What is your heart’s greatest desire?
This is the dilemma posed by the Mirror of Erised. Harry sees his parents in the mirror that he’s never been able to talk with because they were killed by You-Know-Who when he was just a baby. Ron sees himself as Quidditch Captain and head boy, and holding the Quidditch Cup. Ron desires to stand out from his family, and even have a higher status than the rest of them. Ron has always been overshadowed by his brothers, and wants to feel special. I can imagine that Ron is quite jealous of his brothers, and somewhat spiteful. Ron just wanted to look into the mirror. He wasn’t concerned about seeing Harry’s parents. The two even had a small argument over the mirror, which can’t be good for a young friendship. If their fight continued, Harry and Ron might have harbored ill feelings toward each other. A mirror could have caused Harry and Ron to not like each other so much.
There were other consequences to the mirror besides Harry and Ron fighting. The problem is, this mirror can make you go mad. As Dumbledore said, it can make you go mad wanting it. The mirror can make you want nothing else, and to waste away, hoping for the ideal that you will never have.
In that way, the mirror can teach you about yourself, things that you may never have known before. You may never have realized what you truly want, beyond your monetary or commercial desires. But you can also give up your life wanting what you can never have, your dreams that will never come true.
It’s very sad in a way. To face the reality of something that you want so desperately, but cannot have it, is kind of depressing. The healthy way is to back away from the mirror and never look at it again.
But, as Harry found out, the mirror can be very intoxicating. The fantasy can consume you, causing you to lose your own sense of reality. Or you can be up every night wandering around the school after hours, only to be caught by Filch. I suppose either outcome would have been very bad.
At least Harry had the sense to listen to Professor Dumbledore. I sense that many others would have ignored the wise professor and sought the mirror out again and again. I know it would have been hard for me to turn away from that mirror. Hopefully I would eventually realize that I would have ended up in a psychiatric hospital if I continued to look into the mirror.
Clearly, nothing good would have come out if Harry kept on looking at that mirror. It’s strange that such an innocuous thing like a mirror could have caused huge consequences.
© Amy Burney, Amy’s Fantastical Writings