Reality Changing Miniature
A model or miniature of a real-world object
which affects the real-life counterpart when it is changed. For example, a miniature New York where you can move buildings and they'll move in the real New York. Or a globe... careful with it... if you poke it carelessly, you'll crush the entirety of China.
Sometimes it's just some kind of a magical equivalent of the real-world object. Other times, it literally is
the real-world object through some space-time shenanigans
The term for this when used for magic is sympathetic magic
, which operates on the principle that "like affects like." In many works featuring this magic, the magician often needs something that his or her victim once owned (such as fingernail clippings or a lock of his or her hair) in order for the Reality Changing Miniature
to actually work. Hollywood Voodoo
dolls tend to work this way.
Anime and Manga
- Spirit of Wonder: Miss China's Ring does this with the moon (this is the version where it is the real object due to shenanigans).
- One of Sembei's inventions in Dr. Slump is a miniature version of his house that works like this. When Akane asks him why did he create something this dangerous, he replies "This is a gag manga. Things don't have to make sense".
- One of the Ranma movies features a pair of Go players. As they play on the normal board giant stones appear and land on the giant board that surrounds them. They threaten to crush our hero, until he realizes that he can just run on top of the stones that have already fallen. Of course this means that he has now "disappeared" from the field of play, and his opponents can't find him.
- Bleach. The Arrancar Espada named Szayelaporro Grantz has the ability to engulf opponents with parts of his body and create voodoo dolls of them filled with replicas of their internal organs. Doing things to a doll affects the original person, and if a replica organ is destroyed, so is the real organ in the victim's body.
- Kain from the 7 Kins of Purgatory in Fairy Tail has a doll that can affect the person whose hair to touching the doll, and not only does he use it to hurt his enemies he also uses it on himself to modify his physical abilities, such as turning the doll to steel to increase his durability.
- Yoshihiro Kira, the malevolent father of the equally dangerous Big Bad of part 4 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, became bound to a photograph through his Stand after death. Now, courtesy Atom Heart Father, he can manipulate the area depicted in whichever photo he's bound to. Whatever he does in the photo, happens in the actual place, and he can even trap anyone who's there. He came within centimeters of killing Josuke and Jotaro. All that stopped him was Jotaro taking another photograph of the photo - making sure to put only Yoshihiro in it, thus trapping Yoshihiro in an otherwise-empty picture. And then it turned out Yoshihiro can project his upper body out of the photo.
- The city of Bete Noire from Fallen Angel is believed to be this for the entire planet.
- In Lois Lane #39, Lois discovers that Superman keeps portraits of his old girlfriends. The reason is that the portraits were enchanted so that whatever happened to the portrait happened to the person depicted (i.e., a smear of red paint gave Lana Lang flame-breath)
- In the original Clash of the Titans, there was a small chamber in Olympus containing several clay figurines, each one representing a real person. The gods could resculpt the model to invoke a Painful Transformation, or just smash the thing.
- In Stardust, Lamia is able to use a voodoo doll to kill Septimus and then puppet his corpse to fight Tristan.
- Inverted in Spy Kids 2. The model of the Island of Lost Dreams shows where all the Mix-and-Match Critters currently are, by causing their miniature critters to roam where the big ones are. Holograms also show the presence of other humans on the island, hence how Romero can see Gary and Gerti.
- Done in the Marty Feldman film The Last Remake of Beau Geste when a hand pointing at Africa on a globe becomes a gigantic finger poked into the desert.
- There's an old Russian sci-fi story which features an ancient Martian mirror, which apparently works this way for whatever is reflected in it. A woman pokes a distant reflection of an incoming plane, and it ends up crashing, covered with humongous scraps of human skin.
- In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, Alice encounters a chessboard with living pieces that she moves around the board and react accordingly. When she leaves the Looking-Glass House, she finds herself on a chessboard corresponding to the small one she previously found.
- Major plot point in the second book of The Immortals; To make a rather long story short, Daine has to stop a rebellion by finding a model of Dunlath Valley, so that Numair and the Big Damn Heroes can come in and finish off the malcontents.
- Also used in Song of the Lioness, where Duke Roger had a wax figure of the Queen washing away under a fountain to represent the washing away of her life. He also has wax figures of the king, Jonathan, the Provost, Alanna, and Sir Myles in a black sack to "keep them in the dark" about his plans.
- The Glooper in Making Money reflects the financial state of Ankh-Morpork, so it's naturally very distressing to discover that the bottle representing the gold in the Royal Bank's vaults is almost empty. Unusually, this was totally accidental and the thing was merely supposed to be a sort of Steam Punk computer simulation... only it was more accurate than the creator intended; so accurate, in fact, that it started Rewriting Reality when he fiddled with it. This might be a metaphor for commodity trading algorithms.
- Another Discworld example: in Equal Rites, Esk finds Simon (who's been posessed by the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions), shaking a glass container with a model of the Disc and giggling. The feeling creeps over her that this isn't exactly a model.
- The Discworld gods also play games on a miniature model of the Disc with real heroes represented by playing pieces. The Disc can also be influenced by it, such as during Small Gods when Om decides to start a fight around the tabletop Disc, and below in the real world large (as in, small house sized) dice and large fruit bowls start crashing about as the fight above influences what happens below.
- In Sidhe Devil by Aaron Allston, miniature models of a city are used to cast spells that effect the real city.
- This is the principal system of magic that appears in The Kingkiller Chronicle, though actual representative models of people and objects aren't always necessary.
- In The Hounds of the Morrigan, the Morrigan sisters have a magical tabletop they can use to manipulate the titular hounds and chase the two protagonists. Near the very end, one of the Morrigan's fingerprints even becomes an enormous labyrinth for them.
- The Chronicles of the Kencyrath short story "Bones" features one of these.
- Thaumaturgy in The Dresden Files is defined as "make something happen on a small scale and give it the power to work on a larger scale." It's how his tracking spell works and how he once defeated a werewolf, among other feats.
- And more specifically (and literally), Dresden's model of Chicago.
- The third book of the Wiz Biz has the heroes attempt to forge a key to lock invaders out of their universe. As the key is a fractal representation of their universe (or at least an aspect of it), as the key takes shape, reality starts to warp around them. They stop and start again, before realizing that closer the key gets to being accurate, the more the flaws and incomplete portion will reflect on the world around them. They ultimately decide the universe (or at least they themselves) probably won't survive long enough for the key to become stable, so they try to find a different way to create it.
- The world of magic has no maps, only landmark checklists, for much the same reason. In the second book the heroes do create one map, and use it to draw the border how far human settlers can advance. To create said map they need to adapt a complex spell (devised for a different purpose), the only copy of which was stolen, and the author of which is MIA through much of the book.
- Robert Rankin's Raiders of the Lost Car Park features a microcosm which is a perfect model of the room in which it is placed. It behaves in much the same manner as this page's illustration.
- Star Trek: The Original Series
- "Requiem For Methuselah". Flint reduces the Enterprise to a tiny model, which puts the crew into suspended animation.
- A Hollywood Voodoo doll version in "Catspaw". Sylvia holds a tiny model of the Enterprise over a flame, causing the temperature of the real Enterprise to rise. Korob later encases the model in crystal, which puts a force field around the real ship.
- A witch doctor uses the Hollywood Voodoo doll version to control the castaways in the Gilligan's Island episode "Voodoo".
- There's a Pearls Before Swine strip where Pig pokes at Atlas' globe while finding himself on it, and pokes himself in the eye.
- Myst has a variation: there are two small objects with larger counterparts, but one is explicitly mechanical ( the sunken gear) and the other could be either mechanical or magical in nature ( the sunken ship).
- The Interactive Fiction game For A Change has you come across a miniature version of the gameworld near the end. There's a flood, and you have to tip the model to spill out the water.
- In the famous scene in Warcraft III, Archimonde shapes the dust near Dalaran into a replica of the city, then swipes his hand through the dust-model. The result is...spectacular, but sadly off-screen.
- A central dynamic in Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, where you acquire manikins of people that you use to summon their real selves into battle. A humorous scene involves Danette playing with Odie's manikin and accidently breaking its neck, which causes Odie to suffer some serious physical distress. Gig points out that this sort of thing shouldn't be possible.
- A brief segment of Kingdom of Loathing involves navigating a hedge maze by obtaining a "hedge maze puzzle" that works on this principle and manipulating it so that it presents a direct path to your goal.
- A small moment in The Eleventh Hour implies this trope: A (rather exhaustive) block puzzle of moving miniature pieces of furniture around eventually results in moving a model of the music room's piano off the board. But when Carl backs away from the puzzle, the real piano is now missing from the room.
- One early version of the angelic plane of Elysium/Paradise in Nexus War had a tiny model of the mortal world that did this. The model was attached to a hand-cranked electric dynamo, and there was usually a line out the door to use it.
- The main mechanic in the horror game Kraven Manor. A model of the manor sits on a table in the entryway, and more models of rooms are uncovered as you explore. Putting down the rooms with the entryway model unlocks the room at that location, leading to some odd arrangements as a second-floor doorway leading downstairs into an underground cellar.
- An episode of Futurama ends with the Planet Express crew in possession of a box which contains their own universe. When they shake the box, it causes an earthquake, and when Fry sits on the box, the picture becomes stretched out and flattened.
- She-Ra: Princess of Power: The episode "The Crystal Castle" involved a plot to destroy Castle Bright Moon during the simultaneous lunar eclipse of the Etherian moons, when the power of Bright Moon was at its weakest. With the "Great Spell of Shrining", Shadow Weaver's magical attacks against a model of the castle were manifested as powerful bursts of energy striking the actual castle.