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Only the Chosen May Wield

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"Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of... THOR."
Inscription on Mjölnir, The Mighty Thor

In a fantasy story, or sometimes even a sci-fi series, there will be certain special items that only an attuned person can use. The most famous of these is the Sword in the Stone: Only King Arthur could remove the sword from the stone in which it was lodged, and thus proved that he was the true king of England.note 

May be the first evidence of Because Destiny Says So or The Chosen One. Such an item may also be The Chooser of the One. If the wielder also happens to be The Chosen Zero they might also be The Team Benefactor by virtue of providing access to it.


A Sister Trope to Only the Worthy May Pass. Compare Situational Sword, Finders Rulers (which this trope can result in). See also Only the Chosen May Ride.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In I Was A Sword When I Reincarnated, weapons that are sufficiently powerful, sentient, or both, are very, very choosy about who wields them. The gods of the world agree with this philosophy and eventually the Goddess of Chaos puts a curse on "Shisou" that anyone who tries to wield him, without her consent, will receive a Cruel and Unusual Death if knowing about the curse but tries anyway. Those that try but don't know about the curse will just receive a nasty electric shock.
  • Digimon:
    • How the Digidestined received their Digimon and powerups (in the form of eggs on stone pillars) in Digimon Adventure 02. Also used at least once in Digimon Frontier.
    • Digimon Adventure episode "Evil Shows His Face" reveals a variation when Leomon tells Tai that only the Digidestined can get the Digivices to work, which is how the former concluded that the latter and his friends were just that.
  • In an episode of Ranma ½, Kunō pulls the magic sword Wishbringer out of a stone. Subverted, as he was only able to pull the sword out because he was the one-millionth to try. However, once he claims ownership, Wishbringer will only listen to his voice.
  • The Escudo weapons from Magic Knight Rayearth. If anyone else tries to hold them, even each other, Umi's turns to water, Fuu's gets incredibly heavy, and whoever grabs Hikaru's is set ablaze.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Tessaiga was meant for Inuyasha and only allows Inuyasha to wield it. If its power is stolen that power will find its way back to Inuyasha as quickly as possible. Although it possesses a barrier that prevents full youkai from touching it, that barrier is a magical addition to determine who cannot wield the sword rather than who can.
    • Tenseiga was given to Sesshoumaru and it only allows him to wield it. Even though he doesn't want the sword, the sword wants him. He even tried breaking the sword and throwing it away once. Tenseiga promptly reforged itself and returned to him — he can't get rid of this weapon even when he tries.
    • Toukijin was an Evil Weapon so powerful it could even possess its own creator, and the Ultimate Blacksmith Toutousai couldn't even approach. Sesshoumaru was so powerful, it couldn't possess him, so it accepted Sesshoumaru as its wielder and true master. At least until Sesshoumaru's compassion finally became too powerful for the sword's hate and shattered the sword, that is.
  • Ikki Tousen has five swords - the "Hyakuhekitou" - that were stuck in one stone. One Big Bad manages to free several of them at once by destroying the stone.
  • In Soul Eater, all weapons are assigned to a particular partner upon enrollment in Shibusen, based on the interlocking personalities of the weapon and meister. Generally speaking, it is impossible for a weapon to be wielded by someone who isn't their partner because their inner natures tend to clash. Adult Meisters/Weapons appear to be free of this restriction, which is said to have something to do with the fact that wielding a Weapon is about how the souls of both meister and Weapon react to one another, and seems to rely on some level of mutual understanding and compromise - too much conflict spoils the resonance and people get hurt, or even fall flat on the ground if they happen to be up in the air when you start arguing. As such, it's implied that the Adults are much better at handling their composure, allowing for a wider range of partners. This isn't to say if an Adult pair start to argue they'll stop resonating, or that there are pairs that would never be able to work, just that that's never been depicted in the series. The fact that most Adults seem to have a preferred/assigned partner supports this.
    • Excalibur is also present in the series and is the only weapon who averts this trope by being potentially able to be wielded by anyone: His numerous powers include the ability to adjust his soul wavelength to go along perfectly with anyone... Except his personality is so extremely obnoxious that no-one wants to get within two leagues of him.
  • In Magical Circle Guru-Guru, the magic sword of light, Kira Kira, can only be called upon by a true Hero.
  • Several weapons in Silent Möbius are bound to specific bloodlines. Grosspoliner's connexion to the Liqueur blood is a plot point.
  • Hero Tales has the Kenkaranpu, which can only be drawn by a "true hero". In the first chapter Taito was able to draw it but it was promptly stolen...
  • Meta Knight's legendary sword Galaxia in Kirby: Right Back at Ya! will shock (sometimes to death) anyone not powerful enough to wield it if they so much as touch it. It will also demand to know who they are and what they think they're doing.
  • The Z Sword from the Buu Saga of Dragon Ball is suggested to be such a weapon in Kai legend, but in reality it just seems that it's really, really heavy. It's stuck in a stone pillar on a planet in the afterlife, and Gohan has to go Super Saiyan 2 before he can pull it out. It's still incredibly heavy once it's removed, too - he can barely lift it without transforming. Then the good guys break it by accident while training, releasing the old Kaioshin sealed within it, who turns out to be a lot more helpful than the sword itself.
  • In Rosario + Vampire, Moka's Power Limiter rosary can only be properly removed by Tsukune.
  • In the Pokémon anime, it is stated that the Pokemon will only obey the original person that caught, trained, and raised it (and only if it considers him/her worthy). So care must be taken when loaning other people your Pokemon, or gifting them to others, or trading them to instruct the creature to "do whatever so-and-so tells you to do." The best example of this being Ash's Charmander, which becomes rebellious when it evolves to a Charmeleon/Charizard, as it belonged to another trainer before joining him. Charizard only starts obeying him when he saves it from being frozen in ice.
    • This is averted, however, if the Pokémon are familiar enough with the individuals in the group. For example, Ash's Pokémon have no issues with obeying Misty or Brock when separated from Ash, even without permission. It can also be averted with certain Pokémon that are loaned to trainers and trained to (temporarily) obey whoever is controlling them; even so, their original trainers can reassert control if it's necessary (such as when Team Rocket tried to steal some of them).
    • Ash's Froakie from the XY saga is an interesting case, as it has a history of ditching trainers who don't measure up. Ash is the first trainer it considers worthy and the only one who unlocks its Super Mode.
  • SD Gundam Force gives us Musha Daishinshou, a semi-sentient Humongous Mecha that can only be controlled by The Dai-Shogun, surpeme ruler of Ark. It's stated that without the Dai-Shogun, Daishinshou would go on a rampage, so it spends most of the series locked up in a castle. Villain Kibaomaru thinks he can use Daishinshou, and looks for a means of releasing it. It's revealed that the one to use Daishinshou is the one who has the power to release it; his son, Genkimaru.
  • One appears in UQ Holder!, where Touta is naturally the one to pull it out. Turns out it was a gravity-controlling sword, and Touta was the only one to notice it had a switch to make it light enough to pull out.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, certain cards can only be wielded by a chosen duelist, including the Egyptian Gods, the Legendary Dragons/Knights of Atlantis, the Earthbound Gods, and the Signer Dragons. And then there are the Millennium Items.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
      • The Millennium Items tend to kill holders they don't deem worthy.
      • People who try to use counterfeit versions of the Egyptian God Cards get hit with a Bolt of Divine Retribution.
      • Marik Ishtar has Strings duel Yugi with the Egyptian God Card Saint Dragon of Osiris/Slifer The Sky Dragon. They get around the restrictions because Strings is an Empty Shell and Marik, who is worthy, is controlling him, so in reality, Marik is the one wielding it.
      • Gurimo steals the Egyptian God Card, Obelisk The Tormentor, and uses it against Yugi. He gets around the restrictions with The Seal of Orichalcos, which is powerful enough to control Obelisk. Even then, Obelisk struggles and the strain of controlling him takes its toll on Gurimo.
      • After the Pharaoh gives into temptation and uses The Seal of Orichalcos, his Legendary Dragon, The Eye of Timaeus, deems him unworthy and disappears from the duel, then disappears whenever he tries to play it. He eventually redeems himself and regains Timaeus' trust.
      • Strangely, despite using the Seal of Orichalcos, Valon is able to use his Data Brain card to copy Rocket Hermos Cannon, which was created by the Legendary Dragon, The Claw of Hermos, and wield it without any ill effects.
      • Offscreen, Mai Valentine took Joey Wheeler's Legendary Dragon, The Claw of Hermos, and tried to duel Rafael. Since she had previously used The Seal of Orichalcos, Hermos deemed her unworthy and disappeared when she tried to play it, leading to her loss.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Franz uses a counterfeit version of the Egyptian God Card, The Winged Dragon of Ra. He gets around the restrictions with a card called Mound of the Bound Creator, which binds Ra to his will, though Ra struggles and cries. Judai frees Ra and takes control of it, and shocks Franz by being able to control Ra without Mound of the Bound Creator, hinting at Judai's specialness.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, a sword in the village of the fifth trial is like this. Yami has to lure the five dragons to said village before he's capable of lifting it.
  • In the Sailor Moon manga and Sailor Moon Crystal, although the other Senshi can wield the Holy Sword, only Sailor Venus, as the destined leader of the Sailor Senshi, can actually free it from the rock that it's embedded in.
  • In Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, Lilliluka steals Bell's "Hestia Knife" and attempts to sell it. However, the pawnshop will only give her about 30 vals for it, when a typical generic weapon is worth several hundred or thousands. He tells her the knife is dull and won't cut. After the knife is returned to Bell, the hieroglyphs inscribed on it immediately light back up, making her realize the weapon is only useful in his hands. Technically speaking, the knife is enchanted to work for anyone who is a member of the Hestia Familia, it's just that Bell was the only member at the time. Later, the new member Mikoto Yamato is able to wield it effectively.
    • In the movie Arrow of the Orion, Bell is the only one who can free Artemis' spear from a crystal, with Artemis saying it is because of his pure heart. Afterwards, anyone can carry it, but Bell is the only one who can invoke its powers.
  • In Tenchi Muyo!, only those of royal Juraian blood can hold Sword Tenchi. Those who aren't are given a PAINFUL shock. It confuses Ayeka as to why Tenchi, a boy from Earth, could wield it and it isn't until Tenchi's grandfather Katsuhito spells out everything (namely, that Katsuhito's her long-lost brother Yosho) that she understands why. It's unknown if Ayeka's tiara or other royal Juraian devices have the same defense, though.
  • This is a side effect of the Armed Virus in Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid The weapons on which its carriers transform after being aroused can only be wield by a special set of infected denominated as Liberators.
  • In Pretty Cure All Stars - Spring Carnival, the main villain, having stolen the heroine's collective Transformation Trinket, tries to use them to turn into a so-called "Cure Thief". However, it's pointed out by one of the fairies that only the "Legendary Hero Precure" (re: our heroines) can use them. He laughs it off and claims he knew that.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans' second season, the Gundam Bael is essentially treated as Excalibur in the form of a Humongous Mecha, with claims that it possesses the soul of Gjallarhorn founder Agnika Kaieru and whomever can pilot it is the organization's rightful leader. McGillis Fareed, who obsessively studied Kaieru since his childhood, discovered its secret (it was made to use the Ālaya-Vijñāna System, which Gjallarhorn later declared taboo), allowing him to claim it. The "rightful leader" part is then subverted when McGillis tries to take charge of Gjallarhorn and the vast majority of the organization stays loyal to their current leadership.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin: the Hokkaido Arc, this seems to be the case with Mugenjin, the sword formerly wielded by Shishio. The only person after Shishio's passing who has been able to draw it out of its sheath is Ashitaro Hasegawa. His friend Alan Inoue actually makes the comparison with the Excalibur when explaining why it couldn't be drawn, though this only when he was trying to sell it to someone (they all thought that the sword had warped in its scabbard, causing it to get stuck), before Ashitaro had drawn it out.
  • A variation from Rave Master occurred with the tenth form of the Ten Powers sword. It was a sword specifically made for Shiba, the first Rave Master, so its final and tenth form could only be wielded by him. When Haru became the second Rave Master, Musica had to make a new tenth form of the sword specifically for him just before the final battle.
  • Excalibur in The Seven Deadly Sins can only be wielded by a worthy hero of its own choosing. Currently, only King Arthur himself can wield it. This is used against him when Cusack uses his Resonant magic to brainwash Arthur into impaling himself with Excalibur. Since only Arthur can lift Excalibur, no one else can save him by removing the sword from his chest, preventing Elizabeth from using her healing magic on him. Eventually, Merlin takes his body to a magic lake that brings him back to life, allowing him to pull the sword out.
  • Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water has the titular Blue Water, which can only be wielded by Atlanteans. When Gargoyle tries, he disintegrates into salt.
  • The Cloths of Saint Seiya have to be earned for the right to be worn. Sometimes, a specific cloth can be allowed to be worn by someone else other than their proper owner (such as Seiya wearing the Sagitarius Cloth and Odin's Robe at different points), and also, a cloth could deem its owner unworthy and abandon them voluntarily (happens to Cancer Deathmask).
  • In Black Clover, four-leaf clover grimoires, which are said to bestow good luck, only choose mages with exceptional potential, with Yuno being blessed with one.
  • In Kill la Kill, only Ryuko Matoi can fully synchronize with Senketsu and hear what he's saying. Satsuki and Mako both wear him, but are unable to understand what he's saying. Justified, since Ryuko's father designed Senketsu specifically for her to wear.
  • In That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Mythical/God-class weapons and equipment can only be used to their full potential by wielders they deem worthy. For example, while in theory anyone strong enough could use Rimuru's Hihi'irokane black katana, only Rimuru can unleash its full power by channeling his magical energy into it to reveal its rainbow form since it's attuned to his magical energy. The few times a God-class weapon changed owners was when the user was on their death bed and passing it to the successor directly such as with Tatsuya Kondou giving Carrera his golden revolver.
  • Zatch Bell!: Each of the 100 demons/mamodos has a Spell Book written in unintelligible demon characters. It can take months, even years of searching before any given demon finds their human partner, whose heart has just the correct wavelength to resonate with the demon's so the human can read and cast the spells.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: The Legendary Weapons and the Vassal Weapons can only be used by their chosen wielder. When Kazuki tries to claim the Vassal Katana, it repels him and teleports into Raphtalia's hands. However, some of the villains have devices that can fool the Vassal Weapons and allow anyone to use them.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Season 10 of Happy Heroes, one of the characters finds a trident possessed by evil and somehow manages to wield it, when Big M. and Little M. are incapable as seen in their previous attempts. Similarly, Careful S. finds the Sword of Justice to combat this evil, and it is revealed only those empowered by justness can wield the sword.

    Comic Books 
  • The Witchblade in the comic of the same name was like this.
  • The Mighty Thor:
    • Only a handful of beings have been able to wield the legendary hammer Mjölnir to date: Odin, Thor, Captain America, Storm, Wonder Woman (in the crossover Marvel Versus DC), Spider-Man 2099, Thunderstrike, Beta Ray Bill, Jane Foster, Puddlegulp the frog, and Eddie Brock. If someone is unworthy, they will be unable to budge it from the ground. However, if a worthy person is holding it, an unworthy person will still be able to lift them. Note, however, that this trope does not come from Norse Mythology: in the myths, Mjolnir is simply a hammer so heavy that only Thor, the strongest God of all, can lift it (and even requiring a special belt called Megingjörð and a set of iron gloves called Járngreipr to augment his strength even further). Jack Kirby had to rely to this trope when he created the character because the Marvel Universe was already a setting with characters with superhuman strength. Being "worthy" was just a way to ensure that only Thor would lift the hammer, and for a long while nobody else was.
    • In JLA/Avengers, Superman wasn't naturally able to use it, but due to the desperate situation, Odin temporarily suspended the enchantment so Superman could use it to save the day. Superman feels a moment of self-doubt when he is unable to lift the hammer after the battle is over, but Thor praises his performance with it, saying, "Perhaps it was but briefly... but it was in good hands." The general presumption is that being the weapon of a Norse god, "worthiness" includes a warrior component, which Wonder Woman meets but Superman doesn't.
    • One issue of Deadpool had him get the hammer, and all the powers contained therein. It all turned out to be an illusion created by Loki to mess with Thor's head. Shame...
    • In a storyline based in an alternate future, Thor becomes unworthy after becoming an Evil Overlord. His son Magni proves worthy and takes up the hammer. Eventually, when Desak the God Slayer is about to kill Magni, Mjölnir lets Thor use it again to save his son's life, since his love for his son redeemed him.
    • In one issue of Power Pack, Mjölnir permits Zero-G (Alex Power) to use it when he catches it on the backswing.
    • Beta Ray Bill's personal hammer, Stormbreaker, has a similar enchantment, although the Skrulls were able to split it into a pair of axes and give it to a Super-Skrull during Secret Invasion. In the story Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter, Bill became unworthy and could not lift Stormbreaker after he became so obsessed with revenge against Galactus that he started blowing up the planets Galactus intended to consume in an attempt to starve him to death, and infected one race with a bioweapon when they refused to evacuate. Bill redeems himself and regains his hammer when he saves Galactus' life.
    • During the events of AXIS, Loki could wield it. It's unclear how much of that happened thanks to their own attempts at redemption or because they were under the inversion spell, but either way it was temporary and after the dust settled, it quickly became clear Loki was back to not being able to wield it.
    • For a time after the events of Original Sin, no god could wield Mjölnir, not even Odin himself, which turns out to be because of Thor — during a particularly bad period — agreeing with Gorr the God Butcher that the gods are evil and do not deserve worship and unwittingly influencing Mjölnir's enchantment. Once Thor comes to his senses thanks to a pep talk from Beta Ray Bill, he and any other worthy gods become capable of wielding it again.
    • In an issue of What If? Don Blake's Love Interest Jane Foster finds the hammer instead of him and becomes Thordis.
    • Another "What If" story involving Black Widow shows just how quickly one can change from "unworthy" to "worthy". Nat tries to budge the hammer during a fight, but can't. Then, still in danger, she shoots down a monster attacking someone else rather than defend herself. Boom.
    • Marvel Zombies has its version of Thor (zombified) using a hammer made from concrete and rebar, as the Hunger Gospel has left him unworthy of Mjölnir.
    • In Secret Empire, it seems that Steve Rogers, having been corrupted into being a HYDRA agent, was still worthy of the hammer. However, it's revealed that a shard of the Cosmic Cube changed the magic around the worthiness to allow him to do so and, when the real Steve came back and history was restored, the other Steve discovered, to his horror, that he wasn't worthy anymore.
    • Red Hulk is unworthy, but he managed to bypass the enchantment and use the hammer against Thor by taking advantage of the fact he was in a zero gravity environment. He also exploited the fact that he could still lift Thor while he was holding the hammer. In a rematch, he tried to grab it while on Earth; Thor immediately let go, and the hammer promptly crushed his hands under its weight.
    • Magneto and Moon Knight are both able to manipulate Mjölnir and use it against Thor, thanks to unique circumstances; Magneto because his metal-controlling powers work on the hammer, Moon Knight because Mjölnir was forged using a moon rock-based ore (uru) and he is the champion of a moon deity. While this allows them to telekinetically move it, however, they explicitly cannot truly "wield" it in the traditional sense. They cannot lift it with their bare hands and don't gain the power of Thor, as they are essentially just "bypassing" the enchantment with their powers, much like Red Hulk did by grabbing it in space.
    • The rule also applies to sentient robots like Ultron and The Vision, who are subject to the worthiness clause as anyone else. However, it does not apply to robots without a will of their own, or to other machines. However, despite being sentient and evil, The Destroyer has no problem picking up the hammer, with some claiming it is because it is not alive.
    • In one What If? issue, Rogue becomes worthy of wielding Mjölnir, mostly because she has completely absorbed Thor.
    • During the final battle of The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect, the Maestro, an evil version of the Hulk from a Bad Future, attempts to use Mjölnir against the mainstream Hulk. Predictably, it fails to even budge and when a baffled Maestro curses that he's more powerful then ever, Rick Jones reaffirms that one's physical strength is meaningless; if you don't meet the hammer's criteria of goodness, you aren't lifting the damn hammer, and a blood-soaked dictator like Maestro most certainly does not meet the criteria.
    • During Donny Cates' Thor run, Mjölnir is destroyed and has to be reconstructed. Unfortunately, something goes awry with the reforging process and the defect causes the worthiness enchantment is inverted, with everyone except Thor being capable of wielding, even people who would have never been able to use it before like Iron Man, Loki, and even a completely random farmer.
  • Green Lantern:
    • All Green Lantern Rings — and all the other colors — require a user to have a sufficient amount of the emotion that powers it, and be mostly free of the emotion that opposes it. The Sinestro Corps rings vary slightly in that they rely on their wearers' ability to instil fear in others. One of them tried to recruit Batman in the lead-up to the Sinestro Corps War, but he rejected it.
    • This was actually a retcon as, during the Silver Age and further on, anyone could run around with a Green Lantern ring if they were taken from their user. Since Green Lantern: Rebirth, the sufficient amount of emotion was set in place.
    • While, with most of the Corps, many embody the emotion enough to wield the ring, for the Orange lantern corps, effectively only one can be "worthy" to wield the Orange Ring’s power. The Orange Ring emotion is Greed, and whoever is Greedy enough to wield the power of the Orange Ring is too Greedy to share it.
    • The White Lantern Battery in Brightest Day. Hal and Carol refer to it as the sword in the stone, to Sinestro's confusion.
  • In Wonder Woman, the Lasso of Truth can only be wielded by one who is worthy.
    • Despite being evil, the villainesses Genocide and Devastation are able to wield the Lasso, thanks to their unique origins that fool the Lasso into thinking they are Wonder Woman.
    • Played in reverse in Justice Lords Beyond. Wonder Woman uses the Lasso of Truth to strangle/snap the neck of her Justice Lord counterpart for killing Lord Batman, and so she is no longer worthy and the lasso disintegrates.
    • In Forever Evil (2013), Cheetah manages to steal the Lasso, but when she snares Steve Trevor with it, he's easily able to escape. He explains that Cheetah wasn't worthy so she couldn't use its powers, then snares her with it and knocks her out. In the unworthy's hands, it's just a rope and they can't access any of its magic powers.
  • The Smurfs: The magic locket on Puppy's collar, which in the cartoon show says it contains "the key to all magic", could only be opened by one individual, as all others who try to open it are shocked or zapped with a lightning bolt. In both versions of Puppy's origin story, Baby Smurf is the one who succeeds in opening the locket to reveal its secrets.
  • Played for Laughs in PS238—unlike Marvel's Mjolnir, the Hammer of Hephaestus is apparently a Talking Weapon and willing to negotiate with a half-reformed supervillain.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, only Link, the Legendary Hero, can pull the Master Sword out of its plinth.
  • New Avengers (2015): Slightly parodied with Excelsior, sword of the prophesied savior of the Kree and Skrull races. Hulkling is abducted by a group of Kree-Skrull hybrids and told he must pass a test to pick up the sword from a pillar of fire, but if he's unworthy he'll die. The guy telling him this doesn't even get through the whole spiel before a very bored Teddy comes back with the sword.
    Teddy: Found this. Looks like a sword. Can I go now?
  • In Superman story The Day the Cheering Stopped, billions attempted to seize the Sword of Superman throughout countless eons, but neither of them managed to even touch it. However, when Superman was in trouble, the Sword came to him and granted him its power. In the aftermath of the battle, Superman threw the Sword back into space, and it will remain soaring through the galaxy until the Man of Steel needs it again.
  • Marvel Comics #1000: The Eternity Mask — a mystical mask that blesses it's wearer with equal power needed to battle whatever threat they face — has only one caveat; it will only allow itself to be used by people who truly believe in equality for all people, and will revoke it's blessing if the wearer ever tries to oppress the innocent. This results in a disproportionately high number of Eternity Mask wielders being Americans, thanks to the US ideals of freedom, democracy, and all men being created equal.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Prince Valiant only a member of the royal family of Thule can wield the Singing Sword and make it sing.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Pony POV Series:
    • The Elements of Harmony, naturally, but also their Chaotic counterparts, the Elements of Chaos. However, there's a bit of a twist: worthiness is embodying the attribute, not necessarily embodying it positively, but the Element can only be used to their fullest potential if they do. Further more, following being turned into their current form, the Elements of Harmony draw power directly from Fauna Luster, who can withhold her power and render the combined form of them unusable unless replaced with something else, such as sheer extremism. The corrupted versions also have different names, such as the corrupted Element of Magic/Friendship being called Domination and the corrupted Element of Fantasy being called Deceit.
    • After retrieving Cupid's bow, Lovestruck (Cupid's successor and Reincarnation) is instructed to bring it to her adopted mother Venus. Due to it previously being used for evil by the False Princesses, Venus and several of her siblings put an enchantment on it so that only someone worthy of it can so much as move it to prevent this from happening again.
    • The Alicorn Amulet in this verse is an evil version, as it will only allow those it chooses to use it. As Sonata found out the hard way, trying to use it otherwise can end badly if you're not strong enough to forcibly subjugate it. Trixie is considered such because she's descended from its creator, and it'd actively tried to bring her to it for years.
  • Child of the Storm has Mjolnir, which is primarily wielded by Thor, but others are noted as being Worthy. The first of these is Steve... who apparently had absolutely no idea of the significance and ended up using it as a doorstop. During the story itself, two others wield the hammer when Thor's either out of commission or not around: Diana, during the Battle of London, and Maddie at the Red Room facility after a Heel–Face Turn. It speaks volumes of the significance of being judged Worthy that when she appears with Mjolnir in hand, before handing it back to Thor, everyone takes it for granted that she's telling the truth about her Heel–Face Turn.
    • Intriguingly, Maddie's case demonstrates both the fact that Mjolnir has some kind of mind of its own and the Character Development from Unworthy to Worthy - when Maddie investigates it with her Psychic Powers, she's initially immediately rebuffed as Unworthy, but when she inquires further, Mjolnir shows her images of prior wielders, how they were Worthy, and how in one crucial instant wiped from her memory, she showed that she could be Worthy too.
    • The Green Lantern Ring is also sentient, to an unknown extent, and picky about wielders, requiring insane strength of will - for instance, it doesn't usually take teenagers, but it's willing to relax its rules in that specific regard where necessary (i.e. where the wielder meets every other requirement and the fate of the universe is at stake).
    • The Swords of the Cross (including Amoracchius, the sword most people think of as Excalibur) are also choosy. At best, they simply won't do anything more than an ordinary sword, or be anything more than an ordinary sword. At worst, they will bite. Hard.
    • The original Excalibur actually subverts this trope. Which only the Chosen is meant to wield it, it's based on the Merlin (2008) version, which is more like the Sword in the Stone - it started out as an ordinary but excellent sword, got reforged/enchanted in the flames of a dragon, leaving it able to (among other things) kill the undead. However, anyone who got their hands on it could theoretically wield it, which is exactly why it got stuffed in a rock by Merlin in the first place, to prevent anyone he didn't allow from removing it. As mentioned, the second Excalibur, Amoracchius, plays it straight.
      • Related to that, Harry's sword follows a very similar path: it's forged by Uhtred, a very talented but otherwise ordinary young warrior and blacksmith out of ordinary materials... or their Asgardian versions, anyway. Then, it gets reforged/enchanted by the connivance of Doctor Strange, who grew up in Camelot and witnessed the original at work, under similar circumstances. Doctor Strange's enchantments wove these together, and ensured they had lasting effects. No one's entirely sure what all of those are yet, but one of the things that Loki immediately identifies is that Harry should be very careful who he lets touch it, as it might... bite.
  • In A different weasel makes a difference Lightbringer can only be wielded by Azor Ahai. Anyone else who tries...
    • Daenerys Targaryen is able to grab it, but doing so nearly kills her and causes a small eruption from the Dragonstone volcano.
    • Undeterred by this, another seventy-nine random people try and all die horribly.
    • In the final battle, King Stannis Baratheon, Thoros of Myr, and and an unknown knight all wield it. All three die, but each wields it long enough to give humanity a fighting chance.
    • Shortly after the above, the true Azor Ahai is revealed to be Ygritte, kissed by fire.
    • In a non Lightbringer example, Black Dawn one of the two swords made by melting down Ice, develops a (seemingly justified) reputation that any non Stark to wield it will die. Stannis may or may not have deliberatley given it to Loras Tyrell in the hopes this would kill him (it did).
  • In Imaginary Seas, Percy Jackson is able to activate machines that would normally only be accessible to the Olympians or those working for them thanks to being gifted his father Poseidon's Divine Core. He gets numerous doses of nanomachines (Klironomia) this way. He's also been bestowed with Poseidon's armor and trident, enhancing Percy's already immense powers. His Savior of Olympus skill also grants him the right to use any of the Mysteries of Ancient Greece and Rome, which lets him draw upon any Noble Phantasm he's ever owned through his other Noble Phantasm, Perseus Khresmos. This is also implied to be what makes him compatible with any of the gods' nanomachines, which Athena warns would tear him apart if they rejected him.
  • Robb Returns:
    • This seems to be the schtick of the Thunderbolt Iron Ancestral Weapons made by the First Men:
      • Dawn quivers in the hand of anyone that is not meant to wield it. It's revealed that during Ned's battle at the Tower of Joy, the sword had rejected Arthur Dayne and "failed" him when he needed it the most, which may have been a factor in his loss.
      • When Mace Tyrell tries to take Otherbane from his son Willas, his hand is burned by the spear.
      • Joffrey tries to wield Stormbreaker while Robert is busy training, and the sword shocks him, burns his hand, and throws him across the room.
      • In spite of these examples, Ser Barristan notes that his ancestors could act as Sword Bearers to the Storm Kings, just like he does for King Robert now; and Jory Cassel acts as a Mace Bearer to Lord Stark. Ser Barristan believes this is because they made no claim to owning it, nor viewed themselves as worthy of owning it, and carried it with the permission of the true owners. Whether or not only certain families can be the bearer for the true owner is unclear.
    • In the depths of the Nightfort lies the original Throne of Winter, which is inscribed with runes that say that anyone who isn't a Stark that sits in it will be driven insane.
  • The Sword of Sin and the Sword of Salvation in the Batman Dusk to Dawn series:
    • The first book features the Sword of Sin, which requires its wielder be pure or touching it will be burn them. Not necessarily pure good, just someone who has no doubt or hesitation in what they're using the sword for. Same as in canon, it is the signature weapon of Azrael, the Order of St. Dumas' enforcer trained to be fanatically devout and therefore pure enough to use it. When the last Azrael stops the Order from executing her sister as a demon, she loses the ability to use the sword, and Batman locks it up in the Batcave's vault.
    • The Sword of Salvation appears four books later in Grudge Match. Unlike its twin, it's an Empathic Weapon possessed by Siavash/Matthieu, Ra's al-Ghul's former Blood Brother. It was in a cave for centuries, protected by a magic test of worthiness. Only Damian passes the test and takes the sword out its pedestal, and it recognizes him as its master from then on. He can summon it to him, and it becomes too heavy to use when anyone takes it from him.
  • Subverted in Second Chances when Loki reveals that Tony Stark's belief that Mjolnir was keyed specifically to Thor was actually correct. Odin's spell of "only the worthy may wield" was actually bullshit and the spell simply kept Thor from wielding Mjolnir for a few days until he'd reflected on his actions (Loki compares it to sending Thor to his room). The reason Vision could wield it is because the Mind Stone made him an Outside-Context Problem.
  • When Harry forges his sons' weapons in A Discordant Note, he includes a spell that combines this with Loyal Phlebotinum. Their weapons can only be wielded by them or someone worthy of the weapon with a preference for family. Harry considered tying the weapons to his sons' bloodlines but decided against it in case their descendants "prove troublesome".
    • In the sequel Metagaming?, the Holy Moonlight Greatsword (and presumably Holy Moonlight Greatbow) cannot be used in service of the Old Gods. When Arko'narin is mind controlled by Prophet Skeram, she immediately drops her sword as it becomes "heavier than a mountain" due to Elune's disapproval of her actions. Once Luna removes the mind control, Arko can use her sword like normal.
  • In the Lone Wolf fic Nexus of Light, a villain tricks Lone Wolf into spilling innocent blood. This causes the Sommerswerd to deem him unworthy and shatter. Fortunately, it gets reforged and accepts him again.
  • RWBY Zero:
    • Jaune Arc and Mordred are deemed unworthy to wield Excalibur, so they cannot draw it from its sheath. Eventually, when Mordred develops into a more compassionate person, she becomes worthy and is able to draw it.
    • Gilgamesh is the only person worthy to wield Ea. Not even Lancelot's Knight of Owner ability or Salem's magic and Black Mud can get around this. Of course, Ea becoming its own person and gaining free will, on the other hand...
  • Oogway's Little Owl explains the invisible Trident Of Destiny (which was just a throwaway gag in the movie). It can only be seen by the person destined to wield it who, according to Oogway, will use it to save all of China. It's been waiting a long time with no apparent wielder having come, but Oogway is confident that the Chosen One will come one day. Maybe. Unless he was just screwing with people.
  • "Unlikely Heroine" adds Carrie White to the ranks of the Avengers, and she is shown to be capable of wielding Mjolnir when she joins the initial confrontation between Captain America, Iron Man and Thor, which Thor attributes to the fact that she sought to end that fight to protect others rather than to win anything.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe/Harry Potter crossover "Strange Potter", Doctor Strange creates a wand for Harry Potter, with the wand at least partially made of vibranium and with a hair from Thor as its core. A particular trait of the wand is that no one with ill intent can pick it up, and it will react if it is touched by someone it doesn't already "know"; the wand gave Ollivander a mild shock when he just picked it up out of idle curiosity, but it seriously burnt Snape's hand when he tried to take it away from Harry.
  • Infinity Crisis;
    • While Hela has Thanos recreate Mjolnir for her, she is unaware of the worthiness enchantment, which prevents her from using it against Thor. By contrast, when Jane Foster touches the hammer after Hela stabbed Jane through the chest, her determination allows Jane to become the hammer's new wielder, Thor allowing her to keep his old weapon.
    • In chapter 8 of Counterpart Conferences, Morgana tries and fails to claim Excalibur and ends up with a hand that looks like it's been dunked in acid.
    • During Brothers of Thunder, the various Thors develop the 'habit' of testing their counterparts' identities by allowing the other Thor to lift their version of Mjolnir.
  • The Vasto of White:
    • Shirou is able to create a copy of Aizen's Zanpakuto, Kyoka Suigetsu, but even after he learns the sword's True Name, he is unable to use it. The sword's spirit only respects Aizen and says he is the only one worthy of wielding her. The only benefit Shirou gets is that he is immune to Aizen's illusions.
    • Ayon picks up a copy of the stone axe-sword of Heracles. The spirit of the sword judges him for a few minutes before deciding he is worthy of wielding it.
  • Fate Genesis: Sonic the Hedgehog once played the role of King Arthur. Because of this, he is able to use Saber's Noble Phantasms, like Avalon.
  • One fan comic has Fred Rogers meeting Thor and wielding Mjolnir. Mr. Rogers, in a beautifully heartwarming way, then talks to Thor about how different people are good at different things, and there might be people who can do things that he and Thor can't even imagine. Thor thanks him for his counsel, and Mr. Rogers thanks Thor for visiting.
  • A daughter and a legend: The Servant version of Charles-Henri Sanson runs into his counterpart from the High School D×D universe. Even though the DxD version is an ordinary person with no powers, he can pick up and wield the Servant's weapons because they are technically the same person.
  • God Slaying Blade Works: As in canon, any Noble Phantasm Shirou Emiya creates belongs to him so he can use them. He loans Beautiful Head Taker, the naginata of Tomoe Gozen, to Illya because of a story where Gozen loaned it to one of her female servants, which allows any woman to wield it. He loans the Halberd of Lu Bu Fengxian to Luo Hao, Gae Dearg to John Pluto Smith, and Trap of Argalia to Godou because their powers are always active, allowing anyone to use them. Guinevere and Lancelot can use Rhongomyniad and Excalibur because they are part of King Arthur's legend. Shirou is able to give Arondight to Lancelot because Lancelot is the alternate universe counterpart of its original owner.
  • Fate Crazy Knights: Played for Laughs when Gilgamesh punishes Kirei, Risei, and Hassan of the Hundred Faces by using his Gate of Babylon to plant Mjolnir on the toilet seat lid of the church's only toilet. Since they are not worthy and can't lift it, they are forced to find another toilet. Later, Gilgamesh is subjected to a Laxative Prank and rushes to the restroom of Tokiomi's house, only to discover that one of Hassan's split personalities was worthy and earlier moved Mjolnir to this toilet seat lid. Since Gilgamesh isn't worthy, he can't even put it back into the Gate of Babylon and is forced to find another toilet.
  • The Last Son:
    • Superman's ancestor Von-El, founder of the House of El, created a sword and designed it so only himself and his bloodline descendants would be able to pull it out of the scabbard. It was one of the first known instances of Kryptonian technology being DNA codified to prevent its misuse.
    • Excalibur also appears in Book Four, following the classical mythology as having been created by Merlin himself and wielded by King Arthur in the past. In the present time, Brian Braddock/Captain Britain pulls it out of the stone and uses it to inflict a wound on Apocalypse.
  • Fate Azure Destiny: Ritsuka Fujimaru wields Mashu Kyrielight's shield, Lord Camelot, after her death. He can lift it like it was as light as a feather, but other people cannot budge it.
  • Kabbalah: The Passive Conqueror: Circe has the Noble Phantasm Rule Breaker, which normally belongs to her niece Medea. She says she has it because she taught Medea how to make it.
  • Fate: Kill:
    • Only members of the royal family can touch an emblem of the Empire because they burn anyone else.
    • When Shirou is knocked out and captured, no one can pick up his sword Caliburn. Esdeath gets around this by covering it with a layer of ice so she isn't touching it directly.

    Films — Animation 
  • Quest for Camelot plays with this. The Big Bad Ruber is able to wield Excalibur and he even magically merges his hand with it in the final battle. Then the heroes trick the villain into thrusting Excalibur back into the stone. Since King Arthur is the only one able to pull the sword from the stone, Ruber is stuck. Then the stone's power obliterates Ruber, leaving Excalibur free for Arthur to reclaim.
  • In Minions, Bob is crowned king when he pulls Excalibur from the stone while being chased by the police.
  • In Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, only Atlantean royalty can wield the Trident of Poseidon. Anyone else who tries to hold it gets electrocuted.
  • This is implied to be the case with the demigod Maui's magical fishhook in Moana. It was a gift from the gods that grants Maui great powers, including Voluntary Shapeshifting but he loses it during his first battle with Te Ka, the fire demon. To help Moana on her quest, they go to recover the fishhook from the monstrous giant crab, Tamatoa. We are shown that both Tamatoa and Moana are capable of picking up the fishhook, but neither are shown being able to tap into its magic.
  • Hulk Vs.: In "Hulk vs. Thor", Loki possesses the Hulk's body and beats up Thor. Loki arrogantly thinks that since his new body is stronger than Thor, he'll be able to lift Mjölnir. He fails to budge it, since worthiness has nothing to do with physical strength.
  • Ultimate Avengers: Though the Hulk is unworthy, he is strong enough (with effort) to lift Mjölnir with pure brute force, much to Thor's utter shock. Hulk noticeably struggles to keep it aloft for the short time he's using it (nor can he use its electricity), but he's able to do so long enough to hurl it at Thor with enough strength to knock him out and then pick it up again to try and decapitate Thor with the ax-end before Captain America knocks him away and gets the weapon out of his hands for the remainder of the fight.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Thor, Thor is exiled to Midgard (Earth) and stripped of his power, and his hammer Mjölnir is given an enchantment from Odin that allows only those who are worthy to wield it. Thor initially tracks the hammer down, intending to regain his power, but is shocked to discover that he isn't worthy. After Character Development and a Heroic Sacrifice, the magic judges him worthy, and the hammer flies to him and restores his powers.
    • Thor would later weaponize the worthiness in later films. Later in Thor, he pins Loki to the ground by putting the unliftable hammer on his chest. He also distracts The Hulk momentarily in The Avengers by having him catch the hammer but be unable to move it. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Pietro Maximoff catches it in midair but is sent flying until he lets go. At the start of Thor: Ragnarok, he casually stops a dragon by putting Mjölnir in its mouth.
    • The Avengers try to lift Mjölnir in a drunken game in Avengers: Age of Ultron. In a nod to his worthiness in the comics, Steve is able to shift it slightly, which causes Thor to look nervous for a second. Tony, in his traditional snark, tries to shoot down the idea:
      Tony: It's biometrics, right? Like a security code? "Whoever is carrying Thor's fingerprints" is, I think, the literal translation.
      Thor: Yes, well, that's a very, very interesting theory. I have a simpler one: (lifts Mjölnir) You're all not worthy.
    • After coming to life, Vision innocently, casually, and single-handedly passes Thor his hammer, instantly proving to the team (and the audience) that he's one of the good guys. Though Steve and Tony later ponder whether it was because Vision is a machine and not a person. At the end of the movie, Tony and Steve have a discussion about worthiness, noting they've seen Thor rest the hammer on the floor of an ascending elevator and it continued to rise, snarking that the elevator was worthy.
    • Thor uses this clause to expose the fact that Loki is posing as Odin in Thor: Ragnarok. Thor throws Mjölnir into the distance, grabs "Odin" by the neck and holds him in the hammer's return path. The real Odin, who is worthy, would be able to catch the weapon himself and avoid injury. Loki, who isn't worthy, has to yield and drop the charade so he doesn't get hit in the face.
    • As a signal to the audience how strong Hela is, she catches Mjölnir in midair, holds it up, then effortlessly destroys it, despite definitely not being worthy.
    • After spending the last five years wallowing in misery in Avengers: Endgame, Thor borrows Mjölnir from the past during the group's time travel mission, and is beyond estatic to discover that he's still worthy. Later on, Steve wields it to save Thor's life during the final battle. Cue an I Knew It! from Thor.
      • A person not being chosen to wield is being played with in the final battle - Spider-Man is cornered by enemies, so Steve throws Mjölnir overhead him, who grabs on to it and is promptly dragged along with it and out of immediate danger, since being unable to lift it off the ground and being unable to stop its momentum is the same thing.
    • In Thor: Love and Thunder, it turns out nobody could move the shattered pieces of Mjölnir, so they dug out the ground and turned it into an exhibit. When Jane Foster passes by the shattered Mjölnir, the pieces sense her worthiness and the weapon comes back together for her to wield. She gains the power of Thor and can separate the hammer back into the individual pieces for a Flechette Storm attack. To Thor's shock, though he can still lift it, the hammer seems to reject him and prefer Jane as its wielder. He only regains the hammer when Jane dies. Thor's adopted daughter, Love, can evidently lift Mjölnir as well, since she moved it offscreen to a different spot from where it was resting.
  • In Prince Valiant (1997), only the rightful king of any nation (regardless of morality) can wield Excalibur. If anyone else tries to use it, it will embed itself into the ground and refuse to come out. King Arthur (Camelot) and Prince Valiant (Thule) can use it. Sadly, Sir Gawain is surrounded by enemies at one point and attempts to pull out the sword to defend himself, but fails and is killed. The Viking King is unable to use it, much to his surprise. His second-in-command, who was unable to use it earlier, says it's because he's weak and incompetent, making him unworthy. He kills him, making him the new Viking King through Klingon Promotion, and gains the ability to use it.
  • In Excalibur, not only was Arthur the only one who could draw the titular sword from the stone, he pulled it from the stone again just to prove he could, since no one was around the first time. When he did something unworthy (using the sword's power to defeat Lancelot, who should rightly have won their duel), the sword broke, and when he repented it was fixed.
  • In The Matrix Reloaded, it's a matter of this trope combined with Only the Worthy May Pass. Neo and friends follow The Prophecy of the Oracle to end the Man/Machine war by way of a stack of living and non-living Plot Coupons and Plot Devices that must be first discovered or destroyed, culminating with a minor character dying, passing on a key for Neo to open a door to the source of the Machines. It was all for nearly nothing, as all the protagonist's work is yet another way for the Machines to keep control. Despite that, Neo figures out another option in time.
  • In Siege of the Saxons, Excalibur in the Stone can only be drawn from its scabbard by the rightful King or Queen of England.
  • In Beauty and the Beast (1946), Belle's necklace will only remain a necklace if she wears it. It turns into rotting/smoking rope when in her sisters' hands. Perhaps similar to The Mirror Shows Your True Self as this could also be viewed as a reflection of the sisters' inner hearts.
  • In Dracula: The Dark Prince, the Lightbringer is the only weapon capable of destroying Count Dracula. At first glance and in the hands of anyone else, its just a Simple Staff. But when held by a descendant of Cain, it turns into a scythe. As such, Lucien is the only one that can kill Dracula. Renfield is able to bypass this issue entirely when he bites Lucien and spits his blood on the staff, activating it and allowing him to wield it.
  • Aquaman (2018): When Arthur Curry/Aquaman attempts to claim the Trident of Atlan, its guardian, Karathen, warns him that if he isn't the true heir of Atlan, he won't be able to lift it. Fortunately, he qualifies.
  • In Super Mario Bros., only Daisy can withstand the force of the meteorite. When Lena uses it to merge the dimensions, its power disintegrates her.
  • Shredder Orpheus has Orpheus learn of a mysterious parking garage that can only be traversed with the right kind of skateboard. Hades' network is more than willing to provide said board.
  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
    • Having been warned that the Rightful King Returns, King Vortigern has his soldiers bring everyone in his kingdom of the right age to be his missing nephew to where the sword is in the stone to attempt to pull it out, branding them after the test. Arthur is brought in when he's questioned and discovered not to have the brand. In a subversion, Arthur is knocked out and easily captured after removing the sword because he can't handle the power and memories that overwhelm him when he grasps the hilt. The stone is later revealed to be Arthur's father Taken for Granite after deliberately impaling himself on Excalibur so his evil brother couldn't take it.
    • Invoked later when Vortigern uses Excalibur to kill a mage-controlled snake as it leaps at him from a pillar, but the sword gets stuck in the stone pillar so he can't remove it to defend himself when a much bigger magical snake attacks.

  • In the Lone Wolf series, the Sommerswerd can only be used to its full potential by a Kai Lord. If wielded in combat by anyone else, it is said that its power will fade and be lost forever. Being the last of the Kai Lords at the beginning of the series, Lone Wolf is naturally The Chosen One.

  • In Journey to the West, the Dragon King of the Eastern Ocean has in his armory a piece of magic iron that was used to measure the depth of the Milky Way. It is 20 feet long and as thick as a barrel. No dragon can lift it. Then one day it begins to glow, and soon Monkey arrives seeking a weapon. He picks up the rod and tells it to become smaller: it shrinks to fit him (but is still as thick as a rice bowl and weighs many thousand pounds — Monkey is quite a hero). He can get it to be any size he wants, and when not in use, he reduces it to the size of a needle and stores it in his ear.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Only Gryffindors can draw Gryffindor's sword from the Sorting Hat. Or more precisely, someone with Gryffindor "qualities" such as bravery and valor. It has to be a true Gryffindor to summon the Sword through the hat, however. Not just someone who got Sorted into the house, but someone who truly upholds the ideals that Godric himself prized. In all the series, only Harry and Neville were confirmed to be able to summon the blade to their side. They needed to uphold these ideals and, in addition, still have the humility to ask the Hat for help.
    • "The wand chooses the wizard". A wizard can use a wand not their own; wands are stolen, borrowed, or inherited fairly frequently. But magic channeled through another's wand will never be as easy or as powerful as when the wizard uses his own. On the other hand, a wizard who defeats/kills another in a Wizard Duel will often be able to command the obedience of his vanquished opponent's wand. Willingly returning the wand to its owner will cancel this transfer of magical ownership, though. Meaning that wizards who duel for practice or sport aren't going to be at constant risk of losing command of their wand. After Professor Snape kills Albus Dumbledore, Lord Voldemort claims Dumbledore's wand, the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand in the world. Because he is not the true owner, he cannot use it to its full potential. Thinking that since Snape killed Dumbledore, he is the true owner, Voldemort kills him. What he didn't know was that shortly before Dumbledore died, Draco Malfoy disarmed him, making Molfoy the true owner unknowingly. Harry later beats Molfoy in a physical fight, making Harry the true owner. In the final battle, Voldemort tries to use the Elder Wand to kill Harry. The Elder Wand refuses to harm its true owner, so it backfires and kills Voldemort.
    • If a basilisk counts as a weapon, only the rightful Heir of Slytherin could command it, meaning it wouldn't have listened if Harry tried to use Parseltongue to communicate with it.
  • Earth Abides, possibly the first viral apocalypse story, developed this well. At the start, Ish (the protagonist) finds a hammer left by miners in the mountains he's walking in, researching his thesis and missing the end of the world. He takes it as an artifact of that time. It comes in handy, but he thinks little of it. Years later, when he's met other survivors and formed a tribe, he asks his son to get the hammer to fix something, and the son is shocked: he couldn't possibly touch such a holy object. At the end, as Ish dies, the younger tribesmen are pressing him to tell them who to pass the hammer to, and with it leadership of the tribe.
  • Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain:
    • The story makes use of the Welsh sword Dyrnwyn. In the first book the protagonist is told it should only be drawn by someone of "royal blood". He arrogantly tries to draw it anyway and the flash of lightning from the blade burns him and knocks him out. At the end of the series, in desperation and without thinking, he draws it again — and this time it responds to him. It turns out that "royal blood" was a poor translation (which Eilonwy, the translator, had actually said from the very beginning), and it should be better rendered as "noble worth", which the sword now recognizes in him.
    • Only the "rightful" Ruler of Annuvin can wear the Iron Crown of Annuvin, and the only way to be proved worthy is to defeat the previous Ruler. When someone who hasn't defeated the previous Ruler puts it on, it heats up like a poker and becomes impossibly tight and cannot be removed, burning through his skull.
  • Subverted in Terry Pratchett's Discworld: It's mentioned that pulling a sword from a stone is not all that difficult, but someone who can put the sword through stone in the first place, now there's someone special. And of course, Carrot does just that at one point. The characters also theorize that the original example was a setup. Someone decided ahead of time who the rightful king was and had a dwarf inside the stone holding onto it with pliers. When the right bloke comes along he pulls the sword and all the peasants are suitably impressed.
  • See also Pratchett's short story "Once and Future", in which time traveler and supposed wizard Mervin has placed the sword in an electromagnet, which he can switch off without anyone noticing.
  • In The Blue Sword (and the prequel, The Hero and the Crown), you have Gonturan, the titular Blue Sword, which can only be safely wielded by women and boys younger than 20.
  • The hero of The Iron Dream is able to wield a large truncheon so constructed that only someone with the right genetic pedigree can even pick it up.
  • In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Wolfblade, when Haegr tells Ragnor that he is marked for greatness, Ragnor is dismissive, saying he has brought great catatrosphe on the Chapter, losing the Spear of Russ. Haegr says that he wielded the Spear of Russ, which is evidence enough of greatness.
    • In a later book, this becomes a subversion. Russ actually hated the spear and was constantly losing it - often while drunk. To him, it was an embarrassing gift from his dad, not a symbol of worthiness from the God-Emperor.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Fulgrim, invading the temple of the Laer turns up a literal sword in the stone. Fulgrim draws it out. Justin "hears" a voice tell him to let Fulgrim take it, though it feels quite wrong.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • The three holy Swords used by Knights of the Cross are named Fidelacchius, Esperacchius, and Amoracchius.note  Each Sword responds strongly to powerful faith, hope, and love, respectively. Holding to that ideal is key in allowing the Sword to draw out its full strength on behalf of the bearer.note . Further, it's revealed in Small Favor that several of the most recent Knights have royalty in their ancestrynote . It is also important to note not every wielder is meant to be a life-long Knight. Many Knights are one-timers, who take up the Sword during some crisis, wield it to victory, and leave it aside once the danger has past. Note that unworthy mortals can still pick up and fight with the Swords, but the weapons don't provide them with any particular advantage over plain steel. Moreover, if a treacherous person is given authority over the blade, say the Knight gives a thief the Sword to defend himself when the Knight is out of commission, wielding a Sword in a treacherous or unjust manner renders the holy blade vulnerable to destruction, either physical or (if used to kill an innocent) spiritual.
    • In the Fae Courts, there are the respective Mantles of the Summer and Winter Knights. Each Knight is selected for the position by one of the court's three Queens. In order of strongest to weakest, they are The Queen Who Was, The Queen Who Is, and The Queen Who Will Be. Now, while a Knight could be considered suitable by one of the Queens, if an older one deems the Knight unworthy, they can kill the Knight and claim the mantle to select a new knight.
    • Of the strongest of holy magics, Soulfire, the thing He and His angels used to make Reality, can be given to a mortal to wield, but can only be done when Lucifer has acted first with giving his agents Super-Hellfire. Soulfire, when invoked, makes the magic or action have more substance, making it able to break through some mystical defenses that a foe might have. However, it eats at the soul of the user and if one uses too much, the person will not recover. Fortunately, souls regenerate fairly quickly in this setting - even faster if you do something positive, like hang out with friends and have fun.
  • Callandor in The Wheel of Time could only be taken from the Heart of the Stone of Tear by the Dragon Reborn.
  • The jivatma in Jennifer Roberson's Sword Dancer series are attuned blades with magic powers which can only be used by the one who knows the blade's name.
  • The Sword of Shannara of the Shannara series is an unintentional example of this. It was created with the intent of anyone being able to wield it, but everyone had come to believe that only a member of the Shannara bloodline could use it. Due to the changing, unpredictable nature of magic in the series, that genuinely became the case.
  • Inverted in Secret of the Sixth Magic by Lyndon Hardy, in which Jemidon is the one person who can't handle an enchanted sword or pull it out of the ground. Turns out that this is a clue Jemidon is a metamagician: someone who can't personally use magic, but can enhance magical abilities in others and manipulate the rules governing magical effects.
  • In the Deltora Quest series, only the true king of Deltora can use the full power of the Belt of Deltora, though others can still benefit from the magical properties of its seven gems. The Belt glows when first worn in its correct configuration by the true heir to the throne, clearly indicating who is worthy of it. The Belt will also reject a living ruler in favor of the next in line if it deems them unworthy, as it did with King Endon. It only shone for Endon after his father's death, but after the gems were stolen while it was supposed to be under Endon's care, the Belt shone for his son, Lief while Endon was still alive.
    • The Royal Blood requirement is exploited in the sequel series: to ensure Deltora will be safe should anything happen to him, Lief tracks down his distant cousin Marilen in Tora, who is also a descendant of the first king Adin. Presumably some of the Masked Ones, being descended from a later king's brother, are also eligible.
  • In The Odyssey, Penelope's suitors have to pass the test of bending Odysseus' bow in order to get her. They all fail. A beggar comes and request to try bending the bow, in which he succeeds, revealing himself as Odysseus.
  • In Septimus Heap, the Dragon Ring grows and contracts and glows only for Boy 412.
  • The Orb of Aldur in The Belgariad can only be touched by a purely innocent person or by the true heir of Riva. It's even more impressive when it's fused to the Sword of Riva Irongrip, which was forged from a fallen star.
  • Light And Dark The Awakening Of The Mageknight: The sword of the original mageknight can only be grasped by his successor. This is because only his successor has Ghost Sight, which is necessary to by-pass the optical illusion protecting it.
  • The Adversary Cycle. In Nightworld the protagonists reforge a magic sword that's their last chance to defeat the Ultimate Evil who's causing The End of the World as We Know It. Repairman Jack is the obvious candidate to replace the aging Glaeken who's wielded it in the past, but Jack balks at an eternity of servitude to the Ally, and so offers everyone else in the room a chance. The sword fails to respond to them, so Jack bites the bullet and grasps it... only for it to fail to respond to him either. Turn out only the original hero (who hasn't died and therefore can't expect Jack to Take Up My Sword) is acceptable. After a millennia or so of service Glaeken definitely doesn't want to start all over again, but the sword rejuvenates him as the young warrior he was, and so Glaeken gets a chance to take out his frustrations on the Big Bad.
  • In the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, the sword of the king of the Enchanted Forest is instrumental in choosing the next king, and only the rightful king can access its quite formidable magic, while to anyone else it's just an unusually durable and sharp sword. And because the king also has some influence over the magic of the Enchanted Forest, in a sense the sword also chooses who has the right to wield the kingdom itself. Furthermore, if the sword is taken out of the Forest, it will burn anyone who isn't a member of the royal family, or married into said family.
  • In the Griffin's Daughter series, it isn't said whether or not only the Elf royal bloodline can wear the White Griffin (a ring that is the symbol of the royal family), but it will only glow when worn by someone of royal blood. It's how Jelena is confirmed as being King Keizo's daughter.
  • In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain the two Pure Fist scrolls grant a superpower to a true master of their martial arts school, but will kill anyone else who touches them. Until Marcia grabs both of them at once and somehow manages to get the opposing forces within each scroll to fight each other instead of devouring her. No one else had been suicidal enough to try such a thing, and a little while later she destroys both scrolls to prevent anyone from replicating this exploit.
  • Parodied in Too Many Curses with the Sword In The Cabbage. Forged many centuries ago, the Sword's enchantment ensures that when one worthy wielder, on the brink of death, jabs it into a rock, tree, or other object, only another worthy warrior can draw it forth. It got its current title because the last wielder didn't actually look to see what object he was aiming it at into until after he'd jabbed it in....
  • The Arisian-built Lenses in the Lensman series are each specifically created for an intended Lensman, and will not only fail to work if someone else tries to use it, but will kill someone touching with bare skin it if it's not being worn by its user. This even extends to other Lensmen. When Clarissa received her Lens, Kinnison takes it out of its shipping container by using an insulated cloth to not touch it directly.
  • Wings of Fire: The Eye of Onyx will kill anyone besides the SandWing queen who tries to use it. During the civil war for the throne, Blister tries to take it believing it will choose her as queen but after Sunny gives it to Thorn, it chooses her and kills Blister.
  • In The Divine Cities, Voortya was the Divinity of War, and having reached the Vooryashtani afterlife, Mulaghesh ends up having to wield Voortya's Sword, which is only given to her because of her long and bloody history as a career soldier.
  • Fablehaven features Vasilis, the Sword of Light and Darkness, which can only be given to a new wielder if the old one voluntarily does so. Additionally, if the wielder falls in battle, only a friend can take it up, not an enemy. The sword magnifies the wielder's emotions.
  • Togetherly Long: The magic spear of the great hero Yushii, which he planted in the ground 100 years ago and which every boy from the village tries to pull free on their tenth birthday. The legends say that whoever pulls the spear will gain Yuushi's great power and is one day destined to lead the villagers to a new land.
  • Pahua Moua: Only the legendary shaman Shee Yee can wield the lightning axe. As his reincarnation, Pahua can use it too.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In season seven the Scythe is embedded in stone, and only a Slayer can pull it free. When Caleb tried to steal it, massacring the guards and priests of what he assumed was its hiding place, he found only a message that came very close to quoting the trope: It is not for thee. It is for Her alone to wield. He tries to get around this by having his Bringers chip away the rock around the Scythe, but fortunately Buffy finds it first and "King Arthurs" it from the stone.
  • Camelot: Subverted Trope in the Showtime series. The sword is indeed stuck in a stone, but the problem with removing it is that it's at the top of a waterfall, covered in moss, and the ground is naturally wet (since it's, you know, submerged). It is indeed stuck, and anyone that tried to remove it previously inevitably loses their grip and falls off the waterfall to their death. However, Arthur (thanks to some contrary advice from Merlin) realizes that in order to free the sword, it must first be pushed into the rock, adjusted so that it won't catch, and then pulled out. It's heavily implied that anyone could have done this, they just didn't know it. Arthur also falls off the waterfall, but he gets better.
  • Played With in the Charmed (1998) episode "Sword and the City". In this version anyone can wield Excalibur, but it will corrupt anyone but its destined master. The sisters, sent to help the Lady of the Lake, arrive just in time for her to put it in a stone before being killed. Piper is able to draw it out, making her believe that she's its new master...except no, it makes her start turning evil. It turns out that Wyatt is the sword's real master; Piper can draw it out because she's the new Lady of the Lake, meant to give it to him when he's older.
  • Galavant: There is a legend of a king who will come and bring all the kingdoms under his reign in peace. The mythical sword is even in a stump with a sign engraved on the stump telling people this is the real sword. The titular hero Galavant even comes across it but doesn't try pulling it out. He doesn't even read the sign. Neither does his companion, the former evil King Richard, who pulls the blade out of the stump, realize the meaning of this event. Later in the series finale, the True King loses the sword, it landing in a rock but the Big Bad cannot pull it out. After he is defeated, the True King shows off his ability to put the blade in any rock or ground and be able to pull it out.
  • House of Anubis: The locket. Despite everyone being able to actually wear it, only the Chosen One or the Osirian can actually use it for its real purpose. Also the Mask of Anubis, and the Cup of Ankh, two treasures that only the Chosen One can actually use. If someone who isn't Chosen or at least pure of heart wears the mask they get sucked into the underworld and only the Chosen One can put the Cup together.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: Subverted Trope in one episode: a small European country had a legendary sword stuck in a stone, and the leader of a coalition of criminals arranged for a safecracker to secretly apply modern lubricants so he could pull the sword out and claim the throne. Amusingly, another criminal, who did a Heel–Face Turn and fought the leader, was named Artie King.
  • Merlin: In the BBC series, Merlin magically embeds Excalibur in a stone, to keep it safe until Arthur is meant to wield it. In a subversion of the norm, Merlin's magic isn't empathic in any sense: the sword is impossible to remove by hand, and Merlin simply tricks Arthur into thinking he is the only person able to do it. Merlin loosens the blade with magic once Arthur is in the right mindset.
  • On Once Upon a Time, Charming can't pull Excalibur out of its stone, but Snow White, the rightful queen, can. Subverted when Rumplestiltskin reveals it to be just a normal sword; Charming stuck the sword in the stone himself and pretended to be unable to get it out. (The whole thing is a Magic Feather plot to convince Snow she can stand up to and defeat Regina.)
  • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The five Quasar Sabers from the planet Mirinoi, which like Caliburn/Excalibur are firmly planted inside a stone until the chosen ones finally pull them. The only Ranger born on Mirinoi, Maya, had already tried to remove one as a kid, so either she spent all that time trying to free the wrong saber or the sabers themselves have some say in when they're released. They're not one-to-one, either - two of them are passed on during the series. The question of 'why don't you just smash the rocks' is also addressed: Furio's first instinct upon his failure to pull the sword out is to try that...and he can't even scratch the rocks, something he himself remarks is insane, implying the magical spell protecting the swords is also protecting the rock.
  • Revolution: In "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia", Miles' "lucky" Bowie knife, which proved to be less-than-lucky for Alec Penner (to whom Miles had gifted it some years earlier). So far it's credited with having saved the lives of three generations of Mathesons over a 75-year period. What are the odds Charlie will end up with it?
  • Sliders: One episode has the heroes end up in a world where magic is real. At the end of the episode, they are facing off an Evil Sorcerer, who has previously wiped out the Mallory clan of druids, as they are the only ones with the power to stop him. Guess what? Despite being from a non-magical world, Quinn Mallory can fulfill the prophecy just as well. A local woman (the sorcerer's former apprentice) tells the heroes that the sword hanging on the wall is the only weapon that can harm the sorcerer (who has turned into a dragon). Rembrandt runs after it, dodging flaming breath, but is unable to take the sword. She explains that the sword can only be wielded by a Mallory, which prompts an angry look from Rembrandt. Quinn is able to grab the sword and kill the sorcerer/dragon.
  • Stargate SG-1: In the episode "Avalon", Merlin's cavern has a sword in the stone (which probably inspired the Arthurian legend in-universe), unable to be removed. After the team completes the tests, Mitchell is able to pull it out, and he discovers that it's a hologram. Only he can interact with it as if it was physical, and when he throws it to Teal'c, it just passes through him. It's also the only thing that can defeat the knight guarding the place. A second is later found on the planet Camelot, outside Merlin's house. This one is a physical object, but otherwise has the same rules.
  • Supernatural:
    • Gleefully spoofed in "Like a Virgin". Dean needs a sword that can kill a dragon; conveniently the local expert has one of the only surviving swords in her basement. Unfortunately it's embedded in a huge stone, both to prevent people stealing it and well, because it was fashionable a while back. Only a brave knight can remove the stone, so Dean rises to the challenge... and fails ignominiously as shown here. Time for Plan B, which involves cracking the stone with plastic explosive. It works, only for Dean to discover he's cracked the sword in half too.
      Dean: We're just going to have to get a little closer, that's all.
    • In season nine, in order to wield the First Blade and kill Abaddon, Dean needs to bear the Mark of Cain. Cain agrees to give it to him in exchange for help with his self-termination problem.
  • The Goodies. Spoofed in the King Arthur episode; faced with the Sword In The Stone problem, the Goodies just pick up the whole lot and thump the villains with the rock on the end.
  • Ultraman Orb: The Origin Saga: The power of Ultraman Orb only will allow someone it believes is worthy to obtain its power. Jugglus Juggler was not worthy. Gai Kurenai was.
  • Arthur of the Britons has a "realistic" twist on the tale: Arthur calls all the other Briton chiefs together and shows them a sword wedged under a stone. Whoever pulls the sword from under the stone shall lead them. All the other chiefs get to pushing and lifting the stone, and Arthur quickly grabs it before anyone else does. He also points out that he couldn't have retrieved it if they hadn't worked as one, but the lesson is lost among the squabbling chiefs. The sword itself is never named.
  • Wynonna Earp has Peacemaker, the demon-slaying magic gun passed on to the heirs of Wyatt Earp. The gun is in some ways semi-sentient, burning any demons that touch it and sometimes lightly burning good beings if it doesn't want to be held by them any longer. It can typically be held by anyone who isn't a demon, but it doesn't fire at all - it only works for the Chosen One Earp heir, the oldest Earp currently available. Since the Earp sisters are the first generation to contain more than one child, it's not clear whether the stipulation is actually 'oldest' or if any Earp can wield it, because the only sister unable to is Waverly, who is not an Earp by blood.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Norse Mythology:
    • In the Old Norse Völsunga saga, Odin plunges a sword into a tree inside a king's hall, and only the young prince Sigmund is able to pull the weapon out. The sword was called Gram (from Old Norse "Gramr", meaning "wrath"), and Sigmund's son, Sigurd would eventually kill the dragon Fafnir with it.
    • In The Saga of Hrolf Kraki, the prince Bjorn leaves his three sons three weapons struck into a wall of rock. When the sons later arrive to retrieve the weapons, everyone of them can only take the one weapon intended for him.
  • In the Ramayana, the hero Rama wins a princess's hand in marriage by lifting a supernatural bow that no other man can lift.
  • Arthurian legend:
    • After the death of Uther Pendragon the Britons cannot agree on who should be the next king, as Uther's only son Arthur has been taken away by Merlin to be raised in secret. When the nobles turn to Merlin for advice, Merlin shows them a sword lodged in an anvil or rock placed in a churchyard at Westminster and prophesies that only the true king of Britain will be able to pull the blade out. When Arthur has grown, his kingship is revealed when he succeeds in pulling the sword out, after many others have tried to do so in vain. The tale of the Sword in the Stone first appears in Robert de Boron's Merlin and later also in Le Morte D Arthur.
    • The Siege Perilous is the only unlabeled seat Merlin places at the Round Table, and it incinerates anyone who sits in it except "He who shall surpass all other Knights", and according to Merlin only this knight is able to find the Holy Grail. The Siege Perilous appeared first in the Queste del Saint Graal, when the knight destined to occupy the seat was Perceval; but in Le Morte D Arthur it is instead Sir Galahad.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The Hammer Of Peace in Chikara, which has only been successfully wielded by The Estonian Thunderfrog and by Icarus. The weapon is powerful, however, as it was used to finally defeat Deucalion.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Pili Fantasy: War of Dragons: The divine Dragon Bone Sacred Sword can only be wielded by it's chosen, anyone else touching it dies. So far only three people have wielded it, and one other touched it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has its share of magical items (even without their own minds) that will help only "worthy" users and usually are dangerous for everyone else.
    • Intelligent swords in general tend to act like this. They will only fully function for characters of the same alignment as the sword and working toward the weapon's special purpose (if any). Some weapons and magic items only work in the hands of certain races or certain sexes or some other criteria. And usually try to harm and/or dominate any would-be wielders they don't approve.
    • Blade-rite of Forgotten Realms elves, including two prominent groups of artifacts bonded with their wielders.
      • Elfblades are regalia of high offices and prevent anyone who isn't up to the task or whom they don't appreciate from wielding them and thus from holding an office: "unworthy" claimants suffer harm, curse or instant death, depending on the blade and failed condition. Since claiming the Ruler’'s Blade was the only legitimate way to the throne, in Myth Drannor it caused a morbidly hilarious scene when hundreds of elves waited in the queue for their chance to raise on top of the tower, grab the pommel and get blasted into ashes in full view of the crowd... and then started a fight to get there faster.
      • Moonblades were designed as a means to choose the single "best" clan as the royal family of their new realm. They kill all claimants who aren't "worthy" and of proper blood (namely, moon elves, hence the name—their creator was a moon elf, can you tell?), while growing both in powers and requirements with each generation until they're practically impossible to both claim and wield. Until they ended up with the King Sword that stayed unclaimed for years after the king's death, while members of the royal family were inexplicably plagued by either lethal accidents or sudden calls of adventure carrying them far away from the line to the throne.
    • The Holy Avenger, Carsomyr, is an extremely powerful +5 two-handed sword that dispel magic with every hit. It can only be wielded by paladins.
  • One chapter in a Changeling: The Lost sourcebook deals with legendary items infused with the magic of the Wyrd (such as the shears of the Fates or Bran the Blessed's cauldron). The fiction for the chapter has a lone changeling finding a magical sword and being somewhat disenchanted that it's still just a magic sword after all these years — mind you, in one concession to modernity, it's embedded in an engine block.
  • In Heroes Unlimited, anyone can pick up an Enchanted Weapon and swing it around, but unless the wielder's alignment matches that of the weapon, the weapon will not grant them its mystical powers. So heroic characters cannot use the powers of an evil weapon, and supervillains cannot use the powers of a good weapon.

  • The Matrix of Leadership from Transformers can only be opened and wielded by a Prime or his chosen successor, like Optimus Prime and Rodimus Prime. Galvatron and Ultra Magnus, who are roughly equal in strength to Optimus Prime, cannot budge it.
    • And it's not a Prime who chooses his successor, it's the Matrix itself who chooses a Prime's successor, what makes it a quasi/sort of Empathic Weapon. Ultra Magnus was chosen by a Prime to be his successor, but he wasn't able to use it.
    • Though just because it choses someone doesn't necessarily mean they're a good choice, as Nova Prime, Sentinel Prime, and Zeta Prime can attest. Not to mention the time Thunderwing, an extremely powerful Decepticon, got his mitts on it in The Transformers (Marvel). Or Starscream, though at least in his case it soon started making Starscream good.
  • In BIONICLE, the Kanohi Ignika has a mind of its own, and only chooses to grant its power over life to those with no hesitation or fear in their hearts. While previous Toa had been able to wield its power for its primary purpose of restoring Mata Nui's failing life with their own, the hesitation they always had in their hearts kept them from being able to tap into its true ability. Matoro was the first who ever wielded its power with no fear for his own death, which is what prompted the Ignika to give him full control of its power in order to save his friends before he sacrificed his own life to resurrect the dead Mata Nui.

  • Riffing off a mythological example given above, Richard Wagner in Die Walküre has Sieglinde tell Siegmund how an old man, whom she recognized as her father Wälse (who is really the god Wotan), thrust a sword into an ash-tree, declaring it would belong to the one who could pull it out. Siegmund proceeds to do this, naming it Nothung (from German Noth, "need, travail"); however, Wotan, convinced by his wife Fricka, betrays Siegmund and shatters the sword. It can only be reforged by a hero without fear — Siegmund and Sieglinde's son, Siegfried.

    Video Games 
  • EXTRAPOWER: Giant Fist: The bracelet unearthed at the start of the game. Though sought after by many, only an ancient Latour warrior or their descendant are able to safely use it. Anyone else who tries to wear the ring finds their body forcibly transformed until they die a bloody death.
  • The Master Sword in The Legend of Zelda games. Whenever the sword appears in the series, Link is invariably the only person who can pull it out of its pedestal.
    • In some games, Link has to prove that he is the ancient legends' prophesied Hero before he is able to draw the sword. Before winning the Pendants of Virtue in A Link to the Past, Link will not be able to pull the Master Sword. In Ocarina of Time, the sword sits on the other side of a massive stone door that only opens with the gathering of the three Spiritual Stones.
    • In other cases, the game prevents Link from finding it (and the plot usually doesn't even make mention of it) until a certain point. In Twilight Princess, for example, Link is chosen from the get-go, being a descendant of the Hero of Time and the bearer of the Triforce of Courage (which is explained when he's granted the clothes of the hero). When he goes to get the Master Sword, it's simply a matter of finding it; it did not require any kind of proof of the gods (other than possibly having to solve their puzzle, which itself may only have required his lineage to complete). A similar circumstance transpires in Hyrule Warriors, where the primary difficulty in getting the sword is the army of ghost soldiers who are being manipulated to stop him from reaching it. It should be noted that in both of the above cases, Link has already accomplished a number of heroic feats by the time he goes for the Master Sword, which may be proof enough for the gods without the need for additional tests.
    • Skyward Sword, as the chronologically first Zelda game, serves as something of an origin story for the Master Sword. It starts off as the Goddess Sword, which doesn't have the chosen-hero-exclusive circumstances; during his first battle, Ghirahim will catch your sword if you telegraph your attacks, rip it out of your hands, and wield it himself. However, once it is reforged in the flames of the Golden Goddesses and bathed in the power to repel evil, Ghirahim is reduced to trying to stop the blade from even touching him. (Phantom rematches with the first fight courtesy of the Thunder Dragon's Lightning Round still allow him to catch and wield it, but nobody takes that as having story impact.) The text box that appears after Zelda/Hylia blesses the sword, finally unlocking its full power, even specifically says that Link is now the only one who can wield it.
    • This leads to some tension between Link and Zelda in Breath of the Wild. In preparation for the coming of Calamity Ganon, Link is quickly found to be the true wielder of the Master Sword and is made Zelda's bodyguard in response. Zelda, on the other hand, is unable to unlock her "Sealing Power" necessary to defeat Ganon; she thus finds Link's presence a constant reminder of her own failure to fulfill her destiny. Only by gradually opening up to her protector does she find out that Link is just as nervous as she is about the upcoming fight against Ganon. And when Link goes to reclaim the sword after the Great Calamity, he has to prove himself worthy to wield it again despite having done so in the past and in numerous past lives. The process of pulling the Master Sword from its pedestal slowly drains Link's life, and should the player fail to have the necessary hearts (or have taken sufficient damage when they go for the attempt) then Link dies attempting to pull it out (although the Deku Tree will stop him at a quarter-heart the first time he tries).
    • Wind Waker puts a twist in this; since the Link from this game is The Unchosen One, he must first collect three MacGuffins and fight his way through a massive dungeon just to reach the Master Sword, and then fight his way out again once he has it in his hands. And then it turns out that it wasn't at full power anyway, and Link must put in even more effort to restore it before it can serve its intended purpose.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2:
    • The Hammer of Ironfist, which can only be wielded by a member of Clan Ironfist. To top it off, it only allows the use of its full power when the user is wearing The Belt of Ironfist and The Gauntlet of Ironfist, so it is also a reference to Mjǫllnir. Most players will have helped Khelgar with his personal quest to become a Monk by the time the Hammer is found, and a Monk cannot use hammers, making it a Power Up Let Down.
    • The Sword of Gith can only be used by the Kalach-Cha for a different reason. It will only work if all the shards are together, and one of them is embedded in the KC's chest.
  • Keyblades in the Kingdom Hearts series. In the first game, it looked as though Sora was the only chosen one, with a brief tug-of-war for control with Rival Turned Evil Riku. Then King Mickey was revealed to have one at the end, and it's become The Chosen Many since then. While key bearers can borrow or inherit each others' weapons, anyone trying to use one without its permission can expect it to disappear. Interestingly enough, Sora alone is considered to be The Unchosen One, as his Keyblade was rightfully meant for Riku, and he was otherwise never chosen to have one in the first place, making him the only known key bearer to prove his worthiness of the weapon after wielding it.
    • More specifically, it was originally established as THE Keyblade, but later games have set forth that the only thing you need to wield a keyblade is a sufficiently strong heart and some training to make your own keyblade if you weren't specifically made to inherit it from a previous keyblade wielder.
    • In the manga version of Kingdom Hearts, Sora passes his Keyblade to Donald before performing his Heroic Sacrifice. Unfortunately, Donald wasn't worthy as it disappears from his hands. Fortunately, Sora came back.
  • Commonly seen in Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem Gaiden, the Royal Sword can only be wielded by one of royal blood. Tobin (an ordinary commoner) finds it unwieldably heavy, while Alm (the hidden prince of Rigel) finds it as light as a feather.
    • The Holy Weapons of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War are tied to specific bloodlines and require "major" Holy Blood to wield.
    • The Mani Katti blade from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. It's sort of an Arthurian thing... Lyn successfully removed it from its scabbard after the level boss failed. Of course, she had to kill him to get it done. That said, the trope is played with since the priest guarding it had specifically put a spell to keep it from being drawn and dispelled it after the boss was killed. That said, the Mani Katti glowing in Lyn's hands as it chose her is its own doing.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening:
      • The Falchion is tied to the Ylissian royal family and is fairly picky even among them, even if Lucina has Grimleal blood. It's an interesting example because, technically, anybody can use it. The blade just becomes too dull to be any good for fighting if it's not in the hands of a royal family member. This also becomes a plot point in Lucina's supports with her siblingnote , when she ponders if he/she can wield it too, especially if he/she ended up needing to because Lucina died in battle. After some angst over the subject (because the sibling didn't want to think of his/her sister dying), they finally test it against a log. Lucina ends up leaving before finding out, the sibling walks away thinking he/she can't, but a line of dialogue from Chrom reveals he/she can.
      • Walhart has a battleaxe known as the Wolf Berg, which only he can wield.
    • Fire Emblem Fates:
      • The Avatar's Yato, Xander's Siegfried sword, Ryoma's Raijinto katana, Takumi's Fujin Yumi and Leo's Brynhildr tome, among others. The only time these weapons are used by others is during the Heirs of Fate DLC, where their owners are dead, and the new wielders were their children.
      • Ophelia has a tome named Mysteltainn (a Call-Back to the similarly named sword from Genealogy of the Holy War and her dad Odin's unrelated blade), and no one but her can use it either.
    • The Heroes' Relics in Fire Emblem: Three Houses are a downplayed case. Anyone with a Crest, a special power in certain bloodlines, can use most Heroes' Relics, but only people with a Crest that matches the Relic's will be able to use its combat art or gain additional benefits. Anyone who uses a Heroes' Relic with no Crest at all will either be injured by it or be turned into a Demonic Beast.
    • In Fire Emblem Heroes there are a number of weapons that are only exclusive to the unit it's attached to, and can't be inherited by another unit using Inherit Skill.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, The Society installs fail-safes into their weapons because they're far too dangerous for anyone without the proper training to wield since they're dormant Moon-dweller Automagods. The Spear of Arvess burns anyone who tries to steal it to a crisp. Given it's a really fancy spear made of gold and magical crystals, it happens a lot.
  • In a variation, the Rusty Sword in Secret of Mana can only be pulled free from its resting place by the Hero, who in this case is Randy. However, once it's pulled free, anyone can wield it, which is how it earned so many names (Excalibur, Durandal, etc). At the end of the game, however, Randy is the only one that can wield the empowered sword when it is converted to the Sword of Mana by the power of Dryad's magic: if the Girl or the Sprite are wielding the sword, the spell will fail.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Throughout the series and in the backstory, one of the most important items to the Empire of Tamriel is the Amulet of Kings. According to legend, it was created as the "Chim-el Adabal" by the Ayleids out of the crystallized blood of the "dead" creator god Lorkhan (also known by many other names), which was collected after falling from his heart as it flew across Tamriel, having been cut out by the Aedra (in vengeance for Lorkhan supposedly tricking them into sacrificing large parts of their divine power to create Mundus, the mortal plane), tied to an arrow, and fired across the continent. Following the Alessian Revolt, in which St. Alessia and her Nedic peoples (precursors to most of the modern races of Men) overthrew the (primarily) Daedra-worshiping Ayleids with the aid of the Nordic Empire, rebel Ayleid lords, and the Aedra themselves, Alessia made covenant with Akatosh, the draconic Top God of the Aedra. Akatosh imbued Alessia with his "dragon's blood" and placed her soul in the central stone of what is now known as the Amulet of Kings, symbolizing his pact with mankind. The Amulet of Kings can only be worn by those of royal blood, recognizing them as Alessia's (and Akatosh's) metaphysical heirs to the Ruby Throne of Cyrodiil and confirming those who can wear it as The Chosen One.
    • Morrowind The Moon-And-Star ring is said to be blessed by Azura to kill anyone trying to wear it other than Nerevar (or his reincarnation, the Nerevarine). Whether this is for real or a story made up to scare off pretenders is never discovered. One popular theory is that being the Nerevarine is more a matter of becoming than something you are born as — if you fulfill the requirements to be the Nerevarine, and follow what the prophecy says the Nerevarine is supposed to do, then you are the Nerevarine, and so can wear Moon-and-Star. In other words, only the Chosen may wield, but the Chosen is partly self-chosen.
    • Oblivion
      • The Crusader's Relics (and weapons) can only be wielded by the Divine Crusader in the expansion Knights of the Nine. In addition, if the wielder gains two points in infamy then the artifacts cannot be used until the pilgrimage is undertaken again.
      • The Amulet of Kings makes its first in-game appearance, passing from the Emperor to the Player Character in the early stages of the game. True to lore, the player character cannot wear it, getting a message that it simply "slips off" your neck if you try. It eventually makes its way into the hands of the Emperor's Hidden Backup Prince, Martin, who performs a Heroic Sacrifice at the end of the main quest with it. The Amulet is destroyed, but it summons an avatar of Akatosh who banishes Mehrunes Dagon and saves the world.
    • Skyrim reveals that Deadric artifacts function this way. While the artifacts themselves aren't sentient, the Daedric Princes who created them can be really picky about who uses them. For example, Hircine, not liking a werewolf who uses his ring removes all control the man has over his transformations (though if you attempt to help the werewolf Hircine will make the ring work correctly for you) while one necromancer spent decades working defects into Azura's star to remove her control over it so he could live forever using it.
  • Subverted in Fable I. The Sword of Hewn doesn't need any special requirements, you just have to be physically strong enough to get it out of that rock - a hard feat indeed. This is then beautifully subverted again in the fact that you don't actually pull the sword out of the rock; you actually pull the sword and the rock out of the ground.
    • In the extended cut version, The Lost Chapters, this is how you get the sword Avo's Tear. In the core game's original ending, if you opt to forsake the evil option and cast aside the Sword of Aeons, you are deemed worthy and noble enough to wield Avo's Tear.
  • Castlevania:
    • Parodied in Aria of Sorrow. Soma can find the Sword in the Stone, but he's not destined to rule, so he can't pull it out. However, by this point he has enough strength to wield it anyway, stone and all.
    • More importantly, the iconic weapon of the series, the magical whip known as Vampire Killer, can only be used by members of the Belmont clan or their close relatives. In anyone else's hands it's just an ordinary old whip, and even though relatives of the Belmonts can make use of its magical power, doing so will kill them or at least noticeably shorten their lifespan.
  • Something similar happens in Shadow Hearts: From the New World, Frank can obtain the Legend Saber, a mystical sword still sealed in its stone, with an extra hilt stuck on it to match all the other Improbable Weapons in his collection.
  • In the Divine Divinity series:
    • Divine Divinity has a sword in a stone in northern area of Dark Forest. The sword is sealing a demon, and if you get that sword out, the demon will come out and attack you. Killing it will only send it back to the stone, which it would come out again. Not sealing the demon away after it retreated and left the map will result in the demon killing all NPC in the map. Don't take the sword!.
    • Divinity: Original Sin II: The Blackroot ritual is essential for Godwoken to commune with their gods and awaken their Source powers. If any non-Godwoken attempts it, the drug is deadly.
  • Althena's Sword in Lunar, weapon of the Dragonmaster, which can only be claimed by the strong and pure of heart. Spends most of the first game as a decoration in a stone monument.
  • In Warcraft III, the crazy-powerful sword Frostmourne can only be broken out of its floating chunk of ice by someone who promises to bear any curse it can throw at him/her.
    • Good news: Once you get it, Frostmourne is indeed the thing that can turn the tide and drive out the invaders, etc.
    • Bad news: Frostmourne is excellent at coming up with curses, which may include killing your best friend, literally eating your soul, and making it so you don't even WANT to repel the invaders anymore and end up joining them instead. Just go with a regular drop. Way safer.
  • Uther Pendragon from Fate/Nuovo Guerra uses a sword that is technically the Trope Namer before he put it in the stone.
  • Subverted in Wild ARMs 2 with the Argetlahm, which was used to save the world from a great evil in ancient times. There's even a ceremony near the beginning of the game where newly recruited "heroes" take a shot at drawing the sword. Sure enough, the main character fails his first attempt... But after being possessed by a demon shortly afterward, touching it causes them to cancel each other out and seal the demon inside of him. The sword itself disappears, and he was still never "chosen" until the final battle, when he's trapped inside his own soul and uses The Power of Friendship to draw the sword and kill the demon.
  • Humorously parodied in the fourth installment of Heroes of Might and Magic. Upon locating a giant slayer sword on the world map and picking it up, a message comes up concerning its completely unrelated to the game play recovery. A hero stumbles upon a sword in a stone, and having heard the legend of weapons of such power being lodged in rocks, yanks at it with all his strength. This results in the sword not budging an inch. So he spends the next hour or so with a hammer and chisel to retrieve it. Played straight in the campaign "The True Blade". The Gryphonheart blade can only be drawn by a member of the Gryphonheart lineage. Sir Worton tries to wrest control over the little kingdom of Palaedra from its founder Lord Lysander (who had previously refused to be king because of his loyalty to the Gryphonheart line) by drawing a forgery of the blade from its scabbard. Lysander did not trust Worton and went on a quest to seek the true blade. During the final battle, Lysander without thinking draws the true Gryphonheart blade from its scabbard, proving that he is actually a descendant of the Gryphonhearts.
  • In Magicka, this is a possible weapon. However, since your character is not the true King, you end up taking the stone along with the sword, which functions as a hammer now.
  • Suggested, but not altogether proven, for the Shield of Albion in Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, which is an heirloom of the player character's family.
  • Played with in many ways in Solatorobo:
    • The amulet chooses who may use it in the next Rite of Forfeit to seal Lares. Naturally, Red blunders upon it and it picks him. Poor Red.
    • Escaping the Human Sacrifice that the amulet tries to pull when sealing or super-powering Lares is only possible for Hybrids. Lucky for Red, he happens to be one even though he never knew it.
    • While anyone could presumably use Dahak as a normal Mini-Mecha, only Red is capable of wielding its full potential by using his Hybrid abilities to fuse with it.
    • Lares and Lemures can be controlled from the inside, but at the cost of the wielder's Life Energy. However, if you're immortal like Elh and Béluga, the Titanomachina won't kill you; it'll just take your immortality away. Ah, well, Who Wants to Live Forever?
  • In the "Zenithian Trilogy" of Dragon Quest, only the chosen hero can wield the legendary equipment required to advance the plot. In V's case, you are not the chosen hero, but your son is.
  • Dual Blade in Lufia resonates with spiritual power. Sufficiently powerful beings can make it ring, unleashing its full power, and all of these beings are gods, until Maxim comes along.
  • Aegislash (a Steel/Ghost royal sword pokemon) from Pokémon X and Y can detect the qualities of leadership. According to legend, it can recognize those destined to become king. Pokémon in general will only obey a trainer they respect, this is reflected by traded Pokémon only obeying you up to a certain level unless you have the right gym badge (otherwise they might act randomly in battle).
  • In Overwatch, the Shimada brothers, Genji and Hanzo can use mystical-seeming Asian dragons as part of their ultimate abilities. In the Dragons cinematic, after Genji reveals his ability to summon a dragon, Hanzo declares that only a Shimada can control the dragons in disbelief, suggesting that only their family has this power.
  • Several of the artifact weapons in the Legion expansion of World of Warcraft work this way.
  • The Extars from Valkyrie Drive -Bhikkhuni- work in this way.
  • The Staff of Ages from Shadowgate can only be used by the bloodline of kings, starting with Lord Jair, the hero of the original game. This comes up later in Shadowgate 64, where civilian Del Cottonwood must wear a ring owned by said bloodline in order to even carry the Staff safely. And when the time comes to defeat the Warlock Lord with it, he has to give the Staff to a statue of Lord Jair, then put the ring on it, whereupon it comes to life and kills the Warlock Lord.
  • In Nexus Clash only Angels can wield Holy weapons and only Demons can wield Unholy ones. Anyone else gets hit with a nasty backlash of the damage type they were trying to use...not that that stops some people from trying.
  • In Final Fantasy XV, anyone who tries to wield the Ring of the Lucii better be of the Lucian royal family, or else they're going to get it. Trying to wield it for selfish reasons costs Ravus his arm. Ignis managed to negotiate sixty seconds of power in exchange for his eyesight. Nyx gets until sunrise to use its power, and loses his life on the dawn.
  • Shining Resonance: The Armonics are sacred weapons that also function as musical instruments. Each was formed from the Shining Dragon's body and bestowed to his most devoted followers. An Armonic chooses its wielder by resonating when the one it deems worthy to possess it draws near, which is first seen when Barmonium begins to resonate within the vault of the Imperial treasury the moment Marion is brought to Astoria's Capitol. This causes Sonia some level of angst since the Armonic that belongs to her father still hasn't resonated with herself, though when King Albert is injured against Excella it finally does deem her a worthy bearer.
  • Downplayed in the Soul Series; anyone can hold and swing Soul Calibur and Soul Edge, but only someone that Elysium and Inferno, the spirit of each sword respectively, decides are capable of fulfilling their own personal goals can unleash their full-power. For instance, Soul Edge in the hands of Cervantes was able to be shattered by weapons that, while augmented, were relatively ordinary compared to itself, but Siegfried/Nightmare merely grabbing the hilt caused the worldwide cataclysm of the Evil Seed.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: The Monado can't be wielded by just anyone, and may temporarily take over anyone who tries. It can be wielded by someone with sufficient willpower even if they aren't the chosen one, as seen with Dunban. But this comes at the cost of increasingly severe damage to his body to the point of permanently paralyzing his right arm and nearly killing him when he starts using it with his left. The only one who can properly wield it unharmed is Shulk. This is because its a Living Weapon (and not a nice one), containing the soul of an Evil God, Zanza. Shulk can use it freely only because he's said God's chosen vessel, and he's unwittingly been doing exactly what Zanza wanted.
  • The Core Crystals that give Blades their form in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 require a sort of aptitude or potential to manifest the entity and the weapon it carries. Those found inadequate are harmed, or even killed, on mere contact with the Core Crystal. A small, scrawny Gormotti (who is a viable Driver) is shoved aside by a larger, bulkier man who grabs the crystal, cries out in pain, and passes out with blue particle effects bursting from his body; the way the other characters talk about it, it's not a pretty sight.
    • It should be noted that the proper aptitude for wielding a Blade is fairly arbitrary. Ever so often, you'll find a Boss in Mook's Clothing that is a monster that has happened to come across and resonate with a Blade, that now follows it around and defends it.
  • The Ring of the Tyrant, the Amplifier Artifact that gives someone enough power to pretend they have a chance against the titular Trillion: God of Destruction, can only be used by an Overlord currently holding the crest of a deadly sin. While there are actually nine sins, two are out of commission by the end of the Hopeless Boss Fight and one belongs to a ghost, leaving only six candidates. Three more are found when Elma inherits Gloom from her died-during-the-prologue brother, Cerberus claims Wrath since Zeabolos is now Great Overlord and doesn't actually need it, and Lillith passes on so Faust can take the crest of Vanity. If they all die, the Ring itself bends the rules to give Zeabolos one last chance to end things under his own power.
  • The Biometals in Mega Man ZX can only be wielded by The Chosen Many, but no one not on the villain's side is entirely certain what the criteria for being a "Chosen One" is at first. The creator of Models X, Z, H, L, F, and P (aka Ciel from Mega Man Zero) notes in her reports viewable in full in Aile's story that she was only able to make them by using the data obtained from studying the original Biometal Model W and thus anyone who can use them also fulfills the unknown criteria for using Model W. This quietly disturbs Aile since it makes her wonder if she's really not that different from Serpent, especially once she learns one common thread she, he, and Giro all have is that they were survivors of Maverick raids at a young age. Advent reveals that Master Albert designed Model W (and later his back-up system Model A) to only be usable by someone with his DNA, which played into his seeding of various candidates by genetically tampering with various humans and Reploids with his DNA through his connections as one of Legion's Sage Trinity and then using Maverick raids to hunt those people down and turn them into the driven/damaged people that would be suspectible to Model W's influence.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: A random encounter has the Warden approach of group of commoners, all staring at an ax lodged in a stump. One says whoever pulls it from the stump will be king of all Thedas. Another dismissively says that pulling an ax from a stump is hardly the basis of government. Then they notice you and say you look fairly regal, since you're not covered in dung.
  • In Heroine's Quest, the sword Balmung is stuck in a tree, which is straight from the Nordic myth that formed the inspiration for Excalibur in the Stone. The titular heroine can draw it out, but only if her honor score is near its maximum; otherwise she's not worthy and it doesn't budge.
  • Zamzeed's ultimate attack in 2nd Super Robot Wars: Original Generation parodies this. Zamzeed summons a katana from the earth, then tries to pull it out. After repeated pulling, the sword doesn't come out of the ground, but a mountain does. Mio, the Zamzeed's pilot, breaks off the top of the mountain, leaving the sword stuck in a giant boulder several times the size of her mecha. Then she runs down the hill and shatters the bolder on her target's head before using the now-freed sword to finish the attack. The attack also has a hidden animation when the attack misses: on the initial swing, the sword slips out of the rock, causing it to fall on top of Zamzeed instead.
  • Parodied in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, where Ichiban and his friends find a baseball bat stuck in the pavement. After being the only one able to pull it out (likely after the others loosened it when they tried pulling it), Ichiban's overactive imagination and delusions of grandeur begin to run wild as he sees the bat as the weapon of the RPG Hero he was always destined to be, thus unlocking his "Hero" class.
  • Love of Magic: The protagonist is unable to pull Excalibur from the stone, but Emily (as Arthur's heir) is able to help him. This was a safety valve created by Merlin - for the protagonist to come into his full power without Emily's moderating influence could doom the world.
  • League of Legends has a complicated twist on this with a sub-race of "chosen ones" and the magical element "True Ice". True Ice is a god-formed, unmelting version of ice that can and has been made into weapons, but it's so pure that any normal living being attempting to touch it will perish. The only exceptions are Iceborn, a hereditary lineage of humans and other races that are immune to the cold and can thus withstand and manipulate their power. Perhaps the most significant Iceborn of the game — Ashe the Frost Archer, Sejuani the Fury of the North, and Lissandra the Ice Witch — are the most tied to the Three Sisters, the source of the Iceborn heritage (Ashe and Sejuani are believed to be reincarnations of Avarosa and Serylda, Lissandra herself is the third sister).

    Visual Novels 
  • Nasuverse: Heroic Spirits possess "Noble Phantasms": Weapons, armour, or other tools that are as much a part of their legends as they are, and which only they know how to use properly (which includes the Trope Namer, as King Arthur is a Heroic Spirit). Word of God has it that if a Servant's Noble Phantasm were to be stolen, the thief would find the stolen Noble Phantasm unwieldy and be unable to invoke its powers. Of course, there are a myriad of exceptions, each with a justification of their own.
    • Fate/Zero:
      • Gilgamesh has the Noble Phantasm Gate of Babylon, a pocket dimension that holds, in addition to his own unique Phantasms, a copy of the "prototype" of nearly every legendary weapon in existence. Because he is considered their original "owner" he is able to wield them, though far less effectively since while he has some swordsmanship skill, he is not an expert and he doesn't know how to use his weapons' abilities efficiently. Gate of Babylon doesn't have certain items like Excalibur, Rhongomyniad, Avalon, Knight of Owner, God Hand, Kavacha and Kundala, and Vasavi Shakti, because they were either created after Gilgamesh's time, or were created by fairies and not distributed to mankind. In the alternate universe of Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA, Gilgamesh discovers to his chagrin that Gate of Babylon doesn't have any of Julian Ainsworth or Darius Ainsworth's Noble Phantasms like Authoritarian Personalism, Apneic Beauty, and Shadow Hand of Code. This is because Darius created these Noble Phantasms recently with a combination of his powers and Pandora's Box, another item not in Gate of Babylon, meaning they had never existed before and only he or those with his permission can use them.
      • Berserker has a Noble Phantasm called Knight of Owner that allows him to become an Instant Expert for any weapon he takes into his hands - including an enemy's Noble Phantasm, should he wrest it from their grasp.
      • Kiritsugu Emiya had acquired Saber's Noble Phantasm, Avalon, which heals its holder's injuries and works for any holder, but it only responds to Saber's mana, so it only works when Saber is near the holder. Kiritsugu and his wife Irisviel both make use of it. At the end, he plants it into Shirou, and though Saber is gone, it had stored enough of Saber's mana to heal him. It then goes inert until Saber is summoned again in Fate/stay night. Even then, Saber (and Shirou when he projects it) are the only ones who can use Avalon's true function as an absolute defense against attacks.
    • Fate/stay night:
      • Archer and his past self Shirou Emiya have Unlimited Blade Works, a Mental World that makes them able to copy any weapon they see, including Noble Phantasms. Due to the nature of their magecraft, they are also considered an "owner" and are able to mimic the original wielder's skills to a degree. They are unable to copy divine weapons like Excalibur because they lack divinity and cannot copy it. In the Fate route, though Avalon is divine, Shirou is able to copy and use it because he holds the original inside his body and he has a spiritual connection to Saber. He loses the ability in the ending when he returns the original Avalon to Saber and then she disappears back to her time. In one of the Heaven's Feel route's endings, Shirou goes beyond his limits to copy Excalibur, but using it kills him. However, Archer's counterpart in the Fate/EXTRA series is able to copy Excalibur because it takes place in Cyberspace, allowing him to bend the rules.
      • While noncanon, the 2006 anime has Caster put Sakura Matou under mind control and pass her Caster's Noble Phantasm, the dagger Rule Breaker, to ambush Saber. After Sakura stabs Saber, Caster comments that since it wasn't actually her wielding Rule Breaker, its power was weakened. Instead of being able to steal Saber's Servant Contract, the stab simply weakened her.
    • In both Fate/hollow ataraxia and Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: Bazett Fraga McRemitz, a human, is able to use the Noble Phantasm Fragarach. Its original owner, the god Manannán mac Lir, gifted it to the god Lugh, who in turn gifted to her ancestor. Her family possesses a Sorcery Trait known as Traditional Carriers – God's Holders, which allows them to pass on their abilities through bloodline rather than teachings, so she inherited her ancestor's ability to wield it.
    • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: Several human magi can use Class Cards to take on the powers and skills of Servants, allowing them access to their Noble Phantasms. Since Chloe von Einzbern and the Miyuverse version of Shirou Emiya bonded with the Class Card for the Archer of stay night, they inherited his ability to copy Noble Phantasms. In this alternate universe, they are able to copy divine weapons at the cost of them becoming hollow and brittle. Beatrice Flowerchild wields Mjölnir itself, which makes everyone assume that her Class Card is Thor, since only Thor can wield Mjölnir, but it turns out to actually be Magni, the son of Thor who inherited Mjölnir after his death. Magni and thus Beatrice also inherited Thor's belt Megingjörð and iron glove Járngreipr.
    • Fate/EXTRA CCC: Karna gives his armor and earring, Kavacha and Kundala, to his Master Jinako Carigiri to protect her. In his legend, he traded Kavacha and Kundala to Indra for the spear Vasavi Shakti, so he cannot use Vasavi Shakti unless he removes his protections. Since Kavacha and Kundala's protective powers are always active, Jinako doesn't have to do anything to benefit from them.
    • Fate/Extra Last Encore: Rin Tohsaka and Rani VIII were granted the powers of their Servants Cu Chulainn and Lu Bu respectively, so they can use their Noble Phantasms Gae Bolg and God Force.
    • Fate/Prototype: Perseus shares two Noble Phantasms with Medusa. Harpe: The Immortal Slaying Scythe used to belong to Medusa back when she was human, but it was confiscated by the gods when she was cursed into the Gorgon and exiled to the Shapeless Isle. The gods then armed Perseus with it when he was tasked to slay her. Medusa had Bellerophon: The Bridle of Chivalry, which allows her to summon and control Pegasus, because Pegasus is her son. In this version of the story, Perseus tamed and rode Pegasus after slaying Medusa.
    • Fate/Apocrypha:
      • Saber of Red has an interesting example in her sword Clarent. While legend makes it Saber's Noble Phantasm, Mordred stole the sword from her father in life. As it was created to represent the rightful rule of the king, its theft and use against Arthur weakened the sword.
      • It is mentioned that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon rightfully belong to Nebuchadnezzar II, the man who built them, but because so many people believe Semiramis built them, Assassin of Red has them as one of her Noble Phantasms. Even then, she cannot naturally conjure them up; she has to construct the Hanging Gardens herself out of stone from her home country in order to use them.
      • Saber of Black/Siegfried sacrifices himself to save Sieg's life by transplanting his heart into him. This causes Sieg to inherit his powers and Noble Phantasms, Balmung and the Armor of Fafnir. Near the end, it is revealed that when Berserker of Black/Frankenstein inadvertently revived Sieg with her lightning, some of her life force merged with him, causing him to inherit her powers and Noble Phantasms, Bridal Chest and Blasted Tree, as well.
      • Rider of Black is able to successfully use Rider of Red's shield Noble Phantasm, Akhilleus Kosmos, but this is only possible because the shield was freely offered. Furthermore, Rider of Red/Achilles is known for donating arms to others in his legend while Rider of Black/Astolfo is known for borrowing others' armaments; if neither of these had been true, the shield could not have been lent.
      • Gilles de Rais is able to wield Ruler's Noble Phantasm, Luminosité Eternelle, because they knew and trusted each other in life.
    • Fate/Koha-Ace:
      • Toyotomi Hideyoshi is mentioned to have a Noble Phantasm called Blade Taker: Sword Hunt. This allows him to steal and use his opponent's weapons if he wins a Luck Check, based on how in life, Hideyoshi organized sword hunts where he confiscated his enemies' weapons.
      • Tokugawa Ieyasu, who is actually one of Ieyasu's body doubles, has the ability to switch between all seven of the regular Classes. Whenever he does this, he can use a Noble Phantasm associated with one of Ieyasu's vassals who fits the Class. For example, if he is Saber, he uses Yagyuu Tajima-no-Kami Munenori's sword, Daitengu Masaie. If he is Lancer, he uses Honda Tadakatsu's spear, Tonbokiri. If he is Berserker, he uses one of Senji Muramasa's swords. If he is Archer, Rider, Caster, or Assassin, he uses a breech-loading swivel gun, red armor, one of the Seven Jewels of Chakravarti, and a kunai, respectively, but these weapon's names and owners are not yet revealed.
    • Lord El-Melloi II Case Files:
      • Gray is able to wield King Arthur's lance, Rhongomyniad, because she was Raised as a Host to house King Arthur's spirit. Theoretically, she should be able to wield Caliburn, Excalibur, and Avalon as well.
      • Servant Faker is able to use Iskandar's Skills and Noble Phantasms due to being his Body Double in life to the point she doesn't actually have a name of her own, simply being called "Iskandar's Shadow", represented by her own Skill "For He is Another Iskandar (Fake)". As revealed in Grand Order, this includes the Reality Marble Ionian Hetaroi, but due to who she is and its specific requirements she'll die after invoking it.
      • Ergo can use Sun Wukong's extending staff Ruyi Jingu Bang because he was infused with some of Sun Wukong's power. Ergo was also infused with some of Set's power, allowing him to use his Noble Phantasm, Per Djet. Per Djet allows him to paralyze an enemy, and when he releases them, he can copy their Noble Phantasm.
      • Typhon stole Harpe and Nega-Keraunos, the thunderbolts of Zeus, in life. Bai Ruolong was infused with some of Typhon's power, giving him access to these and Typhon's personal Noble Phantasm, Blaze of Etna.
    • Fate/strange fake:
      • False Assassin was a member of The Hashshashin who diligently studied the Zabaniya, or killing techiniques, of her order's leaders, Hassan-i-Sabbah. Her Noble Phantasm, Zabaniya: Phantasmal Pedigree, allows her to copy 18 of the 19 Zabaniyas (she can't use Hassan of the Hundred Faces' Zabaniya because he was her contemporary and she didn't have an opportunity to study him).
      • True Archer has a Noble Phantasm called Reincarnation Pandora that allows him to steal enemy Noble Phantasms, gaining the ability to use them. Notably, he can steal Noble Phantasms that are conceptual in nature, as shown when he stole False Berserker's From Hell, a Noble Phantasm that allows False Berserker to transform into a demon. He also has a copy of True Rider's magic strength-enhancing sash, Goddess of War, because in life, he killed her and took it. It is mentioned that since True Rider is the true owner of Goddess of War, her version of the sash is more powerful than his.
      • Saber has a Noble Phantasm called Excalibur: Sword of Forever Distant Victory, which gives him the ability to turn anything he holds into a copy of the legendary blade Excalibur, based on his sincere belief that anything he holds is Excalibur. This includes enemy Noble Phantasms. However, since they are copies, they are not as powerful as the real one, and it is mentioned that if he were holding the real one, while he would be able to use it, he would not be able to bring out its full potential.
      • True Caster shares a Noble Phantasm with the Caster from Fate/Zero, Prelati's Spellbook. This is because True Caster is Francois Prelati, the man who created the Spellbook, and the Caster from Fate/Zero is Gilles de Rais, his student whom he gave the Spellbook to in life as a present. However, in the story, Prelati doesn't have the Spellbook with him when he is summoned, and it is mentioned Gilles needs to return it to him on a spiritual level for him to use it.
      • The Godfelling Crossbow belonged to Qin Shi Huangdi. It is used as a catalyst to summon the spirit Jiao, who says the crossbow killed it, so it has a connection to it. Jiao hands the crossbow to the human Sigma and gives him permission to use it.
    • Fate/Grand Order:
      • Cu Chulainn and Scathach are both able to use the spear Gae Bolg because in life, Scathach was the one who made it and she gave it to Cu Chulainn as a present when he finished his training.
      • One of Lancer Karna's Noble Phantasms, Brahmastra, is shared by the Saber Rama. In this case, it's because this particular weapon was capable of being wielded by multiple people across the various epics of their legends.
      • Parvati borrowed her husband Shiva's trident, Trishula Shakti, but it is mentioned that since she is not the true owner, she cannot bring out its full potential. Meanwhile, Rama has a Noble Phantasm called "Vishnu Bājū: Arms of the Great One", which grants him access to several divine weapons gifted by the sage Vishwamitra. This plus the fact Rama is an avatar of the god Vishnu allows him to wield Trishula Shakti.
      • Sita was never a warrior in life, but as an Archer, she wields the bow Haradhanu Janaka, which belongs to her husband Rama, because Rama granted her his powers and permission.
      • One of Queen Medb's Noble Phantasms, Fergus My Love, allows her to summon and wield Fergus' Noble Phantasm, Caladbolg: The Rainbow Sword. This is because Fergus was her lover in life and they shared many gifts. She has another Noble Phantasm called Conchobar My Love, which lets her borrow her other lover Conchobar's ability to see the future.
      • One of King David's Noble Phantasms is Hamesh Avanim, the sling and stones he used to defeat Goliath. Lore-wise, because of how he used it to knock Goliath out and then steal his sword, if he uses it to knock out a Servant, he can swipe their Noble Phantasm and use it. Even better, the Noble Phantasm becomes David's by God's Divine Authority, so the Servant will be unable to take it back. David also has the Ark of the Covenant, which kills anyone not authorized by God who touches it. Besides David, only people deemed worthy by God like Moses can touch it safely. It overrides other divine protection, as it killed Heracles, Zeus' chosen one protected by God Hand when he touched it.
      • Xuanzang Sanzang wields Sun Wukong's extending staff Ruyi Jingu Bang, Zhu Bajie's Nine-toothed Rake, and Sha Wujing's Monk's Spade because her three disciples loved her so much that they granted them to her when she was summoned. Ironically, she doesn't even recognize the weapons, so she cannot use them to their full potential.
      • Lore-wise, Sir Gawain can wield Excalibur because there were times King Arthur loaned it to him in life, plus he had proven himself worthy of its sister sword Galatine.
      • In life, King Arthur gave Excalibur to Sir Bedivere so he could return it to the Lady of the Lake, but in this verse, he kept the sword and Merlin eventually modified it into an artificial arm for him. He has a Noble Phantasm called "Switch On - Airgetlám", his artificial arm, which he can eventually turn into Excalibur to wield.
      • Merlin is able to use Caliburn, the Sword in the Stone itself, since he created and gave it to King Arthur in the first place.
      • The Lady of Lake herself who is actually a Split Personality of Morgan le Fay would logically be able to use Excalibur.
      • Ishtar's Noble Phantasm, "An Gal Tā Kigal Shē", has her use her authority as a goddess of Venus to use planet Venus itself as a weapon. However, other deities with Venus in their domain like Quetzalcoatl can catch the attack and even take control of it to use it against her.
      • Rider Mordred wields Prydwen, a shield that can turn into a ship or surfboard. It belonged to King Arthur, but just like with Clarent, she stole it from her father in life.
      • Lore-wise, one of Musashibou Benkei's Noble Phantasms, called Eighth Implement, like True Archer in strange fake, is the ability to steal and use his enemies' Noble Phantasms against them.
      • Penthesilea has the strength-enhancing sash Goddess of War because she is the sister of True Rider from strange fake.
      • Senji Muramasa is able to forge Tsumukari Muramasa, a recreation of the legendary sword Kusanagi-no-Tachi. Since he isn't a god or demigod, using the sword kills him. However, when he gets properly summoned as a Servant, he can use Tsumukari Muramasa as many times as he wants, likely because he is creating slightly weaker versions to mitigate the backlash. He expresses awe for Ibuki-Douji, a wielder of the actual Kusanagi.
      • Minamoto no Raikou was the leader of the Four Heavenly Kings, so in her Berserker form, her Noble Phantasm, Ox-King Storm Call - The Inescapable Net of Heaven, allows her to create duplicates of herself that wield her subordinates' weapons. These include Sakata Kintoki's axe, Watanabe no Tsuna's sword, Urabe no Suetake's bow, and Usui Sadamitsu's naginata.
      • The Lancer version of Minamoto no Raikou has the spear Vajra. Arjuna is shocked and points out that Vajra belongs to his father, the Hindu god Indra, so he wonders how the Japanese Raikou has it. It turns out that Raikou's father Gozu Tennou was actually Indra under an alias, so she is Arjuna's half-sister and one of Indra's heirs. When she prayed to her father for aid, he gave her Vajra. Kama also wields Vajra because of an incident where she did Indra a favor and Indra allowed her to borrow Vajra as thanks. Vritra also wields Vajra because when Indra stabbed her with it, Vajra was lodged in her mouth, so she pulled it out and used it.
      • The sword Usumidori originally belonged to Minamoto no Raikou, but Ushiwakamaru has it because she is Raikou's descendant and inherited it.
      • The Rider Mandricardo is able to wield the Lancer Hektor's spear Durindana. This is due to the connection of their legends, as Mandricardo is able to wield the sword Durandal, which was repurposed by Hektor into Durindana and was restored to its original form some time after his death. Since the sword and spear are simply two forms of the same weapon, they can wield either one without issue. Particularly notable since Mandricardo isn't summoned with Durandal because he lost it and never got it back before his death in legend, and in fact has a Noble Phantasm called Serment de Durandal that lets him give Durandal's power to any weapon he possesses, even another Noble Phantasm. His second Noble Phantasm, Rêve de Durandal, is what allows him to wield Durandal and Durindana, but it only works if Mandricardo truly believes he is worthy. By extension, this also means Roland, the man most famous for wielding Durandal, would also be able to wield Durindana without issue. Mandricardo's skill, Armor of the Nine Worthies, allows him to use Hektor's armor, having acquired it in life.
      • Lore-wise, Astolfo's Hippogriff originally belonged to Bradamante, and he traded his spear Trap of Argalia to her for it, which means she would be able to use them too.
      • Goetia has King Solomon's Noble Phantasms because he possessed Solomon's corpse. When the real Solomon shows up as a Servant, he is able to reclaim his Noble Phantasms and then sacrifice himself, cutting off Goetia's access to them.
      • Mash Kyrielight is able to wield Galahad's shield, Lord Camelot, because she was Raised as a Host to house Galahad's spirit. After Goetia is defeated, Galahad decides to stop helping the heroes and revokes the powers he gave to Mash. Mash finds herself unable to use Lord Camelot anymore. Ritsuka Fujimaru uses a Command Spell to order Galahad to help them, but he resists, leaving Mash with only a fraction of his power. Even with the Ortenaus device augmenting her powers, Mash is only able to use a degraded version called Mold Camelot.
      • In the second Lostbelt, Gotterdammerung, Surtr the Fire Giant is able to use all of Sigurd's Noble Phantasms, most notably his Cool Sword Gram, because he's currently possessing Sigurd's body and Spirit Origin. When his spirit is freed from Sigurd's body he loses access to them, but that was fine by him because it allowed him to unseal his real body.
      • Odin gave the Valkyries his blessing to wield his spear, Gungnir, so they all have a copy of it when they perform their Noble Phantasm, "Ragnarök Lífþrasir". It is said that their copies are weaker than the original.
      • During the third Summer event, Robin Hood lends his Noble Phantasm No Face May King: Faceless King to Edmond Dantes to help the latter in investigating the "Groundhog Day" Loop they've been trapped in without BB catching him. In this case, it's because "Robin Hood" is technically a Composite Character of numerous rogues who assumed the title, which allows him to lend it to anyone of his choosing.
      • Lu Bu's Noble Phantasm is God Force, his halberd that can shape-shift into different forms. His beloved horse Red Hare eventually becomes a Servant, turning into a Centaur-like creature. Red Hare's Noble Phantasm is Imitation God Force, which uses a bow to fire the halberd like an arrow.
      • Jason and his former wife Medea both have the Golden Fleece since they had both owned it.
      • Poseidon granted Caenis his Divine Authority, allowing her to use his Trident.
      • Romulus-Quirinus has access to a version of Heracles' Noble Phantasm, Nine Lives. This is because of a version of his legend that says Heracles is his father. Although this is not true, enough people believe this that it comes true, giving Romulus-Quirinus the benefits of being raised and trained by Heracles, including inheriting his techniques.
      • The Berserker version of Brynhildr has the Noble Phantasm, Brynhildr Sigurutein, a sword which requires her husband Sigurd to use. "Only Brynhildr can summon it and only Sigurd can swing it." The sword is a replica of one that Odin gave to Tyr that Brynhildr imitates with her Primordial Rune magic. Since Odin and Tyr are both Gods of War, this is presumably why Sigurd, the King of Warriors, is required to use it.
      • Professor James Moriarty and Erice Utsumi both have Freikugel, the magic bullets from Der Freischütz. Moriarty made a Fusion Dance with Max, who wielded the bullets, while Erice has the spirit of Samiel, who forged the bullets, inside her.
      • Erice Utsumi has Ame-no-Sakahoko, a replica of the goddess Izanami's spear Ame-no-Nuboko with most of the same powers. A few characters are confused at how she is able to wield it. Fate/Requiem eventually reveals that Erice is Izanami's daughter. Sakamoto Ryouma can wield Ame-no-Sakahoko as well because in his backstory, he discovered the dragon Oryou sealed by being pierced by the spear, and he was effortlessly able to remove it. Indeed, his Lancer version wields it, but when he is indisposed, his Rider version steals it and is able to use it.
      • The Caster version of Altria wields Marmyadose, a sword that originally belonged to Heracles. She says she acquired it at some point during her travels in life. Something that we never get to see, though.
      • Ibuki-Douji wields the Kusanagi-no-Tachi, the sacred sword and Imperial Treasure that the god Susanoo found within the body of Yamata-no-Orochi after slaying the multi-headed dragon god. She is able to do this because she is the daughter/avatar of Orochi, and in "Hell Realm Mandala", she is able to give Kintoki the Kusanagi to use against Ashiya Douman. This is most likely due to how Susanoo was able to claim the sword from Orochi and gave it to his sister Amaterasu, as well as due to Kintoki's own natural divine nature (and even he has to use it via his Golden Bear Noble Phantasm).
      • One of Siegfried's Noble Phantasms is Das Rheingold, the cursed Dragon Hoard he claimed when he slew the dragon Fafnir. After his original death, the treasure was eventually claimed by the Einzbern family. Because of this, Sitonai, who uses Illya von Einzbern as a host body, can control the treasure and pacify it when the gold turns sentient and attacks people, and free people who have been cursed by it, though her control is still trumped by Moshirechik Kotanechik, the actual embodiment and spirit in control of the hoard.
      • In the British Lostbelt, the fae spirits Barghest, Baobhan Sith, and Melusine were granted the identities and powers of Sir Gawain, Sir Tristan, and Sir Lancelot by Morgan Le Fay. They are able to use variations of their Noble Phantasms Galatine, Failnaught, and Arondight respectively called Black Dog Galatine, Fetch Failnaught, and Innocence Arondight. Notably, Gawain and Lancelot's powers actually weaken Barghest and Melusine to an extent, as Barghest is a nocturnal fairy who doesn't receive as much benefit from the sun boost and Melusine is so naturally strong Lancelot's peerless combat skill doesn't actually help her much. It's implied this was even intentional on Morgan's part to inhibit their growths as Calamities. Also, the Morgan Le Fay native to this timeline, who ruled Camelot instead of Arthur, is the owner of several copies of Rhongomyniad. These Rhongomyniads are unique to her and she is the only one who can wield them, forcing Chaldea to negotiate with her instead of just taking them. When Altria Caster tries to use them, she notably fails and only succeeds when she converts the system into copies outputting Excalibur's power.
      • Sir Percival wields Lucius Longinus' Spear of Longinus because he and Kundry found it during his quest for the Holy Grail. In the British Lostbelt, Morgan Le Fay used to wield the Spear of Selection, but discarded it when she felt she was no longer worthy of it. This eventually allows the Lostbelt version of Percival to take it and it transforms into the Spear of Longinus in his hands.
      • In the Arcade version of the game, Nebuchadnezzar II's spirit possesses a clone of Gilgamesh. This grants him Gate of Babylon, but he cannot access Gilgamesh's real treasures like Ea, Enkidu, and the Holy Grail.
      • The god Manannán mac Lir possesses Bazett Fraga McRemitz's body to be summoned as a Servant. They naturally use Fragarach. Since in legend, Manannán mac Lir originally owned and gave Diarmuid Ua Duibhne his weapons Gae Buidhe, Moraltach, and Beagaltach, they would be able to use them too.
      • Kriemhild wields her husband Siegfried's sword Balmung because in life, she used it to avenge his murder. Notably, while Siegfried manifests Balmung's holy side, Kriemhild manifests its demonic side.
      • The Saber version of Sir Gareth wields Robigus Ironside, the sword of Sir Ironside the Red Knight, because in life she defeated him and confiscated it.
    • Fate/Extella Link: Charlemagne's Noble Phantasm "Joyeuse Ordre: Exemplify the Heroic King, O' Twelve Radiant Swords That Travel the Wide World", derived from his sword, Joyeuse, allows him to summon and use the weapons of his Paladins, which includes Astolfo's Trap of Argalia. Karl der Große, an Alternate Self of Charlemagne, also has Joyeuse, but since he is based on the mundane, real life version of Charlemagne and not the one from the myths, he cannot use Joyeuse Ordre, so he only wields it as a sword.
    • Fate/Requiem:
      • Lucius Longinus is the original owner of the Spear of Longinus and naturally has it. Kundry can create and wield a copy of the Spear of Longinus because her legend involved her helping Sir Percival find it.
      • Galahad Alter has the Sword of the Strange Hangings, a holy sword that originally belonged to King David. In life, he found the sword during his adventures and was worthy of drawing it from its resting place.
  • Longinuslanze Testament from Dies Irae can only be wielded by the most charismatic being in the world, and the main Big Bad Reinhard Heydrich fits the lance's requirements. Anyone else who tries to even look at the lance will have their minds burned and their souls erased. Even those who are part of Reinhard's legion who have innate resistance to soul damage have trouble keeping consciousness in its presence. And should anyone unworthy touch the lance then it will erode their existence as long as they remain in contact with it. This last trait have Reinhard weaponized, usually just resting the lance against his victim while he himself holds them still.

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue, only Tucker can wield the Great Weapon. If anybody else holds it, it turns off and won't turn on until it is returned to Tucker. Later in the series, another of these weapons shows up. It is revealed that these weapons only respond to the first person to find them, until they die, then they transfer to the next person who finds them.
  • No Evil has the four Tezcatlipoca and Tlaloc's Tuning Fork (which he'd used to break the original Tezcatlipoca mirror).
    • The Black Tezcatlipoca had to be sealed in the second episode because it was enveloping the countryside without a wielder. Unfortunately a bitter child raised in the land of the dead proves to be the kind of person it wanted.
    • The Red Tezcatlipoca, or Judgement Scythe, can only be wielded by one with a strong will and sense of justice. It incinerated a selfish village chief who wanted to use it to gain an advantage over the local spirit, Murder, and then would have swamped the village in lava if Murder hadn't been willing to sacrifice herself to tame it.
    • The Blue, Liberation Machete, neutralizes magic and thus rejects spirits, but it's also too much for mortals to handle. Potentially it could free those caught in the Black, but it's useless without a wielder.
    • The White Bow of Mercy has yet to choose a wielder, though many have tried. Its' true wielder should be able to use it as a Healing Shiv, but in anyone else's hands it generates Annoying Arrows.
    • Calamity came to possess the Tuning Fork after passing the Secret Test of Character Tlaloc had set up, but oddly she can only use the hydrokinesis spell of it. Ichabod can produce lightning while Huey has the tracking spell.

    Web Comics 
  • Arthur, King of Time and Space, obviously. In the baseline arc, it's done straight (and straight out of T.H. White); in the space arc the Excalibur is the flagship of the British fleet and can only be activated by a Pendragon bioprint.
  • Played with in Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic. The wizard proposes a variant of this with an axe, as an alternative to the tourney open to all nobles. Beat Panel ensues.
  • Girl Genius: Only one of the eponymous family can control Castle Heterodyne. The castle itself mentions that many times over history, the Heterodynes have disappeared, and many people have laid claim to the family name. Some were delusional, some were puppets of greater men, and some were honestly wrong. But all non-Heterodynes that were tested for control of the Castle were summarily executed, and their skulls are used to pave a floor in the Castle chapel.

    There are three tests that one needs to fulfill in order to claim the seat of Heterodyne: Did you inherit the distinctive voice of the previous Heterodynes, the blood of the previous Heterodynes, and the temperament of the previous Heterodynes? If the answer to all these things is "yes," then the Castle will orchestrate the ringing of the Doom Bell to usher in your reign of terror. If the answer to any of them is "no," the Castle at worst will kill you, and at best will refuse to listen (with much the same effect).
  • Shelly of Wapsi Square is able to pull a literal sword from a stone. What qualifications she has that allowed her to do it have not been revealed yet, but it is implied that many people have failed in the past.
  • A guy in Oglaf finds a sword in the stone with a sign that reads "Draw the Sword from the Stone and be a King". This being Oglaf: guess why the sign changes to "Draw the King from the Stone and win a Sword".
  • Homestuck has Caledfwlch in it - but it isn't drawn from the stone, but instead snapped out by Dave.
  • In Dragon Mango, the condition, according to the sign is Royal Blood.
  • There are several Excaliburs in Sinfest, only one so far has actually been a sword. One was a Legendary Pimp Cane.
  • In Kubera, the Sword of Return sits in the Temple of Chaos, waiting for people to attempt to draw it. In fact, the temple was built around the sword. The thing is, the sword has been successfully drawn before, multiple times. There is an annual test where hundreds of people arrive from across the world to try and pull it out; the temple had to institute various tests of strength just to try and weed out the crowds and make the process go faster. Once the sword has bonded to an owner, only that individual may use it, and the only way to give it up is to die (at which point it returns to its resting place in the Temple of Chaos). While the sword was designed to fight sura, ironically most sura can draw it out quite easily. The problem is, the same properties that make it a nightmare against sura (it inhibits Healing Factor) apply to the owner as well, whether they are currently holding the sword or not.
  • This is a core plot element in Erfworld. The Arkentools, powerful magical artifacts, only dislay their full powers when they 'attune' to a character. Possessing an Arkentool does not mean that it will attune, but many characters want to try.
  • Parodied in Rusty and Co.. Maddie is told that only the worthy can draw the "enchanted weapon" (a pitchfork) from its haystack. It is however magical — because Maddie can make a weapon magical by thinking it is.
  • xkcd:

    Web Original 
  • Open Blue's Back Story has Belramus, a sword said to have been forged from a tooth of the Iormunean Imperium's goddess, Iormunea. Only the leader of the Imperium's Praetorian Guard (who in turn must be descended from the original leader) can/is allowed to wield this. The other blessed weapons used by the Imperial Templar also count.
  • The Sword of Good instantly kills anything evil it touches. The Ork Wizard slowly bleeding to death should have been a clue. In the end the so called Big Bad touches the sword to make sure he really deserves ultimate power. However, it is a Subversion - the Sword can only be used by those who truly wish to do good, without taking their actions into account. As The Hero warns the Big Bad, the sword is not an absolute judge of a course of action, simply a judge of character.

    Western Animation 
  • Tangled: The Series: According to Lord Demanitus' prophecy, the only person who can wield the moonstone and use its power for good is whoever is in possession of the sundrop, as in the wrong hands, it could be used for evil. In the Season 2 finale "Destinies Collide", when Cassandra takes the moonstone right before Rapunzel could, the moonstone is able to tell Cassandra does not possess the sundrop and corrupts her as a result.
  • ThunderCats (1985):
    • The Sword of Omens can only be held by somebody with good intentions, and only properly wielded by somebody pure of heart, like Lion-O, Jaga, Snarf, and Queen Willa. If anybody evil tries to use it, it will embed itself in the ground and not come out. One time, Mumm-Ra was struck by lightning for trying to wield it. When the evil ghost Grune the Destroyer stole it and tried to use it, it zapped and banished him. And when Lion-O himself tries to use it for hunting, the sword embeds itself into the ground and refuses to harm defenseless animals.
    • Also, the Sword requires both the right bloodline and the right mind/spirit/heart to be activated. In one episode, Lion-O and Wily-Kat are victims of a "Freaky Friday" Flip courtesy of Vultureman's technology, and neither Kat-as-Lion-O nor Lion-O-as-Kat can use it. (They quickly figure out a solution, however - it works when both of them do the chant simultaneously while holding it together.)
    • Another episode features Excalibur, which Mumm-ra used to defeat the Sword of Omens by taking Arthur's form. Once Mumm-ra took true form, it got planted into the ground, he learned that the sword was just as resistant to being used by evil ones, and it refused to come out, spelling Mumm-ra's defeat once again. It is then recovered by Merlin and returned to the Lady of the Lake.
    • Hachiman's sword, the Thunder-Cutter, cannot be used for evil. When Mumm-Ra tricks Hachiman into fighting Lion-O, Thunder-Cutter's refusal to let itself be drawn makes Hachiman see through Mumm-Ra's lies. In a later episode, the Lunataks steal the Thunder-Cutter and get around the sword's restrictions by giving it to a robot that doesn't understand concepts of good and evil. The restrictions are kicked in again when Hachiman touches the sword, causing the sword to destroy the robot.
  • In ThunderCats (2011), the Sword of Omens is enchanted against "being touched by the hands of evil" and can only be properly wielded by those it has chosen as the King. It marks those who are worthy by giving them visions or "Sight beyond sight".
  • Sofia the First: Sofia is the only one who can wear the Amulet of Avalor and bear its power. If the amulet is ever stolen or taken away by someone else without a pardon, this triggers the amulet's safeguard which bestows a curse on the person who took it. Season 3 reveals this was Princess Elena's doing when she was trapped inside the amulet.
  • One episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show was a parody of King Arthur, involving a golden plunger that only Mario could pull out of a toilet. The legend went that whoever pulled the plunger would defeat Koopa and become the king of Cramalot, but that didn't stop Mario from getting cold feet and passing it on to the wizard. To be fair, he did defeat Koopa. Mario only refused the throne upon learning that, as the king of Cramalot, he'd have to subject himself to a pasta-free diet.
  • The White Wand can only be used by Timmy Turner, The Chosen One, in The Fairly Oddparents.
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants, the titular character was able to pull the golden spatula out of the ancient grease in a museum (when no others can). King Neptune shows up but refuses to accept SpongeBob because he doesn't appear to be fry cook material, so he and challenges SpongeBob in a patty-cooking competition, promising Spongebob godhood should he win.
  • In the Arthur episode The Return of the King, the title character and his friends attend a Renaissance Fair/competition, where they encounter Bizarro Universe versions of themselves from Glenbrook School, led by Mr. Ratburn's former teacher. All of their counterparts turn out to be better than them at their respective events, but in the end, Arthur is the only person—adult or child—who is able to pull the Excalibur replica from its stone. The episode combined this trope with a Secret Test of Character: the trick to removing the sword was to listen to the town crier, who declared "All your might won't set things right—'tis a gentle hand will rule the land." From this, Arthur figured out that Excalibur had to be gripped gently on its hilt, rather than forced from the stone. The students are all impressed, and Mr. Ratburn's teacher praises him for teaching Arthur how to think for himself.
  • In King Arthur & the Knights of Justice, each Key of Truth can only be touched by the knight to whom it corresponds. The tie-in Super Nintendo game also has Arthur needing to prove he's worthy of wielding Excalibur.
  • An interesting subversion occurs on the Dilbert episode "The Takeover", with Dogbert becoming the new CEO after drawing a golf club from a bag.
    "Wow, first guy who tried... just like the other times."
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has the Mane Six and the Elements of Harmony; as indicated in the Season 2 premiere, only they can wield their power. Celestia and Luna once wielded the Elements, but they have now become more attuned to the Mane Six. The Mane Six were briefly unable to wield the Elements when Discord corrupted them, but regained the ability when they shook off his influence.
    • In the Season Four premiere, the Mane Six were forced to give up the physical embodiments of the Elements of Harmony, which took the form of five necklaces (for Kindness, Laughter, Loyalty, Honesty, and Generosity) and a tiara (for Magic). As Twilight Sparkle suspected, the girls have become so connected to the Elements that they no longer need those symbols to use their power—they can summon the magic on their own.
    • Season Four's story arc also had each of the Mane Six facing a difficult choice about her particular Element (for example, Applejack, who represents Honesty, had to decide whether or not to expose a phony elixir that had a Placebo Effect on ponies, including her own grandmother). When they inevitably chose to stand for their virtue and not let themselves be tempted, each pony received a token of appreciation from one of the citizens they helped. Those tokens turned into this trope, as they transformed into the keys to the Chest of Harmony that only the Element Bearers could open.
    • In the first My Little Pony: Equestria Girls movie, Sunset Shimmer steals the Element of Magic, but has to take it to another universe in order to actually use it herself. Even then, while able to twist its power (which ultimately overwhelms and twists her), the Element of Magic explicitly does not belong to her and when she attempts to use it against Twilight (its true owner), it rejects her and gives Twilight and her friends the power to defeat her instead.
    • In "The Mean 6", Queen Chrysalis creates evil clones of the Mane Six and tries to have them steal the Elements of Harmony, saying she's aware only the Mane Six can use them but believing her clones can get around that restriction. She's wrong and the clones get destroyed when they try to use them.
  • This occurs in one episode of Kim Possible. While any who possess Mystical Monkey Power can wield the Lotus Blade, only one whose heart is pure can call it. Fanon likes to expand on this.
  • Transformers: Prime:
    • Artifacts of the Thirteen Primes in can usually only be wielded by a Prime. The Star Saber, sword of Prima, has the same restriction, with the added effect that it can't so much as be moved by a non-Prime. When Megatron found it stuck in a rock, he not only couldn't pull it out, he couldn't even break the rock around it; the sword actively protected the rock to make it impossible to remove. He had to have his ship lift the entire (sizable) rock just to transport it. After losing the Star Saber to Optimus, Megatron transplants the arm of a deceased Prime onto himself to bypass the restriction.
    • The Forge of Solus Prime has this restriction for using its ability to create almost anything from raw materials which is why Megatron grafted the arm of a Prime onto himself. For anyone else who can lift it, it's a big slaggin' hammer that packs quite the wallop.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!: Naturally, this applies to Mjölnir.
    • When Thor gets (not really) killed by Ultron, his hammer is left on the ground. None of the Avengers can do anything about it.
      Wasp: Should we, I don't know, move it? Hulk, maybe—
      Hulk: Can't move it. Can't even pick it up.
      Wasp: But why?
      Hulk: Because I'm not Thor.
    • In the same show, Beta Ray Bill shows up. He is able to lift Mjölnir as well, much to all the Asgardians' shock.
  • Excalibur appears in Ben 10: Omniverse. The leader of the Forever Knights tries to cheat by using Doctor Jekyll's Super Strength serum. He fails. He then tries forcing Ben to pull it out for him. Ben (who is hardly "king" material) can't do it either. Hilariously, when he turns into Humongosaur he lifts the sword and the stone.
  • In the first season Ewoks episode The Land of the Gupins, Gupins need to open the Juniper Chest for their renewal celebration, in order for their shapeshifting powers to be renewed for another season. Despite their king being convinced he can do this, only Mring-Mring is capable of it, even after the key has been broken.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel: Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor and the Incredible Hulk have their powers drained by Dr. Doofenshmirtz's power-drain inator. Phineas and Ferb try to duplicate the lost powers but a mix-up caused by Candace makes Iron Man receive powers made for Thor. Despite this, Iron Man can't use Mjolnir because he's not worthy.
  • The Adventures of Puss in Boots features the Goodsword, only wieldable by the true hero of San Lorenzo. It turns out the sword is specifically looking for someone too soft to kill another, as it wants to fight its former master turned evil, but it still cares about him too much to be able to kill him.
  • Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.: Averted in a Time Travel episode where Hulk wields Mjölnir before it had any enchantments to prevent non-chosen ones from wielding it. Loki gets his chance in a timeline where it never had those enchantments.
  • Avengers Assemble:
    • When the Mind Stone causes a mix-up between the Avengers' minds and their bodies, the one who gets Thor's body tries to lift Mjolnir but can't since he's not worthy and a "Freaky Friday" Flip doesn't trick the hammer.
    • When Thanos is deemed unworthy to wield Mjölnir, he gets... creative.
      Thanos: If I can't hit you with the hammer, then I'll hit the hammer with YOU!
  • The New Adventures of Superman: In The Adventures of Superboy episode "The Black Knight", Superboy and his friend Timmy time travel and meet King Arthur and his court. Arthur sticks Excalibur in an anvil and says whoever can pull it out will be worthy of being his successor. Superboy pulls it out with ease, but the evil Black Knight steals it and attacks them. Superboy defeats him by using the anvil as a shield and tricking him into sticking it back in. He is unable to pull it out and is easily captured.
  • DuckTales (2017): Scrooge at one time acquired an Excaliber-expy weapon and put it in his backyard as decoration. It can only be drawn by the True King of Britain. When the giant mechanical Gilded Man of El Dorado is activated and wrecking the estate, it tries to draw the sword and fails. It instead lifts the sword resulting in about a cubic yard of earth being ripped up too, clinging to the end of the sword like a mace or toothpick with a small sausage on it, and then tries to bludgeon the heroes with it.
  • Parodied in the Wander over Yonder episode "The Hero". According to Brad Starlight's "prophecy", the hero can pull out the legendary Sword of Destiny. Wander easily pulls it out of the stone, but Brad insists that he is the hero and orders Wander to stick it back in so he can try. Brad is unable to pull it out, and his continued struggles only succeed in breaking the sword. As it turns out, it's Wander who's the hero, not Brad. Brad is definitely not hero material because of his immaturity and selfish, Glory Hound tendencies, while Wander, a true hero, is brave, kind, and caring of others, and has a pure heart.
  • What If...? (2021): In "What If... Thor Was An Only Child?", Thor neutralizes Carol Danvers by putting Mjölnir on her to pin her to the ground.

     Real Life 
  • There have been attempts to implement something like this in real life, with the creation of so-called "smart guns". A smart gun will only fire if it recognizes the person holding it as its owner — the thinking is that they would prevent or reduce deaths from stolen firearms and/or misuse. Legal issues, poor reliability, security flaws, and rejection from the military, law enforcement and civilian gun owners alike have kept them from catching on.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Sword In The Stone


Miklan & The Lance of Ruin

Miklan stole the Lance of Ruin as payback against his family for disowning him over his lack of a Crest. Without a Crest, however, his attempt to wield the Relic ends in tragedy...

How well does it match the trope?

4.65 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / OnlyTheChosenMayWield

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