Title Drop. Something of a pet trope for fantasy novels and video games, (especially those with Mad Lib Fantasy Titles, but can occur elsewhere. Sometimes results in an Artifact Title if the series moves on. Can involve a Character Name and the Noun Phrase title, especially if the Noun Phrase in question is nothing more than a MacGuffin itself. A Sub-Trope of Mad Lib Fantasy Title and Super Trope of Character Name and the Noun Phrase.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Card Captor Sakura has some of this, since the main character has to capture cards.
- Dragon Ball
- One Piece
- Death Note
- Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life
- Shinzo, at least in the dub.
- Rave Master in the original Japanese where is just called "Rave". "Rave Master" refers to the title of The Hero and not the MacGuffin.
- Swordquest is about two heroes on a quest for a sword.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- The Maltese Falcon says almost nothing about the movie, but we kinda know what it's talking about.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull qualify. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade doesn't.
- The title was going to be Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail, but director Steven Spielberg didn't want people to confuse it with...
- ... Monty Python and the Holy Grail
- The Hot Rock The valuable emerald that's stolen six times is the major plot fuel but not really important to any major character.
- The Pink Panther is named for the valuable gem in the heist, and not for the cartoon feline that appears in the credits, and certainly not Inspector Clouseau or any other character.
- The Golden Child
- Brick. The title refers to a brick of heroin, the theft of which sets off the film's entire plot.
- The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure
- The Dark Crystal
- Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny
- The Jewel of the Nile
- The eponymous Dragon Bones appear very early in the book, but if you didn't pay attention to the title, or read a translation with a different title, you'll think they are just a dragon skeleton in the basement, sad and embarassing to have there, but not important. It later turns out that the dragon bones are what the villains were after the whole time, and it is of vital importance to make sure they don't get them.
- The Radix, a book about people chasing after a holy plant called Radix (or Radix Ipsius, "the root of itself") that belonged to Jesus.
- Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials is a trilogy of MacGuffin titles. The Subtle Knife is a particularly good case of this.
- Not in the UK, however, where the first book is titled Northern Lights.
- Crops up in The Wheel of Time. The first book is definitely one, but the best example is A Crown of Swords for combining this with Prophecy Twist - even some of the Title Drops seem to be symbolic.
- Jack Vance's The Eyes Of The Overworld.
- The Drawing of the Dark by Tim Powers references not one but two MacGuffins.
- The Chronicles of Narnia has The Silver Chair, which doesn't turn up until quite late in the book, but still counts.
- The Harry Potter series includes the eponymous Philosopher's Stone, Goblet of Fire, and Deathly Hallows, though the Goblet is a plot starter, not a Plot Coupon. The Chamber of Secrets also counts, as it is a MacGuffin Location.
- The Sword of Shannara Trilogy.
- Memory Sorrow And Thorn does this recursively: Not only does the series-name refer to the three MacGuffins, but the titles for individual books (The Dragonbone Chair, The Stone of Farewell and To Green Angel Tower) all refer to various important objects.
- Maggie Furey's Artifacts Of Power series has titles like "The Harp of Winds" and "The Sword of Flame".
- Keeper of the Swords by Nick Perumov is kinda like that. It sounds like a word salad at first, but later you learn that the eponymous Swords are the McGuffin. The first book in this series, Diamond Sword, Wooden Sword, plays the trope completely straight.
- The Darksword Trilogy centers around the forging and use of a powerful Anti-Magic sword In a World of magic users.
- The Eye of Argon.
- Alexandre Dumas père's The Black Tulip.
- Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda.
- The Chronicles of Prydain include The Book of Three and The Black Cauldron, and also the MacGuffin Location The Castle of Llyr.
- The books in the Elenium trilogy by David Eddings sound like they're this trope, but only the third book in the trilogy - The Sapphire Rose - actually fits the bill.
- The Silmarillion is Quenya for "of the Silmarils," an abbreviation of the full title Quenta Silmarillion, the Story of the Silmarils.
- The first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy, The Knife Of Never Letting Go.
- The Moonstone.
- The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett.
- TheodorFontane's novel L'Adultera doubles as a Foreign Language Title; on the surface it refers to a painting by Tintoretto ("The Adulteress before Christ").
- Interstellar Pig by William Sleator. The title refers first of all to the fictional board game titled "Interstellar Pig," and second of all to an entity called The Piggy which is central to both the board game and the plot as a whole. The board game Interstellar Pig wouldn't seem extremely important when it first appears, but of course the title is something of a giveaway that it is important.
- The Spelljammer setting of Dungeons & Dragons is named after a powerful, magical, sentient ship that everyone in the setting dreams of finding and commanding. The captain who successfully claims it as his own will be unstoppable. It is also named for the generic name for spacefaring ships, and for the people crewing them. Spelljamming and spelljammer have lots of related meanings in Spelljammer.
- Paranoia: John M. Ford's adventure The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues. There is, indeed, a black box.
- The Legend of Zelda series has several of these, to various extents:
- The Fire Emblem series as a whole is a case of this, as the titular object is almost always a plot-important item in the games; the only time it isn't important to the plot is in Fire Emblem Jugdral, where it is only mentioned off-hand by a certain character.
- Metal Gear
- Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross
- Kingdom Hearts
- Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift
- Another Code: Another is the name of the device at the heart of the story.
- Several titles in the Professor Layton series, such as The Diabolical Box, The Last Specter, and The Miracle Mask.