This is a thought I've been tossing around for some time, so I Googled it the other day. Because that's what teens in the 21st century do.
According to WikiAnswers, a Mirror Character is,
"A character through which a narrative is told. You see through the eyes of the mirror character, perceiving the world in the story like they do."They're talking about the POV, or point of view, character. That's not what I'm talking about.
Let's use an example, because authors love examples, right? We'll use the the movies and books Lord of the Rings. In this book, you have two characters on a similar path, Frodo Baggins, and Smeagol.
Both of these characters are hobbit like, both find the ring. The ring starts working on Smeagol (a.k.a. Gollum) right away. He murders his friend withing hours of discovering the ring. It turns him into a poor, pitiful, half-human creature.
Three other brief examples are Ender and Peter in Ender's Game, Eragon and Murtagh in Eragon, and Patrick Jane and Red John in The Mentalist, (both are sociopaths.)
Basically, mirror characters are two sides of the same coin. We see them everywhere in fiction. Mirror characters have something in common: a shared experience that shaped them differently, a common goal that they go after using opposite means, or a personality trait in common that one embraces and one squashes down.
These can be some of the most powerful characters, because they are both so real and so human. You can't love one without having your heart strings pulled on by the other. These characters conflict your reader. And a conflicted reader is one who will burn the midnight oil to get to the end of the conflict.
Thanks for reading! What do you think about Mirror Characters? Can you think of other literary examples of them? Do you have them in your writing, or have you never thought about it before?