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 119.

Plans for next chapter release:

Ch. 120 will post on March 12th, 2015 at 12PM Pacific Time (7PM UTC).

The next long chapter will be Ch. 122, posting on March 14th, 2015 at 9AM Pacific / 4PM UTC.

There is a site dedicated to the story at, 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

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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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From chapter 38, when Harry buys the Quibbler:

"Gosh," Harry said half a minute later, "you get a seer smashed on six slugs of Scotch and she spills all sorts of secret stuff. I mean, who'd have thought that Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew were secretly the same person?"

EDIT: Then,

"And I'm secretly sixty-five years old."

Which is also true, because of Voldemort inside him. Which leaves....

"And I'm betrothed to Hermione Granger, and Bellatrix Black, and Luna Lovegood, and oh yes, Draco Malfoy too..."

Man, that's beautiful. What does Bellatrix Black want most, that Harry can offer?

She wants Tom Riddle to love her.

0Ben Pace9y
Aww crap

My bet is that the last bit will be polyamory in the epilogue.

That is probably what Eliezer was referring to as the epilogue stomping all over everything.

I want canon Harry/Hermione/Draco/Luna. :<

But the betrothal has to have occurred before it was mentioned.
No-one in their right mind would bet against that.
The kid part of him with Hermione, Luna, and Draco; the adult part of him with Bellatrix?

Note that using the stone for human transfigureation, he can perform sex changes.

Boy-who-lived gets Draco Malfoy pregnant?

I remember I enjoyed reading Luminosity/Radiance a lot less on second reading, once I knew how it ended. The same thing was true for Friendship is Optimal. I am starting to wonder if the same thing will happen with HPMoR, once I read the last chapters. It's like there's something about story endings written by transhumanists....
Well, to be fair to Friendship is Optimal, the ending was in no way a twist. We even get to see Hanna planning it. So I dunno, it's okay on reread for me.
Interesting. I'm waiting to go and reread all of HPMoR from the start once it is done. But there may be a substantial issue here: once one has that sort of ending everything else in the story may feel trivial in comparison. To test this it might make sense to look at books with similar sort of endings that aren't written by transhumanists. Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End might one to look at. How did people feel about rereading it?
I eventually rethought whether Childhood's End had a happy ending. It seemed as likely that the human race was eaten as that it transcended. Some other candidates for discussion: The Cosmic Rape by Theodore Sturgeon and The Persistence of Vision by John Varley.
There's actually some explicit discussion of this in Worm's epilogue. That story had a relentless ramp of challenges always getting larger and larger until they were as large as possible (and then the story ended), but it was more of nireg n artngvir fvathynevgl naq gura yvir n abezny yvsr, vafgrnq bs oevat nebhaq n cbfvgvir fvathynevgl naq gura yvir n fgenatr yvsr.
Haven't read it, putting it on my list now. Upon some reflection, the reason I liked Luminosity less on second reading seems to be at least partly that the protagonist started as a relative underdog (sympathetic) and ended up as dominant authority, one effective in their dominance to an oppressive degree, enforcing her ideas on everything and everyone. This moved me out of "yay, rationalist fiction, let's get into it from the pov of the protagonist" into a third person view... from which I started noticing how freakin' obnoxious rationalist!Bella is. Poor Edward.

So Dumbledore killed Harry's pet rock. Best twist ever.

I did find that reference quite amusing. I had assumed Harry was being sarcastic in chapter 6:

Professor McGonagall pointed toward a shop that looked as if it had been made from flesh instead of bricks and covered in fur instead of paint. "Small pets are permitted at Hogwarts - you could get an owl to send letters, for example -"

"Can I pay a Knut or something and rent an owl when I need to send mail?"

"Yes," said Professor McGonagall.

"Then I think emphatically no."

Professor McGonagall nodded, as though ticking off a point. "Might I ask why not?"

"I had a pet rock once. It died."

I had assumed Harry was being sarcastic in chapter 6:

Nah, in chapter 33 we have Harry irrationally worried that Hermione is dying rather than just Somnium-ed:

Could've been her last breath escaping.

Oh be quiet. Why are you being so paranoid-protective, anyway?

Er, first real friend we've ever had in our whole life? Hey, remember what happened to our pet rock?

Would you SHUT UP about that worthless lump of rubble, it wasn't even alive let alone sentient, that is like the most pathetic childhood trauma ever -

(Which had me in stitches.)

Two quotes that are scary together:

"There can only be one king upon the chessboard. There can only be one piece whose value is beyond price. That piece is not the world, it is the world's peoples, wizard and Muggle alike, goblins and house-elves and all." - Albus Dumbledore

"I shall not... by any act of mine... destroy the world... I shall take no chances... in not destroying the world..." - Harry Potter

Harry is unfriendly. When it comes time for harry to choose between saving all the people and a small chance at saving the world, you will all learn to regret helping him get out of the box.

I think there is evidence that "magic" has natural language processing and is capable of taking context and intent into account. I don't know that Harry wouldn't be unable to interpret distorting the world as killing everyone. Particularly dice the person he gave the vow to was particularly concerned about and motivated by the death of people (or at least of one specific person).

In the text, they made it clear that the vow was based on the meaning of the words and not the words itself. V said that it was important that everyone understood the meaning.

Harry would not consider star lifting or terraforming or the creation of a virtual world at the expense of the actual one to be 'destroying the world'. He would considering 'destroying the world' to mean 'the ending of all life' or somesuch.

So you mean that Voldie screwed it up AGAIN when he tried to mess with a prophecy? Man, some people are simply not meant to hear prophecies.

On the other hand, the Vow did not change Harry's terminal goals. While he may not work to undermine the Vow itself, it is possible that before coming to the horrible realization that he has to protect the world above its people, he lets enough slip to other so that they may find a way to remove the Vow (or put him back in a box). Also, the Vow has some loopholes:

That I shall not... by any act of mine... destroy the world... I shall take no chances... in not destroying the world... if my >hand is forced... I may take the course... of lesser destruction over greater destruction... unless it seems to me that this >Vow itself... leads to the world's end... and the friend... in whom I have confided honestly... agrees that this is so. By my >own free will... If a good agent ever learns the full text of the Vow, they can use the loophole to make a dead man's switch and destroy the world if a significant fraction of its people are gone. Also "it seems that this Vow itself leads to the world's end" would probably be true if Harry

... (read more)
If Coscott is right about the Vow protecting "the world" and not "its people", then it very much did change Harry's terminal values. The intended meaning of the three persons making the vow have to match, or the Vow won't work. And I think that two randomly chosen Death Eaters, who have absolutely no idea that people could survive without the Earth, who don't even suspect that there's been manned spaceflight, would indeed think that "the world" is "the Earth".
OK, I misspoke. It did not change what Harry feels are good terminal values. He may not in any way choose to assist (even by being passive) someone who would want to change that terminal value, but as long as he has not realized what Coscott may have realized, then letting people with terminal value "make sure human life goes on" know about this Vow will not be in conflict with his Vow. They can then come to their own realization. Basically Harry is unfriendly, but he's not intelligent enough yet that he can predict the outcome of every action like, say, Celestia does. He can still accidentally out himself and be dealt with. But the last part (when to ignore the Vow) depend only on Harry and Hermione's subjective evaluation. So what the Death Eaters think is not really in question.
Yes. I though that Harry's Unbreakable Vow was the perfect vehicle for EY to show the dangers of UFAI, but it doesn't look like he is going that way.
I think you are right. I hadn't considered that, and I don't think Harry has either, but while Harry was thinking that "destroying the world" meant killing all the dudes, the Death Eaters were thinking of the ground blowing up, and there were two of them, so their interpretation probably prevails.

As further evidence that the vow blocks killing all the people consider this.

The vow blocks Harry from telling muggels about magic and starting mass healing. At the time it blocks him the ideas he thought of were transfiguring nuclear weapons and plagues that could replicate before the transfiguration wore off. Neither of those poses any danger to "the world" but they pose great danger to the worlds people. Harry doesn't think of up quarks until after he has already been blocked. So the vow seems to be interpreted as killing everyone being the end of the world. Which is quite possibly how Harry understood it.

He also thought of antimatter, negatively charged strangelets, black holes, and up quarks, any one of which could, potentially, physically destroy the Earth. Note also that if the vow interprets the words to mean the physical Earth, then future starlifting Harry could make a replica Earth and move all the muggles there, then tell them about magic.

"There's no way in hell or double hell- " - Mad Eye Moody

See! Double hell is real. Its where double witches go, twice.

Best-written chapter of this year, easily. Eliezer, congratulations on the good work :-)

+1, yeah, great chapter. As Harry says, sometimes "that explains it" doesn't fully cover it.
3Rob Bensinger9y
I liked this chapter a lot too, though I liked 108, 111, and 115 a similar amount.

Minerva's hand passed over one of those objects, the one with golden wibblers, her eyes closing briefly.

Heh. From Chapter 17:

Oh, the little fiddly things?" said Dumbledore. "They came with the Headmaster's office and I have absolutely no idea what most of them do. Although this dial with the eight hands counts the number of, let's call them sneezes, by left-handed witches within the borders of France, you would not believe how much work it took to nail that down. And this one with the golden wibblers is my own invention and Minerva is never, ever going to figure out what it's doing."

What is a wibbler by the way? I google it and all I get doesn't make sense.
I think it's a mix of a wobbler and a wibble, the latter mostly in the metasyntactic variable sense :-)

Wizards seem to be overly skeptical of the information that they get from their magical detection spells, an analogue to what some muggle scientists call algorithm aversion. (As evidenced by the current confusion about Hermione's nature, and the lack of response when the wards previously identified The Defense Professor as her killer.)

This means that scheming wizards who want their plots to go undiscovered don't need to trick the magical detection spells, they just need to pursue strange enough plots so that other wizards won't believe what the detection spells tell them. Which makes Voldemort's creative uses of magic analogous to Dumbledore's ploy of pretending to be crazy.

Wizards seem to be overly skeptical of the information that they get from their magical detection spells, an analogue to what some muggle scientists call algorithm aversion. (As evidenced by the current confusion about Hermione's nature, and the lack of response when the wards previously identified The Defense Professor as her killer.)

When a magical detection spell says that a human is really a unicorn, is it likelier that the spell is accurate or that whatever Dark ritual fueled Hermione's resurrection has residual effects that interfere with the usual function of said detection spell?

It's not clear for the wizards what it's supposed to mean that Hermoine is a unicorn.
Well they know unicorn blood is a magical means of prolonging life, so it should make them suspect it was involved in the ritual that brought her back, if nothing else.

I don't see why they're still worried about Bellatrix, it looks like she's been rendered mostly 'armless.

Harry has to some extent undone the work of Merlin. Merlin's interdict ensures that the most powerful magics slowly die out of the world as wizards and witches die with their secrets. Harry's scheme for immortality in the magical world puts a stop to the losses, and allows magical knowledge to be kept as it is re-discovered, however slowly. Previously the loss rate exceeded the discovery rate. I think that is about to be reversed. And the Interdict of Merlin was put in place to avoid a prophesied destruction of the world.

Ch. 80

And when (the legend continues) the Seers continued to foretell that not enough had yet been done to prevent the end of the world and its magic, then (the story goes) Merlin sacrificed his life, and his wizardry, and his time, to lay in force the Interdict of Merlin.

But then, Dumbledore seemed to think, after listening to all the prophecies, that the end of the world was inevitable, and that the optimal goal was not about preventing it.

Recent chapters make me wonder what "and his time" really means, as well as "the world and its magic." I can understand destroying the world, but how can the Interdict make the loss of the world's magic less likely? Actually, are "magic" and "the world's magic" likely to refer to the same thing? Is the source of magic a physically embodied thing, and if so is it on Earth?

Hum, did Harry suddenly forget about Time-Turners ? Or is he afraid what will happen if people "abuses" from them with the Stone ?

The Stone takes 234 seconds. That's 86400/234 = 369 people/day if you have "normal" 24 hours a day. But if you have 30 hours a day, as you do with a Time-Turner, it's actually 461 people you can heal each day.

There's a limit on a person going back, but I don't know about things. So maybe a bunch of people with time-turners could hand off the stone.
If I remember well, it's not just "person", but information. I can't use a Time Turner to go 6 hours back to the past, give a piece of paper to someone (or an information to that person), and have that person goes back for 6 more hours. So while it is an interesting hypothesis, it would require no information to be carried... and isn't the fact that the Stone still exists and works an information in itself ? Or that's nitpicking ?
My feeling is things that are overwhelmingly likely do not get treated as information. For example, Harry's clothes go with him, but "Time" doesn't consider that to be information of his clothes still existing. It feels like that there's a Deus ex Machina aspect to how "Time" works and deals with information. Sometimes when you try to time-turn you just encounter Paradox. So based on that I'd predict that if you try to time-turn with intention to get more uses out of the stone, you will encounter Paradox.
Then when someone says "I have information from 6 hours in the future", that would be information in and of itself. It means that 6 hours in the future life is still sustainable.
Magic doesn’t think of “information” like you do. Magic doesn’t work the way you expect it to work. If you suggest that it should, Magic will just look at you queerly, shrug its shoulders and continue to work the way wizards expect it to work. It’s "Oogely boogely!" all over again.
And yet Dumbledore doesn't treat such a statement as information about the future when using his Time-Turner, which suggests that maybe the 6-hour limit is something you can think your way around.
Or that it works like magic does which seems to be not very careful about pesky things like rigorous notions of what constitutes information in the same way that brooms can work off what amounts to pseudo-Aristotelian physics.
I figured that the two were equivalent. If we find something that magic does not consider information (but we do), we can use it to receive information from an arbitrarily far future. For example, suppose that magic does not consider merely "Does a timeturned person show up at time T at this location or not" to be information, and we want to know if the world ends in the next 10 years. Four people with time-turners agree to the following scheme (using Unbreakable Vows if necessary): * If, at 12:01 AM on March 14th, 2025, the world has not ended, Alice goes back 6 hours using a Time-Turner. * If, at 6:01 PM on March 13th, 2025, Bob sees Alice appear out of nowhere, he goes back 6 hours using a Time-Turner. * If, at 12:01 PM on March 13th, 2025, Carol sees Bob appear out of nowhere, he goes back 6 hours using a Time-Turner. * If, at 6:01 AM on March 13th, 2025, Dan sees Carol appear out of nowhere, he goes back 6 hours using a Time-Turner. * If, at 12:01 AM on March 13th, 2025, Alice sees Dan appear out of nowhere, he goes back 6 hours using a Time-Turner. * ... Also, they make sure that in case of anything not world-ending, they will have a substitute available so that the chain will not break. After agreeing to this, if Alice sees Dan appear out of nowhere at 12:01 AM tomorrow, then they know that the world has not ended. If not, then something sufficiently bad to cause the chain to break must have happened in the next 10 years. (Either way, they must continue to implement the plan for as long as possible.) Using further chains of Time-Turners, we can use our favorite unbounded binary search scheme to narrow down a more precise date for the world ending. (Edit: actually, we can probably improve the resolution simply by using the Time-Turners at a different specified time depending on circumstances.)
I think this is taking "6 hour limit" way too literally, when by far the simplest explanation is that time turners can protect you against Time's tendency towards simplicity for 6 hours or so, but if you try to chain that, it becomes overwhelmingly computationally simpler (and therefore more likely) for the intention to set up such a chain to result in the death of everyone involved, than for the chain to work as designed.
I agree that the scheme I propose would fail under many interpretations of how time travel works. I disagree that we know enough to say that Time has a tendency towards computational simplicity, or that Time-Turners protect you from it, or for that matter that a Time-Turner chain is any more likely to short-circuit in some bizarre accident than a regular use of Time-Turners. The simplest explanation I can think of under which my scheme might not work is actually the 6-hour buffer model. In that case, I expect no time travel would occur at all, so we'd want to design the scheme in such a way that (a) this is a clean way to fail and (b) this is not a failure case we expect short of either the world ending or the scheme not working.
You can't do that to send information back more than six hours. I don't think the limitation applies to sending it through the same six hours repeatedly, although that would explain the whole DON'T MESS WITH TIME thing.
I don't know how often Eliezer reads either these threads, or the ones on r/HPMOR. If he reads them often enough, hopefully he'll take great considerations like this one, and create a bonus or omake chapter in which Harry thinks all the best suggestions through. It would be of great service to us fans.
My guess is that he ignores this site completely these days, except for the Main posts, so better post what you want him to see there. Also, he replied to this particular point in r/hpmor.
About 10-15 chapters ago he responded in these threads to a similar "he doesn't read this anymore" comment. I think what he wrote was something like, "ahem"
He also made no fewer than four posts just a few threads ago, and one in the thread after that.

For it was said once that you might need to raise your hand against your mentor, the one who made you, who you loved; it was said that you might be my downfall.

Indeed. Harry raised his hand against his mentor, the one who made him, the one he loved (‘Harry was in love. It would be a three-way wedding: him, the Time-Turner, and Professor Quirrell’), and was the cause of Dumbledore's downfall. Only, Dumbledore did not realize that he and Harry's mentor does not need to be the same person.

But didn't he note in the confrontation in the Defense Against the Dark Arts class that Harry had chosen Quirrell as his Wise Old Wizard?

"“Harry… you must realize that if you choose this man as your teacher and your friend, your first mentor, then one way or another you will lose him, and the manner in which you lose him may or may not allow you to ever get him back.”"

Dumbledore's comment in his note just don't seem congruent with this comment earlier on, and it's this comment and not the note which seems congruent with reality.

To be fair, we don't know when he wrote the note.

Excellent chapter! The last few were a bit short, but this one more than made up for it!

I really hadn't seen the twist with Dumbledore coming. I am really, really, really glad that Dumbledore turns out to be sane after all. I really liked Eliezer's take on Dumbledore. I was convinced he was much saner than most people believed, but I couldn't figure out what game he was playing either.

The reference to Harry's pet rock was brilliant. This story clearly has been planned out long in advance.

Harry, hurry up and read the instructions Voldie left you. You know, find out what dark sacrifice is needed before you make plans to revive Hermione yet again. If it requires a human sacrifice you might consider pacing the dementors out.

I think "Britpicking" is the appropriate term, but "crap" is an incongruous word for Moody to keep using the way he does. "Crap" as an interjection is a very American-sounding usage.

I noticed that too--I'm not sure what it is with Moody, but in an earlier revision of Chapter 97 he'd ended the chapter by saying "what the crap--" (it's now been changed to "WHAT -"). It's unclear if EY edited the earlier chapter because it wasn't very British or because it seemed out-of-place, but for whatever reason, he's saying it again now.

Prediction: people who aren't Harry can use the stone once every 216 seconds (3:36).

(The idea being that the rule is "400 times a day" and Harry has a 26hr day.)

Harry's sleep cycle has been adjusted to a 30-hour day in Chapter 65, in the same way that Dumbledore had previously adjusted it to a 26-hour day.
That is a very interesting suggestion. What probability do you assign to it?
Why is Harry special? His sleep cycle? Anybody can use a time turner.

For me, this has been the best chapter since the spade of updates in the last few weeks began. I mean, the one weekend where we needed to solve the Final Exam was the most gripping and exciting part for me. However, once that ended, especially with it only being a mere moment in canon, I felt as though the rest of the pieces fell into place as we would have expected. This chapter really struck me as thematic of earlier chapters, the ones which really drew me into this story, like the first time Harry imagined defeating death and killed a Dementor.

No love for Emma Watson?

0Scott Garrabrant9y
There is no way Emma Watson can get behind a story that angered feminists so much.
With good reason. Hermione was essentially stuffed into the fridge (warning: TV Tropes!) for half the story. The story is great, but there are completely legitimate feminist criticisms of how it went.
Apparently I missed the existence of an internet argument. Good.
Can you expand on what you mean? I'm not sure I understand.

I'm glad I had zero idea about there being some kind of internet-controversy about feminism in HPMOR. I hate internet-controversies.

So, what you're saying is that in any story, the female characters cannot die or otherwise its sexist? This is even worse than the 'I'm a feminist and a strong independent woman, therefore I can beat a man twice my weight in a fight, despite us both being trained' which keeps ruining TV. What would have happened if Draco had died instead? Hermione's mother would have gone before the Wizimagot and demanded... oh, wait, nevermind. Guess we'd just have to abandon that entire plot arc.
No. But what has been noticed here is an aggregate pattern: female characters who die as part of an attempt by a villain to impact a male character. That's the classic fridging and that's exactly what happened here. And it also really doesn't help that Hermione was a character who was trying to be a heroine and her death saved no one at all.

But its not an aggregate pattern in EY's work specifically. Harry has to be the main character, its in the title of the story. If any main character is going to die, its going to be a sidekick.

Part of the reason for fridging female characters in general could be that they don't play an active role in the story, but in HPMOR Hermione was playing a major part.

A second reason is that people care more about women than about men - that's why reports of disasters are often phrased "X died, including Y women and children". But this is sexist against men.

In short, if Hermione had served no purpose except to generate emotions in Harry, then I could see your point. But she played a major role, if anything being more independent than in canon.

It isn't an aggregate pattern in almost anyone's work: it happens in individual cases and adds up. The problem is made all the more severe because it is very clear that Eliezer is aware of all these tropes and issues. Sure. What about Neville or Draco? Sometimes. Look at the trope page- there's a large amount of variation on how much of a role they've played prior to fridging. Moreover, Hermione while she did play a role, she also had the least power boost of anyone in the story. Sure, and obvious way of helping get rid of this sexism is not to reinforce it in stories by using gender as a quick emotional tug. That's not to say that there were not legitimate reasons to have Hermione be killed, and from a "is this a reasonable thing for Voldemort to try to do" perspective it makes some sense (although it does indicate that he may not understand the importance of martyrs for how people think). But there were many other options, and again, her death wasn't even heroic, she saved zero lives and wasn't even in a position to save lives. When she's explicitly trying to be a heroine out of feminist ideals, and she then gets quickly killed, what does that look like?
Hermione was the smartest student in canon-- what would a thoroughly power-boosted Hermione look like?
I don't have a link offhand, but I recall EY stating his reasons for not boosting Hermione: * She doesn't need the boost to compete with the other characters, including Harry * If she was boosted, the story would be "Hermione Granger Discovers the Methods of Rationality and Becomes Omnipotent" (i.e. a thoroughly power-boosted Hermione would break the story) * A boosted Hermione would plausibly be smarter then EY
Sure. Those are all reasons to not boost the character as much as the other characters get boosted. But that doesn't mean any boost is a problem. It isn't difficult to imagine what a slightly boosted Hermione might do. I gave an example elsewhere in this subthread. But one can easily imagine other similar examples.
That's a good point. But I imagine a more powerful Hermione would not only have a good memory she'd be able to use it. If Harry makes an offhand comment like "Most spells are from garbled Latin" she should be able to say something like: "Around 80% of First Year spells fit that description. I noticed it when I was looking at my textbooks and based on linguistic analysis I suspect that the direction is actually reversed: Latin was at some point heavily influenced by spellwords. Here's my data and the linguistic evidence." But that doesn't happen even to that extent. We don't get her making any discoveries at all. Instead the power boosted Harry makes fundamental discoveries about potions and transfiguration and about casting the Patronus. Why can't Hermione make any on her own?
That's a good point. Fortunately, HPMOR is hardly the last Harry Potter fanfic.
She's 11/12. Harry Potter is Tom Riddle who is 65. This is why Harry acts like an adult, including making discoveries, while Hermione acts like a very intelligent child.
Observation: there appears to be a significant amount of mind-killing occurring in this thread.
How can you say that? Only the other side is mind-killed; my side is being perfectly rational!
I think this is a joke, because Voldiemort killed the infant Harry's mind to overwrite it with his own.
Interesting. I thought it was a polite discussion of disagreements about the issues at hand. I have seen substantial mind-killing on this sort of topic here before, but it doesn't seem present in this conversation to me.
That argument as explanation doesn't really work: first of all, many of Harry's discoveries are low-hanging fruit, and it seems pretty clear that there are a lot of those. Second of all, Harry only has some aspects of TR. He grew up a (relatively normal) child without any of the procedural or other memories of TR. As far as we can tell, the primary way that Harry is akin to TR is close to the same starting minds and being raised in different ways. Moreover, smart children make discoveries even in our world where there are a lot of scientists. Here a 16 year old discovered a novel method of quickly killing ticks. 11 and 12 year olds have discovered supernovas, and now a 10 year old has now granted that's observational, but that's still the same pattern. Young children have also published math papers. Finally, this doesn't help because the concern is at a meta-level. Dumbledore, Harry, Voldemort, and Draco all got massive resource and power boosts. But not Hermione.
I don't really know how the whole 'HP is TR' thing works. I mean, on the one hand no 11 year, however gifted, old works out a way to run hypercomputing algorithms on a closed timelike curve provided by time-turners. On the other, Harry presumably didn't start talking with an adult vocabulary when he was an infant, so... I dunno. And sure, I can buy 11 or 12 year olds making observational discoveries. But for an actual, highly intellegent 11 year old who isn't sharing her mind with fragments of an adult's psyche, the correct tactic is to learn as much as possible, and start doing experiments when you're older, which was Hermione's plan. Certain of the female charicters did gain a power boost, while Baba Yaga is a new charicter and nicholas flamel is actually female. Moreover, the way Dumbledore and Voldemort have changed is simply that they are acting like intelligent adults, rather than characters in a children's story. By comparison, Hermione is acting like a child rather than a child in a children's story, which... isn't that much of a change.
The tricks with the Basilisk and the Proddian[sic] charm seem like they could have been adaptable to HPMoR, but at the same time, canon Hermione was older when she accomplished those things. Even in canon, discoveries in potions were plainly not her thing, at least; see Half Blood Prince.
The Protean charm on the galleons occurs in book 5. I'm not sure what you mean about the basilisk. Possible I'm not remembering. Sure. But again, reasonable power boost. Note how in the above I gave an example of an interesting discovery she could make that wouldn't even compete with Harry in what area she was focusing on.
I think, CAE_Jones refers to Hermione being the one who finds out that Slytherin’s monster (in book 2) is a basilisk.
I don't think this line of analysis works for determining that a work is sexist. At least, it's not sexist in a problematic way (i.e. we need to get rid of it, or at least be aware of the sexism when reading it), it's sexist because the world we live in is sexist and it's practically impossible to write anythong non-sexist. Does HPMOR do anything to advance the condition of women? No, but neither does it do anything to adress racism, ableism, homophobia and plenty of other societal issues. That's not why the book was written. On the other hand, it has two strong female characters that have agency, and no female "characters" that are boobs on a stick, or a reward for the hero, or anything of the sort. Remember that EY was working from canon and could not exactly add plenty of important characters unheard of in the book. He already promoted Daphne, Tracey and (to a lesser extent) Susan compared to their role in the series (although I guess that's partially to make up for the lack of Ginny or Luna in Harry's first year). If your strongest argument to say a work is sexist in a problematic way is "a secondary female character dies without accomplishing anything", then I feel that's too strong a criteria. Hell, even in "Blue is the warmest color" (the book, not the movie, which was admittedly quite sexist in its direction), the main character dies a stupid death without ever having accomplished anything, and you'd be hard pressed to find that book sexist. In Worm, an important secondary female character is killed in an anti-climatic way by a villain we had almost never heard of until the chapter where he kills her. Is Worm sexist? I don't think so.
HPMOR somewhat examines the automatic lack of respect adults have for children.
Well, I'm not sure what it means for a work as a whole to be sexist. So in so far as that doesn't seem well-defined I agree. Hang on. Full stop. The idea that any form of sexism in a work means we need to get rid of that work is something I strongly, and fundamentally disagree with. No amount of sexism is a reason for censorship. Possibly, but there are degrees of sexism, and there are issues when reinforcing certain sexist norms. I'd point out that for example, Brandon Sanderson Mistborn series is an excellent example of a series without any sexism issues in how the author approach things. And that's far from the only example. Actually, racism is definitely addressed in the context of Muggles v. wizards, and homophobia has been addressed- see the point where one of the young wizards suspects that claims about homophobia in the Muggle community are an anti-Muggle slur. That was meant as a humorous aside but it was a clear dig at certain attitudes. I agree that Eliezer did a wonderful job of promoting Daphne and Tracey. If he hadn't the situation would look very different. But the argument isn't just that Hermione died without accomplishing anything, but rather that it was in a context where the male wizards (Harry and Voldemort) both received substantial power boosts, where Hermione was trying to be a heroine for feminist reasons, where people had already complained about feminist issues being treated poorly in HPMoR, and then having Hermione killed without accomplishing anything specifically because the villain desired it to have an impact on the primary male protagonist. It is that totally of issues that made this so bad.
But you claim that any "sexism" (however you define it) in the work is bad.
At minimum a cause for concern. But if you want to say bad, sure, as a decent approximation of the issue, yeah we can go with "bad".
Why? Also, how are you defining "sexism".
I assign a very high probability that you just downvoted the comment you are replying to. This is generally often indicative of not being interested in a productive conversation. Did you do so?
As I said, Draco tries to kill Hermione wouldn't work, because Hermione's family don't have the influence to send Draco to Akazaban, which starts the chain of events leading to the death. Neville isn't as important a charicter as the other two. Ron and Hagrid have both been presented as imbeciles when they were heroes in canon. What if its wired into us at the biological level because a tribe can repopulate after losing 90% of the men more than after losing 90% of the women?
Neville in many ways had more actual character development than Hermione. If anything, Neville's death would have been far more tragic if he had died trying to be a hero in the sense of having an impact on Harry. Neville is only at all heroic because of Harry. It would have been a far more emotional rebuke to Harry if Neville had tried trying to be a hero. Sure, but Ron was an idiot in canon also, and there are literally multiple subgenres of fanfic to get Ron out of the picture because so many people dislike his character. See for example Ron the Death Eater (again standard TVTropes warning.) And Hagrid being an imbecile is simply taking the issues with the character already and putting them into a serious context where actually harming children might actually have a real response. This is for example parts of Wait, What? (which in its own way is a rationalist fic). That seems very strongly like a just-so story. I'd be very interested in seeing some sort of evidence backing up that this sort of attitude is strongly cross cultural. There are other cross-cultural reasons this might happen but that would be the minimum level. Note also that just because something is innate doesn't mean it is a good thing: that's most of the point of learning to deal with cognitive biases for example.
My point is that Ron and Hagrid were not upgraded, and as such I see no overall pattern where the males are upgraded and females like Hermoine are not. I'm neither an anthropologist nor an evolutionary psychologist, so I can't say whether this is the case with high certainty. I'm also not saying its a good thing to have substantially higher empathy for females over males, but if biases such as this exist, then it does make fridging a little more understandable. Even if you consciously believes in gender egalitarianism, you're still running on what is, from your POV, corrupted hardware.
But neither became a major character, and both were stupid to start with, so it was much easier to just keep them stupid. If you prefer the following: every character who remains a major character in the story gets an upgrade with an exception of one: Hermione.
Ron, in canon, wasn't much less bright than Harry: they were both fair-to-mediocre students who bumbled through adventures mostly on the strength of luck, chutzpah, Hermione, and the beneficence of older and more experienced characters. Ron being a non-viewpoint character, though, we didn't have as clear a view on the motives behind his failings, and so they came off as less explicable. On the other hand, he did have that talent for chess where Harry didn't, though we only really see it in the first book. For that matter, Hagrid wasn't portrayed as especially dim either; he wasn't a particularly educated character, but when the script called for wisdom of an earthier kind than Dumbledore's, he was often the one to give it. He just had a blind spot where dangerous animals were concerned, one that for mysterious plot reasons his higher-ups were happy to give him opportunities to indulge.
Well, Hermione is also the least in need of an upgrade. There are important literary reasons not to upgrade her, and insisting that the story must be exactly gender-balanced is a big constraint that limits what stories can be written.
Sure. The problem there though is that everyone else in the original started at around a 1 or a 2 in some 1-10 scale of intelligence/education/rationality and she was at a 3. Then a lot of characters got bumped to 4 or 5 and she didn't get bumped. There's no insistence in this case that things must be "exactly gender-balanced" but rather than less gender inequity would have been nice.
I would rather if she'd been more part of the last long chunk of the story. It's not so much that her death had a major effect on Harry as that she was taken offstage.
There is one long chunk left; I would wager that Hermione will play a significant role in it.
I hope so, but (ambiguity around "last") Hermione wasn't part of the most recent bunch of chapters.
I read the whole "unicorn/troll/horcrux" part of Hermione's arc as the author's ironic contrition. "Antifeminist, am I? Preposterous! LOOK HOW SHINY THIS PEDESTAL IS!"
Eliezer finds her more intimidating /hypothesis

Hm, any particular reason, if Harry is already discussing other vulnerable info like having a transfigured Voldemort, he won't fess up to the part where Quirrel was Voldemort and that he won single-handedly?

I gotta say, I've been wanting to know what intelligent people like Moody and Amelia made of Harry's derp story, and hoping that it wouldn't turn out that "Eliezer wants us to believe that everyone in Magical Britain really is that stupid" - and I got precisely what I wished for. Great!

Hm, any particular reason, if Harry is already discussing other vulnerable info like having a transfigured Voldemort, he won't fess up to the part where Quirrel was Voldemort and that he won single-handedly?

Harry's upper hand relies on the idea that Dumbledore knew exactly what he was doing, and them that Dumbledore hired Voldemort to teach children for a year would undermine that.

Incidentally, my P(Dumbledore knew about Quirrelmort) just went way up this chapter.

Dumbledore knew about Quirrelmort

Ugh, I hope not. The closer a story gets to "actually, everyone knew everything all the time, it was all just acting all along and the audience was being lied to and otherwise misled constantly" the more pointless such a story becomes in retrospect. The tricks and maneuvers that impressed you at the time, the emotional reactions that used to engage you (like Dumbledore's surprise at seeing Quirrel before the Mirror) all turn out meaningless.

(Can you tell I didn't like Ender's Shadow all that much?)

My feeling is Harry doesn't want everyone knowing that he, 11-year-old warrior of light, killed 36 death eaters. People would always be wondering if you were evil after that.
But they'd also not take him for granted the way they had Munroe and Dumbledore, accepting their heroism like princes, with a sneer for the lateness of the payment. *blinks innocently* More seriously: I only meant the closed circle he's talking to: Moody, Bones, McGonagall, and he still wouldn't have to admit to killing anyone, just let Bones know that Quirrel wasn't a good guy and Harry deserves the credit for the Light winning. We can still have Voldemort supposedly killing everyone else.
Maybe they are on to him, but they see little reason to let him know that until they have better evidence?
Sorry if I was unclear, I meant it turns out they weren't fooled and I'm glad of that.
Sorry I misunderstood. Thanks for the clarification.

Gwah! Dumbledore, Best Hero.

The more I come back to this story, the more I like him, and I had felt he was well written to begin with. There are moments I find not just believable but moving, like after Harry rejects his phoenix:

I truly do not know if it was the right thing, or the wrong thing. If I knew, Harry, I would have spoken. But I -" Dumbledore's voice broke, then. "I am nothing but a foolish young boy who has become a foolish old man, and I have no wisdom."

It always stops me when I get to that part.

And there were ones that were moving in a not-sad way, like his talking about all the Tolkien copies he's received and how he treasures them. I remember that bringing a real smile to my face.


I would like you to nominate HPMOR for Best Novel in the 2016 Hugos.

Hey gwern, you scared?

Not in the least. As the endgame plays out, I'm more certain than ever I'll win my bet against it winning a Hugo for Best Novel.

To have a chance of winning, MoR needed two things:

  1. an ending that blew peoples' minds and moved the work as a whole from pretty good to extraordinary
  2. to gain a SF professional following

The ending is pretty good but not fantastic, and one of the few professionals openly praising it, David Brin, has cooled a bit on it (in part because he's a lazy reader and in favor of his own much more stupid ending, true, but cooled nonetheless), so it has been doing neither and, as it uses up chapter after chapter, sealing its fate. Should've taken my offer to sell the bet at a discount.

I'm not convinced that winning the Best Novel takes professional support, but I'm interested in your argument.

Some best novel vote stats

My guess is that HPMOR isn't going to win-- it isn't obvious that it will be permitted as a nominee. It's a work of fan fiction that doesn't have the original author's permission, and that's made some fans I've talked with nervous.

Other than that, we don't know yet what the rest of the field looks like.

My guess is that if HPMOR wins, it will be because a substantial number of people who wouldn't normally vote for the Hugos vote for it.

Ted Chiang's "The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling" got a Hugo? Nice, I didn't know that! Every single story Ted Chiang ever published is original, clever and extremely precise. Too bad he only publishes one short story per year. Check him out if you haven't.
I may be the only person who thought that story was too obvious, though I've been enthusiastic about most of Chiang's work.
This chapter did blow my mind, and it does greatly improve the overall story. But yeah, it needs the professional following; the awarders don't care what blew my mind.
What's Brin's stupid ending?
7fezziwig9y I think "stupid" is a little strong, personally. But I like the canon ending better.
Brin seems to equate 'rational' with 'non-violent'. They're not always the same thing.
Oh. Boy. First of all, yes it was. Second of all, Brin's critique is based on literary tropes, not logic. If it's obvious that Voldemort were referring to the train, then the train wouldn't exactly be a prime target, would it. Brin's response to the anonymous "troll" speaks to his arrogance.
Oh Brin reacts like that to everyone with slightly different ideas. That's nothing though, it actually seems to get personal when it's different ideas about shape of the future in particular. That is particularly amusing to watch.
Ugh... That's such a painful read I had to stop in the middle. Seriously, how is it rational for Harry to be insulting V in English? Even if V somehow does not take offense, one of his Death Eaters will. I know I felt like Adava Kadavra-ing the stupid brat who was pretending to be HJPEV in this...
I just read it, and stupid is precisely what it is.
Context seems to be here. I'm also willing to put, let's say, $100 on the line at 5:1 odds that this isn't going to get a Hugo for Best Novel. (Best Fan Writer is far more feasible, though I'd still give it less than even odds if there's a push for it, and less than that if there isn't.) Reasoning: it's an atypical work for the category, which already steeply discounts it; it doesn't display any particular literary fireworks or great innovations in terms of setting or speculative fiction conventions, which is what the Hugos have tended to look for (historically more the later; lately more the former); and it doesn't have any particular following in, or ties to, literary SF fandom as far as I'm aware. You could argue its significance for the fanfic form but that's going to be a tough sell to Worldcon. (My actual probability estimate is more along the lines of 50:1 or lower, but I'm not prepared to go through that kind of trouble to win a couple of bucks, nor to risk thousands of dollars on the off-chance that someone knows something I don't.)
It's also not as good as most novels I've read.
Nor I, but most of the novels I've read tend to fall on the spectrum of hard to extremely hard SF, with a preponderance of stuff like Egan, so that's not saying much. What do you usually read?
I'm a fan, but if I were EY I would be worried about getting the nomination and then coming in under No Award. That seems a more likely outcome than somehow winning Best Novel.
Conditional on it being nominated at all, I think it would definitely beat No Award. Have a look at the raw stats from 2013 and 2014; for Best Novel, No Award gets crushed by everything. In 2014, for example, No Award got 88 votes out of 3587 ballots. In a world where MOR made it into the top 5 for Best Novel, it can definitely do better than that. (Okay, yes, it happened to Vox Day, but that was for Novella, or maybe Novellette, whichever). EDIT: On re-reading, I think this is a little misleading. The Hugo uses preference voting, so it's possible for No Award to beat some particular candidate even if almost nobody picked it in the first round of voting. You can see this in the data but my summary was too casual. But like most other commenters, I don't think we do live in that world.
Are you interested in making more bets of this type?
No. (It was not my bet in the first place, so...?)
Oh, sorry, my mistake.

Hopefully the apparent time limit on the Philosopher's Stone isn't going to get worse over time. Harry also hasn't considered that it may only be good for some finite number of permanent transfigurations. He's going to try to use it many more times than it probably has been used in a very long time.

Good point. A time limit of 3:54 does seem too arbitrary to be hard-coded. At least he only intends to use the Stone as a stop-gap measure for fighting death until he is able to properly end the world. [edited]

It occurs to me that this limit means Flame could, in theory, have been using the stone flat out for five hundred years without anyone catching on. 56 million people died this year. If the stone was used to save as many of them as possible, at random, then with only moderate use of magic for coverup purposes compared to shit we already know the magical world is pulling of, that is just going to be utterly undetectable. "Here have a second chance at life. Also a magical compulsion to keep your mouth shut".

So what would he have been doing? Saving victims of accident so that they end up being fine after a small hospital stay? Miraculously curing terminally ill people? I find it unlikely that he could do anything else with long-term benefits without anyone catching on. But yeah, I like that alternate character interpretation of Flamel.

Mostly, resurrecting dead children. The population used to be lower, but kids also used to have piss-poor odds of making it to adult-hood. In terms of QALY, this would have been the best use, and if a child goes missing from a sickbed only to wander into the kitchen feeling chipper and fine, noone would even think twice.

Unexplained recoveries are a real thing. Everyone just shrugs and celebrates, or maybe credits God or the ginko biloba. It's been Flamel all along.

A time limit of 3:54 does seem too arbitrary to be hard-coded.

3:54 is 234 seconds, which is exactly 1/400 of 26 hours, which happens to be Harry's extended sleep cycle. I have no idea if this is significant, but just throwing it out there.


It's also almost exactly 368 and 2/9 uses per siderial day, the actual period of rotation of the earth without reference to the sun.

It would've been exactly that figure about 5,300 years ago.

Based on that timing the stone was Gilgamesh's pearl

And guess who steals Gilgamesh's How-the-Old-Man-Once-Again-Becomes-A-Young-Man plant? That's right, a snake.

Ain't numerology grand?
So the Stone was created to be used no more than 400 times a day. This allows for the prediction that someone with a normal cycle should be able to use it every 1/400 of our normal days, or 216 seconds.
The limit might be the result of limited capacity rather than design.
I Googled 3:54 and found a Quran verse: And the disbelievers planned, but Allah planned. And Allah is the best of planners.
I googled "234 seconds" and found out that, apparently, the Philospher's Stone needs to post everything to the forums and, moreover, already got warning points for that. Who knew? X-D
Very appropriately, Google gives 3'54" as the length of these songs: Timeless by Reece Mastin Touch the Rock by Gent Mason Sweeter than Fiction by Taylor Swift
Also, 'Lore of the Ancients', 'Particle Brain', 'Limitless Skies', 'A Lesson from Teacher', and 'Sacratus Bellator' Overclocked Remixes
Well, in seconds it's 234, which looks slightly less arbitrary. Waait. Did whoever made it even use our time units?
Fair point; I didn't think of that. Does anyone know of a unit of time in which the equivalent of 3:54 would be a Schelling point of some sort?

Time Turners use units of one hour, so at least some kinds of magical items use our units.

Can you use the time turner in different increments, and possibly with a different maximum, if you fully understand hours are arbitrary? This sounds exactly like partial transfiguration. (Alternatively, you go back some fixed amount of time for every grain of time sand in the turner, and you could build one of other increments by using a different quantity of sand.)
How does Time Turner select reference frame? What if you use it in the orbit, will you see Earth rotational angle jump by 90°? Assuming the reference frame is fixed to Earth surface, going sufficiently far away will give you FTL which can be used to create arbitrarily long time loops. Assuming it is not, what happens if you are moving at relativistic speeds (relative to Earth) and use the Time Turner? EDIT: We not even need to consider relativity - what if you are flying on a broomstick (constant speed) or on a moving train and use Time Turner? This experiment is simple enough and can reveal a lot.
DO NOT MESS WITH TIME. Obviously if you attempt to use it in the stated way something very bad will happen.
3'54" is almost 71 halakim. Edited to add: which, according to Babylonian time (see the same article), is almost the amount of time it takes the Earth to rotate one degree.
Using the time it takes Earth to rotate one degree gives you 86400 seconds in a day /360 degrees = 240 seconds. But the length of the day has been getting larger as the Earth slows at a rate of about 1.7 ms/century wiki To find when one degree was equal to 234 seconds, we can find when a day was approximately 234*360 degrees = 84240 seconds, or approximately 127 million years ago. Putting the creation of the stone right in the middle of the Cretaceous Period. Coincidentally, this also solves the issue of how the T Rex got away with such tiny arms. They had wands!
Well, seconds have been used since the Babylonian time period. However, we also don't know how carefully Harry measured the recharge time.
Wikipedia disagrees: There are a lot of older units of time listed there, but none of them seem to fit.
Huh. That's fascinating. I had apparently wrongly assumed that because it had the same division into 60 that it also was as old. Apparently not.
Carefully enough not to round it up to 3:55. Presumably, it's within a second.
X to 1 stellar day as 366.24 stellar days to 1 mean year. X = 235 seconds, 3:55. Almost.
Another close figure: The sidereal day is 3 minutes, 56 seconds shorter than the solar day. If the solar day has a negative leap second, the difference is 3'55".
0Scott Garrabrant9y
I do not know what some terms mean, but I think that is not another close figure, that is the same figure.
I mean, close to 3'54".
0Scott Garrabrant9y
If the sidereal day and the solar day mean what I am guessing they mean, your 3:55 and Lumifer's 3:55 come from the same place.
No, what he did was divide the sidereal day by 366,24 and got 235 seconds, so there would be as many Stone's periods in a day as there are days in a year.
1Scott Garrabrant9y
Yes, and my claim is that that is what you did too without knowing it. Think about what sidereal and solar day mean, and how you would calculate one from the other.
The more natural 365.24 is even worse. We really want something like 370. That takes us back to the late Cretaceous, and I don't think that EY wants to push things that far back.
Hrm. Maybe it's exactly one Atlantean time unit? Unsafe to assume that the units we are used to are the same units that the Stone's maker would find natural.
The stone was created at a time before the invention of minutes and seconds. The Atlantians likely didn't have 24 hours per day, 60 minutes per hour and 60 seconds per minute.
FWIW, it doesn't look like a power of two times the Planck time.

Aww, so Dumbledore was the one who told Harry to look for Hermione on the train in chapter 6 :)

Huh? Harry thought it was McGonagall. What in this chapter changes that?
We do not know for sure. Here are the quotes: from chapter 6 from chapter 8 It doesn't look really like her style though.
The narration in the passage is extremely suggestive that someone other than McGonagall was at work. Dumbledore and Quirrell used to be the main candidate hypotheses for who it was, until this chapter basically confirmed it was Dumbledore.
I'd been wondering that forever.

Alastor Moody went to Minerva's right and sat down.

Amelia Bones sat down in a chair, taking Minerva's right. Mad-Eye Moody took the chair to her own right.


I'm not sure if it's appropriate to also discuss the authors notes, but one solution to Eliezers writing obstacles is to publish under a pseudonym. Or why might that not qualify?

His explanation on Reddit is that his style is too distinctive to go undetected.
Hm. That's indeed plausible. More so in our age where software can reliably detect authors reliably based on their writing fingerprint. I wonder what will become of pseudonyms in the future.
Link, please? I seem to be failing at Google. The last time I saw "writing fingerprint" software it was being used to "prove" that The Book of Mormon's purported authors were real, in a study whose designers clearly would have failed at the 2-4-6 task. I'm afraid I tossed the idea in a mental box alongside "phrenology" after that.

The useful words are "stylometry" and "authorship attribution".

The last time I read about this was here: A quick google (for stylometry, fingerprinting) results in summaries e.g.
Thank you both!
For one, it would mean he could never talk about his work "as himself", e.g. on Facebook or Reddit, unless he wanted to set up and constantly use dummy accounts, which is both time-consuming and sometimes in violation of site T&Cs.

"In that extremity, I went into the Department of Mysteries and I invoked a password which had never been spoken in the history of the Line of Merlin Unbroken, did a thing forbidden and yet not utterly forbidden."

So, this is the single change that makes this story an AU?

There seem to be much more changes, even that is probably the most important one.

Time Turners don't work the same (in canon, there is no hard limit on 6 hours, it just becomes exponentially dangerous if you try that), the Sirius Black/Pettigrew thing doesn't turn out the same at all, the Free Transfiguration stuff doesn't seem to work the same, ...

And as others mentioned, Voldemort is much more competent.

So, this is the single change that makes this story an AU?

I was thinking along those lines as well, but at that point in time Voldemort was already significantly different from canon.

It seems like the single change (aside from aspects of how magic works) is that Voldemort is more competent, which forces his enemies to level up and go to more extreme measures. Looking at every prophecy is one of those extreme responses, which then triggered a bunch of other changes relative to canon.

As is Tom Riddle. I imagine the point of divergence is in Tom Riddle's childhood somewhere, which pushed Albus into consulting the maze of the future, which...
As a point of interest, wasn't it Merlin's original intent that, at minimum, everyone mentioned in a prophecy should have access to it? It was only centuries later that the Unspeakables sealed the prophecy records away, so why does the Line of Merlin Unbroken have a function for bypassing that seal, how does anyone know this, and why is using it forbidden?
The Line may not - in ch 86 Dumbledore hints he got in via phoenix travel:
It's possible that the Line reference is misleading, but if so it is an odd piece of phrasing.
Right at the front of the whole fic he says this isn't SPoD.
From chapter 1:
Well, that and the differences in the setting/magic (there's no Free Transfiguration in canon, for instance, and the Mirror is different - there are less Mysterious Ancient Artefacts generally - and Horcruxes run on different mechanics ... stuff like that.) And Voldemort is just inherently smarter than everyone else, too, for no in-story reason I can discern; he just is, it's part of the conceit. (Although maybe that was Albus' fault too, somehow?)

I can't remember, what was respectively in the Phoenix's Price and Phoenix's Fate rooms. I though both were passwords for the broken wands and similar things, but the narration implies otherwise. I also wonder what will be in the Phoenix's Egg room. It can't be prophecies (which could otherwise be the obvious choice), and I don't think Dumbledore had the foresight to store frozen brains of wizards who died so that Harry could resurrect them.

"Phoenix's Price is the password that opens the stairwell to the room with broken wands, pictures and Pensieve vials. Phoenix's Fate is the password that opens the final door into that room. Both times Dumbledore takes Harry to the room, he speaks the first password, then the second.
Phoenix's Price room held broken wands and other miscellaneous items reminding him of each of the friends he's lost in his battles.

Wait a moment. I just realize that Voldemort has been made into a gem meant to contain his soul. He has been made into soul gem. Goddamn it Eliezer.

... You know, if I had had to predict which character would end up as a magical girl, Voldemort would've been at the bottom of my list...
I was thinking of this. Note that the Soul Gem is green...

I find it funny that Dumbledore's efforts to subvert prophecies for his own ends resulted in something directly opposed to his claimed values. I wonder if that's a direct attribute of prophecy, or just coincidence, or both.

What's the something? He seems to have successfully caused Harry to defeat Voldemort
Dumbledore is fundamentally Deathist, and not only has he personally been locked out of mortality by his own trap, several of his interventions (most obviously killing a pet rock) were less related to making Harry oppose Voldemort effectively, and more into making Harry the sort of person that would promote transhumanist ideas including anti-Deathism.
Do we know that? Like we just got a reveal that HUGE portions of his life and actions were based on deliberately obfuscating what he believed and wanted to do.
Possible, but Dumbledore's discussions of death and mortality in chapter 39 seemed like he was trying to avoid becoming Harry's Mentor/Opponent -- ie, if he were trying to manipulate Harry with this deep emotional reveal, he'd have done so in a different way. He continues to treat death as a normal matter in chapter 110, even though he doesn't believe Harry to be nearby and does believe that the only listener will not be able to communicate his position to Harry, and Quirrelmort says that he'd expoused such positions long before he had access or cause to access the hall of prophecies.
If you can come up with a plausible reason why Dumbledore would pretend to be Deathist, I would love to hear it.
I think gattsuru is referring to global immortality, as Dumbledore is a Deathist.

One bit that feels unsatisfying is the complete underreaction to Harry's "oh btw Voldemort's alive, here, I brought him with me."

So instead I Obliviated most of his memories, then Transfigured him into this." Harry raised his hand, and silently pointed to the emerald on his ring.

Splat. Boing. Splat. Splat.

"Huh," Moody said, leaning back in his chair. "Minerva and I will be putting some alarms and enchantments on that ring of yours, son, if you don't mind.

I immediately thought of a scene in the Eye of the World:

It was hi

... (read more)
Saying nothing is a reaction. We're talking about poeple who knows how to keep their reactions shut down and seems to have secret agenda to hide from each other. They underreact also about Harry's being Tom Riddle Jr.
I don't think Moody is trying to keep a poker face here.
You're right, I just re-read it, and there is other passages where they react a lot more. I guess the silence is a way to show their astonishment and perhaps remains of disbelief.

What happens when Hermione finds she's getting credit for a heroic action she didn't do?

By that point, the story will have propagated far enough that people probably won't believe her even if she denies it, and it'll just make her look crazy. Plus trying to reveal that Harry was lying will damage his reputation and sabotage his efforts to cure death etc. just as they're gearing up.
I was thinking about how she'd take it rather than how those who haven't been disabused by Harry will take it. My opinion is that Harry's taught enough rationality at Hogwarts that the lie will fall apart. Now that I think about it, shouldn't some Hogwarts students and/or teachers have figured out that they should be studying Muggle science? It's possible that this was mentioned, and I've forgotten it, or that (since EY probably won't write sequels, the subject will need to be left to fanfiction of HPMOR.
Not judging by everyone's reactions when Hermione was accused of murder. A select few individuals might manage to question it at best. It hasn't been, except for Harry's suggestion in the latest chapter. Most people, though, still haven't been exposed to any noteworthy Muggle science except individual "clever tricks" as used by Harry - nothing to compare with the obvious power of magic.
I didn't give a time frame for when Harry's lie will fall apart. :-) I can hope that the students having learned some rationality will cause them to keep getting better at it.

Here is my prediction about the end of the story

Always 'he will end the world', not 'he will end life'. Even when it was said that you would tear apart the very stars in heaven, it was not said that you would tear apart the people.

Harry will cause the Singularity, transforming all people (and later all matter in the Universe) into a kind of immortal meta-human mind, similar to Multivax or Celestia. He probably even knows the first story as it appeared in 1956.

That would be CelestAI, and that would be a colossal screwup.
I didn't say Harry will turn everyone into ponies, nor did I mean an uncontrollable rogue AI which will upload people against their will by a loophole it considers that they have given their consent. It was just another example besides "The Last Question" of a scenario which will turn all the matter in the Universe into computronium, serving/supporting humanity.
He's already partially responsible for turning Hermione into a unicorn, and Hermione is a prototype for how he wants all human beings to be (immortal and invulnerable). As long as he replaces or drops the Horcrux portion of the ritual, this seems like a realistic final ambition for him as far as means of defeating Death are concerned.

Eliezer is going for broke on the requests here. Well, this is the chapter do it! I find myself wishing that I knew somebody famous, just so I could be responding to his pleas. Let's save the world, people!

I think Harry should start requiring unbreakable vows for people using transfiguration. He also should hurry with colonizing other planets and moons, in case someone does transfigure something they shouldn't.

Transfiguration will get more powerful once they have some interesting material science classes. Having mass limits isn't much of a problem when you start transfiguring stuff into super-light nanotube-reinforced titanium nantorusses.

The thing, if no wizards are dying any more, how do you get those Unbreakable Vows in any ethical way?
A very brief oath, so everyone ends up sacrificing some power, but it's not a crippling loss. Since everyone is doing it, you can define a single one-syllable word for the full content of the oath, make sure everyone knows what it means, and then begin using that.
I got the impression that there were already healthy wizards who would perform Unbreakable Vows for enough money, and the thing about using terminally ill wizards was just Harry's idea to do it more efficiently.
It's less ethical if they are going to live with slightly less magic for eternity.
I was under the impression that said Wizards had their Magic for the Vow extorted out of them by the Noble houses which had both vastly superior wealth and the ability to make them broke. I can't imagine someone willingly giving away their magic unless they had no real choice in the matter. It would be similar to giving away your legs.
If a wizard wants the P Stone Treatment, they have to agree to two things: To sacrifice a little magic as part of the Vow of another and to take a Vow themselves.
Honestly I think you just have to throw up your hands at the Unbreakable Vow. Nothing about Wizarding society makes the slightest bit of sense once you realize that they have the Unbreakable Vow. It wouldn't look like it does.
The unbreakable vow is basically giving people the death penalty with no way to ask for any kind of exemption due to unforeseen circumstances. It's not something to be used lightly. Also, in Methods of Rationality someone permanently has to lose some magic, which is also something not to be used lightly.
Don't follow. You see "making an actually binding promise" as equivalent to dying?
I suspect the Unbreakable Vow is being parsed here as adding high-level terms to someone's utility function, and that that's being interpreted as equivalent to erasing the previous personality. I'm not so convinced, myself, neither that that's the right way to look at the spell nor that values are that tightly linked to... not sure what I want to call it. Personhood? Unique agency? Whatever we actually care about when we object to murder, anyway. EDIT: Never mind, after looking through a page or so of DanielLC's comments I think that sentence actually expands to "[presumptively] giving people the death penalty [for breaking their Vow] with no way to ask for [...] exemption[s..., etc]." Pretty sure that's not how the Vow works in Eliezer's world, though, after reading the bit where Harry undergoes it.
I interpreted it to mean that people could no longer kill in self-defense, and there was no guarantee that they could be safe without ever killing in self-defense.
No. I'm saying Unbreakable Vows kill people who break them.
Hence the example I suggest - whatever price the Unbreakable Vow exacts, there will be things that are worth it, like not going to Azkaban.
Except people are cruel and many of them would rather see criminals in Azkaban than living a relatively normal life. Although to be honest, making criminals chose between Azkaban and the last part of A Clockwork Orangeis pretty awful already in my opinion.
People precommit to punishing criminals because having a precommitment discourages crime--if the criminal can figure out that you'll change your mind once the crime is over with, and not punish them, the prospect of punishment won't work as a deterrent. But if you have to follow through on the precommitment, that may mean you just "cruelly" punished a criminal "even though at this point causing the criminal harm doesn't benefit anyone". Most people don't consciously think of it this way, but people don't usually know why their own memes spread.
You mean like the fact that criminals can make Unbreakable Vows not to commit crimes, as an alternative to permanent trauma and probable death in Azkaban? (other criminals can power them for a reduction in sentence time or as part of the same type of bargain - permanent loss of some magical power is still better than Azkaban)
Sure, but that's only just scratching the surface. Why can anyone commit crimes? Why can wizards lie, or fight except in self defense? The Trust Machine is the pearl of great price, and even wizards would build it.
If everyone was under an unbreakable vow not to commit crimes, Voldemort (who has horcruxes and can't die from something as simple as an unbreakable vow) would just need to get one law passed saying that all must obey him. Vows against lying can be bypassed with memory charms, so they're not really any better then veritaserum.
The Vow doesn't kill you if you violate it, it makes you unable to violate it. Voldemort can't get the law passed that everyone must obey him because the law-passers are vowed not to be intimidated by snake-nazis. Its vows all the way down.
It kills you if you violate it.
That's the official version. Given the details in the chapter where Harry makes the vow and the details in this chapter where it mentions Harry being unable to give the final order, it seems like in the HPMoR verse that isn't how it works.
Actually, the one wow I really do not get all wizards are not under is very simple. Merlin laid down his interdict due to a crisis of magic being used in wars in utterly unrestrained ways. Blocking people from learning certain kinds of magic is a daft way of stopping that. What you do is you take every single wizarding child of 8, and make them swear to never use any magic that would harm more than one person. Still free to fight, still free to defend themselves, just noone capable of area effect magics of destruction anymore.
How do we know the crisis was war, and not (for example) people gradually reinventing the arts with which the Atlanteans destroyed themselves?
The description of the founding of the wizengamot. War is probably not a very descriptive term for what was going on before it - The political structure implies that it is what came after a period of feuding families. In this case, feuding families with magical might backing up the kind of stupidity bloodfeuds cause.

Responding to various people who have suggested that if the vow had some particular meaning: Harry might think of ways to get out of it or to get around it: This is not a thing-that-Harry-Potter-Would-Do. The only reason for trying to get out the vow would be in order to allow for the possibility of risking the destruction of the world (whatever this means), and the vow prevents Harry from allowing this risk. So it would directly prevent any attempts by Harry to get out of the vow, including attempts to get others to set up a dead man's switch or whatever.

This also implies that his Vow did in effect modify his terminal goals, as some have already suggested.

"Girl-Who-Revived" is... not a very euphonious phrase, is it?

I like "The Girl Who Lived Again".

How about "Unicorn Troll Jesus"?
I would have preferred Girl-Who-Returned.
How about “Girl-Whose-Name-Contains-Too-Many-Hyphens”?
Hyphens? Just call her minus X-D
"Girl who came back".
Better than "Undead" X-)
I like Undead. "Hermione the Undead" ^^
The first two diagnostics are correct. If the third one is correct too, then Hermione is a perfect philosophical zombie now.

The third one is simply a reference to the horcrux 2.0 that contains part of her soul.

Not, it's much more akin to Dennett's "Where Am I?" or to becoming meguca.

Adding to my previous prediction comment:

Predictions: (I'll have to score them all after the epilogue is released, but hey, it means we get an epilogue.)

The "phoenix’s egg" password will (directly or indirectly) allow Harry to find Narcissa Malfoy. 70%

The Line of Merlin feeds information to its rightful holder when they’re holding it. 60%

At least one Legilimency conversation occurred during Chapter 119. 90%


What happens if Harry casts the True Patronus through the Elder Wand? Given that it’s a Deathly Hallow that raises the priors of... (read more)

How does Harry think Hermione will figure out how to cast the true patronus? She needs to figure out that dementors are magical manifestations of death, which Voldemort / Dumbledore / loads of smart wizards seem not to have done. Did he tell her, is is he planning on telling her, or something else?

In Chapter 46, he gives her a sealed note containing the explanation.
Right, but she didn't have a reason to look at the note before she died, doesn't have the note on her person in the hospital, and even if she did she doesn't have a reason to look at the note now.
I'm not sure what you're arguing against. In the event that she decides to destroy the Dementors, which Harry anticipates to happen quite soon, she knows that the information she needs to be able to do so is already in her possession.

Ok, so the Vow is definitely still in play and has not been resolved trivially. My estimation that the ending is going to be awesome has increased. I was a little worried for a few chapters.

Eliezer is planning an epilogue that takes place during the protagonists' 7th year at Hogwarts. It seems fairly safe to infer that by the end of chapter 122 Harry will not yet have torn the stars apart and gained root access to the Source of Magic. [EDITED to add: On the other hand, there's a reasonable chance that we get to see Hermione taking out a lot of Dementors. That might be a bit awesome.]

Amelia paused. "There's a possibility that Augustus Rookwood left a ghost -"

"Exorcise it before anyone talks to it," Harry said, conscious of the sudden hammering of his heart.

"Yes, sir," the old witch said dryly. "I shall disrupt the soul's anchoring a little, and none shall be the wiser when it fails to materialize. The second matter is that there was a still-living human arm found among the Dark Lord's things -"

This seems like Amelia misplaying her cards for no good reason. I would expect her first to ask Harry... (read more)

I read Harry's suggestion not to investigate, and her responding smirk, as indicating that's it's already tacitly understood that the good guys actually killed the death eaters somehow. This room seems likely to be pretty ok with that, maybe except McGonagall.

Yes, but she's likely to be interested in how it happened. Allowing the 11 year old Harry to keep it a secret towards her means to give up power to Harry.

Keep in mind that Amelia herself is a powerful witch, and thus "you are not meant to know" is kinda-sorta expected in those circles, and a most valid excuse for basically anything weird or unexplainable.

It depends on trusting the judgement of the other person. Otherwise it doesn't seem like she trusts Harry.
Even she is aware that when a powerful wizard tells you to do something as part of keeping a dark magic ritual secret, you do what you are told.
Keeping it secret to the public makes sense on the other hand keeping it secret to the order of the phoenix is a different matter. You keep secret without asking from people who are your equal or higher than you in status. If you get asked by someone lower than you to keep something a secret than you at least want to know the secret yourself.
In this setting, there are things you avoid learning even if you're higher status than the secret-keeper. Some secrets are dangerous even to the listener. I suspect Mrs. Bones includes anything rising from a fragment of Voldemort's torn soul, whether the trick that decapitated dozens or revived an ancient dark lord, in that set. Part of the reason she distrusts Harry is that she believe he's an eleven-year-old struggling with a dark spirit -- which gives him a comparative advantage of knowing what evils needs must be kept under wraps
She knows it killed all the death eaters and that it doesn't even register as magic on their wards. That's somethjng she couldn't do. And it's thh kind of dangerous weapon she might think should be a secret to everyone.
Keeping it secret to the public makes sense on the other hand keeping it secret to the order of the phoenix is a different matter.
I would expect her to first ask the ghost before mentioning its existence to Harry.
From the exchange it's not clear whether the ghost actually exists or just a rhetorical maneuver.
Might just be indications of one in magical instrumentation without an actual conversation being possible yet.

Giving your life so that your student has a chance to turn the world into what you'd want it to be... I cannot imagine a better fate for a mentor. And potentially being revived to see the fruits of yours and his labor, what a bonus! If only Harry wasn't so rush and not irreversibly destroyed his teacher's identity without first thinking 5 minutes about it.

If only his teacher hadn't been Lord Frickin' Voldemort.
He is not the LV of the canon by any stretch.
Quite true, but he has enough in common with canon LV that keeping him unobliviated would be really dangerous. I think Harry made a pretty good decision.
Not sure how this version's supposed to be safer to keep.

I've been wondering how much deception Harry can get away with.... considering that the universe is one thing.

Any bets until his whole fake version of Voldemort's death gets revealed?

All this being said, great chapter, great novel. I expect it will be nominated for best novel for the Hugo, and then things will get interesting.

The Author's Note mention of the delayed epilogue (combined with some of the foreshadowing in HPMOR) feels to me like an invitation to write the obvious continuation fic Harry Potter and the Methods of Self-Modification, set between the ending of HPMOR and the epilogue. Does anyone else find this the obvious continuation?

I'm also not sure if writing the fic would actually be a good idea; anyone want to help me evaluate it?

Well, you might want to figure out whether the fanfic would bootstrap itself and airgap the computer you write it on. I'm sure that will work to contain it....
By "fanfic" do you mean: 1) the written content itself, 2) the model of the fictional universe (including characters) generated in the process of writing that content, 3) the model of the fictional universe (including characters) generated in the process of reading that content, or 4) something else? The written content is unlikely to bootstrap itself on account of not being code, but its effects on the minds that read it are less clear. In all seriousness, though, if I had a fully mapped out path for bootstrapping well beyond human intelligence I would have better uses for it than writing recursive Harry Potter fanfiction. I was thinking more along the lines of Harry fixing his dark side and interpreting the Unbreakable Vow.
I was being facetious.
There is no higher purpose in life than writing recursive Harry Potter fanfiction!

If anyone can put me in touch with J. K. Rowlng

Spell her name right, and she'll be more receptive? (I'm sure that this will be fixed soon.)

For that matter, "mention" is misspelled as "mentio" in the A/N.