Held Gaze YKTTW Discussion

Held Gaze
(permanent link) added: 2010-12-28 17:27:54 sponsor: CrystalBlue (last reply: 2011-04-25 18:26:03)

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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.


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.

  • 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.

  • 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


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.

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