Memento MacGuffin
Wish upon your locket, not upon a star.

An object which is the embodiment or representation of the solid, happy relationship between two characters, or of an important memory or period in someone's life. But unlike an ordinary Tragic Keepsake or Friendship Trinket, the Memento MacGuffin plays a critical role in the story.

Sometimes it's as obvious as a piece of jewelry like an engagement/wedding ring, or a wedding video, or a photograph of a beloved, or a prized heirloom. It can also be a love note or just some small gift, such as a stuffed toy. It can even be a location, such as a childhood home or a favorite corner market, an old building imbued with poignant memories or an entire town. Such a memento can represent romantic partners, deep friendships, familial relationships or even esoteric connections. Whatever the item, and whatever the nature of the relationship, there is a symbolic yet very real form of Synchronization between the Memento MacGuffin and the relationship, and because of that, it tends to also be a #1 Dime.

These items tend to give a lot of exposition and, rather than being true MacGuffins, can play a central role in the plot. Unfortunately, they also tend to be rather luckless. On the other hand, if a character deliberately disposes of the item, it's because It's All Junk. Also, if the character acquires it through a very sad experience, it's a Tragic Keepsake that might be held during a Cradle of Loneliness.

If, however, a character's parents are conspicuous by their absence, or completely unknown, that "treasure" the character carts around with them is probably a specific type of Memento MacGuffin—the Orphan's Plot Trinket. Expect it to be important.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The key from Attack on Titan, which doubles as a Tragic Keepsake.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Pictured above: The star-shaped music box is a reminder of her link with Endymion and their past life together. At the end of the first season, she takes it out and shows it to him (he was brainwashed and crazy at the time) as a last resort, pleading for him to remember who he was and how they loved each other long ago. It works, but the locket disappears and is never seen again afterwards.
      • The manga has a small pocket watch (which is what was turned into the star locket) that Usagi got from Mamoru. During the revelation of Usagi being the moon princess, it plays backwards as Usagi regains her memories as Princess Serenity. Toward the end of the Dark Kingdom arc, Sailor Moon, saddened by how she cannot break Mamoru's brainwashing, strikes him and then stabs herself with a sword, hoping that their next reincarnation will lead to a happier life. The pocket watch becomes a Pocket Protector, as it took the brunt of the stab, which allowed Sailor Moon to survive.
    • Also near the end of the anime's first season, we have Minako/Venus's friend and Secret Keeper Katherina's locket. Venus finds it after Katherina has been forcibly turned into a youma, with the bonus of it having a picture of both girls inside. She then pleads with Usagi/Moon to spare Katherina and dis-possess her.
  • In Act 2 of Sailor Moon Crystal, shortly after making her first friend ever in Usagi, Ami's attachment to the pen she won on their first outing is so strong that, while Brainwashed, she's oblivious to orders from the Monster of the Week as she staggers to retrieve it from across a room, dull-eyed but happy when she does. (the pen later becomes her Transformation Trinket)
  • Hitomi's pendant in The Vision of Escaflowne belonged to her oft-mentioned grandmother.
  • Yuri's blue pendant in Kyo Kara Maoh! is a double whammy—it was given to him by his godfather, Conrad (and, in a variant of Lost Wedding Ring, Yuri panics when he loses it); but Conrad was entrusted with it by Julia... who is reincarnated as Yuri. The pendant therefore connects Yuri to two people (Conrad and Julia) and a memory (his past life).
  • The iron cross Germany gives Italy in Axis Powers Hetalia to cement their friendship. Doesn't help that they become an Official Couple later in the comics.
  • Digimon Savers: Masaru's dogtag belonged to his father, who gave it to him the day he left on the Digital World expedition. It symbolizes manhood (what else?) and serves as a reminder of the ideal Masaru is always chasing.
  • Code Geass:
    • Suzaku's pocketwatch (more accurately, his late father's pocketwatch), which symbolizes his being stuck in the past. When he leaves it behind during the first season's finale (with the body of the woman he loved, shot dead by his best friend), it's supposed to signal the fans that the kid gloves are off.
    • He also keeps his pin(?) designating him as Euphemia's knight, holding it introspectively and brandishing it at others as a symbol from time to time (notably in R2 episode 17).
    • And Rolo's locket, which was given to him by Lelouch. It symbolizes... the er, "brotherly friendship" between him and Lelouch.
    • Also, Euphemia's quill pen, which he keeps with him and uses to write. His cat Arthur is shown running off with it in R2 episode 5. Boy, he sure does have a lot of stuff on him.
  • Tohru's picture of her mother in Fruits Basket—she takes it everywhere, even addressing it as "Mom."
    • Also a slightly less sentimental one in the manga—she keeps a baseball cap that was given to her by a mysterious boy who helped her find her way home once when she got lost.
  • Sora from Someday's Dreamers II: Sora always wears her late father's watch, even though it's way too large for her wrist.
  • Duel Monsters trading cards are frequently used to this effect in Yu-Gi-Oh!. The first episode of the Duel Monsters anime revolves around Seto Kaiba forcibly wresting away Yugi's grandfather's Blue-Eyes White Dragon; he wouldn't sell it because it was a reminder of his friendship with Arthur Hopkins. Of course, the Blue Eyes White Dragon card is a Memento MacGuffin (or Tragic Keepsake, depending on how you look at the situation) for Kaiba himself, which is part of the reason why he wanted it so badly in the first place... For Kaiba, it was a weapon for domination in the card game. Only in the case of the duel against Isis/Ishizu did it become a Memento MacGuffin.
  • Ciel Phantomhive's family ring from Black Butler.
  • Clam shell in the anime of Witchblade.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward carries around a silver pocket watch given to him when he joined the military. In the inside of the watch he engraved the date 10 Oct. 03, the day he burnt down his home, to remind him he can never turn back.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex:
    • the full cyborgs Batou and Major Katsunagi have mementos from their pre-cyborg days: Batou's exercise weights, and the Major's watch. The watch does double duty as a straight-up MacGuffin as well: the Major accidentally left the watch at her house on the day she had to go into hiding, so Batou risks capture to retrieve the watch for her.
  • The sheet of song lyrics in Gravitation, the ones that Shuichi wrote and Yuki criticized. Presumably, Shuichi kept the original copy—it reappears at a key point at the end of the anime.
  • Ryo's bed in FAKE—it belonged to his deceased parents. Don't think about this one too hard...
  • Ichika from Uta Kata keeps the mirror shard into which Manatsu changed in a drawer, together with Manatsu's beloved soap bubble pipe.
  • The three magical jewels in Sorcerer Stabber Orphen, specially Cleao's sword. That one was a heirloom of the Everlasting family, and Cleao tags along with Orphen and Majik to make sure Orphen will give it a good use.
  • In Deadman Wonderland, Nagi has two of these: one is a locket that has a photo of his baby in it, the other is the scarf from his late wife that he ties around his waist. The locket is more plot important, however, as it is revealed that there is no photo of his baby in it, since the baby is actually being kept in a lab at Deadman Wonderland as soon as it was born.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Homura's weapon of choice changes to a bow in the last episode. Previously it was a buckler, to symbolize her wish to protect Madoka. After Madoka's Heroic Sacrifice, Homura uses a bow that looks very similar to Madoka's. She also gets Madoka's hair ribbons, and wears one of them in place of her usual headband.
  • Rei's bracelet—later given to Kira—in MARS. To Rei, it signifies his time in America, and is a good luck charm. To Kira, it signifies the beginning of her "proper" relationship with Rei.
  • Both played straight and subverted in Neon Genesis Evangelion by Gendo's broken glasses. Rei keeps them in her room as a sign of connection and loyalty to him. In End of Evangelion, before she ruins his plans for Instrumentality, we see the glasses lying on her bedroom floor, smashed to pieces.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena:
    • The Duelist Rings (Rose Signets) are worn by all duelists. Many episodes show a sequence from Utena's childhood, when she receives hers from Prince Dios.
    • Juri Arisugawa's locket may be seen as this or Tragic Keepsake, depending on whether you see it as a link to the happy days Juri shared with Shiori and the Nameless Boy ( Ruka), or as a reminder of Shiori's betrayal.
  • Cyborg 009:
    • In the 2001 adaptation, Albert Heinrich keeps the ring belonging to his tragically lost fiancee Hilda on a chain around his neck. Eventually, it comes in handy when he uses it while nearly completely paralyzed to shoot down Cyborg 0011.
    • Also, a man named Nicholas keeps a locket which is found between his clothes right after he's murdered in front of the Cyborgs. Seeing it reverses his girlfriend Lina's Laser-Guided Amnesia and breaks the Mind Control that the Big Bad of said arc had over her.
  • In the first episode of the anime version of Get Backers, Natsumi hires Ban and Ginji to get back a stuffed toy cat that was given to her by her mother, who is now dead.
  • Shin's sister's mobile phone in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler
    • Though Hayate doesn't know of the significance of their stone for quite a while, he's given the King's Jewel/Stone of Bonds by Mikado, it reminds Mikado of his daughter, who appears to be the original one who found the stones (she's dead and he seems to want her brought back). It's called the Stone of Bonds by Maria and Nagi, and it reminds Nagi of her bond with Hayate. Eventually Mikado decides it's useful as a mark of inheritance for the Sanzenin fortune.
    • It's also a stone that Athena and Midas need to reopen the doorway to the Royal Garden. Multiple uses for a single item that didn't seem particularly noteworthy at first. Oh, and there's more than one. Most notably, Wataru now has one, given to him by his mother.
  • One Piece: Luffy's straw hat. Some of the Straw Hats also have one. Zoro has Kuina's sword, which doubles as a Tragic Keepsake. Nami has the tangerine trees that her foster mother Bellemere used to plant. Chopper has the hat that he always wears, given to him by Dr Hiluluk, and Brook has the Tone Dial that contains the Rumbar Pirates' final song before they died.
    • Later on, Luffy's straw hat is revealed to have belonged to Gold Roger himself.
  • Goku's Four-Star-Dragon Ball. It's one of the few things he has to remember his (adoptive) grandfather by.
  • The key Chiyoko gets from the fugitive artist in Millennium Actress.
  • Future GPX Cyber Formula:
    • Asuka wears her pendant, which contains a photo of her brother who ran away from home 5 years prior to the storyline of the main series. The pendant also serves as a clue of the identity of the mysterious driver, Knight Shoemach.
    • Kurumada has his loupe, which was given by a man named Gen-san from his youth. With the loupe, Pei finds the cause of the understeer on Hayato's Asurada. It also helped Kurumada to find the cause of his friend Kojiro's crash on a test drive.
  • In Maiden Rose, Klaus keeps a textbook which Taki had written "thank you" in back in their Luckenwalde days and has it with him during a mission. It ends up saving his life by slowing down the bullets he takes.
  • Carly's glasses in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. Jack finds them in the ruins of the Arcadia Building after she is recruited to the Dark Signers, and holds onto them, thinking she's dead at first. When he discovers the truth and she turns against him, the glasses become the link to making her past self resurface. When Carly loses the Dark Duel she started—on purpose, to spare Jack—there is a heartwarming moment between them, where Jack gives her the glasses back so she can look at him again before she dies, the usual penalty for losing such a duel. (Fortunately, she gets better later.)
  • Pokémon: Ash received a few gifts over the series, coming from some of the friends that he's traveled with over the years only to go on their separate journeys. A handkerchief and a custom fishing lure from Misty, one-half of a Contest Ribbon and a Teddiursa carving from May, and a broken Pokeball from Gary. Brock also had a present to give, some cutlery, but since he went on to become the one with the currently longest travelling time with Ash, it was kinda moot, and these silver were never heard from again. Dawn, meanwhile, has a Ribbon she received from her mother as a good luck charm.
    • Serena from the XY series has a handkerchief that used to belong to Ash; in their first meeting as little kids, he used that cloth to bandage her injured knee. Serena starts her own journey to see him again and return the handkerchief. Ash doesn't remember her until he was presented with it.
  • Barnaby from Tiger & Bunny has a burnt sash that he acquired when Kotetsu risked his life to protect him from Lunatic's firebolts. Supplimental materials say that he keeps it in his company locker as a good luck charm. Karina also has a memento from Kotetsu—a towel he got her to replace the one he accidentally ruined.
  • Rurouni Kenshin—the hairpin Tomoe got as a betrothal gift from Akira, the man Kenshin killed. When Oibore is seen with it, it cements his identity as Tomoe's father.
  • Orihime's hairpins in Bleach were gifts from her older brother Sora who died the same day he gave them to her. She had hated them for being too childish, but after his death always wore them. They first become relevant when Sora after becoming a Hollow, realizes on seeing the pins that she has never stopped thinking about him. They later become the focus of her spiritual powers.
  • Season two of the Magic Knight Rayearth anime has Lantis give Hikaru a mirror pendant that belonged to his mother. It is also a Chekhov's Gun, playing a role in the final battle.
  • Yata Misaki's awesome wrist-watch-cellphone-thingy in K—it was given to him by his former best friend Fushimi Saruhiko during their Middle School years. That he kept it shows that Misaki still misses and treasures the relationship they once had.
  • In Chapter 15/ Episode 12 of Gourmet Girl Graffiti, Akira gives Ryou the apron Ryou's late grandmother used to wear. Since Ryou was raised by the said grandmother, she treats it as a representation of her grandmother.
  • Chitoge's iconic ribbon in Nisekoi was given to her by her mother back when they actually saw each other. And it's tangentially related to the promise made 10 years ago.
  • The blue pendant or brooch Chtholly wears on her neck in Suka Suka formerly belonged to an older Leprechaun she once looked up to as an older sister figure back when she was a child. The pendant/brooch now serves as a motivation for her to move forward and grow stronger because she knows that as someone who was raised as a weapon of war she could die any day in the battlefield and strives to live her life as much as she can. After she herself dies in a Dying Moment of Awesome combined with a tearjerking Heroic Sacrifice, it's then given posthumously to Tiat in a moment that symbolizes Chtholly passing on her role as main heroine to Tiat as Tiat herself becomes the main heroine of the sequel light novel series. Also doubles as Tragic Keepsake.

    Fan Works 
  • Madoka's ribbons in the Puella Magi Madoka Magica fanfic To the Stars, which have never worn after hundreds of years, one of which Homura has and the other which she gave to Kyouko. The latter resides in the Cult of Hope’s main base, open to all magical girls to see. The ribbon is also said to give visions of the future and a glimpse of the Goddess herself.
  • The necklace given to Vale by her sister Maybelle in the Hunger Games fanfic Some Semblance of Meaning. It's not really plot-relevant in any way, aside from the fact that it provides Vale with a tangible link to her family, and she sometimes imagines that clutching onto it gives her some of the fiery Maybelle's strength. In the end, the last time she clutches it before she dies, she thinks that this time, she is "drawing not upon her sister's strength, but on her own."
  • Chapter 5 of the RWBY fic Going Through The Motions makes Blake's bow into this; Adam gave it to her as a sign of his love.
  • In the Fate/Zero fanfic Fate Zero Sanity, Avenger gives Rin his Casull in the form of a silver cross after he saves her life because she managed to impress him with her courage. She wears it throughout the remainder of the fic and is always shown wearing it afterwards.
  • Smith's simple denim jacket in The Matrix Slashfic Bringing Me To Life, signifys the beginning of Smith and Neo's fresh start as a couple together. It's even more important to the plot because one of the characters has a Reincarnation Romance Flashback from seeing Smith pull it out and wear it.
  • Sonic X: Dark Chaos: The red gem that Cosmo wears on her chest is revealed to be a very powerful and rare Doma Emerald that her family kept as a symbol of the Seedrians back on her homeworld. It allows her to communicate with the spirit of her mother Hertia and her father Dark Oak.
  • Lydia's spider brooch, which is also a Call-Back to the show, serves as this leading up to the climax in Cinderjuice. BJ is de-powered and almost definitely walking into a fatal trap, but looking at the brooch reminds him why it's worth the risk. The brooch appears at least once in each of the sequels; it's extremely important to Lydia.
  • In Say It Thrice, the wedding ring from the film Beetlejuice serves this function; Lydia suffers from Laser-Guided Amnesia until it's returned to her. A flashback reveals that it originally belonged to Betelgeuse's mother.
  • Blood and Honor: Sanguis has a mask which she inherited from her mother. She begins wearing it early in the story, at Darth Baras's suggestion, and it becomes important to her in several ways - as a physical connection to her past, a means of intimidating her enemies, and a shield behind which she can hide her feelings. It's eventually shattered in an explosion which nearly kills her and she grieves its loss, refusing to wear another.

    Films — Animation 
  • Barbie & The Diamond Castle: Liana and Alexa make necklaces from two heart-shaped stones to represent their friendship, unaware that these stones are actually diamonds from the magical Diamond Castle. After the two have a fight midway through the movie, Alexa takes off her necklace, and becomes susceptible to the villain's magic. Later, Liana replaces the necklace and is able to undo the villain's spell by chanting a friendship mantra they made up earlier while wearing the necklaces.
  • Princess Mononoke: The crystal necklace Ashitaka gets from his sister as a (permanent) farewell gift. He gives it to San as a token of affection/remembrance. She later stabs him with it in a fit of despair, but without serious consequences.
  • In The Prince of Egypt, Ramses gives Moses a scarab ring to mark his promotion to chief architect. Later, as Moses starts his self-imposed exile, he discards all of the princely trappings from his wardrobe, but can't manage to throw away the ring. He keeps it until he returns to Egypt, then gives it back to Ramses as a symbol that he has returned as an enemy, not a brother.
  • The treestar in The Land Before Time is Littlefoot's memento of his mother. It gets crushed by Sharptooth when he attacks.
  • Anastasia has the "Together in Paris" pendant, which is the Orphan's Plot Trinket that unlocks the music box given to her by her grandmother.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Braveheart:
    • William Wallace's ceremonial cloth that he got from his wife. He carries it with him and when it gets lost on the battle ground, Robert the Bruce picks it up and returns it to William.
    • Also the thistle, that young Murron gave William at his father's burial. He has kept it pressed in a book.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • The paired set of music box/locket from movies two and three.
    • The Aztec gold talisman itself from the first film is an Orphan's Plot Trinket which Elizabeth takes from Will.
    • Bootstrap Bill's knife. It's given to Will as a gift from the no-longer-dead Bootstrap.
  • According to Word of God, the shoelace necklace that Ramona wears in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is something that once belonged to her dead younger brother.
  • Iron Man features his prototype Arc Reactor (originally used to power a medical device keeping his heart healthy) which he wanted to throw away, but his assistant instead puts it in a cute little case, as "Proof that Tony Stark Has A Heart". Comes in damn handy when his more advanced version gets stolen.
  • From the Star Wars prequel trilogy, the japor snippet Anakin gave to Padmé.
  • The Spirit movie features this, with the locket given to Sand Saref.
  • The Evenstar in the The Lord of the Rings movies.
  • "Rosebud", in Citizen Kane.
  • The watch in Pulp Fiction.
  • The eponymous character of Hancock woke up in a hospital with no memories and no possessions except some gum and two movie tickets quite some time before the start of the movie. He treasures these items, as they're his only connection to the past he can't remember.
  • The Big Bad of Pan's Labyrinth has his father's pocket watch, which he wishes to pass on to his own son.
  • Cobb in Inception uses a top as a totem, which used to be the totem of his dead wife Mal.
    • The pinwheel that Fisher finds in his father's safe in the lowest level of the dream.
  • The locket that belonged to Joe's mother in Super 8.
  • In Popeye, the titular character carries an empty picture frame with the words "ME POPPA" painted on the empty backing. He kisses it goodnight every night. His father also has a similar empty frame with the words "ME SON."
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy, there's Quill's Sony Walkman cassette player—or, more specifically, the "Awesome mix part 1" tape inside. It inspires him to start a dance-off with the Big Bad at the film's climax.

  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, R.A.B.'s locket, which Harry carried with him "as a reminder of what it had cost and what remained still to do."
    • Some rather useful objects are also Memento MacGuffins for Harry, such as his Invisibility Cloak, and several Memento MacGuffins end up being useful, like the shard of the broken Two-way mirror.
    • The town of Godric's Hollow was one for Harry and possibly Voldemort and Dumbledore as well.
    • And apparently even Snape is sentimental enough to hang onto a page of a letter just because it was signed 'Love, Lily' The letter wasn't even addressed to him.
  • Vimes's silver cigar case in Night Watch.
  • The mansion Manderly, in Daphne de Maurier's Rebecca, fits this—it alternates between being the main character's haven and being a grim shrine to the dead Rebecca, giving it a dual identity as a Memento MacGuffin and a really big Artifact of Doom.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth stories (The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings) there often appear (new or old, or ancient) gifts and heirlooms, some of them important to the plot and some not. One example is the Ring of Barahir, owned by Aragorn at the time of the LotR, which by then is the most ancient artifact known to be kept by humans, being at least over six thousand years old. It was passed through generations of Númenórean kings and lords and Northern Dúnedain kings, but was originally gifted to Barahir by the elf Finrod as a symbol of friendship and loyalty for saving his life.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's Thuvia, Maid of Mars, Carthoris finds a hair ornament, with the insignia of Thuvia's house—and unfortunately, blood. He instantly adds it to his own harness before going in search.
  • In Bones of Faerie the Missouri quarter that is given to her by Caleb. It once belonged to her mother.
  • In Taran Wanderer, the fourth book of The Chronicles of Prydain, Taran doesn't want to give up the sword he carries because Princess Eilonwy was the one to gird it on him.
  • Snidely subverted in Monstrous Regiment, in which a character's lover asked for a token of her affection, offering to have the village smith break it in half so they can each keep part of it, to re-join when he comes back from the war. She gave him a sixpence to take to the smith's, and he ran off with it and never came back.
  • Sayuri from Memoirs of a Geisha kept the handkerchief that the Chairman had given her when they first met when she was twelve years old. And when she became a geisha, she would carry it with her for good luck.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Have Space Suit – Will Travel, Kip receives a "happy thing" (a stone containing a feeling of love, just for him) from his alien mentor. It serves as proof for his interstellar adventure.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The People of the Black Circle", the necromancers use one to get a hold of the king's hair to murder him.
    ''But at the urgent entreaty of the princess of Khosala, who loved Bhunda Chand vainly, he gave her a lock of his long black hair as a token of remembrance.
  • The Peacock Parure in Aunt Dimity: Snowbound wasn't simply the family jewels of the DeClerke's, it was a reminder of the suitor Lucasta DeClerke lost in World War II—hence her deep distress when it was stolen.
  • In Galaxy of Fear, Tash Arranda and her mother each had a necklace with a tiny red crystal, noted to be worthless but with great sentimental value after Alderaan was destroyed. Late in the series Tash feels secure enough to wear it under her clothes and practice telekinesis on it in quiet moments.
  • Jem's mother's family ring in The Infernal Devices, which he uses to propose to Tessa.
  • Forbidden—the silver bracelet Lochan gives Maya for Christmas, engraved: Maya, love you forever. Lochan x.
  • Robin's pendant in The Girl From The Miracles District, which is his only connection to his origins and the past he can barely remember.
  • Kings Of The Wyld: Gabe carries around a bunch of rocks that his daughter Rose found when she was a little girl. They're just boring ordinary rocks, and Clay says that Rose isn't going to care about them. Gabe says that they're not a gift, they're to put on Rose's grave if she's already dead. After he gets a chance to talk to her using magic, he puts them on Shadow's grave instead, since they're not worth hauling all the way to Castia now that they know she's alive.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Once Upon a Time, Rumplestiltskin places Belle's chipped teacup on a pedestal when he hears the false news that she's dead. Post-Dark Curse, it remains a very important symbol of their love.
  • Mary's golden M on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which represents home and stability to her. It's the first thing she unpacks in her new apartment when she moves.
  • The toy plane on Lost. It belonged to Kate's first love, whom she got killed during an escape from the police. Kate robbed a bank and shot her three co-conspirators to get it from a safe-deposit box.
  • The titular character in Bones has a small glass dolphin trinket to remind her of her father, and she gets upset when she loses an earring that belonged to her deceased mother.
  • The amulet that Dean always wears on Supernatural. A flashback in the third season episode "A Very Supernatural Christmas" shows that Sam originally got the amulet to give to the boys' father. When John, who has left the boys alone in a motel room again, doesn't show up for Christmas, Sam gives the amulet to Dean instead. When Dean comes back from Hell at the beginning of the fourth season, Sam (who has been wearing the amulet the whole time Dean was dead) gives it back to him. While the amulet seems to do nothing but serve as a symbol of the brothers' close relationship, in the fifth season it is revealed that it burns hot in the presence of God, and thus can be used to find Him.
    • Until "The Dark Side Of The Moon", of course. Castiel loses his faith completely when he finds out that God is watching but doesn't plan on helping and so gives it back to Dean, stating it "worthless". And Dean, so hurt by his brother's ideal heaven, throws it in the trash in front of Sam. Because this isn't a despairing show at all.
  • In the Japanese drama Shōkōjo Seira, based on A Little Princess, Seira gave her father a necklace before he leaves, telling him he must keep it on at all times. For her sixteenth birthday, her father would send a similar looking necklace for her. And after he died, she lost her birthday necklace to Director Chieko and her father's necklace was returned to her as proof of his death, becoming a Tragic Keepsake.
  • In Kamen Rider Ryuki, Ren/Kamen Rider Knight wears a necklace with two promise rings around his neck to remind him what he's fighting for: his girlfriend Eri, who is currently in a coma.
  • On Community's Season 4 Halloween Episode Jeff is dressed as a boxer, which the others assume is a ploy to be a Walking Shirtless Scene for a while. It is, however, revealed that the boxing gloves Jeff carries around belonged to his Disappeared Dad, which is a sign that Jeff's finally ready to confront his Daddy Issues.
  • The Vampire Diaries: Elena's necklace, which was given to her by Stefan in the first season. The necklace or amulet is often seen as representation of Stefan and Elena's love.
    • Stefan's intention on giving Elena the necklace was to protect Elena from Damon and other vampires by putting vervain in the amulet.
  • On The X-Files, Scully wears a cross that her mother gave to her for Christmas one year. Over the course of the series, the necklace comes to symbolize friendship and love. When Scully is abducted in season two, Mulder finds her necklace left behind. Her mother encourages him to keep it as a reminder not to give up, and he ends up wearing it around his neck while she's gone. He returns it to her, and Scully herself ends up giving it to Emily, the daughter she wasn't aware had been conceived through her eggs (stolen while she was abducted). It's returned to her again, and once again, when she's missing, Mulder finds it in the 1998 movie The X-Files: Fight the Future.
  • Castle, Beckett keeps an elephant statue on her desk, which belonged to her late mother Joanna Beckett. In the 6th season episode "Veritas", she discovers that Joanna had stored a micro-cassette tape containing evidence that she had uncovered against William Bracken inside the statue. The discovery of the tape provides enough evidence for Kate Beckett to arrest Bracken for her mother's murder.
  • In Glue, murder victim Cal wears a necklace which is later missing from the body. One of his friends, James, is seen in possession of a similar necklace which he promptly throws out. James recovers it later, and Cal's is found in his shirt pocket—turns out they were matching pendants honoring the pair's Secret Relationship. To top it off, Cal's brother Eli also has a pendant like that, to remember his mum by—and he's not happy that Cal made the pendants less about his mum and more about his love life...
  • In Monk, Monk can't bring himself to open or throw out what he thinks is a present from his late wife. In the finale, he finally does and it's a videotape in which Trudy tells him who will kill her.


    Myths & Religion 

  • In The Golden Apple, Penelope spends the years waiting for her husband's return by constructing a patchwork quilt out of bits of fabric symbolizing their married life.
  • The handkerchief in Djanet Sears' Harlem Duet (an updating of the love story from Othello, which also featured a handkerchief).

    Video Games 
  • Dante and Vergil's amulets in Devil May Cry, which also serves as one of the keys to the gateway to Hell; in the original game, Dante discovers that Nelo Angelo is Vergil after he (Nelo Angelo) explodes, leaving behind Vergil's amulet.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, at the beginning of the first game, Kairi talks about a lucky charm she's making from seashells. Later in the game after Sora rescues her from Hollow Bastion, she gives the finished charm to Sora as a memento. However, the Oathkeeper is a little different from your typical Memento MacGuffin in that it also has a practical purpose; it's one of Sora's best weapons throughout the series.
    • He also makes a promise when he gets it to give it back to her, about 3/4 of the way through the first game. At the end of Kingdom Hearts 2, when he does manage to return home despite all odds, the first thing he does is give it back.
  • The Clefairy doll from the Pokémon series. Your hero buys a doll in generation one and gives it to Copycat in exchange for some random TM. The next generation, three years later, has her freak when she can't find her special doll, so you have to go find it.
  • The Memento Ring in Final Fantasy VI is the source of many Epileptic Trees. It's described as a memento of Relm's family. So naturally, Relm can equip it. Except Shadow can too. Other in-game cutscenes make it pretty clear that, yes, Shadow is Relm's father... so why the hell can Gogo equip it?
    • Perhaps s/he mimics being a member of Relm's family? Or maybe s/he's some long-lost relative?
  • In Final Fantasy VII, Aerith's materia was given to her by her biological mother and she keeps it as a memento, unaware that it is in fact the extremely important White Materia.
  • The pendant from Chrono Trigger goes through several stages as a memento, aside from literally being a MacGuffin. At first it's just a family heirloom belonging to Marle, but Crono holds onto it after she disappears and continues to do so when she's rescued. Later, after Crono's (temporary) death, Marle takes it back as a memento from Crono. Interestingly, Magus never seems to think of it as its original status as a memento of Schala.
  • A Tear Jerker of this trope occurs in Breath of Fire IV with the bells that Mami wears in her hair. What makes this a real Tear Jerker is that Mami is captured by The Empire, tortured to the breaking point, and is literally used as the living fuel for the Carronade... because of the fact she is in love with Fou-lu, the God-Emperor whom The Empire is trying to kill. Fou-lu is Hex Nuked, is shocked his empire would use an Evil Weapon of Mass Destruction against him... but he literally goes Laughing Mad, decides Humans Are Bastards, and resolves to Kill 'em All after seeing Mami's bells fall from the sky and realising in horror just who was used as the warhead.
  • In The Longest Journey, April receives a stopped watch from Brian Westhouse, who claims to have received it from the Cool Old Guy Cortez and that it represents "Cortez's heart". After she rewinds it, it helps her get back to her world. Much later, when it seems like Cortez dies, the watch stops again.
  • Link gets a fishing pole very early in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. It seems like it's nothing more than a gesture of affection from Colin, whom he treats like his adopted little brother, but it comes in handy more than once during the plot. It can even be used to distract the Big Bad during the final battle, in keeping with Zelda tradition.
    • The Fairy Ocarina that Saria gives Link when he leaves the Kokiri Forest in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time could count as one too, since it's an important item for plot-advancing (you can't open Dodongo's Cavern if you don't learn Saria's Song, for example), but this is a downplayed example because, once Link retrieves the titular artifact, it replaces the Fairy Ocarina in the inventory for the rest of the game.
  • Professor Layton's signature hat, as revealed in the third game, was given to him by his deceased girlfriend shortly before she died. The first time we ever get to see underneath it is the scene where he's forced to say goodbye to her for the second time.
  • In Persona 3 and Persona 4 when maxing out a social link you receive an item of some importance to the character you maxed out the link with. It's needed in order to prove to Igor that you can fuse the strongest Persona for the arcana of the link in question.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Kratos' locket, which contains a picture of him and his wife and child. If the player views a certain scene, he gives it to Lloyd and the locket just happens to protect him from an arrow.
  • A golden orb and Bianca's ribbon in Dragon Quest V, both being mementos of ghost hunting and saving a sabrecat from being bullied. You lose the former, but you keep and need the later to recruit one character: your old sabrecat pet Borongo.
  • Alpha Protocol: Sis's locket is a childhood memento. If you spare her after the boss fight, she gives it to you, symbolically letting go of her childhood, which wasn't a bed of roses...
  • Sir Francis Drake's ring in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, subverted twice, the first time it's seemingly stolen, it turns out that it was a fake and Nate still has it with him. They're using it simply to lure the bad guys out since they are treating it as a MacGuffin. The second time, when he actually does lose it, Nate is shown to care more about rescuing Sully than getting it back.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics: The "reed flute" is more of a skill (the ability to turn a leaf or blade of grass into an instrument) than an actual momento, but it's something that binds Ramza and Delita both to each other and happier days. (Ramza also bonds with Princess Ovelia when she reveals that Alma had taught it to her.)
  • A picture taken in the final route of Duel Savior Destiny that shows the bonds between the main cast becomes an extremely helpful tool for everyone that allows them to surpass their former limits through The Power of Friendship.
  • In Resident Evil 2, Sherry Birkin carries a locket with a photo of her and her parents. Behind the photo is a vial of the G-Virus, which the Umbrella Corporation has by this time killed a city trying to obtain.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, Alistair remarks that he wishes he had something belonging to Duncan, the deceased leader of the Grey Wardens in Ferelden, whom he had viewed as a father figure. The player character later has the opportunity to retrieve Duncan's shield from a hidden warehouse and present it to Alistair, who treasures it. The game even equips it onto him automatically.
    • In the City Elf origin story, a female Warden may elect to keep her wedding ring, if she loots it off the body of her murdered betrothed, in memory of him.
    • In the Human Noble origin story, the Warden may choose to keep and wield the ancestral sword and shield of the Cousland family, almost all of the other members of which have been murdered.
    • A Dalish Warden will be presented with a token of remembrance by the Keeper of their clan before they leave with Duncan to join the order.
    • A Warden of any background will be presented, during the Gauntlet at the Temple of Sacred Ashes, with a talisman called Memento. It's given by the ghostly image of someone dear whom they lost during their origin story, and is specifically intended to invoke this trope.
  • In Planescape: Torment it's possible to find the wedding ring from a previous incarnation's lover, which she specifically left for you. It grants some good defensive bonuses and, if kept throughout the game, can be upgraded to become one of the more powerful rings in the game.

     Visual Novels 
  • When Shiki returns to the Tohno mansion in Tsukihime he brings a white ribbon with him that was given to him by a girl he knew when he was leaving. Bad things happen when Shiki falls for the Twin Switch and gives it to Hisui instead of Kohaku.
  • Archer's pendant in Fate/stay night. It's the same one that Tohsaka left on Shirou when she saved his life. He carried it with him his entire life and through death, where it was used as a catalyst symbolizing her that drew Archer to her as her Servant. Also, it's the final proof to Tohsaka's suspicion that Archer and Shirou are the same person from different points in time. He gives it back to her early in the story and Shirou uncovers it, but does not realize its significance.
    • Also Sakura's hair ribbon, which was actually the first ribbon ever made by Rin, which she had given to Sakura before her adoption by the Matou family. It is the only real sign of their true feelings for each other (Sakura describes it as only one of two gifts she has ever received from people who are important to her, and after Rin finally realises that she can't kill her sister, she comments that she is glad Sakura had always worn it).

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Katara's necklace, which belonged to her grandmother.
    • Also, Zuko's knife, which his uncle gave him and has the words "Never give up without a fight" on it.
  • Ron's titanium-reinforced belt in Kim Possible helped Kim remember that they were dating in "Clean Slate."
  • The Phoenix Gate (a small, metal plate decorated with the image of a phoenix) from Gargoyles was split between Goliath and Demona as a token of the love they shared at the time. When the halves are joined, it creates a time traveling device.
  • From Adventure Time, Marceline's most treasured possession - her stuffed toy, Hambo, was given to her by Simon Petrikov, AKA Ice King, and is a tangible reminder of when he became her guardian as a girl. Naturally, she is furious when her boyfriend trades it for a new wand.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • All throughout season 4, the Mane 6 each receive an item from someone they teach their respective elements to. The items are given as thanks, but at the season finale, the items turn out to be keys for the magic box that sprouted from the Tree of Harmony, which grants them Rainbow Power.
    • In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, the medallion that Tirek received from Scorpan before his imprisonment, and gave to Discord before betraying him, proves to be the final key for the chest at the Tree of Harmony when Discord learns his lesson about true friendship.

    Real Life 
  • Skydivers wear the parachute closing pin as a necklace. You are allowed to wear it after your first free fall.