Often in fiction, fairy creatures
, fireflies or other magical insects get depicted as simple little points of light rather than going for a full design for something so tiny we'll never get a good look at it.
The obvious inspiration is fireflies. It's funny how fireflies often end up behaving in unusual and rather magical ways. In a way, it's an example of the connection between light and magic.
Do not confuse with By the Lights of Their Eyes
; this trope is about Energy Beings
or Faceless Masses
that may or may not sparkle
. See also Will-o'-the-Wisp
(point of light that leads unwary travelers into danger) and Hitodama Light
(floating flame that represent ghosts).
Anime & Manga
- This trope actually becomes motive for murder in Furuhata Ninzaburou — a very eccentric editor decides to change the lime-green points of light to red points of light for the hell of it. The original artist flipped out and bashed the editor's head in. (Art is Serious Business.)
Live Action TV
- In the 1999 film version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the fairy characters have this form at the beginning of the movie, when they arrive, and at the end, when they leave.
- The ghosts/angels in the opening of It's a Wonderful Life are seen as celestial bodies that flicker when they speak.
- Done with the tail-end UFO in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
- Bit from TRON is the personification of an on-off bit. It is basically a Disney sidekick fairy in Cyberspace.
- In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Fear, Itself", Willow summons a fairy like this to guide her out of the haunted house. However, the spell is warped by the demon haunting the place and her own lack of focus, leading to her being chased around by a swarm of little floating lights.
- Doctor Who
- Merlin has the Sidhe depicted as blue points of light, but due to Merlin's magic powers, we get some lovely FX shots of them in all their scary magical glory.
- On Star Trek: The Next Generation, the microscopic crystalline aliens referred to humans as "ugly bags of mostly water."
- The fairy in Supernatural is shown on screen as a ball of golden light. When you get a closer look, though...
- Tinkerbell in Peter Pan and adaptations is commonly depicted as a glowing ball of light (dragonfly wings optional), based on the original medium using a small light reflected from a mirror and a tinkling bell.
- All the Animal Crossing games have fireflies shown as points of light, until you catch one of them.
- In The Legend of Zelda, any game Ocarina of Time or later (unless it's The Wind Waker) depicts fairies as a ball of glowing light with dragonfly wings. Additionally in Ocarina of Time, the air of the Kokiri forest is full of small, flying dots of light.
- A magical spell in Nox summons a small swarm of fairies that circle Jack until an enemy approaches, at which point they go kamikaze on the enemy. The fairies never appear as anything more than yellow sparks.
- The fairies in the first Quest for Glory game are little balls of light of various colors. The ones in the fourth game, however, are far more detailed.
- Fairies in Stonekeep can apparently switch between spark-fairy mode and detailed mode.
- Flying points of light (presumably insects) are an important plot element in one Are of Uru. They're attracted to your character, but dislike crossing water or getting rained on.