Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

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Whizbang
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:38 pm UTC

But I like my magic spear...

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Adam H » Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:44 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote: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)?

Spoiler:
The coolest theory I've seen is that Harry manages to partially transfigure the air itself into strands of carbon nanotubes, which he uses to slice through the death eaters, or perhaps just Voldemort.
Beneath the moonlight glints a tiny fragment of silver, a fraction of a line...

(black robes, falling)

...blood spills out in litres, and someone screams a word.


The argument I saw against this is that Harry decided transfiguring air is impossible because the molecules move too fast. But that was before partial transfiguration. I do think if he did this it would be a little unsettling and unsatisfying for the readers, but it definitely fits the foreshadowing. Perhaps Voldemort is testing Harry to see if he has some hidden power that can save him in this situation, so he keeps escalating the situation until Harry decides there's no other way to win other than his secret power. If he has to sacrifice his body to learn some new power, maybe he's willing to take the risk.

IMO the most likely scenario (assuming Harry doesn't die in the next chapter) is that Voldemort is setting up a duel where he fakes his death and sets Harry up as the next big thing.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby rmsgrey » Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:44 am UTC

Kardashev 3 to Kardashev 4 seems like an interesting starting point...

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Jorpho » Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:28 am UTC

It would be kind of nifty if suddenly
Spoiler:
the Death Eaters elected to depose Voldemort having collectively given the matter some thought
but no, that wouldn't work very well.

Although I am thinking now:
Spoiler:
what if Harry in the distant future finds some way to hack the prophecy-generating mechanism himself – or even just the mind of Trelawney, somehow – knowing that it would serve as a means to manipulate Voldemort? That means he doesn't have to be capable of bringing about the apocalypse after all.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby WarDaft » Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:07 pm UTC

Well
Spoiler:
That's a crappy kind of trick to pull Mr. Yudlowsky.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Ingolifs » Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:29 pm UTC

Transfiguration of matter into anti-matter could be part of the solution...
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:25 pm UTC

Step 1: Collect underwear...

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Jorpho » Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:31 am UTC

WarDaft wrote:Well
Spoiler:
That's a crappy kind of trick to pull Mr. Yudlowsky.
Motion seconded.

I expect there are legions out there both considerably more clever and far more vested in this story than I, much as I am enjoying myself. I will leave it to them.

Ingolifs wrote:Transfiguration of matter into anti-matter could be part of the solution...
Naah, that would be much too likely to destroy the world. I don't see how it would accomplish much anyway.

I do suspect that there might now be something he could do that would first compel him to consult with his... "friend", but then there's not much that he or she could tell him at this point. However, he or she does have new capabilities that could feasibly come into play.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:40 pm UTC

Transfigure a tiny amount of antimatter to annihilate everyone on the scene... Except invulnerable Hermione.

Then she informs the school, who use time turners and apparition to figure out what happened and save Harry from the blast. (Because nobody saw him die and the blast would leave no body, so its chronologically possible).

Possibly Harry stalls for the necessary time to do the transfiguration by telling Voldemort about partial transfiguration while he's doing it (without saying that he's doing it, to the tiny bit of air touching the tip of his still-downturned wand).

Or the carbon nanotube thing suggested earlier, which fits better with forshadowing but I'm not so sure how that would play out without killing Harry too.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:56 pm UTC

So, uh, how much antimatter can you transfigure? Seems like a process that will interrupt itself with an explosion.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:25 am UTC

How big of an explosion will one molecule of antinitrogen cause?

Also, does some of the target finish transfiguration first, or does it all happen at once?

And cant you transfigure one molecule into something more than that anyway? I'd expact that all to finish at ince at least.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:33 am UTC

buckyballs containing charged proton. "Stable" until jarrred, very high yield per gram (makes nukes look inefficient, and does not require trigger). But getting recipie right hard first time, like experimenting with nitro but worse.

But better
Spoiler:
author made an error: prior probability that HP survives high.

More importantly, either Harry survives, or conventional interpretation of end of world more likely. Killing harry remains outside of tom's best interest -- killing harry *does not stop prophesy*, it just makes alternative explanation for it more likely.

Harry's survival makes the chance that ((world ends because harry) is not bad) ridiculously higher. Killing him is stupid, if prophesies are reliable. This does not require changing tom's utility function.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby jareds » Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:06 am UTC

Yakk wrote:
Spoiler:
author made an error: prior probability that HP survives high.

More importantly, either Harry survives, or conventional interpretation of end of world more likely. Killing harry remains outside of tom's best interest -- killing harry *does not stop prophesy*, it just makes alternative explanation for it more likely.

Harry's survival makes the chance that ((world ends because harry) is not bad) ridiculously higher. Killing him is stupid, if prophesies are reliable. This does not require changing tom's utility function.

Spoiler:
Prophecies don't work like time turners, according to Quirrellmort. From a discussion about Trelawney's "HE IS COMING. THE ONE WHO WILL TEAR APART THE VERY -" phrophecy:
Chapter 86 wrote:Professor Quirrell spoke with eyes half-lidded, looking out like through slits. "More than the question of whom the prophecy spoke - who was meant to hear it? It is said that fates are spoken to those with the power to cause them or avert them. Dumbledore. Myself. You. As a distant fourth, Severus Snape. But of those four, Dumbledore and Snape would often be in Trelawney's presence. You and I are the ones who would not have spent much time around her before that Sunday. I think it quite likely that the prophecy was meant for one of us - before Dumbledore took the prophetess away. Did the Headmaster say nothing more to you?"
(bold mine)

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:35 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
WarDaft wrote:Well
Spoiler:
That's a crappy kind of trick to pull Mr. Yudlowsky.
Motion seconded.


Yeah, there are only two possibilities:

1) He knows of at least one way out, in which case there's a vanishingly small probability that no reader will come up with it (or another at least equally good), and a not significantly higher probability that no reader who comes up with one will send it to him.

2) He doesn't know of a solution and is requiring us to solve his problem for him.

The latter reminds me of one of Mark Twain's stories, which ends suddenly with the author admitting that he can't see a way to bring the hero through safely after all, so he's just going to leave him there...

Either way, quizzing the readers on the details of the story after having taken a lengthy hiatus is a bit of a dick move in itself, even without holding the ending hostage...

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby jareds » Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:13 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:2) He doesn't know of a solution and is requiring us to solve his problem for him.

According to the Jan 28 author's note for chapter 103, he'd already written the first draft of chapters 104 through 120, which is the end of the story.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby douglasm » Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:31 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:Yeah, there are only two possibilities:

1) He knows of at least one way out, in which case there's a vanishingly small probability that no reader will come up with it (or another at least equally good), and a not significantly higher probability that no reader who comes up with one will send it to him.

Spoiler:
Based on the little section in italics at the beginning of chapter 1 after the disclaimer, I'm fairly confident the "Transfigure carbon nanotubes to slice everyone to bits" solution is what he has in mind - and that he's had it in mind from the beginning.

Thinking about it from that perspective, there's been a LOT of foreshadowing about various details of it. Transfiguring something into carbon nanotubes, non-partial Transfiguration being unable to transform air into something else (so no one would expect Harry to be able to do it), Transfiguration being able to exert force by way of changing the size or shape of something, Dumbledore explicitly pointing out that Partial Transfiguration is "a power Voldemort knows not" and should be kept secret, Transfiguration in general being wordless, the recent addition of control over the order of parts of a Transfiguration (which I'm thinking would be useful to disarm people before killing them so as to avoid dying attacks)...

I'm expecting the next chapter to open with Harry thinking through the reasoning behind it, and then all the bad guys promptly becoming Ludicrous Gibs.


The solution idea that I posted:
Spoiler:
With 36 Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort all watching closely, ready to fire, it is not plausible that they might all miss or all react slowly. In order to win, Harry must reach his winning state before any of them even realize they should be taking action. Whatever Harry does, he must avoid triggering their response before his action is complete. That rules out movement or non-Parseltongue speech.

Harry has two tools available to him: Parseltongue dialogue with Lord Voldemort, and his wand. He cannot speak to any Death Eaters without triggering them. Speaking with Lord Voldemort will achieve results only by furthering Voldemort's goals in some way. Whatever side gains might be made, this seems suboptimal.

Harry's wand is pointed downward, and moving it will trigger the Death Eaters. Speaking the words of any spell will also trigger them. Anything he does with it must be wordless magic and must work with the wand pointing down. There is one form of wordless magic Harry has already mastered - Free Transfiguration. More than that, Harry has developed it beyond any other wizard by mastering Partial Transfiguration. I can think of no other wordless magic Harry knows, so this seems his only option.

Transfiguration is constrained by needing the wand to point at or touch (I'm not quite sure which) the object to be Transfigured. Harry's wand is pointing at the ground and touching the air. But if this requirement were direct and absolute, Transfiguring anything wider than the wand itself (or thicker than a surface film, if touch is the requirement) would be impossible. Discarding the notion of "objects", as Harry had to do to master Partial Transfiguration, the atoms to be Transfigured must be pointed at/touched by the wand or in contact with other atoms being Transfigured. It seems reasonable, then, that Harry can Transfigure any contiguous volume of atoms that connects with his wand. I note here that Harry tried and failed before to Transfigure air, but that was before developing Partial Transfiguration - that attempt was still limited by the conventional notions about whole objects, and he has never revisited it.

Transfiguration is also constrained by needing to know and understand what you're trying to Transfigure something into, and by the volume of what you are Transfiguring - more volume takes more time and magical power, both of which are in short supply for Harry. Harry's Transfiguration needs to defeat 37 opponents, and it must do so with something of exceedingly low volume. Defense does not seem viable. The offensive option that comes to mind with such a constraint is a cutting edge - provided you retain sufficient strength, smaller is actually better for that. What's thin and really strong and something Harry has Transfigured (or at least overseen the Transfiguration of) before? Buckytubes.

Transfigure a net of buckytubes already in place over every Death Eater and Lord Voldemort, a net form of the classic monomolecular whip. For good measure, place it over their wands too. Its weight might be insufficient to make it cut just lying there, so it needs a way to apply tension to make sure. Physically pulling on it both would trigger the Death Eaters and risk some of the threads flying into Harry, so that's a bad idea. But Harry established back in the same experiment session as the original buckytube transformation that you can make something exert force by Transfiguring its size/length. So, after the net is placed, Transfigure it shorter/smaller to make it slice through everything. Do the wands first to prevent any dying discharges. Oh, and the gun. Don't forget the gun.

The result: Harry stands stock still, not seeming to do anything. Moments later, the gun and every Death Eater's wand simultaneously fall into tiny pieces, and a moment after that the people holding them turn into Ludicrous Gibs. The Death Eaters are all dead. Lord Voldemort is forced back into a disembodied spirit. The only live bodies present for him to inhabit are Harry (not an option due to magical resonance) and Hermione (likely also having resonance due to Harry's Patronus being involved in raising her, but also off limits by Voldemort's own decision).

Voldemort will be back, certainly, but it will take him time to find and possess someone and make appropriate preparations for another confrontation. In the mean time, all his stuff is left behind. End the Transfiguration to avoid accidentally slicing Harry himself. Grab the Philosopher's Stone, the magic pouch, Hermione, the Time Turner, Invisibility Cloak, clothes, and whatever else seems useful, and use the final hour on the Time Turner to make a secure escape and buy extra time for your own preparations. Go back to Hogwarts, find another student with a Time Turner willing to take a message, and arrange for the extra arrivals Voldemort had not expected outside the hallway to the Stone.

After that I'd consider looking for a way to free Snape from Voldemort's Imperius charm (but wait until after Voldemort's left with past-Harry in tow to implement it, of course), contact Moody, and in general start rallying every useful ally available, keeping the constraint of not disrupting the Quidditch match in mind.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:45 am UTC

jareds wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:2) He doesn't know of a solution and is requiring us to solve his problem for him.

According to the Jan 28 author's note for chapter 103, he'd already written the first draft of chapters 104 through 120, which is the end of the story.

Though he's now promising to continue into Ch 121 if someone can guess the magic words. Of course, that could be just natural expansion as he fleshed out his draft...

Either the remaining chapters have been written in such a way that it makes little difference how Harry escapes; or it doesn't matter whether anyone manages to come up with a better/different solution, we'll be stuck with the official version either way; or there will be a delay while the future is rewritten...

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Mar 02, 2015 4:59 am UTC

Ok, that bugs me much less. When I first read this note I thought it was next chapter being held hostage. I still don't like it though (and 'don't participate' isn't good enough).

I also agree that the buckytube solution is most likely, though I stand by my antimatter + time turner + apparition solution as feasible. Nice analysis of how it would all go with in-universe reasoning, and also of all the foreshadowing that has already been established leading up to it.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Jorpho » Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:05 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
jareds wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:2) He doesn't know of a solution and is requiring us to solve his problem for him.

According to the Jan 28 author's note for chapter 103, he'd already written the first draft of chapters 104 through 120, which is the end of the story.

Though he's now promising to continue into Ch 121 if someone can guess the magic words. Of course, that could be just natural expansion as he fleshed out his draft...
That's not how I interpreted it at all. I figured he was just going to end it right at 114 if no one guesses the magic words. Because we've been naughty. (He wouldn't really do that, would he..?)

I can't believe this is going to end with antimatter or carbon nanotubes; that strikes me as crude and unbecoming of a professed "Rationalist". This is the guy who wrote that essay about the deterministic wishing machine, and just spend a lengthy part of a chapter going over the grammar of
Spoiler:
unbreakable vows
. And unfortunately the specter of literalism has not only now been raised but is now flinging linguistic china against the walls.

Spoiler:
The only way to end the threat of Voldemort once and for all is to con him into making an Unbreakable Vow. And the only way that might happen is if Harry can pose the problem in such a way that he cannot choose to dilvulge his secrets to Voldemort unless he sees doing so as potentially bringing about the end of the world. The "end of the world" is really pretty vague terminology to use in an unbreakable vow and there's probably some way to frame it as the "end of the status quo".
But the specifics are a matter of the sort of convoluted rules-lawyering that I lack the patience for.

ETA:
douglasm wrote:
Spoiler:
Based on the little section in italics at the beginning of chapter 1 after the disclaimer, I'm fairly confident the "Transfigure carbon nanotubes to slice everyone to bits" solution is what he has in mind - and that he's had it in mind from the beginning.
Oh dag, has that always been there?

Well, geez, when you put it that way, maybe it's the nanotubes after all. It has no business being there otherwise. :evil:

...Unless, of course, that is the Sad End, wherein Harry wins by giving up once and for all the possibility of not killing anyone if necessary? Nah.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby jules.LT » Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:52 am UTC

While partial transfiguration seems to be his only available mode of action and buckytubes are very probably involved, mass dicing seems unlikely to be successful in preventing each and every one of these death eaters from reacting...

It's good that they are in a semi circle, so my initial objection that he needs to see what he's doing might not be relevant.

He doesn't necessarily need to massacre the death eaters, only escape. Finding a non-lethal option might be considered against the previous theme or a nice counterpoint to his previous dark side fueled behaviour.
Then again, now is probably not the time to go for half-measures.

Other tools that he might be able to reach with his buckytubes and manipulate via transfiguration of the stuff around them : an invulnerable Hermione, a time-turner, an invisibility cloak, a transfiguration stone...

There's one less death eater than there were pops because V killed one, right?
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby douglasm » Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:15 am UTC

jules.LT wrote:While partial transfiguration seems to be his only available mode of action and buckytubes are very probably involved, mass dicing seems unlikely to be successful in preventing each and every one of these death eaters from reacting...

Spoiler:
Which is why my solution includes dicing their wands first. They'll notice themselves being diced the moment skin gets broken, but wands shouldn't be noticed until they're already falling apart at which point it's already too late. Any action they take will have to involve a backup wand (which must be retrieved from storage, taking crucial time) or wandless magic (which none of them are prepared for, even if any of them are capable of actually doing something threatening that way).

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:39 pm UTC

Spoiler:
tom riddle has already made an unbreakable vow

but that seems like cheating.
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 Whizbang » Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:52 pm UTC

A note on the "Kill All Death Eaters" approach:

Spoiler:
If Harry manages to kill all the Death Eaters (via buckytubes or otherwise) there will be a problem, specifically with Draco. I am certain that Lucious is among those present (Mr White?). If Harry kills him, that may be the end of the Friendship. Maybe a secondary consideration at this point, but may be worth considering.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby jules.LT » Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:21 pm UTC

douglasm wrote:
jules.LT wrote:While partial transfiguration seems to be his only available mode of action and buckytubes are very probably involved, mass dicing seems unlikely to be successful in preventing each and every one of these death eaters from reacting...

Spoiler:
Which is why my solution includes dicing their wands first. They'll notice themselves being diced the moment skin gets broken, but wands shouldn't be noticed until they're already falling apart at which point it's already too late. Any action they take will have to involve a backup wand (which must be retrieved from storage, taking crucial time) or wandless magic (which none of them are prepared for, even if any of them are capable of actually doing something threatening that way).

Spoiler:
Although I agree that something along those lines is most probable, mass dicing anything still requires a lot of precision and synchronisation...
As for wandless magic, I think we can safely assume that *all* of them know it to some degree, so dicing the wands probably doesn't earn you more than a second before the fastest of them does something


Whizbang wrote:A note on the "Kill All Death Eaters" approach:

Spoiler:
If Harry manages to kill all the Death Eaters (via buckytubes or otherwise) there will be a problem, specifically with Draco. I am certain that Lucious is among those present (Mr White?). If Harry kills him, that may be the end of the Friendship. Maybe a secondary consideration at this point, but may be worth considering.


Spoiler:
True.
Also, while not "innocent", a lot of them seem reluctant and motivated by fear.

Still within that approach, though, I find that making them kill themselves or each other by reorienting their wands via buckytubes is more elegant than dicing.
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 Jorpho » Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:47 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:
Spoiler:
tom riddle has already made an unbreakable vow
Oh? Which one was that again?

Whizbang wrote:
Spoiler:
If Harry manages to kill all the Death Eaters (via buckytubes or otherwise) there will be a problem, specifically with Draco. I am certain that Lucious is among those present (Mr White?). If Harry kills him, that may be the end of the Friendship. Maybe a secondary consideration at this point, but may be worth considering.
On the other hand,
Spoiler:
with Voledemort gone and the Philosopher's Stone on hand, would Harry be capable of bringing him back to life?


By the way, he's added an extra little something at the end of the note.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:49 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
Yakk wrote:
Spoiler:
tom riddle has already made an unbreakable vow
Oh? Which one was that again?

Spoiler:
The one that tom riddle forced tom riddle to vow, in the latest chapter.

Other thoughts
Spoiler:
Killing them all with magic is blunt and boring.

Using magic (say, transfigure air into nanotubes) to remote-control the time turner is better.

The observation that too many people appeared at the door at the wrong time is important: it implies another actor. But I'm not sure what benefit a victorious HP gets from sending more people to that event? Or, how more people at that event could imply a victorious harry potter?
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 jules.LT » Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:02 am UTC

The many people coming at the same time were V's backup plans, whom he manipulated into wanting to grab the stone for different reasons, he said it in the mirror room.

And actually the quote at the start of chapter 1 seems to indicate that there will be dicing
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:08 am UTC

Voldemort did say that he was unsure quite why… something, I forget the specifics, but though he set up a bunch of reasons for different people to show up at the corridor, they showed up in a way that was not quite exactly what he had expected.

That difference was absurd enough to make Harry notice that he was confused, and started the chain of thought that lead him to realize who Voldemort was.

So the reason a victorious Harry would arrange for things to go not-quite-exactly-but-plausibly-close-enough-to the way Voldemort himself had arranged things is to tip himself (in the past) off about Voldemort, without tipping off Voldemort (in the past) that Harry had survived (in the future) in order to send himself such a message in the past.

I do wonder though, what exactly would have gone differently if Harry hadn't realized who Voldemort was. Voldie had safeguards set up enough that it seems like his plans still went exactly as he intended them to, even with Harry knowing that they were for evil purposes. At least through to the graveyard. Once there... I would guess that Voldie had expected Harry to betray him sometime then, upon the revelation of who he was, and planned for everything to still go pretty much exactly as it has already. So the only thing that really happened differently because of the (supposed) time turning is the conversation along the way. Which seems to be mostly for our benefit more than for plot purposes; I'm sure Harry was genuinely curious to know the answers to all those questions, but it's not like knowing Voldemort's reasons for being Voldemort and doing the things he did in the past are going to help him change anything in the future. Except, maybe, for the stuff about the means of Voldemort's immortality, although even then that seems like the kind of thing where just knowing what the problem is exactly doesn't help much, as it's still an insurmountable problem. But still, if Harry hadn't known who Voldemort was while working through the potions room, that whole conversation about how exactly his immortality works wouldn't have happened then, and likely wouldn't have happened later when Harry finally realized who he was at the graveyard, either.

Which means Voldie violated #7 on the Evil Overlord List. Never tell the enemy what this is all about. Shoot first and refuse to answer questions later.

Speaking of which, he also just violated #24, after which is supposed to follow imminent death.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Jorpho » Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:01 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Which means Voldie violated #7 on the Evil Overlord List. Never tell the enemy what this is all about. Shoot first and refuse to answer questions later.

Speaking of which, he also just violated #24, after which is supposed to follow imminent death.
And #16, if you want to be picky. Probably #21, but let's not go crazy.

I'll just leave this here, shall I?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:05 am UTC

Good point about #16, but I think #21 was very knowingly and consciously violated as he specifically set out to create a kind of "storybook" force of evil in the Death Eaters. He's invoking the trope, not averting it, but still consciously aware and in control of it.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby douglasm » Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:40 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Good point about #16, but I think #21 was very knowingly and consciously violated as he specifically set out to create a kind of "storybook" force of evil in the Death Eaters. He's invoking the trope, not averting it, but still consciously aware and in control of it.

Indeed, the Death Eater uniform was created when Voldemort still specifically intended for them to be defeated as a practice run before he set up his real Dark Lord persona.

Aside from #21, Voldemort is probably well aware that he's violating such rules by explaining things to Harry and giving him even those 60 seconds in such a heavily weighted situation, but he himself stated early in the story that following all the rules all the time would be unbearably boring and give up occasional potential gains. He's weighted the odds so heavily in his favor that Harry would require not merely a power Voldemort doesn't know, but an unknown power of Story Breaking potential to overcome them, and even then it would take something absurdly specific to win a permanent victory on the spot. He's judged, quite reasonably given what he knows, that this risk is low enough to be an acceptable indulgence.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby jules.LT » Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:38 pm UTC

douglasm wrote:He's judged, quite reasonably given what he knows, that this risk is low enough to be an acceptable indulgence.

Leaving him his glasses and his limbs is an acceptable indulgence.
But he expects Harry to have other cards up his sleeve, and probably knows about partial transfiguration*, therefore it was bloody stupid to leave Harry his wand after the Vow.
I suspect that he wants Harry to try something again.

* although not necessarily in much detail, and not about buckywire
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:04 pm UTC

jules.LT wrote:While partial transfiguration seems to be his only available mode of action and buckytubes are very probably involved, mass dicing seems unlikely to be successful in preventing each and every one of these death eaters from reacting...

It's good that they are in a semi circle, so my initial objection that he needs to see what he's doing might not be relevant.

He doesn't necessarily need to massacre the death eaters, only escape. Finding a non-lethal option might be considered against the previous theme or a nice counterpoint to his previous dark side fueled behaviour.
Then again, now is probably not the time to go for half-measures.

Other tools that he might be able to reach with his buckytubes and manipulate via transfiguration of the stuff around them : an invulnerable Hermione, a time-turner, an invisibility cloak, a transfiguration stone...

There's one less death eater than there were pops because V killed one, right?


Yeah. And one has been pretty well drained by the vow. Which doesn't make him entirely a non threat, but at least demotes him from first line threats. Still, pretty rough odds.

The answer is not just stabbing. Partial transfiguration has been discussed enough that it basically has to be used, yes. But this isn't about just having the biggest gun. He's got to say a secret, and in doing so, tilt the odds. In parseltounge.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:16 pm UTC

By simple pattern matching, I doubt the secret unknown to Voldemort is Partial Transfiguration. This is based on two things: 1- Dumbledore said it might be the edge HP needs (and Dumbledore set fire to a chicken, so...), and 2- The secret, to me, feels like it needs to be a more profound knowledge of reality (though I suppose the knowledge that the universe is all just timeless formulations of quantum mechanics is pretty profound).

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Kisama » Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:54 pm UTC

Omw so excite
cd880b726e0a0dbd4237f10d15da46f4

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:18 pm UTC

post 114/115 speculation:
Spoiler:
Does Harry have enough time turner mojo left to make the bad things that happened on the way to the graveyard only seemingly bad?

The obvious technique would be to relay a message back to Dumbledore, making the mirror "trap" a fake somehow.

Another thing that could be done would be to warn Draco to save his Father (have his father not go to the graveyard) somehow. As Harry does not know who is there, Harry can save individuals.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Gwydion » Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:46 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:post 114/115 speculation:
Spoiler:
Does Harry have enough time turner mojo left to make the bad things that happened on the way to the graveyard only seemingly bad?

The obvious technique would be to relay a message back to Dumbledore, making the mirror "trap" a fake somehow.

Another thing that could be done would be to warn Draco to save his Father (have his father not go to the graveyard) somehow. As Harry does not know who is there, Harry can save individuals.

Spoiler:
I doubt there is enough time to save Dumbledore from the mirror, since they had a lot of time to talk on the way to the graveyard, and spent probably a long time reviving Hermione - the passage of time wasn't clearly marked, but it certainly felt like more than an hour's worth. Saving Lucius is a good idea, but Voldemort makes it sound in 113 like everyone whom he expected to be there showed up. The only Death Eater mentioned by name was MacNair, killed by Voldemort rather than Harry. He also comments on having control over their Marks, so sending an imposter seems like the kind of thing Voldemort might be able to detect. Maybe more importantly, would Harry send someone else to die in Lucius's place?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Whizbang » Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:55 pm UTC

114/115:

Spoiler:
Obviously everyone called the nano/buckytubes thing. And if they didn't, they read it in a thousand different theories. So, that wasn't a surprise. What was a surprise, though makes sense, was that he did spider silk first, to avoid notice. The Antimatter thing was also called, but I still say Harry wouldn't be able to make even a cubic millimeter before what little he did make reacted with the air and caused an explosion. I also liked the use of Stuporfy. I wondered if he would use that spell again, it seemed a little Checkov's Gun-ish.

I like how, even though Voldemort was a rationalist, Harry was able to kill/nullify him and his minions so quickly. Fell nicely in line with the recurring theme of just decapitating the enemy (literally in this case) without the usual interplay of attack and defend. This is clearly a case of Voldemort underestimating Harry, but also of Voldemort's tendency to play with his victims (eg the reason he let the Second Wizarding War run on and on). Harry's initial assessment was accurate in that Voldemort is/was stupid to let his enemies live long enough to figure out how to defeat him.

I wonder what Hermione will think when she wakes up. Will she ever know why she is so invulnerable and what that cost (human life, unicorn life, troll life, and some of Harry's magic/life). If she ever figures that out, she'd be horrified, and perpetually feeling guilt (she can't kill her self because that would waste the sacrifice, but she also wouldn't be able to handle the fact that her life was the direct result of so much death).

I wonder if Dumbledore will somehow be saved. I think not, simply because he died in Canon.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby jules.LT » Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:56 pm UTC

Spoiler:
@Yakk: I really like your idea of saving Lucius.
@Gwydion: Using someone else's time-turner he can have almost the full six hours back on his hands.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:40 pm UTC

You know, I had actually been fantasizing a bit about
Spoiler:
using some kind of mind-magic to make Voldemort not Voldemort anymore, rather than trying to kill him. I had pictured him somehow being incapacitated and tried (at Harry's insistence) fairly and publicly, and then sentenced to death, but then Harry would suggest some kind of variation on mind-magic that nobody else had thought of before, that would allow him to "kill" Voldemort, destroy that personality, and leave behind only the parts he liked in the mask of Quirrel. But I couldn't think of any actual canon mind-magic that could be twisted to accomplish this. I hadn't thought of Obliviate, but I guess it does the job.


Also, a prediction:
Spoiler:
There are five or six chapters left to go. Though there is still a lot of stuff to wrap up, that's a pretty long time to have the main villain dead and gone and just be doing, basically, epilogue stuff. I predict that we have not yet seen the last of Voldemort. How? Well, Quirrelmort's zombie mode is still unexplained as far as I can remember. My hypothesis is that Voldemort had more than one horcrux-possessed body, Quirrell and someone else somewhere else who also made contact with a horcrux. But there's only one Voldemort-mind, so he can only be doing things in one body at a time, and when he's in that other body, Quirrell has to shut down into zombie mode. When he got his new body, he abandoned the Quirrell body, but why would he abandon the other one elsewhere? I could still come in very handy if he were to be somehow incapacitated against all expectations. So I think that Voldemort was already not attached to the brain that Harry Obliviated by the time he did so, and someone else is going to show up some time in the next six chapters and also be Voldemort. But a less-powerful kind of Voldemort than the one who was born at the graveyard, and one who is now caught terribly off guard by all of his carefully-laid plans going horribly awry.


Are there any important characters from canon who are not yet accounted for in this story? They could perhaps make a surprise last-minute appearance for the above reasons. One sorta-maybe-accounted-for character I can think of, if she wasn't at the graveyard just now, is
Spoiler:
Bellatrix.
But it would be a better twist if it were a character thought thus far to be on Harry's side, though it can't have been someone he's come in close proximity to yet.
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