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Mirrors in Fiction
A list of some mirrors in fiction
We will expand the descriptions and add to this as stories, new and old come to light.
Through the Looking Glass
Obviously, I need a big section about Alice and her adventures in Wonderland. It's one of the most famous examples of mirrors in fiction and the mirror stays in almost every adaptation (of which there are hundreds) even though MANY of these adaptations differ in other ways. No matter how many liberties you take with Lewis Carroll's story, almost everybody needs to keep the mirror in there.
There's a sort of magic in the reflective nature of a looking glass where everything is the same except the left-right axis seems reversed. It's that topsy-turvy mirror universe image that is evoked so often in Alice's adventures that has inspired countless story tellers before and after Lewis Carroll to inoke mirrors in their own tales.
Red Pill v. Blue Pill
A lot of people are familiar with The Matrix which alludes to Through the Looking Glass very frequently. When Neo finally makes the decision to follow the white rabbit, he perceives a mirror turn to quicksilver and engulf him entirely.
The evil witch and the whole "Mirror, Mirror on the wall" deal
Narcissus looks at his own reflection in the river and that's the end of the game.
Neil Gaiman's 2005 movie has a lot of important mirror imagery that helps portray the reflected dual nature of good and evil, fantasy and reality, and who you are and what you seem like you are.
Neil Gaiman's comic book anthology, Sandman, features seven Endless beings and a lot of mirror imagery.
The Mirror of Matsuyama
A Japanese folk tale in which a young girl looks into a mirror and thinks that she sees her mother's young and smiling face. The mirror is her only consolement in the face of life with her father and wicked stepmother. The father finds out what his daughter thinks and they all find solace in the belief that the mirror shows her birth mother's happy past.
Urban Legend that if you say the name Bloody Mary three times straight in the dark in front of a mirror, the dead girl will be summoned.
The Laughing Mirror
A 33 minute film from 1985 about a mirror with the power to make all who look into it laugh.
Tale of the Mystical Mirror
Are You Afraid of the Dark was an old Nickelodeon show.
In this episode, Cindy gets a job at a lil' boutique from which people are mysteriously disappearing. It turns out Mrs. Valenti, the evil boss, is using a mirror to capture the youth of her employees to stay young forever!!
The Chinese Mirror
A Korean man brings a mirror back from his voyage in China and nobody understands exactly how it works. The people who look into the mirror fail to recognize their own faces and each gaze leads to an interesting story that looks into the nature of self-reflection.
The Chinese Mirror
Harry Potter's Mirror
A person standing in front of the Mirror of Erised sees everything they desire in its reflection.
Medusa was a gorgon with hair made of snakes and a mean evil eye. Anybody who laid eyes on Medusa would turn to stone. Perseus was granted a highly polished mirrored shield by the Goddess Athena and a curved sword. He used the shield's reflection to find Medusa without laying eyes on her directly and he decapitated her with the curved sword.
Mirrors versus wizardry
At 3:27, a child reflects the wizard's spell by holding up a small framed mirror. This is such a cliché, it doesn't even have to be explained.
Quest for Glory: So You Want to be a Hero
Many fantasy worlds tap into the mirror's reflective properties as a way to reflect evil spells. In Quest for Glory: So You Want to be a Hero, the protagonist faces off against Baba Yaga (a traditional Eastern European witch). There is a point in the game where she tries to turn you into a toad. If you hold up a mirror at just the right point, you cast the spell back at her and SHE turns into a toad. (But she doesn't fall for the same trick when she returns in Quest for Glory IV).
Archimedes Death Ray
According to Legend, Archimedes used an array of mirrors to focus the sun's light and set fire to ships carrying Persian forces. A recent episode of MythBusters shows that it is possible to do this with modern mirrors but excessively difficult with polished bronze (the only mirrors we believe the Greeks would have had in ample supply) and the amount of time it would take makes the process impractical in the heat of battle. So this is probably a fiction, but a cool one nonetheless!