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Weapon Tombstone

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"Behold! These lifeless keys used to be full of power, united with the hearts of their masters. On this barren soil, Keyblades of light and darkness were locked in combat... as a great Keyblade war raged!"
Master Xehanort, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

A character falls in battle, and is buried by their comrades (or their enemies, if those enemies consider them worthy). But for whatever reason, the grave isn't marked with a traditional tombstone, but rather with the slain character's weapon. Maybe circumstances didn't allow a regular marker, maybe it's just traditional (for the slain or the ones burying them), or maybe someone thought it would just be a poignant gesture.

Can be done with any type of weapon, although something with a blade will obviously be easier to stick into the ground. A sword, on top of being the standard heroic weapon, has the bonus of looking like a cross when planted this way. Regardless, this is almost always done in a way that the weapon is oriented vertically, rather than just laying on top of the grave.

Frequently combined with Headgear Headstone, with the warrior's helmet (or other headgear) being placed atop the weapon.

This has been done sometimes in Real Life, with the most iconic modern example being a rifle with the boots placed near it and the helmet on top, but usually only as a temporary measure to serve as a grave marker for soldiers that were killed in the field and had to be buried close to the front lines; permanent headstones were brought in later, or the bodies moved, so the weapons wouldn't be wasted. Fictional characters often seem less concerned about losing weapons to permanent graves, for one reason or another.

Weapon Tombstones are often removed by the fallen's descendants or successors for actual use at a later date, especially if they're Ancestral Weapons or are otherwise unique.

An entire graveyard of these is often a Field of Blades. See also Sword Plant. Not to be confused with a tombstone used AS a weapon, or the pump-action shotgun from the earlier Saints Row games.

As this is a Death Trope, all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Band of the Hawk from Berserk are memorialized with an entire Field of Blades, each one forged by Rickert, the only member of the Hawks who wasn't there when the Eclipse went down. It is on this field that Guts comes face-to-face with the reincarnated Griffith for the first time.
  • Cannon Busters: In episode 12, Odin digs a grave for Hilda outside Gara's Keep and marks it with her sword.
  • The eponymous warriors in Claymore have a tradition of using the swords of their fallen comrades for this. Any large burial ground will thus naturally be a Field of Blades.
    • Undine uses a fallen friend's sword as her main hand weapon with her own in the other hand. She gets called out for not adhering to this trope during the last battle of the anime. Her response? "The dead don't need 'em!"
    • The seven Claymore warriors who survived the War in the North but faked their death kept their swords. The absence of the weapons among the 17 swords of those actually dead clues in other characters that they're still alive.
  • In Devil May Cry: The Animated Series, after Dante defeats the demon swordsmen Bael and Modeus, who were former students of his father Sparda, he honors them by planting their swords into a nearby boulder.
  • When Galaxy Express 999 stops at a planet where slaves are forced to fight for the amusement of tourists, Tetsuro is taken to an extensive graveyard with every grave marked by a rifle.
  • Alexander Anderson in Hellsing gets a Weapon Tombstone — technically a Field of Blades, but every weapon is his — made from his bayonets.
  • In Inuyasha, Mukotsu and Kyokotsu of the Band of Seven are briefly seen buried with their respective weapons.
  • Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: The grave for Ryu's old party is ringed with their weapons.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders has one of the main villains, the blind N'Doul, fatally wounding himself using his Stand to prevent himself from spilling any information after being confronted by Jotaro, and talks to Jotaro without an ounce of fear of his oncoming death just before he dies. Afterward, Jotaro respectfully buries N'Doul's body in the desert and marks the spot using his walking cane.
  • In Kekkaishi, Genta's weapons were used as his gravestone.
  • After Jigoro kills the last six King's Spears while protecting Balsa in the Flashback arc of Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, he uses their namesake weapons as tombstones.
  • Naruto: Team 7 plants Zabuza's weapon, the Executioner's Blade, in the ground above where he's buried. Later, Sasuke and Suigetsu go back to retrieve it.
  • One Piece:
    • After the Marinford battle the graves of Ace and Whitebeard were marked with their personal effects, including Ace's dagger and hat and Whitebeard's trademark flag, Badass Longcoat, and bisento. A number of other swords were planted in the ground surrounding the graves, too.
    • In the twelfth movie, Z falls in battle after a Bolivian Army Ending, and his grave is marked by the gigantic prosthetic arm he used as a weapon.
    • In the Ringo region of Wano, people are traditionally gifted a katana upon birth, and it's used to mark their graves when they die. Kawamatsu removed them from their graves and gathered them up to serve as an armory for the rebellion against Kaido. Prior to this, grave robbers had been constantly trying to steal the valuable swords.
  • Record of Lodoss War: Ghim's axe marks his grave.
  • In Samurai Champloo, Mugen and Jin will do this for the few antagonists they respect enough to bury. Yukimaru's sword marking his cairn, Sara's kamiyari planted in hers.
  • In Samurai 7 the graves of the samurai who died defending the village are marked with their katana.
  • Inverted early in Soul Eater where a zombie actually uses his tombstone as a weapon.
  • In the Comet Empire arc of Space Battleship Yamato, Saito's men had their graves marked this way. When the Yamato swung back by the planet on the return journey he stops off for a memorial service (which is interrupted).
  • Kamina's katana is planted above his grave in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. His Badass Cape is tied around the hilt for good measure. More swords are planted alongside Kamina's in the series finale for the members of Team Dai-Gurren who had died by that point, along with Nia's Wedding Ring.
    • In Lagann-Hen's ending however, only three swords are present: Kamina's, as indicated above; another sword for Kittan, and a small cross-shaped white sword embedded in a headstone for Nia (As Simon has her wedding ring in place of the Core drill that he gave to Gimmy.) The deaths of the other Dai-Gurren team members were cut from the film.
  • In Trigun, Vash uses Wolfwood's cross punisher as his gravestone. Considering its shape, it's very fitting.
  • Violet Evergarden: In Episode 11, Violet buries Aidan and uses his rifle as a grave marker.

    Comic Books 
  • Garth Ennis' The Boys has a variation on this in a Vietnam War flashback. After wiping out American troops armed with a crappy new rifle supplied by Vought-American, the VC leave the dead GI's weapons stuck in the ground with their helmets on top. However, the helmets aren't empty....
  • Code Name: Gravedigger: After shooting the scout for a band of Desert Bandits in Men of War #14, Gravedigger buries him and plants his rifle as a marker at the head of his grave.
  • At the end of Combat Kelly and his Deadly Dozen #4, the Dozen leave a rifle with his helmet atop it stuck into the ground besides the body of Captain Conner. However, as a mark of their Last Disrespects, they do not bother to bury the body.
  • In Fables #140, Puss in Boots is thought dead. Briar Rose marks his cairn by placing his rapier in the pile of stones and hanging his musketeer hat on it.
  • In Hitman, Tommy gives ex-Para Bob a tombstone consisting of his gun, and a scrap of wood with "God is airborne" written on it.
  • Kanan: "Stance"'s headstone is his rifle with his helmet perched atop it.
  • In the Sgt. Rock comics, the graves of fallen members of Easy Company were usually marked with their rifle and helmet. This was featured the cover of the Between Hell and a Hard Place GN, and in the story itself Wildman instructs some new privates to do this for a fallen comrade.
  • In Tomahawk #106, the Rangers think Tomahawk is killed in an avalanche. They mark his resting place with his tomahawk and coonskin cap.

  • In The AFR Universe, a single sword marks the grave of the Traitor.
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf alternate timeline story "Hefty, The Luckiest Smurf", Duncan McSmurf plants a sword in the ground as a memorial for Empath, who not only was returned to Psychelia, but had his entire memory of being a Smurf stripped from him (or so it seems), meaning that Empath Smurf has truly died.
  • In the epilogue of The Hill of Swords, Shirou, having finally got his wish, rests under a hill with a single sword denoting his presence.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Cloud uses his Buster Sword, which had previously belonged to Zack, as Zack's tombstone, or at least to mark the spot where he died protecting Cloud outside Midgar, and it is now covered in dirt and rust over the ages. In AC Complete, he has a change of heart, cleans the sword, and hangs it in the remains of the Sector 5 slums church, where he (and Zack) met Aerith.
  • Mulan: When the general—who also happens to be Shang's father—dies, Chien-po, who found the body, brings back the general's helmet. Having no time for a burial, he erects a memorial by driving his sword into the ground and placing his father's helmet on it. Mulan also places an abandoned doll she found in the village's ruins next to the sword.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The final shot of Hand of Death is a shot of the graves belonging to the hero's two closest friends, marked respectively by their spear and sword embedded in the soil.
  • In Highlander, Heather's grave was marked by her husband's claymore. Slightly unusual (though no less effective) for the trope, as she wasn't a warrior herself. This may have symbolized that "Connor MacCleod" died there too, as he casts off his previous life with her.
  • In King Arthur (2004) fallen warriors had their blades stuck in the ground at their gravesites to act as tombstones; this is where Arthur gets Excalibur.
  • Kong: Skull Island:
    • Packard makes a grave marker for the men killed in the initial encounter with Kong with an M-16 rifle planted in the middle. Though the presumably-loaded magazine is left in the weapon for some reason (you would think the ammo might come in handy).
    • Gunpei's grave is marked with his sword, and Marlow retrieves it before leaving the village.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: :Allan Quatermain's rifle is laid on his grave, not stuck into it.
  • Saving Private Ryan : After the paratroopers killed near the radar station are buried, Capt. Miller marks their graves with their helmets and M1 rifles. He removes the trigger group from each weapon so they can't be used by the Germans.
  • In Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai the four samurai who died are remembered this way. Possibly an Ur-Example for film and katana examples in particular. The peasants who died in the fight have spears stuck in theirs.

  • Elantris has Hrathen of Fjordell's barrow, marked with his sword and armor and constructed in honor of his (sadly fatal) Heel–Face Turn.
  • In Evensong, in the Village Tales series, the burial of a pagan Anglo-Saxon war-band is discovered with their weapons and a few other grave goods, near the site of a Romano-British villa. (The valknuts on the swords identify them as pagan Anglo-Saxons.) As the Duke points out to the archaeological team, the raiders clearly felt they'd gained honor in the fight, wherefore the form of the burial, and leaving behind serviceable weapons; but recognized doubts they could hold the field … and scattered.
  • The Hobbit: When Thorin Oakenshield was buried under the Mountain, the Elvenking laid Thorin's sword Orcrist on his tomb. Since the sword glowed blue when Orcs were present, this meant it also acted as an early warning system.
  • Merkabah Rider: In "Hell's Hired Gun", after burying Medgar Tooms, the Rider marks Tooms' grave by stabbing his Whitworth rifle into the ground by its bayonet.
  • Deconstructed with some Black Humor in Jorge Ibarguengoitia's Los Pasos de López. The Hero attempts to do this in order to later retrieve his friend's corpse so he can be buried in his hometown. The sword's stolen later that night.
  • Sabriel places one very early on in Sabriel, for some soldiers killed by a Mordicant. She realizes too late that magically cremating the bodies destroyed the dog tags, though.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire swords are laid over the tombs of the dead Lords of Winterfell. Later, when they're hiding in the crypts Bran, Meera, and Osha steal three of these swords.
  • In a story only in the Sword Art Online light novels, Kirito briefly parties with another player to perform a sidequest. The other player does not survive, so Kirito uses his sword as a tombstone. Unfortunately, due to the fact that unattended weapons have their durability degrade over time, it only lasts a few hours.
  • At the end of the Warhammer 40,000 short story "Blueblood", Volpone trooper Culcis makes a memorial marker for the Kauth Longstriders, a feral-world company who the Volpone had feuded with, but ultimately fought alongside to stop a Chaos cult, with the Kauth being wiped out in the process. He uses his own hellgun for the marker, but adorns it with the Kauth's battle standard, which he retrieved from the battlefield.

    Live Action TV 
  • Doctor Who. If the Doctor can be considered to have a weapon, it's this trope when he visits his own grave and finds the TARDIS is the grave marker.
  • In the Power Rangers Lost Galaxy episode "Loyax' Last Battle", the title character's sword is stabbed into the sand at the beach where he perished.
  • Duncan leaves Caleb Cole’s battle axe on his grave in Highlander.
  • Arrow. After Ra's al Ghul seemingly kills Oliver Queen in a Duel to the Death, he leaves the sword used to kill him stuck in the ground as a memorial. Because Team Arrow are reluctant to believe that Oliver is dead, Malcolm Merlyn retrieves the sword and brings it back to the Arrowcave so they can run a DNA test on the blood.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Footrot Flats: In a strip about erosion, the Dog finds a chainsaw washed down from the hill country in the recent floods. He plants it blade down in the silt and scratches 'R.I.P.' beneath it (with much better penmanship than the Dog usually manages).
  • When Milton Caniff, creator of Steve Canyon, died, the last Steve Canyon strip to run was a tribute including a panel by Bill Mauldin. This showed Mauldin's World War II soldier Willie sticking a rifle-sized pen into the ground while Steve, in flight suit, set a pilot's helmet atop the pen. (The rest of the tribute was the signatures of twenty or thirty other cartoonists.)

    Video Games 
  • Dario's grave in Chrono Cross is marked with his sword, the Einlanzer. Party member Glenn can retrieve the sword after some Character Development and use it as his main weapon. Given that Chrono Cross deals with an Alternate Universe, that this is actually the SECOND Einlanzer for him to gain, leading to Dual Wielding two identical legendary weapons..
  • Every now and then in The Crystal of Kings, you can come across shallow graves of fallen Estorean warriors, marked with a single sword planted atop a helmet. The game actually allows you to destroy their graves by breaking their swords, and doing so occasionally reveals power-ups or healing potions.
  • Dark Souls greatly shows this with Knight Artorias. Once entering Artorias's resting place, the Chosen Undead will find his greatsword embedded on the ground, before it gets picked up by his wolf companion, Sif. Not only that, but if you look closely, the area around Artorias's grave also has countless smaller swords embedded on the ground as gravesites.
  • Devil May Cry: Dante plants the Sword of Sparda in Trish's memory after he believes she is dead. When she returns, he allows her to keep the weapon.
  • In Disgaea Dimension 2 Etna's Elder Spear becomes this when Etna dies in one of the bad endings.
  • In Endeavor, the main character's family sword marks the death of Malor, an ancient and malicious deity.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The Game Over screen in Final Fantasy IX shows Zidane's dagger planted in the middle of a forest, with Garnet's pendant hanging from it.
    • In Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, Zack uses crossed swords to mark the grave of his fallen buddies Essai and Sebastian. The crossed swords and grave show up again in Crisis Core as one of the DMW memories with Tseng. As noted in the Advent Children example above, his sword was later used in the same way.
  • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance Greil, Ike's father, is killed by the Black Knight and his axe Urvan is left at his grave. Later in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn the weapon is retrieved and becomes the game's Infinity Plus One Axe.
  • God of War: Ghost of Sparta: The Arms of Sparta become Deimos's tombstone.
  • Near the end of Grandia II Mareg's grave is marked by one of his battle axes. Oddly enough Mareg's body isn't under the weapon and it wasn't the weapon he was using at the time. Which is understandable since Mareg died holding off a horde of monsters on the moon so the rest of the heroes could escape, leaving no opportunity to retrieve either his body or his most recent axe.
  • The live-action trailer for Halo 3: ODST features the 'Helmet, boots, rifle' field burial with the equipment updated appropriately.
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • Kingdom Hearts II: There is a room in The World That Never Was that houses graves with pictures of the weapons that each Organization member used. Two of them are used as portals to Luxord and Saïx's boss battles (who, by that point, are the only two members of Organization XIII not named Xemnas left alive).
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: The Keyblade Graveyard consists of rows upon rows of Keyblades, magical and ethereal weapons, all stuck haphazardly into the ground as makeshift tombstones for the thousands of Keyblade bearers that died in the aptly-named Keyblade War. In Kingdom Hearts χ, we get to see how they ended up there.
    • Kingdom Hearts III: The Keyblade Graveyard returns to serve as the venue for the final battle between Sora's group and Xehanort's. And at the end, Terra, Ventus, and Aqua use the Master's Defender and their Wayfinders to create a tombstone for Master Eraqus, who died in Birth By Sleep.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Link constructs a grave for Mikau out of his guitar, or his "axe," as it were.
  • In Lufia & The Fortress of Doom, a character's grave is marked with a sword. Checking the grave gives the message "Got Short Sword!"
  • Lunar: Silver Star Story: Dyne's Monument has his sword stuck in it. Eventually, Alex pulls it out and uses it to become the Dragonmaster once again.
  • The Game Over screen in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault is a field of M1 Garand rifles planted barrel-first on the ground with helmets perched on them.
  • Almost done in Metal Gear Solid 3: The Boss gets an unmarked grave and Snake places her signature "Patriot" machine gun against her headstone. As of Guns of the Patriotsnote , it's still there.
  • When the boss of SkySand in An Untitled Story gets defeated, they leave behind a glowing outline of their sword impaled to the floor at the center of the chamber.
  • A very poignant example in Kingdom of Paradise. Lu Yan and Li Yin were sacrificed to the Toshentetsu inside the "throne room" of Genshin Island. Their bodies were sacrificed to break the Toshintetsu while their souls were being held by the said machine to hold back Banko. After the final battle with Banko, Shinbu and Hohaku take their New Moon and Crescent Moon swords, and start to make music in front of the Toshintetsu, freeing all the trapped souls. After they paid their respects, they both left the swords resting on the throne. What makes this even more poignant is that the two swords actually belonged to the Celestial Twins.
  • Should you die in Tenchu: Stealth Assassins, you'll be treated to a Game Over screen showing the grave of your character, with their respective weapons as the tombstone : a ninjato for Rikimaru, and dual tanto knives for Ayame. In the ending, when Rikimaru sacrifices himself to allow Ayame and Princess Kiku to escape the collapsing cave, Ayame sticks Rikimaru's sword, Izayoi, in the snow outside the cave.
  • After the last Korhal mission in Starcraft II Legacy Of The Void Raynor is seen burying his fallen men with their gauss rifles and dog tags as grave markers.

    Web Animation 
  • Bunnykill 4 ends with Snowball marking Ruby's grave with the double-bladed staff that she used as her primary weapon.
  • DEATH BATTLE!: At the end of "Shredder vs Silver Samurai", after defeating the Silver Samurai, Shredder plants his sword in the ground and hangs his helmet on the hilt.
  • The Stinger for RWBY Volume 8 shows Ruby's scythe, Crescent Rose, buried in the sand with a huge tree in the background.
  • The end of TOME includes a small shot of Kirbopher's gravestone, marked with his sword and hat, despite Christopher being alive by the end of the story. Perhaps it's meant to say that the persona itself is dead, either due to Kajet's attacks corrupting the game model, or because his secret identity had been revealed.

    Web Comics 
  • In Chapter 4 of Chimneyspeak, the dead Highlanders' graves are marked with their swords as well as name plaques.
  • In Girl Genius Agatha Clay's grave got a pile of stones, some remnants of a mechanical monstrosity and death ray stuck in.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode early in the first season of Steven Universe goes through a Field of Blades that was a battefield in an Great Offscreen War. Near the end of the season, the Crystal Gems return and it's clarified that each weapon is from a Gem that died in battle. Because the situation was getting rather drastic, they resorted taking some of the weapons from the field.
  • In The Venture Bros. episode "Dia De Los Dangerous," Brock Samson's grave is marked by his trademark knife. It turns out he's not really dead, just heavily sedated from tranquilizer darts and unconscious after being hit by a truck.
  • A variation in the Grand Finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The last shot of Ahsoka is her leaving her lightsaber at the tombs of the clones, partially to convince anyone who finds them that she's dead, partially in memorial of the clones who died following Order 66, and partially to symbolize that her time as a Jedi is over.
  • Downplayed in Amphibia. Anne (at least in the long term), Sasha, and Marcy don’t die in the end, but they must return back to Earth and leave Amphibia behind forever. For the people to remember them by, each of them places their weapon where they left to go home. Anne leaves behind her tennis racket, Sasha leaves behind one of her swords, and Marcy leaves behind her crossbow.

    Real Life 
  • The "Field Cross," as it's known in the US Military, consists of a personal weapon (usually a rifle with the bayonet fixed, but not always) stuck muzzle-down into the ground, with the fallen serviceman's boots placed on either side for support, his helmet hung over the butt, and one of his dog tags looped through the trigger guard or otherwise secured to the weapon (the other tag is taken for records and next-of-kin notification). The weapon will generally have the bolt or some other critical component removed to render it inoperable to an enemy who might steal it. Since the wars the US has fought since 1973 have been either very short or low-intensity, most bodies have been removed from the field and sent home for burial, so Field Crosses are usually symbolically erected at funeral services and memorials.

Alternative Title(s): Weapon Headstone, Weapon Gravestone