Fantastic Light Source

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Now that's a man's flashlight.

You can't expect all sorts of media to have flashlights, or other sources of light that runs on batteries, for characters to use in dark areas, so there's either torches or the Fantastic Light Source to use.

Sometimes you can expect luminescent flora and fungus in particular.

Also the Mundane Utility of Power Glows or those with Light Elemental Powers.

Examples of Fantastic Light Source include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Kamichama Karin, Karin once uses her glowy magic ring as a flashlight.
  • Chapter 8 of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force shows that mages in the setting have a spell that creates floating orbs of light that serves as this when they need to work at night in places away from civilization, such as when paramedics were carting away Signum after her battle against Cypha left her in critical condition.
  • Early in Crimson Spell, Halvir gives Prince Vald a fairy in a jar to use as a light source, instructing him to smack it and make the fairy angry to make it glow. Vald, who is a nicer person than Havi is, sets the fairy loose as soon as Havi has left.


  • In Tangled, Rapunzel uses her magic hair to find the way out of a flooded cave.
  • On Despicable Me, one of the Minions is used as a glow stick.
  • The ant colony in A Bug's Life uses fluorescent mushrooms as lighting.
  • Avatar: the biolumiscent flora of Pandora.
  • Occurs at the climax of Pitch Black with the glowing worms found in a cave. The worms helped keep the light sensitive monsters at bay long enough to allow the survivors to make it to the shuttle at the end.
  • Sky High: Zack


  • Lumos!
  • The Phial of Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings.
    • Gandalf's staff in Moria.
  • The book The Last Dragonlord had dragonfire, orbs of harmless and seemingly cold fire that gave off light.
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry often uses magic to light up his pentacle amulet. Though it's a modern setting, Harry's amulet is more reliable because technological lighting often fails when magic's afoot. He also occasionally uses faith magic to light up his pentacle which has the secondary ability to repel those weak to faith.
  • Princess Eilonwy's "bauble" (AKA the Golden Pelydryn) in the Prydain Chronicles.
  • Labyrinths of Echo has fungi in fishbowls that emit pleasant orange light when irritated (the switch is connected to little brushes). And magical luminescent lamps for blue light.
  • Discworld:
    • Men at Arms lampshades this, when two characters that can see in the dark fall in a tunnel, but the narration points out, that for the benefit of viewers and to fit conventions there are fluorescent fungi on the walls giving it a slight blue tint.
    • And in Thud!, the dwarf mine is lit by vurms, bioluminescent carrion-eating creepy-crawlies.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye, when Luke and Leia enter a series of caves, they discover it isn't totally dark due to a light-emitting fungus growing on the walls.
  • The Stormlight Archive has glass spheres with gemstones in the center infused with the titular Stormlight used as lamps, they provide a steadier light then oil lamps or candles, and can be easily recharged by leaving the spheres out in a highstorm.
  • Dune has glowglobes, free-floating lamps equipped with antigravity generators. Like many other aspects of the Duniverse, they have also been borrowed by Warhammer 40,000.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons: Older editions had objects with Continual Light cast on them. Some were shaped in useful ways, such as balls (could be rolled into the darkness) or "frisbees" (could be thrown). Someone even came up with a Continual Light flashlight/lantern (could be opened to let the light out).
    • 3 ed. added Sunrods as a standard item.
    • Forgotten Realms has various "glowing globes" and "driftglobes" as a fairly common fixture. The first variant appeared as one of Ed Greenwood's contributions in Dragon #41, then in The Magister: surprisingly resilient glass globe with brightness controlled from nothing to continual light level to momentary blinding flash and following its owner (bound on touch and unbound on remove curse, death or leaving the plane without grabbing it), bargain cost 200 gp - expensive, but not quite luxury item.[1] There are many variations, of course, including "always on" version, immobile ones (used with nets or brackets) and free-roaming "driftlights". Some procure matching sets with custom hues and/or advanced programming: e.g. driftglobes used in Myth Drannor as "street lamps" were parked in special urns during the day, then once the sensitive gem on an urn's surface is not illuminated enough, they float out and proceed on predetermined path along the street. There's also spell "Nchaser's Glowing Globe" that permanently enchants a basic version - bound to the owner, with brightness attenuated remotely, but without flight part.
    • In Spelljammer glowmoss is also a stock light source (fire is out of question in the Flow).
  • Earthdawn had magical "light crystals".
  • In Exalted, one of the most common elements retained from the former Ages is the use of Essence-based lighting.


  • Bionicle: Lightstones are used by inhabitants of the Matoran Universe as a light source. Additionally, beings and other things relating to the Light element suffice, such as the Kanohi Avhokii, the Mask of Light.
    • The Great Ruru (mask of night vision) was demonstrated to be this in Legends of Metru Nui.
    • Additionally, there are Lightvines that grow in various locations.

Video Games

  • Pokémon: the move Flash is used outside of battle to light up dark areas.
  • God of War 3: Kratos rips off Helios' head to use it as a lantern, which is pictured above.
  • Demons Souls: The player always has a magical gem called the "Augite of souls" which glows in the presence of souls.
  • Besides torches and lanterns, Angband has the Phial of Galadriel, the Star of Elendil, and the Arkenstone of Thrain. These unique artifacts are all permanent light sources.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Snake can eat luminescent mushrooms to power his Night-vision Goggles and other battery powered items. How though ... don't ask.
  • The caverns of Avernum are lit by luminescent mold on the ceiling. Depending on who you believe, either Erika made it and propagated it, or the Vahnatai did. Either way, it's a good thing it's down there—it's also what turns the caves' carbon dioxide into breathable air.
  • In the Xen segments of Half-Life, there are bio-luminescent stalks which retract and turn off when approached.
    • Xenium crystals are also luminescent, as seen in Blue Shift.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Plantern
  • In Betrayal at Krondor, there are spells and magic artifacts to generate light at nighttime or in dungeons. This is very useful in the Naptha Mines in chapter 4, where lighting a torch will cause the whole place to explode.
  • In Grim Fandango, you meet a character who's fashioned a lantern out of luminescent coral and attached it to his scuba-suit. You use him to traverse the dark ocean floor by getting Glottis to pick him up and carry him with you.
  • In Touhou, Wriggle Nightbug's butt emits light. She is a firefly, after all.
  • Luminite, an Underworld mineral that suffers changes in the human world and starts emitting white light, in Devil May Cry. Dante collects a chunk and uses it as a lantern in the first game.
  • In In Famous, Cole gets around the sewers by generating small amounts of electricity on his arms.
  • Unreal I had glowing Tarydium crystals.

Web Comics

  • In RoomLand, an MS Paint Adventures Forum Adventure, the cave Mary-Beth lives in is lit up by some kind of glowing plant.
  • In Three Panel Soul, a man wins Lucifer's soul in a game. He mainly uses it as a lantern.
  • When Tanna enters the temple in Ears for Elves, it's dark once she reachs the main room. However, she touches an orb over a glowing basin, and it and similar orbs light up the whole chamber with mystical effects.
  1. for comparison, in Aurora's emporium "standard" hooded lantern costs 7 gold, a 24-vials case of common inks or bound book of 100 blank parchment pages costs 175