Nicolas Flamel and Eulalie Hicks: Forerunners of the ‘Order of the Phoenix’

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Dec 08, 2018

Posted by: Dawn Johnson | Comments

Fandom, Fans, Fantastic Beasts, Films, J.K. Rowling, Movies, News, Opinion

While Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald surprised fans with some major plot twists–Queenie’s defection, the existence of the Blood Pact, the sacrifice of Leta Lestrange and the identity of Credence Barebone–it also introduced us to some interesting new characters. We met Leta’s older half-brother, Yusef Kama, Newt’s assistant, Bunty, renowned alchemist Nicolas Flamel and Ilvermorny professor Eulalie Hicks. We’re particularly intrigued by the connection between Flamel and Hicks, how it points to what’s going on behind the scenes and how their involvement may factor into the story’s ongoing development.

Rowling first hinted at Flamel’s involvement when Dumbledore handed Newt an enchanted calling card which directs him to the location of a secret safe house. The house belonged to none other than Nicolas Flamel, a close colleague of Dumbledore’s and resident of Paris.

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Newt, Tina, Jacob and Yusef found themselves in need of just such a place to hide later in the film, and they took the ailing Kama to Flamel’s home while working out what to do next. As fans will recall, Kama slipped from their midst, while Newt and Tina headed for the French Ministry of Magic, armed with Polyjuice Potion and hopes of discovering more about the Lestrange family tree.

In their absence, Flamel and Jacob were left to await further instructions. Suddenly, Flamel’s crystal ball began to glow and revealed that a terrifying encounter with Grindelwald would take place in the Cimitière Du Père Lachaise–or, Cemetery of Father Lachaise–where the Lestrange Mausoleum was located.

Immediately, Flamel hastened to open a secret vault disguised as a cupboard in the wall (also containing the Philosopher’s Stone!) and withdrew a gold embossed book. Setting it upon his workbench, he flipped through the pages. Finding Albus Dumbledore’s page blank, he continued on to Eulalie Hicks, professor at Ilvermorny, the American School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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They briefly discussed the unfolding events, and Hicks encouraged Flamel to go to their aid, against his protestations, with the charge, “Are you a wizard or not?!”

This exchange, though short, hinted that the two share a deep understanding of the current events–and the stakes involved–and suggested that these characters will play a much larger role in the future. Consider what can be observed…

1) Flamel and the Crystal Ball.

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It seems clear in the film that Gellert Grindelwald is a seer and possesses the magical ability of foresight. Rowling offers a counterpart in Flamel, who appears to be gifted in the study of Divination. He’s an exceptionally talented wizard, and if he is able to use the magical object to their advantage, it will even the playing field to some extent in future installments. While Grindelwald has visions of the future, Flamel can act to counter that “fate” by informing and aiding those joining the fight against him.

2) Flamel and the Golden Book.

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In Leaky’s coverage of the biggest questions to come out of the film, we referred to Flamel’s “magical phone book.” It’s an oversimplification, perhaps, but the book does seem to perform the function, enabling Flamel to quickly reach contacts amassed therein. But we’d like to know more than what the book can do–we’d like to know about its origin and what it represents.

The golden hardback book is embossed with a stylized phoenix, and this suggests a number of things…

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What if the Order of the Phoenix was not formed when Voldemort first rose to power? What if the Order of the Phoenix was a secret wizarding organization founded to combat dark magical threats against wizard-kind and that it has a much longer history than previously thought? Like the Knights Templar, worthy members would join and commit to fight for just cause whenever and wherever the need arose. With a point of contact for members scattered in wizarding communities around the world, such a roster of members would facilitate communication and coordination in the event that the Order was called to action.

Is it possible that Albus, or one of his ancestors, actually founded the Order much earlier than the 1970s? Rowling revealed in the film that phoenixes are especially drawn to the Dumbledore family. Like an ancestral mascot or family crest, the image of the phoenix could signify the involvement or commissioning of a Dumbledore, in addition to identifying the book as belonging to the Order. In fact, an image from a deleted scene shows Dumbledore in possession of the same book, which seems to confirm multiple copies exist–and that they have a special purpose.

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The nature of Flamel’s residence further suggests he was involved in the Order. Dumbledore identified Flamel’s home as a “safe house,” which implied his membership in or acquaintance with a group willing to provide safe harbor to those in need. Who but the Order would organize such a thing? There are probably safe houses all over the world, wherever allies reside, and each one likely has a copy of the enchanted book and a way to contact the others when in need.

3) Flamel and Professor Hicks.

Of all the wizards included in the book, why did Rowling elect for Flamel to contact Eulalie Hicks? We don’t yet know Hicks’ area of professional expertise or her other magical abilities, but it is safe to say that she was included in the book, and included in this film, for a reason.

The remnant fighters will likely need her assistance or direction in the future. If she is, as we suspect, a fellow “Order” member, she will be more than willing to provide both. Perhaps she is fluent in Ancient Runes and will be called upon to decipher old texts that may suggest how to break the Blood Pact. Maybe she specializes in Defense Against the Dark Arts and will consult with Albus from that angle.

Whatever her role, Rowling introduced Hicks because she will become important, while also withholding specific information about her because it would probably be a spoiler about the way in which she will contribute. We’re definitely excited to see how Rowling continues to develop these characters and fold them into the larger plot!

What do you think, Fantastic Beasts and Potter fans? Is this our official introduction to an earlier Order of the Phoenix? How do you think Flamel and Hicks will factor into the next film?





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