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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 7)

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Author Topic: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality - What if Harry was smarter than Ender?
King of Men
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Nah, "smarter than Ender" is the OP's gloss. Yudkowsky merely visualises Harry as very gifted, although not in the same areas as Ender, and exceedingly well educated.
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DarkKnight
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Under the author's notes is this line
quote:
But if a man named Declan McCullagh ever asks to interview you, tell him no.
This being a very small world indeed, I actually know Declan McCullagh, or had known in the past, and completely agree with the author in not being interviewed by McCullagh.
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King of Men
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If you Google for it you can find the interview in question. We were discussing, earlier, the arrogance of Yudkowsky; but seeing the way a one-sigma, two-bit journalist treats a man who has actual ideas, I must say my sympathies are with the ideas man. McCullagh has exactly one skill, that of putting a total incredulous sneer into an apparently neutral sentence, and believes that this puts him on par with people who can actually think. Then he mocks the thinkers so the neurotypicals who can't even write will think themselves clever. Yudkowsky may be mistaken in his passions; I disagree with him on cryonics and on the form AI is likely to take. But McCullagh is despicable.
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Samprimary
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those despicable one-sigma neurotypicals
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Ron Lambert
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Just to confirm my status as a grammar Nazi, the question in the thread title should have been: "What if Harry WERE smarter than Ender?" The verb change is necessary because it is subjunctive mood.
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sinflower
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quote:
I disagree with him on cryonics and on the form AI is likely to take.
I'm curious-- what form do you think AI is likely to take?
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King of Men
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Uploaded human brains rather than a sufficiently-clever program.
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Blayne Bradley
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I concur.
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Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
Uploaded human brains rather than a sufficiently-clever program.

But wouldn't there still be the issue of being able to replicate the human brain? Do we know for example how much information the human brain is able to hold?

If we uploaded a human brain into an AI, how would it be able to comprehend memories of loss, love, anger, etc?

I always thought that if a true AI was ever created it would start out just like a human baby, and would need to learn through experience what was right or wrong.

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King of Men
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quote:
But wouldn't there still be the issue of being able to replicate the human brain? Do we know for example how much information the human brain is able to hold?
Begin with a human brain. It is made, to first order, of carbon and water; there is nothing magical about these substances. If you replace one neuron with a copy in silicon, having the same input-output properties, nothing changes. Repeat for every neuron, and indeed for the rest of the brain. Voila, a human consciousness implemented in silicon. And if it can be done that way, then it can also be done in software.

quote:
If we uploaded a human brain into an AI, how would it be able to comprehend memories of loss, love, anger, etc?
I don't think you understand what 'upload' or 'AI' means. It would do so the same way it does now, in silicon rather than carbon. Carbon is not magical.

quote:
Do we know for example how much information the human brain is able to hold?
A few hundred terabytes; but the exact number does not matter, because we know it can be packed into two liters. Dense information storage is not a problem.
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Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
But wouldn't there still be the issue of being able to replicate the human brain? Do we know for example how much information the human brain is able to hold?
Begin with a human brain. It is made, to first order, of carbon and water; there is nothing magical about these substances. If you replace one neuron with a copy in silicon, having the same input-output properties, nothing changes. Repeat for every neuron, and indeed for the rest of the brain. Voila, a human consciousness implemented in silicon. And if it can be done that way, then it can also be done in software.
quote:


Makes sense. Except the part about doing it in software. Software has to be programmed a certain way. It is information, consisting of a collection of 0's and 1's. You referenced matter, which can replaced with different types of matter. There are many types you may be able to use.

There is no replacement for computer information. You cannot replace a 0 or 1 with a 2 or 3. It doesn't exist. There are different computer languages, but behind those is the same collection of 0's and 1's.

quote:
[QUOTE]If we uploaded a human brain into an AI, how would it be able to comprehend memories of loss, love, anger, etc?
I don't think you understand what 'upload' or 'AI' means. It would do so the same way it does now, in silicon rather than carbon. Carbon is not magical.
quote:
[quote]

Ah but this was a trick question. I think you are confused. You referenced an AI, however uploading a human brain into it would not constitute an artificial intelligence. Artificial in creation or mass perhaps, but not in knowledge. I suppose you could call it a transplanted intelligence.

Software is not magical either. Software can only do what it is programmed to do. I suppose we could program an "artificial intelligence" to make choices based on risk factors, but I'm pretty sure that would be the closest we could get to creating a true artificial intelligence. Otherwise, you cannot teach a non-tangible "feeling" or "belief" to an artificial intelligence.

If you are referring to creating an entire life form such as a silicon Frankenstein or Edward Scissorhands though, I'd help fund that.

[quote]

[QUOTE]Do we know for example how much information the human brain is able to hold?

A few hundred terabytes; but the exact number does not matter, because we know it can be packed into two liters. Dense information storage is not a problem.

Cool. That was something I always wondered. I'm happy with a few hundred terabytes of information. Well, until I can get a 5 petabyte SSD installed at least.
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King of Men
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quote:
Makes sense. Except the part about doing it in software. Software has to be programmed a certain way. It is information, consisting of a collection of 0's and 1's. You referenced matter, which can replaced with different types of matter. There are many types you may be able to use.

There is no replacement for computer information. You cannot replace a 0 or 1 with a 2 or 3. It doesn't exist. There are different computer languages, but behind those is the same collection of 0's and 1's.

If I can use silicon neurons, then I can use neurons made with springs and gears. And anything that can be done by springs and gears can be done with computer software. What's more, there is nothing stopping me from making a computer that has twos or threes in it, it's just not very practical. Your distinction doesn't actually exist. Also, most of my work consists of programming computers; may I, with respect, suggest that I know more about what the 0-and-1 constraint means than you do?

quote:
Ah but this was a trick question. I think you are confused. You referenced an AI, however uploading a human brain into it would not constitute an artificial intelligence. Artificial in creation or mass perhaps, but not in knowledge. I suppose you could call it a transplanted intelligence.
It is artificial in the sense that it would have introspective access to its own code and therefore be able to modify itself, in particular to run faster. (Not that silicon hardware wouldn't likely be a speedup in itself.) Thus, when discussing effects of intelligences running much faster than human brains and able to improve themselves, it is an AI even if its origin is human.

quote:
Software is not magical either. Software can only do what it is programmed to do. I suppose we could program an "artificial intelligence" to make choices based on risk factors, but I'm pretty sure that would be the closest we could get to creating a true artificial intelligence. Otherwise, you cannot teach a non-tangible "feeling" or "belief" to an artificial intelligence.
Sez you! Software is not magical, and brains are not magical, therefore there is nothing stopping you from creating a piece of software that does whatever a brain does; to include feeling love.
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Blayne Bradley
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There's a story I'll get to writing one day where I wanna try to explore the ramifications of direct human brain cloning/uploading to AI networks to act as autonomous neural network administrators to make society more efficient and availiable at every level of civilian and military society to different degrees of accessibility.

(StateSec would have an AI paired to every agent while say elementary school would have one AI for the school as a whole for example).

Essentially what I would explore is how the different individual AI's would come to grips with the realization that they used to in their past life to be living breathing humans and now they are stuck in cold metal shells like Daleks.

Some will go insane, others accepts, and some will run away (which is a subset of insanity if you think about it, denial anyways).

Obviously the AI in my story that's arguably one of the protagonists would be the one that runs away [Smile]

Essentially the process is that kinda like in DollHouse sometime before you die your brain is scanned and converted to a for lack of a better word a software emulated positronic brain within a mainframe (at the beginning anyways, the story's "present" would call for the process to be miniturized) and then "wiped" of memories or at least suppressed for stability reasons.

Over time the AI's leak memories back as the above process isn't perfect and neither is the software emulating the brain causing "errors" which turns into a developing personality that leads to the realization of their previous humanity.

Character development and plot would have to focus on the full extrapolation and exploration of this concept.

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MightyCow
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I would imagine that, if the copy were good enough, most people would learn to accept their new state, especially given the much longer lifetime they'd have to do so.

Humans are fantastically adaptable - just look at everyone who has had to completely change their life due to circumstances beyond their control.

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King of Men
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I do not see why anyone would voluntarily undergo such a procedure; to be copied imperfectly, and worse, without your memories, is the equivalent of undergoing a stroke. So it follows that this is a dystopia. Are the AIs conscripts, perhaps? Or worse: Do the originals sell copies of themselves into slavery, in exchange for whatever wealth and services an economy with access to such power can supply? For myself, it would take a high price indeed to induce me to a procedure where I have a 50/50 chance of waking up as a mind-crippled slave. Not to mention the moral aspect: I would not sell a child of mine into slavery; should I sell my copy?

These things might well make for an excellent fiction, of course. I'm just saying, I do not think it a very likely future; I don't see the useful intermediates.

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Mucus
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I will quickly offer that the imperfect part (rather explicitly) is depicted very interestingly in The Terminal Experiment
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King of Men
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So, Chapter 27 is up! It looks to me as though Harry is growing in empathy. Perhaps those of you who found him unsympathetic might like him a bit better now?
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Rakeesh
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I do, actually, now that is appears to be drawing on knowledge and intelligence used to solve problems dealing with human beings, rather than purely technical or power-grabbing problems.

I suppose one way to characterize it would be that Harry has been largely a mechanical kind of mind in his dealings with the world. Even when he would get emotional, it seemed largely to be about problems dealing with his rather mechanical goals.

Now he's putting himself into someone else's head, and considering how they might feel. It renders him more human. When it comes to dealing with human beings, that sort of outlook is generally much more helpful to say nothing of good than science.

ETA: Though Harry still has a ways to go. His apology appears to be from a pretty utilitarian perspective, rather than a compassionate one: uh-oh, Snape's pissed, I'd better lose now. Still, he's just a kid.

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Raymond Arnold
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This was a pretty intense chapter. And yet another example of the author totally throwing us off course in terms of the original story/character arc. Snape was bound to Dumbledore for 17 years entirely because of his love for Lily. And because Snape is flawless at faking emotion, Dumbledore won't be able to tell the difference.
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
I do not see why anyone would voluntarily undergo such a procedure; to be copied imperfectly, and worse, without your memories, is the equivalent of undergoing a stroke. So it follows that this is a dystopia. Are the AIs conscripts, perhaps? Or worse: Do the originals sell copies of themselves into slavery, in exchange for whatever wealth and services an economy with access to such power can supply? For myself, it would take a high price indeed to induce me to a procedure where I have a 50/50 chance of waking up as a mind-crippled slave. Not to mention the moral aspect: I would not sell a child of mine into slavery; should I sell my copy?

These things might well make for an excellent fiction, of course. I'm just saying, I do not think it a very likely future; I don't see the useful intermediates.

This is the novel I'm writing that takes place in an alternate future where the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union is still not only kicking but thriving (in part THANKS to the AI's and their programmed efficiency).


So that fridge horror interpretation would be valid and perhaps justified.

It goes kinda like this:

the newly created AI has its mind wiped (so that they can be more easily controlled and kepts mentally stable as their still 'human but better').

The AI's are sorted into a rough hierarchy of authority Military!AI > Civilian!AI in authority.

Network Admin AI is in 'control' and has root access to the AI's lower in the heirarchy in its network example:

Say I have 5 military bases around Vladivostok and one HQ, each base would have for simplification one on base AI to manage files, communications, counter intelligence, network security, network resource management, nose picking, and generally acts as an attache to the base commander along with a human attache (as ostensibly attache's are usually career command officers in training right?).\

Then you would have the HQ-AI thats not only has the same duties for the HQ building but has administrator control over the 5 ai's at the other bases in that military district.

While say the AI in STAVKA would be ranked higher then the AI's in each of the military districts as one big network which are then layered like an onion with smaller subnetworks in each one recursively all the way down to some backwater AI in some remote outpost somewhere.

ALL AI's have their minds wiped once and only once at the beginning when their first created, but they regain their memories slowly and thus have to come to terms with their lost humanity, remmeber an AI thats say incharge of deportation in theory you do not want to be humane from the viewpoint of the suporiors.

Which is why some go insane when they start not only remembering their past but also sometimes regaining their old personality.

The precedent of a fear driven society to keep everyone equally on their toes is kept by having every high ranking military officer and every for lack of a better word 'important' StateSec agent paired with an AI whose job would essentially is to act as well informed informants and psychiatrists, a task made easier through cybernetic implants that give the AI's access to your surface thoughts but only the ones "installed" into your brain via the implant which taking a page from OSC resembles an ruby/precious gem inserted at the back of your ear.

The story is being driven by the fact that the Space!KGB protagonist was officially exempted from having to be paired with an AI due to incompatibility issues (this is a gov't conspiracy but he doesn't know it) with the cost that he is only given either extremely dangerous Blackadderesque missions or the most menial no inbetween. But ends up busting a terrorist cell that was smuggling out Soviet Military Research AI's into NATO space only for the AI they were smuggling to "jump" into his empty implant-space thingy (which saves his life as it lets him hack past the secured doors Metal gear Solid style) which lets him escape and kill the terrorists/freedom fighters.

However the twist is the AI they were smuggling is on the run as well as 'She' wants to not get caught again by the AI in charge of the entire Soviet Global Defence Network who ALSO got back HIS memories but as it turns out was a former Premier who died and became the first AI and she [the runaway AI] was his second wife and he wants her back.

That is one of many plots I am outlining.

All in the midst of WWIII IN SPACE.

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sinflower
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Snape seems like a pretty intelligent guy. Would it really not have occurred to him even once over the last couple of decades that "hey, maybe Lily was just kind of shallow?" It has to have occurred to him. Either he rationalized it away, in which case he should've been able to continue doing so after Harry's attempted explanation, or he accepted it and it didn't change his feelings for her, so Harry's explanation shouldn't have surprised him. So the big "I almost killed you omg everything I know is a lie" moment felt a bit fabricated to me. Other than that, though, this was the best chapter in a long time. I actually read it over three (Edit: now four!) times ^.^

[ June 27, 2010, 12:24 AM: Message edited by: sinflower ]

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Raymond Arnold
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Random question: people keep talking like it's a done deal that Quirrel is Voldemort. Have we actually clarified this for certain? It had seemed like the sort of thing that would have made more sense for the author to leave ambiguous to keep us guessing.
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Rakeesh
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I believe the author has made it pretty clear, and many signs within the story point to it. I don't recall where he did so, though-probably in one of the vanished author's notes. He could be tricking us. *shrug*

Sinflower, I think Harry's explanation might carry more weight because she's his mother. He didn't know it was his mother Snape was talking about, but hearing it come out of his dead love's son, well, I can imagine that would have extra oomph.

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dabbler
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sinflower: I thought Snape's response was more "You impertinent twerp, calling me an idiot and your mother shallow. I should kill you for insulting both of us like that."

I really enjoy all the little comments at the top of each chapter. I've recognized several of them though not all. Particularly entertained by the TMBG quote. And the current author notes has a nod to CTY.

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Shigosei
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I love that the guy who is trying to read Harry's mind is named Bester.
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Seatarsprayan
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Read chapter 27.

Love the Lensman stuff, and the name Bester, nice shout-out.

Harry made a serious blunder, he went from a theoretical question based on admittedly limited knowledge to suggesting a practical application:

quote:
She was shallow, in other words. Tell whoever it was that she wasn't worthy of him and he needs to get over it and move on and next time date girls who are deep instead of pretty.
Stupid.

Anyway, the real puzzler is that this Snape still doesn't know why Lily didn't forgive him. All this time, and he still thinks she is upset about him calling her a mudblood? That was only a sign of what she believe was in his heart, namely prejudice and evil. She told him she didn't like him hanging out with dark wizards; he didn't change that for her though.

It's like if someone drops the N-word. They can apologize, but the fact remains that for a word to come out, it has to be in there in the first place, and people know this. While it doesn't make someone a secret Klan member, it does mean they aren't color-blind either.

Harry asked Snape if he was really prejudiced against muggleborns, and Snape said no. But Harry didn't ask if *the girl* knew that, which is they key question he should have asked, knowing as little as he did. So much for rationality!

So even being ignorant of all the other stuff at play between Snape and Lily, Harry failed a fairly obvious bit of analysis.

Of course, he's only eleven.

And the fact is, Snape was friend-zoned from the start and never stood a chance.

James convinced Lily he changed and wasn't a bully any more.

Snape never convinced Lily he wasn't Dark... he probably still could have, too, if he'd stopped associating with people Lily despised... but he didn't.

Snape would rather continue to believe that he might have won Lily's heart if only he hadn't called her a mudblood... but that isn't true. He never had a chance, because he never listened to her real issues.

Snape's love for Lily was always a selfish, possessive love. He's basically a sicko, really.

And then canon-Harry goes and names his son after the guy! I'll never understand that part.

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Rakeesh
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I'm not sure I'd characterize someone who went on to knowingly sacrifice their life in a particularly agonizing, scary way in memory of a dead loved one someone whose love was 'selfish and possessive'.

Snape had deeper issues driving him than just his affection for Lily, if I'm not mistaken. An awful home life and childhood, a pretty crappy life at school frequently hounded and tormented by the 'good guys', and let me tell you, if the 'good guys' are such absolute assholes as that and no one appears to care, well, what's my incentive not to be bad if it's happening to me?

Anyway, pretty unnuanced analysis, there, and it contradicts much of what we know actually happened in the book. The truth is, we don't know why Lily went for James, or am I forgetting that part of the books? We only knew they ended up loving each other a very great deal. We also know that in spite of her turning her back on him (justified or not) in favor of one of his most despised enemies, Snape still didn't want her hurt, and then when she was, decided to thwart, in person, the scariest dude on Earth for nearly 20 years, and died doing it.

Yeah, that's selfish and sick, man.

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Seatarsprayan
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Snape was all right with James and Harry being murdered, if he could only have Lily.

That's not love.

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sinflower
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quote:
Snape was all right with James and Harry being murdered, if he could only have Lily.

That's not love.

Sure it is. It may not meet your definition of good or selfless love, but it's still love. What, love doesn't get to be dysfunctional sometimes?

I don't think canon Lily was shallow though. She had extremely good reasons to think that Snape was prejudiced against muggleborns, not least of which the fact that he had joined a violent pureblood cult, for goodness' sake. And it was obvious from the very beginning, what with his dismissive and openly scornful treatment of Petunia, that he didn't regard muggles as equally human to wizards. It seems like a pretty straightforward case of "racist guy makes an exception only for the girl he loves," and in that context breaking off the relationship was an arguably admirable thing for Lily to do.

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King of Men
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We don't know that much about canon!Lily, but the MoR one clearly treated her sister pretty shabbily on the weight-loss thing.
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Rakeesh
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Do we know how violent the Death Eaters were at that point? Just curious, I agree with the overall premise that Snape was pretty damn sleazy and in distinctly evil territory at that point in his life. Certainly not someone I would suggest anyone date.

As for Snape's treatment of Petunia, I don't know enough about the circumstances of his upbringing to gauge what his motivations were, and why.

Was it ever made clear Snape went along with the 'kill Harry and James' angle if it didn't include killing Lily? I really don't remember. Though I do wonder how your condemnation of him for wanting Harry dead jibes with his risking life, limb, hell possibly soul for nearly 20 years to help keep Harry alive, when he clearly despised the kid.

quote:
And then canon-Harry goes and names his son after the guy! I'll never understand that part.
I think if anyone has the right to forgive the guy, it's Harry, don't you?
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sinflower
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So I am a terrible Harry Potter nerd and will now bring actual ~quotes~ into the convo. I feel vaguely ashamed about this [Razz]

So the racist-besides-one-exception thing:

----------
"No--listen, I didn't mean--"

"--to call me Mudblood? But you call everyone of my birth Mudblood, Severus. Why should I be any different?"

[Snape doesn't rebut this statement]
----------

Snape v. Petunia:

----------
Petunia's laugh was like cold water... "Why have you been spying on us?"

"Haven't been spying," said Snape, hot and uncomfortable and dirty-haired in the bright sunlight. "Wouldn't spy on you, anyway," he added spitefully, "you're a Muggle."

[Later he uses magic to drop a tree branch on her head.]

----------

Granted, Petunia was pretty nasty to Snape previously, so some reciprocal nastiness was warranted, but the fact that he chose "Muggle" specifically as the insult says something. It just seems clear to me that he was raised in a culture of "magical supremacy." I know MoR Lily and Snape are different, but Yudkowsky's author's notes implied that his interpretation made sense based on canon too, and it doesn't. MoR Snape specifically states that he wasn't prejudiced against Muggleborns, which just wasn't true in canon. Snape is one of my favorite characters and I think his bad traits are far outweighed by his good ones, but the "Lily was a shallow pretty girl" interpretation doesn't sit right with me either.

Re: being okay with James and Harry dying, I think there was a scene with Snape and Dumbledore in which Snape was like "omg SAVE LILY" and Dumbledore replied "Severus do you even CARE if James and Harry die too?!" and Snape was like "fine, okay, save them too, whatever." So my interpretation is that Snape wouldn't have intervened to save James and Harry if Lily weren't threatened too, but he didn't actively want them dead either. Which seems fair to me, considering how James treated him.

[ June 29, 2010, 12:08 AM: Message edited by: sinflower ]

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Rakeesh
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Yes, I can't condemn Snape for not risking life and limb to save James Potter of all people, who was friend and ally and co-tormentor to the dude who decided to basically attempt to (at best) commit manslaughter on Snape as a prank. And incidentally to possibly put human blood on his friend Remus's hands. Harry, though, well, anything but emphatic opposition (whether secret or open) to Harry's death firmly puts Snape, at that point, in the evil camp. Kid was an infant, after all.

As for the Mudblood slurs...Snape was a Mudblood. That, to me, makes it a thing not just to be criticized and despised, but also to be pitied. It's pretty clearly self-hatred as much as bigotry, isn't it? How can Snape rebut the statement? What makes it even more bizarre, twisted, and pitiable is that some of the glittering icons of pureblood - the Marauders - were among his worst, most frequent tormentors.

I suppose I kind of regard Snape in that respect as akin to Uncle Ruckus from The Boondocks: he's sick.

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Seatarsprayan
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quote:
Was it ever made clear Snape went along with the 'kill Harry and James' angle if it didn't include killing Lily? I really don't remember.
Snape asks Dumbledore to save Lily. He asks what of her husband and child? Snape says nothing. Dumbledore says, they can die, as long as you have what you want? You disgust me. Snape says okay, save them all.

Later, Dumbledore asks if Snape has come to care for Harry. "For *him*?" Snape says with scorn, and casts his Patronus. He is only protecting Harry for Lily. Harry himself is nothing Snape. So it seems weird for Harry to name his kid after someone that really did hate him, and only protected him because he still had the creepy hots for his dead mom.

quote:
It may not meet your definition of good or selfless love, but it's still love. What, love doesn't get to be dysfunctional sometimes?
There's a reason we have the word "infatuation" in the English language. A feeling of great attachment, great desire, does not equal love. There are tons of stalkers that "loved" their victims, even after they murdered them. Snape's not that bad; he wouldn't have killed Lily. But the death of a child is the worst thing in the world; Lily was willing to sacrifice her life to save Harry's, that's how much she cared, but Snape didn't care that she cared. Her feelings were not important to him. Only possessing her. If that's love, than we've just generalized the word to make it pretty meaningless.

quote:
I think if anyone has the right to forgive the guy, it's Harry, don't you?
That doesn't mean he actually should. Snape has wronged Harry and isn't even sorry, because he doesn't care about Harry. If Snape had not died, they wouldn't be friends. Snape would still hate Harry. It's just weird to not only forgive in the sense of letting go of grudges, but actually to embrace someone that can't stand you.

Plus, now his kid has to bear the name, so that's kind of a far-reaching deal. I personally wouldn't like to be named after the man responsible for getting my grandparents murdered, even if he later saved my dad because he had the hots for my dead grandma. Seems creepy.

quote:
So my interpretation is that Snape wouldn't have intervened to save James and Harry if Lily weren't threatened too, but he didn't actively want them dead either. Which seems fair to me, considering how James treated him.
He may not have *wanted* them dead, but since Lily loves them, and he (supposedly) loves Lily, you'd think he'd not want to see her torn apart emotionally by the deaths of her family. But he doesn't care so much about that, as long as she's physically unharmed, and single.

quote:
Snape was a Mudblood
No, he's a half-blood. Half-blood prince, remember? His father was a mudblood. But so was You-Know-Who's, so there you go.
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manji
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quote:
Originally posted by Seatarsprayan:
His father was a mudblood. But so was You-Know-Who's, so there you go.

Snape's father was a muggle. As was You-Know-Who's. Mudblood is a slur for muggleborn wizards.
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scholarette
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Harry has got to be emotionally confusing for Snape. He does protect Harry though because of Lily. He dislikes the kid, sees all the obnoxiousness of the kid's dad in him (the dad who did try to kill him at one point). But he still is willing to risk his life for Harry because it is what Lily would have wanted. Also, Lilly died for Harry- so, easy to blame Harry for her death, at least a little. Additionally, Snape must see in Harry the child he wishes he could have had with Lily- instead of his own son with lily's eyes, he has his enemy's son there. Complicates the relationship a bit.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Snape asks Dumbledore to save Lily. He asks what of her husband and child? Snape says nothing. Dumbledore says, they can die, as long as you have what you want? You disgust me. Snape says okay, save them all.
I've already said that apathy towards the death of the infant firmly puts Snape in the evil camp.

quote:

Later, Dumbledore asks if Snape has come to care for Harry. "For *him*?" Snape says with scorn, and casts his Patronus. He is only protecting Harry for Lily. Harry himself is nothing Snape. So it seems weird for Harry to name his kid after someone that really did hate him, and only protected him because he still had the creepy hots for his dead mom.

Personally, I don't think Snape was ever particularly honest with himself. Take the 'Mudblood' slur, membership in the Death Eaters, alongside of Snape's family history. Sure, Snape had plenty of hate for Harry. Some of it understandable, even. But I don't think it was as all-consuming as you think. It isn't as though he could possibly benefit personally from his protection of Harry. Lily is dead, and never coming back, and he knows it. There is no scenario where Snape benefits personally from protecting Harry, rendering your charge of purely selfish love pretty strange.

quote:
There's a reason we have the word "infatuation" in the English language. A feeling of great attachment, great desire, does not equal love. There are tons of stalkers that "loved" their victims, even after they murdered them. Snape's not that bad; he wouldn't have killed Lily. But the death of a child is the worst thing in the world; Lily was willing to sacrifice her life to save Harry's, that's how much she cared, but Snape didn't care that she cared. Her feelings were not important to him. Only possessing her. If that's love, than we've just generalized the word to make it pretty meaningless.
How would Snape have known how far Lily was willing to go, and thus how much she loved, for Harry's sake? It was an incredibly rare thing, the outcome of that event, so we can't say he should have expected it. There was only one Boy Who Lived, after all. And if Snape only cared about possessing her...well, he was an unscrupulous, evil even, masterful Dark Wizard who was also a genius with potions. You do the math.

quote:
That doesn't mean he actually should. Snape has wronged Harry and isn't even sorry, because he doesn't care about Harry. If Snape had not died, they wouldn't be friends. Snape would still hate Harry. It's just weird to not only forgive in the sense of letting go of grudges, but actually to embrace someone that can't stand you.
If Snape hadn't died...what you're saying is, if Snape hadn't made the ultimate repentant sacrifice, Harry wouldn't have forgiven him. Well, obviously.

And is it weird to embrace someone who heroically stood up, and died for it, to the most evil, frightening person in the history of the world for your mother's sake? Yeah, that's crazy.

quote:

Plus, now his kid has to bear the name, so that's kind of a far-reaching deal. I personally wouldn't like to be named after the man responsible for getting my grandparents murdered, even if he later saved my dad because he had the hots for my dead grandma. Seems creepy.

He was only partially responsible, and did attempt to prevent it the best way he knew how. Was it a pure, noble-hearted attempt? No, of course not. But saying 'he's responsible' is too cut-and-dried.

quote:
He may not have *wanted* them dead, but since Lily loves them, and he (supposedly) loves Lily, you'd think he'd not want to see her torn apart emotionally by the deaths of her family. But he doesn't care so much about that, as long as she's physically unharmed, and single.
The first part of this statement is why Snape is ambiguous. But the defiance has to mix with the ambivalence to come up with something more than just purely good or purely evil.

quote:
No, he's a half-blood. Half-blood prince, remember? His father was a mudblood. But so was You-Know-Who's, so there you go.
If I'm not mistaken, Mudblood is a term for someone who has any muggle blood in their veins, with the more of it being the greater stigma. Snape having half of his parents being muggle is exactly one parent away from as bad as it can get. He's a self-hating member of a minority.

quote:
Harry has got to be emotionally confusing for Snape. He does protect Harry though because of Lily. He dislikes the kid, sees all the obnoxiousness of the kid's dad in him (the dad who did try to kill him at one point). But he still is willing to risk his life for Harry because it is what Lily would have wanted. Also, Lilly died for Harry- so, easy to blame Harry for her death, at least a little. Additionally, Snape must see in Harry the child he wishes he could have had with Lily- instead of his own son with lily's eyes, he has his enemy's son there. Complicates the relationship a bit.
Let's not forget, not only did James try to kill him, along with Sirius, he basically got off completely on the punishment angle. Which was frankly ridiculous. Attempting to stop the 'prank' after it was started might be a reason to avoid criminal prosecution, but certainly not expulsion or even suspension.
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King of Men
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I had a thought about Azkaban. There's an old German song, "My thoughts are free", expressing the idea that you can lock up the body, but not the mind:

quote:
Und sperrt man mich ein im finsteren Kerker,
das alles sind rein vergebliche Werke.
Denn meine Gedanken zerreißen die Schranken
und Mauern entzwei, die Gedanken sind frei!

or in my rough translation,

And force me as you will
in iron-bound cages
my thought flies freely still
however man rages.
The mind knows no barrier
no hunter, no harrier
and thus it will always be:
My thoughts are ever free!

It's the anthem of the Norwegian Labour party. But Azkaban makes a mockery of it; in Azkaban your thought is not free, it is bound to the worst things you can imagine!

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Raymond Arnold
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Chapter 30 was full of crazy awesome references. I think my single favorite line was "the enemy's gate is sideways!" But the best group of lines was:

quote:
"All wings report in," said General Potter. They'd rehearsed this during their one training session on Saturday.

"Red Leader standing by," said Seamus Finnigan, who had no idea what it meant.

"Red Five standing by," said Dean Thomas, who'd waited his entire life to say it.

"Green Leader standing by," Theodore Nott said rather stiffly.

"Green Forty-One standing by," Tracey Davis said.


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Rakeesh
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I thought it was pretty enjoyable myself:) It was fun and amusing that Hermione is the one who implemented, y'know, the basic building block of human civilization, and the only component without which it'll always fail.
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Raymond Arnold
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I was frankly pretty disappointed that Harry (or for that matter Draco) couldn't conceive of Granger coming up with such a basic strategy. I mean, a major point of Ender's game is specifically that you SHOULD be open to ideas from your army. Harry even implements that idea (albeit without Ender's finesse). I liked the point the author made about Harry's arrogance, but I think he had to exaggerate it a little extremely to make it.
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sinflower
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Yes, but Ender's army was comprised of certifiable geniuses. Harry's problem is that it's never occurred to him that people who aren't certifiable geniuses can come up with good ideas too, and since his soldiers aren't certifiable geniuses, he doesn't think to involve them in the strategic process (despite giving them some flexibility on the battlefield.) But now he'll presumably learn that the intelligence of a group can be higher than that of its most intelligent member.
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Rakeesh
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Yeah, I agree with sinflower, I think it fit. In Ender's Game, the teammates involved while in almost all cases were probably not as smart as Ender, they were still his peers. Harry in MoR considers himself to have exactly three peers at Hogwarts, who incidentally are his rival generals. He only planned for having to contend with two sets of good ideas coming from two people.
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kmbboots
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Not only does Harry not consider them peers, he doesn't think there is any reason for them to exist.
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King of Men
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Neither, presumably, did the people who ran Battle School. They didn't let any neurotypicals in either. And as a side note, you'll note that Ender never seems to interact with anyone of median intelligence.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Not only does Harry not consider them peers, he doesn't think there is any reason for them to exist.
To be fair, Harry doesn't think there's any reason for himself to exist, either.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Neither, presumably, did the people who ran Battle School. They didn't let any neurotypicals in either. And as a side note, you'll note that Ender never seems to interact with anyone of median intelligence.
I realize you're just baiting kmbboots, KoM, but this is simply silly. The people who ran Battle School quite thought there was a reason for 'neurotypicals' to exist. They were, after all, training tons of kids aside from the core Ender toon to segue into the regular military, where they would interact with 'neurotypicals' on a regular basis.
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kmbboots
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Battle School was training children for one particular goal and was not the only education available. It was assumed that other children, with other attributes and talents would get training for those things. Hogwarts is it. Everyone goes there.
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Raymond Arnold
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@Tom: huh what?

I think this chapter did a good job of addressing the arrogance issue. Draco genuinely believes himself to be superior to other people, and would state that out loud, proudly. He asserts it as an axiom: He's a Malfoy, ergo he's better.

Hermione implies (I think we are meant to assume she is right) that with Harry it's less about actively thinking something bad/evil, and more about ignorance. In his limited life experience, he's used to most people not being as smart as him. It HAS been isolating, which has made it even harder to learn all the different valuable qualities people can have. Right now he sees the member of Chaos Army as people with potential that he can help foster. (No, he really doesn't seem them as USELESS at all, that was Draco talking. Have you never agreed with something mean that someone else said because arguing about it didn't seem worth it and part of you sort of agreed but not really?). But I'm sure eventually he will realize (or at least be told) what Hermione was doing, and he'll begin to learn that other people have something to teach HIM. I like how the story has approached that issue. It's very rare for people with minds that operate like Harry to get a story where they really see someone they can identify with, getting to "win" using the virtues that come with that mindset, while still acknowledging the faults that must be addressed and learned from as well. Usually a character like Harry is treated as a well developed villain or anti-hero at best.

One thing mentioned on the site's comments that I liked was that this battle does involve three different brilliant commanders, each of whom thought in completely different ways, which made sense in their own way.

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Neither, presumably, did the people who ran Battle School. They didn't let any neurotypicals in either. And as a side note, you'll note that Ender never seems to interact with anyone of median intelligence.
I realize you're just baiting kmbboots, KoM, but this is simply silly. The people who ran Battle School quite thought there was a reason for 'neurotypicals' to exist. They were, after all, training tons of kids aside from the core Ender toon to segue into the regular military, where they would interact with 'neurotypicals' on a regular basis.
You're mistaken; the kids who weren't in Ender's toon were nonetheless geniuses, in the top percentile or permille-ile of the population for intelligence, aggression, and leadership. (According to the tests, anyway, which of course were not perfect.) Neurotypicals might have gone into the ranks, but they were not officers. And at that, the sort of technical training you need to be useful even at low rank IN SPACE is not likely to be undergone by the average janitor.
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