While watching Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald I couldn’t help but ponder what the symbol above Nicolas Flamel’s door (and on the card Dumbledor gives Newt) was all about. Knowing J. K. Rowling it had to have some kind of meaning, otherwise it wouldn’t be there. I thought myself a bit silly, knowing it was only a Google search away. To my surprise it wasn’t that simple. I tried multiple searches with different words and sentences and nothing came up. Since Flamel was an alchymist I assumed it would be something of that sort so I decided to decipher the code and satisfy my burning curiosity, hoping that I wasn’t the only one who had been wondering ever since the movie was released. And hoping that I wasn’t the only one not knowing what the heck it means.
In case you were wondering it is the symbol on the left I’m babbling about. It looks pretty, and to be honest, had it been any other movie franchise I would have thought it was just a pretty something, decor. But J. K. Rowling is too clever and it can’t be a coincidence that this symbol is what she chose. With Flamel being an alchymist I immedately started looking for an overview of the elemental symbols they must have used, a kind of periodic table.
It is common knowledge that alchymists had a thirst for using chemistry to try and make gold, using – you guessed it – the Philosopher’s Stone (latin: lapis philosophorum). I must say that I find it ironic that you need to discover how to make something before you, well, discover how to make something using the other something you just discovered. Confused? Good, that was my intention. The stone was also believed to have the ability to produce the elixir of life. The human lust for immortality shows, in my personal opinion, just how foolish humans can be. Our mortality is the very reason why most people live fiercely, plus, there are other ways of ensuring immortality: offspring, pictures, the written word. Anyway, back to topic.
Once I found the right website the answer was almost too simple to be exciting. The symbol on the left is the closest I could find, and honestly, it is the exact symbol above Flamel’s door. Not only does it almost look like a complete replica – made pretty for the audience, of course – but what it represents also gives, not a clue, but a big loud fat piece of evidence as so why I am absolutely certain that this is the answer I’ve been searcing for: it’s the alchymist symbol for gold! The sign of perfection in every way possible. So there you have it, and on top of that we’ve discovered how incredibly mundane a brilliant man can be. It’s either that or Flamel is a sucker for simplicity. Thinking about it the symbol for gold does kind of look like an arrow pointing at the house shrieking: THERE’S AN ALCHYMIST TO BE FOUND ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THESE WALLS! Only other alchymists would know what it means anyway, right? And now, you do too.
Picture credit: The Witcher: Rising Flames Wikia
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