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[[quoteright:350:[[Anime/RebuildOfEvangelion http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_1545246-gendo_ikari_9531.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:A lying tongue is best kept hidden.]]

-> ''"I've waited my whole life to do this... '''the finger pyramid of evil contemplation.''' (clasps fingers) [[EvilFeelsGood Feels good]]."''
-->-- '''Roger''', ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad''

Particularly [[TheChessmaster devious]] and [[MagnificentBastard magnificent]] villains have a habit of putting their hands together at around chest or mouth level, with fingers either interlocked or tip-to-tip.

One possible reason behind this gesture is that when a person lies, they often unconsciously cover their mouth with their hand (as if to prevent the lie from escaping their lips). Thus, putting both hands in front of your mouth means that you're lying big time. Another reason is that in RealLife body language, people tend to automatically steeple the hands when feeling overly confident, or superior to whoever they happen to be speaking to. Someone who does this too often will quickly come across as arrogant. But this pose has the advantage of completely blocking arms and chest, making their body language impossible to read anymore.

Bonus points if combined with ominous lighting, ScaryShinyGlasses, a slight SlouchOfVillainy, a BeardOfEvil or a KubrickStare. Double bonus for a PsychoticSmirk. Any combination of these can be used for a TraitorShot.

The word usually used for this action in novels is "[[http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/steeple steepling]]". Not related to IntertwinedFingers. Usually. See HandRubbing for the poor man's version of this trope.

[[noreallife]]
----
!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* Gendo Ikari of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''. His trademark covering-the-mouth variant is often called "[[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/the-gendo-pose the Gendo pose]]". For a while adding the "Gendo Hands" to existing works were a meme. (As a bonus, using the pose repeatedly helped cut down on animation costs and nobody had to worry about matching lip flaps when dubbing into another language.)
** Scans from the original designs for Shinji show him doing a [[SubvertedTrope ''happy'']] version [[http://imgur.com/dL29u of the pose]]. [[InTheBlood It must be a tradition in the Ikari family.]]
** [[ApocalypseMaiden Rei]] also does this several times. She must unconsciously have copied it from Gendo.
** Misato can be seen doing it too, perhaps in an attempt to copy Gendo's cool command poise.
* Roy Mustang from ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' does this, too, whenever he isn't out on a date.
** Kimbly, Envy, first Greed and [[http://user-cdn.spring.me/photos/20120806/n501fa1f0ba128.jpg Edward Elric]] do this at least once.
* Lelouch from ''Anime/CodeGeass'' commonly does this while his plans go as expected. When they fail... [[LargeHam he does all sorts of different gestures.]]
** Schneizel does this while he's telling the 'truth' about Lelouch to the Black Knights.
** Lelouch also does this when he's giving a ReasonYouSuckSpeech to [[spoiler:Nunnally]] - though there's a shot of his hands trembling a little, a giveaway of just how hard it was for him.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'': Sasuke Uchiha is seen doing this at the beginning, just to show how much of a Disney Anti Hero he was. Oddly, after his genuine FaceHeelTurn he doesn't do it again until some time after [[spoiler:joining Akatsuki]].
** This is {{Lampshaded}} in an early episode of [[NarutoTheAbridgedSeries the abridged series]]:
---> '''Sasuke:''' "I'm sorry, I was practicing my Gendo Ikari impression."
** Shikamaru also does the tip-to-tip style while he's planning. He does it so often it gets mistaken for a hand sign.
** Tsunade did this on occasions.
** Gaara seems to have picked up this habit when he's sitting down lately too. It seems to be a replacement for his usual standing-up habit of crossing his arms.
* [[MagnificentBastard Light]] from ''Manga/DeathNote'' does this, fitting his role.
** Takashi Ooi does this a lot as well.
* Shizuku from ''LightNovel/{{Kampfer}}'' does this to help show the audience that she's a particularly cunning and devious StudentCouncilPresident.
* ''Anime/{{Monster}}'': Johan does it while talking to a small orphaned boy (who, as a result, attempts to commit suicide later in the day). The screen focuses on his hands for a long time before panning out to show his face.
* In the anime ''VisualNovel/RoboticsNotes'', it's literally referred to as the ''Gendo Pose'', followed by an explanation of how it's a very common occurrence in HumongousMecha anime. This is only one of many mecha anime {{Shout Out}}s spouted in the show.
* Zeera, Emperor of Ruin is often shown in this pose when plotting the future of his ''LitchiHikariClub''.
* Doc, resident MadDoctor in ''DawnTsumetaiTe''.
* Seemingly subverted in ''Manga/MagicalRecordLyricalNanohaForce'': Hayate does this in chapter eight but nothing has come of it yet.
* [[MagnificentBastard Treize Khushrenada]] from ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing''.
* Used humorously in ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' when ''James,'' of all people, does this while guiding Jessie, Meowth, and [[EnemyMine the twerps]] in ''landing an out-of-control rocket.''
* Minor character Kido, who's in charge of student life and punishes the characters when they get into trouble, from ''Manga/{{Beelzebub}}'' does this often.
** Kanzaki also does this when he tells his niece that Santa is dead so he won't have to buy her a Christmas present.
* In ''Manga/{{Holyland}}'' chapter 131, the principal does this while announcing Masaki's [[spoiler:expulsion from the boxing club]].
* In ''Manga/{{AttackOnTitan}}'', Hanji does this in episode 19.
* Hasegawa from ''Manga/{{Gintama}}'' does that a lot, specifically as a [[ActorAllusion reference to Gendo since they are both voiced by]] Creator/FumihikoTachiki and wear sunglasses.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* {{Magneto}} does this.
* The comic book adaptation of TheThrawnTrilogy has Grand Admiral Thrawn doing this often. That, or [[RightHandCat cradling and stroking a creature]] that is probably intended to be a ysalamiri. Notably he doesn't do much of either in the novels, but Magnificent Bastards steeple, and Thrawn is a Magnificent Bastard, so "steepled" is the second-most common way his hands are drawn in the comic, in other official art, and in fanart. The ''most'' common way his hands are positioned is undeniably clasped behind his back, a gesture of restraint. Notably you can't clasp your hands behind your back while sitting, and steepling just looks stupid when you're standing up.
** The ysalamir stroking, at least, does occasionally happen in the books, whenever Thrawn wishes to emphasize their (Force-nullifying) presence when speaking with Force users.
* The cover of issue 67 of ''ComicBook/TheWalkingDead'' features Eugene Porter in this pose.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fan Works]]
* ''[[VideoGame/Left4Dead The Boomer]]'' [[http://accelagirl.deviantart.com/art/Left-4-Dead-Combo-Attacks-113506612 has been doing some thinking]].
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': Gendo does it in some scenes, such like [[http://eva303.smackjeeves.com/comics/1462135/044/ this]] or [[http://eva303.smackjeeves.com/comics/1487147/033/ this]]. The different camera angle and more casual clothes of the former give him a focused air rather a creepy one, though.
* Subverted by a {{yakuza}} boss in ''Fanfic/KyonBigDamnHero'', who does this when asking a subordinate to apologize for a rogue yakuza [[spoiler: shooting Kyon]]. He doesn't intend to deceive them and honestly wants to apologize.
* Alex (from the ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' fanfic named [[{{FanFic/Alex}} after her]]) does this in chapter 6.
* In ''FanFic/TheDarknessSeries'' after going dark [[Franchise/HarryPotter Harry]] develops this character tic.
* In ''Fanfic/ThinkingInLittleGreenBoxes'' while plotting and planning and considering that Dumbledore must have been replaced by [[SecretInvasion a Skrull]] Harry does the [[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion Gendo]] pose.
* Socrates' [[DastardlyWhiplash scheming side]] does this after misleading the group in ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'', coupling it with an EvilLaugh.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'': Judge Claude Frollo is often depicted as doing this in promotional material. [[http://images.sodahead.com/polls/001863459/5516170360_frollo_answer_1_xlarge.jpeg See?]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}'' does this as part of his over-the-top supervillain persona.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheMatrix'': Agent Smith, while interrogating Neo.
* ''Film/BramStokersDracula'': Old Dracula does this when he's laughing at Johnathon Harker.
* Nicolae Carpathia as depicted by Gordon Currie in the ''LeftBehind'' film series.
* Vice-Counsel Dupont does this at the climax of ''Film/{{Equilibrium}}'', only to drop the pose in a most satisfying OhCrap moment when [[spoiler: Preston kills Brandt in a SingleStrokeBattle]].
* In one scene in ''Film/OutOfThePast'', Whit Sterling does this while having breakfast with Jeff.
* National security adviser John Brennan (Creator/StephenDillane) [[http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMjMzMDg0NDQ1M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTg3ODg2OA@@._V1._SX640_SY427_.jpg does this]] in ''Film/ZeroDarkThirty''.
* A VisualGag in ''TheManWithTwoBrains'', in which a character is finger tenting because they're stuck together by Krazy Glue.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Literature/SherlockHolmes does this often.
* Havelock Vetinari of ''Literature/{{Discworld}}''.
* The Magician Trent in the ''Literature/{{Xanth}}'' novels does this - while he's not precisely a {{Chessmaster}}, he's definitely a pretty smart cookie.
* Literature/HarryPotter: Albus Dumbledore in cordial confrontation mode.
** Most depictions of Salazar Slytherin (like the one on JKR's Wizard of the Month) will have him doing this.
* [[MagnificentBastard Dravis]] of the ''{{Descent}}'' novelizations is fond of this.
* Literature/ArtemisFowl often makes this pose when he's revealing something particularly devious/unexpected
* The cynical executive put in charge after the buyout of the ''Hitchhiker's Guide'' offices, Vann Harl, does the finger-steepling thing while talking to Ford Prefect in ''Literature/MostlyHarmless''. The narration marvels that this gesture has not yet been made a capital offense.
* From ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', Marcone often steeples his hands, [[{{Expy}} very much like]] Xanatos. In the illustrated RPG book, nearly every time you see Marcone he's doing this.
* Subverted in ''[[Literature/TheActsOfCaine Heroes Die]]'', where Kollberg laces his fingers together not as a sign of deception, but to try and keep calm while talking to [[HeWhoMustNotBeSeen the Board of Governors]].
* Tang Shou Dian in the DaleBrown novel ''Sky Masters''.
* [[HistoricalVillainUpgrade Machiavelli]] in ''TheSecretsOfTheImmortalNicholasFlamel.'' Almost inevitable, really.
* ASongOfIceAndFire: One of the trademark gestures of Tywin Lannister, though other characters are known to do it too.
** One of the priests of the Many Faced God, when teaching [[spoiler: Arya]] how to lie, mentions that some people will instinctively cover their mouth when lying, which is the TruthInTelevision part of this trope.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* {{Lampshaded}} in ''Series/JustShootMe'':
-->'''Nina:''' Are you planning something devious?\\
'''Dennis:''' Of course. Why else would I be doing this?
* Happens in ''Series/{{Profit}}''
* In one episode of ''Series/CornerGas'', Wanda teaches Lacey on when to use "schemey fingers".
* {{Lex Luthor}} does this on occasion in {{Smallville}}.
* ''Series/HorribleHistories'': Cesare Borgia takes this UpToEleven with his "I am the mostest powerfulest evilest of all!" in the Borgia Family [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RaITtjcTy0&feature=related song]].
* On ''Series/DoctorWho'', TheMaster does this while smugly waiting to spring his trap on the boorish President of the United States in "The Sound of Drums".
* Apophis does this in the ''Series/StargateSG1'' episode "Exodus" .
* Hideaki Anno does this in the third episode of "Aoi Honoo".
* Adam and Barry do this together on one episode of ''Series/TheGoldbergs''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:TV Tropes]]
* The current page image for SinisterSchnoz contains this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
* Igor is always doing this in the ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' games. He seems to be manipulating humanity into following a higher path; but enjoys seeming sinister in doing so. It certainly helps that he would look creepy enough without it.
** That being said, he still ''THE'' nicest (and most helpful) supernatural entities you will find in '''any''' Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei game.
* Kohaku in ''{{Tsukihime}}'' clasps her hands while talking with Shiki after having sex in her own route. Since [[spoiler:she'd been trying to manipulate him to kill Akiha]], this might make sense, but it's actually a ''subversion''. [[spoiler:She wasn't lying to him, and she later tried to ''stop'' Shiki and the then-insane Akiha from killing each other]].
** She [[spoiler:does drug him so he can't come after her immediately after that though.]]
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianSeries'': Kane, MagnificentBastard he is, is quite fond of doing this.
* Shizune from ''KatawaShoujo'' seems to like "tenting" her hands and otherwise follows the personality tropes associated with this to the letter, though as far as [[TheChessmaster chessmastery]] is concerned, all she's got to show for herself is a mean game of {{RISK}}.
* In the ''BaldursGate'' series, evil-aligned mage Edwin is shown clasping his hands in this fashion in his [[http://www.sorcerers.net/Games/BG/npc/Edwin.jpg character]] [[http://www.planetbaldursgate.com/bg2/encounters/npcs/edwin/edwin.jpg portraits]].
** Subverted in that he's a SmugSnake and a ChewToy for much of the games. It certainly goes hard on the trope during [[GenderBender a certain 'event' in the second game]]...
* GhostbustersTheVideoGame: Walter Peck is seen doing this.
* ''VideoGame/HouseOfTheDead'' has Goldman pulling this while discussing his plans.
* [[spoiler: Andre Oliveri]] from ''AceCombatJointAssault''.
* Colonel Longhena is shown having a habit of doing this in the ''[[VideoGame/DonPachi DoDonpachi]]'' series.
* In ''VisualNovel/ApolloJusticeAceAttorney'', Alita Tiala has two [[http://www.court-records.net/animation4/alita-normal%28a%29.gif fairly]] [[http://www.court-records.net/animation4/alita-fingers%28a%29.gif subtle]] versions of this as standard poses. [[spoiler:It's the first sign that her "loving fiancée" act is fake.]]
* Shang Tsung of ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' does this a lot. In ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9'', he even does it ''when he's Babalitied''.
* Celestia Ludenberg in ''VisualNovel/DanganRonpa'' occasionally slips into this. However, she never bothered to cover her mouth... although she instead uses a cute smile accompanied with closed eyes of innocence. Coupled with how she's called 'Queen of Liars', that still doesn't deduce the points about how much she's deceiving.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/DevilBear'' the {{Parody}} character of Rainbow Brite is striking a Gendo Pose while [[http://www.thedevilbear.com/?p=70 plotting at her desk]] when the Daivas show up.
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', Klaus Wulfenbach pulls this off ''with a HumongousMecha''. [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20090130 Check it out.]]
* Dale in ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent'' homages [[http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1693 the pose]] while plotting.
* [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1838#comic An example]] from ''SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal''.
* Done by the main character of ''Webcomic/AkiChansLife'' on [[http://www.jimmys-desktop.de/aki.php?browse.2.22 the cover to chapter 2]], dressed up as [[SpinOffspring Grandpa]] Gendo. Is of a much more humorous variety then most other examples as the person in question is 4 years old and [[DoesNotLikeShoes barefoot]], with her feet not even remotely close to the floor.
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', Mr. Tensaided [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2003-06-18 does this]] while narrating in the style of a gamemaster.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original]]
* In ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'', Dr. Horrible was practicing this.
* [[DiabolicalMastermind Coil]] of ''Literature/{{Worm}}'' steeples his fingers in front of his mouth, even though he's wearing a mask.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* David Xanatos of ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}''. Just [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Xanatos.jpg see for youself]]. And yes, he is indeed [[TropeNamer devious]].
* ''TheSimpsons'': Mr. Burns's signature line "Excellent" is usually delivered in this pose (the tip-to-tip version), though he is usually tapping fingertips, not clasping.
* After coming up with a plan to get back at someone he felt had wronged him, Roger from ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' expressed delight that he would get to do this, calling it 'the finger pyramid of evil contemplation'.
* Slade from ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''.
* [[http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20111229073208/mlp/images/4/40/Discordisevil.png Discord]] from ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''.
* Lucius on ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes'' engages in this on occasion.
* Megavolt on ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck''.
* Oil Slick the Decepticon is currently the only {{Transformers}} toy who can cross his fingers like this. Probably for good reason.
** ''BeastWars'' Megatron liked to do this in Tyrannosaurus Rex mode.
* Lex Luthor pulls one in the pilot episode of ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries''.
* On the ''WesternAnimation/AeonFlux'' episode "Thanatophobia," one character tells off Goodchild for being too soft on Breen citizens trying to escape the city while making this pose. It's even more disturbing when you notice that this man is missing every other finger.
* ComicBook/DoctorDoom seems rather fond of this in ''WesternAnimation/AvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes.''
* [[WackyRaces Dick Dastardly]] and [[ThePerilsOfPenelopePitstop The Hooded Claw]] do this a lot.
[[/folder]]

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