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Never An Unlit Candle

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Defying all logic, a scene is illuminated by a ridiculous amount of lit candles.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Larkmarn on Jul 11th 2018 at 11:05:48 AM
Last Edited By:
Arivne on Jul 18th 2018 at 8:02:34 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Rolling updates. Seen It a Million Times so I'm making this and going to add examples as I come across them.

There's something about candles as ambient lighting. As in real life, they create an atmosphere of warmth and closeness. In terms of set design, they make for a really cool shot. And lots of them just enhances the effect. But here's the thing: lighting them can be a pain in the butt. Maybe it's a case of Coitus Ensues and mood light is needed. Maybe power is out and characters want light without abusing the Nuclear Candle trope. But between shots, expect dozens of candles to be instantly lit when needed and without explanation. Extreme examples may occur when an uninhabited room is already filled with lit candles when the scene gets there.

Compare Nuclear Candle, where a single candle creates an inordinate amount of light; also compare Hollywood Torch, another trope about a convenient light source.


Examples:

Literature

  • Justified in Thud!, where a symbol of an extremely potent dwarven rune is discovered on a cocktail drinks menu and kept surrounded lit by candles at all times, because of what could happen if it were left in the dark (summoning a sort-of demon of vengeance that dwarves are terrified of, with good reason).

Web Video

  • A frequent sin in Cinemasins, where Jeremy inevitably points out how nonsensical it is for every candle to be lit in every shot.
Jeremy: Which of these f*cking on-the-run desperate assholes took the time to light all the rosary candles throughout the church?

Feedback: 8 replies

Jul 11th 2018 at 11:08:31 AM

Please don't hat this, as it's obviously not ready for launch. But I've had an idea for this trope for a while and figured I'd get it out there so that others can comment on it and names as I gradually mine examples.

Jul 11th 2018 at 11:51:24 AM

I've seen it somewhere that this is an Acceptable Break From Reality for works set in times before electrical or gas lighting: the interiors of houses are simply too dark to film in even at light levels where humans are able to see, hence the economically-impossible abundance of candles to keep things visible.

  • Justified in Thud, where a symbol of an extremely potent dwarven rune is discovered on a cocktail drinks menu and kept surrounded lit by candles at all times, because of what could happen if it were left in the dark (summoning a sort-of demon of vengeance that dwarves are terrified of, with good reason).

Jul 11th 2018 at 8:19:13 PM

I think I've got an exaggerated example. I think it's exaggerated because an implausible number of candles are lit despite another character going around snuffing them.

  • In Tangled, while Mother Gothel is singing "Mother Knows Best," she closes windows and plunges the tower into darkness. Rapunzel starts lighting candles, but despite Mother Gothel going around and snuffing them out, offscreen Rapunzel still manages to line an entire stairwell with candles on both ends of each step.

Jul 11th 2018 at 8:33:29 PM

  • Lampshaded in Far Cry 4 when Pagan Min goes on a rant about the "industrious fool" who goes around lighting all the candles scattered around Kyrat. He briefly considers paying someone to blow them out. Instead, he bans candles and declares that lighting one is treason punishable by death.
  • In Heavy Rain, Nathaniel's apartment is a Room Full Of Crazy with crucifixes and Bible verses all over the walls. There are also lit candles on almost every flat surface.

Jul 12th 2018 at 3:49:31 AM

  • Capitalized the title.
  • Examples section
    • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
    • Added media section titles as per Media Categories.

Jul 14th 2018 at 3:48:00 AM

There are some problems with the write-up of this proposal.

The title is Never An Unlit Candle, which would imply it's about how you never see an unlit candle in works: if they're present, they're always lit.

The Laconic says it's about "a scene is illuminated by a ridiculous amount of lit candles."

The Description says it's about "dozens of candles...being instantly lit when needed and without explanation. Extreme examples may occur when an uninhabited room is already filled with lit candles when the scene gets there."

This is three different tropes, not one. It needs to be re-written so it's all one trope.

So Needs A Better Name, Needs A Better Description and a better Laconic.

Jul 14th 2018 at 2:21:38 AM

Film:

Jul 18th 2018 at 1:36:35 PM

How about the title Ridiculously Numerous Candleflames?

Edit: Or, to reduce the number of syllables, Absurdly Numerous Candleflames?

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