Update: Discussion has moved on to a new thread.
The hiatus is over with today's publication of chapter 73, and the previous thread is approaching the 500-comment threshold, so let's start a new Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread. This is the place to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter fanfic and anything related to it.
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. The fanfiction.net author page is the central location for information about updates and links to HPMOR-related goodies, and AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author's Notes.
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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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.
While I like that Hermione is getting her own story-arc, there's something about the "Self-Actualization" arc that really doesn't work for me.
It's increasingly seemed as if "bullies" are being portrayed as an interest group or even a subculture: In MoR, it seems like bullies think of themselves as bullies, and stand up for the common interests of their group by perpetuating bullying as a social institution and singling out for attack those who have challenged other bullies. Even if those other bullies are of a different House, year, or social circle.
This makes Hogwarts' bullies out to be an Evil League of Evil, a cross-House union of Bad Guys who know they're Bad Guys. But at the same time we're expected as readers to take Hogwarts bullying to be some kind of mirror of ordinary real-world school bullying, which doesn't exactly work that way.
The idea of bullies standing up for bullying as an institution, or even thinking of themselves as bullies, reminds me too much of the scene in one of Kevin Smith's movies in which it is revealed that streetcorner drug dealers are unionized.
Yeah, the I've enjoyed the arc well enough, and there were some great bits in this chapter, but it's been a bit small-potatoes compared to some of what's come before, and there's definitely a sense of "just how many bullies are there at Hogwarts, anyway?". It's almost like SPHEW is literally grinding bullies for XP.
That doesn't sound wildly different from the online troll subculture.
I can agree with your sentiment but there's plenty of evidence from canon that bullying is seriously endemic to Hogwarts, not to mention the Morcanon point of view where slytherins have found themselves gaining status predominantly from racism against and bullying of mudbloods/hufflepuffs. The entire hogwarts system could almost seem to be DESIGNED to generate ingroup/outgroup hostility in huge amounts to layer on top of the basic cliquishness and age-based splitting of regular school.
also, it's strongly implied in this chapter that the enemies hermione is making now are NOT fighting her because they think of themselves as bullies, but because they view themselves as proud slytherins/griffyndors, and see hermione insulting their entire houses.
I just realized how Wizard negotiations are so far ahead of their muggle counterparts. They accidentally stumbled upon the best possible decision theory.
Take the prisoner's dilemma, except this time add in time tuners. Defection will immediately be punished by defection. The only stable time-loops that can exist are cooperate-cooperate or defect-defect. Actors with mutual access to time tuners will literally have to choose as though controlling the logical output of the abstract computation they implement, includes the output of all other instantiations and simulations of that computation. You don't need to be able to perfectly predict the other person's actions when you can actually observe them and change your own answers to match before negotiations happen.
Two nations going into negotiations will have the Prime Minister wake up, read a note saying "cooperate - agree to concession and gain concession " then go into negotiations and finish in ten minutes. This seems well within the purview of normal time travel and not too far into calculating prime factors with a time-tuner. Although, I'm not sure if Robin Hanson's pie problem would result in "Everybody co... (read more)
This is contradicted, at least slightly, within MOR if not in cannon. McGonagall mentions in her internal narrative that wizards never invented clocks or any form of magical time-keeping, and only starting using them after muggles invented them. There may will be many other such cases, certainly the extent to which a lot of magical objects superficially resemble their muggle counterparts is quite suspicious.
Ok. The Tonks thing was really clever. And the bit about double-witches was brilliant. It definitely drives home the whole issue of taking joy in the merely real. It is a clever, original, and highly plausible interpretation of what people would likely do if they grew up taking some sort of secret magic for granted.
I aspire to be a doubly aspiring double rationalist.
Yep, double magic is fantastic. Gonna use that when I hear someone wishing they had magical powers.
Double magic may be a reference to Grossman's The Magicians. Warning: While there are many good things in the book, the viewpoint character is depressed and (in my experience) depressing.
I don't know whether Grossman has read HP:MOR, but he heads it off at the beginning of the book. Everyone at the magic school is a good bit smarter than average, but there's no one who's qualitatively smarter than that, and it's stated that enough unproductive research has been done into the roots of magic that it's generally considered to be a dead end.
From the Author's Notes:
I strongly preferred Chapter 75, incidentally. Chapter 74 seemed to be another "need a way to top previous chapters" experience, like the underwater battle in Chapter 33. The talky chapters, like 75, are the real soul of the fic; the CMOA, after all, was the casting of a single Patronus, but the long inner narrative made it what it was.
Anyway, I think it's amusing that authors' favorites rarely correlate positively with readers' favorites.
To whichever Less Wrong reader has decided to defend Eliezer's honor by trolling the DarkLordPotter forums: Please stop. I know you mean well, but they as a forum are best ignored. Picking a fight with them, creating multiple accounts to avoid bans, etc., is immature and accomplishes nothing positive.
When I first saw chapter 74, it ended with this line:
Until that disappeared, I thought maybe Snape's response to the previous line had broken reality.
At the secret inner double-witch school, everyone's most concerned with figuring out who the top-secret super-inner triple-witches are.
The thought had occurred to me. And if you were a double witch, wouldn't you think it was pretty darned plausible that there were triple witches?
I want to be a first-uncountable-ordinal wizard. :)
Yes, ZFC is quite enough to imply the existence of the first uncountable ordinal.
On the other hand, I don't see what's unbelievable about such a thing; it's just (the order type of) the set of all countable ordinals, and I don't see why it's unbelievable that there is such a set. (That is, if you're going to accept uncountable sets in the first place; and if you don't want that, then you can criticise ZFC on far more basic grounds than anything about ordinals.)
But he didn't say regular pentagons. Pentagon tiles shown here. Also, he did say that Hogwarts has non-Euclidean geometry.
— Jerry Bona
I think you are stating these things too confidently.
Most mathematicians could not state the axioms of ZFC from memory. My suspicion is that AC skepticism is highest among mathematicians who can.
One piece of evidence that AC skepticism is not low-status is that papers and textbooks will often emphasize when a proof uses AC, or when a result is equivalent to AC. People find such things interesting.
You could make a stronger case that skepticism about infinity is regarded as low-status.
But what do status considerations have to do with whether Yudkowsky's beliefs and hunches are justified?
77: I didn't read the title in full before I read the chapter. I must admit that "Sunk Costs" weren't a lesson that sprung to my mind as I read. Since sunk costs are such an important lesson to convey I rather hope there is another chapter on the subject. It strikes me as something that is easy to contrive scenarios to illustrate.
From Author's Notes 69:
I'm slightly concerned after reading this post about how serials go off the rails.
Has there yet been any Word of God on firearms in the Methods of Rationality? I know that the other Word of God has the famous quote, "In a fight between a Muggle with a shotgun and a wizard with a wand, the Muggle will win." I'm curious if this sort of thing still holds for MoR.
Hogwarts, being a school, wouldn't have narrative need to involve any guns directly. Fights between bullies and students rarely end with gunshots even in the real world afterall. But the mere existence of such objects casts ripples on everything else. Just like modern warfare is dominated by the existence of nuclear weapons even when not deployed, guns remaining effective would dominate the shape of all wizard conflicts. Home invasions go from safe for the better wizards to potentially lethal any time. Public takeover (as in Deathly Hallows) becomes impossible. Support from demihuman races become pointless if open battlefields are impossible. Hell, all the death eaters in total seem almost comically weak against a single battalion of trained soldiers loaned from a friendly country and supported by a wizard or two. Death Eaters might be an effective terrorist organization, but could not b... (read more)
Since magic in the HP universe has the property of not having to make sense, one could imagine a spell that simply makes guns not work, or that makes all projectiles move slowly, or that causes everyone within the area to miss what they aim at.
The ending battle of Deathly Hallows pretty much treats wands as if they were guns. You could edit the film to replace all the wands with guns and have very few instances where anything looked wrong. So far HP:MoR has made the magic feel more magical than that.
A gun might top a wand for a lethal quickdraw, but magic has a ludicrous number of tactical advantages. A home invader with a gun, for instance, is no longer a threat when you can use charms to make it impossible for them to be aware of the existence of your house.
The sniper rifle doesn't make this much easier; it's loud (although it might be quieted magically) and Avada Kedavra is a surer kill. Anti apparation spells probably cover portkeys, or if they don't, there are probably other spells to deal with them. Plus, you can't pull it off "at any time" given that it can be stopped by a standing anti-apparation spell and a closed door, which are pretty minimal precautions for a high profile political leader.
If you're really creative, you could probably assassinate just about anyone, but this is more or less true in real life, and prevented largely by the extremely small overlap between people with that kind of creativity and people who want to pull off assassinations.
I was considering more a wizard vs wizard+technology situation. Presumably wizards already figure out ways into charmed houses; the addition of guns just make it easier once you've already located it.
The benefit of a sniper rifle is the range. Harry Potter magic seems to be effective at about a dozen yards at most. The longest confirmed sniper kill is over one and a half miles without any aid of aiming magic; the sound of the bullet arrives about 5 seconds after you're already dead. That should leave you well outside of the range of any anti-apparition wards, and require knowledge of ballistics to even track you to your shooting spot. Lee Harvey Oswald would have gotten away easily if he could apparate or portkey; as it was he was able to walk around for an hour until police were tipped off to his suspicious activity. Voldemort specifically seems to have an odd thing for meeting in the outdoors, and Dumbledore is fond of watching Quiddich. It's not like there would never be an opportunity.
I'm thinking McGonnagal could set up a decent nuclear defense system too. Charms that detect incoming airborne objects and transmogrify then into pigs seem right up her alley.
In general it seems that magic gives far more defensive options than technological weaponry. These days our defensive options are pretty much MORE ATTACK! But magic has invisibility, shields, teleport, (extra) secrecy and flipping time turners!
Right after the Azkaban mission, McGonagall, Snape and Dumbledore hold council together. I remember that after Dumbledore shows terror at the idea of a Harry vs. Voldemort war fought with Muggle weapons (he's thinking of nukes), McGonagall thinks something like "firearms aren't that dangerous for a prepared witch".
Part of the time when I was reading Deathly Hallows, and all of the time I was reading MoR I always expected Harry or at least SOMEONE else to act like Kiritsugu from Fate/Zero. Imagine: Enchanted portkeys with no destination yet programmed in attached to home made bombs, flash-bang grenades as a staple in wizarding duels to disrupt aiming/concentration, to say nothing of the videogameesque ability to actually carry around an entire armory with you or heal yourself much quicker EVEN IF YOU DON'T USE MAGIC.
(For those of you who don't know, Kiritsugu is a mage assassin who takes advantage of the Magic Association's technophobia and uses weapons as a regular part of the kit: Mages aren't going to defend against you if you're a mile off with a sniper rifle and they aren't going to defend against landmines if they don't know they exist!)
Edit: Actually, scratch the Kiritsugu idea I just want Neville to cast a shield charm of some sort at his feet so he can rocket jump from staircase to staircase at some point. Pity Quake 2 is five years in the future.
See "Secrecy and Openness". I directly contradicted Rowling in that chapter for exactly that reason. Roughly, a good wizard or witch who knows what's coming can easily raise a shield against bullets. Bombs are more difficult, although e.g. the Castle Hogwarts would just shrug them off. And there are ancient devices and certain old structures that could stand up to point-blank nuclear weapons, but they're rare.
You're making this too complicated. As evidenced by the levitate-slowly-to-the-ground spell, they've already got magics in-universe that impede the maximum kinetic energy of an object.
Just surround the entire area with a field that inhibits maximum relative velocities to something an arrow could achieve. No more guns, no more bombs, no more nukes. Problem solved.
HP:MoR does imply however that one needs extra-special power to destroy artifacts -- e.g. the FiendFyre which in canon is one of the few things that can destroy a Horcrux, is also mentioned (not by name, but implicitly as a type of cursed fire) in HP:MOR by Quirrel as what would be used to destroy an artifact like the Sorting Hat.
So I don't think Harry just snapping the Elder Wand in two could happen in the 'verse of HP:MoR.
It really shouldn't have been allowed even in the movie. (NB: I haven't seen the movie; I'm only relying on CronoDAS's description.)
The most recent update would suggest that fairly standard shielding charms can stop blunt impact.
"Daphne could hardly see the movement as Susan seemed to hit the corridor wall and then bounce off it like she was a rubber ball and her legs smashed into Jugson's face, it didn't go through the shield but the sixth-year went sprawling backward with the impact"
There appears to be conservation of momentum, but the momentum from typical firearms spread out over your entire body isn't even going to leave a bruise, assuming said charms are up to dealing with something with as much sectional density and velocity as a bullet.
IMO a good model for wizard duels vis a vis muggle innovations and creative thinking is the ritualized warfare practiced in the Americas in pre-Columbian times. Lot's of punches pulled, lots of unstated mutual agreements not to escalate, and a general low-intensity level of aggression that doesn't get too many people killed.
Especially since Quirrell/Voldemort specifically mentions that it is possible to sacrifice "a portion" of one's own magical power -- permanently -- to achieve 'great effects'. I imagine a nefarious individual could conceive of a rite whereby the sacrifice of another wizard's life -- and by extension, his magic -- would cause at least some portion of that magic to be transferred to yourself.
Perhaps older wizards were more powerful because... they had more power? One could easily conceive of Godric Griffindor using this method of execution upon potential Dark Lords in order to combat more-powerful ones.
That seems like an effective method of imprisonment. Force the wizard to expend their power permanently in rituals (or just one powerful ritual). Such a prison would be significantly safer than Azkaban, since any wizards which escape would be effectively useless. They would be permanently helpless; some might consider it an even worse fate than dementors.
On further thought, perhaps that is why the public accepts dementors. Imagine what the prison system could have been before dementors were harnessed for prison work. The state would have an incentive to label people as criminals, so that it could burn their magic. The entire situation would degrade into an ever worsening police state. The discovery of dementors for prison use would be a humanitarian breakthrough akin to the abolishing of Capital Punishment.
I'm impressed. That's WH40K-level crapsackiness.
Also, many parents in the holocaust were forced to either leave there children or die. Many were forced to sacrifce themselves for their significant other or watch them both die. Consent (as wormtail shows) can be based on a wide variety of factors that might not involve you being truly aligned with how you feel about the ritual itself. A muggle might walk into the gas chamber willingly to save his/her spouses life but the harry potter verse never deals with "how much consent is consent".
Why has no one advanced the hypothesis that Harry is a double wizard?
Possible in-universe explanation: I would guess people suspect that barring emergencies double-wizards keep their abilities secret. So Susan can use her double-wizard abilities just that once when she really needs to. A double-wizard would get in trouble for using their abilities all the time just as a wizard would get in trouble if they used magic around Muggles all the time. Also, what Harry does is so weird that it doesn't even fit what they think a double-wizard might do.
Probable actual explanation: Eliezer didn't think of the double-wizard initially.
Considering that Harry is being taught Legilimency behind the scenes, was given an invisibility cloak and time-turner, has lunch every week with Quirrel, researches the science of magic with Hermione, and probably a bunch of other things I can't think of, I think it's safe to say that he IS a double wizard.
The ... riddle, eh? Hmm. What with that, and the "Tell them I ate it" describing an avatar of Death earlier, I can't help thinking that Tom has failed to pay full attention to that Evil Overlord list of his.
(Assuming, at least for the sake of argument and perhaps for other reasons of which I shall not speak here, that both Quirrell and Hat&Cloak are Voldemort.)
This may have been pointed out before, but not where Google and I could find it.
Harry, speculating in Chapter 25:
The Friendly AI Critical Failure Table:... (read more)
There seems to be an inverse correlation between how much Eliezer likes his chapters and how much I like them. (My favorite chapter is 47)I thought 75 was great. No, it wasn't as funny. It was chapter 74's job to be funny, and chapter 75's job to touch on some serious issues, and that doesn't make it worse.
I really liked Hermione and Harry sitting and talking through their issues in an adult manner. Literature could use more of than and less indignant yelling like the fourth-year-girls recommend.
(In general I also like chapters with lots of dialog. I feel like we get the most character-development-per-pound that way.)
I just like how often not communicating is used in fiction as a false way of creating conflict, but Eliezer shows that you can still have a story (with conflict!) when people try and understand each other.
This is something I hadn't realized explicitly until you pointed it out. But yes, lazy authors don't bother to give their characters conflicting goals or personalities or deep beliefs, so they give them conflicting surface beliefs and then come up with bad excuses for them not to communicate.
Certain kinds of stupidity may be common and yet too stupid to be a source of interesting conflict in fiction.
I could have sworn that somewhere I saw a comment expressing surprise or disappointment at Snape being taken down so easily -- but I now can't locate the comment.
In case it was someone from here: It seems clear to me that it was Quirrel who both chose to reveal Snape's location, and of course he'd have also contributed to the volley of spells that quickly took down Snape's shield as well. It seems that Quirrel really didn't want Snape getting the situation back under control - and his presence was what Snape didn't anticipate.
You can't raise and strengthen very much in the way of advanced shielding and be invisible at the same time, and massed fire from forty-four fifth-year through seventh-year wizards is nothing to sneeze at. Snape would have noticed Quirrell taking him out, but it wasn't necessary for Quirrell to do so.
I'm a bit surprised that nobody has started talking about one of the most important things revealed in this chapter. Quirrell knows that Snape is on Dumbledore's side. The fact that they had a double agent working against Voldemort in the original canon was quite possibly the Order of the Pheonix's single biggest advantage, and in this canon I would say that it was one of the two most important pieces of information Quirrell might not have known (the other being that Harry knows about the prophesy.) This solidifies Quirrell's position tremendously; there are few liabilities greater than an uncovered double agent.
So, what are the chances that Harry and Hermione start talking about their encounters with creepy stalkers? Harry could even say something smug and about how crazy it would be if he kept that sort of thing to himself. Or do we have to wait and watch it go bad first?
And somewhere, someone begins thinking paranoidly, 'yes, Harry has made very little practical progress, compared to how much time he has put into scheming against bullies, breaking into Azkaban, and fighting Ender's Game - and isn't it interesting that all 3 seem traceable back to one particular person?'
Ok. Wow. New chapter up.
The ritual references Doctor Seuss (explicitly), Lovecraft, Slayers, Hellraiser, and Warhammer. Edit: And Zelazny. Did I miss anything else?
And the example ritual which Quirrel references is if I'm not mistaken the failed attempt to summon Death in The Sandman. (Is that correct? I don't have a copy on me, but the ingredients certainly sound similar to that. If not, what is this referencing?)
That was an amazing mix of seriousness, darkness, humor (especially the way end), and with a bit of rationality and psychology thrown in also. That chapter was amazing.
Edit: I'm a little worried. We know that a lot of fictional stuff in non-HP fiction turns out to be real in this universe. I hope Harry hasn't accidentally triggered something.
Edit: Also, this does raise a serious question: Since Harry has read Lord of the Rings and Lovecraft and a fair bit of other stuff, how much of what he is making up is made by him from fiction he knows and how much is stuff that he happens to write that sounds good that happens to (at a meta level) reference fiction in our universe? For example, it is extremely unlikely although just potentially possible for Harry to have seen some version of Slayers. But this seems unlikely.
We know that Hogwarts changes itself and has a mind of its own. We also know that Eliezer had pointed out to him in a completely distinct context that doorknobs were not invented until the second half of the 19th century. (In this thread.) In chapter 71, Eliezer explicitly mentions a door in Hogwarts having a knob. Am I overthinking or has he just given us evidence that Hogwarts is smart enough to adopt new technologies to itself?
This may not be the case since the Wizarding world does on a rare occasion adopt Muggle technology (such as the use of armor by medieval wizards). But either way it suggests that either a) wizards adopted a very late technology or b) Hogwarts has a lot of flexibility in how it behaves and can even upgrade itself. So we either have a useful sociological data point or we have a data point about what Hogwarts is capable of doing.
Hogwarts also has modern plumbing, which was presumably not put in by hand considering whoever did it would've found the chamber of secrets in that one place they put a bathroom. I think we can safely assume it will grow new features.
RE: Chapter 75.
Harry is usually rather good avoiding making reckless commitments but he seems to have thrown that caution away. I refer here, of course, to the non-interference treaty he proposed with Hermione. When it comes to things like becoming a ghost-whispering Hermione's rivals that is all well and good. That's Hermione's business. But if there is one scenario we can expect the treaty to cover - informally specified as it is - is that which prompted its very creation.
Led by Snape? I relatively certain that Snape engineered this entire scenario from the get-go to cause the situation to escalate to the point that the school would have to crack down hard on bullying. Snape just arranged it in such a way that he could get what he wanted and still come off looking like the bad guy. Snape is, in fact, fanatically anti-bullying.
My pet theory is that every display of anger Snape ever makes in MOR is part of his act. In fact, the only two genuine displays of emotions we've seen have been his private smile after chewing out Jaime Astorga and his involuntary smile when Harry accused Dumbledore of being a Nazgul. (Snape is the secret Xanatos behind Self Actualization, which is why both Dumbledore and Quirrel keep acting surprised when people assume they're involved.)
Everything actually went according to his plan, except, possibly, being revealed from his Disillusionment as he shadowed the SPHEW members to the ambush. And he DID crack down on all the bullying, he threatened the Slytherins with horrors in private before he publicly punished Hermione.
This is a masterstroke on his part because it removes all incentive the Slytherins and bullies at large might have to seek vengeance against Hermione; she's already being punished severely. The bullies are shamed and fearful, and the one who shamed them is cowed as well. Equilibrium is restored. Hermione pays the price, but it is a fair price, as far as Snape is concerned.
I would've thought that he is increasing the influence of his "alliance" term in his utilitarian calculations.
One more thing to like about Chapter 75: It really is that much work to change a basic belief.
When I commented at fanfiction, I described Hermione as (previously) obeying rules, but it probably is more accurate to describe her as having trusted authority.
She may be trusting Harry too much-- does it really make sense to take total responsibility for the outcomes of your actions, considering that you can't know everything that's going on? Harry can take that stance because he's smarter than just about everyone around him, but what happens if he has a definitive failure-- not just losing, but a failure?
On the other side, are there authorities worth trusting, and if so, how do you recognize them?
Dumbledore says that there are only three wizards in Hogwarts powerful enough to pull off what happened in chapter 74, and names Snape among them, but my impression from the original novels wasn't that Snape was exceptionally powerful among the professors of Hogwarts. He was definitely extremely formidable compared to the average wizard (one thing that I thought added verisimilitude to the books was that it was frequently shown that ordinary adult wizards frequently aren't very competent at magic aside from the few things they use regularly; think how many... (read more)
Let's not forget that Cannon!Snape was writing instructions for sectumsempra in the margins of his potions textbook when he was a child - a textbook he incidentally rewrote while he was taking the class. Since then he has been rubbing shoulders with Voldemort and Dumbledore. That said he is more powerful than McGonagall then something has changed rather drastically. That girl is badass.
I have to agree that 'only three' is surprising. Dumbledore himself and Quirrel leave only one extra spot...
Right. In canon, Snape didn't want to win that fight. Also in canon, Snape is the only wizard besides Voldemort who can fly without a broomstick, although the movie subverts this. One also notes that a half-blood was accepted into the Death Eaters and presumably not for his wealth or family connections. More to the point, in MoR there's a sharper distinction between powerful wizards and non-powerful ones; powerful wizards have taken an interest in ancient riddles, they have delved into secrets, they have found sources of lore that cannot be learned from books. Professor McGonagall knows a hell of a lot about Transfiguration, but she hasn't gone down that road.
Even so, the gap between a "powerful wizard" like Snape and, say, Dumbledore, is rather large. Dumbledore strolls through Amelia Bones's wards like they were water, and Bones, in this fic, is an ancient and experienced witch. Forty-four simultaneous strikes from upper-year Hogwarts students will definitely bring down Madam Bones, maybe even if she does have time to reinforce and strengthen her shields. Dumbledore would wave the Elder Wand, once.
I'd like to warn of a slight ambiguity in the stated commitment Eliezer made in this latest chapter. I'm especially worried that since money are involved, some people may feel cheated if the pledge isn't clarified ASAP and it ends up being the weaker form of the pledge.
"I will release completed chapters every X days" -- does it mean that the chapters that are currently completed, will be released one every X days? How many chapters are those? Or does it mean Eliezer pledges to complete and release a chapter on such a schedule for the remaining du... (read more)
I donated, because it was a good reminder that I should be donating anyway, but the reward kind of leaves me cold. If Eliezer writes new chapters after 78 at a constant rate while publishing existing chapters, then if he publishes all his existing chapters really quickly he won't get many new chapters done in the interim and we'll have to wait a longer time after 78 for 79. If he publishes existing chapters slowly, he'll have 79 done by the time he gets to 78, and can publish those at a steady rate while working on 80+.
So instead of donating to get more total HPatMOR, donations change the pacing away from "slow and steady" and toward "quick burst of chapters now, then a longer interval", with the end date of the fic not changing at all. Personally, I would prefer the steadier pacing.
The obvious solution is for Eliezer to set up a second fund, donations to which slow down the release of chapters.
As his author notes in the profile page mentioned, there's at least some people who argue that Eliezer went too far by even the mere offer of an altered schedule in exchange for donations -- right now I think their argument is extremely weak, however Eliezer would probably be treading actually murky waters if he had people give him money for the fanfiction itself (instead of the minor convenience of a quicker schedule).
Oh, right. Laws. They totally slipped my mind. Yeah, he should have gone with just accepting donations.
For human-psychological reasons I expect that "the drive to complete more chapters" will become appreciable pretty much the moment 78 is published (and not much before).
Even if I am wrong, I don't think "writes at a constant rate" is a safe assumption to make about Eliezer's fiction writing. (This is, of course, tongue in cheek.)
I thought the part about "hopefully Ch. 78 will be finished by the time the Interlude is posted" ought to clearly imply that the schedule only applies until I run out of completed chapters.
I just recommend that you edit the text of the promise to make it crystal clear. It's best not to leave any ambiguity in such matters.
In recent chapters I've been agreeing more with Dumbledore overall than with Harry. Not on everything (Dumbledore probably should do more to prevent bullying), but Harry's general attitude seems pretty foolish. It might work out ok for him - he's got the author on his side and lives in a world with extraordinary quantities of low-hanging fruit. But I'm not sure if he's a good role model for those of us stuck in the real world.
I say the opposite. The spiraling negative consequences for standing up to petty bullying are utterly absurd in scope and even in direction. And either Dumbledore is totally miscalibrated regarding the importance of house points or the world is even more artificially hostile. A civil war because an 11 year old girl didn't lose fifty house points as well as the detention she got as punishment for being attacked by 44 students? When, mind you, Lucious's son had been backing Hermione himself? That's just absolutely absurd.
I don't necessarily agree with Harry's eagerness to start targetting powerful non-Hogwarts adults with schemes but the "ask teacher to stop girls being severely beaten" was a no-brainer.
Smartest thing said in the entire chapter:
Ah, so that's why her arm was aching. I could have got that, if only I were better at noticing my own confusion. Tsuyoku naritai!
Ugh, several points of bad logic.
There's nothing about Harry Potter-style time travel that causes sickness or bouts of weakness, even short ones. This is evidence against Quirrel's central mystery being long-distance time-travel.
It would NOT explain it! There's nothing in Harry Potter-style time travel (either canon or MOR!verse) about not touching or interacting with past versions of yourself. This is again evidence against Quirrel's mystery being long-distance time-travel, not in favor of it.
You're making false assumption based on other movies and series that have nothing to do with the rules of time-travel as established in Harry Potter!
That's the only thing it would explain. But all your other points actually point against time-travel.
Eliezer has said that Tom Riddle (aka Voldemort aka Professor Quirrel) taught himself occlumency in his third year by getting a time turner and leglimizing himself.
This is Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. If we're not supposed to use our logic here, then the whole thing is pointless.
Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. You have a number of time-travel interactions in both canon and MOR!verse where you could attempt to find any such hint of a prohibition, sense of "Doom", bouts of sickness is relation to time-travel, etc, etc.
If you can't find such evidence of a prohibition, or the other phenomena you describe, then that is evidence against there being such a prohibition or such phenomena.
Chapter 75 was sad but did have its funny parts.
I really liked:
I do think that there is a serious problem with the scale of the problems that Harry is dealing with as opposed to those Hermione is dealing with it. It almost comes across as token feminism. The actual books have been criticized for that same thing but at least there Hermione got to actually deal with the same life-threat... (read more)
I've been pondering this. I was really glad when Hermione started getting to take the spotlight, and a lot of my appreciation was from a straight-forwardly-feminist perspective. I posted a mini review talking about how Hermione had been lacking as a character, the hints Eliezer had dropped about her future development, and my appreciation for the way he eventually handled it. Apparently this comment played a role in Eliezer coming up with the SPHEW acryonym. I'm not sure if it ended up otherwise shaping the arc. He also noted that the initial setup (where Dumbledore basically tells Hermione she can't be a hero because she just can't) was intended to be a critique, but not about feminist issues.
A few months later, I think this section is an interesting case study in meta-token-feminism. I think that Eliezer in general agrees with most goals of the movement, but is probably actually opposed to token feminism. (This is based off of a few vague statements he made, I'm only 65% confident). I also think that SPHEW was originally intended to sort of lampshade the issue, addressing some real issues but in a tongue-in-cheek way. (The issues - mostly about the power imbalance that he created... (read more)
I mostly agree with this. But with an extremely lengthy qualifier:
My take, as a storyteller, is that your collective work should meet your moral standards. (I mean, they're YOUR standards, your work should be meeting them, whatever they are). That doesn't mean jamming morals down people's throat, it doesn't mean making sure each work conveys every single positive thing you believe in. But I think it does mean that you should consider what impact your story might have on the people who read it, and given the chance, you should try to make that impact positive.
Some of my favorite stories are ones... (read more)
What do people think about the interaction with Dumbledore? I got the sense that this was a chapter where we (the reader) are supposed to consider that Dumbledore may very well be wiser than Harry because he's got a century+ experience on fighting evil, but that because the chapter is from Harry's POV it doesn't read that way.
Sometimes quantity has a quality all its own.
I didn't mean to imply that it wasn't a bad thing. My point is that the standard discussion seems to be about detecting bullies, as if they were a type different than other people. Even when the similarity of bullying to regular behavior is acknowledged, I have heard appeals to magical categories along the lines of "how can we distinguish regular behavior from bullying", as if they were different in kind.
The flawed question of asking how to detect bullies prevents people from having to admit that their own normal children may contribute to social problems, as does pretending that normal social grouping is perfectly fine, zero percent bad, and unrelated to bullying.
It's also an anti-consequentialist focus on behavior rather than its effects.
I think the current debate around bullying is designed to make participants feel self-righteous and as if they were doing something, but not asking the right questions and not able to trade the benefits and lack of costs to the participants for benefits for children.
Definitions from wikipedia and http://www.stopbullying.gov, with emphasis added:
and... (read more)
Agreed. Harry's present approach seems to be turning bullies into a self-aware interest group.
Hermione's present approach (and perhaps, more importantly, Snape's involvement) seems to be turning bullies into a self-aware interest group. It remains to be seen whether Harry's help made things worse or better.
Does it say anywhere in HP:MoR that Tonks is a metamorphmagus? I can't remember if it does and there were some reviewers (presumably who didn't read the original series) confused by her ability to imitate Susan without polyjuice poison.
I've just decided to eliminate the "fourth-year" qualifier. I'd previously meant Ranma to be separate from Tonks, but on reflection it's kind of funnier if she is Ranma. More importantly, I want Metamorphmagi to be rarer and more unexpected than if two different ones are attending Hogwarts at the same time.
I always wondered when/if Harry would figure out that the way magic works is evidence for the simulation argument. I just started rereading the old chapters, and found this in chapter 14:
I think his assumption that this rules out the simulati... (read more)
Two ideas that came to me overnight:
Fred and George convinced Rita Skeeter by... not convincing RIta Skeeter. Someone polyjuiced as her went to the Daily Prophet offices announcing their amazing new story.
Eventually someone will be an animagus who turns into a human. Probably not Harry, as it would seem repetitive for him to have both a human patronus and a human animagus form.
That seems like it would just be a much weaker form of Metamorphmagus; and as such, largely uninteresting.
Hah, the little details you catch on a re-read:
... you know, it's kind of impressive that you meant to make a nerdy reference through something which could have been so utterly everyday and mundane that it would still have been funny precisely because of how everyday and Muggle it is.
On at least three occasions in this fic that I can think of offhand, people have confidently identified references which seemed very clear and obvious and fitting after I looked them up, despite the fact that I hadn't the slightest idea of what I was "referring" to at the time. It is enough to expand my concept of coincidence.
New discussion thread.
Quirrel is starting to get antsy... things are going to become very interesting once his term as Battle Magic professor is over. The Tracy girl... I don't like her. This is not to say I don't like the writing associated with her (great for comic relief, I'll EAT YOUR SOUL), it may have to do more with her being a vapid girl character in "competition" (within her own mind, anyway) with a smart, eminently likable Hermione Granger... I believe I may be in serious danger of becoming one of those shipper people.
I just read all the chapters from 1 before Azkaban until the end. Have to say I loved them. Either that which had pissed me off about the chapters immediately preceding that one was not present or I have lower standards now. From what I recall the irritating bits were Harry being inexcusably stupid in ways that are later fully endorsed by Eliezer. But everything Harry has done since then has been either a good decision or revealed to be a bad decision. Like going to @#%@# Azkaban. I particularly like this scene:... (read more)
The play referenced in Chapter 75 refers to the webcomic Ow, My Sanity!.
The relevant paragraph of Chapter 75, for convenience of comparison and search:... (read more)
When I read that passage I would have bet a non-negligible amount of money that the work referenced was an anime or manga. Good thing I didn't.
edit: bloody hell is that webcomic terrible
So does Dumbledore know that Snape is putting the Sorcerer's Stone back into Gringotts?
Okay, chapter 76.
"But do you know how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?" is Hermione's best line so far. That part of the story felt slightly unrealistic, as a result of how ballsy Hermione was being. She's an eleven year old girl, confronted by some unknown person. I am surprised she is that confident.
As always, I love how the theme of "surface appearances" is placed throughout in so many ways, in every one of the scenes.
It's never Lupus.
Is it just me, or is Hermione getting Flanderized into irrelevance ? Her initial role was to act as Harry's partner and foil, but lately it seems that she'd become just another typical Gryffindor-style heroine... Utterly predictable and ultimately ineffectual.
Edit: fixed markup
By the way, I want to pay Eliezer the high compliment of stating that the mysteries of Chapters 71 through 76 are perfectly obvious in retrospect.
Did Chapter 77 change title from "Interlude with the Professor" to "Interlude with the Confessor" or was it always the latter and I just misread it terribly the first time?
Just finished 76. This might be crazy, but...
I predict that Harry just went Dark. He discovered that wizards can be imprisoned without torturing them to death via Dementors, and yet people still tolerate Azkaban. The majority of the adult wizarding world has now given up their right to moral consideration in his eyes, a simple extension of the Death Eater: "His life is already bought and paid for, then, and I can do anything I want to him without ethical problems."
Unless something drastic changes his course, he will impose his will upon the wizar... (read more)
Well, whats the point in super-secret self-recognition codes (Recognition code 927, I am a potato) when you then do not listen to your time-traveling self? Especially a rationalist of Harrys Level would have to be holding an entire idiot globe to ignore such advice.
The authors notes for 76 imply that the ending was changed, could someone enlighten me to what it was originally?
Anyone care to speculate about the figure at the end?
It was this:
There were a couple other minor edits throughout the chapter -- basically red herrings that Eliezer removed. Draco had jokingly speculated whether Hermione was the Heir of Ravenclaw. Cloak-and-Hat had urged Hermione to flee -- to Beauxbatons, or Salem's Institute, or Durmstrang, or even "the Secret City of Australia", anywhere but Hogwarts.
Nothing much to speculate I think: The figure at the end was Cloak-And-Hat taking a nicer form after obliviating Hermione, because she incautiously revealed to him the chief reason she hadn't been trusting him in all the previous iterations of their encounter.
I think if there's confusion in the readership about this, it's because not everyone realized that Hat-and-Cloak had this discussion more than once with Hermione, each time changing it somewhat in order to convince her until he frustratedly snapped at Hermione about her not trusting him no matter how many ways he tried to convince her...
Now I am imagining a secret language spoken only by postal workers. :)
I'm referring to this latest chapter.
It's not stated outright, but evidence to that effect are
The figure both times says "Hello, again"
both encounters (with Cloak-and-Hat and Shining-Lady) start with "her body jerked around so fast it was like she had Apparated, she found that without any thought or any conscious decision her wand had leaped into her hand and was already pointed at..." (basically she has forgotten turning and forgotten lifting the wand and pointing it)
"Hermione's heart was already pounding hugely inside her chest, her witch's robes felt already sweat-dampened against her skin, there was a taste of fear already in her mouth"
"she felt like she needed to grab her right arm just to keep it up, her head ached like she'd been staring at the black mist for days; she didn't know why she'd gotten tired so quickly."
At the beginning of the encounter: "she didn't know why she was so suddenly filled up with adrenaline but her hand gripped harder on her wand. " At the end of the encounter "recognition sent a jolt of terrified adrenaline bursting through her"
My memory of anything before around chapter 50 is starting to get pretty fuzzy. Assuming I'm not alone, I'd like to request that Eliezer post some kind of catch-up summary or outline of important events before the beginning of the next story arc.
Previously, on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality...
My testing recommends a slow reread, there's a lot I missed the first time around that I found later.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding this part of the conversation (possibly because Miss Felthorne's private thoughts have contaminated my idea of what Snape's model of her is likely to be), but it seems to me that Snape ought to have said here ‘Not me!’. Because (as he claims next) he is really talking about a boy, a student in the same class, rather than himself.
But the reason that he slips up is that ... (read more)
There are 3 possible interpretations of the boy-Felthorne conversation. One is taking it at face value, one is thinking of it with Felthorne as the boy and Snape as the girl, and one is having Snape in the role of the boy and Lily in the role of the girl. Snape was using the face value conversation as a front for talking about the third one, but Felthorne misrepresented it as the second one, and once Snape realized that (presumably by using legilimency, since he catches Felthorne's gaze) he made it clear that it wasn't the case (though he did hint that he was really talking about himself by mentioning that the "boy" in question was in her potions class).
The boy in the face value conversation probably doesn't exist, since there would be no point bringing him to Felthorne's attention minutes before she is going to be obliviated (and it would be too much of a coincidence to have three real life situations correspond to each other instead of just two).
Real scientists hypothesize the genetic nature of magic inheritance;
I hope there is far more Harry doing chuu2 (third definition) things in the story. At the very least I find it completely awesome when developed characters that I like start doing utterly chuu2 things like making up chants, pretending they are in contact with mysterious entities, laughing insanely for no reason or trying to topple the status quo with mad scientist powers
...I mean come ON they even share the same tendency to evilly laugh. Although, yes one is an obvious parody of chuu2 actions and one is just pretending to be one for laughs. I wonder if Ha... (read more)
Nitpicking on chapter 74: (1) No one in the UK would be likely to use the word "gotten". (2) Surely Tracey should say "mundata sum" rather than "mundatus" since she's female? (Yeah, it's a quotation. But the person being quoted was male, no?)
I have some questions on Snape: In an earlier chapter during a conversation with Harry Snape says, "and what your mother saw in him was something I never did understand until this day." Does anybody know what this is? I find it implausible that Snape had not considered that Lily was more likely to forgive James for being rich and handsome.
In the new chapter he mentions his two mentors. I am thinking the first mentor was Voldemort, who would not have mentioned missed perspectives as he was not out to make his death eaters better at the... (read more)