation with the reality glitches that is the existence of magic.

He's considered the simulation argument before, in chapter 14 when he gets the time turner. As for magic being "glitches," I'm not a programmer, but the magic seems too consistent not to be a part of the intended program.

Comment author: Nornagest 27 January 2011 02:28:43AM 9 points [-]

Glitches seem like a bad analogy, but cheat codes seem like potentially a pretty good one. Perhaps the developer console of the universe speaks bad Latin.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 27 January 2011 02:33:21AM 4 points [-]

Could be. Especially since the truth of the matter is that Harry is in a simulation, a story in our world. Whether he finds out is another matter. I doubt it from a literary perspective.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 27 January 2011 02:39:38AM 10 points [-]

And, indeed, a story in which past events are occasionally edited.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 27 January 2011 01:08:24PM *  2 points [-]

Heh. Yes. Harry has thought about sending a signal to himself and can see through the illusions of dementors. What would happen if he found out about the edits?

I doubt it's going to happen, but it would be awesome.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 27 January 2011 04:06:58PM 8 points [-]

The kind of simulation that Harry is in (that is, a piece of fiction) is admittedly not one where the initial conditions are established and it is calculated forward from there, such that X2 rather than X1 happening at time T1 necessitates Y2 rather than Y1 happening at time T2.

So, agreed, editing the chapter that describes T1 from X1->X2 doesn't necessarily cause evidence (e.g., Harry's memories) of X1 at T2 to change, so in principle he could notice the difference.

Which would in and of itself be a useful piece of information about the nature of the universe, I guess. He'd know that his perceived present is not in fact contingent on his past, but is instead separately created by some sort of external creator, who for whatever reason creates the illusion of such contingency.

As a literary choice, I disagree about its awesomeness... this kind of narrative self-reference is good for a kick-in-the-head, but it's difficult to maintain any kind of worthwhile narrative thereafter.

Then again, EY has already devoted many many words to the idea that a set of values can be both arbitrary and worthwhile, so perhaps he'd relish the challenge of writing a compelling Harry aware of his own fictional nature and constructing a meta-ethics that can survive that awareness.

Perhaps he'd also become aware of himself as a derivative work from a canon character who is less intelligent, rational, less powerful, and less American.

Anyway, like you, I doubt it's going to happen. That said, if anyone in that world has that awareness right now, it's Dumbledore, who is at the very least aware of the power that narrative tropes have in his universe.

I'm reminded of Sophie's World. The notion of writing SW fanfic in which Sophie, at the end of that book, finds herself in some SW fanfic is itself kind of amusing.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 27 January 2011 11:07:15PM 2 points [-]

As a literary choice, I disagree about its awesomeness... this kind of narrative self-reference is good for a kick-in-the-head, but it's difficult to maintain any kind of worthwhile narrative thereafter.

That's true, and part of why I doubt it will happen. I meant that the idea is awesome and the reactions of the characters would be fun to read, not that it would actually make the book better.

Comment author: gjm 14 January 2011 07:53:23PM 5 points [-]

Way way way way back in chapter 3, after McGonagall has told Harry about Voldemort's attack on him and his parents, it says:

(And somewhere in the back of his mind was a small, small note of confusion, a sense of something wrong about that story; and it should have been a part of Harry's art to notice that tiny note, but he was distracted. For it is a sad rule that whenever you are most in need of your art as a rationalist, that is when you are most likely to forget it.)

Is the "something wrong" simply that if the story is correct then there were no surviving witnesses to report it (it's far from clear to me whether this should be a fatal objection, given the existence of magic; still less clear, presumably, to Harry), or is there meant to be something else obviously-if-you're-thinking-clearly wrong about it?

Comment author: Sheaman3773 14 January 2011 09:38:44PM 6 points [-]

There are loads of fan-theories as to how they would know specifically; my favorite is, based on how confidently Dumbledore explains exactly what happened that night, that he used Legilimency on the newly orphaned Harry. Another fairly prevalent one is that the scar Harry has is unique for being the result of a Killing Curse, yes, but curse scars in general are not unique at all. They also could have used any number of detection spells--honestly, there are a multitude of options.

What I thought was wrong was that McGonagall explicitly said that the Killing Curse struck directly at the soul, severing it from the body. This is why victims of Avada Kedavra don't have a mark on them. But Voldemort's body was a "burnt hulk." Odd, that...

Comment author: gjm 14 January 2011 10:09:28PM *  4 points [-]

At this point in the story Harry has never even heard of Avada Kedavra, never mind what someone who's been AKed would look like.

[EDITED to add: The relevant question isn't whether there are in the Potterverse or the Methodsverse ways in which wizards might be able to know what happened that night despite there being no survivors other than the infant Harry, but what rational!Harry could reasonably have thought possible and plausible.]

Comment author: Sheaman3773 14 January 2011 11:02:54PM *  3 points [-]

"The Dark Lord came to Godric's Hollow," said McGonagall in a whisper. "You should have been hidden, but you were betrayed. The Dark Lord killed James, and he killed Lily, and he came in the end to you, to your crib. He cast the Killing Curse at you. And that was where it ended. The Killing Curse is formed of pure hate, and strikes directly at the soul, severing it from the body. It cannot be blocked. The only defense is not to be there. But you survived. You are the only person ever to survive. The Killing Curse reflected and rebounded and struck the Dark Lord, leaving only the burnt hulk of his body and a scar on your forehead. That was the end of the terror, and we were free. That, Harry Potter, is why people want to see the scar on your forehead, and why they want to shake your hand."

Saying that a spell severs the soul from the body comes along with the strong implication of not killing someone via bodily harm.

He hasn't heard the incantation yet, that's true. But he just heard plenty about the Killing Curse.

edit: I'm fairly confident that the concept of magic forensics is not beyond him at the moment.

Besides, looking at it narratively, there has been way too long of a wait to find out what that meant for the payoff to be minor.

Comment author: [deleted] 15 January 2011 12:26:16AM 5 points [-]

Could the "something wrong" have to do with the concept of the soul?

Comment author: cwillu 15 January 2011 06:12:27AM 4 points [-]

That's my bet: Harry doesn't believe in souls, but he swallows the explanation without a second thought.

Comment author: cousin_it 14 January 2011 09:39:42AM *  5 points [-]

Ch. 67: why does metal stop spells while cloth doesn't? It's not as if spells pierced clothes and made holes where they hit. If it's about tiny holes in fabric, something like permeability to water, would plastic bags work as well as metal? If it's about thickness, would styrofoam do? And if it's honestly about metal, how about aluminum foil?

Comment author: benelliott 14 January 2011 09:51:26AM *  12 points [-]

Maybe its the same reason that broomsticks use Aristotelian physics. If magic was intelligently designed by people who didn't know much science you would expect it to obey the law of "it makes sense so long as you don't think too hard".

Comment author: cousin_it 14 January 2011 10:00:09AM *  5 points [-]

Another idea along these lines is that combat spells work like "counterfactual weapons" - they get through iff a blade would have worked instead. But in any case Harry should have investigated that before trying to level up Str. As per the current version, he probably did check that metal would stop spells (otherwise the whole plan would be mere stupidity); it's not such a big leap to try styrofoam while you're at it.

Comment author: DanielLC 15 January 2011 05:52:02AM 4 points [-]

He said it was only allowed because people wore it as regular clothing. Unless he could find records of wizards wearing styrofoam, that won't work.

Comment author: Vaniver 14 January 2011 11:05:17AM 10 points [-]

it's not such a big leap to try styrofoam while you're at it.

Muggle artifact prohibition?

Comment author: [deleted] 14 January 2011 09:46:39AM *  9 points [-]

This is a good question for gaining insight into the way spells work, and it seems like an easy one to investigate - one just needs to shoot several spells at another person through a bunch of shields made of different materials and of varying thicknesses, then check if any patterns emerge. If Harry's not too busy, he should look into it.

Comment author: NihilCredo 14 January 2011 04:09:16PM 5 points [-]

I suspect plastic and refined aluminium are Muggle-only technologies.

Comment author: Mass_Driver 14 January 2011 10:07:08AM 12 points [-]

In canon, the hardness and thickness of materials are described as stopping spells, especially stunning spells. Hagrid, e.g., is able to resist several Aurors' stunning spells for a few minutes because of his thick, hard, half-giant hide. No form of cloth or wool clothing is ever described as stopping a magical attack, but Harry can hide behind (presumably granite) gravestones for some time while Death Eaters blast away at them. Toilets, which presumably are not quite as thick or hard as gravestones, are shown as stopping one offensive spell but then exploding.

IMHO wearing metal armor is a brilliantly canonic tactic. The least plausible facet of it is that first years in January, average age 11.5, probably cannot build enough muscle mass to wear a full suit of medieval armor at all, let alone in two weeks. I do not think we have seen evidence that wizards are stronger than ordinary folk, as opposed to more resilient. The captains are described as wearing only metal shirts, but they practice by swinging metal objects on their hands and feet -- this is odd.

Comment author: CronoDAS 15 January 2011 12:43:43AM 12 points [-]

Actual medieval plate mail, of the kind intended to be worn in battle, weighed about as much as the safety equipment that hockey goalies wear today. There was a guy in a History Channel show that did cartwheels while wearing it. So Harry wearing plate mail probably would work, assuming he could get it to fit properly.

Chain mail, however, was indeed heavy and cumbersome, and "armor" designed for merely decorative or ceremonial purposes could indeed have been heavy enough to compromise the wearer's mobility, but Harry wouldn't have been wearing something like that.

Comment author: PeterisP 16 January 2011 12:07:20AM 7 points [-]

I've worn full-weight chain and plate reconstruction items while running around for a full day, and I'm not physically fit at all - I'd say that a random geeky 12 year old boy would be easily able to wear an armor suit, the main wizard-combat problems being getting winded very, very quickly if running (so they couldn't rush in the same way as Draco's troops did), and slightly slowed down arm movement, which might hinder combat spellcasting. It is not said how long the battles are - if they are less than an hour, then there shouldn't be any serious hindrances; if longer then the boys would probably want to sit down and rest occasionally or use some magic to lighten the load.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love this review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I like this line:

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

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

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

All the way back in chapter 1, Petunia says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This looks interesting! I'll be following it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comment author: TobyBartels 29 January 2011 12:41:13AM 4 points [-]

Ch 68

she was trying to count the number of things in the room for the third time and still not getting the same answer, even though her memory insisted that nothing had been added or removed

That's because the things got added or removed when her attention was not on them, even while they remained in her field of vision, so that she thought that she would have noticed even though she didn't.

There's a name for this, but I can't remember it. Muggle researchers do it on monitors with a camera that tracks your eye movements, I think.

Comment author: ShardPhoenix 14 January 2011 12:11:14PM *  8 points [-]

Chapter 67 was a lot of fun, but why was everyone just standing around long enough to have big speeches, watch individual duels, etc? Haven't they read their TVTropes? ;)

edit: Also, I'm not sure how it was meant, but Daphne seemed more like she was under a literal spell than a figurative one, given that her crush reached sanity-compromising levels so quickly. Or was it supposed to be a long-running thing?

Comment author: Unnamed 14 January 2011 09:56:32PM *  13 points [-]

From Harry's POV,

  1. becoming more serious has made him less serious about battles, so he's willing to slightly hurt their chances of winning in order to make the battle more awesome and fun
  2. he's especially willing to let Neville be awesome, since Neville's development is one of his projects
  3. Harry & Neville don't really have to defeat the entire Sunshine army, they just need to stall them while the rest of Chaos defeats Dragon (this is conveyed through Draco's thoughts), so pausing for a dramatic duel might actually help Chaos's chances

Sunshine was probably glad to have a chance to defeat half of the army that they were facing while only putting one soldier at risk.

Comment author: knb 14 January 2011 06:29:11PM *  4 points [-]

I assumed it was because none of them knew how to hit Harry, and Potter just wanted to watch a lightsaber duel. If any individual Sunny had tried to hit him with a Somnium, they knew it would probably fail, and Harry would probably curse them.

Also, I'm not sure how it was meant, but Daphne seemed more like she was under a literal spell than a figurative one, given that her crush reached sanity-compromising levels so quickly.

Sanity-compromising? Because she cast a complicated spell during a play-fight?

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

Chapter 72:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What exactly has been going on with Nicholas Flamel?

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

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

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

Re: chapter 70...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also, while I'm here...

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

I'm intrigued by the implications of this line.

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

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

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

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

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

Comment author: Acrinoe 29 January 2011 02:57:38AM 3 points [-]

It just occured to me that HRMOR strikes me as a bit similar in mode to Ender's Game in the way that Prof. Quirrell set Harry up right at the start to being "different and better" to isolate him and force him to excel. He caves a little with offering advice, support, and hints,; whereas Graff would have told Ender he would have to figure it out how to win or he'd find another special kid.

I'm somewhat surprised that Dumbledor didn't intervene, say with a side quest, to bind some friends and allies to Harry. Guess he likes what Quirrell brings to the table.

I really enjoy the deep game being played out in this story.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 31 January 2011 02:08:57AM 2 points [-]

The Ender's Game parallels are definitely striking, and I like them. That was a fun book, and I am enjoying seeing it played with by an author so bluntly opposed to the "whiny hero" trope.

I'm somewhat surprised that Dumbledor didn't intervene, say with a side quest, to bind some friends and allies to Harry.

That may have been part of the purpose of Dumbledore pushing Hermione into being a heroine: he wanted Harry to have an equal partner instead of being isolated at the top.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 14 January 2011 03:47:22PM 3 points [-]


and he should be thinking of hypotheses and ways to test them

It's always delightful to see a potential enemy successfully subverted.

Oh, yeah, the play-fighting was fun too, I suppose.

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

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

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

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

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

Comment author: David_Gerard 25 January 2011 09:50:44AM *  5 points [-]

A question on transfiguration, timeless physics and what HJPEV could have known:

Harry's first year at Hogwarts is 1991. He transfigurates materials outside the confines of forms by thinking in terms of timeless quantum physics.

What was the state of timeless physics in 1991? Barbour's book was not published until 1999, for example, though presumably to have a book there was work leading up to it. What knowledge on the subject could Harry have had at that time, in a world without the Web as we know it, without even arXiv?

Edit: Barbour started publishing papers on the subject in 1982. How did Harry find out about these, and understand them sufficiently to think of the universe as really timeless?

Comment author: DanielVarga 27 January 2011 01:17:18AM 5 points [-]

Slightly offtopic: Is Barbour becoming the "public face of timeless physics"? All right. But let's not believe it is because of scientific priority. The Wheeler–DeWitt equation is from 1967. Huw Price's book was published in 1996.

Comment author: Eneasz 25 January 2011 10:26:40PM 11 points [-]

Let the man have some licence for pedagogy! The story wouldn't be worth much if it only taught lessons of things learned up to 1991.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 January 2011 08:50:47PM 9 points [-]

Yup. Harry is allowed to know about cognitive psychology from arbitrary time periods, too, and have read anachronistic science books, etcetera. Science is Timeless.

Comment author: TobyBartels 29 January 2011 01:57:35AM 3 points [-]

I don't think that this is a good idea. If Harry talks about, say, ice volcanoes on Titan, that will seem wrong to me.

On the other hand, Harry doesn't seem to have said anything on physics that requires having read Barbour. Or have I missed it?

Comment author: ata 29 January 2011 02:41:55AM 2 points [-]

On the other hand, Harry doesn't seem to have said anything on physics that requires having read Barbour. Or have I missed it?

Chapter 28:

"Quantum mechanics wasn't enough," Harry said. "I had to go all the way down to timeless physics before it took. Had to see the wand as enforcing a relation between separate past and future realities, instead of changing anything over time - but I did it, Hermione, I saw past the illusion of objects, and I bet there's not a single other wizard in the world who could have. Even if some Muggleborn knew about timeless formulations of quantum mechanics, it would just be a weird belief about strange distant quantum stuff, they wouldn't see that it was reality, accept that the world they knew was just a hallucination. I Transfigured part of the eraser without changing the whole thing."

Comment author: TobyBartels 29 January 2011 03:04:32AM *  6 points [-]

Other than the buzzword "timeless physics", this doesn't go beyond anything that I knew about in 1991 (when I was older than Harry but still in high school and had never heard of Julian Barbour). This is implicit in Minkowski's formulation of special relativity (1908) and Heisenberg's formulation of quantum mechanics (1925); I don't know who made it explicit, but I probably read about it in popular science books.

ETA: The buzzword that I knew then (or perhaps learnt later and immediately connected to what I knew then, I'm no longer sure) is "block universe".

Comment author: JoshuaZ 27 January 2011 01:33:49AM 3 points [-]

Harry's universe diverges somewhat from ours in a variety of respects. He'd have a lot of trouble knowing about carbon nanotubes also. It seems that accelerating some specific areas of science is within poetic licence.

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

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

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

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

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

Comment author: Vaniver 09 February 2011 06:14:27PM 4 points [-]
Comment author: David_Gerard 29 January 2011 05:13:54PM *  4 points [-]

May I just say that this quote from ch. 65 sums up the Fountain of Irrationality beautifully and succinctly:

No. Just an example. Lies propagate, that's what I'm saying. You've got to tell more lies to cover them up, lie about every fact that's connected to the first lie. And if you kept on lying, and you kept on trying to cover it up, sooner or later you'd even have to start lying about the general laws of thought. Like, someone is selling you some kind of alternative medicine that doesn't work, and any double-blind experimental study will confirm that it doesn't work. So if someone wants to go on defending the lie, they've got to get you to disbelieve in the experimental method. Like, the experimental method is just for merely scientific kinds of medicine, not amazing alternative medicine like theirs. Or a good and virtuous person should believe as strongly as they can, no matter what the evidence says. Or truth doesn't exist and there's no such thing as objective reality. A lot of common wisdom like that isn't just mistaken, it's anti-epistemology, it's systematically wrong. Every rule of rationality that tells you how to find the truth, there's someone out there who needs you to believe the opposite. If you once tell a lie, the truth is ever after your enemy; and there's a lot of people out there telling lies ...

I'm currently looking for a good spot to quote it on RationalWiki.

Has EY written something like the above elsewhere as succinctly, or did he first sum it up here?

Comment author: Zack_M_Davis 29 January 2011 06:10:45PM 17 points [-]

Has EY written something like the above elsewhere as succinctly, or did he first sum it up here?

Harry's monologue summarizes ideas discussed in "Entangled Truths, Contagious Lies" and "Dark Side Epistemology". Best wishes, the Less Wrong Reference Desk.

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

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

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

Ch 50

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

What sort of books would Harry have lent to Padma?

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

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

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

Comment author: Acrinoe 19 February 2011 09:23:19PM 2 points [-]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They noted two glitches, one intermittent and one permanent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comment author: Sheaman3773 14 March 2011 05:48:05AM 2 points [-]
Comment author: orthonormal 13 February 2011 06:18:40AM 2 points [-]

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

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

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

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

That has been pointed out before.

Comment author: TobyBartels 29 January 2011 12:54:24AM *  2 points [-]

Ch 68

the Defense Professor couldn't help anyone become the sort of hero that was worth becoming, and that he wouldn't even understand the difference

Damn, another good line! Where do you get all this, Eliezer?


Ch 69

it occurred to Hermione that there might be a lot more viewpoints on the subject than just four.

Am I just in an agreeable mood today, or is this really that good?


And the end, of course, is the Crowning Moment of Awesome.

Comment author: [deleted] 29 January 2011 03:06:06AM 2 points [-]

My favorite was "...she was suddenly realizing just how large a difference had sprung up between Hogwarts students who'd signed up for all of Professor Quirrell's extra-curricular activities, and students who'd had years of being taught by the worst Professors ever to go Professing."

I dunno, I laughed.

Comment author: major 30 January 2011 11:46:38AM 3 points [-]

Also, it's a hint. With the previous generation so weak in Battle Magic (due to Voldemort's curse - and this was discussed before, I think), it was part of Professor Quirrell's plan to train up Harry's schoolmates as well, so he can have a decent army someday.

It's easy to miss it because of the funny. Eliezer does this kind of misdirection all the time.

Comment author: TobyBartels 29 January 2011 12:46:01AM *  2 points [-]

Ch 68

I thought, once, that I knew such a man, but I was mistaken...

A great line, at least for those of us who know the canon history. One might hope that Dumbledore would have learnt a lesson from this (the lesson that Hermione has no need to learn), but apparently not.


Ch 69

Well, maybe he did know!

Comment author: Acrinoe 26 January 2011 07:54:37PM *  2 points [-]


The first half of the first year is over in HP MOR. Prof. Quirrell's degraded health and the Curse of the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor are looming larger.

I speculate that Voldemort/Quirrel'smotivation in breaking Bellatrix out of Azkaban is insurance for a new body/host in the near future. I imagine that a willing host is not only easier to possess but might enable him with more of his powers.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 27 January 2011 02:01:19AM 4 points [-]

This seems possible. However, picking a host that's at the top of the Most Wanted list isn't exactly the most intelligent of plans.