OpenAndShut Open and Shut YKTTW Discussion

Open and Shut
Opening and Closing as a Stock Superpower
Needs Examples Description Needs Help Tropeworthy? Better Name
(permanent link) added: 2012-12-16 15:16:08 sponsor: bulmabriefs144 (last reply: 2013-05-18 13:17:31)

Add Tag:
Essentially, the ability to open and close doors. Ooooh, scary. But picture this. The user in question seals you inside a door to another dimension for centuries, or perhaps opens a door to the infernal planes and fishes out a few monsters. Still think so?

Open And Shut is one of the Stock Superpower which is lesser known, and is a type of Yin Yang Magic.

The favored weapon of this user is usually a giant vaguely (or not so vaguely) key-shaped staff. It is favored by exorcists since it is a quick way to deal with fearsome creatures without converting to the religion. All you need is to find a handy door to lock all your worst nightmares away behind. Just better hope they don't decide to team up to rush the door.

In its most basic form, this is basically a combination of Barrier Warrior and Thinking Up Portals. That is, you can open/close doors to anywhere (and open any doors), or send incoming attacks into another place. But this is very much a Semantic Superpower (in fact, the ability to open doors is currently the quote for the page), so other applications of this power can be made.

This controls the bonds of existence, and is basically the power that joins other powers together. At the atomic level, where things are joined together or broken apart, these bonds do stuff like hold matter in cell walls or form chemical links. Fridge Horror sets in, however, when you realize this means of course that along with opening/closing natural locks and opening/closing dimensional doors, the person could literally look at you and cause you to break apart into atoms.

Because you can open any door, there might be some overlap with the various Elemental Powers. Most obviously is Space/Time in the form of dimensional travel, but you could conceivably use fire magic by opening a tiny hole into a volcano or something, or water by opening a hole into the middle of an ocean. If the definition of this power is vague enough, you can possibly get New Powers as the Plot Demands.

See also Thinking Up Portals, for a practical usage. Contrast Master of Unlocking which is about people with mundane, lock-picking abilities, rather than a superpower.


Anime and Manga
  • Cardcaptor Sakura, the title character uses a key as a tool to lock away or unlock spirits. The first episode she unseals them all by accident.
  • Natsume's Book of Friends has a kid who ancestor sealed a bunch of monsters away in a book. He decides to release them.

  • Abhorsen in the Old Kingdom series can open gates to nine dimensions (basically layers of death), and can also bind away spirits or undead using bells. In fact, their magical alphabet itself is constructed as a result of a major seal.
  • In Labyrinths of Echo, Numminorikh Kuta learned the art of finding and opening any kind of doors from his mother, who was the Master of Doorways for an ancient Magical Society. Also, Max can use doors of any kind to access the Corridor Between Worlds, and suffers major Power Incontinence in the final tome.
  • "The Lost Gate" of the Mither Mage series by Orson Scott Card has the main character seemingly having no power. He later turns out to be a Gatekeeper.
  • In Monday Begins on Saturday, a pair of Maxwell's demons work in the Extranormal Institute as the doorkeepers.
  • In Neverwhere, Door is a member of the family Portico, who all have this ability, and are highly regarded because of it. They live in a series of rooms that aren't physically accessible by ordinary means. The ability makes her a MacGuffin Girl for the plot.

Table Top RPG

  • Dungeons & Dragons has the gate spell. Sure, you can head to other dimensions. Or you can summon creatures from them (including elementals, enabling fire effects). Or you can suck/push creatures into other dimensions. Or you can block incoming spells. Or you can create two portals in close proximity, and mimic spell-turning (later versions likely patched this detail).

Video Games
  • Obviously, the stock power of the Keyblades in Kingdom Hearts series. He uses both to great effect over the course of the series.
  • Yukari Yakumo's ill-defined but tremendously game-breaking power is over boundaries, which she can open and close at will. Usually this manifests as elongated Portal-style openings in reality (called gaps), but she can also manipulate conceptual boundaries, like the border of Gensokyo or the boundary between life and death.

Comic Books

Tabletop Games
  • The Lore of Portals of the House of Neberu in Demon The Fallen is a set of magical/divine abilities revolving around opening and closing doors of any kind.

Real Life
  • Maxwell's demon (in thermodynamics) is a hypothetical entity whose only powers is to open and close doors.
  • Fission and Fusion operate off the process of joining or splitting bonds, so yes, this can be very powerful.
Replies: 23