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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality - What if Harry was smarter than Ender? (Page 13)

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Author Topic: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality - What if Harry was smarter than Ender?
Raymond Arnold
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I think it's established that kids have lower magical energy reserves than adults, so there's a lot of things he simply wouldn't be able to do. There's probably more spells he should be able to use that he hasn't, but at the time there was enough weird stuff going on that Bella couldn't figure out WHAT was going on beyond "I notice that I'm confused." Plus, she was getting rescued, so at the time she'd having reason to err on the side of trusting the guy who's helping her escape.
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Juxtapose
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True. While I was reading, I just sort of went with, "she's not in the best of circumstances for clear thinking" which covers a lot. I could see it being important once she recovers more, though.
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Raymond Arnold
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Well that'll depend a lot on what Quirrel's actual plans were and how Harry relates to those plans. At this point, since Harry IS suspicious of Quirrel he will (I hope) insist on keeping tabs on how Bella is doing, which should include an eventual revealing of the deception.
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dabbler
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I started reading the Nightmares Past. Thanks for the link! I don't know if I agree that the Nightmares author is better than the Rationality author. Nightmares is written with a lot of stuff over-explained. I'm about halfway through (Ch 21). There also doesn't seem to be a significant enough Enemy yet. But I'm still enjoying it!
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Raymond Arnold
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I confused "Nightmares Past" with "Wastelands of Time." Turns out they are not the same at all.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
I confused "Nightmares Past" with "Wastelands of Time." Turns out they are not the same at all.

I just started reading Wastelands of Time and I agree it is extremely well written. This is one of those rare pieces that makes me angry that copyright laws apply not only to actually books but to the entire universe created by an author.
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dabbler
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So am I supposed to be reading Wastelands of Time?
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Raymond Arnold
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If you're liking Nightmares Past there's no reason not to read both. (I actually didn't think Wasteland was all that great, at least not as good as MoR, but it was definitely among the better ideas out there).
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Avin
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The writing in Nightmares Past is addictive to read in my opinion, because it taps into what is probably a common desire to redo the past with the knowledge of how things turned out, but the actual plot pales in comparison to either MoR, WoT (all three of which I read because of this thread, and I might add that I have no experience with any other fanfiction of any sort, so I don't really have anything to compare these to) and the original books. The reason is that there is simply no real tension in the story. The author of Nightmares Past egregiously violates what Yudkowsky calls the First Law of Fanfiction, in that the NP Harry is super-powered, with no corresponding changes to balance that out. So it's a pleasant story about how everything turns out just right all the time. The Harry of Nightmares past never has a single thing really bad happen to him, outside of physical injuries that do no lasting damage, even on relatively unimportant matters, such as losing a single game of Quidditch. Of course this is partly also what makes it addictive to read, as someone who was very frustrated with the original books because of how annoyed I was with the characters through most of books 4-7.

However I definitely found I had to suspend my disbelief more when reading Nightmares Past than with MoR. Much more, particularly related to the behavior of the characters. In NP, no character that is "good" seems to ever have any significant conflict with anyone, ever, and even the minor conflicts are resolved within a chapter at most.

So it baffles me that someone who dislikes MoR would possibly like NP more, since I feel like a lot of what MoR is attacked for, NP does far, far worse.

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ricree101
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quote:
Originally posted by Seatarsprayan:

But, if you want Harry Potter to be smart and competent without stupid stuff happening, AND you want it closer to canon without the rationalist agenda and satire, I suggest Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past. It's the BEST fanfic ever written, IMO. The writing quality is through the roof.

I read and liked it, but I think it's only fair to warn people that it's getting close to a year since the last update.
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dabbler
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I just finished NP and I totally agree with you, Avin.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Originally posted by Avin:
The writing in Nightmares Past is addictive to read in my opinion, because it taps into what is probably a common desire to redo the past with the knowledge of how things turned out, but the actual plot pales in comparison to either MoR, WoT (all three of which I read because of this thread, and I might add that I have no experience with any other fanfiction of any sort, so I don't really have anything to compare these to) and the original books.

It's a very VERY common plot-idea: It's typically called "The Peggy Sue" and you can find a huge list of fanfics (and some canon works) that utilize it over at http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PeggySue
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Aris Katsaris
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On that note, btw, I recommend reading Peggy Susie

It's just two pages long, but very very good. Worth everyone's time.

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dabbler
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Yeah I'm aware of the trope. Also as I mentioned before, the NP author over-explains things. Like the unnecessary multiple viewpoints of the same time frame. It's cool to see things from Ginny's perspective but it didn't add much.
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Avin
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
On that note, btw, I recommend reading Peggy Susie

It's just two pages long, but very very good. Worth everyone's time.

That is ... amazing.
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Seatarsprayan
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For me, the canon HP stories had a lot of problems. A LOT of problems. I like both MoR and NP because they address those problems in very different ways, and it's very cathartic.

NP addresses the Harry/Ginny romance in a way the canon never bothered to. I realize giving Harry future knowledge comes close to Peggy Sue territory, but for me the main problem with peggy sue stuff is that it's boring, but NP had so much emotional turmoil that it was never boring at all. This Harry still has struggles, even if they aren't the same ones we expect.

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Ron Lambert
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The title "Peggie Susie" reminds me of the time-travel movie, Peggy Sue Got Married. Any connection?
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Seatarsprayan
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Hahahah, I read Peggy Susie and it was funny. Is it sad that I guessed the end before I got to the end, though?
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
The title "Peggy Susie" reminds me of the time-travel movie, Peggy Sue Got Married. Any connection?
Obviously the trope of Peggy Sue has been named after that movie, which is the most famous example of the concept.

The title of the particular fic is just making a pun.

(No connection to "Mary Sue" which is a different trope, btw.)

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Ecthalion
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well i liked what they've done with GoFP but what i like about it i guess is the original storyline. Stories where the ending is bittersweet or even better where the victory seems like a loss are the best stories. Frodo can never go home, Sidney Carton dies, D' Artagnan watches Constance die. Happy endings where everything goes great don't sit well with me.

None of the deaths in the original story seem particularly meaningful. Sirius dies without you knowing anything about him, not to mention he stops to taunt someone and "trips" into an unexplained doorway of death. Tonks, Lupin, Fred (or Gorge... one of em) Mad-eye all die unremarked and off-page. Even deaths that should have been powerful like Dumbledore seem more like a marketing ploy than a real, meaningful death. I mean after HBP how many people were concerned about Dumbledore's story anymore? Eveyone was wondering why Snape did it, and he was rewarded with dying of a snake bite in an uncerremoniously dull way...

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Raymond Arnold
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seriously? I confess I wasn't that upset about Sirius, but I was upset about Dumbledore, pretty upset about Hedwig (this had a lot to do with her being a character I was completely unprepared to see die), and hella upset about Dobby.

Not every death was super meaningful, but enough of them were that I didn't feel like the ending was perfectly happy. (I did think the way he died and came back was lame, but that has nothing to do with the happiness of the ending and more to do with the way Rowling relies on Deus Ex Machina to resolve half her conflicts).

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Ecthalion
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
seriously? I confess I wasn't that upset about Sirius, but I was upset about Dumbledore, pretty upset about Hedwig (this had a lot to do with her being a character I was completely unprepared to see die), and hella upset about Dobby.

Not every death was super meaningful, but enough of them were that I didn't feel like the ending was perfectly happy. (I did think the way he died and came back was lame, but that has nothing to do with the happiness of the ending and more to do with the way Rowling relies on Deus Ex Machina to resolve half her conflicts).

To be honest i didnt think about Hedwig at all... i actually would say that one is a surprise ending. Dobby was more Jar-Jar than Gollum... Nothing in any of the stories made me like him much less care.

I just didnt feel that any of the "significant" deaths were actually significant. Most of the ones that die can be said to be periphrial characters anyway, even Lupin and Sirius. But Dumbledore's death and the Twin should have meant a whole lot more than it did.

I felt like the ending was too much of a "Well Voldy bit it, lets just give everyone the ending they would want" The only thing it lacked was a "and they lived happily ever after"

Maybe I just didn't get too attached to all the characters like most. I was sympathetic to Nevelle and i was fascinated by Snape (except the snape of PoA... he was very out of character from the other books) but admittedly 4, 5, and 6 were the only books that I actually liked.

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Seatarsprayan
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Sirius' death didn't bother me, really. Fred's death is the one I mind the most, followed by Tonks and Lupin :-(.
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Raymond Arnold
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Rereading some of the earlier chapters, trying to piece together hints. This is obviously pretty significant:

quote:
"The Dark Lord came to Godric's Hollow," said McGonagall in a whisper. "You should have been hidden, but you were betrayed. The Dark Lord killed James, and he killed Lily, and he came in the end to you, to your crib. He cast the Killing Curse at you. And that was where it ended. The Killing Curse is formed of pure hate, and strikes directly at the soul, severing it from the body. It cannot be blocked. The only defense is not to be there. But you survived. You are the only person ever to survive. The Killing Curse reflected and rebounded and struck the Dark Lord, leaving only the burnt hulk of his body and a scar on your forehead. That was the end of the terror, and we were free. That, Harry Potter, is why people want to see the scar on your forehead, and why they want to shake your hand."

The storm of weeping that had washed through Harry had used up all his tears; he could not cry again, he was done.

(And somewhere in the back of his mind was a small, small note of confusion, a sense of something wrong about that story; and it should have been a part of Harry's art to notice that tiny note, but he was distracted. For it is a sad rule that whenever you are most in need of your art as a rationalist, that is when you are most likely to forget it.)

But I'm not sure what Harry (or us) are supposed to have noticed. I mean, there's the fact that a killing curse rebounding for no obvious reason is just weird. There's the fact that the killing curse affects the soul, which Harry doesn't believe in per se. Neither of those things strike me as something a Rationalist™ would be particularly bothered when he's just begun to learn about magic and everything is uniformly new and weird.
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Aris Katsaris
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Here's the point which I believe Harry should have noticed: How do people know that Voldemort cast the *killing curse* at Harry, if both of Harry's parents were already dead when Voldemort did so?

Which is why I suspect Voldemort didn't actually try to kill Harry in the MOR universe.

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Ron Lambert
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Aris, when Voldemort was burnt to a crisp by his rebounding killing curse, his wand would have fallen to the floor. With his wand, aurors could determine what were the last spells cast by Voldemort, since the wands record that. We learned about this in the cemetary scene in Harry Potter 4 (Goblet of Fire) where Harry and Voldemort were dueling, and their wands kind of locked together for a time, with all the last people Voldemort killed appearing as apparitions. Among those who appeared, were Harry's parents.

Somehow some Deatheaters must have managed to get ahold of Voldemort's wand after the aurors were finished with it, and saved it to give to Voldemort when he returned bodily.

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Aris Katsaris
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Ron, let's leave aside for a moment the several potential holes in your logic:
- What if the Deatheaters got to the wand BEFORE the aurors? Sirius and Hagrid (the first to reach Harry) probably didn't have the presence of mind to take Voldie's wand, so there was plenty of time after that, for Bellatrix or someone else to pick it up. (or if Sirius is evil in this story, for Sirius himself to do it).
- Or even if the aurors did record Avada Kedavra as Voldemort's last spell, why be sure he directed it to Harry? What if he directed it to *himself* after casting a spell on Harry so that his spirit would survive inside Harry?
- What if Voldemort's last spell was wandless magic, not something he used his wand for?

Most importantly, you're using knowledge in your response that Harry did NOT have at the time. Harry didn't know that wands recorded past spells, so he *should* have have been confused about this bit, and asked about it ("How do you know he cast Avada Kedavra at me?")

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Raymond Arnold
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Actually I think Ron's logic is fairly sound. Harry doesn't know the specifics of Wizard forensics, but it's not unreasonable for him to assume they have some version of it (or, for that matter, they can simply cast a divination spell of some sort).
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King of Men
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That may be the small discordant note that the narrator points out, and which Harry loses track of in his grief.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Harry doesn't know the specifics of Wizard forensics, but it's not unreasonable for him to assume they have some version of it
One of the basic points of the whole story is that the wizarding world isn't very trained in the methods of rationality.

So how do those methods of rationality guide us? What are the evidence we actually have?
- Avada Kedavra normally leaves no mark on the victim. Whatever was done on Harry left a lightning-shaped scar.
- Avada Kedavra kills anything with a brain and never rebounds. This time it's supposed to have failed to kill Harry and to have rebounded onto Voldemort.

Against this, Ron and Raymond, you only put the argument that since *everyone* believes it, then it must be true. You don't know that Aurors examined Voldemort's wand. You don't know what the last spell on Voldemort wand was. You don't know if any divination spells on any other forensic method was used. You're just making up excuses for the wizarding world, when you don't know if the wizarding world *deserves* such excuses.

You just know that the wizarding world *believes* Voldemort cast Avada Kedavra on Harry.

And I ask you: Is the wizarding world rational enough, that this belief should be sufficient evidence for you?

Because to me it seems that the wizarding world is irrational enough that it would accept the first explanation it made up, and then stop looking.

Whether this theory is true or not, Harry *did* display a lapse of rationality when he failed to challenge it.

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Raymond Arnold
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The theory could well turn out to be true. We don't actually have any evidence either way. But at the specific moment that Harry learned this (the one with the gigantic author hint), he hadn't learned anything about how irrational the wizarding world was. (I'm pretty sure that all starts the chapter afterwards). We're looking for something that would be identifiably confusing given what Harry knew and had reasons to assume at the time.

Also, for the most part I don't think the wizarding world is any more irrational than the muggle one. It does lack proper use of the scientific method, which is a big deal, and means they won't have certain tools for determining truth that muggles have, but the average wizard is no more likely to accept things at face value than the average muggle is.

Eliezer's entire point of writing the story is to raise the sanity waterline of OUR world. He's using wizards with different laws of physics to showcase how to use the methods of rationality when you're forced to re-evaluate everything from the ground up, but that's only a means to an end.

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The Rabbit
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I agree with Aris. I've long thought that this is the one really truly unexplained glaringly irrational problem with the book. If James and Lily and Voldemort were all killed and Harry was only one, how did any one know what happened? We are given this detailed account of how both James and Lily died and then how Voldemort tried but failed to kill Harry, but we are never told of any witnesses, any evidence, or any means by which Dumbledore (or anyone else) learned the story.

It doesn't really bother me that the characters don't behave very rationally . Real people don't behave rationally. Plus, we are actually looking at teenagers perspective on adult behavior and adult behavior is usually "irrational" from a teenage perspective. But how people knew that Harry survived the killing curse is a pretty massive plot hole.

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Ecthalion
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well we are told that there is a "deeper" magic (thank you Aslan....) that when someone voluntarily gives up their life to protect another that sacrifice protects them. It is supposedly what saved harry after Lilly's death and it is supposedly why voldemort destroys himself and not Harry at the end of book 7.

I remember beign confused in the first few books as to whether Voldy killed Lilly and then turned on Harry, or if he went to zap harry and she got in the way and he zapped both her and himself in the same cast. I suppose it really doesnt matter much though, the important thing was the selfless act of sacrificing yourself for a loved one.

Of course why someone wouldnt just go the whole Jesus way and sacrifice themself for the entire world and make V-mort powerless but i guess it doesnt work that way...

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Raymond Arnold
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I'm pretty confident that Aslan Magic will not turn out to be how it works in MoR. In any case, the issue here is not HOW Harry survived, but whether we have any reason to believe the events played out the way we thought they did in the first place.

If the "no witnesses" thing turns out to be the point Harry was supposed to notice, I won't be disappointed, but I also don't think it's inherently flawed of Harry not to think about it (at least at the time).

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
If the "no witnesses" thing turns out to be the point Harry was supposed to notice, I won't be disappointed, but I also don't think it's inherently flawed of Harry not to think about it (at least at the time).

Agreed.

My big problem at the moment is that the solid fuel rocket violates McGonagall's prime transfigurations rule

"You will absolutely never under any circumstances Transfigure anything into a liquid or a gas. No water, no air. Nothing like water, nothing like air. Even if it is not meant to drink. Liquid evaporates, little bits and pieces of it get into the air. You will not Transfigure anything that is to be burned. It will make smoke and someone could breathe that smoke! You will never Transfigure anything that could conceivably get inside anyone's body by any means.?"

There is an implication that Harry has found a way around the problem of transfiguation sickness by starting with a block of ice, but if the way around transfiguation sickness were that simple, it's almost shocking that it didn't occur to McGonagall and 90% of her students.

Furthermore, Harry is relying utterly on the possibility that his explanation of the mechanism behind transfiguation sickness is accurate even though he himself noted that it didn't make any sense from the molecular perspective.

After all the time the author devoted to drumming in the dangers of transfiguration, I'll be very disappointed if nothing happens.

**P.S. I found it irritating the number of times Yudkowsky said "transfigured muggle item bonded to magical item". It was an extremely awkward and transparent way to try to save the surprise and (at least in my opinion) some of his worst writing.

[ November 16, 2010, 11:47 AM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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Ron Lambert
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The "Wizarding World" had ample reason to conclude that Voldemort had attempted to use the killing curse on the infant Harry.

1) Voldemort's body was found there, right in front of Harry's crib. It was said to have been burned, but not necessarily to ashes.

2) Aurors probably would have known if this was a possible effect of the killing curse.

3) The movie canon indicates that magic leaves traces. Dumbledore tells Harry this in HP6 (Half-Blood Prince), just as he spins the ring on the table; so aurors could detect what kind of curse/spell was used.

4) James was caught without his wand when Voldemort burst in through the door. The aurors who investigated the crime scene would have noted that Jame's wand was set aside out of reach (wherever James left it). Same for Lilly's wand. Thus the aurors could have easily pieced together the sequence of events.

5) Severus Snape knew that Voldemort was on his way to kill the Potters, and that his primary purpose was to kill the infant Harry, because Voldemort had heard part of the prophecy that Harry was the one who would defeat him. Snape pled with Voldemort to spare Lilly. It was Voldemort's going ahead and killing her anyway that turned Snape permanently against Voldemort. Snape then would have given his testimony about Voldemort's motive and intent.

6) Even though Sirius Black was regarded as a mass-murder (since Peter Pettigrew framed him for the deaths of several muggles), no one claims that Sirius killed James and Lilly. Perhaps he was known to have been elsewhere, thus had an alibi.

7) Voldemort's wand, which was found on the scene, was one of two that contained a Phoenix feather. Wands usually do not manifest full utility or strength when wielded by someone else, for whom the wand was not intended.

8) Voldemort (for the above reason) would not have allowed someone else to use his wand, nor is it likely that anyone could have taken Voldemort's wand without his knowledge.

9) In the cemetary scene in HP 4 (Goblet of Fire), when Harry and Voldemort's wands kind of "locked" together and the past kills by Voldemort appeared, the apparitions were able to talk to Harry. Cedric Diggory's apparition asked Harry to return his body to his father. If the same were true when the aurors examined Voldemort's wand, then the apparitions of James and Lilly might well have been able to tell the aurors what happened. So there was eyewitness testimony.

This is a slight inconsistency in the JKR canon: she states explicitly more than once that "the dead do not come back." And yet she has these apparitions who are able to communicate. She also has the ghosts and the people in the paintings on the wall who are able to communicate. There was some hand-waving explanation about such apparitions not really being the dead individuals themselves returned from the dead. But it is not really that clear just what they were.

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Ecthalion
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I can't say that i would buy the "No witnesses" as being significant unless something else in the story about his parent's death was off.

Of course there is one thing inconsistant with the story that i just saw now. Harry may not be privy to it in MOR since he has yet to visibly see someone Kadavra'd.

In the real HP universe people kind of just drop dead. Some even look peacful. In fact i'm fairly certain that Dumbledore mentions that with the exception of Harry's scar it doesnt mark the person it was used on.

However as Ron just pionted out, Voldemorts body was burnt. Perhaps that is what Harry should have thought of.

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Aris Katsaris
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Ron, nothing of the list you give is signficant evidence towards Voldemort casting Avada Kedavra to Harry.

quote:
1) Voldemort's body was found there, right in front of Harry's crib. It was said to have been burned, but not necessarily to ashes.
This is evidence towards something or someone attacking Voldemort. It's not evidence in favour of Voldemort casting Avada Kedavra to Harry.

A dead Harry would be evidence in favour of Voldemort casting Avada Kedavra to Harry, not a dead Voldemort.

quote:
2) Aurors probably would have known if this was a possible effect of the killing curse.
We know it wasn't. We've been repeatedly told and shown that the killing curse leaves the body unmarked. This is strong evidence AGAINST Voldemort being hit by the killing curse, whether that of another or his own.

quote:
Severus Snape knew that Voldemort was on his way to kill the Potters, and that his primary purpose was to kill the infant Harry, because Voldemort had heard part of the prophecy that Harry was the one who would defeat him. Snape pled with Voldemort to spare Lilly. It was Voldemort's going ahead and killing her anyway that turned Snape permanently against Voldemort. Snape then would have given his testimony about Voldemort's motive and intent.
This is indeed evidence towards Voldemort intending to AvadaKedavra Harry, but weak second-hand evidence that depends on Voldemort revealing his full intentions to someone like Snape.

quote:
6) Even though Sirius Black was regarded as a mass-murder (since Peter Pettigrew framed him for the deaths of several muggles), no one claims that Sirius killed James and Lilly. Perhaps he was known to have been elsewhere, thus had an alibi.
In canon we know he was one of the first two people to reach baby Harry, and that he gave his motorcycle to Hagrid, thus leaving him behind in the ruins after Hagrid had left.

quote:
7) Voldemort's wand, which was found on the scene, was one of two that contained a Phoenix feather. Wands usually do not manifest full utility or strength when wielded by someone else, for whom the wand was not intended.
a) We've not been told Voldemort's wand was found on the scene.
b) This is not evidence that Voldemort was killed by a rebounding killing curse anyway. It's just irrelevant.

quote:
8) Voldemort (for the above reason) would not have allowed someone else to use his wand, nor is it likely that anyone could have taken Voldemort's wand without his knowledge.
Again: irrelevant.

quote:
If the same were true when the aurors examined Voldemort's wand, then the apparitions of James and Lilly might well have been able to tell the aurors what happened. So there was eyewitness testimony.
A) You're making stuff up.
B) You don't know the aurors could produce as strong an recollection from the wand, as its brother-wand could.
C) Even if they could, you forget that the apparitions of James and Lily would only be able to tell what happened up to the point they died, not afterwards.

Still no eyewitnesses.

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Xavier
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I think the phrase "A Wizard Did It" has never been more applicable.

There are a lot of plot holes in the Harry Potter books, but it does not strain my suspension of disbelief to suppose there was some magical way to determine what happened on the night Voldemort was found dead.

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Raymond Arnold
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More to the point, there ARE lots of conspiracy theories about why Harry survived... but there are none that we know of that the attack didn't unfold the way we commonly believe. So it's not that people are unwilling to question things, but that they don't consider those events to be in dispute. We don't know how the Wizard did it, but it's pretty safe to say a Wizard did it, one way or another.
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Aris Katsaris
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"More to the point, there ARE lots of conspiracy theories about why Harry survived..."

We know there are a lot of crackpot theories about Harry in general, not just about why he survived.

"but there are none that we know of that the attack didn't unfold the way we commonly believe."

This reverts back to "Lots of people believe it".
Such belief is evidence, but it's just not remotely sufficient evidence. If we knew *why* they believed it, then we would have more direct evidence one way or another.

Harry himself had argued, if jokingly, that it was even possible people had conspired to *pretend* Harry had survived, and replaced another baby for him.

That particular theory was of course extremely implausible; but nonetheless it's the mechanism of constantly asking "What do I know, and how do I know it?" that I believe we are supposed to use in this story.

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King of Men
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Perhaps someone had a look at the infant Harry's memories before handing him over to the Dursleys? (Or the Evans-Verreses, in MoR.) Although he was not yet of an age to talk, he might have formed visual memories of the scene. Indeed, it is stated in MoR that he did (when the Dementor calls up his worst memory), and perhaps this is based on canon. Although it's worth pointing out that Dementor memories may not be reliable.
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The Rabbit
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It's certainly possible that they were able to examine baby Harry's memories of the events. It's entirely possible that there are all kinds of magical forensic tools that would have allowed them to reconstruct, without question, the events surrounding James, Lilly and Voldemort's deaths. My point is that none of theses are ever mentioned in the book, even though its a glaringly obvious question. It's as if Dumbledore, SIrius and the entire wizarding world know instantly what has happened, even though no one saw what happened and no one has ever survived the killing curse before.

Baby Harry surviving the Avada Kadavra curse and simultaneously killing the most powerful dark wizard of his time is a miraculous event. With no witnesses for this but Harry (who couldn't even talk), you think plenty of people (especially those who were death eaters and/or distrust Dumbledore) would be questioning whether it happened at all. Yet no one even offers any explanation for how they know that is what happened. They even know what Voldemort and Lily said before he killed her.

[ November 16, 2010, 06:56 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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xtownaga
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I had assumed that Voldermort had brought a few Death Eaters along, and that they told the story later. It really seems like going to take care of the one who is prophesied to destroy you would be a great time to bring some backup with you (even if he is just an infant, why not take some minions), especially in the MoR universe where Voldermort can be reasonably expected to be a little more careful and intelligent.

Though I suppose this may have been contradicted in cannon (or MoR) somewhere that I've forgotten about.

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King of Men
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Rabbit's point is well taken: There may exist a perfectly reasonable explanation in canon or in MoR, but it hasn't been given and Harry ought to have noticed that.
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Ecthalion
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Eventually in the cannon Voldemort admits that his spell reflected on him.

I think its just one of those things that we assume from the books because the "good" guy in a position of authority tells us it happened.

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Ron Lambert
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Aris, at the risk of belaboring all this overmuch, let me underline a few things you seem to be glossing over. The evidence I presented is indeed sufficient to prove that Voldemort attempted to use the killing curse against Harry. Just dismissing the evidence arbitrarily is not refuting it.

Aurors would know if in the entire history of the wizarding world, a similar effect of the Killing curse rebounding has ever occurred. It may be unusual, but quite likely the situation has arisen previously where the killing curse met the Fidelius charm and was repulsed. In that circumstance, the burning up of the person who cast the killing curse may be an event that has been observed before. Just because we are not explicitly told this was the case, does not prove it was not. Thus there is no concrete basis for the charge that the popular belief that Voldemort cast a killing curse at Harry and was himself burnt up by the rebounding curse, could not be known. In this matter, detractors of the popular view (which the canon takes for granted) have the burden of proof on them to prove this popularly accepted conclusion was unwarranted.

It is not “weak evidence” that Voldemort would have revealed his intentions to Snape. We are told in the canon that Snape pled with Voldemort not to kill Lilly, and we are told that hearing the prophecy about the one to come who would destroy the dark lord was Voldemort’s primary motivation for wanting to kill the infant Harry in the first place. Just give due weight to the logic. At this point, denying it is merely being arbitrary. And I repeat, the burden of proof is on anyone who would dispute the universally held belief of what happened when Voldemort attacked Harry.

In the same vein, it is more important that we have NOT been told that Voldemort’s wand was NOT found on the scene of the attack against the infant Harry. Since we know later that the wand did survive (there were only two wands that had the phoenix feather, and Harry was given the other one), and since there is really no reasonable doubt that it was Voldemort’s body that was burnt at the scene, the wand had to survive, and should have been there. If when Hagrid and Sirius arrived on the scene TOGETHER they had NOT found Voldemort’s wand, then THAT would have been significant, and should have been mentioned if that were the case.

I am not making stuff up about the apparitions. What I presented are sound deductions. The apparitions of James and Lilly could indeed have told the aurors what happened. And the examples we have in the scene in the cemetery in HP 4 indicate that the apparitions can be aware of events that happen after their demise. Cedrick Diggory’s apparition asked Harry to take his body back to his father. If he could not report on anything that happened after he was killed, then he would not have known that his dead body lay ready to be taken back to Hogwarts, and that Harry might presently be able to do this. Likewise the apparitions of James and Lilly responded to present reality, when they told Harry they could only keep Voldemort occupied for a short while.

If anyone is going to try to “blow the whistle” on a supposed “plot hole” involving the surety of knowing Voldemort was burnt when his killing curse against Harry rebounded, then they need better evidence. And the burden of proof is on them.

Considering the enormous scale and complexity of J.K. Rowling’s monumental work in these seven large novels, I think that she has shown herself to be amazingly skilled in her plotting. I mean, look--was it just chance that Tom Riddle’s diary in HP 2 should be revealed to be one of the Horcruxes—a crucial plot element--in HP 6? And then we discover that Harry himself is one of Voldemort's horcruxes--a fact which is crucial to determining the final outcome of their final duel--and explains why Harry had to be killed by Voldemort before Harry could kill Voldemort for good. I think that is just brilliant. And equally brilliant is the way the invisibility cloak seen in the first book later turns out to be one of the Deathly Hallows, the possession of all three which enabled Harry to survive being killed by Voldemort in the woods.

We may not be able to expect perfection in any writer’s work, but I would be very slow to criticize JKR. In my opinion, she has made as significant a contribution to English literature as did J.R.R. Tolkien.

[ November 17, 2010, 05:46 PM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
The evidence I presented is indeed sufficient to prove that Voldemort attempted to use the killing curse against Harry.
I cannot believe you are having this argument, Ron.

In related news, it can be conclusively proven that Emperor Palpatine did not have Shmi Skywalker artificially inseminated.

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King of Men
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I find it amusing to note that Ron brings the same style of 'argument' to Harry Potter fanfics that he applies to Biblical exegesis.
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Ron Lambert
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And there exactly you show your weakness of reasoning, TD and KOM. Your thinking is not as logically disciplined as it needs to be, you do not take fairly into consideration all that is logically relevant, and you resort too much to arbitrary assertions and mainstream traditions of thought. Wrong is wrong and right is right, and you ought to be more honest about it. Find fault with my deductions if you can (you never have been able to), and don't just resort to saying condescendingly how "amused" you are.
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