The new discussion thread (part 15) is here

This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing chapter 82The previous thread passed 1000 comments as of the time of this writing, and so has long passed 500. Comment in the 13th thread until you read chapter 82. 

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

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: 12345678910111213.

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

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

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Sorry for offending everyone.

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


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

and without support.

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

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

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

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

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

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


RE: your (1).

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

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

I'd earlier made this point. The key

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

In the Wizengamut:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In canon I believe it requires actual hatred for the target

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, no, he did much worse:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Was it another dig at Dumbledore?

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

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

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

the amount Aberforth was ransomed for

Wasn't ransomed for.

And a whiff of the law of narrative causality.

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

I feel Quirrel's frustration, and it burns.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See also: Amanda Knox.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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