Chapter Twelve – “The Mirror of Erised”

We’re getting toward the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, so be on the lookout later this week for a poll on what I should read next.

And now, let’s dive right in to Chapter Twelve…

“The Weasley twins were punished for bewitching several snowballs so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban.” (194). This is the funniest imagery – Voldemort being hit in the face with snowballs thrown by Fred and George. He must have been furious.

Random thought – think about how much easier finding Nicolas Flamel would have been if wizards used the internet. The trio wouldn’t have had to rely so heavily on Hagrid for information. Or at least it would have helped them find the right books to read in the library.

How did Petunia and Vernon send Harry a present? I wonder if there is a way for Muggles to use the owl post. I don’t remember where I heard this (because it’s definitely not in the books), but I remember something about there being wizards and witches that work undercover in the Muggle postal service that get letters to wizard families. Even if that is true, I find it impressive that the Dursleys thought to do that. I’m not sure what their motivation for sending him anything was, even if it was just a fifty-pence piece. It seems odd that they would go through the effort.

Harry receives the invisibility cloak from Dumbledore, although obviously Harry doesn’t know that’s who it is from. Dumbledore really likes to make it easy for Harry and his friends to get into trouble.

How many students stay at Hogwarts that they need 100 turkeys to feed them over the holiday break? More importantly, those poor professors. It seems like they never actually get to spend time with their families.

Seriously, the security at this school makes such little sense to me. I already talked about the third corridor, but what about the Restricted Section in the library? Using rope to separate it from the rest of library hardly seems secure. Granted, the books are clearly bewitched to scream if opened without permission, but it does seem much easier to just lock them away or something (205-206). Or maybe they should use that screaming book idea and apply it to the third corridor, as opposed to the only thing separating Fluffy and the students being a simple “Alohomora.” And then there’s the Mirror of Erised, just hanging out in an open classroom, waiting to be discovered by some curious student, which is obviously Harry. (207).

I love that in the book Harry sees his whole family in the mirror, not just his parents like in the movie. It’s so sad that he never had the opportunity to meet any of these people. Every one of them must have died before his parents died, or he probably would have been sent to live with them. Both his mother and father seemed to have big families, and yet, the only person left to care for Harry was Petunia –probably the only one who wouldn’t want him.

What Ron sees in the mirror is so interesting to me, even more than what Harry sees. Harry is an orphan who was neglected by his only living relatives, of course his greatest desire is for a family. But Ron’s family life is essentially the opposite of Harry’s. Ron has five older brothers, and the only sibling younger than him is also the only girl. He wants to be recognized and feel special. He looks up to his brothers, but also feels eclipsed by them. As Dumbledore says, “Ronald Weasley, who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, the best of them all.” (213). I wonder what Ron would see in the mirror once he got older and moved out from under the shadow of the other Weasley boys.

It’s so creepy that Dumbledore has been watching Harry and Ron in the classroom. I bet Dumbledore was either working on enchanting the mirror to protect the stone, or maybe he was just looking into it himself when he went invisible because Harry walked in. We know from the seventh book that Dumbledore most likely also sees his family in them mirror, so it’s possible that he was falling victim to exactly what he warned Harry against – “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.” (214).

As Harry said, asking someone what they would see in the mirror is quite personal, but I’m going to ask it anyway. What do you think you would see? I’m not even sure of the answer myself, but I imagine I would see myself at my dream job and living on my own.

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