Dispel Magic YKTTW Discussion

Dispel Magic
Reversing the effect(s) of a completed spell
(permanent link) added: 2012-01-20 09:51:23 sponsor: 69BookWorM69 edited by: Anura (last reply: 2014-12-16 17:27:38)

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Magic with the ability to remove the effects of other magic. A form of Anti-Magic (and Sub-Trope to it), this applies to any ability that is used to reverse the effects of another spell that has already worked. If someone has been changed into a frog, a magic spell to change the frog back into a person (presumably the same person) is an example of Dispel Magic.

Contrast Counter Spell, which is a spell that interrupts another spell and prevents it from working in the first place, and No Ontological Inertia, where magic fades naturally upon the death of the one who cast it. Anti-Magic can prevent magic from happening at all as a passive defence, while Dispel can only remove magic that has already taken hold. Super Trope to Status Buff Dispel: anything that dispells a Status Buff specifically goes there.


     Anime & Manga 

     Comic Strips 

  • In The Wheel of Time, the Magic by Any Other Name is performed by weaving "threads" of the Elemental Powers. The normal way to cancel someone else's weave is to cut it, but a stealthier option is to unweave it. This is very much a Dangerous Forbidden Technique, since if you screw it up, the threads will resettle into a random pattern (such as a thermonuclear explosion.)
  • Xanth's Magician Grey Murphy can cancel out any magic, but only one target at a time (and can actually make magic stronger by leaning hard on his null effect, then removing it).

     Live-Action Television 
  • One episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch had Sabrina forbidden from using these types of spells (trying to simply "undo" her last spell simply caused a "No can undo" Flag to pop out of her finger) in order to teach her to be more responsible.

     Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In addition to its use as a Status Buff Dispel, the dispel magic family of spells (also includes greater dispelling and Mordenkainen's disjunction) are capable of breaking spells. Mordenkainen's disjunction can also destroy magic items.
    • In 3.X Edition curse spells such as bestow curse and mark of justice are treated differently from other enchantments and can only be broken by the use of specific spells.
  • Forgotten Realms spell "Spellstrike". It removes effects of a single spell cast immediately before (in the previous round). The same sourcebooks has "Unburn", though it reverts ashes made by normal fires as well as magical.
  • Magic: The Gathering: "Disenchanting" (destroying enchantments and artifacts) is a standard effect seen often on green and white spells. Just about every expansion has a Naturalize and Demystify variant.

  • Explicitly impossible in Wicked, which causes problems when Elphaba starts fiddling with magic at the behest of the Wizard. She gives wings to the monkeys, tries to take it back, and is informed that a spell cannot be broken once cast.

     Video Games 

     Web Comics 

     Western Animation 
  • The Fairly OddParents uses Timmy's wish to turn back everything that happens in the episode into normal as an In-Universe Reset Button. Sometimes, however, it doesn't work, and they have to find a solution other than his "undo" wish.
  • The Simpsons had an episode where Bart was eaten by piranhas. Lisa pressed the rewind button. Bart was uneaten, the Piranhas swam backwards around him vomiting flesh onto his bones.

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