Nicolas Flamel embraces death

Dumbledore explains that not everybody wants to live forever

Extract from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

By J.K. Rowling

'Calm yourself, dear boy, you are a little behind the times,’ said Dumbledore. ‘Quirrell does not have the Stone.’

‘Then who does? Sir, I –’

‘Harry, please relax, or Madam Pomfrey will have me thrown out.’

Harry swallowed and looked around him. He realised he must be in the hospital wing. He was lying in a bed with white linen sheets and next to him was a table piled high with what looked like half the sweet-shop.

‘Tokens from your friends and admirers,’ said Dumbledore, beaming. ‘What happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret, so, naturally, the whole school knows. I believe your friends Misters Fred and George Weasley were responsible for trying to send you a lavatory seat. No doubt they thought it would amuse you. Madam Pomfrey, however, felt it might not be very hygienic, and confiscated it.’

‘How long have I been in here?’

‘Three days. Mr Ronald Weasley and Miss Granger will be most relieved you have come round, they have been extremely worried.’

‘But sir, the Stone –’

‘I see you are not to be distracted. Very well, the Stone. Professor Quirrell did not manage to take it from you. I arrived in time to prevent that, although you were doing very well on your own, I must say.’

‘You got there? You got Hermione’s owl?’

‘We must have crossed in mid-air. No sooner had I reached London than it became clear to me that the place I should be was the one I had just left. I arrived just in time to pull Quirrell off you –’

‘It was you.

‘I feared I might be too late.’

‘You nearly were, I couldn’t have kept him off the Stone much longer –’

‘Not the Stone, boy, you – the effort involved nearly killed you. For one terrible moment there, I was afraid it had. As for the Stone, it has been destroyed.’

‘Destroyed?’ said Harry blankly. ‘But your friend – Nicolas Flamel –’

‘Oh, you know about Nicolas?’ said Dumbledore, sounding quite delighted. ‘You did do the thing properly, didn’t you? Well, Nicolas and I have had a little chat and agreed it’s all for the best.’

‘But that means he and his wife will die, won’t they?’

‘They have enough Elixir stored to set their affairs in order and then, yes, they will die.’

Dumbledore smiled at the look of amazement on Harry’s face.

‘To one as young as you, I’m sure it seems incredible, but to Nicolas and Perenelle, it really is like going to bed after a very, very long day. After all, to the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure. You know, the Stone was really not such a wonderful thing. As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all – the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things which are worst for them.’

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

By J.K. Rowling