Mirror Mirror Questions and Answers
by Gregory Maguire

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How do the dwarves in Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire use the mirror to their advantage?

The dwarves in Mirror Mirror hope to use the mirror to understand how humans look at themselves, and mimic that behavior. However, their plan backfires because the mirror twists the minds of humans who use it. When they retrieve it from the Queen, Bianca dies, making the mirror of little to no use to them.

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In Gregory Maguire's novel Mirror, Mirror, the author puts his own unique spin on the Snow White fairy tale. One of the most notable changes he makes is changing the role of the dwarfs. In his version, it is the dwarfs who made the famous mirror, which they call a looking glass. They then lost it when it sank in a lake; eventually it was found by humans. Bianca, the Snow White character, learns all of this after she has escaped the Queen character's attempt to kill her.

Bianca goes on to live with the dwarves after the attempted murder. They tell her that they want the looking glass back. She also learns the original purpose of the mirror, which is to watch humans. It acts as an eye for the dwarfs. As one of the dwarfs tells her,

We made for ourselves a mirror that could look like an eye into a room, so we could watch how humans look at themselves, and learn by their example how to look at ourselves (201).

However, in the hands of humans the looking glass has dangerous qualities. Its warping is obvious as it drives Lucrezia to paranoia and violence. Bianca asks why they can't steal it, and they respond that they don't steal. Eventually, Bianca convinces them to do so, and they do take it back. Their effort results in Bianca eating the Queen's poisoned apple. Maguire writes

The mirror had come at too stiff a price, and while they had it, it wasn't free and clear (247).

So in the end, the mirror doesn't benefit the dwarfs in any way.

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