Any books that use mirrors in this way?

For my next book, I'm thinking of writing a fantasy novel that makes use of "magic mirrors" (haven't thought of a better name for them yet). These are mirrors that are made in pairs, where each mirror of the pair shows whatever the other one is reflecting. Think of it as the fantasy equivalent of a video phone, except that each mirror can communicate only with the mirror it's paired with. (So if one of the pair gets broken, the other one is useless.)

What I'd like to know is any books that use mirrors like these as a major part of the plot or setting. It can be a book where a mirror can communicate with any mirror, as readers probably won't make that distinction. I expect readers to say I copied the idea from one of those books (even though I haven't read them). I just want to be sure I'm not copying any of the other stuff in the books, as most of the uses of mirrors like these are probably quite obvious.

Suggested category: Home & Garden > Cleaning & Laundry. (I'm afraid this is the best laugh I've had all day...)


Interesting answers so far... I know HP has mirrors like these, but they're not important in the plot. I'd read Strange & Norrell, but had forgotten about the use of mirrors. Nine Princes in Amber is something I'd been meaning to get around to reading, so I suppose I'll have to now.

The mirrors in my story can't be used for travel, only communication. I know reflective surfaces are often used to show remote places or times, but these mirrors show only what the other mirror in the pair is looking at right now.

The basic idea for the plot (the first half of it, anyway) reminds me of Treasure Island...

Update 2:

Too many good answers for me to choose one - I'm putting this to the vote.

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    Well, Harry Potter sort of uses this concept. There are two mirrors specifically that you need, it's not just any mirror available. And Harry hides the mirror away and forgets about it and because he forgets about this form of communication, goes to the end of the world to try and save Sirius who dies, anyway. And later breaks the mirror, but he has a piece left and he sees "a flash of blue" in Deathly Hallows and thinks it's Dumbledore. And so on.

    But the whole idea of using reflective surfaces (water, glass...) for communication is pretty common, in general. Someone else mentioned the orbs in Lord of the Rings. And there's the "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" thing from Snow White. I don't think you would be copying from any one source by using this idea, though, perhaps you may want to tweak it a bit?

  • Kitty
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago


    So you could stumble across a mirror in your story that's showing the reflection of another place? That would be so creepy, especially if like, someone is getting murdered in the other place, what would you do? I'd probably run at it thinking it was some sort of portal, breaking it, and losing the reflection. You could totally make a murder mystery out of that...

    I thought of Harry Potter too, but like you said, the plot didn't revolve around it. Don't worry about where reflections have been used, it's going to be unique to your story.. unless you take their plot too...

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Are you familiar with "Nine Princes In Amber" that was quite popular in sf/f circles some years ago? The devices weren't mirrors, but playing cards -- of all things -- but the connection idea was a bit similar.

    Good luck with the new book -- sounds fascinating!

  • Unkurg
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I don't think they are a major part of the plot, but I remember mirrors being utilized, mostly for travel I believe, in the novel "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell" by Susanna Clarke, which came out a few years ago. The novel is set in early 19th century England and involves two magicians, one a mentor to the other, who become adversaries.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Cleaning and Laundry? Wtf??

    Um, the only thing I can think of that uses mirrors like that is the horror film called Mirrors... although I don't think they have to be in pairs. You'd have to watch it to get what I mean. I'm not sure if it's what you meant or not.

    But yeah, sounds like an awesome idea :)

  • Doug
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I honestly can't think of any book I've read or heard of that uses mirrors of that kind (and I did have a good think about it). Most of the time it tends to be doors of one form or another, even mirrors that act like doors, but that's different of course.

    I think even if there are books out there that use that idea, and despite the limited scope for uses of such items, the chances of you unintentionally reproducing parts of those books in a similar fashion are incredibly slim.

  • Brenda
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    There's one that just came out by the author of Inkheart. Slightly different twist (it's more like a portal), but there's also Snow White.

  • 1 decade ago

    Closest thing I can think of is those glass orb things in Lord of the Rings.

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