The new discussion thread (part 15) is here

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 82The previous thread passed 1000 comments as of the time of this writing, and so has long passed 500. Comment in the 13th thread until you read chapter 82. 

There is now 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 

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: 12345678910111213.

As a reminder, it’s often useful to start your comment by indicating which chapter you are commenting on.

Spoiler Warning: this thread is full of spoilers. With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13. More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it’s fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that “Eliezer said X is true” unless you use rot13.

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Hermione is dead. Hermione Granger is doomed to die horribly. Hermione Granger will very soon die, and die horribly, dramatically, grotesquely, and utterly.

Fare thee well, Hermione Jean Granger. You escaped death once, at a cost of twice and a half your hero's capital. There is nothing remaining. There is no escape. You were saved once, by the will of your hero and the will of your enemy. You were offered a final escape, but like the heroine you are, you refused. Now only death awaits you. No savior hath the savior, least of all you. You will die horribly, and Harry Potter will watch, and Harry Potter will crack open and fall apart and explode, but even he in all his desperation and fury will not be able to save you. You are the cord binding Harry Potter to the Light, and you will be cut, and your blood, spilled by the hand of your enemy, will usher in Hell on Earth, rendered by the hand of your hero.

Goodbye, Hermione. May the peace and goodness you represent last not one second longer than you do.

6Eliezer Yudkowsky11y
Why are people downvoting this? It's a testable prediction.

There's reasons besides unfalsifiability for downvoting. Like poor logic, or asserting p=1, or writing so melodramatically that my eyes glazed over.

Edit: I stand by my downvote, for the last two reasons, but I'll give him props for a correct prediction.

Thanks for having my back, but I have to ask if I've missed the boat on some Less Wrong policies or unspoken understandings somewhere. What I said may have been a testable prediction, but I wasn't aware that people's posts had to be testable predictions to deserve upvotes. Am I required to list all my supporting evidence every time I make a future-looking statement? If I don't, or even if I do, must I disclaim them the way corporations do on quarterly earnings conference calls?

gwern said above that (s)he'd "be happy to record" my prediction. I had no idea my predictions were being recorded at all. I thought this was just a discussion forum. Is Less Wrong actually a simulation of the prediction markets from Three Worlds Collide? Is Less Wrong a subsidiary of Intrade? Do I have cash or prizes waiting for me somewhere thanks to one of my earlier correct predictions?

No, it's severally sufficient, not necessary - testable predictions deserve upvotes. Predictions about MoR are commonly recorded on PredictionBook [], which sadly does not offer prizes but can tell you how good your past predictions were so you can get better.
7Eliezer Yudkowsky11y
If so, I missed the same boat. I looked at the downvotes and was like 'Wha?'
I can also make the testable prediction "The universe will cease to exist on May 19th, 2034 at 10:03:09PM", but unless I had some truly excellent supporting evidence which I posted along with that prediction, I would not expect people to think well of my statement (particularly if I made it in a rambling, melodramatic way that made it difficult to determine the purpose of the post).

I thought it was pretty obvious that it was a direct response to the information and imagery in the chapter posted last night.

Yes, it was rambling and melodramatic and over-the-top; it was supposed to be amusing, while at the same time accurately expressing my belief that some seriously dark shit is coming.

Sorry for offending everyone.

I think that anyone you offended is probably not worth apologizing to. Downvote should not only be for offensive content. Or were you just being melodramatic again?
See my reply below; by "offending" I meant that people seemed to be downvoting me for breaking a rule, rather than just posting a crappy comment.
Out of curiosity. Given that Eliezer's cited this [] post as his inspiration for creating SPHEW, how likely do you think it is that he's aware of the "women in refrigerators" [] trope, and if he's aware of it, that he would ignore the objections to it and use it anyway?
I'd be happy to record this, but I need some more specifics (I can't just say 'Hermione will die' - what if Eliezer fastforwards 10 billion years or some other mindblowing epilogue). Dies by what chapter? Or alternately, something like the end of the school year? What happens if she gets better?
"Record this"? What? Did I, like, fail to perceive some unwritten rule that every future-looking statement on has to be a formal prediction written in academic prose with explicitly enumerated premises? I just thought this last chapter represented Quirrell's final decision to kill Hermione, and I posted as though I was eulogizing her, to try to prepare myself for the darkness I believe is coming. I think it's all about to hit the fan, and I was expressing how I felt about it, not trying to score points in some game I didn't know existed.
gwern is referring to his use of PredictionBook [].
Thank you. That helps, but it doesn't explain why my post was downvoted into oblivion (until people upvoted it to conform to Eliezer's opinion) apparently based on a rubric that judges posts solely on their suitability for copying and pasting into a prediction market.
Well, to give one data point: I downvoted your comment when it was at -1 for being (what seemed to me) pointless and depressing. When you explained it was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek I reverted the downvote, although to be honest I still don't get it. I also downvoted Eliezer's comment for being weirdly irrelevant as far as I can tell, and upvoted Spencer_Sleep's criticism. I think gwern might have just mixed up where your comment was posted; a lot of people have made top-level comments in his PB thread just containing similar predictions which he's asked for clarification of.
Predictions know no article bounds! Such confidence in predictions as 75th deserves either reward or punishment.
Heh. To be honest, I'm not that confident that Hermione will die. If this story has a happy ending, I would hope Harry has somebody close to him left after the dust settles. I do think this chapter means that Quirrell's plan is to kill Hermione, but I'm not supremely confident that Harry won't pull another trick out of his bag. What I am supremely confident of is that when it does hit the fan, things are going to be bad. Harry hasn't gone through all that very much yet, he needs something tragic to happen. Hermione dying horribly is about the most tragic thing that could happen to him, and Eliezer knows that, and I don't trust or expect Eliezer to show mercy to Harry or Hermione or me. So like I said elsewhere, my original post was not meant to establish a prediction that I can point to later, it was simply my attempt to look into the abyss, to be pessimistic, to imagine the worst possible thing happening, so hopefully nothing worse ends up happening.
I don't think Hermione dying is anywhere near the worst thing that could happen; I mean, come on, there's plenty of worse possibilities. Draco and Hermione could do a mutual slaying; Draco could kill Hermione and then Harry has to kill Draco; heck, Hermione could unjustly kill Draco and then Harry has to kill her. That sort of thing.
Melodramatic and without support. Do you want to fill us in on your reasons or do you just want to try to make us sad?


Well duh, that's what I was going for. It was supposed to be ridiculously over-the-top to the point where someone somewhere might be amused by it. I guess that prediction was foolish.

and without support.

Given the conversation we just read, and the imagery thereabout (lit by soft light at the beginning of the conversation, silhouetted as a black outline at the end), I hardly think it's without support. I think everything Hermione thought in that scene was absolutely correct. Quirrell was behind the plot, he did want her out of the way of his plans for Harry, and he will try to absolutely eliminate her next time.

Some actual tragedy in this story is far overdue, and Hermione's going to be the one to pay it.

It is said that bad jokes are downvoted. [] Subjectivity should be expected. In its original form it was unsupported. Now you've added support in a child comment or two, so it is no longer unsupported. I'd probably remove my admittedly petty but legitimate downvote for bad joke if EY hadn't made it sound like downvote shouldn't happen to that comment. Now I'll have to think about whether I don't care as much about the bad joke or am just subject to what passes for demagoguery in this crowd. But you've no reason to care about my control over little karma point.
Yeah, I don't care that much about being downvoted in general. If people didn't like my writing or understand my intent, that is a perfectly acceptable reason for being downvoted and I will take that into account for future posts. What I was piqued by is that people seemed to be downvoting me not primarily for a bad joke, but rather for not presenting a "prediction" formally.

One thing I find really interesting about this story is that nobody has any idea what's going on, and nothing is going according to anyone's plan.

(1) It seems clear that Hat and Cloak = Quirrellmort. Less clear, but still likely in my view, was is that the point of this plot was to eliminate those friends of Harry's who would make him resistant to manipulation by Quirrellmort ("Lessson I learned is not to try plotss that would make girl-child friend think I am evil or boy-child friend think I am sstupid," Ch. 66). Instead, while the plot may be the end of Harry's friendship with Draco, it's probably strengthened his bond with the morally pure Hermione, and convinced some members of the Wizengamot that Harry is Voldemort, which probably doesn't have a place in Quirrellmort's plans. Furthermore, Quirrellmort may not realize what he's done.

(2) It occurred to me that giving Draco Veritaserum might have made Lucius realize that Harry is not Voldemort. However, if you look at some of Lucius' dialog closely, the subtext appears to be, "Dark Lord, you have lost your humanity, and therefore cannot possibly understand the love I have for my son. I am willing to risk your wrath... (read more)


RE: your (1).

I think that Quirrelmort's aim was to turn Harry.

From Quirrel's point of view, Harry has shown incredible promise except for his pesky humanist streak. All Quirrelmort needs to do is to kill his faith in humanity off and he's ripe for the job of future Dark Lord. What better way to accomplish that than to have the wizarding world at large sentence the one person he believes to be wholly good (Hermione) to death? Dumbledore will refuse to help Harry destroy Azkaban and bust Hermione out, at which point Harry will lose all faith in him and his methods, and turn to Quirrel for help. Quirrel says, "Poor dear, didn't I tell you that people were basically evil if left to their own devices? They need a ruler to help them to be good. Let's break your chum out of Azkaban and take over the wizarding world for good measure as soon as we can, although I'm afraid that by the time we are in position to get her out and keep her out she'll probably be a vegetable..." So Harry and Quirrel sear Azkaban out of existence, free the crims (many of whom will now follow Harry into fire out of gratitude). Harry is left with a broken England and a broken Hermione and the only th... (read more)

I'd earlier made this point. The key

And the reason it is easy for you to forgive such fools and think well of them, Mr. Potter, is that you yourself have not been sorely hurt. You will think less fondly of commonplace idiots after the first time their folly costs you something dear.

In the Wizengamut:

But by then he'd (Harry) already declared war on the country of magical Britain, and the idea of other people calling him a Dark Lord no longer seemed important one way or another.

When their idiocy threatened something dear to Harry, he declared war on them. Mission accomplished. I've been wondering if Harry is ever going to remember that conversation. It's just so obvious. All that's missing is the "told ya so" speech from Quirrell.

This occurred to me, but in retrospect I tend to think Quirrellmort must have realized he couldn't have accomplished so much with one plot. And where does Bellatrix fit into all this?
Maybe she's part of Plan B?

convinced some members of the Wizengamot that Harry is Voldemort, which probably doesn't have a place in Quirrellmort's plans.

Quirrellmort has already pontificated on the benefits of ambiguity, and his desire to let both sides think Harry is on their side.

Harry: “On our first day of class, you tried to convince my classmates I was a killer.”

Quirrell: “You are.” Amusedly. “But if your question is why I told them that, Mr. Potter, the answer is that you will find ambiguity a great ally on your road to power. Give a sign of Slytherin on one day, and contradict it with a sign of Gryffindor the next; and the Slytherins will be enabled to believe what they wish, while the Gryffindors argue themselves into supporting you as well. So long as there is uncertainty, people can believe whatever seems to be to their own advantage. And so long as you appear strong, so long as you appear to be winning, their instincts will tell them that their advantage lies with you. Walk always in the shadow, and light and darkness both will follow.”

Now that I think about it, it's odd that he stated that with such certainty. It's not like Voldemort or Dumbledore used that strategy - maybe he's thinking of Grindelwald? Apparently his motto was "for the greater good"...
Perhaps it's the whole "People fought like crazy to stop me, and even though they failed, it was really annoying" thing?
Yet that's not exactly what happened as a result of Harry's actions. The "afterword" of the trial suggests that any members of Lucius' faction who follow story-book logic will see Harry as a dangerous enemy, as will members of Dumbledore's faction who have "walked the path of a powerful wizard." Though that actually raises an interesting question--what happens when, say, Alastor Moody goes to Dumbledore and says, "Albus, I think Harry is Voldemort"? Does Dumbledore tell Alastor he's wrong, and convince Alastor that there is a better explanation for Harry's actions? Or does Dumbledore say, "dear God, Alastor, you're right!" On a related note, what does Dumbledore know about horcruxes? Dumbledore's dialog has suggested that Voldemort may have gone around destroying a lot of information on horcruxes, so Dumbledore may know less in this story than he did in canon. Hmmm... EDIT: See also JenniferRM's comment [] below.
Please link the comment you mean. I don't know which one. Edit (so to not raise the comment count): Thanks.
I think it was. Dumbledore was considering it a blackmail situation, which it clearly was not. Malfoy didn't want the money, he wanted revenge and punishment. Harry did not give in to blackmail, he found a way to save a friend against someone trying to kill them. People may conclude that Harry can be pushed to extremes by attacking those he cares about. Sounds a lot like Malfoy. This tends to imply some susceptibility to blackmail, but it's not very strong evidence. I'd say it's stronger evidence that's it's dangerous to mess with his friends, but potentially useful to do so if you can direct the retribution to a target of your own selection.
Another way to interpret the events would be to say that Harry is willing to commit any act to save his friends as quickly and efficiently as possible. If Harry happens to have some money, he will use money. If he doesn't have any money, he may use some hitherto unknown, yet unimaginably horrific power, which is so destructive that it is capable of frightening a Dementor. I suspect that at least a few Death Eaters on the Wizengamot might be thinking along these lines.

Scaring the Dementor may have saved his bacon. Blackmailing someone is a positive utility move. Blackmailing someone who seriously believes they can destroy hundreds of unkillable soul-eating monsters, and backs that up is a move with totally unknown utility, possibly very, very negative.

It seems both Harry and Dumbledore are missing one of the big payoffs of Harry saving Hermione: making it very attractive to become his freind. There's no explicit enemy around at the moment, so he can't rally minions like Dumbledore did by using the threat of Voldermort; love might be his best option.

Everyone knows that Draco was trying to be Harry's friend.

He almost died for his trouble, and Harry's not the one that saved him.

There doesn't seem to be any causal connection in anyone's mind (other than Harry & Dumbledore) between their friendship and Draco's attempted murder.

Friends with Harry -> Interact with crazy mudblood girl -> Crazy Mudblood girl tries to kill you, and Harry defends her.

->Can't come back to school. -> Loses local positions of power. -> Odds of becoming future bigwig of magical England are reduced.

Hermione was a special case in many ways, they were already thought by many to be 'true loves' and she did save him from a Dementor, so it would be unlikely to count as a guarantee. Also Hermione did still have significant costs from this, she was imprisoned, exposed to Dementors, her reputation ruined and now she is bound to the service of the (possibly Dark) Lord Potter. So not an insurance scheme I'd be particularly willing to take up.

What he really needs to do is save draco in the same way
Save him from who? His father's(perfectly reasonable) educational decisions?
Clearly some unforeseen horrible situation, considering he just saved Hermione from an unforeseen horrible situation.
Only if the author wanted to cheapen the whole thing. And that doesn't seem to be the author's style.
Then again Dumbledore just pointed out that being Harry's friend will now make you a target.
Being Harry's friend already made you a target, hence what happened to Draco and Hermione.
True, but there was a ceasefire in place regarding friends and family and such. That's what accepting the death of Aberforth, and the murder of Narcissa were about. All of the players anyone knew about had kept to the truce since then.

I think the most interesting part of this chapter (82) is another two clues about the Harry's Dark Side/Voldemort connection:

"Why was there a part of him that seemed to get angry at the old wizard beyond reason, lashing out at him harder than Harry had ever hit anyone, without thought of moderation once the rage had been raised, only to quiet as soon as Harry left his presence?"

Hmm, Harry's dark side mysteriously hates Dumbledore but doesn't remember why..? This is just one more clue that his dark side is an obliviated Voldemort or a horcrux - Voldemort's memories influence his dark thinking even if he doesn't remember why.


" 'Step aside, foolish woman, if you have any sense in you at all -' An awful chill came over Harry as he spoke those words from his own lips, but he shook it off and continued."

This could just be a creepy thing to hear yourself say about your mother, but could it be even more creepy if you realized you'd already heard yourself say it? Thinking back to the Remembrall incident, it's likely Harry has memories of Voldemort that are slowly coming out...

Good insight! This would also explain why "Harry's worst memory" was something he shouldn't actually remember. If it was actually Voldemort's memory passed through Harry's loyalties and emotional valuation, it might be the thing that popped out. Which also makes Harry having revealed this memory to Dumbledore in Ch 82 pretty significant, and suggests a radically different interpretation to this text:

"It's a funny thing," Harry said, his voice wavering like something seen through underwater. "Do you know, the day I went in front of the Dementor, what my worst memory was? It was my parents dying. I heard their voices and everything."

The old wizard's eyes widened behind the half-moon glasses.

"And here's the thing," Harry said, "here's the thing I've been thinking about over and over. The Dark Lord gave Lily Potter the chance to walk away. He said that she could flee. He told her that dying in front of the crib wouldn't save her baby. 'Step aside, foolish woman, if you have any sense in you at all -'" An awful chill came over Harry as he spoke those words from his own lips, but he shook it off and continued. "And afterward I k

... (read more)
Very good point. Will be looking for evidence of this theory in the future.
Though on further reflection, if Harry is Voldemort in a straightforward sense, what is Dumbledore's interpretation of Harrymort's motives for saying what he said? Alternative hypothesis: this is the moment when Dumbledore figured out that Harry is a horcrux. Also, Dumbledore may see an important clue in the fact that Voldemort offered Lily a chance to flee. Or Dumbledore figured out the love shield thing. Or a combination of the above.

"Why was there a part of him that seemed to get angry at the old wizard beyond reason...

Because that's what taboo tradeoffs are all about. You feel a sacred value that cannot be traded for a mundane one. The human response to a threat to a sacred value is anger. Also, at least in Harry's case, the anger seems to be a defense mechanism of the sacred values against reason. Get pissed off as a means of mental evasion. The part that defends the sacred values will lie, refuse to think, and refuse to see reality. Also, there's some resentment at Dumbledore at making him see his own inconsistency and self duplicity.

It is interesting. EY is treading perilously close to politics here. As I think about politics, almost all idiocy centers on various Taboo Tradeoffs, where some sacred value is at odds with a seemingly mundane one, and the idiocy floweth.

The sacred values that worked in small bands on the savannah don't scale to people in societies of hundreds of millions trying to make collective decisions. What are people to do? Is it true that humans can't live any other way?

I'm interested in seeing what he has to say on this.

I don't think it has anything to do with magic and horcruxes. It's a human problem. That's why it's interesting.

It sounded to me like he was speaking far more broadly about their interactions than just the one after the "trial."

I think you're right. If Eliezer is keeping the Harry-as-horcrux plot element, and we're still living in a world without souls or an afterlife, the horcrux in Harry would be a part of Voldemort's memories and personality, because that's what a "soul" really is.

I don't know if it's been mentioned before, but this probably explains Quirrel's trances. He has distributed a large part of his mind across several parts of the globe he no longer has access to. This means his mind can't function properly 100% of the time. (Would his mind function better when he's near Harry?)


Or, instead of your mind being distributed across multiple processors, a horcrux is a copy. And if you're killed, you survive not as a ghost, but by virtue of the fact that there's still a copy of you extant and functioning in the world. The same way uploading counts as survival.

Which means that by filling the world with horcruxes, Voldemort is executing the Hansonian strategy of flooding the labor market with EMs.

ETA: Hey, would Voldemort care what happened to a copy of himself? Perhaps the "power Voldemort knows not" is TDT. :)

Well, I've solved the story. Harry defeats Voldemort by tricking him into doing the "rational" thing and defecting against himself. Posting this in a new, unedited comment just in case it turns out to be more than a bad joke.
If a Horcrux is a copy, it’s more of a redundant rather than an independent one. Voldie had several horcruxes, some of them for years, and yet there was exactly one “resurrection”.
A resurrection requires a host body, though. And his other horcruxes didn't find their way into anyone's hands. Except, perhaps, for the button he threw to Hermione.
The "diary of Francis Bacon" may also be relevant. (Quirrel had been building up Harry before learning about Harry's dark side in ch. 20, suggesting he had plans involving Harry before that; in canon, Ginny Weasley is possessed by a diary of Tom Riddle. On the other hand, Quirrel gives the "diary" to Harry in ch. 26, i.e. knowing about Harry's dark side.)
Roger Bacon.
According to word of God gur qvnel vf abg gur Ubepehk, vg npghnyyl vf gur qvnel Ebtre Onpba. Vg'f n qnatyvat cybg ubbx Ryvmre chg va whfg va pnfr Uneel arrqf gb yrnea fbzr sbetbggra yber.
I don’t think the restoration requires the presence of the horcrux. In canon there’s no indication of any horcrux present at Quirell’s possession in Albania (in fact, there’s a vague handwavy indication that Quirell was made into a kind of horcrux), nor at the graveyard resurection. (AFAIK, no horcrux could have been present at either event. Albania was where he made the diadem into a horcrux, but he hid it in Hogwarts before his death, the diary was destroyed before the resurection, and I don’t think Bellatrix was there, nor that the Hufflepuf cup was taken out of the Lestrange vaults before it was destroyed, and all the others were hidden.) So, I don’t think it’s required for someone to be near a horcrux for the resurrection.
In canon Horcruxes bound the original spirit to survive beyond the death of the body. If Horcruxes are just copies there wouldn't be an extra spirit floating around to do the possessing / resurrecting.
Granted. But there still needs to be a mechanism for possession, and something simple like a trigger on the horcruxed object, waiting for someone to touch or approach it, does not quite fit the story. It wouldn’t make sense to hide the horcruxes, for one thing. (And, although Quirell didn’t say he hid them, I think Eliezer meant that scene as a hint, not a trick.) Also, while there might not be souls as metaphysical items, we have here a universe in which magic at least appears responsible for (a) ghosts and portraits, who retain a lot of their originals although in some sense not really alive, (b) a castle that constantly rebuilds itself since centuries ago and seems to have an architectural artistic sense, and (c) a mind-reading hat that became self-aware with surprising ease. Oh, and pouches that burp. It’s not much of a stretch from that to horcruxes being in some sense alive, self-aware and active (e.g. being executed as some sort of simulation on magic substrate rather than just storing a brain state), with some magic ability, though perhaps only after the original dies.
Graveyard resurrection? A misunderstanding. I meant Quirrell. This is not a canon-compliant hypothesis I'm proposing. It's speculation on how far the rules might be changed to fit the restrictions of a world without souls. As such, it needs to be consistent with the story so far, play to OB/LW themes, and be generally cute. But it depends on facts we haven't been given and changes that haven't been established, and I don't have any strong reason to believe it's actually the case.
Oh, OK. I took that “requires” as statement of (in-universe) fact.
Care to give the long version of EM and TDT?
Emulated human (see Robin Hanson's [] for lots of material), Timeless Decision Theory (which includes "I'll cooperate with copies of myself"; search LW for much more.)
I think it's more likely that the Horcruxes are static copies, like system backups, and Quirrel's zombie periods are because the original Quirrel is, in fact, still present in some lobotomized form, and Voldemort is merely imposing his soul / brain state onto the tissue by force of magic. While he can maintain it, it is costly, and he conserves strength by letting the damaged brain run the body most of the time. It might also be the case that this is to preserve the livespan of the possession, since Voldemort's presence in Quirrel's body appears to be slowly killing him.
A static copy couldn't learn, think, or experience time. A static copy is inert. I could imagine horcrux-magic automatically overwriting the brains of people who come into contact with them, so that Quirrell would become Voldemort, but the horcrux can't be static if Quirrell is still present in lobotomized form. In that scenario, neither one is a running copy of Voldemort. But the idea of horcruxes as copies may be correct. If he didn't die at Godric's Hollow, perhaps he rescued Bellatrix to create a flesh and blood copy of himself from one of his horcruxes, and we really will be treated to the sight of two Voldemorts betraying each other. I'd like that.

Interestingly, the copy of Voldemort we get to see in canon is very much a static copy. He comes back fifty years later with the exact same plan that he abandoned before. It's not even a good plan; his older self abandoned it since it would arouse suspicion and wouldn't particularly help him in his goals. Hell, diary-riddle could have just not written on the walls in blood and succeeded easily. It's like that instance of him had not only failed to grow at all since he created the diary horcrux, but it was perpetually fixated on the state of mind it's creator had at the exact moment of creation.

Obviously HPMoR is different from canon, but it seems like an interesting parallel.

Now I'm wondering whether the HPMOR Voldemort is not the original Tom Riddle, but just another Horcrux, and a rather degraded one, at that.
'HPMOR Voldemort' - you mean the original taking-over-England-and-meeting-an-unexplained-fate-at-the-Potters' Voldemort? That's odd... but why would Tom Riddle let one of his Horcruxes go wild like that, and whose body did it steal?
I don't think I have enough info to generate good hypotheses yet, but it seems odd that the original would be intellectually more degraded than, e.g. Quirrelmort (unless the Quirrel himself has/had a formidable brain already). The "pretending to be brutish and lose" plan is also improbable because it violates Malfoy's Rule of Three. (OTOH Lucius, while clever, is not the smartest plotter around, and knows this, so perhaps the rule doesn't apply to truly superior plotters.)
The original might not necessarily be 'degraded' compared to Quirrel - he had different strategies, yes, but Quirrel has observed a lot of things since 'his' defeat. Those could explain his change in strategy.
From chapter 79: So the mind-state-thing is backed up to some kind of sustained magic on an object. And then whoever possesses that object is possessed by the mind-state-thing.
Yes, I've suggested that myself elsewhere in the thread. I was pointing out here that if it's possessing Quirrell, not overwriting him, it can't be a static copy. A Voldemort emulation has to be running on either the horcrux or Quirrell.
To clarify, by 'static copy' I didn't mean permanently static, I meant 'inert until activated.' Though I guess there's no evidence that they aren't alive (in a ghostly, and mostly useless state) at all times. EDIT: Actually, thinking of canon, the horcruxes did seem decently alive. Enough so to mess with Ginny Weasely a lot.
I don't think we've seen any evidence of that; in fact, we have seen the opposite, since Harry (and possibly Quirrel as well) experiences an overwhelming sense of doom whenever they're in close proximity,
Definitely Quirrel as well:
That's interesting. Are Harry and Quirrell sharing the Dark Side module in Harry's head, so that only one can use it at a time?

Thinking back to the Remembrall incident, it's likely Harry has memories of Voldemort that are slowly coming out...

The far easier explanation for this, which does not have all the problems of being an ridiculousness easy and yet unknown method for detecting of Obliviation having occured is that Harry forgot that he is strictly forbidden to use a Time-Turner in view of the public!

That makes sense.. but immediately afterward both Harry and McGonnagal thought it was unusual how bright the remembrall shined; neither seemed to think it was solely due to the use of the Time Turner: "The Remembrall was glowing bright red in his hand, blazing like a miniature sun that cast shadows on the ground in broad daylight." and ""More importantly, why did the Remembrall go off like that?" Harry said. "Does it mean I've been Obliviated?" "That puzzles me as well," Professor McGonagall said slowly. "If it were that simple, I would think that the courts would use Remembralls, and they do not. I shall look into it, Mr. Potter."" And then of course she doesn't. Perhaps the courts simply don't use Remembralls because they would never definitively prove obliviation - only that something was forgotten. Harry's remembrall "blazing like a miniature sun" may be due to an overwhelmingly large obliviation - like an entire life as a Dark Lord? Obliviating a day or week may just produce a normal glow...
That would make sense, except that it was really bright, I was under the impression that McGonnagal was puzzled about it.
What Obliviation?
I think he's referring to JoeA's Obliviated-Voldimort-Memories theory. I agree that forgetting about the Time-Turner rules is a more likely explanation of the phenomena.
I'd place a very low probability on that possibility, speaking strictly from a narrative point of view. It has been far too long since that event for the answer to be that mundane.

Something that bothers me: what do fights involving the Killing Curse look like? What is it that made Voldemort so much more powerful and the conclusion of Lily vs Voldemort so foregone? His ability to pronounce the phrase faster?

Avada Kedavra seems like the Snitch of combat technique; trumps everything most of the time and dumbs the whole thing down.

In canon, when Dumbledore and Voldemort fought in Order of the Pheonix, they weren't just launching high level spells like missiles, they were apparating around and manipulating the landscape around them. On one occasion, Dumbledore has Fawkes catch an Avada Kedavra for him (reducing him to a chick,) and I believe he may also have blocked another with an animated statue (although that might have been a different spell.)

I was extremely disappointed that the movie adaptation reduced their confrontation to a highly pyrotechnic instance of magical arm wrestling. J. K. Rowling may not have thought all her ideas out properly, but at least she managed to show that when wizards of Dumbledore and Voldemort's caliber duel, they get creative.

you would probably enjoy the Read or Die OVA, which is one of the few instances I've seen on super heroes using their power instinctually (as they would if they'd had them from birth) rather than intentionally. If anyone knows of anything else in this vein do share, I find it enjoyable.
Check out "Supreme Power", a comic series published by MAX, Marvel's mature-audiences line.

After the Azkaban sequence, Quirrell mentions Avada Kedavra as a technique that can't be blocked and must be dodged, and therefore essential to magical duels. So that's half your answer. If spamming AK isn't the dominant strategy, it follows that there must be other considerations: perhaps it takes more time to execute, or drains more magical power.

In canon I believe it requires actual hatred for the target, not mere killing intent, which would limit its usefulness for people who aren't YA-lit Nazi pastiches, but I'm not sure if we can consider that reliable in MoR. It doesn't seem to fit comfortably into the fic's themes.

In canon I believe it requires actual hatred for the target

In HPMoR too: Chapter 25: "Who'd been silly enough to build in a spell for Avada Kedavra that could only be cast using hatred?"

It doesn't seem to fit comfortably into the fic's themes.

Perhaps update your model on what the fic's themes are?

If anything, HPMoR makes a person's mind-state even more significant than in canon. It buffs up the Patronus charm, it affects pretty much anything having to do with Dementors (how they look like, whether you can hear them, how much they affect you, even how they act like or whether they'll obey you), it directly affects how the Sorting Hat will behave towards you (as it borrows intelligence from your own mind), spells don't work if you only know the incantation and nothing else about them, "knowledge" can't pass backwards more than 6 hours, knowledge of powerful charms can't pass through books at all as it requires person-to-person communication...

Hmm, you're right. Odd that Quirrell was able to use it on Bahry, then. My model of Quirrell(mort) allows for him killing obstructive strangers if it happens to be expedient and not feeling at all bad about it, but hating them? That seems a little personal to mesh well with what we've seen of his style. Perhaps he's got the narcissistic-personality thing where any impediment automatically becomes a hated enemy, but if so he's hiding it exceptionally well. Or perhaps he's using an Occulumens trick to self-modify into such a person... that seems to fit pretty well, actually. And would be a significant advantage in combat, not to mention a significant obstacle to using AK if you can't self-modify that way. Nope, I'm going to stand by this one. It's made fairly clear that MoR magic is tied closely to wizards' thoughts and expectations -- it imposes Aristotelian physics, for crying out loud -- but in this specific case, I read the canonical situation as an intrusion of J.K. Rowling's moral universe into the Potterverse. We've seen enough subversions of that ethic elsewhere in the fic that I didn't want to allow it to constrain my expectations of the text.

Hmm, you're right. Odd that Quirrell was able to use it on Bahry, then. My model of Quirrell(mort) allows for him killing obstructive strangers if it happens to be expedient and not feeling at all bad about it, but hating them? That seems a little personal to mesh well with what we've seen of his style.

I've never parsed "cast with hatred" as "you must hate the target." In canon, Crouch Jr. as Moody demonstrates it by killing a spider (although I suppose it's possible he's an arachnaphobe.) I imagine that it's like the patronus charm, which you can cast by calling up a happy thought, even if you weren't already happy. Even if Quirrelmort doesn't hate everyone personally, I doubt he has any trouble calling up feelings of hatred.

I doubt any one of us would have much trouble calling up feelings of hatred. Or feelings of nearly anything for that matter.
Typical Mind Fallacy []. Do not be so quick to assume that everyone is like you. I have great difficulty recalling emotions and, in a minute of introspection, am unable to make myself feel or relive hatred towards anything.
As Quirrel said in his very first class So it's surely not unheard of. Canonically, I think it also took substantial magical power to be able to cast it, so I suspect that the average adult witch or wizard wouldn't be able to use it (most ordinary adults were made out to be fairly incompetent at the magical skills they didn't use regularly,) but Quirrel seems to be imposing rather higher standards on his students.
I wouldn't be surprised if Quirrel could recall emotions - I was only defying the claim that "any one of us" could do so without much trouble and am using the counter example of me.
As a perfect Occlumens, presumably Quirrel would be able to generate a mental construct who is full of hatred, then use it on demand whenever he needs to cast AK.
Interesting... Can I please interview you as a case study for my paper on Wittgenstein?
That's very interesting. If you don't mind elaborating, what happens when you try to recall an event or person that made you feel hate in the past (like Harry uses the memory of Snape)? Are you able to recall the memory itself at all, but it doesn't cause the emotion any more?
First, I have very few events that I can recall where I was angry, and for most of them I can't really seem to recall the exact reason I was angry or else it seems fairly unimportant now. For example, I have vague memories of anger toward a sibling in childhood, but I don't remember why other than some generic reasons - no specific reason. I can recall being angry at a computer for crashing or whatever, but in retrospect this is not much of a thing to get worked up over and I cannot recreate the emotion. Or being angry at an unintended insult to my abilities to play a game I considered myself good at - this was perhaps the angriest I have ever been but I cannot relive that emotion now. Other than that, I guess I am not a very angry person or life has happened to not give me many angry situations. In general, though, even for emotions that I have a clearer memory of, I usually cannot relive the emotion. Feelings of success may be a counter-example - recalling being successful in the past seems to make me feel like I will be/ am being successful and recreates some of the associated emotion. I can also make myself sad to nearly the point of crying by recalling either a specific memory or general 'sad' things - atomic wars, death, etc. Physical feelings such as heat, cold, pain, and nausea I cannot recall at all. I wonder if the 4 upvotes my comment has indicates that anyone else here is in the same situation as me or just support for questioning assumptions?
This is way OT at this point, but... when you remember these things, is your memory represented as third-person or first person? Still image or moving? For that matter, is there an image at all?
First person, definitely. I am basically recalling events that happened and narrating to myself what happens and thinking through my actions, with some very vague imagery. I wrote about my visualization ability and mental thought process in the "Describe the ways you think" thread [] if you really want details...
I actually meant, "do you see memories as though through your own eyes or from an omniscient POV". Sounds like from your link that you don't see them at all. Are you able to recall positive memories in a way that stimulates emotion? (If you can, I'm guessing they are not recalled in verbal form, but are represented in some other sensory system.)
No, I don't really 'see' them, but other sensations such as motion and touch are more tangible to me and those I see relative to my head - as I experience them in actuality. So it is very much a first-person experience from my POV even if color, texture, etc. is missing.
I upvoted both because you are correct and because I am the same way. I am somewhat skilled at manufacturing happiness, but can not make myself angry for the life of me. Which, TBH, I'm fine with.
I also don't have the ability to recall and feel anger but that might just be because I can't remember any instance being significantly angry for the past few years (I don't believe any have occurred). I used to be able to make myself cry by remembering sad events but I can't anymore for the same reason, there have been no recent incidents of sadness.
Quirrel is known to be good at dissociation. Harry's (Demented) dark side hates everything that moves. Even if Harry's dark side is not (part of) (the original) Voldemort, I wouldn't be surprised if Quirrel can dip into a hate-everything personality for the time it takes to cast the Killing Curse. (Of course, there is insufficient evidence either way.)
I’m not sure exactly what Harry was thinking, but if it simply means that you must “call up feelings of hate” as suggested below [], then it might simply be intended as a simple safeguard. Presumably almost anyone can call up such feelings if they tried, but it wouldn’t happen by accident unless you really hate someone. (Given the apparent age of the spell and its character, I don’t think its creator would worry much about accidentally killing someone you hate, if it even occurred to them.)
Quirrell was planning to teach it.
Many things in real life are much like that. See nuclear weapons. No law of nature says that there can't be a brute-force technique that overpowers creativity and finesse.
Harry may need to make another wish...
Sounds like Harry might need to make another wish...

In his Author's Note, EY mentions that he's considering releasing the next plot arc in one fell swoop, instead of doing weekly chapter releases. Personally I prefer the weekly chapter releases for the following reasons:

  • You get to consider and digest each chapter, instead of flying through them
  • Each chapter gets discussed- people make predictions, work on rationality skills
  • Builds community, as my HPMoR friends and I can get excited together for each chapter
  • Draws out HPMoR release experience over a couple months.
  • Have something fun to look forward to on Tuesday nights

I was wondering if other people felt the same way, or if I'm alone in preferring the weekly releases to a one-fell-swoop release.

I would much prefer to have them released all at once. I could read them and re-read them at my own pace. There would still be plenty to discuss. The cliff-hangers mean that I currently think about each update more than is productive. It would be nice if the disruptive effect they have on the rest of my life was more localized.

Mostly, though, I'm happy to read it whenever EY gets around to posting it.

I think exactly like that. I vote up to have them released all at once.
+1 for the very same reason. Reading a HPMOR chapter is a day-long distraction. it simply won't leave my brain alone for work on the rest of the day.
Waiting for a whole week is the worst part.
Sounds like a good opportunity to practice mental discipline skills that will serve your well for the rest of your life.
I take the opportunity to apply Harry-like awesomeness to my own life. What other options aren't I considering? What epicness can I plot? What resources am I not taking advantage of?

I have no strong preference either way on this issue, but I suspect that spacing the updates out is more useful.

One reason for this is that a lot of updates means that the story spends more time on the first page of's HP story list. The HP fandom is one of the most active ones and stories tend to get bumped off the first page quite fast. To that end, I also think it would be a good idea to occasionally update the story at some other time of the day than the usual 7 PM Pacific Time. Who knows, maybe that alone would bring in some readers who miss the story again and again for no other reason except that it's updated at an inconvenient time of day.

The communal aspect shouldn't be overlooked, either, and having time to discuss chapters is definitely a legitimate reason to draw out the process. This doesn't apply to everyone, of course; I gave myself five minutes to think of solutions for the end of chapter 80 and refrained from discussing them with anyone, and I doubt I'm the only one who plays the game that way.

IMO, the optimal update rate would be once per four or five days. Enough time for folks to talk things over if they wish, but not so long that the anticipation has the time to collapse.

This. In particular.
I would vote for a time earlier than 7pm, as this would allow European types such as myself to read the update on the same day that it's published, and comment accordingly. As it stands, I can choose to stay up until 3am or so to wait for the update, or turn up the next day to find that the discussion has progressed a long way before I could join in.
I would also like to vote in support of weekly releases.
I prefer them spaced out, although maybe slightly more frequently than once per week. Mostly for a "draw out the HPMoR experience" reason.
Personally, for anything except comedy I like to read moderately-long bursts rather than short snippets--when I follow works that update daily but have updates that are too small I often stop reading for a while on the assumption that when I start again later I'll have a juicy backlog to trawl through. (Part of me wonders if it's just a matter of how good the author is at finding good stopping points though). HPMOR updates are not that small, but with its plot-heaviness I think I still found that I enjoyed it better when I read entire arcs at once than when I read chapters as they came out. I even considered not reading chapters once or twice until the next existed. Of course, individual chapters are healthier for my sleep schedule...
Very much agree. Co-readers and discussions are cool.
I agree.

I'd like to predict that whatever actually happened with Dumbledore and Narcissa, it will turn out to have been foreshadowed by whatever happened in Chapter 17 between Dumbledore and the chicken.

That is, I can't actually figure out whether he seriously burned a chicken alive, made it look like he burned a chicken alive, or that actually is what a Phoenix looks like right before regenerating. But he appeared to set fire to a chicken, and I predict that he used essentially the same move on Narcissa, as suggested by the law of conservation of detail.

I don't think its possible that he just whisked her away with Phoenix-travel, as this apparently doesn't actually look anything like someone burning alive, viewed from the outside. But whatever he did with the chicken at least looked enough like burning to fool Harry:

The chicken's beak opened, but it didn't have time for so much as a single caw before it began to wither and char. The blaze was brief, intense, and entirely self-contained; there was no smell of burning.

But faking her death (and even the type of death) doesn’t really match the rest of the story. There’s no obvious reason not to return her after he thought Voldemort was gone, or at least to let Lucius know what happened in case she’s alive and didn’t want to return—which is unlikely, we had no indication that she was really unhappy or didn’t wish to be a part of her son’s life—or if she died in some much-less-objectionable way (he could give Lucius the memory). Not doing this led to the last ten years being rather complicated due to Lucius’ enmity; Dumbledore mentions to Harry he’s quite constrained in his political actions. Eliezer also seems to write his stories such that serious actions have serious consequences. None of it proof, of course, just strong evidence IMO that she really is dead and either Dumbledore or an ally he’s protected did it.

But faking her death (and even the type of death) doesn’t really match the rest of the story. There’s no obvious reason not to return her after he thought Voldemort was gone, or at least to let Lucius know what happened in case she’s alive and didn’t want to return—which is unlikely, we had no indication that she was really unhappy or didn’t wish to be a part of her son’s life—or if she died in some much-less-objectionable way (he could give Lucius the memory).

But he never thought Voldemort was permanently gone in the first place. The Hogwarts inner circle knew Voldemort was still around as of the beginning of the story. And in any case, he's still maneuvering against Lucius, so he has an incentive to uphold the notion that he will not cooperate with blackmailers and that he will resort to equal retaliation, even while his greater enemy is absent.

I'm not saying I think Narcissa is alive, but... Except that Narcissa could then testify in front of the Wizengamot that Dumbledore kidnapped her. Dumbledore believes Voldemort will return. This would limit his ability to threaten Death Eaters in the next war.
Point. I forgot he knew about the Horcruxes since basically the beginning.
I don't think Dumbledore would risk leaving her as a loose end, what I suspect is that he really did kill her, but only appeared to burn her alive.

Oh, no, he did much worse:

He switched her brain with that of a chicken (with Magic!), then burned the chicken alive—in her body—so that the chicken’s thrashing around in horrible agony left marks around the room (while he forced Narcissa to watch, with Magic!). Then he kept Narcissa alive (with Magic!) in the chicken’s body, to keep company to Fawkes; he kept her hidden (with Magic!) right near his perch, so that every time Fawkes re-spawned she was reminded of what her captor was capable of. Then he burned her in front of Harry (with Magic!) just because he thought it was funny :-)

By the way, Lucius is not actually mad because he killed her—Dumbledore told the first part the above to him, but he kept silent about the details because it was embarrassing to have his wife turned to a chicken. That’s why Dumbledore had trouble during the trial; he felt a bit embarrassed about having killed Narcissa after all.

Also, Draco actually picked “fire” as his army’s symbol because he’s secretly fantasizing about being burned alive.

It all just clicks seamlessly into place!
Surely, you mean it all clucks seamlessly into place.
It's chickens all the way down, isn't it?
This fits together so well I'm going to have trouble remembering that Dumbledore didn't switch Narcissa's brain with a chicken.

Okay, I was wrong. It's not at all likely that Dumbledore had the prophecy and Lily's death in mind when he turned Lily against Snape. He hadn't yet become willing to make that sort of tradeoff when the two of them were in school. And it beggared belief in any case that he could have correctly predicted the effects of his actions on Snape so many years in advance. So, no. Whatever his intentions were back then, if he's responsible for the prophecy, he merely capitalized on the outcome.

Despite that, I think it's now a little more probable that Dumbledore deliberately sacrificed the Potters, hoping to defeat Voldemort with Lily's sacrificial protection.

"After the day I condemned my brother to his death, I began to weigh those who followed me, balancing them one against another, asking who I would risk, and who I would sacrifice, to what end."

It also looks significant that Harry twice enumerated Lily's options as: leave, or stay and cast a curse. Voldemort offered her a third choice.

"Very well," said the voice of death, now sounding coldly amused, "I accept the bargain. Yourself to die, and the child to live. Now drop your wand so that I can murder you.&

... (read more)
I parsed that sequence as Voldemort deliberately manipulating Lily so as to avoid her placing any magical protection on her son. I don't think MoR Voldemort would have been stupid enough to overlook major feats of magic just because they involve something as unpalatable as love.
We can assume that it would have saved her son in canon. The universe of HPMoR doesn't need follow the exact same rules. You're assuming that such a protection by sacrifice need exist at all in HPMoR.
Unlikely. The avadra did backfire. Now, Voldie could have set up a backfiring scene and retired for 11 years on purpose, but then I can't fathom why: he was winning at the time.
It almost certainly did not. AK sheds no blood. Of course, this could have been referring to another incident, but we'be been given no clues for what that incident might be. It leaves no marks, either. It never burns anything. And Harry should have noticed the discrepancy right away, but he was all weepy and shit. I suppose you or anyone else could have the same excuse. It is, after all, well written.
Okay. It almost certainly did not backfire. But I'm still very very confused: what on Earth actually happened? Why on the Universe did it happen? Though I must say, I didn't take 5 minutes to think about it yet.
Well, there is this post [] from See that makes a suggestion regarding backfirage.
Well we know that the protection exists, because Harry is still alive.
We don't even know that Voldemort attempted to kill Harry that day. I've made a prediction at [] against that idea.
We don’t know he had to have been protected from something. People in-universe thinks that Voldie cast AK and it rebounded, but in MoR we’re not told of any witnesses other than Harry and Voldie, the body found was burned, and his Dementor-triggered memory ended when Voldie locked eyes with him. It’s not a given that the canon scenario really happened in MoR.
True, but assuming even a modicum of forensics(prior incantem, say), it seems likely. What other process explains Voldemort's "death"? He's not stupid enough to try a plot that clever.
I have no very compelling scenario, but just because we have no obvious alternative is not very strong evidence in a universe with many smart characters and complex magic of which we don’t know most of the rules. Also, Eliezer changed lots of things from canon without removing them completely (e.g. the wicked step-parents stuff, the mess with Sirius and Pettigrew), and everyone believing a certain explanation for what happened without any witnesess which turns out to be wrong kinda’ sorta’ feels like his style.
True, I'd stick p=0.2, maybe, on the official story being wrong in some important respect. Still, the canonical version is by far the most likely.
The canonical version doesn't work. * What's the probability that Avada Kedavra will leave a scar, when it has never left a scar before? * What's the probability that Avada Kedavra will burn Voldemort's body, when it usually kills without a trace? * Why would Voldemort have given his wand to Bellatrix before going to the Potters (as she mentions in Azkaban)? * From a story-external perspective, why does the story keep hinting that this is not what happened (we are told Harry should have felt confused when he first heard the story, and ch.81 says the wisest wizards in the Wizengamot wonder why Godric's Hollow night happened, if it did happen, or why Dumbledore is lying if it didn't) All those bits and pieces don't make sense if the events went down as in canon. That would depend on figuring out what Voldemort wants, and we don't really know much about that. Even Dumbledore is at a loss in figuring out what motivates someone like Voldemort. If it's just amusement, perhaps he just found being Voldemort to be boring, and sought to start another game. If he wants to control the world, not just Britain, perhaps he felt he had no chance doing so as an open villain, he had to present himself as a hero instead (like Dumbledore being given the Chief Warlock position after he defeated Grindelwald). And the above ideas are assuming the night went as Voldemort planned. If he was planning something different than what occurred, but what actually happened was caused by e.g. some magical trap set up by Dumbledore, the possibilities expand.
  • What's the probability that Avada Kedavra will leave a scar, when it has never left a scar before?

As far as I know it has left a scar on every single person who has survived it!

In canon, of course, we know that a Killing Curse hitting an inanimate object rater than its target results in a release of kinetic energy. In which case, both the scar and the burning are, in fact, reasonably probable results, given the prior that Harry couldn't be killed by the curse. The curse hit Harry, couldn't kill him any more than it could kill an inanimate object, and was converted into kinetic energy just like if it hit an inanimate object. The scar is the result of part of the kinetic energy being transferred to Harry through a not-perfect-but-adequate-to-save-his-life protection, while the rest bounced and hit Voldemort (and the cottage) with a lot of kinetic energy, causing blast and burn. As HPMOR has (I believe) no examples the Killing Curse hitting inanimate objects, and we do not have enough data on magic theory that would allow us to construct an independent theory as to what a Killing Curse should do if it rebounded, how could we possibly construct a prior that would make the scar and blast improbable in HPMOR? Your other points work, of course.
This is the first actually plausible-sounding explanation for this I've ever heard.
It's got a definite defect, in that the levels of kinetic energy shown in Order of the Phoenix were substantially lower than the "blow up the cottage" level. But hitting an inanimate object versus a life-sacrifice-love-warded subject, and not being able to precisely measure how much power/concentration Voldemort put into different castings makes it, well, at least good enough for a Dumbledore explanation to the curious in a culture without the scientific method.
She mentions that she has his wand, not that he gave it to her. Perhaps she stole it after he died? And you're right, the possibilities of traps are fairly open - though of course, the canon version could be considered a trap, if one laid unconsciously.
In Chapter 26 ("Noticing Confusion"), Quirrell reacted rather violently on hearing about a prophecy in the Daily Prophet: "He didn't have any choice," said Harry. "Not if he wanted to fulfill the conditions of the prophecy." "Give me that," said Professor Quirrell, and the newspaper leaped out of Harry's hand so fast that he got a paper cut. This is evidence for the canonical version, I think.

So one thing to notice in this chapter is the parallel between Dumbledore's situation during the War and Harry's situation in court. In particular, the price of a life was one hundred thousand Galleons in each case. That the price should be the same makes the story more dramatic and the moral lesson more clearcut, but neither of those are a reason for something to actually be true in HPMOR, are they?

It could easily be a coincidence. One hundred thousand Galleons is a nice big round number, and so two big-number-pickers might both pick it for that reason, the same way people write songs about what they would do if they had a million dollars and not $1,349,921. I'm not discounting that as an explanation, but I will note that Lucius Malfoy was a high-ranking Death Eater and probably knew about the Aberforth ransom. And given that he had recently been talking about the death of his wife, it should have been salient. And he did suddenly take a cold smile on his face as he demanded compensation of one hundred thousand Galleons. And he certainly expected it not to be paid.

If we assume he assumes Harry is Voldemort, which seems like a good assumption given his recent behavior, he wo... (read more)

Was it another dig at Dumbledore?

It wasn't just a dig, it was a stab. My rereading of the passage leads me to think that Lucius gave that number expressly because of Dumbledore. Remember, Lucius knows that Dumbledore doesn't bargain - and that he gave up on his brother, rather than pay a hundred thousand. Lucius wanted his offer to be rejected, and he was counting on Dumbledore to reject his offer. That explains Lucius's cold smile when he made his offer. And also his confusion, and reassessment, when Harry strong arms Dumbledore into giving assent ... "You pretend you can destroy Azkaban, and Dumbledore pretends to believe it."

It also explains Dumbledore's extremely heavy handed reaction to Harry's decision. The hundred thousand triggered his memory of Aberforth, and to see Harry then choose differently, invalidates Dumbledore's beliefs at some level. Always a painful thing.

First possibility that comes to mind is that it was a nicely salient price point that Lucius could be sure Voldemort wouldn't be willing to pay to get back a valued ally. After all, Voldemort implicitly said as much before, if Dumbledore's testimony about his reaction during the last war is to be trusted. Lucius probably doesn't want to taunt Voldemort, but he does want to win, and by persisting when Harry made it clear where his interests lie, Lucius has already implicitly opposed himself to Voldemort in the current conflict. I can't think of any other price point that'd work better, either, now that the precedent's been set -- a little lower sends a message that Voldemort is less serious in his intentions than Dumbledore, a lot lower risks being paid in full, and higher makes Lucius look desperate. Depending on how well known the ransom story is, he might also have been trying to score points off the other people in the room by drawing an implicit parallel to those events. Of course, by doing so and getting a different outcome, he's lost some of the moral high ground; I'm not sure how much, though, given how cold Harry was being and given the little stunt with Umbridge and the Dementor. Lucius is also probably updating his estimate for the Harrymort interpretation downward now (previously he had a hypothesis that matched all his data; now he has new data both for and against and should be very confused), but I'm not prepared to say what the consequences of that might be.
Remember what Eleizer said in the authors notes about simple vs. complex explanations? I'd default to the 'big round number' hypothesis.
I don't think that "Lucius chose the exact same number as a stab against Dumbledore" is a very complex hypothesis. We already know that he knows part of the story and can reasonably assume he knows the whole story about Aberforth. So of course if the situation already demands that he hold someone on Dumbledore's side (sort of) for ransom for some obscene amount of money, on the assumption that it won't be paid, how could he resist rubbing that bit of salt in his nemesis's wounds? It's not part of some bigger plan. It's not some fancy maneuver. It's just an emotional attack of opportunity aimed at Dumbledore, probably just for pride's sake.
Even if he was influenced by Aberforth's ransom, it might just have been to the extent that the amount Aberforth was ransomed for was the first to pop into his head.

the amount Aberforth was ransomed for

Wasn't ransomed for.

And a whiff of the law of narrative causality.

Harry, why are you going to classes? Why is he not talking to Lucius, to Draco, to Dumbledore, or Quirrel? Hell, even Cornelius Fudge could probably use a chat right now.

I feel Quirrel's frustration, and it burns.

(Dumbledore, apparently, does not realize yet that Harry was involved in Azkaban, or realized it all along and does see a reason to act on that knowledge. That seems hard to believe given that he forgot Harry's parents were dead.)

Forgot Harry's parents were dead? What in the world?
I read it more as forgetting that he had sacrificed Harry's own parents so he had no right to lecture Harry about the costs of sacrifice. Harry has lived with those costs his whole life. If true, it makes me curious how Sirius was involved in the betrayal, if at all.
What do Harry's dead parents have to do with his inability to sacrifice the lives of his friends?
Whose inability to sacrifice the lives of his friends? I fear we may have gotten into pronoun confusion a while back. I presented two possibilities: either Dumbledore knows about Azkaban but doesn't see fit to discuss it yet, or Dumbledore doesn't know. The quoted section in the grandparent struck me as evidence against the first view. (To answer your question, though, and assuming that "his" means "Harry's", if Lilly died because she was unwilling to go on living after having sacrificed her son, it is unsurprising that that aversion to guilt might be hereditary and pass down to Harry.)
I don't know how much clearer I can make it: what makes you think that Dumbledore forgot Harry's parents were dead?
Dumbledore is an old man who has learned to be cold through years of pain. Alastor Moody is an old man who has learned to be paranoid through years of conflict. Harry Potter is a young boy whose "unique genius," as Dumbledore put it, is in creativity that is willing to consider evil. Dumbledore's hope was that Harry would behave as Dumbledore and Moody do, without having needing to live through their pain and conflict, simply because he could imagine what would happen if he were soft when he needed to be hard. And so when Harry behaves as Dumbledore and Moody wouldn't, Dumbledore's reaction is "if you had lived through the pain and conflict we have, you would behave like we do." The implication is that Harry has not lived through enough pain. D's reaction to H's "my parents are dead" speech, specifically the phrase about H's innocence, matches what I would expect if D looked at the 11 year old boy in front of him and saw an 11 year old boy, not someone who had spent long nights contemplating that he was an orphan. When H reveals how much hurt he carries, D realizes that his approach was mistaken, and apologizes. An alternative interpretation is that D's surprise and apology were because he didn't know H had the memory of H's parents' death, and thought that because of H's adoptive parents he didn't consider himself an orphan / didn't have much hurt there. That is, D remembered that H's parents were dead, but didn't realize how important that fact was. It's a possible interpretation but I prefer the first. [edit] It is unclear to me, though, why D doesn't use the Pensieve to teach Harry about Voldemort, Riddle, or his parents. If the boy lacks in experience, and you have a magical experience transference device, the solution should be obvious.
I read that reaction as being primarily to "Only now I understand, I know what Mother must have felt. She couldn't step aside from the crib. She couldn't! Love doesn't walk away!" After all, Dumbledore's on record as saying
Perhaps. I didn't take D to be that infirm of purpose. D already knew that H sided with the Phoenix over wisdom, like the younger D that lost too many friends by softness, and so has been trying to guide H to wisdom. That may have been a "why would I seek to replace H's morality when he's driven by love," but D knows why. It looked more to me like a "how can I seek to replace H's morality when he's driven by love"- clearly, this path will not work. But D still knows what must be done, and why it must be done, even if H is not yet willing to admit it.
Less "clearly this path won't work", more "I chose this path for bad reasons" - Dumbledore let it get to him, he was genuinely angry that an eleven year old was unwilling to sacrifice the life of his friend. Sort of "if I can't be idealistic, neither can anyone else."
Certainly possible. But H hasn't presented any reason to be idealistic beyond, well, ideals. And so either D is hard, and is trying to figure out a way to get through to H, or D is soft, and has not learned his lesson well enough to teach it to H. I am genuinely disappointed with how H botched this whole affair, and would turn that disappointment to anger if I thought it would change H's behavior for the better.
I view Dumbledore as having a hard shell around soft gooey insides. Lemon drop anyone?
I was going to ask whether Harry could know that Dumbledore had never deliberately hurt him, but here's the answer.

Did anyone notice the bit about the Philosopher's Stone? I had initially assumed that the PS was following canon, and the reason that the PS remained intact in Hogwarts was that Voldemort made no attempt on it and bypassing the incredibly elaborate protectings (per book 1) prompting its destruction by Dumbledore & Flamel.

But now we have Harry suggesting it be moved, Dumbledore agreeing and it not being moved because Flamel wants it at Hogwarts. Well, in book 1 when they discovered it could not be kept safe at safest place #2 (Gringotts) they moved it to safest place #1 (Hogwarts) and when safest place #1 failed, they just destroyed it. Dumbledore breathes no word of destroying it, despite both him and Flamel consenting to it in canon.

And notice, if you check MoR carefully, at no point is Harry aware that the guarded object is the Stone; nor has Flamel been mentioned anywhere near Harry as creator of the Stone - Flamel has only come up in conversations with Dumbledore/McGonagall/Snape/Quirrel. (Although the topic is one would expect to be of keen interest to Harry: the Stone, recall, grants immortality or at least anti-aging.)

Conclusion: Eliezer has diverged from canon and caref... (read more)

Ever since I read the Potter books, I knew that the Philosopher's Stone stood a very high chance of being MoR!Harry's weapon of choice. (Yes, I read the actual Potter books for the first time after reading the first few dozen chapters of MoR.)
Slightly less Chekhovy though, since the removal of the reference from Chapter 4.
I must have read it after it was removed because I don't remember it there.
When Harry asked Griphook what he could do with a ton of silver, Griphook originally looked at him suspiciously and asked if he had EDIT: expected to soon /EDIT come into possession of a philosopher's stone. It seemed pretty awkward really - I'm glad it's gone.
Yes, that is awkward. In alchemic lore, there are projections and steps in the process that would let you turn base metals into silver, but this is extremely obscure stuff and so Griphook jumping from 'ton of silver' to 'possession of a Philosopher's Stone' looks simply like an error on the author's part since 99.9% of everyone reading it only knows of the Stone turning base metals into gold and not silver.
The expression is "the medicine of metals", I think — the use of the Stone of the Wise to heal metals of the infirmity which causes them to be less noble than gold.
No, but almost. Griphook said "are you expecting to find a Philosopher's Stone soon"? He was probing Harry to see if Harry knew that the Stone was at Hogwarts, and then McGonagall scolded him for giving away a hint. I liked it. And Harry totally missed the hint, which is reasonable but I was kind of bummed because I want him to be a superhero.
The problem is, hearing this would almost certainly cause Harry to research what a Philosopher's Stone is, and given his stance on immortality vs death, would almost certainly do everything he can to try to get one (unless there turn out to be insurmountable obstacles to using it to mass-produce elixir of life for general distribution).
There's an active prediction on that making Stones requires human sacrifice etc.
Only an issue if making the elixir consumes the stone (which is more what I was getting at) - one already exists, so it's a sunk cost. It could also be an obstacle to mass production if the rate at which it can be produced with the existing supply of stones is insufficient to make enough volume for mass distribution.
The best "theory" I read was that only the person who makes the Stone can drink the Elixir, which would explain why only Mr and Mrs Flamel have benefited from it.
Quirrell to Snape, I think, not Harry.
Whups. Yes. So that makes Harry entirely ignorant of Flamel and also the stone.

If Dumbledore believes that Harry's action told Voldemort that blackmailing will be effective again, shouldn't he now proceed to move Harry's parents to safety at Hogwarts, as Harry suggested when the issue was raised after Azkaban?

He may very well do that, but also remember that people ARE still up against Dumbledore, who DOES have his reputation intact.
Unfortunately, Harry has just shown that he is both able and willing to overcome Dumbledore's refusal to offer concessions.

On the other hand, he doesn't currently have much in the way to offer potential kidnappers.

...unless a family member of someone locked up in Azkaban takes him at his word that he's capable of destroying the place. I'm not sure Harry would pause even as long as he did for Hermione if that was the price demanded for the safe return of his adoptive parents. The narrative demands of the story make that unlikely, though.

Honestly, Harry is placing far too little weight on the hypothesis that Hermione actually did do exactly what she confessed to under Veritaserum.

Story-logic would indicate that she is indeed innocent, and we as readers have evidence that someone has indeed been messing with her mind, but Harry doesn't know what we as readers know. And, to be honest, in a similar situation in the real world, I'd also conclude that the 11 year old probably did indeed do exactly what she is accused of doing.

Story-logic would indicate that she is indeed innocent, and we as readers have evidence that someone has indeed been messing with her mind, but Harry doesn't know what we as readers know.

Harry's had 7 months to know that Hermione isn't a sociopath or a psychopath, that she's a very kind and moral and ethical person instead.

What's the prior probability he should therefore assign to this person, out of all of Hogwarts, to be the one to commit a cold-blooded murder on another 11-year-old kid? I think he's giving the hypothesis of her actual guilt pretty much all the weight that it deserves - effectively zero.

Outside view: when someone in a similar situations does do something horrible, all of his friends and family insist that they "have no idea how he could have done something like this".

I wonder how much of that is a “don’t speak bad of the dead” reflex, or “nobody could have seen it, so it’s not my fault I didn’t”, or even just “I’m such a good & loving friend/relative I didn’t see anything wrong with him”. I’m sure there are cases that really came out of the blue, but I also have a nagging feeling that if you could interview the same people before the something horrible, and do it from an insider point of view (i.e., a question asked by another friend of the interviewee rather than by a reporter), a lot of answers would be of the “he’s kind of a weirdo” type.
Now update on the amount of people who call somebody "a weirdo" who does not end up murdering anyone. And add the negative halo effect, and fundamental attribution fallacy, from knowing in hindsight that the person you're talking about has recently murdered someone.
As I said, I don’t really have any real evidence, and I believe it’d be very hard to collect. That said: I’m not quite sure I understand what you mean by this. Let H=(did something horrible), S=(really suspicious), W=(just a bit creepy, weird, etc.). I suspect that (H & S) > (H & W & !S) > (H & !W & !S) and that 1 > H/S >> H/(W & !S) >> H/(!W & !S). All fractions are low, but I’m not sure what you mean to say by that. I’m pretty sure such effects are not linearly additive. Especially when there’s a conflict (friend/non-hated-family, did something bad), I don’t think you can determine the result just by logic, you have to see what people actually do. Notice how media narratives tend to become either “I always knew he was up to no good” or “I’d never have thought he would do something like that”, but you almost never hear something in the middle. I’m even having trouble finding a concise wording for a middle case other than “meh”. I’m sure the media has a lot to do with that, showing just the witnesses with the most “interesting” story, but I’m almost sure people also do this more-or-less automatically in their heads.
You said, What I meant was: you should also consider the amount of cases where people said the same "he's kind of a weirdo", but that person did not go on to do something horrible. And also the amount of cases where people did not say it, and yet the person did something horrible. All three are necessary to calculating the strength of the evidence "people say he's kind of a weirdo" in favor of the hypothesis "he will do something horrible". There's a common fallacy, which you may not have committed, but which your comment as written seemed to me to evoke. Logically it's equivalent to base rate neglect. In conversation, it's often triggered like this: a nontrivial value for P(A|B) is given, but the probability P(A|~B) is not mentioned. The listener doesn't have a good estimation of P(A) or P(B), and he doesn't think to ask; instead the high value of P(A|B) makes him think B is a good predictor of A, which is a fallacy. (Here, A=be called a weirdo, B=commit horrible deed.) I'm not saying they're linear or otherwise well-behaved, but I'm pretty sure they are all generally additive in the sense that in any given combination, if you increase any of the factors, the total also increases. It may also be that "I'd never have thought he'd do that" is the middle, the default way in which people think of anyone they have no reason to specially suspect. After all, I don't expect a random stranger on the street to suddenly commit a horrible deed; why should I expect it more of an acquaintance unless there are concrete warning signs, which would make me say "I always knew he was up to no good". The true opposite of "I always knew..." would on this view be like Harry's reaction to Hermione confessing attempted murder: "I don't believe she did it, it's a priori so improbable there must be another explanation or very special circumstances". However, when the media has concluded someone has committed a horrible deed and is morally culpable, of course you won't hear many people s
Well, yeah, I agree, but I wasn’t trying to do that. At least I don’t think I was, and if it’s an implied assumption in what I said I don’t see it. My original comment just said that I suspect many of the “I had no suspicion” after-crime statements are false (consciously or not), and was based mostly on how I suspect people’s brains might react, not on the rates of horrible acts. My second comment I think said the same thing your quote above does, except adding that I also suspect a certain ordering of rates. But as I said in my first comment, I don’t have the actual rates and I believe they’re hard to obtain, so it’s just a suspicion. That’s true. I guess there are just very few people with this kind of reasoning (à la the Wizengamot); once they heard it happened, most probably take it for granted it was so, and they have only the “knew it all the time”/“didn’t see it coming” alternatives. For a random stranger you have only the base rate to go on, you’ve got no other evidence. (Though for specific strangers you might have stuff like “he looks like a mobster” or “I’m in a dangerous neighborhood”, or maybe “he’s black and wears a hoodie”, which are a bit different as signs go.) My claim is not quite that “weird people murder more often”. Instead, I suspect that “of the people who murder, a big majority were not stable/calm enough before and did give signs before”, and many if not most of the cases of people claiming there were no signs are because they just forget or ignore those signs. (The two sentences are different if it so happens that there are very few people that give no signs, enough so that the fraction of them who do horrible things is less than the fraction of those who did give signs. Which I believe unlikely but not quite impossible.)
In some cases, people who commit major violence have a history of minor violence. However, another possibility is that even people who commit major violence have people they like and/or want to please, and behave better in some contexts than in others.
This could easily be face-saving. You can't well publicly say, "You know, I thought he might have been a dangerous criminal, but I didn't bother trying to prevent any crimes." And you're ignoring the many more cases where people expected a person to be a murderer and he wasn't.

See also: Amanda Knox.

Who, it may be noted, was eventually found innocent.
I was pretty sure that "prior probability of a normal girl just hauling off and murdering someone in cold blood" was a Knox allusion. I wonder if Ms. Knox herself has read it.
Yeah, this set of chapters started making a lot more sense when I realized it was a gigantic Amanda Knox allegory.

Well, sure, but it's also an allegory for everyone sent to prison for using marijuana by politicians who somehow manage to care more about other things than about smashing the life of some nice person who never hurt anyone; and an allegory for the public response to 9/11/2001. Et cetera. If story events only allegorized one insanity at a time, the story would have to be three times as long to make the same set of points.

Well, then condition on the fact that Querril caught her and she has memories of doing it.
Quirrell didn't say he caught her. He did not claim to observe Hermione at or departing the duel. Time-travelling Dumbledore did not claim to have observed Hermione at or departing the duel. We are meant to learn from Rita's Folly that memories are not worth trust. Just what condition is your condition in?
Actually, based on the Legilimens finding all the fantasies about Draco and Snape conspiring to hurt Harry and her, I've adjusted my probability estimate that Hermione actually did it significantly upward. Hermione has been having paranoid fantasies about her friends being harmed by Draco -> Draco attacks her, she weakens Draco -> Hermione is suddenly in a position of power over someone she views as a threat to her friends -> Hermione temporarily goes crazy and tries to eliminate Draco. However, my probability that she did this without mind control being the deciding factor is still virtually zero.

My belief is and has always been that she did it, and was not given false memories, nor Imperiused or controlled in any way beyond the Groundhog Day attack. Eliezer believes that humans are hackable (cf. AI box experiments) and this Hermione storyline is showcasing it. Hat-and-Cloak had to find the right hack by proof and error, but once he found it, it was just ordinary words and no magic which influenced Hermione to "freely" decide to murder Draco (just like the AI gatekeepers who "freely" let the AI escape).

ETA: by "proof and error" I meant "trial and error". I guess the reason for the mental typo is the Spanish equivalent "prueba y error".

What about the possibility that Draco attacked Hermione with sufficient force that the blood-cooling spell was plausibly self-defense?
A "blood-cooling charm" doesn't sound like it would have had enough stopping power to be effective in self-defense.
In that case: she knew when she awakened next morning that it should have killed him. If she had known that the night before, then after disabling Draco with the charm, she should alerted a teacher, or maybe woken him up and stunned him the usual way. If she didn't do any of that, she was knowingly leaving him to die.
Personally my problem with Harry wasn't so much that he immediately assumed there was a trick (shouldn't get a probability of 1.0, no, but certainly a basket worth piling some eggs in) but that he assumed the truth would get her off. He never once stopped and asked Dumbledore and Snape "If it was proven that she had been tricked into doing this with false memories, but still cast the spell willingly and with her own hand, would the Wizengamot still convict her?" I don't even know the answer to that question, but I'd certainly ask before I assumed it was "no". Especially considering how draconian the law is and how one of the two most important members of the judge/jury is not only the victim's father but someone already predisposed to dislike her (for what amounts to unapologetic and on-record racial discrimination). In advance I wouldn't have been surprised to see a show trial that blatantly ignored the evidence to get a conviction, though Dumbledore's faction was a bit too vocal for me to expect that with my current knowledge.
Harry doesn't know about the GHD attack and so his working hypothesis is that her memory of attempting to kill Draco is false.
"Ah!" Harry said suddenly. "I get it now. The first False Memory Charm was cast on Hermione after Professor Snape yelled at her, and showed, say, Draco and Professor Snape plotting to kill her. Then last night that False Memory was removed by Obliviation, leaving behind the memories of her obsessing about Draco for no apparent reason, at the same time she and Draco were given false memories of the duel." Since that was the last theory Harry proposed before he switched from theories to lines of attack, and nobody fully shot it down (there was an objection, but the objection was just that it'd be difficult), I have to assume that was his working theory when he left the room. And I would not automatically assume that this scenario, which we know to be very close to the correct one, would count as "innocent" in front of a wizengamot led by the angry, racist father of the victim.
This is a really interesting point. We know for a fact that Hermione has been manipulated because we've seen the scene with Hat and Cloak. That may bias us in favor of thinking the evidence is clearer than it really is. Yet Harry knows that in this universe memories can be tampered with. The prior probability of a morally upstanding little girl trying to murder someone is much less than the prior probability of someone else trying the memory-charm plot, especially given that Hermione is friends with Harry and Harry's status as the Boy Who Lived makes him a target. Now, I might put a probability of something like 0.2 on the possibility of Hermione casting the charm after someone messed with her mind. But if you're the plotter, it's so much easier to do a false memory charm to make her remember casting the charm, than to do all the delicate manipulation to get her to actually cast it. So more likely than not, Hermione didn't cast the charm. Harry is making a subtle mistake here, though: he's over-confident about his ideas about the details of what was done to Hermione. For example, he thinks a false-memory charm was used to cause Hermione to start obsessing over Draco, when in fact that was based on true memories of a conversation (albeit one involving lies and some kind of shape-shifting/illusion magic). Feminist bank tellers and all that.
Anybody believing Hermione was meddled with ought to be asking who will be next. The mentioned mistake has Harry assuming Hermione didn't go undetected for six months, so he is far less alarmed than he should be.
Neville is the most likely next target for an attack intended to separate Harry from his allies. Voldemort is probably too clever to try the same trick twice, though.
On the last point: Hermione almost certainly was false memory charmed twice; H&C would have removed the memory of their final conversation and replaced with with something innocuous at the same time as he implanted the false memory of casting the blood-cooling charm, so as to not leave a suspicious gap. He might also have implanted false memories immediately after the groundhog day attack, either to cover up the time gap or to not have Hermione wandering around with an extremely suspicious memory in her head (If Dumbledore or Snape had seen the memory of H&C, or his less-creepy disguise, they probably would have been fairly suspicious).

I'm surprised that people think saving Hermione for ~$3.4MM was expensive. It does mean Harry needs money soon, but if her intelligence plus magic gets her a VP position at an investment bank, she can earn up to $.5MM per year (worked example: [1]). And Harry and Hermione could almost certainly come up with a better (ethical) plan.

Some presumably sophisticated real-world investors have actually invested in people in this way, e.g. investing $250K for a 2% stake in a "technologist's" income (worked example: [2]).

Again, Harry does need money soon-ish; but even if his magical hedge fund doesn't pan out, the-Boy-Who-Lived should be able to secure ten house-sized loans (abroad if necessary; Unbreakable Vows greatly reduce credit risk, and there must be people other than Draco who see the value of loaning money to HPJEV.)

(There are many possible objections, but both of these kids are really smart and have years to think about it. And magic.)

[1] Hermione takes five years to get to VP level, then saves an average of ~.5MM/year for fifteen years. After twenty years, she gives all of her savings to Harry and is freed from all further obligations. Harry has earned ~30% per year over... (read more)

1) Those numbers are about American finance in 2011. British finance in 1991 probably did not have salaries quite that ridiculous. But more importantly:

2) As Dumbledore explains, it's not this rescue price that is the problem, so much as all the cumulative rescue prices Harry's enemies will now expect him to pay for each of his friends (not necessarily once, either... Hermione could well be attacked again).

Yes, those are 2011 numbers, but far lower salaries suffice to carry the argument. (If Hermione lives for another 170 years, she has to pay Harry just $20K/year to repay him.) Also, this plan does have her working in finance in 2011 (when she's ~22, she can't start that much earlier.) It does set a bad precedent, but I wasn't talking about that - and this exact situation (completely legal, Harry doesn't want to destroy Lucius) is unlikely to ever come up again. (Future challenges of this kind could plausibly be met by having a Dementor eat the kidnapper, optionally after paying the ransom.)
She'll be in her thirties in 2011.
It looks to me like they don't have quite enough time for Hermione to get a job as an investment banker. Of course, he still has plenty of options if the arbitrage trick doesn't work.
The present debate is not how he can fulfill his obligation. They are arguing specifically if Harry made a justified investment by paying such a high price to save Hermione's life. It seems conclusive that the pure monetary investment is actually sound, he can directly gain the money he invested back at a decent rate even besides the additional benefits of rescuing her.
The approximate actuarial value placed on a human life is $6-8 million. Even after inflation, this seems somewhat cheap(assuming that she would literally die, and not merely be traumatized and sidelined for a decade).
Dumbledore says her mind wouldn't take the strain. To be entirely honest, I doubt he's exaggerating. If Hermione came out of Azkaban alive (yes, if), I'd put her chances of still being sane or curably insane at <10%.
True, but I figured I'd stick the qualifier in anyways, for the sake of precision. (It should also be noted that a young person who's ruined for life may actually be worth more than a dead person, since a dead person doesn't need to be cared for for the next several decades).

Congrats to all the people that figured out that the death of Aberforth was likely causally connected to the death of Narcissa Malfoy.

It was indeed logical and elegant that the two non-canon deaths we know about should be connected to each other...

Thanks, but I don't know how much being wrong about the connection [] counts for being right about there being a connection. And anyway, all we know for certain is that it is believed that there is a connection.

I think we're starting to outgrow the original spec for the discussion functionality. Plenty of discussions from previous threads were not strictly related to the most recent chapter, and I can think of a few such threads I'd like to start, but I'm holding off because I know that as soon as a new chapter is posted, all past threads will be made obsolete by the creation of a new discussion page.

What are everyone's feelings about putting some dedicated forum software on a subdomain of

I do know that these discussions are responsible for a significant percentage of Less Wrong's traffic, and obviously I don't know what the actual statistics are, but I do know that all my Less Wrong binge sessions have been instigated by links from commenters (which would still be made on external forums) or by links from the Author's Notes (which are not part of Less Wrong) or by other causes, none of which were related to my posting in the MoR discussions here.

So unless raw pageviews and user accounts are very important to this advertisement-free site, I think it's at least possible that Less Wrong might not be adversely affected by these discussions moving to a closely related external site. But again, I don't know any relevant statistics, and there may be a lot of considerations I haven't thought of, so please don't crucify me if this was a blasphemous suggestion.

One possible deterrent to implementing that might be that people who initially came here to discuss the story might also participate in other non-HP related reading activities, such as going through the Sequences and discussing other posts, becoming better rationalists in the process. I don't have the statistics either though so I don't know how accurate this is.

If the 'How did you come to find less wrong' thread is accurate, a lot of people came here through HPMoR. I'm not sure how many would have come if the HPMoR forums were elsewhere, but it seems like a non-negligible fraction of the community.

I got here through HPMoR, too, but not at all because of these discussions; I got here through Eliezer's links in the Author's Notes. Indeed, I had no idea this was the primary venue for MoR discussions until the link on made it obvious. I don't think it was very obviously linked to from anywhere on FFN before; or at least, I never saw it.

If we had dedicated forums, I think a series of banner "ads" ("Learn everything Rationalist Harry knows by reading the Sequences at Less Wrong", etc.), in addition to the frequent links to MoR-related posts by commenters, might be just as good as (or maybe better than) these suboptimal discussion threads for awareness and traffic.

I read a couple of the Sequences as a result of these discussion threads, FWIW. I've been familiar with EY's work for some years, but this brought me back in.

Having just started following these threads, I've decided to reread the entire fic from the beginning. I'm only in chapter two, but has anyone considered why Harry has a 26 hour sleep cycle? This always seemed like a bad excuse to get Harry a time turner to me, and when I was reading it the first two (I think?) times, I excused it as bad writing. Now I'm thinking it may be deliberate, and my model of EY was wrong. Perhaps Horcrux!Harry has control (strongly put) over Harry for two hours every day, and this is the rise of his odd sleep cycle.

Perhaps Horcrux!Harry has control (strongly put) over Harry for two hours every day, and this is the rise of his odd sleep cycle.

So you're thinking a Fightclub sort of control? I don't think that works: we have no unexplained gaps and things happening of themselves, or characters whom Harry could be hallucinating (Quirrel doesn't work). And the problem goes away with the Time turner, which a Horcrux!Harry wouldn't. As well, existing Horcrux!Harry moments seem evenly spaced out through the day (like in the latest plot arc, which was noon-1ish, IIRC).


"The first rule of the Bayesian Conspiracy is that you don't talk about the Bayesian Conspiracy. To laypeople, I mean."

"The nth rule of the Bayesian Conspiracy may be deduced from the (n-1)th rule."

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply

No, no, "The first rule of the Bayesian Conspiracy is that you talk about the Bayesian Conspiracy just as much as a typical member of the general population does."

"The Bayesian Conspiracy was just the beginning, now it's moved out of the classroom - it's called Chaos Army."
Never seen Fightclub, so hard to evaluate. But I meant more "influence". Whenever the story says Harry's "blood goes cold" I would evaluate that as control.
I'm roughly 50/50 on whether there's some deeper meaning behind it, or if it's just a piece of rather bad/inelegant writing...
I think HP is partially based on EY. For example, EY once bit a teacher []. Also he stopped attending school for different reasons.

That is really interesting. But I can't help but feel like I'm violating his privacy when I read that:

"Likewise, please do not mirror or duplicate this page."

In light of that, it's difficult for me to feel OK reading it on WayBack Machine...

I'm sure Eliezer knows that old stuff of his is on If he wanted to, he could have it removed [].
Indeed, information security is a process, not a status.
Duplicating the page, maybe, but he absolutely can't forbid quoting it or linking to it; those actions'd fall under fair use in most cases. (That is, if you care about copyright law at all.)
I was going to forward you the link I had to that page somewhere in the wild, but looks like my bookmark is to the wayback machine as well. Whoops...
This is everything I've wanted to know about Eliezer.
It probably shouldn't be everything you wanted to know about him. This is what EY thought of his own history in 2000. He was only 21, at the cusp of adulthood. Now EY has a better understanding of present EY, of EY in 2000, and of his own history throughout. And he's still probably wrong about things about himself that are obvious to others and go unmentioned anyway, like almost everyone. You could reasonably want to know less than everything, you could reasonable want to know all the things on that page, but you are probably not serving your own interests well if the things on that page are all you seek to know.
Yeah, I wasn't being literal. What I meant was that I really enjoy reading a personal narrated biography of someone that I really admire. Usually you can't get that until they're super famous or dead.
It's a real disorder If that's what concerns you. [] But if you're asking "why use that excuse to exclude Harry from public school and give him a time-turner at Hogwarts? Is there a logical progression that definitively gives Harry a reason to have such a disorder?" I had never considered that.
Thanks, I didn't realize that was a real thing. Harry's sleep schedule wasn't on the red herring list. Further investigation warranted.
But equally not everything that happens is intended to have further meaning, eg. the Bacon diary was just intended as a character piece
How do you know this?
One or two chapter discussions or so back, someone spoke to Eliezer in person and got super secret spoilery information about the diary, which they posted under ROT13. The first part is that the diary wasn't meant to be anything special. Second part is gung orpnhfr bs nyy gur ernqre fcrphyngvba urf qrpvqrq gung ng fbzr cbvag uneel jvyy tb onpx gb vg naq qvfpbire fbzr eryngviryl zvabe ohg urycshy cvrpr bs vasbezngvba nobhg jnaqyrff zntvp
4Eliezer Yudkowsky11y
That would've taken too much time, actually, I've got new plans now. But by reader demand, it will reappear.

I admit I'm kind of surprised. You thought you could have Quirrell give Harry a spelled-indestructible diary for no apparent reason and that wouldn't be a red herring?

As I've said recently I think Eliezer severely overestimates the readiness of people to let go of perceived patterns.

The indestructible diary was meant by Eliezer to be a red herring for the duration of a couple paragraphs, until the readers were told it was the diary of Roger Bacon, not Tom Riddle. At which point, I suppose readers were supposed to smile at themselves for being deceived.

But of course readers just pattern-matched "indestructible diary" to "super-significant plot-point and Horcrux" and wouldn't let go.

Similar to this is Quirrel's mannerisms at the very start of his first class, meant to get you to think he'll be the typical Quirrel before he bursts into a confident diatribe, but people have speculated on that one, too.
As for myself, I quite liked the inclusion of Roger Bacon's diary as part of the background. Though it did lead me to expect a bit more information on 'leakage' between the magical and mundane worlds.
For the record, it never occurred to me it could be Riddle's diary, and yet I assumed it was a horcrux because it was indestructible. I was probably pattern-matching with the Pioneer probe, which Quirrelmort also said he had spelled to be indestructible and this was, indeed, a Clue that it was a horcrux. Also, in canon, a horcrux can possess you if you become emotionally attached to it. The diary seemed calculated to become a prized possession of Harry's, and that when Harry learned Latin he could well be in for a nasty shock... Perhaps I should have updated when it was never mentioned again. Hmm.
Even that's strange though. I didn't seriously entertain the thought that it was Tom Riddle's diary or a horcrux. And then it being Roger Bacon's attempts to apply science to magic was super-awesome - it was sort of a Chekhov's Gun and I kept expecting Harry to gain some sort of insight or initial boost or secret knowledge from reading it.
2Eliezer Yudkowsky11y
That's probably a fair analysis.
I was thinking the same thing. The things he thinks should be obvious by now (such as the quirrel/voldemort connection) ought to be made explicit in an appropriate point-of-view so we can puzzle over the things that he wants the reader to be puzzling over.
EY said so in a post. He said he didn't think anything of it and didn't mean to go back to it, but the readers wouldn't stop asking about it. I guess that means Erratio should have ciphered?
I knew it was a real disorder, but the probability of having it is so low as to bother me - why does he need a disorder and why locate that disorder in all of diseasespace? And if it's based on EY [], I don't believe he has that disorder, unless I've missed something.

It's also the sort of disorder that people are told to suck up and deal with if they get it in real life. I mean, I'm sure there are some people who get lucky, but a lot of others get misdiagnosed as being bad sleepers who just stay up late. There is, IIRC, no cure other than rearranging your life. Harry's parents get marked as understanding and caring (and affluent). And the magic world gets to show off it's 0th world status.

Although I agree that it sounds mostly like a contrivance to get him a time-turner. They do have sleep spells afterall.

Upvoted for calling out privilege.

You were monstrously unfair to Dumbledore, said the voice Harry had been calling Slytherin, only now it also seemed to be the Voice of Economic Sensibility and maybe also Conscience.

This is awesome.

Indeed. It makes me wish I had written up my complaint about Harry mistaking desires for competences before he improved his internal names, though, as it seems less relevant now. Oh well.

I noticed this gem on my second reading of Chapter 81:

"As we have far exceeded our allotted time, I now, in accordance with the last decision of the survivors of the eighty-eighth Wizengamot, adjourn this session."

I actually didn't understand the third clause. My best guess is that it's hinting that the 88th Wizengamot broke out into open warfare/dueling among the factions? (And no one could leave until the head let them? That would be a sensible power for the Line holder to have.)

My interpretation is that there was no time limit for sessions during the time of the 88th Wizengamot, and one session went on so long that some of the lords and ladies starved to death — or died of old age. I don't know which is funnier.

I just read it as a throwaway gag; Rowling's style often has funny little background references to violence or bizarre happenings. I took this as being something similar to Rowling specifying the Quidditch match that caused the rule banning broadswords to be introduced.
I thought that too, basically. Like, maybe in the past there were strict rules of order about when you could adjourn a session, so even the Chief Warlock couldn't adjourn until the formalities were concluded, and that in the 88th Wizengamot a war broke out in the chamber before the formalities were done.

Shouldn't the next small chapter have been posted already, according to the time mentioned in ch.82?

EDIT TO ADD: Eliezer has posted it as an author's note.

It's posted in the author's note due to FFN being unresponsive: []
Notes on say is down. It wasn't down when I tried it, and that doesn't explain why it's not on itself.
Yes, and the FFN update alert already went out. My guess is that Eliezer posted the chapter and deleted it immediately afterwards, perhaps due to some formatting problem.

Dumbledore seems a bit off in equating the two situations. Lucius isn't threatening to send Hermione to Azkaban in the hope of getting something from Harry/Dumbledore; in fact he made clear that he would rather send her to Azkaban than receive the money. Therefore paying of the blood debt does not equal giving in to blackmail and Harry can save her while still maintaining a consistent position of not giving in to blackmail. Engineering similar situations without making apparent that they are engineered (and therefore blackmail) is probably too impractical to be worth the effort.

That Lucius' intention was not to blackmail Harry, does not change the fact that now Lucius and Harry's other enemies know that Harry would be willing to sacrifice any amount of money to save a friend.

And there is no problem with that if it's restricted to non-blackmail interactions (except perhaps to the degree it's mistaken by others to also apply to blackmail). Not responding to blackmail as a principled position and not valuing the life of the hostage highly enough for the amount asked for are completely different things. Otherwise it would have made sense for Voldemort (who wouldn't care about Death Eater families) to keep taking family members hostage and ask for lower and lower amounts until hitting the sum they are valued at. Either that sum would have been low enough to devastate the morale of the Order members (e. g, 100 galleons and Voldemort asks for 101 the next time) or it would be high enough to drain their funds. A refusal to respond to blackmail needs to be unconditional.
Still, there must be a price low enough that it'd be paid.
The fact that Harry proceeded to scare Lucius afterwards is probably to his advantage in this case though. In his position, I would probably make it a priority to get Lucius to forgive the debt, which not only saves him the money, it sends the message "you can try to blackmail me, but I'll make the consequences of forcing me to pay out worse than letting me walk."
Except Lucius doesn't know that, because he thinks this was part of some inscrutable plot by Harrymort!

One thing I found very interesting - it was Voldemort who blinked first when families were targeted.

Dumbledore suggests a plausible explanation for this when he says "If my opponent had been Lucius, perhaps." Suggests that Lucius is not a rational agent in the sense that he will make negative expected value moves for the sake of vengeance. Voldemort, however, is a rational agent in that sense.

Though I'm not sure Voldemort "blinked," exactly. Voldemort probably didn't care if the families of Death Eaters were killed in retaliation for things done to family members of the Order of the Phoenix. Instead, he made the following calculation: (1) I can afford to tell Lucius I will torture him to death (and maybe kill his baby boy) if he does anything stupid in retaliation for Narcissa's death and (2) but if I go on killing family members of my opponents, my Death Eaters may rebel to protect their families, Dark Mark or no.

Be careful when describing negative-expected-value vengeance as irrational. "I will precommit to be the kind of person who takes vengeance, even after it's too late for that to have positive expected value" is almost just a sub-case of "I one-box".

Hence the " the sense... that sense..." qualifiers. If you can suggest a better term, I might switch to using it, otherwise next time I'll wave my arms even harder to show I'm tabooing my words. []

It's interesting in part because Harry is right that the behavior is unusual. Historically, the group that (1) is led by a strong leader who encourages personality cults, (2) doesn't believe in the rule of law, and (3) resorts to violence at the slightest excuse is not the group that unilaterally ends dynamics like hostage taking and hostage killing.

They're the only group that can unilaterally end it since the other side wasn't doing those things to begin with.
As I understand the historical dynamic, there is a conflict and the status quo is that dependents are safe. One side (call them Blue) escalates by attacking dependents, breaking the status quo. The other side (call them Green) might not have chosen to break the prior status quo, but once it is broken, they decide to start attacking dependents. Green might even escalate further. Historically, these types of conflicts seldom return to the prior status quo. Most frequently, a new (bloodier) status quo is reached, or one side wins and ends the conflict. Occasionally, Green does not escalate, or decides that the new status quo is unacceptable and unilaterally deescalates (which doesn't always successfully return to the old status quo). What essentially never happens is Blue escalates, Green escalates, Blue unilaterally deescalates, old status quo returns. In short, I notice I am confused by Dumbledore's story of the safety of dependents at various times during the last war.
Just to make sure I understand, consider the following hypothetical account: Sam and I are having a nonviolent argument. I get furious and punch Sam. Sam punches me back. I apologize for having turned this into a violent interaction and promise not to do that anymore. Sam agrees not to do it anymore either. We return to our nonviolent argument. Is that an example of the sort of situation you're describing, which you claim essentially never happens? If not, can you clarify what excludes it?
The historical assertion is in the context of group political conflict involving violence. Apocryphally, the Mafia had a rule that they didn't target families. Assuming this was true even in conflicts between families (and I don't know this to be actually true), I'm saying that the family (Blue) that first broke that norm was not likely to be the family that unilaterally returns to the "don't kill dependents" rule. Particularly if a lot of the unity of the Blue family is based on the strong personality of Blue's leader. (Mostly, I'm thinking of the Cold-War era internal conflicts between proxies of the United States and the USSR, especially in Latin America and Africa i.e. the Sandinistas []. I'm not saying every conflict of that type escalated in the way I'm describing, just that the escalator basically never deescalated while the conflict continued).
Ah, gotcha. Cool, that makes sense... thanks for clarifying.
I don't agree with your inferences about Voldemort's intentions. First, I tend to think that Lucius was in fact Imperioused, so his will to vengeance was not a concern. And the undesirability of an all out war from Dumbledore's side was obvious - Dumbledore's side had the numbers. In a Total War of attrition, Voldemort was bound to lose, as Quirrell spelled out in his speech. His goal is a political one. He has the Great Leader view of politics, and wants all of Britain resolved to follow the Great Leader. How to achieve that? Attack magical Britain with a ruthless enemy, to make them more ruthless in kind, and more ready to follow a ruthless Great Leader. Then create his own Ruthless Leader to fill that position. Who better to fill that role than the one who defeats the first Dark Lord? Twice? And has been prophesied as his enemy? And then he uploads into Harry when Harry supposedly defeats him again. Dumbledore got his power by defeating Grindelwald. Harrymort will get his power by defeating Voldemort.
If Lucius really was imperiused, why does his son think he sided with Voldemort deliberately?
Consistency bias? I grant that it's a good point. But that story sounds like just the kind of political justification the Death Eaters would tell their children. Whatever power Dumbledore has, has he really been that despotic? Particularly, in comparison to Voldemort? Draco isn't in a position to know first hand. He must have been just barely born when Narcissa was killed. I often interpret on a narrative basis as much as a "factual" basis. I think Malfoy is being portrayed sympathetically, and I don't think the "save us from Dumbledore" story holds much water. If the story had been that "Dumbledore is destroying the wizarding race by promoting Mudbloods", then that would have been a credible ideology for a sympathetic Malfoy - one who was actually for something positive. Also, I find Lucius's story moderately credible And since no one believes it anyway, why would he tell it to the Longbottoms, who certainly won't believe it, unless it were true? I expect at some point that the non-binding nature of his dark mark becomes a plot point. This seems like an earnest speech. That he would speak to Voldemort "in the spirit of friendship", and expect that to mean something to Voldemort, is another interesting bit of info that seems incongruous to the usual Dark Lord narrative. There are all sorts of incongruities in the onstage actions of Voldemort and Malfoy, and the stories of what happened offstage. I'm leaning toward taking what Malfoy says here as the truth.

But that story sounds like just the kind of political justification the Death Eaters would tell their children.

Exactly. But in your theory, Lucius isn't a Death Eater, he's an Imperius victim. So why would he do everything he could to raise his son to want to grow up to be a Death Eater?

And since no one believes it anyway, why would he tell it to the Longbottoms, who certainly won't believe it, unless it were true?

Literally the very next sentence was

"Ignore him," Madam Longbottom said, the instruction addressed to Harry as well as Neville. "He must spend the rest of his life pretending, for fear of your testimony under Veritaseum."

And I agree that it's incongruous for Lucius to speak to Voldemort "in the spirit of friendship", I just think it's more incongruous with the Imperius narrative.

He wants him to grow up to be the leader of the Purebloods, which exactly the same thing as leader of the Death Eaters. And how would that constitute evidence that he was not a willing Death Eater if everyone believes he is faking? Certainly he should never affirmatively say he was a willing Death Eater, but this little speech that no one believes amounts to evidence that he wasn't a Death Eater to who? The speech does him absolutely no good. In fact, I'd say the speech only harms him. The Longbottoms of the world won't believe him, but those who sympathized with the Death Eaters, much of his natural power base, would likely be annoyed at the disavowal, even if they didn't believe it either. When a schemer says something that does him absolutely no good, a reasonable interpretation is that it is true. As pointed out, he needed Lucius to draw Purebloods. First he asked. When Lucius declined, he spelled him. He forced compliance. Not so friendly, but the least abusive path that achieved his goal. That might count as friendly with a Flawless Instrument of Death. I expect we get the backstory on Lucius filled in some day. Although I'm wondering if EY has made a major change in the plot. Seems like a lot of work went into the Draco character, but he seems like a soap opera character who hit it big in the movies, and was quickly written off the show.
The "in the spirit of friendship" thing makes no sense if Lucius was imperioused. It's incongruous with cliche villainy, but I think it makes sense in context, as a way of saying "I do not bear a grudge against you for leading me into that disastrous war, but I will not be your follower anymore" (because a friend is not a follower). It's almost a subtle insult. And Lucius is a bit sympathetic, but he's not THAT sympathetic. It's pretty clear that he's a power-hungry bigot. "Dumbledore is destroying the wizarding race by promoting Mudbloods" is probably closer to his real motivation for joining Voldemort, but "save us from Dumbledore" is a better message to broadcast publicly, since it has a chance of swaying non-blood purists. This may, in fact, be partly a matter of what Draco chose to emphasize when talking to Harry. At one point, he thinks to himself that fear of the magic going away (because of those damn mudbloods!) is the reason people become Death Eaters, but he doesn't say that to Harry, presumably because he knew Harry wouldn't find that convincing.
A person without context would find Harry's continued friendship with Draco after Draco tortured him unfathomable, and yet it was true. Dumbledore announced to Harry that he would be a well kept prisoner in Hogwarts. That too, requires context to appreciate. A great many things that Dumbledore has done require a lot of context for justification. We don't have the context of Malfoy's and Voldemort's relationship in the same way, and the friendship comment is hard to reconcile absent that context. Harry was clear that he prefers a scientific civilization over a magical one, but I think he could respect someone who wanted to preserve a magical civilization if it was threatened with destruction. I think we just don't have enough of the back story to make definitive conclusions; our priors are slightly differently and we come up with different conclusion. I'm not the confident in my conclusions. I'm less confident in yours.
Fair point about context. But I disagree with your last paragraph. Had Draco given the "preserve magic from the mudblood menace!" defense of the Death Eaters, Harry had fairly good reasons to think they were wrong about that, so it just makes them look murderously insane. But the "Dumbledore killed my mother" line actually made Harry stop and think for a second. And even if Harry might have sympathized, Draco didn't know that.
And I disagree with your disagreement, sir! No, I think it just makes them look wrong about a factual matter.
That's maybe the rational reaction, but it's not necessarily how Harry would react. He fantasized about guillotining blood purists, remember? I'd also reiterate what we know about Lucius' characterization. He has a deluded view of the world (blood-purism), and he reacts to evidence against that view (the experiment performed by Harry and Draco, which Lucius learned about when Draco got veritaserum'd) by shouting lies! He also has put a great deal of effort into maintaining his power in the wizarding world, and also into grooming his son for a similar role. In other words, he's a power-hungry bigot. Exactly the sort of person who would follow Voldemort out of hated for mudbloods and then spin other justifications for public consumption. Also, I get the impression that very few people believe Lucius was imperious'd, and he tells the story not so that others will believe it, but for the sake of plausible deniability But maybe our priors are just different, as you said.
"I'd also reiterate what we know about Lucius' characterization. He has a deluded view of the world (blood-purism), and he reacts to evidence against that view (the experiment performed by Harry and Draco, which Lucius learned about when Draco got veritaserum'd) by shouting lies! -- But maybe our priors are just different, as you said." Consider Lucius's, and Draco's, priors. Namely, they do not actually have the priors to explain why the result of their experiment means what Harry says it means - not independent of Muggles, anyway, and possibly not independent of Harry. Without replicating all the experiments (or, at least a significant number) on different color peas or whatever, to arrive at a basic understanding of genetics (and an explanation for awkward questions like "why doesn't skin color or height work that way? who says that, or something else entirely, isn't a better model for magic?), the simpler explanation (to Lucius - and, honestly, to Draco, divorced of his complex motivations for wanting to stay in the Bayesian Conspiracy) is that Harry examined the data in advance and made up a theory to fit the numbers to what he wanted to convince Draco of. P.S. Unless Veritaserum in HPMOR works similarly to how truth serum works in (of all things) The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, we can't conclusively assume that Draco necessarily told Lucius any particular fact. What line of questioning leads to Lucius finding out about the experiment?
A good question to ask. Might he not be telling it for the benefit of Harrymort? I still don't understand why he would do this, but at least Malfoy has a track record of saying confusing things to Harry. It could mean "I am no longer your follower" or "You need my support" or "I am the one in charge of your Death Eaters now, and don't forget it" or even just "In case you don't know, this is my official position at the moment."
But even after Narcissa died, I don't think Voldemort was facing a Total War against a united Magical Britain. It was the Death Eaters vs. the Order of the Phoenix, and what evidence we has indicates that the Order was losing, even when led by a more ruthless Dumbledore. That's what's so puzzling here. This version of Voldemort isn't stupid, but it still looks like he screwed up.
It's possible he was simply too intelligent - trying to lose without appearing to try to lose, but still too brilliant to be defeated.
More likely it was his intention that things sit like that. He 'lost' on purpose. But before he did, he taught Dumbledore to lose in the hostage and ransom thing. Step 1 : gather the fearful and lead them by fear Voldemort championed the old blood that felt threatened by muggleborn and was very cruel to them to keep them in line. Step 2 : force most powerful opponents into taking actions contrary to their ideology Voldemort probably did any number of nasty things to break lower rank ideologists and might have done an evil thing or two that did not break Dumbledore, but eventually he was successful. Step 2a : keep a lid on things so they cannot resolve themselves through reasonable application of voilence Voldemort killed Narcissa once he knew Dumbledore was conditioned to accept the blame and the conflict extending truce that came after. Step 3 : watch for an opportunity to exit the stage, take it Voldemort faked his death when he found circumstances that could make a death event of sufficient believabilty for the masses. Step 4 : hide out under assumed identities while enemies and former subordinates continue to not resolve things either peaceably or voilently for as long as necessary Voldemort is Jeffe or Quirrell or any number of other people for ten years. He might also have been technically dead for some or all of that time. That does not significantly alter the scenario. Step 5 : gather tools and staff as opportunities present themselves Voldemort has the Resurrection Stone, Bella, and who knows what all else. Step 6 : watch for an opportunity to stage a coup over either side of now old conflict, take it Voldemort may have multiple scenarios for returning to power. Right now he is playing king maker for Boy Who Lived. Step 7 : smash opposing side of nearly meaningless conflict because they have been conditioned to fight entirely the wrong kind of war, unite as many factions as possible Step 8 : dominate world Step 9 : throw tasteful party wit

Downvoted for massive violation of Lucius' Law.

Please elaborate.
From Ch. 24: Your plan is unworkable, because the probability that everything needed for the plan to happen would happen is too low. HPMOR!Voldemort is not a fool, so he would not have planned an unworkable plan (and, as Hat and Cloak, advised Blaise Zambini not to try such plans). Therefore this is not Voldemort's plan.
Fine. You accept that Voldemort did rise to power, yes? Let that be one plot that had however many "different things to happen" but worked. That is one plot with one payout that is collected without being dependent on other plots and covers step 1. In step 2 his plot depends on his most idealistic enemies breaking from their ideals. That is 1 "different things to happen". He maybe tries a lot of different time, and eventually the Aberforth Event occurs, so the plot progresses. Step 2a is the same plot and includes another "different thing." After he kills Narcissa, his formerly idealistic enemies must claim responsibility. He has conditioned them to do this in the way he has spread terror and treated them, so it does not come out of the blue, but it is the second "different thing" for that plot. It works and he is rewarded with a conflict without escalation, where he can continue to amass power while his own side does not get out of control and his enemies become more reasonable and less idealistic, therefore easier to manipulate and less unpredictable. This second plot covers steps 2 and 2a. He could continue at this point as he had, building power for a faction, taking different steps or starting different plots. The third plot has the goal of unity and only depends on two "different things." The first is that he have an opportunity to step out of the game, the second is that he has an opportunity to step back in. Again, there is the throwing shit at the wall approach, here. He can set up situation after situation that might lead to an opportunity to step out or in, and take the ones that he expects to work best. When this plot is completed, he is rewarded with control of a new third side in a two sided war. He can do what he wants with this new faction, execute any number of plots from this point forward. This covers steps 3, 4, & 5. The fourth plot is what he is preparing for, but isn't executing as far as I can tell, taking over the government. Whatever t
Well, yes, if it was planned from the beginning. It could have been improvised. To summarize Percent_Carbon in a way that brings out the potential that the plan he explained was improvised... Step 1. Conquer Britain as Voldemort. Doesn't work as well as hoped, Britain is divided, not united. Step 2. Use power to try to set up a situation that you think you can exploit later. Wait years before you see a good way to exploit it Step 3. See the way Harry Potter came out, see an opportunity to conquer a united Britain, and go for it

Considering that he was winning the war before making his untimely exit in the early 80s, this strategy seems overly complicated.


You seem to be doing the opposite than what the quote indicates, trying to find ways in which Voldemort supposedly benefitted, in order to present him as the person behind every ploy.

If Voldemort benefitted from his supposed defeat at the night of Godric's Hollow, we've not yet seen how.
If Voldemort benefitted from the burning of Narcissa Malfoy, we've not yet seen how.

You are following the exact opposite process than the quote indicates. Which may be okay, after all it's only one technique, not the ONLY possible technique, but nonetheless quoting it as an explanation for your reasoning seems misguided.

This line seems to have caused some confusion downthread. On Percent_Carbon's view, t's a very good explanation for the reasoning, in that it seems to have generated understanding of the reasoning. Perhaps equivocating on 'explanation'?
Well, I don't know about "very good." But it worked this time. I don't think that was a good way to do what I wanted done, though. So I'll probably not do that again. Thanks for the defense, though.
Mostly agree with this comment, but it seems likely to me that HPMOR!Voldemort's intentions in going to Godric's Hollow were different than Canon!Voldemort's, given that HPMOR!Voldemort is a lot smarter than Canon!Voldemort. I don't think similar reasoning applies to Narcissa's death, because it's less likely that Voldemort would have been able to foresee its effects.
I agree with this. For that, and also for other reasons, I assign less than 20% probability that Voldemort went to Godric's Hollow for a purpose as simple as "attempt to kill baby Harry".
Oh, but even Canon!Voldemort meant to make a Horcrux when he went to Godric's Hollow (or so speculated Dumbledore in book 6, IIRC). So I think there must have been more to it than even that.
Canon!Dumbledore speculated that Voldemort was going to kill Harry, and then create his last Horcrux using that death -- but killing Harry was his primary purpose for going there; the fact that Voldemort also meant to make the last Horcrux at the time was incidental. If you need further clarification about what I believe, I don't think HPMoR!Voldemort purposed to kill Harry at all that night - atleast not physically.
So Dumbledore was hiding behind a curtain, aced Voldemort, and carved a tasteful little scar into Harry's forehead? Because that seems to be the closest thing to a conclusion one can draw from that method as applied to Godric's Hollow.
I'd propose that he has a slightly different plan. I'm going to give you my pet theory here so hold onto your hats. I think Quirrellmort probably decided at one point in the past that it would be way easier to take over magical Britain if everyone thought he'd already failed at doing so. I think he's probably going for control of both sides. Imagine if Darth Vader had created the rebel alliance in order to funnel potential opponents into a harmless straw-opposition: he could let them attempt the occasional coup, always avoiding any real cost to himself and throw them the occasional minor victory to keep them on the hook. To quote the chapter Contagious Lies: That's obviously not the same plan I'm talking about, but we can see that Quirrell has at least been thinking along similar lines to me. I can see a number of different ways he could have formulated this plan, but the simplest one seems to be: * Set up evil organisation and make an attempt at taking the country over. Allow everyone to gauge your intelligence from your actions, and to form the strongest alliance they are capable of forming against you. Everyone's gauge of your intelligence will in fact be off by several points, since this isn't really your big ploy - it's actually a feint and you intend it to fail. * Fake your own defeat, simultaneously creating a (young, impressionable) hero for your opponents and removing yourself from all further suspicion, since almost everyone will think you're dead. * Become a role model to the aforementioned young hero and mould him to your will. The kid is in the perfect position to take over the leadership of your opposition, so you now effectively have control of both major players in the game. * Win. This is also foregrounded in Coordination Problems 2 and 3. Quirrell wants Harry to bind the population together under him and Harry makes a short speech about the dangers of group thinking. Quirrell's reaction is one of anger - obviousl
If I were in Voldemort's shoes I definitely wouldn't want to stake decades of work on a plan that could be derailed by my "hero" simply dying in an accident, and that's disregarding all the ways he could fail to be properly impressionable.
I don't think either of those represent a big risk to him. Consider that he knows this particular child will be under Dumbledore's constant care, and that Voldemort himself will always be available to step in and rescue the kid if there's a risk of him dying early. Obviously that doesn't lower the risk to zero, but it's still a big reduction. Also, remember that during the "grooming" phase of this plan it'll be an eleven-year-old against the most intelligent and insidious wizard in history: given what Voldemort did to Bellatrix it seems like he would be very confident of successfully being able to brainwash Harry. So, the risk of Harry dying or being unbrainwashable seems low, but it also pays to consider that either contingency wouldn't stop the plan in it's tracks. If Harry dies (or has to be killed because he can't be brainwashed) there are a whole battalion of potential replacements who could emerge as the new posterboy for good - Neville being clearly at the top of the list. Harry is the >best< choice, but he isn't the only one. I've actually cooled a little on this theory since the latest arc began because I think someone is clearly trying to turn Harry evil (see my theory from earlier in the thread). That said, I still think this would be a workable plan for attaining uncontested dark lordship.
So, basically the plot of 1984.
Voldemort won't always be able to step in and rescue him, he doesn't have him under constant tabs, it's not like he'd instantly know if something bad were about to happen to him. There are other ways aside from being oppositional that Harry could have failed to be properly impressionable. For instance, he could have been extremely stupid (there would be no way to tell when he was a baby,) and it would have been impossible to set him up as a figurehead leader because he was too obviously incompetent. In Voldemort's place, I would never attempt a plan like this, because the odds of success, even at their best, do not justify sinking a couple of decades into its execution. Given the same amount of time, I'd expect him to be able to take over the country several times over. I could probably take over the country several times over in his place, given the same level of power along with an outside perspective on wizarding society, and I don't think I'm as good at plotting as Quirrelmort. I'm betting on what happened with Harry not being intentional, because, for all the ways that one can postulate that the events that followed benefited Quirrelmort, I think the fact that he lost his body, much of his power, all his servants, and a decade of time, should shift our prior considerably away from whatever happened that night being deliberate.
Again, I've cooled on this theory myself, so I think I probably agree with you in the broad sense that I don't think this is exactly what happened. I'm still going to argue a few of the points you made though, because if we share an opinion but disagree on the justifications for it I still think that's a disagreement we should try to heal. Better to be justified but coincidentally wrong than unjustified but coincidentally right, right? Anyway, I agree with your first point. remember that I said: So what I'm saying is, having Voldemort hanging around in the wings won't save you from everything, but it certainly won't hurt your chances of survival. There's nothing to say Voldemort hasn't done little things to increase Harry's survival like magically lower the risk of lightning strikes in Surrey. Wizards are more durable than muggles AND Harry also has Dumbledore's protection AND there's no absolute reason Voldemort has to use /Harry/ as his posterboy for good - he's just the best available choice. So I don't think the risk of Harry dying unexpectedly is great enough to invalidate this plan, although I do agree that it would be inconvenient if it happened. Your second point, on the other hand, I have to disagree with prima facie. The wizarding world in general has no problem taking idiots as leaders - look at Fudge. If anything, a stupid figurehead would be BETTER, because it would give Quirrelmort more control. The only thing I can see being a barrier here is if Harry had some obvious, crippling mental condition. That sort of thing, though, WOULD have been obvious from a young age and as I've said, in that case he can tragically kill off Harry in such a way that Neville becomes the new posterboy. So again, whilst there is a risk here it is low, manageable and avoidable. I don't think it's enough to rule out this plan. Your third argument. I've discussed the odds of success already, but I think the effort and time involved is an important point. You're absolutely r
Fudge isn't particularly stupid, he's just not particularly smart. He occupies a position of nominal power with significantly more competent people maneuvering around him, so he looks dim by comparison. A not-very-bright figurehead would probably be better than a very clever one, but a legitimate dimwit, someone significantly less intelligent than average, not merely about average, would be very unlikely to make it into high office. It's possible that Voldemort faked the Godric's hollow scene, but I seriously doubt it; real or fake it took too much time and resources for too little return for me to think it's likely.
According to the (admittedly non-canon) game The Force Unleashed, this is the original source of the Rebellion.
Something like this was done in the book ''Hair carpet" by German author Andreas Eschbach. Readworthy. I think it is generally wise to found the opposition by oneself. The government in 1984 did it as well.
Care to elaborate? 'Interesting' is a word with many connotations.
You got downvoted for a request for an elaboration? I just don't know what people are thinking sometimes with their downvotes. I found it interesting because it was out of character for the usual Evil Dark Overlord, who is generally portrayed as wanting violence for the sake of violence and terror, or at least willing to match you death for death. It's almost as if his goal was to push Dumbledore's side into doing/supporting something horrible. Having accomplished that with minimal losses, he stopped. I can see that as making a lot of strategic sense. It would solidify the resolve of his side - and Malfoy in particular - but wouldn't get into an escalation that he was sure to lose, given the numbers on Dumbledore's side. Interesting also that much the same happened to Harry. Malfoy was after revenge against Hermione, not capitulation to blackmail from Harry. But from Harry's perspective with respect to the magical government and Dumbledore, it would have been much the same result if Harry hadn't paid off Malfoy. Instead of Narcissa tortured to death by the forces of "Good", it would have been Hermione.

How much of the cost of saving Hermione was announcing that Harry responds to blackmail? He made his entrance onto the stage of players in a way that cannot endear him to any of the others. No matter what he did, he would antagonize Lucius, but he demonstrated an extreme disrespect for the rules of the game and preserving the existing order is in the interests of all the players. Not to mention, he implicitly declared challenge to the ministry of magic. If he actually had the power that Lucius believes he does, he might get away with that, but he canno... (read more)

Well, if his trick for deactivating other wizards' patronuses (patronii?) works, he basically has an unblockable army of instant-death assassins, the only defense against which would be Apparition... That's a pretty good ultimate weapon in a Mutually Assured Destruction sense. And as long as we're discussing mutually assured destruction, there seems little doubt that Harry would be able to transfigure nuclear weaponry. Or botulinum toxin (of which it would take an appallingly small amount to kill every human on Earth). Etc, etc. Harry does not lack for access to Ultimate Weapons.

He does have the ability to turn the world into a lake of fire, true. All powerful wizards have this ability and it is implied that every magical power in the world would turn against him if he tried anything that foolish. He has a giant hammer which he dare not use, if only because he's not evil. Also, he is still amazingly vulnerable to almost any adult wizard who wishes him ill - powerful weaponry doesn't imply a powerful defense. He might have been able to assassinate every member of the Wizengamot, but I doubt he would have survived the attempt. If it comes to open warfare he's toast, and his stunt made it much more likely that someone would decide he had stepped over the threshold of open warfare. He's safe for now at Hogwarts, but it was still stupid.

The first item was "I will not go around provoking strong, vicious enemies"

Good advice, and advice Harry failed to follow.

I've always felt that that was peculiar. Iraq used chemical weapons [] and no-one cared in the least.
If he were to go nuclear, his perfect offense would be his perfect defense. If he truly wanted to end the world, he'd cancel the world's patronii, seize the wizengamot with the entirety of the world's dementors, and tell half a dozen of them to go out and replicate until they turned the planet to dust. Nobody could come in because they'd be toast without the presence of a patronus, they couldn't nuke the building from the outside, and dementors are an unstoppable weapon that reproduce like Von Neumann machines. Hell, even if people obliviated each other to be able to recast the patronus charm, without Patronus 2.0, dementors could just replicate off the muggle population until they could overwhelm any defense.
Since when do Dementors reproduce?
Assuming it's not different from canon, they do so in book six. It's not really clear how they reproduce, but they were spreading all over England, reproducing and spreading mist and despair. Presumably they disappear somehow (old age?) as well, since Harry isn't asking them questions from the days of Atlantis. We know that they existed at least as far back as the founders' days, and he's also not pumping them for info about magic from Lord Foul / the Founders. I still operate on the idea that things are unchanged from canon unless explicitly mentioned. Plus I can't imagine hundreds of idiots summoning dementors and nobody figuring out that they're the manifestation of death.
Do I really need to quote the bit where Quirrell talks about how they are "undying"? I rather highly doubt that the shadows of Death die of old age. Harry can't hear them speak. He doesn't even think they have anything like minds or memories, either. Do we have any indication that more than one person has performed the ritual to summon them? Maybe all the Dementors that exist today were created by one madman in Atlantis. Edit: Or, here's a thought: suppose some incautious Dark Wizard performs the ritual to summon Death. The end result of which is - oops! - he's suddenly face-to-nothingness with a Dementor. In all likelihood the thing's first instinct is to give him a big ol' smooch in gratitude.
A lethal dose of botulinum toxin is indeed tiny; using it as an Ultimate Weapon, though, requires a delivery system.
Which is also easy with magic.
Probably; magic makes everything easier, but you still have to find a way to get the people you want to eat it, inhale it, or get it into their bloodstream, and the Harry Potter world isn't defined well enough to give an obvious way to distribute it in such a way that, say, wearing a gas mask and only eating thoroughly cooked food wouldn't defeat.
Gas mask? That doesn't defeat the most obvious distribution mechanism: transfiguration into oxygen or nitrogen. But of course this would require an actual source of botox. If trying to use transfiguration as an ultimate weapon purely in the sense of 'creating stuff for free' (rather than untransfiguring stuff inside folks) it would be far simpler to transfigure something into radioactive isotopes of common airborne gasses. Oxygen-15 seems like it has a half-life in the right ballpark.
Or just transmute cyanide into oxygen. Or their face into cyanide.
I think we have well and truly established that the untransmute-from-gas-hack constitutes a superweapon - whether you use botox, cyanide or rocks. The context, however, was exploring the possibility of using tranmutation itself (without untransmutation) to create powerful weapons (such as botox). Whether the poison you consider is botox or cyanide you can either use transmutation to create it or transmutation to deliver it past the gas masks but not both. In that context the task is to create a lethal substance that can be devilvered easily. If only time travel wasn't limited to 6 hours. Then the natural improvement would have been "Or their mom's face into cyanide". As it happens, though, we are left with considering "transmute their face into cyanide" as a line of sight attack spell. But as Quirrell's explained in his first battle magic class the best spell for that role is pretty much always avada kedavra.
Except that can be dodged. How do you dodge transmutation? It's been established that it has been used in combat by an expert duelist(albeit incredibly dangerously), so I'd wager that it's not without use.
You make sure your opponent doesn't touch you with his wand.
You transfigure (a one atom line in the air to the person and his face) to cyanide.
Harry can do partial transfiguration; he can't transfigure gases.
I guess you're right, even though there's no reason for that limitation either, given how the physics of transfiguration works- e.g is there really a difference between the electron clouds in a metal and clouds of gas. Anyway, he can transfigure through the ground, up through a leg, and to the face.
Huh, somehow I missed that restriction.
wedrifid did it first.
Do we have any examples of transfiguration occurring without wand contact?
There was no explicit blackmail, was there?

This should probably also be the discussion thread for tomorrow's Chapter 83.

HP:MoR 82

The two of them did not speak for a time, looking at each other; as though all they had to speak could be said only by stares, and not said in any other way.

Wizard People, Dear Readers

He gives up on using his words and tries to communicate with only his eyes. Oh, how they bulge and struggle to convey unthinkable meaning!

Was there any inspiration?

For others who didn't catch the allusion, and didn't notice the googlepation [], here is the relevant "movie" [].
HA I love that I read that in Neely's voice.

So Draco will have to build political power without the benefit of growing up in Slytherin. I wonder if Lucius will try to influence other families to pull their kids out of Hogwarts too?

Well, almost certainly Crabbe and Goyle are pulling out too.
For a time. He's young, though, and Lucius probably plans to do something about Harry (and perhaps Hermione) in the near future. Once they're out of the way, no reason that Draco couldn't come back.

... So.

Prediction, since I can't be bothered to put it on predictionbook: Harry will apologize by sending Dumbles a list of people versus Galleons - an implicit admission of a mistake.

If he apologizes he'll probably either do it in person or in a similar way to last time, when he apologized for being unfair after Fawkes started shouting via Flitwick.

One major problem with such a list is that he currently doesn't know how difficult it would be to earn more money.

I'm going to dismiss this hypothesis because I don't think Eliezer would be happy to have HPMoR's discussion threads taken over by the inevitable "How many Galleons is Person X worth?" disputes.

Derp. Probability 10%, because it seems a little OOC.
What's the total probability that Harry will apologize, then?
This is related, and is a good way to become smarter about taboo tradeoffs too: Making Big Decisions about Money []
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Dumbledore is the strongest piece the Light has, bar Potter himself(and he's higher only due to prophecy). Emptying the vaults for Albus would probably be a good trade.

I'd like to give an updated version of my thinking about the Night of Godric's Hollow:

1) The official story requires Avada Kedavra to behave in very funny ways against a love shield (a normally invisible kill turning a body into a burnt crisp.) Furthermore, as far as I can tell, the only way it can be known to be true is if someone cast prior incantum on Voldemort's wand. Which seems unlikely, because Bellatrix snatched it (See Ch. 53).

2) This indicates the good guys are lying or deceived. Possible reasons

a) Godric's Hollow was a trap laid by the good guy... (read more)

Assume for a moment that Quirelll was being honest with Hermione, in a twisted way. He was the hero and he invented Voldemort in order to defeat Voldemort. He then realized that being a hero wasn't working out for him, so he went away, but unlike his Riddle persona, Voldemort would continue to be hunted, so he had to fake his death.
Just back from reading the new chapter, and assumed it without a second thought when I read that scene. [Editing rest of comment to put it in rot13, because I don't want to spoil chapter 84 for anyone who hasn't read it. May be unnecessary, but I'm erring on the side of caution.] Nyfb nffhzvat gung Gbz Evqqyr vf jub Nzryvn Obarf fhfcrpgf Dhveeryy gb or. Nyfb nffhzvat gung Gbz Evqqyr vf jub Nzryvn Obarf fhfcrpgf Dhveeryy gb or. Ohg nppbeqvat gb Obarf, Evqqyr qvfnccrnerq va 1973, jurernf gur Avtug bs Tbqevp'f Ubyybj jnf va 1981. Gung fhttrfgf gung "V... jrag bss gb qb fbzrguvat ryfr V sbhaq zber cyrnfnag" ersref gb gnxvat hc gur Qnex Ybeq tvt va rnearfg. Bu Tbq. V whfg unq n greevslvat gubhtug. Jung vs ur qvfcbfrq bs gur Ibyqrzbeg crefban sbe ab bgure ernfba guna gung vg fgbccrq orvat sha?
Extremely unlikely. Dumbledore, Snape, McGonagall and Moody at a minimum know that Riddle = Voldemort; there would be no reason not to inform Amelia of this. Also, I'm pretty sure Dumbledore always knew Riddle = Voldemort- he wouldn't be foolish enough to use his real name for his hero persona.
2b seems unlikely given Harry's memory of the night matching the official line. Did Dumbledore do a FMC on baby Harry? Also, remember that for someone with Horcruxes, one can de facto fake one's own death by actually dying and waiting for the resurrection. There's no particular need to assume that he survived that night in the traditional sense of the word.
But Harry's memory didn't include Voldemort casting Avada Kedavra on Harry. That memory is neutral WRT the "rebounded Avada Kedavra" hypothesis. Also, no part of a rebuttal to your comment, but re-reading the scene, what's with this line?:
legilimency of some sort? or simply dramatic license. I don't remember any example of that particular action being pointed out that wasn't leglimency.
In canon? In MoR eye-contact has happened a bunch of times since Harry got good enough to detect Legilimency, it's just been the usual dramatic device.
Didn't Moaning Myrtle recount something similar about her own death in canon, in which the glowing eyes were the Basilisk's? It'd be funny if the rock Dumbledore gives Harry were actually a piece of petrified: a) James (and Dumbledore knows) b) Voldemort (and he doesn't) c) Harry himself (and the scenario for that would be ridiculous).
Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "your father's rock", doesn't it?
A FMC is described as completely envisioned and controlled by the caster, putting as much time into it as the memory covers; so Dumbledore in FMCing a baby Harry is choosing every detail of the scene. Given that... why would Dumbledore direct a scene like Harry recollects? It has several oddities which reduce its value as a 'you killed my parents! In the name of the Moon, I will punish you!' memory.
This memory?
That's the one. It certainly came from somewhere - IIRC, it's got details he wasn't told that have been confirmed, which means that it's not an internally-generated false memory. So either it's real, or it's been implanted by someone familiar with the tale.
Or he imagined it and merely believed it to be a memory.
My memory may be in error on this point, but I did consider your hypothesis and explicitly reject it.
Perhaps one of the at-least-two people who downvoted me would like to tell me what these details are that make it impossible for the memory to have been internally generated. So far, all I can come up with is this: on the basis of Voldemort's mild reluctance to kill his mother in this memory, Harry deduced (via a rather tenuous chain of reasoning) that Dumbledore told Snape about the prophecy, and when he confronted McGonagall with this she behaved in a manner consistent with what he deduced. This doesn't seem all that conclusive to me. What am I missing?
In fact, I'm pretty sure that events did not happen as Harry deduced them. In canon, Snape overheard the prophecy being given. This seems to match up with what Snape says in the chapter formerly known as 77: Therefore I suggest that Dumbledore did not tell Snape about the prophecy. I'm not sure why or how McGonagall knows: possibly, in a departure from canon, she was conducting Trelawney's interview instead of Dumbledore himself. The beginning of Harry's line of reasoning is that Voldemort was not terribly eager to kill Lily Potter. This seems likely to be true, but is also not indicative of anything. It's a mildly strange thing to imagine, but we imagine strange things all the time. Quirrell suggests that Harry can see Thestrals due to his memory of that night, which would suggest that it's a true memory. But Harry seems to think that he saw the Thestrals because he has realized that Dementors are death, so that he has "seen death and comprehended it" in a more literal sense.
Your suggestions are based on a faulty premise. Even in canon, Avada Kedavra has varying effects. Usually it causes an instant, silent death. At the end of Half-Blood Prince, it blows Dumbledore's body over a railing and off the tower. In Godric's Hollow, the rebounded Killing Curse exploded the upstairs of a house, and we never actually hear what happened to Voldemort's body. I don't think we're necessarily meant to suspect something amiss here; I think Eliezer just filled in a blank that was left open in the novels. And I also don't necessarily think a "love shield" is what's involved in this story. In canon, Lily's nonviolent sacrifice is what protected Harry. Eliezer presumably doesn't believe that attempting to defend yourself makes your sacrifice any less noble, so it's probably something different here. I think the likely story in MoR is that when Voldemort sarcastically said "I accept the bargain, yourself to die and the child to live", he accidentally created a magically binding oath.

"The Dark Lord came to Godric's Hollow," said McGonagall in a whisper. "You should have been hidden, but you were betrayed. The Dark Lord killed James, and he killed Lily, and he came in the end to you, to your crib. He cast the Killing Curse at you. And that was where it ended. The Killing Curse is formed of pure hate, and strikes directly at the soul, severing it from the body. It cannot be blocked. The only defense is not to be there. But you survived. You are the only person ever to survive. The Killing Curse reflected and rebounded and struck the Dark Lord, leaving only the burnt hulk of his body and a scar on your forehead. That was the end of the terror, and we were free. That, Harry Potter, is why people want to see the scar on your forehead, and why they want to shake your hand."

The storm of weeping that had washed through Harry had used up all his tears; he could not cry again, he was done.

(And somewhere in the back of his mind was a small, small note of confusion, a sense of something wrong about that story; and it should have been a part of Harry's art to notice that tiny note, but he was distracted. For it is a sad rule that whenever you are most i

... (read more)
Yes, but we saw the actual event in Humanism, part 1. We saw it right up until the moment Voldemort cast the Killing Curse. The "small, small note of confusion" refers to what Harry realized much later: "Dark Lords were not usually scared of infant children." The confusion was about the reason Voldemort was so intent on killing Harry in the first place. The reference to souls is simply because that's what Dumbledore believes, not because of any plot. Yes, the Killing Curse behaved bizarrely, but we're supposed to think "Why did it behave bizarrely?", not "That must be a lie!", especially given that it sometimes behaved bizarrely in canon. If "Eliezer has pretty much told us that something is wrong with the story" and we don't know what it is, that means he lied to us in Chapter 43.
Thank you for quoting the bit in chapter 46. I had forgotten it, and it is worth taking into account. But in context, I don't think it shows what you think it does: So prior to recovering that memory, Harry didn't have nearly as much reason to think Voldemort had been afraid of him. In Ch. 3, for all Harry knew Voldemort was just the sort of person who would murder his enemies' children given the opportunity, and he would have been largely correct to think that. But it seems Harry's inference that Voldemort meant to kill him may not be as safe as Harry assumes. It is equally consistent with everything Harry notices to think that Voldemort meant to do something else to Harry. Consider this part: Suppose Voldemort meant to do something else to Harry other than kill him, and that he succeeded in doing whatever he meant to do. If so, "your death here will not save your child" would turn out to be true. In that case, perhaps what amused Voldemort was realizing that Lily had misunderstood what he was going to do to Harry, and that she had offered up her life to prevent something that was not going to happen anyway. In that case, "Yourself to die, and the child to live" also reflects Voldemort's true intentions. At this point, it looks to me very much like Voldemort somehow decided killing baby Harry was not the right response to the prophecy. The prophecy looks like a key clue here; probably Voldemort wouldn't have bothered with such a complicated plot as he appears to be pursuing without the prophecy. But what thought process led to that plot?
Chris Hallquist wrote: "Suppose Voldemort meant to do something else to Harry other than kill him, and that he succeeded in doing whatever he meant to do. If so, "your death here will not save your child" would turn out to be true. In that case, perhaps what amused Voldemort was realizing that Lily had misunderstood what he was going to do to Harry, and that she had offered up her life to prevent something that was not going to happen anyway. In that case, "Yourself to die, and the child to live" also reflects Voldemort's true intentions." That makes sense. Maybe all he wanted was to turn Harry into a horcrux, and suceeded. Since creating horcruxes requires killing someone, killing James Potter was a convenient horcrux-energy source, while killing Lily could be an extra, but unnecessary bonus.
You're misremembering the chapter, that scene ends like this:
An experienced mage making an unforced error of that magnitude sounds an awful lot like the Idiot Ball to me.
"Held the Idiot Ball" does not mean "made a large mistake". It means "behaved implausibly stupidly so as to cheaply advance the plot". If Voldemort could never make significant mistakes then Harry could never defeat him.
I agree with you about what "Held the Idiot Ball" means. I evidently disagree with you about how implausibly stupid it is for Voldemort to accidentally, for no apparent reason, magically bind himself to the infant Harry in the middle of a fight. Or do you imagine this to be a thing that happens a lot when wizards fight, such that it happening in this case is plausible?
I don't think it happens a lot, because I don't think such ironic offers are made very often. The reason for Voldemort to say what he said was to be prideful and cruel, to make Lily feel how futile her sacrifice would be. In the heat of the moment, in his cruelty, he might not have thought of the magical significance of verbally accepting such a bargain. If indeed this theory is correct, his first fall was a result of his hubris, which fits his character well; and it also fits his character well for him to have learned from it and to not make the same mistake again in the future. I'm not married to this theory. I'd put it at maybe 50% or 55% confidence? But it seems clear to me that Voldemort made some large mistake that night, because no explanation I've seen for Voldemort willingly stopping his war in 1981 holds any water at all.
Still... one of the very first lessons of Quirrel was about pretending to lose when that gained you more than fighting would. Granted that Voldemort back then was seen to be winning. But he was winning a war we still don't know his motivations for starting in the first place... True, no explanation offered so far explains it convincingly, but I don't see the idea that an Avada Kedavra bounced off a baby holding any water either.
2d) Something Voldemort didn't expect. If Slytherin's Monster transferred it's secrets with a Dark Ritual, Salazar could have planned for Rule 12 and plotted to transfer secrets to future heirs. How would you identify a baby as a parselmouth?
Why would (how would) the Basilisk transfer its secrets with a Dark Ritual rather than just, you know, talking? Also, in canon Harry wasn't a Parselmouth until after that Halloween, and stopped being one when the Horcrux was destroyed.
Efficiency: speed & certainty. How many secrets would you be leaving behind before this incredibly baroque scheme was worth putting in place? How long would it take to communicate hundreds of ultra-advanced spells by one of the pre-eminent wizards of that golden age? How long can a student afford to be sneaking off to the Chamber? We've seen legilimency used to read minds, but Order of the Phoenix also showed that it could be used to write to minds as well.
This seems to defeat the purpose somewhat. Isn't the point of the Basilisk to ensure that only Parselmouths can access the secrets? Presumably legilimency is, if not impossible, at least difficult to use on a creature with the Gaze of Death, but if there were rituals to transfer information from its mind to yours, obtaining consent under duress seems a small enough obstacle.
I don't follow. The Parseltongue requirements controls access to the Chamber and also communication with the Basilisk. What more is needed?
So you're thinking a Dark Ritual that only works for Parselmouths? That might work, I guess.
Because a Dark Ritual could force a sacrifice that adds redundancy. Leave the Basilisk alone, mostly satisfied. Kill it and you are bound to transfer the knowledge to the next heir. Attempt to kill the heir and end up as a horcrux.
Again, Harry wasn't the Heir of Slytherin when Voldemort was plotting to kill him, or attempting to kill him, or even afterwards. He was only ever a Horcrux of the Heir of Slytherin.

I'm noticing the Hugo nominations just came out. I'm not sure about which category it would be eligible for, but I think it would be worth trying to push for a nomination next year. For one thing, HPMOR is definitely in the same class as Ender's Game, which did win a Hugo.

From a cursory glance, it seems that the categories it'd be eligible for are "Best Novel"(>40k words) and "Best Fan Writer"(non-paid work). I'd advise the latter, because the competition will almost certainly be lighter.

9Eliezer Yudkowsky11y
When the book is done I'm going for the former, but the rules call for the book to be complete, I believe.

Why would you go for the former - what's the reasoning here? Yes, it's gotten praise from some writers, but not the kind of rapturous praise that would give it the most important prestigious prize they have. MoR is amazing for a fan work... and good for a novel. Is this some sort of satisficing reasoning, where it's better to be nominated for best novel than win best fan work?

I know I'm not an average voter, but HPMOR is literally the best book I have ever heard of. Are there some other books I have missed out on?
Try looking through the Hugo or Nebula best novel awards []. Most of them are not didactic like MoR is which makes comparing MoR to them a little unfair since you lose out on the 'I want to base my life on this' effect, and MoR is length-wise at... a trilogy? now, so comparing them to MoR is unfair, and it definitely helps to have read multiple times the heavy influences on MoR like Godel, Escher, Bach or Ender's Game, but I am doing it anyway! Looking through the list, here are ones I've read (~1/3) and would rank as either not much inferior, equal or better than MoR: * The City & The City * Rainbows End * A Fire Upon the Deep * Hyperion * Ender's Game * Claw of the Conciliator (I'm really judging the whole New Sun quartet here) * Ringworld * Lord of Light * Dune * A Canticle for Leibowitz * The Demolished Man And this is far from a complete list; for example, Blindsight is fantastic but was only nominated for a Hugo in 2006 (losing to Spin which I have not read).
I liked Spin a lot-- it's a perfect balance between a mainstreamish novel of character and big ideas science fiction. Gur rnegu vf chg va na nyvra rairybcr juvpu znxrf gvzr cnff zhpu snfgre-- nyy bs gur fhqqra, gur fha orpbzvat n erq tvnag vf n frevbhf ceboyrz.
2Eliezer Yudkowsky11y
It's gotten sufficiently rapturous praise. I see no reason not to try.
I found citations for ESR and David Brin [] (only the latter is a SF writer), who praised it but did not receive it rapturously; are there writers I have missed?
I am curious about your concern. Do you want to save EY from a hubris born smackdown? Do you want to keep public attention off fanfiction so you aren't tempted to publicly defend it and publicly identify as a fanfic fan? Do you fear a loss of face for the Singularity Institute? Forgive me for visiting your intentions, if that is unwelcome.

You only get one shot at the awards. My best calibrated guess is that MoR has a chance at best novel somewhere between 'not a chance in hell' and 5%, while best fanwork moves the odds of victory to 50+%. Which one do you think is better?

(I'm also a little concerned that EY is casually making what looks to me like an incredibly obvious mistake.)

I expect you meant that as a rhetorical question, but I'm not sure it is. I generally agree with your confidence estimates, but of course it's also worth looking at the payoffs. It's also worth comparing the payoffs for being a Hugo nominee for best novel and a Hugo award winner for best fanwork. I don't have an informed opinion about those payoffs, just saying that it's not as simple as "50+% chance of winning an award" vs "<5% chance of winning an award."

Which is precisely why I am asking these questions, because there are many ways Eliezer could conclude it's a good idea:

  1. maybe, as I already suggested, best novel nominee > best fanfic award
  2. perhaps Eliezer likes the idea of being a best novel nominee or winner so much that he doesn't mind the significantly reduced expected-value
  3. he has non-public information

    • eg. there are famous writers who have told him they will propagandize for MoR and order their fans to vote for it
  4. he has not thought about it in any detail or come up with calibrated probabilities like I have
  5. he plans to publish MoR as multiple books (given its length) and first books in series are the best to go for best novel and later books can shoot their wad on less prestigious awards
  6. the rules favor MoR in some way I am unaware of

    • eg. he thinks he can issue a call for MoR fans to attend and vote, erasing the disadvantages I otherwise accurately assess


My theory is that Eliezer is overestimating his chances of winning best novel.
All you need to vote is a supporting membership, cost $60 or so. You don't have to attend. As soon as HPMOR is finished (hopefully not soon), I will buy a supporting membership to the next year's worldcon. On that note, let me urge Eliezer to finish HPMOR in the summer of some year, so enough supporting memberships can nominate it by January 1.
I'm not sure that materially increases the number of votes one could expect. Gee, only $60...
You only need 100 votes to get nominated [], and then the nomination itself will get more people reading it.
That page is old, as I noted in my other comment, and if you read the Constitution [] (article 3) which governs the Hugo award, the nomination is not so numeric; for example: and Going back to the 2011 data (and being mindful the vote counts have set records frequently in the 2000s as the convention apparently grows), we see the last place novel is 306 ballots. pg17 gives us the original nomination votes: last place novel there was 78 ballots. So, yes, MoR could probably get on the ballot if >78 people all remember to register by 31 January of that year (good thing MoR isn't finished yet because it's too late for 2012) so they are eligible to vote on nominations, and actually put MoR #1 on their ballots; see the Constitution again:
I also think this is a good idea, and hereby vow to buy a membership when HPMoR is finished for this purpose of voting it for Best Novel. As pointed out, even being nominated would get it a lot more attention. I'm hoping for something like Neil Gaiman had when he won and then they banned comics/graphic novels afterwards.
2Eliezer Yudkowsky11y
I think the main thing you're missing is that nothing bad happens to me if I don't win. This could serve as a mantra for a whole lot of things in life that are worth trying.

'Nothing bad happens to' two-boxers either. Do I really need to explain that loss of a gain is as bad as a gain of a loss?

Dumbledore would say that is why you go for multiple gains in parallel.
I didn't understand what you meant so I asked on IRC and you seem to be referring to multiple plots.
Yes, that is the story reference. As it applies here, is there any reason that Eliezer could not attempt to win multiple awards?

Yes. First, the Constitution specifies that if a work is ever successfully nominated, it cannot be nominated again, so MoR can only be done once. (Examining the categories carefully, pg 6-7, it may or may not be technically possible that MoR could be nominated in one year for Best Novel and then Eliezer himself - on the strength of fandom arising from MoR - nominated for 'Best Fan Writer'.)

Second, the rules get very complex on pg 8 about multiple categories, which is why I did not bring it up before:

3.8.2: The Worldcon Committee shall determine the eligibility of nominees and assignment to the proper category of works nominated in more than one category.

3.8.3: Any nominations for "No Award" shall be disregarded.

3.8.4: If a nominee appears on a nomination ballot more than once in any one category, only one nomination shall be counted in that category.

3.8.5: No nominee shall appear on the final Award ballot if it received fewer nominations than five percent (5%) of the number of ballots listing one or more nominations in that category, except that the first three eligible nominees, including any ties, shall always be listed.

3.8.6: The Committee shall move a nomination fro

... (read more)
Actually I'm pretty sure that's not what Clause 3.8.4 is saying. I think it means that you can't have two entries on the ballot for MoR under the same category just like you can't have two entries for "Obama" for president. That would be kind of funny though. Would you like to vote for: * Obama * Obama * Obama * Romney * Obama or * Obama
"Have you got anything without spam?"
Why, so you did. Careless reading of me... my apologies.
5) is not a believable option, since the legalities of fanfic prohibit any conventional sort of publication, and just slapping "Book 1"/"Book 2"/etc. on top of chapter headings does very little. The rest is good analysis, though.
No, they don't. They just mean it takes a publisher with a little guts, willing to defend it under fair use grounds (in MoR's case, parody).
They would lose, and probably correctly so. If that defense worked for MoR, it could be applied to any situation where someone just made up their own story using someone else's characters, and the whole concept of copyright would be effectively abolished. (Not that abolishing copyright wouldn't be a policy worth considering...) Actually, in fact, it seems obvious to me that any publication at all -- "conventional" or not -- of fanfiction is blatantly illegal, just like distributing your own modified version of Microsoft Windows would be. (Note that "is illegal" is not the same thing as "should be illegal".)
Are you under the impression that fair use has never worked before or parody in particular? Because otherwise I don't understand why you are so certain of what you are saying.
I think it's clear that MoR is not (merely) parody, but a literary work in its own right that happens to be derived from an existing work by someone else. It's a kind of thing that I think ought to be allowed, but which I don't think actually is.
Something that could be said with equal justice of _The Wind Done Gone []_.
But see Dr. Suess Enterprises v. Penguin Books []. In brief, someone used elements of Dr. Seuss to criticize the OJ verdict. Held: not parody fair use because the target of the parody was not the infringed work. So, how reasonable is it to say that MoR is a parody of canon!Potterverse? I honestly don't know the answer, but I suspect it would be dispositive of the fair use analysis.
How reasonable? I think pretty reasonable; MoR directly criticizes canon on numerous occasions, from the exchange rate to Hermione being Sorted into Gryffindor to Harry using random curses on Slytherins and on and on. Reading through one link [] on that, I see nothing about the Seuss parody parodizing Seuss, and plenty that fits MoR, eg.: or
There's surely some kind of sliding scale. My HP fanfic: is critical of something - but if it isn't the Potterverse, then it isn't parody. That doesn't mean that the work is not fair use (I think the third and fourth factors [] weigh heavily in my favor). In short, I don't think that an interpretation of fair use (of which parody is the relevant type) that protects all fanfic is likely to be adopted, even if MoR was fair use of the Potterverse.
Naturally, but we're discussing MoR here.
As I was trying to say, it is hard to articulate a test that is both (1) sufficiently clear ex ante and (2) correctly divides works like MoR from the mass of fanfic. Specifically, I doubt that there is sufficient consensus on where the dividing line should be. And in general, the major critique of fair use is how unpredictable it is in practice.
Thanks for the data, that's very helpful. But imagine you had to defend MoR as parody. What would you say is MoR's discernable direct comment on the original? Would you say that this comment is leveled specifically at JKR's world? Is this comment the central aim of MoR?
My thesis would be something like 'the world of JK's HP is ill-thought out, inconsistent, and bears a message with regards to death with characters & ideals that is morally repugnant'. This is easy to defend as Rowling has been kind enough to specifically state that the overall theme of her books is accepting death, and Eliezer has been kind enough to have Harry explicitly assail this theme. Is it the central aim? I don't know. (I think it is, but I could be wrong.) Depends on where MoR goes. If it ends with a world transformed and enriched by use of, say, Elixir of Life and all Dementors destroyed, well, the argument practically makes itself.
That does sound plausible, thanks. My sense is that MoR is written with the aim of demonstrating rationalist principles and cognitive biases. Many (maybe all?) of the chapters are titled so as to indicate the principle or biases they discuss. I see your point about death, but I guess I get the impression that the structure of the work is centered around educating people in a certain philosophy. That said, one of the fair use categories is 'educational'.
It can do both - it's not just asserting that 'death is bad, mmkay?', but explaining/demonstrating the facts & reasoning which lead to that conclusion so you understand why death is bad. (Somewhat like how canon sort of tries to justify death: fearing death makes you do bad things and yields a fate worse than death, to state it baldly.)
I know it's a pain, but could you point me to a chapter in which the badness of death is argued for? I thought to look in 'pretending to be wise', but the badness of death was very much assumed there. There's a diagnosis of Dumbledore's view on death as being a reaction to fear, but that's obviously not a valid argument against his position, or a valid argument in support of the view that death is bad. Also, what does the topic of death have to do with the stanford prison experiments, the fundamental attribution error, the scientific method, the efficient market hypothesis, delayed gratification, Bayes theorem, Dominance hierarchies, locating the hypothesis, etc.? These chapters, for the most part, just don't discuss death at all. ETA: Hmm, should I be worried that I think this is right? It seems straightforward to me, if there's any such thing as courage: to be courageous is ultimately to value some good over your own life. If this valuation is rational, than fear of death can make you choose your life over the good thing, and that's bad. And it can lead to a fate worse than death: namely, your being alive and the good thing not being achieved.
I don't think you're trying very hard here. Privileging the hypothesis of a meaningful afterlife rather than Occam's razor that it doesn't exist or it is the same as ghosts and photographs. (This is one argument against death being good: the wizarding world is in a vastly epistemically superior position to Muggles as far as evidence for life after death goes, but Harry pokes holes in it anyway.) The mechanisms by which religion and other sadistic beliefs can spread. Do I really need to explain this one? Useful for having the patient to investigate and hold off on conclusions (which lead to confirmation bias & backfire effects - you missed those). That one's just criticizing canon's worldbuilding. (I think. Imaginative suggestions about how that could be related are welcome - perhaps an argument from silence that if the afterlife existed the market would be exploiting it [] somehow?)
Okay, against an opponent who says that death is good because there is a good afterlife, I can see how this one would work. That's not an argument that death is bad, of course, or clearly an argument against 'accepting death' (whatever JKR meant by that), but it's progress. The chapter itself doesn't mention death at all though. And your thought is that it's 'sadistic beliefs' that teach that death is not bad? Why does explaining these mechanisms show that death is bad? I'm afraid this seems very indirect to me. Yes, that one especially, if you have the time and inclination. I recognize that I'm imposing on you here. The question was, 'how does this relate to the thesis that death is bad'? I mean, if we think death is bad, then in some sense we could take any good epistemic principle as relating to that thesis, insofar as good epistemic principles relate to true beliefs. Is this as direct as we can get?
Education frequently is indirect. If you want direct statements, you wouldn't be reading MoR, you'd be... well, here, reading LW articles and stuff. Not everything is directly relevant, of course; for example, we could view Harry negotiating with the Sorting Hat as isomorphic to negotiating with an Omega in various precommitment scenarios devised for discussing the advanced decision theories like UDT/TDT. Is this directly relevant to arguing against theism and deathism and pro-agism? Not that I can think of. Is that such a bad thing? If good epistemic principles don't lead to true beliefs, then that would make MoR more propaganda than anything...
Fair enough. Thanks for taking the time.
...and sure enough, there was a lawsuit [].
Which they won, paying nothing to the plaintiffs and continuing to publish The Wind Done Gone. Which is why I am using it as an example!
No, it says they settled: ...thus in effect purchasing the right to publish, which is what they were supposed to have done all along.
Given that the Mitchell estate lost [] on appeal, I'm not sure the settlement after that decision is evidence of anything but nuisance payment.
As I understand it, that was an appeal of an injunction, not the merits of the case (despite the WIkipedia article's implication that it was a ruling on the merits). Is there a legal distinction between a "nuisance payment" and an ordinary settlement?
Injunctions are decided in part by whether there is a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits. Saying that one isn't entitled to injunction often means that the court thinks you will lose if the case went to final judgment. In this case, the appellate court directly addressed the fair use issue. Text of decision here [] If I'm a doctor, and you sue me for medical malpractice, and we settle for $5 million (the cost of treating your injuries) - probably not nuisance settlement. Same amount of injury, but we settle for $5,000 - that's "go away so I don't need to spend more on legal fees." (A more realistic Pascal's mugging).
Agreed. Agreed. But that judgement on the court's part is not, itself, a ruling on the merits of the case. It represents nothing more than their probabilistic prediction about what the verdict will or would be. Vacating an injunction does not dismiss the suit. Should be interesting, I'll take a look. But already, on p.3, I notice the following: If that is the case, then I agree that that is fair use. But I see that as different from fanfiction. If you don't, I don't want to get into a detailed argument here about what the difference is. But, in short, if the primary purpose of MoR were to serve as commentary on Rowling, I would see it as fair use. As it is, however, it seems to me that that isn't the primary purpose of MoR (although it does do that among other things). Primarily, MoR is another great and compelling story by Eliezer Yudkowsky, but which happens to have used J.K. Rowling's universe as its setting in order to take advantage of the popularity of the Harry Potter books in order to attract readers. Now, I don't think there's actually anything inherently wrong with that (and even if I did, I would make an exception for MoR because it's just so damn good) but it is my empirical opinion that current copyright law is in fact (unfortunately) designed to make this kind of thing illegal. My question was whether there was a legal difference. So far as I know, there isn't, and in neither case does the outcome serve to establish jurisprudence.
As I stated here [], I think you are correct that fair use protection for MoR turns substantially on whether MoR is interpreted as parody of canon Potterverse. Regarding settlements, I agree that there is no legal difference based on the amount of settlement. My point was that the fact of a settlement was not evidence of who won the court case, particularly because the appellate court discussed likelihood of success on the merits in evaluating the preliminary injunction. Edit: and if you think "likelihood of success on the merits" is a prediction about the future rather than a legally binding statement of the content of the law, then I assert my expertise to say that you are legally incorrect.
I don't think that's quite right. MoR can be construed as parody of Harry Potter - in fact, a lot of reviewers point specifically to where it pokes fun of holes in Rowling's worldbuilding, and (as noted elsewhere hereabouts) a major theme is the reversal of Rowling's stance on death. But that's just a special case of transformativeness []: In practice, it lets the courts say "I would make an exception for MoR because it's just so damn good".
Actually, I will say that I thought of it as a parody myself at first, and even described it to other people as a "spoof". However, I feel that it has grown into more than that over time, as the story has developed. At this point, the original seems almost irrelevant. (My personal familiarity with the canon is limited, but people have told me that it pales in comparison.) (Understand that I find it utterly perverse that what ought to be a profound compliment amounts in this peculiar context to an argument "against" the story.)
When a court looks at the binding precedent of Suntrust v. Houghton Mifflin in which fair use and parody specifically was upheld for novels, will they care about a settlement in which the plaintiff received not one penny? I don't think that's how precedents work...
No, settlements are not precedent, only court rulings are. The point is that merits of this case were never ruled upon by a court. The appeals court ruling in Suntrust was about the injunction that had been granted, not the merits. So, yes, the next time someone sues over this in the Eleventh Circuit, there won't be a preliminary injunction granted, and whatever work is being disputed will able to be published until the case is resolved by a jury (or settlement). But that doesn't bind how the jury will rule. And it certainly doesn't bind other circuits -- in fact, a court in a different circuit could even issue an injunction, in which case there would probably be a Supreme Court case about the injunction issue. EDIT: To put it succinctly: the precedent is "the book can be published until the case is decided", not "writing a new novel using someone else's characters constitutes fair use". (And it is only binding in the Eleventh Circuit.)
EY originally wrote the thing while (on record) attributing the characters and context to JKR, and then (on record) mentioned that JKR said she is fine with fan works and doesn't require attribution, after which he stopped. I'm no lawyer, but I expect this means that EY is on record acknowledging his creative debt to JKR, and doing so because he thought he was legally obligated to. It seems like it would be hard to argue that MoR is fair use. This shows that the intent of the work was something the author thought was in range of her copyright, and thus not something like parody.
This makes no sense to me. EDIT: and specifically, acknowledging the debt is more of a good thing; from one discussion:
I just looked up JKR's statements on fan fiction, and I got the impression that she would sue in case something were published for profit, or just published in some print medium (I suppose a book or magazine). I don't think you could defend MoR as a parody with JKR's original books as the target. Some MoR chapters point out absurdities in JKR's work, but EY doesn't make it his business to lampoon the original series. Judging from the wiki page on fair use, this makes MoR a 'satire', and these fare much worse in fair use cases. The point about acknowledging debt is just that EY apparently went in with the intention of publishing something within range of JKR's copyright. This would speak against an argument that the intention was parody: if the original intention were fair use parody, then why the legal disclaimers at the heading of each chapter? If that was out of respect only, then why the word 'disclaimer', and why stop doing it after JKR had given legal permission to FF writers?
Parody is by definition 'within range of JKR's copyright'; anyone wanting to write a parody is going in with that express intention. Attribution is just common courtesy and useful metadata. Per my previous quotes, this probably only would matter to the judge as indicating that the author's intent is not malicious. JKR hasn't given legal permission, she's merely made some intent clear which at most, from what I recall of my classes on the topic, gives fanficcers a weak promissory estoppel. Why stop? Because he did it a few dozen times before, and the purposes have been served. Exclusively focusing on criticizing canon is not necessarily helpful; original content helps pass other criterion like being a transformative use of the original and not being a replacement but a complement:
On the issue of transformation, I can now see how a case would be made. Thanks for the post.
It wouldn't abolish the whole concept of copyright - just characters-and-scenarios copyright, of which I am not sure what the actual legal basis it originates in is, or to what extent it has been tested in court.
Yes, I meant for the word "whole" to modify the word "concept", not the word "copyright". That is, my sentence was meant to be read as: Distinguish between the scope of copyright (i.e. what kinds of items it applies to) and the force of the same (how much activity it prohibits within its scope). The emphasis of my claim was on the force rather than the scope.
4Eliezer Yudkowsky11y
I'm curious as to what would have been your original probability estimate for "Given that Eliezer writes a Harry Potter fanfiction, it becomes the most popular Harry Potter fanfiction on the Internet." Or, for that matter, getting out of the AI Box. Not everything impossible that I try, works - nobody coughed up $1.6 million to get faster HPMOR updates this time around, which I tried because, hey, why not - but to me, not trying for Best Novel, given feedback so far, just seems horribly, horribly non-Gryffindor. To me it seems like you're the one making this obvious, horrible mistake whose reference class of timidity errors could put a shadow over someone's entire life. Don't ask her out, don't interview at the hedge fund, don't try for the scholarship, go for Best Fan Work instead of Best Novel... Offer 20-to-1 odds against HPMOR winning Best Novel and I'll buy in. Hm, now I'm curious as to which side of the bet Zvi or Kevin would take.

I'm curious as to what would have been your original probability estimate for "Given that Eliezer writes a Harry Potter fanfiction, it becomes the most popular Harry Potter fanfiction on the Internet."

I would have assumed that the proper reference class was all your other fiction, which as much as I enjoyed them, were all short compared to MoR even the popular ones like 'Three Worlds Collide'. (One of my favorites, the Haruhi fanfic, was, what, 2 pages on Short fanfics cannot become the most popular, so I would have assigned it a very low probability. Had you asked an estimate for 'wrote a full trilogy of HP fanfic novels', my estimate would be quite different. I won't pretend to know what it would have been. (I remain surprised and amused that it has become as large and popular as it has been, and that you now procrastinate on both your rationality book(s) and the Center by writing MoR. Truly, fortune passes everywhere!)

Or, for that matter, getting out of the AI Box.

Oh, I would've bet for you back on SL4. You already had succeeded in getting SIAI running, after all. (Although here again the counterfactual gets hard - I barely remember what I was like back... (read more)

I've added it to the registry [] & PredictionBook [].
You should make sure, first, that MoR would be eligible for the Best Novel category, given that it's a fan work. I couldn't find anything on the site that stated definitely that such a work wouldn't be eligible, but there was some implication that the award is for original work. Looking over the past winners, I can't find any that aren't a) original, and b) published in a magazine or as a book (i.e. pro or semi-pro, by the Hugo's standards). Anyway, it seems some provision should be made in case MoR isn't eligible.

Anyway, it seems some provision should be made in case MoR isn't eligible.

If MoR doesn't win Best Novel because it isn't eligible, then gwern wins, that's clear to me at least.

EDIT TO ADD: I think that, conditional to MoR being an official nominee, I'd assign 40-50% chance to it winning Best Novel. But I think it's the "official nominee" step that's the hard part. I'd assign only 20% chance or less to the commitee allowing it as such an official nominee for Best Novel. For fear of JKR's potential ire, for fear of losing status for the Hugo awards by having fanfiction compete on it, for fear of setting a precedent for other fanfictions.

On the basis of your past experience Hugo award winners and nominees? I don't have any familiarity with the genre, so I don't know how MoR stacks up. The first is probably nothing to worry about: JKR has said she's okay with fan fiction, so long as no on tries to make any money and no one tries to publish it in print (whatever that means). This does mean that EY can't count himself a pro or semi-pro author, which might exclude him. I'm not sure.

JKR's statement does not, I believe, have the force of law, it only describes her current disposition, and she's free to go back on it any time. She may consider being nominated for a Hugo to be equivalent to the other things she disapproves of.

Can anybody get in on this bet? I would take it as well. I think the odds of HPMOR winning the Hugo (edited to say: for Best Novel) are far less than one percent. This has nothing to do with my estimation of the literary merits of the fic, and everything to do with my understanding of the literary establishment and its unwillingness to tangle with copyright law.
You know, on reflection I think that this was possibly a kinda snotty way of saying what I wanted to say: that I think gwern is right, and that you'd be better off applying in the Fan Writer category than in the Best Novel category. And I don't think it's true that going for the Best Novel is without cost, because you'd be giving up the chance at the Fan Writer award. I mean, I'm happy to make the bet because I am very confident that I'll win it, but I don't actually want to punish you for putting your work out there or shooting for a high goal--which is what it sort of feels like, if I make you pay me when you lose.
2Eliezer Yudkowsky11y
I have looked up the rules and apparently, instead of a plurality vote or a majority vote with runoff voting, people rank all the candidates and can put "No Award" above anything they think sufficiently underserving. This does change my odds, but not enough that I wouldn't try to for a nomination. I'm also not sure that it should change my odds enough not to bet at 20-to-1. How much would you want in for?

can put "No Award" above anything they think sufficiently underserving.

Cute story I saw 12 days ago on

I read an interview with Roger Zelazny, and he said that the reason he called the story "No Award" was because he noticed that, since the ballots were alphabetical by author, he always wound up right before No Award. He wanted to have two "No Award"s in a row and cause confusion. Unfortunately for his dastardly plot ( :) ), it didn't get nominated for anything.

$500 against $25?
So 2+ years on, has your opinion changed any? I think the probability has dropped a fair bit*, but I'm trying to simplify my finances, so I'm going to make you an offer: I'll sell you my side of the bet for 20% off, or $4. (Offer good for the next month or so.) * to expand: I think the decrease in post tempo has destroyed much of the virality & reduced fan ardour, and more specifically, I haven't seen any prominent endorsements of MoR by elites like David Brin over the past year or so, which are necessary to legitimize MoR and make it a contender. You can't win a Hugo just by appealing to some people online, you also have to win over the niche of voters at the convention.
2Eliezer Yudkowsky9y
That's what you'd call a liquidity preference. *rimshot* []
I admit, it never occurred to me that part of liquidity preference is simply that liquid assets are easier to manage from an overhead/data point of view.

Eliezer has conceded the bet & paid me $5.

I'd take the Eliezer side of the bet if I was confident that HPMOR could compete against an unusually weak slate of nominees.
Very low. It struck me as a jawdroppingly stupid idea. Then I read it and it was rather good.
You're assuming that Best Fan Writer and Best Novel are equally valuable awards. This is not even close to true. There are people who make a practice of reading all the Best Novel nominees, for years after the award is given, and I think people are much more likely to read Best Novel nominees before voting than to get around to the fan writing awards. If anyone can track down number of votes in the different categories, it would be a way of checking on my opinion.

You're assuming that Best Fan Writer and Best Novel are equally valuable awards. This is not even close to true.

I have twice already pointed out that possibility.

If anyone can track down number of votes in the different categories, it would be a way of checking on my opinion.

It would be good information, yes. As far as I can tell, there may be some very recent records of recommendations by the Nebula members (and also claims of considerable politicking, so an appeal by Eliezer to fans would be far from unprecedented nor especially effective).

The Hugo voting system is pretty complicated, but apparently they've released detailed statistics since the 1980s - one of the first quotes in that 1997 analysis is

...This idea that hardly anyone votes on the fan Hugos is perhaps the most widespread of the misconceptions I alluded to...

The most recent data is for 2011. Best Novel took 1813 ballots, with 779 vs 753 for #1 vs #2 (as I said, complicated - it's IRV).

The fan categories are fanzine, fan artist, and fan writer; the last had 323 ballots, with 70 vs 40. So in other words, just to get within spitting distance of Best Novel #2, you would need almost twice as many ballots as we... (read more)

I can't find your mentions that the Best Novel Hugo might be worth more than the Best Fan Writer. This doesn't mean I think you're lying or mistaken, but where are they? Were they in some other thread or sub-thread? I'm not sure if my point that just getting nominated for Best Novel is a huge win in terms of readership has registered. For these purposes, there is no difference I can see between coming in second and coming in last. I agree that HPMOR doesn't have a great chance of winning Best Novel. It depends tremendously on what the competition is, and I'm assuming we're talking about at least two years from now, so what novels it would be up against are hard to predict. I don't think there are any predictable blockbusters in the immediate pipeline.
Subthread. As I suggested, it may be a good idea - but Eliezer did not present that as a reason, has not presented it as a reason, and has not justified it. What makes you think the nomination is better than winning a fan Hugo, besides anecdotes about peoples' reading lists including nominees?
I'm assuming that the purpose of going for a Hugo is to get publicity and increased readership for HPMOR. If I'm mistaken-- possibly the point is that having a Hugo award is Really Cool-- then going for the win in a less important category would make sense. I've been in fandom since the early seventies, and it seems to me that people talk about the Best Novel a lot more than Best Fan Writer. I may be biased, but I think Fan Writing is very much a sub-culture within the sub-culture. To be fair, even print sf is minuscule compared to tv, movies, and comics. From yet another angle, fanfic has become a huge thing by fannish standards, but I think it's something of a separate branch compared to the sort of fan writing (typically essays, I think, rather than fiction) which gets a Hugo.
I suspect the real logic is: having a Hugo award is Really Cool, having a Hugo for best novel is Even More Really Cool, and Eliezer isn't the type of person to settle for Really Cool in that situation.
Wait, 800 votes is sufficient to win Best Novel? I think I'm with Eliezer on this now. That may actually be attainable with this fan base(if only because it's vastly easier to mobilize for online works than for paper ones, due to logistical issues) Edit: I was unclear on the voting process, and am retracting the above.
What kind of expectations about the voting for a Hugo did you have that when told it's 800 (rather than 8, 80, 8000, 80000...) strikes you as fantastic? And do you think that there are 800 dedicated MoR readers who would go to Worldcon and rank it #1 in the vote? Remember the infamous 1% rule []: for every reader, there's 1% who will leave a comment or review, and out of those, 1% will do something additional. Going to Worldcon and voting is quite something additional. (Well, one way to answer this would be to put up a poll on asking how many readers attended Worldcon 2011, Worldcon 2012, etc. Liars will inflate the numbers, but it would help get an upper bound.)
Oh, you can only vote in person? I knew part of the Hugo process was online, and assumed that the whole thing was. 800 votes for an online poll is "small-town newspaper sidebar survey" range, winning a major award with that kind of number would be absurd. It makes far more sense if it's embedded in a con. Correction to my above: Trying to win Best Novel is unbelievable hubris, and it'll be first off the ballot in the rather unlikely case that it makes it on at all.
No no, see my other comments - you can vote without being physically present... if you don't mind paying $60 by January 31 for the membership which comes with few other benefits than being able to vote. You see the problem.
Keep in mind that "this fan base" would probably vote Methods (or EY, I suppose) in for Best Fan Writer pretty much uniformly, but is likely to be fragmented for Best Novel.
5Eliezer Yudkowsky11y
Rachel Aaron (author of the Eli Monpress series, sample of "The Legend of Eli Monpress" currently on my Kindle being read) is I think the most effusive praise I've gotten from a published author, though I've heard rumors of certain others speaking in the halls of SF conventions. But you're probably thinking of the Nebula, which is voted on by members of the SFWA. The Hugo is a reader award, voted on by the attendees of Worldcon. Look at the review page of HPMOR if you're questioning whether the readers have been sufficiently enthusiastic. I'm honestly a bit nonplussed at the idea that reader reception of HPMOR has been insufficiently enthusiastic to try for a Hugo. It's fairly routine for a review to say that HPMOR is the best thing they've ever read out of all of fiction. If that is insufficient enthusiasm to think, "Hm, I might as well try for Best Novel, or the Gryffindors will look at me funny for my sheer lack of courage", I don't know what level ought to be required.

Rachel Aaron

OK, she's apparently not self-published, so I've added two interviews with her to the article as references. EDIT: And would you believe it, I forgot Hanson is a Notable person and so his recommendation on Overcoming Bias also counts.

But you're probably thinking of the Nebula, which is voted on by members of the SFWA. The Hugo is a reader award, voted on by the attendees of Worldcon.

I thought it was the other way around, but OK. That will help, but one wonders how much - the awards overlap a fair bit. (A quick count suggests 1/3 winners the same over the past 15ish years.)

I'm honestly a bit nonplussed at the idea that reader reception of HPMOR has been insufficiently enthusiastic to try for a Hugo.

The question is which Hugo.

It's fairly routine for a [] review to say that HPMOR is the best thing they've ever read out of all of fiction...I don't know what level ought to be required.

Gee, I wonder how that could possibly be less-impressive-than-it-looks evidence...

4Eliezer Yudkowsky11y
Is the prior that low or something? What should the world look like if HPMOR does have a chance of winning Best Novel?

Is the prior that low or something?

Yes. Can you name a single fanfic that has ever won either prize for best novel? I can't. Keeping in mind that fanfics long predate the Internet, that many noted authors got started as fans or were published in fanzines (Charles Stross being the most recent example I can think of), etc. So Laplace's law gives us a starting point of single percents, and it only gets worse if we take into account nominations as well...

What should the world look like if HPMOR does have a chance of winning Best Novel?

Well, see above. Acceptable substitutes would include reviews and praise by the sort of people whose reviews & praise predict other nominees or winners - Brin is a good start, but we're talking novels that are discussed or reviewed in all the major SF organs and sell into the hundreds of thousands or millions, so the n should be into the dozens for starters.

My guess is there'd need to be more respect for fanfic among the older sf fans, but I could be wrong about that. I'm not the only person for whom HPMOR is the only fanfic I read. (I've read some other good fanfic, but I don't get around to fanfic generally speaking.) I think a sufficiently high proportion of likely voters are on line, but this is based on a feeling of plausibility rather than actual knowledge. When you talk about which award you're going for, is this just a matter of which award you encourage people to nominate it for? In terms of prestige, I think you'd be much better off being nominated for Best Novel and losing than winning the Best Fan Writer award. I find it hard to imagine you winning, but I also find it hard to imagine specific reasons that would make it extremely unlikely. It's quite possible that I'm just engaging in availability bias (all the other winners have been conventionally published) rather than anything more solid.
Ranked preference voting, though. I'd expect a significant numbers of voters to rank "no award" ahead of any fanfic just on general principles. If it was just a single round of single preference voting the odds would look much better.
Not only the attendees. People with supporting memberships can vote as well.
Ah, so you're an optimist.
There was some interest [] in getting the podcast nominated but I guess that didn't amount to anything. I'm not familiar with the Hugo Award categories but since there was no concurrent push for the nomination of the fic in written form, I imagine there was some difficulty finding a category for it. Maybe the pool is a lot smaller for podcasts though and the Eneasz thought that the fic wasn't popular enough on its own to compete in a much larger bracket.

So it (not very surprisingly) came to pass that Draco was not sent back to Hogwarts, at least not yet.

Might be some pressure off of Harry to actively harass Dumbledore what with the enemy pledge. Especially as Draco might be unable to continue with his part of the deal. Though Harry is probably curious at this point himself what the real deal is.

I'd still call it possible that someone else did the deed and Heh just took credit for the good of all, but the probability of him being directly responsible got boosted as he was depicted to consider it important ... (read more)

Not quite, you can answer to a patronus and it carries the message back. This happens in all caseswe’ve seen in MoR. (McGonnagal checking on Harry in Mary’s room, and even when Harry and Draco tested the communication method, when Harry answered in Parseltongue.) So Harry just can’t initiate a conversation, but if Draco does they can communicate freely. Minor magical nitpick: the Patronus is described to move away, not just dissappear, except it doesn’t actually cross through the intervening space. Or in other words, it dissappears but doesn’t appear to. Nice UI.
Point. SIlly me. Well, that makes future communications between them even more of a no-brainer.
As soon as I read that Draco was to be pulled out of Hogwarts, I imagined Lucius was going to obliviate or memory charm Harry's influence on Draco away. It's pretty much a given that Draco was interrogated under Veritaserum by Lucius privately, what we don't know is if Lucius is aware of the total extent of Harry's influence over his son. Precisely what questions would he ask Draco, and based on these questions and the quantity of veritaserum taken, what would the answers be? He can't know the full extent of what Harry taught Draco, because it would take a lot of time for Draco to explain it, and because Lucius would then also have to forcibly see the flawed logic behind blood purism if he happens to analize what Harry said and it makes sense to him, as he would want to understand the details behind Draco's brainwash (from his point of view) in a deep level. Perhaps. Maybe. How much would he be willing to invade his son's privacy and forcibly extract information from him? Does he know the gist of what Harry did or in full detail according to Draco's recollections? To Lucius, Draco's knowledge about Harry is extremely valuable intel, and it'd make sense for him to want to know Harry's modus operandi in as much detail as possible. Draco compared his awakening as a scientist to unknowingly participating in a ritual that irreversibly sacrificed his belief in blood purism. Would Lucius see the irreversibility of this state of mind and decide that the best thing for his son would be to not have this knowledge any more? I assume the obliviation of such a large amount of memories would take its toll on the mind of the mind-wiped as it has happened in canon, but it's more likely Lucius would want to do this carefully and not screw around with his only Son's brain. Would it result in a slightly different personality from the original Draco none the less?

Draco compared his awakening as a scientist to unknowingly participating in a ritual that irreversibly sacrificed his belief in blood purism.

I was under the impression that Draco thought that that was literally what happened.

You know what they say, sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic.

I hear this inversion all the time, but this is the first circumstance under which it was actually very appropriate and witty! Well done.
Yeah, I saw the comment above, and was sort of surprised nobody had made the joke yet. I doubt I'll ever see a more perfect spot for it, either.
IIRC, at multiple drops of Veritaserum, you volunteer information you think is relevant. So unless Lucius is holding the idiot ball, he should know all about the blood purity experiment stuff. Of course, Draco was entangled with Harry from the start, so unless Lucius wants to Obliviate his entire Hogwarts career, basically setting him back a grade...
When canon!Hermione memory charmed her parents she didn't have to take out all fifteen years of their lives that she'd spent with them. Likewise, when Mr. Hat and Cloak erased himself from Blaise's mind he left in all the other stuff Blaise had done between talking to Mr. Hat and Cloak. Memory charms can be selective. Lucius has time, money, and influence. He can afford to have a trustworthy expert go through Draco's memory and edit out only the events that increased Harry's influences over Draco in a fashion Lucius disapproved of.
You read as being selective?
I admit I never read it at all. That doesn't undermine my argument, though, since that's canon and not EY's version. Blaise remains proof that memory charms are selective and don't just wipe out a whole patch of time. (People don't remember in a linear fashion, anyway.)
Hm. Can a poisonous snake Patronus poison someone?
I don't think a Patronus can bite someone; I don't think they're corporeal. If Harry's Patronus could have grown and grown until all the Dementors in Azkaban were destroyed, that's a pretty good sign that it can pass through ordinary matter.
Yup. Guess I was just being paranoid. As I would be, if I were Harry.
I'd doubt they can actually be poisonous. But can Harry suborn a snake Patronus using Parseltongue and perchance gain leaked information from the other side of the link (or even fake a message from Draco to someone else)?
So someone can suborn Harry's Patronus by speaking English?

Parseltongue speakers don't just talk with snakes, they command them.

English speakers have no greater ability to command than speakers of most other languages.

Do they really? The boa constrictor seemed pretty interested in its own stuff, Nagini is a pet and pets in general are obedient, Harry didn't command the Basilisk... so is this actually canon? Admittedly, maybe I just missed something, but I don't remember this.
Harry didn't give the boa any commands, and both Nagini and the Basilisk are being commanded by someone else (specifically, a Voldemort). In Chamber of Secrets, Malfoy summons a snake, Harry talks to it and tells it to not attack anyone, and IIRC, it does not. (The original suggestion is still improbable though - Patronuses wouldn't be the ne plus ultra of secure communications if they could be suborned like that, especially in a war against a famous Parseltongue.)
Even if it were possible, it would only affect snake Patroni. If no one in the Order happened to have one, it would be irrelevant.
Now that I think about it, why hasn't Harry bought a pet snake yet? Having an animal minion he could command would be extremely useful in any amount of situations, and you'd think he'd make the best of his abilities. If he's worried about remembering to feed it, he can have Hermione be responsible for it. In fact, a pet snake would be a great gift from professor Quirrel.
Evil image, more work and complexity (Harry is busy - is a animal minion really a marginal gain?), the need to run it by Dumbledore to get a vault withdrawal (large healthy snakes in the real world are expensive, AFAIK) and the lingering issue of creating sentience?
Because the pet rock turned out so well.
Besides the reasons already mentioned, the standard Hogwarts letter in canon had restrictions on what kinds of animals were allowed as pets -- owls (like Harry has), cats (like Hermione gets in PoA), and toads (like Neville's). All three are stereotypical wizardy/witchy beasts. The Weasley rat is not explained in canon but can be assumed to have been granted as an exception. A snake would probably not be given such an exception, as it might be used to scare other children. Or perhaps snakes are disallowed because then the Gryffindors would ask to be allowed pet lions.

Or perhaps snakes are disallowed because then the Gryffindors would ask to be allowed pet lions.

And you wouldn't want an explicit rule against pet lions, because then the Gryffindors would definitely have secret pet lions.

...Lions are cats. Hmm.
I read a crackfic once where this loophole allowed Calvin to bring Hobbes to Hogwarts. (Hobbes is, of course, a magical creature that Muggles perceive as a stuffed toy.)
...if it is not ( [] ), then I would like a link to that fic, please.
I was talking about this one [].
I am simultaneously dismayed and impressed that you two could be talking about two different such fanfics.
Because getting a pet snake is going to be interpreted as either a sign of Slytherin(which will hardly play well in Ravenclaw) or, if the observer is clever, as a sign that he's a Parselmouth, which is something he'd prefer to keep hidden. The image effects may outweigh the uses.

Oh, crap. Malfoy's blue krait is Voldemort's spy in the Malfoy home.

The Malfoy's have a whole bunch of snakes. I think there's a word for a place you keep a bunch of snakes, like an ofidarium or something. Also, they know that Voldemort was a Parseltongue. Lucius would at least be aware of these spies. I think he would, anyway... do we know that the Death Eaters know that Voldemort was a Parsletonue in this fic? Also, what kind of snake is Quirrell's animagus form? Should we have compared descriptions?
Not sure if joking.
Thanks! That is exactly the passage I didn't find.
IIRC, Harry thought through similar issues with respect to having a pet owl in the early chapters and rejected it on ethical grounds. Perhaps he is generalizing that to all pets. If so, though, I don't think he's correct to do so. A pet that is (assuming Parselmouth works this way) only social when it's with me and not when I'm absent has a very different set of ethical costs than one that is social even when I'm absent.
I guess it could work either way. I mean, Nagini could be obeying Voldemort by virtue of being a well-trained pet, the Basilisk for... whatever reasons the Basilisk does anything for, and Malfoy's summoned snake might listen to Harry because it's inclined to grant random non-difficult favors when asked. None of those seem any less probable than snakes winking, talking, having theory of mind, speaking in ridiculous hisses or knowing Spanish. In fact, none of the snakes in this series seem like snakes at all, so I'm not sure what my priors are regarding them.
I'd say that "Hey, this guy speaks our language, he must be a cool dude" is a lot simpler a hypothesis than linguistic mind control, given that none of the commands are particularly unlikely anyways.
Wait, so you think snakes really are independently sentient?
No. We already know that sentience-borrowing can be accomplished magically(cf. the Sorting Hat). Given that they need to be sentient for the sort of commands Harry discussed earlier to be possible, that is a necessary feature of whatever it is that a Parselmouth does. Mind control is also magically possible, of course, and there's no particular reason it couldn't be included in Parselmouthing, but it seems to violate Occam's Razor to assume that it's necessary as well.
You are assuming that Parselmouthing gives snakes the ability to judge whether to fulfill a request based upon its feelings towards the one requesting. That's something social animals have been naturally selected for; snakes don't have that built in. That Parselmouthing causes snakes to consider requests doesn't seem less of an assumption to me than that Parselmouthing causes snakes to obey commands.
Every species that reproduces sexually needs at least a little bit of skill at socializing. And again, using the example of the Sorting Hat, we know that borrowed sentience closely resembles the sentience of the lender, so snakes don't even need to be good at socializing as long as humans are.
true, about the borrowed sentience - if it is gaining the ability to understand language, and especially if it can understand very social words like "teacher" that we know are representable in Parseltongue, is it really a stretch that it's borrowing human social cognition as well? I should have thought of that.
Using Parseltongue to get a snake to do something is supposed to be persuasion, not mind control. (Although getting a snake brain to understand what you want would take quite the feat of magic... they're not social animals and they aren't as smart as, say, dogs.)
If this is stated or implied anywhere in the fic, I can't find it. What are you referring to?
Well, it's what I assumed from reading the original books...

Harry is being unfair to his mother.

She did not throw away everything for nothing.

She wagered something of such little value it was practically nothing, a life in which she did not do everything she could to save her infant son, against a test she had very little chance of passing, singlehandedly taking down the Big Bad.

When the cost is so low the bet is less foolish.

She wagered something of such little value it was practically nothing, a life in which she did not do everything she could to save her infant son,

This is a rather blatant method of disguising a deontological ('ethical') demand as a utilitarian calculation. You can easily transform any deontology of "Do X" into a utilitarian calculation by asserting 'I assign zero utility to my life if I fail to do X'.

But it does not seem likely that this was truly what was going through Lily Potter's mind.

It actually seems very likely that that's exactly what was going through Lily's mind. Whether it should have been is a whole other question, but that seems like the most plausible thought for a parent who's faced with the imminent murder of her child.
I don't think that's how 'thought' works. In situations like that is it not more like this?
Okay, that's true too. But the reflexive denial would probably be based on that, if she were capable of stepping back a bit in the moment.
I think that's the basis of some of Harry's internal conversations. In particular, the one in the middle of the end-of-trial deal. He didn't actually stop and think through all of those different facets to his decisions, that conversation is instead what it would have sounded like if he had. In actual experience, it was probably a mental flurry of easily recognized but half-formed thoughts that momentarily caused a system crash in his explicit thinking. He ends up just taking the least embarrassing route, the one where he could behave in retrospect like his actions had been consciously and consistently principled.

The current chapter is destroying my head (like Quirrel's humming) - Bones's story is consistent with some of Quirrel, but has so many problems with other stuff.

But OK, we can assume that Bones is telling the truth 100% about the past person, even if Quirrel is not him or related to him, and speculate who it is. She specifies he's Noble, so we don't have a lot of canon characters to go through. I initially thought it was Regulus Black since it fit the Noble Houses last scion disappeared during the wizarding war.

And then I remembered a year was cited. He wa... (read more)


Something doesn't quite fit.

It is too clever and too impossible, which was ever Voldemort's signature since the days he was known as Tom Riddle.

Dumbledore knows that Voldemort is Tom Riddle, so the double-game wouldn't have worked. Maybe Dumbledore only found out that they were one and the same later on?

Snape and Mad-eye Moody also know it's Riddle since they poison his father's grave. Minerva was present when Dumbledore said that, and did not comment on it ('surely not the heroic Riddle, our old ally!'). So we have multiple examples, but they're all trusted key members of the Order who even know about Horcruxes, so they don't tell us anything about when the identity was found (assuming I'm right).
The first part of the description - date of birth / graduation, Slytherin, disappeared in Albania - was meant to make us think Bones figured out that Quirrell = Riddle. Shock! Then nothing after that tracks, and apparently she's talking about a good guy? Huh? So, apparently what happened is that Voldemort waylaid one of his (usefully Noble) classmates in Albania early on, then decided to assume his identity part-time twenty five years later, with the goal of rising to power as the hero who vanquished the Dark Lord (who he also was). Bones thinks that Quirrell's Yule speech about a 'Mark of Britain' sounded familiar; so apparently he wasn't able to give up on the tyranny bit. I think we can take Quirrell's explanation to Hermione as roughly similar to fact; he saw that the hero wasn't getting respect, and people were falling all over themselves to grovel before the Dark Lord, and decided to stick with the persona he found more pleasant to assume.
Not to be, er, pedantic, but there does seem to be a difference between Noble and Ancient houses. By Draco's reckoning, the House of Potter is Noble but not Most Ancient [].
Good catch.
Thank you, that's interesting. Come to think of it, all the other references for House Potter I saw just said "Noble House" too, I just thought it was a shortening. So there's only scions of three out of seven Ancient Houses in Harry's year.
I'm not sure there is a difference: "You know that spell?" "Oh, no, it's the Charm of the Most Ancient Blade, it's only legal for Noble and Most Ancient Houses to use -" Hermione stopped talking and looked at Harry, or Harry's grey hood rather. "Well," said Harry's voice, "I guess I could take down the rest of the Sunshine Regiment by myself, then." She couldn't see his face, but his voice sounded like he was smiling.
Pretty sure that's "[Noble and Most Ancient] Houses", not "[Noble] and (Most Ancient) Houses".
Or Q. messed with Bones's head part-way through her little speech using some kind of wandless mind-magic. But that seems even less likely.
If Voldemort is capable of that, then this fic will entirely cease to be interesting. Mind control at a glance in the hands of an intelligent character is god-level powers.
Heck, I don't see why imperius in the hands of an intelligent character isn't a god-level power, especially when combined with memory charm and legilimency.
So Riddle - who is indeed a Noble House descendent in canon - waylays and murders another Noble House descendant born in the same year? I see...
No, he's not. Gaunt isn't a Noble and Most Ancient House in canon. Neither is Malfoy, Greengrass, Potter or Longbottom. The only canonical Noble and Most Ancient House is Black. And anyway, in Harry's current year there's Harry himself, Neville, Daphne and Draco. It's not that strange.
Bones is clearly talking about Tom Riddle, Jr., who seems to have brilliantly played both sides of the field as he rose to power.
Senior was a muggle who was murdered by Junior, who later changed his name to Voldemort. As far as the wizards are concerned, Junior is the only Tom Riddle.

I noticed a typo:

"The old wizard nodded, but his eyes still seemed distant, fixed only on the road head."

Road head is a little bit different from road ahead.

2Swimmer963 (Miranda Dixon-Luinenburg) 11y
I could not stop laughing for a whole minute.
And while we're at it: Albus says "The Department of Secrets is not lightly defied," in reference to a Time-Turner. But earlier in the fic (and in canon), we have And at the end: I'm not sure, but I think the missing period after "so she started climbing up the stairs toward her dorm room" was a mistake, rather than stylistic.

This has probably been mentioned before, but:

a) what if primary goal of this plot was never hurting Draco or Hermione, but to weaken Harry by making him relinquish his money/his claim to the debt from Lucius? Either the money or the claim to the debt that House Of Malfoy has towards him could be something that is dangerous to a hitherto unknown plan of H+C, which is why H+C devised a plot which would strip Harry of both. A genius (like Quirrelmort) could have predicted that Harry might offer either, in exchange for freeing Hermione. In fact, it might have... (read more)

Not really, she is indicated to be interested in history, and shown reading history books all the time. In another situation I would have be surprised by her willingness (given her wish to be “her own person”), but after being threatened with Dementors...

There's a passage for that in Chapter 9.

Harry knew pi out to 3.141592 because accuracy to one part in a million was enough for most practical purposes. Hermione knew one hundred digits of pi because that was how many digits had been printed in the back of her math textbook.

I'm actually annoyed by this. Since the next digit is 6, he should be rounding to 3.141593, not truncating at 3.141592.

The difference between the two is 0.000001, and the difference in quality of approximation is roughly 0.0000003. So I don't think it matters as a practical preference. Aesthetically, the string of digits of Pi has a cultural significance of its own, quite apart from its numerical value, so I think it's preferable to memorize a number that's actually a prefix of that string. Also, only if you truncate can you truly say that you've memorized "the first six digits of Pi after the decimal" as opposed to "An approximation of Pi to plus or minus 0.0000005 tolerance".
The sixth decimal digit of pi after the decimal point is 2. The value of the millionths place in the decimal expression of pi when rounded to the millionths place is 3. The reason I know pi out to the sixth decimal digit past the decimal point is because the digits to the fifth fit into an easy rhyme, but the fifth decimal digit after the decimal point is a 9. If it were to round up there would be a little cascade, so it's good to know the next digit. If Harry knew to round up the millionths place in the decimal expression of pi when rounded to the millionths place, he would know pi out to the ten millionths place, or the seventh decimal digit following the decimal point. Rounding errors at the millionths place are errors of less than one part in a million. The original text remains correct.
One doesn't need to remember what the digit past the rounded one is in order to memorize the rounded figure. Did I say that the text was incorrect? I'm 99.999% sure I didn't, but looking back . . . no, still looks like I didn't. All I said was that I was annoyed, and what I think Harry should have memorized instead.
If this annoys you and so you always stop your approximations at a point where the next digit is 0..4, I think this biases your estimates of numbers (in a way that doesn't really matter for most purposes).
Why would I do that rather than simply round correctly for the number of sig figs I'm dealing with? I don't particularly care how many digits Harry want to go to, just think he should pick 3, or 3.1, or 3.14, or 3.142, or 3.1416, or 3.14159, or 3.141593, or 3.1415927, or 3.14159265 . . . etc.
Obviously Harry should go up to the Feynman point [].
It's a risk for a hypothetical person who is bothered by having to round, which isn't precisely the thing you're bothered by. A person who doesn't decide in advance how many digits to use/remember.
I agree with bogdanb. "Hermione knows X by heart" is usually equivalent to "Hermione saw X in a book", and Hermione seeks out books.
a) Unlikely, but I think it's a payoff that Voldemort will still consider to be worth the (rather trivial) costs of setting his plan into motion. It's not as ideal as denying Hermione to Harry, but it still imposed significant costs, which is all to the good. b) Oh lord.
Gut reaction is the same, but the part of me that remembers the rule of rationalist fiction is thinking there's no way Quirrellmort could have predicted both Harry's and Lucius' actions that exactly.
Which is why I say my a). He had no believable way of predicting this outcome, and the one he almost certainly expected didn't happen(well, it partially did, p>0.5 Draco is lost to Harry now, but Hermione is not), but it's still a result that was worth the effort he put in, so I doubt he's shedding too many tears.
Feeling exactly the same.

ch. 82 stepped on my toes just a tiny bit, because I'd been planning a piece of short meta-fanfiction (and by planning, I mean that in the 4 months since I had the idea, I've written 2 paragraphs of it, or so) in which Harry among other things referred to Hermione as of "infinite value" to him.

Now it's gonna look a bit redundant and repetitive if I ever do finish it up -- though on the upside, it seems I had a decently good feel for Harry's character. :-)

Dark rituals involve permanent sacrifice. The way I see it, Dumbledore sacrificed his capacity for love in order to win the war. And he isn't going to get it back, no matter how much Harry's words make him want to have it back.