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Thread: Changing history with a Time-Turner?

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  1. #1
    Fourth Year Hufflepuff
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    Eleanor Lupin's Avatar
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    May 2011

    Changing history with a Time-Turner?

    So, in my fic, a few characters travel back in time quite a few years and drastically change the world.

    My question is ...

    What would happen after that? Would they have to live until they catch up with when they left, or would they be able to travel back forward in time and live in the new sort of world they created through the change? And on top of that, would they then - say they traveled back 5 years - be five years older? What would their memories be like? Would they remember the old past and their friends, seeing as the past would be different and they probably wouldn't have known each other.

    I hope this didn't sound like nonsensical ramblings, but I'd really appreciate help.
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  2. #2
    Seventh Year Hufflepuff
    minnabird's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    The thing about a Time Turner is that it goes back hour by hour. Imagine spinning a Time Turner enough times to go back five years...that's, what, 24 per day, 365 days per year, five years - 43,800 turns should do it. And there is no way, so far as we know, to skip forward again; Harry and Hermione returned to the hospital wing just as the past versions of themselves disappeared. So your characters would have to live out those five years, and yes they would age, and yes their memories would remain intact. I have doubts as to whether it's actually possible to drastically change things by going back in the Potterverse, as the one example of changing the past we find actually changes things not at all as far as we can tell.

    It does sound like an interesting concept, but time travel is very hard to work convincingly in the Potterverse, and Time Turners are used far past their canonical capacity.

  3. #3
    Time travel is always tricky for this very reason.

    The most common solution, in my experience, is that whoever goes back in time, creates a new timeline. Of course, when you have people overlap their own lifetimes, this gets even trickier. You have to avoid yourself - presumably, and if two of you are running around, that's very problematic.

    As Minnabird pointed out, Time Turners in the HP universe go back by the hour, not by the day or year. While it is possible that some other form of time traveling device exists or has been created by Next Gen era, it would be difficult, if not impossible to go back several years, or even more than a day using a Time Turner.

  4. #4
    Fifth Year Ravenclaw
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    Northumbrian's Avatar
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    May 2009
    I’m a huge SF fan (and a Doctor Who fan, too, if you don’t think that counts).

    I have yet to read a good Time-Turner story. As Minna says, if you stick with a canon Time-Turner: 43,800 turns should do it. Assuming you can do four turns per second, it will take three hours simply to set it up.

    The only way back is the long way, to live through it. Anything else simply isn’t canon.

    Plus, you’re then stuck with the paradox problem.

    Example: Draco is annoyed that Buckbeak escapes and suspects that “the Filthy Mudblood” was involved. With Crabbe and Goyle, he corners her in the Astronomy tower and in the ensuing spell combat, she’s knocked from the tower and dies.

    Harry and Ron steal the Time-Turner from her body and go back to fix things. They lock Draco and his cronies in a cupboard before the combat, and that way manage to prevent the death happening.

    Having succeeded, there is no dead Hermione for them to take the Time-Turner from, and no reason for them to travel back in time. So what are they doing there? They will have to find themselves, and persuade themselves to travel back in time to save Hermione from something which hasn’t actually happened. If they don’t succeed, the time-travelling Ron and Harry disappear in a puff of paradox, but then Hermione does die and we’re back where we started.

    Basically, time travel is difficult.

    The only way to deal with this (at least the only way I can figure out) is the way JKR did it in PoA. In that story they didn’t actually change anything, they merely explained the inexplicable. That (IMO) was a brilliant piece of writing.


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