This mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible.

Harry quickly becomes transfixed by the Mirror of Erised. The mirror allows him to see his family, whom he has never known. It’s not a bad thing that Harry is moved by the image of his family, or that he grieves the time he lost with them. However, fixating on the image causes Harry to disconnect from the life and people in front of him. Dwelling on what could have been robs him of the chance to move forward.

The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something pure and defenseless to save yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.

Voldemort sustains his almost-life attached to Quirrell by drinking unicorn blood, a solution that serves only himself and harms the world around him. It’s not even a satisfying solution because the unicorn blood cannot fully bring him back to life. Firenze tells Harry the only kind of person who would drink unicorn blood is someone with nothing to lose. However, to see himself as that person, Voldemort must discount the death of the unicorn as a loss. Voldemort does not care what damage he causes to achieve what he wants and is willing to sacrifice even his own humanity for power.

As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all – the trouble is, most humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione first discover that Fluffy is guarding a Sorcerer’s Stone, they spend their time thinking of all the things they could do with its powers. They are amazed by the potential of unlimited resources. Dumbledore, however, has seen how the Stone can consume a person. Compared to unlimited wealth or unlimited time, anything less seems like it is not enough. Dumbledore and Flamel decide to destroy the Stone because they worry about the violence Voldemort is willing to commit to get to it. Dumbledore praises Flamel for his wisdom in giving up immortality, claiming death is not inherently a bad thing if a person has lived a full life. Dumbledore believes contentment, rather than striving, marks a successful life.