Two 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

According to the Defense Professor, the essential art of dueling consisted of trying to put up defenses that would block whatever someone was likely to throw at you, while trying in turn to attack in ways that were likely to go past their current set of defenses. And by far the easiest way to win any sort of real fight - Professor Quirrell had said this over and over - was to shoot the enemy before they raised a shield in the first place, either from behind or from close enough range that they couldn't dodge or counter in time.

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.

I'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?

4gwern9ySo? 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.)
1Xachariah9yHarry (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.

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.