Mirror, mirror, on the wall...
Mirrors have long been considered mysterious objects. This is reflected in our superstitions and literature.
One of the most common superstitions is that breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck. Did you know that there are also ways to reverse the curse? One method is to take the pieces outside and bury them under moonlight. Another way is to turn yourself counter-clockwise three times after breaking the mirror.
Though you don't want to live in a household without mirrors. Mirrors in the home bring good luck, perhaps because they deflect evil. But hanging a mirror too low, cutting off the top of the tallest family member's head, will bring about headaches. And beware an undisturbed mirror falling suddenly, as it portends a family member's death within a year.
A common belief in earlier history was that a mirror contains part of the soul, and that is what looks back at you. There are villains that use mirrors to trap or steal souls. Perhaps that's how the entity in the magic mirror of Snow White got there, only able to share the truth he sees.
Many stories deal with idea that another world exists on the other side of the mirror. In "Through the Looking Glass", by Lewis Carroll, Alice steps through a mirror into a surreal other world. The glass extends the vision that would have ended in a wall, doubling the size of a room. Multiple mirrors create an infinite hallway, only blocked by your own reflection. What is it that draws us to the other side?
Magic mirrors can also be used to reflect truth, scry other parts of the world, bring long life, or reflect attacks. An ordinary mirror can be used to distort an image or multiply oneself – a strategy for battle or a trick on a friend.
Harry Potter looks into the Mirror of Erised and sees his heart's greatest desire. Perseus uses a mirrored shield to reflect Medusa's stone gaze back at herself. In the movie Brothers Grimm, the Mirror Queen is young and beautiful only in the reflection of her magic mirror, but is in reality ancient and hideous. When the mirror is broken, she falls apart. In "Testament of the Dragon" by Margaret Weis, Justinian Sterling can only communicate with his Dragon Master through mirrors.
A few other interesting mirror "facts"
What is our fascination with mirrors? Do we see in the mirror the same phenomena as "the grass is greener on the other side"? Is it our own soul looking back, or an alternate world? Or perhaps it is only an illusion.
The June book for our Enchanted Garden Book Club is Towering by Alex Flinn. This is a Young Adult, modern retelling of Rapunzel. The story is told in two perspectives, both first-person present-tense, of the main characters Rachel and Wyatt.
Rachel, 17 years old, has been kept isolated by her Mama, cut off from the world in an old tower. What she knows of the outside world are old memories of her youth and books. The books are all older, classics, so she has no knowledge of the workings of the modern world.
Wyatt is the same age as Rachel. After a tragedy back home, losing his closest friends, he moves out to the country to live with Mrs. Greenwood, mother of his mom's childhood friend. There he comes across a diary of Danielle, Mrs. Greenwood's daughter, who had disappeared seventeen years ago.
Wyatt is able to hear Rachel's singing and finds a way to track the voice and meet her. The two end up saving each other, and solving a mystery of missing people in town.
This book wasn't a must-read for me. I was hoping to enjoy it more. Despite the first-person perspectives, I didn't feel connected to the characters. Some of the writing, especially in the early chapters, was confusing, with thoughts interrupting actions and conversation in odd places. Rachel is of course very naïve, due to her protected nature. I felt the romance was rushed, very much a fated, love at first sight, with no weight behind it. There were magical aspects to the story that didn't really get explained. I had hoped for possibly a connection to the Fae, but that didn't seem to be the case. There is a prophecy with nothing to support it, and no reasons given for Rachel's magical properties.
I have not read any of Alex Flinn's other titles, so cannot say how it compares. This does not seem to connect to the Kendra Chronicles. This met the basic premise of a Rapunzel retelling, but I'm sure there are better ones out there. Do you have any you would recommend?
Mary W. Jensen. Author, poet, gamer, library shelver.