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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81

6 Post author: bogdanb 27 March 2012 06:07PM

This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing chapter 81, which should be published later today. The previous thread passed 400 comments as of the time of this writing, so it will pass 500 comments soon after the next chapter is posted, if not before. I suggest refraining from commenting here until chapter 81 is posted; comment in the 12th thread until you read chapter 81. After chapter 81 is posted, I suggest all discussion of previous guesses be kept here, with links to comments in the previous thread.

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.) When posted, chapter 81 should appear here.

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, twelve.

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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 (1097)

Comment author: jimrandomh 27 March 2012 11:10:45PM *  43 points [-]

This is probably not the solution Harry's going to use in Chapter 81 (I'm writing this before it was posted), but a friend and I were discussing it and came up with a possible solution. I decided it would be much more fun as a piece of fanfanfiction rather than an abstract description, so here it is. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing.

Chapter 81b: Alternate Solution

Beyond all panic and despair his mind began to search through every fact in its possession, recall everything it knew about Lucius Malfoy, about the Wizengamot, about the laws of magical Britain; his eyes looked at the rows of chairs, at every person and every thing within range of his vision, searching for any opportunity it could grasp -

And the start of an idea formed - not a plan, but a tiny fragment of one. He spelled out N-O-T-E on his fingers, and, as discretely as he could, drew a piece of paper out from his bag that he did not remember putting there. It read:

"Mess with time if you want!"

And then he heard a loud bang, and another while he was stuffing the note back in his bag, and he looked up to see that a circular piece had pushed out from the wall, (that wall that could've withstood a nuclear explosion), far in the back where no one had been looking. Heads turned in unison to look as four glowing, silver human shapes emerged from the three-foot diameter hole, and began walking down the aisle towards Hermione. No one in the room but Harry and Dumbledore suspected they were Patronuses.

Prime Minister Fudge should have been angry, that magical creatures would dare barge in; but for some reason he couldn't quite place, he was calm. Auror Gawain was too busy casting shield spells to acknowledge how scared he was. Harry had a pretty good idea where this was going, but decided that "confused" was the best expression to wear. Professor McGonagall nearly had a stroke. Lucius Malfoy's angry expression had vanished, leaving his face perfectly blank. His entire row had stood up, and drawn their wands. To his left, five wizards Harry didn't recognize were pointing at the human Patronuses; to his right, seven wizards pointed their wands at Dumbledore.

Lucius himself had his wand, and his gaze, fixed firmly on Harry. For a brief and accidental moment, the boy who thought he was a rock looked back.

Wands too numerous to count followed those glowing figures, as they walked down the aisle towards Hermione. Harry noticed that Fawkes had perched silently on her shoulder, and she was taking slow, deep breaths.

Behind each wand, a wizard thought that someone else ought to do something. A rare upside to the bystander effect, Harry would later note. For the time being, his mind was busy choreographing the movements of four invisible figures, who were definitely not bumping into each other. When the Patronuses had reached the bottom-most platform, where Hermione sat, they stopped, and looked up at Dumbledore's platform.

"Who dares interrupt these proceedings?" Dumbledore's voice boomed out. In fact, he was glad that they had been interrupted, and knew exactly who he was talking to; but as Chief Warlock, he had to express indignance, or else someone else would have gone and done it for him.

This better be good, Harry thought, because I won't be able to think of anything else once I've been anchored.

"We are the Guardians of Merlin", said the first Patronus, in Harry's best impression of a Scottish accent.

"In that case, I yield the floor to the Guardians of Merlin", said Dumbledore. "May I ask why you are here?"

"We were a safeguard created by Merlin, to protect the purity of the Wizengamot. In his wisdom, Merlin set down a list of especially vile deeds; should this assembly should decide to perform one, we awaken. And so we are here."

Lucius turned away from Harry, and towards the front. "Ridiculous. This is no different than the many other times we have punished murderers, and no ghosts or apparitions appeared then." He put a slight emphasis on "ghosts or apparitions". He had no idea what they really were, but there was ample precedent saying ghosts and apparitions weren't allowed to do things.

Harry wondered what lie his future self would tell. Then the second patronus spoke, in exactly the same voice as the first. "It is different, because sending this girl to Azkaban would satisfy the first requirement for a ritual!"

The murmurs stopped. Several members of the audience suddenly noticed the dementor in the room, on a level where they had not noticed it before. Professor McGonagall actually did have a stroke, but it was a small one, of a kind that could be fully repaired by magic later. For a moment, Dumbledore lost himself in his role and forgot that he was speaking to four copies of Harry Potter.

Five seconds passed before Dumbledore broke the silence. "Are you saying that this trial is part of a dark ritual?"

"Yes", said all four patronuses simultaneously, convincing several members of the assembly to abandon the idea that they were all controlled by one person. The figures were new, important, and mysterious. Hermione was no longer salient.

"Do you know who could be behind this?" Dumbledore asked.

Heads turned towards Lucius, who looked around and noted exactly whose heads they were, handling the sudden deluge of important information by recording only the ways in which it differed from what he would have expected. Lucius knew then, that he had to lose; not only was he facing four new and completely unknown pieces, pieces which had been powerful enough to carve a hole in the indestructible wall of the Wizengamot, his own role was looking altogether too suspicious. He looked left, met the eyes of his servant, August Stoessel, and sent a thought.

Two seats left, August stood up and shouted, "It must be Lord Voldemort!" The audience's attention shifted slightly. Lucius decided that four days later, Stoessel - Imperiused and falsely rumored to be a perfect occlumens - would confess to the whole thing, claiming (though no one would believe the last part) to have been Imperiused by Lord Voldemort himself.

Dumbledore looked very disturbed. Onlookers did not find this surprising, but they would have been surprised by the reason, if they knew. Dumbledore had just put the pieces together - Harry had performed an advanced plot, and time turned in spite of his time turner's locked shell, just as he must have done on the day Bellatrix Black broke out of Azkaban.

"Talk of dark rituals is unfit for discussion here", Dumbledore said, a little shakily. "If there are no objections, I believe we can suspend the previous vote and reconvene tomorrow morning, after the Ministry has had a chance to speak with these Guardians. We will vote whether to release or punish Hermione then, with fuller information."

Lucius did not object. He would have a whole day to plan his next move. Harry did not object. He would have a whole day to plan his next move.

The Guardians of Merlins left first, through the strange hole from which they had come. Then the Aurors left, taking Hermione, their patronuses, and the dementor, slightly smaller but still intact. Then the audience left, Harry among them, and he excused himself to go to the bathroom, where he anchored his time turner inside its shell like Quirrell had shown him, and spun the shell twice. Finally Dumbledore left; but he was only two steps out the door when he disillusioned himself, spun his time turner twice, and reentered.

Two hours earlier, an invisible Harry Potter was wandering around the Wizengamot building, first looking for his earlier self so he could place the "Mess with time if you want" note, then looking for the other side of the wall he had seen cut open. He found it in a secluded storeroom, with ten minutes to spare, set down a piece of paper and marked it with a single tally. Soon he was joined by another Harry, who had used his time turner only once, and another, and another. Rather than take off their invisibility cloaks, they announced their arrival by marking the paper with a second, third, and fourth tally.

Dumbledore watched invisibly from inside the Wizengamot chamber as four invisible Harry Potters used partial transfiguration to cut a hole in the wall. He watched invisibly as four Human Patronuses entered the room. And then an invisible Harry Potter bumped into the invisible Dumbledore, changing events from how they were meant to go; and the entire twisted tangle of time loops collapsed into a paradox and never was. Reality would take a different path, one in which Harry chose a simpler solution, one that did not require three things to all happen.

Comment author: DanArmak 28 March 2012 12:24:46AM 1 point [-]

and he excused himself to go to the bathroom, where he spun his time turner twice.

So, you didn't explain how he could do that. Last time it took a spell from Quirrel to hold the shell in place. I'm guessing it's not as simple as holding the shell with one hand and spinning the hourglass inside it.

Also, Harry can't clone (loop) himself four times during the trial if he goes back two hours. That would result in looping himself four times for the time period from 2 to 1 hours before present. To loop himself four times (or he could make it five) during the trial itself, he should go back only one hour.

Comment author: jimrandomh 28 March 2012 12:31:51AM *  4 points [-]

So, you didn't explain how he could do that. Last time it took a spell from Quirrel to hold the shell in place. I'm guessing it's not as simple as holding the shell with one hand and spinning the hourglass inside it.

Quirrell anchored the hourglass with a spell, and then Harry spun the shell around it. We never see Harry perform the anchoring spell, but we don't have any information about its difficulty, so presumably Harry could do it too if he prepared.

Also, Harry can't clone (loop) himself four times during the trial if he goes back two hours. That would result in looping himself four times for the time period from 2 to 1 hours before present. To loop himself four times (or he could make it five) during the trial itself, he should go back only one hour.

He's giving himself an extra hour to prepare. The second, third, and fourth iterations only involve going back one hour, so that leaves a turn to spare. I'll edit to make that clearer.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 28 March 2012 12:37:48AM 6 points [-]

Highly unlikely for something like this to happen in the actual HPMOR -- but I actually enjoyed it, so I thank you for posting it.

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 02:31:26AM 1 point [-]

Seconding this.

Comment author: wedrifid 28 March 2012 01:59:40AM 3 points [-]

I love it!

Especially the last paragraph.

Comment author: moritz 28 March 2012 10:00:59AM 1 point [-]

Thanks for writing that, I enjoyed it.

There's a tiny problem with it: Patronuses speak with the voice of the one who cast them, and the members of the Wizengamot have already heard Harry talking, so they'd notice there's something wrong with the Merlin connection.

Comment author: Wei_Dai 28 March 2012 12:37:52AM 2 points [-]

Why is there so much HPMoR talk all of a sudden? And how much fun am I missing out on if I wait until all the chapters are released before reading them (and thereby not participate in the discussions in real time)?

Comment author: DanArmak 28 March 2012 12:40:33AM *  7 points [-]

Well we'd need a better developed Theory of Fun to quantitatively answer that. How about, "a lot"?

ETA: and there's so much talk because Eliezer resumed posting new chapters (and a new arc) a couple of weeks ago after a long hiatus. And the new chapters have already set up a very dangerous situation and all end in cliffhangers and Eliezer added notes asking people to try to out-think Harry in solving the crisis before the next chapter is out. Which resulted in a lot of theories and suggestions being posted.

Comment author: wedrifid 28 March 2012 02:07:43AM 11 points [-]

Eliezer added notes asking people to try to out-think Harry in solving the crisis before the next chapter is out. Which resulted in a lot of theories and suggestions being posted.

"Eliezer told us to" -> Good answer.

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 01:20:29AM 6 points [-]

A comparatively small amount, relative to the fun involved in reading the chapters. I think waiting is probably a good idea - you're spared the agony of waiting. It's too late for all of us, though.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 28 March 2012 02:05:13AM *  6 points [-]

Why is there so much HPMoR talk all of a sudden?

There was a large gap where nothing was posted and chapters are now being posted regularly. And almost every new chapter has ended on a cliffhanger.

Comment author: Locke 28 March 2012 02:00:07AM *  -2 points [-]

And here... we... go.

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 02:02:18AM *  1 point [-]

OMG it's been past seven for two whole minutes and no new chapter Eliezer must be taunting us!

(Edit: I promise this is a joke, please don't downvote me into oblivion.)

Comment author: Lambda 28 March 2012 02:08:07AM *  1 point [-]

The fanfiction.net mirror has chapter 81 posted. Meanwhile, hpmor.com has today's Author's Note up, but not #81 itself. This is a shame, since I think that hpmor.com provides a substantially better reading experience...

Edit: And now it has #81 up too. Sorry about that.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 March 2012 02:10:53AM 5 points [-]

Poll to see whether the speculation made the chapter reading experience better or worse.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 March 2012 02:11:10AM 31 points [-]

Vote up if you think that the experience of reading the chapter was better for all the speculation.

Comment author: Michaelos 28 March 2012 09:56:38AM 2 points [-]

I would say it was, but only because you managed to include elements of the speculation while still thinking of plots and turns that I did not see speculated. With the amount of speculation I participated in, it felt like an excellent emotional roller coaster, which I will try to describe with a few anecdotal sentences.

"Yes, that idea has been referenced!" "Yes, that idea has been referenced as well! Multiple points, I knew it, I was expecting multiple points to come up, I should have posted that instead of remaining silent." "Oh, I should have seen that! In hindsight it feels like could have guessed that." "Wait, THAT wasn't the true answer?" "Wait, WHAT? I never would have guessed this!" "He's surprised, but it made perfect sense!" "Heehee, he even referenced that as well!"

But it seems like it was only that good because you managed to narrowly outwit the amount of effort I had to put into it and the amount of collective thought I had taken the time to read. I feel like if I had been speculating to an overly large extent that I wouldn't have been able to consider it as a story, but that if I hadn't been speculating at all I wouldn't have gotten the twists and turns it was taking.

So while I personally would vote for this option, I think I can see several reasons why it wouldn't necessarily work for other people in the same way it did for me, assuming I'm right about my mental pictures of other readers.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 March 2012 02:11:26AM 49 points [-]

Vote up if you think all the speculation got in the way of the chapter itself.

Comment author: Locke 28 March 2012 02:28:20AM 24 points [-]

Five days was too long, IMO. If we only had 24 hours I would have enjoyed it much more.

Comment author: Asymmetric 28 March 2012 04:02:36AM *  9 points [-]

Considering that at least part of the correct solution was found within 24 hours, I think you're right, Locke. It might affect accessibility, though -- I know I would be sad if I logged on only to find that the discussion had closed already.

Having read through the speculation, I even found most of the chapter quite anticlimactic. Recognizing the correct predictions removed all the tension, since MOR's tension relies so much on plotting.

That said, though, reading through the discussion gave me a harmless and very insightful lesson into how predictions work. I learned what makes a prediction probable versus plausible, in a way that not only allows me to understand it, but to think about how I would apply it to my life (I hadn't really internalized that the percents of all possible outcomes have to add to a hundred, even though in hindsight that's fairly obvious. I also learned about the betting-real-money threshold).

All in all, despite getting in the way of the chapter, it was a nice, closed-environment rationalist lesson. Thank you for prompting the discussion, Eliezer!

Comment author: LucasSloan 28 March 2012 04:58:54AM 6 points [-]

Agreed. I initially felt a lot of tension as to the answer, and it didn't fade upon a day or two's speculation, but I did not feel that tension when I read the chapter. I definitely think that a wait over major cliffhangers is indicated, but a long one (even 5 days) cannot sustain the tension.

Comment author: Rejoyce 28 March 2012 05:06:55AM 2 points [-]

Five days was perfect in my perspective. To be honest I thought the speculation had the potential to be very fun and mentally stimulating but the way we did it was completely wrong. What ended up happening was everyone proposed own theories left and right and in the end only a few people got some of the answer right, whereas if we collaborated better we could have ended up with an entire community who guessed most of the answer right. Makes for more overall happy.

Comment author: wedrifid 28 March 2012 02:24:32AM 11 points [-]

Where is the vote that "all the speculation was a better than the chapter itself"?

That's no slight on the chapter, mind. The discussion was both entertaining and useful.

Comment author: gwern 28 March 2012 03:07:07AM 6 points [-]

I have to say, I enjoyed the process of coming up with and justifying my 'throw Dumbledore under the bus' theory a lot more than I actually enjoyed the chapter, which wound up looking like a mish-mosh (a debt and messing with Dementors and Hermione joining the House of Potter and foreshadowing)...

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 28 March 2012 06:49:42AM 9 points [-]

I enjoyed the process of coming up with and justifying my 'throw Dumbledore under the bus' theory

That's a very bad mental habit to get into. As Bryan Caplan explains here.

The key difference between a normal utilitarian and a Leninist: When a normal utilitarian concludes that mass murder would maximize social utility, he checks his work! He goes over his calculations with a fine-tooth comb, hoping to discover a way to implement beneficial policy changes without horrific atrocities. The Leninist, in contrast, reasons backwards from the atrocities that emotionally inspire him to the utilitarian argument that morally justifies his atrocities.

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 02:34:33AM 4 points [-]

I read the speculation, glommed onto the right answer when someone else brought it up, and then got amused by progressively more wacky theories for three days. I don't think the speculation got in the way, per se, but it's sort of anticlimactic for the answer you regard as obvious to be the correct one. The money bit was a nice twist, though.

Comment author: [deleted] 28 March 2012 03:27:24AM 3 points [-]

I enjoyed every bit of the speculation but then finding out that some of the speculation was correct disappointed me. I would approve of a repeat if you made the puzzle sufficiently hard that nobody figures it out.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 28 March 2012 03:44:24AM 14 points [-]

Strongly disagree. Puzzles that can't be solved aren't puzzles, they are authors being obnoxious. There's no talent in making an unsolvable puzzle any more than there is in making a Zendo rule that no one can solve. And there's no fun in it for most people either. We shouldn't be in a situation where at the last minute we're informed that no one but a dark wizard would put mustard on top of the sauerkraut (Standard TVTropes warning).

Comment author: [deleted] 28 March 2012 03:58:37AM 2 points [-]

So it should be a completely fair puzzle that nobody solves. If Harry Potter can do the impossible, then why not.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 28 March 2012 04:05:11AM 4 points [-]

How do you determine that a puzzle is completely fair and isn't solved? Is that a meaningful category?

Comment author: [deleted] 28 March 2012 04:45:56AM 4 points [-]

In retrospect you're not supposed to think "well, how was I supposed to know about the sauerkraut" but "oh, that makes sense, I wish I'd thought of that."

Comment author: JoshuaZ 28 March 2012 04:59:09AM 3 points [-]

So the key is to make the puzzle only seem obvious in retrospect? This sounds like you want puzzles that actively trigger hindsight bias. Not exactly a promotion of rationality.

Comment author: [deleted] 28 March 2012 05:03:58AM 2 points [-]

Well, not obvious in retrospect, that would be silly. I really don't understand how you're arguing with me about the fact that puzzles can be easy or hard without adding sauerkraut.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 28 March 2012 05:06:12AM 6 points [-]

The issue isn't that puzzles can be easy are hard. The issue is that a good hard puzzle is still solvable. It takes no talent to make a puzzle that no one solves. The difficulty in making a puzzle that's worthwhile is making it in the narrow band of puzzles that are tough enough to be interesting but are still solvable.

Comment author: [deleted] 28 March 2012 05:09:24AM 3 points [-]

Right, and what I'm saying is make the puzzle hard enough that nobody figures the whole things out, spoiling the chapter when I actually read it. It's okay if people think of partial solutions, but when the whole chapter is basically posts A, B, and C glued together then it's a disappointment.

Comment author: RobertLumley 28 March 2012 04:03:34AM 9 points [-]

It was disappointing to me because it wasn't the first time I'd heard the solution. It was like I had a spoiler for the chapter, because I was reasonably confident as to what it was. And while I've seen research linked to on LW that says spoilers don't decrease enjoyment, I definitely find they do, at least for me.

It was redeeming, however, that more complications were added on top of the imperius!debt. If it had simply been Harry winning with it, I think would have found the chapter dull.

Comment author: SkyDK 28 March 2012 03:28:17AM 5 points [-]

It was great! It also allowed me to test a couple of thesis of generating solutions. The closest I got was doing something completely different than working directly on the generating of solutions; I can't remember the name of the theory stating that this should be the case, and while having it strengthened is somewhat disheartening it is nevertheless a useful piece of information.

Now if I weren't so bad at shaving, I might even remember to use Occam's razor next time and reduce "Harry marries Hermione" to "Harry makes Hermione part of house Potter". Still much in the ways of the force have I to learn ;)

Only defence of my marriage theory was that I wasn't quite sure that people could just be adopted into houses. Even thought it makes perfect sense, having seen it in action.

I suspect/expect you'll write what power Lucius can legally claim over Harry sometimes soon?

Also I learned to actually look up the experiments you referred to...

All in all thank you for a highly entertaining and inspiring chapter!

Comment author: FAWS 28 March 2012 03:34:07AM 2 points [-]

Different, but neither noticeably better nor worse. In any case those who would rather not read the speculation can just stay out of the thread, or discussion and speculation could be separated from each other.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 28 March 2012 03:40:26AM 24 points [-]

It did make it better. But please don't make people solve a puzzle to get a happy ending. The downside of getting only a sad ending if people fail at that is too high. Not just in terms of how many people will get negative utility from that, but also it will substantially reduce how many people will be willing to recommend the story to others (once it is finished). The potential downside to that is simply too large.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 28 March 2012 06:58:30AM 4 points [-]

Nah. We can do this.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 28 March 2012 07:02:00AM 0 points [-]

When more people are speculating, I am less likely to be the first one with a theory. That takes away from my enthusiasm.

80 was also really sad and caused me bad Fremdschämen. I was really glad the next chapter was so soon and tried not to think about the story much in the meantime. So maybe that was a bigger part of it.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 28 March 2012 02:17:24AM 1 point [-]

Hmm, judging the predictionbook bets is going to be tough. The chapter involved quite a few fan theories, but not any single one, but rather a combination of them.

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 02:36:08AM 7 points [-]

Mark right the ones that got included, and wrong the ones that didn't. There's still more in the latter category.

Comment author: faul_sname 28 March 2012 02:19:21AM 0 points [-]

Am I reading correctly that Harry has 7 (well, 6 and a quarter) years to turn 40000 galleons into 100000 galleons? Because if so, he should have no trouble at all.

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 02:24:23AM 4 points [-]

I think he has six and a quarter years to turn zero galleons into sixty thousand - I interpreted it as him having to pay what he could immediately.

Personally, I'd be inclined to just Imperius Lucius into cancelling the rest of the debt, then obliviate him and memory charm him into remembering doing it of his own free will, but perhaps I'm a little more Dark Harry than Light Harry.

Comment author: faul_sname 28 March 2012 02:28:04AM *  8 points [-]

He has a hundred in his back yard. Worst comes to worst, he arbitrages that up to 60k.

Edit: or time machine+stock market. In retrospect, that's a much better solution.

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 02:31:50AM 5 points [-]

Yes, I rather doubt that he will have trouble for lack of clever plans.

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 02:35:27AM 3 points [-]

It's easy to do an arbitrage chain a couple times, but people will start to get suspicious fast. I doubt he can go x600 as trivially as that.

Comment author: wedrifid 28 March 2012 02:44:27AM *  8 points [-]

It's easy to do an arbitrage chain a couple times, but people will start to get suspicious fast.

Suspicious? Sure, but will they care? He is dealing with Gringotts, or more specifically with specific goblins at Gringotts. They will be following their job specifications, probably their legal obligation, giving their company a profit and adhering to tradition. Gringotts wins, Harry wins, law is followed.

The people who lose are anyone who has invested in wizard cash (which is being inflated). But they aren't involved in the transaction and don't lose enough or rapidly enough that they would object before he has finished farming. In fact they only start experiencing negative effects once Harry starts spending.

Comment author: faul_sname 28 March 2012 06:16:07AM 3 points [-]

In the early 1990s, gold was around $400/oz and silver was around $5/oz. Which is an 80:1 price difference. Considering that in the wizarding world, it is only 17:1, he can make about 4.5:1 each time. 5 times of doing that with 100 galleons will yield 180000 galleons, which he needs 60k of. Shouldn't be too much trouble.

It might be even better, considering the possibility that there might be more bounties he can collect.

Comment author: see 28 March 2012 06:57:20AM *  8 points [-]

April 1991 price of silver was $3.9707/oz troy, gold was $358.38/oz troy. That's a 90:1 silver-gold ratio, ounce to ounce.

Now, the Sickle-Galleon ratio is 17:1. But a Galleon is larger than a Sickle, by a significant amount, as can be seen here; , and gold is denser than silver, by a significant amount. Assuming the coins are similar thickness, the Galleon is about 1.7 times larger than the Sickle, and about 3.1 times heavier. So the ratio by weight is around 5.4:1 silver-to-gold.

That means each cycle of arbitrage is a multiplication by, well, we'll round down to 16 for various transaction costs in our Fermi estimate. 100 Galleons becomes 1,600 after one cycle, and 1,600 becomes 25,600 after cycle 2.

Okay, that "couple times" didn't quite get us all the way there from 100. Harry needs to manage to get his hands on (considering the uncertainties on transaction costs) more than 234 but almost certainly less than 300 Galleons and run through the arbitrage cycle twice to get the 60,000 galleons.

Comment author: Xachariah 28 March 2012 02:42:29AM *  21 points [-]

He's got a time machine and the stock market exists.

Give him a few days a month outside of Hogwarts (or just a telephone/television) and he could own every gold mine, hell, own everything in the muggle world. I could pull that off with just a time machine.

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 02:50:13AM 8 points [-]

Why on earth did this not immediately occur to me? This is usually my first thought in time-travel stories. Clearly my dislike of Lucius is clouding my judgement.

Comment author: wedrifid 28 March 2012 02:53:49AM 5 points [-]

He's got a time machine and the stock market exists.

And naturally he'd start off with seed money from a single lottery win. More than one would start getting suspicious but if he picks the largest paying lottery out there when it has rolled over to jackpot a few times that gives him enough to start the ball rolling.

Comment author: Locke 28 March 2012 03:02:14AM 8 points [-]

Most muggleborns may not be able to do calculus, but they know about lotteries. The ministry would keep tabs on this stuff.

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 03:09:45AM 8 points [-]

Which is why he wouldn't win top prize - 5/6 numbers is usually a couple hundred grand, that's tons of seed money.

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 03:12:09AM 4 points [-]

If he picked the right lottery he'd only need to do that once, period. There are many lotteries paying out well over two million pounds... But I suspect Locke is right on this count.

Comment author: wedrifid 28 March 2012 03:16:00AM *  2 points [-]

There are many lotteries paying out well over two million pounds

By a couple of orders of magnitude (highest in the UK was 150m or so pounds, US has gone up to $390M).

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 28 March 2012 06:56:04AM 0 points [-]

'91 pounds?

Comment author: David_Gerard 28 March 2012 07:56:29AM 1 point [-]

The National Lottery didn't start until 1994. I'm reasonably sure there were such things you could win big on, but I don't think there were any you could win that big on.

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 02:57:08AM 0 points [-]

Right. Silly me.

Comment author: Asymmetric 28 March 2012 04:15:48AM 6 points [-]

Unrelated: They did that in a movie called Primer, which I recommend to people who like MOR and deciphering probably-correct engineering-speak.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 28 March 2012 09:39:04AM *  2 points [-]

I don't think that's how time-travel works in this story.

<never mind this part> Aka DO NOT MESS WITH TIME. </never mind this part>

It's already been stated to be impossible to change your test scores in Hogwards, I think that rules out making fortunes with time travel too, which many people would be highly motivated to do if it were possible; that's not what the world looks like in the story.

I sure hope Harry gets out of this mess somehow, though. The last few chapters have been painful.

EDIT: how do you use strike-out formatting around here? Is it even possible?

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 28 March 2012 09:47:15AM 4 points [-]

In the "DO NOT MESS WITH TIME" case, he tried to manipulate time-loop paradoxes in his favour.

In what Xachariah suggests, he'd just be manipulating the stock markets, not deliberately attempting to construct time paradoxe. Therefore I don't think it qualifies as "messing with time".

Comment author: pedanterrific 28 March 2012 02:27:06AM *  4 points [-]

Why, indeed, would wizards with enough status and wealth to turn their hands to almost any endeavor, choose to spend their lives fighting over lucrative monopolies on ink importation

Oh god, why did you have to go there. Whyyyy

Edit: at least you didn't mention the squid

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 02:32:59AM 1 point [-]

Yeah, was that a Partially Kissed Hero reference?

For that matter, from what source was "the Ree" drawn? Totoro's from a Miyazaki movie...

Comment author: pedanterrific 28 March 2012 02:37:24AM *  4 points [-]

DO NOT SPEAK THE NAME

The Ree are from Nobody Dies, a Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfiction.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 March 2012 06:34:36AM 8 points [-]

And Hogwarts has ventilation ducts large enough to fit a basilisk!

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 02:36:23AM 3 points [-]

Am I missing something?

Comment author: pedanterrific 28 March 2012 02:37:41AM 3 points [-]

Yes, and be glad of it.

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 03:07:44AM *  7 points [-]

This.

But gaze not overlong into that particular abyss.

Edit: In retrospect, TvTropes itself is probably the bigger abyss of the two. So don't gaze overlong into that one either.

Comment author: Locke 28 March 2012 03:15:12AM 0 points [-]

What's wrong with the story?

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 03:24:12AM 0 points [-]

All the same things that are wrong with Chunin Exam Day.

Comment author: Locke 28 March 2012 03:30:46AM 2 points [-]

Never read that either. Is it like Time Braid?

Comment author: pedanterrific 28 March 2012 03:35:49AM 8 points [-]

Time Braid is far, far better than Chunin Exam Day. For many reasons, including not being written by a sociopath.

Comment author: MatthewBaker 28 March 2012 03:44:21AM 2 points [-]

Time Braid is what Chunin Exam Day could have been without a Harem and with a more convincing polyamorous shipping. Its a much better and less drawn out story, for instance there are many other complete AU remakes that go as long and as deeply as HPMOR. However, HPMOR doesn't have the vast amount of fluff and filler that many of the 6/7 multipart fics seem to have(barring SA which I enjoyed greatly).

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 03:49:19AM 1 point [-]

SA?

Comment author: Anubhav 28 March 2012 04:28:36AM 1 point [-]

Self-Actualization.

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 03:48:04AM 0 points [-]

The difference is primarily one of quality. Time Braid is excellent, provided one is willing to accept the rewritten cosmology, while Chunin Exam Day is pretty much universally considered to be refuse.

Comment author: Locke 28 March 2012 04:07:14AM 0 points [-]

I'm still not sure what specifically is wrong with PKH. The first chapter looks interesting so far...

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 04:11:54AM *  1 point [-]

I actually found it fairly enjoyable as well for the first few chapters. I didn't realize how much I hated it until I came to <rot13>Qhzoyrqber'f guvegrragu Ubepehk</rot13>.

Of course, the mere existence of that spoiler may make you want to read more just to find out how on earth such a thing could happen.

Comment author: Locke 28 March 2012 04:17:07AM 2 points [-]

Good prediction.

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 03:20:31AM 1 point [-]

Ye gods.

Comment author: Locke 28 March 2012 02:32:32AM 19 points [-]

So how many other ex-death-eaters now officially owe House Potter? Surely they can pay him.

Comment author: SkyDK 28 March 2012 03:52:33AM 8 points [-]

It would be a bad use of political capital considering how easy he could gain money in other ways while keeping a majority(? - at least combined with some help from Dumbledore's side) vote on pretty much whatever issue up his sleeve...

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 28 March 2012 09:35:56AM *  2 points [-]

Now that Harry's invoked the debt and alerted all ex-death-eaters, I imagine it will remain useful only until they figure out a way to nullify or lessen its importance. Like change the law or whatever, I don't know how they'd do it but I imagine they won't sit idly. So perhaps he should cash in while he still can.

Comment author: SkyDK 28 March 2012 11:31:05AM *  6 points [-]

Highly unlikely: blood debts have probably been a significant political currency for a long time, and both due to institutional path-dependency and a lot of vested interests, I highly doubt that they'd change the importance of blood debts. Also: it seems like a lot of the justice system is built up around this concept. It would require a total overhaul of the justice system to deal with the blood debt. Otherwise they'd have to change the significance of being imperiuse'd which is also unlikely due to most of them otherwise being Azkaban(ne)d

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 28 March 2012 11:44:00AM *  9 points [-]

How about a concerted campaign to persuade the public to lessen the importance of that particular debt? Remind everyone that Harry was a baby at the time and couldn't have intended to defeat the Dark Lord, emphasise that it must have been some kind of freak accident, start spreading rumours with alternative explanations...

Anyway my point isn't about any single thing they could do; the point is that there are a lot of powerful and politically-skilled people who would very much want to do something, and I don't feel at all confident that we can assume they'll be unable to come up with anything now that the gambit is no longer a surprise one.

Comment author: Lavode 28 March 2012 11:48:05AM 5 points [-]

Harry probably wont call in any blood debts himself, but any former deatheathers with substantial spare coin will jump at the possibility to get out from under a debt to Harry by giving Lucius money, so that 60.000 might well be paid in full before he makes it back to hogwarts, let alone sets any money making schemes in progress.

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 02:34:12AM 11 points [-]

I think my favorite part of this update comes not from the chapter, but from the Author's Notes:

"If you write sufficiently good fanfiction, you can realize your romantic dreams!"

(Although "Make him go away" is either tied for the position or a close second.)

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 03:00:30AM 11 points [-]

I have a suspicion that the average fanfic-created relationship is not caused by anything best described as "good".

Comment author: Incorrect 28 March 2012 03:05:00AM 2 points [-]

I'm genuinely curious how you came to that suspicion.

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 03:08:48AM 0 points [-]

Well, Sturgeon's Law for a start, combined with the fact that people who don't bother to create their own universes are statistically going to be less-motivated, less-experienced, and/or less-competent authors. There's a reason that the stereotype of fanfic authors is 13 year old girls. I'm glad for the exceptions, but they are exceptions.

Comment author: Alicorn 28 March 2012 03:18:50AM 29 points [-]

people who don't bother to create their own universes are statistically going to be less-motivated, less-experienced, and/or less-competent authors.

Do you have this opinion of realistic fiction too?

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 03:40:03AM 4 points [-]

No, it mostly suffers from the problem that the people who write it are trying to create Art, and that never ends well.

Or, to answer the question you're actually asking, I'm arguing probabilities, not absolutes. Good fanfic exists - hell, we're on a thread to debate a fic sufficiently good that it caused me to read the original Potter books(seriously, the number of references in those first 30 chapters I missed the first time is kind of staggering). But it is not the majority.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 March 2012 06:32:48AM 13 points [-]

I have always thought that but the story makes the point even better. Click on that link, everyone.

Comment author: Blueberry 28 March 2012 11:06:42AM 1 point [-]

Yeah I love that story.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 28 March 2012 03:52:52AM 7 points [-]

Do you feel the same way about published by known publishing houses fiction that based on other fiction? I'm thinking about The Once and Future King, Wicked, The Ayre Affair.....

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 04:08:43AM 6 points [-]

Gatekeepers raise average quality levels.

Comment author: Nornagest 28 March 2012 04:18:39AM *  3 points [-]

I think that's probably true -- but not for the reasons you seem to be implying, and not with any particular implications for authors' romantic success. Fanfic seems to be a highly generational phenomenon; there have been shared universes and exchanges of what we now call fanfic going back arguably to the Twenties (the weird fiction genre was highly incestuous), but the form only really took off with the arrival of the Internet. So its authorship's going to be heavily skewed towards younger writers, who are almost by definition less competent and experienced.

However, literally every fanfic writer that I've ever met -- which is nowhere near an unbiased sample and skews somewhat older than the average, but still -- has work in at least one original universe as well. I suspect you'd be hard-pressed to find many genre fiction fans with writing skills that don't. So I doubt you can use that feature of the form to prove much about its authors.

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 04:45:06AM 0 points [-]

Granted, most of the popular stuff is good(or occasionally legendarily bad). Popular opinion is a gatekeeper too. I suppose it depends on whether you sum over stories or over readers.

Comment author: AspiringKnitter 28 March 2012 07:53:31AM 7 points [-]

Sorry, the reason for the stereotype is the fact that fanfiction is findable only on unmoderated internet archives where anyone can post. If you had to look on the internet for all your original fiction, you'd have the same problem. Also, it's in some ways harder to use someone else's voice and be bound by characters that maybe have traits you're scared to write about than to be able to write in your own voice and avoid certain kinds of characters.

But when you compare cherry-picked original fiction weeded through by editors until you get to read only a fraction of the total submitted for consideration and utterly unmoderated, undifferentiated fanfiction by good and bad authors alike side-by-side in the same archive, of course the original fic is going to be better.

Comment author: TimS 28 March 2012 02:40:08AM 4 points [-]

What was dark about any of what Harry did?

Risky as all get out, but Hermione is easily worth an otherwise useless debt and substantially all of Harry's material wealth - especially if the actual villain gets caught, which helps lead to the rule of law in Magical Britain.

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 03:06:14AM *  1 point [-]

Well if she actually did it, then he'd have fired off most of his ammunition to save a girl who tried to kill an innocent kid. Even if it's not "Dark", it certainly doesn't help the light side.

Edit: I don't think she did, just following through on a comment I made on the last thread.

Comment author: linkhyrule5 28 March 2012 05:11:55AM 3 points [-]

Insanity plea is a legitimate one, you know. Even if she did do it, she was severely manipulated, to the point that I'd argue it's similar to just manually reaching in and changing the weighting functions in her brain.

Comment author: Spurlock 28 March 2012 03:37:20AM 16 points [-]

I don't think Harry's dark side is supposed to be limited to dark solutions, it just happens to be an ultra proficient problem solver. It may have dark tendencies by virtue of being an embedded copy of the mind of Voldemort, but there's no obvious reason it can't be used for good.

Comment author: roystgnr 28 March 2012 04:11:57AM 41 points [-]

So Harry has an advanced intelligence of questionable tendencies locked away, but it's tantalizingly offering to be ultra useful to him if he'll only give it freer reign outside of its box?

This is sounding awfully familiar...

Comment author: gjm 28 March 2012 08:17:32AM 1 point [-]

It may have dark tendencies by virtue of being an embedded copy of the mind of Voldemort

I have nothing to add to this, other than perhaps "tendencies, huh?". I just thought it deserved quotation.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 28 March 2012 06:45:35AM 6 points [-]
  • Harry spoke out of turn.
  • Harry threatened his betters.
  • Harry brought up awkward subjects without regard to how uncomfortable they would make people.
  • Harry showed off how powerful he was when he really didn't need to.
  • Harry totally cheated his enemies out of a well earned victory.

That all sounds Gryffindor.

The most Slytherin thing was done by McGonagal when she invoked a technicality.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 28 March 2012 11:23:20AM *  14 points [-]

Also:

  • Harry terrified that poor Dementor
Comment author: ArisKatsaris 28 March 2012 09:17:59AM *  8 points [-]

What was dark about any of what Harry did?

Who said the solution had to be dark?

Now, ofcourse, his Plan B would have been to let the Dementor feast on the souls of the Malfoy faction of the wizengamot. That's dark. Slightly so. :-)

Comment author: MartinB 28 March 2012 09:57:18AM 7 points [-]

Might have been a net win in the long run.

Comment author: Incorrect 28 March 2012 02:40:35AM *  3 points [-]

they also believe that Merlin fought the dread Totoro and imprisoned the Ree.

Oh god where are they being held?

Comment author: Anubhav 28 March 2012 04:14:01AM 3 points [-]

What on earth are the Ree?

Google turns up nothing.

Comment author: pedanterrific 28 March 2012 04:15:16AM *  7 points [-]

They're from this.

Comment author: Anubhav 28 March 2012 04:31:10AM *  0 points [-]

Many thanks.

Comment author: Randaly 28 March 2012 04:26:59AM 3 points [-]

I believe that passage was implying that the wizards in question were very credulous- unable "to distinguish the truth among a hundred plausible lies."

Comment author: Incorrect 28 March 2012 04:44:50AM 13 points [-]

So the Ree are still loose then!?!?

Comment author: CronoDAS 28 March 2012 05:22:45AM 4 points [-]

More likely they never existed in the first place.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 28 March 2012 06:41:06AM 3 points [-]

A world should be so fortunate.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 March 2012 06:26:37AM 8 points [-]

Heee~eeey!

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 28 March 2012 02:41:22AM 7 points [-]

I wonder what Draco is going to say -- or to remember, for that matter -- about the duel.

Comment author: Nominull 28 March 2012 02:50:06AM *  15 points [-]

I worry that Draco may be more or less written out of this fic - I can't imagine Lucius sending his son back into Voldemort's maw. There are other schools, even if none are as good.

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 03:06:18AM 12 points [-]

Draco's going to want to go back, of course.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 28 March 2012 06:40:11AM 1 point [-]

His father may make him want what is best for him, what his father thinks is best for him, that is.

So maybe he won't want to go back, after all.

Comment author: Nominull 28 March 2012 02:48:46AM 4 points [-]

I would say that the "most wise" one among Dumbledore, Quirrell, and Harry is definitely not the one whose model does not account for observed reality.

Comment author: wedrifid 28 March 2012 02:55:35AM 4 points [-]

I would say that the "most wise" one among Dumbledore, Quirrell, and Harry is definitely not the one whose model does not account for observed reality.

I would have said Quirrell buy far. Your thoughts?

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 02:56:43AM 0 points [-]

Namely?

Comment author: Incorrect 28 March 2012 02:58:18AM 0 points [-]

I would say that the "most wise" one among Dumbledore, Quirrell, and Harry is definitely not the one whose model does not account for observed reality.

What about efficacy? Having a good model doesn't mean you'll do anything interesting with it.

Comment author: malthrin 28 March 2012 03:23:41AM 2 points [-]

Regarding the ending comments about Godric's Hollow: there was some earlier discussion about the wizarding community's consensus here.

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 03:26:49AM 11 points [-]

Something I just noticed on a second read-through - the reuse of the word "riddle" in context here seems like a reminder to Lucius of who he thinks Harry really is, and this is not the first time it's come up when Harry is exposed to Dementors. Perhaps this lends credence to the theory that riddle is the "strange word" he learned when first exposed?

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 28 March 2012 06:38:48AM 6 points [-]

Voldemort used the word to tease as Quirrell and as the cloak and hat. He probably did it in the last war, too. Lucius may think that Voldemort is teasing him just like he used it, when Harry says it.

It's not a strange word, though. That's probably so we know the spell being cast was not AK.

Comment author: gwern 28 March 2012 03:29:14AM *  19 points [-]

So, new speculation: who are the sharp players in the Wizengamot who are drawing up lists on Harry?

They're not Lucius or Dumbledore, both of whom already know a great deal, and the former is too enraged to really be thinking beyond 'why did Voldemort just sacrifice all his wealth for a "friend"?'

I would be a little shocked if Umbridge was meant; she's so moronic in canon that even a MoR brain-upgrade still leaves her dim and bureaucratic, and she certainly doesn't match. And the powerful-wizard background is much more of a 'male' thing, to boot.

Mad-eye Moody could be expected to be making a list, but as far as I can tell he's not present and is remarkable enough that if he was, he would be mentioned. He's also apparently busy watching over & poisoning graves. In one chapter, Bones mentions he just retired, so he wouldn't be there in an Auror capacity. EDIT: Aftermath would seem to imply Moody was not there, because Harry didn't recognize the Moody in the Pensieve memory at all, despite him being quite striking.

Madam Bones seems too much on Dumbledore and Harry's side to be so suspicious, and not 'new' in any plot-meaningful sense. She's otherwise a decent enough candidate.

Bartemius Crouch is a candidate: as a Ministry head of Magical Law Enforcement he might be at a Wizengamot meeting (the Crouch family is highly respected and pure-blood and related to the House of Black, but the HP Wikia doesn't list them as nobles), is old, and canon seems to imply he was powerful & competent in Dark-hunting (speaking hundreds of languages) and about as suspicious as Mad-Eye, so he meets all criterion. And he's been mentioned in MoR before as alive & active, and more importantly, still part of the Phoenix network.

Does he appear in the chapter? Well, there is a nameless male wizard who takes Harry's threats very seriously, who apparently can command the Aurors:

A strange male voice spoke from somewhere far away, "Be sure that the girl is taken directly to Azkaban, and put under extra guard."

I'd say there's a good chance that that is Crouch, and he is also one of the 'certain few' in the epilogue.

Comment author: Nominull 28 March 2012 03:33:09AM 1 point [-]

I think "the old wizard" was Dumbledore.

Comment author: ahartell 28 March 2012 03:41:04AM *  0 points [-]

Agreed.

Comment author: gwern 28 March 2012 03:43:24AM 1 point [-]

Re-reading it more carefully, yeah. I thought he switched to Crouch and then back to Dumbledore in the pronouns, but guess not.

Comment author: Desrtopa 28 March 2012 03:37:01AM *  7 points [-]

the Crouch family is highly respected and pure-blood and related to the House of Black, but the HP Wikia doesn't list them as nobles), is old, and canon seems to imply he was powerful & competent in Dark-hunting

Not just imply, I'm pretty sure that in the fourth book Dumbledore explicitly calls Bartemius Crouch "powerfully magical."

The relevance of that may be limited if Eliezer hasn't read the book itself though.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 March 2012 06:24:31AM 19 points [-]

Well, he's certainly on the list now.

Comment author: Vaniver 28 March 2012 04:47:40AM *  4 points [-]

Scrimgeour seems like a likely candidate for the strange male voice.

Comment author: DeevGrape 28 March 2012 04:51:46AM 19 points [-]

Or, depending on how the interrogation went, ScrimQuirMort.

Comment author: faul_sname 28 March 2012 06:22:13AM 4 points [-]

Moody saw it though. The Eye of Vance sees everything.

Comment author: pedanterrific 28 March 2012 06:34:12AM 8 points [-]

I don't think "The Eye of Vance saw the full globe of the world in every direction around him, no matter where it was pointing" necessarily means he can count the grains of rice in China without turning his head.

Comment author: faul_sname 28 March 2012 07:02:53AM 9 points [-]

Not necessarily, but this does seem the sort of thing Moody would go out of his way to keep an eye (ha) on.

Comment author: pedanterrific 28 March 2012 06:41:40AM 7 points [-]

Bartemius Crouch is a candidate: as a Ministry head of Magical Law Enforcement

Amelia Bones is Director of the DMLE, not Crouch.

Comment author: Nominull 28 March 2012 03:31:13AM 17 points [-]

The next chapter is going to be horribly depressing, you know. Harry is going to have to have it explained to him why it's a bad idea to do things that are a bad idea. Otherwise this arc would have the wrong moral...

Comment author: linkhyrule5 28 March 2012 04:56:02AM 11 points [-]

Dunno about that. The debt will have concsequences, certainly, but Hermione is not in Azkaban.

Comment author: Nominull 28 March 2012 05:07:36AM 17 points [-]

Yes, it's super sad to let a little girl be tortured to death. But there is a cost large enough that it is not worth paying to prevent it, even if the cost is only in terms of mere cash, political capital, personal reputation as not being more fearsome than Fear itself, keeping important military secrets for the coming war secret, and the enmity of those you failed to lose to. That's the meaning of the phrase "Taboo Tradeoffs", it's that stating you kept Hermione out of Azkaban is not enough justification.

Of course, if he had counted the cost, he would have been an awful hypocrite. Recall what he said after Hermione rescued him from the Dementor:

I'll say that no matter what it ends up costing you to have kissed me, don't ever doubt for a second that it was the right thing to do.

At least he's holding himself to the same standard, even if it's a bad one.

Comment author: faul_sname 28 March 2012 06:21:19AM 2 points [-]

The cost wouldn't be worth it, except that it may well allow Harry to amass wealth in excess of what he had before if he plays his cards right.

Comment author: see 28 March 2012 05:50:12AM *  23 points [-]

On the other hand, it's now in Dumbledore's interest to see Harry make a lot of money quickly in order to discharge the debt, which means he's far more likely to approve of things that otherwise would be considered unacceptable, like:

  • 1) Tricks with the Time Turner involving lotteries, stock markets, and the like.
  • 2) The gold/silver arbitrage idea.
  • 3) Personal appearance fees and other financial trading on his fame as The Boy Who Lived.
  • 4) Calling in debts owed by other Imperiused or supposedly-Imperiused victims of Voldemort.
  • 5) Dumbledore himself using the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone to make a lot of gold.

In short, a sixty thousand Galleon debt, while it feels huge, is not obviously a major obstacle given the number of possible solutions already implicitly presented in HPMoR, and it would almost seem a cheat for it to be one

That wiping out the debt easily might have its own negative consequences, on the other hand, is potentially interesting.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 28 March 2012 06:33:15AM 1 point [-]

Making gold probably breaks the 'no counterfeit' rule as far as the goblins are concerned. Before it was edited out, there was a bit where a goblin was suspicious of this in an early chapter. It was silver, but still.

Lucius has some kind of control over what Harry does because of the debt. That may limit some of these choices or just weaken them.

Harry doesn't need to use the Time Tuner to make money on a stoke market. He just needs to open a stock market.

But Dumbledore hasn't sacrificed his (twisted) ethics to suit his cause before. He is no more likely to do so now, just because it's convenient. This latest event is probably not strong enough to make him twist his ethics again, if you believe he twisted them in the past.

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 06:46:33AM 6 points [-]

But Dumbledore has given no sign that he finds it unethical to make money. All he's said was "You're not ready to play, I'm not going to give you the bankroll to upset the board". If the cash is going to something this concrete and hard to abuse, he'd likely allow it. I doubt he'd abet with a method as easy as the Philosopher's Stone, but he'd likely not stand in the way.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 28 March 2012 08:18:27AM 2 points [-]

That is convincing and I'd change my post if this was that sort of place.

Still, with more that six years before the debt comes due, Dumbldoe can say the same thing, "Not old enough."

Comment author: DanPeverley 28 March 2012 03:34:54AM 9 points [-]

I am really interested in how this is all going to work back at Hogwarts. Harry has already been pushing the envelope in the past, but this was a public power display. Draco's out for a while, Hermione will be considered a murderess by significant portions of the school (and apparently she's now magically sworn to obey Harry?), Quirrel is doing... something... and all the schemers and plotters are scheming and plotting on overdrive. I think the money will really be the least of Harry's concerns before this tangle is unwoven. I sort of enjoy learning little bits about Eliezer in the author's notes. "Why yes, I do lead the same sort of life as fanfiction characters, thank you for noticing," made me laugh quietly to myself. This is doubtless because I am a gossip-monger and a hopless platonic voyeur of other peoples lives.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 28 March 2012 06:27:16AM 4 points [-]

Unless EY adds it in, Harry forgot to snap his fingers.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 28 March 2012 06:40:48AM 0 points [-]

Sweet! That would have been much better than Boo!

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 28 March 2012 09:51:48AM 7 points [-]

Nah, snapping fingers doesn't possess meaning for the Wizengamot, that's what Harry is known for in Hogwarts. "Boo!" is better in the circumstances.

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 06:44:06AM 10 points [-]

But he threatened to, and that's almost as bad.

Comment author: Daniel_Starr 28 March 2012 03:50:54AM 9 points [-]

Can we add the 'harry_potter' discussion tag to this post?

(Contrary to what the post text says, as of right now this post does not show up on the list of Harry Potter discussion posts.)

Comment author: Spurlock 28 March 2012 03:51:04AM 23 points [-]

If you're Lucius at this point, how the hell do you now update your "Harry is Voldie" hypothesis?

On the one one hand, he just paid 100K galleons to save a mud blood girl. On the other hand, he spooked a dementor. On the other other hand, while that feat may be impressive, it's certainly not anything the Dark Lord had been known to do previously. And is he consprasizing with Dumbledore, or against him?

Probably a very confusing time to be the Lord of Malfoy.

Comment author: Lavode 28 March 2012 04:49:13AM 23 points [-]

It makes a great deal of sense as a purely political ploy. Harry just greatly strengthened the legend of the boy who lived, and since that is the result, Lucius is likely to suspect that it was also the intent.

Comment author: hairyfigment 28 March 2012 05:57:34AM 6 points [-]

If Harrymort regains 'his' former power, he'll have the use of all House Malfoy's wealth. But Lucius still doesn't know what the Dark Lord wants with Hermione Granger.

Comment author: brilee 28 March 2012 03:54:59AM 18 points [-]

After this chapter, a lot of people are going to deduce that Harry was in fact the person who broke out Bellatrix. Including, probably Dumbledore.

Quirrell will likely be forced to show his hand when Dumbledore accuses him of having engineered the escape. Somehow, this turns into Quirrell leaving his post. End of story seems imminent :(

Comment author: thelittledoctor 28 March 2012 04:13:28AM 1 point [-]

Yes, Dumbledore's icy glare at the end seems to imply that he figured it out.

Comment author: Anubhav 28 March 2012 07:36:05AM 17 points [-]

Or just that he's pissed with Harry for putting himself in Malfoy's debt.

Or for painting a giant bulls-eye on himself.

The icy glare could really mean anything.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 28 March 2012 06:25:41AM 15 points [-]

No. Mind the Conservation of Detail.

Harry doesn't know that Dumbledore's patronus recognizes Harry's patronus. This is a trap EY has laid for Harry.

For no internal reasons, but for story reasons, Dumbledore will not figure out that Harry was in Axkaban until the next time both he and Harry have their patronuses up at the same time. It is set up to be a shocking reveal, maybe a cliffhanger.

Comment author: pedanterrific 28 March 2012 04:01:14AM *  17 points [-]

Lucius Malfoy's eyes narrowed. "By the report I received, you cannot cast the Patronus Charm, and Dumbledore knows this. The power of a single Dementor nearly killed you. You would not dare venture near Azkaban in your own person -"

Has Lucius not spoken to Draco in private yet?

If he hasn't... when he does, and tells Draco what happened at the trial, and finds that Draco isn't surprised (or at least, not more than usual when it comes to Harry)... what will he think then?

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 04:12:36AM 5 points [-]

I expect the amount of time he had was not sufficient for a full report on everything Draco knows of Harry. Perhaps the Patronuses didn't come up? Seems an odd omission, but not an impossible one.

Comment author: pedanterrific 28 March 2012 04:18:45AM 18 points [-]

Lucius didn't ask if Harry could cast a Patronus, I could buy that. But Draco's Patronus didn't come up? Harry's vow of vengeance against Narcissa's killer didn't come up? That whole thing was possibly the single most important interaction Draco and Harry have had, next to when Harry tricked Draco into sacrificing his belief in blood purity.

Comment author: Rejoyce 28 March 2012 05:10:29AM 2 points [-]

I thought Draco promised Harry that Draco wouldn't tell Lucius about their interactions. Several times.

Comment author: pedanterrific 28 March 2012 05:11:47AM 7 points [-]

I wasn't aware that Draco was an Occlumens. (If he can't beat Veritaserum, those promises mean precisely nothing.)

Comment author: Rejoyce 28 March 2012 05:22:50AM 12 points [-]

Draco's a manipulative little snake. Lucius never probably never asked, "Son, are you able to cast the Patronus Charm?" because he was probably under the impression that Slytherins weren't able to cast Patronuses so why bother asking. Hence, the topic never came up. Draco's a scientist now, he doesn't completely believe everything that Lucius says anymore. Draco's probably avoiding talking about dangerous subjects with his father. And of course, he could always lie.

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 06:37:38AM *  8 points [-]

Actually, he couldn't lie - he was interrogated under Veritaserum. That doesn't mean that the topic came up, of course.

Comment author: kilobug 28 March 2012 11:49:56AM 2 points [-]

Was Draco under Veritaserum when he spoke privately with Lucius, or only when he was interrogated by the Aurors ? We don't know how long Veritaserum lasts, nor how much time elapsed between the two.

Comment author: smk 28 March 2012 05:52:27AM *  2 points [-]

My speculations were:

Maybe 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.

I don't think Draco is an occlumens. I also don't think Lucius is such a nice dad that he would respect Draco's privacy after Draco was nearly killed.

I suppose he might not have had the chance yet, but if I was Lucius I would have tried really hard to get the chance to question Draco in detail before the trial. Unless Lucius was overconfident of his influence with the Wizengamot?

Comment author: buybuydandavis 28 March 2012 06:54:06AM 2 points [-]

Yeah, Draco has been missing for a while. EY moved through this very fast. There's been a murder attempt on Draco, and a trial about it, and I don't remember seeing Draco since he was plotting to challenge Hermione.

Comment author: Blueberry 28 March 2012 11:04:27AM 4 points [-]

He's probably still healing.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 28 March 2012 04:02:54AM 9 points [-]

My prediction doesn't seem to have paid off in anything but karma, so I'm wondering how Eliezer's clue about Harry seeing the members of the Wizingamot as player characters has played out or if we're going to see something of the sort in future chapters.

Comment author: Lavode 28 March 2012 04:46:20AM 16 points [-]

The problem is that he did not - he treated them as a passive audience without any consideration of how they view him. So now some of them have reached the same conclusion as Lucius, and think he is a case of bodysnatching. Possession is a real possibility in the universe he inhabits, and he is showing all the signs. That is quite likely to get him killed by people with the best of intentions. At best, I am expecting kidnapping attempts aimed at extracting voldemort from his host. Also, Harry really should listen to Malfoy. Scaring Lucius is not a good idea.

Comment author: pedanterrific 28 March 2012 04:13:41AM *  14 points [-]

By this point Harry Potter had entirely forgotten the existence of Professor McGonagall, who had been sitting there this whole time undergoing a number of interesting changes of facial expression which Harry had not been looking at because he was distracted. [...]

So Harry, who at this point had a fair amount of adrenaline in his bloodstream, startled and jumped quite visibly when Professor McGonagall, her eyes now blazing with impossible hope and the tears on her cheek half-dried, leapt to her feet and cried, "With me, Mr. Potter!" and, without waiting for a reply, tore down the stairs that led to the bottom platform where waited a chair of dark metal.

It took a moment, but Harry ran after; though it took him longer to reach the bottom, after Professor McGonagall vaulted half the stairs with a strange catlike motion and landed with the astonished-looking Auror trio already pointing their wands at her. [...]

"Both of you stop being silly," Professor McGonagall said in her firm Scottish accent (it was strange how much that helped). "Mr. Potter, hold out your wand so that Miss Granger's fingers can touch it. Miss Granger, repeat after me. Upon my life and magic -" [...]

And then Minerva McGonagall, who was Head of House Gryffindor even if she didn't always act like it, looked up high above at where Lucius Malfoy stood; and she said to him before the entire Wizengamot, "I regret every point I ever gave you in Transfiguration, you vile little worm."

One hundred points to Gryffindor doesn't seem to cut it.

Comment author: shminux 28 March 2012 04:43:00AM *  0 points [-]

One hundred points to Gryffindor doesn't seem to cut it.

-100? She just doesn't know when to talk and when to keep her mouth shut.

Comment author: LucasSloan 28 March 2012 04:49:14AM 7 points [-]

Sure, but that's a Slytherin virtue.

Comment author: Spurlock 28 March 2012 04:50:24AM *  10 points [-]

+100. Prudence is really more of a Slytherin virtue.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 28 March 2012 06:57:31AM *  17 points [-]

She just doesn't know when to talk and when to keep her mouth shut.

You're so upset that McGonaggal's intervention prevented Harry from asking Hermione's hand in marriage? You're a Ravenclaw girl at heart, I see. :-)

Comment author: CronoDAS 28 March 2012 05:02:03AM 7 points [-]

I was amazed that the readership collectively got almost every element of Harry’s solution, except for the monetary payment, and Harry spooking the Dementor instead of destroying it. (Looking up Philip Tetlock’s original experiment on taboo tradeoffs, taking the definition literally instead of reaching, and then reading the relevant section of Ch. 26 while keeping in mind Conservation of Detail, might have solved the monetary part.)

Well, if you make enough guesses, sometimes one of them will be partly right...

Comment author: Vaniver 28 March 2012 05:45:20AM 18 points [-]

Harry Potter is not so clever, part 2. (Perhaps I should call this "advice for Harry," to be less negative.)

"I accept your offer," said Harry's lips, without any hesitation, without any decision having been made; just as if the internal debate had been pretense and illusion, the true controller of the voice having been no part of it. "I should have the whole amount ready by the end of the month." It would take his arbitrage trick, but certainly the Headmaster would let him do that instead of going into debt to Malfoy.

Lucius Malfoy stood motionless, frowning down at Harry. "Who is she to you, then? What is she to you, that you would pay so much to keep her from harm?"

"My friend," the boy said quietly. "As is your son- I would have fought as hard and paid as much to keep him from Azkaban."

"Save it," Harry suggested.

"Let us all go home, indeed." His blue eyes were locked on Harry, as hard as sapphires.

Harry looked further up.

"This is how far I go for my friends, Lord Malfoy. And now that Hermione is safe, I would like your permission to visit Draco. "

Overall: what the heck is Harry's model of Malfoy? Why has he not put any effort into developing it? Why, for the love of wisdom, scare him in public?

It may not be too late to turn him from an enemy to an ally, but Harry is making this too hard on himself. His flair for the dramatic is not helping things, either.

Comment author: Alsadius 28 March 2012 06:43:07AM 19 points [-]

Harry may be an overachiever, but he's still 11 - he's allowed to be bad at manipulating people. He's still at the "All I have to do is out-clever everyone and I can take over the world" stage. He has the tools to pull it off much of the time, but he still thinks of his opponents as pieces, not as players, which is a pretty serious hole in his worldview when it comes to things like manipulating Lucius Malfoy.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 28 March 2012 06:50:14AM 1 point [-]

Earlier I noted that EY has a good bit of foreshadowing. Really spells things out.

A lot of that comes out in the dialogue. It occurred to me that dialogue is the closest thing we get to an unvarnished measurement in a story. The description of scenes and events are the voice of the author, but a character says what he says.

Except for cute things like "I'm not serious."

Comment author: mjr 28 March 2012 08:12:12AM 5 points [-]

Good bit, though a bit of a hodgepodge. I presume the real culprit will be found, but that doesn't necessarily counter the debt - the Wizengamot would have to agree, and the truth could be found out in a way that leaves little actual proof, even aside issues of Wizengamot's fairness. I'll be disappointed if paying the debt turns out to be too arduous though, but of course depending on the methods chosen there may be side effects. (One way would be for Draco to accept a counterdebt, having been convinced of the truth of the matter and seeing that being on good terms with Harry is still of value. Assuming Draco will return, which is sadly not a given.)

Merely spooking the Dementor was a good twist on the common (mine included) anticipation of it ending up destroyed. The telling of the incident was cleverly arranged not to give out too much new information on how they actually work. Harry's theory of them operating on the expectations of others works as an explanation; as the animal Patronuses imperfectly shield the Wizengamot from the Dementor, thus they shield the Dementor from their expectations, leaving Harry's dominant. (Also, one might argue that the Dementor shirking from Harry was wholly unexpected to almost everyone present, thus they didn't really have sufficiently direct active expectations on that particular thing either way. But this is an unnecessary side hypothesis.) The Dementor may as well still have also some internal intelligence and self preservation instincts though, as has been hypothesised especially on the grounds of them all refusing co-operation with the Azkaban guards earlier.

In any case, now the expectations of many will actually support Dementors fleeing from Harry, which might come in handy if they at least partially work off of those ;)

Comment author: Blueberry 28 March 2012 11:00:10AM 10 points [-]

I love Chapter 81, but it would have been way better if Draco was the one accused of murder, so Harry could marry Draco.

Comment author: mjr 28 March 2012 11:09:38AM *  2 points [-]

Incidentally, if one believes a certain piece of what seems like well-founded speculation about the Dread Totoro, the Merlin-Totoro legend mirrors Harry's escapades quite nicely.

Comment author: ShardPhoenix 28 March 2012 11:11:10AM 1 point [-]

Harry: Use magic to cheat on gambling, or do the arbitrage-y thing.

Lucius: Suddenly you don't understand anything.

Comment author: anotherblackhat 28 March 2012 11:34:55AM 1 point [-]

Anyone know if Galleons are solid?
Harry estimated their weight at 5 grams, about 1/10th of what a solid gold coin about 38.6 mm in diameter would weigh.