Created By: CrystalBlue on December 28, 2010 Last Edited By: CrystalBlue on April 25, 2011
Troped

Held Gaze

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Ready to launch! Please tell me any more examples if you can before it launches!

Laconic: Two characters gaze into each other's eyes meaningfully.

Indexes: Kissing Tropes and/or Love Tropes. Not a subjective trope.

Alternative titles: Shared Gaze, Soul Gaze / Passionate Look.

Could be considered a Subtrope of Longing Look or Almost Kiss, as it shares elements of both.

Tags: Needs More Examples, Seen It a Million Times, Rolling Updates, No Launching Please

Bob and Alice have been spending a lot of time together, causing people to comment on their relationship but so far nothing has resulted from it. Often though, they will find themselves gazing deeply into each other's eyes, one indication of their UST. Can often precede an Almost Kiss, as this is usually what is happening before that. If this is an extremely intense gaze into the other's eyes, this might be an indication that a Big Damn Kiss is on the horizon. It can also be a platonic look between two friends.

There are three versions of this held gaze, depending on the atmosphere of the story. If it is a romance, this will appear at least once, accompanied by some passion on one (or both) of the partners in the gaze, hence it fits into the passionate look variant of the trope. If the atmosphere is more laidback and with a focus on males instead, this trope will (usually) be platonic, and the two men will hold each other's gaze meaningfully to either encourage the other or to just let them know that they are there for them, like the platonic examples below. And, the third version of this trope is a supernatural one - a shared gaze where souls gaze into the other person's soul, all at once having a more deeper experience than the other two versions mentioned above can have.

A subtrope of Almost Kiss, as this commonly happens before the kiss, and sometimes it precedes a Big Damn Kiss, and it is also a subtrope of Longing Look, but different in that it is two people holding each other's gazes.

Examples:

Comic Books
  • ElfQuest has a specific name for this trope - Recognition (which is practically a Lampshade Hanging of sorts for the supernatural version of the trope). "Soul meets soul when eyes meet eyes"; which is a powerful biological urge to mate that pretty much guarantees healthy, gifted children.

Film
  • In Tangled Flynn and Rapunzel share a Held Gaze before their Almost Kiss after they have watched the lanterns rise into the sky.
  • In the Little Women 1994 adaptation starring Winona Ryder and Christian Bale, Jo and Laurie share one before Laurie's Anguished Declaration of Love and their Big Damn Kiss.
  • Will and Elizabeth of Pirates of the Caribbean have this quite regularly between them as their romance blossoms.
  • Anne and Gilbert in Kevin Sullivan's adaptation of the two Anne novels ''Anne of Avonlea'' and ''Anne of the Island'' has Gilbert and Anne share a Passionate Look when the two reconnect in a gazebo in his film Anne of Avonlea (1987).
    • They also hold each other's gazes at least twice in Anne of Green Gables (1985) during important tests at school.
  • The platonic version occurs in Ice Age after Manny has just rescued Diego from death at the lava fields.
    • This happens again during a tense situation between the mammoth and the tiger in the third film, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs when Diego is attempting to convince Manny to let him go protect Ellie.
  • Twilight consists of Edward and Bella basically doing this for two straight hours.
  • Romantic Comedy will often employ this trope, as it's very effective for UST and creating a moment between the two Love Interests.
  • Enchanted has Robert and Giselle doing this at the ball during their Dance of Romance.
  • In Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of King Kong, Ann and Kong find themselves gazing into each other's eyes often during her captivity and their reunion in New York features a very meaningful one. Heck, even the poster for the film has them doing this!
  • Doc Brown and Clara share one in Back to the Future Part III.
  • The platonic version occurs between Stoick and Gobber in Dreamwork's How to Train Your Dragon when they grasp hands, looking each other in eye, before going off to distract Green Death together to buy their people some time.
  • In National Treasure, the first variant occurs twice between Ben and Abigail twice. First, when they are arguing about her coming along with them to keep the Declaration safe: they gaze deeply into each other's eyes and Ben gives in to Abigail, with the Jefferson Memorial in the background. The second time it happens is when the adventurers are down in the tunnel beneath Trinity Church; Ben grabs Abigail, and they look deeply into each other's eyes soulfully before they kiss.

Literature
  • In the blog spin-off of Hilary McKay's Casson Family Series, Rose's Blog, Rose mentions how her Love Interest, Tom Levin, "looks and looks at me, looks until I cannot look away." It's a Lampshade Hanging, albeit an unintentional one.
  • The trope occurs often in romances and love stories.
  • Not surprisingly, Twilight the novel was doing exactly the same in nonvisual form.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, Harry even has a name for this - the Soulgaze, where two people catch a glimpse of each other's souls because they share a gaze.
    "For me, meeting someone's eyes is always risky. Every human being knows what I'm talking about. Try it. Walk up to someone, without speaking and look them in the eyes. There's a a certain amount of leeway for second, or two, or three. And then there's a distinct sensation of contact, of intimacy. That's when regular folks cough and look away. Wizards, though, get the full ride of a soulgaze." Harry Dresden, White Night.
  • Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book references the direct gaze that when an animal views it, it signals a threat, and it comes into play during the wolf-pack meeting at the beginning when Mowgli is allowed into the pack. His ingenuous, even gaze is unsettling to the animals gathered when he looks at them, meeting their gaze for only a few seconds, as most look away quickly except for ones like Bagheera, who knows something of the ways of men.

Live Action Tv

MetaExample

Western Animation
  • Couples on Phineas and Ferb often employ this trope for ShipTease. For instance, Ferb and Vanessa share one when he first meets her, and Phineas and Isabella have also shared gazes - most notably in the special Summer Belongs to You!, when they are stranded on the island.
  • In SpiritStallionOfTheCimarron, Spirit and Rain have a deep gaze into each other's eyes under a tree. Spirit also does this with Little Creek, Rain's owner at least once.
  • In Tarzan, this happens between Tarzan and Jane when he first meets the girl, and they stare into each other's eyes in wonder.
  • In Disney's House of Mouse, on the episode Max's Embarrassing Date, Max and Roxanne stare into each other's eyes before they Almost Kiss, wherein Minnie interrupts them.

Real Life
  • Studies have been determining that people naturally break eye contact after two seconds, any longer than that subconsciously establishes a deeper, closer connection. A study happened where couples who knew each other were told to look into each other's eyes for over a minute; nearly all the couples reported liking the person more afterword - and several even ended up married!
  • Real Life aversion: While true for H. sapiens when other primates lock gazes, that is a threat display. Because of this, some zoos have have signs near the monkey enclosure warning visitors to not look directly into the monkey's eyes because it will scare them.
  • Another Real Life example - It has been speculated that humans evolved "whites of the eyes" (visible sclera) to enhance nonverbal communication by making it easier to tell what direction people are looking towards. According to the Other Wiki, dogs, during their domestication, developed the ability to pick up visual cues from the eyes of humans.
  • The "Staring Contest" game, often played in Real Life, because it is so fun to try and break another's gaze off of your own.

Community Feedback Replies: 31
  • December 28, 2010
    elwoz
    Addendum to what you've already got under Real Life: That's true of H. sapiens but is not true of other primates, even our closest relatives (IIRC) -- if two monkeys lock eyes, that's a threat display. Some zoos have signs near the monkey enclosures warning visitors not to look directly in the monkeys' eyes because it'll scare them.
  • December 29, 2010
    carla
    oh, man, Twilight. the first movie basically consisted of Bella and Edward doing this for two straight hours, and there's a very good reason for that: the book was exactly the same.
  • December 29, 2010
    CrystalBlue
    @elwoz fascinating - that'd be an aversion then, I hadn't known that. :)

    @carla having never read the Twilight books or seen the movies, but gleaned enough information about it from the tvtropes page, yeah I can see that happening in Twilight... >>

    And I have added the Real Life aversion example, and the Twilight one is also mentioned. Also, should I tweak the description a bit or is it fine as it is?
  • December 29, 2010
    dangerwaffle
    Mulder and Scully were big on doing this throughout The X Files.
  • December 29, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    @dangerwaffle, thanks for that tidbit, there is now a Live Action Tv examples for this trope. :)
  • December 30, 2010
    rightguy961
    What about the remake of King Kong from 2005? The characters Ann Darrow and King Kong had a lot of these moments. There are many shared gazes in this movie, especially when Kong has Ann in his hands

    Another example is Enchanted with Giselle and Robert. They are in love midway through the film yet deny it until the end.

    Disney's Tarzan: When he first meets Jane and learns her name, yet pulls her head toward him as if ready to kiss. That is, before the gun shot from Klaton is heard ans spoils it.

    Also, in Spirit: Stallion of the Cimerron, Rein and Spirit share a logning glance under an apple tree. This is in an Indian village.

    Other example include Superman and Batman (with their love interests and also applies to the movies with real people made of them.) and movies like Shrek, Pirates of the Caribean 3, and more have this. The list goes on...

  • December 30, 2010
    CrystalBlue
    @rightguy961 thanks for this examples! They're really helpful! I'll be adding them to their relevant categories for the page.
  • December 31, 2010
    JohnDiFool
    Doc Brown and Clara in Back To The Future III.
  • December 31, 2010
    CrystalBlue
    @John Di Fool, though I've never seen any Back To The Future movies, thanks for the reference! :) I'll be adding it.
  • January 3, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    Almost ready to launch! I just think that the Live Action Tv section looks a bit bare, so I won't be launching this until I can find a few more examples for that section - does anyone know of any? Thanks! Also, please, anyone, vote for the title that you think fits the trope best! Thanks again!
  • January 3, 2011
    carla
    just for the record, there's something called "soul gaze" in The Dresden Files that does involve looking into someone else's eyes, but is far more supernatural than this trope implies. just wanted to point that out, as using "soul gaze" for this trope's title might make it a little confusing for some people. it might also make it sound too close to Eyes Never Lie or other such "eyes are the windows to the soul"-type tropes.
  • January 3, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    Hmm, yes, I hadn't though of that... though Harry does speak of the ordinary soulgazes that everyday humans experience: see quote above in Literature. Other than that, I have Shared Gaze for an alternate title, Held Gazes, or Passionate Look (though the last one is certainly the weakest out of all of them.) So, hmm, carla which one do you think fits the trope best?
  • January 3, 2011
    carla
    personally i prefer Held Gaze, as it allows for non-romantic variants. might be a good idea to make the trope more flexible.
  • January 3, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    Yes, you're right that Held Gazes is the most catholic of all of my other alternate titles, and I did always intend for this to be a trope that included such gazes between close friends, that is really where I first noticed the trope, and of course the romantic variants are quite obvious. That's 1 vote for Held Gazes then. :-) I just wish I could find some more examples for Live Action TV... I'm sure there are some, but I don't watch tv often enough to know!
  • January 5, 2011
    LarryD
    Re: the gaze as threat display, this is referenced in Jungle Book during the wolf-pack meeting. Also, look up "staring contest".

    It has been speculated that humans evolved "whites of the eyes" (visible sclera) to enhance nonverbal communication by making it easier to tell what direction people are looking towards. According to the Other Wiki, dogs, during their domestication, developed the ability to pick up visual cues from the eyes of humans.
  • January 5, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    Thanks for those examples, Larry D, they are now added. This trope seems to be really relevant to Real Life for some reason...

    By the way, does anyone know any examples beyond the X Files for the Live Action Tv section of the page? I'm sure there's more within that context...

    And please, please vote for which title you think is best! I will meanwhile be altering the description to lend more flexibility to the trope.
  • January 5, 2011
    MelodiousMalediction
    Elf Quest has it in the form of Recognition-- a powerful biological urge to mate that pretty much guarantees healthy, gifted children; "soul meets soul when eyes meet eyes".
  • January 5, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    I went to your link to see what type of work Elf Quest is, Melodious Malediction, congratulations, this is now the first Comic Book example for this trope. :)

    And hmmm, several examples of this trope are quite supernatural in origin... I'd better amend the description with a disclaimer to mention the prominence of those examples as well as the "romantic" and "platonic" versions of the trope...
  • January 10, 2011
    0dd1
    Should this be launched yet? It seems to be perfectly fine. As for the title, while I think the current one is fine, Held Gaze might work better.
  • January 10, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    @Odd1 I agree with you that it does seem to be "perfectly fine" for the most part, but I have been holding out on launching it for a bit now because I feel some of the examples are lacking - like Live Action Tv for instance. And yes, I do concur that Held Gaze fits the entirety of the trope better - Shared Gaze was a good all-inclusive "exploration of the trope" title. I'll go amend it to Held Gaze now with Shared Gaze as an alternative titles, since Held Gaze has won - this is the second vote in favor of it, and I prefer it myself.
  • January 10, 2011
    robybang
  • January 11, 2011
    0dd1
    Well, I'm sure that good old fashioned Wiki Magic should take care of the lack of examples. I wouldn't be surprised if this fills up with examples within days once this is launched.
  • January 11, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    thank you robybang! I now have another Live Action Tv example, something I was looking for. :)
  • January 11, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    Hmm... good point 0dd1. Are you suggesting that I should launch it now? I'm also starting to realise that this trope occurs so often in most works that you can't even categorize all examples of it. :)
  • January 11, 2011
    0dd1
    I am most certainly suggesting that.

    As for how often it occurs...you may be slightly right about that...but I'd still go with it. If it works, it works. If people call it "People Sit On Chairs", so be it. It's still worth a shot, though :D

    (Also, I'm 0dd1, with a zero. Don't worry about it, common mistake.)
  • January 11, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    My apologies for confusing your name, 0dd1, and thanks for the advice! I also mainly just mentioned "this trope so often occurs in works" that you can't categorize all examples because this trope is rather prominent in most works *cough* romance *cough*, but I don't think it's so common that it's People Sit On Chairs though, like exampli gratia, Tangled has at least two instances of this trope, but I went with the most prominent example before their Almost Kiss; and of course, I have at least three variants of the trope itself to make differentiating them all easier. :) I'll also YKTTW Bump this and call out for examples one last time before I launch this.
  • January 11, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    YKTTW Bump. Last call for examples before launch.
  • January 11, 2011
    0dd1
    Well, I can contribute an example (and a Live Action TV one at that!), if I'm remembering it correctly.

    Best of luck! ^-^
  • January 11, 2011
    CrystalBlue
    Thanks for the advice, encouragement and help with the examples Tropers/{{0dd1}}! I've added that Live Action Tv example to the trope page, and if all goes well, will probably launch this tomorrow.
  • January 11, 2011
    0dd1
    Awesome. And you're very welcome!
  • April 25, 2011
    rightguy961
    I thought of another example. In the movie Rio, Blue and Jewel do this a lot. In fact it is highlighted when Blue first sees Jewel and stares at her in the some shining light as she flies.

    goldenpuon
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=d5me1m2m24uhvsd0z7sky8iq