Created By: Alva on September 16, 2012 Last Edited By: Alva on September 19, 2012

Magical Irrelevance

Something may seem too irrelevant for a character to bother noticing, yet it is most relevant.

Name Space:
Page Type:
The brain screens out whatever seems irrelevant, and so the affected character can't notice it no matter how relevant it actually is. Examples are: Soulless Men from The Wheel of Time series, whom the Big Bad uses as assassins because no one would notice them entering or leaving; Alirea from the Twilight fanfic Luminosity, who could also murder you without you taking note of her approach or actions.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • September 16, 2012
    Just what the hell is Luminosity?
  • September 16, 2012
    1. Better name.
    2. Longer write-up or example.
    3. Am I wrong, or is this just a different version of Sunnydale Syndrome?
  • September 16, 2012
    Possibly the opposite of Sunnydale Syndrome, in that with that anything unusual is 'censored' by the brain, instead of anything seemingly irrelevant. The two could be exclusive, however (something weird and irrelevant, like a person eating their toenail fungus or something hopefully less gross). Also is this when the 'irrelevant' factor is later discovered to be really important, or just in any case?
  • September 16, 2012
    Isn't this Weirdness Censor?
  • September 16, 2012
    ^ Or possibly Beneath Notice.
  • September 16, 2012
    Weirdness Censor is Sunnydale Syndrome and weird doesn't really equal seemingly irrelevant, Beneath Notice is about people making themselves appear irrelevant, and I think this is about an aspect of a character or the character being so irrelevant to another that the other character automatically blocks it/them from acknowledgement - without intent.

    This really does need a better name as no-one appears to be able to say it nor understand the reference. I searched, Luminosity is a Twilight spin-off or something.

    This is related to both Weirdness Censor and Beneath Notice, the latter more, so possibly a sub-trope.

    A better name might be Ignoring Irrelevance or Ignored Relevance or something.
  • September 16, 2012
    The best example I can think of is Soulless Men from The Wheel of Time. These men, having sold their souls to the Dark One, are unnoticable by mortals who still possess a soul. Thus, they can enter a room, slay whoever is within, and leave - all unnoticed. If someone were watching, it would look like the assassinated person just dropped dead with a knife wound in their chest or a slit throat, with no discernible cause for either.

    Alternative name: What Kind of Lame Power is Irrelevance, Anyway?

    As such, it is more the ability to affect what your brain deems noteworthy (like being attacked with a knife) or just a permantent "don't bother noticing me" shield, and less anything the brain would screen out of its own but be able to notice if it had to or the thing actually seemed relevant (like if it were waving a weapon at you).
  • September 16, 2012
    ^The way you describe it is much to close to Weirdness Censor. But the magical irrelevance might be something.

    • There's a Tamora Pierce book where a character has Unmagic, a sort of magic of nothingness that allows people he uses it on to pass through walls and wards without notice (if they don't mind that it kills them slowly).
  • September 16, 2012
    I'd have to say that on the scale of universal familiarity for trope-naming purposes, a Fanfic ranks pretty low.

    Incidentally, I first read it as "All-I-Read", which is eerily appropriate for this trope, though not sufficiently so.
  • September 17, 2012
  • September 19, 2012
    Sounds good to me.