Created By: Trotzky on June 19, 2011 Last Edited By: Trotzky on December 7, 2011

Creepy Lizard Blink

Nictitating membranes are creepy which IMPLIES Always Chaotic Evil

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Alternative name: Lizard Blink Nictitraitor

Snakes have nictitating membranes, so nictitation is associated with Evil. Nictitation is creepy. Humans expect nictitating species to be evil: sometimes Human prejudice is correct, sometimes not.

Nictitating membranes are additional transparent eyelids that some animals have (snakes, cats, dogs, birds, even camels). Bonus creepiness points because the membrane usually closes side-to-side rather than up-and-down. As a practical matter, they're handy for protecting the eyes from dust or drying out without obscuring vision (even for a moment).

  • Zig-Zagged in Star Trek: in that one episode Spock is blinded by looking at a Gorgon-lite. He is saved by the Ass Pull of Vulcans nictitating which is never mentioned before or after, but it does explain why Enterprise Vulcans are such Jerk Ass-es.
  • Family Guy: Stewie is evil he builds a machine to create even eviller Stewie. Eviller Stewie nictitates.
  • Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter
  • The perp at the beginning of Men In Black has a pair. Though they are later explained as being gills.
  • Subverted with Chantho from Doctor Who. Friendly and nice
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • June 19, 2011
    JonnyB
    The perp at the beginning of Men In Black has a pair. Though they are later explained as being gills.
  • June 19, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Subverted with Chantho from Doctor Who. Friendly and nice.
  • June 19, 2011
    Trotzky
    I don't remember Chantho. Which episode?
  • June 19, 2011
    randomsurfer
    ^Utopia."

    Please explain to us ignorant folks what "nictitation" is.
  • June 19, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    @ randomsurfer: nictitating membranes are additional transparent eyelids that some animals have (snakes, cats, dogs, birds, even camels). Bonus creepiness points because the membrane usually closes side-to-side rather than up-and-down. As a practical matter, they're handy for protecting the eyes from dust or drying out without obscuring vision (even for a moment).
  • June 19, 2011
    TBeholder
    ...sometimes grants polarized light vision - which is a good thing if you live out of water, but want to eat fish. Not such traits ever popped up in fiction.
  • June 19, 2011
    Micah
    I'm not at all convinced this is a trope. Chantho is Not A Subversion, since she's not set up as being evil. There's no real connection between the episode where Vulcans have nictitating membranes and the much later fact that some of them are Jerkasses; Star Trek canon is vast and complicated and ridiculous, and you've just pulled two unrelated facts about it out of the ether. So we have four "examples", of which two have nothing to do with the trope. That looks like coincidence to me...
  • June 19, 2011
    Arivne
    I can remember reading about fantasy and science fiction animals with nictitating membranes. I can't remember any of them being evil.
  • June 19, 2011
    bluepenguin
    I really can't fathom why a biological function of some animals so greatly offends you that you must not only rant about it all over someone else's Writer's Block thread, but make a YKTTW that states that it is evil despite that not actually being a very common portrayal.
  • June 20, 2011
    JonnyB
    Spock and an entire race of Vulcans that are hardly evil would argue against your premise, and the Romulans are pretty much Lawful Evil, not Chaotic Evil. From a Federation POV, anyway. I don't think your trope holds any water at all.
  • June 20, 2011
    Trotzky
    "Note that the race can also be Lawful Evil or Neutral Evil. In fact, 99% of the time it will be a race that just is simply evil to the core, with some individual differences in their stances on Order Versus Chaos. It's simply that Always Chaotic Evil sounds better than Always Evil, and because it's more convenient to not have to create another trope."

    The trope name includes "Chaotic" to look cool. Trope definition includes all flavours of evil.
  • June 20, 2011
    jaytee
    ^I agree with everyone. Not A Trope.

    Also, if this (by some act of God) gets launched anyway, you absolutely need a sentence or two explaining what the hell a nictitating membrane is.
  • June 20, 2011
    Trotzky
    69BookWorm defined the membrane at the 5th post on this very thread. I forgot to say thanks.

    Q he say "Do try to pay attention, Bond."

    There are only 13 posts on this thread.
  • June 20, 2011
    GuesssWho
    The whole creepy side-blink thing is totally a trope, even if the character who has a nictating membrane isn't evil. Maybe call it 'Lizard Blink' or something?
  • June 20, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^I know what it is, but it needs to be in the description.

    Like you say Q say, do try to pay attention.
  • June 20, 2011
    randomsurfer
    ^Fuck yeah. Describe what is being talked about in the description.
  • June 21, 2011
    Arivne
    I could go along with "seeing nictitating membranes in action is creepy" (the Men In Black scene is a good example), but it might be Too Rare To Trope. Neither the Star Trek example nor a lot of the examples I remember reading about would fit.

    Creepy Inner Eyelid?
  • June 21, 2011
    Trotzky
    "Creepy Inner Eyelid?" is a precise definition of the trope.

    I prefer "Nictitraitor" because it is a portmateau and a pune.

    Naming the Trope is a matter of aestheticqx.
  • June 21, 2011
    jaytee
    ^Yes, but we prefer clear over clever. Beyond the fact that many readers are not likely to know what a nictitating membrane is (let alone pick up on a pun based on it), but the trope isn't limited to traitors (and really has nothing to do with the concept of betrayal).

    Creepy Inner Eyelid isn't a great name, but it would make a good redirect. I agree that this Needs A Better Name than Nictitraitor.
  • June 22, 2011
    Trotzky
    Lizard Blink as the trope name and focus on the creepiness. In some stories, the Humans EXPECT the nictitraitor to be evil, but their prejudices are proven wrong.

    Enterprise Vulcans were specifically traitors whereas Klingons and Romulans were open Enemies.
  • June 22, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    Perhaps it's the expectation of creepiness that is the point? If so, the Vulcan and Romulan examples might work.

    You're welcome for the definition, BTW.
  • June 22, 2011
    Trotzky
    Close, but no cigar. Nictitation is creepy, that's logical Captain. that's what it's there for. Creepiness leads to the xpectation of Evil. In some stories, Human prejudice is correct; in other stories, Human prejudice is wrong.
  • June 22, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^^One example isn't enough to name a trope by.

    Also, I gotta say, I don't think star trek is an example. The third eyelid appeared, what, forty years before any hint of evilness?
  • June 24, 2011
    Deboss
    How does the name Lizard Blink imply evilness?
  • June 24, 2011
    Trotzky
    • Lizards with nictitating membranes ARE creepy.
    • Creepiness IMPLIES evil.
    • Human prejudice is sometime correct sometimes wrong depending on the story.

    • LOTR: Bree, should the Hobbits trust the Hooded Stranger, Strider? Even after he has been set us as creepy?
  • June 24, 2011
    Rolf
  • June 24, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^Deboss is referring to the title, which doesn't quite describe the trope. Rolf's idea is much closer.

    Furthermore, I would caution against making this trope more than it is. I think the lizard eyelids imply creepiness, but not necessarily evil. This is exactly the problem people had at the beginning of the thread.
  • June 25, 2011
    Trotzky
    Current definition = "Snakes have nictitating membranes, so nictitation is associated with Evil. Nictitation is creepy. Humans expect nictitating species to be evil: sometimes Human prejudice is correct, sometimes not." How can it be improved?

    Lizard eyes are creepy. Creepiness implies evil.
  • June 25, 2011
    Micah
    Vulcans aren't creepy. Chantho is still Not A Subversion, even with your new definition, since she's never set up as being creepy.

    In any case, I think this is overly specific. The trope here is "reptile-like features are creepy" (ETA: which we already have: Reptiles Are Abhorrent), not this one particular reptile-like feature that you've randomly decided to pull out of a hat.
  • December 6, 2011
    LOAD
    bump
  • December 6, 2011
    JohnDiFool
    I believe there was a lizard character with this in the 2nd Hellboy movie.
  • December 7, 2011
    albertonykus
    Snakes have nictitating membranes? Most lizards do, but I don't think snakes do.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=75sm6l53tbpbmvwmurpnn016