A controversial aspect to She-Ra is the Princess of Power’s remarkable ability to transform the Sword of Protection into other objects, simply by commanding it to do so. Some may argue that it portrays She-Ra as the weaker of the Eternian Twins – quite simply because it gets her out of sticky situations so easily. Others may protest that, accompanied by her other powers (talking to animals, healing the wounded), She-Ra becomes the far more powerful of the two. Either way, it’s impossible not to notice that the sword-transformation does occur at an alarming rate in the She-Ra series. And this section, listing all of the changes, is out to prove it.
“Sword to Ice-Maker!”
The first transformation to grace the series was this one – She-Ra arrives to help Castaspella and Bow and Blue Stone fight Catra and her Destructo Tanks in The Prisoners of Beast Island. She curiously turns her sword into an ‘Ice-Maker’, not exactly a great start to her powers of sword-change. Though the changes made in the future would be far more realistic affairs, this one does the job nicely enough, causing the Horde to at least retreat from the battle at Blue Stone.
“Sword to Helmet!”
Though a rope-transformation and a couple of shield-changes would follow, soon after She-Ra would face the need for a helmet. Climbing higher and higher into space to Horde Prime’s Mother Ship, the Velvet Glove, in Horde Prime Takes A Holiday, She-Ra was losing air. And what better way to preserve what she had left? The concept would be reused for water scenes in two second-season episodes, The Pearl and Sweet Bee’s Home.
“Sword to Parachute!”
Also in Horde Prime Takes A Holiday, after She-Ra saves Hordak from the exploding ship, she lowers him to the ground with a combination of Shield and Parachute, which would have its sole appearance in this episode. Notice how it is basically her Shield reversed with several pieces of rope attached to a harness.
Though nobody can be totally sure whether this is actually a sword-change, She-Ra appears earlier in Horde Prime Takes A Holiday holding a Telescope, viewing the battle between Hordak and Skeletor. The reason I suggest this is that She-Ra’s sword is not visible in the scene and the object adopts a similar shape to most other transformations.
When faced with a challenge set by Salisticar in the Sixth Dimension in Three Courageous Hearts, she must find a secret door leading to her freedom. To stop her from making the grade, Salisticar sends a group of strange monsters to stop her, but She-Ra pole-vaults over the little devils and then swiftly pushes them out of sight with it. The transformation would be reused later in Season Two’s The Inspector.
“Sword to Grapple and Line!”
This transformation made several appearances. Firstly, in Small Problems to pull down the bridge holding Catra and Scorpia, then soon after in Treasure of the First Ones to destroy a couple of Batmeks. The latter scene would be used as stock in Return Of The General and Portrait of Doom in Season Two, though She-Ra would transform her sword silently – something that only happened occasionally.
“Sword to Bola!”
This is something more commonly used by Teela or Man-At-Arms in the He-Man series, but She-Ra also tried her hand at it in The Eldritch Mist. Her Bola was useful when disabling several Horde Troopers who were defending a Horde Base Camp and made a refreshing change from “Sword to Rope!” which could have easily been employed here.
“Sword become Chain!”
The Chain-transformation was used in several episodes – Loo-Kee Lends a Hand,
The Time Transformer, and in its first appearance in Bow’s Farewell. She-Ra used it to move the moon and therefore delay Catra’s attack of Bright Moon. However, notice how this episode and The Time Transformer, basically reuse the idea of the Grapple and Line change noted above. Note also the difference in how she orders her sword to change – no different outcome, but an interesting variation.
“Sword to Staff!”
Combining new animation with stock from Three Courageous Hearts, “Sword to Staff!” was used in the Season One episode The Price of Freedom to fend off Waspoids, the Horde attack robots.
“Sword to Racket!”
The first of several sporty-themed, comical transformations is a Racket transformation. She-Ra goes on to make a joke about getting ‘a point’ for their side, after destroying oncoming Batmeks in space in Friends Are Where You Find Them.
“Sword to Smoke-Screen!”
That very same episode also spawned one of the strangest transformations – if you can even call it that. Instead of transforming the sword, it simply omitted a flurry of fog so that Robofriend, infected by a virus, would stop causing havoc. It certainly worked but left us all positively perplexed.
“Sword to Handcuffs!”
Another peculiar one is this from Gateway to Trouble. Skeletor, about to escape He-Man and She-Ra is caught by a pair of sufficiently large Handuffs – that strangely trap his entire body… It also seems the animators forgot about She-Ra’s sword…
“Sword to Boomerang!”
A slightly odd transformation, especially as She-Ra’s sword in its original state could have been used to simply destroy Shadow Weaver’s crystal in Welcome Back, Kowl. As I said, an odd one, but it was also an inoffensive one at that.
“Sword to Blanket!”
“Sword to Net!” would later do the job this one successfully achieved – disabling Hunga the Harpy in a battle against Queen Angella and seeing she ended up somewhere she could cause absolutely no more trouble in Season One’s
Micah of Bright Moon.
“Sword to Glider”
In a similar style to the Parachute from Horde Prime Takes A Holiday, She-Ra transforms her sword into a Glider in Birds of a Feather. Coincidentally, both free-falls saved the victim from some sort of onslaught from one of Horde Prime’s ships.
“Sword to Net!”
Seen twice in the She-Ra series, the purpose of our heroine’s Net-transformation is the same as the previously-seen Blanket from Micah of Bright Moon. This change was used in For Want of a Horse, as She-Ra just failed to capture Shadow Weaver, and in Assault On The Hive to successfully trap Beast Man.
“Sword to Ladder!”
In a most unlike installment – My Friend, My Enemy – She-Ra must help Hordak survive the perils of Doom Berries, a rare plant that threatens to perish his very soul. In order to climb a high mountain without endangering Swift Wind, She-Ra makes one of her most unique sword-transformations ever – “Sword to Ladder!”.
“Sword to Torch!”
In the very same episode, She-Ra is later trapped in a dark underground labyrinth – simply helping to light her way She-Ra changes her sword to a torch, one of the few transformations not to maintain the typical silver shade of her weapon.
“Sword to Magnet and Line!”
Another combo-transformation, this one uses both the ever-prominent Rope-transformation, along with an object also seen later in A Lesson In Love. This one made its sole appearance in
Black Snow, to stop the strong gale produced by Modulok’s Weather Wheel.
“Sword to Harpoon!”
This transformation made the opening battle of She-Ra’s only two-parter thoroughly unique. Noticing that Hordak’s Sky-Cycles were programmed to fly in formation, She-Ra’s Harpoon pierced the hovering machines and put a halt to their attacks in Anchors Aloft Part I.
“Sword to Flame!”
Like “Sword to Smoke-Screen!” in Friends Are Where You Find Them, this entity was barely a transformation. Instead, the sword simply seemed to light up brightly and gain in heat to help She-Ra escape from a prison formed by the Monstroids in He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special.
“Sword to Bow!”
Such an instrument is hardly rare in the She-Ra series, especially as one of the main characters used it as his weapon. However, She-Ra was only too keen to hop on the back of her rebel friend’s success story, when changing her sword into a Bow for the first transformation of Season Two. She would use a steel arrow, given to her by Bow, to fire at a load of Horde Troopers and Destructo Tanks and therefore destroy them in the episode Return Of The General.
“Sword to Digger!”
Not a weapon used in combat, like most other transformations, She-Ra’s Digger was used to dig a trench from Sand Valley to the Green River so the water could flow through and rehydrate the crops in Out Of The Cocoon.
“Sword to Magnet!”
Half of an earlier change in Black Snow, this was used to comic-effect in A Lesson In Love to draw a Trooper towards She-ra’s desired object, then swiftly throw the robot back and destroying an army of others.
“Sword to Battering Ram!”
Also from A Lesson In Love, the Sword of Protection was employed in alliance with the strength of Swift Wind to break down a door at Horror Hall, when She-Ra commanded “Sword to Battering Ram!”.
“Sword to Grappling Hook!”
Spicing up the stock “Sword to Rope / Lasso / Grapple and Line!” transformations, “Sword to Grappling Hook!” was employed in Something Old, Something New to retrieve a tiny stone capable of toppling Etheria off its galactic course. Note that it actually reuses footage originally seen as a Rope-transformation variant from the episode Enemy With My Face from Season One.
“Sword to Bat!”
No, not of the flying variety, of the sporting type, like the Racket from Freinds Are Where You Find Them and the soon-to-come Discus in The Inspector. When the Princess of Power traveled back in time to put a halt to a meteor-shower created by Professor Tempest’s Time Transformer, in The Time Transformer, She-Ra took a rather energetic approach to destroying the oncoming space-rocks.
“Sword to Lightning Rod!”
In the most surreal sword-change since the premier one, She-Ra first uses her sword to conduct the energy generated from the Magnetism Chamber and then
uses it to destroy some Horde prisons. A successful tool put to good use twice – if being one of the oddest to grace the series – in Romeo And Glimmer.
“Sword to Discus!”
The final new transformation of the Sword of Protection almost establishes She-Ra as an Olympian, to accompany her Tennis (Friends Are Are Where You Find Them) and Baseball (The Time Transformer) skills. In The Inspector, the Horde chase He-Man and She-Ra after they have freed some rebel-slaves from the Fright Zone. Entering a derelict area, the Rebels have nowhere to turn, so to stop the villains from coming any closer, She-Ra uses her Discus-transformation to strike a rock, which comes tumbling down. She then drop-kicks the falling boulder and pops it into a nearby chasm and thus preventing the Horde’s attack.