By Julia Bergen
So you’re a villain, you’ve practiced your evil laugh for weeks, and you’ve got all your villainous plans laid out. Everything is going perfectly with your nefarious schemes until the hero shows up. But it’s fine, you’ve planned for this, you’ve planned for everything. Except—what’s that they’re holding? Oh no, not the Magical Staff of Defeating Villains In One Blow!!
It’s a scene we see over and over again in fantasy, but it’s also one we just can’t get enough of. As soon as the wise old mentor announces that the hero has to go find the weapon abandoned for centuries that’s the only thing that can save the kingdom from forces of evil, we are IN.
We rounded up some of our favorite world-breaking magical weapons—which ones do you think we missed?
Urthaenriel AKA Godslayer AKA The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons Series by Jenn Lyons)
A sword with three different names HAS to be good, and Urthaenriel definitely lives up to its names. The world of A Chorus of Dragons is full of gods, centuries-old dragons, and cornerstone artifacts with crazy effects like letting their bearer ask any question or scry through any fire. Urthaenriel laughs at all of them. Literally, the sword can communicate with its owner, and is not impressed by much. Urthaenriel can destroy anything and is immune to any and all magic, an immunity that it shares with its owner as well. Of course, we just hope Urthaenriel’s current owner doesn’t do anything foolish with it…well, anything more foolish than he’s already done…
The One Ring from The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien
Anyone who thinks jewelry can’t be a weapon needs to learn to accessorize better. Don’t start with the One Ring, though. Not only is it kind of plain, but it will slowly try to take over your mind, neither of which will compliment your outfit. The ring is only loyal to its creator, Sauron, who can use it to control all other Rings of Power. It also has some neat add-on abilities, like invisibility. Because if you’re going to forge a worldbreaking weapon in the fires of Mount Doom, you might as well go nuts with the add-ons.
The Deathly Hallows from The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Some wizards think their just a myth, others spend their entire lives hunting them down. According to legend, the Deathly Hallows are a wand that can’t be defeated, a cloak that turns its wearer invisible, and a stone that conquers death. Originally given separately to three brothers, if any one person were ever to have all three, they would have a power beyond imagination. And unlike a lot of the other weapons on this list, these can be used by anyone, making their potential to fall into the wrong hands a serious problem. Dun dun dun!
Callandor from The Wheel of Time® series by Robert Jordan
When is a sword not a sword? When it’s a Callandor! Callandor looks like a sword made of glass, and can even be used like a sword, but it’s actually an extremely powerful artifact that can channel the power of the universe’s creator. Unlike other artifacts of its type, Callandor has no limits on how much power its user can channel, even if that means WAY TOO MUCH POWER. With that much worldbreaking ability it could be used for some pretty terrible things, but like many such weapons throughout fantasy, it can only be wielded by one specific person, in this case the Dragon Reborn.
The Belt of Deltora from Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda
This belt isn’t just powerful on its own, it draws from the individual powers of seven different gems, each with enough magic to qualify them on this list, but when combined, they can change the world in an instant. Putting the belt together immediately forces the Shadow Lord back into the Shadowlands where he belongs. Fortunately, like Callandor it can’t be used by just anyone; it can only be used be the true heir of the kingdom. Can’t have this much world-breaking potential just lying around for anyone to take.
The Sphere of Annihilation from Dungeons & Dragons
Introduced in the very first edition of Dungeons & Dragons in 1979, this remains one of the most powerful artifacts in the D&D-verse. It’s a black globe that can destroy any matter it passes through, and the bearer can move it with their mind. Put this baddie in a dungeon, and even the best-laid plans of any adventuring group will almost automatically go astray. This isn’t just used by heroes, in fact it’s much more common to see it wielded by a powerful villain. So if you happen to be facing down a rag-tag band of misfits in possession of any of these other weapons, get yourself to the nearest Sphere of Annihilation-mart stat!