"Wait," said Luna, "This is the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw. It makes the wearer smarter. You might want it."

Professor Quirrel took the diadem in his hands. He feinted as if to place it over his head.

"I am an Occlumens," said Professor Quirrel, "Ravenclaw's device rips the incoherence out of doublethink. If I were to place this device over my head I would be lucky if it did not shred my mind. Nice try."

Professor Quirrel tossed the diadem back to Luna. Luna kowtowed.

"I heard stories of the First Wizarding War. You never cared much for individual human beings but you were always very careful not to destroy wizardkind," said Luna, "I get the feeling you put some effort into protecting the universe."

"So?" said Professor Quirrel.

"You are bored. This plane is too small for you," said Luna.

You-Know-Who did not murder her.

"You should not be a villain," said Luna.

"If you tell me to be a hero then you will die painfully," said Professor Quirrel.

"You should be a god," said Luna.

Luna willingly bestowed the astrolabe to Professor Quirrel.

"Is that all?" said Professor Quirrel.

"Yes," said Luna.

"Avada Kedavra," said Professor Quirrel.

Luna collapsed. Professor Quirrel sheathed his wand. His slender skeleton fingers untangled the clockwork. Professor Quirrel unfolded the astrolabe around him. He ascended to a higher plane of existence.

Luna stepped out of the Forgotten Library. She held the Sword of Gryffindor in her left hand and Wanda in her right. She buried Wanda in Hagrid's pumpkin patch.

The final duel of Lockhart's tournament was that afternoon. Professor Flitwick refereed. Luna lost.

Clang. Luna dropped the Sword of Gryffindor on Professor Lockhart's empty chair. She sat down for dinner in her seat at the end of the Ravenclaw table. A student stood behind her.

"You fought well in Lockhart's dueling tournament," said Ginevra Weasley, "Why don't you try sitting with us Gryffindors for a change?"

The astrolabe displayed "7" on one dial and "0" on all the rest. A tall, slender snakelike figure stepped into Heaven's throne room where a god rested. The trespasser threw a tactical reality anchor like a javelin. It stuck into the wall behind the throne. The trespasser stabbed his second tactical reality anchor behind himself into the floor of the entrance.



You may do whatever you want with this story. You may expand it. You may abridge it. You may retcon it. You may turn it into an audiobook. You may repost it elsewhere.

  • Please respect J.K. Rowling's copyright. Harry Potter fanfiction must remain non-commercial, especially in the strict sense of traditional print publishing.
  • If you copy this story's exact text, then I request (though do not require) you include an attribution link back to the original story here on Less Wrong.

Thank you J.K. Rowling for creating Harry Potter and Eliezer Yudkowsky for creating Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres. In addition, thank you MondSemmel, Measure, ejacob, Gurkenglas, Jeff Melcher, gilch, mingyuan, Dojan and everyone else in the comments who corrected spelling and other mistakes in this story.

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Yesterday I found out about this story and read it all the way to the end. I have not read it a second time based on a clear understanding of the mechanisms, and I'm kind of awestruck by the difficulty of writing (in a clean but intelligible way) the kind of story that I seem to be reading.

If I'm understanding correctly, there is one Nargle in... in Hogwarts... and maybe in all of time? 

This is a monster (1) that has an attack that messily removes the attacked thing from time itself and also (2) has an ability to home in on the location of anyone who knows it exists.

So, on this theory, the key to realizing that in the future you will be fighting a Nargle is to notice "confusing absences" in your day to day life. Yet also: you cannot prepare for this fight very much in a cogent way because the more you realize that you will be fighting a Nargle, the easier it is for the beast to track you and precipitate the conflict.

The messiness of a Nargle Attack is key in several ways: it makes it possible for a reader and a character to notice the thing at all. Also the toleration for mess probably makes the story much easier to write. So this is a time travel story, and we only see the messy stable final post-Nargle-defeat "time loop". 

It is plausible to me that lsusr's total writing strategy was: write the story up until the Nargle deletes something from ever having existed. Save that as Story N. Edit the story in a backwards pass, as Story N+0.5, simply deleting stuff, and leaving notes to the author about the need to patch things. Then edit forward again to Story N+1.0, patching up the consistency as per the backward pass's TODO notes as best you can.

In general, as an author you're allowed to leave memory damage, confusion, and "mess" of some sort, and then you're also allowed to have some people notice this mess, and act somewhat differently. When the Nargle is finally defeated and nothing will ever be deleted from history again we call that Story F (for Final).

Maybe you edit Story N+1 all the way forward up to the Nargle Attack or maybe you branch prior to the attack if historical coherence simply becomes impossible to manage? Not sure. I'm going to posit that branches can happen as "a way for someone to survive a (counterfactual?) Nargle Attack" and the result is that they seem... "loony"?

Here's a possible survival strategy: find an object whose absence would dramatically change your life arc, that was in your life before you found out about the Nargle, and throw it at the monster during the fight so the monster unmakes it.  This unmakes that version of the fight, giving you another run at the beast.

Also, if someone is going to successfully fight, they will have prevented themselves from coherently knowing that they are in the fight with the Nargle (and thus being swiftly hunted down), which could add to the external appearance of looniness, as additional observational epicycles "from the perspective of outside observers"?

Under this general theory, we may NEVER have seen "the original fully non-loony Luna". Not in Rowling's fiction, nor in Eliezer's fic, nor in this story.

Under this theory, this was Story N=F, and all other fics are Stories where 1<N<F because those are all stories where Luna is visibly loony (hence has been attacked by the Nargle in a previous time loop already) AND things like the entire House Of Hufflepuff still exist (which, if I'm reading correctly, was deleted from history in the final battle).

It seems to be suggested that somehow Atlantis's deletion from history was a result of The Nargle attacking it EITHER (1) long long ago, or (2) maybe somehow Atlantis was deleted during Luna's battle?

I went back to read Part 6 of this story, and I'm not sure if Harry thinks that Atlantis was deleted from history (as in HPMOR canon) or not.  It could be that the Harry in Part 6 has "the signature of a messy deletion" where he believed that Atlantis existed in some early loops... then the event where "Harry shows the Mirror of Atlantis/Erised to Ravenclaw's Heir" persisted as a recurring event despite all or most possible Nargle Attacks all the way up to Story F, which we have read?

Plausibly: Kirito wasn't just "Luna's friend" but was actually the Heir of Helga Hufflepuff. Tom Riddle is pretty clearly Salazar's Heir. Gilderoy Lockhart is plausibly the Heir of Gryffindor? Luna found the Diadem. Thus: all four heirs (all five heirs? (all [as many heirs as exist in Story 0] heirs??)) were needed to defeat the Nargle. Thus: Kirito was the Heir of Hufflepuff.

Tom and Gilderoy and Luna all have a swiss cheese of memory backups and public lies and apparent private confusions and so on, where a normal person would have a coherent personal narrative and common sense beliefs. Having just read the Story Where N=F (which is the smallest and most messy of all stories because it has the most Nargle Damage?) Kirito's "narrative gaps" are the biggest: he doesn't even exist anymore... and neither does Helga Hufflepuff?

In Part 2 there are many ellipses in what the Sorting Hat says and then, "Do you say that to every girl? Luna thought, Do you call all of us complicated and courageous and talented and—" so she is interrupted before she can say "loyal". This is, I think, part of the deletion of the house?  But then the unnamed Hufflepuff Prefects (not that Luna remembers people's names much anyway) go behind the Barrel in the Kitchen Hall... and then after the vinegar prank that's the last mention of House Hufflepuff?  (I think? I'd need to re-read to be sure.)

This seems to make House Hufflepuff the most heroic of ALL the houses in some deep sense? Like... the apparent gentle contempt that everyone holds for "the house of loyalty and hard work" during various Stories Where 1<N<F... this can now potentially be read as a sort of an echo of the mild contempt that almost everyone also has for Luna?

This whole reading of the story is full of wild suppositions. It is plausible that re-reading a second time, looking for falsifications, would cause the theory to need to be amended.

Professor Quirrel took the diadem in his hands. He feinted as if to place it over his head. Then he tossed it back to Luna.

“I am an Occlumens,” said Professor Quirrel, “Ravenclaw’s device rips the incoherence out of doublethink. If I were to place this device over my head I would be lucky if it did not shred my mind. Nice try.”

That is the Professor Quirrel we know and love.

Quirrel has incoherent doublethink?

Oh I get it now. He is masks all the way down. Remove them All and there would be nothing L3D2 of him.


However... Rowena was not an Occlumense? Without knowing that this problem might arise later, I doubt that she would have not learned it. And creating the Diadem is likely to be harder than learning Occlumency... Unless there's people who just can't learn it, and she is one of them. Seems like a stretch. Or could she never use it?

Also: if the Founders had all the requirements already, why didn't they finish it back then?

Thanks for writing and finishing this story! There's something particularly commendable about the act of finishing any kind of project. Kudos!


"In the First Wizarding War, your mother contributed to the development of a secret weapon intended to neutralize Lord Voldemort." (chapter 4)

Given the incompetence of the wizarding world, it seems very appropriate that the way they'd come up with to defeat a powerful evil wizard would be to... offer him godhood and make him someone else's problem.


Alternative story ending: Lord Voldemort defeats himself by using Legilimency on Luna.


The curse on the position of Hogwarts' Defense Professor still seems to be active. How unfortunate for Mr. Lockhart. Though what was he thinking when he accepted the position in the first place?


Does anyone know what the 7 and 0s thing on the astrolabe is a reference for?
Same question regarding the tactical reality anchors.

In this alternate universe the old testament is true, so it is a reference to the seventh day of creation where god rested (after having created the world)

I'm so confused. How did Luna survive the Killing Curse?

I think Wanda was in front of her, so she got hit, and Luna pretended to die.

Same way she avoided getting stunned in her duels.

I don't understand. I was quite intrigued about platform 9 and a half, about detecting things by explicitly ignoring everything of interest, really nice ideas. I'm usually able to read fics in English and understand most of it, but in this case, I fear I failed a lot. I do not know whether it is because some things were removed from history or whether it's because it 's a LL point of view. I can imagine that it's a really good point of view, but that's too confusing for me to follow. It's not even clear to me what occured at the end

Your questions about what happened at the end?

Luna stepped out of the Forgotten Library. She held the Sword of Gryffindor in her left hand and Wanda in her right. She buried Wanda in Hagrid’s pumpkin patch.

Ow. I feel stupid now. I didn't expect that. Great foreshadowing.

I never thought I'd be this sad about the death of an invisible ear-worm.

What was great foreshadowing?

The death, or what?

The part where she survives the killing curse.

It's foreshadowed very nicely.

I have put your text inside spoiler tags, since comments appear in recent discussion. In the linked post you'll learn how to do it for future discussion. :)


That was fun. I enjoyed that. Thank you.

There's something very satisfying about an end for Quirrell that he can control. I always thought he deserved better than that - better than passivity. You've improved it, in my eyes!

Nice story. I want way more Luna, plus puzzling interactions with Tom Riddle and unicorn.

What finally happened to the nargle?

"Then he tossed it back to Luna. [...] Professor Quirrel tossed the diadem back to Luna. Luna kowtowed." -> He tosses the diadem back twice.

Fixed. Thanks.

How does Hagrid tame the nargle?