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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 14, chapter 82

7 Post author: FAWS 04 April 2012 02:53AM

The new discussion thread (part 15) is here


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 82The previous thread passed 1000 comments as of the time of this writing, and so has long passed 500. Comment in the 13th thread until you read chapter 82. 

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: 12345678910111213.

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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 (785)

Comment author: Spurlock 07 April 2012 06:12:28PM 18 points [-]

I'd like to predict that whatever actually happened with Dumbledore and Narcissa, it will turn out to have been foreshadowed by whatever happened in Chapter 17 between Dumbledore and the chicken.

That is, I can't actually figure out whether he seriously burned a chicken alive, made it look like he burned a chicken alive, or that actually is what a Phoenix looks like right before regenerating. But he appeared to set fire to a chicken, and I predict that he used essentially the same move on Narcissa, as suggested by the law of conservation of detail.

I don't think its possible that he just whisked her away with Phoenix-travel, as this apparently doesn't actually look anything like someone burning alive, viewed from the outside. But whatever he did with the chicken at least looked enough like burning to fool Harry:

The chicken's beak opened, but it didn't have time for so much as a single caw before it began to wither and char. The blaze was brief, intense, and entirely self-contained; there was no smell of burning.

Comment author: bogdanb 07 April 2012 08:46:08PM *  5 points [-]

But faking her death (and even the type of death) doesn’t really match the rest of the story. There’s no obvious reason not to return her after he thought Voldemort was gone, or at least to let Lucius know what happened in case she’s alive and didn’t want to return—which is unlikely, we had no indication that she was really unhappy or didn’t wish to be a part of her son’s life—or if she died in some much-less-objectionable way (he could give Lucius the memory).

Not doing this led to the last ten years being rather complicated due to Lucius’ enmity; Dumbledore mentions to Harry he’s quite constrained in his political actions. Eliezer also seems to write his stories such that serious actions have serious consequences.

None of it proof, of course, just strong evidence IMO that she really is dead and either Dumbledore or an ally he’s protected did it.

Comment author: Desrtopa 08 April 2012 03:25:39AM 10 points [-]

But faking her death (and even the type of death) doesn’t really match the rest of the story. There’s no obvious reason not to return her after he thought Voldemort was gone, or at least to let Lucius know what happened in case she’s alive and didn’t want to return—which is unlikely, we had no indication that she was really unhappy or didn’t wish to be a part of her son’s life—or if she died in some much-less-objectionable way (he could give Lucius the memory).

But he never thought Voldemort was permanently gone in the first place. The Hogwarts inner circle knew Voldemort was still around as of the beginning of the story. And in any case, he's still maneuvering against Lucius, so he has an incentive to uphold the notion that he will not cooperate with blackmailers and that he will resort to equal retaliation, even while his greater enemy is absent.

Comment author: Eponymuse 08 April 2012 04:03:53AM 6 points [-]

I'm not saying I think Narcissa is alive, but...

There’s no obvious reason not to return her after he thought Voldemort was gone

Except that Narcissa could then testify in front of the Wizengamot that Dumbledore kidnapped her.

or at least to let Lucius know what happened in case she’s alive and didn’t want to return

Dumbledore believes Voldemort will return. This would limit his ability to threaten Death Eaters in the next war.

Comment author: bogdanb 09 April 2012 04:27:51AM 3 points [-]

Dumbledore believes Voldemort will return. This would limit his ability to threaten Death Eaters in the next war.

Point. I forgot he knew about the Horcruxes since basically the beginning.

Comment author: Spurlock 07 April 2012 08:53:00PM 5 points [-]

I don't think Dumbledore would risk leaving her as a loose end, what I suspect is that he really did kill her, but only appeared to burn her alive.

Comment author: bogdanb 08 April 2012 02:54:51AM *  20 points [-]

Oh, no, he did much worse:

He switched her brain with that of a chicken (with Magic!), then burned the chicken alive—in her body—so that the chicken’s thrashing around in horrible agony left marks around the room (while he forced Narcissa to watch, with Magic!). Then he kept Narcissa alive (with Magic!) in the chicken’s body, to keep company to Fawkes; he kept her hidden (with Magic!) right near his perch, so that every time Fawkes re-spawned she was reminded of what her captor was capable of. Then he burned her in front of Harry (with Magic!) just because he thought it was funny :-)

By the way, Lucius is not actually mad because he killed her—Dumbledore told the first part the above to him, but he kept silent about the details because it was embarrassing to have his wife turned to a chicken. That’s why Dumbledore had trouble during the trial; he felt a bit embarrassed about having killed Narcissa after all.

Also, Draco actually picked “fire” as his army’s symbol because he’s secretly fantasizing about being burned alive.

Comment author: moritz 10 April 2012 07:49:58AM 4 points [-]

It's chickens all the way down, isn't it?

Comment author: thomblake 09 April 2012 05:44:23PM 3 points [-]

This fits together so well I'm going to have trouble remembering that Dumbledore didn't switch Narcissa's brain with a chicken.

Comment author: pedanterrific 08 April 2012 03:14:26AM 6 points [-]

It all just clicks seamlessly into place!

Comment author: Alejandro1 10 April 2012 04:51:28PM 5 points [-]

Surely, you mean it all clucks seamlessly into place.

Comment author: gwern 11 April 2012 03:43:19AM *  11 points [-]

Did anyone notice the bit about the Philosopher's Stone? I had initially assumed that the PS was following canon, and the reason that the PS remained intact in Hogwarts was that Voldemort made no attempt on it and bypassing the incredibly elaborate protectings (per book 1) prompting its destruction by Dumbledore & Flamel.

But now we have Harry suggesting it be moved, Dumbledore agreeing and it not being moved because Flamel wants it at Hogwarts. Well, in book 1 when they discovered it could not be kept safe at safest place #2 (Gringotts) they moved it to safest place #1 (Hogwarts) and when safest place #1 failed, they just destroyed it. Dumbledore breathes no word of destroying it, despite both him and Flamel consenting to it in canon.

And notice, if you check MoR carefully, at no point is Harry aware that the guarded object is the Stone; nor has Flamel been mentioned anywhere near Harry as creator of the Stone - Flamel has only come up in conversations with Dumbledore/McGonagall/Snape/Quirrel. (Although the topic is one would expect to be of keen interest to Harry: the Stone, recall, grants immortality or at least anti-aging.)

Conclusion: Eliezer has diverged from canon and carefully kept Harry ignorant because the Stone is going to play a role in future plot events. Given its properties, probably a large role - it's now a massive Chekhov's gem.

EDIT: See especially http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=722rasd1fu9p8mn5fdcbp572&page=89#2214

Comment author: Alsadius 12 April 2012 10:23:02PM 3 points [-]

Ever since I read the Potter books, I knew that the Philosopher's Stone stood a very high chance of being MoR!Harry's weapon of choice.

(Yes, I read the actual Potter books for the first time after reading the first few dozen chapters of MoR.)

Comment author: Nisan 09 April 2012 04:50:31PM 10 points [-]

I noticed this gem on my second reading of Chapter 81:

"As we have far exceeded our allotted time, I now, in accordance with the last decision of the survivors of the eighty-eighth Wizengamot, adjourn this session."

Comment author: gwern 09 April 2012 05:43:42PM 6 points [-]

I actually didn't understand the third clause. My best guess is that it's hinting that the 88th Wizengamot broke out into open warfare/dueling among the factions? (And no one could leave until the head let them? That would be a sensible power for the Line holder to have.)

Comment author: Nisan 09 April 2012 05:56:27PM 10 points [-]

My interpretation is that there was no time limit for sessions during the time of the 88th Wizengamot, and one session went on so long that some of the lords and ladies starved to death — or died of old age. I don't know which is funnier.

Comment author: Bill_McGrath 10 April 2012 12:35:40AM 3 points [-]

I just read it as a throwaway gag; Rowling's style often has funny little background references to violence or bizarre happenings. I took this as being something similar to Rowling specifying the Quidditch match that caused the rule banning broadswords to be introduced.

Comment author: 75th 09 April 2012 11:56:54PM 3 points [-]

I thought that too, basically. Like, maybe in the past there were strict rules of order about when you could adjourn a session, so even the Chief Warlock couldn't adjourn until the formalities were concluded, and that in the 88th Wizengamot a war broke out in the chamber before the formalities were done.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 04 April 2012 10:06:19AM *  23 points [-]

Something that bothers me: what do fights involving the Killing Curse look like? What is it that made Voldemort so much more powerful and the conclusion of Lily vs Voldemort so foregone? His ability to pronounce the phrase faster?

Avada Kedavra seems like the Snitch of combat technique; trumps everything most of the time and dumbs the whole thing down.

Comment author: Desrtopa 04 April 2012 01:12:57PM 30 points [-]

In canon, when Dumbledore and Voldemort fought in Order of the Pheonix, they weren't just launching high level spells like missiles, they were apparating around and manipulating the landscape around them. On one occasion, Dumbledore has Fawkes catch an Avada Kedavra for him (reducing him to a chick,) and I believe he may also have blocked another with an animated statue (although that might have been a different spell.)

I was extremely disappointed that the movie adaptation reduced their confrontation to a highly pyrotechnic instance of magical arm wrestling. J. K. Rowling may not have thought all her ideas out properly, but at least she managed to show that when wizards of Dumbledore and Voldemort's caliber duel, they get creative.

Comment author: Nornagest 04 April 2012 10:24:59AM *  8 points [-]

After the Azkaban sequence, Quirrell mentions Avada Kedavra as a technique that can't be blocked and must be dodged, and therefore essential to magical duels. So that's half your answer. If spamming AK isn't the dominant strategy, it follows that there must be other considerations: perhaps it takes more time to execute, or drains more magical power.

In canon I believe it requires actual hatred for the target, not mere killing intent, which would limit its usefulness for people who aren't YA-lit Nazi pastiches, but I'm not sure if we can consider that reliable in MoR. It doesn't seem to fit comfortably into the fic's themes.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 04 April 2012 10:33:43AM *  10 points [-]

In canon I believe it requires actual hatred for the target

In HPMoR too: Chapter 25: "Who'd been silly enough to build in a spell for Avada Kedavra that could only be cast using hatred?"

It doesn't seem to fit comfortably into the fic's themes.

Perhaps update your model on what the fic's themes are?

If anything, HPMoR makes a person's mind-state even more significant than in canon. It buffs up the Patronus charm, it affects pretty much anything having to do with Dementors (how they look like, whether you can hear them, how much they affect you, even how they act like or whether they'll obey you), it directly affects how the Sorting Hat will behave towards you (as it borrows intelligence from your own mind), spells don't work if you only know the incantation and nothing else about them, "knowledge" can't pass backwards more than 6 hours, knowledge of powerful charms can't pass through books at all as it requires person-to-person communication...

Comment author: bogdanb 04 April 2012 11:52:26PM 2 points [-]

"Who'd been silly enough to build in a spell for Avada Kedavra that could only be cast using hatred?"

I’m not sure exactly what Harry was thinking, but if it simply means that you must “call up feelings of hate” as suggested below, then it might simply be intended as a simple safeguard. Presumably almost anyone can call up such feelings if they tried, but it wouldn’t happen by accident unless you really hate someone. (Given the apparent age of the spell and its character, I don’t think its creator would worry much about accidentally killing someone you hate, if it even occurred to them.)

Comment author: Nornagest 04 April 2012 10:44:33AM *  5 points [-]

Hmm, you're right. Odd that Quirrell was able to use it on Bahry, then. My model of Quirrell(mort) allows for him killing obstructive strangers if it happens to be expedient and not feeling at all bad about it, but hating them? That seems a little personal to mesh well with what we've seen of his style.

Perhaps he's got the narcissistic-personality thing where any impediment automatically becomes a hated enemy, but if so he's hiding it exceptionally well. Or perhaps he's using an Occulumens trick to self-modify into such a person... that seems to fit pretty well, actually. And would be a significant advantage in combat, not to mention a significant obstacle to using AK if you can't self-modify that way.

Perhaps update your model on what the fic's themes are? If anything, HPMoR makes a person's mind-state even more significant than in canon.

Nope, I'm going to stand by this one. It's made fairly clear that MoR magic is tied closely to wizards' thoughts and expectations -- it imposes Aristotelian physics, for crying out loud -- but in this specific case, I read the canonical situation as an intrusion of J.K. Rowling's moral universe into the Potterverse. We've seen enough subversions of that ethic elsewhere in the fic that I didn't want to allow it to constrain my expectations of the text.

Comment author: Desrtopa 04 April 2012 01:07:02PM 19 points [-]

Hmm, you're right. Odd that Quirrell was able to use it on Bahry, then. My model of Quirrell(mort) allows for him killing obstructive strangers if it happens to be expedient and not feeling at all bad about it, but hating them? That seems a little personal to mesh well with what we've seen of his style.

I've never parsed "cast with hatred" as "you must hate the target." In canon, Crouch Jr. as Moody demonstrates it by killing a spider (although I suppose it's possible he's an arachnaphobe.) I imagine that it's like the patronus charm, which you can cast by calling up a happy thought, even if you weren't already happy. Even if Quirrelmort doesn't hate everyone personally, I doubt he has any trouble calling up feelings of hatred.

Comment author: faul_sname 04 April 2012 10:29:03PM *  7 points [-]

Many things in real life are much like that. See nuclear weapons. No law of nature says that there can't be a brute-force technique that overpowers creativity and finesse.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 05 April 2012 07:41:48AM 6 points [-]

One thing I found very interesting - it was Voldemort who blinked first when families were targeted.

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 05 April 2012 01:12:52PM 10 points [-]

Dumbledore suggests a plausible explanation for this when he says "If my opponent had been Lucius, perhaps." Suggests that Lucius is not a rational agent in the sense that he will make negative expected value moves for the sake of vengeance. Voldemort, however, is a rational agent in that sense.

Though I'm not sure Voldemort "blinked," exactly. Voldemort probably didn't care if the families of Death Eaters were killed in retaliation for things done to family members of the Order of the Phoenix. Instead, he made the following calculation: (1) I can afford to tell Lucius I will torture him to death (and maybe kill his baby boy) if he does anything stupid in retaliation for Narcissa's death and (2) but if I go on killing family members of my opponents, my Death Eaters may rebel to protect their families, Dark Mark or no.

Comment author: roystgnr 06 April 2012 01:53:30AM 13 points [-]

Be careful when describing negative-expected-value vengeance as irrational. "I will precommit to be the kind of person who takes vengeance, even after it's too late for that to have positive expected value" is almost just a sub-case of "I one-box".

Comment author: TimS 05 April 2012 01:30:07PM 10 points [-]

It's interesting in part because Harry is right that the behavior is unusual. Historically, the group that (1) is led by a strong leader who encourages personality cults, (2) doesn't believe in the rule of law, and (3) resorts to violence at the slightest excuse is not the group that unilaterally ends dynamics like hostage taking and hostage killing.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 06 April 2012 04:15:56AM 3 points [-]

It's interesting in part because Harry is right that the behavior is unusual. Historically, the group that (1) is led by a strong leader who encourages personality cults, (2) doesn't believe in the rule of law, and (3) resorts to violence at the slightest excuse is not the group that unilaterally ends dynamics like hostage taking and hostage killing.

They're the only group that can unilaterally end it since the other side wasn't doing those things to begin with.

Comment author: TimS 06 April 2012 01:38:39PM 6 points [-]

As I understand the historical dynamic, there is a conflict and the status quo is that dependents are safe. One side (call them Blue) escalates by attacking dependents, breaking the status quo. The other side (call them Green) might not have chosen to break the prior status quo, but once it is broken, they decide to start attacking dependents. Green might even escalate further.

Historically, these types of conflicts seldom return to the prior status quo. Most frequently, a new (bloodier) status quo is reached, or one side wins and ends the conflict. Occasionally, Green does not escalate, or decides that the new status quo is unacceptable and unilaterally deescalates (which doesn't always successfully return to the old status quo). What essentially never happens is Blue escalates, Green escalates, Blue unilaterally deescalates, old status quo returns.

In short, I notice I am confused by Dumbledore's story of the safety of dependents at various times during the last war.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 06 April 2012 02:27:27PM 6 points [-]

What essentially never happens is Blue escalates, Green escalates, Blue unilaterally deescalates, old status quo returns.

Just to make sure I understand, consider the following hypothetical account: Sam and I are having a nonviolent argument. I get furious and punch Sam. Sam punches me back. I apologize for having turned this into a violent interaction and promise not to do that anymore. Sam agrees not to do it anymore either. We return to our nonviolent argument.

Is that an example of the sort of situation you're describing, which you claim essentially never happens?

If not, can you clarify what excludes it?

Comment author: TimS 06 April 2012 02:45:36PM 4 points [-]

The historical assertion is in the context of group political conflict involving violence.

Apocryphally, the Mafia had a rule that they didn't target families. Assuming this was true even in conflicts between families (and I don't know this to be actually true), I'm saying that the family (Blue) that first broke that norm was not likely to be the family that unilaterally returns to the "don't kill dependents" rule. Particularly if a lot of the unity of the Blue family is based on the strong personality of Blue's leader.

(Mostly, I'm thinking of the Cold-War era internal conflicts between proxies of the United States and the USSR, especially in Latin America and Africa i.e. the Sandinistas. I'm not saying every conflict of that type escalated in the way I'm describing, just that the escalator basically never deescalated while the conflict continued).

Comment author: [deleted] 04 April 2012 09:50:24AM 15 points [-]

Okay, I was wrong. It's not at all likely that Dumbledore had the prophecy and Lily's death in mind when he turned Lily against Snape. He hadn't yet become willing to make that sort of tradeoff when the two of them were in school. And it beggared belief in any case that he could have correctly predicted the effects of his actions on Snape so many years in advance. So, no. Whatever his intentions were back then, if he's responsible for the prophecy, he merely capitalized on the outcome.

Despite that, I think it's now a little more probable that Dumbledore deliberately sacrificed the Potters, hoping to defeat Voldemort with Lily's sacrificial protection.

"After the day I condemned my brother to his death, I began to weigh those who followed me, balancing them one against another, asking who I would risk, and who I would sacrifice, to what end."

It also looks significant that Harry twice enumerated Lily's options as: leave, or stay and cast a curse. Voldemort offered her a third choice.

"Very well," said the voice of death, now sounding coldly amused, "I accept the bargain. Yourself to die, and the child to live. Now drop your wand so that I can murder you."

We know from canon that if she'd accepted, it would have saved her son. But Voldemort told her it wouldn't, and laughed at her for considering it. So she refused his offer and tried to kill him. Does that affect whether the protection is activated? Is it relevant that she had to willingly give her life out of love, when she died casting a curse that's powered by hate? Dumbledore didn't hear about this part. I'd love to know what he'd say.

Comment author: Desrtopa 04 April 2012 01:17:23PM 6 points [-]

I parsed that sequence as Voldemort deliberately manipulating Lily so as to avoid her placing any magical protection on her son. I don't think MoR Voldemort would have been stupid enough to overlook major feats of magic just because they involve something as unpalatable as love.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 04 April 2012 09:57:58AM 5 points [-]

We know from canon that if she'd accepted, it would have saved her son.

We can assume that it would have saved her son in canon. The universe of HPMoR doesn't need follow the exact same rules.

Does that affect whether the protection is activated?

You're assuming that such a protection by sacrifice need exist at all in HPMoR.

Comment author: Nominull 04 April 2012 06:00:33AM 14 points [-]

So one thing to notice in this chapter is the parallel between Dumbledore's situation during the War and Harry's situation in court. In particular, the price of a life was one hundred thousand Galleons in each case. That the price should be the same makes the story more dramatic and the moral lesson more clearcut, but neither of those are a reason for something to actually be true in HPMOR, are they?

It could easily be a coincidence. One hundred thousand Galleons is a nice big round number, and so two big-number-pickers might both pick it for that reason, the same way people write songs about what they would do if they had a million dollars and not $1,349,921. I'm not discounting that as an explanation, but I will note that Lucius Malfoy was a high-ranking Death Eater and probably knew about the Aberforth ransom. And given that he had recently been talking about the death of his wife, it should have been salient. And he did suddenly take a cold smile on his face as he demanded compensation of one hundred thousand Galleons. And he certainly expected it not to be paid.

If we assume he assumes Harry is Voldemort, which seems like a good assumption given his recent behavior, he would think Voldemort would see the symbolism in the price. And then... what? Is he taunting Voldemort? I mean sure he's angry, but taunting Voldemort doesn't seem wise. But it doesn't even make sense as a taunt unless he expects Voldemort to accept, which he doesn't. Does he see it as the winning move? Voldemort now has to back down or admit he was wrong about the value of family? That would explain why he got so pissed-off, I guess, it sucks when your opponent starts cheating. Was it another dig at Dumbledore? Gotta constantly troll Dumbledore as vengeance for your wife's death.

Another possibility, which seems a little implausible but I'll mention it, is that the scene was faked by Dumbledore. Either things didn't happen quite as he said they did, or things basically happened that way but Dumbledore touched up the evidence to appeal to his sense of narrative drama by getting the numbers right.

Comment author: Jherek 04 April 2012 09:13:52PM *  13 points [-]

Was it another dig at Dumbledore?

It wasn't just a dig, it was a stab. My rereading of the passage leads me to think that Lucius gave that number expressly because of Dumbledore. Remember, Lucius knows that Dumbledore doesn't bargain - and that he gave up on his brother, rather than pay a hundred thousand. Lucius wanted his offer to be rejected, and he was counting on Dumbledore to reject his offer. That explains Lucius's cold smile when he made his offer. And also his confusion, and reassessment, when Harry strong arms Dumbledore into giving assent ... "You pretend you can destroy Azkaban, and Dumbledore pretends to believe it."

It also explains Dumbledore's extremely heavy handed reaction to Harry's decision. The hundred thousand triggered his memory of Aberforth, and to see Harry then choose differently, invalidates Dumbledore's beliefs at some level. Always a painful thing.

Comment author: Nornagest 04 April 2012 06:18:59AM *  5 points [-]

If we assume he assumes Harry is Voldemort, which seems like a good assumption given his recent behavior, he would think Voldemort would see the symbolism in the price. And then... what? Is he taunting Voldemort? I mean sure he's angry, but taunting Voldemort doesn't seem wise.

First possibility that comes to mind is that it was a nicely salient price point that Lucius could be sure Voldemort wouldn't be willing to pay to get back a valued ally. After all, Voldemort implicitly said as much before, if Dumbledore's testimony about his reaction during the last war is to be trusted.

Lucius probably doesn't want to taunt Voldemort, but he does want to win, and by persisting when Harry made it clear where his interests lie, Lucius has already implicitly opposed himself to Voldemort in the current conflict. I can't think of any other price point that'd work better, either, now that the precedent's been set -- a little lower sends a message that Voldemort is less serious in his intentions than Dumbledore, a lot lower risks being paid in full, and higher makes Lucius look desperate.

Depending on how well known the ransom story is, he might also have been trying to score points off the other people in the room by drawing an implicit parallel to those events. Of course, by doing so and getting a different outcome, he's lost some of the moral high ground; I'm not sure how much, though, given how cold Harry was being and given the little stunt with Umbridge and the Dementor. Lucius is also probably updating his estimate for the Harrymort interpretation downward now (previously he had a hypothesis that matched all his data; now he has new data both for and against and should be very confused), but I'm not prepared to say what the consequences of that might be.

Comment author: FiftyTwo 04 April 2012 03:44:58PM 3 points [-]

Remember what Eleizer said in the authors notes about simple vs. complex explanations? I'd default to the 'big round number' hypothesis.

Comment author: Brickman 06 April 2012 02:43:44AM 7 points [-]

I don't think that "Lucius chose the exact same number as a stab against Dumbledore" is a very complex hypothesis. We already know that he knows part of the story and can reasonably assume he knows the whole story about Aberforth. So of course if the situation already demands that he hold someone on Dumbledore's side (sort of) for ransom for some obscene amount of money, on the assumption that it won't be paid, how could he resist rubbing that bit of salt in his nemesis's wounds?

It's not part of some bigger plan. It's not some fancy maneuver. It's just an emotional attack of opportunity aimed at Dumbledore, probably just for pride's sake.

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 04 April 2012 12:37:44PM 25 points [-]

One thing I find really interesting about this story is that nobody has any idea what's going on, and nothing is going according to anyone's plan.

(1) It seems clear that Hat and Cloak = Quirrellmort. Less clear, but still likely in my view, was is that the point of this plot was to eliminate those friends of Harry's who would make him resistant to manipulation by Quirrellmort ("Lessson I learned is not to try plotss that would make girl-child friend think I am evil or boy-child friend think I am sstupid," Ch. 66). Instead, while the plot may be the end of Harry's friendship with Draco, it's probably strengthened his bond with the morally pure Hermione, and convinced some members of the Wizengamot that Harry is Voldemort, which probably doesn't have a place in Quirrellmort's plans. Furthermore, Quirrellmort may not realize what he's done.

(2) It occurred to me that giving Draco Veritaserum might have made Lucius realize that Harry is not Voldemort. However, if you look at some of Lucius' dialog closely, the subtext appears to be, "Dark Lord, you have lost your humanity, and therefore cannot possibly understand the love I have for my son. I am willing to risk your wrath over this, especially since I suspect you are much weaker trapped in the body of a child. And why do you bother telling such ridiculous lies about your motives?" If Lucius knows that Harry confessed to Draco that he had no idea what the conversation in Ch. 38 was about, Lucius probably dismisses that confession as a well-told lie.

(3) Dumbledore believes that Harry has just signaled to Lucius and the other Death Eaters that he will pay any price to save his friends. But Dumbledore is wrong, at least about Lucius. Lucius believes he has just fallen victim to an incomprehensible plot of Harrymort's, possibly designed solely to torment Lucius, and therefore does not see this as relevant evidence to how far Harry(mort) will go to save his friends in the future. Indeed, Lucius accused Harry of lying when Harry explained that "his stake" in the situation was just that Hermione was Harry's friend.

(4) Harry is deeply conflicted about his actions. Yet there's a case to be made that that Harry's decision making process (the one he's now feeling conflicted about) was better than Dumbledore's. Not perfect, but better than Dumbledore's. Not only is Harry ignorant about the consequences of his actions (as described in points 1-3 above), he was in the no position to know anything at all about those consequences... except for the consequence of "save a little girl from getting eaten by Dementors." Under those circumstances, Harry's arguments in Ch. 77 may actually apply here. Unfortunately, that may mean Harry ends up learning the wrong lesson from this incident.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 04 April 2012 08:23:29PM *  14 points [-]

convinced some members of the Wizengamot that Harry is Voldemort, which probably doesn't have a place in Quirrellmort's plans.

Quirrellmort has already pontificated on the benefits of ambiguity, and his desire to let both sides think Harry is on their side.

Harry: “On our first day of class, you tried to convince my classmates I was a killer.”

Quirrell: “You are.” Amusedly. “But if your question is why I told them that, Mr. Potter, the answer is that you will find ambiguity a great ally on your road to power. Give a sign of Slytherin on one day, and contradict it with a sign of Gryffindor the next; and the Slytherins will be enabled to believe what they wish, while the Gryffindors argue themselves into supporting you as well. So long as there is uncertainty, people can believe whatever seems to be to their own advantage. And so long as you appear strong, so long as you appear to be winning, their instincts will tell them that their advantage lies with you. Walk always in the shadow, and light and darkness both will follow.”

Comment author: pedanterrific 04 April 2012 08:31:36PM 6 points [-]

Now that I think about it, it's odd that he stated that with such certainty. It's not like Voldemort or Dumbledore used that strategy - maybe he's thinking of Grindelwald? Apparently his motto was "for the greater good"...

Comment author: Argency 05 April 2012 01:33:50AM 20 points [-]

RE: your (1).

I think that Quirrelmort's aim was to turn Harry.

From Quirrel's point of view, Harry has shown incredible promise except for his pesky humanist streak. All Quirrelmort needs to do is to kill his faith in humanity off and he's ripe for the job of future Dark Lord. What better way to accomplish that than to have the wizarding world at large sentence the one person he believes to be wholly good (Hermione) to death? Dumbledore will refuse to help Harry destroy Azkaban and bust Hermione out, at which point Harry will lose all faith in him and his methods, and turn to Quirrel for help. Quirrel says, "Poor dear, didn't I tell you that people were basically evil if left to their own devices? They need a ruler to help them to be good. Let's break your chum out of Azkaban and take over the wizarding world for good measure as soon as we can, although I'm afraid that by the time we are in position to get her out and keep her out she'll probably be a vegetable..." So Harry and Quirrel sear Azkaban out of existence, free the crims (many of whom will now follow Harry into fire out of gratitude). Harry is left with a broken England and a broken Hermione and the only thing left for him is to rule with an iron utilitarian fist, Quirrelmort at his side.

And look how close it came to working! Harry's backup plan was to kill almost the entire sitting parliament of Wizarding Britain in cold blood! There's no coming back from that one. I don't think avoiding this plot inoculates him against similar attacks, either - if anything he's in a weaker position now and is therefore more vulnerable to being forced into the kind of irredeemable, desperation-induced act that he won't be able to put back in the box.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 05 April 2012 07:02:33AM 18 points [-]

I'd earlier made this point. The key

And the reason it is easy for you to forgive such fools and think well of them, Mr. Potter, is that you yourself have not been sorely hurt. You will think less fondly of commonplace idiots after the first time their folly costs you something dear.

In the Wizengamut:

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

When their idiocy threatened something dear to Harry, he declared war on them. Mission accomplished. I've been wondering if Harry is ever going to remember that conversation. It's just so obvious. All that's missing is the "told ya so" speech from Quirrell.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 05 April 2012 06:48:54AM 3 points [-]

(4) Harry is deeply conflicted about his actions. Yet there's a case to be made that that Harry's decision making process (the one he's now feeling conflicted about) was better than Dumbledore's.

I think it was. Dumbledore was considering it a blackmail situation, which it clearly was not. Malfoy didn't want the money, he wanted revenge and punishment. Harry did not give in to blackmail, he found a way to save a friend against someone trying to kill them.

People may conclude that Harry can be pushed to extremes by attacking those he cares about. Sounds a lot like Malfoy. This tends to imply some susceptibility to blackmail, but it's not very strong evidence. I'd say it's stronger evidence that's it's dangerous to mess with his friends, but potentially useful to do so if you can direct the retribution to a target of your own selection.

Comment author: Bugmaster 05 April 2012 08:25:47PM 3 points [-]

Dumbledore believes that Harry has just signaled to Lucius and the other Death Eaters that he will pay any price to save his friends.

Another way to interpret the events would be to say that Harry is willing to commit any act to save his friends as quickly and efficiently as possible. If Harry happens to have some money, he will use money. If he doesn't have any money, he may use some hitherto unknown, yet unimaginably horrific power, which is so destructive that it is capable of frightening a Dementor. I suspect that at least a few Death Eaters on the Wizengamot might be thinking along these lines.

Comment author: [deleted] 05 April 2012 09:11:59PM 13 points [-]

Scaring the Dementor may have saved his bacon. Blackmailing someone is a positive utility move. Blackmailing someone who seriously believes they can destroy hundreds of unkillable soul-eating monsters, and backs that up is a move with totally unknown utility, possibly very, very negative.

Comment author: NihilCredo 04 April 2012 07:33:05PM *  12 points [-]

If Dumbledore believes that Harry's action told Voldemort that blackmailing will be effective again, shouldn't he now proceed to move Harry's parents to safety at Hogwarts, as Harry suggested when the issue was raised after Azkaban?

Comment author: Raemon 04 April 2012 08:25:07PM 2 points [-]

He may very well do that, but also remember that people ARE still up against Dumbledore, who DOES have his reputation intact.

Comment author: NihilCredo 04 April 2012 08:29:17PM 3 points [-]

Unfortunately, Harry has just shown that he is both able and willing to overcome Dumbledore's refusal to offer concessions.

Comment author: GeeJo 05 April 2012 12:47:05AM 9 points [-]

On the other hand, he doesn't currently have much in the way to offer potential kidnappers.

...unless a family member of someone locked up in Azkaban takes him at his word that he's capable of destroying the place. I'm not sure Harry would pause even as long as he did for Hermione if that was the price demanded for the safe return of his adoptive parents. The narrative demands of the story make that unlikely, though.

Comment author: taelor 05 April 2012 02:16:33AM 11 points [-]

You were monstrously unfair to Dumbledore, said the voice Harry had been calling Slytherin, only now it also seemed to be the Voice of Economic Sensibility and maybe also Conscience.

This is awesome.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 04 April 2012 03:24:43AM *  11 points [-]

Congrats to all the people that figured out that the death of Aberforth was likely causally connected to the death of Narcissa Malfoy.

It was indeed logical and elegant that the two non-canon deaths we know about should be connected to each other...

Comment author: Larks 04 April 2012 04:44:38AM 25 points [-]

It seems both Harry and Dumbledore are missing one of the big payoffs of Harry saving Hermione: making it very attractive to become his freind. There's no explicit enemy around at the moment, so he can't rally minions like Dumbledore did by using the threat of Voldermort; love might be his best option.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 04 April 2012 11:14:22AM 7 points [-]

Then again Dumbledore just pointed out that being Harry's friend will now make you a target.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 04 April 2012 05:34:04AM 17 points [-]

Everyone knows that Draco was trying to be Harry's friend.

He almost died for his trouble, and Harry's not the one that saved him.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 04 April 2012 10:08:31AM 6 points [-]

He almost died for his trouble,

There doesn't seem to be any causal connection in anyone's mind (other than Harry & Dumbledore) between their friendship and Draco's attempted murder.

Comment author: FiftyTwo 04 April 2012 03:26:42PM 12 points [-]

Friends with Harry -> Interact with crazy mudblood girl -> Crazy Mudblood girl tries to kill you, and Harry defends her.

Comment author: J_Taylor 05 April 2012 02:40:23AM 4 points [-]

Friends with Harry -> Interact with crazy mudblood girl -> Crazy Mudblood girl tries to kill you, and Harry defends her.

->Can't come back to school. -> Loses local positions of power. -> Odds of becoming future bigwig of magical England are reduced.

Comment author: FiftyTwo 04 April 2012 03:31:22PM 10 points [-]

Hermione was a special case in many ways, they were already thought by many to be 'true loves' and she did save him from a Dementor, so it would be unlikely to count as a guarantee. Also Hermione did still have significant costs from this, she was imprisoned, exposed to Dementors, her reputation ruined and now she is bound to the service of the (possibly Dark) Lord Potter. So not an insurance scheme I'd be particularly willing to take up.

Comment author: drethelin 04 April 2012 06:10:58PM 5 points [-]

What he really needs to do is save draco in the same way

Comment author: Alsadius 05 April 2012 05:35:18AM 5 points [-]

Save him from who? His father's(perfectly reasonable) educational decisions?

Comment author: JoeA 04 April 2012 12:35:28PM 20 points [-]

I think the most interesting part of this chapter (82) is another two clues about the Harry's Dark Side/Voldemort connection:

"Why was there a part of him that seemed to get angry at the old wizard beyond reason, lashing out at him harder than Harry had ever hit anyone, without thought of moderation once the rage had been raised, only to quiet as soon as Harry left his presence?"

Hmm, Harry's dark side mysteriously hates Dumbledore but doesn't remember why..? This is just one more clue that his dark side is an obliviated Voldemort or a horcrux - Voldemort's memories influence his dark thinking even if he doesn't remember why.

Also,

" 'Step aside, foolish woman, if you have any sense in you at all -' An awful chill came over Harry as he spoke those words from his own lips, but he shook it off and continued."

This could just be a creepy thing to hear yourself say about your mother, but could it be even more creepy if you realized you'd already heard yourself say it? Thinking back to the Remembrall incident, it's likely Harry has memories of Voldemort that are slowly coming out...

Comment author: JenniferRM 04 April 2012 04:30:20PM 29 points [-]

Good insight! This would also explain why "Harry's worst memory" was something he shouldn't actually remember. If it was actually Voldemort's memory passed through Harry's loyalties and emotional valuation, it might be the thing that popped out. Which also makes Harry having revealed this memory to Dumbledore in Ch 82 pretty significant, and suggests a radically different interpretation to this text:

"It's a funny thing," Harry said, his voice wavering like something seen through underwater. "Do you know, the day I went in front of the Dementor, what my worst memory was? It was my parents dying. I heard their voices and everything."

The old wizard's eyes widened behind the half-moon glasses.

"And here's the thing," Harry said, "here's the thing I've been thinking about over and over. The Dark Lord gave Lily Potter the chance to walk away. He said that she could flee. He told her that dying in front of the crib wouldn't save her baby. 'Step aside, foolish woman, if you have any sense in you at all -'" An awful chill came over Harry as he spoke those words from his own lips, but he shook it off and continued. "And afterward I kept thinking, I couldn't seem to stop myself from thinking, wasn't the Dark Lord right? If only Mother had stepped away. She tried to curse the Dark Lord but it was suicide, she had to have known that it was suicide. Her choice wasn't between her life and mine, her choice was for herself to live or for both of us to die! If she'd only done the logical thing and walked away, I mean, I love Mum too, but Lily Potter would be alive right now and she would be my mother!" Tears were blurring Harry's eyes. "Only now I understand, I know what Mother must have felt. She couldn't step aside from the crib. She couldn't! Love doesn't walk away!"

It was like the old wizard had been struck, struck by a chisel that shattered him straight down the middle.

The eyes widening and seeming to be shattered... what if Harry and the reader are meant to think this is just Dumbledore being all human and weak and sympathetic and stuff, but actually Dumbledore was surprised by learning that Harry is Harrymort in a deeper sense than he'd realized and then covering it with acting?

Comment author: Swimmy 04 April 2012 07:21:08PM *  9 points [-]

I think you're right. If Eliezer is keeping the Harry-as-horcrux plot element, and we're still living in a world without souls or an afterlife, the horcrux in Harry would be a part of Voldemort's memories and personality, because that's what a "soul" really is.

I don't know if it's been mentioned before, but this probably explains Quirrel's trances. He has distributed a large part of his mind across several parts of the globe he no longer has access to. This means his mind can't function properly 100% of the time. (Would his mind function better when he's near Harry?)

Comment author: [deleted] 04 April 2012 11:52:10PM *  9 points [-]

Or, instead of your mind being distributed across multiple processors, a horcrux is a copy. And if you're killed, you survive not as a ghost, but by virtue of the fact that there's still a copy of you extant and functioning in the world. The same way uploading counts as survival.

Which means that by filling the world with horcruxes, Voldemort is executing the Hansonian strategy of flooding the labor market with EMs.

ETA: Hey, would Voldemort care what happened to a copy of himself? Perhaps the "power Voldemort knows not" is TDT. :)

Comment author: [deleted] 05 April 2012 01:25:16AM 5 points [-]

Well, I've solved the story. Harry defeats Voldemort by tricking him into doing the "rational" thing and defecting against himself. Posting this in a new, unedited comment just in case it turns out to be more than a bad joke.

Comment author: [deleted] 05 April 2012 09:15:55PM *  3 points [-]

I think it's more likely that the Horcruxes are static copies, like system backups, and Quirrel's zombie periods are because the original Quirrel is, in fact, still present in some lobotomized form, and Voldemort is merely imposing his soul / brain state onto the tissue by force of magic. While he can maintain it, it is costly, and he conserves strength by letting the damaged brain run the body most of the time. It might also be the case that this is to preserve the livespan of the possession, since Voldemort's presence in Quirrel's body appears to be slowly killing him.

Comment author: [deleted] 06 April 2012 12:39:55PM 3 points [-]

A static copy couldn't learn, think, or experience time. A static copy is inert. I could imagine horcrux-magic automatically overwriting the brains of people who come into contact with them, so that Quirrell would become Voldemort, but the horcrux can't be static if Quirrell is still present in lobotomized form. In that scenario, neither one is a running copy of Voldemort.

But the idea of horcruxes as copies may be correct.

"Harry, how could Voldemort have survived the death of his body if he did not have a soul?" [...] "Good question," Harry said, after some internal debate about how to proceed. "Maybe he found some way of duplicating the power of the Resurrection Stone, only he loaded it in advance with a complete copy of his brain state. Or something like that."

If he didn't die at Godric's Hollow, perhaps he rescued Bellatrix to create a flesh and blood copy of himself from one of his horcruxes, and we really will be treated to the sight of two Voldemorts betraying each other. I'd like that.

Comment author: Xachariah 06 April 2012 04:36:45PM 10 points [-]

Interestingly, the copy of Voldemort we get to see in canon is very much a static copy. He comes back fifty years later with the exact same plan that he abandoned before. It's not even a good plan; his older self abandoned it since it would arouse suspicion and wouldn't particularly help him in his goals. Hell, diary-riddle could have just not written on the walls in blood and succeeded easily. It's like that instance of him had not only failed to grow at all since he created the diary horcrux, but it was perpetually fixated on the state of mind it's creator had at the exact moment of creation.

Obviously HPMoR is different from canon, but it seems like an interesting parallel.

Comment author: Benquo 06 April 2012 05:58:26PM 4 points [-]

Now I'm wondering whether the HPMOR Voldemort is not the original Tom Riddle, but just another Horcrux, and a rather degraded one, at that.

Comment author: Rhwawn 06 April 2012 08:03:25PM 3 points [-]

'HPMOR Voldemort' - you mean the original taking-over-England-and-meeting-an-unexplained-fate-at-the-Potters' Voldemort? That's odd... but why would Tom Riddle let one of his Horcruxes go wild like that, and whose body did it steal?

Comment author: Benquo 06 April 2012 08:15:03PM 2 points [-]

I don't think I have enough info to generate good hypotheses yet, but it seems odd that the original would be intellectually more degraded than, e.g. Quirrelmort (unless the Quirrel himself has/had a formidable brain already). The "pretending to be brutish and lose" plan is also improbable because it violates Malfoy's Rule of Three. (OTOH Lucius, while clever, is not the smartest plotter around, and knows this, so perhaps the rule doesn't apply to truly superior plotters.)

Comment author: Rhwawn 06 April 2012 08:18:19PM 2 points [-]

The original might not necessarily be 'degraded' compared to Quirrel - he had different strategies, yes, but Quirrel has observed a lot of things since 'his' defeat. Those could explain his change in strategy.

Comment author: loserthree 06 April 2012 04:09:15PM 3 points [-]

From chapter 79:

old, old tales of wizards possessed, doing mad deeds, claiming the names of Dark Lords thought defeated; and there is usually a device, of that Dark Lord, which they wield

So the mind-state-thing is backed up to some kind of sustained magic on an object. And then whoever possesses that object is possessed by the mind-state-thing.

Comment author: [deleted] 06 April 2012 05:26:00PM *  2 points [-]

To clarify, by 'static copy' I didn't mean permanently static, I meant 'inert until activated.'

Though I guess there's no evidence that they aren't alive (in a ghostly, and mostly useless state) at all times.

EDIT: Actually, thinking of canon, the horcruxes did seem decently alive. Enough so to mess with Ginny Weasely a lot.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 05 April 2012 07:27:28AM 10 points [-]

"Why was there a part of him that seemed to get angry at the old wizard beyond reason...

Because that's what taboo tradeoffs are all about. You feel a sacred value that cannot be traded for a mundane one. The human response to a threat to a sacred value is anger. Also, at least in Harry's case, the anger seems to be a defense mechanism of the sacred values against reason. Get pissed off as a means of mental evasion. The part that defends the sacred values will lie, refuse to think, and refuse to see reality. Also, there's some resentment at Dumbledore at making him see his own inconsistency and self duplicity.

It is interesting. EY is treading perilously close to politics here. As I think about politics, almost all idiocy centers on various Taboo Tradeoffs, where some sacred value is at odds with a seemingly mundane one, and the idiocy floweth.

The sacred values that worked in small bands on the savannah don't scale to people in societies of hundreds of millions trying to make collective decisions. What are people to do? Is it true that humans can't live any other way?

I'm interested in seeing what he has to say on this.

I don't think it has anything to do with magic and horcruxes. It's a human problem. That's why it's interesting.

Comment author: Tripitaka 04 April 2012 10:57:55PM 7 points [-]

Thinking back to the Remembrall incident, it's likely Harry has memories of Voldemort that are slowly coming out...

The far easier explanation for this, which does not have all the problems of being an ridiculousness easy and yet unknown method for detecting of Obliviation having occured is that Harry forgot that he is strictly forbidden to use a Time-Turner in view of the public!

Comment author: JoeA 05 April 2012 02:34:30PM 7 points [-]

That makes sense.. but immediately afterward both Harry and McGonnagal thought it was unusual how bright the remembrall shined; neither seemed to think it was solely due to the use of the Time Turner:

"The Remembrall was glowing bright red in his hand, blazing like a miniature sun that cast shadows on the ground in broad daylight."

and

""More importantly, why did the Remembrall go off like that?" Harry said. "Does it mean I've been Obliviated?"

"That puzzles me as well," Professor McGonagall said slowly. "If it were that simple, I would think that the courts would use Remembralls, and they do not. I shall look into it, Mr. Potter.""

And then of course she doesn't. Perhaps the courts simply don't use Remembralls because they would never definitively prove obliviation - only that something was forgotten. Harry's remembrall "blazing like a miniature sun" may be due to an overwhelmingly large obliviation - like an entire life as a Dark Lord? Obliviating a day or week may just produce a normal glow...

Comment author: 75th 07 April 2012 01:13:09AM 10 points [-]

I think we're starting to outgrow the original spec for the lesswrong.com discussion functionality. Plenty of discussions from previous threads were not strictly related to the most recent chapter, and I can think of a few such threads I'd like to start, but I'm holding off because I know that as soon as a new chapter is posted, all past threads will be made obsolete by the creation of a new discussion page.

What are everyone's feelings about putting some dedicated forum software on a subdomain of hpmor.com?

I do know that these discussions are responsible for a significant percentage of Less Wrong's traffic, and obviously I don't know what the actual statistics are, but I do know that all my Less Wrong binge sessions have been instigated by links from commenters (which would still be made on external forums) or by links from the Author's Notes (which are not part of Less Wrong) or by other causes, none of which were related to my posting in the MoR discussions here.

So unless raw pageviews and user accounts are very important to this advertisement-free site, I think it's at least possible that Less Wrong might not be adversely affected by these discussions moving to a closely related external site. But again, I don't know any relevant statistics, and there may be a lot of considerations I haven't thought of, so please don't crucify me if this was a blasphemous suggestion.

Comment author: razor11 07 April 2012 11:31:40AM 11 points [-]

One possible deterrent to implementing that might be that people who initially came here to discuss the story might also participate in other non-HP related reading activities, such as going through the Sequences and discussing other posts, becoming better rationalists in the process. I don't have the statistics either though so I don't know how accurate this is.

Comment author: Xachariah 07 April 2012 11:43:11PM 9 points [-]

If the 'How did you come to find less wrong' thread is accurate, a lot of people came here through HPMoR. I'm not sure how many would have come if the HPMoR forums were elsewhere, but it seems like a non-negligible fraction of the community.

Comment author: 75th 08 April 2012 01:04:06AM *  6 points [-]

I got here through HPMoR, too, but not at all because of these discussions; I got here through Eliezer's links in the Author's Notes. Indeed, I had no idea this was the primary venue for MoR discussions until the link on hpmor.com made it obvious. I don't think it was very obviously linked to from anywhere on FFN before; or at least, I never saw it.

If we had dedicated forums, I think a series of banner "ads" ("Learn everything Rationalist Harry knows by reading the Sequences at Less Wrong", etc.), in addition to the frequent links to MoR-related posts by commenters, might be just as good as (or maybe better than) these suboptimal discussion threads for awareness and traffic.

Comment author: Alsadius 08 April 2012 01:09:16AM 4 points [-]

I read a couple of the Sequences as a result of these discussion threads, FWIW. I've been familiar with EY's work for some years, but this brought me back in.

Comment author: 75th 11 April 2012 04:36:01AM *  40 points [-]

Hermione is dead. Hermione Granger is doomed to die horribly. Hermione Granger will very soon die, and die horribly, dramatically, grotesquely, and utterly.

Fare thee well, Hermione Jean Granger. You escaped death once, at a cost of twice and a half your hero's capital. There is nothing remaining. There is no escape. You were saved once, by the will of your hero and the will of your enemy. You were offered a final escape, but like the heroine you are, you refused. Now only death awaits you. No savior hath the savior, least of all you. You will die horribly, and Harry Potter will watch, and Harry Potter will crack open and fall apart and explode, but even he in all his desperation and fury will not be able to save you. You are the cord binding Harry Potter to the Light, and you will be cut, and your blood, spilled by the hand of your enemy, will usher in Hell on Earth, rendered by the hand of your hero.

Goodbye, Hermione. May the peace and goodness you represent last not one second longer than you do.

Comment author: [deleted] 12 April 2012 05:29:23AM 5 points [-]

Out of curiosity. Given that Eliezer's cited this post as his inspiration for creating SPHEW, how likely do you think it is that he's aware of the "women in refrigerators" trope, and if he's aware of it, that he would ignore the objections to it and use it anyway?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 April 2012 06:06:47AM 5 points [-]

Why are people downvoting this? It's a testable prediction.

Comment author: Alsadius 12 April 2012 10:28:53PM *  10 points [-]

There's reasons besides unfalsifiability for downvoting. Like poor logic, or asserting p=1, or writing so melodramatically that my eyes glazed over.

Edit: I stand by my downvote, for the last two reasons, but I'll give him props for a correct prediction.

Comment author: 75th 12 April 2012 05:08:18AM *  9 points [-]

Thanks for having my back, but I have to ask if I've missed the boat on some Less Wrong policies or unspoken understandings somewhere. What I said may have been a testable prediction, but I wasn't aware that people's posts had to be testable predictions to deserve upvotes. Am I required to list all my supporting evidence every time I make a future-looking statement? If I don't, or even if I do, must I disclaim them the way corporations do on quarterly earnings conference calls?

gwern said above that (s)he'd "be happy to record" my prediction. I had no idea my predictions were being recorded at all. I thought this was just a discussion forum. Is Less Wrong actually a simulation of the prediction markets from Three Worlds Collide? Is Less Wrong a subsidiary of Intrade? Do I have cash or prizes waiting for me somewhere thanks to one of my earlier correct predictions?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 April 2012 06:59:50AM 6 points [-]

If so, I missed the same boat. I looked at the downvotes and was like 'Wha?'

Comment author: thomblake 12 April 2012 11:15:47PM *  5 points [-]

but I wasn't aware that people's posts had to be testable predictions to deserve upvotes

No, it's severally sufficient, not necessary - testable predictions deserve upvotes.

gwern said above that (s)he'd "be happy to record" my prediction. I had no idea my predictions were being recorded at all.

Predictions about MoR are commonly recorded on PredictionBook, which sadly does not offer prizes but can tell you how good your past predictions were so you can get better.

Comment author: Spencer_Sleep 11 April 2012 06:17:55AM 8 points [-]

I can also make the testable prediction "The universe will cease to exist on May 19th, 2034 at 10:03:09PM", but unless I had some truly excellent supporting evidence which I posted along with that prediction, I would not expect people to think well of my statement (particularly if I made it in a rambling, melodramatic way that made it difficult to determine the purpose of the post).

Comment author: 75th 11 April 2012 04:14:57PM 9 points [-]

I thought it was pretty obvious that it was a direct response to the information and imagery in the chapter posted last night.

Yes, it was rambling and melodramatic and over-the-top; it was supposed to be amusing, while at the same time accurately expressing my belief that some seriously dark shit is coming.

Sorry for offending everyone.

Comment author: [deleted] 06 April 2012 01:32:50AM 20 points [-]

In his Author's Note, EY mentions that he's considering releasing the next plot arc in one fell swoop, instead of doing weekly chapter releases. Personally I prefer the weekly chapter releases for the following reasons:

  • You get to consider and digest each chapter, instead of flying through them
  • Each chapter gets discussed- people make predictions, work on rationality skills
  • Builds community, as my HPMoR friends and I can get excited together for each chapter
  • Draws out HPMoR release experience over a couple months.
  • Have something fun to look forward to on Tuesday nights

I was wondering if other people felt the same way, or if I'm alone in preferring the weekly releases to a one-fell-swoop release.

Comment author: Eponymuse 06 April 2012 02:48:33AM 17 points [-]

I would much prefer to have them released all at once. I could read them and re-read them at my own pace. There would still be plenty to discuss. The cliff-hangers mean that I currently think about each update more than is productive. It would be nice if the disruptive effect they have on the rest of my life was more localized.

Mostly, though, I'm happy to read it whenever EY gets around to posting it.

Comment author: Paulovsk 06 April 2012 05:43:53PM 3 points [-]

It would be nice if the disruptive effect they have on the rest of my life was more localized.

I think exactly like that.

I vote up to have them released all at once.

Comment author: anandjeyahar 06 April 2012 06:07:48PM 3 points [-]

+1 for the very same reason. Reading a HPMOR chapter is a day-long distraction. it simply won't leave my brain alone for work on the rest of the day.

Comment author: Paulovsk 06 April 2012 09:17:24PM 5 points [-]

Waiting for a whole week is the worst part.

Comment author: Alex_Altair 10 April 2012 02:27:21AM 2 points [-]

it simply won't leave my brain alone

I take the opportunity to apply Harry-like awesomeness to my own life. What other options aren't I considering? What epicness can I plot? What resources am I not taking advantage of?

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 10 April 2012 05:18:15AM 3 points [-]

Sounds like a good opportunity to practice mental discipline skills that will serve your well for the rest of your life.

Comment author: Gastogh 08 April 2012 10:59:31AM 9 points [-]

I have no strong preference either way on this issue, but I suspect that spacing the updates out is more useful.

One reason for this is that a lot of updates means that the story spends more time on the first page of ff.net's HP story list. The HP fandom is one of the most active ones and stories tend to get bumped off the first page quite fast. To that end, I also think it would be a good idea to occasionally update the story at some other time of the day than the usual 7 PM Pacific Time. Who knows, maybe that alone would bring in some readers who miss the story again and again for no other reason except that it's updated at an inconvenient time of day.

The communal aspect shouldn't be overlooked, either, and having time to discuss chapters is definitely a legitimate reason to draw out the process. This doesn't apply to everyone, of course; I gave myself five minutes to think of solutions for the end of chapter 80 and refrained from discussing them with anyone, and I doubt I'm the only one who plays the game that way.

IMO, the optimal update rate would be once per four or five days. Enough time for folks to talk things over if they wish, but not so long that the anticipation has the time to collapse.

Comment author: Raemon 06 April 2012 04:08:45AM *  5 points [-]

I prefer them spaced out, although maybe slightly more frequently than once per week. Mostly for a "draw out the HPMoR experience" reason.

Comment author: Brickman 06 April 2012 03:21:19AM 5 points [-]

Personally, for anything except comedy I like to read moderately-long bursts rather than short snippets--when I follow works that update daily but have updates that are too small I often stop reading for a while on the assumption that when I start again later I'll have a juicy backlog to trawl through. (Part of me wonders if it's just a matter of how good the author is at finding good stopping points though). HPMOR updates are not that small, but with its plot-heaviness I think I still found that I enjoyed it better when I read entire arcs at once than when I read chapters as they came out. I even considered not reading chapters once or twice until the next existed.

Of course, individual chapters are healthier for my sleep schedule...

Comment author: thomblake 09 April 2012 05:38:53PM 2 points [-]

Very much agree. Co-readers and discussions are cool.

Comment author: culdraug 06 April 2012 07:39:59AM 4 points [-]

I would also like to vote in support of weekly releases.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 04 April 2012 08:29:21PM *  7 points [-]

Shouldn't the next small chapter have been posted already, according to the time mentioned in ch.82?

EDIT TO ADD: Eliezer has posted it as an author's note.

Comment author: smk 04 April 2012 08:57:52PM 5 points [-]

It's posted in the hpmor.com author's note due to FFN being unresponsive: http://hpmor.com/notes/83/

Comment author: Vaniver 04 April 2012 06:28:06AM 13 points [-]

Harry, why are you going to classes? Why is he not talking to Lucius, to Draco, to Dumbledore, or Quirrel? Hell, even Cornelius Fudge could probably use a chat right now.

I feel Quirrel's frustration, and it burns.

(Dumbledore, apparently, does not realize yet that Harry was involved in Azkaban, or realized it all along and does see a reason to act on that knowledge. That seems hard to believe given that he forgot Harry's parents were dead.)

Comment author: pedanterrific 04 April 2012 06:35:02AM 8 points [-]

Forgot Harry's parents were dead? What in the world?

Comment author: moridinamael 04 April 2012 02:50:45PM 4 points [-]

I read it more as forgetting that he had sacrificed Harry's own parents so he had no right to lecture Harry about the costs of sacrifice. Harry has lived with those costs his whole life.

If true, it makes me curious how Sirius was involved in the betrayal, if at all.

Comment author: Surlethe 11 April 2012 02:36:12AM 3 points [-]

I noticed a typo:

"The old wizard nodded, but his eyes still seemed distant, fixed only on the road head."

Road head is a little bit different from road ahead.

Comment author: cultureulterior 08 April 2012 12:02:04AM 3 points [-]

I'm noticing the Hugo nominations just came out. I'm not sure about which category it would be eligible for, but I think it would be worth trying to push for a nomination next year. For one thing, HPMOR is definitely in the same class as Ender's Game, which did win a Hugo.

Comment author: Alsadius 08 April 2012 04:36:17AM 7 points [-]

From a cursory glance, it seems that the categories it'd be eligible for are "Best Novel"(>40k words) and "Best Fan Writer"(non-paid work). I'd advise the latter, because the competition will almost certainly be lighter.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 April 2012 01:42:13AM 7 points [-]

When the book is done I'm going for the former, but the rules call for the book to be complete, I believe.

Comment author: gwern 11 April 2012 02:24:54AM 8 points [-]

Why would you go for the former - what's the reasoning here? Yes, it's gotten praise from some writers, but not the kind of rapturous praise that would give it the most important prestigious prize they have. MoR is amazing for a fan work... and good for a novel. Is this some sort of satisficing reasoning, where it's better to be nominated for best novel than win best fan work?

Comment author: Alex_Altair 11 April 2012 03:23:23AM 4 points [-]

MoR is amazing for a fan work... and good for a novel.

I know I'm not an average voter, but HPMOR is literally the best book I have ever heard of. Are there some other books I have missed out on?

Comment author: gwern 11 April 2012 05:28:40PM *  5 points [-]

Try looking through the Hugo or Nebula best novel awards. Most of them are not didactic like MoR is which makes comparing MoR to them a little unfair since you lose out on the 'I want to base my life on this' effect, and MoR is length-wise at... a trilogy? now, so comparing them to MoR is unfair, and it definitely helps to have read multiple times the heavy influences on MoR like Godel, Escher, Bach or Ender's Game, but I am doing it anyway! Looking through the list, here are ones I've read (~1/3) and would rank as either not much inferior, equal or better than MoR:

  • The City & The City
  • Rainbows End
  • A Fire Upon the Deep
  • Hyperion
  • Ender's Game
  • Claw of the Conciliator (I'm really judging the whole New Sun quartet here)
  • Ringworld
  • Lord of Light
  • Dune
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz
  • The Demolished Man

And this is far from a complete list; for example, Blindsight is fantastic but was only nominated for a Hugo in 2006 (losing to Spin which I have not read).

Comment author: 75th 10 April 2012 12:07:39AM 3 points [-]

nomination next year.

Ah, so you're an optimist.

Comment author: ahartell 08 April 2012 01:23:59AM 3 points [-]

There was some interest in getting the podcast nominated but I guess that didn't amount to anything. I'm not familiar with the Hugo Award categories but since there was no concurrent push for the nomination of the fic in written form, I imagine there was some difficulty finding a category for it. Maybe the pool is a lot smaller for podcasts though and the Eneasz thought that the fic wasn't popular enough on its own to compete in a much larger bracket.

Comment author: RobertLumley 05 April 2012 10:24:37PM 11 points [-]

Having just started following these threads, I've decided to reread the entire fic from the beginning. I'm only in chapter two, but has anyone considered why Harry has a 26 hour sleep cycle? This always seemed like a bad excuse to get Harry a time turner to me, and when I was reading it the first two (I think?) times, I excused it as bad writing. Now I'm thinking it may be deliberate, and my model of EY was wrong. Perhaps Horcrux!Harry has control (strongly put) over Harry for two hours every day, and this is the rise of his odd sleep cycle.

Comment author: Rhwawn 06 April 2012 08:01:09PM 9 points [-]

Perhaps Horcrux!Harry has control (strongly put) over Harry for two hours every day, and this is the rise of his odd sleep cycle.

So you're thinking a Fightclub sort of control? I don't think that works: we have no unexplained gaps and things happening of themselves, or characters whom Harry could be hallucinating (Quirrel doesn't work). And the problem goes away with the Time turner, which a Horcrux!Harry wouldn't. As well, existing Horcrux!Harry moments seem evenly spaced out through the day (like in the latest plot arc, which was noon-1ish, IIRC).

Comment author: perturbation 06 April 2012 11:39:31PM 9 points [-]

"The first rule of the Bayesian Conspiracy is that you don't talk about the Bayesian Conspiracy. To laypeople, I mean."

"The nth rule of the Bayesian Conspiracy may be deduced from the (n-1)th rule."

Comment author: Alicorn 07 April 2012 01:07:40AM 44 points [-]

No, no, "The first rule of the Bayesian Conspiracy is that you talk about the Bayesian Conspiracy just as much as a typical member of the general population does."

Comment author: RobertLumley 06 April 2012 08:40:17PM 2 points [-]

Never seen Fightclub, so hard to evaluate. But I meant more "influence". Whenever the story says Harry's "blood goes cold" I would evaluate that as control.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 06 April 2012 01:41:07AM 4 points [-]

I'm roughly 50/50 on whether there's some deeper meaning behind it, or if it's just a piece of rather bad/inelegant writing...

Comment author: disinter 06 April 2012 01:37:13AM 4 points [-]

It's a real disorder If that's what concerns you. But if you're asking "why use that excuse to exclude Harry from public school and give him a time-turner at Hogwarts? Is there a logical progression that definitively gives Harry a reason to have such a disorder?" I had never considered that.

Comment author: malthrin 06 April 2012 07:05:10PM 4 points [-]

Thanks, I didn't realize that was a real thing.

Harry's sleep schedule wasn't on the red herring list. Further investigation warranted.

Comment author: erratio 07 April 2012 02:59:13PM 3 points [-]

But equally not everything that happens is intended to have further meaning, eg. the Bacon diary was just intended as a character piece

Comment author: Incorrect 06 April 2012 04:02:09AM *  5 points [-]

I think HP is partially based on EY. For example, EY once bit a teacher. Also he stopped attending school for different reasons.

Comment author: RobertLumley 06 April 2012 05:36:12AM *  5 points [-]

That is really interesting. But I can't help but feel like I'm violating his privacy when I read that:

"Likewise, please do not mirror or duplicate this page."

In light of that, it's difficult for me to feel OK reading it on WayBack Machine...

Comment author: arundelo 09 April 2012 06:31:08PM 3 points [-]

I'm sure Eliezer knows that old stuff of his is on archive.org. If he wanted to, he could have it removed.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 10 April 2012 05:25:05AM 2 points [-]

Indeed, information security is a process, not a status.

Comment author: smk 04 April 2012 09:08:45PM 6 points [-]

So Draco will have to build political power without the benefit of growing up in Slytherin. I wonder if Lucius will try to influence other families to pull their kids out of Hogwarts too?

Comment author: LucasSloan 05 April 2012 01:40:25AM 5 points [-]

Well, almost certainly Crabbe and Goyle are pulling out too.

Comment author: FAWS 04 April 2012 03:20:17AM 6 points [-]

Dumbledore seems a bit off in equating the two situations. Lucius isn't threatening to send Hermione to Azkaban in the hope of getting something from Harry/Dumbledore; in fact he made clear that he would rather send her to Azkaban than receive the money. Therefore paying of the blood debt does not equal giving in to blackmail and Harry can save her while still maintaining a consistent position of not giving in to blackmail. Engineering similar situations without making apparent that they are engineered (and therefore blackmail) is probably too impractical to be worth the effort.

Comment author: Alejandro1 04 April 2012 04:44:40AM 16 points [-]

That Lucius' intention was not to blackmail Harry, does not change the fact that now Lucius and Harry's other enemies know that Harry would be willing to sacrifice any amount of money to save a friend.

Comment author: FAWS 04 April 2012 12:23:19PM *  5 points [-]

And there is no problem with that if it's restricted to non-blackmail interactions (except perhaps to the degree it's mistaken by others to also apply to blackmail). Not responding to blackmail as a principled position and not valuing the life of the hostage highly enough for the amount asked for are completely different things.

Otherwise it would have made sense for Voldemort (who wouldn't care about Death Eater families) to keep taking family members hostage and ask for lower and lower amounts until hitting the sum they are valued at. Either that sum would have been low enough to devastate the morale of the Order members (e. g, 100 galleons and Voldemort asks for 101 the next time) or it would be high enough to drain their funds.

A refusal to respond to blackmail needs to be unconditional.

Comment author: Desrtopa 04 April 2012 01:27:09PM 3 points [-]

The fact that Harry proceeded to scare Lucius afterwards is probably to his advantage in this case though. In his position, I would probably make it a priority to get Lucius to forgive the debt, which not only saves him the money, it sends the message "you can try to blackmail me, but I'll make the consequences of forcing me to pay out worse than letting me walk."

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 04 April 2012 12:53:12PM 3 points [-]

Except Lucius doesn't know that, because he thinks this was part of some inscrutable plot by Harrymort!

Comment author: CronoDAS 04 April 2012 03:03:06AM 13 points [-]

Honestly, Harry is placing far too little weight on the hypothesis that Hermione actually did do exactly what she confessed to under Veritaserum.

Story-logic would indicate that she is indeed innocent, and we as readers have evidence that someone has indeed been messing with her mind, but Harry doesn't know what we as readers know. And, to be honest, in a similar situation in the real world, I'd also conclude that the 11 year old probably did indeed do exactly what she is accused of doing.

Comment author: maia 04 April 2012 05:00:22AM 6 points [-]

Actually, based on the Legilimens finding all the fantasies about Draco and Snape conspiring to hurt Harry and her, I've adjusted my probability estimate that Hermione actually did it significantly upward.

Hermione has been having paranoid fantasies about her friends being harmed by Draco -> Draco attacks her, she weakens Draco -> Hermione is suddenly in a position of power over someone she views as a threat to her friends -> Hermione temporarily goes crazy and tries to eliminate Draco.

However, my probability that she did this without mind control being the deciding factor is still virtually zero.

Comment author: Alejandro1 04 April 2012 07:47:05AM *  12 points [-]

My belief is and has always been that she did it, and was not given false memories, nor Imperiused or controlled in any way beyond the Groundhog Day attack. Eliezer believes that humans are hackable (cf. AI box experiments) and this Hermione storyline is showcasing it. Hat-and-Cloak had to find the right hack by proof and error, but once he found it, it was just ordinary words and no magic which influenced Hermione to "freely" decide to murder Draco (just like the AI gatekeepers who "freely" let the AI escape).

ETA: by "proof and error" I meant "trial and error". I guess the reason for the mental typo is the Spanish equivalent "prueba y error".

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 04 April 2012 03:16:44AM *  10 points [-]

Story-logic would indicate that she is indeed innocent, and we as readers have evidence that someone has indeed been messing with her mind, but Harry doesn't know what we as readers know.

Harry's had 7 months to know that Hermione isn't a sociopath or a psychopath, that she's a very kind and moral and ethical person instead.

What's the prior probability he should therefore assign to this person, out of all of Hogwarts, to be the one to commit a cold-blooded murder on another 11-year-old kid? I think he's giving the hypothesis of her actual guilt pretty much all the weight that it deserves - effectively zero.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 04 April 2012 05:38:51AM 12 points [-]

Outside view: when someone in a similar situations does do something horrible, all of his friends and family insist that they "have no idea how he could have done something like this".

Comment author: bogdanb 04 April 2012 06:22:08AM 8 points [-]

I wonder how much of that is a “don’t speak bad of the dead” reflex, or “nobody could have seen it, so it’s not my fault I didn’t”, or even just “I’m such a good & loving friend/relative I didn’t see anything wrong with him”.

I’m sure there are cases that really came out of the blue, but I also have a nagging feeling that if you could interview the same people before the something horrible, and do it from an insider point of view (i.e., a question asked by another friend of the interviewee rather than by a reporter), a lot of answers would be of the “he’s kind of a weirdo” type.

Comment author: DanArmak 04 April 2012 03:52:35PM *  7 points [-]

Now update on the amount of people who call somebody "a weirdo" who does not end up murdering anyone. And add the negative halo effect, and fundamental attribution fallacy, from knowing in hindsight that the person you're talking about has recently murdered someone.

Comment author: Grognor 04 April 2012 02:38:02PM 7 points [-]

This could easily be face-saving. You can't well publicly say, "You know, I thought he might have been a dangerous criminal, but I didn't bother trying to prevent any crimes."

And you're ignoring the many more cases where people expected a person to be a murderer and he wasn't.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 04 April 2012 06:19:48AM 7 points [-]

See also: Amanda Knox.

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 05 April 2012 06:02:04AM 4 points [-]

Who, it may be noted, was eventually found innocent.

Comment author: Alsadius 05 April 2012 05:06:48AM 2 points [-]

Yeah, this set of chapters started making a lot more sense when I realized it was a gigantic Amanda Knox allegory.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 05 April 2012 05:50:03AM 9 points [-]

Well, sure, but it's also an allegory for everyone sent to prison for using marijuana by politicians who somehow manage to care more about other things than about smashing the life of some nice person who never hurt anyone; and an allegory for the public response to 9/11/2001. Et cetera. If story events only allegorized one insanity at a time, the story would have to be three times as long to make the same set of points.

Comment author: khafra 04 April 2012 12:32:02PM 4 points [-]

I was pretty sure that "prior probability of a normal girl just hauling off and murdering someone in cold blood" was a Knox allusion. I wonder if Ms. Knox herself has read it.

Comment author: Brickman 06 April 2012 03:02:37AM 2 points [-]

Personally my problem with Harry wasn't so much that he immediately assumed there was a trick (shouldn't get a probability of 1.0, no, but certainly a basket worth piling some eggs in) but that he assumed the truth would get her off. He never once stopped and asked Dumbledore and Snape "If it was proven that she had been tricked into doing this with false memories, but still cast the spell willingly and with her own hand, would the Wizengamot still convict her?" I don't even know the answer to that question, but I'd certainly ask before I assumed it was "no".

Especially considering how draconian the law is and how one of the two most important members of the judge/jury is not only the victim's father but someone already predisposed to dislike her (for what amounts to unapologetic and on-record racial discrimination). In advance I wouldn't have been surprised to see a show trial that blatantly ignored the evidence to get a conviction, though Dumbledore's faction was a bit too vocal for me to expect that with my current knowledge.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 06 April 2012 04:39:23AM *  4 points [-]

He never once stopped and asked Dumbledore and Snape "If it was proven that she had been tricked into doing this with false memories, but still cast the spell willingly and with her own hand, would the Wizengamot still convict her?"

Harry doesn't know about the GHD attack and so his working hypothesis is that her memory of attempting to kill Draco is false.

Comment author: Brickman 06 April 2012 02:28:05PM 3 points [-]

"Ah!" Harry said suddenly. "I get it now. The first False Memory Charm was cast on Hermione after Professor Snape yelled at her, and showed, say, Draco and Professor Snape plotting to kill her. Then last night that False Memory was removed by Obliviation, leaving behind the memories of her obsessing about Draco for no apparent reason, at the same time she and Draco were given false memories of the duel."

Since that was the last theory Harry proposed before he switched from theories to lines of attack, and nobody fully shot it down (there was an objection, but the objection was just that it'd be difficult), I have to assume that was his working theory when he left the room. And I would not automatically assume that this scenario, which we know to be very close to the correct one, would count as "innocent" in front of a wizengamot led by the angry, racist father of the victim.

Comment author: JoachimSchipper 05 April 2012 08:54:56AM 8 points [-]

I'm surprised that people think saving Hermione for ~$3.4MM was expensive. It does mean Harry needs money soon, but if her intelligence plus magic gets her a VP position at an investment bank, she can earn up to $.5MM per year (worked example: [1]). And Harry and Hermione could almost certainly come up with a better (ethical) plan.

Some presumably sophisticated real-world investors have actually invested in people in this way, e.g. investing $250K for a 2% stake in a "technologist's" income (worked example: [2]).

Again, Harry does need money soon-ish; but even if his magical hedge fund doesn't pan out, the-Boy-Who-Lived should be able to secure ten house-sized loans (abroad if necessary; Unbreakable Vows greatly reduce credit risk, and there must be people other than Draco who see the value of loaning money to HPJEV.)

(There are many possible objections, but both of these kids are really smart and have years to think about it. And magic.)

[1] Hermione takes five years to get to VP level, then saves an average of ~.5MM/year for fifteen years. After twenty years, she gives all of her savings to Harry and is freed from all further obligations. Harry has earned ~30% per year over this period, and Hermione has well over 150 years of life left. This may not be optimal, but it's clearly better for both than letting her rot in Azkaban.

[2] Multiply by 15 to get an investment of $3.8MM for a 30% stake. Harry pays less and ends up with whatever stake he likes - and unlike the investor, he can order Hermione to maximize her income. Hermione being a witch raises the value of the investment further.

Comment author: NihilCredo 05 April 2012 09:37:16AM 10 points [-]

1) Those numbers are about American finance in 2011. British finance in 1991 probably did not have salaries quite that ridiculous. But more importantly:

2) As Dumbledore explains, it's not this rescue price that is the problem, so much as all the cumulative rescue prices Harry's enemies will now expect him to pay for each of his friends (not necessarily once, either... Hermione could well be attacked again).

Comment author: mjr 05 April 2012 06:14:02PM 5 points [-]

So it (not very surprisingly) came to pass that Draco was not sent back to Hogwarts, at least not yet.

Might be some pressure off of Harry to actively harass Dumbledore what with the enemy pledge. Especially as Draco might be unable to continue with his part of the deal. Though Harry is probably curious at this point himself what the real deal is.

I'd still call it possible that someone else did the deed and Heh just took credit for the good of all, but the probability of him being directly responsible got boosted as he was depicted to consider it important that he doom his brother in person also. Then again, though I'd rate it unlikely, perhaps mommy dearest can be found in a private dungeon or a memory charmed witness protection program.

Anyway, Draco. He's probably restricted from communicating with Harry. As if that'd do any good, it having been established that they can communicate through Patroni. It would, of course, require Harry to reveal his Patronus 2.0 to Draco, though. Draco will certainly be the one to initiate contact, mentioning that he's in a secure location. It seems from TSPE part 6 that the Patronus just appears into existence if the caster is far away from the target, so if Draco actually is in a secure location, others wouldn't probably see it. Harry might just risk it.

So I'll bet there will be a visit from a silver serpent soon, though perhaps only after things have settled down for a couple of chapters.

Comment author: bogdanb 05 April 2012 07:31:44PM 8 points [-]

As if that'd do any good, it having been established that they can communicate through Patroni. It would, of course, require Harry to reveal his Patronus 2.0 to Draco, though.

Not quite, you can answer to a patronus and it carries the message back. This happens in all caseswe’ve seen in MoR. (McGonnagal checking on Harry in Mary’s room, and even when Harry and Draco tested the communication method, when Harry answered in Parseltongue.)

So Harry just can’t initiate a conversation, but if Draco does they can communicate freely.

It seems from TSPE part 6 that the Patronus just appears into existence if the caster is far away from the target

Minor magical nitpick: the Patronus is described to move away, not just dissappear, except it doesn’t actually cross through the intervening space. Or in other words, it dissappears but doesn’t appear to. Nice UI.

Comment author: Quirinus 07 April 2012 09:54:00AM 3 points [-]

As soon as I read that Draco was to be pulled out of Hogwarts, I imagined Lucius was going to obliviate or memory charm Harry's influence on Draco away.

It's pretty much a given that Draco was interrogated under Veritaserum by Lucius privately, what we don't know is if Lucius is aware of the total extent of Harry's influence over his son. Precisely what questions would he ask Draco, and based on these questions and the quantity of veritaserum taken, what would the answers be?

He can't know the full extent of what Harry taught Draco, because it would take a lot of time for Draco to explain it, and because Lucius would then also have to forcibly see the flawed logic behind blood purism if he happens to analize what Harry said and it makes sense to him, as he would want to understand the details behind Draco's brainwash (from his point of view) in a deep level. Perhaps. Maybe.

How much would he be willing to invade his son's privacy and forcibly extract information from him? Does he know the gist of what Harry did or in full detail according to Draco's recollections? To Lucius, Draco's knowledge about Harry is extremely valuable intel, and it'd make sense for him to want to know Harry's modus operandi in as much detail as possible.

Draco compared his awakening as a scientist to unknowingly participating in a ritual that irreversibly sacrificed his belief in blood purism. Would Lucius see the irreversibility of this state of mind and decide that the best thing for his son would be to not have this knowledge any more? I assume the obliviation of such a large amount of memories would take its toll on the mind of the mind-wiped as it has happened in canon, but it's more likely Lucius would want to do this carefully and not screw around with his only Son's brain. Would it result in a slightly different personality from the original Draco none the less?

Comment author: CronoDAS 07 April 2012 10:26:20AM 8 points [-]

Draco compared his awakening as a scientist to unknowingly participating in a ritual that irreversibly sacrificed his belief in blood purism.

I was under the impression that Draco thought that that was literally what happened.

Comment author: Alsadius 07 April 2012 03:39:03PM 14 points [-]

You know what they say, sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic.

Comment author: gwern 07 April 2012 03:45:08PM 2 points [-]

IIRC, at multiple drops of Veritaserum, you volunteer information you think is relevant. So unless Lucius is holding the idiot ball, he should know all about the blood purity experiment stuff.

Of course, Draco was entangled with Harry from the start, so unless Lucius wants to Obliviate his entire Hogwarts career, basically setting him back a grade...

Comment author: mtaran 04 April 2012 03:05:51AM 5 points [-]

HP:MoR 82

The two of them did not speak for a time, looking at each other; as though all they had to speak could be said only by stares, and not said in any other way.

Wizard People, Dear Readers

He gives up on using his words and tries to communicate with only his eyes. Oh, how they bulge and struggle to convey unthinkable meaning!

Was there any inspiration?

Comment author: nickernst 04 April 2012 03:42:18AM 6 points [-]

This should probably also be the discussion thread for tomorrow's Chapter 83.

Comment author: LucasSloan 04 April 2012 03:10:28AM 7 points [-]

How much of the cost of saving Hermione was announcing that Harry responds to blackmail? He made his entrance onto the stage of players in a way that cannot endear him to any of the others. No matter what he did, he would antagonize Lucius, but he demonstrated an extreme disrespect for the rules of the game and preserving the existing order is in the interests of all the players. Not to mention, he implicitly declared challenge to the ministry of magic. If he actually had the power that Lucius believes he does, he might get away with that, but he cannot survive for long against the Aurors. As it stands all that is keeping him safe is Dumbledore, shock and bluff.

I rather expect the first of those to disappear sometime in the story. I have no idea how General Chaos can develop an ultimate weapon powerful enough to stand off the nation of Britain.

On the other side of the coin, Hermione is extremely valuable. She's almost the 1st or 2nd best duelist in 1st year and her aid probably doubles Harry's ability to do research on magic. Unfortunately for Harry, while those skills would be decisive if he could go hide and research for a few years, I doubt that he'll get the time.

Comment author: thelittledoctor 04 April 2012 06:51:51AM 3 points [-]

Well, if his trick for deactivating other wizards' patronuses (patronii?) works, he basically has an unblockable army of instant-death assassins, the only defense against which would be Apparition... That's a pretty good ultimate weapon in a Mutually Assured Destruction sense. And as long as we're discussing mutually assured destruction, there seems little doubt that Harry would be able to transfigure nuclear weaponry. Or botulinum toxin (of which it would take an appallingly small amount to kill every human on Earth). Etc, etc. Harry does not lack for access to Ultimate Weapons.

Comment author: LucasSloan 04 April 2012 07:03:28AM 15 points [-]

He does have the ability to turn the world into a lake of fire, true. All powerful wizards have this ability and it is implied that every magical power in the world would turn against him if he tried anything that foolish. He has a giant hammer which he dare not use, if only because he's not evil. Also, he is still amazingly vulnerable to almost any adult wizard who wishes him ill - powerful weaponry doesn't imply a powerful defense. He might have been able to assassinate every member of the Wizengamot, but I doubt he would have survived the attempt. If it comes to open warfare he's toast, and his stunt made it much more likely that someone would decide he had stepped over the threshold of open warfare. He's safe for now at Hogwarts, but it was still stupid.

The first item was "I will not go around provoking strong, vicious enemies"

Good advice, and advice Harry failed to follow.

Comment author: CronoDAS 04 April 2012 06:56:17AM 2 points [-]

A lethal dose of botulinum toxin is indeed tiny; using it as an Ultimate Weapon, though, requires a delivery system.

Comment author: JenniferRM 04 April 2012 04:34:08PM 2 points [-]

Which is also easy with magic.

Comment author: gwern 11 April 2012 02:38:56AM *  4 points [-]

The current chapter is destroying my head (like Quirrel's humming) - Bones's story is consistent with some of Quirrel, but has so many problems with other stuff.

But OK, we can assume that Bones is telling the truth 100% about the past person, even if Quirrel is not him or related to him, and speculate who it is. She specifies he's Noble, so we don't have a lot of canon characters to go through. I initially thought it was Regulus Black since it fit the Noble Houses last scion disappeared during the wizarding war.

And then I remembered a year was cited. He was born in 1926.

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/1926

1926: Tom Riddle Sr. abandons his pregnant wife Merope Gaunt, who dies in childbirth at the end of the year.[4]

Oh shit! House Gaunt, last scion (mother dead, uncle dead in Azkaban), disappeared during the Wizarding War... But the story gets strange since he disappears long before visiting Harry. Quirrel suggested playing a double-game to Harry, so this suggests Voldemort/Riddle was also a double-game - but why stop before 'a key vote'? Why return as Quirrel? Why the cataplexy (which made sense if he was Regulus Black, injured/cursed destroying the locket Horcrux, but not for the hero Riddle returned)? Does Dumbledore know? For that matter, has anyone figured out Riddle=Voldemort with this massive departure from canon? etc.

EDIT: Apparently this is on the wrong track entirely, as Eliezer has wiped the birth-year. Back to the starting point...

Comment author: [deleted] 11 April 2012 02:55:00AM *  6 points [-]

Something doesn't quite fit.

It is too clever and too impossible, which was ever Voldemort's signature since the days he was known as Tom Riddle.

Dumbledore knows that Voldemort is Tom Riddle, so the double-game wouldn't have worked. Maybe Dumbledore only found out that they were one and the same later on?

Comment author: gwern 11 April 2012 03:01:00AM 4 points [-]

Snape and Mad-eye Moody also know it's Riddle since they poison his father's grave. Minerva was present when Dumbledore said that, and did not comment on it ('surely not the heroic Riddle, our old ally!'). So we have multiple examples, but they're all trusted key members of the Order who even know about Horcruxes, so they don't tell us anything about when the identity was found (assuming I'm right).

Comment author: pedanterrific 11 April 2012 03:04:34AM *  4 points [-]

The first part of the description - date of birth / graduation, Slytherin, disappeared in Albania - was meant to make us think Bones figured out that Quirrell = Riddle. Shock! Then nothing after that tracks, and apparently she's talking about a good guy? Huh?

So, apparently what happened is that Voldemort waylaid one of his (usefully Noble) classmates in Albania early on, then decided to assume his identity part-time twenty five years later, with the goal of rising to power as the hero who vanquished the Dark Lord (who he also was). Bones thinks that Quirrell's Yule speech about a 'Mark of Britain' sounded familiar; so apparently he wasn't able to give up on the tyranny bit. I think we can take Quirrell's explanation to Hermione as roughly similar to fact; he saw that the hero wasn't getting respect, and people were falling all over themselves to grovel before the Dark Lord, and decided to stick with the persona he found more pleasant to assume.

Comment author: [deleted] 11 April 2012 05:15:07AM 4 points [-]

(usefully Noble)

Not to be, er, pedantic, but there does seem to be a difference between Noble and Ancient houses. By Draco's reckoning, the House of Potter is Noble but not Most Ancient.

Comment author: linkhyrule5 04 April 2012 04:24:57AM 5 points [-]

... So.

Prediction, since I can't be bothered to put it on predictionbook: Harry will apologize by sending Dumbles a list of people versus Galleons - an implicit admission of a mistake.

Comment author: FAWS 04 April 2012 02:19:14PM *  10 points [-]

If he apologizes he'll probably either do it in person or in a similar way to last time, when he apologized for being unfair after Fawkes started shouting via Flitwick.

One major problem with such a list is that he currently doesn't know how difficult it would be to earn more money.

Comment author: linkhyrule5 04 April 2012 04:25:19AM 5 points [-]

Derp. Probability 10%, because it seems a little OOC.

Comment author: NihilCredo 04 April 2012 01:36:24PM 6 points [-]

I'm going to dismiss this hypothesis because I don't think Eliezer would be happy to have HPMoR's discussion threads taken over by the inevitable "How many Galleons is Person X worth?" disputes.

Comment author: Benquo 04 April 2012 03:59:47PM 2 points [-]

This is related, and is a good way to become smarter about taboo tradeoffs too:

Making Big Decisions about Money

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 09 April 2012 08:42:43AM *  3 points [-]

I'd like to give an updated version of my thinking about the Night of Godric's Hollow:

1) The official story requires Avada Kedavra to behave in very funny ways against a love shield (a normally invisible kill turning a body into a burnt crisp.) Furthermore, as far as I can tell, the only way it can be known to be true is if someone cast prior incantum on Voldemort's wand. Which seems unlikely, because Bellatrix snatched it (See Ch. 53).

2) This indicates the good guys are lying or deceived. Possible reasons

a) Godric's Hollow was a trap laid by the good guys, who don't want to reveal their methods, so they made up a story about how it happened to fool the Death Eaters. Unlikely, because if they had, they probably would have prevented Bellatrix from getting Voldemort's wand.

b) Voldemort faked his death. The good guys showed up, noticed they were confused, and figured Voldemort had just executed some inscrutable plot. They make up a story to prevent a panic.

c) Voldemort faked his death. Bellatrix switched a look-alike wand that had, recently, only been used to cast Avada Kedavra, fooling the good guys.

"Voldemort faked his death" is also supported by what we know of his intelligence.

The question is why did Voldemort fake his death? Everything we know about Eliezer's philosophy in this story suggests Voldemort should not have tried a plot that was more complicated than necessary. And it doesn't seem like this plot is necessary. The evidence we have indicates Voldemort was winning the war. So thus far, no theory I've seen for why he would do that looks convincing.

But perhaps, contrary to what we've been led to believe, Voldemort realized he would not win the war if he kept fighting it in a straightforward manner?

Comment author: Danylo 11 April 2012 03:04:45AM 4 points [-]

Assume for a moment that Quirelll was being honest with Hermione, in a twisted way. He was the hero and he invented Voldemort in order to defeat Voldemort. He then realized that being a hero wasn't working out for him, so he went away, but unlike his Riddle persona, Voldemort would continue to be hunted, so he had to fake his death.

Comment author: Alsadius 09 April 2012 08:49:26PM 4 points [-]

2b seems unlikely given Harry's memory of the night matching the official line. Did Dumbledore do a FMC on baby Harry?

Also, remember that for someone with Horcruxes, one can de facto fake one's own death by actually dying and waiting for the resurrection. There's no particular need to assume that he survived that night in the traditional sense of the word.

Comment author: 75th 10 April 2012 12:01:50AM *  3 points [-]

Your suggestions are based on a faulty premise. Even in canon, Avada Kedavra has varying effects. Usually it causes an instant, silent death. At the end of Half-Blood Prince, it blows Dumbledore's body over a railing and off the tower. In Godric's Hollow, the rebounded Killing Curse exploded the upstairs of a house, and we never actually hear what happened to Voldemort's body.

I don't think we're necessarily meant to suspect something amiss here; I think Eliezer just filled in a blank that was left open in the novels.

And I also don't necessarily think a "love shield" is what's involved in this story. In canon, Lily's nonviolent sacrifice is what protected Harry. Eliezer presumably doesn't believe that attempting to defend yourself makes your sacrifice any less noble, so it's probably something different here. I think the likely story in MoR is that when Voldemort sarcastically said "I accept the bargain, yourself to die and the child to live", he accidentally created a magically binding oath.

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 10 April 2012 02:04:44AM 6 points [-]

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

The storm of weeping that had washed through Harry had used up all his tears; he could not cry again, he was done.

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

I actually think the clearest clue here is probably the "but how does anyone know that's what happened?" problem. Other problems: reference to souls, bizarre behavior of the killing curse, total lack of explanation for why a totally reliable spell backfired so spectacularly. But Eliezer has pretty much told us that something is wrong with the story.

Comment author: 75th 10 April 2012 03:55:09AM 4 points [-]

Yes, but we saw the actual event in Humanism, part 1. We saw it right up until the moment Voldemort cast the Killing Curse. The "small, small note of confusion" refers to what Harry realized much later: "Dark Lords were not usually scared of infant children." The confusion was about the reason Voldemort was so intent on killing Harry in the first place.

The reference to souls is simply because that's what Dumbledore believes, not because of any plot. Yes, the Killing Curse behaved bizarrely, but we're supposed to think "Why did it behave bizarrely?", not "That must be a lie!", especially given that it sometimes behaved bizarrely in canon.

If "Eliezer has pretty much told us that something is wrong with the story" and we don't know what it is, that means he lied to us in Chapter 43.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 10 April 2012 06:02:34PM *  3 points [-]

We saw it right up until the moment Voldemort cast the Killing Curse

You're misremembering the chapter, that scene ends like this:

And the boy in the crib saw it, the eyes, those two crimson eyes, seeming to glow bright red, to blaze like miniature suns, filling Harry's whole vision as they locked to his own -

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 10 April 2012 04:40:53AM 4 points [-]

Thank you for quoting the bit in chapter 46. I had forgotten it, and it is worth taking into account. But in context, I don't think it shows what you think it does:

Lord Voldemort had killed James Potter. He had preferred to spare Lily Potter's life. He had continued his attack, therefore, with the sole purpose of killing their infant child.

Dark Lords were not usually scared of infant children.

So prior to recovering that memory, Harry didn't have nearly as much reason to think Voldemort had been afraid of him. In Ch. 3, for all Harry knew Voldemort was just the sort of person who would murder his enemies' children given the opportunity, and he would have been largely correct to think that.

But it seems Harry's inference that Voldemort meant to kill him may not be as safe as Harry assumes. It is equally consistent with everything Harry notices to think that Voldemort meant to do something else to Harry. Consider this part:

"I give you this rare chance to flee," said the shrill voice. "But I will not trouble myself to subdue you, and your death here will not save your child. Step aside, foolish woman, if you have any sense in you at all!"

"Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead!"

The empty thing that was Harry wondered if Lily Potter seriously imagined that Lord Voldemort would say yes, kill her, and then depart leaving her son unharmed.

"Very well," said the voice of death, now sounding coldly amused, "I accept the bargain. Yourself to die, and the child to live. Now drop your wand so that I can murder you."

Suppose Voldemort meant to do something else to Harry other than kill him, and that he succeeded in doing whatever he meant to do. If so, "your death here will not save your child" would turn out to be true. In that case, perhaps what amused Voldemort was realizing that Lily had misunderstood what he was going to do to Harry, and that she had offered up her life to prevent something that was not going to happen anyway. In that case, "Yourself to die, and the child to live" also reflects Voldemort's true intentions.

At this point, it looks to me very much like Voldemort somehow decided killing baby Harry was not the right response to the prophecy. The prophecy looks like a key clue here; probably Voldemort wouldn't have bothered with such a complicated plot as he appears to be pursuing without the prophecy. But what thought process led to that plot?

Comment author: Chimael 07 April 2012 07:29:06PM *  3 points [-]

This has probably been mentioned before, but:

a) what if primary goal of this plot was never hurting Draco or Hermione, but to weaken Harry by making him relinquish his money/his claim to the debt from Lucius? Either the money or the claim to the debt that House Of Malfoy has towards him could be something that is dangerous to a hitherto unknown plan of H+C, which is why H+C devised a plot which would strip Harry of both. A genius (like Quirrelmort) could have predicted that Harry might offer either, in exchange for freeing Hermione. In fact, it might have been a win-win-situation for H+C: either Harry loses his Light soldier Hermione, or Harry loses his money.

Does anyone else find it strange that Hermione just happened to know the formula for swearing allegiance by heart? I mean, sure, she could have read it once and that would have been enough, but the fact that she knew it seems awfully convenient in the case that the plot was meant to end like this.

b) Dumbledore mentions that the House of Malfoy has "certain rights over Harry" now. This means that Harry is, to some extent, now alleged to both Slytherin and Ravenclaw.

Now, remember which two houses are supposed to win the House Cup, simultanously, according to Quirrel's "cunning plan"? (Ch. 54)

Comment author: bogdanb 07 April 2012 08:33:37PM *  7 points [-]

Does anyone else find it strange that Hermione just happened to know the formula for swearing allegiance by heart?

Not really, she is indicated to be interested in history, and shown reading history books all the time. In another situation I would have be surprised by her willingness (given her wish to be “her own person”), but after being threatened with Dementors...

Comment author: loserthree 09 April 2012 07:06:45PM 9 points [-]

There's a passage for that in Chapter 9.

Harry knew pi out to 3.141592 because accuracy to one part in a million was enough for most practical purposes. Hermione knew one hundred digits of pi because that was how many digits had been printed in the back of her math textbook.

Comment author: see 10 April 2012 09:28:21PM 6 points [-]

I'm actually annoyed by this. Since the next digit is 6, he should be rounding to 3.141593, not truncating at 3.141592.

Comment author: [deleted] 11 April 2012 12:37:56AM 3 points [-]

The difference between the two is 0.000001, and the difference in quality of approximation is roughly 0.0000003. So I don't think it matters as a practical preference. Aesthetically, the string of digits of Pi has a cultural significance of its own, quite apart from its numerical value, so I think it's preferable to memorize a number that's actually a prefix of that string.

Also, only if you truncate can you truly say that you've memorized "the first six digits of Pi after the decimal" as opposed to "An approximation of Pi to plus or minus 0.0000005 tolerance".

Comment author: thomblake 09 April 2012 05:48:51PM 4 points [-]

Does anyone else find it strange that Hermione just happened to know the formula for swearing allegiance by heart?

I agree with bogdanb. "Hermione knows X by heart" is usually equivalent to "Hermione saw X in a book", and Hermione seeks out books.

Comment author: Alsadius 08 April 2012 04:32:25AM 3 points [-]

a) Unlikely, but I think it's a payoff that Voldemort will still consider to be worth the (rather trivial) costs of setting his plan into motion. It's not as ideal as denying Hermione to Harry, but it still imposed significant costs, which is all to the good.

b) Oh lord.

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 09 April 2012 08:26:55AM 4 points [-]

Gut reaction is the same, but the part of me that remembers the rule of rationalist fiction is thinking there's no way Quirrellmort could have predicted both Harry's and Lucius' actions that exactly.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 05 April 2012 11:19:43PM 3 points [-]

ch. 82 stepped on my toes just a tiny bit, because I'd been planning a piece of short meta-fanfiction (and by planning, I mean that in the 4 months since I had the idea, I've written 2 paragraphs of it, or so) in which Harry among other things referred to Hermione as of "infinite value" to him.

Now it's gonna look a bit redundant and repetitive if I ever do finish it up -- though on the upside, it seems I had a decently good feel for Harry's character. :-)