EDIT: New discussion thread here.


This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. With two chapters recently the previous thread has very quickly reached 500 comments. The latest chapter as of 17th March 2012 is Ch. 79.

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: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

As a reminder, it's often useful to start your comment by indicating which chapter you are commenting on.

Spoiler Warning:  this thread is full of spoilers.  With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13.  More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it's fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that "Eliezer said X is true" unless you use rot13.

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Dumbledore is a sonovabitch. Harry's wrong about how Snape heard the prophesy. Malfoy and Friends may be wrong about how Narcissa died. The whole matter of lighting a live chicken on fire may be a strange misunderstanding. But Dumbledore is still a right bastard for what he did to Snape, which we may put together from chapters 17, 18, 27, & the renumbered 76.

Chapters 17 & 76 tell us how Snape pursued Lily while he was her friend. (Or that's what Snape thinks of what he was doing. He was probably a 'Nice Guy' about it and it would probably have failed in the usual fashion. But that wasn't allowed to happen.)

To be clear: despite the (deservedly) doomed-to-the-friendzone fate of Snape's attempts to woo Lily, Dumbeldore nonetheless stepped in and instigated fights between Snape and Lily by writing things in Lily's potions book. While headmaster and responsible for the well being of children, Dumbledore sabotaged a relationship between children! He might even have done this because it did not fit the story he foresaw for a very Slytherin Snape to remain friends with a pretty and heroic Lily. He might have done it for even worse reasons.

Yes, worse. Dumbledore said, "H... (read more)

It is my hope that Snape will read Lily's fifth year potions book, will understand that Dumbledore ruined his like, will dedicate himself to killing Dumbledore, and will be successful before the close of the fic.

Snape killing Dumbledore? I don't know, it sounds a little far-fetched.

Something similar to the technique you describe is known as gaslighting.

Snape actually murdering Dumbledore at some point is too MoR-ish of an event for Eliezer not to include.

Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance. Dumbledore in this fic is far from perfect and all-seeing.
...which implies that, in the course of all these fights, Lilly never mentioned it to him. It's not enough for her to disbelieve his denials, she must never have given him an opportunity to make them. That being so, what were they arguing about? What sort of dialogue would you write for those scenes? What states of mind do you imagine for her? In other words: I notice that I am confused.

If two people are in a relationship like very close friends, marriage or long-term dating, or just roommates, they often have fights about little things. These fights are not because the little things have some hidden importance that would make them not-little, but because there is a big thing that upset one or both people. They don't talk about the big thing. They never mention it. They may not understand that is why they are upset.

That is how people fight over toilet lids being left up, or dishes in the sink one day to many, or whose turn it is to take the garbage out, when what they are really hurt by is loss of autonomy, or financial insecurity, or fading intensity of intimacy, or some other big deal.

That is also why many couples cannot resolve longs series of fights on their own, and why couple's counseling works, most of the times when it does.

People rarely become rational communicators on their own.

And so she never told him.

This is a case of You Just Told Me - Harry offers that excuse to Dumbledore, who then goes on to repeat it back to him.
Dumbledore didn't say that he caused the fights between Lily and Snape. He said this: "And", not "therefore" or "so". Bear in mind that this is the same scene earlier in which this takes place: We're told in big bright flashing letters not to take Dumbledore's implications in this scene at face value. And we already know why Lily and Snape actually fought: because Snape was turning evil! His best friends were wannabe Death Eaters! That's why Lily actually cut off their friendship, not because of jokes written in a Potions book. If anything, it seems like Dumbledore was trying to get Lily to think of Snape as someone who could be lighthearted and joke around, as someone who could put a smile on her face, to try to get her to have feelings for him so she could pull him away from the Death Eaters! Some parts of MoR!Dumbledore may be a mystery to us, but his desire for people to choose the light over the dark is patently obvious. Dumbledore would never, ever ruin someone's only chance to save themselves from serving Voldemort. He wouldn't.
I doubt it. Eliezer originally thought that Lily was dating Snape, the passage was changed to refer to her "one of her friends" after readers pointed out that they'd never dated. And if they were originally assumed to be dating then Lily would have already had feelings for him - no need to meddle like that.
You're totally right; I had forgotten about that. So I retracted my above comment, only to realize that it doesn't necessarily ruin my theory. Whether they were dating or merely friends, Lily and Snape would have fought over his Death Eater tendencies, and they are what would have ruined the relationship. Dumbledore could have seen their relationship falling apart and tried to reconcile it any way he could. But yeah, that seems a lot more far-fetched when you take Eliezer's prior mistake into consideration.

Dumbledore correctly surmises part of Quirrellmort's motivation for this arc's events: he's neutralizing all of Light Harry's allies. What Dumbledore hasn't realized, what is completely outside his hypothesis space, is that he's not doing so to attack Harry, or at least not as part of a plan to defeat Harry. He's doing it to remove all of Harry's support except Quirrellmort himself, so as to hasten Harry's consumption by his Dark Side. With only Quirrell to rely upon in the magical world, his conversion into Dark Harry will be much swifter.

Therefore, when speculating abut the rest of this arc, we must speculate about how this plan will neutralize the rest of Light Harry's allies: Dumbledore and McGonagall. Harry has already hinted that he intends to investigate Dumbledore the next time he sees Quirrell. Assuming Quirrell gets out of the Ministry without causing a scene, he will almost certainly have manufactured evidence that implicates Dumbledore, which he will show Harry.

So perhaps one of the "taboo tradeoffs" of the arc will be Harry successfully politically attacking the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards... (read more)

Interesting. That's a kind of reverse taboo tradeoff.

In a normal taboo tradeoff, you sacrifice a sacred value (lives, torture, ideals) to gain a mundane value (money, jobs, political influence). Here Harry would be doing the reverse: sacrifice a huge amount of mundane value (Dumbledore's political standing and his being an ally to Harry) to gain a sacred value (Hermione's life and freedom).

For an ordinary thinker (i.e. not Harry or Quirrel), this might even feel like a morally imperative tradeoff, one you have no right not to make no matter what the amount of mundane value you lose.

Ooh, you're right, from Harry's perspective. But if we take Dumbledore's word that there's no way Hermione will be sent to Azkaban or Kissed by a Dementor, then from everybody else's (or at least Dumbledore's allies') perspective, it would be a played-straight taboo tradeoff.
From a strategic point of view having Light-Harry as a gullible ally is worth way more than having Dark-Harry be so knowingly. If the plot is to gain control of Magical Britain under one single leader who you puppeteer (him being embedded with your brain patterns and all) there'd be no sense in turning him dark now. The political strategist would rather: 1. Put Dumbledore in a bad position by allowing Harry to be the one to stand up for the students. Possibly in a way that humbles Dumbledore by the great "wisdom" of Harry, but meanwhile in a way that doesn't alienate Harry from Dumbledore's political allies before he's been groomed and positioned to lead them. A way to do this would be to present evidence that Harry would be able to deduct and present on basis of being the Boy-Who-Lived AND someone who actually thinks. It might very well involve Harry find out, and proof, that Snape burned the letters. Snape being a double turncoat means that he'd be an easy suspect. Quirrelmort already has good reason to see him gone (that's how he deals with traitors if you recall) plus it'd severely weaken Dumbledore's hold on the Slytherin part of Britain. Here the taboo trade-off is Snape's future who Dumbledore trades to keep the school. 2. Quirrelmort might already have been there for the duel between Hermione and Draco. Hence he'd have a memory of it and be able to pull that memory to a pensive. That memory would be enough to proof Hermione innocent. If this is the case Quirrelmort ends up distancing Harry from Lucius; which might be a good idea considering that Quirrelmort probably prefers to be the one in charge of the dark side and have Harry as a champion of the light. The taboo trade-off would then be Draco's father. I see no reason to make Harry appear dark. Actually I'd consider that extremely stupid since Quirrelmort has obtained all the political power he could hope to and now knows that that is not enough. He needs both the wolves and the sheep.
Your reasoning makes sense, but I believe we're clearly supposed to understand that Harry's going over to his Dark Side was the premeditated purpose of Quirrell bringing the Dementor to Hogwarts in the first place. Quirrell's plan was defeated that day, more or less because of Harry's love (not romantic love, necessarily) for Hermione. That day Quirrell realized that to really turn Harry Dark, he had to neutralize those Harry holds dear.
I like the guess about Quirrellmort trying to remove Harry's allies, but there's a further detail I'm considering. Quirrellmort knows that Harry knows how to break people out of Azkaban. If Hermione is sent there, I would estimate a pretty high probability Harry would make a move to get her out. He would have to do something clever to divert suspicion away from himself, but that doesn't seem to be an insoluble problem. If Quirrell wanted to prevent this, the simplest way would be to blackmail Harry, but doing so would require him to overtly take a position as Harry's enemy, which he may not wish to do. Alternatively, he could sabotage Harry's plans, but Harry would almost certainly try again. Any situation in which Harry knows that Hermione is in trouble is an unstable equilibrium, and Quirrell presumably knows that. Additionally, you take it for granted that Quirrellmort is trying to turn Harry dark. What's the basis for that conclusion? I've got one guess, but it seems far-fetched.
Quirrellmort doesn't have to stop Harry, just make sure Hermione is already broken by the time he succeeds.
The simplest way would be not to help him. Harry can't make portkeys to and from Azkaban himself, he can't Disillusion himself once inside, fight random Aurors in the corridors (bet they've tightened security for a while), and now he can't even leave Hogwarts against Dumbledore's will.
Except that Dumbledore's pretty sure Hermione won't be sent to Azkaban. No reason not to take his word on this.
We still haven't heard from Lucius, who'll decide what punishment to request from the Wizengamot. Maybe Quirrel has influenced him somehow. Either way I feel Lucius' POV is a major piece of missing information that may be preventing us from predicting the future.
You're right of course. I only really paid attention to Dumbledore saying it would be something in between the kiss and snapping her wand. But in any case, Hermione can't suffer any long term punishment without Harry trying to do something about it.

Here's a secret in plain sight: if this story has a happy ending, then Harry has the power to destroy Quirrelmort's brain, anytime they're together.

First clue: the WRONG DON'T BAD IDEA messages when Harry tries to make contact with Quirrell. Assume that they mean just what they say -- that something terrible will happen if Harry makes contact.

Second clue: the prophecy appears to say that Harry and Voldemort's confrontation can only leave more or less one. Storytelling convention makes us think it's a metaphor or foreseeing complex future actions. But maybe there's just an already existing spell or condition, dating from the first encounter, that's primed to cause Harry+Voldemort = boom.

There's more. But just from these two clues alone, we can see that an available though seemingly extreme interpretation of data in the story is: "If Harry ever touches Quirrellmort, one or the other will be magically destroyed".

Now the subtler clues.

Third clue: in the original canon, Harry had a piece of Voldemort's soul in him, an accidentally created Horcrux, and the destruction of that piece of soul was a critical step in Voldemort's death.

Fourth clue: in our world's science, there's no ... (read more)

In consequence, if ever Quirrellmort and Harry come sufficiently into physical/magical contact, Quirrellmort anticipates that Harry's brain will turn into a vegetable as Harry-Voldemort destructively uploads itself into the "real" Quirrell-Voldemort, leaving behind a stronger and more complete Q+H-Voldemort.

How about the other way - Quirrellmort uploads into Harry? Make Harry the Dark Lord, and then upload into him.
Note that Voldemort has seemingly already uploaded into Quirrell.

"My... Lord... I went where you said to await you, but you did not come...

"Sshow her your face," hissed the snake at Harry's feet.

Harry cast back the hood of the Cloak of Invisibility.

"The scar..." muttered Bellatrix. "That child..."

"So they all still think," said Harry's voice, and gave a thin little chuckle. "You looked for me in the wrong place, Bella dear."

Bella is not particularly surprised to find Voldemort in a new body. And while there are other explanations, having Harry masquerade as Voldemort does set the stage for him to do it for real. It also gets Bella on Harry's side for later in the story, so that Harry has support from... (read more)

So Harry is, in effect, an AI created by Voldemort, but one that developed an unintended value system and so turned on its creator?

Harry as Unfriendly AI. (Unfriendly from Voldemort's point of view, anyway.) Nice.

The destruction of that piece was crucial. I don't believe that it ever reunited with the rest of Voldemort's soul.
2Joshua Hobbes12y
This doesn't account for "the power the dark lord knows not" does it, though?
Right, that's not yet obvious. At least not to me! We do know that Quirrellmort is consistently surprised by the extent to which Harry thinks like a nice person instead of a Dark Lord. So the "alien power" could be Harry's having more of a mind of his own than Quirrellmort expects of a Horcrux. The "alien power" could equally be that Harry can cast a 2.0 Patronus, and in general has access to certain kinds of feelings and thoughts (and their associated magics?) that Quirrelmort doesn't. Or I suppose it could be that Dad's rock is in fact the Philosopher's Stone.
I think that Harry's "alien power" is still unclear for the same reason that readers resisted identifying MoR!Quirrell as Voldemort. The author has so much fun writing Quirrellmort-the-clever that he has great difficulty writing Quirrellmort-the-flawed. The only flaw in Quirrellmort that the author's actually shown is Quirrellmort's nonbelief in goodness. The backstory suggests that Voldemort had serious problems beyond mere cynicism. But there's a big difference between "the story asserts" and "the story demonstrates". (I'm using "flawed" here in the sense of "make choices that work out badly", not "make choices that would make us readers uncomfortable." That is, "flawed" as relevant to "power", not "flawed" as relevant to "approval".) Although it's possible that Quirrellmort is deliberately meant to be much more clearheaded than Voldemort.

Harry is not so clever: why did he think that telling Malfoy "this is a plot, you know it's a plot" would make it not a good idea for Malfoy to commit overkill in defending his son? The point of vengeance is deterrence, and the crack of "well, it might not have been Hermione" is not a good crack to have in your deterrence. Dumbledore even tells Harry as much. And then, to top it off, Harry threatens Malfoy.

What Harry should have done: talked to Malfoy beforehand (why didn't he?). Given that didn't happen, told Malfoy "I have information that is relevant to the attack, which I think you should know but should not be public yet, as it might diminish your capacity for vengeance for this to be known publicly."

Then, in private, Harry has a conversation with Lucius where Lucius doesn't need to play to the crowd, informing Lucius of his expectation of the plot, his respect for Draco, and his vow to punish the murderer of Narcissa, and then Lucius walks back out and asks that the trial be finished in a week.

Even if Harry couldn't get access to Lucius in private, he could have made a much better public proposal.

"Hermione was not your family's true enemy, as you and I both know. To you, she is nothing but a pawn symbolizing the foe you can't yet strike. But she has value to me. If you want the right to deliver her to Azkaban, so be it, but hold off on claiming that right, Lucius, and I will give you your real enemy. You can spend your anger on this one little child now. But then I will owe you nothing, and your enemy will laugh at you. Or take today's judgment but wait on executing it, call her a hostage for my promise between us, and I will redeem Hermione with one far more valuable to you - both for your revenge, and for the life and safety of your son."

Or something like that. It still probably wouldn't have worked, of course - Lucius does not trust Harrymort's intentions or power.

As well, Lucius may have been behind the attack on Draco, to drive him away from Hermione (or ruin HP or so on). Giving Harry time to find the hand behind the dagger may not be in Lucius's best interests, but regardless of Lucius's complicity Harry should be trying to play to his stated goals, not his shame or fear.
Presumably, he couldn't've talked to Lucius. And he's clearly too angry to meet in private right now.
This post was detailing, for the audience, what Harry should have done. What Harry should do now is an entirely different matter.
So I was I. Apparently, there was no opportunity to contact Lucius before the trial, and he was clearly too angry to meet in private during the events of the trial.

Okay, I don't really think this is how it'll go down - slightly too Dark Lordish. But the image was amusing, so here goes:

"It just happens that if Hermione doesn't walk, everyone but me will lose the ability to cast Patronus. Don't buy it? Oh, well, I'll just explain it to Hermione and she'll be able to testify under Veritaserum that I can do it."

Or, you know, have Hermione figure it out herself from Harry's note and do the blackmail herself.

Anyway, the blackmail potential for this is rather great, and I'd not be surprised to see it used in a more dire situation with more than Hermione on the line.

It occurs to me that this would actually be a potentially successful (if politically costly) way to force the Ministry to replace Azkaban with a more humane Nurmengard-style prison. The mere fact that it's demonstrably possible for anyone to do this makes keeping Dementors around far less attractive.

What's the in-story justification for the dementor's presence anyway? I thought it seemed awfully convenient in case Harry decided to demonstrate his Patronus 2.0 but I couldn't figure out how it'd help enough.

I'd forgotten about the potential for ruining others' patronuses, though. That makes a lot more sense, especially considering he'd just reached into his dark side - possibly deeper than he'd ever willingly done before.

My guess: it wouldn't be enough at this point to just demonstrate a superior patronus or tell people about the possibility of ruining it for others. He tells the secret to EVERYONE present, leaving them at his mercy for protection. That gives him plenty of bargaining power and is dramatically Dark to boot. The political implications would be rather interesting, whether the Patroni could be returned by Obliviation or not.

To protect Wizengamot members from dangerous criminals brought before them.
Combining with this idea: Harry openly speaks about Patronus 2.0, everyone's Patronuses fail (especially the sparrow and squirrel currently guarding the Dementor, everyone would see them fail), Harry casts his Patronus to protect Hermione (or she figures it out and casts her own, not that she would get the chance to but she might figure it out at least), and the Dementor starts sucking souls until Lucius retracts his sentence. Heck, maybe even threaten to spread Patronus 2.0 to the media, make wizarding Britain's animal Patronus population fail, then Aurors won't be able to keep their Patronuses up to guard Azkaban. So even if Hermione gets in, she wouldn't get her happiness sucked...
Hermione is chained and I’d be very surprised if she still had her wand.
This might work, in combination with something that I see others have suggested. You need some way to get them to listen. This would take a lot, given that they're already recording the verdict. So: would the threat of destruction goad a dementor into breaking through two animal Patroni? Can Harry believe this would happen? (If so, coldly claiming that he can destroy Patronus ability might create enough doubt in the others' minds that it wouldn't matter if dementors follow expectations or not.) This plan does have shortcomings, like the threat of killing someone's mind (perhaps even Hermione's) and the risk of revealing what he did in Azkaban (at least to MoR!Dumbledore).
I don't get it. "It just happens that if Hermione doesn't walk, everyone but me will lose the ability to cast Patronus. Don't buy it? Oh, well, I'll just explain it to Hermione and she'll be able to testify under Veritaserum that I can do it." How exactly harry's ability (technique) to cast a strong patronus will interfere with the ability of the others?

Harry opened his mouth, and then, as realization hit him, rapidly snapped his mouth shut again. Godric hadn't told anyone, nor had Rowena if she'd known; there might have been any number of wizards who'd figured it out and kept their mouths shut. You couldn't forget if you knew that was what you were trying to do; once you realized how it worked, the animal form of the Patronus Charm would never work for you again - and most wizards didn't have the right upbringing to turn on Dementors and destroy them -

I'm curious now...

We know that Obliviation doesn't erase everything - it erases memories but not every effect of the experience it erases. We've even seen it in story - Rianne Felthorne felt sad when looking at her "found" ruby. McGonnagall also hypothesized that Harry might have been abused(or otherwise experienced something awful) and then Obliviated.

Either way, I'm curious how this effect would interact with something like this.

If Harry told you the secret of the True Patronus(and you weren't the sort of person who could kill Dementors with that knowledge) and you Obliviated yourself, would that be enough to restore the capacity to use an animal Patronus?

Got it. But this part is not strong enough: "Oh, well, I'll just explain it to Hermione and she'll be able to testify under Veritaserum that I can do it." They could claim Hermione being able to testify under Veritaserum is only enough to prove that Harry could convince her, not that the thing itself was true.
It's more ethically dubious, but in theory he could do it to one person who could cast the Patronus Charm, have them testify under Veritaserum that they were no longer capable of it as a consequence of what Harry told them, then Obliviate them of the specifics- even if it doesn't restore their ability, at least it prevents them from affecting anyone else. Then the issue is proving they're not Occlumens. But it's not like I'm advocating this idea, or anything. ETA: Oh! He could do it to Amelia Bones!
Or even Dumbledore.

PredictionBook registry - take one prediction a day to keep the hindsight bias away! - based on the speculation:

Harry's solution will be...

(These are not all mutually exclusive, and I didn't set down and make them all sum to 100%.)

Something about the last paragraph

his eyes looked at the rows of chairs, at every person and every thing within range of his vision, searching for any opportunity it could grasp

Makes me afraid he'll end up stabbing Lucius with the bones of a Hufflepuff.

If I have to be massively wrong on my predictions and Harry really does resort to violence, there had darn well better be Hufflepuff-stabbing!
My reasons for assigning ~0% to some of these: They would lock him away to protect the Dementors who are Britain's most powerful magical weapon in reserve in case of war with another magical nation. (Quoth Dumbledore.) Harry doesn't know that fact, so he can't offer it. Anyway, how would it help to reverse the judgement against Hermione? Can't use it to change what's already happened. Hermione has already given her testimony, and Harry didn't even listen so he wouldn't be in a good position to subtly modify it. And the Veritaserum on her is already wearing off, precluding further testimony. Harry and Hermione can't be both under the Cloak at once. People under the Cloak can still be caught by physically feeling around. The Aurors would stop them (certainly the one who wasn't under the Cloak at the time), and if they didn't, Hermione would be running around the building Cloaked but with no real way out. Wizengamot would have to vote to make the trial-by-combat's results binding (otherwise why should it reverse the standing Wizengamot vote to punish Hermione?) Lucius will ask them not to vote so, because Dumbledore would be Harry's champion, and so they won't. More generally, if Dumbledore could challenge Lucius to a duel every time a vote went against him, he'd have total control of the vote outcomes by virtue of being undefeatable in combat. And we know that's not the case. What would be the explanation presented for why Bella comes forward to confess, without implicating Quirrel? Just "Voldemort ordered me to do this and then Obliviated me"? Everyone would suspect Voldemort also false-memory-charmed Bella into believing she did it. And why would Voldemort sacrifice his most trusted and powerful lieutenant, whom he recently rescued at great risk, and not some smaller pawn? And why would Voldemort execute a plan to murder Draco or to frame Hermione in the first place? And how would Bella have gotten into Hogwarts without the wards detecting it, or Dumbledore's
Regarding the Cloak, one possibility is that Harry could duplicate it using the Time Turner. (Harry[1] goes back in time, equips himself with Cloak[1], sneaks up to Harry[2] and take Cloak[2] from his pouch. He could use both cloaks to perform an impossible rescue, then return Cloak[2] to Harry[2]'s pouch.)
I would be very surprised if Quirrell did not instruct Bellatrix to regain her Animagus form after she had sufficiently recovered from Azkaban. It would not be like him to go to all the trouble to present an alternative explanation for her escape but then fail to follow through.
True. The real question is how much she has recovered.
They could in canon.
But Harry and Bella couldn't both be under the Cloak at once in Azkaban. That's why Harry had to face the Dementors after he turned off his Patronus to evade Dumbledore. So MoR!verse differs from canon here. Edit: seems I'm wrong and the cloak is barely big enough for two children but not big enough for a child+adult. This is so in canon and presumably in MoR as well.
Bellatrix is forty years old. Even half-starved, she's a lot bigger than a twelve-year-old Hermione. (In canon, the Cloak got increasingly impractical for more than one person to use as time went on and the characters grew up.)
You're right then, it's just my lack of knowledge of canon showing.
This is a bit of a nitpick, but although ~0% is justified from an in-universe perspective, out-of-universe shouldn't you allow for the probability Elizier is planning one of these and has inadvertently introduced a massive plot hole?
My p. estimate that Eliezer introduced a plot hole (that I pointed out above, or that someone else here has pointed out) is indeed slightly higher than ~0. However, since Eliezer reads this thread, I believe in such a case he would rewrite the next several chapters. My final estimate is still emotionally-indistinguishable from 0.
In canon, they thought they heard Buckbeak die, too. It could already be that Hermione gave altered testimony and Harry isn't aware of it because he didn't hear what she said because he wasn't listening. In fact, that makes sense.
But since that altered testimony hasn't swayed the vote in her favor, why alter it in the first place?
Well... you know, this actually wasn't my idea and I'm not sure it would actually work, but playing devil's advocate here... ...anybody notice that Hermione's testimony contradicted itself? No; if they had, it would already have mattered. ...anybody notice that Hermione knew something she shouldn't at her age? No; she reads too much. ...anybody notice that Hermione knew something she shouldn't about Important Player In This Game? For instance, being able to mention what Voldemort looked like. It could be a subtle reference that Harry would have to point out because it flew under the radar. But it would really hurt Harry's relationship with Lucius. ...hey, notice how Hermione didn't know something Hermione should have known? It'd have to be subtle, but maybe if she mentioned uncertainty about something she should have known, it could do something... Well, I don't know. Eliezer's got me stumped this time.
Harry didn't listen, and Harry is coming up with a suggestion next week. (Or in a few seconds, depending on your POV.) So this can't be relevant to that solution. So unless Harry's solution will fail, this altered-testimony thing should not exist.
But it can be. Harry knows what the altered testimony will be because he just decided on how to alter it. He comments on the oddity, then goes back in time and causes it. Just like when he asked for a teacher's help when Draco was torturing him. Causality is screwy in this universe, isn't it?
It's possible. But he'd be risking someone flatly contradicting him the moment he made his statement about the testimony - "no, you didn't listen correctly, she didn't really say that". And afterwards, of course, there's no point for him to go back in time because he's received evidence that she did not in fact testify as he wished. Your scheme would work a lot better if he'd just listened to her testimony. Then he would know what he had to go back in time to cause, regardless of the way he used her testimony now. (grin)
He would risk it the same way he risked not actually being found by a teacher. Sure, that would be the smarter thing to do, but then it wouldn't come as a surprise to the audience. This way it gives us and Harry a puzzle.
And Harry doesn't yet know what has already happened - he wasn't listening.
But whatever happened has already caused the Wizengamot to find her guilty and vote to sentence her to Azkaban.
Yes, but the Wizengamot is stupid and Dumbledore etc wouldn't be listening for changes; all Harry needs is one clear contradiction or impossibility. (What is it? Dunno.)
Except that the Wizengamot is stupid. They might not care that Hermoine's testimony is inconsistent, or they might put it down to bad memory.
OK, but he hasn't listened and hasn't caught this contradiction, and nobody else has, either. So he won't go back to plant anything. And if he did, it would just raise a huge question of why her testimony differed in an important respect from the testimony she had given a day before on the same subject, also under Veritaserum.
Indeed, I was thinking destroy the Dementor as a show of force and threaten with challenging Draco to a duel to the death (I'm presuming he can do that as a Noble House). For, I don't know, willingly participating in a travesty of justice against a friend of Harry's or whatever. Close enough to a trial by combat, which also is presumably possible in this "justice" system, so yeah, maybe that after the show of force. I'm still slightly rooting for Draco to intervene, though. Slightly. Edit: Oh yeah, that torture thing. Even if Draco has been wiped of it and it's thus unprovable (aside from being not sufficient debt to cancel Hermione's supposed debt), the claim would probably be sufficient grounds for such duel.
I'm doubting he can do that, practically, as a student in Hogwarts.
Here's another idea: Draco uses his Patronus to tell the assembly he forgives the blood debt. Harry can use his own Patronus to beg Draco to do this.
Draco doesn't have authority to forgive it on his own. The blood debt is said to be owned to the House of Malfoy, and Lucius is Lord of that House, and Draco is a minor. Besides, Draco would never antagonize and publicly embarrass his father that way. Draco is also very angry at Hermione himself, now.
I'd say Harry would trade with Lucius - Harry would testify under Veritaserum that Dumbledore confesed to Him, that he burned Narcissa. In exchange Lucius would let Hermione free. Harry don't know if Dumbledore burned Narcissa, but probably can beat Veritaserum (according to Quirell), and with his evil side enabled he can risk trying it. Similiar to "make Dumbledore turn himself in", but Dumbledore had chance to do that, and declined, and I don't know if Harry can blackmail Dumbledore serioulsy enough for this. But Harry don't need to blackmail Dumbledore.
I thought you couldn’t change the past with a Time-turner.
Harry didn't pay much attention to the testimony after the beginning, thus the timeline doesn't have to change if he goes back to make sure it contains some new False Memoried tidbits, if he can get someone to do the charm. But I don't think there's been much indication that he can override his Time Turner limitations by himself and there may be little time left to try and get someone to do it for him before Hermione is hauled off. Edit: Silly me, he could just decide what to make her say later and do a quick check from McGonagall if they were included (thus checking if he will manage to go back to do the deed) and go from there. But it'd be difficult to insert subtle enough bits to make a difference only when lampshaded by Harry afterward (since many others presumably listened to the whole testimony already without noticing). Not impossible though. [Re-edited for semi-clarity...]
He could alter Hermione's testimony in a way that's contradicted by new evidence that hasn't yet been presented.
I think the probabilities work out roughly as follows: * 50% Malfoy's Imperius debt. * 20% nothing anyone here has thought of * 10% Something involving the true Patronus(Hermione casting it, etc.) * 10% all the other wacky theories proposed combined * 10% Harry fails and Hermione goes to Azkaban. I realize that this looks like a list designed to make me not look like too much of an idiot no matter what the result is, but I am not particularly confident, so I'll leave my error bars wide.

Suggestion: Harry (/Dumbledore) run some more almost-successful assassination attempts against Draco, while Hermione is in custody. That should suggest to Lucius and the Wizengamot that Hermione was being controlled. Bonus points for appearing to rescue Draco from said attempts. Bonus points for plausible attempts against Lucius himself. Extra bonus points for suggesting to Lucius a better explanation for the continuing attempts than the true one.

Among other things, this runs into the same issue as pretending to defeat Voldemort - there's an actual criminal out there who actually tried to kill Draco, or frame Hermione, or something more obscure than either, and any playacting would be extremely premature until they know what's actually going on.

5Joshua Hobbes12y
That... sounds like Harry's style. So he'd need to be in the trial when it happens. Then someone storms into the chambers and tells Lucius there's been another attack, and Harry smirks inwardly.

Time Turner.

EDIT: On the other hand, if people know you have a time turner, then you have to work extra hard to establish an alibi.

EDIT Again: But then, with Polyjuice Potion, how could anyone ever have an alibi? Ehhh, maybe it's time for more suspension of belief.

It's expensive, difficult to make, and Magical Britain's investigative process is pathetic. Given that a Veritaserum-given accusation and confession are considered conclusive even with known counters and a number of mind-altering spells widely taught, they most likely consider polyjuice too unlikely to bother worrying about in the vast majority of cases.
Polyjuice potion? I know they say it's hard to make, but 3 second years managed it in canon. Did EY make a point of making it particularly harder to make than in canon?
Maybe not harder, but more dangerous. 2 second years managed in canon, and the 3rd messed up and got turned into a catgirl. HPMOR chapter 78 has a reference to that, except this time the catgirl transformation is permanent.
... Can we get the weasly brothers to do it? Also if Harry is taken off campus for the trail wouldn't that be at odds with Dumbledore's intention to keep him safe?
In Dumbledore's personal presence he's safe enough. Especially since Dumbledore now thinks that Voldermort is in Hogwarts.
But where will Draco be on the day of the trial? If he won't still be in St. Mungo's then he might be at Malfoy Manor, which, I assume, is rather secure. (It would be a problem for Harry if not for Dumbledore.)
Well, what is Harry for if not thinking up solutions to "impossible" problems? Is this any harder than escaping Azkaban? People have already come up with ways to attack Malfoy Manor (transform antimatter), now we just have to attack and fail - how much harder could that be? :-)

The author's clues are pushing in two different directions. "Taboo tradeoffs" in the title, and that Harry's Dark side is delivering the solution, implies an answer that is morally unnerving or at least cold-blooded.

The author's line about Harry shifting from seeing the Wizengamot voters as "wallpaper" to seeing individuals with agency, "PCs", and the line about remembering the laws of magical Britain, implies an answer that involves the incentives and 'rules of the game' of the other Wizengamot members besides Lucius and Dumbledore.

None of the solutions I've seen (let alone the few I've thought of) seem both Dark/taboo and social/voters-are-PCs.

Harry calling in the (nominally) Imperiused voters' debts: clever, invokes customs of magical Britain, makes the voters PCs rather than wallpaper, but not very Dark or taboo.

Harry threatens the crowd with the Dementor somehow, or browbeats Dumbledore into ruining his reputation: Dark/taboo, but doesn't invoke the customs of magical Britain or treat the other Wizengamot voters as PCs.

Is there a solution that both invokes magical Britain's laws / makes PCs of the voters and involves some alarmingly Dark/taboo move or trade by Harry?

Boy-Who-Lived marries Draco Malfoy?

Harry could destroy his own reputation in order to save Hermione, by (for example) threatening to forever abandon Wizarding Britain. He is a beloved celebrity, after all, and it would be bad press for the Wizengamot if the Boy-Who-Lived defected to France. Not sure how likely his dark side is to go for a self-sacrificing ploy, though.
Wizarding Britain doesn't know that there's a Dark Lord still out there; it doesn't know that they still need Harry Potter as anything other than a celebrity, and for him to make such a threat would appear only as the height of vanity.
Shouldn't they take that for granted already? I mean obviously he's going to have absolutely no remaining loyalty to the state - or at least the power structure - that did that to him. They should all expect to die whenever Harry finds it convenient to overthrow them. Or is that just what I would do? (Any sane politician who was planning to make that sort of move against a potential emergent power like Harry would also see to it that they were killed, crippled or framed as a matter of course. You don't go around recklessly making enemies and leaving them free to gather power.)

"...Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge."


Apart from Dumbledore and Lucius, none of them are likely to take an 11-yo child and his promises of enmity and revenge at all seriously. "Enough talk, he'll be late for his classes." And even if he might become a political counter of some significance in a decade, or a few decades, they wouldn't expect him to hold a grudge that long - normal children don't often do that.
While Dumbledore and Lucius and other major figures might be sane, I'm not sure if we're supposed to take the majority of the Wizengamot to be anything other than, in Harry's words, "stupid, corrupt, and evil."
On the same kind of criteria, you might expect the majority of all wizards and indeed all humans to be stupid, corrupt, and evil-when-given-great-power. It's a Quirrel kind of thought. Which doesn't make it untrue.
Dark side doesn't care about consequences - I believe someone likened it to an UFAI.
I disagree. This is a possible, but weak solution whereto the probability calculation of good Bayesian says that it doesn't stand a good chance of succeeding compared to the cost. Right now Harry is not in an impressive social situation. Besides being the Boy-Who-Lived he's done nothing, and in this particular context he has not scored an awful lot of points.
The taboo tradeoff is presumably Lucius being asked to trade off his chance at revenge.
Agreed. I'm not sure why everyone's so fixated on a tradeoff by Harry.
Much worse, Harry sacrifices Hermione to achieve a higher level of utility (probably something involving 3^^^3). Horrible thought, but his dark side could do it, and he's just gone to the dark side for a solution.
That isn't a scary thought at all. In fact, in the absence of a clever solution it is the best option available. Sometimes you just have to lose because there is no real option. If it wasn't in a story with Harry as the protagonist it would almost certainly be best to not start a war with the entire power structure to try to save her. Well, not yet. Let Hermione go. Go research magic. Take over the world. Rescue Hermione. Use advanced magic and an FAI to heal the damage done to Hermione.
Harry promises Lucius to speak under Veritaserum, that Dumbledore confesed to Harry, that he burned Narcisa. Harry is occlumens or almost occlumens, so he can beat Veritaserum, but everybody don't know it. Lucius Malfoy has his revenge, and his son, so he let Hermione free. Dumbledore loses, and maybe everything is lost, but Hermione is free. That's taboo tradeoff.
Dumbledore knows Harry is an Occlumens, and he would say as much and have it independently verified.

Harry testifies: "Voldemort did it all. He made me watch with the Imperius curse -- just like when he made me help rescue Bellatrix Black."

Harry provides details of the Bellatrix rescue that only a participant would know. His accuracy can be verified by Azkaban Security Director Amelia Bones, who just happens to be present in the Wizengamot.

Harry's knowledge of the Bellatrix rescue proves the villain who Imperiused him was really Voldemort. Who else would rescue Bellatrix?

If anyone expresses doubts about Harry's super-Patronus, Harry immediately takes the excuse to annihilate a Dementor, one of which also just happens to be present in the Wizengamot.

Harry's Occlumency lets him lie through the Veritaserum about being Imperiused and witnessing poor Hermione being framed by Voldemort. He likewise lies that "Voldemort" (not Quirrell) took him to rescue Bellatrix.

Harry explains that seeing Hermione about to be condemned to Azkaban gave him the strength to finally break free of Voldemort's Imperius curse and tell everyone the truth. (Alternately, Obliviation and a Pensieve Harry wasn't supposed to find.)

Hermione is deemed innocent. Voldemort is acknowledged back in t... (read more)

Well you've at least managed a "confess" possibility that isn't completely insane, which is rather a feat. Of course, Dumbledore and some others know about the Occlumency thing, which means that there's a rather gaping hole in the explanation. Also, he took months to come forward, which is sketchy, and he said not five minutes earlier that he didn't know whose plot it was. Also, everyone thinks Voldemort is dead, and I didn't think an Imperius could be broken in the HP universe. Still, it's an improvement on that line of thought.
I don't know about MoR, but canonically Harry is dang near immune to the Imperius. For no particular reason, either- he just has an unusually strong will.
Well a Killing Curse can't be survived, either. Harry Potter has some precedent for resisting Voldemort's irresistible magics.
He broke Barty Crouch Jr.'s Imperius curse as well.
I don't agree with your general thesis, but this line from Harry would be double plus ironic with Lucius believing that Harry is Voldemort.
Minor variant: "I did it all. Voldemort made me, with the Imperius curse -- just like when he made me help rescue Bellatrix Black." Advantages: * requires Harry to make up fewer details about Voldemort's behavior (Harry just claims Voldemort Imperiused Harry with his orders regarding Hermione and then disappeared). * incredibly dramatic first line for chapter. "I did it! I'm guilty!" Readers spend several paragraphs wondering if Harry is actually setting himself up to go to Azkaban in Hermione's place. Disadvantage: * requires Harry to claim that the Imperius curse gave him spell expertise he otherwise doesn't have (Obliviate and the False Memory Charm). I personally dislike the Imperius "powerup", but it's in canon so Harry could certainly know about it in the fic. Aside from that objection this is an even more dramatic variant.
Harry can defeat Veritaserum (maybe), but definitely can't lie to a Legilemens - and the Wizengamot officially uses one to interrogate witnesses. Maybe they wouldn't do it on the spot, for whatever reason, but they would get to shortly, because this is very serious business. And if they saw in Harry's mind that he lied, they'd just interrogate him very thoroughly and then never listen to him speak freely.
However, it's likely that Lucius believes Harry is a perfect Occlumens, which means he would fight to block a Legilimency examination.
Suppose enough people disbelieve Lucius, or just oppose him if he's keeping his reasoning secret. Harry is the one coming forward asking to testify, so they decide to let him. But when testifying before the Wizengamot, standard procedure is to use a Legilemens. They even used one on Hermione, and no-one thinks she's any kind of Occlumens at all. So an Occlumens would be used, and would report that Harry is lying. There's no way Daniel_Starr's plan for Harry would work - whether they let him testify or not - unless he is a perfect Occlumens, and I don't believe that even of his dark side, it's not been sufficiently foreshadowed. (Also, Eliezer just wrote in the A/N that in text fiction, a protagonist can't just power-up and gain new abilities during a crisis, because it makes for poor storytelling; he has to solve the crisis using abilities he already has.)
I don't believe this is correct. They only bothered to use a Legilimens on the direct request of the Chief Warlock; Veritaserum is normally considered sufficient.
Good point. It's still possible that someone will request a Legilemens if Harry testifies, so such plans are risky.
Dumbledore won't ask for a Legilimens, because he'll trust Harry. Lucius won't, because he believes Harry is Voldemort and a perfect Occlumens. And everybody else will follow Dumbledore and Lucius' lead on the matter. Politicians hate taking risks and being caught out. Subordinate politicians really hate taking risks and being caught out.
Unless he's a perfect Occlumens by now.
4Joshua Hobbes12y
Or rather, unless his really really dark side is. Which I find quite plausible, really.
Nah, "what use is a mysterious dark side that doesn't even give him super powers?"

After almost a month of work, and more on a whim than any real hunch, Harry had decided to make himself coldly angry and then try the book's Occlumency exercises again. At that point he'd mostly given up hope on that sort of thing, but it had still seemed worth a quick try -

He'd run through all the book's hardest exercises in two hours, and the next day he'd gone and told Professor Quirrell he was ready.

His dark side, it had turned out, was very, very good at pretending to be other people.

Chapter 27

Which, to clarify, it turned out that it wasn't. Quirrel saw right through it.
Do you mean Mr. Bester? It was good at pretending to be other people, he just didn't know enough to make sure that the other person was the only one that Legilimens saw when reading his mind.
I don't remember at this point which one it was, but the GGP text suggests Quirrel was in fact the one to test him then. As for the mechanics of it - you may be right, I mostly recall that it didn't actually work.
0Joshua Hobbes12y

The Joker: I took Gotham's white knight and I brought him down to our level. It wasn't hard. You see, madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push!

-- The Dark Knight

The narrative that we, the readers, are supposed to believe at this point goes like this: Hermione was given information during her little rendezvous with H+C, giving her some information that made her think that Snape and the Malfoys had it in for her, that the duel didn't happen, and H+C (presumably Quirrell) obliviated her memory of their first meeting afterwards.

Professor Quirrell has made numerous statements doubting Hermione's goodness. For example: "She is young, and to make a show of kindness costs her little." (60) Being Quirrell, he has most likely predicted Harry's sentiment on the matter: "But 3 out of 40 subjects had refused to participate all the way to the end. The Hermiones. They did exist, in the world, the people who wouldn't fire a Simple Strike Hex at a fellow student even if the Defense Professor ordered them to do it." (63)

I would like to advance the hypothesis that Hermione actually did attempt to kill Draco. Yes, she had been set up to stew in her p... (read more)

I don't have a clue why Dumbledore would be involved in this case, but... Bellatrix is Narcissa's sister. And it occurs to me that a) Bella would be perfectly capable of burning her sister to death for basically any reason at all and b) Harry would be extremely reluctant to destroy her even if he knew she did it.

Oh, thank you, that's it, that's the answer: Bellatrix is Narcissa's sister, and of course Lucius would be more comfortable blaming Dumbledore than Bellatrix, not only for family reasons but for fear of Voldemort.

Plus, consider the Law of Dramatic Efficiency: Bellatrix is one of the few people we've met who would fully trigger Harry's oath (to take Narcissa's killer as an enemy) yet Harry wouldn't want to kill. Because Bellatrix wasn't "tricked" into killing Narcissa. Brainwashed, yes, but not tricked.

Bellatrix meets all the conditions for Narcissa's killer:

  1. If it's not Dumbledore, it has to be someone Lucius would rather not name to Draco. Bellatrix: sister-in-law and Voldemort's chief lieutenant.

  2. It has to be someone Lucius has been in no position to take revenge on in the intervening years. Bellatrix: in Azkaban.

  3. It ought, dramatically, to be someone within the oath yet very uncomfortable for Harry to go after. Bellatrix: in Harry's mind, brainwashed into her evil, but not tricked into the murder of Narcissa.

So Bellatrix fits perfectly. Lucius blames Dumbledore, knowing Draco won't trust Dumbledore claiming the contrary, and knowing how dangerous it would be for ... (read more)

If this is true, I'm looking forward to the inevitable Draco+Neville team-up.

Oh, I just realized - this makes Lucius' reaction to Harrymort make much more sense. Previously I was confused as to why he wasn't either ingratiating or fearful, but instead was all "my son is the last worthwhile thing I have in the world" complete with threats of vengeance. Of course he would react like that if this had happened.

It’s a very nice theory, but Dumbledore’s (and the other characters’) reactions to Lucius proposing the deal don’t quite seem to match. Lucius also seems sincere about considering it a real blood debt from Dumbledore comparable to an attempt on his son, I don’t think he’s a high-level enough player to have even the narrator not mention anything suspicious about it if he were faking it.

Just call him Heh.

Pretty sure Amelia Bones was a Hufflepuff.

The Wikia infers this from the tendency of house membership to run in families (and that her niece is a Hufflepuff, of course).

Floo powder requires a fireplace connected to the Ministry-supervised system. It's meant to be secure enough that it can connect locations where wards would prevent you from just Apparating there (like people's homes and Hogwarts)
Apparation requires being an licenced wizard and (in HPMoR atleast) you can only visit places where you've already been.
Portkeys can take you to new locations, and only need expertise in their creation, not their usage, but each portkey can only take you to a specific location.

The above are differences enough that you can see why different forms of transportation would be preferable under different scenarios.

Point in favor of this all being a plot by Quirrell to cause Harry to be more willing to overthrow the ministry:

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

ETA: Evidence this is the result of Quirrell's plotting at all:

Harry's mind flashed back to another day of horror, and even though Harry had been on the verge of writing off Lord Voldemort's continued existence as the senility of an old wizard, it suddenly seemed horribly and uniquely plausible that the entity who'd Memory-Charmed Hermione was the very same mind that had - made use of - Bellatrix Black. The two events had a certain signature in common. To choose that this should happen, plan for this to happen - it would take more than evil, it would take emptiness.

Harry is naive. Why not assume that many people can be this non-empathetic? It's a useful quality to have, after all.
Because it also requires competence? I don't actually know what a world with many super-competent villains would look like, but I'm guessing 'Not like this'.
I'm trying to figure out what the heck that even means. I sure hope Harry doesn't make a habit of deducing plot points - such as "Voldemort did it" here - from such vague moralipsychologising.

Harry's suggesting that Voldemort's tactics involve not just hate but an incredible degree of cynicism.

Both "Make Bella love you despairingly, on purpose" and "Mess with Hermione's brain intimately over a long period of time" reflect a person who can get to know people closely and accurately and yet not care about them at all.

A lot of evil comes from people doing bad things to people they don't bother to think about in the first place. Voldemort clearly took the trouble to get to know Bellatrix and (somewhat) Hermione rather well - solely for the purposes of undermining them.

Some police trained as hostage-situation snipers find they can't actually pull the trigger on real criminals, because they watch them so long and so closely they empathize with them. Draco Malfoy, in the fic, was coming to empathize with Hermione Granger.

Harry is observing that Voldemort seems to be immune to natural empathy, and that creeps him out.

(Agree that Harry having "Voldemort plot detection powers" as a general rule would be bizarre.)

Harry doesn't know whether whoever framed Hermione knew her closely or not. He knew that her mind was probably tampered with on several different occasions, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the criminal interacted with her on a regular basis, or enough to empathize with her. Otherwise I think he would have considered Quirell as a lead suspect early on.
Good reply. I'll note, however, that to me the word "evil" means what you're talking about. If we're talking about "evil' as a character trait, that is, someone being an evil person. When you say "A lot of evil comes from people doing bad things to people they don't bother to think about in the first place", I assume you're talking about "evil" as in "harm done", which is not the same thing.

Why are we assuming that Quirrelmort is on the up and up about wanting Harry to be the next Dark Lord?

Isn't that exactly the story you'd give a young prodigy with delusions of godhood to manipulate him, particularly if you wanted to set him against the establishment? Put Hermione in harms way, arrange to have her sent to Azkaban, where you've already arranged to have Harry rescue Bellatrix, egg Harry on to rescue her, as if he needed any egging on, then try to steal the Sorcerer's Stone while everyone is away at Azkaban.

Regardless on the details of Hermione's trial plays out, it would be a really interesting mind fuck to Harry, to find out that Quirrell was completely manipulating Harry's Messiah Complex from day one so he could someday use him as a distraction, and that all of Harry's childish science fiction fantasizing are seen by Quirrellmort as just that - childish.

And Dumbledore seems worse than Harry about taking science fiction/fantasy novels as a way to model real life.

And guess what? To the extent that we are lapping up this story, we are too. A mind fuck for Harry, Dumbledore, and us. And I can't say that we wouldn't have it coming.

Years ago, I read Point Counterpoint... (read more)

Presumably if Quirrell thought he could take over the world on his own he'd have done so, and not wasted time playing a petty game to amuse himself with one boy wizard. But you're right that "I notice I am confused" about the relationship between Voldemort, Quirrell's current mind, and Harry's mind. If Quirrell's mind is a copy of Voldemort, and if he believes Harry's mind is also a copy of Voldemort, what is Quirrell's ultimate intent for Harry? To overwrite him? To merge with him? Or merely to train him back into himself? And if Dumbledore knows as much or almost as much about Horcruxes as Quirrell, does Dumbledore also know or suspect that Harry contains a piece of Voldemort's mind?
If Quirrellmort gets the Stone, he'll come back much stronger than he ever was. That's not a petty gain.
You're right, the Stone would be worth it. But if you know or expect the Stone to be in Hogwarts, then why take the awful risk of breaking out Bellatrix Black? If you were found out, you'd lose your chance to continue casing Hogwarts for the Stone. Come to think of it, why did Quirrellmort break out Bellatrix before his other plans were complete? Wasn't that awfully risky? What does Bellatrix offer that is so urgently needed? (Possible answer: Quirrellmort is decaying fast.)
Bellatrix is a puzzle. Possible that he was actually in love with her, and that all the supposed torture was false memory charmed into her? I can't quite see how it would work, but my guess is that EY is a soppy old romantic at heart, so I wouldn't be surprised if somehow the relation between Bellatrix and Voldemort was transfigured. Then again, maybe it wasn't Bellatrix at all. She was just being used again. As DanArmak implies, maybe Quirrell is just driving a wedge between Harry and The Man. That's certainly useful, and plays into the current storyline of Hermione possibly going there. That was my first thought. Wouldn't that be a nice start to manipulate Harry into the Dark Side, a la the consistency bias? Also, it let Harry see first hand the torture, further alienating him from The Man. And if Hermione gets sent up, I can't see Harry doing nothing about that, after liberating Bellatrix. Save Bellatrix and let Hermione rot? That doesn't seem likely. However, didn't Hat and Cloak press Hermione that Harry would eventually sacrifice her for some higher goal? Somebody did that. Kind of a replay of Hermione looking to Dumbledore for justice, but receiving it from Quirrell instead. Maybe she gets disillusioned with Harry this time, and Quirrell rights the balance again? Maybe he wants to turn Hermione to the Dark Side? The Bellatrix thing is a really good point, though. But it leads me to something else interesting - Dementors. Maybe rescuing Bellatrix was just a diversion from the true point - seeing what Harry could do about Dementors. Defeating Death is central to Harry, Voldemort, and EY. Harry was extra sensitive to Dementors. Quirrell too. He asked for them at Hogwarts. He saved Harry from them. But Hermione said the Dementor's told her that Quirrell wanted the Dementors to eat Harry. And the Dementor told Quirrell that he knew him, and would hunt him down. Quirrell talked about "someone" attempting to destroy a Dementor. Death Eaters? A little joke fro
Charmed by someone other than Voldemort, I presume, after his death, and really they were two happy lovers all along? But then others (Lucius, Draco through him, etc) would have had quite different memories of the Voldemort-Bella relationship, and Harry would ventually hear about it when she became a popular subject of discourse after escaping from Azkaban. Everyone can't be charmed about this matter.
Maybe just to prime Harry with Azkaban, to drive a wedge between him and all magical authority that supports it, to prepare him to go Dark, and to be absolutely certain he'd act in a hurry if, say, Hermione was imprisoned there. The other major effect of the Azkaban arc was to convince Dumbledore, and through him Madam Bones who commands the Aurors, that Voldemort has returned. While Dumbledore thinks Voldemort is around, he's less likely to suspect or investigate Quirrel as the cause of any new disasters; and he also prohibits Harry from leaving Hogwarts, which drives Harry to Quirrel for help if he must leave - such as, again, to help Hermione. Besides, Quirrel may be right when he says he didn't think the Azkaban breakout was such a big risk (of discovery), he just didn't anticipate Harry interfering against orders and then stunning him due to the resonance.
Regardless of whether it was awfully risky, I don't think Quirrell thought it was risky. "My planss not in habit of failing."

Snape's plotting here is interesting, but I'm not sure what he is actually trying to accomplish.

Quick rundown of what we know:

  1. Snape was the one who sent Hermione the notes on where to find bullies.
  2. Snape destroyed those notes when asked to look for them.
  3. He went through great efforts to obliviate everyone at SPHEW's final battle.
  4. Snape had a conversation with Quirrel where he had his ass handed to him. (either he was stupid when dealing with Quirrel, or wanted Quirrel to think he was stupid)
  5. He is probably working outside of Dumbledore's ordersl, and is definitely hiding things from Dumbledore.
  6. After the SPHEW girls kept on winning he stopped the Slytherin bullies from advancing any farther.

So I suspect a few things:

  1. Snape was the one who was forcing the repeated escalation of the SPHEW situation
  2. Snape is actually working to help Harry somehow. (Because of his love for Lily)
  3. Snape is not nearly so biased against muggleborns as he pretends to be. (Remember Lily was a muggleborn)
  4. Snape is trying to restore the reputation of Slytherin house in much the same way as Harry. (He's cutting down on bullying and is, in a way consistant with his character, making the hatred of mu
... (read more)

I don't believe Snape values his love for Lily, past or present. I believe Snape is scheming to his own ends and by his own mercilessly practical means. He's not the best at it, but he's left the chump train.

Snape forced the escalation in order to get justification to do exactly what he did at the end of the first scene of chapter 75, where the following describes him admonishing the top Slytherin bullies:

"You will do nothing," hissed their Head of House. Severus Snape's face was enraged, when he spoke small spots of spittle flew from his mouth, further dotting his already-dirtied robes. "You fools have done enough! You have embarrassed my House - lost to first-years - now you speak of embroiling noble Lords of the Wizengamot in your pathetic childish squabbles? I shall deal with this matter. You will not embarrass this House again, you will not risk embarrassing this House again! You are done with fighting witches, and if I hear otherwise -"

Snape has cut the head off the Slytherin Bullying Machine, intending to see the machine fall apart without it. The non-Slytherin bullies were probably never that organized (fucking Gryffindors), and I suppose are mean... (read more)

One interesting clue I noticed last night while re-reading HPMOR to my wife as a bed time story is that Snape is essentially ordered by Dumbledore to stop reading students' minds as a condition of his blackmail-agreement with Harry (Chapter 18), but we see later that Snape is clearly still reading minds without permission when he reads Alissa Cornfoot's mind while she is fantasizing about him (Chapter 28). Previously I hadn't thought that there was any real reason for that interlude in Chapter 28, but now I see that it tells us information about how Snape doesn't follow Dumbledore's orders.
I'm unsure that is an accurate description of the text. You are more or less right about chapter 18. First, Harry makes his demand regarding Snape: Then there is this corresponding line within the compromise Dumbledore offers: We don't observe this promise actually being made. And we aren't even assured of when it would be made. A pointlessly legalistic take on the terms could be that Snape will make that promise at some point in his life. But I think it's safe to say that the promise was made shortly thereafter. I also think it is plausible that it has been followed. The closing of chapter 28 may be addressed by another quote from chapter 18: Hormone-addled children are ill-equipped for subtly. I think the more telling thing from the scene in chapter 28 is that Snape directly rejected her instead of leaving her pining, as he had been left pining. Previously he regarded the pain of rejection as the worst possible thing. But after his conversation with HJPEV, and I guess some introspection or whatever, he understands his acceptance of that rejection was better than eternal uncertainty. (emphasis added as edit)
I read this as meaning that Dumbledore's order that Snape stop reading minds is just to mollify Harry. Dumbledore reads students' minds (I argue here that Dumbledore reads the Weasley twins' minds), and hence doesn't actually care whether Snape does the same. Harry, of course, has no way of checking that Snape is following this order, so it's safe for Dumbledore to cross his fingers under the table, so to speak.
Dumbledore never promised to stop reading student's minds. Not int chapter 18 when he said Snape would make that promise or in chapter 20 when he is called on reading HJPEV's mind. Also, Dumbledore's offered compromise to HJPEV was this: It is not difficult to argue that the safety of some student, somewhere requires constant readings of the minds of the Weasley twins.
Agreed, but I thought it was heavily implied in Interlude with the Confessor that he had assigned Rianne Felthorne the task of assisting them.

I believe Snape's motivations are more personal than trying to help Slytherin House. He's remembering how he was bullied by James, and his conversation about the topic with Harry prompted him to devise this scheme to fight bullying today. He's basically looking for redemption, having perhaps abandoned his love for Lily after talking with Harry and also after the Interlude with the Confessor.

This explains why he's starting this scheme now, rather than as soon as he became Head of Slytherin.

He's hiding this from Dumbledore because Dumbledore explicitly acted against his plot: he tried to stop the SPHEW-bully fights, in the end by the drastic method of ordering Snape to disband them and publicly humiliate and punish Hermione. Dumbledore explained his actions and motivations several times to Harry.

Point, though wanting to curb bullying, and end the racism amounts to nearly the same thing as wanting to redeem Slytherin.

Not really. Bullying is House-neutral; Slytherin and Gryffindor both bully each other as well as random other students. Note the heavy non-Slytherin presence at the last bully battle, and note that James Potter was in Gryffindor. And Quirrelmort, who was (for the sake of argument) in Slytherin, spoke of how much he once hated bullies.

Snape is over Lily. He's been coming to grips with losing his love for Lily ever since Harry gave Snape his (incorrect) explanation for Lily's treatment of him. The moment he kissed Rianne is the moment he finally decided to stop living and grieving for Lily and start living for himself.

The question is what it means for him to live for himself. Dumbledore's trust in Snape is based on his knowledge of Snape's undying love for Lily. If Dumbledore were to find out that that love no longer exists, he would (gently, perhaps) kick Snape out of the Fellowship. He would know that there was no longer any reason to trust him. And if Snape has gotten over Lily, he'll probably feel no real compulsion to help Harry in any particular way.

Quirrell, being a smarter Voldemort, knows what was driving Snape when he was working for Dumbledore, and he now knows that it's driving Snape no longer. That's why he had that little conversation with him in the woods; he knows that Snape is now a free agent who might once again be a blood purist loyal to Voldemort.

Voldemort would not likely welcome Snape back into his fold once Voldie reveals himself, but now that he knows Snape's loyalties are up for grabs, he won't hesitate to manipulate him and use him however he can until then.


We're told so during their conversation in the woods.

No, there is only one person who holds so much power over you, and who would be most perturbed to find you executing any plot without his knowledge. Your true and hidden master, Albus Dumbledore."

"What?" hissed the Potions Master, the anger plain upon his face.

"But now, it seems, you are moving on your own; and so I find myself most intrigued as to what you could possibly be doing, and why."

Quirrell may not know about his love for Lily, but I consider that highly unlikely, since Snape apparently still asked Voldemort not to kill her. Quirrellmort would certainly have put two and two together by now.

But that passage explicitly tells us that Quirrell knows that Snape is no longer acting under Dumbledore's orders.

And Snape is the Half-Blood Prince.

Lucius is a slytherin, and not stupid. What if he really does believe Hermione is a pawn? The question remains — whose pawn?

Lucius might believe Hermione is Dumbledore's pawn.

Lucius already believes D killed his wife, and so he would have no trouble believing Dumbledore is targeting his son. In fact, it would be to Dumbledore's advantage (so might think Lucius) to target Draco in such a way that D can avoid taking the blame. If D wanted to impose political costs on Lucius, one way he might do it is to have someone utterly beyond suspicion be found to have attacked Draco. Then Lucius would have to use up political capital to punish an innocent little girl.

If Lucius thinks this way, it would explain his willingness to punish Hermione to the extreme — she's Dumbledore's pawn, and so he's going to take her away in order to impose costs on Dumbledore. For Dumbledore to speak up for Hermione would reinforce the belief that she belongs to D.

What do we make of Harry Potter's comments, and Lucius's reaction to them, in this light (given that Lucius thinks Harry is the dark lord)? His "unheard sentences" would likely be along the lines of "No shit, sherlock!", followed by... (read more)

My mental model of Lucius is here. The summary of it is that Lucius thinks that Harrymort has turned sides and is now psuedo-allied with Dumbledore. Lucius thinks he's just aligned himself on the weak side of a 2-on-1 secret war against the two strongest wizards alive, but he has no choice because they both want to destroy him.
I see him gaining political capital by destroying the mudblood girl who publicly challenged and defeated his pureblood son. The purebloods in the WIzengamot were aching to abuse her.

Dementor, do you know who I am? Just say yes or no.

Do you know what I'm capable of? Once again, yes or no.

Leave Hermione be. Do not approach her or tread upon her thoughts during her time in azkaban. Run along and tell your compatriots at azkaban. Now.

Hopefully albus's belief would be enough to bolster them even if they don't have a mind if their own. If they do have a mind of their own they can be threatened, and have been in the past.

How about, follow the money? Who gains?

Hermione, the girl who publicly humiliated Draco and the whole Pureblood cause, now owes a blood debt to Lucius Malfoy. Not only does he gain power over her, but by extension, over Harry, and further extension, to Dumbledore. All for the price of a very safe if monitored supposed attempt on Draco's life, which Draco likely would have volunteered for if given the opportunity.

Lucius has hit the jackpot, even if he didn't plan and orchestrate the whole thing. He can extract almost anything out of Harry in exchange for leniency for Hermione. It seems unlikely that the good Defense Professor would have orchestrated a plan which is entirely dependent for it's success on Lucius failing to take advantage of the situation - unless putting Harry in Lucius's debt was his goal.

Lucius personally has complete control of the outcome, and I'm surprised Harry hasn't considered contacting him yet.

Right. And Lucius calls Snape his "valuable ally", so it's likely that Snape has done the dirty work for Lucius inside Hogwarts.
Or Snape is just a good double agent.
Indeed. Though I went a bit further (more likely than not too far ;) in the reviews: "Speculation time: Lucius did it. But plot thickens: Draco will intervene on Hermione's behalf, mostly on the basis of their remembered scenario being very implausible, as explained in the chapter. The Harry-Draco bond will strengthen. Just as Lucius intended, not being quite as inflexible as pictured in the discussion, and seeing that Draco will do quite well for himself as Harry's second. As a side benefit, he'll get the record to show that (according to the false memory) Draco won a straight duel against Hermione. (Almost nobody will think to doubt that part of the memory - Draco might, but will keep it to himself.)" Mr. Hat presumably can't be Lucius, though (that "only teachers can cast this sort of stuff here without being noticed" thing), so ve'd have to be just under his control, but that should be simple enough.

But plot thickens: Draco will intervene on Hermione's behalf, mostly on the basis of their remembered scenario being very implausible, as explained in the chapter.

Only Hermione's supposed cold-blooded attempt to kill him is highly implausible, and Draco doesn't actually remember nor can testify to that.

The things that Draco remembers aren't actually significantly implausible: We know he challenged her to a duel to that very place, we know he considered himself quite likely to overpower her in that duel. Then all Draco knows of that night is that he was stunned in the back.

Draco does not even need to have been False-Memory charmed for any of the above - even if Hermione didn't actually go to the duel, a polyjuiced Quirrell could have taken her place.

Only Hermione needs to have been implanted with false memories.

I like the Draco part, but the Lucius part seems a stretch to me. Lucius could have just stayed out of their way and let their bond grow, trusting to Draco to cozy up with a new power. Actually, it appears more likely to me that this is a plot by Lucius to turn Draco away from Harry by setting Hermione in opposition to Draco. But both Lucius and Draco are key to the resolution of this. Mr. Hat is the trick for any Lucius Did It theory. Off the top of my head, I can't find a satisfactory Mr. Hat for this scenario. Snapes seems the only possible candidate.
Assuming Quirrell is Voldemort, he presumably had years of access to Lucius' mind (if he regularly required Lucius to drop Occlumency barriers). At the very least, we can assume he has an excellent mental model of how Lucius behaves. The plot therefore doesn't seem like too great of risk for Quirrell, particularly when we consider that Lucius is about to discover Harry's progress in turning Draco. Quirrell can safely assume that Lucius will react in a way that will pull Draco and Harry apart when he discovers this, and will therefore be less inclined to trade Hermione for something of Harry's.

It's an actually popular thing associated with LessWrong, and it's a good place for the comments. Putting the threads in the discussion section is hardly onerous. We could date them rather than number them, like the Open Threads.

True, but I can forsee clutter. (Ah, well,it sounds completely trivial when I put it into words like that.)
Discussion runs pretty fast, y'know ...

I think Harry already failed his bargaining attempt vs. Lucius, so for flow of story reasons I don't think he's going to call in his life debt, although that makes the most sense of the theories I've seen so far.

I think Harry will bargain with the dementor. "Dementor, if you and your ilk allow this girl to enter Azkaban, I will come and destroy you all. If you refuse to let her enter, I will permit your species to continue to exist." This could be a taboo tradeoff; Harry is trading his sacred value of anti-death-ness to save Hermione.

I think this theory fits in with the story a little better, but it seems less likely to work. It also has a pretty bad failure mode; the dementor ignores Harry because everyone else in the room expects it to, and Harry has to get Fawkes to take him to Azkaban to make good on his threat. (Does Harry know that Phoenix travel is a fast way in? If not, he can probably guess so.)

I was never comfortable with dementors being that impressionable. Harry was able to threaten a dozen of them in Azkaban, and sure, he expected it to succeed; but afterward, that dozen returned back to the main body of hundreds of dementors, all of which then refused to assist dozens of aurors, who would have expected them to. I would argue for at least rudimentary intelligence on the part of the creatures.

I'd like to point out something awesome Eliezer did in the previous chapter, "Cheating". In canon, Potions as a discipline is hardly taught at all. The only thing you ever see Snape do in the books is give a list of ingredients and instructions, tell the class how long the class period is, and assign papers at the end of the class. This is one example of how J.K. Rowling wasn't really invested in developing the mythology of the universe, except as strictly necessary to make her plots happen. (There's nothing wrong with that; they're children's books, not "real" fantasy for adults.)

With the "Cheating" chapter, rather than trying to create a whole framework of Potions rules to understand as he's done elsewhere, he simply added a darn good explanation that legitimizes everything Rowling already showed us. When Hermione lectures Harry on "understanding the principles" in Half-Blood Prince, instead of scoffing about how there's never been evidence of any principles to learn, we can now imagine that there's a very good reason why Harry is never taught the principles of potion-making: if you're not smart, thoughtful, and careful enough to figure the... (read more)

Seconded. In retrospect, the Canon teaching of potions now seems incredibly practical. The vast majority of students not only don't need to learn the theory, but it's a negative for them to do so. They only need to learn two things: 1) how to make the potions they'll use every day and 2) whether or not they even can make those potions or if they should just buy them from someone else. Constant repetition with minimal instruction is exactly what you need for a class that's more akin to cooking instead of calculus.

Potions is not the only thing that's neglected in canon; Transfiguration is also "just" taught but never used (except by the teachers). I love it that Harry!MoR puts Transfiguration to good use; after all it seems to be the most general magic manipulation. It feels a bit as if canon and MoR aren't the same fiction subgenre. Canon is about a boy growing up, about action and an isolated society that still parallels the muggle society in many ways. MoR is more about discovering the magical world and about complicated plotting.
I never viewed them as really belonging in the same genre. Canon is character focused adolesence tale, MoR is plot focused epic fantasy.

I'd say lower probability, but Snape is the obvious villain right now based on what we know about him destroying the notes

Wait, how is this relevant? Destroying the notes is just about cleaning up his SPHEW-related tracks (due to his apparent embarrassment at being a soft touch w/r/t bullying) now that Hermione and her notes are under great scrutiny as possibly being related to her framing.

And in fact, I'd say the notes are evidence against. If Snape had been plotting this all along, one might expect the notes to have been destroyed before the incident is uncovered, say after Hermione left for the duel, since Snape would not be able to guarantee he'd be assigned to look for the notes, that he would be alone or unobserved in every way, etc. If you predict an investigation will find dangerous papers you no longer need, you don't wait until the investigation starts!

I don't see Snape's motives the same way. Here's why I think he's the obvious villain (if my above 'twist' is wrong :/): We know he was behind the plot with SPHEW as the puppet master, and that it centered around Hermione. As a result of his involvement, the bullying situation escalated until Dumbledore had to end it. If not for Malfoy's involvement at the cafeteria, Hermione would have ended her anti-bullying crusade disgraced, embarrassed, and powerless. The fight with the 7th year had the potential to end things in this way with Hermione as well, but it did not due to sheer luck. It would be poor planning on Snape's part if he had wanted to help SPHEW in its fight. His presence at the last big fight is not evidence either way; he could have been there to bolster the slytherins or help SPHEW. In any event, if we look at Snape's plotting in this light, there are now two people plotting against Hermione if H&C is not Snape. This does not make too much sense to me (from a who benefits standpoint) unless you consider Lucius as an option, but he loves Draco and would not plan something that might kill him. Destroying the notes at the earliest opportunity is optimal, but the risk of being detected by Dumbledore OR Quirrell OR the Wards OR the Marauders' Map OR <competent time-turned investigator if the plan doesn't work> is significant if he tried to do so the night of the duel. His window of opportunity is not too large either, because Hermione would notice if they were destroyed too long before the duel. Perhaps Snape went ahead with his plan, confident in his ability as a Slytherin to maneuver the room full of shocked people into letting him search Hermione's room? ((Postscript: After I'm done typing all of this out, it occurs to me that I may have latched too strongly onto this theory and am now defending it because it's a pet theory and not because it's the best theory. I don't think that this is the case, but that's how pet theories feel 'from the inside' anyw
I think it was pretty clear that he was there to help SPHEW. That makes sense given his memory charming of everyone involved and it was (very) heavily implied that he was helping them in other battles.
I notice I am confused.... (I reread the Dumbledore conversation speculating that Quirrell was helping SPHEW in previous fights, and that can only be Snape helping.) He could have memory-charmed if he didn't want to be known as working against SPHEW, but it is more likely that he was helping. Now I do not have a good theory for who H&C is.

I dunno, I always read that conversation (and the subsequent scenes from Snape's POV) as indicating that Harry actually succeeded in convincing Snape that Lily wasn't all that great and that his carrying that particular torch for so long was pathetic.

In the process cutting the only tie holding Snape to the Light.


Maybe. On the other hand . . . maybe actually winning Snape to Harry's side.

Ch 76 - "I have had two mentors, over the course of my days. Both were extraordinarily perceptive, and neither one ever told me the things I wasn't seeing. It's clear enough why the first said nothing, but the second..." Snape's face tightened. "I suppose I would have to be naive, to ask why he stayed silent."

Let us assume that Snape no longer has any reason to be loyal to Dumbledore. Then where does Snape turn next? Back to Voldemort? MoR!Voldemort, who is not nearly the idiot Canon!Voldemort was (and thus far less likely to trust Snape), who killed Lily despite knowing how important Lily was to Snape, and who with no question would only be using him?

If that were the only alternative to Dumbledore, perhaps. But it isn't.

No, Snape has an alternative. Someone who confronts bullies, instead of leading or tolerating them. Someone who told him the truth, rather than leave him in a fog of lies. Someone of demonstrated intelligence and power. Someone who has already bested Voldemort.

Snape of course cannot bear, in pride, to simply and openly take up the banner of the alternative. But he can at least take up the role of protector of the boy, who really is not particularly like his father.

I've actually wondered which mentor is which, in Snape's telling: my guess is that the first one is Voldemort, and that Snape thinks it's "clear enough" that Voldemort didn't tell him Lily was shallow because he either didn't know or didn't care. The second one is Dumbledore, who didn't tell him Lily was shallow because Snape was only useful to him as long as he still loved her. And Snape would have to be naive to ask why Dumbledore stayed silent, when it's obvious that speaking up could only weaken Snape's loyalty.
If the first mentor is Voldemort and the second Dumbledore, it's interesting that he speaks of both in the past tense. Why does he have to turn somewhere? Can't he hide, run, sit out the next war, and not risk his life for anyone he doesn't like? Can't he start living his own life for a change? :-)
There's no way either Voldemort or (for example, on the other side) Moody will possibly believe that it's safe to let a Slytherin (ambition!) who has been so high in the counsels of each side to run around free, perhaps plotting to stick his oar in at just the right moment to tip things. Is there a hole deep enough to hide in? That leaves allying with someone who can play on the Voldemort/Dumbledore level. There aren't a lot of possible choices. Maybe Grindlewald, freed from prison, but he was hardly trustworthy. There might be a really, really powerful witch in India we've never heard of, but that would be bad fiction writing. Who else is there? If Snape can overcome his prejudices, the logical choice of ally is Harry Potter.
That is the logical conclusion your sympathies incline you to. I suspect that what Snape sees in HP is at best a future Dumbledore, and quite possibly simply voldy V 2.0 Why the heck sign up for being manipulated and a pawn a third time? Uh-uh. But this may entirely explain what the heck he was/is doing with SPHEW. He picked Hermonie as the potential future ally least likely to stab him in the back when convenient, and SPHEW as the bet least dependant on a single individual. (Because it is an idea. The idea that everyone can stand up and do the right thing.) Without telling anyone. Which is hilarious.
If there wasn't a prophecy directed personally to Snape that made him believe that the ultimate choices are either Voldemort or Harry, maybe.
From Snape's POV, Harry's camp is Dumbledore's camp - to be around Harry he'd have to keep on being a Professor at Hogwarts, and Dumbledore will make sure he's his piece if he's on his home turf. Harry won't have his own proper camp for years yet, not something he could defend against Voldermort-level opponents by his and his allies' own magic power. There's another reason: (edit: as far as Snape knows...) Harry doesn't know Snape was a Death Eater, a double agent, and the one responsible for delivering the prophecy to Voldemort! If Snape moves openly to support Harry where this doesn't mean supporting Dumbledore, then Dumbledore will warn Harry against him by revealing Snape's past, and Harry won't ever trust Snape after that. The impression Snape created in his last private conversation with Harry was bad enough. Even if Snape merely tries to approach Harry privately, Harry will want to ask him questions about the last war. How did his parents die? What does the prophecy say? How did Dumbledore manage the last war? He'll be asking because Snape was there, but true answers will cast Snape in a very bad light.
Harry figured this out at the bottom of chapter 46, Aftermath Minerva McGonagall. Three people know. Dumbledore had to not learn first, because then he would only tell the one person who would set the trap (Snape) and only two people would know of the prophecy instead of three. So Harry correctly deduces that McGonagall learned first and told Dumbledore who told Snape who told the dark lord. Whether or not Snape knows that Harry knows, we can't be sure. However, he does know that Harry knows who knows the prophecy. Given just this information he is aware that Harry could deduce that Snape was the mole who helped trap Voldemort. If it seems a little farfetched for everyone to be so smart, I will note that Slytherin House practically recreated the entire scenario, minus the exact specific details, of Harry's blackmail of Snape after one day. Snape would be used to this level of deduction and plotting in his students.
Actually, I think the Slytherin students reasoned rationally yet happened not to get the right answer. Slytherin thinks that Snape can get away with being horrible because he's blackmailing Dumbledore, that Harry found out how Snape is blackmailing D, and that D now has to try to please both of them. In actuality, Snape is horrible at Dumbledore's direction, in order that everyone think Snape is blackmailing him, when actually Snape is really on Dumbledore's side (chapter 77). (Or at least D thinks so, based on love-for-Lily.) But Dumbledore really does have to keep Harry happy to some extent, so he directs Snape to be horrible to only half the students. Then D can maintain the fiction that Snape is blackmailing him, and can pretend that Harry is now blackmailing him too by finding out the same secret Snape has. D plays along with Harry's guess that he wants an evil potions master, so that he doesn't have to tell Harry that Snape is secretly on his side.
Good catch. Although Harry was a little wrong; Snape overheard the prophecy, he wasn't given it by Dumbledore. I don't even know if he was a double agent at that point, or just a simple agent for Voldermort in Dumbledore's camp. He only really went over to Dumbledore's camp because 1) Lily was killed and 2) Voldermort died. There are other explanations that Snape might present for that. For instance, he might claim to Harry that Voldemort told all his top lieutenants about the prophecy before attacking the Potters. The major danger to Snape is a reveal from Dumbledore.
Sure, on the gross level it's just swapping out "tied to Dumbledore's faction because that's where he can watch over his lost love's son" to "tied to Dumbledore's faction because that's where he can watch over someone who might be in his own long-term rational self-interest to support."
Or more explicitly "tied to Dumbledore's faction because that's the faction that won't be evil to him, and being without a faction is too dangerous".
You definitely put Quirrell's offer to be an ally to Snape in a new light. He may be trying to prevent just that.
He may have quit loving Lily, but Snape instigated his anti-bullying scheme after his conversation with Harry. I'd say the conversation shocked him out of self-pity and into action, and the action was more or less Good.
I took it that way too. Makes for an improved Snape, and an avoidance of the debacle in canon of the world being saved by creepy guy nursing a teenage crush for decades. Ugh.

Rationalist Hero Rule #43: don't dismiss known saviors-of-the-world because of Ugh fields.

I'm increasingly struck by the foreshadowing EY uses. Instead of pulling things out of his ass, he sets up whatever happens. Unlike the original series, I expect a satisfying ending where all the pieces fit together and make sense.

Along these lines, go back and look at the little chat Quirrell had with Harry after they broke Bella out of Azkaban. To summarize Quirrell: People are hypocritical and delusional pricks who will bleed their grandmothers for a nickel. They care nothing for people accused of crimes, but instead sadistically compete to show strength by abusing them. Being young and naive, you can still tolerate them, but once their idiocy strikes at something dear to you, you'll despise them as I do, and decide it's better to rule them than tolerate the abominations that inevitably follow when you don't.

And what happens? Hermione is accused of a crime, which is transparently improbably, but people compete to sadistically abuse her regardless. Their idiocy strikes at something dear to Harry, and in his heart, he declares war on magical Britain, musing "Dark Lord" just doesn't sound as bad as it used to.

EY and Quirrell couldn't have spelled it out more clearly.

Shou... (read more)

I recently reread the chapter where Dumbledore gives Harry his rock. Its kind of shocking at how well it was written where the first time you are completely confused and the second time you are like, "Oh dumbledore you magnificent bastard'
I'm still completely confused: what happened with the rock?
Recap of Chapter 17 and how Dumbledore manages to act insane while still giving meaningful advice and not lying. "Why?" Dumbledore repeated. "Ah, Harry, if I went around all day asking why I do things, I'd never have time to get a single thing done! I'm quite a busy person, you know." Dumbledore means that he doesn't spend all day asking himself 'why am i protecting the magical world' he just goes out and does it. It doesn't mean he just wanders around doing random acts. "I'm sorry," Harry said. He felt wretched at this point, he'd just told off Gandalf essentially, and Dumbledore's kindness was only making him feel worse. "I shouldn't have distrusted you." "Alas, Harry, in this world..." The old wizard shook his head. "I cannot even say you were unwise." Since Dumbledore was the one that wrote the note in the first place Harry WAS wise to distrust him. Dumbledore manipulated Harry like a puppet. "So... why do I have to carry this rock exactly?" "I can't think of a reason, actually," said Dumbledore. A current theory is that it contains the Philosophers stone, its certainly more important than just a rock. Dumbledore can't think of a reason why he would need it but he is giving it to Harry Just In Case, hence why he can't of a reason why Harry might need it. Its the same reason why Harry carries around a full med-kit. edit: Okay as has been pointed out to me its a pretty poor theory that is almost certainly wrong. "This," Dumbledore intoned, "was your mother's fifth-year Potions textbook." "Which I am to carry with me at all times," said Harry. "Which holds a terrible secret. A secret whose revelation could prove so disastrous that I must ask you to swear - and I do require you to swear it seriously, Harry, whatever you may think of all this - never to tell anyone or anything else.". This book is proof that Dumbledore intervened to make Lily Evans distrust Snape, who was the friend she is referring to. Snape whose entire existence is based upon his love for
If it's the Philosopher's Stone, why would Dumbledore say it was James Potter's Rock, or that he found it in Godric's Hollow? Then again it might be a big rock from Godric's Hollow that contained the (small?) Philosopher's Stone embedded inside. But could Harry Transfigure it if he didn't correctly know its current Form, or whatever the term is? Is it even safe to routinely transfigure the Philosopher's Stone? It also holds the hint that Dumbledore gave Lily that enabled her to come up with the dangerous potion that made her sister Petunia pretty, enabling her to marry Harry's father Professor Michael E-V. Many people think this is the fabled "single point of departure from canon". Could be important, but it's hard to see how.
But EY has specifically said that there's no single point of departure, so I'm not sure why people are searching for one. If nothing else, the Interdict of Merlin is a departure from canon(even if it took me a while to notice - it's so natural that it seemed to fit right in), and that's 1400 years into the past.
I seem to remember that someone else quoted him as saying there is a single point of departure, and that's why we're searching for one. Can someone please find the quote if it exists? I'm lazy. Good point about Interdict of Merlin. But if that's the one point of departure, I find it difficult to believe that Eliezer has a good explanation of why it generated so few changes after 1400 years of history that we still have a Potter vs Voldemort scenario at all. Edit: Eliezer has written (at least) this description: I presume the Interdict counts as "other alterations".
Yeah, I never thought about it, Maybe D isn't evil, making Snape suffering with Lili; maybe he was just trying to help Petunia.
Could someone explain how D made Snape suffer?
Telling lies, plotting, sneakering invisible in the girl's dorm (writing in her book while invisible), so that Lili disliked Snape.
...or teaching Lily more about potions, by getting her to examine what would happen with different ingredients in various potions.
It's certainly not the Philosopher's Stone. The only reason the stone isn't at the Ministry (or Gringotts) is that Hogwarts provides the absolutely best protection: I can't see Dumbledore going and giving it to Harry to wear on his finger.
It might just be a rock. It'd violate the rules of storytelling, but Dumbledore reasoned incorrectly, and the laws of probability are LAWS. *ominous thunder* That consideration could take precedence in an author tract like this one, Chekhov's Gun be damned.
Magic in this universe is like a muscle, the more you use it the more powerful it becomes. Transfiguration in particular is mentioned as being extremely dangerous, but learning early in life gets you disproportionate gains in your adult transfiguration, hence why they even teach it to children. Dumbledore is probably just building up Harry's strength by constantly exercising his 'transfiguration muscle'.
Wax on, wax off.
Reasoned incorrectly how?
Where are you getting this? What makes you think he intervened to make her distrust Snape, and why do you think that's the reason things didn't work out with Snape and Lily? I don't see this from the chapter. Also, what's the deal with Fawkes and the evil parents and him running away?
I see you already replied to the post that explains this position. Dumbledore said the textbook contains a terrible secret. Telling a teenager how to make her sister magically pretty in a dangerous way is bad, but is it terrible? So there's this theory that the terrible secret is that Dumbledore screwed Snape. You think that's wrong, but do you have an alternate suggestion for a terrible secret that has already been shown to the readers other than the Pretty, Pretty Potion of Doom?
I figured it was just Dumbledore fucking with Harry because he's crazy, like when he told Harry to carry the rock with him, or when he said Fawkes was a chicken. I don't understand why the writing in the book would have worked to screw Snape. How could anyone guess that it would have that effect.
It's not like Dumbledore shies away from flat-out lying when it suits him. Unless you think lying in writing and lying in person are meaningfully different?
I have a theory. In canon, the fact that Harry's mother died for him produced some kind of magical protection. Harry had to live with his relatives during the summer to keep that protection alive. Maybe in HPMoR, Dumbledore speculates that Harry can keep that protection in place by carrying a part of Harry's old home (the rock) with him.
I think he meant the note that came with the Cloak that said to not trust Dumbledore since he'll take the Cloak from Harry. which he didn't, and then said: And considering that he wrote the note, and set up the mistrust in the first place... Hence, Magnificent Bastard.
Harry has repeatedly shown that he's blind to Quirrell's darker motives. It seems to be a necessary contrivance: if he turned against Quirrell before he came fully into his power, he'd lose. I can think of a fictional justification for it, though. He applies the same rationalization to Quirrell's actions that we use when explaining our own, and he does it because he's a copy of the person he's making excuses for. It's probably not psychologically realistic, but it's neat enough that I could suspend my disbelief if it turned out to be the case.
All sorts of biases are at work in Harry towards Quirrell. Halo effect from his power, knowledge, competence, and rationality. Gratitude for saving Harry's life. For helping against the bullies. For sharing the outerspace spell. Respect for Q because he seems to respect Harry, and plays to his vanity. The Uber Competent adult mentor takes him seriously and tells him he is destined for great things, and includes in his plotting and actions. He's the Dad Harry has always wanted. Besides Hermione, he's the only friend Harry has ever had. He didn't quit in Azkaban because he couldn't lose Quirrell. I think that's enough justification for a blind spot in this regard. It would just show that for all his brilliance, Harry is a human being, So I guess I'm answering my own question. It's reasonable for Harry to have this blind spot, and narratively useful for an author who wants to pontificate about biases. At some point, Harry's going to have a talk with himself, or maybe even Quirrell, about how Quirrell spelled it all out to him, but he didn't listen. And to be fair to Harry, he does question Quirrell's motives a good deal. His values him, while not entirely trusting him.
I haven't been able to find the article at the moment, but there is evidence that we rationalize for friends, family, and allies in the same way we rationalize for ourselves. If you consider someone on 'your side', your brain can go through exceptional mental gymnastics to explain their behavior.

I don't mind the downvote -- but consider reversing it if my theory is proven right next chapter. :-)

7Eliezer Yudkowsky12y
The great thing about being the author is that you get to go "BUURRRNNN" seven days before everyone else. More seriously - I don't think Aris Katsaris was being overconfident. Methods is meant to be solvable; correct solutions should snap firmly into place. The vast amount of overcomplication and hint-denial and stretching that goes on elsewhere shouldn't make people less confident if they're perceiving actual solutions, because those still snap just as firmly into place.
How sure are you?
I don't know you. Can you get someone whose word I reasonably trust, like Alicorn or Nancylebov or Yvain or Eliezer to vouch for you?
Your concern is reasonable. The only person on these forums who has any reason to trust me with money is Mitchell_Porter. Would his word be sufficient?

If Mitchell vouches for you, I'm willing to make a bet specified as follows:

  • I'm willing to bet 7 of my dollars to every 3 of yours (to provide me with sufficient margin to make the bet profitable for me, including any uncertainty of followthrough) from a minimum of $35 of mine ($15 of yours), up to a maximum of $210 of mine (90$ of yours)
  • If invoking the debt Lucius owes to Harry is only part of Harry's solution, that still counts as a successful prediction for me. It also doesn't need be called a "life-debt", if it's a lesser type of debt, that still counts. If Harry only threatens to invoke or redeem it, but doesn't actually officially "invoke" or "redeem", that still counts. If Harry claims it for a debt but the Wizengamot disagrees it is one, that still counts. (And if Eliezer states outright I figured it out, ofcourse I win then too)
  • Paypal would be my preferred method of money transfer.

I will take this bet, with the following stipulations:

  • I'm putting up $30 against your $70.
  • If Harry merely mentions the debt, you don't win-- it must be a significant part of the solution. (If necessary, "significant" can be decided by a mutually agreed-upon third party.)
  • If Eliezer congratulates you for thinking of a better solution than Harry's, you don't win.
  • If for some reason Mitchell doesn't vouch for me, no one owes anyone anything.

Please PM paypal info.

The money has been received, thank you!


You're obviously a sock puppet (not a bad one, just an anonymous one.) So I just pictured Eliezer making a sock puppet account specifically to take bets on what's going to happen in HPMoR.

My model of EY says that isn't something he would do, but I find the concept hilarious, nonetheless. (And had many giggles while imagining scheming!Eliezer posting good plot ideas he DIDN'T use under a sock account, and then swooping in as another sock to offer bets on said idea, while laughing evilly (can't ignore the Evil Laugh), and raking in the dough :P)

At Anna and Carl's wedding, I advanced a MoR prediction, which Eliezer offered to confirm/deny iff I first made bets with all present, and I won something like $50 =)

I was present and permitted to not-bet.
5Eliezer Yudkowsky12y
Voting up all comments in this exchange for being virtuous.
If I know Vladimir at all then he will not - because to do so would be an error. Overconfidence is a function of your confidence and the information that you have available at the time. Vladimir finding out that it so happens that Eliezer writes the same solution that you do does not significantly alter his perception of how much information you had at the time you wrote that comment. Even if you win a lottery buying the lottery ticket was still a bad decision.

I understand your point, but I'm not sure the analogy is quite correct. In the case of the lottery, where the probabilities are well known, to make a bad bet is just bad (even if chances goes your way).

In this case however, our estimated probabilities derive ultimately from our models of Eliezer in his authoring capacity. If Vladimir derives a lower probability than the one I derived on Harry using the solution I stated, and it ends up my theory is indeed correct, that is evidence that his model of Eliezer is worse than mine. So he should update his model accordingly, and indeed reconsider whether I was actually overconfident or not. (Ofcourse he may reach the conclusion that even with his updated model, I was still overconfident)

I think Eliezer's policy as expressed here is better.
And, looking at the context, not particularly relevant. When they are not yet shown to be right downvoting is perfectly reasonable. Changing your votes retrospectively is not always correct. Unless Eliezer believes the information available to AK is sufficient to justify being 'Very Sure' I do not believe Eliezer's actual or expressed policy suggests reversing votes if he is lucky. In fact my comment about lottery mistakes is a massively understated reference to what he has written on the subject (if I recall correctly). Not that I advocate deferring to Eliezer here. If he thinks you can't be overconfident and right at the same time he is just plain wrong. This is one of the most prevalent human biases.
I believe Eliezer's policy is to criticize people when they're wrong. If they say something right for the wrong reason, wait; they'll say something wrong soon enough.
2Eliezer Yudkowsky12y
A number of reviewers said they learned important lessons in rationality from the exercise, seeing the reasoning that got it right contrasted to the reasoning that got it wrong. Did you?
What do you mean by 'right' here? Do you mean "made correct predictions about which decisions Eliezer would choose for Harry?" While exploring the solutions I am rather careful to keep evaluations of how practical, rational (and, I'll admit, "how awesome") a solution is completely distinct from predictions about which particular practical, rational and possibly awesome solution an author will choose. I tend to focus on the former far more because I hate guessing passwords. I'll respond again when I've had a chance to do more than skim the chapter and evaluate the reasoning properly.

Step one: Stand up and loudly explain how a patronus works, and what a dementor actually is, under the guise of arguing for a diffrent punisment - This will make the entire wizengamot, including the aurors controling the dementor present incapable of casting expecto patronum. Destroy the dementor before it eats anyone. Now the wizengamot has to shut down azkaban (Because the secret would get out). This would not exactly endear him to anyone at all, but they cannot seriously retaliate, because they need him to kill off the dementors before they run out of aurors who havent heard the truth yet. This doesnt actually free Hermonie, just stops them from sending her (or anyone) to azkaban.

Side bonus Harry cannot predict: This would probably also convince Lucius that he isnt Pottermort.

I don't think that simply telling someone is enough to take away their ability to summon a patronus, they'd have to believe you. The members of the Wizengamot don't know Harry has any noteworthy insight or intellect, and so it's likely they would not believe him unless he destroyed the dementor, thereby providing evidence that he does indeed have exceptional insight regarding the nature of dementors.
This is the answer that I thought of when I read the chapter (specifically with the ‘blunt force’ amendment below). Unfortunately, it doesn't fit in with the narrative clues that we've been given: there's no taboo trade-off, and it doesn't treat the Wizengamot as individuals. Nevertheless, it would be awesome.
Why would Lucius be convinced by that?
... True Patronus? Voldemort?
He already interrogated Draco under Veritaserum, so he knows that Draco saw his patronus light. That seems not to have swayed him. Also, if there were going to be a wizard to discover a charm that does something completely impossible, my bet would be on Dumbledore and Voldemort.
Because there is no way Voldemort would be able to cast the true patronus. The nessesary mindset is much to altrusitic. Hmm. Since Hermonie could likely also master the true patronus, wrecking the animal form of the spell for everyone probably shields her from excessive punishment in general as well, at least until such time as a significant number of people other than her and Harry master it. The optimal version of this play is to have Hermonie destroy the dementor present´, but that requires enough time to prep H. Timeturner?
We think it's likely that Voldemort can't cast it, but Lucius and the Wizengamot do not, and the only information they have regarding it being a sign of altruism is Harry's word on the subject. It's even more of a stretch to say that Lucius would be convinced that Harry is not Voldemort, because the Patronus alone isn't enough evidence.

And Eliezer's Author's Notes have confirmed

Could you do me a favor and quote the exact line that made you think this?

Quoting A/N chapter 79: Edited to add: I thought that referred to interpretation of "why did Hermione try to murder Draco? Why was she convinced Draco was plotting against her?" But I see now that it refers to interpretations of the Wham Line specifically. So it more likely means interpretations of "how did Hermione try to murder Draco?" Or even, "what does the accusation that she tried to murder him mean? Did she really try? Or is this a combined Hermione-Draco plot to flush out whoever is manipulating her?" I take it others adopt the second reading. It's apparently the intended one. I retract my claim. Thanks for asking me to quote and so forcing me to reevaluate my evidence. Upvoted!

Anyone else getting the feeling that EY is doing an accelerated wrap up of HPMOR?

We've jumped forward months in the story, and it looks like everyone is in play all at once, for the highest of stakes. The major players all have their beloved pieces at risk in Lucius and Draco, Harry and Hermione, and Albus and Harry.

Also, with the approaching end of the school year, I assume it's the end for Quirrell as well.

But Chapter 83 is The Aftermath. And I believe EY talked about future installments more as novellas, which makes me think those would be retrospective fill ins for the months we've skipped.

Say it aint so. I'm in no rush to see this end, and not to get melodramatic about it, but I think HPMOR has a good chance of being the most important thing anyone on this list ever does. Rand would have been an unknown crank without the novels. A transvaluation of values is made through stories, not Sequences.

We've jumped forward months in the story,

I checked again, and chapter 73 says "The March days marched by". Chapter 78 starts at 4th of April, and the day of Hermione's arrest was the morning of Sunday the 5th of April.

So I think your impression is wrong: we're still moving at the pace of about one month per major arc. "Humanism" was January, and "Stanford Prison Experiment" was February, and "Self-actualization" was March. This is now April.

Thank you. I guess I get another demerit for not paying attention in class.

I think HPMOR has a good chance of being the most important thing anyone on this list ever does.

Rational DanArmak knows about UFAI and how he can't weigh miniscule probabilities correctly and so on.

Emotional DanArmak is praying oh dear god when HPMOR ends please please let Eliezer go on writing fiction.

He's been writing fiction for a long time. I wouldn't worry.
I know that, but he's never written long-form fiction before, and may never do so again. It does take a lot of time.

There have been a couple Aftermath chapters already, that's what the author titles chapters within an arc that come after the climax of the arc and wrap things up usually on a character-by-character basis. Chapters 63 and 77 were both Aftermath, but they certainly didn't end the story.

A transvaluation of values is made through stories, not Sequences.

Correct. Stories are how humans learn most things.

Anyways, if the obvious answer is incorrect, we ought to figure out which Hogwarts staff-member has been going around casting memory charms. Now Dumbledore did specifically say "professor" and I doubt that he misspoke, so we can discount Hagrid, Pomffery, etc. So:

  1. Bathsheda Babbling, Ancient Runes. (Never mentioned in books, probably unkown to Eliezer)
  2. Charity Burbage, Muggle Studies.
  3. Filius Flitwick, Charms.
  4. Silvanus Kettleburn, Care of Magical creatures.
  5. Minerva McGonagall, Transfiguration. (Definitely innocent)
  6. Aurora Sinistra, Astronomy.
  7. Severus Snape, Potions.
  8. Pomona Sprout, Herbology.
  9. Sybill Trelawney, Divination.
  10. Septima Vector, Arithmancy.
  11. Albus Dumbledore.

Now, there is one possibility I don't think anyone has brought up yet. H&C could simply be the unwilling pawn anyone capable of using the Imperius, This explains how he/she can have quite brilliant long-term plans, given to them by their puppet-master, but make a few simple mistakes when on their own (Like taking so long to crack Hermione).

Now, we know that Hermione recognized and was very shocked by whomever she saw beneath H&C's disguise, which suggests it was someone she actually knew rather tha... (read more)

The inefficiency of H&C's attack against Hermione's mind is not evidence of a "simple mistake" on his/her part, but rather exceptional cleverness. Note that this attack has replaced something that would be detected (Legilimency) with something that cannot be (Obliviation). I myself take this as further evidence that H&C is Quirrell. Were there other mistakes you had in mind?
2Joshua Hobbes12y
Using obliviation wasn't a bad move, but H&C used it poorly. More specifically, he used exactly the same disguise he was running around in when manipulating Zabini, when a great manipulator would certainly change their appearance to suit the situation. Not to mention the entirety of his conversation with Hermione strikes me as, well, clumsy. Professor Quirrell can convince most people of most things without multiple trials, and even if he modeled Hermione as putting on a show of goodness H&C's methods are not the ideal way to convince someone like that. Quirrell does not normally have the luxury of obliviation, yet I have no doubt he could have convinced Hermione entirely without it. If he did use it, it would not be enough that she would start to feel tired. He's too good.

Not to mention the entirety of his conversation with Hermione strikes me as, well, clumsy. Professor Quirrell can convince most people of most things without multiple trials, and even if he modeled Hermione as putting on a show of goodness H&C's methods are not the ideal way to convince someone like that.

Experiments that involve talking may superficially resemble clumsy attempts at persuasion. The objective of those sessions was probably not persuasion, so judging their effectiveness by optimality with respect to that criterion is wrong. The objective was probably to map the dynamic of Hermione's thinking. Gaining unlikely powers of persuasion eventually is one possible product of this process, but not its character.

I read H&C's frustration in 77 as genuine, which argues for genuine clumsiness. It does seem to have been decisive in getting Hermione to open up about her misgivings, which could argue back in the other direction, but that's not the only place in the dialogue where H&C seems to fit poorly into their role, and the others are all dead ends. In any case, failing to consider surface appearances -- when dealing with a twelve-year-old, however bright -- is really a fairly basic mistake, and one that I'd consider out of character for both Quirrell (who has a fine grasp of psychology) and Dumbledore (who's all about narrative conventions and would probably have gone straight to the fairy godmother guise).
I truly find it odd that no one considers that the evidence was given directly within the text. It's very possible that H&C thought that if ve showed up looking like a fairy godmother, Hermione would think that ve is trying to hide their true nature behind a pleasant mask. Harry certainly would. On the other hand, by openly appearing "incredibly suspicious," Hermione might put aside her doubts with the thought that appearance are deceiving, perhaps in a manner similar to how Quirrell told Harry that as long as he appears ambiguous, people of every stripe will follow him. Ve was wrong in this case, obviously, but just because a choice is wrong doesn't mean it was a stupid one, anymore than a choice being right means it was a smart one.
These are good observations. However, I think you are inferring plot points from what is merely literary technique. H&C using the same disguise is well explained by EY intending us to identify Hermione's manipulator with Zabini's. Similarly, the many attempts/Hermione's exhaustion are well explained if EY wants to make it clear what the nature of the attack is without spelling it out explicitly.
I don't believe that one of the professors who have never appeared onstage in HPMOR could be revealed to play such a central role. Also not those who have appeared very marginally and have not been actually characterized (Flitwick, Trelawney). We also have no reason to attribute motive to one of them. Minerva is, as you say, definitely innocent - because we have a scene from her POV. This leaves, for practical purposes, only Snape and Dumbledore. It's not impossible for there to be a reveal of either one, but the obvious answer is indeed obvious. Nevertheless: Snape is suitably evil, smart, and with reason to hurt Quirrel (he's afraid of him), possibly Harry (after their talk about James Potter), possibly Draco (private war against remaining Death Eater factions or bad blood against Malfoys), and no reason for Hermione that I can think of. Dumbledore... It doesn't seem his style, does it? :-) Certainly if he take him at his word, he believes this to be a heavy blow against himself and Harry. He could have a motive yet to be revealed, but I don't believe this is possible in a story-management sense.
She could have edited her own mind afterward, as a protection against Legilimency/Veritaserum/etc.
Well if she did so and didn't use a Pensieve then we'll never find out. I don't believe this can happen, and she's also not characterized in a way that would allow her to be this smart or this evil.
How's their motive relevant if they're under imperious?
You're right, the Hogwarts wards don't detect or prevent Imperius cast by and on professors. That actually makes sense to add extra deniability for Quirrel (or whoever is controlling them). Edit: either I didn't see this part of the grandparent or I didn't realize the implications. However, either the Imperius must be maintained indefinitely: too much risk of being found out one day? If something happens to the controlling character, short of death, does it provoke a Will save and break the Imperius? If the controlled character is examined, especially by a Legilemens, the Imperius would definitely be found out but would the controller be identified? Does someone being controlled necessarily know who the controller is? Or it would be maintained for only brief periods, each time erasing the target's memory of being controlled. Note 1: Lucius claims to have been Imperiused for years by Voldemort with at least some plausibility, so presumably all of this is surmountable. Note 2: an Imperiused professor could be ordered to self-erase memories after each time they executed orders from the controller, so the two don't even need to meet to coordinate (pure mental control). This looks like a game-breaking spell. A very powerful wizard who has infiltrated the enemy camp should carry out all of his actions via Imperiused agents. Are there any limitations? For instance, does maintaining an Imperius take up a piece of the controller's magic for the duration? How does one break it if one has captured a controlled piece but cannot face the controller directly? Inquiring minds want to know :-)
Flitwick is probably also out as an Imperius candidate, being a former international dueling champion and all.
I would not take that as a reason to think that person is unknown to Eliezer - he's well-versed in both HP fanfiction and wiki.

I think it's better than the inconvenience of not being able to see all the comments in a thread at once because there's over 500 of them.

Surely there's a parameter that somebody could change in the bowels of this site?

This comment gave me the obvious-in-retrospect idea of cloning things with a Time-Turner. Consider:

  • You can make up to six copies of yourself, plus all the items you can carry in magical pouches, which will coexist for slightly less than an hour. Or fewer copies that will coexist for longer.
  • If you have n Time-Turners, you can end up with 6n copies of yourself + items.
  • We have seen that a single Time-Turner can take along an Animagus in a pouch. I speculate that many Animagi (perhaps in separate pouches) can be taken. You can thus use a single Time Turner to duplicate people besides the one actually using it. It's even possible that non-Animagi can be duplicated, if there's some suitable charm for temporarily turning people into animals, maybe.
  • You could probably also duplicate Fawkes.
  • If Dumbledore ever really goes to fight a serious battle, he'll go as an army of multiple-of-six Dumbledores. Some of them will magically disappear every hour until only one remains, but imagine the firepower!
  • Why did Voldemort ever need the Death Eaters? He should have just stolen a few Time-Turners from the ministry. No-one could have resisted an attack by an army of Voldemort clones, super-coord
... (read more)
I don't think you can have more than 6 versions of yourself present at any given time, since any more than that and information is traveling more than 6 hours back. (at least from the perspectives of the earliest and latest self-clone) But still, 6 x Dumbledore+Fawkes is quite the army. Edit: Also, You don't actually need to go through animagus+pouch to transport more than one person on an unrestricted Time-Turner. (Canon also agrees on this if I recall correctly)
Yes, Hermione took Harry with her in the awesome part of Book 3.
How important is maintaining continuity for the time turners? If it IS important, then you can only end up with 6 you's (It's noon, go back to 11, pick up that you, go back to 10, pick up that you, etc...) BUT! If your mission takes more than an hour, you will end up with a discontinuity, since then 6:00!you will not be back in time to be 7:00!you so that you's can pick him up. If continuity is NOT important: Go back an hour. Now there are two of you's. Both you's wait around two hours, then both of you go back and pick up the past you's. Now there are four of you's. All four of you's wait around two hours, etc.... You'd end up with 64 you's (assuming you can animagus into a something really small to fit in the pouch that is) Aaaaagh! Time travel makes my head hurt
Reality computes in one swoop. It simply wouldn't happen.
Consistency is important. We see this in full force in the Azkaban arc. To get 6 of yourself, starting at noon, you wouldn't go back to 11, then "together" go back to 10. You have already created a paradox because the original 11 o'clock you was supposed to wait until noon and then go back in time. Instead, at 11, you would walk into a room with 5 other copies of you waiting, and then at noon, you and 4 of those copies would go back in time to 11.
I believe the only restriction is on not traveling back more than six hours by wall-clock time. It's never stated that you can't travel back into the same hour more than six time using more than one Time-Turner.

The universe makes it rather obvious that you can't. How do we know that? Because the economics of Time-Turners is such that they are only valuable if you have exactly one and any additional time-turners are irrelevant. If time-turners worked that way then...

... You would want as many as you could get. And Hogwarts wouldn't be able to loan them out. If each person can only use 1 time-turner (as I say), then the economic demand is at most the population who's aware of time-turners. If you can use infinitely many time turners, then demand is without limit. The price for them would increase, and Hogwarts wouldn't be free to hand them out like they relatively were inexpensive.

They would have a very high price, and powerful or rich wizards would use them as much as they want. People as rich as Lucius Malfoy would be wearing twenty five time-turners like they were the rapper flava-flav. Upon hearing about Azkaban being attacked, you'd immediately go back six hours instead of one because there would be no reason to not do it. Harry, upon exiting the Azkaban wards, would have run into a patrol of a thousand disillusioned Dumbledores patrolling the sky. Hermione would have gotten arrested, and McGonagall would temporarily recall all the time-turners so that Harry or Dumbledore could have a week of turned time to come up with a defense.

No, the universe does not appear as it would if time turners could be stacked. Indeed if they could, things would look drastically different.

I don't think there's a strong economic argument against multiple Time-Turners -- I can think of a number of reasons why the demand for additional loops might run into diminishing returns pretty quickly. Starting with self-consistency problems -- if the simplest solution to a factoring problem that leverages Time-Turning is "DO NOT MESS WITH TIME", then it wouldn't surprise me too much if the simplest self-consistent solution to more complicated and dangerous tasks that involve self-reference is a mysterious death or incapacity on the first iteration. This would be noticed, and Time-Turner abuse would be avoided. Then there's jet lag, synchronization issues, and any number of other things. More than one Time-Turner would definitely be useful (and desired), but the twenty-fifth wouldn't be anywhere close to as useful as the first. That being said, I think you present pretty solid behavioral reasons why we can probably assume it's impossible.
For some reason I found this image irresistibly hilarious. The sky is filled with two thousand twinkling stars!
Very true. Only defense is that people are generally dumb and unimaginative. But that's a pretty good defense in a fictional universe, even if it is a fully general response to some things.
Didn't Harry ask Dumbledore if it's possible to get more than 30 hours in a day using multiple time-turners and getting a negative answer?
I'm not sure he got a plainly stated negative answer. Can someone look that up?
Dumbledore doesn't give a straight answer when Harry asks if more than one time turner can be used to get more than 30 hours. On the other hand, we may infer that thirty hours is the limit from e.g. Amelia Bones' behavior in the Azkaban arc:
That's just the usual limit on information not traveling more than six wall-clock hours back in time, total. It doesn't say or imply that you can't loop yourself more than six times within a small stretch of wall-time.
Actually, if you can loop yourself more than six times at any small stretch of wall-time then you can get more than 30 subjective hours in one 24 wall-time day. But it's implied you can't actually do that, which is why I think no more than 6 copies at any given time. Plus, if it were possible you could basically use any one day as a stopping point groundhog-day style in which you can (for example) brute-force read the entire Hogwarts library. At any rate, the general limiting principle is that information cannot travel more than 6 hours backwards, Which I think means that when you draw a graph of a person using time-turners where you represent her using an arrow (going right for positive time, and left in 1h jumps for time-turner use), Then you can't have more than 6 hours of left-arrow in any given 24h wall-time section.
That would get rather crowded.
McGonagall thinks so, at least:
The Ministry has access to Time-Turners too. Really, once both sides are using them they'd just have the effect of making battles much, much more awesome.
And you think that's keeping either side from escalating first, similar to not using Muggle weapons? The Wizarding War is depicted as a limited conflict in canon, IIRC, and certainly in MoR. So you have a good theory. Voldemort was known for his tactical genius, presumably he found ways to escalate that couldn't be so easily duplicated by the enemy.
The problem with this is that they're not clones, they're future versions. So a potion can only be used once, a Time Turner duplicated still only has six "charges," and so on.
Oops. Very stupid and basic error on my part. You're right, it's not exponential duplication, if you have N turners you get 6*N duplicates. Will fix. Still useful for clone-armies and for duplicating artifacts of power.
They wouldn't disappear. They would, after a period, go back in time in order to become one of the other people in the battle. Using a time turner to make clones in battle is a very, very dangerous idea. Harry has been warned, strenuously, by Professor McGonnagal that he should not directly interact with himself, and we have an anecdote about an auror/criminal pair that went insane because they abused time turners. I imagine that one of the more stable time loops would involve the original Dumbledore/Harry getting disabled before going back in time for the first time. But yeah, the cloning objects thing is a reasonable use of a Time Turner. Edit to add: If by collaborating on tricky problems, you are referring to e.g. academic problems, rather than problems of strength, this amounts to a rather absurd charade. If you use a Time Turner to put 6 copies of yourself in a room, and in an hour they succeed in answering the problem, that means that at the beginning of the hour, 5 of them already knew the answer.
There are ways to compute problems such that you do not know the information you are computing. Homomorphic Encryption for example.
Good point, though I don't think this would ever be useful. In the unlikely scenario that Time-Traveling Tom has a problem amenable to a straightforward, parallelized algorithm which requires six Tom-hours while Tom needs the solution within two hours, he may as well just go back six hours, "thread" his thoughts, not bother with any communication.
Well... there are other such scenarios. Spend 6 hours brainstorming on an idea. Only mention FAILED ideas aloud amongst your fellow Turn-clones. Do so in a manner that requires "keying" to what specifically you're thinking about at the time. (Such as minutes-into-the-hour). After 6 iterations, acquire profit. This has the added advantage that it follows the "DO NOT MESS WITH TIME" restriction of following by rote.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "keying." Could you elaborate, and explain how you end up with a scenario that is more stable from "Time's perspective" than, say, clone #5 just summarizing all the ideas at the beginning of the hour? The scenarios I can come up with seem to involve information magically appearing (which the universe doesn't seem to like, as in Harry's integer factorization algorithm), or fail to provide a benefit over just thinking on one's own for six hours.
clone #5 summarizing means clones 1-4 never actually have the ideas, but cannot contribute any further to the solution-space beyond claiming they had those ideas. This doesn't create an additive effort to deriving a desired answer from the available solutions-space of your problem. By "keying" I mean something that informs other iterations of the idea you're currently having and its invalidity without telling them the idea. "The thought I had at 5:14 -- it won't work. Move on." This allows all six iterations to contribute towards deriving a viable answer without running into loops which require recursion to reach a stable state, which seems to be the kinds of loops that the Turners don't allow. (Helping a previous version's okay as long as they don't know where the help is coming from; but factoring integers instantly is not.)
I see. So I guess there is some benefit gained from this, but it is very minor. It seems to me that the simplest rule that explains why Harry's integer factorization is not okay, but, for example, the "silver on the tree" password from the end of TSPE is okay, is the following: if you would gain information at time T, and send information from time T to any time S < T, then it must be the case that you would have gained that same information even if you hadn't learned it at time S. Now consider your "keying" scenario. We have clones 0-5, and at time 1 clone x goes back to time 0 and becomes clone x+1. When clones give a "time key," it will be a number between 0 and 6, identifying a clone/wall-clock pair. Now suppose at wall-clock time T clone 1 says: "the thought I had at time P doesn't work." Assume for simplicity that time P refers to clone 0 at a wall-clock time S > T (though it would work out the same anyway). Now at time S, when clone 0 has the thought, he has two choices. On the one hand, he can continue working out why it doesn't work, but in this case he gains only the minor benefit of knowing in advance that it will not work out. On the other hand, he can move on and not consider the thought, but at time T as clone 1 just repeat (without knowing why), the fact that it doesn't work. In that case, he gained information that he would not have learned had he not told himself. Or, in your terminology, recursion was required in order to reach a stable state.
that doesn't follow. Where would Harry have gotten the pies if not from Harry+1? The recursion is non-iterative beyond the number of loops actually manifested, however. Each individual only adjusts the one previous, and only in immediately non-iterative manners. "Nope. Nope. Nope. Maybe. Nope. Nope. Maybe." That lets you prune out failed items but doesn't recurse back to an instantaneous success.
He got them from the breakfast table. Where did he get the idea to get them? Well, he would have seen the pies later on anyway. Just like he would have learned about time turners later on in the day anyway, but a more stable scenario was obtained by learning about them earlier. I'm not quite sure how to parse this. If you would think about an idea at time T, but don't because future you tells you it won't work out, that means your whole thought process going forward has completely changed. But maybe the thing you start thinking about instead doesn't work out, so someone warns you about the idea at time T+epsilon. And so on. So if you are proposing that Time works by iterating through a number of scenarios until you get to something stable, the situation you've pointed to "requires recursion." (It's worth pointing out that Harry, when he gets his Time Turner, doesn't think this is a likely answer to how Time works.) But perhaps I am not understanding you correctly? My main objection to the scenario you are proposing, though, is that you are gaining information as a result of some work, but that work is never performed. Try taking your scenario to its logical extreme. You sit in a room with one copy of future-you, and a large composite number N on a sheet of paper. On scrap work hidden from future-you, you write down an integer K. If you are not told that K does not divide N, you check. If it does, you keep track of the factor of N you have found. In any case, you then systematically select a new integer K' to check for divisibility. Once you have a complete factorization, you sit quietly, and at the end of the hour you go back in time. Then, you let past-you know the "keys" for all of the integers that weren't factors. Thus, you must have ended up only trying actual factors. So, you have a slightly more complicated version of Harry's factorization algorithm. Edit to add: I guess this situation actually still is still an exponential time algorithm, since you still
No. That's where Harry+1 got them. Harry did not. Six turnings of the Turner at T=0 results in the same 1-hour segment being looped into 6 times. This allows six iterations -- but those iterations do not recurse beyond the actual number of loops. < is that you are gaining information as a result of some work, but that work is never performed. That doesn't follow. How do you figure?
Sorry, I'm really not following your pie argument. Harry would learn about the pies in the near future; since it is his style, he would think about throwing them to frighten the bullies. So, his observation of Harry+1 throwing the pies is not necessary for him to think to throw pies anyway. What do you mean by "they don't recurse"? Surely the fact that this procedure results in fast graph isomorphism testing shows that it is not a particularly "stable" solution? Or, do fast integer factorization by writing down the first digit for the least factor greater than 1, listen as future you says "no, no, maybe," and change it to whatever, and then figure out the second digit, and so forth. The scenario you've outlined results in nearly instant integer factorization (or password guessing, or whatever), so it is probably illegal.
Note that both graph isomorphism and integer factorization are problems that may well lie in P, so these aren't great examples. Traveling salesman is a bit better.
Sure, though my impression is that people don't think graph isomorphism actually is in P. And integer factorization turned out to be a problem for Harry. But you're right, we can actually just simulate a nondeterministic Turing machine this way: every time you have a choice for which state to visit next, just listen as future you tells you which ones not to visit.
Harry+0's actions or non-actions were radically transformed by the act of Harry+1's throwing the pies. The solutionspace for Harry+0's problems were altered by the actions of Harry+1. From this we must derive the answer that iteration can alter outcomes. However, from the factoring of primes we see that the TT resists allowing iteration to recurse beyond the actual number of iterations. Where number-of-iterations = i, where i < 6, then Harry+0..i can perform as many recursive alterations of his own solution-seeking as can be achieved without exceeding the value of i.
I realize that. For other observers' practical purposes, they would disappear. Meh, she worries about that kind of thing too much.
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I forget if we're discussing MoR or canon, but either way I object. In canon, my objection is pedantic: it's Hermione who was warned, and she only later passed on that warning to Harry. In MoR, Harry has interacted with himself, a few times, and while they didn't all go well, there were no disasters.
Not that strenuously:
You're right, I misremembered. Still, I think there is a lot to suggest that interacting directly with one's time-clones (as opposed to waiting with one's eyes closed while a clone drops off a message, for example), particularly in battle, is a bad idea. You would never observe a future-you doing something ineffective in combat---failing to dodge or block, or casting an ineffective spell, for example---since, after observing that mistake, you would be prepared for it in the future. So the only consistent possibilities involve losing or running away before you can go back in time, or winning right away. But, since you know these are the only consistent possibilities, if you showed up to a battle intending to use a Time Turner and didn't see your time clones appear at the very beginning, you would deduce that you would not win, and therefore (if you could) you would run away. So, I expect that from Time's perspective, the most stable solution for people who intend to use Time Turners in battle is for them to not do battle at all.
He has never interacted directly with himself in a way that involves seeing a copy of himself, or coordinating actions in real-time, as would be the case in a battle. Harry has so far always heeded Professor McGonnagal's advice, and looked the other way when his time clones are around. Though, as pedanterrific points out, I have overstated the severity of McGonnagal's warning.
Just Say No to time travel in stories. There's no end to this kind of stuff. Use it to throw pies. Fine. But please don't make it a magic bullet to resolve some plot line.
When time travel is well-defined, it's not a problem. For example, I don't think anyone has ever accused Primer of using time travel as a magic bullet.
And Homestuck just doesn't have any plot point which isn't time travel in some way.
More as a magic LSD substitute.

What happened here?

The Veritaserum was brought in then, and Hermione looked for a brief moment like she was about to sob, she was looking at Harry - no, at Professor McGonagall - and Professor McGonagall was mouthing words that Harry couldn't make out from his angle. Then Hermione swallowed three drops of Veritaserum and her face grew slack.

  1. If Hermione's testimony had changed from last time, I'd have guessed that McGonagall was mouthing a spell or trying to Confound Hermione so she gave a different testimony under Veritaserum.
  1. Since that isn't the case, she was either trying to: a) provide moral support for Hermione ("Keep strong" and such)

b) communicating something. If it's this, then I strongly suspect that McGonagall is cooperating with future Harry in some rescue plan. She might be communicating a simple message like "Don't worry" or "We'll get you out" which would imply that she has some extra knowledge about how things are going to play out.

But what she told Hermione shouldn't be very important as there was no way to know that Hermione, in her tired state, would understand the significance of whatever McGonagall mouthed.

Extra supporting evidence for this: McGonagall isn't the sort of person who would give false reassurance. If she didn't see any way to get Hermione out of this, she would say "keep strong." If she's saying "don't worry" then Hermione has some reason not to worry.
Dumbledore says "if it is not dismissed soon, some of us may miss their entire luncheon". That means the hearing is taking place in the morning. The earliest future!Harry can show up is 3pm. Of course, she could have information from future!Dumbledore or Harry could have sent a note via Margaret Bulstrode.
Maybe H&C's final form was McGonagall? That'd be a fun twist.
She's the only sane one of Hermione's friends who was present? (There may be more to it, but it's hard to say)
Why would Hermione consider Harry not sane?
Because he's insane.
How come?
My running theory is because he's a horcrux, but it's hard to say. Apparently there's one point where this fix departed from cannon, if we can pin point that you'll have your answer. Alright, fine. An actual non-sarcastic answer. He plays with the trope of being insane. He's entire chaos legion cackles maniacally. He is very certain of strange ideas that are almost the opposite of that his experienced elders believe, about their areas of expertise. From that point of view it's easy to see why people would think he's crazy. Not to mention the simple fact that he doesn't adhere to social rules like normal people do.
The short answer is that this hasn't stopped Hermione from trusting him and considering him her friend before. And she did look at Harry later (once convicted) begging for help. The only open question is whether there was something significant Minerva mouthed to her that we're not aware of. I consider this very unlikely.
Yeah, I'm not arguing the point. I just have a weird sense of humour and "Because he's insane" tickles my funny bone.

It's not really a problem. Currently we are in a phase of rapid fic updates so there'll be lots of comments, but afterwards it'll slow down again for some months, I'm sure...

The best solution I've been able to come up with on my own involves Harry breaking the compact between the dementors and the ministry:

"I am not yet done!

Lucius, while I appreciate you desire for vengeance, pointing it at the wrong target gains you nothing. However, it does inconvenience me. Hermione Granger is mine. I have claimed her, and I will have her, healthy and with her magical abilities intact.

Dementor! The compact you have made with the Ministry has been broken. I have already begun teaching the charm which was used to destroy one of your kind at Hogwarts earlier this year. You will return immediately to Azkaban and tell the other dementors to leave that place. Should any of you wish to side with the ministry, be certain that we will destroy you all. Go, now."

[dementor leaves]

"We are now at war. The spell to destroy dementors does in fact exist, a fact Albus Dumbledoor will verify. However, it is powerful, and can only be cast by very few wizards, wizards of a particular mind. Those who learn of it and fail will be permanently robbed of their patronus.

Hermione is one of the few wizards who can learn to cast the spell, and we all need her with her m... (read more)

Hah. Fun, but completely unreasonable. The Wizengemot is ultimately responsible for the safety of wizard-kind, and though they're pretty selfish when it comes to minor issues, as soon as a Harry makes the threat to disable wizard-kind's defenses against Dementors, everyone, Dumbledore and Malfoy and Bones and so on, will be his enemy, and they will disable him.