Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Time Travel and harry Potter

With the release of the fourth Harry Potter book on friday, HBO has beenplaying the third Harry Potter. For those of you who have seen it, it's theone where there Harry and Hermione time travel at the end. Watching this,it got me thinking about time travel in general and wondering if Harry Potterwas a consistent time travel story. The story itself seems to be a consistent time travel story but there's one part which confuses me. When Harry and Hermione finish their time travel story, and by this I mean they arrive back at the "present" time, they see themselves starting their time travel. Wouldn't it be the case that when the new Harry and Hermione arrive at the present time after their time travel journey, they would see another Harry and Hermione embarking on their journey. So, wouldn't there be an infinite amount of Harry and Hermione's and wouldn't there be parallel universes because when harry and Hermione finish their time travel, they go forward in the future, but the Harry and hermione who start their time travel go back in time. What do you think about this? Is time as Matt said, like an infinite amount of frames each one replaying so we are able to go back to it or is it something else?


Blogger mparent said...

There wouldn't be an infinite number of Harry and Hermione. At the "present" that was the moment they arrived. So at that time, when they originally left, their future selves were also in the room watching this. It comes down to the whole thing with changing and affecting the past. I'm not sure what you mean by "Wouldn't it be the case that when the new Harry and Hermione arrive at the present time after their time travel journey, they would see another Harry and Hermione embarking on their journey." Didn't you say that was what happened?
I think you're confusing this with Le Poidevin's example with the diary that should have an infinite number of entries. At the time when Harry and Hermione watch themselves leaving there are precisely two of each of them. Harry and Hermione are not building up whenever they time travel. It's not the case that Harry A goes from time C to time D then
Harry B goes from time C to time D and sees Harry A.
Time has passed for Harry A. Or you can consider connecting "frames" of the universe together in which there is only on e(or two) of Harry.
From what I remember of the movie it is a consistent time travel story but I'd have to watch it more carefully to be sure.

5:10 PM  
Blogger PVMunchy said...

I can't quite remember what happened at the end, but i have another concern about the harry potter story. Correct me if i am remembering this wrong, but wouldn't the giant bird creature already have been freed the first time through since they traveled back? The original harry and hermione heard their future selves behind them when they were watching the little hut so that means they were there. So why would the future harry and hermione not have already freed it? Were there two different sequences of that time that actually happened? If not, what would have caused them to go back in the first place?

6:00 AM  
Blogger mparent said...

You have to watch pretty carefully. The future Harry and Hermione free the bird AFTER the past Harry and Hermione leave the hut. It's when Dumbledore and them are inside talking briefly. By the time they came outside the past Harry and Hermione were free and the bird was free.

1:32 PM  
Blogger PVMunchy said...

oops, i guess i should go back and watch that again.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Significant Digits said...

I actually believe "Prisoner of Azkaban" is the most consistent time travel story out there. It doesn't defy the Grandfather Paradox at all. But it still raises philosophical questions. For example, think of the scene where past Harry & Hermione (and Ron) have come out of Hagrid's cabin. Currently, "future" Harry & Hermione are waiting outside. When the "past" kids get away from the cabin, they hear an ax thud and a cry, and assume Buckbeak has been killed (I admit to being an avid fan of the books, so I'm using their actual names, hopefully you can follow along). In fact, Buckbeak has just been set free, and the cry is a cry of joy from Hagrid. In other words, change has been affected, BUT, because of misconception on behalf of the characters, the impetus behind traveling back has not been lost, therefore avoiding problems with Gramps.

Note: if you're looking for a good timeline of events, I highly reccommend this, from a Harry Potter fans ite. It's actually quite detailed and very thorough.

5:42 PM  
Blogger frankd23 said...

I'm pretty sure this is a consistent time travel story because all the events in the past remain consistent in the present. I think Lewis had talked about Tom (The person exactly like Tim in the past)that basically represents the person holding tim's place before tim had actually gone back and time traveled. I don't particularly like this idea but I guess one could argue that lewis is smarter than me on this topic. Also, harry potter is awesome.

11:53 AM  
Blogger PVMunchy said...

I still haven't gone back to watch it again yet, but from what you all have said it sounds like the bird creature never actually died the first time through. Does this mean that the characters just believed that it did so they went back and saved it, which caused it to never get killed in the first place? Is one way for time travel to work just not being sure of what happened the first time around and then going back to make a certain way? A more simple example might be... I walk out of my room this morning and i don't remember if i locked the door so i time travel back and lock it. Then when i go back to when i couldn't remember, I know i did and when i return it is locked. Would this work the same too if i knew it was unlocked the first time around? It seems like it would to me and that i would just have a moment where i was like "oh wait, i did lock it" after thinking that i didn't.

5:53 AM  
Blogger PVMunchy said...

Oh wait, i thought about it some more and it doens't seem like it would be consistent if i KNEW i didn't lock it because then it would be both locked and unlocked.

5:57 AM  
Blogger stet200 said...

Yeah, I see what you are talking about how in the movie the time travel is inconsistant. What i did is look back at the book to see if JK kept it consistant. And she did. The way the movie did it was a little confusing and not correct to the book. If you guys look back at the book you will see that in the book, time travel is consistant.

7:31 AM  

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