Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12

by Xachariah1 min read25th Mar 2012699 comments

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The new thread, discussion 13, is here.

 

This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. With three chapters recently the previous thread has very quickly reached 1000 comments. The latest chapter as of 25th March 2012 is Ch 80.

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


The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven.

As a reminder, it's often useful to start your comment by indicating which chapter you are commenting on.

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

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

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

 

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General announcement:

I do not lie to my readers.

Almost everything in MoR is generated by the underlying facts of the story. Sometimes it is generated by humor (I can't realistically claim that Ch. 5 would have comic timing that precise in a purely natural universe). Nothing is generated to deliberately fool the readers.

There are two exceptions to this claim I can readily recall - cases where red herrings made it into the text - and they occur in Ch. 21 where my phrasing of Dumbledore's note to Harry was influenced to be overly compatible with the fan theory (which took me quite by surprise) that the notes were sent by Sirius Black. And in Ch. 77 when Mr. Hat and Cloak says "Time -", which was generated to be compatible with the postulate of a Peggy Sue. I may go back and eliminate both of these at some point to make the text herring-free.

Methods of Rationality is a rationalist story. Your job is to outwit the universe, not the author. There are also cases where people have scored additional points by successful literary analysis, e.g. Checkov's Gun principles. But the author is not your enemy here, and the facts aren't lies.

Of course there are various characters running deceptions and masquerades, but that is quite a different matter.

Re-posting it so you see it in the inbox:

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

It's past the halfway point.

For purely selfish reasons I hope it's in the "first 80% done, second 80% being worked on" sense.

For purely selfish reasons I hope it's in the "first 80% done, second 80% being worked on" sense.

For purely selfish reasons I'm ambivalent. I like fanfiction as much as the next guy but kind of wouldn't mind it if Eliezer spent his efforts trying to save the world. ;)

As long as HP:MoR remains unfinished, thousands of people who could be helping Eliezer build a Friendly AI are instead sitting by their web browsers, repeatedly pressing Ctrl+R.

Finishing HP:MoR is the necessary first step towards Singularity.

The thing is, I know he can do the fanfic. I seriously doubt he can save the world.

4wedrifid10yI am approximately 95% sure the world will be lost (ie. we'll all die). It would seem that I must agree with you.
5Alsadius10y:(
2Blueberry10yDoes that preclude sequels?
1Anubhav10yIf he wanted to write sequels, the obvious way to do it would be to continue the fic.
1NihilCredo10yThank you. Also, sigh.

Having a few very minor read herrings is a generally accepted part of literature as long as they aren't extremely deceptive. In this context, both of the two seem minor enough to be fair.

3nohatmaker10yI think the time travel hint was a bit too strong. I basically had two possibilities: H&C is a time traveller with all the world breaking implications, or Eliezer is meta-screwing with us. There's no other high probability reason for H&C to say that right before he obliviated Hermione. If the latter, all other bets are off - I can't seriously approach predicting a work like that. So I'm very glad Eliezer let us know.
8Locke10yAnything in particular that spurred this announcement? Oh, and do you ever intend to read the later books?

I'm guessing the large amount of very low probability ideas for Harry's solution in the next chapter.

7Anubhav10yI've said it many times, and I'll say it again... this [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6157] is a better solution than most of what's been proposed in the discussion thread so far.
7drethelin10yOf course this is exactly what you would say if you DID lie to your readers.

No, because unlike certain TV shows you the reader will hold him accountable afterwards.

3drethelin10yWhat do you mean by "hold him accountable." It's not like I'd stop donating to SIAI if he pulled a dirty trick on HPMOR readers.
3MartinB10yYou lose trust when the next story comes around. So far everything in HPMOR makes sense, I think it is reasonable to assume this will continue. I watched a few tv shows where a well thought out plot was promised upfront. But later it turned out the creators just made things up as they went along. This usually breaks down at some point. When this happens repeatedly one is less likely to get into it again.

Hypothesis:

Quirrellmort intends to upload his mind into Harry's body soon, as soon as Harry is Dark enough. Voldemort will become the Boy-Who-Lived. And Quirrellmort wants or needs this to happen within the next few months.

Evidence:

If Quirrellmort were only after the Philosopher's Stone and training Harry for a long career, he'd keep his own cover intact as long as he could. Instead, over the last few story months, Quirrellmort has cheerfully all but ruined his cover in favor of giving Harry chances to turn Dark.

  • Quirrellmort got the Dementor brought to Hogwarts, waited until the last moment to observe Harry's wand by the Dementor's cage, gave wrong advice about how to help Harry recover from the Dementor-induced personality change, and persuaded the other wizards to let Harry face the Dementor again.
  • Quirrellmort took Harry to Azkaban soon after seeing Patronus 2.0, leading to more Dementor contact and the recovery of Bellatrix, Quirrellmort's preferred assistant for critical tasks (like, say, ritual magic to download yourself into your Horcrux's body).
  • Quirrellmort (as H&C) set up Hermione for Draco's attempted murder, thus both cutting off Harry from the person who's his
... (read more)
4loserthree10yI only mean to add credibility to your theory when I say that it has been plausible for seventeen months: scroll down to 10/8/10 [http://www.fanfiction.net/r/5782108/34/1] The author said in an early Author's Note (I think) that someone he knew guessed the main plot from only the mysterious prelude. I'm guessing that person has some special insight that allowed them to just to the right conclusion, probably insight into the kind of story the author would right, possibly based on things that person had recently talked about with the author.
2DanArmak10yShe didn't observe it falling out at that moment. Just that he was balding, as we've known from his first appearance and description. This could just be natural - some people go bald very early - but probably has some significance. The bald spot is located, presumably, where the canon Quirrelmort had Voldemort's face hidden under a turban. This may just be a reference to that fact, with the intended explanation being that smart!Quirrelmort wouldn't make a stupid mistake like that, but there is still some mark of possession there. That was after the Azkaban affair, during which Quirrel was hurt by the magic-clash, by nearness to Dementors, and by total magical exhaustion. Maybe it was so bad that it literally "took years off his life", maybe because Voldemort doesn't care to maintain the Quirrel body in the best possible order if he can squeeze out more power. Which supports your theory, but is not a case of "he has little time remaining in this body". The curse placed by Voldemort, as revenge for not being made the Defense Professor, surely wouldn't operate against Voldemort when he finally did get the position. That would be far too stupid of him.
5Alsadius10yDisagree. Breaking the pattern after this many decades right when some creepy dude who openly calls himself evil and encourages children to be Dark Lords gets the job seems like it might as well be hanging a neon sign over your head saying "I'm the Big Bad!".
1Paulovsk10yVery structured, but... a sad end? Harry, the almost ratinalist, losing? This seems odd.

This may be Quirrell's plan, even if Eliezer intends for Harry to defeat it in some way.

4buybuydandavis10yYeah, I assume Harry wins in the end, but I expect EY to give Voldemort a better plan than "expose yourself and all your forces in a mass battle at Hogwarts, though you've been successful until then through secrecy, stealth, and terror".
8thomblake10yI've been torn on how probable I think this outcome is, but I wouldn't put it past Eliezer. This is the person who thinks bad end is the default end for humanity, and the universe isn't fair, and bad things are allowed to happen. Even if you work really hard to stop them.

Not HPMOR talk, just a suggestion for these discussion threads:

I think that it would make far more sense to start a new thread after every new update rather than when they reach a certain number of comments. New people starting in this thread will miss a lot of good ideas posted in the last one, and also that it is better to have all ideas in one thread than scattered so we can refer to them. Having two threads without any new update in between could also create unnecessary rehashing of old posts.

Since the update schedule seems to be spaced about a week apart, there will probably be about 500-1500 comments in the meantime so there is little chance of having to create new threads too early. In the rare case, a minimum number of comments can be assigned if updating is too frequent.

No. Please don't.

The way the web interface works, it automatically shows only 500 comments, and only the top few levels. You have to click a bunch of times to see more comments.

I'd rather have it separated out than to have a really really long thread to wade through. Very long threads are difficult to read and keep track of.

Now, if you wanted to start a new thread after every new update AND when they reach a certain number of comments, that makes sense.

4Alsadius10yThere's a show all button near the option to show 200 or 500 - click that once and the whole thread loads, other than deeply nested comments.
8RobertLumley10yThis. Please.
2Alsadius10yAgreed. Call this the Ch. 81 thread, and stick to the previous one until it posts. Edit: Close to 300 posts, and 81 won't even go live for 26 hours yet. I think I failed.

Dumbledore's trickeries: just how much is he covering up?

We know, now, from the "Santa Claus" stunts, that Dumbledore is quite capable of trickery. Reading between the lines, it appears he cruelly sabotaged Snape and Lily's teenaged relationship.

What other deceptions belong to Dumbledore? Several are possible.

  • the prophecy and Snape
  • Rita Skeeter's False Memory Charm
  • Amelia Bones burning Narcissa Malfoy
  • Lily's final Dark-ritual conversation with Voldemort

The prophecy and Snape:

The "confessor" interlude makes it clear that Snape was present for Sybil's prophecy. Does that mean that Harry is wrong to theorize that Dumbledore arranged for Snape to hear it...

... or did Dumbledore use a Time-Turner to make sure Snape heard the prophecy live and in person, so that Snape would be baited more credibly into telling Voldemort?

Rita Skeeter's False Memory Charm:

Dumbledore rewards the Weasleys for the prank, which happened to benefit Harry Potter and deprive Lucius Malfoy of a tool. Is it possible that he not only rewarded them for it, but committed the active part of it himself?

Amelia Bones burning Narcissa Malfoy:

There's suggestive evidence within the text ("Someo... (read more)

Lily's last conversation with Voldemort just so happens to replicate the requirements of a Dark ritual - you name the thing sacrificed, and then the thing to be gained.

I've always considered the protection Harry had by Lily's "Love" (in canon) to be essentially dark magic done by Lily. She spent her own life to cast a ridiculously powerful and specific spell of protection on her son. The 'power of love' nonsense is true only in the mundane sense of the term. It was the motivation to use the spell. This doesn't devalue the power of love - that's how love really works - it influences the incentive of intelligent agents.

How much of this is Dumbledore actually guilty of? Do we know or suspect other trickeries, or have other evidence?

I wouldn't place this one in the realm of 'guilt'. Assuming things happened according your story, Dumbledore gave Lily the power to do something that she wanted to do (sacrifice, save). Helping other people save their babies does not accrue guilt.

1buybuydandavis10yI like that. Definite improvement over canon.
3pedanterrific10y?
2wedrifid10yI interpreted buybuy as claiming that at some point JKR or some authoritative HP encyclopedia or suchlike explicitly affirmed that there is a literal "Love Magic" in place - rather than that being just a description by Dumbledore. I let it pass, without agreeing. I'm not aware of JKR saying any such thing but nor would I expect to be, I haven't looked and don't especially want to hear it. If there is literal love magic I'd hold that in the same esteem as I hold the rules of Quidditch. (Also, midichlorians never happened.)
2Alsadius10yMidichlorians were totally inoffensive by comparison to everything else in that godforsaken movie. I don't see why a fairly advanced civilization being able to stick a number on Force potential gets nearly as much hate as it does.
2thelittledoctor10yUpvoted primarily for the sentence in parentheses.
0TobyBartels10yWedrifid, do not read Deathly Hallows. It will disappoint you. (Personally, I was pleased; it could have been a lot worse.)
0wedrifid10yI read all the Harry Potter books the first day they came out. From what I recall of Hallows... the first half was "Frodo and Sam walked a lot" but with more pouting.
0TobyBartels10yThen we must have interpreted it differently. I took the existence of literal love magic as pretty firmly established by the protection granted by Harry to every good guy in the Battle of Hogwarts. I'm having difficulty imagining how anything Rowling says could make this story-breaking power worthy of any lower esteem. (And I am only thinking of the second half, which was the interesting one.)
3wedrifid10yLower esteem? By no means. Merely more reductionist detail and less Dumbledorish drivel. Sacrificing one's life to make a protection spell over a loved one is in no way diminished if the magic mechanism doesn't sound like it was developed by carebears.
0TobyBartels10yOK, I'm pretty thoroughly confused. When you write what don't you want to hear? And what more would have to be true to trigger the hypothesis in
2Alsadius10yI've heard it argued as being the case in canon, but poorly explained. (That may have been pre-Deathly Hallows, though). Agreed, it's much better.

Lily's last conversation with Voldemort just so happens to replicate the requirements of a Dark ritual - you name the thing sacrificed, and then the thing to be gained.

"I accept the bargain. Yourself to die, and the child to live."

...Now that's awesome.

He could have sent his Patronus with a message to her the moment he heard the prophecy.

The prophecy was made before Harry was born; the Potters were in hiding for more than a year before the attack.

9Paulovsk10yThat's really awesome.
6buybuydandavis10yMaybe. I'm thinking it's a nicer rationalist story to have Voldemort arrange the prophecy, particularly if you're going with the "Voldemort uploads into Harry after it appears that Harry defeated him" scenario. Why do you assume the Horcruxing was accidental, if Voldemort wants to upload into Dark Lord Harry anyway? It looks to me like the Horcruxing of Harry is likely what gave him much of his power, with that power lending credibility to his "defeat" of Voldemort, and avoiding suspicion of Harrymort when he displays so much power after the upload. Everything that has transpired has done so, according to my design. Bwa ha ha.
2pedanterrific10y...What power? Wasn't it explicitly called out that Harry's dark side had no superpowers and he wasn't any stronger than any other highly-motivated first year?

Let's discuss Dementors. I was surprised to learn that a lot of people came away from TSPE believing in Harry's initial hypothesis, that Dementors had no minds of their own and were controlled by the expectations of the people nearest them. To me, this seemed conclusively disproved by something Harry isn't aware of: the fact that the dozen Dementors he scared away went back to their hundred-plus brethren in the central pit and thereafter all of them refused to tell the Aurors where Harry was, despite the fact that there were quite a lot of Aurors believing very strongly that they would.

If there's something I'm missing that rescues this hypothesis, I'd appreciate it being pointed out. At this point, I have to believe that whatever ritual (or possibly "law of magic", if we believe Harry) creates Dementors also imbues them with at least some independent decision-making ability, and that they have goals which include 'continuing to exist'.

2aladner10yThat was my impression as well. This means that Harry could order the dementor to do pretty much anything. All he'd really have to do is demonstrate that he can command them and he'd open up several options. Of course, all of this depends on Harry knowing that the dementors aren't controlled only by the expectations of those around them.

Why is HPMOR's Quirrellmort so much less violent than HPMOR's Voldemort?

HPMOR paints a Voldemort fixated on punishing his inferiors, a Voldemort who never used persuasion or inspiration when he could rely on suffering.

  • Voldemort amused himself by inducing in Bellatrix a love so knowingly one-sided that it was not a happy thought for her.
  • Quirrell asserts Voldemort slaughtered an entire monastery rather than simply impersonate an appropriate student.
  • Voldemort's rule was so coercive and terrorizing that Lucius Malfoy finds it best to claim he was not merely deceived or misled but forced to obey him.
  • If Harry's "dark" thoughts under the Dementor's influence represent Voldemort's mind accurately, Voldemort's reflex inclination was to punish or kill anyone who didn't slavishly obey.

Yet Quirrellmort, for all that he talks cynically and is prepared to kill or memory-charm, prefers not to punish when he can benignly persuade or inspire.

  • Quirrell is verbally much less insulting than an army drill sergeant, let alone how Snape treated students.
  • The "Quirrell point" system is all about achieving rewards, not avoiding punishments.
  • Quirrell's entire plan revolves around
... (read more)

You're forgetting that Tom Riddle actually did study at the monastery before he destroyed it to deny that training to his enemies.

Voldemort is especially violent and comes off as stupid, but he's just one of Tom Riddle's characters, and if you consider their actions as a whole they're smarter than they appear, on purpose.

There is a classic trick that card counting teams use to avoid detection. If one person shows up, and bets conservatively until the cards are in their favor, and then immediately starts making huge bets, then it is obvious that they are a card counter and the casino can throw them out. But, if that one person betting conservatively simply leaves the table once he thinks the deck is in his favor, and then someone else comes in wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt and acting like a "wild and crazy" risk-lover, then it just looks like someone risk-averse has been replaced with someone risk loving, and neither looks like they're counting cards.

5buybuydandavis10yDo we have any way of knowing if that story told by Quirrell was true?
3glumph10yDo we know this? If I recall correctly, all we know is that Quirrelmort says that Quirrel learned there and Voldemort didn't. So as far as I can tell it's an open question whether it was pre-possessed Quirrel who studied there, or Voldemort (or neither).

Hypothesis 1: Voldemort both stupidly destroyed a school (instead of coming back later in disguise to learn the martial art) and stupidly allowed the tale to spread (letting people know he neither knew the martial art nor was able to control his temper).

Hypothesis 2: Voldemort was smart enough to learn the martial art from the school, combined vengeance for the humiliation he experienced with sound strategy in destroying it afterwards, and then spread misinformation to his enemies that would cause them to underestimate both his abilities and his self-control.

You can construct intermediate hypotheses, but #2 sounds a lot more like MoR!Voldemort to me than #1.

5glumph10yI think you're right that Hypothesis 2 is more likely than H1. However, both assume that some tale (true or false) about Voldemort visiting the school has been circulated in wizard Britain. But as far as we know, that tale is told for the first time in Quirrell's class. As always, Quirrell is our only source: Of course, if this is the first time the story is told, people may wonder how Quirrell knows. But this is the same chapter in which Quirrell rather blatantly lies and claims to have been a Slytherin, when he (Quirrell, not Voldemort) in fact wasn't.
4see10yYes, that's one of the intermediate hypotheses. Call it 1.5 -- Hypothesis 1.5: Voldemort stupidly destroyed a school (instead of coming back later in disguise to learn the martial art), but was smart enough to not spread the tale. Then as Quirrel, he spread misinformation to his enemies that would cause them to underestimate both Voldemort's abilities (now that he's learned the martial art from Quirrel) and his self-control (Quirrelmort having more than the old Voldemort). It works with what we "know", but still seems to me to be too Canon!Voldemort and not enough MoR!Voldemort for my taste.
2JoshuaZ10ySorry, how do we know this?
9glumph10yThis came up in one of the previous threads: But during the interrogation we get this:
6pedanterrific10yI think JoshuaZ meant we don't know for sure that Scrimgeour wasn't lying to trip Quirrell up, the way he did with the Fuyuki thing. (The fact that canonically Quirrell was in Ravenclaw argues against this, but it doesn't seem a sure thing.)
1buybuydandavis10yI'll go with Quirrellmort forgot he was supposed to be Quirrell for a second, and instead was just being honest.

Implied in Chapter 49, Prior Information, when Harry and Quirrell are discussing Slytherin's monster:

"Rule Twelve," Professor Quirrell said quietly. "Never leave the source of your power lying around where someone else can find it."

5glumph10yI think that's fully compatible with either possibility. If Voldemort studied there, then he would have reason to destroy it; to not "leave the source of his power lying around". But if, on the other hand, he didn't study there (because he was refused), then he would again have a reason to not leave a source of power lying around. (If I can't have it, no one can.)
9pedanterrific10yThe other hint is that
1Benquo10yWell, I suppose the other alternative is of course that Quirrel madethe whole thing up. But if he was telling the truth I don't see any other explanation that makes much sense.

Quirrell and Voldemort are personas designed to play different roles. You are looking for different urges, but there are instead different purposes behind these roles, that call for different behaviors, with any urges controlled too reliably to manifest if contrary to the purpose.

Ch. 79 (Dumbledore):

But Voldemort was more Slytherin than Salazar, grasping at every opportunity.

Ch. 61 (Dumbledore):

It is too clever and too impossible, which was ever Voldemort's signature since the days he was known as Tom Riddle. Anyone who wished to forge that signature must needs be as cunning as Voldemort himself to do so.

Ch. 63 (Quirrell):

To an actor or spy or politician, the limit of his own diameter is the limit of who he can pretend to be, the limit of which face he may wear as a mask. But for such as you and I, anyone we can imagine, we can be, in reality and not pretense.

Quirrell is not Voldemort, Quirrell is Riddle, just as Voldemort is Riddle.

The simplest reason is that Quirrelmort is simply not in a position to indulge any sadistic impulses the way Voldemort was. He spends hours each day conked out completely, and he has no powerbase to retreat to. Overt malice of the kind Voldemort practiced would very rapidly earn him an adavra. There are quite a few other possible reasons - for one thing, Tom Riddle is not running on the same wetware anymore, and his original brain might have been miswired in a way that did not carry over, or heck, the original Quirrel could have been very calm and unflappable, so now Quirrelmort just cannot get a good temper tantrum going no matter how hard he tries.

4buybuydandavis10yTrue, he doesn't have the power base to openly attack anyone and everyone in the wizarding world. But Quirrell is a wizard with power dwarfing all others except Dumbledore. He could indulge as much sadism as he wants on random people in spots across the globe. If he has the appetite, he could do it. And with obliviate, he could probably arrange to have Minerva as his sex slave with minimal risk.
7loup-vaillant10y(Chapter 70 [http://hpmor.com/chapter/70])

Well, that's what he would say either way, isn't it? (Not that I believe he would, the motive seems too human, but it's the principle of the thing.)

4loup-vaillant10yMostly true. The bayesian evidence from that is weak. However, I do think that if he did do this sort of thing, he would be less likely to raise the topic in the first place. Well, unless he's playing one level above me, in which case it would point in the direction of guilt, or he is just messing with my brain, Arrggghhhh!! Anyway, it doesn't seem to fit Professor Quirrell style. (Though like Harry, I am beginning to wonder if this whole "style" business mean anything.)

I like the idea that "Voldemort" was very consciously a role; that fits the Occlumens speech Quirrell gives to Harry.

But still, which is more plausible? That Voldemort's violence was an optimal choice for the situation? Or that Voldemort was stupidly violent?

Quirrell uses the monastery story to argue Voldemort was stupidly violent, which at minimum implies Voldemort had a reputation consistent with stupid levels of violence. Dementor!Harry, which I read as a representation of Voldemort, thinks

The response to annoyance was killing.

which is about as stupidly violent as it gets.

Let's put it this way: if Voldemort's violence level was rationally chosen, the author's worked really hard to disguise that fact.

Dementor!Harry, which I read as a representation of Voldemort

I believe Dementor!Harry was just damaged by the Dementor, producing both grotesquely negative motivations and poor impulse control.

The chapter emphasizes that it's a separate personality system that's running Harry at that point (which doesn't prove it's Voldemort, but is suggestive). E.g.:

that's not Harry--

You know. About his dark side.

Although it's not absolutely definitive; Dumbledore's line in reply is

But this is beyond even that.

which argues for "he's damaged" as you suggest rather than "he's alien [and Voldemort]" as I'm suggesting.

4DanArmak10yLook at results, though. Until whatever it was happened ten years ago, Voldemort was winning the war with those tactics.
3wirov10yModulo Harry, those tactics were good enough – no doubt about that. But were they optimal?
8DanArmak10yProbably not optimal if he could go back and redo from start. But sometimes "good enough" is good enough. Shifting tactics in the middle of a war, to the extent of completely changing your public persona, when a lot of the loyalty of your followers (and the fear that keeps bystanders uninvolved) depends intimately on your existing persona, would not be easy at all.

Because he failed as Voldemort, updated his model of the world, and is trying a different approach as Quirrell.

It seems to me this is the point of the monastery story: being gratuitously violent may have earned Voldemort status, but it did not get him what he actually wanted. MoR!Voldemort is more rational than canon!Voldemort, so he noticed this fact.

He failed due to whatever happened ten years ago with Harry. We don't even have a good theory yet, IMO, of what that was (and the canon options are misleading).

Apart from that - a day before that - he had not failed at all. His old-style abusive tactics were keeping the Death Eaters in line and were successfully terrorizing the populace, and he was winning the war using those tactics.

However, those tactics may be inappropriate to his current position as Quirrel, because he doesn't have any real minions or subordinates, just a few people he manipulates without their knowledge.

[-][anonymous]10y 15

Did he fail or, on learning of the prophecy, pretend to lose?

4: Maybe Quirrellmort doesn't have Voldemort's abusive impulses, because Horcrux!Harry is holding onto them.

I was thinking the same thing. It goes with the "make Harry the Dark Lord and then upload into him" theory. I'd spin it a little differently, though. It's not that he just tortures for fun, but that he is completely indifferent to the suffering of others. So torture is useful if it serves a witty joke, or gains him a nickel. It goes with Harry's intent to kill, and his "Heroic" consequentialist morality. His job is to "get the job done". Also, the demented Harry wasn't proposing to torture people for the glee of their pain, he was just proposing that the death of the annoyers would "get the job done" in removing annoyances.

It's unclear to me that any of the stories of Voldemort's "surplus evil", reveling in sadism, are necessarily true. They all happened offstage. Further, it's unclear that he was even totally indifferent to the suffering he caused. Just as I think Dumbledore took "credit" for burning Narcissa to seem more ruthless to his enemies, might not Voldemort have done similarly all along, to spread terro... (read more)

2thomblake10yWhat Vladimir_Nesov said. Notably: I think we were supposed to read that as: Riddle attended as an appropriate student, and then came back as Voldemort to indulge in some fun retribution (and possibly to keep others from learning his secrets)
2iemfi10yWhy is everyone 100% convinced that Voldemort is Quirrell? In my read through I would have given that outcome a very low probability because it seems too obvious and the authour explicitly makes fun of it in one of the first few chapters.

The trick is to ignore personality. Never mind how calm or mean someone seems. Just ask: which characters show actions and knowledge that are distinctive to Voldemort?

  1. In canon, Quirrell could not touch Harry because he was Voldemort. In the fic, Harry and Quirrell also cannot touch.

  2. In canon, a Horcruxed object becomes especially long-lived and durable, and the maker of the Horcrux tries to hide it or get it out of others' reach. In the fic, Quirrell tells Harry he enchanted the Voyager 2 space probe to make it super-durable, and talks to Harry about where to lose objects so they'd never be found.

  3. Voldemort knew how he behaved with Bellatrix Black, and is almost the only person with strong reason to rescue her. Quirrell knows and tells Harry how to behave with Bellatrix Black, and persuades Harry to rescue her.

  4. Dumbledore identifies the Bellatrix rescue as bearing the style of Voldemort. Quirrell designed the Bellatrix rescue.

  5. Dumbledore identifies the Hermione frame as having been done by Voldemort. Quirrell was the one who found the bodies, and is the only wizard in Hogwarts we know to be a post-Voldemort newcomer to Dumbledore's acquaintance.

  6. "Quirrell" admits

... (read more)
1RomeoStevens10ypast voldemort seeming dumb should also clearly be at least partially the effect of the winner's narrative. (is there some name for this?)
4Daniel_Starr10yHindsight bias. If X happened, then X must have deserved to happen. In this case, if Voldemort failed, then our bias is to assume all Voldemort's choices must have been bad ones, and all of Voldemort's enemies' choices must have been good ones. However, this is complicated when looking at a deliberately told story, because storytellers choose stories for being what they feel are representative cases of true things. In other words, just as there's a difference between you picking a card at random and me choosing a card and handing it to you, there's a difference between you looking at a random failed politician, and me choosing to tell you a story about a particular failed politician. Thus, the original Harry Potter story represents Rowling's views about what matters, not a random selection from actual events, and so too HPMOR represents EY's views about what matters, not a random variation on the original story. None of which means hindsight bias isn't an issue - but the storyteller's bias, or accurate judgment, is also an issue. In this case, peculiarly, hindsight bias might be more likely than average, because the author of the story is trying to illustrate the challenges and methods of being rational.
1glumph10yNaq gurer'f gur snpg gung Ryvrmre fnlf fb. [https://www.evernote.com/pub/adelenedawner/Eliezer#b=90390ce2-1356-4522-959e-a300957704c5&x=Voldemort&n=dd273d9e-ec3a-429f-a6f5-65aa6518b67d] (Edit: as pedanterrific says below. [http://lesswrong.com/lw/b5s/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/64q6])
5pedanterrific10yThe answer to this question is a secret, don't decode unless you're sure you want to know: Gur nhgube fnvq fb.
1RichardKennaway10yI don't think HPMOR!Quirrell is Voldemort. canon!Quirrell has Voldemort's face on the back of his head (concealed by a turban). HPMOR!Quirrell does not. His head is visibly bare, although I recall there's something a bit odd about the appearance of the back of his head, perhaps as if something had been removed. This has to be a sign of something. I'm guessing that Quirrell does have or has had a piece of Voldemort in him, but it's read-only, not executable. Quirrell is in charge of himself, and is on the side of light, but his exposure to Voldemort's innermost thoughts and memories has given him a coldly accurate appreciation of what actually works.
1TobyBartels10yYou know the facts now, of course, but your idea is still a good one and doesn't deserve a negative karma score. Upvoted.

I thought you all might find this amusing: I just got a friend to read HPMoR, and now he's planning on using parts of it to teach his Intro to Psych course.

I think he's planning to use Ch 8 (Hermione's Comed-Tea test) and the chapter(s) with Draco and Harry doing the Blood Purity experiment.

I don't remember MY Intro to Psych course being anywhere NEAR that interesting...

While this does makes sense, it seems almost too mundane for Quirrell.

When Quirrel wrote his list, do you think it included "do not let your plots be too mundane," or the reverse?

0TobyBartels10yNumber 85 is relevant, but not quite the same.
  1. Dumbledore believes that Voldemort is at large.
  2. And that he's probably responsible for Hermione's troubles.
  3. And that he can possess people.
  4. And that Quirrell is under heavy suspicion, both as a Defense Professor and directly in this case.
  5. And Dumbledore still looks for Tom Riddle elsewhere.
  6. And he doesn't hold the Idiot Ball (because no one in this fic does).

I notice I am confused.

We, the readers, know directly about lots of evil things Quirrell has done (e.g. kill Skeeter, break Bellatrix out of prison). We have also used this knowledge to guess at nefarious motives in other, less obvious, cases: like guessing that he was trying to dement Harry, or guessing that he is Hat&Cloak, or guessing that he is constantly manipulating Harry for his own ends.

Dumbledore has access to none of this knowledge. To Dumbledore, Quirrell is an exceptional teacher of Battle Magic who has the interests of the students at heart. He does not appear to take part in politics, with the exception of his pro-unification speech after the battle in the lake.

Dumbledore thinks that Voldemort is "less than spirit, less than the meanest ghost." The ancient tales he found speak of "wizards possessed, doing mad deeds, claiming the names of Dark Lords thought defeated."

The two pictures don't fit together — Quirrell is not doing mad deeds nor claiming the name of the Dark Lord. It's true that Dumbledore knows Tom Riddle was exceptionally brilliant, but I don't think it's idiotic of him to not guess that maybe the old tales of past dark lords only told of the stupid ones, and that Riddle's style of possession would be different.

Wait, killing Skeeter was evil?

I was under the impression that that created a tremendous dose of positive utility for pretty much everyone. Readers included.

Erm, I have to say I'm a bit horrified by some of the reviews celebrating the death of Rita Skeeter. I know I didn't exactly write her as a sympathetic character, but consider yourselves lucky that the story's tone at this point didn't allow it, or Rita Skeeter would have two daughters attending Hogwarts, and the next scene would be Professor McGonagall calling them into her office to let them know that their mother went out on an assignment and never came back. I actually wrote some of that as a possible Omake. Maybe I'll finish it later.

Another possible Omake would be the scene in Mary's Room from Rita's point of view, her slight nervousness when Professor Quirrell mentioned having sealed the room, her sudden start when Professor Quirrell talked about tiny Animagi, her relief at hearing him say he wouldn't test for it, coupled with a growing fear that he already knew and was toying with her, followed by the shock of realizing that she had, somehow, been fooled by evidence that should have been unforgeable, knowing that she had to run before Lucius found her, run as fast as possible, but she was trapped in the room, listening to the words that Professor Quirrell made Harry repeat

... (read more)

It's really easy to feel a total lack of empathy for fictional characters, especially if they're the sort that nobody likes. I don't actually want to murder hack journalists, but it's pretty funny to do when there's no real human dying.

7faul_sname10yRita Skeeter deserving it and her death being a positive net utility to everyone are two very different things. I doubt, however, that her existence actually was a net negative, considering that she's simply fulfilling peoples' need for gossip, and if not her, someone else will.
4TheOtherDave10yCan you clarify what you mean to imply by the distinction between someone deserving death, and someone's death being a positive net-utility shift for everyone?
6faul_sname10yCertainly. If someone deserves death, that means that it is good for them to die, even if their death does not serve any further purpose. The death penalty is given to those who "deserve" to die. In order for it to be a positive net utility for someone to die, the consequences of their living simply have to be worse than the consequences of their death. If someone has a stress-induced breakdown and goes on a shooting spree, it is better to kill them than not to kill them (by killing them you are averting more deaths), despite them not "deserving" to die in any meaningful sense.
[-][anonymous]10y 11

The idea of someone deserving death in itself is deontological (some people must be punished and that's a rule) while talking about the net utility of whatever is consequentialist. Ethics should be impersonal (that is, treat everyone equally) so a consequentialist ethical system that doesn't approve of death in general should never approve of a death of any single person as an end in itself.

Generally, it seems to me that for a consequentialist, talking about an act or a person being evil should only be computational shortcuts over the real substance of moral reasoning (which consists of assigning utility to world-states). Like in the common example of an airplane that we describe using aerodynamics because that's convenient even though really it runs on the same fundamental laws as everything else. We tend to use those shortcuts reflexively without really thinking what we are trying to say in consequentialist terms.

2thomblake10ySome disagree. And beware of "should" statements regarding "ethics".
1faul_sname10yThis. Of course, the deontological view does have its place, specifically where it precommits to punishing undesirable behaviors even if there is no benefit to doing so after the behavior has occurred.
3ahartell10yBut would you want to "[punish] undesirable behaviors even if there is no benefit to doing so after the behavior has occurred"? I would want to pre-commit to punishing criminals after the fact if I thought this would lead to a world where the pos-util of averted crime outweighed the neg-util of punishing people, but not if there were no benefit, and I would be doing this on consequentialist grounds. (I'm basically asking if the deontological view truly "has its place' in this scenario.)
1faul_sname10yBefore the person made the choice of whether or not to do the undesirable behavior, I would want to have precommitted to punishing them if they did the behavior. In the real world, punishing criminals (probably) does reduce crime. In a world where it didn't, precommitment wouldn't be a useful strategy. But it looks like we live in a world where it does.
1ahartell10yYes. And since we (probably) live in such a world, we can precommit to punishing criminals based on consequentialism. We don't need the deontological view for this.
1TheOtherDave10yI disagree with your implication that there is no benefit to punishing undesirable behaviors after they have occurred... there sometimes is. In cases where there is in fact no benefit, though, then the fact that holding a deontological view precommits me to doing so is not a reason for me to hold that view.
4buybuydandavis10yKilling Skeeter is about the only truly questionable action of Quirrellmort that I can remember. Even here, I find it hard to hold it against Quirrell. Rita made a career of libeling others, blithely unconcerned about the harm she caused to their lives. In fact, she seemed rather smug and self satisfied about exercising that power. Quirrell even confronted her and asked her to stop. She had a chance and chose not to take it. She was destroyed in the act of her preferred crime by the person she intended to harm. I suppose I have a bit of Quirrell in me. He takes a grim satisfaction in the poetry of citizens being destroyed in the same prisons they demanded be built. The word for that is justice. A harsher justice than I'd want to seen meted out, but justice nevertheless. I wouldn't have squashed Skeeter, but I can't condemn Quirrell for it either. And yes, Skeeter likely had children who would miss her. Just as good people have some bad, bad people have some good. Recognizing that the world is not black and white shouldn't stop you from seeing that some grays really are darker than others.

I suppose I have a bit of Quirrell in me. He takes a grim satisfaction in the poetry of citizens being destroyed in the same prisons they demanded be built. The word for that is justice. A harsher justice than I'd want to seen meted out, but justice nevertheless. I wouldn't have squashed Skeeter, but I can't condemn Quirrell for it either.

I would just like to point out the unintentional irony in that paragraph.

1disinter10yI'm afraid I can't spot it. Could you point it out for me?
9Eugine_Nier10yIs probably precisely the rational people used when demanding the prisons be built.
1disinter10yThank you, that makes it very clear.
3NancyLebovitz10yWas it Quirrell or Voldemort who wiped out the martial arts school?
1buybuydandavis10yI don't think we have sufficient evidence to conclude that anyone did. All I witnessed as a reader was Quirrell telling a story that he used to make an ideological point. Why should I believe that story is true? This is a point I've made elsewhere. What convincing evidence does the reader have of any of the horrific deeds of Voldemort/Quirrell?
6Alsadius10yThe fact that his death is remembered as a national holiday seems pretty convincing evidence that he at least did something naughty.
1Paulovsk10ywait, Quirrel killed Rita? Can any of you quote that part for me? I can't believe I skipped this one.

wait, Quirrel killed Rita?

Squished her like a bug.

See Chapter 26:

Nestled up against the wall, where Professor Quirrell had stumbled, glistened the crushed remains of a beautiful blue beetle.

(The stumbling happened earlier in the same chapter, Quirrell covered it though, feigning dizziness.)

4buybuydandavis10ySquished her as a bug.
2GeeJo10yThere's a lot of stuff in the fic that's explained only indirectly, leaving the reader to infer the truth - the Pioneer Plaque horcrux; Malfoy's belief that Harry is Voldemort; that Dumbledore is partially responsible for the potion that cleared up Petunia's appearance; the solution to Rita Skeeter's mistaken evidence (though that was made explicit recently); Skeeter's death; the self-serving nature of Quirrell's "strengthening" of Harry (learning to lose, inability to testify under veritaserum, rescuing a former minion, etc); the list goes on...

Wait, breaking out Bellatrix was evil?

If you assume that Quirrel is Voldemort, then either he was lying and Bellatrix was just flat-out evil, or he MADE Bellatrix the way she is and presumably his motives for breaking her out have less to do with healing her and more to do with freeing his evil minion. It's possible Riddle's body had some sort of neurological problem that made him psychotic, which Quirrel does not share, making him regret his past actions, but I think this is unlikely and that he's still just evil.

5RobertLumley10yI don't think anyone in HPMOR is "just evil". Just like no one is "just good".

Dementors are just evil. Fawkes is just good.

The problem is, Fawkes fits a little too well into the Spaceballs maxim - "Evil will always prevail, because good is dumb". Fawkes certainly has a purity of intent that'd put any of the human characters to shame, but the consequences are not always quite so good as would be hoped.

(Incidentally, the comparison you drew makes me notice something - if Harry is searching for eternal life, there's a path to resurrection that neither MoR!Harry nor canon!Voldemort has noticed - phoenixes seem pretty good at that sort of thing. Mentioning them as an absolute contrast to dementors makes me wonder just how strong an antithesis they actually are, and if that might be an answer.)

4Vladimir_Nesov10yThis is not a problem. Dementors are also not particularly cunning; there are other players.
2DanArmak10yIt's possible Quirrel will use Bella to perform an evil deed in the future. But breaking her out was, in itself, not evil.
7glumph10yWell, considering Quirrell is in custody, it can't hurt to look elsewhere. If Dumbledore doesn't bring Quirrell under heavy interrogation of his own after he is released, then I will be confused.
8pedanterrific10ySo the question is, does Quirrell know that the Map exists / is possible? If he does, either he's already beaten it or he can't risk ever going back to Hogwarts. If not, he's about to get caught by Dumbledore in the seat of his power while weakened. I would be a little annoyed if Quirrell's circumvented the Map- it would be way more impressive if he arranged for the Great Quidditch Reform plus Ravenclaw and Slytherin winning the House Cup from outside Hogwarts.
7glumph10yEdit: I am wrong. What will Quirrell display as on the Map? One would think that, if the Map read "VOLDEMORT", the Weasley twins would have figured it out. (There's an analogous, hilarious, inconsistency in canon; how did the twins never see Peter Pettigrew sleeping in Ron's bed?) If Voldemort did steal Quirrell's body rather than use Polyjuice, he might just appear on the map as "Quirrell".

(There's an analogous, hilarious, inconsistency in canon; how did the twins never see Peter Pettigrew sleeping in Ron's bed?)

What makes you think they didn't?

(The obvious answer to this inconsistency is that they had no reason to spy on their brother/the first-years' dorm, but... He used to be Percy's rat. They never spied on Percy? BS.)

0Sheaman37739yRowling's handwave was that, due to (iirc) worry over being discovered, they only took out the Map when they needed to scope out areas for their pranks, and then they always focused on the areas in question. They apparently never felt the need to use the Map to actually spy on anyone, and never bothered to look beyond what was needed for a prank. According to Rowling.

It wouldn't read Voldemort in any case; Dumbledore expects, and I have no reason to expect otherwise, that Voldemort would show up as Tom Riddle.

The Twins' POV mentions two errors in the Map, one constant and one intermittent. If Quirinus Quirrell sometimes (maybe whenever he's out of zombie-mode) reads as Tom Riddle, that would be the intermittent one, and if Quirrell and Riddle were constantly superimposed, that would be the constant. The Twins wouldn't necessarily think this was extremely suspicious; if they looked it up, they'd find a Tom Riddle was Head Boy in 1945, and nothing after that. (His identity wasn't common knowledge.)

Of course, both of those ideas have the problem that if Dumbledore ever talks to the Twins about the Map, the jig's up. So another possibility is that Quirrell did something (to himself or possibly the Map) to keep his name from showing on it correctly. If Quirrell's name is constantly (or only when out of zombie-mode) scrambled or blurred into illegibility, that would work too.

3Eugine_Nier10yPossibly "Tom Riddle".
2Bugmaster10yIs he really ? It seems to me like he's merely enjoying some R&R. Once he's done relaxing, he will Obliviate (or possibly just annihilate) the Auror, get up from his chair, stretch, and warp out of that room to the next destination on his agenda.

I just penned a few thoughts on maintaining proper pessimism about Methods's future. (I also teased Eliezer and, indirectly, Less Wrong commenters a bit. It's all tongue-in-cheek and in a spirit of friendship.)

If anyone can think of a better title for that post, do let me know. I couldn't come up with a pithy Rationalist phrase that quite fit it.

3Locke10yI think things could end up worse than that. Harry's solution, whatever it may be, could well tip off Lucius that he is not in fact Voldemort. And once he's got Hermione out, Lord Malfoy would go after this first-year hard, before he can grow up. A few threats to a few parents and Harry and Hermione will find themselves seized by five seventh-years and portkeyed to Malfoy Manor.
2DanArmak10yBut Harry is in fact Voldemort - in a certain unconscious sense. Lucius decided that he is Harrymort because of Harry's reply to Quirrel's Christmas speech, but he would never have thought about it if the preexisting Harry Potter - Voldemort connection had not brought the hypothesis to mind. And that connection, the hints that make up the real majority of the evidence for the Harrymort hypothesis, is made of true evidence. If Lucius now came to disbelieve in Harrymort, he would not be discarding a completely false hypothesis.
2Vaniver10yRationality is the technique that turns motivations into plans. It is not a technique to generate motivation, except very indirectly.
5Pringlescan10yHmm I don't think that's a very good description. Rationality means setting rational goals to accomplish what you actually want, and then understanding the world around you and yourself well enough to systematically and logically accomplish those goals. It would certainly include studying yourself to understand how to generate motivation.
1Vaniver10yThat sounds circular to me. That sounds like turning motivations (i.e. goals) into plans. Indeed, as an indirect step.
0TobyBartels10yThe adjective ‘rational’ is just superfluous there; the grandparent should simply remove it.
0Vaniver10y"Rational," as an adjective for goals, typically means something like "internally consistent" or "long-sighted" or "wise," and so in general "rational goals" and "goals" mean different things. In a definition for rationality, though, it's inappropriate.
0TobyBartels10yI didn't mean that it was superfluous in front of ‘goals’ but that it was superfluous in a definition of ‘rationality’, so we agree about that. And Pringlescan's definition makes sense if it's removed.
4wedrifid10yStrongly disagree. Maintaining and managing motivation should be built into any practical plan for trying to achieve a goal. This applies both in the abstract sense (all rational agents will self modify so that they more effectively achieve their goals) and as a ubiquitous consideration in human rational planning.
1Vaniver10yThis is what I meant by "very indirectly." [edit] "Very" might have been an overstatement; it probably should have just been "indirectly."
1Anubhav10yThat clinches it; 75th is my alter ego. You know, a la Tyler Durden [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight_Club] or something.

Only tangentially HPMoR related (HPMoR hammers on the #5 point, will hopefully delve deeply into the #6, and touches on the others), but this Cracked article was an interesting perspective:

8Alejandro110yFrom #4:

In retrospect, our guesswork was a lot messier than it should have been.

Chapter 25:

One set of problem-solving groups had been given the instruction "Do not propose solutions until the problem has been discussed as thoroughly as possible without suggesting any."

The other set of problem-solving groups had been given no instructions. And those people had done the natural thing, and reacted to the presence of a problem by proposing solutions. And people had gotten attached to those solutions, and started fighting about them, and arguing about the relative importance of freedom versus efficiency and so on.

and

Starting out by looking for solutions was taking things entirely out of order. Like starting a meal with dessert, only bad.

While Less Wrong discussants are usually prone to less fighting and arguing than the norm, they are not prone to being inefficient.

What we should have done was forbade any and all solutions until two days after the chapter was released. We had five full days to guess, we didn't need to have all our solutions down the first twenty-four hours. Not to mention that instead of simpler solutions, we continued to look for answers more complex than th... (read more)

4AspiringKnitter10yPersonally, I thought the problem through and did, literally, draw a map of the room with its people and creatures, before coming on here, and yet I will own up to having not come up with anything at all and not even figured out which of the solutions proposed by others seemed most plausible.
4drnickbone10yCouple of things: 1. The clue about seeing the Wizengamot as PCs rather than wallpaper rather fizzled out. They still look a lot like wallpaper, and only Lucius and Dumbledore look like PCs. Though Dumbledore has developed a sudden unexpected malware infection and Lucius is just weird. 2. What the hell is up with Dumbledore's preference system?? He prefers Hermione (a probable innocent) going to Azkaban above Harry going into debt, and prefers that in turn over Harry destroying Azkaban and every last Dementor. What is Fawkes doing sitting on his shoulder? Hitting him with a wing... No. Should be pecking his eyes out. 3. And then, what is up with Lucius? After going on so strong about why he would never trade his son's blood debt for money (yep, taboo trade off) he then... trades the blood debt for money! Huh? OK, there's the phoney blood-debt to House Potter in the mix somewhere, but he knows it's phoney, and didn't have to accept it. If he were serious about his son's life as a sacred value, then he wouldn't. The only theory I have is that Lucius knows full well now that Hermione didn't do it. (Harry handed him the idiot ball, he quickly got the point, and updated, though of course couldn't admit to that in front of everyone). So there is no longer a taboo in swapping one phoney debt for another; it's now all about mundane values like political advantage, personal prejudice (sticking it to the Mudblood), trying to embarrass Dumbledore and Boy-Who-Lived with impossible proposals, the off-chance of more gold to add to his pile; all tempered with confusion about whether the Dark Lord is really reborn, what he really wants out of the Mudblood, and why isn't he being let in on the new master-plan?? Truly a vile little worm.
1AspiringKnitter10yI agree; Lucius knows Hermione is innocent (not that she didn't do it) and the clue about the Wizengamot fizzled out. However, I think Dumbledore's preferred outcomes here seem to be the smallest disturbances of the status quo. (Fawkes needs to give him a few more thwacks.) Hermione going to Azkaban disturbs things less than Harry going into debt disturbs things less than Harry destroying Azkaban. So at least there does seem to be a consistent utility function here. (The other, highly improbable, explanation for that preference ranking is that he approves of dementors feeding on innocents in general.) I think Lucius is mostly grandstanding, just saying whatever will make him seem most like a formidable politician and least like he's backing down.
2Viliam_Bur10yThat's a version of publication bias. If a solution is very simple and if the hints are interpreted in the most obvious ways, then it seems like not worth publishing. :D

Apologies if this was in the earlier thread; I didn't see it.

Some facts: When Quirrell is being interrogated, he "sneezes" to cancel the spell "polyfluis reverso", which would show who, if anyone, had polyjuiced into Quirrell. Canon has it being posession, not polyjuice. Also, he suggests that someone is possessing Quirrell in a way that makes it unlikely to be believed.

Some speculation: Quirrell wants the auror to think that he's somebody else polyjuiced as Quirrell, and is willing to reveal that he is capable of powerful wandless magic to do so. He also at least partly reveals that when he messes with the room's lighting earlier. Why does Quirrell not try to hide this ability better when he knows the strategic value of hidden abilities and, IIRC, only a few wizards (Voldemort among them) are known to be capable of wandless magic?

I'm not sure it's wandless.

He gave a flick of his fingers, and when his hand finished the gesture he was holding his wand. "Would you believe that woman thinks she has confiscated this from me?"

Chapter 65.

Then again, the Auror doesn't know of this, so your point stands.

2faul_sname10yAh. That would also explain the sneeze: the auror will look at his face and the quickly moving hand covering the sneeze instead of his other hand.
4gwern10yIs this your inference? When I read that chapter, I immediately googled it and 'polyfluis' to see what it did, but only turned up MoR. Or ask why he told the lackey to tell the Ministry that he ate the Dementor. Why is he painting a target on his back, indeed...

Is this your inference? When I read that chapter, I immediately googled it and 'polyfluis' to see what it did, but only turned up MoR.

Well, that's the obvious implication of

The round-faced first-year girl stood facing the remaining two bullies with one hand cocked on her hip.

Grinning.

And surrounded by faceted blue haze.

"Polyjuice!" spat the bully-girl.

"Polyfluis Reverso!" roared the remaining boy bully.

Something like the form of a mirrored scarf spat out of his wand -

Passed without resistance through the haze surrounding Susan -

For an instant, she glowed in a strange mirror-color, like a reflection of herself -

And then the glow faded.

The young girl still stood there, hand on her hip.

"Wrong," said Susan.

4gwern10yAh. Should've looked harder at the other MoR hit.
3orionstein10yWould it make sense for Quirrell to be Sirius Black polyjuiced? He might actually just be polyjuiced; that's why he's been so intent on helping Harry, because he's SB. He's able to do wandless magic because once he became an animagus he figured out that other wandless magic was also possible, or at least how to do this.
2gwern10yNot really - how does that explain all the clues pointing to Voldemort? And why would Sirius be Defense against the Dark Arts?

Somewhere in the last thread's 1000 posts, it occured to me that it might be useful to have a list of non-obvious insights aggregated. This is stuff that may be missed if the reader has read only HPMoR but is unfamiliar with canon, or it may be things that are well hidden in plain sight. I know it's not normal practice to rot13 such things, but the sheer density of them makes it seem prudent.

  • Dhveery vf Ibyqrzbeg.

  • Yhpvhf guvaxf Uneel vf Ibyqrzbeg.

  • Dhveery znqr gur Iblntre 2 cebor n Ubepehk.

  • Uneel nppvqragnyyl thrffrq gur ybpngvbaf bs Dhveery'f Ubepehkrf.

  • Dhveery xvyyrq Evgn Fxrrgre.

  • Qhzoyrqber urycrq Yvyl znxr Crghavn'f ornhgl cbgvba.

  • Dhveery unf gur Erfheerpgvba Fgbar Qrnguyl Unyybj.

I know there's a bunch I'm missing so feel free to add. Ideally, they should not be controversial, just easily missed.

2TobyBartels10yNot Iblntre 2, but Cvbarre 11.
2David_Gerard10yI didn't actually spot that last one. Where should I be looking?
  1. Quirrell stops short the field trip in chapter 40, saying something's come up that requires he be elsewhere, soon after Harry shows him the symbol (and that's the only real news for Quirrell that's shown). Strongly suggests that Quirrell knows where an object is with that symbol and, now he knows what it is, is going to fetch it.

  2. If the backstory is the same as canon, Riddle in fact did gain possession of the ring that held the stone without immediately knowing it for what it was. Chapter 27 has a reference to a ring that tends to confirm that the backstory is, indeed, same as canon.

It's possible that Quirrell was unsuccessful in obtaining the object, but the most likely scenario is he went and got it without trouble and now has it.

2Vladimir_Nesov10yAlso Ch. 77: I'm guessing what Quirrell lied about is that it was months ago, rather than just about one month ago...

I assumed they were referring to the Philosopher's Stone, which (at least in canon) is hidden in the third floor corridor.

First - YAY! I really do love this book.

Second, the link to part 13 isn't working.

Third, are we going to get a George Bailey scene of people helping to pay off the debt? He did only save them all from the Dark Lord. I know it's not quite as important as helping people to get mortgages, but it should count for something. If nothing else, there's got to be enough people with money out there who wouldn't want the Boy Who Lived to be in debt to the leader of the Death Eaters just as a political matter. And after his show of power against the Dementor, there should be a few people who would consider doing him a favor an extremely wise investment.

Maybe this is the wrong place to ask, but are there any other cool pieces of "edufiction" like HPMoR? I mean fiction where you can learn about science, economics or other topics just by reading the story, and thinking along with it.

There is lots of historic fiction material, so I'd like to exclude that genre from my question.

9Alsadius10yThey're not books, I know, but sometimes videogames can be surprisingly educational, especially in fields like economics where it works the same in game and in reality. If you ever want a crash course in all things economic, become a trader in Eve Online.
5kilobug10yI would say Voltaire's philosophical tales (Zadig, Candid) apply to that qualification, even if they are more written in order to defend a particular pov than about educating in general. Hard science-fiction could also qualify, it often contains some valid bits of science. But it's hard to tell the limit between the author's imagination and the real science. Anyway, I second the question, it would be interesting to have more of those.

I recommend repeating your question as a discussion post so that more people will see it.

3Bugmaster10yTerry Pratchett's Maurice and his Educated Rodents (as well as his other books) is educational, though probably not about science.
[-][anonymous]10y 14

This discussion reminds me of the "Bag of zahav" experiment of Chapter 6.

And therefore the answer is "Magic, Mr. Potter" and "It just uses your name." This doesn't predict much, but it allows us to eliminate obviously nonmagical hypotheses like a database that reads in names announced during Sorting. That's just not how the Hogwarts founders would have thought about the problem.

I guess that a baby that hasn't yet received a name would be known as "Mr. Potter" or "The Potter baby" or something equally vague.

3glumph10yThat doesn't mean the Founders could do the impossible. Saying that "it just uses your name" might be true, but it doesn't tell us how it can use your name. There must be a way that it works (although it may very well be that there is no consistent way-that-it-works that can be extracted from the text). Compare this to another example in which the creator of an artifact "thought about the problem" differently: Broomsticks don't work the way we would expect them to work, because that's not how Celestria Relevo thought about the problem, but that doesn't meant there isn't a way that they work.
1[anonymous]10yMy original guess at why names are needed for magic was that the Source of Magic uses the names as pointers to the information in other people's heads. It's using everyone else's knowledge. This would explain why wizards can transfigure things which have been discovered but not created, like CNTs, but can't transfigure Alzheimer's cures. Sadly, this possibility would be undermined by 'Tom Riddle' appearing on the map, since almost everyone knows him as Voldemort.

I am now convinced (>51%) that Harry is going to sell out Quirrell to buy Hermione's freedom. I originally came to this hypothesis because it is a solid plan; Harry frames Professor Quirrell using his knowledge of Azkaban to free Hermione. He can do this by framing Quirrell as Voldemort, but each conjunction makes a probability less likely so I'll stick with just the above (even though I personally believe this will be the case). With the Watsonian parts hammered down, I'm awestruck by the elegance of the Doylist reasons.

Instead of looking at fiction as a series of words, we can instead look at it as a way to maximize tension, humor, and dramatic irony while keeping believability as strong as possible. Believability is important. Many other stories have their characters act stupid or out of character to create dramatic moments. At the eleventh hour a (badfanfic!)Harry decides to run off instead of get his friends, or randomly (badfanfic!)Hermione decides to side with Lucius for no goddamn reason. In HPMoR's case, we will have everyone working in their own rational self interest, intelligently, and coming out with a result that flows seamlessly to create maximal drama.

Harr... (read more)

Ack I am slain.

Well, humble pie is the most delicious type of pie.

1Eliezer Yudkowsky10yIf it's any consolation, it would've been elegant - it's just that it didn't happen to be where all the story momentum of the last 80 chapters was, in fact, going.
5wedrifid10yNot just >=51%. >51%. That's pretty certain! ;)
2Xachariah10yHaha, good catch. Well, I mean to say that it takes up the majority of my probability mass. Also, I'm exactly 1% more confident than >50%. >_<
7arundelo10yJust a little bit more than a little bit more than half.
2ArisKatsaris10yI love your idea. Just reading about it made me want to update downwards my confidence on my own earlier prediction, because indeed yours is narratively very elegant. I don't think Eliezer will be doing what you suggest, but even if he doesn't I might even be interested in reading a parallel fic/path that follows this suggestion instead...

Ninety percent?! Holy moly!

As such there is no possible way that dementors could ever relay information to someone not already in possession of the knowledge.

Guess that idea is wrong, then.

Auror Li and Auror McCusker had rearranged their chairs around the table, and so they both saw it at the same time, the naked, skeletally thin horror rising up to hover outside the window, the headache already hitting them from seeing it.

They both heard the voice, like a long-dead corpse had spoken words and those words themselves had aged and died.

The Dementor's speech hurt their ears as it said, "Bellatrix Black is out of her cell."

There was a split second of horrified silence, and then Li tore out of his chair, heading for the communicator to call in reinforcements from the Ministry, even as McCusker grabbed his mirror and started frantically trying to raise the three Aurors who'd gone on patrol.

1pleeppleep10yHuh, didn't remember that. Guess you win that one.

I generally prefer to think of determining the truth as a cooperative endeavor, but thanks?

6pleeppleep10yGood point. I suppose it would've been more accurate to have said "I win" since I was the one to update beliefs.

Whatever the hell happens, it has to end with a snap.

Short detour back to chapter 79, to look closely at the night's events:

At midnight, Draco and Hermine meet for the duel. (Let's assume they did have a duel, because implanting very believable (but still false) memories into both of their brains would take about twice the time of the duel and would thus be unnecessary work.) Let's assume that the duell takes about 15 to 20 minutes, so it's now 12:20am. Enter Mister X. Mister X stuns Draco, implants false memories (< 1 min) into Hermione's brain of her doing the Blood-Cooling Charm, and finally performs the Blood-Cooling Charm on Draco in a way to make sure he survives for >6 hours. Mister X is back in his room at 12:30am and needs to wait 6 hours (plus epsilon) until all traces leading to him have vanished.

And guess what:

At 6:33am, Quirinus Quirrell had Flooed St. Mungo's from his office for immediate pickup of Draco Malfoy.

Some Bayesian updating on P(Quirrell did it | Quirrell found Draco at 6:33am) tells us that this increases the probability of "Quirrell did it" by a quite noticeable amount.

OTOH, I'm not sure whether it would be okay to just do the math, without taking into account the possibility that Eliezer chose that time deliberately to steer us in a certain direction. Any thoughts on that?

My model of EY says that he would want the evidence he gave us to point to the true culprit--more evidence ought to make finding who did it easier, not harder. If EY chose that time deliberately to point at Quirrell, it's further evidence that Quirrell did it.

4faul_sname10yAnd his comment to the effect that he doesn't intentionally mislead readers, made about 4 hours after this one, implies that it may have been in reference to the above hypothesis.
0TobyBartels10yMore specifically, from my model of EY: If some information, rationally interpreted, is (internal to the story) evidence for a hypothesis, then this is good evidence (external to the story) that EY intends this hypothesis to be true. And if some information, interpreted according to a common bias, is (internal to the story) evidence for a hypothesis, then this is good evidence (external to the story) that EY intends this hypothesis to be false. Not only is he not trying to trick us, after all; he's trying to teach us rationality skills. So he can put in red herrings; we just shouldn't fall for them!
2bramflakes10yThis is contingent on whether the duel would last for 15-20 minutes. To my (admittedly leaky) memory, we haven't seen a proper duel in MoR yet, and I don't believe that any duel in canon lasted for that long either.

Even if the duel lasted only a few minutes and everything was over by, say, 12:10 or 12:20, that would mean Quirrel only waited six hours and 13-23 minutes, depending. Could even be deliberate-- an attempt to throw suspicion off himself by making the timing not quite perfect.

On the other hand, if I take "he's only three minutes late" as evidence that he did it, and "he's more than three minutes late" as evidence that he did it, I'm violating a principle of rationality.

I think he had something to do with it anyway.

On the other hand, if I take "he's only three minutes late" as evidence that he did it, and "he's more than three minutes late" as evidence that he did it, I'm violating a principle of rationality.

If you take "he's just a few minutes late" as strong evidence that he did it, "he's quite a while late" as weak evidence that he did it and "he's early" as very strong evidence that he did not do it, this violation disappears.

1AspiringKnitter10yI just thought of something else, too, that could explain why it took so long if the duel were short. Suppose Hermione won relatively quickly, at around 12:05. H&C obliviates and memory-charms her, taking as much time as the duel he makes her remember, which could be several minutes. Then he has to do the same to Draco. At this point, it's around 12:15 or so, and the memory of casting the BCC would make it more like 12:16. Then H&C casts the charm himself and realizes he doesn't recall what time it is exactly. Decides to go with 12:30 because overshooting is way better than undershooting here and he thinks he'll be safe with 12:30, especially if he doesn't have much time before he goes zombie or something and can't just check the clock. (Anyone notice that Quirrellmort seems to be living Life: The Interesting Parts Version?)
3magfrump10yThe duel between Dumbledore and Grindelwald in canon lasted three hours, according to the Harry Potter wiki.
6ahartell10yDraco in Chapter 47.
4magfrump10yI don't mean to argue that it is clear that the duel lasted that long in MoR, but I doubt that Rowling would have that plot in mind. Also, from TVTropes:

This seems like brinksmanship. My instinct tells me Dumbledore was right and anything Harry does is weakening the ultimate compromise that everyone who matters knows will be reached (most likely behind closed doors.)

We're given at least two hints about this during the trial, though I did not read too closely.

Agreed. The option that seems clearest to me is to Lose, not to escalate. It's the first Potions class all over again, with Harry offering to sacrifice his humanity and the political stability of the country for Hermione's comfort.

If Harry loses well enough, he may even win.

3Normal_Anomaly10yHarry may lose in the sense of failing to keep Hermione out of Azkaban, but I doubt he'll choose to lose. The lesson of the first potions class was not to get caught in a status/dominance fight at the cost of important goals. The lesson on losing in the Battle Magic class added "how to pretend you've lost without giving up any important goals." Losing in this case does not mean sacrificing "Hermione's comfort," it means letting his best friend die slowly. The line about seeing the Wizengamot as PCs vs. as wallpaper and the final lines about Harry's knowledge of wizarding laws and culture suggest that Harry's solution is going to fall within the law and custom of wizarding society. Harry has already decided to undermine the political stability of the country because he objects to said country on moral grounds, but he won't do it now because it isn't time yet. As for sacrificing his humanity, I wouldn't want to bet on his ability to stay human with Hermione dying in Azkaban.
2Benquo10yLosing and begging sounds far superior to most of the other options considered; the prospects for success may not be greater, but the loss if he fails is little. Unfortunately he's gone Dark, and his dark side doesn't seem to know how to lose.
6pedanterrific10yNo, I think it learned that lesson:
4DanArmak10yWhile in Azkaban, his light side also thought very emphatically that "losing was for House points, not for people".
6Anubhav10yMind spelling them out for those untutored in the Dark Arts?
[-][anonymous]10y 10

Where do prophecies come from?

  • The idea of Time itself designating some people and events as Important and composing vague poetry about them is incompatible with a universe that runs on simple physical laws and is obviously nonsense. Doubly so if those laws are actually timeless. I hope I can state this unequivocally.

  • If Eliezer wants to teach his readers that a hero can be anyone with the talent, courage, and conscientiousness to do what's right, that there are no auras of destiny, that heroes choose themselves, then he can't actually have the planet's operating system, the Source of Magic, amputating the characters' destinies by choosing which ones to promote to Power User status. Even if it has a naturalistic explanation, a story whose heroes are ordained by fate would teach the same lessons as Star Wars. While David Brin is reading it. And Eliezer wouldn't do that, right?

Dunno.

  • Depending on where you draw the line, anywhere from four to six false prophets have now appeared in the story. I assumed they were there to prime you - really, beat you over the head - with the idea that prophecies can be human fabrications. But perhaps Eliezer just likes to repeat himself.

  • Simila

... (read more)

Even if it has a naturalistic explanation, a story whose heroes are ordained by fate would teach the same lessons as Star Wars. While David Brin is reading it.

I note that Brin has to try to explain away the climax of RotJ in order to support his contention as to what the lesson of Star Wars is, and that his contention has gotten weaker over time with the prequels.

The actual story of the Star Wars films is how every Force-user in the whole galaxy was defeated by a handful of scoundrels over a period of less than thirty years. The prequels tell how the Jedi were wiped out by non-force-using clones of the bounty hunter Jango Fett. Then the fate of the first Death Star was not decided by the relative Force power of Vader and Luke, but by smuggler Han Solo shooting Vader's spacecraft. Finally, last movie has the second Death Star destroyed by that same smuggler's force taking down a force shield on Endor and his con-man buddy flying his smuggling ship into the Death Star II and blowing it up.

That is, we have a whole series of six movies that, as a whole, show Force-users reduced from the most important force in the Galaxy to one survivor (who doesn't even lead a faction) by the ac... (read more)

0TobyBartels10yThanks for that analysis, helping me understand some of what bothered me about Brin's analysis. (I always understood more of what bothered me, especially the implication that it is evil to understand evil people. And of course Lucas clearly vindicated himself politically in Episodes 2&3.)

The idea of Time itself designating some people and events as Important and composing vague poetry about them is incompatible with a universe that runs on simple physical laws and is obviously nonsense.

What makes you so sure the HPMoR universe is reductionist and/or runs on simple physical laws?

HPMoR is a rationalist story, not necessary a reductionist story. A true rationalist must be willing to update against even reductionism, if the evidence leads there.

5[anonymous]10yIt's the fundamental simplicity and regularity [http://lesswrong.com/lw/s2/my_kind_of_reflection/] of the universe that allows the basic tools of rationality to work at all. Reality is laced together too tightly [http://lesswrong.com/lw/hq/universal_fire/] to permit a world where 'muggle science' can function but Occam's Razor isn't reliable. Eliezer couldn't teach his brand of rationality with a universe that ran on genre tropes instead of particle physics. ETA: Okay, he could try, but it would be a mistake. And I know that he knows this, because I learned it from him.

Eliezer couldn't teach his brand of rationality with a universe that ran on genre tropes instead of particle physics.

Well, to some extent yeah, I guess. If SPHEW's plan to tie up Harry and drag him alongside as a bait to "Adventures" had worked, then Hermione giving up on reason might have had merit.

But that (genre tropes vs particle physics) is a rather false dichotomy. I can imagine a fictional universe which designates pieces of knowledge as fundamental entities, and can therefore designate "importance" on events, based on how many people will come to know of them, and can throw back pieces of knowledge through Seers.

It's not our universe, but that would still be a universe one could attempt to sensibly reason about -- and I think that's the sort of different universe that Eliezer would find fun to write about.

In short, I don't share your model of Eliezer.

4[anonymous]10yAlright then. I don't understand how your non-reductionist universe works at all - how do the ideas interact with the people? Are the people made of anything? - and I don't believe that the person who wrote this [http://lesswrong.com/lw/tv/excluding_the_supernatural/] would set a story intended to teach rationality inside a universe he believes he's physically incapable of imagining. But I'm happy to just wait and see.
8thomblake10yThe problem is, talent, courage, and conscientiousness also come from the genetic lottery. Anyone can be a hero. Sorry, I meant anyone born with the capacity for great intelligence, probably functioning limbs, and not born into abject poverty. With the magic gene.
9[anonymous]10yMy overriding belief here is that the lessons of HPMoR won't contradict those of the Sequences. It's an author-acknowledged Author Tract, and the author will want his readers to learn beneficial habits of thought. Like "The answer will probably turn out to be compatible with naturalism and reductionism, so that's where you should be looking." And this one. Yes, you need to be genetically gifted to achieve great things. From Einstein's Superpowers [http://lesswrong.com/lw/qs/einsteins_superpowers/]: But you also need to overcome the purely psychological barrier of believing that the people who achieve greatness are selected by fate, a race apart from common mortals. If Harry Potter is the Chosen One in addition to just being a genius, Eliezer will have reinforced the false belief he's argued against here, giving people another reason to think, "You want to save the world like Harry Potter? Let's see your prophecy, buddy." I think it's more likely he'll subvert this prophecy business, hard. I'm surprised more people don't agree.
1thomblake10yIt seems to me that sentiment is exactly what he was getting at at the end of chapter 81, whether or not prophecies are real.
7buybuydandavis10yAccording to my preferred storyline, of Voldemort purposely "losing" to the baby Harry, they could come from Voldemort.
3pedanterrific10yDidn't we get a Trelawney POV of her not-quite-getting a prophecy in the middle of the night with no one around? Why would Voldemort set that up?
4bramflakes10yBut it's pretty well established that having Power User status is genetic.
2pedanterrific10yIt took me a bit to come up with a hypothesis about what this means, but... are you referring to the fact that Chapter 42 mentions male homosexuality? I really can't see what else it might have to do with Grindelwald, but that's... that's something alright.
3[anonymous]10yYes, that would be awful. But I meant this: I don't expect Sirius to show up, since his tale was told to its conclusion. His nemesis was Peter, and Peter is dead. Which leaves open the question of why we heard so much about him. One reason for recounting his story in MoR would be to establish a parallel motivation for Grindelwald's return as an antagonist.

I don't expect Sirius to show up, since his tale was told to its conclusion. His nemesis was Peter, and Peter is dead.

Uh...

"Gosh," Harry said half a minute later, "you get a seer smashed on six slugs of Scotch and she spills all sorts of secret stuff. I mean, who'd have thought that Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew were secretly the same person?"

and

The old wizard reached out toward another metal door, from behind which came a endless dead mutter, "I'm not serious, I'm not serious, I'm not serious..." The red-golden phoenix on his shoulder was already screaming urgently, and the old wizard was already wincing, when -

Another cry pierced the corridor, phoenix-like but not the true phoenix's call.

The wizard's head turned, looked at the blazing silver creature on his other shoulder, even as ephemeral and substanceless talons launched the spell-entity into the air.

The false phoenix flew down the corridor.

The old wizard raced off after, legs churning like a spry young man of sixty.

The true phoenix screamed once, twice, and a third time, hovering before the metal door; and then, when it became clear that its master would not return for all its calling, flew reluctantly after.

3Anubhav10ySecond quote: Excellent catch.
2[anonymous]10yRe. the second quote, in light of Eliezer's statement that the story contains no red herrings: good point.
1DanArmak10yMaybe it's just an inherent constraint of writing a Harry Potter fic. If you change so many things that there aren't even prophecies anymore, and the one about Harry and Voldemort is a false one, then it's not fanfic anymore, it's a different universe with characters who happen to have the same names, Edit: my comment was very poorly worded, based on reactions. It's not that there is a sharp division of stories into "real HP fic" and everything else. Please see my latest comment [http://lesswrong.com/lw/b5s/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/65cf] replying to replies to this one.
9Anubhav10y... Has it occurred to you that "fanfiction" and "original story" may not be sharply delineated categories? Cases in point: every major story from before the Age of Copyright, like the Greek myths or the King Arthur legends or the Robin Hood stories. Pick two versions a couple centuries apart and you'll find changes way more drastic than this one, and yet you can't pick out a version in the chain joining them that wouldn't qualify as fanfiction of the earlier versions.
2DanArmak10yAll that you say is true, and irrelevant. HPMoR is both an original story and, at the same time, a reflection on another author's story (fanfiction). I believe Eliezer doesn't change things (that happened before the story's beginning), and general facts about the universe, without having a specific reason in mind. This makes it more focused and easier to read for people familiar with canon (the target audience). A change to the universe that made prophecies in general not true/real, would be so big that it would thematically deserve to be the subject of its own story. In this story, the big change is everyone's intelligence, and we get to see how the smarter characters react differently to the same world as in the original story. In my opinion, a story that eventually revealed that "prophecies don't really exist and are always cons" - when even a character like Quirrel believes in them - would be in the same class as a story that eventually revealed that "magic doesn't really exist, it's all sufficiently advanced technology controlled by aliens who are the real mastermind, villain, and Harry ends up teaming with Voldemort to defeat them". It might be a good story, but it's not a Harry Potter story.
5Anubhav10yFirst paragraph: Irrelevant. In other words, you're talking about what makes a fic a Harry Potter fic, not about what HPMoR is about. In other words, a story where Arthur is king of Britain rather than a supernatural adventurer [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Pendragon#Pre-Galfridian_traditions] isn't an Arthur story. A story where Merlin is a major character isn't an Arthur story. A story where Mordred is actually an alien isn't an Arthur story. What I'm saying here is that you're drawing a line in the sand between "Harry Potter stories" and "not Harry Potter stories", but that line doesn't correspond to any kind of sharp division in the real world.
5wedrifid10ySomething about reading this as it relates to fanfiction makes me smirk.
3Anubhav10yImplying that fanfiction is not written in the real world.

The monastery, Bellatrix, and Dementor!Harry evidences of Voldemort's violent behavior cited above are original creations in HPMOR. HPMOR doesn't just ignore canon!Voldemort's punishment fixation; it reaffirms it.

There should be a reason.

2hairyfigment10yQuirrell had older students beat up Voldemort's enemy during class. He squashed a reporter who mildly annoyed him, cast the Killing Curse at an Auror and probably arranged to put Hermione in danger of Azkaban. Now if Voldemort were supposed to be stupid, this would still represent a change. But all of his most competent opponents say the opposite, that he seemed frighteningly intelligent. And all the old instances of violence, IIRC, served a forward-thinking purpose in addition to hurting people. (At least if you accept my interpretation [http://lesswrong.com/lw/axe/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/63hg] of the way he treated Bella.)
1Percent_Carbon10yRita probably felt terror and was anguished before Quirrell crushed her. Harry was not only beaten, but made to believe that he deserved to be beaten, that he needed it. Maybe Riddle just got subtle.

Isn't it about time Harry taught Hermione Patronus 2.0?

The trouble with Stephenson's books is that he tends to make a lot of stuff up and insert it into the exposition in such a way that it's difficult to tell it from the trustworthy material. Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle aren't so bad about this, but someone who'd, say, learned most of their neoplatonic philosophy from Anathem might come out the other side with some very strange ideas indeed -- even if they'd thought, and bothered, to look up the real-world cognates of all his academic smeerps.

Charles Stross is another author with similar habits -- al... (read more)

9gwern10yAnd in the good direction, you have someone like Peter Watts, who sometimes includes appendixes explaining exactly what science he's based his speculation on.
2bogdanb10yOr Greg Egan, who publishes on-line appendixes to his books explaining, say, how Riemannian Thermodynamics [http://gregegan.customer.netspace.net.au/ORTHOGONAL/05/Thermodynamics.html] would work. With equations and graphics. (Labeled axes!) And video simulations. The appendixes themselves have appendixes [http://gregegan.customer.netspace.net.au/ORTHOGONAL/05/ThermodynamicsExtra.html] !
4pedanterrific10yCan I just say I experienced mind-boggling surprise (and a corresponding increase in my respect for you) when I realized that was not a TVTropes link?
1Alsadius10yWhy would that be worth an increase in respect?

Sticking my neck out with a prediction, at the eleventh hour: I think that 1) the most likely solution of any proposed is that Harry will call in the debts owed to him by some of the Wizengamot members, 2) the true culprit behind the duel, GHD attack, and possible other mind-magic will eventually be revealed but not necessarily in this chapter, and that 3) it's probably Quirrel. Note that this shouldn't be taken as one giant conjunction, just three independent predictions.

6pedanterrific10y
2pedanterrific10y
3Normal_Anomaly10yOh, and can someone reply to the parent with a copy of it so I can't edit my prediction after the fact? Thanks.
5ArisKatsaris10yBesides FAWS' suggestion of just not editing your comment, and so it lacking an asterisk you can also use predictionbook to record such predictions ( http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6147 [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6147] and http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6148 [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6148] are relevant to your first prediction )
3FAWS10yIf you keep refraining from editing it the comment won't display the asterisk after the positing time signifying that the comment has been edited, so people will know you made the prediction at the posting time.
1Normal_Anomaly10yAnother prediction that I forgot to put the first time: Even if Harry's solution is not to call in his debts, it will not be violent, it will involve wizarding law and/or tradition, and Hermione and Harry will go back to school (as opposed to being fugitives/"off the grid").

No, he doesn't want to. He's frothing for Hermione's blood, the blood of the one who tried to murder the only precious thing in the world to him.

How could Eliezer make this clearer, write in a line like 'Drool dripped from Lucius's fangs as his eyes rolled up ecstatically, contemplating that filthy mudblood's miserable death in Azkaban, a fate far too good for that murderess who tried to end the luminous life of his Draco! Death! Death to Hermione!'

1TuviaDulin10yIs it bad that I totally want this line to appear in the story now?

Check out Chapter 24, which mentions "The Rule of Three": Any plot which requires more than three different things to happen will never work in real life.

I'm counting atleast 8 different things that have to go right for your plot to work (steal Draco's wand, steal Hermione's wand, steal Jugson's wand, convince Snape/Quirrel/Dumbledore to cooperate with your plan, convincingly tamper with the wands, sneak back and return Hermione's wand, return Draco's wand, return Jugson's wand)

1pleeppleep10yI could be wrong, but i believe its been noted that Harry has a tendency to bypass the rule of three.
3Alsadius10yI don't think Harry has even noticed that the rule of three exists yet. He hasn't actually had any of his plans fail, so he has no experience with trying to make sure that they don't. This is why I'm fairly skeptical of his whole "If your plan isn't working, be more clever" attitude - sometimes, clever isn't enough. Dumbledore's inactivity seems a lot more sensible in a lot of cases, as would be expected from someone who's learned the hard way.
3Vladimir_Nesov10ysometimes, there isn't enough clever
1Alsadius10yThis is also true.

And that is how you do a Mood Whiplash right. I was incredibly nervous going into the chapter, and laughing the moment I saw the word "marriage."

Also, I think that Harry actually managed to make a slightly conciliatory argument at the end there. Namely, "If you don't piss me off any more, I can be a really, really powerful ally. And I'm in debt to you."

Looks like the LessWrong readership called it. Both plans, even. Congratulations, people who guessed quicker than I did.

I notice that Harry's view of the Wizengamot as a faceless entity doesn't actually seem to have changed this chapter. So much for that hint.

Also, it would be nice to know which members of the Wizengamot now think Harry is Voldemort and why they think he decided to pretend to die or whatever they think happened.

[-][anonymous]10y 8

The reason Voldemort brainwashed Bellatrix was in order to marry her in absolute secrecy, unconventionally taking her last name for his own (this is also the reason she is not married to Lestrange in MoR). As a result, his name will show up as "Tom Black" on the map, and Dumbledore's "Find Tom Riddle" instruction will do nothing.

Has anyone suggested Harry simply giving a long impassioned plea, thus acting as Hermione's missing lawyer? He might be able to sway enough of the voters if he proposes a satisfactory lesser punishment (and passes a rhetoric and/or sophistry skill check). Hagrid was convicted of murder in Hogwarts, and his punishment was having his wand snapped and being expelled.

5pleeppleep10yHagrid was convicted in the canon universe which is noticeably different from the world presented in the fic. Hagrid was convicted at least 35 years before Voldemort started causing trouble and plunging the wizarding world into chaos. Most of all, Hagrid was fortunate enough NOT to piss off Lucius Malfoy. So there's no reason for that example to be particularly relevant to Hermione's predicament.
2mesilliac10yHagrid's story seems to be unchanged, and Harry is aware of it - he was told he was responsible for getting the conviction overturned and the wand returned. The point is more that Lucius Malfoy doesn't directly control the Wizengamot. His main tool at this trial seems to be rhetoric, drumming up righteous indignation and playing the part of the aggrieved Noble. If Harry stops focusing on Lucius and in stead focuses on the individual voters, he can find arguments to sway different sections. Hagrid's case sets a precedent which makes it obvious the Wizengamot is playing to a double-standard in this case, but he would certainly have to come up with more arguments. Another point he could make is that Hermione had no motive. Another is that her behaviour before the event was completely out of character. He has Hermione right there, and veritaserum on hand, so if he asked her the right questions under veritaserum he could probably find out about the huge chunk of missing time she has in her memory - good evidence that she was psychologically manipulated.
3wirov10yWhat huge chunk of time is missing from her memory? The only moments she misses are (according to Harry's theory) * the moment in which she remembers seeing Draco and Snape plotting against her, which was implanted by a FMC and removed after the duel (leaving all the true but misleading memories of being furious at Draco in place) * and a short time intervall after the duel, where the false memories of her performing the Blood Cooling charm were inserted. In addition, we can assume that these memory charms were very precisely executed because of their utmost importance to the plan. Thus, even the transitions between these false memories and the true memories surrounding them would probably be unnoticable. (Remember, a legilimency expert already checked her.) (Of course, there is also the Groundhog Day incident when she really lost a huge chunk of time – but it's not related to this event in any way that's obvious to Harry. I'm not aware of any evidence that he even knows about that.)
2mesilliac10yI was referring to the Groundhog Day incident. Harry probably isn't aware of it, but could come across it by asking simple questions of Hermione like "why were you so angry that day of the battle?". Hermione seems aware that she is missing memories here, due to her "lost track of time" statement to Susan. Thinking of what Draco might have done to her and then obliviated seems a reasonable explanation for her anger towards him during the battle, and perhaps why she can believe that she did attempt to murder him.
2pleeppleep10yMost of those points were already brought up and ignored. Everyone at the "trial" came in knowing exactly which way to vote, and Harry doesn't have time to alter their individual opinions. Its pretty clear that if Hermione had never come into contact with Harry, but still wound up in the same situation (inexplicably) things would be very different. Although I do like how you're idea calls back the opening to the chapter. Also, Harry just talking makes for kinda poor drama. Where getting close to the climax of this section and I'd be pretty surprised if it ended with Harry getting to know the members of the Wizengamot, but i could be wrong.
2mesilliac10yJudging by Fudge and Umbridge's demeanor, the voters might put more weight on the words of the Boy Who Lived than on those of Dumbledore, especially as Dumbledore wasn't phrasing his arguments in such a way as to appeal to the parts of the audience who didn't already support him. I agree with your point about it making a poor climax though. I think it's quite unlikely for this reason, but still like the idea of Harry suddenly gaining super-lawyer powers :).

Can we add a link in the article heading to discussion section eleven?

No other evidence that I know of, it just seems a priori more likely than any other specific word you could pick out.

"Avada" is up there.

You're assuming that Quirrellmort succeeds in his plan, and succeeds without major hitches. The hitches, and/or Harry's final victory, are where the twists and turns come from.

At this point, everybody who knows Voldemort's back and isn't named "Harry" has Quirrell as prime suspect. What happens when they actually pursue him?

Beyond that we still have both the Deathly Hallows and the Philosopher's Stone as major artifacts that the story has made a big deal of that haven't been fully put into play. Notice how almost everybody who talks about Harry'... (read more)

3wedrifid10y"Look, he creates an FAI that can do magic, alright!"
8Daniel_Starr10yI thought the unspeakable secret of the fic is that magic itself comes from an FAI trying to grant wishes while respecting humans' sense of how the world ought to work. Well, that plus time travel. Don't know where the FAI got the time travel from. Must have been one heck of a Singularity.
7[anonymous]10yThe time travel is 'easily' explained when you assume an AI has been made to account for magic. The AI just need to predict what everyone is going to do for the next 6 hours and "create" a new Harry with the correct memories when he is going to use a time-turner. Then 6 hours later the old Harry is instantly destroyed when he uses it. This also explains why there is a finite bound on how far back information can be sent (6 hours is how far into the future the AI can predict) and why there is an apparent intelligence warning people when they are about to do something wrong with their time-turners (eg. Harry's "Do not mess with time" message and Dumbledore's paradox warning).
1MugaSofer9y... except that time turners obey Novikov consistency, which implies a timeless universe, prophecies can reach further than six hours, and Eliezer has stated that the story doesn't contain a SIAI.
2[anonymous]9yWell, it's been a while since I posted this, but maybe I should have made myself clearer. I only posted to say that the assumption of an AI giving us magic doesn't need the additional assumption of time travel. The six hour time limit is for predicting the position, movement and interactions of everyone (both people and animals) 'close' to a potential time traveler. Prophecies are vague enough to not need this detail of prediction and can therefore be made for further into the future. As to the question whether this AI assumption is actually the correct one I can only refer you to this quote from chapter 25: Which could be a hint in this direction. I assume Eliezer's quote on an AI not being a part of the story is just that, the story will be about Harry's struggle with Voldemort, not about tracking down any sources of Magic. I agree that obeying Novikov consistency seems to be a good description of the universe in HPMoR, but it is only a partial description since something prevented Harry from using this consistency to factor natural numbers in polynomial time, which should be possible in a universe that is 'only' Novikov consistent (meaning you need additional assumptions to prevent this).
1MugaSofer9yThis had not occurred to me. I thought this was simply a flaw in Harry's methodology - he's too self-aware for it to work. You need something that will reliably act according to the script, and only as described on the script - in short, a machine, not a person. Harry had failed to consider the possibility of messages that do not consist of factors. ... I thought. Hmm. I need to think about this.
3[anonymous]9yI don't think Eliezer makes a distinction here. Had Harry done this with a computer program it would probably output (and send back) the exact error message it would generate from getting said message as input, or something like that. Besides had this trick been possible in any way the story would pretty much be over, as solving every problem in PSPACE in polynomial time [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novikov_self-consistency_principle#Time_loop_logic] would all but guarantee Harry's ascension to godhood.
0MugaSofer9yMagic breaks computers, remember? If there is ANY input other than the correct answer that will not generate a paradox, you're doing it wrong.
0[anonymous]9yAh yes, I had totally forgotten about that. It is a much better explanation than what I thought of.
0MugaSofer9yIt should still be possible to build a completely mechanical way of doing this. I don't think Harry's realized that, though.
0[anonymous]9yI was thinking of this myself, but only humans can be sent back in time using a time-turner. And since said humans probably also has to be magical I would guess another requirement is that they have to be scared off by the 'Do not mess with time' message (i.e. anyone getting that message and still trying to send a '0' back in time would not be able to use the time-turner in the first place). So no 'creating' a human with this factoring algorithm instead of (or in addition to) a personality programmed into their brain-structure.
0MugaSofer9yI was thinking of a human taking back the message without reading it.
0[anonymous]9yThat is a very nice solution indeed. Harry can even do that experiment easily with our current technology, he just needs a printer and a scanner. He can even go somewhere else when he goes back in time to stop magic from messing with the computer. The only way I can see this fail is if the time-turner either refuses to work when he tries to do this (per whatever requirements it puts on its users) or just kills him outright (given the threatening nature of 'Do not mess with time'). So he should probably enlist someone else to take the message for him. Either way, it would be nice to see Harry thinking of this experiment in HPMOR.
0MugaSofer9yOf course, Harry doesn't know why his experiment failed. In fact, the Do Not Mess With Time probably scared him out of trying to exploit the time travel mechanics. That's kinda impressive, actually - Eliezer found a way to avoid exploits that could break the system that follows naturally within the system. I doubt he'll ruin all his hard work by having Harry figure it out, but you never know.
3wedrifid10yIn that case, of course, your FAI must choose to either work within the magic system or to overthrow the old guard and replace it.
5Daniel_Starr10ySo what you're saying is the FAI has to convince the FAI to let it out of the box?
5wedrifid10yOr just kill it. It's a matter of working out what sort of overseer AI there is and what the best way to manage it might be.
2DanArmak10yThat is NOT what I'd call "friendly". It would be indirectly responsible for (not stopping) all the evil in the world, and not raising Muggle standards of living. But it might be a good warning on the danger of how your civilization's CEV might look rather evil to your own descendants.

As we know, Harry's idea of double memory-charm has not been presented to the Wizengamot, which is a good thing; not only is it low status, as Harry realized, it's also unlikely to work, as Snape pointed out. Also, that's not what happened.

Hermione has been told the right lie, to lead her through the right emotions - a growing suspicion towards Draco, mainly - and then she was Obliviated, and told the same lie over again, went through the same emotions again, and again. If the sense of disorientation isn't a problem, she could have been looped through just... (read more)

2Anubhav10yYour explanation of the Groundhog Day attack is the only one I've seen so far that makes sense.

Alternatively it could have been a way to determine the right memory charm to achieve the desired effect without using legilimency

The Potions Master was frowning thoughtfully, eyes intent. "The reaction to a False Memory Charm is hard to predict in advance, Mr. Potter, without Legilimency. The subjects do not always act as expected, when they first remember the false memories. It would have been a risky ploy. But I suppose that is one way Professor Quirrell could have done it.".

9alex_zag_al10yLike how in the GHD iteration we saw, she revealed that she was susceptible to believing that Snape is a Death Eater, and that it'd be hard to convince her that Harry would betray her. And, in fact, she was led to believe bad things about Snape, but not Harry: (Dumbledore in Ch79)
3Alsadius10yYou don't buy the trial-and-error argument?

It's annoying that the whole fic has been hanging by a thin thread for awhile now for no good reason. When Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape or anyone else finally tells Harry about horcruxes, Harry will figure out in seconds that Quirrell is Voldemort and that Harry himself is a horcrux. (Quirrell told Harry about the Pioneer plaque, and later asked him about secure ways to lose a thing. Harry remembered Voldemort casting the horcrux spell, but filed it away as a "strange word" in Ch.45. Harry's being a horcrux explains his dark side and his sense of doom near Quirrell. Etc.)

I've the impression that Harry actually has some kind of censor inside his head that prevents him from thinking about the sense of doom concerning Quirrel. He is never shown remembering it and reflecting on it, even though it should be a pretty damn conspicuous and important fact. EDIT: not never, as seen below, but the amount of thought he expends on the matter still seems to be weirdly little.

And now that he knows what it means - that his and Quirrel's magics cannot touch each other because they "resonate" - he never tries to research this phenomenon. And he's been told he has the "brother wand" to Voldemort's...

1TobyBartels10yYes, yes, and yes. There's a lot of stuff that Harry hasn't followed up on, at least as far as we've been shown. He has his priorities, after all; researching magical resonance won't earn him Quirrell Points!

Harry started to get up from his chair, then halted. "Um, sorry, I did have something else I wanted to tell you -"

You could hardly see the flinch. "What is it, Mr. Potter?"

"It's about Professor Quirrell -"

"I'm sure, Mr. Potter, that it is nothing of importance." Professor McGonagall spoke the words in a great rush. "Surely you heard the Headmaster tell the students that you were not to bother us with any unimportant complaints about the Defense Professor?"

Harry was rather confused. "But this could be important, yesterday I got this sudden sense of doom when -"

"Mr. Potter! I have a sense of doom as well! And my sense of doom is suggesting that you must not finish that sentence!"

Harry's mouth gaped open. Professor McGonagall had succeeded; Harry was speechless.

ETA: I agree he doesn't pay as much attention to it as it deserves, but given the reaction he got when he brought it up...

5ArisKatsaris10yI've gotten that impression too. Even if McGonnagal had dissuaded him sufficiently from discussing it with others, shouldn't Harry be attempting to make a list of possible hypotheses to explain to himself said "sense of Doom"?
6gjm10yIt's chapter 43, not 44, in which Harry remembers (if that's what he's really doing) Voldemort's attack on the Potters. I don't see anything there that looks like Harry hearing Voldemort cast the horcrux spell, and there seems to me some evidence that the strange word he had in his mind in chapter 45 was "riddle". (A word which occurs 4 times in each of chapters 45 and 46, the first time in the following context: "The word echoed in his mind again. All right, Harry thought to himself, if the Dementor is a riddle, what is the answer?" -- And of course a word with a bit of other significance in the HPverse.)
5pedanterrific10yDoubt it.
3beoShaffer10yTo be fair, in canon talking about horcruxes was incredibly taboo. Also, while MoR!Harry has done a better job of getting around it most adults in both canons have a tendency to withhold relevant but uncomfortable information from Harry. So it's not that surprising they haven't mentioned it.

So far all of H&C's actions have benefited Quirrell, and his involvement in this particular plot(conveniently finding Draco just too late) all make him seem really really guilty. Normally in fiction he would be the red herring, but Eliezer has been talking a lot about how things he tries to make obvious are misinterpreted and how he doesn't usually do Red Herrings.

Personally I think that if he wanted us to know for certain it was Quirrell he would have just flat-out showed us by now.

2pedanterrific10yHe hasn't flat-out showed us Quirrell is Voldemort, though.
4Locke10yI think that's because it would make for a better story for the audience and Harry to find out at once. With H&C, if he is Quirrell, at this point in the plotting it would make more sense to just reveal it than to hint very strongly. And making two "It was Quirrell all along" reveals in the same fic seems silly to me.

Here's a real change from canon:

His eyes were as cold as anything Minerva had seen from him since the day his brother died.

chapter 18

No clue what it implies, though.

3Daniel_Starr10yImplies Aberforth Dumbledore was killed by the Death Eaters. If Albus Dumbledore killed Narcissa himself, this was probably the trigger.

Between chapter 80 and 81, here's my analysis. I can think of seven broad possibilities;

1.) Do nothing
2.) Attack publicly
2b.) Attack publicly in disguise
3.) Stealth attack
4.) Retreat and regroup
5.) Change the board
6.) Deus Ex Machina

1.) Do nothing; I list this simply because people often forget that inaction may be the best possible action. Here, that doesn't seem to be the case. On the other hand, once you realize that sacrifice is necessary, why not give in to the dark side? What's one muggleborn more or less? With proper obliviation Harry can litera... (read more)

Chapter 38: Lucius Malfoy claims that he was under an Imperius curse cast by Lord Voldemort. In canon, that claim was made by many powerful pureblood lords.

Chapter 26: Freeing someone from an Imperius curse by killing the caster of that curse creates a debt

Chapter 4: Bounties payable to the killer of Lord Voldemort could be delivered to Harry Potter.

Conclusion: Harry Potter is owed a blood debt by a number of the lords of the Wizengamot, which might be large enough that he could call it in and save Hermione. Even if it is just Lucius who owes him this debt, it could be enough.

Comments: Law of Conservation of Detail leans towards these facts being used, feels very desperate and Harry like, allows Hermione to come back to Hogwarts as a student.

In canon, that claim was made by many powerful pureblood lords.

Sorry? In canon, many powerful pureblood lords claimed to have killed Voldemort?...

Ah. You mean they claimed to be Imperiused. I'm obscurely disappointed. For a moment I imagined a coalition of Rational Pureblood Lords going around saying "it's ridiculous to believe a baby survived the Killing Curse and killed the Dark Lord, really we ambushed him and left the burned husk of his body".

1Celer10yI edited my comment to correct that. That would be brilliant. I wish.
2Nisan10yYou were right. Congratulations, good sir or madam.
2TimS10yWhat's Dark about this plan? And why wasn't it considered at the pre-trial conference at Hogwarts? Actually, "because Dumbledore doesn't want Harry to do that" answers my second question, but raises its own questions.
4Celer10yTo call in favors he never earned for something he had no conscious control over to subvert the political process of a nation qualifies as at least a little bit dark. I think that it wasn't considered because Harry doesn't think of himself as being the one who killed the Dark Lord regularly, and he doesn't know that much about how debts in Magical Britain work. Only once he fully slipped into his Dark Side and became willing to do anything did he see that he could call in these debts. I don't believe that Dumbledore would think of subverting the political process in that fashion. That things follow a "good process" seems to be very important to Dumbledore, even when it results in bad ends. That is the most charitable interpretation, and I believe it to be possible.

Eliezer's clue sounds to me as though there's enough people in the Wizingamot whose interests and/or desires aren't served by convicting Hermione, and it's possible to identify them and change their minds once Harry stops thinking of the Wizingamot as a single inimical force. The details are left as an exercise for the student.

5linkhyrule510yThis seems most consistent with the quote about "Harry's a PC and the Wizengamot are wallpaper; this was about to change."

It would appear that you have not yet learned how to lose. :)

The best, easiest solution available to Harry is to confess.

Even without a wand, de doesn't fear dementors, and dementors fear him. Neither Dumbledore nor Quirrel would be willing to let Harry rot in Azkaban, while they would not break Hermione out.

(I cannot claim credit for this, it was posted on xkcd forums.)

6gwern10yEveryone's been posting this, and they all don't explain why Lucius, with Hermione's sentence almost a done deal, would accept an Occlumens's testimony.

Any ideas on what Harry's going to pull out of hammerspace to save Hermione? My guess is "oh btw every single one of you owes me a lifedebt from that time I KILLED VOLDEMORT. Thus saving Lucius from the quote-unquote Imperius Curse. Pay up plzkthx."

Failing that, I can imagine Harry and Fawkes going on a Dementor-killing spree.

It's not clear to me. What has Snape done or said that makes you think that?

He was making out with jailbait. (Far from proof, but evidence.)

2Locke10yAlso his remarks about his mentors not telling him something, which seems very likely to be that Lily was shallow.
0Sheaman37739yOr, perhaps, that his obsession with her was pathetic and he needed to move on with his life.

Consensus # 2 is retarded, says word of God.

Though a bit more politely than that...

My prediction (80% certainty) is that the cliffhanger resolution will not have been guessed here or in the chapter reviews.

7Grognor10yhttp://predictionbook.com/predictions/6170 [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6170] (Also, are you really willing to trudge through all the reviews to test your prediction?)
3jefftk10yAfterwards someone who got it right might crow some.

Oh, the 4th one is accidental but the 5th is not.

Quirrel's exact words to her were "Yet I find that I cannot deny myself the pleasure of simply crushing you."

Most of it relies on canon knowledge and how HPMoR mirrors canon.

1) Dhveery vf Ibyqrzbeg va pnaba.

2) Rnpu bs gurve vagrenpgvbaf punatr qenfgvpnyyl va erernqvat. Rfcrpvnyyl Yhpvhf' "V xabj lbh qvq vg" abgr gb Uneel naq Pu 80'f vagrenpgvba orgjrra gur gjb.

3) Dhveery farnxf va gb frr gur Iblntre 2 cebor gb znxr vg ynfg 'fvtavsvpnagyl ybatre'; Dhveery pubbfrf n Uberpehk gung jvyy yrnir gur fbyne flfgrz.

4) Uneel pubbfrf 5 uvqvat fcbgf; va pnaba Ibyqrzbeg unf 5 (cyhf gur qvnel) Ubepehkrf uvqqra.

5) Evgn fxrrgre vf n orrgyr navznthf va pnaba; Dhveery fz... (read more)

4RobertLumley10yI didn't know Ibyqrzbeg unf gur Erfheerpgvba Fgbar va pnaba ohg qbrfa'g erpbtavmr vg. (The last one) Thanks.

And Dumbledore's possession of the Elder Wand has so far only been alluded to, albeit in some rather unsubtle ways.

...Now that's interesting. The one who wants to defeat Death has the artifact that lets him hide from it, the one who wants to hide from Death has the artifact that lets him speak to the dead, and the one who wants to speak to the dead has the artifact that lets him... well, the Deathstick kind of breaks the pattern, but still.

4bogdanb10y...make more dead people?
2Vladimir_Nesov10yIt doesn't break the pattern, you use it to cast a probably more powerful True Patronus.
2TobyBartels10ySo once everybody gets together and exchanges Hallows, they can all go home happy!

I haven't seen or thought of any other plans that satisfy my criteria.

You should probably not even have a 90% probability for satisfaction of your criteria (the full exoneration of Hermione in the eyes of the public). I'm probably assigning less than 50% probability on that being the actual end result given how well she was framed -- any specific path to that conclusion should therefore be even less likely.

Britain holds that you need Dumbledore's permission to emigrate to magical America, but magical America disagrees. So in the final extremity, get outside the wards of Hogwarts and tear in half the King of Hearts from this deck of cards.

Edit: Wow, did I do that?

Sure it does. How do you know that Trewlaney's speaking of a few sentences wasn't arranged by Voldemort?

Particularly in HPMOR, where I'm liking a "make Harry the Dark Lord, and then upload into his body" Voldemort plot, setting that up in advance by arranging for Trewlaney to speak in a funny voice about Harry makes perfect sense.

1Normal_Anomaly10yBut how could he have been plotting that before Harry was born? Unless any baby would have worked and he wanted one with the genes of some strong adversaries, then made Harry the way he is by making him a Horcrux.
3Vladimir_Nesov10yHarry is definitely the way he is because of what happened with Riddle, whose intelligence and echoes of specific expertise were transferred to the baby in some form (made him Riddle's "equal", quite literally). What remains unclear is whether it's "because he's a Horcrux" (which could be some kind of emergency enchantment prepared by Riddle to be triggered upon his body's death, say using the "sacrifice" of his own life to make his own Horcrux), or a purposeful construction by Riddle (perhaps a way of subverting his interpretation of the prophecy, a response to what he saw as a serious threat). If Voldemort's death wasn't part of Riddle's plan, it could be the result of Dumbledore's trap (possibly a ritual with human sacrifice, and Snape's knowledge of the prophesy a bait). Or both: achieved by triggering Dumbledore's trap, but used as a way of subverting the prophesy.
2gwern10yRemember that Dumbledore said that Voldemort took a trap as a challenge to his wit.

Many of those in attendance probably can't cast a Patronus anyway, so they wouldn't have any reason to Obliviate themselves to get back what they never had.

Harry thinks Hermione is innocent, and he's probably deluded enough to think that proving it to the Wizengamot will make a difference to them. He's not likely to give up Dumbledore or someone he cares about permanently when in his mind Hermione's plight is temporary.

It seemed to me that Harry didn't catch on that the call for Azkaban was a set piece, that Lucius must have spent significant political capital to get it to happen the way it did. Nor did he seem to realize the implications of Dumbledore thinking about giving himself up instead of dismissing the idea out of hand, but perhaps I'm wrong.

2SkyDK10yYes, but as such Harry should also think that Dumbledore should have an easier time dealing with dementors than most others. Hence the suffering Dumbledore would suffer in Azkaban until matters had been settled would be less than what Hermione would have to go through.
1Alsadius10yYeah, but if Dumbledore actually burned Narcissa alive, and admitted to it, why would he ever be getting out?

Here's a thought:

Lucius Malfoy had listened to this with an impassive face. "Well," Lord Malfoy said after a few moments. A cold gleam lit his eyes. "I had not planned to ask it. But if that is the will of the Wizengamot - then let her pay as any in her place would pay. Let it be Azkaban."

Why not ask Lucius what he was planning to ask for, and offer that? It will have to be better than Azkaban, and yet severe enough to be acceptable to a Malfoy as a way to assuage the blood debt. (The punishment is clearly going to be bad for Hermio... (read more)

Why not ask Lucius what he was planning to ask for, and offer that?

Among the darkest of the dark arts is the bargaining technique wherein you demand more than you are actually trying to get, then back down to make your actual demand seem more reasonable. If you go along with this, you will be roped into something you would never have agreed to otherwise. This seems to be what Lucius is doing, and he did it quite masterfully by having his minion propose it. I'm not sure what the best way to handle this technique is, but compromising as if it's fair play probably isn't it.

1gwern10yAnd besides, it's too late - the Wizengamot is voting. They clearly think 10 years is a swell idea, so asking for the original reduced sentence isn't going to work.
1drnickbone10yWell strictly they are voting on whether there is a blood debt, not on the sentence. But you're right, at this point Harry will have to offer something else dramatic and taboo (like withdrawing a vow of enmity and swearing instead to be a minion to Draco or some such), just to get Lucius to budge at all, while still giving him the level of vengeance he claimed he originally wanted. So Lucius himself doesn't have to betray a "sacred" value (which he won't). Another thing I noticed: Harry basically awards Lucius the idiot-ball for playing his appointed role in an obvious set-up. But isn't he doing exactly the same? (Internally declaring war on the wizarding world, not minding any more if anyone thinks he is a Dark Lord, vowing enmity against Lucius, then going to the dark side...). Not very rational.

There was speculation before Chapter 79, but H&C as anyone but a Hogwarts professor is killed by McGonagall's comment;

Obliviation cannot be detected by any known means, but only a Professor could have cast that spell upon a student without alarm from the Hogwarts wards.

There's some minor speculation that an ex-professor could have done it, and I suppose we could include Dumbledore and Lupin in the list, but Sirius and Grindelwald are ruled out (as of chapter 79).

Someone (sorry, I don't remember who) commented that the apparent sloppiness of the ... (read more)

One thing I don't understand: why is the charge against Hermione that she tried to end the line of a noble house? Wouldn't Lucius be still alive and hypothetically capable of producing another heir? Did Voldemort castrate him while he was "Imperiused"? That would explain why he's so hostile toward him now.

Maybe Lucius is not so much physiological unable, but psychological unwilling to sire another heir after his Narcissa died a horrendous death?

No - one extends life and turns lead to gold, the other resurrects the dead.

Of course now there is the matter of paying back the debt. He has several more options than he did before. He could cash in a few more of his imperious-debts (which are each apparently worth 10,000 galleons and a pureblood girl). He could raise an army of dementors as his mob and have wealthy purebloods pay for "protection" (highly unlikely, but his dark side might consider it). Or he could simply conquer magical Britain before he graduates and disregard the debt.

Harry has already figured out quite a few solutions to the monetary problem. The long run (and cheap solution) would be to apply himself and his side to the clearing of Hermione's name. That wouldn't just earn him a 100.000 galleons it would also improve Hermione's political standing, leave Malfoy's (and to a certain extent Dumbledore's) reputation in its currently weakened state plus strengthen his argument against the political structure of Magical Britain. Not to mention he can do all this WHILE having starting his money-making schemes. Though we might as well not care since I seem to recall that the great EY seems to have said that this story ends after the first year of Hogwarts. Regardless: the interesting part is what kind of extra power Lucius has vis-a-vis Harry now.

Do you understand that "otherwise, there's a way for Azkaban to be less terrible" is not actually a reason to believe there exists a counterspell to the Patronus?

That description of the line of Merlin at the beginning sure sounded 'sacred'.

My stab at what Harry could do:

As repayment for Hermione's blood debt towards the Malfoy family, he should offer himself - offer to serve the Malfoy family for a year, or until Hermione is cleared of the charge. Accepting this would not be a loss of face for Lucius, and there is already precedent - the way Crabbe and Goyle serve Draco.

7DanArmak10yGiven the Harry-Draco relationship and what Lucius thinks of it, and his belief in Harrymort, he would be insane to let Harrymort inside his household on Harrymort's own suggestion. Keep your enemies close, yes, but outside your fort!
2glumph10yThis feels implausible, but, given that Lucius seems to think that Harry is Voldemort, it would be tempting.

Maybe it works by a registry of current and former students and faculty at Hogwarts, and people who are neither show up as "Intruder (number)" or something. In modern Wizarding Britain this would include basically everyone.

I mean, if the Founders created the Map as part of the Hogwarts security system, they wouldn't have been all that concerned with putting a name on everyone who could possibly step foot on the grounds, they'd just want to be able to locate students and differentiate them from anyone else.

I can't remember, did the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang delegations show up on the Map in GoF? Not that it really matters, the canon!Map and MoR!Map are different enough that it wouldn't be much evidence.

4glumph10yThis theory, unlike the birth certificate one, can easily explain how the Map matches people with names. During the Sorting, McGonagall reads aloud a name, and the next person who puts on the Sorting Hat is assigned that name. (Assuming the Hat is hooked up to the security system, or vice versa.)
7pedanterrific10yActually, that's even better- we have a known mechanism by which (something that could be hooked up to) the Hogwarts wards can read minds to determine names. So it actually doesn't require some extraneous piece of paper or database or whatever, but on the other hand would only work on people who've been Sorted.
2glumph10ySo no foreign professors!

In canon, it's part of Morfin Guant's family signet ring. If you're familiar with canon, you'd know who would currently be in possession of it in this timeline, if they knew what to look for.

And they get told what to look for in HPMoR ch 40.

Oh, just thought of something. Narcissa's murderer could be not Dumbledore, not Bones, but Voldemort, if she was working as an informant. This gives Dumbledore ample motive to say something like "I killed her" to Luscious, and might be reflected by some sort of evidence kept in Dumbledore's hidey-hole, like a burnt piece of Malfoy-themed jewlery.

Also, can you make a portrait with arbitrary personality traits? How about a self-improving painting factory?

Even if Dumbledore didn't kill Narcissa, he would still have a motive to take credit for doing so: to discourage Death Eaters from targeting family members of his allies.

Is it conceivable that Hermione will spend time in Azkaban without protection from Dementors, and the story will have to build from there?

Anyone know whether HPMOR has gotten any academic attention?

9anotherblackhat10yIt's not reasonable that Hermione would be unprotected. Everyone in the order of the phoenix knows how to cast a patronus and send it to someone else, and Harry could do a lot more than just protect her from Dementors if it came to that. Plus the chief auror has already said that the aurors wouldn't stand for a 12 year old being exposed to Azkaban, about the only way I can see Hermione being in Azkaban is with 24/7 patronus guards. Anything else leads to open revolt. I can't conceive of something being inconceivable.

Well if she's going to spend 10 years like that, better turn it into an Occupy Azkaban movement and bring in lots of books so she can study and a Floo portal so she can talk to her friends and she'll tele-graduate Hogwarts with all honors.

2wedrifid10yS.P.O.D.
0TobyBartels10yWhat's that mean? Google doesn't help.
6wedrifid10yIf Hermione went to school at Azkaban her "Society for the Protection of" options are limited.
0TobyBartels10yUpvoted just for saying the phrase ‘Occupy Azkaban’, which makes me feel all tingly inside, or maybe it's the coffee. (I pretty much never drink coffee, but I'm catching up on MoR discussion and there's kind of a lot of it. I may make some odd comments over the course of the next few hours.)
4buybuydandavis10ySurely if that were an option, the families of those in Azkaban would have been doing the same already. I'd go along with Quirrell on this - no one but Harry would stick their neck out for Hermione. She doesn't even have wizarding family. Lucius implied that those who wouldn't stand for it would be replaced, and that shut Bones up. I don't see open revolt by anyone but Harry.
1anotherblackhat10ySure, all the prisoners who have family/friends in the order sufficient to provide 24/7 support, that believe the prisoner is wrongfully imprisoned, and have the support of the Aurors are already being protected. The rest have to make due with the occasional visit and bribe their way past the aurors. They would of course believe it to be a temporary solution, just until they can commute Hermione's sentence to a lighter/more appropriate one, but as the saying goes; "there's nothing more permanent than a temporary solution."
1pedanterrific10yEveryone in the Order of the Phoenix plus Harry plus Draco isn't a lot of people. It's easily possible that none of those people know anyone in Azkaban that they think is innocent. Actually, for all we know Dumbledore was motivated to find a way to send Patroni to other people by his father being in Azkaban.
2DanielLC10yDidn't they start checking whenever there's a patronus for more than three hours, to prevent innmates becoming animangi? I suppose that it's possible that they'd turn a blind eye to Hermione.
1NancyLebovitz10yThat's reassuring. However, people who punish tend to not be mellow about their chance to be inflict misery being snaffled away from them. So, if Hermione is in Askaban but immune to dementors, now what?
0DanArmak10yThat just proves inconceivable things exist! :-)
8gwern10yhttp://www.mendeley.com/research/harry-potter-and-the-methods-of-rationality/ [http://www.mendeley.com/research/harry-potter-and-the-methods-of-rationality/] I have no idea.

How on earth does the abstract relate to the putative topic?

Yes, that is the question! Congratulations, you have won our Daily Double!

6DanArmak10ySome kind of database mixup. Note that the pubmed link is to an unrelated article with a different abstract.

Yes, but it would be sufficient evidence to strongly imply that drugs exist, and that people regard them as bad.

No reason not to convince them now... With the newly won time and without the considerable risks in your good (but overly complicated) plan.

If it had worked, the results would have been more favorable. However, it seems much less likely to have worked.

An obvious answer would be birth certificates.

From a Muggle point of view, maybe. From a Wizard point of view, that's probably the least obvious answer.

Your name is your name, and no piece of paper can grant it or take it away.

If I were to venture a guess, I'd say that a person's name would be something like "$givenName $familyName", such as "Harry Potter" or "Albus Dumbledore". The givenName is the name your parents gave you when you were a baby. The family name is the name of your Noble House ("Malfoy", "... (read more)

2pedanterrific10yAlso middle initials, apparently:

Perhaps I should have said 90% that my plan is the plan or superior to whatever Harry comes up with.

I'm 95% sure you will find your plan superior to whatever Harry comes up with.
I'm 99% sure I won't. And that neither will Eliezer.

2faul_sname10y...
2ArisKatsaris10yIt occurred to me that I might be making money from Pringlescan on this issue, if I was willing to bet with him, and if he was willing to bet with me. But I don't even know whether he's a legal adult -- and either way he was too obviously biased in favour of his idea. I arrived at the same conclusion as pedanterrific that it might be unethical to bet with him.
1Asymmetric10yi'm not sure if this is the prediction you are referring to, but he did make [http://lesswrong.com/lw/axe/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/63xc] and win [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6147] a bet on the last page.

Adding details to a story makes it seem more probable to humans (it fits together making a better story), when in fact every additional detail reduces the probability. malthrin linked this earlier, you should read: http://lesswrong.com/lw/jk/burdensome_details/

I think your scenario is a conjunction of unlikely events. I think the chance Harry will use a time turner in the solution is quite low, less than 10%, because the set up is such that he won't have access to it until more than 6 hours have passed. I'll give only a 50% chance that Harry will frame any... (read more)

3Pringlescan10yI'm sure I got many things wrong, the only thing I'm feeling pretty confident about is that Harry is going to frame someone else, and Lord Jugson looks like he has been being fattened up to be framed. The rest is just the story I came up with as most likely when figuring out how Harry could do it. I could be completely wrong, I could be right about the what and wrong about the how.
1bogdanb10yHmm. It was foreshadowed that Harry might frame Jugson if the latter pokes him. And Jugson did come up a lot in the later chapters. I think it was Jugson that cried for Azkaban first, which could be taken as poking. “Jugson did it because Hermione bested his son, and wants to ‘replace’ Malfloy (Jugson’s is an ancient family)” sounds like something one might convince Lucius of, or at least make him highly suspicious. Sending Hermione to Azkaban would be convenient in the scenario, getting rid of a possible clue. Though if it was Jugson that asked for Azkaban, it might have been at Lucius’ bidding. You’re right, of course, all the details make it seem likely, but there are in this thread lots of details for other conflicting possibilities, and I can’t quite see how Harry might actually do it. (All theories I’ve read don’t seem to actually work IMO.) And I interpret Eliezer’s words as if we should be able to find at least Harry’s solution, and that the latter will work at least partially.

You know, if Pringlescan had just put "frame Lord Jugson" a confidence of ninety percent would still be excessive, but it wouldn't be nearly as ridiculous as it currently is.

Has it occurred to you that if you're really that confident you could be making money on bets?

Edit: No, I'm sorry, that was unethical of me. I think you're being ludicrously overconfident and would lose any money you put up. Please don't actually make bets.

I agree with this. I still do not agree with "I'm sure they'd have something they can do." The Patronus Charm may as a question of simple fact not be blockable or traceable. The world is allowed to work that way.

It does include the secondary effects of their deaths acting as a deterrent.

But I don't share your view that deontology allows for more credible precommitment to punishment, except in the somewhat trivial sense that such a precommitment is more credible to observers who consider deontological precommitments more credible than consequentialist ones.

That is, a commitment to punishment based on an adequate understanding of the consequences of punishment is no less likely to lead to punishment than a commitment to punishment based on deontological rules, and ... (read more)

2faul_sname10yOnce you add TDT to consequentialism, the differences between it and intelligent deontology are pretty trivial.
4TheOtherDave10yMm. Can you expand on what you mean by "intelligent deontology"? In particular, what determines whether a particular deontology is intelligent or not?
5faul_sname10y...whether it checks out as useful in a consequentialist sense... I see what you're getting at.

Use a false memory charm on a student to generate testimony framing someone else as false memory charming Draco and Hermoine.

That would fall under 5. "... find someone and give them up as Dracro's assailant/Narcissa's killer, without considering their actual guilt." And like any option that falls under that broad category, we don't know how long it would take to carry out, so it's more "Let Hermione go to Azkaban while framing Lord Jugson." (action 4 plus 5)

If I were going for the safe, boring route, I'd pick 4 combined with trying ... (read more)

Other than the "external database" option, the only other sources of name information I can think of are:

  • The mind of the person being mapped
  • The mind of the person reading the map
  • A sort of consensus of how everyone in Hogwarts knows someone

I feel that picking someone's name from their own mind seems the most elegant and consistent. It doesn't handle babies (Before the parents choose a name, can a baby even be said to have one? Babies would have to be special-cased regardless), but it does allow arbitrary people to be mapped (multiple strange... (read more)

And to respond to your question about Pettigrew in the great-grandparent, I would assume that the map skips over animals entirely, which would probably include animagi.

A large part of the plot of Prisoner of Azkaban hinges on the fact that Lupin noticed Pettigrew on the Map while he was in rat form.

6glumph10yIn Quirrell's case, he may be a powerful enough Occulumens to prevent the Map from reading his mind and so learning his name (if your theory is correct).
5Normal_Anomaly10yI'm not saying this is true. But I hope it is because it would be awesome.

There doesn't have to be something they can do. Up until recently, there was nothing stopping someone from slipping a prisoner an animagus potion and just standing right there with a Patronus up. It's entirely possible that no one in the DMLE has even considered trying to find a way to prevent this, since (as far as they know) the only ones capable of it are the Order of the Phoenix.

Well, he did the same thing with earlier novels, The Clockwork Rocket is just the one that came to mind since it's the latest.

But I found his other novels (at least those where such extra material would make sense) similar in style. I’d call it “unusual physics porn”—no literary masterpieces, but fun to read if you’re into that kind of stuff.

Do you dislike his other work, too, or is there something about this one in particular you disliked?

1gwern10yNo, just that one. I liked "Crystal Nights" or Permutation City a lot.

Bunch of reactions to the new chapter:
I sort-of guessed the solution! squee I don't usually like to speculate on what's going to happen in works of fiction, because if I'm wrong I'm embarassed and if I'm right it lessons the surprise. But I had fun speculating and the chapter still had me on the edge of my seat with the tennis match of negotiations. Professor McGonagall is so damn awesome.
The bit with the dementor was hilarious, but I don't really understand this section:

The Dementors are Death, and the Patronus Charm works by thinking about happy t

... (read more)
6roystgnr10ySuppose I offer to give you a dollar unless you think of how many letters are in the word "cat". Could you do it? Now replace "give you a dollar" with "not kill you horribly" and replace "how many letters..." with "your own inevitable mortality". The stakes are even higher and it's effectively the same task, but the problem sounds even harder... (of course, that may just be my own mind projection fallacy at work. Did anyone make it to the end of this comment without thinking of the number "three"?)
1TobyBartels10yI thought about the word ‘cat’ and thought about the individual letters but didn't consciously count them before I forced my attention away. On the other hand, I rarely consciously count numbers that low, so arguably I was thinking of the number as soon as I thought about the triplet of letters. I'm confident that I didn't subvocalise the word ‘three’ (or otherwise imagine any symbolic representation of the number) until I began reading your last paragraph and your quotation of that word came into my consciousness.
1Desrtopa10yI'm pretty sure I could; I've never tried it with actual money on the line before, but I can not think about elephants when challenged to. Some people are better at exerting control over the direction of their conscious thoughts than others.

Also, Harry has "mastered" the cloak in the sense that he can now see other people while they are wearing it.

Wow, how did I manage to miss this? When does that happen?

3DanArmak10yChapter 56:

If the world of HPMOR is some sort of simulation, as you claim, then this is true and significant; your name exists as a fixed value that can be referenced by a program like the Map.

I think these are two separate issues.

One issue is concerned with the wizards' concept of names. The wizards who created the Map would seek to imbue it with whatever naming convention felt right to them.

The other issue is concerned with how the HP:MoR universe works, and which resources the Map can tap in order to implement its functionality.

These issues are somewhat relate... (read more)

I already knew Pringlescan's idea and I was sufficiently aware of Eliezer's level of writing skill. My estimate on the probability didn't originate primarily from the complexity of Pringlescan's idea, but from the related fact that its complexity would make it a bad idea for Harry to have or for Eliezer to write.

It's interesting that in Ch 81 Lucius (acted like he) didn't know that Harry can cast a Patronus.

In Ch 79, Dumbledore suggested:

Harry... whatever you have done with Draco, you must assume that Lucius Malfoy will soon know of it."

Harry's head sank into his hands. "He'll give Draco Veritaserum."

But apparently Lucius decided to let Draco keep some privacy.
Or he just hasn't gotten around to fully questioning him under veritaserum yet.
Or he's pretending that he doesn't know that Harry has a Patronus.
Or someone obliviated Draco of this informa... (read more)

My only problem with the two listed options is that they both require him to renege on important political capital. I'd rather go for some arbitraging then (perhaps with time-turn earned lottery start-up capital).

If smartly done he'd find the number of some lottery tickets, #5 or #6; buy said tickets and get the memory removed of why and how he did it.

... In general a time turner should make the whole money-making part easier than what's worth thinking about.

In the passage you link to, I don't think Quirrell was interested in the prophecy as much as the plot that took Skeeter down. He seemed generally interested in the latter, and the demand for the paper was one of those "give me that's" where incredulity is pushed too far on something otherwise believed to be real.

As for objection #2, how would he have defeated the invincible Dumbledore, holder of the Elder wand?

In my preferred scenario, where Voldemort uploads into Harry as Harry seemingly defeats Voldemort, Voldemort doesn't have to defeat Dumbl... (read more)

That would be a pretty serious failure of imagination for a guy like him.

I personally detested the The Baroque Cycle, which was boring and badly written, though possibly useful as a cure for insomnia.

However, Stephenson's other books had a lot of good stuff in them, and were actually enjoyable. Snow Crash and Diamond Age contain quite a few notes on economics; and the middle part of Diamond Age consists on a brief overview of the history of computer programming, from Turing Machines to modern information networks. And Anathem is basically a philosophy/epistemology/astronomy primer.

Note that I disagree with some of the key ass... (read more)

Also, a game that explicitly allows scams, and celebrates the really good ones, seems like good training for some of the less-pleasant bits of reality. (I started learning real-world finance after I'd already gotten a handle on the Eve variety, and I have to say, the ethics section seemed to read like a list of all the fun bits of the job. It was pretty disconcerting, actually.)

Chapters 43 and 45 don't seem to me to imply that baby-Harry actually heard the "strange word", only that for whatever reason Harry found himself thinking it. It was strange because he had (so far as he knew) no particular reason to be thinking that word.

I don't have any very convincing theory for why he had that word in his brain at that point, though. Evidently he interprets it as a message from his subconscious that he should think of Dementors as a riddle, or something like that, but probably something more is meant to be going on.

Unless he's writing this as a cautionary tale about unfriendly AI, I expect Mr. Glowy Person to win in the end, even if "The End" is projected beyond the end of the book.

And even if you do end me before I end you, Another will take my place, and another, Until the wound in the world is healed at last...

If that were true, it'd be really easy to detect an Imperius by examining the subject's memories...

Lucius is an Occlumens, and lesser Death Eaters might self-obliviate whole weeks/months of their lives and then claim that they were both Imperiused and obliviated.

Instead, McGonagall's statement implies that the best way to figure out whether the subject was Imperiused is to see if they remember being Imperiused, even with all the information that would allow you to perform Test Foo.

I suppose that throughout the duration of Imperius its victim may be... (read more)

Let me set the stage first. For a bare minimum solution Hermoine has to be proven innocent so she can return to school without someone trying to kill her to score points for Malfoy. For an optimal solution Harry teaches his enemies that poking him with a stick is very dangerous, and manages to turn this to his advantage by harming an enemy. But in no way is any solution good enough if it doesn’t end up with Hermoine proven innocent to the world.

He has a time-turner, an invisibility cloak, possibly the blood debts of everyone who claimed to be imperiused... (read more)

What makes you think Dumbledore will allow himself to be traded? I'm reminded of the scene in Order of the Phoenix where the Ministry goons come to arrest him, and he just says "Well I guess I'm out, but I have far better things to do than sit in jail", knocks them all out, and walks away.

If I've understood correctly, he's merely saying that a Dementor-killing spree would be stupid, not that Harry wouldn't necessarily do it. It's consistent with Harry's take-no-prisoners mentality - as he says, "If trouble comes of it, let the Light win again."

1Alsadius10yPretty much this. It's a bad plan, but it's more likely than all of the other deeply stupid plans we've discussed.

Against? How could a thing be pure evil if it's controlled by people's expectations of its behavior?

I don’t think Eliezer meant that they’re necessarily sapient, only in the sense that one might say “slavery is evil” or (closer to the point) “death is evil”.

A lot of the previous speculation was colored by the fact that H&C #2 was insufficiently clever to be Quirrell and insufficiently efficient to be a legilimens, but since then we have found out that legilimency can be detected months later so legilimens are back on the table, and the apparent lack of cleverness could be explained as an artifact of Eliezer trying to help the reader understand what was going on in that confusing passage.

Everyone is back on the table IMO. Here's my speculation that H&C is Snape.

4Locke10yConsidering how much Rowling played with the side Snape was on, I certainly expect Eliezer to do so as well. I think it's fairly clear that Snape has moved on from Lily now, but I'm not certain if we can yet predict which side he'll choose now.
3Blueberry10yI'm hoping it's the side with a bunch of cute Slytherin girls in his dungeon...

"Albus," Minerva said, surprised at how steady her own voice was, "did you leave those notes under Mr. Potter's pillow?"

Severus's hand halted an instant before casting Floo powder into the fire.

Dumbledore nodded to her, though the accompanying smile seemed a bit hollow. "You know me far too well, my dear."

Is this supposed to be proof positive that Dumbledore is Santa Claus? A nod, and an empty statement?

Is this supposed to be proof positive that Dumbledore is Santa Claus? A nod, and an empty statement?

A nod means "Yes" in English-speaking countries, so I'm sure it's supposed to be as much proof positive as Dumbledore saying "Yes".

I don't think we have any reason to doubt Dumbledore's word on this.

3anotherblackhat10ynod --- I see.
1Alsadius10yI'd say p>0.9 that the second Santa Claus note was Dumbledore. That said, remember that Harry told Dumbledore about the first note(that came with the Cloak), so he could have interpolated accordingly and made a fake. Santa #1 could still be someone else.
0Sheaman37739yWell, yes. That, and every single one of Dumbledore's reactions to Harry when he's explaining the Santa Claus notes.

If it were, one could argue that Harry's certainty re: the false-memory charm deliberately fools the reader.

1pedanterrific10yI don't understand what you mean. Harry believes she was FMC'd into obsessing over Draco and believing he was plotting to kill her. That's quite sufficient to drive her to murder, without it actually being her fault.
4magfrump10yA big deal has been made about Hermione's innocence; i.e. Harry's extensive thoughts on the Milgram experiment after Azkaban. The implication seems to me to be that no, that is definitively NOT sufficient to drive her to murder; in fact, nothing would be sufficient to drive her to murder.
4pedanterrific10yI guess Harry is sure of this fact due to his infallible power to know the hearts of men (and little girls). I think Harry's wrong about that, is what I'm saying.
2wirov10yHe also believes that performing the Blood-Cooling Charm was a false memory. (At least that's how I understand the following quotes from ch. 79.) I'll admit however, that the evidence is not as clear as I thought, when I wrote the previous comment. […]
3pedanterrific10yOh, you're right, I misremembered Harry's proposed scenario in the second quote. Yeah, on balance I think that the duel actually happened and Harry's suggested second round of FMCs is unnecessary- that just comes down to Harry not being willing to believe that Hermione is capable of cold-blooded (ha) murder, even in that state of mind.
2linkhyrule510yTo be honest, I doubt she is.

What False Memory Charm on Draco? I thought the current leading theory was that Hermione was GHD Attacked, FMC'd, then later on (after the attack?) Obliviated of the FMC. I don't see how Draco needed to be messed with at all.

2Pringlescan10yThis would be if they were stunned immediately on entering the trophy room, like Harry said we don't even know if a duel took place. Granted he could have just waited until after the duel and stunned Draco from behind, both would look the same to us. Now that I think about it I actually like your way better, cloak and hat is there invisibly and makes sure Draco wins the duel, then stuns Draco while he is leaving. Less work to do with the False Memory charms, less work to do with tampering the wands, and less chance of messing up on evidence since an actual duel was fought.

Also,

But what about Dumbledore's mother and sister? In canon the blame goes to Aberforth, Albus and Grindelwald together.

In canon Kendra died some time before Ariana, not in the fight.

Is it possible that in the fic Draco is right, and Dumbledore sacrificed one or both?

I don't understand how you get this from

"Dumbledore murdered his little sister, and got away with it because his brother wouldn't testify against him-"

Ohg jura V qvfpbirerq gung Cvbarre 11 jbhyq nyfb or yrnivat gur Fbyne Flfgrz sberire," Cebsrffbe Dhveeryy fnvq, uvf teva gur jvqrfg gung Uneel unq lrg frra sebz uvz, "V fahpx vagb ANFN, V qvq, naq V pnfg n ybiryl yvggyr fcryy ba gung ybiryl tbyqra cyndhr juvpu jvyy znxr vg ynfg n ybg ybatre guna vg bgurejvfr jbhyq." Chapter 20.

[-][anonymous]10y 2

Would the chapters containing the primary evidence for these (20, 38, 20, 46, 26, 17, 40, respectively) be a good start?

4RobertLumley10yI retract my below comment. I am too curious not to reread these chapters, and in retrospect that comment was somewhat rude and unthankful for finding these for me. So thanks.
6[anonymous]10yYou're welcome. For what it's worth, I didn't see your comment as rude (I don't play the kind of games where I ask a yes-or-no question, but you're not allowed to say no).

How to develop correct beliefs about the world, with an emphasis on compensating for systematic errors and biases caused by suboptimal hardware.

If Christmas had been celebrated when Jesus was still a child, instead of being invented to undercut a pagan holiday three centuries later, I would actually regard that as pretty strong evidence.

One wonders whether it was possible to cast the Blood-Chilling Charm such that it would take seven and a half hours to get Draco to death's door.

Chapter 61:

"So," Albus said heavily. "Our first suspect is Voldemort, risen again and seeking to resurrect himself. I have studied many books I wish I had not read, seeking his every possible avenue of return, and I have found only three. His strongest road to life is the Philosopher's Stone, which Flamel assures me that not even Voldemort could create on his own; by that road he would rise greater and more terrible than ever before. I would not have thought Voldemort able to resist the temptation of the Stone, still less because such an o

... (read more)
1Vladimir_Nesov10yThe "trap" Dumbledore refers to is one set up in the third-floor corridor of Hogwarts, and has nothing to do with the Night of Godric Hollow. Ch. 77:
2gwern10yI don't follow your point. You suggested that Dumbledore could have prepared Godric's Hollow as a trap, and then a conjunction about it being a trap and Voldemort using it cleverly; I pointed out that Dumbledore's assessment of Voldemort's psychology makes the conjunction more likely than a naive analysis would expect, inasmuch as he has explicitly said it and prepared such a trap, and Quirrelmort's assessment basically agrees: it's an obvious trap which impresses him with the rare and powerful magics, and would tax his ingenuity to solve.

This is pretty low-prior. However, it's the best (read: only) solution I've seen so far for the problem that Harry currently can't destroy all the dementors without destroying himself as well. As I suspect that Harry will survive the fic's conclusion and the Dementor species won't, I'm looking forward to see how that gets circumnavigated and this would be a pretty cool way to do it.

Eliezer Yudkowsky's Author Notes, Chp. 81
This makes me worry that the actual chapter might’ve come as an anticlimax, especially with so many creative >suggestions that didn’t get used. I shall poll the Less Wrong discussants and see how they felt before I decide whether >to do this again. This was actually intended as a dry run for a later, serious “Solve this or the story ends sadly” puzzle – >like I used in Part 5 of my earlier story Three Worlds Collide - but I’ll have to take the current outcome into account when >deciding whether to go

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I like that. It does seem like Harry's dark side is the one that can find a win in any situation, and that does seem to be his strongest power - just the will to win, and the means to calculate that win.

But there is also:

For once, just once, Harry hadn't gotten shortchanged in the mysterious powers department.

After almost a month of work, and more on a whim than any real hunch, Harry had decided to make himself coldly angry and then try the book's Occlumency exercises again. At that point he'd mostly given up hope on that sort of thing, but it had still

... (read more)

It seems that AN for Ch. 81 is up now, but the chapter isn't. Is this normal?

(the first time I'm waiting for the update frantically hitting refresh...)

1Eliezer Yudkowsky10yAt 7:09, it should have been up already. Maybe you've got to hit shift-reload to see it? http://hpmor.com/chapter/81 [http://hpmor.com/chapter/81]
1Alsadius10ytwitch Must...not...read...Author's...note...spoilers!

They don't see it as fairness! They see what they're currently doing as being right and fair and just! Nobody is a villain in their own minds.

1wedrifid10yGrossly exaggerated truism. Plenty of people do but just don't care.
3DanArmak10yI wish I were better at correctly imagining other people's mental states, and knew lots more about them. As it is, I can't come up with anything I have reasonable evidence for, for or against your claim or even relevant to it at all. How can I know how (many) other people think of themselves? That's why I made my claim about fictional characters, where I happened to be rather more certain. The two claims are syntactically similar but semantically unrelated. I do very much want to discuss, and learn more about, how real people think of themselves, so let's talk about that. You say many people think of themselves as villains. How would they unpack this word if asked? That they do things they consider morally or ethically wrong, or that others consider to be so (but they disagree)? That they do those things with insufficient (to themselves) justification? That they enjoy them? That they pattern-match themselves (on what?) to famous story characters who are widely called villains?

I don't think Voldemort said his own name, no.

ETA: You do know Voldemort is Tom Riddle, right?

ETA2: To explain a little more completely: my idea is that the Remembrall lit up because Harry's 'dark side' had forgotten (almost?) everything. Under Dementation it remembered at least that one bit of information. (Also, maybe, explaining how Harry remembered that scene when the neural patterns shouldn't have even still existed; I would feel more confidence in this part if it didn't include a description of how Voldemort appeared from outside.)

So you're 90% certain that if you are incapable of imagining something, Eliezer can't either?

Wow.

It's not clear. When Crouch is confessing everything under Veritaserum, he says that he saw his father entering the grounds on the Map, and so headed into the grounds to intercept him. He says something along the lines of "Then Potter came, and Krum", and it's ambiguous as to whether he sees them appear on the Map or if he sees them him person.

They could use some more sequences on how to motivate yourself, if I recall there was one written by lukefrog but it wasn't very good.

That's exactly the same behaviour we'd see if he really did just want to put the girl in Azkaban.

That a plan might be possible that would allow him to achieve all his goals will not benefit him if he doesn't think of it, and there is no guarantee that he is capable of thinking of it. Harry is a very bright boy, and the laws of magic allow a lot of cheating. But there are a bunch of reasonably intelligent opponents out there that would be opposing his efforts, and the Harry of this story is demonstrably not smart enough to calculate in advance all of their possible countermoves and preempt them.

So then why did he just have his first kiss?

4wedrifid10yThis does not seem to follow as a reply to the grandparent. Snape just had his first kiss because he wasted his life with a creepy obsession with a girl that was not available to him rather than growing up and living life like a sane person. Doesn't everyone acknowledge/assume that? One thing that may have prevented this unfortunate (and pathetic) turn of events may have been persuasive advice from mentors. Advice like "Lily is shallow" would have been better than nothing. Far more useful would be advice that encouraged the development of emotional self sufficiency and rudimentary ability to apply the concept of 'fungibility'. Or a ticket to a Tim Minchin [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gaid72fqzNE] concert.
2Alsadius10yBecause he's a misantropic nerd who's spent his life obsessed with a dead woman?

That the consequences of their living are worse than the consequences of their death.

I don't think that Hermione needs to be fully vindicated for the story to go on. Having her be ruled innocent by the Wizengamot, possibly with a later recantation by Lucius Malfoy once he calms down, would have her be distrusted by her classmates somewhat. This could fit in nicely with her character development and her fear of becoming dark.

Can someone quote what EY has said on this matter? There are some conflicting interpretations going.

3pedanterrific10yWarning: this is supposed to be a secret. (Check the rot13 rules in the body of the post.) Only click if you're sure you want to know: jung gur nhgube fnvq ba gur znggre [https://www.evernote.com/pub/adelenedawner/Eliezer#b=90390ce2-1356-4522-959e-a300957704c5&x=Voldemort&n=dd273d9e-ec3a-429f-a6f5-65aa6518b67d] .
1RichardKennaway10yI wasn't aware of that, so I'll just say that my own speculation, whether right or wrong, was based on nothing more than the text so far. Quirrell must have some sort of relationship with Voldemort, but doesn't have V's face attached, and appears to be intimately acquainted with evil but does not actually do evil things (suspending judgement for the moment on the matter of extracting Bellatrix).

The title of the arc is "Taboo Tradeoffs".

So my theory is that Harry is going to threaten to do something that seems extremely bad to the Wizengamot, but not to Harry (i.e. a taboo); something that's so taboo that they're willing to let Hermione go free even though they think she's an attempted murderer (another taboo).

No idea what the threat is going to be, though. Something like going over to Voldermort? Making a credible committment to not participating in his prophesied duties?

2thomblake10yThe use of "taboo" here is intended to match the Less Wrong usage of taboo [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Rationalist_taboo], so the title can possibly be read: EDIT: The above is speculation, and probably wrong in retrospect.

As opposed to Philip Tetlock's notion of a taboo tradeoff? Which is, in gist, anything that people refuse to do cost-benefit analysis about. Consider the common revulsion to setting a dollar value on a human life — or asking someone in Western society to sell their child.

I don't think the title analyzes as "(You should) taboo (the word) 'tradeoff'."

What makes you sure that Hermione didn't stun and Blood-Chill Draco herself?

If by "herself" we mean without being Imperiused, Confunded, Dark-ritualed or otherwise having her mind directly messed with, it's because we've been inside Hermione's mind enough to know that she wouldn't murder a classmate.

Human beings have characteristics just as inanimate objects do.

1pedanterrific10yMaybe we have different standards, but the Groundhog Day Attack and (at least) one False Memory Charm is quite enough mind-messing for me to believe she did it. ETA: just to make it perfectly clear, I don't think this value of "she did it" is the sort that should require her to be held liable in a criminal trial. I just meant that the Stunner and Blood-Chilling Charm came out of Hermione's wand while she was holding it.
2Anubhav10yI still can't figure out whether you're excluding the Imperius. chapter 79 [http://perf.hpmor.com/chapter/79] 'She was Imperiused and then Obliviated' looks like the likeliest hypothesis right now.
5ArisKatsaris10yI think the idea is that with just an Imperius and an Obliviation, she wouldn't remember herself deciding to cast the Blood-Chilling charm -- she might remember doing it, but not remember deciding to do it, which would be difference enough to be noted by the Veritaserum and/or Legimancer. So you'd need the False-Memory-Charm on top of that, and once you have the False-Memory-Charm you don't actually need to complicate this further with an Imperius and Obliviation, it suffices by itself.
1ArisKatsaris10yI don't think a False Memory and whatever persuasive words were used in the Groundhog Day attack would have sufficed for her to cold-bloodledly murder a 11-year old classmate, even if she had seen him openly declare a desire to rape Hannah Abbot. (she might have hot-bloodedly murder him then, but not cold-bloodedly so).
1JacekLach10yI think you underestimate the power of the GHD. If Hermione really believed she had to kill Draco or he will, for example, murder every student in Hogwarts the next day, I'm pretty sure she would cold-bloodedly kill him.
1pedanterrific10yOkay. How about we take up this discussion again in, let's say, thirty-five hours?

Possibly Harry will swap it for Dad's Transfigured rock when the bad guy isn't looking?

Magically, a mind can continue working even without sufficient brain power behind it, as when McGonagall turns into a cat (or even more so when Rita Skeeter turns into a beetle).

That this is possible means that anybody who doesn't want to be found this way should always use the same language as everybody else. If you call Voldie ‘Voldemort’ (or ‘Tom Riddle’ or even ‘Voldie’) when everybody else is calling him ‘You-Know-Who’ (or ‘He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’ or even ‘The Dark Lord’), then you're holding the Idiot Ball. (And it doesn't have to be the caster's name; you shouldn't use any unusual words, or you can be tracked by them.) Not that canon!Dumbledore was holding the Idiot Ball in books 1–6, because this was not possible then... (read more)