Created By: Tallens on April 26, 2013 Last Edited By: Tallens on June 22, 2013
Troped

Supernormal Bindings

Used to restrain extraordinarily powered individuals.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Gods in chains.
So you've just captured a wizard, a fairy, a spirit, a ghost, maybe Superman or even a god. Congratulations! Now how do you keep them from escaping? Ordinary rope or handcuffs won't do the trick, they could just use magic to make them come undone or maybe just break them or pass right through them. What you need are special restraints that are either so strong nothing short of the universe collapsing can break them, or the restraints somehow counteract the prisoners' powers, rendering them harmless as long as they're bound by the restraints.

This trope covers ropes, chains, handcuffs, shackles, straitjackets, and other things along those lines which are capable of holding these extraordinary beings without them being able to get out of them.

Most likely some form of Applied Phlebotinum, probably as a Power Nullifier, and chances are you'll find something like this in a Tailor-Made Prison or Extranormal Prison, but may just as well be used outside them.

Anything that does not actually restrain the limbs in some way is Not This Trope. Bracelets, anklets, necklaces or anything else that simply limits or removes their abilities is a Power Nullifier.

See also Restraining Bolt.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Bleach anime, "Soul Society/The Rescue" arc episode 45. After Ganju, Uryu and Chad are captured by the Soul Society, manacles are put on them that seal off their spiritual pressure and prevent them from using their powers.

Comic Books
  • In the DC Universe, Grimbor the Chainsman was a villain who specialized in creating restraints for use on superpowered characters.
  • Rather common in Hellboy and B.P.R.D. when dealing with demons. When attempting a summoning, anyone with half an ounce of sense will use some magical binding or words of power to prevent the demon from leaving the summoning circle. (Of course, anyone with a full ounce of sense wouldn't be summoning demons in the first place, because things always manage to go wrong even with these barriers in place.)
  • Doctor Strange uses a "Crimson Bands of Cyttorak" spell to tie up superpowered evildoers, and the Hulk when he's rampaging..

Fan Fiction
  • In Peptuck's Final Fantasy VIII story Legacy of the Chimera Dr. Odine's Sorceress suppressing devices have been adapted into handcuffs and are used to capture Rinoa.

Film
  • In Wreck-It Ralph after Vanellope is captured by King Candy and thrown in his Fungeon she's shown in an enormous shackle labeled "100% glitch-proof".
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit. After Judge Doom captures the Toons Jessica and Roger Rabbit, he has the weasels tie them up with escape-proof Toon rope.
  • After Hades assaults Olympus in Hercules, the gods are shown being led away in chains, which vanish rather than fall off after Herc cuts them.
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi, when captured by Count Dooku in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, is held captive, suspended in midair in a containment field that also rotated him slowly. It has several features designed to make Jedi less able to use the Force to escape.
  • In Hellboy, Rasputin binds Hellboy in stocks and chains inscribed with Hellboy's true name. The only way for Hellboy to break these bindings is to say his name, tacitly submitting to his destiny as Prince of Hell and bringer of the apocalypse. Of course, making Hellboy fulfill this destiny is Rasputin's entire goal.

Literature
  • When Artemis is captured in The Titan's Curse, she's briefly shackled before being forced to take Atlas' place holding up the sky.
  • In The Emperor's Soul, Shai is bound with chains made of ralkalest metal, preventing her from Forging the shackles to make them defective. Interestingly, ralkalest is a fairly weak metal, so if she'd really wanted to, Shai could probably have Forged tools to break the chains.
  • This happens in The Riftwar Cycle: When Milamber is captured by the Tsurani, he must be bound. However, being Milamber, there is no way that even magic can bind him. he promptly escapes.
  • At least twice in The Dresden Files: the troll-made anti-magic spiky cuffs and Harry's unicorn-hair binding that works on a red half-vampire.
  • In the Star Trek Expanded Universe series The Q-Continuum, an old enemy of Q's is unleashed and traps him aboard the Enterprise, which manifests itself as a pair of leg irons. Later he finds himself in the ship's hydroponics bay trying to pick them with a cactus needle.
  • In The Son of Neptune, Thanatos, god of death, has been captured and bound with chains. The only thing that can break them is the flame of life, meaning Frank has to burn off part of his life force to cut through them.

Live-Action TV
  • Subverted in an episode of Wonder Woman when after being caught by Nazis, she's wrapped in chains that had survived being tested by teams of elephants. For a while she just sits there as they monologue, but when the time comes she breaks the chains easily.
  • Supernatural has sets of shackles intended to restrain demons.

Mythology
  • In Norse Mythology, the gods had the dwarves create a magical chain called Gleipnir to bind the mighty wolf Fenrir. To make Gleipnir impossible to break (at least until Ragnarok), it was made of six impossible things: the sound of a cat's footfall, the beard of a woman, the roots of a mountain, the sinews of a bear, the breath of a fish and the spittle of a bird.

Tabletop Games
  • Several Champions adventures had superpowered devices that were used by villains to prevent captured heroes from escaping. One applied a backlash attack to any character that used their superpowers to try to escape it.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • In the Forgotten Realms setting the gods bet Kezef the Chaos Hound, an expy of Fenrir, that they could forge a chain that would hold him. Gond, god of craftsmen, forged the chain and buried its anchor miles deep in the rock of Pandemonium, and Mystra, goddess of magic, wrapped him in a self-repairing magical curtain. The two traps successfully held Kezef for millennia until he was freed by one of Cyric's plots.
    • Basic D&D adventure IM2 The Wrath of Olympus. A group of Immortals (minor deities) illegally interferes on the Prime Plane. The forces of Entropy capture them and secure them with chains that not only render them helpless but drain their internal power (Life Energy) as well.
    • Basic D&D supplement The Book of Marvelous Magic. Irons are magical confinement devices combining manacles (wrists) and shackles (ankles). The Irons of Imprisonment can only be broken by a Wish spell or a blow from a plus 4 or better weapon.

Video Games
  • On each mission of Carmen Sandiego: The Great Chase Through Time the detective is given a set of time cuffs. It's never really specified why special cuffs are needed but they need to be activated before nabbing the perp. Presumably they keep them from drifting off into the timestream, or something.
  • In World of Warcraft a quest line investigating Defias activity in Dustwallow Marsh yielded enchanted shackles from the wreckage of a ship, which indicated it had been transporting the king of Stormwind.

Visual Novel
  • On Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero one of Archer's Noble Phantasms is Enkidu, a special chain that was created to restrain the gods, its strenght is proportional to the divinity of their oponent, so while it can easily overpower gods, when used against normal person, it simply acts as a tough chain.

Web Comics
  • Looking for Group: There's at least two occasions where the Warlock, Richard has his powers limited by enchanted shackles after being captured. In the second case we're shown that some of the enchanted shackles can be used to control Richard's body by commanding him to do something.
  • Magick Chicks: Faith invites Layla back to her place, looking to score. But when Layla vamps out on her, Faith ends up using her telekinesis to psychically restrain her.
  • In Digger, the dead god underground is bound by chains made by dwarfs of impossible things, in a probable shout out to Norse Mythology. In order to make sure the chains are also proof against mundane threats such as earthquakes or lockpicks, a wombat is also hired as a consultant.

Western Animation
  • Centurions had Cassandra the witch being captured by her Evil Twin and bound with mystic chains. Ace had to use a magic rose she'd given him to enchant a sword to be able to cut through them.
  • Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends has manacles capable of restraining the various types of aliens they have to deal with, many of whom are at least considerably stronger than humans or have other abilities.
    • Lycanthropes when they transform can easily break bonds meant for humans so their cuffs must be much stronger.
    • Banshee restraints cover their hands completely so they can't fire their heat beams.
  • Project Cadmus in Justice League Unlimited develops special handcuffs to hold the superpowered members of the League. However, on the only occasion they actually get to use them, the President calls it off and admits to doubting these cuffs would hold the Leaguers, anyway.
  • An episode of the animated Bibi Blocksberg had the eponymous witch attempt to conjure a set of ropes to capture an evil wizard, but he sends her spell right back at her, leaving her wrapped up in her own ropes which, being magical, can't be untied by hand, they have to be burned off.
Community Feedback Replies: 64
  • April 26, 2013
    xanderiskander
    Webcomics
    • Looking For Group: There's at least two occasions where the Warlock, Richard has his powers limited by enchanted shackles after being captured. In the second case we're shown that some of the enchanted shackles can be used to control Richard's body by commanding him to do something.
  • April 26, 2013
    KZN02
  • April 26, 2013
    dalek955
    • In The Emperors Soul, Shai is bound with chains made of ralkalest metal, preventing her from Forging the shackles to make them defective. Interestingly, ralkalest is a fairly weak metal, so if she'd really wanted to, Shai could probably have Forged tools to break the chains.
  • April 27, 2013
    Arivne
    Anime and Manga
    • Bleach anime, "Soul Society/The Rescue" arc episode 45. After Ganju, Uryu and Chad are captured by the Soul Society, manacles are put on them that seal off their spiritual pressure and prevent them from using their powers.

    Comic Books

    Film
    • Who Framed Roger Rabbit. After Judge Doom captures the Toons Jessica and Roger Rabbit, he has the weasels tie them up with escape-proof Toon rope.

    Mythology
    • In Norse Mythology, the gods had the dwarves create a magical chain called Gleipnir to bind the mighty wolf Fenrir. To make Gleipnir impossible to break (at least until Ragnarok), it was made of six impossible things: the sound of a cat's footfall, the beard of a woman, the roots of a mountain, the sinews of a bear, the breath of a fish and the spittle of a bird.

    Tabletop Games
    • Several Champions adventures had superpowered devices that were used by villains to prevent captured heroes from escaping. One applied a backlash attack to any character that used their superpowers to try to escape it.
  • April 27, 2013
    Astaroth
    • When Dellyn enslaved Kin in Goblins, he fitted her with a magical collar and leash that supresses her natural magic and forces her to obey the commands of whoever's holding the leash.
  • April 27, 2013
    Tallens
    Phlebotinum Handling Equipment is more about hazardous materials. I don't think it really fits here.
  • April 27, 2013
    aurora369
    Related to the Extranormal Prison YKTTW, which was recently bumped.
  • May 1, 2013
    CardsOfWar
    This happens in the Riftwar Cycle: When Milamber is captured by the Tsurani, he must be bound. However, being Milamber, there is no way that even magic can bind him. he promptly escapes.
  • May 1, 2013
    Boston
    Obi-Wan Kenobi, when captured by Count Dooku in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, is held captive, suspended in midair in a containment field that also rotated him slowly. It has several features designed to make Jedi less able to use the Force to escape.
  • May 1, 2013
    dspeyer
    At least twice in The Dresden Files: the troll-made anti-magic spiky cuffs and Harry's unicorn-hair binding that works on a red half-vampire.
  • May 2, 2013
    StarSword
    Tabletop Games:
    • In the Forgotten Realms setting the gods bet Kezef the Chaos Hound, an expy of Fenrir, that they could forge a chain that would hold him. Gond, god of craftsmen, forged the chain and buried its anchor miles deep in the rock of Pandemonium, and Mystra, goddess of magic, wrapped him in a self-repairing magical curtain. The two traps successfully held Kezef for millennia until he was freed by one of Cyric's plots.
  • May 3, 2013
    acrobox
  • May 3, 2013
    StarSword
    ^You mean subtrope.
  • May 3, 2013
    Tallens
    I don't think it's either.
  • May 4, 2013
    Astaroth
    Animal fat can be used to suppress fairy magic in Artemis Fowl. The villain of Time Paradox uses a barrel of fat to imprison Holly and NÂș1 to stop them from interfering in her plans.
  • May 4, 2013
    Tallens
    Not so sure about that one.
  • May 6, 2013
    Melkior
    I've edited the description to improve the grammar and make it clearer. I'm surprised this trope didn't already exist.
  • May 8, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons adventure IM2 The Wrath of Olympus. A group of Immortals (minor deities) illegally interferes on the Prime Plane. The forces of Entropy capture them and secure them with chains that not only render them helpless but drain their internal power (Life Energy) as well.
  • May 8, 2013
    CaveCat
    • In American Dragon Jake Long, it is said that Sphinx Hair completely neutralizes a dragon's powers. Because of this, it is used by the Hunstclan to make nets when capturing dragons.
  • May 10, 2013
    Tallens
    I'm wondering if I should change the word "enchanted" in the title.
  • May 11, 2013
    Arivne
    ^ I think so, because not all these restraints are magical. They could be technological as well, such as the Champions example I gave.
  • May 11, 2013
    Tallens
    What would be a good alternative?
  • May 11, 2013
    MetaFour
    Comicbooks:
    • Rather common in Hellboy and BPRD when dealing with demons. When attempting a summoning, anyone with half an ounce of sense will use some magical binding or words of power to prevent the demon from leaving the summoning circle. (Of course, anyone with a full ounce of sense wouldn't be summoning demons in the first place, because things always manage to go wrong even with these barriers in place.)

    Film:
    • In Hellboy, Rasputin binds Hellboy in stocks and chains inscribed with Hellboy's true name. The only way for Hellboy to break these bindings is to say his name, tacitly submitting to his destiny as Prince of Hell and bringer of the apocalypse. Of course, making Hellboy fulfill this destiny is Rasputin's entire goal.
  • May 11, 2013
    Tallens
  • May 11, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Doctor Strange uses a "Crimson Bands of Cyttorak" spell to tie up superpowered evildoers, and the Hulk when he's rampaging..
  • May 12, 2013
    Arivne
    Should this include spells as well as objects?

    Edit: Deleted an example that was ruled Not An Example.
  • May 12, 2013
    Tallens
    I think spells will count only if they actually form a kind of binding. Spells that cause the body itself to freeze or things like that, Petrificus Totalus for example, would be a separate trope.
  • May 12, 2013
    MiinU
    Would psychic powers count, such as using telekinesis to restrain someone?

    Webcomics

  • May 12, 2013
    Generality
    See also Restraining Bolt.

    • In Digger, the dead god underground is bound by chains made by dwarfs of impossible things, in a probable shout out to Norse Mythology. In order to make sure the chains are also proof against mundane threats such as earthquakes or lockpicks, a wombat is also hired as a consultant.
  • May 12, 2013
    Damr1990
    • On Fate Stay Night and Fate Zero one of Archer's Noble Phantasms is Enkidu, a special chain that was created to restrain the gods, its strenght is proportional to the divinity of their oponent, so while it can easily overpower gods, when used against normal person, it simply acts as a tough chain
    • on Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann the Anti-Spirals created a machine that creatred a gravity ocean and a powerful forcefield and that was fueled by the Heroic Willpower of the Spiral races(including humans), and the Ganmens (and more importantly, the Laggan) are able to create of their weaponry from the same will power, with the Gurren Brigade being famous for having a will Beyond The Impossible , so, the more decided they were to break the generator (and its shield) the more resiliant it became to its attacks,also worth noting that the gravity ocean was filled with the rests of previous Spiral ships,and it took Kittan performing an Heroic Sacrifice to finally being able to destroy it
  • May 12, 2013
    Tallens
    ^First example is good, second is something else.
  • May 12, 2013
    Rognik
    Young Justice had necklaces that were tailor-made to all the superpowered inmates. They can inhibit nearly every power, and can partially block a set of superpowers if the controller so wishes.
  • May 13, 2013
    Melkior
    I'd go with Supernormal Restraints. The first word covers both magical restraints and beyond-the-normal technologically advanced restraints equally, while being a bit easier to understand than "Extranormal".

    If anyone can come up with a shorter word which is at least as easy to understand, I'll support that instead.
  • May 14, 2013
    Tallens
    Necklaces like that are just Power Nullifiers. What this is about are actual bindings.
  • May 14, 2013
    arbiter099
    Web Original
  • May 14, 2013
    Tallens
    ^Such as?
  • May 14, 2013
    arbiter099
    uh, its an entire wiki where every single page starts with the unique methods required for containing the paranormal thing in question.
  • May 14, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Can you give maybe two specific monsters and how to hold them?
  • May 14, 2013
    arbiter099
    SCP-682 is to be kept within a 25 centimeter thick steel case that is filled with hydrochloric acid.

    SCP-1055 must be contained, not by any physical restraint but by keeping anyone from learning about it because the more who know, the larger it grows.
  • May 14, 2013
    Tallens
    That first one sounds more like Tailor Made Prison. The other...I'm not sure what it would be but it's not this. If there are any that involve actual bindings, cuffs, shackles, things like that, those would count.
  • May 14, 2013
    arbiter099
    True, it is a huge set of Tailor Made Prisons in an Extranormal Prison so I may be Square Peg Round Trope-ing but there are probably a bunch of examples in there if I go on a long enough Wiki Walk over there
  • May 14, 2013
    Tallens
    If you find any, feel free to post them. Looks like this'll be here for a bit longer. In the meantime, the Foundation itself might fit better under Ancient Order Of Protectors, you'd know better than I would. And if you haven't suggested it in Extranormal Prison, you should do so.
  • May 23, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons
      • Basic D&D supplement The Book of Marvelous Magic. Irons are magical confinement devices combining manacles (wrists) and shackles (ankles). The Irons of Imprisonment can only be broken by a Wish spell or a blow from a plus 4 or better weapon.
  • May 24, 2013
    reub2000
    Can we add this quote to the Fenrir example: " If you have not known this before, you can easily find out that it is true and that there is no lie about it, since you must have observed that a woman has no beard, that a cat's footfall cannot be heard, and that mountains have no roots." From Prose Edda.
  • May 26, 2013
    Tallens
    ^I added it, then looked at it, and decided it really didn't add anything to the example.
  • May 26, 2013
    TheTitan99
    Happens every so often in The Powerpuff Girls, though used as a main storyline to trap one of the Girls' Spear Counterpart in the episode, "Bubble Boy."
  • May 27, 2013
    Tallens
    What happened in it?
  • May 27, 2013
    TheTitan99
    It's been a while. I think the Rowdyruff Boy Boomer gets captured, held in some superhero capturing machine, and Bubbles poses as him while he's captured.
  • May 27, 2013
    randomsurfer
    On Supernatural in addition to shackles they regularly make use of a "devil's trap" where if they get the demon inside a symbol drawn/painted on the ground the demon in question can't use their powers or even leave. A similar trap is used on angels.
  • May 27, 2013
    Tallens
    Traps are something different.
  • May 27, 2013
    Korodzik
    Comic books

    In The Uncanny X-Men #283, the portal-creating mutant Trevor Fitzroy gets captured by a bunch of thugs who put special, hi-tech gloves on his hands and a similar collar on his face to neutralize his powers.
  • May 28, 2013
    Tallens
    ^But do they actually bind his hands, or are they just a Power Nullifier?
  • May 30, 2013
    Tallens
    Removed a couple of examples that on review didn't fit in here.
  • June 7, 2013
    Tallens
    Bump
  • June 8, 2013
    mauri
    Well I'm not sure if the thing has an article here but if not I am not picking the slack on the problem:
    • Webcomics:
      • Super Fogeys: Pretty much the bracelets the residents of the home for the supertired are using to dampen their powers. While breakable it takes nothing more than a giant mecha focused fire to destroy the bracelets.

    Edit: Seems that the comic has no trope page in the site so leaving the link for someone to the comic itself here since I'm pretty sure I'm not capable enough to put all the tropes for it.
  • June 11, 2013
    Tallens
    Which one gets the point across better, This, or this?
  • June 14, 2013
    SharleeD
    Not sure if this one counts as this trope or as Extranormal Prison, but I'll suggest it here because it's portable:

    • In Carpe Jugulum, Magrat captures the Countess when she sees the vampire passing through the keyhole in mist-form. She traps the mist in a jar, drops in some garlic to render its prisoner helpless, and seals the lid.
  • June 15, 2013
    Koveras
    • Project Cadmus in Justice League Unlimited develops special handcuffs to hold the superpowered members of the League. However, on the only occasion they actually get to use them, the President calls it off and admits to doubting these cuffs would hold the Leaguers, anyway.
  • June 15, 2013
    Tallens
    ^Yes! That is what I'm looking for!

    Now I still haven't heard a thing about those pictures, so if anyone has an opinion, or would like to propose a different one, please do so.
  • June 15, 2013
    Koveras
    The picture in the current write-up works, so Just Launch It Already.
  • June 20, 2013
    tallens
    If there are no other suggestions, I'll launch it this weekend.
  • June 20, 2013
    TyeDyeWildebeest
    Not sure if this counts, but...

    • Pokemon: In one episode, Team Rocket caught Pikachu in a bell jar that could absorb seemingly infinite amounts of electricity. They called it 'Pika-Proof'.
  • June 22, 2013
    Tallens
  • June 22, 2013
    StarSword
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=irulxq0390gqa3jjdr88iiva&trope=SupernormalBindings