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

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: 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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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.

I am approximately 95% sure the world will be lost (ie. we'll all die). It would seem that I must agree with you.
If you have any more zingers like that please use them before the story is over. I don't think my heart will be able to handle the combined laughter. On this forum we tend to want Eliezer to get back to work sometime before 2049 and so we cant have an endless saga of 7 fan-fictions in sequence culminating with a double movie ;)
Does that preclude sequels?
If he wanted to write sequels, the obvious way to do it would be to continue the fic.
Thank 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.

I 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.
Anything 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.

I've said it many times, and I'll say it again... this [] is a better solution than most of what's been proposed in the discussion thread so far.
Look all I know is that when Harry gets killed by Voldemort in canon nothing was as it seemed. I assume the next chapter will be nearly as suspenseful despite the trial resolution if Eliezer has anything to say about it.
Hopefully i'm not deluding myself by believing that my solution outlined here is equal or superior to Harry's solution whatever it is. I outlined my solution here []
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)
I could be wrong, but i believe its been noted that Harry has a tendency to bypass the rule of three.
I 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.
sometimes, there isn't enough clever
This is also true.
would you care to elaborate?
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.
His knowledge of the rule's existence is irrelevant. I don't think It was meant to be taken as a limiting boundary on all plans, just good advice that Lucius seemed to trust. And his solution isn't to be merely clever, its to be creative. Harry's point is that a world where evil goes unchecked is barely worth living in, and so there's no real room for compromise. With power like magic that can literally rewrite the laws of physics, no situation is ever really unsolvable if you're creative enough to directly manipulate the rules.
I understand the attitude, but Harry's default plan seems to be to throw complexity at any given problem. That doesn't end well, magic or no magic. And to steal a quote from canon, "the problem is that our enemies have magic too".
Of 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.

What 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.
You 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.
This is totally not a red herring. I will die with my Peggy Sue theory!
Okay, I don't have a Peggy Sue theory, I have a time traveler theory, which is not explicitly denied above.


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.


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)
I 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 [] 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.
She 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.
Disagree. 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!".
Very 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.

Yeah, 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".
I would like to hope that Eliezer has a surprise in store for anyone who just assumes Harry will win in the end, because he's the protagonist and hero. Truth isn't that convenient, and rationality (Harry-style) is about facing the truth.
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.
I'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.
That's a plausible plan, anyway. I'm guessing that the current plan might also involve taking over the rest of the magical world, and then the muggle world, a goal that might not have been originally desired or seen immediately feasible, but which acting as Harry could facilitate. Ch. 20 provides a possible motive (prevention of technological existential risks; Riddle is rational enough to notice that comfortable immortality requires as a necessary condition that the world is not destroyed):
While this does makes sense, it seems almost too mundane for Quirrell. In fact it's rather tame compared to some of the plots and revelations that finish the books in Canon. I think Eliezer can do better.

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?

Number 85 is relevant, but not quite the same.
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's cloak of invisibility has something to say about it being the Cloak of Invisibility? So if the author wants twists and turns, he's put in the setup for them. The final ending of Lord of the Rings was declared in about chapter 2 of the book - "look, someone puts the ring in the fire, all right?" Books are not exciting because the ending is completely surprising; books are exciting because even though you know the ending, getting there turns out to take all kinds of shenanigans. And I think HPMOR is doing pretty well so far on the shenanigans count.
"Look, he creates an FAI that can do magic, alright!"
I 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.
The 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).
... 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.
Well, 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).
This 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.
I 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 [] would all but guarantee Harry's ascension to godhood.
Magic breaks computers, remember? If there is ANY input other than the correct answer that will not generate a paradox, you're doing it wrong.
Ah yes, I had totally forgotten about that. It is a much better explanation than what I thought of.
It should still be possible to build a completely mechanical way of doing this. I don't think Harry's realized that, though.
I 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.
I was thinking of a human taking back the message without reading it.
That 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.
Of 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.
Wow. I figured the AGI just found new laws of physics, but what you said is much more probable.
I like it. Although I think that requires that the HPMOR folk are stuck inside a more powerful entity's experiment or simulation (because if the FAI didn't come from their own future, how did it come to exist at all?).
In that case, of course, your FAI must choose to either work within the magic system or to overthrow the old guard and replace it.
So what you're saying is the FAI has to convince the FAI to let it out of the box?
Or 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.
That 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.
This has already played out, in that the cloak turned out to make people invisible to Dementors and also protect them against the Dementors' influence. Also, Harry has "mastered" the cloak in the sense that he can now see other people while they are wearing it. And the idea of it being the cloak is simply taken from canon; people's reactions have just been slightly adjusted for realism. On the other hand, we suspect that Quirrel has another Deathly Hallow, the Resurrection Stone, and that hasn't played out yet.
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.
...make more dead people?
Yeah, when you think about it even near-total invincibility in battle is kind of a ripoff compared to the others. Makes me wonder if the MoRder Wand has been souped-up. (Maybe it can AK Dementors?)
I don’t think AK would work as such. Anyway, Dumbledore does not seem to actually hate Death. I doubt that Eliezer follows canon that closely, but the wand did “heal” another broken wand in canon, which apparently everyone found surprising. Perhaps in MoR it can also heal rifts in reality?
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.
It doesn't break the pattern, you use it to cast a probably more powerful True Patronus.
So once everybody gets together and exchanges Hallows, they can all go home happy!
Wow, how did I manage to miss this? When does that happen?
Chapter 56:

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.

There'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.
This. Please.
Agreed. 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.

I like that. Definite improvement over canon.
I 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.)
Midichlorians 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.
Upvoted primarily for the sentence in parentheses.
Wedrifid, do not read Deathly Hallows. It will disappoint you. (Personally, I was pleased; it could have been a lot worse.)
I 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.
Then 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.)
Lower 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.
OK, 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
I'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.

Fixed. Thanks!
Also, In canon Kendra died some time before Ariana, not in the fight. I don't understand how you get this from
Removed confusing clause. In the fic, we have This is a change from canon. Presumably it points to a secret about Dumbledore.
Here's a real change from canon: chapter 18 [] No clue what it implies, though.
Implies Aberforth Dumbledore was killed by the Death Eaters. If Albus Dumbledore killed Narcissa himself, this was probably the trigger.
Ah, no it's not []?
Yes it is. []
I don't see anything in the link that contradicts that. Unless you're just saying that it isn't made explicit that the Aurors ruled it to be murder?
I think we're talking about different things. The original post made it look like he was calling Aberforth's death a change from canon, whereas I guess he was talking about Kendra.
I was responding to
That's really awesome.
Maybe. 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.
...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?
But Harry has The Ultimate Power [].
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:

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'.

That 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.
Dementors as everyone but Harry sees them are more or less illusions created by a wizard's subconscious, but they are not limited to a person's expectations. They can react to stimulus, possibly in ways similar to organic life, but any displays of sapience are created in the minds of onlookers. As such there is no possible way that dementors could ever relay information to someone not already in possession of the knowledge.

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.

Huh, didn't remember that. Guess you win that one.

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

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

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.

Do we have any way of knowing if that story told by Quirrell was true?
Do 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.

I 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.
Yes, 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.
Sorry, how do we know this?
This came up in one of the previous threads: But during the interrogation we get this:
I 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.)
I'll go with Quirrellmort forgot he was supposed to be Quirrell for a second, and instead was just being honest.
My first thought when reading that was that they were simply falsified records.

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."

I 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.)
The other hint is that
Well, 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.

True, 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.
(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.)

Mostly 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.

Look at results, though. Until whatever it was happened ten years ago, Voldemort was winning the war with those tactics.
Modulo Harry, those tactics were good enough – no doubt about that. But were they optimal?
Probably 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]11y 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)

What 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)
Why 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)
past voldemort seeming dumb should also clearly be at least partially the effect of the winner's narrative. (is there some name for this?)
Hindsight 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.
I thought hindsight bias was specifically about believing something was higher probability than it really was simply because it did in fact happen. I suppose what I mean is the collection of biases which causes people to choose interpretations of their past actions that reflecting favorably upon them.
Naq gurer'f gur snpg gung Ryvrmre fnlf fb. [] (Edit: as pedanterrific says below. [])
The answer to this question is a secret, don't decode unless you're sure you want to know: Gur nhgube fnvq fb.
I 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.
You know the facts now, of course, but your idea is still a good one and doesn't deserve a negative karma score. Upvoted.
Or maybe it's just a departure from the original story? This Voldemort doesn't have much in common with the canon one.

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.

Quirrell 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 [] of the way he treated Bella.)
Rita 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.

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...

  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.

Rita 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.
Can 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?
Certainly. 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]11y 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.

Some disagree. And beware of "should" statements regarding "ethics".
This. 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.
But 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.)
Before 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.
Yes. 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.
I 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.
OK, thanks for clarifying. FWIW, I don't share your model of what it means for someone to deserve death.
Out of curiousity, what is your model?
That the consequences of their living are worse than the consequences of their death.
"Their death" is too abstract, I think. The world might be better is a person died suddenly by accident, but not better if they were killed.
Surely it's no more abstract than "deserve death"? Such a person would deserve to die suddenly by accident, but not deserve to be killed.
Interesting. Does that include the secondary effects of their deaths acting as an example and a deterrent for future undesirable behavior? Because if so, you share my view precisely (that deontology is a useful approximation of consequentialism and allows for more credible precommitment to punishment).
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 therefore a predicter ought to be no less likely to predict punishment from a committed consequentialist than a committed deontologist. Of course, predicters in the real world don't always predict as they ought, so it's possible that a real-world predictor might consider my commitment less credible if it's expressed consequentially. It's also possible they might consider it more so. Or that they might consider it more credible if I wear a red silk robe when I make it. Or any number of things. It's valuable to know what factors will make a claim of precommitment credible to my audience (whether I precommit or not), but that doesn't make deontology any more valuable than red robes. NOTE: As pointed out here [], my use of "precommitment" here is potentially misleading. What I'm talking about is an assertion A that I will do X in the future, made in such a way that the existence of A (or, rather, the existence of other things that derive from A having existed in the past, such as memories of A or written records of A or what have you) creates benefits for actually doing X in the future (or, equivalently, costs to not doing so) that can outweigh the costs of doing X (not considering A).
Once you add TDT to consequentialism, the differences between it and intelligent deontology are pretty trivial.
Mm. Can you expand on what you mean by "intelligent deontology"? In particular, what determines whether a particular deontology is intelligent or not?
...whether it checks out as useful in a consequentialist sense... I see what you're getting at.
What do you mean by "consequentionalist precommitment"? Or are you including with like TDT [] and UDT [] in your definition of "consequentialist"?
I have no idea what might be meant by "conventionalist precommitment," nor why you put that phrase in quotes, since I didn't use it myself. Assuming you meant "consequentialist precommitment", I mean a position I precommit to because I believe that precommitting to it has better consequences than not doing so. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by your question about TDT/UDT, but in general I would agree that being known to operate under a TDT/UDT-like decision theory provides the same kinds of benefits I'm talking about here.
Thanks fixed. Of course, after you make the precommitment you are no longer a strict consequentialist.
Fair enough. Rather than talking about precommittments to X, I ought to have talked about assertions that I will X in the future, made in such a way that the benefits of actually Xing in the future that derive from the fact of my having made that assertion (in terms of my reputation and associated credibility boosts and so forth) and the costs of failing to X (ibid) are sufficiently high that I will X even in situations where Xing incurs significant costs. Correction duly noted. Boy would I like a convenient way of referring to that second thing, though.
Killing 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.

I'm afraid I can't spot it. Could you point it out for me?
Is probably precisely the rational people used when demanding the prisons be built.
Thank you, that makes it very clear.
Was it Quirrell or Voldemort who wiped out the martial arts school?
I 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?
The fact that his death is remembered as a national holiday seems pretty convincing evidence that he at least did something naughty.
That evidence is about as convincing as Christmas convinces me Jesus did something good. However, because the figure Voldemort is not historical but a very recent event practically everyone in the wizarding world affirms to have existed and have been responsible for murders, then we have to choose between the alternative theories that practically the entire wizarding world has been deluding into believing the false story of the Dark Wizard Voldemort or else there was some Dark Wizard Voldemort. My assessment is that it is more probably Voldemort existed, and was responsible for evil deeds.
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.
A national holiday merely indicates that whatever system institutes holidays (in this case the government of magical Britain) has been convinced there is cause for a holiday. I consider this to be rather weak evidence. For example in the United States the 2nd Thursday in April is "National D.A.R.E. Day" but this doesn't convince me that the D.A.R.E. program does more good than harm. (though it may) If there were a national holiday celebrating his death and no other evidence I would not have enough information to judge Voldemort's life.
Yes, but it would be sufficient evidence to strongly imply that drugs exist, and that people regard them as bad.
Sure "National D. A. R. E. Day" means that the politicians who created the day believe that drugs exist and likely they regard them as bad. That D. A. R. E. actually exists means there is a wide community of people that believe or act like they believe likewise. If this was the ONLY evidence of drugs existing I would have reason to be skeptical of the existence of drugs. Really most any single artifact of a wide phenomenon, taken completely in isolation, would be only weak evidence of the phenomenon's existence. Drugs, Jesus, Dark Wizards, Ghosts or Gravity, I think if we only saw one of the many effects that each predicts then we would have a good reason to doubt the reality of the phenomenon. Therefore I now believe it was unwise of me to take your comment that singled out one artifact of the Voldemort phenomenon (the holiday) and point out that taken by itself it was not strong evidence of his existence. Looking at it now, my comment appears to have the structure Daniel Dennett calls "a deepity" []: in so far as what I said was true, it was trivial and in so far as what I said was profound it was false.
wait, 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.)

Squished her as a bug.
There'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.

I 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.)

This is not a problem. Dementors are also not particularly cunning; there are other players.
I think I viewed them more as forces than people. But is this WOG against the people pedanterrific refers to in this [] comment?
Against? How could a thing be pure evil if it's controlled by people's expectations of its behavior?
I'm confused. I may misunderstand you. Your second sentence seems to support that it would be evidence against, but I read your first as incredulous of my question. ETA: Nevermind. I understand now. I did not phrase my question well. I meant WOG against the people that you are disagreeing with in the comment.
When you said this [], did you mean my theory of independent decision making, or what I referred to as Harry's initial hypothesis?
I've edited my initial query to make it clear.
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”.
It's possible Quirrel will use Bella to perform an evil deed in the future. But breaking her out was, in itself, not evil.
Well, 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.
So 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.
Edit: 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.)

Rowling'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.

Quite right, I completely overlooked that. However, this does raise an interesting and completely tangential question about the Map. How does it know everybody's name? What 'database' does it---or rather the enchantment that it is an interface for---make reference to? An obvious answer would be birth certificates. It is not (too) unreasonable to suppose that wizards have them too, and that the Map is clever enough to map people to their birth certificates. I have no idea how it would do this, but in any case I don't think this can be how the Map works. First, what if my birth certificate is destroyed? Of course I can get a replacement, but there will be a period in which there is nothing the Map can refer to in order to determine my name. It could 'cache' my information, I suppose. But what if a baby is born in Hogwarts? What does the Map say before the baby is named? This leads into the second, larger, problem. The enchantment that the Map is an interface for is supposed to be part of the Hogwarts security system. I've gotten the impression that Hogwarts was raised all at once by the Founders; the enchantment in question would have been cast then. 'Then' is the 9th or 10th century, according to canon []. "Civil registration" of births didn't begin in the United Kingdom until 1837 []. Prior to that I think births were often registered with churches, but surely there were many whose names had no official status; they had 'common-law' designations (this still must occur often). So how does the Map work?
[-][anonymous]11y 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.

That 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.
To clarify, what I believe is that magic works in a top-down way, not a reductionist way. If you were writing a computer program, you would have to specify where the name comes from and what to do in marginal cases. But the Founders believed that each individual came with an XML-tag name attached to them, and the map just tries to figure out that name. I realize this is an incomplete theory because it doesn't explain what the map does in weird borderline cases (although I can make guesses). I am using this theory (which we can derive by comparing the map to Harry's pouch, and to broomsticks, and to Transfiguration) to reject hypotheses that involve a reductionist, computer-program approach to magic.
The Founders may have been Truenamers, in which case each person who walked in would have a singular name attached to them.
So the Map can't find married women?
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.
My guess is that, in the world of HP:MoR, the Simulation Argument is true. Muggle science works within the boundaries of the simulation; magic operates directly on the underlying data structures, bypassing most of the Muggle-oriented interfaces by using debugging APIs. That's why it has rules that make some sort of sense, but that don't correspond to most laws of nature as Muggles understand them. Of course, the virtual machine that powers the "reality" of HP:MoR is fairly robust, which is why magic is relatively safe (i.e., you can't crash the whole of reality with a miscast Lumos), and also why magic is not all-powerful (those debugging APIs are still fairly limited).
My 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.
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.
This 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.)
Actually, 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.
So no foreign professors!
I couldn't swear to it, but I thought the map showed Krum in GoF.
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.
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", "Potter", etc.), or simply the last name which your parents share ("Granger"). This is the naming convention that (as per my guess) wizards and witches have been using since the time of Merlin, so it's reasonable to assume that the creators of the Map imbued it with the same rules. As to the question, "yes, but how does the Map compute the values of givenName and familyName for any specific person", the answer is, "Magic".
Also middle initials, apparently:
Ah, yes, good catch. Though we could probably count middle initials as part of the given name, since they are granted to the baby by its parents at the same time as the givenName... aren't they ? I'm actually not entirely sure how middle initials work in Britain.
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. But if the world of HPMOR is more like our own, then to say "your name is your name" is pretty empty; like most everything else, there is an explanation of why your name is your name. In our world, what makes it true that we bear the names we do is not that we all have own values for the variable $name. Rather, what makes it true is some other fact; one possibility (one that I don't believe myself) is that what makes it true that my name is Alex is the fact that my birth certificate reads 'Alex'. So I think our disagreement arises from what we think the world of HPMOR is like.
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 related, but they aren't identical. We could very easily envision a world where names are stored on birth certificates, and yet the wizards still believe that, even if Mr. Harry Potter goes through life calling himself "Mr. Spoo", his name is still Harry Potter, because that's what his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Potter, called him. On the other hand, we could envision a world where names are stored in some underlying data structure in the simulation, and yet the wizards believe that what a person calls himself is more important than whatever name parents gave him. Or we could envision some combination of the two. That said, IMO no wizard would conceive of actually perusing the birth certificate database for anything; nor would he deliberately enchant a map to do anything of the sort. For all we know, wizards and witches don't even have any birth certificates. It's pretty likely that, even if they do have birth certificates, they don't have any centralized databases that store them; we never seen any wizard use one, IIRC, neither in canon nor in MoR. So, "how does the Map work ?" Well, it works the same way Harry's Mokeskin Pouch works: by magic.
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 strangers being indistinguishable from each other seems like a serious flaw in a security system) and requires no external registry. On the one hand, it seems like interrogating the mind of every human is vastly more complicated than just looking up the name in a database, but to the kind of epistemology which would seem obvious to a 9th-century witch or wizard I can see it being "obvious". (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. This would tend to lend a slight amount of weight to my "the map displays your name as you know it" theory, as if the names came from how everyone else around you knew you there would be no reason not to include pets.) If my theory is true, it raises an additional interesting question: Is it possible to obliviate yourself selectively so that you lose all knowledge of your own name? (Possibly storing the memories in a pensieve first so you can recover them later) And if so, is the map the only piece of the Hogwarts security system which might be impeded by this? A further idea: Professor Quirrel is shown to take a very loose approach to identity and names ("Identity does not mean, to such as us, what it means to other people.") Possibly Quirrelmort is the constant error, not because his name is wrong, but because he doesn't have a name attached to his marker at all.

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.

In 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).
I'm not saying this is true. But I hope it is because it would be awesome.
Possibly "Tom Riddle".
Is 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.
And we heavily suspect that once Quirrel returns to Hogwarts, the Marauder's Map will show Dumbledore Tom Riddle's name next to his location...
I don't [].

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.

I 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.
But 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.
Maybe the reason McGonagall knew that Dumbledore was behind the Santa Claus portkey is because only the headmaster could create a portkey that would work inside the Hogwarts wards. Quirrell took Harry outside the wards in order to portkey him to Diagon Alley. Your point still stands though because there are surely other things that they could do.
Edit: Wow, did I do that?
Then again, Snape didn't realize that just from hearing about the portkey. This theory's probably inaccurate. Retracting as per pedanterrific's comment [].
Rationality is the technique that turns motivations into plans. It is not a technique to generate motivation, except very indirectly.
Hmm 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.
That sounds circular to me. That sounds like turning motivations (i.e. goals) into plans. Indeed, as an indirect step.
The adjective ‘rational’ is just superfluous there; the grandparent should simply remove it.
"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.
I 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.
If you're defining rationality as the definition given on this site, you're right. If you're defining rationality as the thing that's actually discussed on here, you're not.
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.
What do you claim would be a good definition for rationality as actually discussed?
How to think clearly.
Deconstruct that, it means little
How to develop correct beliefs about the world, with an emphasis on compensating for systematic errors and biases caused by suboptimal hardware.
Strongly 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.
This is what I meant by "very indirectly." [edit] "Very" might have been an overstatement; it probably should have just been "indirectly."
We can also add that a large component of 'motivation' can also be compartmentalized off into a general 'motivation' goal - leaving only specific reinforcement and boredom minimisation aspect as part of the more direct plan.
That clinches it; 75th is my alter ego. You know, a la Tyler Durden [] 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:

From #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.


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)

Personally, 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.
Couple 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.
I 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.
That'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
How do you propose organizing a 'master list' of solutions, relevant plot pieces, etc. given the current forum format? Some people have made some lists, but they are often quickly buried beneath other comments. I'm also not familiar enough with how things work to know if a post can be edited days after it has been posted. One obvious solution is that a HPMOR reader who likes making webpages puts up wiki page for this. Can this be done on
If we held off proposing solutions the first two days of analysis wouldn't get buried down in the first place. And to answer your question, forum posts can be edited, and the date posted is marked with an asterisk if it was. A wiki sounds sensible but it might be a little too complex for those who are unfamiliar with it, not to mention there'd be tons of editing conflicts going on. I propose Google Docs, for its real-time collaboration, or any other similar alternative. Etherpad?

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.

Ah. 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.
Quirrel doesn't have his wand, in Chapter 79 it says "despite the fact that Mr. Quirrell had politely surrendered his wand upon being detained for interrogation," Update: oops, accidentally replied to the wrong comment. Never mind.
... Did you even read what I quoted?
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. 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.


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.

Ah. Should've looked harder at the other MoR hit.
Would 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.
Not 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.

Not Iblntre 2, but Cvbarre 11.
I 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.

Also 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.

Ah, I was confused, thought Resurrection Stone and Philosopher's Stone were the same thing.
No - one extends life and turns lead to gold, the other resurrects the dead.
He has that stone too? And Dumbledore doesn't know it? That would surprise me.
Me neither. I was going with 'Harry has it'.
Possibly Harry will swap it for Dad's Transfigured rock when the bad guy isn't looking?
Most of those seem to me like they might turn out to be false, but I agree with all of them, more or less.
Jung vf gur rivqrapr gung Dhveery unf gur Erfheerpgvba Fgbar?
I think "accidentally" needs to be added to the fourth and fifth ones. When I went back and read them I remembered them happening, but I thought you meant they were done intentionally and consciously.
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."
Ah. Well caught. I think I read this too fast... Both times I read it.
"Yet I find that I cannot deny myself the pleasure of simply crushing you." ETA: What am I, chopped liver?
Could we get a very brief summary of the arguments for these too? I've just now started reading the discussion threads, but there's a significant barrier to entry if you don't understand why people think these things.
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 fznfurf ure. 6) Gur cbgvba Qhzoyrqber urycf Yvyl vf pnyyrq Rntyr'f Fcyraqbe; Rntyr'f Fcyraqbe vf n Q&Q ornhgl cbgvba. Uvf zbqvsvpngvbaf pnhfr gur fnzr fvqr rssrpgf gung Crghavn rkuvovgrq. 7) Ibyqrzbeg unf gur Erfheerpgvba Fgbar va pnaba ohg qbrfa'g erpbtavmr vg; Uneel gryyf Dhveery vg'f vqragvslvat genvgf.
I didn't know Ibyqrzbeg unf gur Erfheerpgvba Fgbar va pnaba ohg qbrfa'g erpbtavmr vg. (The last one) Thanks.
Would the chapters containing the primary evidence for these (20, 38, 20, 46, 26, 17, 40, respectively) be a good start?
I 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.
You'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).
Unlikely, since I'm unlikely to rearead them - I've already read it start to finish twice and none of these seem obvious to me. Well, a few do. I'm really just looking for Dhveery znqr Iblntre 2 n ubepehk - erzrzore gung pbairefngvba jurer gurl gnyxrq nobhg jurer jbhyq lbh chg fbzrguvat vs lbh arire jnagrq fbzrbar gb svaq vg?
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.
Oh yeah... That too. :-)
I thought gur Erfheerpgvba Fgbar was in the same state as in canon.
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.

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.

They'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.
Games are essential for getting a feel for economics - because you can game them.
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.)
I 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.

There are a couple Charles Sheffield books (the story collection "The Compleat McAndrew" is one; I forget which other(s)) where an appendix essay distinguishes the well-supported science from the scientific community's speculation and from the author's own speculation. I wouldn't put them in the same category as HPMoR, though - they're clearly written to be exciting stories that happen to teach a little interesting science rather than exciting science that happens to be in the form of an interesting story.
Terry Pratchett's Maurice and his Educated Rodents (as well as his other books) is educational, though probably not about science.
Neal Stephenson's books often have lots to learn from, e.g. cryptography in Cryptonomicon or economics in The Baroque Cycle (though the latter is historical fiction).
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 -- although his style is more referential, which makes it essential to keep a laptop with a Wikipedia tab open next to the chair you're reading in, but ends up drawing a somewhat clearer line between science and fiction.
And in the good direction, you have someone like Peter Watts, who sometimes includes appendixes explaining exactly what science he's based his speculation on.
Or Greg Egan, who publishes on-line appendixes to his books explaining, say, how Riemannian Thermodynamics [] would work. With equations and graphics. (Labeled axes!) And video simulations. The appendixes themselves have appendixes []!
Indeed. On the other hand, The Clockwork Rocket was a rubbish novel qua novel, so there's such a thing as taking it too far.
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?
No, just that one. I liked "Crystal Nights" or Permutation City a lot.
Can 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?
Why would that be worth an increase in respect?
Come to think of it, I suppose lesswrong is one of the few places where it might be reasonable to assume that someone links directly to a Trope Namer because they're more familiar with it than the trope. But as a general rule, because I'm against (and susceptible to) tab explosions [].
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 assumptions Stephenson seems to be making in those books (especially Diamond Age and Anathem), but I can still suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy them.

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 Yudkowsky11y
If 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.
Not just >=51%. >51%. That's pretty certain! ;)
Haha, 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%. >_<
Just a little bit more than a little bit more than half.
I 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...
I think Quirrell will be a hell of a lot harder to frame than that, and that stumbling block alone drops the odds below even.
I suppose we will find out any minute now as soon as it updates. I imagine Quirrell would have planned perfectly to prevent any suspicion to fall on him. But even he might not be able to imagine being framed for a crime he actually committed.
That would be a pretty serious failure of imagination for a guy like him.
Well if everyone is right, you and I will be learning the lesson together.

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.

And 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.
More 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!
This 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.

Good point, thanks.
I 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?)
If by "not quite perfect" you mean "suspiciously close after the point that made observation with a Time Turner impossible", then yes, it's not quite perfect.
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.
The duel between Dumbledore and Grindelwald in canon lasted three hours, according to the Harry Potter wiki.
Draco in Chapter 47.
I 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.

Harry 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.
Losing 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.
No, I think it learned that lesson:
That said, losing leads directly to Hermione in Azkaban...
I'm coming to the conclusion that Harry will lose, at least this time. The only other "clever" thought I had was that he could zap the Dementor, explain how he did it, cause the entire Wizengamot to lose their Patronus, and then force them into Obliviating themselves (and the result of the trial vote) in order to get their power back. Very dramatic, but then what? How exactly can he change the vote... can he force them to memory-charm each other to believe they've acquitted Hermione, because if they don't, he'll destroy the next Dementor, and keep on with the Groundhog Day effect until they get it right? Seem pretty unlikely. Given that the vote is already happening, and there is a clear majority in favour of Azkaban, there doesn't seem to be any way he can avoid losing except for such Groundhog Day tricks. His dark side will probably come up with a solution (e.g. pinning the blame on Dumbledore or Quirrell) but too late, and that leads us into the rest of the arc. And I'm guessing we won't find the solution tomorrow either... another cliff-hanger.
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.
While in Azkaban, his light side also thought very emphatically that "losing was for House points, not for people".
Mind spelling them out for those untutored in the Dark Arts?
IIRC Lucius' catspaw (perhaps multiple), Dumbledore's behavior towards Lucius (Lucius rejects it for being too obvious + a gambit to get more out of it rather than compromise early.)
That's exactly the same behaviour we'd see if he really did just want to put the girl in Azkaban.
brinksmanship doesn't work if no one believes your threats are actually plausible.
[-][anonymous]11y 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?


  • 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)

Thanks 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.

It's the fundamental simplicity and regularity [] of the universe that allows the basic tools of rationality to work at all. Reality is laced together too tightly [] 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.

Alright 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 [] 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.
The 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.
My 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 []: 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.
It seems to me that sentiment is exactly what he was getting at at the end of chapter 81, whether or not prophecies are real.
According to my preferred storyline, of Voldemort purposely "losing" to the baby Harry, they could come from Voldemort.
Didn'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?
There's a lot to like about this hypothesis. It doesn't require any additional characters, and exploiting Dumbledore's love of stories and Snape's love of Lily would be very Quirrell. I can see two problems with it. Quirrell has acted like [] he takes prophecies seriously, which seems to me more consistent with someone who believes in them than one who orchestrates them. It also doesn't seem to have been necessary. As far as I know, we haven't been given any reason for him to have suddenly changed direction and abandoned his war. If he'd just stayed the course, he'd have won.
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 Dumbledore. Dumbledore becomes his ally, and likely passes the Order of Merlin onto him before he dies. If nothing else, Harrymort would have better opportunities to kill Dumbledore than Quirrellmort. Ruling as Harrymort has more benefits and is more secure than ruling as Voldemort, even if we assume Voldemort would have won the war. Successfully terrorizing magical Britain isn't the same as winning the war. Once Dumbledore and the Order started using some terror of their own, I think it's likely that they would have eventually won.
That doesn't explain Trelawney's prediction about the baby who has the power to defeat Voldemort.
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.
But 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.
Harry 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.
Remember that Dumbledore said that Voldemort took a trap as a challenge to his wit.
I don't, where was that?
Chapter 61 []:
The "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:
I 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.
I see, the statement you used was confusing, which got worse with the clarifying quote. You said "took a trap as a challenge", which (1) refers to a different trap, using article "a" and not "the", which I wrote off as a typo in the first comment, and so also discounted the possibility that your comment (2) only states that he took it as a challenge, not that he faced that challenge, which is not the case for the trap I was talking about, and (3) the statement still isn't strictly speaking true, Dumbledore is saying that he expects this to be likely, not that it happened. I agree that Dumbledore's saying that makes the conjunction more likely.
It's false that "Dumbledore said that Voldemort took a trap as a challenge to his wit", please distinguish observation from inference.
But it's pretty well established that having Power User status is genetic.
It 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.
Yes, 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.


"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?"


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.

Second quote: Excellent catch.
Re. the second quote, in light of Eliezer's statement that the story contains no red herrings: good point.
In Azkaban, a prisoner kept repeating "I'm not serious. I'm not serious. I'm not serious." And Fawkes wanted to go in. Likely that's Pettigrew. Whoever it is, I expect the Black/Pettigrew storyline to come back.
Maybe 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 [] replying to replies to this one.
... 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.
All 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.
First 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 [] 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.
Something about reading this as it relates to fanfiction makes me smirk.
Implying that fanfiction is not written in the real world.
Like most human categorizations, it's a simplification. There's no line in the sand, but there's a rough gradient or spectrum stretching from stories not related to HP at all, through stories with similar themes that make people think of HP (but don't explicitly make the connection in the text), through stories that use the HP names and characters and settings but change events drastically from the series (like this HP and the Wastelands of Time []), through stories that change fewer things (like HPMOR), and ending with some that stick to canon as much as possible. This isn't about what stories "deserve" to be called "true HP fanfiction". That would end up as a No True Scotsman fallacy. My original wording was poorly chosen in that it made you (plural) think I meant something like this. Rather, what I'm saying is: the story up till now has been consistent in terms of lying in a particular location on this spectrum. It has been consistently presented and written that way. If, now, in a new chapter, we found out that prophecies don't really exist and are all faked, that would be an idea typical on a story at a very different location along that spectrum. It would conflict with the story so far. Readers would not enjoy it. It would be bad storytelling. Therefore I believe with high probability such a thing will not be revealed in HPMOR.
In which case, I totally misunderstood what you were saying. Never mind.

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

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.

Oh, and can someone reply to the parent with a copy of it so I can't edit my prediction after the fact? Thanks.
Besides FAWS' suggestion of just not editing your comment, and so it lacking an asterisk you can also use predictionbook to record such predictions ( [] and [] are relevant to your first prediction )
If 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.
Another 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").

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.

A faceless entity is much more than wallpaper. There was change.

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.

Hagrid 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.
Hagrid'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.
What 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.)
I 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.
Most 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.
Judging 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 :).
Not really. The Wizengamot has an explicit policy of punishing a wizard (or half-wizard) who murdered a mudblood less than mudblood who tried to murder a noble wizard, the last scion of a Most Ancient House. It's only a double standard to you; it's a valid and relevant difference to them.
True, it would only make a valid argument if there were some swing voters who were more concerned with fairness than with supporting the power structure of the nobility, which is unlikely.
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.
Grossly exaggerated truism. Plenty of people do but just don't care.
I 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 was replying as if your 'villian' claim was an extension of the previous sentence "They see what they're currently doing as being right and fair and just!" Some people do things that they consider not right, unfair or unjust and if they happen to think about it feel guilty briefly then keep doing it. Some people have conceptions of what right, fair and just are but consider them childish concepts and just don't care.
How do you know this? It is, as you noted, a truism many people believe in that "almost nobody is a villain in their own mind", and instead people have justifications, special pleading, and other thoughts that excuse them to themselves. Both this and what you say is compatible with the world as I see it, I have no direct evidence one way or the other. What's yours?
SWIM told me? My spin, of course, is that those people make up stories like that because they are reluctant to admit that other people are less insecure and don't need to make up as many excuses for themselves.
SWIM being?
It's a term used when explicitly declaring a personal anecdote seems inappropriate but you still want to make one. For example: * "SWIM is half way through a ten week testosterone cypionate cycle, what should he use for post cycle therapy?" * "SWIM just tried combining ecstasy, LSD and licking the back of a cane toad all at once. Best. High. Ever!" (Someone Who Isn't Me.)
Which is why I didn't use the word "justice".
Yes. Hagrid murdered (okay, allegedly murdered) a mudblood, so it hardly counts.

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

Indeed. I knew this chapter would be entertaining, but I didn't think it would be that good.

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)

Your 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.".

Like 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)
You 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...

Yes, 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...

I'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"?
It'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.)
I don't understand what you're proposing. That Voldemort, after killing both Harry's parents and presumably with no other listeners there, approached baby Harry and spoke to him the single word, riddle? What would that mean? And why would Harry label it "a strange word" instead of just saying what it was in his stream of consciousness?
Harry inherited some aspects of Voldemort's mind and memory (including the memory of that night), which screens off anything that a baby could have merely heard naturally.
Well, there's some precedent; Harry previously thinks
I was thinking about that bit earlier today - is it just me, or is it about as wildly out of character as anything we've seen yet in this fic? Harry doesn't seem like the type to believe that words have inherent power.
The reason for this event is that he has an image of Voldemort associated with the listed qualities sitting in his mind, and thinking "Voldemort" elicited a response.
Not for no reason, no. In canon, Voldemort put a (magical) Taboo on the word "Voldemort" so that saying it summoned minions of his to your location. VoldeMoR seems a bit more creative than that, don't you think?
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; Rowling hadn't thought of it yet. But MoR!Dumbledore seems to be, unless MoR!Taboo works differently. A good way to balance the Taboo spell might be this: It only works if the speaker knows about the Taboo (although this contradicts canon). Then you can get a nice dilemma: Do you tell people about the Taboo here at Hogwarts, where it's safe so they can practice, but opening them up to the curse later; or do you keep silent, and hope that they aren't surprised by that information later and disoriented thereafter.
Sure, but Harry has no clue that's possible. What actual reason does he have to be afraid of the word? Not a reason we can come up with for why that fear is positive, but one internal to Harry's mind.
...I was suggesting that Voldemort cast a "be afraid, be very afraid" jinx triggered by his name.
What does that have to do with Voldemort saying "riddle" to a baby, or with Harry thinking "riddle" was a strange word? I'm clearly missing your point here...
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.)
Perhaps this was an experience of Riddle's copy, in the moments it was being made, before running on the baby's underdeveloped brain disrupted its functioning.
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).
I know Voldemort is Tom Riddle. The scene as written (as Harry remembers it) seems to me to mean that the "strange word" was something baby Harry actually heard. Of course it might have been spoken "directly into his mind" via Legilemency or via Voldemort's consciousness or horcrux being installed in Harry's mind. Either way, why would Harry think of it as a "strange word"? Why not just have him think that he heard the word "riddle"? It makes more sense that he heard a word he cannot recognize, namely "horcrux", and so labels it strange. See also: first few sentences of Chapter 1. If that is the same scene, it's far more likely the word Horcrux was screamed by Voldemort (casting the Horcrux spell) than the world Riddle.
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.
Doubt it.
Why is this evidence the strange word was not "horcrux"?
Actually, what is the evidence that creating a horcrux involves saying that word? I mean, it could be just an (uncommon) common noun (like “hat”), perhaps in some older language, and the incantations for creating one could be completely different. You don’t really say “flight” to fly in this universe.
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.
But then why would Harry, remembering it, not recognize it and just say it was a "strange word"?
It's almost certainly not the word Harry is thinking of. It is just a word with a rather high chance of being involved while creating horcruxes!
One more reason HJPEV cannot be allowed to learn the word, 'horcrux,' and a narrative reason, this time. When he looks up the making of them he'll realize what happened and solve or nearly solve the plot.
To 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.

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".

I edited my comment to correct that. That would be brilliant. I wish.
You were right. Congratulations, good sir or madam.
What'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.
To 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.
Hermoine is still on the hook in the eyes of Draco and everyone for murder. I believe the story demands a fully vindicated Hermoine to continue, which is why I think Harry will frame Lord Jugson for the false memory charms on Draco and Hermoine. I go into further detail on this elsewhere, just check my comment history.
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.
This 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.
What makes you sure that Hermione didn't stun and Blood-Chill Draco herself?
If it were, one could argue that Harry's certainty re: the false-memory charm deliberately fools the reader. []
I 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.
A 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.
I 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.
He 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. […]
Oh, 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.
To be honest, I doubt she is.
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. []
Maybe 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.
I still can't figure out whether you're excluding the Imperius. chapter 79 [] 'She was Imperiused and then Obliviated' looks like the likeliest hypothesis right now.
I 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.
If that were true, it'd be really easy to detect an Imperius by examining the subject's memories... The subject wouldn't remember deciding to do anything the Imperius made them do. [Test Foo] 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. Then again, McGonagall's speaking outside her area of expertise.
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. I suppose that throughout the duration of Imperius its victim may be thinking to himself "Damn this Imperius which is making my body do things that I don't want to do", so one wouldn't need to obliviate just the moment of the Imperius, but the whole sequence of events. Which would be counterproductive in Hermione's case as her own memories is the chief incriminating factor.
I 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).
I 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.
Okay. How about we take up this discussion again in, let's say, thirty-five hours?
Sure. :-)
'She was Imperiused and then Obliviated' seems to be the likeliest hypothesis.
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.
Oh wow, I completely forgot about the bounties. My gold's on this theory now.

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.

This 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.)

Everyone'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.
Because he wants to. Putting harry in Azkaban would be no minor victory.
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!'
Is it bad that I totally want this line to appear in the story now?
Any option that doesn't allow Hermoine to be cleared of all charges to go back to school is not an option The hidden 7th Option. Use a false memory charm on a student to generate testimony framing someone else as false memory charming Draco and Hermoine. My favorite path right now it to set up Lord Jugson using the time turner, invisibility cloak, tampering with the wands, and a False memory charm on a student. I go into more detail here []
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 to determine (and prove) the actually guilty party who false memory charmed Hermione. There aren't very many people who; * Are Hogwarts professors (i.e. someone who could cast the memory charm without triggering alarm). * Have a motive.

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.

That seems to be the consensus #1 and #2 options, yes.
Consensus # 2 is retarded, says word of God [].
Though a bit more politely than that...
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."
Pretty much this. It's a bad plan, but it's more likely than all of the other deeply stupid plans we've discussed.

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

7Grognor11y [] (Also, are you really willing to trudge through all the reviews to test your prediction?)
Afterwards someone who got it right might crow some.
I'm actually fairly confident in my guess to be honest. I guess we will see in a day.

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.

And 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.
Well 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.
Almost certainly. And as vengeance is sacred to Lucius, Harry will have to offer something sacred of his own (Eliezer has seen this [] before, and I think it was covered in Influence, which Harry read). Any ideas?
Besides, it's not a negotiation between Lucius and Harry. The Wizengamot's got the vote, and they are already approving the higher punishment, so why should Lucius back down?

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?

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.

Wait... what?
You're right, I had completely forgotten about clearing Hermione. The first two options I listed could still be used to pay back the debt if the rules surrounding it are too ridiculous, though. This is, of course, simply an extension of his other money-making schemes or a possible source of starting capital.
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.

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.

Given 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!
This feels implausible, but, given that Lucius seems to think that Harry is Voldemort, it would be tempting.

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.

[double post]

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?

It'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.

What's that mean? Google doesn't help.
If Hermione went to school at Azkaban her "Society for the Protection of" options are limited.
Upvoted 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.)
Surely 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.
Sure, 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."
Everyone 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.
Didn'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.
Yeah, but if the caster isn't right there, what are they supposed to do about it?
I'm not sure, but I'm sure they'd have something they can do. There's nothing else keeping someone from slipping a prisoner an animangus potion, leaving, and then casting a patronus there after they leave. There may be some kind of counterspell, or a way to find the caster.
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.
Only because they chose not to stop them. In that case, they will start trying once it starts happening. How long do you think they'll take?
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?
True, but "otherwise, there's a way for Azkaban to be less inescapable" is a reason to believe they'll put a lot of effor into developing some kind of countermeasure.
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's definitely not completely untraceable, but creating a registry of all patronuses would be next to impossible. It seems unlikely that there's no way around it, but I suppose it's feasible that they'd just have an easier time finding a way around animangi. At the very least, they can do what they did with Grindlewald.
That'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?
That just proves inconceivable things exist! :-)
8gwern11y [] 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!

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

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)
Suppose 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"?)
I 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.
I'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.
His theory is that they wouldn't work. So, if his theory is true, it's true. Not sure how else to explain it.

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)

"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.

nod --- I see.
I'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.
Well, yes. That, and every single one of Dumbledore's reactions to Harry when he's explaining the Santa Claus notes.

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

... (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 Yudkowsky11y
At 7:09, it should have been up already. Maybe you've got to hit shift-reload to see it? []
Saw it, read it, love it. Still wondering why you're updating on different days alternating weeks, though.
404 not found, something is wrong here.. Edit: never mind, now it is found! Thank you.

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?

The use of "taboo" here is intended to match the Less Wrong usage of 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'."

Interesting. "Taboo X" is such a familiar pattern here, I had assumed that was what it meant.
In retrospect, if that's what the title meant, it would probably have been spelled:
The Wizengamot has no idea Voldemort is still alive and Harry hasn't yet finished fulfilling his duties (or that there even was a prophecy). If Harry tried to tell them, or even if Dumbledore tried to tell them, they'd probably disbelieve (as in canon). And Lucius thinks Harry is Voldemort, it's no threat at all to him.

Right, Lucius is no longer the only powerful and intelligent wizard who thinks that Harry is Voldemort. If any of the others are inclined towards the public good they are probably now plotting his demise. This does not count as a win.

Lucius.. Probably thinks that the entire point of this ploy was to increase the legend of "the boy who lived" and is kicking himself for playing into it. On the other hand, he did get compensated very well.

Other likely consequences: Hermonie is going to read his note as soon as she gets back on something resembling... (read more)

New HPMOR discussion thread here.

How likely do you all think it is that Harry will defeat Voldemort (as per the prophesy) by the end of his first year?

EY said in an author's note somewhere that the story will not extend past the end of Harry's first year, but that as much plot will be wrapped up by the end as was in canon. So, for meta-story reasons only, pretty likely.

This might be too many in a short time, but do we want to make a new thread before the next update gets posted, considering this one's ALREADY at 400?

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What's the probability of Harry trading Dumbledore for Hermione?

With the way the trail is going I hardly see why Harry should continue to value Dumbledore a lot.

Lucius would applaud this, Quirrelmort would as well; Dumbledore claiming Harry to be an Occlumens would seem rather desperate and with the current situation Dumbledore's standing isn't particularly strong.

This could be achieved by Harry claiming to have Dumbledore testified to have been behind the burning of Lucius' wife. (and perhaps going further also behind the attack on Draco). Harry can easily defend that he hasn't said this before due to the obvious power Dumbledore holds.

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.
Yes, 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.
Yeah, but if Dumbledore actually burned Narcissa alive, and admitted to it, why would he ever be getting out?
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.
He was just about to let himself be traded without Harry pushing for it... If Harry implicates him I think he' might rather protect Harry's reputation than his own; at least until he figures out what the "hero's" plan is. And even if he doesn't allow himself to be traded Harry still score significant points with Lucius - points enough to get Hermione out of Azkaban I'd wager
I think he was feeling guilty about being put in that position, but he was nowhere near turning himself in. He may have a weird worldview, but he's neither weak nor stupid.
[-][anonymous]11y 0

OK, so Harry needs to solve the crime. The Time-Turner and Patronus instant messaging should help. The time limit is not very strict because Bones is on our side and her Aurors can use their Patronuses to protect Hermione from dementation for awhile.

Can we solve the crime? The culprit is obviously H&C because he brainwashed Hermione into making the murder attempt. Now we just need to figure out who H&C is. Snape says in ch.79 "The reaction to a False Memory Charm is hard to predict in advance, Mr. Potter, without Legilimency." He says thi... (read more)

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Reading through some of the speculation on Mr. Hat and Cloak, it seems like some people are pretty confident that it's Quirrell, whereas others don't feel it's decided. In particular this comment says:

Lots of things happen. It's all too close to be sure of what parts are hints about what, except for Mr. Hat-and-Cloak, who we are to understand is most certainly Quirrell

But I felt like his behavior the last time I saw him didn't fit with what I would have expected from Quirrell (despite the fact that Quirrell was my first guess at his identity the firs... (read more)

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.
He hasn't flat-out showed us Quirrell is Voldemort, though.
I 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.
Ur ernyyl gevrq, hagvy crbcyr pbaivaprq uvz abg gb.
But you're not supposed to say that without rot13.
Edited. Also, Hey, that's my line!
Agreed. This also makes me think it isn't Quirrell.
There was speculation before Chapter 79, but H&C as anyone but a Hogwarts professor is killed by McGonagall's comment; 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 Ground Hog Day attack may be from the need to explain to the reader what's going on. It's also been pointed out that being a Legilimens doesn't guarantee competence in gaining trust, it just makes it easier to figure out that you haven't. As is typical, YMMV. Much hay has been made of the line With some claiming that it means Hermione both recognizes and is terrified of the real H&C. Others claimed that was reading too much into the prose, and the terror might just be from realizing the situation in general. Again, YMMV. Current speculation seems to focus on the motive, as in, who would want Draco dead, and/or who would want Hermione accused of trying to kill Draco. It seems likely to me that it will all become moot once chapter 81 is released, so get your speculations in quickly!
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. []
Considering 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.
I'm hoping it's the side with a bunch of cute Slytherin girls in his dungeon...
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.)
Also his remarks about his mentors not telling him something, which seems very likely to be that Lily was shallow.
Or, perhaps, that his obsession with her was pathetic and he needed to move on with his life.
Lily doesn't really strike me as all that shallow. At least I haven't seen much to suggest that she was more shallow than an average human female (with the emphasis there on the 'human'). Even assuming Lily were particularly shallow - that isn't the message that he needed from his mentor. Far more useful would be the message "quit being a pussy!". For all intents and purposes it makes almost no difference to Snape how shallow Lily was.
So then why did he just have his first kiss?
This 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 [] concert.
Because he's a misantropic nerd who's spent his life obsessed with a dead woman?
I find that theory extremely persuasive. It fully explains his lack of skill in the dictionary attack, and the desperation, and sheds new light on the Quirrell/Snape forest conversation earlier. If Quirrell knows that he has Snape as an ally (as Harry lost him given the speculation RE: Lily), and has removed Draco and Hermione from the picture (and he does seem very guilty) this seems like a relatively good time for him to come out of hiding, which also explains his behavior RE: the interrogation.
H&C is Harry Potter from the future, trying to stop his own inevitable descent into darkness. Also, this is false.
[-][anonymous]11y 0

editing glitch

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"It's all right, Gregory," Draco said, as gently as he could. "All you've got to do is worry about protecting me. Nobody's going to blame you for following my orders, not my father, not yours."

Hmm I wonder how much trouble they are in, they were supposed to keep Draco from harm and he almost got killed.

Which isn't to say Draco wouldn't cheerfully discard him as a cat's paw for following orders. Working with ruthless people is dangerous.