Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Khaat » 2017-01-12 10:54am

Simon_Jester wrote:What would you do with the Dementors after removing them? As I understand it, they can't be destroyed, and they really like Dementing people. It's kind of unclear whether Azkaban is imprisoning the prisoners, or for the Dementors. Maybe both.

Well, it's stated that the dementors are breeding in one of the later books, so I would presume they can be destroyed, and I'd be wrong:

JKR has ruled that they cannot be destroyed:
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Elheru Aran » 2017-01-12 10:58am

Well it makes sense. If they feed off negative emotions and all that, and you can reduce those by kicking the bad guy's ass and making the wizarding world a bit safer, presumably they can be starved.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby LaCroix » 2017-01-12 12:16pm

Or herd them into a container, seal the entrance, bury it permanently (deep enough to be out of range from their influence, leave a guard to check on stupids. Let them starve, slowly.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Captain Seafort » 2017-01-12 01:08pm

Crazedwraith wrote:Really the film having him snapping it outright is one of the few improvements they made.


Of the many, many fuckups in the film, this is one of the worst. If the most powerful wand in existence could be destroyed simply by snapping it then someone would already have done so.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Crazedwraith » 2017-01-12 01:18pm

Captain Seafort wrote:
Crazedwraith wrote:Really the film having him snapping it outright is one of the few improvements they made.


Of the many, many fuckups in the film, this is one of the worst. If the most powerful wand in existence could be destroyed simply by snapping it then someone would already have done so.


Perhaps. Thought it fits the mythos of the wand that most people who obtained the and would not want to destroy it.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Captain Seafort » 2017-01-12 01:29pm

Crazedwraith wrote:
Captain Seafort wrote:
Crazedwraith wrote:Really the film having him snapping it outright is one of the few improvements they made.


Of the many, many fuckups in the film, this is one of the worst. If the most powerful wand in existence could be destroyed simply by snapping it then someone would already have done so.


Perhaps. Thought it fits the mythos of the wand that most people who obtained the and would not want to destroy it.


Indeed, but over the centuries of the wand's existence, the idea that no-one had both the intent and willpower to snap the thing beggars belief. The wand's destruction was effectively what Dumbledore was trying to achieve, and I believe that the fact that the method chosen was so convoluted even by his standards as strong evidence that simply snapping the thing wasn't an option.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Captain Seafort » 2017-01-12 01:35pm

Elheru Aran wrote:There's always odd ducks, and Bellatrix is odd if nothing else. I suspect that in Muggle society, she'd have been just as likely to stand out.


And for that reason, respected members of society are much better evidence of a lack of sexism in wizarding society. People like Millicent Bagnold, Amelia Bones, McGonnagall and Umbridge.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Crazedwraith » 2017-01-12 01:53pm

Captain Seafort wrote:Indeed, but over the centuries of the wand's existence, the idea that no-one had both the intent and willpower to snap the thing beggars belief. The wand's destruction was effectively what Dumbledore was trying to achieve, and I believe that the fact that the method chosen was so convoluted even by his standards as strong evidence that simply snapping the thing wasn't an option.


I do agree with that logic and see your point. I prefer the idea of it being destroyed though, to Harry loudly announcing to the whole world he has it and then going into a dangerous career where he fights regular duels and anyone that defeats him gains it's power. It really was stupid.

Then again 'stupid character' is more easy to explain. (Though Dumbledore's character flaw is supposed to be a love of power.)


Captain Seafort wrote:
Elheru Aran wrote:There's always odd ducks, and Bellatrix is odd if nothing else. I suspect that in Muggle society, she'd have been just as likely to stand out.


And for that reason, respected members of society are much better evidence of a lack of sexism in wizarding society. People like Millicent Bagnold, Amelia Bones, McGonnagall and Umbridge.


Indeed. And given the Wizarding world has it's own prejudices ( about species and blood purity) these may have supplanted sexism and racism.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Captain Seafort » 2017-01-12 02:28pm

Crazedwraith wrote:I do agree with that logic and see your point. I prefer the idea of it being destroyed though, to Harry loudly announcing to the whole world he has it and then going into a dangerous career where he fights regular duels and anyone that defeats him gains it's power. It really was stupid.


True. Long-distance planning was never Harry's strong suit, and he was trying to wind up Tom without thinking of the longer-term implications. The careless is slightly mitigated by the fact that he never carried the wand, and left it safely sealed up in Dumbledore's tomb.

Dumbledore's character flaw is supposed to be a love of power.


When? In his early life, certainly, but I got the impression that by the time of the books his greatest flaw was a fear of power. Ariana's death forced him to recognise that flaw, and had such an effect on him that he didn't trust his own judgement in wielding any sort of direct power.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-01-12 02:41pm

If all else fails, use Patronuses to heard them into a container (wizards can build bigger on the inside boxes just as well as Time Lords), then turn the box into a portly with the destination somewhere in orbit or on the Moon (what's the maximum range of a Portkey?), and see if Dementors can starve to death without a food source.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-01-12 02:46pm

Why would anyone who obtained the Elder Wand want to snap it? It's a powerful instrument.

It's not the One Ring; it exerts no unusual mental influence or corrupting effect. The only downside of owning it is the hazard that someone else will want to take it away from you badly enough to kill you for it. And that's always a downside of owning valuable magical artifacts.

The only reason to break it is if you somehow obtain it by accident, then go "OH SHIT I'm a target now!" In which case the sensible thing would be simply to surrender it freely to someone else, or stage a nonlethal 'defeat' by mutual consent with someone else crazy enough to carry the thing.

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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Zixinus » 2017-01-12 02:52pm

The problem sending Dementors to the moon is that there is large potential for it to backfire. Dementors are not alive and may survive the vacuum. Dementors might return to Earth at some unspecified time and place. They might end up being far, far worse due to starvation. And if muggles went to the moon once, they'll probably do it again. Imagine the mess they'd have to solve if an astronaut met one: then you'd have to handle the things again, but this time they'll be wary of being led into another trap.

It would have been simpler to dig a pit and lock them up to see the effects of starvation. But that they didn't, that they made a facility not only to hold Dementors but to assure a regular food supply for them, which would suggest that keeping them starved might be a bad idea in of itself.

No, if they can't be destroyed then they need to be controlled.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Captain Seafort » 2017-01-12 03:06pm

Simon_Jester wrote:Why would anyone who obtained the Elder Wand want to snap it? It's a powerful instrument.


Precisely. Even if its power is exaggerated (which it clearly is - if the owner is invincible, how did Dumbledore beat Grindlewald?) the Deathstick is clearly not the sort of thing anyone wants to risk falling into the wrong hands. Grindlewald is implied to have used its power to start the worst war in human history. Given that it only needs a moment's inattention for it to change hands, the idea of destroying it, through either physical destruction or through the undefeated death of its master is an eminently sensible one.

The only reason to break it is if you somehow obtain it by accident, then go "OH SHIT I'm a target now!" In which case the sensible thing would be simply to surrender it freely to someone else, or stage a nonlethal 'defeat' by mutual consent with someone else crazy enough to carry the thing.


It doesn't work that way - Malfoy never carried the wand, but remained its master until Harry disarmed him, and the whole point of Dumbledore's death (as originally planned) was to ensure that he died undefeated, and that the wand's power would thus be broken.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Khaat » 2017-01-12 03:10pm

Simon_Jester wrote:Why would anyone who obtained the Elder Wand want to snap it? It's a powerful instrument.

It's not the One Ring; it exerts no unusual mental influence or corrupting effect. The only downside of owning it is the hazard that someone else will want to take it away from you badly enough to kill you for it. And that's always a downside of owning valuable magical artifacts.

The only reason to break it is if you somehow obtain it by accident, then go "OH SHIT I'm a target now!" In which case the sensible thing would be simply to surrender it freely to someone else, or stage a nonlethal 'defeat' by mutual consent with someone else crazy enough to carry the thing.

I think this is a call-back to the Philosopher's Stone: "Only someone who wanted to find it but not use it, could." Dumbledore just about dislocated his shoulder patting himself on the back for that one, so it isn't unreasonable that he already learned that lesson when he acquired the Elder Wand.

The Deathly Hallows were widely regarded as wizarding myth - until proven otherwise. "Did Potter really have it, or are the stories just running together?"

Other: The Elder Wand (under Tom Riddle) had been damaged already in the near-miss encounters with Harry. It's possible the "suicide, really?" effect had rendered the Elder Wand now fragile enough to break (in the movies).
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-01-12 03:11pm

Zixinus wrote:The problem sending Dementors to the moon is that there is large potential for it to backfire. Dementors are not alive and may survive the vacuum. Dementors might return to Earth at some unspecified time and place. They might end up being far, far worse due to starvation. And if muggles went to the moon once, they'll probably do it again. Imagine the mess they'd have to solve if an astronaut met one: then you'd have to handle the things again, but this time they'll be wary of being led into another trap.

It would have been simpler to dig a pit and lock them up to see the effects of starvation. But that they didn't, that they made a facility not only to hold Dementors but to assure a regular food supply for them, which would suggest that keeping them starved might be a bad idea in of itself.

No, if they can't be destroyed then they need to be controlled.


So don't even bother trying to come up with a solution other than "feed people to them to be tortured into madness and death, until the next Dark Lord comes along and they go turncoat again"? Because that worked so well the last two times.

Edits: For that matter, if they don't have a way of killing them (and let's be honest, the old Ministry didn't seem like they'd be terribly eager to try to find one), then they should have the Department of Mysteries researching that. A species of malevolent creature that feeds on humans, reproduces, and cannot die is an apocalypse in the making. Their numbers will never get less. Only more.

And one of the main rules of Potterverse magic seems to be that death can't truly be defeated. Why should Dementors be the one thing immune to that?
Last edited by The Romulan Republic on 2017-01-12 03:16pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-01-12 03:12pm

Captain Seafort wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:Why would anyone who obtained the Elder Wand want to snap it? It's a powerful instrument.
Precisely. Even if its power is exaggerated (which it clearly is - if the owner is invincible, how did Dumbledore beat Grindlewald?) the Deathstick is clearly not the sort of thing anyone wants to risk falling into the wrong hands. Grindlewald is implied to have used its power to start the worst war in human history. Given that it only needs a moment's inattention for it to change hands, the idea of destroying it, through either physical destruction or through the undefeated death of its master is an eminently sensible one.
You're starting from a basic assumption that all powerful instruments should be destroyed. Which is totally at odds with the basic mindset of both Harry Potter wizards AND real life.

Most people, when they see a powerful instrument, try to come up with a way to use its power for what they perceive as good. They may do good or evil with it, but they do something.

If you won the lottery, would you burn the money because said money is "too powerful" if it falls into the wrong hands?

What if you somehow won a lottery that gave you a fortune equal to that of Bill Gates? Would you burn the money?

What if you suddenly won control of a small country? A large one?

The only reason to break it is if you somehow obtain it by accident, then go "OH SHIT I'm a target now!" In which case the sensible thing would be simply to surrender it freely to someone else, or stage a nonlethal 'defeat' by mutual consent with someone else crazy enough to carry the thing.
It doesn't work that way - Malfoy never carried the wand, but remained its master until Harry disarmed him, and the whole point of Dumbledore's death (as originally planned) was to ensure that he died undefeated, and that the wand's power would thus be broken.
On the contrary, that makes it easy. All you have to do is stage a defeat. Approach a very powerful wizard with a history of not randomly murdering people. Say "I have come into the possession of the Elder Wand. It's yours. Free of charge. Just punch me in the face and take it from me. Free of charge. Here you go."

You get punched in the face. You cry "OH! I AM UNDONE!" and fall to the floor. Powerful wizard takes Elder Wand, problem solved.

Now, this probably wouldn't work if you're dealing with a Dark Lord type who will just go "Avada Kedavra" instead of punching you in the face, but that's why you do your homework before setting this up.

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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Crazedwraith » 2017-01-12 03:17pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
The only reason to break it is if you somehow obtain it by accident, then go "OH SHIT I'm a target now!" In which case the sensible thing would be simply to surrender it freely to someone else, or stage a nonlethal 'defeat' by mutual consent with someone else crazy enough to carry the thing.
It doesn't work that way - Malfoy never carried the wand, but remained its master until Harry disarmed him, and the whole point of Dumbledore's death (as originally planned) was to ensure that he died undefeated, and that the wand's power would thus be broken.
On the contrary, that makes it easy. All you have to do is stage a defeat. Approach a very powerful wizard with a history of not randomly murdering people. Say "I have come into the possession of the Elder Wand. It's yours. Free of charge. Just punch me in the face and take it from me. Free of charge. Here you go."

You get punched in the face. You cry "OH! I AM UNDONE!" and fall to the floor. Powerful wizard takes Elder Wand, problem solved.

Now, this probably wouldn't work if you're dealing with a Dark Lord type who will just go "Avada Kedavra" instead of punching you in the face, but that's why you do your homework before setting this up.


That's willing let it go though. It doesn't count. Though the book is vague on the specifics. It implies that genuinely taking away a wand without consent usually (and not always) transfers to loyalty on the wand.

The wand can tell if you're faking.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-01-12 03:18pm

I'd postulate that for wand loyalty to change, it has to generally be a real fight. Otherwise you'd be risking it every time you engaged in practice duelling or went to a duelling club.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Captain Seafort » 2017-01-12 03:30pm

Simon_Jester wrote:You're starting from a basic assumption that all powerful instruments should be destroyed.


No, I'm starting from a basic assumption that an abnormally powerful instrument that can be transferred from person to person with ease and which has a track record of leaving a trail of blood, potentially including the entire Second World War in its wake should be destroyed.

It doesn't work that way - Malfoy never carried the wand, but remained its master until Harry disarmed him, and the whole point of Dumbledore's death (as originally planned) was to ensure that he died undefeated, and that the wand's power would thus be broken.
On the contrary, that makes it easy. All you have to do is stage a defeat. Approach a very powerful wizard with a history of not randomly murdering people. Say "I have come into the possession of the Elder Wand. It's yours. Free of charge. Just punch me in the face and take it from me. Free of charge. Here you go."

You get punched in the face. You cry "OH! I AM UNDONE!" and fall to the floor. Powerful wizard takes Elder Wand, problem solved.


As CW said, the wand can tell if you're faking. That precise scenario, replacing a punch in the face with the Avada Kedavra, was exactly what was planned to happen between Dumbledore and Snape, precisely to prevent the wand changing hands. The fly in the ointment was Malfoy disarming Dumbledore without Dumbledore's consent, and thereby gaining mastery of the wand.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Elheru Aran » 2017-01-12 03:32pm

A real fight or a sucker-punch in Malfoy's case, apparently...
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-01-12 03:40pm

I missed a subtlety, then. The point was that Dumbledore had the notion that if he allowed himself to be killed by another, without having previously been defeated by anyone, then control of the wand would NOT pass to his killer because it was in effect suicide-by-Potions-Master?

What reasons did Dumbledore have for expecting this to work?

...

That said, do we have evidence that anyone ever tried to willingly give up the Elder Wand?

Because if the answer is "no," then this suggests that the idea is so weird and foreign to most people's point of view in-setting that nobody ever tried it. Until Dumbledore and Harry. In which case we shouldn't take it as given that it would be a normal reaction to try and destroy the Elder Wand, upon obtaining it.

Dumbledore wanted to neutralize the wand- but then, Dumbledore is intensely afraid of power, and it was virtually certain that if the Elder Wand was lost, it would fall to Voldemort. Very bad, much worse than the 'average' outcome of the Wand passing from one person to another.

Harry wanted to destroy it- but Harry had internalized Dumbledore's mindset, and in fact Dumbledore had basically been grooming him to be the most self-sacrificing person imaginable through the course of several books.

You don't have to be weak-willed to say "the Elder Wand's potential for future good outweighs its potential for future evil, do not destroy it."

Captain Seafort wrote:No, I'm starting from a basic assumption that an abnormally powerful instrument that can be transferred from person to person with ease and which has a track record of leaving a trail of blood, potentially including the entire Second World War in its wake should be destroyed.
The wand had no involvement in the Second World War until its time in Grindelwald's hand, from him it passed to Dumbledore, who did indeed plot to neutralize the Elder Wand.

Prior to that time, we have little or no evidence that the Elder Wand was responsible for its own violent track record. It's a powerful device, and there have been a lot of wizards willing to kill to obtain a powerful device. That's all there is to it.

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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Crazedwraith » 2017-01-12 03:45pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:I'd postulate that for wand loyalty to change, it has to generally be a real fight. Otherwise you'd be risking it every time you engaged in practice duelling or went to a duelling club.



That was my theory also TRR. The relevant passages of DH:

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows UK Hardcover Editon Page 399 wrote:'Hawthorn and unicorn hair. Ten inches precisely. Reasonably Springy was the wand of Draco Malfoy.'

'Was?' repeated Harry. 'Isn't it still his?'

'Perhaps not. If you took it-'

'- then it may be yours. Of course, the manner of taking matters. Much depends on the wand itself. In general, however, where a wand has been won, its allegiance will change.'

The was a silence in the room except for the distant rushing of the sea,

'You talk about wands like they've got feels,' said Harry. 'like they can think for themselves.

'The wand chooses the wizard,' said Ollivander. 'That much has always been clear to those of us who have studied wandlore.'

'A person can still use a wand that hasn't chosen them, though?' Asked Harry.

'Oh yes, if you are any wizard at all you will be able to channel your magic through almost any instrument. The best results however, must always come where there is the strongest affinity between wizard and wand. These connections are complex. An initial attraction, and then a mutual quest for experience, the wand learning from the wizard, the wizard from the wand.'

The sea gushed forwards and backwards; it was mournful sound.

'I took this wand from Draco Malfoy by force,' said Harry. 'Can I use it safely?'

'I think so. Subtle laws govern wand ownership, but the conquered wand will usually bend its will to its new master.'


and on page 402 about the elder wand itself....

'You - really think [the elder wand] exists, then, Mr Ollivander?' asked Hermione.

'Oh yes,' said Ollivander. 'Yes, it is perfectly possible to trace the wand's course through history. There are gaps, of courser, and long ones, where it vanishes from view, temporarily lost or hidden; but always it resurfaces. It has certain identifying characteristics that those who are learned in wandlore recognise. here are written accounts, some of them obscure, that I and other wandmakers are have made it our business to study. They have the ring of authenticity.'

'So you= you don't think it can be a fairy tale, or a myth?' Hermione asked hopefully.

'No,' said ollivander. 'Where it needs to pass by murder, I do not know. Its history is bloody, but that may be simply due to the fact that it is such a desirable object, and arouses such passions in wizards, Immensely powerful, dangerous in the wrong hands, and an object of incredible fascination to all of us who study the power of wands.


That was a deal vague that I recall and gives a lot of wiggle room. But I'd say yes, it has to be taken and the person taken it from truly conquered for it to really count.

Though the section about it possibly being hidden for years, does lend to Captain Seafort's point, perhaps people have tried to conceal so it would lose power but have been unable to control it.
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby Captain Seafort » 2017-01-12 04:02pm

Simon_Jester wrote:I missed a subtlety, then. The point was that Dumbledore had the notion that if he allowed himself to be killed by another, without having previously been defeated by anyone, then control of the wand would NOT pass to his killer because it was in effect suicide-by-Potions-Master?


Exactly. Intent, as so often with Potterverse magic, is key, although technically it was suicide-by-DADA-teacher.

What reasons did Dumbledore have for expecting this to work?


Over a century of magical experience, leading to being regarded by his peers as the most knowledgeable wizard in the best part of a millennia. When in the books is there ever any evidence of Dumbledore being in any way fallible in terms of his magical knowledge?

That said, do we have evidence that anyone ever tried to willingly give up the Elder Wand?


We have very little information about the wand, period. It's the wizarding version of Excalibur, far more so than the Sword of Gryffindor.

You don't have to be weak-willed to say "the Elder Wand's potential for future good outweighs its potential for future evil, do not destroy it."


Necessarily weak-willed? No. Optimistic (perhaps naively so)? Yes

Prior to that time, we have little or no evidence that the Elder Wand was responsible for its own violent track record. It's a powerful device, and there have been a lot of wizards willing to kill to obtain a powerful device. That's all there is to it.


That's one interpretation, but even if its track record is a result of others' reactions and attraction to the power of the Deathstick, that nickname is well-earned.
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe - Albert Einstein

JLTucker
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Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby JLTucker » 2017-01-12 04:55pm

Should we even consider words from Rowling in an interview as canon? You'd think the life of dementors would be important enough to mention in the books instead of an interview.

JLTucker
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Posts: 2891
Joined: 2006-02-26 01:58am

Re: Was Dumbledore utterly incompetent?

Postby JLTucker » 2017-01-12 04:56pm

I was under the impression that the Elder Wand's powers were concentrated on the allegiance of the wand instead of its physicality. So if you break it, you still have it's allegiance and thus is power.


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