“One last question,” Harry said, as Professor Quirrell’s coat lifted itself off the coatrack and went floating toward the Defense Professor. “Magic is loose in the world, and I no longer trust my guesses so much as I once did. So in your own best guess and without any wishful thinking, do you believe there’s an afterlife?”

“If I did, Mr. Potter,” said Professor Quirrell as he shrugged on his coat, “would I still be here?”

Is he saying that he would've killed himself already if he did believe in it?

  • 8
    I don't know what Yudkowsky meant (though he might tell you himself), but there is an argument that belief in an afterlife can make suicide seem like a rational option Oct 3, 2016 at 14:41
  • 1
    @Valorum Well, if you're talking about cannon you aren't correct. There an afterlife does indeed exist as Harry has been seen talking to the dead when fighting Voldemort. If you're talking about HPMOR you still aren't correct because there ghosts are just basically a magical recording of you.
    – EmilioAK
    Oct 3, 2016 at 14:48
  • 1
    @Valorum Fair point, now that you mention it. In canon we did se Voldemorts soul suffer in limbo.
    – EmilioAK
    Oct 3, 2016 at 14:51
  • 2
    Without a serious spoiler (that isn't really that much of one, if you read the original books / saw the movies), the character he is talking to is one who is engaging in massive efforts to survive in this world, no matter the cost, but is also a character who has never been truly happy or pleased with this world. So, this world sucks, but he takes every possible step to not leave it; the conclusion is that he doesn't believe in an afterworld -- were he to, he would have long since found a way to end up there (not necessarily suicide; suicidal risks are often a part of heroism.)
    – K-H-W
    Oct 3, 2016 at 15:50
  • 1
    @Valorum : in the HPMOR universe, it's heavily implied that ghosts are not a real continuation of your consciousness, they are just imprints left in the world, and are not fully sentient. So, if you die, you don't become a ghost. You are just dead, and an imprint of your memory can be left behind as a ghost, which is not yourself, just in the way a photo or movie about you is not yourself.
    – vsz
    Jan 6, 2018 at 15:10

2 Answers 2


"Is he saying that he would've killed himself already if he did believe in it?"

Probably not.

Quirrell answers Harry's question about the afterlife twice in the same chapter. At first it's a general question:

Professor Quirrell," Harry said suddenly, "is there an afterlife?" The Defense Professor raised his cup to his lips again before answering. His face was thoughtful. "If there is, Mr. Potter," said Professor Quirrell, "then quite a few wizards have wasted a great deal of effort in their searches for immortality." ~Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, CH 40

When Harry questions him again, intending to find out what are Quirrell's beliefs on the subject, he gets the answer that Quirrell wouldn't be in the world of the living had he believed there's life after death.

Congregating these two answers provided by Quirrell should answer your question even without the spoiler, but just in case:

Seeing that in MoR (as in the original book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) Quirrell is possessed by Voldemort who is alive exactly because he was trying to cheat death creating horcuxes, it's more likely he is referring to his own efforts dabbling in necromancy to stay alive than about committing suicide to experience the afterlife. It seems the second answer is a clue to the readers about who hides behind the mask of Quirrell.


The main motive of Professor Quirrell

(aka Lord Voldemort aka Tom Riddle)

in this fan fiction is to defeat death making himself immortal for a long as possible.

This is the motivating force for a great portion of what he does in the story. If there is an afterlife this is moot and he does not need to do his devious, rather extreme schemes. While he is not implying he would kill himself, he would not drink unicorn blood,

create horcruxes, or essentially reincarnate himself as Harry.

While this is largely the case in canon HP, it is significantly more apparent in this story as this character explains his motivations and rational in detail.


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