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 95The previous thread has passed 300 comments. 

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: 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12,  13,  1415,  16,  17,  18,  19,  20,  21,  22, 23, 24.

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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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I am amazed that Eliezer managed to take Rowling's most corny idea and made it non-corny: "The power that the Dark Lord knows not" is, after all, none other than the power of true love. And it is a mighty power not because of a hokey magical force attached to it, but because someone who feels it in addition to being rational is motivated to reshape the universe. "Power comes from having something to protect."

quirrel wants to protect himself from death. and gains the power to do it.

For those wondering about this:

It has been three hundred and twenty-three years since the country of magical Italy was ruined by one man's folly.

323 years before 1992, this happened:

Etna's most destructive eruption since 122 BC started on 11 March 1669 and produced lava flows that destroyed at least 10 villages on its southern flank before reaching the city walls of the town of Catania five weeks later, on 15 April. The lava was largely diverted by these walls into the sea to the south of the city, filling the harbour of Catania. A small portion of lava eventually broke through a fragile section of the city walls on the western side of Catania and destroyed a few buildings before stopping in the rear of the Benedictine monastery, without reaching the centre of the town.

That's probably also what's referenced later on:

There is much literary wisdom in those stories. It is born of harsh experience and cities of ash.

(though it's pretty likely that in HPMOR-verse, all volcano eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. are caused by Magic Gone Wrong)

(though it's pretty likely that in HPMOR-verse, all volcano eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. are caused by Magic Gone Wrong)

I doubt it, since first off, many of them long predate humans, and second, something would have to be seriously wrong with our model of geology for plate tectonics to not sometimes result in volcanoes or earthquakes.

Sheerly for the sake of playing devil's advocate (do we have an alternate term here?): The "fact" that volcanoes and earthquakes occur because of magic doesn't mean that our model is wrong. The tension that is building up for these natural disasters would still be there--the magic would just trigger it earlier that it would have otherwise.

There's a good chance that EY didn't want to allude to any historical event. Maybe his writer's instincts to give concrete examples kicked into gear, and he made up a fictional event about a fictional society.

But suppose he did choose to allude to a specific historical event. Why would he choose this one?

He would not choose this event because it was a great disaster with many casualties. According to the Wikipedia article, there is no historical record of any deaths from this eruption, and the disaster is overshadowed historically by the 1693 Sicilian Earthquake. If EY were going for famous and lethal disasters, he would be very unlikely to choose this one when there are so many more famous ones.

He would not choose this disaster because it is Italian. Italy was not well defined in the 17th century. If you had to choose some place to represent modern day Italy, you would be far more likely to choose a place in Northern Italy (like Florence, where modern Italian comes from) than a city in southern Italy (like Sicily, which was ruled by the Spanish in the 17th century).

The only circumstance under which I think EY would choose specifically to allude to Etna's eruption is if he ... (read more)

But would Quirrell refer to someone placing a horcrux in Etna as "folly", given that it is apparently one of the best things you can do with a horcrux? And would he choose to allude to something like this in front of Harry when, unlike with the Pioneer Plaque, he doesn't stand to benefit from revealing the information?
If Quirrell alluded to Etna's eruption in Chapter 95, then Quirrell likely was thinking about Etna's eruption when wearing a very odd smile in Chapter 46. I'm advancing only the implication, not the antecedent.
1) Because it exploded. 2) "Playing a game of lying with truths". Don't forget "Voldemort has long since killed my family ... I have dealt with my familial issues to my satisfaction."
Sorry, how did he stand to benefit from telling Harry about the plaque?
9Ben Pace
No, 323 years. Sorry, it confused me for about ten seconds.
:D Whoops! Fixed, thanks. For a moment I was afraid that I got my calculations wrong and the actual date referenced was 1769...

A while ago Mitchell Porter wrote that Robin Hanson often makes arguments like:

People claim that they want to be smart and would like to be smarter. But if you stand on your head, blood pools in your brain, providing more oxygen, and thus improving your cognitive function. Yet people spend hardly any time standing on their heads. Does this mean that they don't really want to be smarter?

Quirrel is being even more Hansonion than usual in #95, arguing that other people not trying to raise their friends from the dead means they don't care about their friends.


Yup. Very true. That was my thought too when reading the chapter. But on Facebook EY claimed that Quirrell's arguments this chapter where also inspired by Michael Vassar, who, as he puts it, "is basically Professor Quirrell with a phoenix". (Although he admits in the comments that "Robin Hanson is Professor Quirrell as an economist instead of a wizard.")

Updating on my mental model of Michael Vassar to be a bit closer to Robin Hanson, I guess.

4Ben Pace
As someone points out on the thread, that makes Vassar a wizard with a phoenix... Like Dumbledore? Huh, funny.
7Paul Crowley
Any argument that says "people don't do Y, therefore they don't really want X" is invalid if you can make a similar argument where X is eg "eat food (when hungry)" or "have sex (when, say, a young man)". To say "Young men don't really want to have sex" is to give "really want" a completely alien meaning.
Since I had no idea about the stand-on-head thing, could somebody give me some sources please? I'm curious. Most importantly, are the benefits long term or short term?

I didn't interpret the quote as implying that it would actually work, but rather as implying that (the Author thinks) Hanson's 'people don't actually care' arguments are often quite superficial.

It is, not to put too fine a point on it, false. An excess of oxygen doesn't really help out your brain under ordinary conditions. Try hyperventilating (breathing significantly more quickly and deeply than you need to satisfy your energy requirements) and you're just liable to become dizzy and see spots.

I googled to see if there are any known benefits to doing headstands, and the answer is "maybe, but the only people claiming so are new-agey yoga sources."


An excess of oxygen doesn't really help out your brain under ordinary conditions. Try hyperventilating

Hyperventilation's primary effect is to reduce CO2 levels in your blood, although it also increases oxygen. Decreasing CO2 beyond normal levels makes blood bicarbonate combine with hydrogen ions to form more CO2, which increases blood alkalinity, which makes blood vessels constrict and reduce blood supply to the brain, which makes you lightheaded. So hyperventilation is low-quality evidence about the effects of extra oxygen on your brain.

...Now I kinda want to put Gwern into a hyperbaric chamber and have him record his dual-n-back and math performance for comparison.

I don't think that's necessary. Besides oxygen being poisonous and dangerous, it's been studied before, and it seems to be less oxygen that matters after a point than carbon dioxide. This was discussed somewhere on Greg Cochrane's blog.
Yup. Was about to make a similar comment. Hyperventillation will not hyper-oxygenate the brain. That said, the "hyper-oxygenated brain -> brain function" hypothesis has been raised to the level of our attention for a very bad reason. We should let it die.
Hum, in my own experience, going down to the sea level after spending time in high altitude does a similar dizziness than hyperventilating, I always assumed it was hyper-oxygenated brain in both cases. Any explanation for the "reverse altitude sickness" ? Placebo effect (well, nocebo effect) ?

Piece of meta info:

V'ir vagebqhprq n grrantr sevraq gb UCZBE. Ure cevbe ernqvat sbphf fheebhaqf Qvpxraf naq Nhfgra naq gur yvxr. Fur unfa'g ernq YJ lrg. Fur'f whfg ernq gur arj puncgre. Univat abg ernq gur bayvar qvfphffvbaf be Nhgube'f Abgrf jungfbrire, fur qbrf abg xabj nobhg Ibyqrzbeg.

Vg vf bayl ng gur raq bs guvf, Puncgre 95, gung fur unf gubhtug hc gur cbffvovyvgl frevbhfyl.

Znal crbcyr unir orra jbaqrevat jul Uneel unfa'g znqr gur pbaarpgvba, naq V jnagrq gb funer guvf qngn cbvag bs fbzrbar ryfr jub qvqa'g unir gur Jbeq bs Tbq. Bs pbhefr, fur vfa'g Engvbanyvfg!Uneel, ohg gur qngn vf vagrerfgvat.

Has she read the original books?
3Ben Pace
Fb fur'f ernq Ebjyvat'f obbxf, naq qvqa'g pyhr va gung Dhveeryy=Ibyqrzbeg? Ubj ba rnegu? Vg'f rkcyvpvgyl fgngrq va gur svefg obbx. Nz V zvfvagrecergvat lbh?
3Ben Pace
V guvax fur ernyvfrq gung guvatf jrer dhvgr qvssrerag va gur ZBE!Havirefr, naq fb qvqa'g rkcrpg eryl ba guvatf orvat gur fnzr. Jura V nfxrq ure yngre zber nobhg gur vqrn, ng ab cbvag qvq fur fnl 'jryy, vg jnf va gur pnaba', ohg gnyxrq bayl bs va-havirefr guvatf. V guvax fur frr'f gur Zrgubqf nf orvat ragveryl qvfgvapg.
This is essentially why I didn't figure it out until halfway through the fic. Fanfictions depart from canon in unpredictable ways, so there's no point in saying "well it's like this in canon" when you already have major departures.
Huh, noted. FWIW, I went in having not read the originals before, so when I went back through and read the originals, around Ch. 30, it seemed like a lightbulb going off when I saw how things were set up in the original. Still, you'd think "it was in the original" would result in at least a high prior probability.

I didn't cry in "Humanism." I didn't cry in "Stanford Prison Experiment." I didn't even cry when Hermione died. But this chapter finally did it for me. "If I were the first person in the universe who ever really cared about someone, then I'd be honored to be that person." That's the kind of moral stand missing in any number of lectures and parables by supposed moral absolutists. It takes quite a bit of deviation from normal thinking to even really comprehend that emotion, let alone spontaneously describe it.

What I love best about HPMOR is that it could so easily have been a Kid Hero parody fic, and even though it skirts pretty close, especially in the earlier chapters, it is never quite a straight up parody. In fact, for all that Harry snarks about his life being one big fantasy cliche, HPMOR takes the Kid Hero genre deadly seriously and plays almost every trope completely straight. Sure, Harry doesn't rush headlong into every danger like most kid heroes, but that's a difference in method, not in spirit. He feels the weight of responsibility just like anyone else who was ever chosen, or chose themselves.

Far more than the science and even the rationalit... (read more)

I didn't cry in "Humanism." I didn't cry in "Stanford Prison Experiment." I didn't even cry when Hermione died. But this chapter finally did it for me. me too :)
I didn't cry in "Humanism." I didn't cry in "Stanford Prison Experiment." I didn't even cry when Hermione died. But this chapter finally did it for me. me too :)

Some conjectures on the nature of magic, the invention of new spells, etc.:

  1. Whatever makes magic work is basically mechanical but smart enough to be sensitive to human intentions.

  2. It has to do something broadly comparable to simulating the universe.

  3. It is equipped with defensive measures of one or more of the following kinds. (a) Some things -- e.g., certain kinds of escapades involving Time-Turners -- would require excessive, possibly infinite, amounts of computation, and it won't allow that. (b) Some things -- again, including Time-Turner abuse -- actually lead to contradictions. Maybe those are caught in advance and prevented, or maybe those simulations just end when the contradiction is reached. (c) There are deliberate countermeasures against anything that looks like it's trying to marshal too much power, in case it's an attempt at hacking the underlying computational substrate (or whatever it is that makes magic work).

  4. That is one reason why inventing new spells is dangerous. You might accidentally produce a contradiction or an excessively expensive simulation, or you might do something that looks like an attempt at becoming a god, in which case you -- or your laboratory

... (read more)

Professor Quirrell took a small step to the left, a step forward, another to the right. He tilted his head with a look of calculation, and then he walked almost directly towards where Harry stood, halted a few paces off with the sense of doom enflamed to the height of bearability.

Nice, Quirrell is tracking Harry by checking in which direction the sense of doom becomes stronger.

I hereby rechristen "the sense of doom" to "the sensor of doom".

Edit: "But what do Muggles know of true power? It is not them who frightens me now. It is you." Typo, should be 'frighten'.

Edit 2: "I could name a dozen examples in Muggle novels of people driven to resurrect their dead friends. The authors of those stories clearly understood exactly how I feel about Hermione. Though you wouldn't have read them, I guess... maybe Orpheus and Eurydice?" -- Aah, what a lost chance to break the fourth wall and cite HPMOR as an example!


Typo, should be 'frighten'.

And arguably should be 'they' rather than 'them'; Q strikes me as the sort of person who might well choose 'they' rather than 'them'.

what a lost chance

Thank goodness it was lost; let us hope it is never found again.

What an ending that would be: Harry uses the Self-Indication Assumption to conclude that he is most probably a character in a Muggle story about magic, then manages to 'blackmail' the author into granting him godhood in order to stop Harry from committing suicide in a literarily unsatisfying fashion, since the author would prefer the former as an ending over the latter. Someone would object that Harry doesn't have agency? But he does, if the author takes the character seriously and continues with a high-fidelity in-character continuation. If Harry found out he's likely a character in a novel, he'd be right, and there's no reason he shouldn't use that to his advantage.

Talk about writing yourself into a corner! :)


"It's not going to work!" Harry was shouting at the top of his lungs, his wand pointed at his own temple. He gripped it so tightly his knuckles were white. "You wrote me this way, you know there's no going back from this point, you knew I'd find out eventually."

Ominous clouds were forming, a harsh wind picking up, making Harry shiver from where he stood in the Hogwarts central yard. Students stood aghast, staring at the screaming boy pointing the wan... (read more)

What an ending that would be: Harry uses the Self-Indication Assumption to conclude that he is most probably a character in a Muggle story about magic, then manages to 'blackmail' the author into granting him godhood in order to stop Harry from committing suicide in a literarily unsatisfying fashion, since the author would prefer the former as an ending over the latter.

Am I the only one who thinks that would be a horrible ending?

Brings to mind the Hunger Games, personally. Could make a fun Omake?
I've not read the books - don't tell me that Katniss figures out it's a story at the end of the last one?
I've only read the first one, where Katniss jvaf gur tnzrf ol guerngravat gb pbzzvg fhvpvqr va n yvgrenevyl hafngvfslvat jnl.
Ah yes; that's roughly what happens in the film. I see what you mean.

See, this would work if the fic was trying to steelman Number Of The Beast.


In my version he blows his brains out but not before the narration notes him realizing that the pattern of behavior he represents is reproduced with pretty good fidelity in everyone who has read the story. This includes second degree fanfiction authors in whom he can boot up a whole new universe in reaction to the unsatisfying end of this story...

'Quantum' immortality for literary characters, because anyone can always pop up a fanfiction sequel where they somehow didn't die?

Ugh. I hope EY doesn't go "many worlds" with this.
It's a fanfic - I think it's a bit late for that.
Aka Sophie's World
There's a problem also: if one thinks one is in a story which should get a higher estimate, that one is in a story or that one has had a psychotic break? This seems relevant.
I discussed this on a previous thread. I wasn't a fan
Can't, it won't be written for another 20 years
That didn't stop Harry from citing Critch!
Eliezer said that citing modern science, like timeless physics, is allowed. Is HPMOR Science?
Good point; so perhaps Eliezer will also have published early in the MoRverse.

I am confused. You know how Dumbledore expresses several times to McGonagall his worry that he might be the Dark Lord Harry will need to face? I mostly thought this was simply guilt from having had to make lots of difficult decisions.

But I’ve been re-reading some older chapters today, and I noticed this (ch. 84):

“Indeed—indeed—that will be necessary and more than necessary, if the Dark Lord that Harry must defeat to come into his power is not Voldemort after all—”

“Not this again!” Minerva said. “Albus, it was You-Know-Who, not you, who marked Harry as his equal. There is no possible way that the prophecy could be talking about you!”

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

What Minerva says sounds a lot like foreshadowing. More specifically, standard dramatic logic would suggest that it was actually Dumbledore who gave Harry the mark, thus justifying D’s fears and making Minerva’s reasoning exactly wrong on the point she is most sure about. There’s plenty suspicious about the “standard story” of what happened that night to allow it, and nothing else I know about Dumbledore sounds like something that would cause serious Dark-Dumbledore worries.

But that doesn’t seem to make sense at all with the rest of the story. Am I just reading too much because of theories I read here?

That the Death Eaters were bad guys was not in question. The question was whether they were the bad guys; whether there was one villain in the story, or two...

For me it's low confidence and speculative, but t could be foreshadowing. Dumbledore could be bad. Dumbledore and QQ could even be on the same side. The "one villain in the story, or two" at the time and in context was Harry thinking there were 2 sides and both were bad. But as a meta-hint / foreshadowing it could be saying that there was 1 side with 2 villains.

One big piece of evidence for was that Voldemort and Dumbledore fought a war for several years and neither killed the other. Harry initially thought this was evidence for Voldemort being dumb, but by 94 Harry has updated to the enemy being smart. So Voldemort could have wiped out the Order but didn't.

Dumbledore is soft, but he could have killed all the death eaters. Just gone to their houses and killed them, none of them, nor all of them together (excluding Voldie) are going to be on par with Grindelwald + elderwand + blood sacrifice. Dumbledore could have wiped out the death eaters but didn't.

You can explain that with two... (read more)

I have greater than 5% confidence that Voldemort is three characters: Quirrell (via possession), Harry (via soul-copying ritual) and Dumbledore (via improved Imperius).
Why would Quirrell try to undermine Dumbledore in Harry's eyes, then?
Not saying that I subscribe to that particular theory, but if it were so it would probably be for more-or-less the same reason he made Voldie evil in everyone’s eyes, to set up a contrast for bonding.
By my inference, both Dumbledore and Voldemort purposely put Harry in the position that left him marked. Dumbledore conspired with Lily to set up a dark ritual which would defeat Voldemort, while Voldemort marked Harry to make it appear he had defeated Voldemort. With both being part of the causal chain, both could be said to have marked Harry.
Evidence, please? Lily's actions in Harry's memory of her encounter with Voldemort certainly don't seem pre-planned, and if you're suggesting that the "dark ritual" was her sacrificing herself for Harry, this is no reason for her to let James die as well. If Lily had known Voldemort was coming, she could have had James go visit a friend for the week or something, thus making sure her beloved husband survived and Harry at least had a father.
Obviously Voldemort wouldn't announce when he was coming, so they wouldn't know that James would take it first. There are multiple pieces of evidence, that when combined, make a consistent case. Dumbledore talks about being responsible for all that has happened to Harry. Dumbledore includes Lily in a very short list of heroines in recent times. It seems clear that Dumbledore arranged for Snape, and thereby Voldemort, to learn of a "prophecy" that led Voldemort to try to kill Harry. What Lily says when Voldemort comes looks like a clear set up of a dark ritual.

What Lily says when Voldemort comes looks like a clear set up of a dark ritual.

What Lily says is:

"Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead!"

But we know that in any ritual, first is named that which is sacrificed, and then is said the use commanded of it. This does, incidentally, match the order that the Dark Lord speaks in ("Yourself to die, and the child to live.") but as Lily got it wrong it seems like she definitely wasn't doing a ritual, and if a ritual happened it was accidental on her part.

Wouldn't both V and Lily be experienced enough not to perform a dark ritual by accident?
I think that dark rituals in general probably aren't something one is at great risk of performing by accident.
Both of them described a dark ritual in terms of what the other gave up, then what the other got. Per what Lily says, Voldemort gives up killing Harry, in exchange for Lily's life. Per what Voldemort says, Lily gives up her life, in exchange for Harry's life. Does this mean there were two different rituals proposed? The same one from two perspectives? I don't think we have enough of the theory of dark rituals to distinguish the two. Did Lily "get it wrong"? Under one possible interpretation, yes, and under another, no. And then Lily may or may not have balked at the terms, and tried to kill Voldemort, and Voldemort may or may not have tried to kill Harry. Harry really should have been investigating the details of Voldemort's death a lot more than he has, starting with an interrogation of Dumbledore.
Fair enough; I didn't think of the "sacrifice the chance to kill Harry in order to obtain the death of Lily" interpretation. Which I still think is inelegant but I have no good argument against it, so it has a right to exist.
Well, this would make sense if the power that the Dark Lord knows not could be rational thinking. Since Voldemort appears to be much more rational than in canon, that ability makes sense. And Eliezer did something pretty similar already in Gur Fjbeq bs Tbbq.
I agree that Dumbledore does not look like a paragon of rationality, but IMO he wins much too often for Eliezer to set him up as that kind of example.
Why? Non-rational people or people who aren't very rational win all the time. Sometimes they get lucky or sometimes they are just rational enough in the right things. If the only way to win was to be highly rational the world would look very different than it does.
I was thinking more in terms of what Eliezer wants to portray rather than our world. “Rationalists should win” is one of Eliezer’s maxims, and setting up someone as “the guy who didn’t know the power of rationality” to win most of the time would dilute that lesson. Also, MoR!Dumbledore is simply not irrational enough. Little of his success can be attributed simply to luck, and while he is not rational on a level with Harry, it seems at least that quite a bit of his success can be attributed to making hard decisions instead of just following instinct. For example, regardless of what really happened with Draco’s mum, Dumbledore’s behavior on this subject is indicative of cold calculation rather than wishful thinking. The same can be said on the subject of his brother, especially since he was so conflicted about it. Note also how much of his arguing with Harry is more about morality rather than reasoning.

On Quirrell's theory of human nature:

It seems to me that in general, his theory yields pretty accurate predictions, and to see what's wrong with it you probably need to know some evolutionary psychology; Eliezer's Adaptation-Executers, not Fitness-Maximizers. Evolution is going to favor genes for convincingly acting like you care about your friends without incurring too many costs for their sake. Yeah, it's also going to favor genes for seeing through easily faked signals, but to the extent that people can get away with it, it's going to favor genes for seeming to care about your friends without incurring the costs that would go along with that. The twist is that evolution while evolution produces behaviors that tend in that direction, it doesn't produce creatures who follow the strategies exactly, or consciously. The result is people who actually care about their friends... even if they very often don't act like it.

I've been working with the idea that Quirrell is a high functioning psychopath, who often believe that other people are also "faking it".

That seems like a really obvious descriptor of Voldemort.
Or maybe Voldemort is pretending to be a psychopath. pretending to be a cynic who uses masks.
In the fact of pretending to be anything he becomes someone who uses masks, so that has to be his first level of identity even if it gets duplicated further up. He could, I suppose, secretly be an idealist who uses masks, but that seems unlikely.
I figured a psychopath could pretend to have the emotion of fear and hurt, which a mask using cynic would retain.

I don't disagree, but I would note that the extent to which people exhibit role-like behavior is probably also somewhat due to cognitive limitations as well as humans not being strategic. You cannot consider every possible scenario or plan, so if you want to be a good friend, a good cook, or a good philosopher, looking at the way that other friends, cooks, or philosophers behave and copying that is generally a pretty good heuristic. It's often better to follow the accumulated wisdom and only make small improvements on that, rather than to try something drastically different that nobody has tried before but which should work in theory, or which at least should if the bullet-swallowers are correct.

Note that this is compatible with Quirrell maintaining that McGonagall wouldn't be enthused with the idea of resurrecting Hermione even if it was pointed out to her: indiscriminately believing in arguments is dangerous, so it would still make sense for her to reject an outlandish argument that she couldn't properly evaluate, like "let's go resurrect Hermione", even if she did genuinely care about Hermione.

3Eliezer Yudkowsky
(I find it ironic that, as I check this page, this comment was right below a thread claiming that Quirrells arguments are superficial.)
It's interesting to view these friend roles that Quirrelmort keeps referring to as products of evolution, which Harry is purposefully seeking an escape from by seeking to conquer death itself. It's this perspective that allows him to be willing to disregard the evolutionary shaped roles that Quirrelmort keeps trying to remind him of.

Quirrell seems to have been counterfactually mugged by hearing the prophecy of the end of the world...which would mean his decision theory, and psychological commitment to it, are very advanced.

Assume Quirrell believes that the only possible explanation of the prophecy he heard is that the apocalypse is nigh. This makes sense: prophecies don't occur for trivial events like a visitor to Hogwarts destroying books in the library named "Stars in Heaven" and "The World," and the idea of "the end of the world" being a eucatastrophe hasn't occurred to him. Assume Quirrell believes that prophecies are inevitable once spoken. Then why is Quirrell bothering to try to save the world?

Given that he hears the prophecy, Quirrell can either try T or not try ~T to avert it. Given that he tries, Quirrell is either capable C or incapable ~C of averting it. If T and C, by inevitability Quirrell will never hear the prophecy, which means that it is less likely the end of the world will occur (massive events always produce a prophecy that is heard by a wizard, so either Time finds some way to stop the end of the world or someone else hears it but fails to avert it). Say the... (read more)

Upvoted because it is an interesting parallel, but this is unlikely to be an explanation of Quirrell's actions. See Chapter 86:

More than the question of whom the prophecy spoke - who was meant to hear it? It is said that fates are spoken to those with the power to cause them or avert them.

Quirrell believes that he can cause or prevent the "end of the world" prophecy, and is gambling that helping Harry increases the chance of "prevent" rather than "cause". A better chance was to dissuade Harry - that would increase the chance of "prevent" even more - but Quirrell's just realized that he can't do that.

If his goal was really to prevent Harry from destroying the world, he would just crush Harry like a bug and be done with it. He's killed people for much less.
Best guess is that Harry is a horcrux. He can't be killed, except with very powerful magic (Avada Kedavra or equivalent), and Quirrell can't use magic against him. Further, his last attempt at killing Harry was a total disaster. Chapter 65: This does cast some light on how Voldemort got blown up in the first place. The fatal interaction of magic stems from Harry being a horcrux; but Harry's only a horcrux because Voldemort made him one. Further, the horcruxing most likely happened because of the weird interaction of magic which caused Voldie to blow up (and his soul-explosion, or whatever, then anchored itself to the infant Harry). It looks like there was some sort of trick with a Time Turner involved in Godric's Hollow to set this up. I suspect Dumbledore... P.S. If Quirrell gets really desperate, he could of course try to persuade someone else to do the AK on Harry. Will be amazing if he can persuade Dumbledore to do it...
Your quote could be just making fun of canon though.
Specifically, the final book where Voldemort goes for not just AK #2 but also AK #3 as well.
"Goblet of Fire" contains AK#2 as far as I remember. "Deathly Hallows" actually contains AK#3 and AK#4.... You would think that after three failed attempts, Voldemort might have got the hint. HPMoR Voldemort would of course update after one failed attempt and not try again. Allowing for alternatives to AK, I think there are only two possible explanations for why Voldie doesn't just kill Harry at this point: 1. He values Harry alive so much that he is willing to risk ending the universe. 2. He can't kill Harry.
Of course, every time the AK fails in canon, it is for a different reason (unless you count "plot armor"), making the true correct conclusion more difficult to see.
I'm not sure that's possible. If Harry is defeated, it must be in such a way that "only a remnant of him remains," by prophesy. Crushing Harry now would not leave a remnant (even if "remnant" means "legacy," I would argue); therefore, it is not worth trying.
Only if Harry has no other value to him that would make him worth preserving, in which case the entire story would be completely different. We know that Quirrell values Harry, instrumentally and possibly emotionally, and has great plans for him. He will not sacrifice all of that unless he has no other choice.
That's my point. Quirrell has plans for Harry. Any worry about what Harry will do is better explained by worry that Quirrell's plans will be thwarted by what Harry does, not by some supposed worry of Quirrell's that Harry will destroy the world. And more likely than any worry is just the opportunity presented by Harry's resolve to bring back Hermione by any means necessary.
Huh, that does make a lot more sense. I guess I'd been assuming that any reference to someone "averting" a prophecy was actually just someone forcing the better branch of an EitherOrProphecy (tvtropes). Like if Trelawney had said "HE WHO WOULD TEAR APART THE VERY STARS IN HEAVEN IF NONE STAND AGAINST IT." The inference that prophecies don't always come true fits Quirrell's behavior much better.
8Eliezer Yudkowsky
Upvoted for the word 'eucatastrophe'.
Zorti Zandapheri of the Twitterverse suggests "fantastrophe".

I just realized that Harry does not worry about Hermione's body disappearing anywhere I can remember in this chapter, which tells me he either knows exactly what's going on, or he plans to ignore the direct route and just become god, and thus it doesn't matter.


I don't think he would just give up on Hermione's body like that. There are many intermediate levels of power he could achieve quicker and easier then straight out becoming a god, and he would hardly want to make it harder on himself to resurrect Hermione.

Here is a predictionbook link.

I think Harry transformed her body into the gold ring. Then if Dumbledore were to search Harry for transmuted things (as he did), he would find the stone. Harry carefully set the ring and gem far apart, so when Dumbledore undid the transmutation on the stone it did not affect the ring. The brown color was to make the stone more attention seeking. The rest of Harry was carefully checked for magical things, but the ring itself was never checked for magic other than in combination with the stone. Standard stage magician trick - make people look at something else.
Harry has shown a remarkable aversion to actually lying in past, so doing so here seems unlikely, and I don't see any loopholes in those answers. An interesting theory, but if it's true it implies some things about Harry's character growth.
Harry has just promised to tear apart the very stars to bring back Hermione. I seriously doubt he would give up an important, possibly necessary resource just because the alternative was lying.

Also, Harry's dark side is "very good at lying." Remember Azkaban? Pretty much every proposition he uttered aloud there was a lie, straight up, and told to pursue a greater goal. If Harry can convincingly pretend, for Bellatrix, to be someone other than who he believes himself to be, convincingly feign innocence and fear when discovered by the auror, and convincingly lie to Minerva about his location, then I think he'd have no problem with this particular deception.

On the other hand, choosing the ring in particular as his hiding target strikes me as somewhat foolish and would require highly conjunctive scenario to be successful. If he has to remain in regular contact with the transfiguration target, though, this may be his best option.

Granted. He usually tries to mince words first, though, and so I was expecting to see clever phrasing at some point when I went back and re-read. Seeing none led me to that train of thought. Again, I don't think outright lying is unlikely, I just think it's revealing.
I actually assumed he hadn't taken the body based on this, but ... the more I think about it, the better it fits, and he did decide to actually try. And Harry is a very good liar when he actually, y'know, tries it.
He has lied directly before, about his role in the Azkaban escape. A loophole would be noticed by Dumbledore. My money's on him simply lying directly now. (I mean that literally, I have made a bet that depends on it. :-)
Granted, and it's certainly conceivable. I just think it says interesting things if it's true.

After sitting down and going over everything I know about this fic, I believe I've gotten a substantial way towards solving its puzzles. The long version is at my blog here, but here I'll just state without justification the prediction I've come up with:

Voldemort believes fate won't let him defeat Harry until Harry attains the power to vanquish him, which in this case means becoming powerful enough to destroy all of Voldemort's well-hidden horcruxes. And in fact, Harry will become that powerful, by using the differing conservation laws for magic and science to conduct conservation-law arbitrage. Voldemort's plan is to possess Harry once Harry has attained ultimate power, but Harry will prevent Voldemort from winning through complicated means involving multiple currently yet-to-be-fired Checkov's guns.

That sounds like a variant of a pattern from Frank Herbert. A wants B to be strong enough to be useful, so A makes B's life worse to toughen B up. B becomes stronger, but is unwilling to cooperate with A.
I haven't read your blog post yet, but I'm already upvoting for the concept of conservation-law arbitrage.
why would voldemort need to possess harry? he's already stronger and smarter. and immortal.

Quirrell's dialog in this chapter has me thinking again about what exactly he did wrong, as David Munroe. I wonder if Eliezer thought that through as well as he should have, being a little too eager to show off the character's flawed understanding of human nature. From chapter 34:

Professor Quirrell leaned forward at the podium, his voice now filled with a grim intensity. His right hand stretched out, fingers open and spread. "Division is weakness," said the Defense Professor. His hand closed into a tight fist. "Unity is strength. The Dark Lord understood that well, whatever his other follies; and he used that understanding to create the one simple invention that made him the most terrible Dark Lord in history. Your parents faced one Dark Lord. And fifty Death Eaters who were perfectly unified, knowing that any breach of their loyalty would be punished by death, that any slack or incompetence would be punished by pain. None could escape the Dark Lord's grasp once they took his Mark. And the Death Eaters agreed to take that terrible Mark because they knew that once they took it, they would be united, facing a divided land. One Dark Lord and fifty Death Eaters would h

... (read more)
We don't know anything about what Monroe's sales pitch was like (or even if he had one). However, given that "People began to speak of him as the next Dumbledore, it was thought that he might become Minister of Magic after the Dark Lord fell" it probably wasn't as terrible as you're suggesting. Quirrell's conversation with Hermione seems to imply that for the most part, Monroe focused on action rather than speeches, though it may well have been action calculated to look as heroic as possible in order to win public support.
Amelia Bones: So it's not totally clear from that if "Munroe" specifically proposed a Light Mark, or just made similar speeches advocating unity or what. But whatever the case, it seems that, while yes people were talking about him as the next Dumbledore, saying he could become the next Minster of Magic, etc., they were not uniting behind him to his satisfaction.

Or maybe find a worthy Muggleborn in a country that didn't identify Muggleborn children, and tell them some extensive lies, fake up a surrounding story and corresponding evidence, so that, from the very beginning, they'd have a different idea of what magic could do.

Pretty sure this is Jean-Jacques Rousseau's strategy in Emile. Albeit for social-sexual development, instead of magic.

Harry fits many of those attributes. Quirrelmort could have set this whole situation up to enable Harry to create new spells, and/or defeat death.
I doubt QM had "defeating death" for anyone but himself as a goal. He also claims to have seen muggle science as being mostly valueless in the past.

Oh, I just figured something out:

Voldemort wants to see Harry's science textbooks because based on the prophecy he believes (or at least suspects) that Harry will have the power to destroy even the Pioneer Plaque horcrux, and he needs to figure out how that could possibly be.

Can't believe I didn't get that sooner.

He did specify only the textbooks that Harry deemed safe for Draco, presumably keeping with the wizarding model of "the lesser perils." ...but yes, likely so. Couple "if you know what you're going to think in the future and just think it now" with "any technique which is good enough to defeat me once is good enough to learn myself" and he has every reason to want to figure this out pronto. On top of wanting to be Harry's sole source of information, of course.

Another question: can we try to nail down Voldemort's body-management strategy (for lack of a better term)?

I've been assuming that Voldemort possessed Quirrell shortly before the beginning of the Hogwarts school year, and the dark magic he used is only good for about a year before it "uses up" the possessed body in some sense. (Killing it, rendering it an un-possessable vegetable, something like that.)

But after thinking about this hard, I'm not so sure about that. Maybe the degredation in that body's condition is due to being in constant close p... (read more)

Maybe the degredation in that body's condition is due to being in constant close proximity to Harry Potter, or something.

I thought the clear implication was that Quirrell performed more powerful magics by ritual magic, sacrificing some bit of health with each exertion of power, so that he aged quickly after large exertions.

Huh, hadn't thought of that. Which raises the disturbing possibility that he uses body-snatching as a way to cheat on the costs of dark rituals. But what do the rituals do that he's been using do, beyond the fiendfyre?
Can't say what exactly Quirrell did, but he seems to be aging quickly. Search for "bald" and you'll find rapid balding in Quirrelll, where early on he may have been balding, to increasing indications of baldness. After Azkaban, as Quirrell recovers in the infirmary, Harry notes:
Could this be a result of very frequent time-turning?
Not unless Quirrel is using some sort of super-Timeturner. 6 hours per day over an entire school year of ~180 days is still only (180 * 6) / 24 = 45 days. Most people don't age visibly over just 45 days - unless, of course, there were some sort of massive ordeal & trauma.
I don't see the increased again being accounted for just by increased hours of living through time turning either. If the argument is that too frequent time turning has a damaging effect in itself, I can't see them giving out such a potentially health damaging item to children without at least warning of that specific effect. Also, if EY is keeping the same basic timelines for Dumbledore, he is holding up better than average for his chronological age despite his time turning adventures. Meanwhile, Quirrell explicitly talked about the advantages of ritual magic, and how it allows greater power than otherwise possible. He has greater power. He is aging rapidly. And by many indications, he is traveling host to host over time. If you could do that, the natural thing would be to use up the host and travel to a new one when you use it up, since your supply of bodies is in effect infinite, while it's a finite resource of 1 body for everyone else.
Yeah, I think he takes bodies and burns them out, then moves to new ones.
Yet all his uses of powerful magic either have no visible effect on him whatsoever, or cause him to revert to pretty much the same zombielike form for varying periods of time. It's strongly implied that different dark rituals require entirely different kinds of sacrifice.
I can't remember whether it was after the "war" that stuck people to the roof, or after Bellatrixes rescue, but there was visible aging to Quirrell.
One idea I like is that his problem lies in having his soul bound to an object a cosmic distance away from him, which makes the body-soul connection increasingly difficult to maintain. In canon, Quirrell's identity was relevant because he had been the Hogwarts Muggle Studies teacher before being possessed by Voldemort. Since this is not the case in HMOR, Quirinus Quirrell basically is "some poor shmuck" - there is no reason why anybody would wish to falsely assume his identity. Had Voldemort possessed, say, John Smith, he would simply enter Hogwarts as John Smith.
Blaming the Pioneer Plaque for the progressive degredation sounds like it makes sense at first, but the point of the Pioneer Plaque thing is that this Voldemort is supposed to be smarter than canon Voldemort, and a Pioneer Plaque horcrux superior. That theory makes the Pioneer Plaque horcrux inferior. Also I'm pretty sure Voldemort has other horcruxes, including Roger Bacon's diary and quite possibly ones hidden in the other locations Harry suggested when discussing how to get rid of a Dementor.
No data could ever have existed in past for the effect of Horcruxes at interplanetary distances. He may well simply be a victim of unknown unknowns.
Smart people still overlook things. A lightspeed delay problem in horcrux syncing would not have come up ever before, so it could have been easily overlooked even by a very smart person, especially one that is not scientifically oriented. If he had been more scientifically oriented and been otherwise interested in Muggle space programs, this possibility might have occured to him and he could have tested it with the moon missions, if he had come up with a way to detect anticipated problems.
maybe that's why he hasn't killed harry after hearing the prophecy. he needs help in finding his horcrux. which he won't, because space is huge.
Does a Dementor count as a material object? If so, the (now-disproven) fact of their indestructibility would have made them seem to be ideal Horcruxes. Or, since they are "wounds in the world", are they simply places where space isn't?
Since they eat souls ... probably not an ideal place for a soul-fragment, yeah.
Or would they simply "eat" the Horcrux? A dementor is no fun place to be when you have just, like, died (as in "lost a body").
I wouldn't necessarily assume that. Quirrel seems to like the idea of being out among the peaceful pure stars; a strategy which dooms his earthly vessel is not necessarily such an issue. And while he's slowly slipping away, he can fulfill a few last regrets - such as finally becoming Battle Magic Professor at Hogwarts.
He may like being out among the stars, but that's no reason to cut his fun on Earth short unnecessarily. Like, if the Earth were to be destroyed, and all the horcruxes hidden there with it, he'd regard having the Pioneer horcrux left as vastly superior to nonexistence, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't like to continue hanging out on Earth. Edit: Also, if he's afraid that someone like Harry could accidentally explode the Sun, taking the Pioneer Plaque with it, he has reason to stick around to stop that from happening. Also, if Bacon's diary wasn't a horcrux, how do you account for Voldemort telling Harry it's nearly indestructible?
That isn't necessarily the same level of indestructibility as a horcrux. It could just be a standard charm placed on rare books.
We don't know of any such charms, and why would Voldemort settle for a less degree of protection, when he has so few qualms about killing? My guess is he murdered the owner to make the horcrux.
Canon Voldemort chose his horcruxes for symbolic value. HPMOR!Voldemort presumably chose the plaque for its indestructibility by human hands (though it might have symbolic value too). On the other hand, Bacon's diary has nothing to commend it in terms of material (it is just a book), and Voldemort has no special attachment to Muggle science as a whole - indeed he is inimical to much of it.
There's a couple potential advantages to having a horcrux in Harry's possession: Harry's then guarding it, and it might be used to possess Harry later on. Though that's less helpful if, as in canon, Harry is a horcrux. But even then, I'd hardly be shocked to see Voldemort creating an additional horcrux on a whim.
"You can never have enough big white belts, remember that."
I’m not arguing, but how do we know that? IIRC we’ve never seen exactly what was in there, and Harry never got around to reading it. And it doesn’t sound like Quirrell to just make a gift just because it’s an "old rare item”, especially since he doesn’t quite like science and Bacon’s relevance to Harry is not that he had magic, but that he was a (proto-)scientist.
We're told that Bacon's research into magic did not get very far without a wand, and he never had any formal magical training since he refused his letter. It thus seems unlikely that he enchanted his diary in any interesting way.
We have only Quirrell’s word for most of that, though it seems plausible to me too.
He gave it to Harry. It's something Harry would unquestionably want. Unfortunately, it hasn't come up again, so maybe not.

... Hm.

It seems to me that Quirrell hasn't updated.

Quirrell had no teacher of rationality. Rationality is hard to learn even with a teacher. Therefore Quirrell likely did not need a teacher: he was lucky enough to be born thinking rationally.

Then Quirrell would have been born with the notion that you put effort into things you care about: that extraordinary goals requires extraordinary effort. And when he saw other people not putting in that level of planning, intelligence, and effort, he assumed they simply didn't care as much as they said they did.

He's s... (read more)


I'm pretty sure that Quirrell DID just update. This chapter seems to be a pivotal moment in his character arc: a cynic learns that there really is such a thing as love and friendship in the world.

Did he update on humanity in general, or Harry in particular?

I think probably the latter. His conclusion is "So you really do care" not "So other people aren't rational enough to try to ressurect their loved ones."

From "So you do really care" and his well-established view that most people are painfully stupid, he should deduce also the latter, as it is more unlikely that Harry is both exceptionally rational and exceptionally caring unless he has a reason to believe that the former causes or at least strongly correlates with the latter. Then again, someone who has a low opinion of others' intelligence should already believe that others are not rational enough to seek resurrection, even if they cared to want it.
Or else he found it expedient to give Harry the impression that he now believes there are such things as love and friendship in the world. (Let us suppose for the sake of argument that Q was and still is Voldemort. For H to bring him into all his plans for research might be a very, very, very bad idea.)
That would be my interpretation. If he thought Harry was a threat to destroy the world, why not just crush him? Sentimentality? More likely Q concludes that Harry may do something he hadn't planned on, and wants in on the planning. He also likely sees Harry's resolve as a lever that could move the newly determined Harry in ways a less determined Harry could not be moved.

Ch 96 initial thoughts (no big spoilers):

I wonder if EY is aware of a couple of things: There are Muggles living in Godric's Hollow (canonically, Hogsmeade is the only all-Wizarding village in Britain, and at least one Muggle resident appears briefly in the books). The Potter family motto was first written by Paul of Tarsus (unless he was quoting somebody else, presumably long lost), the famous early Christian.

It is pretty sad how that quotation is interpreted canonically. Paul's original meaning is much closer to MoR!Harry's; although Paul's interpreta... (read more)

For those interested: Chapter 64 has a new omake, "Jasmine's Lamp".

Now I'm dying to see rational treatment of Mozenrath.

You know, the fellow who had a lot of raw magical power, and hence every problem looked to him like a nail in a desperate need to be blasted away with his gauntlet? The fellow whose ego was very inflated and sore, and the concept of "pretending to lose" was so alien to him that he had his ass kicked by a book? The fellow who was unable to think clearly while his place in dominance hierarchy was challenged by Aladdin b... (read more)

The Naruto one is also new - at least, it wasn't there the last time I read MoR a year or two ago.
Was the Genie's post-liberation power ever explained in the animated series? I only watched a few episodes, and am more familiar with Disney's movie trilogy; I got the impression that, in the movies, the Genie retained the power to solve pretty much all the problems (hence why Jafar had to out-Genie him to keep the second movie afloat, and why the Genie was left at the palace in the third while Aladdin was out at the actual plot). I think I'll have to read the TV Tropes page again, now that I'm curious as to how well they kept each episode from being "Villain casts a spell on Genie, Aladdin breaks spell, Genie saves the day". Tangential: I think this is the first time I've looked at Chapter 64 since the most recent arc started up, and this Was kinda saddening in light of certain events.
Jasmine, as a woman, is unable to command the Djinni? Obviously that wouldn't fly in a Disney production, but I can't recall any women commanding djinn in the Arabian Nights (not that I'm familiar with all of the stories); more generally, the women are pretty passive. (The exception, of course, is the framing story, but Scheherazade would find it unwise to put powerful, active, clever women in her stories.) The original story's Jasmine character (Badroulbadour) is actually pretty stupid.
In the original stories only powerful wizards can command djinn. The way non-wizards get access is by freeing a djinni whom a powerful wizard has trapped and the djinni granting wishes out of gratitude if he's in a good mood (and after being trapped for centuries the djinni isn't necessarily in a good mood). Also in neither story a djinn all-powerful.
That's true about the original original stories, but the djinn in the original Aladdin story[^1] were bound to their objects pretty much in the way that Disney treats their Genie. They still don't seem to be all-powerful; I agree about that. [^1]: The original Aladdin story is centuries later than the original Arabian Nights. It is first attested in 18th-century French, although people do seem to accept that it came from an oral Arabian predecessor.

(This pertains to an earlier chapter, but discussion in its thread seems to have died down. Anyone got strong opinions on the proper etiquette in that situation?)

In chapter 91, we are told

  • that Harry tried to cast the Patronus charm (to ask his Patronus to go to Hermione) but "[t]he spell hadn't worked though";
  • that when McGonagall needed to send a message to Dumbledore "[h]er first try at casting the Patronus failed".

Now, given the circumstances, it's not that surprising that either of them had trouble with that particular charm. Bu... (read more)

Harry's Patronus can't possibly work here. His "happy thought" is about facing death and destroying it rather than hiding from it; recall that he couldn't cast Patronus v1.0 because it required thinking happy thoughts about something else rather than facing death, and Harry couldn't do this. But the reason he's casting the spell is to convince himself that maybe there's a chance Hermione isn't dead after all, which is pretty much exactly the not-think-about-the-bad-thing mindset that didn't work for him then. On the other hand, McGonagall is probably suffering from the typical problem of normal-Patronus casters: if your spell involves thinking about happy thoughts about something else other than death, then having evidence of death right in front of you is going to be a problem. It's possible that the "lost some of the knack" thing implies that prolonged exposure to Harry Potter is wearing away at McGonagall's ability to think about something else. Of all the adult characters, McGonagall is probably the one most seriously thinking about Harry's ideas.
She's getting more Harry and Godric like, but lacks Harry's vision of a possible future defeating death to allow for an improved Patronus?

On the 'starfield' spell:

Are we seeing the stars from the perspective of the Voyager probe?

I often get this confused, but isn't it supposed to be the Pioneer probe?
You're right; it is.
This is a common speculation.
I'm getting that another common speculation is that HPMOR!Voldemort has to 'synchronize' himself to all of his Horcruxes. If so, what are the chances that part of the motivation of drawing Harry into the spell, is that he can synchronize himself to the plaque and Harry at the same time?
Incremental synchronizations are interesting -- if Horcruxes can get out of sync, then the "soul" recovered from each may develop conflicting objectives.
In 1992, I think Voyager 2 was still closer to the sun than Pluto. Wouldn't the sun still be the brightest star in the sky?

The spell hides current environment, except for a floor/ground "disk." It could be oriented so that the sun is down and thus out of sight.

I thought that that would be where Earth was, but at that distance, you're right; the Sun would make much more sense.
From Pluto, the sun looks like 'the brightest star in the sky', not like an actual solar body. Not sure about halfway point.

It is still unclear how horcruxes would fit into the HPMOR universe given the premise that souls do not exist. Here are some thoughts and conjectures revolving around the postulate that horcruxes are complete memory/personality backups:

  1. To recreate one's identity, there has to be more than just replication of memories. There also has to be a way to replicate the 'software' that governs our thought processes. Removing the limitations and shortcuts that our physical brain has in place would undoubtedly remove lots of mental biases (making us hyper-rational

... (read more)
Do you mean that this is the premise of your analysis, or a premise of the HPMOR universe? Because if I understand correctly, all we have to show for the non-existence of souls is Harry's (entirely rational) belief, which may yet be challenged by future observations.
It's not Harry's observations; it's everybody's observations of the world. People don't act like souls exist. If Dumbledore really thought that people just go on to another great adventure when they die, he wouldn't have a bunch of pedestals of broken wands. Nobody in HPMOR believes in souls or acts like they exist. That's why Harry can decisively conclude that they don't exist.
Even if souls exist and everyone knows this, evolution would probably still select for humans who feel grief after their loved ones die.
Your intuitions about evolution and my intuitions must be drastically different. I can imagine no possible world where human bodies were attached to an immortal decision-making engine, on an evolutionary timescale, where human brain biology still looks practically indistinguishable from all other mammal brain biology and where human grief behavior still corresponds to other mammal grief behavior.
My intuition was that since a hypothetical immortal soul doesn't pass on the owner's genes and therefore doesn't contribute to genetic fitness, it should have little if any direct influence on evolutionary incentives. It's true that an animal that somehow evolved a soul would look drastically different neurologically from a human, but we know empirically that wizards are mostly the same as muggles psychologically/neurologically, so it seems this doesn't happen to be the case. By the way, I agree with Draco's hypothesis that if souls do exist, muggles probably don't have them, since they don't seem to have gotten any other benefits from the magic patch. I don't consider myself a particularly competent practitioner of counterfactual evopsych, so if you do, and still disagree, I suppose I'll have to update my beliefs.

Brain size would almost instantly collapse (from consuming 20% of ATP) once cognitive processing was offloaded to the immortal decision-making engine.

What I mean by "immortal soul" in this case is just the Source of Magic backing up the brain state of wizards when they die. If the soul were capable of cognitive function independently of the brain then of course you' and Xachariah would be right.
How about if we replace "immortal decision-making engine"with "extradimensional backup drive"?
Well, ok, but it's also been shown many times that most of the HPMOR cast needs to take several ranks in Knowledge(What The Heck They're Talking About) just to approach the effectiveness of the average level-1 fighter. Harry should not be weighting either their beliefs or their aliefs very strongly as evidence in any direction.
Correction: it is Harry's observations of the general public of the wizarding world, which is far from the same thing. There are many possible worlds in which a number of powerful wizards know for a fact that souls exist, and live their lives accordingly, but which look exactly the same to Harry. In fact, it's rather probable that a world in which a minority of wizards are aware that souls really exist would look just like this one. Imagine what it's like to be a member of such a minority trying to spread the truth. "By the way, souls really exist." "I know - everyone believes in souls." "No, I mean it - souls actually, literally, exist. So you shouldn't be too sad when people die, because they're just going somewhere else. And you shouldn't be too sad about your baby being stillborn, because it'll have another chance at happiness in the afterlife. And depending on their circumstances, severely disabled people might be better off comitting suicide so they can move on to a healthy existence faster. And- hey, where are you going?" I'm not saying any of those are necessarily reasonable conclusions to draw from the existence of souls, but it makes the point. Trying to live like this will automatically put you at odds with the rest of society, who will at best treat you like a crazy minority religious sect. So most soul-aware wizards will probably keep it to themselves, resulting in a world where Harry will be unaware of them.
But what about Dumbledore? If there were anyone in such a Soul Sect, I'm pretty sure Dumbledore would be one of them. Wouldn't you agree? But as "Pretending to be Wise" suggests, and as Dumbledore's room of broken wands makes clear, Dumbledore does not, in fact, behave as if souls are real. Now "perhaps" this is all an elaborate ruse on the part of Dumbledore, and he is just pretending to behave-as-if souls are not real. Regardless of how twisty and deceptive Dumbledore is, this particular deception seems wildly out of character for him. (Actually, it would be more accurate to say that Dumbledore does not behave as if the afterlife is real. It's quite possible to have souls without an afterlife; perhaps they just get garbage-collected if not attached to the world in some matter (whether it's a person's body, or a horcrux, etc.). In fact, I regard this as a likely enough scenario to be worth thinking about (p = 0.6, say?).)
I agree that, if knowing about the afterlife is made likelier by being an experienced and powerful wizard, Dumbledore should be expected to know about the afterlife. However, we have now gone from "it's everybody's observations of the world" to "it's Harry's observations of the general public" to "it's Harry's observations of Dumbledore". In other words, Harry's (and our) evidence base for the lack of an afterlife keeps getting narrower the more we think about it. In addition, it's worth noting that Dumbledore, for all his virtues, is also great at self-deception and confused thinking (plotting and strategy excepted). There are all manner of circumstances under which Dumbledore would be unaware of the existence of the afterlife - for example, if it led to a conclusion he was unable to accept, all his power and experience might not stop him flinching away.
The people who point this out would be asked "Where's the proof?" And if they could produce some, everyone would believe. And if they couldn't produce any... well why should they believe it in the first place?
That's how the conversation goes if the Soul Evangelist is trying to convert non believer into a believer. All she has to do is point out the existence of ghosts, the veil in the departments of mysteries, or maybe the legends of the resurrection stone. Most people would take this as sufficient evidence. In the proposed scenario, she is faced with the much more difficult task of converting a believer-in-belief.
It seems to me that that belief has already been challenged twice, and Harry is being obtuse in still dismissing them so easily. I am sort of expecting Eliezer to use this as a lesson in updating on evidence. It seems to me Harry is acting like Twilight Sparkle in 'Feeling Pinkie Keen' by refusing to explore the existence of souls more closely.
For this post, I meant premise of my analysis. More generally, my priors tell me that is the author's viewpoint of the world, though I wouldn't presume to guess.
Why should the author's viewpoint of the world determine the author's viewpoint of the HPMoR world? Presumably the author also believes that magic does not exist.
Because it seems likely that someone like Eliezer would write a magic system of the sufficiently-advanced-technology-is-indistinguishable-from-magic sense rather than the waves hands-because-magic!-waves hands sense. Further, if souls existed, Harry would have no reason to want people to not die, which kind of breaks the story (unless I suppose there's some mechanism to kill souls, which I admit would be interesting)
If souls exist, but the afterlife doesn't exist or is just really bad/boring, then Harry would have a good reason, to either not let people die or to bring them back once they do.
Isn't AK supposed to destroy the soul?
No. The Dementor's Kiss destroys the soul; but the Killing Curse strikes at it, severing it from the body.
If AK/Dementors actually did destroy the soul, how would anyone know without direct access to the afterlife?
There's a spell that doesn't reveal the true cloak of invisibility, but indicates that such an artefact is present. You could imagine a corresponding spell for souls, or a dog which only barks at soul-imbued creatures (may bark twice at soul-imbued postmen and once at soul-less postmen. In which case you'd need to ask "are you a postman" using veritaserum to distinguish false positives for souls.).
How would you distinguish this from a spell which merely tests if one has been exposed to the Dementor's Kiss?
If it gives a positive response to humans and some/all intelligent non-humans but a negative one to people made brain-dead through purely physical means and/or various animals?
We still have no way of knowing if it's testing for souls or brain activity.
I may be being stupid, but my objection still makes sense to me, and the sentence fragment you have pointed out to me doesn't seem to change anything. Are you saying that brain-dead people don't have souls? Edit: I think I finally figured out what this means. Sorry, I confused the meaning of "positive" and "negative" response.
Given the general transhumanist affinity for "uploading", it seems a lot easier to me. Also, given all the references to "being in a story", "things working like they would in a story", etc, being in a virtual environment where code can be copied from a to b in a flash seems an obvious idea. McGongall's mind still works in a cat's brain.
It's been repeatedly stated - by Harry, anyway -that magic works based on how the creator expected it to. Therefore, Horcruxes work as if souls exist. This may or may not be true, but it does mean HPJV is being a tad foolish in his assumption that they are impossible.
My suspicion is that this premise is flawed. Harry has already been shown to have one of his premises invalidated by experiment, and from my view the reader has seen enough experimental results to seriously question the premise that souls don't exist (in the HPMORverse).

The decrease in sense-of-doom does seem like evidence for this. However:

Whatever my one vulnerability is, I will fake a different one. For example, ordering all mirrors removed from the palace, screaming and flinching whenever someone accidentally holds up a mirror, etc. In the climax when the hero whips out a mirror and thrusts it at my face, my reaction will be "Hmm...I think I need a shave."

The other thing is, passed out. remember the azkaban fight? it decreased a bit when quirrel passed out. it is, at best, rather weak evidence for a truly fundamental change in Quirrelmort's view. enough to tip the scale over the 50% mark? maybe.

I had this theory before the current arc, but updated towards it once it became more important to Harry in chapter 89.

In Humanism, Harry thinks about vanquishing future death, but that would not help the majority of the world's population (which has already died). What with the only known method of backwards time travel creating stable time loops, and with people already having died, this makes sense to a degree. But if he were to find a way to upload just prior to death, then technically everybody would have died, but in most ways that count they would no... (read more)

A little piece of evidence pointing to hypothesis "Harry had stolen Hermione's body".

"I care enough to make an actual effort" can be interpreted as "I already made an actual effort", and that was the interpretation that came to my mind on the first reading.

Also, this is very interesting:

The most likely prospect for disaster is a powerful wizard who, for whatever reason, cannot bring himself to halt as warning signs appear. Though he may speak much and loudly of caution, he will not be able to bring himself actually to halt

... (read more)

This is so contrived as to be almost silly, but I just realized that if you squint hard enough Sybill’s original prophecy might have referred to Harry as the Dark Lord and Quirrell as the one who “approaches”.

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies ... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives ... the one with the p

... (read more)

But the fallen figure flinched away from Harry, and then slowly began crawl to away from him, in the general direction of the distant castle.

"Don't turn into a giant snake. That never helps."

Typo: "to away from him". (Same typo at and

Haven't we already had Quirrell all but explicitly invert this? He's admitted to reading the Evil Overlord List, and his comment on the Animagus transformation is "all sensible people do, if can. Thus very rare."
"become animagus" is a bit more general than "turn into a giant snake". The original evil-overloard rule is about how turning into a snake lets the hero kill you without losing alignment points, which is why it's such a bad idea. that ISN'T what quirrel does. He uses it to slip into harry's pouch instead and reduce the sense of doom. much smarter than Jafar.

I'm repeatedly seeing 'Monroe' spelled as 'Munroe'. Is this due to a disagreement about how the name should be spelled, a common spelling error that has perpetuated in these forums, or is it a shorthand reference to some prior discussions or concepts which I'm thus missing in my reading on these discussions?

I suspect this. The author of xkcd is named Randall Munroe, which may explain its larger availability in the minds of typers.
Well, it's probably supposed to be spelled "Momroe" as in "David Troll Momroe". :) It's spelled "Monroe" in Chapter 86, and there's a "Most Ancient House of Monroe". Personally, I never get these names right either, but I keep a text file handy with all the names, and hard to spell spells like Legilimency Occlumency Occlumens, and Legilimens. Then it's just a simple matter of cut and paste.

Dumbledore gets the map from the twins, doesn't give it back and the twins don't remember about it anymore. So, we know who'd obliviated the twins. However, we don't know the results of D's "find Tom Riddle" order... Also, the twins must've known about Harry's time travels by way of the map?

I brought this up in a previous discussion thread, but the majority opinion seemed to be that it was more likely to be Quirrell who obliviated the twins.
The twins already believed that the map had glitches, so they might think that duplicate footprints were another glitch. Or, they might have heard and believed the "spontaneous duplication" cover story.

You are Muggleborn. I speak not of blood, I speak of how you spent your childhood years. There is a freedom of thought in that, true. But there is also wisdom in the caution of wizardkind. It has been three hundred and twenty-three years since the country of magical Italy was ruined by one man's folly.

I find this interesting, considering that non-magical Italy didn't exist as a unified nation until 1861. It seems odd that the magical political map so closely mirrors the non-magical.

Edit: It seems that Transylvania has its own national Quidditch team se... (read more)

Well, “Italy” was unified before, in the form of the Roman Empire. The magical sub-section of the world could simply have had very different history than the muggle one. Given that wizard population is so small and concerned with blood lines, it’s a likely hypothesis that they’d form and maintain more-or-less unitary communities bounded by language and the like, even if the muggle societies they’re overlaid on are fragmented into city-states.
This hypothesis would predict political unity between US and Canadian Wizards (same language, similar culture, divided by an arbitrary line drawn by muggles as a result of a series of conflicts that wizards probably don't care about). Does anyone remember hearing anything in Rowling!canon or MoR!canon about an independent magical Canada existing? Edit: on further consideration, what it would actually predict would be unity between US and anglophone Canadian; if I recall my history right, the union of French and English speaking Canadians was also a result of muggle conflicts that wizards wouldn't care about.
British, US, and Canadian wizards? On the other hand, in the modern world where wizards want to manage governments, muggle boundaries matter to some extent.
He may be referring to a subarea that was roughly what is modern day Italy. Out of universe what is there's a more likely set of explanations: Transylvania is a natural spooky/magical thing (hence Rowling's decision to include it as separate), and Eliezer doesn't know much history, so things like the unification of Italy aren't on his radar screen.
Eliezer not knowing stuff is generally low on my list of possibilities. Italian unification isn't terribly obscure. And Italy was always a unified geographic and cultural area, even in the period where it was politically disjoint.
History is very far from his areas of expertise, and it is an area where he's demonstrated gaps before (in particular, when talking about phlogiston as an example of a theory that didn't pay rent, and when using heliocentricism/geocentricism as an example). This isn't a very high priority area for him.

On Voldemort's plan:

I'm surprised. Why does he want Harry to show him his books? He could have read those books without Harry's help. Is he afraid that if he studied muggle science without a guide, he'd be at too great a risk of accidentally destroying the world? Or is he hoping that Harry will tip his hand regarding the power Voldemort knows not?

Edit: it's also possible this is a fake out and just one more step in the process of manipulating Harry into something.


Quirrell wants to know what Harry's plans are. The books Harry is reading and/or familiar with help Quirrell understand what Harry is thinking or likely to try.

He might be afraid that he'd waste a lot of time if he doesn't have a guide to at least point him at the good stuff.

Also, brilliant he may be, but there's a limit to how fast you can learn without a teacher. Remember that story about the dojo? Quirrell isn't too proud to learn.
Or rather, he simply want to know what Harry knows so he can produce an even better model of Harry and improve his influence over him.
Ah. True. He may have been studying muggle science for awhile, but suspects Harry can direct him to things whose importance he hadn't realized.
I think he just wants to keep himself in the loop. (Which is probably the same reason he offered to teach him any spell he can.) If he refuses to help, Harry will just do everything in secret, which is dangerous. Quirell probably reasons that his best chance of exerting influence is to be near, preferably a part of, Harry’s plans.

So MoR might be a meta-fantasy of the wizarding world as The Sword of Good is a meta-fantasy of the muggle world. Or at least, MoR!Harry might make the same impression to a wizard reading one fic as Hirou does to a muggle reading the other.

Although my instinct is still that Harry fails at the end.

As long as he's alive, he'll keep trying, so either he dies, or he succeeds, or something very unexpected happens. Otherwise there will be no closure to the story.

Hmmm. So, I suspect that Quirrelmort is back to regular Quirrel, though whether that is temporary or permanent remains to be seen. (Rereading it, from the dialogue it looks temporary.)

I get the impression from the Defense Professor's dialog that it probably isn't permanent, but the way he hesitated before saying good day makes me wonder if even he is unsure about that after that last star spell. I was also pleased to see that ZOMBIE! Quirrel still has the cognitive capacity necessary to crawl back toward the castle from the depths of the permitted forest. Although that's probably not that great; it'll probably suck to be the real Quirinus Quirrell very soon, and if he's had to be aware of all the further suckitude over the past year, that would probably have a net negative in utility. For the past week or so, I've been occasionally imagining Harry running off after some important Voldemort event, and stumbling across the dead or dying Quirrell, just before coming across Voldy's new body, and being all concerned/confused in the few seconds it takes for him to figure out what's been going on. Considering that Quirrellmort is not an idiot, I kinda doubt this would play out like this (I'm imagining it at a graveyard, even), but it seems like we're close to the real Quirrell making some appearances, such as the one in this chapter.

Appearances by the real Quirrell? My impression is that the crawling zombie is the real Quirrell. Early in the story, Quirrell's non-Voldemort mode is a weirdo, but passable as a normal human. Since then, things have gotten steadily worse. My guess is that the dark magic Voldemort is using to possess Quirrell's body takes a heavy toll on the victim of the possession, with damage accumulating over time, and by the end of the Hogwarts school year, Voldemort will no longer be able to use the body and the real Quirrell will be dead or at least a vegetable.

Agreed (I get the impression this was how it was supposed to work in canon as well, with the chief difference being that Voldemort was much weaker and avoided taking direct control, so Quirrell was still capable of attempting wandless magic by the end of the year). I'm actually a little curious as to whether or not the unicorn blood detail has any relevance to HPMoR, but it hasn't been mentioned yet that I remember, so probably not.
it MIGHT be the glint of silver in chapter 1. maybe. :shrugs:

The man sitting on the grass fell over, his head impacting the ground with a light thud. At the same time the sense of doom diminished so sharply that Harry leapt to his feet, his heart suddenly in his throat.

Doesn't look too good for Quirrell.

We are nearing the end of the school year, after all.

Edit for clarity: referring to the curse on the Defense Against the Dark Arts teaching position.

So, something from the sub-Reddit:

EY: If you throw a Transfigured object and de-Transfigure it, it continues moving at exactly the same velocity, regardless of momentum and kinetic energy. There are at least two good reasons for this, one of which is that, even in MoR, Special Relativity is simply the way reality is; you can add laws that violate conservation of momentum and even conservation of energy (though the latter requires the insanity of single-world QM, but then so does the Time-Turner), but in a Minkowskian universe the idea of a privileged fra

... (read more)

Chapter 96 spoilers (it's out; please read): The graveyard made me remember how canon implied that Voldemort was a descendant of the Peverelles as well, and how there was Peverelle tombstone there... I had a "Oh crap... no, this is the end of this arc; EY wouldn't have Voldemort show up there to use Peverelle bones in this chapter... right? I mean, there was supposed to be padding before the next arc..."

I couldn't help but wonder what Harry would think if he found out that inscription was also in the Bible (I forget which book; one of the apissles?)

(ETA: 1corenthians15:26.)

That part of 1 Corinthians is a prophecy, not a call to action.
This is quite true (the action that Paul's writings seem to call for are "turn to Christ; be nice to each other; don't be afraid if people try to torture and murder you for joining our cult, because our founder resurrected and promised he'd bring us back if we die before he's done with his work in Heaven". While Paul comes across as way more antideathist than modern Christians, it is abundantly clear he meant it differently from the Peverelles. (Did canon give a time period for the Peverelles? I got the impression they predate the founders of Hogwarts, but I don't recall anything more specific. Presumably, they would have been familiar with Christian memes in any case, so somewhere down the line, verses that would fit their mission without setting off Muggle heracy detectors became the family's choice for epitaphs.)
The HP Wikia makes them 13th century, citing a gravestone from the film (although I cannot read the dates in the film still on their site). Since they cite the film instead of the book, the book probably doesn't say (although it might have just said something less precise than the full dates that Wikia gives). Hogwarts was founded about 1000 years before the events of the series, so apparently a few centuries before the Peverells.

I recently started yet another re-read of HPMoR, and noticed something I don't think has been discussed before.

In chapter 1, Petunia is talking about Lily making her pretty (which I believe she did using a potion of eagle's splendor with the blueberries replaced by Thestral blood), and says

And Lily would tell me no, and make up the most ridiculous excuses, like the world would end if she were nice to her sister, or a centaur told her not to - the most ridiculous things, and I hated her for it.

I used to think that Lily just wanted to protect Petunia fr... (read more)

Yes, this has been pointed out. Even more worrisome, how Lily treated Petunia is apparently the main divergence point between HPMOR and canon.

Something I don't think anyone has commented on yet: exactly why is Harry in the permitted forest in Chapter 95? What is he looking for? This Harry has not previously shown a tendency to wander off into nature for peaceful relaxation. He's more of a library sort of guy, if he wants a place to quietly think and consider.

Too closely linked to Hermione?
Perhaps, but the forest offers better isolation if he's more concerned about being disrupted from his thoughts.
Especially, why does Quirrell know that he's in the forest?

Triangulation via sense of doom.

Only works if Quirrell knows where to start looking to begin with. Actually, it is fun to speculate on whether this sense of doom obeys the inverse squared law or something else. Options:

  1. there is a conserved "doom charge" which repels another one like it: you get inverse squared for the force of repulsion.

  2. there is a "doom radiation" affecting a "doom detector": simple inverse for the discomfort level. Something like a "doom magic" source.

  3. Quirrell has a doom charge and Harry is a doom dipole: this would be 1/r^3, but it does not really work since the sense of doom is not directional

  4. Quirrell has a doom charge and Harry gets a "doom induction", forming a doom dipole whose strength depends on Quirrell's doom field strength: 1/r^4. This breaks the symmetry between the two, however.

  5. Both H and Q get doom induction from each other: 1/r^6. This is way too steep to fit the experimental data, as it would feel more like a "doom wall".

  6. There is a dissipating doom charge (because the doom charge carrier "doomon" is massive, or because of the ambient magic vacuum polarization): exponential (Yukawa) decay.

1 or 2 are probably the only likely options, with 2 less likely, both because of the need for the doom source and because simple inverse decays too slowly to fit the description.


That would be (I find this kind of funny).

… and thus were postulated the Maxwell-TrE-equations of Doomodynamics.

Kinda OT: Your having posted the above, plus being an LWer, makes it very likely you would enjoy Yvain's post on Newtonian ethics (but also that you've read it already).

And also Blessed Are The Taxonomers, For Theirs Is The Phylum Of God, and well, a lot of stuff that he wrote. He has written multiple posts in this style, and they are uniformly excellent.
Yes indeed, but the "Newtonian ethics" one seemed particularly apposite here.
I must try to work ‘magic vacuum polarization’ into conversation.
I was going to say that it appears that their connection is not symmetrical, because Quirrell was able to track down Harry during the troll event. Further research seemed to reduce this likelihood, however. Quirrell started burning through the substance of Hogwarts once he realized that Harry had found the troll. He didn't know that the two had met until he read Harry's emotions. That he did not realize that they were getting closer before means that he wasn't tracking both the troll and Harry. I was going to say that it appears clear that Quirrell was tracking Harry (almost certainly via link), because he is not fool enough to leave his magic on his weapon, but not only did he strengthen the troll (and thus must have a method of covering his tracks) but also there is this: That does not seem to imply that he could feel Harry zipping all over the place, because I would expect Quirrell, being able to read Harry's emotions in the Great Hall and since, to correctly deduce where Harry was going if he started moving in a hurry. That implies that what he was tracking was indeed the troll, and so reduces the likelihood that he could track Harry with the link. Though it is still clear that the resonance is not wholly symmetrical, as Harry lacks the emotion-reading aspect. If he does get even a vague sense of doom at large distances, then he could have triangulated regardless, first with the second set of emotions that would have popped up an hour ago, then with the current ones from a different starting location.
Or maybe Harry is not aware that it is or not as attuned to it. I don't recall him seriously trying to investigate or exploit it.

Did I miss something, or do we still have very little idea about what the word substitution in Snape's remembrance of the prophecy means?

And Severus Snape drew a breath, and intoned, "FOR THOSE TWO DIFFERENT SPELLETS CANNOT EXIST IN THE SAME VULD."


She couldn't imitate the deep, chilling tone of the original prophecy; and yet somehow that tone seemed to carry all the meaning. "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies..."

"And th

... (read more)
It's an impersonation of an accent (maybe Eastern European?) Spellets = spirits, Vuld = world.
I thought "SPELLETS" and "VULD" are just Seer-y ways of saying "spirits" and "world" respectively.
I thought Severus didn't want to repeat the real prophecy to a random student, so he substituted in some nonsense words, while attempting to keep the tone, meter, and rhythm in place.
I thought approximately the same thing, but along the lines of wanting the student to focus on the tone, meter, and rhythm (which apparently carry much of the meaning) so taking away the meaning of the actual words to remove distractions.
I want to like this theory, but I'm not sure that the nonsense words sufficiently obscure the real prophecy. For example, if Voldemort tracked down the student, somehow reversed her Obliviation (if necessary), and then used Legilimency to find out the wording (if it turns out that Voldemort doesn't know this part?) then I'm pretty sure Voldemort would be able to reconstruct the original words. For that matter, we are also told that "only someone who heard the prophecy in the seer's original voice would hear all the meaning that was in the riddle." Therefore what Voldemort would actually be interested in, given access to all of Rianne's memories, is Snape's own interpretation of the prophecy, or even any hints at it.
But didn't Voldemort already get that when he Legilimized Snape, when Snape originally told him the prophecy?
He got 1980ish!Snape's interpretation/thoughts, 1991!Snape presumably has new ones.
for those two different spell-elements cannot exist in the same voldemort...? O.o Those two different spell-elements cannot exist in the same fold?

One thing I forgot to mention in my comments last night, about Quirrellmort's theory of psychology: he seems to have a rational fear that Harry attempting to resurrect Hermione will destroy the world. Does he not realize that Dumbledore and McGonagall might also refuse to help Harry out of that same rational fear? Or is he refraining from mentioning it as part of manipulating Harry?

I think he's a lot more convinced of Harry's capabilities than they are.
Moreover, he knows something about the source of Harry's unusualness that they don't know that he knows, and he needs to keep it that way.
His fear is that Harry messes up his attempt to resurrect Hermione. He might think that he can prevent such error better if he's in the loop of what Harry is doing.

Ok, my head hurts, what is going on with Quirrell?

  1. Where is the real owner of Quirrell's body? I mean his personality.
  2. Who is the Defense Professor? One would think Voldemort, but what is this David Monroe business then? And was the person who "returned from Albania" a real David Monroe? Or could it be just another mask of Voldemort (himself his own spy, why not?)
  3. The body of QQ is destned to die. Is the time of his inhabitant also up? I doubt it.
  1. The real Quirinus Quirrell was most likely lobotomized long ago, to become the Defense Professor's "zombie mode."
  2. The going theory is that Monroe and Voldemort were the same person, and that the real Monroe did not return from Albania. Usually, this is because the Defense Professor wanted to manipulate Wizarding Britain to concentrate power in the Ministry, and then put himself at the head of it.
  3. I strongly doubt that the Defense Professor intends to die with his body. The real Quirinus Quirrell, however, probably will.

We have been prepared for the idea that Quirrell has any number of identities, multiple times.

Chapter 59:

"How many different people are you, anyway?"

The pale man lying on the ground didn't laugh, but from the broomstick Harry's eyes saw the sides of Professor Quirrell's lips curling up, the edge of that familiar sardonic smile. "I cannot say that I bothered keeping count. How many are you?"

Chapter 86:

"There's Dark Wizards that have one name. There's Dark Wizards that have two names. And there's Dark Wizards that change names like you and I change clothes."

I am all for the different masks, but that when a person makes many people out of himself. Here we have Tom Riddle who is definitely was born and David Monroe who was born(*), and Q.Q. who was born, and Harry's teacher could be only one of those three (or someone else entirely), but not the three at once. (*)I mean a boy, a baby, not the "returned from Albania" one.
It is very strongly implied that the Pioneer plaque is a horcrux, in which case Voldemort will not die unless the plaque is destroyed (extremely unlikely) or his connection to it is severed by some means unseen in canon and unhinted at in HPMOR. If we assume that QQ = Voldemort, which is also fairly safe, then no, his time should not be up.

So, what do you all think is Voldemort's goal here? In canon, he was a power hungry sadist, so conquering the world while torturing his minions made sense. But MOR!Voldemort seems to find people tiresome and is happiest as an immortal in lifeless space. In that case, why not Horcrux Pioneer 11, kill his earthly body and be done with it?

At the moment, he has a plausible motivation -- provoke Harry into discovering a better form of immortality than Horcruxes, and use it for himself. But it seems implausible that this was his goal until Harry came to Hogwart... (read more)


I think Quirrelmort enjoys many aspects of life on Earth (he is shown to enjoy fancy foods and intricate plots, etc.) He enjoys outer space as an occasional respite from human nonsense, but that doesn't mean he would enjoy a billion years of staring at the stars.

Conventional wisdom around here, as I understand it: He wanted to unify Magical Britain under a strong leader (namely himself, in the persona of David Monroe) and wipe out, or neutralize, or otherwise remove the danger posed by, the muggles. He wanted to do this because he was very, very frightened of dying, and he thought nuclear weapons (and potentially other things you might classify as "scientific overreaching") were likely to produce more destruction than he could escape. And probably also because he wanted power.
My goal had I access to magic: 1. instantiate self in immortal form 2. build experience machine 3. make 1 and 2 unreachable by launching them out of the solar system He did say he was worried about morons...I mean Harry destroying the probe. So all his efforts could be merely to ensure his survival. But that would make for a rather lackluster villain/ending.

My heart broke during the litany of "magical world fairy tales." So much tragi