Harry Potter, Lord Voldemort and game theory

Harry Potter could have used game theory to defeat Lord Voldemort.

No-one dared to even speak the name of Lord Voldemort, only calling him ‘He-who-must-not-be-named’, ‘You-know-who’ or ‘the Dark Lord’.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows anyone speaking his name is tracked down by Voldemort or his followers and this is how they find Harry, Ron and Hermione.

If everyone in the world had overcome their fear and spoken his name then Voldemort would not have been able to find Harry.

This is a co-ordination problem, like the stag hunt that I explained yesterday. The best result is if everyone can co-ordinate and agree to say Lord Voldemort’s name, then there is safety in numbers. But the outcome is death if you fail to co-ordinate and you are the only one who says the name.

The safe option is not to say his name.

If Harry could have co-ordinated enough people to speak the name of ‘He-who-must-not-be-named’ then he would have been safe from being discovered. But the risk of failing to co-ordinate is so great that no-one wants to take the risk.

Today’s takeaway: Co-ordination can defeat the strongest enemy.

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One Response to Harry Potter, Lord Voldemort and game theory

  1. Pingback: Barry Hughes: Harry Potter, Lord Voldemort and game theory « Riskczar's Blog

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