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The common problem that most people have with Sirius' mirror is why Harry never even bothers to check out what he gave him and why Sirius doesn't ask Harry why he isn't using it when Harry talks to him in the fire, but I think the more pressing question is why it's being kept a secret at all?

It was, as far as I can tell, a completely safe and untraceable means of communication, something that everyone should have been happy to provide for Harry, yet Sirius has to sneak it to him during Christmas in complete confidence, warning him not to let Mrs. Weasley see it.

I understand the narrative reasons for not using the mirror, it adds a bit of extra tragedy to the story and if they had had them it would have detracted from the important sense of being isolated and cut off from the world by the Ministry... but on a purely logical level, I see almost no reason why such a safe and secure means of secret communication couldn't have been provided to him from the beginning of the year.


(edit)
Interesting. Some of the comments below have me thinking that the primary reason it's such a big secret for him and why he doesn't want other Order members to know is that he figures the others would want to control the information he communicates with Harry. Which might also explain why he doesn't ask Harry to use the mirror while talking in the fire, because Lupin was there and might disagree that Harry should have such a thing. It's largely a character flaw. He wants to be in control, otherwise he might have offered the two-way mirrors to be used in other ways.

  • As I recall, Sirius was the number one advocate for giving Harry as much top secret information as possible. He couldn't say much in letters, in case they were intercepted, but the mirrors could be used to tell Harry as much as Sirius wanted with no oversight from the other members of the Order. – TenthJustice Aug 12 '14 at 18:29
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The common problem that most people have with Sirius' mirror is why Harry never even bothers to check out what he gave him and why Sirius doesn't ask Harry why he isn't using it when Harry talks to him in the fire

Because the mirror was a emergency just in case sort of thing. They had other ways of communicating, but if they didn't they had mirrors.

It was, as far as I can tell, a completely safe and untraceable means of communication, something that everyone should have been happy to provide for Harry, yet Sirius has to sneak it to him during Christmas in complete confidence, warning him not to let Mrs. Weasley see it.

During the time it was given to Harry he was under suspicion of being controlled by Voldemort. That is why a lot of stuff is not done with him being told about it(because they are scared Voldemort will use Harry to find out). The Order probably would of thought that the mirror was a risk to security. And Mrs. Weasley might of confiscated it. Sirius wanted to make sure Harry had a way of communicating to him, that was not contingent on anyone or anything else.

but on a purely logical level, I see almost no reason why such a safe and secure means of secret communication couldn't have been provided to him from the beginning of the year.

And how are sure that the mirror was completely safe, it might have been. It probably was, but we never know, because Harry does not use it. Harry knows that Sirius will probably do something reckless and jeopardize his already precarious position if Harry uses the 2-way mirror. Because the mirror was a "if-you-need-me" thing.

Sirius might have not told, because he liked the secret.

"This is a two-way mirror, I've got the other one of the pair. If you need to speak to me, just say my name into it; you'll appear in my mirror and I'll be able to talk in yours. James and I used to use them when we were in separate detentions."

—Excerpt from the note of Sirius Black to Harry Potter, read by Harry after Sirius' death in 1996.

It reminded him of the "good ole day" when him and James were reckless and everything was simple.

2

Molly wouldn't approve of it, because it is risky. If anyone got hold of the mirror, they would see Sirius Black's face, and scream to the world that Harry Potter is not only in contact with him, but very likely knows where he is hiding. This wouldn't go down too well for Sirius if it occurs.

  • I think the question is why doesn't Sirius want other members of the Order to know about it? – Rand al'Thor Aug 12 '14 at 18:40
  • Sorry, I wasn't clear, this is why I think Molly Weasley wouldn't think it a good idea – ZenLogic Aug 12 '14 at 18:44
  • But wouldn't they only see Sirius if he happened to look into the mirror at the same time? – NiceOrc Aug 14 '14 at 1:09
  • They would see wherever the mirror is stored at least if he isn't looking at it, so it could reveal the headquarters of the Order, so could be worse I guess. – ZenLogic Aug 14 '14 at 10:49
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I’ll throw out a few suggestions.

  • He wants to play the hero. The note on the package says “Use it if you need me, all right?”. I think Sirius imagines that Harry will be in some sort of danger, use the mirror to contact him, and Sirius will come to his aid.

    The Order would frown upon this idea:

    • It endangers Sirius, and could implicate everybody who knows where he’s been hiding
    • Sirius has been in prison for twelve years, and has minimal combat experience since his escape. Not your first choice for a one-man rescue team.
    • Harry would be much safer if a group of skilled Order members came to help him, not just Sirius. He doesn’t need to hog the glory.

    Is that a realistic scenario? Perhaps not, but it plays to Sirius’s sense of adventure and reminds him of the adventures he had with James.

  • He wants a special connection to Harry. His entire family is dead, and he’s cut off from most of his friends. Harry is as close to family as he has left, and he also reminds him of his best friend.

    The two-way mirrors would just be between the two of them; a connection that only they share. It reminds him of when he used them with James in detention, and you can imagine why he’d want to keep it between the two of them. It’s not as special if other people know about it.

  • It’s a potential security risk. There are plenty of ways a window straight into the Order’s headquarters could fall over:

    • Somebody could overhear Harry talking to Sirius (similar for fireside chats).
    • It may not be truly secure. We get no details on how the Mirrors work, so for all we know the Ministry could listen in to every call.
    • Harry may be under Voldemort’s control, so giving Harry that opening to Grimmauld Place could backfire badly.

    And so on. These don’t have to be realistic concerns; they just have to be plausible enough for somebody to confiscate the mirror. Better to keep it secret and avoid awkward questions. Give now, ask questions later, etc.

  • He's bored. We're assuming that he has a reason to keep them hidden from the Order; perhaps not. Perhaps Molly and Dumbledore and everybody else would be happy for them to use the mirrors, and wholeheartedly approve.

    But Sirius is reckless, and adventurous. Even if he has no good reason to do so, keeping them a secret between him and Harry probably gives him a thrill, something he’s been sorely missing. It’s just their secret – just like the old days.

1

I agree with @ZenLogic as to why Sirius didn't want Molly to know about the mirror. I think that the reason he didn't want the rest of the Order to know was the potential for abusing the mirror's power.

In Chapter 23 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,

Aberforth uses the mirror shard to send Dobby to rescue Harry (and the others) from Malfoy Manor: "Dumbledore's eye was gazing at him out of the mirror" (pg. 514 of the Raincoast paperback edition). We find out in Chapter 28 that "Dumbledore" was actually Aberforth: " 'It's your eye I've been seeing in the mirror'" (614).

[Please forgive what is obvious information to most people.]

The above shows that the mirror could be used to locate Harry. If Mundungus had sold the mirror to someone else (or someone like Umbridge confiscated it), things could have gone very badly for Harry.

So why not tell the rest of the Order? I think he just doesn't want Snape to find out about the mirror. He doesn't trust Snape, and he fears the potential for the mirror's misuse. Alternatively, it has nothing to do with Snape, and Sirius knows that other members of the Order will object for the same reason: it is a direct link to Harry and could be abused.

  • I don't see how Harry specifically taking the mirror shard out and using it exactly as intended, speaking through it and explaining exactly where he was and how he needed help, constitutes abusing its power or using it to find the owner against his wishes. – Nonsuch Ned Aug 12 '14 at 22:49
  • Aberforth's use did not constitute abuse, but it shows that they mirror could allow someone to find Harry; thus, another character could abuse the mirror's power. I mean, a character could disguise themselves as Sirius (say, using Polyjuice Potion) and discover Harry's whereabouts. I admit, it is unlikely, but it was also highly unlikely that Mundungus would sell the mirror to Aberforth who would find out from Dumbledore how to use it and who would subsequently save Harry from the situation he faced in Chapter 23. – DCJ Aug 13 '14 at 0:10
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It was probably perfectly safe - Dumbledore's charms on Hogwarts didn't go off when James and Sirius used them. Sirius gave him the mirror at Christmas, right? By that time he'd been stuck in the house for about 6 or 7 months and obviously it took its toll on him, and he was alone for long periods, and then spent semi regularly times surrounded by people who thought he was guilty and had no one to talk to but a hippogriff, a house elf that sided with his family and his mother's portrait, because Lupin had stuff to do for the order. I think by this time he was more than just a bit unstable and didn't want to be alone again.

As for Molly, I don't think it was her he was worried about, I think he actually did respect what she had done for Harry but knew that she would tell everyone else and it'd get back to Dumbledore who wanted Harry kept in the dark.

He was probably feeling bitter towards Dumbledore too, and that thought sort of got mixed up with how he and James used to get into trouble. Sirius most likely wanted to be the hell away from Grimmauld Place and wanted to go back to his childhood by seeing James in the mirror acting up under Dumbledores nose.

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