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A letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry arrives at the Verres-Evans household, and Petunia Evans-Verres confesses to her husband Michael Verres-Evans that her sister Lily, Harry’s mother, was a witch. Michael is skeptical, but Harry proposes to test Petunia’s claim by writing a letter to Hogwarts.

Chapter TitleEdit

A Day of Very Low Probability

Title QuoteEdit

Beneath the moonlight glints a tiny fragment of silver, a fraction of a line... (black robes, falling) ...blood spills out in liters, and someone screams a word.

Detailed Chapter SynopsisEdit

A letter arrives at the home of Michael Verres-Evans , a professor of biochemistry at Oxford University, his wife Petunia Evans-Verres , and their adopted son Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres , an "unstamped envelope of yellowish parchment addressed to Mr. H. Potter in emerald-green ink." Inside the envelope is a letter inviting Harry Potter to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry , causing an argument between Michael and Petunia. Petunia confesses to her husband that her sister Lily Potter , Harry’s biological mother, was a witch, and that James Potter , Lily’s husband, was a wizard.

Michael is skeptical and tries to convince Petunia that she must be mistaken. Petunia then tells him that she persuaded Lily to give her a potion that made her made her more attractive. Michael does not believe this either, and Harry intervenes at that moment to suggest that they perform an experiment on Petunia’s claims and abide by its results. Neither of his parents take his idea seriously, and Harry decides to perform the test on his own.

Going to his room, Harry writes a letter to Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall , the person who had sent him the letter from Hogwarts, requesting that someone from the school come to their home, as was done for Lily when she received her letter. Rejoining his parents, Harry asks his father if he’d like to come watch as he attempts to send the letter to Hogwarts, but his father declines.

Taking the letter outside, Harry is determined to test the hypothesis that there really is a Hogwarts and that a Deputy Headmistress McGonagall really sent him the letter. However, when it comes time to actually perform the test, to hold the letter in the air and call for an owl to pick it up, that it isn't as simple as it sounds. Harry feels foolish but is determined to go through with the experiment, to prove that he is better at his father.

Harry holds up the letter and calls out, “Letter for Hogwarts! Can I get an owl here?” To his surprise, his next-door neighbor and sometimes-babysitter, Mrs. Figg , answers him from across the fence between them. Realizing that he has no way to send the letter to Hogwarts on his own, Mrs. Figg takes it and promises to have someone there to see him in a jiffy or two. After she left, Harry pondered the strangeness of what had just happened, saying only, “What.”

CharactersEdit

  • Unnamed male Professor of Hogwarts

LocationsEdit

  • Verres home
  • Oxford
  • Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

MagicEdit

Rationality and ScienceEdit

  • Feynman Lectures on Physics
  • Testing the Hypothesis

Author NotesEdit

Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling owns Harry Potter, and no one owns the methods of rationality.

This fic is widely considered to have really hit its stride starting at around Chapter 5. If you still don't like it after Chapter 10, give up.

Please visit HPMOR DOT COM for:

  • Easy email notification system, RSS feed, and Twitter feed for new chapters;
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    * Lovely fan-made book-style PDF version;
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  • Ongoing podcast of the story;
  • Fan art in vast quantities;
  • Fan-fanfiction of this fanfiction;
  • Fan music, songs, and animations;
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  • The OKCupid keyword for HPMOR readers;
  • Links to TV Tropes page and discussion forum;
  • Trigger warnings page (warnings about possible traumatic associations for some readers; to avoid spoilers for most readers, there are no warnings inside the main story);
  • How to learn everything the main character knows;
  • Open job positions at a related nonprofit;
  • And ever so much more.

Reviews make me happy. You can leave reviews on any chapter, no login required, and there's no need to finish reading it all before you start reviewing chapters - but do please leave at most one review per chapter.

This is not a strict single-point-of-departure fic - there exists a primary point of departure, at some point in the past, but also other alterations. The best term I've heard for this fic is "parallel universe".

The pacing of the story is that of serial fiction, i.e., that of a TV show running for a predetermined number of seasons, whose episodes are individually plotted but with an overall arc building to a final conclusion.

All science mentioned is real science. But please keep in mind that, beyond the realm of science, the views of the characters may not be those of the author. Not everything the protagonist does is a lesson in wisdom, and advice offered by darker characters may be untrustworthy or dangerously double-edged.

External LinksEdit

Chapter 1 at HPMOR.com

Chapter 1 at fanfiction.net

TimelineEdit

Chapter 1 begins on 1 July 1991, the year Harry turns 11. Near the end of the chapter Harry mentions to Mrs. Figg that Hogwarts wants his owl by July 31.

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