Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97

by palladias1 min read15th Aug 2013505 comments

7

HPMOR (discussion & meta)
Personal Blog

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 97The previous thread is at nearly 500 comments. 

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: 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12,  13,  1415,  16,  17,  18,  19,  20,  21,  22,  23,  24,  25.

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Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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

Rendering 500/505 comments, sorted by (show more) Highlighting new comments since Today at 8:38 PM
New Comment
Some comments are truncated due to high volume. (⌘F to expand all)Change truncation settings

I seem to recall that at some point, Quirrell told Harry that his ultimate plan involved Harry leading Britain. Now Harry tells Draco that his ultimate plan involves Draco leading Britain. I can't wait to see Draco reveal his plan that involves Quirrell leading Britain!

5Kindly8yIf we think that Quirrell is somehow Voldemort... ...and also think that Harry Potter is somehow Voldemort... ...and understand why Harry Potter's plan involves Draco leading Britain... ...then we should be able to make a guess why Quirrell's plan involves Harry Potter leading Britain, by analogy.

"I had to promise my keepers not to sign anything you gave me. So I made sure to compose this myself, and sign it before I left."

Like hell you did. Mad-Eye Moody just told you not to. But it sure is a game-theoretical advantage to convince the other player that the conditions of the deal cannot be renegotiated at all, and that it's now or never.

"I also promised not to touch a quill while I was in Gringotts,"

Similarly, what a convenient excuse to expose the muggle-hater to a small example of muggle technology just as you're trying to make him realize there may be a lot more to muggles than he thought.

I doubt Lucius was very impressed with a "muggle quill".

But if Harry keeps it up about the wealth of the Muggle world, I wonder if the Malfoys won't end up setting their sights on Muggles and their resources. I'm imagining a "what have I done" on Harry's part when that happens.

1linkhyrule58yIunno. Screwing with the Muggle economy in non-legitimate ways would be genuinely hard on the scales the Malfoys would want to do it on. There might be some high-effort methods - insider trading based on reading the minds of CEOs, for example - but barring just Imperius'ing Bill Gates into giving you all his money (which would be widely publicized) there's only so much they can do. I think. I've given this all of five seconds of thought, there might be something creative (okay, there is something creative) they can do.
8JoshuaZ8yOne can use time-turners so you know what the market will do in advance (making sure that for any given stock you trade in small enough quantities that it won't substantially alter the asking price to avoid messing with time issues). If magic isn't limited by speed of light issues then one can send trading signals faster (already attempts are made to put computer systems as close as possible to get a jump on slower traders. How much this actually matters is unclear.) One could apparate to and assassinate people who are in specific corporations or governments, being able to anticipate resulting economic problems and short-sell accordingly. These are only the most obvious sorts of things, deliberately restricting to those that don't add value to the system.
4NancyLebovitz8yImperius Bill Gates and a number of other wealthy people to give you 1% of their money.
1Alsadius8yThe thing about wealthy people is that they have accountants. Also, their assets are generally in the stock of companies they own, which means that they'd have to sell shares, which in turn triggers reams of insider-trading paperwork and income tax audits. You'd do better to do Time-Turner work on the LSE.
1Baughn8yNow, how did I miss that possibility? Harry's stinking rich anytime he wants, then.
0Aureateflux8yExcept that observed information can't be changed using the Time-Turners. So the scope of his actions are somewhat limited. Doesn't stop him from being able to short a stock, but he can't single-handedly cause a stock's fortune to reverse. That still leaves plenty of possibilities to make money, but it wouldn't be as easy as it sounds. He'd be mixing the complicated natures of stock trading and time travel, and that's before he starts thinking about avoiding insider trading laws.
2Baughn8yIt's pretty easy, isn't it? Check the exchange status, go back in time, buy stocks that are about to go up in price. He can't stop them from going up in price, sure, but him buying is perfectly consistent. I expect he could get a few percent per day without even trying hard.
0Aureateflux8yThat's true, but to make the REALLY big bucks, you need to make the bet no one else does a la Trading Places.
3Baughn8y5% per day is already a 54 million-fold increase per year, what more do you want? ^^;;
0Aureateflux8yEntirely the wrong question. Harry Potter is planning on taking over both the Muggle and Magical world. That's going to take some capital!
2Velorien8yWhat world domination process are you imagining? Money doesn't buy you power. It buys you bribes, and lobby groups, and campaign funds, and mercenaries for coups, and so on. With some creative thinking, any and all of those should be obtainable through a combination of magic, blackmail, manipulating the weak-minded, and other means already at Harry's disposal (especially if he has someone like Draco to supplement the latter).
3Aureateflux8yYou sound like you think he doesn't need capital at all. Why would Harry avoid using a resource that would facilitate reaching his goals? Wouldn't the rational thing to do be to use the methods that accomplish your goals in an effective and timely manner? There are times when solutions other than money would be more effective, and there are times when money would be more effective or efficient. So why should he eschew that resource just because he can?
2DanArmak8yApparate into secure bank vaults and take all their gold. That's all a wizard wants at first, gold, not Muggle money.
0TobyBartels8yThey say ‘gold’, but they really mean Galleons. Especially given the wonky exchange rates, the Goblins must add more (or at least different) value to those than just a guarantee of purity and size.
3DanArmak8yWell, since the Goblins do agree to convert gold into Galleons for a modest percentage of the total, the point is moot - wizards will want gold to convert into Galleons.
0RolfAndreassen8yDo bank vaults actually contain gold, these days?
7Lumifer8yThe Federal Reserve Bank of New York happens to have around 6,700 tons of physical gold stored in the basement of its building in Manhattan ( http://www.newyorkfed.org/aboutthefed/goldvault.html [http://www.newyorkfed.org/aboutthefed/goldvault.html]).
4Luke_A_Somers8yThere are definitely places gold is stored.
0DanArmak8ySurely they do. People trade in gold and banks are supposed to be holding the actual gold they own.
-1RolfAndreassen8yI think Harry would laugh all the way to 10 Downing Street, as he allies with sixty million people who agree with him on human rights and have at least a notion of science, security, and total war, even though most of them, of course, aren't trained in it. Notice his remark about "[Muggle lawyers] would think yours are cute". Harry may be mistaken, but I think he believes that for Lucius to tangle with Muggle Britain would be the last mistake House Malfoy ever made.
3DanArmak8yLord Malfoy wouldn't bother with Muggle lawyers, he'd use magic and take what he wants. Remember, he doesn't see Muggles as people. The only ones who could stop him from doing anything he wanted would be other magic-users.

There has to be some pre-existing mechanism in place to stop this (and also most plain trade). "Take what you want from other people" is too short a sentence in Human Language not to have occurred to various wizards over time, likewise "Imitate the way that person gained status".

Minerva and Griphook weren't surprised by the idea of taking raw gold and turning into coins. Presumably this happens sometimes; it's not the case that all the Galleons in the world were first minted thousands of years ago. So how did the gold in the wizard economy get there in the first place? And what is the mechanism that prevents it now but didn't prevent it then?

Are all wizards in the world unaware that Muggles possess gold at all? Surely not; Muggles probably own much more gold, and operate many more gold mines, than wizards do. If wizards ever went looking for un-mined gold, they'd encounter Muggle competition.

Wizards have an apparently trivial method of acquiring gold: Apparate into a bank vault, fill your Bag of Holding, Apparate away to Gringotts. It's doable by most wizards, carries no real risk, is unnoticeable by the bank, untraceable when they do notice the gold is missing, and the other wizards and goblins probably don't care if some Muggles were robbed by an unknown wizard.

Hypothesis: The muggles don't possess much gold. Most of the huge stacks of gold in places like Fort Knox are clever magical replicas, and have been for a very long time. Any wizard can easily see through the ruse, but the muggles are clueless.

How do we have gold that we use as a conductor? Perhaps when a muggle handles fake gold, it gets magically swapped with real gold from a small supply elsewhere. Or else, maybe fake magic gold is a really good conductor.

If most of the gold we think is in the Muggle economy is really in the wizarding economy, then wizards possess up to 170,000 tons of gold. 100,000 tons of gold divided between 1 million wizards is 100 Kg = 20,000 Galleons per wizard on average.

We actually observe that 100,000 galleons is a princely ransom and a rich fortune. Lord Malfoy is one of the richest people in Britain and he probably has on the order of a million Galleons. This seems compatible but somewhat unlikely; I would estimate less gold in the wizarding economy than 100,000 tons. And yet if they stole all the Muggle gold they'd have closer to 150,000 tons, not counting whatever they may have mined themselves.

2MugaSofer8y... and Eliezer raised the value of Galleons significantly for this fic. Hmm...
2TobyBartels8yWhat Wizards even know that electrical conductivity is a thing?
2Watercressed8yPerhaps the only difference between fake gold and real gold is magical--if there's a ritual that permanently transfigures a rock into gold, people can switch that with the gold in vaults. Of course, no one in the magical world would accept transfigured gold as payment.
1TrE8yAnd what about all the new gold the muggles mine, day by day? Wouldn't that cause inflation in the wizard economy? And where does the swapped-out gold go?
4thomblake8yAlternately: The wizards already mined all the real gold too.
4thomblake8yIt's like bitcoin mining - whoever steals Muggle gold first gets to keep it. Of course that's the Americans.
0alex_zag_al8yHarry's going to be disappointed when he gets muggle rich, and Gringottts rejects all his muggle gold
-1ThrustVectoring8yWhen a muggle handles fake gold and it doesn't work as a conductor, the Statue of Secrecy comes in and they get Obliviated and the gold gets swapped over so that it works properly. If most Muggle gold is a clever Wizard fake, then the fakes are getting watched to ensure that those who handle the fake gold stay convinced that it's real gold.
3NancyLebovitz8yThat's an awful lot of surveillance. Would a spell which detects a Muggle trying to use jewelry/store of value gold for conduction and sounds an alarm be possible?

Simplest; The goblins, and wizard society just do not approve of outright theft, even from muggles, and there are magics that will reliably mark stolen goods. So if you want to come up with gold by the tonne, you need to either actually engage muggles in trade (eewww) or go hunting for treasure with no (living) owners.

More amusingly: I am not at all sure competent wizards have much need to care about coin at all. Lucius is a political creature, so he needs ways to bribe idiots, but a wizard that keeps their newt skills up to scratch is pretty much carrying around a cornucopia machine in their pocket. Sure, you could spend a bunch of effort and rob a bank, then use that gold to have a house built.. Or, you know, save yourself the hassle and raise a cute little tower from the bones of the earth/bend space and live like a king in a post office box.. ect.

Simplest; The goblins, and wizard society just do not approve of outright theft, even from muggles, and there are magics that will reliably mark stolen goods.

That is the first suggestion that would actually work. It's just that I can't believe that the average wizard thinks of muggles as persons (or humans) that can be stolen from. It's less plausible than that they would care about the stability of the economy.

Besides, what magic can create, magic can destroy. People would invest serious effort in developing magic that would erase the "magical signature" of stolen gold if it would help them become billionaires.

More amusingly: I am not at all sure competent wizards have much need to care about coin at all.

The reason bribing people with money works in the first place, is that most people don't have as much money as they would like. If wizards didn't really need money, as you suggest, then they wouldn't care about it and couldn't be bribed.

Since money translates into power over others, Lucius too would always want more money.

3MugaSofer8yI don't know. They have a fairly insular view of the world, but putting them on a par with animals seems to be a fringe notion, albeit one popular with those in power (ie purebloods.) Magical goods can be sold for money, and therefore are. You want a new broomstick? Pay up, bucko. (Also, food is hard to create magically, according to canon, although God only knows how that works.)
1DanArmak8yAdmittedly he was overstating it to make a point, but it's still mostly true.
0Houshalter8yPerhaps wizards are superstitious and believe that stolen gold is cursed (or perhaps it actually is.) It's a bit of a ridiculous explanation, but it's not implausible that wizards would be easily susceptible to superstition or weird curses. And there are plenty of benefits of either spreading the rumor or creating actual curses, since they don't like theft either. That it benefits muggles is just an accident, not their intention.
2DanArmak8yAre there notable instances of wizards stealing gold (or other precious objects) from other wizards and/or muggles? If there are, are any of them every cursed due to the inherent act of theft?
4Atelos8yNothing for gold that I recall, but Mundungus Fletcher stole a bunch of heirloom silverware and other such valuable things from Grimmauld place after Sirius died, and possibly even while he was alive, and didn't seem to be particularly cursed, just throttled by Harry for disrespect to Sirius's memory. On the other hand with Sirius's attitude towards his relatives he could easily have made a statement declaring his disinterest in his heritage that intentionally or unintentionally revoked his ownership over such items.
4gwern8yFletcher is portrayed as a sketchy thief/fence pretty much from book 1, IIRC. It's hard to imagine that so many people could have intentionally or not abandoned their magical ownership as to make such a career feasible.
0MugaSofer8yHe refers to cauldrons that "fell off the back of a broomstick". Perhaps he meant it literally? But no, he tells an amusing story about stealing toads from a fellow thief and selling them back to him. It's clear that their relationship is built on selling each other things they "nicked".
2hairyfigment8yYou mean, aside from Bacon's diary?
4wiserd8y"Simplest; The goblins, and wizard society just do not approve of outright theft, even from muggles, and there are magics that will reliably mark stolen goods" This makes a lot of sense. In a society where theft from even most wizards should be theoretically pretty easy, blanket 'anti-theft' measures seem most workable. Which, of course, implies that ownership is an intrinsic property of matter in the wizarding verse. Ayn Rand would squee. Alternative; HPMOR is a sometimes a sideways critique of the Rowling universe, and should, perhaps, sometimes be viewed in that light. Rowling's universe does have poor wizards, and it does have money and currency constraints. Gold seems to be both intrinsically valuable and rare which is strange. There do seem to be strong cultural taboos against interaction with muggles, despite the obvious benefits (gold, sex, etc.) But the origin of those taboos have never been adequately explained. Such an explanation might allow for a Voldemort who was guided by something other than a quest for personal power, but who was some matrix-esque control mechanism from Atlantis. But I don't want to get too Deus Ex Maquina in my explanations if something better presents itself. In any case, the taboos could easily be outdated. The existence of long-lived wizards suggests a larger ratio of old people to young, and a more conservative society (as in 'resistant to change') in general. Alternately perhaps Harry's experiment regarding inheritance was wrong or inadequate in some way and magic really can be diluted by interacting/breeding with muggles. We've been told that the most powerful wizards tend to have few children. Grindelwald seems to have been Gay. Dumbledore is both Gay and childless/asexual in his adult life. If we assume a given number of Atlantean 'magic markers' (genetic markers which confer magic ability, which is what a strict Mendelian wizarding gene is likely to be ;-) ) then perhaps having a larger number of a particular marker i
2ikrase8yI think that most people can't do that.
2MugaSofer8yWell, in canon you need to pay for food - although it's mentioned that you can cast enlarging charms o food you already have. Aaand ... that's kinda it. Water, free. Shelter free. Furniture, free.. Transport, free. Magical artifacts, to be fair, will cost you somewhat, so entertainment, medicine (is it mentioned if St. Mungos is public healthcare?), and certain conveniences (owls, broomsticks, floo powder ...) will require a least intermittent income, but I would say an unemployed wizard is still quite comfortable compared to a muggle. And most magic items will last for years or decades, judging by the Weasleys.
5Kaj_Sotala8yMaybe the goblins have established some sort of monopoly on Galleon production, and regulate the amount of it that may be produced in one year? Plausibly the wizards might support that kind of a monopoly to prevent rampant inflation and destabilization of the economy. Even if their knowledge of economics hadn't caught up with muggles and they were still thinking in mercantilist terms (and so didn't properly understand the concept of inflation), they could still understand that things will remain more stable that way. There have always been monopolies on the production of the official currency, with counterfeiters being harshly punished, and the (guild-like) goblins controlling it would fit with the general "old-fashioned" nature of the wizarding world.
3DanArmak8yIf the goblins allow wizards to bring in gold to be minted, as Griphook told Harry, then how would they decide what wizards to work with? Every wizard can steal an effectively unlimited amount of gold from Muggle vaults. If many wizards did so, and then the goblins refused to turn most of that gold into Galleons, this would probably act to break their monopoly as a market in gold and/or other coins naturally emerged. Unless wizards all agree not to value raw gold at all, only Galleons. That seems implausible.
3Kaj_Sotala8yWhy? There are vast advantages in using the currency that everyone else accepts. Real-world alternative currencies rarely replace the official national currencies, either. (Even if you believed that Bitcoin had the potential to eventually do so, gold and Galleons are both physical currencies, so gold wouldn't have the advantages of a digital cryptocurrency.)
6DanArmak8yMuggles have never agreed not to value gold, even though vastly more money exists in non-gold-backed currencies today. Which is why those gold vaults still exist. On the other hand, the main reason Muggles value gold is for jewelry, and it's more likely that wizards use magic to substitute. But, again, the fact is that Griphook agrees to convert gold into Galleons at only 5% overhead. So even if a wizard only values Galleons, he'll want to acquire gold and give it to Griphook.
1Fermatastheorem8yWhat if the Galleons are actually fake gold created by Goblins, and they can tell 'fake' currency because it's real? That way, only the Goblins can test for 'real' vs. 'fake' currency because the wizards all have it backwards.
2[anonymous]8yGriphook says earlier in the fic that "only a fool would trust anything other than goblin stamped galleons", or words to that effect. So maybe wizards are free to trade gold with Muggles, but raw gold is easy to fake, so nobody is interested in raw gold, and only galleons are valuable. The goblins will stamp some galleons for you for a fee, but they don't want to hyper-inflate the economy so they only do small batches. Either its near-impossible to fake up galleons, or the threat of goblin war against counterfeiters is too scary for people to try. Or have I missed something?
0MugaSofer8yI think you're onto something. Specifically, in the books, Goblins possess magic metalworking techniques wizards don't know how to duplicate - and they know how to detect them. (It's a point of contention as part of the whole "give us wands" thing.)
0RichardKennaway8yYou're suggesting that there are two substances, difficult to tell apart, both called "gold". On what grounds does one decide which to think of as "the real thing" and which to think of as "an imitation of the real thing"?
2Alsadius8yOn the grounds that if the goblins can tell them apart, there must be some difference. Remember, something doesn't need to have a physical use to have value - see Bitcoin, or intellectual property, or stock options. Simple scarcity is sufficient to create value if people decide to value it.
3RichardKennaway8y"If people decide to value it" makes that a tautology. Leaving that aside, scarcity is necessary but not sufficient. The only surviving painting by a contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci of little renown will be valued, but less than one by Leonardo. Silver has two stable isotopes, in roughly equal proportions. I doubt there's much monisotopically refined silver in the world. It would cost more to make it, but it wouldn't be worth more, unless someone wanted some that badly for a practical purpose.
0Alsadius8yAs phrased it's tautological, but my point was the implication - people can choose to value whatever they want, value is not intrinsic to an item. Lack of scarcity does provide an upper cap, though - air will never be valuable on the surface of Earth - so if people have chosen to value something, then scarcity is the remaining factor needed for it to have value. (I phrased it poorly, but I think it's still strictly correct)
0TobyBartels8yNeither air nor water are scarce on Earth; but clean air and clean water have value.
-2MugaSofer8yActually, some cities have featured "air stations" or "air bars" due to smog, historically. I don't know if they still exist, I haven't heard of a contemporary one.
1RichardKennaway8yBut which is "real" and which is "fake"? "Real" and "fake" are not objective properties of things. If only goblins can tell the two golds apart, why would anyone care? For practical purposes, for everyone else except Harry Potter there would just be "gold the goblins for unknown reasons say is type 1" and "gold the goblins for unknown reasons say is type 2". Harry would be trying to find out what objective properties distinguish them.
0MugaSofer8yFake in the sense that Goblins claim that gallons are made from raw gold, when they actually aren't.
0Alsadius8yThe goblins are the central bankers of the wizarding world. They are entrusted with providing a reasonable money supply, and they're free to use methods of their choice to create that(well, subject to assorted speciesist laws). I don't care why the Federal Reserve says to use cotton money instead of plastic, as long as they run the money supply sufficiently well that I trust them.
0DanArmak8yI don't believe that goblins' magical power could outsmart that of wizards in this way. Particularly with the emphasis on wizards having access to wands and spells. Also: why would goblins do this?
2NancyLebovitz8yBecause the goblins don't like having real gold go out of their hands.
5DanArmak8yBut then goblins would still want wizards to bring in real gold for "minting". And wizards would still steal or trade for all the Muggle gold to give to goblins, and billions of Galleons would be circulating as a result. And we don't observe that.
1MugaSofer8y'cause it can be turned into money, so they would want it, so it would be valuable.
0MugaSofer8yI suspect anyone bringing in such a large pile of gold would be immediately arrested, or at least investigated, unless they had a damn good story.
3DanArmak8yWhy? The goblins take a percentage for the minting, so they want the minting to go ahead.
0MugaSofer8yBut does the Ministry - who are the ones with aurors - want muggles wondering why there's so little gold nowadays? Not to mention the sudden rich people messing up the established power balance.
0DanArmak8yAgain, why would the Ministry not take the gold for themselves instead of guarding it for the Muggles? Note that the explanation has to hold across all of recorded history, in many nations and times.
0MugaSofer8yWhy would the Ministry do that? I'm kind of drawing a blank here. Sure, the Magical government (maybe not the Ministry, since you can be fined for breaking the statute of secrecy) could probably pull it off (although it would have all sorts of repercussions.) But ... I'm having a hard time imagining them doing so. Honestly, can you imagine a Muggle government doing something like that? I mean, it's not perfectly analogous, but I'd say your average army could fill in for magic here.
2DanArmak8yI didn't mean the Ministry would steal Muggle gold and put it in the Ministry fund. I meant some Minister, or Head Auror, or other well-connected person, would steal it for himself (plus bribes to the guards to look the other way). And yes, I totally believe that Muggle ministers would do that if they could, and in fact have done so many times in Muggle history.
0MugaSofer8yOh, right. Yeah, that's a bit more plausible, I have to admit. And yet ... still very hard. Unless you're already really really rich? I guess? Well, maybe via war...
1Larks8yNope [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_6102], sometimes the government just steals everyone's gold.
-2MugaSofer8yThat ... doesn't seem like a great example.
0DanArmak8yIt used to be that governments would debase their coinage whenever they needed money. Today, of course, we're all taught that constant inflation is good for us.
0MugaSofer8yWhich, while admittedly very annoying to those poor suckers who already possess money, is rather different to launching a strike team to physically empty bank vaults.
0DanArmak8yEveryone does what they can. There have been many incidencts when Muggle governments expropriated privately owned gold (or other riches). They wouldn't do it to themselves, of course, so the central bank vaults remained safe. But the point is, only the arbiters of ultimate power (or their clients) can be truly rich; if anyone else is richer than they are, they will tend to take the riches by force. In the HP-verse, wizards have the ultimate power.
0MugaSofer8yExcept wizards don't view themselves as the "arbiters of ultimate power" over the Muggles. Statute of Secrecy. Now Voldemort, I admit, would probably have done something like this once he took power. Or Grindelwald. But neither of them won, so... manifestly, no wizard has successfully seized power to rule over the Muggles (except maybe waay back and it got covered up) because the SoS is still a thing.
4MugaSofer8yMy guess is that they actually do care, if only because they don't want Muggles getting too suspicious. But yes, minor rights violations probably go on; the books note that dosing a muggle you have a crush on with love potion is seen as romantic.
4Eliezer Yudkowsky8ySerious problem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_gold_production [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_gold_production] = 2700 metric tons annually produced today. If there are one million wizards in the world, it takes 1000 tons of gold to have one kilogram of gold / 200 Galleons per person (~$50K at today's prices). Or they have to produce a ton a year for a thousand years. How much gold was in pre-industrial e.g. Aztec civilization?
5DanArmak8yThat's a good point. I also add that Wikipedia says [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold] that: But still, if just a few wizards stole appreciable fractions of the Muggle gold vaults, they would be individually very rich. The same 1000 tons of gold would be a (ETA fixed calculation) 200 million Galleon fortune if owned by one wizard. Therefore, the question is how much gold is concentrated in one place (already mined) and available for stealing. Wikipedia provides a list [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_reserve#Officially_reported_gold_holdings] of officially reported gold holdings by country. The top few are: US, 8133 tons; Germany, 3391 tons; IMF, 2814 tons; Italy, 2451 tons; France, 2435 tons. But where is the gold physically kept? Well, Wikipedia says that Fort Knox [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bullion_Depository] holds 4578 tons of gold. In any case, a wizard could Apparate to people, ask them where most of the gold is (Legilimency/Veritaserum/Imperius), Memory-Charm to erase the few minutes of the encounter, and Apparate away. If the person doesn't know where the gold is, they can tell you who does know. Start with someone like a bank CEO, unlikely to have magical protection (unlike heads of state), and work your way on - in a day or two you'll find the gold. How do we know this hasn't actually happened? The gold in the bank vaults may not be actually there. But the wizarding economy doesn't have a known history of occasional sudden billionaires. Lucius probably never even heard about fortunes of more than a few million Galleons.
4Jadagul8yThere's another big pile of gold, about 7,000 tonnes, in the New York Fed [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Fed#33_Liberty_Street]--that's actually where a lot of foreign countries keep a large fraction of their gold supply. It's open to tourists and you can walk in and look at the big stacks of gold bars. It does have fairly impressive security, but that security could plausibly be defeated by a reasonably competent wizard.

More to the point, whatever security Muggle vaults had 100 or 200 years ago definitely wouldn't have stood up to wizards. (Their powers wane by the year, while ours wax.) Since all the Muggle gold didn't vanish long ago, there must be a different explanation than Muggle vault security.

0ikrase8yI think that a lot of the Hogwarts Founders and Merlin stuff was actually setting things up so stuff like this wouldn't happen.
1Alsadius8yPossibly, but why couldn't it have happened prior? There was plenty of gold around in the ancient world, and not enough of it got stolen. Nor is enough sitting in the wizarding economy.
-1Eugine_Nier8yThe statute of secrecy also didn't exist back then.
0Alsadius8yWhat are the relevant implications of that? I'm not coming up with any.
-2MugaSofer8y* Muggle society could hire wizards to punish thieves. * Wizards would know more muggles personally. * Maybe there really were fortunes made in those days, and it was covered up on our end. (Small fortunes, because muggles hadn't had time to mine as much gold?)
-1MugaSofer8yHypothesis: Aurors simply put alarm spells in large repositories of gold. (This may not be widely known, because everyone who realises that muggles can be stolen from does so and is jailed.)
2DanArmak8yIt doesn't matter that much if some wannabe thieves get caught. Only one thief needs to succeed per vault per century to make all the Muggle gold disappear. An alarm isn't enough against several wizards who take the time to prepare a raid. Only a round the clock guard would be enough. If Aurors guard all the big Muggle gold vaults (or that the goblins or their dragons do), that might be a sufficient deterrent. What isn't clear is why they would install alarms or provide guards, instead of just taking the gold themselves.
0MugaSofer8yWell, if it's an unusual idea to start with, and hard to hide - I mean, if you don't get suddenly and suspiciously rich, what's the point? - and most people get filtered out because their brilliant and original plan was actually anticipated (remember, the whole point of stealing from muggles is that they wont have magical protections) ... I can see it being pretty much a non-starter. Also, is that actually true? I mean, there's only so much gold per vault, only so much time for this to have happened in, and so on. Heck, would we even still use vaults if "police baffled by fort knox raid" showed up on the news every so often, to the point that the majority of Earth's gold was lost that way?
0DanArmak8yThere's enough gold per value to make a successful thief the richest wizard in the world. And there have been big gold vaults for many centuries, with royal treasuries preceding them. And yet there hasn't been even one case in Muggle history of all the gold disappearing from a vault without explanation. A thief could still succeed once. That we still use vaults indicates a thief has never succeeded. There's still something to explain.
2MugaSofer8yFunnily enough, it occurred to me that I have no idea if any such cases have occurred. I still don't, because all the top Google hits seem to be conspiracy theories or something about how various gold reserves are totally empty. (Maybe a coverup would actually be possible with magic? Hmm ... Fort Knox hasn't been audited in 60 years, supposedly, so who knows?) But honestly, who cares if you're the "richest wizard in the world" if you're in jail and your "wealth" is an unspendable stolen asset (remember, raw gold needs to be converted into coins)? Yeah, I just meant that muggles wouldn't actually lose all the gold. It's a moot point, since clearly this hasn't happened either way.
2LucasSloan8yA little digging suggests less than a thousand tons. Most of the metal wealth extracted by the Spanish empire was in the form of silver, not gold. The spanish were able to mine about a ton a year from hispanola for some unknown period, and the inca paid a ransom of 24 tons for their king.
6buybuydandavis8ySo that Hermione found a wizarding way to make money (as she was trying to do) through trade with the Muggle world, and was assasinated by this mechanism?
5Lumifer8yTrade is a bigger problem than theft. It's (relatively) easy to handwave into being prohibitions on theft -- pretty much every society dislikes it and you can posit both morality and anti-theft magics as making outright thieving to be not too useful for wizards. On the other hand trade is generally seen as good and there are huge and obvious benefits to trade between Muggles and wizards. Especially given how easy it would be for less scrupulous wizards to make sure the terms of trade are very very beneficial to them (and yet do not descend into outright theft). I'm not sure the problem is solvable without introducing major new mechanisms of how the world works.
4Eliezer Yudkowsky8yMany, many post-agricultural societies have restrained trade, often to particular privileged individuals. I believe this is what a 'patent' used to be.
7Lumifer8yYes, but notice what this implies. This implies that trade is such an awesome value-producing mechanism that we (=elites with political power) want to keep it for ourselves and our friends. The idea is not to forbid trade, the idea is to restrict access and thus collect what the econospeak calls rents. Everyone wants to be a gatekeeper at a fountain of gold.
4DanArmak8yThis usually requires that the person holding the patent provide enough trade to satisfy demand. Otherwise the pressure to create a black market is irresistible. So trade could be restricted to a few powerful wizards - perhaps to each wizarding government - but it could not be eliminated entirely. And since wizards can provide extremely valuable services [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/ibr/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/9lpb] to Muggles in trade, they would capture almost all the Muggle gold in return. Then we would observe wizarding billionaires, making fortunes of a 100,000 Galleons negligible in comparison. That we don't observe this is strong evidence that trade either doesn't exist at all or is universal and unrestricted. Since the story offers ample proof that trade isn't universal, it must be nonexistent. But it's not clear what is preventing trade.
6Alsadius8yWizarding culture. Trade with muggles was basically worthless until a single wizard's lifetime ago, so the prejudice hasn't had time to evolve away yet.
5CAE_Jones8yI recall reading that somewhere (maybe Pottermore?), Rowling said that the Malfoys gained their great family wealth by trade with muggles, until the establishment of the statute of secrecy, at which point they were quick to join the "Yep, we knew those dirty muggles just wanted to exploit and burn us all along!" crowd. I don't remember if there is any similar detail about other wealthy families in canon or MoR; there's Flamel with the Philosopher's Stone, and the Potters with a combination family inheritance/bounty on Voldemort, but the Malfoys appear to be decidedly the richest family in Magical Britain, and I'd imagine that even with a 400 year gap, being those to most thoroughly exploit trade with muggles would be more than sufficient to explain their success.
4DanArmak8yMuggles had a lot of gold a hundred years ago, too. Certainly if you count in terms of just a few wizards taking possession of it. And it was easier to find because currencies were gold-backed. If they were unwilling to just steal it (for whatever reason), then spending a few weeks performing services for the richest people in the world in exchange for half their wealth (amounting to many millions of Galleons) would have been a great bargain for wizards.
3bramflakes8yThe mutual benefits of trade are non-obvious to humans, and many cultures have seen merchants as low-status because of a naive notion that they don't contribute anything.

In most societies, there was no remotely adequate solution to the problems of tracking reputations and punishing violations of trust for merchants who operated outside the narrow circle of their own communities. So merchants were largely viewed as scammers because they mostly were; nothing naive about it.

7NancyLebovitz8ySecond thought: of course dishonest merchants exist, but it's also true that merchants upset static status arrangements like controlling land being the only important thing.
7NancyLebovitz8yEvidence that merchants were mostly scammers? I would think that most merchants were working territories and dealing with the same people repeatedly, but I'm guessing, too.
1Lumifer8yI don't think this is historically true. Humans actively traded since paleolithic times (there are archeological finds like amber far away inland or stone tools made out of stone that does not occur anywhere locally). Merchants were typically seen as of lower status than the nobles and the military (for rather obvious reasons), but of higher status than craftsmen and peasants.
2bogdanb8yI don’t think that was intrinsic to being a merchant, just a consequence of (some of them) being richer.
-1Aureateflux8yI think even simpler than this is the fact that the wizards don't have anything of worth to trade to the Muggles, since non-magical people have a hard time even seeing magical artifacts, much less using them. Muggles have plenty of things that would be useful to Wizards, but the reverse isn't true.

Wizards have plenty to trade to Muggles - by providing services, not products.

  • Magical cures to deadly diseases and accidents. A replicable cure can't be traded, but wizards can individually cure powerful and wealthy people. (Harry speculates that wizards would probably cure cancer in members of the Muggle government.)
  • Military and covert operations, assassinations, coups, revolutions, etc. Apparate in, kill the enemy government and generals, win the war. Toppling any regime in the world that hasn't purchased magical protection of its own would give you a lot of money. In fact, every wizarding community should be able to demand arbitrary amounts of protection money from its local Muggles.
  • Theft and spying (industrial and government).
  • Subversion and interrogation of enemy leaders (by Legilimency, Veritaserum, Imperius.)
  • Creation of single-action devices via Transmutation (like some of the things Harry tried in his experiments). Muggles can then study, analyze, experiment on, or copy the Transmuted devices while they last.
  • Transportation. Launch satellites by Apparating into orbit! Rescue trapped people!
  • A wizard could easily play a Muggle Superman - flying, being invincible, combatting crime...
0MugaSofer8yGreat list. Upvoted. I think that actually failed ...
3DanArmak8yWell, it's not clear why it failed exactly. It might have been because it never existed before, but it seems more likely to me that it was because Harry didn't know what it was exactly. He didn't try to transmute "this molecular structure I have in my mind", he tried to transmute "a substance I know nothing about except that it cures Alzheimer's". That was probably not specific enough for the spell. (Otherwise, why not transmute a black-box device with a big red "kill Voldemort where-ever he is" button, or a mysterious "bring a dead body back to life" device?) In any case there are things who physical properties we know, and which exist or have existed, but would be very valuable to create in laboratories. Like creating a string of DNA to order, which can then replicate itself into ordinary non-transmuted matter - very valuable in 1993!
1Aureateflux8yYeah, Harry discovered that you can't transmute something that hasn't already been created through more conventional means.

Nothing of worth? The canon explanation for the Wizarding world's masquerade, from just a few chapters into the series, is that wizards would be in such demand by muggles that it would be too irritating and waste too much time.

2bramflakes8yMagical goods maybe, magical services certainly not. There are many things that magic could do to add value to non-magical objects, which then do not require any further magic to sustain (see Harry and Hermione's discussion about helping to manufacture nanotechnology and/or Alzheimer's cures).
3Aureateflux8yThat's true. Everyone's talking so much about stealing gold and magical artifacts that I didn't think of magical services.
-1William_Quixote8yThere's a long history of witch hunts inquisitions etc. a taboo on wizard muggle interactions makes sense and is consistent with history. It's also has the merit of requiring fewer other pieces to be set up for it to work as an explanation.
2Eugine_Nier8yYet, this doesn't stop them from intermarrying on a regular basis.
0TobyBartels8yWell, but that's true love. You can't stop that! Wait, are we applying narrative logic here or real logic?
0fractalman8ythat...said...it didn't do them much good whenver they caught a real witch/wizard, they'd just freeze the flames and scream to keep up with the act One witch deliberately got herself caught repeatedly (14 times?) because she liked the tingling. Yeah. it's cannon.
4elharo8yThis is a huge problem with HP, and pretty much all urban fantasy; and most especially ones that posit an entire separate magical society. There are just too many plot devices like the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy needed to keep the story world looking anything like the real world does.
4RolfAndreassen8yThe point about lawyers is just that Harry sees the wizard world as rather quaint and old-fashioned; Lucius is a big frog in a very tiny pond. Let the Masquerade be broken in any serious way, and within a year or two Muggle Britain will have produced anti-curse body armour (possibly made of tinfoil) and guns that will reliably break a wizard's shields. In other words, it's not just wizard lawyers that are cute; wizard soldiers are also fundamentally non-serious. This may not be actually true, but I think it is what Harry believes. By the way, in the Rowling-verse, the Prime Minister is supposed to know about the Ministry of Magic; he's the one official point of contact between Muggles and wizards. I wonder if that's also true in the canonical version?

By the way, in the Rowling-verse, the Prime Minister is supposed to know about the Ministry of Magic; he's the one official point of contact between Muggles and wizards. I wonder if that's also true in the canonical version?

Did you just upgrade HPMoR to canon, and downgrade the Rowling-verse to non-canon? Bwa-ha-ha!

4DanielH8yI've done that with Luminosity and Radiance over the four Twilight books (and I've only read the latter because of the former), and will probably do that with MoR once it's actually complete.
2Luke_A_Somers8yFor purposes of HP:MoR, yes. Canon is relative.
6MarkusRamikin8yIt's not body armor and such that matters. It's control. Wizards have mind magic. They can alter memories and control people. That would let them act through agents who already possess muggle resources, and who already understand (and can explain whenever necessary) the strengths of the muggle world. At the end of the day, if wizards seriously get interested in the muggle world, and muggles in the wizard world (not that they should get the chance, if the Malfoys are smart), and both learn about each others' strengths, wizards will still be the ones with the edge.
-1RolfAndreassen8yHence my mention of anti-curse body armour made of tinfoil. :)
2tadrinth8yBody armor only protects against weak curses like Somnium that are standard first year hexes. Stupefy, which is castable by first years, is not blocked by armor.
1RolfAndreassen8yI think you are rather missing my point, here. The body armour that Muggle Britain would invent would not be the kind available to Harry as a desperate improvisation. In a year or two, after a crash research program, Muggle Britain would understand how magic works, what materials block it, and would mass-produce the resulting body armour that does block curses up to and including Avada Kedavra. It would be based on tinfoil because everyone knows that tinfoil hats block the government's mind-controlling rays.
0Alsadius8yWhy would a gun be more lethal than current combat magic?
8metastable8y1) Same reason muskets trump trained knights and longbowmen. Even though heavy plate was actually effective against primitive firearms, and longbows worked more reliably and with excellent range, you could kit out a peasant with an arquebus for much less than the cost of mounting and armoring a knight, and a fraction of the training (you had to train for years to be able to fight effectively in mail or on horseback and drawing a longbow was an elite skill that required extreme muscle hypertrophy. It took a few hours to learn how to operate your firearm, and a few weeks to learn how to coordinate with other peasants.) Similarly, even if wizards were significantly more lethal and/or survivable than dudes with carbines, they'd be incredibly outnumbered. 2) In the Harry Potter World, combat magic is really weak. It's almost all short range and slow, often nonlethal, rarely provides area effects, and nobody really trains it. Automatic weapons have cyclic rates of hundreds or even thousands of rounds per minute, and trained operators can hit a target at half a mile or more. And that's just small arms. They wouldn't even need special anti-magic weapons, unless the wizards were extremely well organized.
1bogdanb8yWith regards to (2), I think you’re confusing first-year war games with actual combat magic. Actual “I really want to kill you” spells are probably much more powerful. Fiendfyre for example has at least the destructive potential of a tank, and in canon even Goyle could cast it. (It’s hard to control, but then again so is a tank.) Avada Kedavra can probably kill you even through a nuclear bunker wall, and it can be used by at least some teenagers. Sectumsempra is probably a instant-kill against a muggle, even with body armor, and it was invented by Snape while he was still a student. By contrast, pretty much the most powerful potential weapon normal people (well, outside the US at least) have ready access to is a car, and a very tiny fraction of people can easily make something much more destructive than a crude bomb. Also, due to the effects of magic on electronics, pretty much everything other than kinetic impactors would be fried by any kind of spell that manages to connect. We’re never shown really bad stuff, and during a discussion in MoR it’s mentioned that thermonuclear weapons are only a bit worse than most really bad spells, and that Atlantis was erased from time.
2metastable8yGood points, all. Fiendfyre seems robust. I might counter that most combat magic, even the adult sort, seems to be line-of-sight, which is a huge handicap. It also seems to be very inaccurate. If Harry & Co can literally dodge Deatheaters on foot and brooms, supersonic jets and HALO insertions are going to be really hard to target. Not to mention artillery shells in flight. And Wizards seem weirdly resistant to (biased against?) using magical heavy weapons or fire team tactics. They have a real duelist mentality. But the ability to erase from time does really trump. I concede.
4bogdanb8yA couple more recent thoughts: * Dodging Deatheaters (at least competent ones) on a broom is not something I expect to happen in MoR. Well, not unless it’s rocket powered, and I wouldn’t expect that to work more than once either. * Most of the big, non-line-of-sight weapons we (muggles) have arose for the purpose of killing lots of people in big battles (even though we’re using them of other stuff now), which isn’t really useful for wizards due to their low numbers, but: * The Interdict of Merlin is MoR-specific, and at the beginning of the Ministry chapters it is specifically mentioned that the purpose of that was to prevent what appeared to be the wizard equivalent of a nuclear holocaust. So in while magic can probably get really bad, you’re probably right that living wizards in MoR don’t know anymore extremely destructive non-line-of-sight spells, or at least they’re very rare. (Though that doesn’t mean that they aren’t much more powerful than handguns. I expect almost every spell thrown in that Quirrell–auror duel was above “high caliber machine gun” in deadliness, were it not for the shields.)
1Alsadius8yI grant 1), of course. But wizards have shields that ought to be proof against handguns. My question was asked in response to the line "guns that will reliably break a wizard's shields".
2Fermatastheorem8y'ought to' is often not the some as 'do' especially when the subject is Wizarding Britain.
2Alsadius8yWizards aren't totally stupid. You shoot down a dozen or so, and the rest will remember their Bullet-Repelling Charms quickly enough.
0RolfAndreassen8yWell, first you have to ask whether wizard shields actually do prevent inert lumps of lead from hitting their caster. They seem well-optimised for stopping charms, but presumably that relies on the magic in the charms, opposed by the magic in the shields. No doubt a wizard can shield against firearms, but do they as a matter of routine? Second, because Muggle Britain has thousands of scientists who would like nothing better than to crack the Secret Of Magic and, incidentally, mass-produce magic bullets each with the force of a low-level anti-shield charm. Which you can then fire from machine guns wielded by conscripts with two weeks' training.
2bogdanb8yAlmost certainly they do. Minerva mentions that guns aren’t a big threat to a prepared witch, and even if you assume she’s not really knowledgeable, I’m pretty sure someone would have tried throwing (with magic) hard, heavy things at their opponent during life-and-death fights. Or at least using bows and arrows.
0buybuydandavis8yI wouldn't say that they aren't dangerous, but I agree that they're unserious. Harry is one of an apparently very limited number who takes wizarding power seriously enough to learn how it works, and really think creatively about how it can be leveraged.
1hirvinen8yThat's close enough to a promise. Besides, Dumbledore could have made him promise more explicitly off-screen and this is just Moody doing the same independently or reiterating it.
2Roxolan8yThat's not a promise. It's not even agreement. This is quite possible. However, it does not sound like Moody's reiterating. And I find it improbable that Dumbledore included the "don't touch a pen" clause (that's more Moody's style), but no other clause, and then Moody independently, coincidentally added that clause and no other clause.
2hirvinen8yA: ". [] Do you understand?" B: "I understand." I claim that in normal human communication that type of exchange is viewed as B accepting what A says, unless B somehow signals explicit disagreement. Then, if B knows this, and assumes that A thinks likes this, and only explicitly affirms understanding while withholding knowledge of their disagreement, B is at the very least deceiving A. Of course Moody should know to be more paranoid in what he forbids Harry from doing. Especially with him having witnessed Harry showing cunning and paranoia on a level he finds promising.
0undermind8yThank you for pointing out these subtle clevernesses.
[-][anonymous]8y 36

I really liked this chapter. I've always liked the HPMOR version of Draco, and now I like the HPMOR version of Lucius as well. It's fun to watch smart competent people being awesome at each other.

I wish the chapters with girls in them could be like this too.

I think this is the heart of feminist complaints about this story. Yes, the female characters are honest, and levelheaded, and moral, and quite a bit more realistic than male characters. Yes, the male characters have massive, gaping flaws in their character, and if you tried to have a conversation with them in the real world they would appear unbearably pompous. Yes, clever repartee does not replace genuine kindness. I agree with all that.

But the thing is, this fic (on its surface) doesn't value kindness and morality nearly as much as suave, articulate word-poker and beautifully intricate schemes and counter-schemes and "I know that you know that I know..." insanity. I think you're going to get people accusing you of sexism even if you provide your female characters with traits that are valued and truly matter in the real world, as long as you still hold back the traits that are valued in-story.

In the original Harry Potter, Hermione was quite a bit more immature in her first year than in HPMOR - but the backbone of HP was bold derring-do and wandsmanship and remembering the right spell, and she (and McGonagall and Ginny) was essential in that environment. Intricate conver... (read more)

The character who seems to be the best response to this, and whom I hope we will see again shortly, is Amelia Bones. She seems to kick just as much ass as Moody, without the significant aid of a literally all-seeing eye. Watching her Azkaban defense was quite impressive, and I hope that the hints of "Bones" in this chapter mean we'll see her in action again, and not just as a potential signatory.

I would have loved to read a counterfactual HPMOR with Bones in the role of McGonagall (or McGonagall with the personality of Bones). It's true that her personality makes more sense in an Auror than a teacher, and that means we don't get to see her very much. But then again, virtually every major male authority figure in Hogwarts looks like he should belong in an elite war chamber rather than a classroom. Seriously, what are these people doing running a boarding school?

Hogwarts is the entire British magical education system (with the exception of some private tutors). Controlling education is not optional for people who want to control a country. The fact that education is all centralized the most powerful fortress just makes it even more important to control.

Hogwarts is the entire British magical education system (with the exception of some private tutors).

Do we know this for a fact?

Objections:

  • Going to Hogwarts is prestigious, meaning there must be lower-status options available.

  • Hogwarts regularly hires apparently British replacement teachers, most of them with at least the appearance of educational experience. It is improbable that said experience comes exclusively from abroad or from being a private tutor.

  • There are too few pupils at Hogwarts to account for the entire underage wizarding population, given the size of the overall wizarding population and assuming the majority of wizards' children are also wizards (not to mention having to factor in Muggleborns).

  • It seems improbable that the booming school equipment business of Diagon Alley survives on one school's worth of customers, especially if most of them only shop once a year.

  • If most of the population of magical Britain have been through the same school, we would expect an extremely high degree of social interconnectedness, with most people knowing everyone of the same age at least by sight. There's no evidence of this.

On the other hand,

  • It is implied that letter

... (read more)

Canon is fairly clear that Hogwarts is the only game in Britain. It also leads to glaring inconsistencies in scale which you just pointed out. (Rowling originally said that Hogwarts had about 700 students, and then fans started pointing out that that was wildly inconsistent with the school as she described it. And even that's too small to make things really work).

But the evidence, from HP7 (page 210 of my first-run American hardback copy):

Lupin is talking about Voldemort's takeover of Wizarding society, to Harry and the others.

"Attendance is now compulsory for every young witch and wizard," he replied. "That was announced yesterday. It's a change, because it was never obligatory before. Of course, nearly every witch and wizard in Britain has been educated at Hogwarts, but their parents had the right to teach them at home or send them abroad if they preferred. This way, Voldemort will have the whole Wizarding population under his eye from a young age."

"Most wizards" in Britain were educated at Hogwarts, and the exceptions were homeschooled or sent abroad. It's really hard to read that to imply that there's another British wizarding school anywhere.

It seems improbable that the booming school equipment business of Diagon Alley survives on one school's worth of customers, especially if most of them only shop once a year.

It didn't seem to me there were so much school equipment business. If you look at the shops Harry went to the first year, it's a dress shop, a book shop, a wand shop, a potion ingredient shop, a broomstick shop, a pet shop, ... none of them sound dedicated to school equipment. They probably have a lot of school equipment in stock/display during august, like supermarkets do here too, but continue selling their goods to adult wizards the rest of the time.

The rest of your objections do hold, but I just fold it into "canon HP isn't very consistent" suspension of disbelief... of course, it makes things tougher for EY when he's making a consistent version of it. But that's part of what makes HPMOR funny/interesting.

3Desrtopa8yI took the implication from reading the books that Rowling had different ideas at different times whether there were intended to be multiple schools of magic in Britain or not. It was referred to in the beginning as the "best" school in Britain, but by the end of the series, the Voldemort-run Ministry instituted mandatory Hogwarts attendance for all youth, and a character remarked that parents had at least had the option of homeschooling their children before.
2Kaj_Sotala8yIt doesn't seem too implausible for them to have a law saying something along the lines of "a person who has been expelled from one magical school may not be admitted to any other magical school".
1knb8yThe Magical economy generally doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. In canon it seems like every witch/wizard works for the Ministry, Hogwarts, or for a small restaurant or shop. I think wizards can pretty much conjure every basic material into existence except food and gold. That does leave an interesting question of where magical Britain is getting its food and gold from. There might be some witch/wizard farmers out there that we never hear about, or they could be just stealing food from muggles. Maybe the ministry sanctions some small scale trade between the magic/muggle world?
0fractalman8ywell... In cannon, the weaselys have a garden...and you can enlarge food with magic, though rowling never specifies what the multiplicative limit is. (it is STRONGLY implied there is one, though. seventh book.) So a little bit of gardening by the women goes a long way, though it may only be poor families that actually resort to it.

On the topic of illogical career paths, Bones has a real job that requires being a very good auror, rather than being an errand-boy for Dumbledore, as Moody seems to be.

And as for "what are these people doing running a boarding school", they run a school based on reward and (mostly) punishment, rather than the growth of their pupils; they teach a rigid curriculum that seems to have remained unchanged for centuries, in spite of advances in both the magical and muggle worlds; and they socially condition people into narrow roles, largely defined by negative attitudes towards others, based solely on the House a piece of fabric sorts them into.

To be fair, that's more support than Muggles give students choosing a major in college.

9Velorien8yAs a point of accuracy, it's been stated a couple of times that Hogwarts is meant to follow the Ministry-mandated curriculum, so this one is not entirely "these people"'s fault.
3undermind8yThanks for the correction.
3MugaSofer8ySource?
7RolfAndreassen8yDraco seems to believe that Hogwarts is an impregnable fortress, a secure base for whatever power Dumbledore wants to project. Headmaster of Hogwarts appears to be a title awarded by the Wizengamot, which also elects the Chief Warlock, and Draco regards it as a significant increment to the power of the Chief Warlock. Its function as a boarding school may be secondary and incidental. :)
3ikrase8yHogwarts is more like a university than most boarding schools.
8CAE_Jones8yVanishingly low-confidence idea: Hermione realized that the Philosopher's Stone is hidden at Hogwarts, went to retrieve it, and somehow in there the troll got loose. Evidence against: canonically, the stone troll and the bathroom troll were distinct, Snape went to guard the third floor corridor, the troll was pretty deep within the gauntlet in canon, meaning that if it was placed similarly in methods, something complicated happened off screen, and Dumbledore's wards over the corridor would doubtless have alerted him. And it wouldn't be much of a victory for Hermione, since the stone's actual canon protection was the mirror of Erised charmed to give the stone only to someone who wanted it, but not to use it, and Hermione was seeking the stone to help pay off Harry's debt. Evidence for: In Chamber of Secrets, Hermione manages to convey information in spite of being petrified, which would probably have been found sooner had Harry/Ron been more observant. And even then, she managed to get petrified rather than killed, since she knew what to expect. And in Philosopher's Stone, she was the one who figured out the stone was at Hogwarts (though, admitedly this wouldn't have been as likely without Hagrid's extremely loose tongue, but in MoR she was researching the stone last we saw of her). So yeah, I could see Hermione having accomplished something off screen between chapter 87 and 89, but for now I'll keep my confidence of this happening below 50% barring stronger evidence.
4buybuydandavis8yHarry says: You learn goodness from Hermione, and how to kill things efficiently from Quirrell. Who do you think is being valued here? What the fic values above all else is a love and respect for life. Even the child who wants a sparkly throne and minions feels that way. Especially that child. All the various high powered smarty pantsing is entertainment and eye candy, not the core values of the fan fic. Not by a wide margin. These "I'm offended" isms seem to be a very effective way to entirely miss the point of what someone else is saying, as you root about for the offensive kernel. It's a fine hobby. You need never fail; find a difference and spin it negatively. Ta da! I'm offended! Whee! What fun! Maybe I should try it. I suppose I could get my undies in a bunch over the misandrism in HPMOR, since as even you say Huff huff huff. Stomp stomp stomp. I'm so offended. Hmmm, just didn't work for me. I'm not offended, and don't want to be. Instead of getting huffy about how wonderful Hermione is portrayed relative to males in the story, I'd rather just love the Hermione character even though she doesn't have the same genitalia that I do. Imagine that. I think it's sad that people are trapped in this ideology, looking for ways to be offended, casting a pall over everything they see.

I think you misunderstood. I wasn't claiming to be offended myself, I was trying to get at the cause of people's emotional reactions. Whether or not you believe those emotions are justified, they are almost always triggered by something.

I also specified that HPMOR values wit and scheming on its surface - that is, the scheming is what provides almost all the entertainment value and keeps people in their chairs long enough to hear the deeper ideology. What do we want from characters in a story at their most basic level? We want to have fun watching them. That's why most people read stories, and it's why most people read HPMOR. And the ones who are the most fun to watch are the male characters.

I didn't claim this was intentional, nor that it was wrong, just that it was probably the cause of feminist complaints. It was in part an answer to "But the female characters are good people". Being a good person is not always the same as being good in the story. In Disney movies, you have to be a wide-eyed dreamer. In Tarantino movies you have to be a stone-cold killing machine. In HPMOR (and Death Note) you have to be a hyperintelligent byzantine plotter. And then comes the ideology.

8AndrewE8yThis may not have been put in the most diplomatic way possible, but I think the last sentence has merit. My first reaction upon reading the chapter was "wow, Harry did a masterful job of manipulating the hell out of the Malfoys" (not that the manipulation will be to the Malfoy's detriment, but that's beside the point). Then I find out that people are impressed with the competence of Lucius Malfoy and therefore sexism? I suppose it was good that Lucius wasn't blinded by irrational hatred or greed, but that's an awfully low bar to be setting for characters that impress you. He walked in with one plan that Harry saw through in a second. I anticipate a few possibly short scenes where Harry does basically the same thing and manipulates Bones and Madam Longbottom into supporting him as well. If this scene is being held as evidence of sexism, the laws of evidence tell me those scenes should be held as evidence against, but somehow I don't see it happening that way. That said, if other people can see what they're looking for then so can I, but that's my take.
3Oscar_Cunningham8yActually, the law is that the average scene that isn't Harry manipulating Lucius must be evidence against sexism, not that any such scene is evidence against sexism. Many of the possible scenes in the set {Harry doesn't manipulate Lucius} are sexist.
4wedrifid8yThis tends to be my default preference...
9linkhyrule58yI think we'll be seeing more of Bones...
1solipsist8yI fear you are right. I really like Bones (pyromania aside), but her future doesn't look good....

I'm concerned if, this late in the game, Harry's only reason for suspecting the Defense Professor is "just because he's the Defense Professor." It would seem that he has way too many excellent reasons to suspect Quirrell no matter what his title. The sense of doom. The fact that he was able to cast Avada Kedavra on a random guard. The fact that he carried Harry off on a disastrous plot to free Bellatrix Black. The fact that he happened to be there on time to save Draco's life when the wards were disabled. The fact that he is one of only a handful of wizards with the ability to disable Hogwarts' wards. The impassioned speech advocating benevolent fascism. The fact that no one knows who he really is and Harry can think of at least three different identities he's taken on. The weird zombie mode that seems to roughly correlate with Bad Things happening. The excessively harsh and sometimes downright abusive way he runs his class. The lack of empathy and inability to accept or even understand love.

My question is, do you think Harry has realized all this and is really strongly suspecting Quirrell for other reasons, and he only told Lucius that the only reason was the curse on the Defense Professor's position? Or do you think Harry is still reluctant to seriously entertain the possibility that it was Quirrell?

[-][anonymous]8y 21

You left out "The wards explicitly say that the Defense Professor killed Hermione."

I mean, it is quite literally spelled out. I'm completely baffled at how both readers and characters are not promoting Quirrell to the top of the suspects list by a mile.

The old witch’s eyebrows rose. “How did he identify you to the Hogwarts wards, then?”
A slight smile. “ “The Headmaster drew a circle, and told Hogwarts that he who stood within was the Defense Professor. Speaking of which—”

Quirrell is Baba Yaga, a "she", and some "he" also in that circle is the Defense Professor. EDIT: The Troll is the Defense Professor.

Past Professors of Defense have included not just the legendary wandering hero Harold Shea but also the quote undying unquote Baba Yaga, yes, I see some of you are still shuddering at the sound of her name even though she’s been dead for six hundred years.

" quote undying unquote Baba Yaga"

Quote hint unquote.

“Here of course we have the Sorting Hat, I believe the two of you have met. It told me that it was never again to be placed on your head under any circumstances. You’re only the fourteenth student in history it’s said that about, Baba Yaga was another one

Gee, Baba Yaga's mind had the same effect on the Hat as Harry's. Do we hypothesize his brain being like anyone else's brain?

And I daresay that most wizards would be hard-pressed to name a single Dark Lady besides Baba Yaga.”

Yes, they'... (read more)

5gwern8yYou make a better case for Quirrel=BY than anyone I've seen to date.
8buybuydandavis8yReading the PDF and using the search function is very handy. 3 comments on BY doesn't take a lot of effort to analyze. I was surprised there were so few comments. A harder piece of analysis would be to look at Quirrell's views on gender. Harder to search on. But the SPHEW protests provide some interesting tidbits. First of all, that Quirrell is there at all. Of the faculty, it's predominantly the female faculty, and Quirrell doesn't seem your prototypical human rights protester. He even had a button. Maybe Quirrell speaks with some authority about what women with power would do. EY has a habit of having his characters smile or laugh to themselves when they're think thing they're not entirely sharing with others. So that Quirrell took Hermione seriously in ways that others didn't. He also awarded her "100 points for doing what's right". And he tried to get her out of Hogwarts before she died. He looks to be another character who values Hermione more than EY's "feminist" detractors.

Maybe Quirrell speaks with some authority about what women with power would do.

The story Quirrell recounts here seems very much like the canon story of handsome muggle Tom Riddle's seduction by pureblood witch Merope Gaunt — the parents of Tom Riddle, Jr. aka Voldemort.

2buybuydandavis8yVery good catch. It lessens the support of that particular response to my thesis, but I still think the scene as a whole still does lend some support.
2Tenoke8yTwist: Quirrell is Voldemort's mother.
0Fhyve8yaka Baba Yaga
4gwern8yI think it's more that I never took the idea seriously enough to note the links between the Sorting Hat, Occlumency descriptions, etc all formed a reasonably persuasive picture.
4tegid8yYou make really good points. The 'laws' of storytelling go against it, though, in the sense that with only 3 mentions, Baba Yaga being important would be unsatisfying. In any case, if this were true there must be other things on top of it that are more meaningful (i.e. Quirrel is Voldie who is BY, or whatever...)
1Viliam_Bur8yQuirrell aka Baba Yaga aka Voldemort is Harry's biological mother. (James Potter is his father.) That would explain their similarities better than the hypothetical brain surgery / horcrux thing.
3atorm8yBoy-Who-Lived Gets Draco Malfoy Pregnant
0buybuydandavis8yGiven the extreme and multiple foreshadowing EY indulges in, I wouldn't count it out.
0buybuydandavis8yThat's interesting. Baba Yaga, traveling through time by uploading her mind into host after host, decides to make a more compatible host, and produces a child to be her next host. My position for a while is that Quirrell is grooming Harry to be his next host, and who better for the Dark Lord to move into, than the Boy Savior as he defeats the Dark Lord? Though as Quirrell, presumably "he" could have fathered Harry through Lily. However, it kind of fits the story of that Munroe guy that Harry is actually a replacement baby left behind when the Potter family was exterminated. That would be the 2nd Old House that was killed off and left with a single replacement survivor. But the thing is, if uploading is an integral part of the story, he's already committed to that complication, and so it adds little further complexity to say that he uploaded some chunk of himself to Harry, and a biological explanation becomes superfluous.
1Dentin8yProbably just pattern matching on it, and Quirrell is ridiculously powerful, but he was the one to notice and stun 100+ females summoning Harry to the ground.
1buybuydandavis8yAnd note Quirrell's comment: He thinks he should have anticipated the actions of young girls taking actions based in romance. That's about the last context a grown man expects to be able to anticipate events. Pattern matching as well, but the pattern matches quite a lot.
0buybuydandavis8yOn the original point, of who the Defense Professor is, I saw a great idea on Reddit - the Troll is the Defense Professor. So if you need an agent in Hogwarts to kill a student, you want the wards to think that they're a Professor. Also, about Quirrell stealing bodies

This only narrows Harry's list to 'The Defense Professor and people who could rig the wards to say the Defense Professor killed her.' Dumbles is easily on that list.

2OnTheOtherHandle8yYes, but "The Defense Professor" and "anyone else who can rig the wards" shouldn't have the same probability in his mind. What with all the rest of Quirrell's strange behavior and the curse on the position, "The Defense Professor" should be allotted a massive probability, with a comparatively smaller piece left for "whoever else has the ability to do this." He should be suspect number one by far.
3Fermatastheorem8yFor that, I'd point to undermind's comment that this is only what Harry wants the Malfoys to know. There might also be an element of Harry's art as a rationalist being forgotten when he needs it most.

You mean Dumbledore says that the wards say that the Defense Professor killed Hermione. We would have to trust both Dumbledore and the wards for that. But you are right, it leaves only Dumbledore and Quirrel as plausible suspects.

Harry's reason given to the Malfoys for suspecting Quirrell is "just because he's the defense professor." I'm sure he knows all of this other evidence as well, and would consider it appropriately if actually given a chance to sit down and consider the possibilities (though he might be rather distracted by Draco's Dumbledore hypothesis).

Given his extraordinary caution when meeting Quirrell in the woods earlier, he is at least willing to seriously entertain the possibility.

2Sheaman37738yNot to mention this, even before the troll:
1Houshalter8yI thought that he just didn't want to talk to Quirrell at the time and wanted to continue his walk alone for another hour.
8Kindly8yAside from that, he also prepares to use his Time-Turner to "flee upon an instant's notice"; furthermore, after the starlight spell wears off, Harry's first thought is to guard against an attack from the Defense Professor while Harry is temporarily blinded.
6Luke_A_Somers8yConsidering that (as of this comment) the story says that he only said that to avoid attracting attention to Quirrell, I'd go with option 1.
2westward8yHarry has been suspicious of Quirrell for a long time.

If Dumbledore is Harry's legal guardian and can overrule him, should Harry's 11-year-old signature be worth anything to Lord Malfoy?

Dumbledore may be able to overrule the contract, but that would do little to stop the political effects of Harry's statement that Lucius did not kill Hermione. Since it would also reinstate the debt, it doesn't seem like a net benefit to Dumbledore.

A very good point.

Then again, if Dumbledore contests it, we might just end up with another round of

The Headmaster of Hogwarts, who acted as Harry Potter's legal guardian in the eyes of magical Britain, had overruled his ward's assent.

The Debts Committee of the Wizengamot had overruled the Headmaster of Hogwarts.

The Chief Warlock had overruled the Debts Committee.

The Wizengamot had overruled the Chief Warlock.

After all, Lord Malfoy has already secured the Wizengamot's support in the matter of the blood debt and his right to deal with it as he sees fit. Nor is it likely to defy Harry's attempt to pronounce House Malfoy innocent of Hermione's murder.

4DanArmak8yAnd nor is Dumbledore likely to argue before the Wizengamot that House Malfoy is not innocent.

I think for the time being Malfoy wants this to happen and chose to accept Harry's right to enter an agreement...but if something goes wrong, I wouldn't put it past Lucius to spin this into an invalid contract due to Harry's age. Or maybe Harry has done so many crazily adult things so far this actually feels perfectly normal, not only to the readers, but the characters.

0hirvinen8yFrom what we have seen so far, it would rather appear that Harry's signature is just as valid as if he had been an adult. He can be overruled by Dumbledore but it is not required that Dumbledore signs the papers for him.
-2OnTheOtherHandle8yI don't think we've seen evidence that normal minors can make and enter contracts - I think Harry's just been implicitly granted an exception to all the rules of normal minors because he's the Chosen One. But the bad thing about implicit agreements is that the ones with official power can revoke them when convenient and the other party has no recourse.
6hirvinen8yI do not recall Harry or Hermione requiring adult input to enter their contract except for McGonagall advising them on the form and possibility of such contract. Granted, it was overseen by the Wizengamot and their legal guardian, but if they could not have done it legally by themselves, we should have seen Dumbledore's explicit approval instead of just lack of overruling it.
5atorm8yPossibly he still has the power of the Scion of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter.

Even if the other humanoid races are essentially human, it seems like Harry should be talking to them more. Getting different viewpoints and information could be incredibly helpful. If the differences are primarily cultural, well, there can be an awful lot of variation between cultures. Not to mention the differences in magical ability and techniques.

Of course, in canon, Harry didn't catch on to this until the fourth year or so.

3gthorneiii8yI agree that it would be a useful exercise, but given constraints of time as well as opportunity cost, Harry may simply be prioritizing other pursuits.
8monsterzero8yI wasn't thinking particularly about recent events. If Harry wanted to unravel the secrets of magic, he should have been interviewing goblins and house elves since he learned they existed. Hagrid would have been another good lead, as he could potentially be networked to allow introductions to centaurs, giants, etc. Asking Draco about Dumbledore has yielded some really interesting new hypotheses. More viewpoints = more data!
0Sheaman37738yPeople seem to constant forget--Hagrid's status as a half-giant is secret. Everyone had a different theory as to why he's that big, but nobody thought it could be because he has giant blood, because then obviously he wouldn't be employed in civilized society. I agree otherwise, however.
1CAE_Jones8yWhat Harry doesn't know that canon Harry figured out quickly is that Hagrid knows a lot about magical creatures. (He eventually became care for magical creatures teacher, after all.) He ventures into the forbidden forest, tends the nonmagical part of the Hogwarts gardens (which get attacked by magical creatures on occasion), etc. And if Harry did more digging into the Chamber of Secrets incident, he might learn about Aragog. Knowing most of this, though, requires Harry to actually interact with Hagrid more than is strictly necessary, which doesn't seem to interest him.
4wedrifid8yEither you are making a pun about the ability to identify said creatures by smell or you mean "knows".
2CAE_Jones8yEhehehehe, that was a mistake on my part, thanks! Fixed now.
0noahpocalypse8yNot to mention infeasible, what with his nigh imprisonment.

"I only used you in ways that made you stronger. That's what it means to be used by a friend."

My favorite line in this chapter.

Which calls back to this bit in Chapter 51:

But then Professor Quirrell had also seen Harry taught Occlumency, he had taught Harry how to lose... if the Defense Professor wanted to make some use of Harry Potter, it was a use that required a strengthened Harry Potter, not a weakened one. That was what it meant to be used by a friend, that they would want the use to make you stronger instead of weaker.

6Qiaochu_Yuan8yWhy?

I don't know about the parent, but personally I liked this line because it debunks the cached thought that "using" someone is always wrong. Humans use one another all the time for all sorts of things, from a grad student using his mentor to advance his career to an overworked executive using her goofy laid-back friends to keep her blood pressure down. People tend to only consider one very narrow and destructive meaning of the word "use", and then come to the conclusion that you can't have a genuine caring relationship with someone if you pursue it for personal benefit. The grad student can still admire and love his mentor even though the main point of that relationship is so he can get a PhD. If you do care about the person, you'd try to arrange it so that your use will help them too.

That's one reading, I guess. Another reading is that this is the kind of line you might use to justify the narrow and destructive kind of using to yourself. Seems a little dangerous is all.

3OnTheOtherHandle8yThat's true, and in this context it doesn't seem like Harry was being entirely fair. I liked that line better the first time around, when Harry applied it to how Quirrell used him. He was wrong, but I thought it was interesting that he chose to view it in that light.
9Kaj_Sotala8yBecause of what OtherHandle said, basically. Yes, it can be a dangerous and self-serving attitude that you use merely to rationalize your abuse of another person, but I also find there to be something refreshingly honest about it, at least if you're open about it (which Harry admittedly wasn't). Reading that line caused me and a friend to have a very pleasant conversation of the ways in which we are going to use each other for our mutual benefit in the future. :)
5moritz8yDid you notice that from Quirrel's perspective, that's exactly what he has done to/with Harry? Killing Hermione had the effect of hardening Harry's resolve, and removing some of his scrupels. For Quirrel that's "stronger".
3NancyLebovitz8yAnd not just obvious current scruples. Hermione is an external scruple-generator for Harry.

Is there a list of currently remaining mysteries/Chekhov's guns/loose ends somewhere? Like, what happened to Hermione's body, what happened to Beatrix Black, who H&C is, who has the marauder map... And maybe a list of solved mysteries, too.

There is at least one list on Reddit.

I'm currently rereading and annotating and will provide such a list when I am finished.

...Thinking..

No. Persuasive theory, but it has flaws in it - specifically, the Troll was too successful at neutralizing Grangers defenses to have been a misfired plot. Arranging for her to be wandering the halls alone? Sure. Sabotaging her broom? sure. Invisibility cloak not doing what it was supposed to? Well, I can see that. Telling the troll to eat her feet first so that the emergency portkey does not work?

That absolutely requires lethal intent. The rest of it all fits, but having Granger get ported out of harms way if Harry flies into a wall while en-route or something does not even require D to put a backup plan in place, it merely requires him to not neutralize a precaution already in place.

The anti-troll weapon.. Well, if the troll got stolen from the philosopher stone defenses...

however, that does not mean D was not hat and cloak. Because, as Harry so ably demonstrated, breaking someone out of askaban is not difficult. Sending Granger there would not require D to intend to leave her there, even if he was expecting the wizengamot to enact a lesser sanction.

I think it's relatively plausible, actually. The troll did not necessarily have specific orders to eat her feet-first.

As a matter of character, Dumbledore does have odd notions of what it takes to be a hero. And he may think Harry needed to see the real toll of wars by having someone close to him die.

Or he really was confident that Harry would save her, and he would use the troll attempt as evidence against Malfoy (which would have worked).

And my favourite part of your comment:

"Invisibility cloak not doing what it was supposed to? Well, I can see that."

Yes; that's the problem :)

2TobyBartels8ySo it's Dumbledore who's the sexist fridger, not Eliezer!
1Velorien8yI realise you're probably just being flippant, but I should note that Hermione is the only person Dumbledore knows and has access to that really matters to Harry. If he was going to fridge anyone, it would be her, for that reason rather than sexist ones.
0bogdanb8yWell, he could have killed Harry’s parents. It might not trigger Harry’s “kill death by any means necessary” reaction, but then I don't think anyone would have anticipated that in-universe, given that even Q was surprised by the prophecy.
2Velorien8yPoint. That said, I suspect that to Dumbledore Hermione's self-proclaimed hero status automatically signals "willing to die for the cause", whereas Harry's parents are innocent bystanders in every possible way.
2bogdanb8yPerhaps, although “story logic” can imply parents being willing to sacrifice for their children. That’s a problem with thinking of the world in terms of stories, you can find a trope to justify almost anything. Authors always can (and often do) pull deus ex machinas out of their nether regions.
9Velorien8yThere's no need to do that. The portkey is already blocked by the Hogwarts wards prohibiting Apparition. If the murderer instructed the troll to eat Hermione feet-first to disable the portkey, that would mean they expected her to be able to make it out of the castle and across the grounds while being pursued by the (much faster) troll - something she could not do without a working broomstick or some other asset that in itself foiled the assassination attempt.
4gwern8yJust like Harry was not portkeyed out of Hogwarts in Goblet of Fire?

Exactly like that. [sigh]

While your example is undeniable, Santa Claus does instruct Harry to get outside Hogwarts before using his playing card portkey, and I'm fairly confident there are other instances to the same effect. It seems that the state of the evidence, both in canon and MoR, roughly amounts to "Portkeys and Apparition do not work within Hogwarts wards except when they do".

4ArisKatsaris8yAll mentions of portkeys in HPMoR explicitly describe themselves needing to get out of the Hogwarts wards first. The "Santa Clause" letters, the emergency toe-ring portkey, when Quirrel and Harry leave together they walk out of the wards first before Quirrel throws a portkey to Harry, etc.
4linkhyrule58yBesides which, Dumbledore made the portkey in the first place - unless he's the culprit (which I doubt [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/20992]), he's very unlikely to forget to make the portkey bypass the wards somehow.
3BlindIdiotPoster8yIn GoF they had to set up an apparition-is-allowed-zone at the end of the maze in order for the portkey to work, which is why Crouch had to wait until Harry had won the cup instead of just turning a piece of silverware into a portkey or something.
5ArisKatsaris8yProblem is that in the book Crouch says: Doesn't say "added an extra Portkey location" or anything such. That would have been the perfect place for JKR to say so.
3ygert8yThis is definitely not canon. I think it's pure fanon, but it may be Word of God, I don't know. In any case, this makes the argument from this point a fair amount weaker.
0Sheaman37738yNobody was surprised when Harry showed up with the Cup. They all just got up and started clapping. To me, as well as many others, it makes sense that the Cup was made into a portkey that specifically bypassed the Hogwarts wards, which Barty Crouch then subverted to give it an extra stop along the way. It's also the only reason I can think of (besides Bahl's Stupefaction) for the Cup to then send Harry back to Hogwarts--not the center of the Maze, where it originated, but to another location, one that happened to be centered right before the audience. If anyone can think of an alternate theory, I'd love to hear it.
5ArisKatsaris8yYou're thinking of the movie. In the book it just says: "A torrent of sound deafened and confused him; there were voices everywhere, footsteps, screams. ... He remained where he was, his face screwed up against the noise, as though it were a nightmare that would pass. . . ."
3Sheaman37738y...bugger. I hate making that kind of mistake. Alright, granted. That does weaken my argument somewhat, but it still appears to stand overall.
0atorm8yPoor writing on JK's part?
1Sheaman37738yThat's always a possibility, but it's also a cop-out. Besides, the kinds of discussions that happens in places like this depends on extrapolating on small details. The logic seems to hold up to me. Does the theory presented above seem faulty to you?
1atorm8yNo. If we want to actually explain something that looks like it's just bizarre, it seems a decent theory. But I don't want to spend too much time explaining why the side of the plate farther from the heat source is warmer, especially from the canon, which I think is less well-planned than HPMOR.
2Sheaman37738yI don't feel that your metaphor applies, but okay. Plenty of other things to devote time and energy to.
7maia8yTo be fair, it ate her legs, not just her feet. It seems likely enough that if a troll is trying to kill you, it might as well eat your legs as any other part of you. On the other hand...

Try thinking the plots through from the perspective of whoever plotted them. The hat-and-cloak plot? That all fits someone who is reluctant to kill or overtly coerce, but free with memory charms. (Hi there Snape. Welcome to the suspect pool!) If the assumption is that the alarm on Draco was known, then at no point is anyone in serious danger. Worst case scenario, Hr gets to spend a night in azkaban before being quietly extracted. Heck, if Harry goes ballistic and kills off the dementors? Win for the light! .. and the fact that this might kill Harry is severely non-obvious. The standard patronus does not tax the caster.

.. Checking chapter 46. Right, first question. Dumbledore asks is what the toll of Patronus 2.0 is. Given Harrys answer, I think he may well be under the impression that Harry could safely kill off every dementor in britain if backed up by a phoenix. That could have been the entire point. Getting azkaban purified by Ûber-patronus..

So, yhea, this could all be the work of Dumbledore. If it was the work of someone else, the plotter still exercised some restraint. The plotter still fails actual etics, of course, but this could all be the work of someone who thinks t... (read more)

More than that, it's trivial to nullify that possibility. Just watch the battle. If you know it's happening, and you know where it is, then just use one of the many, many scrying implements we know Dumbledore has to watch the battle. The moment the troll ate her legs Dumbledore should've been there; even if he wanted Harry to save her or something he could've discreetly stabilized her, Harry had no way to notice.

0noahpocalypse8yDumbledore was absent from the castle. And he made it sound like the wards only alert him when a student has died. It's reasonable to expect them to warn ahead of time, after serious injury or something, but going by canon Dumbledore had no external alarm when Harry broke however many bones however many times on the Quidditch pitch.
4Michelle_Z8yDumbledore placed a ward on Hermione that alerted him to any "hostile magic" or "evil spirit" that touched her. Someone either got very lucky, or knew about the wards.
3Aureateflux8yAnd yet the explanation for the method of the attempted murder of Draco was that the slow cooling of his blood would cause his vitals to drop too slowly to trigger the wards until he died. Which explicitly relies on the common knowledge that Hogwarts DOES have wards that track the vitals of its students and that those wards are keyed to track sudden changes, and the removal of significant portions of the body would certainly constitute a "sudden change" in vitals. So in the attempted murder of Draco, the wards were circumvented; in the troll attack, they were actively compromised.
0Gurkenglas8yOr the wards only detect sudden vital changes caused by hostile magics.
1Gurkenglas8yMy grandparent is working on the assumption that Dumbledore is the culprit and would have had simple ways to make sure Hermionie doesnt die by mistake as a result of the attack he coordinated.
2noahpocalypse8yAh, I see. I was also working on the assumption that McGonagall was correct; no reason Dumbledore couldn't say he was leaving, head to his office, sit back, and watch.
6Gurkenglas8yIf it was him and he wanted Hermione to die, then he also had an excellent excuse to watch the battle with wards without acting on it, namely that he supposedly timeturned back after the fact and couldn't change anything.
0bogdanb8yTo be even fairer, that might be just because the legs were bite-sized, and polite trolls are taught by their mothers not to nibble their food.
4redlizard8yI think if you use this line of reasoning and then allow yourself to dismiss arbitrary parts of it as "not part of the plan", you can make a convincing argument for almost anything. For that reason, I consider the entire theory suspect.
0Benquo8yWell, Harry trying to save Hermione could have been part of the plan, but it seems like both major candidates (Quirrel and Dumbledore) thought (or at least hoped) that Harry would not succeed.
3Tripitaka8yAlthough this is often assumed, it has most likely not been the perpetrators real concern. CF: I strongly suspect it was to heighten the emotional impact on Mr. Potter, to be able to see her face.
1Izeinwinter8yThat still indicates lethal intent and malice. Does not fit with the "Plot misfire" theory.
2ChristianKl8yI wouldn't plan that way. If I would order the troll I would tell it to knock the person unconscious to prevent the person from triggering port-keys.

Or eat her head-first. That would prevent the activation of portkeys too.

3ChristianKl8yGrabing someone and moving them in a way that the head is near the mouth of the troll takes a tiny amount of time. It's faster for the troll to simple hit her head directly to knock her unconscious. If I think a bit more about it Hermonine should have been able to portkey away if the key isn't manipulated in any case. The troll makes noise so she would be aware that something is happening and turn in the direction of the troll. Seeing it should trigger a direct portkey activation. Anybody who can deactivite the invisible cloak probably has no issue to deactivate the portkey as well.

Hmm...a few thoughts.

I'd always read this series as Rationalist propoganda, and this chapter doesn't really work in that light.

Dumbledore, I'd figured, represented the world's Conventional Wisdom. Benevolent, on the whole, deranged, absolutely, and far more powerful than Harry could ever be. Harry and Co. can no more overcome him than the LW's readership can defeat the billions of non-rationalists.

With that interpretation in mind I didn't really doubt that Dumbledore could ever be guilty of something, but figured Harry would have to let him off the hook. People with good intentions do bad things but you can't go all Steerpike, ya know? I sort of figured that this was confirmed in Harry's speech to McGonagall about blaming Voldemort vs. himself. Heroic responsibility means save even those who have erred (and I can't really conceive of Dumbledore/humanity being judged to have sinned save by error).

But now we have Harry teaming up with Lucius and Draco, ostensibly to take down Dumbledore. I figured Draco represented your smart friend that you are trying to get to be a rationalist, and Lucius their peer structure. Inducting them into the Conspiracy shouldn't allow you to overcom... (read more)

5JayDee8ySeems likely to me that tearing this down will be the climax of the Roles chapters. Dumbledore is the big character we have left who hasn't had a 'meeting' with Harry. And all throughout the story - referencing Gandalf and LotR, "that's not his style" - Dumbledore has been about playing a role in a story. Also, revealing Dumbledore's secrets is one of the big elements of Rowlings' book 7, and one of the things HP:MoR would have to deal with to resolve all the canon plots in Harry's first year.

Dumbledore is the big character we have left who hasn't had a 'meeting' with Harry

"The first meeting:

...

...Harry found himself, still in his pajamas, facing Albus Dumbledore..."

4JayDee8yFacepalm, of course. I was thinking there would be a meeting along the lines of the previous private conferences - pretending to be wise in particular. Didn't actually get around to checking which meetings had happened versus which characters I'd expect.
4ygert8yI think you are reading into it a bit too deeply, and making analogies where analogies aren't. It's a story, so read it as such. I am not convinced that, say, Lucius is meant to represent Draco's peer structure any more than the amount which he is part of Draco's peer structure in-universe (being his father). Oh and one more thing: For Dumbledore's 'Life Is A Story' pitch, think a level up. The character's don't know it, and they probably never will [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/8389], they are just that, when all else is stripped away. In the end, at the highest level, their life is a story. Ponder that for a while...
0bogdanb8yI wouldn’t put it above Eliezer to find a way of having Harry be “the End of the World” literally by just ending the story somehow. But I can’t think of any explanation in that vein for destroying the stars, other than maybe breaking the ceiling in the Hogwards hall, which doesn’t fit. And style-wise it doesn’t feel right.

Malfoy Manor exuded all the subtlety of a Baroque castle, overstuffed with the trappings of power, filled to the brim with trinkets, tapestries and timeless artifacts. It seemed excessive even in the dark of night, with only some of the item galleries illuminated.

Harry didn't care for any of them. Politics, let Draco deal with all this signalling nonsense.

Yet Draco was absent, it was only him and Lucius Malfoy, his unlikely new ally, planning and plotting over minutiae, phrasings, contracts.

Laying a foundation for the next decades of Magical Britain, a blueprint for a saner Magical world, even?

That didn't help in devising the statement to be read in the Wizengamot, at least not after the first few hours. Harry couldn't help but think that Lucius enjoyed being the superior mind for once, and dragged it out just to non-so-subtly remind Harry how out of his element he truly was.

They had already used the Time Turner to its fullest effects, working in the Witching Hours of the morning, to get the most out of the Borrowed Time. As far as Dumbledore was concerned, Harry was soundly sleeping in the Ravenclaw quarters.

Muffled sounds were coming from outside Malfoy's private study, in which... (read more)

Malfoy was staring transfixed at Quirrell, his cane quivering, as if he had suddenly lost his confidence in all those barriers.

"I am running out of time, I give you this one chance. You know what I can do, you know how little I care about your trinket. Remove all your barriers immediately, bow to me, bow to your Lord, to your God, to me, Voldemort!"

There was a deadly silence in the room. Quirrell -- Voldemort? -- Quirrell apparently did not see the need to add anything, Harry couldn't speak -- could barely think! -- Lucius might as well be a deer staring into a truck's headlights, his eyes flickering back and forth between his cane, Quirrell standing there with a seemingly relaxed poise, and the hearth. The hearth across the room, it could as well have been on another floor, impossibly far away.

The cane cluttered to the floor, Lucius Malfoy's forehead followed immediately as he prostrated himself on the floor, voice quavering. "Forgive me, my Lord, for I have sinned. I am yours, now and forever, I will prove my loyal - "

There was a flash, Harry didn't see Quirrell so much as move his lips, yet Lord Malfoy, of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Malfoy, became pa... (read more)

0EternalStargazer8y... Interesting, if an incredibly anticlimactic ending. Is this supposed to be a theoretical future?
2Kawoomba8yAn alternate ending: Quirrell taking over Harry as a final host, Quirrell admitting to his true identity: being Monroe more so than Voldemort, and to staging his own death, also tying up a few loose ends. Probably my last prose contribution, judging by the reception. I did have an hour to kill, so I thought why not contribute the above speculation in a more interesting format. What did you find so anticlimactic? Maybe the "Boy-Who-Will-Live-Forever" is easy to accidentally skip over, the last line is a reference to a poem and a chapter ending of Sanderson's The Way of Kings.

Probably my last prose contribution, judging by the reception.

Speaking as one individual, it's not that I dislike what you've written, or do not find it interesting in its own right.

It's just that I come here, to a discussion and analysis thread, for information-dense texts which present their ideas clearly and concisely, because I find they give me the most value relative to time spent reading. Accordingly, when I see here a long prose text which is written to prioritise quality of narrative over efficiency of communication, I skim it quickly or not at all, and move on to other posts. They will contain a similar amount of value, but take a tiny fraction of the time to read and comprehend.

Also, I speculate that some people will think it inappropriate for you to "showcase" your own writing in a thread meant for discussion of someone else's work, though I realise that's not your intention.

6undermind8yI, for one, liked it. I'm not sure here is where it belongs (though I couldn't say where else it does). Seems pretty well-written and reasonably plausible; I like being reminded that Voldemort winning is a real possibility, and this seems like a way he might do so.
7Fermatastheorem8yMaybe on ff.net as a one-shot spinoff?
3David_Gerard8y"Commentfic" is a thing, after all.
0Kindly8yIt seems weird for Harry to actually be disinterested in "all that signaling stuff". He says he is to Draco in Chapter 24 (in nearly the same words), but this is because he wants Draco to try to plot against him.
0Kawoomba8yChanged the ending, better now?
6EternalStargazer8yI think the anticlimax comes from the fact that Harry has basically no agency in the story at all. We get 4 lines of internal monologue, but really, this is Quirrelmort's story, not Harry's. This isn't because he wins, so much as it is because his winning suddenly in this manner basically invalidates the entire rest of the story. While this might be an accurate rendition of events according to characterization, it ignores almost every subplot, begs the question of why this didn't happen at any other earlier event in the story, and doesn't really fit Quirrell's wistfulness over Harry's similarity yet difference from himself. Obviously that could all have been a lie, but even assuming everything done recently was to bring Harry to the point of matching Quirrell enough for the spell, this doesn't seem like the cutoff. The loss of Hermione's body shouldn't be the Despair Event Horizon for Harry - he was dedicated to getting to godlike power so he could just will it to happen. Quirrell's knowledge of Ringmione also puts him in the reader's shoes really, it is something he could not have known, unless we assume a lot of things about the story were false. I suppose a better term to describe the ending is "unsatisfying and plot ignoring".
0[anonymous]8yProfessor Quirrell looked at Harry Potter, his face expressionless. For a moment Harry wondered if the man would reveal all his secret identities, quietly reveling in all his deceptions, all the wool he had managed to pull over Harry's eyes. Or perhaps the Defense Professor would mockingly explain that it was by mastering Harry's own techniques that he had managed to win so utterly. Instead, Quirrell pulled out a gun and shot Harry.

What a clusterfuck. I love it. Reminds me of how Sam Hughes made his heroine summon a demon into her bed, explaining that stories are more interesting when characters don't have perfect reasoning.

4DaveX8yLink: http://qntm.org/daemons [http://qntm.org/daemons]

Would you believe I was expecting more of what we've gotten since Chapter 90, only starring Draco? I'm pretty sure Hermione would/will not like that contract one bit.

The transition from "Now I'm going to defeat death!" to "These are my plans to overthrow the government" was... actually pretty believable. I would like to know what Moody thought of Harry out-preparing him (and kinda wonder if someone in the wizarding world is going to invent a magical equivalent of the ball point pen--it shouldn't be that hard, just use a space-folded inkwell and maybe apparate it to the tip. Maybe the Weasely twins could do it in a couple years, if not already.).

Moody should have expected Harry to outprepare him (and probably did) - based on past experiences, plus general caution. What Moody completely missed was the direction of Harry's preparation - of having set up the meeting with his own goal in mind.

7ThrustVectoring8yYeah, the entire direction of Moody's advice was basically "don't let the adults take advantage of you". It didn't even cross his mind that Harry was willing or able to get an advantage out of Lucius.
7MalcolmOcean8yThis made me smile, Ahh, magic.
2linkhyrule58yOn a side note - why didn't Moody see the pen and paper going in?

He did. He also has never seen Harry without those things on him. I mean, really now? Harry is not going to go anywhere without pen and paper on his person. The real question is why he did not read it.

It doesn't look like he can read it while it's folded up, for whatever reason, or the reveal at the end of the chapter couldn't have gone as it did.

7Ben Pace8yThat's a bit stretched. He can see through things but not when they're folded up? I think he was just waiting for the writing to stop being upside down.

Presumably while they're folded up, he's seeing two overlapping sets of writing at the same time, and they interfere with each other, like overlapping OHP slides. To overcome this effect, he'd have to spontaneously tune his x-ray vision to the fineness of a millimetre or so (the thickness of the parchment), which may plausibly be difficult or impossible.

1ikrase8yAlso isn't there a suggestion that his eye gravitates towards magic (such as Harry's invisible flash grenade attack or Disillusionment (which seems to just be active camo) marking one as 'trying to hide')?
0Baughn8yAll that scene really needs is for such tuning to be annoyingly difficult when Harry is already unrolling the paper, i.e. so there's no point in trying when he'll see the text clearly in another few seconds anyway.
4thomblake8yThe problem was Moody not having read the paper when Harry brought it into the meeting.
2drethelin8ydoesn't harry just need to carry a few sheets of paper or have it folded into a book? I don't remember this being the case but it would prevent moody from reading it, presumably.
0hairyfigment8yA good point. But of course he was looking for threats to Harry, not threats from Harry.
3linkhyrule58yYes, but this is Alastor CONSTANT VIGILANCE Moody dealing with someone who actually landed a hit on him. Even if it involved massive cheating and handicaps.
5Benquo8yConstant vigilance does not mean unlimited attention.
1hirvinen8yDo we have evidence that his Eye sees through things like that? It sees in all directions and through hiding-magic but does it see e.g. through walls?
3Gurkenglas8yIt can see through his head and in canon it spotted a boggart on another floor.
1JoshuaZ8yIf it were in an extra-dimensional area (the bag of holding) that might be harder to read.

Harry did not have his bag with him when he went in.

9JoshuaZ8yWell, that destroys that hypothesis

Lucius Malfoy nodded distantly. "I could not think of any reason why you would pay a hundred thousand Galleons to save a mudblood's life. No reason save one, which would account for her power and bloodthirst alike; but then she died at the hands of a troll, and yet you lived.

What was the reason Lucius Malfoy thought of?

That Voldemort is her father, and her muggle background a lie. "Secretly a pureblood" really is a very credible explanation if you actually believe in blood purism.

1DanArmak8yAnd Bellatrix Black is her mother? But why would they place her in custody of Muggles, instead of purebloods?
0NancyLebovitz8yBreak the trail connecting her to Bellatrix?

Fostering her out would be insurance against defeat. Placing her with pure-blood allies would not suffice for that eventuality, as such allies would most likely be going down with the ship too. Placing her with muggles takes her out of the war entirely, and the trace means she gets back into the wizarding world 11 years later no matter what happens..

Uhm. This is spookily compatible with Canon. For a girl with supposedly loving parents, she spends an inordinate number of holidays at hogwarts and the burrow. Worse, we never actually meet said parents at all in canon. We are told. By Hermione, that they get shipped to Australia with a case of amnesia. And I mean, "my parents are dentists" is exactly the kind of lie a clever 11 year old orphan might tell people to get them to iose all interest in further enquiries. So, basically, her family could oh-so-easily be entirely fiction in-universe.

8Atelos8yActually her parents, or at least people claiming to be such do appear in canon, if barely. They get no dialogue, but during the shopping trip in the second book there's some mention of them being uncertain around all the magic and weirdness, Arthur Weasley saying something along the lines "oh wow, I get to meet real muggles, look they're exchanging muggle money!", and few lines about them being unnerved by the confrontation between Arthur and Lucius in the bookshop.
6TobyBartels8y‘The great tragedy of Science — the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.’
-1Baughn8yAh, but surely an orphan's guardians might be similarly uneasy.

Perhaps that Hermione is also Voldemort in the same way HJPEV is Voldemort (since, Horcrux or not, that seems the likely explanation for Harry's power and bloodthirst)?

1DanArmak8yUnlike Harry, Hermione has no past link to Voldemort. And, if you're unaware of how Horcruxes work, it would seem much more likely that Voldemort's spirit is possessing some one person, rather than two.
0Fermatastheorem8yTrue, Hermione doesn't have a link to Voldemort. I am aware of how horcruxes work and V had eight in canon (although only one was another human - the only example of such a horcrux that we have. There is no mention anywhere whether it's impossible to horcrux two humans). I tried to leave the possibility open that V and Harry's connection is something other than a horcrux, although my wording wasn't as clear as it could have been. I like the Bellatrix possession idea a bit better than my own, but I don't think we've hit on Lucius' reason yet.
2elharo8yActually in canon (or at least word of Rowling) there were two human Horcruxes: HP and Quirrell. That Quirrell was a Horcrux isn't explicit, and isn't relevant by the time Harry learns about Horcruxes, but Rowling has confirmed that he was.
0fractalman8yEr, really? every thing i've read in the books indicates that quirrel was NOT a horcrux, but was posessed by the central voldemort who had previously been possessing snakes...or any other animal he could get ahold of. So it was probably a blunder on her part when she said that quirrel was a horcrux, IF she said that.
0MugaSofer8yHaving looked into this, it appears that Harry was "technically" not a Horcrux, due to being an accident rather than prepared with the correct rituals; while Quirrel simply contained the soul fragment that was "original" Voldemort, temporarily.
0Alsadius8yHow does that tie into the numerology? It's stated that Voldemort wanted to have seven total shards of his soul - Riddle himself, diary, cup, diadem, snake, ring, and locket. Seems like she's contradicting herself.
0fractalman8yHe DID want 7 total fragments. Then he accidentally turned harry into one and didn't realize he'd done so. I can't quit recall if he made nagini before or after the diary got zapped. Quirrel is not a horcrux. he is possessed by voldemort himself. Cannon Harry is an Accidental horcrux. Canon voldemort never realized harry was a horcrux BECAUSE he'd never used the incantation to seal the soul fragment within harry.
0Alsadius8yThis is my point.
0Eliezer Yudkowsky8y????
2Fermatastheorem8yLast paragraph of this Pottermore screenshot [http://www.flickr.com/photos/twoapennything/6532510725/lightbox/] describes him as an 'effective horcrux' I presume because he's possessed by the remaining part of Voldemort's soul.
1Aureateflux8y"Effective" is not the same as "actual." Quirrel wasn't a horcrux in the sense that Harry or Nagini were horcruxes, even with what she's saying there. She just meant to say that Quirrel was like a horcrux. No ritual was done to make him into a horcrux.
1Fermatastheorem8yNot the same; agreed. However, there was no ritual done to Harry!Horcrux in JKR-canon either.
1Aureateflux8yI think the idea was that with Harry the requirements of the ritual were fulfilled, though accidentally. One of those requirements is the death of an innocent. But the HP wiki says that there's some kind of incantation that goes along with it, so that's either optional or... whatever. It seems to be like the Goblet of Fire portkey. The rule is the rule except when it isn't. The biggest difference between Harry-as-horcrux and Quirrel-as-horcrux is that Voldemort doesn't seem to have killed anyone (as far as we know) to possess Quirrel. So even if Harry might have accidentally become a horcrux, Quirrel didn't, although he might have served the same purpose a horcrux does in "keeping the soul anchored to the mortal world." I'm definitely not trying to argue that these things are consistent here, though. The point is that when people say something is "effectively" something else, they mean "practically" or "almost" rather than "actually." Unless someone finds some corpus data that suggests that Rowling's dialect (or, hell, her ideolect might be workable since she HAS written several rather large books) has a different usage...
0MugaSofer8yIn HPMOR, maybe (I think so, anyway). Rowling has stated that her version of the ritual is lengthy, and involves hings that made her ... publisher, I think? ... throw up.

None of the theories suggested thus far explain the last part of the quote:

but then she died at the hands of a troll, and yet you lived.

The way I see it, Lucius could have been thinking one of two things (originally, before Hermione's death) to say that:

  1. Killing Hermione would also kill Harrymort (e.g. Hermione is some quasi-Horcrux Lucius may have heard of).

  2. Hermione would certainly survive anything that Harrymort survives (e.g. Hermione also has all the magic skill of Voldemort).

6mjr8yIn the Bellatrix theory I'd interpret that as meaning that Lucius seriously doubts that Harry would survive something that manages to off Bellatrix. But I acknowledge that the phrase sounds like it means something more than that.
8mjr8yI'm only coming up with Hermione having perhaps been replaced by a certain escapee.
6Manfred8yBellatrix black, I assume.

For those of you confused by this comment: I believe Manfred assumes Lucius suspected that Hermione was replaced by a polyjuiced Bellatrix Black. Lucius implies that he believes Harry to be a de-powered Voldemort in their discussion at the train station, and also believes Harry to be behind the rescue of Bellatrix from Azkaban. If you rescued your powerful minion, you would want to keep her close about you for your own protection and to accomplish tasks beyond your magical abilities. Hermione Granger is known to associate with Harry Potter, so she would be the ideal candidate for someone to replace with Bellatrix.

0DanArmak8yI don't understand. Lucius thought that Harrymort wanted to bring up Hermione as his new Bella?
3Kindly8yOr that Hermione was possessed by Bellatrix in the same way that Harry Potter was presumably possessed by Voldemort.
0DanArmak8yThat makes no sense. First, Bellatrix is not dead (or whatever state Voldemort is in). Second, she could have had no contact with Hermione before escaping Azkaban.
7RolfAndreassen8yLucius thinks in terms of plots within schemes within intrigues; he does not necessarily assume that the body in Azkaban belongs to the real Bellatrix Black, or that the escape was real.
1ikrase8yThat she is Bellatrix Black? That... doesn't quite make sense...
0fractalman8yIt makes sense enough, if you already believed Harry Potter was voldemort and don't have harry's perspective.
0EternalStargazer8yTo save her in order to use her as Voldemort used Bellatrix, to bind her to him with the bonds of love as Voldemort did, because she was a powerful witch to be used as a tool. Hence the bloodthirst comment.

Well, Slytherin and Ravenclaw may both "win" the house cup now. But how is this going to result in the removal of the Snitch? A security measure?

2DanArmak8yAnd how is it going to be credited to a cunning plot by the Defense Professor, when he had no part in the current initiative?
8Benquo8yA true Slytherin never reveals the secrets of how he did it. The fact that he made the promise, and then the outcome happened, will be sufficient.
0kilobug8yIf he's the one who attacked Hermione and framed her, it could be said that he was planning for Hogwarts uniting itself. In fact, seeing his previous speech where he wanted Magical Britain to unite under a dictatorship, it would perfect sense for him to do so.
0DanArmak8yBut he's not going to explain to his students, at the end of the year, that that was the cunning plot that he had promised them. Think of the legacy he wants to leave behind as the greatest Defense Professor in history!

Quirrell, Dumbledore, Snape, Harry, and (increasingly) Draco have something in common. They are all creepy. These characters are intentionally inauthentic - acting as though they posses the specific beliefs, preferences, and abilities that they want others to attribute to them.

I feel unusually strong revulsion about this kind of deception - more than toward someone hiding their faults to manage their appearance, much more than toward someone being tactful and withholding or biasing sensitive claims to avoid conflict.

When I try to unpack "creepy",... (read more)

9Viliam_Bur8yAs a sidenote, intelligent people may seem creepy to the general population even if they don't try to deceive anyone. The mere fact of being more intelligent makes them more difficult to model for the average person. Then, when their actions violate the (wrong) model, the author of the model may feel deceived. The basic human irrationality: "if things don't work according to my model, the problem is not with my model but somewhere else". Another contributing factor may be the illusion of transparency, when the more intelligent person thinks they made their intentions obvious to the people around them, but the average people don't get the message, and then they are surprised when the intelligent person does the (unclearly) announced thing. EDIT: Even the rational thing of "changing your opinion when faced with evidence in the opposite direction" may feel like a dishonesty to a person not used to this. ("Yesterday you believed X, and today you believe non-X; were you lying to me?")
-1Dentin8yI've traditionally avoided seeming 'creepy' by blatantly violating various unimportant norms early in relationships. People don't like feeling deceived, and they don't like it when they are shown to be wrong after assembling a model. The trick is to make it clear from the outset that 'this person is extremely hard to model', or 'this person doesn't fit into any of my prefab models'. That way they don't get irritated about being wrong, they just assume it's par for the course. Examples of norm violation: * I am male and maintain a prominent 3 foot long braid which I often wrap around my neck * I make childish faces at people and things * My default vocabulary is apparently pretty exotic * I don't flinch and easily participate in sexual topics when they come up * I squeeze in comments about how the human race is going to fix this 'death' problem whenever I can * When asked occupation, I say that I started as an engineer, then started a video game company (wtf?) * When asked belief (common in the US), I state 'true nihilist/atheist' and that I'm quite possibly the least spiritual person they will ever meet All this stuff combined generally jams up people's predictors to the point where they give up on being correct, which largely fixes the creepy problem. Most people have stuff like this available, the trick is to emphasize and export the pieces which generate the most conflict with existing models. Be aware that there's also 'sexually creepy', which is a whole different ball of wax. Openness and being comfortable with sexual topics helps tremendously. It's also a very good idea to focus your attention and eyes on faces, not reproductive hardware, when you interact with someone.
4Nornagest8yConscious control over social presentation is a learned skill; it doesn't come in the same box with intelligence or rationality, although either or both might make it easier to pick up. I suspect it's prominent in Methods mainly because it serves the particular type of wheels-within-wheels plotting that Eliezer seems fond of. We could have a conversation at this point about whether constructed social presentation is unethical or "creepy", but I don't think it'd get us anywhere. Some people have the squick response, some don't. (Incidentally, I don't feel like Snape's got this in-story. He's certainly got a facade, but it's the sort you build semi-involuntarily when you hate parts of yourself and desperately want to hide them, not the kind you consciously build to optimize social outcomes. Harry does have it, but shouldn't have had the opportunity to develop it; it may be part of his Mysterious Dark Side/possible Harrymort package.)
3Discredited8yFor Snape, I was specifically thinking of the scene in Dumbledore's office where Harry reveals that he knows about the prophecy and Snape reacts without hesitation as though he hadn't heard of it. Snape was also a double agent during the war, and continues to maintain close relationships with Dumbledore and Lucius Malfoy. His actions do seem crude, awkward, uncontrolled or mostly defensive in other scenes such as in the bullying arc or his conversation with Quirrell in the forbidden forest in Chapter 77. But then, one can act with false impulsiveness too. I suppose the characters are in a cold war and in the shadow of a hot war. That circumstance makes "offensive" deception in one's social presentation more useful.
7gattsuru8yThey're also in an environment where creating an artificial persona is not merely useful, but a fundamental survival tactic: each of these characters would be dead by now if they were not Occlumens (and Lord Mafloy is an Occlumens, see chapter 47), which requires the person to also juggle a separate and highly artificial persona. And of course, McGonagall acts similarly, even though her reaction is not similarly perfect, possibly because she's not a perfect Occlumens (and had just dealt with a full day of Rationalist!Harry). There's some correlation between IQ and various measures of social awareness, despite the stereotype to the opposite, but it is a learned ability and many experts either don't learn it, or harness it to different ends. Feymann's writings on public speaking and instruction suggest that he, for one example, was highly aware of how he made his words and how his public face appeared. At the same time, I'm not sure how much of that was foresight and how much was later introspection -- and artificially controlling the flow of a Congressional inquiry may be less 'creepy' than artificially controlling the flow of information to an eleven-year-old. ((Yudkowsky's style may be part of the issue, as well. As in /Three Worlds Collide/ and /Sword of Good/, character dialogue, even from 'normal' characters, comes across as artificial at times. That more than the complexity of thought may trigger the creepy vibe.))

Harry was thinking about the Goblin Rebellions and goblins' ongoing resentment at not being allowed to own wands and certain facts which hadn't been in the first-year History textbook, which Harry had guessed at by pattern-matching and which Professor Flitwick had confirmed in a very quiet voice. Lord Voldemort had killed goblins as well as wizards - an incredibly stupid move on Lord Voldemort's part, unless Harry was really missing something.

Of course, Harry is really missing something; and he should be noticing his confusion about this. It's a failing... (read more)

5JoshuaZ8yIt is hard for me to tell if this is that there is a big secret plan or more lampshading of problems with the original source material.
4BlindIdiotPoster8yI used to think like this, but recently I've updated into seeing everything as potential foreshadowing.
2ChristianKl8yI think the things that's missing is that we or Harry don't know Voldemorts goals.

Two things made me confused in this chapter.

First, the false dichotomy: it is obviously unlikely for Lucius to not know that Draco was framed, and yet kill Hermione - it presumes two people capable of evading and manipulating Hogwart's wards - but why is it unlikely for him to have not known, and also not been responsible for killing her?

(A caveat is that whatever the answer is, it needs to make sense from the perspective of a random person reading the Daily Prophet.)

The second: what is Harry's plot with the pen, or alternatively with whatever's happening as Lucius signs the paper? What is he really up to here?

unlikely for him to have not known, and also not been responsible for killing her?

It's unlikely for him to currently not know, and also not be responsible for killing her, since the fact that she was murdered shortly afterwards shows that someone wanted her dead, and is powerful evidence that she was framed.

2linkhyrule58yNeeevermind. Reread that section. Fair enough.
0gwern8yReminds me a little of Komponisto's argument about the Amanda Knox case: to show that she and Raffael killed Meredith, it is sufficient to show that they tried to cover up her murder by faking a breakin: http://lesswrong.com/lw/35d/inherited_improbabilities_transferring_the_burden/ [http://lesswrong.com/lw/35d/inherited_improbabilities_transferring_the_burden/]
1TobyBartels8yWell, that's how Encyclopedia Brown solves all his cases.
0linkhyrule58yWell, yes. But that's not the context - it's something that Lucius' fans could figure out - Harry says that "they can't have it both ways, either Lucius knew she was framed at the time or killed Hermione."
1Benquo8yThe point is not what he knew then, but what he knows now. If he didn't kill Hermione, someone else did. Whatever would motivate someone to kill Hermione is very likely to motivate them to frame her and get her sent to Azkaban, and require the same ability to evade the Hogwarts wards. So if Lucius did not kill Hermione, this is strong evidence that she was framed. Contrapositively, if Lucius still denies that Hermione was framed, that is a tacit admission that he probably killed her.
1linkhyrule58ySo that's interesting. Bar yvar tbg erzbirq sebz gur svp:

That line confused me - I think we were expected to draw a lot of subtle inferences to figure out why it would make sense in this context.

On a side note, it is really jarring not to know everything Harry knows this late in the game. I always just read the third-person point of view as a matter of convenience, and accepted that we were fully immersed into the head of the current speaker. This distant outsiders' perspective ("I've done some research", "I have a plan") is making it really hard for me to draw conclusions.

It's also showing me just how much I relied on Harry running me through all the steps of some ridiculously complicated deduction. I wonder - does having a character who is both very intelligent and very honest mean that the reader has to be significantly less intelligent and active to follow along?

0falenas1088yI figured that referred to him changing the wording of the contract, from exonerated.
-2Larks8yThe pen is dirty; the dirt, now on Lucius's hands is something lethal, transfigured. Harry can of course just wash his own hands.
3pjeby8yThat is not at all sane; the same dirt would be equally lethal to Harry, and Draco, and anyone else the pen or those people's hands encounter.
5gwern8yMy trouble with this theory is not that the dirt is lethal - after all, Harry has already decided Lucius's life is forfeit the moment he ceases to cooperate and that could happen at any time, contract or not contract, signing just means Lucius doesn't die soon - but rather that it seems like an extremely risky booby trap which could blow up (literally) the moment someone casts a finite-incantatem (which could happen anywhere by anyone for any reason), and it's actually more than a little suspicious if the ultra-high-security Gringotts meeting room where everyone is supposedly disarmed didn't involve a precaution like eliminating any transfigurations...
4Fermatastheorem8yThief's Downfall probably does this.
9Velorien8yYou know, I'm suddenly starting to see why goblins aren't allowed wands. * Compare what we've seen of Gringotts and Hogwarts security, given that the latter arguably contains the more valuable resource. * IIRC, there is such a thing as "goblin nations", meaning they've managed to preserve national sovereignty despite being being as inferior in magic to their oppressors as the Native Americans were in technology. And despite starting a number of wars (the Goblin Rebellions) against said oppressors. * They hold exclusive control over Britain's only bank, and this goes unquestioned by the general public. * They can already legally hire wizards to do magic for them (cf. Bill Weasley, Curse-Breaker for Gringotts). The fact that spellcasting is an enormous force multiplier in battle (free teleportation, perfect camouflage, armour-piercing hexes...) may be the only reason why they're not already the master race.
0[anonymous]8yIn canon, Thief's Downfall undoes transfigurations.
-2Larks8yHarry washes his hands as soon as he leaves the room (or even cuts off his hand!) and then undoes the transfiguration before Lucius has a chance to do the same.
5Luke_A_Somers8yThat would be stupid. Come on.
2TobyBartels8yIn canon, Thief's Downfall undoes transfigurations.
2Fermatastheorem8yDo you have an example of this happening?
6gattsuru8yRon's disguise in the book 7 Gringrotts break-in was a transfiguration (as contrasted to the polyjuice used by Hermoine), and explicitly removed by Thief's Downfall. It's not clear that Rational!Harry's transfiguration operates by the same rules as conventional ones, and could have been stored in some way to protect against exposure, but this provides both narrative and practical evidence against the theory. I expect that point of the pen is to demonstrate to Lord Malfoy that a) Harry is a man of his word, and thus his words are worth examining, and b) Harry is a man of /exactly/ his word, and thus worth respecting.
4Fermatastheorem8yThank you!
5Velorien8yIt occurs to me that for a normal person "his words are worth examining" and "worth respecting" would be the other way round in that sentence.

A short time later Harry Potter handed his wand over to an armored goblin guard who frisked him with all manner of interesting-looking probes,

Huh. With all the "the goblins aren't allowed to have wands" stuff, I wouldn't expect that this is how they'd have done it. It is true that all in all, the goblins couldn't do all that much of practical value with the borrowed wands of those in Gringotts meetings, but still... It means that the prohibition on goblins using wands is far from absolute.

You have to spend time practicing with a wand in order to effectively use one. This is like handing your laptop to someone who's literally never used a computer or even a keyboard before — they aren't going to guess your password and read your email; they'll have a hard enough time knowing what parts do something.

-1JTHM8yCanon contradicts you: In book four, the house-elf Winky was able to conjure the dark mark with the use of a wand despite presumably never having wielded one before.

I believe this is a misreading; Winky was there, but the Dark Mark was cast by Barry Crouch Jr. From the climax of Book 4, towards the end of Chapter 35:

I wanted to attack them for their disloyalty to my master. My father had left the tent; he had gone to free the Muggles. Winky was afraid to see me so angry. She used her own brand of magic to bind me to her. She pulled me from the tent, pulled me into the forest, away from the Death Eaters. I tried to hold her back. I wanted to return to the campsite. I wanted to show those Death Eaters what loyalty to the Dark Lord meant, and to punish them for their lack of it. I used the stolen wand to cast the Dark Mark into the sky.

3JTHM8yYou are entirely correct. I mis-remembered the events of book four.
1TobyBartels8yThis still shows us that people found it plausible that Winky cast a spell using a wand. (Of course, these were far from disinterested people, plus people are stupider in canon.)
8Velorien8yI don't even want to come up with a list of things the general population thought plausible at various points in canon; it would be too depressing.
1atorm8yWasn't it the invisible Barty Crouch who did the conjuration?
0Velorien8yWhile this is true, Winky is not a representative case for magical creatures in general, since house elves are powerful magic-users in their own right (though admittedly their magic doesn't appear spell-based).
2kilobug8yThe prohibition is on using (and owning, I think), not holding wands. You can put wands in your Gringotts vault, ask an House Elf to bring you your wand, ... but goblins or elves aren't allowed to use wands. If they try to do it was a borrowed wand, I doubt it would go unnoticed for long. There is "priori incantatem" to check how a wand was last used for, and there may be global spells like the Trace that will warn the ministry if a magical creature uses wands.
0[anonymous]8yNevermind.

I do not know if this is widespread, but I've always been confused by how Legilimency is used. I thought it was used only to read minds, and again, in this chapter, it is mentioned that Dumbledore Legilimensed Hermione as though this explained something. Reading this explained it for me.

I don't quite understand: why is Draco so upset in this chapter? Is it because he's playing the role his father expects of him? It's not like he obtained any new information about what Harry was trying to do since the Self Actualization chapters. He already knew that he was being manipulated to give up blood purity. So what's the issue?

3Gurkenglas8yUp until then, he thought Harry accidentally took his belief in blood purism from him, along with his ability to become a faithful Death Eater. Now Lord Malfoy has told him that no such belief-sacrificing rituals exist, and Draco realizes that it was no accident and not everything that Harry taught Draco about how the world works (existence of Scientific Rituals) was true.
0Velorien8yHow would Lord Malfoy be able to refute the existence of Scientific Rituals?
4Gurkenglas8yWe don't know, but it is quite likely that he did since the lies/tricks-exchange, containing this: clearly can only have referred to Harry telling Draco that he doesn't believe in Blood Purism anymore, and Draco must have figured that one out somehow.

The fourth is a catchall category called Everything Else."

Harry has been reading his Jaynes, keeping a "something else" alternative hypothesis.

I like that Harry's gloves have come off, and he's planning on making full use of transfiguration as a weapon. About time.

Harry had by now caught the general rhythm of Professor Quirrell's cynicism and was able to generate it independently.

Lot's of Quirrellness coming out.

And bear in mind that sulfuric acid is only one possibility among several!

Liquid oxygen, which is also pretty easy to produce or acquire, expands quite a bit when it evaporates, and rapidly oxidizes all of your pretty organic chemistry. If you could ship enough liquid oxygen (transfigured into something else) inside a human, they would burn and explode when the transfiguration wears off.

Botulinum toxin was also mentioned in the fic and is the weapon of choice for DIY genocide.

Pyrophoric substances, transfigured and then finely ground, will start burning in an oxygen-containing atmosphere.

Obtain nuclear weapons material (the hard part) and transfigure several subcritical pieces into iron, assemble them to give one large ball, drop it (or bury it underground), and run.

Certainly not all of these are practical, but all of them sound awesome.

We could just run through the whole list of Things I Won't Work With.

prolonged scream

2monsterzero8yThank you for that link. I particularly enjoyed reading about "Azidoazide Azides, More Or Less".
6Eliezer Yudkowsky8y
8[anonymous]8yChlorine trifluoride [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorine_trifluoride]?
5Eliezer Yudkowsky8yIt's been done, in Dungeon Keeper Ami.
3somervta8yI'd like to think that Harry isn't crazy enough to play with ClF3.

(...but we know he is.)

3Gurkenglas8yGet Fred and George to transfigure half a supercritical sphere of nuclearbombium each (lasts a few hours), transfigure Freds into the same shape made of lead (lasts maybe half an hour), combine them into a sphere and teleport away with the phoenix that plan undeniably earned. (Yes, I know it was said everyone gets only one chance for a phoenix and Harry failed his)
0bogdanb8yAlso: Metallic sodium and potassium, as well as phosphorus, are quite reactive with human tissue. For bonus points you can make a mixed projectile with two transfigurations, e.g. a core transfigured from ice surrounded by a shell transfigured from sodium, which will explode once the two transfigurations end.
0Aureateflux8yI'm morbidly curious to know what forms of genocide aren't DIY genocide...
2TrE8yThe Holocaust, the Bosnian genocide and the Rwandan genocide I would not consider "DIY" genocide since they weren't the result of a single human's actions, but required support from their society. In contrast, a single competent evil (or mad) wizard is, as Harry put it, an extinction event.
4Aureateflux8ySo, just to clarify, by DIY you mean one person effects the entire genocide rather than many people personally involved in the genocide, doing the killing themselves. In a sense, the Y in your DIY is singular, and the Y in mine is plural. Also, my general schema of "DIY" is that it's a cheaper but more difficult alternative to the normal approach--which usually involves hiring someone to do your project for you or buying a ready-made product. Since most genocides tend to be executed the hard way-- you can't buy genocide in a box, although some chemical weapons might come close-- I felt that genocide is fundamentally a DIY project. It's just a ... fun ... project for the whole community, rather than one person. Like building a playground. That kills people. (This is going to a very bad place isn't it?) I'm able to accept your definition of DIY, though I still prefer to think that genocides require a certain degree of personal agency from its participants and that second person pronouns can be plural.
0monsterzero8yFulminated mercury. Edited to add: Sorry, been rewatching old Breaking Bad. You'd have to trick them into chewing it or something, wouldn't you?
0bogdanb8yI think the rapid expansion when the transfiguration ends would be enough to set it off.
0TrE8yWell, for the first two of my suggestions, the victim would need to have ingested or inhaled that stuff. So smoke would probably also work. Though I wouldn't want to be nearby in that scenario.

Honestly, I'm more worried about this. See the Ethical Injunction mini-Sequence.

There are options now available to him that genuinely are more powerful, but... even Harry makes mistakes, and even Harry falls prey to overconfidence sometimes.

8buybuydandavis8yI've never been impressed by the Ethical Injunction business. It seems a "get out of unpleasant implications of my explicit moral claims free" card.
4linkhyrule58yNot really. Ethical Injunctions really mean "design an AI to do this, but don't do it yourself because you're probably wrong." It's entirely possible to create a problem involving an epistemic state a human can't hold: see Pascal's Muggle.
-1Ben Pace8yLol
2linkhyrule58yIt's a real thing. Look it up. It's basically the symmetric problem to Pascal's Mugger.
2gjm8yIn a slightly eccentric sense of the word "real".
2linkhyrule58yAs in "well-known idea, not specific to myself."

Counterpoint: it appears that Harry is now serious about using Transfiguration as a weapon. However, he has not recently been considering very much else, meaning that he has fewer backups than perhaps he should, in the case where someone counters his Transfigurations (e.g. with good shields, or casting finite on Harry before a fight).

What steps has Harry taken to investigate the characters of those killed by Voldemort? You'd think that he'd kill/order killed, in particular, people that he did not care to have around in his future realm, once he took power. I'm assuming that the Dark Mark comes with its own self-destruct switch, so he does not have make sure any Death Eater dies. People killed by Death Eaters in self defence do not count.

This might explain why, for example, he did not kill Dumbledore, or any of the truly awesome people in the OOTP (Moody, et al), because he knew that they would be reasonable subjects.

It occurs to me to wonder if Dementors=death can be tested experimentally by bringing a dementor into the Hall of Prophecy. Of course, if the Dementor isn't attacked by orbs about death, that could mean that there aren't any death-prophecies, they only react to Death rather than a single wound in the world, or something else; but if a dementor does run into a prophecy that is about death, that would determine that the hall recognizes them as death for the purposes of prophecies.

(Alternatively: if prophecies about something different, such as fear / depression / whatever show up, that'd be pretty strong evidence against.)

3bogdanb8yI think the orbs only come to people (things that think, and can make decisions), and it’s not clear Dementors pass that test. (In particular, Harry leans against that hypothesis. He’s certainly not infallible, but he’s basically the best expert on the subject whose thoughts we have access to.) Otherwise prophecies mentioning things like life, wands and clothes would attack everyone.
[-][anonymous]8y 2

So, would someone explain to me the exonerate/indemnify subplot? I don't understand the drama over the wording first being "indemnify" and then later changing to "exonerate" even after Harry makes it sound like Malfoy was pulling a fast one by suggesting "exonerate".

EDIT: I misread the relevant sentence. Harry originally wrote "exonerate", not "indemnify." It seems likely writing the latter would have given Malfoy room to claim compensation at a later date.

Theoretically, indemnity implies compensation which makes the person indemnified as well-off as they would have been before the harm occurred. At the least, this change could have later been construed as a debt owed to Malfoy from Potter.

5jefftk8yThe word is "exonerate" in Potter's prepared text, Malfoy suggests "indemnify" as if it's a legal term that means the same thing, Potter rejects this and stays with "exonerate". There's probably something tricky Malfoy could do with "indemnify", but looking up their definitions it's not obvious to me:
9Benquo8yIndemnify applies to future evidence as well, and possibly to future actions.
8JoachimSchipper8yUnless I am badly mistaken, indemnify would mean that Harry has to pay etc. if e.g. Dumbledore decides to demand recompense of his own. (Note that Dumbledore may well have similar power over her as he has over Harry himself.) This is obviously much worse than just giving up his own claim ("exonerate").
4William_Quixote8yExonerate means hold not responsible for. Indemnify mean cover all costs incurred in relation to. So Lucious was trying to trick Harry in to covering any costs incurred by the Malfoy family in relation to this case. Harry obviously wants no part of LM's legal fees.
2Kindly8yIt's not quite that confusing: Malfoy suggests "indemnify" rather than "exonerate", and Harry refuses, and in the end it is kept "exonerate". I'm not sure what the difference between the two means. I think in Muggle law the term "indemnify" suggests some sort of monetary compensation, while "exonerate" does not, but this doesn't quite make sense. I don't think it will be relevant to the plot, however. Just a minor detail to show us that Harry did his homework.
0[anonymous]8yOh, I must have read that line backwards. I thought Malfoy was suggesting "exonerate". I don't know, it could be relevant wrt to the deleted line (see rot13 in another thread).

If Harry Potter already had the contract written before going into Gringotts, how did Moody's eye not see it? I suppose it is possible that Moody's eye cannot see into the folded space of Harry's pouch, but Harry has no reason to assume as much, and is smart enough not to take the risk. And whether or not Moody can see into folded pouch-space, this line makes no sense at all: "Moody paused as his Eye caught sight of the second half of the document as Harry Potter slowly, as though reluctantly, began to unfold the top upward." Moody's eye can e... (read more)

8William_Quixote8yDoes the eye of Vance have infinite zoom or does it just see in all direction through all objects? I can't read small print that's on a piece of paper 8 feet away from me even if I have a clear view of it.
1somervta8yBut it would make him suspicious to see Harry carrying paper (with words already written on it - he may carry paper around as a matter of course)
2undermind8yIt's even worse than this; Harry did not have his pouch as he went in. A plausible response is that Harry wrote it out during the waiting period before the Malfoys entered.
4OnTheOtherHandle8yWait, even if he did write it in the meeting room, can't the Eye of Vance see through walls? Now I want to know what exactly the limit of Moody's superpower is. How far can the Eye see in every direction? How many barriers can it see through? How far can it "zoom", if at all? To what resolution? Can the Eye read fine print from 1000 feet away?
0Gurkenglas8yNope.
2Velorien8yTechnically, that quote doesn't say where he wrote it. It just says he did his research first.
0JTHM8yAh, you're right. This raises the question: is this a plot hole, or is Eliezer giving us a subtle hint that the person we think is Moody was in fact someone polyjuiced as Moody, without the real Eye of Vance?

Now you're just being paranoid.

Which is totally appropriate.

So...maybe.

7snafoo8yCONSTANT VIGILANCE
4fezziwig8y"What the crap" is also not a very Moody-like exclamation.
2OnTheOtherHandle8y...That's a very Harry-like exclamation. But I don't think even HJPEV could manage to replace Mad-Eye Moody with a Polyjuiced and Time-Turned version of himself. But then again, this whole chapter was in distant third person, and we don't know what Harry knows or how he knows it...
0gjm8yI could OTOH easily imagine him saying "What the hell" instead.
0bramflakes8yBecause in the folded parts, the words would be all on top of each other and difficult to make out. Take a sheet of transparent cellulose acetate and write some words on it, roll it up, then try to make out what the words say.

[...] with Moody's bright-blue eye rotating wildly in every direction, as though to signal to any possible attacker that he was On Guard and Constantly Vigilant

Why does he advertise it? Why not hide it behind an eyepatch, as a secret advantage in a fight?

He does hide it. In the part in the graveyard where he is talking to Snape while they are poisoning Riddle Sr's grave, he keeps spinning around, despite the fact that the eye lets him see 360 degrees regardless of where it is pointing.

If he's escorting Potter around, everyone KNOWS he'd be on high alert, so they expect to see the thing whizzing around. Then they expect that when it isn't whizzing around, it means he can't see behind him.

And when they try to exploit that, that's how he catches them.

6Kindly8yIt's somewhat like the reason the Dark Mark isn't always invisible. People will look for a weakness to exploit, so before they find one you should provide them with a fake one. (If the Dark Mark were invisible and Moody wore an eyepatch, you'd just look for a different avenue of attack.)

You miss the point - he is still hiding it. The eye provides full 360-degree vision at all times, but few people know this, so he maintains an appearance of some level of vigilance.

This means that anyone who sees him respond quickly to a threat (i.e. evidence of vigilance) will have an immediate explanation of how he was able to do so (being vigilant), and not look beyond it to find out the extent of his abilities.

Quite well thought out, really.

4[anonymous]8yIt seems to already be widely known among magical Britain what his noble phantasm is. (Curiously, this didn't seem to be the case in canon -- the Eye doesn't even have a name there -- but Moody is still not sufficiently cautious about it there.)
0DanArmak8yIt wouldn't have been known if he always had hidden it behind an eyepatch. People need not even suspect that there was anything other than a missing eye.
9[anonymous]8yApparently he was unable to obtain the Eye of Vance secretly. Besides, the presence of Moody plus the death of a dark wizard known to possess the Eye of Vance plus the missing Eye of Vance is enough to conclude Moody has the Eye.
0DanArmak8yThere's still a big difference between a very few very knowledgeable wizards hearing about it, and flaunting it everywhere he goes.
0[anonymous]8yI've already outlined how a merely knowledgeable wizard can conclude with some degree of certainty that Moody became the owner of the Eye of Vance. It only required specialist Ravenclaw research to obtain an extensive list of magical eyes. We don't know how famous the Eye itself is.
5ikrase8yWhat about signalling / intimidation?

So... Draco in Leather Pants? Or Draco as Leather Pants? Awesome.

Observations from Chapter 98:

  • We might have an answer for what the twins and Floom did to scam Rita Skeeter soon, since Harry just pointed the twins back toward that chain (I'm still betting on Gildaroy Lockheart as the Memorymancer, but Lockheart is probably a terrible candidate for smuggling whatever scary muggle equipment Harry wants).
  • I think Daphne has joined Susan in the "SPHEW girls who are not useless comic relief" camp. (Padma can probably outrational both of them, but she doesn't appear to be doing anything useful at the moment. Susan
... (read more)

That's not what it means in this fic.

Harry's not on the hook. The wording of the document is "exonerate House Malfoy of any involvement in Hermione Granger's death". Nobody's suggesting Harry should be exonerated of anything; this clause benefits the Malfoys only, and presumably "indemnify" would benefit them more.

5pjeby8yOff the hook for the debt, in exchange for the exoneration. Indemnification would just replace Harry's debt with another form of debt.

it turned out that sulfuric acid would freeze at just ten degrees Celsius

That does not appear to be correct. If http://science.howstuffworks.com/sulfuric-acid-info.htm is accurate, then frozen sulfuric acid ice cannot get much warmer than frozen water and the more usual concentrations freeze at much lower temperatures. However, high concentrations (98%, freezing at 3°C), while more expensive, are easily available online http://www.sciencecompany.com/Sulfuric-Acid-Concentrated-1L-P6550.aspx (plus it doesn't seem hard to concentrate yourself http://chem... (read more)

0bogdanb8yWikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulphuric_acid] claims 10°C, but it also says “Sulfuric acid in solution with water causes significant freezing-point depression of water's melting point”, which suggests that both Harry and HowStuffWorks are right. Harry is probably thinking of the pure acid. (Also, that wouldn’t affect his plan. He only needs it solid so he can transfigure it, and the only significance of the freezing point is that it’s easily reachable, not exactly how high it is above 0°C.)
3TobyBartels8ySo it does; that must be Harry's source (^_^). It would be consistent that 98% freezes at 3° and 100% freezes at 10°, but HSW also says that you can't get more than 98% (presumably because it draws water from the air, it doesn't say). I agree, this doesn't really affect anything. If Harry can't make a concentration that freezes at 10° but can make one that freezes at 3°, then that's what he'll use. (I only looked into this because it was such a surprising claim.)
2Dentin8yAnd, he can easily get to 4 degrees on fairly large masses using the cooling spell he used on Hermionie's corpse.
0TobyBartels8yCooling spell, right, no need for ice!

I'm confused: why does the amount owed to the Malfoys seem to keep changing? I read first 58,203, then 100,000, then 40,000 Galleons.

The amount is 100,000. About 40,000 has already been paid, so he still owed 58,203.

6OnTheOtherHandle8yThanks! I think I missed when Harry paid off the 40,000. Did he empty his vaults and give Lucius a 40,000 lump sum, leaving him with 60,000 to pay off over a few years? Edit: I remember, that is what he did, which is why it was such a huge deal and Harry is broke on top of being in debt.
0[anonymous]8y100,000 is the total wergild, ~40,000 is the amount already payed, 58,203 is the amount still owed. ETA: meh cross posted because I got up to do something before submitting the comment

Why did Harry admit he had a pen he could use? He wasted his advantageous bargaining position. Perhaps poison.

Also, Harry seems to have lost a lot in this chapter. All he's gotten out of Malfoy

  • Some debt cancelled he cares not for
  • Agreement that Draco will be King

but Lucius already wanted Draco to be King! On top of that, Harry has given away much information:

  • That he isn't Voldermort
  • That Dumbledore gave him a special weapon
  • That he manipulated Draco

and Draco can attest to these under Veritaserum!

Giving away the information that you're NOT voldemort is actually pretty useful when you're trying to cooperate with people

Erm, he also got 40,000 Galleons.

4Larks8yA trifling amount of money by muggle standards, even if he didn't have the arbitrage trick, or the ability to make arbitrarily large amounts of money using the time-turner on FX markets.
6Gurkenglas8yHe doesn't have to explain where the money came from, and the tricks you named require starting capital.
5hairyfigment8yIt was also unclear to me that Harry could take enough gold from the wizard economy to wind up with 100,000 galleons (even in sickles) without someone noticing and perhaps interfering. And that ignores the problem of leaving Hogwarts.
4drethelin8yI would wager that neither of those methods would actually work. We know that quirrel, snape, and other very intelligent wizards know both about the muggle world and about time turners. An idea about Arbitrage harry had within a few days of finding out about the ENTIRE wizarding world is extremely unlikely to have never been thought of. Harry is able to come up with new techniques and things no wizard would come up with but things like partial transfiguration took him days and are extremely non-obvious. Plans to make millions upon millions of dollars are something people have all the time. Another important concern: Be careful what you call a "trifling" amount of money. You can get a LOT MORE done with a hundred thousand dollars than you can with zero dollars. You can hire bodyguards, you can rent a house, you can buy equipment, there are a vast world of things you can do that are prohibitively expensive without needing to be bill gates. We talk about vast amounts a lot when we're talking effective altruism and existential risk ending but Harry's not fighting to end hunger, he's simply fighting a relatively small-scale war.
3fractalman8yHe gets it NOW. without having to run a risky feedback scheme between gringots and the muggle economy with only 100 galleons of seed money.
-2cultureulterior8yBut not in a particularly interesting way
7Velorien8yHe got Lucius Malfoy to give him a huge sum of money in exchange for admitting something true at no cost to himself, and gained goodwill from Lucius in the process (which set up for his subsequent conditional alliance), and probably left Lucius feeling he'd got the better side of the deal. All in a matter of minutes. Personally, I find that somewhat more interesting than half a chapter of watching Harry mess about with economics.
5hairyfigment8yThey actually agreed that if Dumbledore gets removed because of Harry, then Draco Malfoy will take power when he comes of age. This replaces a strong position for Lucius with something less predictable.
3tadrinth8yHe got Lucius to agree to proposed next steps which we don't know about and secured an alliance with House Malfoy. Also, when he added the bit about exonerating House Malfoy, he showed Lucious one wording, then wrote down his original wording. He might have changed something important, and Lucius might not have noticed.
8Benquo8yThat seems like exactly the sort of thing Lucius Malfoy would be sure to notice, and even if it weren't, it wouldn't be worth the risk.
2ChristianKl8yIf Draco speaks under Versitaserum that Harry successfully manipulated him into disbelieving in blood puritythat's not something that Lucius wants to happen.
0bogdanb8yTechnically speaking, Draco can only attest that Harry claimed those things. (Harry’s an Occlumens, and the way Occlumency works in MoR implies that an Occlumens is very good at lying. So he can plausibly claim that he lied to his enemies.) I don’t remember, does Eliezer allow unbreakable vows, or are those nerfed in MoR like Felix Felicis? Because I’m pretty sure even an Occlumens can’t lie if he vows to say the truth without suffering the penalty.
4Dentin8yIIRC unbreakable vows require some large, permanent sacrifice of magical power and as such are fairly rare in HPMoR.
2bogdanb8yYou’re right, I remember now. Hmm, it still sounds like they should be used more often. If you’re falsely accused and about to be condemned to Azkhaban, wouldn’t you sacrifice a portion on of your magic if it could compel your accuser to confess? As corrupt as the Wizengamot is, it should still happen on occasion.

This was a delightful chapter. I very much look forward to the next one.

0undermind8yNow is the time to start speculating as to the contents of the secret agreement between Harry and House Malfoy...