This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing chapter 90The previous thread has passed 750 comments. 

There is now a site dedicated to the story at hpmor.com, which is now the place to go to find the authors notes and all sorts of other goodies. AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author’s Notes. (This goes up to the notes for chapter 76, and is now not updating. The authors notes from chapter 77 onwards are on hpmor.com.) 

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: 1234567891011121314151617,18,19.

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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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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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Harry has already upgraded two existing spells: partial transfiguration and Patronus 2.0

In both cases, he achieved the impossible by ignoring what wizards believe and instead concentrating on his own beliefs.

What does Harry believe about Hermione that other wizards do not? He believes she is a purely biological machine, that there are no souls, and that a reductionist viewpoint is correct.

Therefore, in the right frame of mind, perhaps Harry can reparo a dead human (although canon!reparo cannot repair magical items properly, I wonder if it might restore Hermione without her magic, and if she might just be just as awesome without it.)

8shminux
Why the magical dualism? Since the magic ability has been confirmed genetic and not external in the earlier testing with Draco, a "repaired" wizard will remain a wizard.

There's a genetic marker that the Source of Magic recognizes. The gene is still there, but the magic may not be. What wizards believe to be the soul leaving might be the Source of Magic withdrawing its power.

1shminux
Sure, that makes sense. But why would it not come back once the person is alive again?
1[anonymous]
Because a stateless system is always simpler than a stateful one. If it assigns magical ability to living brains with wizard genes, that is strictly lower Kolmogorov-complexityi than identifying a wizard at birth, tagging them and then withdrawing power when they 'die'. (Stateless means no hidden variables; everything can be decided locally.) Examples of powerful stateless systems: The basic logic gates, the Link Layer of the Internet (barring traffic control utilities), Lambda Calculus, and others.
3shminux
You seem to confirm my point. It's a basic logic gate: (wizard genes & alive) = magical ability. remembering that the person was once dead is an extra complication.
7ikrase
According to Quirrel (this might not actually be accurate) troll regeneration works by constantly transmuting itself into its own body. I wonder if that can be applied to a human...
2NihilCredo
Harry would have to maintain the transfiguration for the rest of Hermione's life, or until they find a replacement solution. Given the extent of the injuries that may not be within his strength.
2sketerpot
It does sound like exactly the kind of clever hack Harry would use to get an indefinite healthy lifespan, though.
0ikrase
Hermione would probably maintain it. Or maybe someone else. Harry should probably be doing this to himself, too.
1chaosmage
But memories, like wounds, would be constantly overwritten. This troll, while quite competent in many ways, never displayed learning ability. Somehow I don't think a human unable to learn would be what Harry would consider a valuable result.
3Sheaman3773
First, I'm not sure how much learning precisely you were expecting from the troll in this limited period of time, most of which was taken up by it feeling fly-bites and smacking around the flies, nor even how you would expect for such to be seen. Secondly, it did seem to learn. George hit it with three Ventus spells, each one moving it further towards the edge of the terrace. Between the second and the third, the troll dug its hand into the stone, anchoring it in place so that it would not be blown over the edge. If that's not adapting to match a new threat, I'm not sure what would be--certainly not in the brief time of the fight where most of the attacks were on the level of fly-bites. If that is not displaying a learning ability, I would like to hear an example of a learning ability that it could have displayed.
1ikrase
I... think that the effects there would actually be much worse: The troll would be basically stateless. It's not even clear how that sort of thing would avoid disrupting the transfig. process. Perhaps it's somewhat more advanced, like the charms that McGonagall was mentioning.
0falenas108
This is if the spell made logical sense when carried out to the fullest. But, magic doesn't work like that, it works the way we would naively think if we said "transforming back into itself."
0ChristianKl
Given that human exert sweat I doubt that doing transmution directly on humans is a good idea.
5linkhyrule5
... It strikes me that Harry's wand could not be affected by a normal reparo, up until someone threw the Elder Wand itself at it...
5NancyLebovitz
Ideas about what Hermione without magic would do? Presumably some sort of research with occasional overwhelming research-based action, but science? magic? some combination?
4ikrase
Possibly she would get outfitted with a truly ridiculous array of magic items?
2DanielLC
Become a dentist?
4Izeinwinter
... This is perfect.
8Izeinwinter
ill go further. This could be the philosophers stone. It is not a physical object, it is a 600 year old scrap of parchment that explains this. Flamel routinely obliviates this idea from his head after repairing his body back to optimum operating condition because allowing any first year student to live forever and to /raise the dead/ is an insight that seems obviously catastropic to someone raised before modern agriculture and contraceptives. Repairo works on anything still recognizably a certain kind of object? This would let you restore anyone who has any remains left at all..
3Desrtopa
This raises the question of how Flamel is so sure Voldemort couldn't replicate the Stone though. If he doesn't know what it is, he's in no position to make such a claim at all, and if that were what it was and he knew it, this should be just the sort of thing that anyone familiar with Voldemort should expect him to think of.
2Izeinwinter
He is in fact not sure of this at all. The entire point of maintaining the illusion that there is a magical macguffin is to keep people like voldemort from speculating about how he maintains his youth. As long as the world is barking up the alchemy tree...
1FiftyTwo
Both of those cases depended on a crucial insight rather than knowledge (Dementors represent death rather than fear, the boundaries of objects are arbitrary) I'm not sure if knowledge of physicalism is analogous.
1mavant
So much win.

I loved this:

That's not how responsibility works, Professor." Harry's voice was patient, like he was explaining things to a child who was certain not to understand. He wasn't looking at her anymore, just staring off at the wall to her right side. "When you do a fault analysis, there's no point in assigning fault to a part of the system you can't change afterward, it's like stepping off a cliff and blaming gravity. Gravity isn't going to change next time. There's no point in trying to allocate responsibility to people who aren't going to alter their actions. Once you look at it from that perspective, you realize that allocating blame never helps anything unless you blame yourself, because you're the only one whose actions you can change by putting blame there. That's why Dumbledore has his room full of broken wands. He understands that part, at least.

Does anyone else run into the problem of frequently giving this advice to yourself and finding it useful, but struggling to find a non-awful way to convey it to other people? I don't want to get them to self-flagellate, but to look for what leverage they have and not worry as much about what it totally outside of their control. Stoicism seems like the main way people hit on this idea of responsibility in my social circle.

I think Harry phrased it poorly, and if he meant it, he was absolutely wrong.

Allocating blame on yourself is a category error. We morally judge to separate the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff - in short, to sort into piles of approach and avoid. You're stuck with you - where ever you go, there you are - so the point of the categorical judgment is simply inapplicable.

The sensible and very valuable part of what he is saying is to look to what you can do, and don't seek to console yourself with "that was his responsibility". Such interpersonal judgments are all about roles

because you're the only one whose actions you can change by putting blame there.

But you can change your actions more directly and more effectively by changing them. Putting blame on yourself is one of the better paths to depression, which is not an effective state. Blame others where appropriate and useful, but don't blame yourself, only search for actions to improve the situation, and choose them. You blame others because their actions are not yours to choose. Don't blame yourself, choose better.

4[anonymous]
This is a problem with the concept of heroic responsibility. It's not defined with sufficient resolution to nail down the interpretation of paying attention to specific parts of the causal graph and exclude the interpretation of feeling like a horrible person. I can't decide if Eliezer doesn't worry about people coming away with the second impression or if he actually endorses it.
3NancyLebovitz
Any thoughts about how to apply this sort of thinking when you're extremely stressed?
6Decius
I call it "being solution-oriented". Stop any discussion or thoughts as to whose "fault" it was, and look at everything which could have been done to prevent the negative outcome. Consider hindsight bias carefully before saying that a particular action which could have prevented a given crisis had an expected positive return.
2buybuydandavis
Stressed? Like someone who is being whipped for their inadequacies and failures? That kind of stress? People will scourge themselves in ways that they'd curse if the lashes were landing on anyone else's back. Why is compassion and kindness only for other people? Who but a psychopath would ever even imagine beating another person in ways that we beat ourselves? If it would be cruel to say "X" to someone else, why isn't it cruel to say it to ourselves? If other people don't deserve that, we don't either. The hand that holds that whip is no one's friend, and deserves the same anger no matter who is taking the lash today. The first rule in the judgment game is fairness - everyone is judged by the same standards. Everyone gets the same compassion, the same kindness, the same will to protect that anyone else does. A good test for fairness is whether SWIM judging SWIM yields the same result, and that test is a first step away from judging yourself at all. You asked how to apply my previous thinking while stressed, and I assumed stressed by not applying my thinking, but instead blaming yourself. I don't think you get there with the idea alone, as ideas have a different function and operation than our judgment and valuations. Ideas are too bloodless to combat judgment on their own. Judgments are beaten by better judgments. When the judgment is knocked down by another, the idea can then join in and keep it down by kicking it in the head any time it stirs, but it's unlikely to effect a takedown itself, especially in the short term.
6NancyLebovitz
I was thinking about Harry's situation-- he's grieving and under very high stakes time pressure, so there are external sources of stress as well as what he's imposing on himself. As for the real world, I've been trying to undo a very bad habit of self-attack for a while. Realizing that that the attacks are unfair is a start, but only helps occasionally. Getting angry at it is a risky strategy. If it's the wrong kind of anger, it just feeds into the internal rage. I didn't analyse it before, but the difference might be between a fairly emotionally distant "This makes no sense and should stop because it doesn't make sense" (sometimes helpful) vs. "this attacking part of myself is revolting and infuriating and shouldn't exist" (really, the same attitude that causing the problem). Examples of the "makes no sense" which do some good: For a while, I'd look in the mirror and on some days I'd think I looked fairly good and on other days I'd think I looked like hell. Eventually I realized that looking like hell actually meant looking frightened and/or tired. At that point, it occurred to me that telling someone who was frightened or tired that they looked like hell was wildly inappropriate, and I've at least cut back on that-- sometimes I have negative opinions about how I look, but the intensity is lower. I also hang onto the idea that beating up on myself for symptoms of depression doesn't make sense. Hypothesis: People put amazing amounts of work into emotionally abusing each other. I believe that what reinforces the abuse is seeing that the person abused is seen to feel frightened, squelched, unhappy, etc. The abuse may well continue and intensify until hurt is achieved. I believe that abuse is a tool for status enforcement. A person who's abused may internalize the situation and come to believe that feeling better isn't safe, because feeling happy, relaxed, confidant, etc. is precisely what draws more abuse. The solution isn't just believing that internal abuse i
[-]jimmy140

I went through a situation very similar to Ch90. Same story, different details.

Even got the worse-than-useless attempts at comfort - now I can't even say "I'm sorry" to my uncle for letting his son die. That's one of the few things that still brings me to tears about this whole incident.

My thought process was fairly similar to Harry's, and I've given it a lot of thought, so I might be able to shed some light on the topic.

Any thoughts about how to apply this sort of thinking when you're extremely stressed?

When the pressure was on, there was no room for guilt and it was just do do do with some frantic thinking interpersed - even when it was clear that there was little hope. The feeling that I was to blame didn't come until afterwards, when there was nothing left I could do. At the point where you can still do something, it's not so much the "it's your fault and you should feel bad", but rather "this can't happen. THINK THINK THINK!" which gets in the way.

The main advice I have here is to come to terms with the possibility ahead of time. Get those tears out of the way now, so that should it happen, you just see it for what it is and not what it "... (read more)

2MixedNuts
It's pretty obvious why you wouldn't want to go into details, but this seems rather too vague to be of use. Should I think of plans in case I need to find a student in Hogwarts, to fight a troll, to convince a student to disobey McGonagall? Should I do a headcount every time I walk into a room and try to guess where missing people are and what will happen if someone announces there's a troll in the castle? Should I sign up to Defense classes and duelling clubs and the Armies so I'll get training in thinking and acting under pressure? Should I think of possible ways Hermione could end up dead or hurt or in Azkaban and ways I can prevent that? Should I imagine those outcomes in excruciating detail so that I won't be too shocked if they happen? Once Hermione gets eaten by the troll, how do I use the replays and alternate versions in my head to become better?
0jimmy
Nah, it's fine. That one was hard for me because it hit a spot I hadn't worked through yet, but I'm good now and not afraid to give details. I just feel weird bringing up personal details when it doesn't feel relevant - like if I were to start talking about the taste of death blood/vomit unnecessarily :P On the forethought/practice side of things (as opposed to the emotional prep side), it really depends on your risk level. For MoR!Harry, probably something like "all of the above". For me personally, the risk level isn't obscene like that, but given how big my family is and the fun stuff we do, it was almost surprising no one had been seriously injured (before the accident). There's no way I could have planned out the logistics of incident any more carefully - everything was right there. The only mistake I made that night that definitely would have made a difference was treating the guy in danger as less of a PC and more of an NPC. It's actually a mistake I've made in the past, but I had no idea it would apply to him. Even in hindsight it's not obvious. In terms of preparing for that kind of thing, other than common sense safety protocols, I keep in mind which situations are potentially life threatening and which risk a broken bone at most - and taking extra risks in the latter category because it gets me practice and is fun (never actually broken a bone, or been present while one broken, btw). In terms of learning from the aftermath, it seems like it just follows from taking responsibility but not blame. You're a deterministic system. Why'd you do what you did? No, "I'm a crappy person" isn't a real answer since there's no fundamental crappiness to excise. In my case, there were several things I didn't think of. None of them I could have been expected to specifically prepare for beforehand, but I probably would have done better if I was less panicked. So why was I panicked? Well, my cousin might die and that's not okay for one, and two, I had never had panic lev
0Ben Pace
Do you mean come to terms with your loved ones dying before there's a problem, or that, after the problem starts / they die, come to terms with it as soon as possible?
4jimmy
I meant beforehand - it's just easier real time if you don't have to deal with the "this can't happen!" impulse. Though if you find yourself in the midst of things without having it beforehand just put the emotional reaction off and be realistic. You just don't want to get overly panicked and deny the real danger level. By denying the danger level, you'll you'll rule out dangerous/costly options even if they're the right call. Ben Franklin apparently messed this one up. Coming to terms with it isn't a happy process though, so people tend not to do it until they're hit in the face with it. Most people will find ways of not thinking about it by pretending they believe in heaven, or pretending they've accepted it being a couple common ones - sometimes pretending they don't care. It's certainly not a fun process - it's just that I think it's worth it anyway. Litany of Gendlin, and all that.
2MixedNuts
How does one go about doing that? I can tell whether I have a plan to prevent a bad thing or deal with its consequences, and whether I'm repressing thoughts of bad things happening, encouraging them, or letting them happen, but I'm not sure how I know I've come to terms with something.
2jimmy
Well... It's hard to explain. I've never managed to "just tell" someone and have them pick it up - despite trying. I've always had to guide them through one so that they feel the difference between what they were doing and what I was getting at. I was mostly just pointing it out for the extra motivation to "come to terms with it" - so that if/when you do bump into the option, you know to take it. If you think you can be the exception, here's my current hack at the problem EDIT: My newer hack at the problem is mostly "just go read 'focusing' by Gendlin", and then maybe get back to that routine. Also, I didn't actually create that routine - just that explanation of it. Credit goes to Joe Fobes for that. He knows his stuff when it comes to hypnosis and therapy and stuff.
2MixedNuts
Thanks! You're right, I don't get it. I do have questions, though: * How do you recognise success? I don't think I could distinguish it from giving up or going numb. * What do endpoints look like? Like, can I answer "I wish he wasn't going to die" with "Because then he won't be alive and that's bad, duh" or do I need to find some way to pick that apart? * How does looping back work? "Why do I wish he'd sign up for cryonics? Because if he doesn't he will die. I wish he wasn't going to die." works, but I don't know what to do with "Why am I even acknowledging things? Because jimmy said I'll be more effective at preventing things if I come to terms with them".
3jimmy
Damn! That's a disappointing thing to be right about. I admire your continued curiosity on the topic. For example, you're probably not crying over not having a yacht to sail around on. Like, sure, it'd be nice, but of course you don't have a yacht. It feels a lot like that. Someone that just spent all their money on one just to have it sink would be upset about it because they're framing it differently. They're "supposed to" have a yacht, and reality is violating their picture of what they "ought to" have. It's about updating your picture to have it match reality again. Once it feels like there's no way reality "could" be different, then there's no more room for the ought-is divergence to cry about. Just of course it sank - that's what yachts do when you run them into rocks. And of course I ran it into rocks, I was told it was clear. And of course I was told it was clear, Bob is incompetent, and I knew I was taking a risk when hiring him. It's just all understood down to the level where it's just not important enough to go into it. What am I gonna do? Wish that the known-incompetent bob magically got it right? How much sense does that make? There's no loss of motivation, just loss of distractions. If you want a yacht, fix it - it's just no longer "this can't have happened", it's "it did happen. Shrug". It's all pull motivation now, not a pushing motivation - which is good because things tend to buckle under compression loading anyway. Perhaps more important is that it just feels right. With going "numb", it's like "I can't let myself want because it hurts too much and I wish I didn't have to bury this hurt" - we can do better than that. It's kinda one of those "when you're dreaming you don't realize you're dreaming, but when you're awake you know you're awake" things. You'll know when you're there. It's not like "eh, am I doing it right? Is this how I "should" feel?". It's more like "ahhhhh... peace at last". Just nothing else you could ask for. I mean, it'd be n
0buybuydandavis
I ended up deleting my comments about Harry in this regard. What happens when "heroic responsibility meets failure", when someone accustomed to doing the impossible finally fails when it counts, and holds himself "heroically responsible"? The whipping begins, and right on cue, we get chapters 91 and 92. In a real person, I think the beating will be savage and the person will likely break himself. But fictional Harry with a Superhuman Dark Side doesn't seem to break, he just gets harder. Someone with a mysterious dark side doesn't make for the most generalizable model of human psychology. We'll see what EY does with this. Very interesting point about abuse as a tool for status enforcement. (As an aside, i'd point out what a bizzarro category error it is to be playing a status game against yourself). Yes. being happy is showing status, which attracts bullies who want to take you down a peg. The abuse gets reinforced by working to reduce status and making the person fearful and miserable, but it is likely prompted by exhibiting a higher status state that can be taken down a peg or two. And that's a real consideration in the presence of an abuser, which likely becomes an ingrained habit of protection that persists after the abuser is gone. But it's possible to form new habits. For some people, very likely true. I doubt that all people whipping themselves started off being whipped by others, but I can see how abuse from others would make self abuse more likely in the way you described. Another potential benefit to whipping yourself is hosting a pity party, which can work with a lot of people, and even has some mileage for a party of one. More generally, any benefit to the whipping promotes more whipping. I had a different benefit going, which I called self sadism. What if instead of associating with the you that is being whipped, what happens if you associated with the you that is doing the whipping? Self sadism. A grim, cruel, sarcastic pleasure in seeing disappoi
0Velorien
It seems like you're contradicting yourself there. Would you mind clarifying?
3NancyLebovitz
I see it as a cycle-- the abuser pushes until they see signs of hurt. They may abuse again because they feel like it, but if the abusee shows signs of feeling better, the abuser is very likely to start abusing again.
2gjm
(Seeing that Nancy has replied herself, I worry that I'm mansplaining here, but ...) The idea, I think, is that it goes like this: 1. Abuse begins. 2. Abuser ratchets up level of abuse until victim is visibly hurt. 3. From victim's perspective, what's happening is that (abuse ratcheting up) correlates with (not feeling unbearably wretched yet). 4. Victim (or some bit of victim's brain) draws the conclusion that feeling more wretched sooner is the way to stop the abuse ratcheting up. There is no contradiction because Nancy didn't say that "feeling happy ... is precisely what draws more abuse" but that "a person who's abused may ... come to believe that ... feeling happy ... is precisely what draws more abuse".
0NancyLebovitz
No problem with your explanation-- you didn't claim that you knew what I was saying better than I did and you basically got my point right. You've pointed at something I may need to clarify. I believe both that abusers will attack when their victim is feeling better, and that the victim may conclude (as an alief-- all this stuff is very visceral) that it's safer to not feel better. How pervasive the alief is (just when in the presence of the abuser? when around people who resemble the abuser? when the abuser is in their life? all the time?) varies a lot.
0buybuydandavis
Which is in fact accurate in the presence of an abuser looking to keep you down, alert to any sign of happiness, and ready to respond with abuse in turn.
2palladias
I do it by reflex. But sometimes I seem to be helpful talking other people through it. Try chatting with a friend about wanting to think this way while stressed and asking them if they could talk you through it if you come to them. Role play a couple plausible scenarios where you would be unproductively upset with yourself and see if you think mopey!you would be persuaded. Sometimes, I find it helpful to parody (in a warm, we're-sharing-a-joke way, not a cold, you're-being-an-idiot way) the idea that feeling bad could be helpful. "Let's sit here and feel bad together! Even if mopeyness falls off with the square of the distance, with two of us, we'll have a slightly larger range on our magical problem fixing field." Obviously depends on your audience! Pick a funny image that the other person can recognize themself in and laugh fondly about. Riddikulus!
0loserthree
When feasible, do the things that relieve your stress.
-1FiftyTwo
Don't? In all seriousness, its entirely rational to realise you are not in a fit state of mind to examine the issue and focus on other things until you are in a better frame of mind.
2Velorien
Pursuant to which, what you do want to do is identify efficient de-stressing methods which work for you, and try to train them to be as reflexive as possible. I know it sounds obvious, but it's a valuable type of conditioning which simply doesn't occur to a lot of people. Personally, I like meditation and biofeedback, since you can do them whenever and wherever, and use them to either tone down your stress enough to function, or try to get a full reset, depending on how much time you have.
0Eugine_Nier
This only works in non-time critical situations.
0Ritalin
This is absolutely excellent. Do you mind if I quote this in fiction I'll write in the future?
0buybuydandavis
Please do. But if you remember, please let me know when you do, so I can take a look.

My issue is that I don't have a good procedure in place for constructive blame: by default, when I blame myself for something mostly what happens is that I rehearse to myself what a terrible person I am without trying to figure out what I could do differently in the future (and then actually making sure that that happens).

Well, being a stoic for such a long time means my reflex is usually, "What is useful here?" And when I run that check on kvetching, it doesn't make the cut. Sometimes I pretend to feel guiltier, since most people read practicality as callousness, but internally, I focus on, "What different action should I take or new data should I look for?"

ETA: Actually, the other check that helps me is asking: "Is there a causal link between my feeling bad and my being helpful?" Usually, no, or if there is, it does the opposite of what I'd like!

0buybuydandavis
That's the productive question. Blaming yourself is unproductive.
2palladias
It's blame in the sense of responsibility, not in the sense of just feeling bad. I tend to frame things in terms of heroic responsibility, but a bit more regatively -- in terms of negligence. Every day I go out and sin against people, by commission or omission (or, in a more secular phrasing: every day I go out and metaphorically punch a few people in the face, in my thoughts and in my deeds, in what I have done, and what I have failed to do). The reason I use the word 'blame' is because the harm I inflict on others is real and it's not alright. The fact that I haven't figured out how to be less negligent, more empathetic, etc does not magically mitigate their hurt. I use the word blame because working out right actions is not an abstract question that I plan to apply in the future, it's something I'm doing fumblingly enough to hurt people now, so I'd better improve right quick.
6NancyLebovitz
Current theory: rehearsing to yourself or to other people what a terrible person you are is a natural, self-protective response to what seems like an impossible demand. Sometimes the demand actually is impossible, sometimes the demand is understood correctly and falsely believed to be impossible, and sometimes the demand is defensively interpreted as impossible because the reasonable part is felt to be not worth doing but it doesn't feel safe to just refuse it. I think this analysis is helping me to break the cycle of rumination about being a terrible person because it lowers the intensity. It's much better than "you shouldn't think you're a terrible person"-- that just becomes another failure.
0tondwalkar
I'm not sure I follow. What demand?
2NancyLebovitz
This can be a response to any demand which is felt to be impossible. Here's an example which is going to be a little vague because there's some privacy I want to maintain, but recently I demanded that someone not repeat the huge social mistake he'd just made. He started talking about what an awful person he was. In my opinion, what was going on was that he wasn't sure what the boundaries that he needed to not cross were, and wasn't sure he could regulate his behavior, so he was trying to avoid further punishment by saying he was helpless and suffering enough already. Since then, he's apologized in a way which I think means he understands the issues and will do better.
1tondwalkar
This is very enlightening. I'm going to probe this by modulating my response to it, and see what I find. Thanks; one karma point feels insufficent. I think a post on this (?and related) would be much apprecaited if you and/or someone with similar experience could put one together. I fear you lost me agian. What is this evidence for?
1NancyLebovitz
I may write something up when I'm more sure that I'm right and have resolved more of my difficulties. At this point, I've toned down a lot of the self-hatred, but there's an underlying difficulty with doing much of anything that's still a serious problem for me. That last sentence was mostly included because I imagined people wanting to know what happened next. However, it's also evidence that what I was asking of him wasn't as impossible as he initially thought it was.
6maia
I am sometimes successful at this; when I am, the script usually goes something like, "What am I worried/upset about? What should I have done differently? What can I do to prepare for this next time?" And then I actually talk myself through the things I could have done differently and whether they would have been successful, and if I hit upon something that would have worked, I try to identify a heuristic or plan that would help me do better in situations like these in the future. And do something to implement it immediately, if possible, or at least burn in into my head so I won't forget. And if I don't hit upon anything I could have done that I think would have been a good idea, I just say to myself, well, that was just a bad situation. (Like if I happened to do badly at something because of luck, even though statistically, I'm pretty sure what I did was a good idea, even having updated on the evidence of it not going well once.) This usually helps because if I keep worrying, I just ask myself, "is this a different concern I need to address, or is it the same just feeling-bad as before?" And then if it's a different concern, I do the same thing, trying to identify if this worry is actually a signal I need to think harder about the problem. And if I really, truly decide, on reflection, that the worry isn't a useful signal, I find that really helps in getting it to go away. Because that way my worrying side feels vindicated, because the concerns have really been addressed; I'm not just forcing them out of my brain because they are worries and worries are bad, but because they are worries with no basis in reality. Once I actually feel confident of that, then I'm not worried anymore. The trickier part, sometimes, is remembering to do this. I'm less sure about how to do that.
3loserthree
I used to have this problem a lot more than I do now. It's possible the change is just the result of the aging chemistry of my body, but I like to think that the thing that turned it around was literally telling myself, "I want to be the kind of person who is cool with having done that." I had to accept the thing that had happened and had to become the kind of person that would accept it. Or maybe I just had to age. It's possible that's why I don't do a lot of the things I used to find myself unable to stop doing.
2CronoDAS
Me too.
1wwa
The answer is already in the story: "I'm trying to think if there's anything I should be doing right now," Naturally Harry thinks of what he could have done differently and/or what he can do better in the future, but his main conscious focus is "here and now". No past, no future, no daydreaming. Here and now. I think this is an excellent advice.
1NancyLebovitz
I'd misremembered this-- I thought he'd been trying to get his mind off his possible mistakes, but couldn't, and I get the impression that the people in this part of the discussion didn't think he'd even been trying to get his mind off possible mistakes. Actually, he wasn't sure where the answer lies, so thinking about his past mistakes might actually offer a useful clue, though I wonder whether his mind is drawn to the topic more than it should be. It's also possible that this discussion is using HPMOR as springboard to talk about the problem of attending too much to past mistakes rather than trying to find solutions.
0Decius
Do you emotionally believe that only terrible people allow bad things to happen?
0Qiaochu_Yuan
"Allow" is a strange word; when I'm rehearsing to myself what a terrible person I am it's more like "I caused this bad thing to happen because of my terribleness."
0Decius
When you feel that way, do you feel that terribleness in you is an inherent unchangeable state, like 'vanquishes dark lords', which causes bad things to happen around you? Meta: I'm not trying to do anything related to blame; I'm trying to understand something odd and interesting, with a likely side effect of being able to provide useful advice.
0Qiaochu_Yuan
That is the worry, yes.
0Decius
Can you project that onto outside influences? I've got qualms about suggesting how to blame other people, but can you replace "I am a terrible person" with "I have bad luck"?
0Qiaochu_Yuan
In the case I have in mind, attempting to do so would provide more evidence that I am a terrible person.
0Decius
So then, NOT attempting to do so must be evidence that you aren't a terrible person? Would it help to consider all of the things that you could have done worse?
0Qiaochu_Yuan
Not particularly.
7Alsadius
Does it feel wrong to anyone else that he's basically complaining to a woman old enough to be his grandmother about how immature she is? This despite the fact that she's proven herself repeatedly to be willing to listen to good advice, and has pulled his bacon out of the fire by quick-witted crisis management at least once?
8drethelin
He's an angry 11 year old, and this isn't the first time he's yelled at her.
5Alsadius
Of course. This isn't surprising behaviour, but it is behaviour that makes me think less of Harry. (That said, it's one of his few traits that makes me actually think he's eleven, so perhaps I should be grateful)
3Viliam_Bur
He seems bad at using people. And that is a weakness, compared with his opponent.
1linkhyrule5
Maturity and competence are not the same thing.
2Alsadius
Immaturity may not be precisely correct, but he's definitely not accusing her of incompetence. Irresponsibility, perhaps. He's not saying that she tried and failed, he's saying that she didn't try. He's saying that she's just blindly playing a role, instead of actually acting responsibly, and that it's so hard-wired into her that it's not even worth him trying to correct it. Hard-wired irresponsibility is close enough to immaturity that it's a reasonable approximation.
0Decius
She's handled a couple of crises well, but she didn't gain very much respect for not scolding Harry for taking more money out of his vault than she thought he needed.
4Eugine_Nier
I think this is related to Harry's problem, highlighted in the three armies arc, with considering other people as potential sources of ideas.
3ChristianKl
I think it's helps to remove blame and responsbility from the equation when you try to get people to do fault analysis. When trying someone to lead through a learning experience it's good to produce an enviroment where the person doesn't feel judged.
2Ritalin
Someone please tell Shinji Ikari about this radical notion.
2loserthree
Vg jnf arprffnel sbe gur Puvyqera gb or qlfshapgvbany. Gur yrff gurl jrer noyr gb pbaarpg jvgu bgure crbcyr gur zber gurl jrer qevira gb pbaarpg jvgu gurve Rinf. Hagvy gur raq, nyzbfg rirelguvat sbyybjrq gur Fpranevb.
-1Ritalin
I'm talking about Rebuilt, especially 3.0. Kaworu is kind of like a kid Dumbledore; nice, mysterious, facetious, and completely sucks at consoling or giving advice.
-1Ritalin
I'm sorry, are you from Gargantia or Ente Isla? I can't understand a word.
3sketerpot
That post consisted of (fairly minor) Evangelion spoilers, encoded with rot13 for the benefit of people who haven't seen it yet. (For completeness' sake: the language of Ente Isla is English with a bunch of letter substitution, and the language that Ledo speaks in Gargantia is a letter-substituted offshoot of German. They're similar to rot13, but much more pronounceable, since vowels map to vowels and consonants to consonants. More info here.)
2CronoDAS
Someone did, but not until the last episode of the TV series. And Shinji's personal and emotional life was screwed up, but NERV did indeed manage to stop every invading alien Angel; the threat that did them in was of a far different nature.
2Jayson_Virissimo
BTW, the psychological technique you seem to be referring to from Stoicism is usually called the "dichotomy of control." And yes, it appears to be quite Googleable.
1lukeprog
I think somewhere on LW there's a rationality quote to this effect, possibly by Geoff Anders. But I can't find it at the moment.

This one?

Things that are your fault are good because they can be fixed. If they're someone else's fault, you have to fix them, and that's much harder.

2lukeprog
Yes.

Would you guys agree that Harry is being unfair to Minerva regarding his Time-Turner? "But you thought it was your role to shut me down and get in my way."

At the time she had it locked, she was right: he'd been irresponsible with it and needed to stop abusing his new toy every time a minor problem arose, and there's not a hint that even Harry disagreed with that. You can't refrain from such corrective actions on the remote possiblity that limiting your student's options will do harm. Not-limiting an irresponsible student's options in the relevant way can also lead to harm.

Yes, and it's part of a pattern of behavior. HJPEV consistently finds (seeks out?) uncharitable explanations for other peoples' behavior, especially when he's under stress. It's probably the most 11-year-old-like thing about him.

I think this is actually Harry's fault: He should've requested his time turner be unlocked as soon as he could plausibly argue that REALLY IMPORTANT things were happening around and to him. When Mcgonnigall first locked it, he was doing more harm than good with it.

It depends on what other corrective options she had. She might, for example, have password-protected it as a form of probation, and told him the password. She could then check every couple of weeks/months to make sure he hadn't used it, while still leaving him the option in case of emergency. Of course, she probably wouldn't have believed him able to not give in to the temptation, and it's hard to say whether she would have been right at that exact moment in time.

[-]Skeeve150

Of course, she probably wouldn't have believed him able to not give in to the temptation, and it's hard to say whether she would have been right at that exact moment in time.

Considering that she was reacting to the signs of time-turner addiction, a phenomena that had been observed in others before, I think it was a safe assumption for McGonagall to make.

0Alsadius
But the problem is, he's supposed to use it twice a day.
0Velorien
Maybe a password on the third use? We're getting into speculation over what contingency spells can and can't do now, which is unhelpful, but I do believe there must have been some solutions available other than the one used, and there is no indication that they were considered.

At some point, these people have a school to run. They can't spend all day thinking of clever stratagems and obscure contingency plans.

1somervta
Isn't this exactly what they spend quite a bit of time doing?
0Alsadius
Quite a bit, yes. That's most of why I made the above comment. If they'd spent ten seconds and moved on, I'd slam them for underpreparedness too. But there are limits on how much time they can spend, and they don't seem to have been particularly lax or dismissive. Sure, it's possible that something else could have been considered, but you're deep into the realm of diminishing returns.
0Velorien
Which would be fair, but we are dealing with Harry Potter, chaos magnet extraordinaire and number one target of the Dark Lord believed to be somewhere out there, as well as of any Death Eaters seeking vengeance. There are few circumstances in which he does not need to be considered as a special case, and I think McGonagall knew that by this point.
0Alsadius
Which they've basically handled by giving the most imaginative one in the group(Harry himself) an unlimited supply of magical gadgets to defend himself and his friends as well as unlimited access to their war councils. I can think of worse strategies.
0Velorien
I'm no longer sure how this relates to my original point, which was that McGonagall's behaviour at the time of locking the Time-Turner was unreasonable given that other, less restrictive, options were probably available. At that time, IIRC, Harry had been given no other special gadgets except the Cloak, and was still in the process of fighting tooth and claw to be included in decision-making at all, rather than being treated as a passive, blissfully ignorant object of protection. (and I'm not sure what unlimited supply of magical gadgets you're referring to even with regard to the present)
1Alsadius
The trinkets line referred primarily to as well as the fact that she unlocked his Time-Turner basically for the asking. At the time she locked it this was not the case, granted. But at the time she locked it Harry was abusing it wildly, and there was no obvious danger. Stopping him was the main priority, and the shell did that quite effectively.
2Velorien
I see. I hadn't made the association between Harry asking for those things and him actually getting them, since generally throughout the story his requests for sensible safety measures end up ignored by the authorities.
0ikrase
Those are far from unlimited. (except for the invisibility cloak). What about Muggle artifacts, though?
0Alsadius
Has he asked for any? And if Harry's imagination has not discovered the limits yet, I think "unlimited" is a fair approximation.
0ikrase
He bought a bunch of stuff at the hardware store. But nothing beyond that. One can imagine giving them Muggle comms and possibly weapons.
0Alsadius
Magic in the Potterverse(as is most modern fantasy settings) is incompatible with modern technology. See http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Electricity
1ikrase
Huh. On the other hand, Harry was able to use his car battery to waste Draco's shield bubble. It could be only sufficiently complicated stuff, rather than just a brute current. Might be useful if they get kidnapped out of Hogwarts though, like the portkeys.
1Decius
I still don't believe it's been explained why Harry didn't transmutate a one-crystal wide ring through the lock into paper. Is that part of what he blames himself for not thinking of?
4drethelin
the lock isn't just physical, it's magical.
0Decius
But is was bypassed, allegedly by holding the locked case in place and spinning the time-turner within it. It would be fine if it were tried and failed, but I think it's a better narrative if the specific actions the enemy took to prevent the time-turner from being effective were noted, or at least had some direct effect on the attempt.
0ikrase
Yeah. We've seen him be unable to break magical locks with transfig.
0Decius
Where? We've seen magical locks resist all types of charms except the unlocking charm, but I don't recall magical locks being attacked by !Harry's transmutation powers.
0ikrase
He tried to transmute the lock and hinges of the door Draco locked him in.
1Decius
With ordinary transmutation, not partial; evidence for locking spells preventing ordinary transfiguration. That partial transfiguration was considered impossible at the time the locking spells were developed is evidence that it can bypass them. It would also be odd and useful if the locking spell allowed the casing to survive the kind of physical force that could be provided by a transmuted vise. Harry should know enough about mechanics and materials to create something which can produce both the force and precision needed to destroy the casing without harming the time-turner.
0ikrase
According to Quirrel, Draco's padlocked-glove-Colloportus trick would withstand 'lesser material forces', implying that it had, at the least, limited tensile strength. (Infinite hardness would be less wierd.) I don't see why partial transfig should be any easier to break locking spells with. If Transfiguration can create prestressed objects, (and Partial Transfig almost certainly can) it should be possible to make some very powerful one-shot equipment without liquids or gases. (this includes the transfiguration grenade I mentioned elsewhere.)

This has only just occurred to me, but if the sole threat to the students was (as far as everyone knew) an ordinary troll, and it was daylight outside, and they were already in the Great Hall, then why didn't the professors just lead the students out of Hogwarts and into the sunny open before assuming defensive formation? It would also have the advantage of giving a group of casters long range on a melee attacker.

For that matter, I wonder if the sky illusion on the Great Hall ceiling counts? It reflects real weather.

4Velorien
Interestingly, the Potterverse is high on mind-affecting spells, but very low on illusions. Assuming illusions are not more difficult to cast than other spells, if artificial daylight holds all the magical properties of normal daylight, vampires and trolls should be virtually (or actually) extinct, since every wizard irrespective of combat training would need only create the illusion of a miniature sun (and presumably close their eyes or look away) to instantly obliterate/incapacitate any such creatures in a fairly large area.
3linkhyrule5
There's probably something magical about direct sunlight.
[-]Baughn120

Considering McGonagall's first impulse was sending them back to their dormitories, I believe they just didn't think it through.

2ChristianKl
This assumes that the troll is the only threat. That's not a safe assumption to make.
2Velorien
But it is the assumption everyone appears to have made, and they failed to seize upon the obvious solution to the problem they'd set themselves. Frankly, it seems like the PCs are the only people in the Potterverse to consider that a highly improbable disaster might indicate the presence of a hostile intelligence acting against them.
3ChristianKl
No, they specifically not made that assumption.
5Intrism
I'm actually not sure why they assumed the troll would be a distraction. The 3rd floor corridor is important, but IIRC it's not kept continuously guarded; the troll fiasco won't draw any guards away from their posts. Perhaps the thinking is that the troll might cause the professors to ignore the corridor wards, but I doubt they would be quite that stupid. And, of course, roving bands of professors searching for the troll on high security alert couldn't possibly be good for intruders, even if they're not specifically looking for them. Certainly, attempting a troll "distraction" seems far inferior to drugging Filch and sneaking in at 3AM.
0Velorien
Point. That said, an attack on the third-floor corridor would not be a threat to the students. There was no notion expressed that someone would be after the students themselves - the scenario in which a retreat to the outside could be dangerous.
1ChristianKl
A retreat by the students to the outside that's babysitted by the professors would prevent the professors from going to the third-floor corridor to defend it. I think the core error that they made, was not sending Patronuses out to help. McGonnegal should have messaged Dumbledore. Also there's supposedly the Order of the Phoenix to fight. McGonnegal should have messaged Amelia Bones. Amelia Bones would have time traveled back and arrived into Hogwarts with her crew at directly the right moment to kill the troll. Michelle Morgan was put on the spot and her primary objective was preventing that the students had to walk around. She's excused for not thinking about getting help from the outside. McGonnegal isn't. Even McGonnegal herself could without any problem time travel back via Harry time turner and then send the message to Dumbledore and Amelie Bones 6 hours in the past. That way neither Dumbledore nor Amelie Bones would have to use up their own time turner and could use it later that day against another attack.
4Alsadius
Bones is the head of the DMLE. Why would anyone need to call her in on a stray troll? If Hogwarts staff can't handle that, they're not worthy of their titles.

The fact that there a troll in Hogwarts is a sign that Hogwarts is under attack by someone who thinks that he has something to gain from smuggling a troll into hogwarts.

If you notice that someone breaks into your house, you call the police. It's the right thing to do even if you sit with a bunch of friends and you have a bunch of riffles at home because you are an American who loves the second Amendment. The population of magical Britian is very small so Bones basically heads the local police department.

McGonnegal thinks that it's plausible that the troll is a distraction to an attack on the third corridor where something imported get's stored.

There's fog of war.

Even in the case where Amelie Bones has some other fight to fight at the same time, McGonnegal traveling 6 hours back and time and giving more information to Amelie Bones, helps Amelie Bones to understand that multiple targets in magicial Britian are under attack at the same time.

If Hogwarts staff can't handle that, they're not worthy of their titles.

Evidently they can't handle it and as a result one student died. Even if they were 95% certain that they could handle the troll on their own, it would still be prudent to go back in time and place a call for help.

Don't forget that there are people outside of the Great Hall like the Librarian.

3Desrtopa
I'm not sure this is quite right. The population of Magican Britain may be roughly on the level of being served by a "local police department," but I get the impression that they have to devote a greater proportion of their government's resources to law enforcement than muggles would, because wizards are so much harder to police. Every wizard is much better equipped to create public disorder than a muggle would be.
2ChristianKl
Wizards in general are hard to police, but if the police has turn turners and a lot of the criminals don't have them law enforcement get's easier. In any case an attack on the school to which the children of everyone go is a serious business and nobody would complain if the ministry does take great care that all children in school are safe.
1Alsadius
If you believe this is a distraction, why on earth would you use your ace in the hole dealing with it? Wait to see what it's distracting you from, and then start burning resources. Unless you want Bones to be out of time-turns when she finds out that she needs to go back an extra ten minutes.
1ChristianKl
A troll entered hogwarts. In general the troll runs faster than any human. It was luck that Argus Filch is alive to tell the people in the Great Hall about the troll. This is not to be expected by the person who smuggled the troll into Hogwart. It would be likely that the first contact of the troll with a human would be with a student and the student would be dead. Hogwarts wards don't go off on troll attacks so the troll might already have killed someone but if time turned people where around they could prevent that student kill. The politics of a student getting killed after the affair is Draco is complicated. You can't undo things that are already happened with time turners. You also need to be in a position where you can communicate. Then send a patronous to Bones in the now to ask whether it's safe to send her information 6 hours into the past. In general the heuristic I advocate is when under attack is to communicate the information to everyone who could use it to help defend you.
0Intrism
That solution has the disadvantage of requiring the students to move through the halls, which is extremely hazardous. The Great Hall has its own risks, but the seventh year armies should be sufficient to secure it.

According to the Harry Potter wiki, the Great Hall is located off the Entrance Hall, which suggests that leaving the castle from it should be fairly trivial.

0Alsadius
The professors are mostly there, which is a sufficiently powerful bundle of combat magic to handle a troll. If you don't need to split them into four groups, then there's plenty of leftover firepower.

Here's how I would have saved Hermione if I were Harry.


In an accessible but seldom visited hallway of Hogwarts, a rail-way sign reads 6PM to 5PM Express.

At 5:00, a boy materializes under the sign. He is wearing a rail-way conductor's hat. He is holding a trunk. His name is Harry Potter.

Conductor Harry puts down the trunk. He opens the lid. Inside his Trunk of Holding are wooden seats numbered 1 through 1000. All seats appear to be empty.

Conductor Harry yells "Arriving at 5PM! Please add one tally to your forearm now".

Silently, hundreds of people draw a tally mark on their arms.

Conductor Harry steps away from the trunk and the hundreds invisible passengers of the 6PM to 5PM Express disembark.

At 5:10, Conductor Harry closes the trunk lid. He stashes the trunk [EDIT] and Time-Turner in the Great Hall.

At 5:12, Conductor Harry burns his conductor hat. He draws one tally mark on his previously blank arm, and puts on his invisibility cloak. He sighs. He has a long day ahead of him.

...

At 5:30 in the Astronomy Tower, a smelly and disheveled Harry Potter pulls off his invisibility cloak. He is covered with hundreds of tally marks, and looks like he hasn't slept in days... (read more)

5gjm
Somewhat-credible conjecture: It is not possible for one Time-Turner to transport another through time. So when conductor Harry, carrying his trunk supposedly full of passenger Harries (Harrys?), flips his Time-Turner ... something bad happens. Maybe the others get left behind somehow, or the Time-Turner just doesn't work, or the universe ends, or something. Consequence: at least in any consistent branch of the universe, Harry fails to get his army of copies.
4Kindly
Can't this be solved by having conductor Harry pass his Time-Turner to smelly Harry around 5:30 PM? Then none of the in-between Potters actually have Time-Turners.
0gjm
I don't think so; he needs to use it himself at 6pm to transport everyone back, and smelly Harry mustn't go back himself. [EDITED to add: oops, I'm a twit; it looks like this works. So if this hack isn't viable in the MoRverse, it must be for some other reason, perhaps one of the ones below.] My brain's fuzzy enough that I'm not confident there isn't some patch along those lines, though; if it turns out that there is, an alternative (which I can't rule out being already refuted by something in canon or HPMOR that I've forgotten) would be that a Time-Turner can transport at most one living person. [EDITED to add: Actually there's an obviously better one, which is pretty clearly canonical and MoRonical (er, maybe that's not the best term): the 6-hour restriction is not per Time-Turner but per person. If that's "no more than 6 hours of time travel in any subjective 24 hours" rather than, or in addition to, "no further back than 6 hours", then as soon as Harry has a sixth-generation copy in his trunk, something bad happens, hence there is no consistent universe in which he gets a time-travelling army of size bigger than that.] Of course another possibility is that (in the MoRverse and/or the Rowlingverse) this sort of hack is very much possible, but it seems like the sort of thing that would have been exploited to hell and back by ingenious folks like Voldemort and Dumbledore, so you probably get a more coherent fictional universe if there's some simple principle that prevents it.
2Kindly
The loop works because the conductor Harry that uses the Time-Turner at 6 PM is a younger version of the conductor Harry at 5 PM. Conductor Harry at 5:30 PM is going to go sit in the trunk at 6 PM, so he has no further need of the Time-Turner. I think the most elegant formulation of a restriction that would prevent this (as well as all the things explicitly prevented in HPMoR) is that no path along which information or matter travels can stretch more than 30 hours per 24 hours.
3solipsist
So, you could put a 6-hour stretched pebble in someone's pocket, and they wouldn't be able to use a Time-Turner?
5Kindly
I'd say yes (until the 24 hours run out and the pebble stops being time-stretched). Similarly, if you go back 6 hours in time and, say, cast a spell that creates fireworks visible from a large distance, you've just prevented everyone within that radius from using a Time-Turner. Finally, I'm mostly sure that the incredibly-small-scale changes caused by simply going back in time 6 hours propagate quickly enough that only one person on Earth can use a Time-Turner on any given day. So yeah, there's a bit of a problem here. Presumably this is one of those "it works how Merlin would have expected it to work" things.
0[anonymous]
hey
0solipsist
Edited for objection: Harry stashes the Time-turner in the Great Hall (for expository reasons).
4Kindly
Whether this method works or not is up to the GM; the as-stated rule is that "information cannot go back more than six hours in time, using any combination of Time-Turners", which would allow this, but it's possible that anything which results in someone having more than 30 hours to a day is also bad. Granted, the hypothesis that 6 hours is the universe simulator's buffer size would suggest that this works. It's a bit scary that if this scheme fails, there's no clean way for it to fail. In the very simplest case -- you go back in time 6 hours and then try to go back in time 1 more hour -- presumably the Time-Turner just doesn't work and nothing happens. Here, that outcome is not self-consistent: there's only one spin of the Time-Turner, and if it fails then there are no multiple Harry Potters so there is no reason for it to fail. So if this scheme goes against the Time-Turner constraints, the only consistent outcome is that something unspecified happens to one of the first 6 Harry Potters to prevent them from getting back into the trunk. And summoning unspecified obstacles by the power of Time-Turner consistency seems like a really bad idea. To fix this, we could have each Harry Potter toss a 100-sided die and leave the loop on a 1 being rolled; then run this algorithm several times. It's likely that spontaneous catastrophic failure has a probability much less than 1%, so the most likely consistent loop assuming this scheme doesn't work is one in which Harry rolls a 1 early on, which is very unlikely to happen assuming this scheme does work. So if several trials of this algorithm consistently keep ending after 1-6 repetitions, then it's almost certain that the universe doesn't like it.
1EternalStargazer
Well, he can get as much time as he wants in 40 minute intervals with no breaks in between. Smelly Harry must have been awake at least 1 hour per mark on his arm, unless he has at some point mastered Polyphasic sleep (which is completely contrary to his aberrant sleep cycles as mentioned previously) he is going to be significantly diminished in terms of mental acuity after a mere 24 or so cycles. He would need to spend a few cycles eating. After subjective days without sleep he should be moving into hallucination territory, barring some kind of magical aid. His "useful time" is only between 5:10-5:50 on each cycle, at other times he will be boarding or leaving the express. It's a moderately good hack, but it isn't of infinite versatility, barring the addition of a bit more cheating to get around the sleep/food problems.
6solipsist
I think we can let Harry sleep. For example ---------------------------------------- Instead of drawing a tally mark on his arm, Harry punches a hole in a ticket. Original Harry doesn't set up chairs in seats 11-20. Instead, he puts a rolling hospital stretcher where chair 11 would go, and leaves 9 empty spots where chairs 12-20 would go. The rolling stretcher has pillows, an empty sleeping bag, and a slot into which you can place a ticket. When Original Harry moves the trunk to the hallway, he finds 9 stretchers lined up against the wall. Every stretcher has a ticket, and the tickets have 12, 13, 14... 20 hole punches. The stretcher are heavy, like a person is sleeping inside the sleeping bag. Original Harry moves these 9 stretchers into the 9 empty spots he blocked out earlier. Original Harry puts on his conductors hat and waits for passengers. One of the passengers is Tired Harry, whose ticket has 11 punches. Tired Harry places his ticket into the slot on empty stretcher, climbs into the empty sleeping bag, and goes to sleep. Now all 10 stretchers have ticketed Sleeping Harrys. On arrival at 5:00, Conductor Harry adds a punch to the ticket of all 10 stretchers. He removes the 10 stretchers from the trunk, and lines the first 9 up against the wall. The last stretcher, with 21 holes punched in its ticket, Conductor Harry stashes in the Great Hall. At 5:30ish, in the Great Hall, a newly Refreshed Harry wakes up. He gets out of his sleeping bag, picks up his ticket, and continues the day. ----------------------------------------
0[anonymous]
The method above might not work if we maintain a fixed past. You see it can be compared to another similar situation. Harry an hour (6 to 5 pm) in past and finds 4 time tuners with 4, 3, 2, 1 hours left. Now harry has used all the five time tuners (but not all of their remaining hours) , done his work in the past and the time move to 5 again. here harry will have to leave 4 time tuners for another future harry to pick up. If we are preserving the past then the four time tuners should have the time left that the original time tuners had i.e.. 4, 3, 2, 1. So you see even when harry uses these 4 extra time tuner he still will be unable to use it them to get back more than 6 hours in past. Now this can be scaled to 1000 time tuners or 1000 harries with time tuners it would make no difference in the amount of time that can be transversed in past by using time tuner. Summary :- Even if you find "n" more time turners once you go in the past, you would not be able to use them to go more then 6 hours in past because to preserve past you will have to leave "n" time tuners (after their use), thus have to leave as much time in them as you potentially gained earlier. Sorry for grammar, spelling mistake, complicated language etc. I am bad at languages.
0shraiyance
The method above might not work if we maintain a fixed past. You see it can be compared to another similar situation. Harry an hour (6 to 5 pm) in past and finds there 4 time tuners with 4, 3, 2, 1 hours left. Now harry has used all the five time tuners (but not all of their remaining hours) , done his work in the past and the time move to 5 again. here harry will have to leave 4 time tuners for another future harry to pick up. If we are preserving the past then the four time tuners should have the time left that the original time tuners had i.e.. 4, 3, 2, 1. So you see even when harry uses these 4 extra time tuner he still will be unable to use it them to get back more than 6 hours in past. Now this can be scaled to 1000 time tuners or 1000 harries with time tuners it would make no difference in the amount of time that can be transversed in past by using time tuner. Summary :- Even if you find "n" more time turners once you go in the past, you would not be able to use them to go more then 6 hours in past because to preserve past you will have to leave "n" time tuners (after their use), thus have to leave as much time in them as you potentially gained earlier. Sorry for grammar, spelling mistake, complicated language etc. I am bad at languages.

Just came across this in re-reading chapter 3:

The Killing Curse rebounded and struck the Dark Lord, leaving only the burnt hulk of his body and a scar upon your forehead.

Why a burnt hulk when the Killing Curse does no physical damage whatsoever?

It strikes me that the body doesn't match Voldemort's presumed cause of death, there are no witnesses of said death (since Harry's memory cuts out early), and burning a corpse is a classic way to render it unidentifiable.

Moving from considering evidence to speculation, it strikes me that the prophecy would make it incredibly easy for Voldemort to fake his own death - if he went to the Potters' house, killed the parents, placed a mysterious mark on Harry, and then disappeared, leaving a body behind, there is no way his enemies wouldn't take that as his death and the prophecy's fulfillment.

2DanielLC
If it's plausible for him to be burnt by a rebounding killing curse, then the evidence for a faked death is weak. If it's implausible, he'd have found a better method to fake his death.
3Ritalin
It does not happen, there are no antecedents, nobody knows what happens.
0DanielLC
So it's the second one. It's implausible for a killing curse to rebound, so nobody would believe he died that way. Or at least, their less likely to believe it than believe a more plausible death.
1Alsadius
Why would he fake his own death, though? He was winning.
9JTHM
To make Harry Potter a worshiped celebrity.
3hairyfigment
Because Voldemort isn't real, and Tom was tired of the game anyway when he learned he should probably focus on Harry. (If he died, and was inconvenienced the way Dumbledore thinks, how did someone consistently sabotage the Defense Professor? Though that's weak evidence for a couple reasons.) Dumbledore doesn't realize that Voldemort is a mask, otherwise he'd be spamming this news everywhere. Even without understanding it, he gave Harry a big hint by faking the scene with the burnt chicken. He hoped Harry would think it through and arrive at the same conclusion. But Albus doesn't want to say it explicitly because it would sound silly, and he already looks like a lunatic.
2Sheaman3773
...I've never so much as heard the implication that Voldemort was actively sabotaging the Defense position so much as he cursed it once, and it is the curse that is continuing to do its work. Such speculation doesn't appear to make sense to me now that I have heard it. Linking the burnt chicken to the burnt husk of Voldemort's supposed body, however...is not something that I've considered, and it actually makes some sense, though I do not say that with a high degree of certainty. Though, why wouldn't he have spoken up by now?
3Randaly
Probably not. While Voldemort's terrorist group was doing increasingly well, Dumbledore's presence alone would be sufficient to prevent a complete victory, and the entire civil war was a distraction from Voldemort's likely main concern, the muggles.
0Velorien
This point is repeated in subsequent chapters - e.g. "burnt to a crisp", which given its inconsistency with Avada Kedavra's established effects, really makes it sound like foreshadowing. I do agree that we don't have strong evidence for a motive, though.

I suspect Quirrell's closing statements to McGonagall at the end of this chapter are not quite what they seem. I'm thinking of two in particular: the first, that he wants Harry kept away from the Restricted Section, and the second, that he wants McGonagall and Dumbledore to try to restore Harry's mood by any means necessary.

The trick to the first one is that he hasn't mentioned sealing off a certain other means of discovering arcane secrets at Hogwarts. Admittedly, Quirrell's suggested that it's probably blocked off anyways. But it might not be; even if the basilisk itself is gone, there might still be useful books. So it looks as though Quirrell is trying to push Harry into finding the Chamber of Secrets. There could be any number of reasons why - though the fact that it's a secret, hidden place at least partially exempt from the Hogwarts wards seems like a good place to start.

The trick to the second one is that McGonagall's way of cheering Harry up is actually going to be quite predictable: she and Dumbledore are likely going to try bringing Harry's parents to Hogwarts. Naturally, this opens up a whole world of possibilities for Quirrell; he could use them as hostages, kill them, Imperius them, or do any number of other nasty things if necessary. Or, if he's interested in understanding Harry better, he could use Legilimency to learn all about his background.

Also, limiting Harry's access to knowledge (warning off the other profs, warding the books, etc) makes Quirrell the sole conduit for advanced knowledge for Harry. (Or at least limits the competition). And Quirrell implied to Harry that he was at his nearly-unrestricted service. That gives Quirrell more access to Harry's thought processes (by the questions he asks) and more capacity to steer his choices.

As to what he's steering them toward, he pushed Harry off of new spells, which makes me wonder if he has an old one in mind. There was talk about rituals of sacrifice here (the blood-to-fire) and generally recently (Tracy Davis's invocation). It's possible that there's some ritual that Quirrell would like Harry to perform, not for what it manifests, but for the changes it makes to the caster.

He probably also wants to push Harry away from new spells for safety reasons (presumably he thinks Harry might try to science up a dangerous new spell and that's how he ends the world; he has some experience with Harry attempting to combine magic and science from Azkaban). If he personally steers Harry towards old spells then at least he knows what those spells do.

It's also possible that the Restricted Section contains enough information for someone like Harry to figure out how to create spells from reading it.

It's possible that Quirrell himself intends to be Harry's source of information, but so far he's only been manifestly unhelpful. Basically every response he gave was a brush-off; he didn't even name his spell of cursed fire. When directly given an opportunity to suggest spells or rituals of his own choosing ("There's some magics I mean to learn"), he wasted it. It's possible that he did so out of concern that he was being listened in on, which would also explain his choice not to switch to Parseltongue; still, it certainly doesn't seem like he's trying to point Harry in any particular direction.

In my analysis, I've considered this strong evidence that Quirrell is genuinely worried about what Harry will do. This isn't (just) a plot to get Harry dependent on him so he can feed what he wants into his ear; this is also an actual limitation on Harry's power, denying him information that he doesn't intend to tell him personally, either.

... given the Prophecy, I can't blame him, though we don't know much about the effects of fighting Prophecies.

6William_Quixote
hmm. I initially read Quirrell as being legitimately worried by the prophecy and taking what actions he can. , Although now that I say that I'm skeptical. If Quirrell was actually afraid of Harry ending the world, then Harry would be dead. Even if Dumbledore can put up serious resistance to killing Harry in Hogwarts, Quirrell would still likely think he has better odds than he does against the end of the world. Harry is not dead, so its likely Quirrell does not think Harry will destroy the world (at least in the commonly understood sense).
4Desrtopa
Quirrell might, in some manner at least, survive the ending of the world (although I note that the resources available to him after the world is gone do not support a convenient resurrection.) But Harry may have usefulness to Quirrell which is worth whatever risks he poses. Even with Quirrell's great edge in raw power and experience, Harry has already developed magics which Quirrell is not capable of.
8drethelin
One of my pet theories is that the reason Quirrel ever became voldemort is to take over the wizarding world in order to take over the muggle world to prevent them destroying the earth with nuclear war, which is the only thing he views as a serious threat to his long-term continued existence. He might risk harry ending the world if he's trying to stop another end of the world risk.
2[anonymous]
Except that Harry is in some way central to Quirrell's plans for immortality - probably he's a horcrux, but maybe it's something else. Quirrell doesn't want to bump him off.
2William_Quixote
Yeah, I suppose that if Harry is central enouph to his plans and if the reward is high enouph that he would be willing to accept some level of risk and not act in an irreveserseable way until the last possible moment. Still, it does seem like a lot a risk for someone who is generally pretty careful.
1linkhyrule5
Except that we don't know how Prophecies work.
[-][anonymous]290

I think it's more likely that Quirrell is being sincere, and that he is trying to avert the prophecy that he heard at the end of Ch 89. As evidence, I submit:

"You don't like science," Harry said slowly. "Why not?"
"Those fool Muggles will kill us all someday!" Professor Quirrell's voice had grown louder. "They will end it! End all of it!"

  • Chapter 20

"HE IS HERE. THE ONE WHO WILL TEAR APART THE VERY STARS IN HEAVEN. HE IS HERE. HE IS THE END OF THE WORLD."

  • Chapter 89

"... If I have to brute-force the problem by acquiring enough power and knowledge to just make it happen, I will."
Another pause.
"And to go about that," the man in the corner said, "you will use your favorite tool, science."
"Of course."
The Defense Professor exhaled, almost like a sigh. "I suppose that makes sense of it."

  • Chapter 90

I'm actually impressed with Quirrell's control, here. We can judge how great his fear of death is from his response to Dementor exposure, and here we have a prophecy which (to him, at least) is signalling the end of the entire universe. He's spent decades desperately trying to... (read more)

Quirrell has it all wrong. HPMORverse is actually a simulation being run at some higher level of reality, and Harry is going to figure this out and either rewrite the universe to his will, or airlift everybody in the world the hell out of there by their bootstraps, thereby mass-producing immortality.

I doubt it, on the basis that this is something that's unlikely to appeal to many audiences as a realistic application of rationality, and would probably cheapen the plot for a lot of readers.

HPMORverse is actually a simulation being run at some higher level of reality

The funny part is, we know this to be literally true. The less-funny part is that it is incredibly difficult for an author to write himself into his own story as a character without coming off incredibly hokey. Heinlein mentioned himself in passing a couple of times and it wasn't any worse than any other in-joke, but I know of no better examples than that.

Edit: I have, of course, forgotten Godel, Escher, Bach. Not sure how. That's a bit of a special case, though.

6Emile
In book 2 of Don Quixote, book 1 is mentioned quite a bit and a lot of characters seem to have read it. I was actually surprised at how interesting and original Don Quixote was.
5CronoDAS
http://www.undefined.net/1/0/
2elharo
Animal Man by Grant Morrison Of course, that story eventually became exclusively about the character talking to the author.
1Swimmy
Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse Five. I think it comes off a little awkward--more a reminder that Vonnegut was himself in Dresden than anything pertaining to the story.
1Ben Pace
Although only tangentially related, The film 'Adaptation', by screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. Kaufman had a lot of trouble adapting a certain book into a film... And so the film is about Charlie Kaufman having difficulty turning the book into a film.
4Alsadius
I've seen obvious knockoffs of reality and other pseudoautobiographical material done well. There's lots of those. But explicitly having the characters talking to the author, without any pretense, tends strongly towards ham-fistedness. And having the characters inside any other form of nested reality would simply be bizarre. It's still a fun theory, but I will be greatly surprised to see it, largely because I don't think it can be made good enough to make EY think it's worth printing. Maybe a standalone story with that premise, but not as a tacked-on bit at the end.
0Decius
Clive Cussler manages to write a lot of books that don't become more hokey when he shows up as a DEM.
3Alsadius
But that is almost entirely due to how hokey the books already were. (I read lots of Cussler when I was younger, and it was an example that came to mind of author inserts. It was not exactly a positive example, however. It could be worse though, it could be the Apocalypse novel from Magic, where one of the characters blackmails the author into retconning the last twenty pages. Yes, really.)
3gwern
Wait, that sounds like it could be pretty awesome.
5Alsadius
It was within ten pages of the end of a very serious trilogy, full of interplanar warfare and dark moral decisions. Then that came right out of left field. It was possibly the most immersion-breaking thing I have ever seen in fiction.
3CronoDAS
The "author" in question was a relatively minor character, with the quirk of writing everything down as though it were a story. Near the end of the trilogy, he tells some others that he's already written the ending, and the bad guys are going to win. They respond that if the bad guys win, there won't be anyone around to read his book - so he changes his mind and frantically erases the ending as the bad guys close in around him. The character is never mentioned again. More details.
0[anonymous]
What am I missing?
0cousin_it
In Homestuck, gur fhcreivyynva xvyyf gur nhgube naq gnxrf bire gur pbzvp. Hasbeghangryl ur pnaabg qenj.
7linkhyrule5
Oddly enough, if you look at the Prophecy in terms of science fiction, it's not too bad. Star-lifting is a thing, and a Singularity of any type would look awfully apocalyptic to a civilization in medieval stasis.

Star lifting is not only a thing, it's a thing that has been mentioned in HPMOR... by Harry... in response to Trelawney's prophecy.

Chapter 21, after Trelawney says "HE IS COMING. THE ONE WHO WILL TEAR APART THE VERY -" and is whisked away:

"Not to mention, tear apart the very what? "

"I thought I heard Trelawney start to say something with an 'S' just before the Headmaster grabbed her."

"Like... soul? Sun?"

"If someone's going to tear apart the Sun we're really in trouble!"

That seemed rather unlikely to Harry, unless the world contained scary things which had heard of David Criswell's ideas about star lifting.

Pointing out the obvious, but

scary things which had heard of David Criswell's ideas about star lifting.

Is long for "Harry James Potter Evans Verres". Of course, he gave plausible explanation for why it couldn't refer to him at the time, and all he had to go on was the letter s, so of course that hypothesis wouldn't have elevated itself to his attention at the time.

2elharo
Question: what does it mean to say "X is a thing"? Does it mean: A) The concept exists? (e.g. Unicorns are a thing) B) The concept may not exist yet, but it could exist? (E.g. lunar colonization is a thing; but unicorns are not a thing.) C) the concept actually exists (Space stations are a thing.)
7Velorien
I believe in general Internet parlance its usage is closest to A, and more rarely C. Obviously, since A could be made about pretty much anything, it is typically restricted to "the concept exists, and is acknowledged by a sufficient number of people" (e.g. "Rule 34 is a thing").

And since the phrase "is a thing" is acknowledged by many people, we could say that "is a thing" is a thing. Unfortunately, ""is a thing" is a thing" is not yet a thing.

1tondwalkar
""is a thing" is a thing" is a thing in sense C.
5ShardPhoenix
Saying "x is a thing" is a way of reminding people of a relevant concept that may have been overlooked. Whether it's an actual physically existing thing or not depends on context.
1Decius
Context dependent, and possibly the distinction between the three is not really a thing.
2Jonathan_Graehl
Several people have latched onto the idea that "in fact, harry is in a simulation [because it's fiction]". This is a deeply confused statement. [edit: I misread Argency; he's just speculating - no [because it's fiction] implied - I replied to the wrong comment] A story can be about anything, and is exactly as meta as its author wants it to be. We've seen Harry use the idea that he's like a hero in a story as an intuition pump, but that's part of the very non-simulated [fictional] world he inhabits :) I mean, the story events so far could turn out to have been simulated, or we could end up with a story where self-aware fictional characters negotiating with their creator, but I've seen no indication of that so far.
2Decius
That prophecy is too easy to see the trick on from where I sit. Harry will supercede most current mortality limits, do many of the soft science-fiction things (tear apart the very stars in heaven), but will fail to prevent the final end of the useful universe an eternity from now despite surviving it (he is the end of the world)
0Bakkot
-
[-][anonymous]160

Actually, the process in stars is fusion. The same as modern atom bombs, too.

Fission is used in nuclear power plants, and only really used to reach the conditions for fusion in bombs.

Actually, most nuclear weapons get roughly comparable amounts of their force from fission and fusion, usually a little more from fission. Fission-only bombs are so much less powerful not because fission is but because they have very incomplete fission (around 1% for the Hiroshima bomb design, for example). The fusion reactions used in bombs produce a lot of excess neutrons, by design; all those neutrons flying around mean a lot more fission ends up happening. The only bombs that get most of their power from fusion are neutron bombs (which use a lot less fissionable material, and use the excess neutrons to increase the radiation damage) and clean bombs (which also use a lot less fissionable material, but replace it with lead to absorb the excess neutrons; clean is of course a relative term here).

1Alsadius
The biggest difference as regards fission is that fusion bombs use U-238 as a power source, which is capable of releasing energy from fission, but which doesn't produce enough neutrons to sustain a chain reaction. But when fed excess neutrons from a fusion reaction, you get an immense energy release from a very cheap material that's used as the bomb casing.
2[anonymous]
-
7buybuydandavis
Also harkens back to: Also, on Quirrell's particular attitude toward the sun: Harry lost, and Quirrell's is basically asking "was it the end of the world to lose?"
3linkhyrule5
Or material. Stars are great sources of raw matter, if you can get at it safely.
-1elharo
I'd be very disappointed if this were actually plot relevant. The only hint that this might be where we're going is in Chapter 14 and that rules it out: Ironically Harry is wrong about this. In point of fact his world is a simulation, as are all novels and fictional universes (though I have to consider the possibility that Harry's world is still not Turing computable. We don't yet have an existence proof of a computer program that can write fiction.)
2gjm
What we see of Harry's world is a simulation and therefore (given a bunch of plausible hypotheses) computable. It doesn't follow that there is any "completion" of Harry's world, filling in all the stuff we don't see, that's computable, still less that there's any "reasonable" completion with that property. So I'd be hesitant to say that Harry's world, simpliciter, is a computable simulation.
0Decius
Harry's world isn't Turing Computable from within his world, because it relies on information that hasn't happened yet. However, in our world, Harry's world doesn't come into existence in the same order that it does in his.
0ygert
A lack of a "reasonable" completion with that property I agree with. But one could easily construct a computable completion. Specifically, the null completion. In other words, everything that that we don't see and is irrelevant to the story simply does not exist. (Until or unless it does at a future point have an effect on the story.) In fact, you could argue that this completion is the "real" one: Until Eliezer includes something into the story, how can we say that it exists?
1Dentin
Harry's universe may not be Turing computable in the absolute sense assuming that arbitrary time travel is possible, but with even minor limits you can come up with algorithms that largely work, or will work most of the time. As an example, run the simulation forward taking snapshots at every point until a backward looking event occurs. Take the snapshots of the two time periods and brute force search for a solution (any solution) that can link the two time periods together without breaking constraints. If a solution is found, throw all the intermediate snapshots away and replace them with the found solution. Otherwise, keep the existing data and fail the time travel event in some fashion. My understanding is that it is possible to find solutions to these kinds of problems (otherwise we wouldn't know and busy beaver numbers.) It's just not possible to find them via some general, easily computable algorithm.
2Alsadius
This could explain the six-hour limit on Time-Turners - that's the maximum lookback the Atlantis algorithm allows.

The trick to the second one is that McGonagall's way of cheering Harry up is actually going to be quite predictable: she and Dumbledore are likely going to try bringing Harry's parents to Hogwarts.

Really? That doesn't sound like something I'd expect Dumbledore to do. It sounds transparently tactically dangerous given that someone close to Harry has already just died at Hogwarts, and his parents have no idea how to relate to what he's going through now anyway.

4Intrism
It might be dangerous; Dumbledore, however, will blame his own absence for the danger and rationalize that nothing will happen with him there. He kept on overrating Hogwarts' security after the last incident; this one seems no different. Anyways, as McGonagall put it, "What now, Albus? If he will not listen to me, then who?"
1Desrtopa
His parents don't seem like the obvious answer to that question, to me. Sure, he's known them longer than anyone else, but they never really understood or took him seriously. Pretty much the only person who he was fully able to relate to and trust is the one he just lost.
6Intrism
Yes, I agree that his parents are not necessarily the perfect solution to this problem. However, you must consider that there is no one else to turn to, unless Draco returns or Harry brings Hermione back. What other plan do you think has a higher probability of success? (Note that bringing Harry's parents to Hogwarts is also foreshadowed; Dumbledore tells Harry that he will try to have them see him at Hogwarts all the way back in Chapter 62, and yet they apparently haven't visited yet this Easter break.)
1atorm
I think you may have inadvertently put your finger on it. This is how Draco returns.
1Intrism
I really wish that were so, but it just doesn't make much sense to me. Draco left because of both politics and security concerns; while Hermione's death may make the politics a little bit easier, the first death at Hogwarts in fifty years isn't going to soothe Lucius' nerves any. I suppose that sending Draco back to Hogwarts might be a way for Lucius to signal that he was behind the attack on Hermione, but I think Lucius cares about Draco's safety rather more than signaling. He also has many other, less dangerous ways to signal that; I wouldn't be surprised if he forgave Harry's debt, for instance.

Like I said in another post, I suspect Quirrel simply wants Dumbledore and Minerva to get in Harry's way in order to get him to distrust them. Or perhaps I should say, to maintain the distrust that currently exists. Asking them to cheer Harry up will only have them keep treating Harry's feelings as a problem to be solved, like what he yelled at Fawkes for, and Quirrel knows this.

He's cut him off from Draco, Hermione, and now he's working on Minerva.

I don't think this will drive Minerva from Harry. Despite the unpleasantness, I think this has decreased her loyalty to Dumbledore and increased it to Harry. Dumbledore was complacent about the lapse and didn't think she was worth blaming. Harry gave her a sense that more is possible (even if he doesn't think she can pull it off) and I think she'll surprise him.

1Ritalin
Yeah, that was kind of a dick move on Dumbie's part, right there. Really disappointing.

Dumbledore and Harry don't actually do anything very different from each other in that scene. They're both blaming themselves instead of McGonagall. What's different is in how they express that. Harry is very clear about who he is blaming, and why; he tells McGonagall exactly what she did wrong when she asks to be blamed, although he still does not in fact blame her. Dumbledore, on the other hand, offers only comfort; he doesn't even tell McGonagall that he's going to blame himself, although she can very well guess.

It's also worth noting that Harry chooses an interesting fault to explain to Professor McGonagall. He doesn't suggest that, like Quirrell, she should have checked on all the high-value targets before leaving the room. Instead, he told her to trust her students more. This is something that McGonagall could actually do; it's much better suited to her than the more complicated, strategic options Harry would suggest for himself or Quirrell. So, although it's definitely not explicitly said this way, it's pretty easy to read Harry as giving advice here, which Dumbledore notably fails to do.

1Decius
Flash of insight: Professor McGonagall has (had?) the identity feature "I know better than students what is good for them."

She's a teacher. This is a default state for anyone who spends their life around 11-17 year olds, because about 90% of the time it's true.

1Decius
It's a high prior, but she has it as an intrinsic part of her identity.
4Benquo
Well, it always worked before. He doesn't have a good reason to think it won't work again. OR, perhaps he is supporting Harry by "discouraging" a hero-to-be, like he did with Hermione.
-3NancyLebovitz
Hypothesis: Minerva gave those really bad orders under magical influence.

Some of those really bad orders match the ones she gave in canon, and Dumbledore doesn't seem to think they're out of ordinary for her.

1NancyLebovitz
Is MinervaMOR supposed to be more rational than cannon Minerva?
1Velorien
The only obvious purpose would be to delay Harry, and it seems like a singularly inefficient way of doing that - I think anyone trying to predict his actions would have assigned good odds to him ignoring everyone and everything else and zooming out of there the second he thought Hermione was in trouble. Furthermore, there are all kinds of ways trying to magically influence a professor could have backfired. The benefit doesn't seem worth the risk.

I suspect Quirrell's closing statements to McGonagall at the end of this chapter are not quite what they seem. I'm thinking of two in particular: the first, that he wants Harry kept away from the Restricted Section, and the second,

He set up a situation where Harry wants in the restricted section but McGonagall is trying to stop Harry. The result will be that Harry will get annoyed at McGonagall and Dumbledore for forbidden him access to the restricted section.

that he wants McGonagall and Dumbledore to try to restore Harry's mood by any means necessary.

Harry asked Quirrell to tell McGonagall that he shouldn't be disturbt. From Quirrell's perspective McGonagall is likely to do something that annoys Harry when she tries to restore his mood.

9solipsist
Huh. I assumed that Quirrell was trying to manipulate someone from the Order into to obliviating Harry to further alienate Harry from Dumbledore's side. Harry hasn't detected himself being obliviated yet, and that needs to happen in the next few chapters. But memory charming Harry to happiness a high entropy guess so I don't have much confidence in it.
3linkhyrule5
One thing I am reading out of this is that Quirrell is (understandably) genuinely worried about what Harry might do, after the Prophecy. Part of this is making him dependent on Quirrell for information, obviously, but part of this also seems to be a genuine desire to keep certain knowledge out of his hands - I'm 90% sure that the stock answer Vector and Flitwick will tell Harry about spell creation is the same one that Quirrell just gave, for example.
1Fhyve
Why does he think of beefing up the restricted section's security only after his conversation with Harry? What did he learn? I also don't see bringing Harry's parents to Hogwarts as being terribly predictable.
7Intrism
He doesn't necessarily learn anything regarding the Restricted Section in his conversation with Harry; however, immediately after his conversation is probably his best chance to have McGonagall listen to him about the Restricted Section. Dumbledore and McGonagall don't really have very many options to cheer Harry up. It's suggested that they already tried other students. Regarding friends, his closest would be McGonagall and Quirrell, neither of whom worked, Hermione and Draco, who are both inaccessible for obvious reasons, and his parents. Of all of these, the last seem like the best option. This is particularly so considering that Harry would very likely want to shield his parents from his present emotions in a way that is not true of Dumbledore and McGonagall. We can debate how well it would work, but short of explicitly using magic on Harry (which might not even be possible, now that he's an Occlumens) it's the only thing McGonagall and Dumbledore could do that would have any kind of chance of success.
2William_Quixote
This post makes me think Dumbledore might try to procure Draco to cheer up Harry, but that might not be practical without great cost (political and otherwise)
-8NancyLebovitz
6Decius
What evidence do we have that security on the restricted section is actually going to be improved?
1Fhyve
Just by telling everyone to keep Harry away from it improves the security
0Decius
Really? What attempt to enter the restricted section would be foiled by that countermeasure that wouldn't be foiled by the factors inherent in "restricted section"?
7Fhyve
"I need access to the restricted section, I don't want another one of my friends to die" I would suspect that an argument along those lines would be much more likely to succeed if Quirrell hadn't given his instructions.
0Decius
Okay, in a very strict sense it does make it harder to access. Harry was unlikely to get permission if he asked before, and now he's more unlikely to get permission. He still has a time-turner and the Invisibility Cloak. If he can get behind a stack long enough to put the cloak on and take it off, he can defeat 'keep an eye on him'. Now, putting a door on the restricted section would actually provide a hindrance, but would also tip him off that there were probably new wards. Tangent speculation: What are the odds that Harry will find the Room of Requirements and learn about its nature and then determine the limits of its capabilities?
-2westward
I read QuirrellMort as being honestly horrified by Harry's conclusions from Hermione's death. My take is that Quirrell engineered the troll to kill Hermione in order to get Harry to become an agent of death, not of life. He thinks Harry could possibly find a way to achieve his goals and wants to prevent both Harry from getting Hermione back and from inventing "universal healthcare". There is also the side benefit of driving a wedge between Harry and Albus / Minerva.

"Other people have done huge amounts for me!" Harry said. "My parents took me in when my parents died because they were good people, and to become a Dark Lord is to betray that!"

(...) "So you are held back by the thought of your parents' disapproval? Does that mean that if they died in an accident, there would be nothing left to stop you from -"

"No," Harry said. "Just no. It is their impulse to kindness which sheltered me. That impulse is not only in my parents. And that impulse is what would be betrayed."

Chapter 20. It would seem Harry dodged a truly enormous bullet there.

"So you also don't think it's worth the trouble of holding me responsible..."

This could be interesting depending how she reacts later. I'm mostly expecting despair, but with a small chance of a heroic Minerva.

I'd be pretty shocked if we don't see a heroic Minerva, given how she reacted to Harry's rant and the fact that this incident provided the name for the chapter.

2Ritalin
It's never too late for character growth. Let's just hope she doesn't do something stupid... I mean stupider than usual.

On a side note -

"But what I must actually tell you is that you will find the standard introductory text in the north-northwest stacks of the main Hogwarts library, filed under M."

First, I rather appreciate the comic relief, Eliezer.

... But second, what the heck are Memory Charms doing outside the--

Right. Hogwarts. Crazies. Nevermind.

Keep in mind that while on the one hand, memory charms are a crazy broken superweapon for anyone with a bit of unrestrained creativity, they also seem to be a standard response for ordinary wizards on the spot dealing with muggles who've caught a slip in the Statute of Secrecy (for instance, a rampaging dragon.)

8Velorien
Counting against this observation is the statement that they're "illegal to use without Ministry authorization". Counting for it is the fact that Quirrell and the other villain candidates seem happy to use them whenever convenient with no negative consequences. Given that the Ministry apparently has a magical net capable of instantly detecting underage spell use, it's odd that they seem completely unable to monitor the use of conditionally legal, illegal, and Unforgiveable magic.

While they can detect underage spell use, if I remember correctly they canonically cannot detect the type of magic being used. Perhaps it would have been possible to set up spells to detect types of spells in use by adults, perhaps not, but I think wizarding norms on privacy and individual rights probably would make it politically unviable in any case. Remember when Harry offered Minerva his wand when he was going to be staying at home, and she responded that "that isn't done." Wizarding minors aren't allowed to use magic unsupervised, but even muggleborns at home with no adult wizards are still left the use of their wands. That strikes me as a society which has some very strong norms about autonomy.

4ygert
Yes, perhaps. This makes sense. But, IIRC, in Chamber of Secrets the letter that Harry gets from the ministry specifically states that they detected a hover charm being used at Harrys residence. If that is the case, it means that canonically they do detect the type of magic used.
5[anonymous]
Thats because (mild spoiler for the books) every young person has "the trace" put on them, which can be tracked. Any magic done in the vicinity of someone with the trace on will be picked up on. That said, they are apparently aware that it was a hover charm in book 2, so they can clearly detect the type of magic too...
1kilobug
That's something in the original universe which seems unrealistic to me, so I guess it doesn't work exactly that way in MoR. Someone in the ministry being warned, with the details of the spell used, for every spell used around an underage would mean, de facto, being warned of almost every spell usage done by any parent. It would mean that every spell cast by Lucius when Draco is nearby is detected by the ministry. I doubt both the Death Eaters and the "normal" wizards would accept something like that. Also, in canon Order of the Phoenix, near the end, Umbridge attempts to cast Crucio on Harry to make him talk, and when she does that, she hides the portrait of Fudge so Fudge doesn't know. If any spell cast near an underage wizard is detected by the ministry, they would know anyway about her casting of Crucio on Harry. There are many other examples : like, at the end of the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort and his acolytes use many Unforgiveable curses around Harry (killing Diggory, torturing Harry, ...) and there isn't the slightest hint that the ministry detected all that. So my guess is that the "trace" isn't a perfect detector of every magic used around an underage, but maybe just magic used around an underage by someone who isn't a grown up wizard ? It would detect underage magic, Dobby's magic usage around Harry, but not when parents cast spells around their children, nor when adults (mad Hogwarts teachers or Death Eaters) attack children ?
1Sheaman3773
There is a simpler possibility. The trace only detects the magic of the caster. The reason that Harry got the note for Dobby's use of magic is because Dobby used inscrutable house elf magic to fake Harry's magical signature. Or, alternatively, they knew that tracking every spell everywhere there was a child would result in them being inundated with reports, be a violation of privacy, etc., so they have it set to disregard spells cast in known magical areas--basically allowing carte blanche for wizard-raised students, while completely shafting the muggle-raised. That also seems consistent with their policies. As yet another possibility (and that I was going to use in my HP fic that died with my old comp) the Trace is twofold, both the spell on their wand and the spell on a location, generally their home. This secondary spell is the one that actually detects the magic, while the first merely serves to identify the caster as underaged. Because Dobby would still have to fake something, it would appear to suffer from a complexity penalty, but it would allow for...ah. I had thought that Riddle had killed his family to create the ring horcrux while he was in school and so should still have the Trace, which research backed up, but which also revealed that he used the wand of the person he was framing for the deeds. Which is rather unhelpful, even if it is obvious. Though he also False Memory-Charmed the man to think that he had committed the deed, which he couldn't use that man's wand for since it was going to be checked, and he was never caught for -that-. That does seem to imply that location is significant.
0mare-of-night
That sounds like it would give a lot of false-positives for non-muggleborns... (Not arguing with your statement, just noting that it seems like the wizards made a bad choice of what to detect, if there were other options.)
4[anonymous]
Indeed it is. In book.. 6(?) it is made clear that children in magical families are essentially exempt because of this rule. It is assumed that parents will enforce the rules on their children. It is another example of prejudice in the magical world (which I believe is deliberate. Rowling explicitly and implicitly suggests repeatedly that the current set up of the magical world is corrupt and prejudical)
-2Eugine_Nier
This particular rule strikes me as pretty reasonable. It is assumed that magical parents can manage their children's magic.
2Sheaman3773
If you don't consider that parents might surreptitiously teach their children spells, then sure, that makes sense.
-3Eugine_Nier
Huh? What's there to be surreptitious about? The whole point is that magical parents are trusted to participate in their children's magical development.
2Sheaman3773
The students were not supposed to do magic over the summer, full stop. There's no official exception there. The leniency could be rationalized as "magical parents can stop their children from casting spells if need be, so we don't need to monitor them," but it's not "go ahead and do magic, magical parents are trusted to teach and guide their children's magic." If the children are casting spells, then they are breaking the law. If the parent is teaching them without the child actually casting the spell, then there's no need for an exemption.
1Fermatastheorem
The trace is only placed on muggleborns. The Ministry expects magical parents to supervise the magic use of their own children.
0Normal_Anomaly
That's right. In order to track illegal or conditionally legal magic, they'd have to put the trace on everyone for their whole lives. This would be a hard law to pass.
0Decius
Would it be hard to implement without such a law?
2Velorien
Technically? Debatable. Practically, yes, because Lucius Malfoy rules magical Britain and would come down hard on anything that interferes with his and his minions' use of illegal magic. Additionally, it would be political suicide to do something like this illegally and get caught (at least in the Potterverse), and of those in power very few would even consider taking that risk in order to prevent illegal magic use.
0Decius
Why would Lucius interfere with his own minions?
0Velorien
My point precisely. A universal trace would result in people in the Ministry, not all of whom are reliably corrupt, being aware whenever Lucius's minions used illegal magic. A trace that was universal except for Lucius and his minions would be a strategic masterstroke, but would probably lead to outright rebellion if it were discovered, and it seems that Lucius doesn't quite have that much influence, or the wizarding world would already have blood purism codified in law.
0Decius
It's already true that Draco practiced magic underage and wasn't arrested. Whether that is because the trace doesn't apply to him or because the people who see the results of the trace ignore them is open to doubt...
2Velorien
I believe someone just upthread has explained that the trace only applies to Muggleborns.
0Sheaman3773
Clearly not assigned to only Muggleborns (or even Muggle-raised) given that the Weasley twins openly lamented receiving the notices at the end of the first year reminding them not to cast magic over the break. As to its effectiveness, both I (and apparently at least one other person) already spoke on it. Draco didn't have a wand yet. Officially. No reason to be tracked.
0Normal_Anomaly
What Velorien said, but also, if such a spell was implemented it would be hard to use it for law enforcement without giving away that it existed. They wouldn't be able to use it as court evidence, and if they used it to direct law enforcement personnel to the scene they'd get found out eventually.
0Decius
Sorry, I was implying that it wouldn't be officially sanctioned in any way. Much like Deep Throat's "follow the money", it could be used to point police toward lines of investigation that would prove fruitful.
1mare-of-night
0Fermatastheorem
Probably, because the Ministry is in charge of cleaning up after abovementioned slips in the Statute of Secrecy.
0Ritalin
Who said they were incapable, dohoho?

... But second, what the heck are Memory Charms doing outside the--

Right. Hogwarts. Crazies. Nevermind.

Or Quirrell, who has declared his intention to visit the restricted section, is planning to plant the book for Harry's 'benefit.'

Doubtful. That's not a lie Quirrell can sustain: Harry can ask anyone else what the status of memory charms is in the Hogwarts curriculum.

Wizards in general need memory charms to deal with muggles, so that's a plausible reason they aren't seen as Dark by the wizarding community. There are probably strong cultural taboos against using them on other wizards (as opposed to muggles), in the same way there are strong cultural taboos against using cars to run over pedestrians even though that's a power that many teenagers acquire here in the real world.

0Decius
Well, Draco's taboo against memory charms against half-bloods was roughly as strong as his taboo against violent rape of half-bloods. I'm not sure we should accept his initial taboos as either consistent or typical, though.
0loserthree
I would guess that either * A) They will be evasive in answering any precocious questions because Quirrell asked them to be evasive about some precocious questions or * B) Quirrell wasn't telling Harry that wizards are stupid and keep dangerous things in plain sight. He was telling Harry that he'd "pass it to [him] beneath a disguised cover." in the guise of telling him how to learn more about memory charms.

A) He doesn't need to ask a professor, he can just ask a seventh-year.

3loserthree
Good point. I'm sticking to B, Quirrell was telling Harry he'd pass it to him on the downlow. Note that he didn't say that the book would be labeled "Memory Charms," just that it would be filed under M.
8JTHM
Magick Moste Evile? (This is an in-universe book from canon, in case anyone forgot.)
1hairyfigment
B was my thought - or at least I'd definitely check if I were Harry. But checking every book in the section seems time-consuming and suspicious. I think we should assume there is in fact a standard book on Memory Charms there. Doesn't mean it contains a single truthful word.
0ikrase
Even if truthful, it may not actually say how to cast.
1Fermatastheorem
In canon, Hermione casts Obliviate in her 7th year (presumably without consulting a restricted text from the Department of Mysteries), so the widely available book may actually have enough information for an intelligent reader to learn how to cast it.
6Rain
NOT "how to cast a Memory Charm", NOT "the spells you are looking for", but rather, 'the information readily available to students'.

Last chapter I complained about EY having hermione Stuffed Into The Fridge, i.e. unceremoniously killed offscreen to provide motivation for the main character. Today I find that he is literally refrigerating her!

6tondwalkar
nitpick: Hermionie wasn't just killed onscreen, she was front and center.
2David_Gerard
Imagine a cryonics enthusiast writing about a cryonics enthusiast making the explanation of his move a pun on a trope name ;-)

"Of course it's my fault. There's no one else here who could be responsible for anything."

The first time this sentence appears in HPMoR is in the italic text that begins Chapter 2:

"Of course it was my fault. There's no one else here who could be responsible for anything."

I'll assume the difference between "it's" and "it was" isn't significant. I'm inclined to refocus my attention now on the italic text that begins Chapter 1:

Beneath the moonlight glints a tiny fragment of silver, a fraction of a line...

(black robes, falling)

...blood spills out in litres, and someone screams a word.

I didn't know what to make of this when I first read it, and I still don't. Does this describe an event that has already happened? It's not Hermione's death, since that didn't happen in the moonlight.

[-]gwern140

Does this describe an event that has already happened?

It's been debated constantly since the start because it's highlighted as important. The best guess was that it might have been when Voldemort attacked the Potters, but there's obvious problems with that (what's the silver? and as far as we know, no blood was shed by Voldemort since he favored AKs). Given that ch90 brings up blood as a powerful sacrificial element, it's looking more like it's about a future event and maybe a ritual by Harry - pursuant to bringing back Hermione being the obvious goal.

When you said AKs, I immediately thought you meant AK-47s. That put a very amusing picture in my head.

I might play too many videogames.

2Decius
They share many characteristics, don't they?
6Randaly
The only plot-significant things that have been described as silver are Fawkes, the Time-Turner, Dumbledore's beard, Lucius Malfoy's cane, and Patronus charms. I think we can safely eliminate Dumbledore's beard and Malfoy's cane. If it is in the future, I would have dismissed the time-turner before the past 2 chapters, but not anymore. (I still believe it likely describes the attack on the Potters. Edit: I no longer believe this.)
[-]JTHM180