Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:47 pm UTC

I don't understand what happened with that last part, but I think whoever this character is

Spoiler:
gave harry the invisibility cloak, made blaise zabini a quintuple agent, passed on bullying hints...and might very well be voldemort
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby WarDaft » Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:23 am UTC

Well...
Spoiler:
The implication is that whoever this apparition is, is simply wiping Hermione's memories every time it fails to convince her, and that we may just have observed the start of the final 'try' that convinces her to flee.

Santa Clause could well be Snape, depending on how well this Snape's motivations will be following the canon Snape. No he didn't get along with Harry's father, but he adored his mother, and the note only says that the cloak is passed down from his father.

There is certainly the implication that Mr. Hat and Cloak is Quirrel "... For you have now seen how the others stayed silent when you were in need -" though it could very well end up to be Dumbledore as well. As I recall, Dumbledore was involved somehow in a girls death when he was young. He is concerned Harry is pursuing the same paths he did, with possibly the same consequences, but far faster. The revelation of the apparition's identity comes as a serious shock to Hermione. I can't see it surprising her that it's Quirrel, but perhaps. Quirrel does not seem to care what happens to Hermione, and it is hard to see how he might gain from her disappearance yet safety. Dumbledore on the other hand, could easily twist her disappearance into a way to calm Harry's wrath... showing him a real consequence to his actions, which as far as I can see, he has never actually felt the real bitter sting of... the experience of the Phoenixes price without paying it. But these are all very subtle... and metagaming the story, the quoted section above is one of the things (IIRC) that was edited in to make things a little more obvious. So really, despite these justifications for it being Dumbledore, it probably is Quirrel.

Snape was passing the hints about the bullies.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby ShootTheChicken » Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:46 pm UTC

:shock:
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:53 pm UTC

I've never understood why obliviate wouldn't be considered to be amongst, if not the unforgivable curses, a category of frowned-upon spells, or at least tracked by some ministry or other.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby WarDaft » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:56 pm UTC

To useful for national security. Like Dementors.

Not monitored, because it's also far to useful for many of the powerful families. And because it's not monitored, and there's basically no evidence of it happening, very little thought is actually put to it.

That and, if you tried to raise a stink about it, someone would probably just obliviate you.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Vaniver » Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:55 pm UTC

Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:I don't understand what happened with that last part, but I think whoever this character is

Spoiler:
gave harry the invisibility cloak, made blaise zabini a quintuple agent, passed on bullying hints...and might very well be voldemort
You realize that
Spoiler:
Quirrel is Voldemort, right?
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby WarDaft » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:09 am UTC

I'm not sure that
Spoiler:
Quirrel even can be Voldemort anymore. At least, not the Voldemort we might expect. If Quirrel really were the villain, considering how powerful and smart he is, he'd have already won whatever it was that he wanted to win. Any time Quirrel has had Harry off campus would have been a fine time to abracadabra him (or rather pay someone to appear to overpower him and abracadabra Harry, after which he then disposes of the assassin to avoid any sullying of his name) and gradually disappear (as is expected of defense professors). So he can't possibly consider Harry a potential opponent. Any perceived chance of him being beaten by Harry would have already resulted in no more Harry.

We have to ask ourselves what Quirrel, if Voldemort, still hopes to gain... and how he hopes to gain it.

Power? He has power. Dumbledore stated that there were only three capable of putting on the display that Quirrel did in the hallways. Himself, Snape, and Quirrel. Obviously, if Quirrel is Voldemort, he has not let Dumbledore know even vaguely his full power, yet Dumbledore knows his power to be great enough to put in the ranks of Snape and even himself. What power can he gain from a 10 year old boy, whose greatest strength (logical thought) he already seems to possess in spades?

Influence? Influence comes from power. We have already witnessed Quirrel get away with murder at least once. Controlling many some-what powerful but influential people gives you influence, and with magic, is not even vaguely difficult.

Control? Perhaps Quirrel intends to taint Harry. To raise this prodigy up as a new dark lord for he himself to vanquish, and appear the noble savior much as Dumbledore is now. If Dumbledore has to die for that to come about... well, I can't see Quirrel loosing sleep over that, and Dumbledore already dies in cannon. Of course that may be evidence against this, there is always the nigh irresistible urge to stray from the established path. It's still a pretty convoluted plan to obtain power. Simpler plans that simply aren't known tend to work better.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:19 am UTC

Spoiler:
Yes, but logical thought isn't harry's only strength. Scientific thought is. there's a difference there. For all the cleverness of Quirrel, he definitely underestimates the combination of scientific thought and magic that Harry can bring. If he had that himself, he would have already done what Harry plans to do. And the cynicism is a major weakness of Quirrel's. But Quirrel himself thinks of that as a strength.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby KrO2 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:00 am UTC

I re-read TSPE while waiting for the next chapter, and I ran across something that seemed interesting.

Dumbledore:
His strongest road to life is the Philosopher's Stone, which Flamel assures me that not even Voldemort could create on his own; by that road he would rise greater and more terrible than ever before. I would not have thought Voldemort able to resist the temptation of the Stone, still less because such an obvious trap is a challenge to his wit.

Quirrel:
A single glance would tell any competent wizard that the Headmaster has laced that corridor with a ridiculous quantity of wards and webs, triggers and tripsigns. And more: there are Charms laid there of ancient power, magical constructs of which I have heard not even rumors, techniques that must have been disgorged from the hoarded lore of Flamel himself. Even He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named would have had trouble passing those without notice." Professor Quirrell tapped a thoughtful finger on his cheek. "And for the actual lock, a Colloportus laid on an ordinary doorknob, cast so weakly that it could not have kept out Miss Granger on the day she entered Hogwarts. I have never seen such an obvious trap in all my life.

Therefore, it the Stone exists in MoR and is still capable of making Elixer of Life. It is also most likely even in the same place as it was in canon, though Dumbledore could have hidden it in the Hogwarts Gringotts vault, Harry's father's rock, or really anywhere and just left the traps as a diversion. Quirrel probably knows exactly what it is, maybe even where. I'm beginning to suspect that if Quirrel is Voldemort (Despite everything, the personality and awesomeness differences between him and the Dark Lord people refer back to are implying a lot of change, so I'm beginning to doubt this against my will.) he's not after a way to get a body back because he already did. That's why Quirrel isn't wearing a turban. If true, this means he isn't after Bellatrix for the reason Dumbledore thinks. It also explains why the Stone hasn't been stolen. (Unless it has.)
More importantly, If the Stone has the same abilities as in canon, there exists a non-evil form of magical life extension that Dumbledore is keeping secret.
Conclusion: Harry is going to be mad. I think someone brought that up in this thread earlier, but that was a while ago, before this evidence came out.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby mister k » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:28 am UTC

My thoughts

Spoiler:
Quirrelmort isn't as powerful as voldemort. While he's clearly very powerful, whenever he casts magic it leaves him incredibly exhausted. Its worth wondering why this incredibly powerful and honestly rather suspicious teacher hasn't been caught out yet. Even in the books Dumbeldore had Snape keep an eye on Quirrel, and this one is not trying to cover up his nature.

I do think quirrelmort wants to become stronger before moving forward. His plans seem a little strange this time, and he's certainly attempting to push Harry to be the new leader of magical Britain. His theory being, perhaps, that he can get the country to unite under Harry more easily than himself. I think that as voldemort he had become close to controlling Britain, having decided force was the most logical way to take control. However, he heard (or misheard) the prophecy, and acted to destroy a perceived threat, only to find himself destroyed by it. Perhaps his new caution towards Harry is due to his belief that Harry has magical protection from him (and, indeed, canonically he does!). Orrrrr he knows Harry is a horcrux. Now as far as we know horcruxes cannot be reabsorbed by their creator, and that one more than 7 pieces of soul is too many. So actually he's constrained to look after Harry, because the alternative would be destroying a part of himself?
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Vaniver » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:02 pm UTC

WarDaft:

Spoiler:
Harry is a horcrux. It's plausible that MoR!Voldemort knows that, and possibly intended that. Thus, the sane thing for Voldemort to do is try and nurture that part of himself, rather than destroy it.

It seems most likely to me that Quirrel is trying to mold Harry in his image, made easier by the dark side that Harry carries within him, and place Harry in charge of magical Britain (and then rapidly the world). It seems likely that Harry will attempt to tame Quirrel, and possible that it will work.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby jobriath » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:06 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Vaniver wrote:It seems most likely to me that Quirrel is trying to mold Harry in his image, made easier by the dark side that Harry carries within him, and place Harry in charge of magical Britain (and then rapidly the world). It seems likely that Harry will attempt to tame Quirrel, and possible that it will work.

That's actually a really sweet arc. Harry cures Voldemort's cynicism in human nature. (Or at least renders it moot by improving human nature!)
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Jorpho » Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:20 pm UTC

mister k wrote:I actually enjoyed chap 75 a bit more, weirdly, because it felt more real. The escalating stakes of the bullies just hasn't worked for me- I feel it peaked with Tonks then slumped with Quirrel. I think after Azkaban, trying to inject menace into bullies just strikes me as a bit odd (it was strongly implied in the books that bullying rarely went very far in the schools, even if it was common. After all, the only student that has died in Hogwarts over the past century was killed by the monster of slytherin.)
Yes, I found all this stuff about bullying to be most out of place. They've made it so that no one underage can cast a spell outside of Hogwarts without alerting the authorities automatically; if bullying was indeed a problem, then someone at some point in Hogwarts history ought to have figured out a way to set up relevant wards or something to prevent it.

It's hinted that it's all political in the end – the bullies are members of powerful families and get away with it because of the influence of said families – but it's not very strongly justified.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:56 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:I don't understand what happened with that last part, but I think whoever this character is

Spoiler:
gave harry the invisibility cloak, made blaise zabini a quintuple agent, passed on bullying hints...and might very well be voldemort
You realize that
Spoiler:
Quirrel is Voldemort, right?

I can't believe I actually wrote that (though there is good reason to doubt...in the original books we never got to see Quirrel's personality, just a lot of drooling...but who else would be this blackhat? Someone new?
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby HonoreDB » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:43 pm UTC

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


It's finished! I'm publishing it as an e-book, because Shakespeare is public domain and I can do that. Hope you enjoy!
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Argency » Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:17 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:WarDaft:

Spoiler:
Harry is a horcrux. It's plausible that MoR!Voldemort knows that, and possibly intended that. Thus, the sane thing for Voldemort to do is try and nurture that part of himself, rather than destroy it.


Spoiler:
I agree. I'm going to give you my pet theory here so hold onto your hats.

I think Quirrellmort probably decided at one point in the past that it would be way easier to take over magical Britain if everyone thought he'd already failed at doing so. I think he's probably going for control of both sides. Imagine if Darth Vader had created the rebel alliance in order to funnel potential opponents into a harmless straw-opposition: he could let them attempt the occasional coup, always avoiding any real cost to himself and throw them the occasional minor victory to keep them on the hook.

To quote the chapter Contagious Lies:
"Yess," Harry hissed dryly, "very amussing, I am ssure. Except now am sstuck in Hogwartss for next ssix years, for ssafety! I have decided that I will, indeed, sseek power; and confinement iss not helpful for that. Musst convince sschoolmasster that Dark Lord iss not yet awakened, that esscape was work of ssome other power -"

Again the rapid flickering of the snake's tongue; the snakish laughter was stronger, dryer, this time. "Amateur foolisshnesss."

"Pardon?" hissed Harry.

"You ssee misstake, think of undoing, ssetting time back to sstart. Yet not even with hourglasss can time be undone. Musst move forward insstead. You think of convincing otherss they are misstaken. Far eassier to convince them they are right. Sso conssider, boy: what new happensstance would make schoolmasster decide you were ssafe once more, ssimultaneoussly advance your other agendass?"

Harry stared at the snake, puzzled. His mind tried to comprehend and unravel the riddle -

"Iss it not obviouss?" hissed the snake. Again the tongue flickered sardonic laughter. "To free yoursself, to gain power in Britain, you musst again be sseen to defeat the Dark Lord."


That's obviously not the same plan I'm talking about, but we can see that Quirrell has at least been thinking along similar lines to me. I can see a number of different ways he could have formulated this plan, but the simplest one seems to be:

- Set up evil organisation and make an attempt at taking the country over. Allow everyone to gauge your intelligence from your actions, and to form the strongest alliance they are capable of forming against you. Everyone's gauge of your intelligence will in fact be off by several points, since this isn't really your big ploy - it's actually a feint and you intend it to fail.
- Fake your own defeat, simultaneously creating a (young, impressionable) hero for your opponents and removing yourself from all further suspicion, since almost everyone will think you're dead.
- Become a role model to the aforementioned young hero and mould him to your will. The kid is in the perfect position to take over the leadership of your opposition, so you now effectively have control of both major players in the game.
- Win.

This is also foregrounded in Coordination Problems 2 and 3. Quirrell wants Harry to bind the population together under him and Harry makes a short speech about the dangers of group thinking. Quirrell's reaction is one of anger - obviously he can't have Harry breaking the monopoly that the Order of the Phoenix has on do-gooding, because that opens the field up for thousands of free-agent challengers to Quirrell's power. It also mirrors Harry and Draco's plan to play the two sides off against each other, except obviously Harry is aiming for world optimisation, not domination.

Finally, Dumbledore seems to think Voldemort is still alive, but he's either pretending to have irrational justifications for this or he really does. I think it's waaaay more likely that Dumbledore is just playing dumb, since he's definitely smarter than he lets on, as evidenced by his and Snape's big discussion about the Bellatrix thing, but I'm not entirely sure how much Dumbly knows for sure. Quirrell knows Dumbledore acts as though he thinks Voldemort is still alive. The real wildcard is Harry, because Quirrell probably wasn't expecting him to be such a major agent in all this, he's almost certainly playing Xanatos chess at this point trying to keep ahead of Harry and keep his plan alive.

Or at least that's my theory.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:12 am UTC

Argency wrote:
Vaniver wrote:WarDaft:

Spoiler:
Harry is a horcrux. It's plausible that MoR!Voldemort knows that, and possibly intended that. Thus, the sane thing for Voldemort to do is try and nurture that part of himself, rather than destroy it.


Spoiler:
I agree. I'm going to give you my pet theory here so hold onto your hats.

I think Quirrellmort probably decided at one point in the past that it would be way easier to take over magical Britain if everyone thought he'd already failed at doing so. I think he's probably going for control of both sides. Imagine if Darth Vader had created the rebel alliance in order to funnel potential opponents into a harmless straw-opposition: he could let them attempt the occasional coup, always avoiding any real cost to himself and throw them the occasional minor victory to keep them on the hook.

To quote the chapter Contagious Lies:
"Yess," Harry hissed dryly, "very amussing, I am ssure. Except now am sstuck in Hogwartss for next ssix years, for ssafety! I have decided that I will, indeed, sseek power; and confinement iss not helpful for that. Musst convince sschoolmasster that Dark Lord iss not yet awakened, that esscape was work of ssome other power -"

Again the rapid flickering of the snake's tongue; the snakish laughter was stronger, dryer, this time. "Amateur foolisshnesss."

"Pardon?" hissed Harry.

"You ssee misstake, think of undoing, ssetting time back to sstart. Yet not even with hourglasss can time be undone. Musst move forward insstead. You think of convincing otherss they are misstaken. Far eassier to convince them they are right. Sso conssider, boy: what new happensstance would make schoolmasster decide you were ssafe once more, ssimultaneoussly advance your other agendass?"

Harry stared at the snake, puzzled. His mind tried to comprehend and unravel the riddle -

"Iss it not obviouss?" hissed the snake. Again the tongue flickered sardonic laughter. "To free yoursself, to gain power in Britain, you musst again be sseen to defeat the Dark Lord."


That's obviously not the same plan I'm talking about, but we can see that Quirrell has at least been thinking along similar lines to me. I can see a number of different ways he could have formulated this plan, but the simplest one seems to be:

- Set up evil organisation and make an attempt at taking the country over. Allow everyone to gauge your intelligence from your actions, and to form the strongest alliance they are capable of forming against you. Everyone's gauge of your intelligence will in fact be off by several points, since this isn't really your big ploy - it's actually a feint and you intend it to fail.
- Fake your own defeat, simultaneously creating a (young, impressionable) hero for your opponents and removing yourself from all further suspicion, since almost everyone will think you're dead.
- Become a role model to the aforementioned young hero and mould him to your will. The kid is in the perfect position to take over the leadership of your opposition, so you now effectively have control of both major players in the game.
- Win.

This is also foregrounded in Coordination Problems 2 and 3. Quirrell wants Harry to bind the population together under him and Harry makes a short speech about the dangers of group thinking. Quirrell's reaction is one of anger - obviously he can't have Harry breaking the monopoly that the Order of the Phoenix has on do-gooding, because that opens the field up for thousands of free-agent challengers to Quirrell's power. It also mirrors Harry and Draco's plan to play the two sides off against each other, except obviously Harry is aiming for world optimisation, not domination.

Finally, Dumbledore seems to think Voldemort is still alive, but he's either pretending to have irrational justifications for this or he really does. I think it's waaaay more likely that Dumbledore is just playing dumb, since he's definitely smarter than he lets on, as evidenced by his and Snape's big discussion about the Bellatrix thing, but I'm not entirely sure how much Dumbly knows for sure. Quirrell knows Dumbledore acts as though he thinks Voldemort is still alive. The real wildcard is Harry, because Quirrell probably wasn't expecting him to be such a major agent in all this, he's almost certainly playing Xanatos chess at this point trying to keep ahead of Harry and keep his plan alive.

Or at least that's my theory.

Spoiler:
Sounds good, except that too many things could go wrong. Quirrell wouldn't use a Xanatos gambit.


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It's finished! I'm publishing it as an e-book, because Shakespeare is public domain and I can do that. Hope you enjoy!

That was surprisingly unexpected. It's fantastic!
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby KrO2 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:44 am UTC

Since there's no sign of an update any time soon, I might as well post about I've had hovering around for a while. It's about the Comed-Tea. If it merely works by making you feel an impulse to drink it at the right time (Harry's current theory ever since whenever it was last mentioned, with no indication that he's wrong), it should be easy to defeat. Just precommit to drinking it at a specified time. If necessary, have the time suggested by a friend or the random number god. Assuming it doesn't actually alter reality, it has no power to stop you from drinking it at a time when you didn't feel its influence. So Harry can take advantage of the Wizarding equivalent of a false advertising lawsuit, since that's totally his top priority right now. Anyway, this should work, right?
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Jorpho » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:04 am UTC

KrO2 wrote:Since there's no sign of an update any time soon, I might as well post about I've had hovering around for a while. It's about the Comed-Tea. If it merely works by making you feel an impulse to drink it at the right time (Harry's current theory ever since whenever it was last mentioned, with no indication that he's wrong), it should be easy to defeat. Just precommit to drinking it at a specified time.
Perhaps the impulse to make such a precommitment is similarly disinclined.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Kewangji » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:11 am UTC

Random number generators.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby KrO2 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:54 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:Perhaps the impulse to make such a precommitment is similarly disinclined.

Possibly. That should work in cases of people who don't know how it works, but the inclinations have been shown to be resistible. Once Harry figures out what's going on, he could precommit even though he feels an impulse not to.

Now that I think about it, that soda as described (according to current best guesses) is still pretty powerful. Not reality-warping level, but not to be sneezed at either. It's a spell that predicts what your mental state will be like at some point within a few minutes from feeling the impulse. That enchantment could probably be altered to give more useful information. Instead of spit-take humor it could be linked to some other reaction. E.g., instead of "I will be laughing hard by the time I finish this soda (or would if I were to decide to drink it)" it could be, or instance, "I am about to be terrified." So you'd know something scary is about to happen, and you have time to set up defensive magic stuff. None of the characters we've met has demonstrated any ability to make such an altered enchantment, but presumably whoever designed the soda in the first place could. They just wouldn't see a market for it because wizards aren't paranoid.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby HungryHobo » Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:27 pm UTC

Except aurors, at least the living ones.

What I don't get so far: why is he apparently so totally disinterested in magical artifacts? You'd think that inanimate objects able to act as the focus for a long term spell would be interesting in terms of understanding the rules of magic.
Many appear to have significant power, even the lesser ones seem very worthwhile.

In the books didn't the twins sell hats with shield charms and other useful stuff? in a world where such things are possible learning how to create them would be number 1 on my list of things to do.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Vaniver » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:20 am UTC

HungryHobo wrote:In the books didn't the twins sell hats with shield charms and other useful stuff? in a world where such things are possible learning how to create them would be number 1 on my list of things to do.
Silly HungryHobo, why make useful things when you could murder people for political power?

(I'm not a fan of Harry's goals or moral thoughts.)
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Argency » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:43 pm UTC

I'm surprised Harry isn't looking more into things like spell invention -
Spoiler:
Hermoine notes that a spell similar to the one on Dumbledore's spiral staircase was invented more recently than Atlantis
, so it has to be possible on some level, even if it's just by rediscovering spells that the Atlanteans created. That seems like a much more direct route to a scientific understanding of magic. Then again I suppose that would probably break the story pretty badly.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Loadstone » Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:13 pm UTC

Is there a satisfactory reason (from Harry's perspective) given for why Harry and Quirrel can't use spells on each other? It seems out of character for Harry to just accept it when - as far as he or we know - they're the only pair with that restriction.

Granted, he doesn't entirely trust Dumbledore and wouldn't talk to him about it, but you'd think he'd at least ask Draco or Hermione if it's worth looking into.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby KrO2 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:40 am UTC

Why does Harry think that? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there's only been one time where that happened, and that was between two spells that don't meet often. Based on that, it would be more likely that those two spells should not be combined. There was also the time when Harry was Transfiguring a certain Muggle artifact and then had to cancel it and let Quirrell do it from scratch rather than have Quirrel modify the existing one, but there could be other reasons for that. Did Quirrell actually tell him they can't let their magics cross?
Alternatively, it could be that Quirrel has had Harry Confunded. Maybe he Imperiused someone else to do it. Or something.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pluvialis » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:31 am UTC

KrO2 wrote:Why does Harry think that? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there's only been one time where that happened, and that was between two spells that don't meet often. Based on that, it would be more likely that those two spells should not be combined. There was also the time when Harry was Transfiguring a certain Muggle artifact and then had to cancel it and let Quirrell do it from scratch rather than have Quirrel modify the existing one, but there could be other reasons for that. Did Quirrell actually tell him they can't let their magics cross?
Alternatively, it could be that Quirrel has had Harry Confunded. Maybe he Imperiused someone else to do it. Or something.


When Harry cancelled his transfiguration so Quirrell could modify the design, it was explicitly because he knew Quirrell couldn't combine magic with Harry.

I never noticed anything amiss with Harry not caring about it. You might be right, but Harry is aware of something curious about Quirrell in general - the sense of doom, the inability to allow their magic to meet, Quirrell's zombie state. I always thought Harry was just used to not knowing most of the stuff about magic and figured there was an explanation, but I admit it's possibly strange that he's not professionally interested in the "science" of it, and how it can be used.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:53 pm UTC

I thought it was pretty clear that Harry was confounded. Part of the Rationality part is that Rationality doesn't work if others are messing with your mind -- which is a pretty common Rationality trope, and fits this genre as well.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pluvialis » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:24 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:I thought it was pretty clear that Harry was confounded. Part of the Rationality part is that Rationality doesn't work if others are messing with your mind -- which is a pretty common Rationality trope, and fits this genre as well.


What makes it clear that Harry's confunded? I don't think I've picked up on it, at all.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Loadstone » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:43 pm UTC

KrO2 wrote:Why does Harry think that? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there's only been one time where that happened, and that was between two spells that don't meet often. Based on that, it would be more likely that those two spells should not be combined. There was also the time when Harry was Transfiguring a certain Muggle artifact and then had to cancel it and let Quirrell do it from scratch rather than have Quirrel modify the existing one, but there could be other reasons for that. Did Quirrell actually tell him they can't let their magics cross?
Alternatively, it could be that Quirrel has had Harry Confunded. Maybe he Imperiused someone else to do it. Or something.
Spoiler:
Sometime during the Azkaban escape Harry didn't want to revive or transport Quirrel, and instead gave Bellatrix a wand. He waited until they reached the healer to let her revive Quirrel.
I don't remember specifics and can't look it up right now, but I remember wondering why he just accepted that.


Yakk wrote:I thought it was pretty clear that Harry was confounded. Part of the Rationality part is that Rationality doesn't work if others are messing with your mind -- which is a pretty common Rationality trope, and fits this genre as well.
I suppose that would fit, but I assumed that the myriad of defensive wards and detectors performed by multiple teachers (Quirrel, Dumbledore, Snape, McGonagall) would prevent/expose something like that.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Jorpho » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:15 pm UTC

Perhaps the reason we are not getting an update is because the author is struggling to resolve some of this stuff.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby KrO2 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:47 am UTC

Loadstone wrote:
KrO2 wrote:Why does Harry think that? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there's only been one time where that happened, and that was between two spells that don't meet often. Based on that, it would be more likely that those two spells should not be combined. There was also the time when Harry was Transfiguring a certain Muggle artifact and then had to cancel it and let Quirrell do it from scratch rather than have Quirrel modify the existing one, but there could be other reasons for that. Did Quirrell actually tell him they can't let their magics cross?
Alternatively, it could be that Quirrel has had Harry Confunded. Maybe he Imperiused someone else to do it. Or something.
Spoiler:
Sometime during the Azkaban escape Harry didn't want to revive or transport Quirrel, and instead gave Bellatrix a wand. He waited until they reached the healer to let her revive Quirrel.
I don't remember specifics and can't look it up right now, but I remember wondering why he just accepted that.

Right, he was assuming his and Quirrel's magic could never interact and acting accordingly. But unless there's something from earlier that I'm not remembering, he doesn't have enough evidence to locate that hypothesis. Note that this happened before the incident with the artifact. His guess appears to be correct, but I don't think he had enough information to get to where he did. Maybe the sense of doom figures into it, but that could point to a lot of different things as well.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pluvialis » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:09 pm UTC

Seems there are two questions - how did Harry know their magic couldn't touch, and why isn't he particularly interested in the fact.

Firstly, Harry did try and tell McGonagall about the sense of doom, which was the first thing he noticed, and she sharply told him "it would be catastrophic if some problem with the extraordinarily competent Professor Quirrell came to my attention now, and I daresay most of our students would fail their Defense O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s" (Chapter 17). So he's learned that a) it's not that surprising when there are odd things about someone, and b) he needs to ignore anything odd about Quirrell in particular for the sake of the school.

Secondly, he's aware that there's supposed to be "some kind of jinx on the Defense position" (Chapter 17 again), so he has reason to expect there to be odd things associated with the Defense Professor.

Thirdly, he knows there's something special about the Defense Professor - he's got a zombie state, he's far more rational than anyone else, he may be a powerful Dark Wizard - so there's even more reason to expect Quirrell to be surrounded with strange circumstances.

Fourthly, he knows there's a lot special about himself - he's The Boy Who Lived, he's the only wizard trained in the Methods of Rationality, and he has a mysterious dark side - so I imagine he takes anything else unusual about himself in his stride. It probably just makes him feel that bit more Special, and Destined For Great Things.

Fifthly (this is getting a bit unwieldy), he's aware that the closer he physically gets to Quirrell the worse the sense of doom gets, to quite disturbing levels, so I can understand why he'd be wary of allowing their magic to interact.

I got up to Chapter 30 searching for "Quirrell" and skimming the relevant parts, but at that point they definitely still aren't aware of their inability to cross magics. Quirrell offers to teach Harry Occlumency, and I'm sure I read in a later chapter Quirrell saying something about how he couldn't teach Harry Occlumency if he wanted. But I'm satisfied that the work has been done at this point to prepare the way for Harry's acceptance of it, and even for him to begin to suspect it.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby WarDaft » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:56 am UTC

I got up to Chapter 30 searching for "Quirrell" and skimming the relevant parts, but at that point they definitely still aren't aware of their inability to cross magics.
Harry doesn't know until TSPE, as he clearly scolds Quirrell for not mentioning that blinding pain and debilitation could result from them casting spells on each other as soon as he is able to afterwards.

He also trusts Quirrell (which itself really needs some solid explanation work) who told him that it's Harry's fault they feel a sense of doom towards each other.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby HungryHobo » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:05 am UTC

The earlier discussion about how quirrell actions don't quite make sense in terms of voldemorts goals got me thinking.... in his other stories Yudkowsky rarely plays the villains straight but the psychopathic, murderous monster that is Voldemort doesn't really work for that....

Spoiler:
First, if anything voldemort is still as evil as in the original. possibly even more so.

"I'm ugly, they ate that too, I'm, I'm not pretty any more, you won't even, be able, to use me, as a reward, for your servants - even the Lestranges, won't want, to hurt me, any more -"



I note the altered version of the prophecy which Yudkowsky used

HPMOR:

AND EITHER MUST DESTROY ALL BUT A REMNANT OF THE OTHER,
FOR THOSE TWO DIFFERENT SPIRITS CANNOT EXIST IN THE SAME WORLD.


Origional:
and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives ...
the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies ...


Now the thing is that *all* the characters have been made smarter and more rational.
It's hard to imagine a rational Quirrel choosing to invite the almost powerless spirit of a dead wizard into himself or failing to take significant precautions to protect himself.

The original Quirrel was a Ravenclaw, Yudkowskys favorite house.

Tom Marvolo Riddle while in school was supposed to have been powerful, handsome and a bully while at school.
The original Quirrel on the other hand was bullied and unpopular.

To quite TMOR Quirrel:

"A very strange thing... There was a time when I would have sacrificed a finger from my wand hand, to work upon the bullies of Hogwarts as we have worked upon them this day. To make them fear me as they now fear you, to have the deference of all the students and the adoration of many, I would have given my finger for that. You have everything now that I wanted then. All that I know of human nature says that I should hate you. And yet I do not. It is a very strange thing."


Combined with the facts that TMOR Quirrel is not wearing a turban and there's been no mention of dead unicorns... well I'm starting to think that Quirrelmort might actually just be QuirrelQuirrel.

He's not going to play the bad guy straight as a purely evil character... "EXIST IN THE SAME WORLD" seems like a convenient get-out clause.

why don't wizards on their deathbeds charge money to bind Unbreakable Vows, and use that to leave an inheritance for their children -"

"Because they are stupid," said Professor Quirrell. "There are hundreds of useful rituals which could be performed if men had so much sense;


"I snuck into NASA, I did, and I cast a lovely little spell on that lovely golden plaque which will make it last a lot longer than it otherwise would."


from his other stuff it's clear Yudkowsky doesn't hold with ideas of "dark" magic being automatically evil. he basically outlined a scenario where rituals, even ones requiring an extreme price could be performed, like for example making an arrangement with someone close to death who is willing to help you make a horcrux in exchange for an inheritance or similar for their family.

There is of course going to be some kind of conflict but they don't have to "EXIST IN THE SAME WORLD" because Quirrel can go to another world.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby arithine » Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:44 pm UTC

I've only read through some of this thread but I have my own theory on this Quirrellmort issue some of it might have been said before but here it goes.

Spoiler:
Quirrell is Voldemort

Let's start with the basics, we know he visited pioneer and one of the accepted implications of this is that he made a horcrux out of it, or out of a part of it. We also know he has a spell that lets him view a "real image" of outer space. My thinking is that this spell is his connection to his horcrux, or another spell he placed on it (and likely all his other horxruxes) so he can keep track and make sure they are safe.

When talking about the dojo he is able to retell voldemorts story he recalls that "The Dark Lord asked why he could not be a student. The Master told him he had no patience, and that was when the Dark Lord ripped his tongue out." I think Quorrellmort remembers both events and learned from his new host, making him much more aware of his flaws and fixing them. Now he realizes that the best way to get an army strong enough, and with enough of a bond with each other, is to go within the system and train them from childhood. He intends this time not to act how he did before, through fear, but instead through secrecy, silently manipulating the pieces to get what he wants.

Also(a bit off topic) I think he renamed the class from defense to battle magic to counteract the curse.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Pluvialis » Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:17 pm UTC

What if...
Spoiler:
in HPMoR horcruxes work as follows: You split your soul and part of it inhabits a new object, or person. But then that portion of your soul is able to actually possess the person. Quirrell and Harry are both horcruxes, Harry definitely doesn't know but his split personality is Voldemort interfering, Quirrell may or may not know (kinda possible that he does, I think). That way, Voldemort learns from the perspectives of his hosts, Quirrell's perspective showing him greater foresight, Harry's the methods of rationality and science. They're both possessed by a portion of Voldemort's soul.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Vaniver » Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:22 pm UTC

Notice the story of the Dojo
Spoiler:
is similar to the story of Slytherin's monster. Why leave your power source around for others to make use of?
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby HungryHobo » Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:30 pm UTC

Keep in mind that Yudkowsky does seem to borrow heavily from other fanfiction and some of the ones he's given a shoutout to like Tied for Last include lots of people making horcruxes.

I see no reason why the original Quirrell (who isn't nice himself) wouldn't make his own if he could.

Have any of the objects which voldemort made into horcruxes turned up at all?
A competent dark lord isn't going to be very nice to his competitors.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby phlip » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:38 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:Have any of the objects which voldemort made into horcruxes turned up at all?

The canon ones? I don't think so. None spring to mind, anyway.

Though bear in mind that the MoR antagonists have been explicitly said to be smarter than the canon ones, to compensate for Harry being smarter, so it's entirely likely that MoR!Voldemort wouldn't have used receptacles that are quite so obvious... I seem to remember that in the books, it's explained that Volemort used famous objects, and objects that he held strong ties to, mostly out of pride and vanity... which made it possible for several of them to be guessed. And then didn't hide them particularly well (except for the locket). MoR!Voldemort would probably pick harder-to-guess objects and hide them more effectively.
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