Nicholas Flamel

Holy Bartleby, he was a scrivener.

Okay, maybe everybody but me knew this…but I was blown away last night when I googled for my daughter to find out when new HP movies will be released. I was reading on wikipedia and clicked his linked name, thinking maybe there was more (fictional) background story that I had missed in reading the books or something…

Nicholas Flamel was a real person?!?!

Consider my ignorance fought, and wanted to share in case anyone else didn’t know this. (on preview/Search I guess it was mentioned in a “Historical figures best known from references” thread, but I didn’t catch that one.)

I’ve read Hunchback of Notre Dame years ago, and Da Vinci Code more recently, but Foucault’s Penduleem is one of my favorite books…and I don’t remember his name being referenced in any of them! (Time to re-read, I guess.)

I’d be greatly interested in learning more if anyone has any interesting sources to share. (Yes, my Google-schwartz is as big as yours; I mean any sources anyone would personally reccomend as a good, informative read. Legend or fact.)

Rowling is a fun author that way. Lupin is a werewolf, Sirius Black can change into a black dog–Sirius, of course, being known as The Dog Star in the Canis Major constellation. Also some of the spells are translations from ancient languages. “Avada Kedavra” is, I believe, Assyrian or somesuch for “With my word, I kill”

I think she did a hell of a job making up a world and weaving it into our own.

Hmmm… Are you sure of this? It looks/sounds suspiciously close to “abracadabra” to me…

i can’t believe I’ve been "cited’ for a Harry Potter thread. :smiley: And busted in my own cite…it’s Aramaic. of course. :smack:

You might want to be sitting down for this…Leonardo da Vinci and Leon Foucault were real people too. :smiley:

“Hello. My word is ‘Avada Kadavra.’ You killed my Potter. Prepare to die.”

Not sure if this is a whoosh, but just in case it isn’t–that phrase is the origin of the modern “abracadabra.”

No, considering “Avada Kavadra” is the killing curse, it’d be more like:

“Hello. My word is ‘Avada Kadavra’. You killed my…oh, damn. He’s dead. So much for my speech.”

Smartass :smiley:

I was just surprised that I had read at least three books (one a favorite, and one recently), all referencing Nicholas Flamel, and had not noticed. Of course, Foucault’s and Code were overflowing with obscure references, but still…

So I guess everybody else already did know this. Hrmm.

Ah well, my humility can handle that, and I’m happy to have have learned something new and have another topic to add to my never-ending list of things to research more.

Nah. Up until recently, I’m guessing that virtually no one outside the Renaissance festival community would have recognized Nicholas Flamel by name. Now lots of people do, but only as “that guy from the one Harry Potter book;” and if any of them are aware that Flamel was actually a real person, it’s only from reading the sidebar columns of J. K. Rowling interviews.

By a fairly mundane coincidence, just last night I was perusing the book Alchemists Through The Ages* by Arthur Edward Waite, the famous scholar of ritual magic, Freemasonry and suchlike tools of Satan. Flamel’s entry is the longest in the book at 23 pages total. By contrast, Paracelsus rates a whopping 3 pages.

*(Lives of the Famous Alchemistical Philosophers from the year 850 to the close of the 18th century, together with a Study of the Principles and Practice of Alchemy, including a Bibiliography of Alchemical and Hermetic Philosophy)

Nope. It wasn’t a whoosh.

I know him from “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” by Charles Mackay, a wonderful source on bizarre crap from antiquity to the 19th century. He has a whole big section on “The Alchymists”, and Flamel gets a decent profile.

Don’t know if it has any significance or not, but I always thought it was interesting that, besides sounding an awful lot like “abracadabra” as noted above, “Avada Kedavra” is also quite evocative of the word “cadaver”.

Ms. Rowling sure does love her wordplay.