->''Robert was the true steel. Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He'll break before he bends. And Renly, that one, he's copper, bright and shiny, pretty to look at but not worth all that much at the end of the day.''
->--'''Donal Noye''', ''[[Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire A Clash Of Kings]]''

Stock symbolism attached to various metals and metallic alloys and applied to characters associated with them. Most common include:

* '''Iron''': strong, durable, but rough and unwieldy
* '''Steel''': like iron, but sharper and more dangerous (usually top-tier if no fictional metals are present); occasionally, undertones of technical knowledge
* '''UsefulNotes/{{Gold}}''': either king of metals (TheLeader, AuthorityEqualsAsskicking optional), or fancy but completely useless
* '''Silver''': [[SilverHasMysticPowers mystical metal]], invariably badass; occasionally, "second best" (TheLancer), may rarely have connotations of treachery or blood money ([[Literature/TheBible as in "Thirty pieces of silver]]").
* '''Bronze''': durability, antiquity, old ways, classic art; at other times, "third-rate" (can be a PowerTrio with the two above, if it's not replaced by Platinum)
* '''Copper''': utility, cheapness, deformability
* '''Tin''': toy-like, ineffective, utility
* '''Brass''': loudness, cheapness, antiquity
* '''Mercury''': speed, volatility, unpredictability, shapeshifting
* '''Lead''': slow, heavy, impenetrable
* '''Platinum''': like gold, but even more so (Can be a PowerTrio with Gold and Silver with it at the top, knocking Bronze out from the bottom); less associated with wealth, but more with purity, especially in a technical kind of way
* '''Aluminum''': modernity, high-tech, lightness; occasionally, cheapness
* '''Chrome''': modernity, high-tech, shine, cleanliness

May overlap with astrological motifs (mainly WesternZodiac), since each celestial body is associated with a metal in astrology (e.g. Sun with gold, Moon with silver, etc.).

Subtropes include: ChromeChampion, IronLady, IronWoobie.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Franchise/SailorMoon's magic crystal was known as the Silver Crystal, and her kingdom was known as the Silver Millenium. Mamoru's magic crystal was known as the Golden Crystal. Both of these are in keeping with the associations given in the description, since Sailor Moon was the incarnation of an all-powerful goddess, and Mamoru was a king (and also somewhat useless when his powers were compared to hers).
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', we have the Pirate King Gol D. "Gold" Roger and his first mate Silvers Rayleigh, as well as a member of Roger Pirates called S''copper'' Gaban.
* In ''{{Naruto}}'', the Fourth Kazekage uses "Gold Dust," which reflects his beliefs and attitude in life. To be specific, he measured the "value" of things/people, including his own son Gaara, though those evaluations were never necessarily ''right''. For example, he judged Gaara to be a failure. He was obviously wrong. [[spoiler:Though he didn't realize it until he saw Gaara again after being revived by the Edo Tensei.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The ''ComicBook/MetalMen'' consisted of TheLeader Gold, TheBigGuy Iron, the slow-witted Lead, the temperamental Mercury, the insecure Tin, and the vain (female) Platinum.
* Comicbook/{{Superman}} is known as the Man Of Steel.
** Also, his BadassNormal knockoff going by the actual codename {{Steel}}.
* Franchise/DocSavage is "the man of Bronze," both for his strength and his bronzed skin. The Superman people "borrowed" it for their "man of Steel" sobriquet (as well as Savage's "Fortress of Solitude").
* ''Comicbook/TheIncredibleHulk'': one member of the U-Foes, an evil version of the Comicbook/FantasticFour, is Ironclad, the Thing equivalent.
* There was an old ''ComicBook/SpiderMan'' villain-turned-somewhat hero called Molten Man who was colored gold but was not a nice guy. When he reformed, instead of turning into a full-fledged superhero as most HeelFaceTurn cases do, he mostly tried to lead a normal life after he gave up villainy.
* The ''ComicBook/SilverSurfer'' is a cosmic herald, who can fly through space and draw on raw cosmic force to blast his enemies.
* ''ComicBook/IronMan'' wears PoweredArmor, which is the source of his strength.

* The T-1000 from ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'' very much resembles mercury, and its shapeshifting properties are definitely thematic.

* In the ''Literature/ArciaChronicles'', the PraetorianGuard of Tayana are split into the king's personal unit and the crown prince's unit. The former are associated with gold and mainly deployed to parades and celebrations. The latter are associated with silver and regularly carry out force recon and special operations.
* Both the "fanciness" and the "royalty" symbolism of gold are invoked by Moist Van Lipwig after picking up a golden suit in ''Discworld/GoingPostal'' to go with his golden postal worker's hat (in [[Discworld/MakingMoney the next book to star him]], he covers a top hat in gold glitter for the same effect on being put in charge of the bank). As a former ConArtist, standing out is pretty much how he succeeds. Made a plot point when it turns out [[spoiler: an army of ancient golems will listen to him, because the gold suit is similar to what their handlers would have worn]].
* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', the former blacksmith to the Baratheon family compares each of the 3 Baratheon brothers to different types of metal. Youngest brother Renly is copper, pretty and looks nice, but not worth much in a medieval society. LawfulStupid middle brother Stannis is like iron; hard, inflexible, but brittle too. He'll break before he bends. Oldest brother Robert was the one that the blacksmith considered true steel, but 15 years trapped in a loveless marriage doing a job he hated ruined Robert's "true steel".
** Iron (strength and simple practicality) and bronze (antiquity and tradition) are both strongly associated with the North. Of the initial settlers of the North, the Children of the Forest used stone tools and the First Men used bronze tools. The crown of the Stark kings is also made of iron and bronze.
** Iron is also associated with... well, [[MeaningfulName the Ironborn]], due to their culture's emphasis on strength and brutality.
** Both in- and out of universe, the Lannisters are associated with gold they're very proud and ambitious. Justified, since their ancestral seat, Casterly Rock, is built over a gold mine, so they grew very rich as a result.
** It is quite telling that the symbol of the current royal house (Baratheon) is the symbol stamped on ''silver'' coins, whereas gold coins are struck with a dragon mark, which is the symbol of the overthrown royal house Targaryen. The reason for this is that Orys Baratheon, the founder of House Baratheon was the right-hand man to Aegon I, who started the Targaryen dynasty.
* In ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', [[WhenTreesAttack the Ent]] [[TimeAbyss Treebeard]] says at one point that the wizard [[SmugSnake Saruman]] "has a mind of wheels and metal". This implies a cold, intellectual, sterile view of the world that has no place in it for the love of anything organic or growing. Considering the {{Green Aesop}}s of LOTR, this is not a good thing to be in that series, and Saruman is dominated by {{Pride}}, [[TheResenter Resentment]] and [[GreenEyedMonster Jealousy]], all of which cause his downfall.
* Prince Nigel Haldane, Duke of Carthmoor in the Literature/{{Deryni}} novels is nicknamed "the Iron Duke". He's proven himself at combat from the age of twenty onwards, and he has GrayEyes to boot.
* The Steel General in ''Literature/CreaturesOfLightAndDarkness'' is an ancient warrior from Old Earth who fights for the downtrodden, the underdog, and the rebel. As he's been wounded in battle, he's had parts replaced with steel, till all that remains of his original body is a ring of flesh he wears on his pinky.
* The various Literature/LandOfOz books had a handful of metal-themed characters. The best known is Nick Chopper, the Tin Man, however there was also Tik-Tok the mechanical copper man, and an iron man who guarded the Nome King's palace.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/SapphireAndSteel'': Steel, Lead, and Silver all have symbolic connections to the metals they're named for.
* In both ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' and ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' franchises, {{Sixth Ranger}}s often wear metallic colors (either gold or silver) as a visible sign of superiority over their chromatically-colored teammates. ''Series/PowerRangersZeo'' started the trend with the Gold Zeo Ranger (who was known as King Ranger in ''Series/ChourikiSentaiOhRanger'') and ''Series/DenjiSentaiMegaRanger'' would pick it up with Mega Silver.
** Twice (''[[Series/EngineSentaiGoOnger Go-Onger]]''/''[[Series/PowerRangersRPM RPM]]'' and ''[[Series/TokumeiSentaiGoBusters Go-Busters]]''), a team has had both Gold and Silver Rangers; in both cases they worked as a duo and Gold outranked Silver slightly. (The [[Series/ZyudenSentaiKyoryuger third]] [[Series/PowerRangersDinoCharge team]] with both, however, had Gold as a regular character and Silver as an EleventhHourRanger; and ''Silver'' was more powerful).
** Two of ''Power Rangers''[='=] Sixths were specifically named for metals, ''[[Series/PowerRangersLightspeedRescue Lightspeed Rescue]]''[='s=] Titanium Ranger (for toughness) and ''[[Series/PowerRangersOperationOverdrive Operation Overdrive]]''[='s=] Mercury Ranger (for shapeshifting; he was an alien that could transform into liquid mercury).

* The origin of Music/LedZeppelin's name. To quote TOW: "One account of how the new band's name was chosen held that Moon and Entwistle had suggested that the supergroup with Page and Beck would go down like a "lead balloon", a British idiom for disastrous results. The group dropped the 'a' in lead at the suggestion of their manager, Peter Grant, so that those unfamiliar with the phrase would not pronounce it "leed". The word "balloon" was transformed into "zeppelin", perhaps an exaggeration of the humour, and to Page the name conjured the perfect combination of heavy and light, combustibility and grace."

* As the title indicates, ''Pinball/SilverballMania'' depicts EVERYTHING covered in silver and chrome.

* RudyardKipling's "Cold Iron".
-->Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid,
-->Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.
-->"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
-->But Iron - Cold Iron - is master of them all.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** The [[CharacterAlignment Good-aligned]] [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallic_dragon metallic dragons]][[note]]Adamantine, Brass, Bronze, Copper, Gold, Mercury, Mithral, Orium, Silver and Steel[[/note]], as well as the [[CharacterAlignment Lawful-aligned]] [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_%28Dungeons_%26_Dragons%29#Ferrous_dragons Ferrous dragons]][[note]]Chromium, Cobalt, Iron, Nickel and Tungsten[[/note]]. However, sometimes the Ferrous dragons are added to the Metallic dragons, adding to some confusion.
** TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms elven subraces has alternative "metal" names -- Gold Elf (Sun Elf), Silver (Moon), Mithral (Star).
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' the WarGod Gorum is called "Our Lord in Iron" due to his association with, and often depicted as a suit of AnimatedArmor of, said metal.
* TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} has plenty of metallic themes.
** For the Space Marines, The Iron Hands, and the Iron Warriors.
** Brass tends to show up where [[BloodKnight Khornate warriors]] are involved, [[MagnificentBastard Tzeentch's]] servants tend to prefer silver and gold.
** When they use metallic colours at all the Eldar favour bright polished silver and gold.
** Orkish metallic parts are usually rusted.
** The Imperial Guard goes for plain utilitarian steel in most cases.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The Brotherhood of Steel in the ''{{Fallout}}'' series. Steel symbolises their technical and military prowess, as well as dedication to their ideals.
* The [[EvilKnockoff robotic Sonic]] in ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2'' is referred to as "Silver Sonic"
** Later supporting character Silver the Hedgehog fits the metal's mystical association, since he has telekinetic powers.
* ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' patriots will mock the [=PC=] for wearing any other type of armor than steel or iron. Moonstone armor in particular is associated with the foreigner elves, who are [[FantasticRacism very unpopular]] at the moment.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* {{Lampshaded}} in ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'', the "Perry the Platypus Theme Song (Extended version)":
-->"[[AnatomyOfMetal He's got an iron will, nerves of steel, and several other metal-themed attributes...]]"
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'', The Crimson Chin's various enemies were all metal-themed. There was The Bronze Kneecap, The Iron Lung, The Brass Knuckle, and others.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The use of metal titles for "ages" of man: Stone Age, Iron Age, Bronze Age, reflecting the basic level of technology.
* The use of the term "GoldenAge" to mean "a period of great happiness, prosperity, and achievement." E.g. the ComicBook culture has adopted [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] as well as [[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]], [[UsefulNotes/TheBronzeAgeOfComicBooks Bronze Age]] (and sometimes Copper Age for post-Bronze & Platinum Age for pre-Gold) to delineate the history of comic books.
* Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington was nicknamed "the Iron Duke" for "his consistent political resolve" (as TheOtherWiki says).
* Prince UsefulNotes/OttoVonBismarck was known as "the Iron Chancellor", in part for his diplomacy of realpolitik and his powerful rule and in part for a famous speech he gave advocating strong military power in a unified Germany.