J.K. Rowling has tweeted an image of the real-life tombstone of Nicolas Flamel. Let’s take a closer look, and theorise about Fantastic Beasts!

A few weeks ago, we learned that not only will Fantastic Beasts 2 introduce a young Dumbledore, but his long-time friend and collaborator Nicolas Flamel (aka the alchemist whose life-prolonging Philosopher’s Stone was the focal point of the first Harry Potter book) has also been cast!

Related: Photos: Jude Law and his Dumbledore Beard were spotted near ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ Hogwarts set

Since the sequel will partially take place in France, which is where the real-life Flamel lived, we have to assume that he will have more than a passing role in the movie series — which is proving to be more of a direct prequel to the Harry Potter series than we initially expected.

This morning, J.K. Rowling tweeted out an image of Nicolas Flamel’s tombstone, which is located in Musée de Cluny in Paris but appears to be on loan at the British Library’s Harry Potter exhibition (although it could be a replica):

Flamel, a 14th century scribe and philanthropist, designed his own tombstone in 1410, before allegedly passing away in 1418.

Harry Potter fans know better, of course, as Flamel actually continued his secret work as an alchemist, achieved immortality, and didn’t die until shortly after the Philosopher’s Stone was destroyed in 1992.

That Rowling appears to be diving into his history certainly suggests that his real life as well as the legends of his posthumous achievements will make their way into Fantastic Beasts 2.

Flamel and his wife Perenelle (she really existed, too!) were said to be dabbling in alchemy, and achieved two legendary feats: they created the Philosopher’s Stone, which turned metals into gold, and they successfully brewed the Elixir of Life, which granted them immortality (note that these were two separate achievements).

Notably, the Stone was not a one-off property: Nicolas and Perenelle allegedly used a recipe found in the copy of the Book of Abramelin the Mage to create it, which means that more stones could in theory be created if one was in possession of this book, and knew how to read the hieroglyphs inside.

Could it be that Grindelwald’s quest for power includes going after the Flamels — not for immortality, but for the unlimited riches that a Philosopher’s Stone could grant him? After all, Grindelwald and Voldemort are two very different types of evil, and Grindelwald’s quest to revolutionize the Wizarding World and end the Statute of Secrecy is far more idealistic in nature than Voldemort’s selfish quest for immortality and personal power.

Since the Fantastic Beasts series seems poised to reveal hidden depth to the pre-Harry Potter era, diving into Dumbledore’s backstory and revealing Grindelwald’s true agenda, it would definitely be interesting if Flamel’s life and legacy also amounted to more substance than what we saw in the first Potter novel!

What do you think? Is J.K. Rowling trying to tell us something with Nicolas Flamel’s tombstone, or is she merely advertising for the Harry Potter exhibition?

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