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Leslie Barnhart.  John Granger’s Basic Course  Alchemy: Nowadays, History, and JK Rowling  The HP alchemical triangles and other new insights  Christian.

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Presentation on theme: "Leslie Barnhart.  John Granger’s Basic Course  Alchemy: Nowadays, History, and JK Rowling  The HP alchemical triangles and other new insights  Christian."— Presentation transcript:

1 Leslie Barnhart

2  John Granger’s Basic Course  Alchemy: Nowadays, History, and JK Rowling  The HP alchemical triangles and other new insights  Christian Alchemy parallels, symbolism, triangles

3 Three Parts to Alchemy: – Four physical elements: earth, water, air, fire – Three stages: nigredo, albedo, rubedo – Two forces: mercury and sulfur Alchemical characters – Hermione = mercury; Ron = sulfur – Bill and Fleur – “red king” and “white queen” – Ted = alchemical orphan Philosopher’s Stone – goal of alchemy Alchemical numbers: 3, 7, 13 What else do you remember?

4  Seven stages of transformation, including distillation, coagulation, separation, etc  Elements of the moon and the sun, with their “powers” – spiritual process is focus  Actual kits: chemistry kits, formulas, materials  Scripts look like made-up symbols:

5  Possibly Chinese, definitely Egyptian roots  Well-spread throughout Roman Empire  Colossians 2:8 – talks about the “philosophy of the day concerning the four elements”  Diocletian – burned everything he could find  Resurrected from Arabia/ Spain in 12 th century  People constantly focused on physical, not spiritual practice, lots of problems

6  Used alchemy to highlight relationships between characters  Alchemical storyline: Harry is the lead – transforms to gold by end of series (JG again)  Hermione and Ron  Black, White, Red stages  Mastery of four elements  In chemistry lab, sulfur is the antidote for mercury spills

7  Alchemy: a “celestial trio”: sulfur, mercury, salt  Three stages represented in many forms:  Gregory Goyle, Draco Malfoy, and Vincent Crabbe Goyle: a golum/ gargoyle, black stage Malfoy: white hair, etc, seeker, very intelligent Crabbe: represents red, dies at the end of the red stage  Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore, and Lord Voldemort Snape: black eyes, turns away from everything Dumbledore: blue eyes, knows everything Voldemort: red eyes, purifying the race, battle

8  Lord Voldemort, Dumbledore, and Harry:  Represent the triptych of man: Dumbledore: that which has always been (the old one) Lord Voldemort: that which is now (the man in his prime) Harry Potter: that which will be (forever and ever): the future  Flesh, Blood, and Bone  The bone of the father: the old man; flesh of the servant: man now; blood of the enemy: future of mankind

9  Harry = the Philosopher’s Stone in the Making  Phineus Nigellus: Nigellus = Black, hence: Pb = Lead!! – the beginning of the alchemy process  Sirius Black: initials: Sb = Antimony – the fifth/ transitional stage of alchemy (death: end of 5 th stage), followers are all shiny metals, has dog-like characteristics  Sb transitions from Slytherin to Gryffindor, adopts Harry, Harry inherits the path to Gold  Gringotts: The Seat of All Alchemical Metals

10  Micro and Macro: within each book, within the series  Beginning of each stage DNE book beginnings  In General, Order of the Phoenix = black stage, Half-Blood Prince = white stage and Deathly Hallows = red stage  Elements of a stage change:  Significant death  Juxtaposition of Harry and Lord Voldemort  Elements of new stage set in immediately

11  Nigredo – begins at end of Goblet of Fire  Begins with death of Cedric Diggory  Harry and Lord Voldemort’s wands “connect”  Upon returning from the graveyard, Minister denies Harry’s claim, begins renouncing Harry’s credibility

12  Albedo: begins at the end of Order of the Phoenix  Sirius BLACK dies (signals beginning of end of Black stage)  Lord Voldemort possesses Harry – juxtaposition of opposites  Cornelius Fudge suddenly understands: “He’s back!”  Lord Voldemort is completely absent during this stage from Harry’s mind

13  Rubedo:  White stage ends with three significant deaths: Albus Dumbledore’s death at end of Half-Blood Prince Hedwig’s death Mad-Eye Moody’s death  Harry and Lord Voldemort’s Wands connect in the departure from Privet Drive  Once they find out about Moody’s death, Lord Voldemort is back in Harry’s mind

14  End of Rubedo:  Three Significant deaths/ captures: Crabbe in the fire in the Room of Requirement Fred in the blast at Hogwarts Rubeus Hagrid – captured in the forest  Harry and Lord Voldemort unite but are then separated forever  Battle of Hogwarts is over

15  Alchemy is not palatable for most Christians:  Thought to be associated with witchcraft  Transformation seems like ancient “voo-doo” science  Separated into science and spiritual discovery after Galileo and Newton  Alchemy was banned by the church or ruling body multiple times  Rowling recombines spiritual alchemy with Christianity, regenerates concept of “Christian Alchemy”

16  Philosopher’s Stone: Harry masters earth (monster of earth: troll, Quirreldemort)  Chamber of Secrets: Harry masters water by mastering elemental water(masters Parseltongue to help conquer monster of water, the basilisk)  Prisoner of Azkaban: Harry masters elemental air through the Hebraic understanding: breath/ air, spirit, and time: animagus, time-turners, dementors and boggart (monsters of air), …  Goblet of Fire: Harry masters fire by winning tournament, defeats other monsters of fire: blast- ended screwts, conversing via fireplace

17  Order of the Phoenix:  masters the fifth element: the Astral Plane, where angels and dreams live – has to conquer dreams vs reality (symbolized by the veil)  dovetails with black stage (nigredo): dreams happen at night, Harry’s exile from Dumbledore, renunciation, occlumency…  Half Blood Prince: Illumination/ albedo (lots of silver, the sixth metal of alchemy)  Deathly Hallows: Battle, unification of Lord Voldemort’s soul (eliminating pieces); unification of the races against Lord Voldemort, union with the Divine Mind

18  Philosopher’s Stone: Covenant of earth: God’s covenant with Adam, his creation  Chamber of Secrets: Covenant over water: God’s covenant with Noah  Prisoner of Azkaban: Covenant of air: God’s covenant promising a future, etc with Abraham  Goblet of Fire: covenant over fire: God’s covenant with Moses through the burning bush

19  Order of the Phoenix: exile in Babylon, feeling of separation from God  Half-Blood Prince: Palm Sunday: begins with the triumphant re-entry of Harry and Dumbledore into society, ends with Dumbledore’s death – the Passion Narrative  Deathly Hallows: The joys of Easter: new Christian faith, as Christ rose, we share in the resurrection

20  Ron – Sulfur (two sides to sulfur); Hermione – mercury: quiksilver; Harry – the “salt” of the earth (Christian connection!!)  Deathly Hallows: three men = Trinity  Elder Wand: the power of God  Resurrection Stone: the power of Christ’s Resurrection  Invisibility Cloak: the power of the Holy Spirit  As the Trinity, Hallows versus Horcruxes symbolizes differences between man’s plan for saving his “life” and God’s plan for salvation

21  Dumbledore’s Death = Passion Narrative  Three Points of View of the Passion:  Harry’s: St John – the only disciple to get into the courtyard and witness Christ’s torture  Snape’s: St Peter – denial of Christ three times: Snape denies Charity’s pleas three times before her death; sectumsempra on George’s ear  Mundungus: Judas: deserts the disciples, allowing the leader to die

22  Fred and George Weasley – represent the Saints and Martyrs of the church:  Saint George, patron saint of England  Fred – murdered for his faith  Oliver Wood – the Olive Wood of the cross – shows Harry the quest for truth  Ollivander – the Olive Wand, again pointing to Olive Wood as the Cross wood  Peter Pettigrew / Wormtail: wormwood, the substance that always kills 1/3 of the community whenever it appears in Bible

23  Albus Dumbledore = Christ Figure: Anno Domini (Year of our Lord) = Great Shepherd  Brother and sister also have AD initials  Aberforth = reminder of sheep versus goats  Predecessor, Armando Dippet = AD too  Hagrid – gatekeeper for the sheepfold  Goes to the ends of the earth to collect the lost sheep  Believes in all creatures’ goodness

24  Minerva McGonagall and Molly Weasley  Martha and Mary  McGonagall = all work, duty over all else  Molly Weasley = focus on people, chores less  Snape = St. Peter: rock of Hogwarts when AD leaves, cuts of ear, close friend of Dumbledore  Harry = St. John: Beloved student, watches AD Passion, in cave and in tower  (Draco = Judas, reformed: given opportunity to change mind, appeal to AD’s mercy)

25  Black: renouncing all evil Early catecumenates would wear black robes during this stage  White: significant insights and learning At baptism, Christians would gain new white robe and wear it for all special sacraments with God (communion, confirmation, marriage, death, etc)  Red: Reunification between God and humanity Historically, the reunification between Christ and man on the cross After death – purgatory, “baptism” by fire -- John Granger, The Five Keys to Unlocking Harry Potter, 2005, USA.

26  Deathly Hallows concludes series through baptisms in the four elements, solidifying their Christian mastery of the physical elements:  Baptism of earth: Trio rise out of the ministry with the Locket Horcrux  Baptism of water: Harry is brought out of the water by Ron, Sword destroys Locket  Baptism of air: Harry, Ron, and Hermione rise out of Gringotts on the dragon with the Cup  Baptism of fire: Harry, Ron, and Hermione emerge from Fiendfyre, Tiara is destroyed  Baptism of astral plane: Harry meets with Dumbledore, returns with LV’s soul destroyed

27  Understanding the four elements exist in church:  Birth = creation of God, earth  Baptism = covenant with water  Confirmation = covenant with air  Death/ purgatory, etc = baptism by fire  Philosopher’s Stone = Christ, who gives us his body and blood, the elixir of life = immortality  Transformation is a Quest, not a Destination

28  As people are transformed, they transform others as well:  Harry helps change Ron and Hermione, as they change him  Harry transforms Draco with sectumsempra – Draco never hurts anyone afterwards  Helps transform Neville through his example, Neville then helps transform others

29  Christ is the ultimate Philosopher’s Stone – shows his mastery of the four elements to become the Stone, gave his body and blood for us (communion/ Eucharist)  Eucharist grants immortality  Albus Dumbledore is the Philosopher’s Stone  Others create or become Philosopher’s Stones because of Albus Dumbledore  Helps Nicholas Flamel create stone (600 years ago?)  Helps Harry understand his progression through his mastery at every level – Harry becomes a “stone”

30  Owls – wisdom of God  Raven – hidden knowledge  Many others: see John Granger’s books for list  Four houses = four Songs of Isaiah that foretell the coming of Christ:  the pure of heart that will shine as an example to the world  The wise teacher that will instruct the world  The suffering servant  The conquering king

31  What do you take from this?

32 Leslie Barnhart,


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