Good Examples of Living Weapons in Books

happyninja42

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Random subject that I found myself curious about, but what are some stories, where one of the key components is some kind of "living" weapon. And I don't mean like a person that gets augmented to a be a living weapon. I mean like actual, sentient weapons, that someone uses in battle. Most of the examples I can think of are usually some kind of cursed blade, and it's some edgy emo shit where it "feeds on the souls of the victims" or whatever, and always tries to tempt the wielder into killing more. Basically just a Devil in object form.

I'd rather have more interesting examples than that frankly. What set this idea off, was watching a clip from a Game Grumps episode of...I think it's Skyward Sword? The one with the birds and the goddess, and the floaty blue/purple girl who constantly talks to Link...or Spoomples in their game :p

Anyway, the clip suggested that she was a program of some kind, but that she was the sword as well? Never played it so just guessing, but I liked the idea of a computer version of a "living weapon." So I was curious about other examples that were cool, and not just FEED ME BLOOD SEYMOUR! kind of shit.

Anyone know of examples that were interesting in various stories?
 

Neuromancer

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Perhaps the most archetypical example in fantasy, Stormbringer, the Black Blade. A sentient sword thirsting for souls, known to overpower its masters in its endless soul-devouring gluttony. Sword of Elric of Melnibone, the final emperor of Melnibone, who spent every waking moment fighting against the sword's malevolent influence, only to fail and suffer tragedy from it.

Also the subject to a bitchin' Blue Oyster Cult song, and the name of a Deep Purple album.

 
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happyninja42

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Perhaps the most archetypical example in fantasy, Stormbringer, the Black Blade. A sentient sword thirsting for souls, known to overpower its masters in its endless soul-devouring gluttony. Sword of Elric of Melnibone, the final emperor of Melnibone, who spent every waking moment fighting against the sword's malevolent influence, only to fail and suffer tragedy from it.

Also the subject to a bitchin' Blue Oyster Cult song, and the name of a Deep Purple album.

Yes I am familiar with Mournblade. Read several of the Elric books when I was a kid. I also asked for examples that WEREN'T the "feed me souls!" version :p
 

Gethsemani

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Lilarcor from Baldur's Gate 2. Why has no one mentioned this yet? It should be the first sentient weapon to come to anyone's mind. Lilarcor has some vague backstory about an idiot who tries to be an adventurer and makes a fool of himself. The weapon itself might be that Lilarcor or just named after him. Either way, the weapon constantly wants to fight, isn't all too bright and occasionally drops quips. It is a good weapon, but it is also a stupid weapon and that makes it utterly hilarious, especially when it tries taunting enemies and makes a mess of the quip.
 

SupahEwok

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Lilarcor from Baldur's Gate 2. Why has no one mentioned this yet? It should be the first sentient weapon to come to anyone's mind. Lilarcor has some vague backstory about an idiot who tries to be an adventurer and makes a fool of himself. The weapon itself might be that Lilarcor or just named after him. Either way, the weapon constantly wants to fight, isn't all too bright and occasionally drops quips. It is a good weapon, but it is also a stupid weapon and that makes it utterly hilarious, especially when it tries taunting enemies and makes a mess of the quip.
Well, the thread title does say "in books", so unless Lilarcor is in the novelization, I figured it wouldn't apply.

Honestly, I can't think of very many sentient weapons that don't fit OP's definition of the "boring" cursed swords. Neuro brought up Stormbringer, but that's really just the biggest example in modern fantasy. It draws on a long tradition going back into myth of swords that bring their bearer victory at the cost of sacrifice. If I were of a more academic background, I'd dare say that the trope is a metaphor of the cost of war. Tolkien's story of the Children of Hurin (which I think in draft form predates his LOTR writing) had such a sword, I believe, which spoke at the end. The cursed sword Tyrfing is a Nordic legend. From the East, the swords of the smith Muramasa are commonly depicted as cursed or evil (in popculture, at least, but fairly old popculture). I'm guessing there's something in Greek myth of a cursed weapon, Greeks loved their tragedies.

But weapons which are sentient and not vehicles for primordial metaphors? Sounds like a modern popculture trope, which I'm not very familiar with.
 

happyninja42

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Well, the thread title does say "in books", so unless Lilarcor is in the novelization, I figured it wouldn't apply.

Honestly, I can't think of very many sentient weapons that don't fit OP's definition of the "boring" cursed swords. Neuro brought up Stormbringer, but that's really just the biggest example in modern fantasy. It draws on a long tradition going back into myth of swords that bring their bearer victory at the cost of sacrifice. If I were of a more academic background, I'd dare say that the trope is a metaphor of the cost of war. Tolkien's story of the Children of Hurin (which I think in draft form predates his LOTR writing) had such a sword, I believe, which spoke at the end. The cursed sword Tyrfing is a Nordic legend. From the East, the swords of the smith Muramasa are commonly depicted as cursed or evil (in popculture, at least, but fairly old popculture). I'm guessing there's something in Greek myth of a cursed weapon, Greeks loved their tragedies.

But weapons which are sentient and not vehicles for primordial metaphors? Sounds like a modern popculture trope, which I'm not very familiar with.
Well it's mostly just an interesting curiosity, that I couldn't think of any examples that aren't evil in nature. I mean, the trope of an intelligent object/tool being used as a character in storytelling isn't new, but other tools are often shown to be normal, and not bloodthirsty. But the Zelda clip I mentioned seemed to imply it was like...I dunno, some kind of ancient technology artifact. Like a device from Atlantis or something, or similar ancient civilization. And the sword wasn't depicted as being evil, just, alien. The only other example I can think of, after making the thread, is from that game Transistor, where she has a talking sword. But I lost interest in that game so I don't know if it ended up being evil or not.

And I never said I found them "boring" , just that I wanted examples of something other than the most stereotypical one. The fact that the very first post is one that is very commonly known in recent popular culture, says a lot about whether or not there ARE any examples of intelligent, but not evil/bloodthirsty weapons in fiction.
 

Agema

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I'm guessing there's something in Greek myth of a cursed weapon, Greeks loved their tragedies.
Funnily enough, I don't recall any magical weapons, offhand. Poisoned cloaks and arrows, very well polished shields, but I don't really recall any magic weapons. Technically I guess Zeus has his thunderbolt, and Poseidon's trident was magical, but nothing for mortals.
 

Bob_McMillan

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The first thing that came into mind was the Yuuzhan Vong amphistaff from Star Wars. They're basically super space snakes, that once tamed, can be used as whips, spears, or swords. They're durable enough to deflect lightsaber blades, but can become flexible enough to wrap around the blades and bite the poor Jedi holding them.

Imagine throwing your spear, impaling your enemy on it, and having it slither back to you. Also, it shoots incredibly painful poison that takes almost an entire day to finally kill you.

It's a ridiculous weapon, but at least its all natural and environmentally friendly!



Would the Green Lanterns' rings count? Occasionally they are portrayed as sentient, developing personalities.
 

Breakdown

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I think most bronze weapons were probably too short lasting to become iconic. Shields, armour and bows seemed to have more status for ancient Greeks.
 

happyninja42

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Would the Green Lanterns' rings count? Occasionally they are portrayed as sentient, developing personalities.
I was thinking about the Lanterns, but I don't know their lore well enough to say. I mean, if they have been depicted as being sentient, then as the OP I would say they count, at least regarding MY interest in it. Was there a particular color of ring that was portrayed as sentient? Or did it just sort of bounce around the spectrum based on the writer at the time?
 

Dreiko

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Funnily enough, I don't recall any magical weapons, offhand. Poisoned cloaks and arrows, very well polished shields, but I don't really recall any magic weapons. Technically I guess Zeus has his thunderbolt, and Poseidon's trident was magical, but nothing for mortals.
Yeah we have things more akin to magical artifacts than just straight up excalibur style magic weapons. I think that is because they are older myths. You have stuff like Hermes' winged sandals for example, but those were more like magical useful tools and not straight up weapons.

The closest thing I can think of that fits in this context of magical weapons is Achilles's shield.
(wow reading this in english feels so weird haha, had to memorize this in ancient greek for HS finals)


But yeah, the shield has a whole reality marble inside of it pretty much, so I guess it technically counts as a living weapon lol.
 
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Bob_McMillan

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I was thinking about the Lanterns, but I don't know their lore well enough to say. I mean, if they have been depicted as being sentient, then as the OP I would say they count, at least regarding MY interest in it. Was there a particular color of ring that was portrayed as sentient? Or did it just sort of bounce around the spectrum based on the writer at the time?
In a story where an alternate universe evil Justice League invaded the regular DC Universe, Green Lantern's evil doppelganger Power Ring was killed. The Power Ring is basically an evil sentient Green Lantern ring that isn't powered by willpower, but by the fear of its host. Its sort of like a parasite, and so attached itself to a woman who had shut herself off from the world while she was struggling with PTSD.

As for regular power things though, they are essentially basic AI. Just how much personality they show however usually depends on the writers or the specific Green Lantern in question.
 

Thaluikhain

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Funnily enough, I don't recall any magical weapons, offhand. Poisoned cloaks and arrows, very well polished shields, but I don't really recall any magic weapons. Technically I guess Zeus has his thunderbolt, and Poseidon's trident was magical, but nothing for mortals.
Perseus got given a fancy sword, but whether that was magic, or just made by the gods and thus really well-made I'm not sure.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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Perseus got given a fancy sword, but whether that was magic, or just made by the gods and thus really well-made I'm not sure.
Greek myth never goes into too much detail but there're a bunch of stories about the gods forging impromptu swords for heroes (Perseus, Aeneas) and they're always treated less as magical objects and more along the lines of blessings, because fate says so.
 

Eacaraxe

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If we're talking about comics, in Stormwatch and Authority the nanomachine colony the second Engineer and Machine use would probably count. I can't remember off the top of my head if it contained the first Engineer's consciousness (or if that was the Carrier), or was a copy of his intellect and personality, but I do remember it was self-aware and capable of autonomy.

EDIT: As long as we're talking '90s edgelord comics, the Witchblade too. Also Spawn's costume was semi-sentient at least, and I want to say one of Angela's weapons was as well?
 

Palindromemordnilap

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There's the Moment from Doctor Who. Figured I'd bring it up because you asked for ones that weren't sadists and the Moment, despite being some kind of bomb powerful to wipe out two time-and-space-spanning civilisations at once in a...well, moment, has a conscience. Its a devastatingly powerful weapon that doesn't want to be fired and does its best to find a better way