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 96The previous thread is at almost 300 comments. 

There is now a site dedicated to the story at, 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 

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: 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12,  13,  1415,  16,  17,  18,  19,  20,  21,  222324,  .

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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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Three shall be Peverell's sons and three their devices by which Death shall be defeated.

  • chapter 96

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches, born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month -

  • chapter 86

There has previously been some speculation that the dark lord in Harry's birth prophesy is death rather than Voldemort. I think this interpretation just got a lot stronger.

James and Lilly had defied Voldemort but not death. The new lines back an interpretation that the Peverells thrice defied death with the three deathly hollows and Harry is born to the Peverell line.

This is, in some ways, a more natural interpretation of that clause since James and Lilly were in the Order and were defying Voldemort on a daily basis not just 3 times. The line of the Peverells makes the number three make sense rather than being arbitrary.

Great idea, but what of the rest of the prophecy ?

And the Dark Lord shall mark him as his equal

That I can't think how to interpret it... how did Death mark Harry his equal ?

But he shall have power the Dark Lord knows not...

That could be any of love, rationality, or hope, the most common hypothesis of what powers Harry have.

either must destroy all but a remnant of the other

The remnant would be memory then ? If death defeats Harry, Harry is dead, but people will still remember him, probably for a long while, and if Harry defeats death, the memory that death existed will stay forever in everyone. Or the remnant of death would be death of non-sentient beings ?

Dementors symbolise death. Dementors can destroy humans (by their kiss), and Harry can destroy dementors (by True Patronus). That if anything marks him as Death's equal. If not, dementors obeying him can be understood as him being Death's equal.

Yes, I was going to point out that "Make him go away," surely marked him as a monster or source of terror in someone's eyes.

[tinfoil hat]

mark him as his equal

Suppose that Killing Curse just bounced off the night Voldemort died, just refused to work for some reason. If "magically embodied preference for death over life" haven't worked on someone, I would pretty much say that it means something.

Also, possible foreshadowing in chapter 5:

"I have formed an idea..." said Professor McGonagall. "After meeting you, that is. You triumphed over the Dark Lord by being more awful than he was, and survived the Killing Curse by being more terrible than Death."

Funny to think about, but probably I just see patterns where there are none.

remnant of the other

My a bit stretched interpretation is that Bayesian Conspiracy and Chaos Legion are Harry's remnants.

[/tinfoil hat]

The part I've emphasized is oft called apophenia: "the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data." In this case the data isn't random, but it may well be meaningless (i.e. not foreshadowing). I find the concept of apophenia a valuable way to understand how e.g. astrology seems so potent to so many people. Also conspiracy theories, etc. The apophenic tendencies of humans underlie many biases etc.
In the canon, the "neither can live while the other survives" didn't really make sense to me. I was willing to buy/pretend that Infant Harry somehow didn't count, and Spirit Voldemort didn't count, but Voldemort spent three years in corporeal form after that.
In HPMoR universe there is a ritual for summoning Death. Unless it is an euphemism for casting area-wide avada kedavra, it could mean Death is a person. A super-dementor or something. (In a world with magic, patronuses, dementors, cloaks that can hide their owner from death... why not?) Words "shall mark him" are future tense. Maybe it didn't happen yet. It could happen after Harry (or someone else) summons Death. Probably after or during the magical FOOM. (How exactly does killing the Death-person stop people from dying, I have no idea. I guess it is just another kind of magic. Or perhaps Harry will somehow stop people from dying, and the Death-person will try to stop him, e.g. by dispelling his magic.)
Ritual for summoning Death is just reference to the spell of Seething Death from one of the Lawrence Watt-Evans books.
Or the Rite of Ashk'Ente from Discworld.

Or it's the ritual to create dementors. Quirrel says that "the spell to dismiss Death is lost" and nobody knows how to destroy a dementor.

I like this line of reasoning. I've been batting around the idea that Dementors and Patronuses are essentially opposite (anti) versions of one another. Perhaps a dementor is made when someone tries to cast the Patronus Charm with entirely 'the wrong kind of thought to cast a Patronus Charm.' A dark ritual would explain their persistence compared to the patronuses, but it doesn't adequately explain their number... Also, if the ritual created a dementor, wouldn't people be saying the ritual summons a dementor, rather than Death? Most people in hpmor seem to associate the dementors only with fear, not death, and you would expect otherwise if the ritual to summon death always resulted in a dementor. Countering that, though, most people trying to summon 'Death' are probably both very sensitive to dementors and incapable of defending against them, so people could be mistaking the results of a Kiss with 'what happens when you try to summon Death.'
Under what circumstances would such an event actually take place? A few obstacles: * A caster would already have been trained in the Patronus Charm (otherwise they'd not know the wandwork etc.), and therefore would be aware that there's no point trying to cast the Patronus Charm with non-happy thoughts. * The basic use of the Patronus Charm is emergency Dementor protection, which you would not want to mess up by experimenting with alternative kinds of thought when casting. * There must be countless instances of people trying to cast the Patronus Charm in the face of a Dementor, and failing because Dementor exposure had already turned their thoughts too dark. Wouldn't people notice if such castings could generate new Dementors?
Fair points, though a failed Patronus Charm wouldn't always produce a Dementor if it only happened with a certain subset of wrong kinds of thought. I'm not sure why anyone might be making an attempt to cast a Patronus with a negative thought, but maybe if they use a happy thought that is at its core selfish or harmful to others? In which case, learning to cast the charm would tend to produce a new Dementor every so often as people experiment with finding a suitable memory or thought to use. As for your last point, I suppose it would only make sense if the Dementors aren't created at the place in which the failed casting occurs. This might be an explanation of why the Dementors seem to be concentrated at Azkaban... fail to cast a Patronus and something produces a Dementor there. Although I don't think this is right because it seems too complicated, and I seem to recall something saying that wizards gathered/herded the Dementors to their nest in Azkaban. Alternatively, the initial product of the failed Patronus Charm is undetected or unrecognized and only later grows into a Dementor. But if all the Dementors are rigidly controlled by the government, you might expect them to notice new Dementors being created outside their control even if it isn't obvious what is creating them.
There's also the fact that Azkaban is a small isolated island in the middle of a storm-swept sea. If by some accident of magical geography it happened to be the place where all Dementors naturally spawned, the probability of someone coming across the island AND discovering the Dementors AND living to tell the tale to the government is pretty low. Has it been established that Azkaban accounts for all Dementors? I can't remember any conclusive evidence in either direction.
My inference is based on the complaints Dumbledore makes about getting permission to bring a Dementor to Hogwarts and then having to explain its disappearance. You're right, though, it implies that the Ministry makes a firm accounting of the Dementors in Azkaban or otherwise under its control, but it doesn't really say anything about all Dementors everywhere. Again the ghost of that statement about the wizards herding them all to Azkaban rises up... I don't remember if that statement claimed ALL Dementors had been moved there or if it was just all the ones in Britain. I don't even remember if that was a statement from canon or HPMoR or how reliable the speaker is.
It's just the ones in Britain, I understood. Ah. I made an assumption here, but from this I got that they kept their Dementors in reserve so that they would not lose an advantage that their enemies had. But an equally applicable interpretation would be that they did not want to lose an advantage that they had over their enemies. Keeping that in mind, however, I would rather doubt that other governments would allow Britain to have such an exclusive advantage, not when the weapons are all held out in the middle of the ocean. Though that assumes that all of the other governments don't have their own exclusive weapons...
Or the ritual from the beginning of Gaiman's Sandman?
A crossover in which HJPEV meets Dream and/or Death would be awesome, if anyone's bold enough to try to write this...
That ritual required quite a number more components... But then, it didn't WORK, so perhaps Burgess and his order meant to perform the one Quirrell meant. This is my headcanon, now.
But it doesn't even have to be anything super powerful, this ritual. Imagine if it really defeated Death with the capital D - people would be keen on it, wouldn't they? Maybe it is something relatively mundane, like Comed Tea. You perform it and it automatically guides you to the nearest fatal trouble. Ideal for a HPMoR version of a Triwizard Tournament, with the prize being learning the anti-spell. I mean, it certainly seems like it will be an important thing, but that doesn't mean we can privilege the hypothesis that it will be THE way Harry will win.
So Harry doesn't get to bring back Hermione then?

I can't believe no one has pointed this out yet. One line differs from the HPMoR prophecy and the canon one:

and either must destroy all but a remnant of the other, for those two different spirits cannot exist in the same world

and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives

This has obviously been rewritten to take out any reference to life or death, and instead talking about destruction and existence. Eliezer must have done this because "killing death" doesn't make sense. I would say 75% chance this theory is either true or discussed at some future point in the fanfiction.

I had figured that was intended to add "all but a remnant" so Our Hero wouldn't have to let the villain die. A most cunning misdirection, it seems - I think there's a good chance you're right. Although judging by "he is coming ... he is here", EY doesn't shy away from questionably literal prophecies. (Or that didn't refer to Harry!)
I thought that prophecy sounded differently the second time because it was actually a second prophecy, given that the end of the world is a significant enough event to produce enough time-pressure for multiple prophecies.
You mean "he is coming ... he is here"? Yeah, those are two separate linked prophecies. I meant they did not, on the most obvious interpretation, refer to a literal arrival.
I assumed it meant Harry's not going to be able to reach the Pioneer Plaque. (Though I'm not sure what Harry's remnant would be, in the reverse case.)

Just remembered a serious objection, originally from Tarhish on reddit:

I had been thinking about this possibility for a while, but now it also requires Dumbledore to have lied about Lily and James hearing the prophecy in the Hall of Prophecy. Because if they did, then it means they were mentioned in the prophecy, and this theory does not, at first thought, seem to allow that.

(from here, it's only 4 months old, you still can upvote that)

This argument can be somewhat handwaved away by "James is ascendant of Ignotus Peverell, and prophecy talks about several possible futures", but still.

Frankly, this reads like a non-answer to me.
I think Dumbles is trying to tell McGonagall that he took the Potters there while letting her keep plausible deniability.
This theory fits some lines better than others. It's not a perfect fit, but it doesn't require Dumbledore to have lied. Even if "born to those who have thrice defied him" refers to the Peverell line and Death rather than to Lily & James and Voldemort, the "born as the 7th month dies" certainly does refer to Harry's birth and Lily had a hand in that. So she's mentioned in the prophesy and would be able to hear it under either interpretation
In canon, the assignment of eligible hearers to prophecies is done by Minesty workers. Specifically, the judgment that "the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord" refers to Harry, and thus that Harry should have access to the prophecy, was made some time after the recording of the prophecy, by a human. On the assumption that things work the same in the rational-verse, the fact that Lily and James could hear the prophecy isn't evidence of anything other than the interpretation of the Minestry worker who handled the case.
My largest problem with the Dark Lord == Death theory is that it doesn't really square with Quirrelmort being another super-rationalist and Eliezer's First Law of Fanfiction (You can't make Frodo a Jedi unless you give Sauron the Death Star). Either Quirrelmort is a henchman or personification of Death, which is unlikely considering he is afraid of dying and the dementor try to frighten him in the Humanism arch. Or Quirrelmort is not the Sauron of this story but will help Harry to defeat the main bad guy Death. This could be a really cool ending, but I doubt that it would fit in the remaining arch.
I don't know, I think turning Sauron into death is comparable to giving Sauron the Death Star (i.e. your 'Quirrelmort is not Sauron' interpretation).
Read Eliezer's short story "The Sword of Good". I half-expect a "The 'good' wizard is only playing the role and really isn't helping make the world be a better place, while the 'evil' wizard is actually the righteous one".
At this point, I think "Quirrel is secretly good, he just acts evil for his own amusement/cynicism" simply isn't layered enough for that to really be what's behind the mask. After all, it's what he shows to Harry.
I've read it but didn't consider the possibility of a twist like that here as well.
"Three shall be Peverell's sons and three their devices by which Death shall be defeated." When I first saw this line, I didn't think it was very important, but could it mean that Harry is actually going to use the three Deathly Hallows to defeat death, i.e. make everyone immortal? I confess, I hadn't paid that much attention to the possibility, because the canonical Deathly Hallows don't seem well-suited for the purpose. But I suppose there could be some effect where when the Elder Wand is used to cast the Patronus 2.0, you get an Uber Patronus, or maybe it lets you lets you kill a hundred Dementors without depleting your own life force, or something. And I suppose the Resurrection Stone could easily get an upgrade from canon. But how could the Invisibility Cloak be used as part of the process of granting immortality, beyond hiding from Dementors? Could hiding from Dementors become really important at the climax somehow? Doesn't seem like it, if the Elder Wand + Patronus 2.0 takes care of the Dementors, hmmm...
There is the theory that the Invisibility Cloak's power to hide one from Death does not only apply to Dementors, but to death in general. So if you put the cloak over someone who is dying, they would stay alive, at least until the Cloak is removed and death can find them again. It's just another of those crazy crackpot theories floating around here, but I think it could fill in that gap in your theory.

The legend in canon says exactly that; the Peverell brother who got the Cloak was most successful, and lived a long time because the Cloak allowed him to evade death (until one day he took it off and got screwed).

He took it off and gave it to his son. In canon he meets death intentionally.
I think that there's a difference between preventing imminent death, and avoiding death. That is, there's a difference between being in a situation where you "should" die, but you don't, and not getting in such a situation to begin with. And in the canon story (which may not be canon; it appears in the canon, but that doesn't mean it's canon), the third brother greeted Death "as an old friend", so apparently he had the same attitude that Dumbledore had: dying after a full life is not a tragedy.
Of course he had that opinion, Rowling was writing themes so deathist that even the me of that time--who had yet to even hear of transhumanism--was thrown by it. Voldemort is defined as evil partially just because of his fear of and avoidance of death--if you notice, she explicitly built it so that most of his atrocities occurred after and because of the steps he took to avoid death.
I'm surprised Harry didn't try this for Hermione, then. Maybe he wouldn't have expected it to work, but it's still an easy hypothesis to test.
It's a shame you retracted this, because I wanted to +1 it.
I don't actually remember why I retracted it. I tried to un-retract it afterwards, but I don't think that's possible.
Well, Harry suggested himself that they practiced on the "little deaths" of Dementors first ... so you're probably on to something ;-)
Thing of note: Harry in chapter 86: The prophecy can be interpreted in two ways: "Harry fights Voldemort" and "Harry fights Death" (ignoring more exotic ones like "Harry is Dark Lord and Quirrel is the hero"). At this point, both positions are justified. Yes, some lines look strange if we assume "Harry fights Death" point of view, but some lines look strange if we assume "Harry fights Voldemort" point of view: just look at chapter 76. The passage above suggests this is normal. I find myself in a doubt about which interpretation is correct, and it looks like this is exactly as Eliezer wanted it.
Oddly, I feel like each line in this prophecy could equally well point to Dark Lord as Voldemort OR Dark Lord as Death. Although P(Dark Lord as Death) should get a complexity penalty since Voldemort should be the default candidate due to canon. EDIT: The last sentence is wrong. What I should've said is that since Voldemort is the prophecy's referent in canon, and he is called the Dark Lord in both canon and hpmor, I'm still assigning >50% probability to Quirrellmort being the entity referred to in hpmor's prophecy.

complexity penalty

This is a misuse of jargon.

Since it seems like these two explanations fit this specific piece of evidence (roughly) equally well, and we know that Quirrelmort is the entity referenced by the prophecy in canon, and that Voldemort is called the Dark Lord in both canon and hpmor, then why wouldn't Dark Lord as Death get a 'complexity penalty'? If I'm using it wrong, please explain.

Complexity means it requires additional things to happen even if you had no evidence.

For example, a more complex hypothesis than "Bob is a human" is "Bob is a human who lives at 123 Fake St."

Voldemort being called the dark lord is evidence, and learning about new evidence does not itself make a hypothesis more or less complex. It's just evidence.

You're right. Thanks for the correction!

You seem to be saying "A is more complex than B means 'if A then B' ", which is not true. The commonly used term for this is "strength". "Bob is human who lives at 123 Fake St." is strictly stronger than "Bob is human".
You are talking about prior probability. P(Dark Lord is Death|no specific background information) roughly equals to P(Eliezer changes things from canon), which isn't very large; so after updating both with a equally favorable piece of evidence "Death is Dark Lord" is still behind "Voldemort is Dark Lord". You can assign prior probabilities in various ways, and one of them is giving every hypothesis an appropriate complexity penalty (or you can just judge everything as equally likely, or give everything a simplicity penalty, or penalize every hypothesis according to how many people it affects, or...). Some ways are better than others, but: 1) Why "complexity penalty" should work in fiction, even in a rationalist fiction? 2) Why hypothesis "Voldemort is Dark Lord" is simpler than "Death is Dark Lord" in the sense of program length? One can argue that the former hypothesis points to the specific human from a pool of a 6 billion people (or 100 billion, if you want to consider every human ever lived) while the latter talks about some entity likely to be very basic from the Magic viewpoint. Hope that clears some of confusion!

1) Why "complexity penalty" should work in fiction, even in a rationalist fiction?

Because there will still be an infinite (countable) number of finite hypotheses which could be considered and only a finite amount of probability to divide among them, which necessarily implies that in the limit more complicated hypotheses will have individual probability approaching zero. This will be true in the limit even if you define 'complexity' differently than the person who constructed the distribution.

Is "A or B" more "complex" than "A"? It seems to me that it generally takes more bits to say "A or B", but the prior for "A" should be smaller than for "A or B". Is there something in the "assign prior according to complexity" heuristic that accounts for that?
Hmm, I suppose you could judge the "complexity" of the plot of a fan fic by how much it deviated from Canon.
It's not very useful measure. So, there is Lesath Lestrange, an original character. Which is more likely: "Lesath thinks that Harry is his Lord" or "Lesath is a 3-level (or any specific number instead of "3") player who wants to decieve Harry, and also he is H&C which is possible because he knows how to fool anti-obliviation wards"? Your approach will just say "I don't know what to make of it. We have already departured from the canon and I can't work here" with a sad look on face. EDIT: I re-read my comment, and it seems to be arrogant and condescending. I didn't intend it to be so, and not sure how I should change it, so I figured I should just apologize beforehand. Your approach to assigning priors is reasonable one, it just lacking some vital parts.
I agree that it's an incomplete measure. As you point out, we would need some measure of the complexity of divergences from Canon, which requires a more general measure. Another way to put it would be, I don't think it's unreasonable in a fanfic to assign all the details prescribed in Canon a complexity of zero.
This seems reasonable indeed. (if you are interested, the thing you are pointing at is conditional Kolmogorov complexity)
Nice idea, but how does death mark someone as his (its) equal? Surely not just by killing his friends, else a substantial fraction would be "the equal of death", which doesn't seem right.
Hmm. How about: The destroyer of the world would be Death's equal. Being killer of Death itself wouldn't be too shabby either.
I don't have trouble believing that Harry is Death's equal, but this doesn't explain how he was marked by Death as his equal. The Killing Curse bouncing off for whatever reason might be the best explanation. The scar is Death's mark, not Voldemort's. That seems a bit...forced, but it does explain why Quirrellmort hasn't done anything besides kill Rita Skeeter and free Bellatrix Black only to never speak of her again. Death has struck many times, and has been the focus of Harry's rage and obsession, Voldemort has more than once faded into the background and seemed ambiguously an ally. Another reason to believe that the enemy is Death and not Voldemort is that Voldemort was defeated, as far as we know - he's not the Lord of anything anymore - while Death most certainly still reigns. But to look at counterarguments - what if the mark we're talking about is not the scar at all? If the Dark Lord really is Voldemort, it's a bit silly to think that Voldemort would acknowledge a baby as his equal. Once Harry came to Hogwarts, Quirrell certainly recognized his rationality and intelligence, and marked him, if only psychologically, as his intellectual equal. "We're not like the rest of them, you and I..." I'm still leaning toward the interpretation of Death as the Dark Lord, if only because I have no idea what Voldemort can pull in the next seven to ten chapters that would make him definitively the most important enemy presence in the story.
...are you seriously that sure that Quirrellmort isn't Mr. Hat & Cloak & thus didn't Obliviate-blast Hermione & didn't set her up for murder & didn't have Draco nearly killed (not to mention that debacle with the Armies), and that he didn't have anything to do with the Troll (despite canon) & Hermione's body disappearing (though there are serious suspicions that Harry dealt with that himself), and that the deal with the Dementor eating Harry wasn't intentional, and that perpetuating the conflict with the bullies via the 100 House Points was accidental, and other things that aren't outright against the protagonists (like revealing Snape to the bullies), and honestly probably more things I'm forgetting--you're seriously that sure that he wasn't behind any of those things that you don't even mention them as possibilities for what he could have done? Actually, thank you for this post. Forcing myself to think up and list all of the ways that I believe he's acted, contrasted against what we know he's done and given that we know via Eliezer that Dhveeryy vf Ibyqrzbeg, has eliminated some of my doubt that he was involved. It makes no sense for him to be so important and yet do so little.
2Ben Pace
The Patronus?
Voldemort's name means "full of death". (Maybe "thief of death".) Perhaps Voldemort made himself a personification of Death in order to personally avoid it, seeking for himself alone what the Peverells sought for all?
Sure? : :
I've always assumed it meant "flight from death"
It would be slightly interesting to read a fic in which Naming was a mechanism of magic, and Voldemort chose that specific name for very good reasons. Reasons which explained why people feared the name. Maybe he stole the Grim Reaper's power for his very own, somehow becoming Master of Death or Flight from Death or something similar, something involving an actual title with power invested into it. Neat thoughts in this area, easy for the picking. French is kind of a silly language for it, of course.
Killing intention?
It's a canon name, so let's not overthink it ...
Rowling certainly didn't.
Canon Tom Riddle didn't either. There are only so much words you can get from letters "TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE", after all.
"Death" isn't the name of any aspect, surely you mean "Thief of Time"? :p /me imagines Volvermort in a red gear-emblazoned Vriska outfit
Google Translate gets me "flight of death" or "wants death". "Flight of death" might refer to AK. More interestingly, "wants death" would make no sense in reference to himself wanting death, but it would make sense in reference to Voldemort wanting the deaths of others. There's some possible support for your interpretation there.
A piece of evidence in favour of this idea is that Harry, in spite of Dumbledore's warnings, has tried to interpret the prophecy and arrived at almost exactly the canon interpretation on his first try. With dramatic convention regarding the interpretation of prophecies demanding that Harry's interpretation is completely wrong, this lends credibility to the Dark Lord Death hypothesis.
I don't think there's really reason to think this new prophecy must be evidence of any hypothesis made for the Trelawney prophecy(s). It's tempting to look at all the threes and see that that makes nice things happen to the parts of your brain that are concerned with pattern recognition, but there's no reason they have to even be referring to the same things at all. And depending on how you look at it, the simpler explanation is that they are just two different prophecies about two different things. The time pressure explanation for prophecies suggests that it's rare for prophecies to be about the same events. By all rights we should be focusing on the fact that there seem to have been a series of prophecies and quasi-prophetic stresses all focused on one person. This is particularly true if 'He is coming' and 'He is here' refers to Harry (or more specifically the development of his mind or spirit), but even if it isn't, it seems Harry is a lightning rod for prophecies. That in itself might be more significant than the prophecies themselves.
Would this imply that Harry is descended from all three Peverell brothers?

Given that the brothers lived 800 years ago and the magical world is quite small that's very probable.

And then he uses a Time-Turner to have three total copies of himself to do the ritual?
Not really, no. Why would it? In fact, I'm pretty sure only the third brother had any children.
Voldemort and Potter are descended from two different brothers. I'm unsure if the third had any canon children or not, but I'm now imagining Dumbledore being descended from him and the three main characters going on a Death-killing mission.
The third was the only one to have a directly referenced child, he passed on his cloak to it.
I strongly agree, but I'm still left wondering how to interpret the rest of the prophesy: Edit: The prophesy still seems to be a good fit for Quirrelmort for this second half, but Death for the first half. I'm left wondering if there is some important relationship between Death and Quirrelmort that may resolve this. We know that Quirrelmort is afraid of death (as is Harry's dark side), and that Harry is entirely sympathetic to that view. Voldemort/Riddle/Monroe seem to have an aging effect on Quirrel's body. Could it be that Voldemort/Riddle/Monroe have engaged in some sort of arrangement with Death to secure their own immortality? This would make the Quirrelmort character both ally and enemy of Death, and complicate the interpretation of the prophesy as well as Harry's course of action.
How can Death leave a piece of Harry undestroyed? And it 'must' do so. This seems to make more sense the spirit be a comparable thing. (On a silly note, I know exactly 1 fic in which attention was paid to another part of Trelawney's prophecy, equally vague in wording, but it was set in Rowling-verse.)
On the other hand -- again paying close attention to the wording of Eliezer's modification -- it doesn't seem to me that Death, in HPMOR, can reasonably be described as a "spirit".
Nice connection

Just spelling out that we have a much better idea now what the first lines of the book mean:

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

(black robes, falling)

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

The silver likely refers to:

Neither of them noticed the tall stone worn as though from a thousand years of age, upon it a line within a circle within a triangle glowing ever so faintly silver, like the light which had shone from Harry's wand, invisible at that distance beneath the still-bright Sun.

If so, then: * Presumably what's happening is some ritual involving the Deathly Hallows, carried out by Harry or Voldemort or both * Most likely with the goal of defeating Death (somehow) * So I guess the litres of blood are a requirement of the ritual (note: in view of earlier stuff about how modest the things sacrificed in rituals are, it had better be something as grand as defeating Death) * Harry doesn't seem like the type to spill other people's blood even for such a goal (though, I dunno, he might) and Voldemort may quite possibly wish to spill Harry's * So maybe it's Harry's blood, and he's (directly or, or letting Voldemort do it) sacrificing his own life to put a permanent end to death for everyone else * Which would make a certain amount of dramatic sense * In which case, probably the word being screamed is "No!" or "Harry!" or something of the kind * Though maybe it ends up with him getting resurrected too; see, e.g., canon Harry Potter, Narnia, Jesus -- the first two being deliberately derived from the latter; not so congenial an idea to Eliezer as to Rowling (who is a Christian), but note Eliezer's "Ta-da" remark when Leah mentioned "Christus Victor" and divide-by-zero errors * So maybe e.g. Harry needs to be killed while invisible to Death because of the Cloak of Invisibility; perhaps that sends his soul-or-similar-thing to wherever wizards' souls go, but without him actually being properly dead, and enables him to fix things up there (a very "Christus Victor" idea; maybe too much so) * None of this seems to connect with the prophecy about "the one with power to vanquish the Dark Lord", but maybe as others have speculated the Dark Lord in question is Death or something All, of course, pure wild ass-speculation.
Why? What makes you think that the rational hero wouldn't push the fat man?
From chapter 39: and recall his anguished inner debate about whether he would, in extremis, allow himself to kill people on the other side in his war against Voldemort. But, for sure, that's not enough evidence to be certain he wouldn't, which is why I added:
Can't be Harry's blood; at age eleven he's certainly got less than 3 litres (if he weighs ~80 pounds), possibly little more than two (can't recall if HJPEV is as skinny as Canon!HP). If you cut off a limb, he might have as much one litre "spill" out, but the rest would just sort of... dribble in spurts.
Is there any stipulation that the blood must be freshly gathered, and not kept preserved as for transfusions?
Interesting. Some of the things that have been described as silver or silvery so far: * The Patronus charm (particularly the True Patronus) * The Deathly Hallows symbol in this chapter * The stars in space * The Invisibility Cloak (in canon, at least) All of these seem to have in common that they represent some sort of resistance to death or indifference (usually represented by coldness, like the vacuum of space or Harry's dark side). This has probably already been pointed out a lot, but I predict that whatever is glinting silver in the prologue represents something similar, even if it's something else entirely (e.g. a dagger, the Sword of Gryffindor, etc.) Edit: also, as someone pointed out earlier, the Philosopher's Stone now turns metals into silver as well as gold (see Hedonic Awareness).
...and Harry Potter. By Draco Malffoy, no less.
I always figured that was a knife, flashing. Y'know, because of all the blood.
I think "likely" may be an overstatement at this juncture. The entire Deathly Hallows insignia hardly seems like "a tiny fragment… a fraction of a line". I suppose it's possible that some ritual results in the glowy part being erased until only a small portion of the wand is left. But the word "glint" sounds like it's a metallic object moving and flashing light briefly, not something glowing with its own light continually for a time. And while it's possible that Harry will be driven to spill liters of blood to resurrect Hermione, that sounds more like a ritual for Little Hangleton than for Godric's Hollow. It's definitely a candidate, though. It's in a graveyard, which as we all know is a great destination for bloody moonlit rituals in Harry Potter books. There is a silver line involved. Too early for "likely", but worth keeping in mind.
The black robes might be a Dementors cloak. The falling might mean the Dementor moving faster than any broomstick, the robes being left behind.
Harry resurrecting his parents?

There'd been some discussion of why HPMOR!Hogwarts was founded around 1200, as opposed to canon Hogwarts, which was "established around the 9th or 10th century." This chapter seems to make the reason clear: the founders were near-contemporaries of the Peverells, who kept their canon birthdates. Godric Gryffindor in particular seems likely to have been involved.

silently, making less noise than the dead leaves slithering along the pavement...

This is a quote from canon, in a scene where Harry is nearly possessed by Voldemort; it's Voldemort's memories of the night he died. It's italicized, as with Harry internal conversations, suggesting that this is part of Voldemort in Harry, remembering the night he died. (?)

My model of the Peverells has them substantially earlier than Hogwarts (because the Elder Wand seems like a more powerful artifact than the Sword of Gryffindor).

Aha! The prophecy we just heard in chapter 96 is Old English. However, by the 1200s, when, according to canon, the Peverell brothers were born, we're well into Middle English (which Harry might well understand on first hearing). I was beginning to wonder if there was not some old wizard or witch listening, for whom that prophecy was intended.

There's still the problem of why brothers with an Anglo-Norman surname would have Old English as a mother tongue... well, that could happen rather easily with a Norman father and English mother, I suppose.

And the coincidence of Canon!Ignotus Peverell being born in 1214, the estimated year of Roger Bacon's birth, seemed significant too... I shall have to go back over the chapters referring to his diary.

The name isn't really an issue for a number of reasons. It could have been changed by the family itself to take advantage of political and social conditions, and storytellers also would have reason to update the name to appeal to their audiences. In fact, considering the centuries-long game of telephone that would be at play, it's more surprising that the modern name is as close as it is to the name that appears in the prophecy itself. This makes it fairly likely that the whole story had been lost and was rediscovered relatively recently and then gallicized.
It's interesting that Godric's Hollow was named after Godric, not Peverells. It seems that they weren't as famous as him, for some reason.

Godric was the highest-profile member of a small group who led armies in battle, raised a castle by magic alone, and vanquished at least one and probably many Dark Lords. The Peverells created a small number of artefacts whose very existence faded into obscure myths known only to the learned. The difference in fame is entirely logical based on what we know.

Did you know that the Deathly Hallows feature in one of the Tales of Beedle the Bard, known to all wizarding children, not just the learned?
Perhaps transhumanism was already controversial in 1200, so a less controversial hero was selected for naming.
Probably not on the map, actually, but Godric was famous and spectacular.

It strikes me that this is even more obviously a turning point than it already is.

First: This is the first hint to Harry that he is not alone. All this story, Harry has been defined by his aloofness; the one person as "sane" as he is cannot be trusted, and for all that Hermione tries she's just more of a apprentice than a co-hero, she's not on the same scale that Harry acts on.

No longer. Harry knows, now, that there are more like him, and they too are smart, and competent, and they have gifts for him from hundreds of years in the past.

Second: This also solves one of the problems I had been worrying about, which was: How can Harry solve Death without it looking like a Deus ex Machina? Sanderson's First Law: magic cannot be used to solve a problem except where it is foreshadowed and constructed from existing effects. There's been a few ideas tossed around - Summon Death + True Patronus and the like - but they all seem to have... unhelpful side effects. (In particular, actually ending "Death" would be a bad thing, because Death kills bacteria as much as it kills humans. You want to destroy "Death of Humans" or come up with a mass-producible immortality elixir, not kill Death outright.)

Relevant quote, conversation with a Sorting Hat:

"And you would find loyalty and friendship in Hufflepuff, a camaraderie that you have never had before. You would find that you could rely on others, and that would heal something inside you that is broken."

It seems that something broken was healed at last.

PS: Tangentially related to the Harry's inability to rely on others: chapter 31, chapter 70 (Maybe if there were more heroes, their lives wouldn't be so lonely, or so short.), chapter 93.

Would be interesting to see what would happen to Hufflepuff HPEJV. Probably would see the graveyard earlier...
Death, with a capital D, the one represented by Dementors, the one defeated by True Patronus means "destruction of a consciousness" in my understanding. It's why animals are unaffected by Dementors, why the Patronus charms are animals, ... so ending Death with a capital D would make prevent the destruction of a consciousness, but wouldn't prevent death (with a small d) of bacteria, plants, and most animals.
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the thrust of your argument, but surely this wouldn't work in a reductionist universe like the one Harry believes he's living in, since there consciousness isn't a thing so much as a shorthand for certain electrical events in the brain? In other words, while humans differ from animals in having self-awareness, it is not the case that there is a thing called "consciousness" that humans have and animals don't. (cf. Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness)

Just because something is defined on a higher layer of abstraction doesn't mean that there is "no such thing", any more than there is "no such thing as an apple" just because physics doesn't draw object boundaries. Humans draw object boundaries, and in the HPVerse, magic listens to humans. I think the strongest thing you can say is "There is no such thing in reductionist physics as a consciousness", which is not the same as "consciousness doesn't exist" even in our universe, and doubly so in Harry's where magic gives concepts direct relevance.

I think you're missing my point. I'm not saying "reductionism prevents consciousness from existing". I'm saying that: If consciousness in the Potterverse is the same sort of thing as consciousness in our universe (i.e. a way of describing electrical signals in the brain, and not a magical ineffable substance like a soul) and the differences between humans and animals in the Potterverse are same or similar to those in our universe then it is impossible for humans in the Potterverse to have consciousness while animals lack it and it is impossible to end death for humans but not animals using consciousness as the criterion for distinguishing between the two. My original reference to reductionism was just to eliminate the possibility of Potterverse consciousness being a magical ineffable substance (in which case this argument would not apply).
I think this comes down to a sloppy definition of consciousness, where what parent possibly meant was self awareness plus symbolic comprehension of death.
Which is clearly pertinent due to how Patronus works. Good catch.
The way I see Harry defeating death is more in the shape of casting a spell similar to Merlin's Interdict, a global enchantment, that saves the data that makes someone this person whenever a consciousness is terminated, and respawn it in a functional body. Such kind of global spell definitely can rely on high-level concepts such as "consciousness" or "self-awareness", exactly like the Interdict of Merlin relies on similar high-level concepts. And where to draw the line for animals an implementation details, that is relevant in what Harry "should" do, but not in the core idea. It also seems that magic already contains similar distinction in the AK spell, which doesn't seem to affect animals in MOR, and in the way only humans can create ghosts.

casting a spell similar to Merlin's Interdict, a global enchantment, that saves the data that makes someone this person whenever a consciousness is terminated, and respawn it in a functional body

Maybe someone (the Peverell brothers) already did something like this, just incompletely. The data is saved... but not respawned; just collected somewhere. This may be what is referred to as "souls".

Of course, humans being what they are, even if some wizards notice the souls, they don't start thinking about reincarnating them.

I suspect that something like this already exists, and is involved in ghosts, portraits, and the Ressurrection Stone, but does not recreate consciousness.
Quirrell explicitly states in this first class that it will kill anything with a brain.
What gave you the impression that AK didn't affect animals? Doesn't QM go on for a while about how it allows a wizard to kill any threat other than a dementor?
As said in a later comment, Moody's explanation that AK directly strikes at souls.
Don't remember it. Could you give a source?
From chapter 86 : For Moody to believe that, it means either "animals have a soul" is a frequent belief among wizards, but then we would have had hints of it earlier, or it doesn't kill animals. That's how I interpreted it at least.
The killing curse works on animals in HPMOR. In Chapter 16, Quirrel tells the class that "The Killing Curse is unblockable, unstoppable, and works every single time on anything with a brain." The view that "animals have souls" isn't particularly esoteric -- Aristotle asserted this, as did Thomas Aquinas. ( So I don't think we should have expected it to be explicitly mentioned. Both Aristotle and Thomas think of animal souls (and plant souls!) as qualitatively inferior to human souls, but they do claim they exist.

Now I have the image of someone wearing "armor" made of live animals of some sort in order to absorb Killing Curses.

There's a new Dark Wizard in town, boys and girls... and he's COVERED IN BEES!

You jest, but it seems -- depending on whether one believes that AK works on animals or not -- that you have just come up with a way to block the unblockable curse. That's some serious lateral thinking, right there.

Creating arbitrary animals that are barely alive, don't need food, water, air, or movement, and made of easily workable material which is also good as armor seems like a good place to start, and also within the bounds of magic. This isn't as absurd as it seems. Essentially living armor plates. You'd want them to be thin so you could have multiple layers, and to fall off when they die, and various similar things. Or maybe on a different scale, like scale or lamellar armor.
Oogely Boogely? Summoning a desk and transfiguring it into a pig? Petrifying numerous terminally ill people, transfiguring them into something small and stable (aka the ringmione hypothesis), and using a finite to turn them into a shield? Filling a mokeskin pouch with chilled snakes? (Imagines Voldemort constantly casting AK at Harry, who constantly shouts snake and pulls something out of his pouch). Or maybe even Serpensortia, if the conjured snake counts for purposes of AK (it can be finited, after all). Or one could just summon a cloud of spiders ("The Amazing Spider-Mage! Not to be confused with Spider-Muggle!) In canon, Faux-Moody demonstrated AK on a spider. Are spiders still vulnerable to AK in MoR?
According to Quirrel, yes, they are. "Anything with a brain". And I notice that you've only looked at what we've directly seen. The presence of spells like all the ones you mentioned lead me to think that you can do more directed things with spells harry hasn't come across yet.
Oh god. What if you used nanotech to make your skin be made out of patches with very small brains...
The Killing Curse only works if you want the other person to die, so it wouldn't affect the bees.
If wizards believed animals had souls : 1. They would have had a different reaction in chapter 48 when Harry became a vegetarian after learning about parselmouth. 2. It would have been hinted in a way or another in the Prentending to be Wise arc, or otherwise in all the debate between Harry and other wizards about if soul exists. 3. In chapter 47 Draco wouldn't have be saying so seriously that muggles don't have souls. That's not very strong evidence, I admit. But taken those 3 pieces of evidence, combined with the lack of any evidence pointing in the wide belief that animals have souls, it seems reasonable to assume the common belief among wizards is that animals don't have souls. So it seems Quirrel and Moody are contradicting each other on how the Killing Curse actually works.

More likely still is that people really don't think on the matter much and so don't have well formed or necessarily consistent views of souls.

The animal and vegetative souls can die, and lack various functional properties. There's a reason some of us would prefer to abandon the word.
I believe that animals have brains, different from human brains mostly only in intelligence. and am not a vegetarian. Wizards probably think of muggles as having souls, and have been known in cannon to hunt them for sport. Slave masters definitely though of their slaves as having souls. Why do you think this? Touche. Draco is still an 11 year old put on the spot, so this is weak evidence.
Sure, but you can understand vegetarian, and a fair deal of humans are vegetarian. There isn't the slightest evidence of any wizard being vegetarian. If wizards actually believed animals had souls, not just brain, there would be more, not less, vegetarian wizards than vegetarian muggles. Only a few wizards hunt muggle for the fun, the blood purist who actually believe that muggle don't have souls. That's not really obvious. The Valladolid controversy is a clear example of the issue being actually disputed. And then again, the Hermiones opposed slavery. The Hermiones in HPMOR aren't vegetarian.
Hmm.. looks like the evidence I cited wasn't as strong as I thought. What I mostly mean to suggest is that having a soul does not necessarily make a thing morally significant.
What if they believed everything had (some kind of) a soul, including (but not necessarily limited) to plants? The reactions would be interpreted differently. After all, magic beliefs and animistic beliefs were often associated in our history, and wizards actually have things like that crazy violent willow and the sorting hat. They also have examples of magical creatures, including for example centaurs who both have human-like sentience and are magic users (or at least capable of prophecy). Perhaps Draco has just misspoken, or spoken without thinking. After all, racist beliefs are traditionally not very internall consistent. Maybe the actual claim is only wizard souls go to heaven, or something like that.
Demisouls? Alternatively, AK is only seeking and wall-penetrating against sapients but still instant death against animals (and therefore still useful since animals might be immune to stunning spells and durable enough to withstand physics spells.)

For those who don't know, the actual origin of "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" is Corinthians 15:26, specifically, the King James version.

It is unfortunately not true. Torture may very well exist after death is defeated.

The last one of {X; X is enemy && X shall be destroyed } is death.

It can be true assuming that the remaining enemies are indestructible.

Yeah, but those souls left in Hell and/or Purgatory post-Resurrection were asking for it.
It may be in your interest to clarify whether you're serious or making a sarcastic comment on Abrahamic religion, otherwise you may be undeservedly snowed under with downvotes.
I think "asking for it" is one of those phrases nobody says seriously anymore.
I think I heard a Catholic person use those exact words seriously less than a month ago, about this very subject, but I might not remember correctly.
I would hope nobody thought I was serious, but hey, a few downvotes isn't worth getting chuffed about. I doubt all that many people care enough for it to get "snowed under."
Now I'm reminded of a quote from a similar work: To conquer death, you only have to die. Something similar happened to canon!Harry in book 7, after he had become the owner of all three Deathly Hallows...

Well, the Christus Victor theology of the resurrection of Christ is basically that Christ broke our slavery to death by going through the process Himself, which caused a divide by zero error and broke death permanently.

Hearing about this improves my opinion of Christianity. I was previously only familiar with penal substitution theory. God sacrificing himself to a third party to pay a debt to that third party makes some kind of sense, while sacrificing himself to himself to pay a debt to himself is obviously crazy. I'm surprised that ransom theories are unpopular now. Christianity could avoid a lot of mockery by returning to them.
Avoiding mockery is probably not a terminal value of most of the denominations you're referring to. Regardless, if you accept the doctrine of the Trinity, God gets to be both a third party and a first party to the transaction, problem solved! And most Christians probably see it more as God making a sacrifice to appease the cosmic legal system that he instituted rather than himself directly, if that makes any sense.
2Eliezer Yudkowsky
Sounds legit.
Isn't it the case that the owner of the Invisibility Cloak has never died, but that former owners have a short expected lifespan?
That's more true of the Elder Wand; in canon HP, being known as the owner of the Elder Wand made you a target for everyone else who wanted to have its power, but no such stories were told about the Invisibility Cloak. (Or maybe I'm reading that wrong.)
Owners of the Elder Wand have definitely died, that's usually how it changes hands. It seems like Decius is suggesting that owners of the Cloak have never died until they pass it on, and usually die not long after, but I don't recall any evidence for this.
Deathly Hallows strongly implies that the owners of the Cloak never died until they chose to: (Of course, James didn't choose to die at Voldemort's hand, so it's tempting to read this as "the Cloak defends against old age rather than dying period" - except in canon, James had lent the Cloak to Dumbledore before he was murdered, so for all we know, it really does grant effective immortality/invulnerability!)
This is somewhat likely, but in canon that's a quotation from a fairy tale. Given the apparent attitude the Peverells had towards Death in MoR, I doubt things played out the same way in MoR as in The Tale of the Three Brothers, whether or not that's how it happened in canon.
I don't have the books handy to check this, but the Harry Potter Wiki claims that he faced Voldemort, wandless, while buying time for Harry and Lily to flee. Sounds like choosing death to me.
Well, if you really wanted to argue that, I suppose you could.
There's only four known owners of the Cloak, three of them died after they had given up possession of the Cloak, and the fourth is alive and has not yet given up the cloak.
Dumbledore merely asked to borrow the cloak from James: In canon, Harry has been without the Cloak, after taking possession of it, for much longer than three days: in Philosopher's Stone, he left it at the top of the Astronomy Tower after giving Norbert to Charlie (I wonder if Norbert will appear in MoR...), and in Prizoner of Azkaban he left it in the Honeydukes secret passage. If being without the Cloak for a few days is enough to die, Harry should have died in his first or third year. If James hadn't died, Dumbledore would only have been borrowing the Cloak, and he returned it to Harry at close to the first opportunity. It's unclear, therefore, if he would have owned the Cloak for purposes of this theory, but if so I think he should have died well before he did.
Giving up the cloak is not enough to kill you for no reason. You die after giving it up if you've used it to live beyond your span. Dumbledore is old but not out of bounds for a wizard.
One possibility: The Master of the cloak dies 'shortly after' someone else becomes the master. Null hypothesis: Owning the Cloak which was intended to hide the wearer from death has no effect on the death of the wearer.
In that case we only know of one owner who may have lived longer than standard, and we don't even know about them. James was in his 20s, Dumbledore was only around 150, and Harry is only 37 in the epilogue. It seems like people are privileging this theory beyond the little evidence it would get from the Cloak being related to the Wand and owners of the Wand tending to die.
The base rate is based on the legend that the Cloak hides the wearer from Death, works, and that the first wearer dies when he leaves the protection of the cloak.
Known canon owners: Ignotus Peverell, James Potter, Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter. Peverell is explicitly said to have died when he gave the cloak up, James died shortly after giving the cloak to Dumbledore, and Dumbledore died only a few years after giving it to Harry. And the ownership of the Elder Wand is said to typically be the result of the death of the current owner; Draco does not have a short(er than everyone else in the same situation) expected lifespan despite losing ownership, for example.

That was when the shining creature came to him, gleaming soft white beneath the candlefires of the Ravenclaw common room, as it slithered out from nowhere, the silver snake.

Any guesses why Draco is contacting Harry?


My second guess is that Minerva got in touch with Draco. She knows Harry taught him the Patronus from a conference in the headmasters office and has seen Harry's reaction to losing Draco.

At first I dismissed it at a silly thing for her to try, but now that she will be really making an effort it seems much more likely.

Yeah, when I try to imagine future events in HPMoR, my brain keeps editing Minerva out. She was an NPC for so long that I'm having trouble factoring her in.

It's just over 24 hours since Hermione died - he probably just found out. It's the sort of reason you'd get in touch with a friend you used to know pretty well until recently.

Draco will have heard about Hermione's death by now and probably wants to express his condolence and/or tell Harry that he has made a resolution to side with Harry as soon as he can.
Draco's Patronus says in Parseltongue, "OK, we have the girl-child'ss body and are keeping it cold as insstructed. Now what?"
This probably isn't it just because it would've wasted a great opportunity for a chapter ending.
Versions already mentioned somewhere: "It was sad she died", "Harry, now you don't owe anything to House Malfoy anymore", "Father wants to disband Hogwarts because it's not safe anymore, Wizengamot vote is tomorrow". My guess: the rationality-theme of this arc is roles, and this is relevant in almost every chapter. Probably something about Lucius playing a role of loving father instead of going off-script? Or Lucius playing the role of important Wizengamot member? My second guess: it is connected to the (former?) belief of Lucius that Harry is Voldemort. Role of Death Eater overriding Lucius's neocortex? Third guess: "Harry, you remember the vow you gave to me about murderer of Narcissa Malfoy? Listen carefully. I swore to find the murderer of Hermione Jean Granger and..."
Is that even Draco? I think Gung Uneel nppvqragnyyl gnhtug Dhveeryzbeg gb Cngebahf.
Patroni have been previously claimed to be effectively unfalsifiable. I, for one, am certain it's from Draco.
Are you sure you don't mean you mean extremely falsifiable? It is very easy to tell a true patronus from something else.

Different usages:

  1. Capable of being falsified, counterfeited, or corrupted.
  2. able to be proven false, and therefore testable

I'm referring to the first usage -- it can't be counterfeited.


Ugh. Apparently the two definitions partition the set of all things.

Great, now everything is falsifiable.

I don't get it. Could you explain it please?

The first definition of "falsifiable" means that it's easy to fake - if a Patronus is falsifiable under this definition, you don't get much information when you see a Patronus, since it could easily be something else and you couldn't tell the difference.

The second definition of "falsifiable" means that it's easy to prove that it's not fake - if a Patronus is falsifiable under this definition, you get a lot of information when you see a Patronus, since it is very difficult for something that looks like a Patronus to actually be a fake.

Because the two defintions are pretty much opposites, between them they cover everything - the ones that are easily fakeable and the ones that are not easily fakeable.

Aha! Thank you! My mistake was that I kept thinking about "false" as in "false theory" instead of "false" as in "false money".
At least one of the definitions is applicable to any arbitrary proposition. Either (1) it can be counterfeited, implying that there's no test you can perform to determine the true state of things, or (2) it can be tested to determine the true state of things.
(non-native speaker here) I was under impression that "to counterfeit" means only "to create imperfect copies in order to fraud someone", but it seems that it also means "to deceive". Thank you!
That first is the primary usage. Usually there is some way to tell a counterfeit from the real thing, but one can theoretically make a counterfeit that's indistinguishable from the original. I have only rarely heard it in the sense of "to deceive".
It doesn't actually say that it's from Draco, and Quirrelmort would probably have a snake patronus if he somehow managed to cast it after his conversation with Harry.
What probabilities do you assign on it being from Draco and on it being from Quirrelmort?
Something like 60 - 40 or so.

Heh. Mine are something like 95% and 1%. I'd actually consider it more likely for it to be Lucius's patronus, than it to be Quirrel's.

And here is a PredictionBook link. EDIT: And one for the second prediction.
It's unfalsifiable, but we don't know what that means. We do know that two people can have the same Patronus, though, so it's not a matter of shape.
In canon -- but even in canon those people who ended up with the shape of someone else's Patronus didn't seem to do so deliberately, nor with intent to deceive.
We already know that Draco's patronus is a snake, and it is reasonable to assume that Quirrelmort's patronus would be a snake as well (given that he's a snake animagus).
That sounds reasonable, but unless everything we saw about Quirrel is lie, he is unable to cast animal Patronus, being cynical sociopathic rationalist with a homicidal tendencies. There is some possibility that Quirrel have analyzed his conversation with Harry, words about "rejection of Death as a part of natural order" and picture of stars being able to keep Dementation away and re-discovered True Patronus (there is speculation about Quirrel being enemy of Death, so it at least plausible), but True Patronus couldn't look like a snake. PS: Your argument partly applies to the Patronus of Lucius being a snake, though.
I see no justification for that statement. Perhaps True Patronuses can't take the form of an animal, but that says nothing about what they can look like. Would a sentient snake wizard say a True Patronus can't look like an ape?
Being a transhumanist, and being good at the kind of mental gymnastics that allowed him to do partial transfiguration, Harry might be able to change his Patronus into any form he likes if he tries hard enough. We know mental stuff can change Patronuses in canon: Tonks' Patronus changed due to her feelings for Lupin, though she didn't do it on purpose.
1) Research wandless magic 2) Become a cat Animagus 3) Cast a True Patronus Charm while in a cat form 4) Awesome, now you can impersonate Patronus of McGonnagal and no members of Order of Phoenix can trust each other anymore! 5) Ask an Auror friend to destroy your Animagus form. 6) Become a spider Animagus 7) ??? 8) Terrify people!
For this to work a wizard would need to be able to choose what Animagus form to take.
Huh, I was sure you are able to choose your Animagus form, but it appears I was mistaken. Apparently you become the animal that suits you best. Still, there is a potential for a creative Legilemency and False-Memory Charm casted on oneself in order to create an appropriate self-image. Assuming Bellatrix was an Animagus before meeting Voldemort, was her Animagus form changed when she was shattered into pieces and re-combined into someone else? Also, what if I Memory-Charm myself to believe that common characteristics of spiders are intelligence and courage? Will my Animagus form change depending on the beliefs of native population (e.g. if you are very cunning, you will be snake in Britain, fox in Russia and mongoose in Asia)? ETA: Can't stop thinking about it. Created a topic on Reddit since I feel like Reddit is more suitable for a this discussion: LW is serious and I prefer it to stay this way.
I'm fairly sure it would be easier to change your regular Patronus form than become an Animagus multiple times, even if you could choose what to become. As most people haven't learnt the True Patronus, they would be able to have animal Patroni.
Lucius is pretty darn likely to have a snake patronus, yes. However, there is one other character we know of with a snake patronus. Slytherin himself. It is highly likely to be Draco - the timing is about right for him to learn Hermione died, but hey..
Probably the only two things the True Patronus can look like are humans and snakes. Possibly flying squirrels?
What about parsley?
Since when does this universe have parsleymouths?
However, Harry knows that Draco's snake is specifically a Blue Krait, and has seen it before. The probability that Quirrell would end up with a Blue Krait by pure chance is low.
The reference in the text doesn't state anything more than that it was a snake, not that it was a Blue Krait. We don't even get to see Harry's reaction, be it familiarity or perceiving it as novel. The snake is described as "gleaming soft white" and "silver", which fits with the description of a patronus. And as it doesn't match the description of Quirrelmort's animagus snake "bright green and intricately banded in white and blue", it is clearly not Quirrelmort's animagus form. While I assign a much higher probability that we just saw Drako's patronus, we can't rule out the possibility that it was someone else's patronus, including Quirrelmort, even though I see those odds as being exceptionally low.
Sorry, I thought you were implying that Harry might be deceived by Quirrell pretending to be Draco, not that you were making a comment on what we can predict about the next chapter.
The chance that Quirrell would do anything by pure chance is low.
Just because Harry saw the snake Patronus doesn't mean he recognizes the species. He probably could recognize the same Patronus, but maybe not; Harry paid more attention to it than a regular snake, but if I saw a snake once, and then saw another snake three months later, I don't think I'd be sure they were the same even if I did have reason to think they were.
True. Then again, Harry knew when he taught Draco that one of the uses of a Patronus is to carry unfakeable messages, for which you need to know exactly what the other person's Patronus looks like. Also, it's the snake on Lucius's cane, which we know he paid attention to. If he recognised Draco's snake as that snake, it would set it firmly enough in his mind that he might recognise it when he saw it again. File under "more evidence needed".
Quirrel is said to be unable to cast the Patronus, and the established explanations for how it works makes it likely that this is true. Anyway, Harry already talked to Quirrel; no need for a second encounter.
Even if Quirrel had somehow learned how to cast a Patronus (which seems unlikely), why would he need to use it to communicate with Harry now? Am still sure it's Draco.
Perhaps Quirrel learned to cast a Patronus as a consequence of his discussion with Harry, in which case he may want to (1) say "thank you", and (2) discuss new plans that now seem meaningful to him.
Even if that were the case, a Patronus delivers its message in the exact voice of the person who spoke to it, and as far as I know, that can't be falsified. This means that not only will we find out if it's Draco (almost certainly is), but we'll also know if he's in trouble or under duress (pretty likely; he's Harry's second best friend).
It wasn't deliberate, but it wasn't coincidental either. Snape's Patronus was the same as Lily's because Snape loved Lily.
A good guess, if it's someone else than Draco. But where and when did that happen? Are you referring to Harry's comment "I thought of my absolute rejection of death as the natural order." in Chapter 46? Neither of the gentlemen present thought that was sufficient information for understanding how to cast a Patronus.
Even if that was sufficient understanding, neither of those gentlemen seem to absolutely reject death as the natural order. Nor, for that matter, do Harry or Eliezer. They reject death as proper and good, but I'm confident that most would admit that it is natural. The other people present don't seem to do that, though, and would be unlikely to be able to cast a True Patronus.
Lucius is behind the murder of Hermione.
Something like this would be my first guess. Draco torn between the roles of son and friend, either revealing to Harry information about Malfoy faction involvement in Hermione's death or trying to convince Harry that they aren't responsible.

There had been only one thing Remus Lupin had thought of that might help, after he'd received the owls from Professor McGonagall and that strange man Quirinus Quirrell.

Harry was morally certain that Dumbledore, or both Dumbledore and Mad-Eye Moody, were following them invisibly to see if anyone tried for the bait.

It's seems that McGonagall and Quirrell are responsible for Harry spending the day with Lupin, and that Dumbledore knows exactly what they're doing. It's not entirely clear whether McGonagall and Quirrell knew that Lupin would decide to take Harry to Godric's Hollow, but Quirrell at least could probably guess.

All three of these people knew what Harry would find on his parents' grave. I don't recall McGonagall ever encountering Harry's transhumanist ideas, but Quirrell and Dumbledore would certainly know how Harry would choose to interpret the inscription.

Which makes it look as though one or more of these people might be indirectly trying to encourage Harry's efforts to resurrect Hermione.

Quirrel did not know the lore of the Hallows, until Potter told him; at which point he discovered where the stone of resurrection was, and went to retrieve it. It seems to interfere a little too much that he then went on to study the whole lore to the fullest of his ability, seeing as he was not that interested in it from the beginning. (in canon, the gang learns of the symbol by talking to the father of Luna Lovegood, thats really not an obscure enough source for him to have missed)
The fact that Quirrell seemed not to know the symbol of the Deathly Hallows is very strange--the symbol is reasonably well-known in the wizarding world, as Grindelwald used it as his own. Which raises the question: was Quirrell's apparent failure to recognize the symbol an oversight on Yudkowsky's part, or an important clue?

As I interpreted canon: Canon!Voldemort also didn't recognize the symbol. Inference: Grindelwald studied the Deathly Hallows particularly and thus learned that symbol, to use as his own. The Deathly Hallows in general are well-known enough to have sayings like "Wand of elder, never prosper" but not the symbol.

Plausible, I guess. I don't suppose you can give us any hints as to whether during Harry's investigation of the Hallows, he discovers that its symbol was appropriated by Grindelwald, leading him to decide that, Dumbledore being a deathist and therefore unlikely to divulge to Harry his knowledge of the Hallows, Harry should contact Grindelwald, the second-most-powerful wizard known to take an interest in that subject? (You did mention that one of your major purposes in chapter 86 was to update characters' states of knowledge, and in that chapter Harry learned that Grindelwald was held in Nurmengard, which Moody is partly responsible for guarding. This seems like a violation of conservation of detail if the information goes unused.)
In canon, Grindelwald used it as his own, true, but no one (else) knew of it's significance. It was just considered "Grindelwald's symbol", and that's what Krum identified it as. (Sort of like the swastika. It used to have a meaning as a Hindu symbol, but that meaning has been overshadowed by its later use, so nowadays most of the population is only aware of its meaning as a Nazi symbol.)
I don't know if this is actually true. It seems to me that countries that are historically Buddhist (Korea, parts of China, India, Indonesia, and etc.) view this meaning as dominant, and that of the symbol of a (comparatively) small, distant, fascist dictatorship as secondary.
I think the Hallows are a disreputable story, so serious researchers like QQ probably have not dug in. In our world, if Loch Ness Monster venom cured skin cancer, this would be more likely to be discovered by a nut than a real scientist because real scientists generally don't spend a lot of time on the loch ness monster. But of course since the wizarding world is nuts, the hollows are real and you ignore the Lovegoods at your peril.
If I recall correctly, at some point Quirrell recognized Harry's invisibility cloak as the Cloak, so he must have known about the other two, as well.
It does seem that a large number of people (Dumbledore, Snape, Quirrell, and Hermione—all intelligent, but not all likely to credit random crackpot theories) all know about the Cloak, and Quirrell at least has heard of the Stone and credits if existence if not the standard explanation for its powers. There's no evidence that many people know of the Wand, but the subject has never really come up so we wouldn't know if that's common knowledge. I expect that those who study wandlore would know about it, as in canon. Probably all three artifacts' existence is common knowledge, and that they are connected in some way (I think most people would notice, upon hearing The Tale of the Three Brothers, that all three exist; additionally, Hermione recognizes "the Charm which [...] would not reveal the Cloak, but would tell you whether it or certain other artifacts were nearby."). However, even if people know about the Deathly Hallows as real objects, they may not know details (such as the sign, or the connection to the Peverells, or what "conqueror of Death" actually means). I doubt anybody today except Harry, Lupin, and possibly Dumbledore (who may have noticed it when taking Lily and James to the Hall of Prophesy) know about the prophesy; Harry and Lupin know the contents but not that it's a prophesy, while Dumbledore may know there is a prophesy but not the contents.
I assume that QQ knows much more than HP about all the wizarding history and trivia.
I would agree about "most" of the history and trivia, but not "all". Given his behavior in Chapter 40, it at least seems likely that he did not know as much as Harry about the Hallows at that time. This is understandable, as Harry has a Hallow and therefore cares more than the Defense Professor, who doesn't have one and doesn't have a particular reason to search for any of them. He wouldn't decline a chance to try the Stone, but he doesn't have much reason to believe it works as advertised and therefore didn't plan to seek it out. Now that he remembers "a peculiar ring [he] saw on the finger of a man [he] met only once" (Chapter 26), he is much more interested and probably knows more publicly-speculated information about the Hallows than Harry even if he doesn't know some of the specifics Harry learned in TSPE. Similarly, the Defense Professor doesn't seem to care about whether other beings are sentient, so he probably does not know as much about the fairy tale of the tale of the Lady of the Flying Squirrels (Chapter 49), even now that Harry has mentioned it.
Also, Quirrel doesn't know the story of Weasleys' Pet Rat. Did he spend a century in Albania or something?
I believe only Quirrel knows that Harry intents to ressurect Hermione as opposed to just researching immortality. As far as Dumbledore concerned, Harry is thinking about replicating Philosopher's Stone. I don't remember any hints about ressurection, only "rejecting Death as part of natural order". (though disappearing of HG's body can give Albus some ideas, I guess)
I'm not sure about the disappearing of Hermione's body. I believe that Dumbledore believes that Harry did not take Hermione's body. I'm not sure if I agree with that—Harry didn't seem too worried about its disappearance despite taking the five Rs as his stages of grief—but I doubt he'd take Voldemort stealing the body as evidence that Harry wants to resurrect her.

... On a side note.

That's a prophecy. Which means it'd be recorded in the Hall of Prophecy.

I'm starting to wonder exactly how many very good reasons Dumbledore had for keeping Harry out of that Hall.

I predicted this way back in December. It seemed the most obvious explanation for Dumbledore's refusal to take him there. The interesting thing is the recognition as Heir of the Peverells might open up even more prophecies, about he family itself instead of just about Harry. I wonder, if a Prophecy fails, does it jump to another person or is it repeated?
What do you mean, if a Prophecy fails?
If you remember Snape's ramblings on prophecy, prophicies are spoken to those with the power to "fulfill or avert them". The thing is, if they are averted, that might just delay it. If Hero 1 fails to take down Dark Lady Example, Hero 2 might try in a decade and succeed. If Hero 1 failed and thereby averted a prophecy he previously heard, does the prophecy latch onto Hero 2? If it does, does the text and memory of the prophecy itself change? Is there just a new prophecy? This sounds impossible until you realize that we already have proof of atemporal causation in this world.
Reasons that seem good to him, anyhow. Me? I'd very much like to see the fallout. ^_^

Wow, this was awesome! I wish I had read the canon so I would have had a chance to think about/predict what would happen when Harry read that inscription. This was just beautiful - a reminder of the heritage that transhumanists often forget we have. True, we have precious little tradition or precedent to fall back on - but in every generation in every era in every part of the world, there have been people who knew death for what it was and loathed it.

HPMOR is starting to be one tear jerker after another. I hope we'll get to see a couple more moments of levity, or - ideally - a moment of euphoria, when Hermione joins millions and millions of others we thought lost to history.

Edit: I really wish the word "pro-life" were available to describe this position.

Even "Resurrection" has been hijacked. I've been in the habit of using "Mass True Resurrection," to make the D&D reference instead of the Christian one.
2Ben Pace
To a non D&D-er like me, it still has the other connotations.
"Resurrection" has been taken for 2000 years, but for a few decades there we had a chance with "pro-life." :( Quick! Grab the third best word and trademark it! Seriously though, I think "transhumanism" is too long and jargon-y, not to mention understanding it requires some knowledge of both humanism and Latin roots. The ideology deserves a word that is as pure and simple as the emotions behind it.
I've been using "lifeist" in my head for a while. Another good word that's already taken: survivalist.
I've heard "deathist" used to describe the opposing side more often than "lifeist" for the supporting side. "Lifeist" just sounds a bit awkward and silly, and "deathist", while funny, seems too much like typical Dark Arts tarring.
Sounds evil.
I've been using "anti-death."
3Eliezer Yudkowsky


Like racism, sexism, ageism,...? In a crowded world will "lifeist!" become a snarled curse at anyone not dutifully shuffling off stage after their threescore and ten?


No. At people who don't want equal rights for zombies.

I once called my brother a deathist, and he said, "Nuh uh, I'm just an anti-liveite!"
"Anti-death" isn't too bad, but "anti-deathism" is horribly clunky.
Sorry to burst your bubble but in canon it meant exactly as Lupin thought.

Which is a bit frustrating in a couple ways, seeing as Paul (the most popular candidate for the originator of said line) was talking about a literal resurrection of everyone, hopefully during his lifetime, and canon Harry then proceeded to defeat death by dying and coming back.

That was what frustrated me the most - how canon could preach to us about accepting death as inevitable while giving its main character the power to defeat death. It's sad that the narrative just accepts it as okay that the main character and the subject of the prophecy gets to be resurrected, but for anyone else to seek that would be folly.

No I know - that's why it would have been interesting to know about the inscription and consider how HJPEV would obviously interpret it differently :) Sorry, just realized "That was just beautiful" was ambiguous - not the inscription, but Harry's reaction to it. The inscription could not possibly have had such a humanistic meaning in canon, I know.
In canon Hermione explains it as "life after death", not "accepting death". Resurrection also counts as life after death, except that e.g. Christians expect God to provide said resurrections, and Harry seeks to accomplish it himself...
In canon, Hermione says it means exactly as Lupin thought, and Harry believes her (and J.K. Rowling intended it like that). As some of J.K. Rowling's quotes (no sources at the moment) about canon seem to imply that she does not see her interpretation of the books is just as valid as anybody else's, the idea that a descendant of Harry's could go to the graveyard of the Peverells, announce plans to defeat Death, and get HJPEV's results is canon-compliant.
In canon (as here?) it was a Bible Verse. That is, God will destroy all evils, even death, at the Last Day.
1 Corinthians 15:26, to be specific. I'm not a Bible scholar by any means, but the commentary through that link seems to suggest that mainstream theology has rather a lower opinion of death than Rowling does.

Vague stylistic thought - I don't have anything specific to base this on, but this chapter feels like something EY has been saving up, and is now throwing in as he's decided it's time to start the ending.

The same can definitely be said of the troll chapter.

(By the way, tags on the opening post are wrong. There should be a tag reading "harry_potter", not two separate tags for the first and last name.)

Given the increasing number of prophecies that could refer to Harry, it's no wonder why Dumbledore refused to bring Harry to the Department of Mysteries. I mean, besides the possibility that he'd get knocked out by the storm of orbs. We know of four so far--at the time that Dumbledore refused to take Harry to the Hall of Prophecy, Harry only knew about the one.

What are the 4 again? There was Trelawney's "all but a remnant" one, then her "he is coming!" one, and the one about the Peverells (which also applies to Harry). What is the fourth?
I was treating the "He is coming!" and "He is here!" as separate prophecies. Also assuming that the mass seer freak-outs at the end of chapter85 imply that Trelawney's might have been one of several in the same vein (I suppose we'll find out if there is international news of mass prophecies any time soon, dependent on international communication regarding prophecies).
Trelawney's third one: “He is here …” (end of chapter 89)

Isn't the fact that people like Dumbledore don't invest significant amount of time into thinking about ressurection a sign that they really do believe in life after death?

It could also be evidence that they don't like thinking about death. (Which inference you prefer depends on your own level of Quirrellness.)
Dumbledore feels no fear from the Dementor's presence- only fatigue and slight ache. If he didn't like thinking about death, the Dementor ought to have affected him more sharply.
Harry to Dumbledore in Ch. 39:
I think it's pretty clear that Harry doesn't have a good model of Dumbledore's beliefs at this point. Later on he figures out that:
Good point! I missed that one.
When does he say this?
Chapter 56
Dumbledore believes in an afterlife, and unlike in the the Muggle world of non-magic, the idea is significantly harder to dismiss.
I thought this was the point Harry got right. Dumbledore says: He doesn't talk like he has a model of reality in which he continues to exist forever. If anything, he sounds tired (and like he correctly expects to get more tired of being who he is). Now, in principle he could have a strong expectation of radical change that makes the next life wholly unlike this one, so that his objection to eternity does not apply. But why expect him to expect this? (And if, say, he does not expect most of his memories to carry forward, then in what sense does he expect to survive?)
We might ask transhumanists the same question.
Ah, but a transhumanist who wants to survive has a) precedent (consider the difference between 1700 and 2000, for example), and b) doesn't require a radical change, because by selection bias most transhumanists are going to be the kind of person who think life is fun in the first place.
Then Dumbledore doesn't require a radical change. His exact phrasing is "our next big adventure", not "our next new adventure".
Right, but if he's tired of life, why does he want a next big adventure? At least, that's grandparent's point.
He never said he was tired of life, he said that he was worried about being tired of life.
He expects to be tired of life by the time he dies. That's why he's fine dying "at the proper time."

I'm an idiot. I'm not sure why I didn't see this before, except that it was 2 am when I first read the chapter.

I've read the other posts below, but I think we are missing something specific here.

Þregen béon Pefearles suna and þrie hira tól þissum Déað béo gewunen.

Three shall be Peverell's sons and three their devices by which Death shall be defeated.

-Spoken in the presence of the three Peverell brothers, in a small tavern on the outskirts of what would later be called Godric's Hollow.

Spoken in the presence of them. Not by them.

It was spoken to them by ... (read more)

... damn, nobody else got that? Eliezer might want to change the wording, then.
I definitely saw that as a strong possibility. And it seemed pretty clear to me too. Wild speculation: I wondered before if all prophecies stem from Harry "End of the World" Potter and Its magic, reaching back in time. This is technically evidence for that theory.

Þregen béon Pefearles suna and þrie hira tól þissum Déað béo gewunen.

Harry perhaps now recognizes himself not as an originator of a plot against Death, but as an intermediate result of that plot.

Ok, I'm now frustrated and bored by online translators. Can someone give me a hand and translate that? I get some of it, but never enough to actually check meaning properly.
The chapter itself provides the translation in the line immediately following: "Three shall be Peverell's sons and three their devices by which Death shall be defeated."
Thanks for that. Sorry, should have explained my meaning better. I was looking for a clue of the form "the chapter translates it as 'defeated' but it actually means 'banished'" or similar. Along the lines of Harry's massive mistranslation of 'nihil supernum'.
Harry seems to have been aware of the Peverell brothers and the Deathly Hallows before all of this happened, and now it clicked for him that they made the Hallows in an attempt to defeat Death. But what I don't understand is, when exactly did Harry learn this story? If he ever heard the full story about the three Hallows, wouldn't that have been a big deal? He would have thought about it for a while and it would have been a major plot point right? EY has been really good about placing Chekhov's Guns long in advance of when they're fired, but I don't recall when Harry learned about the Peverell brothers for the first time.
7Eliezer Yudkowsky
I may attempt to go back and make it more explicit somewhere that Harry researched the Deathly Hallows (of course, he's not stupid) and found out at least the basic rumors. Hermione learned about the Cloak from An Illustrated Scroll of Lost Devices during their research, for example.
Thanks, I think it's just the fact that a lot of people who never really got into the canon are reading MOR, so plot points that can pretty much go unstated in regular fanfiction have to be re-introduced here. I know a lot of implications/references are lost on me because I'm reading fanfiction without actually being, well, a fan.
It can also be an issue even for canon-knowledgeable readers. A lot of the time readers are used to Harry's thought processes happening in the absence of certain key knowledge from canon (the Philosopher's Stone, etc.), so it's jarring when Harry learns major pieces of information offscreen (the Marauder's Map, etc.)
I think you should at least give a link to the relevant Youtube clip in A/N. I'm not sure readers unfamiliar with canon fully understand what is going on concerning Peverell brothers.
For those who are here and are unfamiliar with canon, I believe BT_Uytya meant this YouTube clip, or a similar one like it; as far as I know, none of them are authorized by Warner Bros. or J.K. Rowling, but may be short enough to qualify as fair use in many jurisdictions. I am not a lawyer.
It's a gorgeous video.
Yes, it was this video I had in mind.
Alas, Harry does not know Old English. I wonder if he'll ask Quirrell?
Harry could possibly decipher some of the meaning without asking. When seeing the original ("Thrayen beyn Peverlas soona ahnd thrih heera toal thissoom Dath bey yewoonen."), what did you make of it? I understood it was about Peverell sons and Death. The last word was somewhat reminiscent of German "gewonnen", but this Harry possibly doesn't recognize.
... I didn't realize it was actually a language, honestly. *mildly embarrassed* I realized it had something to do with the Peverells, but... I probably would've realized it was a language if I had thought it through a bit more (My mental model of Eliezer wouldn't throw in gibberish, and it can't be a code if "Peverlas" is so easily encoded), but then the chapter ended and I saw the Old English (which I did recognize, ironically.)

Has it been pointed out yet that while Hermione lay dying and Harry was trying to save her, he neglected to cover her in the cloak that hides the wearer from death, and also neglected to notice this fact during the time afterwards when he was getting mad at himself for everything he had screwed up?

Do we actually know that Harry has made the connection between "hides the wearer from death" and "may have life-prolonging effects"? For that matter, does evidence of same exist, beyond the fact that no known owner out of three or so died with it in their possession?
If the cloak protects all within it from death, I predict that Harry will simply /turn it inside out/.
He sat there for hours thinking about what he overlooked. We might simply not have seen all his thoughts.

Prediction: HPMoR will end after 108 chapters.

(Warning: TV Tropes link. Notably, Failed Utopia #4-2 is listed as an example (because 107 clauses in a wish to make people happy are not enough); moreover, Death Note also has 108 chapters. There, now you don't have to click on the link if you don't want to.)

It could happen, though I think it will take a few more chapters than that to wrap everything up. If you're implying that Eliezer has purposely sought to achieve a certain number of chapters, though, I'm almost certain that's not correct. He's mentioned too often his uncertainty as to whether certain plot points would be resolved in a single chapter or split into two. He's expressed regret at writing ten full chapters of the Self Actualization arc instead of accomplishing its intended purpose in a few paragraphs. He's certainly had a plot outline from the beginning, but it almost certainly wasn't chapter-by-chapter granular.

I think this chapter explained something which has struck me as strange for a long time:

If the killing curse can be stopped by love, how come only Harry ever survived? Its not like Lilly is the only person who ever loved anyone, nor the only person who would sacrifice themselves to save another.

Maybe the Potters possessed a new, experimental deathly hallow, one capable of stopping the killing curse (or, alternativly, an old one whoes purpose has been forgotton). It must have limits on its power, otherwise James and Lilly would have lived, and probably wou... (read more)

I have believed, ever since Q detailed how rituals work and we saw that Voldie agreed that Harry would be spared if Lily died (because seriously, she thought that would work?), that Voldemort accidentally triggered a powerful Ritual, with Lily as the sacrifice. Hmm ... is it possible that was deliberate? It doesn't quite seem to fit ... but then, they were pretty desperate.
There are at least three plausible explanations: * Harry's memory is false. Harry even notes that the memory is so old it should not even be there. * Q lied. To his ears her plea must have sounded something like "may I please lay down my wand?". * Q never intended to kill Harry anyway, so he either doesn't care about any protection, or maybe even prefers for it to keep Harry safe. (Especially if Q wants Harry to rule.) Also, Lily was clever: maybe she tried to bluff Q into relaxing his guard by feigning surrender and thus attack him at his weakest. Possibly Q, playing at a higher level, realized this and accepted her offer of "surrender" out of amusement. So either Q saw through Lily's feigned surrender or she realized that Q accepted her genuine surrender only because he thought she was trying to trick him and this triggered her into attacking him.
Oh, it was clearly sarcastic, from the context - but perhaps the ritual didn't care.
Perhaps Harry was wrapped in the invisibility cloak when the AK hit him?
Seems like something Voldemort would've noticed.
I thought about this for a while too, more than five whole minutes by the clock, and eventually I came up with a possible explanation. It's not that Lily sacrificed herself for her child. As you and uncountable other people pointed out, that must have happened innumerable times throughout history, even just among the witches and wizards. It's that she sacrificed herself for her child when she could have lived. Think of the oddness of the situation. The murderer arrives to kill the child, but not the mother. How often is that the case, historically? Then the murderer offers the mother a chance to live when she gets in his way, which is still stranger. When she rejects the offer to try to save her child, he does not bother to subdue her, but then chooses to kill her, which invalidates basically all of the explanations that I could think of that fit the above two criteria. It's not that she sacrificed herself for her child--it's that the killer came with the express purpose of killing the child but sparing the mother, and she deliberately threw away that chance for her child. It never would have worked if he had come with the intent to kill her as well. Which implies that Snape's request was what was needed to give Lily that opening. Which further implies that Snape really did save Wizarding Britain, if accidentally. I don't believe I've shared the theory here before, I look forward to seeing if there are holes in the story that I have not yet discovered.
If Harry was saved by a Deathly Hallow and not by Lily's sacrifice, then it should have saved James instead, since he was killed first. One may counter that perhaps the Hallow had range limitations or something, but in any event it would have made more sense for it to be carried by/attuned to James or Lily rather than Harry. Among other things, they can defend themselves, and kill the person who unsuccessfully tried to kill them. Whereas even if Avada Kedavra was blocked by the power of love, all it would have taken was for another of Voldemort's minions to be present and finish Harry off (possibly with a more standard hex). That said, your criticism of the power of love is one I wholly agree with.
You are underestimating the irrational love that parents have for their children. When a family is in danger, parents constantly work to save their children first, even when doing so is stupid. It's enough that the oxygen masks on planes have explicit instructions for parents to put on their masks first, because they can just put their kids' on next if they are still conscious. Not that I agree that such a new artifact existed.
Well, really, what evidence is there that Avada Kedavra EVER works on infants? There's only one datapoint here as far as we know. It doesn't particularly stretch the imagination that even the inventor of a Killing Curse might have been repulsed at the idea of the spell being used against infants even if they didn't consciously consider the possibility. For that matter, considering how important it is for a certain kind of thought to be used for both the AK and the Patronus (or status of the soul), perhaps an infant's innocent outlook on life offers it protection from the curse. Unless someone were to step up and risk death or infanticide, there's no way to disprove it, but I doubt there would be many volunteers for an experiment like that.
Well, the Killing Curse works on animals, or as Professor Quirrel puts it, "anything with a brain," so that's gotta count as some kind of evidence that AK works on infants. They should possess the same "innocent outlook" an infant has. Plus, I thought it was part of canon that Death Eaters were known to have Avada Kedavra-ed whole families during the first war on Voldemort. We don't know explicitly of any other attempts to Avada Kedavra infants, but it stretches the bounds of plausibility to think that nobody else has ever tried to Avada Kedavra a baby in the history of the curse. Distraught mothers trying to kill their babies is common enough (too common), and AK would probably seem like an attractive option to such witch mothers. No pain, no struggle, just death. That's not to mention the infanticide that happens during wars and feuds.
I considered the fact that it kills animals and everything with a brain. However, it seems to me that if the target's state of mind can have any effect on the outcome of the spell (and that's a pretty big /if/), then it might well be working under the same principle as the Patronus vs True Patronus-- animal minds don't understand death and therefore don't offer as much protection from death. The obvious linchpin here is 'to what degree do one-and-a-half- year-old infants understand death?' If it's similar to either an animal or an adult human, they wouldn't have any protection. As for AKing infants during war, I do think it is likely that it's very difficult for normal people to do. The Avada Kedavra curse has much stricter requirements for casting it than other curses capable of killing-- it requires you to want the target dead, but it also requires you to hate the target. I don't think a distressed mother trying to prevent her child from suffering would be able to cast it even if she had cast it before (unless she's an occlumens, I guess). And most infanticides are accidental, not deliberate (though we tend to hear about the deliberate ones because they get publicized more). And as for soldiers/Death Eaters, there are other curses that can be used to kill people that are probably easier to cast on infants and don't require you to be so conscious of and hateful towards an infant. There's a lot of reasons why I think AK would be virtually impossible for a normal person to cast on an infant, but chief among them is that you have to be aware of the realities of your action when you cast AK. That means you can't dehumanize your target and you can't dissociate yourself from your action. As the mechanics of AK are explained, you pretty much have to be someone like Voldemort to pull it off [edit: against an infant]. Granted, infants might have accidentally been caught by the Curse, since it is said to be indiscriminate once it's been launched. In that case, assuming in
I think you're mistaken there, or working with an extremely loose definition of "hate". Did Voldemort hate the infant Harry when he tried to kill him, even though his knowledge of Harry's threat status was purely intellectual and abstract? Did he hate Lily, whom he appeared to treat with dismissive amusement at most? Or that groundskeeper at the Riddle mansion in canon? Did Moody hate the spider he used to demonstrate AK back in canon? While we're at it, did Quirrell hate Bahry, at whom he cast AK with the alleged intent to miss? I trust you see the point. We have far too many cases of AK being cast at random bystanders, perfect strangers etc. to claim that in each case the caster was feeling a personal hatred of the target rather than merely a brief, focused intent that the target die.
In HPMoR, Moody says-- regarding casting AK-- that it's easier to do after the first time, and that might be interpreted as saying that only the first time you cast it do you have to muster up a deep, personal hatred. Afterward, a more generalized hatred seems to work, which would be the case for any of the examples above. He DOES say that you need hatred, though. Again, it seems like a parallel to the Patronus Charm, since that also seems to be easier to cast once you've done it once. Side note: what characters have been seen to cast both Patronus and AK? Snape does it in canon I think? Does he ever cast his Patronus after he kills Dumbledore? I realize that doesn't particularly help my argument that AK's casting requirements might prevent its use on infants and it can't be taken as any kind of explanation for how AK is shown to work in canon. But I think you do still need to want the target to be dead, and that might be a higher bar to reach with an infant. I just wanted to point out that we don't really have a lot of data on how AK works or if it works on infants specifically. So in order to explain what we see as an anomaly (an infant surviving the unsurvivable Killing Curse), we don't necessarily need an explanation like a mother's love protecting the infant or an unknown and mysterious new Deathly Hallow. The AK having a built-in protection against its use against infanticide is no more complicated than any of those explanations. Rather than settling on any of those explanations, I wanted to encourage people to keep thinking, because none of them sound completely right!
Yes, in book 7 he used his patronus to lure Harry to the lake where he left Gryffindor's sword.
Upvoted because this line is music to my ears.
IIRC, that was Barty Crouch, Jr. disguised as Moody, not Moody himself. Not a very major point, but my model of Rowling says she'd be more likely to write a generalized hatred for all living things into one of the bad guys than into a good (if rather spooky) one.
The resurrection stone functions as an anti-killing-curse device in the books. I think the model is that avada kedavra cuts the soul from the body, and the resurrection stone can hang onto your soul for a bit and glue it back into your body.
What? No, it doesn't. It allows Harry to qualify as "master of death" (thus fulfilling an old prophecy, presumably) and lets his dead family and friends comfort him before he sacrifices himself. He survived because horcruxes be complicated.

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

... (a few paragraphs, whose action gives no great reason to think that eye contact was broken) ...

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


Well. Quirrell has already covered for Harry's penetration of the Azkaban wall. He wasn't explicitly informed about how it was originally done but he's somewhat good at filling in the gaps. (Obviously there's room for more confirmatory evidence though, so not a complete lack of uh-oh either.)

Don't know if this has been suggested before, but:

Possibility: Harry's "Father's rock" is the Resurrection Stone. Giving this one low probability, since it has thus far demonstrated no other magical properties, and just seems like a way to get Harry to grind his Transfiguration and mana stats.

Possibility: Harry's "Father's rock" is the Philosopher's Stone. Giving this one even lower probability.

Possibility: The Philosopher's Stone is actually the Resurrection stone, or a similar magical construct. Middling probability; Dumbledore refers... (read more)

Note that the Philosopher's Stone in MoR is actually supposed to transmute base metals into silver, not gold. I can't help but think that this difference is suggestive; if it was purely the result of a happy death spiral, gold would make more sense.
Wait, could you pull a quote for that? I must have missed it.
I think there used to be something implying that in the exchange with Griphook in chapter 4, but it seems to have been rewritten.
Yes. And Ch 87 says, "gold or silver".
Ho ho. That is interesting.
The real publication attributed to Flamel claims he transmuted silver, then some time later (years, as I recall) transmuted gold. Presumably silver is left out in most discussions of the stone because who would settle for silver when you could have gold?
Dumbledore (who has used Transfiguration in combat and lived) gave Harry his father's rock the day after Quirrell publicly accused Harry of always thinking purely of killing and novel ways to do it. I don't know if D wanted to encourage H in this, or to provide an alternative to some more dangerous action. (Maybe D has considered the possibility that Q has some dark reason for wanting Harry to learn the Killing Curse?) But I feel very sure that he was thinking of the use H did in fact make of it, and we don't need to imagine another purpose. If anything, Dumbledore would want to keep the Philosopher's Stone more directly under his control, eg hidden under the lampshade in his office.

I find myself confused by why Harry's interpretation of "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" is the logical one. The use of the word "last" in conjunction with Harry's interpretation either makes the statement pessimistic - that death is clearly more intractable than all our other problems, and thus will be last to be defeated - or implies that death logically takes the backseat to all other problems. I feel like the quote makes much more sense in the context of death being the final obstacle for each individual to grapple ... (read more)