The plot where the object that everyone is looking for turns out to have been transformed into a person (with the occasional variation of being a Robot Girl). It's usually (but not always) a girl, and is usually associated with several of the following tropes or plot elements:
- The girl (again, it usually is a girl) initially has no memory or knowledge of what she really is.
- This leads to the Tomato in the Mirror trope.
- The hero gets to know her as a person first before discovering what she really is.
- There is conflict among the good guys over whether to keep the girl or return her to her natural state as a MacGuffin. Some see it as killing her; others don't.
- The story ends with either a self sacrifice (if the object is vitally important) or with the girl staying a girl (if the object only needs to be used once or is only wanted by the villains).
Girls who are sought after due to their status go under Hostage MacGuffin. Girls with some mundane trait (beauty, intelligence, etc) that makes her a target go under Mundane MacGuffin Person, while ones with a supernatural trait like a Barrier Maiden are examples of MacGuffin Super-Person.
Please do not include characters who are titled like objects (light, key, hope, etc.) but are not objects.
- In Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy, farm girl Anveena is revealed to be the Sunwell, a fount of magic that a wizard transformed into a girl to keep the Undead Scourge from obtaining it.
- In Gold Digger there are at least two characters that fit this, Array (who among other things can create and absorb new bodies of virtually any type and ability, recreate them at will, and each new body has its own mind/personality that remains distinct within the original's mind when absorbed) and the title character's paternal grandmother (who was forced back into her MacGuffin form prior to the start of the series to be used by one of the Big Bad's due to her particular set of magical powers).
- Yvaine from Stardust is the fallen star that the potential heirs to the throne, the witch trio, and the protagonist all need to retrieve. Of course, we know she's a star right from her introduction, and so does everybody else. The hero was a little slow on the uptake.
- Dawnshard: Near the climax of the story, Rysn stumbles upon the titular Dawnshard, the vessel containing of the four Commands that were used to create The Cosmere. The Command leaves its previous vessel and Invests itself in Rysn, making her the new Dawnshard.
- Dawn in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an ancient energy construct called The Key who was hidden in human form by a group of mystical monks. Specifically, they made her Buffy's sister through a Cosmic Retcon, so that Buffy's drive to protect her would be even stronger. Glory wants to use Dawn's blood to open the doorway back to her native dimension, but the process would doom our world and possibly even every other. In the end, it turns out that Dawn's human form was just created out of Buffy's blood, so Buffy can close the portal by making a Heroic Sacrifice in her place.
- Princess Astra in the Doctor Who serial "The Armageddon Factor" is the transformed sixth segment of the Key to Time.
- Kamen Rider has several examples:
- Kamen Rider Fourze's Kengo used to be a fidget switch. While he's not directly necessary for the villain's plans, he is necessary for the Big Good's, so the villain wants to kill him.
- Kamen Rider Wizard's Koyomi is the Philosopher's Stone and a human corpse merged into a Voodoo Zombie that needs regular infusions of Haruto's mana to survive. The Big Bad wants her to try and finish the process of reviving her.
- Kamen Rider Ex-Aid has several members of the cast who used to be video game programs before they were brought to life. Most of them are villains, but in the second act they also all double as the Macguffins the Big Bad's after, since he needs their data to create the ultimate video game.
- BIONICLE: The Mask of Life, the MacGuffin of the 2006 and 2007 storylines, builds itself a body in the 2008 storyline to become Toa Ignika to assist the Toa Nuva on Karda Nui. It's a little new to the whole hero business, however, which doesn't mesh well with its extreme power.
- In Super Paper Mario, the character Luvbi is a Pure Heart transformed into a Nimbi by her parents. She only became aware of her true nature at the end of Chapter 7. After that, she volunteers to revert to her true form so that Mario and the gang can continue on with their quest, though finishing the game reveals that she was later brought back as an actual Nimbi.
- Kingdom Hearts has a partial example: the seven Princesses of Heart were born human, but their hearts of pure light used to be seven of the twenty fragments of the χ-blade.
- World of Warcraft: Anveena Teague was the last pure energy of the Sunwell, given human form by the red dragon Korialstrasz. It was supposed to just be an illusion to hide the energies but got a bit more complicated when she started developing her own emotions.
- The Princess in the CollegeHumor short Every JRPG Ever.