Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81

by bogdanb1 min read27th Mar 20121112 comments

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HPMOR (discussion & meta)
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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 81, which should be published later today. The previous thread passed 400 comments as of the time of this writing, so it will pass 500 comments soon after the next chapter is posted, if not before. I suggest refraining from commenting here until chapter 81 is posted; comment in the 12th thread until you read chapter 81. After chapter 81 is posted, I suggest all discussion of previous guesses be kept here, with links to comments in the previous thread.

There is now a site dedicated to the story at hpmor.com, which is now the place to go to find the authors notes and all sorts of other goodies. AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author’s Notes. (This goes up to the notes for chapter 76, and is now not updating. The authors notes from chapter 77 onwards are on hpmor.com.) When posted, chapter 81 should appear here.

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: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight,nine, ten, eleven, twelve.

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

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

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

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

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This is probably not the solution Harry's going to use in Chapter 81 (I'm writing this before it was posted), but a friend and I were discussing it and came up with a possible solution. I decided it would be much more fun as a piece of fanfanfiction rather than an abstract description, so here it is. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing.

Chapter 81b: Alternate Solution

Beyond all panic and despair his mind began to search through every fact in its possession, recall everything it knew about Lucius Malfoy, about the Wizengamot, about the laws of magical Britain; his eyes looked at the rows of chairs, at every person and every thing within range of his vision, searching for any opportunity it could grasp -

And the start of an idea formed - not a plan, but a tiny fragment of one. He spelled out N-O-T-E on his fingers, and, as discretely as he could, drew a piece of paper out from his bag that he did not remember putting there. It read:

"Mess with time if you want!"

And then he heard a loud bang, and another while he was stuffing the note back in his bag, and he looked up to see that a circular piece had pushed out from the wall, (that wall that could've withs... (read more)

7ArisKatsaris10yHighly unlikely for something like this to happen in the actual HPMOR -- but I actually enjoyed it, so I thank you for posting it.
2Alsadius10ySeconding this.
6NihilCredo10yThe next time Eliezer puts up an omake page, he definitely needs to include this.
7Alsadius10yHell, you could damn near make an omake page out of all the alternate theories we posted.
3wedrifid10yI love it! Especially the last paragraph.
1DanArmak10ySo, you didn't explain how he could do that. Last time it took a spell from Quirrel to hold the shell in place. I'm guessing it's not as simple as holding the shell with one hand and spinning the hourglass inside it. Also, Harry can't clone (loop) himself four times during the trial if he goes back two hours. That would result in looping himself four times for the time period from 2 to 1 hours before present. To loop himself four times (or he could make it five) during the trial itself, he should go back only one hour.
5jimrandomh10yQuirrell anchored the hourglass with a spell, and then Harry spun the shell around it. We never see Harry perform the anchoring spell, but we don't have any information about its difficulty, so presumably Harry could do it too if he prepared. He's giving himself an extra hour to prepare. The second, third, and fourth iterations only involve going back one hour, so that leaves a turn to spare. I'll edit to make that clearer.
0play_therapist10yI love it. I didn't realize you could write fiction so well!

Idea: Making the money back will be much more difficult than most people anticipate, including Harry.

Reason: Many wizards are highly motivated towards finance and would exhaust every opportunity to generate infinite gold. The rich wizards of the Wizengamot considered 100,000 galleons to be a lot of money.

First, imagine all the ways a wizard could make effectively infinite amounts of muggle money. Arbitrage. Use a time turner and win at the stock market. Use a time turner and win the super-lotto. Imperius (or love potion, false memory charm, groundhog day attack, etc) any billionaire and take part of their fortune. Mind trick some bankers with fake documents (as Dumbledore does in book 6). Go rob some banks with invisibility and teleportation (and/or a time turner). Use magic to secure a job with a 50 million dollar golden parachute with very generous terms. Make huge amounts of drug money as a courier via teleportation/portkey. Sell 5 galleon trinkets to muggle collectors for millions of dollars each. Etc., etc., etc..

Some of them are more risky, some of them are less risky, but I bet that any member of these forums could get at least $50 million in a week if we were w... (read more)

I think that taking advantage of muggles in lots of ways is against the law, so imperiusing or memory charming a billionaire would be forbidden. I wouldn't be at all surprised if people have thought of and maybe tried using time turners to cheat the muggle lottery, so I'd give fair odds that's illegal too. When it comes to arbitrage though, remember that while wizards in general may not be tremendously stupid, they tend to be incredibly clueless about the muggle world; remember that Arthur Weasley can pass as a premier expert on muggle artifacts. The fact that the values of gold and silver in the muggle world are totally divorced from their value in the wizarding world is likely to be very little known, and the concept of arbitrage may be completely foreign to them as well (look how primitive their whole financial system appears to be.)

The fact that Mr. Bester, Harry's occlumency instructor, said he wished he could remember "That trick with the gold and silver" implies that a) the idea is not obvious to most wizards, and b) he thinks he would at least stand a chance of getting away with it.

I completely agree. Recall also Draco's speech about muggles scratching in the dirt, and his reaction to Harry's estimate of the lunar program budget. It's not just wizards not paying attention to relative values of gold and silver in the muggle world---for the most part, the possibility that there could be a substantial amount of either in the muggle world doesn't occur to them. Now you might expect muggleborns to know better, even after making allowances for the fact that they enter the wizarding world at age 11. On the other hand, if a muggleborn is clever enough to see the potential for profit, they might also be clever enough to see what Harry apparently does not---that calling attention to the fact that the muggles are ripe for exploitation is a Bad Idea.

I would actually suspect parents of a half blood (is there a name for this?) would be the weak link, rather than muggle-born children.

You've got people who have lived their whole lives as muggles, then suddenly they fall in love and get married and find out their spouse is a wizard. They've spent ~20 years in the muggle world and probably have a career of their own. No way they don't ask their spouse to spend a couple hours and let them both live like kings for the rest of their lives. And if they don't even get that much information about their other's life, that's some seriously messed up power dynamics in that household.

0Anubhav10yPop quiz: What percentage of Muggles have ever heard the word "arbitrage"? (Retracted because reply makes sense)
9Xachariah10yI'm thinking more "Go magic that banker and we'll be rich." Or "Hey can you use that wicker spinmaster thingy to get us the lotto numbers?" I presume if the witch/wizard owned one they'd figure out what it does eventually. They'd have to after a long enough time living together.

Also, as Harry himself speculates, muggleborns, like his mother, probably tend to fall into the habit of not thinking of muggles as Real People anymore, because it's too emotionally taxing, and they're living in a different world. They may stop concerning themselves with the muggle world much by the time they're grown up. The muggle raised wizards in the original canon certainly seemed to.

1Normal_Anomaly10yAll good points, but I don't think Harry is planning on "calling atttention to the fact that the muggles are ripe for exploitation". He's presumably planning to make the money without anyone except one or two adults he needs for transportation/permission/whatever knowing how he did it.
5Xachariah10yOh, I'm sure taking advantage of muggles is treated even worse than taking advantage of pets. But there are a lot of rich people and a lot of ways to steal their money. Ditto with the lottery. Maybe they police the lottery, but do they police stock exchanges, leveraged currency trading, futures markets, prediction accounts, sports betting, Vegas, etc.? It takes ten minutes to think of a dozen ways to get effectively infinite muggle money with magic. There's no way to stop it all. Hence, the block (if it exists) has to be at the interface point. Somewhere in between when muggle money turns into galleons.

My guess is that rather than policing any of various muggle institutions, they investigate, as we do in our own world, whenever anyone appears to suddenly come into possession of large amounts of money for no clear reason, and if they find out they did something illegal, they throw them in jail.

Maybe people are already using wizardry to get huge amounts of money through the muggle world, but if so they may have to store and use the money very inconspicuously.

I wonder if they do. The wizarding world is a bizarre mix of modern and ancient traditions. It seems just as likely for them to have an income tax as not. So, they may or may not have the bureaucratic apparatus in place to know how much money people have and make.

I also wonder what the official stance would be on, say, bilking the stock market. It seems like standing up for muggle rights would be an unpopular political stance. Since there's no direct victim and you're doing things that aren't even illegal in the muggle world (nevermind they don't have time-travel), it seems unlikely the authorities would care to stop you, unless they have a blanket ban on anything that would result in inflation.

God, I'm such a double-nerd. There's a dark lord to be fought and I'm hoping the next plot arc is about wizard tax law and how magical Britain handles inflation.

The funny thing is, it's not really bilking the stock market. The whole argument for stock trading is that traders create value by accurately pricing securities, and thus allocating capital efficiently. Time travel is just a ridiculously efficient means of doing so. Given common access to Time-Turners, the stock market would literally be perfectly efficient(assuming that using turner-induced stock prices doesn't violate the 6-hour rule). People without them would be very pissed off, but I'd actually argue it as being the right and proper way to run a stock market if the technology existed.

7Username10yThe only thing is, once you have enough time turners to control most of the volume of the market, there are no longer any linear-time causal inputs (read: people) deciding what directions the market will take. Market fluctuations would literally come from nowhere, though it might be best said that they would come from Time. And given Harry's previous scary experiment (DO NOT MESS WITH TIME, ch. 17), I'm not sure it's such a good idea to let Time be the one to control this.
2wedrifid10yBolded word is redundant. This is a service being provided and nobody is having wealth that they have 'rights' to taken away. This is different in nature to using using time travel or to win at cards or roulette. The muggles end up better off than they were AND Harry is better off. Almost as though it is a trade. (Essentially I just agree with Alsadius.)
9TuviaDulin10yThis is by far the likeliest explanation I've seen. It does lead one to wonder how many wizards are sitting on huge piles of muggle money and slowly converting it into galleons as needed.
6fubarobfusco10yIn canon there is a Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office, but it's not terribly competent. However, the Minister of Magic also liaises with the Muggle Prime Minister; and presumably there is some exchange of information between their staffs. Any financial irregularities large enough to register on a national level could register that way.

In canon at least, it's pretty clear that there is few interaction from Muggle Prime Minister and Minister of Magic, unless exceptional events occur. IIRC, in first 5 years, there is only two interactions : the Minister of Magic informing the Prime Minister about the escape of Sirius Black, and the dragons for the Triwizards Tournament. And there seems that not once did the Muggle Prime Minister directly contact the Minister of Magic, it only went the other way around.

So I'm sceptical about that. More likely the Ministry of Magic has someone working in the staff of the Muggle Prime Minister and informing the Ministry if something odds is happening.

3RobertLumley10yThis would require a wizarding equivalent of the IRS, which I've never heard of. I've never seen mention of taxes, but they obviously have to pay the ministry employees something. One of the consequences of their primitive monetary system is that it is very easy to obtain money without the government knowing it. Perhaps they could use muggle taxes to buy gold to be minted into galleons, and pay employees that way. In cannon, the prime minister knows about the wizarding world, and it's possible that information of it is just highly classified. I suppose money could be magically tracked, but there would still need to be a ministry department. And if that is possible, it easily defeats most money-making strategies.
5Desrtopa10yIf any money tracking is going on, I suspect it's done by the goblins, who I believe canonically have means of magically tracking things. You don't need to magically track money though, to keep record of how much money is in people's bank accounts, and take notice if someone who's not supposed to have lots of money suddenly starts making a lot of very expensive purchases.
3RobertLumley10yThat's assuming you put it in a bank account.
7Desrtopa10yIf you don't put it in a bank account, then assuming no magical tracking, you could spend lots of money so long as you don't reach a point where anyone starts asking "Hey, where did you get all this expensive stuff?" Since the wizarding world has so much smaller a population than ours and seems to be quite class stratified, it's quite conceivable that every person who's supposed to be really wealthy is already known and identifiable, and any Joe Shmoe who tries making a thousand galleon purchase is instantly flagged as suspicious.
1alex_zag_al10yThere's another motivation for secrecy. Anyone who makes money off the Muggle world benefits from being the only one making money off the Muggle world. If they're making lots of money, they don't want other people to start thinking about how.

First, imagine all the ways a wizard could make effectively infinite amounts of muggle money. Arbitrage. Use a time turner and win at the stock market.

Neither of which are known to the Wizarding world, as evidenced by the Occlumency teacher's reaction to his discovery of it. (and his discovery of it, and his discovery of it... :) )

Something doesn't add up.

Your assessment of the Wizarding World's evaluation of the Muggle world. To the supermajority of Wizards, science is a total unknown. Economic and sociopolitical theory are terms they've simply never heard of.

They are isolated and effectively are like the apocryphal Chinese Emperor who burned his fleets because there was nothing left to discover; or the equally apocryphal Patent Office official who wanted to close the Patent Office in the 1800's because there was nothing left to invent.

So basically what you're seeing is what's called "hindsight bias". It is obvious to you, who knows what "Muggles" have, that the Wizards are vastly disadvantaged here -- insanely so -- but remember that as further demonstrated by Draco's total ignorance of Man's visit to the Moon, Wizards believe Muggles are "wallowing in the mud". The idea that they might LEARN from Muggles is actively suppressed by a concerted political campain by a powerful and long-standing major political faction.

The people who would do this are not on the Wizengamot: Maybe this does happen. Perhaps all the muggle-born realize how easy it is to live a life of luxury in the muggle world and do exactly that, and only venture into the magical world when the want to go shopping. They have the best conveniences of both worlds and none of the dangers of either. This... actually sounds kinda plausible. Plus, there isn't a great job market for muggle-born.

Like going off to live in a poor country if you have a first-world income to live on. I believe it's already been remarked that this is about how magical Britain views muggle Britain.

Some counter-evidence for getting gold being difficult: In chapter 27, Mister Bester (the Legilimens who trained Harry) said:

Though I do wish I could remember that trick with the gold and silver.

Implying that it was at least somewhat practical as a means for getting rich quickly.

8JoshuaZ10yBester has only thought about it for a few seconds so there could be problems that would occur to someone who is knowledgeable about the wizarding economy if they thought about it for a bit.

I meant it as Bayesian evidence. (updating P(Arbitrage works) down on Bester regretting means updating up on him not Regretting)

Plus, this is stronger evidence for us than for Harry due to Conservation of Details and the recent disclaimer by EY that there are no red herrings, and that simple solutions != bad solutions (and in fact, the opposite is usually true).

ETA: Also, Bester probably thought about it more more than a few seconds, at least the first time he saw it in Harry's mind - Remember that he didn't just see those Ideas/secrets, he's also seen key moments of his previous conversations.

1Logos0110yBester also knew he wasn't going to be able to Remember it. And that he was supernaturally compelled to forget it. So why intentionally build anguish over something that would be awesome if you had it but that you simply can't have? I don't think his failure to follow through with it, given his obligations -- and compulsions -- to not do so -- should be counted as weighting against the efficacy of the principle.
1Alsadius10yI don't follow your point. Who was discussing anguish? It seemed like mild annoyance in the original text, and a comment that annoyance does not imply truth in Joshua's comment.

Theres also a psychological dimension to consider. To most wizards, and especially the rich pure bloods who this would be most relevant to, muggles, muggle-borns and anything associated with them are incredibly low status. Mere knowledge of muggles is seen as a major social negative (see treatment of Arthur Weasley). As such they would have a strong incentive not to investigate muggle knowledge, and if you suggested to Lucius that he made his fortune and power from dealing with Muggles his brain might actually explode from shame.

5kilobug10yYes, but if it were just that, you would except a few low-status wizard to suddenly become very rich through muggle-side tricks. Arthur Weasley is probably too Gryffindor to do it himself, but since he has quite a lot of work with wizards doing tricks with "muggle artificats", you could except a few of them to get very rich by fiddling with the muggle world (especially muggle born, at 11 you know about stock markets and lottery) if it were so easy. My best guess is that it's illegal and the law enforcement is strong enough to not be worth the risk. Like, if you suddenly arrive at Gringotts with gold coming from nowhere, an investigation is done, and if that gold comes from a "muggle source", you're in trouble.

Remember, most of wizarding Britain is either people who were taken out of the muggle world at age 10-11 and don't come back, or people who never lived there at all. How many of them are actually going to understand finance well enough to have a sense of how to exploit it? And the ones who actually have money at Gringott's are almost by definition the ones who never even spent those 11 years in the muggle world, so they may well not have any idea that finance exists. And even if they do, the ignorance and prejudice is rather overpowering, and may well prevent proper use of it. Someone who has both seed capital and the knowledge of how to exploit the crap out of it is going to be rare, and the DMLE is likely going to step on anyone who gets too egregious about using wizarding advantages to do so.

(Edited first sentence for accuracy)

Remember, most of wizarding Britain is people who were taken out of the muggle world at age 10-11 and don't come back.

I don't believe this is correct. In fact, isn't there a section in MoR where McGonagall relates to Harry that less than 10 "muggleborn" Wizards are being inducted into Hogwarts that year? (With Harry being one of them?)

5Alsadius10yRight, I meant to edit that and got distracted. Replace with "Remember, most of wizarding Britain is either people who were taken out of the muggle world at age 10-11 and don't come back or people who never lived there at all".
5Alicorn10yHalfbloods are more populous, and their Muggle parents probably give them some nontrivial connection to the Muggle world.
3pedanterrific10y"Halfbloods" the way you're thinking don't actually exist in MoR. Wizard + muggle = all their children are squibs. Yeah, half the children of a wizard/squib pair are wizards, but how often do you think that occurs? Canonically Harry is referred to as a halfblood because his mother was muggleborn; that sort of thing- not muggleborn, but not "pure"blood either- probably accounts for most of the population.
5JoshuaZ10yWe don't know if this is the case. Looking at squib/wizard descent rates from wizard/muggle marriages would be an obvious additional test of Harry's genetic hypothesis, which he hasn't done. We don't know if Harry is correct about there being a single wizard gene.
5Normal_Anomaly10yI really don't get how the genetics works in either MOR or canon. In canon, there are wizards with one wizard parent and one muggle parent, who aren't squibs (Snape and Riddle for two). That implies it's dominant. Also, squibs in canon are born to 2 wizard parents (Neville's pure-blood and was thought to be one, and it's mentioned in the definition), and squibs are implied to be pretty uncommon, which they wouldn't be if they were all heterozygotes. In the end, though, I support EY's right to make it work out however he feels like, because canon is confused and self-contradictory and MOR's point about complex adaptations being either ubiquitous or absent is true.

In canon, there are wizards with one wizard parent and one muggle parent, who aren't squibs (Snape and Riddle for two).

In canon they call “squib” the non-magic-capable child of two wizards.

In MoR, that means the child has only one copy of the recessive magic gene. (Either mommy didn’t love only daddy, or one copy of the gene got messed up somehow.) But in MoR you need to distinguish between genetic|squib (has one copy of the gene), and genealogic|squib (can’t do magic but has wizard/witch parents).

All genealogical|squibs are genetic|squibs, but wizards use the word “squib” only for the former, since wizards don’t know much about genetics, and about the magic gene in particular. They call anybody who isn’t a part of magic Britain a muggle (genealogical |muggle), even though they might actually be genetic|squibs.

An example: Wizard Nasty Pants does the nasty with lots of muggle women a couple of centuries ago. He doesn’t like commitments, so he abandons the women to raise their children alone.

All his children are genetic|squibs, but they’re raised by muggles and—after Mr. Nasty dies because he tried that with a witch married to a Gryffindor—nobody knows they had a wizard parent.

M... (read more)

3kilobug10yAlso, we cannot completely ignore the possibility of the "magic machinery" (the one that recognize the genetic marker) to have some kind of shuffling process that'll occasionally turn on or off the magical marker when an egg is fertilized. Either randomly, or based on events (triggers like "an egg fertilized exactly at the second where the moon is the fullest will have a high probability of having the magical marked added"). We have no hints towards that, so Occam's Razor would tend to give it a low probability, but it would seem coherent to me with the twisted, not really occamian, way magic seems to work. Harry's and Draco's experiment on the genes was low-scale enough so they had no chance of detecting any such shuffling. But sure, adultery is a much more plausible explanation of why squibs would occasionally appear in pure magical couples, and why there are "muggleborn".
5Eugine_Nier10yOr that there is no genetic marker at all and the machinery uses some algorithm of its own to determine who should have magic which is heavily biased towards children of wizards.
3bogdanb10yWell, Harry and Draco’s “experiment” (I’d say “poll” would be a better term) didn’t have a huge support population, but their numbers suggest that the bias would have to match suspiciously well with a genetic marker. That is, it seems that the actual results would be the same either way.
2JoshuaZ10yI agree with most of this. However, I think it is worth noting that JKR's understanding of biology is about as good as her understanding of math or astronomy so I don't expect her to have even thought of this sort of thing. I don't think the nature of complex adaptations is a great argument in this context given that we've already found that magic doesn't seem to act very much like what science tells us to expect in general. While I support Eliezer's right to do what he wants, I suspect that Harry will turn out to be wrong about this, and that we'll find out in the story.

Let's quote the current author's notes:

One thing I did notice was that many readers (a) neglected simple solutions in favor of complex ones, (b) neglected obvious solutions in favor of nonobvious ones, and (c) suggested that the correct hints had been put there for deliberately deceptive purposes.

General announcement: I do not lie to my readers. Almost everything in HPMOR is generated by the underlying facts of the story. Sometimes it is generated by humor – I can’t realistically claim that comic timing that precise would occur in a purely natural magical universe. But nothing is there to deliberately fool the readers.

Methods of Rationality is a rationalist story. Your job is to outwit the universe, not the author. If it taught the lesson that the simple solution is always wrong because it is “too obvious”, it would be teaching rather the wrong moral. There are some cases where people have scored additional points by successful literary analysis, e.g. Checkov’s Gun principles. But the author is not your enemy, and the facts aren’t lies.

Now, yes, it is possible that Eliezer Yudkowsky's Author Note on this very chapter is a lie, and he will suddenly reveal a whole series of... (read more)

4ajuc10ySo everybody except Harry are holding idiot balls?

I think that's an inescapable result of the idiot world J. K. Rowling made. There is just so much in cannon that makes so little sense.

9anotherblackhat10yDoing something stupid, or just being an idiot in general isn't the same as holding the idiot ball.
7see10yThere are at least three methods of paying off the debt relatively easily, mentioned earlier in this discussion, that are fundamentally unavailable as ways of making money for the vast majority of wizards on the Wizengamot. One, using the Philosopher's Stone, is explicitly mentioned in the very comment you replied to. So, no, I don't think the people in the story are holding Idiot Balls.
2buybuydandavis10yIn terms of the knowledge that Muggles have culturally accumulated, yes. They're at least 500 years behind the times.
5Percent_Carbon10yIt varies. There are trains and gaslamplikethings and indoor plumbing.
0[anonymous]10yI'm willing to bet most of them run on a non-negligible ammount of magic, though.
3pedanterrific10yBut the others, maybe. Or maybe not; we also have
2[anonymous]10yI revise my position. 500 years seems to be excessive, in many areas. I would guess that the Hogwarts Express, and potentially even the toilets do rely on some level of magic, though.
0bogdanb10yMy understanding was that most of the “modern” items (excepting things like the lamps in Azkhaban) are magic-based items, they simply got the ideas from muggle items. There’s no obvious indication that Minerva’s clock was purely mechanical; the one Trelawney used had voice recognition, for example. Even torches are a “muggle-inspired technology” if you think about it. Purely magical lighting would be a glowing globe, or even unexplainably-lit rooms like the Wizengamot hall, there’s no reason to have it shaped like a torch (albeit proximity self-lighting and ever-burning) unless you got inspired by real torches and just went on with tradition, and at least many of those are probably not created by enchanting a manufactured torch. (Given how many there are in Hogwarts, and that you seem to find them even in rooms that didn’t exist yesterday, I’d guess the weird self-building architecture just includes most of them by itself.)

f they're arguing over lucrative ink importation rights it means they've already figured out arbitrage

Not really. All sorts of arguments and fights over importation rights occurred even during the height of merchantilism. That importing goods can be profitable is a much more obvious claim than that moving goods between markets can be profitable. The second is more abstract. Moreover, they don't think of the Muggle world as that important, so the fact that the Muggle world has imbalanced prices may not be obvious to them as something to even think about.

8SkyDK10yI disagree. Harry can do partial transfiguration. If he cannot figure out ways to earn insane amounts of cash just through that then he is too retarded to be called rational (remember that he can actually extract resources in ways the wizarding world cannot - as I write in another place: mining ++). Plus you underestimate the degree of separation between the two worlds plus the extreme lack of respect the wizarding world holds for muggles. And about the 100.000 galleons: well if they're bright, ambitious and socially aware plus they're using questionable sources they SHOULD act surprised. Not acting surprised would give away their game to the idiots remaining. I will be severely disappointed if EY will waste time on the money issue. It doesn't deserve much more than a paragraph. Perhaps two just to let us know that Harry won't abuse it, because he doesn't want to call too much attention to himself.
3MixedNuts10yHow would one legally extract money from partial transfiguration? If you have a large object you want transfigured, is it cheaper to hire the only wizard in the world who can do partial transfigurations, or a team of powerful wizards who can just work on the whole thing? And how often does that happen anyway? He could make money from teaching it, but that'd be slow. Eliezer seems to believe that wizards are selectively stupid about economics, so you're probably right about the general issue. They could need to import it because they can't produce it locally at all. Also, please don't use slurs.
4Xachariah10yI think partial transfiguration gains power by being a literal carving device. Normal transfiguration can force an object to take a shape, but they always revert. Partial transfiguration can carve pieces off selectively and have it be permanent. Eg, "the sculpture was always in the block of marble, I just removed what was not the sculpture." Although you'd need to set up incredible safety protocols. Presumably you'd transform the waste into a non-evaporative liquid while keeping a bubble headed charm on until you finite'd everything. Harry Potter is his own little subtractive universal CNC machine. He's infinite axis; he can work on any material; he can work on any size. A mail order service could be a multi-million dollar a year business, depending on how tight he could control his tolerances. This goes doubly so because it's in 1991 compared to modern day. Edit: Actually, I suppose sufficiently powerful wizards could do this too. They would just transfigure the whole block of steel into an engine+oil, drain it all, then finite it back so just an engine remained. And I don't think there's a big enough market for Harry to work exclusively on sculptures in the sides of the mountains or anything. Drat, foiled.
1SkyDK10ySlurs? (oh you mean "idiots"? I'd refrain from that in the future; I didn't mean to be offensive EDIT: later clarified to referring to retarded which I'll also refrain from using in the future... me not being a native speaker will end up being expensive karma-wise). Transfiguring a whole mountain would: a) take more magical energy than most wizards could muster. b) not extract any resources. Partial transfiguring has the distinct advantage of not having to transfigure entire objects (such as mountains). Perhaps a spell could also help with actually finding valuable resources. Besides that partial transfiguration is an excellent break in/out spell (as seen earlier in TSPE) and I do not recall saying that Harry had to stay legal. He's shown already his ability to disregard the law (again TSPE) if he thinks it's worth it.
3arundelo10yMixedNuts meant "retarded" [http://www.r-word.org/r-word-why-pledge.aspx].
3wedrifid10yI really hope Eliezer doesn't spend more than a sentence on that - and even then I would want the sentence to be mild. Any more than that and it would strike me as too much use of explicit sloppy thinking to justify narrative convenience.
8RomeoStevens10ymaybe I'm forgetting some piece of evidence but couldn't the simple explanation be that muggle gold isn't actually wizard gold and vice versa? Magical signature as mentioned or any number of other ways.
7Nornagest10yHe's got plenty of time, and doesn't need that much seed money or that high a growth rate -- unless Lucius has a plan that'll get intolerable well before his payment comes due. I ran some numbers, and if he's making 3% profit on each of one-third of all trading days for six years (which I think is if anything conservative -- the arbitrage hack early in the story would be a couple orders of magnitude more profitable until someone catches on), he needs a principal of a little under 40 Galleons to break the 100,000 mark by the end of year 7. For 60,000, it's more like 25. That's a decent amount of money if we're going by the prices we've seen for goods, but I'd be surprised if he couldn't borrow it from any of the suitably impressed adults he's surrounded himself with. Especially if they've got a motive to screw the Malfoys over.

Note that Harry secretly buried 100 Galleons in the backyard of his parents' house back in chapter 36, so having seed money is not an issue.

5JoshuaZ10yUpvoted for an essentially accurate analysis. However a minor nitpick: The marginal fees and resources involved will likely make this not very profitable if one started out with a small amount of money. So it would make more sense to start out with say at least a hundred Galleons or so. (Incidentally, why are Galleons capitalized? Is that convention? Other currencies like pounds, dollars and euros aren't generally capitalized.)
3billybobfred10yIt seems to be a convention of fiction. Lots of fictional terms are capitalized when real-world analogues are near-universally left lowercase. (Species names immediately come to mind.)
3Nornagest10yThe coin names are capitalized in the Potter books, yeah. Don't know why.
4Xachariah10yAnd for ridiculousness, have him start with a 100 million superlotto payout and get 5% instead of 3%. He'd have a couple hundred quadrillion dollars by the time he had to pay Lucius back. Obviously he couldn't earn that much. Aside from that much money not existing, they'd shut down all trades well before he got to the first trillion dollars. But still, it'd be amusing to have him with a giant mountain of gold equivalent to all the worlds combined reserves. "Lucius, you just grab that double-life-sized solid gold statue of myself. Don't worry about the small change, I've got extra."
5Nornagest10yWell, sure, that's exponential growth for you. I'd actually rule out the scenario I present in the grandparent on narrative grounds: it's not interesting from a plot or a rationalist perspective to be interrupted every chapter or two with a description of Harry's latest trade, or even with his latest plan to wring another 5% out of his capital. (Maybe not that latter -- Spice and Wolf pulled it off. But that's a different kind of story.) Point is, this doesn't need to be attention-getting in or out of story, just repeatable. There are boring options that would work (day trading with a Time-Turner being only the first to come to mind). Since that's an unstable state for a story and the debt could easily have been omitted, at this point I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm not expecting that shoe to come in the form of unexpected changes to the financial structure that the early chapters set up, though. That does paint the Wizengamot in a rather unflattering light, but these are people that have only the vaguest idea of what cars are -- an enormous blind spot concerning the Muggle world is quite consistent with the established culture.
6moridinamael10yFurther, perhaps ambiguous evidence that Harry's machinitions won't be as successful or simple as he imagines. From Chapter 20, in reference to Quirrell's insistence that Dumbledore pay for Harry's Occlumency lessons with a neutral party: Dumbledore immediately identifies Harry's money-making scheme as a terrible idea (even without knowing what exactly it is) and is actually willing to compromise his prior stance merely by being reminded how ignorant and childish Harry can be. Dumbledore is probably the number one character, except for perhaps Snape, who has demonstrated the most knowledge of Muggle technology, culture, and institutions. I think it's a good bet that Dumbledore, hearing Harry's statement, immediately realized that Harry had hatched some hare-brained scheme with all kinds of horrible consequences that were obvious to Dumbledore, with his knowledge of both worlds, but opaque to Harry.

For what it's worth, I interpreted this exchange as Dumbledore recognizing why it would be bad for someone to read Harry's mind. In other words, a competent plotter who didn't have society's interest at heart could implement Harry's ideas successfully to cause significant harm. I didn't take the exchange to show that D believed the ideas wouldn't work basically as intended with a minimum of unanticipated consequences.

In short, Lucius Malfoy shouldn't be able to read Harry's mind to gain a destabilizing amount of wealth.

4IneptatNormal10yI think it's also important to remember that all these fancy smancy new ways of making money haven't really been around that long. Wizards live to be more than a hundred years old, and in general don't have a bunch of children. There's been only a couple generations in which many of these money making methods have been around - for example, the stock market has only existed in a convenient form since, say, 1910? And this story takes place in 1992. Eighty years really isn't that long in wizard years. And while a small percentage ten-year-olds in the 1990s might happen to have some idea of how the stock market can be manipulated for personal gains, probably only a vastly smaller number may have known in, say, 1940 - before the information age. The noble houses - the wizards that probably make up the majority of the Wizenagamot - are kind of implied to have been rich and powerful for a long time. If any of these people are young enough to have gone to Hogwarts after the thirties, and been humble enough to have taken Muggle Studies, and really paid attention when it came to the Great Depression, and happened to do background reading on the subject in order to exploit it, then sure, maybe it's already done. But given the information we have, I doubt this is widely known and regularly done enough to be a problem for Harry.
4anotherblackhat10yCertainly, the planning fallacy applies. And even if, for example, arbitrage worked the way it seems, and without the extra pitfalls that have been mentioned, there's a lot more to it than just swapping silver for gold and back. Harry's 11, he can't leave Hogwarts, his finances are tightly controlled by Dumbledore, 100,000 galleons = 1.7 million sickles ~= 17 tonnes of silver. Your dad doesn't just slip that into his back pocket. You're going to need help lifting it, security to guard it, vehicles to move it... On the other hand, Harry has a lot of resources that haven't even been mentioned yet. There's a house in Godricks hollow for example, and the Granger's would probably be willing to contribute. He hasn't even really made an accurate count of his vault. He described the stacks as a rough pyramid, but then estimates they're 20 wide and 60 tall - so in other words, each step of the pyramid is only three coins high. I made a small model out of poker chips, and it looks more like a flat than a stack. If it were a normal author, I'd figure the description was bad and the "estimate" was spot on, but EY is smart enough to realize that estimates aren't that accurate. Harry might have underestimated and already have 100,000. Of course, he might have over estimated instead. Maybe he should learn a magical counting spell.
7buybuydandavis10yA good chance they could pay off the entire debt. They seemed very well off. I've got a friend who is a dentist. He could pay it off if he wanted to. 2 dentists? If they had decent business sense, it wouldn't be a problem. This is in the US, however. I'd guess that pay scales are different in Britain.
1Normal_Anomaly10yI think you may be thinking of 100,000 dollars or pounds. 100,000 galleons is 2 million pounds.

And he still owes 60,000 galleons, which is 1.2mil.

A pair of dentists with over a decade of practice? My friend with 15 years of practice by himself could handle that. It's not pocket change, but this was to avoid the torture execution of their daughter. I think they could pony up for that.

9Exotria10yThis has its own problems, though. The Grangers were concerned enough when it seemed Harry might be dangerous, since he was temperamental at their house. They'd pull Hermione out of the wizarding world if they knew that she nearly got locked in a place that actively sucks away happiness.
7buybuydandavis10yFirst, I don't know whether it's an option to bail out of the wizarding world at this point. She has a blood debt to Malfoy which has yet to be paid off by Harry. I'm sure Harry would be fine with whatever she chose to do, but I don't know that the wizarding world is going to let her walk, at least until the debt is paid. And she better hide very well is she does walk, because Malfoy wants her dead. The only protection she has from that is the wizarding world. Second, if a boy saves your daughter from a torture execution, throwing away his fortune, and going into hock for a fortune besides, you might feel obligated to pay down that debt, and even repay him his lost fortune, regardless of your choices about being a part of the wizarding world.
1bogdanb10yBesides what dandavis says, even in canon Hermione memory-charmed her parents.
3drethelin10yAs far as transporting, Harry has a magical chest that contains entire rooms and can walk on its own. Dumbledore, Quirrel, or any bribeable adult wizard can teleport him to gringotts or to any muggle bank or jeweler he would like to go to, and there are definitely spells for swiftly transporting items across a room or whatever. I think by far a bigger problem would be getting any muggle bank to accept 17 tons of silver in a single transaction without any sort of possible background checks.
0ygert9yLuckily, there are magical methods. Confundus charm, say, or the Imperius curse. (Yes, that does have the downside of being unethical, so Harry probably would not do it.)
3Jonathan_Elmer10yWhy not just chose a muggle institution that has a lot of gold and is corrupt enough you don't mind stealing from(shouldn't be hard) and walk in under the cloak of invisibility, alohomora the locks and fill up the bag of holding with gold? I agree that sounds too easy to not already have been done though.
3MinibearRex10yI think this one would fall under the jurisdiction of the DMLE. In Canon, there were a few scenes with Arthur Weasley in which he discussed criminal cases involving wizards using magical powers against muggles.
2GLaDOS10y"I wonder who came up with the idea of suspending liquid latinum [http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Gold_Pressed_Latinum] inside worthless bits of gold. "
1RobertLumley10yHm. What if there is an enchantment on all galleons that prevents them from being melted down? Or better yet, just prevents muggles from seeing them? That would solve a lot of these problems, and still would not violate what Griphook said. I can't think of anything in cannon or in HPMOR that contradicts this. But I could be forgetting.
6AspiringKnitter10yI can't think of anything in MoR that contradicts it, but in canon, when a wizard tries to pay a muggle, the muggle later comments about someone trying to pay with a bizarre kind of coin. IIRC, it's in Goblet of Fire, and it's the muggle who runs the campground where they're having the World Cup. He got memory-charmed afterward. So he definitely saw some kind of wizard money.
2billybobfred10yPage 77 in my copy of GoF. So, yes, Muggles can see Wizard money, at least in canon.
0dspeyer10yApparently confirmed by Dumbledore's dilemma in Chapter 82. And we're pretty sure that Dumbledore is smart and had access to a time turner. Perhaps the simplest answer is that there's no easy way to move large amounts of money from the muggle to magical world. Is it really possible to buy 17 tonnes of silver without attracting a ton of attention from governments? On the other hand, if the real criminal is found before the debt comes due, it's presumably a non-issue.
2pedanterrific10yThe more I think about this the stranger it seems. The war chest was five million pounds? Apparently Dumbledore doesn't have any rich Muggle friends who'd be willing to spot him a loan on that whole 'saving all Britain from a super-powered psychopath' thing. It's not like the DMLE is all-powerful or anything, Moody thinks that the Eye of Vance was "currently in the possession of a powerful Dark Wizard ruling over some tiny forgotten hellhole that wasn't in Britain or anywhere else he'd have to worry about silly rules." What's stopping any enterprising wizard from knocking over an African diamond mine? And while yes, Harry's debt is almost certainly going to be made irrelevant long before it comes due, the fact remains that one of the most powerful wizards in the world considered five million pounds to be really serious money. I'm kind of interested if (how) the story will address each and every possible moneymaking scheme and present reasons why Dumbledore couldn't do them.
1Sheaman37739yJust because the debt could be made irrelevant long before it's due--not to mention long after the story is set to be finished--doesn't mean the "certain rights [that Malfoy has] over [Harry] before then" won't be a major factor in the story.

people who don't bother to create their own universes are statistically going to be less-motivated, less-experienced, and/or less-competent authors.

Do you have this opinion of realistic fiction too?

I have always thought that but the story makes the point even better. Click on that link, everyone.

Uh, wow, I have linked this story on LW before, but your endorsement apparently makes a great big screaming difference to how much traffic a link gets.

Please endorse more of my things. I am addicted to web hits.

4Alsadius10yNo, it mostly suffers from the problem that the people who write it are trying to create Art, and that never ends well. Or, to answer the question you're actually asking, I'm arguing probabilities, not absolutes. Good fanfic exists - hell, we're on a thread to debate a fic sufficiently good that it caused me to read the original Potter books(seriously, the number of references in those first 30 chapters I missed the first time is kind of staggering). But it is not the majority.
1Blueberry10yYeah I love that story.
4Alsadius10yReally? Seemed rather preachy to me. I got the point within a couple paragraphs, and got bored.
4Eliezer Yudkowsky10yCould've been shortened with further editing (I think) but there was more than one point in it.

If you're Lucius at this point, how the hell do you now update your "Harry is Voldie" hypothesis?

On the one one hand, he just paid 100K galleons to save a mud blood girl. On the other hand, he spooked a dementor. On the other other hand, while that feat may be impressive, it's certainly not anything the Dark Lord had been known to do previously. And is he consprasizing with Dumbledore, or against him?

Probably a very confusing time to be the Lord of Malfoy.

It makes a great deal of sense as a purely political ploy. Harry just greatly strengthened the legend of the boy who lived, and since that is the result, Lucius is likely to suspect that it was also the intent.

That mudblood girl is also the most talented witch of her generation. Maybe Harrymort just wants another Bellatrix and this is the first step towards it. Maybe the debt doesn't matter because Britain is going to be at war / Lucius will be dead before Harry would graduate. Also, Harry just gained a sworn minion out of it, which is arguably a lot more useful than a large sum of money.

Confirmation bias remains and this is Lucius who whatever his cunning isn't a rationalist. So he's more likely to be thinking "Why did Voldemort save the mudblood girl?" than consider that he was wrong thinking Harry was Voldemort.

8hairyfigment10yIf Harrymort regains 'his' former power, he'll have the use of all House Malfoy's wealth. But Lucius still doesn't know what the Dark Lord wants with Hermione Granger.
4ajuc10yGreat point. If Harry is Voldemort, Voldemort will keep Harry money because Lucius have them. If Harry is not Voldemort, Voldemort will earn Harry money, because Lucius have them now. Win-win once again. Lucius is a competent player, and Harry is underestimating him.
0[anonymous]10yWhere is Lucius thinking Harry is Voldamort coming from? I've heard this being discussed as cannon, but I didn't pick it up from the story. Was it in the author's notes somewhere, or did I simply miss something?
2[anonymous]10yIt's implied in Ch. 38 [http://hpmor.com/chapter/38] and all subsequent Lucius/Harry interactions. Specially relevant is the ironic "I prefer to deal with the part of House Malfoy that's my own age", which Lucius understands in a completely different way than Harry intends.

I'm not sure if anyone has commented on this, but I just noticed it while rereading the Self-Actualization chapters:

Hermione went to tremendous lengths to be her own person rather than just something of Harry's, including becoming a general and fighting bullies. Now she has sworn herself into Harry's service and house forever. That is really sad.

1TuviaDulin10yThat's only a legal formality, though. Harry hates the wizard society and wouldn't use its laws against her, and he'd discourage others from acknowledging it. Still, Hermione (unlike Harry) cares what others think of her, so being surrounded by people who act as if she belongs to Harry is going to hurt her.
3Eugine_Nier10yHe's just (ab)used the laws of wizarding society to get Hermione out. I can certainly imagine him using his position over her if it is useful for solving the next crisis he has to deal with. Also, Harry has a dark side, it might also do things.
2GeorgieChaos9yThe laws of Wizarding society are, broadly speaking, insane. There is a vast gulf between twisting or breaking a rule that makes no sense and violating the trust of a friend like Hermione.

Sounded like marriage vows to me,

Can you please reread them instead of just going by memory? Here, I'll make it easy for you:

"Upon my life and magic, I swear service to the House of Potter, to obey its Master or Mistress, and stand at their right hand, and fight at their command, and follow where they go, until the day I die"

"I, Harry, heir and last scion of the Potters, accept your service, until the end of the world and its magic"

Now, please actually read the above sentences again, and tell me now whether they sound like marriage vows to you?

And if you still think they've gotten married, in short if you're arguing that P(they've gotten married)> 50%, then I'll put my money where my mouth is and bet you they haven't. I'll bet 10 of my dollars for every 1 of yours, up to a maximum of $10,000 of mine. That should be an easy way for you to make some money.

7lavalamp10yWell, after yesterday, I certainly won't be betting against you, even though my odds are (slightly) lower. My reading is that Harry intended to get married, because that's the only applicable law he knew of-- but McGonagall figured out what he was about to attempt and instead triggered some sort of fealty or adoption law. But I don't think it's totally inconceivable that the wizarding world has marriage vows that sound like that.

My reading is that Harry intended to get married, because that's the only applicable law he knew of-- but McGonagall figured out what he was about to attempt and instead triggered some sort of fealty or adoption law.

Agreed mostly, but I don't think McGonagall figured out that he was about to propose marriage to Hermione. She just came up independently with the idea of inducting Hermione into House Potter; and of course she preferred to use a more age-appropriate (and less emotionally-charged) path than marriage. The alternate option of service, which Harry didn't even know existed.

6lavalamp10yI'm not sure how good McGonagall's model of Harry is, so maybe you're right, and she didn't figure out what he was planning. Hm. In my model of the wizard world, what McGonagall did was a totally obvious solution to every wizard in the room except Harry; everyone in the room not on Malfoy's side probably even came in expecting Lucius to extract this fealty vow or something similar from Hermione before Azkaban was mentioned-- it should have been fresh in their minds. So I kinda feel like Lucius must have picked up the idiot ball to utter this. I can't explain why he didn't think of the obvious counter (was he so fixated on Azkaban that the fealty thing never occurred to him this whole time?). Unless he was trying to get Hermione joined to House Potter, but that seems really unlikely. Perhaps he didn't think there was any way he could lose to an 11 year old and thus didn't try hard enough.
6Eliezer Yudkowsky10yI assumed the vow was obscure, ancient, Almost Never Done in modern times for good reasons (consider the content!), and that Lucius just wouldn't have imagined his model of Harry doing that with a mudblood girl. Would've been fun to see Lucius's expression if Harry had actually proposed marriage, but that wouldn't have fit quite as well.
2lavalamp10yAh, that makes sense. I forgot that Lucius thinks he's dealing with Harrymort (and expects him to have a pureblood bias). Hm, that implies that Lucius didn't use Veritaserum on Draco after all (or he's really blinded by his bias). Well, either way I imagine Lucius is extremely confused right now...
0thomblake10yOddly, people seem to be assuming that "Lucius used Veritaserum on Draco" means "Lucius knows everything Draco knows". Which wouldn't follow even if Draco was given 3 drops, let alone the 2 he actually got.
0lavalamp10yI think that's a reasonable default scenario. Truth is entangled (and Draco/Harry/Hermione's dealings is more so than usual); I would expect that as soon as Lucius asked a question with an unusual answer, he'd keep asking questions until he figured out nearly all that Draco knew. If Lucius used Veritaserum and managed to not ask any such questions, then he might as well have not used Veritaserum at all...
0APMason10yAnd I believe he was interrogated by aurors investigating this crime - in which Harry was not involved - not by Malfoy.
0pedanterrific10y"What have you been intentionally hiding from me, in descending order of importance?"
2thomblake10yThat first, while Lucius was primarily concerned about Draco's safety and what happened that night? And it seems like a major breach of trust to ask that directly, which Draco will remember so that it will harm their bond permanently. Also, I wonder how long Draco would be able to ponder which thing is the most important before starting to answer. It might be a moot point, since I'm pretty sure Veritaserum tends to make people think out loud. "Well, I hide a lot of things from you intentionally. That's what you taught me after all. But which one is the most important? I'm not even sure how to rank things like this, so I suppose I'm solving a problem. Harry would say that in this sort of situation, one should hold off on proposing solutions. So let me think of the salient features of how to sort a list of secrets in order of importance..." (no effort on my part to make this in Draco's voice)
1pedanterrific10yNo, not that first. But I'd expect him to get around to it eventually. And it won't harm their bond if Draco doesn't remember it- the Hogwarts wards only protect students from being Obliviated while they're in Hogwarts.
0thomblake10yI doubt that's true in the purely consequentialist sense, and I don't expect Lucius to think like a consequentialist. A major violation of trust from the person Draco cares about and respects most of all, seems like exactly the sort of damage that could survive Obliviation (as McGonagall hinted in Chapter 6). And my model of Lucius would not want to violate Draco's trust, even if Draco couldn't remember it - he genuinely cares about being a good father to Draco. Old-fashioned nobles believe in virtue ethics, if any.
1pedanterrific10ySo, for what reason do you believe you have a better model of Lucius than Dumbledore does?
2thomblake10yI don't. But I think I have a better model of what sorts of things Harry has been up to with Draco, than Dumbledore does. I think Dumbledore thinks that "whatever you have done with Draco" is one thing, and will be most salient to Draco. He's not expecting the Bayesian Conspiracy, and Draco's Patronus, and Harry's Patronus, and discovering that the blood purist hypothesis is false, and actually becoming friends with Hermione, and becoming pregnant with Harry's baby, and trying to reform Slytherin house, and so on...
1pedanterrific10ySo, if I'm understanding you correctly, you think that Lucius giving Draco Veritaserum is not in itself a violation of his trust? In the context of "assume Lucius will know" "he'll give him Veritaserum" the clear implication is that Lucius would use enough Veritaserum to make answering involuntary, which would seem a clear violation of trust to me.
1thomblake10yRight, I assumed that the Veritaserum itself was just necessary as part of the legal process, for outside observers to make sure Draco isn't lying, and that instance is what they were talking about. Even in that context, "Tell me things you wouldn't want to tell me normally" is a violation of trust.
3pedanterrific10yOkay, back up even further. You think that investigating Aurors will give a child victim Veritaserum and then leave him alone with someone else before it wears off? That's horrifying.
7thomblake10yNo, I thought that the investigating Aurors would not give a child Veritaserum without his legal guardian there, and thus Lucius would have access to whatever Draco said under Veritaserum. It occurs to me now that Lucius wouldn't be too prying in front of Aurors.
0Sheaman37739yWhy are you not assuming that Lucius could get his hands on Veritaserum himself and interrogate Draco later in private?
0thomblake9yIf we wanted to assume he would do that, we could assume that at any time - Harry should have been just as worried after the Christmas break.
1thomblake10yOn reflection, I do believe I have a better model of Lucius than Dumbledore does. I've read a lot of the same fanfic as the author has and I know a decent amount about the author's thought processes, neither of which is true of Dumbledore. And Dumbledore thinks of people in absolutes, and would probably think Lucius is incapable of honestly wanting to be a good father to Draco since he's "Dark".
0APMason10yDid Eliezer say that Lucius interrogated Draco himself? I can't find it - I had assumed it was aurors, who in the course of investigating this particular crime would have no reason even to mention Harry's name.
0pedanterrific10yI don't think so, no. [http://lesswrong.com/lw/b7s/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/65k5]
0APMason10yOh right. Slightly careless reading. Sorry about that.
2Percent_Carbon10yIt looks like readers didn't get this. They were overdosed on age-inappropriate romantic hopes or did not notice the gap between Harry's idea and MacGonagal's. Is this the sort of thing you respond to by changing the chapters that are already out? The whole service thing will probably be explained in the next chapter anyway, along with Lucius's "certain rights."
0thomblake10yWaitwhat. I did not think anyone thought Harry was marrying McGonagall. Or am I missing something here?
3APMason10yMarriage at eleven is inappropriate.
0thomblake10yAha. Missed the cultural context. Thanks!
0Percent_Carbon10yWell, I mean that romance at eleven is inappropriate. I suggested marriage was seen because it would signal romance and signals of romance were desired because of hopes. But thank you, Perry. If you hadn't responded I would have answered the wrong question. I thought he misunderstood when I wrote about the gap between Harry's marriage idea and MacGonagal's fealty idea. And then maybe I would not have been clear enough again and there would have been more confusion and we might go on until one got fed up and both simply logged the other as 'dense' and left it at that.
3thomblake10yYeah, it would not have occurred to me that romance at age 11 is inappropriate, as I knew a lot of romantically-inclined people at age 11, and I tend to think of Wizarding Britain as a backwards, medieval society so "marriage at 11" doesn't ring any alarm bells. Plus, 11ish-year-old characters have already talked at length about romance in the story.
2wedrifid10yPlus... polyjuice.
1Blueberry10yAnd since we know no one has the idiot ball, that suggests that the fealty vow (or possibly wedding vow) to Harry was totally unexpected. My impression was that the Wizengamot was stunned by the events. Yes, they expected Lucius to extract something similar from Hermione. They weren't thinking of Lucius's debt to Harry, so until Harry mentioned it and stunned the room, McGonagall's actions wouldn't have occurred to them.
1Danylo10y"to obey its Master or Mistress"
2pedanterrific10yI don't think it's totally inconceivable that the wizarding world has marriage vows that sound like that.
1MartinB10yIt sounds more like a oath of obedience.
1pedanterrific10yYes. I agree. I was just saying that the gender-inclusive language specifically isn't a good reason to think that, given Wizarding Britain's displayed attitude toward homosexuality.
6ArisKatsaris10yIt's not the "gender inclusiveness" that's the problem, it's the vagueness. Harry is male, why not call him "Master" instead of "Master or Mistress"? It's because the oath is a fealty oath sworn to the House, and after Harry dies, the mastery of his house may pass to a daughter of his (which Hermione would then be still sworn to obey). Marital oaths are between specific people. In this case obedience was sworn to House Potter, and Harry accepted it as the heir and last scion of House Potter.
0pedanterrific10yYes. I agree.
5Blueberry10yThe problem is that I don't know enough about Magical Britain's culture and customs to make a good estimate. There's so much weird stuff going on there that there's not much that would surprise me. You are correct that taken completely out of context like that, they sound like service vows. And I'm biased because I want them to be marriage vows; after reading your posts I've updated in favor of service vows. I don't think P(marriage) > 50%. But you're offering me 10 against 1, and I am sure P(marriage) > 1/11. So I accept your bet. I'll put up $30 against your $300, to be judged either by an unambiguous statement in a future chapter of MoR, or by a comment on LW by Eliezer.
4ArisKatsaris10yIt's a deal on my part -- but I'll also understand/forgive/excuse you if you don't pay up, because I think Eliezer has effectively already confirmed my position in a comment, before I got to say "Deal".
2Blueberry10yThis one? [http://lesswrong.com/lw/b7s/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/663p] It was posted after I said "I accept your bet," so I am honor-bound to pay up. But if you feel bad taking the money I can always donate to SIAI instead.
2ArisKatsaris10yYeah that was the comment I was talking about, and nah, I am okay with taking the money, if you also consider it fair enough. I'll PM you paypal detail. If paypal is not convenient for you, we'll figure some other way.
0Blueberry10ySent via paypal. Someone make more bets with me so I can come out ahead ;)
0Percent_Carbon10yWhen you do that you are robbing Blueberry of a valuable and inexpensive learning experience.
2Alex_Altair10yThis blew my mind.

Hypothesis: the Source of Magic is an AI with the goal to work in the way (magical) people really believe it should work. Or maybe, to make the world work in the way (magical) people really believe it should work. The strength of belief appears to be important, so a strong belief can override weak ones. On the other hand, when something is already "generally known" to work in a certain way, this is a very strong belief.

Examples:

  1. Broomsticks work by Aristotelian physics [because it was what people believed when the broomsticks were invented, and now people just know (=believe really strongly) that's how broomsticks should behave]
  2. Spell names and laws [inventors create spells by finding sounds they believe should work. When spells become known, they stabilize in that form]
  3. Potions Law
  4. Ritual magic [people really believe in sacrifices and not getting something for nothing]
  5. Ghosts (and afterlife?) [effects of religious beliefs]
  6. Harry's partial transfiguration [very strong belief, finds a loophole to not be in conflict with existing strong beliefs of other people]

Magic doesn't make sense to Harry because it now reflects lots of ad hoc rules and beliefs accumulated in centuries. Wizards and witches believe them from childhood. [No wonder they are half-insane.]

Interestingly, this hypothesis implies that Dumbledore's narrative causality may actually work - people do believe in stories.

8Mass_Driver10yWow. That's just an absolutely fabulous theory. In one fell swoop, you explain why EY appeared to leave AI out of his largest story yet, plausibly account for a vast array of in-story phenomena, and rehabilitate a character (Dumbledore) who seems suspiciously irrational for someone who's supposed to have oodles of meaningful in-story-real-world accomplishments. The theory has falsifiable, concrete predictions -- for example, we should not expect the AI to care if Harry asks it really nicely to give everyone magic powers; nor should we expect magic to be able to do anything that a super-intelligent AI couldn't do (simulating cat-brains is AOK; uncomputably complicated time loops are not OK). The theory also seems to fit with Chapter 82's hint that people subsumed by pheonix fire are re-instantiated "instances" of a more general Fire. In other words, the AI can maybe call the "Harry" subroutine somewhere else if it wants. I'm in awe. One possible victory condition if the AI in fact is coded to enforce the beliefs of people with a particular genetic marker is for Harry to find a way to put that marker into most people / his friends using a retrovirus. Does anyone else find it in the least suspicious that Harry's father is an expert biochemist? So, have there been any fundamentally uncomputable events in the story so far? :-)

After this chapter, a lot of people are going to deduce that Harry was in fact the person who broke out Bellatrix. Including, probably Dumbledore.

Quirrell will likely be forced to show his hand when Dumbledore accuses him of having engineered the escape. Somehow, this turns into Quirrell leaving his post. End of story seems imminent :(

No. Mind the Conservation of Detail.

Harry doesn't know that Dumbledore's patronus recognizes Harry's patronus. This is a trap EY has laid for Harry.

For no internal reasons, but for story reasons, Dumbledore will not figure out that Harry was in Axkaban until the next time both he and Harry have their patronuses up at the same time. It is set up to be a shocking reveal, maybe a cliffhanger.

1thelittledoctor10yYes, Dumbledore's icy glare at the end seems to imply that he figured it out.

Or just that he's pissed with Harry for putting himself in Malfoy's debt.

Or for painting a giant bulls-eye on himself.

The icy glare could really mean anything.

2FiftyTwo10yOR for doing a stupidly flashy solution when an easier one was available, which he will now berate harry about in the next chapter....

Harry Potter is not so clever, part 2. (Perhaps I should call this "advice for Harry," to be less negative.)

"I accept your offer," said Harry's lips, without any hesitation, without any decision having been made; just as if the internal debate had been pretense and illusion, the true controller of the voice having been no part of it. "I should have the whole amount ready by the end of the month." It would take his arbitrage trick, but certainly the Headmaster would let him do that instead of going into debt to Malfoy.

Lucius Malfoy stood motionless, frowning down at Harry. "Who is she to you, then? What is she to you, that you would pay so much to keep her from harm?"

"My friend," the boy said quietly. "As is your son- I would have fought as hard and paid as much to keep him from Azkaban."

"Save it," Harry suggested.

"Let us all go home, indeed." His blue eyes were locked on Harry, as hard as sapphires.

Harry looked further up.

"This is how far I go for my friends, Lord Malfoy. And now that Hermione is safe, I would like your permission to visit Draco. "

Overall: what the heck is Harry's model of... (read more)

Harry may be an overachiever, but he's still 11 - he's allowed to be bad at manipulating people. He's still at the "All I have to do is out-clever everyone and I can take over the world" stage. He has the tools to pull it off much of the time, but he still thinks of his opponents as pieces, not as players, which is a pretty serious hole in his worldview when it comes to things like manipulating Lucius Malfoy.

"I should have the whole amount ready by the end of the month." It would take his arbitrage trick, but certainly the Headmaster would let him do that instead of going into debt to Malfoy.

Even if he does his arbitrage trick, what benefit would he get from telling it to Malfoy in advance. Why share unnecessary information with a potential adversary? Why risk additional penalties if something unexpected happens and the arbitrage takes five weeks instead of four?

2Vaniver10yThe point there was to avoid the "I can't let you do that, Harry" by making it obvious to Dumbledore (who knows Harry's current wealth) that Harry has a trick up his sleeve. Mentioning the arbitrage trick in public would be a terrible decision, which is why Harry just thinks that.
9kilobug10yI'm doubtful about the arbitrage trick to really work that smoothly - goblins will get suspicious quickly, and it'll probably be seen as a threat to the Statute of Secrecy and would lead to legal troubles from the wizarding side. It would have to be done slowly and quietly to go on, not to be rushed in a few months.
7Vaniver10yAlso problematic is that the Wizarding world undervalues Galleons and overvalues Sickles. If he can pay the debt in 1.7 million Sickles, then he's fine- but if he has to pay them in Galleons, and he just modified the Galleon-Sickle exchange rate to 50-1, then he's worse off. (He might have made enough from the arbitrage to pay back Malfoy, but maybe not.) Worst comes to worst, he asks Dumbledore to cure some rich muggles with cancer who are willing to pay. [edit]Remember, the trick only needs to work once. Take out 40k galleons, convert it to muggle gold (probably necessary, but maybe not), convert it to 50 times as much silver by weight, convert it to Sickles, and now he has (if they're the same weight coins) 2M Sickles, minus conversion losses. Hand off 1.7M of them to Lucius (or get them changed at Gringotts), and the debt is cleared. Now, Harry triples his money every time he does the trick- so he'll probably want to try it several times before losing a lot of his principal. But that's not a big issue.

Worst comes to worst, he asks Dumbledore to cure some rich muggles with cancer who are willing to pay.

I think that the can of worms of why wizards don't immediately go cure world hunger etc. is best left to be opened near the end of the fic, if at all.

Actually, there's a fairly complicated question of why don't we immediately go cure world hunger. I mean, the production and logistics aspects wouldn't be very difficult compared to what today's industry can output on an everyday basis. I guess that it's 80% pure irrationality and only 20% politics.

You mean IRL? It mostly boils down to "we've tried giving hungry people food, it doesn't work, and that's pretty much all the ideas we've got". It's a much messier problem than it seems at first glance, and it isn't all politics or insanity. To pick the most obvious, when you dump planes full of grain on the tarmac in Zimbabwe, what did you just do the finances of the local farmers who now need to compete with free? And what does that do to next year's crop?

4Eugine_Nier10yI'd reverse those. (Although one could be considered a subset of the other.)
7loserthree10yIt's an interest-free loan. Unless the "certain rights" Lucius has over HJPEV until graduation are troublesome, it is in probably HJPEV's best interest to delay paying the loan back as long as possible. Or unless, I suppose, he expects significant deflation before graduation. I don't think any of the HJPEV's plans that we know of are likely to result in deflation, quite the opposite in fact.
9Vaniver10yDumbledore was willing to send Hermione to Azkaban to prevent Lucius from getting those rights (well, and the money). It seems likely to me that they're troublesome.
4TimS10yOr that it doesn't fit Dumbledore's narrative.
3mjr10yTrue as such. But storywise it would seem weird to leave this hanging. That's one reason why I'm already irrationally overinvested, I notice, in my theory that it'll get taken care of pretty much on the side by finding out the true culprit and thus cancelling the debt through the Wizengamot or, failing that, possibly through Draco. There are other options, of course. There have been good points about Dumbledore now having an interest to Make Money Fast for Harry, and about possible other people who might be willing to bankroll a business venture for the newly brightened legend. And, again storywise, I can see handling the "leave it hanging" option in a decent manner as well, if there's some closure about the relations of houses Potter and Malfoy (presumably with Lucius dead or imprisoned and stripped of his status).
1drethelin10yThis is only true if you assume harry won't have any other use for money for that whole time, which seems unlikely to me.
2loserthree10yEither I misunderstand you or you have it exactly wrong. If HJPEV pays back the no-interest loan early, he has less money to spend in the meantime. If HJPEV pays back the no-interest loan at the latest possible time, he has plenty of money he can use to make more money, and to spend, in the meantime.
1drethelin10yThe way I imagine it working is that any money Harry might acquire is automatically spent on paying off his debt, but he doesn't get into trouble if this doesn't pay the debt until he turns 18. I don't think the situation where he makes plenty of money and does not pay off the loan will be allowed. So either Harry can not worry about the debt and pay it off eventually at the cost of not having any money til then, or pay it off sooner and then have free use of money.
0loserthree10yI don't think we need to rely so much on your imagination. If a debt isn't due, it need not be paid on. There's nothing here that says he's required to pay anything else before he graduates. In fact, it's possible that the author meant us to understand that HJPEV didn't have to pay anything right now and that the whole hundred grand isn't due until graduation. But that would mean the author had been a bit sloppier than I'm fairly confident he is.
3bogdanb10yEmphasis mine. I think (most of) whatever he has must be payed immediately, and the “due” part is only for the rest.
2wedrifid10yBetter than scaring him in a dark alley. At least he'll have time to think through his reaction. Far more important than not scaring Malfoy in public is not insulting him in public. Public scaring isn't too much of an issue unless the nature of the scare is also insulting.
6bogdanb10yAlso, he scared pretty much the entire Wizengamot (plus a Dementor!), not just Lucius. “I scared him, and people know why” is different than “I scared him, and people know it”. [ETA:] It’s no loss of face to be scared by someone who more or less scared everyone else.
4NancyLebovitz10yI think that being pushed into showing fear is something like an insult, especially if anyone twits him about it.
4Alejandro110yI read that at first as "if anybody tweets him about it" and spent some moments pondering the possibility of a magical Twitter (functioning by owl post, of course).

So, new speculation: who are the sharp players in the Wizengamot who are drawing up lists on Harry?

They're not Lucius or Dumbledore, both of whom already know a great deal, and the former is too enraged to really be thinking beyond 'why did Voldemort just sacrifice all his wealth for a "friend"?'

I would be a little shocked if Umbridge was meant; she's so moronic in canon that even a MoR brain-upgrade still leaves her dim and bureaucratic, and she certainly doesn't match. And the powerful-wizard background is much more of a 'male' thing, to boot.

Mad-eye Moody could be expected to be making a list, but as far as I can tell he's not present and is remarkable enough that if he was, he would be mentioned. He's also apparently busy watching over & poisoning graves. In one chapter, Bones mentions he just retired, so he wouldn't be there in an Auror capacity. EDIT: Aftermath would seem to imply Moody was not there, because Harry didn't recognize the Moody in the Pensieve memory at all, despite him being quite striking.

Madam Bones seems too much on Dumbledore and Harry's side to be so suspicious, and not 'new' in any plot-meaningful sense. She's otherwise a decent enough candi... (read more)

9Desrtopa10yNot just imply, I'm pretty sure that in the fourth book Dumbledore explicitly calls Bartemius Crouch "powerfully magical." The relevance of that may be limited if Eliezer hasn't read the book itself though.

Well, he's certainly on the list now.

1gwern10yD'oh!
8pedanterrific10yAmelia Bones is Director of the DMLE, not Crouch.
6faul_sname10yMoody saw it though. The Eye of Vance sees everything.
8pedanterrific10yI don't think "The Eye of Vance saw the full globe of the world in every direction around him, no matter where it was pointing" necessarily means he can count the grains of rice in China without turning his head.

Not necessarily, but this does seem the sort of thing Moody would go out of his way to keep an eye (ha) on.

6Vaniver10yScrimgeour seems like a likely candidate for the strange male voice.

Or, depending on how the interrogation went, ScrimQuirMort.

2gwern10yYes, Rufus [http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Rufus_Scrimgeour] is also good. He's not noble, but he is old, powerful, and apparently head of the Aurors, under Bones. And we just saw him on-screen for the first time ever, interrogating Quirrel - if the Ministry suspects him of being Dark (as how could they not, by this point?) it makes sense they'd interrogate him with one of their best hunters, who would be one of the people most likely to think about what they just saw. ('ScrimQuirMort' just gives me a headache.)
1Nominull10yI think "the old wizard" was Dumbledore.
1gwern10yRe-reading it more carefully, yeah. I thought he switched to Crouch and then back to Dumbledore in the pronouns, but guess not.

So how many other ex-death-eaters now officially owe House Potter? Surely they can pay him.

9SkyDK10yIt would be a bad use of political capital considering how easy he could gain money in other ways while keeping a majority(? - at least combined with some help from Dumbledore's side) vote on pretty much whatever issue up his sleeve...
3MarkusRamikin10yNow that Harry's invoked the debt and alerted all ex-death-eaters, I imagine it will remain useful only until they figure out a way to nullify or lessen its importance. Like change the law or whatever, I don't know how they'd do it but I imagine they won't sit idly. So perhaps he should cash in while he still can.
7SkyDK10yHighly unlikely: blood debts have probably been a significant political currency for a long time, and both due to institutional path-dependency and a lot of vested interests, I highly doubt that they'd change the importance of blood debts. Also: it seems like a lot of the justice system is built up around this concept. It would require a total overhaul of the justice system to deal with the blood debt. Otherwise they'd have to change the significance of being imperiuse'd which is also unlikely due to most of them otherwise being Azkaban(ne)d

How about a concerted campaign to persuade the public to lessen the importance of that particular debt? Remind everyone that Harry was a baby at the time and couldn't have intended to defeat the Dark Lord, emphasise that it must have been some kind of freak accident, start spreading rumours with alternative explanations...

Anyway my point isn't about any single thing they could do; the point is that there are a lot of powerful and politically-skilled people who would very much want to do something, and I don't feel at all confident that we can assume they'll be unable to come up with anything now that the gambit is no longer a surprise one.

6SkyDK10yYou may very well be right. Due to free-riding and buck-passing I'd still expect a lot of them to do nothing. Recall also that they're all in internal power struggles over ink monopolies and what have you, plus Lucius lack of complete control has already been pointed out by Lucius. For all those who think the blood debt will hurt their rivals more than themselves there's good reason not to change the framing of the debt. Not to forget being the one to start this campaign will be both financially and politically costly. A beautiful collective action problem. Either way, we've too little insights into the political power balances to make qualified estimates about the "wall-paper's" reaction.
6Lavode10yHarry probably wont call in any blood debts himself, but any former deatheathers with substantial spare coin will jump at the possibility to get out from under a debt to Harry by giving Lucius money, so that 60.000 might well be paid in full before he makes it back to hogwarts, let alone sets any money making schemes in progress.
3SkyDK10yA possibility. Though for some of the lesser wealthy houses that is probably not the first option. For some a blood debt might also be a good way to join Harry's side if he seems to start winning. For the opposite reason a lot might do nothing because they expect Lucius to crush him before he makes claim to his debts. Free-riding and buck-passing are frequent solutions in the political game.

Ha!

Remember when H&C told Hermione that Harry would sacrifice her if she became inconvenient to his plans for global domination? Guess Hermione can tell him to kiss her ass on that one.

I doubt she remembers any of that conversation.

0buybuydandavis10yI hadn't thought of that. On the other hand, those statements seemed like manipulation to a purpose, and it's hard to see what's the point if you're going to wipe the memory of it away.
4Normal_Anomaly10yShe doesn't remember that iteration of the conversation. She remembers the last one (unless it was obliviated after the duel), which is the one where she was successfully manipulated.
6loserthree10yHe obliviated Blaise, he'll have obliviated Hermione.
2hairyfigment10yYes, technically it looks like he obliviated her much later -- after the final conversation led her to either curse Draco or think thoughts that made that story halfway plausible.
0bogdanb10yShe had three drops of Veritaserum, she would have mentioned that last iteration if she remembered it, but it’s apparent that her anger is not justified. So she was certainly obliviated before the interrogation.
3Jonathan_Elmer10yI don't think the point of the groundhogs day attack was to find a convincing lie. I'm pretty sure the point was to identify a convincing memory. Once that was identified the entire conversation was oblivated and the false memory inserted.

The next chapter is going to be horribly depressing, you know. Harry is going to have to have it explained to him why it's a bad idea to do things that are a bad idea. Otherwise this arc would have the wrong moral...

On the other hand, it's now in Dumbledore's interest to see Harry make a lot of money quickly in order to discharge the debt, which means he's far more likely to approve of things that otherwise would be considered unacceptable, like:

  • 1) Tricks with the Time Turner involving lotteries, stock markets, and the like.
  • 2) The gold/silver arbitrage idea.
  • 3) Personal appearance fees and other financial trading on his fame as The Boy Who Lived.
  • 4) Calling in debts owed by other Imperiused or supposedly-Imperiused victims of Voldemort.
  • 5) Dumbledore himself using the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone to make a lot of gold.

In short, a sixty thousand Galleon debt, while it feels huge, is not obviously a major obstacle given the number of possible solutions already implicitly presented in HPMoR, and it would almost seem a cheat for it to be one

That wiping out the debt easily might have its own negative consequences, on the other hand, is potentially interesting.

2Percent_Carbon10yMaking gold probably breaks the 'no counterfeit' rule as far as the goblins are concerned. Before it was edited out, there was a bit where a goblin was suspicious of this in an early chapter. It was silver, but still. Lucius has some kind of control over what Harry does because of the debt. That may limit some of these choices or just weaken them. Harry doesn't need to use the Time Tuner to make money on a stoke market. He just needs to open a stock market. But Dumbledore hasn't sacrificed his (twisted) ethics to suit his cause before. He is no more likely to do so now, just because it's convenient. This latest event is probably not strong enough to make him twist his ethics again, if you believe he twisted them in the past.
7Alsadius10yBut Dumbledore has given no sign that he finds it unethical to make money. All he's said was "You're not ready to play, I'm not going to give you the bankroll to upset the board". If the cash is going to something this concrete and hard to abuse, he'd likely allow it. I doubt he'd abet with a method as easy as the Philosopher's Stone, but he'd likely not stand in the way.
3Percent_Carbon10yThat is convincing and I'd change my post if this was that sort of place. Still, with more that six years before the debt comes due, Dumbldoe can say the same thing, "Not old enough."
2linkhyrule510yAnd Harry can say, "Old enough to storm Azkaban. Old enough to get Lucius Malfoy to back down. Old enough to be deeply in debt."
6Percent_Carbon10yThat would be arguing that you should be allowed to do something because of all the things you were not successfully disallowed to do. It does not necessarily follow and probably does not Dumbledoredly follow.
2see10yOf course, I could be wrong, but given that it was considered a legitimate source of "as much money and life as you could want" in canon, I'd expect HPMoR would be more explicit if it were considered illegitimate in HPMoR. Griphook's original reaction (which I have in a PDF I downloaded before the change) looked to me not like Griphook was wondering if Harry would be counterfeiting, and more like he thought Harry was planning to steal the Stone itself. (I assume it was edited out probably because the HP version of the stone, unlike the one in the AD&D DMGs, only makes metal into gold, and thus couldn't make silver.)
1Percent_Carbon10yWould you please quote that passage here? I believe it was cut because it told Harry the Philosopher's Stone exists. Harry is interested in eternal life, so finding out about the Stone would cause a confrontation EY means to save for the end.
8see10yWhile the current version says
0Percent_Carbon10yThank you. Based on canon, the Stone was being removed from the care of Griphook's organization at that time. It seems less likely he'd be concerned about theft and more likely he'd be concerned about what impact the Stone might have on his people. It's still a stab in the dark. But since pretty much the only thing we know about MoR!goblins is that they run 'banks' and they are in a constant state of war with counterfeiters, I think it's the best guess possible without diving out of MoR and into canon even more.

Dunno about that. The debt will have concsequences, certainly, but Hermione is not in Azkaban.

Yes, it's super sad to let a little girl be tortured to death. But there is a cost large enough that it is not worth paying to prevent it, even if the cost is only in terms of mere cash, political capital, personal reputation as not being more fearsome than Fear itself, keeping important military secrets for the coming war secret, and the enmity of those you failed to lose to. That's the meaning of the phrase "Taboo Tradeoffs", it's that stating you kept Hermione out of Azkaban is not enough justification.

Of course, if he had counted the cost, he would have been an awful hypocrite. Recall what he said after Hermione rescued him from the Dementor:

I'll say that no matter what it ends up costing you to have kissed me, don't ever doubt for a second that it was the right thing to do.

At least he's holding himself to the same standard, even if it's a bad one.

9Desrtopa10yA lot of people would pay a lot of money for a reputation for being more fearsome than fear itself. Speaking entirely in terms of money, I think that this was probably a clear cut good idea, because in the long run, for Harry, money is likely not to be a limited resource in practical terms. Sure, millions of dollars worth of gold could theoretically be used to save a lot more people, but Harry doesn't have management of his account for the time being. By the time he's old enough to actually access his account at will, his debt to Lucius is likely to be a triviality, or already dispensed with.
5NihilCredo10yThe math here depends entirely on what the "certain rights" Lucius has over Harry are. Were the debt a purely financial issue, saving Hermione would be a no-brainer. Did those rights allow Lucius to realistically cripple Harry's efforts to fix the world, not saving Hermione would be a no-brainer. We still don't know, although the fact that Dumbledore ultimately went along with it suggests that it's closer to the former than the latter.
2faul_sname10yThe cost wouldn't be worth it, except that it may well allow Harry to amass wealth in excess of what he had before if he plays his cards right.

I wish to register my alarm at this:

This was actually intended as a dry run for a later, serious “Solve this or the story ends sadly” puzzle

Given that he was "amazed" at our performance this time, presumably an equivalent performance would pass the future test — but even if that's true it doesn't comfort me much.

I humbly beg our author to consider simply withholding updates, rather than issuing an ultimatum that may result in us never getting the "true" ending. "I won't post any more chapters until you solve this," rather than "I'm going to torch the last few years of your life if you're not smart enough."

4AspiringKnitter10yI agree, this is a bad idea. I didn't figure out the answer when it was just for fun; my performance will probably only get worse under stress (and there's not much farther to fall from "uh... well, maybe it has to do with destroying Dementors, I give up"). I know this shows no confidence in my own rationality, or that of the other readers, but can we please just have a normal story?
3James_Blair10yThere's nothing to worry about. We were presented with the same challenge in Three Worlds Collide [http://lesswrong.com/lw/y4/three_worlds_collide_08/]. If we don't succeed, we will just get a false ending [http://lesswrong.com/lw/ya/normal_ending_last_tears_68/] instead of a true ending [http://lesswrong.com/lw/yb/true_ending_sacrificial_fire_78/].

A always thought the false ending was better.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for stories where everyone lives happily ever after. :-)

4Alex_Altair10yI agree. The "false" ending definitely ranks higher in my CEV than the "true" ending.
375th10y…did you mean "along with a true ending"? Because "instead of" is precisely what I fear, but your links seem to indicate that we might get both endings? I don't understand, and Three Worlds Collide predates my awareness of Less Wrong so I don't have firsthand knowledge of exactly how that went down.
4[anonymous]10yI think he meant that in case of failure, the happy ending will simply become the "false ending" instead of the "true ending". Since we get both either way, there really isn't a difference.
375th10yGotcha. As long as we do get to read the full, complete, unbesmirched and unabridged "good" ending, I can live with that.
2James_Blair10yYes. The exact phrasing of the challenge [http://lesswrong.com/lw/y9/three_worlds_decide_58/] was:
0James_Blair7ySo, after what happened [http://hpmor.com/chapter/113].. turns out I was both wrong and right. So failure would have just meant the end, and yet there was nothing to worry about: the much larger audience managed to figure out a space of much more effective solutions, along with a much more hilarious space of failures.

There are reasons for avoiding being hit with an anti-polyjuice spell even if you aren't polyjuiced. (1) The spell would reveal that you aren't polyjuiced, which might be useful information for your adversaries if you're masquerading as someone else by other means. (2) If your policy is only to counter such spells when they would have revealed something, then your decision to counter or not is itself revealing. Better to have a general policy of not letting people probe you at all.

1[anonymous]10y(2) is actually counter-productive. Your policy of countering anti-polyjuice spells is associated with your appearance. If you are known to counter such spells, then an adversary polyjuiced as you will have an easier time of getting away with it. But if you act like a normal person, then someone with your appearance countering such a spell would seem suspicious indeed. In Quirrell's case, however, Scrimgeour is already fairly certain that Quirrell is actually someone else. Polyjuice is the easiest explanation, and if it were rejected then Scrimgeour would simply try alternatives (e.g. check if Quirrell is a Metamorphmagus). Also, the paragraph above assumes the existence of allies. Quirrell would rather minimize the information anyone has about him, as a matter of course.
2MartinB10yRegarding polyjuice. Keep in mind that Quirrell had to spend a while in the hospital wing in bed. He probably would not have had access to his juice. In HP4 you see how often someone polyjuiced has to refill - it is basically all the time.
2[anonymous]10yRight. We, the readers, know that Quirrell is not polyjuiced. But Scrimgeour doesn't.
1MartinB10yI found it weird that he only tried once, and basically ignored Qs counter to the test.
2Benquo10yHe is afraid to escalate.
5MartinB10yIs he not the interrogator in a ministry holding cell? Oh boy.
4Benquo10yAnd Quirrelmort seems to have wandlessly and effortlessly blocked his spell. That's pretty scary.
5MartinB10yWell. But he is not supposed to give in. He has to get the next level of interrogators who can deal with this. Imagine a real police person in a similar situation.
2loserthree10yImagine a real police officer dealing with someone who cannot be disarmed. Perhaps the magical world has a "cannot put Superman in jail" threshold. Under it, they tread lightly. Over it, they pull out all the stops and doing whatever they're doing to Grindelwald.
0[anonymous]10yThat was more than twenty-four hours ago, you know.

You misread the passage. McGonaggal helped Harry take Hermione into the sworn service of House Potter. A very feudal type of thing, but certainly no marriage.

Lucius Malfoy's eyes narrowed. "By the report I received, you cannot cast the Patronus Charm, and Dumbledore knows this. The power of a single Dementor nearly killed you. You would not dare venture near Azkaban in your own person -"

Has Lucius not spoken to Draco in private yet?

If he hasn't... when he does, and tells Draco what happened at the trial, and finds that Draco isn't surprised (or at least, not more than usual when it comes to Harry)... what will he think then?

Even if he knew, saying that would be a good way to try to get Harry to reveal something. What he would have heard from Draco is that Harry has a super-bright Patronus whose form he keeps secret; he would be curious. So I don't think this quote is strong evidence that Lucius hasn't heard about the Patronus from Draco, since it is pretty likely that he would say something like this even if he has.

EDIT: Actually, since he believes Harry is Voldemort, he probably thinks the Patronus light he showed Draco was an illusion, and not useful for getting out of Azkaban at all. If he thinks Harry is Voldemort he's unlikely, then, to pry for information about it in this way.

7Alsadius10yI expect the amount of time he had was not sufficient for a full report on everything Draco knows of Harry. Perhaps the Patronuses didn't come up? Seems an odd omission, but not an impossible one.

Lucius didn't ask if Harry could cast a Patronus, I could buy that. But Draco's Patronus didn't come up? Harry's vow of vengeance against Narcissa's killer didn't come up? That whole thing was possibly the single most important interaction Draco and Harry have had, next to when Harry tricked Draco into sacrificing his belief in blood purity.

2Rejoyce10yI thought Draco promised Harry that Draco wouldn't tell Lucius about their interactions. Several times.
8pedanterrific10yI wasn't aware that Draco was an Occlumens. (If he can't beat Veritaserum, those promises mean precisely nothing.)

Draco's a manipulative little snake. Lucius never probably never asked, "Son, are you able to cast the Patronus Charm?" because he was probably under the impression that Slytherins weren't able to cast Patronuses so why bother asking. Hence, the topic never came up. Draco's a scientist now, he doesn't completely believe everything that Lucius says anymore. Draco's probably avoiding talking about dangerous subjects with his father. And of course, he could always lie.

9Alsadius10yActually, he couldn't lie - he was interrogated under Veritaserum. That doesn't mean that the topic came up, of course.

If regular courts had veritaserum, I imagine the first question they'd ask would be "What are the things you don't want to tell us?".

7GeeJo10yBut that is such a vague question. I could go on for hours about entirely irrelevant observations I wouldn't want to get out in public - how I feel about people at work, how much I enjoy certain bodily functions, sexual kinks. Nothing I'd want to tell them, but stuff I would objectively prefer for them to know than that I'd committed a heinous murder.
7ajuc10yYeah, phrasing it right wouldn't be trivial, but much easier than making wishes for UFAI, because Veritaserum is the equivalent of perfect box for AI, and Draco is human, so most of the definitions and assumptions he shares with the judges. So maybe: "Tell me the things, you think I would want to know about, according to the best model of me you can construct."
9wedrifid10yExcept if I'm an AI in a perfect box I can't do as I please and destroy everything but if I'm a free agent drugged with veritaserum I can but I'm completely honest and forthcoming about it. As in: [Harry is under the influence of a truth serum] Samir: Is there anything you'd like to tell me before we start? Harry: Yeah. I'm going to kill you pretty soon. Samir: I see. How, exactly? Harry: First I'm going to use you as a human shield. Then I'm going to kill this guard over here with the Patterson trocar on the table. And then I was thinking about breaking your neck. Samir: And what makes you think you can do all that? Harry: You know my handcuffs? Samir: Mmm-hmm. Harry: [holds up his hands] I picked them. [Samir gasps. Harry springs up from his chair and grabs Samir, using him as a shield while he kills the guard, then breaks Samir's neck] And... Ok, that name collision just completely changed the way I visualize MoR!Harry.
5loserthree10ySomeone will want to know that you're quoting True Lies. Someone else, I suppose.
1Alsadius10yThat's the sort of sentence that'd cause most people who don't post at LW to look at you funny. It's sort of impressive how much we seem to have forked English.
3TheOtherDave10yIt's been my experience that simply being the sort of person who would choose to post at LW given the option is sufficient to cause most people who wouldn't to look at one funny.
2wedrifid10yThey would look at us even more funny when the people who post even more at LW instantly reply "NO! Give that as a command to any sufficiently intelligent agent and everything is lost!" And Draco is across that threshold now that he has spent time with Harry. Even comparatively weak genies are dangerous if you give them orders.
0MugaSofer9yHow so?
2wedrifid9yThe genie was given the command requiring the creation of the best that they can construct without even any time or resource limitations. If the instruction is obeyed successfully then everything (except the immediate physical form of the speaker) is converted to computronium.
0MugaSofer9yDraco would take into account his father's wish for life as we know it to continue and lacks the resources to transform anything into computronium. Talking to Harry does not transform one into a genie.
0wedrifid9yHe can do that, to the extent that he is able to ignore the influence of the drug. (ie. You are just denying the counterfactual.) No he doesn't. It would be hard and potentially take years. He could also be stopped by force by others or killed while making the attempt. He certainly has the resources available though and to the extent that the mind control magic is assumed to work he has perfect, concentrated motivation. Not assumed and not required. He just needs to be a vaguely competent intelligent agent (although the fact that he is already a gifted, machiavellian wizard also helps). The rest came in the ridiculously careless question given under the power of potent mind control magic.
0MugaSofer9yAh, I think I see the problem. IIRC, veritaserum forces Draco to be truthful, not to obey any given commands. Presumably if he was under such control (have we seen how the imperius curse works in the MORverse?) then he would indeed attempt to augment his own ability to perform the task, using whatever means available, and his conversations with Harry might indeed have suggested the possibility of computronium to him. That said, he might seek a faster method if one was available, since time is almost certainly limited - whether by the limits of the spell (most spells wear off with time, it is likely his friends and allies would attempt to cure him, and he has a limited lifespan assuming he does not anticipate immortality.)
3kilobug10yWas Draco under Veritaserum when he spoke privately with Lucius, or only when he was interrogated by the Aurors ? We don't know how long Veritaserum lasts, nor how much time elapsed between the two.

Nevertheless, I believe it was two drops used, not three - so Draco didn't have to volunteer information.

1loserthree10yIt doesn't have to be about Draco's status as a scientist. We know from the text that he is very afraid of disappointing his father. That could be enough to keep him quiet until he's asked about anything it might possibly pertain to. Then he's forced by the drops.
3smk10yMy speculations were: Maybe Lucius decided to let Draco keep some privacy. Or he just hasn't gotten around to fully questioning him under veritaserum yet. Or he's pretending that he doesn't know that Harry has a Patronus. Or someone obliviated Draco of this information before Draco was returned to his father. Or Draco is secretly an occlumens and he just pretended to let the veritaserum work on him. I don't think Draco is an occlumens. I also don't think Lucius is such a nice dad that he would respect Draco's privacy after Draco was nearly killed. I suppose he might not have had the chance yet, but if I was Lucius I would have tried really hard to get the chance to question Draco in detail before the trial. Unless Lucius was overconfident of his influence with the Wizengamot?
8loserthree10yDraco knows that HJPEV claims to be able to Patronus. Draco knows that HJPEV presented himself as though he needed to hide his Patronus. Lucius knows that the 'light' side regards the ability to Patronus as a 'light' qualifier. If Lucius also knows what Draco knows, then he would know that inviting HJPEV to Patronus would probably result in one of two things: either he learns something HJPEV may believe to be a valuable secret, or he casts doubt on HJPEV's 'light' side qualities. it's win-win, just like you know he likes it.
1buybuydandavis10yYeah, Draco has been missing for a while. EY moved through this very fast. There's been a murder attempt on Draco, and a trial about it, and I don't remember seeing Draco since he was plotting to challenge Hermione.
3Blueberry10yHe's probably still healing.

Why does Dumbledore not give a quick Summary of the worst consequences of being in debt to Lucius Malfoy? It's hard to see how that could necessitate telling secrets that cannot be revealed in public, the laws involved should already be known. Naming a few of the "certain rights" Lucius would have shouldn't take more time than Dumbledore actually spends trying to convince Harry.

9Anubhav10yFor that matter, why didn't Dumbledore mention the Imperius debt when they were talking about debts? Dumbledore's being awfully incompetent... Wonder why that would be.

I suspect that everyone discounts the "I was Imperiused!" claim for being an obvious lie, and thus discounts the implications of it being officially true. It's certainly a plausible hole in worldview - ignoring the implications of a false statement being "true" is an easy mistake to make.

8Desrtopa10yIt seems like a pretty glaring one to me; I argued in the tvtropes discussion thread that I didn't think this solution was going to be implemented, because I found it hard to believe that Dumbledore wouldn't have thought of it. It was actually the first thing that came to my mind when I was reading chapter 80, and trying to think of holds Harry had on Lucius; when you know someone's been lying, catching them out in the consequences of it is one of the handiest ways to gain advantage over them. By the time I finished the chapter, I had already dismissed it on the grounds that if Dumbledore, who's been maneuvering against Lucius in the realm of politics for over a decade, hadn't suggested it, there was probably some reason why it wouldn't work. The fact that he would let such a clear opportunity to use his opponent's deceptions against him slip has forced me to revise my estimate of his cunning considerably downwards.

Dumbledore may simply not have considered Hermione WORTH the debt.

1Desrtopa10yThat seems rather more cynical than I'd expect from a Gryffindor with a phoenix riding around on his shoulder.
0Nornagest10yDo we actually know that Dumbledore came out of Gryffindor in the MoRverse? He did in canon, and he certainly talks a good game, but neither one's necessarily decisive in this context.
6see10yChapter 27:
0Desrtopa10yI think it's been mentioned a few times, but I can't remember a specific citation off the top of my head.
0hairyfigment10yInteresting. I'd thought this chapter gave us evidence of Snape being evil, because a greater-than-or-equal-to-double agent should think immediately of disguises that need to seem real. And if we assume he's not evil then he probably sympathizes with Hermione's anti-bullying campaign. But he might not go against Dumbledore if DD didn't want to use the debt. (Still seems slightly sinister that he didn't tell Harry secretly. But not much, given their history and the likelihood Harry would think of it anyway.)
0Logos0110yWait -- where does Snape, of all people, come into this discussion?
0hairyfigment10yEh? Snape was there [http://hpmor.com/chapter/79] when they discussed a possible exchange of debts. I was saying that I'd expect him to think of the solution even if Dumbledore did not.

I think Dumbledore is more into the "general wanting to win a war" mindset. In that mindset, you don't spend a trump card like a blood debt from one major enemy just to save one life. So he shouldn't (in his pov) speak about that issue to Harry.

2Desrtopa10yI think this would be a more meaningful consideration if he had much reason to expect he'd be able to control how Harry would cash in that debt, and by the time it came up I think his acquaintance with Harry should have largely disabused him of that.
1Normal_Anomaly10yHe has shown to be a slow learner with respect to his ability to control Harry. In the last chapter, in fact, when he tries to stop Harry from accepting the debt. This slow learning is to be expected, because he's been able to control every other rebellious child he's had to deal with in N years of being headmaster, plus most of his political opponents, etc. And he believes that of course the Hero will listen to the guidance of the Wise Old Mentor.
6pjeby10yI think it hasn't sunk in yet that he's not Harry's mentor; Quirrel is.
3mjr10yAt this point Harry is feeling pretty (over)confident in his ability to keep Lucius in check, so it's not a big deal to him. Witness his riddle.
2loserthree10yI was going to say it sounds like a lien, but it turns out that word means something different outside the US. It sounds like a security interest [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_interest].

"I mean, suppose I came in here with a ton of silver. Could I get a ton of Sickles made from it?"

"For a fee, Mr. Potter-Evans-Verres." The goblin watched him with glittering eyes. "For a certain fee. [...]

"Give me a wild guess. I won't hold Gringotts to it."

"A twentieth part of the metal would well pay for the coining."

Also, IIRC McGonnagal was there, presumably she would have said something if Griphook was obviously lying or omitting something important, as suggested above. (Also, I got the impression goblins were really serious about money.)

[-][anonymous]10y 17

Prophecy update!

Like most readers, I took Trelawney's magical clock for a listening device. What if it transmits instead of receives?

We've seen Dumbledore manipulating events into storylike patterns. He was the instigator of the three-way tie, and he precipitated Snape's fall and eventual redemption by the power of love.

In his Fortress of Regrets, Dumbledore gave the surface appearance of being terribly reluctant to allow his decisions to cause the deaths of others. But in the last chapter he was ready to let a small child be tortured to death - with much trembling reluctance, of course - in order to preserve his plans.

Could he have caused Trelawney to deliver the prophecy, triggering the other half of Snape's destiny, while feeding the Potters to Voldemort to create his orphan hero?

Dumbledore meant for Voldemort to have been killed by Lily's sacrifice. He believes it happened. Instead, Voldemort, taking the obvious trap (thanks Vladimir!) as a challenge to his wit (thanks Gwern!), pretended to lose (thanks buybuydandavis!), while fulfilling the letter of the prophecy in a manner maximally advantageous to himself.

He disarmed the trap by goading Lily into attacking him. He left a bu... (read more)

[-][anonymous]10y 21

Oh hey. And we have a confession.

"I'm sorry to say, Harry, that I am responsible for virtually everything bad that has ever happened to you."

I actually noticed the dissonance when I read this, that Dumbledore had apparently overlooked the biggest and most obvious tragedy of Harry's life. But I didn't realize what it meant. Whoops.

8FAWS10yAnd more significantly: There aren't really any other good candidates for what he might have done to cause this particular problem (even if he felt responsibility on account of e g. not having been able to beat Voldemort permanently himself it seems unlikely to phrase it like that).
0bogdanb10yWell, he might just mean that he used the prophecy as a trap (by having Snape relate it to Voldie), not necessarily that he faked the prophecy itself.
9alex_zag_al10yUnnecessary detail, may or may not be the case. If he was aware of the trap, it would not matter whether this disarmed it; he just needed to not cast Avada Kedavra on Harry. Harry's memory of the event does not end with Voldemort casting the Killing Curse on him.
2[anonymous]10yYou're right. I would go ahead and flag everything in that paragraph as questionable. The method of Quirrell's possession, for example: perhaps Voldemort erased his mind and is possessing him through an artifact. It wouldn't change the overall picture.
5alex_zag_al10yAvada Kedavra leaves no mark, but getting killed by Lily's ritual sacrifice might. Even so, that the body was burned, which makes identification harder, is suggestive that it is not really Voldemort's.
9[anonymous]10yYeah, I'm less confident in the notion that Voldemort survived Godric's Hollow, and it's not integral to the hypothesis, but that's the obvious explanation for a burnt body, and the last few chapters have given me a new respect for obvious explanations.
5Eponymuse10yIt's also difficult to see why Voldemort would want to pretend to die at Godric's Hollow. He was winning the war. Why pretend to lose, throw away what he had built up to then, and try an entirely different approach to gaining power? I think the more obvious explanation for the burnt body is that whatever ritual magic protected Harry was very destructive to Voldemort. I think it is clear that some ritual magic is involved here; how else can we explain the danger of Harry's and Quirrell's magic interacting? And the violence of their magics' interaction in Azkaban makes it plausible that if Voldemort were to cast a killing curse directly at Harry, he might end up as a burnt corpse.
0[anonymous]10yTentative explanation: he was hedging his bets. If it's a trap, to walk into it would be stupid. If it's genuine, to ignore a warning like that would be stupid, too. He acted in a way that accommodated either possibility. I think the ritual he performed that night was copying himself into Harry (note to self: this may or may not be the same thing as horcruxing), and the resonance between their magics is a side effect of that. As to which explanation is more obvious, well, I don't think an argument from obviousness is valid in the face of a genuine disagreement, so I withdraw mine. It's reasonable, though.
1bogdanb10yAlso, if there was no one left alive except Harry, how did they know it was Avada Kedavra that rebounded from Harry, instead of some other spell? (When the Dementor attacks him, Harry sees the green flash and hears the words, but only when Voldie kills his parents, not when he’s attacked himself, as I recall.) They could have tried Legillimency on baby Harry, but nobody actually mentions that, and other than Moody it doesn’t seem like anyone would think of it.
1Eugine_Nier10yLooking at the last spell cast by Voldemort's want.
0bogdanb10yOf course, you’re right, I forgot you could do that. In MoR at least they should have thought of it, though they didn’t seem to try it on Hermione’s. Prior Incantato [http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Prior_Incantato]* doesn’t show who was target, though, and shows only the last spell IIRC, so it’d be easy to camouflage. I wonder if it “wandless” spells are still cast through the wand (just without holding it), or if they’re completely independent of it. (*Edit:) The first version of this comment mistakenly said Priori Incantatem [http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Priori_Incantatem], a different spell than the one I was actually describing.
1pedanterrific10yNot only does it show who the target was, it summons a pseudo-ghost if the target was the victim of a Killing Curse. The one in canon showed at least the last four or five, I'm pretty sure. Edit: Whoops, sorry, didn't get the context. "Priori Incantatem" is the brother-wand effect, "Prior Incantato" is the analytical spell, which we know a lot less about- I don't believe there's evidence either way whether it's possible to use it to display the target or show multiple spells.
0bogdanb10yI was right by accident. I was actually thinking of the Priori Incantato (the analytical one), which seems to behave how I described above. I didn’t remember the other one, but it just happens it doesn’t apply to the situation, since Harry didn’t have his wand yet. I’ll fix it above.
2pedanterrific10yIt's 'Prior (no i) Incantato'. The link in the great-grandparent is broken because you inserted an extra 'i'.
0bogdanb10yThank you!
2buybuydandavis10yHa! So Dumbledore inserts prophecy as a trap, and Voldemort plays along to set his own trap. Nice! One reason I like implanted prophecy theory is that it would play into rationalist biases against prophecy. I expect magic to be explained as commands to some AI in Atlantis. But prophecy? Seeing into the future? Messages from Atlantis? Maybe it's just my bias against backward in time causality, which he has really committed to anyway, with Comed-Tea. Me, I'd rather that prophecies are explainable by other means. But wouldn't this imply that Dumbledore doesn't really see Harry as the destined savior against Voldemort? Maybe he is just saving him to use as a trap again, unaware that Voldemort had already seen through the trap and was playing it for his own purposes? Yeah, saving him as a trap again makes sense, since the dark ritual should still be binding. As long as we're adding in people playing the prophecy, how about Lily and James? They could have been playing the honeypot knowingly, in league with Dumbledore. I'm reminded of Dumbledore bringing up Lily Potter as a heroine, and noticed the incongruity at the time, though I didn't notice my confusion, as it were. Now that I do, saying she was a heroine seems like she was promoted beyond her station, unless she played a knowing part in her sacrifice to attempt to bring down Voldemort. That would certainly qualify her for the ranks. One thing - a Voldemort plan to upload into Harry could be said to keep the terms of the dark ritual by allowing Harry to live on a permanent basis. And Harry as Dark Lord also satisfies those terms.
1bogdanb10yI’m not sure I understand, what incongruity do you see there? IIRC, at least in MoR, the prophecy says something like “born to parents that have thrice defied him”, so James and Lily did take part in the war other than just trying to defend Harry when Voldemort came after him. (They had to have defied him three times so that he would know who the child is, assuming he went after him because of the prophecy.) That sounds kind of heroic even without them doing it just as a trap, given what used to happen to Voldie’s opposition.
2pedanterrific10yMcGonagall's description:
0bogdanb10yIs this meant to explain the incongruity (if so, I still don’t get it), or to support that they were heroic (as McGonagall claims it)?
0pedanterrific10ySupport. It seems difficult to read that passage, then go on to see Dumbledore's naming Lily a heroine specifically as "promoting her beyond her station". Regardless of whether it's true or not, Lily = Hero is apparently the official Light-side position.
2buybuydandavis10yPoint in your favor - when discussing heroines during his time as Headmaster at Hogwarts with Hermione, he suggested she might add both Alice Longbottom and Lily Potter to the list. I'd count that as a point in favor of "thrice defying" as membership to the club. But still, does defying the Dark Lord thrice really put you in the top 3 witches of 40 years, and the top 15 or so witches and wizards? With all the people who died, with Dumbledore's room full of dead friends, there aren't others who had done more and risked more? Lily and James were in hiding. Are they really the best examples of heroes in the last 40 years - two people in hiding from Voldemort? Dumbledore: Hiding in Godric's Hollow sounds more like the former than the latter to me. Unfortunately, even in canon, "thrice defied" occurred offstage, so we don't know the details. Just to keep it clear, though, the prophecy occurred before the births of Neville and Harry, so well before the deaths of Alice and Lily, so whatever final defiances they had at their deaths are not part of the 3.
2bogdanb10yYeah, so I can’t quite contradict you. (Also, I haven’t read all books, and for those I read I wasn’t very careful with the details.) That said, my understanding was that first Lily and James fought Voldemort before they had Harry, and perhaps for a while afterwards. And presumably fought well, since they survived to do it thrice, and courageously, if they didn’t stop after the first time (which would qualify both as heroes). In contrast, the journalist mentioned at some point was killed, together with his entire family, after simply writing an article. He was possibly brave (or maybe just an optimist), but not quite heroic. (It’s not perfectly clear, but the wording of the prophecy seems to suggest that they defied V. thrice before H.’s birth, and possibly again afterwards.) My understanding was that they went into hiding after they learned that Voldie was going after Harry; presumably this was because of the prophecy, but it doesn’t mean they knew it was a trap (if it was). Note that in MoR Dumbledore says he taught Voldie & Co. not to go after families of the Order of the Phoenix just for blackmail—which obviously had to be before his death—which suggests that they went into hiding only because (and after) they knew Voldie had a better reason to go after Harry, the prophecy. But nothing (AFAIK) indicates that they’d be aware that it was a trap (if it was one). Also, going into hiding is not necessarily selfish or cowardly (i.e., wanting just to protect themselves and their son). If they knew and believed the prophecy they could just be trying to protect the future defeater of Voldie. Everyone was surprised at baby Harry (apparently) destroying Voldemort, including those that knew the prophecy, so their theory must have been that he’d defeat him after he grew up.
2buybuydandavis10yBut not what I'd call heroic, either. On the other hand, it would be definitely be heroic to set yourself up as bait for Voldemort on what was fully intended as a suicide mission. If we go with the theory that Dumbledore was setting a trap for Voldemort, based on a dark ritual, I would think it's rather important to make sure that Lily fulfills the dark ritual. IN fact, I think this theory requires that Lily and James are in on Dumbledore's plot, otherwise why not just apparate away? Have port keys set up? At least have Lily and James attack him together? The prior odds that Lily will just happen to fulfill the terms of a dark ritual seem miniscule, even if we assume that Voldemort had been prepped to give Lily a chance to live. If it was a plot by Dumbledore to have Lily perform a dark ritual, Dumbledore would tell her to increase the odds that she actually fulfills the ritual. Otherwise he's spending the lives of two members of the Order for a miniscule chance at killing Voldemort. IN fact, if Dumbledore is going to do this kind of plot, he'd want to set it up in advance with the people involved, not draft them after he got the ball rolling, so that he could arrange a proper prophecy.
2bogdanb10yI’m not quite sure how you got to the dark ritual part. At least, I see no hint of this, nor any indication that Lily would go with it. Even if you’re going with the “love sacrifice as old magic” in canon and calling it “dark” just because it has a sacrifice, I’m not quite sure it would work if you did it with the explicit purpose of stopping Voldie (intent might taint the sacrifice). Dumbledore might create a situation where Lily would sacrifice herself for Harry , because Dumbledore intends to get rid of Voldie, but this (I think) requires that Lily not know about it, so that her intent is pure. Canon is careless enough with details to be hard to use for explanations. For example: It does sound weird, but then again if it were that easy even Voldie would have much more trouble killing people than it appears. http://harrypotter.wikia.com/ [http://harrypotter.wikia.com/] suggests that for side-along apparition (i.e., for taking someone with you who can’t do it themselves) the “passanger” needs to be a wizard, and might need to have a wand. So maybe they just couldn’t take Harry. Also, Voldie might just have a policy of casting Anti-disapparition jinxes when he attacks, it’s not clear how hard they are to make. Something like this might also explain why someone who’s hunted by Voldemort, even in hiding, doesn’t have with them a dozen intercontinental portkeys, just in case. (In MoR, at least. In canon they probably just didn’t think of it.) If he’s actually thinking in story terms rather than faking it, he’d likely think it almost certain rather than minuscule.
1pedanterrific10yWhy did you link there rather than here [http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Side-Along_Apparition#Side-Along_Apparition]?
0bogdanb10yMental hiccup. It’s 2AM here :) By the way, there’s quite a bit lore on that site that would be quite interesting if we knew what parts of it applied to MoR, such as some info about Snape and Lily that don’t quite match what Snape says.
0buybuydandavis10yIn canon, portkeys aren't affected by disapparation jinxes - or so sayeth some site. You couldn't portkey out of Azkaban, so there must be some way to stop them. But probably not a lot, since Quirrell was relying on a few of them after they cleared Azkaban. But yes, I agree that canon is weak here. That's the benefit of this scenario - it makes a tighter plot that makes sense. They didn't run because it was a trap. Can't but this one at all. The assumption I'm working under is that it was a plot of Dumbledore's to destroy Voldemort. Why would thinking like a story mean that Lily would automatically fulfill the conditions of a dark magic ritual? Just because it would be convenient if she did? That just seems like massive wishful thinking on Dumbledore's part.
0bogdanb10yI wouldn’t bet on it, it was just my impression that in stories good mothers sacrifice themselves for their babies in such situations—see canon for an obvious example—perhaps more often than in reality.
3buybuydandavis10yTwo aurors would be most likely to beg for mercy for their child and let themselves be slaughtered instead of fighting back? Harry himself noted the absurdity of thinking that would work, and I believe called it her "final failure as a mother". And wouldn't there be a whole lot of dark rituals going on, if mothers making sacrifices for their children would unknowingly and automatically invoke a dark ritual?
4pedanterrific10yAlice and Frank Longbottom were Aurors, not the Potters. And it was Demented!Harry who thought "final failure as a mother"; Warm!Harry went on to think "He had regained an impossible memory, for all that the Dementor had made him desecrate it". It's my understanding that in this theory, it was Voldemort's line "I accept the bargain. Yourself to die, and the child to live." that fulfilled the description of a ritual, not anything Lily did.
0buybuydandavis10yAt least James was an auror, as testified by Remus, top of page 697. Perhaps not Lily. I've seen it concluded from the "thrice defied" that they fought him and lived to tell about it, but I don't think any of that has happened on stage. If she didn't offer it, I don't see why he would have said what he did out of the blue, or that it would have fulfilled the terms of a dark ritual even if he did, unless by saying that Lily instantly dropped dead. In this case, I see the ritual made by offer and acceptance. Without an offer, there is nothing for him to accept. The desecration was of his memory, not of his attitude toward it. I took that to mean that Lily actually did not try to cast the killing curse. (Although I personally don't consider that a desecration of the memory. It seemed quite sensible, if she was not trying to fulfill a dark ritual.)
0pedanterrific10yApparently not!
0pedanterrific10ySorry, this doesn't help at all. ffnet doesn't have page numbers, and page 697 of the pdf version mentions no such thing. Could you find the quote you're thinking of in the actual posted chapters, say on hpmor? This is true in canon; neither Lily nor James are Aurors in canon. Rituals do not require consent, they require that someone names that which is to be sacrificed, then that which is to be gained, in that order.
0buybuydandavis10yDon't know that pdf version you're looking at. I'm looking at the pdf link on the front page of hpmor.com. pg. 697 Interesting for EY to deviate from canon and make him an auror. If it's true in canon that Lily and James fought Vodemort and lived to tell about it, then I think we should accept that as true here until there is evidence to the contrary, particularly with the "thrice defied" requiring some accounting. So two wizards, one of them an Auror, and both of them having fought Voldemort before and lived to tell about it. Which is the better strategy for them when confronting Voldemort? Fight him together, or have one fight separately, and one beg for mercy for their son? Also, just in cost benefit analysis, in one scenario, Voldemort has some chance of defeat, which should count for a lot in that strategy's potential benefits. Rituals have got to require more than you say, otherwise every promise of something for something would become a dark ritual. That the foremost Dark Wizard would unknowingly complete a dark ritual all on his is another of the great improbabilities. Prior probability too low.
2pedanterrific10yFrom the current version [http://hpmor.com/chapter/42]: So, no. The better strategy is "run (and/or portkey, fly, apparate, floo, etc)". The fact that they didn't do this probably has to do with the fact that they were taken completely by surprise in their place of safety. And yes, the fact that if rituals could be done accidentally the world would look different is the main argument against this idea. Which is why its proponents have started to come up with conspiracy theories about Dumbledore planning everything, etc.
0bogdanb10yI think perhaps I wasn’t clear enough: I’m not saying it makes sense, just that Dumbledore could plausibly think it does, and Lily could plausibly have reacted as she’s described to have done, even though that might not be very probable for most reference classes she might be part of in general. If you’re certain he’s actually completely sane and just pretending to be mad, with a few layers in between, then yes, it would be absurd for him, too. But Eliezer made his behavior sufficiently ambiguous that, even given his successes ( # ) I’m still not sure that he’s not biased to wishful narrative thought, his (apparent) successes explained in part by being powerful enough and in part by luck(**) and not-yet-revealed high-level plots. Note that several apparently rational and very competent characters—including Harry, Quirell, Amelia Bones and IIRC Moody—appear to believe or suspect this. I’m not saying it is so, but The Author seems to have made it really ambiguous on purpose. Note that we have no view into Dumbledore’s thoughts in any part of the text, so most of the evidence we have the other characters have, too. (#: He’s an old and powerful wizard who survived at least two great Dark Lords. See Moody’s musings on how hard that is.) (**: Given magic and that Felix potion, we can’t exclude that luck actually exists in MoR.)
1Eponymuse10ySeems unlikely that the original prophecy was caused by Dumbledore, at least by the method of the magical clock. As in canon, Trelawney seems to have made the prophecy during a job interview, presumably before she was regularly sleeping with the clock. I expect that if Dumbledore wanted her to make a false prophecy at a specific time, something like an Imperius folled by Obliviation would be more expedient. Furthermore, we have seen Trelawney spontaneously prophecy in the dining hall; this prophecy at least appeared unplanned by Dumbledore.
0[anonymous]10yRegardless of what the clock is for, it didn't play a part in the first prophecy, since Trelawney didn't receive it until after she was hired. And it's less likely that there are two ways of forcing someone to speak a prophecy than only one. The obvious explanation for the clock is that it's a listening device. The clock is evidence against Dumbledore being the source of the prophecies. The issue of the second prophecy is trickier. For a prophecy to be 'accidentally' overheard would be history repeating itself, if Dumbledore caused it. That would also be consistent behavior for a liar who tries to trick people into believing in destiny, as he did when he told Harry [http://hpmor.com/chapter/17] that his father's cloak had found its own way to its destined wearer. But it certainly looked like Dumbledore was surprised that morning, so I don't know. I think the weight of evidence is still on Dumbledore. For the reasons I've given in this thread, and also this: In the aftermath of the prophecy, his manipulation of Snape and Lily netted him a defeated Dark Lord, a double agent and powerful ally, and a newly horcruxed hero. If the prophecy hadn't occurred, he'd instead have... a bouncing baby boy. It's hard to see what he hoped to accomplish by driving Snape and Lily apart if he didn't intend to prod Voldemort into attacking the Potters. His plot has a prophecy-shaped hole in it. But I can't account for that damned clock, which means I've gone wrong somewhere. Ugh. I hope someone else gets interested in this question soon. I could use the help.
4pedanterrific10yHow do we know he was lying? Obvious solution: real prophecies exist and fake prophecies exist.
3Eponymuse10yOne possibility is that he didn't intentionally drive Snape and Lily apart. I don't think there's enough evidence of that to overcome the prior probability that Trelawney's prophecy was genuine. Note that Dumbledore himself seems to regard the prophecy as genuine---witness, for example, his apparently genuine interest in discovering the "power [Voldemort] knows not." Here's another way of looking at it. Assume Dumbledore planned in advance to defeat Voldemort by (i) convincing Voldemort of a false prophecy that would lead him to attempt the murder of a baby, and (ii) somehow manipulating the baby's mother into either performing ritual magic herself, or causing Voldemort to perform ritual magic that would bring about Voldemort's death when he attempted to kill the baby. We might now ask, is there a simpler way that Dumbledore might have tried to enact (i) and (ii), other than the means you have suggested? Note that a priori, assuming that Dumbledore is primarily concerned with defeating Voldemort, there is no reason for Dumbledore to deliver the false prophecy to Voldemort via an agent who is in love with the mother in question. He must then rely on the agent not understanding the prophecy in time. Furthermore, if the agent figures out the prophecy after relaying it to Voldemort, Dumbledore must then rely on Voldemort disregarding the agent's request to spare the mother. So going out of his way to push Snape and Lily apart, and then using Snape as a messenger, seems like a very unintuitive way for Dumbledore to execute this plot. Why not keep Snape and Lily together, see that they have a child, and then deliver the false prophecy to Voldemort via some other agent? Now, personally, I do think it's a possibility that Snape and Lily were driven apart by Dumbledore, maybe even intentionally. But I don't think it was for this reason.
2[anonymous]10yAh. See, my prior probability that Trelawney's prophecy was genuine is not very high. * Luna [http://hpmor.com/chapter/7] * The seer [http://hpmor.com/chapter/26] in the Weasley twins' story * The seer [http://hpmor.com/chapter/38] in the Quibbler story * Millicent [http://hpmor.com/chapter/72] * Millicent's source [http://hpmor.com/chapter/77], presumably Rianne This story has an epidemic of false prophecy. This looks to me like it's intended to prime the reader to accept that an apparently true prophecy is actually false. I also think this [http://lesswrong.com/lw/b5s/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/65fu] is a consideration, but that appears to be a minority view. I'm expecting a false prophecy, and I'm looking for a reason for it to have occurred and apparently been fulfilled despite its falsity. I think Dumbledore expected the story to play out as it did in the novels. He would get a hero who was bred with the heroic qualities of his parents, bullheaded but pure of heart. Snape, who in HPMoR is terrible at riddles [http://hpmor.com/chapter/76], would fail to solve this one, and his guilt at causing Lily's death would cement his status as a lifelong soldier of the light. Lily would die a martyr, and her sacrifice [http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Sacrificial_protection] would ensure Voldemort's defeat. From canon: This is a complex plot that hinges on storybook logic, but that's not [http://hpmor.com/chapter/35] out of character for Dumbledore. (Yes, it's Quirrell saying it, but remember that he was right [http://lesswrong.com/lw/3rb/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/3m4l].) The plot is not too complex to be Dumbledore's, but it is too complex to succeed. That's why it didn't. Snape is no longer Dumbledore's. Instead of canon!Harry, he got HJPEV. Harry's mother attacked Voldemort, so her protection doesn't exist; Quirrell can pass the wards around his house at will. And although it failed, it has the outward appearance of havin

My working theory for Dumbledore's emphasis on story logic is that it's a pragmatic decision supporting several different lines of influence.

First, we know he's pretending to be a lot crazier than he is: he acts like a character in a roleplaying game with "Insanity" marked down in the flaws section of his character sheet, not someone with an actual personality disorder, and going out of his way to act like Gandalf fits in fairly well with that.

Second, he spends a lot of his time working with kids, who're probably a lot more familiar with stories than with their real-life cognates: how many times does Draco make an analogy to something he's seen in a play?

Finally, people really are prone to generalize from fictional evidence, and maintaining a semi-fictionalized persona can aid in achieving instrumental goals when they're aligned with the narrative patterns it corresponds to. The Self Actualization storyline provides a good example of this in action: I read Dumbledore's part in that early on as using his persona to nudge Hermione into the high-fantasy hero role that Harry occupies in canon (and considerably more shakily in MoR). When she went off script, so did he. (I suspect that Riddle's Lord Voldemort persona was adopted for similar reasons, incidentally. He might even have picked up that trick from Dumbledore.)

5[anonymous]10yI like this. More support from the text: the narrator draws a distinction [http://hpmor.com/chapter/81] between wizards who have walked the paths of power and everyone else. According to the narrator, it's the latter who apply story-reasoning to real life. Dumbledore is one of the former. ETA: This too. Which is a downright strange thing to say if you think Mr. Potter is the one with the prophesied "POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD". It's exactly what you'd say if you understood that the power of stories was a power you wielded over other people, and your hero was just another of your pawns.
3Eponymuse10yPerhaps its not such a strange thing to say if you don't think Mr. Potter knows about the prophecy, and are trying to correct his insubordination. In the following chapters, Dumbledore doesn't act as though he has decided Harry is unsuitable as a hero. Rather than trying to replace him, Dumbledore begins to confide in him. Does Nornagest's explanation of Dumbledore's relationship with story-book reasoning affect your previous analysis? If you agree that Dumbledore feigns a story-book persona, rather than taking story-book logic seriously, then doesn't it seem strange that he would hatch such a plot? Note that his manipulation of the last battle in December is consistent with having realistic view of the world. Yes, Dumbledore did manage to acheive a "story-book outcome," but he clearly didn't expect this to happen---he had a contingency plan.
2pedanterrific10ySo the explanation for is that Dumbledore is lying, or...?
4[anonymous]10yAs I said, I don't really understand what's going on in Dumbledore's head. This is a lie. He claims to have deduced Harry's possession of the cloak by seeing the storylike pattern, when he personally wrapped the cloak and placed it next to Harry's bed. He's trying to convince Harry that life is like stories. Then he contradicts himself in a later chapter. Why? I don't know. "He did it because he's crazy" is an answer that can justify any outcome, doesn't concentrate probability mass, etc., but he sure isn't acting in anything like a coherent fashion.
4[anonymous]10yIn that chapter, he uses the "life is like stories" excuse to "deduce" the identity of the cloak without revealing that he already knew it. It works. Harry still has no idea that Santa Claus is Dumbledore.
0TimS10yDumbledore does think in stories, but he probably doesn't realize it. Some stories don't fit his model (if the villain carries too large an idiot ball or something?). That's the best explanation I can come up with.
0buybuydandavis10yIf it's a listening device. If it's a just a clock, it's not evidence of much. If it's a transmission device, I'd say it's evidence for Dumbledore being the source.
0MartinB10ySometimes the so called good commits serious atrocities to achieve a greater goal. This would be bad.
[-][anonymous]10y 11

I agree. But y'know, it's odd that the three people most affected by the prophecy had their major life outcomes determined by Dumbledore's machinations. That's a coincidence that needs explaining, I think.

Another implication just hit me: it could make Sirius his accomplice, not Voldemort's. Odd that he didn't get a trial while Dumbledore was Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, come to think of it. Huh.

7folkTheory10yI'm not too sure Sirius has been Azkabanned at all...

I'm loving the idea that time travel is being proposed here as the simpler, less over-engineered solution to making a bunch of money.

I love Chapter 81, but it would have been way better if Draco was the one accused of murder, so Harry could marry Draco.

7thomblake10yI smell omake
5Anubhav10yHe didn't marry [http://lesswrong.com/lw/b7s/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/65p5] Hermione.
5anotherblackhat10yHe also didn't get Hermione pregnant.
1Alex_Altair10yThat will certainly be in the Epilogue.
6Alejandro110yAs long as their child is not named Albus Severus...

In this story, it seems a lot more likely to be Quirinus Tom Potter-Evans-Verres-Granger.

9Normal_Anomaly10yI'd feel sorry for that kid. But considering the genes and upbringing he'd have, I'm suddenly too busy feeling sorry for everyone else.
2Percent_Carbon10yNot so certain: * Either character may die * Either character may decline romantic relations * We may fail to earn our happy ending [http://lesswrong.com/lw/b7s/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/65jn] .
2Blueberry10yWell, if it were Draco, he would never have agreed to be in service, so it would have had to be marriage. Besides, we know he's hot for Harry but doesn't want to admit it, so it gives him an excuse to marry Harry.
7loserthree10yActually, Draco muses on the history of House Malfoy at some chapter I can't find right now, and how they're always the second-in-command to greatest leaders. Saying Draco would never agree to service is probably disregarding important and relevant information. Given your belief that the oath of fealty was a marriage vow and your claim here that Draco would not submit, a carelessly judgmental spectator Might come to possibly unfair conclusions about you. Namely, that you place such a high value on dominant roles for males and submissive roles for females that your perception is skewed. I'm curious if you think there might be some accuracy in that.
0Blueberry10yI was more looking for an excuse to get Harry and Draco married. ;) But no, I think Draco is way too proud to swear subservience to Harry. I'm not exactly sure what you're asking. Those have historically been the usual gender roles. I obviously don't think that everyone follows them or that everyone should follow them, because I'm not an idiot.
3bogdanb10yI know the wizards are relaxed about yaoi romance, but do we actually have any examples of actual same-sex marriage? (In MoR, I mean. I’m sure examples abound in slash-fiction.)
9bogdanb10yActually, it seems that they do have same-sex marriage. Chapter 42 [http://hpmor.com/chapter/42]: By exception probat regulam [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exception_that_proves_the_rule#Original_meaning] it seems that there are same-sex marriages between MoR wizards.
2Blueberry10yAwesome! Good to know.
875th10yGiven that the wizarding aristocracy is supremely concerned with perpetuating its bloodlines, I doubt that the issue of same-sex marriage has ever been brought before the Wizengamot.
7Armok_GoB10yThat shouldn't be a problem, polyjuce has been shown able to change gender, and to sustain the transformation indefinitely if taken regularly. Edit: This also explains (and is made more likely by) how harry getting Malfoy pregnant got taken seriously enough to end up in a newspaper.
5QuicklyStarfish10yUrg... you now have me imagining what happens if polyjuice wears off someone eight-months pregnant.
1NihilCredo10yJust a bad film: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110216/ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110216/]
1Armok_GoB10yThanks, mission accomplished! ^_^
0Karl10yI don't think taking polyjuice modify your genetic code. If that was the case, using polyjuice to take the form of a muggle or a squib would leave you without your magical powers.
2Armok_GoB10ySo? It should still create egg cells. There's some lower fertility from the yy possibility, and 66/33% rather than 50/50% of a boy. And maybe some increased risk of chromosomal diseases, but that should be it.
0TheOtherDave10yThis comment makes no sense to me at all. Are you presuming that genetic code controls the presence of magical powers independent of phenotypic expression?
1Karl10yIt's explained in detail in chapter 25 that the genes that make a person a wizard do not do so by building some complex machinery which allow you to become a wizard; the genes that make you a wizard constitute a marker which indicate to the source of magic that you should be allowed to cast spells.
0TheOtherDave10yWhoops! Shows you how long it's been since I've read ch25. Thanks for clarifying that.
0pedanterrific10yDo we know that it doesn't?
3Blueberry10yI thought there was a Quibbler headline involving same-sex marriage, but upon checking I realized I was thinking of the one where Harry gets Draco pregnant. No, I don't think we have any information on the status of same-sex marriage or civil union in Magical Britain.
3bogdanb10yThe Quibbler is known for having ridiculous content, but I didn’t get the idea that reached the completely impossible level. Given magic, that headline might actually be physically possible.
1Blueberry10yTrue. And the existence of that headline makes me think Magical Britain is at least somewhat supportive of same-sex relationships being formally recognized, though it's weak evidence.

"Romantic?" Hermione said. "They're both boys!"

"Wow," Daphne said, sounding a little shocked. "You mean Muggles really do hate that? I thought that was just something the Death Eaters made up."
Chapter 42: Courage

In other words, the wizarding world is sufficiently accepting of same-sex relationships that Death Eaters could use the idea that Muggles are homophobic as a somewhat believable slander against Muggles.

1Blueberry10yOoh yes, there it is! Thanks.
0bogdanb10yI think I actually found a hint [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/b7s/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/67bi] .

By this point Harry Potter had entirely forgotten the existence of Professor McGonagall, who had been sitting there this whole time undergoing a number of interesting changes of facial expression which Harry had not been looking at because he was distracted. [...]

So Harry, who at this point had a fair amount of adrenaline in his bloodstream, startled and jumped quite visibly when Professor McGonagall, her eyes now blazing with impossible hope and the tears on her cheek half-dried, leapt to her feet and cried, "With me, Mr. Potter!" and, without waiting for a reply, tore down the stairs that led to the bottom platform where waited a chair of dark metal.

It took a moment, but Harry ran after; though it took him longer to reach the bottom, after Professor McGonagall vaulted half the stairs with a strange catlike motion and landed with the astonished-looking Auror trio already pointing their wands at her. [...]

"Both of you stop being silly," Professor McGonagall said in her firm Scottish accent (it was strange how much that helped). "Mr. Potter, hold out your wand so that Miss Granger's fingers can touch it. Miss Granger, repeat after me. Upon my life and magic

... (read more)
2shminux10y-100? She just doesn't know when to talk and when to keep her mouth shut.

She just doesn't know when to talk and when to keep her mouth shut.

You're so upset that McGonaggal's intervention prevented Harry from asking Hermione's hand in marriage? You're a Ravenclaw girl at heart, I see. :-)

+100. Prudence is really more of a Slytherin virtue.

8LucasSloan10ySure, but that's a Slytherin virtue.

A matter with the Comed-Tea that was bugging me for a while:

Chapter 14:

SO THAT'S HOW THE COMED-TEA WORKS! Of course! The spell doesn't force funny events to happen, it just makes you feel an impulse to drink right before funny things are going to happen anyway!

Hypotheses: Comed-Tea on person = impulse to drink, Comed-Tea not on person = no impulse to drink.

According to Chapter 12:

Harry couldn't help but feel the urge to drink another Comed-Tea. (And when he didn't...) Harry inhaled his own saliva and went into a coughing fit just as all eyes turned toward him.

So no matter what, even if you don't end up drinking it, you will get the Impulse before something funny happens.

Chapter 46:

I have been saving them for special occasions; there is a minor enchantment on them to ensure they are drunk at the right time. This is the last of my supply, but I do not think there will ever come a finer occasion.

So Harry has used up all of his Comed-Tea. (edit: it appears that Harry actually has tons left unless he's not mentioning some he drank/gave away, look at bottom of post)

...

WHY? WHYYY?!

It is apparent that you'll still get the impulse to drink whether or not you do end up drinki... (read more)

8bogdanb10yChapter 17: He doesn’t seem to choke after this, but there follow several occasions where might have, had he been drinking. Anyway, the sentence means he kind of does use the Comed-Tea to kind-of-sort-of-predict the future, albeit not systematically. Regarding the counting, his line in chapter 14 might be meant to suggest he had been doing more experiments “not on camera”. There are only three occasions where he’s seen using it until then; he shouldn’t have been that frustrated about the explanation after that few tries.
7Eponymuse10yUnless he actually followed through with saying that Voldemort is still alive, this wouldn't be enough.
0[anonymous]10yWhat if he actually planned on going through with saying "The Dark Lord is still alive", but got Silencio'd by an invisible time-turned Harry he wasn't aware of right as he's about to say it? It'd be obvious, but at least he wouldn't actually release the secret?
0FAWS10yWe don't know that, committing to saying Vldemort is alive conditional on actually giving them a can might suffice.
4Eponymuse10yHarry could still get a false negative. Remember, Harry will feel the impulse to offer a drink to Alice if and only if if Alice is about to be surprised. So not feeling an impulse to offer her a drink would indicate that either that Alice would not be surprised that Voldemort is alive, or that Harry will not actually end up telling her.
1FAWS10yAgain, we don't know that. The soda working in two steps as you seem to suggest (detecting future surprise, then determining whether that surprise is sufficient to cause soda spitting when drunk at the right time) is consistent with what we know about the soda. But that's not the only possibility consistent with what we know. The soda could also work in a single step and detect whether soda drunk at various points would be spit, without directly detecting surprise at all.
6Jonathan_Elmer10yRegardless of the reason for the spit Harry would still have to follow through with whatever that is for the signal to be sent back in time to cause the urge to drink. Otherwise it would be like Harry escaping from that locked classroom after Draco tortured him without then going back in time and sending the Professor to let him out.
6[anonymous]10ySo from what we know of Quirrell, it would be just like him (having recently learned about Comed-Tea) to have a policy of spitting out soda that he drinks, so that no one gains information on whether or not he is surprised.
1Eponymuse10yYou are right, those are both possibilities. Though, one of them has been explicitly presented by the author, and endorsed by Harry. I don't think we have much reason to doubt the canonical interpretation.
3TheOtherDave10yEarlier thoughts on Comed-Tea here [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2tr/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/2txy?context=1#2txy]
0brilee10yI interpreted Comed-tea as the simplest example of backwards causality - an event A causing event B, where A occurs /after/ B in time. Eliezer introduced Comed-Tea to make the point that the HPMoR universe does not operate by what we imagine to be standard causality rules. I suspect that, the same way that messing with Time somehow results in a message saying "NO", it would be similarly impossible to commit to drinking Comed Tea.
0AspiringKnitter10yYou know, that is a really good idea.

Prediction: Harry will try to explain the general concept of arbitrage to Dumbledore, and it will be blocked by the Interdict of Merlin.

Because otherwise, certain things about the wizarding economy make no sense at all.

[-][anonymous]10y 28

Funny, but unfortunately people telling other people things is exactly what the Interdict of Merlin doesn't forbid.

The Interdict of Merlin blocking transmission of non-magical knowledge between living minds?

8[anonymous]10yThe magics of Echo Gnomics from the Counterweight Continent?
3Alex_Altair10yI don't quite understand. Arbitrage has nothing to do with magic.
2loserthree10yIt's a joke, I think. And if it is it's hilarious. I laughed aloud.
6jimrandomh10yIt was't a joke, but rather a completely serious prediction of a joke. That's hardly the same thing at all.
1Percent_Carbon10yThat one is funny too.

Something I just noticed on a second read-through - the reuse of the word "riddle" in context here seems like a reminder to Lucius of who he thinks Harry really is, and this is not the first time it's come up when Harry is exposed to Dementors. Perhaps this lends credence to the theory that riddle is the "strange word" he learned when first exposed?

Voldemort used the word to tease as Quirrell and as the cloak and hat. He probably did it in the last war, too. Lucius may think that Voldemort is teasing him just like he used it, when Harry says it.

It's not a strange word, though. That's probably so we know the spell being cast was not AK.

Progress of Eliezer vs JKR, Fvapr Ryvrmre unf fgngrq gung gur fgbel jba'g or ybatre guna gur frira obbxf, cre jbeq, naq gung vg'f zber guna unysjnl qbar

2Paulovsk10yI don't get it pretty clear. Could you explain in few words?
6cultureulterior10yThe individual colored patches are the five first JKR books, and the overlapping patch is The Methods of Rationality, plotted by chapter and book, vs the number of total words written. MoR is now longer than all the first four books put together. The reason I made the graph was I was wondering if those two individual EY statements (rot13'd in my statement above) were would add up to make more than one bit of information, but they did not. If Eliezer finishes Methods of Rationality at 150% of current length, we'd end up midway into the sixth book.
0[anonymous]10yI'm confused; you said you plotted the first five of JKR's books, but you said that MoR's longer than the first four books. The graph shows that MoR is longer than the first three books but halfway through the fourth. And why did you graph five books when Mr. Yudkowsky says it won't be longer than seven books? Shouldn't you have done seven?

"Enough, Mr. Potter," said Professor McGonagall. "We shall be late for afternoon Transfiguration as it is. And do come back here, you're still terrifying that poor Dementor." She turned to the Aurors. "Mr. Kleiner, if you would!"

Is it just me, or does that NOT sound like someone who just found out that dementors, thought to be manifestations of fear, are afraid of her student? I'm guessing it's one of two things:

  • She's so relieved that one of her student isn't going to be tortured to death that she isn't really processing everything else that's going on or

  • She thinks the whole thing is a trick Harry and Dumbledore came up with, and dementors aren't really afraid of Harry.

Either one could lead to a very entertaining aftermath.

Unlike most of the room she knows Harry well enough that even him scaring a Dementor, no matter how surprising, wouldn't make her personally afraid of Harry; she might be worried about what trouble he could cause but she knows perfectly well that he wouldn't do anything to her. Besides it was less of a surprise for her since Dumbledore already told her Harry had developed a new charm.

3aladner10yI agree that her being afraid of Harry isn't something I would expect, but her comments make me think she isn't taking the situation seriously.
075th10y~And furthermore, in her post-Azkaban-breakout council with Snape and Dumbledore, Dumbledore explicitly told her that Harry has unique magics that would help orchestrate an Azkaban breakout. She doesn't know the specifics of Harry's ability, but Minerva would certainly be able to deduce that it has something to do with Dementors.~ [EDIT: Apparently I did not read your last sentence before deciding to post this.]
[-][anonymous]10y 16

Or, she's simply ceased to be surprised at the extent of Harry's abilities outpacing her expectations of them.

McGonagall is House Head of Gryffindor.

She is just that unflappable.

7pedanterrific10yYou have no idea how tempted I am to go back through the story and come up with a montage of Minerva sputtering incoherently / tearing her hair out / sticking her fingers in her ears and going la la la / at a loss for words / blurting something inadvisable / etc.
6erratio10yOr, you know, relief + dry sense of humour = exactly that kind of reaction as a coping mechanism. I am reminded of why I prefer British comedy to American - in American comedies everyone tends to be very obvious and melodramatic, while in British the tendency is more towards understated and deadpan. McGonagall's reaction fits perfectly into the latter category, trivialising the entire situation rather than mugging for the audience. (Not that some of the humour in the earlier chapters hasn't been overblown melodrama. Harry's parents leaving the room to have hysterics stands out as the most obvious example)
2summerstay10yFawlty Towers is a good example of the understated and deadpan nature of British comedy.
0summerstay10yI'm kidding, by the way. Anyone who has seen it would know that it has a lot of broad slapstick humor.
0buybuydandavis10yWatch the original Bob Newhart series for understated and deadpan.
3bogdanb10yOr, she’s the head of Gryffindor, and she felt the need to at least appear to put up a brave front in support of her students.
3Normal_Anomaly10yOr, in addition to everyone else's reasons, she's already working hard to maintain a calm demeanor for the sake of Hermione and Harry.
0dspeyer10yA possibility is that she thinks very fast* and realizes that Harry ought to move away from the dementor (since it is effecting him some) but that it must be done in a way that makes Harry look strong, not weak. Showing that Harry has no problem standing undefended next to a dementor but walked away out of pity reinforces his strength nicely. *= fast may actually mean that Dumbledore went back and gave her carefully edited information so she could make plans in advance
0MartinB10yOr she already knew.

We know this not to be true since Quirrel changed back into his normal appearance when the polyjuice wore off in Azkaban while he was unconscious.

I think my favorite part of this update comes not from the chapter, but from the Author's Notes:

"If you write sufficiently good fanfiction, you can realize your romantic dreams!"

(Although "Make him go away" is either tied for the position or a close second.)

I have a suspicion that the average fanfic-created relationship is not caused by anything best described as "good".

2Incorrect10yI'm genuinely curious how you came to that suspicion.

I think I figured out how Dumbledore knew about Harry wanting to change the rules of Quiddich. Instead of reading student minds he used the cloak:

This is the Cloak of Invisibility [...] Your father lent it to me to study shortly before he died, and I confess that I have received much good use of it over the years.

(Emphasis mine. Well, of course, that he would use it is obvious and the note is not proof of anything, but that’s what triggered the idea. Also, it makes a lot of sense that Harry’s father would lend the cloak to Dumbledore for study.)

If he did this on the train platform (which would make sense as an opportunity to be mysterious to new students, or just to Harry) there’s a bit of other interesting stuff he might have heard. Whatever Draco cast (the description doesn’t quite match Quietus, and it was wordless or at least not heard by Harry), it probably doesn’t work for a cloaked guy near you, and certainly not Dumbledore if he really wanted to listen.

3Percent_Carbon10yThen maybe the cloaked Dumbledore is the one that told Harry to talk to Hermione. Would that make the mysteries less complicated, or more?
3ArisKatsaris10yWe already know it was McGonagall that told Harry to find Hermione, no? Where's the mystery?
0Percent_Carbon10yNo? No, I suppose. Could you tell me how we know that?

Chapter 6:

"I am unlikely ever to forget it. Thank you, Harry, that does make me feel better about entrusting you with certain things. Goodbye for now."

Harry turned to go, into the Leaky Cauldron and out toward the Muggle world.

As his hand touched the back door's handle, he heard a last whisper from behind him.

"Hermione Granger."

"What?" Harry said, his hand still on the door.

"Look for a first-year girl named Hermione Granger on the train to Hogwarts."

"Who is she?"

There was no answer, and when Harry turned around, McGonagall was gone.

Chapter 8:

"No," Hermione said. "Who told you about me?"

"Professor McGonagall and I believe I see why."

While reading, I never considered this to be a mystery, or even a question.

9pedanterrific10yTo add another data point: When I read that, and after some subsequent events, I couldn't quite manage to ignore the fact that Quirrell was in the Leaky Cauldron at the time.
5Percent_Carbon10yPerhaps you should. McGonagall said what she meant to say, and then she said goodbye. Also, McGonagall doesn't do the Batman Exit at any other point in the fic or the source.
5ArisKatsaris10yThe way I see it, she then had a last minute thought that the loneliness avid book-reader Harry mentioned and the loneliness she saw in avid book-reader Hermione might be healed if they met each other. But she didn't want to say anything more, because it'd be inappropriate to actually discuss another student to Harry. I think Eliezer just being silly with the dramatic-ness of the thing has a higher prior than Dumbledore going around invisible and playing ventriloquist to make him think that McGonagall told him to find Hermione -- especially when Dumbledore could have accomplished just as much by e.g. telling McGonagall to tell Harry to find Hermione. (And there's no other player at this stage, neither Quirrel, nor Snape, nor Lucius, that would know or care about Hermione at this point. It's unlikely that even Dumbledore knew anything about her beyond that she was a new Muggleborn student.) But I don't think this is anything more complicated or mysterious than Minerva thinking that Harry & Hermione would be a good match for each other. Now I do find it slightly more plausible that Dumbledore was following Harry around invisible during his King's Cross station visit -- but that's mostly because in that occasion Harry Potter was known to be in a known location and thus might have been a potential target for enemies and therefore require protection.
4Percent_Carbon10yYou are making excuses for your assumptions by piling on more assumptions. Chapter 6 is written in a way that does not make the speaker clear. That looks deliberate. We are given Harry's opinion of who said it, but he never confirms that with McGonagall. We've been in McGonagall's head quite a few times, and she has never thought back to playing match-maker. You may believe that was McGonagall. You may be right. But when you say, "we already know," you are mistaken.
5ArisKatsaris10yYou're misusing the word assumption. I don't *assume" that was McGonaggal's reason, I simply judged it to be the most likely and most natural explanation, given the facts in evidence. But yes, I did assume that my initial reading of the text and that Harry also wasn't being mistaken about who told him about Hermione. As I said, I didn't even realize some people saw this bit as a mystery. That's what true assumptions look like, I guess, when one doesn't even realize some people consider it a question. Okay. As I said, when I wrote that sentence, i didn't even realize there existed people who considered this a question. Discussing more about this would probably just be about what the word "knowledge" means.
3Xachariah10yYou would think that Harry, on hearing a mysterious voice, would mention something. Harry turned around expecting McGonagall, not expecting some random person. Harry heard McGonagall. The author would also mention that the voice changed owners or sounded strange. It's clever writing to drop clues in plain sight to the reader. It's not clever writing for your story to omit sensory experiences that are immediately apparent to all the involved characters, but are not conveyed to the reader.
4Anubhav10yI would be very surprised if there were a grand total of 0 voice-changing charms in existence. And besides, it's a whisper. That's probably significant in some way.
7Benquo10y
5Xachariah10yYou're multiplying hypothesises unnecessarily. Every member of Hogwarts could actually be Dumbledore with polyjuice and a time turner. Remember we only know about the 6 hour limit from him (or people that could be him, or forged by him). There's no reason it couldn't be so, just like there's no reason that the person Harry was having a conversation with couldn't have changed out by a an invisible man with a 'changemyvoiceio' spell. But it's way more reasonable to assume that people are who they think they are, and that the person that starts a conversation is the same one that finishes it.
6Alex_Altair10ySuddenly, Dumbledore EVERYWHERE.
0Pavitra10yBetween this and the auncle [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/b7s/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/66ur] comment by pedanterrific, it seems plausible that it was Quirrel who said that line.
5ArisKatsaris10yIt's an ugly hypothesis, because so far Hermione's influence in Harry has been that of greatest opposition to Quirrel's influence... If Quirrel set it up so that they met, then this would have all been to his purpose since the beginning, setting up some future betrayal from Hermione from the start. (e.g make a paragon of goodness friends with Harry, so that he'll do anything to keep her from Azkaban, even if that means declaring war on magical Britain?) Thankfully, I don't consider it very likely. I think this being McGonaggal who matched the two of them is still much more likely.
1Pavitra10yAlternatively, perhaps Quirrel thought Hermione would make a good straw foil to himself. Set up the main anti-Quirrel voice in Harry's life as someone who's conspicuously naive, and Harry will be more inclined to see Quirrel as the voice of reason rather than the voice of evil.
2bogdanb10yFrom this I understand that she said goodbye outside the LC (in the magic side), then he entered, presumably closed the front door, traversed the LC, reached the back door that leads to the muggle side, and then he heard a whisper behind him. Unless the distance between the front door and back door is very short, if it was McGonagall she had to have gone to the trouble of crossing that long distance and exit the front door in the time it took Harry to turn around, or disappearing outright, or casting her whisper across the distance. While not impossible, none of that is very much in character for her, and Harry was distracted enough at the time not to notice. I think it’s supposed to be a Clue, or at least a Mysterious Foreshadowing Event (TM). I’m not saying it was Quirrell, but the fact that he was noted to be there earlier seems like a hint. Although Hermione seems to have been an opposite influence to Quirrell, as Aris mentions below [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/b7s/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/674m] , remember that Quirrell is a very high level player. Much of that might have been intended as part of a complex Xanatos gambit, which can have more than three steps if you have access to prophecy and time-travel. “Make goverment crush hero’s girlfriend, hero crushes government” was suggested as a possible Quirrell plot, you need only prepend a “Make hero love girl” step to justify him being the whisperer. (But don’t anchor on that one, plots that involve time knotting have plenty of opportunity for weird facts being explained as someone’s intent.)
0clgroft10yFWIW I agree with your interpretation. To take it further: McGonagall accompanies Harry to Diagon Alley, while (on Dumbledore's orders) learning as much as possible about him. She attempts to report to Dumbledore, but is speechless; Dumbledore may or may not be reading her mind, I don't know. Before this, he was happy to delegate the responsibility, but after this meeting, he naturally decides he'd better investigate personally. Platform 9.75 is the next convenient opportunity. Yes, that's a lot of detail, but I think the story bears it out.

So, Dementors Part Deux.

First, because someone had to say it:

Harry took all the silver emotion that fueled his Patronus Charm and shoved it at the Dementor; and expected Death's shadow to flee from him -

-and as Harry did that, he flung his hands up and shouted "BOO!"

The void retreated sharply away from Harry until it came up against the dark stone behind.

In the hall there was a deathly silence.

...And to everyone but Harry, that deathly silence seemed to say "Please do not punish this one, my Dark Liege!"

Harry turned his back on the empty void, and had a moment to wonder why Dumbledore and Lucius were making such odd faces before the Aurors acted on reflex.

(I guess Dementors aren't that smart.)

Secondly, I noticed that Harry's first Transfiguration lesson includes a photograph of a Dementor. What would that look like? What does Harry see, compared to everyone else? Why was he asking all the other students what they saw in the Patronus lesson without ever once thinking of that photograph?

5Anubhav10yProbably just a cloaked and hooded figure. Next you'll be wondering why the robes in the picture don't decay.
2pedanterrific10yThat seems like it must be it, but it still doesn't make much sense. Page 5 has a woman with horribly discolored skin screaming in agony, page 6 has... a guy in a cloak! Oh no!

Ministry-issued textbooks might not have the best dramatic pacing.

3Eliezer Yudkowsky10yThe kids know what's in the cloak.
4GeeJo10ySo add some sort of minor fear charm to that page of the textbook. Wizards aren't limited to paper and ink in their tools at conveying information to an audience.
0Alsadius10yThe Dementor's goal was to not die. You don't generally accomplish that by antagonizing the one guy who can kill you.
5wedrifid10yUnless they already plan to kill you, in which case antagonizing them can potentially reduce their threat.
4tadrinth10yAh, but Harry doesn't intend to kill Dementors in particular, he aims to eradicate death itself (destroying them indirectly) and he is NOT confident that he will accomplish that in his lifetime. A Dementor that pisses off Harry dies immediately, while a Dementor that doesn't will only die if Harry lives long enough to succeed.
2Alsadius10yI doubt Dementors have a proper understanding of just how much Harry hates them. Also, I suspect that delaying the inevitable is a pretty universal reaction of intelligent creatures - you never know, the horse might learn to sing.
4wedrifid10yOr at least it could be a universal reaction of intelligent mammals [http://lesswrong.com/lw/oi/mind_projection_fallacy/].
0Alsadius10yAre you familiar with the story I was referencing? Delaying the inevitable is actually a perfectly rational thing to do.
1wedrifid10yI've heard it, it's cute and has a sometimes applicable moral. But my response is to the universal generalization across all intelligent creatures in all circumstances. Are you familiar with the "Mind Projection Fallacy" I linked to?
2Alsadius10yI haven't heard the phrase, but it's a pretty obvious concept to anyone who's read sci-fi. My point is that delaying the inevitable is an actual strategy, and one that has good reason to exist, whatever the type of intelligence. Unless you're literally prescient, playing for higher variance in a bad situation makes good sense.
1wedrifid10yThe goalposts [http://lesswrong.com/lw/b7s/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/669l] seem to have moved irrecoverably.
0kilobug10yI would guess it's pretty universal in non-superintelligent but still intelligent creatures, because it does work to a point. A non-superintelligent creature is unable to reliably foresee the future, and what seems "inevitable" right now often is not (because of external events, or because of a solution found later on). So, delaying something that seems inevitable will sometimes end up in finding a way to counter it.

Edit: While some points may remain useful for the sake of reference, this theory is disproved in Chapter 82, and Aberforth's death no longer lacks narrative purpose.

Who killed Narcissa?

Suspects:

  • Dumbledore

  • Bones

  • Lucius

  • Voldemort

  • Someone else

HJPEV tells us that this doesn't fit the headmaster's style. His style is curiously consistent.

There is one offhand remark, vengeance, and a practical cold-heartedness favoring Bones. "Why not Bones?" is only a little better than no argument at all.

Lucius is presented as a devoted family man. It would be inconsistent characterization for him to do this. That works for real life, but HP&tMoR is fiction, which must make sense.

Voldemort has reason not to do this, as it made a fool out of one of his tools and weakened his side by making them less willing to strike indiscriminately.

I have a 'someone else' theory: Aberforth killed Narcissa. Aberforth is dead, and meaningfully so due to Conservation of Detail. We know little else about him from HP&tMoR. Only that he didn't testify against his brother in the death of his sister, and his brother got quite stern when he died. Basically, this theory allows me to put a pie... (read more)

There is one offhand remark, vengeance, and a practical cold-heartedness favoring Bones. "Why not Bones?" is only a little better than no argument at all.

Also there is the fact (mentioned by someone else, sorry I forget who) that Narcissa's sister, Bellatrix, murdered Bones' brother. Edit: I am an idiot, you already mentioned this.

Bringing in Aberforth is a really interesting idea. Now that I think about it, even given the wizarding wars, it is remarkable that so many siblings have died or nearly died:

  • Albus/Aberforth

  • Bellatrix/Narcissa

  • Bones/her brother (who, exactly?)

  • Petunia/Lily

The last one is interesting with the role of survivor exchanged as well, since there is a hint that Petunia may have threatened suicide in order to convince Lily to brew the beauty potion.

4buybuydandavis10yAlso, Bones is the one who speaks up to stop Dumbledore from "confessing" to killing Narcissa. I think it's Bones. Too many coincidences otherwise.
1loserthree10yEponymuse, I think I covered that with the word 'vengeance.' Those coincidences are otherwise satisfied by the fact that Bones' motives are served by Narcissa's Immolation, whoever did it. Given what we know about her, she'd act the same way if Dumbledore or Moody were Narcissa's Immolator. Still, it does make some narrative sense for her be the one. I am not at all confident that Aberforth was involved. I would like it very much, though, if someone could add something more to or take something away from the rickety scaffold propping this theory up. Aberforth may have died just to emphasize the harshness of the war in ways the source did not. If that's the case, I'm making a red herring out of a pointless bit of the set. However, there was nothing in the text that tells us that Aberforth was a tragic casualty of a meaningless war or anything of the sort. For now he looks, to me, like a gun on the mantle.
3Eponymuse10ySorry, apparently I'm illiterate. Also, I guess "siblings getting killed" isn't much of a pattern. Given that people were getting killed in the war, and that people have siblings, you can count the people getting killed as siblings.
2pedanterrific10yIt was meee [http://lesswrong.com/lw/axe/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/637j]. Also there's the Bellatrix idea [http://lesswrong.com/lw/axe/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/62m4]. /shameless self-promotion
2orthonormal10yIt has to be Dumbledore, by Conservation of Narrative Detail: There's no way that the conditions of Harry's promise to Draco would have been spelled out in such detail if learning the truth would be all it took to expiate it. It's going to turn out that Dumbledore did intentionally burn an innocent Narcissa Malfoy to death, but for a justifiable reason (though it's going to be interesting to see what that could be), and thus Harry is going to have the impossible task of convincing Draco to let him out of the promise.
2loserthree10yOther than my desire for Snape to kill Dumbledore, I don't see any reason why HJPEV should talk Draco into letting him out of the promise. It is more important to the themes of the work for HJPEV to follow through on a promise so dramatically given, than to shirk it. Likewise, it would be important for Dumbledore to face the consequences as administered by HJPEV. You have an interesting point about the promise. It is awfully detailed for something that would just be set aside. Still, it could have been so detailed just to allow a semi-light character like HJPEV to bond with a semi-dark character like Draco. Or maybe to allow the author to demonstrate the practice of thinking things through, through HJPEV. Or, as the Pedant One points out, something else entirely.
1pedanterrific10yAlways be aware that there may be a possibility you haven't thought of [http://lesswrong.com/lw/axe/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/62m4].
2hairyfigment10yI disagree. The last part is an inference, and I think we have more evidence that the killing prevented any peace between Lucius and Dumbledore in Voldemort's absence. (I don't know how much stress to put on this, but we learn that Draco thinks the death had this effect in the same chapter where he tells us to understand strange plots by looking at the outcomes. Seems at least 90% certain the author meant us to suspect Voldemort when he wrote that.) Now, Donny just pointed out [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/b7s/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/669j] that Voldemort could have faked his death entirely by, say, transfiguring some chickens and burning them. We also know that his treatment of Bellatrix ensured her devotion to him would not count as a happy memory and would thus continue in Azkaban. I think he intended this effect, meaning he planned for the possibility of seeming to lose. It sounds like he planned for that from the start. Setting fire to a chicken back in Chapter 17 should increase P(Dumbledore did it, and is a sadist). But supposedly DD's weakness lies in doing evil "For the Greater Good," not in having fond memories of the time he burned a woman to death. Seems more likely to me that he suspects Voldemort faked a burned body (per Donny's guess), but can't say so because he has no convincing explanation for why V hasn't visibly acted since then. So he just taught Harry to doubt such appearances.
1clgroft10yInteresting idea. My pet theory for some time has been that Narcissa was a Horcrux, and that Dumbledore was destroying said Horcrux by the only means he could—Fiendfyre. Are there any obvious gaps? (EDIT: pedantarrific below points one out.)
4pedanterrific10yYes: why would Dumbledore allow McGonagall to think that Voldemort only had one Horcrux?
0clgroft10yThis is a very good point.
3loserthree10yProbably as much "not the headmaster's style" to kill someone who happened to be a Horcrux so directly instead of weaving a complex plot to something, something, something, and then something else.
0bogdanb10yCanon seems to imply that living horcrux anchors can be killed normally to destroy the horcrux. (Magic apparently can’t actually fix death, and a horcrux is destroyed when the anchor is “damaged beyond magic repair”.) I’m not sure MoR retains that, but it would be a huge game-breaker if it didn’t, and one that Voldie would have seen and taken advantage of: You could protect your army from all but a few arcane dark spells by having your minions horcrux each-other. Note that the rare Fiendfyre is mentioned as necessary to destroy a horcrux, but the much more common Avada Kedavra is not—which suggests that, if it were to work like that, horcruxing would make you invulnerable even to AK. (In other words, AK is not mentioned as one of the few horcrux-destroying spells because it only works on living people, and living horcruxes can be just killed normally instead of requiring advanced methods.)
3ArisKatsaris10yCanon gave us an example of two living horcruxes (Nagini and Harry Potter), and for the former the same sword of Gryffindor that had been used to destroy other horcruxes was used, while for the latter the weird stipulation that Voldemort had to kill Harry Potter himself was added. The latter especially didn't make much sense... But either way I suggest we not be too sure of what is required to kill a living Horcrux in HPMoR.
0clgroft10yWhile I'm no longer convinced of the Narcissa-was-a-Horcrux hypothesis, I don't buy this argument. Even if Voldie thinks of it (which, okay, that part's reasonable), it assumes that he needs an invincible army more than he needs to keep the idea of Horcruxes secret. This is wildly implausible. His non-invincible army was doing just fine. Also, ArisKatsaris' comment.
1bogdanb10yI’m not 100% convinced myself, it just seems likely. I won’t argue about the sword (nobody ever tried without it), canon is too fuzzy about the details and Eliezer explicitly said that he makes them up as he goes along. About Voldie, if Horcruxes worked that way at the very least he would have thought to make himself the Horcrux of someone else, like Bella, just to gain the benefits as a back-up (even though he had horcruxes, reviving is a chore, and at least in MoR he’d be prepared against accidental defeat). And if I was him, I’d have at least my top followers horcrux a small object that I can easily destroy and that I can keep on me at all times (he had easy access to basilisk venom and magic pouches), and Obliviate them about the process to keep the secret. Of course, we have no indication he didn’t do that, except that a lot of his followers were killed and Fiendfyre is still considered rare. But I still think such an effect would be too powerful for MoR, it’d basically remove anything but Fiendfyre and Basilisk-venom from the offensive options. (And it seems that Salazar’s basilisk might no longer available, though characteristically cannon seems to suggest that breeding a basilisk is ridiculously easy, just forbidden.) Also, if living Horcruxes are not killable by normal means, that would suggest that mean they don’t die of old age, either, which again would not quite fit.
1MatthewBaker10yI like this possibility, it furthermore postulates that Albus was confused for Aberforth which is very likely IMO.
1pedanterrific10yWhen do you think Narcissa died? There's, let's see, seventeen months between Draco's birth and Voldemort's "death", right? I had assumed it happened afterwards.
1loserthree10ySorry to quote the same passage at you twice, but the best we have for dating this other than the necessary birth of Draco is in chapter 56. I don't have a quote to back me, just now, but don't the common folk regard the death of Voldemort as the end of the war? (That's insensitive to Neville's parents, of course, but there it is.)
0pedanterrific10yI hadn't thought that was evidence either way, since apparently no one but the Death Eaters believed that Dumbledore actually did it.

Your idea of marriage vows seems rather lifestyle-specific.

3NihilCredo10yhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45lXXiLbTxM [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45lXXiLbTxM]
6Blueberry10yGoreans are the creationists of lifestyle BDSMers...
1Percent_Carbon10yI think that statement is likely to be insulting to just about everyone involved in the comparison. So I would like to learn exactly how you mean that.
2pedanterrific10yI don't see how it's insulting to non-Gorean lifestyle BDSMers. And the others, well.
4Percent_Carbon10y"Goreans are to lifestyle BDMSers as creationists are to ___." I filled that in with 'theists" because that is the group creationists are part of like Goreans are part of the BDSM community. Now that community has their safe, sane, and consensual lifestyle choices compared to allowing the belief in an imaginary friend to control your life with little restriction. The believers have their faith compared to the depraved antics of perverts. The enlightened science of the creationists is compared to the escapist delusions of the Goreans. And finally the compared to the mockery of science and clumsy apologetics of creationism. Offense for everyone!
3Blueberry10yI was alluding to a Larry Summers [http://www.gata.org/node/10955] quote: The point was to insult the Goreans by comparing them to creationists, and that I hoped no one took them as a representation of lifestylers. I'm not sure why I got voted to -2 [http://lesswrong.com/lw/b7s/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/666z], though.
2Percent_Carbon10yThat's a fantastic quote.

Can we add the 'harry_potter' discussion tag to this post?

(Contrary to what the post text says, as of right now this post does not show up on the list of Harry Potter discussion posts.)

2bogdanb10yDone, thanks for the heads-up.

I am really interested in how this is all going to work back at Hogwarts. Harry has already been pushing the envelope in the past, but this was a public power display. Draco's out for a while, Hermione will be considered a murderess by significant portions of the school (and apparently she's now magically sworn to obey Harry?), Quirrel is doing... something... and all the schemers and plotters are scheming and plotting on overdrive. I think the money will really be the least of Harry's concerns before this tangle is unwoven. I sort of enjoy learning little bits about Eliezer in the author's notes. "Why yes, I do lead the same sort of life as fanfiction characters, thank you for noticing," made me laugh quietly to myself. This is doubtless because I am a gossip-monger and a hopless platonic voyeur of other peoples lives.

7buybuydandavis10yThat's attempted murderess and Minion#1 in Harry's Dark Army. Maybe Hermione needs to join Chaos Legion now. I don't see how she can be credible as a leader in opposition to Harry anymore, even in a game.
6Percent_Carbon10yUnless EY adds it in, Harry forgot to snap his fingers.

But he threatened to, and that's almost as bad.

5bogdanb10ySnapping fingers means “I can do anything”. Saying “Boo” means “I scare Dementors”.
4Armok_GoB10yHe doesn't need a miracle to scare dementors.
[-][anonymous]10y 11

Just an odd thought about something Draco said in Chapter 48:

Before them was a small empty place of stone set against the night sky. Not a roof like the one he'd dropped Harry from, but a tiny and proper courtyard, far above the ground. With proper railings, elaborate traceries of stone that flushed seamlessly into the stone floor... How so much artistry had been infused into the creation of Hogwarts was something that still awed Draco every time he thought about it. There must have been some way to do it all at once, no one could have detailed so much piece by piece, the castle changed and every new piece was like that. It was so far beyond the wizardry of these fading days that no one would have believed it if they hadn't seen the proof in Hogwarts itself.

...is - is Hogwarts sentient? If it's animate, capable of creative expression, and self-constructing, it's not out of the question that Hogwarts might be in some sense intelligent or alive. It'd also explain some things about the Hogwarts security system, to say nothing about the Room of Requirement, in canon.

Transfiguration is non-permanent, and any gold sold to Gringotts would be immediately tested for transfiguration. Additionally, trying to counterfeit gets the goblin nation to declare war on you. (Ch 15)

3moridinamael10yTrading his configured gold to muggles in exchange for other forms of currency would work, essentially laundering the transfigured gold in the muggle system and then giving real gold to the goblins. Actually, with Imperius and Obliviate and false-memory charms, any wizard could steal unlimited quantities of money from muggles. Just kidnap the bank managers of large banks and Imperius them into taking a few suitcases of money home, take the money and remove their memory of having done it. Really, this is only slightly more unethical than Harry's arbitrage scheme. Currency is a sort of social agreement about valuation of assets, and abusing the monetary system results in ... all the problems we're having in the real world, for instance. edit: and then I look further down the page and see someone saying this much better and pointing out why it probably wouldn't work.

Funny how karma never adds up in those polls.

There should be a house rule about always linking to the karma sink in the poll choices.

Not that it matters that EY or anyone else gets a few points of extra karma, it's just my "defective mechanism detected" brain lobe giving me OCD.

I wonder what Draco is going to say -- or to remember, for that matter -- about the duel.

I worry that Draco may be more or less written out of this fic - I can't imagine Lucius sending his son back into Voldemort's maw. There are other schools, even if none are as good.

Draco's going to want to go back, of course.

1Percent_Carbon10yHis father may make him want what is best for him, what his father thinks is best for him, that is. So maybe he won't want to go back, after all.
1Alex_Altair10yI think it is meant that Harry set up Draco to be irreversibly autonomous with the Bayesian Conspiracy thing. And Lucius wants Malfoy to be the sincerely powerful scion of the Malfoy house, not just a puppet for himself, so he won't mess him too badly.
3Percent_Carbon10yI fear you mistake your hopes for reasonable conclusions.
7kilobug10yHe did send his son to Dumbledore's maw, the one he believes burned alive his wife for no reason. I don't think sending him back with Harrymort there would bother him that much. It's not like Harrymort has anything to gain by killing Draco. The danger comes more from Hermione than from Harrymort, and it seems that she's scared enough so she'll never attempt anything against Draco. And Draco will be on guard. So... I think Draco will go back to Hogwarts.
1drethelin10yHarry's debt to Lucius will guarantee his and Draco's interaction at some point in the future even if Draco never goes back to school.
0Alsadius10yBoth Voldemort and the girl who tried to murder him, at that. I suspect there'll still be letters between the two, though.

I find it quite astonishing how often I have to remind people that they're eleven years old.

6Alex_Altair10yI didn't forget that (but sometimes I do). We can have a 12 year old be a slave to an 11 year old, but we can't have them get married?
7Alsadius10yWelcome to feudalism.
5MartinB10yLegal system do not have to be consistant. In Germany you can inherit since the time of conception, but still legally aborted afterwards.
2Alsadius10yThat is seriously weird.
5MartinB10yNot that much. Both rules have their reasons. Real consistency is hard.
2Blueberry10yThey're not, mentally. But yeah, they may not be able to get legally married. Surprising that they can get legally enslaved, though.
4Nominull10yFeudal vassalage is a few steps up from slavery, I think.
1Blueberry10yYes, but there's no verb that means to put someone into it...
7Eliezer Yudkowsky10yVassalize.
1Percent_Carbon10yThey are, mentally. The mind is the body, and this is a rationalist fic. Precocious children have a history of demonstrating they are not socio-emotionally prepared for some adult situations they are capable of confronting on an intellectual level. However smart or clever we are, we are still wet machines and we still grow in particular rhythms at particular times.

What are the benefits of servitude over marriage?

Fewer shrieks of horror from their parents? Also Hermione doesn't need to change her name into Hermione Potter-Evans-Verres-Granger.

Did he actually say anything? Or did McGonagall come up with the idea right before?

He didn't. It was right before. Harry knew of only marriage as a way to induct Hermione into his House. McGonagall knew of a somewhat simpler way, and one less emotionally charged than marriage.

And then didn't mention to Harry that she was making Hermione his servant instead of his wife?

I think he realized it the moment he heard the words McGonagall was having Hermione say. Keep in mind that it's not as if McGonaggal realized Harry was considering marriage at all.

Nah, snapping fingers doesn't possess meaning for the Wizengamot, that's what Harry is known for in Hogwarts. "Boo!" is better in the circumstances.

9buybuydandavis10yI think it's better to tie his miracles in Hogwarts to his miracles elsewhere. Consistent product branding.

Sorry, the reason for the stereotype is the fact that fanfiction is findable only on unmoderated internet archives where anyone can post. If you had to look on the internet for all your original fiction, you'd have the same problem. Also, it's in some ways harder to use someone else's voice and be bound by characters that maybe have traits you're scared to write about than to be able to write in your own voice and avoid certain kinds of characters.

But when you compare cherry-picked original fiction weeded through by editors until you get to read only a fraction of the total submitted for consideration and utterly unmoderated, undifferentiated fanfiction by good and bad authors alike side-by-side in the same archive, of course the original fic is going to be better.

1Anubhav10yKindle StoreOr so I heard, at least.

I was amazed that the readership collectively got almost every element of Harry’s solution, except for the monetary payment, and Harry spooking the Dementor instead of destroying it. (Looking up Philip Tetlock’s original experiment on taboo tradeoffs, taking the definition literally instead of reaching, and then reading the relevant section of Ch. 26 while keeping in mind Conservation of Detail, might have solved the monetary part.)

Well, if you make enough guesses, sometimes one of them will be partly right...

My prediction doesn't seem to have paid off in anything but karma, so I'm wondering how Eliezer's clue about Harry seeing the members of the Wizingamot as player characters has played out or if we're going to see something of the sort in future chapters.

The problem is that he did not - he treated them as a passive audience without any consideration of how they view him. So now some of them have reached the same conclusion as Lucius, and think he is a case of bodysnatching. Possession is a real possibility in the universe he inhabits, and he is showing all the signs. That is quite likely to get him killed by people with the best of intentions. At best, I am expecting kidnapping attempts aimed at extracting voldemort from his host. Also, Harry really should listen to Malfoy. Scaring Lucius is not a good idea.

5Eliezer Yudkowsky10yThat hadn't been meant to be a clue - it's fulfilled immediately after, when Harry starts seeing them as subjects of moral judgment.
1thomblake10yI, for one, definitely read it as a clue. It seemed to me that in the chapter, Harry was trying to convince Lucius, while Lucius was performing debate-as-theater. Like Harry threatened Lucius because he thought Lucius would care, which was a bad move because Lucius would lose face by appearing threatened by a child. Lucius responded by calling Harry out on his "child" status, which would not serve to make Harry see his way, but would help sway the audience against Harry. And so I had speculated that Harry's solution would have to involve switching to a debate mode of discourse. Which may have had something to do with my ignoring the intended meaning of the title of the sequence, which suggests that he instead would find a compromise that Lucius would agree with.

"You can't put a price on a human life."

"I agree, but unfortunately reality has already put a price on human life, and that price is much less than 5 million dollars. By refusing to accept this, you are only refusing to make an informed decision about which lives to purchase."

0plu9yActually the estimate I heard was about 6 million dollars. And I'd argue the other way: That human life is the only thing you can put a price on, the basis for all trade. Whenever you cross a road, you're trading a slight chance of being run over for the value of being on the other side. When you eat something unhealthy, you're trading a portion of your life expectancy for the taste. So people do it every day, except they only trade in fractions of human life.
0DaFranker9yOr in abstract expected larger numbers of human lives. Direct human-life trading in larger amounts is more unusual, and usually carries strong stigma (hostages, slave trafficking, etc.)

"Yes," said Dumbledore, as he descended to the bottom of the dark stone stairs. "Let us all go home, indeed." His blue eyes were locked on Harry, as hard as sapphires.

It suddenly occurs to me that Dumbledore has seen two interactions between Harry and a Dementor. In the first one, it almost destroys him. In the second, he casts a Patronus that destroys it. Neither would seem to provide the kind of evidence that you would need to confidently assume that other Dementors would run away from you if you said "Boo" to them.

So, is this enough evidence for Dumbledore to decide that he's wrong about who broke Bellatrix Black out of Azkaban?

No, as I pointed out, one would expect, based on its past performance, the dark side to come up with disastrous yet simple and effective solutions, and this expectation is another desiderata. Which that solution filled as well.

(A token 'dispel the Patronuses and make the Dementors eat people' is at least a gesture in the right direction, for all that I find Harry's belief he can cripple Aurors like that to be risible - if you yell at a pilot 'actually it doesn't run on the Bernouilli effect but spiral vortices' or whatever, does he immediately panic and fl... (read more)

Do you feel the same way about published by known publishing houses fiction that based on other fiction? I'm thinking about The Once and Future King, Wicked, The Ayre Affair.....

8Alsadius10yGatekeepers raise average quality levels.

You are here for the class that has been taught at Hogwarts for eight hundred years! Welcome to your first year of Battle Magic!

and

I'm the General of Sunshine, but even before that, I'm Hermione Granger of Ravenclaw, and I'm proud to be part of a House that's eight hundred years old.

and

You told me that no one had matched the four founders of Hogwarts. So it's been going on for at least eight centuries, then?

ETA: Oh, haha, maybe I should have just gone with

Harry winced. Hermione had been the one to explain to him about the Sorting Hat, but she

... (read more)

Only Quirrel and Dumbledore know of it, since even the three accompanying Aurors were False-Memory-Charmed.

We don't know what the cover story was that Dumbledore thought up to justify the lost Dementor.

Honest dilemma: Should Hermione decide to get the memories of casting the Blood-chilling Charm obliviated?

On one hand, one would think that messing even more with Hermione's mind should be a no-no. On the other hand, we're pretty sure it's a false memory, and it seems grossly unfair for her to have to remember attempting to commit a murder that she didn't truly attempt.

Second question: Regardless of what Hermione should do, will she so decide it?

Third question: If she doesn't so decide, will some helpful other person override said choice for her sake and obliviate her anyway?

5Desrtopa10yIf she does get the memory erased, she's going to be awfully confused when someone else inevitably brings it up again. Edit: it occurs to me that you probably only meant the memory of performing the charm itself, not the memory of being put on trial for murder. But even if they did that, I suspect she'd imagine something just as bad to fill the space, knowing what was supposed to go in it.
3buybuydandavis10yIf she wanted to do that, I'd have the memory extracted and saved as evidence.

There are probably laws against busting people out of Azkaban too.

There are so many ways for Harry to get money - I hope the debt doesn't become a major plot point. If there are downsides to the debt in terms of obligations to Lucius, Harry should just get the money and be done with it.

If the Supreme Mugwump doesn't want Harry to be indebted to Lucius, shouldn't he be able to call in a few favors and have it paid off tomorrow? There's the general blood debt to Harry. The general goodwill to Harry. The desire by others not to have the Boy Who Lived in debt to Malfoy.

There should be enough people in the Wizarding world w... (read more)

Get him an internet connection in Hogwarts and play the market using his time turner.

Early '90s. That'd be a JANET connection, which was an academic network. I expect AOL or Compuserve might be possible. We're talking about the mists of prehistory here, i.e. before 1995. Heck, it was even before the National Lottery was operating in the UK (that started 1994). The stock market would be playable, if he had a suitable adult to front for him.

No, how he makes serious money in the muggle world in 1991 Britain may require actual research.

5SkyDK10yEh no... Harry has Mining++ also known as partial transfiguration. Now EY didn't believe that to be enough so he also equipped Harry with an invisibility cloak a bag AND a suitcase of holding. If Harry is really pressed for cash and some rules against arbitrage, stock market manipulation, insurance fraud (which he should be able to do to an amount that's not even funny to think about) exist, he still has one glaringly easy way of earning shit tons. He should be able to, as soon as he is allowed to use magic outside school (which IIRC is at 17 which is before his last year at Hogwarts' starts; the 31st of July to be exact) of doing the following: a) Robin Hood his way through pretty much anything (Invis+teleport is an old classic) b) mine diamonds/gold/other valuable resources by using partial transfiguration, invisibility and if need be Apparation.Some mines in Somalia are just waiting for a wizard to abuse them... c) and of course just straight up gambling. Sincerely: this stuff doesn't even require a lot of thinking. He could also just do some honest transport business of high quality wares... Teleportation is a whole lot faster than anything else I can think of.
4shminux10yThere was virtually no online trading for individual investors until about 1994. You had to phone your full-service or discount broker and talk to him (or very rarely her) to make a trade.
3Alsadius10yThe Grangers are comfortable, but two million 1991!pounds is well beyond the capabilities of any dentist I'm familiar with.
7daenerys10yThey could happily provide a laundering service of sorts. If the goblins get suspicious of where Harry got the muggle money (which he will supposedly get via one of many ways outlined on this thread), he could just say that the Grangers gave it to him to rescue his daughter-- He earns money through them (stocks in their name, or whatever), and they turn around and give it back to him to trade into galleons for the Hermione-Rescue Debt. I doubt the goblins would look into how MUGGLES managed to earn so much money. Especially if they already seemed to be relatively well-off.

Pretty closely, I think; we have

Emmeline wasn't a member of the Order of the Phoenix any more, they had disbanded after the end of the last war. And during the war, she'd known, they'd all known, that Director Crouch had quietly approved of their off-the-books battle.

Director Bones wasn't Crouch.

and

[...] while Amelia tried to weigh her own thoughts. She must not leave this prison alive... Albus Dumbledore wouldn't turn into Bartemius Crouch without a strong reason.

I'll see your credential challenge and raise you the inevitable creation of immortal boredom.

re-reading chapter 76 made me realise the prophecy could not be about Voldemort at all :

Let's look at this prophecy in detail :

"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches,"

Vanquish, as Snape said, is a strange word to describe a baby accidentally toasting Voldemort, especially since we have evidence that this might not be what really happened. "Dark Lord" is used by EY quite loosely, and not as something specifically relating to Voldemort. Indeed, Dumbledore seems to worry that he could be this Dark Lord. Now, if we ste... (read more)

2Osuniev7yWell, so much for that !
0player_038yHarry left "a portion of his life" (not an exact quote) in Azkaban, and apparently it will remain there forever. That could be the remnant that Death would fail to destroy. Anyway, Snape drew attention to the final line in the prophecy. It talked about two different spirits that couldn't exist in the same world, or perhaps two ingredients that cannot exist in the same cauldron. That's not Harry and Voldemort; that's Harry and Death. I mean, Harry has already sworn to put an end to death. It's how he casts his patronus. He's a lot less sure about killing Voldemort, and would prefer not to, if given the choice.
0Osuniev8yIn light of chapters 96 I would update this chance to 45 %.
2Osuniev8yPutting my wager where my mouth is : http://predictionbook.com/predictions/20831 [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/20831]
0gwern9yI only count one defiance there. Or did you mean the brothers plural accounted for three defiances? But the other two brothers just die horribly after making ill-chosen requests.
0Osuniev9yWell, each of them successively defied Death by asking a gift from it. Still far-fetched, I admit.

It looks like the pair of you are having trouble communicating. Would you like to:

Almost all the possible consequences of Quirrell's plot with Hermione might have helped Quirrellmort somehow:

  • Hermione goes to Azkaban and Harry goes permanently Dark.
  • Hermione goes to Azkaban and Harry goes permanently Light, killing himself to destroy it.
  • Harry saves Hermione, further antagonizing Draco's father and thereby Draco himself.
  • The wedge is driven further between Harry and Dumbledore.
  • Harry looks very Dark in front of all of wizarding Britain, losing him Light allies.
  • Harry looks very powerful in front of all of wizarding Britain, gaining him
... (read more)
2Jonathan_Elmer10yEvery possible result is a negative for Harry when his closest ally is accused of murdering his next closest ally. Even if he "wins" it is going to hurt, and it did. I can't square that with the motives of someone who wants to make Harry dark and strong. It is a big risk, especially when you are stuck in an interrogation cell for the grand finale.

Thoughts on the whole "guess the solution" situation from last chapter.

When I first reached the end of the chapter and the "You have 5 days to find the solution" bit, for some frantic moments I was worried that Eliezer would let get Hermione go to Azkaban if we weren't sufficiently clever to find the solution. It seemed rather unlikely, because we didn't seem to be so very near the end of the whole of HPMOR (and surely Hermione's effective killing would have major repercussions).. but I had already known about the similar situation in T... (read more)

"Squib" is a nonmagical child of magical parents, at least in canon. MoR seems to be using it as a genetic marker, which I'm honestly not sure is compatible with canon.

(Now that I think about it, if Harry's genetic theory is correct, doesn't a squib child of a wizarding couple imply that Mom was getting some on the side?)

9Lavode10y.. Not nessesarily. I just had an amusing thought. The number one use of polyjuice is quite obviously as a sex toy, right? Depending on how deep the transformation goes, it is entirely possible that the genetic lines of wizardry if anyone ever tested them would be enormously confusing, and a lot of squibs are technically the decendants of Jane Russell and Rudolph Valentino.
8Percent_Carbon10yGo, Mom.
2Normal_Anomaly10yProbably! That or a mutation, anyway. But a few weeks ago I read about an interesting situation * in which a parent with AB blood and one with A blood can have an O child without adultery, because of another gene that sometimes suppresses the A and B antigens. That wouldn't allow for varying power levels with blood purity, and would sort of be still "one thing that makes you a wizard." * I can't remember the name, and would appreciate if someone could remind me.
2loserthree10yNot necessarily. Genetic code changes in ways that do not make an nonviable specimen now and then. Adultery is more likely, though.
0Anubhav10yAccurate deduction! Here, have a cookie.

In canonical!HP, halfbloods are wizards/witches with one witch/wizard parent and one Muggle parent. "Dad's a Muggle, Mum's a witch. Bit of a nasty shock for him when he found out." Muggleborns have two Muggle parents.

Sometimes people with a Muggleborn and a pureblood for parents are called halfbloods (Harry is one of these). Finer gradations aren't referred to (I'm not sure what Harry and Ginny's kids would be called).

But you probably can't do it over the Internet in 1991.

1ajuc10yOh, right. It's funny how we(I) take some things for granted.

Good bit, though a bit of a hodgepodge. I presume the real culprit will be found, but that doesn't necessarily counter the debt - the Wizengamot would have to agree, and the truth could be found out in a way that leaves little actual proof, even aside issues of Wizengamot's fairness. I'll be disappointed if paying the debt turns out to be too arduous though, but of course depending on the methods chosen there may be side effects. (One way would be for Draco to accept a counterdebt, having been convinced of the truth of the matter and seeing that being on g... (read more)

Why, indeed, would wizards with enough status and wealth to turn their hands to almost any endeavor, choose to spend their lives fighting over lucrative monopolies on ink importation

Oh god, why did you have to go there. Whyyyy

Edit: at least you didn't mention the squid

2Alsadius10yAm I missing something?
9thelittledoctor10yThis. [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Fanfic/PartiallyKissedHero] But gaze not overlong into that particular abyss. Edit: In retrospect, TvTropes itself is probably the bigger abyss of the two. So don't gaze overlong into that one either.
4FAWS10yCould you summarize to spare us from gazing into that abyss?
2Eliezer Yudkowsky10yWow, I'd totally forgotten where I got that from. But in this particular case, it's deserved, considering that a certain idea I first encountered in PKH is an element of HPMOR. (You probably don't want to read through PKH trying to figure it out. No, seriously, it's figureable from the main text and PKH isn't going to help much.)
2pedanterrific10yIs it 'xrrc gur fbhepr bs lbhe vzzbegnyvgl va bhgre fcnpr'?
2Eliezer Yudkowsky10yWas that in PKH?
2pedanterrific10yIt's mentioned on the Tropes page under How Unscientific. So not that, huh?
1thelittledoctor10yOther than "cheroybbq snzvyvrf znvagnva gurve jrnygu guebhtu neovgenel zbabcbyvrf tenagrq ol gur Jvmratnzbg"?
0LucasSloan10yJryy vg'f rvgure gung Uneel'f qnexfvqr vf gur sentzrag bs Ibyqrzbeg'f fbhy be gung Qhzoyrqber'f rivy.
2Alsadius10yYe gods.
0Daniel_Molloy10yOh dear, I cannot stop gazing. It's actually quite a fun read so far, although it seems more like a sloppy first draft than a polished novel. I guess that's to be expected given the lack of editors in fanfic - I've clearly been spoiled by HPMOR and Luminosity [http://luminous.elcenia.com/].
1thelittledoctor10yI confess I rather enjoyed the part where Snape's head exploded. There's a certain window of "So bad it's good" in there, before you get to the "So bad it's horrible". As I said in another comment [http://lesswrong.com/lw/b7s/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/65ki], it's not bad at the start.
2pedanterrific10yYes, and be glad of it.
1thelittledoctor10yYeah, was that a Partially Kissed Hero reference? For that matter, from what source was "the Ree" drawn? Totoro's from a Miyazaki movie...
5pedanterrific10yDO NOT SPEAK THE NAME The Ree are from Nobody Dies, a Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfiction.

And Hogwarts has ventilation ducts large enough to fit a basilisk!

[-][anonymous]10y 17

In fairness, circulating air in a castle whose geometry is best represented by an arbitrarily connected graph (not necessarily acyclic), is a non-trivial engineering challenge. After a few student asphyxiated, they may just have gone a little overboard.

I now declare this to be MoR!canon. (That large magical dwellings in general have large highly-connected, possibly magical air-ducts, by tradition, to prevent the occasional cases where somebody asphyxiated; and that Salazar used this as his excuse for why Hogwarts's ventilation ducts had to be so large.)

Aguamenti creates water out of nothing, which you can drink. The Bubble-Head Charm could, in theory, work some way other than creating thin air out of thin air, but personally I doubt it does.

2thelittledoctor10yI never, in Canon, got quite such an impression of Eerie Alien Geometries from the castle as I do in MoR. Thankfully Event Horizon hadn't come out in 1991, or I'd wager a lot of Muggleborns would be very uncomfortable in the upper floors.
8Alicorn10ySnakes can get through spaces much smaller than it looks like they should be able to. It doesn't seem ruled out that a magic snake can do that to a greater extent. So this implies big ductwork but not enormous ductwork.
0brilee10yThe ventilation ducts in large buildings are roughly 1m^2 in cross-sectional area, branching out to ducts that are roughly.1m^2 in cross-sectional area. A python is 6 meters long and has a cross-sectional area of .015m^2. Assuming the aspect ratio of the snake body stays roughly constant, a basilisk is 15 meters long, and would have a cross-sectional area of .094m^2. Barely enough to through ventilation ducts.
0MixedNuts10yI think basiliks are a little thicker than pythons (from the second movie) and much longer than 15 m (from awesomeness).

I think he has six and a quarter years to turn zero galleons into sixty thousand - I interpreted it as him having to pay what he could immediately.

Personally, I'd be inclined to just Imperius Lucius into cancelling the rest of the debt, then obliviate him and memory charm him into remembering doing it of his own free will, but perhaps I'm a little more Dark Harry than Light Harry.

He's got a time machine and the stock market exists.

Give him a few days a month outside of Hogwarts (or just a telephone/television) and he could own every gold mine, hell, own everything in the muggle world. I could pull that off with just a time machine.

Why on earth did this not immediately occur to me? This is usually my first thought in time-travel stories. Clearly my dislike of Lucius is clouding my judgement.

9[anonymous]10yWhat happens if multiple wizards try to Time Turner the stock market? Information can't travel back more than six hours in time. So if Wizard #1 sees a stock price falling, and goes back in time to sell, and Wizard #2 sees effects of that, and goes back in time to sell, weird things happen. I'm not sure what the six-hour limitation on information actually does, though. We see Bones asking Dumbledore, "I have information which I learned four hours into the future, Albus. Do you still want it?" Dumbledore weighs the value of the information against the value of going back in time more than 2 hours. However, if he rejects that information, and goes back in time 3 hours, he still brings back the knowledge that Bones will have information to share. How exactly does that work?
7TimS10yThe impression I got was that the Time Turner would fail to work. Thus, if Bones tells D, then D uses his Time Turner, he only goes back 2 hours. That's an interesting thought, actually. Can you prevent a person from going back in time by essentially giving them information from the future, even if they don't know it is information from the future?
8Asymmetric10yUnrelated: They did that in a movie called Primer, which I recommend to people who like MOR and deciphering probably-correct engineering-speak.
0Blueberry10yThey do stock market stuff in Primer?
0pjeby10yYes. And it leads to... complications. Actually, everything they try to do with time in that movie leads to complications, but almost never in the straightforward way you'd expect. For example, it's not the stock market manipulation itself that causes problems.
7wedrifid10yAnd naturally he'd start off with seed money from a single lottery win. More than one would start getting suspicious but if he picks the largest paying lottery out there when it has rolled over to jackpot a few times that gives him enough to start the ball rolling.

Most muggleborns may not be able to do calculus, but they know about lotteries. The ministry would keep tabs on this stuff.

Which is why he wouldn't win top prize - 5/6 numbers is usually a couple hundred grand, that's tons of seed money.

4thelittledoctor10yIf he picked the right lottery he'd only need to do that once, period. There are many lotteries paying out well over two million pounds... But I suspect Locke is right on this count.
2wedrifid10yBy a couple of orders of magnitude (highest in the UK was 150m or so pounds, US has gone up to $390M).
3David_Gerard10yThe National Lottery [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Lottery_%28United_Kingdom%29] didn't start until 1994. I'm reasonably sure there were such things you could win big on, but I don't think there were any you could win that big on.
1MarkusRamikin10yI don't think that's how time-travel works in this story. Aka DO NOT MESS WITH TIME. It's already been stated to be impossible to change your test scores in Hogwards, I think that rules out making fortunes with time travel too, which many people would be highly motivated to do if it were possible; that's not what the world looks like in the story. I sure hope Harry gets out of this mess somehow, though. The last few chapters have been painful. EDIT: how do you use strike-out formatting around here? Is it even possible?
6wedrifid10yIt is. Winning on the stockmarket with this time-travel system is barely any different (in terms of mere physics) than using it as a sleep aid. In a fantasy world this ad hoc most of the wizarding population has to be holding the idiot ball most of the time for things to be as they look in the story.
5ArisKatsaris10yIn the "DO NOT MESS WITH TIME" case, he tried to manipulate time-loop paradoxes in his favour. In what Xachariah suggests, he'd just be manipulating the stock markets, not deliberately attempting to construct time paradoxe. Therefore I don't think it qualifies as "messing with time".

He has a hundred in his back yard. Worst comes to worst, he arbitrages that up to 60k.

Edit: or time machine+stock market. In retrospect, that's a much better solution.

5thelittledoctor10yYes, I rather doubt that he will have trouble for lack of clever plans.
3Alsadius10yIt's easy to do an arbitrage chain a couple times, but