In Order of the Phoenix, when Harry breaks into Umbridge's office to communicate with Sirius after his vision. Why didn't Harry instead use the mirrors that had been given to him by Sirius earlier in the book, specifically for the purpose of "If you ever need me". He thinks of it quickly enough after Sirius' death (I believe he sees a pair of blue eyes when he attempts to contact him). So why didn't he think of it before Sirius died, when he had need for an object which the mirrors fit perfectly?


Two, related reasons.

He doesn't know what it actually is

Sirius is vague when he gives the mirror to Harry, and it's clear that Harry never opens the package until it's too late:

'I want you to take this,' [Sirius] said quietly, thrusting a badly wrapped package roughly the size of a paperback book into Harry's hands.

'What is it?' Harry asked.

'A way of letting me know if Snape's giving you a hard time. No, don't open it in here!' said Sirius, with a wary look at Mrs. Weasley, who was trying to persuade the twins to wear hand-knitted mittens. 'I doubt Molly would approve - but I want you to use it if you need me, all right?'

'OK,' said Harry, stowing the package away in the inside pocket of his jacket, but he knew he would never use whatever it was.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Chapter 24: "Occlumency"

As far as Harry knows, it's some sort of emergency beacon; he doesn't know that it's a general means of communication, and he doesn't care to know.

He'd forgotten about it.

The context in which Harry learns what Sirius gave him makes it clear that he didn't often think about the gift:

Harry pulled some crumpled robes out of the very bottom of his trunk to make way for folded ones and, as he did so, noticed a badly wrapped package lying in a corner of it. He could not think what it was doing there. He bent down, pulled it out from underneath his trainers and examined it.

He realized what it was within seconds. Sirius had given it to him just inside the front door of number twelve Grimmauld Place.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Chapter 38: "The Second War Begins"

Harry's been having a pretty rough go of it through OotP, and especially in the hours leading up to needing to contact Sirius. It's perfectly understandable for this unassuming package, which he explicitly told himself not to use, to have slipped his mind.

The Blue Eyes Thing

To correct your misconception, Harry sees nothing when he tries to use the mirror except for his own reflection:

[Harry] looked around to make sure there was nobody else there; the dormitory was quite empty. He looked back at the mirror, raised it in front of his face with trembling hands and said, loudly and clearly, 'Sirius.'

His breath misted the surface of the glass. He held the mirror even closer, excitement flooding through him, but the eyes blinking back at him through the fog were definitely his own.

He wiped the mirror clear again and said, so that every syllable rang clearly through the room:

'Sirius Black!'

Nothing happened. The frustrated face looking back out of the mirror was still, definitely, his own.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Chapter 38: "The Second War Begins"

The blue eyes you remember seeing may be a reference to the movie, since Daniel Radcliffe (in)famously has blue eyes, but it may also be a reference to Deathly Hallows, when Harry periodically stares into a shard of the mirror and occasionally sees Aberforth Dumbledore peering back at him.

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    Huh, what you say sounds about right. I don't have a copy OOTP to confirm this, but I think he was dead set against using it out of fear of having Sirius arrested on his account. The blue eyes were definitely a reference to Deathly Hallows (I haven't watched the film enough to remember that small of a detail). Thanks! – Dunka Mar 2 '15 at 5:43
  • @Dunka Your comment led me to a brainwave, and I found the passage where Harry receives the mirror. I've updated my answer to include another reason for not using it: he didn't know what it was – Jason Baker Mar 2 '15 at 6:37
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    Actually I think the main reason, assuming consistency of the HP world, is that Sirius said "I doubt Molly would approve", which is sufficient for Harry to decide that "he would never use it". I always felt that it was a mistake on Sirius' part, because it was not immoral in any sense and he should not have said that, giving Harry the wrong impression. – user21820 Apr 11 '17 at 7:07

Quoting from J K Rowling's old website:

Why did Harry have to forget the mirror he had been given by Sirius in 'Order of the Phoenix'?

I can’t give a full answer to this, because it is relevant to books six and seven. However, the short answer is that Harry was determined never to use the mirror, as is clearly stated in chapter 24: ‘he knew he would never use whatever it was’. For once in Harry’s life, he does not succumb to curiosity, he hides the mirror and the temptation away from himself, and then, when it might have been useful, he has forgotten it.

The mirror might not have helped as much as you think, but on the other hand, will help more than you think. You’ll have to read the final books to understand that!

This answer was obviously written before book six came out, but it can shed light on book five, which was your question.


Harry may have assumed that if Sirius was really in trouble, he might not have the mirror with him. In his mind, he may have assumed that Voldemort might have taken it from Sirius, which would have allowed Voldemort to know that Harry was on his way to help if he used the mirror. If he used the mirror and Voldemort had it, this also would allow Voldemort to become aware of the connection in their minds. Harry didn't know that Voldemort already knew about this connection and was using it as a setup.

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