"Nicolas Flamel is an historical character. Flamel lived in France in the fourteenth century and is supposed to have discovered how to make a philosopher's stone. There are mentions of sightings of him through the centuries because he was supposed to have gained immortality. There are still streets named after Flamel and his wife Perenelle in Paris."
J. K. Rowling on Nicolas Flamel

Nicolas Flamel (before 1327[1] – between 1992 and 1996[2]) was a French wizard, well-known alchemist and only known maker of the Philosopher's Stone, a legendary substance with incredible powers. He was a close friend and partner with former Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. He owed his considerable age to the Elixir of Life. He and his wife Perenelle created this Elixir using the Stone. He was six hundred and ninety years old as of 1992.[1]

Flamel was briefly mentioned on Albus Dumbledore's Chocolate Frog Card.


Early life (14th century)

Nicolas was born in the early 14th century. In his youth, Nicolas attended Beauxbatons Academy of Magic in the Pyrenees Mountains of France, and it was there that he met Perenelle, his future wife. It is said that he later funded both the castle and the grounds, and a fountain on the grounds was named after the couple.[3]

Flamel became a noted alchemist of considerable talent and an opera-lover.[4] At some point, he created the Philosopher's Stone, an item of immense magical power. With the Stone, he created the Elixir of Life, which extended his life. Although it is clear that he used the Elixir to greatly extend his life, it is not specified whether he used the Stone's powers to make himself greatly wealthy, as the Stone is also capable of turning any metal into gold.

Magically extended life (through the 19th century)

In 1762, at the age of over 300 years, he may have been seen in a Parisian opera House.[5]

In the 1890s, Nicolas first came into contact with Albus Dumbledore.[6]

Gellert Grindelwald's revolution (1920s-1945)

Flamel and Kowalski crystal ball

Flamel and Jacob Kowalski watching future events of the day in alchemist's crystal ball.

Living in Paris in September 1927, Flamel met Magizoologist Newton Scamander and No-maj Jacob Kowalski. The latter mistook him for a ghost.

He was informed through his crystal ball that Grindelwald was about to gather his followers at the Lestrange family Mausoleum and joined the fight against him despite his old age.[7]

Flamel arrived as Grindelwald had escaped and had unleashed Protego Diabolica to destroy Paris, a magic so powerful and unstable that none of the assembled wizards opposed to the Dark wizard knew how to counter it. Flamel instructed them to form a ring around the Lestrange mausoleum, plant their wands in the ground and use the counter-spell. The effect was the creation of a counter-spell so great that it forced the Fiendfyre back into the mausoleum where it ended its effects.[7]

Death (1990s)

By the 1990s, Nicolas had moved to Great Britain with his wife and enjoyed a quiet life in Devon.[4] However, the danger of the Stone's existence was brought to light when Voldemort, with the help of Hogwarts Professor Quirinus Quirrell, was nearly successful in stealing it for the purpose of restoring Voldemort to physical form. However, his plan was thwarted by the efforts of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley. Flamel agreed, along with Dumbledore, that the stone should be destroyed. With enough Elixir to set his affairs in order, it was expected that Flamel and his wife would die shortly thereafter. Harry took the news as terrible, but Dumbledore told him that their deaths would be like "going to bed after a very, very long day".[8]

Personality and traits

A kindly old man with a polite disposition, Nicolas Flamel warmly welcomed Newt Scamander, Jacob Kowalski, Tina Goldstein, and Yusuf Kama when they arrived at his home in Paris, treating Dumbledore's "friends" like his own. In spite of his advanced age of over 600, Nicolas was happy to do what he could to help put an end to Gellert Grindelwald's seemingly unstoppable rise to power, and agreed to let his home be used as a safe-house for those who opposed the Dark Wizard. Although he appeared to have had some doubts about his own abilities, Nicolas nevertheless proved himself to be a very brave and selfless individual, as he arrived to help Newt Scamander and the latter's allies to fight Grindelwald at the Lestrange family Mausoleum when called upon to do so by Eulalie Hicks, and although he arrived too late to help fight Grindelwald himself, Nicolas nevertheless displayed great courage both by his timely arrival, and by his help in containing the incredibly powerful, rampant blue fire Grindelwald conjured, and was, as such, instrumental to the efforts to save Paris from it.

Despite making efforts to hide his Philosopher's Stone from the wrong hands (first in Gringotts Wizarding Bank, then in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry), Nicolas by the age of 690, much like his friend Albus Dumbledore, ultimately viewed death as "but the next great adventure". Hence, after Lord Voldemort very nearly succeeded in capturing his Philosopher's Stone, Nicolas willingly had it destroyed, having collected enough Elixir of Life to set his and his wife's affairs in order.

As an alchemist, it could be assumed that Nicolas Flamel was a very dedicated and academically-minded individual, and possibly even philosophical, as alchemy involved some philosophical aspects, as well as the practical ones. Moreover, Nicolas was apparently a very cultured man, evidenced by his love of opera[4].

Magical abilities and skills

Beguiling his frail exterior, Nicolas Flamel was a very powerful and accomplished wizard. Rich in learning and experience, testaments to Nicolas' considerable abilities were his proficiency in alchemy, held to be some of the most difficult magic known to wizardkind, and Nicolas helping to save the city of Paris from the rampant, cursed blue fire unleashed by Gellert Grindelwald, the most powerful Dark Wizard of the early 20th century.

  • Alchemy: Nicolas Flamel was an incredibly accomplished alchemist, likely the greatest in wizarding history, as he had created the holy grail of alchemy — the Philosopher's Stone. With this, Nicolas rendered himself and his wife Perenelle immortal for centuries, until he finally chose to destroy the stone in 1992.
  • Potioneer: Nicolas Flamel was highly skilled at brewing potions, since he was notably able to prepare the complex Elixir of Life with the help of his Philosopher's Stone.
  • Defence Against the Dark Arts: Although the exact extent of his skills is uncertain, it is evident that Nicolas Flamel had extensive knowledge of the Dark Arts, as he instantly recognised and knew how to stop the incredibly dangerous and volatile blue fire conjured by Gellert Grindelwald, and, along with Newt and Theseus Scamander, Tina Goldstein, and Yusuf Kama, successfully contained that fire by means of a combined powerful counter-spell, combined with an orange purifying fire, thus effectively prevented the destruction of Paris. Nicolas' home was also described by Dumbledore as being heavily warded by various powerful protective enchantments after he turned his home into a safe-house for Dumbledore's friends and allies.
  • Duelling: By 1927, Nicholas Flamel claimed that he had not "seen action" in about 200 years, suggesting that prior to that, he used to be both an active and highly accomplished duelist. Despite his long absence from martial magic, however, and initial doubt that he would be of any help in fighting Gellert Grindelwald, Ilvermorny professor Eulalie Hicks had great faith in his abilities, and urged him to go to the Lestrange family Mausoleum to save Newt and his friends. Ultimately, although he reached his allies too late to help fight Grindelwald himself, it was only through Flamel's timely arrival that the city of Paris was saved, who proceeded to take charge and both lead and coordinated the collaborated efforts of himself Newt Scamander, Theseus Scamander, Tina Goldstein, and Yusuf Kama to drive back the cursed blue fire that Grindelwald had conjured, and thus played an important part in saving Paris.
  • Elemental Magic Mastery: Nicolas Flamel had a degree of control over the element fire, shown when he aided his four allies in conjuring vast amounts of orange purifying fire to contain the incredibly destructive blue fire left by Gellert Grindelwald.
  • Divination: Nicolas Flamel, while not a Seer, apparently had some ability in Divination, as he could gaze into crystal balls and see events unfold elsewhere, such as when he saw Credence Barebone, Nagini, and the upcoming Gellert Grindelwald rally at the Lestrange family Mausoleum. Indeed, Nicolas' crystal ball was so powerful, that even the No-Maj Jacob Kowalski managed to see a vision of the rally in it.
  • Wandless and Non-verbal magic: Nicolas Flamel proved capable of using both wandless and nonverbal magic, either of which is advanced and often difficult to perform even individually, yet Nicolas used both simultaneously when he unlocked the padlock on the phoenix-embossed book by simply touching it. Shortly thereafter, Nicolas non-verbally helped direct and control the purifying, orange fire he and his four allies had produced to quell Grindelwald's cursed blue one.
  • Social networking: Due to having lived over 600 years thanks to the Philosopher's Stone's Elixir of Life, Nicolas Flamel has a vast network of international contacts in the whole Wizarding World, communicating with them via his phoenix-embossed book. Notable among his contacts were Albus Dumbledore of Hogwarts, and Eulalie Hicks of Ilvermorny.
  • Bilingualist: Nicolas Flamel spoke his native French, as well as fluent English, with only a slight accent in the latter.


Nicolas Flamel's wand


Perenelle Flamel

Perenelle Flamel was the wife of Nicolas Flamel. Nicolas Flamel shared the Philosopher's Stone with Perenelle, making them both immortal until the Stone was destroyed in 1992.

Albus Dumbledore

Albus Dumbledore was a close friend to Nicolas. During the Global wizarding war, Flamel let him use his home as a safe house for allies that opposed the Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald, and helped protect Paris from certain destruction at the hands of said revolutionary leader alongside Newt Scamander, Theseus Scamander, Tina Goldstein and Yusuf Kama. The faith and trust he had in Dumbledore is evident, and highlighted by his allowing Albus to put the Stone in Gringotts Wizarding Bank in London in 1991 to prevent Lord Voldemort from stealing it. It was also Albus who moved the stone to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for further protection later the same year.


  • Nicolas is the French form of the Greek name Nikolaos meaning "victory of the people".
  • The name Flamel means in Old French "flame". Such meaning can be associated to Flamel's work as an alchemist.

Behind the scenes

  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Flamel's first name is spelt as Nicholas, adding an h in the subtitles and the book Hermione Granger reads.
  • Also in the film, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger discover the link to Nicolas Flamel and the stone through a book, rather than Albus Dumbledore's Chocolate Frog Card. (In a deleted scene you see them discovering the connection through a chocolate frog card, but it was switched when edited).
  • Nicolas Flamel was a real French scribe believed in legend to have been an alchemist who created the Philosopher's Stone. He was born about 1330 and died in 1418. There is no proof that the historical Flamel achieved immortality with his wife Perenelle, though a few have claimed to have seen him throughout the centuries, or that he was even involved in alchemy at all. Some treasure-hunters accidentally dug up his grave and discovered that his tomb was empty. Another goal of Nicolas Flamel according to the legend was to turn ordinary lead into pure gold. The reference to Flamel marks one of the few occasions in which a real person has been referenced as a character in the Potter books.
  • Nicolas Flamel is the title of chapter 13 in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
  • In a deleted first draft of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry revealed that Nicholas Flamel was spotted in an opera house which was located in Paris in 1762.[5]
  • Nicolas was the first known Beauxbatons student introduced in the series, though the fact that he attended Beauxbatons was only revealed on Pottermore.
  • Nicolas Flamel appeared in the second film of the Fantastic Beasts series, played by Brontis Jodorowsky.[9]
  • The pronunciation of Flamel's first name varies by canon source. While the s is pronounced in the Harry Potter films, Nicolas himself says it with a silent s in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which is the French pronunciation.

Author's comments

J. K. Rowling admitted that several months into the writing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone she had a highly detailed and exceptionally vivid dream about Flamel, which was like "a renaissance painting come to life". Flamel was leading her around his cluttered laboratory, which was bathed in golden light, and showing exactly how to make the Stone.[10]


The Harry Potter Wiki has 5 images related to Nicolas Flamel.

External links

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 13 (Nicolas Flamel) - "Mr Flamel, who celebrated his six hundred and sixty-fifth birthday last year, enjoys a quiet life in Devon with his wife, Perenelle (six hundred and fifty-eight)." Note the book being quoted is described to be old in 1992, so she and her husband are in fact older. In an early draft of the book, Harry read in Alchemy: Ancient Art and Science that Nicolas was born in the 1300s
  2. 2.0 2.1 Rowling stated on her website shortly before the publication of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that Nicolas had died by the start of the book, which makes their date of deaths between 1992 when the stone was destroyed and 1996 which is when the sixth book starts.
  3. Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Beauxbatons Academy of Magic" at Pottermore
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 13 (Nicolas Flamel)
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Very early page of Philosopher's Stone", by J. K. Rowling - (see this image)
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 2 (In Memoriam)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  8. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
  9. Pottermore: Nicolas Flamel Cast
  10. Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Nicolas Flamel" at Pottermore