Title page for ETD etd-11132008-191836


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Geldenhuys, Vincent Marcel
Email blanch101@iafrica.com
URN etd-11132008-191836
Document Title A signification in stone : the lapis as a metaphor for visual hybridisation in the Harry Potter films
Degree Master of Arts
Department Visual Arts
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Dr A A Du Preez Supervisor
Keywords
  • astrology
  • alchemy
  • mytholog
  • dying god
  • rebirth
  • resurrection
  • Messiah
  • dragon
  • serpent
  • winged sphere
  • phoenix
  • hermeneutics
  • Christian universalism
  • authorship
  • visual hybridisation
  • lapis philosophorum
  • philosopher’s stone
  • Harry Potter
Date 2008-09-05
Availability unrestricted
Abstract

This study considers the visual representation of the alchemical idea of the philosopher’s stone (lapis philosophorum) in the Harry Potter films: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Columbus 2001), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Columbus 2002), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Cuaron 2004), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Newell 2005), andHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Yates 2007). The lapis philosophorum was believed to turn base metals into gold and produce an Elixir of Life. As such, it is envisioned as the ultimate alchemical idea, and this study emphasises how the lapis can function as a signifier for an alchemical worldview within the Harry Potter films.

Because the concept and symbolism of the Harry Potter films is largely based on JK Rowling’s (1997; 1998; 1999; 2000; 2003; 2005; 2007) original novels, this study provides a detailed comparison of how alchemical imagery is used in the novels and contrasts this with the visual imagery of the films. This study undertakes a hermeneutic analysis of the transmission of alchemical ideals from the literary to the visual medium. It also provides a detailed analysis of interrelated visual icons in the Harry Potter films that represent the idea of the lapis as an embodiment of alchemical perfection.

In addition, by studying the interplay between alchemical imagery in the Harry Potter novels and films, and comparing the worldviews represented by each, this study is able to analyse the dynamics of the hermeneutic process. This study concludes with a consideration of how alchemical theory relates to the discipline of hermeneutics, how it influences the process of interpretation, and ultimately the relationship between the alchemical worldview and current perspectives on authorship.

© University of Pretoria 2008

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