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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84

3 Post author: FAWS 11 April 2012 03:39AM

The next discussion thread 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 84The previous thread  has passed 500 comments. Comment in the 14th thread until you read chapter 84. 

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, 14.

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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 (1221)

Comment author: Eneasz 14 April 2012 08:40:35PM 31 points [-]

Am I losing my mind, or was there a change made to Chap 16? I recall this section:

" No, there is exactly one monster which can threaten you once you are fully grown. The single most dangerous monster in all the world, so dangerous that nothing else comes close. The adult wizard. That is the only thing that will still be able to threaten you."

However now it reads:

" No, there is exactly one monster which can threaten you once you are fully grown. The single most dangerous monster in all the world, so dangerous that nothing else comes close. The Dark Wizard. That is the only thing that will still be able to threaten you."

If it was changed... why the change? The original was better, and (perhaps more to the point) more in keeping with Quirrell's character. He wouldn't distinguish between adult and Dark wizards when it comes to threat-to-his-students assessment.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 14 April 2012 10:00:30PM *  14 points [-]

You're right. I search the PDF version, and have been told it doesn't receive edits in it's build (currently - though that's the plan for the future).

"The adult wizard." pg. 226

And I agree. I don't like the change either. Thinking that other adult wizards aren't a threat to you unless they're Dark is a horribly mistaken bias in more ways that one.

Comment author: gjm 14 April 2012 09:07:43PM 8 points [-]

If you're losing your mind, then either I am too or the nature of your mind-losing is a hallucination about what the chapter says now. I remember the same original text as you do (or, at any rate, the words "the adult wizard" and certainly not "the Dark wizard"). And I strongly agree that the original version is better.

Comment author: drethelin 15 April 2012 06:49:43AM 11 points [-]

Definitely not insane. Do not like this change.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 14 April 2012 09:21:20PM 4 points [-]

It used to say "adult wizard" yes -- I just confirmed it with an old pdf.

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 16 April 2012 02:31:08AM 5 points [-]

Yeah. I dislike this change. "Dark" makes sense for Quirrell to say for purposes of not sounding too evil, for not sounding like he's encouraging being dangerous. But at that point in the story, it was pretty clear Quirrell thought it was a good thing to be dangerous, and saying "adult" wizard is more consistent with that. It's also more consistent with his decision to call "Defense Against the Dark Arts" "Battle Magic."

Comment author: Xachariah 11 April 2012 11:05:39AM *  27 points [-]

Eliezer, in an edit, just reminded me that Tom Riddle is 65 years old. And from there I got to looking that other ages. Dumbledore is 110. Bahry One-Hand and Mad Eye Moody are each at least ~120. From chapter 39, I got the impression that 150 years old is uncomfortably old (maybe 90 in muggle years) and 200 is unthinkably old (110+ for muggles). So now I'm confused again.

Where are all the old people? What would family trees look like if people really lived to be 120+ regularly? If you're a child you've got two parents, and 4 grandparents, but what about the 8 great grandparents...and the 16 great^2 grandparents...32 great^3 grandparents...64 great^4 grandparents... 128 great^5 grandparents...256 ...512 etc? Plus, imagine the number of children each couple would have if people jumped from 40 fertile years to 80. I could buy that with older ages, people would wait longer to have kids (In canon they mention that it was slightly unusual for people to be having children at 20 years old). That would explain why there aren't 7-10 generations of family at the reunions, but on the other hand, I wouldn't expect Wizards to be big fans of birth control or abortion. Plus, that doesn't explain where all the grandparents are.

So many things don't match up. In retrospect, it seems odd for Lucius Malfoy to be alone in front of the Wizengamot when he ought to have four grandparents roughly Dumbledore's age and two parents at around Voldemort's age (though canonically his father dies of an old age disease prior to 1996...what?). That hearing doesn't seem like the kind of event his family would skip out on. The bureaucracy and government structures don't make sense either. When I first read the story, I thought the Ministry and other power structures were dominated by old fogies, but now I realize that they're damn near children! Plus, education for 7 years makes no sense if you expect to live another hundred; muggles spend 1/5-1/6th of their life in education, but wizards only 1/15th. And heck, how does Harry go to his muggle relatives when he ought to have dozens of still surviving wizard relatives up higher in the family tree?

I suppose the real answers to these questions is that JK Rowling didn't think through the societal implications of living 150+ years old and HPMoR adopted it rather than having to overhaul the entire canon. But that's not quite a satisfying answer. So, can anyone think of any thoughts or theories on how the magical world looks the way it does with regard to age? I'd rather save my suspension of disbelief for birds of fire and talking hats, not have to spend it on census statistics.

Comment author: FiftyTwo 11 April 2012 12:39:36PM *  17 points [-]

In recent history they've had two devastating wars. Plotting and infighting seems perpetual. Most adults spend a reasonable amount of their time using dangerous magic (there was some mention of wizard specific diseases like 'dragon pox' in canon). And everyone in the world can kill you instantly with their wand. So even if their notional life expectancy is high the number of dangers that reduce the population is enormous.

Actually given how easy deadly curses are I'm surprised there are any wizards left... Possibly explains why age correlates with magical power/skill.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 12 April 2012 06:23:44AM 17 points [-]

Actually given how easy deadly curses are I'm surprised there are any wizards left... Possibly explains why age correlates with magical power/skill.

Probably for the same reason the existence of guns hasn't resulted in human extinction.

Comment author: Desrtopa 12 April 2012 01:12:06AM 13 points [-]

Plus, education for 7 years makes no sense if you expect to live another hundred; muggles spend 1/5-1/6th of their life in education, but wizards only 1/15th

This, at least, does not confuse me. It's not like this is a historical constant, for most of human history most people have spent less.

Anyway, it's implied that vocational training exists after one is finished with one's mandatory education.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 April 2012 03:11:06PM *  13 points [-]

I wouldn't expect Wizards to be big fans of birth control or abortion.

Are you assuming vaguely medieval tech = Catholic = opposed to birth control and abortion?

The Catholic Church didn't declare that all abortion was murder until the Renaissance, and I don't think there's any reason to think that wizards are generally Catholics. ETA Nor is there any reason to think that Catholics are reliably obedient to Popes.

The simplest explanation might be that wizards (like Tolkien's elves, but less so) just aren't very fertile.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 12 April 2012 07:19:04AM *  4 points [-]

Church of England, surely.

As an American I can tell you confidently that the wizards and witches of magical Britain have one quality above all others: they are British.

Comment author: loserthree 11 April 2012 04:14:05PM 11 points [-]

I wouldn't expect Wizards to be big fans of birth control or abortion.

Why not?

There are only thirty hours in a day and every child means greater demands on your time. It's not like they can hire muggles to raise their kids, like affluent muggle families might hire less-affluent folk to look after theirs. And we don't hear about anyone being raised by house elves.

Why wouldn't they want sex without conception?

Comment author: faul_sname 11 April 2012 11:54:58PM 4 points [-]

Particularly since there's almost certainly an easy spell for that.

Comment author: loup-vaillant 12 April 2012 10:14:52AM 6 points [-]

Which seems to be unknown to 7th year students of Hogwarts.

It was hard to muster a proper sense of indignation when you were confronting the same dignified witch who, twelve years and four months earlier, had given both of you two weeks' detention after catching you in the act of conceiving Tracey.

Sigh. Magical education is seriously lacking.

Comment author: moritz 12 April 2012 04:15:47PM 4 points [-]

Or maybe they simply wanted a child? That can happen at that age, even if it's not all that common in our societies.

Comment author: Benquo 11 April 2012 11:57:11AM 7 points [-]

1) The war 2) Some wizards are more equal than others.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 11 April 2012 12:42:45PM 13 points [-]

1a) Also that other war before that one

3) Dumbledore uses his Time Tuner all the time. If he received it in his teens there could be almost twenty five extra years on that airframe.

Comment author: maia 12 April 2012 07:06:00PM 3 points [-]

Nitpick:

Plus, imagine the number of children each couple would have if people jumped from 40 fertile years to 80.

Why would you think that would happen? Women already regularly outlive their fertile periods in real life. Unless you're also proposing some magical mechanism of fertility increase (and if so, why?), you wouldn't expect fertile periods to increase.

Of course, wizards would have longer fertile periods, but you still bump into the hard limit of how many children witches are willing and able to have.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 13 April 2012 07:16:14AM 3 points [-]

Maybe he is thinking of fertility the way a gamer thinks of health.

Wizards are just healthier. There isn't a solid, hard science fiction explanation for why they heal faster and shrug off harder hits. They just do.

Likewise no attention needs to be paid to the nature of the end of fertility or the resources that run out or the way the odds of viable offspring and safe childbirth start ramping down around in the mid to late twenties in normal females. They just don't in a witch's life.

Comment author: linkhyrule5 11 April 2012 04:36:42PM 6 points [-]

Might be a Baby Boom effect, combined with high death rates from the wars. Basically, WWII still has visible effects.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 April 2012 01:16:56PM 4 points [-]

Considering how poor the Weasleys are, most wizards might well use birth control and abortion. Both seem like they should be magically feasible, and wizards might actually know whether fetuses are conscious.

Comment author: [deleted] 12 April 2012 09:47:08PM 9 points [-]

The Weasleys do seem to be more cosmetically poor than anything else. I mean, we're told they're poor, and that they wear shabby clothing and have hand-me-down wands, but they own a big house and land and broomsticks and a car(!) and everyone of age in the family is gainfully employed, often in reasonably respectable and lucrative jobs. Makes you wonder where the money's going.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 12 April 2012 11:42:12PM 3 points [-]

I'm not sure, but it could be that while they're hardly desperate, they can't quite run with people who are upper middle class or better. They're getting by, but they don't have much to spare.

Comment author: LauralH 14 April 2012 05:52:47AM 3 points [-]

Speaking as the middle of 5 kids - having a bunch of kids close to the same age like that can get expensive, and Molly didn't work.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 11 April 2012 01:53:32PM 20 points [-]

(nods) And the Fetusmouths were driven into isolated seclusion in the early 1200s due to ethical concerns, and also they were really annoying at baby showers.

Comment author: paper-machine 11 April 2012 03:29:40PM 5 points [-]

And thus did the nine Ancient and Most Noble Houses of Britain become eight.

Comment author: Yvain 11 April 2012 11:09:44AM *  17 points [-]

Nicholas Flamel (born 1340) could be almost as good a source of ancient spells lost to the Interdict of Merlin as Slytherin's Monster (exact creation date unknown, but Godric Gryffindor was alive in 1202 and Slytherin was a contemporary). He also seems to be dependent on Albus Dumbledore for protection; maybe it's time Dumbledore called in some quid pro quo if he hasn't already?

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 11 April 2012 12:10:54PM *  23 points [-]

Nicholas Flamel (born 1340) could be almost as good a source of ancient spells lost to the Interdict of Merlin as Slytherin's Monster

From Chapter 77:

A single glance would tell any competent wizard that the Headmaster has laced that corridor with a ridiculous quantity of wards and webs, triggers and tripsigns. And more: there are Charms laid there of ancient power, magical constructs of which I have heard not even rumors, techniques that must have been disgorged from the hoarded lore of Flamel himself.

So Dumbledore's already using some of Flamel's knowledge in his efforts against Voldemort.

Comment author: gwern 11 April 2012 02:13:54PM 4 points [-]

He also seems to be dependent on Albus Dumbledore for protection; maybe it's time Dumbledore called in some quid pro quo if he hasn't already?

If Dumbledore had that kind of leverage, he would have used it to either move or destroy the Philosopher's Stone.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 April 2012 06:05:08AM 25 points [-]

I've edited the birthdate of the person Amelia refers to, to be 1927 - too many people were interpreting that as "She thinks he's Tom Riddle" despite the House incongruence, an interpretation I'd honestly never thought of due to Illusion of Transparency.

Comment author: Vaniver 11 April 2012 05:47:42PM *  12 points [-]

I recommend checking out what your hints mean in canon, because that's what we have to go off of. The first thing I did when I saw 1926 was head over to the Harry Potter wiki and figure out who was born in 1926. It's Riddle and three of his Death Eater pals, all from Slytherin, of which the obvious option is Riddle. Riddle fits the biographical details you give, with minor modification consistent with the upgrades people get from canon (a MOR Riddle might decide to not murder his family while still in school, for example). The canon rules for Houses appear to be "only Black is Noble and Most Ancient," and so we really don't have any idea which houses are the seven mentioned by Bones, and what the eighth missing house could be. Gaunt is a way better option than, say, Lestrange (where we know Lesath is alive).

In a fanfic, you should expect people to suspect that new characters are canon characters rather than completely new characters, which the person Bones is describing now appears to be (no canon births in 1927).

Comment author: ciphergoth 14 April 2012 06:44:17AM 2 points [-]

Thank you - I assumed it was a canon character, and came to this thread to find out who it was.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 11 April 2012 11:11:58AM 12 points [-]

I think you're underestimating how quick people are to latch onto a detected pattern at the tiniest bit of evidence, and highly overestimating how quick they're to let go of the pattern they (brilliantly) detected when evidence to the contrary appears.

Any date at around that era will keep making people think she identified him as Tom Riddle, no matter any other evidence to the contrary, unless you explicitly have her mention a different name for him by chapter's end.

If you don't want people to have that confusion by chapter's end, just edit the chapter to have her name him with whatever non-Tom-Riddle name she thinks him to be.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 12 April 2012 08:02:36AM *  15 points [-]

I wonder how long it'll be till everyone in Hogwarts realizes that the whole recent attempted-murder plot was designed by Quirrel for the sole purpose of having both Slytherin and Ravenclaw win the House Cup at the same time (because when Slytherin and Ravenclaw lose students mid-terms, the school rules are ambiguous about whether the points earned by those students should be counted towards winning the House Cup)

I'm expecting the plot to have also contained as a crucial component a Golden Snitch with a delayed-action memory charm, which will cause the Ministry to overreact by banning Golden Snitches on school grounds, thus fullfilling Harry's wish of Snitch-less Quidditch as well.

I'm only half-joking with the above.

Comment author: Lavode 12 April 2012 08:21:20AM 7 points [-]

Quidditch really nags me, because the team you are playing with has nearly zero relevance. And it is so unnessesary, even if Rowling desired a position on the team of key importance, the way the snitch works is still wrong - If it was worth zero points, but catching it ended the game, then seekers are still key, they just cannot win entirely on their own anymore, and the job would require more than just "flies fast",

Comment author: Gabriel 12 April 2012 01:25:11PM *  14 points [-]

Or if catching the snitch gave you the option of ending the game or of having it re-released after a short random time. That way a seeker of the losing team could still engage in snitch denial other than trying to crash his counterpart into the ground.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 11 April 2012 03:48:51AM 15 points [-]

Yay!

"Not this again!" Minerva said. "Albus, it was You-Know-Who, not you, who marked Harry as his equal. There is no possible way that the prophecy could be talking about you!"

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

This is another brick in the wall of the Prophecy and Potter massacre being a setup by Dumbledore.

Comment author: FAWS 11 April 2012 03:47:33AM *  14 points [-]

Why wasn't one of the first things Harry did when returning from the trial exposing Hermione to the light of the True Patronus while she was still unconscious (it looks like it didn't happen at least)? He already knows it restores recent Dementor damage, has a plausible reason to know in that he experienced it himself under Dumbledore's eyes and could have told Dumbledore to secure his cooperation. Is his anger at Dumbledore getting in the way?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 April 2012 03:52:15AM 32 points [-]

Since I don't anticipate getting a chance to point it out inside the fic itself, and the hint is unreasonably subtle:

When Hermione woke the third time (though it felt like she'd only closed her eyes for a moment) the Sun was even lower in the sky, almost fully set. She felt a little more alive and, strangely, even more exhausted. This time it was Professor Flitwick who was standing next to her bed and shaking her shoulder, a tray of steaming food floating next to him. For some reason she'd thought Harry Potter ought to be leaning over her bedside, but he wasn't there. Had she dreamed that? She couldn't remember dreaming.

Harry didn't think of it instantly, but given a little time...

Comment author: Merdinus 12 April 2012 03:04:01AM 4 points [-]

Possibly a rubbish first post, but this highlight draws attention to something rather misleading: she was more exhausted? Reading that originally rang bells in my head at the same pitch as Hermione being memory-charmed. Then, I played with the idea that Harry taught her the True Patronus then obliviated her, for all of two seconds. Mind circles.

Comment author: MixedNuts 20 April 2012 02:57:45PM 2 points [-]

Seeing this before the parent, I thought you meant kissing, which worked on Harry when he was demented, and references fairy tales.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 11 April 2012 06:29:10AM 4 points [-]

And I hope the next thing he does is to teach her how to cast the True Patronus.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 11 April 2012 07:44:41AM 20 points [-]

In the spirit of making people flee screaming out of the room, propelled by a bone-deep terror as if Cthulhu had erupted from the podium:

One thing I really enjoy about HPMoR is how it likes to show intelligent people taking unreasonable-seeming ( = actually reasonable) precautions. Amelia Bones in chapter 84, and also in the Azkaban arc, Dumbledore and Snape and even Minerva on various occasions... not quite sure why but I really enjoy reading that sort of a thing.

Comment author: Psy-Kosh 11 April 2012 06:19:10PM 7 points [-]

Interestingly enough, that's also why I liked the older seasons of Mythbusters. You'd see much more of the planning/preparation for their tests, including all the safety considerations.

ie, they'd do the usual "don't try this at home", but then you'd actually see just how much planning/etc it takes to do such things properly and safely.

Comment author: FAWS 11 April 2012 02:43:32PM 5 points [-]

The edit to 53 recently mentioned seems to be here:

"Your wand," murmured Bellatrix, "I took it from the Potters' house and hid it, my lord... under the tombstone to the right of your father's grave... will you kill me, now, if that was all you wished of me... I think I must have always wanted you to be the one to kill me... but I can't remember now, it must have been a happy thought..."

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 11 April 2012 03:11:46PM *  6 points [-]

A very disappointing change for me. The previous version had seemingly been a very major clue -- now that clue is nullified and replaced with the standard and uninteresting "some Death Eater salvaged Voldemort's wand from the Potters' House" which is the excuse every HP fanfic out there gives to cover this obvious plot hole by Rowling...

Also does anyone think that Bellatrix could have stood over Harry's crib and not finished the task that Voldemort seemed to have wanted accomplished?

Comment author: [deleted] 11 April 2012 04:01:03PM 3 points [-]

Also does anyone think that Bellatrix could have stood over Harry's crib and not finished the task that Voldemort seemed to have wanted accomplished?

We do not yet know the task Voldemort wanted accomplished that day in HPMOR. For all we know it could have already been completed when Bellatrix salvaged the wand.

Comment author: mstevens 11 April 2012 01:46:49PM 13 points [-]

I don't actually go to meetups, but Harry's comments about anti-conformity training made me wonder if it'd be worth trying.

You could retest the original experiment, see if lesswrongians can avoid it through knowledge of the effect.

You could mock obviously true statements to practice withstanding opposition.

You could practice the ability to do harmless but nonconformist things to gain the ability to do so if the situation called for something unusual, but you might otherwise be too conformist or embarassed. (each meeting attendee shall order a coffee whilst wearing the ceremonial tea-cosy!). I suspect some of this overlaps with PUA a little and easily veers into general confidence building.

I don't know if rehearsals would do any good, but you could go through the motions of not complying with the Milgram experiment, making people handle little fake emergencies...

You could wonder if EY is planning things like this for the Center for Modern Rationality.

Comment author: Spurlock 11 April 2012 05:23:08PM *  12 points [-]

I don't know if rehearsals would do any good

Really, this is how I feel. I'd be really surprised if a setup like that actually worked. I'm not sure Harry is supposed to actually believe (with any confidence) that it works for Chaos. Ultimately you know and everyone else knows that it's just a charade, and that really your "nonconforming" is just conforming one level below surface: You stand there and take abuse that you know to be insincere, and then get a pat on the back about it later, just like everyone else did on their turn.

Hopefully CMR has a better exercise in mind. A really good anti-Asch training tool seems like a great thing to have.

You could mock obviously true statements to practice withstanding opposition.

The danger with this seems to be that you'll also be developing skills for attacking correct positions. It's training you to develop tactics for entrenching yourself in incorrect beliefs. Also it seems to lend itself to the view of arguments as status conflicts rather than group truth-investigation (though I suppose we do need to at least practice how to handle arguments with people who do perceive them this way).

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 April 2012 10:19:08PM 12 points [-]

I think that if you've got a deeply habitual inhibition against firmly disagreeing with people, even a known-to-be-simulated experience of breaking the inhibition can help quite a bit.

Comment author: Xachariah 12 April 2012 05:56:22AM *  13 points [-]

I disagree. I think it would have a very good chance to work.

To a perfect Bayesian, the importance of an act is not what it looks like on the surface, but the state of the world that makes such an act possible. Unfortunately (or fortunately in this case), human minds are not perfectly Bayesian.

To the human mind, merely resembling another thing is enough for the mind to form connections and associations between the two. This is why public speaking courses can improve people's abilities and lessen their fears of public speech. Even though people know they're just speaking in front of a class who is obligated to receive the speech well, their mind naturally reduces the anxiety they feel for any future speaking engagements. The mind says "eh, it's close enough. I can do this," just like how anti-conformity training should fool the mind into considering it 'close enough' to real disagreement. Speech classes don't not work perfectly, just like chaos training (I assume) doesn't work perfectly, but it's pretty good.

Anti-conformity training seems practically identical to a proven training method, and thus I rate it highly likely to work.

Comment author: Spurlock 12 April 2012 02:10:04PM *  11 points [-]

Well, I guess it's just an empirical question where we differ in predictions. Personally I don't think the analogy with public speaking is very strong, because public speaking classes are actually public speaking. People stand up and speak in front of lots of people, that's just what it is.

Upon reflection though, it does seem like there's one way that it might help, which is that it might help you figure out how to go about non-conformity, what exactly you can do or say in such a situation. So even if your mind doesn't buy into the charade, roleplaying with good partners might help you figure out ways to navigate a non-conformity situation. Having those methods worked out in advance might make you less hesitant to speak out in real world situations, but only to the extent that your hesitation is about not knowing what exactly to say or do (as opposed to fear of social punishment, the usual explanation for Asch's results).

What I've always wondered about with Asch's experiment is how much of a difference a small monetary incentive (say, $1 per correct answer) would make. It seems like the experiment is odd in that there is no incentive to give correct answers, but at least a potential or perceived social incentive to give conforming ones. This seems like it would be relevant to our disagreement because it's a question of whether the situation becomes different when something is actually on the line. Unfortunately I can't seem to google up any examples of variations like this.

Comment author: Solvent 13 April 2012 01:57:45AM 5 points [-]

What I've always wondered about with Asch's experiment is how much of a difference a small monetary incentive (say, $1 per correct answer) would make.

I would be really interested in the result of this experiment.

Comment author: Gabriel 12 April 2012 04:45:48PM 3 points [-]

Anti-conformity training seems practically identical to a proven training method, and thus I rate it highly likely to work.

There is a difference. Even if the class (during a public speaking course) is obligated to receive the speech well, you know that their approval might be insincere and that's still scary. In the proposed nonconformity exercise you would be sure that the other participants don't really disapprove.

Comment author: Desrtopa 12 April 2012 12:58:31AM *  9 points [-]

Based on my own experiences being a lone dissenter, the main thing that has allowed me to stand up and maintain my position consistently in the face of uniform opposition and derision, was not expecting much of everyone else in the first place.

For example, in an introductory logic course, when the professor made a mistake, which everyone else in the class agreed with, and I was the sole person to disagree, and attempt to explain it in the face of the entire class brushing me off and laughing about how I thought I knew better when the answer was so obvious to everyone else, it didn't seem weird to me at all that every other person would make the same mistake and I would be the only one to notice it. It wasn't confusing to me, and my success in showing the professor in a couple minutes after class that she had been mistaken after all confirmed for me that my expectations were on track.

Conforming to the beliefs of the crowd is perfectly sensible behavior, in domains where you have no reason to expect yourself to be more accurate than anyone else. Learning to disregard conforming instincts completely is a bad idea, because a lot of the time, it really will be everyone else who's right, and you who's making a stupid mistake which will make you feel like an idiot when you finally realize it. Refusing to conform is both achievable and proper when you have a palpable expectation that other people are going to be stupid.

Unfortunately, it's rather easy for one's expectations of other people's intelligence and rationality to become poorly calibrated.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 12 April 2012 09:43:22AM *  6 points [-]

Having an experience of being right where everyone else is wrong, is good for breaking the fear of nonconformity.

When I was a child, I participated on a science olympiad and on one question I gave an answer that seemed trivially wrong, but in fact it was correct. (There were two objects of different size, made of same material, balanced on a lever, then both immersed in water. How will the balance chance?) Everyone thought I was wrong, and the official solution confirmed it. Then the organizers realized they made a mistake, and confirmed my solution.

Since then I knew (also on emotional level) that it is possible to be right, even if everyone else disagrees. Sometimes it is wise to keep quiet, because the social consequences of nonconformity are real, but being alone does not make one automatically wrong. It was a good lesson.

Comment author: TrE 12 April 2012 05:02:28PM 2 points [-]

I doubt whether it's good to do actual anti-conformity training because it might make you too non-conforming (i.e. sticking to wrong positions). Instead, maybe it'd be better to do training on how to use others' opinions as evidence, similar to calibration training. The approach of anti-conformity training sounds good, but I'd stray in some statements which are actually false, the goal here is to actually get to the right conclusions whether the rest of society is right or wrong.

Comment author: pedanterrific 12 April 2012 12:03:34AM *  2 points [-]

From www.hpmor.com/notes/82/:

The Center for Modern Rationality is offering $50 prizes for any suggested rationality training exercises that look good enough to test, and $500 prizes for any suggested exercises that we actually adopt into a unit. Specific descriptions of mental skills, accompanied by the request for exercises to teach them, have been posted for the units Be Specific and Check Consequentialism. (Think of this as trying to invent the actual content of the bizarre exercises that Harry has been inflicting on the Chaos Legion since Ch. 29… oh, wait, I haven’t mentioned those in the text yet, have I?)

Comment author: LKtheGreat 16 April 2012 04:21:02PM 12 points [-]

How many instances can y'all remember where Eliezer has repeated himself in an oddly specific way?

  • Chapter 17, when Harry picks up Neville's Remembrall: "The Remembrall was glowing bright red in his hand, blazing like a miniature sun that cast shadows on the ground in broad daylight."

  • Chapter 43, when Harry has a Dementor-induced flashback of the night... something happened in Godric's Hollow: "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 -"

That really sets off my deliberate-hint senses - so much is repeated that it's got to be intentional. (My apologies if this was already discussed to death in the considerable time since #43 was posted.)

Likewise the basilisk, which I know was discussed at some point:

  • Chapter 35, H&C speaking: "Salazar Slytherin would have keyed his monster into the ancient wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself."

  • Chapter 49, the Defense Professor speaking: "or by some entity which Salazar Slytherin keyed into his wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself."

I'm sure I could find more if I put my mind to it, but that's all I've got for now.

Comment author: Benquo 16 April 2012 06:13:24PM 4 points [-]

I have no idea how to interpret the first clue. Are Voldemort's eyes Remembralls?

Comment author: LKtheGreat 16 April 2012 06:23:47PM 2 points [-]

My interpretation was that we're meant to connect the two incidents and conclude that Harry's (seemingly numerous) forgotten memories are something to do with Voldemort, whether specifically memories of that night or something wider.

Comment author: bogdanb 16 April 2012 09:59:05PM *  4 points [-]

Well, the fact that he remembered the night of Voldemort’s attack (I have 80%+ confidence it was a real memory, though I’m not sure of what), it’s clear that there was at least one thing that he had forgotten at the time he held the Remembrall. I hadn’t made the connection until now. Previously I thought the crimson eyes were a hint pointing to Moaning Myrtle’s recounting of her encounter with the basilisk. Now I wonder if it’s just a coincidence because the “blazing sun” simile works well for a bright Remembrall, or if Eliezer is giving us a three-way hint. A basilisk being present at Godric’s Hollow had a lot of awesomeness potential, but it does seem like the less likely hypothesis.

On the other hand, pretty much everyone has forgotten most of their infancy—presumably, Dementors don’t bring such memories back because they’re almost never as traumatic as Harry’s—and Remembralls don’t start glowing like mad in everybody’s hands, so something is still missing there.

Comment author: [deleted] 11 April 2012 04:12:08AM 12 points [-]

This chapter significantly increased my probability estimate that Quirrell was entirely behind the plot to > 90%. Also, the humming torture was awesome, but not helping his case.

Also, who the hell was Bones' story referring to? That whole section heavily confused me.

Comment author: NihilCredo 11 April 2012 04:30:27AM *  10 points [-]

Same. The part about disappearing in Albania is from canon-Quirrell's backstory - that's where he ran into Voldemort's wandering ghost, so it's interesting that in MoR he supposedly went there before the war. The rest of the background recounted by Bones and by Quirrell himself don't really ring a bell with me, the closest thing I can think of is him needing "reconciliation" with the Lady of the House being reminiscent of Sirius Black and his spat with his family, but Sirius already exists in MoR and had a different history.

It might be possible that in MoR the house of Gaunt (the one canon!Voldemort is from) did not fall into poverty and retained their household and Wizengamot influence? If the general 'powering up' of characters can go that far back it would be plausible. And now that I think of it, Quirrell initiated talk about witch-on-Muggle magical seduction during the SPHEW arc, which could suggest that that part of his family background was carried over from canon.

(One of the things that annoy me about HPMoR is that when I can't quickly figure out what a certain passage might be hinting to, I have to assign a frustratingly high probability to the event that it's simply a reference/homage/in-joke to one of the myriad HP fanfictions.)

Comment author: Bugmaster 11 April 2012 05:13:53AM *  14 points [-]

The humming torture sounds similar to Vetinari's clock, only taken to the next level. I liked it too.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, the memetic attack is also similar to "The Book" in Anathem, though the delivery vector is different.

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 12 April 2012 07:21:29AM *  18 points [-]

It's dawned on me that one of the biggest themes of this fic may be the importance of being able to notice flaws in one's models of other people. Virtually every time something has gone wrong in one of Voldemort's plans, it is because he is weak in this area:

  • Failure to predict how Harry would react to seeing him (as Quirrell) trying to kill an Aurour in Azkaban
  • Failure to predict that Hermione would be suspicious of Mr. Incredibly Suspicious Person
  • Failure to see how far Harry would go to keep Hermione out of Azkaban
  • Failure to talk Hermione into leaving Hogwarts of her own free will
  • The initial failure to predict that people would not treat him very well in his hero role

Then there's Lucius, seeing everything in terms of self-interested plots, and concluding Harry is Voldemort because of it.

And finally, the bit in chapter 81 about how Harry is wiser than either Dumbledore or Voldemort, because he realizes he's able to realize when he doesn't understand people.

Comment author: Xachariah 12 April 2012 07:38:37AM 8 points [-]

It's dawned on me that one of the biggest themes of this fic may be the importance of being able to notice flaws in one's models of other people.

Not that the theme isn't present, but I almost consider that a general theme of fiction. Romeo and Juliet is enabled by the authorities on both sides not having accurate models of their respective scions. Of Mice and Men is about Lenny's inaccuracy in his model of George. Die Hard always ends because the villain does not have an accurate model of John McClane. I'm sure you could write a whole book about Death Note. etc.

While it is present in HPMoR, it doesn't strike me as especially significant any more so than other fiction, compared to the many more overtly rationalist themes already present.

Comment author: pedanterrific 12 April 2012 07:28:34AM 8 points [-]

(I think one of those Azkabans should be a Hogwarts.)

There's also the two miscalculations in the speech before Yule- Harry's wish (which I think genuinely caught him by surprise) and Harry's publicly disagreeing with him (likewise).

Comment author: trlkly 24 April 2012 06:50:39AM 2 points [-]

I think you are erring when you assume that these are Voldemort's plans. They might be, but I don't think they have to be. The story seems to have deviated quite far from the original story.

In fact, my reading is that Quirrell may actually be some good guy, destroying our expectations from the story. I mean, has his turban even been mentioned?

Comment author: pedanterrific 24 April 2012 07:02:40AM 3 points [-]

Chapter 12 (the Welcoming Feast):

The young, thin, nervous man who Harry had first met in the Leaky Cauldron slowly made his way up to the podium, glancing fearfully around in all directions. Harry caught a glimpse of the back of his head, and it looked like Professor Quirrell might already be going bald, despite his seeming youth.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 17 April 2012 01:08:30PM 2 points [-]

And finally, the bit in chapter 81 about how Harry is wiser than either Dumbledore or Voldemort, because he realizes he's able to realize when he doesn't understand people.

This is a better interpretation of that bit than I've seen before--I approve.

Comment author: FAWS 11 April 2012 03:13:43PM 17 points [-]

"But I -" Her excellent memory helpfully replayed it for the thousandth time, Draco Malfoy telling her with a sneer that she'd never beat him when he wasn't tired, and then proceeding to prove just that, dancing like a duelist between the warded trophies while she frantically scrambled, and dealing the ending blow with a hex that sent her crashing against the wall and drew blood from her cheek - and then - then she'd -

This seems to suggest that her memories of the duel are a fabrication (or the "Draco" she was fighting was someone else under the influence of polyjuice). Draco has no particular reason to further provoke her and was genuinely unsure whether he could beat her. It doesn't seem obvious why anyone would do that if there was going to be a genuine duel anyway, though. Maybe the the genuine memories were just touched up a bit? Alternatively, why might Draco behave as in that memory when there's no one else around? (the behavior would have made more sense for the second, public duel)

Comment author: pedanterrific 12 April 2012 12:20:55AM 13 points [-]

I notice that the only thing we're told about Hermione's appearance in Chapter 78 is that she has bags under her eyes, no mention of a cut on her cheek.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 11 April 2012 07:07:41AM 53 points [-]

I had this idea about Tom Riddle's plan that I appreciated having criticized.

Tom Riddle grew up in the shadow of WWII. He saw much of the Muggle world unite against a threat they all called evil, and he saw Europe's savior, the US, eventually treated as the new world leader afterward, though it was somewhat contested, of course. That threat strongly defined it's own presentation and style, and so that style and presentation were associated with evil afterward.

Tom didn't want to be Hitler. Tom wanted to actually win and to rule in the longer term, not just until people got tired of his shit and went all Guy Fawks on his ass. He knew that life isn't easy for great rules, but thought that was worthwhile. He knew that life was even harder for great rulers who ruled by fear, so that wasn't his plan.

So Tom needed two sides, good and evil. To this end he needed two identities, a hero and a villain.

I guess he didn't think the villain didn't need to have any kind of history. Maybe he didn't think the villain would matter much or for long. Voldemort was just there for the hero to strike down. That was a mistake, because he lacked a decoy his enemies were eventually able to discover his identity.

Then there's this hero. The hero is a what passes for a minor noble in magical Britain. He's from a 'cadet' branch of the family, which means he doesn't stand to inherit anything substantial because he's not main line.

Most importantly, he goes missing in Albania. That's a shout out to canon and a code phrase for "became Tom RIddle's bitch."

As Voldemort, Tom sows terror and reaps fear. He's ridiculously evil and for Dumbledore redefines evil because he is apparently evil without necessity. Dumbledore can't tell what function that outrageous evil serves because Dumbledore thinks that evil is done sincerely. He doesn't know it's just a show.

Tom stages a dramatic entrance into the drama for his hero: he saves the president's daughter, or something like that. Totally Horatio Alger. It's a cliche, which may be EY's way of helping us to understand that Tom is fallible, more then than now.

Tom promotes his hero from Minor Noble to Last Scion of House X by killing off the rest of his hero's family. Tom simultaneously builds legitimacy for his hero's authority and leverages the tragedy to build sympathy for his hero's cause.

Tom's mistake was thinking that would be enough. There was a threat to the peace. There was a solution. The people instead chose to wallow in their failure and doom. He made it all so clear, so simple, and yet the morons just didn't get it.

I'm sure anyone whose been the biggest ego in the room during improv could sympathize.

When Tom realizes that his plan has failed and cannot be made to work in the intended fashion, he exits his hero, stage left. At that point, 75 or so, he doesn't have a good plan to leave the stage as his villain, so he kind of kicks it for a few years, tolerating the limits of his rule and getting what meager entertainment he can out of being a god damned theater antagonist.

When Tom gets a chance, he pulls his villain off the stage and may or may not have done something to the infant Harry Potter.

Now he's using the Scion of X as an identity layer to keep the fuzz off his back, while manipulating Harry into a position of power, and I'm guessing he plans to hit Harry with the Albanian Shuffle a little while later and give World Domination another try.

Tom Riddle is a young immortal. He makes mistakes but has learned an awful lot. He is trying to plan for the long term and has nothing but time, and so can be patient.

Comment author: Nominull 11 April 2012 07:25:27AM 18 points [-]

That's a really good explanation for how Dumbledore's recollection of the purposeless evil of Voldemort can be reconciled with the clearly purposeful evil of Quirrell.

Comment author: Anubhav 11 April 2012 11:43:01AM 4 points [-]

And why Voldie'd lay low for TEN YEARS waiting for a hero.

(Still... see Chris Halquist below. '73 to '81? He must've had some plan going.)

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 11 April 2012 12:52:09PM 2 points [-]

Yeah. He did. And yeah, that's odd. There's probably something else going on there that we don't know about.

Comment author: Desrtopa 12 April 2012 01:29:25AM *  11 points [-]

When Tom realizes that his plan has failed and cannot be made to work in the intended fashion, he exits his hero, stage left. At that point, 75 or so, he doesn't have a good plan to leave the stage as his villain, so he kind of kicks it for a few years, tolerating the limits of his rule and getting what meager entertainment he can out of being a god damned theater antagonist.

This strikes me as the least characteristic part of your idea. Quirrellmort doesn't seem like someone who would have taken a few years kicking it around trying to come up with a new plan.

ETA: I think that for the most part this seems like a pretty likely outline. I think the evidence stacks up in favor of the new character being a dupe of Voldemort, and this strikes me as the most plausible motivation for him to be playing both sides. I think his plan would probably even have been workable in the sense of making the heroic identity the de facto leader of the country, but he called it quits when he realized that the prize for heroism was not being lavished with adulation, but being treated as responsible for being a hero all the time, whereas the prize for being a Dark Lord was fawning obedience. There are all sorts of directions he could have gone from here, including him deciding that the world seems particularly hateful and so why not keep up the villain role, when the benefits are so much better? But spending a few years in an "okay, now what?" slump seems out of character.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 12 April 2012 08:13:54AM 2 points [-]

There are all sorts of directions he could have gone from here, including him deciding that the world seems particularly hateful and so why not keep up the villain role, when the benefits are so much better? But spending a few years in an "okay, now what?" slump seems out of character.

Yeah, I get that now.

I've amended my suspicion to be that Riddle enjoyed himself in the Voldemort role, for maybe a little less than eight years. I still think he intentionally left the stage and didn't somehow end up on the losing end of a Nuts roll vs.. infant. Tom Riddle bites it in a cutscene? Lame.

Comment author: Desrtopa 12 April 2012 01:30:29PM 2 points [-]

My primary hypothesis is still that getting cindered by Harry was the consequence of some unknown unknown, some event that Voldemort wouldn't have been able to predict in advance by being really good at planning.

Comment author: knb 11 April 2012 10:50:02AM *  14 points [-]

I've been thinking along the same lines, probably because I watched Code Geass not too long ago, and this is basically the "Zero Requiem" gambit employed by Lelouch. He creates a totem of pure evil as a target of the world's hatred, then publicly destroys it, establishing a hero as savior-king. Riddle, like Lelouche, is portrayed as a "Byronic hero"--mysterious, cynical, cunning, arrogant, and brilliant. If this interpretation is correct, Harry might not be his future meatpuppet, but actually the "chosen one", who will fulfill the role of the hero and unite the world as savior-king after destroying the risen Voldemort.

But of course it could have just been a "Palpatine Gambit". In this version, Riddle was using his Voldemort persona to create fear, which his other persona takes advantage of to turn Magical Britain into the Empire, consolidating all power to himself. But in this version, much to the consternation of Tom Riddle, the "Republic" actually doesn't give up power to the obviously qualified hero (due to diffusion of responsibility, political maneuvering, etc.) So instead he decides to just seize power as Voldemort, but by bad luck, he is struck down by Lilly Potter's self-sacrifice. Now he is back, and wants to use Harry as his new hero, but he needs to make it plausible, by convincing Harry of his political views, and making him super-formidable. That way, when "Harry" (actually Riddle acting via Imperius/polyjuice, etc.) takes over Britain and strikes down the resurrected "Voldemort" in his 7th year, people will believe it was possible. Riddle will then rule Britain (and eventually the world as "Harry Potter".

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 12 April 2012 08:40:40AM 13 points [-]

Right now this post has 53 points. WHY?

The post where put down the theory this grew from only has 2 points. Don't go voting it up just because I mentioned that. I don't want anything 'fixed' I just want an explanation.

This isn't written any better than my other posts, which commonly stay under 3 points and go negative often enough. Those other posts are totally contributions to the conversation. Some of them are even helpful.

I left points hanging. I didn't defend what I was saying. I just told a story. That's what you want?

I'm not even the first to revisit this speculation since my low vote theory post. Chris Hallquist was saying pretty much the same thing and he didn't get over 40 upvotes.

What are you upvoting?

Comment author: Konkvistador 12 April 2012 08:57:54AM *  30 points [-]

I left points hanging. I didn't defend what I was saying. I just told a story. That's what you want?

Why hello there! We are called humans, have you met us before?

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 12 April 2012 08:25:28PM *  5 points [-]

One factor is that it's a top-level comment to a popular post, and once a top-level comment outcompetes most others it's shown more prominently and read by more people.

Comment author: Alsadius 13 April 2012 02:20:42AM 8 points [-]

Because votes come more from the location in the thread than from quality of the post - sheer numbers of people reading it swamp a better post made 400 spots downthread. Also, it puts down in decent fashion a thesis that's getting kicked around a lot and that is rather appealing.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 13 April 2012 08:50:21AM *  5 points [-]

The post where put down the theory this grew from only has 2 points.

I don't think your current post "deserves" as many upvotes as it got, but that other post is just bad. Badly written, badly argued, makes lots of unsupported random claims, like "Voldemort killed Narcissa".

Comment author: Benquo 12 April 2012 12:27:23PM *  4 points [-]

Maybe the illusion of transparency doesn't let you see how much clearer this comment [EDIT: I mean the parent comment] is.

Comment author: loserthree 12 April 2012 04:02:25PM *  10 points [-]

Did you just get burned by the Illusion of Transparency while referencing the Illusion of Transparency?

Well. Done.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 12 April 2012 12:32:57PM 4 points [-]

You're probably right. I have no fucking clue what you're thinking.

Comment author: CronoDAS 12 April 2012 10:38:35AM 5 points [-]

This isn't written any better than my other posts, which commonly stay under 3 points and go negative often enough.

Well, I thought it was!

Comment author: loserthree 11 April 2012 04:06:07PM *  12 points [-]

I guess he didn't think the villain didn't need to have any kind of history. Maybe he didn't think the villain would matter much or for long. Voldemort was just there for the hero to strike down. That was a mistake, because he lacked a decoy his enemies were eventually able to discover his identity.

Perhaps not so much. We may believe Voldemort to truly be Tom Riddle for the following few reasons.

  • The Order of the Phoenix thinks Voldemort is Tom Riddle.
  • Voldemort is Tom Riddle in canon
  • In Chapter 70, Quirrell, who we are to understand is Voldemort, talks about a witch taking advantage of a muggle man, which is part of Tom Riddle's tragic backstory in cannon.
  • He just can't seem to help himself from punning his damn name, between the references to 'riddles' and his godawful anagram.

But canon doesn't count, this fic diverges strongly in places.

And knowledgeable, otherwise competent characters are wrong about things.

And, most tellingly, we now know that Voldemort in his Quirrell mask has been dropping hints that he is actually your Scion X (or David Monroe or whomever). He could just as easily be falsely hinting at the Riddle identity.

Yes, I am suggesting that the student that opened the Chamber of Secrets in '41 was not Tom Riddle, but someone else. Why pick one patsy, when you could have two? It's just one more murder, hardly anything at all.

This means that Voldemort, whomever he really is, had a backup identity behind 'Voldemort' just like he has a backup identity behind Quirrell. It means that he didn't get discovered back in the '70s. And it means that he's just as slick and awesome and I hope he is, as I wish he is.

Oh, damn. I have far, far too much affection for this character. 84 is my new favorite chapter.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 12 April 2012 08:29:24AM 2 points [-]

That sounds unsolvable with only the information we've been given.

If it was another kid in Hogwarts that opened the chamber then why haven't there been any hints in the text to this man behind the man who is also the man behind the other man who is pretending to be the man behind yet another man.

And if it was an adult then also who because there are not hints and how did they get into Hogwarts and the Chamber and I don't think you mean it was someone who was already grown up in 41.

Comment author: thomblake 11 April 2012 02:51:05PM 11 points [-]

Tom Riddle grew up in the shadow of WWII. He saw much of the Muggle world unite...

Tom didn't want to be Hitler...

In case it's relevant, remember that Hitler was just a muggle pawn of Grindlewald, and the Holocaust existed to fuel Gindlewald's dark rituals.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 11 April 2012 04:55:05AM *  21 points [-]

EY doesn't seem so fond of Rand, and it's like he's building her up as the great bugaboo of the story. That whole talk with Hermione was one of those "Gault Recruits a Striker" speeches.

If you live in a world where you are punished for what was called Good:

And yet it was as if they tried to do everything they could to make his life unpleasant. To throw every possible obstacle into his way. I was not naive, Miss Granger, I did not expect the power-holders to align themselves with me so quickly - not without something in it for themselves. But their power, too, was threatened; and so I was shocked how they seemed content to step back, and leave to that man all burdens of responsibility. They sneered at his performance, remarking among themselves how they would do better in his place, though they did not condescend to step forward."

And rewarded for what was called Evil:

"And it was the strangest thing - the Dark Wizard, that man's dread nemesis - why, those who served him leapt eagerly to their tasks. The Dark Wizard grew crueler toward his followers, and they followed him all the more. Men fought for the chance to serve him, even as those whose lives depended on that other man made free to render his life difficult... I could not understand it, Miss Granger."

What should you do?

Voldemort Shrugged:

"Why, no," said Professor Quirrell. "I stopped trying to be a hero, and went off to do something else I found more pleasant."

At that point, it's hard to complain. But I'm seeing Rand paired with Lord Foul. Consider Harry, Dumbledore, and Quirrell.

Harry: Harry's eyes were very serious. "Hermione, you've told me a lot of times that I look down too much on other people. But if I expected too much of them - if I expected people to get things right - I really would hate them, then.

"No..." said Professor Quirrell. "That was not why I came here. You have made no effort to hide your dislike for me, Miss Granger. I thank you for that lack of pretense, for I much prefer true hate to false love.

Dumbledore: There is evil in this world which knows itself for evil, and hates the good with all its strength. All fair things does it desire to destroy."

The Moral of the Story seems to be Harry finding an answer to the weakness, stupidity, and evil of others besides hating them and destroying them.

You get a lot of interesting passages just by searching for Hate.

The Killing Cure is formed of Pure Hate

And it’s not that I hate this Ron guy,” Harry said, “I just, just...” Harry searched for words. “Don’t see any reason for him to exist?” offered Draco. “Pretty much.”

“Sometimes,” Professor Quirrell said in a voice so quiet it almost wasn’t there, “when this flawed world seems unusually hateful, I wonder whether there might be some other place, far away, where I should have been.

Right now this flawed world seemed unusually hateful. And Harry couldn’t understand Professor Quirrell’s words, it might have been an alien that had spoken, or an Artificial Intelligence, something built along such different lines from Harry that his brain couldn’t be forced to operate in that mode. You couldn’t leave your home planet while it still contained a place like Azkaban. You had to stay and fight.

There’s no light in the place the Dementor takes you, Hermione. No warmth. No caring. It’s somewhere that you can’t even understand happiness. There’s pain, and fear, and those can still drive you. You can hate, and take pleasure in destroying what you hate.

But then something in the world changed, and now you can’t find any great scientists who still think skin color should matter, only loser people like the ones I described to you. Salazar Slytherin made the mistake when everyone else was making it, because he grew up believing it, not because he was desperate for someone to hate.

“I guess I was stupid too,” Draco said. “All this time, all this time I forgot that you must hate the Death Eaters for killing your parents, hate Death Eaters the way I hate Dumbledore.”

“No,” Harry said. “It’s not—it’s not like that, Draco, I, I don’t even know how to explain to you, except to say that a thought like that, wouldn’t,” Harry’s voice choked, “you wouldn’t ever be able to use it, to cast the Patronus Charm...”

Harry remembered it from the night the Dark Lord killed his parents: the cold amusement, the contemptuous laughter, that high-pitched voice of deathly hate.

Fury blazed in Harry then, blazed up like fire, it might have come from where a phoenix now rested on his own shoulder, and it might have come from his own dark side, and the two angers mixed within him, the cold and the hot, and it was a strange voice that said from his throat, “Tell me something. What does a government have to do, what do the voters have to do with their democracy, what do the people of a country have to do, before I ought to decide that I’m not on their side any more?”

The old wizard’s voice was pleading. “And it is possible to oppose the will of your fellows openly or in secret, without hating them, without declaring them evil and enemy! I do not think the people of this country deserve that of you, Harry! And even if some of them did—what of the children, what of the students in Hogwarts, what of the many good people mixed in with the bad?”

“Don’t go!” The voice came in a scream from behind the metal door. “No, no, no, don’t go, don’t take it away, don’t don’t don’t—” Why had Fawkes ever rested on his shoulder? He’d walked away. Fawkes should hate him. Fawkes should hate Dumbledore. He’d walked away. Fawkes should hate everyone—

rage grew in him alongside the self-loathing, a terrible hot wrath / icy cold hatred, for the world which had done that to her / for himself, and in his half-awake state Harry fantasized escapes, fantasized ways out of the moral dilemma,

You have everything now that I wanted then. All that I know of human nature says that I should hate you. And yet I do not. It is a very strange thing.

A couple more that I recalled showing the difference between Harry answer and Quirrells. See the last in particular.

There was a pause at this. Then the boy said, “Professor, I have to ask, when you see something all dark and gloomy, doesn’t it ever occur to you to try and improve it somehow? Like, yes, something goes terribly wrong in people’s heads that makes them think it’s great to torture criminals, but that doesn’t mean they’re truly evil inside; and maybe if you taught them the right things, showed them what they were doing wrong, you could change—” Professor Quirrell laughed, then, and not with the emptiness of before. “Ah, Mr. Potter, sometimes I do forget how very young you are. Sooner you could change the color of the sky.” Another chuckle, this one colder. “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.

“I’m certainly becoming a bit frustrated with... whatever’s going wrong in people’s heads.” “Yes,” said that icy voice. “I find it frustrating as well.” “Is there any way to get people not to do that?” said Harry to his teacup. “There is indeed a certain useful spell which solves the problem.” Harry looked up hopefully at that, and saw a cold, cold smile on the Defense Professor’s face. Then Harry got it. “I mean, besides Avada Kedavra.” The Defense Professor laughed. Harry didn’t.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 11 April 2012 09:06:16AM 10 points [-]

You should break up your quote blocks with an extra line so they look like separate quotes..

Comment author: oliverbeatson 11 April 2012 12:28:38PM 5 points [-]

I find some of the most relatable parts of the story to be the vague hero-against-the world / morality allegory, particularly in the dialogue quoted here. I think as much of the micro-morality of the story is Randian in a way that as much of the surface dialogue might paint Rand as a negative colour (if only by showing how ugly her beliefs on the surface, but revealing their purer roots). Harry is basically saying "Yes, everyone is incompetent; woe that they didn't have the luck to be not, and let's try and change that without getting too annoyed". With greater intelligence comes greater ability (and in a sense perceived moral obligation) to restrain or make productive one's hatred towards that which can't be changed or that can't be changed easily. Harry is taking morality as being the extent to which a strength can compensate for weakness in the spirit of creating future strength. The Randian 'strike' is a utilitarian way to achieve Randian values, and not an inherently Randian way or whatever. I don't think it's immediately obvious Harry isn't aiming for Randian values, if perhaps narratively in a way that Ayn Rand would not have imagined - i.e. strength and weakness are much more complexly intertwined.

(It's not obvious either that I'm disagreeing with the parent post.)

Comment author: [deleted] 11 April 2012 10:43:29PM 15 points [-]

I'm experimenting with reproducing the sound of the really horrible humming in Mathematica. I haven't changed the duration of notes yet, but I've experimented with trying to make things sound as horribly off-key as possible. I've started out with just changing the pitches of the notes by adding normally-distributed noise. So far the main discovery I've made is that for greater effect, the magnitude of the change should be proportional to the length of the note. Any ideas for things to try?

I'm using MIDI sounds, which are the simplest to set up, but also have the drawback that every pitch must correspond to an integral semitone, which limits how horrible things can sound. Also, what is a good standard MIDI instrument for simulating humming?

Comment author: 75th 12 April 2012 11:02:21PM *  8 points [-]

I'm not sure how much music you know, and I'm not sure how much music Mathematica knows, so if this is all Greek or too hard, disregard it all:

Try different diatonic modes and different scales altogether. Switch from Major to Phrygian in the middle of a phrase. Switch to different sets of keys depending on whether consecutive tones are ascending or descending. Use a lot of Locrian mode, it is generally wrong-sounding. Try mapping diatonic scale degrees to octatonic ones somehow, and switch between the two octatonic scales at random. See if you can produce a portamento between two notes, and use it a lot when two notes are separated by only a semitone.

Comment author: [deleted] 12 April 2012 07:53:14PM 17 points [-]

After several hours of experimentation, I have figured out what the trick is. Quirrell did nothing except hum the same song for four hours. The Auror's mind filled in the rest. After four hours of listening to the same fifty-one notes over and over again, I'd be calling code RJ-L20 too.

Comment author: loserthree 13 April 2012 01:11:17AM 3 points [-]

On the one hand, I once listened to "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" for three days straight. I had not stopped enjoying it when I stopped listening to it. (My roommates and guests did not share my enthusiasm, but I don't think they ever liked the song.)

On the other hand, while attempting to transfer a customer to the appropriate party I once listened to "Unchained Melody" for almost an hour. I didn't snap (it was a mill of a call center, so public nervous breakdowns were not unheard of), but the piece gained the ability to infuriate me even without the extra hours and fuck-with-your-brain inconsistency.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 12 April 2012 08:21:56AM 5 points [-]

EY is one hilarious fellow. He should do standup. The Horrible Humming was just too funny.

And interesting too, because you wonder if it could work.

Comment author: David_Gerard 12 April 2012 08:06:36PM *  9 points [-]

I am reminded of the first time Australian musician Lester Vat did his famous show Why Am I A Pie? (there's audio and video there.) He got up on stage at a rock'n'roll pub - it was a "What Is Music?" weird noise festival, but no-one expected this - went up to the microphone, and for forty-five minutes, just repeated the words:

"Why ... am I ... a pie?"
"Why ... am I ... a pie?"
"Why ... am I ... a pie?"

After fifteen minutes people didn't even have the energy left to tell him to fuck off. By twenty minutes people were slamdancing to it.

Repetition. It's powerful stuff.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 12 April 2012 09:47:37AM 10 points [-]

Tolerance for rejection is a much harder qualifier to meet for success in standup than being funny is. Just, you know, so you know.

Comment author: thescoundrel 11 April 2012 10:50:45PM 12 points [-]

I would think the real key to horrible humming would not be to have it be uniformly horrible, but so close to brilliant that the horrible notes punctuate and pierce the melody so completely that it starts driving you mad- a song filled with unresolved suspensions, minor 2nds where they just should not belong, that then somehow modulate into something which sounds normal just long enough for you to think you are safe, when it collapses again, and the new key is offensive both to the original and to the modulation. This is not just random sounds, this is purposeful song writing, with the intent to unsettle- in my mind, something like sondheim at his most twisted, but without any resolution ever.

Comment author: [deleted] 11 April 2012 10:58:17PM 5 points [-]

Well, first we're dealing with variations on a specific tune. The reason I suspect that random variations might work well is that if the probability of a change is sufficiently low, it would have exactly the effect you suggest: mostly the original "Lullaby and Goodnight", but with occasional horrible. Of course, if I were actually a cruel genius, I could do better, but it would be foolish of me to admit to being one.

Another reason random changes might work well is that they are by definition unexpected. If I did something purposeful, it would have a pattern; the real Quirrell might break that pattern by observing his victim's reactions, but not having a pattern at all might also be an interesting thing to try.

Comment author: q4-g03olf 12 April 2012 02:35:39AM 3 points [-]

You might check out a program called Max/MSP if you want to get really deep into this stuff. It handles conversions between MIDI and audio signal pretty elegantly. Other ideas..

You might try making notes that change pitch continuously You might try putting the breaks in parts of the music where we expect it to continue. MIDI "doo" or other synth voice instruments tend to sound pretty maddening on their own without much special effort. Maybe layer in helicopter sounds or applause to simulate breathiness?

Comment author: Bill_McGrath 12 April 2012 06:00:55AM *  2 points [-]

When I was reading that part, all I could think was "Man, I have to try do that..."

I'm using MIDI sounds, which are the simplest to set up, but also have the drawback that every pitch must correspond to an integral semitone, which limits how horrible things can sound.

There are ways around this: a program called Scalar allows you to build microtonally tuned scales and set them up to be controlled by MIDI. Also, Native Instruments' Kontakt allows you to change the tuning of instruments and map the new tuning to a keyboard.

Scalar is free but hard to use: I was never actually able to figure out how to set it up to hear the scales I'd built - but my laptop seems to have a grudge against MIDI devices anyway. Kontakt is a lot easier to use but costs a couple of hundred euro.

Comment author: Nominull 11 April 2012 03:54:56AM 19 points [-]

I needed chocolate to recover from reading this chapter. ;_;

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 April 2012 04:13:30AM 21 points [-]

You warm my terrible heart.

Comment author: NihilCredo 11 April 2012 05:54:40PM 14 points [-]

Incidentally, are there no Author's Notes for chapter 84?

Comment author: Eneasz 11 April 2012 06:43:49PM 18 points [-]

I've always had a soft spot for Quirrell. It's made me blind to a lot of his flaws, so I've tried to actively focus on his evil actions and how much I would hate someone doing that to me. But this latest chapter made me love him all over again. Even though I realize it probably contains huge amounts of misrepresentation if not outright lies.

I'm worried I may be turning Bad.

OTOH, this may just be superb writing, to make the villain so completely relate-able. Either way, every time a chapter goes Quirrell-heavy I swoon. Glad we got one in the current arc so I don't have to wait longer.

Comment author: anotherblackhat 12 April 2012 02:56:09AM 22 points [-]

I'm worried I may be turning Bad.

You need not trouble yourself. Examining Quirrell's actions has merely made you realize how much you would like to have his power. "Bad" is just a label applied by those too weak to seize that power.

Do not fear the dark side - we have cookies!

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 April 2012 10:21:12PM 5 points [-]

Is he actually loyal to his students or Up To Something?.

Comment author: gjm 12 April 2012 09:59:57AM 15 points [-]

Could be both. In any case I think it's a fair assumption that Quirrell is always up to something.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 12 April 2012 08:26:46AM 6 points [-]

I think he takes his responsibilities seriously. His evil comes from his condemnation of the weakness, stupidity, cowardice, and irresponsibility of others. He lives up to his standards, but others don't.

Comment author: loserthree 12 April 2012 03:35:37PM 13 points [-]

I'm confident that is how Quirrell is meant to appear. But the villain's real face may be a bit of a riddle.

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 15 April 2012 02:57:58AM 5 points [-]

Remember: Quirrell can care about his students any time he likes, because he's not Good.

Comment author: Alsadius 15 April 2012 03:16:01PM 6 points [-]

Or perhaps it's more accurately phrased as "I can show up the good guys any time I want to make them look bad, because I'm not constrained by the same fear of ill consequences that they are".

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 15 April 2012 06:07:54PM 9 points [-]

A very minor mistake at ch.84

It was only expected that you should save bullies.

This of course should be something like "save them from bullies" or "save people from bullies".

Comment author: pedanterrific 15 April 2012 10:09:31PM 6 points [-]

It's disturbing that I read that like three or four times without once noticing.

Comment author: gwern 13 April 2012 05:03:31PM 9 points [-]

A question not on the latest chapter but ch4:

McGonagall shook her head. "Your father was the last heir of an old family, Mr. Potter. It's also possible..." McGonagall hesitated. "Some of this money may be from bounties that had been placed on You-Know-Who, payable to his ki-" McGonagall swallowed the word. "To whoever might defeat him. Or those bounties might not have been collected yet. I'm not sure."

Did we ever find out whether the bounties were collected? I was wondering whether 40k Galleons was a reasonable sum for last heir of ancient family + entire wizarding world's bounties on Voldemort, but I can't remember the question ever being answered in the first place.

Comment author: Velorien 13 April 2012 05:52:09PM 5 points [-]

The Davises have 300 Galleons in their vault, and they do not seem to be especially poor or especially wealthy. If Harry has 130 times the wealth of an average family, that sounds like a reasonable sum for the circumstances stated.

It's worth noting that we don't really know to what extent bounties would have been placed on Voldemort. For one thing, it seems like the international community couldn't give a toss about the fate of Britain, and British wizards seem to have spent their time cowering in terror and believing that Voldemort was invincible, rather than financing mercenary warfare.

Comment author: gwern 13 April 2012 06:01:25PM *  4 points [-]

The Davises have 300 Galleons in their vault, and they do not seem to be especially poor or especially wealthy. If Harry has 130 times the wealth of an average family, that sounds like a reasonable sum for the circumstances stated.

It's hard to compare, yes. But if you want to compare with the Davises and Potter fortunes, it doesn't sound like 40k is all that much.

For example, if we wanted to compare bounties, we could compare Voldemort to Osama bin Laden's federal bounty of $25 million; googling, the median net worth of an American household is something like $90,000, which gives us a Muggle multiplier of not 130x but 277x. If the Davises really are average (median) then with a Muggle multiplier the bounty on Voldemort might be as high as 113k galleons*. Then presumably you'd have the Potter family fortune of unknown thousands but let's round to 7k and then 120k total - that's 3 times what Harry actually has.

Of course, one can make assumptions which would erase a difference of 300% but you see why I might wonder if Harry did actually receive the bounties.

* Which if anything sounds low to me - Lucius shocks people by demanding 100k for Hermione just for attempting to kill Draco, but it seems plausible they would not be shocked by something like 10k - and Voldemort doesn't just attempt to kill one person, he kills dozens, hundreds, thousands, and multiple Noble House members. The Order, a subaltern organization unapproved of by Magical England, is able to raise 100k all on its own for its own operations. And so on.

Comment author: Alsadius 14 April 2012 04:38:57AM 7 points [-]

Muggle America is also some hundreds of thousands of times more populous than wizarding Britain. That does change some things when it comes to ratios of that sort.

Comment author: loserthree 13 April 2012 06:25:58PM 5 points [-]

That muggle net worth includes property values that would not be reflected in the Davis vault.

Comment author: gwern 13 April 2012 06:35:22PM *  4 points [-]

Wizards are specifically described as not engaging fractional-reserve banking, which implies that any real estate is bought without debt with saved-up funds; hence, we would also expect to see savings reflected in wizard vaults and the Davises in particular unless we think they already bought a property (in which case the 300 galleons would then become a massive underestimate, yes).

Comment author: Random832 13 April 2012 06:52:41PM 7 points [-]

No fractional-reserve banking does not imply this - there could be lenders (whether goblins or wizards) with a large supply of their own gold which they use to make loans. Or landowners could sell property with a "rent to own" payment plan. Fractional-reserve banking is only necessary if you want to lend someone else's gold.

Comment author: open_sketchbook 17 April 2012 04:56:25PM 5 points [-]

It's entirely possible that, for the most part, land ownership is not an economic issue for wizards. They are a very small population with no reliance on infrastructure and with easy, accessible and instant transportation from the FlooNetwork and apperation. They don't have pay utility bills either.

I'm willing to bet the only properties that change hands with meaningful frequency are shops in Hogsmead and Diagon Alley. Some folks rent rooms in these places when they are young and career-driven, but when they settle down to raise a family, if they haven't got a property to inherent, they just zip out to some picturesque chunk of rural Britain, get their friends together or hire some specialists to magically assemble a house, and then the ministry stops by to register the place and hook the fireplace up to the Floo Network for a fee.

The vast majority of wizards we see in canon live rurally. Bill and Fleur get set up with a little seaside cottage when they get married and no mention is ever made of cost. The only wizarding house that isn't rural which we know of is Number 12, Grimmauld Place, which was probably straight-up stolen from it's muggle owners in the 19th century and hidden.

Of course, if some muggles show up to ask why their land suddenly has a cozy little house on it that wasn't there yesterday, you bust out the memory charms and suddenly it's been your property all along, sorry for the trouble neighbor.

Comment author: gwern 13 April 2012 07:06:13PM 7 points [-]

I was not using implies in the logical deduction sense. Not having fractional-reserve banking eliminates a massive source of capital which could be used for mortgage lending and ceteris paribus will reduce such lending, does it not?

Comment author: thomblake 13 April 2012 06:06:21PM *  2 points [-]

It's probably worth comparing it to "the entire war chest" of the OOTP, 100k galleons.

Edit: ah, you did that.

Comment author: thomblake 11 April 2012 03:16:36PM 9 points [-]

An interpretation of the revelations of Chapter 84 that is almost surely wrong, but was first to rise to my attention:

Quirrell's description of the War to Hermione was an honest description of the conflict between Voldemort and Dumbledore from Voldemort's point of view. Voldemort, like Draco's father and his friends, thought Dumbledore was an evil wizard who needed to be stopped at all cost. But even as people shored up support for Dumbledore, they reviled Voldemort.

And Dumbledore has realized he was the bad guy. When he says:

There is evil in this world which knows itself for evil, and hates the good with all its strength. All fair things does it desire to destroy.

he's referring to the darkness he saw in himself, when he began to "resent Harry's innocence", and looking back on the way he's lived his life.

As I said, this interpretation is almost certainly not true; Amelia was clearly talking about someone the public would think of as a hero, so didn't mean Voldemort (and it's not supposed to be Tom Riddle's story).

Comment author: thescoundrel 11 April 2012 03:31:15PM 4 points [-]

Just for fun, consider this: Quirrelmort is more likely to be able to produce a true patronus than Dumbledore, as Quirrelmort understands that death should be avoided. Patronus 2.0 as the power the Dark Lord Knows not?

Comment author: thomblake 11 April 2012 03:38:27PM 4 points [-]

Obviously all the good guys are anti-death and bad guys are pro-death.

Comment author: thescoundrel 11 April 2012 03:41:03PM 9 points [-]

“People aren't either wicked or noble. They're like chef's salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.” -- The Grim Grotto

Comment author: Velorien 11 April 2012 05:29:05PM 7 points [-]

I suspect Voldemort is less likely to produce a true Patronus. The Patronus 2.0 comes from facing death and rejecting it. Voldemort certainly rejects death, but it doesn't seem like he's faced it the way Harry has.

Voldemort: "This 'death' thing is horrible, get it away from me! I'll tear apart my very soul if that's what it takes to escape death!"

Harry: "You dare threaten me and the people I feel responsible for, you pitiful little leftover of the evolutionary process? I will end you if it's the last thing I do."

Admittedly, this is based more on a canon portrayal of Voldemort, since MoR!Voldemort's views on the subject have yet to be made explicit (and he seems altogether more emotionally healthy than the canon version).

Comment author: pedanterrific 12 April 2012 12:34:53AM 10 points [-]

I thought this bit was interesting:

And felt a distant, hollow echo of emptiness radiating from where Death waited, washing over Harry's mind and parting around it, like a wave breaking on stone. Harry knew his enemy this time, and his will was steel and all of the light.

"I can already feel the Dementors," said the gravelly voice of the Polyjuiced Quirrell. "I did not expect that, not this soon."

"Think of the stars," Harry said, over a distant rumble of thunder. "Don't allow any anger in you, nothing negative, just think of the stars, what it feels like to forget yourself and fall bodilessly through space. Hold to that thought like an Occlumency barrier across your entire mind. The Dementors will have some trouble reaching past that."

There was silence for a moment, then, "Interesting."

Comment author: DavidAgain 11 April 2012 07:43:23AM 13 points [-]

No one seems to be commenting on the way that dumbledore identified quirrel to the wards. It seemed to me to be a very clear hint that someone else was somehow within that circle and so is also recognised as the defence professor, has top level Hogwarts permissions etc. Possibly Mr hat and cloak?

Comment author: Nominull 11 April 2012 07:58:51AM 6 points [-]

It's possible, but not everything that's possible is true. You'd think there'd only be able to be one Defense Professor, especially if that position was referred to with the definite article, and so properly coded wards would throw an exception if his identifier did not uniquely pick out an individual.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 11 April 2012 08:22:59AM 8 points [-]

It means that he won't show up as Tom Riddle or Voldemort or Quinirius Quirrell or Jeffe Japes or Scion of X on the Marauder Map. He'll show up as The Defense Professor.

Comment author: FAWS 11 April 2012 08:35:13AM 16 points [-]

Harry nodded. " At least nobody's going to try hexing you, not after what the Headmaster said at dinner tonight. Oh, and Ron Weasley came up to me, looking very serious, and told me that if I saw you first, I should tell you that he's sorry for having thought badly of you, and he'll never speak ill of you again."

"Ron believes I'm innocent?" said Hermione.

"Well... he doesn't think you're innocent, per se..."

Ron approves of trying to murder Draco Malfoy?

Comment author: thomblake 11 April 2012 02:59:35PM 26 points [-]

Ron approves of trying to murder Draco Malfoy?

I'm pretty sure even canon Ron would at least say he approves of killing Draco.

Comment author: taelor 12 April 2012 03:57:28AM *  9 points [-]

If I recall correctly, canon!Ron has admitted to fantasizing about murdering Draco on several occasions. The one that comes most readily to mind was in book 4, when they were discussing Durmstrang's location in the far north, and Ron comments wistfully about how easy it would be to push Draco off a glacier and make it look like an accident.

Comment author: [deleted] 15 April 2012 02:14:24AM 7 points [-]

Can somebody explain to me why Harry was so into House points before Azkaban recalibrated his sense of perspective? It makes sense why most people seek them; you take several dozen kids, split them up into different groups, and soon enough you hear them talking about how they can't let those Gryffindor jerkasses win the House Cup and so on. But it seems to me like you need to identify with your House to an unhealthy degree to take so much pleasure in earning points for it. Hermione obviously has that problem (cf. her speech about House Ravenclaw in ch. 34), but I would have expected Harry to avoid falling into such an obvious trap.

Note that Draco never seems interested in getting house points (as far as I can remember, anyways), so I guess his Slytherin education allowed him to see what the Ravenclaws missed: House Points are just one of those totally useless things you use to incentivize people into desired behaviors without having to give them any real, costly rewards. Like employee of the month awards, and military medals, and lesswrong kar-

...

Nevermind, I think I get it now.

(But seriously, karma at least has an individual tracking component that allows one to gain status in the community; is there anything about house points that would win Hermione or Harry more status than they would if they just kept getting good grades in class, answering questions correctly, and saving victims from bullies?)

Comment author: Nornagest 15 April 2012 02:31:37AM *  5 points [-]

is there anything about house points that would win Hermione or Harry more status than they would if they just kept getting good grades in class, answering questions correctly, and saving victims from bullies?

Sure. By earning house points, Harry and Hermione are essentially doing a favor for their houses independently of whatever they did to earn those points. It's a favor that's absolutely useless in functional terms (at least, I don't remember the House Cup granting any substantial perks), but that doesn't matter too much to the psychology involved; you're well above the 20 karma threshold but you still get a little spike of satisfaction when someone upvotes you, don't you? Same mechanism at play.

This is complicated slightly by the fact that House standing is zero-sum, but I still think in-house status gain would outweigh out-of-house status loss thanks to a number of considerations. Point allocations tend not to be announced to the entire school, for one thing.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 16 April 2012 12:20:45AM *  2 points [-]

Who's the person who've deleted their account, and may I ask why? It's always sad/confusing when we lose someone and we can't even know the reason.

Comment author: pedanterrific 16 April 2012 12:35:09AM 6 points [-]

This was jaimeastorga2000. I think Misha deleted their account today too.

Comment author: cousin_it 16 April 2012 03:05:48PM 5 points [-]

I regret that Misha is gone, he was one of the smarter commenters on mathy decision theory posts.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 16 April 2012 11:13:31AM 3 points [-]

(blinks in surprise)

How odd and sad...

Comment author: Nornagest 16 April 2012 12:36:57AM 2 points [-]

Well, for whatever reason he chose to unperson himself, so I'm not sure if I should be saying this, but that was jaimeastorga2000, I believe. I don't know why he decided to leave.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 15 April 2012 06:02:58PM 2 points [-]

Hermione obviously has that problem (cf. her speech about House Ravenclaw in ch. 34), but I would have expected Harry to avoid falling into such an obvious trap.

Hermione is less passionate about Ravenclaw than Harry is -- e.g. Hermione in January thinks that she should have gone to Gryffindor. Harry is very clear about wanting to go to Ravenclaw, and belonging to Ravenclaw.

Either way it's clear that it's marked how many points each student gets -- Dumbledore in Hermione's trial mentions she has earned 103 points for Ravenclaw so far, and even in canon it seems to be known who cost them/won them points (e.g. in Harry Potter & the Philosopher's stone, the protagonists are ostracized at some point for costing Gryffindor 50 points each)

Comment author: LKtheGreat 15 April 2012 04:22:02PM 3 points [-]

How likely is it that the outcome of the Defense Professor's talk with Hermione was genuinely not what he wanted? Surely he has to have realized by now that Hermione is the sort of person who'd act like that, however incomprehensible it may be to him. I am reminded of the passage in the LotR omake that reads:

"If the Enemy thought that all his foes were moved by desire for power alone - he would guess wrongly, over and over, and the Maker of this Ring would see that, he would know that somewhere he had made a mistake!"

Maybe he truly doesn't understand her psychology, especially if he doesn't have H&C's, erm, experimentation to draw on. (I rather think he is H&C, but that's another issue entirely.) But working from the supposition that he wanted Hermione to react as she did, what does he gain from that?

  • She's within easy striking distance if he wants to use her in some future action.

  • She's acquired extra suspicion of the Defense Professor, which she will communicate to Harry, and which the Defense Professor may duly disprove to Harry, strengthening the latter's trust.

  • She may, if she stays near Harry, do something unpredictably Good (c.f. SPHEW) of her own free will (inasmuch as that exists anymore) that would be useful for enacting various lessons.

  • Something else that I haven't thought of yet.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 15 April 2012 05:51:09PM *  14 points [-]

Hermione came very very close to agreeing with the Defense Professor, and we see him using all the ways and mannerisms which cause her to trust him a little bit more -- not to 'acquire extra suspicion'.

So, no, I think Quirrel made a very very good attempt at what he wanted -- getting Hermione away. He simply failed.

Comment author: nohatmaker 11 April 2012 05:36:18PM 3 points [-]

The prophecy (at least canon - I remember MOR having a slightly different one, but cannot find it offhand) could point to two identities of Tom Riddle. The hero and the villain. Neither can (truly) live while the other survives.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 11 April 2012 09:10:46PM 2 points [-]

Unfortunately that's one of the phrases that isn't in the MOR version. It's "either must destroy all but a remnant of the other, for those two spirits cannot exist in the same world."

Comment author: [deleted] 11 April 2012 09:23:27PM 3 points [-]

That part could still fit. Certainly Voldemort and Noble Hero cannot (simultaneously) exist in the same world.

"The one with the power approaches" seems anachronistic, though, and "Born to those who have thrice defied him" doesn't make much sense unless we assume the defying happened after he was born (even then, it doesn't quite fit). Finally, "He will have power the Dark Lord knows not" is virtually impossible if they are the same person.

Comment author: pedanterrific 11 April 2012 10:26:37PM 14 points [-]

That part could still fit. Certainly Voldemort and Noble Hero cannot (simultaneously) exist in the same world.

For more than six hours a day.

Comment author: pedanterrific 11 April 2012 06:48:25AM 3 points [-]

Aw, I just noticed Auror QQQ got renamed. Here I was wondering how Bones managed to pronounce that, and how he avoided getting stuck with "Mike".

Comment author: Incorrect 11 April 2012 04:29:55AM 3 points [-]

Does Quirrel have cataplexy?

Comment author: iceman 12 April 2012 06:04:23PM 6 points [-]

I wonder if Quirrel simply had a bad model when he tried to play the hero:

"I was not naive, Miss Granger, I did not expect the power-holders to align themselves with me so quickly - not without something in it for themselves. But their power, too, was threatened; and so I was shocked how they seemed content to step back, and leave to that man all burdens of responsibility. They sneered at his performance, remarking among themselves how they would do better in his place, though they did not condescend to step forward." (84)

The theory about Quirrel creating Voldemort as a villain to vanquish is probable, especially if you ask Cui Bono?. I wonder if the opposition to his heroics was by the not-so-dumb portion of the Wizengamont:

The vast majority are thinking 'The Dementor was frightened of the Boy-Who-Lived!' [...] Almost none are thinking anything along the lines of 'I wonder how he did that.' [...] But there are a very few, seated on those wooden benches, who do not think like this.

There are a certain few of the Wizengamot who have read through half-disintegrated scrolls and listened to tales of things that happened to someone's brother's cousin, not for entertainment, but as part of a quest for power and truth. They have already marked the Night of Godric's Hollow, as reported by Albus Dumbledore, as an anomalous and potentially important event. They have wondered why it happened, if it did happen; or if not, why Dumbledore is lying. (81)

How would they react to a savior?

Comment author: gwern 12 April 2012 08:03:48PM 13 points [-]

Hm, so to rewrite the ending...

There were a certain few of the Wizengamot who wondered why Voldemort's lieutenant had made a attempt on the life of the Minister's daughter rather than the Minister, done so publicly rather than privately, and why a recluse was there that day. They had already marked the Miracle of Diagon Alley as an anomalous and important event; they have wondered why it happened, if it did, or if not, why Voldemort is colluding in the praise.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 April 2012 03:42:07PM 6 points [-]

My comment from fanfic.net:

I loved the chapter- there was nothing wrong with the previous two, but this the mixed bag of very good stuff pointing in multiple directions that I hadn't realized I was missing. I'm talking about psychological/philosophical/emotional material more than the potential plot twists.

I've suddenly realized that this is a chapter in which almost nothing happens in terms of physical action- it's all talk and thought and emotion (and a bit of humming), and it's incredibly engrossing.

Is Hermione's inability to think that she might have been bespelled part of the spell, or normal psychological reaction?

Would fake memories have the same kind and amount of detail as real memories?

Harry saying that the first year girls should put their reputations on the line about Hermione is so perfectly Harry...

Comment author: Velorien 11 April 2012 05:16:33PM 14 points [-]

Is Hermione's inability to think that she might have been bespelled part of the spell, or normal psychological reaction? Would fake memories have the same kind and amount of detail as real memories?

I would hypothesise that, to an ordinary person who has not learned about the fallibility of memory in general, the idea that something that feels like a completely real memory would be false is a very challenging one. Thinking "have I been memory-charmed?" is like thinking "I could be wrong about absolutely anything I remember" for the first time. It would be very difficult, and exactly the kind of thought one flinches away from.

From personal experience, I remember recalling a very emotionally charged MSN conversation months later, and thinking about an agreement I'd made with someone in it. But searching through the logs (and I logged everything), I could find no mention of any such agreement ever. It was pretty traumatic to discover that my memory was so fallible on something so important, and I'm not sure I could have accepted it without such firm evidence.

In regard to detail, I'm not sure people ever go through their memories and say "huh, this memory lacks detail so something must be off". Unless some key feature is missing (say, Hermione being unable to recall the words of the curse she used), I imagine any given detail's absence could be easily rationalised.

Comment author: Alex_Altair 11 April 2012 07:19:21PM 7 points [-]

And it's especially surreal to Hermione, because she has eidetic memory.

Comment author: tadrinth 12 April 2012 12:32:36AM 2 points [-]

Yeah, memory is fallible as hell. This is why I love having conversation logs and why I have contemplated trying to figure out a way to log my entire life (so I could do that for real conversations as well).

Comment author: SkyDK 15 April 2012 09:48:43PM 3 points [-]

It'd be illegal in most countries, but getting very small mics is not that hard. I've used it myself for testing if I had a better idea generation state of mind while running/doing sports than when penning.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 12 April 2012 06:45:54AM 4 points [-]

Thinking "have I been memory-charmed?" is like thinking "I could be wrong about absolutely anything I remember" for the first time. It would be very difficult, and exactly the kind of thought one flinches away from.

Beliefs don't feel like beliefs. They feel like how the world is.

Comment author: loserthree 11 April 2012 04:30:23PM 10 points [-]

Harry saying that the first year girls should put their reputations on the line about Hermione is so perfectly Harry...

I'm pretty sure he was inviting everyone in Ravenclaw.

Comment author: Nornagest 11 April 2012 05:46:13AM *  6 points [-]

If you'll all forgive me a few moments of horrible nerdiness, and the attendant fictional evidence, I've said before that MoR's construction of heroic effort makes a good deal more sense once you've played Fate/stay night. This chapter certainly hasn't given me any reason to doubt that, but after Quirrell's speech with Hermione I think I might need to add watching Revolutionary Girl Utena as another prerequisite. The early parts of that exchange could have been lifted wholesale from Utena's princes and witches, and the world's expectations of them.

Comment author: Vaniver 11 April 2012 04:25:54AM *  6 points [-]

So, it seems more likely that Quirrel was behind the plot.

The thing about there only being seven houses seems big, though, and as far I can tell isn't from canon. (The list of purebloods, for example, doesn't include Jugson, though 500 years old might not be enough to be Most Ancient. I think we have HPMOR confirmation of Malfoy, Potter, Greengrass, and Longbottom, and I think in canon the only ones that get that description are Malfoy, Black, and maybe Potter (really, Peverell).

The 1926 hint narrows it down to four canon characters (though, of course, Bones might be mistaken). Interestingly enough, all of them were sorted into Slytherin- Tom Riddle, Rosier, Avery, and Lestrange. All of them were Death Eaters, and so it seems most likely it's Tom Riddle. (He would be the last of the female line of the Gaunt family, descended from Salazar Slytherin, which seems like it qualifies for Most Ancient. But I suspect the female line doesn't count for things like the Wizengamot, in canon at least.)

(Interestingly, in canon, Morfin Gaunt was memory-charmed to believe that he was the murderer of Voldemort's parents. Riddle did that to cover up a number of his murders. Even more pieces falling into place.)

Tom Riddle as hero seems... really bizarre, though. Who was Voldemort instead? (It seems implausible that Voldemort could have been an alterego; I suspect quite a bit of his pureblood support came from his lineage.)

Comment author: Nominull 11 April 2012 04:31:00AM 12 points [-]

We know Dumbledore thinks Tom Riddle was Voldemort, because when he's looking for Voldemort within Hogwarts he tells the map to find Tom Riddle.

Comment author: gwern 11 April 2012 01:37:04PM 7 points [-]

And all the other occasions Phoenix members speak of Tom Riddle or poison his father's grave.

Comment author: dspeyer 11 April 2012 05:20:33AM *  3 points [-]

Way back in chapter 7, Draco refers to "the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black". That's a fifth noble house.

JKR said Nott was ranked as highly as Malfoy. Doesn't necessarily apply in MOR.

Comment author: drethelin 11 April 2012 04:28:29AM 3 points [-]

Remember that Quirrel is NOT Riddle. He's Riddle in the body of someone else. It's pretty damn voldemorty to come back in the body of one of your enemies, too.

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 11 April 2012 06:07:10AM 9 points [-]

Tom Riddle wasn't a hero. He was a villain whose villainous plot was to create a fake villain named Voldemort for him to defeat. He arranged for there to be a kidnapping attempt on the daughter of the minister of magic so that he could save her and be propelled into herodom. But things did not go according to plan:

"Long ago, long before your time or Harry Potter's, there was a man who was hailed as a savior. The destined scion, such a one as anyone would recognize from tales, wielding justice and vengeance like twin wands against his dreadful nemesis." Professor Quirrell gave a soft, bitter laugh, looking up at the night sky. "Do you know, Miss Granger, at that time I thought myself already cynical, and yet... well."

The silence stretched, in the cold and the night.

"In all honesty," said Professor Quirrell, looking up at the stars, "I still don't understand it. They should have known that their lives depended on that man's success. And yet it was as if they tried to do everything they could to make his life unpleasant. To throw every possible obstacle into his way. I was not naive, Miss Granger, I did not expect the power-holders to align themselves with me so quickly - not without something in it for themselves. But their power, too, was threatened; and so I was shocked how they seemed content to step back, and leave to that man all burdens of responsibility. They sneered at his performance, remarking among themselves how they would do better in his place, though they did not condescend to step forward." Professor Quirrell shook his head as though in bemusement. "And it was the strangest thing - the Dark Wizard, that man's dread nemesis - why, those who served him leapt eagerly to their tasks. The Dark Wizard grew crueler toward his followers, and they followed him all the more. Men fought for the chance to serve him, even as those whose lives depended on that other man made free to render his life difficult... I could not understand it, Miss Granger." Professor Quirrell's face was in shadow, as he looked upward. "Perhaps, by taking on himself the curse of action, that man removed it from all others? Was that why others felt free to hinder his battle against the Dark Wizard who would have enslaved them all? I still do not understand even now. My cynicism fails me, and I am left silent. But there came a time when that man realized he might do better fighting the Dark Wizard alone, as with such followers at his back."

"So -" Hermione's voice sounded strange in the night. "You left your friends behind where they'd be safe, and tried to attack the Dark Wizard all by yourself?"

"Why, no," said Professor Quirrell. "I stopped trying to be a hero, and went off to do something else I found more pleasant."

At this point, he decided to go full-time as the fake villain persona, and did so for the next eight years, when he decided to abandon it.

Comment author: Vaniver 11 April 2012 03:48:56PM 4 points [-]

He was a villain whose villainous plot was to create a fake villain named Voldemort for him to defeat.

The reason I think this is odd is because, in canon, Voldemort was a name change, not a new person. So instead of Tom Riddle getting together with his Slug Club friends and saying "hey, maybe we should run this country, and by the way I never liked my old name," Voldemort is some external actor that managed to get the loyalty of a bunch of Britain's nobility.

Comment author: pedanterrific 11 April 2012 04:30:31AM 2 points [-]

My hypothesis is stated here, by the way- the thread goes on to include discussion of Noble Houses.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 11 April 2012 12:43:55PM 7 points [-]

But at least I know now what true evil would say for itself, if we could speak to it and ask why it was evil. It would say, Why not?"

A brief flare of indignation inside her. "There's got to be a million reasons why not!"

"Indeed," said Dumbledore's voice. "A million reasons and more. We will always know those reasons, you and I.

Anyone care to name three?

Comment author: faul_sname 12 April 2012 07:46:47AM 8 points [-]

1) In most situations, it is not the most efficient means to an end (interestingly, in Voldemort's case, it may have come close).

2) A reputation for defection in PD-like situations means nobody will ally with you. Unless you are in an undisputed leadership position, this is a very bad thing.

3) People are likely to try to kill you.

Comment author: Incorrect 11 April 2012 10:44:11PM 7 points [-]
  1. Because it's boring if you aren't a sadist
  2. Because there's more fun stuff to do
  3. Because you may prefer to think of yourself as a sort of person who is not evil.
Comment author: MixedNuts 20 April 2012 01:44:01PM 2 points [-]

Self-modify to be a sadist. Actually, do that regardless, it's fun and non-evil sadism is easy to come by.

Comment author: Percent_Carbon 11 April 2012 12:56:06PM 28 points [-]
  1. you will be scolded
  2. your parents would be so very disappointed with you
  3. this is certain to go on your permanent record
Comment author: thomblake 11 April 2012 03:05:06PM 9 points [-]

Surely "You've broken at least 3 school rules" belongs at the top of Hermione's list.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 14 April 2012 09:24:12AM 12 points [-]
  1. Because I grew up watching Thundercats as a kid and it's not what Liono would do.
  2. Because it would look terrible on my TV Tropes page.
  3. Because the part of me that handles abstract reasoning vetos producing negative utilons and this part actually gets quite a lot of voting power over anything I have time to think about - it's even the part I call "me".

There are many parts of Eliezer that are casting votes for good and against evil, for quite widely separated reasons ranging from the silly to the extremely approvable, and once I realized that instead of thinking that there had to be "the" reason, I understood myself a lot better.

But not a million reasons, though. Hermione is severely exaggerating.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 11 April 2012 12:47:33PM *  16 points [-]

Anyone care to name three?

  1. Because evil causes people to feel pain.
  2. Because evil causes people to feel grief.
  3. Because evil causes people to feel fear.
Comment author: buybuydandavis 12 April 2012 08:52:36AM *  3 points [-]
  • Why bother?
  • Idiots and cowards are sure to take care of it for you.
  • Akrasia.
Comment author: thescoundrel 11 April 2012 02:12:18PM 6 points [-]

1.Unless you have supreme power over everyone, you are very likely to need help from other people, and evil inhibits your ability to gain that help.

  1. Evil causes cascade ripples with consequences that are very hard to see- large numbers of people you don't know about having personal vendettas against you, etc.

  2. It is hard to inspire people to your cause with evil- they people you are using must at least think they are acting in accordance with good, and at some level have what we would consider a "good" set of rules for how they deal with each other.

Comment author: nickernst 11 April 2012 06:49:39PM 2 points [-]
  • Because evil must be alone, as it cannot be trusted.
  • Because your plans will not all succeed, and it is more harmful to be revealed as everyone's enemy than as someone's friend.
  • Because caring about other people provides an additional source of motivation.

(I know ego depletion causes a reduction in acts of altruism, but I thought I remembered that engaging in acts of altruism could counter ego depletion. Now I can't seem to find any research supporting this, so perhaps not.)

Comment author: Incorrect 11 April 2012 07:30:39PM 5 points [-]

It was like a glass of warm water thrown into her face.

What exactly is this supposed to evoke?

Comment author: knb 12 April 2012 07:53:15AM 2 points [-]

It was a surprise, but a "warm" (i.e. emotionally positive) surprise.

Comment author: [deleted] 14 April 2012 05:08:05PM *  4 points [-]

This attempted murder was well-planned to evade detection both by the wards of Hogwarts and the Headmaster's timely eye.

Quirrell sure loves his stealth puns. Is there any reason he is not openly telling Hermione about Dumbledore's time turner?

The Defense Professor turned his head down from the sky to regard her; and she saw, in the light of the doorway, that he was smiling - or at least half his face was smiling.

Is Quirrell's half-smile a reference to Robin Hanson's picture?

Comment author: orthonormal 11 April 2012 11:29:48PM 2 points [-]

Quirrellmort's history (or, at least, his history as believed by Bones) reminds me a bit of Count Fenring from Dune, somehow.

Comment author: gwern 11 April 2012 02:46:45PM 2 points [-]
Comment author: thescoundrel 11 April 2012 03:27:54PM 6 points [-]

In a rather large "Oh Duh" moment: if Harry knew about the stone, he would insist it be used on everyone. Barring some unforeseen mechanism that prevents its mass use, he would view Dumbledore as Evil for knowing how to keep everyone alive, and not acting on it.

Comment author: wirov 11 April 2012 12:44:53PM *  2 points [-]

There was a bookcase containing random books rescued from a bargain bin, and a full shelf of ancient magazines, including one from 1883.

Funny. 1883 seems to be the year Grindelwald was born. (Although that's not sure – it even says “c. 1882” in the main article.)

I can't see how this might be related to the rest of the story, and most probably this is just a way of telling us “Yes, these magazines are ancient.“ On the other hand, this 1926/1927 thing made me somewhat more susceptible to possibly meaningful dates …

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 12 April 2012 06:32:08AM 7 points [-]

On the other hand, this 1926/1927 thing made me somewhat more susceptible to possibly meaningful dates …

When it really should have caused you to update in the other direction.

Comment author: Random832 12 April 2012 05:43:56PM 6 points [-]

Not so. That he changed it implies that he will make an effort to avoid possibly meaningful dates unless they really are meaningful. Therefore if we see any possibly meaningful dates in the future it is more likely that they are meaningful, than if he had left a non-meaningful possibly-meaningful date in this chapter.

Comment author: Alsadius 13 April 2012 02:40:36AM 3 points [-]

Only if we jump on it as hard as we'd jumped on the hero-Riddle theory.

Comment author: Argency 16 April 2012 08:26:18AM 7 points [-]

I'm wondering if EY is going to come through on this whole "Dumbledore is the Dark Lord and Quirrelmort was in the right all along" approach that he has hinted at recently. There's a precedent here which raises my probability estimate of this slightly, [rot13 for spoilers from another EY story] va uvf fgbel "Gur Fjbeq bs Tbbq" gur gjvfg jnf gung gur ureb'f pubvpr orgjrra tbbq naq rivy jnfa'g n pubvpr bs juvpu bar gb sbyybj (gung jbhyq or boivbhf, pyrneyl) vg jnf gur zhpu uneqre pubvpr bs juvpu jnf juvpu. Gur "tbbq thlf" ghearq bhg gb or rivy naq gur "onq thlf" ghearq bhg gb or tbbq.

So from recent chapters it seems like we're supposed to at least be considering the possibility of that Quirrelmort has been playing some colossal super-villain gambit this whole time in order to set up the rise of Light Lord Harry and defeat death once and for all, and that the Dark Lord prophesied to oppose all this is Dumbledore, who has marked Harry for his equal by nominating him as the future leader of the people he mistakenly believes to be The Good Guys and who wants us all to embrace death when it comes.

This concerns me a little bit, not because I don't like the idea of Voldemort being secretly good but because it would be tragic for Dumbledore to turn out to be so evil. Don't get me wrong, Dumbledore is greatly mistaken on many points but on the surface it doesn't seem fair to call him a Dark Lord. His intentions seem to be better than almost every other person in the wizarding world, and it seems a bit rich to brand him with that label just because he opposed someone who was doing a very good job of pretending to be EVIL with a capital everything.

This, of course, is WORSE because it means that EY won't do it like that - if Quirrel turns out to be good it will mean that Dumbledore has known the Voldemort gambit was a ploy all along, and has been actively opposing Quirrel's attempt to reform the world because he doesn't think the end justifies the means. And now he's been broken further and further, forced to do more and more horrible things and turned into a monster just because he didn't want monstrous things to happen! I just can't help but think that it would have been better for Quirrel to sit down and talk this all out with Dumbles, but even if for some reason he couldn't, I dunno if it's fair to Dumbles to call him a Dark Lord since he was trying hard but got it wrong.

Of course there's always the possibility that Dumbledore doesn't care about the means and is just opposed to Quirrel because Quirrel wants to kill death. That would make Dumbledore more evil but be less tragic. It also seems a bit less believable that Dumbledore could be so smart but so intractable in his wrongness on this one point, though.

What do you guys think?

Comment author: [deleted] 16 April 2012 01:46:37PM 4 points [-]

That the only death Tom is opposed to is his own.