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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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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 (790)

Sort By: Controversial
Comment author: brilee 04 April 2012 03:50:20AM 1 point [-]

Dark rituals involve permanent sacrifice. The way I see it, Dumbledore sacrificed his capacity for love in order to win the war. And he isn't going to get it back, no matter how much Harry's words make him want to have it back.

Comment author: Desrtopa 04 April 2012 03:57:40AM *  13 points [-]

That wasn't a dark ritual, it was just a choice. Like any hard choice, it forced him to seriously weigh his values against each other, and it's hard to go through that completely unchanged, but that doesn't mean it completely rewrote his character.

You can love others and acknowledge that there are some things you can't sacrifice, even for love.

Comment author: wedrifid 05 April 2012 04:50:50PM 0 points [-]

You can love others and acknowledge that there are some things you can't sacrifice, even for love.

For example: more love.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 06 April 2012 03:07:35AM 3 points [-]

You can give anything for your heart's desire, except your heart.


Comment author: linkhyrule5 04 April 2012 09:07:04PM *  0 points [-]

... Wonderful.

Why do you keep doing this to us, Eliezer? Exactly once in the past, oh, four weeks or so has the chapter not ended on a cliffhanger. :p

Eh, well. So.... I wonder what Harry's response to this will be? It's not clear that he can do anything, but I can't imagine he'd be particularly happy with just leaving Draco to Lucius.

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 11 April 2012 05:34:26AM *  -1 points [-]

Wow. Chapter 84 has a MAJOR revelation. Not something anyone has been trying to guess, I think, but might we want to start a new thread anyway? I think maybe people should get a chance to puzzle out the significance of 84 on their own, before reading others' speculations. And this thread is getting long besides. So I submit my commentary in rot13:

[Comment retracted to be put in new thread.]

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 04 April 2012 06:49:49AM 2 points [-]

Harry is being unfair to his mother.

She did not throw away everything for nothing.

She wagered something of such little value it was practically nothing, a life in which she did not do everything she could to save her infant son, against a test she had very little chance of passing, singlehandedly taking down the Big Bad.

When the cost is so low the bet is less foolish.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 04 April 2012 09:30:15AM 22 points [-]

She wagered something of such little value it was practically nothing, a life in which she did not do everything she could to save her infant son,

This is a rather blatant method of disguising a deontological ('ethical') demand as a utilitarian calculation. You can easily transform any deontology of "Do X" into a utilitarian calculation by asserting 'I assign zero utility to my life if I fail to do X'.

But it does not seem likely that this was truly what was going through Lily Potter's mind.

Comment author: Randaly 05 April 2012 03:28:47AM *  2 points [-]

I am confused as to why Dumbledore tolerates Quirrell's presence at Hogwarts: he clearly suspects Quirrell, and we've just seen that he can be exceedingly ruthless. At the very least, one would expect Dumbledore to put heavy security precautions in place around him (along the lines of tracking his movements, etc).

One hypothesis that would partially explain this, along with many other things, is that Quirrell might be a fragment of Voldemort's soul that disagrees with the other fragments, or at least with Voldemort himself. (Or, equivalently, that it has persuaded Dumbledore of this.) (Presumably, it is the one based on the Pioneer horcrux.) This fits with (real-life) modularity of mind, which has been extensively discussed on LW, and has also already been shown to exist in-story by Harry's internal, conflicting voices.

(In addition to explaining why Dumbledore trusts Quirrell, this would also explain why Quirrellmort acts so differently from Voldemort.)

To extend this line or reasoning a bit, there's no reason to think that Hat and Cloak and Santa Claus are any of the previously introduced characters- they could easily be yet another fragment of Voldemort's soul, possibly cooperating with or opposing the other fragments.

(My previous hypothesis was that Dumbledore was simply so desperate to gain a DADA teacher that he made concessions and accepted as possibly dark candidate. However, this doesn't fit with the ruthless Dumbledore we've seen in recent chapters.)

Comment author: Alicorn 05 April 2012 04:47:41AM 5 points [-]

(My previous hypothesis was that Dumbledore was simply so desperate to gain a DADA teacher that he made concessions and accepted as possibly dark candidate. However, this doesn't fit with the ruthless Dumbledore we've seen in recent chapters.)

The position is cursed (I think in MoR as well as canon). Many of the ways someone can vacate the position forcibly by the end of a school year are fatal or debilitating. It might be that he's willing to trade a year of Defense education for all of his students in exchange for putting a suspected enemy in harm's way, if the enemy is foolish enough to hold still for it. (Or believes himself immune to the curse because he's the one who placed it.)

Actually, come to think of it, I now expect that smart!Dumbledore would weaponize the curse in this way as the only explanation for why there is a Defense teacher at all who is not explicitly under a one-year contract. Otherwise it would probably make more sense to cobble together the educational requirements with dueling clubs, student tutoring, and extra sessions in Charms, plus throwing textbooks and the fear of OWLs at all the students, rather than put them under the influence of high-variance low-average bottom-of-the-barrel educators who will be found staggeringly unfit or disabled or dead by summertime.

Comment author: Desrtopa 05 April 2012 08:01:37PM 0 points [-]

I doubt the curse can be effectively weaponized. If it only ensures that the Defense professors won't outlast the year, they could be incapacitated or found incompetent, but then, they might end up being fired after they're found abusing students, or some other reason that harms the school rather than the professor.

Comment author: Alicorn 05 April 2012 08:05:17PM *  1 point [-]

We already know Dumbledore is willing to have students abused. (If a Defense prof does it badly enough to be dismissed, this does hurt the Defense prof. There could be criminal charges, or at least bad publicity.)

Comment author: Alsadius 05 April 2012 06:05:44AM *  9 points [-]

It's not a very strong curse - examples of it firing are things like "becoming headmaster"(Snape), "being exposed as a somewhat-icky creature"(Lupin), or "being a bad teacher"(Summers). Hardly the sort of thing I'd try to weaponize.

(Edited to remove Umbridge example - see below)

Comment author: Alicorn 05 April 2012 06:10:45AM 2 points [-]

But it very consistently does something to get them out of the position. People who are hard to strike at in other ways might be best inaccurately flailed towards with this sort of bludgeon.

Comment author: prasannak 09 April 2012 03:59:22AM *  1 point [-]

Anyone remember this ....

"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. Such as a hundred Galleons from your own pocket, perhaps, rather than the agonizing deaths of a hundred strangers."

Now he's gone and spent a hundred THOUSAND Galleons on a friend's folly, and I don't think Quirrelmort would've expected that.

Comment author: Alsadius 09 April 2012 08:45:24PM 0 points [-]

I don't think any involved would consider any of Harry's friends to have been involved in much folly. And frankly, I don't think the Wizengamot were fools either, just people reasoning properly from the evidence they had.

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. :-)

Comment author: alex_zag_al 05 April 2012 12:19:21AM 0 points [-]

I really should have thought of that. That's what Harry gets for scaring Lucius.

Comment author: Nominull 04 April 2012 03:28:52AM *  2 points [-]

Well, Draco has probably already been removed from Harry's side of the gameboard, so at least Harry doesn't have to worry about honoring his promise to take Dumbledore as his enemy.

Comment author: TimS 04 April 2012 07:26:46PM 11 points [-]

I hope Draco hasn't been removed from the story. I liked the convert Draco storyline as an example of what "raising the sanity line" would really look like.

Given all the character development Draco has undergone (best example is the scene with Goyle), I think it unlikely that he disappears, never to return. I would interpret that occurrence as evidence that raising the sanity line is not possible in magical Britain.

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

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

Comment author: [deleted] 04 April 2012 04:29:03AM *  2 points [-]

What's the total probability that Harry will apologize, then?

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: 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: 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: TheOtherDave 10 April 2012 12:08:58AM 1 point [-]

An experienced mage making an unforced error of that magnitude sounds an awful lot like the Idiot Ball to me.

Comment author: 75th 10 April 2012 03:57:00AM 1 point [-]

"Held the Idiot Ball" does not mean "made a large mistake". It means "behaved implausibly stupidly so as to cheaply advance the plot". If Voldemort could never make significant mistakes then Harry could never defeat him.

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: 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: [deleted] 04 April 2012 03:42:18AM 6 points [-]

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

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: ChrisHallquist 04 April 2012 12:51:34PM 1 point [-]

This is a really interesting point.

We know for a fact that Hermione has been manipulated because we've seen the scene with Hat and Cloak. That may bias us in favor of thinking the evidence is clearer than it really is. Yet Harry knows that in this universe memories can be tampered with. The prior probability of a morally upstanding little girl trying to murder someone is much less than the prior probability of someone else trying the memory-charm plot, especially given that Hermione is friends with Harry and Harry's status as the Boy Who Lived makes him a target.

Now, I might put a probability of something like 0.2 on the possibility of Hermione casting the charm after someone messed with her mind. But if you're the plotter, it's so much easier to do a false memory charm to make her remember casting the charm, than to do all the delicate manipulation to get her to actually cast it. So more likely than not, Hermione didn't cast the charm.

Harry is making a subtle mistake here, though: he's over-confident about his ideas about the details of what was done to Hermione. For example, he thinks a false-memory charm was used to cause Hermione to start obsessing over Draco, when in fact that was based on true memories of a conversation (albeit one involving lies and some kind of shape-shifting/illusion magic). Feminist bank tellers and all that.

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 06:35:29AM -1 points [-]

Well, then condition on the fact that Querril caught her and she has memories of doing it.

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

See also: Amanda Knox.

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: 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: 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: 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: NancyLebovitz 04 April 2012 01:23:54PM 2 points [-]

In some cases, people who commit major violence have a history of minor violence.

However, another possibility is that even people who commit major violence have people they like and/or want to please, and behave better in some contexts than in others.

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: NancyLebovitz 04 April 2012 01:26:35PM 0 points [-]

What about the possibility that Draco attacked Hermione with sufficient force that the blood-cooling spell was plausibly self-defense?

Comment author: DanArmak 04 April 2012 03:49:31PM 3 points [-]

In that case: she knew when she awakened next morning that it should have killed him. If she had known that the night before, then after disabling Draco with the charm, she should alerted a teacher, or maybe woken him up and stunned him the usual way. If she didn't do any of that, she was knowingly leaving him to die.

Comment author: Random832 04 April 2012 01:42:09PM 6 points [-]

A "blood-cooling charm" doesn't sound like it would have had enough stopping power to be effective in self-defense.

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: Percent_Carbon 11 April 2012 04:55:04AM 0 points [-]

Melodramatic and without support.

Do you want to fill us in on your reasons or do you just want to try to make us sad?

Comment author: gwern 12 April 2012 02:02:34AM 1 point [-]

I'd be happy to record this, but I need some more specifics (I can't just say 'Hermione will die' - what if Eliezer fastforwards 10 billion years or some other mindblowing epilogue). Dies by what chapter? Or alternately, something like the end of the school year? What happens if she gets better?

Comment author: 75th 12 April 2012 04:57:31AM 4 points [-]

"Record this"? What? Did I, like, fail to perceive some unwritten rule that every future-looking statement on lesswrong.com has to be a formal prediction written in academic prose with explicitly enumerated premises?

I just thought this last chapter represented Quirrell's final decision to kill Hermione, and I posted as though I was eulogizing her, to try to prepare myself for the darkness I believe is coming. I think it's all about to hit the fan, and I was expressing how I felt about it, not trying to score points in some game I didn't know existed.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 April 2012 06:06:47AM 6 points [-]

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

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: Percent_Carbon 12 April 2012 06:56:16AM 0 points [-]

Sorry for offending everyone.

I think that anyone you offended is probably not worth apologizing to. Downvote should not only be for offensive content.

Or were you just being melodramatic again?

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: 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: 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: 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: [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: 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: 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: Alex_Altair 10 April 2012 02:52:46AM 1 point [-]

This is everything I've wanted to know about Eliezer.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 10 April 2012 05:24:00AM 1 point [-]

It probably shouldn't be everything you wanted to know about him.

This is what EY thought of his own history in 2000. He was only 21, at the cusp of adulthood.

Now EY has a better understanding of present EY, of EY in 2000, and of his own history throughout. And he's still probably wrong about things about himself that are obvious to others and go unmentioned anyway, like almost everyone.

You could reasonably want to know less than everything, you could reasonable want to know all the things on that page, but you are probably not serving your own interests well if the things on that page are all you seek to know.

Comment author: Alex_Altair 10 April 2012 12:19:03PM 2 points [-]

Yeah, I wasn't being literal. What I meant was that I really enjoy reading a personal narrated biography of someone that I really admire. Usually you can't get that until they're super famous or dead.

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: Anubhav 10 April 2012 11:47:01AM *  1 point [-]

Duplicating the page, maybe, but he absolutely can't forbid quoting it or linking to it; those actions'd fall under fair use in most cases.

(That is, if you care about copyright law at all.)

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: RobertLumley 06 April 2012 05:40:08AM 2 points [-]

I knew it was a real disorder, but the probability of having it is so low as to bother me - why does he need a disorder and why locate that disorder in all of diseasespace? And if it's based on EY, I don't believe he has that disorder, unless I've missed something.

Comment author: Xachariah 06 April 2012 04:20:01PM 7 points [-]

It's also the sort of disorder that people are told to suck up and deal with if they get it in real life. I mean, I'm sure there are some people who get lucky, but a lot of others get misdiagnosed as being bad sleepers who just stay up late. There is, IIRC, no cure other than rearranging your life. Harry's parents get marked as understanding and caring (and affluent). And the magic world gets to show off it's 0th world status.

Although I agree that it sounds mostly like a contrivance to get him a time-turner. They do have sleep spells afterall.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 10 April 2012 05:26:32AM *  0 points [-]

Upvoted for calling out privilege.

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.


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: Surlethe 11 April 2012 02:47:39AM 0 points [-]

Bones is clearly talking about Tom Riddle, Jr., who seems to have brilliantly played both sides of the field as he rose to power.

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: aladner 05 April 2012 05:55:39PM 2 points [-]

"It comes due when you graduate Hogwarts," the old wizard said from high above.

It looks to me like they don't have quite enough time for Hermione to get a job as an investment banker. Of course, he still has plenty of options if the arbitrage trick doesn't work.

Comment author: Alsadius 05 April 2012 05:43:25PM 2 points [-]

The approximate actuarial value placed on a human life is $6-8 million. Even after inflation, this seems somewhat cheap(assuming that she would literally die, and not merely be traumatized and sidelined for a decade).

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: JoachimSchipper 05 April 2012 02:29:28PM 0 points [-]

Yes, those are 2011 numbers, but far lower salaries suffice to carry the argument. (If Hermione lives for another 170 years, she has to pay Harry just $20K/year to repay him.) Also, this plan does have her working in finance in 2011 (when she's ~22, she can't start that much earlier.)

It does set a bad precedent, but I wasn't talking about that - and this exact situation (completely legal, Harry doesn't want to destroy Lucius) is unlikely to ever come up again. (Future challenges of this kind could plausibly be met by having a Dementor eat the kidnapper, optionally after paying the ransom.)

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

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

Comment author: Benquo 06 April 2012 02:45:34AM 0 points [-]

I agree.

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: 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: 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: RobertLumley 08 April 2012 03:31:36PM 0 points [-]

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

This. In particular.

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: mjr 05 April 2012 08:08:33PM 0 points [-]

Point. SIlly me. Well, that makes future communications between them even more of a no-brainer.

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: JenniferRM 04 April 2012 04:14:19PM *  1 point [-]

For others who didn't catch the allusion, and didn't notice the googlepation, here is the relevant "movie".

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: buybuydandavis 05 April 2012 06:33:39AM 2 points [-]

For a time. He's young, though, and Lucius probably plans to do something about Harry (and perhaps Hermione) in the near future. Once they're out of the way, no reason that Draco couldn't come back.

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: 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: 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: loserthree 05 April 2012 02:38:54AM 2 points [-]

Only if the author wanted to cheapen the whole thing.

And that doesn't seem to be the author's style.

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

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

Comment author: drethelin 05 April 2012 05:55:29AM 0 points [-]

Clearly some unforeseen horrible situation, considering he just saved Hermione from an unforeseen horrible situation.

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.


" '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: 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: bogdanb 04 April 2012 11:41:34PM 1 point [-]

That would make sense, except that it was really bright, I was under the impression that McGonnagal was puzzled about it.

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."


""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: 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: 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: Alsadius 05 April 2012 05:50:23AM 1 point [-]

Care to give the long version of EM and TDT?

Comment author: JoachimSchipper 05 April 2012 07:22:36AM 3 points [-]

Emulated human (see Robin Hanson's http://overcomingbias.com for lots of material), Timeless Decision Theory (which includes "I'll cooperate with copies of myself"; search LW for much more.)

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: 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: Alicorn 04 April 2012 08:52:40PM 1 point [-]

Notes on hpmor.com say login.fanfiction.net is down. It wasn't down when I tried it, and that doesn't explain why it's not on hpmor.com itself.

Comment author: FAWS 04 April 2012 08:33:49PM 0 points [-]

Yes, and the FFN update alert already went out. My guess is that Eliezer posted the chapter and deleted it immediately afterwards, perhaps due to some formatting problem.

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: 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: 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: [deleted] 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: ChrisHallquist 05 April 2012 05:14:03AM 0 points [-]

This occurred to me, but in retrospect I tend to think Quirrellmort must have realized he couldn't have accomplished so much with one plot. And where does Bellatrix fit into all this?

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: ChrisHallquist 05 April 2012 01:07:43AM *  1 point [-]

Yet that's not exactly what happened as a result of Harry's actions. The "afterword" of the trial suggests that any members of Lucius' faction who follow story-book logic will see Harry as a dangerous enemy, as will members of Dumbledore's faction who have "walked the path of a powerful wizard."

Though that actually raises an interesting question--what happens when, say, Alastor Moody goes to Dumbledore and says, "Albus, I think Harry is Voldemort"? Does Dumbledore tell Alastor he's wrong, and convince Alastor that there is a better explanation for Harry's actions? Or does Dumbledore say, "dear God, Alastor, you're right!"

On a related note, what does Dumbledore know about horcruxes? Dumbledore's dialog has suggested that Voldemort may have gone around destroying a lot of information on horcruxes, so Dumbledore may know less in this story than he did in canon. Hmmm...

EDIT: See also JenniferRM's comment below.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 05 April 2012 05:37:44AM *  0 points [-]

Please link the comment you mean. I don't know which one.

Edit (so to not raise the comment count): Thanks.

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 05 April 2012 06:29:15AM 0 points [-]


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: 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: 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: Vaniver 05 April 2012 03:45:29AM 2 points [-]

Indeed. It makes me wish I had written up my complaint about Harry mistaking desires for competences before he improved his internal names, though, as it seems less relevant now. Oh well.

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: loserthree 04 April 2012 03:35:05PM 1 point [-]

Thanks, but I don't know how much being wrong about the connection counts for being right about there being a connection.

And anyway, all we know for certain is that it is believed that there is a connection.

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: 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: 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: Alsadius 05 April 2012 05:38:03AM 1 point [-]

And a whiff of the law of narrative causality.

Comment author: Desrtopa 04 April 2012 03:47:41PM 2 points [-]

Even if he was influenced by Aberforth's ransom, it might just have been to the extent that the amount Aberforth was ransomed for was the first to pop into his head.

Comment author: gjm 04 April 2012 06:11:48PM 11 points [-]

the amount Aberforth was ransomed for

Wasn't ransomed for.

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: 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: 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: [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: Alsadius 05 April 2012 05:43:13AM -1 points [-]

Well we know that the protection exists, because Harry is still alive.

Comment author: bogdanb 05 April 2012 09:06:56AM *  1 point [-]

Well we know that the protection exists, because Harry is still alive.

We don’t know he had to have been protected from something. People in-universe thinks that Voldie cast AK and it rebounded, but in MoR we’re not told of any witnesses other than Harry and Voldie, the body found was burned, and his Dementor-triggered memory ended when Voldie locked eyes with him. It’s not a given that the canon scenario really happened in MoR.

Comment author: Alsadius 05 April 2012 05:21:11PM -1 points [-]

True, but assuming even a modicum of forensics(prior incantem, say), it seems likely. What other process explains Voldemort's "death"? He's not stupid enough to try a plot that clever.

Comment author: bogdanb 05 April 2012 06:34:36PM 2 points [-]

I have no very compelling scenario, but just because we have no obvious alternative is not very strong evidence in a universe with many smart characters and complex magic of which we don’t know most of the rules. Also, Eliezer changed lots of things from canon without removing them completely (e.g. the wicked step-parents stuff, the mess with Sirius and Pettigrew), and everyone believing a certain explanation for what happened without any witnesess which turns out to be wrong kinda’ sorta’ feels like his style.

Comment author: Alsadius 05 April 2012 07:01:51PM 0 points [-]

True, I'd stick p=0.2, maybe, on the official story being wrong in some important respect. Still, the canonical version is by far the most likely.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 06 April 2012 09:35:03AM *  5 points [-]

The canonical version doesn't work.
* What's the probability that Avada Kedavra will leave a scar, when it has never left a scar before?
* What's the probability that Avada Kedavra will burn Voldemort's body, when it usually kills without a trace?
* Why would Voldemort have given his wand to Bellatrix before going to the Potters (as she mentions in Azkaban)?
* From a story-external perspective, why does the story keep hinting that this is not what happened (we are told Harry should have felt confused when he first heard the story, and ch.81 says the wisest wizards in the Wizengamot wonder why Godric's Hollow night happened, if it did happen, or why Dumbledore is lying if it didn't)

All those bits and pieces don't make sense if the events went down as in canon.

What other process explains Voldemort's "death"?

That would depend on figuring out what Voldemort wants, and we don't really know much about that. Even Dumbledore is at a loss in figuring out what motivates someone like Voldemort.

If it's just amusement, perhaps he just found being Voldemort to be boring, and sought to start another game.
If he wants to control the world, not just Britain, perhaps he felt he had no chance doing so as an open villain, he had to present himself as a hero instead (like Dumbledore being given the Chief Warlock position after he defeated Grindelwald).

And the above ideas are assuming the night went as Voldemort planned. If he was planning something different than what occurred, but what actually happened was caused by e.g. some magical trap set up by Dumbledore, the possibilities expand.

Comment author: gRR 06 April 2012 11:21:59PM 3 points [-]

In Chapter 26 ("Noticing Confusion"), Quirrell reacted rather violently on hearing about a prophecy in the Daily Prophet:

"He didn't have any choice," said Harry. "Not if he wanted to fulfill the conditions of the prophecy."
"Give me that," said Professor Quirrell, and the newspaper leaped out of Harry's hand so fast that he got a paper cut.

This is evidence for the canonical version, I think.

Comment author: wedrifid 06 April 2012 10:39:27AM 11 points [-]
  • What's the probability that Avada Kedavra will leave a scar, when it has never left a scar before?

As far as I know it has left a scar on every single person who has survived it!

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 05 April 2012 09:14:41AM *  2 points [-]

Well we know that the protection exists, because Harry is still alive.

We don't even know that Voldemort attempted to kill Harry that day. I've made a prediction at http://predictionbook.com/predictions/3237 against that idea.

Comment author: loup-vaillant 04 April 2012 10:52:44PM *  1 point [-]

Does that affect whether the protection is activated?

Unlikely. The avadra did backfire.

Now, Voldie could have set up a backfiring scene and retired for 11 years on purpose, but then I can't fathom why: he was winning at the time.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 05 April 2012 05:51:42AM 8 points [-]

The avadra did backfire.

It almost certainly did not.

Beneath the moonlight glints a tiny fragment of silver, a fraction of a line... (black robes, falling) ...blood spills out in liters, and someone screams a word.

AK sheds no blood. Of course, this could have been referring to another incident, but we'be been given no clues for what that incident might be.

The Killing Curse is formed of pure hate, and strikes directly at the soul, severing it from the body.

It leaves no marks, either.

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.

It never burns anything.

(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.)

And Harry should have noticed the discrepancy right away, but he was all weepy and shit. I suppose you or anyone else could have the same excuse. It is, after all, well written.

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: 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.