Follow TV Tropes

Lighting Candles Is A Free Action

Go To

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 Sep 14th 2018 at 3:01:58 PM
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:

Film

  • Despite being on the run, having had one of their friends killed before their eyes, when Cade and his group hide out in an abandoned church in Transformers: Age of Extinction they apparently saw fit to light every candle they could in the church. During daytime, no less.
  • The Phantom of the Opera: The Phantom's lair constantly has lit candelabras, even when characters are first entering the room. Hell, some of them rise from the water already lit.

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: 25 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?

Jul 24th 2018 at 1:42:25 PM

This title is a weird snowclone that doesn't seem to fit the actual trope.

Absurdly Numerous Candleflames doesn't sound too bad...

Jul 25th 2018 at 1:43:16 AM

Jul 25th 2018 at 9:30:19 AM

With the new title Lighting Candles Is A Free Action, now we're getting somewhere.

Aug 17th 2018 at 9:04:52 PM

I private-messaged Larkmarn a reminder that this draft still exists.

Aug 18th 2018 at 1:08:25 AM

To me Lighting Candles Is A Free Action sounds like a trope about how you always have time to light candles, not about how candles are always lit...

Aug 18th 2018 at 10:01:41 AM

^ That's my problem too

Aug 19th 2018 at 8:59:42 PM

Yeah, I'm not the biggest fan of Lighting Candles Is A Free Action, but at least it's better than the previous title.

Larkmarn, which scenario ^^ are you trying to trope here? Despite the changes you made to the title and laconic, there's still a disconnect between all three: title, laconic, and description.

Aug 20th 2018 at 6:19:41 AM

Basically, trying to trope scenarios in which writers put the shot ("Man, lots of candles would be great here") without taking the time to factor in whether it would be feasible for them to actually get lit.

Aug 20th 2018 at 9:35:57 AM

^ In that case, I agree with ^^^^ Septimus Heap. What do you think of the titles I brainstormed earlier?

Aug 20th 2018 at 10:05:39 AM

In video games, a free action is a task that doesn't require any additional effort from the player character. For example:

  • In The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt expansion pack Hearts of Stone, one of the tasks Geralt receives at the Von Everec estate is to light the fire in the hearth and all the candles on the table. While most of his tasks have required him to travel far and wide, searching for the necessary ingredients and components, Geralt's Igni ability allows him to conjure fire magically and light the required fires in seconds with a flick of his hand.

Aug 20th 2018 at 10:58:04 AM

Actually, it's a term from Tabletop games (specifically, one of the types of actions available in a round, representing 6 seconds of combat, in Dungeons And Dragons). As seen in Talking Is A Free Action and similar.

  • In Resident Evil 1's Gamecube "REmake", a massive amount of candles can be found in the areas Lisa Trevor has been living in. Most of them are still burning, meaning they were somehow presumably lit simultaneously (despite the fact that Ms. Trevor has had her mind severely stunted and her hands are bound).

Aug 22nd 2018 at 10:06:45 AM

How about something like Instant Ambience or Instant Candlelit Ambience. Part of this is having enough candles to avoid Nuclear Candle and still have candle light as the lighting for the area. I always hear and read about the ambience candle light brings.

Sep 4th 2018 at 10:42:33 AM

Looks like we've got enough title suggestions to start a crowner.

Sep 4th 2018 at 11:09:53 AM

  • Dexter: Already upset that Dexter's shacking up with "gross English titty vampire" Lilah so soon after breaking up with Rita, Deborah drops this gem about the number of candles the new couple appatently require to get their game on:
    Deborah: And are you trying to fuck her or light her on fire?

Sep 14th 2018 at 3:01:58 PM

Bombing to offset the hats and because the issues Arivne pointed out have not entirely been fixed yet.

Top