Grasping the Phoenix


Spoilers for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Chapter 85.

If you haven’t already read HPMOR, you ought to click here and let Eliezer Yudkowsky make sweet, sweet love to your mind. 


The phoenix shows up, and says “come.”

It doesn’t make sense. You can’t chance everything you are, everything you’re needed for, just to gut Azkaban.

But it says “come.”

And a voice inside you, deeper than your Gryffindor, says “it’s time. Go with the phoenix.”

And the rational, computing part of your brain does the calculus, and refuses. So the phoenix leaves.

After you say no, Dumbledore shows up and tells you that was your one chances, and you won’t ever get a phoenix now, but maybe that’s not so bad, because the survival rate of those who grasp the phoenix is said to be less than one in four. And having one on his shoulder was not so pleasant once he started having to do bad things for good ends. Perhaps having a phoenix would have driven you mad, given the choices you will be forced to make. He says he can’t tell you what the right choice was, because he’s only a foolish boy who grew into a foolish man, and he still has no wisdom.


I’ve been getting super-into Kyle Cease lately, and he has taught me to grasp the phoenix. Grasp it, and leap. You can measure what you’ll lose, but you can’t measure what you might gain.

I’m going to Israel in precisely two weeks. I’m going because that’s where the phoenix is taking me. I don’t know if I’ll survive, but I refuse to suppress the cries of Azkaban any longer.

The phoenix helps. It heals me of my wounds, and it gives me powers no amount of intellect could replicate. For this, it has one demand: that I do what I know to be right, every moment that it sits upon my shoulder.

I pray for the strength to obey its call.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s