Silver was considered a mystical element in folklore, and thus its properties become reality in fiction. The metal can do many things, from channel magic, to stopping evil (including warding off or harming vampires
), making magic mirrors, to turning water into a Healing Potion
The myth of silver's mystical properties goes deep into human history. As a noble metal akin to gold, this is often attributed to something along the lines of silver's Incorruptible Pure Pureness
. In fact, it's because of something people noticed a very long time ago: if you put water in a silver pitcher, it takes a lot longer for it to get unhealthily scummy. Silver has antimicrobial properties
that make it quite useful in medicine.
Due to the above, silver is almost always considered to be on the good end of magic (and items formed of it may also be Made of Good
). Some works can make it evil though, or used for evil when Light Is Not Good
. A Winter Royal Lady
might prefer silver due to it fitting in with that trope's color scheme.
If Gold Silver Copper Standard
is involved, expect gold
to be even more powerful, while silver still has its own powers. The two of them used together can also be a sign of divinity
A Super Trope
to Silver Bullet
(which is also called "(Moria) silver"), Crystal Skull
, Power Crystal
. See also Thunderbolt Iron
, another metal with mythic history.
- In the Magic: The Gathering novels, silver is the only material that can travel back in time without nasty side effects, hence why Karn the silver golem was made. Silver also channels Blue and White mana, and in Innistrad it has the stereotypical effects against vampires and werewolves.
- In The Silver Chair, the eponymous item is used to brainwash a prince.
- The rat god, in Bride Of The Rat God by Barbara Hambly, can only be sealed away with pictures using silver in them. When the god uses his mind tricks to get a master painter sent away, the people trying to stop it remember that the silver in film could do the same thing (as this took place in Hollywood during The Roaring Twenties).
- In The Dresden Files, silver is pretty useful all around but ancestral silver is even better, i.e. it is the only thing that can kill the uber-werewolves loup garou. Harry has inherited a silver amulet from his late mom and it saves his butt at least once.
- In Harry Potter, goblin-wrought silver is nigh-invulnerable, and can absorb the properties of what it pierces in order to make itself stronger. It's unclear how the goblins make it this way, or whether it's truly silver or simply called so because the same colour. There are many other objects in the series which are made of silver (the Pensieve) or have the appearance of silver (unicorn blood). Finally, several spells, most notably the Patronus, take a silver colouration.
- Inverted in Mistborn, where silver is one of the few metals which doesn't have special powers. Word Of God is that Sanderson originally wanted to use silver in place of tin (which grants Super Senses), but then he found out the pewter does not in fact contain silver, and had to change it to maintain Magic A Is Magic A.
- John the Wanderer from Silver John carries a guitar with silver strings. This is because silver is the only substance in the world Satan fears, and as a consequence, it's proof against all beings of evil and darkness.
- Some of the Fighting Fantasy books make silver weapons the only ones capable of harming ghosts.
- In Moonlight it's mentioned that the reason vampires couldn't be photographed is because of the silver used in producing the negative, the silver reflecting the photographee's soul. (Which is also why they don't cast reflections in mirrors.) But modern digital photography and video don't use silver, making vamps easy to capture images of.
- In True Blood vampires are weakened by contact with silver. It hurts too, and will leave burn marks on unprotected skin. Has been shown applied as chains, handcuffs, "pepper" spray and intravenously as a torture method.
- Dungeons & Dragons uses this a lot for so many items.
- In Rifts, Silver is one of the few things that can hurt nearly every supernatural creature in the game, up to and including many Gods. Consequently, nearly every PC in the game usually has at least a single silver-plated knife or cross. One nation at war with a kingdom of vampires equips Silver-plated swords on their Humongous Mecha.
- In Warhammer 40000, psycannons (designed specifically to fight daemons) fire shells that are not only charged with negative psychic energy and inscribed with holy symbols, but are (of course) tipped with silver.
Other / Multiple Media
- In a few of The Elder Scrolls games silver weapons (and daedric weapons, which were technically magical in nature) were the only way to harm ghosts without magic.
- Vampires and werewolves are also weak to silver weapons (but still vulnerable to normal ones)
- Some of the levels in Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 involved having the Power Star being broken up into five silver stars in which Mario must collect to complete the star.
- League of Legends has Vayne, a ranged carry/assassin. One of her abilities called Silver Bolts causes every third consecutive shot on the same target to deal a % of the target's maximum health as true damage letting her easily chew even the tankier champions.
- Conan the Barbarian stated that the only weapons effectives against demons are silver and fire. He later used a huge candelabra made of silver to smash a demon and make it fall in a fire.
- In the LARP "The Realms," Silver is a weapon enhancement which is noted in the rulebook to have enhanced effects against certain types of beings.
- In The Witcher verse, witchers typically carry a silver sword to deal with monsters.
- From a Magical Metals list found on the Net
Silver: The metal of the moon, silver is well-known for being able to ignore lunar-based defensive powers such as those of lycanthropy. Unlike gold, silver will tarnish readily unless protected, but it needs no special preparation for most magical uses. Awakened, 3 ounces of silver (6 quantities for enchanting purposes) will grant moderate bonuses to divinations and magical wards it is used in. Unfortunately, silver is also strongly attuned to goodness and purity, it does not readily tolerate evil enchantments, having a marked tendency to decay into iron should the evil continue to be forced into it, though the presence of blue sapphire will aid the metal in resisting wickedness, and emeralds will weaken the silver if set in it. Like gold, but to a much weaker degree, silver can provide support for a spell, and also like its yellow cousin, it requires strengthening for physical reasons if used in weapons and armor. A wide selection of alloys can be made using silver, many exhibit varying degrees of tolerance for magical lightning, a quality the pure metal does not seem to have. Quite a few spells utilize the innate goodness of silver to strike out at evil, generally this does not harm the metal in the least.