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Eye of Newt

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"Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."
The Three Witches, Macbeth

The material (or immaterial) component you need to call forth a spell, make a Magic Potion or activate a superpower. It's not as simple as just spending Mana, though. You may need to burn a pinch of sulphur, or to sacrifice the soul of your first born child. Either way, you've got to pay the price before you can throw lightning from your fingertips. If the value of what's sacrificed has to equal the value of what's gained, it's Equivalent Exchange.

These components usually fall into one of the following categories, with some overlap:

  • Symbolic items — wedding rings, grave dirt, a pure red rose. Some materials, such as gold and silver, carry heavy symbolic value all by themselves.
  • Items related to your intended victim, recipient or yourself — articles of clothing, treasured trinkets, personal effects, hair, baby teeth, fingernail clippings, fingers, urine samples, blood, etc.
  • Body parts from exotic creatures — sometimes from creatures that don't actually have those body parts (hen's teeth). The more magical the creature the better. A unicorn's horn beats a crocodile's liver, but the blood of a god is better still. Doubly so if it has crystallized. Upping the danger, the creature is sometimes a Monster Lord.
  • Certain plants — again, some are more potent than others. Plants traditionally associated with magic (wolfsbane, nightshade, mandrake, etc) outrank the common blade of grass.
  • Inorganic substances — certain types of rocks, minerals, metals, etc. May have to come from a specific place (e.g. dust from a graveyard or water from the river Styx).
  • Non-physical components — bottled moonlight or the sound of a cat's footsteps.
  • Items with improbably specific requirements — an unripe Sunset Wonder picked 3 minutes before noon on the first frosty day in the autumn and peeled left-handedly using a silver knife with a blade less than half an inch wide.
  • Perishable or fragile items — these are usually put into creating an improbably durable object, such as a gown of cobweb or a necklace of dewdrops. (Which may expire without notice, and very suddenly.)
  • Reusable items — equipment for mixing the ingredients or casting the spell, like a Magic Cauldron or a Magic Wand. Could be as simple as a bowl and spoon, or as complex as an entire alchemical laboratory.

Black Magic often requires ingredients that are a Moral Event Horizon just to collect. Virgin's blood is a particular staple, but anything that involves the murder or mutilation of something innocent, pure and/or endangered is often a common feature of necromancers or dark cultists' shopping lists.

Getting these ingredients may vary in difficulty; the rarer ones often involve going to get a Flower from the Mountaintop or a similarly inaccessible material. Alternatively, people may get the idea of farming or systematically harvesting magically useful beings for their parts or byproducts; in those cases, this trope will overlap with Monster Organ Trafficking and Fantastic Livestock.

Sometimes this trope is used to justify Plot Coupons as necessary ingredients. This can result in a Gotta Catch Them All plot if one spell calls for several items. Improbably specific requirements can be used to set up impossible tasks. If one of the "ingredients" happens to be the caster's immortal soul, then it's a Deal with the Devil.

A subtrope of Functional Magic, and one part of Spell Construction. Compare with the actual words of the spell, and associated Magical Gestures. Compare also Insert Payment to Use.

Not related in any manner whatsoever to the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: One member of a trio of witch-wannabes drinks a Love Potion and accidentally sees Onizuka first. They try to use black magic to negate the power of the spell. Ingredients include bat wings (procured from the science department), toad warts (ditto), and Onizuka's pubic hair (uh...).
  • Ranma :
    • In the manga, sometimes spell components are needed by the magic users. For example, Happōsai needs the tears of a creature both male and female for a rejuvenation potion.
    • Happens once or twice in the anime, too. In "The Last Days of Happōsai...?", Akane Tendō tries to prepare a magical elixir that will revitalize the dying pervert ++ it's implied her usual lack of skill in the kitchen is the source of the potion's nauseating stink, which eventually renders all of the others in the house bedridden with sickness. Eye of newt and toe of frog are even actual ingredients.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: All Getafix will reveal about the ingredients of the magic potion is that it contains mistletoe harvested with a golden sickle and lobster. The lobster is optional, but it improves the flavor. A few other ingredients are revealed through plot contrivance — such as a tiny drop of "rock oil" (petroleum), although through research it is determined that it can be substituted with beetroot juice which has the exact same effect, is easier to get and doesn't taste as bad, and "reasonably fresh fish". It's implied that insofar as its chemistry goes it's really just a mediocre vegetable soup, albeit with added magic effects. Several times its obscure ingredients are used as Plot Coupons, such as in The Black Gold, The Great Crossing, and Asterix in Switzerland (although that was for an ingredient needed to brew an antidote for a poison).
  • My Little Pony Generations: Grackle and Dyre send Trench out on an extensive errand to collect the ingredients necessary for making smooze, including three eel eggs, mystic moss, thirteen amnesia blooms, two bottles of winter water, and wither worms.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Eigengrau Zwei: Die Welt Ist Grau Geworden: A potion to repair damaged teeth requires liquefied dragon organs, much to the drinker's disgust. This isn't unusual for potions.
  • FFS, I Believe in You: In the sequel, Syrup's magic potion is given an extensive list of ingredients, most of which are specific to the Oracle games and thus fairly difficult for the Breath of the Wild-era characters to identify and track down — a raw mushroom, a fully-cooked rock brisket, five leaves from the Maku Tree, a roc's feather, two petals from a leever, and the liver of a river zora. Most of these need to have replacements found, due to their original sources being inaccessible or extinct — for instance, since there are no Maku Trees in Hyrule, the Deku Tree donates a few of his leaves in their place. The liver in particular turns out to be a problem, as the recipe was written when zora were hostile monsters (whereas in the fic's present day they're civilized beings); the direct descendants of the hostile zora are the lizalfos, whose liver may serve as a substitute... except that the lizalfos have just formed a peace treaty with the other races. It's eventually worked out that a specific kind of fish may be substituted.
  • Friendship is Witchcraft: Taken to a rather dark extreme with "Pinkie's Brew"; the "eye of a Newt" turns out to be from the foal Newt Pippington British-hooves.
  • Shadowchasers: Torment: Lampshaded. After Raviel breaks out of prison, the Chicago Shadowchasers follow her to her palace, then become separated. When Nichole finds her laboratory, she finds a lot of weird ingredients on the shelves like "zombie mold", "viper tree fangs", and "troll warts". Eventually she says "Lovely... All that's missing here is the eye of newt..." Then she's interrupted by Raviel's henchman Belger (who may have been watching her for a while) who says, "It vent bad. Ve had to throw it avay. You use bad eye of newt, you ruin zee whole brew."
  • Vow of Nudity: Largely averted throughout the series thanks to using D&D mechanics (where most spellcasters replace material components with a spellcasting focus) but becomes a major plot point in the story "The Demon City." Haara gets stranded in the abyssal realm with a witch named Fiora, who didn't get to bring her spellbook or arcane focus with her, locking her out of most of her prepared spells until she scavenges its material component somewhere.

    Films — Animated 
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The evil queen brews a potion to turn her into a hag with mummy dust to make her old, black of night to change her clothes, an old hag's cackle to alter her voice, a scream of fright to whiten her hair, a blast of wind to fan her hatred, and a thunderbolt to mix all the ingredients together.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Boxer's Omen: The voodoo priest's rituals uses materials such as banana skins, bat's wings and chicken feathers. The voodoo demon's resurrecting ritual involves stitching a corpse, complete with amulets and herbs, into the disembowelled corpse of a crocodile.
  • District 9: The Nigerian gangsters chop up aliens for witchcraft in an attempt to gain the ability to use their biometrically locked weaponry.
  • Double, Double, Toil and Trouble: The twins overhear a group of witches discussing their methods to brewing potions. One of the witches can be heard asking another if she uses a microwave.
  • Halloweentown: The potion used to power Merlin's Talisman calls for ingredients like the hair of a werewolf, a vampire's fang, and a drop of ghost sweat.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: You know that song the choir's singing near the beginning? Taken directly from The Scottish Play. "In the cauldron boil and bake fillet of a fenny snake..." and of course the inevitable something wicked this way comes finish.
  • Hocus Pocus uses this trope when the witches produce the potion that enables them to absorb the life force from the children.
  • Practical Magic: The spells cast by the Owens women call for some interesting ingredients, which the girls have to substitute for when they can't find the real deal.
    • When one of the Aunts sees Gilly's bruise, she says "a little mugwort will clear that right up". Ironically, witch-hazel, which really is used for healing bruises, scrapes and wounds, would have been more appropriate.
    • The aunts recite the famous "eye of newt" spell from Shakespeare while putting ingredients into a blender to make margaritas.
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights: Parodied when Latrine is apparently putting together a scrying spell with all sorts of gooey ingredients, including "eyeballs of a crocodile". A moment later we learn she's not a witch at all; she's the cook.
  • Tale of Tales: The queen of Longtrellis needs to eat a sea monster's heart cooked by a virgin in order to have a child.
  • Warlock (1989) used the body fat of a non-baptised child as a levitation potion. Baptise your children, people!

  • Bartholomew and the Oobleck: To make the oobleck, the king's magicians burn a list of bizarre ingredients — wet mouse hair, an onion, a chair, a human whisker, a lizard skin, twigs, rust, and a dust-filled stocking — in a magic fire, creating a cloud of foul-smelling green smoke that rises into the sky to form the oobleck.
  • The Bone Palace: Squid ink is a valuable component in charms of illusions, distraction, and obfuscation, acting as a focus for spells meant to divert attention.
  • Discworld:
    • Magicians sometimes need components to make sure their spells work within the laws of physics. When teleporting, for example, an equal mass is usually displaced from wherever the wizard plans to get to.
    • We often see witch spells requiring ingredients, such as in Wyrd Sisters, a direct sendup of Macbeth which contains a scene parodying the above quote. Granny Weatherwax, for example, complains about using up a "tiger's chaudron" that "looks like perfectly good chitterlin's ... there's hungry children in Klatch who wouldn't turn up their noses at it." And tongue of boot.
    • Furthermore, the cottage Magrat lives in used to belong to a "research witch", who asked questions like "it's all very nice to say 'eye of newt', but what species of newt? And would it still work if you substituted something less icky?" and wrote all her research down in dozens of volumes. (Turns out it works, though: Magrat later uses one such carefully defined spell to find out her boyfriend's first name. She starts working on a love spell too, but plot intervenes before she completes it.)
    • When it comes to magical ingredients, wizards can be divided into the ones who perform the Rite of AshkEnte with two bits of wood and a fresh egg, or the ones who know you can do that, but it's not proper magic unless you're using lots of skulls, ram's horns and dribbly candles.
  • The Dragonslayers: The first chapter includes a large list of items needed to create the dragon. When the witch Phrenella is surprised that the trope namer isn't one of them, Grizelda pulls out a live newt and says she's actually using the whole thing.
  • Dream of the Red Chamber: Precious Virtue's Cold Perfume Pill has a vast list of peculiar ingredients which are so rare they can only make a batch every twenty years or something.
  • The Dresden Files sometimes uses non-physical components gathered under specific conditions. For instance, Harry had to be truly happy in order to gather sunlight into a handkerchief.
    • Potions specifically need eight ingredients. A base liquid, an ingredient for each sense and one for the spirit and the mind. A love potion, for example, uses tequila as a base, money for the mind, chocolate for taste, perfume for smell, lace for touch, a sigh for sound, candlelight for sight, and the ashes of a romance novel for spirit (though it probably would have worked a little less sleazily if they hadn't used substitutes for the original base, mind and spirit ingredients — champagne, powdered diamond and the ashes of a love letter).
    • Ordinary magic can be done without physical ingredients or foci, but no-one does it that way. You can just create the things you need in your mind, but if your mental image slips just a little, your spell will fail. Trying to do it that way, rather than with a physical object, is much more difficult and makes no difference in effect, so no-one bothers unless the midden hath hit the windmill, big time.
  • Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Cimorene searches in vain for months to find some hen's teeth so that she can complete a spell to protect her against fire (she's employed by dragons). She eventually has to get them from a genie.
  • The Golden Key: Mixing their paints with various bodily fluids (saliva, tears, blood, "essence") allows the Gifted Grijalvas to perform their magic. Bits of the intended targets (for example, paint brushes made from their hair) are also used sometimes.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Ingredients for potions include a bezoar and bicorn horn, and the brewing of Polyjuice Potion involved particular parts of a lunar cycle.
    • The spell that resurrected Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire required "bone of the father, unknowingly given" (Voldemort's father's bone, stolen from the grave), "flesh of the servant, willingly sacrificed" (Wormtail cut off his own hand), and "blood of the enemy, forcibly taken" (cut from Harry's arm).
  • Iron Council: One of the characters is a monk from a special order that discovers secrets. To do so, however, the monk has to sacrifice one of his/her own memories or abilities each time he digs up new info.
  • Kushiel's Legacy: A couple of books use this trope; the end of the first series ('Kushiel's Avatar' I believe) has the bone-priests that only get their power by sacrificing someone that they love. The Mharkagir tries this with Phedre but she kills him instead; and there was much rejoicing.. 'Kushiel's Mercy' (end of the second series) has Carthage trying to take over Terre D'Ange with some pretty involved magic. The stone trapping the elemental has some pretty icky requirements ( infanticide being the big one) and the needle that afflicts Imriel with madness (and thus saves him from the bigger spell the Carthaginians are casting) requires toad-bile, lunatic sweat and being left in the light of the full moon (and NOT being in any other light) for a full month. Wonder what the process was for finding all that out.
  • Land of Oz: In The Patchwork Girl of Oz, Ojo is collecting the ingredients to restore people from statues. He is arrested for collecting a six-leafed clover; Ozma made it illegal to collect such ingredients because people refused to obey her anti-magic law. Later, he finds the hardest — a drop of oil from a living man — which is from the Tin Woodman. Alas, he also needs the left wing of a yellow butterfly, and the Tin Woodman refuses to allow a butterfly to be harmed for the spell. Luckily, Glinda the Good doesn't need these ingredients.
  • The Legends of Ethshar: Ethsharian wizardry uses ingredients such as a raindrop caught in midair or the blood of an unborn child. One character makes his living by tracking down these abstruse materials and selling them to wizards.
  • Moongobble and Me: In book 3, Moongobble creates a Magic Potion made up of some strange ingredients, designed to make Edward shrink. Said ingredients include "tiny mushrooms, an earthworm's eyebrow, several ant toes, and some fuzz from a baby bird". Plus some stuff Moongobble brought from home.
  • The Neverending Story: Bastian discovers that every time he uses his amulet to "change" things, he sacrifices one of his own memories. Eventually, he develops full amnesia. He gets better.
  • A Night in the Lonesome October: Several scenes show the characters harvesting magical ingredients, which include things like a specific body part stolen from a graveyard under a specific phase of the moon, or a piece of cloth cut from the dress of a red-haired woman (while she's wearing it) at a particular hour of night. The narrator remarks that "Magical rotas sometimes strike me as instructions for lunatic scavenger hunts."
  • The Princess Bride: We are told that they had to search for strange components before Miracle Max could do a miracle, but we aren't shown it because it would take too long.
  • Prospero's Daughter: Phoenix lamps, lit by phoenix feathers, and the Water of Life, retrieved from a well at the edge of world, are the first of many, many, many such items.
  • Roald Dahl:
    • Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator: Willy Wonka's creations aren't magic so much as mad science in action, but the Fountain of Youth pill Wonka-Vite and its Vita-Wonk Rapid Aging counterpart are both made primarily or entirely of such ingredients, some of which are insubstantial ("the hip (and the po and the pot) of a hippopotamus", for instance). Vita-Wonk is made entirely from bits of the oldest animals and trees known to man because they can "create age".
    • James and the Giant Peach: The formula for the magic items that created the titular giant peach and the enormous insects that lived in the peach's pit consists of taking crocodile tongues, treating them with a number of bizarre reagents, and letting "the moon do the rest".
      "One thousand long, slimy crocodile tongues boiled in the skull of a dead witch for 40 days and 40 nights. Add the gizard of a pig, the fingers of a young monkey, the beak of a parrot and three spoonfuls of sugar, and then let the moon do the rest."
    • The Witches: The Grand High Witch tells the other witches the ingredients they need to make their own potion to turn children into mice which include things like the wrong end of a telescope, the fried tails and simmered bodies of forty-five mice, and an alarm clock. The alarm clock is to delay the effect of the potion so it can't be traced... and when it activates, the alarm audibly goes off.
  • The Stormlight Archive: You have to have a gemstone of the appropriate type to perform Soulcasting. So if you want to turn someone into glass, you'd need a diamond. To turn him to stone, you need topaz. Notably, this even applies to Radiant Soulcasting, despite Radiant powers not usually having material components.
  • The Truth About Pyecraft: The narrator gives the titular character an Indian magic recipe to lose weight and instructs him on some basic principles:
    I ran my eye over the [list of] items. "Was the egg addled?" I asked.
    "No. Ought it have been?"
    "That," I said, "goes without saying in all my poor dear great-grandmother's recipes. When condition or quality is not specified you must get the worst. She was drastic or nothing..."
  • War of the Dreaming: Magicians use symbolic objects to compel obedience from the spirits who respond to them — such as moon rocks from the Apollo missions.
  • Way Of The Demon: Played for comedy in Road to Mage, the first novel. Oleg, the protagonist, found a spell to detect precious metals underground and already thought of using substitutes for a "dragon's vertebra" - a dinosaur's vertebra from a museum, and for "river-horse hair" — a hair of a tame hippopotamus from the zoo. But he's out of ideas to obtain or substitute "lock of hair from a chaste actress", "spit of a truthful lawyer" and "blood of a honest secretary of state".
  • The Witcher:
    • Subverted — wizards do display impressive collections of mysterious ingredients all over their labs and everyone knows stories about elixirs made of "blood of virgin killed by bolt of lightning on a cloudless night". It turns that mundane replacements work as well, but wizards encourage gossip since it keeps smallfolk away from carrying on their own experiments.
    • Witcher potions, on the other hand, contain such herbs as veratrum, stramonium, hawthorn, and spurge; most of which are horribly toxic to normal humans.
  • Young Wizards: Many spells used to require hard to find physical components, but as successive generations of wizards improved the spells the components were changed to easier to find substitutes, and eventually the spells were perfected to the point where they needed no components at all. The modern-day characters which the series follows only rarely have to cast a spell which requires any sort of physical component.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Beverly Hillbillies: Granny is frequently making concoctions like this, brought up by name when the Clampetts visit London and Granny goes to a pharmacy for ingredients. When she mentions Eye of Newt by name, the Pharmacist mistakes her for a fellow Shakespeare fan and wows her with quoting the Bard.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Various ritual spells require various components, some even require the Eye Of Newt. Although according to the resident witch, eye of frog is cheaper. Really, you're just paying for the brand name. Giles also considers salamander eyes equally effective.
    • Angel: Wesley is analyzing a Fantastic Drug which has PCP-like effects on demons, and mentions that Eye of Newt has been added to improve the taste rather than the kick.
  • Charmed (1998): Potions sometimes require these, but good ones usually use more benign herbs.
  • Forever Knight. In the pilot episode, Natalie gives Nick a lab flask of green liquid to drink as part of her ongoing efforts to find a cure for his vampirism.
    Nick: (warily) What is it?
    Natalie: Grasshopper buns, eye of newt — what do you care? Drink it!
  • Friends: In one episode, Phoebe is helping Rachel and Monica with a ritual to end their bad luck with their love lives that requires some very odd items, most notably "The semen of a righteous man". Rachel and Monica complain that if they had access to that, then they wouldn't be needing the ritual in the first place.
  • Good Eats: Alton explains how the image of pasta sauce simmering on the stove (stirred lovingly by a mom or grandma) can be a reminder of home and hearth for some... and for others, it brings to mind images of witches and cauldrons. The witch throws in snakes, spiders, etc., while the loving grandmother throws in spices, in an Escalating War, until Alton informs both women that he cooks alone.
  • The Legend of Dick and Dom: Potion ingredients are the Plot Coupons. To cure their kingdom from plague, they need to collect two seasons' worth of ingredients like a dragon's clack, the mists of time, baby vampire vomit, and a pint of milk.
  • Saturday Night Live: In the recurring sketch "Theordoric of York, Medieval Barber", Theodoric often prescribes treatments with odd ingredients, such a poulice made of powdered staghorn, gum of arabic, and boiled sheep's urine.
  • Supernatural: Many rituals and spells require a list of items, such as the photo of the summoner, graveyard dirt, yarrow, and bone of a black cat, required to summon a crossroad demon.
    "West Bank witch hazel, skull of Egyptian calf, the tail of some random-ass newt that may or may not be extinct".

  • Karliene's "Dark Spellbind" is from the perspective of a witch attempting to cast a spell that will make her beloved return her feelings, listing various ingredients and what part they play in the spell.
    Stoke the fire for the cauldron
    Make him love me
    Add the hemlock and his pretty lock of hair
    Add the wings of a young crow
    To fly him to my door
    And bind him to my side forever more
  • Stormwitch song "Stronger Than Heaven" begins with a listing of various magical ingredients.
    Mandrakes, three black feathers
    Dried up toads and rats
    Spiders, human leather
    Eyes and wings of bats

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ars Magica: Spells that need physical components are the exception, not the rule:
    • Ritual Magic can exceed the limits of conventional spellcasting but needs to consume vis, a precious form of physical Mana.
    • "Arcane connections" are items with a Sympathetic Magic link to the target. They're necessary to cast a spell on a target that the caster can't directly sense and are optional to overcome magic resistance. In each case, the item is not consumed.
    • One supplement introduces potent spells that can only be cast if the magus has a specific material on hand, but gain a bonus to the spellcasting role if they do. The item is not consumed by the spell.
    • In magical Item Crafting, the shape and material of the item affect how much magic it can hold and sometimes provide a bonus to the magus instilling it with magic.
    • Verditius magi create a casting tool when they learn a new formulaic spell. They must use this tool to cast the spell. If it is lost or destroyed, they must spend the time to make another tool for the spell. The tool itself is not consumed in the casting.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Spellcasting in many versions (D&D 1e, AD&D 2e, and D&D Third Edition) can require use of material components. For standard spells, like fireball, this requires something trivial and commonplace (like bat guano and sulfur rolled into a ball). Spells that are particularly powerful or create more permanent effects, such as Raise Dead, can require expensive components, limiting the number of times you can conveniently use them. Non-valuable components are usually Hand-Waved with a spell component pouch, but the feat Eschew Materials and the Prestige Class Recaster allow players to cast spells without them.
    • 5th edition allows magic users to ignore non-valuable material components, either by using a component pouch (which is assumed to contain the various required components) or a spellcasting focus such as a magic wand or a holy symbol.
    • Forgotten Realms: The eyes, hearts and brains of catoblepas are valuable spell components. Elminster's Ecologies describes the Marsh Drovers, a human culture who have taken to herding the beasts in order to sell these parts to wizards.
  • GURPS Magic mostly handwaves these away: most spells require some sort of unspecified material components, but wizards usually have what they need on hand. The Game Master is advised to elaborate on this if a shortage of a component would help curb abuse of a problematic spell, or just provide plot hooks. GURPS Thaumatology provides optional elaboration on this, and its alternate magic systems go into detail about the use of material components in folklore and fiction.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Ultimate Wilderness devotes a section to describing how monster body parts can be used to replace spell and crafting components — a devil's tongue, for instance, contains the essence of law and can be used to replace any lawful spells when creating magic items; a demon's heart can similarly be used to stand in for evil spells; matter harvested from elementals can used to craft items pertaining to elemental powers or energy damage; troll livers, still holding their owners' Healing Factor, can be used to craft healing items; the organs that produce a dragon's Breath Weapon can be used to infuse items with the breath weapon's energy type.
    • Basilisk eyes, cockatrice talons and gorgon lungs can be used to craft items requiring either flesh to stone or stone to flesh in their creation.
    • The scales of a nehushtan, a type of snake that can heal other beings through skin contact, can be used to make a potion that cures diseases and poisons when imbibed. This is made more valuable by the fact that this potion is very easy to make, making their shed skins highly prized.
  • Shadowrun has "reagents" as an optional part of spellcasting to reduce the drain the caster has to resist and a necessary part of ritual magic. Some rituals also require a material link to the target.
  • Unknown Armies: Ritual magick has this as its great drawback. Rituals may need anything from a scratched brass doorknob to your own eyeball to "acres and acres of burning tires".
  • Urban Arcana, the modern day Dungeon Punk variant for d20 Modern:
    • A special variant of spellcasting called "Incantations" are available. These Incantations are lengthy yet powerful procedures that require materials appropriate to the spell in question. For instance, demon summoning would likely require a virgin sacrifice and an obsidian knife, whereas the consecration of a building would require Holy Water and a recitation of prayer.
    • Ordinary spells can still require material components, such as a can of soda to make people go faster and the CTRL ALT and DEL keys from a keybord to shut down any electric device in a given radius.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay:
    • Each conventional spell can consume a specific "ingredient", ranging from a common substance (e.g.: butter) to something rare and/or expensive (e.g.: a ruby). In 1st edition, the ingredient is needed in order to cast the spell. In 2nd, it provides a small bonus to the spellcasting dice roll and is optional (except for the Spirit magic of Hag Witches). In 4th Edition, it's an optional protection from Magic Misfire.
    • Ritual Magic spells consume thematically linked ingredients that are almost invariably rare, expensive, and/or a Sidequest in and of themselves to obtain. For example, the ritual to cause an earthquake requires a large diamond, a dragon's tooth, and a gong blessed by a dying priest.
    • In 1st Edition, Magic Potions require specific rare and valuable ingredients, like the horn of a unicorn and the blood of a troll for a Healing Potion. In 2nd Edition, the ingredients are abstracted to their (extremely high) market price and the type of environment in which they can be gathered.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • Changeling: The Lost: Hedgespun items are created in and using components taken from the Hedge. These can include the relatively simple, such as vines or shells, or the complex, such as refined metals, but every ingredient needs to have some sort of story behind it, one through which the players take their characters in the process of gathering said components.
    • This is also a component of some catches, the principles that allow changelings to activate magical Contracts for free under specific circumstances. Depending on the Contract, it could be "spilling a few drops of blood" or "eating a creature's eyeball" or "shoes stolen from an enemy."
    • Mage: The Awakening:
      • Extended spellcastings are made easier by the sacrifice of a 'sacrament', an item metaphorically relevant to the spell being cast (for example, burning a map to create a portal).
      • Also, for Archmasters to cast an Imperial (i.e. godlike) spell, they require a 'Quintessence', a metaphorical component, such as an ingredient or event.
      • "Gross matter", substances which can be imprinted with magic (effectively making potions) can only be manufactured by gathering materials thematically relevant for the kind of gross matter you are trying to make (different kinds can be imprinted with different spells; for example, spells that affect perception need to be imprinted into eye drops), before using a spell to transform it.

  • Into the Woods: The Witch says that she can lift the curse on the Baker if he brings her several items: the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold. Each of these items, of course, comes from one of the other fairy tales being told.

    Video Games 
  • Albion: One of your party's spellcasters requires a special seed to be thrown at target. You buy these or pick from bushes occurring occasionally in wilderness.
  • Book Of Travels: Casting spells and brewing teas consumes reagents — such as plant roots, blossoms and mineral dust — that are collected in the world. They range from everyday plants (like dandelions) to relics of an ancient advanced civilization (ferrite grain and coagulated machine oil).
  • Bubble Witch Saga: The bubbles that Stella pops are filled with eyes, tentacles, worms and other things stereotypically associated with witchcraft ingredients. Appropriately enough, the bubbles fall into magic cauldrons after being successfully matched to bubbles of the same color.
  • Cultist Simulator: Magical ingredients are used in a lot of rituals. Lore cards often state that using them in a rite with ingredients like "Byzantine Tinct" or "Martensite Paste" will summon something, without telling you what those are or what Aspect they use.
  • Devour: Each area's banishing ritual needs some sort of animal to be caught and sacrificed to complete it. In the Farmhouse it's live goats, while in the Asylum has rats.
    • The Inn map bucks the trend, in that it instead requiresgiant spider eggs, which are promptly desecrated before being burned as offerings.
    • The Town map adds extra wrinkles to the progression of the game by having the players curse books in different locations around the map before bringing the cursed books up to the local church to burn them. Only certain books will be able to be cursed at any time, with more becoming available as the player or players burn the books available to them.
  • Don't Starve: Some of the Magic recipes that require parts from living creatures.
    • The Meat Effigy requires beard hair, but not necessarily from a person's beard.
    • The Pan Flute requires a Mandrake, which isn't visible anywhere on the final item.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • A staple of the series is its complex Alchemy system. Alchemy is a magically classed skill portrayed as a type of scientific magic; when you Item Craft potions, you're distilling the ingredients (using a mortar and pestle, retort, etc). However you appear to be extracting the "magic" from them rather than more mundane chemical compounds (some of the in-universe literature even uses this to justify the Health Food trope; chewing certain ingredients releases their basic properties, but not as well as properly mixing them would). Demonstrated in Skyrim that one can eat alchemical components (Toe of Giant, anyone? Yum!) and will experience a limited version of one of the two effects of each ingredient, which serves as a hint for what to combine it with to get which effects in a potion.
    • The Cult of the Ancestor Moth is an Imperial cult based around divining the information contained within the Elder Scrolls, using a ritual known as the Ritual of the Ancestor Moth, at the eventual cost of their sight. By tradition, the members of the Cult are the only ones allowed to possess and read the Elder Scrolls themselves. They receive extensive protective training (in the form of an ancient ritual) to safeguard their bodies and minds against the power of the Scrolls, but even then, repeated readings will eventually strike them permanently blind.
  • Fable: Subverted for laughs in the Sick Child sidequest. A witch needs four Blue Mushrooms to brew an antidote for the child. When you deliver them, she already has the antidote, but keeps the psychoactive mushrooms anyway...
  • Fate has you play as a pregnant woman willing to resort to witchcraft to save/better the life of her unborn child. You have access to a grimoire that lists the ingredients you need for certain spells, ranging from relatively simple ones like Sleep (make a solution from a ground pearl and dust from pixie's wings) to complicated and dangerous ones like Greater Gating (summon a demon to bargain with by slitting a goat's throat with a dagger magically empowered by the blood of a slain human being while wearing a silver crown inside a pentagram).
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VIII: One of the ways you can gain more magic is by refining useless items into usable spells via a special ability.
    • Final Fantasy XI has a few jobs that require the use of items to aid in their attacks.
      • Ninjas require ninja tools to perform their ninjutsu spells. The sheer amount of tools used to tank (No, Really), as well as the cost of the other tools make Ninja one of the most expensive jobs in the game.
      • Corsairs need elemental cards to fire elemental blasts from their guns.
    • Final Fantasy XIV:
      • Alchemy recipes require a variety of herbs but may also include things like lizards, spiders, snakes, bat wings, wolf fangs, dhalmel saliva and other animal body parts and secretions. The blood of vilekin (bugs) and even Spoken (read: people) are featured in a number of recipes.
      • In the first step to reproducing the legendary Manderville Weapons, Godbert needs to provide a single drop of a mighty Manderville's perspiration for the forging reagent, Exalamanderville, to achieve maximum aetheric conductivity.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening: The two resident Dark Mages in the party spend a lot of their time inflicting curses on foes (and occasionally allies). Tharja, generally more down-to-earth but more vindictive of the pair, asks for spell components that can include bat wings, manakete toenail clippings, and a mess of unspecified cursing implements. Henry, meanwhile, specifies that curses and tome-based spells are different, and that his curses require either a piece of the target, willpower, and/or Blood Magic sacrifices. Curses and hexes ultimately fall into Ritual Magic, but the speed of the ritual varies and the ingredients are still often...well, this trope.
  • King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human: Gwydion has to gather the ingredients from throughout the realm and use them to cast spells, all while fearing that his wizard master may return and smite him. This worked out nicely in the context of an adventure game, where manipulating items is always a core ingredient.
  • The Legend of Kyrandia: In Hand of Fate, the second game, Zanthia has to create potions this way to deal with various obstacles on her way. The ingredients from Zanthia's potion book vary from simple (onion, fluff, cheese) to some surreal (yet the surreal ones are actually subverted, since you always can find a real-world substitutes to them). The eye of newt itself is not present, but still implied: it is stated as one of the components for the Trance Potion (which cannot be crafted in the game, actually), and at one point you can find your own empty package from the eye of newt (you cannot use it plotwise, but this package is an obvious clue on one particular someone that robbed Zanthia's house at the beginning of the game and helps you understand why is everyone in the town from Act 2 are not responding to anything).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: In order for the Witch to make potions for Link, she needs him to bring her Monster Tails, Horns, and Guts, which she uses to make Blue, Yellow, and Purple Potions respectively. Lampshaded by one NPC who is understandably squicked out by the Purple Potion, and advises Link not to buy it.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Elixir-making runs on this principle. In order to create one, Link needs at least two things — a monster body part, such as guts, a fang, a horn or the like, and a critter such as a lizard, frog or insect — which he then cooks in a pot to produce the desired elixir. The body parts determine the length of the elixir's effects, with some making longer-lasting elixirs than others; the bugs and lizards are divided into several specific kinds that each provide a different effect, such as increased strength or heat resistance.
  • The Lost Vikings: Most of the gameplay in the second game comes from finding spell components and bringing them to some magical person to teleport the party members closer to the time machine they need to get home. Subverted in the pirate world; the gypsies don't actually need diamonds for their version of the teleport spell, they just said that to get the vikings to bring them free treasure.
  • Minecraft: Potion brewing follows a specific but variable formula:
    • Firstly, a water bottle and a clump of nether wart (a type of fungus-like growth) are placed in a brewing stand to create the base potion.
    • Secondly, an ingredient is added to give the potion an effect. A rabbit's foot will make a potion of leaping, a Giant Spider's eye will make a potion of poison, a pufferfish will make a potion of water breathing, a ghast's tear will make a potion of regeneration, a phantom's wing membrane will make a potion of slow falling, and so on.
    • Finally, additional ingredients can be added to modify the potion's effect. Redstone dust will increase the duration time of the effect, while glowstone dust will increase its potency. A fermented spider eye will reverse the potion's effect, such as turning a potion of swiftness or leaping into a potion of slowing or a potion of night vision into a potion of invisibility. Gunpowder will turn it into a splash potion that's thrown instead of drunk, and a bottle of dragon breath will further allow the thrown potion's effects to linger in a cloud.
  • Moshi Monsters: Fetching ingredients to put in a pot fits the adventure game formula rather well, and consequently turns up a lot here:
    • In the first Super Moshi Mission, Dr. Strangeglove prepares to make a potion that would allow him to shrink all of Monstro City. It consists of a feather, mushrooms, berries, bat droppings and troll snot; for the latter, he notes that he wishes someone had told him where it actually comes from.
    • In the Great Moshi Beanstalk, to Glump a Moshling you will need a fire bug, tiki feather, toadstool, beanstalk boom and 3 drops from the sap tap. Twaddle makes a few tweaks to Dr. Strangeglove's Glumping Potion recipe to make it a De-Glumping potion, removing the fire bug. How does Twaddle know that?
    • In the Movie, Dr. Strangeglove requires "artifacts", all of which he puts into a blender and penetrate the egg with, to hatch the Great Moshling Egg and turn the one inside into a Mega Glump. The "artifacts" are Microwavable Oobla Doobla, Blue Jeepers Tears and Rainbow Rox.
    • Big Bad Bill is a potion and lotion brewer and also is in charge of Hoodoo Stew, which is celebrational peace-offering food to be shared among the tribes. It requires Creepy Crawlies, Fried Oobla Doobla, Coconut Shells and Purple Bananas. In the song "Go Do The Hoodoo" it also names Sweet Jungle Smells and Moonlit Gazelles but are not necessarily ingredients as requiring their essence to be present to create the stew.
    • In the Moshi Movie Mystery, Big Bad Bill's potion to energize Blinki consists of a ton of glowbugs.
  • Pink Panther: Hokus Pokus Pink: Shows up twice for two different potions:
    • The first potion, to turn Violet into a immortal magical ninja princess mermaid, requires "the only thing living in the saltiest sea", and "a Princely laugh, specifically the hugest one that has a chilly past". The magic book does not specify what is needed for the Ninja part, so Pink improvises by adding a black belt to the cauldron.
    • The second potion to counter the effects of the poisonous apple requires "the carrier of the human soul" and "a redhead's woeful plea". When the potion fails to work, Pink again improvises, this time by adding some Greek salad.
  • Psycho Pinball: In "Trick or Treat" you have to collect six ingredients (including a Tail of Newt) to activate "magic mayhem".
  • RuneScape has lots of odd ingredients for spells, though baby blue dragon scales, limpwurt roots, white berries, snape grass, red spiders' eggs, and (what else?) the eye of newt are some of the body parts necessary for potions. Then you get the Rag and Bone Man, who asks for some really strange bones. Shoulder bone of a of giant? Tail bones from nine kinds of dragon? Pelvis of a four-legged, magic-casting water creature that dwells in caves? Fibula bone of the third leg on an adult three-legged creature? He wants them all and more. He serves an Eldritch Abomination that wants to rebuild itself with all the bones. Squick.
  • Secret of Evermore: All magic revolves around alchemy formulas which each require different regents.
  • The Sims 2: This is how magic works. Spells are fueled by objects called reagents that you can either buy or make for free, though making them takes time. Good spells are made with good reagents, such as dragon scales willingly given by an elder dragon, and evil spells are fueled by evil reagents, such as literal Eye of Newt made by... well, take a guess. This is Informed Ability and All There in the Manual, all the sim actually does is stir a cauldron to create the reagents.
  • Spellcraft: Aspects of Valor is an early '90s RPG that focuses around this, where each spell has an aspect (an ingredient unique to that spell), lesser materials (Stones, candles, jewels and powers) which have some flex, allowing you to increase the power by adding some quantity of extra materials, and a word specific to an element and its tier of power. Using the wrong aspect, word, or exceeding the amount of flex in the lesser materials would be lethal, usually with a rather graphic display of what happens to you.
  • The Trader of Stories: Ingredients for the two potions in Bell's Heart include cat's fur, hair of the person you want charmed, an amulet and a pot to boil all these together.
  • Ultima: The first three games have rituals with elaborate requirements for each spell, but they're All There in the Manual. Ultima IV has you manually mix up spells out of each reagent, typing incantations in the game's Fictionary, and then bind them with a small sacrifice of mana for later casting (with more mana). Later games keep the reagent system, but do the rituals for you automatically.
  • A Vampyre Story: A potion requires a nightshade blossom, a gargoyle's breath, a virgin's bone, and a literal eye of newt. The first three the character manages to scrounge up, but it's the middle of winter, meaning no newts. So she uses the eye from a picture of a newt in a coloring book. This works perfectly.
  • WarioWare: Touched!: Ashley's theme song mentions using eye of newt to hex someone. It also mentions grandma's wig, though it's ambiguous whether it's a component or the target of the spell.
  • Witchery:
    • Many potions require animal parts such as the leg of a lizard, the tongue of a dog or snake, and the wool of a bat. Bewitchment briefly had newts whose eyes were used in certain potions, but they were cut.
    • Any ritual or curse that is being directed at a specific entity requires some of their genetic material, which can be collected by using a taglock kit on an entity or their bed.
    • Many brews require certain plants added by the mod, such as wolfsbane, nightshade, and mandrake root.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • All you mages know exactly what I'm talking about. "What? You told me to port to Stormwind! Bah, alright, I'll come to Darnassus, but you're gonna pay for the reagents! This costs money, ya know!"
    • All caster classes have a few spells that require physical components; mages' portals are simply the most well-known. Most other ones can bypass this if the character has the appropriate Glyph.
    • The Northend daily quest "Alchemist Apprentice" involves helping the troll alchemist Professor Finklestein make a truth serum, with ingredients that range from normal-sounding (like Icecrown Bottled Water) to unusual (Raptor Claw and Pickled Eagle Egg) to bizarre (Hairy Herring Heads??) to just plain gross (Putrid Pirate Perspiration and Crystallized Hog Snot??).
  • Ziggurat: How alchemy supposedly functions. Amusingly, potatoes are referred to as a core component of many healing mixtures.

    Web Animation 
  • Animated Spellbook: In the Erratic Hammering video, the dark magician lists the components of the ritual as the toenails of a lich, the stone of infinity, and the blood of a virgin. He has a band-aid on his finger.
  • Homestar Runner: A Halloween episode involves Homestar collecting a variety of ingredients for a "witch's brew". Depending on the choices of the viewer/player, these can involve stank water, essence of doo doo meringue, and powdered Thanksgiving. Bubs directly references this trope when he says "A little eye of newt, some toe of frog. Baby you got a witch's brew goin'."
  • Mighty Magiswords: The last ingredient of Witchy Simone's potion is an actual newt's eye, and she pointing out how cliché this is.
  • The Summoning: Claire needs to pick up some troll fat to complete a summoning potion.

  • Cursed Princess Club: When Abbi tries to brew a potion that will let the members of the eponymous club neutralize their curses for one day, the ingredients include various cliché items like raccoon's teeth and newt eyeballs. Unfortunately, they accidentally swap the newt eyeballs with a ship-in-a-bottle charm that Gwendolyn meant to mail to Frederick as a gift. As a result, the potion ends up being a dud and Frederick is even more convinced that Gwen is a witch trying to hex him.
  • Girl Genius: This scene from their version of Cinderella:
    Agatha: Geez, you had your toad eyes slotted into your newt eye grid, and that was throwing off the aetheric vibrations. Amazing it worked at all, really.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Some spells from the Book of E-Ville require certain physical components.
    • Gwynn found a spell to cure her eyesight that required "parts" from some monkeys. She bought the monkeys, but couldn't go through with the spell, keeping them as pets instead. Much hilarity proceeded to ensue.
    • Another spell to open a dimensional portal required candles, drops of blood in a chalice, and a chicken quite specifically not set on fire.
  • Sneaky Goblins: Sonya takes the bones of Murdock the wizard for this purpose.

    Web Original 
  • This picture by Helle Jorgensen reminds witches: take necessary steps to prevent possible contamination by unintended components.
  • Some magic in Phaeton requires this, also in a literal sense of the words, Teliha finds Eye of Newt to be a tasty snack and often eats it all before it can be used for magic.
  • The dark magic that Hekate does in the Whateley Universe, like her spell in "It's All in the Timing", is exactly this trope.

    Web Videos 
  • Critical Role: Liam O'Brien's second character is a wizard who always casts his spells by waving around gems, slapping sulfur or bat guano between his hands, or by doing something else funky with weird materials. Liam goes into precise details on which material he uses for each spells, to the point that his fellow Dungeons & Dragons players start slipping into Liam's accent when they describe their spellcasting.
  • Tales From My D&D Campaign: Any long-range teleportation spell requires an "eldritch eye", the eye of a powerful abomination.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: One episode has Fu Dog using Eye of Newt simply because it's used in so many potions.
  • Animaniacs:
    • In "Spell-Bound" (which was, incidentally, the first half-hour episode starring Pinky and the Brain exclusively) the first four ingredients for Brain's "Take Over the World Spell" are six lizard legs, two eyes of newt, two hedgehog spleens, and one half-eaten gingerbread cookie that's been left on the counter overnight. (Getting the final ingredient, a red dragon toenail clipping, is the main plot.)
    • In this short, Yakko provides his own, uh, unique interpretation of the original witches' recipe, provided for viewers who — like himself and the three characters depicting the witches — have no idea what it means.
  • Arthur: In the music video "Jekyll and Hyde", the ingredients for the Brain's turn-into-Mr.-Hyde potion include "dirt, a bit of sludge, some eyes of flies, and a tiny dab of suntan lotion".
  • Disenchantment: As part of his experimentations with using Elfo's blood in the pursuit of the creation of the Elixir of Life, Sorcerio attempted using eye of newt in the brew, along with tail of newt and rest of newt. This ended up creating a Truth Serum.
  • Donald Duck: In "Trick or Treat", Huey, Dewey and Louie enlist the help of a witch to get back at Donald for pranking them. She whips up a potion with quotations from Macbeth, and partway through she leans over to the nephews and says "This is the real stuff, you know. Right out of Shakespeare."
  • The Dragon Prince: This is the core nature of Black Magic. Unlike Primal Magic of nonhuman beings, which is fueled by an internal connection with nature and needs no external props or fuel to be used, human mages power their spells by using the magic of other creatures. In practice, this typically takes the form of a dark mage crushing some animal or animal part in their hand when casting. Specific spells also tend to require specific components — for instance, a spell for making an arrow track its target requires a griffin's eye, and Claudia mentions that one can do interesting things with a wasp's thorax.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • In an episode dealing with a Jiangshi, to permanently banish the hopping corpse, Jackie and colleagues are required to take a toadstool from a graveyard, place it in the Jiangshi's own left sock (which, of course, it isn't about to just hand them), and throw the sock into a river. This is based on historic beliefs about dealing with vampires, although usually the sock was filled with rocks or soil from the vampire's grave.
    • A lot of Uncle's spells in general follow this theme where certain items are needed. The animal location spells each required an item going along with that animal. There are also those dead blow fish and lizards he uses quite often.
  • The Simpsons: In a Halloween episode, Patty and Selma are witches, cooking the classic recipe...
    "Needs more eye of newt."
    "You always want more eye of newt. If it were up to you, the soup would be nothing but newt eyes!"

    Real Life 
  • Hoodoo folk magic is made of this trope. Components can include (but are by no means limited to) red brick dust, graveyard dirt (preferably from the grave of a soldier or a child. Or, for best results, a Child Soldier), coffin nails, dried bat hearts, and raccoon penis bones, not to mention various bodily fluids. Much of the lore comes down from rural areas in the 1930s, when such ingredients were much easier to obtain than they would be today (or not: a random Google search can and will turn up various shops selling such items online, many disturbingly authentic).


Video Example(s):


Theodoric of York

The Barber of York discusses the treatment for his patient's listlessness.

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Example of:

Main / EyeOfNewt

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