"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 machines?

Or maybe he meant to say "the documentation took a lot of work to find and decipher"?

ETA: If it was Rowling writing this, the 'device with the golden wibblers' mentioned in the very next sentence would become a major plot point later in the series.

Showing 3 of 6 replies (Click to show all)

I 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.

1SpaceFrank8yConsidering 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".
15ArisKatsaris8yEh, 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.

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

by Oscar_Cunningham 1 min read9th Sep 2011725 comments


(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.