I'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 effects more or less cancel; an animal Patronuses' ability to repel a Dementor is in apparent proportion to its representative accuracy. Harry's true Patronus is the the form of Life itself, and so he can destroy Dementors and cancel Death; Dumbledore accepts most of the Life dimension of reality, and nearly all of the Death dimension of reality, and so his representation of Life, his Patronus, is the strongest and brightest yet mentioned.

Now comes the tricky part of this hypothesis. The Killing Curse is equal to death in that if struck by it, assuming no inherent rule of magic regarding altruistic protective love interferes, you will die. The true Patronus has demonstrated the ability to overpower and destroy imperfect representations of Death, as it is the duality opposing Death in true form. However, the Killing Curse and the true Patronus cancel, so it must then follow that the Killing Curse is Death in true form, but not Death Incarnate.

However, this theory is completely blown away if the true Patronus doesn't cancel the Killing Curse at all, that Harry blocked Quirrell's Avada Kedavra merely by effecting an interaction of their magic. Whether the true Patronus can truly block the Killing Curse remains to be seen.

*From what I've gleaned from the text, I do not think Harry's statement, "I think of the absolute rejection of Death as the natural order [paraphrased]," accurately reflects his thought processes preceding the casting of the true Patronus; to reject Death is to acknowledge it, and I don't think Harry acknowledges Death at all when casting the charm. Furthermore, I do not even think it possible to cast the true Patronus when thinking of Death at all. When casting the charm, Harry calls to mind all that Death isn't, and all that life is; he thinks purely of life, with not even a single shard of a thought of Death in mind.

As an aside, I find it particularly clever how in contrasting everyone else in the wizarding world, or agents of general humanity, with Harry, an agent of rationality, Eliezer characterizes animal Patronuses as akin to the self-deceptions and biases of most of humanity, and the true Patronus as akin to the power earned through the diligent application of rationalist techniques to everyday life, through elucidating the difference between animals'\ capacity for understanding and human capacity for understanding.
\Excludes humans as a subset; the sentence becomes awkward otherwise.

My 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.

0[anonymous]7yAm I arguing with the Eliezer about his own character here? If so, is that allowed?

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.