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Fanfic / Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

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Harry: You can't DO that!
Minerva McGonagall: It's only a Transfiguration. An Animagus transformation, to be exact.
Harry: You turned into a cat! A SMALL cat! You violated Conservation of Energy! That's not just an arbitrary rule, it's implied by the form of the quantum Hamiltonian! Rejecting it destroys unitarity and then you get FTL signalling! And cats are COMPLICATED! A human mind can't just visualize a whole cat's anatomy and, and all the cat biochemistry, and what about the neurology? How can you go on thinking using a cat-sized brain?
Minerva: Magic.
Harry: Magic isn't enough to do that! You'd have to be a god!
Minerva: ... that's the first time I've ever been called that.
Harry's first encounter with magic

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is a Harry Potter rational fanfic by Eliezer Yudkowsky, AI researcher and decision theorist.

This is an Alternate Universe story, where Petunia married a scientist. Now Harry, a firm Rationalist, enters the wizarding world armed with Enlightenment ideals and the experimental spirit.

It should also be noted that the author is aware of us and has links to this page on his author's notes for chapter 20.

Recaps of all chapters can be found here.

Complete as of Pi Day, 2015. Yudkowsky stated he might post an epilogue, after he gives fans time to write fan fiction (which they did) — this was originally scheduled for Pi Day 2016, but writing troubles have delayed it for an unknown period of time.

The Book of HPMOR Fanfics contains 96 stories.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality provides examples of the following tropes:

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     A - B 
  • Aborted Arc: Harry's quest to find the real rules of magic experimentally disappears less than a third of the way into the story. Justified, as once Harry gets a look at a wizard's idea of a safe experimental working spacenote , we see how horrifyingly cavalier he was being about the process. He also runs into a brick wall because the magic system, as in the books, runs on Rule of Funny and Dog Latin puns as much or more than Magic A Is Magic A.
  • Abusive Parents: Notably averted with Harry, whose aunt and uncle (he calls them his parents) raised him with much love and support.
    • Discussed during their initial shopping trip to Diagon Alley, Professor McGonagall asks Harry if he's been abused. Harry flips his lid and tells her why he won't stand for the accusation: any parents publicly accused of abuse are stigmatized by the accusation regardless of the truth. Professor McGonagall apologizes for offending him but explains that she has seen symptoms of parental abuse in his behavior throughout the day, and was dutybound to at least ask.
    • The aversion is further lampshaded in Harry's first meeting with Dumbledore, when Harry is falsely reassuring a seemingly insane Dumbledore that he had "evil stepparents."
      Harry: They, ah, I have to do dishes and wash math problems and they don't let me read a lot of books and—
    • Discussed when Harry tells Hermione this trope could have made him more independent.
  • Academy of Adventure: Insane headmaster, obviously evil Potions master, arguably evil Defense master, students fight mock battles, even bullying gets caught up in political machinations.
  • Action Girl: Hermione is one of the three generals of the student armies. She also founds an organization, S.P.H.E.W, the Society for the Promotion of Heroinic Equality for Witches, to help other girls become this.
  • Adaptive Ability: A rational combatant adapts to the changing situation. The ones who don't (which tends to include Hermione) quickly get beaten.
  • Adults Are Useless: Played with. Harry generally respects adults and understands the value of experience, but that doesn't change the fact that many adults will not take anything a child says seriously. Whenever Harry detects that attitude he drops all respect for that adult and their authority. Making matters worse is that most magical adults have no concept of logic, rationality, or other critical thinking skills. In the end, adults have their uses, but most of them simply aren't as smart as Harry.
    • Subverted in chapters 12 and 14: After coming up with two bad plans for dealing with the mysterious message with the help of students, he comes up with plan C of being savvy enough to just ignore the thing and then plan D of bringing the matter to the teachers' attention and letting them look into it. He then chastises himself for not thinking of that first and goes on to do exactly that, further assuring McGonagall that if he finds even a hint of the Chamber of Secrets he will back off immediately and inform her so a team of professionals can be sent in.
    • This is also played with in that, although Harry is smart, he also often assumes he is correct, and thus doesn't care about advice from adults or otherwise misbehaves in situations where deference to more experienced wizards would be beneficial or at least serve him politically. This comes back to bite him later on, when he realizes that he is in over his head and, because he was thinking of himself as being equal to adults, got himself into trouble that he cannot easily extricate himself from, requiring extreme Gambit Roulette or simply taking his lumps.
    • It takes a student vigilante group fighting open battles in the halls to get the school to finally crack down on Hogwarts' chronic bullying problem. Previously, their hallway monitoring solution was one sadist with no magic powers. As Prof. McGonagall notes multiple times (such as with him tolerating Snape's behaviour), Dumbledore doesn't understand how vulnerable regular kids are to things like bullying, either because he's forgotten or because he was far from normal when he was a kid. This means that the person in the best position to stop bad behaviour at Hogwarts doesn't comprehend its importance.
    • In the end, Harry's hubris and exclusion of adults from his circle of trust leads to disaster.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Quirrell feels this is an important quality to instill in Harry. Getting results, after all, is what truly counts as winning.
  • Alien Geometries:
    • Hogwarts has corridors which can change when no one is looking.
    • The number of stairs you climb has only a passing correlation to your actual elevation when you look out the window.
    • At least one corridor is tiled in pentagons (which, in the case of regular pentagons, is mathematically impossible).
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: In-universe example: Draco's internal thoughts make references to stories and plays which are obviously versions of Death Note, Gargoyles, and Thunder Cats, with the heroes portrayed as villains and vice versa.
  • Always Save the Girl: Subverted; the girl was the only person who didn't require saving. In the final confrontation with Voldemort, he offers to spare the life of a single person Harry cares about for every secret Harry gives him. However, Hermione is not on this list, as Voldemort has given his followers orders that she should not be harmed under any circumstances, explicitly including should she somehow escape. Plus, since she's now a troll unicorn with a Horcrux, there's very little that anyone could do to permanently harm her anyway. As Harry explains to Hermione, he was fighting to save everyone he cared about except her.
    Hermione considered this, a slow smile spreading over her face. "Why, Harry," she said. "That's the least romantic thing I've ever heard."
  • Always Someone Better: Harry realizes Hermione's ability to rapidly assimilate information and do academic work better, as well as having unwavering morality, is superior to him. Hermione, in contrast, recognizes that Harry is a Chessmaster whom she frankly cannot outplot no matter what she tries, and that he's far less naive than her. Both of them are jealous of the other's better points.
  • Ambiguous Situation: While you're supposed to know already that Quirrell is secretly Voldemort, it's unclear for the vast majority of the fic whether this means Voldemort's Horcrux-ghost is possessing Quirrell as in canon, or if Quirrell is just another one of Voldemort's many false names, or if he did a Kill and Replace. Chapter 108 finally confirms the answer to be that Voldemort's Horcrux-ghost is possessing Quirrell.
  • Ambiguous Syntax:
    • When Harry asks McGonagall if the prophecy mentioned the Potter family by name, she says "No". She means "No, I'm not answering that question", but he interprets it as "No, the prophecy did not use a name". Which puts McGonagall in a bit of a bind, because it's true.
    • When Quirrell asks Harry if he knows the secret to casting the Killing Curse repeatedly, Harry responds "I don't really care". The obvious assumption is that, given his firm stance on the value of human life, he simply considers the information worthless to him. In fact, he simply answered the question. The Killing Curse can also be powered by apathy.
  • Anachronic Order: Chapters 24-26. Chapters 24 and 25 proceed in numbered acts 3, 2, 1, 5, 6, and 4; act 6 takes place in the middle of chapter 26.
  • And I Must Scream: Voldemort's Horcrux 2.0 network successfully kept him alive, but he was stuck in the Horcruxes for several years, unable to do anything about anything until the original Quirrell stumbled on one by sheer chance.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Voldemort is defeated and the Death Eaters are wiped out; now the REAL struggle to save humanity begins.
  • Angrish: Harry is physically and mentally incapable of speaking after seeing a Quibbler headline proclaiming that he has gotten Malfoy pregnant.
  • Anti-Hero: Harry tries to be the savior, but ends up doing some not-so-heroic things. Dumbledore has his doubts about whether he, himself, is a hero or a villain.
  • Anti-Magic: Azkaban's force field prevents magical travel crossing its border. Quirrell seems able to nullify spells coming his way, too.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • When Harry claims that he managed to create a plothole in reality in chapter 17 and gets called out by Dean Thomas, Harry points out that they're in the middle of a broomstick lesson and tells him to shut up.
    • Harry, himself, possesses rather arbitrary skepticism regarding souls and the afterlife. He does ask for evidence, but when it is not immediately available he keeps taking for granted that they do not exist. Explained later by him getting his hopes up when he first met a ghost, then emotionally crashing when he found out they were only reflections and not true life after death, or at least that is what his muggleborn eleven-year-old friend who reads a lot of books told him. This could simply be an example of "absence of evidence is (weak) evidence of absence". If even the bizarre new paradigm of magic hasn't unearthed evidence of souls or afterlives, then that's one more reason to be skeptical of their existence.
    • Harry also questions the existence of the Philosopher's Stone on the basis that there's no logical connection between extending life and creating gold, suggesting the stone is simply an imaginary wish-granting machine. It turns out that the connection is that it's an artefact that makes transfiguration permanent, allowing conversion of matter and de-aging without side-effects, among other things. note 
  • Arc Words:
    • The phrase "Pretending to be Wise" is brought up multiple times during Harry's conversations with Dumbledore.
    • The word "Roles" is spoken many times after Hermione's death and serves as a name for an entire arc.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: The Sorting Hat tries to deliver one to Harry: "What happens if you fail?" But even though it goes on to spell out the answer, Harry still refuses to hear it. The answer isn't necessarily the one that is spelled out, though: arguably, what happens if Harry fails in his (Peverell) destiny is that sentient beings go on dying. While the answer may be wrong, the purpose in asking the question is valid, as the discoveries that lead Harry to this realization mirror those of Godric Gryffindor..
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Harry reels from the current understanding of physics being completely undermined by Animorphism, but takes a moment to disdainfully lampshade the Canis Latinicus of Wingardium Leviosa.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: The Weasley twins think they are going to be expelled after disobeying orders and helping Harry try to save Hermione. In fact they are commended for their actions.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Harry's rant about shape shifting that appears as the page quote is correct in that it violates conservation of energy (which strangely didn't bother him when the levitation did it), but the details are nonsense suggesting the author knows the terms but not the underlying concepts (you actually can have unitarity without the Hamiltonian or conservation of energy and none of that has anything much to do with FTL signaling). Especially since he focuses on the relatively minor quantum effects instead of the reality-shattering and much more obvious implications in thermodynamics.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Some characters with only background roles in the original series have much more fleshed out parts, most notably Blaise Zabini.
    • All members of S.P.H.E.W. have much more fleshed out motivations than in the original series.
    • Amelia Bones is probably the most significant adult example.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...:
  • As Long as There Is One Man: In his Patrick Stewart Speech to the Dementor, Harry claims that even if he fails to defeat death, another person will take his place. And then another, and another, until "the wound in the world is healed".
  • Atlantis: Draco makes what might just be a metaphoric reference to the "blood of Atlantis," but eventually Harry starts to think magic might actually have come from Atlantis or somewhere like it. Later it is mentioned that something wiped Atlantis from the time stream. Harry and Professor Quirrell come across an artifact that they speculate may have come from Atlantis.
  • Author Tract: invoked
    • Most of Harry's extended conversations with Dumbledore. Especially notable is the scene where Harry is speaking to Draco about his patronus and explaining how to cast one. The author himself declares the work to be an author tract unabashedly.
      Less Wrong: As with self-inserts and harem fics, the reason Author Tracts have a bad reputation is just that most people don't even try to do them correctly, develop any skill at doing them, or try to compensate for the literarily obvious problems (e.g. skewing of power balance / loss of driving story conflict, in all three cases) that would otherwise develop. Self-inserts can be done well if you amp up the villains to where they can kick hell out of the SI (e.g. Hybrid Theory), harem fics can be done well if you preserve romantic conflicts throughout (hard to think of a strong example, maybe Negima, but the romantic conflicts don't present enough of a story challenge compared to e.g. the Mage of the Beginning) and Author Tracts can be done well if you strengthen the argumentative power of the side you disagree with as much as possible.
    • It gets better, but the first few chapters amount to the author pointing to every single physical inconsistency in the Harry Potter universe and screaming, "THAT SHOULD NOT WORK!"
    • The "Roles" arc is pretty heavy-handed about doing what's necessary, not just what's reasonable. McGonagall's focus on authority and reasonableness stops students breaking rules even when it's the right thing to do, possibly costing a student their life, and she has a breakdown as a result, recanting publicly.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The prose and Hermione and Harry's reaction implies the Light Saber (Lucis Gladius!) spell is this. It allows the user to play Tennis Boss with magic spells but has a long and complicated cast sequence, takes a huge amount of energy to maintain, and requires distance closing. It is, at least, very practical for what it was intended to do — which is to let members of very rich, very powerful families have honor duels without being interfered with by outsiders or risking actual injury. It's certainly a one-on-one dueling spell, though, not a melee combat spell — the useful aspects of playing Tennis Boss are entirely subsumed by actual shield spells such as the ones the Auror uses in Azkaban.
    • Hermione, in a desperate gambit, has her army fly her into the air so she can try to use Stupefy to get through Harry's armor. She is able to cast the spell. Harry steps out of the way and Hermione crashes into a wall. Quirrell later berates her for it.
    • Hermione post-resurrection was magically mixed with a unicorn and a troll. She's rather excited to see exactly what her newfound supernatural grace and strength will let her do, but she's off put by the aura of innocence and purity she exudes. She also now may have to borrow the Sword of Gryffindor to trim her finger nails.
    • Most of Harry's gambits during the war games would all be impractical if there were actual stakes involved or if his opponents were not using weak sleeping spells. He does this on purpose partly as a creative exercise, and partly to keep his better ideas a secret until a time when greater stakes are involved, but mostly to enjoy himself.
  • The B Grade: Harry is taken aback by his final Defence grade, but when he questions it, Professor Quirrell tells him that it was the same grade that he himself received, ie he has marked Harry as his equal.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Hermione Granger is brought back to life at the climax of the story.
    • Narcissa Malfoy was actually never dead to begin with.
  • Badass Army: The armies, but the Chaos Legion stands out the most. By Chapter 67, they devolve into evil laughter and are capable of curb-stomping the other armies.
  • Badass Boast:
    • "I make you this one offer," said the Boy-Who-Lived. "I never learn that you've been interfering with me or any of mine. And you never find out why the unkillable soul-eating monster is scared of me. Now sit down and shut up."
    • The girls of SPHEW: "We'll come for the darkness, and make it face us, and teach it to be afraid."
    • The Auxiliary Protective Special Committee: "The enemy is attacking Hogwarts students, and Hogwarts is going to fight back."
  • Badass Fingersnap: Most of the students in Hogwarts think that Harry Potter can do anything by snapping his fingers. It is even part of the Chaos Legion's badge.
  • Bag of Holding: Harry's trunk and mokeskin bag both qualify as pieces of luggage that will hold way more than they ought to be able to. (Harry even explicitly thinks of the latter as his bag of holding. At one point Harry refuses to place a mokeskin bag into another, despite being assured it's safe, because he knows what happens in D&D when someone does that with a bag of holding.)
  • Bantering Baddie Buddies: Crabbe & Goyle. It takes Draco a good chunk of the year to get them to stop playing it as a comedy routine complete with "thug" voices.
    • This is not at all helped when, halfway through, Harry turns it around on Draco, convincing Mr. Crabbe to recreate his 'thug voice' for the sake of his own amusement.
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: Hermione overhears girls talking about her in the shower. They're not really insulting, but it causes Hermione to realize that she's becoming nothing but a side character for the extravagant life of Harry Potter.
  • Batman Gambit: The Philosopher's Stone is hidden in Hogwarts because Voldemort tricked Flamel into believing that he had a method of locating it infallibly, when in fact he had nothing of the sort and just wanted it to be moved to a known location.
  • Batty Lip Burbling: Hermione creates a group of students that wish to enforce the idea that women can be heroes as well, misunderstanding Dumbledore's claims that she should not pursue a heroic destiny with Harry as sexism. When Harry is unable to back him up (having long since come to the conclusion that Dumbledore might actually be crazy), Dumbledore decides to keep that angle and punctuates a Beat by motorboating his lips.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game:
    • Draco is getting better at using rationality during battles. During the Taboo Tradeoffs battle, his response to Harry's stratagem enables Dragon Army to win. To be fair, he has the help of one of Harry's former lieutenants at the time.
    • Draco's efforts towards the end of the story to use rationality to solve the mystery of who is attacking Hogwarts students get him further than Harry.
    • Lucius Malfoy plays a game of political influence and psychological manipulation. Dumbledore plays the opposing side and keeps Malfoy in check. Harry tends to wreck the board by being far from subtle. By the end of the Roles arc Harry has carved out a third faction by allying with the less fanatical sub-factions of both sides, including Lucius, himself. This lets Harry force security reforms on Hogwarts through the Board of Governors.
  • Beneath the Mask:
    • Behind his Obfuscating Insanity, Dumbledore is very aware of the consequences of his decisions to win the next war.
    • Harry is worried about his dark side, even though it is very useful.
    • Maintaining the mask and hiding their agenda until it's too late to stop them is a mark of a true Slytherin.
  • Being Good Sucks:
    • Dumbledore understands that some people are destined to become heroes no matter what, but it's nonetheless a fate that he wouldn't wish on anyone due to the ordeals involved. Though he's resigned to Harry Potter's fate, he tries to discourage Hermione from becoming a heroine for this reason. Subverted in that he was only saying that as reverse psychology to convince her to be a hero. Quote:
      "My dear," said the old wizard, "after you have dealt with your thirtieth hero or so, you will realize that they react quite predictably to certain things; such as being told that they are too young, or that they are not destined to be heroes, or that being a hero is unpleasant; and if you truly wish to be sure you should tell them all three. Although," with a brief sigh, "it does not do to be too blatant, or your Deputy Headmistress might catch you."
    • Really driven home with Harry's talk about heroic responsibility in chapter 75.
      Harry: It means that whatever happens, no matter what, it's always your fault. [...] Following the school rules isn't an excuse, someone else being in charge isn't an excuse, even trying your best isn't an excuse. There just aren't any excuses, you've got to get the job done no matter what.
    • And later:
      Gryffindor's Autobiography: No rescuer hath the rescuer. No Lord hath the champion, no mother and no father, only nothingness above.
    • Dumbledore's hidden room, unlocked by the passphrases "phoenix's price" and "phoenix's fate": A room of broken wands and pictures, each of them belonging to someone who died as a result of Dumbledore's actions, directly or not. It is essentially his room of shame, despite Harry INSISTING those sacrifices were worth it.
    • The main reason why Voldemort turned evil. He actually tried out how it feels to be good, his original plan with his Voldemort personality was so that it could be publicly defeated by himself under a different alter-ego, but he just found out that he got much more respect and obedience from his followers as Voldemort than as the "good guy".
  • Berserk Button: Don't imply Harry's adoptive parents are abusive.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Harry does things no one in the wizarding world believes can be done, such as partial transfiguration and destroying dementors. In canon, the best one could hope for is driving them away.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Chapter 30. Rationalist!Harry (with a secret dark side) and Draco (raised by a flawless instrument of death to be his successor) are fighting Hermione, whose army is named the Sunshine Regiment and whose badge is a smiley face.
    • In Chapter 78:
      [A]lthough, Draco was beginning to realize, when he and Harry and Professor Quirrell had dismissed Miss Granger as having as much intent to kill as a bowl of wet grapes, they'd never seen her angry.
  • Big Bad: Depending on their political orientation, people think either Lucius Malfoy or Dumbledore is this. However, Dumbledore plays the game as if Voldemort is still the Big Bad. As it turns out, Voldemort IS the Big Bad.
  • Big "NO!": Early in the story, based on the Quibbler headline about how Harry gets Malfoy pregnant, the author got several e-mails asking if Luna was a seer, and if the story was going to turn into an HPDM bottom!Malfoy mpreg fic. The author regretted that did not allow a larger font with which to say NO.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: According to Draco, many Death Eaters knew Voldemort was evil but joined him anyway because they thought Dumbledore was worse.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Hermione is very definite about what Good and Bad is.
    • Played With, as Harry spends most of the book rationalizing that dark is not necessarily evil and coming up with all sorts of clever rationalizations for why, but in the end admits to Hermoine that while dark was not necessarily the same as evil, the correlation was much closer to 100% than he had wanted to believe.
    • In the end, Voldemort is a sociopath whose "one true joy" in life is murdering idiots and whose only real goal is self preservation, while Dumbledore is a selfless, humble man who has made innumerable sacrifices, never killed an innocent, and is endeavoring to save every sapient creature on the planet.
  • Blackmail:
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: "World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimization."
    • Harry explains that he does not want to take over the world, but his explanation about what he really wants to do is essentially the same thing in more words.
  • Black Widow: Blaise Zabini mentions that his mother might be one. To be fair, that's practically canon.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Harry has a very high opinion of himself.
    Hermione: I'm getting tired of hearing people talk about the Boy-Who-Lived like you're — like you're some kind of god or something.
    Harry: Same here, I must say. It's sad how people keep underestimating me
  • Blood Knight: Neville takes to this readily. Originally it is because he wants to become the cool Neville that exists only in his head. Later, he views it as training for fighting Bellatrix Black. He wields the Charm of the Most Ancient Blade on multiple occasions and overcomes his fear of broomsticks, though he hesitates (fatally, within-game) after kicking fellow Hufflepuff Hannah Abbott in the stomach.
  • Bluff the Impostor:
    • Chapter 79, in which Professor Quirrell appears to have fallen for it.
    • Subverted in chapter 69 with Quirrell, probably so people won't be suspicious that he needs to take a few days off to recover.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Killing Curse and Apparition, according to Professor Quirrell — except against adult wizards, the only thing capable of putting up anti-Apparition wards and dodging the Killing Curse.
    Quirrell: The Killing Curse is unblockable, unstoppable, and works every single time on anything with a brain. If, as an adult wizard, you find yourself incapable of using the Killing Curse, then you can simply Apparate away!
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman:
    "Most wizards," Professor Quirrell said, "do not bother much with what a Muggle would term martial arts. Is not a wand stronger than a fist? This attitude is stupid. Wands are held in fists."
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • In Chapter 51 and Chapter 52, Quirrell tells Harry that Bellatrix Black only served Voldemort because she ended up this way after being Mind Raped (and also raped in the literal sense, as Voldemort let the Lestrange brothers have their way with her). In chapter 108, a character claims that she was already crazy before Voldemort got to her, though.
    • In Chapter 77, Hat-and-Cloak puts Hermione through extended interrogation and manipulation (and possibly false-memory charms followed by obliviation) to convince her that someone she had been becoming friends with betrayed her. In Chapter 78, she attacks him, and off camera before Chapter 79 the trope is subverted when she must be memory charmed again to falsely believe she tried to kill Draco Malfoy.
    • Chapter 104 reveals that Professor Sprout had been serving as Voldemort's (presumably brainwashed) patsy.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: Harry Obliviates his good friend Lord Voldemort rather than kill him, as it works just as well to remove him from the world.
  • Brass Balls: Harry's first interaction with Snape. Complete with increasing gasps and lapses in breathing from the other students, all the way up to Neville diving under a desk when Harry Crosses the Line Twice.
  • Breather Episode: The "Self Actualization" arc comes in-between two very high stress arcs ("The Stanford Prison Experiment" and "Taboo Tradeoffs"), and it's a low-stakes story about Hermione building an Amazon Brigade and fighting bullies in Hogwarts, in which nothing very serious happens until the ending.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Quidditch without the golden snitch, and the explanation for it. Harry speculates when he first learns about the golden snitch that it was added so the king's idiot son could play without having the ability to play the real positions. In the epilogue, a quidditch fanatic confirms that Helga Hufflepuff invented the snitch for essentially that reason, except it was to include incompetent students rather than benefit a prince.
    • Quidditch scores being added to the House Cup total. The same event serves as payoff for both.
    • A literal Brick Joke: Harry's pet rock died when he was little. Dumbledore smashed it due to a prophecy; he has no idea why, or even that it was Harry's "pet."
  • Brits Love Tea: Being based on a book series based in Britain, tea and tea drinking are referenced a few times.
    • Quirrell likes expensive tea. Harry doesn't see the difference and wonders if it is a means of messing with people who feel they should appreciate it.
    • During the Taboo Tradeoffs battle, Amelia Bones summons a cup of tea out of nowhere so she can sip from it before giving her snarky commentary on events.
  • Broken Aesop: The story is principally about how great "rationality" is and how it makes you a better person. But far more often, Harry's successes are found less through intelligent and logical reasoning or research, and more through pure emotional appeals, the narrative bending the rules of magic in his favor, or blind luck.
  • Brown Note: When Harry figures out the underlying principle of the patronus charm and devises his improved version, he realizes just in time that he now has a literal example of "dangerous knowledge": knowledge that is in itself potentially harmful to the one knowing it, not just indirectly dangerous because of ways it might be misused. Simply the act of knowing the truth that Harry figured out could potentially render a person permanently unable to cast the original form of the charm, with no guarantee that they'd ever be able to utilize his new version.
  • Bully Hunter: S.P.H.E.W., Hermione's little Amazon Brigade of aspiring heroines, decide their first step to being heroines is to stop bully attacks within Hogwarts. It spirals out of control very quickly.

     C - E 
  • Call-Back:
    • Scandalous continuity.
      Chapter 17: Professor Blake was caught in a closet with no fewer than three fifth-year Slytherins last February...
      Chapter 75: Arty Grey, the seventh-year who was leading in their competition by three witches and a Defense Professor...
    • Also:
      Chapter 73: "I think our Sunshine General has him pretty well sewn up by now — you'd have better luck convincing Hermione that the three of you should have one of those, you know, arrangements..."
      Chapter 75: "Do the three of you have one of those, you know, arrangements?"
    • In reference to the page quote (when Professor McGonagall turns into a cat in Chapter 2):
      Chapter 14: You’re having another ‘you turned into a cat’ moment, aren’t you, Mr. Potter. You probably don’t want to hear this, but it’s quite endearingly cute.
      Chapter 81: Harry turned his head back to look at Lord Malfoy, who looked like he’d seen a cat turn into a person and start eating other cats.
    • Announcement at Dinnertime:
      Chapter 15: "My, I wonder how long it will take before Miss Granger does something deserving of a dinnertime announcement? I look forward to seeing it, whatever it may be."
      Chapter 93: When Professor McGonagall makes an announcement about Hermione at dinnertime it is to announce Hermione's demise.
    • In chapter 89, the Sword of Gryffindor is summoned, and the blade has been inscribed with "nihil supernum" ("nothingness above"), a portion of Godric Gryffindor's (very short) autobiography.
    • One of the omakes for Harry's sorting scene ends with him declared headmaster by the Sorting Hat. In chapter 117, Professor McGonagall becomes replacement headmistress by placing the Hat on her head and being confirmed by it.
    • In one of Professor Quirrell's first lectures, he says, "The Killing Curse is unblockable, unstoppable, and works every single time on anything with a brain." At the end of the year, when he is giving his backstory to Harry and explains that the spell he tried to use backfired, Harry says, "You know, there is a spell that's unblockable, unstoppable, and works every single time on anything with a brain..."
    • In Chapter 29, Harry states that the one thing he doesn't understand about the Sirius Black case is why Black went after Pettigrew. In the ending, it turns out to be that in this continuity, Pettigrew is a secret Metamorphmagus, and Black is legitimately guilty but got away by Confunding Peter into metamorphing into his shape.
  • Calling Your Attacks:
    • Neville, in his badass mode. Since his attacks require allies to buff him, it's justified.
    • Much of the rest of the series, too, since (as in the original) much of magic requires the caster to say the right magic words.
    • Subverted when Neville, in pretending-to-be-asleep mode, whispers his spell incantation.
  • Calvinball: The aurors on duty at Azkaban are playing Dragon Poker, from the Myth Adventures universe — although they've added dementor-related rules.
  • Came Back Strong: Hermione is brought back to life with the additional benefits of the latent magical traits of a mountain troll and a unicorn.
  • Canon Illustrations: Dinosaurusgede's Fan Art (Recursive Fan Art?) seems to have this status.
  • Carnivore Confusion: When Harry discovers Parseltongue, he stops eating meat in case snakes and other animals really are sapient — and then wonders in horror if plants are, too. (It turns out there's no evidence they are.)
  • Cast from Experience Points: Several spells are powered by sacrifice, including Fiendfyre, which permanently decreases the caster's blood volume by one drop, and the Unbreakable Vow, which permanently decreases the oath binder's magic reserves (thus explaining why it's not routinely used to enforce business deals).
  • Cast from Lifespan: Although most in-universe magic draws on a caster's magic reserves, so that people who exhaust their magic faint or are physically fatigued, and students' magic reserves grow year by year, Harry's patronus charm draws on something besides that magic. In Chapter 54 it threatens to consume his life when he loses control over it. Other patronuses are based on running from death, not combating it, so presumably do not have this issue. Later on, after Hermione's body is fixed, Harry decides that the only thing wrong with it is that it's dead and magicless, so he uses the True Patronus Charm to infuse her body with life force and magic. He notes that it costs him a significant chunk of his life and magic—not all of it, by any means, but enough to notice.
  • Cat Girl: In something of a Mythology Gag to Chamber of Secrets, it is revealed in chapter 78 that a Beauxbatons girl was accidentally stuck as one permanently after getting cat hair in Polyjuice potion and then not getting help immediately.
  • Cathartic Scream:
    • Alluded to in one chapter, where the cast listing states that McGonagall, in addition to needing something alcoholic, desperately needs to find someplace quiet where she can scream for a while.
    • Harry decides against it after the traumatic events of Hermione's death, concluding it wouldn't help.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
    • Chapter 30 mentions "John Williams's Imperial March." So, about ten years after the time frame of this story, what film is John Williams going to be writing the musical score for if it's not the first Harry Potter movie?
    • Another instance is Lampshaded in an author's note: "The version of decision theory used in this chapter is not the academically dominant one. It's based on something called 'timeless decision theory' that's under development by (among others) Gary Drescher, Wei Dai, Vladimir Nesov, and, well... (coughs a few times) me."
  • Celibate Hero: Harry's a bit young for that kind of thing.
    "She [a Gryffindor girl] was gazing at him with one of those looks which Harry had firmly decided to just ignore until he was older."
  • Character Death: Hermione Granger dies. The repercussions are severe. Also, Albus Dumbledore gets trapped outside time.
  • Chekhov's Gag:
    • A subtle one. The way Harry prevents Hermione from being sent to Azkaban for allegedly attempting to murder Draco is inspired by the fake setup of the Weasley twins' prank on Rita Skeeter.
      Harry: It would seem that one Mr. Arthur Weasley was placed under the Imperius Curse by a Death Eater whom my father killed, thus creating a debt to House Potter [...] Do people actually do that sort of thing around here?
    • In Chapter 72 Harry says that if he denied doing everything he didn't do it would be suspicious if he refused to comment on things he did do. Like: "Did you do the prank with the invisible paint?" and he said "no" and with "Do you know who messed with the Griffindor Seeker's broomstick?" and he said "I refuse to comment." In Chapter 104 we find out those weren't hypothetical.
    • Harry mentions he's started to learn Memory Charms, but is only good enough to erase all of your memories that involve your left arm. He pacifies Voldemort, not by killing him since he'd just come back, but by removing almost all his memories.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Skills Harry learns and experiments he conducts throughout the school year become important in the final battle.
    • He figures out how to freeform partially transfigure an object, something previously thought impossible.note  He uses this skill to transfigure tiny pieces of his wand into what he needs.
    • He learns to transfigure things into carbon nanotubes for an experiment early in the year. In the final battle he transfigures tiny bits of his wand into a length of carbon nanotube.
    • He discovers the true nature of dementors and how to destroy them. This knowledge and skill are shared with the villain to buy time for him to think.
    • The one time Flitwick showed Harry The Swerving Stunner spell.
    • Transfiguring against tension. He uses this fact to come up with a way to use his transfigured nanotubes to kill all the Death Eaters and cripple Voldemort.
    • Harry learning how to remove memories. Harry can't kill Voldemort, so instead he removes all his memory
  • The Chessmaster: This fanfiction contains a whole lot of people who are extrordinarily skilled at plotting.
    • Dumbledore has plots upon plots upon plots and no one except him really understands what he's doing.
    • Lucius Malfoy, Dumbledore's main political rival, also has many plots and counterplots and is an expert at manipulating people. He also teaches his son Draco some of these skills, though Draco never fully becomes the Chessmaster.
    • Voldemort is also almost impossible to predict and has many plots spinning. Harry is startled when listening to Snape, Dumbledore, Moody, and McGonagall attempt to figure out his motivations and plans because of all the layers of meta they guess at.
  • Chess Motifs: Frequent references to someone's "game," "pieces," "pawns," and "sacrifice" (in the context of sacrificing a piece to further one's political game, not magic rituals that require sacrifice).
  • Child by Rape: Bellatrix Black's son Lesath Lestrange was probably a child of rape, as Voldemort "gave" her to the Lestrange brothers.
  • Chirping Crickets: The noises made by the various gizmos on Dumbledore's desk fill the awkward pauses in his conversations with Harry.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Harry has a bad case of it — something that becomes particularly clear in Chapter 27.
    Neville: Do you have to do literally anything anyone asks you?
    Harry: Do? No. Feel guilty about not doing? Yes. [...] Every time someone cries out in prayer and I can't answer, I feel guilty about not being God.
    • Discussed in the epilogue between Harry and Hermione in regards to her continuing to act as the hero of the story Harry tricked everyone into believing.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Discussed in regards to magic.
    Harry: And you, Mum, your theory says that the professor should be able to do this, and if that doesn't happen, you'll admit you're mistaken. Nothing about how magic doesn't work when people are sceptical of it, or anything like that.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • Chapter 33, who will get the Christmas wish is up to Zabini. (Chapter 41 contains more of a Literal Cliffhanger.)
    • The author's note at the close of Chapter 80 is:
      This story will next update on Tuesday, March 27.
      You have five days to think of something.
    • At the end of Chapter 113:
      This is your final exam.
      You have 60 hours.
      Your solution must allow Harry to evade immediate death despite being naked, holding only his wand, facing 36 Death Eaters plus the fully resurrected Lord Voldemort.
      If a viable solution is posted before *12:01AM Pacific Time* (8:01AM UTC) on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015, the story will continue to Ch. 121.
      Otherwise you will get a shorter and sadder ending.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Several members of the Chaos Legion including Harry are guilty of becoming this, with their shared association with each-other through the Legion probably helping. Tracey Davis, for example, "[goes] on stalking through the corridor, like she had dramatic music accompanying her that only she could hear."
  • Colorful Theme Naming: Trying to remain incognito and failing during his first trip to Platform 9 3/4, Harry asks Ron to call him Mr. Black. Malfoy arrives and says it is a good name, but the Black family may object. He suggests Mr. Silver instead. Ron counters with Mr. Gold, but Harry decides to Take a Third Option within the theme and chooses Mr. Bronze, foreshadowing Harry's sorting a few chapters later.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Harry feels this way about the entire rest of the wizarding world after Malfoy tells him that as far as they're concerned, the most important implications of his Parselmouth abilities involve him possibly being the Heir of Slytherin. Harry, meanwhile, has more important things to think about: "SNAKES ARE SENTIENT!?"
    • The non-muggleborn members of S.P.H.E.W. don't exactly get what Hermione is trying to tell them about feminism.
    • When listening to the Weasley twins discussing the Chudley Cannons, Harry figures it is "some bizarre, mind-affecting substance".
  • Comically Small Demand: It's apparently common knowledge that for the right price, the aurors guarding Azkaban will ignore people sneaking in to give the prisoners time with a patronus, or a supply of chocolate. For Auror Li, that price is "two Knuts and a silver Sickle", because he hates Azkaban.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Harry argues against Quirrell's call for unity by pointing out that this trope is what you get when you have too much unity.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Defied in the final chapter: "I don't want to be the sort of person who comes back from the dead, and then starts complaining about which superpowers she got and that her alicorn fingernails are the wrong shade of pearly white."
  • Complexity Addiction:
    • Defied by Lucius. According to his "Rule of Three", any real-world diabolical scheme will only work if it depends on no more than three events happening, unlike in fiction (note that the lead-in to giving Draco this lecture was a play titled The Tragedy of Light). Also, since "only a fool would attempt a plot that was as complicated as possible, the real limit was two."
    • Played straight with Dumbledore, who thinks one should keep as many ploys as possible alive, so all the ones that don't pan out can be diversions. And then at the end of the story, it's revealed he was cheating the entire time and was acting with the foreknowledge provided by hundreds of years worth of recorded prophecies. So as it turns out, even he didn't know why he was doing some of what he did.
  • Composite Character: Hagrid and Dumbledore are still there, but Professor McGonagall takes on most of their roles of concerned guardian and reasonable authority figure. This frees Dumbledore to play up his Chessmaster persona.
  • Confusion Fu: The tactic adopted by Harry's Chaos Legion, with appropriately varying effectiveness.
  • Continuity Nod: One of the first spells Harry and Hermione experiment with is a spell to conjure a glowing neon-green bat. Much later in the year, such a bat is mentioned in passing as one Hermione uses in an army battle against Draco.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Quirrell has turned annoying humming into an art. Note that no magic is involved.
    The only possible explanation for how this mode of humming came to exist is that it was deliberately designed by some unspeakably cruel genius who woke up one day, feeling bored with ordinary torture, who decided to handicap himself and find out whether he could break someone's sanity just by humming at them.
  • Couch Gag: The I Do Not Own J.K. Rowling attribution at the beginning of the first 30 chapters began somewhat seriously, but later turned into "let's substitute the word 'Rowling' and/or the word 'Harry Potter' into any phrase."
  • Courtroom Episode: The main characters are present at a Wizengamot trial over the course of two chapters.
  • Cow Tools: Even Dumbledore doesn't know what most of the magic knick-knacks in his office do, they were created by his predecessors. The ones he does understand do completely pointless things like count the, er, 'sneezes' of French witches. He is personally rather proud of his own contribution, which he doesn't think Minerva will ever figure out.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Harry insists on filling up his bag of holding with anything he could end up needing if something goes horribly wrong, and explains the Planning Fallacy to anyone who tells him not to worry so much. He ends up using much of it, too.
    • Snape's preparations against the possible, eventual return of Voldemort, though reasonable for the level of threat the man presents, are nonetheless frightening in their thoroughness. For years Snape had been going around and spiking graves with different potions in the event Voldemort might try to use the contents of his father's grave for some resurrection ritual. Many different graves over a wide area were similarly booby-trapped in the event that Voldemort thought ahead and obscured the grave's true location beforehand. The "most likely" grave is laced with seventeen different draughts, refreshed yearly, including LSD, just on the off chance it'd have any actual effect on Voldie!. Conversely, Snape and Mad-Eye come to the conclusion that Voldemort probably out-Crazy Prepared them by simply making the actual grave into an unremarkable field.
    • Amelia Bones, Head of Magical Law Enforcement, has come up with a procedure manual which includes possibilities such as a code RJ-L20: "Guard requires relief because prisoner is attempting psychological warfare against him/her and is succeeding". It also states that it is not up to the person receiving this code to determine whether or not it is valid. They are merely required to act on it immediately. Its validity will only be evaluated after the guard in question has been relieved.
  • Creator's Culture Carryover: An amazingly comprehensive selection of American idioms to come from the mouth of a child brought up in Oxford by academics; minor Americanisms have been corrected, however - originally Lupin spoke of "diapers"...
    • It is evident that the author is American even from the very first chapter, "math" replacing "maths" and the term "college" used where a Brit would say "university" or "uni".
    • Although the story is set a decade before the 2005 revival, for Harry to NOT think of Doctor Who when learning of Time-Turners seems a conspicuous omission.
    • Britpicking is currently in progress to rewrite the story in British English.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Professor Quirrell seems to flip between narcoleptic weirdo and intensely passionate professor regularly. Apparently, he's also a sixth dan master in at least one martial art, and he completely outclasses a veteran auror in combat. Though, this is perhaps to be expected given that he's Voldemort.
  • Cryptic Conversation:
    • In Chapter 10, Harry and the Sorting Hat argue about in which house he belongs, and why. Harry is too slow on the uptake to figure out that everything he says about not meeting his potential outside of Ravenclaw is actually forcing the Sorting Hat into the conclusion that he belongs in Slytherin.
    • In Chapter 27, Harry talks to Snape about a bully and a love interest, the identity of whom he finds out too late.
    • Harry bluffs his way through one of these with Lucius Malfoy in Chapter 38, without ever figuring out what it was really about. It turns out that this may have been a bad idea.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Some of the ridiculous things The Quibbler prints turn out to have more than a grain of truth to them. In Chapter 38, it says that Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew are the same person. It turns out that, in this continuity, Peter Pettigrew was a metamorphmagus instead of an animagus, and an actually guilty Sirius Black avoided being sent to Azkaban by arranging for a transformed and Confunded Peter to be arrested and imprisoned in his place.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Quirrell vs. Auror Bahry in chapter 53. It ends in an unexpected way nevertheless.
  • Curiosity Causes Conversion: Part of Harry's plan for Draco.
    One case of true curiosity had the same sort of redeeming power in rationality that one case of true love had in movies.
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: A character is at one point "almost killed by his lack of curiosity."note 
  • Cutting the Knot:
    • How, on a budget of forty Galleons, did the Weasley twins fake the massive amount of evidence needed to convince Rita Skeeter that Harry was betrothed to Ginny? They didn't. They (and/or their contact) simply False Memory Charmed her into believing she had seen it.
    • When it inevitably comes out that the above betrothal was faked, Skeeter's reputation will be destroyed. Quirrell knows this, but can't be bothered waiting, and simply "accidentally" kills her while she's spying on him and Harry in her beetle Animagus form.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Quirrell is one for the Hogwarts students as a whole and Harry in particular while teaching Battle Magic. In keeping with his ambiguous characterization, he makes some good points and is even applauded by some outside observers. After Hermione's death, he fears he succeeded a little too well and tries to reverse his effects a bit.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Thoroughly deconstructed. Although most noteworthy evil wizards are referred to as Dark, including Voldemort, much of the cast (especially Harry, Quirrell, anyone Slytherin) use it to refer instead to methods involving force, trickery, threat of force, blackmail, etc.
    • Discussed in this quote from Hermione: "But the thing that people forget sometimes, is that even though appearances can be misleading, they're usually not."
    • By the end of the story, Harry has admitted "that although 'Dark' and 'evil' may not technically be the same thing, there's a great big statistical correlation".
  • Dead End Job: Emphasized more than in canon. Everyone knows they'll only have Quirrell for one year, and just hopes they'll at least have him for the whole year. Whatever it takes.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Snape seems to have elements of this. Professor McGonagall, in hysterics, points out that the remarkably disruptive Harry Potter has an invisibility cloak, is immune to mind-reading (and, due to the same discipline, is able to resist truth potions), and is friends with the Weasley twins, to which Dumbledore helpfully adds mention of the Time-Turner. Snape then contributes:
    Snape: Should I teach him to brew Polyjuice, Headmaster? I ask only for the sake of completeness, in case you are not satisfied with the magnitude of your pet disaster.
    Dumbledore: Maybe next year.
  • Death Seeker: The Sorting Hat, kind of. It's not happy that Harry's questions have made it self-aware, and is quite looking forward to the end of it when it's removed from his head, but it of course doesn't have to do anything special to bring about that conclusion. No, it needs to explain this to Harry so he doesn't accidentally make it happen again, by mentioning the question of the Hat's sapience to any un-Sorted students.
  • Deconstruction Fic: This fanfiction essentially pointed out all the parts of the world-building in Harry Potter that didn't made sense, and then either figured out how to make them make sense (the Dark Marks, the rules of magic) or made fun of them (Quidditch, the portkey in Goblet of Fire).
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Discussed in chapter 47. Salazar Slytherin could cast a patronus, but many modern Slytherins can't despite sharing most of his values. Harry hypothesizes that Salazar's hatred for muggleborns was more "innocent" in that it was a product of its time, and as such he didn't link it to self-loathing. This would mean he was happy enough to cast a patronus despite being a bigot. On the other hand, modern Slytherins simply need muggleborns as a scapegoat to hate because on some level they realize that they are pathetic and weak despite their proud Slytherin tradition.
  • Democracy Is Bad: Professor Quirrell strongly argues this to Harry in favor of a strong magical dictatorship which could fend off a dark lord and set things right.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Hagrid's in the fic, but has no relevance to the plot.
    • Ron appears every now and again, but generally stays Out of Focus.
    • After chapter 100 the entire supporting cast mostly disappears from the plot and Harry takes central stage. This even extends to Draco, who is been a main character until then.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    Tracey: That's Darke Lady spelled D-A-R-K-E, with an E!
    Snape: Seers are the pawns of time, Mr. Potter. Coincidence is beneath them, and they are above it.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: What happens when transfiguration is commonplace.
  • Devil's Advocate: As a rationalist, Harry has it as a defining character trait that he must assess all available sides of an argument, even if no true advocate of that argument is present, or even exists. This has led to him acting as the Devil's Advocate for himself, as well as using the trope for other people as a form of the Socratic method of argument.
  • Diabolus ex Machina:
    • Comed-Tea is a comedy version. Or, it just seems like one.
    • Discussed in chapter 94, because something happened that shocked all the main characters and had no foreshadowing whatsoever. Harry concludes that this is reality and that foreshadowing isn't real. However, this case wasn't a Diabolus Ex Machina anyway, because Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is a fanfiction and similar events occured in canon that no one had any reason to believe wouldn't occur here.
      Having the enemy just bypass all the protagonists' work, as a result of planning and actions taken out of literary sight, would be a diabolus ex machina, and dramatically unsatisfying.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: In the battle of the Self Actualization arc, Harry and Neville had to train very hard to be able to wear full suits of armor and cast Stupefy. Still, the spell takes a LOT out of Harry's magic reserves to use, but allows him and Neville to take out Sunshine Army by themselves.
  • Disguised Hostage Gambit: Amelia Bones warns her aurors to make sure this isn't being pulled on them.
  • Divide and Conquer: A common strategy in the battle sequences.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Most wizard fighting is a drawn-out attempt to defeat the opponent's defenses while maintaining one's own, but the Killing Curse is unblockable and very powerful wizards can tear apart shields in an eye blink. As a result the best fighters don't bother with shields at all and dodge everything thrown at them. Flitwick has secretly developed a special variant of the stunning hex that can reorient after being dodged, and it proves decisive when Harry uses it in fights he has no business winning.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Hermione's sudden jealousy upon hearing that Harry was "doing science with" Draco Malfoy. To the point that even Harry has to point out how metaphorical their conversation has gotten:
    Hermione: You were doing SCIENCE with him? You were supposed to be doing science with ME!
    Harry: It wasn't like that! It's not like I was doing real science with him! I was just, you know, teaching him some harmless bits of Muggle science like elementary physics with algebra and so on–it's not like I was doing original magical research with him, the way I was with you–
    Hermione: And I suppose you didn't tell him about me, either?
    Harry: Um, of course not? I've been doing science with him since October, and he wasn't exactly ready to hear about you then–
    Hermione: That is not okay! You can't do science with two people at once!
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": "Please, Harry! Headmaster sounds so formal. Just call me Heh for short."
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom:
    • The Chaos Legion's marching song is repeating the word "doom" set to the tune of the Imperial March.
    • McGonagall briefly fears that the Sorting Hat will create a new House of Doom just for Harry.
    • The inexplicable feelings of doom Harry gets when he stands too close to Quirrell.
    • Susan Bones' thoughts about SPHEW's latest mission. It's doomed.
    • You can't see Neville being a badass and not think it requires musical accompaniment.
  • Door Stopper: The story's word count is 661,619—about as long as the first five Harry Potter books put together. When formatted like an actual Harry Potter book, the combined 122 chapters exceed 1900 pages.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Blaise Zabini becomes a quintuple agent during the period when traitors are allowed in the armies. He pretends to be loyal to each of the three armies, is supposedly working for Professor Quirrell above that, and is ultimately working for a mysterious fifth figure, who was probably Dumbledore.
  • Double Standard:
    • Hermione suspects McGonagall is more protective of her than she would be if Hermione were a boy. Also, Harry is especially bothered by the sight of girls being knocked out by sleep hexes.
    • In Chapter 76, Rianne Felthorne thinks the description of stalking both applies and is okay when she thinks it is referring to her behavior towards Professor Snape, but not when it turns out to be about a boy in her class toward her.
  • Dramatic Irony: As a paean to Harry Potter fanfic, this story takes the broad strokes of canon as common knowledge, including things that were major twists such as Quirrell secretly being possessed by Voldemort, the prophecy, or the existence of Horcruxes and the Deathly Hallows. As a result of this, many of the things that Quirrell and Dumbledore say have hidden meanings that, while obvious to the readers, Harry completely misses because he lacks backstory to make alternative hypotheses plausible.
  • Dramatic Reading: There is a nice podiobook available.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Harry wishes that there was dramatic thunder, but there never is.
    Harry: I'm wondering if there's a spell to make lightning flash in the background whenever I make an ominous resolution.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Harry becomes this for dementors after he learns how to destroy them. They follow his orders under threat of destruction, and one flees from him while begging everyone around them to "make him go away!"
    • Harry also becomes this for Voldemort after the latter hears a prophecy interpreted as calling Harry the destroyer of the Universe. To avoid that future, he goes to extreme lengths to help Harry by resurrecting Hermione and ensuring she can't die again.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Chapter 88. Mrs. Norris gets eaten offscreen.
  • Dull Surprise: The mutual reaction of Harry and his father when McGonagall uses Wingardium Leviosa on the latter. Harry is confused as to why his reaction is so low-key, being of the opinion that his entire world being turned on its head should merit at least a minor Freak Out.
    Harry looked at his father.
    "Huh," Harry said.
    His father looked back at him. "Huh," his father echoed.
    Then Professor Verres-Evans looked back at Professor McGonagall. "All right, you can put me down now."
  • Dying Alone: Hermione's greatest fear is to die alone.
  • Eaten Alive: In chapter 89, Hermione Granger is eaten alive by the troll, as is Mrs. Norris.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Dumbledore, one of the most classic mentor figures, is remarkably eccentric, even more so than his canon counterpart.
  • Empathic Environment:
    • The chair in McGonagall's office has been transfigured so many times it seems to reflect her moods. At one point, it is so big and soft it seems to be giving Harry a hug.
    • Quirrell's room in the infirmary has no natural light. It may be that the infirmary has a variety of rooms for different tastes, or that Hogwarts alters rooms to suit patients.
  • Empty Shell: Harry becomes this for a few paragraphs due to prolonged exposure to a dementor. He still acts and reacts, but his internal monologue is utterly mechanistic.
  • Enemy Mine: Draco and Hermione eventually are driven to make common cause. After Hermione is murdered, Lucius Malfoy realizes he's been played and allies with Harry against their common enemy, together bringing in enough allies to get the board of governors to act on Harry's plans for security.
  • Enemy Within: Though Harry is a superb rationalist, he resorts to his dark side when he needs to bring out the big guns.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When he sees a photo of Ginny "sighing longingly" over a photo of himself, Harry thinks that it couldn't possibly have been acquired without her consent (probably true) and therefore must have been staged (probably not).
  • Epic Fail: Only mentioned after the fact, but Harry once had a pet rock. It died. Though, we (and Harry) later learn that the pet rock only died because Dumbledore murdered it.
  • Eternal English: Averted. It's noted that several (English) portraits are so old that modern English speakers can't understand them.
  • Ethical Hedonist: This may not be Harry's exact ethical calculus, but it is most likely close—at least, when he's thinking things through...
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Whatever else can be said about Lucius Malfoy, he appears to genuinely love his son.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • In Chapter 20 it's shown that Professor Quirrell strongly resents muggles for inventing nuclear weapons, though at the same time he's fond of space travel, since it would allow wizard kind to live away from Earth.
    • In Chapter 42 it is shown that the wizarding world doesn't think highly of homophobia in the muggle world, with one Slytherin girl even believing stories of violence carried out against homosexuals are just rumors spread by Death Eaters to make muggles look bad. They are also mind-boggled by color-based racism.
    • Quirrell describes how Perenelle seduced and murdered Baba Yaga to steal the Philosopher's Stone, and even he looks angry.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Inverted for Daphne, who is cursed to sparkle by upperclassmen as part of their teasing.
  • Every Man Has His Price:
    • The aurors guarding Azkaban will overlook people sneaking in to give the prisoners chocolate or patronus time, for the right bribe. Auror Li, who hates Azkaban, will accept a Comically Small Bribe (see above). Auror Bahry, whose wife is ill and needs expensive treatments, demands a lot more.
    • Lampshaded quite explicitly in Chapter 75:
      "Are you a Gryffindor or a Slytherin?" said Jugson. "Everyone's got a price. Everyone's smart."
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
    • At least, Dumbledore believes that true evil cannot understand good, though that may just be his idealism showing.
    • In an omake about what would happen if it were a The Lord of the Rings fanfic, this is implied to be defied by Awesomeness by Analysis.
      Just as it had not occurred to Gandalf that the Enemy might learn to comprehend foes of goodwill by looking...
    • In Chapter 76, the mysterious shadowy figure attempts to convince Hermione to flee Hogwarts. He fails utterly because he doesn't understand that Hermione just won't trust someone cloaked in an all-covering black mist. He continues to try for several hours, memory-wiping her every time he reaches an impasse in the conversation, and eventually hits on disguising himself as something less dark. Given the shadowy figure's previous competence at running conspiracies, it seems his ability to form mental models of people has serious flaws when it attempts to analyze Hermione. In chapter 108, Quirrell explains that even this didn't work and he ultimately had to resort to giving Hermione a false memory of Draco plotting evil. When Quirrell mocks Hermione for her ideals, Harry points out that they worked in that they made her immune to manipulation, and Quirrell concedes the point.
    • For a truly epic example, in chapter 38, Lucius tells Harry, "When I read your response to Professor Quirrell's little speech... I was puzzled, at first, for it seemed not in your own interest." This mistakenly assumes that Harry is self-interested. It's never explicitly said what conclusion Lucius reached as a result of this mistake, but it's implied that Lucius ended up concluding that Harry is Voldemort.
    • Quirrell's speech itself, for that matter is essentially about the "security vs. freedom" debate, except he doesn't recognize the "freedom" side as even existing. Either it didn't occur to him or he dismissed it as irrelevant.
    • A subtle example: During their confrontation at the end, Quirrell states that he expected Harry to apply his earlier lessons on losing when Hermione was facing Azkaban at the Wizengamot, adding that, after a few weeks, Quirrell would have gotten Hermione exonerated. In so doing, Quirrell completely disregards the fact that, to decent people, there is a huge difference between losing an argument when all that's at stake is a bruised ego and losing an argument when the stakes are real and high, including having one's best friend consigned to a fairly literal Hell on Earth, added to the fact that Harry had no way of knowing that Hermione would have been exonerated anyway.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Grindelwald was Dumbledore's "dark mirror," and Dumbledore thinks Voldemort must be Harry's. Harry is dubious.
    • Professor Quirrell (i.e., Voldemort) is Harry's. Both are rationalists who are exasperated by irrationality in others, both reject or fear death and seek immortality, and both have a strong interest in space travel; however, Professor Quirrell is extremely cynical and Neutral Evil whereas Harry is optimistic and Chaotic Good, and Quirrell occasionally tries to prod Harry into embracing "the Dark Side of the Force."
    • Bellatrix is the evil counterpart of Hermione. Both were the most promising witch of Hogwarts and considered nice, if quiet, by friends. Bellatrix had to suffer dementors for ten years, and Hermione is terribly afraid of them. Both are bound to Voldemort and Harry, respectively, by something deeper than an Imperius curse. Also, Bellatrix is the first (and only) person to escape from Azkaban and the dementors, which she does with the help of Harry's Deathly Hallow and Patronus Charm 2.0. At the end, Harry gives Hermione the task of destroying Azkaban and the Dementors, using the Deathly Hallow and the Patronus Charm 2.0.
    • Towards the end we learn that Voldemort's unlimited-uses variant of the killing curse is the evil counterpart of the Patronus 2.0. The Patronus 2.0 requires you to want everyone to overcome death (because it allows the caster to confront death as a concept head-on instead of hiding from it), whereas the advanced killing curse requires complete indifference toward the target's life (because indifference is as damaging as hate but flows without limit).
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: Averted. Most of the characters who are villains (or come off as villains) in canon do not have a mutual agenda here, to the point that Draco has somewhat different priorities than Lucius, neither of them trust Quirrell, Snape doesn't collaborate with any of them, and Harry's in some way or another getting what he wants from all of them. Blaise Zabini seems to be quite happy to do whatever the hell he wants, and then there are Slytherins like Daphne Greengrass who seem more motivated to enjoy childhood and get through school than participate in any sort of conspiracy. Then, Bellatrix escapes from Azkaban. From a Gryffindor perspective, it probably looks like magical England has its own Big Bad Ensemble. That's all without mentioning Mr. Hat And Coat, "Santa Claus," and the fact that Lucius and Draco believe that Professor Dumbledore immolated Narcissa Malfoy.
  • Evil Laugh: Harry often uses one, usually when role-playing as an Evil Genius, or just to sarcastically point out how non-evil his plans are ("Bwah hah hah."), such as his plot to make Draco friends with Hermione, or desire to find a way to make everyone immortal.
  • Evil Mentor: Professor Quirrell attempts to seduce Harry to the path of becoming a dark lord.
  • Evil Me Scares Me: Harry's "mysterious dark side" is something he tries not to access too much, for fear that one day he won't be able to come back from it and will become a dark lord.
  • Evil Overlooker: The commissioned poster has the evil character looking over the good ones.
  • Evil Overlord List: Quirrell made his own version of this with the actual intention of becoming an evil overlord and following his list.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Harry's high, eleven-year-old voice makes it harder for him to sound truly fearsome, even when he tries.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Draco believes (as do most Slytherins, apparently) that Dumbledore was the greater evil and that Voldemort and his Death Eaters, though bad, were the only people with a chance to stand up to him.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: Quirrell wants to rule the world, and is very concerned about the possibility of it being accidentally destroyed, especially by Muggle means such as nuclear weapons.
    Defense Professor: I have no great fondness for the universe, but I do live there.
  • Exact Words:
    • Harry asks Draco for the thirty-second summary of blood purist viewpoints. After Draco delivers, Harry admits that it was "persuasive" — not that Harry is at all convinced himself, but that he recognizes it to be constructed in a persuasive manner.
    • When Harry first visits Professor Dumbledore's office, Dumbledore mentions that most people who come there want to see Fawkes, shows Harry an ordinary chicken, explains that phoenixes are highly magical creatures who burst into flames and are reborn from the ashes, and then sets the chicken on fire, but never actually says that the chicken is Fawkes. On his next visit, Harry is momentarily stunned to meet Fawkes properly.
    • In Chapter 25, Quirrell says to Rita Skeeter: "Yet I find that I cannot deny myself the pleasure of simply crushing you." Later on, he pretends to stumble and crushes her while she's in beetle form.
    • Later, "I promise not to help General Granger in any way that the two of you don't know about." The two of them (or, at least Draco) later realize he's helping her in a way that's included in the rule sheets.
    • Quirrell figures that the portkey given to Harry would take him to someplace in London, instead of the wizarding school in America as promised. He then notes that the attached letter does not explicitly say the portkey will take Harry to the school; merely that the Salem Witch's Institute would accept him, and that Harry now had a portkey.
    • Evidently common in Ravenclaw, as when Harry promises in chapter 14 that he doesn't intend to prank his fellow students, it takes Penelope Clearwater only a few moments to determine that he didn't leave any loopholes. Though, she's not entirely correct on that count, as he was planning to use his newly-obtained Time-Turner to prank his past self and complete the Stable Time Loop, which his promise does not preclude him from doing.
    • This is how Harry gets around the promises he had to make before meeting with the Malfoys in Gringotts. Bonus points for getting it ready before he made the promise.
    • The fact that the narration constantly refers to Quirrell as "the Defense Professor" rather than by name, mostly reserving his name for occasions where he is referred to from a character's perspective, mostly comes across as unsubtly hammering home the painfully obvious fact that he's not actually Quirinus Quirrell, and the narration knows it but the characters don't. But it also applies in-universe: him being defined to the Hogwarts wards as just "the Defense Professor" meant that someone killed by the troll he smuggled in disguised as one of his teeth registers as being killed by "the Defense Professor".
  • Expo Speak Gag: While shopping in Diagon Alley for first aid supplies, Harry encounters a "Dementor Exposure Treatment" (chocolate).

     F - G 
  • Face Palm: A common response to Harry's antics.
  • Faking the Dead:
    • Sort of? In the end, Quirinus Quirrell really is dead, and his corpse is genuine. But Voldemort, the person everyone is really thinking of when they hear Quirrell's name, is "only" Memory-Charmed nearly into oblivion and transfigured into a jewel Harry Potter will carry around forever, until he can safely revive and redeem him.
    • A straight example is Narcissa Malfoy, who Dumbledore did not in fact immolate in her own bedroom unprovoked, but pretended he did that and actually Memory-Charmed her and abducted her to Australia.
  • False Reassurance:
    • In chapter 16, Harry desperately tries to come up with something to counter Quirrell's assertions that Harry has the killing intent—but the only thing he can come up with is "I'm not a psychopath, I'm just very creative", which is hardly any less ominous.
    • Inverted in chapter 30. "Dragon Army has never lost a single battle, and Hermione Granger... has a very good memory."
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Hermione Granger dies of blood loss after being half-eaten by a troll.
  • Fantastic Time Management: Harry gets a Time-Turner to treat his sleep disorder.
  • Feed the Mole: A lot of moles get fed in chapter 33 after traitors have turned the battles into a farce.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Played for laughs in Chapter 29 when Hermione goes to Quirrell for advice.
    Hermione: I have a lot of Quirrell points, don't I?
    Professor Quirrell: You do indeed. Though one less than you had before. Terrible, isn't it? Just think, if I don't like your reason for coming here, you could lose another fifty. Maybe I'd take them away one... by one... by one...
    Hermione: You're really evil, did anyone ever tell you that?
  • Figure It Out Yourself: Justified; once Harry figures out how to destroy a dementor, he realizes that just telling someone the secret won't make it work for them, but will render them unable to use the Patronus Charm without the proper mindset, making any explanation a potential Brown Note.
  • The Film of the Book: A Sims version
  • Final-Exam Boss: Harry is facing down the final villain in a seemingly hopeless situation. The author declares this is the audience's final exam: using only the skills and abilities Harry has demonstrated in the story so far and the methods of rationality they've hopefully learned through the course of reading it, the audience at the time he was writing it are challenged to devise a way for Harry to win the fight.
  • Fingore: A bully threatens quite seriously to "accidentally" break Harry's fingers.
  • First Girl Wins: Invoked by Harry's and Hermione's parents, who are already hearing wedding bells just because Harry is the first boy Hermione's ever seemed to notice in "that way" and Hermione is the first child Harry's ever seemed to notice even exists.
    • Though, Harry's parents don't know about Draco, whom Harry did befriend even before Hermione...
  • First-Name Basis: Harry sometimes addresses Professor McGonagall as "Minerva" in private, when they're interacting as fellow members of Dumbledore's conspiracy rather than as professor/deputy headmistress and student.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Defied. For Harry, five stages of grief are as follows: Rage, Remorse, Resolve, Research, and Resurrection. He will not bother with denial and he will never allow himself to reach acceptance.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Discussed in the author's notes — Yudkowsky stated that he wished to demonstrate that even though there is an afterlife in the canon Harry Potter series, the dearth of available evidence (without, you know, dying) meant that disbelieving in its existence was still a thoroughly reasonable standpoint. This arguably required Dumbledore to do a fairly poor job of presenting said evidence.
  • Flat "What":
    • Happens in the very first chapter, when Harry makes himself go through with calling out "Letter for Hogwarts!" despite feeling foolish, and is stunned when Mrs Figg pops her head up, apparently knowing what he means, takes the letter, and promises to send someone over.
      Then a boy's voice said, calmly and quietly, "What."
    • In chapter 24, Harry mentions stealing gold from his own Gringotts vault. This is Draco's reaction.
    • This is Harry's reaction to hearing that Voldemort is going to extreme lengths to help Harry resurrect Hermione and keep her forever alive because he's afraid that without Hermione's influence to restrain him, Harry will destroy the Universe.
    • This is Amelia Bones's reaction when Alastor Moody asserts that Harry, not Hermione, defeated Voldemort.
  • Forbidden Friendship:
    • Hermione and Draco. One's a "mudblood," and the other's the son of the top Death Eater. Everyone in Slytherin expects Draco to destroy her.
    • Harry and Draco. Dumbledore and Lucius Malfoy only allow it to continue to turn the other.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Harry muses on how susceptible people are to this after he discovers that he desperately wants to be able to leave Hogwarts only once he's not allowed to.
  • Forced to Watch: The martial arts instructor who wouldn't teach Voldemort had to watch his students be tortured and killed.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In chapter 6, when Harry is trying to convince McGonagall to let him buy the Emergency Healing Pack Plus. He describes Hermione's death almost word for word.
      "What sort of contingency do you imagine this kit might prepare you for, young man?"
      "One of my classmates gets bitten by a horrible monster, and as I scrabble frantically in my mokeskin pouch for something that could help her, she looks at me sadly and with her last breath says, 'Why weren't you prepared?' And then she dies, and I know as her eyes close that she won't ever forgive me—"
    • Harry has a tendency to mentally refer to Death Eaters by their first names as well as have surprisingly strong impressions of them. He knew them all personally after all.
    • After McGonagall awards Harry ten points for thinking of putting protective shells on Time-Turners, thereby increasing Harry's House Point lead over Hermione, but still earned non-academically:
      "PROFESSOR!" Harry shrieked. "This is our war! Stop meddling!"
      "Now you have until Thursday of next week, Mr. Potter. Unless, of course, you engage in some sort of mischief and lose House Points before then. Addressing a professor disrespectfully, for example." Professor McGonagall put a finger on her cheek and looked reflective. "I expect you'll hit negative numbers before the end of Friday."
    Guess what happens on Friday. McGonagall continues, likely referring to the events in Self-Actualization.
    "My, I wonder how long it will take before Miss Granger does something deserving of a dinnertime announcement? I look forward to seeing it, whatever it may be."
    • In chapter 20, Harry finds out that Quirrell loves the idea of space travel, and secretly cast some kind of spell on the Pioneer plaque. Harry then wonders aloud about the nature of the spell, one suggestion being binding someone's ghost to the plaque. Upon hearing this, Quirrell immediately tells Harry not to talk of such things, as any spell like that would be considered Dark. It turns out that the Pioneer plaque is one of Voldemort's horcruxes.
    • In chapter 38, some clever ones are delivered in rapid-fire mode, courtesy of the Quibbler:
      - "Gosh," Harry said half a minute later, "you get a seer smashed on six slugs of Scotch and she spills all sorts of secret stuff. I mean, who'd have thought that Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew were secretly the same person?"
      - "Not me," said the vendor.
      - "They've even got a picture of the two of them together, so we know who it is that's secretly the same person."
      - "Yup," said the vendor. "Pretty clever disguise, innit?"
      - "And I'm secretly sixty-five years old."
      - "You don't look half that," the vendor said amiably.
      - "And I'm betrothed to Hermione Granger, and Bellatrix Black, and Luna Lovegood, and oh yes, Draco Malfoy too..."
      - "Goin' ter be one interesting wedding," said the vendor.
    • The scene with Neville's remembrall occurs mostly the same as it does in canon, with one major difference: When Harry picks it up, it lights up like a sun. At the very end of the story, we find out that due to being a mind copy of Voldemort impressed upon the infant Harry Potter, he's essentially an amnesiac Tom Riddle missing some sixty years of memories.
    • In perhaps the most blatant short-term example to ever go unnoticed on a first read: and then passing statues of witches and dragons and even the occasional wizard-knight in plate armor or chainmail...
      • ...while Harry and Neville are wearing armour to block Sleep Hexes and Harry even says in the dialogue that it doesn't count as "transfiguring a Muggle Artifact" since some wizards used to wear it as seen in statues.
    • In chapter 69, Harry says rhetorically that "it's not like I'm an imperfect copy of someone else". Turns out, that is precisely what he is. A good Tom Riddle to oppose the evil one.
  • For Happiness: A major component in Harry's (early) value system, though he later becomes more interested in stopping death.
    Harry Potter: ... and in any case you're asking the wrong question. The question is, did it do more good than harm, or more harm than good?
  • For the Evulz: Harry and Dumbledore ponder why Voldemort has become so inhumanly evil. The best answer they can come up is that a dark wizard might look at the injustice of the world and ask, "Why not?"
  • Fridge Horror: A few, In-universe.
    • After Harry finds out about Parseltongue he starts to wonder if any other animals are intelligent enough to communicate. Then he starts to wonder about plants. Then he starts to skip meals. Confounded by the fact that the next meal he has is Tenorman's family chili, Harry makes sure that it contains no meat of snakes or squirrels, since those are the only (potentially) talking animals...
    • More subtle is the fear Harry learns when he sees what kind of proper protections he should have had in place when doing transfiguration/science experiments with Hermione.
  • Friendship Moment:
    • Harry and Draco: When they first meet while getting fitted for robes and try to cover for each other. Draco ends up declaring he's always wanted to be in Gryffindor. To McGonagall. In front of his father. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Harry to Hermione: Offering her his Deathly Hallow so she can fight bullies. Giving Lucius Malfoy his entire fortune and then some to save her from Azkaban.
    • Harry to Quirrell: Deciding to not lose during the Stanford Prison Experiment in order to save him.
    • Hermione to Harry: Going to face the dementor again to figure out how it's attacking Harry.
    • The story ends on a HUGE one between Harry and Hermione.
  • From Bad to Worse: First, Hermione runs off in mortification from a conversation with Harry. Then, a troll on the loose in the castle is announced at dinner and Hermione, off crying elsewhere, doesn't know. Unlike in canon, Harry and company don't get there in time and she dies a truly gruesome death while Harry desperately tries to save her.
  • Gaining the Will to Kill: Harry crosses this line during a battle with a mountain troll, when a close friend is mortally wounded. Later, he coolly plans the murder of Lucius Malfoy in case Lucius refuses his offer to form an alliance, as he will otherwise remain an enemy.
    • In the final confrontation with Voldemort, Harry finally realizes that there is no way to save everyone, and this makes him finally go so far to not only theorise or plan, but to actually kill people.
  • Gambit Pileup:
    • The War of Three Armies. One of the few cases where "thirty" is an understatement. The author actually apologizes for the pileup in the author's notes, but explains that:
      I think I just had to get it out of my system by writing, at least once in my life, something more complicated than Death Note.
    • In the main plot, Harry, Draco, Dumbledore, and Quirrell all trying to be The Chessmaster, with varying degrees of success.
    • One chapter has Snape commenting, "If I have learned anything in my tenure as Head of Slytherin, I have learned what ridiculous messes arise when there is more than one plotter and more than one plan."
  • Gambit Roulette: Lucius also seems to have summed this one up perfectly: he once told Draco that "any plot which required more than three different things to happen would never work in real life". However, "only an idiot would try a plan that is as complicated as possible, so the real limit is two." Dumbledore favors the opposite aproach: have so many different complex plans going at any one time that your opponent has no idea what any given action is supposed to accomplish, and muddy the waters further with plans and actions that have no further goal than to confuse the issue. The two have been stuck in a deadlock for years.
    • Chapter 119 reveals Dumbledore has been playing a prophecy-fueled gambit for the last few decades to empower Harry and save humanity from some nebulous future threat. An intricate part of this gambit involved killing Harry's pet rock (even Dumbledore is confused by that one).
  • Genius Thriller: The concept of the fanfic is that it's Harry Potter rewritten in this genre.
  • Genre Savvy: A subtheme of the story is the question of how well tropes in stories Harry has read can be applied to the real-life situations he finds himself in. It's discussed multiple times.
    • Harry has read enough stories to know that the key to preventing his mysterious dark side from taking over isn't to never get angry, but to accept that this dark side is actually a part of him and learn to control it, instead. His "dark side" doesn't even have super-powerful magical ability compared to normal.
    • Harry and Dumbledore (mostly Dumbledore) occasionally discuss current circumstances in terms of tropes; e.g., X can't happen to Harry because he's the hero, or Dumbledore's role as Harry's "mysterious old wizard."
  • Ghostapo: It's strongly suggested that the Nazis were Grindelwald's followers in the muggle world, with the Holocaust actually being a blood magic ritual to give him power.
  • Girls Have Cooties: Harry doesn't mind being around girls per se, but objects strongly to notions of romance or kissing.
  • A Glass in the Hand: During an omake, Harry sings "I Ain't Afraid of Dark Lords", a variation on the theme song from Ghostbusters. Snape's reaction is to slowly crush the silver goblet he has been drinking from.
  • A Glass of Chianti: Quirrell's usual drink in Mary's Room. No, not evil at all...
  • A God Am I: Harry's ultimate goal is:
    To understand everything important there is to know about the universe, apply that knowledge to become omnipotent, and use that power to rewrite reality because I have some objections to the way it works now.
  • Golden Snitch: Upon having quidditch explained to him, Harry immediately points out that the Trope Namer makes the entire rest of the game meaningless, and resolves to remove it. Not right away, he has other stuff to do... but, you know, eventually.
    • It's not just quidditch that the snitch horribly unbalances; as quidditch points are directly added to house point totals, Harry points out that seekers earning 150 of them per game far, far outstrips any contributions any other students could make by doing well in their classes and makes the House Cup contest more of a sporting trophy than anything academic.
    • This has a payoff towards the end of the fic, when the two teams in the final for the Quidditch Cup realize they're both out of the running for the House Cup unless the total points climb into the hundreds. Cue both seekers suddenly being suspiciously bad at their jobs.
  • Golden Mean Fallacy: Dumbledore compromising on things like letting Azkaban keep existing and leaving bullies to their game.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • Dumbledore's pushing of Hermione towards trying harder to be a hero in her own right works, alright. It works so well that the entire next eight chapters are about just how much trouble she stirs up as a result. Long before the end he is fearing for her life should things escalate further. The very first thing she and her group do is organize a protest against him for the stuff he said in his Reverse Psychology gambit.
    • Chapter 89: After Hermione dies, Quirrell finally approves of the strength of Harry's determination... and then Trelawney makes a prophecy about the end of the world. In the next chapter Quirrell is grimly trying to get Professor McGonagall to divert Harry from his resolution and spell research.
    • A meta example; at the end of chapter 113 the author challenged the readers to figure out how Harry could get out of a seemingly hopeless situation by posting their suggestion as a review, and threatened to give them a bad ending if no one came up with a viable solution. There were so many entries sent in that within 40 hours the review section was longer than any of the canon books, and he had to appeal to the fans to try to help sort them out.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: In more than one scene, Harry debates with his inner Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Hufflepuff, as represented in this piece of fanart. Amusingly, or perhaps bizarrely, all but Ravenclaw start making fun of him when he gets worried about the implications of Parseltongue, in ways that have nothing to do with moral arguments (for instance, Hufflepuff starts insisting he resort to cannibalism). Chapter 63 contains a justification for all the voices in Harry's head sounding so much like distinct individuals, but nothing but the Rule of Funny can save them in chapter 48.
  • Gossip Evolution:
    • Rumors in Hogwarts have a tendency to mutate. Some have few witnesses to the original event (e.g., Harry using the ghost of Slytherin to stop Padma from spreading rumors about Hermione, or what, exactly, happened in Hermione's Wizengamot trial) and some have many witnesses (e.g., Harry returning from dementation). Harry allows the rumors to spread and starts some of his own because uncertainty makes it more likely that the truth will remain hidden.
    • Hermione wonders what older Ravenclaw girls are reading that makes them ship Harry-Hermione.
  • Gossipy Hens: The girls of Slytherin, especially Millicent Bulstrode. Hell, almost all the schoolgirls.
  • Gravity Master: Feather Falling potion works much like the similarly named Dungeons & Dragons spell.
  • The Grovel: Harry's lack of experience dealing with friends combined with following the advice of Quirrell leads to multiple instances of him groveling to Hermione.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Averted. Even for a small thing like patronuses acting strangely, Azkaban's guards send patrols to be safe. Another sign of Amelia Bones's wisdom.
    [I]t was probably nothing, but procedure was procedure.
  • Guest Fighter: In chapter 77, from the Sburb Patch Notes thread. It's Tricia Glasswell, but most likely an Alternate Universe version of her.

     H - J 
  • Happily Adopted: One of the main differences from canon; Petunia and her husband think of Harry as their son, and are kind and loving parents.
  • Happiness in Slavery: The house elves. However, in this version Hermione's issues with it are downplayed.
    Harry: Of course whatever Dark wizard who created them in the first place was evil beyond compare, but that was no reason to deny the poor creatures the servitude they were bred to enjoy.
  • The Heart: Hermione and Fawkes both play this role for Harry, as he explicitly acknowledges in chapter 77.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Harry seems to be on the verge of this around chapter 55, at the worst possible place and time for it to happen: as he's breaking Bellatrix Black out of Azkaban. By himself.
    • And in chapter 82 in the heat of the argument he pushes Dumbledore to the edge of one.
    • In Chapter 93 McGonagall decides her focus on rules and responsibility has left students unwilling to take necessary risks and destroyed Gryffindor's heroic spirit, for which she publicly recants.
    • In Chapter 94 Neville has realised he should have helped Harry save Hermione rather than insist they follow orders and stay where it was safe, and blames himself for her death.
  • Hellhole Prison: Azkaban, described even more vividly than in canon.
  • Heroic Resolve:
    • Harry, in Azkaban, when he realizes that giving up would doom Quirrell.
    • Villainous example (maybe): Tracey Davis in Chapter 70, after Quirrell chastises her.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: Chapter 63, Harry and Draco both use this as a litmus test. Harry realizes in a later chapter that he's gotten so used to tests like this that he's forgotten how to lie to normal people.
  • Historical In-Joke: Red and green are associated with Christmas because a Gryffindor and a Slytherin were married during the Yule season in the distant past and became a symbol of brotherhood.
  • Hitler Ate Sugar: Harry falls into this fallacy briefly in chapter 35, but even after he's called on it his point still stands (the topic was actual fascism).
  • Hobbes Was Right: Professor Quirrell's viewpoint, which he hopes to bring Harry to.
  • Homeschooled Kids: Harry was one before attending Hogwarts.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The Hogwarts battle in Chapter 67 is a non-video game example of this.
  • Hot for Teacher: Rianne Felthorne is hopelessly infatuated with Snape, and when he demands her presence in his dungeons she immediately assumes he's propositioning her. For a threesome with Hermione Granger, no less!!
  • Horrifying the Horror: Dementors are scared of Harry.
  • Hufflepuff House: Oddly enough, Gryffindor, which is mainly filled with none too bright troublemakers, impulsive hotheads, and most of the non-Slytherin bullies. Hufflepuff itself is Rescued from the Scrappy Heap by dint of hard work and loyalty being strong, positive traits in this universe.
    • However, the Weasley twins are fairly prominent and important characters, as is the head of Gryffindor house, far more so than the other heads of house (save Snape).
    • Godric Gryffindor is also held up as a noble example worth following; among other things, he had the courage to look past the obvious and comprehend the true nature of dementors, which neither Dumbledore nor Quirrellmort have worked out. (Harry speculates that Rowena might also have known, but Salazar and Helga definitely didn't, seeing as both of them could cast the standard Patronus Charm.
  • Human Sacrifice: It's strongly implied that Grindelwald was using the Holocaust to fuel some dark ritual. Dumbledore mentioned that Grindelwald was literally invincible while his muggle allies were still making blood sacrifices for him, and they had to be stopped before he could be defeated. So, yes, in those months where the wizarding world claimed Dumbledore was "waiting for the most dramatic moment," he was actually stopping the Holocaust.
  • Human Subspecies: Harry suspects that all of the intelligent races are magically altered human bloodlines, both because of their human features and because their mindset is at most like a different culture compared to wizards' whereas one would expect a completely alien perspective. The goblins are definitely close enough to mainline human to mix, as in canon.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Quirrell believes this. Harry thinks that although many may be so, people also have the potential to be good, and that some (like Hermione) are able to act on it.
  • Humans Are Morons: A theme of the fic is that most humans do not bother to think deeply enough.
  • Humans Are Special: And our Hat is that of the Manipulative Bastard. Yay. Harry believing this gives him the power to destroy dementors. So, yeah, definitely.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: Harry asks if this would destroy a dementor. Quirrell, not content with giving a simple response, deliberately misinterprets the question:
    "It seems unlikely, Mr. Potter," Professor Quirrell said dryly. "The Sun is very large, after all; I doubt the Dementor would have much effect on it. But it is not a test I would like to try, Mr. Potter, just in case."
  • Hypocrite:
    • It's practically a Running Gag that Harry criticizes others' cognitive biases after demonstrating them himself.
    • Dumbledore considering immortality intrinsically immoral is hypocritical to his lack of issue with the Flamels practicing it, and he tries to rationalize this by saying the Flamels are maintaining their long lives for the good of others and technically aren't immortal.
    • Rianne thinks it's creepy when boys have crushes on her and watch her in secret, but not so much when she's the one who has a crush on a guy and watches him in secret.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That:
    • In the first army battle Dean Thomas, who's been waiting his whole life to say it, gets the chance to say, "Red 5 standing by."
    • In the lake battle Harry, who's always wanted to say it and has looked for an opportunity that really felt right, gets the chance to say, "Why are you upside down?"
  • I Can Still Fight!:
    • Quirrell has to order Harry to rest after the events of the infamous Chapter 19.
    • Hannah Abbott literally says this during Quirrell's battle in Chapter 78.
  • I Gave My Word: Quirrell seems surprised when Harry tells him he would never break a promise.
  • I Have This Friend: With a touch of …And That Little Girl Was Me. Harry learns it's dangerous to give advice unless he knows whom his interlocutor is really talking about.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Discussed in chapter 73.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Discussed in chapter 73.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Quirrell teaches Harry to pull off more subtle kinds of deception, leading to situations like this:
    So either Severus was in fact modeling Harry as a one-level player, which made Severus himself two-level, and Harry's three-level move had been successful; or Severus was a four-level player and wanted Harry to think the deception had been successful.
    • Harry remarks in a later chapter that getting used to this kind of multi-level game the way Slytherins play it makes it quite hard to lie to normal people, since the precise phrasing involved comes off as suspicious in itself.
  • I Know Your True Name: Neville pretends to summon Harry "by the power of [his] true name."
  • I Let You Win: Downplayed; strictly speaking Moody didn't let Harry hit him when he issued his challenge. But as Harry points out later, he wasn't really trying to stop him — all he did was sit back, wait for Harry to begin his next attempt, and then shut him down. The point of the exercise being less to compare their relative strengths, and more to get Harry to break out of the role of a "duelist" and genuinely do whatever it would take to land that one hit.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: McGonagall needs one desperately after shopping with Harry.
  • I Owe You My Life: Life debts in the wizarding world appear to be Serious Business, as the Wizengamot (at least sometimes) makes official rulings about them.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Draco thinks Harry is trying to break up Draco's alliance with Hermione by teasing him about it mercilessly.
  • I Was Never Here: Harry says this to Professor Sprout when setting up the Game, and it's implied in several other conversations.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Hermione tells Draco to let go of her hand and let her fall so he can defeat Harry, rather than try to hold on and make them both lose.
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: On Harry's second trip to Diagon Alley:
    "I do hope those five Galleons will be enough to last, since you counted them so carefully," said Professor Quirrell. "I doubt the Headmaster shall be so eager to entrust me with your vault key a second time, once he discovers I've been tricked."
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: "I'm a hat, not a god."
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Once Harry realizes that parselmouths are capable of speaking to snakes he starts to worry if this means snakes, and potentially any other thing he eats, my be sentient. While Harry hungrily wonders about the moral implications, his Hufflepuff perspective (see Good Angel, Bad Angel above) suggests he fix the problem by eating his fellow students. After all, there is no debating whether they are sentient.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: When Dumbledore desperately asks him for some wisdom, Harry resorts to spouting fake profundity – and then is rather appalled at how easily Dumbledore buys it.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Quirrell and Dumbledore (when angry) are described as having these.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Discussed in the Ch. 33-34 Author's Note: "It is a general law of MoR that no one is ever holding the Idiot Ball." However, Quirrell does explicitly break his own Evil Overlord rules when telling Harry about the Pioneer plaque, and Harry in turn seems to be trusting Quirrell to an unreasonable extent even given their burgeoning friendship. This trust is supposedly due to a special connection between them, and in the last chapters it turns out they are, in a very real sense, the same person..
      • In particular, Harry agreeing to help rescue Bellatrix from Azkaban is really stupid of him, especially since Quirrell's argument that she was corrupted doesn't support his thesis that she's innocent now (and that's assuming he's telling the truth at all). It is in-character for Harry (given his extreme hatred of dementors and cynicism about the Ministry) and he does call himself on it later when he has twenty-twenty hindsight, but still. (And conveniently, the actual moment of decision happens off-screen.)
    • The author's declaration led to some misunderstandings in the fandomnote , as some fans mistook "Nobody is forcibly made stupid for the sake of plot convenience," to mean "No character is stupid, and nobody ever does anything stupid, even if that would be perfectly normal and expected human behaviour in the situation."
    • Referenced among Mad-Eye Moody's list of precautions as "Bahl's Stupefaction", a highly addictive drug which hands you an Idiot Ball as a side effect.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Bellatrix, one of Voldemort's servents, is deeply in love with Voldemort and knows that he will never love her back.
  • Immortality Immorality: Dumbledore believes that seeking to live forever is inherently immoral, and the fear of death is what caused Voldemort to turn evil. Harry disagrees and wants everyone to live forever, but still wouldn't want to achieve it by immoral methods, such as Horcruxes — as he points out, the fact that they're powered by murder sort of contradicts the whole point of universal immortality.
  • Immortality Seeker: Harry wants everyone to be immortal.
  • Improbable Age: Due to certain events, Harry is almost seventy years old, but looks about eleven.
  • The Incorruptible: Hermione has an aura to the effect of extreme purity after she is resurrected due to being made part-unicorn. She's a little embarrassed about it, although she quickly sees several upsides to having "Sparkling Unicorn Princess powers", as she puts it. Harry finds it rather distracting and briefly wonders if he can pay anyone to invent an anti-purity potion.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • After Draco has dropped Hermione off the roof of Hogwarts (It Makes Sense in Context — there was no real danger due to the aforementioned Feather Falling potion), it is speculated that his goal is to drop all the muggleborns. That's right: he's the Heir of "Slipperin" and the next "Drop Lord".
      Which was far too good a line for anyone to keep to themselves, so by nightfall it was all over Hogwarts, and the next morning it was the Quibbler's headline.
    • When Harry is trying to decide whether it is moral or not to eat meat, his inner Ravenclaw, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Gryffindor try to help:
      His inner Slytherin's mental voice was grim. You too will someday embrace the doctrine... that the end justifies the meats. This was followed by some mental snickering.
    • Chapter 67, about the rules of how Hogwarts changes its geometry:
      Even after eight centuries, Hogwarts was still a little shy about changing in front of people.
  • Insufferable Genius: All of Ravenclaw House, but especially Harry, is brainy and will not shut up about it.
  • Insult Backfire: Invoked by Professor Quirrell.
    Hermione's cheeks were going even redder. "You're really evil, did anyone ever tell you that?"
    "Miss Granger," Professor Quirrell said gravely, "it can be dangerous to give people compliments like that when they have not been truly earned. The recipient might feel bashful and undeserving and want to do something worthy of your praise...."
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Harry spells this out to McGonagall as the reason for his odd behavior: he never had anyone to relate to because adults don't take children seriously and there were never any children as intelligent as he was.
  • Intrinsic Vow:
    • Harry, even under the dementors' thrall in Azkaban will not kill until the last extremity.
    • This seems to be how Unbreakable Vows work. Once made they become a fundamental part of the person who made them. Unlike in canon, they cannot be disobeyed, ever.
  • Invisible to Normals: Harry's trunk is weird enough that his very unmagical dad has trouble looking directly at it.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Quirrell's comment, "You have just found out that the real world does not always work like your worst nightmares," echoes Harry's justification to himself for pranking Neville.
    • Harry turns Dumbledore's "This is not a request. This is your punishment" back on him.
    • Dumbledore notes on separate occasions that "Common sense is often mistaken for Legilimency," and that "Legilimency is sometimes mistaken for common sense."
    • Early on, when Harry is being shown around Diagon Alley by Professor McGonagall, she repeatedly answers his direct questions on how the things he sees can possibly happen with simply, "Magic." Later on, after Harry has pulled off something seemingly impossbile and McGonagall asks how he did it, his reply is, "Magic," to which she immediately responds, "That is no sort of answer!" Harry, realizing this trope had just come into play, only smiles at her.
  • Irony:
    • Harry asks to join the Death Eaters:
      Harry: You are about to invite me to join a secret organization full of interesting people like yourself, one of whose goals is to reform or overthrow the government of magical Britain, and yes, I'm in.
    • When Harry tells Hermione about his method of examining all sides of a problem, represented as inner voices with different names and personalities discussing with each other inside his mind, she briefly considers trying this approach before her Common Sense warns her it might be a dangerous thing to try.
    • Harry's insistent reasoning on why to buy a medical kit. The irony being that it fails at life-saving, but is crucial in the defeat of Voldemort.
    • In the early chapters, Minerva is concerned that maybe Harry's precociousness and coldheartedness stems from child abuse, and suggests that it may have happened even if he doesn't remember it. Harry gets mad and insists that victims of abuse remember it all too well even if they don't want to. Then in the end, it turns out Harry's unchildlike personality does indeed stem for the very trauma he became famous for, and he had repressed the memory to the point of believing that he really was Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres.
  • Is This a Joke?: Harry finds himself in an absurd situation:
    Mere eyes could not have seen the invisible others: the eleven-year-old Boy-Who-Lived, and the living skeleton that was Bellatrix Black, and the Polyjuiced Defense Professor of Hogwarts, all traveling together through Azkaban. If that was the beginning of a joke, Harry didn't know the punchline.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: Dumbledore, with great ceremony, gives Harry... his father's rock. It's just a big rock which is not special at all. The fact that it actually does come in useful, and the circumstances where it does, are seen as so suspicious in-universe that it completely changes the state of political alliances by bringing the Malfoys in under Harry's personal banner. Later it turns out that there was a prophesy and Dumbledore didn't actually know about the specific threat it stopped, only that it would be vital later.Though in honesty, the action of giving the stone also has other positive effects. It makes Harry start practicing sustained transfiguration, which is generally useful; and specifically useful both when disguising Hermione's body; and ultimately it's the key to bypass the malacrux complication.
  • It's All About Me: This is Hermione's motivation for becoming General Sunshine, mainly because she resents that Harry gets to be the centre of attention all the time — more specifically, she resents that her own accomplishments are only spoken of in terms of "Harry's rival".
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: Spoofed in Chapter 13, when Harry wakes up thinking his dorm room is suspiciously quiet and then remembers there's a Silencing Charm on the bed.
  • I Was Just Joking: When Harry and Draco see the Quibbler headline Boy-Who-Lived Gets Draco Malfoy Pregnant, Harry jokingly declares that he'll murder whoever wrote it. Draco explains that Luna Lovegood is behind everything in that magazine, and not jokingly declares that he intends to rape her. It is at this point that Harry realizes that Draco has surreptitiously put up a sound-muffling charm so they can plan these things in secret.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Harry suspects that Quirrell gained a certain piece of information through the use of "lead-pipe Legilimency"... which is itself a "Hold Your Hippogriffs" version of "rubber-hose cryptanalysis" — that is, whipping somebody until they tell you the password.
  • Jerkass: Harry can get a little bit... abrasive with people who do not meet his personal standards. Example: telling a friend's parents at their first meeting that history will only remember them as her parents. Or when, immediately following that, he says that the only reason history will remember their profession existed is because they had that profession and were her parents.
  • Jumped at the Call
    • The Sorting Hat tells Harry: "You're just guessing, or to put it more exactly, wishing that you have some ready-made heroic role that is your personal property." And Harry certainly acts the part later:
      Harry should have been more frightened, more reluctant, but instead he felt only that it was time and past time to start becoming the people he had read about in his books; to begin his journey toward what he had always known he was meant to be, a hero.
    • Deconstructed when Harry makes a series of less than optimal decisions in quick succession while rescuing Bellatrix Black (whom he saw as a Damsel in Distress) from Azkaban. He recognizes that this is a flaw in his own psychology and it remains to be seen how badly this will come back and bite him in the end.
    • Played Straight again in Chapter 69 for Tracey Davis, who is making up for the opportunity she realized she missed in Chapter 46.
    • Subverted in Chapter 85 when Harry decides to wait to get stronger before going to Azkaban because there are many people he wants to save and going now could result in his death—and in making that decision, misses out on ever having his own phoenix.

     K - M 
  • Kangaroo Court: Although the entire court is not on the prosecution's side and its highest-ranking member is leading the defense, Hermione's trial is hardly what one would consider "fair".
  • Killed Off for Real: Aberforth Dumbledore was taken hostage and killed when his brother refused to negotiate during the last wizarding war. At the climax we discover that Firenze really did die, Quirrelmort killed him and then made him an inferius so Harry wouldn't be suspicious of his intentions. By the end of the story Quirrell is dead and so are 37 Death Eaters, including Lucius Malfoy and Nott's, Crabbe's, and Goyle's fathers, and many more. Averted with Narcissa Malfoy, who is actually not dead, and Hermione, who is brought Back from the Dead.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Neville gets a little cocky in his first mock battle and is "killed" mid-sentence. The same happens to Harry.
  • Kingmaker Scenario: In the lake battle, Blaise Zabini, who has fought for all three sides over the course of the battle, is the last man standing at the end with the scores so close he can choose the winner. He forces a three-way draw.
  • Lampshade Hanging: For an enlightenment tract, the amount of lightbulbs being covered up could be considered ironic.
  • Language of Truth: Parseltongue, the languages of snakes, is revealed to have this effect as Harry, Professor Quirrell, and Voldemort are all unable able to express direct deception through that language. It becomes an often demanded method of communication between the parties capable of understanding it in order to avoid such deception.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Memory charms are exactly this, when cast competently; thinking over the kind of mischief that could be done using them makes Harry wonder why the spell isn't considered an Unforgivable Curse.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: For the many readers who never got into the original Harry Potter books. Quirrell is who? He did what to the Pioneer plaque?
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    [Ch. 91] Harry: Because I've wandered into a bloody stupid fantasy novel!
    [Ch. 94] Under standard literary convention... the enemy wasn't supposed to look over what you'd done...
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Harry and Hermione, according to Harry's dad.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Harry and Hermione. Harry even compares them to Ender and Valentine.
  • Literal Metaphor: Harry theorizes that Dementors are basically this for death.
  • Little Professor Dialogue:
    • Harry talks this way. Lampshaded frequently—most of the cast (including Harry, himself) become aware that there is something very, very wrong with him. It's justified with the reveal that he has an adult Tom Riddle's brain patterns imprinted on his mind.
      Quirrel: It is not exactly subtle. What else is Dumbledore to think, that you are an actor in a play whose stupid author has never met a real eleven-year-old?
    • Draco starts to talk like this after spending so much time with Harry.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Harry believes this. Dumbledore doesn't. Voldemort inverts this by being motivated by a fear of death, not a love of life.
  • Living Mood Ring: Dumbledore's eyes reflect his emotional state.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • At Hogwarts, invisibility cloaks aren't against the rules. Dumbledore supposes they're rare enough that no one ever got around to putting them on the list.
    • The entire existence of the basilisk is hypothesized by Quirrell to be this. The Interdict of Merlin stops powerful magic from being learned without a sapient teacher involved, so Salazar Slytherin created an intelligent and Long-Lived magical creature to store all his knowledge in.
  • Loser Son of Loser Dad: Lesath Lestrange is bullied for being the bastard son of Bellatrix Black and Rabastan Lestrange.
  • Love Potion: Discussed by Professor Quirrell in regards to witches using them to enchant and rape muggle men (some wizards also do the same thing to muggle women). It also alludes to how Voldemort was conceived, something few know about.
  • Lowest Common Denominator: In-universe. Harry suspects the Sorting Hat is being forced to fill up Slytherin with these people because its Death Eater reputation leads to anyone with a brain pleading with the hat not to be put into Slytherin.
  • Maiden Name Debate: In Ch. 75 Harry and Hermione argue over what their married name would be should they ever marry. They come up with some frightening awful-sounding names, and to make it even more hilarious they sound like they are arguing about what to name their law firm, apparently not understanding that when it comes to last names, it's the ''last'' last name that's considered more valid.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: As with the books, magic has consistent, if unknown, limitations. However, Harry wants to take it a step further (see Sufficiently Analyzed Magic below).
  • The Magic Goes Away: Harry and Draco suspect that magical power might be decreasing because magic itself is fading. It turns out to have been a mostly decoy theory that Harry didn't have much faith in, but included to keep Draco interested in theories other than the pureblood dilution one.
  • Magitek: Harry wishes to combine science and magic for fun and profit, among other things. He considers it a good use of his magical and Muggle knowledge, especially since most other people wouldn't be able to think of the ideas that he can.
    • Voldemort turned the Pioneer plaque into a horcrux, so one could argue that Magitek's already there.
    • The broomstick mated to a solid-fuel rocket booster that Harry uses to break Bellatrix out of Azkaban definitely counts.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Apart from Dumbledore, Draco Malfoy here is impressively skilled at manipulating people, although not on the same level as Harry and Quirrell.
  • Mathematician's Answer:
    "Can I ask you never to repeat what I’m about to say?" said Harry.
    "Absolutely," said Professor Quirrell. "Consider me asked."

    Bellatrix: My Lord, where are we?
    Harry: [posing as Voldemort] We are on a broomstick.
  • Maybe Ever After: Harry and Hermione's ultimate romantic fate is left ambiguous, with both of them thinking making binding agreements at age 12 is ridiculous, regardless of what they think they feel for each other right that minute. At the least, Hermione makes a magical vow to always be Harry's friend, regardless of whatever else happens.
  • Meaningful Name: Invoked by Hermione. She tries to use her name to justify her desire to be a heroine.
    "I'm quite certain," said Hermione. "Why, my name practically spells out 'heroine' except for the extra 'm', I never noticed that until today."
  • Mêlée à Trois: The intra-school army competition, an all-out war for the prize of a wish to be granted by Professor Quirrell. Although each year has its own set of three armies, one would be forgiven for forgetting this, since the first-year armies evolve far beyond what anybody (except Quirrell) could have dreamed of. The three sides are: Dragon army, led by Draco Malfoy; Sunshine Regiment, led by Hermione Granger; and the Chaos Legion, led by Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Lampshaded: Dumbledore warns Harry that if he accepts Quirrell as a mentor, he'll surely end up losing him in some tragic fashion. (He becomes slightly more resigned to the idea when he remembers that Harry's going to lose him anyway.)
  • Metaphorgotten: On one occasion, Hermione feels so embarassed that she thinks steam should be coming out of her ears, and in turn should be melting them off along with her flesh.
  • Metaphorically True: Throughout the story, Harry tells the truth at almost every opportunity, as does Quirrell. Harry even shies away from a direct lie when it's clear that telling it is necessary to his own survival. Neither of them, however, tell the whole truth, and years of experience make Quirrell much better at it.
  • Mexican Standoff: In chapter 17 during broomstick flight class, Goyle stealing Neville's dropped remembrall and hopping on a broomstick leads to the Hufflepuffs pointing wands at Goyle, Slytherins pointing wands at Hufflepuffs, and Gryffindors pointing wands at Slytherins. The Ravenclaws take out their wands, too; it's not stated whom they're pointing at, but it's presumably Slytherin.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Harry explains how "a million people die" sounds much more abstract than "several people die" to Hermione in chapter 48. He also struggles with this mindset over the course of the book when thinking about how best to save people.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: After being in animagus form, it takes a while to become interested in human food again.
  • Mirror Character: Harry and Snape, surprisingly. Although Snape doesn't have Harry's scientific background, his muggle upbringing gives him a perspective on the wizarding world similar to Harry's own. It's most obvious when they are trying to prevent Hermione's trial, and Harry keeps getting dumbstruck at the ridiculously lax and corrupt legal procedures. Snape cynically notes that they're not in muggle Britain anymore.
  • Missed the Call: Invoked by Tracey Davis, who fears she was "supposed" to have kissed Harry.
  • Missing Mom: Narcissa Malfoy, for rather unpleasant reasons. Also, Hermione's maternal grandmother was a witch who may have been killed by Grindelwald.
  • Mister Seahorse: Draco, according to the Quibbler, was impregnated by Harry Potter.
  • Morality Chain: Hermione Granger is the main thing keeping Harry attached to ethics - when he wonders what the right decision is, he thinks about what she would do. He gets scary when she dies, as not only was he holding back almost entirely just because she thought he should, but he also seems willing do whatever it takes in order to get her back.
  • Moral Myopia: Quirrell claims everyone suffers from this.
  • Most Writers Are Adults: One of the most persistent criticisms of the story is that a lot of the characters really don't feel like the prepubescent children they are. Given the story's premise of a rationalist Harry, and the fact that Yudkowsky deliberately boosted the intelligence, knowledge-base, and reasoning skills of most of the rest of the cast in order to avoid the Mary Sue effect, this was probably inevitable. It was also perhaps inevitable given the story revolves around three of the most intelligent students in the year; other students tend to act more normally, usually. Subverted with Harry, who was actually not a child at all, although he appeared to be one. Characters in the text point out that he actually doesn't act anything like what an actual child would.
  • Mouthful of Pi: Hermione is good at memorization and memorized pi to ninety-nine decimals because her memory works with the available information, not worrying about what is useful.
    Harry knew pi out to 3.141592 because accuracy to one part in a million was enough for most practical purposes. Hermione knew one hundred digits of pi because that was how many digits had been printed in the back of her math textbook.
  • Muggles Do It Better: A large part of the premise; muggle technology isn't necessarily better than magic, but the wizarding world clearly could use a hearty dose of the scientific method. Even that caveat is clearly temporary; muggles have only really just gotten the ball rolling on serious science in the last few centuries, whereas magic has been in serious decline far longer. At the same time, wizards don't even think about certain possibilities. For example, when Harry tries to point out to Draco how science can in some ways be superior to magic, he shows Draco a picture of the first Moon landing. Draco is shocked that such a thing is even possible; in his mind, the best way to travel is via apparation, and you can't apparate where you've never been (e.g., the Moon). Draco also initially assumes the spacesuits are strange creatures until Harry explains that there's no air on the Moon.
  • Mundane Utility: Harry's always on the lookout for possibilities. Even he is aghast at the wizarding world's trivial uses of time machines... at first.
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: The True Patronus Charm can only be used by people unable to cast the standard version of the spell, and vice versa. The people capable of casing it are also unable to cast the Killing Curse, as they need to have a respect for life that makes it impossible for them to muster true intent to kill. Conversely, no caster of the True Killing Curse can summon any kind of patronus, as they can neither desire to defeat death or be truly happy.
  • Mysterious Past: Dumbledore hires Quirrell without looking too deeply into his history. Madam Bones thinks she has identified Quirrell as a hero figure from the previous war (not Tom Riddle; the author has changed his birth year to make this clear).
  • Mythology Gag

     N - O 
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The four founders fought a battle against a dark wizard named Lord Foul.
  • Never My Fault: Inverted, of all things. As far as Harry (and Godric Gryffindor before him) is concerned, it's always his fault, or at least his responsibility. His duty is never discharged just by involving an authority figure; at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is whether or not people are hurt or die as a result.
    Non est salvatori salvator
    neque defensori dominus
    nec pater nec mater
    Nihil Supernum.
    No savior hath the savior\\
nor lord the champion
no mother and no father
only nothingness above.
  • To the point that the last line, "Nihil Supernum", is engraved on the Sword of Gryffindor.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter:
    • Chapter 22:
      Then Harry Potter spat something that was probably an extremely bad word if you'd been raised by Muggles.
    • Rianne Felthorne gets a small one in chapter 71:
      She nodded, frightened and with a strange hope dawning in her heart (well, not exactly her heart).
    • Averted in chapter 102, where "too young to have sexual thoughts" is used instead of "innocent".
  • The Needs of the Many: Harry has many objections to Quirrell's plan of turning magical Britain into a magical fascist state — the one he doesn't tell his mentor is that, if it ever came down to the magical world versus the Muggle world, Harry would side with the Muggles, largely because there are just so many more of them.
  • News Travels Fast: In chapter 46, for example, the Hogwarts grapevine is shown to be remarkably efficient. It helps that some people have Time Turners.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The person in question is more "morally ambiguous" than a "hero." In chapter 89 killing Hermione was initially part of Quirrell's plan to toughen up Harry, but it goes just a little too right. Which leads to...
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Near the end of the story Voldemort goes to some extreme lengths to not only resurrect Hermione but also make her as perfectly immortal as he possibly can. He then magically binds Harry to never do anything which could conceivably endanger the world. This is implied later to be a vital part of the ultimate salvation of Humanity.
    • Of course, immediately after that, he tries to kill Harry anyway, just to make super duper sure the world doesn't get destroyed. In any other situation that might seem like overkill, but it's par for the course, story-wise.
    • He also offhandedly reveals that he had actually killed the Centaur fighting Harry in the forest, not stunned him as he claimed at the time. Unbeknownst to him Harry's personal standard of not causing any deaths was the thing holding him back from plans that involve directly killing his enemies, and learning he's already failed removes that limit. Cue disabling Voldemort and utterly slaughtering the Death Eaters with a single attack.
  • Noodle Incident: Several.
    • The "Incident at the Potions Shop" is used as a joke, but never explained.
    • The "Incident with the Science Fair Project" is also referenced by Harry's parents, but we never learn anything beyond "there were five fire-trucks summoned."
    • Harry's pet rock dying initially sounds like a Noodle Incident, but is later explained as part of Dumbledore's prophecy-fueled Gambit Roulette (see above).
    • The prank involving Kevin Entwhistle's cat was never shown, but Harry and friends talk about it.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Subverted in a thoroughly justified fashion in chapter 41, which incident is later discussed with some fascination:
    "You can't do that!"
    "I don't see why."
    "That's because you don't have the tiniest smidgin of romance in you."
  • No Ontological Inertia:
    • Harry's first Transfiguration class asserts that transfigurations are not permanent and need periodic maintenance to keep them from reversing themselves. McGonagall gives the example of someone drinking a block of wood transfigured into a glass of water and asks the class to consider the consequences given the above.
    • Most other forms of magic work on this principle as well. The best way shown to break shield charms is to keeping hitting the shield till the user collapses from exhaustion, and the shield breaks.
    • Harry speculates whether this works on the Dark Mark.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Enforced by the Interdict of Merlin, which prevents the passage of powerful spells through text. They can only be spread directly by word of mouth, and any notes or written instructions will be magically rendered impossible to read by anyone else. Harry is pretty sure this is why modern wizards are weaker than their predecessors-instead of building on previous knowledge, it is slowly being lost. Quirrell hypothesizes that averting this is the true reason for the Chamber of Secrets and the basilisk—a centuries-old monster who could only speak with a Slytherin Parselmouth would be the best way to pass on Salazar's magic to an heir.
  • Note to Self:
    • Harry bites his lip hard whenever he thinks someone might be about to wipe his memory, so that a minute later when his lip hurts inexplicably, he'll know that he's been made to forget something, even if he doesn't know what.
    • See also "Recognition Code 927, I am a potato" and various uses of the Time Turner.
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: Harry's reaction after he briefly imagines... an odd pairing:
    "Snape and Dumbledore!?" Then Harry heard the words that had just come out of his mouth, and hastily added, "Not that there's anything wrong with that -"
  • No True Scotsman: In-universe. Harry tries to convince the Sorting Hat that he's not like the other potential dark lords the hat has met:
    Harry: Just what kind of statistical summary do your "feelings" come from, anyway! Do they take into account that I come from an Enlightenment culture, or were these other potential Dark Lords the children of spoiled Dark Age nobility, who didn't know doodly-squat about the historical lessons of how Lenin and Hitler actually turned out, or about the evolutionary psychology of self-delusion, or the value of self-awareness and rationality, or—
    Hat: No, of course they were not in this new reference class which you have just now constructed in such a way as to contain only yourself.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Dumbledore knows that he was not so different from Grindelwald and believes (correctly) that Harry is not so different from Voldemort, though he's not sure how since he was never able to understand Voldemort anyway.
    • Quirrell believes that the path of being a hero and of being a dark wizard are essentially similar and followed by similar people. He'd know.
  • Obfuscating Insanity
    • Dumbledore is widely believed to be using this. It's effective nevertheless, as not only does it give him an excuse to do whatever he wants, it's also impossible to tell the difference between when he's just keeping up the act and when he's executing some brilliant, secret plan right under your nose. Quirrell believes that Dumbledore used to be using this, and that nobody but him (and maybe McGonagall) noticed when Dumbledore went insane for real. Part of The Reveal at the end is that Dumbledore was running a prophecy-fueled Gambit Roulette that often looked insane even to him, but Harry ultimately decides that not only was Dumbledore sane, he may have been the Only Sane Man.
    • Harry can't decide whether Luna is using this or not. Though he still hasn't actually met her, he just can't imagine anyone actually believes the kind of things she writes.
  • Obviously Evil: Penelope Clearwater seems to think Professor Quirrell is this:
    "My goodness," said Penelope Clearwater. "I think that's the most overtly evil Defense Professor we've ever had."
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The Weasley twins fake for the benefit of Rita Skeeter a prophecy, a betrothal contract, a Gringotts seal, and a session of the Wizengamot for a grand total of 40 galleons. How they do it isn't explained until 50+ chapters later.
  • Oh, Crap!: Harry often ends up inducing this in himself and others.
  • Old Master: Quirrell recounts how he learned from one in chapter 19. The character is also implied to fulfill the Magical Asian trope, which is ironic as he's noted to have been a muggle in the literal sense.
  • Omniscient Morality License: Dumbledore apologizes in advance for this.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten:
    "I was seven years old! How long are you going to keep on bringing that up?"
    "I know," said [Harry's] mother sympathetically, "you bite one maths teacher and they never let you forget it, do they?"
  • One-Paragraph Chapter: Chapter 99 is one sentence long.
  • One-Steve Limit: In chapter 69, Michael Hopkins says, "there aren't any other Mikes in all of Hufflepuff this year, would you believe it?" However, though it's played straight and lampshaded for Hufflepuff House, it's averted for the fanfic, as it already contains Professor Michael Verres-Evans, Michael Corner, and author Michael Sherner, who wrote The Skeptical Wizard.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Harry views himself and Hermione this way within the wizarding world. As the story progresses, though, it's increasingly difficult to tell who're the real sane ones...
    • Out-of-universe, it's worth pointing out that the author views himself in that way.
    • One of the points Yudkowsky makes in his essay on "Realistic Villains and Viewpoints" is that in addition to being "the hero of their own story," every character with significant agency is, in their own view, the Only Sane Person.
    • In the end, Harry decides that Dumbledore, who read every single prophecy for the sake of finding the path that prevents the fated End of the World as We Know It from being the end of sapient life, was probably the only sane one all along.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Harry guesses that the challenge of finding Platform Nine and Three-Quarters might be meant as an I.Q. test. (When he learns that it's really about choosing to believe you can do it, he's highly unimpressed.)
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Dumbledore asks Harry what Quirrell could be plotting that requires him to bring a dementor into the castle, Harry argues that this is completely in-character for him, and naturally, in-character is business as usual. But he realizes that something is wrong anyway, because even coming out of his own mouth it's a Suspiciously Specific Denial.
  • Open Secret: Everyone in Ravenclaw House claims to have "heard" that Dumbledore is a secret mastermind whose apparent insanity is just a cover.
    "Brilliant!" Harry whispered. "If everyone knows, no one will suspect it's a secret!"
  • Opposing Combat Philosophies: Draco, at least in the beginning, uses the command philosophy of command push (all orders come from the top, and subordinates are trained to carry out orders efficiently without questioning them, but this structure tends to be inflexible if the commander is out of touch with the situation). In contrast, Harry uses some elements of recon pull (subordinates are allowed to use initiative to do what they think is right for their situation, and the commander acts as coordinator who concentrates on the big picture).
  • Original Position Fallacy: This is the one thing that pragmatic and bitterly cynical Professor Quirrell actually likes about democracy, that it brings Laser-Guided Karma to people who don't think it through.
    Quirrell: You see, Mr. Potter, no one ever quite believes that they will go to Azkaban, so they see no harm in it for themselves. As for what they inflict on others... I suppose you were once told that people care about that sort of thing? It is a lie, Mr. Potter, people don't care in the slightest, and if you had not led a vastly sheltered childhood you would have noticed that long ago. Console yourself with this: those now prisoner in Azkaban voted for the same Ministers of Magic who pledged to move their cells closer to the Dementors.
  • Orwellian Retcon: Several of the chapters were revised after they were posted. (The changes are generally minor, though.)
  • Outside-Context Problem: When the dementor's effect causes Harry to fall deeply into his "Dark Side", his default reaction to anything is killing. It just solves everything!  Except getting kissed by a girl; that's so far beyond anything the Empty Shell can grasp, that only the real Harry has any appropriate reaction on tap — though it's not quite the expected standard one:
    Harry: I told you, no kissing!
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions:
    • In chapter 39, Harry is surprised and disappointed to discover wizards (or at least Dumbledore) haven't done this. However, chapter 61 does indicate that the concept of God is unique to "Muggle religion", so apparently wizards have outgrown that much.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Hermione has this problem with regards to Harry. If she weren't so closely associated with genius Harry Potter, she thinks, her academic achievements would be much more notable. Furthermore, because of her friendship with him, she's stuck in his shadow; any accomplishments she makes in life won't be recognized as made by "Hermione Granger" but as made by "Harry Potter's friend."

  • Papa Wolf: Lucius Malfoy. He even makes sure his son has a back-up godfather, in case something happens to his godfather.
  • Parody Episode: Omake files.
  • Parrot Pet Position: Dumbledore frequently carries Fawkes the phoenix on his shoulder. Once, he has both Fawkes and his phoenix patronus on his shoulders. Then, after one time when Fawkes gets especially upset at Dumbledore, the phoenix spends an entire evening riding on Harry Potter's shoulder. It is later discussed whether or not having a phoenix on one's shoulder is a sign one is a "good" person.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": In chapter 51, Harry uses the password "Sword fish melon friend". Though, this is also possibly an inversion, as absent the shout-outs, this is an example of the kind of password a very strong password generation algorithm would produce.
  • Peaceful in Death: During the underwater battle, Harry notes that Hermione looks rather peaceful after he shot her.
  • Peggy Sue: Mocked in chapter 29:
    ... they dragged poor Bill Weasley off to St. Mungo's and it turned out to be a pretty standard schizophrenic break... Guy was convinced he was ninety-seven years old and had died and gone back in time.
  • The Perfect Crime: Almost pulled off in chapter 53.
  • Photographic Memory: Although Hermione doesn't have true photographic memory, she can remember exactly anything she has read five times. This is arguably better, since she actually learns it instead of having to mentally read it to get what she wants. She wishes it were photographic, though.
  • Pie in the Face: A Slytherin bully gets two pies in the face, wielded by an invisible hand.
  • Playing Possum: Sunshine Regiment's tactic for the first battle.
  • Police Code for Everything: The Crazy-Prepared Amelia Bones has set up codes for situations up to and including "Guard requires relief because prisoner is attempting psychological warfare and is succeeding".
  • Portmanteau:
    • Draco's Dragon Army + Hermione's Sunshine Regiment = "Dramione's Sungon Argiment."
    • A witch who wanted to be known as "the Walking Catastrophe" and also as "The Apostle of Darkness" accidentally introduced herself as "The Apostrophe of Darkness" during her reveal to the world.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: Harry has read a lot of literature and routinely quotes from fantasy and sci-fi. Dumbledore follows suit, and even others with no interest in muggle literature (like Malfoy or Quirrell) continually reference the author's preferred books and anime.
  • Power at a Price: The rituals used by Quirrell in the final chapter to give the just-resurrected Hermione the regeneration and healing powers of a troll and a unicorn normally has the drawback of lasting only a few hours and occasionally killing the beneficiary when it wears off. The Philosopher's Stone conveniently negates that problem.
  • The Power of Apathy: Apathy is the source of power for the true version of the Killing Curse, as elaborated on below.
  • The Power of Hate: As in canon, the power behind the Avada Kadavra curse. You have to really want your target dead. The thing is, using it multiple times in a single fight against the same opponent is excessively difficult: You have to want to slit their throat, then strangle the corpse, etc., etc. "Very few can hate enough to kill someone five times. They would get bored." This is one of the reasons Voldemort was so terrifying, in that he used the Killing Curse as much as he wanted. Quirrell mentions that a witch called the Dark Evangel once used the Killing Curse twelve times in a single fight, and asks Harry if he can figure out the secret to the true form of the curse, like he figured out the true form of the Patronus Charm. It's not hate, it's apathy. Hate implies a kind of respect; you care about someone enough to want them dead. To cast the true Killing Curse, you have to completely and utterly not care about the life of your opponent. You're not killing them. You're just not bothering to allow them to live any more.
  • The Power of Friendship
    • Roundly mocked:
      Dumbledore: And here I was expecting you might try to redeem the heir of Malfoy by, say, showing him true friendship and kindness.
      Harry: Ha! Yeah, like that would have worked.
    • Harry's plan to redeem Draco involves overcoming his prejudices using logic and manipulating Draco into situations where he will see the ridiculousness of his preconceptions, but the friendship thing actually seems to be pretty effective (and the part that seems to impress — and frighten — Lucius the most).
    • Simultaneously, Fred and George are trying to redeem Harry the same way, although they're not sure what side he's actually on.
  • The Power of Love: Apparently, the true Patronus Charm is powered by the love of life and humanity. That explains why it can kill off dementors and resurrect Hermione with help of the Philosopher's Stone.
  • Prophecy Twist: Dumbledore is concerned that he will be the Dark Lord that Harry must rise up against and defeat, because there is a prophecy that Harry would need to "raise his hand against his mentor", and a second prophecy that Harry would be Dumbledore's downfall. The obvious twist, of course, being that Voldemort is Harry's mentor, not Dumbledore. The less-obvious twist is that Harry is in fact Dumbledore's downfall, but only because Voldemort forces Dumbledore to sacrifice himself to save Harry.
  • Propping Up Their Patsy: In a private discussion with Harry, Professor Quirrell declares that it's ridiculous for anyone to believe that Hagrid was responsible for Myrtle Warren's death fifty years ago, and that the evidence points toward Voldemort being responsible. Not that he feels any need to tell Harry who and where Voldemort currently is, of course...
  • Proud to Be a Geek: Harry sprinkles science-fiction and fantasy references liberally. None of his muggleborn peers seem embarrassed to admit they understand them as well, in particular lightsabers and "Red Five, standing by."
  • Quote Mine: An unintentional one. When Harry visits his parents' grave and sees the motto "the last enemy to be conquered is death" on it he doesn't realize it's a Bible quote and takes it absolutely literally and out of context (it's actually about the resurrection of the faithful after the second coming of Christ). Lupin tries to explain that this isn't what it means, but doesn't seem to know the origin either.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Harry rages at both Dumbledore and Quirrell.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Possibly averted in the wizarding world; Draco is puzzled when Harry tells him that "in Muggle Britain there's a hell of a political difference between getting away with murder and getting away with raping a little girl." Ridiculous as it sounds, also possibly a justified aversion because a society with such easy removal of trauma and healing means victims are much easier to cure than, well, death.
    • Played straight with Harry, for instance, he gives no reaction at all to hearing that Bellatrix was ordered to murder and torture people, but hearing her say she won't be pretty enough to "use [her] as a reward" for Voldemort's servants stops Harry and his Patronus in their tracks and makes him try to disassociate and reject reality . Even while in soul-crushing Azkaban, which Harry is later prepared to die to take down, when she says "kill me, I've no reason to live if I'm no use to you..." it's "the saddest thing Harry ever heard". In contrast, shortly after, despite being very anti-death/pain elsewhere in the book, Harry temporary forgets Quirrell's attempted murder of an auror trying to prevent a prison break as soon as Harry is worried for him which was only because Quirrell was hurt by his own killing curse in the first place.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Lampshaded regarding Harry's large vocabulary and precise diction.
    It was also at this point that Hermione realised the other thing - well, one of the things - which was odd about [Harry]. Apparently people who were in books actually sounded like a book when they talked. This was quite the surprising discovery.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Harry's inner Ravenclaw wonders "if a real healer would seem more fake than an actor told to play one?"
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Professor McGonagall is often the most open-minded adult to considering Harry's point of view and least dismissive of him for being a child. She also gradually becomes something of a surrogate mother-figure to Harry.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Harry's Sorting consists of the Sorting Hat directing one of these at him, stating that just because Harry can rationalize his actions towards other people, doesn't actually make it right.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Harry points a wand at someone accidentally-on-purpose when asked to hand it over.
  • Recursive Fanfiction: The story has inspired several, and the author has left a large gap between the finale and the epilogue and encouraged others to write their own take on events after the story concludes. So far, some are fairly straight whereas others, like To Boldly Go, are just a bit of fun.
  • Red Herring: Lampshaded as an in-universe trope, in that the Defense professor generally has a dark secret and is the designated usual suspect. Finally subverted, as, true to the source material, the Defense Professor is Voldemort.
  • Reference Overdosed: Plenty of shout-outs in the pre-chapter disclaimers... and a few more subtle ones in the story as well. They have their own subpage.
  • Reformed Rakes: After seeing him demented, people believe Harry has been hiding his urge to kill pointless people (i.e., everyone). Hermione brings him back, and so all the Ravenclaw girls expect her to be the one who saves him.
  • Required Secondary Powers: In order to survive things like falling on their head when dueling, flying, levitating, playing quidditch, etc., wizards and witches are said to be more durable than muggles.
  • Rescue Arc: One for Bellatrix Black and, when the plan goes wrong, Professor Quirrell; two for Hermione. However, Harry is too much of a lone wolf to gather True Companions for these quests, though he does accept help from teachers.
  • Reset Button
    • Snape takes a huge number of points from Harry; Quirrell finds an excuse to give them right back. Notable in that Harry isn't happy with this; he feels he really did screw up in Snape's class and shouldn't be allowed to just dodge the consequences.
    • Quirrell does it again in Chapter 75, this time for Hermione, and in front of Snape no less.
  • Retired Monster: Quirrell shows a startling commitment to actually teaching (as opposed to the canon version who simply wanted the Stone so he could get back in the game). Though it would follow with the pattern of the book that this is just another plan, there also seems to be a distinct possibility that he has given up on his ambitions, and has instead resigned himself to teaching his philosophy to the youth (especially Harry Potter, whom he is overtly offering to help become the next dark lord). The upshot is that the motivation to make others think the same way you do is far more realistic than wanting to take over the world, and this fic is intent on adding as much realism as possible.
    • His various side activities include creating a horcrux that has long left the Solar System, breaking Bellatrix Black out of Azkaban, framing Hermione for attempted murder, murdering her when that fails, sealing Dumbledore outside of time, and threatening to torture Harry's parents.
  • Retirony: Subverted in chapter 54, with a Fatal Family Photo mentioned as well.
  • Retroactive Precognition: Millicent Bulstrode uses a Time-Turner to spread gossip and knowledge of some upcoming S.P.H.E.W. fights.
  • Retroactive Preparation: From the moment he gets the Time-Turner, Harry can't resist exploiting this trick, which is why Professor McGonagall puts a lock on it shortly afterwards. Also, although it's against all the rules to use it for general purposes, McGonagall does tell Harry that this is a better way to get out of a locked room than traveling back in time to before it was locked.
  • The Reveal:
    • Dementors are rends in the fabric of reality, and shades of Death.
    • At the climax, Voldemort reveals his backstory and all of his plots enacted throughout the year that involved Harry in some way. Also, at the end Dumbledore posthumously reveals in a scroll to Harry everything he did to prepare for the events of the story.
    • Part of the revealed backstory, but of particular note: Harry's "dark side" is actually adult Tom Riddle's thought patterns that were superimposed on his brain when he was one.
  • Reverse Psychology
    • Dumbledore tries this on Harry:
      Dumbledore: You are not to attempt the forbidden door on the third-floor corridor. There's no possible way you could get through all the traps, and I wouldn't want to hear that you'd been hurt trying. Why, I doubt that you could so much as open the first door, since it's locked and you don't know the spell Alohomora.
      • Later turns out to have been the most efficient way imaginable to keep Harry away from the corridor.
    • He also succeeds in using it on Hermione in "Self Actualization". Where at first it seemed as if things would have gone the same way whether or not he had meddled, because of it Hermione gets a small group of fellow witches who also want to be heroes. (That part wasn't actually part of Dumbledore's plan.)
    • Penelope Clearwater likely uses it as well after the fake ritual incident when she loudly says that Hermione can't just go over and talk things out with Harry because that'd go against the romantic roles. Hermione event thinks that Penelope should be smarter than to think that but doesn't even consider that it's reverse psychology at play here.
    • Hermione suspects Harry of trying this when he assures her he is not putting pressure on her to become a hero or anything.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Dumbledore explains basically everything he knows about the plot in his first meeting with Harry, and calls Harry's ultimate fate as being not a hero, but a very young Wise Old Wizard. He just intentionally fills it with nonsense to keep Harry from noticing. You can also tell the exact moment when he figures out that Harry is basically a good Voldemort after the Incident at Potions.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons:
    • Quirrell lampshades this when the students' second guess at who's the most dangerous student in class is Harry, then explains why they're wrong.
    • Quirrell guesses what memory Harry relived before the dementor, but that's not why he can now see thestrals.
    • The Quibbler is essentially Right for the Wrong Reasons: The Magazine in this continuity. "Harry Potter Secretly Betrothed To Luna Lovegood"? Well, he is seemingly resolved to marry her if that's what it takes to protect her from Draco. "Sirius Black is really Peter Pettigrew"? Pettigrew is a secret Metamorphmagus, and Black Confunded him into taking his form and being the Fall Guy — so the "Black" in Azkaban is, indeed, Pettigrew.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Dumbledore's conversations with Harry often seem to invoke this conflict. Essentially, the whole premise of the story is putting an Enlightenment hero in Rowling's Romanticist 'Harry Potter''.
  • Roof Hopping: An army battle briefly takes the commanders to the roofs of Hogwarts in chapter 41.
  • Rousing Speech: Parodied in Chapter 30, in which Harry gives a particularly silly one.
  • Rules Lawyer: This trope is why the first few Three Armies battles don't have an explicit win condition—it'd be way too easy for Harry to game the rules somehow. Later on, the school administration requests that Quirrell add a win condition, and of course, Harry games the rules.
  • Running Gag
    • Callbacks to the turning-into-a-cat incident.
    • Dumbledore once set fire to a chicken.
    • Always more Hufflepuff bones to sharpen.
    • The ease of the third floor corridor dungeon. By Christmas everyone in Gryffindor has run it at least once.
    • In the early story the Dark Mark is a running reference to Voldemort being a complete idiot. It turns out that unlike the canon version, this Voldemort is way smarter than that.
  • Sadistic Choice: Chapter 12 mentions offhand that Harry sees ordering in a restaurant as one of these. "Find out about only one of the mysteries on this list, ha ha ha!"
  • Said Bookism
    "Why?" the centaur intoned.
  • Sarcastic Confession:
    • It's not clear whether he did it on purpose or was just that frustrated, but when the other students won't stop bothering Harry about his Sorting, he admits he told the Hat that McGonagall threatened to set it on fire and the Hat responded by calling her an impudent youngster who should get off its lawn. When nobody believes this, he tells them that if they're not going to believe him there's no point in even asking.
    • If it is true, then this confession of Harry's qualifies:
      Lucius Malfoy: What was your purpose in maneuvering your good friend, my son, into a public alliance with that girl?
      Harry: Oh, that's obvious, right? Draco's working with Granger will make him realize that Muggleborns are human after all. Bwa. Ha. Ha.
    • Similarly, Quirrell in chapter 79, when he reacts to being accused of keeping "the real Quirrell" captive for polyjuice ingredients, may or may not be telling the truth.
  • Satellite Character: Hermione eventually sees that's she's becoming this in-universe, and struggles against it.
    If you got too close to the Boy-Who-Lived, you became part of his story. You didn't get your own.
  • Scaled Up: Quirrell is an unregistered snake animagus.
    Snake!Quirrell: Thirty-sseven ruless, number thirty-four: Become Animaguss. All ssensible people do, if can. Thuss, very rare.
    • Ironically, the actual Evil Overlord List's Rule 34 (no, not that one) is "I will not turn into a snake. It never helps."
  • Scare 'Em Straight: McGonagall's introductory class is a gruesome lecture about the perils of transfiguration and what to never, ever do.
  • Schmuck Bait
    • The third-floor corridor.
      Was Dumbledore's forbidden corridor meant to lure people so stupid that they didn't notice the security was worse than what Draco Malfoy could put on it?
    • Later it's mentioned that all the Gryffindors have tried it.
    • Double Subverted in the end as another case of Dumbledore's trademark recursive multi-strand Reverse Psychology Batman Gambit plots. To his fellow Gryffindors it was so blatant that it never even occured to them that it wasn't meant as an invitation to run the cool obstacle course he built for them, and he reinforced that by actually making it a cool obstacle course appropriate for children. To the suspicious plot-obsessed people he actually wanted to keep out the very fact that it was so obviously trying to attract them kept them away far better than any physical security would have.
  • Science Destroys Magic: A theory raised as to why none of the modern wizards are as good as the ancient ones. It turns out to not be true.
  • Science Is Good: The story leans heavily towards the enlightenment side of Romanticism Versus Enlightenment, with great love of science. Notably, Draco Malfoy's Heel–Face Turn is motivated in part by Harry teaching him muggle science, and most of the good characters (Harry, Hermione) are motivated to learn science and to experiment and test magic.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Draco Malfoy is confident not only that anyone from his family could legally get away with rape, but that the victim would have to pay them reparations for having dared to accuse them. Judging by how lopsided the vote is when his father calls for Hermione's head at a Wizengamot meeting, he's probably right.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Harry has no qualms at all about breaking the law if he thinks it would serve the greater good. Of course, he's planning on eventually overthrowing the government enforcing those laws, anyway.
  • Screw the Rules, They're Not Real!:
    • It spends so much time on this theme that there is a chapter entitled "cheating".
    • Quirrell is a big fan:
      "The world around us redunds with opportunities, explodes with opportunities, which nearly all folk ignore because it would require them to violate a habit of thought."
      —->"'Cheating' is what losers call technique."
      (regarding himself) "I cannot truly comprehend what drives others to break their bounds, since I never had them."
    • It's traditional in pure-blood circles: "Draco knew what you were supposed to do in this sort of situation. You were supposed to cheat."
    • Harry's Let's Get Dangerous! mantra is "censors off, do not flinch" and then he kills the third deadliest killing machine in the world with two cantrips and a nonmagical rock.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: In the very end Voldemort gathers his Death Eaters and demands to know why they didn't keep up the fight without him. He punishes lame excuse after lame excuse, but the one he accepts and forgives is a simple, "I saw which way the wind was blowing and legged it."
  • Secret Identity: Sirius Black is really Peter Pettigrew, according to the Quibbler. As usual, they turn out to be Right for the Wrong Reasons.
    "They've even got a picture of the two of them together, so we know who it is that's secretly the same person."
  • Secret Path: Hogwarts seems to be full of secret passages, though a slight subversion in that everyone knows about all of them.
    • Of particular note: the not-so-secret staircase from Ravenclaw Tower to the Slytherin dungeons, which only witches can use. Hermione wonders why witches in particular would need a fast route between the two.
    • Consider that even Lucius Malfoy thinks that Ravenclaw is an acceptable house for Draco to find a wife in. Then consider that at least in canon, girls can go into the boys' dorms but not vice versa.
  • See Water: Averted: "[...]even with the potion you couldn't see very far in the darkness of the lake."
  • Selective Obliviousness: Dumbledore and McGonagall will not hear any "niggling complaints" against Quirrell... at least not until he's seen the students through their end-of-year exams.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Part of the reason Slytherin House has gone downhill: once your house develops a reputation for being full of bigots, only bigots and people who don't mind bigotry are willing to be sorted there if they have any other options.
  • Self-Made Orphan: This aspect of Voldemort's backstory is hinted to have been carried over from canon on a couple of occasions. This is true both of his true identity as Tom Riddle…
    "I resolved my parental issues to my own satisfaction."
as well as one of his former assumed identities, David Monroe
  • Self-Plagiarism: The story repackages some of the content of Eliezer's essays and blog posts in a more light-hearted format. (Links to said essays/blog posts can be found in the "LessWrong" author profile.) A lot of the quotable things said by Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres in the story were said by Eliezer Yudkowsky as Eliezer Yudkowsky first.
  • Sequence Breaking: The way Rational!Harry handles things prevents a lot of canonical trip-ups.
  • Sex Slave: Voldemort seems to have made Bellatrix into one for the Lestrange brothers.
  • Shaped Like Itself: "First years should note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. That is why it is called the Forbidden Forest. If it were permitted it would be called the Permitted Forest." This actually becomes a Running Gag, with the narration consistently referring to permitted woodland areas as "the non-forbidden forest" for the rest of the story.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend:
    • Harry is extraordinarily insistent that he and Hermione are not dating in chapter 75.
    • Hermione follows suit a few lines later.
  • Shipper on Deck
    • Daphne Greengrass ships Harry×Hermione.
    • Either Luna or Xeno Lovegood seems to ship Harry×Draco.
    • Later, the following conversation about Draco, Harry, and Hermione occurs:
      "It's so sad," said Sherice Ngaserin, who actually had tears in her eyes. "They were just—they were just so obviously meant to be together!"
      "You mean Potter and Malfoy?" said a second-year named Colleen Johnson. "I know—their families hated each other so much, there's no way they couldn't fall in love—"
      "No, I mean all three of them," said Sherice.
  • Shout-Out: Many of them.
  • Shown Their Work: The author is a professional researcher. What did you expect?
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Padma Patil tries a little too hard to be different than her twin.
  • Single Line of Descent: As in the original work, Harry's ownership of the invisibility cloak. It's debatable whether there can be more than one Heir of Slytherin at a time.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • Almost all of the wizarding world, which is canon, but also Harry at times:
      Harry: What could possibly be more important than plants turning out to be sentient?
    • In the long term, plants being sentient should be extremely high on any priority list. In the immediate term, and in the scope of an 11-year-old boy learning magic and getting involved in lots of things 11-year-old boys shouldn't get involved in? Not so much.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The story features characters with extremely different views on life. Professor Quirrell is probably the most cynical. Hermione and Dumbledore are idealistic. Harry falls somewhere in between and seems on his way to becoming a Knight in Sour Armor. As a whole, the fanfic is more cynical than the original books, but still manages to be rather idealistic.
  • Sliding Scale of Unavoidable vs. Unforgivable: Dumbledore has accepted that I Did What I Had to Do. Harry is still trying to figure out where to draw the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Averted. All the evil characters have carefully maintained images. Most Slytherins aim for a noble, dignified composure that would crush their enemies if necessary, with minions as part of that costume. When Quirrell goes into zombie mode, he doesn't do it to look cool, and most people write it off as something to do with the curse on the Defense position.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: During the first 34 chapters it is implied that Lucius is one of the best masterminds of magical Britain, an excellent manipulator and a "beautiful killing machine." Then, Professor Quirrell shoots it to hell in one sentence in front of hundreds, stating that Lucius was incompetent enough to let the Death Eaters implode at the brink of victory and had to return with his tail between his legs. That had to hurt.
  • Small Role, Big Impact:
    • Michael Verres-Evans. He is only present in half a dozen chapters, but his impact of the story is undeniable. If not for the scientific upbringing he gave to his son, Harry would be a completely different person and the story would look quite differently.
    • Aunt Petunia. Her decision in this fic's timeline to marry a scientist instead of Vernon and her resolve to raise Harry as her own is one of the main divergence points from the canon storyline and the basis of the whole story. In spite of that major impact, Petunia doesn't appear all that often.
  • Smug Super: Harry has the attitude down pat.
    Hermione: I'm getting tired of hearing people talk about the Boy-Who-Lived like you're — like you're some kind of god or something.
    Harry: Same here, I must say. It's sad how people keep underestimating me.
  • Snowball Lie: Discussed in Chapter 65, appropriately titled "Contagious Lies". Of particular note is that Harry thinks this is the primary reason having a phoenix is not considered a sign of being Good — it benefits those without phoenixes to discredit them, so those people say whatever it takes to keep people from believing a phoenix's decision is made with sound reasoning.
  • Spin-Off: Another writer on the "Less Wrong" community blog has done something similar to The Twilight Saga with her story Luminosity.
  • Spit Take:
    • The recurring Comed-Tea, which is advertised to cause something spit take-worthy to happen within moments of drinking it. Harry spends a brief but consequential period of time trying to game the rules of the drink to achieve omnipotence before realizing how it actually works. It's at least one part divination, and gives the would-be drinker a sudden urge to drink Comed-Tea prior to ridiculous events — Harry resists the urge at one point and promptly chokes on his own spit a moment later. He doesn't know for sure that this is how it works, as he's been too busy to test it, but it seems likely.
    • Harry also gets a coughing fit while trying to drink water when Prof. Quirrell guesses he's a parselmouth, then again when the latter reveals that the Sorting Hat's secret message was likely in Parseltongue.
  • Split Personality: Harry thinks of his "dark side" as something like a split personality, one that he can choose to allow to 'take over' temporarily but can't risk allowing to fully control him.
    • Harry also has 'personalities' representing each of the four houses speak up to make suggestions to him, though these are treated as less 'crazy' and more just an active imagination assigning titles to the thoughts in his own head. Outside of Slytherin giving voice to the temptations he is trying to resist at times these 'personalities' mostly show up to add ammused comments about his current troubles. See I'm a Humanitarian above for an example.
  • Split-Personality Merge: Harry does this with his dark side to remove his vulnerability to dementors.
  • Springtime for Hitler: In Quirrell's backstory. "Lord Voldemort" was supposed to be practice for playing the villain that "David Monroe" would become a hero for defeating, but the government of magical Britain was so incompetent that it couldn't even shut down a group of morons in masks.
  • Stable Time Loop: Time-Turners are only capable of producing these, in up to six increments of one hour every twenty-four hours. When Harry tries to test his in a way that would cause a Temporal Paradox (see Tricked Out Time below), he receives a resounding "DO NOT MESS WITH TIME" from his future self for his troubles. Dumbledore later encounters a similar situation under different circumstances (with a simpler but no less poignant "NO"), but he knows through experience not to fiddle with paradoxes. Harry theorizes that it has to go around through different iterations a few times before it stabilizes into a loop (so there is a real cause at some point that gets erased from the timeline), but his one experiment scares him enough for him to just accept the rules as-is for the time being.
  • Star Killing: Harry is prophesied to destroy the stars themselves, but not the people. When he hears this he points out that if he accomplishes his goal of developing Magitek, then to a culture with access to it the current stars are a giant pile of resources that some idiot set on fire.
  • The Starscream: Draco, to Harry, in a Russian Nesting Doll of planning.
  • Start of Darkness: Quirrell answers Dumbledore's manipulation of Hermione by doing the same to Tracey Davis, and just might have turned her into Daphne Greengrass' Slytherin complement in Chapter 70.
  • The Stations of the Canon: The early chapters contain the requisite steps of Hogwarts Letter, Diagon Alley, Hogwarts Express, and Sorting Ceremory. The parts which would be little to no different from the canon are simply skipped over. For example, the story goes straight from the Hogwarts Express to the Sorting Ceremory, skipping over the first years getting off the train and riding the boats up to the castle.
    • In the later chapters, the troll makes an appearance, although not at Halloween and with far worse consequences than the original. A little after that, the detention to find out who is attacking unicorns in the Forbidden Forest also takes place. Draco is the only one of the four involved in both versions, but Harry still ends up alone in the forest with a centaur after encountering the predator.
    • Additionally, just about all of the plot twists are retained. Quirrell is really Voldemort in disguise, the Philosopher's Stone really does provide eternal life and is hidden in the Mirror of Erised, behind a series of weird traps on the third-floor hallway starting with a three-headed dog.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: The founding members of S.P.H.E.W. take offense that women are being dissuaded or prevented either by Dumbledore or by gender roles within the wizarding world from becoming heroines, seeing as heroes and dark lords are overwhelmingly male. Dumbledore sets the record straight that he neither encourages nor discourages any student, male or female, from answering the call.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Harry does this to the Gryffindor bullies in chapter 27.
  • Stealth Pun: After Harry destroys a dementor, Professor Quirrell, asked what they should say to the Ministry, says: "Tell them I ate it." Since the dementors represent death, he says that he is a Death Eater.
  • Strawman Political: Massively averted with Quirrell. Though the author's notes stress that he is evil, he's allowed to make strong arguments in favor of dictatorship and against democracy.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Harry Potter is hoping to achieve this. In the events of the story, he doesn't have much success.
    • He is able to create freeform partial transfigurations, which he uses to kill a troll by transfiguring part of its brain into acid, and an improved form of the Patronus Charm by applying various type of analysis to the issues.
  • Summoning Ritual: Harry has Tracey do a mock version of this in chapter 74, which goes a bit too right. Shouldn't he know better from the Abracadabra stunt?
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Harry suspects he has one; however, it turns out to be just evil (or, at least, dark), but not even remotely superpowered. It is, however, more skilled than him at certain kinds of problem solving, and he repeatedly invokes it to give him the courage to go through with a plan that involves doing something distasteful (like blackmail).
  • Surrounded by Idiots: This almost goes without saying. Special mention goes to Amelia Bones, who is not only afflicted with this trope, but is fully aware of it. As a result, she personally oversees her subordinates as a preventive measure.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Harry is trying to convince Dumbledore that his adoptive parents are abusive, he specifically tells him they don't let him read lots of books. Besides the fact that this wouldn't be regarded as abusive, perhaps except to Harry's subconscious mind, earlier chapters make it clear that they encourage his love of reading and even let him read pretty advanced books, making it this trope.
  • Switching P.O.V.: the narrative does this a lot: it's in the third person throughout, but we generally get things narrated from the point of view of a particular character at a time
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Harry find himself not blaming Draco for his racist and elitist attitude, given that he's not particularly exceptional in his beliefs given the closed society he was raised in.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Shields beat most spells, dedicated shield breakers beat shields, other attack spells do actual damage once shields are down and so trump shield breakers. That's how it works among most wizards, anyway; the Killing Curse is unblockable and must be dodged, plus the best fighting wizards can drop shields in an eyeblink and thus tend not to bother with shields of their own. Harry is able to exploit this quirk a few times with a special reorienting stunner Flitwick created, which would be useless against most enemies but is devastating against an unshielded opponent who thinks he's dodged it.
  • Take a Third Option:
    • Blaise Zabini at the end of the pre-Christmas battle, although it's technically a fourth option. He also gleefully refuses to take sides within his house after Bellatrix is freed. He has a reputation to keep, after all.
    • In general, Harry doesn't agree with the Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry of Magic, or the Death Eater party lines.
    • Subverted. In his first Battle Magic class, Harry is commanded by Professor Quirrell to either hex a student (bad), or lose House Points (bad). He hexes himself—and Quirrell deducts points anyways, for being clever instead of learning the intended lesson.
  • Take My Hand!: Draco grabs Hermione's hand as she's falling off a roof, which leaves her hanging over the edge. Overlaps with I Will Only Slow You Down above.
  • Take That!:
    • The story likes to poke fun at some absurdities of the original books (see Mythology Gag), and notably some of the most stupid moments of both Harry and Voldemort.
    • Almost all of ch. 64's omake, but ones for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Twilight Saga in particular. The one for MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic has a jab at mainstream academia: "Everyone knew that no matter how honest, investigating, skeptical, creative, analytic, or curious you were, what really made your work Science was when you published your results in a prestigious journal. Everyone knew that..."
    • In chapter 97, at journalists:
      "I wouldn't think a newspaper would be able to report on a concept like 'Either X or Y must be true, but we don't know which.' I would only expect journalists to report stories consisting of series of atomic propositions, like 'X is true', 'Y is false', or 'X is true and Y is false'. Not more complex logical connectors like 'If X is true then Y is true, but we don't know whether X is true'."
  • Take That, Audience!:
    • Many of his fans had suggested or asked if the story would be Harry×Draco because of the Quibbler headline, so Harry apologizing to Hermione by being dangled off the roof by Draco just as Hermione had done the previous day seems like this.
    • Also, in that same chapter, Harry figures out that Black probably killed Pettigrew because Black and Pettigrew were at one point lovers. Seems like a Take That at Yaoi Fangirls because Peter Pettigrew hardly gets shipped.
    • In chapter 91, the readers who shipped Harry/Hermione get one:
      Harry: I didn't like Hermione in that way. Why does everyone keep thinking it has to be about that? It's disrespectful to her, to think someone could only like her in that way.
    • In chapter 109:
      Professor Quirrell: Only a gibbering dullard with a skull full of flaming monkey vomit would think [that Harry is just an ordinary eleven-year-old].
  • Taught by Experience: Discussed by Dumbledore in his first meeting with Harry.
    Albus Dumbledore: You see, Harry, after you've been through a few adventures you tend to catch the hang of these things. You start to see the pattern, hear the rhythm of the world. You begin to harbour suspicions before the moment of revelation.
  • Teacher's Pet: Harry to Quirrell, although nobody seems to actually hate him for it, though Hermione is afraid Quirrell will lead Harry astray.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Harry asks Lupin about his birth parents the very first time he meets him.
  • Tempting Fate: This happens a fair amount.
    • For example, toward the end of chapter 47 when Draco says, "I don't want any more surprises today."
    • Discussed in chapter 57, after Dumbledore declares himself to be invincible:
      "He can get away with it," Isabel whispered back to her, "he's Dumbledore, not even Fate takes him seriously anymore."
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Harry is able to get away with this when Dumbledore is expecting him to be angry and doesn't seem likely to question it:
    "Yes, I'm very angry!" said Harry. "Grrr!"
    Harry's Internal Critic promptly awarded him the All-Time Award for the Worst Acting in the History of Ever.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: It was prophesied numerous times that Harry will be the one to end the world. However, no prophecy ever spoke of Harry actually killing anybody while ending the world. Dumbledore did whatever he could to make it so that the world's people manage to survive its end.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Voldemort tells Dumbledore that his begging Dumbledore to introduce him to Nicholas Flamel so that Voldemort may learn to make the Philosopher's Stone was his last attempt to be good. When Dumbledore rejected him and told him fearing death was evil, Voldemort figured he might as well be evil because he certainly wouldn't stop wanting immortality.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World:
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Voldemort's plan to kill Harry.
    This is the order in which the next acts shall be done. First Harry Potter shall be stunned, then his limbs severed and the wounds cauterized. Mr. Friendly and Mr. Honor will examine him for any trace of unusual magics. One of you shall shoot the boy many times with my Muggle weapon, and then as many of you as can shall strike him with the Killing Curse. Only then will Mr. Grim crush his skull and brains with the mundane substance of a tombstone. I shall verify his corpse, then his corpse shall be burned with Fiendfyre, then we will exorcise the surrounding area in case he has left a ghost. I myself will guard this place until six hours have passed, for I do not fully trust the wards I have set against Time's looping; and four of you shall search the surroundings for signs of anything noteworthy.
  • They Called Me Mad!: One of the official mottos of the Chaos Legion is revealed in chapter 70 to be "We'll show them! We'll show them all! [Evil Laughter]."
  • Think Nothing of It: Harry references this trope when asking not to be rewarded for reporting the extra spell on the Sorting Hat.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: A lot of the Hogwarts girls are very guilty of this. Even Hermione is a bit guilty at the beginning, though she gets over it.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Invoked word-for-word during Harry's occlumency lesson in chapter 27.
  • This Means War!: In chapter 15, Harry says the Bugs Bunny line to Hermione after she does better than he does during class.
  • This Is Reality: In chapter 94, Harry notes to himself that in real life, the enemy would think of himself as the main character, not as the villain.
  • Three-Point Landing: Neville Longbottom does a dramatic drop from a broomstick into the middle of the Taboo Tradeoffs battle. It's such a Dynamic Entry that all the other fighters momentarily pause, stunned.
  • Tickle Torture: Harry threatens Quirrell with this in chapter 19.
  • Time for Plan B:
    Quirrell: In your future career, Mr. Zabini, I do not suggest trying any plots that complicated. They have a tendency to fail.
    Blaise: Um, I said that to the Headmaster, actually, and he said that was why it was important to have more than one plot going at a time.
  • Title Drop: Multiple times sprinkled across the story, first in Chapter 24.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Harry repeatedly presses McGonagall on whether she will simply act the responsible authority figure even if it's ineffective or do whatever it takes to do good even if it's risky or unconventional. She leans towards the former.
    • In Chapter 88 this comes back to bite her when her lawful reputation makes the other students too afraid to ignore her orders to stay put and help Harry save Hermione. Afterwards she decides her rule-abiding attitude has crushed Griffindor's heroic spirit and attempts to resign as head of house.
    • The story in general seems to favour the latter position, emphasising doing whatever it takes and not just making a token effort and going through the standard motions. This is especially clear in the "Roles" arc.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: McGonagall conjectures that Harry "triumphed over the Dark Lord by being more awful than he was, and survived the Killing Curse by being more terrible than Death." A later chapter jokingly implies that Yog Sothoth may have been sacrificed to summon Harry.
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: Harry as a "dark lord" would assuredly fall under this.
  • To the Pain: McGonagall threatens to "string [Harry] up by the gates of Hogwarts with [his] own intestines and pour fire beetles into [his] nose." (She probably doesn't really mean it....)
  • Tranquil Fury: Harry's "dark side" is very controlled and cold, even if it doesn't think too much about consequences.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Things have been getting worse and worse for Harry. He retains his optimism after his harrowing visit to Azkaban but it's quickly followed by losing Draco and almost losing Hermione in the trial, losing his chance to ever have a phoenix immediately afterwards, and then, worst of all, seeing Hermione die in front of his eyes.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Quirrell is the only one Harry looks up to as a rationalist, and this plays into Quirrell's hands. Hermione seems to be the only one who realizes how bad Quirrell is.
  • Tricked Out Time
    • Harry tries to use this in chapter 17 to factor a product of two prime numbers. The result? "DO NOT MESS WITH TIME!"
    • Azkaban is subject to its own, immutable timeline. Dumbledore stumbles on a paradox and consults with Snape later. They find it impossible to work out the problem without drawing diagrams, and all the diagrams accomplish is a more precise version of not knowing anything.
    • Later, when Hermione dies, Harry begs Dumbledore to simply travel back in time, save Hermione and fake everything, so that time never actually changes. Dumbledore explains that that doesn't tend to work out well; he's tried it before.
  • Trickster Mentor: Dumbledore, although who can tell for sure?
  • True Love's Kiss: Subverted. Hermione kissing Harry successfully snaps him out of his Empty Shell state (see above), but the reason it works is because he is surprised – and a little grossed out – by it, and not because of any romantic love between him (an eleven-year-old boy) and Hermione (a twelve-year-old girl). None of this, not even Harry's loud objection, stops the rest of the student body from shipping them after that.
  • Try and Follow: In chapter 41, with the actual words "Follow if you dare."
  • Tuckerization: Eliezer offers small cameos as a thank-you to all Fan Art artists of his fic. He also gives them shout-outs in his Author Notes; e.g., in his notes on chapter 79.
  • Turn Coat: Chapter 33 is full of these because Professor Quirrell decides to allow traitors in the class armies and all the kids want to be spies.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: Harry, himself, is afraid he'll turn into a bully like James.
  • Twin Switch:
    • The Patil twins in the pre-Christmas battle.
    • Susan Bones and Tonks disguised as her when S.P.H.E.W. is spiraling out of control.
  • Twisting the Prophecy: Both Dumbledore and Voldemort hear prophecies regarding Harry, and try to have those prophecies fulfilled on their own terms.
    • Dumbledore has seen a string of prophecies about individuals who would have the potential to destroy Earth, and has acted to remove those people. However, since it was only prophesied that Harry would be "the end of the world", not that he would kill everyone, Dumbledore decides to let him live and bring about sweeping changes that will figuratively be the end of the world.
    • Voldemort hears that he and Harry are incompatible and cannot survive in the same world, so he decides to alter Harry's mind to be more like his own, thus making them compatible and giving him a Worthy Opponent to keep him from boredom, all at once. Unfortunately for him, during the process, their similarity created a magical resonance between them, which incinerated his own body when he tried to seize control and stop it.
  • The Tyson Zone: Defied, inverted, played with, and deconstructed.
    • Harry develops a reputation at Hogwarts for being able to do anything by snapping his fingers, but that comes to bite him in the ass when Lesath Lestrange, certain that he can do anything, gets on his knees and begs Harry to release his mother Bellatrix Black from Azkaban. He makes sure that the Daily Prophet releases absolutely ridiculous rumors about him so that no one ever believes what the papers say about him anymore. He scares a dementor in front of the Wizengamot, and they take it in stride because he's the Boy-Who-Lived and it fits story logic. Well, most of them do.
    • Draco Malfoy cannot do a good deed without everyone thinking he is plotting something nefarious.
    • Dumbledore's Obfuscating Insanity confuses people as to whether he's sane pretending to be insane, or insane pretending to be sane pretending to be insane. He may or may not have used Obfuscating Evil on the Death Eater faction to stop them from taking people's families hostage, but now they think Dumbledore isn't above stooping to any low. But, people still have trouble believing that he's set fire to a chicken.
    • Defense professors have had such a terrible record over the last decades that any accusation against them is plausible... which is why the teachers don't want to hear them, because they don't want to have to fire the professors mid-year; this is for the sake of their students' education and intuitively, given the topic and past events, their safety.

  • Überwald: It is hinted that places like this exist in the magical world. Mad-Eye Moody, in pursuit of the Eye of Vance, hunted down one dark lord who ruled a small fiefdom. That left a power vacuum until another dark lord moved in a couple weeks later.
  • The Un Chosen One: Facing the prospect of going down in history as Harry's sidekick, Hermione sets out to make herself a hero.
  • Undisclosed Funds: In chapter 24, Harry asks Draco for a loan described only as "almost all the spending money Father had given Draco to last out the whole year". Probably not more than 40 galleons in any case.
  • Unnecessarily Large Interior: The generals' offices seem this way to Draco and Harry, with Draco unable to think of any reason for their size other than to show off the generals' status, and Harry not even thinking of that. It doesn't occur to either of them that they might be meant to use that space to meet with their advisors, because it doesn't occur to them that they might want to have advisors. Hermione, understanding their psychology, has her officers' chairs removed for her meeting with Draco.
  • Unreliable Expositor: The narration mentions that the history of the magical world with Atlantis and Merlin that Harry learns is a different version of events than one would hear elsewhere in magical Europe, and that in magical Asia they tell completely different stories altogether. It then cheerfully continues that this doesn't mean it's wrong.
  • Unsound Effect:
    "Honestly, I expected my body to be hitting the ground with a thud about now."
    There was a distinct body-hitting-the-ground-with-a-thuddish sort of sound.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee:
    • In the first wargame (ch. 30), we see Draco and Harry explaining their strategies to their armies, whereas we know nothing about what Hermione has planned. Guess who wins. It's a valiant try at a Double Subversion.
    • Used again in the Taboo Tradeoffs battle in a virtual arms-race of this trope. Hermione's immediately revealed brute force strategy is defeated by Harry's gambit which only emerges gradually over the course of the battle. Both are then defeated by Draco, whose unspoken plan to counter Harry's gambit succeeds.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Hermione does this to Harry despite feeling that it's very naughty of her.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Harry. Quirrell likes to bounce "hypothetical" ideas off of him, and Harry volunteers information to him that he doesn't understand the significance of, like how to recognize one of the Deathly Hallows.
  • Up, Up and Away!: Multiple hover charms cast on a single person allow that person to simulate flight or low gravity. Neville uses it for his Chaotic Leap in the first battle. Hermione uses it as Super-Hermione during the battle inside Hogwarts.
  • Vast Bureaucracy: By Quirrell's estimate a little more than half of the adult Wizarding population works for the Ministry in some capacity. This is only a very slight exaggeration from the books (although there it's because Rowling didn't think through the math instead of a plot point).
  • Verbal Backspace: When Quirrell insists that Harry's occlumency tutor be Obliviated after each session, Dumbledore wonders why such expensive services are necessary, but...
    Harry: If it's money that's the problem, I have some ideas for making large amounts of money quickly—
    Dumbledore: Thank you Quirinus, your wisdom is now quite evident and I am sorry for disputing it.
  • Villain Has a Point: Yudkowsky explains his use of this at length in this blog post, and ultimately deconstructs the trope. He claims to have deliberately made the villains of HPMOR, and their perspectives, as believable and easy to understand as possible, not to cheerlead them but to demonstrate, in his opinion, how the psychology of evil actually works. Taking care to distinguish this trope from other, similar tropes like Both Sides Have a Point and Gray-and-Grey Morality (the latter of which HPMOR is often pegged as), he points out that "self-justification is cheap," and that a villain who makes a strong argument is not necessarily justified in what they do.
    "When I’m writing HPMOR’s Death Eaters, I’m trying to pass the Ideological Turing Test for Death Eaters—when I write Draco Malfoy’s viewpoint, I’m writing about Death Eaters the way that Draco Malfoy would see them. The goal is that a real Death Eater would read my Draco Malfoy viewpoint and not say, 'Aha! This was clearly written not by the real Draco Malfoy, but by someone who wanted to make Death Eaters look bad.' ... Professor Quirrell is being written with a goal of making sure that the real Professor Quirrell wouldn’t be able to point to one of his lines and say, 'What? I wouldn’t say that. There are much more persuasive arguments for a nation that stands strong under a strong ruler, like—-' "
    • For a specific example, at the end of the story, Voldemort has placed Harry under an Unbreakable Vow not to destroy the world, or take any undue risk of destroying the world. Mere hours later, Harry tries to repeal the Statute of Secrecy — only after he is stopped by the vow does it occur to him that this could lead to, for example, someone trying to Transfigure a kilogram of up quarks For Science!, which is completely permitted by the laws of Transfiguration, but is such a violation of physics that he has absolutely no idea what would happen. Harry has absolutely no desire to destroy the world, and Voldemort was still right to fear the possibility.
  • Walking Wasteland: Quirrell displays a touch of this while Christmas shopping.
  • Wall Bang: Characters occasionally bang their heads against a wall.
    • Harry gets an impression of the Sorting Hat wordlessly banging its head against a wall during his sorting; how, he's not sure. Afterwards, the hat informs Dumbledore that it is never to be placed on Harry's head ever again - the fourteenth student in the history of the school to get that dubious honor.
    • Later on, McGonagall bangs her head against a wall.
    • Harry bangs his head against a wall in frustration after his first hour of magical research.
  • Weirdness Magnet:
    • Tracey seems to think Harry Potter literally is a magnet to weirdness, to the point where she suggests stunning him, tying him up and dragging him around with them to attract Adventure.
      It said something, Hermione Granger thought, and it was something rather sad — as the eight of them strolled back through the maze of twisty little passages that was Hogwarts, their time before the next class having run out without finding any bullies — that she genuinely didn't know whether Harry Potter had been led around by the ghost of Salazar Slytherin or a phoenix or what. And whatever Harry had done, she hoped it didn't work for them. And most of all she hoped that the others didn't vote for Tracey's idea of stunning Harry Potter and carting his unconscious body around with them to attract Adventures. That couldn't possibly work in real life, or, if it did, she was giving up.
    • McGonagall calls Harry a "weirdness magnet" in Chapter 17.
  • Wham Episode: In chapter 89, Hermione dies, to the surprise and shock of many readers and all (or, perhaps, almost all) the characters.
  • Wham Line:
    • In Chapter 51, when Quirrell tells Harry that there is an innocent person in Azkaban, Harry correctly deduces that it is "a person named Black." Quirrell is surprised and tells Harry he is correct, then asks, "How did you know I meant Bellatrix?"
    • Also somewhat parodied earlier on.
      Draco sat down, as he was having trouble standing. You got this feeling about once a month around Harry Potter, and it hadn't happened yet in January, so this was due.
    • Chapter 78, to the surprise of everyone (including Harry, himself):
      "Hermione Granger," Auror Komodo said in a toneless voice, "you are under arrest for the attempted murder of Draco Malfoy."
    • Chapter 84, Quirrell and Hermione talking about heroics:
      "So -" Hermione's voice sounded strange in the night. "You left your friends behind where they'd be safe, and tried to attack the Dark Wizard all by yourself?"
      "Why, no," said Professor Quirrell. "I stopped trying to be a hero, and went off to do something else I found more pleasant."
    • In Chapter 89, directly after Hermione dies and Harry vows to bring her back by any means necessary, we finally hear the full (and updated to fit the circumstances) version of Trelawney's cut-off prophecy:
    • The end of Chapter 104:
      Harry: Hello, Lord Voldemort.
      Quirrell: Hello, Tom Riddle.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Harry is surprised to learn he can talk to snakes and asks if that means they're sentient. "Snakes are sentient!?"
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Frequent, though the Sorting Hat's is probably the most memorable, borrowing Harry's own intelligence and using it to refute the boy's own plans and arguments.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: "In any case, the standard counter-Charm for a boggart is, of course, Fiendfyre."
  • White-and-Grey Morality: It began like this . All characters do what they think is right. Unfortunately, everyone has their own concept of "right or wrong". Until at the end it turned out that Quirrell is Voldemort (the only fairly evil character). Thus inclining the conflict to Black-and-White Morality.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: The reason Petunia didn't marry Vernon Dursley in this version of the story is that she was appalled when he told her he was planning to name his firstborn Dudley.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: When the members of S.P.H.E.W. are discouraged from trying to be heroines.
    Tracey Davis: We'll show him! We'll show them all!
    Daphne Greengrass: Okay, now that was definitely Evil.
    Padma Patil: No, that's one of the Chaos mottoes, though she didn't do the laugh.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Dumbledore appears to have thought Harry ought to have wicked stepparents, and seems disappointed to hear that they aren't even a little bit wicked. Though, they don't take him seriously and that frustrates Harry to no end.
  • Wild Card: Blaise Zabini. Given the nature of the War of Three Armies, the fact that he manages to distinguish himself as this is truly impressive.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie:
    • When Harry is asked to lie outright rather than use his usual techniques of misdirection and half-truth, he has to be told that the need is desperate before agreeing.
    • Dumbledore, as well, to the point that when the Weasley twins tell him the only way to activate the Marauder's Map is by saying "I solemnly swear I am up to no good," he refuses to say it, but then makes the map work for him anyway.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: After Quirrel reveals himself to be Voldemort, he holds Harry hostage and allows him to continue to live for an excessive amount of time, not even killing him when Harry attempts to betray him. This is partly because Voldemort needs him and his intelligence to thwart the Mirror of Erised, and partly because Voldemort wants to extract potentially world-sundering secrets from him. The likely genuine reason is that Voldermort really does not want to kill Harry, being the only person who can really understand him.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief:
    • Draco recalls his father lecturing him about this concept after they saw a play.
    • Harry's willing suspension of disbelief regarding his present situation is broken when too many people show up in an unlikely place at an unlikely time, all at once.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Harry, the eleven-year-old boy currently working on a reliable means of mass-producing carbon nanotubes, Draco, the twelve-year-old Evil Chancellor, and Hermione, the girl who beat both of them at magic paintball by the end of Chapter 30.
  • With Friends Like These...: Draco realizes (a little too late) that having Harry for a friend is at least as dangerous as having him for an enemy:
    If you were Harry's enemy, his plots might be hard to see through at first, they might even be stupid, but his reasoning would make sense once you understood it, you would comprehend that he was trying to hurt you.

    The way Harry was acting toward Draco right now did not make sense.

    Because if you were Harry's friend, then he tried to be friends with you in the alien, incomprehensible way he'd been raised by Muggles to do, even if it meant destroying your entire life.
  • A Wizard Did It: Defied continually and with extreme prejudice, since one of Harry's goals is to completely eliminate this trope and discover the rules for all magic.
    • Once Harry gets his mokeskin bag, he's frustrated at its inconsistency with objects' names when summoning; when he asks McGonagall why it works that way, her reply of "Magic" does not satisfy him.
    • Harry uses the simple "Magic" answer when speaking to his father... who uses Harry's same response of "That's not an answer!"
  • Words Can Break My Bones: If Dumbledore is to be believed, there do exist Words of Power and Madness that are dangerous to utter — it's just that no one these days knows what those words are.
    "Happy happy boom boom swamp swamp swamp. Thank you."
  • Words Do Not Make The Magic: In one of Harry's more arrogant moments, he convinces himself that the incantations used to cast spells are more like mnemonics and that they can't possibly be the actual basis of magic. He's almost immediately proven wrong once he tests it - the incantations really do matter, to the point getting even one syllable wrong causes the spell to fall through.
  • The World Is Not Ready: Harry decides that he and other wizarding scientists — unlike muggle scientists — should keep their discoveries secret until they're sure humanity won't misuse them. Although, he suspects muggle scientists might have started doing this after what happened when politicians got access to nuclear weapons.
  • World of Snark: Many of the student characters get this along with their intelligence upgrade, and many of the adults are similarly snarky. The whimsical magical world produces a large number of Only Sane Men and Women.
  • Would Hurt a Child: One of Voldemort's Death Eaters asks if the recently resurrected and still unconscious Hermione Granger is there for their "entertainment." In his defense, he immediately suggests finding an older witch instead, but the fact that he thought of it at all doesn't speak well of him.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl:
    • The bullies are cast in a negative light through continual reminder that their opponents are first-year girls (though the first-year part is also important, putting this under Would Not Hurt A Child as well).
    • Generally averted during battles, as students target girls as much as boys.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy
    • As of chapter 21, it's pretty clear that Dumbledore believes they are in an epic fantasy (unless that's just part of his obfuscating insanity), Harry is seeing it as science-fiction or a computer RPG, and Hermione apparently thinks it's a romantic comedy. Somebody is mistaken about the genre they're in, but it's not quite clear who at that point.
    • Draco seems to be convinced that he is Light from Death Note, which is definitely wrong. His father takes some of the wind out of his sails in chapter 97.
      Lucius: My son, truly, you have done well this day. However, this is not a play, we are not Aurors, and we do not put our trust in trials.
    • It seems the girls of Slytherin House are enjoying a trashy romance novel, starring Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Draco Malfoy as the competing love interests.
    • One of the Lovegoods thinks it's a more... "exotic" romance novel.
    • The end of the story finally reveals who was right: Harry had the genre correct, but Hermione is The Hero. He's just The Mentor.
  • Xanatos Gambit:
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: During the Stanford Prison Experiment in particular, but predicted much earlier:
    And it was also clear that Potter was brilliant, and a whole lot more than just slightly mad, and playing a vast game that Potter himself mostly didn't understand, improvised at top speed with the subtlety of a rampaging nundu.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Apparently, most girls in the wizarding world.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: Harry meets Hermione, Neville, and Ron on the Hogwarts Express/Platform 9 3/4. In particular, McGonagall tells Harry to be on the look out for Hermione on the train, and Harry wonders whether she is a PC or an NPC. note  Harry also has his first real conversation with Draco on the platform. Justified because on the train will be the first time most Hogwarts students meet each other.
  • You and What Army?: Harry says, "You and what other army?" to Hermione in chapter 67 when he and Neville confront her and the entire Sunshine Regiment while the rest of the Chaos Legion deal with the Dragon Army.
  • You Are Not Ready: Invoked on several occasions, most notably when Harry refuses to explain his Patronus 2.0.
    • Harry doles out information about science to Draco very carefully, and uses this exact explanation. Draco is surprisingly okay with this, because his father taught him to take those words seriously. In fact, he becomes quite upset when Harry assumes Draco is rather more ready than he actually was.
    • Harry wants to access his Gringotts vault in order to go Christmas shopping, diversify his assets, and buy items he thinks he might have a use for later. Dumbledore says that he isn't ready, and Harry is less than cooperative. See I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That above.
  • You Don't Want to Know: During the jailbreak scene: "You don't want to see who's behind me. Trust me, you don't." Because if the auror does see, he'll know too much.
  • You Fool!: Specifically, Quirrell calls Harry "fool boy" twice in Chapter 58 when the plan goes pear-shaped.
  • You Go, Girl!: Hermione leads an army in Battle Magic, and the S.P.H.E.W. girls fight bullies to show they can keep up with Harry Potter. However, people still view Hermione as being Harry's rival rather than a protagonist in her own right.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness
    • After learning Slytherin's secrets from the basilisk, Voldemort didn't want to leave it around for anyone else to learn from. At least, that's what Quirrell assumes. But he's only pretending to guess. Either Quirrell is referring to his own actions or he is lying to dissuade Harry from attempting to find it.
    • After thinking about the jailbreak, Madam Bones assumes this is what happened to the apparently ethical person who helped the escaped prisoner they're discussing get free.
  • You Just Told Me:
    • McGonagall uses this device on Hermione and then smilingly warns her not to fall for it again: "Miss Granger, you aren't supposed to admit anything just because I say I know."
    • Discussed in Chapter 18, when Harry says that he should have tried this on Dumbledore, McGonagall, or Snape to try to get more details about Voldemort out of them. There's also a more subtle example earlier in the same chapter: Harry gives Dumbledore the excuse for keeping Snape around that Dumbledore then repeats back to him - that Hogwarts needs an evil Potions Master in order to be a proper magical school.
    • In chapter 79, an Auror is interrogating a suspect. While looking through the suspect's records, he asks him casually about the places he's recorded to have travelled to, and the suspect answers normally. He then reveals that there wasn't a visa for one of the places he mentioned. "You're not Quirinus Quirrell. Who the HELL are you?"
  • You Killed My Father: Draco is determined that his mother's murderer will pay for her death.
    • Neville wants revenge on Bellatrix Black for torturing his parents into insanity.
  • You Remind Me of X: Harry reminds Snape of someone he once knew, although not the one Harry imagines he does.

Alternative Title(s): Methods Of Rationality