This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing chapter 122, which is the final chapter of the story.
Happy once-in-a-century Pi Day! (3/14/15 == 3.1415)
There is 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.)
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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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.
Really good ending chapter. The presence of Hermione's character totally changes the tone of the story, and reading this one, it became really clear how heavily the Sunshine General was missing from the last ~third or so of the story arc. Eliezer writes her very well, and seems to enjoy writing her too.
I thought Hermione was going to cast an Expecto Patronum at the end, with all the bubbling happiness, but declaring friendship works well too.
Irrelevant thought: Lasers aren't needed to test out the strange optics of Harry's office; positioning mirrors in known positions on the ground and viewing them through a telescope from the tower would already give intriguing results.
Harry's world was bleak without Hermione. Harry's love for Hermione, and even love for Humanity in general, had been missing for a while. He largely went into young Tom Riddle mode for a long time, without Hermione's influence.
Hermione showed Harry the possibility of both love and understanding. He had love from his parents, and understanding from Quirrell, but both from Hermione. The world became a different place for Harry when he came to know Hermione.
Maybe I was expecting too much adulthood from Harry, but in every meaningful way but romantic, he loves Hermione, and Harry's evasion of that admission was disappointing, if not entirely out of character.
Great ending. The Hero walked his path and become a Mentor. Situation changed dramatically, something really happened as the result of the Hero's actions. But they still have challenges ahead, unanswered questions and things to do. It's much better ending than simple and boring "and they lived happily ever after".
Excellent work, Eliezer!
Great job on the fic EY. If you were to promise to write Ch 123, I would let you out of the box.
Nothing about Atlantis and the Source of magic?
I have come to the conclusion that keeping the ultimate Source of Magic an unknown (for the scope of HPMoR) was probably a premise taken by EY early on. Otherwise we would have seen much more experiments to discover it (and more foreshadowing). That many (me included) have been waiting for it patiently is probably more a sign of our wishful thinking and neglect of evidence to the contrary than an oversight by EY.
ADDED: I wonder whether there is such a thing as negative foreshadowing, i.e. indications the some information will not be revealed later. Could be a smart literary device to reduce disappointment in these cases. Can one make reader go "Aha, Harry's quote about the difficulty of experimets fits nicely to Hermiones final remark that their schedule will take six years when taking outside view estimates into account"...
This is really the only sense in which I am disappointed in this story. One of the things that really got me excited about HPMOR was that the protagonist did not just shrug and accept that magic is magic, he sought to untangle how it's laws work, and the results were as bewildering as I imagine quantum must have been to scientists of the early 20th century. That is one of the puzzles that I really wanted to solve about this story, almost more than I wanted to know how the cloak and dagger mysteries resolved. It felt to me like we were promised that magic would be somehow logical, even if it did not initially appear so. It may in fact still be, but we have few answers about this fundamental and intriguing aspect of the universe. In short: HOW DOES IT WORK??? HOW?!? TELL ME!!!
The line from LotR actually goes:
For the record: The "mysterious" thing about the "smile" in the Mona Lisa painting is that it looks like a smile when you see it with peripheral vision but doesn't when you look at it directly. The effect doesn't work nearly as well when you're looking at a tiny picture of it, though.
This finally answers the question of why a shear transformation of the Mona Lisa appears on the Wikipedia page for eigenvalues and eigenvectors.
I think the most interesting part of this ending (the thing that really surprised me the most) was the idea of Dumbledore not holding an idiot ball, nor being crazy, nor even being "apparently crazy just for the sake of complex strategically cultivated opacity"... but instead being the embodiment of the biggest point of departure from canon in that he knows every prophesy and thereby caused many other points of departure semi-intentionally.
Also, having Dumbledore essentially become the half-understanding servant of whatever it is that causes prophesies, turns the whole story into something that is fundamentally about time travel in a way I really wasn't expecting.
Maybe I should have. Eliezer's notes have mentioned that he thinks very highly of HP and the Wastelands of Time, but I thought that the time traveling themes would mostly be restricted to time turners, and time turners wouldn't be very powerful, because otherwise it would disrupt the rationality theme...
This makes me think that it would be moderately rewarding to read HPMOR itself again to try to examine Dumbledore's actions more carefully. Like... what if he said what he said during the feast on the first ni... (read more)
Dumbledore receives prophecies.
Dumbledore acts them out.
As a result dumbledore winds up outside of time.
Dumbledore sends prophecies.
I saw it as Dumbledore having chosen what persona to cultivate in order to best get away with his actions. Take, as a representative problem, that he has to make sure Harry carries his father's rock. He could try to assert authority and order it, but that would make him be seen as a tyrant. He could try to invent a good explanation, but he probably couldn't actually convince Harry, since he can't give the true reason and there isn't actually any other good reason. But by playing the benevolent eccentric, he can get Harry to humor him with minimal harm to his reputation.
Well, I was browsing /r/hpmor, and this guy's blog turned up.
EDIT: Downvotes? Someone mind telling me if I did something wrong here? Or is just that people don't like the dude's blog?
Harry forgot to give Hermione the most important quest item.
"This Hermione, Is your father's rock."
I think this is missing a word or two.
That's a very satisfactory ending. I'm pleased that Hermione doesn't have a goal of being a heroine-- it seemed to me that trying to graft a role on to one's personality was too artificial.
This looks like a false to facts rationalization by Harry.
Voldemort actually didn't know about the partial transfiguration, right? Neither was he likely to know about carbon nanotubes. He simply didn't have the data to anticipate Harry's move. (Though I'm among those who think Voldemort should have taken Harry's wand prior to their chit chat.) If anything, Voldemort lost because he was lazy and over confident, not because he was afraid and therefore thinking poorly while all wands were on Harry.
And shouldn't fear and threat prime Voldemort's "dark side" at least as well as Harry's?
Called it on the power the Dark Lord knew not.
Since it looks like we won't be getting a canonical answer, any thoughts on what exactly the Peverell Prophecy means?
"Three shall be Peverell’s sons and three their devices by which Death shall be defeated."
Wow. I see now what EY meant when he said it wasn't fair to criticize HPMOR as sexist before it was done. I finished reading the last chapter with the feeling that this was actually an origin story for Hermione.
Even without the enhancements, in real world terms Hermione was the most admirable character. Harry was a young boy with an old genius's brain patterns and an Oxford professor of science to raise him. Not really a fair benchmark to compare a 12 year old with.
She got better grades than Dumbledore did at her age, was beating the young Tom Riddle with a time turner in class, and beat Harry and Draco in the first battle, with neither a mysterious dark side nor military training. It was Hermione who knew more than than Draco and Harry how to properly make use of her army. It was Hermione who formed and led a band of Mighty Heroes.
It was Hermione who was fundamentally decent and had a moral rudder. A leader, brilliant, brave, and good. As long as she lived, it was clear that the future would belong to Hermione. No sparkling required.
Does it really nullify the criticisms of sexism? The Self Actualization arc remains mostly the same, Hermione is one of the characters that gets the least "upgrades" compared to canon for most of the story, so is McGonagall she's still fridged for the sake of Harry's quest (although I don't think that fridging is a good criticism), she ends up awesome through no actions of her own and her future is steered by Harry. People who criticized HPMOR for being sexist won't change their mind because of this ending.
(copy-pasted from my tumblr)
The ending to HPMOR isn’t bad. It fits the story and, while open-ended still gives a lot of closure.
It just doesn’t measure up to, like, the rest of the book. Part of it is probably the hype. The final chapters probably fell a bit flat just in comparison to what people expected. But even correcting for that, I still find that it’s slightly disappointing. The best parts, for me, where the buildup to the “there is light in the world” speech and the Stanford Prisoner Experiment arc. They are both intense emotional moments. I literally cried while listening to the podcast version of Azkaban.
The other great parts are the cool, big action sequences.
The ending provides none of those. And yet it sorta promises them without ever delivering.
I assume that, as Rowling did, you'll drop us a few paragraphs of writing in five/ten years, which naturally you couldn't keep to yourself. I would bet money, but will not remember (or care) for that long.
If there's a nit to pick, it's that the mockery of canon-Potter was way too blatant to be amusing. Otherwise, almost perfect work.
Thank you so much for Methods of Rationality! That was a great ending to a great story.
Pretty satisfying. Good place to end it.
When Harry used spidersilk as a targeting phase of his monomolecular engine of death, some people were reminded of Worm. When reading this chapter I couldn't help but think of another parallel in that Hermione is going to be the one-person special ops division of a world-saving conspiracy.
Nitpick: It's unlikely that a British person would refer to bazooka chewing gum.
There is very little British in this fic, except for repeatedly mentioning McGonagall's accent.
The chapter 122 in itself was good, I liked it, but I feel a bit disappointed that it's the end of the whole hpmor.
Not to be unfairly critical, it's still a very great story and many thanks to Eliezer for writing it, but... there are way too many remaining unanswered questions, unfinished business, ... to be the complete end. It feels more like "end of season 1, see season 2 for the next" than "and now it's over".
First, I would really have liked a "something to protect" about Harry's parents.
But mostly, there are lots of unan... (read more)
That was an excellent and superb ending to a wonderful story.
And now back to reality, for the fight against Death in this reality has barely begun. I hope we will look back on this story as helping the eventual victory.
I'm with Harry, feel foolish for not realizing that the Vow saved the earth in the conversation with Bones and McGonagall. So easy to err...
I was amused.
A very fitting ending. It would have been nice to see Hermione cast the true Patronus, though!
"I am now too valuable to the world to ever risk my life adventuring again. Here, Girl With Three Different Immortality Powers, take my invisibility cloak - you need it more than I do."
Am I the only one who finds this act odd?
That was a great fanfic. The characters were amazingly written, and many of the scenes were genuinely emotional and moving. What's more, the ending actually worked, in a way that I hadn't expected it to work. We didn't get a resolution to the prophecies about apocalypse, the prophecies about ending death, the nature of magic, the nature of time travel, phoenix fire, and many other things... but that actually feels okay. We've been reading an origin story all along, and a great origin story it is. Eliezer, thank you!
That said, now I have a wishlist for some... (read more)
It seems that the problem with Tom "Voldemort" Riddle is that, although he was ambitious, he had no ambition. He was Sorted into Slytherin, and was driven by fear and cleverness to grasp at any opportunity for advancement which he could imagine. But there was no great ambition that he was driven to accomplish - at best he could grasp his way upward into the role of a hero, or a Dark Lord, or into personal immortality, or some other position of merely personal success, never breaking the bounds of his own lonely existence.
True ambition was the power that he knew not, and his downfall.
I wonder if we'll ever see the "shorter, sadder" ending.
Now Hermione learns Patronus 2.0 and destroys Azkaban. So both the Boy-Who-Lived and the Girl-Who-Revived can kill dementors. Sounds like "surviving/defeating Voldemort" is a plausible cover for explaining the origin of the ability to destroy dementors.
Many thanks for this. I enjoyed it greatly.
I can think of few authors who hit that high a mark on fiction AND as high a mark on nonfiction as The Sequences.
What about omakes? With the readers' solutions to the final exam, and other things?
Why, I was resigned to a bad or unfulfilling ending, so this completely blew my mind. It's... perfectly fitting, and it brings back the pacing the story had earlier on in a beautiful, almost subtle way. I absolutely loved it.
Thematically related: How very hard it is to get things right, even for much simpler problems
So... any bets on if/when any recursive fanfiction will be posted now that the story itself is complete?
It started happening well before the story was complete...
I hope the Epilogue will feature Hermione in action. It sounds like she'll be perfect as a light side Dragon (TV Tropes) for Harry, as well as simply awesome in her own right.
Dumbledore is now a much more interesting character-- what mental resources does he need to have made such a complex scheme work?
Is there plausible magic for increasing intelligence?
He reminds me of the Snakes and Spiders in Leiber's The Big Time. Even with time travel, humans can't change the past because time heals itself-- you need an additional set of senses? computational ability? to make the changes which will make a difference. (See also Leiber's "Try and Change the Past".)
Of course, the other answer is that Dumbledore knows he's in a genre story and is manipulating narrative logic, but that's probably not an interesting answer.
Hermione says that she has an answer to Quirrel's question: if he was horrible for walking away from his fight, are the people who never even lift a finger still worse. That got my interest, because I think that's a good question.
But insofar as I can understand, her answer is not on topic. What she says may be a useful thought in its own right, but not an answer to Quirrel's question. Or am I missing something? Does she have a worthwhile point that I am failing to see, and what is it?
Separate epilogue? Does EY mean the "shorter, sadder ending"? or an expansion of the one we got?
I believe he means one set 6 years after these epilogues, i.e. when they would have graduated from Hogwarts.
I nteresting ending. I liked it.
Before I was hoping for more action. I wanted Hermione to take down Azkaban. I wanted to see here reaction to the whole story. I wanted to learn more about the source of magic and the mirror.
But this ending is fitting somehow.
And you know. Writing up those final parts could be an interesting community effort. Doubtless we'll see lots of meta-fan-fictions emerge the coming days.
I couldn't be happier with the ending. So perfect.
Thank you so much Eliezer. It's been an amazing journey.
Minor point, but wouldn't it be better with "stabbed" rather than "stabbing"? It's a sentence fragment, and lacks a verb. Compare:
So what does happen when... (read more)
What strikes me is how very much the story is about FAI-- not just learning the skills people need to work on the problem, but how much Harry and Quirrell (at least) are like AIs of possible Friendliness which the other characters need to make good judgments about (and of course, they need to gauge each other), not to mention how much work Harry needs to do to hopefully become Friendly himself.
Here's a thing that's been bugging me for a while.
For Gryffindors there's "Gryffindorks". Are there any similarly good insults for the other three houses?
If Quirrel killed Hermione to "improve [Harry's] position relative to Lucius", what was the point of trying to persuade her to leave Britain for France, in chapter 84?
If the "tear apart the stars" prophecy just refers to Harry harvesting the stars for resources, then Voldemort looks really stupid for misinterpreting it.
Was this added? I remember thinking these words, but I don't remember reading them.
Good thing we use M/D/Y calendars here in the States, otherwise we'd have to wait for 3 January 2041. Or, come to think of it, 3 January 4159.