- “Slave in the magic mirror, come from the farthest space. Through wind and darkness, I summon thee! Speak! Let me see thy face.”
- ―The Evil Queen
The Magic Mirror is a powerful object first featured in Disney's 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Within it dwells its slave, an imprisoned spirit (resembling a theatrical mask, surrounded by smoke and fire) who always speaks the truth, normally in verse form. The Evil Queen holds ownership of the mirror, and primarily exploits its power to ensure that she remains the fairest in the land.
Not much is known about the mirror except that his sole purpose is to serve whoever may own him at the time. Whilst he is antagonistic on various occasions, he is not intentionally evil, as he is forced to obey the Evil Queen due to being her slave. He does not hesitate to tell the truth to the Queen when it is revealed that Snow White was still alive.
In order to produce the Slave in the Magic Mirror's 'weird voice', actor Moroni Olsen spoke his lines with his head in a frame covered with old drumheads.
Animator Wolfgang Reitherman found the task of animating the Magic Mirror difficult, particularly as the animator favored animating characters such as Goofy, who expresses himself by moving his entire body; the face in the mirror does not move about and has no pupils, so Reitherman was only able to animate its eye and mouth shapes to accompany the dialogue. In order to make the face completely symmetrical, for each extreme pose, Reitherman drew one-half of the face, folded the animation paper in half, and traced the other half. This, symmetry, to an extent, was lost in the final film, as special effects, including smoke, fire, and ripples, distort the features. Reitherman animated the Mirror nine times before he and Walt Disney were satisfied.
The film's introduction (told in the form of a book) informs the audience that the Queen consults the Magic Mirror every morning, demanding to know who is fairest of all; as long as the Slave in the Mirror answers that the Queen is the fairest, she is content, knowing that the Mirror never lies. However, fearing that her stepdaughter, Snow White, may one day become more beautiful than she, the Queen dresses the girl in rags and forces her to work as a scullery maid in the Queen's Castle. The first scene of the film reveals that the Mirror hangs in the Queen's private chamber; she walks to the mirror and summons the slave within, who appears amid smoke and fire. When asked who the fairest of all is, for the first time the spirit replies that, while the Queen is beautiful, a fairer being exists. When the Queen angrily asks for the girl's name; the spirit describes her, making it obvious to the Queen that Snow White is the one being referred to. The Queen then orders her Huntsman to kill Snow White.
The evening following Snow White's introduction to the Seven Dwarfs, the Queen again consults the Mirror, presenting it with what she believes to be Snow White's heart. Though the Queen at first believes the spirit to be incorrect, she is told that she holds the heart of a pig and that Snow White still lives, in the Cottage of the Seven Dwarfs. This is the last appearance of the Mirror in the film; Whether the slave within is free following the Queen's death, whether the Mirror is broken, or whether it simply remains unharmed, in the castle is unclear; like the Huntsman and the Raven, the Mirror is a minor character and is primarily used as a way of advancing the story of the Evil Queen.
Platinum Edition DVD
Voiced by Tony Jay, the Magic Mirror appears as the host of the menus of the two-disc Platinum Edition DVD of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The viewer acts as the Mirror's 'master', and tells the Mirror where to 'transport' them by making a selection on the menu. Not making any selection for a certain amount causes the spirit in the Magic Mirror to make various prompts for the viewer to do so ("I haven't got all eternity, you know... Oh, wait, I do."). The menus on both discs are a variety of locations in the film. The DVD game "Dopey's Mine Ride", accessible from the special features on the first disc, is also narrated by the Magic Mirror, who explains each of the challenges presented to the player (mostly questions relating to the film). The spirit in the Magic Mirror does not appear to sympathize with the Queen anymore ("She has... issues"), instead appearing sympathetic towards the player. The Magic Mirror is also used to enable the 'Guided Tour' feature on the first disc. Selecting this feature causes the Mirror to introduce the viewer to Roy E. Disney, whom the spirit addresses as 'master'. Roy Disney then uses the Magic Mirror to 'summon' Angela Lansbury, who hosts a tour of the features on the DVD.
For the Diamond Edition Blu-ray, the Magic Mirror returns as the menu host, now voiced by Corey Burton and actually comments about viewers "returning" to the Blu-ray disc.
Now in the possession of Mickey Mouse and friends, the Magic Mirror has been installed in the lobby of the club, helping answer questions guests may have or providing assistance for Mickey and his stage crew. However, he generally refuses to help the Queen, as notable in the pilot episode, "The Stolen Cartoons", where he says "Save it, Queenie. Everyone's fairer than you."
The hand mirror that contains a shard of the Magic Mirror starts the short animated episodes off when Evie asks it to show her the future to see "what happens when" their "stories unfold".
Evie doesn't use the mirror or its magic like she did in the film, both she and Mal are trying to be good by not using the mirror or Mal's Spell Book. But Evie did talk to it in "Voodoo? You Do", after looking at herself in a mirror in a shop on the Isle of the Lost. She wanted to make sure that both the mirror and the reflection it gives of her know that she stills loves them: and so the mirror itself wouldn't get jealous. However, Evie dose use its magic in "Mal-lone", as she asked it to show her where Zevon is.
The spirit of the mirror's face/head can also be seen as a large mask in the Facilier shop as Mal, Evie, Ben, and Audrey walk into it.
The narrator of Halloween Treat comments that Halloween is the time for the villain to steal the limelight, and introduces the audience to a special guest, the Magic Mirror, said to be an expert on the Disney Villains. Actor Hans Conried, under makeup, plays the spirit, who informs the audience of the importance of the villain in a story in order for the hero to look good. The Mirror's presentation includes clips of the defeats of Captain Hook, Madam Mim, and Maleficent, each of whom is sympathized with. The slave in the Magic Mirror proceeds to discuss Disney's female villains, including, Cruella De Vil, Lady Tremaine, and the Queen of Hearts. Madame Medusa is then introduced, but pulls out her gun; as she inadvertently shoots at the Mirror, the spirit decides to leave.
Before he became the Magic Mirror, he was a Genie, a powerful magical being who was imprisoned within the confines of a magic lamp and freed by King Leopold.
During a birthday party for the king, the Genie sees Regina alone and unhappy, while the king, his daughter, and their subjects are all enjoying the king's speech about his daughter and how she looks like his first wife, her mother, who was the "fairest of them all". When Regina is alone outside, the Genie follows, giving her a mirror to show her how beautiful she is, as he sees her as the fairest in the land. Some time later, the king finds the mirror and discovers written in her diary that she has found another love and asks the Genie to find the person who gave her the mirror. As the Genie stood under Regina's apple tree, the queen's father, Henry, delivers a box asking him to take it to his daughter as he isn't allowed inside the castle. After telling Regina that he has successfully killed the king and that they can now be together, Regina tells him that she never loved him and only used him to kill King Leopold for her. His heart broken, the genie wishes to be with her forever and to look upon her face always. With this wish and much to his dismay, he becomes trapped as the Magic Mirror, now, ironically, able to look upon Regina forever. After his imprisonment in mirrors, Regina uses him for spying on her enemies.
In Storybrooke, he is Sidney Glass. He is first seen gathering information on the newcomer Emma Swan under the mayor Regina Mills' orders. However, he is unable to get anything from her. Regina threatens him, and he leaves. Sidney then publishes many articles about Emma's messy past, trying to make the townspeople begin to hate her. However, this tactic is unsuccessful. Some articles on Emma's past include how Henry Mills was born, and that she was drunk when she hit the Storybrooke landmark by the side of the road.
After Sheriff Graham's death, Regina appoints Sidney as the new sheriff. However, Emma challenges this. He makes a speech at the debate that occurs prior to the election, something that was clearly created by Regina. However, due to Emma revealing that the fire at the mayor's office was Mr. Gold's doing, he lost. This caused Regina to fire him from The Daily Mirror.
After the election, Regina has an argument with Emma. After the mayor leaves, Sidney slides into the opposite end of the booth Emma was at and tells her that he can help her expose Regina for who she really is. However, when they try to expose her at the town meeting, the "house" that Regina was building was actually a modern playground for the children of Storybrooke. Ashamed and embarrassed, Sidney retreats to Granny's Diner in order to have a drink. Emma joins him there, and the two pledge to become allies. When he was no longer of value to Regina, he is revealed to be a prisoner in the catacombs of the hospital when Jefferson goes to let Belle out of her cell when Regina had to refuse to hold her end of the bargain in episode, "A Land Without Magic".
A few years later, Regina makes Sidney the Magic Mirror again to make him look for a person known as the Author in hopes of finding a happy ending for herself. This entrapment prompts Sidney to conspire with the Snow Queen and lure Regina and Emma into a trap in exchange for his freedom. Once done, the Snow Queen holds her end of the bargain. While Sidney is willing to serve her, she is only interested in collecting a piece of the mirror he was trapped in. He was then released into the magic-free world.
In this film, the magic mirror is reduced to a simple hand mirror as the Evil Queen was only able to hold onto a shard of her former possession. Evie, the daughter of the Evil Queen, is given possession of the mirror when she leaves for Auradon. Like most previous versions, it can answer any question. This time it shows the answer on the glass and must be asked a question in rhyme. Some questions posed it are "Where does Fairy Godmother's wand stand?" and "Who is the biggest jerk in the land?"
In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, the Spirit of the Magic Mirror first appears in Terra's storyline. As per the movie, it told the Queen Snow White was now much fairer than the vain ruler. However, it added on that her heart was a pure light that shone brightly. Moments later, the Queen notices Terra eavesdropping, whereupon he emerges and asks if she knows where Xehanort is. She says she does not, but makes him a deal that if he will kill Snow White and bring her heart back to the castle, she will ask the Mirror where to find him. Terra, however, merely asks Snow White if she knows where Xehanort is, and upon learning of her ignorance, returns to the castle. Terra then tells the Queen that unlike Snow White, she has much darkness in her heart. The Queen, insulted and outraged, commands the Mirror to destroy Terra, but it replies that it cannot, having no power except true answers. Furious, the Queen's increasing rage then caused the Mirror to be possessed by darkness (or, in the English version of the game, she strikes it with a magic potion), making it an Unversed and giving it the power to suck Terra in and fight him. However, he is defeated and releases Terra, who demands that the Queen ask the Mirror where Xehanort is. Grudgingly, the Queen complies, and the Mirror replies, "Beyond both light and dark he dwells, where war was waged upon the fells," indicating the Keyblade Graveyard, though Terra does not understand that at the time. Nonetheless, he thanks them both and leaves.
The Magic Mirror later appears in Aqua's storyline. When Aqua looks for a cure for Snow White in the castle, the Mirror, still possessed, drags her in for a fight, but she also manages to defeat him and is released. The Mirror then states that since the Queen is dead, his purpose has been fulfilled, and commends Aqua on her victory before disappearing, leaving her looking at an ordinary mirror.
In Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage-, Aqua comes across the remains of Dwarf Woodlands while trapped in the Realm of Darkness. After seeing a vision of Ven in Snow White's coffin, she finds the Magic Mirror; however, it seems that the spirit no longer resides within the looking glass. She is pulled into The World Within by her own reflection, which becomes the Phantom Aqua. Many copies of the mirror appear in this dimension, stealing Aqua's reflection to create copies of the Phantom Aqua, who duels the original in the smoke-filled void that the Magic Mirror Spirit face Terra and Aqua in.
The Magic Mirror appeared numerous times in Disney comics. Among other things, he is prominently featured in La Storia Infinita, where Mickey Mouse seeks the Magic Mirror to find a way to defeat a nefarious force known as the Nothing. The Magic Mirror is shown to only be able to say and comprehend verses, forcing Mickey to form increasingly lame rhymes to make himself understood.
The Magic Mirror appears in this novel, telling the story of Snow White from the perspective of the Queen and providing her with a backstory and proper motivation for her actions.
The Magic Mirror began life as the Queen's father, a poor Mirror Maker who was always rather harsh with his daughter, as his wife died in childbirth having her. Years later, when he died, the King's cousins, themselves enchantresses now, had brought the Mirror to the Queen, having now married into the royal family. The Mirror continued to torment the Queen about her appearance and gradually lead to her breakdown that finally lead up to the events of the film. Upon the Queen's death, her own spirit now inhabits the mirror.
A Twisted Tale: Fairest of Them All
While it is never explicitly stated, this version of the tale all-but-outright states that the mirror hosts some evil spirit. When the Queen- here named Ingrid and the elder sister to Snow White's mother Katherine- becomes the apprentice to a magician, she steals the mirror from her master's basement and forms a bond with it, to the extent that she must sacrifice some of her blood to it each time she uses it to cast a particularly powerful spell. It is also strongly suggested that the Mirror is the reason for Ingrid's evil, as it inspires her to kill her sister so that she can become Queen herself, with Ingrid actually hesitating at the idea of killing Katherine at first. Towards the end of the novel, the mirror attempts to manipulate Snow into forming a bond with it in the Queen's place, but Snow White resists this urge and destroys the mirror.
The Evil Queen appears in the second act of Fantasmic!, and asks the Magic Mirror who the fairest one of all is. The Mirror, voiced by Tony Jay and projected onto water screens, replies that Mickey Mouse's imagination creates fairer things than she. Jealous, the Queen transforms herself into the Witch and uses the Mirror to summon various 'forces of evil', including Ursula, Chernabog, and Maleficent. Mickey is able to defeat the villains using his imagination.
The mirror is also part of the Magic Mirror Realm area of the Sorcerer's Workshop in the Disney Animation Building at Disney California Adventure. The mirror's spirit will occasionally appear to describe the areas of the Sorcerer's Workshop.
In the Tokyo DisneySea version of Fantasmic!, Mickey calls on the Magic Mirror to ask if he's the greatest sorcerer of them all. The Magic Mirror tells him to look closer within and traps Sorcerer Mickey, allowing the villains to take over the show. It serves as a screen for the villain projections and Maleficent emerges through the mirror in her dragon form to fight Mickey.
The Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour begins when the guide shows visitors pictures of Disney Heroes and Heroines. These suddenly transform into pictures of the Disney Villains, and the Magic Mirror appears (played by an actor in make-up), explaining that the villains are misunderstood. The tour is hosted primarily by a guide, who leads visitors through various chambers throughout the castle, exploring the lairs of the Queen, Maleficent, and Horned King. The Magic Mirror's voice can occasionally be heard throughout the tour.