Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113

This is a new thread to dis­cuss Eliezer Yud­kowsky’s Harry Pot­ter and the Meth­ods of Ra­tion­al­ity and any­thing re­lated to it. This thread is in­tended for dis­cussing chap­ter 113.

There is a site ded­i­cated to the story at hp­mor.com, which is now the place to go to find the au­thors notes and all sorts of other good­ies. Ade­leneDawner has kept an archive of Author’s Notes. (This goes up to the notes for chap­ter 76, and is now not up­dat­ing. The au­thors notes from chap­ter 77 on­wards are on hp­mor.com.)

Spoiler Warn­ing: this thread is full of spoilers. With few ex­cep­tions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, with­out warn­ing or rot13. More speci­fi­cally:

You do not need to rot13 any­thing about HP:MoR or the origi­nal Harry Pot­ter se­ries un­less you are post­ing in­sider in­for­ma­tion from Eliezer Yud­kowsky which is not sup­posed to be pub­li­cly available (which in­cludes pub­lic state­ments by Eliezer that have been re­tracted).

If there is ev­i­dence for X in MOR and/​or canon then it’s fine to post about X with­out rot13, even if you also have heard pri­vately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that “Eliezer said X is true” un­less you use rot13.

IMPORTANT—From the end of chap­ter 113:

This is your fi­nal exam.

You have 60 hours.

Your solu­tion must at least 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.

Keep in mind the fol­low­ing:

1. Harry must suc­ceed via his own efforts. The cav­alry is not com­ing.
Every­one who might want to help Harry thinks he is at a Quid­ditch game.

2. Harry may only use ca­pa­bil­ities the story has already shown him to have;
he can­not de­velop word­less wand­less Legili­mency in the next 60 sec­onds.

3. Volde­mort is evil and can­not be per­suaded to be good;
the Dark Lord’s util­ity func­tion can­not be changed by talk­ing to him.

4. If Harry raises his wand or speaks in any­thing ex­cept Parsel­tongue,
the Death Eaters will fire on him im­me­di­ately.

5. If the sim­plest timeline is oth­er­wise one where Harry dies
if Harry can­not reach his Time-Turner with­out Time-Turned help
then the Time-Turner will not come into play.

6. It is im­pos­si­ble to tell lies in Parsel­tongue.

Within these con­straints,
Harry is al­lowed to at­tain his full po­ten­tial as a ra­tio­nal­ist,
now in this mo­ment or never,
re­gard­less of his pre­vi­ous flaws.

Of course ‘the ra­tio­nal solu­tion’,
if you are us­ing the word ‘ra­tio­nal’ cor­rectly,
is just a need­lessly fancy way of say­ing ‘the best solu­tion’
or ‘the solu­tion I like’ or ‘the solu­tion I think we should use’,
and you should usu­ally say one of the lat­ter in­stead.
(We only need the word ‘ra­tio­nal’ to talk about ways of think­ing,
con­sid­ered apart from any par­tic­u­lar solu­tions.)

And by Vinge’s Prin­ci­ple,
if you know ex­actly what a smart mind would do,
you must be at least that smart your­self.
Ask­ing some­one “What would an op­ti­mal player think is the best move?”
should pro­duce an­swers no bet­ter than “What do you think is best?”

So what I mean in prac­tice,
when I say Harry is al­lowed to at­tain his full po­ten­tial as a ra­tio­nal­ist,
is that Harry is al­lowed to solve this prob­lem
the way YOU would solve it.
If you can tell me ex­actly how to do some­thing,
Harry is al­lowed to think of it.

But it does not serve as a solu­tion to say, for ex­am­ple,
“Harry should per­suade Volde­mort to let him out of the box”
if you can’t your­self figure out how.

The rules on Fan­fic­tion dot Net al­low at most one re­view per chap­ter.
Please sub­mit *ONLY ONE* re­view of Ch. 113,
to sub­mit one sug­gested solu­tion.

For the best ex­pe­rience, if you have not already been fol­low­ing
In­ter­net con­ver­sa­tions about re­cent chap­ters, I sug­gest not do­ing so,
try­ing to com­plete this exam on your own,
not look­ing at other re­views,
and wait­ing for Ch. 114 to see how you did.

I wish you all the best of luck, or rather the best of skill.

Ch. 114 will post at 10AM Pa­cific (6PM UTC) on Tues­day, March 3rd, 2015.


If you have pend­ing ex­ams,
then even though the by­stan­der effect is a thing,
I ex­pect that the col­lec­tive effect of
‘ev­ery­one with more ur­gent life
is­sues stays out of the effort’
shifts the prob­a­bil­ities very lit­tle

(be­cause diminish­ing marginal re­turns on more eyes
and an already-huge pop­u­la­tion that is par­ti­ci­pat­ing).

So if you can’t take the time, then please don’t.
Like any au­thor, I en­joy the deli­cious taste of my read­ers’ suffer­ing,
finer than any choco­late; but I don’t want to *hurt* you.

Like­wise, if you hate hate hate this sort of thing, then don’t par­ti­ci­pate!
Other peo­ple ARE en­joy­ing it. Just come back in a few days.
I shouldn’t even need to point this out.

I re­mind you again that you have hours to think.
Use the Hold Off On Propos­ing Solu­tions, Luke.

And re­ally truly, I do mean it,
Harry can­not de­velop any new mag­i­cal pow­ers
or tran­scend pre­vi­ously stated con­straints on them
in the next sixty sec­onds.