Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9

by Oscar_Cunningham1 min read9th Sep 2011725 comments

14

HPMOR (discussion & meta)
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(The HPMOR discussion thread after this one is here.)

The previous thread is over the 500-comment threshold, so let's start a new Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread.  This is the place to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter fanfic and anything related to it. The latest chapter as of 09/09/2011 is Ch. 77.


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.  The fanfiction.net author page is the central location for information about updates and links to HPMOR-related goodies, and AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author's Notes.

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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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Has it occurred to anyone else how good magic would be for psychological experimentation?

To start with, imagine you get the consent of your subjects to be Obliviated. Then, you can try exposing the subjects to differing stimuli while they're in exactly the same starting state, and you can precisely and easily measure the effect of whatever change you've made.

Even better, imagine the marketing opportunities. Think of Mr Hat and Cloak's dictionary attack, but with a focus group, and different advertisements for your new product. Show them the ad, then ask them how much they liked it, then Obliviate them again.

Also, you could try to remove the effect of priming on yourself with self-targeted obliviation.

And you could go on 4chan, knowing that what has been seen actually can be unseen, leaving you with only a note saying "Don't look at SqueeHorse" or something.

I really want magic.

I wonder if there's a different attitude toward spoilers or "great works of art" in the Wizarding World because of memory charms. Hats which could charm endings or plots out of people's minds, people who would only read one book over and over again by repeatedly blasting it out of their heads, or museums/theme parks Obliviating any previous experience there so that every time is fresh.

Would also like to see Eliezer lampshade the Snape kills Dumbledore spoiler by having everyone present self obliviate or something similar.

And you could go on 4chan, knowing that what has been seen actually can be unseen

Is this an actual problem rather than just people making a show of how strongly they are disgusted by expressing the wish to unsee, asking for brain bleach etc?

4pedanterrific10yI dunno, you [http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3471/3860656566_07938ff16d_z.jpg] tell [http://farm1.static.flickr.com/47/117117793_01b3928497_z.jpg] me [http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_379YHp1ShL0/S5cLKym79zI/AAAAAAAAAAc/LJRkfQk7ikY/s320/2girls1cup_t.gif] . Now see, if you had the ability to Obliviate yourself you would be able to find out what those links lead to.
2NancyLebovitz10yI don't know about what they mean by it on 4chan, but "what has been seen cannot be unseen" applies to certain styles of literary criticism, and I'm not even sure whether some of it is really "what has been "seen" cannot be unseen".
2Normal_Anomaly10y"What has been seen cannot be unseen" refers to disgusting images that one wishes one could forget.
4NancyLebovitz10yIt's hard to unsee plausible intellectual patterns, too.
6gwern9ySomewhere on LW, I think, someone suggested that 'discovering perfect psychological manipulation' was a problem akin to NP - hard to find, easy to check. So give rationalist!Voldemort a time-turner, a servant, and a a dungeon...
2wedrifid9yDid you leave out an 'easy to' in there?
2dlthomas9yI expect just an "easy"
4wedrifid10yGiven that I was just prompted to google for SqueeHorse I have to wonder how well that would work. (I still don't understand why I wouldn't want to look at SqueeHorse. Is it even a thing?)
7pedanterrific10ySqueeHorse is a term for bishōnen yaoi mpreg. The More You Know ~ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7R-LGGRjWmU]☆ [http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lpd2e50ZYn1qhz60oo2_250.jpg]

I have an idea for an epic maneuver that a wizard could perform as a last resort in certain emergency situations. A severely wounded wizard could, if there is something of much greater utility then his own life on the line, transfigure himself into a healthy version of himself in order to continue the fight. This would be a death sentence, but still worth it if the stakes were high enough.

Then again Harry can already sustain a small transfigured object even in his sleep. Perhaps the most powerful of wizards could sustain a transfiguration on their own body indefinitely. Or... Professor McGonagall said that it would be possible for a child to transfigure themselves into an adult bodily form. Perhaps if the wizard could not sustain an object the size of their own body indefinitely after the emergency situation has passed they could again transfigure themselves into a adolescent, child, or midget form in order to achieve a body with a volume that they could sustain. Unless doing another transfiguration would cause the consequences of the previous transfiguration to be imposed on the new form. Though I don't see why that would necessarily be the case.

This would be a very fragile sort of existence. They would be much weaker due to the constant drain on their magic and incapacitation or anything that dispels the transfiguration would result in death.

It's also been noted that trolls are constantly transfiguring themselves into themselves, which lays a pretty good precedent for this kind of transfiguration!

7gwern9yYou know, that might work. I mean, it's well-known that "Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration" [http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Gamp%27s_Law_of_Elemental_Transfiguration] allows one to increase the amount of good food you have.
7AspiringKnitter9y...Is it just me, or should that create a post-scarcity economy? Because that lets you make food in ways that violate the conservation of energy. How to survive as a wizard: 1. Get some nutritious, nonperishable food. 2. Make more. 3. Eat, but not all of it. 4. Repeat steps 2-3 indefinitely. Water isn't a problem, since aguamenti conjures it. So, question: why are there house elves? Why does Mrs. Weasley cook? ...Why can't the Weasleys buy a can of Coca-Cola, create as many more as they want and sell them? And do the same with hot dogs? And get rich? No, seriously. That makes no sense. But that's a problem with canon, not MoR.
8gwern9yThe dark secret, AspiringKnitter, is that all the food magic actually works on the same principle as the Hogwarts Hall meals - enslaved house-elves in obscure kitchens. That they feel no need to mention this merely demonstrates how thoroughly wizarding society is based on slavery. (We didn't hear about the house-elves for how many books?)
2AspiringKnitter9yOne, actually, but your point still stands. That is just plain creepy. Wait a minute. Why would it work for people who don't own house-elves, then?
4gwern9yWatch your Fox News; it's England so they have socialism.
3AspiringKnitter9yThey have socialized slavery? There are so many things wrong with that.
6Jonathan_Elmer9yHa, I had another thought that this could explain professor Flitwick's size, but that is probably something that you would want to be common knowledge. You wouldn't want someone accidentally casting Finite on you. Then again I think it has been said that the effectiveness of Finite is depended on the power of the caster, so Flitwick being a former dueling champion may not need to fear it being accidentally dispelled.

Ok. I really don't like the new omake with the ponies.

I understand that Eliezer is trying to criticize overemphasis on peer review. But the bottom line is that peer review is really important: groups of humans who look at something critically are much more likely to notice mistakes and flaws then one will notice by one's self. This is not a trivial point.

I dislike it but not for that reason. There are so many great hooks for rationalist lessons in the actual show, but instead he makes an anvilicious alternate universe to take a cheap shot at a completely unrelated subject. It's such a waste. I am disappointed.

Indeed, when I sat down to make a rationalist MLP fanfic, I realized that the only part of the show that I would change is possibly Feeling Pinkie Keen.

5Armok_GoB10yYea. The approach to making an MLP rationalist fanfiction is not to change the original material, it's by working within the set format to provide rationalist lessons. If done properly probably indistinguishable from the canon episode scripts except for not being in a scrip format and being about slightly more advanced subject matter. For example, from what I've herd about the minicamp: "Dear princess Celestia, today I learned that although the idea that someponies opinion of you is infuenced by somehting as arbitary and wastefull as fashion might seem unpalatable, it can non the the less be unwise to ignore the fact that it is, even amoung friends. Ponies can not always control their subconius impresions, and this is no reason to in turn judle them. * Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle."

In related news, remember the advice that keeping a diary increases happiness? Guess how I'm writing mine. :3

5Armok_GoB10yThat's awesome, now I want to see some of those! There got to be SOME that are not to personal or can be easily modified to hide to personal information, right?
7ArisKatsaris10yI think you're both thinking a bit too narrowly about the topic of rationalist MLP fanfiction. It needn't be about correcting irrationalities of the original material (which I'm guessing was Vaniver's approach?) but it doesn't need to just follow the show's "how to treat your friends" moral lessons either... It could introduce new readers to some really advanced LessWrong concepts. ...ooph, I don't know if I should share the ideas I have on this or not. Because I am thinking of writing rationalist MLP fanfiction, and if so I'd prefer there'd be some surprised delight from readers.... but if I don't end up having the time to write said fanfiction, it's better that I share them, lest they not be known at all. ...I suppose if I don't find the time in the next few months to write said fanfiction fully, I'll just share all the ideas I have on the topic in some thread here and encourage anyone else who wants them to pick them up and use them.
2Armok_GoB10yMy post wasn't supposed to be "how all rationalist fanfiction should be made", but rather "how I recommend Vaniver to go about it, given the evidence I have about his strengths and weaknesses as a writer". Guess I could have worded it better. I look greatly forward to reading your fic! In fact, since given the priors I have over LWers I guess I probably know more about MLP lore and fan conventions (remember all those things Eliezer said in MoR authors notes about the importance of fan conventions? You'd BETTER give Luna an abacus! ), I humbly offer myself up as a prereader even thou I probably suck at most editorial work given my zero experience. Also, once you're done, you REALLY should send it over to Equestria daily. Correcting for writing quality bronies might be an even better recruitment pool than the Harry Potter fandom, since even thou it's smaller it's closer to the LW demographic and I don't think HP has a centralized hub like Equestria Daily which means greater penetration can be reached by something good enough to get on there. In fact, it may be worth having more seasoned LWers, or even Eliezer himself really, look over it for quality.
3Document10yPersonally I've found a lot of the show's lessons to be overly one-sided and applause-lightish. Also, I like/dislike how the show dances around carnivory; I'd love to see HJPEV-Twilight (or whoever) react to Fluttershy explaining how she runs her meadow. There's also the world mechanics of raising the sun and why only the princesses are immortal and all that, and various smaller mysteries, but (1) lots of fic writers and theorists are probably exploring that, and (2) a lot of it is high-profile enough in the series that it stands a reasonable chance of being elaborated on there. The fact that the Potter books have concluded is one of the advantages to setting a rationalist/munchkin fic there.

There's also the world mechanics of raising the sun

(In my planned fanfic, "Friendship is Natural Philosophy," it turns out that heliocentrism is true, and Princess Celestia has just been pretending to raise the sun in order to maintain her grip on power.)

2Vaniver10yOf course. The issues with rewriting them to be rationalist are twofold: first, they're primarily about friendship, where rationality is mostly silent on direct advice, and second, they're on features where one-sided advice is generally better than two-sided advice. Consider, for example, Twilight's nerdy scholarship. It's shown to be useful (it's a major source of her magical power and she'll often know things because of it) but have its limits (let's learn how to do a slumber party from a book!). Which, of course, is the sort of thing you'll find in any of lukeprog's articles on relationships here. Rationality's primary lesson is "learn from successful examples and build up experience" rather than "book smarts are sufficient to interact with other people in real-time." As an example of one-sided advice, take the lesson of Bridle Gossip: Obviously, appearances can provide useful information. The standard human bias, though, is to overweight appearance- and so advice to humans should generally be along the lines of "discount appearance" rather than "use appearance optimally," because the first is harder for humans to twist than the second. I personally dislike the "rationalist fic = munchkin fic" association, but suspect that is atypical of LW users.
2Armok_GoB10yThe lessons are supposed to be simple - it's a show for little girls after all - and any real wisdom to be found in the show lies elsewhere, mainly on a more meta level in the community rather than canon content, and even then isn't very Deep. There are many fan theories about carnivory, but most likely the show dancing around it is a consequence of pony society doing so. Given that she's quite the scholar she almost certainly already knows about it, although a city pony with no biology education or experience with animals might not. I don't think anypony would consider it all that big a deal thou or carnivores wouldn't be around or at least not common. Yea, it's been explored a lot. Generaly they are considered godlike.
3Armok_GoB10yOk, since interest in rationalist MLP is starting to blossom again, my thoughts are straying back to my The Elements of Rationality project that was discontinued some time ago as I realized how much the stuff I had done sucked, and by now I have much better knowledge and tools such that it is more likely to result in somehting slightly less embarasing. One such tool is this: http://generalzoi.deviantart.com/art/Pony-Creator-Full-Version-254295904 [http://generalzoi.deviantart.com/art/Pony-Creator-Full-Version-254295904] So, input the pony/accessory/pose code under the body/accessorize/pose>advanced tab in the pony creator to see it. Oh, and the cutie marks don't work in the string export for obvious reasons, so for those you'll have to wait until I upload images, if I ever do. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- NAME: Riddle Heart ELEMENT: Curiosity CUTIE MARK: Q-over-o ( see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Question_mark#History [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Question_mark#History] ) PONYCODE: 2S2S000010FEC7EFFFC49D0040100E1FEUQ1G32000000002F08AFE8AFF7FFF0N107F3FCC004CB2 POSE CODE: 000277065045288030070005000023001023006330312047 NAME: Dance ELEMENT: Precision CUTIE MARK: Bullseye PONYCODE: 2S2S006000F2D199FFC49D00001AA7C49UP1837408000002P13D3112E8CBA505107F3FCC004CB2 (Ugh, this one sucks, didn't find any good mane OR eye settings.) NAME: Cirrus ELEMENT: Lightness CUTIE MARK: aspen leaf PONYCODE: 2S2S00002075CDFEFFC49D00D0100BB96UN1837000000002F07AFE95FF7FFF11107F3FCC004CB2 POSE CODE: 000000000061315295095355319000000326314331323056 NAME: Bacon ELEMENT: Empiricism CUTIE MARK: DNA strand PONYCODE: 2D1Z002100E21919FFC49D0090000BB96UN183700C20000301E5E5E5F7F7F729107F3FCC004CB2 ACCESSORY CODE: 066CC6623A2C37066CC66066CC66066CC6604E8FBAFFFF8C066CC66066CC66066CC66066CC66 FAVOURITE SHOW: Mythbusters NAME: Cold Fire ELEMENT: Relinquishment CUTIE MARK: Ying-Yang PONYCODE: 382V0A00008AFEC2FFC49D009009B7441UN18372032100
3JoshuaZ10yWell, so many of the omake are already pretty anvilicious. But yes, it could be more directly relevant to the show certainly.

Uh, I'm pretty sure Slytherin has halfbloods either way. Cause, you know, Snape.

And Riddle...

The sadder thing is that Eliezer doesn't seem particularly bothered with numbers either.

I beg your pardon. Check Ch. 30 and you should see some non-canonical first-year student cameos in Draco's army. For, may I mention, exactly that reason - I was explicitly familiar with the dilemma of the discordant Rowling statements and decided to resolve in favor of Hogwarts having around a thousand students, so that having around half the students sign up for the armies would give you 72 first-year soldiers.

Erm, I'd guess what gave my brain the idea originally was the fact that in canon they are flying corpses in grave shrouds.

It's been awhile since the last update, so here's a scene from the HPMOR in my head.

Hermione offers Harry a Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Bean, warning him that when they say "every flavour" they mean every flavour. The first one that Harry eats is booger-flavoured, and he gets frustrated about the foolish candy-makers, complaining that of all the flavours that he could've gotten, his first bean tasted like boogers. Hermione reminds him that it says "every flavour", so he shouldn't be surprised if it ended up tasting like something nasty. Harry has Hermione list flavours of Bertie Bott's beans that she has eaten, and then goes on a rant:

Out of all possible flavours, every single flavour that Hermione has mentioned is recognizable as something regularly found on or in the human body, and the majority are types of food. Harry tries to explain the concept of flavourspace - the entire set of all possible flavours - and what a skewed understanding of flavourspace wizards must have if "every flavour" beans only draw from the tiny proportion of flavourspace which they already regularly taste. So, yes, he should be surprised that the first bean he ate, which could have taken on any flavour in the vast universe of flavourspace, tasted like something that normally grows just inches from one's taste buds.

Which MY head continues: The nature of magic turned out to be sensitive to that kind of notion, and the flavours not predetermined, so the very next one tastes like dementor or strangelet.

3Locke9yIf you tried to lick a dementor would you tongue be stuck to it?
2Armok_GoB9yno, it'd be stuck in it. And then necrosis happens.

Whoever it was, somebody apparently reprogrammed the AI with pseudo-latin commands.

Or the Latin language was partially based on a the AI's command language.

The definition I'd have given for applause lights would have been "A statement so obviously the Right Thing that it provides no useful information".

From Applause Lights: "I think it means that you have said the word "democracy", so the audience is supposed to cheer. It's not so much a propositional statement, as the equivalent of the "Applause" light that tells a studio audience when to clap."

I think that depending on what you mean by "The Right Thing" (whether you mean it mockingly or actually), you're right or wrong in your understanding of what applause lights means. But either way: the point of "applause lights" is that it's more of a signal for mutual self-congratulation than something with actual meaning/content.

e.g. "God bless the United States of America".

So I checked your karma in case it was just a noobish mistake by me, precommited to change my mind if you had a lot more than me, but it turns out you have even less. Thus I'd say you were wrong in correcting me.

Ugh. Seriously? You probably didn't mean this as bad as it sounded, but it effectively looks as you're saying he was wrong in correcting you not because he was actually wrong, but because he shouldn't correct people with higher status (as marked by karma points).

That's a really really bad attitude to have.

9Armok_GoB10yI'm not sure if I'd go so far as to call it mocking, but I certainly meant it in a way not very correlated with actually being correct or moral. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I use total karma as evidence about how likely someone is to be correct about LW conventions, since in order to get very high karma you have to have been here for a long time and have written a lot and thus getting misunderstandings sorted out by being corrected. I also use it as weaker evidence at being correct in general about anything, since I believe LW consensus to be correlated with that. I put LW karma in roughly the same class of evidence as market prices, something which can sometimes say quite silly things but on other occasions be more trustworthy than your own brain. I could actually feel through introspection I weren't able to consider the issue without bias so I just let that decide.
5Document10yIronically I considered noting that comment in my reply and saying something like "Respect for recognizing noisy evidence as evidence.".
2Armok_GoB10yThanks, I am flatered! [http://lesswrong.com/lw/3h/why_our_kind_cant_cooperate/] ^_^
5JoshuaZ10yI suspect that he meant something like "Applause Lights" is an LW specific term. Therefore, to a very rough approximation, karma levels may be a rough way of estimating who understands how the term is used around here since karma roughly approximates how much time someone has spent here. That seems like an extremely weak argument, and I agree that the way it was phrased sounded pretty bad. I don't think my interpretation is that much better.

Chapter 14:

Otherwise we shall see you again three months later and you will be two years older and dressed in a loincloth and covered in snow and that's if you stay inside the castle.

If this sort of time-stretching effect could be controlled, it would be incredibly useful. One could research and prepare at leisure for an imminent attack, at a much better speedup than the mere 25% offered by Time-Turners. If it can go the other way as well, Salazar Slytherin might very well still be alive somewhere in Hogwarts.

The problem with encouraging LessWrongians to read your fanfic is that they spot the logical flaws in and/or ways to manipulate everything you describe. It's why I love this website.

4drethelin10ywe he could easily still be alive anyway, because it's known that philosopher's stones exist and who knows who is using one apart from flamel? As far as this go, I would guess it's more of a joke on harry than anything significant.
9Desrtopa10yI would guess Flamel knows. He's the inventor, and considering that he's stated with confidence that Voldemort couldn't make one himself, and would need to go after the preexisting one, then there must be some really exceptional barriers to anyone else making them. Otherwise Voldemort could simply have imperiused or tortured anyone who could make one in order to get one for himself. If there were any feasible way to gain control of a philosopher's stone without having to get one's hands on the Philosopher's Stone, it would completely break the story.

Yes, but... just for the sake of argument...

Flamel is an inventor. And when assigning confidence in statements he makes about Philosopher's Stones, you need to bear in mind that he's the only inventor dumb enough to get caught. Anyone who independently invented it before him (or after) managed to keep it secret, that's all.

Or maybe there's more than one way to create a Philosopher's Stone and Flamel discovered the most difficult, so now he has an inflated idea of how hard it would be for someone else to duplicate his feat.

Or possibly Flamel is the Dread Pirate Roberts and there's no such thing as a Philosopher's Stone at all.

I'm not sure which explanation I like more, actually.

5Rubix10yThe fic often takes 'joke' aspects of magic and explores their less harmless uses. It leads the reader to be unwilling to take any reference as simply a joke - this as opposed to the original text, where the fact that it was meant to be a children's book led to a lot of bite-sized humorous references with enormous, unexplored potential.
3TobyBartels10yYes, but that's jokes by the narrator (or by the world), not jokes by the characters.

Real World Effects of SPHEW

Raemon has written at moderate length about feminist issues in HPMoR. In fact, this post is credited by Eliezer as

High probability this comment had something to do with the surprise creation of SPHEW.

I don't wish to speculate about these issues because I don't feel I have the depth of knowledge needed to contribute meaningfully. However I do have a real life effect of SPHEW to report.

I produce the Methods of Rationality Podcast. For the most part it's a solo project, but after receiving a few requests I've gotten comfortable enough with it that I've decided to integrate other voices as long as it doesn't require much additional work from me. Meaning - just send me the audio file of you reading the lines and I'll incorporate it if I can. I didn't really expect much response from this approach, and for the most part I didn't get one. Seems no one is really interested in doing Gregory Goyle's lines. :)

With a notable exception. The girls of SPHEW. I received a complete reading of all of Daphne's lines before I even announced I was willing to take other voices. It was one of the primary motivators for overturning my previous policy and saying I would acce... (read more)

While I was reading Harry Potter, I kept thinking that the House system was destructive, both in terms of making people impose restrictions on themselves, and creating deep divisions in the wizarding world. Hogwarts is in this sense the primary cause of both the previous and the coming wizard war.

In Eliezer's fiction, it's more apparent that the Hogwarts house system is a mindless, destructive mechanism set in motion hundreds of years ago that no one person can change or escape. Even Dumbledore couldn't abolish the house system; the political pressure would pop him out of Hogwarts like a cork from a champagne bottle.

I don't understand why Dumbledore can't maintain order among the students and protect them from each other, though... it seems to be within the powers of the Hogwarts faculty, if they set their minds to it.

Dumbledore and McGonagall's weaknesses are more apparent in Eliezer's fiction. Which would score realism points with me, except that the deconstruction of the perfect Dumbledore is balanced by the imagination of a perfect Harry.

Dumbledore and McGonagall's weaknesses are more apparent in Eliezer's fiction. Which would score realism points with me, except that the deconstruction of the perfect Dumbledore is balanced by the imagination of a perfect Harry.

Harry is far from perfect. He has his own glaring weaknesses. He's excessively clever (sometimes at the expense of wise or rational), his ego clouds his decisions, he is paranoid, incapable of relating to humans normally and shows disconcerting tendencies towards codependency.

While I was reading Harry Potter, I kept thinking that the House system was destructive, both in terms of making people impose restrictions on themselves, and creating deep divisions in the wizarding world.

It's based to the actual House system used in British boarding schools.

3Oscar_Cunningham10yYeah, but they don't determine your house by your personality or beliefs about blood purity.
8TuviaDulin10yMoR Harry did seem like a Marty Stu in the early chapters, but the further I read, the less I thought so. For one thing, his intelligence is balanced out by egotism, insensitivity, and inability to think in the longterm. For another, most of his really impressive feats of intellect and willpower are actually owed to Voldemort's horcrux (his "dark side"), which means Harry doesn't get full credit for them. I think MoR Harry is far from perfect. You're totally right about the house system, though. That's why I really love the subplot about Quirrel's armies; it breaks up the house system and lets all the students interact more. I'm so glad we got to know the Slytherin girls...

MoR Harry did seem like a Marty Stu in the early chapters, but the further I read, the less I thought so. For one thing, his intelligence is balanced out by egotism, insensitivity, and inability to think in the longterm. For another, most of his really impressive feats of intellect and willpower are actually owed to Voldemort's horcrux (his "dark side"), which means Harry doesn't get full credit for them. I think MoR Harry is far from perfect.

Wait... you don't attribute dark side Harry to Harry? Damn. They're the main parts I empathize with!

4PhilGoetz10yBTW, we're told in canon there are other schools for wizards and witches, but everyone famous seems to have gone to Hogwarts. Why? There isn't even an entrance exam, and most of the teachers are incompetent; so it can't be either their selectiveness or the quality of their education. How can we estimate the number of witches and wizards in the world from canon? And, also, the number of students at Hogwarts?
6Oscar_Cunningham10yJ. K. Rowling was never too bothered with the numbers (by her own admission). In particular the total number of students in Hogwarts is portrayed as much greater than the number of students per year multiplied by seven, and the wizarding world is absurdly small but still far too large to account for the fact that there appears to be only one school in Britain.
5Atelos10yMost of the teachers? Binns and Trelawney certainly, Snape, but arguably he's more unprofessional and unpleasant than incompetent. Often the defense professor is incompetent, I suppose. Canon!Harry had Lupin, Snape and fake Moody for competent defense professors and Quirrel, Lockhart and Umbridge for incompetent ones. We have no reason to doubt the teaching ability of Mcgonagall, Flitwick, Sprout, Sinistra, Vector or Babbling. Burbage's Muggle studies course is often a subject of ridicule in fanfiction, but that might be a result of the (inter?)-national curriculum rather than her individual competence, and so would be no better at other schools. Hagrid's Care of Magical Creature's lessons were of very uneven quality, but he could teach well when he had his head together. As to the preeminence of Hogwarts, perhaps its as simple as Hogwarts being the only British school with a comprehensive curriculum, the others focusing on particular areas of magic and functioning more or less as magical trade schools. We don't technically know that there's no entrance exam for the common witch or wizard, we just know Harry didn't have to take one, he could have been admitted as a legacy student or simply because he's the boy-who-lived. Or the barrier could be financial.

In the previous thread there was some discussion on Ch 76's obliviation powered dictionary attack on Hermione. Most of that discussion seems to have assumed that what we saw between Hat And Cloak (HAC) and Hermione was simple to understand and relatively unskilllful... with Hermione's "tootsie pop" response being inane and HAC's probing appearing ham-handedly ignorant.

My impression was that we didn't see the first or second cycle of relatively normal behavior for either character, but more like the 7th cycle (12 minutes per cycle for 90 minutes?), where HAC was doing something radically different each time to probe Hermione's knowledge, feelings, etc in different ways, probably using legilimency. She was exhausted, like someone "in the box" with the police, except more stressful due to not even knowing she's in the box. And the questions don't have to be subtle, they just have to make her think of useful things while her eyes are visible. I don't think she was the ultimate target either, but rather she is the closest non-occlumens to Harry other than possibly Draco, so mind raping her to learn about Harry is "safer" even if it demonstrates horrifyi... (read more)

I would guess that Hat-and-Cloak probably wasn't using leglimency, or it wouldn't have needed Hermione to say that she found the mysterious getup suspicious.

I'm not sure how it worked in canon (and would expect semi-random behavior given Rowling's tendency to fudge world building details that a more mechanistic thinker might nail down) but in MoR it appears that legilimency allows the reader to perceive the "conscious surface thoughts" of the readee, plus the feeling of active reading (used by an occlumens to race ahead and put fake conscious surface thoughts in the way), plus the traces of past reading.

When Albus read Harry early in the story to look for traces he asked Harry what Harry had recently eaten so as to prevent himself from reading anything private in Harry's mind. If words can be used to redirect attention to banal issues so that it is impossible for even Albus to see more deeply, it stands to reason (to me anyway) that visibility is relatively shallow and that words could also be used to redirect attention towards the sensitive issues. So, HAC using legilimency probably couldn't get a verbal reason for lack of trust without a probe to raise "trust of HAC" in Hermione's mind, but once raised he would have been able to tell if she lied or detect any reasons that jumped into her mind that she didn't say... (read more)

Even assuming those are the limits of leglimency, I think that "this guy seems really suspicious" would be pretty near the surface of Hermione's thoughts without any additional prompting.

the occlumency trainer harry hires is able to read deeply within harry's mind without a lot of trouble. I think thoughts are probably easier or harder to read based on how surface they are. Dumbledore made them think of something else so he wouldn't accidentally read anything private because of how EASY it is to read surface memories, not because thinking of something else prevents being read entirely.

There seem to be two forms of leglimency, one that requires an explicit spell and a wand, and can be performed by most wizards. That's what Mr. Best in MoR uses, and what canon!Snape uses while trying to each Harry Occlumency. The victim knows what's going on, but usually can't do anything against it.

The second one is the form that Dumbledore (and canon!Voldemort), which just requires looking into the eyes of the victim, and lots of training. This is the "stealth mode", and most victims don't notice the intrusion at all.

It was always my intuitive understanding that the first form allows you to dig deep into one's memory, wheres the second form only shows you what the victim is thinking right now.

Does that make any sense?

5Nornagest10yIf I remember right, a moderately big deal is made of wandless magic in the last couple books of the canon. I don't think it's come up in MoR yet, but it seems simpler to suppose that Dumbledore and canon!Voldemort are performing a wandless version of Snape's Legilimency than to assume a more fundamental difference between the types.
3gwern10yIt could just be a power difference. If wandless magic came with no penalties attached, you'd have to be mad to continue to use wands if you can manage wandless magic like Dumbledore can. It strictly dominates wands - you can't be disarmed nearly as easily. (And when we see wizarding children 'naturally' use wandless magic, isn't it weaker than what they can manage with wands?) A big enough difference of degree can look like a difference of kind.
5wedrifid10yExcept when you're fighting trolls and need a Nasal Magic Delivery Device.
3pedanterrific10yOr when you don't know any spells but your opponent has perfectly good eye sockets. (Or when your wand is made of elder.)
3pedanterrific10yTwo things, one: being more difficult to disarm isn't really as much of an advantage as it might seem. Remember, we have some idea of how magical combat works in MoR, and it seems to revolve around layers of active and passive defenses - during Bahry One-Hand, veteran Auror, v. Polyjuiced!Quirrel, the description went If telekinesis-type spells (Accio, Expelliarmus, Wingardium Leviosa) are relatively easy to shield against, fights would tend to end by incapacitation rather than disarming whether you had a wand or not. And two: interestingly, 'accidental magic' (used by wizarding children before they get their wands, generally in times of high emotion) is actually somewhat more impressive than what just-got-their-wands first years can do. Example: before he went to Hogwarts, canon!Harry once managed to get from standing on the ground to standing on the roof of his school without quite being aware of how he did it - the text seems to imply some kind of teleportation / Apparation, but it could have been self-levitation - either way, much more impressive than anything he could do for a while afterwards.
5gwern10ySo? This is like someone saying, after scraping a violin for a few minutes, 'pfft, I can whistle more musically than this darn thing'. It's a tool, and like all tools, takes time to master, but when it does, you're much better than without the tool. (Think about how long it takes to learn a computer, and what one can do with it.)

Chapter 24: Machiavellian Intelligence Hypothesis: Act 2 ... The line of reasoning continued: Atlantis had been an isolated civilization that had somehow brought into being the Source of Magic, and told it to serve only people with the Atlantean genetic marker, the blood of Atlantis.

And by similar logic: The words a wizard spoke, the wand movements, those weren't complicated enough of themselves to build up the spell effects from scratch - not the way that the three billion base pairs of human DNA actually were complicated enough to build a human body from scratch, not the way that computer programs took up thousands of bytes of data.

So the words and wand movements were just triggers, levers pulled on some hidden and more complex machine. Buttons, not blueprints.

And just like a computer program wouldn't compile if you made a single spelling error, the Source of Magic wouldn't respond to you unless you cast your spells in exactly the right way.

The chain of logic was inexorable.

Under that hypothesis, accidental magic by wizarding children — otherwise without appreciable magic power, could be a Source of Magic initiated emergency "Help" spell.

3NancyLebovitz10yI've been thinking about magical training that doesn't look like conventional schooling, and training accidental magic would be an interesting place to start. Would it be like learning jazz? Improv? A soft martial art?
2Xachariah10yHarry (in cannon) performs accidental magic during times of high emotion and when he's not able to cast spells (ie, before he has his wand or summer vacations). This is also true with Ariana Dumbledore, Snape, and Neville in each other occurrence of accidental magic in the series. In HP:MoR, wizards use the mana/muscle system for magic. It seems likely that magic can 'build up' if unused and release in an explosive (sometimes literally) fashion in the form of accidental magic. Furthermore, since nobody seems to intentionally use it, it must have a drawback; extreme draining of magic disproportionate to the effects seems like a logical effect. Interestingly, both Tom Riddle and Lily Evans were able to consciously control 'accidental' magic as children. They both ended up the greatest spellcasters of their year. This would further reinforce the hypothesis that it extremely drains your 'magic' muscle, given that working out one's magic has been established to make one a stronger spellcaster.
4Sheaman377310yRather than two forms of legilimency, I thought it was a matter of the caster's facility with the spell. In other words, it was my understanding that amateur Legilimens had to use their wand and the incantation in addition to eye contact, and with practice they could do away with the wand and word. That branch of magic is easily made wandless, perhaps.
2JenniferRM10yThat bit was textually sparse but my reading there [http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/27/Harry_Potter_and_the_Methods_of_Rationality] was that in the fourth lesson where he pulled many secrets he was reading Harry's memories of having been read over a longer period and it raising issues and them talking out an acceptable resolution so that the teacher would keep teaching. Presumably Harry could bring the whole conceptual network up "above his surface" right off the bat just to get it out of the way on purpose, which seems to be implied by this line:
3JoshuaZ10yI didn't interpret it that way. Rather, I interpreted it that Dumbledore didn't want to incidentally get data about any other thoughts, he just wanted to look for signs of prior tampering. In that limited context, he didn't want Harry to think about anything that wasn't Dumbledore's business. A skilled legilimens if they are trying might be able to still get more out of that situation.
8JenniferRM10yBut Quirrell was also there [http://m.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/20/], and presumptively allied with Lucius and against Albus. If Albus read Harry in front of Quirrell without doing something to prevent invasive reading being possible in principle then it would have given Quirrell much more ammunition to use in a complicated way. They actually did quibble over the matter, and the fact of the quibble (rather than a bigger deal) directly implies that both Quirrell and Albus had precise models of what was possible with legilimency under those conditions, and knew each knew, and knew what could be safely done and safely accused, and didn't bother to argue about bigger issues, where they mutually understood, and understood that each understood, and understood that Harry could verify, that the distraction had been sufficient to make it impossible for Albus to have engaged in profound impropriety.
7Desrtopa10yOr that Quirrell had a precise enough model of Dumbledore that he knew he could only hurt his standing with Harry by accusing Dumbledore of things that Harry could easily learn were out of character enough to be improbable. If he starts accusing Dumbledore of things he doesn't himself believe that Dumbledore would do, he could end up being discredited and then looking paranoid rather than wise and experienced. Dumbledore's remark that "That was all I looked for" doesn't sound like something he would say if, while reading Harry, he couldn't have looked at anything else if he wanted.

I wonder whether the Tootsie Pop reference was a Leaning on the Fourth Wall hint to the readers or if we're meant to take that as Hermione subconsciously remembering what was going on? ("One hundred and eighty-seven. I tried it once." is kind of chilling, in that context.)

Or it could've been just a meaningless flippant remark, that too.

And 12 minutes per cycle? For the script given in the chapter, I'd peg it at more like 2 to 4.

Edit: Actually, I just though of a way to get an upper bound - the amount of adrenaline the human body can produce in 2-4 minutes is probably pretty sharply limited, right? Mr H&C presumably had to startle Hermione at the end of every cycle, so the physiological reaction would match up to the initial surprise and smooth over any discrepancies. I find it hard to imagine that "a rush of shock and fear hit her like a Stunning Hex over her whole body" more than five or so times without just leaving her burned out completely. (Not that she didn't seem pretty burned out by the end.)

And she can't be dead. For she is the bearer of a most marvelous destiny-

Actually I looked up in Wikipedia how many licks it takes to get the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop, and picked a number that seemed commensurate with the human-licker experiments.

The Chilling Implications you point out (how many licks does it take to get to the center of Hermione?) were totally lost on my consciousness until now. I wonder if that subconscious imagery had anything to do with why my brain produced that response from Hermione?

But still, probably not 187.

how many licks does it take to get to the center of Hermione?

I'm sure there are other authors on fanfiction.net who could answer this for us.

9lessdazed10yIt's 34. The rule there is that the answer is always 34.
4Hyphen-ated10y"187" is a slang term for murder, which comes from the California penal code. Is this a coincidence?
7Xachariah10yI think you're misreading the situation. From Hermoine's point of view, it seems like she's suddenly getting flooded with adrenaline. The truth is that she's had the same level of adrenaline in her body and is just being made aware of it. It's similar to how walking four miles then getting obliviated an hour back would feel like you've just gotten teleported and been hit with a jelly legs jinx.
4pedanterrific10yThe exact phrasing at the end of the cycle that happened onscreen was: My interpretation, and maybe I am reading too much into it, is that it was necessary to give her a shock right before the Obliviation, because otherwise the physiological experience would be going from 'walking calmly down the hallway' to 'walking tiredly down the hallway,' which wouldn't jive with convincing herself she just reacted very quickly (her wand leaped into her hand). Also, why else would you reveal your true face to someone just before you Obliviate them and show them a different, equally false appearance? Eliciting the reaction seems to be the obvious motive, and helps get around a weakness of Obliviation - that it only affects the neurological, not the rest of the body (hence Harry's signaling method of biting his lip).
8Xachariah10yI assumed that revealing your true face to the person would not ever be remember, so it wouldn't matter what you did. There's no reason to bother going into another room or even turning around (and risking them trying to run/hex you) to swap faces if you're just going to obliviate them anyways. It's just a result of being weary with the whole process. These are only dry runs at cracking her password. You practice a dozen times until you succeed, obliviate her and let her settle down, obliviate her so she doesn't remember the settling down time, then do the successful attempt. The "most glorious destiny" attempt won't be what she remembers, but rather a seamless polished version after Mr HAC has confirmed it will work. The final, final version will have her never even suspecting anything suspicious or having discontinuities like spinning around and wands leaping to her hands. Heck, it need not even occur at the same time, but rather a day later so she doesn't get suspicious of lost time. Or at least, that's what I would in the same position.

Missed opportunity:

"I've been sent to help you, so please don't be afraid. I am your servant in all things; for you, my Lady, are the last magical descendant of Merlin-"

"That's ridiculous."

(fleeting disorientation)

"For you, my Lady, are the last magical descendant of Ravenclaw-"

"I don't believe you."

(fleeting disorientation)

"For you, my Lady, are the bearer of a most marvelous destiny-"

Edit: (Personally, I prefer " - she felt a momentary sense of disorientation - "; it seems a little more subtle, but I guess that's not the effect he's going for.)

It is more subtle and I do prefer it. The problem is that a substantial fraction of reviewers are still saying they've got no idea what's happening during the ellipses, and I care about that.

Your version is a little too unsubtle, but the fact that people were buying the "last descendant of Merlin thing" had me wondering what it would've taken to actually trigger their skepticism.

"For you, my Lady, are the last descendant of Cthulhu -"

"For you alone must stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness -"

"Only you can prevent forest fires -"

No, I get why you changed it, and I certainly wasn't offering that as any kind of serious suggestion, but... well, maybe it's elitist of me, but frankly I don't understand what benefit there is to catering to the lowest common denominator of ffnet readers. I mean, the lowest common denominator of ffnet readers is pretty low. (Boy-Who-Lived Gets Draco Malfoy Pregnant! sorry i suk at sumries lol, dont liek dont read)

On another note:

"For you, my Princess, are of the blood of the dragons -"

"You have the ability to overcome great fear -"

"By your powers combined, I am -"

"Yer a wizard, Hermione -"

6shokwave10yRaising the sanity waterline and all that.
3orielwen10yI agree. It was so obvious to me that Hermione was being Obliviated that when I read the instruction at the start of the next chapter I went back to see what I could be missing. It didn't occur to me that peope might not be getting it. And that was when it had ellipses.
7JoshuaZ10yI'm one of the people who was confused by the Merlin thing and said as such in my review that I wasn't sure if it was lying or not. In that version, the Obliviation was a lot less obvious. My initial reading was that the entity in question was trying to appear (probably untruthfully) to have been testing Hermione previously and was now ready to reveal itself in its true, nice form. It even occurred to me that it might even have been its actual form with it finally happy that it could appear as a nice being rather than as some terrible mystery. I was in particular thinking of the part in the Chronicles of Prydain where the companions are shocked to find out that the nasty looking hags true form might actually be beautiful young women. In that text they call it out explicitly. Still, the switch to the repeated ... made it really clear what was going on in a really blunt, squicktastic fashion. I have to agree with pedanterrific that you may want to be careful not to play to the lowest common denominator of ff.
4JoshuaZ10yI would really like if it included this. If you did go with pedanterrific's suggestion this might also help reduce the squicktastic aspect of the repeated memory erasure. Actually, the juxtaposition might make it more squick; I'm not sure.

(In hindsight, Giles felt it was a little embarrassing, how obvious the solution was.

After all, what teenage girl doesn't want to feel special?)

Euurghh the more I think about this the worse it gets

9[anonymous]10y"You win" seems appropriate.

I think so. Eliezer needs to revise his chapter again.

2[anonymous]10yI thought the Tootsie Pop bit was just a reference to this [http://lesswrong.com/lw/6y2/rationality_quotes_august_2011/4mhw].
3Eliezer Yudkowsky10yYeah, I discovered that when researching HPMOR.

I'd describe the "tootsie pop" response as contemptuous rather than inane.

Re Chp 35

I searched all the threads, and didn't find any mention of this. There's a hint in the conversation between Hat&Cloak and Zabini: namely, the fact that there is a conversation at all. Why does H&C need to talk to Zabini if he's just going to obliviate him anyway? Here's one possible answer: he needs some information from Zabini.

I don't think he needs Zabini's report on the conversation — partly because he keeps talking afterwards, and partly because there are independent reasons to think that H&C is either Quirrel or an agent of Quirrel's. (For instance, the "keyed into the wards" comment, as well as the fact that H&C exactly predicts Quirrel's reaction to Zabini's statement, and the fact that this statement ended up benefiting Quirrel.)

So what information does H&C need? Note that he tells Zabini, "The reward I promised you is already on its way to your mother, by owl." In other words, Zabini was clever enough to insist that his reward go to a third party, leaving someone around to remember that he's owed an award in case he's obliviated. H&C seems to me to be turning the conversation at every step towards Zabini's mother. Eventu... (read more)

7orthonormal9yHuh! Given that it would create (what currently looks like) a completely irrelevant tangent to the main plot, I think the interview might have just happened so that the readers can see Hat-and-Cloak in action. The excuse could be that Hat-and-Cloak is addicted to monologuing to characters that ve's about to Obliviate anyway. Also, welcome to Less Wrong! [http://lesswrong.com/lw/90l/welcome_to_less_wrong_2012/]
9matheist9yI hope that doesn't turn out to be the reason for the conversation to have happened — it's a little unsatisfying. I guess another reason for H&C to need to talk to Zabini could be in order to use legilimancy on him. Presumably, in this case, to discover whether Zabini told anyone else besides his mother about H&C. Edit: On reflection, this seems quite likely to me. H&C turns the conversation to betrayal, and if the plan is to use legilimancy on Zabini, then Zabini would need to be thinking about betrayals (and whether he has betrayed H&C) in order for the legilimancy to be useful.
[-][anonymous]9y 15

No: it was there, he just spelled it Fox News.

The next line after "If you didn't tell her at all what the spell was supposed to do, it would stop working." says

If she knew in very vague terms what the spell was supposed to do, or she was only partially wrong, then the spell would work as originally described in the book, not the way she'd been told it should.

Knowing that the spell is 'For enemies' apparently counts as knowing in very vague terms what it will do.

An idle bit of speculation, which has probably been brought up before, but it occurred to me that MoR Voldemort, being more intelligent than his canonical counterpart, may not have seen fit to stop at a mere 7 horcruxes. Why not simply make as many as (in)humanly possible, rather than adhering to some superstitious wishy-washy stuff about "7 is a powerfully magic number"? It is almost certain that the mechanics of horcrux-construction in MoR are different from those in canon (e.g. mind-upload rather than soul-splitting), so perhaps the limit that Canon!Voldemort faced (unstable soul-fragments) is not something that would be encountered in quite the same form as MoR!Voldemort.

To provide the merest scrap of substance to my speculation, I noticed that in Chapter 53 (TSPE, Part III), Quirrell states:

“Yess,” hissed the snake, “but do not underesstimate her, sshe wass the deadliesst of warriorss.” The green head dipped in warning. “One would be wisse to fear me, boy, even were I sstarved and nine-tenthss dead..."

The bolded interests me, partly because of something Dumbledore states in Chapter 61 (TSPE, Part XI):

"...Voldemort’s final avenue is to seduce a victim

... (read more)
4Locke9yIf there are any negative repercussions of Horcrux-making in MoR, and I'm fairly certain there are, I should think Quirrell would have no good reason to make any Horcruxes besides the one. It's absolutely unreachable, why damage your soul any further?
5Serpentsong9yAny reason(s) in particular that you're certain that Horcrux-creation would have detrimental effects significant enough that Voldemort would create only one, maximum? I assume it must have some detrimental effects, because otherwise, given a Rational Dark Lord armed with a time-turner, we'd be looking at Horcruxes proliferating as fast as he can make them. Tens or hundreds or thousands of horcruxes, one on every muggle device launched into or out of orbit, if he could manage it. I notice that you seem to take for granted the existence of "souls" in MoR, which is far from certain. Actually I would rate the possibility as decidedly uncertain, since if souls and their attendant afterlife existed, it'd put quite a dent in the entire motivation for Harry's "conquer death and achieve immortality for everyone" program. And as prasannak noted, Harry has raised the alternate hypothesis that horcrux creation is less soul-fragmentation and more mind-uploading: "Maybe he found some way of duplicating the power of the Resurrection Stone, only he loaded it in advance with a complete copy of his brain state. Or something like that." (Chapter 39) edit: And I just remembered a brief exchange between Quirrell and Harry in chapter 46, which (to me, at least) hints at the existence of more than one horcrux. Quirrell asks Harry, hypothetically speaking, where he would choose to "lose something where no one would ever find it again." (I assumed he was being all ironic again and was talking about horcruxes.) Harry reeled off a list of about 5 possible hiding places, to which Quirrell responds "All excellent suggestions... But tell me, Mr. Potter, why those exact five? ...There is an interesting pattern to them.... One might say it sounds like something of a riddle." (Riddle? Irony overload.) It just dawned on me that those 5 hiding places could only be clues to a riddle (the riddle of where Voldemort chose to hide all his horcruxes) if they didn't encompass the complete set of all ho
2Locke9yV jnf haqre gur vzcerffvba gung rirelguvat nobhg fbhyf naq gur nsgreyvsr sebz pnaba ubyqf gehr va ZbE. Ryvrmre fgngrq gung Uneel svaqf uvzfrys va n havirefr jvgu na nsgreyvsr juvyr abg oryvrivat va na nsgreyvsr, ohg guvf vf abg n synj va uvf engvbanyvgl orpnhfr Ebjyvat jebgr ab npghny rivqrapr bs gurfr guvatf vagb ure havirefr.
2Serpentsong9yDo you mean Eliezer said that in an author's comment or something? If so I concede the point, though the text of MoR doesn't appear to me to support the existence of either souls or afterlife (even ghosts are less sapient than they are in canon). I'm also doubtful about it from a story-telling standpoint, since if spiritual immortality for humans exists by default, it would make all of Harry's stated ambitions to achieve transhuman immortality in the material universe, for everyone, a bit pointless and perhaps even restrictive (that's a whole new world you never get to explore, if you never die). Also, since MoR has a certain didactic function, for Eliezer to establish spiritual immortality in the Rationality!verse would kind of take away from the impact of his anti-death and pro-cryonics sentiments. As regards your comment about Rowling, I think in canon there's at least one piece of evidence strongly supporting the existence of an afterlife. In Deathly Hallows, during the "King's Cross" scene when Harry is AK'd into Limbo by Voldemort, Harry ostensibly meets the departed soul of Dumbledore, who tells him all manner of things (regarding his own past and the Deathly Hallows) that only the true Dumbledore would know. If one is particularly skeptical, one can write this off as total delusion on Harry's part (thus rendering suspect everything "Dumbledore" tells him), but that would go completely against the spirit of the story.
4prasannak9yBecause he is nothing if not thorough? And a mind-upload might not have negative repercussions in MoR, vis-a-vis canon.

Harry is not an AI creator. That would require him to create an AI.

What the? I'm downgrading from your "Harry represents an AI" to "Harry represents an AI creator" and now you want to get technical and say "there is no AI in the story"?

Why? Do you think Eliezer believes AIs are incapable of learning valuable moral lessons through social interaction with the people it cares about? Presumably, even within Eliezer's model, an AI can be moral and kind and loving to humans for some time period. If you think that "unfriendly AI" will necessarily be amoral and incapable of love - well, that's just silly.

I believe Eliezer would rather dip his... arm... in a vat of acid than suggest to his readers that an AI will act like a clever well intentioned child that learns valuable moral lessons through social interactions with those he loves, over a long period of a slow, rather inefficient quest for power.

5ArisKatsaris10yPlease cool it down a bit. Just two chapters ago, Harry was compared to a all-powerful summoned entity that knew nothing about how humans worked and so had to be taught not to eat people and stuff. Hermione accepted that comparison as somewhat fitting. So the comparison of Harry to non-human intelligences is MoR!Canonical, even though it was a huge exaggeration even within the context of the story, expressed by people genuinely scared of Harry -- the Harry who seemed more powerful than a Nameless Horror and might need the magical nations of the world to ally against him in order to seal off his incursion into our reality.

Chapter 76: "And that's why I can destroy Dementors and you can't," said the boy. "Because I believe that the darkness can be broken."

This is interesting, because it touches upon a thought I had about the Dementors back in Chapter 45. In canon, Dementors are manifestations not of death or even fear, but of despair. (I believe Rowling has said she drew upon her own experiences of depression.) That's why chocolate helps, why they generate feelings of hopelessness, why they take away happy memories and leave unhappy ones, and why their ultimate power is to put people into a coma rather than to kill them. None of this makes sense for a manifestation of death.

But Harry's response would work either way. A happy memory, a pleasant thought, can shield against despair, but it can't destroy it. Hope, on the other hand, true grim hope – the belief that things can be made better and, crucially, the unshakeable determination to make them so, not by thinking 'wouldn't it be nice if…' but by knuckling down and solving the insoluble problem – is the only true cure for despair. And that sort of hope, which Harry shows, is actually pretty hard to hold truly, which would explain w... (read more)

I think what Harry says is heartfelt, but it's also a decent false trail to prevent Dumbledore from accidentally working out the secret and losing his ability to cast a Patronus.

Not that Dumbledore necessarily needs that. He's in a great position for doublethink: he can presumably use the Pensieve, label the memory "the secret of dementors and the Patronus charm," then Obliviate himself. Locking the basilisk away in a secret chamber, if you will.

Blocking the Unblockable Curse.

This is mostly related to canon, but also a bit to HPMoR.

I've always wondered why the killing curse counts as "unblockable". In "Order of the Phoenix", Dumbledore blocks it by moving a statue in its path. Seems to work nicely. There is other evidence that solids stop the killing curse -- if it went through it, you could accidentally kill somebody behind a wall when missing your target. Prof. Moody would surely have mentioned that danger when talking about the killing curse, if that was the case. So you could carry around a steel plate strong enough to block the curse, and quickly move it into its path. Not easy, but possible.

There are also several instances where simple spells conjure animals (I remember bats and small birds). I wonder if you could simply conjure an animal into the way of the killing curse. It might need to have a minimal size to work, but a powerful wizards should be able to do that.

I also wonder if there are ways to combine charms: one detection charm that triggers another one. For example one that detects killing curses, and enables apparation or a portkey.

So, one proven way to block a killing curse, one conjectural, and another conjectural way to escape it. I can't believe the wizards still call it "unblockable" :-)

5Zaine9yI'm pretty sure that 'unblockable' is meant to mean it was the only magic known to have no counter-effect, or counter-spell. Now Harry has discovered the true Patronus charm is the counter spell to Avada Kedavra. It makes sense when you think about it, which I'm sure is why Eliezer included it in the first place. The Dementors are voids of nothingness, into such nothingness tumble all living things once their life is extinguished (according to present evidence, anyway); in other words, the Dementors are parts of Death, but are not Death Incarnate (which can be summoned according to a Dark Ritual Quirrell read tell of as a spritely young lad). Thus, if the Patronus charm has the ability to repel a piece of Death, then in accordance with magic's apparent system of dualities, the Patronus charm must represent the opposite of Death: Life. All but Harry cast their Patronus using memories, figments of the mind based upon reality; because they only conjure a thought reminiscent of all life can be, they can only manifest a fragment of life force to shield themselves from Death - an imperfect shield, permeable to Death. Harry recognizes the two poles of reality: Death, or absence - and Life, or presence. Harry brings to mind all that reality really is to us, namely all that a life can ever possibly experience, and pushes that in the face of the part of Death that is Dementors.* Harry has this ability because he strives to and greatly succeeds in deceiving himself of nothing (he's not perfect - yet); through rationality he is able to have an accurate enough map of the territory that his conjured thought actually is a picture of all life can be, and so he can manifest the entirety of his Homo sapiens sapiens being. His Patronus not only represents but is pure life force, so it can overwhelm and obliterate imperfect representations of Death id est Dementors. Likewise, as both Dementors and animal Patronuses are imperfect representations of their respective pole, their effec
6Alsadius8yMy assumption was always just that the "summon death" bit referred to creating a Dementor, and that they are much more directly about death than simple nothingness. This isn't necessarily implied by the text, but it seems the more likely explanation. And yes, you can definitely argue with the author about their own characters, to a certain extent. (I.e., "He'd never do X, Y is way more like him!" okay, "Harry is actually a 57-year-old woman!" not okay). You're well within the lines here.
2Zaine8y* Chapter seventy-nine, HP:MoR I can see your interpretation, but Quirrel's commentary does not lend it credence. He does fear Dementors, or rather their effect upon him, but - no, your interpretation holds; regardless of how high a probability there may be of the spell merely summoning a Dementor, the inability to dismiss what's summoned leaves too high a risk of freeing something worse. Though I would think Quirrel would clearly express those concerns over opting to speak warily and vaguely of the ritual - and I think it out of character for him to not have thoroughly contemplated it.
3Alsadius8yDoes Quirrell know that Dementors are death? I think Quirrell's interpretation is based on a lack of data, not on a difference of opinion.
2Zaine8yIndeed, I see your point. The theory still holds should the ritual summon one Dementor or many, and I've benefited from considering it; thank you.
2AspiringKnitter9yThat's ridiculous. It's ridiculous that the curse would be considered unblockable under those circumstances and ridiculous that I didn't think of that already. And yet... it seems you're right. In fact, now I think it would make sense for wizards to use shields in duels.

I... guess...

You know, it occurs to me that out of such renowned experts as Dumbledore, Trelawney, that unnamed Bavarian seer, the Unspeakables, and the centaurs...

I kinda want to know what Luna Lovegood thinks about prophecy before I decide what to believe.

I've been searching a bit, but didn't find any "process" for translation of HP:MoR. Being a native french, I can offer a bit of my time to translate part of it, but :

  1. I would like to know what's the standard process, since a translation can at some points alter the meaning, is there any review or agreement from Eliezer required ?

  2. There seems to be two french translations already started. I don't want to conflict with other persons. Are the current translators still active ? If so, do they require help, or do they prefer to work alone ?

  3. Do you think it would be a good idea to setup a discussion on LW or a wiki page about translation in general, with the process, the status of the current translations (if the translator(s) are still active or not, ...) ?

Well I am in HMPOR withdrawal so I will post an idea that I have about the origin of the "unverbalizable fear" that Harry has while under the sorting hat about going to Hufflepuff where he will be happy. This idea is based on the few descriptions of the relationship between harry and his father in the early chapters

I was going to post the excerpts in this comment, but it is quite a bit of content so I will abstain for now. If someone wants me to post the excerpts I will. For now suffice it to say that Harry does not feel respected by his father and the only positive feeling that his father is said to display towards Harry is pride.

His eyes glanced over to his father Michael Verres-Evans, who was looking stereotypically stern-but-proud

You might say that his father dropping everything for a last minute book buying spree was a very kind thing to do. Indeed Harry himself says that his dad is "awesome" because he buys him books, and uses the memory later when trying to cast the patronius charm. However, considering the lack of respect and affection that Harry's father shows I have to ask if the book buying spree was really for Harry. It seems more likely to be a... (read more)

This is heading straight into mindkiller territory, but there's a style of reading which involves tracking everything that might be offensive in a story. The thing is, sometimes what looks like reasonable deductions of background beliefs is a result, but it's a hell of a way to treat fiction as a matter of habit.

3hairyfigment10yYes, you might start to think of Aslan as a sapient blood cell [http://www.glasswings.com.au/sensual/pastel/180.html] for a cosmic horror. (If you want the details and don't see them after following that link, one of the later comments on this lovely page [http://www.anamardoll.com/2011/09/narnia-oral-traditions-of-church-of.html] lays out the major points.)

I find myself wondering about the supposed safety of Hogwarts. The wards are given as an explanation for this but if students are able to constantly hex each other in the halls, Quirrel is able to cast extremely powerful spells, and an unnamed 6th year replicated the Sectumsempra incident from cannon without any apparent interference from the wards I cant imagine what it is exactly that the wards are supposed to do to insure the safety of the students.

Consider that the school is full of 11-18 year olds with access to weapons of mass destruction and it seems to me that the apparent safety of the place for the past 50 years is due to luck rather then anything inherent in system.

Consider that the school is full of 11-18 year olds with access to weapons of mass destruction and it seems to me that the apparent safety of the place for the past 50 years is due to luck rather then anything inherent in system.

Perhaps luck is inherent in the system. The canon storyline does include a literal luck potion, so similar things are plausible. They also have and use a seer, and short-range time travel. The latter two could be used in ways that prevent deaths without a corresponding reduction in close calls.

6Jonathan_Elmer9yYa, If current generation wizards can brew a potion of luck then why not an ancient ward of luck? Sounds reasonable to me.
2MinibearRex9yFrom Ch. 36: Now the "all spells are stunners" isn't always true, but for the most part (at least in canon) the hexes they use aren't really powerful. But I think that most of the safety record is due to the latter two factors. How many times in canon have characters had injuries that would have required many months of physical therapy in the real world, and been fine a week later?

The problem is, Dumbledore's not going to tell Harry what the condition is for getting the stone. Why would he? He didn't tell canon Quirrell, who was standing there trying to figure out why he couldn't get it. He didn't even tell canon Harry until after the fact. The mirror as a screening process works even better if the person being screened doesn't know what it's testing for, and thus can't fake it.

And Harry would want to use the stone, make no mistake. The first thing he'd do with it is make himself immortal, to make sure no accident or fluke could stop him from having time to mass produce the immortality elixir. And he'd be using it for study anyways. But the most important part is that even if he is capable of precommitting and one-boxing, and even if that kind of trick fools the mirror, he'd first need to know that that was the condition necessary to obtain the stone. And you can probably count the number of people Dumbledore trusts with that information on one hand.

I think that the new information 78 would give us to discuss ought to balance out the cliffhanger, no matter how large.

Also, I wonder if Harry might use the Headmasters conclusions about the return of the Dark Lord to request private lessons. Most likely not Horcrux-related lessons, but similiar to what Ron and Hermione expected Dumbledore to teach him in Canon. In this universe Love is certainly not Harry's Deus ex Machina, so Dumbledore ought to want him to be more competent in Battle Magic.

Also, do we know if more than one person's memories can be put into a single pensieve? Maybe different people's memories can't be mixed.

In canon, they can--Harry spends much of the sixth book exploring memories from many different people, all in the same pensieve. In MoR, Draco says "we" have a pensieve, implying there's a Malfoy Pensieve, where an "I" would imply that his and his dad's are separate.

I've been reading a chapter of MoR to my girlfriend every time we go to a park, and we just got up to Chapter 39. Two thoughts:

  1. It's fun to try to imitate a long series of random noises with your mouth alone in a public place.

  2. Sarah's immediate reaction to the first part was "Why doesn't he just ask Harry for a Pensieve memory of his conversation with Lucius? Dumbledore doesn't use notes." I can't see why not either. My first reaction was that Pensieves haven't been referenced in MoR yet and might work differently, but I was wrong; Draco's going to use his memory of Harry's first date to blackmail him.

9JoshuaZ10yThe exact details of memories are malleable. It may very well be that pensieves in this setting can only recover what the person remembers not what they actually experienced. It may be that this could still be useful for interrogating less disciplined minds who can remember details but not realize they do, but Dumbledore may think that if there were any specific details that were important enough Harry would in fact remember them.
7pedanterrific10yAnother example would be Draco, to Harry, in Chapter 7: And that's a very good point. I can't quite tell whether Dumbledore picked up on the mistake that Lucius made, just from Harry's memory - the only reaction we are directly told about is and then the conversation switches tracks. If Dumbledore did get the subtext just from Harry's (described, offscreen) verbal recollections, then the lack is just a minor puzzling detail; but if he didn't, when he most certainly could have from the inhumanly perfect reproduction of a Pensieve, failing to use one seems a critical flaw.

I was just wondering: does anyone else hope Eliezer fleshes out Magical History? I find it a pity that we don't get to see how Magical Britain became what it is now. I mean, so far he's reflected (very broadly) on the current political situation through Draco, but he's continued to keep us in the dark about Voldemort's rise to power, the situation that led to that, the circumstances surrounding the beginning of magic (as a technology, since Harry has confirmed that the rules for spells aren't natural laws), the founding of Hogwarts ...

So, which do you all think are most important for Eliezer to touch upon? Can you think of any others you want to see?

Also: I know that wizards generally ignore muggles, but they are another entire civilization, with documentation of their history, living in secret right next to the Muggle society. Wizarding history could provide a lot of insight into Muggle history because of how the two are so closely related.

It's mentioned, just not dwelled on. It's mentioned once in passing in each of the first two books:

Sorceror's Stone:

They piled so much homework on them that the Easter holidays weren't nearly as much fun as the Christmas ones.

Chamber of Secrets:

The second years were given something new to think about during the Easter holidays.

And so on. It's just that I don't think anything interesting ever happens during them.

I'm interested in discussing the world Eliezer has created. Its alternate in obvious and subtle ways. Obviously, in this world both Harry and Quirrelmort are rationalists, but lots of other elements have changed.

-Dumbledore seems more changed by war than his book incarnation, to the point where he is making some obviously bad choices that have impacts on the school -The school is a more dangerous place than it was in the books. By this, I mean that in books 1-4, despite some hijinks, the actual danger was pretty darn low- in first year Harry had to actively try to get into mortal danger (ignoring some deeply unsubtle assasination attempts by Quirrel). In particular other students are never a danger to each other, yet theres a strong implication that here fights really can escalate- or at least that was the attempt with the Heromione arc. This is probably due in part to Dumbledore's approach (I don't believe that the 'Dore of the books would have tolerated such an escalation at all), and the beefing up of Slytherin house, and the Malfoy's in particular. While Lucius Malfoy was clearly a powerful individual in the books, his manipulations were fairly clunky, and nowhere near as subtle as portrayed here.

I think I need to have it in my head that many of the characters are subtly different here, because sometimes I read their portrayal as mocking the attitude in the books, and while sometimes that IS whats happening, sometimes its just because the characters aren't quite the same.

While Lucius Malfoy was clearly a powerful individual in the books, his manipulations were fairly clunky, and nowhere near as subtle as portrayed here.

We assume he's competent because Dumbledore keeps referring to him as competent, but Dumbledore does have a motive to exaggerate his enemy's power. He constantly uses Lucius as an excuse to not do something, and he flat out tells Harry early on that weakening Dumbledore strengthens Malfoy.

But Malfoy is in over his head. Every time we see or hear from him, he's getting something wrong, being ineffectual, or being publicly humiliated. By contrast, he seems pretty darn effective in the books. His scheme in Chamber of Secrets was simple and robust enough to work, and even with Harry repeatedly being in the right place at the right time it still ends with the Weasleys discredited and the Malfoys untouched. (Edit: Sorry, misremembered. He goes after Dumbledore prematurely and loses. Good scheme apart from that, though.)

His main obvious difference from canon is the way he's raised his son.

8JoshuaZ10yMalfoy gets kicked off the board of governors I thought?
5gwern10yI checked and yes [http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Lucius_Malfoy#First_Wizarding_War]: I'd have to read CoS again, but from the sound of it, he wasn't kicked off as a direct result of the scheme but for other things - the threats. If he had been cooler-headed...
5rdb10yIn part 7, Michaelos observed [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/3rb/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/4n5u] that Dumbledore blames himself for Harry being left with his evil stepparents, and wrote the comment on Lily's musing on modifying the (D&D-style) Eagle's Splendor potion in her text book while she slept. Ch 1. "And Lily would tell me no, and make up the most ridiculous excuses, like the world would end if she were nice to her sister, or a centaur told her not to - the most ridiculous things, and I hated her for it. ... "Anyway," Petunia said, her voice small, "she gave in. She told me it was dangerous, and I said I didn't care any more, and I drank this potion and I was sick for weeks, but when I got better my skin cleared up and I finally filled out and... I was beautiful, people were nice to me," her voice broke, "and after that I couldn't hate my sister any more, especially when I learned what her magic brought her in the end -" Perhaps, the brighter Lily, child of the enlightenment, growing up in the technological optimism of the 60s had determined to help her sister, and minimize the risks as she understood them. Giving Petunia the potion being a major change in the time line. Dumbledore may have been trying to prevent that.

Hm. Quoted in the linked post is the fact that Dumbledore's suggested revision to the Potion of Eagle's Splendor (the one that would end up making the imbiber sick for weeks, as happened to Petunia) was, specifically, replacing blueberries with Thestral blood. Now where else has that come up recently?

And Harry knew, now, that the concealment of the Cloak was more than the mere transparency of Disillusionment, that the Cloak kept you hidden and not just invisible, as unseeable as were Thestrals to the unknowing. And Harry also knew that it was Thestral blood which painted the symbol of the Deathly Hallows on the inside of the Cloak, binding into the Cloak that portion of Death's power, enabling the Cloak to confront the Dementors on their own level and block them. It had felt like guessing, and yet a certain guess, the knowledge coming to him in the instant of solving the riddle.

Considering that by the time he annotated Lily's book, Dumbledore had certainly had around thirty years to study the Elder Wand (which canonically has a Thestral tail-hair core), and may or may not have already examined the Cloak of Invisibility as well, this certainly seems suggestive of something. I've no idea what, though. ("Charming as death" doesn't seem like much of a compliment.)

2orielwen10yYes. I don't see Dumbledore in canon being so stupid as to fail to either ward his room against time-travel or recognise that that was how Harry got in.
8wedrifid10yCome to think of it I can't see MoR!Dumbledore being so stupid as to not recognise it. Not only does MoRdore use timeturners heavily himself and strategically analyze time loops with Snape he has also seen (some of) what MoR!Harry has managed with them previously.

One does not simply timetravel into MoRdore's office.

I think he'll probably work it out exactly three hours later, when Professor McGonagall shows up outside his door.

2Sniffnoy10ySyntax note: End a line with two spaces to enforce a line break.

The point as I understand it was to have the humans not have exactly our moral system. Morals evolve over time, and most people in any given generation would be shocked by the ethical and moral attitudes of people a few generations down the line. This attitude of the population reflects that. It also helps broaden the scope of the questions raised by not making one of the moral systems identical to our general moral system, so we don't immediately look at the morality of the humans and just say "but that's the right system!"

Overall, while I think I understand why Eliezer did this, it seems to be a very tiny benefit for a very large distraction. Overall, a net negative in getting his points across.

6Eugine_Nier10yIt also has the potential to undermine the point of the story if a reader finds non-consensual sex as abhorrent as eating babies.
8pedanterrific10yBabyeaters vs Superhappies vs Libertarapists: Whoever wins, we lose.
5Incorrect10yWhat's wrong with the superhappies?
3pedanterrific10yYou know, I almost made a flippant remark about the abolition of "bodily pain, embarrassment, and romantic troubles" meaning an end to rape (oh no!) when I remembered untranslatable 4 which is arguably even better, so... More seriously, I don't quite understand your question. There doesn't have to be something wrong with them for them to value different things than we do, such that a victory for them is a loss for us.

My hyperbole is going of like crazy over here. You should probably cease this conversation before it becomes even more heated. Both of you.

I don't think you get it. If you think you can substitute "write something slightly at odds with his beliefs into a fanfiction" even remotely appropriately into that context then you do not have enough knowledge about Eliezer's publicly expressed goals to be making the kind of moral judgement you presume to make.

I wrote my claim because it sounds like a hyperbole but isn't. For the right value of 'acid' my ... (read more)

Er, except that link never actually claimed that 'fact', or any of the others, to be canon. "Head canon" is a term for "things that I pretend are true but have no basis in reality". (It's only canon in your head, geddit?)

It's really hard for me to answer your first question. Basically everything about HP:MoR has been optimized to be a good story, so I'm tempted to answer "everything", but I realize that isn't helpful.

I'm not sure someone in a good story would recognize that they are in a story even when it is highly optimized. From the reader's perspective Harry might be interesting but even from his perspective he's spent days in classes, he's spent hours listening to Professor Binns drone on, he's had to do tedious homework, and he's had 11 years where he was just like a lot of other very smart kids, many of whom beat him in math contests.

3Will_Newsome10yRight, if you start from decision theory then the prior is high and if you start from naive realism then the prior is really low, but I mean, the likelihood ratio started out high the very moment he realized he was abnormally intelligent and he had three last names, and ever since then it just keeps getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and... He lost in math contests, but I think he thought himself smarter than almost all other humans along the dimensions that actually mattered. He explicitly has a messianic complex.
6JoshuaZ10yThree last names is not that uncommon, and there are a lot of abnormally intelligent people in the world. Of the people who are in the top tenth of a percent in intelligence there have to be around six million people on the planet who fit that. So the chance that anything special is happening is still really low at that point. The chance might get higher overtime. And it helps that Harry is genre aware enough to sarcastically ask if there's a prophecy about him. (That section is still by far one of my favorite parts of the story.) So he's already located the hypothesis to some extent although he may have located it due more to pattern matching than actual evidence. Moreover, at the same time, Harry knows from talking to Dumbledore and reading old books about Gryffindor and others that in their universe there is such a thing as heroes. So Harry doesn't have a strong reason to see why his heroism isn't different than Gryffindor's. He might be the character with well meaning intentions who goes evil so that someone can arise to stop him in a few years. He'll be the classic MagiTech using villain, and it might even have a big anti-transhumanist undercurrent. It seems that you might be engaging in a weird form of hindsight bias together with possibly the illusion of transparency.
2pedanterrific10yThis whole conversation is just so hilarious. MoRdore approves!
2Will_Newsome10yI don't follow. Or, it seemed like you were listing reasons why he should suspect he's in a story, but then you seemed to think I was committing hindsight bias for thinking so. Is it because "3 hours" is an exaggeratedly short time to make the inference? 'Cuz "I'm the main character" had secretly been Harry's hypothesis since forever, as was revealed under the Sorting Hat. ETA: (Main character status qua main character status is hard to get without teleological optimization, and that's hard to get without authors behind the scene. (Evolution counts as an author but that just gets rolled into your baseline... I can't easily express that. I feel a faint urge to cry.))

There's certainly evidence pointing that way: "the sibilant whisper" - "dry as dust" - "the high-pitched chuckle" , "What's your name?" "That is the riddle, young Ravenclaw" , and indeed "for now you have seen how the others stayed silent"...

But while I could easily believe that Jeremy Jaffe is better at projecting false emotion than Hermione is at discerning it, I have a much harder time believing that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, whose eyes blazed crimson like miniature suns, could forget the value of surface appearances.

5orielwen10yMaybe he's not forgetting, just trying to double-bluff Hermione by appearing suspicious.

Whoah, whoah. Wait. Back up.

The powerful wizards in HPMoR represent the AIs.

What the heck?

As to the second: the whole point of having it at Hogwarts to begin with was as bait for a trap, right? If everyone believes it's real, it serves just as well for that purpose as if it actually were real. Even if Dumbledore knew it was a fake, he would still have every reason to guard it to the best of his ability.

As to the first... what makes you think he hasn't?

3Desrtopa10yWell, if HPMoR is consistent with canon, it would circumvent the need for him to conduct the ritual to get his old body back at all. Dumbledore also suggested it as an alternative route that Voldemort could take to return to power. And the point of having it at Hogwarts wasn't just as bait for a trap; Voldemort and his minions, even in the original canon, were capable of stealing from even the more secure vaults at Gringotts. In HPMoR, it could just be a trap, but if it's so obvious as to not serve that purpose, and there's nothing to protect, then what's the point?
8pedanterrific10y(Just to save everyone some time, here are the relevant quotes.) HPMoR Chapter 61, Dumbledore to McGonagall and Snape: Dumbledore, at least, thinks the obviousness of the trap won't preclude its success. HPMoR Chapter 76, Quirrell to Snape: That second bit is particularly interesting. It seems to suggest that Flamel would have been capable of protecting the Stone himself just as well as it's being protected now, in which case why have it at Gringotts in the first place? The question in my mind is: how could Voldemort know if the Stone in Hogwarts is fake or not? I mean, the situation seems to be that Dumbledore went to visit his old teacher Nicholas and came back with a "Philosopher's Stone" in a small leather bag, which he deposited at Gringotts, and later took to Hogwarts. If you assume he actually is trying to protect the Stone, it would pretty much have to be a fake, wouldn't it? (It'd be pretty funny if the real one was teleported into the Marianas Trench or something.) And I think it's something of a mistake to assume the only reason for breaking Bellatrix out of Azkaban is the resurrection ritual. Suppose that he does already have the Stone - maybe he replaced it with a fake months ago, maybe he invented it on his own, whatever - wouldn't it still be useful to him to retrieve his most powerful and loyal servant?

Tom Riddle, who became Voldemort, is the one who added to his list of rules

Become an animagus.

Are time-turners really not turing computable? Is Harry ever going to figure out what allows magic to (seem to?) break the laws of physics? Is "we're living in a simulation" eliminated as a possibility?

1Locke9yHe could be living in a simulation in a universe which has time-travel.

Just reread chapter 40.

"Which is why the Resurrection Stone is not the most valuable magical artifact in the world," said Harry.

"Precisely," said Professor Quirrell, "though I wouldn't say no to a chance to try it." There was a dry, thin smile on his lips; and something colder, more distant, in his eyes. "You spoke to Dumbledore of that as well, I take it."

Sounds to me like Quirrell had never heard of the resurrection stone before this conversation. Later in the chapter, it becomes apparent that he has never hear... (read more)

2prasannak9yFrom Chap 26 [http://hpmor.com/chapter/26] Possibly Voldemort made the Resurrection stone/ring into a Horcrux while killing his 'uncle'. Later in the same chapter, Quirrell suggests that he's made Bacon's diary into a Horcrux. In canon, one of the main properties of a Horcrux is that it is indestructible by ordinary means, but since Quirrell has only 'recently acquired' this, it might just be charmed? Or would it be a Horcrux of Quirrell, rather than of Voldemort? Not sure... [Edit] Original comment was screwed up, I had something in mind, and wrote parts of it here which made little sense
1Jonathan_Elmer9yJust because Quirrell says that he recently stole it does not mean it is true. Telling harry that it is stolen property is a good way to make sure he keeps it secret without causing any suspicion about the nature of the book. I think that the diary is a horcrux and another attempt to turn Harry over to his dark side permanently.

Cross posting what I wrote on TV Tropes

'm pretty sure i've figured out quirrelmorts plan for harry and magical britian. To TLDR it for you guys, hes going to train harry as a caesar, and use harry as a figurehead/puppet to force magical britian into a war of conquest with the rest of the magical world, probably selling it as a world wide war on dark wizards. Then once england owns the wizard world, they own the entire world since you can't fight invisible mind rapers.

Viewed in this context all of his actions start making sense. Harry is a very well known f... (read more)

3skepsci9yMy most plausible hypothesis is that their plan for fooling Rita Skeeter is some incredibly clever black box that Eliezer hasn't bothered to fill in, even for himself, because it's simply not that important to the plot to waste time coming up with something suitably clever they might have done. Any attempt to figure out what they did would then be wasted, since the author can't be dropping clues to an answer he doesn't even know.
3Anubhav9yIf that turns out to be true, I shall be very disappointed in Eliezer.

I know what they did and it shall be revealed.

2Anubhav9yKeikaku doori.
1Multiheaded9y(TL note: keikaku means plan)
2Anubhav9ySo. It has come to this.
3Locke9yThis seems far too long-term for the purposes of Eliezer's story. The only way a plan of this detail would make MOR better is if we actually got to see it acted out, and I cannot imagine Eliezer not wrapping up the plot before Harry is old enough to rule. He's certainly not going to fast-forward through the majority of Harry's Hogwarts time. No, I think Quirrelmort's plan is explicitly linked to the Sorcerer's Stone. If he can get Harry to obtain it for him, he's won.

Chp 78 ---

Eliezer, given all the waiting, and that Chp 78 is 17K words, can we have a NY gift of Chp 78 in 3 parts? 5K each spaced about a week apart? That should take us till the third week of Jan :)

From an addict's perspective, drip helps :)

5obfuscate9y
2Locke9yHe already tried to subdivide 78, and it didn't work out. But frankly I'd read it even if it cut off midsentence.
5prasannak9yAt this stage, I'm ready for mid word :) Knowing there's one chapter ready makes it even harder to wait... My suggestion, even if it 'spoils' 78 a bit, is to drop 5K words of 78 at a weeks interval each, that'll sake our thirst better than a big drop 78, a big drop 79 and then long wait...

Another possibility consistent with AA's idea is that the AI was created for the use of, rather than created by, the Neanderthals. Admittedly I'm now going down the AI-Designer-Of-The-Gaps rabbit hole, which suggests this line of reasoning is best discarded quickly.

We've never actually seen Harry deal with a real, deadly enemy before. When he pledges to take someone as his enemy, in the formal way he did when Malfoy told him about Narcissa, I think what he's talking about goes beyond the level of schoolyard bullies and annoying reporters.

No he doesn't. He's just an AI creator. If he was representing an AI the entire story would have been over at Chapter 1.

Eliezer would not write a parable in which an AI made a slow journey to power, on the way learning valuable moral lessons through social interaction with the people he cares about. That completely undermines all that he stands for.

  • Therefore, for Harry to do anything other than destroy everything that we, the readers, hold dear, would go against everything Eliezer has written about AI.

Harry destroying the world would make a reasonabl... (read more)

6PhilGoetz10yAgreed.

I'm not convinced of your second point. Powerful MoR wizards aren't nearly as constrained as people in our world, but the only person in the story that's explicitly trying to act as a optimizer over a generalized utility function rather than to achieve some set of concrete goals -- that is, the only person acting as Eliezer's concept of AI would -- is Harry himself. There are a number of ways that plot thread could be resolved, but destroying the world as we know it isn't the one I'd bet on -- although I'd expect the threat of such destruction to come in... (read more)

Eliezer has already mentioned things like Atlantis. History would probably play a role in finding out how magic works in general. Harry, from a political perspective, would do well to learn how the situation arose, and it may be an opportunity for Eliezer to set up an Aesop.

And it wouldn't necessarily change history. The muggle world as it is in canon is very similar to how it is in the real world, down to things like Playstations, yet Rowling invents a wizarding history that manages to not change much. All of the science Eliezer has mentioned is historic... (read more)

6Oscar_Cunningham10yNicolas Flamel was born c. 1330. Why use a primary source when you can have a zeroth source?
6Asymmetric10yHis testimony and memories would still be considered primary sources by historians. I don't think there is such a thing as a zeroth source. And every source has its limitations -- frankly, a shelf full of memories all relating to a specific event (which, canon, is possible) would be better than the memories of only one person, depending upon the subject in question. But still. The things that man must have seen ...
2TobyBartels10yFor things that canon changed about Muggle history, try Wikia:Mistakes in the Harry Potter books [http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Mistakes_in_the_Harry_Potter_books]. (Most of that is irrelevant continuity errors, but some of that is contradictions with the real world.) Also see remarks about calendars in the HP Lexicon timeline [http://www.hp-lexicon.org/timeline.html].

In canon, they're green humanoid monsters wearing hooded robes,

Um, what? Description from Prisoner of Azkaban, emphasis mine:

"a hand protruding from the cloak and it was glistening, grayish, slimy-looking, and scabbed, like something dead that had decayed in water; the thing beneath the hood, whatever it was, drew a long, slow, rattling breath, as though it were trying to suck something more than air from its surroundings."

Nowhere does it say that they are green. The best description I can think of is "flying corpses that hide their appearances," which works pretty well as a symbol of Death.

6Desrtopa10yOn a tangential note, despite there being no description to that effect anywhere in them, when I read the first few books I found myself invariably imagining Snape as being purple. So if MinnibearRex came away with the impression that some entities from the books were supposed to be some entirely different color than the author intended, he's certainly not the only one.
5Pavitra10ySnape dresses somewhat similarly to Count von Count.

Eliezer is now recommending specific readings for the "Know everything Harry does!" quest instead of handwaving it with "eh, just study every single thing I wrote after 2005 and you'll be a much bigger threat than Harry."

I've gotta say I appreciate this, all the more because it's probably tedious work.

In short, エリエザー様万歳!

And as long as we're trying to find magical exploits, I wonder what Harry would do if he got his hands on some Felix Felicis.

For instance, if he locked himself in a room with only a weegie board (or scrabble tiles), would it be forced to spell out whatever information he needed to know? Would it only answer his direct questions, or could it just start warning him about all of Quirrell and Dumbledore and Lucius' plans and how to beat them?

3Alicorn9yOuija.
2Locke9yDammit, English Language, stop fucking with us.
4pedanterrific9yEnglish? [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouija#Toy]

Is it possible to get Dementors to play poker with you by strongly expecting that behaviour?

6Locke9yI think the circular logic might make them implode, rendering Patronus 2.0 unnecessary. "I expect the Dementors to play poker with me because I expect the Dementors to play poker with me because I expect..." But if you were weak-minded enough (or strong-minded enough?) to trick yourself into genuinely believing that would work, I suppose it would. But in that case, what exactly is the limit of their power? Can you expect a Dementor to turn into an all-powerful friendly AI?
6Anubhav9yLooks like Eliezer found himself another plot bunny.
2AspiringKnitter9yIt should be possible to test whether or not the mental gymnastics are even possible by getting rationalists to make homeopathy work by believing in it. Then again, it might be harder to expect that a cloaked monster that eats happiness will play poker than to believe that pills packaged just like normal pills will cause symptom relief when you're sick. So you might need to get someone who didn't know about dementors and tell them that they play poker. Be sure to tell it with a straight face. In a textbook might work best. As Locke says, the question is how much they're capable of doing just because you expect it. Can they break the laws of physics? That sounds like an awesome thing to test.
4Anubhav9yUh... homeopathy doesn't require you to believe in it . That's not how the placebo effect works. If there's a magical way to plant false memories, you don't need to put in nearly that much work. ETA: There were Memory Charms in Rowling's version.
2pedanterrific9yThere is in this one, too.

"A rationalist!hero should excel by thinking - moreover, thinking in understandable patterns that readers can, in principle, adopt for themselves." - Eliezer

I think Harry is supposed to be a rationalist!hero. I think he's supposed to succeed in the end. The fact that he also has the potential to be very dangerous and destructive is, I think, just about the dangers of power itself, and the importance of ethics + reason in making decisions. Especially when you have something to protect.

I think Harry's ethics are actually not too far from EY's. Of c... (read more)

3shokwave10yHarry James Potter-Evans-Verres' morality is to Eliezer Yudkowsky's morality as Paul Muad-dib Atreides' is to Frank Herbert's. (That is, both Harry and Paul are heroes, and have hero morality. They have their view of a horrifying future they may cause: the jihad, and becoming a new Dark Lord. But they have a desire to make things better as well - well, Harry more so than Paul. And in reading their story, you are supposed to fall into the same trap they do - thinking that if they just try hard enough, they can still do good, still have an impact, still be a hero, without bringing about the horrible future. And so they aim closer and closer to that horrible future, looking for the edge of the circle where the bad thing doesn't happen but they are still a hero, with a hero's legacy - when what they should be doing is making the bad future as unlikely as possible, not making the bad future only just barely fail to happen!)

I think it also sort of implies that Eliezer has a coherent metaphysics going on behind the scenes. The decision theoretic generalization of anthropic selection, reifcation of good story selection effects like conservation of detail or whatchamacallit from tvtropes, things like that. I heard that he once wrote a story about time machines? Or at least one about "outcome pumps". I wouldn't be surprised if he reuses his cleverest ideas from there in HP:MoR.

One question about theology, miracles, and Newcomblike problems that intrigues me:

If I was in... (read more)

You won't think of it. You just won't discover you're in a fanfic! The laws of physics are running on an author, and that author doesn't want you to discover you're in a fanfic. I expect you will have trouble thinking thoughts physics itself does not want you to think.

2Armok_GoB10yThat depends on the author. If an author is good enough, and have an accurate enough model to realize he would in the first place, and still chose to base the character of a real person, then hopefully they author cares enough about accuracy to not do hamfisted overrides like that.
5JoshuaZ10yIn fanfic for almost any universe (whether Harry Potter, Star Trek or whatever) fanfiction devoted to that universe doesn't exist for obvious reasons. So this seems unlikely. Moreover, even if one had almost any fanfic that did have the fictional version of the universe inside that universe also (almost all of which is deliberately silly things like Barry Trotter) there's not much way for you to rule out being a character in the fanfiction- you are random Muggle number 10543549 and you will never encounter any wizards in your life, or if you do, will not realize it. In the unlikely event that you do realize it you will probably be quickly obliviated.
3Will_Newsome10ySorry, I wasn't clear. I meant "if I was in roughly Harry's situation in HP:MoR" (and "I would read about common plot twists that seemed pertinent to the sort of story that I found myself in", not "I would already know which story I was in, recursively" though that would be pretty cool). I almost agree with your analysis except for decision theoretic reasons I never expect to find myself as a muggle in any story. ("My" "self" grumble dissatisfaction grumble.)

I hate be the one to break this to you, Will, but... you can't do magic. I'm sorry.

7Will_Newsome10yI feel like I should make a bet, but it's a poor habit to make bets on the tails of distributions. (Meaning I suspect that I'm slightly less sure I can't do magick than others would be but I'm still pretty damn sure I can't, at least not in a way that others would say could be legitimately described as magick.)
2pedanterrific10ySorry, not especially relevant, but your suggestion that Eliezer reuse clever ideas from previous stories just suddenly made me realize: I really, really want to see V'olde'Ger vs. the Superhappies.

Despair? I thought JKR mentioned depression, not despair. And the dementors are grey, not green.

And JKR's own experience with depression was after the death of her mother -- so the "death causes depression" is similar in content to "Dementor destroys all positive emotions". There's no reason why JKR couldn't use imagery of death in combination with her emotion.

In the books, an afterlife exists. But the soul-destruction, the true death, is what the Dementor seems to cause. Again -- if JKR's mother had just died, her most depressed thoughts about it would be the ones that involved thinking about the true death of soul-annihilation (the Dementor's kiss), not an afterlife.

Green? No. From the American edition of PoA:

A dead, slimy hand slid out from under the cloak[...]Then it raised both its rotting hands -- and lowered its hood. Where there should have been eyes, there was only thin, gray scabbed skin, stretched blankly over empty sockets. But there was a mouth...a gaping, shapeless hole, sucking the air with the sound of a death rattle.

And for the first appearance of a dementor Rowling talks about drowning. I don't know about the skin over the eyes, but the rest of it explicitly points to death.

bad memories are definitely scars you get from death

That's backwards. I suppose experiencing the death of someone close to you could leave a mental scar in the form of a bad memory. But that's hardly the definition of a bad memory. Nor is a painful memory an inevitable outcome of someone's death.

Does anyone else wonder why Sirus hasn't shown up in this story yet? I get the whole

Peter Pettigrew x Sirus Black = tragedy lovers keeps them from being central to the story up to this point

But is it still an accepted fact in MoR verse that Pettigrew is innocent?

4orielwen10yI have Sirius down as an outsider for Hat-and-Cloak.
5MinibearRex10ySirius didn't seem to me to be quite intelligent enough for that. Harry makes a comment about Pettigrew being substantially smarter than Black. Additionally, there was this line: Mr. Hat and Cloak is apparently someone Hermione is familiar enough with to recognize at a quick glance.

It's easily possible that Hermione has seen at least one picture of Sirius (she mentions him by name as the Potters' betrayer in Chapter 8), and given her memory it would be plausible for her to recognize him, even months afterward. Additionally, Sirius is one of the few people who would cause an immediate reaction of terror at first sight.

Another one might be - bear with me here - Lucius Malfoy. This idea is a little shakier, as it's less plausible that Hermione is familiar with his appearance, but the advantage is that it neatly accounts for the otherwise-strange

The black mist darkened and lightened, like a shake of the head. "I am frightened of Harry Potter," it whispered. "Of the coldness in his eyes, of the darkness that grows behind them. Harry Potter is a killer, and anyone who is an obstacle to him will die. Even you, Hermione Granger, if you dare truly oppose him, the darkness behind his eyes will reach out and destroy you. This I know."

since Lucius seems to be convinced Harry is possessed by Voldemort. (Though it casts a certain odd light on Mr H&C's warning to Hermione about Lucius, I think it's at least possible that he could bite his tongue ... (read more)

2orielwen10yThere is that. But it's just occurred to me: if the person attacking Hermione is not Snape, then what's Snape been doing to make him late and quite exhausted in Chapter 77?
7pedanterrific10yWell, what do we actually know about the sequence of events? Assuming that things are presented in chronological order seems a bit premature, especially in this fic. More specifically, of the Aftermaths last chapter we know that * Dumbledore+Harry began at 6pm (with an addendum at 9), * Quirrel+Snape was precisely at sunset, * Draco+Bulstrode was at some unknown time in the afternoon or evening, * Draco+Goyle was some unknown time after that, and * Hermione+Mr H&C was also unknown, but either before or after Draco+Bulstrode (since Millicent was present at the meeting Hermione was coming from.) As far as I know, we are given no indication at all when Interlude with the Confessor happens. It could be immediately after Snape gets back from the meeting with Quirrel, it could be immediately after Hermione is mindraped, it could be the next day for all we know. But even assuming the Aftermaths are in chronological order, and the Interlude does immediately follow on to the last Aftermath... Snape could have been, say, checking on the third-floor corridor to make sure Quirrel wasn't bluffing about having stolen and replaced the Stone. In fact, I would expect him to have done this anyway, whether or not he then put on a Hat and Cloak and serial-Obliviated a twelve year old girl. (Eugh.)

I've already posted this in the reviews as well as on TvTropes, but I figure it can't hurt to share it here as well. (As well as pose it somewhat more formally.)

Harry's freak-out in the beginning over the animagus transformation got me thinking. Between the two possiblities: a) the laws of physics Harry believes are wrong and b) the animagus transformation only appears to violate Conservation but doesn't actually do so, it seems fallacious to skip to possibility-a without ruling out possibility-b.

After some thought, I was able to generate a hypothesis for ... (read more)

4gwern10yEvidence for: the most powerful wizards we know of never have Animagus forms (Grindelwald, Dumbledore, Voldemort, the Founders of Hogwarts, Merlin) that are mentioned. Evidence against: Harry's parents & co. regarded Animagus as something so desirable that they were willing to break a strong government law and work hard to figure out how to turn themselves into Animagi. No such penalty seems to ever be mentioned.
7Desrtopa10yVoldemort is an unregistered animagus in MoR canon.
7EphemeralNight10yIt could easily be a very small drain. Harry goes around with that transfigured rock on his finger which is implied to be a not-insignificant constant drain on his magic, yet does not seem to be a noticable detriment to his spellcasting. Another Test: A persons magic is often likened to a muscle; it gets stronger with use. If the "muscle" could be measured directly would its average strength be higher among Animagi? (Actually testing that would be impossible; there simply aren't enough animagi in the world to get meaningful statistics, but if there were...) Edit for "Duh" moment. If destroying someone's animagus form is non-invasive, does the former animagus suddenly have slightly more magical power than before their form's destruction?
2major10yDistinct Animagus form. Swap and teleoperate.

A hypothesis I'm currently toying with: Quirrell and HJPEV are different versions of the same individual, in some sense, and the Quirrell version is using some form of magic (probably involving breaking the 6-hour-limit on sending information backwards through time, possibly involving possession of a real Quirrell) to carry out a process of recursive self-improvement on himself. The story we're currently reading takes place in one iteration of the loop.

Has anyone posted this idea before on the net?

There are some serious problems with this hypothesis:

  • Quir
... (read more)
4ShardPhoenix9yMy theory is that when Voldie shot baby Harry, he copied one of his horcruxes into Harry, overwriting Harry's original soul/mind. HJPEV is what Voldie/Quirrel might have been like if raised under different circumstances.
4Jonathan_Elmer9yQuirrell is definitely Voldemort, or rather Voldemort and Quirrell are alternate identities of Tom Riddle.
2thomblake9yFortunately, Eliezer has repeatedly pointed out that Harry isn't Eliezer and has different ideas/priorities. Quirrell seems to be trying to fix that too; sounds like a feature, not a bug. There have been numerous time travel / "Quirrell is Harry" theories before. Given the relationship between MoR and other fanfic, I'd be surprised if there was never a Peggy Sue or other non-time-turner time travel. Insane Weasley brothers notwithstanding.

Sorry if this has been asked before, my meagre google-fu skills fail to reveal it.

Chapter 55. When Harry cast his Patronus in Azkaban, he lost some of his "life" to sustain it:

Slowly the light died back down.

Part of Harry's life flowed back into him.

Part had been lost as radiation.

[...]

So Harry walked on, leaving a piece of himself behind. It would dwell in this place and time forever, he knew. Even after Harry came back someday with a company of other True Patronus casters and they destroyed all the Dementors here. Even if he melted the trian

... (read more)
7Eneasz9yI also view this as poetic language, not a literal loss of some substance, but a major change in the person that is called Harry. If enough change makes you a different person, than any major change can be seen as the fractional death of the previous person you were. Value drift is a pretty common subject around here. Harry has just been inside an active concentration camp for hours. I hear that many allied soldiers were massively altered when they first came upon & liberated the Nazi concentration camps. It's even possible that something similar to this was written by returning soldiers in memoirs. I think poetic language is to be expected when processing this sort of trauma.
5Locke9yIt means Harry will never be able to truly forget or move past that horrible day. A part of him will always be there, just as a part of Dumbledore will always be in the black room. I am reminded of Barney's "second that would last forever" from HIMYM.
2MarkusRamikin9yI'm pretty sure something more literal was meant. The way the story is written, it sounded like Harry was in danger of dying from exhaustion, expending... something, to fuel his Patronus. And expending irrecoverably, it is stressed, so it's not like he just did the equivalent of a life-or-death sprint which made him really tired.
2FAWS9yI see no indication that the thing permanently sacrificed was the same thing fueling the Patronus. I think the Patronus burns "life" in the sense of one of the things Dementors also suck out, but that can be regenerated by resting (it was implied that the prisoners in Askaban would partially recover magic and something else if the Dementors didn't keep sucking it out when the true Patronus gave Bella a weeks worth of such regeneration back), and it seems unlikely that such a loss to Patronus radiation would be more permanent than loss to Dementors.

"Applause lights" doesn't mean "simple" or even "wrong"; it's more like "things that sounds good regardless of rightness or wrongness in a particular context". Or at least that's how it makes sense to me to use it.

This surprised me. The definition I'd have given for applause lights would have been "A statement so obviously the Right Thing that it provides no useful information".

Then allow me to step in as one of the foremost experts on the writings of Eliezer (self-proclaimed).

All that applause lights... (read more)

That would take effort he could be spending on coming up with in-story puzzles.

But yeah, scheduled progress updates would be spectacular. Even if he hasn't written anything, I'd rather know that than nothing.

4wedrifid9yOr, you know, trying to save the world.
2Locke9yI'm fairly certain he's doing this in his free time. You can't possibly expect him to write his Rationality Book all day long.

A significant portion of my confidence regarding the Quirrell/Voldemort equivalence in HPMoR derives from sources outside the HPMoR text itself. I suspect the same is true of most people who share that POV.

2Prismattic9yPossibly also from the fact that most regular readers of HPMOR probably think that EY is pretty good at plotting a story, and that introducing Voldemort late in the year as an entirely new character is the sort of cheap trick he is unlikely to resort to.

"Condition two is that I'm pledging to take as an enemy whoever actually did kill Narcissa, as determined to the honest best of my ability as a rationalist. Whether that's Dumbledore, or someone else. ...

... Condition five is that if whoever killed Narcissa was tricked somehow into doing it, then my enemy is whoever tricked them, not the person who was tricked."

And yes, I think it would be somewhat difficult on Harry's part to explain himself to the people who care about the person who did it; but in this case, Hermione of all people would pro... (read more)

Yes, especially considering that Harry already started to do this (when he made Draco admit that the death of Lily Potter was "sad"). When Draco learns that his father burned several other innocent women to death before Dumbledore/Bones returned the favor, he and Harry will both find themselves in difficult moral situations.

J.K. Rowling is releasing some character bios on Pottermore, and showing a flagrant disregard for MoR!canon. In particular, McGonagall's father was a Muggle Presbyterian minister. Even though, in MoR:

Minerva stared at Severus, feeling sick to her stomach. She had studied Muggle religion - it was the most common reason for needing to Memory-Charm the parents of Muggleborns - and she knew enough to understand what Severus had just said.

Furthermore, per the bio McGonagall was ten years old and still living in the Muggle world when atomic bombs were drop... (read more)

I think Eliezer shouldn't fuss too much making the MoR! universe consistent with any new information, especially not chapters already posted. Too much cost in time, too little benefit.

And a half-blood McGonnagal would need be drastically rewritten, it's not just those few passages, it's her entire attitude towards the Muggle world.

5TuviaDulin10yYes, this. Methods of Rationality already contradicts Harry Potter canon on several counts, and we're all okay with that. Why bother changing this one thing?

It seems to me that Minerva serves a useful narrative purpose primarily because she is a not-particularly-well-informed pureblood in Dumbledore's inner circle. Making her a half-blood alongside Snape... well, it reduces the opportunities for culture shock rather a lot. Who could be brought in to showcase the viewpoint of Light-sided purebloods, the Weasleys?

Not to mention I feel like Minerva would be a lot less sympathetic as a character if she weren't so consistently off-balance.

I was correcting your interpretation of my use of the phrase, not your use of it. (On further thought I could reword it "words whose practical meaning is 'applaud this statement'"; that might cover both.)

That doesn't sound like something ponies would do.

Not sure which you mean, but I know there's contradictory evidence to what I cited. I don't think I want to talk about the "reality" of the show, though, just possible fanfic interpretations. My belief about the show is that it'll continue to dance around the subject, and that the occasional slips will continue to contradict each other.

Can't tell if serious.

Well, these days college intake is fairly mixed up among different personalities and backgrounds. Taking Cambridge, most people jokingly hates St John's and think Homerton are less intelligent. The rivalries probably stemmed from some historical background though.

But really, just grouping people randomly is enough for some hostility. We only don't actually hate each other because we have to work together sometimes.

Dumbledore needs to say that Hogwarts has run out of water, and make the houses cooperate to get a new water supply.

2gwern9ySlytherin would defect and free-ride, alas, tiding itself over with _Aguamenti_s.
3gjm10yIn my ~10 years at the university, I don't recall ever meeting anyone who joked about hating St John's. And for most of that time I was at Trinity, where you might think John's-hatred (jocular or otherwise) would be strongest. Until rather recently, Homerton didn't take students in any subject other than Education. Whether that actually meant its students were less intelligent than those of other colleges, I don't know, but it's not an entirely crazy idea. (I think Homerton's subject balance is still quite different from those of the other colleges.) [EDITED to add: For the avoidance of doubt, I don't mean that people reading education are particularly unintelligent-by-Cambridge-standards. Only that (1) intelligence surely does vary somewhat by subject, and (2) some subjects have the reputation of requiring particularly high intelligence and education isn't one of them. So if there's a stereotype of Homerton students being less intelligent, it probably has causes less crazy, though not necessarily more correct, than mere historical rivalries.]

I had been assuming that the third-floor corridor was just a way to keep young Gryffindors distracted. Surely even Dumbledore wouldn't be daft enough to entice the Dark Lord into a school. But Quirrell seems to think it's of interest. Confusing...

6Asymmetric10yThat brings up another point. In the Philosopher's Stone, Dumbledore enchants Erised so that only those who want to find the stone, but not use it, would be able to have it. If Dumbledore did in fact hide the stone in Hogwarts, I can't see either Harry or Quirrell not wanting to use the stone. Is it even possible for Dumbledore to hide anything in such a way that Harry can get at it, but Quirrell cannot? Harry's major ideal difference -- his war against death -- isn't even understood by Dumbledore. Not to mention that such a hiding place would have been constructed before Dumbledore even met Harry.

Random, low-confidence but possibly amusing prediction: in MoR the final obstacle of the third-floor corridor is called the Mirror of Vec, because it's inscribed Noiti lovde talopart xet nere hocru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.

It's much more thematic, at least.

Great idea! I should do that.

6linkhyrule56y... Have you had this sitting in a bookmark for four years so you could give him credit? I'm not sure whether to be impressed or squee at the adorables. Probably both.
3dspeyer6yEither that or followed http://www.reddit.com/r/HPMOR/comments/2wwlgr/chapter_109/cousfer?context=1 [http://www.reddit.com/r/HPMOR/comments/2wwlgr/chapter_109/cousfer?context=1]
5Transfuturist6yYou are utterly psychotic.
7Brickman10yI think you hit on a key point that several are missing--Dumbledore wouldn't want HJEPV to have the stone any more than Quirrell (well, maybe a little more, but certainly less than nobody having it or even than handing it off to, say, some random Hufflepuff). In canon Harry didn't just not want to use it, he didn't want it used--that was his entire motivation for getting it. Rational Harry would, probably quite literally given enough time to think on the situation, kill to use it, and use it repeatedly. And Dumbledore knows this. Canon Harry was, in fact, a person Dumbledore would be willing to loan the stone to if necessary. Rational Harry is not. The mirror actually represents a pretty effective screening process for who does and doesn't fall in that category, especially combined with what in theory should have been a screening test to ensure you were a capable enough wizard to protect it and/or had the approval of several people he trusted in a more general capacity. In fact now that I say that, it suddenly seems plausible that the mirror wasn't in any way tied to how it was hidden, and instead was just the trigger used for retrieving it. In which case, actually, a sufficiently powerful wizard with sufficient time could probably deconstruct the spell and take it by force, simply because no lock is perfect, which is why it still needed to be guarded in the first place and why stopping Quirrell was necessary.
4Oscar_Cunningham10yIn canon, why did Harry even want the stone? He could have just left it in there. I'm pretty sure HJPEV could precommit to not using the stone himself, in order to use it on others.
9[anonymous]10yThat sounds like a reasonably good prediction about the way that plot path would go. It sounds at least partially analogous to one-boxing, and we know the author one-boxes.
5TobyBartels10yIndeed! I've always imagined the only explanation as sheer carelessness; MoR!Harry would have left it. (Ironically, since taking the stone goaded canon!Quirrelmort into touching Harry and thereby being destroyed, it was actually good that canon!Harry took the stone; but MorR!Harry doesn't know that this would happen, at least not yet.)
5Oscar_Cunningham10yIn the books Harry's success is essential due to the fact that every time Voldemort tries to kill him Harry is magically protected by something unforeseen. Voldemort isn't clever enough to just kill him by non-magical means. In MoR I imagine that Harry won't have such convenient protections.

Voldemort isn't clever enough to just kill him by non-magical means.

Well, you know how it would actually play out, given Canon!Voldemort

"Okay, my wand didn't work against Harry, and a borrowed wand didn't work against Harry. What I need to do is get the ultimate wand!"

"Master, it may be impertinent of me, but why don't we just get you an AK-47 and let you shoot him? Or maybe a grenade launcher or something?"

"But then I won't have defeated him with magic! My magic must be the mightiest!"

"Um, wait, if you need the boost of the ultimate wand, isn't that already proof your magic on its own—"

"Avada kedavra! All right, anyone else have helpful suggestions?"

4Normal_Anomaly10yI don't think that would be enough. In canon, Quirrel wanted the stone to use on Voldemort, not on himself, and he couldn't get it.The only way to get the stone in canon would be to want to have it to keep someone else from having it. HJPEV would want to use it on other people, therefore he can't get it. Unless he could get an exception for wanting to give it to someone else, who would then be able to use it.
3[anonymous]10yWhich means that Dumbledore probably wouldn't enchant it in such a way that Harry could get it.
4Nornagest10yThe Weasley twins at one point mention taking the corridor all the way to the magic mirror and back, although they presumably didn't escape detection while doing so. If that's possible, I'd say it's unlikely that a guy like Quirrell would have found it impossible to defeat himself or (if he was concerned about detection) to leverage some student adventurer into defeating. The safe bet seems to be that it's a red herring.

I dunno. Personally I haven't been able to look at chocolate milkshakes the same way for a while, and I used to actually like them, so that's a memory I would prefer buried. (But goatse was just mildly impressive, and lemonparty didn't even merit a twinge.) Probably everyone reacts differently to that sort of thing.

What do you think of memetic attacks, e.g. basilisks?

Edit: You know, if you downvoted me for being disgusting that means you agree with my premise. You should be downvoting FAWS, not me! (Not strictly serious.)

Typically, yes, even Hogsmeade is invisible to them. But I'm sure that there are ways to invite specific individuals (although I can't recall that it was ever done in the books).

One thing that I found interesting but that I haven't noticed anyone else mention.

In chapter 76, we have:

But, as Hermione had explained to Millicent, prophesying wasn't controllable, there was no way to ask for a prophecy about anything in particular. Instead (the books had said) there was a sort of pressure that built up in Time, when some huge event was trying to happen, or stop itself from happening. And seers were like weak points that let out the pressure, when the right listener was nearby. So prophecies were only about big, important things, becau

... (read more)

During Hermione's description, my brain immediately pointed out that no one could possibly know whether or not Seers can give prophesies with no one around to hear them, because the Seers don't remember doing it and, well, there's no one else around to notice.

Maybe Seers are just constantly prophesying when they're alone and no one has any idea.

5Desrtopa10yThey could possibly know, if they were to, say, keep recording devices on a large population of known seers, but from what we've seen so far I don't think I would credit the wizarding world in general with that much rigor.

I don't think that would really settle the matter, though. All you would then know is whether seers prophesied when only in the presence of recording devices. (If a seer prophesied in the forest and no one was there to hear, would it constrain the future?) I wonder what you would call that, actually- the Cassandra Uncertainty Principle?

4Xachariah10yConfirmation Bias exists for wizards just as well as muggles. Nobody remembers the three other children destined to defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and that's to be expected for someone who dies so young with no notable achievements to their name. But Harry Potter? Why, once the Dark Lord is defeated and the story gets out, everyone will know he was prophesied to win for sure!
5[anonymous]10yThe official explanation for prophecy was presented alongside a character who exploits other people's belief in destiny in order to mislead them. It appeared in a chapter called "Surface Appearances". It might not be safe to take it at face value. I think there were already (extratextual) reasons to doubt that Eliezer would implement prophecy that way, but there's another one.

(This sort of goes along with all the other responses to the grandparent, but Donny's is the best fit):

I'm having a hard time believing that the girl who said this-

Instead (the books had said) there was a sort of pressure that built up in Time, when some huge event was trying to happen, or stop itself from happening. And seers were like weak points that let out the pressure, when the right listener was nearby. So prophecies were only about big, important things, because only that generated enough pressure; and you almost never got more than one seer saying the same thing, because afterward the pressure was gone.

Is the same girl who said this-

Hermione turned back to face Dumbledore again, took a deep breath, and said, "Well, maybe people who are going to be heroes, will be heroes no matter what. But I don't see how anyone could really know that, aside from just saying it afterward. And when I told you that I wanted to be a hero, you weren't very encouraging."

Okay, say that prophecies are caused by 'pressure in Time' from great events that are 'trying' to happen. How could anyone know that? What's worse, though, is that she did this research with Harry, who apparently let her walk away believing this nonsense.

Edit: (And if Eliezer pops in to say the Department of Mysteries has a room full of Temporal Barometers I will be very unhappy.)

5Desrtopa10yEven if the explanation given for the observations is wrong, it wouldn't change the observations, that prophesies only ever seem to be about big important things, don't occur on demand, and don't get delivered by multiple seers or by the same seer more than once. Whether Hermione believes the explanation or not (she'd certainly be wise to be skeptical of it) doesn't affect whether she has enough information to dispense with the hypothesis that Millicent is a seer. The fact that she related the contents of some books to Daphne and Millicent doesn't necessarily mean she bought their contents wholecloth, it could have just been the simplest way to make a point. She might have believed it; remember that Hermione much more than Harry is used to taking things she reads at face value, and compartmentalization is normal, but I wouldn't take it as established.
2hairyfigment10yIt might have a credible meaning, depending on how we explain the facts of time travel. Perhaps some agent inspires prophecies to help ensure a coherent timeline. This suggests that HJPEV or Voldemort will, as a result of the prophecies, affect the distant past somehow and become their own metaphorical grandfather (e.g by 'erasing Atlantis'). But it doesn't have to mean that. Perhaps without post-prophecy Harry, Voldemort would simply have gotten bored with world domination and decided to kill his own grandfather again.
3Jonathan_Elmer10yBack in chapter 21 Trelawney started giving a prophecy in the middle of lunch and Dumbledore used the phoenix to teleport her away. If the books are correct this probably made the prophecy useless as anyone in the room could have been the intended recipient, but the true meaning would probably be lost among that large an audience anyway. As a side note if the he-who-is-coming in the prophecy is Mr. hat-and-cloak then that would rule out Snape and Quirrell. Though I don't think manipulating first year army battles and messing with Granger's head would count as "tearing apart" anything worth prophesying about.

Voldemort is actually hundreds of years old and prefers to communicate with Malfoy's ancestor, Helga Hufflepuff's ghost?

We haven't seen anything of Madam Pince in MOR, have we? You'd think Harry would make a point to talk to the magical librarian. Come to think of it, she might be Hat and Cloak. Although not if H&C = Santa Clause.

6Anubhav9ySomething is wrong here.
1Locke9yIt could just be that Eliezer didn't think of it. If not (WMG-Mode engage!), then perhaps he spoke to her the first time he went to the library and was for some reason memory-charmed, possibly because he deduced some sort of secret of hers.
1Anubhav9yThere's a simpler explanation that I hadn't thought of before: Dealing with adults isn't a course of action that occurs to Harry. (Remember the "why didn't I think of that" when he thought of telling McGonagall about the Sorting Hat charm?) In other words, it's very in-character for Harry. Yay to Eliezer for consistent character development. Now, the real WMG: Voldemort was this way as well. (Notice that in the King's Cross discussion, it's Harry saying "I prefer to deal with the part of House Malfoy that's my age" that really freaks Lucius out.)
4Rhwawn9yWe haven't. If you Google 'pince site:http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/ [http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/]', you'll see she is mentioned exactly once, in the context of Harry being allowed restricted books on Occlumency.

Next Omake: The Rationalist's Guide to the Galaxy.

"Oh, the little fiddly things?" said Dumbledore. "They came with the Headmaster's office and I have absolutely no idea what most of them do. Although this dial with the eight hands counts the number of, let's call them sneezes, by left-handed witches within the borders of France, you would not believe how much work it took to nail that down."

Chapter 17.

I know it's supposed to be a joke, but.... How? Is Dumbledore monitoring every wizard and witch's sex life? And how did he manage to crunch that data? Do wizards have calculating machi... (read more)

Eh, it was probably a given from the start that it was counting something.

Then immediately after the French Ministry of Magic authorizes/legalizes a new "Give yourself multiple orgasms" charm, or even just a new magical Viagra, the device's count jumps up. At that point Dumbledore knows it's counting something that correlates strongly with sexual satisfaction, but the count is a bit too low to be counting the orgasms of the entire French female magical population. Turns out the inventor was a jealous French wizard who tried to keep tabs on his left-handed wife, but keyed in the criteria too weakly, so that any left-handed witch within the borders of France would do.

7Locke9yI find it more likely that he tinkered with the object itself, if that's even true. I wonder if Quirrell could have managed to get a fiddly thing of his own invention into the headmaster's office before Dumbledore took over for Dipot. Perhaps as a gift to the old headmaster. It'd be an incredibly useful source of knowledge, if Wizards do in fact have magical listening devices.
2Anubhav9yYou'd expect the Headmaster's office to be laced with anti-eavesdropping charms.
7Locke9yHow would that work, exactly? Would the Sorting Hat be unable to hear anything said in there? I should think not. And whatever doesn't work on the sorting hat probably wouldn't work on the instruments. Or what about all the portraits? There's some definite spying potential in the slytherin headmasters.
4gwern9yExactly. A recording device doesn't have to be actively broadcasting every thing; it could be just that Quirrel gets updates any time he is summoned to the headmaster's office. Untimely intel is better than no intel.
1wedrifid9yAlthough when the Headmaster is Dumbledore who can control such things without aids with less than a flick of the finger or someone with the cunning to want to be selectively overheard the expectation is not quite so clear.
2gwern9yFrom context, I got the strong impression that the gadgets came with the office and Dumbledore is speaking about the work of deciphering what each one is measuring. If he was creating that device, why would he speak of the 8 hands as one of 'them', the 'they' that 'came with the Headmaster's office', most of which he has not figured out - except this one which records X...
6Anubhav9yUm.... No, he didn't create them. It says right in the quote that they came with the office. Question is.... How did he figure that one out? 'Number of orgasms by left-handed witches in France'; that isn't the kind of data you'd find written down somewhere.
1TuviaDulin9yI wonder if this is a reference to the movie "Amelie," with her seemingly supernatural ability to correctly guess how many orgasms are taking place in Paris at any given moment.
1SpaceFrank9yConsidering the ridiculous context of the rest of the conversation, (i.e. Dumbledore either pretending to be insane or actually letting some real insanity slip through) is it too far outside the realm of possibility for that comment to be a joke? It seemed like Dumbledore was going out of his way to screw with Harry in this chapter. Even if the machine actually does what he said it does, I could easily see the comment about "how much work it took to nail that down" being a joke Dumbledore told for his own amusement, knowing that Harry was too young to "get it".
6pedanterrific9yNow I get it! ...(Yuck.)
1moritz9yThere are certainly some analytical charms that give you some sort of idea how magical objects work. For example where Harry offers Dumbledore and Quirrel some Comed Tea, they both analyze it before drinking. The complexity of such analytics probably scales withe complexity of the magical object that is being analyzed, so finding out about the dial was probably immensely difficult, but not by collecting and correlating data, but by inspecting the device rather closely.
4pedanterrific9yNot that I disagree, precisely, but I'm not sure you can use the Comed-Tea thing as evidence that it's possible to analyze how magical objects work: Quirrell and Dumbledore both seemed taken by surprise by the actual effect, after all. The charm(s) they used seem more likely to be poison/biologically-interactive-potion detectors. Or maybe they both decided to fake being caught off guard. That seems like Dumbledore's style, anyway.
1bogdanb9ySo was Draco, who had been told the effect; unlike Harry, he probably didn’t doubt that the thing worked, he probably just thought that it’d be lame.

It seems that Akinator doesn't recognise any HPMOR characters.

This sounds like a job for a few procrastinators with a weekend to spare.

2Locke9yWell it got Harry. V'yy tb sbe Dhveeryyzbeg abj.
2Anubhav9yYou mean the movie version, right? ETA: Naq sbe fnavgl'f fnxr qba'g nqq uvz nf "Dhveeryzbeg". Vg'f n uryy bs n fcbvyre. "Dhvevahf Dhveeryy" fubhyq qb whfg svar.
2Locke9yNope, HJPV. They had a crudely-drawn picture and said he'd been guessed 114 times. V vagebqhprq vg gb gur Onggyr Zntvp Cebsrffbe. (Bu pbzr ba, vg'f boivbhf rira vs vg'f abg bssvpvny. )

My own currently favored theory is:
U&P naq Dhveery ner qvssrerag vaqvivqhnyf ohg obgu unir n Ibyqrzbeg vzcevag. Guvf pnhfrf gurz gb or fvzvyne be vqragvpny va fbzr erfcrpgf naq qvssrerag va bguref.

"Status update, Jan 19 2012: Now working on Ch. 81. I think I'd really better finish at least Ch. 81 before posting Ch. 78, due to the number of backward edits I've been making, and the extent to which they form a dramatic unity that should be posted regularly/predictably after the first chapter hits."

Well, it's nice that we didn't need to ask for a progress update. About how long might 81 turn out to be?

8prasannak9yAnswered today.. * Today's HPMOR words written: 3,800. * Latest chapter with a complete draft: Ch. 81. * Hours past bedtime stayed up before even starting to go to sleep: 1.5. Now we wait till the whole arc is done and dusted... I like this form of update :)
2Locke9yThe more I realize taking his time will make the story even better, the more I want to read the story right now. I do hope this arc isn't as enormous as SA.

What is called liberal in other countries is what many Americans would call socialist

Nope, in France "libéral" is closer to American "libertarian", i.e. pro-free markets, anti-welfare (as opposed to the "mainstream" right wing, which isn't particularly hostile to big government, and is more about traditional values and whatnot, and of course as opposed to the socialists and other left-wingers, who are very much at odds with the liberals). I think "liberal" has the same meaning in most of Europe (and in most of the... (read more)

(Hint: the moral response to burning several innocent women to death does not involve burning more innocent women to death.)

Depends, it may very well make sense from a TDT/UDT point of view.

2pedanterrific10yReally, that's what people are objecting to? For goodness' sake, I'm not a deontologist or anything, I'm just referring to what was described as "condition three": It wouldn't be a difficult moral situation on Harry's part because he specifically thought of this exact circumstance in advance.

The bit where Eliezer isn't a character in a novel.

Sure UFAI pattern-matches to the Dune jihad better than anything in HPMoR, but even then Eliezer isn't acting like Paul at all. A Muad-dib!Eliezer would be working feverishly in the basement of the fortified SIAI bunker (which would actually be a cult) to put together an "at-least-it-isn't-paperclips-forever" AI before the US government finds his location and drops a bunker buster on him. Right about now we would have tense negotiations with national entities grimly ending in Eliezer pressing the On switch.

This sounds nothing like what is actually happening, does it?

4pedanterrific10yWell, no. (Hopefully not. Not as far as I know, anyway.) The point I was making was less about the similarities to Dune (which I shamefully have only a vague knowledge of) and more about this assertion: Cause see, the thing is, Harry isn't working feverishly in a bunker, either. I guess the question is: what do you think Eliezer would do differently in Harry's situation? Edit: I've just realized I anchored onto the wrong part of that analogy. It may actually be fair to describe Harry's recent approach as leaning towards "tense negotiations with national entities grimly ending in ... pressing the On switch." Um. So. I'm not going to retract, but I think I've got more of an appreciation for your point of view, now.
4shokwave10yFor the life of me, I can't find it - but there is a comment from EY about HJPEV's actions (appearing suboptimal in some commentor's view because he was busy winning a school wargames competition instead of Transfiguring more carbon nanotubes and building supercomputers and space elevators) to the sarcastic effect of "It's almost as if he's not me!". This is what prompted me to compare Eliezer's HJPEV to another author's "supposed-avatar-but-actually-the-author-is-smarter-than-that" character.

The inexorable conclusion is that phoenixes are fueled... by evil!

Something I just noticed from Ch. 55:

Amelia Bones: "Someone would burn for this."

Did Amelia Bones burn Narcissa Malfoy?

Actually, I just had a chilling realization in regards to that. From chapter 62:

'"No," said the old wizard's voice. "I do not think so. The Death Eaters learned, toward the end of the war, not to attack the Order's families. And if Voldemort is now acting without his former companions, he still knows that it is I who make the decisions for now, and he knows that I would give him nothing for any threat to your family. I have taught him that I do not give in to blackmail, and so he will not try."

Harry turned back then, and saw a coldness on the old wizard's face to match the shift in his voice, Dumbledore's blue eyes grown hard as steel behind the glasses, it didn't match the person but it matched the formal black robes.'

I strongly suspect that Dumbledore burned Narcissa Malfoy so that the death eaters would stop targeting the families of Order members. Judging by his tone of voice and body language in this excerpt, this is probably the one action during the war that Dumbledore most regrets having had to do.

If I'm right, Harry will be in a difficult moral situation when he learns the truth. Was what Dumbledore did justified? On the one hand, torturing a mostly innocent person to death is deplorable no matter how you slice it. On the other, if that was the only way to stop many other innocents from being tortured to death...

9Fergus_Mackinnon10yAnother thought which occurred, is that Amelia Bones killed Narcissa in revenge for the Death Eater's killing of her family members, then Dumbledore claimed responsibility in order to send a message to the Death Eater's and Malfoy to discourage further attacks on the Order's families, and prevent Lucius from finding any evidence of Amelia's responsibility, which might have allowed him to remove one of Dumbledore's more powerful allies. He probably would have had to have been careful to give the impression that he would be willing to do so 'again' to the other Death Eaters if he wanted them to stop, though, unless Lucius cares a lot more about his allies than shown so far, or at least made some threat against Draco, who Lucius seems to care about. EDIT: I was wondering how killing Lucius' wife would provide leverage over the other Death Eaters when I realised something rather obvious in retrospect, Dumbledore is the Headmaster of Hogwarts. He already has plenty of leverage, doesn't he? If need be he can hold all the school age children of Death Eaters and their allies hostage, or expell them, denying them good education and potentially giving them a bad reputation. If the parents withdrew the children and sent them abroad though, they could grow up without the knowledge of local politics provided by a hogwarts education (including personal knowledge of everyone important in your age group, which in such a small society, not-having would likely be a big disadvantage.)
6TuviaDulin10yAh, good point. Using someone else's moral lapses to his advantage without getting his own hands dirty would be very much in character for MoR Dumbledore. Either way, I suspect that Harry and Draco's attempt to uncover the truth, and Harry having to consider Dumbledore's position at the time, will be a major story arc at some point.

It occurs to me that a Pensieve would be a powerful tool for dealing with any of the Newcomblike problems that have come up so far or are likely to come up in the future -- getting past the magic mirror, for example. Just extract any memories relating to debiasing that you might have, put them in a jar labeled do not open until Christmas, and go talk to whatever the Omega of the moment is.

Might not work like that in practice -- I wouldn't expect it to IRL, at least, since scrubbing a memory probably wouldn't get rid of the weightings that have grown aroun... (read more)

2AspiringKnitter9yUnless being more rational caused you to decide to one-box. Actually, I can't see where someone's intuition about that problem would go from one-boxing to two-boxing as they learned rationality. Nor do I see how knowing less would make you want the Philosopher's Stone but not want to use it. Am I missing something here?
2Nornagest9yTo be honest, looking back at that from three months on I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking. I do still think there's a lot of interest and story potential in a magical item that allows you to edit your own mind to some extent: if pulling out memories also removes your associations with them, you don't just have external storage, you have something very close to a general personality editor. I'd actually be a little surprised if it doesn't come up down the road -- but the specific application that 20110929!Gest suggested up there looks far-fetched to me now. You'd have to have a very good idea of what's linked to what in your head, and you'd probably have to make some pretty extensive changes to change your answer to a Newcomblike problem. Enough to make the whole operation uncertain and rather dangerous. I don't think I'd try it, anyway.

Well, these traditions somehow propagated before the internet.

7TobyBartels10yIn 1993, when I matriculated at Caltech (whose House system Wikipedia claims [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_system] is based on Cambridge's college system), we got a handbook (the little t) with all of the traditions in it.

For whatever reason, I didn't make this connection until now.

Prediction about Quidditch and the House Cup:

Dhveery znavchyngrf Enirapynj naq Fylgureva gb fpber whfg gur evtug ahzore bs cbvagf va gur svany tnzr gb znxr gur Ubhfr Phc n gvr. Guvf vf znqr cbffvoyr ol gur tnzr raqvat ng n cerqrsvarq gvzr.

Caveat:

Gur Ubhfr Phc vf njneqrq ng gur raq bs gur fpubby lrne, juvpu vf cebonoyl abg vzzrqvngryl nsgre gur ynfg Dhvqqvgpu tnzr. Nf jryy, vs Fylgureva naq Enirapynj unir hardhny fpberf orsber tbvat vagb gur tnzr, boivbhfyl n gvr vf gur jebat erfhyg.

7HonoreDB10yI'd been assuming that they'd abuse the existing rules--Ravenclaw and Slytherin would agree not to catch the Snitch until both teams have racked up an obscene amount of points, and then they'd deliberately engineer a tie. This would both force a rule change and allow both to win the Cup. But you've pointed out a potential problem: the tie can be broken by any professor. All McGonagall has to do, once she realizes what's going on, is promise to break the tie in favor of one side, and the other side will have no choice but to defect. Quirrel's bound by his promise not to award house points unfairly, but maybe he could blackmail Snape into promising to maintain the tie.

Eliezer added a new omake to chapter 64 which involves a rationalist version of My Little Pony.

What makes you think that phoenices are asexual, exactly?

4Pavitra10yHPMoR phoenixes have a fairly thorough fire symbolism; the teleportation is compared to a flame extinguishing in one place and rekindling elsewhere. It seems reasonable to assume that phoenixes reproduce in the same way that flame spreads, kindling themselves wherever they can find a hero to burn for fuel.
2pedanterrific10y"The phoenix's price isn't inevitable," the boy said. "It's not part of some deep balance built into the universe. It's just the parts of the problem where you haven't figured out yet how to cheat."

A bishonen is an androgynous-looking pretty male in Japanese anime. mpreg is short for male pregnancy.

9wedrifid10yYou confirmed my suspicion. I didn't need to know.

The bit I'm referencing is from Chapter 28:

Earlier, Harry had very secretly - he hadn't even told Hermione - tried to Transfigure nanotechnology a la Eric Drexler. (He'd tried to produce a desktop nanofactory, of course, not tiny self-replicating assemblers, Harry wasn't insane.) It would have been godhood in a single shot if it'd worked.

Now, try to imagine Chapter28!Harry - after learning to lose, but before going to Azkaban and reconciling with his dark side - attaining "godhood in a single shot". How well do you imagine that might have wor... (read more)

I tried putting the HTML for MoR on an eReader, and the paragraph breaks disappeared, making the story seem like the hectic ravings of a madman on speed.

Some of the paragraph breaks are rendered by the Kobo eReader as paragraph breaks. But looking at the HTML, I can't figure out what the rule is. Does anyone know?

(P.S. - Do not buy a Kobo eReader.)

A) Lemon party, not lemon faces.

B) You are way too trusting.

C) DO NOT GOOGLE THOSE THINGS.

D) Ok yes the rickroll was just for fun. But seriously.

I don't usually make corrections like this, but since people might want to do a search, the name is spelt ‘Tracy Davis’.

I thought Harry was supposed to be as intelligent as Eliezer, but on the path sooner. Writing characters more intelligent than yourself is generally considered extremely difficult and not often done, though HPMoR breaks enough "rules" already that I wouldn't be too surprised if you were correct.

7pedanterrific10y(Of course, nothing says he couldn't write plays as a hobby...)

Except that students stay at Hogwarts for 7 years, not one, which would put the suicide rate at Hogwarts at one per 14 years, not one per century (if wizards commit suicide at the same rate as muggles). If you assumed that Wizarding suicide attempts were 5 times as likely to be successful, that would put the rate at one suicide every 3 years.

Of course, it's entirely possible that the wizarding resilience to illness and injury also makes them more resilient to mental illness, and that's why suicide rates are lower.

1thomblake9yIf I'm not mistaken, that rate was based on the number of people who live to teenage years and then kill themselves during their teenage years, not the number of teenagers who kill themselves per year. Interesting idea.

Alright, I'll Rot13 all this.

Something I've been trying to puzzle out for the past day, and failing. From Chapter 39, as Harry is talking to Dumbledore:

"The obvious test to see if the Resurrection Stone is really calling back the dead, or just projecting an image from the user's mind, is to ask a question whose answer you don't know, but the dead person would, and that can be definitely verified in this world. For example, call back -"

Then Harry paused, because this time he'd managed to think it through one step ahead of his tongue, fast enough to not say the first name an

... (read more)
3BrazenWord9yHPEV was likely thinking of Merlin, but a much simpler test would be to call back Pierre de Fermat. Granted, there wouldn't be a solid "no" if the remarkable proof were faulty, and perhaps you would be better off having a mathematical novice do the summoning just to be certain.
1Anubhav9ySince people don't seem to be noticing matheist's answer [http://lesswrong.com/lw/7jd/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/5wdw], I'm copy-pasting it here:
1TuviaDulin9yVoldemort. He'd summon Voldemort's ghost and make it tell him the spells it learned from Salazar's basilisk.
1Locke9yI assumed he immediately thought of Dumbledore's family members. As to what he'd ask them, nothing comes to mind. Alternatively, Harry may have been refraining from using the thing he would actually do with the Stone as an example. For instance, asking the founders of Hogwarts for lost magic secrets or seeing if Merlin knew anything about Atlantis.
9matheist9yHe talks to Quirrell later about not making the obvious suggestion in front of Dumbledore, and goes on to say:
2[anonymous]9yWhy is "summon Merlin" dangerous to suggest to someone who falsely believes in an afterlife? And if it is dangerous to suggest, why is it safe to actually do as a test?
1matheist9yHe could ask Salazar Slytherin where the chamber of secrets was, perhaps.

So, maybe H&C is Padma!!1!

sigh. Can we please let this idea die already?

Downvoted for the attitude. People in LessWrong generally understand the difference between "evidence" and "indisputable proof".

When you say that "we should let this idea die already", are you actually claiming that the similarity of the H&C and Quirrell statements in regards to Slytherin's monster is exactly zero evidence towards H&C and Quirrel having some connection between them? Are you really saying that the author is exactly as likely... (read more)

2major9yWell, it's a historical fact that when I first saw this term-use-implies-identity idea, I rolled my eyes at it. What I think happens here is this: The first appearance of H&C does indeed seem to imply Quirrell is H&C. He walks off after Zabini, Zabini's lie benefited him, and so forth. And however shakily, the common use of a term could support this as well. But. Later we find evidence that it is indeed simply a technical term - as quoted above, (but it seems to be ignored, because the first H&C incident already implies a Q=H&C - at least I think this is what people feel), and then, in Ch76 we see something more important, a strong contrast between Quirrell reading the possibly-perfect-Occlumens Snape vs. H&C failing to read Hermione to such a degree that he needs to be told how suspicious he is. It points to them not beeing the same (which seems to be also ignored, because shared term-use already implies Q=H&C). Rather than examining the evidences independently, they all seem to be lumped into an unassailable whole. This is how it feels like when you are using One Argument Against An Army [http://lesswrong.com/lw/ik/one_argument_against_an_army/].

cough

Unless H&C needs to figure out (through legilimancy) who else Zabini might have told about his existence, so that he can go and obliviate them too.

he could probably do to someone else what he did to her in the first place.

Interesting. I hadn't even considered the possibility that the story about brainwashing Bellatrix might actually be true.

Eliezer,

Could we have an update every 10 days telling us where you are? Makes the waiting much easier, knowing we're getting more.

One like last time with #of words, chapter would be great.

The super awesomeness of HPMOR so far is what makes all the anticipation fun...

2gwern9yWould it be even more awesome if someone set up ~190 predictions on PB.com just for MoR speculation?

Blame not the users for doing what the site was intended to enable. Blame the suckiness of the interface.

I believe what you're proposing is a brainmod.

Who here is a little creeped out by Snape agreeing to kiss her in the latest chapter?

If you are creeped out, you are probably taking it out of context.

Sure, if you describe it as "he molested a minor and made her forget about it", it sounds quite creepy. But if you think of it as a lonely, inexperienced and deeply troubled boy thanking a girl fawning over him for her help in a tricky situation the best way he can, then maybe you will see that the difference in physical age does not automatically translate in this case into any kind of a power difference.

Who here is a little creeped out by Snape agreeing to kiss her in the latest chapter?

Not even remotely. It's a shame they couldn't do more.

There is a good reason to have laws that prohibit this kind of liaison - the potential for abuse is enormous. But this isn't a case that the rules are necessary for.

7sboo9ynot me. there was consent and the capacity for consent, so the kiss was wistful at worst.
3Jonathan_Elmer9yYes. She is in 7th year which makes her probably 18 years old. That makes it less creepy, but being in 7th year also means that Snape is still being abusive towards her and her class mates. There is no amount of context that can remove the creep from a middle age teacher kissing a student he as been abusing for the last 7 years.

She's in Slytherin. I think Snape doesn't significantly abuse Slytherin students.

2LauralH8yI was a little creeped, but more because she would be forgetting it rather than because of consent issues. She was the one asking him, after all. And as a character moment, it was huge - his first kiss! The rope of his love for Lily is shredding all the more! Will anything keep him as an agent of the Light?

That doesn't really sound like it happened in a state of open war, does it?

No. But it doesn't have to. If we stipulate instead that Dumbledore was untouchable during the actual war for practical reasons (say, being one of the most powerful wizards alive and the de-facto commander of an opposing force, hence well protected), Lucius is left with excellent reasons to go after him through legal channels after the war's over. Neither side seems to have been operating with the full blessing of the legal government, and terror tactics resulting in the death... (read more)

This begs the question, if Harry figure out the secret of the mirror, would he be able to construct an Occlumency proxy personality who didn't want the stone?

Of course there is no answer to this question except "Whatever the author decides."

3Eugine_Nier10yThe problem with Occlumency proxy personalities is that you have to be very careful, otherwise you're subject to Amnesiac Dissonance [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AmnesiacDissonance]. The smarter the proxy personality, the worse a problem this is.

I feel like a fitting conclusion would be for Voldemort's last remnant to end up on the Voyager spacecraft, so that he is forever in the stars, away from earth.

3pedanterrific10yNo. Really? (Pioneer spacecraft. "V'olde'Ger" is a joke based on a Star Trek movie.) Edit: Raargh beaten by thirty seconds.
2JoshuaZ10yPioneer, not Voyager.

From chapter 76:

"I asked Professor Quirrell why he'd laughed," the boy said evenly, "after he awarded Hermione those hundred points. And Professor Quirrell said, these aren't his exact words, but it's pretty much what he said, that he'd found it tremendously amusing that the great and good Albus Dumbledore had been sitting there doing nothing as this poor innocent girl begged for help, while he had been the one to defend her. And he told me then that by the time good and moral people were done tying themselves up in knots, what they usually ... (read more)

Quirrell is saying, Don't try to optimize; just be free, amoral, and chaotic, and do whatsoever you will.

I don't think that is what Quirrell is saying. He is criticising a real failure mode in in 'good' people.

Isn't this equivalent to renouncing Harry's entire rational approach of weighing costs vs. benefits?

Yes. Which is why the very next thing Harry said was

"Don't worry, Headmaster," said the boy. "I haven't gotten my wires crossed. I know that I'm supposed to learn goodness from Hermione and Fawkes, not from Professor Quirrell and you."

According to you:

Quirrell is saying, Don't try to optimize; just be free, amoral, and chaotic, and do whatsoever you will.

The relevant quote would be from Chapter 20:

"What makes something right, if not your wanting it?"

"Ah," Harry said, "preference utilitarianism."

"Pardon me?" said Professor Quirrell.

"It's the ethical theory that the good is what satisfies the preferences of the most people -"

"No," Professor Quirrell said. His fingers rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I don't think that's quite what I was trying to say. Mr. Potter, in the end people all do what they want to do. Sometimes people give names like 'right' to things they want to do, but how could we possibly act on anything but our own desires?"

Yay, ethical egoism!

3PhilGoetz10yThe talk about Fawkes also confused me. When Harry goes on to say that, next time, he'll do what he thinks Fawkes would do, that's also renouncing optimizing - in a different way. Fawkes doesn't plan ahead or optimize; it (Phoenixes are ) represents completely rule-based, not goal-based, ethics.
6JoshuaZ10yHow do we know this? They repeatedly burn themselves to rejuvenate but do we know anything about their reproduction. After being remade in fire it is the same phoenix.
5pedanterrific10yAlso, parthenogenesis isn't the same thing as hermaphroditic self-fertilization. If phoenices were parthenogenetic (which we have no reason to believe) that just means they would be female, not "it".
5pedanterrific10yOkay, setting aside the tangent of phoenix gender... I think is an interesting idea, that could perhaps be correct. (I'm struggling to figure out what the Gunpowder Plot and deontology have to do with each other, though.)
7Oscar_Cunningham10yIf you're optimising without vast computing power, and without complete knowledge of your utility function, you can seek heuristics and decide to follow them even when subsequent calculations tell you otherwise.

Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but... what makes a focus-group groundhog day attack more useful than just, you know, having multiple focus groups?

It eliminates variation between focus groups. If people are as deterministic as depicted in MoR chapter 27, the slightest variation in behavior would be a clue about how to refine the ad.

Pettigrew hasn't spent the last eleven years as the Weasley family pet, because that would be ridiculous, but I doubt Sirius Black is guilty. At the very least, it would require more than obvious consistency preserving changes to justify that.

2Pavitra10yI'm not sure whether Sirius Black is guilty, but I don't take his canon innocence as significant information on the question. That's what I meant by "overwrite" as opposed to "reverse": the new state is mostly uncorrelated with the old state.

One thing that I've wondered about-and note that I'm not entirely sure if this is the right venue for asking- is what Eliezer thinks about the Visual Novel format a storyline structure (obviously not for MOR, that increases the entry barrier way too much for a cute and pop introduction to Rationality. ) I know that he decided to use the Normal/True ending for the Three Worlds Collide story, but what does he think about, let's say, the relatively long common route into different story branches format, the three "distinct" story format (Fate/Stay N... (read more)

I seem to recall there was some playing around with Suzumiya-style Anachronic Order in earlier MoR chapters, but it was pretty self-contained and easy to follow. Plus there's some just downright confusing parts- chapter opening quotes that are never referenced again, Aftermaths that don't seem to have anything to do with the previous chapter, stuff like that.

And there's definitely some real potential for an omake chapter of Bad Ends: Harry accidentally destroying Dumbledore's ability to cast the Patronus Charm, Harry insulting his mother to Snape just a little more, Harry saying the wrong thing to Lucius in King's Cross, Harry realizing aloud to Quirrel what the ritual to summon Death really was...

Harry successfully transfiguring nanotech.

I had actually been tossing around the idea of a fic where each chapter is a bad end for MoR, possibly one for each chapter. Working title: 'Everyone dies'.

One for each chapter? I'd read that.

5Alicorn9yNot "Rocks fall, everyone dies"?
9thomblake9yI was thinking the first chapter should feature rocks falling.

When I'm done with the Hermione Granger route, I'm going to write the Luna Lovegood route, then the Bellatrix Black route, then the Draco Malfoy route, and then the harem ending!

7Anubhav9y.... Now you've got my hopes up. Goddammit Eliezer, demonstrate that you're capable of finishing one route before laying out your awesomecool plans for the future.

April now, is it? Then the next thing that's going to happen is that everyone except Harry goes home for Easter (Easter Sunday was 19 April in 1992, and they'll probably take most of the holiday before it rather than after it since it's so late that year) and Harry's parents come to visit him. That should be interesting. I hope he's told them he's not allowed to leave Hogwarts.

No, that's a different reading of "can"; I guess by "can" I meant "I currently use magick but am unaware that I am doing so"; if we were talking about potential to learn magick then I'd have to put it at around 5%. Me unknowingly doing magick is more like a you know actually I'd rather not talk about that. Still probably a lot higher than others would guess but magnitudes lower than 5%.

4Normal_Anomaly10yAre you willing/able to discuss the causes of your unusually high belief in magic?

"The world around us redunds with opportunities, explodes with opportunities, which nearly all folk ignore because it would require them to violate a habit of thought"

Is this a typo? If not, I don't think it flows very well.

If an eleven-year-old can have Eliezer's knowledge of Bayes' Theorum or the ability to cite studies on most fallacies off the top of their head, they can come to the proper conclusions about death.

I think we can all agree that Harry's inability to accept natural death as a good thing (hubris) is an impossible trait for a young boy to have unless they have been exposed to great evil.

First: is the parenthetical comment meant to be a summation of the previous term? Second: agreed, as long as the definition of "great evil" includes the fact that roughly a hundred and fifty thousand people die every day.

I expect it to later be revealed that Harry's inability to accept the natural order is due to Voldemort's horcrux being placed within him.

... (read more)

I still think he takes it as a confirmation that Voldemort is possessing Harry. Voldemort is much closer in age to Lucius then Draco. Voldemort playing strange games with your son is much more concerning then the boy who lived playing strange games with your son. Also consider Lucius's parting statement: "And as you have asked nothing more of me, I will ask nothing more of you."

Why would the boy who lived ask anything of Lucius? Voldemort certainly would.

1Anubhav9yNo shit, Sherlock. The question is "why?"

That reading seems far-fetched.

Let's go over the conversation....

Part I: Lucius accosts Harry and speaks to him as if he were Voldemort. Harry pretends to be Voldemort (without meaning to). Lucius maintains his calm.

Part II: Harry goes "you think I could benefit from doing Draco harm. But it is irrelevant, Lucius. He is my friend, and I do not betray my friends." Lucius goes 'what the fucking FUCK?'

Part III: Longbottom arrives, Lucius asks Harry to send her away, Harry spouts the "my age" comment, and Lucius goes, "I do feel the fo... (read more)

Transfiguration?

1Locke9yWizards are ignorant, but not really stupid. I think the vice-headmistress is quite effective with her warnings.
8Jonathan_Elmer9yRisk taking, irrationality, and emotional volatility are pretty common traits of children in that age range. I don't think that is necessarily the case, but for children brought up in the environment of magical Briton that is certainly true for the majority of them. There were times around that age when I felt like setting the world on fire and if I had access to "the button" I might have pressed it. I think I would not have, but I cant be sure. I think it would be quite incongruous to talk in confident tones about the safety of a junior high-school that stored weapons of mass destruction in an unlocked utility closet.
7pedanterrific9yThis is actually an interesting point to bear in mind: the average wizard's ability to cause large numbers of deaths is a lot greater than the average muggle's. It doesn't take a genius on the level of Voldemort to transfigure a hundred pounds of bleach (or name your poison) into air and release it inconspicuously in Diagon Alley.
6Eneasz9yThe average muggle's ability to cause a large number of deaths is pretty high too (at least in America, where guns aren't too hard to get). My former high school has been around for 43 years now, and has never had a mass murder, and had quite a few more students than Hogwarts does. Columbine-level events are nearly unheard of, even though they wouldn't be much harder to execute than the hundred-pounds-of-bleach plan. The wards are probably just there to prevent outside attack from political opponents, and the children are assumed to be as well adjusted as anyone else in society.
2pedanterrific9yOne: I wasn't thinking in reference to Hogwarts students, just wizards in general. (Hence 'Diagon Alley' rather than 'the Great Hall'.) Two:
4Eliezer Yudkowsky9yIt kind of does. In how many fanfics is anything like this suggested?

It doesn't take a genius on the level of Voldemort to transfigure a hundred pounds of bleach (or name your poison) into air and release it inconspicuously in Diagon Alley.

It kind of does.

It really doesn't. They teach transfiguration to the children from about 8 years old and some of them do not completely fail. They tell the students a bunch of things that are really dangerous to do. There are many people below the level of Voldemort who have both the knowledge and skill to kill people effectively with transfiguration if they so desire. It really isn't that much of a genius feat of creativity.

In how many fanfics is anything like this suggested?

Relatively few fan-fictions are based around the crude exploitation of basic magic for the purpose of terrorism. This says a lot more about what makes a good story than about how hard it is for average wizards to play terrorist. Significant plot arcs about magical terrorists sound cooler if they use fancy dramatic magic that sounds mysterious and hard to acquire rather than the simplest thing that would work.

5fubarobfusco9yThey go further than that: the standard textbook includes a horrifying animated photograph of a murder victim. The idea that Transfiguration can be used as a weapon is taught in the very first class session. In the wood-shop class which I took when I was a year or two older than a Hogwarts first-year, we were taught that the tools are dangerous. We were taught that you can cut your arm off with a bandsaw if you behave foolishly near it; and that if you lower the drill on the drill-press against your hand, it will put a hole through your hand. However, we were not specifically taught about the possibilities of shop tools for intentional murder. It was assumed that any accidents would be just that: accidents. Now, Transfiguration is more dangerous than shop tools; Transfiguring a brick to air or water could sicken or kill quite a few people, whereas a belt-sander is really only dangerous to those within shoving distance. But a shop-class student casting around for a weapon would probably seize upon a chair-leg or two-by-four much more readily than a saw-blade. The Transfiguration student — having been explicitly instructed that the art has been used to intentionally kill — would much more likely bring that to mind.
1drethelin9ykind of tangential, but would an arbitrary wizard even know what bleach is?
2wedrifid9yI suppose the question would be "Is the typical magical cleaning potion harmful when dispersed in small amounts throughout the body?"

Most fanfics don't lean hard on dangerous!transfiguration...

2Eneasz9yI don't see the replies you previously posted to my comment... I may have clicked "report" instead of "context" on accident. If so, I apologize.
7pedanterrific9yHere's a thought: Hogwarts is described as being the only magical school with a zero percent fatality rate, and it's implied that the last time a student died was Myrtle, fifty years ago. Except all students are taught within the first week enough about Transfiguration to know how to kill someone with it. I can believe the murder rate is that low, but what about the suicide rate? Not one teenager in fifty years?
2[anonymous]9yThese two things are incompatible with each other. Perhaps Hogwarts is lying about the former.
7ArisKatsaris9yOr, you know, they were talking about averages over the last few decades, not FOREVER.
5gwern9yThat doesn't make much sense; Myrtle was described as the first fatality in a long time, which is why it was so shocking and nearly closed down Hogwarts completely - the consequence which caused Tom Riddle to back off and seal off the basilisk again. 5 decades is quite long enough for this to be a somewhat bizarrely low rate. On the other hand, wizards are described as having very long lives on average, which is not very consistent with a high accident or suicide or homicide rate overall, and Hogwarts is a pretty small school, as the estimates go. Add in the claims of extraordinary Wizarding physical resilience (book 1, IIRC), and maybe that's enough to give the very low death rate.
2ArisKatsaris9yMyrtle was a murder from an unknown assailant who could evade the protective wards of the school, and probably murder at will again -- "there's an uncaught murderer among your children" is a much more scary thing than an accidental fatality of the sort that I assume are still occasionally happening in other magical schools through negligence/etc. When there's an accidental poisoning because some kid tried to brew an anti-acme potion, parents can just advise their children not to ever try anything as foolish as that -- and they even have the accidental death of the other kid as a warning for such foolishness...
4gwern9yI forget my Chamber of Secrets exactly, but wasn't Hagrid made the scapegoat for a fatal 'accident' and that was how Myrtle's death was explained away publicly?
2pedanterrific9yChapter 49: [http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/49/]
3pedanterrific9yEhh... that seems kind of hard to cover up. Myrtle's death caused a panic and nearly resulted in closing the school. Technically, "0% fatality rate" could mean four out of every thousand students die.

Eek. Somehow I changed from 'cunning' to 'savvy' mid-word!

What do we know of the second Hat-and-Cloak:

  • doesn't know Hermione well
  • clever, but not too clever (it takes him a LOT of time)

=> not Quirrell or Snape

  • has some motive, probably foreshadowed (EY is a good writer)
  • was recognized by Hermione

=> not anyone unknown

  • has no morals (mindrape)
  • knows that Severus Snape is a Death Eater
  • says he knows the true reason for the coldness in Harry Potter's eyes
  • and says he's frightened of it
  • and says he knows HP is dangerous to Hermione
  • says: "Lucius Malfoy has taken notice of you, Hermione..."

=>... (read more)

4prasannak9yAssume Quirrell is not able to model 'good' people well -> we know he is not all powerful, and this is certainly where he is weak - witness conv with Harry on 'give a finger of my wand hand', 'does it really matter what your friends think', etc. And each iteration with Hermione could have brought a different reason from Hermione, which was then subverted - we only saw one arc. Also H&C wanted Hermione as a willing participant, not as an NPC, much harder than simply memory charming her. It's very unlikely EY has used two different H&C, and there was the 'wards keyed in' statement of both H&C & Quirrell earlier. Will need much stronger evidence to say Quirrell is not H&C.
2Locke9yZambini's actions during the Lake-Battle were not good for Quirrell. It did end in Harry hearing that Dumbledore acted dark, but Quirrell knows Harry well-enough to predict he wouldn't trust that information. So if Quirrell was really H&C, he should have had Zambini serving Potter all along so that Harry would win and be more likely to rule the country. But I also very much doubt that it's Lucius, as he doesn't seem to fall into the category of "clever, but not too clever."

I think we should wait until the new arc to start, since going by past progress I would expect it sometime this week. If Eliezer could give us another progress update it'd help.

Oh, I did, and I'm working with one team ;)

But I was more looking for general informations and policies about translations. And maybe a way to organize them from LW (wiki or main). But I didn't get much reply here, so I just went on with other channels.

I don't understand Draco's exchange with Lucius at the end of Chapter 7. Anyone know what's going on?

Here are my thoughts, which of course may easily be completely wrong.

Facts: 1) Harry states, "So during the Incident at the Potions Shop, while Professor McGonagall was busy talking to the shopkeeper and trying to get everything under control, I grabbed one of the customers and asked them about Lucius."

2) Harry states, "So you really are his one weak point. Huh."

3) Draco's letter to his father asks about Harry's "weak point" co... (read more)

No secret information is required for Harry to come to his conclusion of "So you really are his one weak point. Huh."

Available evidence:

  • Lucius is well known as a hard bastard (initially supplied by random customer, reinforced by Draco)
  • Draco is well cared for (he is healthy, very well dressed, displays no social anxieties, worships his father)
  • Draco is probably indulged or even spoiled (Draco's behaviour)
  • Draco is being groomed to be Lucius' successor and therefore his equal (very clear by this point)

From this evidence it can be reasonably concluded that Lucius loves his son.
For a hard man like Lucius, this makes Draco his likely weakest point.

Lucius is simply underestimating Harry's ability to make good use of the available information (and possibly also underestimating how much Draco has given away while trying to cultivate Harry).

EDIT: 25 Jan 2012 - I just noticed that a previous incomplete revision of this comment appeared below by accident. It is now retracted...

3matheist9yNice. I like your explanation much better than mine. Keeping in mind that Lucius knows very little at this point about what Harry is like — and that Harry is only eleven! — I guess it's reasonable for Lucius to assume that such an observation by a fellow student of Draco's would require some adult tutelage.
3TomM9yI just realised that I missed another very strong piece of evidence which immediately precedes Harry's statement: Draco states that Harry should meet Lucius - he is actually offering Harry privileged access to his father. This strengthens my view that Harry has noted that Draco offers (multiple paths to) influence with or threat to Lucius.

I seem to recall when Eliezer mentioned Sirius/Pettigrew, people complained that the story was now slash and therefore horrible. Eliezer suggested that he would like to actually insert some m/m porn, just to upset these people further, but that writing such would be too actively unpleasant.

5Anubhav9yA Draco route doesn't require m/m porn any more than the True Route requires straight porn. -___-
6[anonymous]9yOn the other hand, the Draco route could very well require mpreg, from all we've heard about it so far.

You know, I wonder whether Magical Britain has policies as liberal (American liberal, which I think means socialist in the rest of the world) as Real Britain. Somehow, I think not, but do we have evidence either way?

[-][anonymous]9y 2

Ryvrmre npghnyyl vffhrq n Jbeq bs Tbq (JNEAVAT: GIGebcrf) ba gur znggre va bar bs uvf rneyl nhgube abgrf nsgre abgvat gung znal bs uvf ernqref jrer choyvpyl jbaqrevat nobhg gur vffhr, ohg gura ur tbg n pbhcyr bs erivrjf gung pbaivaprq uvz gb yrg gur zlfgrel fgnaq. Lbh pna fgvyy svaq gur abgr ba NqryrarQnjare'f nepuvir (gur bar yvaxrq gb va gur bcravat cbfg). Whfg tb gb gur frnepu one naq ybbx sbe gur jbeq "ubyl". Ubjrire, n ybg bs crbcyr jub unir ernq gur cebpynzngvba nccneragyl pbafvqre vg gb or n uhtr fcbvyre, fb ernq vg ng lbhe bja evfx.

Be ner lbh abg grpuavpnyyl ylvat ol fnlvat "ab bssvpvny fgngrzrag gung gur nhgube raqbefrf"?

And someone could just cast evanesco on the shield, now that I think about it.

There's a very subtle bit that I just realized that's worth mentioning as a possibility. Rot13 for spoilers:

Va puncgre 46, Uneel yvfgf uvf boivbhf jnlf bs uvqvat na bowrpg. Gur pbagrkg gurer urnivyl vzcyvrf gung uvf yvfg vf n fhofrg bs Ibyqrzbeg'f npghny ubepehk yvfg. Va gung yvfg Uneel fnlf

Be vqrnyyl lbh jbhyq ynhapu vg vagb fcnpr, jvgu n pybnx ntnvafg qrgrpgvba, naq n enaqbzyl syhpghngvat nppryrengvba snpgbe gung jbhyq gnxr vg bhg bs gur Fbyne Flfgrz. Naq nsgrejneq, bs pbhefr, lbh'q Boyvivngr lbhefrys, fb rira lbh qvqa'g xabj rknpgyl jurer vg jnf.

Fv... (read more)

4Unnamed9yScooped [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2nm/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/2kyv]

My impression was that Lucius suspects Harry to be Voldemort, hence the I know it was you message after the Askaban breakout.

2JoshuaZ9yOr he's just smart enough to realize that the use of Muggle technology in the breakout is the sort of thing Harry would do. Lucius also may have his own intelligence network, which could for example include aurors, or could include some Slytherin students (unknown to Draco of course) which could give him the sort of information necessary to make the connection. If he thought that Harry was actually Voldemort he likely would have already gone to pledge his allegiance.
2thomblake9yCanon Lucius maybe, MoR Lucius no. He still has plausible deniability.

Harry has said that Hermione is his moral center. Is she? Should she be?

I have mixed feelings. She's hardly a paragon, and if she's going to continue to develop into her own character instead of a satellite of Harry, Eliezer's going to outline her faults in more detail. We've seen this with Harry. Every time he undergoes a trial, readers learn more and more how fallible he is, and why.

Thoughts?

7Locke9yHermione is far from perfect, but she's nonetheless the most traditionally-moral person at Hogwarts. I think Harry is correct not to want to emulate her entirely, yet still respect her enough to ask her advice on morally ambiguous issues.
2sboo9y""And," her voice said, "if you want to break school rules or something, you can ask me about it, I promise I won't just say no."" perhaps eliezer's is not outlining but "fixing" her faults. by the end of ch75, hermione seems to have experienced a crisis of faith and become more morally harry.

Cranial capacity is about the same (reference wikipedia in my original comment). Also, our knowledge of their tool use is somewhat moot if we don't even know anything about a super advanced civilization. As in, what else are we missing about the past? The point about Africans is the strongest.

7pedanterrific9yAs to the second point (archaeological evidence): What's worse than nukes? Balefire.

The most obvious motivation given what we know about Quirrelmort and what he needs to regain his old power is that he retrieved her for use in the spell that will restore his body. For his motive to be anything else would constitute a twist.

Oh. Sorry. (Tineye didn't turn up anything? That's surprising.)

Reference. Part of the point of being that oblique was not to give away the joke, but eh.

2Pavitra10yFeel free to downvote [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/7jd/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/4yo3] .

I just thought the wording of 'phoenix's price' was auspicious, I agree that that's an interesting and poetic idea. (And looking back through, the fire symbolism is even more robust than I remembered.)

Problem: Dumbledore (who presumably should know) says in Chapter 62

"Harry," whispered the old wizard, "phoenixes do not understand how winning a battle can lose a war." Tears were streaming down the old wizard's cheeks, dripping into his silver beard. "The battle is all they know. They are good, but not wise. That is why they choos

... (read more)

In three worlds collide there's the non-consensual sex plot point that some people misunderstood as being misogynist rather than the result of EY selecting a particularly unusual point in culturespace. Is this the kind of analysis you are talking about?

People thought that was misogynist? Wasn't it a male being abhorred by a culture in which he may not be forced by a woman? Unless my memory fails me that's totally the wrong offense to be taking. :)

Why not use the epub or mobipocket versions, depending what the Kobo supports? Calibre reads both, the mobipocket is fine on my iRex and I have an epub version on my phone.

http://ikeran.org/rationality.epub http://ikeran.org/rationality.mobi

(mentioned on http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2269863/Less_Wrong ) Android, iPhone/iPad app links there too.

How do you reconcile this view with the Sword of Good story?

2PhilGoetz10yI think the Sword of Good focused on the question of how culture can blind our moral sensibility. I would say that story just wasn't about that problem. It is true that neither the Lord of Dark in that story, nor Harry in MoR, is expected to enter into the rapid recursive self-improvement anticipated for an AI. Though I would expect MoR's Harry to figure out a way to do that, given wizardly powers over time.

Tiled in pentagons? That I want to see. Or... not. Probably not.

I actually looked that up on my last reread. It turns out there are several known pentagon tilings, some of which are quite attractive, although of course none use regular pentagons.

9Plasmon10yYou may also be interested in Uniform tilings in the hyperbolic plane [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_tilings_in_hyperbolic_plane]. In this non-euclidean plane, regular pentagon tiling is possible, and, using some mapping to Euclidean space, aesthetically pleasing pictures may be produced [http://www.josleys.com/show_gallery.php?galid=325].
8PhilGoetz10ySo we may presume the hallway in question had a vaulted ceiling.
6bogdanb10yOr that Hogwarts is doing funny things with space, which we know it does regularly.
8Eliezer Yudkowsky9yI was being careful to include at least one logical impossibility in the story so that my writing it could not increase its measure [http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5389450/1/The_Finale_of_the_Ultimate_Meta_Mega_Crossover] .