Glass Slipper

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"I'll just leave him a clue
For example, a shoe
And then see what he'll do..."
— "On the Steps of the Palace", Into the Woods

A conspicuous possession, often a piece of clothing, jewelry, or other personal effect, which becomes significant when its owner disappears and only the object is left behind. It is a type of Chekhov's Gun, and may be a Memento MacGuffin. The object is often found on the ground, and if it is something the character would not have left behind on purpose this implies the character was abducted or worse. It may give a clue to the direction or path to find the person such as a Trail of Bread Crumbs. If the person drowned, it can be a Dead Hat Shot. One form may also be Empty Piles of Clothing.

Compare The Girl Who Fits This Slipper and Returning the Handkerchief.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • The Castle of Cagliostro starts off with Lupin saving Clarisse from falling off a cliff. Yet, before they can get to know each other, Clarisse has to rush off, accidentally leaving behind her family ring which Lupin uses to track her down.

Film
  • In Amélie, the titular heroine has a Love at First Sight moment when bumping into Nino at a Parisian subway station. He doesn't notice her at all and quickly rides off with his scooter. However, a photo album falls off when he takes a sharp corner and Amelie picks it up. It helps her to get in contact with Nino, who, after noticing his loss, leaves stickers around the station with his phone number.
  • Cinderella: See entry under Literature.
  • In Inglourious Basterds after the Basterds fight at the tavern, Colonel Hans Landa finds a high-heeled shoe. Later at the movie premier, Landa notices Bridget Von Hammersmark with a leg in plaster and easily spots her companions as Americans. For extra irony, he even forces her to put the high-heel on, just to rub it in that he knows.

Literature
  • The Ur-Example of the trope is probably Cinderella. On her hasty way out from the ball, Cinderella loses one of her glass slippers on the steps of the palace. The Prince chases after her but only notices a simple country girl leave. He pockets the slipper and vows to find and marry the girl to whom it belonged. Through a lengthy The Girl Who Fits This Slipper audition process, he eventually succeeds to seek her out.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: In the Knight of the Laughing Tree tale, the knight mysteriously disappears as the king declares him his enemy and sends the Dragon Prince to find him. He could find only his shield. Although it's entirely possible that the prince covered up his identity and lied for some reason...

Live-Action TV

Visual Novel
  • Subverted in Cinders, where Cinders carelessly discards her shoes when leaving the ball. The Prince's forces come to her house because she was recognized, and one character specifically mentions that you couldn't possibly identify a woman based on her shoes because too many other women would have the same size foot.

Western Animation
  • The French cartoon La Joie De Vivre from 1934 has one of the two young women lose a shoe in the course of her cavorting. A No Name Given young man on a bicycle recovers the shoe and follows the women with the intent of returning it. The women, however, think he's stalking them, and flee to a railroad switching station. There, the young man succeeds in fitting the lost shoe back on the lady's foot. All three board the bicycle, which can now suddenly fly.
  • Parodied in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic during "The Best Night Ever." Rarity hopes to catch the eye of Princess Celestia's nephew, Prince Blueblood. Unfortunately, Blueblood turns out to be a Prince Charmless, to the degree that when Rarity leaves behind a glass slipper and Pinkie Pie lampshades this trope, Rarity smashes the slipper herself to make sure Blueblood never finds her.
  • In Milo Murphy's Law, the school dance that Amanda organized has problem after problem, largely due to Milo's presence. When the electricity goes out he quickly fixes the decorations before going to the circuit breaker (naturally, he was carrying night-vision goggles). In the process he loses a shoe. When Amanda sees everything fixed she finds the shoe and, wanting to thank "her hero," goes looking for whomever is missing one.
  • Lola And Virginia: In one story, a celebrity is interested in Lola and has no clue to her identity other than the glasses she lost. Virginia tries to pass herself as the glasses' owner but Lola points out Virginia doesn't need glasses. Virginia then tries to walk around with the glasses but can barely walk two steps without hitting something.

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