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Harry Potter And The Methods Of Rationality

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Jan 31st 2012 at 4:02:52 PM

I don't think Dumbledore is insane, not really. I think he's just occasionally stupid, in the same way as the rest of the wizarding world but perhaps more so.

Also, I notice that in Chapter 23 Harry refers to the Sorcerer's Stone. "Because if there's just one place in the recipe that makes you a wizard, then magic isn't like a glass of pebbles that can mix. It's like a single magical pebble, a sorcerer's stone." While this isn't evidence that he knows there really is such a stone, the fact that he's aware of the legend makes me wonder why he didn't bother asking anyone whether it was true. Surely it'd be at the top of things to find out about the wizarding world.

alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher from ňa
Shadowed Philosopher
Jan 31st 2012 at 4:11:05 PM

He's heard of it, from the goblins at Gringotts. It is strange that he hasn't followed it up anywhere.

Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
Jan 31st 2012 at 5:53:52 PM

I believe the goblins mentioning the Philosopher's Stone was retconed out - not that I'm complaining, I think it's better without.

Dumbledore does mention it (chapter 61), but not to Harry.

AckSed Pat. St. of Archive Binge from Pure Imagination
Pat. St. of Archive Binge
Jan 31st 2012 at 6:21:04 PM

*checks* Hrmph,you were right. He's gone and unpersoned that inconvenient reference. I feel robbed of my blowup between Dumbledore and Harry when he found out it was real. *grumpy*

edited 31st Jan '12 6:21:31 PM by AckSed

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher from ňa
Shadowed Philosopher
Jan 31st 2012 at 6:33:28 PM

Meh. I really dislike Orwellian Retcon, especially since it's not mirrored in the PDF version and so not in the version on my Kindle. Presumably he'll find out about it eventually. So what's going on with the Stone, anyway, since presumably neither this Dumbledore nor this Quirrel are stupid enough for it to be anything like canon?

Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
AckSed Pat. St. of Archive Binge from Pure Imagination
Pat. St. of Archive Binge
Jan 31st 2012 at 6:53:43 PM

The Voldemort trap/test for nascent hero may have been brother Chucked,but it's still there. Even an obvious trap can be useful,and Flamel in this story has probably given the consent to Dumbledore to use the Stone. Whether destructively or not,I am not sure,but it exists - Quirrel makes reference to "the hoarded lore of Nicholas Flamel himself".

As to whether Harry will discover its existence,I cannot say. He's got his plate full with the early start to the New Wizarding War and that whole losing his trust in his mentor. And worrying about SPHEW and Hermione.

edited 31st Jan '12 7:24:39 PM by AckSed

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
Jan 31st 2012 at 9:39:18 PM

I think it's rather inevitable he'll find out about a commonly-known source of immortality in his research. Then of course he'll be furious that Flamel has been letting it go to waste, and devote himself to obtaining it and sharing it with the world. The problem will be that Voldemort is most definitely working on it already, just as in Cannon. I suspect that will be what will finally divide Harry and he, the quest for immortality.

I wonder if Hermione will still check out the same book she get's in cannon. If she does I can't help but think she'd tell Harry about it.

Feb 2nd 2012 at 1:00:32 AM

The second reading is going well.

Something I've been pondering: Mr.Hat-n-cloak's plan. I can't even begin to comprehend what he hopes to gain from all his meddlin'. I'd like to say it's snape setting dumbledore up for a fall but then why the hat-n-cloak business in the first place with zabini?

edited 2nd Feb '12 1:01:26 AM by thatguythere47

Is using "Julian Assange is a Hillary butt plug" an acceptable signature quote?
Feb 2nd 2012 at 12:18:52 PM

Just because Zabini can't think of anyone besides Snape and Quirrel who could do it doesn't mean there aren't other possibilities. And his reason for ruling out Quirrel is equally lame - essentially "I can't imagine a reason he'd do it, therefore he didn't.".

Try assuming Mr. Hat and Cloak is Quirrelmort (which includes assuming Quirrel actually is Quirrelmort). Then I'd say he wanted Harry to hear and believe the conversation between Zabini and Quirrel. And that would mean he's trying to drive a wedge between Harry and Dumbledore

If you really want to strain your brain, try assuming Mr. Hat and Cloak is Serius.

edited 2nd Feb '12 12:21:17 PM by anotherblackhat

Feb 2nd 2012 at 2:41:02 PM

Of course Mr.Hat-n-cloak also had to appear in the "witches only" staircase. IF we assume Quirrelmort's involved either it really isn't witches only or he could have gotten Miss.Black involved... all we know about hat-n-cloak is that he's trying to generate mistrust in dumbledore and that he's someone hermione recognized. That narrows the playing field significantly. Therefore it can only be: Dumbledore. Because this somehow ties into setting a chicken on fire.

Is using "Julian Assange is a Hillary butt plug" an acceptable signature quote?
Feb 2nd 2012 at 3:02:09 PM

Judging from that deletion, it seems clear that in this 'verse, the existence of the Philosopher's Stone is *not* widely known: there might be just ten people alive, including Flamel, Dumbledore's inner circle and Voldemort, who know that it's more than a myth. Which is convenient to the plot, as it means that my longstanding WMG that Harry has been scheming to steal the stone since the first week of school is no longer a logical necessity.

And come to think of it, the canonical state of affairs is nonsensical. Wizarding society isn't *that* deathist. If it were public knowledge that Nicholas Flamel was alive and had the secret of immortality, there would be centuries-old *institutions* dedicated to hunting him down. There'd be a shop on Knockturn Alley where people placed bounties on his head and traded rumors on his whereabouts. He and his wife would have to have a Voldemort-proof safe-house, which you'd think the Order of the Phoenix would have used.

So no, in this 'verse Dumbledore's Chocolate Frog card does not reveal that he has a Flamel number of 1.

Feb 2nd 2012 at 3:38:04 PM

I disagree with the statement "Mr.Hat-n-cloak also had to appear in the 'witches only' staircase."

... a poorly-kept "secret" staircase that was actually one of the fastest ways up from the Slytherin dungeons to the Ravenclaw tower, but which only witches could traverse. [...] At the top of the staircase, now that she was away from Slytherin places and back into the main parts of Hogwarts, Hermione stopped and took off Harry's invisibility cloak.

After her pouch had swallowed the cloak, Hermione turned right and started to walk down a short passageway,

I think only the staircase itself is witches only, and she meets Mr. Hat and Cloak close to it, but not actually in it.

And I think it's worth pointing out that the "recognition sent a jolt of terrified adrenaline bursting through" Hermione, so she not only knows the real person, she knows to be afraid of them. So it's unlikely to be McGonagall or Dumbledore which also narrows the field. But since Hermione is an insufferable know it all, the field is still pretty large.

edited 2nd Feb '12 4:07:37 PM by anotherblackhat

Feb 2nd 2012 at 5:03:12 PM

Ah, mis-remembered that then.

Well wouldn't someone you trusted showing up all secrety and evil also be shocking? Granted I made the Dumbledore guess in jest but now that I think of it...he's crazy enough to have a plot which features his downfall.

Is using "Julian Assange is a Hillary butt plug" an acceptable signature quote?
Feb 2nd 2012 at 5:03:43 PM

[up][up][up] Indeed, I've decided that the existence of Flamel and the Philosopher's Stone is known fact only to a few. There are widespread legends, of course, but there are widespread legends about damn near everything in the wizarding world. (Consider how bad it is in the Muggle world, where all true observations are of a perfectly unmagical reality; now imagine that people had an excuse.)

Though to be fair, Honore DB, I think you vastly overstate the public interest in eternal life. Only eternal youth, available up front, would actually stir most people to action.

edited 2nd Feb '12 5:04:10 PM by EliezerYudkowsky

Feb 2nd 2012 at 6:38:07 PM

Might be where the plot is going then, harry learning of the stone and stea- um, borrowing it.

Another thing: When harry is facing a dementor he relives his parents being killed and notes that shouldn't be possible. If we assume canon and that a bit of voldermort's soul is duct-tapped to him would that be where the memory is coming from?

Is using "Julian Assange is a Hillary butt plug" an acceptable signature quote?
alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher from ňa
Shadowed Philosopher
Feb 2nd 2012 at 6:40:02 PM

[up]If there's one thing we've figured out about the backstory re: the Harry-Voldemort encounter, it's that we can't assume canon.

That said, it might very well be worth wondering where that memory is coming from.

Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
Desertopa Not Actually Indie
Not Actually Indie
Feb 3rd 2012 at 4:51:21 AM

If you really want to strain your brain, try assuming Mr. Hat and Cloak is Serius.

Personally, I think this is a lot more likely than him being Quirrel. I highly doubt Quirrel have needed dozens of iterations to figure out that Hermione found his cryptic getup suspicious.

Being Hat and Cloak doesn't suit canon Sirius's style though.

...eventually, we will reach a maximum entropy state where nobody has their own socks or underwear, or knows who to ask to get them back.
Feb 3rd 2012 at 5:06:49 AM

Hello. I was told there might be intelligent speculation over here. Cursory parsing of the older pages has given credence to that opinion.

[up]This Sirius might not be so Serious. He is a Marauder, and he has not been to Azkaban, so he'd be in the right mindframe for mischievous and devious plans.

As for the jolt of recognition, I suspect that the first iteration we read about was not the first that occurred.

Finally

he's crazy enough to have a plot which features his downfall

Imagines Downfall gag with Hitler "playing" Dumbledore. Does not fit. Dumbledore never loses. Even when he loses the game, he doesn't lose the cool. Imagines Hitler being Quirrelmort itself...

... Not as much of a shoe-in as Canon!Voldermort, but Quirrelmort is passionate enough that he could pull a Kira if Dumbledore checkmates him hard enough. Yes, for some reason I expect Harry to end up as Dumbledore's Xanatos Sucker as usual in this story too. One with a lot of autonomy, but still, I can't see Harry's plans defeating Quirrell, there's just too much of a gap, and The Power Of Love, a Backwards Portkey and such just wouldn't be EY's style. A Checkovs Lecture, on the other hand, might work, but it would need to be an unknown unknown for Voldemort: this one is not the sort to get carried away in hubris and forget a vital element. He might get carried away in murderousness, but I don't see how that would help.

Feb 3rd 2012 at 12:30:57 PM

We don't really know how many iterations there were beyond two, but I do think it's unlikely that Mister Hat and Cloak is Quirrell because MHaC asked Zabini for an report on the meeting between him and Quirrell, and then erased Zabini's memory. Why bother with the report if MHaC is Quirrell?. I haven't ruled out all the alleged death eaters, (especially Lucius), Moody, Sirius, an as yet unseen character from Cannon like Bartemius Crouch Jr., and that's limiting myself to humans. Though the ability to cast a memory charm does make non-humans unlikely.

edited 3rd Feb '12 12:35:00 PM by anotherblackhat

Feb 4th 2012 at 8:54:14 PM

Hat and Cloak seems a bit stupid to me, unlike those you listed off. Perhaps a non-slytherin Hogwarts student who fashions themselves a mastermind, and has made an effort to not be known as one like Zambini, Draco, and Harry are.

Wouldn't it be grand if Ron had gotten an intelligence upgrade to match his best friend's?

edited 4th Feb '12 8:55:16 PM by DarthHobbes

Desertopa Not Actually Indie
Not Actually Indie
Feb 4th 2012 at 9:03:03 PM

Ron almost certainly can't cast Obliviate.

It would be funny if it were Percy, but pretty damn improbable.

...eventually, we will reach a maximum entropy state where nobody has their own socks or underwear, or knows who to ask to get them back.
Feb 4th 2012 at 9:09:14 PM

I'm definitely not standing by it being Ron, but if any Hogwarts student secretly has intelligence comparable to Harry's then casting Obliviate is probably no tougher for them than doing trigonometry is for him.

edited 4th Feb '12 9:33:38 PM by DarthHobbes

Desertopa Not Actually Indie
Not Actually Indie
Feb 5th 2012 at 5:13:55 AM

I doubt that. It might be possible to learn magic faster than most witches and wizards believe, but I think the age of a first year necessarily limits their abilities pretty strictly.

Also they'd have to be able to make themselves look bigger, disguise their voices, etc.

...eventually, we will reach a maximum entropy state where nobody has their own socks or underwear, or knows who to ask to get them back.
Feb 5th 2012 at 7:22:19 AM

I don't think there's really a Mana requirement for spells in HP, it's all about how hard and how often you work, along with your innate cleverness. Hermione does magic which is supposedly several years too advanced for her after not knowing about magic for the majority of her life. And we already know that magical prodigies have existed in the past.

A first-year Dumbledore could have done all that H&C did and more.

edited 5th Feb '12 7:22:47 AM by DarthHobbes

Desertopa Not Actually Indie
Not Actually Indie
Feb 5th 2012 at 8:10:35 AM

I'm pretty sure there is a "mana requirement" as you put it. Hermione may be able to cast spells that are years ahead of her level, but the expectations for "a few years ahead" are based on very undemanding teaching standards. Quirrel claims that the Patronus charm is exceptional among supposedly high level spells in requiring mostly emotional strength rather than magical power to cast.

You might be able to progress ahead of what's expected for your age by working hard and having good aptitude, but then, a twelve year old could outperform nearly all their peers in an athletic event by devoting the sort of time and effort to their training that professionals do, without being competitive with any adults who practice seriously.

edited 5th Feb '12 8:11:18 AM by Desertopa

...eventually, we will reach a maximum entropy state where nobody has their own socks or underwear, or knows who to ask to get them back.

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