Follow TV Tropes


The Power of Glass

Go To
Paper cuts have got nothing on this.

"This is Gara, the unbreakable warrior. Manipulator of glass, she fractures the resolve of her enemies. The shattered remains of her enemies are all that Gara leaves behind. Tread lightly.
Lotus, Warframe

As we know, broken glass is sharp, and nobody likes being cut by it or having to deal with a dropped object or shattered window.

This trope is about a character having the power to create and manipulate glass for various purposes. Some folks even go so far as to make an artform out of it.

Glass manipulation, or "hyalokinesis", is when someone creates, shapes and manipulates glass, an amorphous (non-crystalline) solid material, through some form of magic. The simplest application is creating sharp shards of broken glass to slice up or impale opponents. If an existing form of glass isn't around, no worries: just use the proper molecules in the surrounding environment to make some. Even better, just turn yourself into some and go to town, provided that you can put yourself back together. Failing those tried-and-true applications, there's good old Shaping Your Attacks like the other kinds of elemental manipulation. These powers are often used to create mirrors or lenses. The glass used tends to subvert Soft Glass, or otherwise the enemy wouldn't even get a scratch on them.

Outside of combat, because of the widespread prevalence of glass, some are just content to make all sorts of artwork, applications, or items for aesthetics or everyday use. That engineer's life becomes so much easier if they can walk up, snap their fingers, and replace that giant hole in a glass building in under a minute.

Also, precisely because glass is everywhere, one can get really creative with their use of glass, such as making mirrors to making reflections (illusions), refracting ambient light, and more. To say nothing of the myriad weapons someone could make. Beware of brittleness though.

Soda-lime glass is often the most commonly represented form of glass used for his trope. That said, it doesn't have to be the only kind. Obsidian, fulgurite, volcanic glass, and more also qualify.

Related to Sand Blaster since sand plus heat equals glass for the most part. A Magma Man can be related if volcanic glass is thrown into the mix. For that reason, hyalokinesis doesn't have to be the main power of an example—just a useful facet. Glass is considered the result of a combination of elements, like Fire combined with Earth, but can sometimes be used as an elemental power in and of itself.

Sub-Trope to Single Substance Manipulation. Compare Magic Mirror, Sand Blaster, An Ice Person and Gemstone Assault. Usually attacks via Flechette Storm. If the character can turn things into glass, see Taken for Granite. Not to be confused with Power Crystal.

Note: If someone is just extending their magical capabilities of levitation, transfiguration, etc. to available glass, it is not this trope. They must have explicit and specific control, be it wholesale hyalomancy or a magic spell, over glass.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Clover: Hamon Caseus uses Glass Magic, which (true to its name) lets him manipulate and create glass. For example, he attacks with multiple glass swords at one point.
  • Kyoji Kagami from Get Backers manipulated mirror fragments as his primary form of attack.
  • My Hero Academia: Starservant, a minor villain during the Endeavor Internship arc, has the ability to manipulate glass. He can also change its consistency from solid to liquid. He hatches a plot to "destroy the darkness" he sees plaguing society by creating a giant glass orb, but Endeavor handles him fairly easily.
  • Sailor Moon: Two Monsters of the Week, Cenicienta and Derella, were two humanoid enemies with glassy appearances that use glass-based spells and attacks.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Universe: William Baker/Flint Marko/Sandman from Marvel Comics learns an application of his more famous powers, including altering the formation of his sand particles and reshaping them into glass. This granted him the ability to reflect light and energy off of him.
  • In the first arc of the Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems series, the Crystal Gems encounter a corrupted gem nicknamed the Glass Ghost. It looks like it's composed of broken glass and anything it touches is turned into glass. On top of that, the gem is desperate for contact and turns the inhabitants of Beach City into glass looking for it. Steven realizes this and uses his bubble shield to give the Glass Ghost some form of touch without risking himself. She poofs herself after that. The Glass Ghost may or may not have this power in uncorrupted form, because the comic states that she's a quartz because glass isn't a gem type (which isn't true in the rest of the franchise, where there are gems made of obsidian and possibly other types of glass).
  • Kole from Teen Titans has the ability to create and control pure silicon crystal at will.

    Fan Works 
  • Iron Touch: Fergie's Stand, Shatter Me, can generate crystals from its chest that dissolve into a bunch of sand floating on rising steam. Anything this sand touches turns into glass.
  • Pokémon Wack: The Glass type is introduced. It resists almost as many types as Steel does (and is outright immune to Water). Mirror Shot (which was a Steel-type move in canon) has been reclassified as a Glass-type move.

    Film — Live Action 
  • The Mummy (2017): With the Dagger of Set, Ahmanet destroys all of the glass in the London to create a massive storm as a show of power.
  • In Virtuosity, the villain, SID6.7, escapes the computer by using a silicon-based android body. When he loses an arm in a firefight, he finds out that the glass of a parked car can be used to reconstitute himself.

  • From Worm:
    • Shatterbird of the Slaughterhouse Nine is a "silica kinetic," having the ability to manipulate silicon through high-frequency sounds, giving her essentially perfect control over all glass, sand, and other siliceous compounds. Her favorite thing to do is make the glass in a city explode to announce the arrival of her faction.
    • Bauble, a member of Toybox, is a Tinker specialising in glassworking and glassworking tools, inventing devices that could transmute inorganic matter into glass.
  • There are two kinds of glass magic in the Circleverse: academic glass magic, which is common and involves fixing charms and spells into glass, and ambient glass magic, which falls under this trope. Ambient glass magic is rare, and its users can manipulate glass directly, use it to see the future, and in one exceptional incident create artificial life. It goes without saying that ambient glass mages are also exceptional glassworkers and artists to boot. Kethlun Warder is a mage that turns out to have both glass and lightning magic; until he learns to get his powers under control, they interact with each other in strange and unfortunate ways, such as creating what is essentially a plasma globe that painfully shocks any non-mage who tries to touch it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Tyler Mcknight from Smallville can manipulate the glass around himself. He also passes down his glass-breaking powers to his daughter Maddie.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Lost: Fetches can gain the ability to draw a Glass Weapon out of any glass surface they can touch, with mirrors giving the best result. The blade is just as sharp and resilient as a metal sword or dagger.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: The Candid's elemental power is transparent solids, glass among them, due to their Court's focus on honesty and transparency. Thus a lot of their charms, armor, and weapons are made of glass to make them easier to enchant.

    Video Games 
  • Arknights has Lin Yuhsia, whose father is a Sand Blaster. It is heavily implied that she has the same powers as her dad, but she prefers to use it like in this trope. During the Dossoles Holiday event, she is shown to be able to be so proficient with it that she matches Ch'en's own swordsmanship.
  • Dragon Ball Heroes has minor antagonist Lagss, who is a member of an alien race capable of manipulating and weaponizing glass.
  • Originally, there would have been a conduit in inFAMOUS: Second Son with glass-based abilities that the player would later get to use with Delsin's Power Copying ability, but eventually it was cut from the main game. However, such a conduit is proven to exist in the finished game, as imprinting glass powers onto the DUP troops was one of several proposed ideas before they settled with Augustine's concrete powers, and a conduit killed in a hate-crime by Lifeline in "Paper Trail: Part 4" is implied to be a glass conduit.
  • Kirby: Dark Meta Knight in his later appearances mixes swordplay with glass/mirror magic. He can summon glass blades out of mirror portals and can reflect enemy attacks with his various moves.
  • The Alin from Rise of Legends use Glass Magic to build their cities and some combat units (including a literal glass cannon). It helps that their other two favorite magics are Sand and Fire (put them together and you get glass). Their Hero Unit, Sawu, has many abilities based on glass magic.
  • Warframe: Gara, the Glass Warrior, is a manipulator of glass who sunders her foes with adamantine shards, reflects enemy attacks through enchanted mirrors, and reshapes the landscape with molten crystal.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Epithet Erased: Mera's Epithet, Fragile, seems to have this as an ability. When she fights Sylvie, she creates giant, crystalline spikes, along with a spear of the same material.
  • RWBY: Cinder Fall's Semblance, "Scorching Caress", allows her to superheat and reshape objects. She mainly uses it for turning earth into weapons or objects made of obsidian, black volcanic glass. This is in keeping with her Fairytale Motif of Cinderella, who is famously associated with glass slippers.

  • Spinnerette: This is the main power of the appropriately named Colonel Glass, one of the major antagonists Spinny and Mecha Maid face (the latter of whom also has history with him), who can control any shard of glass in his vicinity down to a molecular level. Not to mention he is Ax-Crazy and has a healing factor to boot. His arrival pretty much threw what was a quirky superhero series into one of its darkest arcs.

    Western Animation 
  • Winx Club: Silicya, as the Fairy of Silica, has crystal/glass-based powers.

Alternative Title(s): Hylalokinesis