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Mistaken for Granite

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Luigi's Poltergust may take out ghosts easily enough, but Medusa may prove to be a rockier challenge.

"These statues were singularly inanimate. I knew better than to assume that they would remain as such."
Kain, Legacy of Kain

Obviously, guarding the Macguffin is a hard job, especially if you are a 4,000-year-old civilization. Booby traps can be dodged, guards require resources, written warnings can be misinterpreted or overlooked due to Language Drift, and curses can be awesome. So why not just use the obligatory scary statues as guards?

This trope refers to times when an important room has statues around it which seem like normal statues, if perhaps heavily armed. However, upon something important happening, the statues will come to life and start attacking. Whether or not the statues remain stone-like as belligerent Rock Monsters/golems or turn into fleshier fighters (the latter usually involving the "outer casing" of stone flaking away) varies from work to work and frequently depends on the special effects budget.

If the work in question is a video game, the statues will most likely respond to an attack, or at least to the player character brushing up against them. One way to gain these for your room is to take people for granite.

See also Living Statue, Rock Monster, Taken for Granite, Golem, Our Gargoyles Rock, Nobody Here but Us Statues, and MacGuffin Guardian.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • InuYasha: A pair of such statues guard the doorway to the underworld. When approached they proclaim that no one living can pass, and then ask if the intruder wishes to pass. If you do, obviously they have to kill you. The one person allowed to pass without a fight is Sesshoumaru, because he wields Tenseiga.

    Comic Books 
  • Miracleman: The doors to the room housing the kingqueen of the Qys is guarded by two guards whom Miracleman/Marvelman mistakes for statues, due to their immobility and size.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992), Link mistakes a Rocklops for a statue. "Don't scare me like that!"

    Films — Animation 
  • Alice in Wonderland has Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum sing a song about Alice treating them like inanimate statues, "We're Not Waxworks", and scold her for not speaking with them like a civilized person.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Lone Wolf:
    • In Book 3, The Caverns of Kalte, Lone Wolf may encounter a strange crystal statue that may or may not come to life depending on the player's choices. Unless you have a certain special item by that point (either the Sommerswerd or the Kalte Firesphere), attacking it is actually a very bad idea. Doing so releases the powerful Ice Demon that was imprisoned inside it. It will repay Lone Wolf by attempting a Grand Theft Me, which spells instant death for him. This attempt may very well succeed if the player did not find one of the aforementioned Special Items.
    • In Book 20, you have the demonic beast "Ghazoul". Although it is not specifically stated that the statue of it encountered earlier was in fact the monster waiting in ambush, it is strongly implied. The power of turning itself into stone is certainly a good way to trick even a Kai Grandmaster's mystical senses.

  • In Conan the Buccaneer the shrine of Tsathoggua the Toad God contains a stone statue of the god, watching over the treasure. If someone step around the temple, the statue comes back to life (still remaining stone) and chase them.
    • On a similar note we have the Bloody God (which in this case is a living statue made of gold and rubies).
  • Subverted in Shadowkeep: at one point the heroes walks in a corridor full of mean-looking, demonic statues. This being Shadowkeep, Sranul thinks that the statues will come to life and attack them, but they're eventually revealed to be just harmless statues. Played straight in the finale with the Demon King Dal'Brad.
  • The D'denir statues in Warbreaker, which are really the Lifeless ultra-warriors known as Kalad's Phantoms.
  • The Neverending Story has a pair of sphinx statues -actually real sphinxes, huge and powerful beings that almost never move- that will fire upon you if you get too close to them. Maybe. Or maybe not. It's completely random, which is part of what makes them terrifying. And what their eye beams actually do is bombard your mind with all the riddles in the world, paralysing you until you answer them all, which you'll never do before you crumble to dust.
  • Harry Potter: There is a guardian statue at the entrance to Dumbledore's study. Most of the time though, it only comes alive to ask for a password.
    • Hogwarts itself has hundreds of decorative statues and suits of armor which a spell may bring to life in the event of dire danger.
  • In the Simon Canderous books, the doorway to the arcology is guarded by a pair of living stone statues. But you can be given clearance so they let you pass.
  • In Frank Belknap Long's Cthulhu Mythos novella The Horror From The Hills, a museum acquires what they think is an idol of the oddly elephant-like god Chaugnar Faugn. The next morning, a security guard is found grotesquely eviscerated and drained of blood near the statue, whose tusks and trunk are spattered with blood... and in a slightly different position than they were the night before.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • A pretty stock scenario (the iconic dungeon environments no doubt have something to do with it). The actual statues can range from "mere" fairly regular ones temporarily animated by a spell over "proper" golems to more exotic cases like clockwork automata or one-of-a-kind constructs dreamt up by a particular scenario designer; at least one edition of the game (the "basic" one later compiled into the Rules Cyclopedia) even featured several types of literal "living statue" monsters as essentially lower-powered golem expies to throw at less experienced groups of player characters.
    • Also a favorite strategy for Gargoyles or Margoyles, monsters apparently made of stone and who can stay perfectly still in ambush. The smartest often hides amongst other more ordinary statues to better look inconspicuous.
    • Characters can play the same game with a statue spell, allowing the subject to turn into a stone statue and back again at will for several hours.

    Video Games 
  • Blood has gargoyle statues that sometimes turn into live Gargoyles. A select few come to life in the form of Stone Gargoyles, as in the same creature as Cheogh, the boss of the first episode.
  • Gargoyles in TES 5: Dawnguard sometimes come to life and attack when approached.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: Whenever you see a deactivated but otherwise intact golem, rest assured that it will start attacking as soon as you do something important.
  • Final Fantasy V has stone gargoyles guarding the four tablets. Also living (floating!) statues in the basement of Val Castle. Said statues give a ton of AP, making the basement a great place to grind for Job Levels.
  • Legacy of Kain series: Lampshaded at one point by Kain, who notes, "These statues were singularly inanimate. I knew better than to assume that they would remain as such."
  • Once the player reaches the castle portion of Resident Evil 4, they should be on the lookout for seemingly inanimate suits of armor.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Throughout the series, we have Armos and Iron Knuckles.
  • Thief: The villain of the third game starts animating stone statues in the late levels.
  • Warcraft III: At one point in the third game there's a hallway with statues of armored men on either side. Further down the hallway are robotic golems which activate when you reach them (complete with "The statues are coming to life!" in case you missed the point). Not a very well-done one though, as the golems and the statues look nothing like each other.
  • Starcraft II: One of the early Terran missions has you grab a Protoss-defended artifact before the Zerg can. The artifact is surrounded by doodad statues, who then activate when you grab it.
  • The second Guardian (boss) and the Spriggan statue in La-Mulana. Also, wall reliefs will start shooting at you if you stand next to them for too long or strike them.
  • The room of the Hero Core boss 'Guardian' contains some statues of standard enemy machines you fought many times. Appearing to be decoration, they actually are idle machines and aid the boss once he loses a certain amount of Hit Points.
  • The second Chozo Statue in Super Metroid seems inanimate until you take the powerup it holds and try to leave, at which point the exit seals and it attacks you. Also happens with another Chozo Statue in Lower Norfair. These statues are known as "Torizo", and seem to serve as guardians of certain areas. In the Metroid Prime sub-series, it is recommended to never assume that Chozo Statues are merely decorative: they may be helpful or harmful, but rarely do they do nothing.
  • Chrono Trigger has a rat in the Arris Dome that pulls off a surprisingly good deception, but drops the facade after the Guardian is defeated. You must then learn how to run efficiently in order to catch it as it will run away when you approach it, and you HAVE to catch it to proceed with the story. Just... don't reassign the button bindings until AFTER you catch it, okay? The rat assumes the bindings are on their default buttons, forcing you to Figure It Out Yourself if you messed with the bindings beforehand.
  • Dungeon Crawl has one possible configuration of the Lair of Beasts that features a Hell temple with dire elephant statues standing around outside it. Said statues come to life after you enter the temple.
  • In Zork III, the player must find a way past the Guardians of Zork, which are symmetrical statues lined up on either side of a long corridor that will attack and destroy anything that passes between them. Getting past is one of the most complicated puzzles in the game, involving mastery of a room-sized moving box with mirrors on the outside, taking advantage of the fact that the Guardians are completely symmetrical and cannot tell the difference between the Guardian opposite them and their own reflection. Or you can just drink the invisibility potion and walk past them.
  • In Path of Exile the third act is set in the city of Sarn, capital of an empire that was destroyed at least in part through unwise use of magic. Naturally a number of enemies and a few bosses are decorative statues that hop off their plinths when you walk by and try to kill you.
  • There is a particularly interesting example in Dragon Quest VIII, where in the castle of the Big Bad, there are statues of your party. As you're escaping, they attack you using skills relevant to their real life duplicate. Oddly enough, the statues never actually move, instead just hopping around.
  • Bayonetta has statues of the angel enemies scattered around some levels, which come to life and attack you. Some are part of the natural progression of the level, coming to life when you walk past them; others are optional battles and only come to life when the statue is attacked.
  • Medusa in the first Castlevania game starts off looking like a regular stone bust of a woman before coming to life and attacking Simon. She pulls the same trick on Luigi in Simon and Richter's reveal trailer for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  • In Dungeon Keeper 2, the final obstacle between the titular Villain Protagonist and the gateway out of the underworld is a pair of eternal, immortal Gate Guardians — the Stone Knights. They're Nigh Invulnerable... but by the endgame, the Keeper can summon up a Horned Reaper that can easily reduce them to rubble.
  • The Binding of Isaac: Ultra Greed, the Final Boss of Greed mode, gets turned into a gold statue when killed. In Greedier mode, that's not enough to stop him: he immediately becomes mobile again with an explosive Ground Punch and resumes the fight with a wholly new moveset centered around explosions and splash damage.

    Western Animation 
  • Steven Universe: White Diamond and her Pearl are both very statue-like. The latter moves around in a Ghostly Glide on the tips of her toes with her arms outstretched, with her mouth the only individual body part moving. White Diamond is standing in the same pose (but not on the tips of her toes), and is so immobile (apart from her eyes and mouth) that her body is drawn the same way as background scenery, adding to the whole Humanoid Abomination look. Turns out both are perfectly capable of moving, White Diamond is just a perfectionist who likes striking that pose as long as she can.