Category Archive 'Harry Potter'

28 Oct 2016

Bad News for The Donald!

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trumpstar

NewsThump reports: Destruction of Walk Of Fame star leaves Donald Trump down to his last six Horcruxes.

Stabbing a copy of The Art Of The Deal with a Basilisk’s tooth is the next step to eliminating Donald Trump, according to experts this morning.

Donald Trump howled in agony and demanded a flask of serpent’s milk to help him recover some strength after the destruction of his first Horcrux on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame yesterday.

Trump, whose unusually-styled hair is believed to hide a face on the back of his head, is understood to have concealed fragments of his soul in multiple receptacles in an attempt to protect himself from defeat in the forthcoming election….

Read the whole thing.

27 Sep 2016

Putting It in Harry Potter Terms

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politicalsituation

03 Aug 2016

2016 Election Choices

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TrumpHarryPotter

12 Apr 2015

Ayn Rand’s Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows

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Mallory Ortberg has another episode of Harry Potter as written by Ayn Rand.

“The Ministry of Magic has fallen,” Neville said in despair.

Harry laughed long and loud. “You should not mourn the government,” he told Neville. “The state has never shed a tear for you. Why waste your tears on it?”

He picked up his wand. “For my part, I withdrew my consent to be governed years ago. Taxation is destroying private resources.” A smile played across Harry’s lips. “I hope they destroyed the national bank, while they were at it. I should like to see the goblins of Gringotts face their real enemy — deregulation.”

***

HERE LIES DOBBY, the stone read, A FREE ELF.

Underneath, in slightly smaller letters, it continued: What is the basic, the essential, the crucial principle that differentiates freedom from slavery? It is the principle of voluntary action versus physical coercion or compulsion. Freedom, in a political context, has only one meaning: the absence of physical coercion. It does not mean freedom from the landlord, or freedom from the employer, or freedom from the laws of nature which do not provide men with automatic prosperity. It means freedom from the coercive power of the state—and nothing else. If one upholds freedom, one must uphold man’s individual rights; if one upholds man’s individual rights, one must uphold his right to his own life, to his own liberty, to the pursuit of his own happiness—which means: one must uphold a political system that guarantees and protects these rights—which means: the politico-economic system of capitalism. Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries. Since knowledge, thinking, and rational action are properties of the individual, since the choice to exercise his rational faculty or not depends on the individual, man’s survival requires that those who think be free of the interference of those who don’t. Since men are neither omniscient nor infallible, they must be free to agree or disagree, to cooperate or to pursue their own independent course, each according to his own rational judgment. Freedom is the fundamental requirement of man’s mind. A rational mind does not work under compulsion; it does not subordinate its grasp of reality to anyone’s orders, directives, or controls; it does not sacrifice its knowledge, its view of the truth, to anyone’s opinions, threats, wishes, plans, or “welfare.” Such a mind may be hampered by others, it may be silenced, proscribed, imprisoned, or destroyed; it cannot be forced; a wand is not an argument. It is from the work and the inviolate integrity of such minds—from the intransigent innovators—that all of mankind’s knowledge and achievements have come. It is to such minds that mankind owes its survival.

The gravestone was seven and a half feet tall.

***

NINETEEN YEARS LATER

“I’m taking the children down the Platform 9 3/4s to see them off to school,” Ginny said to Harry. “Want to come?”

“I build trains,” Harry said, adjusting his hat so that the brim sat low over one eye, “I don’t watch children board them.”

Ginny respected him for it.

14 Mar 2015

HPMOR Concludes Today

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HPMOR2

Today, March 14 is Pi Day, the date selected by uber-nerd Eliezer Yudkowsky aka Less Wrong for the release of the 122nd and final chapter of his widely-acclaimed Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

Wrap parties celebrating the conclusion of what is, in the eyes of many readers, the greatest all-time performance by a piece of fan fiction will be taking place in Singapore, Bombay, Melbourne and Sydney, Cambridge, Berkeley, Mountain View, Brussels, London, and Berlin.

If we wanted to capture the ultimate Boone and Crockett Club record-book specimen of Nerdus Americanus to be mounted and displayed in a diorama in the Museum of Natural History, we’d be hunting for Eliezer Yudkowsky.

Yudkowsky is an autodidact who quit attending other people’s schools after 8th grade. He nonetheless is pretty successful. He co-founded his own university, the Singularity Institute, and he hobnobs with and advises billionaire capitalist Peter Thiel on change-the-world tech projects.

HPMOR differs from J.K. Rowling’s original in its ruthless consistency. All the background sob story is removed. Harry grows up happily and without being neglected and abused. Neither is Harry is humanized. Harry is not unhappy or insecure. Harry is one of us, a gifted intellectual and thoroughgoing rationalist of keen scientific bent, skeptical of authority and completely self-confident. He knows he’s smarter than everybody else. This Harry is not willing to accept Magic as traditionally taught at Hogwarts. This Harry intends to understand Magic in the light of Muggle science.

As HPMOR develops, Yudkowsky follows the pattern of the early portions of the J.K. Rowling original, but he continually revises. The reader looks on in admiration, noting with astonishment that Yudkowsky is certainly right. Again and again, he successfully improves upon the original.

It’s a great achievement, but it did not go entirely smoothly. Writing HPMOR took years and years, and Yudkowsky found himself distracted from continuing by his own reviews. He bogged down about halfway through, and production slowed to a trickle. He made promises of completion, which he broke. His readers have been sitting around, tapping their feet impatiently, for all of last year.

Today, at last, it’s all finished. Yudkowsky will be releasing his final chapter.

It’s going to be interesting to see what he writes next.

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Facts About Eliezer Yudkowsky:

Eliezer Yudkowsky was once attacked by a Moebius strip. He beat it to death with the other side, non-violently.
Inside Eliezer Yudkowsky’s pineal gland is not an immortal soul, but another brain.
Eliezer Yudkowsky’s favorite food is printouts of Rice’s theorem.
Eliezer Yudkowsky’s favorite fighting technique is a roundhouse dustspeck to the face.
Eliezer Yudkowsky once brought peace to the Middle East from inside a freight container, through a straw.
Eliezer Yudkowsky once held up a sheet of paper and said, “A blank map does not correspond to a blank territory”. It was thus that the universe was created. …

HPMOR1

29 Jul 2014

Randian Harry Potter, Book 2

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HarryPotterMerpeople

Mallory Ortberg‘s Randian Harry Potter is back.

The merpeople brandished their spears fiercely. Harry looked around. Ron, Hermione and Gabrielle Delacour drifted lazily through the water, arms bound uselessly behind their backs. Where was Fleur? And where was Krum?

Harry turned to face the merpeople. “The true test is not whether a Triwizard Champion can perform an act of charity — an act of mercy — whether I am capable of saving these victims, these leechers, these children. I can, I assure you. The question is whether I can do without them, whether I can exist solely as my own entity. Whether I can perform an act of accomplishment.”

Harry carefully began placing the heaviest stones he could carry over the rope connecting Ron and Hermione, until they were hopelessly enmeshed in the lake bed.

“The answer, of course,” he said clearly, “is that I can.” He swam away. He swam alone. He had lost the task, perhaps, but he had won the only tournament that truly matters — the tournament of self.

“I hope you’re not expecting me to apologize,” Harry said without looking up the next day when a very muddy and a very angry-looking Ron and Hermione appeared in front of the door to his study. “And don’t come any closer. You’ll track lake water all over my new rug.”

Hat tip to Leah Libresco.

Earlier episode.

17 Jul 2014

Proposed Middle-Aged Harry Potter Book Covers

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HarryPotterBookCovers

io9.com

More at Happy Place.

Harry Potter and the Prostate of Secrets is a strong contender.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

28 May 2014

Harry Potter Shrugged

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HarryPotterShrugged

Mallory Ortberg imagines how the saga might have read if Ayn Rand had written Harry Potter.

“Give me your wand, boy,” Voldemort hissed.

“I cannot do that. This wand represents my wealth, which is itself a tangible result of my achievements. Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think,” Harry said bravely.

Voldemort gasped.

“There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist.”

Voldemort began to melt. Harry lit a cigarette, because he was the master of fire.

“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. The minimum wage is a tax on the successful. The market will naturally dictate the minimum wage without the government stepping in to determine arbitrary limits.”

Voldemort howled.

“I’m going to sell copies of my wand at an enormous markup,” Harry said, “and you can buy one like everyone else.”

Voldemort had been defeated.

“He hated us for our freedom,” Ron said.

“No, Ron,” Harry said. “He hated us for our free markets.”

Hermione ached with desire for the both of them to master her, but nobody paid her any attention. They had empires to build.

Read the whole thing.

15 Dec 2013

Visions of Authority in Fantasy

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Peter Blair contends that popular fiction written for young people is prone to channel directly from the culture’s psyche. The replacement of the Harry Potter series in the bestseller list with Hunger Games books may indicate that the popular attitude toward authority has grown increasingly negative.

The Hunger Games and Harry Potter are among the two most successful and influential cross-media franchises in recent decades. The books were widely read, the movies widely watched, and the arrival of a new book or movie in the series was a big cultural moment. When pop culture objects become as wildly popular as these two series, they often take on a greater importance and resonance than those who occasioned them intended. We can only speculate, but in light of the enduring success of the latest Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, it’s possible to read the evolution between these two series as a sort of hardening of heart toward government that reflects the increasing anger Americans feel towards political authority.

06 Nov 2013

Saving the World

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21 Mar 2013

Hogwarts Reading Lists

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Bookshelves featuring this term’s reading for members of each of the four Hogwarts houses.

04 Jul 2012

Hufflepuff Videos

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Hat tip to Leah Librescu

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26 Jun 2007

Harry Potter Spoiler

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Last week a hacker calling himself “Gabriel” claimed to have penetrated the computer of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, J.K. Rowling’s British publisher, and obtained a copy of the 7th (and promised to be last) Harry Potter book, scheduled to be published 7/21.

Reuters

There is no way to tell if this idiot is telling the truth, but the curious who want to read the purported spoiler may go here.

29 Aug 2006

J.K. Rowling Encounters Salman Rushdie

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J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and John Irving read from their books, and answered audience questions, in two benefit performances for Doctors Without Borders and The Haven Foundation at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on August 1st and 2nd.

J.K. Rowling (note her shoes) reads from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Rowling is very cute, but I would not have linked any of this, except for the Question & Answer session, in which her questioner proves to be Salman Rushdie, who asks a very good one.

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