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Love Potion
Accept no substitutes!

King Harold: You can't force someone to fall in love!
Fairy Godmother: I beg to differ. I do it all the time!
Shrek 2

Ah, the Love Potion. Not since the Eskimo Freezer was patented has there ever been such a useless invention. Not that love potions are ineffective, mind you; it's just that they rarely ever work as intended, to the point where one wonders why a character would even bother to use them at all. When you see someone employ a Love Potion these days, you almost expect it to fail. It should be a Discredited Trope by this time, but for some reason, even the most Genre Savvy of characters continue to use Love Potions, with said potions continuing to cause far more trouble than they're worth.

The Love Potion comes in three general forms: the Love First Person Sighted potion, the Love Only Person X (often containing a hair or other piece of Person X) concoction, and the Get In Touch With Your Wild Side aphrodisiac. Of course, no matter which type of potion is used, the chances that the right people will actually drink the potion are less than .00001% on average. Even if the potion is put into a drink that's placed directly into the hands of the people it's intended for, some kind of mix-up is always bound to occur. For instance, if the Love Potion is given to the princess in an attempt to get her to fall in love with the hero, you can bet your life savings that she'll slip and fall, causing the potion to splash up into the open mouth of the hero-hating Tsundere. If the potion is a "drink it and fall in love with the first thing that you see" type of deal, it is virtually guaranteed that the first face the hero will see upon sipping the mixture is that of his own horse or that of his Plucky Comic Relief Sidekick. Even if it's only an aphrodisiac, a lot more people than expected are going to unknowingly chug it and engage in activities that put the raunchiest teen parties to shame.

Villains don't usually have all that much luck with Love Potions either, as they're often all-too susceptible to being rendered ineffective through that annoyingly pesky "Power of True Love" thing. No matter how strong a Love Potion might be at first, it will almost invariably fail once the entranced heroine sees her True Love lying bleeding and battered on the floor, seconds away from doom. In most cases, this will lead to a tearful reconciliation between the hero and heroine and to the hero picking himself up and kicking a lot of ass (as well as to the villain wondering just where he can get a refund on that stupid wonky potion). An even more chaotic backfiring is when the villain her/himself accidentally drinks said potion. Hilarity Ensues.

Villains may employ other means besides potions for winning someone's love (spells, brainwashing, illusions, and the like) but these usually have a comparable success rate (i.e: none.) If it's particularly potent, it might cause Love Is in the Air and affect not just the intended drinker but everyone.

Even on occasions where a love potion works exactly as intended (most often in the case of Love Only Person X), with the right target falling for the right person, the whole thing has a tendency to work a little too well. The user will find, to their chagrin, that being obsessed over to the point of absurdity either destroys what they found attractive about the love interest in the first place or is simply too much to handle.

The morality of magically forcing someone to fall in love or have sex with another is often overlooked, but occasionally explored.

Compare Hypno Ray, Hypno Trinket.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • Axe/Lynx body spray and Tag shower gel, supposedly. Prepare to be mobbed by armies of attractive members of the opposite sex wanting your bod. Far too many teenage boys hope this to be Truth in Television, and the average Western high school locker room reeks of the stuff.
    • One commercial even shows women spontaneously pole-dancing around a pipe, and we pan up to a man in the shower using one of the products.
    • Similarily, women showing great affection for metal items partially made from recycled cans of Axe.
    • Female cops pulling over, arresting men, and then subjecting them to unreasonable search and seizure should be skyrocketing.
    • One of the weirdest was one where a bug bit a guy who'd put on Axe (who of course got some at the bar, though this isn't shown); it was eaten by a frog, who promptly got to mate with the first member of the opposite sex it encountered; the frog was taken for frog legs, eaten by an older, wealthy gentlemen; who then got laid, had a heart attack, and died; who was then eaten by worms; one of which was put in a bottle of mezcal; which upon being swallowed cause the swallower to suddenly become phenomenally attractive to some women in the bar. The circle of life continues.
    • And by far the weirdest of these AXE ads is the AXE: Dark Temptation ad. The man puts on the spray and turns into a chocolate golem and as he goes to do his daily business.. while all the psychotic women bite/rip off parts of his body like his nose, arm, ears and one women bites him on the ass. And he only has this terrifying grin on his face the whole time.
    • A new Axe Twist commercial takes it one step further. A guy sprays on the Axe and goes on a date, which he screws up so badly that he tries to play peek-a-boo with her. She shows disinterest and the guy just looks forward in a stupor, Axe to the rescue, the guy is transformed into an intellectual. The girl gives the guy a sexy look. So guys, not only will Axe make her fall in love with you, it will make her forget you were a total douche five seconds ago.
    • Apparently they also make your girlfriend want to do odd things to your father. Bow Chicka Wah wah
      • To be fair, TAG will make your Girlfriend's mom want to do odd things to you. [1]
    • In real life, expect to be made fun of.
    • A '70s ad, for a cologne called "Bacchus", pretended this was the real secret of the Roman army's victories: they arranged to splash the stuff on the men of enemy towns, who were then mobbed by their own (all very beautiful) womenfolk. "Because when a man is irresistible to women, he has more interesting things to do than fight a war."
  • And of course, there were the ads for Impulse, a woman's body spray. Any woman wearing the product would become irresistable because "Men Can't Help Acting On Impulse." They even played with this concept in a '90s ad, where a woman wearing Impulse fails to score with a guy she bumps into ... because she is in the middle of a gay district.
  • Consider also the subtext of the ads for BOD Man fragance spray. Wherein a youth applies the spray and proceedes to play shirtless basketball with his male compatriots, while women look on longingly from behind a chain link fence.
  • Parodied by a Specsavers ad where legions of woman run towards a man spraying himself.. and then stop dead when they see his deeply unfashionable glasses.
  • Parodied again in this video, where we find out what happens to the poor men after they're mobbed by a bunch of women.

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Fushigi Yuugi the fallen heroine Yui tries using a magical drug to get Tamahome to fall in love with her. It works at first, with Tamahome even going so far as to nearly kill Miaka, his former beloved, but naturally The Power of Love (and a near-fatal wounding) soon set everything right.
  • Ranma ˝, being a Love Dodecahedron played for comedy, featured a lot of Applied Phlebotinum that had some kind of effect equating to love magic. None of these ever solved anything, but they did make for good excuses for slapstick zaniness. We start with pills that cause whoever swallows one to fall for the first person of the opposite sex, with a duration of either one instant, one day, or the ingester's entire life. Then comes an actual Red String of Fate. An umbrella that enthralls whoever is sharing it. A bandaid impregnated with a potent potion that makes the wearer chase after girls/guys when it gets warm. Mushrooms that, when stewed, act as a love potion. And those are just a few examples- and we're still not even getting into all of the Mind-Control Device items.
  • Urd of Ah! My Goddess is well-known for her love concoctions that always backfire spectactularly - in at least one instance, they work too well. Peorth once tried to meddle with one of Urd's potions and through crazy technobabble (apparently divine medicine does not react well when placed in cola), makes Keiichi irresistible to any woman who looks at him. This unfortunately included his own sister, but eventually it was all sorted out and Urd slipped Peorth a perfectly functional love potion in revenge that had her fall in love with a Tanuki statue. It should be noted that Peorth was aiming to alter a "first person you see" variety of love potion to "love only Peorth" potion.
    • Part of the reason why it failed was because Peorth altered the 'Drop of koi' (affectionate, romantic love) potion to the 'Drop of ai' (passionate love) potion. As Urd explained, it didn't work on Belldandy because it 'was not crude enough' to affect people already in love with each other - i.e. Belldandy and Keiichi.
    • As far as the love overeffect goes, Urd's analysis was simply "Potions are not something amateurs ought to mess with"
      • That said, Belldandy did get hit by a potion early in the manga that had her all but jump Keiichi right then and there. (un)Fortunately (depending on how you want to look at it), Keiichi was able to talk her down out of it (he did it because he realized she was acting very out of character).
  • A love potion figures into episodes 2 and 3 of Mahou Sensei Negima!. This one works a bit differently, however: it makes the person who consumes it irresistible to the opposite sex. Negi brews it to give to Asuna as an apology for embarassing her in front of Mr. Takahata, but because she's angry at him she pours it down Negi's throat before he can explain how it works, with predictable results.
    • Later, in volume 7 of the manga, Asuna finds herself fighting off her uncontrollably growing feelings for Negi as she helps him deal with some business. Just as she's all but ready to give in (or kill herself), though, he innocently warns her about the fact that the chocolates on his desk, one of which she stole at the beginning of the chapter without him looking, was in fact a love potion of the "Fall in love with the first person you see" variety.
    • In volume 9 of the manga, there's another love potion-class effect, "confessing under a world tree". In this case, the problem is treated seriously, and we even get some sort of explanation why things like these are bad - this has a chance to become a one-sided love. A very strong one-sided love where the other side is magically unable to refuse. All of the magic population were dispatched to prevent such a confession from happening. Nevertheless, once again Negi ends up on the wrong end of it, with a simple request for a kiss turning him into an unstoppable Determinator with Mind-Control Eyes who only comes to his senses after he French-kisses at least one of his targets, nearly suffocating her in the process.
      • At least, once snapped out of it, he has no memories of how far he went, which prevents further grief and awkwardness.
      • Also, at the beginning of the same arc, Kamo reveals to Negi that love potions are indeed illegal (but not as serious as the tree spell because they are temporary).
      • The most recent mention of love potions was when the group arrived in the magical world. Haruna asked their guide if she'd be able to buy love potions somewhere, the guide reiterated that they are illegal.
  • When Nagasumi takes one in Seto no Hanayome, he gets every girl in the show, including the assassin and his mother falling in love with him. It has the unfortunate side effect of all men hating him, though.
    • Not that most of the men in the series don't hate him anyway...
  • This is the main plot of Magical Pokemon Journey. Hazel has repeatedly been trying to use love potions to get Almond to fall in love with her. The story opens with Hazel attempting to administer such a love potion, accidentally blowing him up in the process. The rest of the series is about Hazel catching Pokémon for "mad scientist" Grandpa, in exchange for a love potion that actually works.
    • Later on, Coconut manages to invent a love potion that will cause whoever drinks it to fall madly in love with her. Instead, it turns out that it will make whoever drinks it fall in love with the first person he or she sees - and it didn't even go to the right person. So, while Coconut was trying to make Almond fall in love with her, she accidentally caused a Primeape to fall in love with Eevee.
      • In a tie-in Pokémon book for kids, Ash has to deal with the chaos resulting from a Love Potion making two Pokémon fall in love. The inventor says Ash should use it to catch Pokémon. He turns it down.
      • One episode has this happen with Pikachu and Piplup. Both of them are male.
  • This inadvertently happens to Louise towards her familiar in Zero no Tsukaima. It's unnerving for Saito, since she's usually firmly on the 'tsun' side of Tsundere.
    • Happens again in the third season as well, except this time the effect is more widespread, though mostly restricted to the female cast. Much Fanservice occurs before the effects are reversed.
    • And in a side-story in the manga adaptation, where Louise is dosed with two different kinds of love potion simultaneously, and their interaction causes her to become irresistably attracted... to girls. All girls. Saito still finds this unnerving, although now it's because he can't get her to so much as glance in his direction.
  • Played for laughs in InuYasha when a mind-bending fog caused Sango, in a drunken stupor, to blatantly come on to Inu Yasha. She was just about to kiss him when the fog caused Kagome use the "sit" command on him as a Spam Attack.
  • In the Kanokon anime, Chizuru's mother passes out some love-at-first-sight drink to her guests. Kouta is affected as intended and temporarily falls in love with Nozomu. Two other girls drink it, but subversively, their talk of "doing it" turns out to be just feeding each other with chopsticks. Tayura finds out about the drink and gives some to Asahina, but instead of making her fall in love with him, she gets angrily drunk for some reason and then falls in love with the drink.
  • In episode 5 of Ninin Ga Shinobuden, the ninjas make a Love Potion for Miyabi. Before she can use it, Onsokumaru drinks it, thinking it'll make him into a Chick Magnet. Unfortunately for him, it's the much more common "fall-in-love-with-the-first-person-you-see" type. As soon as he realizes this, he covers his eyes and tries to locate Shinobu. They get around the problem by getting him to open his eyes in front of a mirror. Naturally, this changes nothing.
  • There's a Tsukiyomi Moon Phase H-doujin where Hazuki tries to make the main guy into her love-slave with a love potion she stole from his grandfather. Unfortunately for her, the potion turns out to be a powerful aphrosidiac, and since this is a H-doujin, the predictable happens.
  • In the Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~ Bonus Episode episode, a powerful love potion turns Rinka, Yukari and Chisa — the three girls not heavily involved in the main series plotline — into obsessive, saucy ladies after Haruhiko. It doesn't help that a supposed "antidote" only makes the potion's effect stronger.
  • The final Urusei Yatsura film revolves around a love potion that can only be acquired by the most lecherous person in the universe... who happens to be Ataru.
  • Used a few times in Ghost Sweeper Mikami:
    • In an early story, Yokoshima accidentally spills one on Gynoid Maria, who immediately starts chasing him — he runs because she keeps trying to hug him with enough force to shatter boulders.
    • A much later story features is set after Yokoshima gains the ability to create magic balls that generate just about any effect defined by a single character. When he gets attacked by a hot demoness, he uses one he had earlier imprinted with the character for Love.
  • One of the Hokuto Ryuuken pressure points does the "wipe out your affection and then make you fall in love with the first person you see when you awaken" type of effect—making it a sort of literal love tap. Grown-up Lin finds out about this point the hard way.
  • Kogarashi makes a lover potion in episode 3 of Kamen no Maid Guy to help Naeka get over her love issues. It works flawlessly, other than the fact that it caused her to fall in love with Fubuki.
  • An episode of the Fairy Tail anime has Juvia buy a Love First Person Sighted type love potion to use on Gray. Not only does Gray look at the wrong person, and not only does Juvia accidentally give the potion to about a half-dozen other guild members, it turns out the potion isn't even a Love Potion but instead a Rivalry Potion causing the affected person to declare the first thing they see to be their eternal rival.
    • The potion also seems to affect chacter-to-object relationships, causing Makarov to declare rivalry with a barrel of alcohol and Erza to go to war with a poor pillar blocking her path.
  • In A Certain Scientific Railgun:
    • Kuroko tried to feed Mikoto an aphrodisiac, but accidentally drank it herself, which just made her hit on Mikoto more.
    • In an omake, Kuroko tries to trick Mikoto into putting on sunscreen laced with an aphrodisiac, but Saten puts it on instead. The aroused Saten hits on Uiharu and Mikoto angrily beats Kuroko up. Saten eventually snaps out of it and apologizes. The ending reveals Mitsuko put the sunscreen on her pet boa constrictor, and it tries to rape her.
  • Fujiko Etou of Ichiban Ushiro No Daimaou homebrews her own love potions and they are actually quite effective. Whether or not she gets the desired result from her plan is up for debate.
  • This is one of the witch powers in Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches. It can be used to build a group of flunkies to do your bidding because they worship you. It's been suggested you could build a harem with it. But we have also seen the potential for the power to teach people the power of love. To make them feel what it is like to actually love someone, providing them with loyalty and a sense of purpose.
  • Rosario + Vampire: In the first chapter of Season II (the manga, not the anime), Yukari slips Moka a love potion to get her to express her true feelings as part of her dream of having a threesome with Moka and Tsukune; the effect is similar to an aphrodisiac.

    Comic Books 
  • One of these, accidentally administered, has unintended consequences in the XXXenophile story "Overly Familiar".
  • In Squadron Supreme, the Squadron's "Utopia Project" developed a brainwashing device to eradicate criminal tendencies. Golden Archer misused it to make Lady Lark fall in love with him. Even the knowledge that it was the product of brainwashing was unable to shake her love, and the Squadron had specifically designed it to be uneradicatable. She does eventually break free, but only after Golden Archer had died.
  • Helga tries to rekindle the love of Hägar the Horrible to her twice. Once, she puts a love potion in his soup, and he immediately shouts how he loves - the soup. Another time, she puts an amulet of love under his pillow. Which he falls in love with.
  • A variant shows up in, of all places, Crisis on Infinite Earths. In order to get the Ax-Crazy Killer Frost to work with her archfoe Firestorm, Psycho-Pirate used his emotion powers to make her fall in love with Firestorm. By the time Firestorm has gotten used to her acting like a Clingy Jealous Girl, she's reverted back to her crazy self.
  • A psychological take occurs in The Sandman: Endless Nights story "What I've Tasted of Desire." When the protagonist tells a witch she doesn't believe her love potions work, the witch replies that "they don't not work," in that they give the user the confidence to make the first move instead of shyly pining away.
  • In X-Men, Nightcrawler broke up with Amanda Sefton, a sorceress (and his adopted sister), the first time because he asked if her magic made him fall in love with her, and she couldn't directly say no.
  • Black Panther foe Nakia aka Malice uses a forbidden herb called Jufeiro to make men fall madly in love with her to the point of slavish devotion. She doesn't have too many qualms about using the herb on T'Challa, the target of her obsession, either.
  • Jughead Jones has a special button he can put on his crown that makes him irresistible to women. Considering his lack of interest in romance, however, he doesn't really have any use for it.
  • Raven's empathic powers functioned this way a couple times. Once was deliberate (she got Kid Flash to join the Titans by making him fall in love with her and then erasing his memory of it), and once was by accident (she made Nightwing have feelings for her despite being in a committed relationship with Starfire). Neither scenario ended up lasting.

     Fan Works 
  • Brox's Kiss, the hot pink short sword in With Strings Attached, causes people of the opposite sex of the wielder to fall in love with and obey the wielder. Works perfectly—until the wielder loses control of the sword for more than a few minutes. Wisely, she runs off.
  • In the appropriate named Bleach slash fanfic Love Potion is all about type two attempted by Ichigo at Urahara's suggestion, which predictably goes wrong as the target doesn't eat the cookies...but everyone else does.
  • According to Equestria: A History Revealed, this was used by Discord en masse to cause the downfall of the Equinus Republic, cumulating in a giant orgy from the ponies in parliament. It is meant to be taken as Squick and with as much questionable validity as it sounds.
  • Everybody Loves Cloud thanks to Hojo and a couple of accidents.
  • In Run Ichigo Run, Mayuri sends Nemu to drug Ishida but she accidentally hits Ichigo. Since the drug was calibrated for Ishida, it has a different effect on Ichigo: every female he encounters, including lesbians and his own sisters, falls in love with him. Even Nemu is affected, despite the fact that she knows what's happening. As the title suggests, Ichigo spends most of the fic running to preserve his chastity while trying to find a way to remove the drug's effects.
  • Knowledge is Power: The Weasleys had a plot, which was apparently two years in the making, to dose Harry and Hermione with one so that they'd fall for Ginny and Ron.
  • The Student Prince:
    • Lady Viva uses one on Arthur, as per the canon.
    • Arthur suspects Merlin of using a love spell on him after he finds out about Merlin being a wizard.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act IV: Chapter 17 reveals that Ruby kept the original sample of Yukari's love-struck potion for some reason. Falla, Apoch, and Astreal mistake it for perfume and use it, and Hilarity Ensues when Moka, Luna, Yukari, and Kokoa end up dosed with it as well.
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: Discussed by Professor Quirrell in regards to witches using them to enchant and rape Muggle men (some wizards also do the same thing to Muggle women). It also alludes to how Voldemort was conceived, something few know about. Quirrell has been possessed by him, however...

    Films — Animated 
  • Shrek 2 has one of these. (If you look carefully, you'll see that the bottle has "IX" written on it.) Fiona's fairy godmother orders the king to pour it into Fiona's drink so that she will fall in love with Prince Charming instead of Shrek. It doesn't work because the king decides not to give Fiona the potion-laced drink after seeing how much she loves Shrek.
  • Averted in the movie Aladdin, where the Genie tells Aladdin that he cannot make anyone fall in love with anyone else. The heroes do trick Jafar into believing he made Genie cast one on Jasmine to distract him for a while. Even Genie can't believe it until he realizes that Al's behind it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In I Married a Witch, Jennifer prepares one for Wally so she can break his heart (she's evil), but she winds up drinking it by accident. Cue High Heel-Face Turn.
  • In the movie (later, the MST3K episode) Hercules Unchained, the "Waters of Forgetfulness" are used by an evil queen to enslave Hercules and make him think she is his wife. He catches on to the ruse later, thanks to his trusty sidekick Ulysses, who manages to secretly spill the magical water anytime someone tries giving it to Hercules.
    • In two other Hercules-based movies featured on MST3K, evil queens try slipping love potions to The Big Herc, only by this time he's become Genre Savvy enough to spill them or spit them out. He then only pretends to be affected by them.
  • The 1992 Sandra Bullock movie Love Potion #9 takes a different tack from the song of the same name. The "potion" makes (temporary) changes to the voice of the person who takes it such that anyone of the opposite sex hearing them speak is attracted to them - and willing to do anything they ask (and makes members of the same sex hate them just as much). Larger doses escalate the effect dramatically, as the villainess discovers when she consumes undiluted potion (it's supposed to be diluted 1:1000 in water), inadvertently creating a Thundering Herd of men following her after she chugs it.
    • The above effects are not from the eponymous #9 potion, but from #8. The gypsy woman who sells the potion to the protagonists (and has a full range of love potions from 1 - 9, with varying effects) keeps the #9 potion, the strongest, in reserve for a later date. When the two realize they might love one another, then the #9 is imbibed by both. The gypsy warns that if they truly love one another, then their love will never die; if it is not true love, then they will not be able to stand the sight of one another.
  • The Thief of Bagdad featured the evil Grand Vizier named (what else?) Jaffar, giving the Princess a "Blue Rose of Forgetfulness" which makes her forget all about her love for the hero. (At least until he shows up to snap her out of it.)
  • In Were the World Mine, gay student Timothy finds a secret recipe in the script for A Midsummer Night's Dream for a magic flower that causes Love at First Sight with no gender restrictions and uses it to make many members of his homophobic hometown walk a mile in his shoes. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Title character Pondo Sinatra in the 80's college sex romp The Party Animal eventually makes a potent love potion out of random chemicals in a science lab. After exposing himself to the potion, it works too well—with disasterous results.
  • Perfume has Villain Protagonist Jean-Baptiste Grenouille long to make a perfume from the scent of beautiful women. Once he finds out how to capture their scent, he goes on a killing spree, and is captured after he completes it. The perfume has... variable results: the first time he uses it, the crowd that's gathered for an execution believes he's an angel and is driven into a passionate orgy by its scent. The second time he uses it, a crowd of bums is so taken by his beauty that they eat him alive. And he wanted that to happen, because he realized the "love" that his perfume created wasn't real.
    • Well, it was more like that the perfume could not make him capable of love.
  • In Practical Magic, Sally the witch makes a love spell to avoid falling in love. The spell is supposed to ensure that she only falls in love with a guy with certain specifications. She deliberately makes a list of impossible specifications, to ensure that she can only fall in love with a non-existent guy, and thus not fall in love at all. Naturally, a guy with the right specifications shows up.
    • Sally does marry before the guy she specified shows up. Her aunts see how lonely and sad she is (and that neither she or her sister are likely to be having kids soon) and cast a spell causing her and a local young man to fall in love and marry. But the ancestress' curse, the reason Sally didn't want to marry, kicks in.
  • In The Craft, Sarah puts Chris under a love spell after he pretended to be interested in her, but turned out to just be an asshole instead. It works fine at first, until Chris becomes so enamored with Sarah that he starts stalking her, culminating in a date rape attempt. Nancy then kills him in retaliation.

    Literature 
  • Older Than Print: One version of Tristan and Isolde has the eponymous lovers drinking a mixture from a vial, thinking it a lethal poison, only to discover instead that it was a love potion. Another version has Isolde's maid giving her a love potion and telling her to use it with her betrothed husband, King Mark. Isolde instead chooses to use it on her beloved Tristan, even though she knows the two of them can't be together. Still another version has them drink it accidentally, mistaking it for wine.
  • Little Women: The sisters perform a play with a villain who purchases a love potion from a witch, along with poison to kill his romantic rival (probably to avoid that "power of true love" loophole). The witch, however, double-crosses him, stops the princess from drinking the potion, and slips the villain his own poison.
  • In the Incarnations of Immortality novel On A Pale Horse, Zane is offered the use of a Lovestone by the Magician to seduce Luna (his daughter). Said stone compels instant desire and "is not something you can buy in knickknack shops" Despite being strongly attracted to Luna, and despite her stated willingness to honor her father's bargain (though she has no pleasure in it herself, nor interest in Zane), he declines the offer to use the stone.
  • In The Perilous Gard, this trope is subverted. Kate thinks Christopher has fallen in love with her sister Alicia. The queen of the fairies offers her a token that will supposedly make Christopher love her, which Kate declines because she would always know that he only loved her due to a potion. She finds out later that Christopher loves her, and the queen knew that, and the token was most likely nothing at all but a quiet form of revenge on the part of the queen.
  • In Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest, The Vamp uses a potion to lure Prince Rupert into her bed. Unfortunately for him and the heroine, the magical rings they owned were driven by the Power of Love, and this broke them.
  • Piers Anthony's Xanth series includes magical "love springs." In this case, "love" is used as a euphemism - drinking from such a spring causes one to be compelled to mate with the first creature of the opposite sex that one sees, regardless of species. Love springs are supposedly responsible for the numerous Half Human Hybrids and Mix-and-Match Critters that exist in Xanth. What's worse, if you drink from it twice, you fall in love twice. Without losing your first love. Only time is effective.
    • The characters plan to employ a more traditional one (i.e. causing love instead of lust) to solve the magic induced Love Triangle between Prince Dolph, Nada, and Electra. Electra is cursed to love Dolph, and will die if he doesn't marry her. Dolph loves the sexy Nada instead, and Nada just considers him a friend but must marry him for political reasons. To fix this, Electra will take a potion to nullify the magic love she has for Dolph, marry him, divorce him the next day, and then Nada will take a love potion so she can marry Dolph. Instead, Electra's potion doesn't work because she truly does love Dolph, Dolph decides he loves her back during their one night of marriage, and Nada doesn't need to take the potion after all.
  • Isaac Asimov, inspired by the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Sorcerer, wrote a short story titled "The Up-to-date Sorcerer", in which the Professor's potion works because of Techno Babble instead of magic. It's a slightly more ethical potion than the usual sort, as it only works on people who aren't married. Predictably, it ends up making the pretty young girl fall for the wrong person, and all parties involved try to figure a way out of this mess. When they remember that the potion has no effect on married people, they realize that if the girl marries the guy the potion made her fall for, the potion will no longer work. They do, the potion wears off, they get the marriage annulled, and the girl goes back to dating the guy she was originally interested in.
  • Averted in Lois McMaster Bujold's The Spirit Ring. Fiametta tries to create a love ring, but her father explains that the spell only reveals true love, not compels it, and that magically induced true love is a paradox.
  • The first book of The Dresden Files has Harry making a love potion at Bob's request (mostly because Bob wouldn't shut up about it), containing conventional (perfume, chocolate) and not-so-conventional (excerpts from a cheesy romance novel, a torn-up $50 bill in lieu of diamonds) ingredients. Despite (or perhaps because of) being called a 'love' potion, it's more of a really effective aphrodisiac than anything else. Susan accidentally drinks it instead of a teleport potion when she and Harry are cornered by a demon, and Hilarity Ensues.
    • Two of the Dresden short stories involve variations on the concept:
      • Last Call has a maenad doses Harry's favorite homebrew beer with a lust-and-violence potion in an attempt to start a riot at a Bulls game to remind people of Dionysus (and teach them "proper respect").
      • In Love Hurts, a Red Court vampire enchants a carnival haunted house ride to make the riders fall in love, hoping to spread true love, which is anathema to White Court vamps; she draws Harry and the cops' attention when people who shouldn't be in love (like siblings) fall victim and commit suicide.
  • In Kushiel's Mercy by Jacqueline Carey, the visiting general of a neighbouring empire gets his magician to make Sidonie fall in love with him using a spell that involves a very small tattoo between her shoulder blades. It also causes her to forget all about her passion for Imriel - though, as it turns out, it's not wholly effective. The spell is broken when Imriel cuts the tattoo from her skin. Needless to say, when she comes around, Sidonie is pissed. In this, the Unfortunate Implications of using a love potion - namely, that it's effectively rape - are fully spelled out.
    • In Naamah's Curse, one of the villains possesses a magical black diamond that entrances people who look at her, enabling her to become a queen. However, it is stated that this diamond does not compel false desire, or force anyone to be attracted to someone they wouldn't find attractive otherwise. Instead, it amplifies and enhances any slight attraction the wearer already inspires in people who encounter him/her. The wicked queen was already a beautiful woman to begin with, and the diamond enhances her desirability so that anyone who would have been at least a little attracted to her without the diamond feels compelled to worship her like a goddess when she puts it on (which does still seem coercive, however...)
  • A whole industry of non-functional love spells can be found in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. There was a spell to store emotions in amber, then when the amber melted the emotions spread to those nearby. Presumably, this could be used with love, although the actual examples were courage and fear for your and the other side's army respectively. It also featured a rather clever use of love spells Childermass buys a knowingly non-functional spell from Vinculus to use on a princess, bringing the wrath of the King down on Vinculus. Turns out he needn't have bothered.
  • This is discussed at some length in Doris Egan's Ivory series. A sorcerer can't make someone fall in love. Instead, he or she can create a spell that causes the victim to experience a very clinical checklist of symptoms of sexual attraction for the specified target; if the victim isn't suspicious, the result is effective about 80 percent of the time.
  • Tom Holt's JWW series, beginning with The Portable Door, centers around J.W. Wells' famous "love philtre", which always works - it knocks the drinker out for twenty minutes, and they fall in love with the first person of the opposite sex they see. There have to be something like five or six instances of this throughout the series, nearly always with horrific potential. As in all his books, Holt plays fast and loose with consistency, and a love philtre which "always" works somehow generally finds a way to wear off. At least until the very end of the third book, where the "hero" and "heroine" (if they can be described as such) are finally given such a heavy dose of the thing that they spend the rest of eternity making dovey-eyes at each other.
  • The aunts in Practical Magic cast love spells for any woman who asks. The only example given in detail is a Be Careful What You Wish For as her new husband never gives her a moment's peace; however the reader's viewpoint is almost exclusively on the woman. The effects on the man, or his ex-wife who he was faithful to before the spell and somewhat faithful too afterwards before being specifically hit with a spell to make him leave her, are hardly shown.
  • Discworld series: Some of Nanny Ogg's recipes have a very aphrodisiac-like effect, and people have been known to do amazing things after accidentally eating a plateful of something spiced up with her famous Chocolate Sauce with secret ingredients.
    • The description strongly implies that she doesn't use magic, but natural aphrodisiacs. It can't break Granny Weatherwax's self-control, and another character is resistant because he eats a lot; implying that the effect is physical rather than magical.
  • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, we learn that if not for a love spell/potion, Big Bad Voldemort wouldn't even exist, since his mother, Merope, apparently used one to make her crush, Tom Riddle (Voldemort's father) marry her. This is actually a subversion of the usual story, because the potion apparently did work perfectly; however, Dumbledore speculates she began to feel guilty after a while, and willingly stopped giving him the potion in the hope that he would have grown to really love her. Unfortunately, he didn't. Given how starved for love she was (having been raised in a highly dysfunctional family), Merope comes off rather sympathetically.
    • Love Potions are banned at Hogwarts (although they are apparently legal in the wizarding world at large and are openly sold at stores that cater to students), not that it stopped Harry's fan girls from trying to slip him love potions in the forms of perfume, chocolate, drinks, and more, courtesy of Fred and George Weasley. One of those said slipped-love-potions caused Ron, not Harry, to fall in love with one of the fan girls.
    • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Rita Skeeter accuses Hermione Granger of using love potions to make Harry Potter and Viktor Krum fall in love with her.
    • It is noted in the books that love potions don't make the person taking them fall in love; instead, they create a powerful infatuation with the person creating the potion.
  • In the Night World book Spellbinder, Thea accidentally challenges Blaise's skills by saying she couldn't attract her soulmate. Blaise's response is to use a love charm. Not only does this not work, it still doesn't work when he is enchanted to hate Thea.
  • One of Laurence Janifer's Gerald Knave, Survivor short stories involves a military project to douse the enemy country with aphrodisiacs so they'd be too busy screwing to put up a fight when invaded. Unfortunately, the chemicals keep leaking, causing the factory workers to get amorous when they're supposed to be working. The author included a comment on the dubious morality of this weapon, especially as the drugs only affect men.
  • Discussed in David Eddings' Polgara the Sorceress. Polgara is exasperated by requests from members of Duke Kathandrion's court for love potions, which she notes is a literary device prevalent in Arendish epics.
  • Sword of Truth makes mention of the morality issue; using a glamour spell, the series' equivalent of this, is seen by characters as tantamount to rape. Sorceresses who use it are either executed or expelled from the Palace of the Prophets (the Palace has a spell which slows down aging to about 10%, so there is little difference between the two for the exiles).
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Shadows In Zamboula", Zabibi asks for a love potion from a man she had repulsed. He gave her a potion that drove her lover mad, and he attacked her.
  • In Lord Dunsany's The Charwoman's Shadow, the hero's sister gets a love potion and uses it on the duke. The duke falls deathly ill. Terrified, she nurses him back to health, during which he falls in love with her.
  • In Josepha Sherman's The Shining Falcon, Ljuba creates these. She can even put them in candles.
  • Labyrinths of Echo series by Max Frei is about a world with strong magic, so this one appeared too. It's not clean and reliable, though, and sometimes the victim is poisoned. The surest way to heal this is for the guilty to immediately, ahem, proceed with the seduction to the end. Fortunately, the limitation of the magic means that only very weak and safe variants are used, unless someone is lovesick enough to risk imprisonment just for making it. But the only guy who tasted it in the book managed to die at the first sip anyway — for nothing, because he was already quite charmed in the natural way. The victim, of course, was rather surprised by the new disposition upon revival... but willing to repeat the whole sequence if necessary and claiming he needs regular profilactics to stay alive. It ended up just very embarrassing, for everyone involved.
    — Wait, when I managed to seduce you? Of course sometimes I talk in my sleep and all that, but it never occurred to me that even death has no power to shut me up!
  • In The Eyes of Kid Midas, Kevin tries to use his newfound Reality Warper powers to woo his crush. Ironically, the attempt fails because she's secretly already in love with him, and all he ends up achieving is creeping her out.
  • Historic examples of what Ancient Romans believed to be love potions are features in The Roman Mysteries novel The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina.
  • In Elvenbane, a complex multi-stage glamorie is used to by an elven Lady to get one of the half-elven to become completely devoted to her; he doesn't realize she's slowly casting him under a spell, and thinks he's falling in love. Luckily, unfinished glamories are fragile things; physical impacts, such as those from a former slave-lover, tend to disrupt them.
  • In a short story from one of the Dragonlance collections, a kender (not Tas) has 'borrowed' a pouch from a mage he was travelling with. At the Inn of the Last Home, he finds while the pouch is perfect for his collection, it is full of a strange powder. He dumps it in the just-inspected ale-brewing equipment. The night the barrel of that particular brewing is served is very interesting at the inn, since the powder is of the love/lust-inducing-at-first-sight variety. Subverted at the end, when Otik Sandeth chooses not to use the doctored ale to gain the wife he longs for.
  • Corie makes some for a lovesick castle guard in Summers at Castle Auburn. The ethics of this are actually explored in the piece as she says her potion will only make the girl notice him, not love him. He has to do the work of getting her to fall for him. Corie could make standard love potions, but she doesn't want to practice "that kind of magic." A more standard love potion was involved in Corie's conception, which is acknowledged as a rape.
  • In Stephanie Burgis's A Most Improper Magick, Angeline casts a spell to find her true love. It delivers him, quite bewitched, and seeming so stupid that Angeline is revolted.
  • The Mirrorworld Series: Don't drink the Lark's Water.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alien Nation has the Newcomer drug Sardonac, which is meant to be used by existing couples who want to permanently bind themselves together. In the show, it was abused by an unstable Newcomer woman using it nonconsensually on her boyfriends, and then played for laughs when Matt is the first person one of the victims sees. (Fortunately for all involved, the effects of Sardonac go away after thirty days if there's no sex.)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Xander tries a love spell in one episode. His aim was apparently off, as every woman he encounters falls for him except for the one he actually wanted to target (though hints throughout the episode indicated it was because she did love him, but was in denial or was putting on a facade as though she wasn't).
    • Later, a high school student was found to own, unknowingly, a letterman jacket that caused women to find him irresistibly attractive. This prompted the female cast to, respectively, pull off a heist, and attempt murder, suicide, and a sex-changing spell. Their competition dissolved into insane violence so fast that it makes one wonder why no one noticed a bunch of (apparently) criminally insane girls trying to win the boy's love before.
    • Subverted and spoofed when Willow appears to be casting a love spell ("Send me the heart that I desire") but is actually playing poker.
    • Amy Acker's screen test for the Buffy spin-off series Angel involved Wesley and Gunn falling in love with every woman they see due to a spell. Hilarity and haminess ensue.
  • The morality of this is lampshaded in The IT Crowd, where the love potion turns out to be Rohypnol.
  • Subverted in an episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Rita gives Zedd a love potion that actually works perfectly, leading him to fall in love with and marry her. In a later episode, Goldar pressured Finster into giving Zedd the antidote, but when he does, nothing happens: it turns out that Zedd's love for Rita was real. Awwww!
    • Between the two episodes, there was one where Zedd suggested Rita they should have a child. Not liking the idea, Rita ordered Finster to make a second potion to make Zedd give up the idea. The second potion was never mentioned again and Power Rangers Operation Overdrive introduced us to Rita and Zedd's son Thrax.
    • In the episode where Zedd was given the antidote, Rito Revolto had previously given the Monster of the Week a sample of the love potion. Said monster, on Rito's orders, then gave the potion to several humans, including Kimberly, who fell in love with Skull. Being Genre Savvy enough to understand the dangers of messing with the balance of human emotions, Zordon opted for a wait-and-see approach in hopes the love potion would wear off. The human victims became test subjects for the antidote.
    • Zedd himself is no stranger to love potions. He attempted to use a love spell on Kimberly in one episode (technically a spell to make her replace Rita as his regent), it just didn't work for unspecified reasons. The only consequences he suffered were Kimberly browbeating his minions for a while while she feigned the spell's success. Kimberly was dressed like Rita at the time.
      • That example is probably one of the best ones in history. Somehow it managed to be hammier than William Shatner, and a crowning moment of awesome/funny all at once. Someone should have given that girl an award! Best scene in the whole episode!
      • Used in Power Rangers Ninja Storm as well, in which Marah and Kapri attempt to drug the male rangers into falling in love with them. Things get messed up though, with the Cam and Blake lusting over Tori instead. Although there are implications that Blake's feelings are real.
    • A female Monster of the Week in Power Rangers Time Force used a love spell to make the male Rangers fight among themselves for her affections.
  • In the season four episode of Smallville "Devoted", a group of cheerleaders had developed a kryptonite-laced sports drink that caused the imbiber to become intensely devoted to whomever he or she had feelings for. The victims also became prone to intense jealousy. Chloë inadvertently drank some and became (overtly) obsessed with Clark. In a later episode, Lois was put under a love potion effect by lipstick laced with Red Kryptonite; when she kissed Clark, he became uninhibited, his normal reaction to red K.
    • Note that because of the kryptonite in the sports drink, when Clark tried it, he puked before it had a chance to work on him. He pretended to have been affected to spy on the cheerleaders.
  • A bizarre sort of subversion in the quasi-realistic Space Island One: after her advances for most of the series are rejected, one crewmember doses the object of her affections with a tailored hormone and pheromone cocktail engineered by the station's doctor, and beds him. No fallout, no backfiring, no sort of indication at all that she'd crossed into morally dicey territory. Rather, he was taken to have been in the wrong for refusing her advances thus far.
  • Perhaps needless to say, this was used nigh-countless times on Star Trek, apparently for the first time in "Mudd's Women" (1966) and most recently in Star Trek: Enterprise's "Bound" (2005).
  • Owen from Torchwood used a piece of Imported Alien Phlebotinum used as a sort of magnetic aftershave...for both sexes.
  • One episode of The Twilight Zone, "The Chaser", based on the short story by John Collier, features a Dogged Nice Guy who buys a love potion for just $1 (!) to win over his indifferent would-be love interest. She becomes his Clingy Jealous Wife and smothers him so much that he shells out $1,000 for a vial of the euphemistically-named "glove cleaner" ...and then drops the glass containing it when she startles him with the news that she's pregnant. (It's made quite clear that the potion-seller only charged a buck for the original potion because he knew the chump would soon be back for the "antidote".)
    • In "Jess-Belle", the title character buys a potion from a witch that, when she consumes it, makes her irresistable to the man she loves. Unfortunately, it also turns her into a soulless witch who becomes a leopard at night.
  • Tales from the Crypt did its own version of "The Chaser" short story, which had been previously adapted for EC Comics in 1951. Re-titled "Loved to Death", it follows the same general plot, only sticking in a couple of extra knives at the end: the guy kills himself to escape, the girl commits suicide in despair, horribly disfiguring herself in the process. The chump arrives in the afterlife, where he is joined by the girl, still hopelessly in love with him and still horribly mutilated.
    • Tales also had an episode in which a slimy land developer tries to win the heart of an heiress by giving her a love potion. He unfortunately gives her too much of it, and she dies... but she doesn't stop loving him. (Cue scene with the land developer running from her festering yet amorously devoted corpse.)
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place, Alex tries to use a potion that makes its two drinkers love each other. It goes wrong when she accidentally drinks both halves of the potion and fall in love with herself.
  • A variation occurs in Malcolm in the Middle where Ida introduces an elderly rich asian fiancee that loves her despite her heartlessness, turns out she's been drugging him. He gets out in the nick of time when she uses the remainder of the happy pills on the family so they're too content to do anything.
  • Supernatural:
    • The brothers learn that Heaven, via Cupid, matched their parents, so that Sam and Dean were born.
    • In the episode "Wishful Thinking" a nerdy guy uses a Wishing Well to make his dream girl love him "more than anything." It works - The girl loves him so much that she feels pleasing him is more important than her own happiness, and is willing to commit murder to keep them together.
    • In season seven, Becky uses a literal love potion on Sam. It goes well enough for her, with no one else affected, the potion not being too strong, etc. The only problem is that she doesn't have enough of it, so she has to resort to restraining Sam to keep him from escaping. She decides to let him go when she learns that it would cost her soul to keep him for a few decades.
    • In season 8, there's a man who made a demon deal to make a woman fall in love with him, with the effect dissipitating after the demons collect his soul.
  • In the eighth season of Red Dwarf, Rimmer deliberately infects himself with a sexual magnetism virus in order to have his way with his female shipmates. He gets caught and sent to the brig where he is reinfected in the midst of his fellow prisoners.
  • A villainess in an episode of Lois and Clark used as massive amount of love potion on the workers of the Daily Planet causing everyone to fall in love with someone else, with Clark Kent being the only one immune to the effects. It also can only work if that person is at least attracted to the first person they saw. Or any person they see before the potion wears off. This also turns into the earliest episode where Lois Lane should be able to discover the identity of Superman. Under the spell, Lois says that Clark looks like Superman; she dismisses this line afterwards, but clearly remembers. However, it is unclear why Lois is not suspicious of Clark's immunity to the spell. She clearly does not accept his claim he has no feelings for her, and if she does she is totally blind to the ways of men. The claim of no feelings does not mesh with how he had interacted with her so far. She clearly remembers what she did under the spell, since she remembers his lines that amount to saying he will not give in because he will not take advantage of her, even though he has dreamed of her doing things along the lines of what she is doing. The moment she comes to is also the moment that he professes a deep desire for her. The one thing that might prevent Lois Lane from figuring out that Clark Kent is Superman is that when Superman gets exposed to the potion, in stopping the even more nefarious plans for it, he pretends to be under its power, and gives Lois the same moral dilemma of resisting or accepting the overtures of a spellbound lover. Why Clark being able to resist where Superman was overcomes does not raise more questions than it answers for the unstoppable, award winning investigative reporter Lois Lane is not at all clear.
  • In one episode of The Munsters, Grandpa makes up a batch for Marilyn. This is a different variation as instead of the drinker falling love, they would be irresistible to the opposite gender. Naturally, of course, the potion doesn't go to the intended drinker and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Used in an episode of Merlin to make Arthur and Lady Vivian fall in love. A much darker example was used a few seasons later in which Lancelot and Guinevere are Mind Raped and given a Hypno Trinket respectively, forcing them to cheat on Arthur.
  • Stargate Atlantis episode Irresistible has an herb that, when eaten, makes the consumer 'irresistible' by causing them to give off a pheromone that makes everyone like them. Beckett manages to make an antidote.
  • In Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, a very short term version of this is the result of the Stymero Beast Battery.
  • Parodied in the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Voodoo Curse." Stottlemeyer and Disher go to Reverend Jorgensen's Voodoo Boutique shop to question the owner about killer voodoo dolls that they have traced to the store. While browsing, Stottlemeyer finds an apparent love potion called Cupid's Arrow. He tries it out by dabbling a bit of it on his cheeks. After a pause, Randy tells Stottlemeyer it isn't working, and Stottlemeyer is clearly satisified that that is the case.
  • Played with in an episode of Rookie Blue. A witch sold a woman a love potion that would bring the woman's "lost love" back after seven days of using it. When the man does not show up, the woman demands a refund and then steals some jewelery from the witch in retribution. The witch presses charges and the cops arrest the love seeker for theft. Things get complicated when the prisoner than collapses from what looks like poisoning. It turns out that the potion was actually just something that you add to your bath and should not be drunk since the ingredients are toxic when ingested. The witch even points out that the instructions were clearly written on the bottle. In a Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane ending, the woman's old boyfriend shows up in the hospital and explains that he has been trying to reach the woman all day but her phone was busy all the time. Apparently she tied up her line leaving the witch angry voice mails and thus almost sabotaged the very thing she tried to achieve with the love potion.
  • Farscape's Commandant Grayza had a gland implanted that secreted heppel oil, a very powerful aphrodisiac. Grayza could secrete the oil seemingly at will and render any male unable to resist her commands. This was presented as being morally equivalent to rape, and Crichton picked up psychological scars after it was used on him.

    Music 
  • The song "Love Potion #9" (recorded first by The Clovers and then The Searchers, among others) plays with this trope, illustrating why, if you ever get your hands on a love potion, you should not test it on yourself.
  • In the song "Funky Cold Medina" by Tone Loc, the singer attempts to be Genre Savvy by testing the eponymous substance on his dog. If he'd paid proper attention to the results, he would have realized that it doesn't work exclusively on the opposite sex rather than having to figure that out the hard way. He continues using it anyway until he finds out that some of the people he's using a Love Potion on will react by wanting to marry him in addition to having sex with him.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • GURPS Technomancer doesn't shy away from the moral implications, outright calling the Elixir of Love (along with the Elixirs of Lechery and Drunkenness) a "date-rape potion."
  • In both Vampire The Masqerade and Vampire: The Requiem, the blood bond, or vinculum, has similar effects to a love potion. A human or vampire who's made to drink another vampire's blood three times becomes bound to them for a long time; as long as the bond is in effect, they can't bring a hand to harm them, even if they hate their guts. Needless to say, most vampires do not want to get caught in one of these.
    • Mages sufficiently powerful with Mind magic are capable of forcing someone to fall in love (or lust) with someone else (not necessarily the mage). If potent enough, it can completely overide a person's natural inclinations or sexuality (for example, forcing a heterosexual homophobe to fall in love with a man). Its noted that many mages would consider the use of this spell to be akin to rape.
  • In 7th Sea there's "Godiva's Tears", a powerful aphrodisiac used to lower a victim's inhibitions (and gives said victims a penalty towards resisting any Seduction attempts). Likewise, master practitioners of sorte magic can strengthen or even create Passion strands between two targets out of the blue, albeit temporary.
  • In Genius The Transgression, players can create mind control devices; using them sexually is the second highest level of Transgression alongside rape or serial murder.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 had a love potion that essentially functioned as a Charm Person spell, complete with limited duration.
    • It should be noted that the Philter of Love actually had two effects: One infatuation one and one stronger Charm Person effect. The latter wore off after a relatively short time. The first effect? Not so much.
  • Faerie food in Rifts may work like this, depending on which food it is. Beefcake, for instance, will cause a love-at-first-sight effect towards men by any woman who eats it. Their version of Eros also has his arrows: Gold as the classic Love Arrow, Pink Affection Arrows, (target feels generously amorous and will confess their feelings to anyone they're already in love with), and lead Anti-Love Arrows.
  • One of the signature characters for Scion is Donnie Rhodes, Scion of Aphrodite. Like Aphrodite's other son, Cupid, he has Eros and Anteros, the arrows of love and hatred; unlike Cupid, these take the form of two gold-plated Berettas. At one point in the fiction, he threatens to hit a fellow Scion with Eros and leave the guy wanting him until the end of time, spurning his advances all the while.

    Theater 
  • Donizetti's opera L'Elisir D'Amore ("The Elixir of Love") subverts this: unbeknownst to the main character, the elixir of the title turns out to be simply wine.
  • William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream has, as its central plot, two pairs of lovers accidentally mis-matched when the Fairy King Oberon tries the "fall in love with the first person you see" approach to get them to fall in love with the "right" people via a magical flower. Oberon also uses the flower in a plot to get revenge on his wife - by having her fall in love with a hapless peasant man with the head of a donkey.
    • And in the very odd (and possibly disturbing) case of one of these potions going right, at the end of the play, Demetrius and Lysander, who have been pursuing Hermia, have each been doused with a love potion to make them adore Helena. Lysander is given the antidote, but Demetrius (whom, it is implied, began seeing Helena first before the events of the play) awakes, still under the effect of the potion, where he will probably remain for life.
    • Demetrius hated, or at least ignored Helena prior to the love potion. The point was that both couples were happy at the end, though there are definite Unfortunate Implications in that nobody has any problem with it.
      • Depending on the company performing it, Demetrius's "hate" of Helena is often played as more a school-ground crush sort of thing, where he's mean to her because he likes her... And nobody has a problem with it because none of the human characters have any idea it happened. The lovers wake up and think it was a dream and accept the current state of relationship as the status quo.
      • Not that this excuses it, but Demetrius was courting Helena before he met Hermia, at which point he dropped Helena like a hot rock. Back in the day, one might have considered his inconstancy a character flaw which the potion corrected.
  • Sometimes a potion doesn't have to "make" someone fall in love with another, but instead just make them forget who they are and whom they may currently be in love with. In Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, Siegfried is given an "Ale of Forgetfulness" by Hagen which makes him forget all about Brünnhilde, his beloved, or any other woman, and fall in love with Hagen's half-sister. The purpose of this is to ensure that: she will get married, Siegfried will retrieve a bride for his half-brother-in-law, and he will get the ring.
    • This later prompts Brünnhilde to enact a terrible revenge once she learns about the potion, so nothing good really comes out of using it.
  • Tristan und Isolde, on the other hand, does feature a love-potion, though it is implied that its effect is merely to fan their already smouldering passion into open flames.
  • This is the plot of The Sorcerer, one of the earlier Gilbert and Sullivan operas.

    Videogames 
  • Played with a lot in the fancomics of Touhou, from Eirin's shady new drugs to youkai-only-aphrodisiac mushrooms that Marisa picked and Alice accidentally ate when she was staying over.
  • Used in an optional subquest in Fallout 3; upon visiting Rivet City, the protagonist comes across a waitress who confesses, after some prodding, into being in love with a member of the in-city clergy. You then have the option of giving her a mutant insect gland full of a particularly potent pheromone, allowing her to seduce the apprentice holy man. After their wedding, if you speak to said apprentice, he admits that he feels a little odd about the whole thing, but that he feels obligated to make an honest woman out of her. You even get a Positive Karma boost out of it!
  • A short series of quests in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 involves a student becoming sick after drinking an unfinished love potion. And then falling in love with the teacher. Eventually, it turns out she fell in love with him because he stayed by her side while she was sick, not because the love potion worked.
    • There's also the Ranger ability Love Potion, which sets a trap that inflicts Charm.
  • The Sims 2. It can either be bought from the matchmaker, a witch, or if your sim is a witch/warlock, they can make their own. It doesn't do much except make romantic interactions easier.
  • Normally an avid man-chaser (and magnet), Nikki from Mana Khemia Alchemists Of Alrevis, soon tires of the many admirers that she attracted. The solution her friends make? A Loveless Potion. It worked well for her. Maybe a little too well. Things went from bad to worse. Well, worse for Nikki, that is...
  • Higurashi Daybreak and its single-episode anime adaptation revolve around a pair of magatama that will cause its holders to fall in love with each other. In the anime version, Rena accidentally swallows one of them, and the other one passes around from one person to the next, including a female character. Needless to say, Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei II, The Rival Daleth attempts to put Aleph out of commission by throwing a love potion (Taken from A Midsummer Night's Dream) on him in order to make him fall in love with a local girl. However, Hiroko ends up taking the hit for Aleph, and becomes infatuated with Daleth. What follows is rather uncharacteristic for a main series Shin Megami Tensei game.
  • In Fairytale Fights, love potions can be thrown or used in glory attacks to stun enemies or drank which fully heals you and makes you temporarily invincible.
  • In the Pokémon videogames, the technique "Attract" can be used to make an opposite-sex Pokemon fall in love with your Pokemon (temporarily), so that it won't attack your Pokemon.
  • In World of Warcraft, in Stormwind, you can overhear a group of three female mages talking about various magical practices and rituals. One of their conversations ends with this line.
    "Wow, all of this for a love potion. Hope he's worth it."
  • Elona has them, and they do work as advertised on a character's relationship score, but one, they only move it by a small amount, requiring multiple potions, two using them incurs a hefty karma penalty and three, it doesn't prevent a characters relationship score from going down.
  • Arcadia, an alchemist from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, turns out to want the Frost Salts given to you by Whiterun's resident court wizard Farengar for one of these.

    Web Animation 
  • Averted in The Spider Cliff Mysteries: Katherine Sprawling's use of a love potion on Thomas Elkwood hit the correct person and resulted in a 30 year marriage. Annabelle's attempt at using a potion appears to have failed due to the intended target being forewarned about the exact mode of delivery.

    Webcomics 
  • Played with in this comic of Two Guys and Guy.
  • Cassie in The Wotch tried this, with the predictable results - instead of getting Robin's affections, she instead gained the unwanted attention of his kid brother and a guy at school whom she disliked. Naturally enough, it is only after she fails at this that he asks her on a date for completely unrelated reasons, causing her to pour the rest of the vial in a decorative plant at the local mall—which also falls in love with her.
  • In Clan of the Cats, Lesbian Vampire Rose uses an anti-love potion to cause Chelsea and Jubal to break up, so she could then seduce Chelsea. This actually works, as she leads Chelsea on a minor rampage through New Orleans, but after Chelsea has a My God, What Have I Done? moment, the truth comes out about what Rose had done to them.
  • Sluggy Freelance: The Love Potion: PART 1 and PART 2. Although this is where the subject comes up. Gwynn tries to use this love-first-person-you-see potion to make Riff fall in love with her, Dex fall in love with Zoë, and Torg fall for... er... Bun-bun. Zoë initially protests, but quickly comes around as her one-sided crush Dex drinks it and immediately starts reciprocating. Of course, such a premise cannot be played without the pitfalls: Bun-bun falls for Gwynn, Riff falls for Crystal, and Crystal falls for Torg. Also, the potion was supposed to wear off gradually, so it would basically just keep the romance going long enough for genuine love to develop, but because the potion was mixed with alcohol, and/or because the person giving the recipe had his own agenda, the effects actually got stronger over time and included a tendency to go Axe Crazy, making it a Love Dodecahedron with a generous dose of Murder the Hypotenuse.
    "I love Zoe so much! I can hardly contain myself! I love her enough to die for her! I love her enough... to kill!" ... "KILL KILL MURDER KILL STABBITY STAB STAB STAB KILL"
  • It more-or-less works in Yang Child, where a Mysterious Watcher slips a love potion to the heroes in order to inconvenience them, at least displaying a bit of Genre Savviness. And even then, it ends up on the "wrong" target and is used way after B.B. date.
  • Parodied rather amusingly in a Death Note fan comic. Even Halle points out how "stupid and overused [an] idea it is," though her Common Sense is quickly shoved to the side. If only Near had listened, his face might not have been so humourous when things didn't go exactly as planned.
  • Nodwick's Garage Sale story arc featured a would-be Casanova slipping a love potion of the "First person you see" variety into Piffany's lemonade. Needless to say, Hilarity Ensues.
  • In one Oglaf strip (Warning: SFW), a man drinks a love potion that was supposed to be given to the woman that he wanted to fall in love with him, and he falls in love with the potion.
  • In Sinfest, Slipping a Mickey is offered as "wooing technology". Slick says he wants her to love him for real.
  • In Think Before You Think, it is revealed that Mandi desperately wants a lesbian love potion, but no one finds out why until a while later. This leads to a series of somewhat weird events.

    Web Original 
  • Erikas New Perfume's eponymous perfume seems to work like this, among doing other things — since it was used on them both Erika and Sarah have found someone, and Marie seems to have found a boy she likes to pick on too.
  • The story thread "Lust Dust" on the Anime Addventure features a powerful aphrodisiac that makes a mess of many, many relationships.
  • From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Ambrosia is a living Love Potion. She emits super-powered pheremones that cause men to just lose their cotton-picking minds, falling all over themselves to make her happy. The power has made her very, very cynical about the opposite sex.

    Western Animation 
  • One of Ember's powers in Danny Phantom. Not a literal Love Potion, but a Love Guitar which she uses to get the main character to fall madly in love with Sam as a means to distract Danny from her plans to conquer the world. (Sam was supposed to be affected, too, but she was wearing special ghost-bluetooths that protected her from the sound-effect love spell.)
  • Gosalyn makes one in the "My Valentine Ghoul" episode of Darkwing Duck, intending to use it on the eponymous Super Hero and his estranged girlfriend. She only succeeds in making a spider fall in love with a bat and making Darkwing, herself, and two bats fall in love with Negaduck (let that sink in for a minute). Fortunately, Morgana uses the love potion to defeat the episode's villain.
  • The potion used on Rava in Galtar and the Golden Lance works fine. It was when it wore off that it hit the fan.
  • A Pluto short on the House of Mouse has Pluto finding Magical Love Arrows in a dumpster. As it turns out, there's a reason those arrows were in the trash: they don't fly straight and Pluto ends up hitting the wrong target.
  • In Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Jimmy creates a love potion that makes males fall in love with the first female they see…in an attempt to study and create an antidote for it. Of course, they get exposed and the first females they see happen to be girls who the boys already had hidden feelings for, or develop feelings for later.
  • While not a love potion, Wade of Kim Possible creates a modern love laser beam that causes the much older Monique to fall in love with him. It works exactly as planned, until the effect wears off and she's pissed at him. Later, the villain comes in possession of the love laser beam and uses it for massive annoyance.
    • At the end of the episode Wade is seeing a genius girl his own age -who turns out to have invented a Love Beam of her own. (Wade's ten.)
    • Another example could be of the Moodulators which caused Kim and Shego to fall for Ron and Drakken respectively. Of course, the Fandom speculate that this only brought out feelings that were already there.
  • An episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series had an hummingbird-like experiment called Hunkahunka, who anyone pecked by it would fall in love with the next person they saw. The 'antidote' was being sprayed with water.
  • Partially subverted in the "Mudd's Passion" episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series. The potion Harry Mudd is selling, much to everyone's (not least Harry's) amazement, turns out to really work...albeit not for long, and has the nasty side effect of inducing hatred in the former lovers as it wears off.
  • The Fairly Oddparents:
    • Cupid's love arrows. They eventually wear off unless they're specifically made to last forever.
    • The first time Timmy became Norm's "master", he tried to use the second wish to make Trixie fall in love with him, he believed to have outwitted Norm by wording his wish to make Trixie Tang fall in love with "Timmy Turner". Trixie then started loving and kissing everyone named Timmy Turner. To Timmy's displeasure, the wish he made to undo Norm's other disasters made the wish on Trixie wear off right when it'd be his turn to be kissed.
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "Green With Envy", the Shredder tries to use a love potion on the turtles in order to distract them from his latest plan. Three of the four turtles end up ingesting the potion, and end up falling in love with the nebbish Irma.
  • Happens with Cupid's arrows in the American Dragon Jake Long episode "The Love Cruise". When Cupid goes on vacation, he leaves his magical bow and love arrows in Grandpa's care. Jake can't resist borrowing Cupid's equipment and using it to play matchmaker on his school's "Love Cruise", including pairing himself with Rose, who he feels no longer has feelings for him. Chaos ensues, including Fu falling in love with himself, the captain of the ship falling in love with the Statue of Liberty and abandoning his post and Rose hating Jake because of what happens when the person hit by the arrow already loves the first one they see.
  • The Valentine's Day episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy turns Sarah and Jimmy into a pair of trouble-making cupids.
  • Inverted on Hey Arnold! when Helga buys a Fall-Out-of-Love Potion... of course, turns out it was just some grape soda.
  • Inevitably, Heloise on Jimmy Two-Shoes tried this, making not only a sweater for Jimmy that would make him fall in love with her, but a fear sweater that would make Beezy afraid of her. It goes wrong twice: first, the two decide they like the other one's sweater the best, causing Jimmy to be absolutely terrified of her and Beezy to drag her on a Captive Date. She eventually gets the right sweaters on them, only to have a terrified Beezy become determined to protect Jimmy from Heloise, whether he wants it or not.
  • The Donkey Kong Country episode "A Thin Line Between Love and Ape" had Bluster Kong, with help from the Crystal Coconut, mix up a love potion to win Candy Kong's affections. Unfortunately, K.Rool gets his hands on it. However, the potion wears off, and a second dose causes the subject to feel hate instead of love, and back to love the next dose. As Cranky Kong says, "There's a thin line between love and hate!"
  • Angels Friends: When Reina was an angel she tried to make her human, Malachia fall in love with her using his own love potion on himself. It doesn't work...
  • One episode of The Mask had a gypsy woman with a love potion that actually turned its victims irresistible to anyone of the opposite gender. When a sample fell on Mrs. Peenman, Stanley (a.k.a. the Mask) and Kellaway fell in love with her. When Stanley asked for a solution from the gypsy, she told him anyone that the potion wears off soon except when the person who fell in love with the user used some magical object. (the last part might have been made up to trick Stanley into giving her the mask) In the end, the potion fell on her, causing all men other than Mask to chase her, allowing the hero to chase the other girls.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the episode "Hearts and Hooves Day", the Cutie Mark Crusaders, in an attempt to play matchmaker with their teacher Cheerilee and Apple Bloom's brother Big Macintosh, find a recipe for a love potion in a history book on the holiday and serve it to them in the guise of punch. When they actually read what the potion did, they start thinking of it as more of a "love poison". After drinking it, both of the targets are unable to do anything other than stare each other in the eyes and call each other annoyingly exaggerated pet names... forever. The potion supposedly toppled an entire kingdom in the ancient past. The only antidote is to forcibly separate them for one hour. That goes about as smoothly as you'd expect.
  • In ThunderCats (2011) "Recipe for Disaster", all of Lion-O's attempts to woo Pumyra fail miserably. This includes the love potion he attempted to give her since Tygra drank it instead of her. Hilarity Ensues.
  • An unusual variation shows up in Sabrina: The Animated Series: The potion in question (Salem's recipe) doesn't compel any attraction; it instead modifies the target's personality enough to make them compatible with the user. Thus, when Sabrina uses it to try to get along with her father's new girlfriend, said girlfriend gets the energy level, attention span, and interests of a preteen girl. Great BFF material... not so great on a date with an adult man.
  • George of the Jungle - the tail plumes of the Oo-oo bird make the women wearing them appear like a movie star to men - at a fancy ball, a plume wearing society matron walks by and:
    Man #1: It's Liz!
    Man #2: It's Debbie!
    Man #3: It's Zsa Zsa!
    Dog: It's Lassie!
  • Beverly Hills Teens: An episode called Potions of Love. The effects are hilarious.
  • In Rick and Morty, Morty has Rick cook up a love potion so that he can woo the girl he has a crush on. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the girl has the flu, she ends up transmitting the effects of the potion to the entire school and within a few hours the entire world (save for Morty's family due to the effects not affecting people with his DNA) wants to have sex with Morty. Near the end of the episode, the morality of the love potion is actually discussed as Rick outright compares it to slipping someone a roofie.
    Morty: How could you be so irresponsible, Rick!?
    Rick: Me irresponsible!? All I wanted you to do was hand me a screwdriver, Morty! You're the one who wanted me to buckle down and make a roofie juice serum, so you could roofie the poor girl at your school! You kidding me, Morty? You're going to try and take the high road on this one?


Karmic RapeSexual Harassment and Rape TropesMarital Rape License
Hate PlagueMind ManipulationEmotion Control
Lotus-Eater MachineApplied PhlebotinumLoyal Phlebotinum
Love Is in the AirAttraction TropesLustful Melt
Love-Obstructing ParentsLove TropesLove Redeems
Loud of WarImageSource/PhotographyMagpies as Portents
Love It or Hate ItAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Lover and Beloved

alternative title(s): Love Spell
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