Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

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rmsgrey
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:21 pm UTC

About runes and meaning:
Spoiler:
So, is the wording on the mirror an author's conceit (playing with the Translation Convention) or do the runes actually have the property that, when read aloud, if the reader were to transcribe them, reverse the order of the letters and change the word breaks, they convey a coherent message which plausibly describes the mirror correctly?


The former possibility seems somewhat self-indulgent of the author, while the latter seems utterly implausible - it's unlikely such a contrived situation would arise other than by someone's deliberate intent, but I can't come up with a plausible motive - if the intent is to communicate, why be so obscure about it; if the intent is to not communicate, why include any sense, however obfuscated?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:25 am UTC

It is a message to the readers, not to the people in the story.
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 rmsgrey » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:45 am UTC

Yakk wrote:It is a message to the readers, not to the people in the story.


So self-indulgence then - the only reason to give the characters a message that only the readers will be able to understand is to show off to the readers...

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:28 am UTC

But it's hardly showing off; what is there to be impressed about about writing a sentence backwards?

It can't even be the sentence that the inscription actually says, because the backward sentence is indicative whereas the narration implies the inscription is imperative; or at least part of it, as it seems possibly to actually be two sentences, an imperative one and an indicative one. That, and the backwards words and parts of words don't make sense as stand-alone words when reversed again.

Further analysis spoilered:
Spoiler:
Chapter 109 wrote:"The runes say, noitilov detalo partxe tnere hoc ruoy tu becafruoy ton wo hsi -" Harry stopped, feeling more prickles at his spine.

Harry knew what the rune for noitilov meant. It meant noitilov. And the next runes said to detalo the noitilov until it reached partxe, then keep the part that was both tnere and hoc. That belief felt like knowledge, like he could have answered 'Yes' with confident authority if somebody asked him whether the ton wo was ruoy or becafruoy. It was just that when Harry tried to relate those concepts to any other concepts, he drew a blank.

Obviously the sentence which was reversed to get those runes is "I show not your face but your coherent extrapolated volition", a first-person indicative sentence apparently "said" by the mirror itself. But the incomplete comprehension Harry has indicates that it says, reversing the words here, to (imperative) olated the volition until it reaches extrap and keep the part that is both erent and coh, and apparently also that (indicative) the not is both your and yourfaceb (both because Harry would answer 'yes' to a question about it being either). With some rearrangement and very loose interpretation, that imperative part could make some sense as an instruction to "extrapolate ['polate until extra'] the volition and keep the part that is coherent ['both coh and erent']", but that indicative part makes no sense that I can find at all.

I think LW just needed some natural-sounding strings of meaningless letters to stand for the meaningless sounds that the runes convey to their reader, and reversing an English sentence was a convenient way to do that. Reversing an English sentence that describes what the mirror does is just an easter egg, and breaking the words up like and giving us some of the grammar of the sentence ensures that the words really remain meaningless even after un-reversing the letters.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:03 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I think LW just needed some natural-sounding strings of meaningless letters to stand for the meaningless sounds that the runes convey to their reader, and reversing an English sentence was a convenient way to do that. Reversing an English sentence that describes what the mirror does is just an easter egg, and breaking the words up like and giving us some of the grammar of the sentence ensures that the words really remain meaningless even after un-reversing the letters.


If he just wanted a nonsense string, he could have just kept the one from canon - being similar but different, and being explicitly a mystery to the characters still feels in poor taste.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:56 am UTC

Having not read the books (and I don't think the inscription was featured significantly in the movie, but it's been a long time), I wasn't aware of what the inscription on the canonical mirror was. But looking it up now on the HP wikia, it looks like LW's inscription is just a rationalized version of the canonical one. Was the inscription in the book explicitly just backward writing, the characters literally seeing the Roman letters "Erised..." etc? Did the characters actually figure out what it meant in the story? Was it important to the plot that they do so?

Assuming yes to at least the first of the above questions, I would guess that LW rendered the inscription as incomprehensible runes instead for reasons like you yourself said: if the purpose of the inscription was to communicate, it wouldn't have been intentionally obfuscated (the canonical mirror would have just read forward instead of backward... unless, I suppose, the whole thing is a "mirrored" joke in the end? But I assume the individual letters were still the right way around or else it would be obvious*); but if the purpose was not to communicate, then there wouldn't have been an inscription at all. Which means the only reason why there would be a difficult-to-decipher message, rationally speaking, is if someone was failing to communicate, like speaking an unknown language, which is what seems to be happening here. Or, I suppose, cryptography. I'm guessing that the nature and purpose of the inscription is going to be a plot point soon.

That leaves why LW chose to represent the "nonsense" words that the script reads as as a reversed English sentence, and then again I say "easter egg" with a touch of "homage to canon" as well. Why not just the original inscription? Because this is a rationalist fic and so a rationalized version of the original is more fitting.

*(I'm reminded a bit of a scene from Stargate SG-1 that really bothered me. In an ancient trap set by the Ancients, aliens long predating the existence of humanity entirely, our human protagonists have to solve a puzzle of arranging some unknown symbols in the correct order to avert their imminent deaths. The solution to the puzzle is: the symbols are the Indo-Arabic numerals plus their mirror images, and if you just cover up half of each one the solution is obvious… to a modern human accustomed to those numerals. Why is a death trap long predating human evolution at all using those symbols? WHY!?)
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby notzeb » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:24 am UTC

About the words on the mirror:
Spoiler:
Yudkowsky was making a joke about "understanding" or "explaining" things via concepts which are meaningless and have no testable relationship to anything concrete. Once one has formed such a nonsense explanation ("False Comprehension"), the true answer becomes inaccessible. In this case the characters have an excuse for their inability to solve the puzzle: the magic cast on the message forces the false comprehension upon the reader...

The Erised puzzle was just a throwaway joke in canon, too.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:34 pm UTC

110:

Spoiler:
Well, that was disappointing.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:02 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:110:

Spoiler:
Well, that was disappointing.

What was?
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:03 pm UTC

The battle that wasn't.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby jules.LT » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:45 pm UTC

Spoiler:
If that was actually Dumbledore showing such stupidity rather than Voldie's fantasy being shown by the mirror*, I'm going to be really disappointed indeed.

*along with the trap that D did actually set up
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:52 pm UTC

Spoiler:
If it wasn't Dumbledore, then why did the NotDumbledore throw the Elderwand and some stone rod (Sorcerer's Stone?)?

The wand and rod could be a trap (within a trap), I suppose. Dumbledore does like his complex plots, and having a fail-safe in case Voldemort does manage to reflect the time trap would be a good idea.

I just get the impression that everything about the mirror is misdirection. It just feels like the whole mission is a meaningless waste of time, and I don't see why Voldemort would even attempt it unless he is truly out of options (which seems out of character).

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Kisama » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:03 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:
Spoiler:
If it wasn't Dumbledore, then why did the NotDumbledore throw the Elderwand and some stone rod (Sorcerer's Stone?)?
Spoiler:
I'm fairly sure it's real Dumbledore, saving his important quest items from getting removed from Time
Chapter 80 wrote:His right hand bears a wand of power, upon his shoulder perches a bird of fire. His left hand holds a short rod, thin and featureless and forged of the same dark stone as the walls, and this is the Line of Merlin Unbroken, the device of the Chief Warlock.

I'm not really disappointed by the way chapter 110 ended, but this upsets me:
Spoiler:
Dumbledore wrote:How could you? Even you, how could you? He was the library of all our lore! Secrets you have forever lost to wizardry!
So much knowledge getting lost all the time :/ Dead basilisk, dead Flamel, banished Dumbledore, probably destroyed Voldemort by the end of all of this. So sad.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby douglasm » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:08 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:110:

Spoiler:
Well, that was disappointing.

On the contrary, I found it quite well done.
Spoiler:
Voldie and Dumbledore clashing with violently opposed mighty magic in the fashion of a classic magic duel wouldn't have actually been very interesting. It would have been a simple contest of who had the greater combination of raw power and speed/reflexes, mostly, and the outcome would have been a foregone conclusion. It also would have gone against Dumbledore's character - he's smart enough to guess in advance how such a battle would go, and avoid risking it.

What we got instead was Dumbledore laying a clever trap, a trap that actually would have worked, thereby demonstrating how truly dangerous he really is when he gets serious. And then we got that trap foiled by Voldemort demonstrating his own dangerous cleverness (and exploiting Dumbledore's character), and at the same time removing the only character that had any reasonable chance of allowing Harry to win by means of handing over control and leadership.


jules.LT wrote:
Spoiler:
If that was actually Dumbledore showing such stupidity rather than Voldie's fantasy being shown by the mirror*, I'm going to be really disappointed indeed.

*along with the trap that D did actually set up

That... is actually a plausible and interesting idea.

Whizbang wrote:
Spoiler:
If it wasn't Dumbledore, then why did the NotDumbledore throw the Elderwand and some stone rod (Sorcerer's Stone?)?

The wand and rod could be a trap (within a trap), I suppose. Dumbledore does like his complex plots, and having a fail-safe in case Voldemort does manage to reflect the time trap would be a good idea.

I just get the impression that everything about the mirror is misdirection. It just feels like the whole mission is a meaningless waste of time, and I don't see why Voldemort would even attempt it unless he is truly out of options (which seems out of character).

Yes, why does Voldemort want the Stone so much that he's willing to risk such traps? He's already got immortality and power. The only idea I have is that Quirrel's sickness and weakness isn't entirely faked, and the Stone would let Voldie go full power all the time. I could see him being willing to take significant risks for a quality of life difference that big, with the immortality failsafe he's already got in place as a hopeful hedge against disaster.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby jules.LT » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:10 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:
Spoiler:
If it wasn't Dumbledore, then why did the NotDumbledore throw the Elderwand and some stone rod (Sorcerer's Stone?)?

Spoiler:
Because V wasn't trapped anymore anyway, and that's what V would expect D to do anyway?

The rod is not the stone (which looks like "an irregular chunk of scarlet glass in his left hand, the size perhaps of Harry's thumb from fingernail to the first joint")


Kisama wrote:
Spoiler:
I'm fairly sure it's real Dumbledore, saving his important quest items from getting removed from Time

Spoiler:
He "threw these both violently aside", but it doesn't say that anything left the mirror. I remain unsure but hopeful that this is not really him.
Bertrand Russell wrote:Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.
Richard Feynman & many others wrote:Keep an open mind – but not so open that your brain falls out

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:10 pm UTC

It's not clear to me that
Spoiler:
the trap for Voldemort got reversed on Dumbledore — or that Dumbledore himself reversed it.
All that seems certain from the text thus far is that
Spoiler:
Voldemort is no longer trapped, because he is no longer reflected; and Harry would now be trapped instead, unless Dumbledore reversed it or did something else to save him.
It is possible that
Spoiler:
Dumbledore is about to reverse it, and that is why he is throwing aside his important items so that they don't become trapped with him,
but also possible that
Spoiler:
Harry is just the one being trapped now, and Dumbledore is throwing aside his items for some other reason related to trying to save Harry or defeat Voldemort.


I'm also curious how
Spoiler:
Dumbledore is appearing in the mirror. Is it some enchantment upon the mirror itself that allows somehow a copy of Dumbledore to be inside it, or is Dumbledore actually the one "outside" it (now that Voldemort is trapped in it) — or maybe that "inside" and "outside" the mirror doesn't really make any logical sense and Dumbledore is just in some alternate reality than Voldemort and Harry (coexisting in the same room at the same time, separated only by the mirror's magic), but either way — and the way that Dumbledore is both there and also elsewhere attending to the distraction is just because Dumbledore is time-turned? If it is because Dumbledore is time-turned, then it may still be possible to rescue him from the trap (if he did reverse it on himself), albeit at a cost of Messing With Time, as there is still another Dumbledore out there somewhere not in the trap. Possibly the very nature of the trap could enable this, as trapped Dumbledore (if he is trapped) has been removed from Time entirely. If instead it is Harry who is trapped, the same may also be possible, since he is time-turned as well. Voldemort's clever reversal of Dumbledore's trap may end up spoiled by his own way of making sure that nobody could use time magic to spoil it.


On a related note, I'm wondering
Spoiler:
how death works for those trapped outside of Time. Both in an ordinary sense — can trapped Dumbledore just kill himself or wait to die and then move on to the afterlife, which seems like something he'd be fine with — but also more interestingly, in the complex case of Voldemort and his immortality. If Quirrelmort, trapped outside of time, died, does he just become a disembodied mind in his horcruxes, which are outside the trap and so still in Time? Would seem an awfully easy way to escape the trap. But then I guess that all hinges on what being "outside of Time" means. The capitalization of Time seems significant. Does someone trapped outside of time continue experiencing their own subjective sense of time, but just be causally disconnected from the rest of the universe? Or does time stop for them completely once the trap has fully sprung? My prior speculation is assuming the former, but if the latter, then none of that works.

There are also interesting questions about
Spoiler:
the nature of space in the trap-universe. Voldemort can't walk outside of sight of the mirror, because only the area reflected by the mirror actually exists — but presumably, Voldemort and Harry can both see the part of the room not reflected by the mirror. And if Dumbledore is now trapped instead, it seems like he can throw things outside of the view of the mirror; do those things then fall to the ground out of thin air in another version of the room? Or does Dumbledore see them lying outside the mirror's view in his trap universe?
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby phlip » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:14 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Having not read the books (and I don't think the inscription was featured significantly in the movie, but it's been a long time), I wasn't aware of what the inscription on the canonical mirror was. But looking it up now on the HP wikia, it looks like LW's inscription is just a rationalized version of the canonical one. Was the inscription in the book explicitly just backward writing, the characters literally seeing the Roman letters "Erised..." etc? Did the characters actually figure out what it meant in the story? Was it important to the plot that they do so?

Since this never got answered, I dug out the book and double-checked...

So, in canon: the full inscription ("Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi") is only mentioned once, as an aside while describing the mirror for the first time. It isn't dwelled on or returned to, no-one tries to figure out what it means, the meaning is never spelled out, it's not relevant to the plot at all. It's solely a gift to the observant reader who's able to figure it out and get a spoiler on figuring out one of the minor mysteries of the story.

I'm not going to say it's a particularly clever hint-drop or Easter egg or whatever you want to call it... but then, it was the first book, and Rowling's story-telling got significantly better over time.

Obviously we can't know for sure until the story is done, but my suspicion is that the inscription in HPMOR serves the same purpose - fanservice/Easter egg for the people who've read the original books, but carrying no information for the people actually in the story... mentioned once and never remarked on again.

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enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Jorpho » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:50 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:*(I'm reminded a bit of a scene from Stargate SG-1 that really bothered me. In an ancient trap set by the Ancients, aliens long predating the existence of humanity entirely, our human protagonists have to solve a puzzle of arranging some unknown symbols in the correct order to avert their imminent deaths. The solution to the puzzle is: the symbols are the Indo-Arabic numerals plus their mirror images, and if you just cover up half of each one the solution is obvious… to a modern human accustomed to those numerals. Why is a death trap long predating human evolution at all using those symbols? WHY!?)
Which episode was that..? That's pretty shabby. Even The Simpsons did that.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby jules.LT » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:20 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:*(I'm reminded a bit of a scene from Stargate SG-1 that really bothered me. In an ancient trap set by the Ancients, aliens long predating the existence of humanity entirely, our human protagonists have to solve a puzzle of arranging some unknown symbols in the correct order to avert their imminent deaths. The solution to the puzzle is: the symbols are the Indo-Arabic numerals plus their mirror images, and if you just cover up half of each one the solution is obvious… to a modern human accustomed to those numerals. Why is a death trap long predating human evolution at all using those symbols? WHY!?)

To remove one tiny bit of the absurdity: in the Stargate universe, it's a safe bet that those numerals come from an ancient alien civilization.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:34 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:*(I'm reminded a bit of a scene from Stargate SG-1 that really bothered me. In an ancient trap set by the Ancients, aliens long predating the existence of humanity entirely, our human protagonists have to solve a puzzle of arranging some unknown symbols in the correct order to avert their imminent deaths. The solution to the puzzle is: the symbols are the Indo-Arabic numerals plus their mirror images, and if you just cover up half of each one the solution is obvious… to a modern human accustomed to those numerals. Why is a death trap long predating human evolution at all using those symbols? WHY!?)
Which episode was that..? That's pretty shabby. Even The Simpsons did that.

The season 9 premier, "Avalon"; the puzzle-deathtrap is the cliffhanger (well, one of two cliffhangers) at the end of part 1 and is resolved at the start of part 2.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:35 pm UTC

Chapter 111 Ending:

Spoiler:
"My great creation -" gasped Voldemort. His voice was high, sounding panicked. "Two different spirits cannot exist in the same world - it is gone, it is severed! A horcrux, I must make a horcrux at once -" Voldemort's gaze fell on Hermione Granger's still-sleeping form, and he began to raise his wand in the air, executing the same gestures as before.

Harry raised his gun and pulled the trigger three times.



So...


Uh...

Did attempting to test the Horcrux 2.0 spell on Hermione somehow break all of Voldemort's other Horcruxes? "Two different spirits cannot exist in the same world" Does that mean, somehow, that Voldemort's spirit is contained in an alternate reality (like the Mirror's "reflection") and that only one spirit can be there at a time?

But how does that affect the other Horcrux 1.0 spells he cast?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby douglasm » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:35 pm UTC

Chapter 111:
Spoiler:
My guess for what just happened:
Voldemort, following Harry's earlier advice, was testing his new self-improvements on someone else first. He planned to infuse troll regeneration and whatever it is the unicorn blood would grant into himself, and Hermione made a good opportunity to make sure that it worked and had no negative side effects. He even went to the extent of creating an improved horcrux for her, likely planning to test that as well.

And everything went wrong when he discovered making an improved horcrux for someone else rendered inert all previously existing improved horcruxes. It's unclear whether the one immortal limit is per world or per horcrux caster - whether Hermione making her own improved horcrux would have ended Voldemort's - but it doesn't matter because Voldemort was the one making this one.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Adam H » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:44 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Theory: "world" (that two different spirits cannot exist in)="network of horcruxes", and when Voldemort created Hermione's horcrux he unintentionally uploaded Hermione to his entire network which overrode his own spirit.

Or at least, that's what Voldemort wants Harry to think. He actually faked his death. ;)

Or, you know, we're still looking through the mirror, this time at what Harry wants.
-Adam

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby jules.LT » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:59 pm UTC

Spoiler:
I definitely agree that he was testing on Hermione improvements that he planned on applying to himself.

I'm not certain that this was a horcrux 2.0, but it probably was. And it does seem like he just transferred his whole horcrux network to Hermione.

Another reason for him to absolutely want to keep Hermione alive is that Hermione's death coincided really well with "HE IS HERE", so he probably does really need "To resstore to you girl-child friend'ss counssel and resstraint. To make ssure sshe iss part of the world for you to care about. That, boy, iss truly the greater part of the reasson I am doing thiss deed." if he doesn't want Harry to "TEAR APART THE STARS"

Voldie really rushed into things when he didn't need to, here, and was pretty careless at a number of points (seriously, let Harry have his wand and pouch back??)
Also at the start of the chapter, he breached rule #20 a few times :lol:
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:06 pm UTC

My Problem:

Spoiler:
So, this is Rational Fic, right? At what point is lucking out that Voldemort will make a mistake on his Horcrux spell, rendering him mortal, and Harry shooting him a satisfying ending for Voldemort? It seems like it needs to be caused by some clever machination by Harry, rather than just dumb luck and the ability to seize the moment. I understand that the ability to seize the moment part is rational and fits nicely with the whole lesson behind what Quirrell said about Hermione's grade, but any old fantasy tale could have told this story of accidental victory. I am hoping there is more to it than this. I want Harry to see some flaw in Voldemort's plan and somehow crowbar that into a victory. Voldemort just negligently handing back Harry's Quest Items and then fucking up a spell is more of Voldemort losing than Harry winning.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby douglasm » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:19 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:My Problem:

Spoiler:
So, this is Rational Fic, right? At what point is lucking out that Voldemort will make a mistake on his Horcrux spell, rendering him mortal, and Harry shooting him a satisfying ending for Voldemort? It seems like it needs to be caused by some clever machination by Harry, rather than just dumb luck and the ability to seize the moment. I understand that the ability to seize the moment part is rational and fits nicely with the whole lesson behind what Quirrell said about Hermione's grade, but any old fantasy tale could have told this story of accidental victory. I am hoping there is more to it than this. I want Harry to see some flaw in Voldemort's plan and somehow crowbar that into a victory. Voldemort just negligently handing back Harry's Quest Items and then fucking up a spell is more of Voldemort losing than Harry winning.

Spoiler:
We've still got 9 chapters to go, that's way too much for just tying up loose ends and epilogue. I expect this is just the beginning, a step that makes beating Voldemort a practical possibility (because really, hunting down a hundred plus horcruxes would be absurd), but still a major project. There's still time and need for Harry to find a flaw to leverage, but removing Voldemort's horcrux network and giving Harry freedom of action make finding such a flaw reasonable.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:22 pm UTC

I thought that what happened here was
Spoiler:
Hermione is now powered by Harry's spirit, because he gave up some of it to revive her, and Voldemort attempting to make a horcrux for Hermione thus put him into magical contact with Harry's spirit, causing destructive interference; since Harry and Voldie were both severely pained by the attempt, in exactly the same was as happens when their magic touches.


But I don't quite understand how
Spoiler:
Voldemort thought he would be able to make a horcrux for Hermione. Shouldn't she have to do the requisite acts to make her own horcrux?


And as unsatisfying as this turn of events would be if it were to end this way, I don't think this is how
Spoiler:
Voldemort dies.
There's too much story left to tell still.

Was it ever made clear whether
Spoiler:
Voldemort is time-turned during all of this, or did he just have Harry time-turn himself? There's still a possible messing-with-time that could happen, even if this Voldemort is dead, if there's another copy still out there at present. (And if there is, what did he just experience after whatever the hell just happened?)
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:23 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I thought that what happened here was
Spoiler:
Hermione is now powered by Harry's spirit, because he gave up some of it to revive her, and Voldemort attempting to make a horcrux for Hermione thus put him into magical contact with Harry's spirit, causing destructive interference; since Harry and Voldie were both severely pained by the attempt, in exactly the same was as happens when their magic touches.



Ooh. Good point.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:17 pm UTC

Chapter 112:
Spoiler:
I thought it was a bit uncharacteristic for Voldie to be shouting all of that aloud, but gave it a pass because it seems like something upsetting enough to him that even he might lose his composure. I wonder what the pain-causing event was then, if the shouting "in response" to it was all a ruse. Can Voldie just spontaneously cause magical interference between himself and Harry without visibly doing anything to him?
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:36 pm UTC

Spoiler:
It would be pretty simple to do so. He'd just need to cast a wordless charm of some sort, like Legilimens or something.

I am happy to see he was only faking. This leaves it open for a more direct conflict of wills/intellect.

This will obviously come down to Voldemort underestimating Harry. After Dumbledore, Voldemort then revealed his contempt for Harry's current "level", saying it would be decades before Harry would match Voldemort. That may be true, but young Tom Riddle (the original) didn't have a mentor/enemy like Voldemort/Quirrell to sharpen the intellect against. He was playing chess with himself until the second Wizarding War, and even then he was intentionally limiting himself. Voldemort hasn't had a real intellectual opponent before. Harry, though young, has been sharpening himself against Quirrell all year. Maybe not enough to combat and undo all the mechanization that Voldemort conceived in the nine years before he possessed Quirrell, but enough to cause a serious threat to his plans. Granted, a small army of Death Eaters all watching Harry with wands drawn does limit things. But I assume that Voldemort has yet another part Harry must play, and probably yet another - See the reason given for why Voldemort didn't just take over during the war. This makes me think of the fight with Mad Eye Moody. Harry explained that Moody wasn't really fighting for real, but just seeing what Harry would do, and that Harry would have to be stupid not to win. This is similar. Voldemort wants to keep Harry, the closest thing to an intellectual equal he has found, alive for just a little longer... Just a little longer. Harry would have to be stupid to lose.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Jorpho » Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:48 am UTC

Dag gum, wrong about the glasses. Well, I still think they're going to do something - law of conservation of detail and all that. (What was the explanation for not simply magicking his eyes again..?)

Things that will absolutely have to happen:
Spoiler:
Partial transfiguration saves the day, along with the pencil trick.


Things that ought to happen, but might not, because it's too predictable:
Spoiler:
Hermione sacrifices her life to Fiendfyre or the Killing Curse. Her Horcrux is a book, and much like Tom Riddle's old diary, she spends the rest of eternity talking to Harry and obstinately refuses to let him incorporate her again.


Things that might happen:
Spoiler:
A Dementor is summoned one way or another. Harry saves the day by revealing the flaw of the Patronus - or Hermione does, because she read the note Harry told her not to read.

Also, Draco, being a main character, is summoned or otherwise appears somehow, because he has to learn that Voldemort actually killed his mother and not Dumbledore.

Also, Lucius is a Time Lord.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby notzeb » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:01 am UTC

On the beginning of 112:
Spoiler:
"Right now my theory is that Quirrelmort's plan somehow hinges on Harry betraying him."

Called it! BAM
Speculation about the next chapter:
Spoiler:
It's a long shot, but what about Priori Incantatem? In fact, Voldemort may have left Harry with his wand just so they could play at a magical duel in which the reborn-Voldemort is defeated in a believable manner...
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:03 pm UTC

Spoiler:
You know, Draco and the Silver Slytherins haven't been seen in a while. I bet they have a part to play in the next couple of chapters.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Adam H » Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:21 pm UTC

Spoiler:
I just reread Chapter 28 and it's crazy how many things in it could come into play, including:
-failing to transfigure air (before figuring out partial transfiguration)
-partial transfiguration
-transfiguring carbon nanotubes
-the original prophecy including "power the dark lord knows not"
- And my personal favorite: '"Um, Hermione?" Harry said in a very small voice. "I think I owe you a really, really, really big apology."'

This is an awesome way to read the end of an excellent book, waiting feverishly for the next chapter to come out. It's like watching the last season of LOST, except not sucky. :)
-Adam

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:01 pm UTC

On various other corners of the blagosphere, they hypothesize that

Spoiler:
Harry will use partial transfiguration to escape/defeat the Death Eaters. Something along the lines of "His wand is pointed down, so he will partially transfigure the ground and cause sink-holes/vacuum-powered-spears/etc to take them all at at once.


The problem I see with that is

Spoiler:
Harry has to be touching whatever he is transfiguring with his wand (hence sticking his wand up the Troll's nose). Can partial transfiguration overcome this (ie transfigure the air itself to make it connect to the ground in some way)?


Also there is some discussion about

Spoiler:
whether or not Hermione can age or is now stuck permanently as a 12 year old.


I don't think that will be relevant to the plot other than an interesting note in the epilogue, but I wanted to bring the idea here for others to muse on.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:16 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:Also there is some discussion about

Spoiler:
whether or not Hermione can age or is now stuck permanently as a 12 year old.


I don't think that will be relevant to the plot other than an interesting note in the epilogue, but I wanted to bring the idea here for others to muse on.

Never mind aging - a body in stasis would have trouble forming memories or even thinking...

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:18 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
Whizbang wrote:Also there is some discussion about

Spoiler:
whether or not Hermione can age or is now stuck permanently as a 12 year old.


I don't think that will be relevant to the plot other than an interesting note in the epilogue, but I wanted to bring the idea here for others to muse on.

Never mind aging - a body in stasis would have trouble forming memories or even thinking...


A reason why trolls are so stupid, perhaps?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:36 pm UTC

So, remember the prophesy.
Spoiler:
Voldy does.

But I don't think he knows why you'd want to disassemble the stars themselves. His knowledge of muggle science fiction or futurism is probably still seriously lagging: an understandable error. Paying attention to muggles is one thing, but paying attention to muggle fantasies and dreams is another.

I assume the reason why you'd do that, and why it is a good thing, is obvious to everyone here?
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

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:39 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:So, remember the prophesy.
Spoiler:
Voldy does.

But I don't think he knows why you'd want to disassemble the stars themselves. His knowledge of muggle science fiction or futurism is probably still seriously lagging: an understandable error. Paying attention to muggles is one thing, but paying attention to muggle fantasies and dreams is another.

I assume the reason why you'd do that, and why it is a good thing, is obvious to everyone here?


Spoiler:
Because in a universe where everyone lives forever you'd need to eventually dismantle the stars for energy/resources?

My brain is clouded by a cold and cough medicine, so I may be missing something obvious, but that's all I can think of at the moment.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:35 pm UTC

Spoiler:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrioshka_brain

Dismantle the universe and turn it into computronium. Except you also have magic. But magic seems to require matter to transfigure, so you dismantle stars to produce the matter you need.

"HE IS HERE. THE ONE WHO WILL TEAR APART THE VERY STARS IN HEAVEN. HE IS HERE. HE IS THE END OF THE WORLD."

"Muggles in their wisdom say that soon the skies will be empty?"

You know the singularity? Imagine a magic fueled singularity. Faster than light travel, use the very stars as fuel to create a galaxy-wide civilization where each atom does enough computation to rival all the thoughts, loves and emotions of the entire human race over the last million years every second. And the entire universe, to the edge of space itself, is rewritten in years, or maybe weeks, or maybe hours, or maybe seconds into this kind of structure.

The end of the world.

The end game of "everyone lives forever" isn't an end game. "Humanity, living like it does now, but with all our current problems solved" is only a small step away from where we are now.

Imagine you asked a smart someone a million years ago what tool they wanted -- they might describe a magic spear that always flew true and returned to their hand. It is just an extrapolation of what they already know they can do, made "perfect".

The above is my magic spear: disassemble the universe in a flash and make it bigger.

A civilization on the scale produced by it, however, would be able to think up magic spears that make what I described above pedestrian. So take that magic spear, and now recurse -- imagine what a civilization of that scale, or a mind of that scale, might imagine you can do with magic.
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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