|via Avatar Wiki|
Or take the Harry Potter series. The main antagonist, Voldemort, isn't actually seen or spoken to until the end of the first book. And yet we know what he's like even before we officially meet him. We see it, not in him, but in all the people whose lives he's ruined. We see it in the fear everyone displays towards him, not even daring to speak his name. We see it in the joy everyone shares when they think he's gone. We see what he is like every time the book mentions the scar on Harry's forehead. It's a mark of Voldemort's character.
The use of mirrors in fiction is something very subtle and very effective, and that is, of course, because it's true in life. We are all both mirrors (of other people) and the ones being mirrored.
Take a look at the person you treat worst in your life. And don't lie -- you know there is someone. Don't start thinking about someone else who is treating someone you know bad, or even someone who is treating you bad. Who are you, personally, acting horribly towards, and what does that say about you? Are you starting to rationalize your treatment of that person - well, they deserve it? It's for their own good?
The best stories are the kind we take to heart and apply to our own lives. The more I think about mirroring the more I'm inclined to work harder, both at understanding how to use this tool in my stories, and in understanding how I've been using it in my own life.
Do you have any other examples of mirror characters in fiction? Or any examples of this happening in your life?