Usually involving situations with Shock and Awe
, an improvised lightning rod is a useful tool in amplifying or drawing in electricity. Maybe an enemy is too fast or too tough to hit with electricity, so a lightning rod, whether jammed into or an actual feature of the target, can be aimed at for more accurate attacks. In other situations, placing such a rod can protect one from electric attacks as they are drawn into the rod.
In other situations, a great surge of electricity is needed, so that's where the improvised lightning rod comes in to hopefully charge whatever device or being needs a jolt. This is often done in time periods prior to the widespread availability of modern electricity, especially involving time-traveling.
Anime and Manga
- Used in the Tear Jerker ending of Movement 1 in the unfinished Legend of the Forest by Osamu Tezuka.
- In the episode "Riddle Me This", Ash instructs his Pikachu to "Aim for the horn" on Blaine's Rhydon as it would otherwise No Sell Pikachu's electric attacks, thus allowing Pikachu to defeat Rhydon. Ironically, Rhydon would later have access to the "Lightningrod" ability in the games (see Video Game section).
- Grass types, which are only resistant to electricity in the games, sometimes use a strategy of digging roots or vines into the ground to disperse electric attacks.
- In the French comic Rahan, the eponymous caveman once defeats a Tyrannosaurus rex throwback by planting an iron spear into the dinosaur's head during a thunderstorm, thus attracting lightning and frying the T. rex.
- In IDW's Infestation series, a group of Autobots and humans, including Nikola Tesla, attempt to revive Optimus Prime using a kite and a lightning storm.
- In The Smurfs comic book story "The Weather-Smurfing Machine" (and its Animated Adaptation counterpart "Foul Weather Smurf"), the Smurfs put an end to the out-of-control Weather Control Machine by flying a kite attached to the machine straight into a lightning storm.
- In Back to the Future Doc Brown uses the Clock Tower as a lightning rod to gain the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity the DeLorean needs to get back to the future.
- In The Brave Little Toaster, Lampy uses himself as a lightning rod to recharge the battery the appliances are using to keep alive.
- In The Avengers, Thor uses the Chrysler building as a makeshift lightning rod to attack the Chitauri aliens and Leviathians.
- In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf uses a lightning strike to charge up his sword before stabbing the Balrog with it during their duel on the mountaintop.
- In Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Pyramids, Pteppicymon the Twenty-Third, last Pharaoh of Djelibeybi, climbs the malfunctioning Great Pyramid whose power has awoken several thousand deceased monarchs and allowed the gods to walk the earth. Using an Assassin throwing knife as a desperate lightning conductor, he earths the cosmic forces that have run rampant and allowed all this chaos to happen. He inhumes the full Set, as it were.
- In the Stargate SG-1 episode "The Torment of Tantalus", SG-1 ends up trapped in an alien castle with a broken dialing device, rendering them unable to get home. They end up sticking a metal frogman's helmet on the roof and wiring it to the gate, drawing lightning into the gate and allowing them to dial out by rotating the ring manually.
- Highlander uses the Eiffel Tower as one, with Duncan figuring out that he can kill his opponent and the Quickening will travel through the tower to fry the villain's computer before it releases the info on the immortals the villain was using to try to force Duncan to surrender.
- In Raumschiff GameStar, when the crew of the eponymous starship is stuck in The Middle Ages, they obtain the energy necessary for their time jump back to modernity by catching a lightning with a flying kite (and redirecting it to the ship with a frying pan).
- Doctor Who: The Doctor uses himself as an improvised lightning rod for a lightning and cosmic ray strike in "Evolution of the Daleks".
- In Chrono Trigger, Crono and Frog have a combination attack called Spire, in which Frog leaps at the enemy and impales them with his broadsword, then Crono hits the sword with a lightning spell.
- In Day Of The Tentacle, Hoagie is trapped in colonial times and needs a super-battery to power his time machine. He must help Benjamin Franklin perform his legendary kite experiment, hiding the battery in the kite so that lightning strikes the kite and charges the battery.
- Generation III of the Pokémon games introduced an ability literally called "Lightningrod" that causes single-target electric-type attacks to automatically target the Pokemon with the ability. Most such Pokemon are already electric-type (which resist such attacks) or ground-type (which are completely immune). Generation V would add an immunity as well as an increase in Special Attack for every time the Pokemon is hit with an Electric attack.
- In the The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, to effectively fight Demise, you need to use the Master Sword as a lightning rod.
- Inversion: In an episode of The Transformers, the Autobots have to stop a plot by Decepticons but there's a lightning storm going on, and if a bolt hits a Transformer, something very bad happens. So the Transformers go into battle riding on other Transformers who are in their Vehicle modes; the rubber of their tires on the road isolates the Transformers riding on top so they're safe.
- Benjamin Franklin allegedly did this to himself, what with the kite and the key.