The Mirror of Erised shows the viewer the deepest of their desires. It was used by Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's(Sorcerer's) Stone to hide the Philosopher's(Sorcerer's) stone.

Quirrell could not retrieve the stone from the mirror as he wanted to use the stone, not to find it. It has been suggested that Quirrell could have been successful if he had manipulated his own thoughts.

But how could this have worked? Wouldn't his real desire still be the same? Has it been mentioned officially that the mirror can be fooled this way?

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    It took me the longest time to realize that "Erised" is "Desire" backwards, i.e. mirrored.
    – Joe L.
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 14:48

2 Answers 2


Another possibility is the Confundus Charm, mentioned canonically as a strong possibility as to how the Goblet of Fire was fooled into accepting Harry's name.


Maybe, especially using Occlumency to hide what’s truly desired.

I don't think so, but it might theoretically be possible. There's no official word on whether the Mirror of Erised could be fooled. But it may be possible. Using Occlumency to hide someone's true desires from the Mirror of Erised might have worked. It can shut down feelings and memories that show something is a lie, and this may work to hide the truth from the Mirror of Erised as well.

“The Dark Lord, for instance, almost always knows when somebody is lying to him. Only those skilled at Occlumency are able to shut down those feelings and memories that contradict the lie, and so can utter falsehoods in his presence without detection.”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 24 (Occlumency)

Quirrell didn't know that the Mirror would have only worked for someone who wanted to find but not use the Philosopher's Stone, and no one else who looks into the Mirror has any reason to hide their true desire. (Dumbledore was able to keep his secret from Harry in a much simpler way - lying and saying he saw socks.)

Occlumency has fooled some very powerful wizards over the course of the seven books. Severus Snape was able to keep his true intentions secret from the Dark Lord for years. A few moments looking into a mirror would be relatively easy for someone skilled in Occlumency. This might not have helped Quirrell, because it's not known whether he could use Occlumency, but it definitely could be possible.

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    Even if Quirrell himself couldn't, we know that Voldy is talented at both Legilimency and Occlumency. Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 16:38
  • @DisturbedNeo Yes, good point. Had the Dark Lord known or suspected how the spell on the Mirror worked, he may have been able to retrieve the Stone with his own thoughts, using Quirrell as only a vessel for himself.
    – Obsidia
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 17:24
  • This is an interesting use of Occlumency. I didn't think it would apply to objects.
    – XYZ
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 17:33
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    @Ángel Presumably someone talented enough in Occlumency would not only be able to hide their true thoughts, but also show other thoughts in their place. If every time the Dark Lord had looked into Snape's mind, he saw blankness, he would have probably been far more suspicious. So it must be possible to use Occlumency in a way that isn't just making your mind look blank.
    – Obsidia
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 2:06
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    In fact, given just how good Voldy was at Legilimency, what he could have done was implant a false vision in Quirrell's mind for the Mirror to read, which would then allow him to get the stone. Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 10:00

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