We Want MoR – Chapters 25 and 26


Harry sets off a plot to squash Rita Skeeter.

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 27 and 28.

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. The tossing of the Portkey Knut was actually a reference to one of the most common nitpick complaints about the fourth Harry Potter book. The villain goes through this whole overly elaborate plan with hundreds of moving parts that not only could but should have gone wrong, just to get Harry to touch a Portkey. Instead he should have just thrown him an enchanted Knut, which Harry would have instinctively caught.

    And so Quirrel does it here, in a completely different context.

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  3. Sebastian Weinberg

    I think that Brian, having seen the benefits of Agile over Waterfall, has developed a bit of an aversion to ANY form of planning.  In this case, I believe that you’re conflating a good method for achieving goals (Agile development) with a good method for identifying what the goals ought to be — i.e. thinking about it for at least five minutes.

    Agile development doesn’t protect you from achieving the wrong goals.  How often have you seen a perfectly developed piece of software delivered to the customer, only to get the reply, “We asked you for X, and that’s what you delivered, but it turns out that we actually needed Y all along.”  Well, okay, probably never, because it’s usually phrased as, “We needed Y! Why the hell did you deliver X?!” and it’s bad for business to reply truthfully, “Because you explicitly and specifically ASKED for X, along every step of the way.  That’s why.”

    It’s all well and good to say, “Get in there and start fucking up quickly,” but you need to know what you intend to achieve, before you can agilely set out to achieve it — otherwise how do you tell the difference between fucking up and succeeding?

    The method brought up in the fic, “Examine the problem/situation from all angles and in all aspects, before you even think about solving it, let alone proposing any SPECIFIC solution,” doesn’t say anything about planning, nor how rigid or flexible plans ought to be (Waterfall vs. Agile).  On the contrary, it tells you NOT to plan, not even set goals to plan for, until you’ve fully pondered the situation.

    Regarding Quirrel’s office hours and draconian rules for using them, the impression I got from it was that this was an extension of his “doesn’t suffer fools gladly” persona.  You brought up the example of a sixth or seventh year student asking for advanced information, and whether Quirrel would just tell them to fuck off; my impression was that that would be the ONLY kind of interaction he’d allow, and he wants everyone else to piss off and, if possible, die in a fire.

    You need to have earned at least one point in his class, just to knock on the door, and if you bother him with something trivial or stupid (like brown-nosers who want a pat on the head, or lazy students who don’t want to look something up in the library, etc.) then you get hit with a 50-point deduction.

    Steven, you are not going to Podcast Hell for pointing out something that was right there on the page, if you notice that Brian seems to have missed it.  Especially if it is the ONE important line that suddenly recontextualises half the events leading up to it.  That cannot possibly be a spoiler, because, when you actually think about it, MISSING it would actually spoil the enjoyment of the chapter far more.

    People can sometimes go a bit insane where spoilers are concerned — or in what they somehow consider “spoilers”.  For example, I follow a lovely YouTuber who does Let’s Plays of video games.  He’s very funny, but he has a tendency to get distracted and not pay a lot of attention to the game he’s playing, concentrating on being entertaining to us, the viewers, instead.

    One time, he missed a vital piece of information about game mechanics that the game was tutorialising, because he was busy delivering some hilarious monologue.  When I posted in the comments on his site, something along the lines of, “Hey, just FYI, you missed a tutorial message at 05:23.  You’ll need to know that, if you ever want to use that specific game mechanic.”

    Immediately some other commenters started screaming at me, “Waah waah, spoilers, waaaaahh!!!”

    My reaction was, “How the fuck can that be a spoiler?!  That was explicit information, stated in bright, neon green letters in the middle of the screen!  The fact that he wasn’t paying attention at the time and missed it DOESN’T TURN IT INTO A SPOILER!  That’s not how spoilers work.  That’s not how ANYTHING works.  Go away and for god’s sake take your meds.”

  4. As an actual BDSM dominant I am both amused and uncomfortable to hear that Brian thinks this is something one of us would plausibly get off on writing.

  5. I’m with Brian 100% on Draco’s conversion out of blood-purism. It happens far too easily, and there should be cognitive dissonance. I feel like Yudkowski has never tried to deconvert anyone with very strong beliefs, and doesn’t seem to know how it actually goes. He should read *When Prophesy Fails*.

  6. IMO the difference between Harry’s wanting to win and the twins’ wanting to win is in their answers to the first part of this thought experiment and in how silly they would look during the second part:

    Part 1: Imagine you’re undergoing military training and there’s a target shooting competition for your platoon (there’s no prize for winning, so it’s only your reputation at stake). Everyone fires their shots and goes to check their own result, so at this point, you only know your own score and not the others’ scores, and your score isn’t perfect. So, the only thing that can still affect the outcome of the competition is how well the others in your platoon performed. Would you hope to find out that everyone else has a lower score so that you win the competition?

    Part 2: If you said yes, imagine your country now gets invaded and your platoon has to fight to defend it. Do you still hope that you’re the only one in your platoon who can shoot accurately?

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