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My Other Car Is a Broom
— Bumper sticker
Brooms are the traditional flying mount of witches. Some even use them as weapons
According to The Other Wiki
the idea of witches riding on brooms
goes back to at least 1453, making this Older Than Steam
. In the original woodcuts, they've got the head or brush part in front, logical enough since the original witch's broom was a staff with a carved phallic end and the brush was tied on as a disguise. Today's depictions most often put the head in the back, for sake of an aerodynamic appearance (and for similarity with an exhaust pipe or jet engine).
This is Awesome, but Impractical
, as brooms weren't designed to be ridden upon. You would crash more than on a motorcycle, and would then fall from very high up. Also, you'd most likely suffer fatal internal injuries if you tried it for too long
- look up "Riding the Rail"
Upright vacuum cleaners are a modern subversion of the broom idea.
Similar to the Magic Carpet
, which is also a flying object but has unrelated origins and applications.
For the Speculative Fiction
version see Rocket Ride
. Compare Sky Surfing
, in which various flying objects are ridden on while standing.
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Anime & Manga
- Ojamajo Doremi has a button on the girls' taps in the first two seasons that summoned their brooms, but the cutscene is skipped in Motto and Dokkan. Humorously, Majorika flew by using a dustpan.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, several minor magical characters have brooms, and Negi uses a staff that's functionally the same. He later switches to Sky Surfing on it, and by the end of the series he can fly unaided.
- The opening credits of the Ah! My Goddess OVAs from the 1990s briefly show Belldandy on a broomstick, followed by Skuld riding a vaguely broom-shaped flying machine, and finally (in a subversion of a subversion) Urd riding a canister vacuum with the hose draped around her like a feather boa. This is used as a visual representation of the different domains of each sister as Belldandy is the goddess of the past, Urd the present, and Skuld the future.
- In the manga, Urd's broomstick is so jazzed up with magic, it is sentient. When Belldandy borrows it, love blooms. Weird, twisted, "sweep with me!" love. Yes, sweep.
- Soul Eater:
- We first see Medusa riding a broom... that has an arrow/snakehead.
- Jacqueline turns into a lantern which can propel itself by shooting fire and grow a pole for her partner Kim to hang onto, visually evoking this trope. Which hints at Kim really being a witch.
- People with a certain type of soul can make a Weapon they're holding sprout wings to fly on them if they have the power of a Witch's soul. Maka uses Soul's scythe form to accomplish it.
- In Tweeny Witches the witches ride brooms and the title character, Alice, combines this with Sky Surfing.
- Somehow subverted in Narutaru with Jun Ezumi, a girl who rides a flying broom that really is a "dragon", one of the Mons equivalent of the series. The protagonist Shiina even mistakes her for a witch, but Jun says she choose that specific form for her dragon (aptly if not creatively named "Broom") just for fun.
- Dorothy of MÄR rides a broom, preferring it even over the carpet the other characters ride. It doubles as her standard weapon. The broom is about her only trait that most would consider telling for her classification of "witch". In MAR Heaven, it's just the name of a person from a restrictive country. None of the other characters from the same place are seen with brooms.
- A variation in the Rumic Theater story "One Hundred Years of Love". Ninety-year-old Risa Hoshino gains weird telekinetic powers after a near-death experience, and then can fly by riding a crutch. She doesn't really need it, but it helps her stand up once she reaches the ground. Note also that since she's a Miniature Senior Citizen, the crutch is twice as tall as her.
- Subverted in Strike Witches, with broomsticks being relegated to use as training devices, as season 2 episode 3 demonstrated the Unfortunate Implications and other problems of their use.
- In Kiki's Delivery Service, Kiki normally uses a traditionally made broom. At the end of the film, however, she is forced to improvise, using a mass-produced deck brush. The deck brush works, but is extremely difficult to control.
- Brooms in Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo comes in several flavours, aside from the standard ones: Modern ones, vacuum cleaners, and giant eating utensils.
- Double-subversion in Cardcaptor Sakura: Sakura does not ride a broomstick, but she uses her Magic Wand like this after she captures the Fly card.
- Fabia Crozelg of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vivid uses a witch broom called Hell Gazer as her Device.
- Broom flying is considered such an elementary skill in Little Witch Academia that nobody even considers the possibility that main character Akko can't do it. It becomes a running gag.
- In Hellboy: Darkness Calls, witches are shown flying unaided, on giant animals (like cats), in cups, and with all types of animals/items... even brooms.
- Often seen (along with occasionally the vacuum cleaner variant) in the Sabrina the Teenage Witch comic.
- Cute Witch Wendy the Good Little Witch (Casper the Friendly Ghost's friend) used to ride a broom (sentient in some stories, and called Broomie); now she rides a flying vacuum cleaner.
- Leni "Sky Witch" Muller from Top 10 rides a mechanical flying machine that resembles a broomstick.
- In The DCU, Starman foe the Prairie Witch rode on a flying broomstick. Starman was convinced that it was some kind of technological trick until he yanked it away from her (causing her to plummet to the ground) and discovered it was a perfectly ordinary broom.
- In the indie comic Underburbs, main character Angela is a witch who rides a broom, complete with a black cat living in it. Bearing in mind the broom was part of a Halloween costume made real by magic.
- In his very first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man, the Green Goblin flew around on a high-tech version of a broomstick. Subsequent appearances replaced this with the trademark Goblin Glider.
- In the Franco-Belgian Comic Mélusine, the Cute Witch protagonist and many other characters regularly ride brooms. Her friend Cancrelune, however, is a catastrophically clumsy flyer and a Captain Crash.
- Before appearing in her live action series, Sabrina used these a lot when she appeared in comic books.
- Routinely used by Magicka De Spell and other witches from the Disney comics. Some comics even have the broom act as Magicka's Animate Inanimate Object sidekick.
- In The Smurfs comic book story "The Flying Smurf", the titular character creates one by using a magic spell on an ordinary broom, but it ends up flying without him, and after Papa Smurf finds the book that Flying Smurf used and puts it back in his laboratory, Flying tries to create another flying broom with no success. (This was later used in the Animated Adaptation of the comic book story "The Astro Smurf.")
Films — Live-Action
- The fourth installment of Fantaghiro played with this one hard: When Xellesia and the Black Queen realize that the latter can't transform into anything that flies, they seek an alternate means (including carpets, rejected because they only work well in Arabian Nights Land) and eventually settle on the brooms, despite the Black Queen complaining that they will look ridiculous.
- In Hocus Pocus, when the Sanderson Sisters' brooms were stolen, Winifred was the only one to find a (modern) broom. Sarah had a mop and Mary had a vacuum cleaner.
- An interesting subversion for this trope comes from the movie version of Practical Magic, where witches having the brooms serves a purpose, to sweep away the ashes of the soul removed from possessing Gillian Owens.
- The Wicked Witch of the west rides one in The Wizard of Oz. (In the original novel she carries an umbrella instead of the traditional broomstick, because her secret weakness is... well... water.)
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks, surprisingly enough...
- The Harry Potter movies, of course, featuring everything from high-speed chases to sporting events mounted on the brooms. The actors have often noted that while the broomstick scenes look fun when you see them on screen, they were not fun to film. They were uncomfortable for the male actors (as Daniel Radcliffe puts it, "certain very, very important organs are crushed") and tedious for everyone, since actual filming obviously consisted of spending hours sitting around in front of a blue screen or green screen.
- Averted in Hansel And Gretel Witch Hunters where the witches fly long crooked sticks, but not brooms.
- In the Harry Potter universe, flying broomsticks come in a variety of makes and models. Then there's the spells that go with them and a popular sport, Quidditch, that employs them.
- In Quidditch Through the Ages, it is said that brooms come with a cushioning charm on them, so Harry Potter has A Wizard Did It Handwave. Quidditch Through the Ages also lampshades how these are probably the magical community's worst-kept secret, stating that "no Muggle drawing of a wizard or witch is complete without one."
- Defictionalization: Mattel briefly produced a battery-powered Harry Potter broomstick. This vibrating toy was popular with young girls — it could really make them "fly". No wonder it was swiftly recalled.
- The Lancre witches of Discworld. And in Equal Rites, Granny Weatherwax once had to make do with her protégé's wizard staff. (Earlier in the book, Esk had disguised the staff by sticking bristles on it, which is one theory as to the origins of flying brooms in the first place.)
- In Wyrd Sisters, it's said you need magic to keep a broomstick up, but other books suggest the magic is intrinsic to the broom, and even Rincewind can fly one. In Lords and Ladies Nanny Ogg complains her grandkids keep joy-riding on hers, and in Going Postal, Moist Von Lipwig just paints an ordinary broomstick blue with stars, in order to fool the antagonist into thinking it was a real one.
- Which is of course, pretty clever for Moist, as belief is awfully powerful on Discworld.
- Granny's broomstick is described as the magical equivalent of a split window Morris Minor, and the dwarf craftsman who looks at it is amazed it flew at all. In later books it's been fixed up, but still needs a running start. Though in one case of escaping danger, just outright jumping off a cliff qualifies as a "running start".
- It is also made clear that they are not exactly wonderful for long range travel, lacking a real seat and being so high in the air that extra layers of underwear are required.
- And in Thud!, the wizards speed up a carriage in part by nailing broomsticks to the bottom to make it hover.
- Keith Roberts' Anita stories had the title character, among other things, learning to fly a broomstick, and IIRC discussing its technicalities with other trainee witches in the same way other kids would discuss motorbikes. There's some bits with "the Controller," who gives out landing clearance instructions like an air traffic controllernote , and a scene where Anita's grandmother, attempting a tricky rescue on broom, tells a friend "Verniers," and a moment later corrects it to "Main jets ... Aggie, fire main jets..."
- There's a book about an apprentice witch titled Wise Child. In a scene where the main character must go on some kind of spirit quest or something and she actually used the broomstick in, uh, the way described by Meiriona; the whole "flying" effect was due to the hallucinogenics being absorbed through a, shall we say, tender area.
- In the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, this is the standard transport method for witches. However, we learn that broomsticks are made to fly by the application of a balm, which can be used on anything wooden to achieve the same effect. This is used to make a much more seatable flying basket, although it has stability issues.
- Mention is also made that the standard way to ride a broom is to sit sideways, not astride, which would be far easier on the groin.
- Meg, from the Meg And Mog children's book series, rides a broomstick.
- In His Dark Materials, witches fly on branches of "cloud pine".
- Averted in Septimus Heap, where it is mentioned that no witch uses broomsticks anymore for flying.
- The Dorrie the Little Witch stories used them in the traditional way, and some not traditional, such as pulling carriages in the air.
- Harold Shea enchants brooms in each episode of The Incompleat Enchanter. In The Castle of Iron, he uses a Moorish carpet instead, while flying brooms don't belong in the Kalevala or Old Ireland and, presumably for this reason, aren't resorted to in The Wall of Serpents or The Green Magician.
- This trope is not exclusively western; witches flying on broomsticks are off-handedly mentioned in one story of the Arabian Nights.
- Used extensively in The UnexpectedEnlightenmentOfRachelGriffin. The eponymous Rachel, an expert, rides a hand-made steeplechaser-type broom. Others use more standard "Flycycles". Bristleless brooms are reserved for beginners.
- The children discover Miss Price is a witch in Bedknob and Broomstick when they help her recover from a crash on one of these.
- While not seen in the show itself, the opening credits of Bewitched features an animated Samantha flying around on her broom.
- At least one episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch has her on a flying vacuum cleaner.
- Mahou Sentai Magiranger had a spin on this, hoverbikes that transformed from brooms. There was also a Flying Carpet for the Sixth Ranger.
- In H.R. Pufnstuf, Witchiepoo drove a broomstick-like vehicle called the Vroom Broom that included a sidecar.
- A Halloween episode of Charmed reveals Phoebe's dislike for the "cackling hags on broomsticks cliché", until time travelling shenanigans reveal that she created the cliché, much to her amusement.
- In "Catastrophe", Kate's first appearance on Rentaghost, she and Mumford are transported back from the Spirit World on a flying broomstick; having turned down the offer of a flying vacuum cleaner.
- Lampshaded in Buffy the Vampire Slayer when a Wiccan group at Willow's college complain about this being a "non-empowering stereotype". Sure enough Tara is seen faking a smile when Dawn gives her a broom for her birthday in "Family".
- On The X-Files, Mulder and Scully were investigating a case that appeared to involve witches. They knock on a woman's door but there's no answer. Mulder points to a broom near the door and says, "Probable cause?"
- West is curiously enough the only witch from Witch Hunter to use a broom.
- One magic item in most editions of Dungeons & Dragons is some kind of flying broom, along with a magic carpet and a winglike cape. Notably, near any object could be enchanted for this purpose... Autonomous ass-kicking animated broom is also available.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- Arche from Tales of Phantasia flies around on a broom, and in battle too, refreshingly. She also uses them for her weapons. This also enables her to dodge many ground-only based effects, such as the Tractor Beam spell.
- In the Kirby games, this is used by one of the enemies which gives you the Clean power. In Kirby's Dream Land 3, pairing up with Chuchu with the Clean power lets Kirby fly a broom himself.
- This appears in the anime, fittingly enough in an episode involving a pastiche of the Harry Potter books.
- Kammy Koopa from Paper Mario has one. Some of the Magikoopas do, as well.
- In World of Warcraft during the Hallow's End event, the summoned Headless Horseman can sometimes drop flying brooms that can be used as mounts as part of his loot. Unfortunately for players, they only last 14 days.
- Cute Witch Marisa Kirisame from Touhou. Word of God says she doesn't really need a broom to fly (since everyone in the games can fly anyway), but uses it because she consciously goes for a Western witch look, and that obviously includes the broom.
- Gruntilda in Banjo-Kazooie.
- Suikoden III's Rody wants to become a witch just so he can ride a broom. He even uses one as a weapon in the meantime, so he'll always have one handy.
- Fly FF has them, although they're not limited to only the magical character classes. Whether a player chooses to ride a broom or a board is largely a matter of taste.
- Later "silly" depictions of Kohaku in Melty Blood gives her this ability. Her broom also has a sword hidden in the handle. The only explanation has been the Tatari's Influence.
- The Witch enemy in Castlevania rides on a broomstick and strafes you with magic. The Student Witch tries... but can't keep it in the air more than three seconds.
- In Magician's Quest/Enchanted Folk, a very Harry-Potter-esque game, it's no surprise that there is a wide selection of flying brooms (well, hovering brooms) to be ridden. There's also a broom-shaped taxi.
- In Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Roll rides on her broomstick whenever she dashes forward.
- Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich features Red Oktober, a Soviet witch. When she flies into the air, it's on a broomstick.
- In Magical Doropie, Doropie's broom functions as a moving platform, like Mega Man's Item-2.
- Even RuneScape has a magical broomstick which, when enchanted, can be used to teleport to a certain place, with the animation being of the player mounting it Harry Potter style. Naturally, it is earned by helping out a witch.
- One can buy a broomstick-themed Extreme Gear in the first Sonic Riders. It allows anyone who rides it the ability to grind on pipes.
- In The Sims 3: Supernatural broomsticks were introduced as a vehicle. Although any sim can use them, typically witches will use them automatically.
- Winnie from Free Spirit has a broom that can quickly fly people to anywhere in the world, and also turn them invisible while traveling.
- Hanna-Barbera's Winsome Witch.
- The Looney Tunes character Witch Hazel uses a flying broom. One cartoon featuring her has a gag about Hazel taking her sweeping broom by mistake.
- In Bewitched Bunny, Hansel and Gretel — having been warned off by Bugs Bunny — jeer at Witch Hazel as they're departing her cottage: "Ahhh, your mother rides a vacuum cleaner!"
- In Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, there is a cleaning woman-gone-witch named Winifred who flies around on a magic hoover.
- Lampshade in the 4Kids dub of Winx Club when Tecna says, "Real witches don't ride brooms, Zing. You've been watching too many of Bloom's Earth DVDs."
- Witch Hazel from the Classic Disney Short Trick or Treat, and subsequent appearances in Disney comics, has a broom named Beelzebub, which acts as both her servant and her mode of transport.
- From She-Ra: Princess of Power, Madam Razz has a flying, talking broomstick with anthropomorphic face and arms named... Broom.
- Big Bad Revolta in Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School rides one.
- Sabrina and The Groovie Goolies: Sabrina's ride had a big cushioned eggshell-like seat with a flower on top. (Aunt Zelda flew a vacuum cleaner.)
- Most if not all witches in The Smurfs used flying broomsticks. Most notably was Brenda, the good little witch.
- Q.: Why would Hillary Clinton's election as president save the government a great deal of money?
A.: Air Force One could be replaced with a broomstick.
- Q:Why do modern witches use vacuum cleaners?
A: Well, don't you?