Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 14, chapter 82

by FAWS1 min read4th Apr 2012794 comments


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

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: 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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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 Yudkowsky9yWhy 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?

7thomblake9yNo, it's severally sufficient, not necessary - testable predictions deserve upvotes. Predictions about MoR are commonly recorded on PredictionBook [http://predictionbook.com/], which sadly does not offer prizes but can tell you how good your past predictions were so you can get better.
7Eliezer Yudkowsky9yIf so, I missed the same boat. I looked at the downvotes and was like 'Wha?'
9Spencer_Sleep9yI 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.

5[anonymous]9yOut of curiosity. Given that Eliezer's cited this [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/3rb/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/3edh] post as his inspiration for creating SPHEW, how likely do you think it is that he's aware of the "women in refrigerators" [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StuffedIntoTheFridge] trope, and if he's aware of it, that he would ignore the objections to it and use it anyway?

Nothing in this story so far represents either FAI or UFAI. Consider it Word of God.

9Percent_Carbon9yThank all that is amoral. It is well and good this is made clear. Wait... Damn it, all.

And I have no intention at this time to do it later, but don't want to make it a blanket prohibition. Who knows, I could run into a possible metaphor that would, improbably, not suck like a giant black hole.

6Percent_Carbon9yNo intention? So the story isn't planned to end with Harry creating a godlike super entity operating outside of time to ensure eternal life for all thinking beings, to download of all consciousnesses throughout history at their point of death, to lay the foundations of magic, and in that way to all at once resolve questions regarding Atlantis, the afterlife, and how to write the happiest, most clearly drunk on wish fulfillment and indulgent to the 'bargaining' stage of grief/acceptance-est ending possible?

Surely not, if the story is nearer its end than its beginning, given its pacing so far. Given Eliezer's beliefs about FAI, and that the story is not supposed to lie, Harry attempting to create a godlike AI without years of careful research should result in a Bad End.

4Percent_Carbon9yI admit I had not considered that when making my ridiculous proposal. However, EY has suggested that a good and bad end are already written. The bad end of 3 Worlds was 'happily ever after,' so my ridiculous proposal is made no less valid by not meeting your entirely reasonable criteria for a good end, based on teaching a poor moral.
3Anubhav9yThe Atlantis thing was proposed in a chapter titled "Hold Off On Proposing Solutions".
5kilobug9yOh, that kills my secret hypothesis that the "Source of Magic" was a failed attempt at making a FAI (well, I guess I wasn't the first to think about it anyway). Thanks for dispelling the doubt, anyway.
8gRR9yActually, the Word of Eliezer didn't kill this hypothesis yet. He only said nothing in the story represents either FAI or UFAI, in the allegorical sense. But a real FAI/UFAI can still be there.

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)

[-][anonymous]9y 24

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.

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.”

7pedanterrific9yNow 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"...
3buybuydandavis9yI 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.

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.

9ArisKatsaris9yThere 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.

5J_Taylor9y->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.

6drethelin9yWhat he really needs to do is save draco in the same way
5Alsadius9ySave him from who? His father's(perfectly reasonable) educational decisions?
6MarkusRamikin9yThen again Dumbledore just pointed out that being Harry's friend will now make you a target.

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)

"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.

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?)

[-][anonymous]9y 13

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. :)

6[anonymous]9yWell, 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.
5[anonymous]9yI 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.
4[anonymous]9yA 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.

6Benquo9yNow I'm wondering whether the HPMOR Voldemort is not the original Tom Riddle, but just another Horcrux, and a rather degraded one, at that.
5Rhwawn9y'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?
3Benquo9yI 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.)
4Rhwawn9yThe 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.
5loserthree9yFrom 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.
3[anonymous]9yTo 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.

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!

8JoeA9yThat 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...

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.

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...

7Nornagest9yHmm, 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.

3JoachimSchipper9yQuirrel 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.)
6faul_sname9yMany 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.
[-][anonymous]9y 29

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 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 ff.net'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.

6culdraug9yI would also like to vote in support of weekly releases.
5Raemon9yI prefer them spaced out, although maybe slightly more frequently than once per week. Mostly for a "draw out the HPMoR experience" reason.
5Brickman9yPersonally, 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...
3thomblake9yVery much agree. Co-readers and discussions are cool.

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.

8bogdanb9yBut 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.

9Eponymuse9yI'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.
4bogdanb9yPoint. I forgot he knew about the Horcruxes since basically the beginning.
7Spurlock9yI 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.

9pedanterrific9yIt all just clicks seamlessly into place!
8Alejandro19ySurely, you mean it all clucks seamlessly into place.
5moritz9yIt's chickens all the way down, isn't it?
4thomblake9yThis fits together so well I'm going to have trouble remembering that Dumbledore didn't switch Narcissa's brain with a chicken.

This is absurd: You thought up a detailed scenario, and you assign it ten times more probability than all other alternative scenarios of apologies put together:

  • Harry apologizes in person
  • Harry apologizes in writing (but without making a list of people versus Galleons)
  • Harry apologizes through an intermediary (e.g. "Professor McGonaggal, please tell the Headmaster I'm sorry for the things I said", or "Fawkes, give Albus a hug for me.")
  • Harry apologizes indirectly by defending Dumbledore's actions in public to Hermione's classmates.
  • Harry apologizes through an elaborate prank that utilizes the Time Turner, the True Cloak of Invisibility, and exploding birthday cake.

Etc, etc...

5Paulovsk9yI laughed so hard that it hurt.
[-][anonymous]9y 21

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)
8Desrtopa9yI 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.
5ArisKatsaris9yWe 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.

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.

7Nornagest9yFirst 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.
5FiftyTwo9yRemember what Eleizer said in the authors notes about simple vs. complex explanations? I'd default to the 'big round number' hypothesis.
8Brickman9yI 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.
[-][anonymous]9y 18

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.

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.)

8pedanterrific9yForgot Harry's parents were dead? What in the world?
5moridinamael9yI 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.

Draco clearly has no more role in the story, as shown in the latest chapter

"Clearly"? That rather assumes lots and lots of stuff. I don't share your assumptions regarding this.

All parties would be more distressed by events (particularly Lucius), but could still act in the same manner despite this whilst seeming believable.

If Draco died, Lucius would abandon his whole political game in a mad attempt to take vengeance on whoever he considered responsible -- Harrymort, Dumbledore, whoever.

Plus, the grief/ over Draco's death would shadow over Harry's worry for Hermione in a way, in a sense that we'd not be able to get a proper appreciation of the latter.

You're using TVTropes here to generalize from fictional evidence. Normally you can apply this effectively to other works of fiction, but I think Methods is written largely with the aim of avoiding conventional 'story-logic' in favor of logic that could actually work in the real world.

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)

6Alsadius9yEver 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.)

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?

3Raemon9yHe may very well do that, but also remember that people ARE still up against Dumbledore, who DOES have his reputation intact.
3NihilCredo9yUnfortunately, 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.

[-][anonymous]9y 16

Dog-latin magic that runs on Aristotelian physics and enables non-Turing-computable time travel is "logic that could actually work in the real world"?

No, it's a set of premises which happen not to be true in the real world. Logic consists of starting with a set of premises and making conclusions. Obviously Harry Potter is going to arrive at different conclusions about his world, than we will arrive at about ours. That doesn't mean that he is using a special kind of logic called "magic-logic".

9CronoDAS9yAlthough, Draco was beginning to realize, when he and Harry and Professor Quirrell had dismissed Miss Granger as having as much intent to kill as a bowl of wet grapes, they'd never seen her angry. [http://perf.hpmor.com/chapter/78]

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".

9bogdanb9yI 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.
8DanArmak9yNow 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.
8Grognor9yThis 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.

8Luke_A_Somers9yWho, it may be noted, was eventually found innocent.
6khafra9yI 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.
4Alsadius9yYeah, 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.

5maia9yActually, 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".

3Brickman9yPersonally 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.
5Eugine_Nier9yHarry doesn't know about the GHD attack and so his working hypothesis is that her memory of attempting to kill Draco is false.
5Brickman9y"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.
3ChrisHallquist9yThis 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.

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).

4aladner9yIt 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.
5disinter9yThe 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.

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...

I think we're starting to outgrow the original spec for the lesswrong.com 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 hpmor.com?

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 hpmor.com 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.

4Alsadius9yI 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.

Draco clearly has no more role in the story, as shown in the latest chapter.

I'm just not convinced this is true. If it is true, then practically every Draco-becoming-a-rationalist moment, along with every bit of saving Slytherin House was utterly pointless (from a story point of view). In other words, if all that was pointless, then I agree with you that not killing Draco is inexplicable.

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).

[-][anonymous]9y 14

"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."

4gwern9y"The Bayesian Conspiracy was just the beginning, now it's moved out of the classroom - it's called Chaos Army."
7ArisKatsaris9yI'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...
6Incorrect9yI think HP is partially based on EY. For example, EY once bit a teacher [http://web.archive.org/web/20010205221413/http://sysopmind.com/eliezer.html#timeline_school] . 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...

4arundelo9yI'm sure Eliezer knows that old stuff of his is on archive.org. If he wanted to, he could have it removed [http://archive.org/about/exclude.php].
2Alex_Altair9yThis is everything I've wanted to know about Eliezer.
6disinter9yIt's a real disorder If that's what concerns you. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-24-hour_sleep-wake_disorder] 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.
5malthrin9yThanks, I didn't realize that was a real thing. Harry's sleep schedule wasn't on the red herring list. Further investigation warranted.
4erratio9yBut equally not everything that happens is intended to have further meaning, eg. the Bacon diary was just intended as a character piece

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.

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.

4Percent_Carbon9yUpvoted for calling out privilege.

A few minutes have effectively passed in-story since they returned from the Wizengamot, so there's no need for them to rush to raise money for a debt coming due after 6 years. And very clearly Dumbledore's point was that it was bad strategy to agree to pay up, not that Harry would be utterly incapable to pay up.

Downvoted for annoying use of sarcasm instead of attempting to understand where either the characters or the story are coming from. It's easy for a reader to snark at everything that happens. Your snark doesn't indicate intelligent commentary though.

but couldn't seem to find a neuron to spare to solve the problem. Harry owes 60k.

Sheesh, you didn't even realize that the problem Dumbledore was indicating was not that Harry owed 60k.

He carefully evaded the question of whether or not he was Santa Claus.

Nodding is not an evasion. It means "yes".

the amount Aberforth was ransomed for

Wasn't ransomed for.

[-][anonymous]9y 12

One thing I learned from the Imperius debt experience is that this sort of impression can be misleading.

I thought that the possibility of Harry bringing up the Imperius debt was unlikely because it seemed like one of those crack fic ideas and the story so far was very much unlike those. What I failed to consider was that a lot of my impression of the plausibility of the story depends on the external details surrounding it: the writing style, Harry's internal thoughts, the reactions of the other characters, and so on. It was somehow a lot easier for me to come up with such details for other ideas, and so I thought they were much more likely.

Similarly, here, the "Send Dumbledore a conversion table" idea is already a Harry-like thing to do as stated, so it's easy to imagine in a story (it seems a little OOC, but not significantly so). "Just say he's sorry" is not a Harry-like thing to do at all, it's a very generic thing to do. So you don't imagine it being in the story.

But it's easy to wrap the plot feature of Harry just saying he's sorry in believable detail. Have him approach the table while angsting about some psychological experiment related to apologizing. Ma... (read more)

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)
3Incorrect9yActually 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
8gwern9y"Have you got anything without spam?"


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.

6Percent_Carbon9yIt is said that bad jokes are downvoted. [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/bmx/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/6anh] 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.
275th9yYeah, 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.

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."

8gwern9yI 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.

4Bill_McGrath9yI 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.
375th9yI 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.

The professor might instead abscond with valuable school property and adopt a new identity.

The curse is basically an outcome pump with the specification "Defense Against the Dark Arts professorship vacated by end of year." It's difficult to exploit something with a possibility space that large (discounting obvious tricks like "bet against the professor lasting the year," which by now nobody would fall for anyway.)

4Rhwawn9yWell, you can bet with the professor. Specifically, you offer him a bet that functions as insurance or a hedge for him: bet he doesn't last the year, and if he does (very good) then he loses a smaller bet (a little bad), but if he fails (very bad) then he wins a bet (a little good). This, unfortunately, can't insure against anthropic risks (the professor dying due to the curse). But it does work in general, and it increases in effectiveness with the effectiveness of the curse. You could probably structure it in such a way that even your absconding scenario works: something like have him sign a loan due in a year, hand over a Gringotts vault filled with your end of the bet, and then if he leaves he can stop by Gringotts on the way out.

And the other is an Anita Blake joke, yeah.

Edit: Google searching "umbridge centaurs" turns up this awesome article. Don't mess with Hermione, folks.

Counterpoint to 1 - Lucius is a major player in the story now and Draco is important to him. Draco still has his rationality training and access to his father, if he needs to sway him.

Plus, Harry has given Draco an unblockable means of instantaneous communication that nobody even suspects he has. Plot-wise, that means he's now never completely out of the story unless he gets killed or sent to Azkaban.

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.

3AspiringKnitter9yDo 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.
4gwern9yHarry 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.)
7pedanterrific9yEven if it were possible, it would only affect snake Patroni. If no one in the Order happened to have one, it would be irrelevant.
6cultureulterior9yNow 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.
6gwern9yEvil 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?
5Desrtopa9yBecause the pet rock turned out so well.
4ArisKatsaris9yBesides 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.

2pedanterrific9y...Lions are cats. Hmm.
7Alicorn9yI 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.)
3Alsadius9yBecause 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.

2TheOtherDave9yIIRC, 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.
3AspiringKnitter9yI 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.

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.

7smk9yIt's posted in the hpmor.com author's note due to FFN being unresponsive: http://hpmor.com/notes/83/ [http://hpmor.com/notes/83/]

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.

6FAWS9yAnd 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.
5Desrtopa9yThe 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."
5ChrisHallquist9yExcept Lucius doesn't know that, because he thinks this was part of some inscrutable plot by Harrymort!

"House of Gaunt" is just what they called themselves as far as we know; the word "noble" was never used in relation to it. There is no "House Potter"; canonically Potter is just a last name. The Gaunts are descended from the Peverell brothers and Salazar, yes, but you may notice that none of them held noble titles.

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.

So, basically the plot of 1984.

Presumably they disappear somehow (old age?) as well,

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.

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

Harry can't hear them speak. He doesn't even think they have anything like minds or memories, either.

Plus I can't imagine hundreds of idiots summonin

... (read more)

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".

4ChrisHallquist9yHence the "...in the sense... ...in 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. [http://lesswrong.com/lw/nu/taboo_your_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.

6Percent_Carbon9yMore 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.

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.

9Alsadius9ySo 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.
6[anonymous]9yI'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
9Desrtopa9yIf 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.
2jkwaser9yAccording to the (admittedly non-canon) game The Force Unleashed, this is the original source of the Rebellion.


(Just saw new chapter. Looks like you were right. But if Draco's really gone, then I'm really confused where this story is and has been heading. Draco is not capable of leading a Bayesian Conspiracy. HJPEV is barely capable of doing so, in that he is a ridiculously overpowered polymath genius. If the main person of Harry's age worth inducting into the Bayesian Conspiracy is not longer in contact with Harry, what's the point of the Bayesian Conspiracy? Conservation of detail, if nothing else. ).

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.

6Desrtopa9yAs 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.
5Bugmaster9yAs 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.

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.

"effectively zero", meaning "so small as to be utterly negligible", is however.

Confusing the difference between utterly negligible non-zero probability and small non-zero probability that's enough to pay attention to is an annoying but common fallacy. There should be a name for it already, does anyone know what it is?

I'm having a hard time thinking of evidence that would be stronger than the evidence against Hermione. Even if Harry saw her hex Malfoy with his own eyes, I wouldn't put it past him to suspect he was memory charmed. It doesn't seem like Harry is seriously considering the possibility that Hermione is actually guilty. Can you think of evidence that would cause him to raise the probability, not even to 50%, but to 5%?

And why does Harry believe in the innocence of Hermione? Take the outside view. It is the first crush of a child. Natural selection did not spit out such a thing as pure innocents.

If Lucius really was imperiused, why does his son think he sided with Voldemort deliberately?

"You're right, it's fair, I can't complain," Harry said instead. "So what about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? Not as bad as he was made out to be?"

Draco looked bitter, at that. "So you think it's all just making Father's side look good and Dumbledore's side look bad, and that I believe it all myself just because Father told me."

"It's a possibility I'm considering," Harry said evenly.

Draco's voice was low and intense. "They

... (read more)
3buybuydandavis9yConsistency 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.

6ChrisHallquist9yThe "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.
2[anonymous]9yA 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."

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.

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. Oc... (read more)

8TheOtherDave9yJust 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?
6TimS9yThe 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 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandinista_National_Liberation_Front]. 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).

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 wises
... (read more)
  • 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!

9see9yIn 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.
4pedanterrific9yThis is the first actually plausible-sounding explanation for this I've ever heard.
2see9yIt'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.
5Alsadius9yShe 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.
4gRR9yIn 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.

The avadra did backfire.

It almost certainly did not.

Beneath the moonlight glints a tiny fragment of silver, a fraction of a line... (black robes, falling) ...blood spills out in liters, and someone screams a word.

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.

The Killing Curse is formed of pure hate, and strikes directly at the soul, severing it from the body.

It leaves no marks, either.

The Killing Curse reflected and rebounded and struck the Dark

... (read more)

You're still using entirely fictional evidence.

Also, you are suggesting that Hermione was convinced that killing Draco was the right thing to do. That's probably incorrect: she was described as saying she stunned Draco in a "fit of anger" and felt horrible afterward.

(The only reason I say "probably" is because the court Legilimens did, in fact, find her fantasizing about how she thought Draco might cause harm to her or Harry.)

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)

5thelittledoctor9yWell, 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.

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.

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.

Text of decision here

Should be interesting, I'll take a look. Bu... (read more)

5TimS9yAs I stated here [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/bfo/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/6bxu] , 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.
3thomblake9yI 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 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformativeness]: In practice, it lets the courts say "I would make an exception for MoR because it's just so damn good".
5komponisto9yActually, 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.)

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 explici... (read more)

5[anonymous]9yThat 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'.
3gwern9yIt 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.)

this plan does have her working in finance in 2011 (when she's ~22, she can't start that much earlier.)

She'll be in her thirties in 2011.

Doing stupid things to amuse yourself seems like exactly the opposite of everything Voldemort has ever done. If ever anyone has epitomized ruthless efficiency, he's the guy.

6moridinamael9yQuirrell frequently brags about things he shouldn't mention, things with massive blowback potential. He also obvious relishes outsmarting and dominating others. I'm not just disagreeing for argument's sake. Look at the plot that resulted in the three-way tie in the underwater Defense battle. Clearly the universe of this fic allows absurdly complex plots to work when the plotters are of a high enough level.
7Desrtopa9yQuirrel himself noted that plans that contingent on uncontrollable events tend to fail. Dumbledore wasn't counting on that plan working, as he said, "That's why it's important to have more than one plot going at once." The plan that resulted in the three way tie succeeded largely due to luck.
4thomblake9yIt only looks complicated. Yes, it was not extremely probable that Blaise would be amongst the last few standing. But very quickly all teams raced towards an even score in a fairly predictable self-organizing way. So there weren't really a lot of moving parts there, just one complicated system with fairly predictable behavior, and some complicated-looking plotting to get Blaise's cooperation, and just a bit of luck that Blaise didn't get knocked out earlier (helped by Blaise being mostly interested in survival instead of racking up points)
2thomblake9yThat does not match my model of canon Voldemort, and I assume that MoR pre-Harry Voldemort was very similar. I expect Voldemort to kill/torture valuable minions because of impulses ("to amuse yourself") even if it would harm his overall goals.
2[anonymous]9yWhy would MoR Voldemort be different pre-Harry or post-Harry?

From Ch. 24:

That was when Father had told Draco about the Rule of Three, which was that any plot which required more than three different things to happen would never work in real life.

Father had further explained that since only a fool would attempt a plot that was as complicated as possible, the real limit was two.

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.

4Percent_Carbon9yFine. 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

Or just transmute cyanide into oxygen.

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... (read more)

There's a difference in degree there. Compare, say, the end of Ch 63(TSPE Aftermaths) with Ch 54(TSPE 4, where Harry is walking in Azkaban with no Patronus). It's not a bright line, but it's definitely different.

And what about the disutility of saying "yes, I did burn her alive" and this potentially leaking back to his supporters ?

You mean if he actually said it as clearly as that to Lucius Malfoy?

Almost nobody believed Lucius, not even his own supporters in the Wizengamot, as has been mentioned in the story already. Only the Death Eaters seem to have believed it, perhaps because Voldemort believed it.

It's different if The Boy Who Lived testifies to the same effect (that Dumbledore told him he did it) infront of the Wizengamot.

Why would Dumbledore use evasive statements to Lucius if Dumbledore's purpose back then was to convince Lucius that he did kill Narcissa?

His words to Harry are different because the context is different - he wants Harry to understand the necessity behind the Death Eaters thinking he burned Narcissa alive, but there exists disutility both in saying "no, I didn't burn her alive" and this potentially leaking back to the Death Eaters, and in saying "yes, I did burn her alive" and this potentially leaking back to the Wizengamot.

So he gives Harry the reasons that the belief is necessary, but he doesn't tell him if it's true.

[-][anonymous]9y 7

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?

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:

Except as provided below, the final Award ballots shall list in each category the five eligible nominees receiving the most nominations. If there is a tie including fifth place, all the tied eligible nominees shall be listed.


3.8.5: No nominee shall appear on the final Award bnominatallot if it received fewer nominations than five percent (5%) of the number of ballots listing one

... (read more)

"Record this"? What? Did I, like, fail to perceive some unwritten rule that every future-looking statement on lesswrong.com 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.

5pedanterrific9ygwern is referring to his use of PredictionBook [http://lesswrong.com/lw/bl4/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/].
575th9yThank 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.
4pedanterrific9yWell, 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.
3gwern9yPredictions know no article bounds! Such confidence in predictions as 75th deserves either reward or punishment.
375th9yHeh. 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.
4gwern9yI 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.

What in the world are you talking about? You brought up canon first, I was just correcting you.

So Riddle - who is indeed a Noble House descendent in canon -

No, he's not. [snip canon facts]

My point about MoR-canon was that scions of four out of seven Noble Houses are in the same year, so Voldemort being classmates with one (from a cadet branch, even) shouldn't be considered odd.

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.

Obviously Harry should go up to the Feynman point.

That's untrue. I quote from the Iraq Resolution, the document passed by Congress declaring war:

Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;

Whereas Iraq's demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi regime will either employ those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United States or its Armed Forces or provide the

... (read more)

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)?

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.

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?

5LucasSloan9yWell, almost certainly Crabbe and Goyle are pulling out too.

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."

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 Dumbledo... (read more)

6pedanterrific9yI 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


Hermione knocks on the door of the Headmaster's office, while Harry and Dumbledore are having a chat. "I thought you'd like to know," she says, "I'm going to kill Draco Malfoy." She then turns around and leaves. Harry laughs nervously, but Dumbledore looks worried. "We probably ought to follow her."

They arrive at the trophy room just in time to see Hermione stun Malfoy and cast the blood-cooling charm on him. She turns around and sees Harry, and smiles. "Well, now you're safe, Harry."

The subsequent investigatio... (read more)

How's that? He doesn't seem very, you know, apocalyptic.

... 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.

9linkhyrule59yDerp. Probability 10%, because it seems a little OOC.
3[anonymous]9yWhat's the total probability that Harry will apologize, then?
3Benquo9yThis is related, and is a good way to become smarter about taboo tradeoffs too: Making Big Decisions about Money [http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/03/making-big-decisions-about-money.html]

Pretty small - but not that much smaller than any other random 11 year old trying to kill someone

I'm sure that Harry's suspicions won't be primarily focused on other 11-year olds either. Snape/Quirrel/Voldemort's ghost would be his prime suspects. If and after he's eliminated them, he'll probably move to other professors, and then to upper-classmen students.

If he's in the end reduced to investigating 11-year old suspects, he'd probably still be first considering people like Zabini, or Crabbe, or Padma first. And now that i think of it, Susan Bones too, since who knows whether her double-witch powers are in reality a hint of some dark power possessing her or whatever.

I am simultaneously dismayed and impressed that you two could be talking about two different such fanfics.

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.

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.

4komponisto9yI 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.
6gwern9ySomething that could be said with equal justice of _The Wind Done Gone [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wind_Done_Gone]_.
5TimS9yBut see Dr. Suess Enterprises v. Penguin Books [http://archive.ca9.uscourts.gov/coa/newopinions.nsf/04485f8dcbd4e1ea882569520074e698/9956f7fcc672f7cd88256e5a0071e93a?OpenDocument] . 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.
3gwern9yHow 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 [http://digitalcommons.law.ggu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1720&context=ggulrev] on that, I see nothing about the Seuss parody parodizing Seuss, and plenty that fits MoR, eg.: or
7TimS9yThere'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 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use#Fair_use_under_United_States_law] 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.
3gwern9yNaturally, but we're discussing MoR here.
3TimS9yAs 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.
2komponisto9y...and sure enough, there was a lawsuit [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wind_Done_Gone#Legal_controversy].
3gwern9yWhich 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!
3komponisto9yNo, it says they settled: ...thus in effect purchasing the right to publish, which is what they were supposed to have done all along.

since the legalities of fanfic prohibit any conventional sort of publication

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).

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.

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?

575th9yI 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.

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)

5Danylo9yAssume 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.
5Alsadius9y2b 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.
4ChrisHallquist9yBut 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?:
475th9yYour 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)
575th9yYes, 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.
8ChrisHallquist9yThank 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?
4ArisKatsaris9yYou're misremembering the chapter, that scene ends like this:
3TheOtherDave9yAn experienced mage making an unforced error of that magnitude sounds an awful lot like the Idiot Ball to me.

But the whole point of killing Narcissa is to shock the Death Eaters. If you've gotten to the point where it seems like a good idea to murder someone for shock value, you don't do a half-assed job, you do it nasty. To do otherwise would be a waste, because if you murder her and it doesn't have the desired effect, then you did it for nothing.

2Percent_Carbon9yThere is a difference between killing someone in a messy but expedient manner, like a weapon deemed inhumane, and torturing someone to death. 1) the killer must sustain killing intent throughout the torture 2) the killer is vulnerable to counter-attack while torturing when, instead, they could be done and absent 3) the things we do change us, a torturer is likely to (almost must) become less empathetic than one who quickly executes, and empathy is a valuable skill in many activities

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 wo... (read more)

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 Yudkowsky9yWhen 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?

6Alex_Altair9yI 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?
9gwern9yTry looking through the Hugo or Nebula best novel awards [http://www.sutor.com/c/reading/reading-scifi/]. 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).
2Eliezer Yudkowsky9yIt's gotten sufficiently rapturous praise. I see no reason not to try.
4gwern9yI found citations for ESR and David Brin [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliezer_Yudkowsky#Publications] (only the latter is a SF writer), who praised it but did not receive it rapturously; are there writers I have missed?
7Percent_Carbon9yI 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.)

6TheOtherDave9yI 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


4Eugine_Nier9yMy theory is that Eliezer is overestimating his chances of winning best novel.
2cultureulterior9yAll 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.
3gwern9yI'm not sure that materially increases the number of votes one could expect. Gee, only $60...
2Eliezer Yudkowsky9yI 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?

2TheOtherDave9yWhy, so you did. Careless reading of me... my apologies.
4Eliezer Yudkowsky9yI'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 FF.net?) 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)

9gwern9yI've added it to the registry [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Bets_registry&diff=next&oldid=5815] & PredictionBook [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6556].
2[anonymous]9yYou 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.

5[anonymous]9yOn 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.
[-][anonymous]9y 13

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.

7[anonymous]9yCan 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.
7[anonymous]9yYou 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 Yudkowsky9yI 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 urth.net:

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.

6[anonymous]9y$500 against $25?
6gwern6ySo 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 Yudkowsky6yNope.

Eliezer has conceded the bet & paid me $5.

2Kevin9yI'd take the Eliezer side of the bet if I was confident that HPMOR could compete against an unusually weak slate of nominees.
3NancyLebovitz9yYou'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)

5NancyLebovitz9yI 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.
7gwern9ySubthread. 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?
4NancyLebovitz9yI'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.
8Eugine_Nier9yI 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.
2Alsadius9yWait, 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.
8gwern9yWhat 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 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1%25_rule_%28Internet_culture%29]: 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 hpmor.com asking how many readers attended Worldcon 2011, Worldcon 2012, etc. Liars will inflate the numbers, but it would help get an upper bound.)
7[anonymous]9yKeep 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 Yudkowsky9yRachel 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 [FF.net] 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 Yudkowsky9yIs 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.

5NancyLebovitz9yMy 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.
2FAWS9yRanked 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.
475th9yAh, so you're an optimist.
4ahartell9yThere was some interest [http://lesswrong.com/lw/9on/hugo_awards_hpmor_part_2/] 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.

Since when do Dementors reproduce?

This is in fact the reason I know Draco will still have some role in the story. But we really should get some main character deaths if the story is ending.

"The Rule of Rationalist Fiction states thwat rationality is not magic."

In other words, such a hypothesis about Voldemort's plan is defensible only if there's a better explanation for how he could pull it off than "he's just that good."

Granted, Voldemort also has access to magic. But based on what we know about how magic works in this universe, it seems unlikely that, even given magic, Voldemort could acquire the knowledge necessary to be confident of making such an excessively complicated plan work.

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)

6bogdanb9yNot 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.
5Quirinus9yAs 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.

2DSimon9yI hear this inversion all the time, but this is the first circumstance under which it was actually very appropriate and witty! Well done.
3gwern9yIIRC, 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...

How do you dodge transfiguration?

You make sure your opponent doesn't touch you with his wand.

Which public response to 9/11 would that be?

Something like the following?

Harry had read the Daily Prophet that morning. The headline had been "MAD MUGGLEBORN TRIES TO END ANCIENT LINE" and the rest of the paper had been the same. When Harry was nine years old the IRA had blown up a British barracks, and he'd watched on TV as all the politicians contested to see who could be the most loudly outraged. And the thought had occurred to Harry - even then, before he'd known much about psychology - that it looked like everyone was competing to see

... (read more)

So, you think he's not SC but wanted McGonagall and Snape to think he was? In that case, why carefully evade the question rather than just lie?

Edit: And I don't see

"Albus," Minerva said, surprised at how steady her own voice was, "did you leave those notes under Mr. Potter's pillow?" [...]

Dumbledore nodded to her, though the accompanying smile seemed a bit hollow. "You know me far too well, my dear."

as a 'careful evasion' anyway.

A "blood-cooling charm" doesn't sound like it would have had enough stopping power to be effective in self-defense.

What do Harry's dead parents have to do with his inability to sacrifice the lives of his friends?

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.

3Alsadius9yIt 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.
8loserthree9yI don't think that's how 'thought' works. In situations like that is it not more like this?

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?

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.

2Eugine_Nier9yHeck, 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.
[-][anonymous]9y 4

Downvoted the grandparent comment just now for pointlessness (I wasn't the original offender). It adds nothing to the discussion, and I generally downvote comments that I'd rather didn't exist.

8[anonymous]9yI retract my criticism, I hadn't considered that utility.

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)

[-][anonymous]9y 11

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?

7gwern9ySnape 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).
7pedanterrific9yThe 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.
8[anonymous]9yNot 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 [http://hpmor.com/chapter/17].

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.

2Swimmer9639yI could not stop laughing for a whole minute.

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 Yudkowsky9yThat 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.

7Salivanth9ySimilar 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.
4[anonymous]9yAs 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.
2MugaSofer8yFor 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.
2thomblake9yEven 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 Yudkowsky9yThat's probably a fair analysis.

You read

"Assuming I survive our hunt for the Horcruxes, I'll find Mum and Dad and lift the enchantment. If I don't... well, I think I've cast a good enough charm to keep them safe and happy. Wendell and Monica Wilkins don't know that they've got a daughter, you see."

as being selective?

  • Draco said that Lucius said that Dumbledore said he did it

  • Dumbledore explains why it would have been very useful to kill Narcissa

  • Amelia thinks that Dumbledore did things that were not soft toward the end of the war

Three clues is not enough for obvious.

And frankly, there's no humane way to die, so it'd be criminally stupid to murder a woman "nicely" and then fake torturing her

Wait... are you arguing here that we oughtn't value different types of death differently... that I ought to be indifferent between dying painlessly and painfully, for example?
Or have I misunderstood you?

If I've understood you right, that claim probably is worth supporting rather than just asserting as a premise.

4Alsadius9yI'm saying that killing someone and then trying to feel good because you did it nicely seems incredibly hollow to me. It's the same reason why I've always thought that restrictions on classes of weapons because they kill "inhumanely" are a bit ridiculous. The difference between a really painful death and a humane one pales in comparison to the difference between living and dying, so placing more emphasis on the former than the latter is terrible preference order. The value is not literally zero, but it's smaller than the disutility Dumbledore would gain from being caught out as having faked it.
5Desrtopa9yIt might seem a bit hollow, but it's better than killing someone in a slow, excruciating way, and telling yourself it doesn't matter because they were going to be dead at the end of it anyway.

He said it on March 26th, though if you look one comment up you'll see that he also may have said so at some point in the past.

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)

9bogdanb9yNot 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.

5[anonymous]9yThe 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".
4thomblake9yI agree with bogdanb. "Hermione knows X by heart" is usually equivalent to "Hermione saw X in a book", and Hermione seeks out books.
4Alsadius9ya) 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.
6ChrisHallquist9yGut 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.

The 9/11 reference makes more sense if you've read "when none dare urge restraint." It's about how people constantly said we should be stronger against terror (punish hermione) and nobody suggested that we just rebuild and not go to war.

The marajuana is a reference to Amanda Knox. She was convicted based on the theory that she killed her roommate in a fit of REEFER MADNESS. Less Wrong, armed with some logic and the sword of Bayes, made a write up called Amanda Knox, how an hour on the internet beats a year in the courtroom, and figured out the... (read more)

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. :-)

Maybe he wouldn't, but that is a fact about him, not about AI.

Yes. I asserted a fact about Eliezer, not about AI or green cheese. No 'but' is required.

Seems to have worked, though. You understood.

I understand you're following false reasoning, so I don't know what "seems to have worked". I, for one, don't believe that it was Voldemort who killed Narcissa Malfoy.

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 abiliti... (read more)

Emulated human (see Robin Hanson's http://overcomingbias.com for lots of material), Timeless Decision Theory (which includes "I'll cooperate with copies of myself"; search LW for much more.)

Some people believe actions carry more moral weight than consequences.

I'm struggling to imagine how the Dumbledore we've seen in recent chapters could be such a person.

ended a cliffhanger

Apologies for perhaps being obnoxious... but can you taboo "cliffhanger" for me, what do you mean by it?

I think that people tend to use that word so much that it has lost all communicative meaning. For me a cliffhanger is something where in the next few minutes of in-story action someone is in deadly danger -- like someone hanging off a cliff, you know. This isn't the case here.

Ah. To me, a cliffhanger is ending on any dramatic moment - any point where you'd say "But what does he do neeeext?!" Which for me at least is the case here: I'd at least like to see Harry's reaction.

7thescoundrel9yI take a slightly broader view: a device in which the final elements of the piece inspire intense curiosity in the reader/viewer.

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.

That wasn't a dark ritual, it was just a choice. Like any hard choice, it forced him to seriously weigh his values against each other, and it's hard to go through that completely unchanged, but that doesn't mean it completely rewrote his character.

You can love others and acknowledge that there are some things you can't sacrifice, even for love.


Well, Draco has probably already been removed from Harry's side of the gameboard, so at least Harry doesn't have to worry about honoring his promise to take Dumbledore as his enemy.