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In a fantasy story, or sometimes even a sci-fi series, there will be certain special items that only an attuned person can use. The most famous of these is The Sword in the Stone: Only King Arthur could remove the sword from this stone, and it proved that he was the true king of England.

May be the first evidence of Because Destiny Says So or The Chosen One. Such an item may also be Loyal Phlebotinum.

A Sister Trope to Only the Worthy May Pass.

Examples of Only the Chosen May Wield include:

Anime and Manga

  • How the Digidestined received their Digimon and powerups (in the form of eggs on stone pillars) in Digimon Adventure 02. Also used at least once in Digimon Frontier.
  • In a episode of Ranma ½, Kuno pulls the magic sword Wishbringer out of a stone. Subverted, as he was only able to pull the sword out because he was the one-millionth to try. However, once he claims ownership, Wishbringer will only listen to his voice.
  • The Escudo weapons from Magic Knight Rayearth can only be touched and handled by their respective Magic Knights. i.e., Umi once lost her grip on her sword during a fight and Hikaru attempted to bring it to her, but it literally dissolved into water and "reformed" on the ground. Later Umi tried something similar with Hikaru's own weapon to see what would happen, but it became so heavy that she couldn't lift it.
  • Mai gets her CHILD in Mai-HiME by removing a sword from a stone... wall.
  • The Tessaiga of Inu Yasha is initially found stuck in the pedestal in the gigantic corpse of its former owner. It will shock any full Youkai/demon that touches it, and only allows a half-demon to wield its full power. However, it's eventual wielder, Inuyasha, couldn't remove it, and Kagome ended up doing so by accident. This is because it was made to protect humans, so a human had to remove it for him.
    • It should be noted that the sword's qualifications were somewhat lax, as Sesshoumaru managed to do so simply by attaching a human arm to his stump with a jewel shard to make them work together. It turns out that only a human can hold it... but only a youkai can activate its power.
    • Tenseiga was given to Sesshoumaru but it only allows him to wield it. Tokijin also only works for Sesshoumaru, since he's the only person strong enough to subdue the evil that powers it. Anyone else becomes a berserker until the sword's Battle Aura vaporizes them.
  • Ikki Tousen has five swords - the "Hyakuhekitou" - that were stuck in one stone. One Big Bad manages to free several of them at once by destroying the stone.
  • In Soul Eater, all weapons are assigned to a particular partner upon enrollment in Shibusen, based on the interlocking personalities of the weapon and meister. Generally speaking, it is impossible for a weapon to be wielded by someone who isn't their partner because their inner natures tend to clash. Adult Meisters/Weapons appear to be free of this restriction, which is said to have something to do with the fact that wielding a Weapon is about how the souls of both meister and Weapon react to one another, and seems to rely on some level of mutual understanding and compromise - too much conflict spoils the resonance and people get hurt, or even fall flat on the ground if they happen to be up in the air when you start arguing. As such, it's implied that the Adults are much better at handling their composer, allowing for a wider range of partners. This isn't to say if an Adult pair start to argue they'll stop resonating, or that there are pairs that would never be able to work, just that that's never been depicted in the series. The fact that most Adults seem to have a preferred/assigned partner supports this.
    • Excalibur is also present in the series and is the only weapon who averts this trope by being potentially able to be wielded by anyone: His numerous powers include the ability to adjust his soul wavelength to go along perfectly with anyone... Except his personality is so extremely obnoxious that no-one wants to get within two leagues of him.
  • In Mahoujin Guru Guru, the magic sword of light, Kira Kira, can only be called upon by a true Hero.
  • Several weapons in Silent Möbius are bound to specific bloodlines. Grosspoliner's connexion to the Liqueur blood is a plot point.
  • Juushin Enbu has the Kenkaranpu, which can only be drawn by a "true hero". In the first chapter Taito was able to draw it but it was promptly stolen...
  • Meta Knight's legendary sword Galaxia in Kirby of the Stars will shock (sometimes to death) anyone not powerful enough to wield it if they so much as touch it. It will also demand to know who they are and what they think they're doing.
  • The Z Sword from the Buu Saga of Dragon Ball. It's stuck in a stone pillar on a planet in the afterlife, and Gohan has to go Super Saiyan 2 before he can pull it out. It's still incredibly heavy once it's removed, too - he can barely lift it without transforming. Then the good guys break it by accident while training, releasing the old Kaioshin sealed within it, who turns out to be a lot more helpful than the sword itself.
  • In Rosario to Vampire, Moka's Power Limiter rosary can only be properly removed by Tsukune.
  • In the Pokémon anime, it is stated that the Pokemon will only obey the original person that caught, trained, and raised it (and only if it considers him/her worthy). So care must be taken when loaning other people your Pokemon, or gifting them to others, or trading them to instruct the creature to "do whatever so-and-so tells you to do."
  • SD Gundam Force gives us Musha Daishinshou, a semi-sentient Humongous Mecha that can only be controlled by The Dai-Shogun, surpeme ruler of Ark. It's stated that without the Dai-Shogun, Daishinshou would go on a rampage, so it spends most of the series locked up in a castle. Villain Kibaomaru thinks he can use Daishinshou, and looks for a means of releasing it. It's revealed that the one to use Daishinshou is the one who has the power to release it; his son, Genkimaru.

Comic Books

  • The Witchblade in the comic of the same name was like this.
  • According to Marvel, only a handful of beings have been able to wield the legendary hammer Mjolnir to date: Odin, Thor, Captain America, Wonder Woman (in a crossover), Spider-Man 2099, Thunderstrike, Beta Ray Bill and Puddlegulp the frog (OK, he only has a sliver of Mjolnir but still).
    • Superman wasn't naturally able to use it in a crossover, but was "granted permission" so he could save the day.
    • There was a random paramedic as well, but nobody thought to ask him his name before he left.
    • One issue of Deadpool had him get the hammer, and all the powers contained therein. It all turned out to be an illusion created by Loki to mess with Thor's head. Shame...
  • The White Lantern Battery in Brightest Day. Hal and Carol refer to it as the sword in the stone, to Sinestro's confusion.
    • All Green Lantern Rings - and all the other colors - require a user to have a sufficient amount of the emotion that powers it, and be mostly free of the emotion that opposes it. The Sinestro Corps rings rely on their wearers' ability to instill fear in others. One of them tried to recruit Batman in the lead-up to the Sinestro Corps War, but rejected him due to his previous contact with a Green ring.


  • Mjölnir in the Marvel Cinematic Universe of course. It didn't start out this way but in Thor, when the title character was exiled to Midgard, Odin placed this enchantment on it. When Thor does a Heroic Sacrifice standing up to the Loki controlled Destroyer in that state and almost gets killed doing so, the magic judges him worthy for that heroic act and the hammer suddenly flies to him and restores all his power as a god. Thor would occasionally exploit this trope across the Infinity Saga to have the hammer pin down those who were not worthy.
    • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers instantly trust Vision because he, unlike them, can pick up Mjölnir. Though Tony and Steve later debate on whether or not this is because Vision is an inorganic being and not subject to the same rules as them.
    • In Avengers: Endgame, Cap finally proves himself worthy, wielding Mjölnir in a glorious display against Past!Thanos.
    • Mjölnir's successor, Stormbreaker, however, does not subscribe to this, with anyone being capable of using its formidable power, as seen when Thanos nearly killed Thor with it.
  • The ancient Cybertronian artifacts in the Transformers saga seem to operate on this if a non-Cybertronian touches them.
    • The Matrix of Leadership in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is earned not found. When Sam first finds it, it turns itself to dust until he proves his worth. The Fallen however, one of the Thirteen, can hold it whenever he wants without issue.
    • The staff of Merlin in Transformers: The Last Knight is a powerful Cybertronian artifact. When it was granted to Merlin it got encoded with his DNA pattern, which made it respond only to his descendants, which only counted Viviane Wembly in the film.


  • In Journey to the West, the Dragon King of the Eastern Ocean has in his armory a piece of magic iron that was used to measure the depth of the Milky Way. It is 20 feet long and as thick as a barrel. No dragon can lift it. Then one day it begins to glow, and soon Monkey arrives seeking a weapon. He picks up the rod and tells it to become smaller: it shrinks to fit him (but is still as thick as a rice bowl and weighs many thousand pounds — Monkey is quite a hero). He can get it to be any size he wants, and when not in use, he reduces it to the size of a needle and stores it in his ear.
  • In Harry Potter, the Sword of Gryffindor will present itself from the Sorting Hat to any "true Gryffindor" who needs its power. However, once the Sword is present, it seems that it can be moved and stored through perfectly mundane means with no issue.
    • Another Harry Potter example: "The wand chooses the wizard".
  • Earth Abides, possibly the first viral apocalypse story developed this well. At the start, Ish (the protagonist) finds a hammer left by miners in the mountains he's walking in, researching his thesis and missing the end of the world. He takes it as an artifact of that time. It comes in handy, but he thinks little of it. Years later, when he's met other survivors and formed a tribe, he asks his son to get the hammer to fix something, and the son is shocked: he couldn't possibly touch such a holy object. At the end, as Ish dies, the younger tribesmen are pressing him to tell them who to pass the hammer to, and with it leadership of the tribe.
  • Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain makes use of the Welsh sword Dyrnwyn. In the first book the protagonist is told it should only be drawn by someone of "Royal Blood". He arrogantly tries to draw it anyway and the flash of lightning from the blade burns him and knocks him out. At the end of the series, in desperation and without thinking, he draws it again - and this time it responds to him. It turns out that "royal blood" was a mistranslation and it should have really been rendered "noble worth," which the sword now recognises in him.
    • Also from the same story, only the 'rightful' Death-Lord can wear the iron crown of Annuvin. When someone else puts it on, it heats up like a poker and becomes impossibly tight and cannot be removed, burning through his skull.
  • Subverted in Terry Pratchett's Discworld: It's mentioned that pulling a sword from a stone is not all that difficult, but someone who can put the sword through stone in the first place, now there's someone special.
    • And of course, Carrot does just that at one point.
    • The characters also theorize that the original example was a setup. Someone decided ahead of time who the rightful king was and had a dwarf inside the stone holding onto it with pliers. When the right bloke comes along he pulls the sword and all the peasants are suitably impressed.
      • See also Pratchett's short story "Once And Future", in which time traveller and supposed wizard Mervin has placed the sword in an electromagnet, which he can switch off without anyone noticing.
  • In The Blue Sword (and the prequel, The Hero and The Crown), you have Gonturan, the titular Blue Sword, which can only be safely wielded by women and boys younger than 20.
  • The hero of The Iron Dream is able to wield a large truncheon so constructed that only someone with the right genetic pedigree can even pick it up.
  • In William King's Warhammer 40000 Space Wolf novel Wolfblade, when Haegr tells Ragnor that he is marked for greatness, Ragnor is dismissive, saying he has brought great catatrosphe on the Chapter, losing the Spear of Russ. Haegr says that he wielded the Spear of Russ, which is evidence enough of greatness.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40000 Horus Heresy novel Fulgrim, invading the temple of the Laer turns up a literal sword in the stone. Fulgrim draws it out. Justin "hears" a voice tell him to let Fulgrim take it, though it feels quite wrong.
  • The three swords used by The Dresden Files's Knights of the Cross (outright stated to be Kusanagi, Durandal and Excaliber) respond strongly to powerful hope, love, and faith respectively. Further, it's revealed in Small Favor that all three of the most recent Knights have royalty in their ancestry[1], which strongly implies that Murphy has royal ancestry as well.
  • Callandor in The Wheel of Time could only be taken from the Heart of the Stone of Tear by the Dragon Reborn.
  • The jivatma in Jennifer Roberson's Sword Dancer series are attuned blades with magic powers which can only be used by the one who knows the blade's name.
  • The Orb of Aldur in the belgariad was like this and was sometimes attached to a BFS, where the entire sword acted in this way. Only someone who was pure (i.e. innocent) or was of the rivan royal line could hold it, anyone else who tried to would be burned by it.
  • The Sword of Shannara of the Shannara series is an unintentional example of this. It was created with the intent of anyone being able to wield it, but everyone had come to believe that only a member of the Shannara bloodline could use it. Due to the changing, unpredictable nature of magic in the series, that genuinely became the case.
  • Inverted in Secret of the Sixth Magic by Lyndon Hardy, in which Jemidon is the one person who can't handle an enchanted sword or pull it out of the ground. Turns out that this is a clue Jemidon is a metamagician: someone who can't personally use magic, but can enhance magical abilities in others and manipulate the rules governing magical effects.
  • In the Deltora Quest series, only the king's heir can use the belt's powers.
  • In The Odyssey, Penelope's suitors have to pass the test of bending Odysseus' bow in order to get her. They all fail. A beggar comes and request to try bending the bow, in which he succeeds, revealing himself as Odysseus.
  • In Septimus Heap, the Dragon Ring grows and contracts and glows only for Boy 412.
  • In The Saga of Hrolf Kraki, the prince Bjorn leaves his three sons three weapons struck into a wall of rock. When the sons later arrive to retrieve the weapons, everyone of them can only take the one weapon intended for him.
  • The Orb of Aldur in the Belgariad can only be touched by a purely innocent person or by the true heir of Riva. It's even more impressive when it's fused to the Sword of Riva Irongrip, which was forged from a fallen star.

Live Action TV

  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Avalon", Merlin's cavern has a sword in the stone (which probably inspired the Arthurian legend in-universe), unable to be removed. After the team completes the tests, Mitchell is able to pull it out, and he discovers that it's a hologram. Only he can interact with it as if it was physical, and when he throws it to Teal'c, it just passes through him. It's also the only thing that can defeat the knight guarding the place.
    • A second is later found on the planet Camelot, outside Merlin's house. This one is a physical object, but otherwise has the same rules.
  • Subverted in a The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode: a small European country had a legendary sword stuck in a stone, and the leader of a coalition of criminals arranged for a safecracker to secretly apply modern lubricants so he could pull the sword out and claim the throne. Amusingly, another criminal, who did a Heel Face Turn and fought the leader, was named Artie King.
  • In season seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer the Scythe is embedded in stone, and only a Slayer can pull it free. When Caleb tried to steal it, massacring the guards and priests of what he assumed was its hiding place, he found only a message that came very close to quoting the trope: It is not for thee. It is for Her alone to wield.
  • The five Quasar Sabers from the planet Mirinoi in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. The only Ranger born on Mirinoi, Maya, had already tried to remove one as a kid, so either she spent all that time trying to free the wrong saber or the sabers themselves have some say in when they're released. They're not one-to-one, either - two of them are passed on during the series.
  • Sent up in Supernatural.
  • In the BBC series Merlin, Merlin magically embeds Excalibur in a stone, to keep it safe until Arthur is meant to wield it. In a subversion of the norm, Merlin's magic isn't empathic in any sense: the sword is impossible to remove by hand, and Merlin simply tricks Arthur into thinking he is the only person able to do it. Merlin loosens the blade with magic once Arthur is in the right mindset.
  • Subverted in the Showtime series Camelot. The sword is indeed stuck in a stone, but the problem with removing it is that it's at the top of a waterfall, covered in moss, and the ground is naturally wet (since it's, you know, submerged). It is indeed stuck, and anyone that tried to remove it previously inevitably loses their grip and falls off the waterfall to their death. However, Arthur (thanks to some contrary advice from Merlin) realizes that in order to free the sword, it must first be pushed into the rock, adjusted so that it won't catch, and then pulled out. It's heavily implied that anyone could have done this, they just didn't know it. Arthur also falls off the waterfall, but he gets better.


  • In the Old Norse Volsunga Saga, Odin plunges a sword into a tree inside a king's hall, and only the young prince Sigmund is able to pull the weapon out.
  • Norse Mythology has Mjölnir, Thor the Thunder God's one-handed hammer is this not unlike its Marvel Comics and Marvel Cinematic Universe's counterparts... except one's worthiness is not its prerequisite. Instead, only beings with sufficient might that can use it as much as its owner such as the Jötnar Thrymr (who stole the hammer) and Loki in addition of Thor himself. For the same reason, Magni and Modi inherited it together, as it was so heavy it required both of them to wield it effectively.
  • In the Ramayana, the hero Rama wins a princess's hand in marriage by lifting a supernatural bow that no other man can lift.
  • Arthurian legend:
    • After the death of Uther Pendragon the Britons cannot agree on who should be the next king, as Uther's only son Arthur has been taken away by Merlin to be raised in secret. When the nobles turn to Merlin for advice, Merlin shows them a sword lodged in an anvil or rock placed in a churchyard at Westminster and prophesies that only the true king of Britain will be able to pull the blade out. When Arthur has grown, his kingship is revealed when he succeeds in pulling the sword out, after many others have tried to do so in vain. The tale of the Sword in the Stone first appears in Robert de Boron's Merlin and later also in Le Morte d'Arthur.
    • The Family channel's animated Prince Valiant subverts and demythifies this trope. Merlin, who In this series is really more of a scientist than an actual wizard reveals to Arthur that the trick to pulling the sword from the stone was to simply wait for the right moment when the sun warmed the stone and caused it to expand and loosen it's grip on the blade.
    • The Siege Perilous is the only unlabelled seat Merlin places at the Round Table, and incinerates anyone who sits in it except "He who shall surpass all other Knights", and according to Merlin only this knight is able to find the Holy Grail. The Siege Perilous appeared first in the Queste del Saint Graal, when the knight destined to occupy the seat was Perceval; but in Le Morte d'Arthur it is Sir Galahad.

Newspaper Comics

  • In Prince Valiant only a member of the royal family of Thule can wield the Singing Sword and make it sing.

Tabletop RPG

  • Dungeons and Dragons has its share of magical items (even without their own minds) that will help only "worthy" users and usually are dangerous for everyone else.
    • Intelligent swords in general tend to act like this. They will only fully function for characters of the same alignment as the sword and working toward the weapon's special purpose (if any). Some weapons and magic items only work in the hands of certain races or certain sexes or some other criteria. And usually try to harm and/or dominate any would-be wielders they don't approve.
    • Blade-rite of Forgotten Realms elves, including two prominent groups of artifacts bonded with their wielders.
      • Elfblades are regalia of high offices and prevent anyone who isn't up to the task or whom they don't appreciate from wielding them and thus from holding an office: "unworthy" claimants suffer harm, curse or instant death, depending on the blade and failed condition. Since claiming the Ruler’'s Blade was the only legitimate way to the throne, in Myth Drannor it caused a morbidly hilarious scene when hundreds of elves waited in the queue for their chance to raise on top of the tower, grab the pommel and get blasted into ashes in full view of the crowd... and then started a fight to get there faster.
      • Moonblades were designed as a means to choose the single "best" clan as the royal family of their new realm. They kill all claimants who aren't "worthy" and of proper blood, while growing both in powers and requirements with each generation until they're practically impossible to both claim and wield. Until they ended up with the King Sword]] that stayed unclaimed for years after the king's death, while members of the royal family were inexplicably plagued by either lethal accidents or sudden calls of adventure carrying them far away from the line to the throne.
    • The Holy Avenger, Carsomyr, is an extremely powerful +5 two-handed sword that dispel magic with every hit. It can only be wielded by paladins.
  • One chapter in a Changeling: The Lost sourcebook deals with legendary items infused with the magic of the Wyrd (such as the shears of the Fates or Bran the Blessed's cauldron). The fiction for the chapter has a lone changeling finding a magical sword and being somewhat disenchanted that it's still just a magic sword after all these years — mind you, in one concession to modernity, it's embedded in an engine block.


  • Riffing off a mythological example given above, Richard Wagner in Die Walkuere has Sieglinde tell Siegmund how an old man, whom she recognized as her father Wälse (who is really the god Wotan), thrust a sword into an ash-tree, declaring it would belong to the one who could pull it out. Siegmund proceeds to do this, naming it Nothung (from German Noth, "need, travail"); however, Wotan, convinced by his wife Fricka, betrays Siegmund and shatters the sword. It can only be reforged by a hero without fear — Siegmund and Sieglinde's son, Siegfried.

Video Games

  • The Master Sword in The Legend of Zelda games. Whenever the sword appears in the series, Link is invariably the only person who can pull it out of the stone.
    • But only after previous quests to prove that he is the ancient legends' prophesied Hero. Before winning the symbols, Link will not be able to pull the Master Sword.
  • The Hammer of Ironfist in Neverwinter Nights 2. To top it off, it only allows the use of its full power when the user is wearing The Belt of Ironfist and The Gauntlet of Ironfist, so it is also a reference to Mjǫllnir .
  • Keyblades in the Kingdom Hearts series. In the first game, it looked as though Sora was the only chosen one, with a brief tug-of-war for control with Rival Turned Evil Riku. Then King Mickey was revealed to have one at the end, and it's become The Chosen Many since then.
  • The Mani Katti blade from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword. It's sort of an Arthurian thing... Lyn successfully removed it from its scabbard after the level boss failed. Of course, she had to kill him to get it done.
  • The Rusty Sword in Secret of Mana, which is revealed to be the Mana Sword after handing it over to a dwarf every now and then.
    • This is actually a variation: only the chosen one (the Boy) can remove the sword from the stone it's been left in, but once that's done, anyone can use it as a weapon, as the Girl and the Sprite are able to become quite proficient with it. However, during the final battle, only the Boy can wield the true Mana Sword.
  • The Moon and Star Ring of Nerevar (The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind), that legends say could only be used by the reincarnation of the Chimer king Nerevar ( this is you). It's never demonstrated if this actually true or not, and some moments imply it may be a myth and that anybody can wear the ring, as people are less eager to claim to be Nerevarine if they believe there's a magical artefact that can kill them.
    • Certain other moments implies that being the Nerevarine is more a matter of becoming than something you are born as — if you fulfill the requirements to be the Nerevarine, and follow what the prophecy says the Nerevarine is supposed to do, then you are the Nerevarine, and so can wear Moon-and-Star. In other words, only the Chosen may wield, but the Chosen is partly self-chosen.
  • The Crusader's Relics (and weapons) can only be wielded by the Divine Crusader in The Elder Scrolls Four expansion Knights of the Nine. In addition, if the wielder gains two points in infamy then the artifacts can not be used until the pilgrimage is undertaken again.
  • Subverted in Fable I. The Sword of Hewn doesn't need any special requirements, you just have to be physically strong enough to get it out of that rock - a hard feat indeed. This is then beautifully subverted again in the fact that you don't actually pull the sword out of the rock; you actually pull the sword and the rock out of the ground.
  • A hidden weapon weapon in the recent Castlevania parodies this: you get the Sword, which, unfortunately, is still in the stone. At least the Stone makes a nice bludgeon.
  • Something similar happens in Shadow Hearts: From the New World, Frank can obtain the Legend Saber, a mystical sword still sealed in its stone, with an extra hilt stuck on it to match all the other Improbable Weapons in his collection.
  • Divine Divinity has a sword in a stone in northern area of Dark Forest. The sword is sealing a demon, and if you get that sword out, the demon will come out and attack you. Killing it will only send it back to the stone, which it would come out again. Not sealing the demon away after it retreated and left the map will result in the demon killing all NPC in the map. Don't take the sword!.
  • Althena's Sword in Lunar, weapon of the Dragonmaster, which can only be claimed by the strong and pure of heart. Spends most of the game as a decoration in a stone monument.
  • In WarCraft III, the crazy-powerful sword Frostmourne can only be broken out of its floating chunk of ice by someone who promises to bear any curse it can throw at him/her.
    • Good news: Once you get it, Frostmourne is indeed the thing that can turn the tide and drive out the invaders, etc.
    • Bad news: Frostmourne is excellent at coming up with curses, which may include killing your best friend, literally eating your soul, and making it so you don't even WANT to repel the invaders any more and end up joining them instead. Just go with a regular drop. Way safer.
  • All heroic spirits in the Fate Stay Night-verse (which includes Fate/Zero) come complete with a "Noble Phantasm" — their own private "swords in the stone": Weapons, armour or other tools that are as much a part of their legends as they are, and which only they know how to use properly (which includes the Trope Namer, as King Arthur is a heroic spirit). There are a few heroes that can side-step this process, however. The fourth war's Berserker's Noble Phantasm is the ability to pick up anything and turn it into a magic signature weapon while he's holding it, and the Noble Phantasm of the fourth war's Archer is a Hyperspace Arsenal that contains heaps of weapons that later became other heroes' Noble Phantasms. The fifth war's Archer specializes in copy-making magic called 'projection': He has no Noble Phantasm of his own but can duplicate any weapon he has ever seen, which includes other heroes' Noble Phantasms.
  • Uther Pendragon from Fate Nuovo Guerra uses a sword that is technically the Trope Namer before he put it in the stone.
  • Subverted in Wild Arms 2 with the Argetlahm, which was used to save the world from a great evil in ancient times. There's even a ceremony near the beginning of the game where newly recruited "heroes" take a shot at drawing the sword. Sure enough, the main character fails his first attempt... But after being possessed by a demon shortly afterward, touching it causes them to cancel each other out and seal the demon inside of him. The sword itself disappears, and he was still never "chosen" until the final battle, when he's trapped inside his own soul and uses The Power of Friendship to draw the sword and kill the demon.
  • Humorously parodied in the forth installment of Heroes of Might and Magic. Upon locating a giant slayer sword on the world map and picking it up, a message comes up concerning its completely unrelated to the game play recovery. A hero stumbles upon a sword in a stone, and having heard the legend of weapons of such power being lodged in rocks, yanks at it with all his strength. This results in the sword not budging an inch. So he spends the next hour or so with a hammer and chisel to retrieve it.
  • In Magicka, this is a possible weapon. However, since your character is not the true King, you end up taking the stone along with the sword, which functions as a hammer now.
  • Suggested, but not altogether proven, for the Shield of Albion in Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, which is an heirloom of the player character's family.
  • Played with in many ways in Solatorobo:
    • The amulet chooses who may use it in the next Rite of Forfeit to seal Lares. Naturally, Red blunders upon it and it picks him. Poor Red.
    • Escaping the Human Sacrifice that the amulet tries to pull when sealing or super-powering Lares is only possible for Hybrids. Lucky for Red, he happens to be one even though he never knew it.
    • While anyone could presumably use Dahak as a normal Mini-Mecha, only Red is capable of wielding its full potential by using his Hybrid abilities to fuse with it.
    • Lares and Lemures can be controlled from the inside, but at the cost of the wielder's Life Energy. However, if you're immortal like Elh and Béluga, the Titanomachina won't kill you; it'll just take your immortality away. Ah, well, Who Wants to Live Forever?
  • In the "Zenithian Trilogy" of Dragon Quest, only the chosen hero can wield the legendary equipment required to advance the plot. In V's case, you are not the chosen hero, but your son is.


  • Arthur, King of Time and Space, obviously. In the baseline arc, it's done straight (and straight out of T.H. White); in the space arc the Excalibur is the flagship of the British fleet and can only be activated by a Pendragon bioprint.
  • Played with in Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic. The wizard proposed a variant of this with an axe, as an alternative to the tourney open to all nobles. Beat Panel ensues.
  • In Girl Genius, only one of the eponymous family can control Castle Heterodyne. The castle itself mentions that many times over history, the Heterodynes have disappeared, and many people have laid claim to the family name. Some were delusional, some were puppets of greater men, and some were honestly wrong. But all non-Heterodynes that were tested for control of the Castle were summarily executed, and their skulls are used to pave a floor in the Castle chapel.
  • Shelly of Wapsi Square is able to pull a literal sword from a stone. What qualifications she has that allowed her to do it have not been revealed yet, but it is implied that many people have failed in the past.
  • A guy in Oglaf finds a sword in the stone with a sign that reads "Draw the Sword from the Stone and be a King". This being Oglaf: guess why the sign changes to "Draw the King from the Stone and win a Sword".
  • Homestuck has Caledfwlch in it - but it isn't drawn from the stone, but instead snapped out by Dave.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • In Thundercats, The Sword of Omens can only be held by somebody with good intentions, and only properly wielded by somebody pure of heart, like Lion-O. If anybody evil tries to use it, it will embed itself in the ground and not come out.
    • And when Lion-O himself tries to use it for hunting, the sword embeds itself into the ground and refuses to harm defenseless animals.
    • Another episode featured Excalibur, which Mumm-ra tried to use to defeat the Sword of Omens, but once it got planted into the ground, Mumm-ra learned that the sword was just as resistant to being used by evil ones, as it refused to come out, spelling Mumm-ra's defeat once again. It is then recovered by Merlin and returned to the Lady of the Lake.
    • In ThunderCats (2011) the Sword of Omens is enchanted against "being touched by the hands of evil" and can only be properly wielded by those it has chosen as the King. It marks those who are worthy by giving them visions or "Sight beyond sight."
  • One episode of Super Mario Bros Super Show was a parody of King Arthur, involving a golden plunger that only Mario could pull out of a toilet. The legend went that whoever pulled the plunger would defeat Koopa and become the king of Cramalot, but that didn't stop Mario from getting cold feet and passing it on to the wizard.
  • The White Wand can only be used by Timmy Turner, The Chosen One, in The Fairly Odd Parents.
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants, the titular character was able to pull the golden spatula (when no others can) out of the ancient grease in a museum. King Neptune shows up and challenges Spongebob in a patty-cooking competition. He will make Spongebob a god if he wins.
  • In the Arthur episode The Return of the King, the title character was able to pull the sword out of the stone following his class' competition defeat by another class taught by Mr. Ratburn's former teacher.
  • In King Arthur and the Knights of Justice, each Key of Truth can only be touched by the knight to whom it corresponds.
  • An interesting subversion occurs on the Dilbert episode The Takeover, with Dogbert becoming the new CEO after drawing a golf club from a bag. The episode is viewable here.
    • "Wow, first guy who tried... just like the other times."
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has the "Mane" six and the Elements of Harmony, as indicated in the Season 2 premiere, only they can wield their power. Celestia and Luna once wielded the Elements, but they have now become more attuned to the mane six.
  • This occurs in one episode of Kim Possible. While any who posses Mystical Monkey Power can wield the Lotus Blade, only one whose heart is pure can call it. Fanon likes to expand on this.
  • It's implied in Voltron: Legendary Defender that the Lions can choose among their potential pilots and either accept or discard them. The original Blue Paladin, Blaytz, feared that Blue would not take him in due to "being different" (probably due to him being Badass Gay), but it didn't happen.
  • Across all the incarnations of Transformers, the Matrix of Leadership chooses the Primes, not the other way around. In Transformers: The Movie, both Ultra Magnus and Galvatron tried to open it to no avail. Mighty warriors they may have been, the Matrix had already chosen its next bearer.
  1. Shiro was descended from the last king of Okinawa, Michael is descended from Charlemange, and Sanya's ancestry links him to Saladin