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Stab the Sky

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And make sure to stab it skyward.note 

This is a standard pose of a character (usually The Hero) raising one or both arms up, holding a sword or other weapon (or mundane item in spoofs) straight up over the head. Often this is done as a Victory Pose or used as a signal by a Screaming Warrior. Sometimes forms part of an Item Get! routine.

This is also common in film posters, because it helps create a cool image. Often used as a way to thank whatever god lives in Heaven Above.

A Sub-Trope of Rule of Cool (since this is just because it looks cool) and Garnishing the Story (since this pose is better than not having this pose).

Compare Milking the Giant Cow, Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You, Rearing Horse. See also Leg Cling. Contrast Sword Plant.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • The poster for Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS shows Subaru doing this with her Power Fist (See the series' article for a picture).
  • As implied in the main article, several characters and Humongous Mecha in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann do this pose. Simon and Kamina have theirs, and even the Gurren pulls one: they stab the sky with their finger while giving a Rousing Speech about piercing the heavens. That's not to mention every time a mech pulls a Giga Drill Breaker usually involves some fire and explosions. Just see The Children of Húrin, below.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: In the final duel between rivals Amuro and Char, the badly damaged Gundam (minus head and left arm) fires its beam rifle upwards to take out Char's Zeong. This pose (officially dubbed "Last Shooting") is insanely iconic in Japan, and receives Shout Outs both internal and external.
    • Kira does the same thing at the end of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. His final attack is to use the severely damaged Freedom (missing it's head, an arm, and a leg) and impale the Providence in the cockpit, skewering Rau Le Cruset in the process.
    • Mobile Fighter G Gundam: Take this! My love, my anger, and all of my sorrow! SHINING FINGER SWOOOOORD!!!
    • The first opening of Gundam Wing had Wing Gundam doing this with its Buster Rifle, silhouetted against the Earth.
  • The 2005 manga adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past uses this trope when Link obtains the Master Sword.
  • In One Piece , Zoro was trapped in Mr. 3's Candle Set and was being coated in wax. Unable to cut himself free, he adopted a pose like this, so that when he suffocates and dies, he'll still be in a cool pose.
  • Golion, aka the Lion Force Voltron does this every time he/it summons the Blazing Sword. He also has the odd moment where he will pose with the weapon while engulfed in lightning before delivering the final blow to an adversary.
  • Toyotomi Hideyoshi does this as part of his introduction in Sengoku Basara's second anime season, leading to the clouds above him to part and the sun to shine down on him as the rest of of the battlefield remains overcast as the Ominous Latin Chanting swells to a crescendo. Light Is Not Good indeed.
  • Erza Scarlet does one of these after defeating 100 monsters alone during the Grand Magic Games arc of Fairy Tail, clothing tattered and covered in blood.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: Combines this with By the Power of Grayskull!.
    Grant me the power to bring the world revolution!
  • Yugi does this in Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters after defeating the Five-Headed Dragon.
  • My Hero Academia After defeating All for One at the cost of his remaining power All Might does this as he manifests to his muscle form for one last time in front of the cheering crowd, doing what Gran Torino considers his final act as the Number One Hero

  • Gallagher does this in his 1984 special Over Your Head, during his signature Sledge-O-Matic routine. He smashes open a reticent newspaper box which has taken his money, retrieves his paper, and poses like this afterward.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The Mansions of the Gods: The statue of Julius Caesar on top of the column at the Domain's center is in a triumphant pose with gladius pointing at the sky.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • One of the early poster for Star Wars: A New Hope shows Luke holding his lightsaber upward with both hands, and there's even a sort of "lens flare" effect that makes it look like the blade is shooting multiple directions.
  • The poster for National Lampoon's Vacation is a direct spoof of A New Hope. With a tennis racquet used as the weapon.
  • The poster for National Lampoon's European Vacation features the Statue of Liberty stabbing the sky with a hammer as the weapon.
  • The poster for Heavy Metal. Also occurs during the "Taarna" sequence after the title character draws the sword from the pool in the temple.
  • William Wallace does this in Braveheart after the battle of Stirling.
  • Used many times in The Lord of the Rings movies, such as when Boromir is cheering "For Gondor!".
  • Conan does this with two swords in Conan the Barbarian (1982) one of which got broken by the other.
  • The Buffy movie spoofs this by having the medieval slayer hold up a stake, and then we see a pom-pom.
  • The DVD cover art of Lawrence of Arabia, sometimes referred to as a "plane-swatter".
  • TRON and TRON: Legacy both have characters hold up their identity discs into the sky, opening a portal to outside the computer. Interestingly, the realm outside the computer is treated like a realm of gods, tying these examples in with Heaven Above. See both here.
  • Used on the VHS cover 1981 film Scream, with a sickle.
  • This is apparently necessary to use the powers of the Sword of Triton (Blackbeard's sword) in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  • Saturday Night Fever: John Travolta stabbing upward with an index finger.
  • Does as an Implied Death Threat in Alita: Battle Angel. At the end of the movie, Alita brandishes the Damascus Blade under the cheers of the Motorball crowd. Not pointed straight at the sky though, but more meaningfully toward Zalem, the floating city above them where she knows Nova is looking down on her.

  • Lone Wolf takes the pose with the Sommerswerd at the very end of Book 2, Fire on the Water, just before blasting Darklord Zagarna with a ray of holy sunfire.

  • Discworld
    • Serves a purpose in the novel Pyramids, where Teppic stands on a pyramid and stabs the sky with his knife to provide a conduction point for the time flaring out of it.
    • Spoofed on the cover of Going Postal, with Moist von Lipwig apparently trying to stab the sky with a letter, in what artist Paul Kidby said was a Shout-Out to the New Hope poster above.
  • One of the books in The Belgariad by David Eddings has the main character do this on accident. He was trying to attach the Orb of Aldur to the BFS on the wall, only for said sword to fall off into his hands. Expecting it to be incredibly heavy, he overcompensates when lifting the surprisingly weightless sword so it points skyward. Everyone is suitably impressed nonetheless, though the fact that he didn't die when the sword caught fire probably helped.
    • Later on in the same series another character gives several speeches to gather an army (incidentally the betrothed of the above character). After each speech, she jumps on her horse and brandishes her sword. Nearing the end of the series, said betrothed convinces the protagonist to do the same thing for his army, which has fought for him and deserves something in return. He gives in, but is very self-conscious about the whole thing.
  • Túrin, in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Children of Húrin, gives a Rousing Speech, does this, and then has a magic fire ignite behind him. Which does heavily resemble that same thing that this trope isn't to be confused with.
    • In The Silmarillion, Feanor and his sons raise their swords, which gain a bloody sheen from nearby torches, as they swear an oath that will royally screw up Middle-Earth for many, many years to come.
  • Inverted in The Two-Headed Eagle by John Biggins where a statue representing ‘Old Austria’ involved a maiden holding up a broadsword hilt first "as if someone had absent-mindedly left it on a tram and she was calling after them to attract their attention."
  • This flyleaf of a Russian edition of The Eternal Champion Saga by Michael Moorcock. Similarly to the Zorro example below, combined with Rearing Horse.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Zorro combines this with Rearing Horse for extra awesome.
  • In the Farscape episode "Crackers Don't Matter" John Crichton prepares for his battle with T'raltixx; Lock-and-Load Montage - heat-absorbent paste(pre-digested by Zhaan to increase its potencynote ), dorky flight goggles, a cap soaked in the same bio-paste, a cape (solar-reflecting flare wrap), a shield (an armored section of Aeryn's Prowler), and D'Argo's Qualta blade. He then strikes this pose while humming "Ride of the Valkyries". Upon seeing this Aeryn simply folds her arms and says: "We are going to die."
  • Whenever a warrior wins a battle with their sword on Deadliest Warrior, chances are high that they'll perform this move.
  • Highlander loved to use this during Quickening sequences.

  • Manowar likes to do this in their covers. So much in fact that you could probably get away with renaming this trope "Swords in the Wind".

    Myths & Religion 



    Tabletop Games 
  • Many Tabletop Games figurines, including one used in Irregular Webcomic!. The reason for this, aside from the Rule of Cool justification used everywhere else, is because many of these figurines are cast from metal or resin as a single piece, and it means a certain "narrowness" is needed to get the material to flow evenly through the cast. Hence, weapons like swords tend to either be held straight up, or are lowered down and flush with the body.
  • Several character models in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. Probably the most prominent examples are the High Elf Prince Tyrion, Bretonnian King Louen Leoncoeur, Supreme Grandmaster Azrael of the Dark Angels (fitting, since their chapter symbol is a sword), and the Black Templars' Emperor's Champion.
    • The animation for, of all things, "Deflect Oil" for the Swordsmaster in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, is this pose. There's also an emote for it.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The art of the Holy Strength card takes this pose (though the arms aren't overhead). The card's direct opposite, Unholy Strength, inverts this trope.
    • Thalia from Innistrad adopts a similar pose

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Dante raises the Alastor above his head just after he acquires it. The sword then channels a blue lightning strike from above.
    • Dante also raises the Force Edge as the Perfect Amulet transforms it into the Sparda.
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening: Dante briefly raises Agni and Rudra above his head just after he acquired them in their scimitar forms.
  • Soul Series: In one of Nightmare's victory poses, he thrusts his sword skyward.
    • His (former) host, Siegfried, also had this as a victory pose. He stopped doing this in Soulcalibur IV, instead using another win pose from previous games where he brings the sword out of the sky and holds it in front of his face.
  • In Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army, you can make Raidou do this - just call your demon to you while standing still. Raidou will raise his sword above his head. He does nothing out of the ordinary while running, though, so it seems he just has a taste for being flashy.
  • Usually, in the The Legend of Zelda games, Link just holds new items over his head. But with a sword, he often does this pose instead.
  • Frog in Chrono Trigger does this with the Masamune as part of the unsealing of the Magic Cave.
  • Lampshaded in Fancy Pants Adventure 2 when Fancy Pants does this with an ice cream cone after winning it, and the nearby mayor thinks, "Why do they always do that?"
  • Super Smash Bros.:
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Dragon Quest:
  • Done by Gadwin of Grandia when he performs his legendary Dragon Cut attack. Justin does it as well when he uses the move himself, as well as with his ultimate move, Heaven and Earth Cut (which is basically an evolved version of Dragon Cut anyway).
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man 10's retro-style "box art" has Mega Man pointing his Mega Buster at the sky and shooting a beam, looking similar to the poster for A New Hope. There are also floating images of the main characters and space-ships battling in the sky, also in a similar fashion to the A New Hope poster.
    • In Mega Man X5, Maverick Zero will use this before executing his infamous Genmurei attack.
  • The box art of the HD Updated Re-release of Serious Sam has Sam doing this with his trademark minigun Atop a Mountain of Corpses.
  • In the DS remake of Final Fantasy IV Paladin!Cecil does this as a level-up animation.
  • Final Fantasy VI: Celes does this for her Runic ability, which allows her to absorb magic spells through her sword.
  • Final Fantasy VIII's Squall Leonhart does this as part of his Blasting Zone Limit Break.
  • Final Fantasy XII has Lord (Prince) Rasler do this in the opening cutscene for dramatic effect, to rouse his army's spirits for the upcoming battles.
  • Prince Cornelius in Odin Sphere uses this pose when using psypher skills or absorbing phozons into his sword.
  • Parodied in AdventureQuest Worlds during the Introduction. On a dark stormy night, on a hill overlooking Swordhaven Castle, the PC proudly thrusts his sword in the air, and lightning flashes and the game's title logo appears on the screen...a few seconds later, a bolt of lightning strikes your sword and shocks you so badly that you fall off the mountain and to bounce all the way onto a flat rock, which breaks and sends you falling down the rest of the way as dramatic music plays in the background.
  • In Dark Souls, using the two-handed special ability of the Stone Greatsword in involves this, casting a spell that slows all nearby enemies down. The Stone Giant enemies that drop them can do it too.
  • The Eternal Senia series: Senia does it in each game, when something good happens.
  • In RuneScape, the player and Wally are occasionally seen exhibiting this trope while wielding the sword Silverlight during the Demon Slayer quest.
  • Kirby
    • In Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, Kirby can stab up with the Master ability by pressing Up+B, though this serves the actual purpose of attacking overhead enemies.
    • Meta Knight in most of his playable appearances in the series can do the same thing, as can a Sword Knight Helper in Super Star Ultra.
    • In Kirby: Triple Deluxe and most games thereafter, Kirby does so to charge up the "Sky Energy Sword" attack, in a similar manner to the above-mentioned Skyward Strike.
    • Kirby Star Allies has Kirby do so to be given elemental attributes from his allies.
  • Playing as a Jedi Consular in Star Wars: The Old Republic, you'll need to build a lightsaber for yourself eventually. When you do, the cutscene shows you picking up the hilt, holding it up above your head, and igniting the weapon so that the green energy blade shoots up toward the sky.
  • In LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7, when Neville draws the Sword of Gryffindor from the Sorting Hat, he holds it up high like in Star Wars, complete with Hermione in Princess Lea's spot, Ron taking over as C-3PO, and Pigwidgeon portraying R2-D2. Voldemort promptly ends it, blowing the other characters away.
  • This is the opening shot of Getsu Fuma Den.
  • The Legendary Axe II begins with Prince Sirius grabbing the Royal Sword and thrusting it straight upward as the screen flashes dramatically. It's also his Victory Pose.
  • Humorously, the titular heroine in Child of Light does this for her Victory Pose. Well, she tries to, but being a little girl with a full-size longsword, she struggles to keep it up in the air with one hand, so the sword comes down to the ground with a heavy clunk and she barely keeps her balance.
  • In World of Warcraft, the player character strikes this pose when they obtain their artifact weapon.
  • In Zeliard the hero strikes that pose each time he reaches a Plot Coupon after winning a Boss Battle.

    Web Videos 
  • In the trailer for Peasant's Quest, Rather Dashing, who finally looks, smells, and is on fire like a peasant, holds his sword high to an Audible Gleam... for a second or two before his arm is tired. Then he walks away.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • In modern fencing, the salute has three steps, the first one is Staring Through the Sword, the second one is Stab The Sky. The third is Swipe Your Blade Off, but without the blood.
  • This posture resembles Jōdan-no-kamae, vom Tag and posta di falcon.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Sword Held High


Squidward grabs a screwdriver

Upon finally obtaining a screwdriver, Squidward pulls it out of the sand pile and holds it up in the famous king Arthur pose, while angelic fanfare plays.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / StabTheSky

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