We Want MoR – Chapter 18


Harry and Snape have a showdown that escalates all the way to the top because Snape doesn’t know how to be a decent person/Professor and Harry doesn’t know how to lose.

Original chapters, written by Eliezer Yudkowsky, can be read here and the audiobook chapters, recorded by Eneasz Brodski, can be found earlier in this podcast feed and on the website.

In next week’s episode, we will be covering chapters 19 and 20.

Skeptoid episode on the Stanford Prison Experiment

Discord Link

Album art courtesy of Lorec from The Bayesian Conspiracy podcast’s Discord. Thank you!

Coy on the same Discord manages an RSS feed that compiles the relevant audiobook chapters with the WW MoR counterparts. Just copy and paste that link into your favorite podcast app in the “add by url” option. Thanks, Coy!

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  1. A few things:

    First of all, this was probably the first time I agreed with Brian over Steven about something. Specifically the wether the burning chicken was actually Fawkes or not being a thing that is intended to be ambiguous to the readers.
    If you remember the movie, Fawkes actually did look like a dilapidated chicken there, burned to death, and left a chick in the ashes.

    Second… I forgot. But there definitely was something. I just had a multi-hour distraction between finishing the episode and writing up this comment. Maybe I’ll remember later.

    Third, I think the problem or confusion Brian has with the insincerity of Harry’s apology, and his thereby tarnishment of his own preamble about the value of truth, is that he looks at Harry’s speech judging it by its sincerity as an apology. Actually though, it isn’t an apology at all. It’s just a statement of facts that acknowledge wrongdoing on Harry’s part and a commitment to not repeat those specific wrongdoings.
    I mean look at it. Who is Harry supposedly apologizing to? Snape? Nope, not even an acknowledgement that he did anything against him that he regrets. The teachers or school system as a whole? None of those are mentioned at all. His fellow students? It may seem like an apology to them, but actually he just states how he harmed them, why he did so (blaming himself and his own character flaws), and that he hopes he doesn’t repeat himself and that no one emulates him *specifically* in ways that would do the same type of harm to fellow students. Nowhere in there is there anything about being sorry or regretful.
    And so Harry’s finger snapping, though another act of defiance against the teachers, in no way gives lie to his statements or the value of truth, because defying teachers isn’t in any way something he professed any regret for or promised not to repeat.
    This also explains why Harry’s apology to Minerva seemed so much more sincere than his latter apology in front of everyone. It’s not that one was an emotional apology from the heart while the other was a fake and forced one. It’s that one was an apology while the other simply was not, and was not supposed to be. That is, after all what Harry and Snape agreed to do in Dumbledore’s office. To both tell the truth about what was wrong in their behavior. Not to apologise.

  2. fawkes-song-molly-love-fest

    I’m with Brian on the finger snapping- my reaction when reading this was also that it undercuts the sincerity of what Harry says. I do actually think the content of what Harry says is meant to be genuine: he does regret that he lost his temper, and that he deprived his students of their learning time by making a huge scene in the middle of class instead of seething quietly for a bit and then dealing with Snape once class ended. And I also think the bit about the truth being sacred actually does fit here, not necessarily because this is the best time in the story for the author to be conveying the importance of truth, but because it seems in character as the type of thing that Harry would say if he were being compelled to apologize for something, and wanted to convey that he means what he says.

    The thing about when he snaps his fingers, though, is that it totally makes it look like this is just a bs apology he’s being forced to make. To the other commenter’s point that this action doesn’t contradict his prior statements because he hasn’t expressed regret at defying authority- I totally see your point, I just don’t think any of the watching students are going to see it that way. It’s implied that the students already think Harry’s being forced to say the things he’s saying (“Many of the students gazing at Harry now had solemn, unhappy looks upon their faces, such as one might see at a ceremony marking the loss of a fallen champion”) and when he snaps his fingers, I think it makes it look like he’s saying “Nope just kidding I have no regrets,” and the message that he does regret some of the things he did in class, even if he doesn’t regret ultimately protecting everybody from Snape, is lost.

    So basically I do think Harry regrets the things he says he regrets, and the whole ‘truth is sacred’ routine feels in character to me as something he would do in this situation, but the optics of Harry snapping his fingers right after he finishes talking makes his statement appear way less genuine, even if it doesn’t technically contradict any of the things he said.

  3. Greetings from Ukraine!

    Guys, you both are really awesome and fun. I love all the differences in your opinions, and it’s totally OK to have them.

    Steven, I cannot even imagine how hard is it for you to keep it spoiler-free, and try to bully (or maybe Obliviate? :) yourself repeatedly into interpreting the story as if it was your first read. I myself have certainly squealed aloud several times after some Brian’s off-handed comments that hit bullseye. Also, your voice is just pure ❤

    Brian, I feel your pain. Because as much as I love all about this story now, on my first readthrough I was constantly mildly pissed off for the good part of the book. I wonder if you would like the whole thing. As for me, it really shined on the re-read, or rather re-read via the audiobook (a pity it didn’t work for you).

    Now that I think, it was really the audiobook that made me truly invested in the story. Having not much spare time to read, an audiobook/podcast just gives you freedom to be inside the story while jogging or driving. Eneasz did a stunning performance voicing Harry, Draco and professor Quirrell. And the amazing acting of Hermione, McGonagall, Dumbledore and Snape, of course. It really is an emotionally enhanced experience, and I must admit it probably is different from just reading. I didn’t even know about adult – dark wizard, it was always adult for me, 100% accurate and true and always like a punch in the gut: everyone is capable of everything.

    Also, is there a WOG about Snape knowing the fact vs. reading Harry’s mind about the number of electrons? I’ve never seen the theory of mind-reading, and it’s really a GOOD little one, adding like an extra layer of petty fucked-up-ness of the character.

  4. One thing about the audiobook:
    HPMoR was the first audiobook I listened to (apart from some children stories on a tape recorder) and.. I’m not sure, I might regret listening to it because it ruined every other audiobook for me I heard afterwards.
    Most audiobooks are just some famous person or some voice actor reading out the book, maybe changing their speech pattern a bit when they voice different characters but you don’t get dozens of voices (and I even liked it a lot when Eneasz was doing all or almost all the characters) and you don’t get fitting music with the scenes… so I’m constantly a bit disappointed when listening to a different audiobook. The HPMoR audiobook is just too good. :-)

  5. You know like… nah, birds without their feather are quite common(exept some specific features like longer or shorter neck or something and unusual birds like camelbirds) for non-ornitologists. My read on that was that it was actually Fawkes, but old and shabby, without long tail and flight feathers(for they were gone). Harry doesn’t seem to be interested in biology, so he might mistake a phoenix for a chicken.
    And the thing with an egg is likely to appear just messing with Harry and making him freaked out.

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