Charm Person

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Stormtrooper: Let me see your identification.
Obi-Wan: You don't need to see his identification.
Stormtrooper: We don't need to see his identification.
Obi-Wan: These aren't the droids you're looking for.
Stormtrooper: These aren't the droids we're looking for.
Obi-Wan: He can go about his business.
Stormtrooper: You can go about your business.
Obi-Wan: (to Luke) Move along.
Stormtrooper: Move along, move along.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Charm Person is some kind of magic, supernatural ability, Applied Phlebotinum or Charles Atlas Superpower (we don't know how that would work, so don't ask) that makes people want to do what you want them to do, especially the Weak-Willed. May or may not have obvious parallels with hypnosis, which is not really anything like this.

It's distinct from Compelling Voice because Charm Person can be resisted or broken out of, leading to "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight and Intrinsic Vow moments and such. A good way to differentiate between the two is that Charm Person can never be used to force someone to do anything that would violate the target's moral code (for example, attacking one's king).

If the writers want to give The Hero mind control powers, this is probably what he'll get, because it's both the least powerful and least evil of all the versions of Mind Control.

Named after, of course, the Charm Person spell from Dungeons & Dragons and its many, many variants.

Do not confuse with The Charmer. The effects of more powerful Charm Person spells or abilities may be compared with Love Potions and Glamour. See also Hypnotic Eyes, for a frequent way this power is implemented. Compare Politeness Judo.

Examples of Charm Person include:

Anime and Manga

  • Narumi-sensei from Gakuen Alice is able to emit pheromones that can make anyone, regardless of age or gender, become infatuated with him. In some cases (such as Natsume), the target may become so enamored that all they can do is faint from the shock.
  • Many Eden of the East fans have concluded that Akira's Johnny has mind control powers. The reason? In the first episode, not only does he (wearing nothing but a girl's coat and scarf) flash a random guy on the street and say something that makes him laugh, then hand over his pants with a smile, but later he drops his pants in front of a female police officer who, instead of arresting him, laughs and sends he and Saki on their way.
    • For the sake of information, the police officer had -asked- to see his Johnny to see if it matched a picture of him naked and waving a gun around in front of the White House. She sent them on their way because it didn't match, which was because Akira was colder at the time.
      • Not quite. 'Johnny' is apparently slang for ID as well.
  • Tomie (created by Junji Ito) relies primarily on this to get what she wants - which is ironic as most readers are more likely to remember her multiple vicious deaths and regenerating From a Single Cell every bloody time.
  • Ghost in the Shell has a character use something called hypnovoice to get a crowd to turn against the police. The fact that the cops try to convince them they're being duped suggests it can be beaten.
  • In Rosario + Vampire, Kokoa's pet bat Nazo Koumori transforms himself into a handsome Bishōnen and becomes a student at the school under the alias Ijuuin Kotaro in one episode of the animé. While in his Bishōnen form, he can charm any female by simply saying "Je t'aime", which makes them fall completely in love with him and happily willing to be his slave forever. He manages to charm Moka and all of Tsukune's other female friends, but gets defeated at the end of the episode.
  • Queen Sephie Michaela Deviluke from To LOVE-Ru hails from an entire race of these. They're called Charmians. The Power Perversion Potential is strong with this one, as her case overlaps with So Beautiful It's a Curse, which makes her glad her daughters Lala, Momo and Nana didn't inherit this trait from her.

Comic Books

  • Gambit (depending on who's writing at the time) has a degree of "hypnotic charm." However, it doesn't work if the charmee knows about it.
  • Stacy X of the X-Men comics had pheromone powers which could induce bliss and stimulate bodily sensations and functions allowing her a certain amount of control over her enemies.
  • Poison Ivy's pheromones tend to work like this. She can also use more direct Mind Control through toxic kisses (when they don't just kill outright). The scope and effects of these powers are very much Depending on the Writer.



  • One of the powers consistently displayed by the human form of the god Nyarlathotep in H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos (his abilities tend to vary a bit depending on the writer, but this is one of his core abilities). He is unnaturally charismatic, and able to make people listen to him and obey his commands without them knowing why they are doing so.
  • China Sorrows has this in Skulduggery Pleasant, and uses it for her personal gain whenever she can. However, it's effect seems to lessen once you've known her for a while.
  • In Artemis Fowl, fairies have the power to "mesmerize" other beings using direct eye contact, even when low on magic power. Against humans, the power is almost completely effective, with even strong-willed individuals succumbing in under a minute. However, eye contact is required in most cases; it doesn't work on semi-reflective surfaces like mirrored sunglasses.
  • The Thrawn Trilogy in the Star Wars Expanded Universe shows the difference between this and Compelling Voice as the corrupted Jedi Joruus C'baoth uses both. In the first instance he simply forces an Imperial officer into delivering a secret message and then forgetting all about it, leaving the Imperial none the worse for wear, except for a few missing memories. In the second case C'baoth uses a sustained version of Compelling Voice to break the will of a different officer, destroy most of his personality, and turn him into a near mindless puppet who can't survive without C'baoth's constant mental control.
    • Jorus C'baoth, who Joruus was cloned from, really wasn't any better. He was quite domineering and always wanted to control everything - and, given his view that morals are basically optional, he tried it. As he fell to the Dark Side he forced protesting civilians to be silent.
  • Lessa from Dragonriders of Pern has an ability to subtly influence people's thinking, referred to as "leaning" on them. Used most dramatically when she provokes F'lar into dueling Fax, but overall fails about as often as it succeeds, as those on the receiving end can tell something's not quite right if they're paying attention.
  • The Selelvians in Star Trek: New Frontier have a technique they call "The Knack", which basically lets them manipulate other races. When the Federation found out (after a Selelvian crew member was found murdered), they went to war.
  • Flinx's empathic influence works like this in some of Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth novels. His control over others' emotions is scarily potent, yet limited because he can't call up what lies outside the target's normal spectrum of feelings (e.g. making a fanatical nihilist afraid of dying won't work). Requires a lot of maintenance to keep the effect going, else the subject starts to catch on that their feelings are out of whack.
  • Saruman in The Lord of the Rings.
  • Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance series is loaded with these due to the main characters being mostly strong telepaths.
    • In the second and third books, Ghezu is made of this trope.
  • Graceling featured a Graceling who, it seemed, permanently had the Jedi Mind Trick going on. Everyone believed what he said no matter how implausible it was.
  • Shannon Hale's Bayern book series features "people-speakers" with a magical gift that enhances their interpersonal skills, so they can read people accurately and always come up with the right thing to say to get someone to do what they want. They can be unnaturally persuasive, although others with magical gifts have some resistance to this. However, people with this gift are in danger of becoming corrupt and power-hungry, always feeling driven to manipulate others and bend them to their will.
  • Asharak/Chamdar from The Belgariad does this repeatedly to Garion. Garion has been seeing him around the place his whole life, and has never been able to tell anyone about him, although he can dance around it to give people hints, enough so that Silk manages to figure it out. Unusual in that he could have controlled him more thoroughly, but Polgara would have noticed, so he had to keep it light.
  • The short stories "What Song The Sirens Sang" by Charles Sheffield and "Ignition Point!" by Isaac Asimov use the premise that sufficiently sophisticated analysis of human reactions makes it possible to automatically generate highly compelling political speeches. In the Asimov story, the psychological feedback from the fired-up audience fires up the speaker to the point of no longer needing the specially written speeches.
  • The Heroes of Olympus [1] reveals that some children of Aphrodite can "charmspeak", and hints that children of Hermes have similar powers.
  • Ta'veren (think "Chosen Ones mixed with a touch of Reality Warper") have a measure of this ability in The Wheel of Time series, but it works only sporadically and is not under their conscious control.
  • In Star Trek: The Brave and The Bold, the character Aidulac, as well as the females of the Peladons (a race into which she spread her genes), can influence most males into doing their bidding. Originally, anyone and everyone was affected, but over time the ability atrophied to affect only males.
  • The Bene Gesserit in Dune learn a technique called the Voice, which lets them persuade people to follow their instructions. The technique involves speaking in just the right tone and timbre to make the person most susceptible to your suggestions (though the film and mini-series adaptations have Voice users speak in a creepy, growling voice). It does have limitations, though: for obvious reasons it won't affect deaf people, and it also won't work on mutes, because a Voice user has to hear their target talk in order to figure out what tone to use with them.
  • In Dark Life, Pretty has a form of amped-up hypnosis, using infrasound to alter people's brainwaves, and then implanting suggestions.
  • Mesmeric powers are what allows the Magister Trilogy‍'‍s Souleaters to be the natural predators of humans. Souleater Queens are especially dangerous, since they can charm other Souleaters, providing the only unity and leadership this otherwise insanely competitive and independent species knows.
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere: An Autumn Tale, Catarina uses this on Lucian, managing to persuade him that it was all a misunderstanding—getting him to overlook her Deal with the Devil and the Cold-Blooded Torture that had lamed him.
  • In Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom series, Allie's father can do this. He managed to get her in enrolled in Harvard and lasting there for two years before she broke loose from one such effect.
  • In Dean Koontz's Demon Seed a super-computer can control people in this way, using its artificial voice. At the end the computer has been beaten but continues to try to influence people. We then find they've cut off the voice and all its messages are being printed out and have no effect
  • In Fredric R. Stewart's Cerberon, Aladavan uses this ability frequently, often accompanied by a "subtle gesture." It doesn't seem to work well when people are actively resisting him. One character knows he's doing this to her, while he's doing it, and later thanks him for it because she wouldn't have listened to him otherwise.

Live-Action TV

  • It has been suggested that the Doctor from Doctor Who has this ability. This power may be due to his low level telepathy.
    • The Master almost certain has it, to the point that he was able to convince Britain to vote him in as Prime Minister. In fact, the Doctor may have used to this power to allow Harriet Jones (Prime Minister) to get ousted in the first place.
  • Raina in Cleopatra 2525
  • Bo in Lost Girl

Tabletop Games

  • As mentioned above, Charm Person (and Suggestion) from Dungeons & Dragons.
    • And by extension, Charm Person in The Order of the Stick.
    • There are several levels of enchantment spells in D&D. Charm Person merely makes the target perceive you as an ally (like the Jedi mind trick), Suggestion forces the target to perform a single task, and Dominate Person puts them under your complete control. There are countless other charm or compulsion spells with more specific effects.
  • Mind Control with the Suggestion limitation or high levels of Charisma do this in GURPS.
  • The Presence discipline in Vampire: The Masquerade, and its successor Majesty in Vampire: The Requiem. Low level powers involve drawing the attention of everyone in the room and causing a person to spill all their secrets; higher level powers involve summoning a person from a great distance away and being untouchable because you are so very pretty. Dominate is more like Mind Control.
  • Changeling: The Lost has the Contracts of Vainglory, which range from "I bear the mantle of authority, so you're more inclined to listen to me" to "I'm so unnaturally beautiful that you couldn't possibly bring yourself to hurt me" to "I think I'll pull a Galadriel and go so horrifically pretty that you run screaming."
  • In Steve Jackson Games' In Nomine, Impudites, a Band (type) of demons, have this ability, it causes the victim to see the demon as his or her close personal friend, making them more likely to go along with what the demon wants them to do (and also allowing the demon to steal their Essence. The Ethereal Song of Attraction has a similar effect, making the victim passionately obsessed with the performer.
  • Mutants and Masterminds has Emotion Control: Love which essentially works like a hyped-up version of Diplomacy, shifting people's attitudes to you, possibly from outright hostility to fanatical obsession.
  • Similary, Villains and Vigilantes has both Mind Control and Emotion Control powers, which can be used this way.
  • Exalted has a fair number of abilities like this, of course.
    • One demon has the power to make anyone who sees her smile fall in love with her permanently.


  • The "Mind Charm" spell in Lone Wolf, and the "Enchantment" magic in the spinoff Grey Star.


  • The Mask of Charisma in Bionicle gradually alters the target's opinion to match that of the person wearing it.
    • Or, you know, the mask of mind control.

Video Games

  • The Charm and Intimidate skills in Mass Effect, which work exactly the same way it did in KOTOR, except there's no magical Jedi power to it. Shepard is just that persuasive.
    • Morinth's special ability "Dominate" works much like the traditional "Charm Person" spell.
  • If your Charisma stat is high enough, some conversations in Planescape: Torment will have a conversation option labeled "Turn on the Charm".
    • In both of these games, it will not allow you to flub a charm attempt—either you have enough skill to succeed at it, or you aren't allowed to choose the charm option, instead having to choose a regular dialog choice. Same with Intimidate. Planescape also has Wisdom and Intelligence reveal these options. The implication is that you have enough Charisma/Intelligence/Wisdom/Charm/Intimidate to be able to understand just the right thing to say.
  • In Fallout, with a high enough Speech stat, you can convince people to do just about anything. (well, as long as you get a chance to, anyway)
    • Similar to the Planescape examples above, having high (or extremely low) stat scores can also unlock unique dialogue options. New Vegas changed many non-stat based charm, persuade and intimidation -type options to have a chance to fail, though.
  • The Elder Scrolls games have the various charm spells. Even very hateful characters will stop attacking you if they (temporarily) like you that much.
  • Gene's special ability in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops works like this, his voice having some special quality that makes those listening do what he says.
  • In the Suikoden series, Jeane is the only character with a rare and permanently affixed Charm Rune, which she uses to charm people into liking her and monsters into occasionally fighting for her. (Of course, the type of clothing she wears might have something to do with the way all of the men go ga-ga around her.)
  • Dark Ranger's in Warcraft 3 have Charm as their ultimate spell, allowing them to permanently take control of non-hero enemy units.
  • In the Geneforge series, taking enough ranks in the Leadership skill can let you talk your way out of most major conflicts. In a few cases, you can convince the enemy to kill themselves.
    • Additionally, the Charm and Dominate spells instantly turn an enemy to your side for a while if you can overcome their mental effect resistance. With enough points in Mental Magic and Spellcraft it can work reliably even on end-game enemies.
  • Second Sight has this as one of John Vattic's powers. He can use it to either calm down allies who are panicked or gain a sort of invisibility (by making everyone passively ignore him, machines aren't fooled.). However trying to charm someone who is trying to kill you isn't recommended.
  • Notorious in Romancing SaGa series (Remake of the first RS Game has the ailment, the original doesn't) and SaGa Frontier (Charm Gaze)
  • Somewhat subverted in Final Fantasy Tactics, in that rather than mages getting the ability to inflict the Charm condition through a spell as in most RPGs, thieves do it. With enough "Job Points", they can learn the ability to steal not only the usual money and weapons but also hearts.
    • The thief's version of Charm is temporary; it's essentially an improved form of Confuse, in that the victim will only attack their allies instead of anyone at random. Just like confusion, all it takes to snap them out of it is a physical attack. For the permanent version, which not only lasts the whole battle but allows you to recruit the affected, you'll need an Orator.
    • Reis can also do this with her bare-handed attacks after you complete her subquest. But given that she's a dragon in human form, the enemy has to survive the hit first.
  • In BioShock, Hypnotize Big Daddy (from BioShock (series) 1) and Hypnotize (from 2) can be used to hypnotize many of the enemies in the game to fight alongside you. Eventually they will break free however.
  • Deconstructed in the Civilization 4 mod Fall From Heaven. In the flavor text, the Charm Person spell is basically described as a Mind Rape, warping the genuine feelings of love and protection that the target feels for his friends and family, and mapping it to the caster instead. The victim still hates the person who's doing this to them, but the mental manipulation is so great that it leaves the victim completely unable to fight back or even defend themselves while the caster's allies cut them to ribbons.

Web Comics

  • In The Order of the Stick, secondary character Thanh, a member of the Sapphire Guard order of paladins, gets put under this by one of the villains. The other characters break him out of it by trying to make him do something that violates his moral code: killing Lord Shojo, leader of the Guard...or the sociopathic halfling Belkar dressed up as Shojo.
  • Lord Grater of the Punyverse in Sluggy Freelance thinks that he has these powers. In practice, they tend to work like this:

Lord Grater: You will lie down and take a nap!
Guard: Huh?
<Torg hits guard over head with large rock>
Semiconscious Guard: I will lie down and take a nap.

  • Faith in Magick Chicks has a lot of her schoolmates willing to serve her, including in bed, and never jealous. What she does is best described as extending her narcissism on the others. Eventually, she tried on Layla the same face-touch Tiffany resisted early on. Layla succumbed easily, but as a vampire looking for a snack, she suddenly began to see Faith as outstandingly attractive almost to the point of daydreaming... as food. Which won't be too bad either, but Faith panicked.

Web Original

  • Propaganda, a Chinese hero from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, has this sort of mind control. She never commands, but only suggests. She has discovered that while her Mind Control isn't as directly powerful as that of most telepaths, it tends to last longer and is harder to resist.
  • Prince Adrian Juste in Ember got Cursed with Awesome to be found charming by everyone. Everyone drools over him, which for him gets really old after awhile, and he goes for the one chick who (with the help of magic) doesn't want to go for him. Turns out he was cursed with charmingness to make sure he didn't become the great conqueror he had the potential to become. If he had everything he wanted handed to him on a silver platter, his ambitions would go elsewhere.
  • In the Whateley Universe, psychics generally manifest this ability as opposed to straight mind control. Don Sebastiano, Solange, and even Jade have used this to slowly worm their way into someone's psyche. Jade, however, had a series of VERY special circumstances. Unfortunately, convincing someone like this functions as More than Mind Control, and is rather hard to catch in the act.
    • Jade has used the Big Sad Puppy Dog Eyes to get her way, but this troper is not sure that counts - it was Jinn who used this power on the mutant who stole Jinn's noncorporeal body, while inside said mutant. The other two? Definitely.
  • In the Isekai web novel Tori Transmigrated by "Aila Aurie", one of the reasons most of Alessa Hart's "love interests" were so devoted to her (and hostile to Tori), sometimes in the face of all logic and reason, is that very early on Montan Alvere, one of those love interests, gave her a technically illegal charm that made anyone already favorably disposed to her very inclined to keep favoring her and do things for her. What made it illegal is not the mental influence, by the way, but that instead of eventually running out of power and ending like legal charms, it fed off Alessa's life energy to recharge itself, and theoretically could have killed her.

Western Animation

  1. the sequel series to Percy Jackson and The Olympians