All of Velorien's Comments + Replies

I don't think that's realistic. Harry's acknowledged that he needs to mature into a worthwhile adult in order to be able to save the world, and he's not going to gain the experiences he needs to do that (or indeed maintain a reasonable standard of mental health) by becoming a full-on hikikomori.

As dxu notes, Hermione is likely to use it more than he is. And if Harry does go out, he'll do it with Hermione, and can borrow her Cloak. It's not "Harry will never use the Cloak again", it's "it's Hermione's now because she'll get the most use out of it."
It's also worth noting that now that Lord Voldemort is gone, with Mad-Eye Moody, Amelia Bones, and the Hogwarts professors at his side, there is very little that can threaten Harry unless he goes actively looking for it (which, naturally, he will not). The Invisibility Cloak is useful, but it's not the be-all-end-all of protection, and letting it sit in his possession when Hermione could use it to do heroic things is a rather large opportunity cost.

There are better ways to keep yourself safe than invisibility,

Not many, especially for someone too young to have the raw magic for most powerful spells. When it comes to protection, having no one know you're there is the next best thing to not being there.

Additionally, Harry's first instinct when he realised how much personal danger he was in was to wear the Cloak 24/7. It seems odd that this instinct is 100% absent now that his survival also represents the survival of the entire world.

Belated note: Hermione had many protections against dying in Azkaban, but people were saying the Dementors might be a way to neutralize someone who has Horcruxes. The Cloak could give her an added layer of protection. Assuming Hermione figures out the True Patronus at all, it would be very odd if she didn't think of this.
On the contrary. The best way to keep yourself safe, now that Hogwarts no longer has literally Lord Voldemort in it, is to sit in the tallest tower of Hogwarts and never leave. Anyone that manages to get past the wards is not going to be stopped by the Cloak, Hallow or not.

"I am now too valuable to the world to ever risk my life adventuring again. Here, Girl With Three Different Immortality Powers, take my invisibility cloak - you need it more than I do."

Am I the only one who finds this act odd?

Nah. There are better ways to keep yourself safe than invisibility, whereas Hermione will be running around adventuring. Sure, it's very hard to kill her, but if she needs to, say, rescue a hostage or something, that won't necessarily be relevant.

It was Hermione who knew more than than Draco and Harry how to properly make use of her army.

In fairness, it was Quirrell who gave her the idea. She was flailing until he spoke to her and then assigned a deliberately chosen group of people to be her army.

Draco was confused.

Therefore, something he believed was fiction.

Granger should not have been able to do all that.

Therefore, she probably hadn’t.

I promise not to help General Granger in any way that the two of you don’t know about.

With sudden horrified realization, Draco swept papers out of the way, hu

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Most people simply didn't have the power to combat Voldemort. Doing what you can isn't getting yourself killed trying to do what you can't.

There are plenty of things they could have done to support the war effort without fighting directly. Economic support, for example, which it seems from Dumbledore's Pensieve memory was limited to a few wealthy families.

And I think Hermione would say that they should have supported the war with the money they could give. It was wrong for them not to do so, but not as wrong as QuirrellHero refusing to what he could do, since he could do so much more. I'm not entirely confident on my projection of Hermione's argument, but I still think her response is "an answer to Quirrell's question" regardless of how I interpret it, which was the original point.

Let's not forget this:

But I knew the Muggles would eventually destroy the world or make war on wizardkind or both, and something had to be done if I was not to wander a dead or dull world through my eternity. Having attained immortality I needed a new ambition to occupy my decades, and to prevent the Muggles from ruining everything seemed a goal of acceptable scope and difficulty.

I think a good way of describing Voldemort's ambition or lack thereof is that he has no preferences about worlds that do not contain him, whereas Harry Potter does.

Thank you so much for Methods of Rationality! That was a great ending to a great story.

Indeed, thank you for all the good times spent reading it, and then reading it again, and also for the thoughts and will to learn more that came with these readings.

If you can come up with a plausible reason why Dumbledore would pretend to be Deathist, I would love to hear it.

" shall it be," Harry repeated, and he knew in that moment that the content of the Vow was no longer something he could decide whether or not to do, it was simply the way in which his body and mind would move. It was not a vow he could break even by sacrificing his life in the process. Like water flowing downhill or a calculator summing numbers, it was just a thing-Harry-Potter-would-do.

I think gattsuru is referring to global immortality, as Dumbledore is a Deathist.

I'm not sure what you're arguing against. In the event that she decides to destroy the Dementors, which Harry anticipates to happen quite soon, she knows that the information she needs to be able to do so is already in her possession.

In that extremity, I went into the Department of Mysteries and I invoked a password which had never been spoken in the history of the Line of Merlin Unbroken, did a thing forbidden and yet not utterly forbidden.

It's possible that the Line reference is misleading, but if so it is an odd piece of phrasing.

Hence the example I suggest - whatever price the Unbreakable Vow exacts, there will be things that are worth it, like not going to Azkaban.

Except people are cruel and many of them would rather see criminals in Azkaban than living a relatively normal life. Although to be honest, making criminals chose between Azkaban and the last part of A Clockwork Orangeis pretty awful already in my opinion.

You mean like the fact that criminals can make Unbreakable Vows not to commit crimes, as an alternative to permanent trauma and probable death in Azkaban? (other criminals can power them for a reduction in sentence time or as part of the same type of bargain - permanent loss of some magical power is still better than Azkaban)

Sure, but that's only just scratching the surface. Why can anyone commit crimes? Why can wizards lie, or fight except in self defense? The Trust Machine is the pearl of great price, and even wizards would build it.

My opinion is that Harry's taught enough rationality at Hogwarts that the lie will fall apart.

Not judging by everyone's reactions when Hermione was accused of murder. A select few individuals might manage to question it at best.

Now that I think about it, shouldn't some Hogwarts students and/or teachers have figured out that they should be studying Muggle science? It's possible that this was mentioned, and I've forgotten it, or that (since EY probably won't write sequels, the subject will need to be left to fanfiction of HPMOR.

It hasn't been, except ... (read more)

I didn't give a time frame for when Harry's lie will fall apart. :-) I can hope that the students having learned some rationality will cause them to keep getting better at it.

In Chapter 46, he gives her a sealed note containing the explanation.

But if you ever need to fight Dementors, the secret is written here, cryptically, so that if someone doesn’t know it’s about Dementors and the Patronus Charm, they won’t know what it means...

Right, but she didn't have a reason to look at the note before she died, doesn't have the note on her person in the hospital, and even if she did she doesn't have a reason to look at the note now.

"Phoenix's Price is the password that opens the stairwell to the room with broken wands, pictures and Pensieve vials. Phoenix's Fate is the password that opens the final door into that room. Both times Dumbledore takes Harry to the room, he speaks the first password, then the second.

I didn't say Harry will turn everyone into ponies

He's already partially responsible for turning Hermione into a unicorn, and Hermione is a prototype for how he wants all human beings to be (immortal and invulnerable). As long as he replaces or drops the Horcrux portion of the ritual, this seems like a realistic final ambition for him as far as means of defeating Death are concerned.

As a point of interest, wasn't it Merlin's original intent that, at minimum, everyone mentioned in a prophecy should have access to it? It was only centuries later that the Unspeakables sealed the prophecy records away, so why does the Line of Merlin Unbroken have a function for bypassing that seal, how does anyone know this, and why is using it forbidden?

The Line may not - in ch 86 Dumbledore hints he got in via phoenix travel:

"Crap," muttered Moody. His mad-eye was rolling wildly. "That's not good, not good at all."


"Crap," Moody said. Then Alastor Moody repeated, "Crap. Kid, should you even be saying this to us?"

"I don't know," Harry said. "If there's a user manual, I haven't looked at it yet."


I don't think Moody is trying to keep a poker face here.

You're right, I just re-read it, and there is other passages where they react a lot more. I guess the silence is a way to show their astonishment and perhaps remains of disbelief.

By that point, the story will have propagated far enough that people probably won't believe her even if she denies it, and it'll just make her look crazy.

Plus trying to reveal that Harry was lying will damage his reputation and sabotage his efforts to cure death etc. just as they're gearing up.

I was thinking about how she'd take it rather than how those who haven't been disabused by Harry will take it. My opinion is that Harry's taught enough rationality at Hogwarts that the lie will fall apart. Now that I think about it, shouldn't some Hogwarts students and/or teachers have figured out that they should be studying Muggle science? It's possible that this was mentioned, and I've forgotten it, or that (since EY probably won't write sequels, the subject will need to be left to fanfiction of HPMOR.

For one, it would mean he could never talk about his work "as himself", e.g. on Facebook or Reddit, unless he wanted to set up and constantly use dummy accounts, which is both time-consuming and sometimes in violation of site T&Cs.

But then, Dumbledore seemed to think, after listening to all the prophecies, that the end of the world was inevitable, and that the optimal goal was not about preventing it.

It's also the only explanation we have for Voldemort's assertion in 108 (I think) that he has further use for "her, or rather a certain part of her".

A part surely overwhelmed by the legacy he left behind as Voldemort, which includes lots of orphans and lots of people whose own positive legacies he cut short by killing them.

If you're going to count legacy as part of one's self, then anyone who kills people for any reason is going to end up in the karmic negative very very quickly, because they are taking away other people's legacies, and their potential children's, and their potential children's, etc.

The absence of those future people in the world means more resources for other future people. If the population is at equilibrium, the effect on getting rid of the legacies of the people you killed is exactly balanced out by the increase in the legacies of other people who now have the resources to exist and are using them instead. (If the population is growing, or if the population is in a steady state that is not an equilibrium because when it is pushed to one side it stays that way, then killing someone can take away legacies as you suggest. But you can't then conclude that this is bad unless you also want to accept that it is good to add people, which leads you to the repugnant conclusion.)

Voldemort knows that Harry understands game theory, and has no incentive to drop his wand if he ends up dead and cannot save everyone anyway. If he orders Harry to drop his wand, Harry might refuse, and then he has to kill him before being able to extract information out of him.

There are two possible answers to this argument.

  • 1) If Harry is refusing to give up his wand, this suggests that Harry thinks that with the wand he has a non-0% chance of escape. In that event, getting the wand off him takes priority over questioning.
  • 2) Expelliarmus. One of Vol
... (read more)

The problem is that there doesn't seem to be a plausible excuse for the wand thing except "Voldemort was careless", and carelessness under such conditions simply hasn't been part of his character at any point until now.

Word of God says that the plot of HPMOR was set in stone since the beginning. If there was some better reason for Harry to face the Final Exam with a wand in his hand, Eliezer would have known about it from the start, and could have seeded all the necessary foreshadowing for it way in advance.

Last time we heard, Voldemort had sent her to "a safe place to recover her strength". We do not know whether this is before or after he removed her arm, or whether she survived the process. Presumably, without her arm she no longer bore a Dark Mark, and hence wasn't summoned to the graveyard.

Assuming it's her arm, which is plausible given that Harry noticed its thinness but isn't confirmed. In any case, I was mainly just raising the question.

I guess I misread your tone. The way you put "sometimes that involves people dying" immediately after "you rejoice" made it seem like the former was an afterthought.

Maybe you were psychic about my tone. Retribution. Vengeance. Justice. Comeuppance. I value that somewhat. Bad guys should get what they've got coming. I understand that not everyone approves of such sentiments, and probably a lot of people here. I look at it as a predictable adaptation in line with rule consequentialism. But I also understand that some value it much more viscerally than I do. I recall Peter Hitchens opening a window into his mind one day. Basically, he didn't want to live in a universe without Justice built in, which from him I take as bad people not getting get their comeuppance. He wants God to settle the scores. He seems very committed to bad guys getting their just deserts. [] Starts around 13:30. Around 14:30 is another chunk.

You're right, "sociopathic" was perhaps a poor choice of words. "Cheerfully unempathic" would have been a better way of saying what I was thinking.

I think it's the tone and the context that does it for me. It seems less "worthwhile tradeoffs where part of the cost is someone's death exist" and more "I don't care if people die as long as I get enough out of it".

Well, making psychiatric diagnoses on the basis of short internet comments is a popular and time-honored activity :-)

I'm not convinced. I agree that worthwhile tradeoffs where part of the cost is someone's death exist, but the way that's framed in the comment suggests that people dying is irrelevant to whether one rejoices over a worthwhile tradeoff or not. This contrasts heavily with, say, Harry's view, which is that a necessary death is still a tragedy.

I don't see how you got that from what I said. I said "trade off" - that implies relevance.
In the sense that the cost of people dying is already folded into the evaluation of the tradeoff and it still is worthwhile -- yes. I understand your position, what I don't agree with is that any other view is necessarily "more than a little sociopathic".

But that isn't relevant. It doesn't matter what Voldemort's assessment of Harry's abilities is. He knows three things:

  • 1) Harry has unknown powerful secrets
  • 2) Prophecy says Harry has power Voldemort knows not
  • 3) Any failure on Voldemort's part to stop Harry could be all it takes to end the world

When you know for a fact that you are missing information, and you know for a fact that you can't afford the consequences of failure, you take every step you can think of to ensure success. Voldemort has already shown that he knows this with his plan of how to k... (read more)

Re-reading the story, I see a lot of evidence that Dumbledore didn't know that Quirrell was Voldemort. For example, Chapter 62:

You are no longer taking lunches in Diagon Alley, even with Professor Quirrell to watch you. Your blood is the second requisite Voldemort needs to rise as strong as before.

He refers to the same issue when talking to Bones. It would make no sense for him to do so if he believed that Voldemort had constant access to Harry and countless opportunities to "accidentally" obtain his blood (as indeed happened with the newspaper).

You can't have it both ways. Either Harry is dangerous enough to justify the full suite of precautions, or he's an idiot, in which case what you need isn't "the full suite of precautions minus disarming".

To follow up on this, the sad ending wouldn't be the sad ending because Harry had to sacrifice himself to win. It would be the sad ending because Harry failed, as a result of not being able to think of a clever enough way to stop Voldemort (reflecting our own failure to do so in the exam).

That's fair for Muggle schools. But Hogwarts went through a huge wave of orphanings a mere ten years ago during the Wizarding War, at which time McGonagall was already a Hogwarts teacher (likely in the same position). She should have as much experience dealing with such things as any educator can.

Sure you can. Life is full of trade offs. When the tradeoff is sufficiently in your favor, you rejoice. Sometimes that involves people dying.

That's... more than a little sociopathic. You seem to be saying that the only value of people's lives to you is instrumental: if you benefit from someone's death overall, then their death is a good thing.

Yes. That's pretty much the definition of consequentialism. Values can be compared and weighed, and when the weight is greater compared to the alternatives, "then X is a good thing".
I think you're misreading the comment -- it only says that a human life does not have infinite value and that worthwhile tradeoffs where part of the cost is someone's death exist.

I fail to see how your proposal constitutes justice. Neville gets bullied by Slytherins. Lesath gets bullied by Gryffindors. These two facts do not cancel each other out; they just make the world a worse place twice over.

To say that justice matters intrinsically is to say that sometimes, for justice's sake, we should do things that would make people worse off than if justice were not an issue. Or more accurately, there will at least sometimes be policies trading some welfare (or for any other component of utility) for some justice, that are equally as good as policies which do not (according to the enlarged set of concerns containing justice).

In story, there was only a few minute or so between the making of the unbreakable vow (which did require Harry to have his wand) and Harry using it to kill the Death Eaters. Voldemort makes the "You have 1 minute to tell me your secrets or you die" offer immediately after the vow, after all.

Not so. At T-20 seconds, Harry starts verbally stalling while he keeps working on the transfiguration.

It also would have shown weakness in front of the Death Eaters.

After he's already given them lengthy and detailed instructions about all the many diffe... (read more)

From her perspective, there are advantages to announcing it in public - for example, there will no be no witch hunt of "which Slytherins turned out to have active Death Eater parents?", and McGonagall also firmly tied the listing of the orphaned children's names to pronouncements of sympathy and solidarity in her listeners' minds.

I still don't think there was any good reason not to break it to them in private first.

I still don't think there was any good reason not to break it to them in private first.

In a perfect world, I completely agree.

In a real world, I can see that McGonagall did not have time before breakfast to talk to all of the orphaned children. I can also see that she might strongly prefer to quench the early rumors and avoid starting new rumors by calling a number of students into her office. (Delegating it to Snape, the Head of Slytherin House, was not an option; and delegating it to any other teacher would have sent a signal of McGonagall not caring ... (read more)

But he isn't an unusually good one at all. He actively dislikes actually reading peoples minds.

The latter statement isn't evidence for the former. Harry dislikes broomstick riding as an activity, but is still naturally gifted at it, and successful on the occasions when he needs to do it.

Here is our best example of Voldemort talking about his abilities:

Then in fury I threw aside masks and caution, I used my Legilimency, I dipped my fingers into the cesspit of his stupidity and tore out the truth from his mind. I did not understand and I wanted to under

... (read more)

The odds of that being true are steadily falling, if only because there aren't many chapters left in which to have that revelation, and it's hard to see how it would improve the plot at this point.

On the contrary, tthe odds are increasing, since we're running out of opportunity for this deduction from the text to be contradicted. (^_^)

Well, for a start there is the Phoenix Sage, that fallen champion of Light sworn to protect mankind from the "curse" of immortality at any cost. Once sealed away beyond time and space, he now returns to seek his vengeance, wielding both ancient lore and the misguided adoration of the masses as tools in his quest to end our heroes' ambition. With his revival, ally after ally is falling back under his spell, lured in by honeyed words of false wisdom and by memories of the days when he shone so bright. How will the Three Immortals expose his hypocrisy and defeat him, when he has managed to corrupt even the very symbol of Light and immortality, the Phoenix itself?

The thing about magic burst is that Dementors drain the target's magic anyway. It's entirely plausible that if a Dementor kills you, it sucks away your magic in the process, or at least enough of it to prevent a magic burst.

Look at it from another perspective: Voldemort's actions are based on the belief that Harry has powerful secrets unknown to him. One or more of those secrets may well lead to the end of the world if Harry lives. Given that Voldemort is acknowledging his ignorance of Harry's full capabilities, is there any possible excuse for not trying to limit those capabilities as much as possible?

But the facts I listed were publically available, and apparently that's the best conclusion anyone else could draw. (and we know Dumbledore didn't tell anyone his conclusion, because even Moody didn't know)

Since Dumbledore didn't give anyone else access to an undisturbed scene, it's merely the best conclusion that anyone could draw who wasn't an actual professional investigator / smart person. Actual professional investigators would know not to come to any conclusion without actually investigating the scene. (Whether or not they trusted Dumbledore to investigate is a different matter.) Smart people would think:

And let's not forget the kind of people who seem to be doing the investigating around here: "Burnt corpse? Roof of the house blown off? Baby with scar on forehead? Must have been the first ever Killing Curse backfire."

Dumbledore was the one who investigated that...
No magic burst at death would be one prediction to check, though not conclusive. You could test it with Horcrux 2.0, though no one has had the opportunity to do that before now. The fact that Voldemort has expressed uncertainty about whether he is capable of surviving dementors, and that he is relying upon escaping from Quirrel's body in time to survive dementors points in the direction of him believing that a dementor might be capable of taking out him and his whole horcrux network in one shot. None of that is conclusive, but it's all suggestive and supports the popular version of what dementors do.

Not literally. It's possinle that the Marauders stole some other thing, and repurposed it into the Map.

But honestly, James Potter, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew were none of them great wizards, especially in their teens, so the less their involvement in the Map's creation, the more plausible I find the theory.

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