In your story they are corpses. In canon, they're green humanoid monsters wearing hooded robes, that represent despair. Considering Rowling's own pro-death position, I don't think it's likely she would have deliberately created enemies that were supposed to be the physical embodiment of death (although the movies showed dementors and death as looking nearly identical). Given the changes I saw you make to them in order to make your point, I assumed it was just something you were changing completely from canon. Apparently I was wrong. Did you think of dementors as representing death while reading Prisoner of Azkaban, or is it an idea you developed later?

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.

5ArisKatsaris9yDespair? 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.
5hairyfigment9yGreen? No. From the American edition of PoA: 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.

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 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.