Dementors and Mirrors

Winfrey: Would it also be fair to say that your life – everything in your life, because I know you went through a period of depression and I had read that the Dementors came from that depression

Rowling: Completely, yeah.

Winfrey: In Harry Potter’s world, the Dementors are dark creatures who feed-off human happiness causing depression and despair to those in their path. Dementors are capable of consuming a person’s soul.

Winfrey: Would it be fair to say that you’ve used, in the seventeen year process, writing the Potter series, that you’ve used the good, the bad and the ugly of your life?

Rowling: Yeah. Definitely. Definitely.

Winfrey: And expressed it through your writing through the Potter stories?

Rowling: Yeah. For sure. Depression is – Clinical depression is a – is a – is a terrible place to be. Terrible place to be.

Winfrey: So you became depressed after your mother died?

Rowling: Yes, but I think it was a kind of delayed – I think I had tendencies toward depression from quite young. It became really acute when I was sort of twenty-five to twenty-eight was a dark time. It’s that absence of feeling – and it’s even the absence of hope that you can feel better. And it’s so difficult to describe to someone who’s never been there because it’s not sadness. Sadness is – I know sadness – sadness is not a bad thing. You know? To cry and to feel. But it’s that cold absence of feeling – that really hollowed-out feeling. That’s what the Dementors are. And it was because of my daughter that I went and got help.

[…]

Winfrey: What is your dream of happiness?

Rowling: Well, in the – in the first Harry Potter book, Dumbledore says to Harry that the happiest man alive would look in the mirror and see himself exactly as he is.

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The Mirror of Erised is a mirror, which, according to Albus Dumbledore, shows the “deepest and most desperate desire of one’s heart.” The happiest person in the world would look in the mirror and see a reflection of exactly the way he or she is. Inscribed across the top of the frame is the following text: Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi. Reversing the inscription and rearranging the spaces produces: I show not your face but your heart’s desire. (excerpt from the Harry Potter wiki)

When I stumbled upon this interview today, I thought that’s it! That’s what happiness would look like.

If the Mirror of Erised were real, my reflection would be very similar to Harry’s.