Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

by Oscar_Cunningham1 min read17th Mar 20121182 comments

9

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Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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

4Dentin10yNever attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance. Dumbledore in this fic is far from perfect and all-seeing.
8fezziwig10y...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.

2CronoDAS10yThis is a case of You Just Told Me [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/YouJustToldMe] - Harry offers that excuse to Dumbledore, who then goes on to repeat it back to him.
275th10yDumbledore 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.
4erratio10yI 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.
275th10yYou'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.

375th10yOoh, 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.
7SkyDK10yFrom 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 no
675th10yYour 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.
2MinibearRex10yI 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.
3Eugine_Nier10yQuirrellmort doesn't have to stop Harry, just make sure Hermione is already broken by the time he succeeds.
3DanArmak10yThe 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.
3Anubhav10yExcept that Dumbledore's pretty sure Hermione won't be sent to Azkaban. No reason not to take his word on this.
5DanArmak10yWe 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.
1MinibearRex10yYou'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.

6glumph10yThe destruction of that piece was crucial. I don't believe that it ever reunited with the rest of Voldemort's soul.
2Locke10yThis doesn't account for "the power the dark lord knows not" does it, though?
8Daniel_Starr10yRight, 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.
6Daniel_Starr10yI 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.

8Vaniver10yAs 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.
1linkhyrule510yPresumably, he couldn't've talked to Lucius. And he's clearly too angry to meet in private right now.
5Vaniver10yThis post was detailing, for the audience, what Harry should have done. What Harry should do now is an entirely different matter.
1linkhyrule510ySo 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.

4DanArmak10yTo protect Wizengamot members from dangerous criminals brought before them.
6Rejoyce10yCombining 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...
3bogdanb10yHermione is chained and I’d be very surprised if she still had her wand.
3hairyfigment10yThis 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).
1Paulovsk10yI 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?

5Paulovsk10yGot 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.
3pedanterrific10yIt'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!
1Anubhav10yOr 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.

6gwern10yIf I have to be massively wrong on my predictions and Harry really does resort to violence, there had darn well better be Hufflepuff-stabbing!
8DanArmak10yMy 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
7QuicklyStarfish10yRegarding 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.)
4Dreaded_Anomaly10yI 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.
2DanArmak10yTrue. The real question is how much she has recovered.
4pedanterrific10yThey could in canon.
0DanArmak10yBut 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.
5pedanterrific10yBellatrix 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.)
0DanArmak10yYou're right then, it's just my lack of knowledge of canon showing.
2Carinthium10yThis 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?
0DanArmak10yMy 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.
2AspiringKnitter10yIn 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.
0DanArmak10yBut since that altered testimony hasn't swayed the vote in her favor, why alter it in the first place?
0AspiringKnitter10yWell... 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.
0DanArmak10yHarry 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.
1AspiringKnitter10yBut 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?
0DanArmak10yIt'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)
0AspiringKnitter10yHe 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.
2gwern10yAnd Harry doesn't yet know what has already happened - he wasn't listening.
1DanArmak10yBut whatever happened has already caused the Wizengamot to find her guilty and vote to sentence her to Azkaban.
1gwern10yYes, 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.)
5glumph10yExcept that the Wizengamot is stupid. They might not care that Hermoine's testimony is inconsistent, or they might put it down to bad memory.
1DanArmak10yOK, 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.
8mjr10yIndeed, 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.
1DanArmak10yI'm doubting he can do that, practically, as a student in Hogwarts.
3tadrinth10yHere'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.
7DanArmak10yDraco 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.
1ajuc10yI'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.
1bogdanb10yI thought you couldn’t change the past with a Time-turner.
4mjr10yHarry 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...]
0DSimon10yHe could alter Hermione's testimony in a way that's contradicted by new evidence that hasn't yet been presented.
0Alsadius10yI 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.

5Locke10yThat... 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.

1Sheaman37739yIt'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.
0buybuydandavis9yPolyjuice 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?
0pengvado9yMaybe 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.
2Jello_Raptor10y... 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?
7DanArmak10yIn Dumbledore's personal presence he's safe enough. Especially since Dumbledore now thinks that Voldermort is in Hogwarts.
2glumph10yBut 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.)
6DanArmak10yWell, 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?

6WrongBot10yHarry 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.
975th10yWizarding 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.
6wedrifid10yShouldn'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."

--Machiavelli

2DanArmak10yApart 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.
2glumph10yWhile 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."
4DanArmak10yOn 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.
6linkhyrule510yDark side doesn't care about consequences - I believe someone likened it to an UFAI.
3SkyDK10yI 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.
5Alsadius10yThe taboo tradeoff is presumably Lucius being asked to trade off his chance at revenge.
0malthrin10yAgreed. I'm not sure why everyone's so fixated on a tradeoff by Harry.
3drnickbone10yMuch 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.
4wedrifid10yThat 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.
2ajuc10yHarry 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.
2Normal_Anomaly10yDumbledore 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)

2Alsadius10yWell 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.
0pedanterrific10yI 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.
0Nominull10yWell a Killing Curse can't be survived, either. Harry Potter has some precedent for resisting Voldemort's irresistible magics.
0Sheaman37739yHe broke Barty Crouch Jr.'s Imperius curse as well.
2buybuydandavis10yI don't agree with your general thesis, but this line from Harry would be double plus ironic with Lucius believing that Harry is Voldemort.
0Daniel_Starr10yMinor 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.
0DanArmak10yHarry 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.
4pedanterrific10yHowever, it's likely that Lucius believes Harry is a perfect Occlumens, which means he would fight to block a Legilimency examination.
2DanArmak10ySuppose 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.)
9pedanterrific10yI 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.
0DanArmak10yGood point. It's still possible that someone will request a Legilemens if Harry testifies, so such plans are risky.
5Daniel_Starr10yDumbledore 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.
0clgroft10yUnless he's a perfect Occlumens by now.
4Locke10yOr rather, unless his really really dark side is. Which I find quite plausible, really.
0Manfred10yNah, "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

0Baughn10yWhich, to clarify, it turned out that it wasn't. Quirrel saw right through it.
2Sheaman37739yDo 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.
0Baughn9yI 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.
0Locke10y

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.

1bogdanb10yIt’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.

0TobyBartels10yThe 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.

8DanArmak10yHarry is naive. Why not assume that many people can be this non-empathetic? It's a useful quality to have, after all.
2hairyfigment10yBecause 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'.
8MarkusRamikin10yI'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.)

2razor1110yHarry 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.
2MarkusRamikin10yGood 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)

2Daniel_Starr10yPresumably 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?
4buybuydandavis10yIf Quirrellmort gets the Stone, he'll come back much stronger than he ever was. That's not a petty gain.
8Daniel_Starr10yYou'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.)
8buybuydandavis10yBellatrix 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
1DanArmak10yCharmed 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.
2DanArmak10yMaybe 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.
1Grognor10yRegardless 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)

6moridinamael10yOne 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.
8loserthree10yI'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)
5matheist10yI 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 [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/ams/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/61jg] 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.
5loserthree10yDumbledore 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.
3ArisKatsaris10yAgreed, but I thought it was heavily implied in Interlude with the Confessor [http://hpmor.com/chapter/76] 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.

1Jello_Raptor10yPoint, 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.

8Anubhav10yHow?

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.

7buybuydandavis10yAnd 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)

3Xachariah10yMy mental model of Lucius is here [http://lesswrong.com/lw/axe/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/63r4]. 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.
0buybuydandavis10yI 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.

3moritz10yRight. And Lucius calls Snape his "valuable ally", so it's likely that Snape has done the dirty work for Lucius inside Hogwarts.
2Alsadius10yOr Snape is just a good double agent.
3mjr10yIndeed. 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.

2buybuydandavis10yI 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.
2Eponymuse10yAssuming 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.

2Grognor10yTrue, but I can forsee clutter. (Ah, well,it sounds completely trivial when I put it into words like that.)
1David_Gerard10yDiscussion 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.)

8Dentin10yI 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.

5moritz10yPotions 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.
2Celer10yI 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!

1[anonymous]10yI 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
4ahartell10yI 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.
3[anonymous]10yI 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.

Oops.

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.

7matheist10yI'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.
4DanArmak10yIf 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? :-)
4see10yThere'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.
3Lavode10yThat 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.
4see10yIf there wasn't a prophecy directed personally to Snape that made him believe that the ultimate choices are either Voldemort or Harry, maybe.
3DanArmak10yFrom 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.
6Xachariah10yHarry 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.
8matheist10yActually, 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.
1DanArmak10yGood 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.
1see10ySure, 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."
3DanArmak10yOr 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".
2Grognor10yYou definitely put Quirrell's offer to be an ally to Snape in a new light. He may be trying to prevent just that.
5DanArmak10yHe 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.
2buybuydandavis10yI 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)

4Pringlescan10yI 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'
5Blueberry10yI'm still completely confused: what happened with the rock?
7Pringlescan10yRecap 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
6DanArmak10yIf 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.
1Alsadius10yBut 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.
1DanArmak10yI 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".
0Paulovsk10yYeah, I never thought about it, Maybe D isn't evil, making Snape suffering with Lili; maybe he was just trying to help Petunia.
0Blueberry10yCould someone explain how D made Snape suffer?
1Paulovsk10yTelling lies, plotting, sneakering invisible in the girl's dorm (writing in her book while invisible), so that Lili disliked Snape.
0Sheaman37739y...or teaching Lily more about potions, by getting her to examine what would happen with different ingredients in various potions.
5glumph10yIt'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.
0[anonymous]10yIt 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.
3Xachariah10yMagic 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'.
1Blueberry10yWax on, wax off.
0Blueberry10yReasoned incorrectly how?
0Blueberry10yWhere 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?
0Percent_Carbon10yI see you already replied to the post that explains this position. [http://lesswrong.com/lw/axe/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/62cq] 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?
0Blueberry10yI 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.
0pedanterrific10yIt'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?
5moritz10yI 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.
5BlackNoise10yI 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.
0[anonymous]10yHarry 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.
9buybuydandavis10yAll 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.
5Xachariah10yI 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 Yudkowsky10yThe 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.
7ITakeBets10yHow sure are you?
7ArisKatsaris10y85%
9ITakeBets10yBet?
7ArisKatsaris10yI 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?
7ITakeBets10yYour 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!

2thomblake10yAwesome

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 =)

3Alicorn10yI was present and permitted to not-bet.
5Eliezer Yudkowsky10yVoting up all comments in this exchange for being virtuous.
5wedrifid10yIf 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)

3Eugine_Nier10yI think Eliezer's policy as expressed here [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2ay/rationality_quotes_june_2010/23d6] is better.
6wedrifid10yAnd, 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.
7Eugine_Nier10yI 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 Yudkowsky10yA 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?
4wedrifid10yWhat 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.

5Desrtopa10yI 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.
2TobyBartels10yThis 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.
2Asymmetric10yWhy would Lucius be convinced by that?
9linkhyrule510y... True Patronus? Voldemort?
3LucasSloan10yHe 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.
2Lavode10yBecause 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?
4Asymmetric10yWe 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?

7DanArmak10yQuoting 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.

4buybuydandavis10yThank 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.

7glumph10yHe's been writing fiction for a long time [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=722rasd1fu9p8mn5fdcbp572&page=78#1940] . I wouldn't worry.
8DanArmak10yI 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)

5Eponymuse10yThe 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?
2Locke10yUsing 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.

2Nornagest10yI 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).
1Sheaman37739yI 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.
6Eponymuse10yThese 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.
3DanArmak10yI 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.
2Pavitra10yShe could have edited her own mind afterward, as a protection against Legilimency/Veritaserum/etc.
1DanArmak10yWell 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.
2Eugine_Nier10yHow's their motive relevant if they're under imperious?
5DanArmak10yYou'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 :-)
3WrongBot10yFlitwick is probably also out as an Imperius candidate, being a former international dueling champion and all.
0thomblake10yI 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.

0TobyBartels10ySurely 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)
9BlackNoise10yI 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)
0TobyBartels10yYes, Hermione took Harry with her in the awesome part of Book 3.
0daenerys10yHow 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
3linkhyrule510yReality computes in one swoop. It simply wouldn't happen.
2Eponymuse10yConsistency 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.
0DanArmak10yI 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.

1Nornagest10yI 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.
1pedanterrific10yFor some reason I found this image irresistibly hilarious. The sky is filled with two thousand twinkling stars!
0DanArmak10yVery 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.
1BlackNoise10yDidn'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?
0DanArmak10yI'm not sure he got a plainly stated negative answer. Can someone look that up?
0Eponymuse10yDumbledore 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:
2DanArmak10yThat'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.
4BlackNoise10yActually, 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.
0Eugine_Nier10yThat would get rather crowded.
0[anonymous]10yMcGonagall thinks so, at least:
7APMason10yThe 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.
0DanArmak10yAnd 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.
4linkhyrule510yThe 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.
0DanArmak10yOops. 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.
2Eponymuse10yThey 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.
4Logos0110yThere are ways to compute problems such that you do not know the information you are computing. Homomorphic Encryption for example.
0Eponymuse10yGood 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.
0Logos0110yWell... 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.
0Eponymuse10yI'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.
0Logos0110yclone #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.)
0Eponymuse10yI 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.
0Logos0110ythat 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.
0Eponymuse10yHe 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
0Logos0110yNo. 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?
2Eponymuse10ySorry, 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.
1JoshuaZ10yNote 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.
0Eponymuse10ySure, 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.
0Logos0110yHarry+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.
4DanArmak10yI realize that. For other observers' practical purposes, they would disappear. Meh, she worries about that kind of thing too much.
0TobyBartels10yMost of the replies to this comment no longer appear on the main page of the topic, no matter how many buttons I push.
0TobyBartels10yI 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.
3pedanterrific10yNot that strenuously:
0Eponymuse10yYou'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.
0Eponymuse10yHe 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.
0buybuydandavis10yJust 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.
2gwern10yWhen 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.
2[anonymous]10yAnd Homestuck just doesn't have any plot point which isn't time travel in some way.
0wedrifid10yMore 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.

4Normal_Anomaly10yExtra 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.
0dspeyer10yDumbledore 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.
8Danylo10yMaybe H&C's final form was McGonagall? That'd be a fun twist.
2Alsadius10yShe's the only sane one of Hermione's friends who was present? (There may be more to it, but it's hard to say)
2DanArmak10yWhy would Hermione consider Harry not sane?
3staticIP10yBecause he's insane.
2DanArmak10yHow come?
2staticIP10yMy 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.
1DanArmak10yThe 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.
2staticIP10yYeah, 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.

1Dentin10yIt says nothing about disabling anyone's defenses against Dementors; it is a fait accompli, where Harry simply states that anti-dementor spells now exist and are being actively deployed. The Wizengamot can disable him if they want, but it will not change the situation (unless they know Harry is bluffing.) And why disable one of the few wizards who -can- actually combat the dementors? The only reason the ministry used them in the first place was because there was no way to destroy them.
0Danylo10yActually, that's not the only(or even best) solution. It's pointed out in a previous chapter that intimate knowledge of such spells disables the regular patronus. Which is Harry's only weapon at this point - that threat. He can't say "I can kill dementors" without making the threat because he'll become an obvious man behind the break-in. What will he do, threaten to destroy them? They'll just send his ass to jail. No, he needs some kind of threat to the wizengamot, which in this case would be to ruin their Patronus spell. However, that still won't work because D knows what Harry can do and can likely stop him before he fully explains the his theory, and if that he fails at that, it'll be a pretty simple task to kill/disable him and then Obliviate the various wizards present.
5Alsadius10yYour plan basically relies on stripping your country of one of its most powerful weapons and then having the leaders of your country thank you for it. Good freaking luck.
3Dentin10y(You mean like how the USA was stripped of multi-megaton thermonuclear weapons and how pretty much everyone was happy about it?) My intent was that he should present it as an already accomplished fact. The alliance with the dementors was an uneasy one at best, something to be tolerated because there were no good solutions. This changes that - the alliance is broken, and there is a good solution.
4glumph10yIn canon, at least, the Fudge/Umbridge faction of the Ministry embrace the alliance pretty wholeheartedly:
5Anubhav10yUpvoted for the sheer epicness, even though I doubt it's going to happen.

Chapter 26, "Noticing Confusion" : Don't know if anyone has pointed this out yet, but Quirrell says, "I...need to go off and set something in motion," before apparently going off to accost Rita Skeeter. During their conversation (Ch 25) she thinks about the alleged fact that a tipster directed her to Mary's Room, where she will shortly die. Now she may have thought this before meeting Quirrell -- she definitely had somewhere to be -- but then why would he bother to speak with her?

I just looked at the passage again, and it seems worse than that. She actually thinks,

And his hair was already falling out? Couldn't he afford a healer?

No, that wasn't important, she had a time and a place and a beetle to be.

6Eneasz10yMy reading: In 25 Harry asked the Weasley twins for help, and told them not to involve Quirrell in their plot, because he didn't like publicity. The Weasley twins agree, but are amused that Harry doesn't know them that well or he wouldn't have brought up Quirrell at all, and say they'll do Quirrell on their own time. This part is never explicitly stated, but I assume they alert Rita to Quirrell and manufacture some silly rumors about him being a former Death Eater and training Harry to be the Next Dark Lord. Rita then publishes an article making those exact accusations. Quirrell confronts Rita about this. He pulls up his arm to show no Dark Mark. But she clearly shows she considers herself above all the rabble, doesn't give two damns about journalistic integrity, and simply doesn't care who she hurts. It is at that point that she thinks about Mary's Room, and turning into a beetle. It is implied that Quirrell was reading her mind as she thought that, so now he has knowledge of her snooping habits and morphing abilities. He deliberately puns on this, saying that he now can't resist the urge to simply "crush" her instead. I don't think this first meeting was orchestrated by Quirrell, it was unrelated and simply gave him the knowledge he needed to set up her murder. I deduce that Quirrell later leaks to her anonymously that he'll be meeting with Harry in Mary's room and something juicy will happen. I find it pretty damn delicious the way he toys with her without Harry's knowledge, she must've had a hell of a sphincter-tightening moment when he audibly considers casting a spell to reveal any animagi in the room. And it's awesome the way you (as a reader) don't notice that until your second read-through.
3matheist10yI agree — though it's hard to tell because chapter 25 is written out of order. But a week passes between when Harry asks the twins for a plot and the lunch with Quirrell when Harry reads the paper: Act 2 is stated as happening on Sunday; directly afterwards, in act 3, Harry talks with Draco and borrows 40 galleons, and sometime afterwards, probably directly after, in Act 4, Harry asks the twins for a plot, and the twins also discuss pranking Quirrell. In Act 5, the twins ask Flume for help, and show him an article in "yesterday's edition of the Daily Prophet", titled "THE NEXT DARK LORD?". In Act 6, Quirrell quotes that title when he confronts Skeeter; he also mentions he has no dark mark, which is one of the elements of the twins' discussion in act 4. So at some point in the week between Act 4 (either Sunday or soon after) and Mary's room (Saturday), the twins convince Skeeter of certain things about Quirrell. The Prophet publishes the Quirrell article. At some point early the next morning, the twins ask Flume for help with Harry's article. At some point after that, and before Saturday, Quirrell confronts Skeeter on the street. In summary, there's almost a week of lost time in chapter 25, which makes it a little difficult to see that the twins were behind Skeeter's article on Quirrell, but there are enough hints in there to make it a sure thing.
3gwern10yA last chance? If she had done the right thing and apologized or retracted it, she would have shown up at Mary's Room and observed absolutely nothing of interest or been ejected or confounded or something. The trope might be Last-Second Chance [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LastSecondChance] , although this seems to be more of a martial-arts sort of trope where you are ultra-polite and correct as you give the other person a clear statement of their mistake and a chance to rectify it before you open the can of whoop-ass on them (Martial Pacifist [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MartialPacifist]).

Destroys the dementors by destroying himself? Destroys the dementors, and lets out the criminals of wizarding Britain? Destroys the dementors, and is put down for rebellion?

There are no happy endings down that path.

I find Dumbledore morally confusing.

  • His main policy in the fic is inaction.
  • His reputation in the past of the story is of successful and (by the standards of the wizards) moral leadership. He earned vast respect in the wizarding world without resorting to Lucius' blood-purist politics or Voldemort's insistence on slavish obedience.
  • The few specific deeds he's done at his own initiative are somewhere between weird and vile. (Jinxing Snape's relationship with Lily; planning for Harry to have wicked step-parents; etc.)

Largely inactive in the present, good and effective in the reputed past, weird or vile when we actually see him act.

Has there been a leader in real life like this? If this was a real-life person, what would we say about them -- that they were a good leader once, and now they're a crazy one?

Dumbledore has no difficulty with action when needed(TSPE, most notably), but he's been burned too many times by the cost of his efforts to be eager about it. He'd much prefer to stop the war by passive deeds(sequestering Harry, poisoning Voldemort's father's grave, etc.), and not risk the bloodshed that open war would cause, or even the loss of political capital caused by a showdown with Lucius Malfoy. There's bound to be a big difference between an 11 year old sci-fi fan and a hundredish year old veteran when it comes to eagerness to do harm, and frankly I think that Dumbledore's caution is at least as justified as Harry's sneakiness when it comes to planning a war. After all, Harry's never seen one of his incredibly clever plots fail, and he's eleven, so he is naturally going to be far too eager. Inaction isn't always wrong.

I think you need to consider the idea that this is the way he's always acted.

His handling of the Grindelwald business can be summed up as several years of inaction followed by the most spectacular duel in recent history. Presumably he didn't explain the blood sacrifices + Deathstick = invincibility thing to everyone who asked, so he must have skated by on inscrutability.

He states with a certain bitter pride that he taught Voldemort he doesn't give in to blackmail or threats to hostages- which he (hopefully, considering the alternative) accomplished through more inaction.

When you think about it, a wizard with tremendous magical and political power who doesn't seem to actually want to do anything with that power is pretty much the best case scenario for a lot of people. Imagine that Dumbledore suddenly decided to act on Fawkes' advice: how much of Wizarding Britain is left standing?

4moritz10yI thought his response to blackmail of his allies was to burn Narcissa Malfoy (or at least have everybody thinking that he burned her alive).
2pedanterrific10yThat would be the alternative, yes.

Given Harry's knowledge about basic game theory and decision making theory how come he's so bad at producing fake information? I refer both to his dealings in conversations (where he arguably has increased his game level), but even more so in the mock battles. Not hiding the creation of green sunglasses did seem unnaturally stupid taking into consideration:

  1. He knew scouts might be sent to track his dealings (it is after all a basic of military tactics as well as the logical thing to do against an enemy you know is outnumbered when you have to figure out what he does to deal with his disadvantage).
  2. The cost/benefit was vastly in favour of benefit.
  3. He himself had trained Draco to acquire better information before acting.

Furthermore I'm rather stunned by how bad at constructing ambushes and firing lines Harry is.

It was unlikely that his enemies would see what was being done, so unlikely that they did not think to prepare. So unlikely that, appropriately enough, it was mentioned in chapter 78:

The Dragons had started the combat with a feint to provide a distraction for Mr. Goyle's approach through the forest; Neville hadn't realized there were two brooms attacking until almost too late. But the Chaos Legion had gotten the other pilot. That was why broomsticks usually didn't attack before armies met, it meant a whole army would concentrate fire on the broomstick.

The Dragons sacrificed a broom to see what was up. This is a significant sacrifice as they have only two and their enemies have a total of four between them.

It would not be surprising for the next battle, if there is one, to include some protection against aerial espionage. Better spy-planes would be another reasonable result of this battle. The first thing you do is fly higher.

5SkyDK10yFirst of all. Thank you for pointing this quote out! Well, I'd say the first thing you do is hide better :) It hardly needed much more than a cloack over the object about to be transfigured. Perhaps another weakness of Harry's, overcomplicating? I appreciate the sacrifice made and the development by the character of Draco. Still, for any good mastermind in the making keeping your top-secret plan top-secret is usually an extremely good idea.
6Daniel_Starr10yTo be a good con man, you have to think like other people. Harry's not good at that. A con man has to be good at playing to other people's superficiality. Harry can't stand not asking questions. So he finds it hard to model others' willingness to not ask questions. Also, he's in love with getting the right answer, which makes it hard for his brain to think over wrong answers to offer people, even enemies. This is why Harry has no instinct for ambushes and active (lie-based, rather than silence-based) deceptions. Someone like Harry can train to actively lie, deceive, ambush, etc. He'd do fine. But active deception is one of those social skills, like flirting, that mucks with the user's own cognition and so takes more practice than smart people initially think. As for formation tactics, drilling people to act together is another less-questions-more-cooperation trait that Harry's never been good at. Chaos is definitely his right army name.
9DanArmak10yQuirrel made a little speech, at the end of Azkaban, about how unusually good Harry was at that. It was plausible enough to make Harry himself tentatively believe it.

And, as we already know, Quirrel is a very, very good con man.

2SkyDK10yWell, I'd say there's a clear difference between ambushing (deception in tactical combat situations) and lying/manipulating (social deception in micro-situations). The first requires way less self-deception: the requirement here is not control of vocal tone, facial expression and knowledge innuendo and social graces; no, here an understanding of which parts of the enemy forces the enemy appreciates, and which targets he would like to hit in your own army. The second calculations; terrain and so on are also logical advantages. So in effect it can easily be a silence-based deception yet Harry is still surprisingly mediocre in this aspect. Given that they are already in military outfits, a well-constructed ambush should be able to drop more than third of an enemy force before they even knew what hit them (this just by the most simple solution: half hidden, half baiting). A little instigated chaos by the non-hiding part might very well be necessary so as to negate the counter-ambush advantage of the maps. About the "drilling people" together; that has already been mostly done by his reputation and being in a situation very much like The Robber's Cave scenario. All he had to do was exploit the chaos he loves to create and have his running troops run so as to V around two sides of the enemy's O positions (V and O are here used as visual representations of the formations in question). I concur with you on the second part and I applaud the sharp observation on the aspect of self-deception/mucking one's own cognition when it comes to social interactions.

Whenever someone commits cold-blooded murder their soul is ripped in two

I see what you did there.

Harry has the legendary Lost Sword of Humerus Hufflepuff in his pouch.

Be prepared! As through life you march along! Don't be nervous, don't be flustered, don't be scared - be prepared!

We have Word of God (in comments above) that Harry is about to come up with some plan. However, that plan may yet fail, or it may not be executable during this Wizengamot session but only a few hours or days later.

If Harry does not succeed in rescuing Hermione now, or at least publicly show that he has a credible plan in motion, then I predict (50% probability) that right afterwards Quirrel will approach Harry with a plan for 1) breaking Hermione out of Azkaban 2) consolidating a public political platform in line with destroying Azkaban (Harry's goal), inc... (read more)

They could adopt/legitimize Draco's children by another lover. As Harry's fanclub says, he and Draco and the lady could have one of those, you know, arrangements...

Since when? A while ago he convinced Dumbledore to give him the full six hours rather than two, but I don't think we were ever told that he can use it at will now.

ETA: From Chapter 77, Self-Actualization Aftermaths, emphasis mine:

(Some time later, an earlier version of Harry, who had invisibly waited next to the gargoyles since 9PM, followed the Deputy Headmistress through the opening that parted for her, stood quietly behind her on the turning stairs until they came to the top, and then, still under the Cloak, spun his Time-Turner thrice.)

Actions like that ensured that Bellatrix's devotion to Voldemort was not a happy memory for her, and therefore would survive in Azkaban for as long as she did. It might even have prolonged her life (though I rather doubt he tortured her for her own good).

3wedrifid10yNice one [http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3ofl2i/].

I would be surprised if Harry's knowledge of Muggle science, as such, was his edge over Voldemort. This Voldemort Horcruxed a spacecraft.

And I would be surprised if Harry's "rationality" in the general sense was his edge. Quirrellmort seems plenty clear-thinking.

On the other hand, you're right that Harry is much more of an experimentalist than Quirrellmort seems to be. Voldemort in this fic seems to be brilliantly efficient rather than brilliantly creative.

So perhaps Harry can defeat Voldemort through the power of experimentation. Not so much Science as The Scientific Method.

6wedrifid10yOn the other hand, this Voldemort Horcruxed a spacecraft.
1Anubhav10yHorcruxing a spacecraft isn't nearly the same thing as being able to do magics thought impossible by figuring out the general principles of magic.
5pedanterrific10yThe thought occurs: you know what would be really great? If Voldemort keeps abreast of cutting-edge physics journals and invented partial Transfiguration first, and just never told anyone about it. Even if he didn't, the fact remains that Quirrell knows Harry was able to cut through the wall of Azkaban somehow. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he figured it out purely through deduction.

you cannot unknow any of this stuff except by obliterating yourself.

Obliterating? That's perhaps overkill!

There is a human sacrifice, a murder, of that I am certain; committed in coldest blood, the victim dying in horror.

Pretty sure it's not a valid sacrifice if the human doesn't die.

Harry asks Draco if Draco had submitted him to torture with no intention of helping him. Draco is already under the effects of Veritaserum, so he'll testify.

Draco isn't even present. His earlier testimony under Veritaserum was simply read aloud.

And also the possibility of utilizing Draco's use of torture was mentioned and rejected in the previous chapter, as Lucius Malfoy may well have obliviated anything incriminating he found in Draco's mind under his own Veritaserum interrogation of his son.

2SkyDK10yMy bad. Speed reading and sleep deprivation is a bad cocktail if you want a keen eye for detail. Thank you. Given that I'll retract my previous comment.

What I wanna know is what Lucius even thinks is going on. What his mental model of the situation is. It's unclear to me. A plot by Harrymort to inoculate future Death Eater and trusted lieutenant Draco against pro-muggleborn ideas by having him severely disappointed in Hermione? Well maybe not, but surely a man with that much control and intelligence is thinking something rather than just blindly grasping for revenge...

My mental model of Lucius says he believes...

  • Harry is Voldemort (Who is still strong in some ways but weak in others)

  • Harrymort has been trying to split Draco from his father.

  • Harrymort has been using a new ideology to recruit Draco.

  • This new ideology is incompatible with the previous ideology.

  • Harrymort has no use of his old allies as he hasn't let them in on anything and he's using an incompatible ideology.

  • Harrymort's gathering of power and allies/minions (eg Hogwarts students) will take at least a decade to come to fruition.

  • Harrymort is in a weak position right now and in danger of losing a key piece. (Hermoine would be his Bellatrix.)

  • Harrymort seems to be on Dumbledore's side in the court room and ideologically.

So, assuming Lucius isn't just acting on rage, he's decided to align himself against Harrymort and with whoever it is that's attacking him. Perhaps he's hoping that he can destroy Harrymort soon enough before he becomes invincible withe the passage of years. Perhaps he hopes by aligning the House of Malfoy against Harrymort publicly, whoever attacked his son won't target him again and risk losing the Malfoy's support. Perhaps he thinks Harry is strongly allied enough to Dumbledore to lie to Lucius. Although I'm more of the mind that he's acting on blind revenge, or at least it's clouding his vision enough to make poor choices at the moment.

He might think that Harrymort is toying with his son for pure amusement, Bellatrix-style; or that Dumbledore set Hermione on Draco.

But he can punish Hermione as a demonstration of his ferocity now, while he waits and hopes to find the real villain later.

Lucius probably knows that he doesn't know enough; on that he agrees with Harry. The difference is that he doesn't see that as a reason to let Hermione off; he sees Hermione as at least an opportunity to send a message to his real enemy, whoemever he is, not to take the House of Malfoy lightly.

1Vaniver10yWho benefits from Draco being anti-muggleborn? It's not Harry, it's Lucius.
1MarkusRamikin10yIn the short term. If Harry is Voldemort and one day intends to reveal himself and get his followers back, though...
2DanArmak10yIf Harry hadn't been trying to "turn" Draco, then Draco would have been firmly anti-muggleborn all along.
1MarkusRamikin10yMost likely, yeah. Still, Harrymort would then be able to look at the new Death Eater Draco as his own handiwork instead of Lucius', and that's something that might appeal to the Dark Lord. No, I didn't mean that to be a terribly plausible theory, just couldn't really think of what Lucius might be thinking that would make better sense. I now agree with most of what Daniel Starr said [http://lesswrong.com/lw/axe/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/63q7].
1Vaniver10yVoldemort lost with those supporters; he may as well change his ideology, get new supporters, and the old ones that know which way the wind is blowing will come back anyway.

Eliezer, could you please confirm / deny / decline to answer whether the fic is past its halfway point? I have a persistent memory that you did at one point state that it was, but I can't find that statement so I'm wondering if I just crossed a couple of brain-wires.

e: while I'm here, I was rereading random chapters and spotted a typo in Ch. 14: "Good heavens, Mr. Potter, do you think these would be allowed to students".

4Anubhav10yI remember that too. I can't find that statement either.

An idea: We're discussing lethal magic, of the sort that even Quirrell is unlikely to have taught. Has anyone checked that she even knows the Blood-Cooling Charm? She reads a lot, and Quirrell is unlikely to have left a hole that obvious in his plan, but this seems like something that may be worth checking.

This occurred to me, but Hermione really shot herself in the foot by publicly demonstrating the ability to successfully cast a charm above her year level on the first try, from nothing more than having glanced at the instructions once.

Plus, just from naming conventions I would expect that spell to have non-lethal uses- it's not called the Blood-Cooling Curse, or even Hex, but Charm. Maybe it's a treatment for heatstroke, or the counter to the Blood-Boiling Curse. In any situation other than under Hogwarts' wards, a Charm that takes six hours to kill an unconscious first-year isn't that big a deal, compared to, say, Levitating them off a cliff and dropping them.

6Alsadius10yTrue, but it's a question that might get asked under Veritaserum. (That said, we are talking about Hermione here. She can probably learn the spell from the false memory of having cast it once. So this test isn't likely to be conclusive.)
8pedanterrific10yExactly. Which, while awesome, is not especially helpful in this one particular case.
2JacekLach10ySpells that extract the history of spells casted using a wand are canon, afaik (or was that just the most recent spell?) I would expect they were casted on hermiones wand and the usage was confirmed.
1Alsadius10yThing is, it only checks the most recent. Any minor spell cast afterwards clears the prior incantem, so a different spell showing is not going to count for much. And they never actually said that they had that piece of evidence, which they certainly would have if they'd known.
0Sheaman37739yWe only saw it used to check the most recent spell. We don't know that it can't go further back, and in fact in fanfics it often can go through the recent history of the wand.
0Alsadius9yBut that's not canon IIRC, which means that it should be assumed not to be the case unless EY says otherwise.
0Sheaman37738yThe Priori Incantatem effect of the brother wands meeting certainly seems based on Priori Incantato (though why was never explained that I could recall) and that one certainly did go back further than just the last spell.

I don't really buy that motivation. Even if Harry becomes Dark, it's unlikely that he will then instantly become buddies with everyone else on the Dark side. Instead, I would expect Dark Harry and Dark Voldemort to be bitter enemies, trying to be the sole ruler of the world.

The best motivation I came up with for Voldemort turning Harry dark is that he intends to possess him, or dispose of him and sustain himself on polyjuice. In that case, Quirrellmort might well take actions that look like actions intended to help Harry rule, in addition to moves intended... (read more)

I went and made a new comment section because we broke 1000 posts and we're supposed to split at 500. Here's the link.

2TobyBartels10yIt's good to add links to the wiki page [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Methods_Of_Rationality_%28fanfiction%29] too (ETA: which I've now done), especially since HPMOR.com links there. (Although obviously it's better to create a new section and not add links than not to create a new section at all, so I voted you up.)
3Xachariah10yOh, I had forgotten about the wiki page. Thank you.

I notice a disturbing similarity between what Dumbledore did with the note he left with the invisibility cloak and the actions of H&C 1. Dumbledore increased Harry's trust in him by having his motives impugned by a note that he then discredited. Dumbledor arranged for Zabini to achieved the highest possible pinnacle of untrustworthiness and then H&C arranged for Zabini to impugn the motives of Dumbledore to Harry's mentor.

Even if it goes by "if you think you've witnessed death" there's still the matter that Hermione at no point thought that she witnessed Draco's death; it would have happened hours after she left.

Sorry if this was mentioned before, but I just noticed something (not related to the latest cliffhanger):

It's implied that some people break into Azkaban to give some prisoners normal sleep/Patronus time, but why go to all the trouble when you can just tell a Patronus to go there for a few hours by itself. And we already know that a Patronus can travel into Azkaban (McGonagalls' in TSPE arc)

So, plothole?

The trick of knowing how to send Patronuses to others as messengers has been implied to be kept in Dumbledore's close circle, as a tactical advantage. (e.g. Quirrel mentioning the possibility of Dumbledore teaching Harry this trick -- not as if it's public knowledge)

0rdb10yHarry & Draco have learnt to send Patronus messages. With the goal of preserving Hermione unbroken while working towards her exoneration, Harry could * Arrange teaching of sending messages to any Patronus wielders in SPHEW/Sunshine or anyone else willing to help Hermione ** will confirm whether it is possible to maintain a Patronus at a distance for long periods * Arrange teaching of Patronus to those willing to help who don't know it. * Given the Cloak & Harry's Patronus hide those protected from Dementors, research Rituals/Potions to confer that ** An aim of Quirrel's? * Enlist help in finding evidence for Hermione's memory charming (Daphne noting she missed the Sunshine army council of war in 79).
3lavalamp10yYeah, I was wondering about this, also. Does Harry have to be physically present to destroy the dementors in Azkaban?
1DanArmak10yGreat point! However, in TSPE arc, when Harry had one of his emotional "I'll destroy all dementors right now" episodes after hearing just how Bella was used by Voldemort, he had to come up fast with rational reasons not to do it. And one reason was that it would not be maximally efficient to destroy the dementors while standing in a corridor in Azkaban, and it would be better to go himself to the central pit where they lived. So it should be much harder yet to destroy them from Hogwarts. Maybe not impossible, though. One at a time? But Dumbledore would immediately know that it was Harry doing it, and would stop him after only a few were destroyed, unless he managed to destroy them all in one go. And Harry's internal monologue in the same instance I referred to indicates that doing so would take so much life-energy it would kill Harry.
3lavalamp10yI guess the question is whether it's Harry's location that matters or the location of his patronus.
3BlackNoise10yMaybe what matters isn't the proximity of the caster but of the patronus itself. Though Harry might still not be able to send his 2.0 on a search&destroy mission while staying at Hogwarts. There seems to be a need for constant energy transfer into the patronus, and I doubt this transfusion line can go through hyperspace.

Madam Bones killed Narcissa. "Someone would burn for this." pg. 879 of the pdf.

EDIT: This is likely the double Taboo tradeoff. The original tradeoff was going along with the innocent Narcissa being burned as a war tactic or just covering up for the Aurors and Bones after they did it because he needed them - he was protecting his pieces for the larger war. Either way, it probably served his war aims to take credit for the attack and have Malfoy believe he was ruthless enough to do it. Mutual Assured Destruction.

The new taboo tradeoff is much the ... (read more)

Dumbledore is a seasoned politician who may be assumed to know how to take the mood of the Wizengamot. However, he incorrectly predicts that they will not call for Hermione to be sent to Azkaban. Was his model of reality wrong or was he ignorant of a force on the board? I notice certain parallels to Quirrell's predictions about the Slytherin bullies.

7mjr10yI think he just didn't want to believe that.

"Are you all lost?" cried Albus Dumbledore. "She is too young! Her mind would not withstand it! Not in three centuries has such a thing been done in Britain!"

The leading article, written by some name that Harry didn't recognize, had called for the minimum age for Azkaban to be lowered, just so that the twisted mudblood who had defaced the honor of Scotland with her savage, unprovoked attack upon the last heir of a Most Ancient House within the sacred refuge of Hogwarts could be sent to the Dementors that were the only punishment commensurate with the severity of her unspeakable crime.

This is a definite break from the historical record.

5DanArmak10yIndeed, they called for it before Lucius did. So did the newspapers, as noted below. I feel the hand of H&C continuing to guide events, and it's now clear that one goal of this plot is to maximize Harry's reaction...
2Vaniver10yWhy would Lucius call for it first? Even if he had to convince a confederate to call out for it, it would be beneath him to be the first to call for a girl to be sent to Azkaban.
1DanArmak10yThat's possible. But there's another possible explanation: that Lucius really intended to demand a lesser punishment - as he said himself, and as Dumbledore et al. had predicted - but changed his mind on seeing that he had broad support for a harsher punishment. Which would fit my theory regarding H&C, especially if H&C is Quirrel, who knows how Harry regards Azkaban.

Remember that Malfoy controls the Daily Prophet, which called for Azkaban before the trial began.

Are you really comfortable putting "hurtful and/or stupid things written in a Potions textbook" in the same category as financial insecurity?

Yes, I am absolutely comfortable doing so. I'm talking about two children who have never been taught to communicate with intention, with raging adolescent hormones, and with typical teenage naïvete regarding bother their own emotions and those of others.

I don't have two high-school friends to rub together. The fact that I'm still in touch with one person from twenty years ago is the freak result of a wh... (read more)

6fezziwig10yMy apologies, I wasn't clear. I meant, pick two of your high-school friends when they were in high school. Or if you prefer, pick any two of "your kids", whatever that means to you, at an age when they'd been friends for at least five years. Not two kids who "aren't inclined" to get along, two kids who are. What, concretely, do you write to start them fighting? I see several straightforward ways to worsen an existing argument, but creating a new one, without either participant noticing the asymmetry, is much harder. No need to apologise; you don't know me. Without wanting to get too distracted by an argument over credentials: my involvement with teenagers in unending, God help me, but perhaps I do lack imagination. I'd observe in turn that you seem to have identified very closely with Snape's suffering, and have paid relatively little attention to Lilly's thoughts and feelings in this affair. That's when I noticed my confusion: I tried to model Lilly's half of this, and failed.

Has anyone suggested yet that Aberforth was threatened with the aim to let Dumbledore "give in in blackmail"? I have never read it here before and it was my first idea, when I knew Aberforth was dead and heard Dumbledore saying the Deatheaters learned towards the end of the war he does not give in in blackmail.

1KnaveOfAllTrades8yBoooooom. [http://hpmor.com/chapter/82]

I like most of the ideas but this one strikes me as only a small step up from horcruxing the most famous artifacts:

The concrete in a major public works project, like a large dam.

That sounds like the plot for a Nicholas Cage movie or a Matthew Reilly book.

Far better to settle for obscurity. Horcrux a non-precious stone and dump it in a random desert. Anything that you yourself couldn't guess at (specifically) if your clone was your enemy.

6bogdanb10yWhy a stone? Wouldn’t a grain of sand work? You can cover air, sea, desert, and with magic even space. I wonder if you could horcrux a molecule...
1wedrifid10yI'm not sure what the size constraints are. All else being equal smaller does seem better. I'm also not sure what difference horcruxing something makes to the physical objects. They become near impossible to destroy, right? You might end up with the most seriously baddass helium molecule out there.

Frame Quirrell. (Assuming it's even framing and not accidentally getting the right answer for the wrong reasons.)

Harry knows he's an unregistered animagus. Harry has even better blackmail with Azkaban though he'd be loath to use it. People in universe also know that the defense professor is suspect #1.

Harry could just lie under veritaserum that Quirrell did all this. Nobody aside from Quirrell or Dumbledore would even imagine that Harry could do that (well, Snape and McGonagall). Way back in chapter 47, Harry said Bester thought Harry could beat verit... (read more)

4drethelin10yHarry is certainly CAPABLE of framing Quirrel, but I don't think he's anywhere NEAR close to framing anyone he considers a friend. I think he's more likely to frame himself.
4erratio10yDraco know that Harry can beat Veritaserum. And the chances are decent that he'll be well enough to attend the trial
5Xachariah10yDraco only observed that Harry said he was an Occlumens. This was a line of thought that Draco wasn't particularly able to follow though on anyhow (since he didn't have the Veritaserum and didn't even know where to get it). He only abandons it when he realizes a more feasible test exists (via patronus). Keep in mind Draco's first impulse is that it was a complete lie, and he knows Harry (and what Harry can do) personally. Nobody else would believe an 11 year old would be an occlumens this young. Plus, Harry has enough evidence incriminating Quirrell to make any charge stick.
2Vaniver10yHarry's tutor was arranged through Gringott's; I am sure that the goblins kept records. Whether or not they're obliged to show those records is another issue.
1DanArmak10yAlso, being an Occlumens can be proved directly to any Legilemens, so if Harry wants to prove it to someone it's not that difficult. Just difficult to do it on the spot without any preparation.
5see10yFrom Chapter 27: So, if Harry wants to prove he's an Occlumens, he can. But if he is intending to lie under Veritaserum as part of a framing plot, he doesn't want to prove it; he wants to lie. And if he's gotten good enough at Occlumency over the last 50 or so chapters, he might be able to pull it off.
1Desrtopa10yIt might be too late for that. He told Draco that he's an occlumens, and it's highly probable that Lucius questioned Draco under veritaserum. Draco may already have told him, and if he hasn't, the fact that he could could undermine any plan hinging on it.
1DanArmak10yI very much doubt Harry is already a perfect Occlumens. The last word we have on that is that he may grow to be one "in time". It would an unforeshadowed and plot-convenient superpower if he was suddenly revealed as such. Note: even a non-perfect Occlumens can apparently lie under Veritaserum, just not lie to a good enough Legilemens (even without Veritaserum).
0hairyfigment10yWhere did y'all get this? I had the vague impression that Veritaserum worked better to detect deliberate lying. Legilimency can detect other Legilimency better, because the potion doesn't do that at all. (And neither of them can detect Obliviation or a perfect Memory Charm, per Chapter 79.)
3pedanterrific10yWaaay back in Chapter 47, we get:
0hairyfigment10yThanks, I'd remembered that wrong.

Floo powder — Not tiring, can be used by unqualified wizards, but prone to error, and having a limited set of possible destinations.

Apparation — Highly flexible and requiring little setup time, but unpleasant, and only able to be performed by wizards of age.

Portkeys — Can be used to control the precise destination and time of teleporting, even to places where other modes of transport are forbidden. Can be used by unqualified wizards.

Side-along Apparation was a later invention by Rowling that negates some of the above logic and screws up some of her plots f... (read more)

9pedanterrific10yNot sure about Side-Alonging, but apparently in MoR it's possible to apparate inanimate objects without a wizard going with them: Off-topic: when looking up previous instances of apparation I found something funny. Why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah:
975th10yYes, Eliezer made a great deal of noise in that Moody scene about the preposterousness of the whole Goblet of Fire plot. I happen to think it makes a good deal of sense if you use implicit clues elsewhere from the novels. Fudge starts to yell at Dumbledore in book 5 about creating an unauthorized Portkey on a whim. If it's illegal to do that, it stands to reason that either the Ministry or Hogwarts might be able to detect unauthorized Portkeys. So to get a Portkey near Harry surreptitiously, they had to cast a second Portus charm on an existing Portkey. The Triwizard Cup was supposed to be a Portkey to the maze entrance so as to declare the winner of the tournament. Crouch/Moody cast a second Portus on it to send Harry to the graveyard. Portus charms stack on top of each other, first-in first-out, so the second touch upon it activated the first charm, whose destination was the maze entrance. None of this is stated explicitly, but almost all of it is implied with various levels of directness.
5ArisKatsaris10yThat's, by the way, a rather obvious criticism for Goblet of Fire, which I think I've heard several times independently (before HPMoR was written) and I came up with it myself after I read the book. There are ways it can be made to make sense, as you say, but it's still highly criticisable that the readers need to invent justifications like "fake-Moody needed to hijack a preexisting Ministry-approved Portkey" when JKR herself could have done inserted such a sentence for explanation. It's still be a rather stupidly elaborate plot, mind you. Just not as preposterous as before.
5matheist10yI also read a theory somewhere (can't remember where) that if, in canon, Voldemort had killed Harry in the graveyard as intended, he and his crew could use the portkey's return trip in order to wreak havoc upon Hogwarts; they can't just apparate in, and all the ministry officials would be trapped there for them to slaughter, without escape routes.
3pedanterrific10yUh, yeah. I was just remarking that Moody and Quirrell seem to have remarkably similar thought processes, right down to the denomination of coin used.
6drethelin10yThe idea is meant to be obvious, to anyone who's at all devious. I'd be more confused if they didn't both think of it. As far as denomination, it just makes sense to use the smallest coin.
2Locke10yHow about stealing one of the bazillion portkeys being used internationally to get wizards to the World Cup?
6loserthree10yQuirrell has tossed things to people who caught it without thinking at other times in the story. One example is in chapter 70, in which he is holding what is alleged to be a S.P.H.E.W. button and responding to Hermione's explanation of what it takes to be a hero (specifically rather than ambition): In addition to questions about what that button might actually be and where it might come up later, including this current arc, there's the point that Quirrell doesn't seem to ever let anyone touch him. He does end up touching people in the Standford Prison Experiment arc, so it's not that he can't touch anyone. I expect it's just to cover for the fact that he really can't touch HJPEV.
4pedanterrific10yI'm imagining him doing this a lot, for no real reason other than to amuse himself at the possibilities. I bet he's in the habit of using magic to catch things moving toward him, too. I thought that myself. (Plus I would expect him to be less than enthused about touching other people anyway.)

Whenever someone commits cold-blooded murder their soul is ripped in two, even if the torn piece is not placed into a Horcrux. Not many people know this, but after speaking with Dumbledore Harry does.

No, Harry knows that Dumbledore said that he thinks this.

"I think, Harry - though you will call it only inference - that the act of murder splits the soul.

Just because they don't expect her to be able to accomplish much with it doesn't mean that they wouldn't stop it as a matter of policy. You don't let a character witness walk up and hand anything to a prisoner on the stands without clearance.

A whole lot of plans proposed here seem to rely on the assumption that Harry can treat the Wizengamot as a captive audience who'll humor any attempt he makes to sway them or prove his points. The Wizengamot is a highly authoritarian court of law, and Harry is a first year student. They have little incentive to humor him about anything.

3Lavode10yThe blunt force way to play it is to just expecto patronum the dementor into oblivion and go "Would you like me to explain how I did that"? They would almost certainly make him do so, veritas serum, legimens and the whole nine yards. And once they know, they are fucked. I dont think the wizengamot would go for collective obliviation of the events of the trial, so once the cat is out of the bag, its not going back in.
2Desrtopa10yI wasn't that happy with that plan to begin with, but the more I've thought about it, the more I've started to like the elegant simplicity of it. He'd get tremendous political turmoil, and possibly throw suspicion on himself with respect to the Bellatrix breakout, but he can still deny that, and they've got another suspect anyway. At the same time, he has a chance to sink Azkaban in one shot. I'm calling this one the Damn The Torpedoes Option. In his place though, I wouldn't necessarily encourage them to find out how I did it (he can resist veritaserum and leglimency,) but I'd tell them that it's already too late for them to stop the dissemination of the spell, thus rendering dementors and azkaban obsolete.

the reason probably wasn't so that Harry could say, "dementors are bad" again.

It could be there to highlight the moral bankruptcy of the Wizengamot and also mislead the readers into searching for a stereotypically heroic solution (vanquish the monster and rescue the fair-complexioned maiden!) when cleverness is called for.

2glumph10yIndeed:

A hypothesis: The ministry, large fractions of the ministry, or at least Dolores Umbridge, don't wind up being villians in this universe; they're also quasi-competent (on the level of canon Dumbledore).

Evidence:

a) Eliezer seemingly went to a fair amount of effort to demonstrate that both MoR!Harry and canon!Harry's thoughts were biased when regarding Umbridge- to the extent of naming the relevant chapter "The Horns Effect," and (IIRC) having this explicitly reference her

b) The Ministry seems to have gotten it right on convicting Sirius Black, ev... (read more)

c) The Ministry generally seems to be portrayed as fairly competent...

But I'm reminded of this exchange in Chapter 61:

Madam Bones's voice continued. "We brought in Arthur Weasley from Misuse of Muggle Artifacts—he knows more about Muggle artifacts than any wizard alive—and gave him the descriptions from the Aurors on the scene, and he cracked it. It was a Muggle artifact called a rocker, and they call it that because you'd have to be off your rocker to ride one. Just six years ago one of their rockers blew up, killed hundreds of Muggles in a flash and almost set fire to the Moon. Weasley says that rockers use a special kind of science called opposite reaction, so the plan is to develop a jinx which will prevent that science from working around Azkaban."

And there's the fact that interrogation under Veritaserum seems to constitute the entirety of serious criminal investigations.

1Fergus_Mackinnon10yConsidering how much of a threat technology can pose when combined with magic, one or more factions may have deliberately placed an ignorant pureblood into the position in order to keep knowledge of muggle developments marginal.

It still says bad things that the Head of the DMLE thinks that Arthur "knows more about Muggle artifacts than any wizard alive" rather than, say, any random muggleborn or halfblood.

0Sheaman37739yEspecially given how competently she's been portrayed in most other areas.

In addition, he was just recently told

"It is clear, from the stories, that the Dark Lords who return by possessing another's form, wield lesser magics than they once knew. I do not think Voldemort would be satisfied with that. He would take some other avenue to life. But Voldemort was more Slytherin than Salazar, grasping at every opportunity. He would use his pitiful state, use his power of possession, if he had reason. If he could benefit by another's... inexplicable fury." Albus's voice had fallen to almost a whisper. "That is what I su

... (read more)

Chapter 80 spoilers ho

One last comment and I'll stop spamming the page. It certainly seems as though Amelia Bones is highly connected to Narcissa's death now. I wonder if Dumbledore really has a reason for keeping it secret that's worth sending Hermione to Azkaban over.

I wonder if Dumbledore really has a reason for keeping it secret that's worth sending Hermione to Azkaban over.

It would discredit his entire side, their strategies, and their results, vindicating the opposite side. Oh, and obviously something would happen to Dumbledore like imprisonment, execution, exile, etc.

275th10yNo, it would mean something would happen to Amelia, not Dumbledore, which is much more of a fair trade for Hermione's life. I like pedanterrific's idea about an Unbreakable Vow being involved.
2gwern10yWhy does it mean it would happen to Amelia?
2pedanterrific10yI think 75th is referring to this theory [http://lesswrong.com/lw/axe/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/62mn].
3pedanterrific10yI don't know, to me that read kind of Unbreakable Vow-ish.

CHAPTER 80 SPOILERS BELOW

Well. We have five days to think of something. This seems to mean that Harry will think of something, and we have five days to guess what it may be. Presumably it will be something in one of the following categories:

  • Something about Lucius Malfoy
  • Something about the Wizengamot
  • Something about the laws of magical Britain
  • Anything about some person or thing within range of his vision

I propose we start by making a list of everything in the courtroom:

  • Three Aurors
    • One of whom is named Gawain Robards
  • A dementor
  • Minerva McGonagall
... (read more)

I'm pretty sure the solution is as follows (I've already posted it in TV tropes forum). I'm ROT13, if anyone still wants to figure it out: Yhpvhf Znysbl pynvzrq gb unir orra haqre Vzcrevhf ol Ibyqrzbeg. Ibyqrzbeg jnf qrsrngrq ol Uneel Cbggre. Sebz Serq & Trbetr'f cenax jr xabj gung xvyyvat gur jvmneq gung unf lbh haqre gur Vzcrevhf phefr perngrf n qrog. Erfhyg: Yhpvhf Znysbl naq rirel bgure Qrngu rngre pynvzvat gb unir orra vzcrevbfrq ner abj haqre yvsr qrog gb Uneel Cbggre. Ur pna fgneg erqrrzvat.

8pedanterrific10yPoint of order: vg whfg fnlf "n qrog", abg n yvsr-qrog. Also, it would need to be explained why no one ever thought of this before.

Also, it would need to be explained why no one ever thought of this before.

Yeah, I was going 'wow, that might actually work' and then it occurred to me that they already discussed whether they had any debts from Lucius they could call in. So unless this is so subtle that no one has ever called in such a debt before, someone must have been holding an idiotball.

EDIT: Logos01 suggests that the debt be invoked of all the Wizengamot members who also claimed to be Imperiused, to swing the vote on whether or not to convict. This might work, but I would personally dislike it as we have no idea how many such people there are.

9ArisKatsaris10yGurl qvfphffrq gur npghny qrogf, ohg gurl qvqa'g qvfphff guvf bar, abg rira nf n cbgragvnyvgl, fb V guvax vg qvq whfg fyvc gurve zvaqf, orpnhfr Uneel naq Qhzoyrqber qba'g oryvrir Yhpvhf gb unir orra haqre Vzcrevhf naq guhf gurl pbafvqre Ibyqrzbeg'f qrsrng gb or n oybj ntnvafg Yhpvhf, abg n snibhe gb Yhpvhf perngvat n qrog. Fb, lrnu, V guvax vg whfg qvqa'g pebff gurve zvaqf. Vg qvqa'g pebff zl zvaq rvgure gur jubyr cnfg jrrx, naq V jnf yrff ohfl (gubhtu yrff qrfcrengr sbe n fbyhgvba) guna Uneel be Nyohf jrer. Lrnu, vg qvq gnxr zr abj bayl 10-15 zvahgrf be fb sbe zr gb pbzr hc jvgu vg, ohg V unq gur fvtavsvpnag nqinagntr bs xabjvat gurer rkvfgrq n fbyhgvba, gung V unq orra tvira fhssvpvrag vasbezngvba fhssvpvragyl sberfunqbjrq, naq gung gur fbyhgvba zbfg yvxryl qrcraqrq ba gur ynjf naq phfgbzf bs zntvpny Oevgnva, nf gur ynfg cnentencu bs gur puncgre vzcyvrf.
2BlackNoise10yTechnically, the numbers don't have to work out - Lucius is the one on who's request the trial be held, If his debt can make him withdraw charges or clear Hermione's debt, that alone should suffice. Still, while this is a clever idea, it doesn't sound very "Taboo Trade-off" or "Think of the Wizengamot as individuals instead of wallpaper".
2gwern10yYou misunderstand, the point is there are 2 possible debt strategies; for one of them, the numbers do have to work out. I'd say Logos01's strategy exemplifies thinking of them as individuals, actually...
0Eugine_Nier10yHow about: invoke Lucius's life debt. Trade it for Hermione's.
2drnickbone10yGreat idea, but where's the Taboo Trade off?
0BlackNoise10yCongratulations on correctly guessing (most of) the solution.

He alone spoke to defend Hermione, the man with a phoenix flaming bright upon his shoulder.

Don't forget the phoenix.

Context: Harry's dark side is amoral, destructive, will take any available option which leads to its target no matter how it may escalate or what the risks are, and cares about nothing else other than achieving regular Harry's current subgoal. (I'm convinced Eliezer regards the dark side as basically a UFAI.) Emphasis added:

...Harry plunged himself into his dark side...offering his dark side anything if it would only solve this problem for him

Who are the major players here that Harry can affect? Harry has no hold on the Wizengamot, as I pointed out any threat on Azkaban is more easily dealt with by attacking Harry.

So Dumbledore and Lucius are the keys. What can Harry do with Dumbledore - no matter the cost to Dumbledore, Harry, or anyone else - that would free Hermione? There's little he can testify to, as an Occlumens, so he can't even sacrifice himself (Lucius would refuse it), and it's not obvious how any of his magic 2.0 abilities could somehow convince the Wizengamot that Hermione is innocent or Lucius to let her go - what is he going to do, promise some more magic to an aristocrat who can buy all the magic he wants?

The answer is so obvious I'm surprised that no one seems ... (read more)

6Vaniver10yThat is the optimistic view of Dumbledore.
2anandjeyahar10yIt doesn't matter who was the real culprit as long as Dumbledore confesses. He's an occlumens and i would be doubtful if any legilimens can read his mind and find the truth.
2hairyfigment10yMaybe I'm getting too attached to my own new solution [http://lesswrong.com/lw/axe/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/64fw]. It does seem to me that getting Hermione to swear an Unbreakable Vow to seek vengeance on Narcissa's killer would work better. Lucius, we think, does not know what 'Harrymort' wants. If Hermione takes the Vow then Lucius will think he has the answer: "The Dark Lord's been setting up a way to take down Dumbledore, a way that looks like the work of D's own allies." Even if D kills his Muggle-born pawn, that would look suspicious and perhaps lead to his political destruction. Then the noble, grieving-but-honest Harry Potter steps into the vacuum?
2gwern10yA Hermione in the hand is worth publicly backing down and 2 Unbreakable Vows in the bush.
1DanArmak10yI read that as possibly saying he was half-way to turning Madam Bones, the real culprit, in.
4gwern10yBones isn't taking the attitude of 'don't turn me in, Albus, you owe me', but 'Albus, don't turn yourself in, you know it's the right thing but the consequences would be too bad'. At least, it's clear to me that Bones is not the bone to be thrown to Lucius.
7Bongo10yHarry didn't hear Hermione's testimony. Therefore, he can go back in time and change it to anything that would produce the audience reaction he saw, without causing paradox.
6glumph10yBut since the audience's (extended) reaction includes voting to send Hermoine to Azkaban, how will changing her testimony help?
3aladner10yIf he could change part of the testimony to something demonstrably false, that no one else in the room knew at the time, he could prove that her mind had been compromised. Actually changing the memory would be a problem, and it doesn't seem like a likely solution to me, but it's still possible.
6Asymmetric10yI was under the impression that we can actually influence the events of the story based upon how good our ideas are. If I may ask, Eliezer, are we trying to pick your brain for a True ending (something you have written already that we're trying to guess) or are we coming up with a Good one?

In this case the True ending is already written, and anyone who comes up with a better solution than Harry would obviously win points.

Here's mine:

  1. cold!Harry activates his Patronus charm, which depends on the wish to destroy Death, and therefore can be cast while "cold". This is done to disrupt the proceedings by destroying the Dementor. Since Harry never actually did this while at Azkaban, he wouldn't necessarily be associated w/ the prisonbreak of Bellatrix.

  2. In the confusion, Harry cloaks himself, and timeturns back an hour. This is done to give himself time to contemplate exactly what he needs to say and do. Sicne he will be cloaked, this preserves the secret of the Time turner.

  3. (version A) Immediately after destroying the Dementor, and the loop is closed, still-cloaked Harry takes advantage of his ability to get past any guards/defenses and whispers in Parseltongue into LM's ears: "No power can stop me. Even here in the Wizengamot I could reach you. If you do not relinquish your claim on Hermione your son is dead." IF LM doesn't understand Parseltongue, he would at least recognize it, and Harry could repeat himself in English.

  4. Harry Time turns again, and uncloaks in a side hall, intentionally getting himself seen during the same time that cloaked!Harry was threatening Draco's life (the

... (read more)
8Alsadius10yThe problem is, that plan relies on Harry realizing that Malfoy thinks he's Voldemort. I don't think he has the evidence to reach that conclusion.
5pedanterrific10yYou don't? I think he's already got it subconsciously: seemed a pretty clear reference to

We're talking about a kid who literally spoke a language designed for a different species without noticing.

3Logos0110y... I genuinely didn't think of the Voldemort angle. That only sweetens the pot. I think that ArisKatsaris's solution is far more effective/elegant than my own. (Especially since it's foreshadowed by the part about how Harry thought of the Wizengamot as 'wallpaper' and that 'this would change'. -- that could be viewed as a dropped-hint that the solution lies in manipulating the votes. I can't think of another way Harry could achieve that than through the former Death Eaters.)
2pedanterrific10yThe entire arc is already written, is my understanding.
5Alsadius10y* The Dementor is literally death. The "sword that has slain a woman and rope that has hanged a man" ritual will almost certainly summon one, but that's known Dark, and thus probably not something that can be used in the middle of a Wizengamot proceeding. And other than altering the punishment, how would this help? Even killing the Dementor outright will just make them mildly annoyed. * Dumbledore did (plausibly) burn Narcissa alive, and Potter saying so openly might be enough to swing something. It'd be unlikely to turn out well - Dumbledore would of course deny it, Potter's alliance would instantly be sundered, and unless Dumbledore wound up in jail, it wouldn't save Hermione. But, it might be tried. * The scarred man is likely Jugson, not Greyback. Isn't Greyback in Azkaban right now? Not a solution, but it should be noted. * If he's learned Avada Kedavra, there's always the option of blinding everyone with a super-Patronus and then committing mass murder until your side has a majority. Somehow, I don't see that one happening. * Snape and/or Quirrell(or someone else - Padma Patil would be a funny choice) comes to the rescue. Vanishingly unlikely, and hardly in keeping with the message of the story, but not strictly impossible. * Hermione figures out the super-Patronus, with Harry's prompting. This one is actually the least crazy of the lot, I think - the super-Patronus works on the principle of love for all human life. Someone who casts it ought to be damn near incapable of murder, and if the principle could be explained to the Wizengamot without ruining everything, the fact that Hermione managed it would actually constitute exculpatory evidence. It likely wouldn't be believed, but it's closer to possible than most of the others. As I said below though, these plans all share one common feature - they suck. I can't think of one that isn't either vanishingly unlikely or obviously stupid, and too
1Vaniver10yLove of all human life does not translate into an inability to do math or unwillingness to murder. As well, it's not clear that guilty Hermione feels good enough about herself or all human life that she would be able to cast it.
1Alsadius10yIt's not a likely case, just less IMO unlikely than the others I listed. I'd put the odds at perhaps 10-20%. The rot13'd answer is the one I think is solidly the most likely.
0thomblake10yYou don't need that particular spell to commit mass murder. Harry would likely use transfiguration or napalm. That said, Harry-who-can-murder is not Harry-who-can-Patronus.
5Locke10yWe should also make an account Harry's capabilities * Can create a Patrunus 2.0 * Partial Transfiguration * Knowledge of Muggle Science * May have Lucius convinced that he is Voldemort * Is a part of the Prophecy, though only Dumbledore knows this * Is an almost-perfect Occlumens * Has non-public knowledge about Dumbledore and Quirrell
8Desrtopa10yNot much use if he hasn't figured this out. If he is, I don't think we know this. He's at the stage of being able to block veritaserum, and thus probably to put up a block to stop anyone reading his mind, but I don't think we've been given any indication that he's reached the point of being able to show false thoughts to someone attempting to read his mind. I would add that he knows Voldemort is probably alive. If he were to testify by placing his memories into a pensieve, he could show that the Hogwarts inner circle has strong reason to suspect that Voldemort is alive and behind this plot. This might create a measure of doubt among the Wizengamot, at the cost of probably throwing the country into turmoil, so we can call this the Stupid Sentimental Hero Option.
5Vaniver10yI find it odd that Harry made no attempt to contact Lucius, or that that attempt failed, before the trial. Your list is also missing Cornelius Fudge. The first thing that came to mind was declaring that Dumbledore killed Narcissa, but he doesn't have any evidence for that besides Draco's testimony, which is already fourth-hand. It is worthwhile to note that Harry is a member of a Noble House too, and so there may be some obligation of Draco to him (remember that time Draco 'tried to kill him' by dropping him off the roof, and he actually was in danger because of the mob of girls?) or Hermione to him (can't think of one there, though). But those don't seem like things that he could easily pull out in the Wizengamot after a vote has been called. I think the most likely outcome is that Harry does not, in fact, think of something. Hermione is sent to Azkaban, Draco is now his enemy, and Quirrel wins.
4loserthree10yIf this were the case, then good serial pacing would be to put that at the end of this installment, to leave on a clear down-note. Leaving it on a cliff-hanger promises some answer to the last question. By the text, it looks like that question is, "How will I save Hermione?" not, "Can I save Hermione?"
8Vaniver10yReality does not have to obey dramatic pacing. A central part of Eliezer's worldview is that it is possible to lose, and lose big. An Al-Ghazali [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Ghazali] can come along and destroy the bright future of your society. A UFAI can destroy the bright future of your society. A Quirrel can destroy the bright future of Harry Potter. If the fic is coming to an end soon, which I think has been implied, Harry's implosion and Quirrel's victory are a good place to end things. (I should clarify that, by "most likely outcome," I mean "more likely than any other specific outcome," not "more likely than its complement." I think there's more than half chance that Harry will think of something, and I think ArisKatsaris [http://lesswrong.com/lw/axe/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/63ib] has proposed the most likely way Harry will get out of this, but still think it's somewhat more likely Harry will fail than win that way.

Chapter breaks are a meta-aspect not in the story itself. If it were a continual story this might make sense. Dramatic pacing of the story elements with a bad ending wouldn't be an in universe lesson but an out of universe lesson. Also, I suspect that Eliezer is smart enough to realize that having a downer ending would likely turn off a lot of people to rationality who might otherwise be take some interest in it simply from the halo effect. Having a downer ending would substantially undermine that.

7CronoDAS10yWhat did Al-Ghazali do, exactly? Wikipedia isn't illuminating.
8Vaniver10yI didn't read the wikipedia article fully, and so didn't notice that it only hinted at the primary reason he was important. The Islamic Golden Age [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age], from ~750 to ~1250, was the period where Islam was the intellectual center of the world. Many Greek texts only survived because they had been preserved by Muslims and/or translated into Arabic, and scholars living in Muslim lands (Muslims, Christians, Jews, and atheists) were at the forefront of science, mathematics, and philosophy. Baghdad was the commercial and intellectual center of the world. Francis Bacon [http://lesswrong.com/lw/ln/resist_the_happy_death_spiral/] may have formalized the scientific method, but the main advance in empiricism before him came from al-Haytham [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhazen], six hundred years earlier. Al-Ghazali was an influential thinker who said that the Greek philosophers were ignorant infidels and that science and mathematics were dangerous because they could lead to loss of faith [http://www.suhaibwebb.com/islam-studies/imam-al-ghazali-on-studying-science/]. Ibn Rushd [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Rushd], famously depicted in the School of Athens, argued against Al-Ghazali- that the Greeks made valuable contributions, that science and mathematics were valuable. He was too little, too late; Muslim opinion swung Al-Ghazali's way, though a few Europeans took Ibn Rushd's arguments seriously, like Thomas Aquinas (who was also heavily influenced by Al-Ghazali, but agreed with Ibn Rushd's conclusions). Al-Ghazali, essentially, was the intellectual standard-bearer for the movement to replace openness and inquiry with closedness and faith in the Muslim world. He can't be entirely blamed for the collapse of the Islamic Golden Age, as both the barbarous Christians and Mongols were beating on the doors, but that Islam never really recovered as an intellectual force appears to be centered around him. (Neil de Grasse Tyson tells
0Daniel_Starr10yIs there a book you'd recommend on the thinkers of Al-Ghazali's time? The only one that came up for me in a quick Google on his name was a screed with all the hallmarks of cherry-picking history to support a point of view about present-day politics.
0Vaniver10yI am not an expert in Islamic philosophy, but if I come across such a book I'll point it your way.
2Asymmetric10yAnd yet, he did an entire arc about the role of a hero and supporting characters. I don't think we can be sure that his decisions won't be influenced by story concerns.
3Vaniver10yOf course his decisions are influenced by story concerns: the way to make the point "this is not a story" is to do it in a sickening matter. Let people pattern-match on "this is the bleak moment where Harry will do the impossible and win," and then reveal that the impossible is, in fact, impossible. (Note there is a problem with the "you have five days to come up with a solution" approach if EY has taken this plan- EY would have to be pretty confident that no plan existed to hope that fans would not come up with one.)
2thomblake10yI am impressed that you managed to avoid listing any of the members of the "crowd" as things in the courtroom.
2Manfred10yI wonder where Quirrell has been all this time. Maybe he can show up to save the day.
275th10yThe obvious guess is that Harry will destroy the Dementor in full view of everyone. But this seems far too obvious for Eliezer to taunt us so. Harry knows nothing about the aurors, the Prophet reporter, Umbridge, Fenrir Greyback (if that's a correct identification), or Amelia Bones. That leaves * The dementor * Minerva * Lucius * Neville's grandmother * Himself The dementor he can destroy, but that's the obvious answer. Minerva he knows nothing shocking or incriminating about, and I can't think of anything that would help. Same goes for Madam Longbottom, I think. That leaves * The dementor * Lucius * Harry himself — Oh, and I forgot: Everything in Harry's pouch. What could Harry say about himself that's shocking? He could confess to his role in the Azkaban breakout, but I can't see how that would help Hermione. None of his scientific knowledge or magical discoveries would impress the Wizengamot, if they could even understand him. Does he know anything incriminating about Lucius? Well, he knows he was a Death Eater. But Harry is immune to Veritaserum and can't testify. Is there anything he can do about or with the dementor other than destroy it, which is far too obvious?
5pedanterrific10yHe might be able to do something fancy the same way he commanded a dozen of them to "Turn and go and do not speak of this to anyone" in TSPE. Maybe silently tell it to spread the word to its brethren that no Dementor is to go near Hermione? Which still leaves her stuck in a cold metal box for ten years, so it doesn't seem to help much.
4gwern10yMaybe. On the other hand, he's in a hall of people who all strongly believe that Dementors would never do any such thing and will obey their commands.
5pedanterrific10ySo you're going with Harry's initial idea, that Dementors are controlled by expectations? If that's the case, then yeah, it probably won't work.

Please be clear when you make a request of others. I honestly don't understand what you're asking for.

You have an argument about how probable Dumbledore is to have said that he burned Narcissa alive. But in the ancestor post, you're talking about readers "excusing" that, as if that's an observation both you and other readers shared, and the other readers merely choose to excuse him for it -- instead of just not making the same inference given the observations at hand.

And aren't you supposed to be linking the Sequences if you're telling me my

... (read more)

I suggest: (1) all Harry needs is time, (2) Dumbledore refuses to give it to him, (3) Harry offers Lucius an Unbreakable Vow.

In theory, Obliviations and False Memories can be broken, right? So what's Dumbledore's excuse for not insisting on a delay in punishment long enough to attempt to break the alleged tampering with Hermione's brain?

[ETA: actually, doesn't matter whether the spells are known breakable; Harry could experiment with counterspells or just hunt for the real villain. Either way, Harry will be confident that he can get the truth -- given time... (read more)

Good ideas.

My thoughts:

  • Harry may be unable to talk to Lucius privately before the trial. If negotiations take place during the trial, that'll be an interesting scene.
  • Remember what each party sacrifices in an Unbreakable Vow. Lucius would sacrifice his ability to ever trust Harry again. Lucius may think this is not a problem, as he thinks Harry is Voldemort, but Harry may be hurt by this down the line. Also, they'll need to find a Binder who'll permanently sacrifice some of his magic to sustain the vow (are those routinely available for pay?)
  • Can the vow enforce factual claims about the past? E.g., "I vow that I am not Voldemort as you suspect", "I vow that I was always Draco's friend and am not to blame for the assassination attempt", etc. If yes - that is, Harry would be unable to Vow falsehoods - then he could convince Lucius of his goodwill. OTOH, if he actually tried to vow "I am not Voldemort", the result should be.. .educational.
  • The Vow can probably be engineered to enforce past-claims. E.g., "I vow to kill myself in one minute if this is not true: ..."
  • Harry has a lot to offer to vow that he values low (because he already wants to
... (read more)
4Xachariah10yYes. Presumably the person who bound the Auror Legillimancer did so out of pay rather than love. Additionally, Harry could just go find a dying wizard who wants to make some galleons since he's solved that problem. I'd assume that finding a binder is not an obstacle to people like the Malfoys.
1gwern10yShould be able to, since enforcing honesty would seem to be on offer if ordinary Veritaserum can do as much... Now, the question is, does an Unbreakable Vow to tell the truth overcome obliviation/memory charming/pensieves etc? One might expect powerful sacrificial magic to be able to do that, but then again, if it did, you'd expect officials of some stripe to have such Vows as matters of course and we don't see that (on the gripping hand, wizarding society is not that efficient or imaginative).
7DanArmak10yI would expect a Vow only binds you to tell the truth as you know it at that moment. Nevertheless: "I vow that to the best of my knowledge in the past XXX. I also vow that if I ever discover evidence that this is false and I had been Obliviated or Memory Charmed to enable me to make this vow today, I will come tell you all about it and submit to your judgement with a specified possible penalty." So you can at least bind yourself irrevocably to your new position. Of course not, the high-grade politician doesn't exist who could vow that they'd been honest upstanding citizens all their lives :-) If IRL we discovered a really reliable neurological lie detector, it would be used by police and courts, but do you really think politicians and CEOs would ever submit to it?

If IRL we discovered a really reliable neurological lie detector, it would be used by police and courts, but do you really think politicians and CEOs would ever submit to it?

If we did that, I think we would just end up selecting CEOs and politicians with firm self-deceptions instead of those who gave accurate information.

1Solvent10yI think you may be being too cynical here.
4lavalamp10yI'm being too cynical about... politicians? ...Maybe I need to move to wherever you live...
3Solvent10yI'm just saying that making lying extremely more difficult is also likely to cut down on lying. The advantage which you'd have to get from lying would have to be higher than the current threshold to bother.
2gwern10yI'd expect some CEOs would submit to it and their stock would be rewarded for it.
1Jello_Raptor10yTo boot, I would be very surprised if people elected politicians who hadn't submitted to the lie detector after it had the cultural time to sink in. People with foresight would work very hard to discredit it before that happened though.
1loserthree10yWe might not know if they already had.
4pedanterrific10yWhere'd you get this idea? As far as I know, the last word we had on that was That doesn't sound like it's possible even in theory to detect, let alone remove, Obliviations or False Memory Charms.
1Daniel_Starr10yI was reading the quote you cite as "too much trouble usually" rather than "absolutely impossible", because canon indicates that both can be removed, albeit not easily: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Memory_Charm [http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Memory_Charm] http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/False_memory_charm [http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/False_memory_charm]
2pedanterrific10yI just realized- if Obliviation can be broken, Harry (but not Quirrell) is implicated in the Azkaban breakout.
0hairyfigment10yIt seems more natural to have Hermione take an Unbreakable Vow to seek vengeance on Narcissa's killer (ideally with qualifying clauses). This, in principle, would seem attractive to Lucius even or especially if he can't reconsider his theory about Dumbledore (or any of his other beliefs). And I vaguely feel Lucius would worry less about Hermione tricking him than if Harry/Voldemort took the Vow. In any case, this approach to vengeance seems directly related to the trade Lucius publicly declared he would make in chapter 80. This suggestion might work better coming from Draco's snake-Patronus. They might even get away with adding some lawyer's conditions then. Sadly, it sounds like Harry couldn't signal Draco unobtrusively unless he slips away somehow (or, I guess, casts Expecto Patronum into his Invisibility Cloak while muffling the sound). But the time-turner could work here. I was going to say that even a brief disappearance might make L. Malfoy suspicious. But if LM sees him as Voldemort, that would make faking a Patronus intuitively unlikely.

Snape didn't make an Unbreakable Vow to protect Harry. He makes one with Narcissa in the sixth book, promising to help Draco in his plot to kill Dumbledore. But Snape's protection of Harry in canon is always grounded in his love for Lily.

4AspiringKnitter10yHuh. I just reread that scene in Deathly Hallows after you mentioned it and you're absolutely right. I was sure I remembered an Unbreakable Vow in that scene. I wonder what else I could be misremembering... O.O Scary thought.

Not quite. I don't disagree that they were from the start supposed to be from the same individual, nor that 'Santa Claus' was meant to show Harry they were the same individual. It's just that the first letter was not signed 'Santa Claus' and Harry says it was. This is a mistake on either Harry's or Eliezer's part, (with a lesser hypothesis being that the inaccuracy was a deliberate minor ploy on Harry's part - but that's a bit unlikely and silly)

1Swede10yMaybe he states them as both being signed 'Santa Claus' just because it's simpler to do so. After all, in Harry's mind the author of each note is very likely the same person, so the two notes may as well have both been signed 'Santa Claus'. It potentially saves the time of having to explain (what is to him) a foregone conclusion. Whether or not that's a detail Harry would normally skip is up to you I guess. Of course it could just be an authorial mistake. But I'm willing to give Eliezer the benefit of the doubt on a minor point like this.
8ArisKatsaris10yUgh. That's possible too, I guess, but it'd be rather hypocritical on Harry's part given how insistent he is, in the very same conversation, about clearly distinguishing between observation and inference.

Maybe not to others, but he himself would know Harry had broken Bella out of Azkaban and then lied to him about it. He would definitely force Veritaserum or Legilimency on Harry to find out the complete truth of what happened that day.

In fact, that's a point I haven't considered before. Why haven't Quirrel offered to Obliviate Harry of that day's events, maybe using a Pensieve first? This would protect them both a lot. It makes no sense if what Quirrel wanted was the lost lore of Slytherin that Bella might possess, or even Bella herself for some unknown purpose. But it makes perfect sense if Quirrel just wanted Azkaban to produce the emotional effect that it did on Harry. As a sort of prerequisite for this trial of Hermione.

2pedanterrific10yThat would require bringing someone else in on the secret. Quirrell can't cast magic on Harry directly, remember?
2ahartell10yObliviate the third party afterwards?
0DanArmak10yThe third party doesn't need to know what the memories being obliviated are. Just that they're being paid to obliviate everything that happened that day, and that they will be obliviated themselves of this act immediately afterwards.
0pedanterrific10yYeah, in retrospect that's not really much of an impediment- he could just Imperius, say, Sprout into Obliviating Harry, then Obliviate her.
0Logos0110yWhy bother? It's been made clear that people with mental powers are commercially available. Remember Harry's Occlumency instructor.
0Logos0110yHarry is an Occlumens. Neither of these strategies would work.
0DanArmak10yLegilimency would work, he's not a perfect Occlumens yet.
4pedanterrific10yThe distinction is that perfect Occlumens can show false thoughts to a Legilimens; regular Occlumens, of which Harry is one, are perfectly capable of blocking Legilimens from learning anything, they just know they've been blocked.
0Sheaman37739yWe know that Occlumens can project the persona of a rock in order to thwart Legilimency. Do we also know that there is no brute-force method for getting past the defenses?
0DanArmak10yI was wrong, then. Thanks. Hmm.

FIrst, your grammar is poor, and you abuse run-on sentences, making your idea a pain to read.

Second, it is unnecessarily convoluted. All you really had to say was "Harry retroactively implicates Lord Jugson by using his wand, and clears Hermione's and Draco's."

The problem, of course, is that presumably H&D's wands have already been checked.

1Pringlescan10yFair enough.

Just a piece, but one I haven't seen discussed- why has no one done a Priori Incantatem on Hermione's wand? We know harry knows about it, from clear back in chapter 13:

"Priori Incantatem," said Sprout. She frowned. "That's odd, your wand doesn't seem to have been used at all." Harry shrugged.

I don't know if this is part of Harry's plan, but it is certainly a line of investigation that has not been followed. There is always the possibility that whoever did the memory charm used Hermione's wand to cast the blood chilling hex, but once down that track Harry can start eliminating suspects for the memory charm.

4glumph10yEven if that test is performed and it is proven that Hermoine's wand was not used to cast the Blood-Cooling/Chilling Charm, Lucius et al. will simply claim that Hermoine stole another student's wand before the duel.
9pedanterrific10yThat seems like relevant information, though.
5thescoundrel10yYes, but we have now found a thread that we can pull on to start establishing a true map. The truth is entangled [http://lesswrong.com/lw/uw/entangled_truths_contagious_lies/]- so then we find the student whose wand was stolen, or we start testing the wands of our prime suspects. At the very least, we have introduced an inconsistency in the story- when would Hermione have had the chance to steal a wand? Draco called this dual- are we to now believe that Hermione showed up believing she would be defeated and stole a wand in advance, so she could kill Draco? I don't know if this is enough to forestall the vote, but it certainly is an avenue curiously absent from Harry's thoughts, especially when he is so focused on trying to prove Hermione's innocence- if his Super Dark Side can find this in his memory, I find it hard to believe it would not be of use.
2Luke_A_Somers10yAnd if her wand did it? Quite possible, but it wouldn't help.
2thescoundrel10yI phrased that poorly- if her wand wasn't used, then it goes a long way to clearing her name. If it was, then Harry starts tracking down suspects, in order to find the wand that made the memory charm. Either way, its an investigation tool that still hasn't been used.
1pedanterrific10yWait, it actually says that? Oops- Priori Incantatem is the brother-wand effect from GoF, the investigative spell is Prior Incantato.

Actually, its a bad decision with respect to the information you had when you made it, unlike one-boxing instead of two-boxing, you can't have expected to win the lottery.

Harry can save Hermione by offering false testimony against Quirrell. There's a taboo social tradeoff. The odd thing is that he has to do it by telling lies about Quirrell that we know are mostly true.

Harry can give false testimony under Veritaserum, because he's an Occlumens, which of those present only Dumbledore and McGonagall and the Malfoys know (and the Malfoys wouldn't be believed).

So, what can he falsely testify that would save Hermione?

  • That he himself tampered with Draco and Hermione's memories. But he'd better have one heck of an escape planned
... (read more)

They had to be, in order for Hermione to be MuggleBorn. Mendelian pattern.

There has been some speculation that Snape is H&C, but what has been lacking as far as I can tell is motive. I may have one. Cannon Snape was a Death Eater who only came over to Dumbledor's side because he wanted to try to save Lilly and then stayed on his side in order to help protect Harry out of respect for Lilly's sacrifice.

However, in chapter 27 Snape has a conversation with Harry and Snape says that he almost killed harry due to the degree that he was offended and that he gained a new understanding of what Lilly saw in Harry's father. If Snape r... (read more)

As counter-proof, a person's Animagus form is supposed to represent an aspect of their personality or what they want to be. There are only two characters whose corporeal patronus and animagus forms are shown to us. McGonagall (both in canon and HPMoR) is a cat animagus and has a cat patronus charm. James Potter (in canon) is both a stag animagus and has a stag patronus. In HPMoR Hermoine already knows what her patronus would be if she could make one; she says Otter and in 4 years later in canon she creates an Otter patronus. This would imply that anyo... (read more)

7[anonymous]10yI would expect that if Snape became an Animagus, he would not turn into a female deer.
2Xachariah10yI would have never expected Snape to have a doe Patronus either. Additionally, I wouldn't expect Dumbledore to have a phoenix Animagus form. Although I suppose if anyone had a phoenix as their Animagus it would be him; he is a master of transmutation. There are not many data points to consider. In canon, there were only 7 registered Animagi in the entire century (though hilariously four unregistered Animagi canon!Harry knows about). At such a low sample size it could be coincidence or just the simple matter of liking an animal so choosing it as both your Animagus and Patronus form. I do weight my quoted theory as marginally probable, maybe 70% at best.

I'll admit, a big part of my reason for that belief is narrative causality - I would not find this evidence convincing in an open world, but in the context of a fictional story, it fits a little too neatly for coincidence. It's obvious that Harry is going to move out of Dumbledore's camp at some point - their worldviews differ too strongly - but this would make an absolutely beautiful cause for the split.

And yes, "I don't give in to intimidation" is a good start for getting people to stop threatening you, but "...and if you try, I'll start ... (read more)

He may leave briefly for the trial, but unless a move is made at that precise moment, in general I think he's going to hunker down inside his fortress of Hogwarts, defend it more tightly, and search it for Voldemort's soul more thoroughly.

The whole trial can't have been set up just to get him out for a few hours; there must be other important Wizengamot votes that he as Chief Warlock (and important political figure) must attend. He must leave Hogwarts regularaly for a few hours at a time for that reason.

On the other hand, he may routinely loop back with his Time Turner to cover up these absences, including Hermione's trial, so that there is always a Dumbledore in Hogwarts...

4pedanterrific10yThere must always be a Dumbledore in Hogwarts? June is coming doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
1buybuydandavis10yI'm thinking more about him having to leave if Harry raises a ruckus somewhere. Like the Azkaban breakout.

Dedalus Diggle?

It wasn't Snape's choice to humiliate Hermione publicly — that was Dumbledore's decision, making use of Snape's "evil potions master" persona. Note that none of the other professors speak up, except for Quirrell, who is a temporary hire and need not follow Dumbledore's direction. Minerva doesn't even show up, presumably so that she doesn't have to sit and keep her mouth shut.

Dumbledore explains to Harry in chapter 77 that Hermione had to be seen to lose publicly in order to de-escalate the conflict with Slytherin. Dumbledore doesn't actually know... (read more)

3Eugine_Nier10yI suspect it's because we wanted SPHEW to really go after bullies and wasn't a competent enough plotter to foresee what would happen.