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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12

5 Post author: Xachariah 25 March 2012 11:01AM

The new thread, discussion 13, is here.

 

This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. With three chapters recently the previous thread has very quickly reached 1000 comments. The latest chapter as of 25th March 2012 is Ch 80.

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


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

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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 (692)

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 25 March 2012 05:53:43PM 33 points [-]

General announcement:

I do not lie to my readers.

Almost everything in MoR is generated by the underlying facts of the story. Sometimes it is generated by humor (I can't realistically claim that Ch. 5 would have comic timing that precise in a purely natural universe). Nothing is generated to deliberately fool the readers.

There are two exceptions to this claim I can readily recall - cases where red herrings made it into the text - and they occur in Ch. 21 where my phrasing of Dumbledore's note to Harry was influenced to be overly compatible with the fan theory (which took me quite by surprise) that the notes were sent by Sirius Black. And in Ch. 77 when Mr. Hat and Cloak says "Time -", which was generated to be compatible with the postulate of a Peggy Sue. I may go back and eliminate both of these at some point to make the text herring-free.

Methods of Rationality is a rationalist story. Your job is to outwit the universe, not the author. There are also cases where people have scored additional points by successful literary analysis, e.g. Checkov's Gun principles. But the author is not your enemy here, and the facts aren't lies.

Of course there are various characters running deceptions and masquerades, but that is quite a different matter.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 26 March 2012 12:51:02AM 8 points [-]

Having a few very minor read herrings is a generally accepted part of literature as long as they aren't extremely deceptive. In this context, both of the two seem minor enough to be fair.

Comment author: nohatmaker 26 March 2012 07:04:42PM *  2 points [-]

I think the time travel hint was a bit too strong. I basically had two possibilities: H&C is a time traveller with all the world breaking implications, or Eliezer is meta-screwing with us. There's no other high probability reason for H&C to say that right before he obliviated Hermione. If the latter, all other bets are off - I can't seriously approach predicting a work like that. So I'm very glad Eliezer let us know.

Comment author: NihilCredo 26 March 2012 11:04:27AM 7 points [-]

Re-posting it so you see it in the inbox:

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

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 26 March 2012 07:58:45PM 12 points [-]

It's past the halfway point.

Comment author: moritz 27 March 2012 07:09:39AM 14 points [-]

For purely selfish reasons I hope it's in the "first 80% done, second 80% being worked on" sense.

Comment author: wedrifid 27 March 2012 08:35:37AM *  12 points [-]

For purely selfish reasons I hope it's in the "first 80% done, second 80% being worked on" sense.

For purely selfish reasons I'm ambivalent. I like fanfiction as much as the next guy but kind of wouldn't mind it if Eliezer spent his efforts trying to save the world. ;)

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 27 March 2012 10:14:26AM 20 points [-]

As long as HP:MoR remains unfinished, thousands of people who could be helping Eliezer build a Friendly AI are instead sitting by their web browsers, repeatedly pressing Ctrl+R.

Finishing HP:MoR is the necessary first step towards Singularity.

Comment author: Alsadius 27 March 2012 06:12:30PM 10 points [-]

The thing is, I know he can do the fanfic. I seriously doubt he can save the world.

Comment author: wedrifid 28 March 2012 02:09:36AM 5 points [-]

I seriously doubt he can save the world.

I am approximately 95% sure the world will be lost (ie. we'll all die). It would seem that I must agree with you.

Comment author: Alsadius 27 March 2012 12:20:44AM 4 points [-]

:(

Comment author: NihilCredo 27 March 2012 12:14:05PM 1 point [-]

Thank you. Also, sigh.

Comment author: Locke 25 March 2012 08:22:41PM *  6 points [-]

Anything in particular that spurred this announcement?

Oh, and do you ever intend to read the later books?

Comment author: DanArmak 25 March 2012 09:19:50PM 9 points [-]

I'm guessing the large amount of very low probability ideas for Harry's solution in the next chapter.

Comment author: Anubhav 26 March 2012 02:41:18AM 6 points [-]

I've said it many times, and I'll say it again... this is a better solution than most of what's been proposed in the discussion thread so far.

Comment author: drethelin 25 March 2012 06:10:47PM 7 points [-]

Of course this is exactly what you would say if you DID lie to your readers.

Comment author: MartinB 25 March 2012 06:44:46PM 11 points [-]

No, because unlike certain TV shows you the reader will hold him accountable afterwards.

Comment author: drethelin 25 March 2012 08:22:12PM 2 points [-]

What do you mean by "hold him accountable." It's not like I'd stop donating to SIAI if he pulled a dirty trick on HPMOR readers.

Comment author: MartinB 25 March 2012 08:55:03PM 2 points [-]

You lose trust when the next story comes around. So far everything in HPMOR makes sense, I think it is reasonable to assume this will continue.

I watched a few tv shows where a well thought out plot was promised upfront. But later it turned out the creators just made things up as they went along. This usually breaks down at some point. When this happens repeatedly one is less likely to get into it again.

Comment author: pedanterrific 26 March 2012 12:58:09AM *  28 points [-]

Let's discuss Dementors. I was surprised to learn that a lot of people came away from TSPE believing in Harry's initial hypothesis, that Dementors had no minds of their own and were controlled by the expectations of the people nearest them. To me, this seemed conclusively disproved by something Harry isn't aware of: the fact that the dozen Dementors he scared away went back to their hundred-plus brethren in the central pit and thereafter all of them refused to tell the Aurors where Harry was, despite the fact that there were quite a lot of Aurors believing very strongly that they would.

If there's something I'm missing that rescues this hypothesis, I'd appreciate it being pointed out. At this point, I have to believe that whatever ritual (or possibly "law of magic", if we believe Harry) creates Dementors also imbues them with at least some independent decision-making ability, and that they have goals which include 'continuing to exist'.

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 26 March 2012 04:53:00AM *  27 points [-]

Dumbledore's trickeries: just how much is he covering up?

We know, now, from the "Santa Claus" stunts, that Dumbledore is quite capable of trickery. Reading between the lines, it appears he cruelly sabotaged Snape and Lily's teenaged relationship.

What other deceptions belong to Dumbledore? Several are possible.

  • the prophecy and Snape
  • Rita Skeeter's False Memory Charm
  • Amelia Bones burning Narcissa Malfoy
  • Lily's final Dark-ritual conversation with Voldemort

The prophecy and Snape:

The "confessor" interlude makes it clear that Snape was present for Sybil's prophecy. Does that mean that Harry is wrong to theorize that Dumbledore arranged for Snape to hear it...

... or did Dumbledore use a Time-Turner to make sure Snape heard the prophecy live and in person, so that Snape would be baited more credibly into telling Voldemort?

Rita Skeeter's False Memory Charm:

Dumbledore rewards the Weasleys for the prank, which happened to benefit Harry Potter and deprive Lucius Malfoy of a tool. Is it possible that he not only rewarded them for it, but committed the active part of it himself?

Amelia Bones burning Narcissa Malfoy:

There's suggestive evidence within the text ("Someone would burn for this") that Amelia Bones is hard-bitten and fire-minded. We also see her specifically pulling back Dumbledore from confessing to Narcissa's murder. Is it possible that Bones performed the murder, and afterward Dumbledore pretended to Lucius that he had been Narcissa's killer?

Lily's final Dark-ritual conversation with Voldemort:

Lily's last conversation with Voldemort just so happens to replicate the requirements of a Dark ritual - you name the thing sacrificed, and then the thing to be gained.

"I accept the bargain. Yourself to die, and the child to live."

Did Dumbledore prompt Lily on what to say if confronted by Voldemort, to trigger the accidental Horcruxing that saved Harry?

How much of this is Dumbledore actually guilty of? Do we know or suspect other trickeries, or have other evidence?

Comment author: wedrifid 26 March 2012 11:40:08AM *  23 points [-]

Lily's last conversation with Voldemort just so happens to replicate the requirements of a Dark ritual - you name the thing sacrificed, and then the thing to be gained.

I've always considered the protection Harry had by Lily's "Love" (in canon) to be essentially dark magic done by Lily. She spent her own life to cast a ridiculously powerful and specific spell of protection on her son. The 'power of love' nonsense is true only in the mundane sense of the term. It was the motivation to use the spell. This doesn't devalue the power of love - that's how love really works - it influences the incentive of intelligent agents.

How much of this is Dumbledore actually guilty of? Do we know or suspect other trickeries, or have other evidence?

I wouldn't place this one in the realm of 'guilt'. Assuming things happened according your story, Dumbledore gave Lily the power to do something that she wanted to do (sacrifice, save). Helping other people save their babies does not accrue guilt.

Comment author: pedanterrific 26 March 2012 05:08:19AM 10 points [-]

Lily's last conversation with Voldemort just so happens to replicate the requirements of a Dark ritual - you name the thing sacrificed, and then the thing to be gained.

"I accept the bargain. Yourself to die, and the child to live."

...Now that's awesome.

He could have sent his Patronus with a message to her the moment he heard the prophecy.

The prophecy was made before Harry was born; the Potters were in hiding for more than a year before the attack.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 27 March 2012 08:02:03AM *  4 points [-]

The "confessor" interlude makes it clear that Snape was present for Sybil's prophecy. Does that mean that Harry is wrong to theorize that Dumbledore arranged for Snape to hear it...

Maybe. I'm thinking it's a nicer rationalist story to have Voldemort arrange the prophecy, particularly if you're going with the "Voldemort uploads into Harry after it appears that Harry defeated him" scenario.

Did Dumbledore prompt Lily on what to say if confronted by Voldemort, to trigger the accidental Horcruxing that saved Harry?

Why do you assume the Horcruxing was accidental, if Voldemort wants to upload into Dark Lord Harry anyway? It looks to me like the Horcruxing of Harry is likely what gave him much of his power, with that power lending credibility to his "defeat" of Voldemort, and avoiding suspicion of Harrymort when he displays so much power after the upload.

Everything that has transpired has done so, according to my design. Bwa ha ha.

Comment author: Paulovsk 26 March 2012 11:12:49AM *  7 points [-]

Lily's last conversation with Voldemort just so happens to replicate the requirements of a Dark ritual - you name the thing sacrificed, and then the thing to be gained.

"I accept the bargain. Yourself to die, and the child to live."

That's really awesome.

Comment author: daenerys 27 March 2012 11:04:10PM 17 points [-]

I thought you all might find this amusing: I just got a friend to read HPMoR, and now he's planning on using parts of it to teach his Intro to Psych course.

I think he's planning to use Ch 8 (Hermione's Comed-Tea test) and the chapter(s) with Draco and Harry doing the Blood Purity experiment.

I don't remember MY Intro to Psych course being anywhere NEAR that interesting...

Comment author: Rejoyce 28 March 2012 04:43:52AM *  12 points [-]

In retrospect, our guesswork was a lot messier than it should have been.

Chapter 25:

One set of problem-solving groups had been given the instruction "Do not propose solutions until the problem has been discussed as thoroughly as possible without suggesting any."

The other set of problem-solving groups had been given no instructions. And those people had done the natural thing, and reacted to the presence of a problem by proposing solutions. And people had gotten attached to those solutions, and started fighting about them, and arguing about the relative importance of freedom versus efficiency and so on.

and

Starting out by looking for solutions was taking things entirely out of order. Like starting a meal with dessert, only bad.

While Less Wrong discussants are usually prone to less fighting and arguing than the norm, they are not prone to being inefficient.

What we should have done was forbade any and all solutions until two days after the chapter was released. We had five full days to guess, we didn't need to have all our solutions down the first twenty-four hours. Not to mention that instead of simpler solutions, we continued to look for answers more complex than the ones already proposed after we thought we already cleared the low-hanging fruit.

While some people have made an attempt to analyze first, listing everything in the room, things that only Harry knows, et cetera, the majority of us just proposed solutions right away. This was probably not what Mr. Yudkowsky wanted.

Word of God:

One thing I did notice was that many readers (a) neglected simple solutions in favor of complex ones, (b) neglected obvious solutions in favor of nonobvious ones, and (c) suggested that the correct hints had been put there for deliberately deceptive purposes.

...which in my mind I parsed as keep it simple, stupid, and you all were looking in the wrong direction and why the hell are you all proposing one preposterous idea after another, are you trying to look intelligent or something.

My only conclusion after reading that was that if we drew a map first we probably would of found the more probable solutions a lot quicker. Also reading through 1.5k+ comments full of solutions was headache-inducing.

Comment author: AspiringKnitter 28 March 2012 07:21:38AM 3 points [-]

Personally, I thought the problem through and did, literally, draw a map of the room with its people and creatures, before coming on here, and yet I will own up to having not come up with anything at all and not even figured out which of the solutions proposed by others seemed most plausible.

Comment author: drnickbone 28 March 2012 11:27:37PM *  2 points [-]

Couple of things:

  1. The clue about seeing the Wizengamot as PCs rather than wallpaper rather fizzled out. They still look a lot like wallpaper, and only Lucius and Dumbledore look like PCs. Though Dumbledore has developed a sudden unexpected malware infection and Lucius is just weird.

  2. What the hell is up with Dumbledore's preference system?? He prefers Hermione (a probable innocent) going to Azkaban above Harry going into debt, and prefers that in turn over Harry destroying Azkaban and every last Dementor. What is Fawkes doing sitting on his shoulder? Hitting him with a wing... No. Should be pecking his eyes out.

  3. And then, what is up with Lucius? After going on so strong about why he would never trade his son's blood debt for money (yep, taboo trade off) he then... trades the blood debt for money! Huh?

OK, there's the phoney blood-debt to House Potter in the mix somewhere, but he knows it's phoney, and didn't have to accept it. If he were serious about his son's life as a sacred value, then he wouldn't.

The only theory I have is that Lucius knows full well now that Hermione didn't do it. (Harry handed him the idiot ball, he quickly got the point, and updated, though of course couldn't admit to that in front of everyone). So there is no longer a taboo in swapping one phoney debt for another; it's now all about mundane values like political advantage, personal prejudice (sticking it to the Mudblood), trying to embarrass Dumbledore and Boy-Who-Lived with impossible proposals, the off-chance of more gold to add to his pile; all tempered with confusion about whether the Dark Lord is really reborn, what he really wants out of the Mudblood, and why isn't he being let in on the new master-plan?? Truly a vile little worm.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 25 March 2012 02:01:55PM *  12 points [-]

Apologies if this was in the earlier thread; I didn't see it.

Some facts: When Quirrell is being interrogated, he "sneezes" to cancel the spell "polyfluis reverso", which would show who, if anyone, had polyjuiced into Quirrell. Canon has it being posession, not polyjuice. Also, he suggests that someone is possessing Quirrell in a way that makes it unlikely to be believed.

Some speculation: Quirrell wants the auror to think that he's somebody else polyjuiced as Quirrell, and is willing to reveal that he is capable of powerful wandless magic to do so. He also at least partly reveals that when he messes with the room's lighting earlier. Why does Quirrell not try to hide this ability better when he knows the strategic value of hidden abilities and, IIRC, only a few wizards (Voldemort among them) are known to be capable of wandless magic?

Comment author: Anubhav 25 March 2012 04:27:05PM 8 points [-]

I'm not sure it's wandless.

He gave a flick of his fingers, and when his hand finished the gesture he was holding his wand. "Would you believe that woman thinks she has confiscated this from me?"

Chapter 65.

Then again, the Auror doesn't know of this, so your point stands.

Comment author: faul_sname 26 March 2012 11:21:23PM 3 points [-]

Ah. That would also explain the sneeze: the auror will look at his face and the quickly moving hand covering the sneeze instead of his other hand.

Comment author: gwern 25 March 2012 08:39:56PM 3 points [-]

When Quirrell is being interrogated, he "sneezes" to cancel the spell "polyfluis reverso", which would show who, if anyone, had polyjuiced into Quirrell.

Is this your inference? When I read that chapter, I immediately googled it and 'polyfluis' to see what it did, but only turned up MoR.

Why does Quirrell not try to hide this ability better when he knows the strategic value of hidden abilities and, IIRC, only a few wizards (Voldemort among them) are known to be capable of wandless magic?

Or ask why he told the lackey to tell the Ministry that he ate the Dementor. Why is he painting a target on his back, indeed...

Comment author: pedanterrific 25 March 2012 09:24:10PM *  10 points [-]

Is this your inference? When I read that chapter, I immediately googled it and 'polyfluis' to see what it did, but only turned up MoR.

Well, that's the obvious implication of

The round-faced first-year girl stood facing the remaining two bullies with one hand cocked on her hip.

Grinning.

And surrounded by faceted blue haze.

"Polyjuice!" spat the bully-girl.

"Polyfluis Reverso!" roared the remaining boy bully.

Something like the form of a mirrored scarf spat out of his wand -

Passed without resistance through the haze surrounding Susan -

For an instant, she glowed in a strange mirror-color, like a reflection of herself -

And then the glow faded.

The young girl still stood there, hand on her hip.

"Wrong," said Susan.

Comment author: gwern 25 March 2012 09:27:10PM 3 points [-]

Ah. Should've looked harder at the other MoR hit.

Comment author: orionstein 26 March 2012 03:01:43PM 2 points [-]

Would it make sense for Quirrell to be Sirius Black polyjuiced? He might actually just be polyjuiced; that's why he's been so intent on helping Harry, because he's SB. He's able to do wandless magic because once he became an animagus he figured out that other wandless magic was also possible, or at least how to do this.

Comment author: gwern 26 March 2012 03:18:14PM 2 points [-]

Not really - how does that explain all the clues pointing to Voldemort? And why would Sirius be Defense against the Dark Arts?

Comment author: roystgnr 25 March 2012 05:22:38PM 11 points [-]

Only tangentially HPMoR related (HPMoR hammers on the #5 point, will hopefully delve deeply into the #6, and touches on the others), but this Cracked article was an interesting perspective:

Comment author: Alejandro1 26 March 2012 08:58:42AM *  7 points [-]

From #4:

This is a world where nobody seems to learn the scientific method -- every problem is either solved by a spell or not solved at all, because problem solving is not a skill that is valued enough to be taught.

Comment author: Xachariah 25 March 2012 11:54:00AM *  11 points [-]

Somewhere in the last thread's 1000 posts, it occured to me that it might be useful to have a list of non-obvious insights aggregated. This is stuff that may be missed if the reader has read only HPMoR but is unfamiliar with canon, or it may be things that are well hidden in plain sight. I know it's not normal practice to rot13 such things, but the sheer density of them makes it seem prudent.

  • Dhveery vf Ibyqrzbeg.

  • Yhpvhf guvaxf Uneel vf Ibyqrzbeg.

  • Dhveery znqr gur Iblntre 2 cebor n Ubepehk.

  • Uneel nppvqragnyyl thrffrq gur ybpngvbaf bs Dhveery'f Ubepehkrf.

  • Dhveery xvyyrq Evgn Fxrrgre.

  • Qhzoyrqber urycrq Yvyl znxr Crghavn'f ornhgl cbgvba.

  • Dhveery unf gur Erfheerpgvba Fgbar Qrnguyl Unyybj.

I know there's a bunch I'm missing so feel free to add. Ideally, they should not be controversial, just easily missed.

Comment author: razor11 25 March 2012 12:36:27PM *  31 points [-]

Not HPMOR talk, just a suggestion for these discussion threads:

I think that it would make far more sense to start a new thread after every new update rather than when they reach a certain number of comments. New people starting in this thread will miss a lot of good ideas posted in the last one, and also that it is better to have all ideas in one thread than scattered so we can refer to them. Having two threads without any new update in between could also create unnecessary rehashing of old posts.

Since the update schedule seems to be spaced about a week apart, there will probably be about 500-1500 comments in the meantime so there is little chance of having to create new threads too early. In the rare case, a minimum number of comments can be assigned if updating is too frequent.

Comment author: Blueberry 27 March 2012 08:52:21AM 5 points [-]

No. Please don't.

The way the web interface works, it automatically shows only 500 comments, and only the top few levels. You have to click a bunch of times to see more comments.

I'd rather have it separated out than to have a really really long thread to wade through. Very long threads are difficult to read and keep track of.

Now, if you wanted to start a new thread after every new update AND when they reach a certain number of comments, that makes sense.

Comment author: Alsadius 27 March 2012 06:07:01PM 4 points [-]

There's a show all button near the option to show 200 or 500 - click that once and the whole thread loads, other than deeply nested comments.

Comment author: RobertLumley 25 March 2012 04:09:21PM 6 points [-]

This. Please.

Comment author: Alsadius 25 March 2012 06:30:09PM *  4 points [-]

Agreed. Call this the Ch. 81 thread, and stick to the previous one until it posts.

Edit: Close to 300 posts, and 81 won't even go live for 26 hours yet. I think I failed.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 28 March 2012 06:19:23AM 10 points [-]

First - YAY! I really do love this book.

Second, the link to part 13 isn't working.

Third, are we going to get a George Bailey scene of people helping to pay off the debt? He did only save them all from the Dark Lord. I know it's not quite as important as helping people to get mortgages, but it should count for something. If nothing else, there's got to be enough people with money out there who wouldn't want the Boy Who Lived to be in debt to the leader of the Death Eaters just as a political matter. And after his show of power against the Dementor, there should be a few people who would consider doing him a favor an extremely wise investment.

Comment author: moritz 27 March 2012 03:01:39PM 9 points [-]

Maybe this is the wrong place to ask, but are there any other cool pieces of "edufiction" like HPMoR? I mean fiction where you can learn about science, economics or other topics just by reading the story, and thinking along with it.

There is lots of historic fiction material, so I'd like to exclude that genre from my question.

Comment author: Alsadius 27 March 2012 06:38:12PM *  5 points [-]

They're not books, I know, but sometimes videogames can be surprisingly educational, especially in fields like economics where it works the same in game and in reality. If you ever want a crash course in all things economic, become a trader in Eve Online.

Comment author: kilobug 27 March 2012 05:06:04PM 3 points [-]

I would say Voltaire's philosophical tales (Zadig, Candid) apply to that qualification, even if they are more written in order to defend a particular pov than about educating in general.

Hard science-fiction could also qualify, it often contains some valid bits of science. But it's hard to tell the limit between the author's imagination and the real science.

Anyway, I second the question, it would be interesting to have more of those.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 27 March 2012 06:17:25PM *  10 points [-]

I recommend repeating your question as a discussion post so that more people will see it.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 26 March 2012 10:18:54AM *  8 points [-]

This seems like brinksmanship. My instinct tells me Dumbledore was right and anything Harry does is weakening the ultimate compromise that everyone who matters knows will be reached (most likely behind closed doors.)

We're given at least two hints about this during the trial, though I did not read too closely.

Comment author: Anubhav 26 March 2012 03:31:28PM 5 points [-]

We're given at least two hints about this during the trial

Mind spelling them out for those untutored in the Dark Arts?

Comment author: moridinamael 26 March 2012 02:25:31PM 10 points [-]

Agreed. The option that seems clearest to me is to Lose, not to escalate. It's the first Potions class all over again, with Harry offering to sacrifice his humanity and the political stability of the country for Hermione's comfort.

If Harry loses well enough, he may even win.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 27 March 2012 05:20:22PM *  2 points [-]

Harry may lose in the sense of failing to keep Hermione out of Azkaban, but I doubt he'll choose to lose. The lesson of the first potions class was not to get caught in a status/dominance fight at the cost of important goals. The lesson on losing in the Battle Magic class added "how to pretend you've lost without giving up any important goals." Losing in this case does not mean sacrificing "Hermione's comfort," it means letting his best friend die slowly.

The line about seeing the Wizengamot as PCs vs. as wallpaper and the final lines about Harry's knowledge of wizarding laws and culture suggest that Harry's solution is going to fall within the law and custom of wizarding society. Harry has already decided to undermine the political stability of the country because he objects to said country on moral grounds, but he won't do it now because it isn't time yet. As for sacrificing his humanity, I wouldn't want to bet on his ability to stay human with Hermione dying in Azkaban.

Comment author: Benquo 26 March 2012 04:09:48PM 2 points [-]

Losing and begging sounds far superior to most of the other options considered; the prospects for success may not be greater, but the loss if he fails is little.

Unfortunately he's gone Dark, and his dark side doesn't seem to know how to lose.

Comment author: pedanterrific 26 March 2012 04:37:56PM 4 points [-]

No, I think it learned that lesson:

So instead Harry looked at the older Slytherins, who still seemed to be in a state of shock. They stared back at him. Dread was on their faces.

His dark side, when it was in control, had held to the imagination of this moment, and went on pretending to lose.

Harry said, "No one will -"

Comment author: DanArmak 27 March 2012 09:28:33PM 3 points [-]

While in Azkaban, his light side also thought very emphatically that "losing was for House points, not for people".

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 25 March 2012 12:22:20PM *  22 points [-]

Why is HPMOR's Quirrellmort so much less violent than HPMOR's Voldemort?

HPMOR paints a Voldemort fixated on punishing his inferiors, a Voldemort who never used persuasion or inspiration when he could rely on suffering.

  • Voldemort amused himself by inducing in Bellatrix a love so knowingly one-sided that it was not a happy thought for her.
  • Quirrell asserts Voldemort slaughtered an entire monastery rather than simply impersonate an appropriate student.
  • Voldemort's rule was so coercive and terrorizing that Lucius Malfoy finds it best to claim he was not merely deceived or misled but forced to obey him.
  • If Harry's "dark" thoughts under the Dementor's influence represent Voldemort's mind accurately, Voldemort's reflex inclination was to punish or kill anyone who didn't slavishly obey.

Yet Quirrellmort, for all that he talks cynically and is prepared to kill or memory-charm, prefers not to punish when he can benignly persuade or inspire.

  • Quirrell is verbally much less insulting than an army drill sergeant, let alone how Snape treated students.
  • The "Quirrell point" system is all about achieving rewards, not avoiding punishments.
  • Quirrell's entire plan revolves around patient impersonation and feigned subordination - the kind of behavior that the old Voldemort allegedly refused at the monastery.
  • Quirrell is explicitly disapproving about the old Voldemort's approach to persuasion.
  • We've been in Quirrell's head when Harry and Dumbledore weren't around, yet his violent acts have always been to "eliminate my enemy", not to "instill fear of me in my intended lackey." The author's had 70+ chapters to show Quirrell or even H+C tormenting a hireling of his with no one else around, and neither has done so.

In HPMOR, Voldemort was grandiose, cynical, and punitive. Quirrellmort is grandiose, cynical, but not punitive. We see him kill to remove danger, but we don't see him torment to instill subordinates' fear of him. Why the change? Options:

  • 1: Maybe Quirrellmort is still as punishment-oriented as old Voldemort, but the author doesn't want to show us that ugly side of him quite yet. But if Quirrell doesn't deserve our sympathy, isn't it a good idea to make us lose it? Or if the author wants to hold off on admitting Quirrell is Voldemort until the last moment, why not have H+C be the punisher instead of Quirrell?
  • 2: Maybe Voldemort had bad publicity; he was ruthless with enemies, but it's only propaganda that he abused his own people. But Bella and Dementor!Harry are both private evidence that Voldemort was abusive.
  • 3: Maybe Quirrellmort has realized the practical downsides of being punitive with those under your authority, and no longer uses those tactics. But if he could figure he was wrong about such a huge part of his leadership style, why is he so deaf to all the other ways he could be wrong about what to expect from people? Where did that open-mindedness go?
  • 4: Maybe Quirrellmort doesn't have Voldemort's abusive impulses, because Horcrux!Harry is holding onto them. But why would Quirrellmort not believe in terrifying his subordinates anymore, when he still believes that nobody has any reliable kindness or loyalty? It's cynicism as much as anger that inspires rule-by-fear, and Quirrellmort has full cynicism.

Of those four, my bet is on Horcrux!Harry, but even that doesn't quite make sense to me. Why'd you change, Quirrellmort?

Comment author: Benquo 25 March 2012 04:54:23PM *  37 points [-]

You're forgetting that Tom Riddle actually did study at the monastery before he destroyed it to deny that training to his enemies.

Voldemort is especially violent and comes off as stupid, but he's just one of Tom Riddle's characters, and if you consider their actions as a whole they're smarter than they appear, on purpose.

There is a classic trick that card counting teams use to avoid detection. If one person shows up, and bets conservatively until the cards are in their favor, and then immediately starts making huge bets, then it is obvious that they are a card counter and the casino can throw them out. But, if that one person betting conservatively simply leaves the table once he thinks the deck is in his favor, and then someone else comes in wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt and acting like a "wild and crazy" risk-lover, then it just looks like someone risk-averse has been replaced with someone risk loving, and neither looks like they're counting cards.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 25 March 2012 08:45:59PM 3 points [-]

Do we have any way of knowing if that story told by Quirrell was true?

Comment author: glumph 25 March 2012 08:40:15PM *  2 points [-]

You're forgetting that Tom Riddle actually did study at the monastery before he destroyed it to deny that training to his enemies.

Do we know this? If I recall correctly, all we know is that Quirrelmort says that Quirrel learned there and Voldemort didn't. So as far as I can tell it's an open question whether it was pre-possessed Quirrel who studied there, or Voldemort (or neither).

Comment author: see 26 March 2012 02:23:17AM 16 points [-]

Hypothesis 1: Voldemort both stupidly destroyed a school (instead of coming back later in disguise to learn the martial art) and stupidly allowed the tale to spread (letting people know he neither knew the martial art nor was able to control his temper).

Hypothesis 2: Voldemort was smart enough to learn the martial art from the school, combined vengeance for the humiliation he experienced with sound strategy in destroying it afterwards, and then spread misinformation to his enemies that would cause them to underestimate both his abilities and his self-control.

You can construct intermediate hypotheses, but #2 sounds a lot more like MoR!Voldemort to me than #1.

Comment author: glumph 26 March 2012 03:00:38AM *  3 points [-]

I think you're right that Hypothesis 2 is more likely than H1. However, both assume that some tale (true or false) about Voldemort visiting the school has been circulated in wizard Britain. But as far as we know, that tale is told for the first time in Quirrell's class. As always, Quirrell is our only source:

"The Dark Lord was foolish to wish that story retold. It did not show his strength, but rather an exploitable weakness" (ch 19).

Of course, if this is the first time the story is told, people may wonder how Quirrell knows. But this is the same chapter in which Quirrell rather blatantly lies and claims to have been a Slytherin, when he (Quirrell, not Voldemort) in fact wasn't.

Comment author: see 26 March 2012 05:00:36AM *  3 points [-]

Yes, that's one of the intermediate hypotheses. Call it 1.5 --

Hypothesis 1.5: Voldemort stupidly destroyed a school (instead of coming back later in disguise to learn the martial art), but was smart enough to not spread the tale. Then as Quirrel, he spread misinformation to his enemies that would cause them to underestimate both Voldemort's abilities (now that he's learned the martial art from Quirrel) and his self-control (Quirrelmort having more than the old Voldemort).

It works with what we "know", but still seems to me to be too Canon!Voldemort and not enough MoR!Voldemort for my taste.

Comment author: Dreaded_Anomaly 25 March 2012 10:49:33PM 8 points [-]

Implied in Chapter 49, Prior Information, when Harry and Quirrell are discussing Slytherin's monster:

"Rule Twelve," Professor Quirrell said quietly. "Never leave the source of your power lying around where someone else can find it."

Comment author: glumph 26 March 2012 12:37:37AM 3 points [-]

I think that's fully compatible with either possibility. If Voldemort studied there, then he would have reason to destroy it; to not "leave the source of his power lying around". But if, on the other hand, he didn't study there (because he was refused), then he would again have a reason to not leave a source of power lying around. (If I can't have it, no one can.)

Comment author: pedanterrific 25 March 2012 09:29:05PM 8 points [-]

The other hint is that

I learned this from the single surviving student, whom the Dark Lord had left alive to tell the tale, and who had been a friend of mine...

Comment author: Benquo 25 March 2012 09:06:54PM 2 points [-]

Well, I suppose the other alternative is of course that Quirrel madethe whole thing up. But if he was telling the truth I don't see any other explanation that makes much sense.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 25 March 2012 12:36:31PM *  29 points [-]

Quirrell and Voldemort are personas designed to play different roles. You are looking for different urges, but there are instead different purposes behind these roles, that call for different behaviors, with any urges controlled too reliably to manifest if contrary to the purpose.

Ch. 79 (Dumbledore):

But Voldemort was more Slytherin than Salazar, grasping at every opportunity.

Ch. 61 (Dumbledore):

It is too clever and too impossible, which was ever Voldemort's signature since the days he was known as Tom Riddle. Anyone who wished to forge that signature must needs be as cunning as Voldemort himself to do so.

Ch. 63 (Quirrell):

To an actor or spy or politician, the limit of his own diameter is the limit of who he can pretend to be, the limit of which face he may wear as a mask. But for such as you and I, anyone we can imagine, we can be, in reality and not pretense.

Quirrell is not Voldemort, Quirrell is Riddle, just as Voldemort is Riddle.

Comment author: Lavode 25 March 2012 01:55:45PM *  17 points [-]

The simplest reason is that Quirrelmort is simply not in a position to indulge any sadistic impulses the way Voldemort was. He spends hours each day conked out completely, and he has no powerbase to retreat to. Overt malice of the kind Voldemort practiced would very rapidly earn him an adavra. There are quite a few other possible reasons - for one thing, Tom Riddle is not running on the same wetware anymore, and his original brain might have been miswired in a way that did not carry over, or heck, the original Quirrel could have been very calm and unflappable, so now Quirrelmort just cannot get a good temper tantrum going no matter how hard he tries.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 25 March 2012 09:11:16PM 3 points [-]

True, he doesn't have the power base to openly attack anyone and everyone in the wizarding world. But Quirrell is a wizard with power dwarfing all others except Dumbledore. He could indulge as much sadism as he wants on random people in spots across the globe. If he has the appetite, he could do it.

And with obliviate, he could probably arrange to have Minerva as his sex slave with minimal risk.

Comment author: loup-vaillant 25 March 2012 11:00:29PM 6 points [-]

"Some do," Professor Quirrell said equably, as though discussing the weather. "Although personally, I don't."

(Chapter 70)

Comment author: pedanterrific 25 March 2012 11:03:11PM 8 points [-]

Well, that's what he would say either way, isn't it? (Not that I believe he would, the motive seems too human, but it's the principle of the thing.)

Comment author: loup-vaillant 26 March 2012 08:58:31AM *  3 points [-]

Mostly true. The bayesian evidence from that is weak. However, I do think that if he did do this sort of thing, he would be less likely to raise the topic in the first place. Well, unless he's playing one level above me, in which case it would point in the direction of guilt, or he is just messing with my brain, Arrggghhhh!!

Anyway, it doesn't seem to fit Professor Quirrell style. (Though like Harry, I am beginning to wonder if this whole "style" business mean anything.)

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 25 March 2012 01:12:49PM *  8 points [-]

I like the idea that "Voldemort" was very consciously a role; that fits the Occlumens speech Quirrell gives to Harry.

But still, which is more plausible? That Voldemort's violence was an optimal choice for the situation? Or that Voldemort was stupidly violent?

Quirrell uses the monastery story to argue Voldemort was stupidly violent, which at minimum implies Voldemort had a reputation consistent with stupid levels of violence. Dementor!Harry, which I read as a representation of Voldemort, thinks

The response to annoyance was killing.

which is about as stupidly violent as it gets.

Let's put it this way: if Voldemort's violence level was rationally chosen, the author's worked really hard to disguise that fact.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 25 March 2012 01:23:32PM *  10 points [-]

Dementor!Harry, which I read as a representation of Voldemort

I believe Dementor!Harry was just damaged by the Dementor, producing both grotesquely negative motivations and poor impulse control.

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 25 March 2012 01:31:05PM 8 points [-]

The chapter emphasizes that it's a separate personality system that's running Harry at that point (which doesn't prove it's Voldemort, but is suggestive). E.g.:

that's not Harry--

You know. About his dark side.

Although it's not absolutely definitive; Dumbledore's line in reply is

But this is beyond even that.

which argues for "he's damaged" as you suggest rather than "he's alien [and Voldemort]" as I'm suggesting.

Comment author: DanArmak 25 March 2012 04:50:48PM 4 points [-]

Look at results, though. Until whatever it was happened ten years ago, Voldemort was winning the war with those tactics.

Comment author: wirov 25 March 2012 07:23:56PM 2 points [-]

Modulo Harry, those tactics were good enough – no doubt about that. But were they optimal?

Comment author: DanArmak 25 March 2012 09:23:09PM 7 points [-]

Probably not optimal if he could go back and redo from start. But sometimes "good enough" is good enough. Shifting tactics in the middle of a war, to the extent of completely changing your public persona, when a lot of the loyalty of your followers (and the fear that keeps bystanders uninvolved) depends intimately on your existing persona, would not be easy at all.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 25 March 2012 08:45:10PM 7 points [-]

4: Maybe Quirrellmort doesn't have Voldemort's abusive impulses, because Horcrux!Harry is holding onto them.

I was thinking the same thing. It goes with the "make Harry the Dark Lord and then upload into him" theory. I'd spin it a little differently, though. It's not that he just tortures for fun, but that he is completely indifferent to the suffering of others. So torture is useful if it serves a witty joke, or gains him a nickel. It goes with Harry's intent to kill, and his "Heroic" consequentialist morality. His job is to "get the job done". Also, the demented Harry wasn't proposing to torture people for the glee of their pain, he was just proposing that the death of the annoyers would "get the job done" in removing annoyances.

It's unclear to me that any of the stories of Voldemort's "surplus evil", reveling in sadism, are necessarily true. They all happened offstage. Further, it's unclear that he was even totally indifferent to the suffering he caused. Just as I think Dumbledore took "credit" for burning Narcissa to seem more ruthless to his enemies, might not Voldemort have done similarly all along, to spread terror? That he was quite ruthless in waging war, I have little doubt. But the reports of surplus evil are just stories. Did Draco actually see Voldemort have Bellatrix crucio herself? Did anyone? Did Voldemort actually kill the dojo? How did they verify that the skin on the wall was actually of that guy? Even if it was, how does anyone know what order the skinning and killing took place in? Do we even know that the snake in the chamber of secrets is dead?

So maybe Voldemort hasn't changed at all as Quirrell.

Whether it's Lucius, Malfoy, or Voldemort, EY doesn't seem to deal in black and white. For any human, he doesn't. For Death, yes, but humans, no. No one is the bad guy in their own story.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 25 March 2012 03:45:28PM 16 points [-]

Because he failed as Voldemort, updated his model of the world, and is trying a different approach as Quirrell.

It seems to me this is the point of the monastery story: being gratuitously violent may have earned Voldemort status, but it did not get him what he actually wanted. MoR!Voldemort is more rational than canon!Voldemort, so he noticed this fact.

Comment author: DanArmak 25 March 2012 04:48:42PM 14 points [-]

He failed due to whatever happened ten years ago with Harry. We don't even have a good theory yet, IMO, of what that was (and the canon options are misleading).

Apart from that - a day before that - he had not failed at all. His old-style abusive tactics were keeping the Death Eaters in line and were successfully terrorizing the populace, and he was winning the war using those tactics.

However, those tactics may be inappropriate to his current position as Quirrel, because he doesn't have any real minions or subordinates, just a few people he manipulates without their knowledge.

Comment author: [deleted] 26 March 2012 03:05:40AM *  11 points [-]

Did he fail or, on learning of the prophecy, pretend to lose?

Comment author: thomblake 27 March 2012 05:50:15PM 2 points [-]

What Vladimir_Nesov said. Notably:

Quirrell asserts Voldemort slaughtered an entire monastery rather than simply impersonate an appropriate student.

I think we were supposed to read that as:

Riddle attended as an appropriate student, and then came back as Voldemort to indulge in some fun retribution (and possibly to keep others from learning his secrets)

Comment author: RichardKennaway 26 March 2012 12:30:50PM *  1 point [-]

I don't think HPMOR!Quirrell is Voldemort. canon!Quirrell has Voldemort's face on the back of his head (concealed by a turban). HPMOR!Quirrell does not. His head is visibly bare, although I recall there's something a bit odd about the appearance of the back of his head, perhaps as if something had been removed. This has to be a sign of something. I'm guessing that Quirrell does have or has had a piece of Voldemort in him, but it's read-only, not executable. Quirrell is in charge of himself, and is on the side of light, but his exposure to Voldemort's innermost thoughts and memories has given him a coldly accurate appreciation of what actually works.

Comment author: linkhyrule5 28 March 2012 03:03:42AM *  7 points [-]

And that is how you do a Mood Whiplash right. I was incredibly nervous going into the chapter, and laughing the moment I saw the word "marriage."

Also, I think that Harry actually managed to make a slightly conciliatory argument at the end there. Namely, "If you don't piss me off any more, I can be a really, really powerful ally. And I'm in debt to you."

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 27 March 2012 01:14:59AM *  27 points [-]

Hypothesis:

Quirrellmort intends to upload his mind into Harry's body soon, as soon as Harry is Dark enough. Voldemort will become the Boy-Who-Lived. And Quirrellmort wants or needs this to happen within the next few months.

Evidence:

If Quirrellmort were only after the Philosopher's Stone and training Harry for a long career, he'd keep his own cover intact as long as he could. Instead, over the last few story months, Quirrellmort has cheerfully all but ruined his cover in favor of giving Harry chances to turn Dark.

  • Quirrellmort got the Dementor brought to Hogwarts, waited until the last moment to observe Harry's wand by the Dementor's cage, gave wrong advice about how to help Harry recover from the Dementor-induced personality change, and persuaded the other wizards to let Harry face the Dementor again.
  • Quirrellmort took Harry to Azkaban soon after seeing Patronus 2.0, leading to more Dementor contact and the recovery of Bellatrix, Quirrellmort's preferred assistant for critical tasks (like, say, ritual magic to download yourself into your Horcrux's body).
  • Quirrellmort (as H&C) set up Hermione for Draco's attempted murder, thus both cutting off Harry from the person who's his best influence against being Dark, and motivating Harry to embrace his Dark side more in order to rescue or avenge Hermione.

The first stunt made Dumbledore suspect a plot, the second showed that Voldemort had returned, the third that Voldemort was in Hogwarts. But it's all been worth it to Quirrellmort to hurry up Dark!Harry. Why?

Perhaps because Quirrellmort is running out of time in his current body.

  • On the day he killed Rita Skeeter, she observed Quirrellmort had his hair falling out.
  • Harry has noticed Quirrell looking visibly older.
  • The curse on the Defense against the Dark Arts position demands a terrible conclusion to his year - or at least the appearance of one.

And if Quirrellmort doesn't intend to be around as Quirrell much longer, what does he intend? We have clues.

  • We know from the prophecy that Quirrellmort and Harry can destroy each other's spirits.
  • Quirrellmort has said that Harry's sense of doom between them is precisely of Harry's doom.
  • We suspect from canon combined with "Dark Harry" moments that Harry is an accidental Horcrux containing a partial copy of Voldemort's mental circuitry, and possibly some of his power too.
  • Quirrellmort suggested a plan where Harry would be seen to fight the returned Voldemort and defeat him.

The obvious answer is that Quirrellmort intends just the plan he told Harry: Harry will indeed be seen to fight Voldemort and "defeat" him. And "Quirrell" will die, probably having been revealed to be Voldemort. But Quirrellmort... will have downloaded himself into Harry's mind, and so will win the duel he seems to lose.

Just as before, a single clash of spells between Voldemort and Harry Potter will lead to the destruction of "Voldemort"(Quirrell.) And "Harry" will walk away triumphant. But "Harry" won't be Harry any more.

If Quirrellmort's plan succeeds, Harry as we know him will cease to exist. Voldemort will go on in triumph -- as Harry Potter, the boy who destroyed Voldemort twice over. Harry will be the beloved hero of magical Britain -- and Voldemort inside.

I suggest Quirrellmort's top priority is to turn Harry fully Dark before the end of the year, so he can safely download into Harry.

Comment author: loserthree 28 March 2012 03:05:05PM *  3 points [-]

I only mean to add credibility to your theory when I say that it has been plausible for seventeen months: scroll down to 10/8/10

The author said in an early Author's Note (I think) that someone he knew guessed the main plot from only the mysterious prelude. I'm guessing that person has some special insight that allowed them to just to the right conclusion, probably insight into the kind of story the author would right, possibly based on things that person had recently talked about with the author.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 28 March 2012 06:33:54AM 6 points [-]

Isn't it about time Harry taught Hermione Patronus 2.0?

Comment author: AspiringKnitter 28 March 2012 02:43:11AM 6 points [-]

Looks like the LessWrong readership called it. Both plans, even. Congratulations, people who guessed quicker than I did.

I notice that Harry's view of the Wizengamot as a faceless entity doesn't actually seem to have changed this chapter. So much for that hint.

Also, it would be nice to know which members of the Wizengamot now think Harry is Voldemort and why they think he decided to pretend to die or whatever they think happened.

Comment author: mesilliac 26 March 2012 06:02:18AM 6 points [-]

Has anyone suggested Harry simply giving a long impassioned plea, thus acting as Hermione's missing lawyer? He might be able to sway enough of the voters if he proposes a satisfactory lesser punishment (and passes a rhetoric and/or sophistry skill check). Hagrid was convicted of murder in Hogwarts, and his punishment was having his wand snapped and being expelled.

Comment author: pleeppleep 26 March 2012 08:16:50PM 3 points [-]

Hagrid was convicted in the canon universe which is noticeably different from the world presented in the fic. Hagrid was convicted at least 35 years before Voldemort started causing trouble and plunging the wizarding world into chaos. Most of all, Hagrid was fortunate enough NOT to piss off Lucius Malfoy. So there's no reason for that example to be particularly relevant to Hermione's predicament.

Comment author: mesilliac 26 March 2012 10:33:47PM 3 points [-]

Hagrid's story seems to be unchanged, and Harry is aware of it - he was told he was responsible for getting the conviction overturned and the wand returned. The point is more that Lucius Malfoy doesn't directly control the Wizengamot. His main tool at this trial seems to be rhetoric, drumming up righteous indignation and playing the part of the aggrieved Noble. If Harry stops focusing on Lucius and in stead focuses on the individual voters, he can find arguments to sway different sections.

Hagrid's case sets a precedent which makes it obvious the Wizengamot is playing to a double-standard in this case, but he would certainly have to come up with more arguments. Another point he could make is that Hermione had no motive. Another is that her behaviour before the event was completely out of character. He has Hermione right there, and veritaserum on hand, so if he asked her the right questions under veritaserum he could probably find out about the huge chunk of missing time she has in her memory - good evidence that she was psychologically manipulated.

Comment author: wirov 26 March 2012 11:30:22PM 3 points [-]

if [Harry] asked [Hermione] the right questions under veritaserum he could probably find out about the huge chunk of missing time she has in her memory

What huge chunk of time is missing from her memory?

The only moments she misses are (according to Harry's theory) * the moment in which she remembers seeing Draco and Snape plotting against her, which was implanted by a FMC and removed after the duel (leaving all the true but misleading memories of being furious at Draco in place) * and a short time intervall after the duel, where the false memories of her performing the Blood Cooling charm were inserted.

In addition, we can assume that these memory charms were very precisely executed because of their utmost importance to the plan. Thus, even the transitions between these false memories and the true memories surrounding them would probably be unnoticable. (Remember, a legilimency expert already checked her.)

(Of course, there is also the Groundhog Day incident when she really lost a huge chunk of time – but it's not related to this event in any way that's obvious to Harry. I'm not aware of any evidence that he even knows about that.)

Comment author: pleeppleep 27 March 2012 12:43:49AM 2 points [-]

Most of those points were already brought up and ignored. Everyone at the "trial" came in knowing exactly which way to vote, and Harry doesn't have time to alter their individual opinions. Its pretty clear that if Hermione had never come into contact with Harry, but still wound up in the same situation (inexplicably) things would be very different. Although I do like how you're idea calls back the opening to the chapter. Also, Harry just talking makes for kinda poor drama. Where getting close to the climax of this section and I'd be pretty surprised if it ended with Harry getting to know the members of the Wizengamot, but i could be wrong.

Comment author: 75th 27 March 2012 01:49:18AM *  14 points [-]

I just penned a few thoughts on maintaining proper pessimism about Methods's future. (I also teased Eliezer and, indirectly, Less Wrong commenters a bit. It's all tongue-in-cheek and in a spirit of friendship.)

If anyone can think of a better title for that post, do let me know. I couldn't come up with a pithy Rationalist phrase that quite fit it.

Comment author: Locke 27 March 2012 03:30:31AM 3 points [-]

I think things could end up worse than that. Harry's solution, whatever it may be, could well tip off Lucius that he is not in fact Voldemort. And once he's got Hermione out, Lord Malfoy would go after this first-year hard, before he can grow up. A few threats to a few parents and Harry and Hermione will find themselves seized by five seventh-years and portkeyed to Malfoy Manor.

Comment author: DanArmak 27 March 2012 08:49:24PM 2 points [-]

But Harry is in fact Voldemort - in a certain unconscious sense.

Lucius decided that he is Harrymort because of Harry's reply to Quirrel's Christmas speech, but he would never have thought about it if the preexisting Harry Potter - Voldemort connection had not brought the hypothesis to mind. And that connection, the hints that make up the real majority of the evidence for the Harrymort hypothesis, is made of true evidence.

If Lucius now came to disbelieve in Harrymort, he would not be discarding a completely false hypothesis.

Comment author: Vaniver 27 March 2012 03:49:58AM 3 points [-]

Through the Author’s Notes we’ve seen his struggle in motivating himself to write new chapters in a timely manner. This happens to everyone when a fun project becomes an obligation to people, and even at his Rationality Level he is not immune.

Rationality is the technique that turns motivations into plans. It is not a technique to generate motivation, except very indirectly.

Comment author: wedrifid 27 March 2012 10:15:15AM 3 points [-]

Rationality is the technique that turns motivations into plans. It is not a technique to generate motivation, except very indirectly.

Strongly disagree. Maintaining and managing motivation should be built into any practical plan for trying to achieve a goal. This applies both in the abstract sense (all rational agents will self modify so that they more effectively achieve their goals) and as a ubiquitous consideration in human rational planning.

Comment author: Vaniver 27 March 2012 06:25:06PM *  2 points [-]

Maintaining and managing motivation should be built into any practical plan for trying to achieve a goal.

This is what I meant by "very indirectly."

[edit] "Very" might have been an overstatement; it probably should have just been "indirectly."

Comment author: Pringlescan 27 March 2012 05:25:20AM 3 points [-]

Hmm I don't think that's a very good description. Rationality means setting rational goals to accomplish what you actually want, and then understanding the world around you and yourself well enough to systematically and logically accomplish those goals. It would certainly include studying yourself to understand how to generate motivation.

Comment author: Vaniver 27 March 2012 06:27:11PM 2 points [-]

Rationality means setting rational

That sounds circular to me.

goals to accomplish what you actually want, and then understanding the world around you and yourself well enough to systematically and logically accomplish those goals.

That sounds like turning motivations (i.e. goals) into plans.

It would certainly include studying yourself to understand how to generate motivation.

Indeed, as an indirect step.

Comment author: major 27 March 2012 08:22:48AM 5 points [-]

As we know, Harry's idea of double memory-charm has not been presented to the Wizengamot, which is a good thing; not only is it low status, as Harry realized, it's also unlikely to work, as Snape pointed out. Also, that's not what happened.

Hermione has been told the right lie, to lead her through the right emotions - a growing suspicion towards Draco, mainly - and then she was Obliviated, and told the same lie over again, went through the same emotions again, and again. If the sense of disorientation isn't a problem, she could have been looped through just the final, triggering sentence. Comulative effects had left her with the reoccuring thoughts and nagging doubts, the obsession we were told about. Even the idea of confronting Draco at the next battle, or keeping her doubts to herself could have been planted this way.

Hopefully it will be seen as a typical Voldemort-like cleverness by enough of the Wizengamot for the rest to work. In fact, redirecting Lucius's anger towards the real perpetrator should be doable, and most of his faction (politics!) would be eager to accept Harry's suggestion that Dumbledore was foolish enough to let an agent of the Dark Lord teach at Hogwarts - I doubt it would be a good idea to reveal the truth too early.

Quirrell, who, I think, is still held within the Ministry, will be brought for questioning, and revealed to be Voldemort. Whether it will be his power or the Bystander Effect (the title of the next trigger warning page) that holds the Wizengamot back long enough, I don't know. Actually, a single threat could make most of them hesitate long enough... Than, just as planned, he tries to kill Harry, explodes, then it's cheers and Butterbeers all 'round.

Harry will choose to cooperate with this plan because he will see it's aim wasn't to kill his friends - Draco could have been left for dead, and wasn't - and because he doesn't have five days to think of anything else.

It would be a serious change in the story and, with Quirrell gone, he couldn't fulfill his promise of both Slytherin and Ravenclaw winning the House Cup - but these things would not motivate Voldemort to pass on this opportunity, I think.

Comment author: shminux 26 March 2012 01:00:44AM 5 points [-]

My prediction (80% certainty) is that the cliffhanger resolution will not have been guessed here or in the chapter reviews.

Comment author: Grognor 26 March 2012 02:46:18AM *  4 points [-]

http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6170

(Also, are you really willing to trudge through all the reviews to test your prediction?)

Comment author: jkaufman 26 March 2012 06:37:05PM 2 points [-]

Afterwards someone who got it right might crow some.

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 25 March 2012 01:47:39PM 5 points [-]

Can we add a link in the article heading to discussion section eleven?

Comment author: gRR 26 March 2012 02:55:14AM *  18 points [-]
  1. Dumbledore believes that Voldemort is at large.
  2. And that he's probably responsible for Hermione's troubles.
  3. And that he can possess people.
  4. And that Quirrell is under heavy suspicion, both as a Defense Professor and directly in this case.
  5. And Dumbledore still looks for Tom Riddle elsewhere.
  6. And he doesn't hold the Idiot Ball (because no one in this fic does).

I notice I am confused.

Comment author: matheist 26 March 2012 03:27:46AM 17 points [-]

We, the readers, know directly about lots of evil things Quirrell has done (e.g. kill Skeeter, break Bellatrix out of prison). We have also used this knowledge to guess at nefarious motives in other, less obvious, cases: like guessing that he was trying to dement Harry, or guessing that he is Hat&Cloak, or guessing that he is constantly manipulating Harry for his own ends.

Dumbledore has access to none of this knowledge. To Dumbledore, Quirrell is an exceptional teacher of Battle Magic who has the interests of the students at heart. He does not appear to take part in politics, with the exception of his pro-unification speech after the battle in the lake.

Dumbledore thinks that Voldemort is "less than spirit, less than the meanest ghost." The ancient tales he found speak of "wizards possessed, doing mad deeds, claiming the names of Dark Lords thought defeated."

The two pictures don't fit together — Quirrell is not doing mad deeds nor claiming the name of the Dark Lord. It's true that Dumbledore knows Tom Riddle was exceptionally brilliant, but I don't think it's idiotic of him to not guess that maybe the old tales of past dark lords only told of the stupid ones, and that Riddle's style of possession would be different.

Comment author: RobertLumley 26 March 2012 04:27:25AM 12 points [-]

Wait, killing Skeeter was evil?

I was under the impression that that created a tremendous dose of positive utility for pretty much everyone. Readers included.

Comment author: Serpentsong 26 March 2012 04:58:06AM *  26 points [-]

Erm, I have to say I'm a bit horrified by some of the reviews celebrating the death of Rita Skeeter. I know I didn't exactly write her as a sympathetic character, but consider yourselves lucky that the story's tone at this point didn't allow it, or Rita Skeeter would have two daughters attending Hogwarts, and the next scene would be Professor McGonagall calling them into her office to let them know that their mother went out on an assignment and never came back. I actually wrote some of that as a possible Omake. Maybe I'll finish it later.

Another possible Omake would be the scene in Mary's Room from Rita's point of view, her slight nervousness when Professor Quirrell mentioned having sealed the room, her sudden start when Professor Quirrell talked about tiny Animagi, her relief at hearing him say he wouldn't test for it, coupled with a growing fear that he already knew and was toying with her, followed by the shock of realizing that she had, somehow, been fooled by evidence that should have been unforgeable, knowing that she had to run before Lucius found her, run as fast as possible, but she was trapped in the room, listening to the words that Professor Quirrell made Harry repeat and suspecting with growing horror that she'd been righter in her article than she knew, her sudden frantic crawl as the waitress knocked and she realized that the door was about to open to let her out, and then her life ending so quickly that there wasn't even time to shift, just a single instant of realization before the crunch.

Maybe I'm just too sensitive, maybe it's just that as the author you live the life of every character in your stories, but I don't think Rita Skeeter was bad enough to deserve what, um, I did to her.

Author's notes for chapter 27.

Comment author: faul_sname 26 March 2012 04:52:23PM 6 points [-]

Rita Skeeter deserving it and her death being a positive net utility to everyone are two very different things. I doubt, however, that her existence actually was a net negative, considering that she's simply fulfilling peoples' need for gossip, and if not her, someone else will.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 26 March 2012 05:42:17PM 4 points [-]

Can you clarify what you mean to imply by the distinction between someone deserving death, and someone's death being a positive net-utility shift for everyone?

Comment author: faul_sname 26 March 2012 05:58:58PM 6 points [-]

Certainly. If someone deserves death, that means that it is good for them to die, even if their death does not serve any further purpose. The death penalty is given to those who "deserve" to die.

In order for it to be a positive net utility for someone to die, the consequences of their living simply have to be worse than the consequences of their death. If someone has a stress-induced breakdown and goes on a shooting spree, it is better to kill them than not to kill them (by killing them you are averting more deaths), despite them not "deserving" to die in any meaningful sense.

Comment author: Gabriel 26 March 2012 06:54:35PM *  8 points [-]

The idea of someone deserving death in itself is deontological (some people must be punished and that's a rule) while talking about the net utility of whatever is consequentialist. Ethics should be impersonal (that is, treat everyone equally) so a consequentialist ethical system that doesn't approve of death in general should never approve of a death of any single person as an end in itself.

Generally, it seems to me that for a consequentialist, talking about an act or a person being evil should only be computational shortcuts over the real substance of moral reasoning (which consists of assigning utility to world-states). Like in the common example of an airplane that we describe using aerodynamics because that's convenient even though really it runs on the same fundamental laws as everything else. We tend to use those shortcuts reflexively without really thinking what we are trying to say in consequentialist terms.

Comment author: faul_sname 26 March 2012 07:20:29PM 2 points [-]

This.

Of course, the deontological view does have its place, specifically where it precommits to punishing undesirable behaviors even if there is no benefit to doing so after the behavior has occurred.

Comment author: ahartell 26 March 2012 11:41:32PM *  4 points [-]

But would you want to "[punish] undesirable behaviors even if there is no benefit to doing so after the behavior has occurred"?

I would want to pre-commit to punishing criminals after the fact if I thought this would lead to a world where the pos-util of averted crime outweighed the neg-util of punishing people, but not if there were no benefit, and I would be doing this on consequentialist grounds. (I'm basically asking if the deontological view truly "has its place' in this scenario.)

Comment author: thomblake 27 March 2012 06:43:32PM 1 point [-]

Ethics should be impersonal

Some disagree. And beware of "should" statements regarding "ethics".

Comment author: Alsadius 26 March 2012 06:05:02AM 11 points [-]

It's really easy to feel a total lack of empathy for fictional characters, especially if they're the sort that nobody likes. I don't actually want to murder hack journalists, but it's pretty funny to do when there's no real human dying.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 27 March 2012 03:34:15AM 2 points [-]

Killing Skeeter is about the only truly questionable action of Quirrellmort that I can remember.

Even here, I find it hard to hold it against Quirrell. Rita made a career of libeling others, blithely unconcerned about the harm she caused to their lives. In fact, she seemed rather smug and self satisfied about exercising that power. Quirrell even confronted her and asked her to stop. She had a chance and chose not to take it. She was destroyed in the act of her preferred crime by the person she intended to harm.

I suppose I have a bit of Quirrell in me. He takes a grim satisfaction in the poetry of citizens being destroyed in the same prisons they demanded be built. The word for that is justice. A harsher justice than I'd want to seen meted out, but justice nevertheless. I wouldn't have squashed Skeeter, but I can't condemn Quirrell for it either.

And yes, Skeeter likely had children who would miss her. Just as good people have some bad, bad people have some good. Recognizing that the world is not black and white shouldn't stop you from seeing that some grays really are darker than others.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 27 March 2012 03:37:38AM 9 points [-]

I suppose I have a bit of Quirrell in me. He takes a grim satisfaction in the poetry of citizens being destroyed in the same prisons they demanded be built. The word for that is justice. A harsher justice than I'd want to seen meted out, but justice nevertheless. I wouldn't have squashed Skeeter, but I can't condemn Quirrell for it either.

I would just like to point out the unintentional irony in that paragraph.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 27 March 2012 05:53:48PM 2 points [-]

Was it Quirrell or Voldemort who wiped out the martial arts school?

Comment author: DanArmak 26 March 2012 08:51:10AM 6 points [-]

Wait, breaking out Bellatrix was evil?

Comment author: drethelin 26 March 2012 02:26:40PM 9 points [-]

If you assume that Quirrel is Voldemort, then either he was lying and Bellatrix was just flat-out evil, or he MADE Bellatrix the way she is and presumably his motives for breaking her out have less to do with healing her and more to do with freeing his evil minion. It's possible Riddle's body had some sort of neurological problem that made him psychotic, which Quirrel does not share, making him regret his past actions, but I think this is unlikely and that he's still just evil.

Comment author: RobertLumley 26 March 2012 04:52:40PM *  4 points [-]

I don't think anyone in HPMOR is "just evil". Just like no one is "just good".

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 26 March 2012 07:12:23PM 19 points [-]

Dementors are just evil. Fawkes is just good.

Comment author: Alsadius 27 March 2012 12:30:12AM 16 points [-]

The problem is, Fawkes fits a little too well into the Spaceballs maxim - "Evil will always prevail, because good is dumb". Fawkes certainly has a purity of intent that'd put any of the human characters to shame, but the consequences are not always quite so good as would be hoped.

(Incidentally, the comparison you drew makes me notice something - if Harry is searching for eternal life, there's a path to resurrection that neither MoR!Harry nor canon!Voldemort has noticed - phoenixes seem pretty good at that sort of thing. Mentioning them as an absolute contrast to dementors makes me wonder just how strong an antithesis they actually are, and if that might be an answer.)

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 28 March 2012 12:22:31PM *  2 points [-]

Fawkes certainly has a purity of intent that'd put any of the human characters to shame, but the consequences are not always quite so good as would be hoped.

This is not a problem. Dementors are also not particularly cunning; there are other players.

Comment author: glumph 26 March 2012 03:20:30AM 5 points [-]

Well, considering Quirrell is in custody, it can't hurt to look elsewhere. If Dumbledore doesn't bring Quirrell under heavy interrogation of his own after he is released, then I will be confused.

Comment author: pedanterrific 26 March 2012 05:47:16AM *  7 points [-]

So the question is, does Quirrell know that the Map exists / is possible? If he does, either he's already beaten it or he can't risk ever going back to Hogwarts. If not, he's about to get caught by Dumbledore in the seat of his power while weakened.

I would be a little annoyed if Quirrell's circumvented the Map- it would be way more impressive if he arranged for the Great Quidditch Reform plus Ravenclaw and Slytherin winning the House Cup from outside Hogwarts.

Comment author: glumph 26 March 2012 06:00:28AM *  5 points [-]

Edit: I am wrong.

What will Quirrell display as on the Map? One would think that, if the Map read "VOLDEMORT", the Weasley twins would have figured it out. (There's an analogous, hilarious, inconsistency in canon; how did the twins never see Peter Pettigrew sleeping in Ron's bed?)

If Voldemort did steal Quirrell's body rather than use Polyjuice, he might just appear on the map as "Quirrell".

Comment author: Anubhav 26 March 2012 02:59:26PM 11 points [-]

(There's an analogous, hilarious, inconsistency in canon; how did the twins never see Peter Pettigrew sleeping in Ron's bed?)

What makes you think they didn't?

</humor>

(The obvious answer to this inconsistency is that they had no reason to spy on their brother/the first-years' dorm, but... He used to be Percy's rat. They never spied on Percy? BS.)

Comment author: pedanterrific 26 March 2012 06:10:06AM *  10 points [-]

It wouldn't read Voldemort in any case; Dumbledore expects, and I have no reason to expect otherwise, that Voldemort would show up as Tom Riddle.

The Twins' POV mentions two errors in the Map, one constant and one intermittent. If Quirinus Quirrell sometimes (maybe whenever he's out of zombie-mode) reads as Tom Riddle, that would be the intermittent one, and if Quirrell and Riddle were constantly superimposed, that would be the constant. The Twins wouldn't necessarily think this was extremely suspicious; if they looked it up, they'd find a Tom Riddle was Head Boy in 1945, and nothing after that. (His identity wasn't common knowledge.)

Of course, both of those ideas have the problem that if Dumbledore ever talks to the Twins about the Map, the jig's up. So another possibility is that Quirrell did something (to himself or possibly the Map) to keep his name from showing on it correctly. If Quirrell's name is constantly (or only when out of zombie-mode) scrambled or blurred into illegibility, that would work too.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 26 March 2012 06:07:48AM 3 points [-]

Possibly "Tom Riddle".

Comment author: Bugmaster 28 March 2012 02:19:21AM 2 points [-]

Well, considering Quirrell is in custody...

Is he really ? It seems to me like he's merely enjoying some R&R. Once he's done relaxing, he will Obliviate (or possibly just annihilate) the Auror, get up from his chair, stretch, and warp out of that room to the next destination on his agenda.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 25 March 2012 01:25:25PM 4 points [-]

Is it conceivable that Hermione will spend time in Azkaban without protection from Dementors, and the story will have to build from there?

Anyone know whether HPMOR has gotten any academic attention?

Comment author: anotherblackhat 25 March 2012 04:12:23PM 8 points [-]

Is it conceivable that Hermione will spend time in Azkaban without protection from Dementors ...

It's not reasonable that Hermione would be unprotected. Everyone in the order of the phoenix knows how to cast a patronus and send it to someone else, and Harry could do a lot more than just protect her from Dementors if it came to that. Plus the chief auror has already said that the aurors wouldn't stand for a 12 year old being exposed to Azkaban, about the only way I can see Hermione being in Azkaban is with 24/7 patronus guards. Anything else leads to open revolt.

I can't conceive of something being inconceivable.

Comment author: DanArmak 25 March 2012 04:36:23PM 9 points [-]

Well if she's going to spend 10 years like that, better turn it into an Occupy Azkaban movement and bring in lots of books so she can study and a Floo portal so she can talk to her friends and she'll tele-graduate Hogwarts with all honors.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 25 March 2012 09:00:30PM 4 points [-]

Everyone in the order of the phoenix knows how to cast a patronus and send it to someone else,

Surely if that were an option, the families of those in Azkaban would have been doing the same already. I'd go along with Quirrell on this - no one but Harry would stick their neck out for Hermione. She doesn't even have wizarding family.

Plus the chief auror has already said that the aurors wouldn't stand for a 12 year old being exposed to Azkaban,

Lucius implied that those who wouldn't stand for it would be replaced, and that shut Bones up. I don't see open revolt by anyone but Harry.

Comment author: gwern 25 March 2012 01:34:06PM 7 points [-]
Comment author: Anubhav 25 March 2012 04:28:20PM 9 points [-]

How on earth does the abstract relate to the putative topic?

Comment author: gwern 25 March 2012 04:32:25PM 12 points [-]

Yes, that is the question! Congratulations, you have won our Daily Double!

Comment author: DanArmak 25 March 2012 06:49:23PM 4 points [-]

Some kind of database mixup. Note that the pubmed link is to an unrelated article with a different abstract.

Comment author: Locke 26 March 2012 04:50:55AM 10 points [-]

Whatever the hell happens, it has to end with a snap.

Comment author: wirov 25 March 2012 01:25:04PM 10 points [-]

Short detour back to chapter 79, to look closely at the night's events:

At midnight, Draco and Hermine meet for the duel. (Let's assume they did have a duel, because implanting very believable (but still false) memories into both of their brains would take about twice the time of the duel and would thus be unnecessary work.) Let's assume that the duell takes about 15 to 20 minutes, so it's now 12:20am. Enter Mister X. Mister X stuns Draco, implants false memories (< 1 min) into Hermione's brain of her doing the Blood-Cooling Charm, and finally performs the Blood-Cooling Charm on Draco in a way to make sure he survives for >6 hours. Mister X is back in his room at 12:30am and needs to wait 6 hours (plus epsilon) until all traces leading to him have vanished.

And guess what:

At 6:33am, Quirinus Quirrell had Flooed St. Mungo's from his office for immediate pickup of Draco Malfoy.

Some Bayesian updating on P(Quirrell did it | Quirrell found Draco at 6:33am) tells us that this increases the probability of "Quirrell did it" by a quite noticeable amount.

OTOH, I'm not sure whether it would be okay to just do the math, without taking into account the possibility that Eliezer chose that time deliberately to steer us in a certain direction. Any thoughts on that?

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 25 March 2012 01:38:46PM 17 points [-]

My model of EY says that he would want the evidence he gave us to point to the true culprit--more evidence ought to make finding who did it easier, not harder. If EY chose that time deliberately to point at Quirrell, it's further evidence that Quirrell did it.

Comment author: faul_sname 26 March 2012 04:03:46AM 4 points [-]

And his comment to the effect that he doesn't intentionally mislead readers, made about 4 hours after this one, implies that it may have been in reference to the above hypothesis.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 27 March 2012 04:55:27PM 7 points [-]

Sticking my neck out with a prediction, at the eleventh hour: I think that 1) the most likely solution of any proposed is that Harry will call in the debts owed to him by some of the Wizengamot members, 2) the true culprit behind the duel, GHD attack, and possible other mind-magic will eventually be revealed but not necessarily in this chapter, and that 3) it's probably Quirrel. Note that this shouldn't be taken as one giant conjunction, just three independent predictions.

Comment author: pedanterrific 27 March 2012 05:09:34PM 4 points [-]

Sticking my neck out with a prediction, at the eleventh hour: I think that 1) the most likely solution of any proposed is that Harry will call in the debts owed to him by some of the Wizengamot members, 2) the true culprit behind the duel, GHD attack, and possible other mind-magic will eventually be revealed but not necessarily in this chapter, and that 3) it's probably Quirrel. Note that this shouldn't be taken as one giant conjunction, just three independent predictions.

Comment author: pedanterrific 27 March 2012 08:01:27PM 2 points [-]

Another prediction that I forgot to put the first time:

Even if Harry's solution is not to call in his debts, it will not be violent, it will involve wizarding law and/or tradition, and Hermione and Harry will go back to school (as opposed to being fugitives/"off the grid").

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 27 March 2012 04:57:19PM 3 points [-]

Oh, and can someone reply to the parent with a copy of it so I can't edit my prediction after the fact? Thanks.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 27 March 2012 05:09:12PM *  3 points [-]

Besides FAWS' suggestion of just not editing your comment, and so it lacking an asterisk you can also use predictionbook to record such predictions ( http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6147 and http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6148 are relevant to your first prediction )

Comment author: FAWS 27 March 2012 05:02:20PM 3 points [-]

If you keep refraining from editing it the comment won't display the asterisk after the positing time signifying that the comment has been edited, so people will know you made the prediction at the posting time.

Comment author: [deleted] 26 March 2012 05:43:04AM 7 points [-]

Where do prophecies come from?

  • The idea of Time itself designating some people and events as Important and composing vague poetry about them is incompatible with a universe that runs on simple physical laws and is obviously nonsense. Doubly so if those laws are actually timeless. I hope I can state this unequivocally.

  • If Eliezer wants to teach his readers that a hero can be anyone with the talent, courage, and conscientiousness to do what's right, that there are no auras of destiny, that heroes choose themselves, then he can't actually have the planet's operating system, the Source of Magic, amputating the characters' destinies by choosing which ones to promote to Power User status. Even if it has a naturalistic explanation, a story whose heroes are ordained by fate would teach the same lessons as Star Wars. While David Brin is reading it. And Eliezer wouldn't do that, right?

Dunno.

  • Depending on where you draw the line, anywhere from four to six false prophets have now appeared in the story. I assumed they were there to prime you - really, beat you over the head - with the idea that prophecies can be human fabrications. But perhaps Eliezer just likes to repeat himself.

  • Similarly, the repetition of Grindelwald's name should be priming us to accept his subsequent appearance in the story and not find it arbitrary or contrived. Chapter 42 is utterly pointless except as foreshadowing of his motivation for returning. If Trelawney's prophecies have a human author, it should be someone who can play at the same level as Dumbledore and Voldemort, but not be one of the prophecies' dupes. Grindelwald is the only available candidate. It fits the rhythm of the story, which is pounded out with falling anvils: Harry being forced to fight Voldemort and Grindelwald at the same time is the sort of escalation of challenge he faces routinely. It's a reasonable guess.

But there's nothing connecting Grindelwald to prophecy. And I was wrong the last time I guessed at his role in the story, trying to shoehorn him into Voldemort's superfluous second secret identity, Mr Hat and Cloak. So I don't know. Where do prophecies come from?

Comment author: see 26 March 2012 10:30:36PM 14 points [-]

Even if it has a naturalistic explanation, a story whose heroes are ordained by fate would teach the same lessons as Star Wars. While David Brin is reading it.

I note that Brin has to try to explain away the climax of RotJ in order to support his contention as to what the lesson of Star Wars is, and that his contention has gotten weaker over time with the prequels.

The actual story of the Star Wars films is how every Force-user in the whole galaxy was defeated by a handful of scoundrels over a period of less than thirty years. The prequels tell how the Jedi were wiped out by non-force-using clones of the bounty hunter Jango Fett. Then the fate of the first Death Star was not decided by the relative Force power of Vader and Luke, but by smuggler Han Solo shooting Vader's spacecraft. Finally, last movie has the second Death Star destroyed by that same smuggler's force taking down a force shield on Endor and his con-man buddy flying his smuggling ship into the Death Star II and blowing it up.

That is, we have a whole series of six movies that, as a whole, show Force-users reduced from the most important force in the Galaxy to one survivor (who doesn't even lead a faction) by the acts of common criminals, and David Brin denounces it because he somehow concludes that the message of the movies was pro-Force Aristocracy.

A better analysis is that David Brin is a great believer in administration by organized, trained, expert bureaucrats only nominally constrained by the opinion of the demos (see his denunciations of the elected Geroge W. Bush imposing policy preferences on the unelected civil service), and so vastly prefers bureaucratic experts to be the heroes (like in Star Trek) to one where disreputable and even criminal rebels are the heroes. With that emotional reaction in place, he then looked for features in the Star Wars saga that could respectably justify his opinions, and when he noticed that Star Wars was actually a subversion of those tropes, decides that Lucas must have done the subversion by accident.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 26 March 2012 08:48:32AM 10 points [-]

The idea of Time itself designating some people and events as Important and composing vague poetry about them is incompatible with a universe that runs on simple physical laws and is obviously nonsense.

What makes you so sure the HPMoR universe is reductionist and/or runs on simple physical laws?

HPMoR is a rationalist story, not necessary a reductionist story. A true rationalist must be willing to update against even reductionism, if the evidence leads there.

Comment author: [deleted] 26 March 2012 09:14:15AM *  4 points [-]

It's the fundamental simplicity and regularity of the universe that allows the basic tools of rationality to work at all. Reality is laced together too tightly to permit a world where 'muggle science' can function but Occam's Razor isn't reliable. Eliezer couldn't teach his brand of rationality with a universe that ran on genre tropes instead of particle physics.

ETA: Okay, he could try, but it would be a mistake. And I know that he knows this, because I learned it from him.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 26 March 2012 09:48:56AM 8 points [-]

Eliezer couldn't teach his brand of rationality with a universe that ran on genre tropes instead of particle physics.

Well, to some extent yeah, I guess. If SPHEW's plan to tie up Harry and drag him alongside as a bait to "Adventures" had worked, then Hermione giving up on reason might have had merit.

But that (genre tropes vs particle physics) is a rather false dichotomy. I can imagine a fictional universe which designates pieces of knowledge as fundamental entities, and can therefore designate "importance" on events, based on how many people will come to know of them, and can throw back pieces of knowledge through Seers.

It's not our universe, but that would still be a universe one could attempt to sensibly reason about -- and I think that's the sort of different universe that Eliezer would find fun to write about.

In short, I don't share your model of Eliezer.

Comment author: [deleted] 26 March 2012 08:03:18PM *  2 points [-]

Alright then. I don't understand how your non-reductionist universe works at all - how do the ideas interact with the people? Are the people made of anything? - and I don't believe that the person who wrote this

People who live in reductionist universes cannot concretely envision non-reductionist universes. They can pronounce the syllables "non-reductionist" but they can't imagine it.

would set a story intended to teach rationality inside a universe he believes he's physically incapable of imagining. But I'm happy to just wait and see.

Comment author: thomblake 27 March 2012 06:53:58PM *  6 points [-]

If Eliezer wants to teach his readers that a hero can be anyone with the talent, courage, and conscientiousness to do what's right, that there are no auras of destiny, that heroes choose themselves, then he can't actually have the planet's operating system, the Source of Magic, amputating the characters' destinies by choosing which ones to promote to Power User status.

The problem is, talent, courage, and conscientiousness also come from the genetic lottery.

Anyone can be a hero. Sorry, I meant anyone born with the capacity for great intelligence, probably functioning limbs, and not born into abject poverty. With the magic gene.

Comment author: [deleted] 28 March 2012 12:41:30AM 6 points [-]

My overriding belief here is that the lessons of HPMoR won't contradict those of the Sequences. It's an author-acknowledged Author Tract, and the author will want his readers to learn beneficial habits of thought. Like "The answer will probably turn out to be compatible with naturalism and reductionism, so that's where you should be looking." And this one.

The problem is, talent, courage, and conscientiousness also come from the genetic lottery.

Yes, you need to be genetically gifted to achieve great things. From Einstein's Superpowers:

But in the modern world, yes, not everyone has the potential to be Einstein.

Still... how can I put this...

But you also need to overcome the purely psychological barrier of believing that the people who achieve greatness are selected by fate, a race apart from common mortals.

The point being, the problem is not that you need an aura of destiny and the aura of destiny is missing. If you'd met Albert before he published his papers, you would have perceived no aura of destiny about him to match his future high status. He would seem like just another Jewish genius.

This is not because the royal birthright is concealed, but because it simply is not there. It is not necessary. There is no separate magisterium for people who do important things.

I say this, because I want to do important things with my life, and I have a genuinely important problem, and an angle of attack, and I've been banging my head on it for years, and I've managed to set up a support structure for it; and I very frequently meet people who, in one way or another, say: "Yeah? Let's see your aura of destiny, buddy."

If Harry Potter is the Chosen One in addition to just being a genius, Eliezer will have reinforced the false belief he's argued against here, giving people another reason to think, "You want to save the world like Harry Potter? Let's see your prophecy, buddy."

I think it's more likely he'll subvert this prophecy business, hard. I'm surprised more people don't agree.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 27 March 2012 03:44:53AM 5 points [-]

Where do prophecies come from?

According to my preferred storyline, of Voldemort purposely "losing" to the baby Harry, they could come from Voldemort.

Comment author: pedanterrific 27 March 2012 12:09:59PM 3 points [-]

Didn't we get a Trelawney POV of her not-quite-getting a prophecy in the middle of the night with no one around? Why would Voldemort set that up?

Comment author: bramflakes 26 March 2012 06:38:50PM 3 points [-]

But it's pretty well established that having Power User status is genetic.

Comment author: aladner 28 March 2012 02:32:23AM 3 points [-]

Of course now there is the matter of paying back the debt. He has several more options than he did before. He could cash in a few more of his imperious-debts (which are each apparently worth 10,000 galleons and a pureblood girl). He could raise an army of dementors as his mob and have wealthy purebloods pay for "protection" (highly unlikely, but his dark side might consider it). Or he could simply conquer magical Britain before he graduates and disregard the debt.

Comment author: SkyDK 28 March 2012 02:59:15AM 8 points [-]

Harry has already figured out quite a few solutions to the monetary problem. The long run (and cheap solution) would be to apply himself and his side to the clearing of Hermione's name. That wouldn't just earn him a 100.000 galleons it would also improve Hermione's political standing, leave Malfoy's (and to a certain extent Dumbledore's) reputation in its currently weakened state plus strengthen his argument against the political structure of Magical Britain. Not to mention he can do all this WHILE having starting his money-making schemes. Though we might as well not care since I seem to recall that the great EY seems to have said that this story ends after the first year of Hogwarts. Regardless: the interesting part is what kind of extra power Lucius has vis-a-vis Harry now.

Comment author: Emile 26 March 2012 12:17:29PM 3 points [-]

My stab at what Harry could do:

As repayment for Hermione's blood debt towards the Malfoy family, he should offer himself - offer to serve the Malfoy family for a year, or until Hermione is cleared of the charge. Accepting this would not be a loss of face for Lucius, and there is already precedent - the way Crabbe and Goyle serve Draco.

Comment author: DanArmak 27 March 2012 09:21:55PM 4 points [-]

Given the Harry-Draco relationship and what Lucius thinks of it, and his belief in Harrymort, he would be insane to let Harrymort inside his household on Harrymort's own suggestion. Keep your enemies close, yes, but outside your fort!

Comment author: glumph 26 March 2012 06:16:11PM 2 points [-]

This feels implausible, but, given that Lucius seems to think that Harry is Voldemort, it would be tempting.

Comment author: Manfred 25 March 2012 02:05:01PM 3 points [-]

Oh, just thought of something. Narcissa's murderer could be not Dumbledore, not Bones, but Voldemort, if she was working as an informant. This gives Dumbledore ample motive to say something like "I killed her" to Luscious, and might be reflected by some sort of evidence kept in Dumbledore's hidey-hole, like a burnt piece of Malfoy-themed jewlery.

Also, can you make a portrait with arbitrary personality traits? How about a self-improving painting factory?

Comment author: taelor 25 March 2012 06:38:21PM 7 points [-]

Even if Dumbledore didn't kill Narcissa, he would still have a motive to take credit for doing so: to discourage Death Eaters from targeting family members of his allies.

Comment author: 75th 28 March 2012 02:23:31AM 6 points [-]
Comment author: anotherblackhat 25 March 2012 11:28:44PM *  6 points [-]

Between chapter 80 and 81, here's my analysis. I can think of seven broad possibilities;

1.) Do nothing
2.) Attack publicly
2b.) Attack publicly in disguise
3.) Stealth attack
4.) Retreat and regroup
5.) Change the board
6.) Deus Ex Machina

1.) Do nothing; I list this simply because people often forget that inaction may be the best possible action. Here, that doesn't seem to be the case. On the other hand, once you realize that sacrifice is necessary, why not give in to the dark side? What's one muggleborn more or less? With proper obliviation Harry can literally forget about Hermione. Plus, the dark side has tasty Hufflepuffs. And cookies.

2.) Attack publicly.
While romantic, this puts Harry into a massive, wasteful, battle with basically all of wizarding Britton.
He's good, but realistically, he'd lose.
Blackmailing the council publicly seems equally pointless. Even if they gave in, it would be disastrous in the long run. On the plus side, this is by far the most dramatic possibility. It's not hard to imagine Harry laying waste to the Dementors essentially freeing all the prisoners, and throwing the wizarding world into complete and utter chaos.

2b.) Attack publicly in disguise. Basically, put on a mask and break Hermione out of custody. Again, several possible ways to do it, but all with the significant drawback of making Hermione a wanted fugitive.

3.) Stealth attack. Harry and Quirrell almost succeeded in getting Bellatrix out without any help and without anyone knowing. With the order and the aurors attempting it, it wouldn't be unimaginable that they could remove Hermione without anyone finding out. On the minus side, Hermione would have to become a non-entity for 10 years, and they'd have to sneak her back in. On the plus side, the comedic potential is enormous. Almost every major character could reasonably have a motive to sneak Hermione out, even the evil ones. Massive Gambit Pileup ensues.

4.) Retreat and regroup The bad part of this is Hemione will be in Azkaban for some amount of time. The good part is that it doesn't result in Harry being at war with magical Britton before he's ready. This probably isn't as bad as it first seems. Many will be outraged by the decision to send a 12 year old girl to Azkaban, including, I bet, Draco Malfoy. Now that the court room acting is over, "Draco" can argue for leniency, and Lucious can soften his heart over the plight of so young a girl who was clearly unaware of the severity of her crime, and blah blah blah. Lucious wants Hermione away from his son, discredited, and wants to stir up the blood purists. All that is accomplished if Hermione is locked up in, say, Nurmengard, and his son vows to stay away from her. Add in a bad publicity campaign smearing the wizingamot "Malfoy says 12 year old girls should be tortured in Azkaban". Harry might even be allowed to visit and banish a few dementors, rather than having to do it clandestinely

5.) Change the board. Determine who really cast the blood chilling charm. Find out who killed Narcissa Malfoy, and give them up. Or the dark path - find someone and give them up as Dracro's assailant/Narcissa's killer, without considering their actual guilt. (Harry could put his minion Lesath Lestrange to good use.) Find something else that Malfoy wants, like say, the philosopher's stone, and give it to him. Become god. All good things to work on, but their timing is not under control, which means this really is a variation of one of the other options with extra work added.

6.) Deus Ex Machina. The author could make anything happen. While it might be that only the author can save them now, it's not something I'd expect the characters to plan for. And I for one would feel cheated if that was the final solution.

Comment author: Celer 26 March 2012 01:16:49AM *  19 points [-]

Chapter 38: Lucius Malfoy claims that he was under an Imperius curse cast by Lord Voldemort. In canon, that claim was made by many powerful pureblood lords.

Chapter 26: Freeing someone from an Imperius curse by killing the caster of that curse creates a debt

Chapter 4: Bounties payable to the killer of Lord Voldemort could be delivered to Harry Potter.

Conclusion: Harry Potter is owed a blood debt by a number of the lords of the Wizengamot, which might be large enough that he could call it in and save Hermione. Even if it is just Lucius who owes him this debt, it could be enough.

Comments: Law of Conservation of Detail leans towards these facts being used, feels very desperate and Harry like, allows Hermione to come back to Hogwarts as a student.

Comment author: DanArmak 26 March 2012 09:11:25AM *  9 points [-]

In canon, that claim was made by many powerful pureblood lords.

Sorry? In canon, many powerful pureblood lords claimed to have killed Voldemort?...

Ah. You mean they claimed to be Imperiused. I'm obscurely disappointed. For a moment I imagined a coalition of Rational Pureblood Lords going around saying "it's ridiculous to believe a baby survived the Killing Curse and killed the Dark Lord, really we ambushed him and left the burned husk of his body".

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 25 March 2012 11:54:51PM 15 points [-]

Eliezer's clue sounds to me as though there's enough people in the Wizingamot whose interests and/or desires aren't served by convicting Hermione, and it's possible to identify them and change their minds once Harry stops thinking of the Wizingamot as a single inimical force. The details are left as an exercise for the student.

Comment author: linkhyrule5 26 March 2012 04:39:40PM 3 points [-]

This seems most consistent with the quote about "Harry's a PC and the Wizengamot are wallpaper; this was about to change."

Comment author: Tuna-Fish 27 March 2012 12:54:52AM 7 points [-]

It would appear that you have not yet learned how to lose. :)

The best, easiest solution available to Harry is to confess.

Even without a wand, de doesn't fear dementors, and dementors fear him. Neither Dumbledore nor Quirrel would be willing to let Harry rot in Azkaban, while they would not break Hermione out.

(I cannot claim credit for this, it was posted on xkcd forums.)

Comment author: gwern 27 March 2012 01:40:25AM 4 points [-]

Everyone's been posting this, and they all don't explain why Lucius, with Hermione's sentence almost a done deal, would accept an Occlumens's testimony.

Comment author: Xachariah 27 March 2012 11:58:09PM *  8 points [-]

I am now convinced (>51%) that Harry is going to sell out Quirrell to buy Hermione's freedom. I originally came to this hypothesis because it is a solid plan; Harry frames Professor Quirrell using his knowledge of Azkaban to free Hermione. He can do this by framing Quirrell as Voldemort, but each conjunction makes a probability less likely so I'll stick with just the above (even though I personally believe this will be the case). With the Watsonian parts hammered down, I'm awestruck by the elegance of the Doylist reasons.

Instead of looking at fiction as a series of words, we can instead look at it as a way to maximize tension, humor, and dramatic irony while keeping believability as strong as possible. Believability is important. Many other stories have their characters act stupid or out of character to create dramatic moments. At the eleventh hour a (badfanfic!)Harry decides to run off instead of get his friends, or randomly (badfanfic!)Hermione decides to side with Lucius for no goddamn reason. In HPMoR's case, we will have everyone working in their own rational self interest, intelligently, and coming out with a result that flows seamlessly to create maximal drama.

Harry falsely (accidentally truthfully) rats out Quirrell to save Hermione. From Harry's point of view he'll be forced to attack a (guilty but he thinks) innocent man who's done nothing but help him. Harry knows that Quirrell offered to fake a Voldemort fight for him (partially easing Harry's guilt), but now he's doing it without his consent. +1 irony for using Quirrell's own plan against him.

From Lucius' point of view he'll have (Harry!)Voldemort lying about the existence of Voldemort to his face. Lucius will inadvertently help Harry by preventing legillimency being done on Harry because Lucius thinks Harry is Voldemort and Voldemort is an occlumens. Even while we and Harry know he's not Voldemort, Lucius will not. And Harry will think that Lucius will be helping Harry because he wants to back out of taking revenge while saving face in front of the Wizengamot. Meanwhile Lucius will merely want to prevent the higher standard of evidence from being admitted and realize he's been outmaneuvered by (who he thinks is) the Dark Lord.

From Quirrell's point of view he'll have enacted a perfect plan to break Harry's 'side of goodness' while having Lucius destroy Dumbledore for him... only to be foiled by that fool boy messing up the plan again. Just like in Azkaban he'll underestimate Harry's need to save others, but in this case it'll take the form of betraying Quirrell. Since Harry is the only person Quirrell has ever liked (or possibly even loved), he can take this opportunity to turn even more evil and declare Harry his mortal enemy etc. It's possible he's even already laid the groundwork to break Hermione out (ex imperius the auror transferring her), but did not think for Harry to fail two of his lessons at once (be willing to lose / avada kedavra lesson in azkaban).

The story will get to use the investments from TSPE, Occlumency training, and Lucius' belief in Harrymort. I'm actually kind of in awe of this. Each one of those flowed naturally to create a believable world and fascinating reading in themselves. But that they can be recycled with such efficiency is amazing. Hopefully it's not just hindsight bias, but I'm seeing threads all the way back 50 chapters woven together. It makes me view Eliezer with a kind of formidableness in storytelling, like the ET Jaynes of fanfiction.

From a narrative point of view, the Voldemort reveal to the world has to occur soon. Voldemort needs to become an adversary to Harry before the final act, and it would require an entire build-up cycle again to make that happen. The Voldemort reveal (to harry) has to occur eventually as well and this preserves it until the very end for maximal drama.

So, in universe it makes sense. Out of universe it creates a beautiful story. I suspect it's too clever a resolution for Eliezer not to write. If I am correct in my guess, remember that Eliezer is a writer maximizing good storytelling and drama, not a writing trying to trick his audience. Plus, no one reading the chapters as a completed book would have ever figured it out, even as the parts flowed seamlessly together.

And if I'm incorrect in my guess.... well I guess I get a great lesson in humility and calibrating confidence.

Comment author: Xachariah 28 March 2012 02:36:11AM 15 points [-]

Ack I am slain.

Well, humble pie is the most delicious type of pie.

Comment author: wedrifid 28 March 2012 12:53:37AM 3 points [-]

I am now convinced (>51%)

Not just >=51%. >51%. That's pretty certain! ;)

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 28 March 2012 12:28:20AM *  2 points [-]

I love your idea. Just reading about it made me want to update downwards my confidence on my own earlier prediction, because indeed yours is narratively very elegant.

I don't think Eliezer will be doing what you suggest, but even if he doesn't I might even be interested in reading a parallel fic/path that follows this suggestion instead...

Comment author: Nominull 26 March 2012 07:01:30AM *  5 points [-]

One thing I don't understand: why is the charge against Hermione that she tried to end the line of a noble house? Wouldn't Lucius be still alive and hypothetically capable of producing another heir? Did Voldemort castrate him while he was "Imperiused"? That would explain why he's so hostile toward him now.

Comment author: Tripitaka 26 March 2012 10:22:23AM 9 points [-]

Maybe Lucius is not so much physiological unable, but psychological unwilling to sire another heir after his Narcissa died a horrendous death?

Comment author: thelittledoctor 25 March 2012 07:25:03PM 4 points [-]

Any ideas on what Harry's going to pull out of hammerspace to save Hermione? My guess is "oh btw every single one of you owes me a lifedebt from that time I KILLED VOLDEMORT. Thus saving Lucius from the quote-unquote Imperius Curse. Pay up plzkthx."

Failing that, I can imagine Harry and Fawkes going on a Dementor-killing spree.

Comment author: smk 28 March 2012 05:30:37AM *  2 points [-]

It's interesting that in Ch 81 Lucius (acted like he) didn't know that Harry can cast a Patronus.

In Ch 79, Dumbledore suggested:

Harry... whatever you have done with Draco, you must assume that Lucius Malfoy will soon know of it."

Harry's head sank into his hands. "He'll give Draco Veritaserum."

But apparently Lucius decided to let Draco keep some privacy.
Or he just hasn't gotten around to fully questioning him under veritaserum yet.
Or he's pretending that he doesn't know that Harry has a Patronus.
Or someone obliviated Draco of this information before Draco was returned to his father.
Or Draco is secretly an occlumens and he just pretended to let the veritaserum work on him.

EDIT: Never mind, there's a comment in the new thread about it.

Comment author: cousin_it 26 March 2012 10:46:11PM *  5 points [-]

It's annoying that the whole fic has been hanging by a thin thread for awhile now for no good reason. When Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape or anyone else finally tells Harry about horcruxes, Harry will figure out in seconds that Quirrell is Voldemort and that Harry himself is a horcrux. (Quirrell told Harry about the Pioneer plaque, and later asked him about secure ways to lose a thing. Harry remembered Voldemort casting the horcrux spell, but filed it away as a "strange word" in Ch.45. Harry's being a horcrux explains his dark side and his sense of doom near Quirrell. Etc.)

Comment author: Kutta 27 March 2012 09:50:44AM *  7 points [-]

I've the impression that Harry actually has some kind of censor inside his head that prevents him from thinking about the sense of doom concerning Quirrel. He is never shown remembering it and reflecting on it, even though it should be a pretty damn conspicuous and important fact. EDIT: not never, as seen below, but the amount of thought he expends on the matter still seems to be weirdly little.

Comment author: DanArmak 27 March 2012 09:07:51PM 7 points [-]

And now that he knows what it means - that his and Quirrel's magics cannot touch each other because they "resonate" - he never tries to research this phenomenon. And he's been told he has the "brother wand" to Voldemort's...

Comment author: pedanterrific 27 March 2012 12:25:16PM *  6 points [-]

Harry started to get up from his chair, then halted. "Um, sorry, I did have something else I wanted to tell you -"

You could hardly see the flinch. "What is it, Mr. Potter?"

"It's about Professor Quirrell -"

"I'm sure, Mr. Potter, that it is nothing of importance." Professor McGonagall spoke the words in a great rush. "Surely you heard the Headmaster tell the students that you were not to bother us with any unimportant complaints about the Defense Professor?"

Harry was rather confused. "But this could be important, yesterday I got this sudden sense of doom when -"

"Mr. Potter! I have a sense of doom as well! And my sense of doom is suggesting that you must not finish that sentence!"

Harry's mouth gaped open. Professor McGonagall had succeeded; Harry was speechless.

ETA: I agree he doesn't pay as much attention to it as it deserves, but given the reaction he got when he brought it up...

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 27 March 2012 01:33:42PM 3 points [-]

I've gotten that impression too. Even if McGonnagal had dissuaded him sufficiently from discussing it with others, shouldn't Harry be attempting to make a list of possible hypotheses to explain to himself said "sense of Doom"?

Comment author: gjm 26 March 2012 11:09:51PM 5 points [-]

It's chapter 43, not 44, in which Harry remembers (if that's what he's really doing) Voldemort's attack on the Potters. I don't see anything there that looks like Harry hearing Voldemort cast the horcrux spell, and there seems to me some evidence that the strange word he had in his mind in chapter 45 was "riddle". (A word which occurs 4 times in each of chapters 45 and 46, the first time in the following context: "The word echoed in his mind again. All right, Harry thought to himself, if the Dementor is a riddle, what is the answer?" -- And of course a word with a bit of other significance in the HPverse.)

Comment author: pedanterrific 26 March 2012 11:04:30PM 4 points [-]

Harry remembered Voldemort casting the horcrux spell, but filed it away as a "strange word" in Ch.45.

Doubt it.

He had regained an impossible memory, for all that the Dementor had made him desecrate it. A strange word kept echoing in his mind. And all of that could be put on hold for later, while the phoenix still shone red and gold beneath the setting sun.

[...]

Harry glanced in the Dementor's direction. The word echoed in his mind again.

All right, Harry thought to himself, if the Dementor is a riddle, what is the answer?

Comment author: beoShaffer 26 March 2012 11:18:57PM 2 points [-]

To be fair, in canon talking about horcruxes was incredibly taboo. Also, while MoR!Harry has done a better job of getting around it most adults in both canons have a tendency to withhold relevant but uncomfortable information from Harry. So it's not that surprising they haven't mentioned it.

Comment author: drnickbone 26 March 2012 10:19:34PM 3 points [-]

Here's a thought:

Lucius Malfoy had listened to this with an impassive face. "Well," Lord Malfoy said after a few moments. A cold gleam lit his eyes. "I had not planned to ask it. But if that is the will of the Wizengamot - then let her pay as any in her place would pay. Let it be Azkaban."

Why not ask Lucius what he was planning to ask for, and offer that? It will have to be better than Azkaban, and yet severe enough to be acceptable to a Malfoy as a way to assuage the blood debt. (The punishment is clearly going to be bad for Hermione, but it maybe buys enough time before Dark Harry can work out what really happened, and close the arc.)

If Lucius can't think of anything else, it will prove that he was intending on Azkaban all along, so has just lied to the Wizengamot; Lucius will be reluctant to admit that, and so will have to come up with something creative on the spot. Maybe Harry will need to withdraw the vow of enmity (what Lucius is really scared of) and vow to protect the line of House Malfoy instead (by which he really means Draco). This will look like a betrayal to Hermione (hence the taboo trade off), but clearly has a better outcome for Hermione.

Comment author: faul_sname 26 March 2012 11:00:56PM 9 points [-]

Why not ask Lucius what he was planning to ask for, and offer that?

Among the darkest of the dark arts is the bargaining technique wherein you demand more than you are actually trying to get, then back down to make your actual demand seem more reasonable. If you go along with this, you will be roped into something you would never have agreed to otherwise. This seems to be what Lucius is doing, and he did it quite masterfully by having his minion propose it. I'm not sure what the best way to handle this technique is, but compromising as if it's fair play probably isn't it.

Comment author: malthrin 26 March 2012 04:01:31PM *  2 points [-]

That description of the line of Merlin at the beginning sure sounded 'sacred'.