Darth Vader never did it this casually.
Also referred to as a "Force Choke
Sometimes, a villain will demonstrate his (or her
) power by having another character's life in their literal hands, via a Neck Lift
Sometimes, a villain will demonstrate a lot
more power by doing this with no visible effort, by doing it with the mind.
That's this trope.
Characters are frequently terrified and intimidated (not unduly so) by having a character with psychic powers, a Hair-Trigger Temper
, and being the target of that wrath. This trope is a great way to show that the villain could literally
end another character's life with a thought, but doesn't.
A sub-trope of Neck Lift
. Often accompanied by a Pstandard Psychic Pstance
or Magical Gesture
. A Death Glare
Anime and Manga
- Darth Vader of Star Wars fame is the Trope Codifier, having originally done this in A New Hope, to Admiral Motti.
- And that wasn't the first time he'd done that. In the prequels, when he becomes convinced that Padme betrayed him.
- Occurs in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World when Todd lifts Scott up using his Vegan Powers. Scott even manages to choke out "My neck... Your hair..."
- In The Mummy Returns, after Alex tries to escape the train, the titular Mummy tracks him down with relative ease, and lifts the kid up with his telekinetic powers. He doesn't strangle Alex though, he just gives an utterly hammy finger wag.
- X-Men: First Class has a variation. When Miora attacks Eric, he deflects the gullets she fires, one of which hits Charles in the back. In a rage, Eric magnetically uses a metal necklace chain to strangle her, but Charles manages to talk him down.
Live Action TV
- Star Wars Expanded Universe:
- Grand Admiral Thrawn had this done to him unsuccessfully on two separate occasions.
- In Outbound Flight the power-mad Jedi Master Jorus C'baoth tries to murder him this way from another ship. He's only saved by Jorj Car'das hitting a Big Red Button Thrawn set up earlier, which sets off fighter droids carrying radiation bombs that kill most of the crew of Outbound Flight.
- In Dark Force Rising, an enraged Mara Jade tries to kill Grand Admiral Thrawn this way. It doesn't work properly due to her lack of Force training: Thrawn is more confused by it than anything else.
- Villains in Once Upon a Time love doing this, from Queen/Mayor Regina, to Rumpelstiltskin himself.
- In Stargate SG-1 the Priors of the Ori sometimes do this to their enemies. Their Dark Messiah Adria is more direct about it, simply snapping a Jaffa's neck with her mind at one point.
- Discussed in the Babylon 5 episode "Mind War". Talia's former mentor talks about using a gentler form than normal as a way to assassinate without leaving clues behind: simply telekinetically close off the carotid arteries to starve the brain of oxygen, then release the pressure after the target dies. That's if it was possible to get a completely sane telekinetic...
- In Starcraft II Heart Of The Swarm, the Anti-hero Kerrigan pulls this on the Big Bad Arcturus Mengsks son, Valerian, in a fit of rage - and while her hand is used in gesture as it is being done, there's no physical contact between the two.
- In Runescape, one of the abilities for mages is "Asphyxiate." The Player Character reaches out with his/her magical power, and chokes the life from the target over a few seconds.
- In The World Ends with You, Neku did this to Shiki after being misled that she is the one who dragged him into the Reapers' Game. Fortunately he didn't go all the way with it.
- Dis Raps For Hire: In the second episode of season 2, Bryce Wissel is throwing Corn nuts at Epic LLOYD (of ERB fame) while he's reading the youtube comment that inspires the rap of the episode. After reading the comment he gains the ability to Psychic Strangle Bryce out of pure rage, and takes it a step further by slamming him into the walls, and throwing Bryce at a Screaming Woman.