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 chapters 91 & 92 . The previous thread has passed 500 comments. 

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

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: 1234567891011121314151617,18,19,20.

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

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

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

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Tom Riddle in canon was described as a classic charming psychopath, while the Defense Professor seems to be genuinely icy and blind to others' internal states. He even verbalizes this a few times, e.g. "I don't have the knack." So either HPMOR!Riddle was actually not charming but instead vastly more intelligent in a cold, calculating way, or the Monroe/Quirrell persona is supposed to be outwardly cold and obtuse while still secretly possessing insight, or this fragment of Riddle's soul has lost whatever insight or ability that formerly made him charming, or something I haven't thought of.

Quirrel tells Harry that they share an ability to "become" whoever they pretend to be. We even see this when Quirrel pretends to be someone else to the Healer after the Azkaban breakout. It would be very odd if Quirrel were able to do this and not have any insight into how people's emotions feel like from the inside. I believe that Quirrel knows perfectly well how emotions work; the icy exterior is just a role he plays.

I don't think Quirrell's model of emotions can be all that refined, since he seems to have repeatedly and legitimately mismodelled both Harry ("yes, I actually do care about people even if I don't relate to them, I don't want to be a Dark Lord,") and Hermione ("You know, a shadowy figure in a hooded cloak is really not the most trustworthy messenger.")

3Sheaman377311y
Obligatory protest that we don't know for certain Mr. Hat-and-Cloak is Quirrell. The way I interpreted that, he thought that if he first showed up looking innocent and good, she would have suspected that the outside was a sham. But after she revealed that she really doesn't think that outsides are always deceptive, he changed his modeling. Though that would still mean that he mismodeled her, yes. My thoughts on the mismodelling* of Harry are much more speculative.
0Gurkenglas11y
I don't think that Quirrel would keep that part of his guise up once the fate of the very stars in heaven is on the table.
7elharo11y
Quirrell == Voldemort. This does not imply that Voldemort == Riddle. Dumbledore at least thinks that Voldemort was Tom Riddle, but consider the possibility that Dumbledore is wrong about this. Remember Voldemort really doesn't look very human at all, and could be almost anyone. Maybe Riddle was misdirection.
3ChristianKl11y
I know someone with Asbergers who manages to be very charming because he learnt social rules. You don't need empathy to charm people.
7wedrifid11y
Aspergers. (I've occasionally heard "Ass burgers" used as an insult. No 'b'!)
1fubarobfusco11y
That's a South Park reference. Insulting, yes.
-2Alsadius11y
After all, where else would the term "sperg" come from?
0Ritalin11y
Asperges, in french, is a type of food. Eggplants, I think...
8gjm11y
Asparagus.
5buybuydandavis11y
Yes. Psychopaths are a prime example.

Did anyone else find it increasingly implausible that the teachers kept trying to speak to Harry while he was thinking? The first one or even two approaches made sense, but if a person who has just lost a close friend says that they want to be alone until dinner, the only sensible course of action seems to be to say "okay" and leave them alone. It'd be one thing if he hadn't spoken for anyone in a month, but this was just a few hours: it'd have been completely reasonable for anyone to want to be alone for that long.

Granted, given that this is Harry, they might have thought that he was in risk of doing something really rash... but if they feared that he'd do something so bad that it wouldn't have been enough for them to guard the door to the room where he was in, then McGonagall would have been insane to unlock his Time Turner! And if they thought that he was in danger of developing some really crazy plan while thinking, it should have been obvious after the first couple of times that interrupting him now would just make him more unreceptive, and it would have been better to wait until dinner.

I'm just drawing a complete blank here - why did they keep doing it? Doesn't seem to make any sense to me.

Quirrell is trying to alienate Harry from his lifelines by manipulating everyone into being unhelpfully helpful. It's one of the core emotional triggers for the Harry, and the Defense Professor knows this.

After this chapter I've updated heavily in favor of Quirrell being genuinely terrified and trying to run damage control. That means giving him more emotional lifelines.

Admittedly, it also probably means making Harry dependent on an information source Quirrell can trust not to say too much, i.e. himself, but...

2solipsist11y
That does not seem to jive with the last lines of chapter 89, which are first-person accounts of Quirrell's feelings. EDIT: I also updated in favor of Quirrell being genuinely terrified after chapter 92, but only slightly. The evidence from chapter 89 still dominates in my mind since 89 has an uncensored account of Quirrell's true feelings.
[-]gwern11y280

And quite specifically, ironically, and counterpointedly placed before the prophecy.

0solipsist10y
Note for readability: I did not realize that the prophecy was dialog, said aloud by Trelawney, until I read this comment. I read the prophecy as Quirrell thinking to himself, narrating for the reader why he was happy.
1solipsist11y
From 93: Woop. There goes that theory :-).
3kilobug11y
First time I read that, I interpreted it as "it would not be enough to prevent Harry from tearing the world apart". But there is another possible interpretation : if we consider that Quirrelmort was trying to turn Harry dark, and killing Hermione was part of that plan, then we can interpret it completely to the opposite : the killing Hermione won't be enough to turn Harry dark. I don't give a high probability to the second interpretation, but it does stand on its own feet.
4Ben Pace11y
For a rationalist fic, where you're meant to be able to work things out though, it does seem a bit 'magical' if the answer to every "well that's a bit weird" is "Quirrell probably did it". It's fitting the evidence to your theory.
[-]elharo11y150

What weird things do we know Quirrell wasn't behind?

  1. Dumbledore is Santa Clause and sneaks into students' bedrooms to leave them notes.
  2. Snape was helping SPHEW.
  3. Whoever memory charmed Rita Skeeter (Gilderoy Lockhart?) was almost certainly not Quirrell.
  4. Harry himself was behind the weird events in Chapter 13. In fact, Harry is behind a lot of the weird events in the book, but we don't always realize that because we see them from his point of view.
  5. The universe is behind Comed-Tea.

Anything else?

0alex_zag_al11y
What? Why? There was that time that he threatened her in chapter 25. Also, it would explain how he knew that Harry had enlisted the Weasley twins. There's a motive, too. At lunch afterward, he made Harry deal with the cognitive dissonance of ruining somebody's life, yet feeling proud of himself at the same time. If I was Quirrell I would have helped fake the story just to make Harry rationalize destroying Rita Skeeter.
3elharo11y
It's possible that the Weasley twins hired Quirrell and not Lockhart, but I tend to think that Quirrell was genuinely surprised at the newspaper article about Harry's betrothal and it took him a few minutes to realize it was done with a false memory charm. Quirrell's smart, but not omniscient.
7Velorien11y
Good point. Now if only Quirrell wasn't actually behind 75% of all the weird things happening in the story (as far as we can tell)...
6solipsist11y
For any weird thing, you may be able to find someone who thinks that "Quirrell did it". That doesn't mean some faction out there believes Quirrell is responsible for every weird thing -- different people think Quirrell is responsible for different weird things.
2gwern11y
It wasn't done at Quirrel's suggestion, though, as far as we can tell.
[-]tim11y110

Well, (in chapter 90), McGonagall's first visit seemed to be of her own accord but then the Defense Professor went in and upon returning said this to her:

And though it is not my own area of expertise, Deputy Headmistress, if there is any way you can imagine to convince the boy to stop sinking further into his grief and madness - any way at all to undo the resolutions he is coming to - then I suggest you resort to it immediately."

Manipulating and convincing people of things is absolutely Quirrell's area of expertise and it seems plausible that he realizes that putting immense pressure on McGonagall to do something (because poor old Quirrell sure can't!) will cause her to make poor decisions regarding whether Harry should be left alone and/or unobstructed in his activities.

Further supported by Snape's line from when he enters the room at the beginning of chapter 51:

"I also cannot imagine what the Deputy Headmistress is thinking," said the Potions Master of Hogwarts. "Unless I am meant to serve as a warning of where it will lead you, if you decide to take the blame for her death upon yourself."

and by the continuing pressure Quirrell exerts on McGonagal... (read more)

[-]JayDee11y130

I suspect Quirrell was aware of the exchange, if he can do the same trick as in canon with names:

"No! You-Know-Who killed Hermione!" She was hardly aware of what she was saying, that she hadn't screened the room against who might be listening. "Not you! No matter what else you could've done, it's not you who killed her, it was Voldemort! If you can't believe that you'll go mad, Harry!"

Specific mention of not screening the room, and then saying the V-word out loud.

0Sheaman377311y
Are you talking about the Taboo? Because I really got the impression that he couldn't implement it until he was in charge of the Ministry.
2JayDee11y
That is a good point. And in canon, it was a useful thing to do since it was only the Order & Co. who dared say the name, allowing for decent signal to noise. I'd thought maybe in HP:MoR the order might be showing more caution, but in Multiple Hypothesis Testing Dumbledore uses the word - and with Moody there. I'd expect the HP:MoR versions of Dumbledore and Moody to to avoid it if they thought there was serious risk. That said, the specific mention of not screening for listeners does still jump out at me like a Hint.
5Sheaman377311y
It struck me as a hint as well, but I don't think it was specifically saying Voldemort's name that did it. It's just that she openly states that she believes him to be alive and active, and thus reveals to a surreptitious listener that she--and likely Dumbledore--have this knowledge or are acting under these beliefs. That's more than enough, given the interest that the murderer and Quirrell (if they are different people) would have in the room at the time.

Did anyone else find it increasingly implausible that the teachers kept trying to speak to Harry while he was thinking? The first one or even two approaches made sense, but if a person who has just lost a close friend says that they want to be alone until dinner, the only sensible course of action seems to be to say "okay" and leave them alone.

Eh. In more typical situations it isn't that odd to force people who want to be alone in bleak times to not be alone. (I'm not sure if the primary impetus here is an anti-suicide measure, the thought that it improves mood, despite the annoyance, or the inability of people who want to help to convince themselves they are helping without visible action.) That Quirrel recommended it makes it more sensible (though, as the strong reader suspicion goes, Quirrel is trying to sabotage their relationship with Harry), even though Harry protests.

8Velorien11y
McGonagall may have been insane to unlock the Time-Turner, but she was simply incapable of withstanding the emotional pressure Harry suddenly put her under. Doubtless it is not something she had originally intended to do, and she may well regret it horribly once she regains the capacity for rational thought.
8Kaj_Sotala11y
Dumbledore spied on their conversation, though - if he'd considered the matter that serious, he ought to have stepped in and taken the Time Turner or re-locked it.

At the price of alienating Harry a good bit further, of course.

2ChristianKl11y
If McGonagall wouldn't, Harry would go to Dumbledore. It's extremly unlikely that Harry wouldn't get his Time-Turner unlocked in the situation as Harry is willing to alienate the two but they aren't willing to alienate Harry.
1buybuydandavis11y
Harry is extremely creative, with an intent to kill, powers others know not, and a Time Turner. He killed a troll and escaped from Azkaban using his unique transfiguration skills. Harry is dangerous and desperate. He's not just some depressed kid who wants to be left alone, he's an apocalypse waiting to happen. Insane, or just playing by the rules, as usual? Very dumb, as I commented elsewhere, to give a desperate Harry unfettered control of his Time Turner, at his prompting.
1hairyfigment11y
I think Minerva herself considered it worthy of note that Dumbledore had used Transfiguration in combat and was still alive. She should know that Harry has joined this elite group. Now, you could use this as evidence of his recklessness if you believe there were lots of people like Harry who died. But I don't believe he would use some of the ...inventive solutions people have proposed, nor would Minerva believe it. I think she should actually have unlocked his Time-Turner after Bellatrix, or at least after the trial, though she made the right decision by locking it when she did.
0buybuydandavis11y
I wouldn't. That's the rule following MInerva talking. She may have retired. We might see the new Griffindor Minerva doing what it takes to win, taking every edge she can in transfiguration. Harry's rock trick should be trivial for her.
1CAE_Jones11y
Had the first two been Macgonnagle and the Defense Professor, then the rest make a bit more sense in that the Defense Professor urged Macgonnagle to do whatever it took to get Harry off his current path, and, well, Harry had just lectured her about how responsibility works, and so she was in a state of mind that demanded action. That said, you're totally right: continuing to throw potential emotional bonds at him to try and cheer him up wasn't the best idea, at least not so soon. Surely Macgonnagle is smart enough to know that Harry knew exactly what was going on, and would therefore be less receptive? It's a general trend when working with stubborn and upset people, and I imagine this is no less true among Hogwarts students, and thinking about it for five seconds should have made it clear that it'd only be worse with Harry. I suppose she couldn't think of anything better to try.
4Kaj_Sotala11y
It wasn't just McGonagall, though - Dumbledore was the one who fetched Harry's parents, even though he had listened to Harry's and McGonagall's conversation and thus knew exactly what the situation was. Not to mention all the other teachers who she had clearly briefed on the situation before they went in.
0buybuydandavis11y
Seems like a deliberate provocation.
-2htns11y
It seemed to me it was the way Harry told them off. He didn't exactly act like the day was wrapped up and everything was already said.

Consider that Harry is not the only player on the board:

McGonagall is being pushed towards taking action to fix this. Very, very hard. I do not just mean the defense professor. I mean the entire situation is leaning on her to go beyond the usual.

Snape: Been a loose cannon for a while now, and might decide to do something about this.

The Defense Professor. Probably set the hit in motion, but might be looking for the "undo! UnDo!" button due to the fallout.

Dumbledore: .. nah, actually do not think he is going to exert himself over this.

So, at present, there is a non-zero probability that Harry is carrying around McGonagalls living brain transfigured into a diamond because she swapped herself for Hermione, then Snape swapped the oxygenating potion for the draught of living death, and Harry decided to arrest decay with the tools at his disposal.

Mad cackle

Wait. I missed one. And Hermione and/or McGonagall got her soul anchored to the whooping willow courtesy of a timetraveling defense professor. (all the horcrux proposals ignore the fact that neither Harry nor Hermione would use that technique, nor do they know it. But Quirell does. And would. )

This may have been mentioned elsewhere, but chapter 53 introduces "death dolls", and Hermionie's corpse is decribed as "waxy and doll-like".

8DanArmak11y
The whole point of a death doll is to imitate a dead body perfectly and fool people into confusing the two (that was the implication with the death-doll of Bella). If so, we wouldn't expect Hermione's body to look unrealistic if it's in fact a death doll substitute.

These chapters caused me to update more in favor of Quirrell being genuinely scared. However, there are still some things that confuse me. First, Quirrell's not citing the prophecy in his favor, even though McGonagall was the one who paired him with Trelawney in the first place, and there's absolutely nothing incriminating in hearing a prophecy under those circumstances. Second, well, this is a problem with a murder-based solution, and I would expect Quirrell to take it unless (for some magical, personal, or prophetic reason) he finds death preferable to a world in which Harry is dead.

As far as Harry destroying the world goes, I'm most worried about Fred and George. In canon, they become quite skilled at spell creation in later books, and it's suggested that they experiment in earlier books; they're probably not especially good yet, but they might know enough information (or have enough books) to be dangerous already.

9Velorien11y
Quirrell values Harry - at least instrumentally, for purposes as yet uncertain, and possibly emotionally (if he is capable of valuing a person in that way). He is too valuable to kill except as a last resort, and Quirrell's actions suggest that he thinks he can avert the prophecy and make the killing unnecessary (otherwise he would not be taking all the measures he is currently taking). As for not informing others of the prophecy, doubtless he feels that whatever (frantic and desperate) actions they might take in response would interfere with his own much more intelligent attempt to resolve the situation.

That's fair enough, but I just thought of one more thing that Quirrell could do that he's choosing not to... Why isn't Quirrell doing the star thing again, or at least offering to do so?

That... is an extremely sensible thing to do.

However, Harry would probably reject it the way he rejected Fawkes's song - he doesn't want to be freed or distracted from his pain, since he considers it the proper and correct response to the death of his best friend. He may also believe that it's powering his dark side, and thus helping him look for ways to save Hermione.

6Intrism11y
It's possible that he would reject it, yes, but I don't think it's that easy to compare it to Fawkes' song. If memory serves, phoenix songs actually change one's mood; the stars wouldn't do that, just comfort him. And, even if Harry does reject it, it's unlikely to cost Quirrell anything to make the offer.
3[anonymous]11y
Showing Harry the stars at this point would probably kill him. The image of the stars is a talisman to him, representing the necessary triumph of human will over death. Harry has just made a resolution to unmake death, and we know he can do it because of Trelawney's prophecy. The next time he sees that image he is going to act on his resolution if he hasn't already, and right now he's exhausted and confused and desperately unhappy... He needs to be rested. And besides, given that Quirrell thinks that Harry will destroy the world when he acts on his resolution, he should be diverting Harry's attention from the stars at all costs, and trying to bind him more strongly to the Earth and the people on it, which he is doing. I'm loving the irony of Voldemort desperately trying to remind Harry of all the people who love him. Mind you, whilst I think Quirrell is smart enough to not show Harry the stars given what he knows, I could be wrong. So maybe he will try that at some point and it will blow up in his face. EDIT: Hmm, prediction failed. I guess this means that I'm more swayed by emotion than Harry. No surprises there.
1CAE_Jones11y
I do kinda feel like "Snape asked for advice on understanding a prophecy; the defense professor should consider it." Except I'm sure Quirell doesn't view anyone else as smart enough to be any better at it than him, except possibly Harry/Snape/Dumbledore, except (A) not really and (B) he doesn't trust any of them with the prophecy, I'm sure.
1linkhyrule511y
Unfortunately, he has no way to prove the existence of a prophecy beyond taking asking Dumbledore to take Harry to the Hall of Prophecy. And a prophecy that Harry will end the world, coming from the obviously evil Defense Professor, is... well, obviously evil. Even if it isn't.
5Intrism11y
Quirrell can't prove it, but as it happens, the Headmaster has recently heard a true prophecy with (likely) very, very similar wording. Since Quirrell didn't hear more than a few words of the other one, the fact that the two are so like each other would be strong evidence that Quirrell's prophecy is also genuine.
2gwern11y
He has a way: Legilimency. Occlumens can let others into their memory, and we are told the intonation of prophecy cannot be faked by false memory charms. Let Dumbledore into a carefully guarded compartment of his identity, expose only the memory of the prophecy, and you're done - everyone will trust Dumbledore's word.
6William_Quixote11y
It seems like there is some conflicting text here in 27 we read: http://hpmor.com/chapter/27 But on the other-hand Snape says but, we have no confirmation that Snape is a perfect Occlumens and if the Defense Professor is, or is suspicious enough that people think he might be, its unclear if even Legilimency could be trusted to confirm the prophecy
4gwern11y
Actually, examining Snape's words more carefully than my memory, I think I was simply wrong. Snape says that the 'quality' is something that 'even Legilimency cannot share', and so how did the Dark Lord then verify Snape's memory? He seized Snape's mind with such force and magic that Snape's Occlumency would've been hopeless and instead of perceiving the prophetic quality of voice, he looked for Snape's personal confusion at not understanding the prophecy. So it seems that Dumbledore could not verify it after all: he could not be sure of breaking Quirrel's Occlumency both out of ethics and because Quirrel seems to be closer to Dumbledore in power than Snape was to Voldemort, and he cannot simply verify the prophetic quality in whatever memory Quirrel chooses to provide. ---------------------------------------- Which of course still leaves the Hall of Prophecy: surely Quirrel's word about a prophecy of the apocalypse would be worth defying the Department of Mystery over, in order to verify?
5William_Quixote11y
To hear the prophecy you need to be mentioned in it. So maybe anyone can hear this prophecy because the end of the world effects everybody. But if not, taking Harry there and him hearing it would be confirmation that its about him. Though, verification may be a moot point and Dumbledore may already know the prophecy about Harry. After all, Dumbledore heard the end of the prophecy in the dinning hall back when it was "he is coming" rather than "he is here". And Dumbledore also gave excuses not to take Harry into the hall of prophesy

Just noticed this creepy detail:

The Grangers had hardly left with Madam Pomfrey before the Defense Professor had knocked upon the door to her office and then entered without waiting for her answer, and spoken before she could say a word.

Madam Pomfrey is in charge of the medical ward, so the Grangers are not going home, they are going to a hospital.

In magical Britain you're only allowed to remember what the government thinks you should remember, and remembering the existence of magic or that you have a son named Harry is a privilege, not a right.

Harry from the prior chapter to his parents who still have a living child to give them this warning.

Or, perhaps, Madam Pomfrey is taking them to see the body, since it is in her medical ward.

That is extremely creepy.

On the other hand,

  • Obliviation does not require a hospital in any way
  • Harry would probably snap and take Hogwarts apart brick by brick if the staff permanently took away his parents like that, and I don't think anyone involved is stupid enough not to get that

My interpretation is that Madam Pomfrey is a trustworthy staff member, while at the same time being inconsequential enough that her time can be spent on escorting Muggles around. She is also used to dealing with horrified parents, and therefore a good first point of contact for the Grangers.

7William_Quixote11y
That makes sense, its possible I'm being paranoid, but when people with inconvenient memories get taken to hospitals it does make me worry.

It sounds like they're either having medical issues due to stress, or they're going to where Hermione is being kept. If they were to be obliviated, I'm sure it would be in their own home.

What I'm wondering is more why Harry doesn't push for his parents to be temporarily obliviated of his own existence, as a mean to protect them.

Hermione did it in canon at the beginning of the Deathly Hallows, and that was a very sensible thing to do, and it told a lot about Hermione for her to cast that spell.

And yes, it's very creepy, this "Obliviate !" scene in Deathly Hallows almost made me cry (both in book and in movie), it was the saddest scene of the 7 books to me. (And yeah, I know, I should be more sad about the people who actually died...), but Harry definitely is rationalist enough to force himself to do something as painful as that if it's to save his parents.

4lfghjkl11y
This was a bad idea in canon and will be an even worse idea here where obliviations are permanent.
2linkhyrule511y
Actually, they were pseudo-permanent in canon too. It seems like the caster of a Memory Charm can revoke it, but nobody else.
7RolfAndreassen11y
Obliviating the whole of Hermione's existence seems counterproductively difficult: She lived in Muggle Britain for 11 years. Are they going to Obliviate all the neighbours and relatives who remember her and might ask casually how she is doing at school? As for Obliviating the memory that she's dead, then why tell them in the first place? It is not clear what sort of memory eradication could be usefully applied. Maybe a False Memory of her dying in some sort of sports accident, rather than being half-eaten? But again, in that case, why tell them the actual truth?

This happened in Canon, and was done by Hermione herself, albeit in her I think 6th or 7th year.

3RolfAndreassen11y
Well. I stand by the criticism. Either Hermione, or Rowling, wasn't thinking things through.
0JoshuaZ11y
Well, in Hermione's case, she may not wanted to give her parents that level of grief. Although frankly, I'd rather remember a loved one who I think died then not remember them at all, and I suspect that Hermione would think the same way. So canon Hermione likely didn't really think this through. (Frankly, the first time I read what she did to her parents, I was absolutely appalled- I don't think Rowling really appreciates how absolutely insidious and violating memory modification is.)
3TimS11y
I distantly recall that canon!Hermione was trying to remove her parents as potential hostages / revenge targets. I think the goal was to get them to Australia without violating the Statute of Secrecy. This doesn't make sense, now that I think about it - her parents already knew she was a witch, why is telling them about the war a violation of secrecy. Updating towards my memory being wrong. Even assuming my memory is right, I agree with you that Rowling's reasoning is disturbing. There are so many other ways to protect the information in canon (eg Fidelius), yet Rowling picks the least consensual, least possible to give informed consent method.
-2Eugine_Nier11y
I suspect this is because they wouldn't voluntarily abandon their daughter, this was her way of pulling a more hero than thou on them.
2wubbles11y
Hermione didn't erase her own existence, but implanted false memories to get her parents to go to Australia. Distance did what magic couldn't.
8Intrism11y
Actually, she did both of those things. And, incidentally, it's the false memories bit that would be impossible in Methods - Hermione, of course, did not spend years to give her parents what are apparently years worth of memories.
0Gurkenglas11y
It's only perfect, undetectable Memory Charms that require that much time. Giving someone years of memories in the quality that is customary for years-old memories, when no Wizard has anything against it, is probably not that difficult.
-4Baughn11y
It could easily blow up in their faces, yes. There's still the possibility that they'll be obliviated of what happened just now, in order to gain time, although that's not quite in character for anyone involved. It'd also blow up - Hermione has a sister, who I don't think has ever been mentioned in Hogwarts.
9Velorien11y
Said sister wasn't present in the Grangers' house during the Christmas meal sequence, so it's possible she doesn't exist in the Methodsverse.
7Fermatastheorem11y
According to this interview, Hermione no longer has a sister in canon either. The relevant Q and A:
2DanArmak11y
Then why tell them in the first place?
3Baughn11y
There are multiple people working at Hogwarts, who occasionally work at cross purposes. Depending on their reaction, they may also have been intended to influence Harry.

Chapter 79:

"The grim!" Professor Trelawney said in a quavering voice, as she peered into George Weasley's teacup. "The grim! It is a sign of death! One whom you know, George - someone you know is to die! And soon - yes, it shall be quite soon, I think - unless of course it is later -"

It would have been a good deal scarier, thought Fred and George, if she hadn't said the same thing to every single other student in their Divination class.

I'm having to update my probability that HPMOR!Trelawney is actually good at her job.

My estimate of Trelawney in Methods has, for quite some time, been that she may or may not be good at formal Divination, but that she is a terrible teacher and an excellent seer, and that Dumbledore keeps her around primarily for the latter reason.

If everyone in the class knows Hermione (which is likely for a loose definition of 'knows' since everyone has probably heard of her either through SPHEW or as General Sunshine, as her being called up at lunch to receive an award) then telling that to everyone in the class may not include even a single miss. Which makes Professor Trelawney very accurate indeed.

2JoshuaZ11y
Not really. if she says the same thing each time it shouldn't be surprising that a rare hit occurs. It seems heavily implied that Dumbledore keeps her around (both in canon and in HPMOR) because she occasionally emits a genuine prophecy.
8gwern11y
Ah, but consider how rarely students die at Hogwarts: we're at a 50-year gap between Myrtle and Hermione. If Trelawney told every student this year that they were going to die, but not the other years, then actually she's remarkably accurate.
4JoshuaZ11y
Sure, do we have any reason to think she's only done it this year?
[-]tim11y130

Possibly. Since Fred and George thought it would have been a good deal scarier "if she hadn't said the same thing to every single other student in their Divination class" rather than "if she hadn't said the same thing every year/week/day," its weakly implied that this is the first time she's make this prediction.

edit: although "every single other student in their Divination class" is somewhat ambiguous and could mean that over the course of the semester she has made this prediction for everyone at different times.

1Velorien11y
Then again, after SPHEW, everyone in the school "knows" Hermione.
0Sheaman377311y
In canon, at least, she did that sort of thing every year. That only means so much here, of course.

I wonder what steps Harry took to test the limitations of his own Patronus. The thing is humanoid and it /speaks/. Is it conscious? Does it have memory, can you give it information, dispell it, call it back the next cay, and have it still know the information? Can it perform useful cognitive work, solve problems? Does it exist anywhere and in any way while not called forth by Harry's spell? (Can it think while Harry is asleep? what an asset that would be!)

And, dare I ask, can it recursively self-improve? ;) Okay, okay, stop it with the rotten tomatoes.

I'm sure the answer to most or all of that is "no" just because of the way it would affect the story but, if I were Harry, I'd test it anyway. It is a safer and more convenient magical-humanoid-that-speaks to examine than a Dementor, and Harry has given a lot of thought to how their minds work...

"Is there another Patronus still present?" the old wizard said clearly to the bright creature.

The bright creature dipped its head in a nod.

"Can you find it?"

The silver head nodded again.

"Will you remember it, should it depart and come again?"

A final nod from the blazing phoenix.

-

They hadn't even gotten to the end of that corridor before Harry's Patronus raised its hand, politely, as though in a classroom.

Harry thought quickly. The question was how to - no, that was also obvious.

"It seems," Harry said in a coldly amused voice, "that someone has instructed this Patronus to speak its message only to me." He chuckled. "Well then. Pardon me, dear Bella. Quietus."

At once the silver humanoid said in Harry's own voice, "There is another Patronus which seeks this Patronus."

"What? " said Harry. And then, without pausing to think about what was happening, "Can you block it? Stop it from finding you?"

The silver humanoid shook its head.

Note that Harry's Patronus appears to inform him of its own initiative regarding a fact which is important for him to know. Also that it delays until he is prepared to hear the message.

4Luke_A_Somers11y
It might be borrowing mental capacity from Harry himself - useful for more perfect division of attention, but not necessarily better for all purposes.
3Velorien11y
Technically, a Dementor is not a humanoid - it only appears as one to those unable to face the cognitive gap that represents death.

In light of Eliezer's recent trolling, I guess it's official that all foreshadowings in the fic, even the ones that seemed like jokes, are going to come true. Let's see! The date is April 1992, we're at the end of the second act:

"Even if you had kissed him first, you know what that would make you? The sad little lovestruck girl who dies at the end of Act Two." (Ch.46)

Harry is going to expose Quirrell in May:

"I can well foresee that I am fated to sit in the Headmaster's office and hear some hilarious tale about Professor Quirrell in which you and you alone play a starring role, after which there will be no choice but to fire him." (...) "What do I get if I can make it happen on the last day of the school year?" (Ch.17)

Harry is a copy of Monroe:

"And I'm secretly sixty-five years old." - "You don't look half that" (Ch.38)

"Born 1927, entered Hogwarts in 1938, sorted into Slytherin, graduated 1945." (Ch.84)

And Harry is going to marry a whole lot of people.

6alex_zag_al11y
Sixty-five years old is also consistent with being Tom Riddle, who was born December 1926. (Remember, that quote is from September, a few months before Tom RIddle's 66th birthday.) (birth year and month from harry potter wiki)
1JoshuaZ11y
What "trolling" are you referring to?

Killing Hermione with a mountain troll and causing strong fan reactions, of course :-) Note that the troll was introduced in Ch.16, and Quirrell made a callback to that scene when he advised Hermione to run away in Ch.84.

"Rule 8: Any technique which is good enough to defeat me once is good enough to learn myself"

Voldemort has been defeated once. What would he do, if he wanted to learn how?

7Velorien11y
I am inclined to believe that he wasn't defeated - the body everyone believes to be his had been "burnt to a crisp", which is inconsistent with everything we know about the Killing Curse. Assuming, however, that the official account is accurate, the logical next step would be to learn the True Patronus Charm, the only thing he knows which can block a Killing Curse. He might also want to study Harry for lingering magical effects (if any such effect can endure over twelve years), though this is made more difficult by the resonance effect.
4kilobug11y
Do we know the True Patronus blocks the Killing Curse ? My own interpretation was more than Quirell-Harry magical interaction made both spells to fizzle when they interact (like in canon, where repeatedly Voldemort casting AK on Harry leads to unexpected results), but it wouldn't work with someone else casting either of the spells.

It's possible. However, insofar as the True Patronus is powered by the absolute rejection of death, and the Killing Curse is pretty much death in spell form, it is plausible that one could block the other.

0hairyfigment11y
I thought the idea was that reality extrudes an error message when they meet, because the Source of Magic can't decide what should happen. And when this error message meets...whatever causes prophecies...we get Harry's sense of doom (which seems stronger after his first Patronus casting and then after his recent resolution). I admit that second part confuses me. Hopefully - since the oldest prophecies we know of supposedly refer to "the end of the world and its magic" - they all result from Ohtori "It" Harry reaching back in time.
2Ritalin11y
Nobody checked for dental history, did they?
3Velorien11y
It seems unlikely that the DMLA are even aware of such techniques. However, we do not know either way. Edit: How would anyone have access to Voldemort's original dental records in the first place? And would they be accurate given all the self-modification he apparently underwent during his time as the Dark Lord (glowing red eyes, serpentine features etc.)?
0Ritalin11y
Wizard ignorance on muggle matters is truly spectacular...
3Alsadius11y
Assuming the official account is accurate, we have no better explanation for what happened than Rowling's love shield(though I've heard the closely related theory that it was Voldemort breaking his promise to Lily that did it, because the laws of magic somehow enforce contracts). MoR!Voldemort is not the sort to leave it as an enigma, so he's likely gone looking through obscure magical texts of the sort that he didn't check pre-death to figure out what had the power to do it. As such, he would presumably have learned the importance of true love and/or honesty, and altered his tactics accordingly, which may be why Quirrelmort is noticeably less evil-acting than Voldemort.

Voldemort didn't break his promise to Lily - he intended to, presumably, but Lily broke her side first by trying to kill him instead of acting like a willing sacrifice.

0Sheaman377311y
First, I am certain that he completely anticipated her response. Desperate pleas aside, she wouldn't have trusted that he would have really left Harry alive. He gave her a few seconds to think, come to that conclusion, and then she tried to the only option she thought she had left. Second, the wording was: The only part of the bargain that she had to uphold was dying. Though I'm not at all certain that the scene is what it looks like.
3alex_zag_al11y
Maybe the love-magic is the essential tool in Voldemort's new plan. He's going to induce Harry to love all of humanity in the same way that Harry's mother loved him, and then make him die protecting them. They'll all be unkillable and the Voldemort's fears of a nuclear apocalypse will never materialize.
1TobyBartels11y
That's a nice idea, but love-magic doesn't actually make people immortal. It wouldn't prevent nuclear apocalypse in the long run.
4Alsadius11y
Harry should love all of humanity, and then get killed by a nuclear bomb, thereby giving all of humanity immunity to nuclear bombs.

In canon, the Department of Mysteries has a room filled with preserved brains, presumably for research. For unexplained reasons, it includes a quick connection to the death room (where the vale is located). Ron, under the influence of an unknown mind-altering spell (confunding?), summoned one of the brains, and it attacked him with a silvery substance that sounds like a more solid version of the typical memories put into pensives. (This left scars, and seemed to break Ron out of the spell before silencing him.). Later, someone (I forget who, but a member of the Order of the Phoenix) commented that Ron would be fine, but the marks left by thoughts were deep--implication being that the silvery ribbons that came from the brain and grappled him were thoughts.

We don't know, based just on that evidence, that the Department of Mysteries can preserve human brains, or that said brains are capable of some form of thought in that state. What we do know is that they had tanks of the brains (I seem to remember it being several tanks, but I'm not sure), they seem to be in good condition for all that non-neurologist Harry can tell, and that they resisted Ron's accio with a projection that a knowledgeable wizard described as thoughts.

It makes me wonder what would happen if MoR Harry broke into the Department of Mysteries in his current state. (You know, in the few minutes before he found a way to open the "no, seriously, do not open this door" door and destroyed the universe.)

3Sherincall11y
Unlikely to ever make an appearance, due to meta-knowledge: Jura Ryvrmre fgnegrq guvf fgbel, ur unqa'g ernq gur obbxf, naq gubfr fprarf qba'g nccrne va gur zbivrf. Jr nyfb xabj gung ur xarj rknpgyl jung unccraf sebz gur fgneg, fb ur unq guvf cynaarq orsber ernqvat nobhg gur QbZ oenvaf.
2CAE_Jones11y
Excellent point, though gur jnl Uneel zragvbaf Ibyqrzbeg'f syvtug va uvf Qrzragbe synfuonpx vzcyvrf Ryvrmre ng yrnfg yrnearq ubj zhpu ovttre n qrny gung jnf va gur obbxf guna va gur zbivrf, nygubhtu fb sne vg'f orra n guebj-njnl yvar, fb vg qbrfa'g ernyyl punatr gur cbvag.

Harry looked at his mechanical watch again, but it still wasn't time.

...

Time passed, and yet more time. From the outside you would've just seen a boy, sitting, staring at his wand with an abstracted gaze, looking at his watch every two minutes or so.

Why is Harry looking at his watch so frequently? And why was he so insistent on a particular deadline for people not bothering him? He seems to be paying an unusual amount of attention to the time, and that suggests Time Turner shenanigans, although I'm not sure what they are.

He needs 6 hours of uninterrupted time with Hermione's body. His present self guards the door while his future self does whatever he plans on doing to prepare her body for long term preservation.

See this quote from chapter 91 set right after Harry exits the room where her body is stored:

When the door opened again, Harry seemed to have changed, as though that minute and a half had passed over the course of lifetimes.

That "lifetime" is more specifically 6 hours.

0Intrism11y
"Lifetimes" could also be literal (though this is a bit dubious considering that it's from McGonagall's POV) - perhaps Harry managed to reanimate Hermione for multiple brief periods? Or, perhaps Harry experimented with animating, killing, or reanimating other, smaller creatures?
1lfghjkl11y
I highly doubt that he would mess around with her body more than necessary. He knows that he doesn't yet have the knowledge or power to resurrect her, and any experimenting will have to be done when there isn't a limited time-frame to stop her body from deteriorating further. My current best guess as to what happened in that room is that Harry spent a good deal of time transfiguring her body into an element so stable, that the atoms won't move around "too much" in the days/weeks/months/years he would need before being able to resurrect her. He then transfigured a replacement body from some dirt lying around. It's also possible that he just transfigured her brain into this element and just left the rest of her body as it is.
0linkhyrule511y
Alternatively, he could have simply entered the room and watched the room for six hours, perhaps while random-walking. By doing so, he ensures that the only observer he needs to worry about himself, so that far-future Harry can plan a time travel trip in security.
7lfghjkl11y
I highly doubt he would do that as well, given that there is no known method to travel further than 6 hours back in time. He would not base his entire "save Hermione" plan on a hope that he could somehow find a way around this constraint. What he does at this very moment should exclude as few plans to save her as possible, and not preserving her brain would exclude almost all of them. Also, given how time travel works in this story, the only thing he would achieve with this is making it impossible for future Harry to do any changes at all to Hermione's body in these 6 hours (since he can only "change" what he doesn't know).
0linkhyrule511y
The former is granted; better to be sure. (Though any trick that can overcome information-theoretic death has a decent chance of allowing arbitrary time travel anyway.) The latter, however, is easily dealt with: show up under the Invisibility Cloak, hit his past self with some variant of the Confundus Charm. Since he's watched the entire 6 hours, he can be certain this will be sufficient. ... except he can't, because someone else could've pulled the same trick. Nevermind; retracted.
3lfghjkl11y
I do not see how that would follow at all, could you please explain? Dumbledore has already told Harry that he tried a variant of this once and that it didn't work. "Time" didn't like that. See this quote from chapter 90: This should at the very least be considered weak evidence to not "mess with time" in the way you're suggesting, and Harry will not go for a plan when he only has evidence against it being the best solution (this + time travel is constrained to 6 hours + not preserving her brain will make "easier" plans to save her impossible). This is not how time-travel works in this story, he doesn't need to watch her to do it. The less he knows about the situation the more he can "change" it, so the absolute smartest thing he could do if he planned this is to stay as far away from her body as possible.
2linkhyrule511y
Reversing information-theoretic death is fundamentally the problem of taking a bunch of atoms in random configurations and getting a person out of it - and not just any person, a particular person about whom you no longer have any data whatsoever. This problem is fundamentally equivalent to time travel: if you can time travel, you can just go back and copy the original, and if you can reverse information-theoretic death, you can "resurrect" the visible universe at whatever time and put yourself in, essentially, a simulation of a prior time. Actually, there's a stronger example from the Standford Prison Experiment arc, which is why I already retracted this point. (Though why it doesn't work is still a legitimate and interesting question.)
1NancyLebovitz11y
A person is a good bit smaller than the visible universe.
1linkhyrule511y
Well, yes. But that's a practical/engineering problem. It is a useful and interesting fact that you can simulate any computer and execute any game by using a Conway's Game of Life Board of sufficient size; this does not mean that making a square-kilometer Board and hiring a few million people to update it is at all practical.
-1Decius11y
The machine required to make the universe would be larger than the universe; the machine to make a brain or person need only be bigger than the person. There's a qualitative difference at some point along the line.
1linkhyrule511y
Not at all. Humans are much smaller than skyscrapers, but we can design, simulate, and build skyscrapers.
-1Decius11y
I think you meant to say that humans can operate machinery which can do those things. The crane must be taller than the skyscraper, but we can't design a crane large enough to lift the counterbalance for a space elevator, much less actual stellar-scale engineering. There's a qualitative difference somewhere between a skyscraper and the altitudes of stable orbits.
1linkhyrule511y
... No? Intelligence and creativity can replace brute force. You don't need a crane taller than a skyscraper, you just need to get taller than the skyscraper somehow - a skycrane, a ladder made of constructor robots, a collapsible crane taller than a single floor that you carry from floor to floor, so on. You definitely don't need a crane for a space elevator, you use a rocket.
0Decius11y
Now build a skyscraper with a rocket; the two are qualitatively different. Making a person is qualitatively different from making a planet, which is qualitatively different from making a galaxy, which is qualitatively different from making a universe.
0linkhyrule511y
... Okay, so we're talking past each other. Define "qualitatively different," please.
0Decius11y
Two things are qualitatively different if no amount of either one can serve as a viable substitute for the other; TNT and U-235 are qualitatively different explosives mostly because TNT does not generate neutrons. The construction project that makes a planet be scaled down to make one person, and the project which makes a galaxy cannot be scaled down to make a planet even though creating galaxies involves creating planets: The process by which a galaxy is created cannot be scaled down to make a single planet.
0linkhyrule511y
Oh, I see. Fair enough. When I say that two processes are identical, I'm talking about a theoretical or mathematical identity, not a practical identity. If you can reverse information-theoretical death, then, at least in theory, time travel is possible; he same device may not be able to do both, but the one implies the other.
0lfghjkl11y
I agree that if you solve time travel you can also solve death, but the other implication does not hold. A possible way for Harry to "resurrect" Hermione is to scan her brain, run it through an error-correcting algorithm (to reduce/remove errors introduced from decay and it being transfigured) and then "print out" a brain that is arbitrarily similar to Hermione's brain at the moment of her death. This will of course depend on the amount of computing power available to Harry, but since he is already "destined" to tear apart the stars, that will probably not be a problem. It'll also require some "minor" scientific breakthroughs. Now, I am not at all saying that this is Harry's plan to resurrect her (In fact I suspect his plan to be very different from this), I am merely providing an example for how you can "restore" someone who is dead without being capable of time travel.
0linkhyrule511y
By definition, however, an information-theoretic death means that such an error-correction scheme would be impossible; such a machine would require knowledge that, by the Uncertainty Principle, cannot be attained. Thus, if you did have that capability regardless, it could then be used to rewind an arbitrary section of the universe to an arbitrary time, which is equivalent to time travel.
2lfghjkl11y
Ok, now we're just talking past each other. Just googled the term "information-theoretic death" and got the following definition from wikipedia: This is obviously the situation that Harry has to avoid. If his plan was: 1. Allow Hermione's brain to decay so much that it becomes theoretically impossible to restore it. 2. Do something theoretically impossible. Then his plan is just wrong.
1linkhyrule511y
Information-theoretic death implies the absence of time travel. With time travel, the concept is nonsensical.
0lfghjkl11y
Well, that would depend entirely on whether or not time travel beyond 6 hours into the past is possible. So, in other words, it's time travel arbitrarily far back in time that would make this term nonsensical.
2FiftyTwo11y
The answer s much simpler I think. He has precommitted to stay there until dinner, but the process of thining over his failures is deeply emotionally unpleasant so he really wants it to be over.
5Ritalin11y
One point for parsimony. Minus one point for failure to properly model the character.
1buybuydandavis11y
Nice idea. If Harry wanted to do something rash to get Hermione back, messing with the Time Turner would be considered "rash". Also, Harry did conveniently manage to get his time turner unsheathed. Harry tries something with his time turner. Harry gets a note - "Don't." Harry writes on the note, "Give Hermione back, or kiss my ass - take your pick."

I think we are now well past Ender and on to Ender after the buggers kill Valentine.

Any creative souls want to imagine how this omake would go?

7linkhyrule511y
On a side note, this probably should've really, really worried Michael. ... For that matter, it probably did.
0tgb11y
V jbaqre vs Ryvrmre vapyhqrq guvf (naq cbffvoyl bguref) nf n jnl bs znxvat gur ernqre hapregnva bs nal fcbvyre-evqqra ersreraprf ur cynprf guebhtubhg gur grkg. Abj V pna fgvyy uneobe hapregnvagl vs RL unf Uneel gnyx nobhg Nanxva orpbzr Qnegu Inqre.

For the foreshadowing pile:

Chapter 20 (on the Pioneer plaque):

"So I am going to violate rule two - which was simply 'don't brag' - and tell you about something I have done. I don't see how the knowledge could do any harm. And I strongly suspect you would have figured it out anyway, once we knew each other well enough."

Chapter 46:

"Tell me, Mr. Potter, if you wanted to lose something where no one would ever find it again, where would you put it?"

Harry considered this question. "I suppose I shouldn't ask what you've found that needs losing -"

"Quite," said Professor Quirrell, as Harry had expected; and then, "Perhaps you will be told when you are older," which Harry hadn't.

Edit: Chapter 49:

"One might even regret your infant self's victory," said Professor Quirrell. His smile twisted. "If only You-Know-Who had lived, you might have persuaded him to teach you some of the knowledge that would have been your heritage, from one Heir of Slytherin to another." The smile twisted further, as though to mock the obvious impossibility, even given the premise.

[-]elharo11y160

"Harry Verres"? What happened to "James Potter Evans"? I'm not sure what this means but I don't think EY is such a careless author that it means nothing. Maybe it's just intended to emphasize Harry's connection to his adoptive parents, but just maybe...

Is anyone else suddenly wondering what really happened to James Potter and Lily Evans 10 years prior? Have we seen their bodies? Harry "remembered" their deaths while demented, but given the emphasis on false memory charms in this story, that's not reliable. And we still don't know exactly why the Remembrall lit up when Harry grabbed it.

Unlike Potter and Evans, Verres is a name with no connection to the wizarding world.

0[anonymous]11y
It has as much connection as Evans, I should think.

Has anyone else noticed that Quirrell knew James Potter?

"James Potter," said Professor Quirrell, his eyes narrowing. "The boy is not much like James Potter.

[-]robryk11y160

No, this means that the person Quirrell is pretending to be knew James Potter. So, either Quirrell's image of David Monroe knew James or Quirrell is inserting an inconsistency.

8Nornagest11y
That doesn't seem likely to be an inconsistency to me. James (and Lily) Potter were members of the Order of the Phoenix during the last war. I don't recall David Monroe being a member of that group in this continuity, but he was an active member of the opposition. It stands to reason that moderately important opposition figures would have known each other, especially since there seem to have been relatively few people actively involved in the war on either side.
9gwern11y
Moody's wording in ch86 seems to imply the Order may not have even existed before Monroe 'died': (Although you could argue that Monroe had formed and was the head of the Order, and that is what Moody meant.)
6DanArmak11y
Then it's less likely that it would have been called the order of the Phoenix.

If Quirrell is Voldemort, which is more or less a foregone conclusion at this point, then James and Lily are "those who have thrice defied him". It seems natural to assume that he would know a certain amount about them. He also observed James's behaviour in the face of mortal danger to him and his family, which I imagine tells you a lot about a person.

0solipsist11y
The boy is not much like David Cameron either. I haven't met David Cameron, but still feel qualified to make that assertion.
4Intrism11y
James Potter was not a David Cameron-level celebrity before his death; even if he were a celebrity, I strongly doubt that one could understand his reasoning processes from only what was reported in the Daily Prophet.

The "soulsplosion," in Hermione's death, was extremely hard to miss. But it was notably absent in a previous wizarding death we supposedly witnessed: Harry's mother's death. This has provided some unexpected confirmatory evidence for an old pet theory of mine: that Harry's memory of his parents' death was faked. I can only assume someone else brought a similar theory up around here before, so I won't go into too much detail.

If it were a false memory, though, why would the soulsplosion be missing? Well, we get an answer for that in Chapter 86: some things can't be adequately faked in false memories. If whoever created the false memory had included a false wizard's death, Harry might have wondered what exactly the strange light show was; if he had researched it, he might have realized that what he remembered was faked. But Harry had never seen a wizard die before; an omitted soulsplosion would therefore arouse no suspicions, whereas a faked one might. Hence there was none.

8knb11y
There is no reason to believe the burst of magical energy happens in every magical death. It could be something that only happens under particular circumstances, or for particular types of wizards/witches. For example, the killing curse might kill people too quickly for them to understand that they are dying. Another possibility is that it can only be perceived under certain circumstances.

For example, the killing curse might kill people too quickly for them to understand that they are dying.

Or the Killing Curse destroys the soul (as does the Dementor's Kiss), whereas bleeding to death merely releases it from the body.

A test: Are there any ghosts of people killed by Avada Kedavra? Ghosts are noted as being only echoes of the dead person — but if they are echoes formed by the release of an intact soul, then there would not be one for anyone killed in a way that consumes the soul, such as Avada Kedavra or the Dementor's Kiss.

(I can't think of any in canon. The four House Ghosts were all killed by mundane means, and Moaning Myrtle by a basilisk's stare.)

6kilobug11y
Do the temporary ghosts of resurrection stone and "priori incantatem" count for you ? That could only work if "permanent" ghosts are really made from souls (Dumbledore hypothesis), but the temporary ghosts are made from memories (HJPEV hypothesis). While it's not impossible to have both mechanism, Occam's razor gives it a low prior, I would more suspect the same mechanism behind both.
0Desrtopa11y
In the original HP canon, people killed by AK appeared to Harry near the end of the last book, when he ambiguously crosses over into the afterlife.

McGonagall tells Harry that the Killing Curse "strikes at the soul, severing it from the body".

5Desrtopa11y
On the other hand, Quirrell says that it will "instantly kill anything with a brain." I'd be careful about assigning too much evidence to McGonagall's pronouncement, since it's likely that she doesn't really have the information necessary to isolate that conclusion.
0Intrism11y
Well, looks like that objection is dealt with.
0[anonymous]11y
How did this get here?
7DanArmak11y
Or that it's detected via one's magical sense, and baby-Harry didn't have it properly developed yet.
4Intrism11y
That hypothesis is one that I considered. However, Harry can see every other magical effect just fine; he has no problem with the Avada Kedavra or any of Voldemort's special effects. Of course, if the memory is real, it must have been stored magically, and "enough magic to record magical memories but not enough to see the special effects" sounds like a very specific level of magic. The AK rebound, if it actually happened, may also indicate that Harry had enough magic for his resonance with Quirrell.
3DanArmak11y
He doesn't see anything a Muggle wouldn't see. There's no reason to think the green light part of Avada Kedavra is magical.
2JoshuaZ11y
In canon, it seems to be visible. to Muggles. The scene where Voldemort kills the Riddle House caretaker seems to imply that (although not fully since it turns out we are getting the scene from Harry's mental connection to Voldemort).
0Intrism11y
I might accept that if it weren't for the fact that I have plenty of other good reasons to suspect that particular memory. This piece of evidence, like any other, isn't conclusive. But it certainly helps. (Also, all of your qualifiers incur some complexity penalty, particularly "types of wizards.")
[-]ygert11y150

So, what did Harry do in that minute and a half he had with Hermione's body?

My best guess is that he transfigured her body into something, then transfigured something else into a copy of her body. Either that or he just used partial transfiguration on her brain and left the rest of the body behind as unimportant.

It's just not like Harry to just abandon his efforts to preserve her body, especially after he took care to keep it cold. If he has her brain transfigured into a coin or something, that should suffice as a preservation method.

You'll notice that he made sure no-one went in the room for several hours, during which he had his Time-Turner unlocked. He then went in there himself.

3ygert11y
That doesn't explain what the past him was doing. Had six hours past between the troll attack and then? Even if not, it seems a wast of time to sit for awhile and just waste time when he could have done his traveling back immediately after his time-turner was unlocked.

I think Harry spent the time sitting in front of the room planning what he was going to do to revive Hermione, because what went wrong when he got her killed was largely due to time constraints. It is explicitly stated that he was there for hours, and Minerva says it looks like years have passed when he comes out. So, I also think that whatever Harry planned, and then tried for several hours, did not work, and he came out with Hermione still dead. He is saying that there is nothing left to plan at the beginning of 92, whereas after he cools Hermione he thinks that he now has time to think. That strongly suggests he thought, tried the plan, and it failed.

On the other hand, Minerva has been told explicitly that people have generally not done everything they can, teaches Transfiguration, and quite definitely feels terrible over Hermione's death. She is also free to use the Time-Turner. So, yes, I also think she went back, Transfigured herself into Hermione, and let herself be killed, as that was, by that point, the only way to save Hermione's life. She probably borrowed Harry's invisibility cloak to hide Hermione from all the people who mustn't know that she is still alive if she is t... (read more)

I don't know about the feminists, but I'd be happier if there were more than one female rationalist in the story. And I'd definitely be interested to see a rationalist Minerva taking part rather than dead.

One trope I've gotten very tired of is the character who becomes much wiser and/or better and then dies almost immediately. I want to see how the improved version handles their life.

A rationalist Minerva would be great, but I must admit my scepticism of how far she can get. She has a lot to unlearn compared to someone like Hermione, and her only potential mentors are Harry (who has too much else on his mind) and Quirrell (who is Quirrell).

9edkeyes11y
The likelihood of this theory is definitely boosted by "Hermione's" last words, as that's exactly the message that a disguised McG would want to give him.
2gwern11y
...it is? So you're saying Hermione would, as she lay dying, want to tell Harry it was all his fault?
4faul_sname11y
No, edkeyes is saying that McG would have a higher chance of saying that if she were dying than Hermione would have of saying that if she were dying. Hermione might want to say something completely unrelated.
8jefftk11y
If we're thinking of who else might have been in Hermione's place, McGonagall only kind of fits: "There was a burst of something that was magic and also more, a shout louder than an earthquake and containing a thousand books, a thousand libraries, all spoken in a single cry that was Hermione; too vast to be understood, except that Harry suddenly knew that Hermione had whited out the pain, and was glad not to be dying alone." That's a very Ravenclaw way to die. Who fits better?
4[anonymous]11y
Any member of the Verres family.
7Ambition11y
Harry told his patronus to specifically seek out Hermione, which lead him to the Troll. He also got a response back of "AHHHHHHHHHH", which seems suspicious enough, but not completely solid evidence. These details don't seem to match up with the idea that somebody else died in Hermione's place. I think we are meant to assume that Hermione did die, or at least experienced something close enough to death that Dumbledore was alerted.

Seeing a glowing super bright human patronus for the first time might be enough to get an ' "AHHHHHHHHHH"'

4Decius11y
While stunned, under an invisibility cloak, watching someone transfigured into you die...
3Ambition11y
Fair point.
5maia11y
I think this theory is cool, and sort of hope that this is what happened. But... Dumbledore says he felt a student die. Whatever magical detection he uses for this probably wouldn't trigger for Polyjuiced McGonagall.
[-][anonymous]11y180

I bet the Deputy Headmistress can enroll students at will.

1drethelin11y
Unless she told him what her plan was before he encountered harry.
1Velorien11y
What about Transfiguration, which is what davidchart talks about? If you are literally becoming another copy of an existing student, perhaps this interacts with the wards differently than merely drinking a potion that alters your appearance. (Yes, transfiguring yourself into another living being is fatal, but not straight away, and this is a suicide mission)
2Username11y
Mcgonagal would have to have someone else transfigure her, or else the spell would end when she dies. (Perhaps dumbledore? Not sure he would go for it.) Polyjuice would be another approach, but it wears off after an hour, so dumbledore would have to do another body swap after Hermione/mcgonagal is killed. Again, not sure he would go for it. Who else? Quirrel might be desperate enough. Snape is loose but I don't see him going for it. So several things would have to fall into place but the plot buildup is definitely there.
5davidchart11y
Wasn't there a story about someone who accidentally Polyjuiced herself into a cat and, instead of getting help, hid from the teachers, so she got stuck cat-like? McGonagall could turn into a cat and Polyjuice herself into Hermione from that state, to get the effect deliberately. The waxy, doll-like appearance could be a side-effect of deliberately botched Polyjuice. Or... Hermione could Transfigure McGonagall. Hard, but quite possibly just within her capabilities, with guidance. The ward message is a problem, but, as jaibot suggested, maybe McGonagall enrolled herself as a student. Or maybe the wards sound the same for students and teachers, and Dumbledore interpreted it when he saw "Hermione" dead. The description of the death scene is Harry's interpretation, not objective truth. At this point in the narrative, I can add epicycles to deal with the problems, which is just as it should be. It is a beautiful theory (and my baby!), and I still have a few hours before the really ugly facts show up. Edit: And here they are. The tragedy of theories strikes again…
2gwern11y
My condolences. It really was a nice way to save Hermione.

It doesn't explain what he was doing, but it does mean he has a lot longer than one and a half minutes to do it.

5ygert11y
I see what you mean. Good catch. That broadens up the possibilities a bit. In any case, he almost certainly was doing something to preserve Hermione's body. He certainly wouldn't just abandon it like that.
-2davidchart11y
Hmm, it looks like the first version of this did break a convention, and a strikethru won't stop it annoying people, so let's edit it as well and put a new post up.
9gjm11y
On the one hand, some things make it look like he did something of great significance there. (Which is why this subthread is happening at all.) On the other hand, ch.92 seems to show Harry, from his own point of view, at least convinced that Hermione is lost-and-gone-for-ever and that there's nothing he can do about it. Which means that either Eliezer is deceiving his readers in ways I think he wouldn't, or Harry has managed to memory-charm himself, or he hasn't done anything that (from his own perspective) gives a substantial chance of saving or recovering her. The first two of those three options seem pretty unlikely to me.
5linkhyrule511y
It strikes me that Harry just asked how to use Memory Charms, and he has access to a time turner...
4NancyLebovitz11y
Would it make more sense to just save her brain instead of saving her whole body?
8William_Quixote11y
Figuring out how to resurrect the dead will be hard enough. Figuring out the way the brain connects to the body and reconnecting all the individual nerve connections makes the challenge much harder. I'm not sure we know all the connections even now with much better technology and decades of additional scholarship. Saving just the brain makes the problem much harder. Keep in mind that the reasons actual cryo sites offer brain only options has a lot to to with cost, storage, transport, etc and not due to thinking its a fundamentally better option.
[-]gwern11y130

a fundamentally better option.

But it is fundamentally better: the smaller the volume you are trying to vitrify, the better the process works because the greater surface area is compared to volume, and so you get faster and more even cooling (and in humans, you get problems with circulation getting blocked off after a certain point). Go read through http://chronopause.com/ . This is why you can drop small things into LN2 and they recover fine, or why Fahy could do a kidney and bring it back, but why we can't do larger things.

2Decius11y
Those are instrumentally better reasons, not fundamentally better.
4Ishaan11y
I study neuroscience. You may know something I don't, but I think body transplants would be a lot easier than resurrecting the dead, as long as you save the first few sections of the spinal chord as well - repairing broken spinal chords, albeit imperfectly, is somewhat in the realm of current technology. If we're talking magic, I don't think spinal chord injuries would even be a big deal. Edit: never mind everything written below about the freezing I was quite disappointed when Harry just froze her like that. The rapidly expanding ice will destroy much of her data - in real cryonics you pump 'em full of antifreeze to prevent this. Even if he revives her, she might not quite be the same now. He should have transfigured her head into a small crystalline structure and later found some way to securely maintain the spell (and if no one knows he did it, the pesky authorities won't try to take off the spell).
9Intrism11y
Harry didn't freeze her. He cooled her to 5° Celsius, equivalent to 41° Fahrenheit and well above the freezing point.
3Ishaan11y
Oops...somehow my imagination inserted freezing! In that case, he really aught to contact a team of muggle and wizard doctors and have them swap knowledge immediately...(might be too risky for other reasons, of course)
2TobyBartels11y
Or your mind read Fahrenheit instead of Celsius. I originally thought that he froze her until I read more carefully. (This is presumably a risk primarily for American readers.)
2jefftk11y
Definitely. There's been some news around this: HEAVEN: The head anastomosis venture Project outline for the first human head transplantation with spinal linkage (GEMINI.
2William_Quixote11y
I don't think think I know anything you don't. It's possible I just have a dated conception of how hard it is to repair severed nerves.
0ygert11y
Yeah, on reflection that branch of my theory looks more likely.

... Snape was not in the list of people told to deflect Harry from questions about spell creation.

Canon Snape both created spells and had some of Voldemort's hoarded lore.

And Harry does not know this. Or at least, we have no reason to believe that he does, and the fact that he didn't ask Snape about either seems like further evidence that he doesn't know (although, he knows that Snape did not resurrect Lillie, so might not have thought it worth pursuing).

I suppose this information is more frustrating than useful, since I don't expect Harry to be learning that Snape is a potential resource for anything that the Defense Professor deflects him from. (Well, so is Dumbledore, but we know how Dumbledore feels about it.)

6Desrtopa11y
He also doesn't particularly trust Snape; Snape is still on his list of potential suspects. Of course, Quirrell is also high on his list, but having already become part of (in a sense, the entirety of) his inner circle, it's hard to kick him out again.
1DanielLC11y
Snape is a professor. Why wouldn't he ask Snape? He obviously can't ask everyone, but I'd expect he'd at least ask the professors, some of the more promising students, and any student who seems to create a spell. And maybe all of Hogwarts.

Possible legilimency episode during Quirrell's tirade to McGonagall:

"You." Professor Quirrell spun, and she found herself gazing directly into eyes of icy blue.

...

A wordless image crossed her mind of a patch of glass on a steel ball.

This could be Quirrell finding out about Harry's partial transfiguration. More likely, it is nothing.

4Spurlock11y
I like this theory. But it's worth noting that Moody claimed that Voldemort could legilimens without making eye contact. EY seems pretty big on Conservation of Detail, so there's a good chance that this will turn out to be important. Of course, Conservation of Detail also weighs in favor of this eye-locking episode being important, so I suppose it could go either way. Or both: perhaps sightless legilimency is handicap-inducing like wandless magic, so eye contact might be required to read a witch as powerful as Minerva.
0Sheaman377311y
He already had a clue in the form of the hole Harry had transfigured in the wall of the Azkaban.

Two small points:

  1. Chapter 91 was creepy, especially when I tried imagining 11 year old Daniel Radcliffe speaking Harry's dialog. There will probably never be a live-action HPMOR.
  2. I'm really impressed with how Quirrellmort is being written here. I expected him to start being somewhat unsubtle at this point, but I was wrong and he's being more subtle than ever.
2TobyBartels11y
I usually imagine rational!harry as 20-year-old Daniel Radcliffe. Try as I might, I just can't imagine him as an 11-year-old. The few occasions when the story thrusts his age to my attention are always jarring.

"I am smarter than you. I think faster than you. I am more experienced than you. But the gap between the two of us is not the same as the gap between us and them. If you can miss something, then so can I."

Did somebody just get marked as an equal here is that it?

1TobyBartels11y
Not yet, but the gap is small.
[-][anonymous]11y80

I'm actually starting to believe Eric_M_S is right, and Harry might use the resurrection ritual - blood of the foe, bone of the ancestor, flesh of the servant. No, I don't know how he'd source Draco's blood, Quirrell being out of the question, and the bone is a tall order as well, even with both parents at Hogwarts and Harry apparently about to learn the Obliviation spell. Perhaps a tooth will do? They are dentists...

But it's still a wonderful idea, because it pays off the story's Star Wars references, in particular the comparison of Neville to Darth Vader... (read more)

8Velorien11y
Truly awesome though that wouuld be, as others pointed out in the thread you link, there's no reason to believe that said ritual works on the properly dead. Furthermore, think about the implications if it did work - everyone who knows about it, including all Death Eaters, would have those three items readied in case of their unexpected demise, and would thus be functionally invincible.
3DanielLC11y
I don't see why bone would be difficult, given that it doesn't have to be taken from a living ancestor. Not unless Dumbledore prepared for this and warded their graves.
1[anonymous]11y
Harry's unable to leave Hogwarts. There could be ways around the restriction, but they add complexity to the solution. ETA: Which, to be clear, looks completely unworkable on its in-universe merits. The real problem is that Harry's never heard a full description of the ritual, neither Dumbledore nor Voldemort would give him one, and Voldemort would have stolen the book that contains it.
-4Velorien11y
Then again, it could be "bone of a living ancestor, unknowingly bequeathed". Now we know why Madam Pomfrey's the one in charge of the Grangers...
9Alsadius11y
Voldemort's father's bone is sufficient in canon. Tom Riddle Sr. is long dead.
2DanielLC11y
Then why would they have been poisoning the bones of Voldemort's dead ancestors?
1[anonymous]11y
Maybe, though I don't think teeth have any actual bone in them. But I'm sure a pinky toe wouldn't be missed. Not so much as one's child, anyway.
1[anonymous]11y
I don't think teeth have any bone in them either. I'm perplexed by the number of serious criticisms this comment has received. I was telling a joke. Does it not read like one?
2[anonymous]11y
Not really, but all of the responses sound friendly to me. Mine certainly was.
0ChristianKl11y
Is there anyone who qualifies as a servent for Hermoine? As far as foes go, the troll might be viable.
0Luke_A_Somers11y
Harry himself could be viable too... not the best, but could work. Also, where's the philosopher's stone? That was supposed to be the best way, in canon.
0Velorien11y
Still in the third-floor corridor, as far as we know. But while we know it can extend life (and in canon, you have to keep brewing and taking Elixir of Youth for that to work), there's no hint that it can bring back the dead.
2Luke_A_Somers11y
Not the dead-as-a-doornail, on its own - but given that it was Voldemort's preferred method, it seems like something that continues to be relevant after some form of death. Could come in handy in some way.
2Velorien11y
It might work as part of a two-step resurrection process, with the first step being to get Hermione as alive as the shade of Voldemort was in canon. Of course, that would rely on the existence of souls, which Harry does not believe in.

What does anyone make of Quirrel's claim to be David Monroe?

It means that it's confirmed that Quirrell wants people to think he's secretly David Monroe. I'd be wary of drawing any other conclusions, though it does seem more likely that Quirrell pretended to be Monroe during the war.

2Velorien11y
Do you mean in general, or in Chapter 92?
2NancyLebovitz11y
In Chapter 92.

I have no theories yet. I did, however, just come across the following in my re-reading (chapter 60):

The Defense Professor's eyes were still in shadow, dark pits that could not be met. "Call it a whim, Mr. Potter. It has sometimes amused me to play the part of a hero. Who knows but that You-Know-Who would say the same."

Do we actually know (or strongly suspect) why Dumbledore hired Quirrell? It seems like when hiring a Defense Professor, "you may not investigate my true identity" should be a red light on the scale of a supernova, and Dumbledore may or may not be insane, but he is not stupid, and he's certainly never shown any sign of trusting Quirrell.

Probably because Quirrell is insanely good at being a Defense Professor. After a long string of incompetents, I might be willing to overlook a little "obviously evil" if it meant getting the best Defense Professor in a century.

[-]ygert11y130

It is impossible to hire good Defense Professors. Full Stop. The position is heavily cursed, and anyone who takes it leaves within the year. Practically no one will take the post in the position. Under these circumstances, if someone is willing to be the defense professor, well, that means Hogwarts has a defense professor this year. Again, this is a job no one wants after all these years of mishaps befalling the defense professors, like clockwork, every year.

9Velorien11y
I know it would defuse the whole dramatic potential of the thing, but has the wizarding world really not heard of one-year contracts? After all, there seems to be no rule that the professor has to leave due to harm coming to him or her, and many appear to leave due to circumstances set in motion before their arrival (like pre-existing incompetence).
4Sheaman377311y
Moody did have a one-year contract--when he introduces himself to the classroom, he says he'll only be there for the year. And yet he didn't exactly get off free and easy, either.
2gwern11y
Ah, but that was the fake Moody - nothing he says can be trusted. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!
2Sheaman377311y
An open lie, which could easily get back to the headmaster ("why can't the cool Auror guy stay for more than one year?") would be an exceedingly foolish way to start the year. Amusing nevertheless.
4Alsadius11y
Lupin, Umbridge, and Snape all survive their terms as Defence professor essentially intact. One is drummed out by PR pressure, and two get promotions. Out of six total, that's not an awful record.
2Sheaman377311y
...what? Lupin was publicly outed as the wizarding version of a leper, if every leper was considered a serial killer, and this information that will not become secret again later. If he was having trouble keeping himself employed before... Umbridge was freaking gang-raped by centaurs, traumatizing her. I mean, she got better and did get a nice position later, but...jeez. Snape did survive a whole extra year, that's true, but then he died. By the hand of the same person who implemented the curse, by the by. It could be a coincidence...but maybe not.
0Alsadius11y
Lupin seems to have done okay. Yeah, being outed is unpleasant, but it doesn't seem to have really affected him. Umbridge...well, I have difficulty believing that even Voldemort would include bestial gang-rape as part of a curse. And while it is again something I wouldn't want to have happen(to put it lightly), she doesn't seem the worse for wear - she's not any crazier after than before. The Snape angle is interesting, though - I never thought of it that way.
2Sheaman377311y
I assumed he kept working for Dumbledore, via the Order of the Phoenix. At the very least, after Voldemort did rise again. He certainly was being kept busy enough by them from the 5th year on. I don't really have this difficulty, but alright. I doubt he specified anything in the casting--it could be as simple as "they leave the position before the end of the year in a manner that makes them feel regret." Snape would certainly regret having to kill Dumbledore. I know, the levels of Umbridge's trauma at the end of 5th year is inconsistent with how she was seen later. I thought that mental magics were involved, but I admit it's speculative.
3DanielLC11y
I've seen a fanfic where they started using that loophole.
7Ben Pace11y
Why doesn't Dumbledore just diffuse the responsibility? Have battles like the current ones run by different teachers throughout the year, and also have each teacher, in their own lessons, teach a bit more practically about their spells? Or is a tradition thing, like the snitch? Will people not let Dumbledore get rid of Defence Against the Dark Arts, even though it means their children won't learn anything?

A risky plan. What if dividing the subject among 20 profs made all 20 of them subject to the curse and lost the entire faculty? In the wizarding world, messing with things you don't understand extremely well can be dangerous.

That's a very good point I hadn't considered.

I wonder if Dumbledore has actually done any experimenting over the last 50 years, like the one-year contracts I suggest downthread, or having two staff members rotate responsibility each year (and teach something innocuous like Muggle Studies in the meantime).

A also wonder what kind of curse would have such an incredibly powerful effect, and whether Voldemort could have used a scaled-down version of it to, say, get Dumbledore out of the headmaster position. Bearing in mind the original curse was cast before Voldemort had even achieved his full power.

1hairyfigment11y
In canon, we have some reason to believe Voldemort cast a literal curse on the position long ago. In MOR, we have little reason to believe Voldemort ever lost his original body, and almost no reason to think that he's been a powerless ghost.
3Velorien11y
It would be very hard to implement. Hogwarts only seems to have one teacher per subject, and many of those have given no sign of usefulness outside their own subject area (Hooch, Sprout, Sinistra) or indeed within it (Binns, Trelawney). They would struggle to take on the content of the DADA curriculum even collectively. We do know that some past defense professors have been effective even during just one year - Tonks is considered Auror material, for example, and she didn't pick all of that up from Quirrell. So abolishing the subject would be a step too far, not to mention that it would lead Hogwarts into conflict with the Ministry for failing to follow the national curriculum.
7Fuyu11y
I thought that was because Tonks trained under Moody? "Sign up for the Auror preparation program in your sixth year," said Susan. "It's the next best thing. Oh, and if a famous Auror (assumed it was referring to Moody?) offers to oversee your summer internship, just ignore anyone who warns you that he's a terrible influence or that you're almost certainly going to die."

Yes, but one assumes that Moody doesn't offer to oversee someone's summer internship unless they've really impressed him.

She is a born shapeshifter. Of the line of Black. Moody offered to oversee that internship to learn who she was, because it would be fracking stupid not to. Finding out that Tonks is astonishingly decent people must have been the best news Moody got in decades.

1drethelin11y
Being sinister and secretive is also a common Slytherin behavior, and they're not ALL evil. It's also possible he thinks he hired an incognito David Munroe.
1kilobug11y
Dumbledore seems quiet desperate to find a Defense professor, so much he'll accept about anyone (except Snape, but I guess that's because he wants to keep Snape in Hogwarts for more than one year), both in canon and in MoR. He keeps a close eye on the defense professor then (or at least, he does in MoR, he didn't seem to do it much in canon).

The story looks more and more like it will end with Harry destroying the whole world. It would highlite the existential risk that comes from scientists who try to do everything in their power.

I'm expecting a positive ending for a few reasons, one of which is that since this is rationality propaganda I doubt Eliezer wants to portray Harry's super-rationality as having ultimately bad results.

6ChristianKl11y
It's rationality propaganda that isn't supposed to encourage people to accelerate the way to unfriendly AI but rationality propaganda that is supposed to prevent unfriendly AI from happening. As far as the story goes, Harry is very rational but Quirrell is on a level where he outplays Harry. In the end Harry is a bit a projection of how Eliezer sees his own childhold self. On the one hand Eliezer was very smart and rational. On the other hand he was delusional because he didn't take unfriendly AI seriously as something that can actually happen in reality. A little bit of knowledge is dangerous. Creating people with enough rationality to do damage but not enough rationality to see the dangers of the whole enterprise isn't in the interests of MIRI. If the reader learns that just being rational doesn't mean that you and that you better think before you mess with powers outside your control like an AGI, Eliezer teaches a very valuable lesson. The hero always wins isn't a rationality lesson. ---------------------------------------- As far evidence in the story goes, Harry is rational because Petunia got a beauty portion from her sister. He sister got told from a centaur that the world would end when she gave Petunia the portion. It's in chapter 1. (edit: I first mistakenly wrote chapter 10) Now we have "HE IS HERE. THE ONE WHO WILL TEAR APART THE VERY STARS IN HEAVEN. HE IS HERE. HE IS THE END OF THE WORLD." at the end of chapter 89. Quirrelmort takes it extremly seriously. He makes a point that when he was hypersmart Voldemort, he respected some sensible boundaries. Quirrelmort is the person who fears that scientists will destroy the earth. He shares the fear to which Eliezer pledged his life.
-1Velorien11y
- You're conflating two different reasons there. Also, Lily was not stupid. I find it hard to believe that she could receive an apocalypse prophecy and not share it with Dumbledore at the very least. There is no evidence whatsoever that Dumbledore is aware of a prophecy connecting Harry to the end of the world. Edit: Also, having gone through Chapter 10, I can't see anything there which supports your theory.
3DanArmak11y
Dumbledore knew something we don't because he secretly helped Lily make a highly dangerous potion in the first place!
0Velorien11y
Why do you say Dumbledore helped Lily make the potion? Lily was a rising star of Potions herself.
[-]Atelos11y120

When Dumbledore showed Harry the comments he made in her potions textbook the potion he was commenting on was the Potion of Eagle's Splendor, which is the potion for an increase in the Charisma stat (which technically doesn't have to involve appearance but is often considered correlated with it) in 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons.

ETA: The other things which makes it more suggestive is that the potion Petunia took was dangerous or rare, else more witches would also have permanently improved their appearance, and a normal potion listed in the standard 5th year text presumably wouldn't be; The suggestion presented was thestral blood, thestral blood was implied to have a role in the permanence of the Cloak and as Harry deduced that potions making isn't creating magic but reshaping that which is there some component in Petunias potion must have an association with Permanence.

6Velorien11y
I know the blood is used to mark the Deathly Hallow symbol on the Cloak, but could you remind me where it says this relates to permanence? I rather assumed that, since thestrals are invisible to all those who have not seen and comprehended death, the relevance of thestral blood was to do with death and/or hiding from it. I really really wish I could believe that, but I can't, not in the wizarding world. Felix Felicis, which is extremely difficult to make and disastrous if brewed wrong (and disastrously powerful when brewed right, especially in the hands of children), is to be found in the same textbook.
2Atelos11y
Hmm, rereading the section of his Azkaban trip where Harry was making his Cloak related discoveries I seem to have confused the fact of the thestral blood symbol empowering the Cloak with someones conjecture in some discussion thread after we learned the law of potion conservation that the thestral blood suggested as a substitution in the eagle's splendor potion could have served as a modifier to make it permanent.
2Velorien11y
Dumbledore scribbles nonsense in the margins of the Eagle's Splendour recipe of Lily's book =/= Dumbledore helps Lily brew Eagle's Splendour. At most, it confirms that Lily knew how to brew said potion when she was in her fifth year. Furthermore, even if Dumbledore helped Lily brew a fifth-year potion, there is no reason to believe that he did so secretly, or that he had ulterior motives beyond helping her. Lily was a student he paid rather creepy special attention to - why wouldn't he help her with a special project?

Hmm, that's interesting, Petunia really did get sick for weeks

"Anyway," Petunia said, her voice small, "she gave in. She told me it was dangerous, and I said I didn't care any more, and I drank this potion and I was sick for weeks, but when I got better my skin cleared up and I finally filled out and... I was beautiful, people were nice to me," her voice broke, "and after that I couldn't hate my sister any more, especially when I learned what her magic brought her in the end -"

3ChristianKl11y
Oh, my mistake. It says at the top http://hpmor.com/?post_type=chapter&p=10 so I thought it was chapter 10. It's chapter 1. I'm refering to the paragraph: Lily told Petunia that the world would end when Lily gave Petunia the beauty potion. Lily isn't stupid and would tell that to her sister for no reason.
5Velorien11y
5ChristianKl11y
Let's say a centaur just told Lily that the world would end when she gave Petunia the beauty potion without being in prophecy mode. At the beginning that was enough for Lily to refuse. But in the end she didn't saw how giving Petunia the beauty potion would end the world in any literal sense so she gave it to Petunia.
0Velorien11y
Excuse 1) The world will end if Lily is nice to her sister (with no source cited). Excuse 2) A centaur told Lily not to give Petunia the potion (with no explanation of why not). These are two completely separate assertions. Furthermore, * Petunia states that Lily came up with a number of other, equally ridiculous excuses, which means those two shouldn't be assigned any special importance in the list. * From what we know of centaurs, they are rare and typically hostile to humans, which makes it highly improbable that Lily had any sort of meaningful conversation with one. * All prophecies we know of are highly cryptic, and there is no reason to believe that centaurs can decode them well enough to identify two specific, highly obscure humans. * Lily already has far better motives not to give Petunia the potion, namely 1) they dislike each other and Lily doesn't want to grant her sister's wish and/or 2) the potion is very dangerous to take and she doesn't want to endanger her sister's life. Prophecies of doom are a much less probable explanation than either. * If Lily heard what she thought was a prophecy of doom, she would be very stupid not to share it with anyone, say Dumbledore. Lily was not stupid, but there is no evidence that she told anyone about such a prophecy.

If Eliezer would have wanted to foreshadow the fact that rational Harry would go on to end the world in chapter 1, this is what it would look like.

Petunia states that Lily came up with a number of other, equally ridiculous excuses, which means those two shouldn't be assigned any special importance in the list.

When Petunia says "ricidulous excuses" it means that she doesn't understand the validity of the excuses.

What do you think is Eliezer's motivation for Lily giving ricidulous excuses? Making her look like the person that gives ricidulous excuses?

1Velorien11y
It's established from the start that Petunia bullied Lily before Lily got magic, and later that Lily is not a very forgiving person, so it's entirely plausible that she just didn't want to use her potion-brewing skills for her sister's benefit, and came up with off-the-cuff excuses not to do so. The excuse section serves as character development for Petunia. It establishes her troubled relationship with Lily, and the excuses make Lily sound like a petty little girl (which it seems like she was at the time, based on her relationships with James and Severus) rather than cold and harsh as she would have seemed with a flat-out "no" with no reason given. It establishes why Petunia dated Vernon at all, and gives her a chance to talk about her self-image issues and how she wasn't the kind of person who would gravitate to Vernon for his personality (the way canon!Petunia seems to be). It also makes her sympathetic by revealing the extent of her emotional vulnerability with the suicide threat. We would get none of this had Lily just given Petunia the potion straight away. Additionally, consider the timeline necessary for your theory to pan out: * Decades before the "power to vanquish" prophecy, which is only made after Harry's birth, and the "HE IS COMING" prophecy, which is only made after Harry does certain things at Hogwarts, the centaurs already know that he is going to destroy the world. * In spite of the cryptic nature of prophecies, they manage to identify a completely random teenage witch and her Squib sister as the subjects, as well as one specific action Lily must perform to lead to Harry being brought up a rationalist. * They somehow convey their warning to Lily, despite the lack of contact between humans and centaurs, but not emphatically enough to actually stop her dooming the world. * After determining that the end of the world is nigh, they sit on their equestrian posteriors and do nothing for the rest of time, not even warning the likes of Dumbledore
6elharo11y
In the real world? The second, unconditionally. In fantasy fiction that runs on narrativium? Especially fiction that is known to be full of hints, foreshadowing, and clues that the author put there? The first.
-1Velorien11y
The whole point of this story (or one of them) is that it is not intended to run on narrativium, that people make decisions and things happen for rational, believable, predictable reasons. It is a puzzle meant to be solved, using the information given rather than appeals to tropes and meta-thinking. Also, even if you were right, this is just a really terrible scenario. While there is foreshadowing of Harry ending the world thanks to the latest prophecy, there have been no other clues whatsoever pointing at centaurs, or a special role for Lily in causing the apocalypse, or any other point whatsoever that the theory relies on.
[-]elharo11y150

The difference between the real world and narrativium is not that in the former people make decisions and things happen for rational, believable, predictable reasons and in the latter they don't. That's the difference between good narrativium and bad narrativium.

The difference between the real world and narrativium is that in the real world things happen in a variety of complex and interconnected ways without necessarily being goal driven. However in a story, HpMoR included, things happen to drive the story along. The author has designed the events of the story to reach his desired end state. That is, in fiction the ending causes the beginning whereas in real life the beginning causes the ending.

Real life doesn't have a narrative. Fiction, rationalist fiction included, does.

4ChristianKl11y
The real world is chaos. The real world isn't a puzzle that's meant to be solved. Puzzles need narrativum.
5ChristianKl11y
You make a mistake in that you add additional details into your story for which there's no reason. A "beauty potion" -> "end of the world" prediction wouldn't need to mention Harry at all. Centaur divination isn't an exact science. Centaur are quite capable of making mistakes when it comes to interpreting the stars. It's quite possible that a centaur came up with the idea that "beauty potion" -> "end of the world" is one possible explanation for the movement of stars that he saw. There no certainity in the way they practice their craft. It's quite possible that the prediction was at a strength that enough to produce a reluctance in handing out the potion but not strong enough to tell everybody about it. A smart person doesn't come up with excuses that are ridiculous, but makes excuses that are credible.
1Velorien11y
It is, however, a prophecy about Harry, whether anyone knows it or not, and all other prophecies about Harry were pronounced not long before or after the key events that caused fate to head in that direction (Voldemort's confrontation with baby Harry, Harry's grim resolution...). Your suggestion that there was a twenty or so-year gap with this one does not match this pattern. Only if their objective is to persuade. And if her objective had been to persuade Petunia that she was telling the truth, she'd have taken the time to explain what she'd been told until it no longer sounded like a ridiculous excuse.
5JoshuaZ11y
There's another aspect you seem to be missing: this event is a major part of the primary divergence between HPMR and canon, namely how Harry is brought up.
0ChristianKl11y
I think that Petunia getting the beauty potion was a key event that caused fate to head in that direction. If she didn't she would be married to Dursley and Harry wouldn't get his rational edcuation. That's probably not true. A lot of students have divination classes at hogwarts and make predictions on a constant basis. I find it very unlikely that those devination classes all passed without any predictions that involved Harry. Most future telling in the Harry Potter universe isn't about prophecies of the kind where Trelawney goes into a trance and speaks the words of the prophecy. Centaurs don't do future telling that way. They do astrology which can take years to interpret. If I told you that a friend of my talked to his spirit guides and they told him, that I should write you an email, how long would it take for me to explain to you the fact in a way that doesn't sound ridiculous? You also seem to somehow assume that people persue every goal that they have with maximum energy. That isn't the case.
7linkhyrule511y
Conservation of detail. The two excuses mentioned can be assigned greater significance on a meta level. And an apocalyptic prophecy is much like Pascal's Mugger: the centaur may not be in prophecy mode, so fear-of-embarrassment might keep you from telling Dumbledore, but you'd still rather not take the risk.
0Velorien11y
"I talked to a centaur and he told me x" is hardly embarrassing. She wouldn't even have to claim to believe it, just say "what do you think of this claim based on your superior experience?" And it's obvious Dumbledore would want to know.
3linkhyrule511y
Isn't it? "Hey, most powerful wizard in the world. I know you're very busy, but a centaur told me that if I give my sister a beauty potion the world will literally end."

I have to write it somewhere - because what is the point of a belief that does not allow you to make predictions that you are willing to stand by - and I guess this is the place. I believe that Hermione is not dead (duh!), and planned this all for the purposes of getting Harry out of his debt to Malfoy and/or preventing herself from being used as a weapon against Harry. She used or was discovered by Fred and George who were subsequently memory charmed by Dumbledore, who has spent entirely too much time off-camera of late.

Edit: I'll add that - on the odd ... (read more)

5Qiaochu_Yuan11y
The route from mental phenomena to actions does not have to pass through explicitly modeling and making predictions about the world. You can just have beliefs that function as simple heuristics for making actions without any modeling or prediction at all. I find this highly unlikely. Hermione should have some concept by now of how destabilizing an effect her apparent death would have on Harry. I don't think she'd have the heart to knowingly deceive him like this.
0Dev_Null11y
I'll admit that's the problem I have the most trouble with, but after the debacle in the Library she may have felt like he didn't care, and / or be steeling herself to prove that she can be as calculating and strong as Harry. On the other hand, it may all just be wishful thinking on my part. But it does explain: 1) the beginning of the scene in the Library (with Hermione desperately searching for a way out of the debt) 2) Harry's casual mention of the fact that he's not sure whether it will absolve him of the debt or not 3) Weasley brain wipes 4) Dumbledore's persistent absences Plus it would firmly establish Hermione as Harry's equal, putting the boot in on various speculations about HPMOR being sexist in what I can only imagine would be an extremely satisfying fashion, from Eliezer 's pov.
3Velorien11y
Except that the plot was already established when Eliezer started writing, long before said sexism speculations developed. He's been very emphatic about that. So while this would be a bonus, it can't factor into predictions of the plot.
3TobyBartels11y
Upvoted for putting your prediction out there like this, even though I very much disagree (for the reason that Qiaochu said, for example).