TROPE REVIEW: Mystical Weapons

As a storyteller, I come across tropes and clichés a lot of the time. A trope is a recurring feature in storytelling, be it written or filmed. Eventually, I decided to break some down and see why we like it or why we don’t. The “Trope Review” was born, and first up is the “mystical weapon.”


It seems that in every fantasy novel (or sci-fi blockbuster) there’s at least one Sword of Destiny or a magical weapon with a unique property. It is bestowed upon the "Farmboy of Destiny" by the wizened old wizard with the words "This was your father's, he wanted you to have it when you were older." Of course, when Luke received his father’s lightsabre in A New Hope, he immediately pointed it at his face.


But what is it about magical weapons that attracts us so, so much it is a near staple of the fantasy novel or movie? There are obviously a few reasons for this that are in favour of the fantasy weapon in storytelling.

Firstly, a unique hero or villain must have a unique weapon.

Now, this weapon may have a great lineage, like a sword of kings, such as Narsil and therefore Anduril in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. The blade that was broken was reforged into something new, and Aragorn would use this in his quest to become King of Gondor.


Whilst Anduril's power is its lineage and rich history, others have powers that can reflect the powers of the wielder. In the novel Fireborn by David Daglish which I just thoroughly enjoyed, Kael is given a magical shield which reacts with his light element, and it reacts to his unique power.