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Sunday, July 19th, 2015

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Categories: [ Books ]

A fan fiction of Harry Potter, by Eliezer Yudkowsky.

What if Aunt Petunia had married a scientist instead of Vernon Dursley?

Harry is an orphan raised by his aunt and her husband. He knows everything about the scientific method, and has read loads of fantasy and sci-fi, and for some reason he is also intellectually gifted. When the letter from Hogwarts arrives, Harry accepts the fact that magic exists, that he is a wizard, and that he will have the opportunity to study magic using the scientific method. In Hogwarts, he is sorted in Ravenclaw, and so is Hermione Granger. Upon meeting Draco Malfoy, he decides to introduce him to the methods of rationality, in order to make him change his mind regarding the need for Blood Purity, with proof that mixing with Muggles is not the reason why magic is becoming weaker (rather, powerful spells are not transmitted to the next generation). Harry also experiments on Magic with Hermione and discovers that contrary to what he is being taught, Transfiguration is possible on parts of objects, once the object is considered at the quantic level. Having a day cycle of 26 hours, Harry is secretely given a Time Turner and the Invisibility Cloak, which he immediately abuses to experiment on, and gets a reputation for having greater powers than Dumbledore. Professor Quirrel decides that teaching Defence against the Dark Arts requires more than the official curriculum, and organizes his students in three armies, with, for the first-years, Draco, Hermione and Harry as generals. The armies have regular battles, forcing the students to learn about tactics, strategy, cunning, courage… all things that Quirrel considers necessary for citizens to know, if they need to face again a Dark Lord like Voldermort. Harry and Quirrel start an apprentice-master relationship, Harry revealing that he has a secret inner dark side and a will to take over the world in a benevolent fashion, to repair injustice and prevent stupidity. During the lesson about defending oneself against Dementors, Harry is unable to cast a Patronus and psychologically wounded when his wand enters in contact with the Dementor. On a second attempt, Harry discovers that a happy thought is not enough for a Patronus, but rather reasons that the Dementors are holes in the fabric of reality leading to death; his hatred for death and his will to one day find a way to immortality allows him to produce a Patronus shaped as a Homo Sapiens and to destroy the Dementor by closing the hole (what was thought to be impossible). Quirrel then asks Harry to go to Azkaban and free Bellatrix Black, who has been imprisoned without trial and was not responsible for her actions, being under the Imperio curse. Wanting to repair the injustice, Harry agrees; Quirrel's plan gets wrong when Harry prevents him from killing a guard and his magic interferes with his teachers', rendering the latter unconscious. Harry manages to hide from the Dementors, to make a hole into the metallic wall of the cell (by partially transfiguring a large ring of metal into oil and just pushing the piece out) and escape with Quirrell and Black, using a rocket-boosted broom to escape the anti-broom charms on the prison. Harry wonders how Magical Britain can allow a place like Azkaban to exist and decides that once he becomes master of the world, he would destroy the prison. Later, a discussion with Dumbledore about heroes (and the fact that Harry, like Dumbledore in his youth, is destined to be a hero) triggers Hermione to want becoming a heroine; with a group of friends, they fight bullying in the corridors of Hogwarts. This causes a large group of bullies to trap the heroines, who are miraculously saved (by invisible Harry and Quirrel). Hermione is then depressed that she is not able to be heroine. In the final battle of the armies, Hermione wins against Harry and Draco; the latter is angry and provokes her into a (secret and forbidden) duel. The next morning, Draco in his hospital, and Hermione is accused of attempted murder, even if the only reasonnable explanation is that both her and Malfoy are the victims of a False Memory charm, probably caused by Voldemort. Hermione is tried in front of the Wizengamot, where Lucius Malfoy wants revenge. Harry, against Dumbledore's advice, uses a legal loophole and gets into debt with Malfoy to buy Hermione's freedom, preventing her from being sent to Azkaban. Soon after, Hermione is killed when a troll enters Hogwarts, and Harry becomes very gloomy; Hermione's body is also stolen; there is not doubt anymore that Voldemort has returned. Moreover, Quirrel is becoming more visibly sick and reveals that he won't last long. On the day of the Quidditch championship, Harry is baited into going back in time and caught by Voldermort. Together they go through the various traps protecting the Mirror where the Philosopher's Stone is hidden. Voldermort explains his motivation: the Voldermort character was at first a prank, a way for Tom Riddle, posing as David Monroe, to appear a hero after defeating a Dark Lord. He soon discovered that it was much more entertaining to be evil, and when he got bored, he decided to create an opponent worthy of himself by imprinting some of his thought patterns into baby Harry's mind. Voldermort had also created hundreds of horcruxes and lost them all over the world, one of them being even the golden plaque onboard the Pioneer 10 space probe, becoming impossible to kill. Voldemort also reveals that the Philosopher's Stone is a old magical device that makes Transfiguration permanent, stolen from Baba Yaga by Perenelle who then hid herself as Nicolas Flamel. Upon reaching the Mirror, Voldemort obtains the Philosopher's Stone and traps Dumbledore, who had just arrived, into the Mirror. Voldermort then takes Harry to a cemetary where, after recreating his own body, he revives Hermione, as promised to Harry (Harry had transfigured Hermione's body into a ring to keep it close) and even gives her the regeneration power of a troll and the goodness and purity of a unicorn. Harry is then surrounded by Death Eaters who just arrive, called by their master. Voldermort makes Harry take an Unbreakable vow never to destroy the World (which he suspects Harry would unwillingly do, according to some prophecies). After that, he tells Harry he will kill him. While psychologically torturing Harry to tell him things he the Dark Lord doesn't know (and that would kill him, according to another prophecy), Harry finds a way to escape by partially transfiguring the tip of his wand into a carbon nanotube wrapped around the Death Eaters and Voldermort's wrists. By tightening it, he kills the minions and renders Voldermort unconscious; he then Transfigures him into another ring, fakes the scene so as not to appear having been involved and leaves the place to tell McGonagall about the events. Harry then receives imporant responsibilities in Magical Britain by Dumbledore's will. He also puts into motion the creation of a hospital where people (magical folks and Muggles alike) can be made immortal, and the displacement of Azkaban's inmates to more human prisons. He also starts talking Hermione into destroying the Dementors, letting her become a heroine.

[ Posted on July 19th, 2015 at 22:26 | no comment | ]