It's bad when you get blinded by a nobody
No matter how thick the hide, hard the chitin, or magically impervious the body, the eyes are a natural weak spot for any creature that has them.
If you ever encounter a monster in a video game with a single, enormous, glowing eye
, you can bet dollars to donuts that said eye will be that monster's only weak spot
. The rest of its body will be Made of Iron
, and even the Infinity+1 Sword
won't damage it. Often, part of the strategy to beat the boss
will be figuring out how to make it open its eye so you can hit it For Massive Damage
Compare Eye Scream
, A Handful for an Eye
. For more human characters getting their eyes whacked, see Moe Greene Special
Although it might sound like it
, Eyes Are Unbreakable
is not an inversion
of this trope.
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Anime and Manga
- This is pretty much the only way to hurt the Thing.
- In Ghost Rider, the All-New Orb (whose entire head is a giant eyeball) is taken out by a trap that flung a board with a nail in it into his eye. He survived, but was temporarily blinded and gravely hurt.
- In ElfQuest, this was the way they killed Madcoil.
- In one crossover, Silver Sable stopped Luke Cage: Hero for Hire by knocking him to the ground and aiming a gun at his eye, saying that she was willing to bet that his eye wasn't as bulletproof as the rest of him.
- Ultimate Falcon does the same to Colossus in Ultimate Nightmare.
- The Trope Namer is Harry Hamlin of the original Clash of the Titans, who instructs this of his mechanical owl Bubo.
- Subverted in Superman Returns: as always, Shooting Superman fails.
- The opening of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla has Maser pilot Akane aim for Godzilla's eyes during a Battle in the Rain. It only pisses Godzilla off and leads to the deaths of several people in her squad.
- In Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, R2-D2 spars against a buzz droid with his electric prod. A few zaps don't kill it, but Obi-Wan recommends R2 aim for the droid's "eye" and thus it's instantly fried.
- The Specials: "Tell your brother the next time he wife-beats her, hit her in the eye. Her eyes are normal."
- Parodied in Galaxy Quest. "Go for the eyes!" "It doesn't have any eyes!" "Then the nose, the throat, its vulnerable spots!" "It's rock, it doesn't have any vulnerable spots!"
- Kill Bill: This is how The Bride defeated Elle Driver, who had bad luck when it came to this trope.
- In Demon Knight this is one of the only ways to kill a demon, the other being to use the blood in the Key. This only works on weaker demons though — the Collector is only mildly annoyed after Jeryline stabs him in the eye. Splashing the special blood into his eyes does the trick.
- What the human snipers do exactly against several Decepticons in Transformers: Dark of the Moon during the climatic battle in Chicago, allowing NEST to take down a couple of them without Autobot aid. It's not just the Decepticon mooks that fall victim to this. Starscream is killed by having his eyes taken out and a grenade dropped inside his head through one of his now-empty eyesockets.
- Pacific Rim. After the Jaegers Striker Eureka is immobilised, the two surviving pilots climb out onto its hull and take potshots at the Kaiju's eyes with flare guns because it's the only weapon they've got left. The creature has six eyes though, and getting hit in one only pisses it off.
- The Bloodbeast found in a number of Fighting Fantasy books, perhaps most notably Deathtrap Dungeon, is described as a loathsome creature with blisters, which burst to reveal fake eyes, all over its body. It is utterly invulnerable (to attack by a sword, at least) unless they player intentionally or luckily hits one of its real eyes, in which case it dies immediately. The 'fake eyes' evolved as protection against this weakness.
- In the Harry Potter series:
- The eyes are a dragon's weak point. In the fourth book, Viktor Krum distracts the dragon he needs to steal an egg from by hitting it with a curse in the eye. It doesn't entirely help, though; the dragon is blinded, but tramples some of its own eggs in its agony, costing Viktor some points.
- While not a fatal move in itself, Harry is greatly aided at the end of the second book, The Chamber of Secrets, when the basilisk he is facing gets its eyes plucked out, rendering it unable to use its One-Hit Kill (and even still petrifying when reflected) gaze.
- Ender's Game: How Ender finally gets past the Giant's Drink in the fantasy game. This is homaged in Kingdom of Loathing. The Giant now wears a steel-reinforced eyepatch.
- In A Horse and his Boy, the Hermit (remotely watching a battle) observes that one of the Narnian Giants is down, "shot through the eye, I suppose."
- The Colour of Magic: Did this to Bel-Shamharoth just before it could devour Rincewind, the camera that Rincewind was holding flashed into its giant eye causing enough pain for it to retreat to the chthonic planes.
- Brought up by a Klingon hunter in one Star Trek novel: while hunting a particularly large and aggressive beast as part of a contest with a just-discovered warrior race, he muses on how it's good sense to aim for the eye. Best-case scenario, your shot goes straight into its brain. If you hit, then you've at least partially blinded it, giving yourself an advantage.
- Similar to the Real Life spitting cobra example below, Pip of Alan Dean Foster's Pip and Flinx novels prefers to aim at the eyes for her one-hit kill venom.
- Lampshaded and averted in Codex Alera, where it's noted that if the Vord hulk's had eyes attacking them would be a good way to take them down.
- In The War of the Flowers the preferred goblin method of killing dragons is to shoot them in the eyes with poisoned arrows.
- The only way to reliably take down a Mūmakil in the Lord of the Rings was to aim for their eyes. The skin of the great elephant ancestor was thick and extremely tough, deflecting arrows and blunting swords.
- This is how Kaladin managed to kill a Shardbearer in The Stormlight Archive, he rammed a spearpoint through the visor slit in his armour.
- The only exposed point on the monster Wyrm in The Book of the Dun Cow is his enormous eye. Mundo Cani manages to defeat him by jumping onto this eye and slashing at it with a cow's horn until Wyrm is blinded.
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- The Nigerian masked zombie-demon in the episode "Dead Man's Party". She didn't know it was the monster's only weak point but you'd be surprised how many things that will kill.
- This could be applied somewhat to Xander as well. Sure he's had an arm broken here and there, and has been beaten with a Troll God's Hammer, but all to little actual effect. It was only an attack on his eye that really harmed him. Right after telling his fighters to "go for the (...) eyes. Everything's got eyes." Ouch.
- Angel. Averted in "Apocalypse Nowish". Team Angel find themselves in a melee with the Beast, an unstoppable demon covered in impenetrable bone-plate armour. There's a Hope Spot where Angel jabs a wooden stake at one of its eyes, only for a close-up to show the Beast has grabbed Angel's wrist, stopping the point an inch from his eye.
- In Brimstone, the eyes of the fugitives from Hell are their only weak spot (because eyes are the windows to the soul), thus Zeke has to shoot their eyes to send them back. Interestingly enough, he's also immune to everything except the eyes. As the Devil points out, that's because Zeke is also a damned soul himself.
- Doctor Who:
- In The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode "Mr. Ferguson Is Ill Today," when Cameron is confronting Cromartie, she aims shotgun slugs at his eyes, and manages to damage him enough to disable him.
- Eye Guy, from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. His only weak spot was the giant eye (his "Main Eye") that made up his face.
Myth And Legend
- Despite being primarily a video game trope nowadays, this is actually Older Than Feudalism. How does Odysseus defeat the Cyclops Polyphemos? By shoving a burning stick in his eye.
- A very common heel tactic is to rake or poke his opponent in the eyes.
- In his commentary, Jesse Ventura regularly pointed out that no matter how tough someone is, a finger to the eye will stop anybody.
- In Warhammer 40K, the Tyrant Guard species of Tyranid lack eyes completely, in order to avoid this trope.
- In several (though not all) editions of Dungeons & Dragons, beholders are among the few monsters with special-case rules for targeting individual body parts — which in their case means their various eyes that are both more vulnerable than the main body and thanks to the varied magical effects they generate also the primary reason why what's otherwise a slowly floating big ball with a mouth is actually a major threat.
- While it may just decide to bite its attacker with venomous fangs, the spitting cobra will usually target a spot where its projectile venom will be easily absorbed (and thus disable the opponent). Guess where that spot is.
- The eye is usually a good weak point in real life. It's soft, easily damaged, very painful, and causes a loss of vision. It's one of the first places you're taught to aim for in a self defense class. And on a similar note, "When someone stares at you, don't be intimidated. Eyeballs are soft, sensitive and filled with goo. They cannot hurt you."
- On a similar note as above, at least one worst-case survival guide has this little number: "When fighting an alien creature, go for the eyes. It's the only vulnerable point you can be sure of."
- This trope is sufficiently widespread in nature that many species of insects, and a few small vertebrates, have evolved markings that resemble false "eyes." These markings are a decoy for predators, ensuring they'll direct their attacks towards the marked animal's tail or other less-essential body part, rather than its actual eyes. It also doubles in usefulness as it's intimidating as hell.
- In medieval plate armor the eye slit of the helmet was a very vulnerable spot. If it was too small the fighter would be almost blind. If it was too big, an arrow or crossbow bolt could pass through it and kill the fighter. During a battle a knight might lift his visor to get a better look at what was happening around him only to get shot right in the eye.
- "Lucky" lance hits to the head during cavalry charges or jousting tournaments could also go through the visor and the eye at times; the results were not pretty. Just ask king Henry II of France.
- The usual method for dealing with a mounted knight in the Middle Ages: A) stop the horse and pull him off B) dogpile him C) slot a dagger through the eyeholes.
- Remains symbolically true of armored vehicles: any sort of viewing slit provides a gap in the armor, whereas a camera or other remote system is itself vulnerable to being shot off.
- Several surfers and swimmers attacked by sharks have managed to get away after landing a lucky punch in their eye.
- In fact, this is exactly what you have to do in order to repel a shark: punch it in the eye or the gills (which is like punching a person in the throat). Punching a shark in the nose will simply make it angry.
- In fiction, trained hawks and falcons are often shown perching on their owner's shoulder. In Real Life, one of the first things a budding falconer is taught is, keep the bird away from your face unless you really like eye-patches.
- Many advanced weapons systems, from long-range artillery to guided missiles, can be rendered useless if their radar guidance system is disabled. During World War II, more than a few warships were rendered blind and unable to effectively return fire when a lucky hit took out their radar.