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It Was a Gift

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How to indicate something The Hero owns is cool, or important, or plot-significant — there are a lot of ways, but one of the most common is to make it a gift from another character. Two birds with one stone, since it can delineate character, and the relationship between two of them, as well as play up the importance of this object. If it is part of the Back Story, often the character will relate it with great pride, which makes a good Framing Device. Even an otherwise useless gift may help you on your quest. It can also be used to disguise the MacGuffin's plot-device status (particularly the Memento MacGuffin) or to introduce Chekhov's Gun in a subtle way.

May also explain an incongruous possession.

The Powers That Be make the most impressive sources, but ordinary characters can serve. Mentors, Anonymous Benefactors, the Reasonable Authority Figure, and parents are likely to present such an item, which may be a physical manifestion of So Proud of You — as is the dead little sister. When the gift comes from an equal, it is likely to be reciprocal, often marking Fire-Forged Friends. It is not unknown for them to have strings that only become evident later.

Ancestral Weapon sometimes falls into this, but only if the character was particularly chosen to receive or inherit the weapon. The Cool Sword is particularly likely to be a gift. Partly, no doubt, because there are so many Cool Swords out there. Take Up My Sword and Passing the Torch often involve such a gift, a concrete expression of what is being passed on. The Lady's Favour is a subtrope.

Note there is no reason why it can't be an Evil Weapon. Or under a curse or any number of unpleasant things.

Contrast Give Me a Sword, which is temporary — though it may convert into this after the fight is over. Super-Trope of Supernatural Aid. See Ancestral Weapon and Protective Charm for common gifts.

Not to be confused with The Gift, or GIFT.


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  • The incongruous possession variety pops up in an advertisement for Progressive auto insurance. Flo comments "And no more holding her purse!" to a husband who is shopping for auto insurance with his wife and the husband replies "It's a European shoulder bag. It was a gift," while making eye motions towards his wife.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Orihime Inoue's hairpins, which double as Tragic Keepsakes since they were a gift of her dead older brother. When she grows some more, she uses them as lapel decorations instead.
  • CLANNAD: When Ushio is looking for the lost toy robot she just recently got from her father Tomoya, he suggests that he could buy her a new one. But she refuses and tells him that it is the first gift she ever got from him. At this moment, Tomoya finally realizes his bond with his daughter and how much he loves her.
  • Code Geass R2: Rolo's heart-shaped locket charm on his cellphone was a birthday present from his fake older brother Lelouch. Despite being a ridiculously girly gift (Lelouch was thinking of his real sister Nunnally when he got it), Rolo refuses to part with it and is extremely protective and sentimental about it.
  • Digimon Tamers: Impmon is gifted a toy gun by his partners to help him in the fight against the D-Reaper. Impmon takes it even though he knows it won't be much help, but at the same time he is so moved by the gesture and their restored bond that he unlocks a new evolution in Beelzemon Blast Mode, turning the toy gun into a powerful weapon called Blaster.
  • Played with in the 2006 anime adaptation of Fate/stay night. On their date, Shirou takes Saber to a stuffed animal store and after she angrily stomps off upset when it seems that he's judging her for finding a lion doll cute, he buys it for her. Due to other pressing matters, he never gets the chance to give it to her and the anime closes on a shot of the lion doll sitting on the desk of Saber's bedroom.
  • Gunslinger Girl
    • While not as largely plot-impacting as the rest of the things from this page, it can be seen in a few chapters that Rico has a cuddling pillow given by her handler Jean. Considering the cold, aloof fish that Jean is, it seems out-of-character for him to give her something like that, until we see in a flashback that Enrica has one too, likely a gift from her Aloof Big Brother. This serves to show us cracks in Jean's Jerkass Façade.
    • Triela has this attitude to the weapons issued by her handler Hilshire. She doesn't react well when her pistol is taken off her by Pinocchio, and when Hilshire suggests upgrading to a more modern shotgun she refuses to give up her Winchester trench gun, even though thanks to her increasing memory loss she can no longer remember where she got it.
  • Inuyasha: Inu-Yasha and Sessomarou's swords were not only gifts from their demonic father, they were carved from his very fangs. Ownership of each sword and the skill to properly wield them become a major point of contention and conflict between the half-brothers.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • Back in Middle School, Miko received an anonymous letter of encouragement with a flower enclosed. Given that most people didn't recognize her hard work back then, she came to treasure it and had the flower laminated to keep as a good luck charm. It's eventually confirmed that Ishigami was the one to send the letter.
    • It's revealed during the class trip arc that the blue scrunchie Hayasaka always wears was a gift from Kaguya when they were children.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • This is the main reason why Hat Damage is Vita's Berserk Button despite Magically Regenerating Clothing being in effect. Her hat was not only designed by Hayate, but it bares the likeness of her stuffed bunny (the very first gift that Hayate ever gave her).
    • Subaru mentions in Sound Stage N for the first movie that Cinque's most prized possessions are a pair of step stools that their father made for her.
    • Vivio's Sacred Heart in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid is a gift from her Nanoha-mama after she had deemed her skilled enough at using magic. Sacred Heart's appearance is also based of the very first gift Nanoha gave her (a stuffed bunny), which was burnt during the invasion of the Long Arch.
    • In the backstory of ViVid Strike!, Rinne's adoptive mother gave her a tiepin for good luck on her first day of school that she became particularly attached to, especially once she found out that it was a family heirloom. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by bullies on the day her grandfather died, and -much like with Vivio's bunny- it served as the design basis for her Transformation Trinket.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Negi got his Magic Staff from his Disappeared Dad during their first and only meeting.
    • The bells that Asuna wears in her hair were given to her by Takamichi when she was a child; it's part of why she later developed a crush on him.
  • Nurse Angel Ririka SOS: The new handsome New Transfer Student Kanou gives Ririka a present for her tenth birthday. It turns out to be a cap that she uses to become Nurse Angel. Kanou ends up her mentor.
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy's straw hat is a gift from Shanks. Luffy treats this hat as his treasure.
    • Rayleigh's flashback shows that Gold Roger was the original owner of the straw hat, meaning that it was also a gift for Shanks.
    • Zoro's most important sword Wado-Ichi-Monji was given to him by his teacher who was also the father of his dead friend Kuina.
    • The Straw Hats' first ship, the Going Merry, provides a variation. It was special to all the Straw Hats, but Usopp especially liked it since it was a gift from his friend Kaya.
  • Only the Flower Knows: Misaki's flower necklace turns out to be a gift from Kawabata, so he can look at it and remember someone is there for him after his grandfather's death. He appreciates the sentiment, and also has feelings for Kawabata, so he wears it every day under his shirt. Then their relationship sours and Kawabata rips it off his neck — breaking the necklace, and almost choking Misaki. Arikawa later fixes it, but he understandably doesn't want it any more.
  • Orange: Naho gets a hairclip from Kakeru as payback for making him lunch everyday - she treasures it at lot, since she thinks future Naho didn't manage to get it.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: In the last episode, Madoka gives her hair ribbons to Homura after she ascends into goddesshood. Homura is seen wearing the ribbons in Madoka's memory once the universe is rewritten so that Madoka never existed as a human.
  • SPY×FAMILY: Anya received a very large penguin doll from Loid after a trip to the aquarium. After her dog Bond tears it up due to jealousy and Loid offers to buy a new one, she rejects it as it was a gift from him. He later repairs it for her.
  • Trigun: Anime Vash the Stampede says this about his iconic oversized revolver, which is both the means for converting his right arm into a humongous laser gun and apparently a pretty shitty actual firearm. His Evil Twin made one for each of them with the stated intention of wiping out the human blight. Vash is not very into that. But he's holding onto the gun, in memory of his promises.
  • Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun: Just prior to the second year starting for the Misfit Class, a group of thirteen students including the titular Iruma who went from roughians and troublemakers to being one of the strongest, most devious, and popular classes, and achieving many things that even one would be worthy of high praise, are gifted a trinket. These vary from earings, headbands, and so on. They come from the special tutors they had, family members, and a high ranking retired demon. These are given to celebrate these young demons and Iruma's growth as well as mark them as skilled and dangerous demons who these gift-givers believe have even greater potential.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Solomon Muto has one of only four copies of the legendary Blue-Eyes White Dragon, given to him as a gift from Arthur Hawkins after Solomon saved Arthur's life. Unfortunately, Seto Kaiba coerces Solomon into a duel with the dragon at stake; upon winning, Kaiba tears the card in half.

  • Franz Xaver Winterhalter did a portrait of the Duke of Wellington, Queen Victoria, Prince Alfred, and Prince Arthur (later King Edward). He had the Duke presenting a box to make it dramatic, and it was a widespread story that there actually was such a box, owing to him on his coming of age. The prince even asked for it, and was told by the queen that it was just a piece of fancy.

    Comic Books 
  • In one Jimmy Olsen comic, the villains of the episode hypnotize Jimmy into flipping from spendthrift to skinflint with the ultimate goal of getting him to sell his collection of Superman souvenirs, one of which they hope to use against the hero. The scheme fails because even in his hypnotically induced drive for money, Jimmy instinctively refused to sell the collection, much of which his best friend had given him.
  • The Superman Adventures: Jimmy is trying to get a story from a "Superman watcher" who saw a recent battle between the hero and Kalibak. The man gets sidetracked when he sees the signal watch and tries to buy it with increasing amounts of money. Jimmy rebuffs him, saying it was a gift from a special friend. After the meaning sinks in, the guy further delays the interview by bowing and gushing, to Jimmy's exasperation.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): When San is witnessing Vivienne's past memories, he sees the moment when Serizawa gave his family's Yapese Gojira pendant to her as a birthday gift, which was mentioned in the Godzilla: King of the Monsters official novelization (described under Literature).
  • In Beneath Your Feet What Treasures, the diamond that Rarity gave Spike for helping her in A Dog and Pony Show is the most treasured part of his secret Dragon Hoard.
  • In A Brighter Dark: Corrin's primary reasoning for holding onto Ganglari, even after it came alive and killed Mikoto, was simply because it was the only thing her adopted father had ever given her.
  • The dog, Hai, is a present from Smith to Neo in the The Matrix Slashfic Bringing Me To Life. Smith's denim jacket is a gift from Neo to cement the fresh start that getting together was for both of them. The jacket doubles as a Memento Macguffin that takes on even greater meaning after Neo dies.
  • In the Total Drama story Courtney and the Violin of Despair, Courtney receives the titular violin as a birthday gift from her parents.
  • In Dangan-Pinguino, The origin of Usami turns out to be this, as it’s revealed in Chapter 12 that Rintaro won her as a prize for Mayuri. But at that moment, Mayuri has seen a terrified and distressed Chiaki, and gives Usami to her in order to cheer her up. Chiaki has never forgotten about her since, and has vowed to meet her once again.
  • When Kyon goes with Yuki to buy her a phone in Kyon: Big Damn Hero Yuki acknowledges that, even if she could emulate the functions of a phone without effort, she would treasure it as a gift from him.
  • This is how the zords are explained in Power Rangers: Shuriken Force. Each Ranger was told to bring in an item that represented their most precious memory, and it's explicitly shown in each segment just how much these items mean to them even after years of not laying eyes on them.
  • In the Dragon Age: Inquisition series Twice Upon an Age, this is the only explanation Varric offers for the addition of a red scarf he starts wearing tied to his coat's belt. While this is a completely accurate and honest explanation, his companions (apart from the Lady Inquisitor, who has inside knowledge) are left to speculate for themselves as to just who gave him the gift.
  • In Further Invol(e)vement, one of the things that make traumatized child Haran realize her adoptive parents truly love her is their gift of pet voles.
  • Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!:
    • Uraraka's costume includes a feminum alloy that makes it extremely durable. She says she received it as a gift from someone, but declines to talk about who gave it to her.
    • Izuku's costume is a gift from both of his parents: Inko designed the outfit and sowed it together, while Hisashi used his connections to create the telepathic interface with K.E.L.E.X. and the Seventh Metal fibers that ensure the suit is Made of Indestructium.
  • In Passing Days, Vy's lotus hair clip that she is shown to wear later on in Part 2-related chapters of the story is shown to be a Valentine's gift from Robin Hood, and side stories also reveal her holding onto her cell phone and a metal medallion given to her by her father throughout the Lostbelts. Vy also holding onto the tsuba eyepatch Saber Musashi used in the tailend of Shimosa is shown to be the reason why Musashi is Spared by the Adaptation, because the eyepatch served as a good enough catalyst to bring Musashi back from the Void.
  • Half Past Adventure has Finn give three gifts to Macy before she goes into the Evil Forest: a magical ring, a flare gun, and the Root Sword he got on his thirteenth birthday.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Bee Movie to sneak Barry past security, he pretends to be a brooch on Vanessa's shirt. The guard compliments her on it, to which she says this trope word-for-word after a thanks.
  • The Prince of Egypt: After fleeing from Egypt, Moses abandons all his royal insignia in the desert, but can't bear to throw out the ring that Ramses gave him earlier in the film. When he returns to Egypt to confront Ramses, silently returning the ring is what makes the latter realize that he's not kidding about throwing his lot in with the Hebrews.
  • Starship Troopers: Invasion: Trig's rifle was a gift from her parents. They were killed shortly after when her home town was destroyed by the Bugs.
  • In Tangled, Flynn buys Rapunzel a souvenir flag as part of their Falling-in-Love Montage. Later, it lets her recognize in her own paintings the signs of her birth.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dark City. Subverted in that it's probably just a prop assigned to him by the Strangers; his memories of it being a gift are fake.
    Inspector Frank Bumstead: It was a gift from my mother. She died recently. I keep it with me to remind me of her.
  • Doctor Strange (2016): The titular character sells all of his belongings, including a collection of expensive watches, to pay for experimental surgeries. The only thing he keeps is a watch given to him by his Old Flame, Christine Palmer. The inscription on the back side of the watch says: "Time will tell how much I love you, Christine". His refusal to give up the watch to attackers in Kathmandu leads to him meeting Mordo, who introduces him to the Ancient One.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The hat the young Indiana Jones received from the criminal archaeologist (named "Fedora" in the credits).
    Fedora: You lost today, kid. But it doesn't mean you have to like it.
  • John Wick: The bad guys steal John Wick's car and kill his dog. The dog was the last gift that John received from his now-dead wife. Cue Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: mostly skips over Galadriel's gift giving, only mentioning her gift to Frodo. But in a deleted scene Gimli talks about his gift - Galadriel wasn't sure what to give him, so he asked for a single strand of hair from her head, and she gave him three. Legolas's surprised smile, and Gimli's satisfied tone, make this a rather heartwarming scene - especially if the viewer is familiar with the origin of the Silmarils.
    • Earlier, the trope is invoked when Aragorn - prior to setting out with the Fellowship - attempts to return the Evenstar pendant which Arwen had given him as a sign of her intention to choose a mortal life with him. She's hurt by the action and tells him, "It was a gift. Keep it."
  • The medallion Alejandro's brother receives as a child in The Mask of Zorro plays a significant role later.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl:
    • Commodore Norrington's sword was a gift from the governor (and originally forged by Will Turner). That was its first appearance; it continued to make plot-significiant appearances throughout the trilogy.
    • Bootstrap's knife.
  • In Star Wars: While most notably an Ancestral Weapon, Luke Skywalker's first lightsaber was also a gift from Obi-Wan Kenobi, his friend and mentor. When he lost it in The Empire Strikes Back, he lost his only physical link to two of the most important figures in his life.
  • Undercover Brother. The title character was given a medallion by his father so he would never forget who he is or what he stands for (protecting black people from racism).

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: In Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There, Humpty Dumpty's cravat was given to him by the King and Queen as an "unbirthday present".
  • In Beowulf, both the king and queen honor him with a gift of a ring.
  • In the Bran Mak Morn story "Kings of the Night", the Mineral MacGuffin was given to Bran's ancestor by Kull.
  • In A Brother's Price, Jerin owns a piece of jewelery his grandfather gave him. It turns out to be the "Emerald Hart", a famous piece of jewelry, and serves as hint to Jerin's royal ancestry — his grandpa was a prince.
  • In Chronicles of Chaos, Mrs. Wren gave the children... peculiar birthday gifts. Romus also gives Amelia and Quentin gifts in Fugitives of Chaos.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Peter, Susan, and Lucy receive magical gifts from Father Christmas. When they find themselves back at Cair Paravel in Prince Caspian, the first things they retrieve from their treasury are the Gifts.
  • The Chronicles of Prydain:
    • At the end of The Book of Three, the main characters are given gifts that they will carry throughout the series.
    • In the middle of the fourth book, Taran Wanderer, Dorath demands Taran's sword as "payment" for "protection". Taran refuses because it was given to him by his guardian Dallben and first put on him by the girl he loves. After a fight in which Dorath's sword is broken, Dorath treacherously pulls a dagger and steals it. At the end of the book this proves to be symbolic, because Taran faces Dorath again, this time fighting with a sword Taran had forged himself, and when the two swords meet, it is the sword of his childhood that shatters.
  • In Crown Duel, the ring the heroine receives from an anonymous admirer, and still more the ring she had made to reciprocate, move the plot in several instances.
  • In the Dark Lord of Derkholm sequel Year of the Griffin, referring to a notebook.
  • Discworld:
  • In Draw One in the Dark, characters discuss the possibility that murders are in fact mating gifts between shapechanging beetles.
  • In The Dreamside Road, Enoa receives all the items and materials she needs to learn Shaping as a bequest from her late aunt, Sucora. This includes Sucora’s magic staff, a series of training films, and the mysterious wrist device that tracks Enoa’s progress.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • In Fool Moon, because both Harry and Murphy have received gifts of silver from family, they can fight the loup-garou as it can only be harmed by inherited silver.
    • In Grave Peril, Bianca gives gifts at her party. Many are Chekhov's Guns.
    • Averted in Summer Knight when Queen Mother Winter, on par with the Archangels in terms of strength tells Harry the Unraveling is not a gift but a necessity so he can save the day. It also spares Harry from being indebt to Mother Winter for accepting it.
    • In Small Favor, after Harry talks with Jake (who is the janitor -- really), Jake vanishes, leaving behind a copy of The Two Towers, which opens on some — interesting passages.
  • Earthsea: In A Wizard of Earthsea, Ged finds an island with an old man and woman. He deduces from the dress the woman shows him — rich, for a child — that they had been abandoned there. She gives him half of an armring. In The Tombs of Atuan, this gift is his driving motivation for his actions.
  • In Enchanted, "far-to-go" Thursday ran off and married a pirate — and sends marvelous gifts. One such packet proves to be significant in the events of the novel. Sunday also brings a bucket to the frog, as a gift.
  • In the Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) official novelization, Dr. Serizawa goes to Vivienne Graham's old room in Castle Bravo and he finds a pendant which belonged to his father, who passed it on to him, and he in turn passed it on to Graham. He thinks about who it should pass on to now after Graham has been killed by Ghidorah, before concluding that it's come back to him.
  • In The Golden Transcedence, Phaethon, Helion, Daphne, and Diomedes are all given gifts by the Transcedence.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Hagrid buys Harry an owl, after Harry objects that he doesn't have to, and Hagrid gruffly replies that he knows he doesn't have to.
    • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the broomstick acquires significance as a gift — and the little owl, too.
    • Similarly, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore leaves Harry the Sword of Gryffindor in his will; sure enough, this and Dumbledore's other bequests play roles of varying significance. Also significant are Harry's seventeenth birthday presents: the traditional watch had belonged to a dead member of the Order of the Phoenix, Molly's brother, and Ginny's kiss — to be easy to carry — makes it clear that she's going to wait, even though she knows he's going into danger.
    • Christmas presents to and from Harry also feature. Especially socks.
    • The Invisibility Cloak was also a gift, as was the Marauder's Map, both of which were indispensable to many of his adventures.
  • In The Hunger Games, the pin Madge gives Katniss makes the mockingjay an immensely significant symbol. All the more so when she learns in Catching Fire that the aunt it had belonged to died in the Games. Also, the pearl Peeta gives her in Catching Fire.
  • "The Immortal Bard": Dr. Welch has William Shakespeare's signature as a keepsake from the time he visited, written on the back of a business card for a hardware store.
  • In Poul Anderson's "A Little Knowledge", Harker has his men hanging about and gives them a cover story that he's giving an alien a gift, and they are waiting until he's done.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • The One Ring was a gift from Bilbo to Frodo.
      "Filthy Baggins lies! It was our birthday present, precious. (gollum) Gives it back to us!"note 
    • Then there are the cool gifts that Galadriel gave the members of the Fellowship, including the Phial.
    • At the beginning, Bilbo hands out gifts at his birthday party, and leaves many more gifts after his departure. After the four hobbits reach Rivendell later on, Bilbo gives Frodo his old sword Sting, as well as his mithril-coat.note  On the return trip, Bilbo gives the hobbits all gifts — including his writing, which means Passing the Torch to Frodo. At the very end, Frodo gives the book to Sam.
  • In Miserere: An Autumn Tale, Lucian still carries the Psalter his mother gave him, wrapped in a scarf that Rachael gave him.
  • The Mortal Instruments: The tarot cards Jocelyn gives Dorothea in City of Bones, which contain the Mortal Cup.
  • In The Night Circus, when Bailey meets a girl at the circus, she gives him a glove. This plays a significant role in his later returns.
  • Numerous items in Percy Jackson and the Olympians are given as gifts. Those from the gods are particularly likely to be important, though the knife that Luke gives Annabeth proved to be the most important.
  • In The Phantom Tollbooth, Milo receives many gifts: words, a calculating pencil, laughter, a telescope that shows what things really are. These prove essential when facing the demons of ignorance.
  • In Prospero Lost, when the woman in a thrift shop asks if Miranda wants to sell her Edwardian dress, Miranda contents herself with saying it was a gift from her sister for why not.
  • In Shadows of the Apt, the sword Tisamon gives Tyrisa. He had carried it for years believing the woman he originally meant it for had betrayed him.
  • In Smith of Wootton Major, Smith found a silver coin in his piece of the Great Cake, and gave it to Nell because she was disappointed in not finding a trinket in her own. They end up married when they grow up.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has a number of swords like this. Usually these are Ancestral Weapons and in many cases such gifts become Take Up My Sword, but a few don't fall under either category:
    • Very early in the first book, Jon has a small sword tailor made for Arya, Needle. It becomes her most valuable and prized possession.
    • Jon gets one himself after saving the life of Lord Commander Mormont. Mormont gives Jon his valuable heirloom Longclaw and has the bear, the sigil of house Mormont, on the pommel carved into a wolf, the sigil of house Stark (specifically designed to resemble Jon's direwolf Ghost). The criteria of Take Up My Sword isn't fulfilled until some books later.
    • In a non-sword example, Tyrion Lannister, who has been taking being kidnapped pretty well up to that point, really begins to lose his temper when the Stark soldiers decide to eat his horse. It was a birthday present from his brother.
    • Illyrio Mopatis gives Daenerys Targaryen three dragon eggs as her wedding gift. Those eggs are going to be very important later on.
    • Deconstructed in the backstory. King Aegon IV Targaryen is remembered as one of the worst kings Westeros ever had, especially for his tendency to really get around and consequently father dozens of bastards. His favourite child was his bastard son Daemon, because he was Targaryen on both sides, handsome and strong, and extremely skilled with a sword. It was to him that he gave the Targaryen family sword Blackfyre, instead of to his legitimate son Daeron, a Bookworm, whom he suspected of being his wife's bastard with their brother Aemon. Since the sword is traditionally passed down to the heir to the throne, some took this as a sign that Aegon wanted his bastard Daemon (who took the surname Blackfyre after the sword) to inherit instead of Prince Daeron. This, combined with many other factors, led to a rebellion in which Daemon and his followers attempted to seize the throne. When he was killed and his army defeated, his sons and supporters took the sword with them into exile. They continued to try to seize the throne for another 80 years before the last Blackfyre was killed in the final invasion and the sword was lost.
  • Spiral Arm: In Up Jim River, the harper's mother gave her a necklace. It proves significant in the quest for the mother.
  • In Sylvie and Bruno, their father offers Sylvie a choice of lockets for her birthday present: one says, "All will love Sylvie" and the other "Sylvie will love all." Sylvie chooses the latter. In the end, it turns out they were one locket. Nevertheless, she made the right choice.
  • In Thirteenth Child, when Miss Ochiba leaves, she gives William and Eff books to study, and when Eff cries, gives her a handkerchief as well.
  • In The Thrawn Trilogy, C'baoth recovers Luke Skywalker's lightsaber and gives it to his clone of Luke. At the end of the book, Luke recovers it from the debris and gives it to Mara.
  • Subverted in The Three Musketeers. D'Artagnan starts out with three gifts from his father: a sword, a horse, and a letter of introduction so he can join the Musketeers. By the end of the first chapter, he has lost the letter, the sword has been broken in his first duel, and he has sold the horse (which was an ancient nag with a ridiculous colour).
  • In the Thursday Next book Something Rotten, Thursday gives Hamlet a gift at the end: Alan the dodo.
  • In Tinker, Windwolf gives Tinker a brazier, which is a traditional gift.
  • Tortall Universe:
    • In the Protector of the Small quartet, Kel receives gifts from a then unknown "benefactor". Some of these items are rather pricey. Not only that, they are particularly useful to a girl in knight-training. Among them are magical bruise balm, exercise equipment to strengthen her arms, a saddle for her horse, and a new knife and matching sword. The "mysterious benefactor" turns out to be Sir Alanna, the first lady knight, who presumably, as the sole heir of two large estates, has money to burn. It's implied that these gifts are things Alanna wished she had as a page/squire. An exceptionally notable and heartwarming payment was when Kel got to keep Peachblossom for four years.
    • Alanna herself has her own gift: the mirror with roses on it that her oldest son gave her when he was little. She still uses it to scry twelve years later.
  • In The Treachery of Beautiful Things, Jenny's necklace with the heart-shaped locket.
  • Vorkosigan Saga:
    • In Shards of Honor, Cordelia finds Aral in a drunken stupor and a colorful tropical shirt. The shirt turns out to be a gift from the men who served with him at a former post, most of whom are dead.
    • In A Civil Campaign, Miles shows Ekaterin the scalps in the attic — presumably presented to his grandfather by his subordinates. As they are presents, doing anything with them is complicated.
  • Warhammer 40,000 Expanded Universe novels:
    • Horus Heresy
      • In False Gods, Horus carries a golden sword, forged for him by a battle brother when he was made Warmaster.
      • In Fulgrim, Ferrus Manus carries a golden sword. When he had first met his brother primarch Fulgrim, they had challenged each other, and Fulgrim had made the sword, while Ferrus Manus made a warhammer. Astounded by the other's skills, they had given each other the weapons they had made to seal their friendship. When Fulgrim fails to sway him to Horus's side, they fight, and Ferrus Manus breaks the sword, making Fulgrim realize that the break is irrevocable. Fulgrim takes back the warhammer and has his ships open fire on the Iron Hands.
    • The Space Wolf novel Wolfblade recounts a story that, among other things, tells how Ragnar got his frostblade. Indeed, in the Frame Story, explaining it is the motive for telling the story.
    • In the Backstory of Simon Spurrier's Lord of the Night, the Night Haunter had named Sahaal his heir and decreed that he should receive the Corona Nox as a symbol of that, which was why it's being lost was so important.
    • In Dawn of War II, the governor tries to justify having the Space Marine sword Wisdom by claiming it was a gift. It doesn't save him.
    • In Gaunt's Ghosts, Ibram Gaunt's swords are both gifts. His first came from the hand of his dead mentor, General-Commissar Oktar. When it is ruined in battle, he receives the power sword of Hieronymo Sondar, the founder of Vervunhive, while he tries to defend it in Necropolis, and carries that sword thereafter.
    • In The Carrion Thone by Chris Wraight, Interrogator Spinoza's prized possession is her Crozius Arcanum. This was gifted to her by a Chaplain when she once had an assignment with Space Marine chapter, the Imperial Fists. Not only did Chaplain Erastus give her his personal scrimshawed, bone-encased sacred weapon, he had it resized for her human hands and trained her how to use the still massive weapon effectively. This gift and extra services are especially generous as Space Marines and the Inquisition normally don't get along.
  • In The Wide-Awake Princess, Gwendolyn is showered with gifts for her sixteenth birthday. One of them the fatal spinning wheel.
  • In A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which give the children gifts before sending them off, which proves crucial.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Tara offers Willow a dolls-eye crystal that belonged to her grandmother, but Willow refuses on the grounds that it's a valuable family heirloom. But after they spend the night "casting spells", Willow turns up at her dorm the following morning holding the crystal, implying that she accepted it as a love token.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Jon Snow has a small rapier specially made as a parting gift for his little sister Arya, which becomes the only part of her old life she retains by the end of the season.
    • Jon gets one himself after saving the life of Lord Commander Mormont. In gratitude, the Lord Commander has his Ancestral Weapon Longclaw remade and presents it to Jon.
    • Brienne receives the sword Oathkeeper and a new set of armor as a gift from Jaime Lannister.
  • The Little Drummer Girl: Charlie's bracelet, which Gadi gave her (which is pretended to be from Salim as part of her cover).
  • Parodied in Scrubs. JD is excited at being invited to the birthday party of Dr. Cox and Jordan's son before he's reminded that he's only being allowed in because he has a Spongebob costume. JD hastily defends it with, "It was a gift," before adding in his narration, "From me to me."
  • In Supernatural, the pendant that Dean always wears around his neck was a gift from his brother Sam, who gave it to him to show that Sam considered Dean more of a parent than their father John (the pendant was originally to be a Christmas gift for their father). "Always", that is, until season five, when it turns out to be a tool for locating God, and he reluctantly lends it to Castiel.

    Myths & Religion 

  • In A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a set of three rings showing a gaggle of geese (at least seven), given by a father to his two children, stolen in infancy by pirates, play an important part in the denouement.
  • The Merchant of Venice: One of Shylock's most notable human moments is buried in his 'wicked old miser-Jew' ranting about how his daughter, who recently eloped with an enemy of his, taking all his money and jewels with her, were dead if it meant he could have his riches back—the scene is a friend of his reporting her progress across the Mediterranean, and he gets especially vitriolic after finding out that Jessica traded the turquoise ring for a pet monkey. Turns out that particular ring was a gift from his dead wife, before they married. In fairness to Jessica, she probably didn't know this.
  • The silver candlesticks in Les Misérables represent Jean Valjean's holiness and ongoing quest to be a good man. They were first given to him by the Bishop in the aptly named "Proluge/The Bishop", after he stole the rest of the Bishop's silver. The fact that the Bishop lied to the police by confirming Valjean's claim that the silver was a gift from the Bishop, and that the Bishop gave him more in addition to what he had already taken, is what sets Valjean on the path of righteousness.
  • Wicked has Elphaba's hat, which actually wasn't meant as a sincere gift at first. Galinda, before she was Glinda the Good, or even friends with Elphaba, received an ugly black hat from a non-fashion-conscious relative and regifted it to Elphaba to wear to the party thinking she'd be humiliated. When she was able to stand out in a positive way instead, she and Galinda started warming up to each other, and during the entire time they were friends and after they parted, Elphaba kept the hat and it became her Iconic Item as the Wicked Witch.

    Video Games 
  • The "Vampire Killer" whip from Castlevania series is given to the Morris family sometime during early 19th century and stays with them until the year 1999 as a keepsake before the next rightful owner of the Belmont Clan appears. John and Jonathan use it anyway to deal with certain threats that wish to bring back Dracula prematurely.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • For the twins, Yamato and Rebellion to Vergil and Dante respectively, are passed down by Sparda. Their mother Eva also gave them their own halves of the Perfect Amulet.
    • Midway through Devil May Cry 4, Nero is already in possession of the Yamato (the katana that Sparda and Vergil once used), but he still asks Dante to let him keep the sword to fight with, as he needs it in order to save Kyrie. In the finale of the game, Dante lets Nero keep the sword permanently as a gift "worth giving" when Nero tries to return it to its rightful owner, Dante. Of course, Dante merely wants it to "stay in the family", and the revelation in Devil May Cry 5 retroactively means he already realized that Nero deserves the Yamato during their second fight in DMC4.
  • The incongruous possession variant occurs in Eternal Sonata — if you have Retto explore Viola's bedroom, he finds a teddy bear, which strikes him as odd. Then he spots the gift tag.
  • Final Fantasy
    • As is eventually revealed in Final Fantasy VII, the Buster Sword was a gift from a dying Zack to Cloud, which sort of explains why it can never be sold (polygonal limitations explains the rest). In Crisis Core, the Buster Sword was a gift from a dying Angeal to Zack, who then used it exclusively (but only the blunt side, in order to "prevent wear, tear, and rust"). Even before that, the Buster Sword was a gift from Angeal's very poor parents to Angeal when he joined SOLDIER after the weapon was forged.
    • Tidus of Final Fantasy X also had his signature weapon, the Brotherhood, as a gift from Wakka, who originally made it for his dead little brother Chappu, who coincidentally (and remarkably) resembled Tidus. Chappu's refusal to use the weapon was something of a sore point with Wakka, as Chappu chose to fight with an Al Bhed machina weapon instead, and eventually died fighting Sin.
      • Tidus also gets a longsword in the beginning from Auron, a "gift" from Jecht. Considering you can sell it as soon as you acquire Brotherhood, it tells you a lot about how Tidus feels about Dad.
  • Mega Man ZX has Livemetal/Biometal Model Z, under the ownership of Giro. When he dies a little later into the game, he entrusts the metal in the hands of his apprentice(s) Vent/Aile. In the sequel Advent, they tell Ashe/Grey that it's not theirs, but rather a "memento" from a dear friend.
  • Odin Sphere
    • Gwendolyn's magic spear was given to her by her mortally wounded sister. So it's understandable why she gets upset when she learns her father gave it away to the Shadow Knight, Oswald, as part of a bribe. Luckily, Oswald only wants Gwendolyn's love and is perfectly happy to give the spear back to her.
    • Oswald also presents Gwendolyn with the magic ring Titrel, describing it as the only gift he has that's worthy of being presented to her. Gwendolyn turns around and delivers the ring directly to her father Odin, who wants it in order to control the Crystallization Cauldron. She's immediately filled with regret when Odin tells her the lengths to which Oswald was willing to go for her sake - even moreso when Oswald finds out and takes it to mean that she has no feelings for him, which sends him over the Despair Event Horizon. Gwendolyn later storms the fairy kingdom of Ringford single-handed to retrieve the ring after it's stolen, and flatly refuses when her father demands that she hand it over, declaring that she'd rather die than part with the token of her husband's love.
  • Professor Layton's Signature Headgear is a gift from his girlfriend.
  • Sands of Destruction averts this trope with Morte, perhaps as yet another way to mark her as "odd" in comparison to the rest of the team (as if being the Token Evil Team Mate out to destroy the world with great enthusiasm wasn't odd enough).
    • While Morte's first sword, the Nameless Blade, was given to her by the local blacksmith of the Bacchitav Caravan, she shows no particular attachment to it and is equally happy with any sword; she cares more about the strength of the weapon than where she got it. The blacksmith himself considers it to be an Old Shame and desperately wishes to replace it (which grants you her Infinity -1 Sword if you take him up on his offer), but not because being stuck with an inferior weapon could be dangerous to a fellow Sand Tribe member; he's just worried someone will trace it back to him and think his skills are still as poor as when he forged it. She also has no problems trading in clothes which were given to her by Feral women, though as she had no prior relationship to them, it's not quite as odd.
    • Played straight by most other characters and various weapons and armor they receive; they're obviously happy to have items of sentimental value as well as practical power. Luckily, the two coincide more often than not.
  • In one of the endings to Street Fighter Alpha 2, Ken gives Ryu his famous red headband (which Ken had been previously using as a hair tie). Previous to this, Ryu had been wearing a white headband.
  • Played for Laughs in Tales of Vesperia. When Judith meets Yuri, she notices the Sorcerer's Ring (commonly used in the series to solve puzzles) and asks if it was a gift from a girl. When Yuri admits that it was, Judith comments that they must have a "special bond", which causes the 21-year-old Yuri to groan that he hopes not—it was given to him by the Hot-Blooded 15-year-old mage Rita.
  • In "The Champions' Ballad" DLC for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, refighting Thunderblight Ganon enough times will have Urbosa's spirit ask Link to give her diary to Zelda once the whole business with Calamity Ganon is over, primarily because she's written down memories of Zelda's mother (including when the Queen first introduced an infant Zelda to Urbosa).
  • In Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings, Ilmeria's atelier is filled with cute plush toys, which she insists were all gifts from other people, though the twins suss out the truth pretty quickly.
  • In the arcade and Arcade Archives versions of Sunset Riders, stage 5 has El Greco as the boss, who tosses away his red sombrero as all players head back to their positions. However, if one of the players happens to be Cormando, that player will not return to their position unlike the others; instead, they remain where they were as El Greco says “Adios, amigo.” Then, he will toss the red sombrero in the direction of Cormando, who catches it and swaps the red sombrero with his own, in which the red sombrero remains for the rest of the game.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Ironwood groomed Winter's career so that she would be capable of inheriting the Winter Maiden powers, the very thing he wanted her to have. However, when he tries to claim credit for this in Volume 8, she angrily tells him that he chose nothing because she was given a gift. Penny chooses Winter to receive the Winter Maiden powers to protect them from Cinder, because she has faith in her and she considers Winter her friend. Winter's transformation is therefore rooted in Penny's sacrifice, their relationship, and their rejection of everything Ironwood stood for.

    Web Comics 
  • In The Adventures of Shan Shan, Cassie has a lunchbox from her Disappeared Dad.
  • In Alice and the Nightmare, Alice gets a collar-like necklace with a mirror from her mentor, who tells her that with this, her strength will be Alice's strength. It's as transparent a Chekhov's Gun as any.
  • In the webcomic Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, Daniel Ti'Fiona long wore a signature robe; in a flashback we finally learn it was given to him by his friend Wildy San when he graduated from Adventurers School.
  • The ring in Girl Genius. "Some kind of connector from the gas system turned to a ring by Gil during his abortive marriage proposal, to give to Agatha, worn by Agatha until she needed to fake her death, found by Gil on what appeared to be her body, worn by Gil on a chain about his neck thereafter. She was quite touched when she realized that.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court
    • The blinker stone, from Mort to Antimony. She is not pleased when she learns its significance. Followed by more complications when she learns why.
    • Antimony asks Reynardine to take better care of the stuffed animal he is currently inhabiting because it was a gift from her dead mother. Reynardine agrees (out of regard for her mother).
  • Homestuck:
    • Thanks to time travel shenanigans, John ends up receiving the same present three times, with added modifications each time. The final version (a cybernetically enhanced toy rabbit (the one from Con Air, no less) carrying an array of lethal weapons) is both instrumental in the rise of power of the main villain, and John's victory in his first battle against said villain.
    • At the same time, the presents sent by John to his friends prove instrumental in defining Dave's appearance, Rose's weapon of choice, Jade's liking for wearing blue and gardening, and the very reason that the four kids know each other in the first place.
  • In Kevin & Kell, when Rudy graduated from Caliban Academy, he gave his trademark bone necklace to his little sister, Coney.
  • Zoe's chest tattoo in Sluggy Freelance was a necklace given to her by Torg. It was revealed to be cursed the first time it activated and turned her into a camel, bonding to her skin. The necklace was found later as evidence of Zoe's death.
  • Unsounded: Matty treasures his hat because his frugal and emotionally distant father gave it to him.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Katara's necklace, from her grandmother by way of her mother. Important in that it gets stolen partway through the first season, then retrieved again; has plot significance in "The Waterbending Master" as well. Also, "The Avatar State" opens with a gifting scene reminiscent of (and slightly parodying) Galadriel's gifting of the party in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
    Master Pakku: (in a serious and ceremonial manner) Katara, I want you to have this. (cut to a close-up of the amulet, showing that it is a triangle with a wave-shaped pattern of blue color with a crescent moon on the top.) This amulet contains water from the Spirit Oasis. (cut to behind Master Pakku as he hands the amulet to Katara, who is standing in front of Appa and next to Aang) The water has unique properties. Don't lose it. (his face softens)
    Katara: (respectfully) Thank you, Master Pakku. (she embraces him and then walks off screen; Aang steps forward and Master Pakku produces an intricately-decorated brown box)
    Master Pakku: Aang, these scrolls will help you master waterbending, but remember they're no substitute for a real master.
    (Aang looks up at Katara, who is on top of Appa, and then exits to the left as Sokka steps forward)
    Master Pakku: Sokka. (Sokka looks at him proudly and expectantly.) Take care, son. (Pakku pats Sokka's arm, giving him nothing; Sokka's expression becomes very dejected and embarrassed)
  • In season 3 of The Owl House, it's revealed that part of the reason why Luz is such a big fan of The Good Witch Azura series is because her father gave her the first book shortly before he died and reading it helped her during her grieving period.
  • Inverted in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Krab Borg". SpongeBob and Squidward are smashing Mr. Krabs' stuff, and he's screaming about the costs and they get to a blender. Mr. Krabs stops screaming, saying it was a gift, in disregard.
  • Mr. Know-It-All (Bullwinkle J. Moose) shows—and ultimately fails—how to train a monster. When he gives up:
    Rocky: What are you gonna do with him, Mr. Know-It-All?
    Mr. Know-It-All: What do you mean what am I gonna do with it? Happy birthday, Rocky!
  • Work It Out Wombats!: In "Measure for Measure," Ellie loses her hat. Her hat was very important to her because it was a present from her gammy.


Video Example(s):


My Dad gave it to me.

While Jess is trying to break a Helmet Nick gave her while they were dating, it reveals that his late Dad gave it to him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ItWasAGift

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