Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Vaniver » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:42 am UTC

Yakk wrote:Speaking of which, when did they first notice that horrible things happen when their magic touches?
I believe Quirrel has known since the start. Harry didn't know until 54:
Harry had felt it, the burning, tearing pain in his head, like his brain was about to split in half. He'd felt it, his magic and Professor Quirrell's magic, matched and anti-harmonized in a fulfillment of doom. That was the mysterious terrible thing that would happen if Harry and Professor Quirrell ever got too close to each other, or if they ever cast magic on each other, or if their spells ever touched, their magic would resonate out of control
which is confirmed in 60:
"It also seems to me imprudent," said the boy, continuing as though the other had not spoken, "to not tell me that my casting any spell on you might kill us both. What if you had suffered some mishap, and I had tried an Innervate, or a Hover Charm? That ignorance, which you permitted for purposes I cannot guess, played also some part in this catastrophe."
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:40 am UTC

So, he knows of some mysterious personal doom, and he doesn't think about it obsessively?

So mind controlled.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby WarDaft » Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:07 pm UTC

That was quite a good read. I did not realize it was still not finished until I got to the end.

At which point, it doesn't really look like it's actually near the end.

I am now that much more thankful I didn't happen across the Unity Saga until it was done.


Actually, come to think of it, does this forum have a list of FanFics found to be actually worth reading? If not, we should start one.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby aleflamedyud » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:51 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:So, he knows of some mysterious personal doom, and he doesn't think about it obsessively?

So mind controlled.

No, just incredibly bloody-minded. As he himself put it, he should have thrown out his entire stock of hypotheses when he learned of the existence of magic. He didn't, so he's still holding on to stupid hypotheses like "morality is a human construction rather than a magical/metaphysical alignment". Quirrell exploits this lack of Genre Savvy.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:28 pm UTC

You don't need good/evil for the "strange harmonics" between Harry and Quirrel to not be extremely, ridiculously interesting. Yet Harry's first thoughts on the manner where casual, in passing, and matter of fact.

He's befuddled.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:45 am UTC

Every time I reach the end of an update I am sorely disappointed that I have run out of HPMoR to read.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby WaterToFire » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:39 pm UTC

Did anyone else catch that Quirrell refers to Hogwarts as a "University"? In the books it was always a "school". I wonder if this implies there is more to study beyond the seventh year.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:05 am UTC

I don't think that was purposeful. But I'm not sure.

edit: on reread, it's fixed. Elizier is at Oxford at the moment, perhaps it just slipped.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby HungryHobo » Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:44 pm UTC

This... this is glorious!

people are looking at me oddly because I'm snorting with laughter in the labs.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:27 pm UTC

I would suggest not reading chapter 5 in a public place.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Sandry » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:33 am UTC

He gave Hermione agency!

This makes me super happy. :D
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:39 am UTC

As I read in the reviews, I think the gryffindors will take offense that it was founded by a ravenclaw and 2 slytherins.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Sandry » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:54 am UTC

Meh. Gryffindors, like Ron Weasley, are overrated, in my opinion.

Really, though - in the books it bothers the pants off me that there's a house so openly favoured by school administration (and highly thought of by many others) for a characteristic that seems to basically push the protagonists toward breaking school rules in ways that are potentially very harmful.

I am stolidly pro non-Slytherins=EVIL-stereotyping and pro Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs getting spotlight time.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:26 am UTC

I very much agree. I don't like Rowling's version much at all. I much prefer Yudlowsky's.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby HungryHobo » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:00 pm UTC

tears are streaming down my face....
I was thinking for a moment I might pass out for lack of air while trying to suppress my laughter in the lab.

Spoiler:
Well... in the worst-case scenario, the Hat would assign Harry to a whole new House. Dumbledore would insist that she do it - create a whole new House just for him - and she'd have to rearrange all the class schedules on the first day of term. And Dumbledore would remove her as Head of House Gryffindor, and give her beloved House over to... Professor Binns, the History ghost; and she would be assigned as Head of Harry's House of Doom; and she would futilely try to give the child orders, deducting point after point without effect, while disaster after disaster was blamed on her.

Was that the worst-case scenario?

Minerva honestly didn't see how it could be any worse than that.

And even in the very worst case - no matter what happened with Harry - it would all be over in seven years.

Minerva felt her knuckles slowly relax their white-knuckled grip on the podium. Harry had been right, there was a kind of comfort in staring directly into the furthest depths of the darkness, knowing that you had confronted your worst fears and were now prepared.

The frightened silence was broken by a single word.

"Headmaster!" called the Sorting Hat.

At the Head Table, Dumbledore rose, his face puzzled. "Yes?" he addressed the Hat. "What is it?"

"I wasn't talking to you," said the Hat. "I was Sorting Harry Potter into the place in Hogwarts where he most belongs, namely the Headmaster's office -"


Just a bit of an additional edit as I've been reading further in.
It feels really odd when you start until you accept that the character simply is not harry potter with the exception that he's mostly good.
It's probably bad that I identify a little with
Spoiler:
his wanting to become a benevolent god by understand everything
, is that a theme with sciency kids or something?
The changes to a few of the other characters like making Dumbledore more explicitly mad rather than just a little eccentric jar a bit and the way that Harry isn't just rational but also constantly schemeing strikes me as a bit off.
Otherwise it's an utterly fantastic read and introduces concepts about the scientific method, rationality and logic in a very natural way.

Spoiler:
Utterly utterly loved the enders game reference
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:36 am UTC

Harry has started to get his comeuppance for scheming by the recent chapters, though. He's definitely looking a bit more heroic as he revises his decisions.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby jobriath » Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:40 pm UTC

HP:MoR has overwritten my conception of Harry Potter so completely it's spilled over into Daniel Radcliffe. When I saw he'd sung The Elements by Lehrer it took me a while to realise why it was supposed to be surprising that he knew the elements.

On topic: I've read through HP:MoR twice now. I have a bloody thesis to write and I want to read it a third time. I loved the angle Eli took with the dementors---destroying them was frequently the most powerful impulse I got while reading the books.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:47 am UTC

The problem I had with that part is that that's some pretty powerful magic for an eleven year old to be doing. He gets exhausted by too many basic hexes. I think that was explained by it using emotion instead of mana, but I don't really like that reasoning very much.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby HungryHobo » Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:49 am UTC

Levi wrote: I think that was explained by it using emotion instead of mana, but I don't really like that reasoning very much.

I read it as taking *life* not emotion as fuel.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:22 pm UTC

Er, right. It's been a while since I read that part.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby WarDaft » Sat Feb 26, 2011 9:39 pm UTC

Your soul isn't exactly something you can exercise really, and it's a common theme for souls to contain a vast amount of untapped power or otherwise be extremely valuable. I find it rather justifiable.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby gigogurl » Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:38 am UTC

Anyone going to the NYC reader meetup tomorrow?


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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:16 am UTC

:( I live way too far away.

Oh, hey, it was yesterday. How did it go?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby HonoreDB » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:35 am UTC

Levi wrote::( I live way too far away.

Oh, hey, it was yesterday. How did it go?


(I can tell you live far away because it was actually still going on when you posted this. Maybe you could organize one on your continent?)

It was fun! To start off, we all sorted ourselves into Houses by means of colored dots on our nametags. Naturally, the Hufflepuffs claimed to be Ravenclaws to try to fit in, the Ravenclaws claimed to be Slytherins to try to impress everyone, and the Slytherins claimed to be Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors because they're sneaky bastards. There were a few honest Gryffindors, I think. The Author initially chose Ravenclaw, but then blacked out his dot and declared himself a member of Harry's House O' Doom.

After we discussed our House credentials, it was mostly a meandering mass discussion of the fic. We got to see The Author's many different kinds of poker faces in response to the various bits of speculation everyone threw out. He did drop a few bits of info, and asked for help in developing one minor plot point.

I was urged to continue my Rationalist Hamlet fic, from the omake, which was gratifying. I've been plotting it out and I have a few lines written but I thought people might prefer it as a one-off so I've been hesitating over whether to finish it.

The high point may have been a discussion of whether a wizard could deliberately trigger 'accidental wandless magic' by putting himself in potentially humiliating situations.

"...and then it turns into slash!"
The Author: "I promise you, Chapter 42 is the most slash you're ever going to get in this fic."
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:01 pm UTC

I'm actually in the same timezone (specifically, I'm in Florida). I somehow took "tomorrow" to mean "today". Dunno how that happened.

I'm nearly finished with the second book and it's apparent that wandless magic doesn't need to be accidental. Someone mentions that magic can be channeled through any object by half-decent wizards. Also, Lily Potter does it in Snape's memories before she goes to Hogwarts.

Could you link to your Hamlet fanfic if/when you write more of it?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby HonoreDB » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:10 am UTC

Levi wrote:Could you link to your Hamlet fanfic if/when you write more of it?


Definitely.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:41 am UTC

HonoreDB wrote:We got to see The Author's many different kinds of poker faces in response to the various bits of speculation everyone threw out. He did drop a few bits of info, and asked for help in developing one minor plot point.


Any chance you have some insight into the story that you can share?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby jobriath » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:59 am UTC

Levi wrote:The problem I had with that part is that that's some pretty powerful magic for an eleven year old to be doing. He gets exhausted by too many basic hexes. I think that was explained by it using emotion instead of mana, but I don't really like that reasoning very much.


Yeah, it is a big, shiny effect for a kid to produce. But the author's explanation is in keeping with the rest of the tone:
Spoiler:
once you admit that kids can cast a patronus (other kids can do so) and that Harry can get his head straight vis a vis the true nature of the world (demonstrated with partial transfiguration) then the effect follows logically and narratively from his rejection of death. If you accept that this is an eleven-year-old with preternatural self-possession (and this late in the fic you must :)) then the rest kind of follows.

Blocking an abracadabra seems to come out of nowhere, though.


When Harry argued with Dumbledore on the nature of death I thought Eli had made Dumbledore a straw man.
Spoiler:
I was happy to see that DD's acceptance of death gave him some protection from the dementors. It felt fair because it proved that reality wasn't just pandering to Harry's moral worldview: other worldviews are valid.


HonoreDB: That was you? Right on, I laughed like a drain. Good work!

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:03 pm UTC

jobriath wrote:Blocking an abracadabra seems to come out of nowhere, though.


I don't think that it came from nowhere. The Patronus fights Dementors, i.e., death. Harry's Patronus does more than that; it destroys and defeats death. It makes sense in a way that his spell that destroys death can block the spell that causes death.

Another unlikely but possible answer could be that Harry's and Quirrelmort's magic just dont mix and Quirrelmort's spell just stopped in response to touching Harry's magic.

Whoever went to the meetup: Are there any spoiler type information you can give us?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:27 am UTC

I was just thinking--wouldn't an Avada Kedavra be the perfect way to break through defensive enchantments? It's clear that wherever it says that they can't be stopped is wrong. Harry does it with the twin core thing, and it seems to be stopped by physical objects. I can't remember if Dumbledore's shield thing blocks it or not. But anyways, wouldn't it be pretty easy to shatter just about any protective charm with it?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby HonoreDB » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:20 am UTC

Whoever went to the meetup: Are there any spoiler type information you can give us?


Nothing earth-shattering, of course, but there are some minor things you may not have guessed.

Word of God that may not ever show up in the text:
Spoiler:
[*]If Harry and Draco's genetic theory is true, squibs are prevalent due to infidelity. Specifically, witches are married to wizards, but are bewitching muggles on the side and using unreliable contraceptive charms. There was apparently a hilarious dirty joke made in response to this, but I missed it.
[*]Harry does believe the theory to be true; he wasn't completely scamming Draco.
[*]The way Magic works in HP:MOR is that whenever Harry does an experiment, the author decides the result in whatever way is best for the plot, so long as it doesn't contradict a previous result. Hopefully, this will eventually paint the author into a corner and uniquely identify the truth.
[*]Magic's attitude towards the laws of thermodynamics is *rude gesture*.
[*]The focus needs to shift towards Hermione right now because Harry, having leveled up due to Azkaban, is now too powerful for any enemy other than Dumbledore [or, I assume, Voldemort].
[*]The possibility of Quirrell being Voldemort hasn't even occurred to Harry.
[*]Quirrell is 33% smarter than Harry. Draco and Hermione have specific kinds of intelligence that can't be directly compared.
[*]Quirrell's personality is influenced by the Trickster Mentor nature of the author's father.
[*]Quirrell represents the various ways someone can pursue the art of rationality and come out powerful, but not the sort of person a phoenix would want to hang out with.
[*]Azkaban prevents time travel in its environs by exploiting the six-hour rule in some way.
[*]Harry and Nicholas Flamel would be "an explosive combination."


The length of the fic:
Spoiler:
It won't last for more words than all seven original books combined. The author knows how long it will last in in-story time, and knows the ending, but doesn't know exactly how long it will take to get there.


One specific subplot that will probably occur, in detail (i.e. an ACTUAL SPOILER)
Spoiler:
The diary of Roger Bacon was not intended to be relevant after its introduction, just to be a character moment for Quirrell and Harry. Due to fan reaction, the author has decided to return to it. It really is the magical experimental journal of Roger Bacon. Harry hasn't investigated it so far because he doesn't speak Latin, and doesn't dare ask anybody to translate it. He'll eventually hit on the idea of asking a ghost to translate it, since ghosts don't have much long-term memory of events after their death, and a sufficiently old ghost will know Latin. From this, he will learn of one useful discovery Bacon made regarding wandless magic: possibly some sort of ritual, or possibly a way to harness the sort of protective wandless magic wizard children have.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby OmenPigeon » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:23 am UTC

Levi wrote:I was just thinking--wouldn't an Avada Kedavra be the perfect way to break through defensive enchantments? It's clear that wherever it says that they can't be stopped is wrong. Harry does it with the twin core thing, and it seems to be stopped by physical objects. I can't remember if Dumbledore's shield thing blocks it or not. But anyways, wouldn't it be pretty easy to shatter just about any protective charm with it?

It depends on what the cost to casting it is. For anyone who isn't Dark, there's a strong social penalty to casting an Avada Kedavra that seems like it would outweigh the ability to bust whatever charm is in your way. Avada Kedavra may also (I don't recall if it ever came up in either canon or MoR) be a particularly exhausting spell to cast, even if it doesn't take very long. So it might only be tactically useful as a way to end a fight, if after casting it you'd be unable to defend yourself against any retaliation.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:25 am UTC

Levi wrote:I was just thinking--wouldn't an Avada Kedavra be the perfect way to break through defensive enchantments? It's clear that wherever it says that they can't be stopped is wrong. Harry does it with the twin core thing, and it seems to be stopped by physical objects. I can't remember if Dumbledore's shield thing blocks it or not. But anyways, wouldn't it be pretty easy to shatter just about any protective charm with it?


Yeah, i think so. The killing curse IS supposed to be unblockable. In the 5th movie it looks like Dumbledore blocks one but it could have been some other green curse or just movie stupidity.

OmenPigeon wrote:For anyone who isn't Dark, there's a strong social penalty to casting an Avada Kedavra that seems like it would outweigh the ability to bust whatever charm is in your way.


It looks like Methods of Rationality has Quirrell trying to dispel that social penalty. He managed to get Dumbledore's permission to teach it after all.


That's a lot of interesting stuff. I hope he doesn't focus on Hermione TOO long. Were you able to get any kind of feel for it? Like 1 more chapter, 5 more chapters, 10 more chapters ( :shock: ) ?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby existentialpanda » Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:57 am UTC

Somebody at my college is writing a one-act play based on HPMoR. I am very excite.

(I'd try out, but I won't be here for spring break which is kind of a requirement. Totally going to see it though.)

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby OmenPigeon » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:58 am UTC

4d0m wrote:It looks like Methods of Rationality has Quirrell trying to dispel that social penalty. He managed to get Dumbledore's permission to teach it after all.

Sure, but there's a vast gulf between convincing the headmaster that everyone knows is insane to let you teach kids how to protect themselves and actually casting a killing curse at someone, not killing them, having the world at large find out, and not getting your ass pitchfork-and-torched. And it's not really reasonable to expect that throwing Avada Kedavra's around is going to be really *okay* ever. Even in the parts of America where they really, *really* like their guns, it's not socially acceptable to actually shoot people without sufficient cause.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:28 am UTC

OmenPigeon wrote:
4d0m wrote:It looks like Methods of Rationality has Quirrell trying to dispel that social penalty. He managed to get Dumbledore's permission to teach it after all.

Sure, but there's a vast gulf between convincing the headmaster that everyone knows is insane to let you teach kids how to protect themselves and actually casting a killing curse at someone, not killing them, having the world at large find out, and not getting your ass pitchfork-and-torched. And it's not really reasonable to expect that throwing Avada Kedavra's around is going to be really *okay* ever. Even in the parts of America where they really, *really* like their guns, it's not socially acceptable to actually shoot people without sufficient cause.


I see what you're saying, and it's true that the killing curse would be unlikely to become socially accepted, however I think your gun analogy is a bit off. Using the killing curse to get charms out of the way would be more akin to using a gun to get through a locked door, not using it to randomly shoot at people. In a way I can imagine, after hundreds of years, a possible future wherein the killing curse ceased to be named as such. In that future it would just be a all-magic-penetrating curse that also killed, like a charm you could use to cut vegetables but would also hurt humans should it be used on them. An example I can think of is this: some magical archeologists find a site probably filled with interesting artifacts but it is guarded by strong and old magic. They fire some killing cursed into the air, through the wards and thus, grant themselves entry.
Obviously such a change in mindset would take crazy amounts of time, but I think it could happen if you put it on a time-scale of forever.
The above argument obviously applies to the use of the spell as a convenient ward-breaker and not to Quirell's actions in Azkaban. I agree that all would see what he did as evil, especially since he is commonly viewed as dark and very few would be able to look at the situation and understand that nobody as smart as Quirrell would cast that spell with intent to kill in that situation.

OmenPigeon wrote:Avada Kedavra may also (I don't recall if it ever came up in either canon or MoR) be a particularly exhausting spell to cast, even if it doesn't take very long. So it might only be tactically useful as a way to end a fight, if after casting it you'd be unable to defend yourself against any retaliation.


I dont think that this is the case. At least in the books, I think I remember Death Eaters casting the spell a bunch of times in sequence without falling over in exhaustion.


existentialpanda wrote:Somebody at my college is writing a one-act play based on HPMoR. I am very excite.

(I'd try out, but I won't be here for spring break which is kind of a requirement. Totally going to see it though.)


This sounds like it could go terribly wrong, but I hope it's awesome. Do you think that they will put it up online?


Woah, this post is kind of long, sorry.

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existentialpanda
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby existentialpanda » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:06 am UTC

4d0m wrote:This sounds like it could go terribly wrong, but I hope it's awesome. Do you think that they will put it up online?


I don't know if the people involved are planning to do that, but I hope so. At the very least, I for one will be recording it for myself, or asking someone to do it for me if for some reason I can't. If the people involved are okay with it, I can definitely put it on Youtube or something myself. I'll have to ask them.

In other words, it can definitely go online, unless they specifically don't want it to.

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Sockmonkey
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Sockmonkey » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:36 pm UTC

I thought the killing curse only affected living things, not by causing physical damage but by severing the soul from the body.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:42 am UTC

Sockmonkey wrote:I thought the killing curse only affected living things, not by causing physical damage but by severing the soul from the body.


Mhm, the idea is that you could use it to get through or break magical defenses with it, e.g., you want to get into Harry's house but magic wont let you, so perhaps you can use avadakedavra (unblockable) to shatter the defenses. Idk if it would work but it kinda sorta makes sense.


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