Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94

by elharo1 min read8th Jul 2013344 comments


HPMOR (discussion & meta)
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This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing chapter 94. The previous thread has passed 200 comments. 

There is now a site dedicated to the story at hpmor.com, which is now the place to go to find the authors notes and all sorts of other goodies. AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author’s Notes. (This goes up to the notes for chapter 76, and is now not updating. The authors notes from chapter 77 onwards are on hpmor.com.) 

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: 12345678910111213141516171819202122.

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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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I am predicting that Harry has Hermione's body, though I'm not yet sure where. The reason is that Harry, from whose POV we see Chapter 94, does not seem especially concerned or upset that someone has run off with Hermione's body. If someone else had taken it, and thus interfered with his plans, he would be. He'd be thinking hard about who has it, where they've put it, and how to get it back. He'd probably be yelling at the professors for being stupid and incompetent. Instead he barely reacts when the headmaster tells him "Hermione Granger's remains are now missing."

He has probably transfigured the corpse, since that explains all the emphasis on maintaining transfigurations of large objects like his father's rock earlier in the book.

You're right Harry's mood is some evidence for his having the body. And from his behavior I think it's clear where it is:

"The gem upon your ring," Dumbledore said. "It is no longer a clear diamond. It is brown, the color of Hermione Granger's eyes, and the color of her hair." A sudden tension filled the room. "That's my father's rock," Harry said. "Transfigured the same as before. I just did it to remember Hermione -" "I must be sure. Take off that ring, Harry, and place it upon my desk." Slowly, Harry did so, removing the gem and setting the ring off to the other side of the desk. Dumbledore pointed his wand at the gem and -

From this and putting the ring as far away as possible I'm pretty sure the body is the ring and the rock sits on it to fool the magic detector. Someone called it in the comments on last chapter, when I get a chance to check I'll edit their name in so they get the appropriate Bayes points.

Yes. Note this part:

Slowly the boy sat up in bed, his hands momentarily fiddling beneath the covers.

He was putting the ring on, because he was afraid of wearing it while asleep, because the transfiguration might fail. Waking up with a dead girl is better than waking up without a finger and with a dead girl.

0jefftk8yWhy wouldn't he be using partial transfiguration here?
1solipsist8yTransfigure only part of Hermione into a ring?
7gwern8yThe brain, presumably.
1ikrase8yThat would be worse, as he would physically rend the brain when it popped into existence. He could have it somewhere else, though.
8gwern8yWe don't know that the brain would be 'rended'. McGonagall is not torn in half as she transfigures into a cat, and we don't see a transfigured rock exploding into rock dust when it untransfigures. And even if they did, well, Harry could've transmuted the brain into diamond of the same volume or something.
2fractalman8yAnimagus is not FREE transfiguration. it is a million times safer, but also more limited.
1bogdanb8yYes, but one could create a non-free transfiguration just for that (e.g., transform anything into ring such that the de-transfigured object is still viable). I’m not 100% sure but I think the main part of the process for inventing partial transfiguration took less than 6 hours, so another insight is plausible.
0fractalman8yhm... That requires inventing a spell. which harry asked Quirrel about and received what looks to us like an unhelpful reply. (But since Quirrel knows interdict-protected secrets, and we don't, I cannot rule out the possibility that what he told harry somehow IS the secret...) Plus, If Harry manages to start inventing spells...he's pretty much won. so, yeah, ringmione IS a bit risky, but less so than letting someone shove her body into the ground and letting bacteria go to work.
1bogdanb8yI don’t mean inventing something completely new, just modifying transfiguration. He already did that with partial transfiguration, he might be able to modify it differently, e.g., by inventing a version that returns everything to where it was when dispelled, regardless of how the transfigured object changed. Since magic—and transfiguration in particular—doesn’t seem to care much about conservation of entropy, it’s not obvious why that should be impossible. In fact, it’s actually surprising that transfiguration does work the way it does. I think most people would not expect the dangers of transfiguration—McGonagall spends a lot of time on that, and since the shape of the original does not affect the transfigured shape, it seems intuitive that the transfigured shape shouldn’t affect the original—and magic seems to care about what users expect—note how nobody had to warn the students about physics when they learn riding brooms.
0fractalman8yThose are still classed as charms, complete with wand motions and incantations. I...suppose it's plausible that Harry will figure out how to invent a new transfiguration charm before any other type of charm, but....I just wouldn't expect that to last for very long, once he hacks deep enough into magic to start inventing spells. for the purposes of ringmione, it's negligible. Broom-spells are cast long before the rider gets on. "most people would not expect the dangers of transfiguration"-well Rowling certainly didn't...but harry had to go pretty deep, conceptually, to invent partial transfiguration; shallow expectations don't seem to have much of an effect on transfiguration. it may only have been changeable by the original inventors of transfiguration in the MoR verse. ...You think if nobody warned about the dangers of transfiguration there wouldn't be any issues? I actually doubt that, Harry had to go pretty deep before overcoming the whole-object limitation. whatever the real rules for transfiguration are, harry came pre
4bogdanb8yYes, you’re right, the analogy was not correct. But my point is that it appears that the broom spell does what’s intuitive, and the transfiguration spell apparently does not. No, in MoRverse at least people would die. But that’s my point, it’s weird that you need dire warnings that transfiguration doesn’t work as you might expect, but pretty much every other spell we’ve seen does not require such warnings, even if very powerful (e.g., time-turners; note that Harry was terrified, and Minerva acted less concerned than if she gave him a bike). Exactly. Why do they seem to have an effect in other cases? For example, a teleport spell will also have to compensate for the difference in velocity between the departure and destination. But the shallow expectation is that you’ll arrive stationary, and it works as you expect. Also, it takes with you whatever you’re wearing, even in a pocket, and presumably even if you don’t know you have it on you, but doesn’t take the carpet you’re standing on (and so do time-turners). Aresto Momentum itself looks very safe on first view, and nobody warns about, say, casting it while inside a moving vehicle (depending on what it actually means, which if you think hard about it is not very clear, it should be very dangerous to cast it on objects inside or outside the vehicle). Time turners don’t drop you in outer space. Brooms partly ignore inertia. Tooth-growing charms don’t break your jaw. Accio doesn’t seem to kill people or destroy property, even if you summon an object from very far away, and doesn’t work on buildings. Fold-space objects have limited capacity, but one can enter a space-folding trunk while holding a space-folding pouch without needing to think about the possible consequences. Floo powder protects you not only from the burning, but also from suffocation and CO poisoning (you keep your head in the fire to use it for communication). Even accidents are somewhat intuitive: an extra cat hair in Polyjuice can give you ca
0Intrism8yEvery single casting of Arresto Momentum ever was performed on a moving planet, which resulted in no issues. It's possible that casting from inside of a moving vehicle to outside of it might result in problems, but I strongly doubt that it'll do anything which would seem bizarre from the caster's frame of reference.
0bogdanb8yOf course. This suggests that the spell uses something as a reference. If it’s the caster, then casting Aresto Momentum on a tree while riding the TGV will cause the tree to suddenly start moving at a few hundred km/s. If it’s the planet, casting it on an object inside the train will have the same effect. Wizards might not use fast vehicles a lot, but even the Hogwarts train and the flying brooms are fast enough to be very dangerous with heavy objects. (That said, I don’t think there are any examples, in canon or MoR, of the spell being used for anything other than falling objects. If it only does that, then it’s much less dangerous in normal life, especially in a society without high-speed elevators, and it makes a bit more sense, though the name is even sillier.)
0TrE8yThis is a great way of bringing a celestial body, e.g. Venus, on a transfer orbit which will put it in the same orbit as earth, but on the other side of the sun, as you'll only need to move the caster, not the planet itself. Such orbits are fairly stable on a human timescale, and colonization (plus terraforming) may begin then. Aiming the spell might be a little difficult, but is certainly doable (as amassed spell-casting will also do, there's no problem if several spells hit).
0Intrism8yYou could probably make Arresto Momentum relatively safe by having it choose between the caster's frame of reference and the earth's (at the caster's position) based on whichever results in the spell doing less work. It's still dangerous, obviously casting it on someone else's moving vehicle would be a bad move, but it avoids making anything go "zoom" in a privileged frame of reference.
0bogdanb8yEh, the spell probably just reads your mind and does whatever you actually want :-)
0fractalman8yhm. I've increased my estimate that Harry could further hack into transfiguration, but I still find it very unlikely that he's managed to do so for RingMione. (simply not enough time). "Even accidents are somewhat intuitive: an extra cat hair in Polyjuice can give you cat attributes instead of blowing up or not working at all." Even THAT"S rather dangerous in the MoR universe, while in cannon it was mostly funny. And...I think MoR potions don't blow up anywhere near as often as Cannon potions...though maybe that's just because Slytherins and Gryfinndors aren't throwing things into each others cauldron while Snape turns a blind eye. maybe. edit: hm.
6Kindly8yTo be fair, blowing up is probably the intended purpose of Cannon Potions.
0bogdanb8yYeah, creating a separate spell (like whatever Animagi do) would be creating a new charm. But he could just modify the normal transfiguration. He casts partial transfiguration the same way as the normal one, it’s just how he thinks about it that changes.
1ikrase8yI mean, untransfiguring the brain while it overlaps with a solid object.
2jefftk8yTransfigure Hermione into part of a ring, and a marshmallow into the rest of it. That might not even require partial transfiguration, if you make them fit together like puzzle pieces.

Someone called it in the comments on last chapter, when I get a chance to check I'll edit their name in so they get the appropriate Bayes points.

I'll save you the checking, it was me. Link.

Ringmione seems to be the most popular hypothesis at the moment. It strikes me as extremely careless a plan for Harry to attempt; recall Quirrell's comments after the battle with the transfigured armor, and the first battle where passing out ended the transfiguration on the marshmallow he was practicing with.

However, I took "Harry's parents come to Hogwarts" as a completely insane move that Dumbledore/Macgonnagle would be highly unlikely to pull, and yet the elder wizards thought rather differently from me and did it anyway. I still think using the ring involves Harry assigning way too little cleverness to Dumbledore, but in light of the ordeal with his parents I'll give it a little more probability weight.

(Note also that Harry did something under the covers when Flitwick showed up.)

I took "Harry's parents come to Hogwarts" as a completely insane move

Hum, well, if you think like a general wanting to win a war, yes. If you think as a teacher preoccupied about a 11-yo boy's mental health after he literally saw his best friend bleeding to death in his arms, fetching the boy's parents feel like the thing to do. And my own mental model of McGonagall is more that of a teacher preoccupied with a child's mental well-being than of a general.

McGonagall is upgrading herself and questioning her previous stances, but still, she seems like the only one who actually cares for a Harry as a child in distress, nearly as much as she cares about the war.

7Xachariah8yHarry will already lose a finger if anyone finite's his ring. He practiced with the marshmallow because the rapid expansion of the rock would tear off his finger. Ringmione isn't much more of a personal risk to him.

This is a world where there are potions that can regrow bones in a single night. I think it wouldn't matter that much to Harry if he did lose his finger.

2fractalman8yCannon!harry does NOT like skele grow. I don't expect Rational!Harry would like it any more, even if he wouldn't complain about it to anyone.
3thomblake8yNo, but Hermione's life is on the line - he'd bite off his own fingers to save her.
3ikrase8yNo, the rock might crush his finger, or cause other problems, but it would push his hand out of the way, while with a ring, the center would close.
3Xachariah8ych 30 This implies to me that that his finger would've gotten wrecked if that was a rock. Remember, finite on the rock blew out both the front and back of the troll's head. It wasn't just expanding in a confined spot; it expanded fast enough to blow out both sides. Explosive de-transfiguration. Certainly enough to tear off a 10 year old's finger.
2afterburger8yIf Ringmione is true, then I would assign over 50% probability to Dumbledore having noticed it and not called out Harry on it, in the same way that Dumbledore appeared to have noticed Harry in Azkaban and chose to not reveal it. I suspect Dumbledore is still just fighting the War, and believes that Harry is the key to defeating Voldemort and/or actually is Voldemort, and so Dumbledore did not reveal Ringmione because he believes Harry is trying to do the right thing and revealing Ringmione would cause a disastrous confrontation.
4Velorien8yGiven that all of Dumbledore's subsequent actions, including some pretty drastic decisions, were made on the assumption that Voldemort had returned, based solely on the evidence of the Azkaban break-in, this seems unlikely. He even told Bones that he had only given each cell a quick examination due to the sheer number he had to look through, which is an unnecessary detail in-universe, but out-of-universe explains to the reader how he could have overlooked Harry's concealment. ETA (this does mean "edited to add", right?): If Dumbledore was already working on the assumption that Harry was involved in the breakout, he would not have been so surprised that retrieving him from Mary's Place early would cause a paradox.
0William_Quixote8yI have had felt for a while now that Dumbledore knows a lot more than he says. I'd put at least 55% chance on him knowing Harry was involved. What I don't get is why he says nothing and goes along with it. Even for Harry freeing Bella is more than youthful high spirits.
1Velorien8yWhat's the strong evidence you have that lets you put it at at least 55% in spite of seeing no reason for Dumbledore to say nothing and go along with it?

It's not completely any one thing, rather it’s a combination of many things

In Azkaban, Dumbledore walks through and checks every unit. Bella remarks afterward that it was Dumbledore doing the check. That means he was close enough for her to identify him. She was not in great shape at the time and had almost no magic left. He was the most powerful wizard in several centuries doing an active search. It seems very unlikely he didn't notice everyone in the room. So with no tricks or deductions, I think there’s a chance Dumbledore finds out right here, and we see some hints that he did.

Returning from his search Dumbledore remarks that a prisoner had the same magic as a first year. As a Hogwarts prof, he knows very well how much magic a first year has.

Returning from the search Dumbledore changes tune from "Bella must not leave alive" to "let us not be the first to use deadly curses". (Ostensibly because they didn't kill Barry)

But if Dumbledore didn’t find Harry with his search, there are still various clues out there. And Dumbledore is the most powerful wizard in the world, in a world where power comes from solving mysteries, remembering details, and piecing together... (read more)

5elharo8yDumbledore clearly suspects Harry might be behind Azkaban. In fact, he says as much. However he doesn't "know". He also suspects it might be Voldemort. (He probably hasn't considered the possibilities that it was Harry and Voldemort working together.)
1William_Quixote8yDumbledore certainly doesn't "say" that he knows. But as readers we are not shown his internal thoughts (in contrast to Harry, Hermione, Mcgonagall, and many others). Dumbledore's thoughts have been deliberately made opqaue to readers. So we can't definitively say that he knows or doesn't know something. We can only infer which is more likely given other known facts. I will note on a meta level though, that one possible reason not to show a character's thoughts is that they are thinking and saying different things.
4linkhyrule58y... Huh. This... changes things. That... is interesting. Very interesting. ... possible motivations: long-distance time travel, wanting to remain not-an-enemy of Harry so he can still exercise some influence on him (note: right from the start, he's the one who got the original HE IS COMING prophecy, right when a hypercompetent and extremely unexpected Harry Potter has arrived), wanting to figure out Harry's motives first.
2Martin-28yI did too at first, but when Harry reads the follow-up letter from his father we see that it turned out for the best.
2NancyLebovitz8yAnd there's a clue that I should remember it when I twitch slightly. When Harry was worried about whether he'd wrecked his relationship with his parents, I wondered whether that actually made sense.
2Intrism8yRemember that Harry only needed to keep Hermione in the ring until after his stuff was searched; it strikes me as improbable that Dumbledore will demand to search the gem again. (Of course, having Hermione's body magically appear would still be a bit awkward, but the losing-a-finger part was the only one which I would expect to truly scare Harry.) I still don't think the ring theory is correct, though. Harry has no reason to bring Hermione's body with him to the meeting; at best, it is an unnecessary risk. There's a Time-Turner theory elsewhere in the thread that seems far more elegant to me.
0ThisSpaceAvailable8yIf Dumbledore asks his Patronus to find Hermione, and it flies over to Harry's ring, that would be awkward. Hiding a body in Hogwarts doesn't strike me as particularly difficult, even without transfiguration. I don't see why he would have to keep it among his personal possessions.
1wobster1098yI don't think Patronus works with dead bodies though. Whenever Harry casts it, it seems like "life force" or whatever is pretty important
0westward8yWhat location is safe to leave the transfigured Hermione? Hogwarts is not a safe place.
1drethelin8yAlmost anywhere where someone won't be deliberately looking for a transfigured item or where they won't accidentally pick it up. You can't search the school in general for transfigured items, it would take too long. He could simply put transfigured corpsemione into any random book in the library or hand the item to someone to hold for him for a while or put her under someone's bed or anywhere as long as he can plausible retrieve her before his transfiguration wears off.
-2Eugine_Nier8yOf course, he will have problems once someone starts trailing him.
2Intrism8yIt is notoriously difficult to trail someone who is wearing the True Cloak of Invisibility, with added anti-detection charms because apparently the Deathly Hallow just wasn't enough.
7pedanterrific8yI read that as being an excuse for the differences between Harry's Cloak and the one Neville's familiar with.
1Benquo8yMaybe only part of the ring is Hermione?
1Roxolan8yHow would that help if Dumbledore Finite the ring? The dispelling doesn't seem that specific.

It wouldn't - but it would reduce Harry's risk of losing a finger to a Finite Incantatem in combat. And Harry does take pains to physically separate the ring from the stone before Dumbledore inspects the stone:

Slowly, Harry did so, removing the gem and setting the ring off to the other side of the desk.

Unless that's just an intended second red herring, to make Dumbledore feel even worse about mistrusting Harry a second time. But just like Harry, Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape err in completely distrusting the wards when they say the Defense Professor killed Hermione, we can't treat possibly falsified evidence as anti-evidence, this has to shift our belief at least a little bit toward the Ringmione hypothesis.

The ring is also a significantly less suspect place to hide Hermione than the stone, because transfiguring something into a ring that you wear goes directly contrary to McGonagall's safety advice. Partial transfiguration provides a way around the safety issue, and Dumbledore and McGonagall are unused to thinking about things that can be done with partial transfiguration, so the idea is less likely to occur to them.

I'm about 50% confident that Hermione is in the ring.

(By the way, the wards' identification of Hermione's killer as the Defense Professor is strong evidence for the theory that the Defense Professor was carrying some nasties standing in his pocket when Dumbledore drew a circle around Quirrel to mark the Defense Professor to Hogwarts's wards.)

Then the wards should be saying now that the Defense Professor is dead?

On a side note, the actual skill that HPMOR is teaching its readers seems to be not science but rather Talmudism, the skill of finding clever interpretations to some words written in a book. It would be cool to see a fanfic that tried to teach science by similar incentives.

7Vaniver8yThis seems to be my impression as well, which is somewhat unfortunate. (This is one of the reasons I try to avoid speculation in my commentaries, though it makes its way in from time to time.) I think this is the case because there's an author intending the story. The correct way to predict the story is to predict the human writing the story, which is not the correct way to predict the fabric of reality. The story is also (mostly) non-interactive. Identifying an experimental intervention which could have a high information impact, while the backbone of science, is inaccessible to readers. Instead, observational data must be interpreted, which makes it difficult to distinguish between interpretations that agree with the existing evidence but disagree on other features. And so you could have a game that teaches science (in some ways, Nethack does this, and similar games are easy to imagine), but I don't think you can have a fanfic which does.
3cousin_it8yMaybe you could have an mspaintadventure that teaches science. For some reason that reminded me of the beautiful MSPA wizardfic [http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=007477]. Not that it's scientific or anything!
5Benquo8yI hadn't thought of that. Some possible explanations: 1) Quirrel didn't actually use that trick. 2) The wards don't report the deaths of faculty, only students. 3) As long as any part of "Defense Professor" has is alive, the wards don't register its death. 4) The wards did register the Defense Professor's death, but either 4a) Dumbledore didn't notice the extra death report, since he was preoccupied with a student's death, and didn't look it up afterwards Or 4b) Dumbledore knows about it, and (correctly) assumes that the same glitch that attributed the troll's actions to the Defense Professor attributed the troll's death to the Defense Professor.
2NancyLebovitz8yThis may not be entirely fair to the Talmud, which at least sometimes grounds out into "what rule for living should we deduce from the clues in the text?".
9pinnate8yLosing a finger shouldn't happen. A human is a torus. Depending on which way he puts the ring on, he'd just wind up with his finger in her mouth, or otherwise.
6solipsist8ySo...you're saying that transfigurations have to be homeomorphisms [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeomorphism]? You couldn't transform the toroid Hermione into some sort of Klein Bottle, even if you really, really wanted to?
0mjr8yHe's saying that there should be less danger of snapping stuff off due to sudden topological changes when there's holes going through both the source and target form (and damn, got there before me). As for control, it seems to me like the orientation is even intuitively clear in this instance once you actually think about the topological similarities. What with mental images being rather important with magic, it's likely to be doable. (And for getting rid of the mental image later, there's Obliviate!)
3jefftk8yIs there a reason to think people have control over what parts of the input to transfiguration become what parts of the output? Most people just think whole input object to whole output object. Harry has figured out how to take only a "partial object" as input, but choosing what parts end up where sounds much more complex.
2linkhyrule58yA desk is not a torus.
2jefftk8yBut then what was he doing under the covers [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/hxg/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/9bxu] ?
0Benquo8yMisdirection? Although that is evidence against Ringmione.
0jefftk8yMisdirecting Flitwick by pretending that he's transfigured a whole ring instead of a partial one? But it would be much less suspicious just to get out of bed, given that what he'd want to hide would be that the ring was transfigured at all.
0Benquo8yI was thinking, to leave a false clue that Hermione's body was hidden either in the bed or on his person.
0jefftk8yExcept he wants to give the impression that he doesn't know anything about the body's disappearance and it's entirely someone else's work.
2Benquo8yThe more leads Dumbledore pursues that turn out to be false, the less likely it will seem that any future lead is true. Kind of like how "Santa Clause" told Harry that Dumbledore would take away his cloak, so that when Dumbledore didn't, Harry trusted him more than before the suspicion.
0Sheaman37738yInteresting point. Of course, he could have removed the gem so that it wouldn't damage the ring when it was transfigured back, and put it on the other side of the desk so that when the rock "fell with a loud crack upon the Headmaster's desk" it wouldn't smash the ring. But yours is still possible as well.
7Viliam_Bur8yThe gem is red herring, the ring is Hermione.
8moridinamael8yThis was my thought as well, but Harry would have had to be unreasonably sure that Dumbledore didn't have some kind of "de-Transfigure everything in sight" spell to use on him.
5pedanterrific8yIt's called Finite Incantatem.
3bogdanb8yThink about what would happen if Dumbledore (strong wizard, has all sorts of authority) cast Finite Incantatem on his desk, and the spell doesn’t include a “do what I mean, not what I say” security feature. There must be thousands of spells in that general area. Even if for some reason the desk wouldn’t be disenchanted (which probably it wouldn’t, else casting Finite on someone holding a filled magic pouch or near a magic trunk would be very dangerous, and someone would have mentioned that in MoR), it still probably has dozens if not hundreds of other spells, and can thousands of magic items due to recursive space folding. Even if many of those are protected against Finite, they are so many in total that it’s very likely that a lot aren’t. Now that I think about it, casting Finite on something you don’t know about sounds just as dangerous as casting a spell you don’t know what it does. (Basically, Finite means casting the reverse of a spell.) Very exploitable unless something automagically checks for corner cases.)
2Sheaman37738yNothing, I would think Either he used a specific counter-free-transfiguration spell, in which case it wouldn't affect anything that was not free transfigured, or he uses Finite and only puts enough magic into it to overwhelm anything a first-year student could produce. I suppose he could have put in just enough juice to counter one spell from a first-year but not enough to counter two, but that is relying on a second layer of Dumbledore error. That's even assuming that Finite or Finite Incantatem can affect artifacts, which we don't know to be true. Have we seen any signs of such?
0bogdanb8yThat wouldn’t be quite enough; Harry could have got someone else to help, though indeed it is unlikely. You’re quite right about this. Presumably there’s some sort of “stabilizing” element for artifacts and spells that are meant to be (semi)permanent, precisely to avoid accidental Finite. (Not necessarily brute-force resistance spells, it could be just a safety thing to make sure you really want that cancelled.)
2ThisSpaceAvailable8yIt's clear that in Potterverse, there are at least four inputs to a spell: wand, gesture, incantation, and state of mind of caster. Killing Curse and Patronus, for instance, are quite clearly dependent on state of mind. Transfiguration also depends on state of mind, and I don't recall any indication that there is any modification of the gesture or incantation depending on what transfiguration one intends to perform; that is determined entirely by intent. I think that it is reasonable to assume that, just as the Transfiguration spell is a "Do the transfiguration I'm thinking of" spell, the Finite Incantum spell is a "End the spell (or class of spells) I'm thinking of" spell.
1bogdanb8yThis would make the most sense, of course. But remember that this thread started from the idea “what if Dumbledore mass-Finites”, i.e. without knowing what spell he was cancelling. This might work if Finite is smart enough to identify a class like “unknown spells that entered the room together with Harry in this general area”, but that’s stretching it a bit. Also, though that wasn’t my original point, it still has the risk of very dangerous effects. E.g., if Harry had used a 1 ton stone instead of his father’s, for some reason. Or if someone else placed a dangerous transfigured item on Harry. By the way, I just had an idea: the reason you shouldn’t transfigure living things is that they get sick and die after turning back (presumably due to DNA damage and protein denaturation, basically approximating radiation exposure). Trolls are dangerous because they self-transfigure into themselves. Now, imagine you’re a wizard strong enough to transfigure a troll, say into a gemstone on your ring. While transfigured the troll shouldn’t be able to fix itself (since it’s a stone). It might even pass most magic wards. But when you turn it back, the troll should repair itself almost instantly, showing no signs of transfiguration sickness.
0pedanterrific8yDo we have an example of Finite being used to cancel anything other than transfigurations or first-year level spells (Somnium)?
2bogdanb8yCanon is rather inconsistent, as you’d expect. In MoR chapter 23 there’s this: Stuff like locks would obviously be protected, but Harry’s thoughts (“some”) suggests that it’s more of an exception.
3ikrase8yNot in sight, but Finite Incantatem does seem to be a (likely moderate and adjustable) area-affect spell based on it's spammability in combat and the ability to finite things that you don't know the exact position of.
2Caspian8yA second, hidden copy of himself could possibly use the time turner as soon as it was announced the ring was to be transfigured, and make sure Hermione was not in the ring, but I think Harry has better uses than that for as much time turning as he can get.
0wobster1098yI wondered about why he took out the gem and put it far away from the ring. But I'd be surprised if Harry were good enough at occlumency to fool Dumbledore. Wondering how he answered those questions.
0fractalman8yHis occlumency is not the issue. In MoR, as best as we can tell, there are perfect Occlumens, but not perfect legillimens. it's the other little clues that get left around that may or may not give him away.
5pangel8yOr Harry transfigured Hermione's body into a rock and then the rock into a brown diamond. Unless the story explicitly disallows double transfigurations and I missed it.
7Ben Pace8yI thought this, but the spell used to undo a transformation by Harry in 89 is 'Finite Incantatem' which sounds more like 'stop magic happening here' rather than 'undo a single transformation', especially considering its varied other uses. Assuming Dumbledore didn't make a basic error (he didn't) I feel as though my stone hypothesis from earlier has been falsified.
2gwern8yMy problem with that is that the rock should then still be a 'transfigured object' for the purposes of the spells and detected when Dumbledore examines the untransfigured diamond.
[-][anonymous]8y 16

I agree, and suspect a time turner is involved. Reasoning:

If I am reading this correctly, Harry asks about whether or not making Hermione an Infernius would allow her to keep her mind twice, once in Chapter 90, and once in chapter 94. In neither case does his reaction seem to phase the other person much, so it doesn't seem to be a social maneuver.

Harry also needs to urgently go to the bathroom in 94. So he doesn't seem likely to waste time asking questions that he already knows the answer to for no reason.

This strongly implies he has forgotten part of the events of chapter 90 at some point, or that he asked that question for some reason other than curiosity. Also, he has access to an unlocked time turner, and is going to have access to memory charms soon (the moment he gets to have a moment where he's not drowning in social contact and can actually go READ the book). He's also really, really, determined to do something to revive Hermione.

Harry could now suspect that he is GOING to take Hermione's body in the future. Then he can attempt to go back in time, and then steal the body, and then memory charm his past self so his past self didn't remember during the interrogation. It's cha... (read more)

I think Harry's second question about Infernius was rhetorical.

...the Dark Lord has taken Hermione Granger's remains, it seems. I cannot think of anything he would gain thereby, except to send her corpse against you as an Inferius. Severus shall give you certain potions to keep about your person. Be warned now, and be prepared for when you must do what must be done."

"Will the Inferius have Hermione's mind?"

"No -

"Then it's not her.

Harry is saying that he's mentally prepared to kill something that looks like and used to be Hermione.

0ikrase8yI don't see the point in using it as an Inferius. Why would Dumbledore expect the Dark Lord to do that?
0hairyfigment8yHe would expect it because it's cruel. The Dark Lord seems to have optimized his (public) actions for sadistic pleasure more than effectiveness. If Quirrellmort sees Harry as a genuine threat, though, he's probably holding the body hostage. He'll have placed it in stasis as best he can.
0ikrase8yOK, although I also don;t think that any post-Azkaban Harry would be fazed by having to kill Zombie Hermione.

It's also possible that he wanted to confirm the validity of the information he got from Quirrell. If Quirrell and Dumbledore agree on something, it's probably true to the best anyone can tell, or at least that's probably how Harry sees it.

0Sheaman37738yAlso likely to hide the fact that he already had the answer to this question--it wouldn't do for people to start wondering what he and the Defense Professor were talking about...

I suspect a time turner is involved for different reasoning. Specifically, I suspect that Harry's wards allow time-turned copies of himself to do things while he is asleep (since future-him knows more). So, my guess is that Harry stole Hermoine's body last night, woke up to find it missing (hence, the fumbling under sheets), goes through the interrogation, goes back in time, and steals Hermoine's body from his sleeping past-self.

9Macaulay8yRegarding Harry's lack of surprise, isn't it odd that he puts no effort into wearing the expression of someone who has no idea about Hermione's body being missing?
3Intrism8yRemember that Harry had just been hastily awoken long before his accustomed time. It's not unreasonable for Harry to be behaving a little bit awkwardly, and it certainly isn't enough of a tell for Dumbledore to draw any conclusions. What does seem to be a bit of a tell is his strange behavior around the ring; he seems to deliberately create tension before the ring is verified in order to, apparently, play for sympathy afterwards.
3gthorneiii8yI suggest that Harry, upon finding himself being interrogated about Hermione's remains, resolves to time turn himself after the meeting back to before he was woken and replace the Hermione gem with the Father's Rock gem. Only after resolving on this course of action is Harry ready to submit the gem to Dumbledore for examination. He can stow the Hermione gem anywhere non-obvious in the meantime and recover it later.
-2Eugine_Nier8yIf that logic worked Hermione wouldn't have died in the first place.
3linkhyrule58yNot necessarily. We don't know what causes ontological loops to form. Precommitting seems to be insufficient, but that doesn't mean that Harry can't get a loop when he needs it.
2gthorneiii8yExcept that Harry didn't have access to his time turner prior to witnessing Hermione's death. Once something has happened it cannot be re-written in the self consistent time travel of the HPMORverse. Harry did ask Dumbledore about ways to create the illusion of death in order to get around this hurdle (essentially allowing the information to be the appearance of Hermione's death as opposed to her actual death), but the Headmaster said he had tried something like that with disastrous results previously. I know of nothing in the known rules of time travel in HPMOR that wouldn't allow for Harry to plan to swap gems. In fact, he used basically this exact same trick for the Remembrall and Torture incidents.
3linkhyrule58yNote that Harry has no legitimate way to know what an Inferius is. Also, I highly doubt that Hermione is in the ring - it's just too awkward, it risks detection, if it gets detransfigured in a critical situation then suddenly he has to lug Hermione's body around while fighting off Voldemort or something. It's far more likely to be an anonymous brick, marked with, oh, let's say a stylized helium atom, that he placed in plain sight somewhere. Shame he doesn't know about the Room of Requirement, or he could've used the Room of Lost Things...
7Intrism8yInferi appear to be common knowledge; they're cited in casual contexts in chapters 70 and 78, by Lavender Brown and the narrator respectively.
3linkhyrule58yThat said, the idea that Harry has Obliviated himself is interesting - there's been a timeskip and he's had access to his Time Turner, so he's had time to read his book, and he thinks about Memory Charms during the conversation, which is something of a dropped hint.
0DanielLC8yThe transfiguration won't last forever if he leaves it on its own. I'm not sure if this means that he actually has to have it on his person at all times, or if he just has to go near it every so often. Maybe he transfigured her into his blanket. I would have guessed he'd have used the pouch, although Dumbledore can apparently search it without Harry's permission, so that's risky.

I'd been wondering if Harry might have left Hermione's transfigured body with someone else. Probably not Neville or Quirrel, because the professors are already paying attention to them lately and Harry doesn't completely trust Quirrel's intentions. But he could safely leave it with Lesath, as long as no one saw Harry give Lesath the body and reclaim it later. Harry considers Lesath's loyalty a resource now, and no one else thinks Lesath is relevant. It's not typical of Harry to rely on others for help, though, so I'm not confident that he actually did this.

Eh, the theories about the ring is the body and the gem is the decoy seem crazily, unnecessarily risky. They rely on Dumbledore doing an insufficient search. It seems like a much more reliable strategy is that as soon as Dumbledore asked to check the ring, he precommitted to going back in time to swap the body-gem for the rock-gem. Then he goes to the bathroom, drops back an hour, transfigures the rock, swaps the gems on sleeping Harry, then goes back to the bathroom for the handoff.

That said, it's been stated that solids undergo internal changes over time, and so a living thing transfigured into a solid and back would die within hours. There's got to be another piece to the puzzle than just Harry transfigured the body. I considered the possibility that Harry transfigured it into something more stable than wizards are used to dealing with, like a single gold atom, but that presents it's own logistical challenges.

3drnickbone8yIsn't there a simpler (and nicer) solution than Hermione-corpse-transfigured-to-ring, or Hermione-corpse-transfigured-to-gem-then-swapped? Both of these seem unduly complicated and ghoulish. The nicer solution is that whatever Harry was doing between Hermione's death and dinner-time, he has already succeeded. Harry has somehow set up a time marker by which his future self can travel back to restore Hermione to life (or pass himself some sort of message back telling him how to do it) and she is already resurrected and out of here. Presumably the plan also involved him selectively obliviating himself, so that he would retain the motivation to work out how to do the impossible in the future, while being quite relaxed about little details like the missing body. An interesting question is how did he get round the 6 hour limit? Are there any hints in the story so far on the solution? Some thoughts: * Phoenix travel * Forcing a prophecy and deciphering it * The ritual described at the head of Chapter 1 * Looping himself multiple times around the same 6 hours * Some variant on the factoring trick, to force himself to receive knowledge of a working resurrection spell which he will invent at a later date, or else create a paradox in the present. Only this time, he's determined enough to make it work, and not be distracted by any "DON'T MESS WITH TIME" messages...
6loup-vaillant8yI don't see Hermione be revived any time soon, for both story reasons and because Harry is unlikely to unravel the secrets of soul magic in mere hours, even with a time loop at his disposal. More likely, Harry has found a reliable way to suspend her, and that would be the "he has already succeeded" you speak of.
1NancyLebovitz8yIs there any chance that Harry has figured out how to hack time turners?
0drnickbone8yI thought of a weird hack based on ambiguity about "information". Here's how it works: 1. In the present, you have a problem you need to solve but will only be able to solve a long time in the future. 2. Set up a random process to guess an answer and write it to a sheet of paper A. 3. Do something with the answer, then hide the paper somewhere safe where it won't be disturbed until you later solve the problem properly. 4. Memory charm yourself to forget what was written to A. 1. Much later, solve the problem properly. Also learn the Imperius curse, and then Imperius yourself to do the following protocol. Cast all sorts of other advanced protection spells to prevent anyone or anything else interrupting the protocol. 2. At time T, you expect to receive a sheet of paper B with a correct answer to the problem. You then look in the place where you hid paper A and see if the answers match. If they match, you write "Success" on a third sheet of paper C. If they don't match, you write "Fail" on paper C, add a completely different answer from either A or B to paper C, and put it in your pocket. If you don't receive a paper B at all, then write "Fail" on paper C, add a random answer, and put it in your pocket. Memory charm yourself to forget what was written on A and B, and what you wrote on C. 3. At time T+1 hour, you look in your pocket and do the following. If you find a paper C starting with "Fail" then copy the rest of its contents to a paper B, and send it back in time one hour to yourself. If you have a paper C starting with "Success" then write down the correct answer to the problem on a sheet of paper B and send it back in time one hour to yourself. It seems like the only consistent loop is where the guessed answer written on paper A matches the correct answer later written on to paper B. But since it's "only a lucky
3thomblake8yThis doesn't seem significantly different from the loop Harry already tried, that didn't work. Don't summon Azathoth.
6drnickbone8yWell it didn't work before because getting scared and writing "DON'T MESS WITH TIME" was also a stable loop. If you read the description carefully, Harry broke his own protocol. This is why I suggested adding the Imperius, memory charms and other powerful protection spells to ensure the protocol is followed. If Azathoth appears in the middle of the protocol anyway then the protection spells weren't strong enough !
3TobyBartels8yThere's still the danger that the most likely stable loop is one where somebody breaks your protection spells. You need the probability of that to be much less than the probability of guessing the correct answer A.
0Velorien8yI'm not sure what you're implying here. Is this just a general rule of thumb for rationalists?
3thomblake8yJust a general rule of thumb. The time loop is a powerful optimization process with outcomes that are not intuitive to humans. It's analogous to invoking evolution. If 'the world is destroyed by an asteroid' is the only stable outcome, then it seems that's what you're going to get.
3asr8yHermione was dead when transfigured. Any revival has to already surmount post-mortem decay and the transfiguration damage might not be a significant additional cost.
0AndrewE8yThat may be true, but it may not be, and in transfiguration, you may recall, you do not care to guess. Harry will take every possible avenue to reduce the amount of magical omnipotence he needs to revive Hermione, and he has utterly no clue how much damage will be done with a straight transfiguration, and he has nobody to ask. I don't believe for a minute that the best he came up with thinking about it for 5-6 hours was to simply transfigure her into a ring/rock.
3linkhyrule58yHarry knows why solids undo internal changes, though - it's because they do. You sit a block of gold down for an hour and random heat vibrations are going to reorganize the atoms. Map that gold block back to a human, and now you have heart-atoms where lung-atoms should be. Wait too long and you'll get a ghoulish soup. He can avoid this by using a very stable crystal, and keeping the crystal itself cool, but it's still probably a temporary solution.
1TrE8yOr transfiguring the body into something that doesn't change very much over time even if it is warm, such as an electron or a molecule of nitrogen and store that safely (what about a single carbon atom within a diamond? Should go about unchanged, and is easy to store).
5linkhyrule58yActually ,there's an even bigger problem. In order to maintain the transfiguration, you'd have to touch that carbon atom again.
2TrE8yWhat does it mean, on a molecular level, to "touch" things? It's just repulsion of electrons. So if Harry has learnt to do partial transfiguration by considering things to be just piles of atoms, he might also be able to get around that restraint. Of course, you are still completely right that transfiguring stuff into very small particles is quite dangerous: What if the atom sublimates? What if somebody somehow takes it up so it becomes part of that person's body? How to find it in case it gets lost in the atmosphere, in the sea, or anywhere else? Etcetera. All sorts of fatal mistakes can be done, and Harry will not want to risk dying, or making Hermione's recovery impossible.
1linkhyrule58yI'm not sure you can transfigure things into individual atoms, though. It's been implied that large scale changes are hard, and the scale change from body -> gem is, what, twenty orders of magnitude smaller than that from gem->atom? Now, the real ideal would be some supercooled perfect crystal of nitrogen or something. But that has... obvious problems.
0Sheaman37738yThere's a yet-simpler possibility. He's not stupid, he knew that he would be summoned when her body disappeared, so he slept with whatever her body is transfigured next to his skin so that it wouldn't reverse itself and then removed it in that first moment. No Time-Turner use required. I notice that there are no instructions to check anywhere else--such as under the covers on his bed.
-1mjr8yAgreed that it seems overly risky, but conservation of narrative detail says it's the ring regardless. And I can buy Harry going for a clever red herring ploy even so. (Also, coming out of his goodbyes, he presumably burned out most if not all of his time turner turns for the day, but I forget if he was about to get new ones in time to hack it if necessary.)
0AndrewE8yYou'll have to explain why. It seems to me my theory fits the details just as well and isn't prone to catastrophic failure given a slightly more diligent DD. Even if it is the ring, he still precommits to going back in time to do the swap, just in case DD does turn out to be sufficiently diligent. There's no way he burns all the time turner uses for the day at once unless there's no other possiblity. He learned in Azkaban that you always leave yourself wiggle room. And entirely aside from that, it's good for 6 uses per day. It's a new day.

"I very much need to visit the washroom, and I would also like to change out of these pyjamas."

This is where he's going to be using the time-turner to pick up Hermione's transfigured body before Flitwick arrives.

The reason this works this time, is that he has already precommitted to doing so when he spent all those hours thinking until dinner the day before. The ring is a red herring.

3cousin_it8yWait, can you use a time-turner to go back, pick up something and return to the present? In that case you can keep something permanently hidden outside of time, except for a minute every 6 hours as you pick it up and drop it off.

I'm reasonably certain time turners can't jump you forwards in time. So far as I can tell everyone who's used a time turner has taken the 'long path' to catch back up with their most advanced present.

6Intrism8yHarry can return to the present via the long route, if necessary. It doesn't appear that anyone bothered to check for extra Harries in the morning, so he wouldn't need to do anything more exotic than hide in the washroom before the previous Harry iteration got there in order to fool the Professors.
2NancyLebovitz8yFor indefinite qualities of "permanently"-- it sounds like it's got the same sort of vulnerability as those embezzling schemes that fall apart if the embezzler is sick for a while.
0TobyBartels8yHow do those work? I ask only out of curiosity!
3NancyLebovitz8yI don't have specifics, but it's something like the embezzler being in charge of the accounting. so that scheme holds up as long as no one else looks at the books. Sensible companies have enforced vacations for anyone who has that sort of responsibility.
2Caspian8yMy first thought was that she'd been transfigured into the pajamas, but I don't think that's likely. My theory is that when Harry slept in his bed it was the second time he'd been through that time period. The first time, he stayed invisible with transfigured Hermione in his possession, waited until woken-up Harry had finished being searched, gave her to woken-up Harry, then went back in time and went to bed.
4lfghjkl8yThat would require him to stay up all night, since he cannot know in advance the exact time Flitwick will arrive. It is much more likely that the Harry we saw was the first one, and that he's now going to go back in time to pick up the body.
0buybuydandavis8yEDIT: It's the ring. Everybody beat me to it.
0ChrisHallquist8yDidn't even think of the Harry not being upset thing. I assumed Harry has Hermione's body, because he has the obvious motive and he's clever enough to hide it where Dumbledore couldn't find it. EDIT: Also not sure where. I'm a little unclear on what the inspection of the pouch involved. For example, if Harry transformed Hermione's body into a key and put it in the pouch, would there be any way for the professors to discover this, aside from guessing there was a key in the pouch and then examining said key?
6David_Gerard8yIt appears that transfigured items have a detectable magical signature indicating they are transfigured.
8Gurkenglas8yMade even more probable by McGonagall having told the class in her introduction on transfiguration that goblins have ways of finding out who transfigured a false coin.
0ChrisHallquist8yI assumed that, but it's a little unclear how hard that is to do. Could they pick up the signature of a transfigured item in the pouch if they can't figure out how to get it out of the pouch? If the ring were a transfigured item, what are the odds the detection method would pick that up without a specific decision to scan the ring? The more I think about it, the more it seems likely Hermione's body is in the pouch. The pouch has funny rules that Harry has investigated with unusual thoroughness, and he might be able to exploit that to create a situation where no one but him is likely to be able to figure out the right word to say to retrieve Hermione's body.
2fractalman8yDumbledore can simply reach into that pouch to grab what he needs.
7Dev_Null8yParticularly since, given Harry's investigations into the pouch, "Hermione's body" or at the very least "Hermione's transfigured body" should fetch it for you no matter what you've hidden it as. The pouch isn't an extra way of hiding something, its a particularly handy way of finding hidden things.
2David_Gerard8yOr rather, it would be foolish to presume he did not - Dumbledore is a seriously powerful wizard, after all.

It struck me last night that, if you really wanted to get good predictions on what will happen in the rest of the story, you can just reread the whole thing, look for any potential plot devices that haven't already been triggered in some central way, and figure out how those things might be used. There's not a lot of story left; Eliezer said this arc, a couple of intermediate chapters, and one final plot arc.

I haven't got the time to do this myself, but it seems doable. If you want to really solve everything, set up a collaborative spreadsheet or something, and start hacking away. :)

7ChrisHallquist8yI'm doing this right now, and strongly recommend it, partly because Eliezer has made moderately large revisions to the story that are worth reading. I was ambivalent about some of the changes at first, but on reflection I heartily approve of all of them.
0Paul Crowley8yOoh, can you linky me to where he said that? Cheers :)
7arundelo8yAuthor's Notes for Chapter 94: [http://hpmor.com/notes/94/]
0Paul Crowley8yaha, thanks!

General nitpick: can I request that everyone learn how to spell "canon" and "McGonagall" correctly?

4Velorien8yYou can request, but campaigning for accurate spelling on the Internet, even in this particularly educated corner of it, is an exercise in futility. For those who care, they will already have corrected themselves after seeing the correct spelling in hundreds and hundreds of posts. For those who do not, a mere request will not change their values.
3ThisSpaceAvailable8yIt depends on the word. For "McGonagall", a person would probably have low confidence in their being able to spell it from memory, and would check if they cared, so misspelling it is strong evidence of not caring. "Cannon", on the other hand, is the correct spelling for homophone of "canon", and so it is less indicative of not caring. "Phase", another misspelling that appears in this thread, is even more indicative of ignorance rather than apathy. Confusion between "loose" and "lose" is probably interference from words like "choose", and being reminded of the correct spelling probably will help reinforce the distinction. And going outside of the misspellings in this thread, there are plenty of misspelling, such "straight laced", "shoe-in", and "tow the line", for which a person could quite easily not be exposed to the correct spelling.
3TimS8yYou are right the Qiaochu_Yuan's request is probably hopeless - but I just don't understand mis-speller's reasoning on these particular words. Ok, cannon v. canon is understandable, but why go to the effort of writing out all those letters if one is going to get McGonagall wrong? Something like "McG" seems better in every way - more accurate, less effort to type. But obviously I'm thinking about this wrong in some way, given observed behavior.
2ChrisHallquist8yBecause people don't know? Because sure they've seen it spelled right, but human memory is flawed and if they see it spelled right alongside many misspellings, they may not know which is right and may be too lazy to check?
0CAE_Jones8yI was actually concerned that I was spelling McGonagall wrong, and I distinctly remember checking someone else's spelling, though now that you pointed this out I realize that I had convinced myself that it was in HPMoR when it was probably someone else misspelling it in a comment. (I'm using a screen reader, so must check spelling explicitly, which rarely feels worth it at the times when it would be most trivial, aka I should start planning ahead and checking spellings as soon as I encounter a strange word rather than when I need to type it. Curiously enough, I actually did check the spelling of Qiaochu_Yuan more than once quite a while ago, and have not actually needed to type it yet. )

In chapter 94, Harry knows about Important Things that we haven't seen him learn.

Harry to Dumbledore:

If the enemy can notice you running off to consult the Weasley twins during class after Hermione was arrested, and find out about their magic map and steal it, then they can wonder why I was guarding Hermione Granger's body.

From Harry's internal monolog:

Obvious problem 1, the Dark Lord is supposed to have made his horcrux in 1943 by killing whatshername and framing Mr. Hagrid.

Harry has never been told about Horcruxes, nor the Marauder's Map. How does he know about them?

Has Harry been busy offscreen?

Or, is this exposition cut from Chapter 86?

(Also, isn't Horcrux capitalized in canon?)

EDIT: Chapter 94 was edited to remove Horcrux references.

Ah, there it is!

Harry time-turned to just before the troll attack. (In the one-and-a-half minutes when he went into Hermione's room.) This is probably pretty clear -- he's been keeping everyone else out of that room, and the centrality of the time-turner in this story more or less demands that Harry do so. Harry would have done this even if he couldn't come up with a plan in his previous six hours, just so he'd have another six hours to think, or do what he deemed needful to preserve Hermione's body.

Somewhere in there, he talked to the twins, and poorly obliviated them. Evidence:

  1. Why does Harry know about the Marauder's Map? When else has Harry learned plot-significant information off-camera?
  2. Obliviation, and Memory Charms in general, and Harry's horror of them, are repeatedly mentioned in the story, and haven't really been used that much yet.
  3. Harry has just learned that he has access to learn obliviation.
  4. Quirrell suggests that obliviation is within his abilities, but barely -- and so Harry is likely to botch it if he attempts it.
  5. Who else in the story is likely to have performed a botched obliviation on the Weasley twins -- such that they have vague memories of having the map, but no complete ones? Every potential foe is powerful enough to perform obliviation properly.

Besides, it'll be a narratively nice, dark moment when Harry uses a spell whose existence he abhors on two of his best remaining friends and allies...

4solipsist8yIf you need more than 6 hours to learn Obliviation, you can use this method [http://lesswrong.com/lw/hvg/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/9c0h]. Bonus: in addition to giving you more time to study, this method summons an army of hundreds of invisible Harry Potters (all with a single twist of the time-turner). I would have tried this method, but I my narrative sense tells me that Harry did not.
4alex_zag_al8y... and prevents them from helping him find Hermione. You think he went back in time to become responsible for one of the circumstantial reasons for his failure?

Sunk cost. Someone has taken the Marauder's Map; might as well be him.

6Gurkenglas8yThat would not be wise: He should retroactively precommit to not steal the Marauders Map regardless of whether the Map is stolen, just as one should one-box on Newcombs problem.
6drethelin8yOn the contrary, you should precommit to being responsible for all apparently bad occurrences if you happen to gain the ability to travel through time because if you can trust anyone to try to fix them while making them seem like they were bad to you it will be you.
4wedrifid8yThis has the potential to produce many more self-sustaining "not quite as bad as it looks" bad events. Is this necessarily wise?
5linkhyrule58yThis isn't quite Newcomb's Problem, though. Consider this: You have essentially the same set up, and you're a one-boxer, so you walk up and take your million dollars out of box B. And then Omega comes back and says, "Oh, by the way, want to open Box A too?" And you say, "Um. Okay?" And open Box A, and get a thousand dollars. Or not. Doesn't really matter - you already have your million dollars, so you have nothing to lose by opening Box A. This differs from the traditional two-boxing argument in one very important respect: you get new information in the middle of the experiment. Your single Omega-predictable algorithm doesn't have to "change its mind" in the middle, it gets interrupted. This is essentially what (might be) happening here. Harry has opened Box B and found a dead Hermione inside. That's set and done. Assuming that he has reason to be believe that Box A will help him more than it will hurt him on average (and won't contain, say, a dead/mindless/insane Fred and George), he has no reason not to open Box A.
3Kindly8yA more perfectly isomorphic variant of Newcomb's problem is the following. Both boxes are transparent, and Omega acts according to the following rule: if you two-box when box B is empty, then box B is always empty, while if you one-box, box B is empty with a 50% chance. If you one-box in this variant, you win half a million dollars in expectation. If you intend to two-box should you see that box B is empty, then you only win a thousand dollars.
-1linkhyrule58y... Perhaps, but that's no longer isomorphic to the actual problem. We are past the point of Omega's influence; in Newcomb's problem, it'd be as if Omega grabbed your mind state, ran it forward until it confirmed that you would not initially two-box, and then stopped. Omega itself has been removed from the problem, and you're left with one empty box that you've already claimed a million dollars from (or negative one million, in this case) and one closed box. Near as we can tell, history can't change in the MoRverse: what's done is done, so Harry might as well exploit it.
0[anonymous]8yAre you describing Transparent Newcomb's problem? If so one should still one box when you see that the large box is empty. (I am not sure whether this maps precisely to the marauder's map issue, I haven't read the relevant chapter.)
-3solipsist8ySuppose my best friend loses her cell phone, gets lost in the woods, and dies. I could pre-commit to not travel back in time and steal her cell phone. It would be easy commitment to make, because Time-Turners are fictional. Would making that commitment help save my friend?
0Gurkenglas8y(Your friend is less likely to die if you make that commitment) iff timeturners are not fictional. Avert all scenarios in which you doom your friend for a cellphone. ((I feel that neither this post nor its father have contributed to the point grandfather was making. Should I have downvoted father? Maybe I have misunderstood fathers question, was that a rhetorical question supposed to be "answered" by "Of course not!"?))
4solipsist8yYes, it was supposed to be a rhetorical question answered by "of course not". Here's a Newcomb-like algorithm for getting a pony in my yard. 1. Open my front door and check to see if I have a pony in my yard. 2. If I have a pony in my yard, we have succeeded. Otherwise, use a time machine to kill my grandfather. This algorithm works because the only stable time loops are the ones where I get a pony. You can get magically nice results by pre-commiting to create a paradox in unwanted timelines, if you can to commit to do something unpleasant in those timelines. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you want to pull this trick with Hermione's death. You're trying to make the only stable time loop be one where the Weaslys have the Marauder's Map. Your suggestion would work if Harry had good cause to believe that the only person who could possibly steal the Marauder's Map was a future version of himself. Even if the map had already been stolen, deciding not to go back in time and steal the map would create a paradox. The only stable time loops would be ones where the map is not stolen. Does that situation apply? No, not at all. There are many stable time loops where the Wheaslys lose the map. Quirrell could have done it. Dumbledore could have done it. Some dark force unknown could have done it. There is little reason to believe that eliminating future Harry as the map thief will lead to a nicer distribution of stable time loops. By contrast, the stable time loops where Harry is the map thief seem much more likely to be pleasant.
2Gurkenglas8yAh, I believe you have misunderstood me. Lets say that in Yudcanon, either Dumbledore stole the map or Quirrel stole the map or Harry stole the map or Hat&Cloak stole the map or Mr. X stole the map. If Harry makes sure that Harry never steals the map, there is one less person who might have had a reason to steal the map, and the probability of the map being stolen versus it not being stolen goes down, even though he already knows that the map was stolen when he makes that decision; just like when Omega presents you the two boxes, you should retroactively precommit to one-box to receive a million, even though the content of the boxes is already determined. Imagine Harry saw that the map was stolen, and thinks immediately of stealing it himself so as to acquire it. Naturally, he then plans to precommit to invisibility-cloak deposit it right behind Fred and George in 5 seconds. He might then go further and precommit instead to never having stolen it in the first place, so that it never leaves the grasp of the Weasley twins and Harry doesn't have to go to the effort of stealing it. Therefore, he now knows that the map was stolen by someone else, and that the probablity of the map being stolen in the first place has lessened, which is a good thing.
6EternalStargazer8yThis is the point that I think is escaping many people in this thread. The options aren't as simple as A/A+B in Newcomb. The map has been stolen. Everything we know about how Time Travel works in this universe indicates that this is a fixed fact that cannot be altered. Who took the map however is an unknown, and while it cannot be 'altered' either, the Effect can in this case precede the Cause. 'Map has been taken' can happen before 'Harry takes map because someone had to' such that B causes A and A leads to B. If Harry doesn't commit to it, B is still true, and so the Map is lost to him. His choices are (Map is Gone, I have it.) or (Map is gone.) The choice 'Map is still here and Hermione lives' is not a valid choice and should be discounted. So, his choices are to benefit or not benefit from the Map being gone. The interesting question is, if the Twins forgot the Map entirely, how did they remember 'Deligitor Prodi'? Admittedly not perfectly.
1gjm8yWhy would the two be linked?
0tim8yThey learned the phrase from Dumbledore when they gave him the map. The fact that they don't remember the map but imperfectly remember the phrase does support the "poorly done obviation" hypothesis. (either because the obliviator missed removing the phrase or the obliviator intended for them to keep the phrase but accidentally messed it up) (or, less likely, 'Deligitor Prodi' would not have worked for the twins and the obliviator intentionally altered it so that it would)
4gjm8yI'd completely forgotten that! But, y'know, procedural versus declarative memory. It's perfectly possible to remember to say something like "deligitor prodi" when you want the Sorting Hat, while forgetting all sorts of associated details. Er, like I did myself.
1Dentin8yIt seems to me that your proposal is equivalent to the "malicious genie has granted you a wish" problem. There are so many ways to construct stable time loops which don't involve getting a pony that you've exceedingly unlikely to get one. You can precommit to whatever you want, but the answer may be as simple as being unable to achieve your committed goal due to bad information.
0solipsist8yI completely agree. For the question at hand, committing to not steal the Marauders Map will not magically cause the Marauders Map to not be stolen. There are too many other ways to make a stable time loops -- too many "wishes gone wrong" -- for that sort of Newcomb-like pre-committing to work the way you want it to.
2drethelin8yhttp://www.reddit.com/r/HPMOR/comments/1i3y86/quick_question_about_chapter_94/cb0trf7 [http://www.reddit.com/r/HPMOR/comments/1i3y86/quick_question_about_chapter_94/cb0trf7] some new word of god spoilers you may or may not want concerning this

the Dark Lord is supposed to have made his horcrux

Looks like this has been corrected to "the Dark Lord is supposed to have made his lich-phylactery-thingy".

Somewhere in between, it was called his lich-prophylactery-thingy.

0wedrifid8yThere's a thought. Has anyone written about the lich equivalent of a Dhampir?
-1JoshuaZ8yToo bad that got edited out, it was a hilarious bit of humor in an otherwise pretty dark section.
0drnickbone8yI did not recognise the term "lich phylactery", so did a quick Google. It is basically exactly the same as a horcrux, as defined in Dungeons and Dragons. Did JK Rowling pinch the idea from D+D, or did they both get it from a common source? This wikipedia article [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phylactery_(Dungeons_%26_Dragons]) contains some rather interesting quotes: Hmm... The mysterious ritual at the start of Chapter 1 takes place by moonlight... Very interesting... but can it fool the Hogwarts wards as well?

I did not recognise the term "lich phylactery", so did a quick Google. It is basically exactly the same as a horcrux, as defined in Dungeons and Dragons. Did JK Rowling pinch the idea from D+D, or did they both get it from a common source?

The idea of a creature which can preserve its soul or life in an object is very old, and has appeared both in mythological sources and fantasy for a long time. For example, the Chronicles of Prydain were published in the 1960s and had at one point a villain with a similar situation. To a lesser extent, Sauron's relationship to his Ring has aspects of the same idea.

A much older example is the myth of Koschei who kept his soul hidden in a needle, inside an egg, inside a duck, inside an iron chest on a specific island. (Some versions of the story modify the exact details of the nesting and protection.) The oldest documented version of the Koschei story we have is from 1890, but it is likely that the story is much older. So it is hard to say where Rowling got the idea from since so many old versions of this have been floating around.

0drnickbone8yThanks for this... I thought somebody would know of previous examples. Now that you mention it, Lord of the Rings is quite an obvious one.

for Horcrux, Moody lets the word slip in Multiple Hypothesis Testing and Dumbledore had described the concept without the word previously

as for the map....?

3CAE_Jones8yHarry has been told that Voldemort's immortality came at the cost of Myrtle's life, that no student had died in Hogwarts for 50 years, and has reason to believe that the Chamber of Secrets was involved and that Voldemort did it. He has enough information to piece together that much of the Horcrux plot. The map, though, I do not remember him learning about.
7solipsist8yThe previous time we read the word "Horcrux" it was: In canon, Tom Riddle found Horcrux research difficult and had to ask Professor Slughorn. Harry might suspect something Horcrux-like exists, but I don't see how he could be confident in the name. Horcruxes are important for Harry to learn about, because Harry already suspects that (1) Quirrell did something Horcruxy to Pioneer 11 in 1973. (2) Quirrell asks about hiding important artifacts, in a winking sort of way. I expected learning about Horcruxes to visibly change Harry's opinion of Quirrell -- it changed my opinion of Quirrell.
2Ben Pace8yHarry is very good friends with the twins. The information is not unlikely to have simply passed along naturally.
-1[anonymous]8yMaybe information started to leak through the Harry-Quirrel connection.

There is another point which wasn't discussed much, but does trouble me : the "outpouring of magic" that happened in chapter 89 when Hermione died.

It's the first time we heard about anything like that happening after a wizard death. It's not canon. It wasn't hinted to before, like Dumbledore didn't speak about it in "pretending to be wise", when he tries to convince Harry souls exist. Harry didn't feel it when his parents were killed. Harry didn't feel it when Rita Skeeter is killed by Quirrell. That's a lot of evidence pointing to it not being the common thing that happens when someone dies.

And yet, Harry doesn't ask any question about it, he doesn't try to know if it happens rarely (and then in which circumstances ?) or frequently, or if it's even an entirely new phenomena, it doesn't ask around if it could be faked, ...

Some possibles explanations :

  1. It's the Source of Magic recording the brain state of person when it dies, allowing for resurrection before. But then, why no hint about it before ? Why Harry didn't feel it for Rita ?

  2. It's the Source of Magic recording the brain state of person when it dies, but the Source of Magic didn't use to do it. Harry had

... (read more)

For a moment it seemed like the outpouring of magic might hold, take root in the castle's stone

Hermione tried and failed to become a ghost.

It was, in fact, mentioned in chapter 39, Pretending to be Wise:

(...) they were just afterimages, burned into the stone of the castle by the death of a wizard, like the silhouettes left on the walls of Hiroshima.

8linkhyrule58yHm. This is the first time we've seen anyone die anywhere as magically "dense" as Hogwarts...
1Sheaman37738yThey wouldn't have been fooled for an instant if the burst was standard in Hogwarts. Though this could be something as simple as it not being well known, given the miniscule fatality rate in Hogwarts.
5linkhyrule58yOkay. Looking at this again - why didn't Hermione become a ghost? Even assuming it's just a beta-fork of her consciousness, I find it hard to believe that she would be so willing to just move on, if she had the option. And violent death by troll is exactly the sort of thing that results in ghost formation in literature. So... evidence that someone's doing something finicky with her soul?
0Sheaman37738yI don't think that's necessarily true. If dying violently was enough on its own, then there would be scads of ghosts floating around, left behind by the war, even if you also discount those brave or unafraid-of-death enough to fight. Moreover, Hermione's greatest fear (from the Dementor chapters) was dying alone, and Harry was there to assuage that fear. It's possible that that was enough to allow her to pass on, and that Harry's presence was the only reason that she didn't actually become a ghost. Which could have interesting effects on him if he ever found out. Which doesn't mean that something extra isn't going on.
0linkhyrule58yWell, sure. Evidence for, not absurdly-strong-evidence that I'd call a proof. :P

And of course I forgot the mundane explanation, the one that I would use in the real world : it's just the too vivid imagination of an overstressed 11-yo boy on the verge of emotional breakdown after seeing the most horrible scene of his life. Nothing actually happened, but Harry's mind created the special effects that "should" come with such a tragic event as the death of Hermione.

Remember in chapter 6 : « I, Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres, do now claim this territory in the name of Science.

Lightning and thunder completely failed to flash and boom in the cloudless skies.

"What are you smiling about?" inquired Professor McGonagall, warily and wearily.

"I'm wondering if there's a spell to make lightning flash in the background whenever I make an ominous resolution," explained Harry. »

This clearly shows that part of his mind is thinking that dramatic events "should" get a dramatic special effects, and while in normal time he's perfectly aware that's not how the world works, when he's crumbling under stress, guilt and pain, he could confuse it for reality.

But while that seems a plausible hypothesis in absolute, it just doesn't feel right from a story-telling point of view.

3Gurkenglas8yQuite improbable, given that even a Dementor was unable to make him see things that were not there while he was concious.
6Intrism8yI don't think Rita Skeeter is good evidence. It would not do for Quirrell to have Harry notice an unexpected, strange burst of magic when he's trying to quietly kill someone; Quirrell would have found a way to suppress it, if it had existed. (It's also possible that her Animagi transformation suppressed the effect.) The absence of the burst of magic in Harry's parents' deaths, on the other hand, has led me to an inverse suspicion to yours [http://lesswrong.com/lw/hwf/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/9b4l] ...
0ThisSpaceAvailable8yAm I naive in that I thought it was ambiguous as to whether Rita's death was intentional?
3gjm8yYes, I think so. Q has just been telling Harry at length how awful she is and how H has done a good thing by having her career ruined, and a chapter or two before Q said to her something like "I cannot deny myself the pleasure of simply crushing you".
3NancyLebovitz8y\6. Hermione is a really extraordinary wizard.
4JoachimSchipper8yIs she particularly powerful, though? She's extraordinarily talented, very knowledgeable for her age, and has more raw power than anyone in her year including Draco; but Rita is more experienced, and most importantly older - it has been repeatedly pointed out that HP lacks the raw power for something-or-other, and the twins are far stronger than he despite not being particularly talented. It seems that Rita should have an edge in the "raw power" department, and I'd expect this effect to key off raw power. Note that it's also sufficient to assume that Quirrel and/or Mary's room can suppress this effect.
2Benquo8yWhat about proximity? It could be that you have to be physically pretty close at the moment of death. That would explain why Harry didn't feel it when Rita Skeeter died.
1somervta8yNote that since Harry isn't aware that Rita was killed in front of him, he wouldn't be aware of that piece of evidence. It's still an anomaly, and one that he should be noticing for all the other reasons, but that particular line of reasoning is not available (to Harry, anyway).
0jsalvatier8yIts the process of someone trying to save hermione.

Surprised no one has commented on this so far:

"Do you in fact assign greater than fifty percent subjective probability that there is something like a Heir of Gryffindor and one or both Weasley twins are it. >Yes or no, evasion means yes. You're not going to succeed in distracting me, no matter how much I have to go to the bathroom."

The old wizard sighed. "Yes, Fred and George Weasley are the Heir of Gryffindor. I beg you not to speak of it to them, not yet."

Harry nodded, and turned to go, retrieving the Cloak from his pouch as he did. "I'm surprised," Harry said. "I read a little about Godric Gryffindor's historical life. The Weasley twins are... well, they're awesome in various ways, but they don't seem much like the Godric in the history books."

"Only a man exceedingly proud and vain," Dumbledore said quietly, as he turned back to the Floo roaring up again with green flames, "would believe that his heir should be like himself, rather than like who he wished that he could be."

Two comments:

1) the last bit seems like Dumbledore in senitmental yet serious and regretful wise wizard mode. Harry is Dumbledore's hero and ... (read more)

Harry is Dumbledore's hero and 'heir' if you will.

I interpreted this (with p<0.1) as foreshadowing Harry being Voldemort's heir, and Harry being Voldemort's idea of a better self (with power Voldemort knows not).

0thomblake8yYes. I think Dumbledore was trying to talk about either Slytherin or himself, but accidentally was foreshadowing Voldemort.

1) the last bit seems like Dumbledore in senitmental yet serious and regretful wise wizard mode. Harry is Dumbledore's hero and 'heir' if you will. Does Dumbledore wish he had some of Harry's cold intelligence? Does he think many of his dead friends and dead family could have been saved by someone who was harder than he was from the very beginning?

I think you are forgetting the context here of MoR: Godric Gryffindor has been set up as a quasi-emo/existentialist Hero, and heroism a painful uncertain path to travel, with countless sacrifices along the way. A life spent fighting and sacrificing beats out of one vanity and arrogance and certainty, as indeed Dumbledore himself has lost conviction and certainty. To quote the relevant passage in ch43:

Godric had defeated Dark Lords, fought to protect commoners from Noble Houses and Muggles from wizards. He'd had many fine friends and true, and lost no more than half of them in one good cause or another. He'd listened to the screams of the wounded, in the armies he'd raised to defend the innocent; young wizards of courage had rallied to his calls, and he'd buried them afterward. Until finally, when his wizardry had only just begun to f

... (read more)

If only Godric's twin hadn't been killed at birth...

if he has the body he lied about it outright and without hesitation

But not if he only has her brain.

7NancyLebovitz8yThat leaves out a third, and more sensible, alternative, which is choosing an heir which is the best person available. That person isn't likely to be an exact match to either the person who's doing the choosing or what that person thinks of as an improved version of themself.
3buybuydandavis8yMinerva, another Griffindor and the heir apparent as the next Headmaster of Hogwarts seems a likely heir.
0Sheaman37738yWhen you're choosing across time, there are a lot more people available.
7hairyfigment8yHarry insisted on a yes/no answer to whether they're "something like a(n) Heir of Gryffindor". Since Godric did in fact want any number of people to have access to his sword, and this is something like naming heirs, Albus gives up on correcting Harry's categories for the moment.
5GuySrinivasan8yIs Quirrel exceedingly proud and vain? Does he want Harry to be his heir?

My first thought was that Dumbledore was referring to Salazar Slytherin. However, there can certainly be additional interpretations.

3UnclGhost8yI think it's important that this comes just a few chapters after Dumbledore regrets resenting Harry for having spent his fortune to save Hermione, when he (Dumbledore) chose not to do so to save Aberforth. (Ch. 84)
3JTHM8yI think it somehow relevant that Dumbledore said, "Fred and George Weasley are the Heir of Gryffindor", not "Fred and George Weasley are the Heirs of Gryffindor". Admittedly, I don't know what it means, but at this point, I think we can safely say that even minor quirks of grammar mean something in HPMoR.
9linkhyrule58yAs noted earlier, identical twins are basically the same person for magical purposes, to the point that an ancient civilization saw no moral problem in killing off one of them. (To avert what happened the last time I said this - I do not necessarily agree with said ancient civilization. -_- )

Some theories of how the wards could (a) not detect Hermione was wounded and (b) claim that the Defense Professor killed Hermione.

Wounding wards:

  1. Wards were tampered with
  2. Hermione's battle was fake. Hermione was not wounded during battle. When Hermione appeared to die, the Defense Professor killed another witch.
  3. Dumbledore says "If Voldemort wishes us to distrust a truth told by the wards, then Voldemort has not fully mastered the wards. And in that case the wards had to believe that some Professor's hand was at work, or they would have cried out at Miss Granger's injury, and not only upon her death.". Perhaps this means that any teacher can circumvent this ward

Defense Professor killer ward:

  1. Wards were tampered with
  2. See wounding ward theory 2.
  3. The Mountain Troll was the killer. To identify the Defense Professor to the wards, Dumbledore drew a circle and said that that "he who stood within was the Defense Professor". Quirrell arranged for the Mountain Troll to be in the circle. This explanation might require polyjuice, transfiguration of live organisms, or Quirrell to be female.
  4. A previous Defense Professor, thought to be dead, was the killer.
  5. Mountain
... (read more)
9ChrisHallquist8yOh, another hypothesis, based on something I'd forgotten: Slytherin's Monster was supposed to be keyed into the wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself. And in this version, it had knowledge it transmitted to Voldemort. What if that included knowledge of how to hack the wards? And then Quirrellmort decided to make the wards register himself as the killer, as a purloined-letter type deal?
9itaibn08yI don't get this. How does Quirrell being female explain anything? The only explanation I can think of is Quirrell being pregnant with a mountain troll, and that just raises more questions.

If Quirrell were female, "he who stands within" would refer to someone else, since "he" is masculin.

That's pretty unlikely, though, since he's apparently keyed into the wards as a professor, so far as anyone can tell.

(Quirrell keeping a troll shrunken/in hammerspace on his person at all times is my favorite explanation at present, even though it sounds like it should have a silliness penalty. He did mention the Hungarian Horntail in the same lecture where he mentioned the troll, and this particular theory would give more credence to the idea that he has one of those hidden somewhere as well.)

1itaibn08yOh, that makes sense. I missed the pronoun.
4buybuydandavis8yQuirrellmort is "the quote undying unquote Baba Yaga, yes, I see some of you are still shuddering at the sound of her name even though she’s been dead for six hundred years."
0solipsist7yOh good, I thought I was the only person who suspected Baba Yaga. It was she I alluded to when writing Not that she is my first suspect for this escapade.
2ChrisHallquist8yDefense Professor killer ward explanation 5 is the one I thought of, reading the chapter, but I like explanation 3 too.
2Ben Pace8yWow. Imagine if Quirrel had transformed Hermione into the troll and the troll into a Hermione copy. Ugh. Then Harry would've been the killer. And, due to his 'connection', the wards could've actually mistaken him for Quirrel.

A troll is unlikely to have any last words at all. Specifically not "not your fault."

Also a troll is unlikely to die with the feeling of a thousand books.

I think this is a very low likelihood guess.

5cody-bryce8yIf not Hermoine, the only possible person to have died was McGonagall. That being said, Hermoine's dead. No tricks.
2Ben Pace8yYep, totally true. I didn't assign it any significant probability, I just thought it was scary.
1Viliam_Bur8yActually, it was all like this: Quirrell heard about Minerva's decision to support more heroism. He realized that Harry changed his original plan (to make all teachers obstacles to Harry, except Quirrell himself), but adapted quickly. He asked Minerva to do something heroic together, as teachers -- to travel to the past and try saving Hermione. In the past, he changed Minerva to Hermione, telling her that now the attack will come to Minerva and she can better defend against it, or do something very clever. Without Minerva's knowledge, he changed Hermione into a troll, and somehow made her believe that the enemy's plan is the following: while the real Hermione cannot be found, the false Hermione will try to kill Harry. Or something like that. Now the troll (Hermione) heroically followed and attacked the false Hermione (Minerva) and tried to kill her. The sun didn't hurt the troll, because it was not a real troll. Harry came and killed the troll (Hermione), which made the wards report that a student was killed. The dying false Hermione (Minerva) tried to do the right thing and explain Harry that it was not his fault. Quirrell is now waiting for the moment when Harry tries to revive Hermione and realizes that the body/brain that he saved actually belongs to Minerva from the future. Then Harry will realize that he killed Hermione, and specifically destroyed her brain by explosion. That should turn Harry to the dark side.
3tegid8yProblems: 1 - The troll regenerated. 2 - The troll was identified as a professor, not as a student.
0bogdanb8yPlus, if troll-Hermione wanted to kill a fake-Hermione I doubt she would start by eating her legs.
0TobyBartels8yIn the Star Wars universe, maybe, where being betrayed by somebody automatically makes you join them (as does, reportedly, killing them). But Harry is more rational than Anakin.
[-][anonymous]8y 10

I hate to bring it up - it's not weird enough to be interesting - but

"We have seen only that Godric left his Sword to the defense of Hogwarts, if a worthy student ever faced a foe they could not defeat alone."

Harry first heard of this sword

"Where Salazar and Godric and Rowena and Helga once raised Hogwarts by their power, creating the Locket and the Sword and the Diadem and the Cup, no wizard of these faded days has risen to rival them."

in the context of three other artifacts. As far as we know, he never learned anything else about the Diadem, but that may change now that the castle is handing out quest items and Harry faces a foe he can't defeat alone. I'd call that line another point in favor of the IA hypothesis.

0FiftyTwo8yI'm really surprised Harry hasn't come across the diadem in his studies (though possibly he did, but dismissed it as mythical). It seems a plausible way to brute force the magic system. E.g. Put on diadem, reverse engineer diadem, make better diadem, repeat. And make every other problem easier.

This depends - even if the diadem really does make you smarter, it is entirely possible that Rovena exhausted all the low-hanging fruit available for using magic to improve cognition - For example: If what the diadem does is use healing and vertiaserum type effects to keep your brain in peak working condition (ideal blood sugar, magically eliminating waste toxins, ect, ect) and force you to be intellectually honest, that would allow you to think as quickly and as well as you do at your best all the time - which would be a huge upgrade - but it would not allow recursive improvements.

Upon reading these past few chapters I think that Harry has invented a spell to download Hermiones brain state just before her death and this is what we are seeing with the whole soul explosion when she dies.

We have never seen this happen so far at all in HPMOR, and I would think if this is a common thing then when Dumbledore is trying to prove to Harry the existence of souls this is the evidence he would use to try and prove it to him. The fact that he did not and this only seems to have happened during this one particular incident suggests to me there is... (read more)

It's not unique, and Dumbledore did bring it up, actually:

"How can you not believe it? " said the Headmaster, looking completely flabbergasted. "Harry, you're a wizard! You've seen ghosts! "

"Ghosts," Harry said, his voice flat. "You mean those things like portraits, stored memories and behaviors with no awareness or life, accidentally impressed into the surrounding material by the burst of magic that accompanies the violent death of a wizard -"


I asked Hermione and she said that they were just afterimages, burned into the stone of the castle by the death of a wizard, like the silhouettes left on the walls of Hiroshima.


For a moment it seemed like the outpouring of magic might hold, take root in the castle's stone; but then the outpouring ended and the magic faded, her body stopped moving and all motion halted as Hermione Jean Granger ceased to exist -

5Ries8yFair point, I missed that bit. There goes my theory then

It seems highly likely that Harry has time turned to hide Hermione's body and possible accomplish other objectives to which we are not yet privy. Evidence for this being that Harry now knows about the map when he did not before, and that he reacts to Hermione's body going missing with no emotional response whatsoever. He broadly speculates on the likely suspects for body snatching, but if he cared (which, for resurrection purposes, he surely would), then he would be far more animated: after all, he has previously.

There are some interesting wriggles in this... (read more)

7elharo8yI agree about Voldemort's motivation. As to why it didn't work, I I think Quirrell has been rather explicit that wizards were sheeple: My tentative hypothesis is that Voldemort/Monroe realized that his original strategy to unite Wizarding Britain by presenting them with a common enemy wasn't working, so he set up the events in Godric's Hollow to make it appear that Voldemort had died (in an absolutely ridiculous and implausible way, that everyone except him and HJPEV would immediately believe). Then he could proceed to try something else. It's commonly said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It would probably be better here to say the definition of irrationality is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Quirrell, unlike almost everyone else in the story except HJPEV and maybe Amelia Bones and Moody, is rational. I suspect Harry's memories of that night are faked. I don't have any good hypotheses for what really happened though. I'm toying with the possibility that Voldemort didn't actually kill Harry's parents, and possibly they aren't even dead. There are 2 or 3 clues that could point to that, but I don't think they're strong enough to overcome the prior implausibility. More likely Voldemort did kill James and Lily, and then did something to Harry, Horcruxed him most likely, but deliberately, not accidentally. How does anyone know, in canon or HPMoR, that Voldemort cast Avada Kedavra on Harry? All we have is the burned body. No one except an infant saw it happen.
2Velorien8yNote that there is also no explanation why Avada Kedavra of all things would produce a burned body. That particular bit of description ("burned husk", "burned to a crisp" etc.) has been repeated often enough to be strong foreshadowing, and burning is a great way to make a corpse unidentifiable, especially if dental records for the supposed victim are unavailable and/or no-one has ever heard of such a form of forensics. Note also that Harry has no memory of Voldemort actually casting the Killing Curse on him. His memory apparently cuts out right after his mother's death.
4bogdanb8yHow about Fiendfyre? Does that leave anything behind? I mean, it cut through Hogwarts. Hey, when was Draco’s mother killed? He should be about the same age as Harry, and yet Harry’s Mum died when he was like a year old, and the war pretty much ended right then. So Narcissa’s burning could not have been long before (well, I guess it could be a few months; but that still leaves Draco a baby; if he were that much older than Harry to have had time to know her, he’d be a second year now).
2UnclGhost8yNew idea: going on the "Dumbledore faked Godric's Hollow" theory, what if "Voldemort's" body that gets found is the unrecognizable, burned body of Narcissa Malfoy?
0Velorien8yI can't answer that question (though my instinct is to say "no"), but I will point out that Hogwarts isn't particularly indestructible. Haven't we at least seen one of the trolls damage the walls with ordinary brute force? Or am I misremembering?
0Sheaman37738yWe did see that: Also

I very much hope that no significant use of time-turners is required to resolve Hermione's disappearance or any other events transpired in the last few chapters. These [plot] devices are way too much like deus ex machina and have been overused in this fic quite a bit already.

Many people seem to suggest time-turner tricks for Harry to hide Hermione body. But that raises a few issues to me :

  1. Do we have any evidence for or against the fact that the Hogwarts wards, or more generally a spell that Dumbledore could cast, would inform him of the usage of time-turner inside Hogwarts ? There is mention of "anti-time-loop ward", could there be "time-loop detecting wards" ?

  2. Dumbledore didn't seem to check if Harry used his time-turner or not, and he didn't even ask him if he did. That's suspicious. It seems surprisin

... (read more)
4Intrism8y1. Time-Turners are in frequent and authorized use by a fair number of students, as well as Dumbledore himself and possibly other staff members. Any such ward would be constantly triggering, for no particularly important reason. Even if one exists, I can't imagine that Dumbledore pays much attention to it. 2. Dumbledore is only looking for Hermione. There's no reason for him to be much interested in Harry's magical devices, beyond proving that they aren't Hermione. The portkey was only mentioned because it was a part of Dumbledore's body search; the Time-Turner, presumably, wasn't on his body.
3wsean8yPeople have suggested that on being summoned to the Headmaster's office, Harry precommits to time-turn back and hide Hermione's body before the summons arrives. Whether that means replacing the ring or the stone or what have you. There are several ways I can think of that Dumbledore could circumvent this: * keep Harry under observation for the next six hours, magically or otherwise * force Harry to use all six turns immediately, and then keep him under observation for six hours * check the Map (if he's the one who currently holds it; do we know at this point?) for multiple instances of Harry--a second Harry would be evidence that he'd been engaged in time-turner shenanigans The first two methods seem wasteful. High cost compared to the relatively trivial transfiguration check. So if Dumbledore has other suspects besides Harry, he might not deem it worthwhile. The third is simple enough, if Dumbledore does have the Map. And if the Map does display multiple instances of time-turned people, as seems likely--I think this has been discussed as possibly being one of the "errors" the twins note. Which still leaves the question of whether Dumbledore does have it.
1JoshuaZ8yRegarding 2- possible explanations. First, it is possible that Dumbledore knows already about some set of Time-Turner use which is about to happen for (from his standpoint) completely separate legitimate reasons. Second, it is possible that there's no easy way to check if a Time Turner has been used other than to see if it can still be used (see the earlier instance where they checked if Harry's Turner had been used by having him deliver a specific message to the past), and given the precarious nature of the situation, Dumbledore doesn't want to waste any of Harry's Time-Turner hours if he can avoid it.
2bogdanb8yIf the turner also has a restriction[1], it’s easy to check: just ask someone not important to try to use it. (Not important in the sense that it’s no big deal if they loose the ability to time-turn for a day). [1:] It should have. They can be broken/destroyed, which suggests that they can also accumulate non-fatal damage (like scratches), which technically means that they also carry information to the past. But the information rules don’t seem to apply except when in some cases involving sentience.
0bogdanb8yWait a moment, is it the Time-Turner or the user who is limited to six hours?
0ThisSpaceAvailable8yIf it's the time turner, it's odd that Dumbledore checked whether Harry could time turn, rather than his time turner.
0Sheaman37738yNot really. Functionally equivalent for his test.
0JoshuaZ8yIt wasn't clear to me whether it was one or both. I got the impression that it was both. At minimum it should include the user just from the rule about not being able to send information back more than six hours.
3bogdanb8yActually, it’s probably neither, just information, albeit with apparent weird rules about consciousness.[1] It’s enough for someone from the future to tell you something to prevent you from going back, even if you didn’t use a time-turner. [1:] Otherwise, nobody could time-turn from inside the light-cone of someone who just time-turned six hours. The gravitational attraction from Amelia Bones’ stomach contents carries information about the future, for example. So something has to check for some kind of observers. Incidentally, that does sound plausible if the source of magic has specific rules for sapience, à la Prime Intellect.
3gmaxwell8yI'd always just assumed that whatever force imposes the time turner rules just has a simple constraint that no history is permitted where "information" travels back further, and it freely reconfigures things in potentially very high entropy ways ("DO NOT MESS WITH TIME") to achieve that end. Amelia Bones' upon time travel was replace with a spherical null-information amelia bones which had no influence from the future except that which she would not covey— including by choice— to anyone that travels outside the constraint satisfaction window. So I think there doesn't need to be any special casing of sapience to create the appearance of special casing sapience, beyond anthropic bias— the only time when the reconfiguration to meet the constraint is particularly obvious to a conscious entity is when it interacts with a conscience entity.
2bogdanb8yOff the top of my head, something that simple doesn’t seem to match with the apparent safety of time-turners. Something that just reconfigures things “freely” will reconfigure stuff dangerously on occasion. Even if the time-turner will hide the reconfiguration, people will probably notice something like “there’s bad luck around time-turners”. Note that things that appear “simple” to humans are not so at small scales. It’s much simpler for someone that time-turns to become insane or even just die rather than remain the same person except not speaking of some things. Also, “information” is tricky. At some point in one of the new chapters, Minerva notices that Harry seems different only a few minutes after having entered a closed room. Let’s assume for now it’s because he’s from the future. (E.g., the one that entered is still in the room, under the cloak, and will return after six hours to exit the room.) If she doesn’t realize it, can she still time-turn? What if she finds out something that confirms it after five minutes, is she blocked then? Is she blocked if she deduces with high certainty something about the future from the fact that Harry returned. (At the minimum, if she realizes that Harry came back, she learned that he will not die in the next six hours.) What if she turns back six hours, and in the past she learns a piece of information that allows her to deduce with whatever level of certainty both that Harry went to the future, and something about what he did there? (Example: at 1PM Harry builds a one-time pad and hides it. 12 hours later, he writes something about his present and XORs it with the one-time pad. He turns back six hours, and tells the encrypted text to Hermione, who memorizes it. Can she turn? She doesn’t really know anything more about the future than if he would have told her “I have information from six hours in the future”. But if she now turns back another six hours and finds the one-time pad, she’ll be able to obtain the information
0gmaxwell8yWell— we're deep in the meta philosophy of a fictional world, so I'm not sure that any great insight will come from the discussion. I'm unsure of how to resolve the apparent safety of time tuners with the idea that there is an optimization process selecting a permissible outcome unless I wave my arms and say that the optimization process is moral, perhaps borrowing the objectives of the operator (like the sorting hat). One way to do this is to note that bad things happening increase the probability of more time tuner usage, which a human-interest blind metric could still be minimizing. Seems very handwavy, though: Saying the optimizer picked tie breaking that— say— minimized the sum probability change displaced in times would just tend to select time tuners out of existence. As far as information itself, I'm not so sure if it's quite that sticky: Imagine our universe as we normally would think of it but with quantized time (tics). We would normally imagine a each tick having a state and then there is some (large but) finite number of successor states possible, each with its own probability which is simply the product of the probabilities of all the component transitions for all the particles. The universe evaluates this function a step at a time moving to a particular new state with probabilities proportional to product the component particle transition probabilities according to natural law. In HPMOR verse, instead the evaluation gets performed by some hyper-computer that evaluates the states using a six hour look-ahead. You could imagine taking the every possible combination of 6 hour successor states and picking according to their joint probability, then stepping forward one tick towards the selected group and then redoing the evaluation. At least in classical mechanics you don't need the look ahead evaluation but MORverse has time tuners. As seconds fall out of the tail of the window they become fixed. Prior to that happening time tuner usage upwhen can i

High confidence prediction, based on the feminism rant. Rot13 because, while Eliezer has not retracted it, he recommended people not read it:

Va uvf enag ba UCZBE naq srzvavfz, Ryvrmre fnvq Urezvbar jbhyq pbzr onpx nf na nyvpbea cevaprff. Gurer jnf fbzr qvfphffvba bs jurgure ur jnf wbxvat va gur ynfg guernq. Gur snpg gung gur zbfg erprag nhgube'f abgr qvq abg rkcynva gung ur jnf wbxvat gb zr engure fgebatyl pbasvezf gung ur jnfa'g.

7Benquo8yMakes sense. With slightly less confidence, I predict that: "nyvpbea cevaprff" -> cevaprff sebz Yhzvabfvgl, Nyvpbea'f Gjvyvtug engvbanyvfg sna svpgvba -> n inzcver. I think both your prediction and mine were made in the previous discussion thread as well. (Mine was made by someone else.)
9Velorien8yI was actually joking about the Alicorn -> vampire thing, and will be somewhat distraught if I turn out to be right.
3Benquo8yIt seems like there's a good reason for that to happen, while there doesn't seem to be an obvious in-story reason for her to come back as a unicorn's horn. (Or as a winged unicorn.)
-3Eugine_Nier8yWell, Harry might transfigure her body into a unicorn's horn at some point.
0bogdanb8yHe might also partially transfigure her body (say, the contents of her stomach) to unicorn blood. I don’t think that would work as well as one might think, since transfigured things are detected and treated differently by magic (e.g., goblins detecting transfigured gold), so I doubt the transfigured blood would work for raising the dead. (In magic logic, the ritual probably uses the blood as a symbol for a sacrificed unicorn or something.) Interestingly, the fact that transfiguration is not permanent is not that bad. If transfigured unicorn blood worked for the duration of the transfiguration, it could still help. (For example, the temporarily revived person could create a horcrux, or get a precise and accurate brain scan for uploading, which might be the same thing in-story.)
1DanielLC8yPerhaps she'll be the princess from Goldmage (also by Alicorn).
3Tenoke8yThankfully, EY confirmed on facebook that this is a stupid theory, except that he used a nicer wording.
9wedrifid8yIf for a value of 'nicer' for which "very clever" means "stupid".
0Tenoke8yYou don't think that saying 'very clever' is nicer than saying 'stupid'?
5linkhyrule58yI think it has completely opposing informational content.
2wedrifid8yYes. One could reach 'very clever' from 'stupid' either by adding a large amount of niceness or multiplying by a negative. Or, if 'very clever' is supposed to convey the meaning 'stupid' then one actually has to subtract niceness and add sarcasm or condescension.
0ChrisHallquist8yOh, seeing Eliezer's Facebook page, I see the entire thing was probably a joke. OK.
3ChrisHallquist8yOh wait, I just had a terrible thought: what if Eliezer was initially serious, but didn't expect anyone to take him seriously, but then n seeing people take him more seriously than expected decided to drop a hint that he was joking without saying so? AARRGGHH!
3Fermatastheorem8yMy model of Eliezer wouldn't troll us that blatantly. Then again, this is the guy who wrote Quirinius One-Level-Higher-Than-You Quirrell.
1EternalStargazer8yNear certain prediction: Va gur snasvpgvba "Sevraqfuvc vf Bcgvzny", juvpu unf orra erpbzzraqrq va Nhgube Abgrf vzcylvat RL unf va snpg ernq vg, nyvpbea cevaprffrf ner gur va-jbeyq ningnef bs genafuhzna fhcrevagryyyvtraprf juvpu nvq gur Negvyrpg NV jub pbagebyf gur havirefr. Xabjvat guvf, cynpvat Uneel va PryrfgNV'f cbfvgvba, Urezvbar jvyy or oebhtug onpx gb freir n fvzvyne ebyr, hfvat uvf gura genafuhzna novyvgl. My mental model of EY would make exactly this kind of offhand reference. It is the answer to the riddle about the ring you saw once several years ago.
0ChrisHallquist8yThis is relevant information, but I don't think it seems to fit with the joke hypothesis quite well too.
0Jordan_Hoyt8yReally? Gur ynfg pbhcyr pbzzragf sebz Ryvrmre er:UCZBE unir orra sehfgengvba ertneqvat gur jubyr srzvavfz guvat naq eryhpgnapr gb punatr fbzr jbeqvat va srne bs chggvat hc n "GUVF VF N WBXR fvta". V'q chg zhpu zber cebonovyvgl vagb: 1) Ryvrmre vf gverq bs qrnyvat jvgu gur srzvavfg pevgvpvfz naq qvqa'g jnag gb pnyy zber nggragvba gb gur enag 2) Vg jnf n wbxr naq zbfg crbcyr tbg vg (frr gur fpberf va gung pbzzrag gerr), fb ur sryg ab arrq gb pynevsl zber wbxrf

Two points:

  • Did anyone remember to take the "42" envelope, before returning Hermione's effects to her parents?
  • Are Harry's and Hermione's parents allowed to talk to each other?
0robryk8yI think only Harry knew about it. Besides, it was supposed to be understandable only if the reader figured out it was about dementors.

About horcruxes

Magic itself seems predisposed to keeping wizards in existence, what with ghosts and resistance to blunt trauma, and Avada Kedavra requiring they be very sure about the outcome, and all that. A ritual that requires murder seems to be opposing that spirit. Can't magic make up it's mind? Or was it designed by multiple, competing purposes?

It occured to me that horcrux might be more of a late addition to magic; a hack, a twisting of an existing function. If so, the requirement may not be there for the usual reasons (to represent the making of a ... (read more)

I may have shared this theory on what Voldemort's plan is, but I want to toss it out there for feedback: what if Voldemort heard the prophecy and inferred that it meant that Fate wouldn't let him kill Harry until after he had "marked Harry as his equal," and his plan is as simple as fulfilling that by setting up Harry as a Dark Lord (what Voldemort interprets as "mark him as his equal") and then killing him? I feel like it has to be more complicated than that, but it seems to fit all available data.

Why didn't Harry acquire a working Time Turner / make someone else use a Time Turner as soon as he found out Hermione was missing? Why did Dumbledore make sure it was actually Hermione who died, making the use of Time Turners to alter events that much harder?

If this story wasn't constrained by any story telling concerns, Time Turners would just dominate everything. "How do I use my Time Turner to cheat?" would be the first and last thought of a rationally empowered Harry whenever he has an inkling of something bad happening, and not something he ... (read more)

9thomblake8yFor it is a sad rule that whenever you are most in need of your art as a rationalist, that is when you are most likely to forget it.
9RichardKennaway8yIn the military, it is standard wisdom that in combat, you will not rise to your best, but sink to the level of your training.
2Kawoomba8yThat's the incongruity, for me. Time turners don't just seem like the solution to the troll problem, or any particular problem, which you'd have to come up with as the problem arises. They seem like the solution to practically all problems. The particular way they're presented, they'd require you to use them as soon as you identify the probable casus belli, but before you learn of too many specifics. So, not something you'd have to think of ad hoc, but an optimal problem solver you'd always keep close at hand (replacing your wand, even) for whenever your spidey sense tingles. Sorry for invoking such an unrealistic concept. Probably something that should've been left out of HPMOR entirely, just because of its lack of balanceability.
8RichardKennaway8yEliezer has said somewhere that if Harry were written as a perfect rationalist, he would be too ridiculously super-powerful for an interesting story in that universe to be possible. Harry is simply at the level he is, and it is not really a fault in him or the story that he is not further advanced along the path than he is.
1fractalman8yThere is other evidence in favor of hypyothesis: harry's mind got tampered with. Namely, the Weasley twins had their minds tampered with regarding the map, and harry went through ~30 minutes without realizing hermione was missing.
2gthorneiii8y~30 minutes? How do you come to that conclusion?
-4fractalman8ysomeone counted up all the "ticks" that happened and gave the assumption of one minute/tick. I assign way more confidence to the second assumption than to the exact number of ticks, as I didn't count them up myself.
6gthorneiii8yI certainly didn't get the impression reading the chapter that each tick indicated a minute of time. I'd be more inclined to associate each tick with the second hand moving forward, and only really expressed when Harry reached a break between his disjointed thoughts. Additionally, Eliezer had posted the following on Facebook:
0drethelin8yPresumably a time turner will save her if it's possible to use time turning to save her at any point in the next couple hours, but if something prevents time turner rescue the only way to save her would be to rush to save her. I think Harry is wrong about having been able to use the time turner to save Hermione.
-2Sheaman37738yHow hard? Very.
0gwern8yThat doesn't sound hard at all. Sending a message does not require transporting (another) human. Find someone half-sympathetic, talk to them, have a message sent back. No need to transport another human, no need to steal it, and used by original owner so lock is not an issue.
0Sheaman37738yYou misunderstand. Kawoomba appears to be talking about Harry getting himself a backup Time-Turner, not merely using one to send a message.
[-][anonymous]8y 6

A retraction. A couple of days ago, I posted what I thought looked like hints that Dumbledore was beginning to suffer the effects of age-related cognitive decline.

It was a lovely hypothesis and it's hard to let it go. Voldemort was Demented, Dumbledore was demented, and that sort of symmetry in fiction feels beautiful and true. It gave the author a way to engage with the deathism of the pivotal scene of the original novels, the most important death in a series about death. Rowling's allegory of a creeping curse would become the thing it represents. It woul... (read more)

It occurs to me that I've seen very little mention of one major dangling plot thread: The Interdict of Merlin. Bypassing the interdict may get Harry sufficient power, without necessarily getting at 'the source of magic' or becoming omnipotent.

There's some precedent for this: partial transfiguration, patronus 2.0, and acorn brewing were all made possible by understanding something others did not. It's possible that the Interdict is something similar, and that Harry will be able to understand his way through it.

This mechanism appears to have been used in other of Eliezer's works as well, for example the "Jeffreyssai" stories in the Sequences.

The problem is that "bypassing the Interdict" is not, on its own, useful; it's only valuable if Harry happens to have written notes on powerful magic spells that are censored by the Interdict. Apparently, there's a loophole allowing Interdict-restricted material to exist (wizards can keep notes for themselves, implied by chapter 23), but it seems unlikely that Harry would be able to get ahold of much of it. (Possible exception: Bacon's diary? Quirrell didn't think Bacon found much of interest, but he could be wrong.)

Related: since Muggle physics can apparently contribute to powerful magics (see: partial transfiguration) would the Interdict apply if Harry ever wrote a physics book? What would the Interdict do if a Muggle happened to accidentally write (presumably as fiction) the details of a powerful magic spell? Can Muggles read Interdict-restricted works?

4redlizard8yPrediction: by the end of the story, Harry will somehow have managed to dispell the Interdict of Merlin. Given his opinions on muggle society that gains power with each generation, versus wizard society that loses power with each generation, there is no way Harry is going to let that stand. Given that it was brought about by magic, presumably it can be cancelled by magic, and Harry will find a way.
0fractalman8y[regarding nuclear weapons] "worse than the more...recondite...aspects of wizardry" "slightly worse than anything that's left in these days. nothing like what wiped out atlantis". -There's a very big chance that there are interdicted spells that aren't quite as bad as the latter, but still a lot more powerfull than a nuke. There's no way Harry is going to intentionally switch the interdict OFF. Although...he might try bypassing it with a bit of information theory at a conceptual level, or some mind-altering spells...say, tricking himself into believing he already understands a spell, thereby tricking the interdict into thinking he already has access to that spell. Or maybe even forcing himself to following the directions no matter how stupid they seem. (cough philosopher's stone cough).
0bogdanb8yInteresting, I wonder if Imperius helps with following instructions, i.e. if you’re better at following (non-Imperius) instructions after X Imperiuses you to follow Y’s instructions, than if you just wanted to follow Y’s instructions at the same time. There are very probably spells that make you (temporarily) better in terms of dexterity and such. Hell, there’s Felix. If the PS recipe is correct, its difficulty should not be a problem for Harry. (At least if we assume Flamel actually did create one—which we’ve taken on trust until now—which implies it’s within (extreme) human bounds of ability.)
0fractalman8yahem: Felix is off limits in MoR. "which we’ve taken on trust until now" -it's a cannon artifact, the (in)famous forbidden corridor is still there, the door can still be unlocked with alohamora, flamel wants his whatever hidden in hogwarts, Quirrlmort can (probably) find it wherever it goes...it's there. Whether it does EXACTLY what it does in cannon or not, or acts more like the one from Full-Metal Alchemist....is more of an open question, especially since elixir of life itself never makes an on-screen appearance in cannon. But I'll give you this, the recipe doesn't have to be correct, since that's not in cannon as far as I know.
2bogdanb8yYeah, forgot about that, sorry. Still, it would be remarkable if nothing could help you be better at manual tasks, and nobody remarked on it in the text. I mean, hell, at the very least you can use Imperius to make someone practice for a couple of decades. I was actually thinking there might not be a philosophers’ stone as described. E.g., the recipe could be completely bogus, or maybe the result only transmutes lead to gold. (Potentially interesting point: I can’t think of any example of alchemy in-story that results in something non-liquid.) Flamel might be (or appear) immortal for any other reason, e.g., he discovered Horcrux 2.0, or he has a secret Unicorn farm, or he possesses people and takes Polyjuice, or he’s not really human, or there’s a conspiracy that makes it seem like Flamel exists just so people don’t try to look for immortality because "they already know" how to get it, etc. I mean, the only "evidence" mentioned for the fact that the PS works is Flamel. Basically we have a very surprising and useful result for a self-reported self-experiment with a sample size of one, that has not been replicated in hundreds of years despite known attempts by known competent, motivated, and resourceful people provided with (allegedly) clear and complete documentation. Nobody even managed to steal either the stone or the elixir it’s supposed to make. (And IIRC, it’s claimed that Flamel needs to use the elixir repeatedly.)
0fractalman8y"Basically we have a very surprising and useful result for a self-reported self-experiment with a sample size of one, that has not been replicated in hundreds of years despite known attempts by known competent, motivated, and resourceful people provided with (allegedly) clear and complete documentation. Nobody even managed to steal either the stone or the elixir it’s supposed to make. (And IIRC, it’s claimed that Flamel needs to use the elixir repeatedly.)" -well... If it were purely a real-life situation I would agree. but we have priors from...cannon... Oh. Right. it never actually DOES anything onscreen that couldn't be done by a pretty red(?) rock. There's still a high chance that Cannon!Stone works as advertised, though... I shall refer to "the McGuffin". the McGuffin may or may not be a working philosopher's stone. lets see. 1. Quirrelmort has some way of detecting the McGuffin. 2. Quirrelmort thinks it's valuable. 3. Dumbledore REFUSES to hide it outside of hogwarts. 4. Harry notes that Wizards have obunoculars. I note that wizards think they're great devices to watch Quidditch from a distance, and might not have thought to look at something CLOSE with them. -conclusion: hm....quite the mixed bag. Quite the mixed bag indeed... p.s. Do you REALLY think there's any significant chance that MoR unicorn blood works as advertised in Cannon? I once fantasized about asking a unicorn for a sample of blood in order to totally bypass the downside. ...now that i'm thinking about unicorns, who's blood Cannon Quirrel drank, I find it rather likely that Quirrelmort's zombie-mode is the side-effect of drinking unicorn blood, and that it would be worse if he were killing unicorns. Or maybe not as bad; he could also be letting them live to avoid attracting centaur attention.
0bogdanb8yI’m not even sure what it did in canon. I only mentioned it as a potential example. But note that even if there are no souls in MoR, magic immortality itself is certainly possible. (I.e., if it resurrected in canon, it probably won’t do that in MoR, but it might prolong life.)
3Gurkenglas8yWe have already seen a way to bypass the Interdict in Slytherins monster, another way to get around it would make Merlins Opus Magnum quite laughable. But yes, the Chamber of Secrets has still not been discovered and Harry did just run off to a very certain bathroom... Edit: Ah dammit, forgot the Neville scene at the end. That would have been too good.
1Dentin8yIf the secret to Merlin's Opus Magnum is similar to either partial transfiguration or patronus 2.0, then it may not be a problem. Both require special knowledge that isn't easy to convey or transfer to others. In the case of partial transfiguration, it's timeless QM and probability graphs; in the case of the patronus, it's a Long View of the future. Both are exceptionally rare even in our world; for wizards, much more so. And also as in our world, it's exceptionally hard to convey those things to others. Add to that the burden of responsibility for that kind of power and you may have a situation where wizards who figure out part of all of the Interdict know better than to tell anyone. That said, I'm not sure how I feel about Slytherin's monster being that important. Even if it did have a pile of spells, the question is how many, and of what actual value? It just seems too small scale for Harry. I get the feeling that there's something up with the rules of spell creation, and not just that "it's dangerous for people to try". Much like potion brewing, I suspect there's some simple, obvious in retrospect rules which Quirrel knows Harry will grossly abuse once he figures them out.
1William_Quixote8yAlthough not instant win, beating the interdict is potentially a route to great power fast. I think its a more likely route because its more fuzzy. The 6 hour limit on turners is a hard rule, there is not a lot of room for subjective interpretation to play with. The partial transfiguration trick works because form and object and the like are fuzzy concepts that don't map exactly onto anything in the real world. The limit on the transmitting of "sufficiently powerful spells" seems very similar in that its based on an idea without an exact referent. Sufficiently powerful compared to what, compared to a candle? Compared to a gun? Compared to a nuke? Compared to a meteor? Compared to a supernova? If Harry calibrates powerful based on a supernova and really "gets" how powerful that is, do all spells seem piddling by comparison and pass through the edict unscathed? There's certainly room to work with here.
0ikrase8yFrankly, the only reason that partial transfig does not make Harry insanely overpowered is because of Harry's weak mana (which will get better as he ages) and the need to avoid transfiguration sickness.

... Sudden idea.

The limitation on Time Turners is that they cannot send information back farther than six hours, through any sequence of people or Time Turners.

However, "information" here has been shown to have a very loose, non-physical definition - in the same way that brooms are Aristotelian, magical "information" has an intuitive definition. Bones is able to tell Dumbledore about the existence of future information (presumably) without automatically barring Dumbledore from then traveling back himself, for example.

So it's possible, ... (read more)

Predictions: Tom Riddle is Hat-n-Cloak (95%). Tom Riddle is female (35%). Tom Riddle was Voldemort, but the title was taken over by Qmort who is not TR (20%). The feeling of doom between HP and Qmort is because of time travel (95%). Qmort is an older HP, sent back in time with memories removed (30%).

2Kindly8yDoesn't your 30% prediction imply the 20% prediction?
3tondwalkar8yNo, HP could go back in time and call himself Tom Riddle. Especially if he was becoming one of those "Dark Wizards who change names like you and I change clothes"
1hairyfigment8y...I would dismiss this out of hand, except that "Tom Marvolo Riddle" is a ridiculously appropriate name.

On the Wild Mass Guessing page on TVTropes, someone made the following prediction: "Hermione is the enemy Voldemort will use in his resurrection... which will result in female!Voldemort(e), after using his mother's bone in the ritual." (They also mentioned that he would use Bellatrix's flesh for said ritual.) When I first read this, it seemed rather silly. However, now I'm starting to wonder if it's an actual possibility. Hermione's body is missing, and although I think it's more likely that Harry took it to resurrect Hermione, there's definitely... (read more)

Has anyone yet suggested the possibility that the troll was the basilisk?

1gwern8yNot that I've seen. ...why would you think that?
0Nisan8yIt explains how the troll got into Hogwarts: It's been there all along.
2shminux8yThen I would expect a hint of parselchat somewhere in that chapter.

Regarding Quirrell's motives.

Quirrell is hoping that Harry has now "discarded his foolish little reluctances".

Which suggests a motive for framing Hermione: he was hoping Harry would assassinate Lucius.

What is the effect on Harry of the attacks on Hermione?

To make him stronger and more resolute.

Therefore, why is someone attacking Hermione?

Because they want Harry to be stronger and more resolute.

Dumbledore and Quirrell want that. They have both been specifically training him for it, each in their own way. Did they arrange H's death?

No. Quirrell's dash to the scene and the conversation of Dumbledore and Quirrell about Harry after H's death indicate that they are afraid of what this experience will do to Harry. Therefore they are not the ones who arrang... (read more)

2anotherblackhat8yIt seems more likely to me that Quirrell's dash was primarily for the purpose of burning holes in Hogwarts. Despite leaving before Harry, and Harry stopping to pick up the twins and stopping at the library, and supposedly making a more direct route, Quirrell still failed to arrive before Harry, or for that matter, at all. I'm not saying Quirrell is unafraid of what this experience will do to Harry, just that I don't believe Quirrell's dash is evidence of that.
4gjm8yI think that's wrong. Here's chapter 89: In chapter 90 Quirrell claims to have left as soon as he discovered "that Miss Granger was on the verge of death", whatever that means, but it seems clear he's lying.
1fractalman8y"Why not just destroy him instead? Quirrell at least would think of that at once." THAT...is a very, very good question. And btw, Quirrel has many other names: Voldemort, Monroe, possibly "black hat"... Why DIDN"T he just teach harry how to use cursed-fire, and tell him to go far away from Hogwarts (easily enough arranged) to avoid killing any bystanders? (To, yknow, avoid the appearance of being evil...) Seems to me that would be a fast way to preserve the status quo of the universe... I notice that I am rather confused. I am going to meditate before I post the theory that's offering itself as a resolution.
4fractalman8yok. so: assuming Harry's memory of the night his parents died is correct, what if the crucial difference is that, instead of shrugging Lilly off, Voldemort accepted her bargain...making it a two-person ritual rather than just a one-person ritual...which meant that not only was Harry protected against Voldemort, now the latter had to actively guard Harry's life. Second part: And as he looked into harry's eyes...he had his equivalent of an "oh crap", and then made harry a horcrux because he figured he may as well. Which THEN sparked a nasty resonance that blasted his body to bits and didn't take like a normal horcrux (is anyone other than Eliezer ~90% sure how they're supposed to work in MoR?) because he'd already used lilly's life in a ritual.
1Velorien8yIf a mere exchange of promises were sufficient to constitute a magically binding ritual, there would be no need for Unbreakable Oaths.
0fractalman8yThey aren't. but someone else once showed that all the elements were present, except for the usual incantations to set it up. In this view, it's more like an accidentally created ritual.
0tim8yAren't horcruxs supposed to be incredibly costly to create? Like, they use a piece of your soul (or diminish you in a way that has been described as losing a piece of your soul). I don't think Voldemort would shrug and go, "well, I may as well perform an incredibly costly ritual and make this baby into horcrux" on a whim.
-1fractalman8y|Aren't horcruxs supposed to be incredibly costly to create? I'm afraid you'll need to find MoR evidence for that, not Cannon evidence. Eliezer rearranged a lot of the details on how Dark Magic works-basically, some rituals, but not all, twist your mind as an explicity price, and it's often dangerous, but rarely is it truly Evil in and of itself.) He has been very carefull not to make it obvious what the new price or prices for horcrux creation are-except that it still requires a murder. If he's dropped hints that give more than a +/-5% boost to any particular hypothesis, I haven't noticed them as such.
1elharo8yEliezer has added details of how magic works, but I don't think he's intentionally changed anything from canon.
3fractalman8yHe has. Eleizer has: changed the fundamental mechanism for the patronus, made dementors killable with patronus 2.0, edited the magic interactions between Harry and Voldemort to be dangerous to Harry as well as Voldemort, changed how the elder wand works (It's...maybe a +5 wand under normal use, and is only an "infinity+/-1" wand when fed blood sacrifices), and made Harry's invisibility cloak work against dementors-Cannon!Dumbledore (or...someone) warns Harry explicitly that invisibility cloaks do not work against dementors.
1elharo8yI'd have to check the bit about Harry's invisibility cloak not working against dementors--I don't recall that from canon but if so that is indeed a change. Do you have a specific cite in canon where the invisibility cloak does not work against dementors? Patronus 2.0 is simply a new spell, not a change to an old one. I don't recall the fundamental mechanism for the Patronus 1.0 charm has changed, but if you have cites from canon and HPMoR to back up this claim, it could prove your point. The magical interactions between Harry and Voldemort are different, I suspect, because HPMoR Voldemort did something different to Harry than canon Voldemort. The elder wand is an extension of canon, not a change. I don't think there's anything in canon that contradicts what HPMoR says about it. I read the blood sacrifices as being an additional source of Grindelwald's power, not something required to power the elder wand. I.e. he had the elder wand and the blood sacrifices. And if I'm wrong about that, I'm still not sure it would contradict canon.
0fractalman8yon the first one, according to http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Dementor [http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Dementor] My original point about patronuses turned out to be more hair-splitting than anything else...but it also turns out that Rowling's take on the partronus totally diverges in lesser-cannon. In that book, a guy called Raczidian tries to cast a Patronus. He produces, instead, a swarm of maggots....Which turn and eat him up. MoR "dark-wizards" simply find that the spell fizzles.
0linkhyrule58yI like the analysis, but I think I'm going to have to diverge near the top. The problem is, we're fairly sure that Voldemort is Quirrell. There's the Pioneer plate, the amusing questionnaire about "where to lose something you want never to be found," and of course the sense of Doom; in addition, I'm pretty sure that Ryvrmre fnvq fb, va gur ergenpgrq Nhgube'f Abgr sbe Puncgre 20. You're also missing a candidate. Throughout the story, there's been hints at the presence of a Peggy Sue - a long-distance time traveler with unknown intentions and unknown motives. Unfortunately, it's something of a Fully General Explanation for that reason... Personally, I'm betting somewhere around 65% that Future!Harry is the culprit - less because I'm 70% certain that Future!Harry is responsible, and more because I'm 95% certain Dumbledore didn't, and 75% certain Quirrell didn't, and after that I'm out of conscious hypotheses so the rest get the ~5%.
0RichardKennaway8yI continue, despite all that, to be sceptical that the relationship between the two is anything so simple as plain identity. There is a connection between the two, but Quirrell strikes me as someone who has learned how to be Voldemort but whose terminal values remain on the light side. I will be disappointed if the reveal turns out to be "Surprise! Q is V! Just like you expected all along!" Unless it's something like Q = V, but is in alliance with Dumbledore against a far greater enemy, a future dark-side Harry who is reaching back through time to bring himself into existence. I know about the ergenpgrq Nhgube'f Abgr, but it's ergenpgrq, and I pubbfr abg gb xabj bs vg sbe gur checbfr bs gurfr fcrphyngvbaf. Vg unf ha-unccrarq, naq Ryvrmre vf serr gb jevgr gur fgbel jvgubhg ertneq gb vg. That's a problem with a lot of the paraphernalia of the setting. In a world with time travel, memory erasure, false memories, and ineluctable commands, the most important thing about these is the detailed rules about what you can't do with them.
2linkhyrule58yRot13, granted. Non sequitur. We have no evidence that Voldemort is necessarily "evil," only that he committed atrocities. It is possible that an extremely cynical, but otherwise rational David Monroe decided that the best way to save the world was to rule it, and the best way to rule it was to become a hero, and then went about the dirty business of becoming heroic enough to qualify for world domination. In fact, I rather imagine this being likely. Quirrell as we know him does not seem like the sort of person to have fame, money, or even really personal happiness as terminal values; if nothing else, he seems like the type to take over the world just so he doesn't have to deal with complete morons anymore, and/or get off this planet.