Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Molly Moon

Go To

Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism is a book about a British preteen living in a terrible orphanage. Just before her only friend is adopted and moves to America without saying goodbye, she finds a rare book on hypnotism, and gains the ability to hypnotize anyone through eye contact and make them do whatever she wants. She heads off to America to find her friend, hypnotizing people all the way. Meanwhile, a sinister wanna-be hypnotist stalks her... and he is willing to do anything to get the book in his hands.

Followed by five sequels:

  • Molly Moon Stops the World
  • Molly Moon's Time-Traveling Adventure
  • Molly Moon, Micky Minus, and the Mind Machine
  • Molly Moon and the Morphing Mystery
  • Molly Moon and the Monster Music

There's also a novella named Molly Moon's Hypnotic Holiday, which takes place during Molly's stay in New York in the first book.

A 2015 film adaptation, called Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism (originally Molly Moon: the Incredible Hypnotist), was screened at 3 international film festivals (Toronto, Bentonville, and Seattle), with a "VOD [video-on-demand] and limited theatrical release" beginning August 14 in America note, and set for mid-October in the UK, and later in the year elsewhere.

These books show examples of

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In canon, Molly is meant to be plain at best and ugly at worst, with a "wafer-thin" figure, "blotchy" legs, close-set eyes, unruly hair, and a "potato" nose. The movie has her played by Raffey Cassidy, who is very glamorous.
  • Alliterative Name: Mostly starting with M-s:
    • Molly Moon
    • Mickey Minus
  • Alliterative Title: Some of the titles:
    • Molly Moon's Hypnotic Holiday
    • Molly Moon, Mickey Minus, and the Mind Machine
    • Molly Moon and the Morphing Mystery
    • Molly Moon and the Monster Music
  • Alpha Bitch: Hazel, in the first book — while she's not described as very pretty, and as an orphan averts the usual "rich and influental" part of the classic Alpha Bitch, she fits most of the other aspects of the trope: She's snobbish and haughty, and looks down on the other orphans because she, unlike them, can remember her parents (and is always going on about what wonderful people they were). She has her own posse of minions and delights in mocking and bullying Molly and several of the other orphans, but she is so good at sucking up to the adults that she remains the darling of her teachers and the head of the orphanage. The trope is Deconstructed in the final parts of the book when it's revealed that Hazel's attitude is a coping mechanism; her parents weren't wonderful people at all but violent alcoholics who beat and abused her — so she sucks up to adults so they won't beat her and bullies the other children because she doesn't know how to be nice to them.
  • Arc Words: In the first book, the lullaby Mrs Trinkelbury sang to Molly and Rocky when they were small keeps returning to Molly throughout the story, though she doesn't understand its significance until late in the book:
    Forgive, little birds, that brown cuckoo
    For pushing you out of your nests.
    It's what mamma cuckoo taught it to do;
    She taught it that pushing is best.
    • This leads to Animal Metaphor, where Molly herself is a cuckoo during this book. She uses her hypnosis skills to take over a Broadway role, pushing a genuinely talented young actress out, and goes after fame and fortune, forgetting her original reason for going to New York. This is made clearer when Molly dreams of herself as an ugly cuckoo with no friends. In the dream, she keeps trying to call Rocky, but her beak won't cooperate. This happens soon after seeing a video of a baby cuckoo pushing two baby birds out of their nest.
    • In the second book, there's a song that Primo Cell is obsessed with, the lyrics of which come up now and again.
      • Also a crossover into Animal Metaphor, this time viewing Primo as a magpie. This metaphor is dropped when his pre-hypnotized personality is unlocked.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The lullaby Mrs Trinklebury sings says that "It's what mamma cuckoo taught it to do/She taught it that pushing is best". Cuckoos are infamous for being brood parasites; that is, they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and rely on them to raise the offspring. Mother cuckoos don't teach their children anything, because they don't raise them.
    • Mrs Adderstone keeps feeding Petula chocolate biscuits, making her grumpy due to a stomachache. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs; after being fed chocolate biscuits all the time, Petula wouldn't have a stomachache, she'd be dead.
  • Author Appeal: Georgia Byng is apparently fond of accents, speech impediments, verbal tics, etc. Namely, Mrs. Trinklebury stutters, Maharaja Waqt speaks in spoonerisms, Princess Fang lisps, Professor Selkeem speaks in riddles, rhymes, and metaphors, Hiroyuki and the monk Do speak in You No Take Candle fashion, Miss Suzette and Miss Oakkton have a French and German accent respectively, and Ojas tends to say Molly's name as "Mollee" (which could be due to Indian accent).
  • Bank Robbery: Molly robs a bank at one point.
  • Barefoot Sage: Downplayed with Forest, who wears socks with flip-flops on his feet. And yes, he is a wise New-Age Retro Hippie.
  • Beyond the Impossible: During the bank heist, Molly hypnotises an iris scanner.
  • Big Applesauce: Molly goes to New York to find Rocky.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: While most of Molly's victims never stray beyond Hypno Fool, there are instances where some of them border on this trope. Many of the characters hypnotized by the villains play the trope straight.
  • Canon Discontinuity:
    • The reason that Molly is a more powerful hypnotist than her mother is that her mother is a twin and therefore split her powers with Cornelius. Then in book four, we find out that Molly is in the exact same situation as her mother.
    • In the first book, the password to lock in hypnosis is "perfectly punctual," referenced explicitly because Lucy says it to Molly when she shows up precisely on time. All future books give the password as "perfectly punctually," and the ungrammatical nature of the two words is a plot point.
    • In the first book, the name of the book Molly reads to learn hypnotism is titled Hypnotism: an Ancient Art Explained. In the second one, it's referred to as The Book of Hypnotism, although sometimes it adds the "An Ancient Art Explained" part.
  • Casual Car Giveaway: In the end of the first book, Molly does give away her car to a somewhat randomly chosen man. However, she also gives away the documentation of the ownership, telling the man to simply sign the papers, and then the car will be his.
  • Charm Person: Davina Nuttel. She does it unconsciously, through eye contact, and it's implied that's how she became so famous. Molly ends up in a hypnosis battle with her, but neither of them win.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Rocky has a talent for imitating voices, and he and Molly often play out radio commercials for fun. This plays a huge part in their Batman Gambit at the end of the first book.
  • Climate Change Allegory: Molly Moon and the Morphing Mystery revolves around a bunch of villains planning to gain control of the weather, which would result in millions of deaths. In the postface, the author Georgia Byng says that she intended the book's storyline as a metaphor for climate change to familiarize younger readers with the problem and let them know what they can do.
  • Cloudcuckoolanguage: Being extremely unhinged, Professor Selkeem frequently talks to himself, and speaks in riddles, rhymes and metaphors, also often inventing his own words.
  • Compelling Voice: Anyone who can hypnotize people in this universe has either this or Hypnotic Eyes. In Molly's case, it's a combination of the two. This is foreshadowed in the first book - some of the bullies in the orphanage call Molly "Drono" because they claim her voice makes them want to fall asleep.
  • Department of Child Disservices: They don't exist in the novel, much less help the kids.
  • Demoted to Extra: Rocky becomes less significant in the plots as the books go on. This is Lampshaded by Rocky himself in the fourth book (shortly before he is kidnapped and hypnotized by the villain and is forced to use his powers in their service). He plays a larger role in the sixth book.
    • Same goes with Ojas, but to an ever greater extent. After the third book, he doesn't come along on any adventures.
  • Dragon Lady: Subverted with Princess Fang, who was once a cruel, cunning, and ruthless old woman, but in the present day has been deaged down to a child and lost most of her mental maturity, downgrading her to a an intelligent but foolish and childish brat.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Forest is a quirky New-Age Retro Hippie who nonetheless delivers profound advice on meditation and the nature of time.
  • Epiphanic Prison: Using the time crystals, Molly sents Waqt back to prehistoric times. The only way for him to return to the present would be to use the hidden power of the crystals, but it can only be activated once he realizes the evil of his ways and repents.
  • Freudian Excuse: In fact, just about every antagonist in the first book (and several in the later ones) turn out to have a Freudian Excuse for their horrible behavior — most often they're mean because life hasn't treated them well. For instance, Hazel states the reason she is a bully is that her parents never cared for her even when they were alive.
  • Gambit Pileup: In Molly Moon Stops The World, Molly is sent to stop a ruthless tycoon called Primo Cell from taking over the world with hypnosis. It's revealed towards the end that Cell was himself hypnotized by Cornelius Logan to take over the world for him. It's then revealed in the next book that Cornelius himself was hypnotized by the Maharaja of Waqt to hypnotize Cell to take over the world for him.
  • Genre Savvy: Midway through the first book, Molly realises that while she won a substantial prize at the talent contest, it won't go very far given the way she's spending it, and while she could just hypnotise everyone for everything, that will only work for so long before someone notices something amiss and her cover's blown, so she needs an actual source of income.
    • In the second book, while Molly gets a large severance package from her acting job, funding an orphanage and everyone living there costs a lot, and she worries about money running out there as well.
  • Glowing Eyes: Molly's hypnosis manifests by having her eyes glow green. They don't necessarily glow in the book, but she notices them feeling as if they're glowing the first time she successfully hypnotizes someone.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Before leaving for America in the first book, Molly hypnotizes Adderstone and Edna to be nice to all children. When she and Rocky return, they discover that Adderstone and Edna fired Mrs. Trinklebury and abandoned the children in the orphanage, thinking that they would be happier without adults to boss them around.
  • Good Feels Good: Molly tries to invoke this trope several times by hypnotizing the villains with freudian excuses into becoming nice and hoping they'll remember the feeling once the hypnosis wears off. The most obvious example of this is Nockman, whose experience with the trope is described in detail in the last part of the first book, and who in the second book is shown to have truly become a kind and loving man.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: Molly frequently pulls this off on the antagonists, though in a slightly more roundabout way than is common for the trope — see the Good Feels Good entry above.
  • Hypno Fool: Not surprisingly, a lot of people end up as this.
  • Hypno Pendulum: Molly eventually buys one from an antique store, but she uses her own "homemade" ones early on:
    • The stirring of a spoon on Edna.
    • A piece of soap on a string (tries to use this on Hazel, but fails).
    • In the movie, Molly hypnotizes Petula using a chocolate cookie on a string.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Hypnotists can either have this or a Compelling Voice (or in Molly's case, both).
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Multiple types:
    • All the stories' titles start with "Molly Moon".
    • All the stories after the third have Alliterative Titles.
  • I Have Your Wife: Nockman dognaps Petula and blackmails Rocky and Molly into robbing a bank for him.
  • Ill Boy: Micky Minus, who is extremely sickly and cannot leave Princess Fang's protection. It turns out he's not really sickly at all and he was lied to his whole life so he had no choice but to serve Fang.
  • Immune to Mind Control:
    • The goggles that Nockman wears prevent him from being hypnotized by Molly.
    • While Molly is hypnotizing the crowd at the start of her show, the son of the family watching TV has his head down and wearing headphones while listening to an MP3 player, making him the only one who isn’t affected.
      • In the book, this is a child in the audience reading a comic while Molly is hypnotizing the crowd, and when looking up later, sees her true abilities and tells his mother afterwards that he knows kids at school who could have done better.
  • Kubrick Stare: Molly can be seen doing this on the film poster. In the film, she pulls one on Petula when hypnotizing her. She does it again when attempting to hypnotize Hazel, but she is unaffected.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Molly and Rocky. Rocky says it verbatim in the sixth book.
  • Line-of-Sight Alias: Molly goes by 'Miss Yucca' during the bank robbery. Also, this is how Mrs Trinklebury named some of the abandoned babies. Rocky was left in a pram with 'The Scarlet Rocker' written on it and was thus named Rocky Scarlet. Molly was left in a box of Moon's Marshmallows with a lollipop stick in the box, and Mrs Trinklebury named her Lolly Moon, but Mrs Adderstone refused to allow 'Lolly' as a name, so it was changed to 'Molly'.
  • Long-Lost Relative (spoilers for all four books): Molly goes from having no family to discovering her mom (Lucy), dad (Primo Cell), her evil uncle (Cornelius), twin brother (Micky), and half-siblings through adoption (Sinclair and Sally Cell)
  • Loon with a Heart of Gold: Professor Selkeem aka Axel is an unusual case since his madness is a direct consequence of his moral qualities and self-sacrificial love. In order to protect his wife, he agreed to transport Princess Fang and her people in time, and multiple time travels shattered his mind. Even then, Axel's intelligence and kindness is not gone despite the effect the travel has had on his mind.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Princess Fang insists on calling Molly "Milly". Molly tries to correct her a few time, and Fang ignores her. However, she clearly knows Molly's real name, since she uses it when ordering Rocky to kill her.
  • Mass Hypnosis: In both the book and movie, Molly unleashes her hypnosis on the whole crowd at her concert and those watching it on TV, so everyone believes she's a good dancer.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: In the movie, when Molly hypnotizes someone, that person's eyes glow green for a moment to match hers.
  • No Saving Throw: Molly gets hit with this hard in the last book. She's in danger and she's lost all her hypnotic abilities. For the first time, Molly has to save herself without her powers to support her. Molly admits at the end that she is sort of pleased her powers have gone forever because it gives her the chance to work on herself without them.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Petula the Pug. Originally she's the bad-tempered, pampered pet of Ms Adderstone, but Molly discovers that the reason she's bad-tempered is that she's improperly fed and suffering from constant stomachaches. She's the first creature Molly successfully hypnotizes, but even after the trance is over Petula ends up attaching herself to the girl, becoming her constant companion for the rest of the series.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Forrest, right down to the name.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Molly develops a new power in every book.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: The credits of the film version state that "No animals were harmed during the filming of this motion picture, but some insects were accidentally trodden on."
  • Orphanage of Fear: Hardwick House, at least in the first book. It stops being this after Mrs Trinklebury takes over and renames it "Happiness House."
  • Parental Abandonment: Justified in that Primo and Lucy were hypnotized into abandoning Molly.
  • Prefers Going Barefoot: Ojas; initally he goes barefoot due to poverty, but even when Molly wants to buy shoes for him, he refuses.
  • Rags to Riches: In the movie, Molly goes from a lonely, orphaned girl to a famous superstar in London, but this is due to her hypnosis powers which cause everyone to make her one.
  • Red Right Hand: Time-travelling creates dry, scaly patches of skin on the traveller that don't go away no matter how hard they might try. Molly does find a way to fix it, though.
  • The Runaway: Molly escapes the orphanage and goes out on the town, becoming a celebrity all the way. She eventually regrets her new life and decides to go home.
  • Shown Their Work: While most of the things that Molly does with hypnotism are flat-out not possible, the author very clearly researched hypnotism while writing the book. The passage in the first book about natural trances is legit; the foreshadowing of the concept in Molly's daydreams will automatically show anyone familiar with the field that the author Did The Research. The Rule of Cool takes over shortly afterward.
  • Speech Impediment: Lots of characters have them.
    • Mrs. Trinklebury stutters.
    • Spoonerism: The Maharaja of Waqt in Molly Moon's Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure often speaks using spoonerisms.
    • Princess Fang has Elmuh Fudd Syndwome and a lisp.
  • Time Stands Still: If Molly uses hypnosis on a diamond.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Rocky normally needs several minutes to hypnotize someone with his Compelling Voice. In the fourth book, after being hypnotized into serving Fang, his voice becomes nearly-instantaneously able to sway Micky.
  • Tragic Time Traveler: Time travelers in these series get dry, scaly patches of skin on their person whenever they time travel, which doesn't go away no matter what they do, and they get more patches the more they time travel until eventually being reduced to dust.
  • Trigger Phrase: Given how big a part hypnosis plays in the books, there turn out to be several. The one used most often is "Perfectly Punctual."
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Ketchup sandwiches and concentrated orange squash. Many side characters seem to silently find Molly's taste for these disgusting.
  • Verbal Tic: Ojas always calls Molly "Mollee"; this may have to do with Indian accent, though his English is perfect otherwise.
  • Villainous Crossdresser: Cornelius, Lucy's evil twin brother. Downplayed in that he's been brainwashed himself into evil.
  • You No Take Candle: The Japanese characters speak English in this way in Molly Moon and the Monster Music.


Video Example(s):


Molly Moon

Molly hypnotizes the crowd watching her concert, so they believe she's famous.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / MassHypnosis

Media sources: