History Main / Unicorn

24th Jul '17 5:12:41 PM Discar
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* ''Literature/RoguesOfTheRepublic:'' Unicorns are shapeshifting magical parasites with mind control powers. And yes, they really like virgins... but virgins don't stay that way for long around them.
23rd Jul '17 2:50:52 AM Piterpicher
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** In thes ''TheHalfbloodChronicles'' series, co-written with Creator/AndreNorton, "[[CallAPegasusAHippogryph Alicorns]]" are ferocious predators that were created to be war steeds but were too stupid and aggressive to use. So of course, their [[TheFairFolk creators]] released them into the wild. A pair of elves on the run find that the one who can make small modifications to animals can also make them rideable, but they're not to be trusted.

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** In thes ''TheHalfbloodChronicles'' the ''Literature/TheHalfbloodChronicles'' series, co-written with Creator/AndreNorton, "[[CallAPegasusAHippogryph Alicorns]]" are ferocious predators that were created to be war steeds but were too stupid and aggressive to use. So of course, their [[TheFairFolk creators]] released them into the wild. A pair of elves on the run find that the one who can make small modifications to animals can also make them rideable, but they're not to be trusted.
14th Jul '17 5:37:47 PM MagnusForce
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* The ''shadhavar'' from Arabic legends had a single horn with 42 hollow branches that played extremely cheery or tragic music when the wind passed through them. Some accounts state that it used the music to lure prey, but that may be the result of confusion with another musical creature called the ''siranis''.



* In Celtic mythology and European folklore, the unicorn symbolizes both [[SomethingElseAlsoRises phallic sexuality]] and [[VisualInnuendo ritualistic sexual intercourse]] and its conversion into the forces of visualization.

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* In Celtic mythology and European folklore, the unicorn symbolizes both [[SomethingElseAlsoRises phallic sexuality]] and [[VisualInnuendo ritualistic sexual intercourse]] and its conversion into the forces of visualization.visualization



* TheRealGhostbusters had an episode called "A Hard Knight's Day" where the unicorns on the tapestries in The Cloisters came to life. They had solid hooves, fin-like manes and their horns were long, slender, slightly curved yet strong enough to turn aside a lance. Ray and Winston rode on them. (Winston mentioned having a girlfriend in another episode. Jury still out on Ray's virgin status.) Earlier in the ep, Peter describes unicorns as "ponies with candles growing out of their heads."

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* TheRealGhostbusters ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'' had an episode called "A Hard Knight's Day" where the unicorns on the tapestries in The Cloisters came to life. They had solid hooves, fin-like manes and their horns were long, slender, slightly curved yet strong enough to turn aside a lance. Ray and Winston rode on them. (Winston mentioned having a girlfriend in another episode. Jury still out on Ray's virgin status.) Earlier in the ep, Peter describes unicorns as "ponies with candles growing out of their heads."



* Aside from the (extant) narwhal, Great Indian or Javan rhinos, and a few kinds of single-horned lizards, there have been a number of one-horned animals in the distant past, including ''Elasmotherium'', a large, prehistoric rhino with a single very long horn, and ''Monoclonius'', a ceratopsian dinosaur. ''Elasmotherium'', which inhabited central Asia (possible ranging into Europe if certain cave paintings are to be believed) during the Ice Age, is actually thought by some to be the source of Eurasian unicorn myths, the theory going that relic ''Elasmotherium'' populations surviving into early historical times would have left behind tales of aggressive, one-horned animals throughout their former range, which would explain the similarities of shape and character shared by many mythical unicorns and similar beasts (such as Pliny's monoceros, the karkadann and the indrik, and to a degree the Chinese unicorns as well).

to:

* Aside from the (extant) narwhal, Great Indian or Javan rhinos, and a few kinds of single-horned lizards, there have been a number of one-horned animals in the distant past, including ''Elasmotherium'', a large, prehistoric rhino with a single very long horn, and ''Monoclonius'', a ceratopsian dinosaur. dinosaur.
**
''Elasmotherium'', which inhabited central Asia (possible ranging into Europe if certain cave paintings are to be believed) during the Ice Age, is actually thought by some to be the source of Eurasian unicorn myths, the theory going that relic ''Elasmotherium'' populations surviving into early historical times would have left behind tales of aggressive, one-horned animals throughout their former range, which would explain the similarities of shape and character shared by many mythical unicorns and similar beasts (such as Pliny's monoceros, the karkadann and the indrik, and to a degree the Chinese unicorns as well).
13th Jun '17 2:08:33 PM Peridonyx
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*** The third-season opener also had one of the rare cases of an ''ObviouslyEvil'' unicorn, King Sombra, a merciless tyrant who's been described as the [[AlternateCompanyEquivalent pony equivalent]] of [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Sauron.]] [[spoiler:However, the ''FIENDship is Magic'' comics eventually subverted this -- he's actually the long-lost prince of an entire race of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s (complete with a pretty much a female version of [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Morgoth]] as his GreaterScopeVillain "mother"), just given a Unicorn form. But then the ''Siege of the Crystal Empire'' comics ultimately played this straight again by giving him a legitimate Unicorn body as positive LaserGuidedKarma for his ShockingSwerve HeelFaceTurn at the end.]]

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*** The third-season opener also had one of the rare cases of an ''ObviouslyEvil'' unicorn, King Sombra, a merciless tyrant who's been described as the [[AlternateCompanyEquivalent pony equivalent]] of [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Sauron.]] [[spoiler:However, the ''FIENDship ''[=FIENDship=] is Magic'' comics eventually subverted this -- he's actually the long-lost prince of an entire race of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s (complete with a pretty much a female version of [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Morgoth]] as his GreaterScopeVillain "mother"), just given a Unicorn form. But then the ''Siege of the Crystal Empire'' comics ultimately played this straight again by giving him a legitimate Unicorn body as positive LaserGuidedKarma for his ShockingSwerve HeelFaceTurn at the end.]]
13th Jun '17 2:07:55 PM Peridonyx
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*** In the fourth incarnation, they have all have their unique trick, such as Rarity's gem-finding spell and Shining Armor's magic shields, in addition to some basic magic like levitation, the extent of which depends on their personal skill and dedication. Twilight Sparkle, the primary heroine, is a student of magic whose [[TheGift special talent]] is magic, allowing her to theoretically learn all unicorn magic. Most unicorns have vastly less power and versatility. The third-season opener also had one of the rare cases of an ''ObviouslyEvil'' unicorn, King Sombra, a merciless tyrant who's been described as the [[AlternateCompanyEquivalent pony equivalent]] of [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Sauron.]]

to:

*** In the fourth incarnation, they have all have their unique trick, such as Rarity's gem-finding spell and Shining Armor's magic shields, in addition to some basic magic like levitation, the extent of which depends on their personal skill and dedication. Twilight Sparkle, the primary heroine, is a student of magic whose [[TheGift special talent]] is magic, allowing her to theoretically learn all unicorn magic. Most unicorns have vastly less power and versatility. versatility.
***
The third-season opener also had one of the rare cases of an ''ObviouslyEvil'' unicorn, King Sombra, a merciless tyrant who's been described as the [[AlternateCompanyEquivalent pony equivalent]] of [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Sauron.]] [[spoiler:However, the ''FIENDship is Magic'' comics eventually subverted this -- he's actually the long-lost prince of an entire race of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s (complete with a pretty much a female version of [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Morgoth]] as his GreaterScopeVillain "mother"), just given a Unicorn form. But then the ''Siege of the Crystal Empire'' comics ultimately played this straight again by giving him a legitimate Unicorn body as positive LaserGuidedKarma for his ShockingSwerve HeelFaceTurn at the end.]]
11th Jun '17 1:23:32 PM fruitstripegum
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* In ''Anime/SailorMoon [=SuperS=]'' although his name is Pegasus and he IS a winged horse what everyone is after is his bright golden unicorn horn.

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* In Helios in ''Anime/SailorMoon [=SuperS=]'' - although his name is he's also called Pegasus and he IS a winged horse horse, what everyone is after is his bright golden unicorn horn.
10th Jun '17 11:33:49 PM MagnusForce
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* Taylor the Barbaricorn from ''WesternAnimation/{{Freaktown}}'' is an anthropomorphic [[NinjaZombiePirateRobot unicorn-barbarian]] who serves the muscle for Princess Boo-Boo's projects in cutifying the eponymous town.
9th Jun '17 9:43:22 PM Theriocephalus
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The switch is linked to one of the most common paired motifs- the Virgin and the Unicorn. [[OnlyTheChosenMayRide Only a virgin-maiden would be able to attract the Unicorn to her.]] Broadly, the story always goes on the lines of the maiden attracts and soothes the unicorn until the hunters who convinced her to do so could attack and kill the unicorn for its horn. Sometimes the maiden is just followed, [[VirginityMakesYouStupid sometimes knowingly involved and tricked.]] The implication is that the unicorn was so fierce and wild [[GoodHurtsEvil only an innocent girl's purity could conquer it]]. [[FamilyUnfriendlyDeath What happens if she's not a virgin]] is not popular nowadays; nor is the other medieval way of catching it: tricking it into charging you when you stand in front of a tree, and dodge, and it will be unable to pull itself free.

Either way, when they're good, the most important unicorn-association is [[PurityPersonified purity]]; [[UnicornsAreSacred harming one can often be a sign that a character is a villain]]. Indeed, the connections with maidens is probably why the unicorn has become gentle in popular culture and myth for several centuries. In modern days, unicorns are often part of a SugarBowl theme. Portraying unicorns as aggressive is one of the more common fantasy subversions - or perhaps the writers of today still haven't forgotten Pliny's vicious unicorn. It's a resurgance not unlike the reappearance of TheFairFolk.

to:

The switch is linked to one of the most common paired motifs- motifs -- the Virgin and the Unicorn. [[OnlyTheChosenMayRide Only a virgin-maiden would be able to attract the Unicorn to her.]] her]]. Broadly, the story always goes on the lines of the maiden attracts and soothes the unicorn until the hunters who convinced her to do so could attack and kill the unicorn for its horn. Sometimes the maiden is just followed, [[VirginityMakesYouStupid sometimes knowingly involved and tricked.]] The implication is that the unicorn was so fierce and wild [[GoodHurtsEvil only an innocent girl's purity could conquer it]]. [[FamilyUnfriendlyDeath What happens if she's not a virgin]] is not popular nowadays; nor is the other medieval way of catching it: tricking it into charging you when you stand in front of a tree, and dodge, and it will be unable to pull itself free.

Either way, when they're good, the most important unicorn-association is [[PurityPersonified purity]]; [[UnicornsAreSacred harming one can often be a sign that a character is a villain]]. Indeed, the connections with maidens is probably why the unicorn has become gentle in popular culture and myth for several centuries. In modern days, unicorns are often part of a SugarBowl theme. Portraying unicorns as aggressive is one of the more common fantasy subversions - -- or perhaps the writers of today still haven't forgotten Pliny's vicious unicorn. It's a resurgance not unlike the reappearance of TheFairFolk.



* Alexander The Great's steed, Bucephalus, is often described as a unicorn or a 'karkadann' [[AmbiguousSpecies among other things.]]
* In China, the XieZhi, a goat-like unicorn with gold eyes and a gold horn was a symbol of law and justice, the legend goes that it can always tell the guilty from the innocent, and it would attack the guilty parties as punishment, it could also finish arguments by pointing out the person that is wrong.
* Another Chinese mythical creature, the qilin (chilin, kirin, ki-lin, ghilen, quilin), resembles a composite between a Chinese dragon and a European unicorn.
** Sometimes, anyway. It is also frequently depicted as a stockily-built creature with two antlers resembling a cross between a dragon and an ox (perhaps inspired by ceratopsians, as ancient Chinese alchemists are known to have had an interest in dinosaur fossils, [[DinosaursAreDragons believing them to be dragon bones]]). Another common variation which is especially popular in Japan is for them to be part giraffe, since a Chinese emperor once acquired two giraffes from Africa and told everybody they were qilins. Virtually the only thing consistent about qilins are that they're a combination of a Chinese dragon and some kind of ungulate.

to:

* Alexander The the Great's steed, Bucephalus, is often described as a unicorn or a 'karkadann' karkadann, [[AmbiguousSpecies among other things.]]
things]].
* In China, the XieZhi, Xiezhi, a goat-like unicorn with gold eyes and a gold horn horn, was a symbol of law and justice, the justice. The legend goes that it can always tell the guilty from the innocent, and it would will attack the guilty parties as punishment, it punishment. It could also finish arguments by pointing out the person that is wrong.
* Another Chinese mythical creature, the qilin (chilin, (also spelled chilin, kirin, ki-lin, ghilen, ghilen and quilin), resembles a composite between a Chinese dragon and a European unicorn.
**
unicorn. Sometimes, anyway. It is also frequently depicted as a stockily-built creature with two antlers resembling a cross between a dragon and an ox (perhaps inspired by ceratopsians, as ancient Chinese alchemists are known to have had an interest in dinosaur fossils, [[DinosaursAreDragons believing them to be dragon bones]]). Another common variation which is especially popular in Japan is for them to be part giraffe, since a Chinese emperor once acquired two giraffes from Africa and told everybody they were qilins. Virtually the only thing consistent about qilins are that they're a combination of a Chinese dragon and some kind of ungulate.



* The ''karkadann'' from Persian mythology is an aggressive beast resembling a rhinoceros often compared to the unicorn. A being from Mongolian folklore known as Indrik or Lord of Beasts has a similar appearance to it. Some believe they may have been inspired by sightings of surviving ''Elasmotherium'' (see Other).

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* The ''karkadann'' from Persian mythology is an aggressive beast resembling a rhinoceros and often compared to the unicorn. A being from Mongolian folklore known as Indrik or Lord of Beasts has a similar appearance to it. Some believe they may have been inspired by sightings of surviving ''Elasmotherium'' rhinoceri (see Other).Real Life).



* [[HornyVikings Viking]] [[IntrepidMerchant traders]] used to sell Narwhal tusks and call them unicorn-horns. As Narwhals could easily be presented as magic beasts themselves, one wonders why they bothered with calling them unicorns. Considering the word Unicorn means "One Horn", they weren't really lying... Except narwhal tusks are ''teeth'', not horns.
* Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus raised a stir in the 1980s by displaying "unicorns" in its shows ... in reality, white angora goats whose horn buds had been surgically repositioned in infancy. The animals' creator, a scholar and artist deeply involved in paganism and mythology, actually holds a patent on the procedure. She's also the co-founder of the real-life Church of All Worlds, a neopagan group that uses some of the concepts introduced in Robert Heinlein's ''Literature/StrangerInAStrangeLand''.
* Aside from the (extant) narwhal, Great Indian or Javan rhinos, and a few kinds of single-horned lizards, there have been a number of one-horned animals in the distant past, including ''Elasmotherium'', a rhino-like mammal with a single very wide horn, and ''Monoclonius'', a ceratopsian dinosaur.
* Although not ''strictly'' one-horned, the oryx (a type of antelope found in parts of Africa and the Middle East) ''kinda sorta'' looks like a unicorn when viewed from the side, at just the right angle. The two horns can appear to be one horn. Additionally, like unicorns, oryxes are relatively rare, particularly the Arabian oryx (''Oryx leucoryx'') and scimitar oryx (''Oryx dammah'').

to:

* [[HornyVikings Viking]] [[IntrepidMerchant traders]] used to sell Narwhal tusks and call them unicorn-horns. As Narwhals could easily be presented as magic beasts themselves, one wonders why they bothered with calling them unicorns. Considering the word Unicorn means "One Horn", they weren't really lying... Except except narwhal tusks are ''teeth'', not horns.
* Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus raised a stir in the 1980s by displaying "unicorns" in its shows ... shows... which in reality, reality were white angora goats whose horn buds had been surgically repositioned in infancy. The animals' creator, a scholar and artist deeply involved in paganism and mythology, actually holds a patent on the procedure. She's also the co-founder of the real-life Church of All Worlds, a neopagan group that uses some of the concepts introduced in Robert Heinlein's ''Literature/StrangerInAStrangeLand''.
* Aside from the (extant) narwhal, Great Indian or Javan rhinos, and a few kinds of single-horned lizards, there have been a number of one-horned animals in the distant past, including ''Elasmotherium'', a rhino-like mammal large, prehistoric rhino with a single very wide long horn, and ''Monoclonius'', a ceratopsian dinosaur.
dinosaur. ''Elasmotherium'', which inhabited central Asia (possible ranging into Europe if certain cave paintings are to be believed) during the Ice Age, is actually thought by some to be the source of Eurasian unicorn myths, the theory going that relic ''Elasmotherium'' populations surviving into early historical times would have left behind tales of aggressive, one-horned animals throughout their former range, which would explain the similarities of shape and character shared by many mythical unicorns and similar beasts (such as Pliny's monoceros, the karkadann and the indrik, and to a degree the Chinese unicorns as well).
* Although not ''strictly'' one-horned, the oryx (a type of antelope found in parts of Africa and the Middle East) ''kinda sorta'' looks like a unicorn when viewed from the side, side at just the right angle.angle, or when an occasional individual has only one horn due to injury or a birth defect. The two horns can appear to be one horn. Additionally, like unicorns, oryxes are relatively rare, particularly the Arabian oryx (''Oryx leucoryx'') and scimitar oryx (''Oryx dammah'').



* In English/rhetoric/communication classes showing the limits of grammar, the sentence "the present Queen of France rides a unicorn." is given. Every rule of grammar will say that there is nothing wrong with it. But there is no such person as "the present Queen of France"; France is a republic. And there are no such things as unicorns.

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* In English/rhetoric/communication classes showing the limits of grammar, the sentence "the present Queen of France rides a unicorn." unicorn" is given. Every rule of grammar will say that there is nothing wrong with it. But there is no such person as "the present Queen of France"; France is a republic. And there are no such things as unicorns.
4th Jun '17 3:30:28 PM ErichoTOME
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* Flying Princess Pony Head from ''WesternAnimation/StarVsTheForcesOfEvil'', who comes from the Uni dimension.

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* Flying Princess Pony Head from ''WesternAnimation/StarVsTheForcesOfEvil'', who comes from the Uni dimension. Star also uses warrior unicorns or warnicorns.
25th Apr '17 11:56:48 AM Theriocephalus
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* Creator/AnneMcCaffrey's Literature/AcornaSeries is a sci-fi take. A trio of asteroid miners find a [[PettingZooPeople Petting Zoo Unicorn Person]] baby in an escape pod; she goes from a baby with a vocabulary of three words to an adolescent in the space of two years. Much is made of how attractive she is. Her horn purifies water and air and heals wounds, she is an obligatory vegetarian, and it turns out she's an alien. Much later, reunited with her people, it turns out that they are descended from the last unicorns from Earth and the SufficientlyAdvancedAlien race that rescued them.
** There is the interesting detail that unicorn people on their replacement homeworld have patterned skins with different colors, and being born in space or spending a certain amount of time offworld leads to being bleached silver-white.

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* Creator/AnneMcCaffrey's Literature/AcornaSeries is a sci-fi take. A trio of asteroid miners find a [[PettingZooPeople Petting Zoo Unicorn Person]] baby in an escape pod; she goes from a baby with a vocabulary of three words to an adolescent in the space of two years. Much is made of how attractive she is. Her horn purifies water and air and heals wounds, she is an obligatory vegetarian, and it turns out she's an alien. Much later, reunited with her people, it turns out that they are descended from the last unicorns from Earth and the SufficientlyAdvancedAlien race that rescued them.
**
them. There is also the interesting detail that unicorn people on their replacement homeworld have patterned skins with different colors, and being born in space or spending a certain amount of time offworld leads to being bleached silver-white.



* Meredith Ann Pierce's ''Literature/TheFirebringerTrilogy'', which has unicorns as protagonists, is ''made'' of this trope. The unicorns as a species have considered themselves at war with [[GiantFlyer gryphons]] and wyverns for the past four centuries. Their society is rigidly controlled, and it is believed that any unicorn who leaves or is exiled will turn into a horse. This turns out [[spoiler:not to be true, of course...in fact, it's revealed that drinking from a magical pond will change a horse into a unicorn.]]
* On the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', unicorns, like the fairies, adhere to the more classical myths of vicious supernatural creatures (though they are still subject to VirginPower). As in RealLife, people have misremembered unicorns and fairies as cutesy magical pals for little girls.

to:

* Meredith Ann Pierce's ''Literature/TheFirebringerTrilogy'', which has unicorns as protagonists, is ''made'' of this trope. The unicorns as a species have considered themselves at war with [[GiantFlyer gryphons]] and wyverns for the past four centuries. Their society is rigidly controlled, and it is believed that any unicorn who leaves or is exiled will turn into a horse. This turns out [[spoiler:not to be true, of course... in fact, it's revealed that drinking from a magical pond will change a horse into a unicorn.]]
* On the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', unicorns, ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** Unicorns,
like the fairies, adhere to the more classical myths of vicious supernatural creatures (though they are still subject to VirginPower). As in RealLife, people have misremembered unicorns and fairies as cutesy magical pals for little girls.



* ''Literature/HarryPotter'' unicorns are just about the least threatening thing you'll find in the Forbidden Forest. The foals are golden, but they turn silver when they're about two, and of course white as adults. They're described as being 'pure', and to kill one and drink its blood will save your life from anything, but [[UnicornsAreSacred the act is so evil]] that you are doomed to 'a half life... a cursed life.' Unknown what that actually meant. Unicorn parts have other uses without the drawback as they don't require killing unicorn to get them. For example, the hairs are used for wand cores, as well as rope. You can also apparently get a bit of horn without killing the unicorn, as there are no qualms about using unicorn horn in potions.
** Unicorn blood was [[SilverHasMysticPowers silver]], resembling [[AlienBlood mercury]].
* We never get to see them, but Creator/TamoraPierce's ''Literature/TortallUniverse'' has killer unicorns.
** The most skilled of the Shang warriors take the names of magical creatures; there's a short story about the girl who eventually becomes the Shang Unicorn.

to:

* ''Literature/HarryPotter'' unicorns are just about the least threatening thing you'll find in the Forbidden Forest. The foals are golden, but they turn silver when they're about two, and of course white as adults. They're described as being 'pure', and to kill one and drink its blood (which the movies portray as [[AlienBlood silver, resembling mercury]]) will save your life from anything, but [[UnicornsAreSacred the act is so evil]] that you are doomed to 'a half life... a cursed life.' Unknown what that actually meant. Unicorn parts have other uses without the drawback as they don't require killing unicorn to get them. For example, the hairs are used for wand cores, as well as rope. You can also apparently get a bit of horn without killing the unicorn, as there are no qualms about using unicorn horn in potions.
** Unicorn blood was [[SilverHasMysticPowers silver]], resembling [[AlienBlood mercury]].
* We never get to see them, but Creator/TamoraPierce's ''Literature/TortallUniverse'' has killer unicorns.
**
unicorns. The most skilled of the Shang warriors take the names of magical creatures; there's a short story about the girl who eventually becomes the Shang Unicorn.



* HardBoiledWonderlandAndTheEndOfTheWorld. The "Hard-Boiled Wonderland" segments has the protagonist encounter a unicorn skull, while "The End of the World" segments has the protagonist read old dreams from a unicorn skull. There are also unicorn-like creatures that reside outside the Town.

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* HardBoiledWonderlandAndTheEndOfTheWorld. ''Literature/HardBoiledWonderlandAndTheEndOfTheWorld'': The "Hard-Boiled Wonderland" segments has the protagonist encounter a unicorn skull, while "The End of the World" segments has the protagonist read old dreams from a unicorn skull. There are also unicorn-like creatures that reside outside the Town.
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