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Spirit Advisor

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/69f9376d5cf27a491dd8d90b22b5f252.png
"So what I told you was true, from a certain point of view."

"You know the trope?
In storytelling it's a norm.
When a person's in trouble
A manifestation of their subconscious appears in the form
Of a Dream Ghost!
Giving advice you kind of already knew."
Dr. Akopian, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

A character who can only be perceived by one or a small number of other characters. This character's purpose is most often to provide advice, act as a moral compass, or substitute for Mr. Exposition.

If there are two with opposing viewpoints, then you're dealing with Good Angel, Bad Angel instead. Ironically, the Spirit Advisor is rarely The Ghost (even if he is a genuine ghost).

If someone who can't see the Spirit Advisor learns about her existence, they will inevitably try to talk to her, leading the character who can truly see her shaking his head and saying, "She's over there."

A rough sci-fi equivalent is the Virtual Ghost, though it is usually visible to anyone.

See also: Waif Prophet, Warrior Poet, He Who Must Not Be Seen, Dead Person Conversation, Multitasked Conversation, I See Them Too, Non-Human Sidekick, Not-So-Imaginary Friend, Closer to Earth, Noble Savage, and Magical Guide.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Hikaru no Go: Sai is the ghost of a Go player who becomes Hikaru's mentor. The other players think its weird how he gets so much better despite not having a living mentor, because his is dead.
  • Kamichu!: Yashima plays this role, since Yurie's godhood came without a manual, advisor, or even a predecessor.
  • In Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, between her intended and actual birth, Seira is Lucia's Spirit Advisor.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yami Yugi/Pharaoh Atem is Yugi Muto's guidance through life, but he also shares his body and take over for him in duels.
    • Also during the Doma arc, we have the Dark Magician Girl, who first tells Yugi about the dragons and serves a special purpose in major duels.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, Alexander the Great and Shadi guide the heroes through their tests.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX we have Daitokuji-Sensei who acts as one to Judai.
  • Yu Gi Oh Zexal has Astral to Yuma, who gives him advice in duels, that often goes ignored.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V has Yuto, one of Yuya's alternate selves, become one in the Heartland arc of Episode 100, as he is able to talk to Yuya as a result of sharing a body. Deconstructed, as while Yuto is sympathetic to Yuya and Yusho's goal of helping people smile with dueling, such a goal can only happen when Academia is permanently defeated, and forcefully takes over Yuya's body out of rage, not unlike Yami Yugi of the early manga, to fight off Edo Pheonix, Commander-in-chief of Academia.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU hero Firestorm was created by atomically merging student Ronnie Raymond and scientist Martin Stein. In practice, this essentially resulted (at least initially) in a super-powered Ronnie, with Stein acting as a Spirit Advisor.
  • John Wayne appears as Jesse's Spirit Advisor in Preacher, helping him survive his childhood ordeals and become a Knight in Shining Armor.
  • Heavy Liquid: The protagonist of Paul Pope's graphic novel sees a "shadow self" whenever he uses a drug made from the titular material. It guides his escape from the spook that captures him at the end of the story, and soon after, S concludes that the shadow is a non-corporeal extraterrestrial's attempt to communicate. S refers to the alien as a "radiowave spaceman" and the Heavy Liquid as his "little metal car."
  • The Authority: The Doctor, the shaman of the Planet Earth, can journey to the Garden of Ancestral Memory, where the spirits of all past Doctors (save one evil one) dwell.
  • Shazam often counseled Billy Batson as a shade.
  • In Captain America #305, Merlin appeared to Captain Britain. Since Merlin had died in Captain Britain's own series, The Official Handbook stated that Merlin's appearance here represented an appearance by his shade.
  • The Ancient One, Doctor Strange's mentor, becomes this after his death.
  • During the first arc of his Marvel Now relaunch, Deadpool gets one of these in the form of Benjamin Franklin's ghost.
  • In Swordquest, the protagonists receive clues from two hooded spiritual figures, Mentorr and Mentarra.
  • Luke Skywalker tries to be this to his descendant, Cade, in Legacy, but Cade isn't always willing to listen.

    Fan Fic 
  • Hivefled's Gamzee is advised by Laneen and Sennir, the ghosts of two of his ancestor's victims.
  • Ghost, Ghost, I Know You Live Within Me has a rare example where the spirit advisor is also a Magical Girlfriend as Shepard acted as both roles to Garrus during his two years on Omega. They even lampshaded it.
  • In Fractured, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands crossover, Lilith dies, but shows up in this role at the end of the story and later in Origins.
  • Twilight becomes one to Lightning after her death in My Brave Pony: Star Fleet Magic III.
  • In Portal 2 fanfics, Caroline is often seen as this for GlaDOS, only able to be heard by the one she advises. Especially concerning Chell.
  • Sight: Since Zangetsu is not limited to Ichigo's Inner World, he teaches Ichigo how to fight one-on-one in the real world.
    • Urahara's zanpakutou, Benihime becomes one to Ichigo, teaching him strategy, analytical thinking, shunpo and zanjutsu.
    • Issin's zanpakutou, Engetsu tutors Ichigo on Shiba clan history and how the Seireitei functions.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Lion King: Mufasa becomes one of the "great kings of the past" and advises his son on the responsibilities of his birthright from beyond the grave. He continues this in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, but that's more of a "deity talking to a Good Shepherd" thing with Rafiki.
  • In Ratatouille, a lonely Remy, desperate for someone to talk to, imagines that the spirit of his hero, Auguste Gusteau, is his spirit advisor. However, Remy is fully aware that Gusteau is a figment of his imagination, and Gusteau eventually disappears for good when Remy finally accepts that he can rely on his own judgment. Played for laughs, too; if Remy ever needs reminding that Gusteau is just a figment of his imagination, Gusteau provides it.
  • Balto: This is a major plot point in the second film. Not only does Aleu meet hers, but Balto discovers his own spirit guide is not only the legendary Aniu, but his own mother.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Big Lebowski: This is parodied with Sam Elliot's character. Picture the cheesiest cowboy you can imagine, and make him speak entirely in smarmy clichés that have little or nothing to do with the rest of the plot.
    "Sometimes you eat the ear, and sometimes, well... the bar eats you."
  • In Heart Condition, detective Jack Moony receives a heart transplant from recently murdered lawyer Napoleon Stone. Stone's ghost then pressures Moony to solve his murder.
  • In The Phantom (1996), the titular character's father, the previous Phantom, acts as his Spirit Advisor.
  • Play It Again, Sam: Woody Allen gets love advice from an imaginary Humphrey Bogart.
  • True Romance: Ladies and gentlemen, the King, Elvis Aaron Presley, appears to give Clarence advice. Played by Val Kilmer, it's not quite clear if he's a ghost or a hallucination.
  • Star Wars: In the original trilogy, Obi-Wan becomes one with the Force and appears to Luke as a spirit on multiple occasions, after he is killed by Darth Vader in A New Hope. It is hinted in the prequels that Qui-Gon becomes Yoda's spirit advisor after his death; his voice is heard crying out when Yoda senses Anakin slaughtering the Tusken Raiders in Attack of the Clones, and Yoda tells Obi-Wan that Qui-Gon will teach them the secret of spiritual immortality at the end of Revenge of the Sith.
  • In Dead Lands, the protagonist is guided by the spirit of his dead grandmother.
  • Twixt: Baltimore Hall is guided by the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe in his dreams.
  • Always: The angel Hap explains that this is how it's done, the ones who have learned the skills are sent back to help those who are learning find their place, and send Pete's ghost to be Ted's advisor. Pete finds that, while no one can see or hear him, they do seem to pick up on the things he says and does which influences their thoughts. Initially, Pete thinks it's a game and spends as much time trolling people as helping Ted.

    Literature 
  • John Dies at the End: John serves this role when his best friend David starts becoming aware of the supernatural and questioning his own sanity. John can't appear for David directly, and thus communicates by broadcasting his words through a cell phone, a bratwurst, and a dog, in that order.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Lasciel is one of these. Though Harry has bound the magical trinket Lasciel resides in, a psychic echo of her still appears in his mind and offers him power and advice. While Harry doesn't necessarily want the help of a fallen angel who's playing a long game on him so that he ends up in Hell's coffers, the things he encounters require him to make use of her Hellfire and other talents.
    • The Archangel Uriel also qualifies as one of these for Harry, and is significantly more benevolent about his advice (though not necessarily more polite about it).
    • In Ghost Story, Harry himself acts as a Spirit Advisor to a young man named Fitz.
    • The air spirit Bob ironically is a light downplayed version since while he is a literal spirit and acts as an advisor to Harry, he is visible to other characters (no matter how much Harry might wish otherwise).
  • In Barbara Hambly's Sisters Of The Raven books, Pontifer Pig is this to Pomegranate. Those who know her mostly assume that she is hallucinating about the ghost of her late pet. (In Circle of the Moon, however, some consideration is given to the theory that Pontifer might have been a djinn who is managing to use Pomegranate as a host.)
  • Liaden Universe: In Sharon Lee's and Steve Miller's story, the witches of Sintia have a formal Spirit Advisor system—each young witch has an old soul. It's not entirely clear how this works in practice, because none of the point-of-view characters has been a witch of Sintia except Priscilla, and she only becomes a point-of-view character after she leaves the order. (Officially, she was cast out for blasphemy; actually, it was because she—with her Spirit Advisor's encouragement—did the Right Thing when her superiors would have preferred her to do the Politically Convenient Thing.)
  • Revelation Space: The Mademoiselle loads a beta-level sim of herself into Ana Khouri's brain implants in Alastair Reynolds'story.
  • The General series by S.M. Stirling and David Drake:
    • General Raj Whitehall is advised by Center, a pre-collapse-of-civilization computer (originally a traffic-control computer, but its abilities go far beyond).
    • In later books of the series set centuries later, Whitehall's consciousness has joined with Center's, and now they both act as Spirit Advisors on other barbarian planets—Center as the logical fount-of-knowledge and Whitehall as the wise voice-of-experience. This puts their protege in the position of being the moderator of a Power Trio.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, the very green Luke Skywalker is actively mentored by Obi-Wan's spirit. In Splinter of the Mind's Eye, which was both written and takes place between those two movies, Luke mentions feeling an "agreeably crawly sensation," like someone is standing with him, which he associates with his teacher. At the end of the book, Obi-Wan briefly possesses Luke in order to fight off Darth Vader, since Luke and Leia would both be killed otherwise. In Allegiance, Obi-Wan patiently helps convey to Luke what the Force needs him to do, telling him not to shoot someone who would later become an ally, helping him recognize a "coiled-spring predator" sensation in certain thugs, and generally trying to talk him through things. When Luke, Han, and Chewbacca are locked into separate rooms by the Hand of Judgment, Obi-Wan tells Luke that Leia is in danger, and then has to tell the boy that he's not as trapped as he thinks.
      Luke: You know, you could make this whole thing a whole lot easier.
      Obi-Wan:Your uncle could have carried you around on his back until you were fifteen, too.
      Luke: [grimaces] Sorry.
      Obi-Wan: You've taken your first steps into a larger world, Luke. But there are many, many more steps to go. I cannot carry you along your own personal path. All I can do is guide you, and teach you, and help you to find that path for yourself.
    • Obi-Wan also appears several times to Ferus Olin to advise him in Rebel Force. Maybe because Olin's already a Jedi, Obi-Wan can manifest more easily to him than to rookie Luke.
    • A Jedi spirit haunting a space station in Galaxy of Fear can't be detected by anyone who is not Force-sensitive. Tash arrives and is, but she's untrained and can only vaguely sense him. He follows her around trying to warn her away from the many hazards, seriously spooking her in the process. Only when she manages to clear her mind and ignore her fears can he make himself properly seen and heard, and for the rest of the book he tries to help and advise her.
    • Playing off the hint in Attack of the Clones, Yoda is depicted conferring with Qui-Gon's spirit in several Clone Wars–era novels. In Dark Rendezvous, Qui-Gon provides a crucial insight into his old master Dooku's intentions, and in the Revenge of the Sith novelization, Yoda actually accepts a position as Qui-Gon's apprentice, to learn how to pass into the Force himself. It is implied that Qui-Gon, having been a less conventional Jedi in life, will also teach Yoda how to train Luke to defeat the Emperor, which Yoda himself could not accomplish. In the last chapter of Dark Lord—The Rise of Darth Vader, Obi-Wan discovers that Vader is still alive, and Qui-Gon speaks to him to reassure him that Luke is safe—Vader will never return to Tatooine, the planet that caused him so much pain. Qui-Gon also tells Obi-Wan not to tell Luke about his parentage "until the time is right," leading to Obi-Wan's famous Metaphorically True speech when he is a Spirit Advisor.
  • Syl in The Stormlight Archive fits this trope, she's usually only visible to Kaladin, unless she chooses to let somebody else see her, though Rock can also see her, for some reason. She helps Kaladin by providing encouragement. Later we find out she's a Bond Creature, an honorspren that provides Kaladin with Surgebinding abilities while gaining a capacity for thought and memory.
  • In The Lord of the Isles by David Drake, Garric is advised by his thousand-years-ago ancestor King Carus. A great deal of the advice actually amounts to, "Don't do what I did in a similar situation; it was a disaster because I didn't think it through."
  • In The Neon Court, Matthew is advised by the dying breath of his former master, Robert James Bakker. Their relation is complicated by the fact that they killed each other.
  • Warrior Cats: StarClan cats serve this role, guiding their former Clans and cats in it that they cared about.
  • Trapped on Draconica: After dying, Erowin takes this role until the climax, by appearing to her sisters and giving advice.
  • In Deep Secret, Rupert's Mentor Stan is allowed to come back as a ghost in order to advise Rupert, specifically in the task of choosing an apprentice. Although Stan is invisible to most people, the music he listens to is not, leading to a number of people wondering just where that classical music is coming from.
  • Advice-dispensing pseudo-deities visible (or audible) to only a few people run rampant in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series. There's a malevolent version in Ruin, who's advice tends to run toward killing everything. More traditional benevolent advisors include the Mist Spirit/Preservation, who communicates via pointing (and stabbing); Kelsier, who won't let something as silly as death keep him from meddling; and eventually ascended Vin and Sazed.
  • In Soul Seekers Daire's is the raven.
  • Galen from The Last Dragon Chronicles, although he doesn't talk much. Agawin usually just describes his wants or feelings to the reader.
  • In Pet Sematary, Victor Pascow, who enters the plot as he is dying of massive head trauma after being hit by a car, attempts to warn the protagonist, Louis Creed, against using the Micmac Burying Ground by appearing to Louis in a dream. Unfortunately for just about everyone else in the story, Louis does not heed his warning.
  • Julia Jason Andelius is revealed to be this at the end of Maria Gripe's "The dung-beetle flies at dusk". (It's revealed literally at the end, so the title is under spoilers.) She owned the old summer house that the three main protagonists took care of in summer vacation, and her spirit used the home's phone to drop hints about the house's secrets to one of them via an odd chess game.
  • Coiling Dragon: Doehring Cowart is a 5,000 year old magus who put his soul into the Coiling Dragon. After Linley bonds the ring to himself, he can see and speak to Doehring, whose magical tutoring allows Linley to quickly advance in power. Since he is just a spirit, Doehring is unable to affect the surrounding world, at least not until he sacrifices his existence to free Linley from some assassins' trap.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen: Wither, a wraith, tries to play the spirit advisor towards Udinaas, a slave. Wither hides in Udinaas' shadow to escape capture, and offers Udinaas secret knowledge and advice in exchange. Unfortunately, Wither is a Jerkass with delusions of grandeur, while Udinaas is Genre Savvy enough to know that knowing too much is bad for your health. When he eventually escapes slavery, Wither keeps hounding him and whispering pseudo-arcane revelations until Udinaas calls him out on how anyone with a working brain could come to the same conclusions. The now ex-slave points out that Wither feels cheated after he's put so much time and effort into it and now wants Udinaas to have been worth all that attention, which Udinaas isn't as he isn't willing to play along. Wither repays the insight by trying to kill Udinaas in the finale of Reaper's Gale.
  • Journey to Chaos: Dengel serves as this to Eric in the first two books (A Mage's Power and Looming Shado), first in a Heroic Host fashion and second in a more classic fashion (Only Eric can see him, gives advice etc.) but the second time is technically "Grey Dengel" which is not the real Dengel.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Heroes:
    • A subversion in the third season—Linderman appears to have come back as a spirit advisor to various characters, but he's actually a hallucination created by Maury Parkman.
    • In the first season, an Indian kid named Sanjog has people visit him in their dreams and delivers cryptic messages.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • Number Six is usually invisible to anyone but Gaius Baltar. Her appearances are carefully crafted so that she can be seen as a figment of Gaius's imagination, although she seems to be able to physically manipulate Gaius's clothing and person, and gives Gaius information that could be interpreted as foreknowledge. In one episode, Gaius Baltar appears to a resurrected Number Six, and plays the part of her Spirit Advisor. Interestingly, neither the "real" Baltar or Number Six have any knowledge of their Spirit Advisor counterparts, until an episode in which Baltar's Spirit Advisor counterpart appears to Baltar.
    • Kara's father showed up to teach her two-thousand-year-old Earth music.
  • Mr. Ed in Mister Ed.
  • Al in Quantum Leap.
  • Appropriately enough, God in Joan of Arcadia might be the ultimate Spirit Advisor.
  • Marty Hopkirk in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) was a Spirit Advisor whom only his partner-in-detection Jeff could see.
  • Ed Chigliak of Northern Exposure has a literal Spirit Advisor, an ancestral Indian spirit named One-Who-Waits.
  • Bob, formerly Hrothbert of Bainbridge, in The Dresden Files TV series, is a prime example of the trope. This character is a Spirit Advisor several times over. He not only gives Harry advice on what kind of magic to do in any given situation, he assists in many cases, thanks to his spectral abilities. He also started teaching Harry magic when Harry was eleven. He was also Spirit Advisor to a number of other wizards down through the centuries, including Harry's evil uncle, Justin Morningway.
  • Slings and Arrows: Geoffrey disregards a lot of Oliver's advice, and often that makes things turn out better than they might have if Geoffrey had listened to him.
  • Lost:
    • Boone appears to Locke in the sweat lodge.
    • Charlie and Anna-Lucia have appeared to Hurley and given him advice, much to his dismay. Mr. Eko has also played chess with him.
    • Christian Shephard, Jack's father, has appear before various people on the island.
    • Jacob, leader of the Others, of which only Ben and Locke have really interacted with.
    • After Jacob's death, he puts on this role to guide Hurley, taking advantage of Hurley's ability to converse with the dead. Hurley actually compares his appearances to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Of course, he's got his own motives, good or bad, and he's more of a Manipulative Bastard than The Obi-Wan.
  • The 10th Kingdom: Snow White calls herself a fairy godmother, but also freely admits she is actually dead (something which is never stated about fairy godmothers). Only Virginia and Wendell (the latter either because he's gone doggy at the time or because he's her grandson) can see and speak with her—Tony cannot. She later appears in Virginia's dreams.
  • American Gothic: Merlyn. While Caleb is not the only person who can see and speak to her, she does appear for the most part only as a ghost who advises her brother on how to stay on the straight and narrow. The others who catch sight of her or even interact with her (apart from her brief stint as a mortal in "Rebirth") are Buck (who even aside from being the Big Bad has a lot more powers at his disposal than the average resident of Trinity) and Ben Healy. In the latter's case, this is only because Merlyn herself chooses to appear to him and haunt his dreams, since he knows the truth about how she died and she's trying to appeal to his conscience so he can break free of Buck's influence. No one else, like Gail (who is her cousin as well as Caleb's) or Mrs. Holt, ever sees her.
  • Farscape: Harvey, a neural clone of Scorpius jammed into John Crichton's head, who eventually does provide some advice... after several seasons of trying to completely screw with Crichton's head and causing several character deaths.
  • Due South:
    • Benton Fraser gets to know his father much better after the latter's death (in the series pilot) than he ever did in life, thanks to Bob Fraser's insistence on hanging around and offering (frequently irritating and unwelcome) personal and professional advice. Fraser Sr. even sets up extradimensional living quarters (so to speak) in his son's office closet.
    • We also very briefly see Ray Vecchio's deceased father doing this to Ray once or twice.
  • John Scott serves as SA for Olivia on Fringe resulting from their Psychic Link, despite some obvious trust issues between them.
  • The Mighty Boosh: In the episode "The Chokes", Howard Moon is saved from stage fright by the apparition of his acting coach, Montgomery Flange.
  • In Dexter, Harry Morgan has become one of these. Initially he was a flashback character, but as the series progressed, he began appearing to Dexter as a kind of hallucination. Dexter also has his Dark Passenger, but this is not personified in the series.
  • Six Feet Under: This is usually from a character who has recently died, although the writers have explicitly stated that they are figments of the particular character's imagination.
  • Mercy plays with both this and Magical Negro by having Veronica hallucinate the ghost of Trey, the robber she had to shoot in the previous episode. He keeps trying to get her to run away, as well as get drunk. She finds out in the next episode that he was a serious scumbag.
  • Charmed: The main characters can summon their dead relatives if they need help.
  • Veronica Mars: Lily Kane first appears to tell her brother that her murder isn't solved. She later appears and distracts Veronica from getting on a bus with a bomb on it that ended up crashing and killing everyone on board.
  • Godric on True Blood for Eric.
  • Constantine: The Angel Manny is SUPPOSED to be this, but as John notes, he usually shows up to chew John out, say he cannot do anything about the current problem, or any advice he does give is so cryptic it is useless. So while he is intended to be a spirit adivisor he is a very poor one.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Chakotay can go on vision quests and talk to spirits. He also tries to teach others how to do this, with less-than-ideal results.
  • SCTV did a parody of "Play it Again, Sam" built around Woody Allen's admiration of Bob Hope, hoping to do a film project with him. Like Bogart in the original, he's coached by the spirit of Bing Crosby on how to connect with Hope.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend lampshades this to hell and back with the song "Dream Ghost":
    I'm going to take you on a journey through time and space
    And in the end you'll realize,
    you knew the answer all along.
    Honestly, it's a bit of a waste.

    Mythology And Religion 
  • Believers in ancestor worship, such as Chinese folk religions, Shintō, and Native American religions, often believe that this literally happens. Whether it's animal spirits, dead relatives, or something else giving the advice varies.

    Newspaper Comics 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Leva Bates heard about a way to meet a spirit guide and sought it out after losing to Mia Yim at SHINE, going on a losing streak in IWA Texas/ACW and then failing to defeat Solo Darling at Full Impact Pro, all this happening after she resolved to hold nothing back from then on. Her guide didn't really have any guidance to give though.

    Radio 
  • Parodied in Fit the Seventh The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where Zaphod Beeblebrox claims to be one for himself:
    Zaphod: I came to myself in a dream and said "Go see Zarniwoop." Never heard of the cat before, but I seemed very insistent.

    Tabletop Games 

  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse:
    • Ancestor spirits perform this role for the Gaia Garou.
    • In one Time of Judgment scenario, Old Man Manyskins (a Nuwisha elder) is assassinated by the Nagah for stealing secrets from other changing breeds. Afterwards, he appears to his fellow Nuwisha in their dreams and shares his secret knowledge with them.

    Theatre 
  • In the play (and miniseries) Angels In America, Ethel Rosenberg appears to Roy Cohn after he is diagnosed with AIDS, though it's mainly just to torture him while he's on his deathbed (It's stated that he illegally influenced the verdict in her trial to get her executed). She fits this trope more traditionally when she helps Louis recite the Kaddish (the Jewish prayer for the dead) after Roy dies. Prior's ancestors fit this trope too.
  • In Allegro, Joe's grandmother and mother appear occasionally as Spirit Advisors to him after their deaths, though the Greek Chorus serves as his all-purpose Spirit Advisor throughout the show.

    Video Games 
  • In Prey, the main character's grandfather, Enisi, is a wise Indian who keeps scolding the protagonist for his rebellious nature. Soon after the aliens attack, Enisi kicks the bucket as an alien machine eviscerates him. From there on he is the protagonist's Spirit Advisor.
  • The Shadow Hearts series both plays with the trope and uses it straight.
    • In the first game, the Spirit "Advisors" are the Four Masks, fiendish entities who torment and mock those who can see them, plotting to steal their souls. Later, in Covenant, Jeanne plays the role straight for Yuri. A past Big Bad also appears in a dodgy Heel–Face Turn.
    • In both Covenant and From the New World, the Ring Soul appears, a being with power over fate. This being Shadow Hearts, the main character quickly gets past their formality and makes friends with them.
  • Puzzle Quest: Challenge Of The Warlords: one of the last subquests involves Sunspear the Minotaur going off to die in battle against an elder frost dragon. When you follow his instructions and return to your departure point, he rejoins your party as a spirit (with his Red Mana bonus now extending to battles with the undead as well as other minotaurs) It's never mentioned whether any of the other party members can see him.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Mia Fey, The Obi-Wan, performs this function in the games. It's made easier by the fact that Phoenix's Sidekick Maya is a Spirit Medium and Mia's little sister, whose job description is speaking on behalf of dead people. (This often happens involuntarily, as Maya's abilities for the first game and a half are a bit hit-or-miss, and Mia's a definitely forceful personality.) Later on, usually when Maya is unavailable, their Medium-prodigy cousin Pearl does similar helpful channeling.
  • Both Baten Kaitos and its prequel have the player act as the Spirit Advisor to the game's main character, which allows the characters to break the fourth wall without acting out of character.
  • The Conduit: Prometheus after you have to destroy his body so Adams/Enlil can't make any more Drudge, and he transfers his mind into the ASE
  • Ghost Trick: Ray is a spirit advisor to another spirit. He helps Sissel figure out how to use ghost tricks.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The Hero's Shade teaches Link various skills throughout the game. It was eventually confirmed that he is the spirit of Link from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.
  • In Warcraft III, Kel'thuzad serves as a spirit advisor in his ghost form to the undead Arthas after his soul has been consumed by Frostmourne. This continues until Kel'thuzad is resurrected in the Sun Well.
  • In Bioshock 2, it's possible for Subject Delta to become this for Eleanor at the end if she absorbs his essence. In the good ending, this means he becomes her conscience as they're finally reunited. In the bad ending, Eleanor decides that his instincts are not going to waste and that the world is about to change.
  • Deadly Premonition: Francis York Morgan regards Zach as something around the lines of this, with the implication that he may just be asking the players themselves. The ending reveals that York is the real Spirit Advisor to Zach, who created York to protect himself from trauma inflicted by Big Bad Forrest Kaysen.
  • Star Fox 64: James McCloud at the canonical end guides Fox out of Andross's Collapsing Lair.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight: Inverted where the Joker returns from the dead as hallucination that taunts Batman and mocks his failures throughout the game.
  • In the Evil Dead: Regeneration, Necronomicon expert Professor Knowby becomes a Spirit Advisor to Ash, as the latter is the best hope of stopping a demonic invasion of Earth. Ash, naturally, calls Knowby a useless floating head.
  • Dante's Inferno: Taken literally with Virgil, the classical Roman poet. Since he is a pure spirit, he cannot help Dante fight his enemies, but can only steer him on his path to save his wife's soul through the nine circles of hell.

    Web Comics 
  • The Way of the Metagamer: Gary Gygax is a genuine ghost—he can control his visibility for individuals, as demonstrated here.
  • Homestuck:
    • The Kernelsprites when suitably prototyped. So far, every player has protoyped their Kernelsprite with the remains of the deceased, in essence reviving the departed in sprite mode, with all memories of their past life. Using something dead isn't strictly necessary, but Kernelsprites are preternaturally drawn to death and using something not dead is rare, with only 3 (out of 16) being shown in canon, and all of those were tier 2 prototyped with a dead person. All of these sprites are ultimately fated to die a second time.
    • Some of the Trolls die and continue to linger in pseudo-purgatory and provide advice for the remaining players. Oddly the most literal definition of the trope applies to Vriska for WV, as she harasses him in his dreams.
  • Bob and George: Megaman, briefly. X and Ran also become these more cohesively to George and Megaman respectively later on, until they each are created.
  • In Fite!, Cub is one to Lucco though he's actually just another patient in Lucco's hospital who's Conversing With The Unconscious. After Lucco wakes up, Guz becomes one.
  • In MYth: A Promise, Metis attempts to become this to Zeus but Distillation reveals that she failed and entrusts his guidance to their daughter Athena.
  • Sam and Fuzzy : Conscience Cat may or may not be one of these. Flying talking cats are hardly outlandish by the standards of that 'verse, and the only time Conscience Cat appears in a setting there a third party would be able to see him, said third party decides it would be more interesting not to answer whether or not he can see him.
  • The Meek: When this trope and Treacherous Advisor meet in the same person, very bad things can happen, precisely as they do (to the emperor Luca and, particularly, his wife).
  • In May's first appearance in Questionable Content, this is her intended function, as an AI augmented-reality beta program streaming from a server to Dale's Google Glass–esque spectacles, which only the wearer can see. However, since she's only participating in order to make parole from Robot Jail, she's vulgar, sarcastic, and rude, and her advice is terrible. After she and Dale warm up to each other, however, she offers some real relationship advice. She later appears incarnated as a robot, having made parole.
  • Star Mares has a ghostly Applejack fulfilling this role to Moontear (as Twilight 'Kenobi' Sparkle was already spoken for).

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Guardians Of Luna has Kurru, a Gurrn shaman and advisor to Carson Stone's werewolf group.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender and its Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, previous Avatars act as advisors to the current Avatar. In Korra's case, the spiritual aspects of being the Avatar are difficult for her, so she doesn't get any help from the previous Avatars until later in the first season. Aang's spirit initially can only convey memories in flashes of images, and doesn't manifest himself until the season finale. Problems arise at the end of Season 2, when Korra's connection with her past lives is severed when Raava is ripped from her soul and destroyed. She gets a secondary Spiritual Advisor in Uncle Iroh, who by this point has Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Spoofed in the' episode "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Homer", where Homer hallucinates after eating "the Merciless Peppers of Quetzlzacatenango." His Spirit Advisor is a coyote, the trickster spirit of a number of Amerindian tribes. The distinctive voice of Homer's spirit guide is provided by legendary singer Johnny Cash. This sequence eventually leads to the infamous line "In your face, space coyote!"
    • In another episode, Homer's brain conjures up the spirit of labour organizer Cesar Chavez (whom Lisa had mentioned to him earlier in the episode), except he looks like Cesar Romero because, as Chavez put it, "you don't know what Cesar Chavez looks like."
    • "The Last Temptation of Homer" has Homer faced with being attracted to another woman. A guardian angel of sorts tries to advise and first takes the form of Isaac Newton. As Homer has no idea who that is, his advisor then takes the form of Colonel Klink.
  • In ThunderCats (1985), the soul of team mentor Jaga comes Back from the Dead so he can continue giving sage advice to Lion-O.
  • In the cartoon, Bionic Six, the spirit of Karate 1's biological father would occasionally appear to him, to give him a quick pep talk or to Deus ex Machina him free of the bad guy's trap. Usually both.
  • In The Venture Bros., starting in season four, 24 becomes 21's Spirit Advisor, using his ghostly movement and omniscience to exponentially increase 21's competence.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Princess Luna has been known to act as this to troubled ponies, appearing in their dreams as they sleep and giving them advice.
  • In the one-hour The Penguins of Madagascar episode "The Return Of The Revenge Of Blowhole", Skipper gets Laser-Guided Amnesia and his mind tries to conjure up a spirit guide to help him get back. It settles on Alex the Lion.
  • In Family Guy, Peter's spiritual guide is The Fonz.

    Real Life 
  • Former Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King was a great believer is spiritualism, and apparently sought advice from his dead parents and even his dogs through séances. This was for personal advice, rather than advice on how to run the country.
  • Many people believe in this, and speak with animal spirits to guide them through life. This comes from Native American culture.


Alternative Title(s): Ghostly Advisor, Spirit Adviser

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpiritAdvisor