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This post is for sacrificing my credibility!

No, but that's a fallacious comparison. The header does in fact read "a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality," and I'm here because I want to read that kind of site.

Also, I've read some of Will's "computational theology" blog. His posts there seem to consist of actual reasoning and logic and such, whereas over here his posts on the same general topic tend toward "I've got a big secret I'm not going to tell you, so there, nyaah." (My apologies if this is an unfair representation, but that's the impression I've formed.)

This post is for sacrificing my credibility!

This is mainly what I want to know. From the comments on this post, it looks like W_N claims to have (read: geniunely has, geniunely thinks he has, or trolls as though he has) come across something he can't tell people about - a basilisk, some conspiracy-theory-type information, something. Being a relative newcomer unwilling to go through large numbers of his previous posts, I'd like to know if anyone who's seen him longer has any more information.

Also, this whole thing is absolutely hilarious to read.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 16, chapter 85

I could benefit from using the hiatus time to reread MOR and make notes of anything that seems significant in light of 85 chapters' worth of perspective. This would be even more productive if some number of us read and analyzed together, I believe. Anyone care to join in such an endeavour?

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84

Just noticed this lovely little tidbit at the very end of Chapter 84:

"[Hermione] thought she heard, as she was within the doorway, a distant cawing cry. But it wasn't meant for her, she knew[.]"

What on Earth is that supposed to mean? Who or what is cawing in Hogwarts or on the grounds, and how does she know something about it that we don't? Or am I missing some terribly obvious connection here?

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84

That passage, of course, ties into what the Defense Professor says in the latest chapter: "You cannot use the Killing Curse, so the correct tactic is to Apparate away." If I had to work from the premise that the revision is actually related to that, I'd assume it's emphasising the Defense Professor being, in fact, a Dark wizard.

But I agree that from a point of view outside Eliezer's head, it appears to have at best neutral impact, and at worst negative impact on the effect of the passage.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84

My interpretation was that we're meant to connect the two incidents and conclude that Harry's (seemingly numerous) forgotten memories are something to do with Voldemort, whether specifically memories of that night or something wider.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84

How many instances can y'all remember where Eliezer has repeated himself in an oddly specific way?

  • Chapter 17, when Harry picks up Neville's Remembrall: "The Remembrall was glowing bright red in his hand, blazing like a miniature sun that cast shadows on the ground in broad daylight."

  • Chapter 43, when Harry has a Dementor-induced flashback of the night... something happened in Godric's Hollow: "And the boy in the crib saw it, the eyes, those two crimson eyes, seeming to glow bright red, to blaze like miniature suns, filling Harry's whole vision as they locked to his own -"

That really sets off my deliberate-hint senses - so much is repeated that it's got to be intentional. (My apologies if this was already discussed to death in the considerable time since #43 was posted.)

Likewise the basilisk, which I know was discussed at some point:

  • Chapter 35, H&C speaking: "Salazar Slytherin would have keyed his monster into the ancient wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself."

  • Chapter 49, the Defense Professor speaking: "or by some entity which Salazar Slytherin keyed into his wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself."

I'm sure I could find more if I put my mind to it, but that's all I've got for now.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84

Related to the discussion about the Defense Professor's talk with Hermione, but more generalized:

We've had Word of God (can't find the specific comment quickly) to the effect that parts of the text that are "too obvious" to readers are in fact meant to be that obvious, not meant as red herrings. Have we had any pronouncement about the truthfulness of things that the characters find "too obvious"? (As, for example, Hermione's realisation that Quirrell was apparently trying to get her to leave.)

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84

Excellent point about Harry. The Defense Professor virtually certainly knows Harry's opinions on the subject, whether by his mental model of Harry or by observing him telling anyone who'll listen that Hogwarts is dangerous.

On the other hand, I believe we've seen Harry failing to convince Hermione of something she was morally set on, much like this. (Anybody remember the specific incident, or am I imagining things?) Once Hermione had refused Harry's entreaties for her to leave, it would have been much harder for the Defense Professor to change her opinion.

And finally, there's this:

She couldn't have described it in words, what triggered the realization, unless it was the sheer pressure that the Defense Professor was exerting on her.

Which supports your argument that he's being a little too over-the-top. The Defense Professor is above all, subtle - this kind of all-out effort is not like him. Maybe there's some time constraint, though, and he doesn't have time for "subtle?" Aargh.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84

How likely is it that the outcome of the Defense Professor's talk with Hermione was genuinely not what he wanted? Surely he has to have realized by now that Hermione is the sort of person who'd act like that, however incomprehensible it may be to him. I am reminded of the passage in the LotR omake that reads:

"If the Enemy thought that all his foes were moved by desire for power alone - he would guess wrongly, over and over, and the Maker of this Ring would see that, he would know that somewhere he had made a mistake!"

Maybe he truly doesn't understand her psychology, especially if he doesn't have H&C's, erm, experimentation to draw on. (I rather think he is H&C, but that's another issue entirely.) But working from the supposition that he wanted Hermione to react as she did, what does he gain from that?

  • She's within easy striking distance if he wants to use her in some future action.

  • She's acquired extra suspicion of the Defense Professor, which she will communicate to Harry, and which the Defense Professor may duly disprove to Harry, strengthening the latter's trust.

  • She may, if she stays near Harry, do something unpredictably Good (c.f. SPHEW) of her own free will (inasmuch as that exists anymore) that would be useful for enacting various lessons.

  • Something else that I haven't thought of yet.

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