Hey everyone, Welcome to another installment of Harry Potter Theory. In today’s theory, we’re going to be discussing Dumbledore and the Mirror of Erised. The Mirror of Erised is a magical mirror and Hogwarts artifact located in the Room of Requirement inside the castle walls. In the Philosopher’s Ston, Harry first discovers the Mirror for himself: “It was a magnificent mirror, as high as the ceiling, with an ornate gold frame, standing on two clawed feet. There was an inscription carved around the top: Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.
“ Then, he experienced the following: “He looked in the mirror again. A woman standing right behind his reflection was smiling at him and waving. He reached out a hand and felt the air behind him.
If she was really there, he'd touch her, their reflections were so close together, but he felt only air - she and the others existed only in the mirror. ” "Mum?" he whispered. "Dad?" “They just looked at him, smiling.
And slowly, Harry looked into the faces of the other people in the mirror, and saw other pairs of green eyes like his, other noses like his, even a little old man who looked as though he had Harry's knobbly knees -- Harry was looking at his family, for the first time in his life. ” After losing himself in the mirror for hours, captivated from what he was witnessing, Dumbledore stumbles upon Harry in the room. "So -- back again, Harry?" said Dumbledore, slipping off the desk to sit on the floor with him, "you, like hundreds before you, have discovered the delights of the Mirror of Erised. It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. ” Harry then proceeds to ask Dumbledore: “What do you see when YOU look in the mirror?" To which Dumbledore replies: "I see myself holding a pair of thick, woolen socks.
" - "One can never have enough socks," - he continues. So, what I want to discuss in today’s theory is whether or not Dumbledore was LYING about this answer. Many believe that Dumbledore giving Harry this answer was simply a distraction tacti, a way of potentially dissuading Harry from seeking further use of the mirror, while simultaneously avoiding Harry’s question. Maybe Dumbledore didn’t want to reveal what he really saw. But, Dumbledore is a wise and calculated man, and so many things that he’s said over the course of the books and films have later turned out to have profound meaning.
S, what’s the deal with the socks? In Fantastic Beasts it’s later revealed that (at least at a younger age) Dumbledore saw Grindelwald. But, I don’t think that answer holds true for older Dumbledor, I think he DID see socks. Here’s why: Dumbledore, for most of his childhood, had a broken home. His dad was sent to Azkaban, his mother Kendra died, tensions with his brother were high, and his sister was (perhaps) killed by a spell sent from Dumbledore’s own wand (this we’ll have to look at properly in another theory). But that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a point at which his family did all live together under one roo, one happy family that was able to share Christmases with each other.
In an interview, JK Rowling was once asked what Dumbledore really sa, to which she responded: “He saw his family alive, whole and happy – Ariana, Percival and Kendra all returned to him, and Aberforth reconciled to him. ” What this tells me is that Dumbledore’s response to Harry of ‘Socks’ wasn’t an outright lie - but just one aspect of the truth. After mentioning socks to harry, he says the following: “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a pair. People will insist on giving me books.
" The socks that Dumbledore mentions are symbolic in that they are representative of a warmer time in his life. Homemade socks and jumpers are almost synonymous with ‘family’ in the Harry Potter story, and the Weasleys are a testament to that. A happy christmas full of gift-giving and food-sharing, Dumbledore simply longed for one thin, family.