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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119

4 Post author: Gondolinian 10 March 2015 06:10PM

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 119.

Plans for next chapter release:

Ch. 120 will post on March 12th, 2015 at 12PM Pacific Time (7PM UTC).

The next long chapter will be Ch. 122, posting on March 14th, 2015 at 9AM Pacific / 4PM UTC.


There is 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.)

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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 (339)

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 10 March 2015 07:21:41PM *  25 points [-]

So Dumbledore killed Harry's pet rock. Best twist ever.

Comment author: Gondolinian 10 March 2015 07:34:17PM *  11 points [-]

I did find that reference quite amusing. I had assumed Harry was being sarcastic in chapter 6:

Professor McGonagall pointed toward a shop that looked as if it had been made from flesh instead of bricks and covered in fur instead of paint. "Small pets are permitted at Hogwarts - you could get an owl to send letters, for example -"

"Can I pay a Knut or something and rent an owl when I need to send mail?"

"Yes," said Professor McGonagall.

"Then I think emphatically no."

Professor McGonagall nodded, as though ticking off a point. "Might I ask why not?"

"I had a pet rock once. It died."

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 10 March 2015 07:45:19PM *  14 points [-]

I had assumed Harry was being sarcastic in chapter 6:

Nah, in chapter 33 we have Harry irrationally worried that Hermione is dying rather than just Somnium-ed:

Could've been her last breath escaping.

Oh be quiet. Why are you being so paranoid-protective, anyway?

Er, first real friend we've ever had in our whole life? Hey, remember what happened to our pet rock?

Would you SHUT UP about that worthless lump of rubble, it wasn't even alive let alone sentient, that is like the most pathetic childhood trauma ever -

(Which had me in stitches.)

Comment author: Coscott 10 March 2015 09:12:58PM 20 points [-]

Two quotes that are scary together:

"There can only be one king upon the chessboard. There can only be one piece whose value is beyond price. That piece is not the world, it is the world's peoples, wizard and Muggle alike, goblins and house-elves and all." - Albus Dumbledore

"I shall not... by any act of mine... destroy the world... I shall take no chances... in not destroying the world..." - Harry Potter

Harry is unfriendly. When it comes time for harry to choose between saving all the people and a small chance at saving the world, you will all learn to regret helping him get out of the box.

Comment author: William_Quixote 10 March 2015 11:57:32PM 9 points [-]

I think there is evidence that "magic" has natural language processing and is capable of taking context and intent into account. I don't know that Harry wouldn't be unable to interpret distorting the world as killing everyone. Particularly dice the person he gave the vow to was particularly concerned about and motivated by the death of people (or at least of one specific person).

Comment author: Subbak 10 March 2015 10:04:40PM 7 points [-]

So you mean that Voldie screwed it up AGAIN when he tried to mess with a prophecy? Man, some people are simply not meant to hear prophecies.

On the other hand, the Vow did not change Harry's terminal goals. While he may not work to undermine the Vow itself, it is possible that before coming to the horrible realization that he has to protect the world above its people, he lets enough slip to other so that they may find a way to remove the Vow (or put him back in a box). Also, the Vow has some loopholes:

That I shall not... by any act of mine... destroy the world... I shall take no chances... in not destroying the world... if my >hand is forced... I may take the course... of lesser destruction over greater destruction... unless it seems to me that this >Vow itself... leads to the world's end... and the friend... in whom I have confided honestly... agrees that this is so. By my >own free will... If a good agent ever learns the full text of the Vow, they can use the loophole to make a dead man's switch and destroy the world if a significant fraction of its people are gone. Also "it seems that this Vow itself leads to the world's end" would probably be true if Harry ends up killing everyone to save "the world". More specifically, when making the Vow, Harry was probably picturing the people in it rather than the physical planet. Because Atlanteans did not speak English, it seems reasonable to assume that the intended meaning of the speaker, rather than the actual words he used, is binding. He may yet get out of this one.

Comment author: DanArmak 10 March 2015 10:44:37PM *  2 points [-]

On the other hand, the Vow did not change Harry's terminal goals.

If Coscott is right about the Vow protecting "the world" and not "its people", then it very much did change Harry's terminal values.

it seems reasonable to assume that the intended meaning of the speaker, rather than the actual words he used, is binding

The intended meaning of the three persons making the vow have to match, or the Vow won't work. And I think that two randomly chosen Death Eaters, who have absolutely no idea that people could survive without the Earth, who don't even suspect that there's been manned spaceflight, would indeed think that "the world" is "the Earth".

Comment author: Subbak 11 March 2015 06:57:48AM 3 points [-]

If Coscott is right about the Vow protecting "the world" and not "its people", then it very much did change Harry's >terminal values.

OK, I misspoke. It did not change what Harry feels are good terminal values. He may not in any way choose to assist (even by being passive) someone who would want to change that terminal value, but as long as he has not realized what Coscott may have realized, then letting people with terminal value "make sure human life goes on" know about this Vow will not be in conflict with his Vow. They can then come to their own realization. Basically Harry is unfriendly, but he's not intelligent enough yet that he can predict the outcome of every action like, say, Celestia does. He can still accidentally out himself and be dealt with.

The intended meaning of the three persons making the vow have to match, or the Vow won't work. And I think >that two randomly chosen Death Eaters, who have absolutely no idea that people could survive without the >Earth, who don't even suspect that there's been manned spaceflight, would indeed think that "the world" is "the >Earth".

But the last part (when to ignore the Vow) depend only on Harry and Hermione's subjective evaluation. So what the Death Eaters think is not really in question.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 11 March 2015 01:35:13AM 2 points [-]

If Coscott is right about the Vow protecting "the world" and not "its people", then it very much did change Harry's terminal values.

Yes. I though that Harry's Unbreakable Vow was the perfect vehicle for EY to show the dangers of UFAI, but it doesn't look like he is going that way.

Comment author: avichapman 11 March 2015 02:11:26AM 7 points [-]

In the text, they made it clear that the vow was based on the meaning of the words and not the words itself. V said that it was important that everyone understood the meaning.

Harry would not consider star lifting or terraforming or the creation of a virtual world at the expense of the actual one to be 'destroying the world'. He would considering 'destroying the world' to mean 'the ending of all life' or somesuch.

Comment author: WalterL 11 March 2015 04:04:38PM 0 points [-]

I think you are right. I hadn't considered that, and I don't think Harry has either, but while Harry was thinking that "destroying the world" meant killing all the dudes, the Death Eaters were thinking of the ground blowing up, and there were two of them, so their interpretation probably prevails.

Comment author: William_Quixote 11 March 2015 05:01:36PM 6 points [-]

As further evidence that the vow blocks killing all the people consider this.

The vow blocks Harry from telling muggels about magic and starting mass healing. At the time it blocks him the ideas he thought of were transfiguring nuclear weapons and plagues that could replicate before the transfiguration wore off. Neither of those poses any danger to "the world" but they pose great danger to the worlds people. Harry doesn't think of up quarks until after he has already been blocked. So the vow seems to be interpreted as killing everyone being the end of the world. Which is quite possibly how Harry understood it.

Comment author: AnthonyC 11 March 2015 08:02:00PM 1 point [-]

He also thought of antimatter, negatively charged strangelets, black holes, and up quarks, any one of which could, potentially, physically destroy the Earth.

Note also that if the vow interprets the words to mean the physical Earth, then future starlifting Harry could make a replica Earth and move all the muggles there, then tell them about magic.

Comment author: alephphi 10 March 2015 10:28:36PM 19 points [-]

Minerva's hand passed over one of those objects, the one with golden wibblers, her eyes closing briefly.

Heh. From Chapter 17:

Oh, the little fiddly things?" said Dumbledore. "They came with the Headmaster's office and I have absolutely no idea what most of them do. Although this dial with the eight hands counts the number of, let's call them sneezes, by left-handed witches within the borders of France, you would not believe how much work it took to nail that down. And this one with the golden wibblers is my own invention and Minerva is never, ever going to figure out what it's doing."

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 16 March 2015 08:24:20PM 1 point [-]

What is a wibbler by the way? I google it and all I get doesn't make sense.

Comment author: Lumifer 16 March 2015 09:05:26PM *  1 point [-]

I think it's a mix of a wobbler and a wibble, the latter mostly in the metasyntactic variable sense :-)

Comment author: Unnamed 10 March 2015 10:43:27PM 15 points [-]

Wizards seem to be overly skeptical of the information that they get from their magical detection spells, an analogue to what some muggle scientists call algorithm aversion. (As evidenced by the current confusion about Hermione's nature, and the lack of response when the wards previously identified The Defense Professor as her killer.)

This means that scheming wizards who want their plots to go undiscovered don't need to trick the magical detection spells, they just need to pursue strange enough plots so that other wizards won't believe what the detection spells tell them. Which makes Voldemort's creative uses of magic analogous to Dumbledore's ploy of pretending to be crazy.

Comment author: Epictetus 10 March 2015 11:03:31PM 7 points [-]

Wizards seem to be overly skeptical of the information that they get from their magical detection spells, an analogue to what some muggle scientists call algorithm aversion. (As evidenced by the current confusion about Hermione's nature, and the lack of response when the wards previously identified The Defense Professor as her killer.)

When a magical detection spell says that a human is really a unicorn, is it likelier that the spell is accurate or that whatever Dark ritual fueled Hermione's resurrection has residual effects that interfere with the usual function of said detection spell?

Comment author: ChristianKl 10 March 2015 10:54:22PM 2 points [-]

Wizards seem to be overly skeptical of the information that they get from their magical detection spells, an analogue to what some muggle scientists call algorithm aversion.

It's not clear for the wizards what it's supposed to mean that Hermoine is a unicorn.

Comment author: drethelin 11 March 2015 11:11:33PM 3 points [-]

Well they know unicorn blood is a magical means of prolonging life, so it should make them suspect it was involved in the ritual that brought her back, if nothing else.

Comment author: Astazha 10 March 2015 11:16:32PM 12 points [-]

Harry has to some extent undone the work of Merlin. Merlin's interdict ensures that the most powerful magics slowly die out of the world as wizards and witches die with their secrets. Harry's scheme for immortality in the magical world puts a stop to the losses, and allows magical knowledge to be kept as it is re-discovered, however slowly. Previously the loss rate exceeded the discovery rate. I think that is about to be reversed. And the Interdict of Merlin was put in place to avoid a prophesied destruction of the world.

Ch. 80

And when (the legend continues) the Seers continued to foretell that not enough had yet been done to prevent the end of the world and its magic, then (the story goes) Merlin sacrificed his life, and his wizardry, and his time, to lay in force the Interdict of Merlin.

Comment author: Velorien 10 March 2015 11:25:36PM 13 points [-]

But then, Dumbledore seemed to think, after listening to all the prophecies, that the end of the world was inevitable, and that the optimal goal was not about preventing it.

Comment author: AnthonyC 11 March 2015 08:10:48PM 1 point [-]

Recent chapters make me wonder what "and his time" really means, as well as "the world and its magic."

I can understand destroying the world, but how can the Interdict make the loss of the world's magic less likely? Actually, are "magic" and "the world's magic" likely to refer to the same thing? Is the source of magic a physically embodied thing, and if so is it on Earth?

Comment author: garabik 10 March 2015 08:38:08PM 12 points [-]

For it was said once that you might need to raise your hand against your mentor, the one who made you, who you loved; it was said that you might be my downfall.

Indeed. Harry raised his hand against his mentor, the one who made him, the one he loved (‘Harry was in love. It would be a three-way wedding: him, the Time-Turner, and Professor Quirrell’), and was the cause of Dumbledore's downfall. Only, Dumbledore did not realize that he and Harry's mentor does not need to be the same person.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 11 March 2015 01:58:14AM 11 points [-]

But didn't he note in the confrontation in the Defense Against the Dark Arts class that Harry had chosen Quirrell as his Wise Old Wizard?

"“Harry… you must realize that if you choose this man as your teacher and your friend, your first mentor, then one way or another you will lose him, and the manner in which you lose him may or may not allow you to ever get him back.”"

Dumbledore's comment in his note just don't seem congruent with this comment earlier on, and it's this comment and not the note which seems congruent with reality.

Comment author: MugaSofer 11 March 2015 12:06:27PM 4 points [-]

To be fair, we don't know when he wrote the note.

Comment author: Diadem 10 March 2015 10:29:49PM 11 points [-]

Excellent chapter! The last few were a bit short, but this one more than made up for it!

I really hadn't seen the twist with Dumbledore coming. I am really, really, really glad that Dumbledore turns out to be sane after all. I really liked Eliezer's take on Dumbledore. I was convinced he was much saner than most people believed, but I couldn't figure out what game he was playing either.

The reference to Harry's pet rock was brilliant. This story clearly has been planned out long in advance.

Comment author: falenas108 10 March 2015 08:50:22PM *  29 points [-]

From chapter 38, when Harry buys the Quibbler:

"Gosh," Harry said half a minute later, "you get a seer smashed on six slugs of Scotch and she spills all sorts of secret stuff. I mean, who'd have thought that Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew were secretly the same person?"

EDIT: Then,

"And I'm secretly sixty-five years old."

Which is also true, because of Voldemort inside him. Which leaves....

"And I'm betrothed to Hermione Granger, and Bellatrix Black, and Luna Lovegood, and oh yes, Draco Malfoy too..."

Comment author: fezziwig 10 March 2015 11:34:23PM 16 points [-]

Man, that's beautiful. What does Bellatrix Black want most, that Harry can offer?

She wants Tom Riddle to love her.

Comment author: Benito 11 March 2015 04:54:16PM 0 points [-]

Aww crap

Comment author: alexanderwales 10 March 2015 09:21:25PM *  13 points [-]

My bet is that the last bit will be polyamory in the epilogue.

Comment author: shminux 10 March 2015 09:32:53PM 3 points [-]

But the betrothal has to have occurred before it was mentioned.

Comment author: Transfuturist 11 March 2015 01:32:22AM 6 points [-]

That is probably what Eliezer was referring to as the epilogue stomping all over everything.

I want canon Harry/Hermione/Draco/Luna. :<

Comment author: chaosmage 11 March 2015 02:02:55PM 1 point [-]

No-one in their right mind would bet against that.

Comment author: TobyBartels 13 March 2015 09:39:46AM 0 points [-]

The kid part of him with Hermione, Luna, and Draco; the adult part of him with Bellatrix?

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 11 March 2015 07:06:30AM 9 points [-]

Note that using the stone for human transfigureation, he can perform sex changes.

Boy-who-lived gets Draco Malfoy pregnant?

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 11 March 2015 10:10:08AM *  1 point [-]

I remember I enjoyed reading Luminosity/Radiance a lot less on second reading, once I knew how it ended. The same thing was true for Friendship is Optimal.

I am starting to wonder if the same thing will happen with HPMoR, once I read the last chapters. It's like there's something about story endings written by transhumanists....

Comment author: Manfred 11 March 2015 12:50:45PM *  4 points [-]

Well, to be fair to Friendship is Optimal, the ending was in no way a twist. We even get to see Hanna planning it. So I dunno, it's okay on reread for me.

Comment author: wobster109 10 March 2015 08:53:30PM 10 points [-]

Harry, hurry up and read the instructions Voldie left you. You know, find out what dark sacrifice is needed before you make plans to revive Hermione yet again. If it requires a human sacrifice you might consider pacing the dementors out.

Comment author: jkaufman 11 March 2015 04:26:29PM 9 points [-]

Prediction: people who aren't Harry can use the stone once every 216 seconds (3:36).

(The idea being that the rule is "400 times a day" and Harry has a 26hr day.)

Comment author: Kindly 11 March 2015 09:58:04PM 3 points [-]

Harry's sleep cycle has been adjusted to a 30-hour day in Chapter 65, in the same way that Dumbledore had previously adjusted it to a 26-hour day.

Comment author: avichapman 11 March 2015 08:45:27PM 0 points [-]

Why is Harry special? His sleep cycle? Anybody can use a time turner.

Comment author: sixes_and_sevens 11 March 2015 12:46:21PM 9 points [-]

I think "Britpicking" is the appropriate term, but "crap" is an incongruous word for Moody to keep using the way he does. "Crap" as an interjection is a very American-sounding usage.

Comment author: UnclGhost 12 March 2015 04:34:40AM *  1 point [-]

I noticed that too--I'm not sure what it is with Moody, but in an earlier revision of Chapter 97 he'd ended the chapter by saying "what the crap--" (it's now been changed to "WHAT -"). It's unclear if EY edited the earlier chapter because it wasn't very British or because it seemed out-of-place, but for whatever reason, he's saying it again now.

Comment author: cousin_it 10 March 2015 07:04:27PM *  22 points [-]

Best-written chapter of this year, easily. Eliezer, congratulations on the good work :-)

Comment author: WalterL 11 March 2015 03:40:31PM 2 points [-]

+1, yeah, great chapter. As Harry says, sometimes "that explains it" doesn't fully cover it.

Comment author: RobbBB 10 March 2015 09:14:38PM 2 points [-]

I liked this chapter a lot too, though I liked 108, 111, and 115 a similar amount.

Comment author: WalterL 10 March 2015 09:26:25PM 21 points [-]

"There's no way in hell or double hell- " - Mad Eye Moody

See! Double hell is real. Its where double witches go, twice.

Comment author: WalterL 10 March 2015 06:58:05PM 7 points [-]

Gwah! Dumbledore, Best Hero.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 10 March 2015 08:33:33PM *  10 points [-]

The more I come back to this story, the more I like him, and I had felt he was well written to begin with. There are moments I find not just believable but moving, like after Harry rejects his phoenix:

I truly do not know if it was the right thing, or the wrong thing. If I knew, Harry, I would have spoken. But I -" Dumbledore's voice broke, then. "I am nothing but a foolish young boy who has become a foolish old man, and I have no wisdom."

It always stops me when I get to that part.

And there were ones that were moving in a not-sad way, like his talking about all the Tolkien copies he's received and how he treasures them. I remember that bringing a real smile to my face.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 10 March 2015 06:35:37PM 7 points [-]

Hopefully the apparent time limit on the Philosopher's Stone isn't going to get worse over time. Harry also hasn't considered that it may only be good for some finite number of permanent transfigurations. He's going to try to use it many more times than it probably has been used in a very long time.

Comment author: Gondolinian 10 March 2015 06:57:12PM *  6 points [-]

Hopefully the apparent time limit on the Philosopher's Stone isn't going to get worse over time.

Good point. A time limit of 3:54 does seem too arbitrary to be hard-coded.

Harry also hasn't considered that it may only be good for some finite number of permanent transfigurations. He's going to try to use it many more times than it probably has been used in a very long time.

At least he only intends to use the Stone as a stop-gap measure for fighting death until he is able to properly end the world.

[edited]

Comment author: dxu 11 March 2015 03:50:17AM *  8 points [-]

A time limit of 3:54 does seem too arbitrary to be hard-coded.

3:54 is 234 seconds, which is exactly 1/400 of 26 hours, which happens to be Harry's extended sleep cycle. I have no idea if this is significant, but just throwing it out there.

Comment author: CellBioGuy 11 March 2015 06:16:20AM *  8 points [-]

It's also almost exactly 368 and 2/9 uses per siderial day, the actual period of rotation of the earth without reference to the sun.

It would've been exactly that figure about 5,300 years ago.

Comment author: William_Quixote 11 March 2015 03:41:53PM 9 points [-]

Based on that timing the stone was Gilgamesh's pearl

Comment author: gwern 11 March 2015 04:00:06PM 11 points [-]

And guess who steals Gilgamesh's How-the-Old-Man-Once-Again-Becomes-A-Young-Man plant? That's right, a snake.

Comment author: CellBioGuy 11 March 2015 04:08:00PM 4 points [-]

Ain't numerology grand?

Comment author: [deleted] 10 March 2015 07:13:30PM *  5 points [-]

Well, in seconds it's 234, which looks slightly less arbitrary.

Waait. Did whoever made it even use our time units?

Comment author: Gondolinian 10 March 2015 07:21:20PM 2 points [-]

Did whoever made it even use our time units?

Fair point; I didn't think of that. Does anyone know of a unit of time in which the equivalent of 3:54 would be a Schelling point of some sort?

Comment author: Unknowns 10 March 2015 07:23:35PM 14 points [-]

Time Turners use units of one hour, so at least some kinds of magical items use our units.

Comment author: jkaufman 11 March 2015 01:21:16PM 1 point [-]

Can you use the time turner in different increments, and possibly with a different maximum, if you fully understand hours are arbitrary? This sounds exactly like partial transfiguration.

(Alternatively, you go back some fixed amount of time for every grain of time sand in the turner, and you could build one of other increments by using a different quantity of sand.)

Comment author: garabik 11 March 2015 02:25:37PM *  3 points [-]

How does Time Turner select reference frame? What if you use it in the orbit, will you see Earth rotational angle jump by 90°? Assuming the reference frame is fixed to Earth surface, going sufficiently far away will give you FTL which can be used to create arbitrarily long time loops. Assuming it is not, what happens if you are moving at relativistic speeds (relative to Earth) and use the Time Turner?

EDIT: We not even need to consider relativity - what if you are flying on a broomstick (constant speed) or on a moving train and use Time Turner? This experiment is simple enough and can reveal a lot.

Comment author: Unknowns 11 March 2015 03:37:38PM 0 points [-]

DO NOT MESS WITH TIME. Obviously if you attempt to use it in the stated way something very bad will happen.

Comment author: Izeinwinter 10 March 2015 07:40:06PM 9 points [-]

It occurs to me that this limit means Flame could, in theory, have been using the stone flat out for five hundred years without anyone catching on. 56 million people died this year. If the stone was used to save as many of them as possible, at random, then with only moderate use of magic for coverup purposes compared to shit we already know the magical world is pulling of, that is just going to be utterly undetectable. "Here have a second chance at life. Also a magical compulsion to keep your mouth shut".

Comment author: Subbak 10 March 2015 08:03:24PM 3 points [-]

So what would he have been doing? Saving victims of accident so that they end up being fine after a small hospital stay? Miraculously curing terminally ill people? I find it unlikely that he could do anything else with long-term benefits without anyone catching on. But yeah, I like that alternate character interpretation of Flamel.

Comment author: Astazha 10 March 2015 11:08:46PM 7 points [-]

Unexplained recoveries are a real thing. Everyone just shrugs and celebrates, or maybe credits God or the ginko biloba. It's been Flamel all along.

Comment author: Izeinwinter 11 March 2015 02:47:01AM 6 points [-]

Mostly, resurrecting dead children. The population used to be lower, but kids also used to have piss-poor odds of making it to adult-hood. In terms of QALY, this would have been the best use, and if a child goes missing from a sickbed only to wander into the kitchen feeling chipper and fine, noone would even think twice.

Comment author: asr 11 March 2015 02:11:30PM 3 points [-]

Good point. A time limit of 3:54 does seem too arbitrary to be hard-coded.

Hrm. Maybe it's exactly one Atlantean time unit? Unsafe to assume that the units we are used to are the same units that the Stone's maker would find natural.

Comment author: Lumifer 10 March 2015 07:40:31PM 3 points [-]

A time limit of 3:54 does seem too arbitrary to be hard-coded

X to 1 stellar day as 366.24 stellar days to 1 mean year.

X = 235 seconds, 3:55.

Almost.

Comment author: polymathwannabe 10 March 2015 08:43:46PM *  5 points [-]

I Googled 3:54 and found a Quran verse:

And the disbelievers planned, but Allah planned. And Allah is the best of planners.

Comment author: Lumifer 10 March 2015 08:56:54PM *  3 points [-]

I googled "234 seconds" and found out that, apparently, the Philospher's Stone needs to post everything to the totalwar.org forums and, moreover, already got warning points for that. Who knew? X-D

Comment author: polymathwannabe 11 March 2015 12:09:30AM *  4 points [-]

Very appropriately, Google gives 3'54" as the length of these songs:

Timeless by Reece Mastin

Touch the Rock by Gent Mason

Sweeter than Fiction by Taylor Swift

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 11 March 2015 12:58:08AM 2 points [-]

Also, 'Lore of the Ancients', 'Particle Brain', 'Limitless Skies', 'A Lesson from Teacher', and 'Sacratus Bellator' Overclocked Remixes

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 10 March 2015 11:36:34PM 6 points [-]

For me, this has been the best chapter since the spade of updates in the last few weeks began. I mean, the one weekend where we needed to solve the Final Exam was the most gripping and exciting part for me. However, once that ended, especially with it only being a mere moment in canon, I felt as though the rest of the pieces fell into place as we would have expected. This chapter really struck me as thematic of earlier chapters, the ones which really drew me into this story, like the first time Harry imagined defeating death and killed a Dementor.

Comment author: imuli 10 March 2015 07:07:09PM 6 points [-]

Alastor Moody went to Minerva's right and sat down.

Amelia Bones sat down in a chair, taking Minerva's right. Mad-Eye Moody took the chair to her own right.

Oops!

Comment author: kilobug 10 March 2015 07:46:35PM 12 points [-]

Hum, did Harry suddenly forget about Time-Turners ? Or is he afraid what will happen if people "abuses" from them with the Stone ?

The Stone takes 234 seconds. That's 86400/234 = 369 people/day if you have "normal" 24 hours a day. But if you have 30 hours a day, as you do with a Time-Turner, it's actually 461 people you can heal each day.

Comment author: wobster109 10 March 2015 09:00:58PM 4 points [-]

There's a limit on a person going back, but I don't know about things. So maybe a bunch of people with time-turners could hand off the stone.

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 10 March 2015 11:40:09PM 1 point [-]

I don't know how often Eliezer reads either these threads, or the ones on r/HPMOR. If he reads them often enough, hopefully he'll take great considerations like this one, and create a bonus or omake chapter in which Harry thinks all the best suggestions through. It would be of great service to us fans.

Comment author: shminux 11 March 2015 12:35:53AM *  1 point [-]

My guess is that he ignores this site completely these days, except for the Main posts, so better post what you want him to see there. Also, he replied to this particular point in r/hpmor.

Comment author: AnthonyC 11 March 2015 08:06:26PM 3 points [-]

About 10-15 chapters ago he responded in these threads to a similar "he doesn't read this anymore" comment. I think what he wrote was something like, "ahem"

Comment author: Sheaman3773 13 March 2015 03:37:07PM 0 points [-]

He also made no fewer than four posts just a few threads ago, and one in the thread after that.

Comment author: UnclGhost 10 March 2015 08:18:41PM 16 points [-]

I don't see why they're still worried about Bellatrix, it looks like she's been rendered mostly 'armless.

Comment author: gattsuru 11 March 2015 02:20:15AM 4 points [-]

I find it funny that Dumbledore's efforts to subvert prophecies for his own ends resulted in something directly opposed to his claimed values. I wonder if that's a direct attribute of prophecy, or just coincidence, or both.

Comment author: drethelin 11 March 2015 11:08:05PM 1 point [-]

What's the something? He seems to have successfully caused Harry to defeat Voldemort

Comment author: gattsuru 12 March 2015 12:36:08AM 2 points [-]

Dumbledore is fundamentally Deathist, and not only has he personally been locked out of mortality by his own trap, several of his interventions (most obviously killing a pet rock) were less related to making Harry oppose Voldemort effectively, and more into making Harry the sort of person that would promote transhumanist ideas including anti-Deathism.

Comment author: drethelin 12 March 2015 04:26:29AM 1 point [-]

Do we know that? Like we just got a reveal that HUGE portions of his life and actions were based on deliberately obfuscating what he believed and wanted to do.

Comment author: gattsuru 12 March 2015 04:21:48PM *  3 points [-]

Possible, but Dumbledore's discussions of death and mortality in chapter 39 seemed like he was trying to avoid becoming Harry's Mentor/Opponent -- ie, if he were trying to manipulate Harry with this deep emotional reveal, he'd have done so in a different way. He continues to treat death as a normal matter in chapter 110, even though he doesn't believe Harry to be nearby and does believe that the only listener will not be able to communicate his position to Harry, and Quirrelmort says that he'd expoused such positions long before he had access or cause to access the hall of prophecies.

Comment author: Velorien 12 March 2015 10:21:15AM 1 point [-]

If you can come up with a plausible reason why Dumbledore would pretend to be Deathist, I would love to hear it.

Comment author: Velorien 11 March 2015 11:56:52PM 1 point [-]

I think gattsuru is referring to global immortality, as Dumbledore is a Deathist.

Comment author: higurashimerlin 12 March 2015 01:22:28AM 3 points [-]

Wait a moment. I just realize that Voldemort has been made into a gem meant to contain his soul. He has been made into soul gem. Goddamn it Eliezer.

Comment author: linkhyrule5 12 March 2015 03:16:17AM 2 points [-]

... You know, if I had had to predict which character would end up as a magical girl, Voldemort would've been at the bottom of my list...

Comment author: knb 12 March 2015 10:12:19AM 0 points [-]

I was thinking of this. Note that the Soul Gem is green...

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 March 2015 03:57:33AM 3 points [-]

What happens when Hermione finds she's getting credit for a heroic action she didn't do?

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 10 March 2015 11:07:16PM 3 points [-]

I'm not sure if it's appropriate to also discuss the authors notes, but one solution to Eliezers writing obstacles is to publish under a pseudonym. Or why might that not qualify?

Comment author: see 11 March 2015 12:18:57AM 5 points [-]

His explanation on Reddit is that his style is too distinctive to go undetected.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 11 March 2015 01:53:56AM 2 points [-]

Hm. That's indeed plausible. More so in our age where software can reliably detect authors reliably based on their writing fingerprint. I wonder what will become of pseudonyms in the future.

Comment author: Velorien 10 March 2015 11:33:00PM 2 points [-]

For one, it would mean he could never talk about his work "as himself", e.g. on Facebook or Reddit, unless he wanted to set up and constantly use dummy accounts, which is both time-consuming and sometimes in violation of site T&Cs.

Comment author: Nornagest 10 March 2015 08:12:30PM 3 points [-]

"Girl-Who-Revived" is... not a very euphonious phrase, is it?

Comment author: buybuydandavis 10 March 2015 08:33:58PM *  16 points [-]

I like "The Girl Who Lived Again".

Comment author: Subbak 11 March 2015 06:46:43PM 5 points [-]

How about "Unicorn Troll Jesus"?

Comment author: Transfuturist 11 March 2015 02:37:42AM 5 points [-]

I would have preferred Girl-Who-Returned.

Comment author: Jost 12 March 2015 09:57:43AM 2 points [-]

How about “Girl-Whose-Name-Contains-Too-Many-Hyphens”?

Comment author: Lumifer 12 March 2015 03:16:43PM 1 point [-]

How about “Girl-Whose-Name-Contains-Too-Many-Hyphens”?

Hyphens? Just call her minus X-D

Comment author: CellBioGuy 11 March 2015 01:26:36AM 2 points [-]

"Girl who came back".

Comment author: Lumifer 10 March 2015 08:36:46PM 1 point [-]

Better than "Undead" X-)

Comment author: wobster109 10 March 2015 08:49:35PM 2 points [-]

I like Undead. "Hermione the Undead" ^^

Comment author: garabik 10 March 2015 09:22:41PM 2 points [-]

a standard diagnostic Charm showed Miss Granger as a healthy unicorn

Charms to detect active magic have each time detected her as being in the process of transforming into another shape

He performed certain spells ... declared that Hermione's soul was in healthy condition but at least a mile away from her body

The first two diagnostics are correct. If the third one is correct too, then Hermione is a perfect philosophical zombie now.

Comment author: ChristianKl 10 March 2015 10:08:11PM *  13 points [-]

The third one is simply a reference to the horcrux 2.0 that contains part of her soul.

Comment author: othercriteria 11 March 2015 12:06:08AM 1 point [-]

Not, it's much more akin to Dennett's "Where Am I?" or to becoming meguca.

Comment author: TobyBartels 10 March 2015 07:57:44PM *  3 points [-]

Eliezer is going for broke on the requests here. Well, this is the chapter do it! I find myself wishing that I knew somebody famous, just so I could be responding to his pleas. Let's save the world, people!

Comment author: Subbak 10 March 2015 07:47:07PM 3 points [-]

I can't remember, what was respectively in the Phoenix's Price and Phoenix's Fate rooms. I though both were passwords for the broken wands and similar things, but the narration implies otherwise. I also wonder what will be in the Phoenix's Egg room. It can't be prophecies (which could otherwise be the obvious choice), and I don't think Dumbledore had the foresight to store frozen brains of wizards who died so that Harry could resurrect them.

Comment author: Oscar_Cunningham 11 March 2015 08:25:27PM 3 points [-]

Narcissa

Comment author: Velorien 11 March 2015 12:06:57PM 3 points [-]

"Phoenix's Price is the password that opens the stairwell to the room with broken wands, pictures and Pensieve vials. Phoenix's Fate is the password that opens the final door into that room. Both times Dumbledore takes Harry to the room, he speaks the first password, then the second.

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 11 March 2015 01:07:47AM 2 points [-]

Phoenix's Price room held broken wands and other miscellaneous items reminding him of each of the friends he's lost in his battles.

Comment author: DanielLC 10 March 2015 07:30:09PM 3 points [-]

I think Harry should start requiring unbreakable vows for people using transfiguration. He also should hurry with colonizing other planets and moons, in case someone does transfigure something they shouldn't.

Transfiguration will get more powerful once they have some interesting material science classes. Having mass limits isn't much of a problem when you start transfiguring stuff into super-light nanotube-reinforced titanium nantorusses.

Comment author: Subbak 10 March 2015 08:08:14PM 4 points [-]

The thing, if no wizards are dying any more, how do you get those Unbreakable Vows in any ethical way?

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 11 March 2015 01:03:28AM 6 points [-]

A very brief oath, so everyone ends up sacrificing some power, but it's not a crippling loss.

<gaming>Since everyone is doing it, you can define a single one-syllable word for the full content of the oath, make sure everyone knows what it means, and then begin using that.</gaming>

Comment author: Gondolinian 10 March 2015 08:24:37PM *  5 points [-]

I got the impression that there were already healthy wizards who would perform Unbreakable Vows for enough money, and the thing about using terminally ill wizards was just Harry's idea to do it more efficiently.

Comment author: Subbak 10 March 2015 09:53:45PM 3 points [-]

I was under the impression that said Wizards had their Magic for the Vow extorted out of them by the Noble houses which had both vastly superior wealth and the ability to make them broke. I can't imagine someone willingly giving away their magic unless they had no real choice in the matter. It would be similar to giving away your legs.

Comment author: DanielLC 11 March 2015 10:40:25PM 2 points [-]

It's less ethical if they are going to live with slightly less magic for eternity.

Comment author: westward 12 March 2015 04:46:34AM 2 points [-]

If a wizard wants the P Stone Treatment, they have to agree to two things: To sacrifice a little magic as part of the Vow of another and to take a Vow themselves.

Comment author: AlexSchell 10 March 2015 08:20:02PM 6 points [-]

Aww, so Dumbledore was the one who told Harry to look for Hermione on the train in chapter 6 :)

Comment author: MathMage 11 March 2015 04:34:01PM 1 point [-]

Huh? Harry thought it was McGonagall. What in this chapter changes that?

Comment author: BrindIf 11 March 2015 06:33:36PM *  3 points [-]

We do not know for sure. Here are the quotes:

from chapter 6

As his hand touched the back door's handle, he heard a last whisper from behind him.

"Hermione Granger."

"What?" Harry said, his hand still on the door.

"Look for a first-year girl named Hermione Granger on the train to Hogwarts."

"Who is she?"

There was no answer, and when Harry turned around, Professor McGonagall was gone.

from chapter 8

"Were you told to wait for Harry Potter on the train to Hogwarts, or something like that?"

"No," Hermione said. "Who told you about me? "

"Professor McGonagall"

It doesn't look really like her style though.

Comment author: AlexSchell 12 March 2015 06:35:05AM 2 points [-]

The narration in the passage is extremely suggestive that someone other than McGonagall was at work. Dumbledore and Quirrell used to be the main candidate hypotheses for who it was, until this chapter basically confirmed it was Dumbledore.

Comment author: WalterL 11 March 2015 04:06:07PM 0 points [-]

I'd been wondering that forever.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 10 March 2015 07:51:29PM *  6 points [-]

Hm, any particular reason, if Harry is already discussing other vulnerable info like having a transfigured Voldemort, he won't fess up to the part where Quirrel was Voldemort and that he won single-handedly?

I gotta say, I've been wanting to know what intelligent people like Moody and Amelia made of Harry's derp story, and hoping that it wouldn't turn out that "Eliezer wants us to believe that everyone in Magical Britain really is that stupid" - and I got precisely what I wished for. Great!

Comment author: falenas108 10 March 2015 08:18:39PM 6 points [-]

Hm, any particular reason, if Harry is already discussing other vulnerable info like having a transfigured Voldemort, he won't fess up to the part where Quirrel was Voldemort and that he won single-handedly?

Harry's upper hand relies on the idea that Dumbledore knew exactly what he was doing, and them that Dumbledore hired Voldemort to teach children for a year would undermine that.

Incidentally, my P(Dumbledore knew about Quirrelmort) just went way up this chapter.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 11 March 2015 10:33:45AM *  7 points [-]

Dumbledore knew about Quirrelmort

Ugh, I hope not. The closer a story gets to "actually, everyone knew everything all the time, it was all just acting all along and the audience was being lied to and otherwise misled constantly" the more pointless such a story becomes in retrospect. The tricks and maneuvers that impressed you at the time, the emotional reactions that used to engage you (like Dumbledore's surprise at seeing Quirrel before the Mirror) all turn out meaningless.

(Can you tell I didn't like Ender's Shadow all that much?)

Comment author: [deleted] 10 March 2015 06:43:06PM 5 points [-]

I would like you to nominate HPMOR for Best Novel in the 2016 Hugos.

Hey gwern, you scared?

Comment author: gwern 10 March 2015 07:22:15PM *  18 points [-]

Not in the least. As the endgame plays out, I'm more certain than ever I'll win my bet against it winning a Hugo for Best Novel.

To have a chance of winning, MoR needed two things:

  1. an ending that blew peoples' minds and moved the work as a whole from pretty good to extraordinary
  2. to gain a SF professional following

The ending is pretty good but not fantastic, and one of the few professionals openly praising it, David Brin, has cooled a bit on it (in part because he's a lazy reader and in favor of his own much more stupid ending, true, but cooled nonetheless), so it has been doing neither and, as it uses up chapter after chapter, sealing its fate. Should've taken my offer to sell the bet at a discount.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 10 March 2015 10:17:13PM 8 points [-]

I'm not convinced that winning the Best Novel takes professional support, but I'm interested in your argument.

Some best novel vote stats

My guess is that HPMOR isn't going to win-- it isn't obvious that it will be permitted as a nominee. It's a work of fan fiction that doesn't have the original author's permission, and that's made some fans I've talked with nervous.

Other than that, we don't know yet what the rest of the field looks like.

My guess is that if HPMOR wins, it will be because a substantial number of people who wouldn't normally vote for the Hugos vote for it.

Comment author: chaosmage 11 March 2015 02:21:43PM *  1 point [-]

Ted Chiang's "The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling" got a Hugo? Nice, I didn't know that!

Every single story Ted Chiang ever published is original, clever and extremely precise. Too bad he only publishes one short story per year. Check him out if you haven't.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 March 2015 03:39:09PM 0 points [-]

I may be the only person who thought that story was too obvious, though I've been enthusiastic about most of Chiang's work.

Comment author: TobyBartels 10 March 2015 07:45:46PM 6 points [-]

This chapter did blow my mind, and it does greatly improve the overall story. But yeah, it needs the professional following; the awarders don't care what blew my mind.

Comment author: DanielLC 10 March 2015 07:25:15PM 3 points [-]

Context?

Comment author: Nornagest 10 March 2015 10:10:17PM *  3 points [-]

Context seems to be here.

I'm also willing to put, let's say, $100 on the line at 5:1 odds that this isn't going to get a Hugo for Best Novel. (Best Fan Writer is far more feasible, though I'd still give it less than even odds if there's a push for it, and less than that if there isn't.) Reasoning: it's an atypical work for the category, which already steeply discounts it; it doesn't display any particular literary fireworks or great innovations in terms of setting or speculative fiction conventions, which is what the Hugos have tended to look for (historically more the later; lately more the former); and it doesn't have any particular following in, or ties to, literary SF fandom as far as I'm aware.

You could argue its significance for the fanfic form but that's going to be a tough sell to Worldcon.

(My actual probability estimate is more along the lines of 50:1 or lower, but I'm not prepared to go through that kind of trouble to win a couple of bucks, nor to risk thousands of dollars on the off-chance that someone knows something I don't.)

Comment author: CellBioGuy 11 March 2015 06:10:01AM 1 point [-]

It's also not as good as most novels I've read.

Comment author: dxu 16 March 2015 05:19:22AM *  0 points [-]

Nor I, but most of the novels I've read tend to fall on the spectrum of hard to extremely hard SF, with a preponderance of stuff like Egan, so that's not saying much. What do you usually read?

Comment author: gerryblog 11 March 2015 12:05:35AM 1 point [-]

I'm a fan, but if I were EY I would be worried about getting the nomination and then coming in under No Award. That seems a more likely outcome than somehow winning Best Novel.

Comment author: fezziwig 11 March 2015 02:09:23AM *  4 points [-]

Conditional on it being nominated at all, I think it would definitely beat No Award. Have a look at the raw stats from 2013 and 2014; for Best Novel, No Award gets crushed by everything. In 2014, for example, No Award got 88 votes out of 3587 ballots. In a world where MOR made it into the top 5 for Best Novel, it can definitely do better than that.

(Okay, yes, it happened to Vox Day, but that was for Novella, or maybe Novellette, whichever).

EDIT: On re-reading, I think this is a little misleading. The Hugo uses preference voting, so it's possible for No Award to beat some particular candidate even if almost nobody picked it in the first round of voting. You can see this in the data but my summary was too casual.

But like most other commenters, I don't think we do live in that world.

Comment author: Unknowns 12 March 2015 07:23:11AM *  2 points [-]

Responding to various people who have suggested that if the vow had some particular meaning: Harry might think of ways to get out of it or to get around it: This is not a thing-that-Harry-Potter-Would-Do. The only reason for trying to get out the vow would be in order to allow for the possibility of risking the destruction of the world (whatever this means), and the vow prevents Harry from allowing this risk. So it would directly prevent any attempts by Harry to get out of the vow, including attempts to get others to set up a dead man's switch or whatever.

This also implies that his Vow did in effect modify his terminal goals, as some have already suggested.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 11 March 2015 09:56:11AM *  2 points [-]

One bit that feels unsatisfying is the complete underreaction to Harry's "oh btw Voldemort's alive, here, I brought him with me."

So instead I Obliviated most of his memories, then Transfigured him into this." Harry raised his hand, and silently pointed to the emerald on his ring.

Splat. Boing. Splat. Splat.

"Huh," Moody said, leaning back in his chair. "Minerva and I will be putting some alarms and enchantments on that ring of yours, son, if you don't mind.

I immediately thought of a scene in the Eye of the World:

It was his sword she touched, not him, her hand closing around the hilt at the very top. Her fingers tightened and her eyes opened wide with surprise. “A shepherd from the Two Rivers,” she said softly, a whisper meant to be heard by all, “with a heron-mark sword.”

Those last few words acted on the chamber as if she had announced the Dark One. Leather and metal creaked behind Rand, boots scuffling on the marble tiles. From the corner of his eye he could see Tallanvor and another of the guardsmen backing away from him to gain room, hands on their swords, prepared to draw and, from their faces, prepared to die. In two quick strides Gareth Bryne was at the front of the dais, between Rand and the Queen. Even Gawyn put himself in front of Elayne, a worried look on his face and a hand on his dagger. Elayne herself looked at him as if she were seeing him for the first time. Morgase did not change expression, but her hands tightened on the gilded arms of her throne.

While that would be an over-reaction in the HPMoR scene, at least there should be, well, some reaction to discovering that Harry is wearing the biggest threat of their time on his finger.

Comment author: ChristianKl 10 March 2015 10:05:08PM 2 points [-]

Amelia paused. "There's a possibility that Augustus Rookwood left a ghost -"

"Exorcise it before anyone talks to it," Harry said, conscious of the sudden hammering of his heart.

"Yes, sir," the old witch said dryly. "I shall disrupt the soul's anchoring a little, and none shall be the wiser when it fails to materialize. The second matter is that there was a still-living human arm found among the Dark Lord's things -"

This seems like Amelia misplaying her cards for no good reason. I would expect her first to ask Harry what the ghost would tell her before accepting that she prevents the ghost from anchoring. Especially if she wants to test Harry political skills it would make sense to push him harder.

Comment author: gwillen 11 March 2015 06:07:21AM 7 points [-]

I read Harry's suggestion not to investigate, and her responding smirk, as indicating that's it's already tacitly understood that the good guys actually killed the death eaters somehow. This room seems likely to be pretty ok with that, maybe except McGonagall.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 11 March 2015 02:25:39AM 4 points [-]

Even she is aware that when a powerful wizard tells you to do something as part of keeping a dark magic ritual secret, you do what you are told.

Comment author: ChristianKl 11 March 2015 10:59:05AM *  1 point [-]

Keeping it secret to the public makes sense on the other hand keeping it secret to the order of the phoenix is a different matter.

You keep secret without asking from people who are your equal or higher than you in status. If you get asked by someone lower than you to keep something a secret than you at least want to know the secret yourself.

Comment author: gattsuru 11 March 2015 03:56:47PM 5 points [-]

In this setting, there are things you avoid learning even if you're higher status than the secret-keeper. Some secrets are dangerous even to the listener.

I suspect Mrs. Bones includes anything rising from a fragment of Voldemort's torn soul, whether the trick that decapitated dozens or revived an ancient dark lord, in that set. Part of the reason she distrusts Harry is that she believe he's an eleven-year-old struggling with a dark spirit -- which gives him a comparative advantage of knowing what evils needs must be kept under wraps

Comment author: William_Quixote 11 March 2015 03:54:58PM 2 points [-]

She knows it killed all the death eaters and that it doesn't even register as magic on their wards. That's somethjng she couldn't do. And it's thh kind of dangerous weapon she might think should be a secret to everyone.

Comment author: DanArmak 10 March 2015 10:40:35PM 1 point [-]

I would expect her to first ask the ghost before mentioning its existence to Harry.

Comment author: ChristianKl 10 March 2015 10:45:28PM 7 points [-]

From the exchange it's not clear whether the ghost actually exists or just a rhetorical maneuver.

Comment author: CellBioGuy 11 March 2015 01:22:43AM 3 points [-]

Might just be indications of one in magical instrumentation without an actual conversation being possible yet.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 10 March 2015 07:21:03PM 2 points [-]

I've been wondering how much deception Harry can get away with.... considering that the universe is one thing.

Any bets until his whole fake version of Voldemort's death gets revealed?

All this being said, great chapter, great novel. I expect it will be nominated for best novel for the Hugo, and then things will get interesting.

Comment author: TobyBartels 10 March 2015 07:58:10PM 5 points [-]

No love for Emma Watson?

Comment author: Coscott 11 March 2015 01:45:27AM *  1 point [-]

There is no way Emma Watson can get behind a story that angered feminists so much.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 11 March 2015 02:30:18AM -1 points [-]

With good reason. Hermione was essentially stuffed into the fridge (warning: TV Tropes!) for half the story. The story is great, but there are completely legitimate feminist criticisms of how it went.

Comment author: CellBioGuy 11 March 2015 03:49:34PM 6 points [-]

Apparently I missed the existence of an internet argument.

Good.

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 11 March 2015 07:19:21AM *  6 points [-]

So, what you're saying is that in any story, the female characters cannot die or otherwise its sexist? This is even worse than the 'I'm a feminist and a strong independent woman, therefore I can beat a man twice my weight in a fight, despite us both being trained' which keeps ruining TV.

What would have happened if Draco had died instead? Hermione's mother would have gone before the Wizimagot and demanded... oh, wait, nevermind. Guess we'd just have to abandon that entire plot arc.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 11 March 2015 12:42:34PM 3 points [-]

So, what you're saying is that in any story, the female characters cannot die or otherwise its sexist?

No. But what has been noticed here is an aggregate pattern: female characters who die as part of an attempt by a villain to impact a male character. That's the classic fridging and that's exactly what happened here.

And it also really doesn't help that Hermione was a character who was trying to be a heroine and her death saved no one at all.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 March 2015 01:33:45PM 5 points [-]

I would rather if she'd been more part of the last long chunk of the story. It's not so much that her death had a major effect on Harry as that she was taken offstage.

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 11 March 2015 04:59:20PM 9 points [-]

But its not an aggregate pattern in EY's work specifically. Harry has to be the main character, its in the title of the story. If any main character is going to die, its going to be a sidekick.

Part of the reason for fridging female characters in general could be that they don't play an active role in the story, but in HPMOR Hermione was playing a major part.

A second reason is that people care more about women than about men - that's why reports of disasters are often phrased "X died, including Y women and children". But this is sexist against men.

In short, if Hermione had served no purpose except to generate emotions in Harry, then I could see your point. But she played a major role, if anything being more independent than in canon.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 11 March 2015 05:41:34PM 0 points [-]

But its not an aggregate pattern in EY's work specifically.

It isn't an aggregate pattern in almost anyone's work: it happens in individual cases and adds up. The problem is made all the more severe because it is very clear that Eliezer is aware of all these tropes and issues.

If any main character is going to die, its going to be a sidekick.

Sure. What about Neville or Draco?

Part of the reason for fridging female characters in general could be that they don't play an active role in the story, but in HPMOR Hermione was playing a major part.

Sometimes. Look at the trope page- there's a large amount of variation on how much of a role they've played prior to fridging. Moreover, Hermione while she did play a role, she also had the least power boost of anyone in the story.

A second reason is that people care more about women than about men - that's why reports of disasters are often phrased "X died, including Y women and children". But this is sexist against men.

Sure, and obvious way of helping get rid of this sexism is not to reinforce it in stories by using gender as a quick emotional tug.

That's not to say that there were not legitimate reasons to have Hermione be killed, and from a "is this a reasonable thing for Voldemort to try to do" perspective it makes some sense (although it does indicate that he may not understand the importance of martyrs for how people think). But there were many other options, and again, her death wasn't even heroic, she saved zero lives and wasn't even in a position to save lives. When she's explicitly trying to be a heroine out of feminist ideals, and she then gets quickly killed, what does that look like?

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 11 March 2015 06:38:09PM 4 points [-]

Sure. What about Neville or Draco?

As I said, Draco tries to kill Hermione wouldn't work, because Hermione's family don't have the influence to send Draco to Akazaban, which starts the chain of events leading to the death. Neville isn't as important a charicter as the other two.

Moreover, Hermione while she did play a role, she also had the least power boost of anyone in the story.

Ron and Hagrid have both been presented as imbeciles when they were heroes in canon.

Sure, and obvious way of helping get rid of this sexism is not to reinforce it in stories by using gender as a quick emotional tug.

What if its wired into us at the biological level because a tribe can repopulate after losing 90% of the men more than after losing 90% of the women?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 11 March 2015 06:55:09PM *  0 points [-]

As I said, Draco tries to kill Hermione wouldn't work, because Hermione's family don't have the influence to send Draco to Akazaban, which starts the chain of events leading to the death. Neville isn't as important a charicter as the other two.

Neville in many ways had more actual character development than Hermione. If anything, Neville's death would have been far more tragic if he had died trying to be a hero in the sense of having an impact on Harry. Neville is only at all heroic because of Harry. It would have been a far more emotional rebuke to Harry if Neville had tried trying to be a hero.

Ron and Hagrid have both been presented as imbeciles when they were heroes in canon.

Sure, but Ron was an idiot in canon also, and there are literally multiple subgenres of fanfic to get Ron out of the picture because so many people dislike his character. See for example Ron the Death Eater (again standard TVTropes warning.) And Hagrid being an imbecile is simply taking the issues with the character already and putting them into a serious context where actually harming children might actually have a real response. This is for example parts of Wait, What? (which in its own way is a rationalist fic).

What if its wired into us at the biological level because a tribe can repopulate after losing 90% of the men more than after losing 90% of the women?

That seems very strongly like a just-so story. I'd be very interested in seeing some sort of evidence backing up that this sort of attitude is strongly cross cultural. There are other cross-cultural reasons this might happen but that would be the minimum level.

Note also that just because something is innate doesn't mean it is a good thing: that's most of the point of learning to deal with cognitive biases for example.

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 17 March 2015 06:46:14PM 1 point [-]

Sure, but Ron was an idiot in canon also .... And Hagrid being an imbecile is simply taking the issues with the character already and putting them into a serious context

My point is that Ron and Hagrid were not upgraded, and as such I see no overall pattern where the males are upgraded and females like Hermoine are not.

That seems very strongly like a just-so story. I'd be very interested in seeing some sort of evidence backing up that this sort of attitude is strongly cross cultural. There are other cross-cultural reasons this might happen but that would be the minimum level.

I'm neither an anthropologist nor an evolutionary psychologist, so I can't say whether this is the case with high certainty. I'm also not saying its a good thing to have substantially higher empathy for females over males, but if biases such as this exist, then it does make fridging a little more understandable. Even if you consciously believes in gender egalitarianism, you're still running on what is, from your POV, corrupted hardware.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 March 2015 07:47:39PM 3 points [-]

Moreover, Hermione while she did play a role, she also had the least power boost of anyone in the story.

Hermione was the smartest student in canon-- what would a thoroughly power-boosted Hermione look like?

Comment author: b_sen 12 March 2015 01:41:22AM *  5 points [-]

I don't have a link offhand, but I recall EY stating his reasons for not boosting Hermione:

  • She doesn't need the boost to compete with the other characters, including Harry
  • If she was boosted, the story would be "Hermione Granger Discovers the Methods of Rationality and Becomes Omnipotent" (i.e. a thoroughly power-boosted Hermione would break the story)
  • A boosted Hermione would plausibly be smarter then EY
Comment author: JoshuaZ 13 March 2015 04:46:57PM 1 point [-]

Sure. Those are all reasons to not boost the character as much as the other characters get boosted. But that doesn't mean any boost is a problem. It isn't difficult to imagine what a slightly boosted Hermione might do. I gave an example elsewhere in this subthread. But one can easily imagine other similar examples.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 11 March 2015 07:55:54PM *  1 point [-]

That's a good point. But I imagine a more powerful Hermione would not only have a good memory she'd be able to use it. If Harry makes an offhand comment like

"Most spells are from garbled Latin" she should be able to say something like:

"Around 80% of First Year spells fit that description. I noticed it when I was looking at my textbooks and based on linguistic analysis I suspect that the direction is actually reversed: Latin was at some point heavily influenced by spellwords. Here's my data and the linguistic evidence."

But that doesn't happen even to that extent. We don't get her making any discoveries at all. Instead the power boosted Harry makes fundamental discoveries about potions and transfiguration and about casting the Patronus. Why can't Hermione make any on her own?

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 March 2015 08:08:20PM 4 points [-]

That's a good point. Fortunately, HPMOR is hardly the last Harry Potter fanfic.

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 12 March 2015 09:05:13PM 2 points [-]

Why can't Hermione make any on her own?

She's 11/12. Harry Potter is Tom Riddle who is 65. This is why Harry acts like an adult, including making discoveries, while Hermione acts like a very intelligent child.

Comment author: CAE_Jones 11 March 2015 08:41:01PM 1 point [-]

The tricks with the Basilisk and the Proddian[sic] charm seem like they could have been adaptable to HPMoR, but at the same time, canon Hermione was older when she accomplished those things.

Even in canon, discoveries in potions were plainly not her thing, at least; see Half Blood Prince.

Comment author: Subbak 11 March 2015 06:35:45PM 3 points [-]

I don't think this line of analysis works for determining that a work is sexist. At least, it's not sexist in a problematic way (i.e. we need to get rid of it, or at least be aware of the sexism when reading it), it's sexist because the world we live in is sexist and it's practically impossible to write anythong non-sexist. Does HPMOR do anything to advance the condition of women? No, but neither does it do anything to adress racism, ableism, homophobia and plenty of other societal issues. That's not why the book was written. On the other hand, it has two strong female characters that have agency, and no female "characters" that are boobs on a stick, or a reward for the hero, or anything of the sort. Remember that EY was working from canon and could not exactly add plenty of important characters unheard of in the book. He already promoted Daphne, Tracey and (to a lesser extent) Susan compared to their role in the series (although I guess that's partially to make up for the lack of Ginny or Luna in Harry's first year). If your strongest argument to say a work is sexist in a problematic way is "a secondary female character dies without accomplishing anything", then I feel that's too strong a criteria. Hell, even in "Blue is the warmest color" (the book, not the movie, which was admittedly quite sexist in its direction), the main character dies a stupid death without ever having accomplished anything, and you'd be hard pressed to find that book sexist. In Worm, an important secondary female character is killed in an anti-climatic way by a villain we had almost never heard of until the chapter where he kills her. Is Worm sexist? I don't think so.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 March 2015 07:44:03PM 4 points [-]

HPMOR somewhat examines the automatic lack of respect adults have for children.

Comment author: seer 14 March 2015 01:59:15AM 5 points [-]

it's sexist because the world we live in is sexist and it's practically impossible to write anythong non-sexist.

That's because reality is 'sexist'.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 14 March 2015 03:15:37AM 0 points [-]

That's because reality is 'sexist'.

This is both an incredible strawman and not at all relevant to what's even being discussed. The article you linked to discusses that average human male is strength is higher than average human female strength. That's accurate and utterly irrelevant to the characterizations in question.

Heck, I'll even spot you that average male IQ is higher than average female IQ and that male standard deviation is higher than female standard deviation of IQ so there are more very intelligent males than there are very intelligent females.

Still wouldn't matter.

We are talking about A) giving people a power boost. B) that Hermione didn't get any boost even as other major players, not just Harry, but Dumbeldore and Draco did and C) that this is in the context of her being killed off ignominiously.

If you think your comment is at all relevant to any of these issues, I'd be very much interested in hearing an explanation.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 11 March 2015 06:44:15PM 0 points [-]

I don't think this line of analysis works for determining that a work is sexist.

Well, I'm not sure what it means for a work as a whole to be sexist. So in so far as that doesn't seem well-defined I agree.

At least, it's not sexist in a problematic way (i.e. we need to get rid of it, or at least be aware of the sexism when reading it),

Hang on. Full stop. The idea that any form of sexism in a work means we need to get rid of that work is something I strongly, and fundamentally disagree with. No amount of sexism is a reason for censorship.

it's sexist because the world we live in is sexist and it's practically impossible to write anythong non-sexist.

Possibly, but there are degrees of sexism, and there are issues when reinforcing certain sexist norms. I'd point out that for example, Brandon Sanderson Mistborn series is an excellent example of a series without any sexism issues in how the author approach things. And that's far from the only example.

No, but neither does it do anything to adress racism, ableism, homophobia and plenty of other societal issues.

Actually, racism is definitely addressed in the context of Muggles v. wizards, and homophobia has been addressed- see the point where one of the young wizards suspects that claims about homophobia in the Muggle community are an anti-Muggle slur. That was meant as a humorous aside but it was a clear dig at certain attitudes.

I agree that Eliezer did a wonderful job of promoting Daphne and Tracey. If he hadn't the situation would look very different.

But the argument isn't just that Hermione died without accomplishing anything, but rather that it was in a context where the male wizards (Harry and Voldemort) both received substantial power boosts, where Hermione was trying to be a heroine for feminist reasons, where people had already complained about feminist issues being treated poorly in HPMoR, and then having Hermione killed without accomplishing anything specifically because the villain desired it to have an impact on the primary male protagonist. It is that totally of issues that made this so bad.

Comment author: seer 14 March 2015 01:57:07AM 5 points [-]

Hang on. Full stop. The idea that any form of sexism in a work means we need to get rid of that work is something I strongly, and fundamentally disagree with. No amount of sexism is a reason for censorship.

But you claim that any "sexism" (however you define it) in the work is bad.

Comment author: WalterL 11 March 2015 03:39:59PM 3 points [-]

I read the whole "unicorn/troll/horcrux" part of Hermione's arc as the author's ironic contrition.

"Antifeminist, am I? Preposterous! LOOK HOW SHINY THIS PEDESTAL IS!"

Comment author: falenas108 10 March 2015 08:29:48PM 3 points [-]

"In that extremity, I went into the Department of Mysteries and I invoked a password which had never been spoken in the history of the Line of Merlin Unbroken, did a thing forbidden and yet not utterly forbidden."

So, this is the single change that makes this story an AU?

Comment author: Gondolinian 10 March 2015 08:51:28PM *  7 points [-]

So, this is the single change that makes this story an AU?

I was thinking along those lines as well, but at that point in time Voldemort was already significantly different from canon.

Comment author: RobbBB 10 March 2015 09:21:30PM 14 points [-]

It seems like the single change (aside from aspects of how magic works) is that Voldemort is more competent, which forces his enemies to level up and go to more extreme measures. Looking at every prophecy is one of those extreme responses, which then triggered a bunch of other changes relative to canon.

Comment author: imuli 10 March 2015 09:08:33PM *  3 points [-]

As is Tom Riddle. I imagine the point of divergence is in Tom Riddle's childhood somewhere, which pushed Albus into consulting the maze of the future, which...

Comment author: kilobug 10 March 2015 09:50:43PM 6 points [-]

There seem to be much more changes, even that is probably the most important one.

Time Turners don't work the same (in canon, there is no hard limit on 6 hours, it just becomes exponentially dangerous if you try that), the Sirius Black/Pettigrew thing doesn't turn out the same at all, the Free Transfiguration stuff doesn't seem to work the same, ...

And as others mentioned, Voldemort is much more competent.

Comment author: Velorien 11 March 2015 11:57:19AM 2 points [-]

As a point of interest, wasn't it Merlin's original intent that, at minimum, everyone mentioned in a prophecy should have access to it? It was only centuries later that the Unspeakables sealed the prophecy records away, so why does the Line of Merlin Unbroken have a function for bypassing that seal, how does anyone know this, and why is using it forbidden?

Comment author: AnthonyC 11 March 2015 08:20:12PM 3 points [-]

The Line may not - in ch 86 Dumbledore hints he got in via phoenix travel:

"You took James and Lily there? " Minerva said.

"Fawkes can go to many places," Albus said. "Do not mention the fact."

Comment author: Velorien 11 March 2015 08:47:40PM 1 point [-]

In that extremity, I went into the Department of Mysteries and I invoked a password which had never been spoken in the history of the Line of Merlin Unbroken, did a thing forbidden and yet not utterly forbidden.

It's possible that the Line reference is misleading, but if so it is an odd piece of phrasing.

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 11 March 2015 12:44:43AM 2 points [-]

Right at the front of the whole fic he says this isn't SPoD.

Comment author: Sheaman3773 11 March 2015 04:11:24PM 1 point [-]

So, this is the single change that makes this story an AU?

From chapter 1:

This is not a strict single-point-of-departure fic - There exists a primary point of departure, at some point in the past, but also other alterations. The best term I've heard for this fic is "parallel universe."

Comment author: Val 10 March 2015 08:16:27PM 2 points [-]

Here is my prediction about the end of the story

Always 'he will end the world', not 'he will end life'. Even when it was said that you would tear apart the very stars in heaven, it was not said that you would tear apart the people.

Harry will cause the Singularity, transforming all people (and later all matter in the Universe) into a kind of immortal meta-human mind, similar to Multivax or Celestia. He probably even knows the first story as it appeared in 1956.

Comment author: shminux 10 March 2015 09:27:29PM *  2 points [-]

Giving your life so that your student has a chance to turn the world into what you'd want it to be... I cannot imagine a better fate for a mentor. And potentially being revived to see the fruits of yours and his labor, what a bonus! If only Harry wasn't so rush and not irreversibly destroyed his teacher's identity without first thinking 5 minutes about it.

Comment author: gjm 11 March 2015 02:15:46AM 7 points [-]

If only his teacher hadn't been Lord Frickin' Voldemort.

Comment author: b_sen 12 March 2015 03:24:23PM 1 point [-]

Adding to my previous prediction comment:

Predictions: (I'll have to score them all after the epilogue is released, but hey, it means we get an epilogue.)

The "phoenix’s egg" password will (directly or indirectly) allow Harry to find Narcissa Malfoy. 70%

The Line of Merlin feeds information to its rightful holder when they’re holding it. 60%

At least one Legilimency conversation occurred during Chapter 119. 90%

Speculations:

What happens if Harry casts the True Patronus through the Elder Wand? Given that it’s a Deathly Hallow that raises the priors of something interesting happening with a spell embodying a preference for life over death, but with the "sense of strength and constrained danger, like a leashed wolf" Harry feels when holding it I’m not sure what the effect would be.

Comment author: solipsist 11 March 2015 12:09:40PM 1 point [-]

How does Harry think Hermione will figure out how to cast the true patronus? She needs to figure out that dementors are magical manifestations of death, which Voldemort / Dumbledore / loads of smart wizards seem not to have done. Did he tell her, is is he planning on telling her, or something else?

Comment author: Velorien 11 March 2015 12:43:41PM 5 points [-]

In Chapter 46, he gives her a sealed note containing the explanation.

But if you ever need to fight Dementors, the secret is written here, cryptically, so that if someone doesn’t know it’s about Dementors and the Patronus Charm, they won’t know what it means...

Comment author: solipsist 11 March 2015 11:35:04PM *  0 points [-]

Right, but she didn't have a reason to look at the note before she died, doesn't have the note on her person in the hospital, and even if she did she doesn't have a reason to look at the note now.

Comment author: Velorien 11 March 2015 11:55:53PM 0 points [-]

I'm not sure what you're arguing against. In the event that she decides to destroy the Dementors, which Harry anticipates to happen quite soon, she knows that the information she needs to be able to do so is already in her possession.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 11 March 2015 02:02:22AM 1 point [-]

Ok, so the Vow is definitely still in play and has not been resolved trivially. My estimation that the ending is going to be awesome has increased. I was a little worried for a few chapters.

Comment author: gjm 11 March 2015 02:13:34AM *  6 points [-]

Eliezer is planning an epilogue that takes place during the protagonists' 7th year at Hogwarts. It seems fairly safe to infer that by the end of chapter 122 Harry will not yet have torn the stars apart and gained root access to the Source of Magic.

[EDITED to add: On the other hand, there's a reasonable chance that we get to see Hermione taking out a lot of Dementors. That might be a bit awesome.]

Comment author: b_sen 11 March 2015 01:40:06PM 0 points [-]

The Author's Note mention of the delayed epilogue (combined with some of the foreshadowing in HPMOR) feels to me like an invitation to write the obvious continuation fic Harry Potter and the Methods of Self-Modification, set between the ending of HPMOR and the epilogue. Does anyone else find this the obvious continuation?

I'm also not sure if writing the fic would actually be a good idea; anyone want to help me evaluate it?