Created By: CaveCat on July 19, 2013 Last Edited By: CaveCat on March 4, 2014
Troped

Human Knot

A character literally gets tied up in knots.

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Trope
"As I foretold, you have annoyed me." Moments later, my arms and legs were tied up in knots. Square knots, to boot. I hate square knots—they're not natural to the human anatomy.

Seen It a Million Times, the victims getting abused by tying their limbs and other body parts into knots are usually demonstrating the strength of their abuser. A popular tactic in art styles that use Rubber Hose Limbs, it can be used in other mediums as well. In Real Life, the bones usually prevent the limbs from bending the way they would need to for this trope.

Knotty Tentacles is a subtrope, covering examples of prehensile tentacles, snakes, and characters with stretching superpowers. Both tropes are subtrope of Bound and Gagged, which covers all examples of characters getting tied up (albeit usually in a less literal fashion).

Compare with Barehanded Bar Bending, where the strong character does this same thing to a nonliving object, usually something made of metal. This trope, in contrast, is usually Played for Laughs as a subset of Amusing Injuries.

May be used as a part of Curb-Stomp Battle.

Not to be confused with Knotty Tentacles.

Compare: Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh..., Rubber Hose Limbs, Accordion Man, Squashed Flat and Be the Ball for other victims of Amusing Injuries.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Goku evades Princess Snake's repeated attacks (in her snake form), resulting in her tying herself into knots.

Film
  • Happens to Kaa in The Jungle Book and Sir Hiss in Robin Hood (they're both rope-like snakes, which helps).
  • Lola Bunny leaves Bugs Bunny in a ridiculous knot at the foul line in Space Jam. Bugs made the mistake of pressing Lola's Berserk Button by calling her "doll."

Comic Books
  • A non-comical example in 52: Ralph Dibny knocks out a demon, pumps him full of gingold (a substance that makes a body super-elastic), then ties him up in a giant knot. By the time the demon regains consciousness, the gingold already begins to wear out (with all the nasty consequences of a regular body being tied into a knot), and Ralph offers another portion for the information he needs from the demon.
  • The Twelve Tasks of Aterix: Cylindric the German ends up with all his limbs tied into knots via judo.

Magazines
  • One cover of MAD from 1999 has Steve Austin doing this to Alfred E. Neuman.

Literature
  • In the Joe's World books, Greyboar the strangler is renowned for tying enemies into knots, especially their necks, and takes a professional pride in making each knot a different one. He also sometimes ties his foster brother and agent, Ignace.
    "As I foretold, you have annoyed me." Moments later, my arms and legs were tied up in knots. Square knots, to boot. I hate square knots—they're not natural to the human anatomy.

Live-Action TV
  • In the live action Batman TV series Batman, Robin and Batgirl are tied in a "Siamese Human Knot" by Nora Clavicle.
    "The slightest move by any one of you will only draw the Human Knot tighter, crush your bones and strangle you!"
  • Bull does this to Dan Fielding in an episode of Night Court when Dan tries to stop him from leaving Harry's office.
  • On the old Seattle variety show Almost Live!, there was a series of kung fu parody shorts called "Mind Your Manners with Billy Quan". In one of them, "Fumes of Fury", Quan jumps on the shoulders of his nemesis to choke him with his thighs, but his nemesis ties his legs in a knot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_cXlSlPboI

Newspaper Comics
  • Happens to Beetle Bailey sometimes when Sarge beats him up, on those occasions when Sarge doesn't just leave Bailey lying in a heap on the ground after stomping on him.

Western Animation
  • Mr. Bogus:
    • This happens in the second act of the episode "Meet Mr. Bogus" during a wrestling match on TV that Bogus has engaged in. The behemoth that Bogus is fighting against just easily grabs him by the arms and ties him up before using a belly flop on him.
    • This was also used in the first act of the episode "Museum Madness". Bogus finds himself facing off against the pharaoh's pet cobra, before fighting the cobra in a Big Ball of Violence. After the fight ends, Bogus is victorious, with the cobra all tied up in knots.
    • In the first act of the episode "Babysitting Bogus", the baby does this to Bogus at the start of the match when Bogus tries to pull off some karate moves against the baby. This leads to Bogus getting tied up to one of the crib's bars.
  • Tom and Jerry: Slightly inverted example (it's a small character pulling a Curb-Stomp Battle on a big one and tying him up into a pretzel): Jerry pulls this off on Tom on the Gene Deitch short "Tom And Jerry Cartoon Kit" to show off his new "Judo For Mice" skills. To add more insult to injury, Jerry does it with just one hand.
    • In another cartoon "Puttin' On The Dog", Tom Cat disguises himself as a dog to infiltrate a dog pound. When Tom is ultimately unmasked, he climbs to the top of a flagpole, and ties his own limbs into knots to keep himself anchored there, beyond the dogs' reach.
    • Another cartoon has Jerry being chased by Tom and another cat; by running around both of them, Jerry managed to tie both of them into a knot.
  • Happens to Taz in an episode of Taz-Mania, courtesy of Rex the Wrecker. Watch the episode here.
  • Adventure Time: In Lady & Peebles, Ricardio shows off his new body by twisting Lady Rainicorn in a knot and throwing her to the side.
  • While appearing in a charity wrestling event, Darkwing Duck faced a huge wrestler specializing in molding opponents' bodies like balloon sculptures. Darkwing falls to his grip, and gets reshaped into a show poodle. Launchpad and Goslyn call Darkwing away on a case just in time: the wrestler's next intended sculpture was octopus.

Needs More Examples

Proposed Indices: Comedy Tropes, Graphical Tropes, Zany Cartoon, Amusing Injuries

Community Feedback Replies: 83
  • July 19, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Too bad there's also a certain other interpretation of the word 'knotted'. I blame the Furry Fandom for that.
  • July 20, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ I was thinking the same but didn't want to be the one to bring it up :D
  • July 21, 2013
    Koveras
    • A non-comical example in Fifty Two: Ralph Dibny knocks out a demon, pumps him full of gingold (a substance that makes a body super-elastic), then ties him up in a giant knot. By the time the demon regains consciousness, the gingold already begins to wear out (with all the nasty consequences of a regular body being tied into a knot), and Ralph offers another portion for the information he needs from the demon.
  • July 23, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    A title that avoids the furry specific Unusual Euphemism could be something like Human Knot or Tied To A Knot.

    ...or we can go with some horrible pun abomination that plays with the similarity of the words "not" and "knot", like Knot So Fast! or Knot So Tough After All.
  • July 25, 2013
    Chabal2
    The Twelve Tasks of Aterix: Cylindric the German ends up with all his limbs tied into knots via judo.

  • July 26, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Cylindric could also make up for a good page picture.
  • July 29, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In the live action Batman TV series Batman, Robina and Batgirl are tied in a "Siamese Human Knot" by Nora Clavicle.
    "The slightest move by any one of you will only draw the Human Knot tighter, crush your bones and strangle you!"
  • July 30, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Fixed a typo from my own example (Robina > Robin)
  • August 3, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Slightly inverted example (it's a small character pulling a Curb Stomp Battle on a big one and tying him up into a pretzel): Jerry pulls this off on Tom on the Gene Deitch short "Tom And Jerry Cartoon Kit" to show off his new "Judo For Mice" skills. To add more insult to injury, Jerry does it with just one hand.
  • August 4, 2013
    hevendor717
    I don't know if this counts, since enemy size is usually not relevant, but Luffy in One Piece sometimes gets his rubber-man limbs tied in knots if someone dodges his attacks too well.
  • August 5, 2013
    randomsurfer
    The Incredible Hulk has been known to tie Mr. Fantastic of The Fantastic Four into bows when the Hulk fights the FF.
  • August 5, 2013
    JoeG
    These last two are Knotty Tentacles.
  • August 10, 2013
    Madrugada
    Moderator note: I removed the hat this was given. It is nowhere near ready to launch in its present state, and that's what a hat means.

    Please do not give hats unless the write-up, exactly as it stands is ready to launch. A Hat does not mean "I think this is a good idea in general" or "I like this" or "We should have this." It means "I think that this could be put onto the wiki as a page right now, in the condition it's in at this moment."
  • August 25, 2013
    Omeganian
    Happens to Taz in an episode of Taz Mania, courtesy of Rex the Wrecker.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGO06aj9g5A
  • August 28, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Happens to Beetle Bailey sometimes when Sarge beats him up, on those occasions when Sarge doesn't just leave Bailey lying in a heap on the ground after stomping on him.
  • September 4, 2013
    xanderiskander
    Since this is more about the character who gets tied up into a pretzel than the person doing the tying. And for the sake of rhyme. How about calling this Knot Tough Enough?
  • September 4, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Italicized an example title. Also, namespaced and un-potholed the Tom And Jerry example. Remember: Always state the source.
  • September 9, 2013
    azul120
  • September 13, 2013
    Larkmarn
    I could've sworn I've seen this use in Cat Dog, but I can't remember the show well enough.
  • September 18, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    Compare to Barehanded Bar Bending, where collateral damage proves the same point without injuring anyone.
  • September 18, 2013
    Antigone3
    I can't think of any examples, but I really like Knot Tough Enough as a title.
  • September 18, 2013
    kjnoren
    I don't really like Knot Tough Enough - it doesn't really evoke the trope for me. The description is also poor.

    What about Knot So Tied Fight?

    As for a description:

    When one character is literally tied into a knot or more. It might involve only the limbs or the whole body, but it's generally anatomically impossible (unless one includes broken bones), so almost always played for humour.

    Possible page quote:

    "As I foretold, you have annoyed me." Moments later, my arms and legs were tied up in knots. Square knots, to boot. I hate square knots—they're not natural to the human anatomy.

    Literature:

    • In the Joes World books, Greyboar the strangler is renowned for tying enemies into knots, especially their necks, and takes a professional pride in making each knot a different one. He also sometimes ties his foster brother and agent, Ignace.
      "As I foretold, you have annoyed me." Moments later, my arms and legs were tied up in knots. Square knots, to boot. I hate square knots—they're not natural to the human anatomy.
  • September 18, 2013
    darthcaliber
    Knot Tough Enough doesn't work as a title for me. It sounds more like a trope for when a character easily unties what should be a solid knot
  • September 18, 2013
    xanderiskander
    The rationale behind Knot Tough Enough is that when the one character challenges the tougher character to a fight, he's not tough enough to beat him and gets tied up into a knot.

    I'm fine with looking for a clearer name. But I don't like Knot So Tied Fight because that name doesn't make any sense to me. Sounds like gibberish.
  • September 19, 2013
    kjnoren
    Knot So Tied Fight can be read in two ways: a fight that does not end in a draw (tie), and that a fight where a knot has been tied. To me, it's Knot Tough Enough that's nonsensical.

    I also don't like references to one belligerent being bigger or tougher in the description, since that narrows the trope needlessly. And using the "tied up like a pretzel" should probably be mentioned, but it should be made clear that this is a literal meaning of the idiom.
  • September 19, 2013
    DAN004
  • September 19, 2013
    m8e
    Both knot and tied can be read in two ways. That creates 4 combinations.

    • Knot tied fight (nonsensical)
    • Knot draw fight (nonsensical)
    • Not tied fight('sensical', but opposite of the trope.)
    • Not draw ('sensical', but doesn't involve knots or someone getting tied.)
  • September 19, 2013
    JonnyB
    Happens to Kaa in Jungle Book and Sir Hiss in Robin Hood (they're both rope-like snakes, which helps).
  • September 19, 2013
    JonnyB
    Fit To Be Tied would be a punny name for this trope...
  • September 19, 2013
    kjnoren
    ^^^ I read my proposal as (Knot So Tied) Fight, ie as a fight where a knot is tied, and then we have (Not So Tied) Fight, in that the fight has a winner.
  • September 19, 2013
    xanderiskander
    I don't think anyone will get the pun on "tied" on the first read. It's not very clear at all IMO. And this trope has nothing to do with the fight being a draw anyway since the attacker is clearly defeated by being tied up.
  • September 24, 2013
    FisherfastEddie
    I object! ur pun skillz are bad!! almost as bad as the sea is filled with fish!! Smelly fish!!!
  • September 24, 2013
    kjnoren
    Some more ideas, not all of them altogether serious:

    Knot A Tight Fight, Neck Tie Fight, The Winning Knot, Knot A Bow Battle, Loser Is Knot
  • September 24, 2013
    kjnoren
  • September 25, 2013
    DAN004
    Lovin' Knot A Loser (though I'd still up my own Pretzeled For Losing) :P
  • September 25, 2013
    xanderiskander
    How does Knot A Problem describe this trope? Sounds nonsensical.
  • September 25, 2013
    lakija
    What about Pretzel Punk? Or Pretzel Punchout?

    Hmm... maybe. I don't know. :)
  • September 25, 2013
    xanderiskander
    Pretzel The Punk Or Pretzeled Punk might be good.
  • September 25, 2013
    DAN004
    Title Crowner plz.
  • October 7, 2013
    DAN004
    ...Anybody?
  • October 13, 2013
    DracMonster
  • October 27, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • While appearing in a charity wrestling event, Darkwing Duck faced a huge wrestler specializing in molding opponents' bodies like balloon sculptures. Darkwing falls to his grip, and gets reshaped into a show poodle. Launchpad and Goslyn call Darkwing away on a case just in time: the wrestler's next intended sculpture was octopus.
    • Lola Bunny leaves Bugs Bunny in a ridiculous knot at the foul line in Space Jam. Bugs made the mistake of pressing Lola's Berserk Button by calling her "doll."
  • October 27, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Another Tom And Jerry cartoon is "Puttin' On The Dog" where Tom Cat disguises himself as a dog to infiltrate a dog pound. When Tom is ultimately unmasked, he climbs to the top of a flagpole, and ties his own limbs into knots to keep himself anchored there, beyond the dogs' reach.
  • November 4, 2013
    DAN004
    Title crowner plz.
  • December 2, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    Compare Barehanded Bar Bending, to prove one's strength without using a fellow sentient being as collateral damage.
  • December 2, 2013
    DAN004
    Knotted Into A Pretzel isn't clear; it should be mentioned that it's getting pretzeled after losing. (That, and "knotted" is apparently a furry slang.)
  • December 11, 2013
    robinjohnson
    ^ It's also a weird mixed metaphor. Just Pretzeled or something vaguely punny like All Tied Up would be fine - it's a fallacy to try to express the whole trope in the title, anyway. Edit: not All Tied Up, then - I didn't realise it was already a thing.
  • December 11, 2013
    Surenity
    Magazines
    • One cover of Mad from 1999 has Steve Austin doing this to Alfred E. Neuman.
  • December 11, 2013
    DAN004
    Title crowner plz.
  • December 14, 2013
    DracMonster
    I think Tied Into A Pretzel should be very obvious. I doubt anyone would confuse it for being a trope about actual pretzels.
  • December 14, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ What I'm confused about, however, is what is being tied into a pretzel.
  • December 15, 2013
    xanderiskander
    How about Pretzel Knot Knock Out. it makes it clear there's tying into a pretzel knot involved, and that a person is being defeated by doing it.
  • December 15, 2013
    shimaspawn
    Honestly, I think that the supertrope of 'Person gets tied into a pretzel' no matter how it happened (Big guy, little guy, freak washing machine accident) is probably more useful to us than a narrower subtrope as this is a fairly common slapstick trope.
  • December 16, 2013
    DAN004
  • December 19, 2013
    Quantumawsome
  • December 27, 2013
    DAN004
    Title crowner plz...
  • December 27, 2013
    JonnyB
    Anime And Manga
    • In Dragonball Z, Goku evades Princess Snake's repeated attacks (in her snake form), resulting in her tying herself into knots.
  • January 11, 2014
    DAN004
    Title crowner plz.
  • January 28, 2014
    sgamer82
    • Bull does this to Dan Fielding in an episode of Night Court when Dan tries to stop him from leaving Harry's office.
  • January 28, 2014
    DAN004
  • January 31, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    Misuse of Exactly What It Says On The Tin:
    • This trope is only for titles or names given deliberately by authors or marketers.

    I think the definition needs improvement before it is ready to publish.
  • February 2, 2014
    DAN004
    Compare Accordion Man, Squashed Flat and Be The Ball for other victims of Amusing Injuries.
  • February 3, 2014
    DAN004
    • One Tom And Jerry episode has Jerry being chased by Tom and another cat; by running around both of them, Jerry managed to tie both of them into a knot.
  • February 15, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Not in a fight, but in the Popeye cartoon "Greek Mirhtology" which takes place in ancient times (Popeye is Hercules) where Bluto rides an elephant into town and ties its trunk to a nearby tree like a cowboy would tie a horse up, except Bluto uses the elephant's trunk rather than reins.
  • February 19, 2014
    JonnyB
    • On the old Seattle variety show Almost Live, there was a series of kung fu parody shorts called "Mind Your Manners with Billy Quan". In one of them, "Fumes of Fury", Quan jumps on the shoulders of his nemesis to choke him with his thighs, but his nemesis ties his legs in a knot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_cXlSlPboI
  • February 20, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    Pretzel-Tied Limbs
    A character has their body parts tied into a knot.
    The victims getting abused by tying their limbs and other body parts into knots are usually demonstrating the strength of their abuser. A popular tactic in art styles that use Rubber Hose Limbs, it can be used in other mediums as well. In Real Life, the bones usually prevent the limbs from bending the way they would need to for this trope.

    Knotty Tentacles is a subtrope, covering examples of prehensile tentacles, snakes, and characters with stretching superpowers. Both tropes are subtrope of Bound And Gagged, which covers all examples of characters getting tied up (albeit usually in a less literal fashion).

    Compare with Barehanded Bar Bending, where the strong character does this same thing to a nonliving object, usually something made of metal. This trope, in contrast, is usually Played For Laughs as a subset of Amusing Injuries.
  • February 20, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    Two things about the Popeye example: I think the episode name is misspelled, and I think the elephant's trunk is an example of Knotty Tentacles instead.
  • February 21, 2014
    FerrousFaucet
    I don't remember how it happened, but I remember an episode of Doug where Skeeter got tangled in a knot and asked for his friends' help untangling him. I think he was trying to show off a complicated dance move.
  • February 24, 2014
    frosty
    You'll start to get hats if you change the title.
  • February 24, 2014
    DAN004
    OP ain't so active...
  • February 24, 2014
    frosty
    But (s)he's bumping and asking for hats. I'm not going to ignore that and hope (s)he magically figures out why this isn't going anywhere.
  • February 24, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ That's why I said she ain't so active. :P
  • February 26, 2014
    DastardlyDemolition
    [[Western Animation:Ed Edd N Eddy]] Kevin threatens Edd to tie him into a knot
  • February 26, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    so this is still getting bumped with little participation? time to bump up the complaint at Ask The Tropers.
  • February 26, 2014
    DAN004
    Kinda don't think Human Knot would be an apt name cuz the victim ain't always human.
  • February 26, 2014
    frosty
  • February 26, 2014
    CaveCat
    ^^Well, Human Knot was the most voted name in the crowner. That's why I had no other choice now but to go with it.
  • February 26, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Pretzeled For Losing has the same number of votes, and less ambiguous.
  • February 26, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    Cave Cat

    You have a choice, there are other options. if the winner is bad then go with the second, and so on.
  • February 26, 2014
    Lakija
    It seems that Pretzel Tied Limbs or whatever has the most votes. I really like it.

    Guys... Redirects Are Free.

    Whatever super good one isn't used for the title can be a redirect. Let this trope live dagnabbit!
  • February 27, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ A'ighty.
  • March 2, 2014
    dalek955
    I'd go with Human Knot, just because it sounds the least silly to say.
  • March 3, 2014
    DAN004
    Launch?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=zq2n0czuhmy2yjt4sfaj2ep2