When a Snooping Little Kid, Damsel in Distress, or Faux Action Girl (or the occasional unlucky guy) is captured by the villain, they're usually restrained in some fashion, and to keep them from crying out for The Hero, they're usually silenced as well. In the olden days, this was usually accompanied by some form of fantastical Death Trap to add to the suspense.
As technology marches around the 21st century, the victim's cell phone will invariably ring and the villain will pick it up and answer, "Sorry, she can't come to the phone right now ... she's all tied up at the moment." (Villains never get tired of this one. Never. EVER. In fact, there have been a few cases where the victim has said it to whoever is calling if she's somehow able to speak at the moment, although she usually needs a very good reason for it.)
To the captives themselves, they're likely to say "I Have You Now, My Pretty" or "You Got Spunk" or some variation/combination of the two. Both of which usually inspire the Defiant Captive to be extra defiant.
Simple rope is popular among these villains. Others use handcuffs. Sedatives are rare unless the kidnapper uses it to do the initial nabbing. Some villains will invest in unbreakable chains made of Unobtainium to restrain a super-strong captive (and possibly forget that whatever said chains are bolted to isn't made of the same stuff) or possibly include a Power Nullifier.
Sometimes this is done for humor instead. For example, a character who is considered annoying might be tied up by the group simply to get that person out of the way. Other times, someone might be tied up humorously as the result of some mishap.
When this trope is played for dead serious drama, you can expect, in many cases, very dark lighting and only glimpses of the bonds. It generally tends to be more light-hearted adventures that actually show a lot of rope. In those cases, part of the fun is often seeing the hero escape, or try to escape, the bonds, so there's a lot of emphasis on showing the bonds, the struggling, and the escape or rescue. When it's played for drama, the emphasis is on how terrible the captive feels, so there's more focus on facial expressions and less on the bonds.
Related tropes include:
- All Webbed Up — when spiders (or related beings) do the binding.
- Bag of Kidnapping — when the captive is tied in a sack.
- Banging for Help — when a bound captive tries to make noise to get attention.
- Bench Breaker — instead of cutting their bindings with a Conveniently-Placed Sharp Thing, they break the bench or chair they are tied to.
- Breaking the Bonds — some captives are too tough for ordinary restraints to contain.
- Bring the Anchor Along — a captive is tied or chained to an object, and escapes by taking the object with them.
- Captive Push — when the captive is being forced to walk, being pushed along.
- Carpet-Rolled Corpse — when the body rolled up inside a rug isn't dead.
- Caught in a Snare — when the captive is ensnared in a net or some other booby trap.
- Chained Heat — when two characters are chained to each other.
- Chained to a Bed — often played for comedy... but it can just as easily be played for drama.
- Chained to a Railway — the classic "tied to the tracks" cliché.
- Chained to a Rock — and left to die, either by a monster or by exposure.
- Chains of Love — to further a romantic plot.
- Combat Tentacles — when the tentacles pierce or hurt their victim.
- Controllable Helplessness — when the player has control over a captive in a video game.
- Conveniently-Placed Sharp Thing — how many captives get free on their own.
- Conveyor Belt o' Doom — when a bound captive is placed on a conveyor belt leading to death.
- Damsel in Distress — a female character who gets tied up a lot.
- Death Trap — what many bound captives get placed in for melodrama.
- Delaying the Rescue — when the hero leaves the damsel tied up so he can accomplish some other task
- Distressed Dude — a male character who gets tied up a lot.
- Gulliver Tie-Down — when the tie-ers are much smaller than the tie-ee.
- Hand Gagging — may be used for kidnapping purposes, some of the time.
- Inconvenient Itch — A common result of being tied up in comedic works.
- Kind Restraints — when they are tied up by their allies for a good reason.
- Knotty Tentacles — when a being with long, stretchy limbs are tied up with their own appendages.
- Locked Up and Left Behind — when the person is tied up and then forgotten.
- Mummy Wrap — Individuals are restrained by completely or partially mummifying them.
- Shackle Seat Trap — When innocent-seeming furniture does the binding for you.
- Shipped in Shackles — When ropes or handcuffs aren't enough.
- Strapped to a Bomb — a character gets tied up and fastened to some sort of explosive device.
- Strapped to an Operating Table — a character gets strapped to a chair or operating table in a Mad Science context, usually to have things done to them.
- Strapped to a Rocket — a character is tied to a launching rocket.
- Stuffed into the Fridge — when the captive was killed afterward.
- Tentacle Rope — when a living thing restrains someone with its tentacles.
- Tribal Carry — when someone is tied to a pole at the hands and feet and carried away.
- Unwilling Suspension — when someone is bound and left dangling.
- With My Hands Tied — a popular Badass Boast.
- Anime and Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Fiction
- Live-Action Films
- Live-Action TV
- Video Games
- Web Comics
- Web Original
- Western Animation
- If you go to sites like Deviant ART and input "Bound and Gagged" along with the name of any female character you want into the search engine, you should get a lot of results. In fact, you could likely narrow your search down by punching one of the related Tropes above into it; most of them should work. Artists never seem to get tired of it.
- In the early years of The Phantom, it seemed that nearly every story had Diana Palmer kidnapped and tied and gagged by an assortment of villains.
- An early arc in Calvin and Hobbes had Hobbes tying Calvin to a chair so that he could try to escape it. Unfortunately, Calvin is no Houdini, and when his parents come in, they're convinced that he did this to himself.
- The indie comedy Manalive features a scene at a southern boarding house where several tenants trick a wealthy snob named Rosamond into accepting her own comeuppance. Rosamond is asked to participate in a game called "Knights in Shining Armor" (where two knights fight over a princess). She refuses to play until they let her be the princess. Of course, that was their plan all along. The narrator says, "What she doesn't know is that this princess is a damsel in distress." It then cuts to Rosamond tied to a tree and gagged, looking angry. Her predicament is made worse when a toad hops onto her foot. A female tenant picks it up and holds it in Rosamond's face, saying, "Oh come on, it's a fairy tale. If you kiss it, it'll turn into a prince!" Rosamond squirms and protests through the gag.
- After Torchesac/Oily-creep/McCreep steals the magic flute the night before in The Smurfs and the Magic Flute, Lady Prattle finds Peewit like this in his room.
- Played for Drama in the second manhwa of The Breaker, New Waves. When it's revealed that the doctor who helped Shiwoon overcome several members of the S.U.C was only trying to get close to him, Shiwoon is then shown Strapped to an Operating Table. It turned out that the doctor was after him for the Phlebotinum he was given in the previous manhwa. He's given two options: join the S.U.C, or have his blood turned into a powerful Phlebotinum that will help the S.U.C conquer Seoul. Since the doctor is responsible for his mother's severe injuries in an S.U.C. attack, he naturally refuses. So, the doctor promptly shoves a gag in his mouth and gets ready to turn him into a living blood bank.
- In The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends, Nell is tied to a log headed towards a buzzsaw in the sawmill.
- During the evil versus evil feud between Kurt Angle and John "Bradshaw" Layfield's Cabinet, Angle bound and gagged diva search participant Joy Giovanni and threw her in the back of JBL's limo to frame him. (The probable cause was that Giovanni was herself feuding with the Cabinet's "publicist", Amy Weber). The hope was that The Big Show would come after JBL, as the giant had taken on the little non wrestler as his charge.
- Melina ordered Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury to abduct WWE women's champion Trish Stratus on Monday Night Raw and this is how they presented Stratus to her.
- One of the standout embarrassments Chavo Guerrero suffered in World Wrestling Federation (and there are many) was being bound and gagged by Hornswoggle after being forced to wear a cow suit.
- Fans showing their support of wrestlers by throwing streamers during their entrances is a tradition that goes back at least to the founding of All Japan Pro Wrestling. A tradition disrespected in World Wonder Ring STARDOM when the Hana Kimura and Kris Wolf of the resident Power Stable, Oedo~tai, tried to gag and bind Mayu Iwatani with the rain of streamers she received.
- The opening vignette for In Nomine includes a (possibly) more benign use of the trope. The Cherub Tariel, assigned to protect the mortal woman Patricia, has to drive out to meet a contact but doesn't dare let harm come to his charge — so he binds and gags her in the passenger seat next to him so he can keep her safe (making sure she's carefully seat-belted, of course).
- In the 2nd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, there's a Prestige Class called the Justicar who's much like a bounty hunter who specializes in subduing an enemy without killing him; being able to tie a victim up is so important for this, having a high rank in the Use Rope Skill is a prerequisite. One Class Ability is called Hog Tie, which more or less let's the Justicar tie an opponent up and render him helpless while grappling with him, usually ending the fight quickly. (Gagging is usually done after the victim is subdued.) High-level Justicars have Improved Hog Tie which is, naturally, an improvement of the standard ability. (The Prestige Class is available to Player Characters, as both good and evil Justicars exist. Of course in this case, male victims can be as common as females, although seeing as the Justicar has to fight the victim to use this ability, a female victim is rarely ever helpless initially.)
- In One Touch of Venus, a screaming Gloria is tied to a barber chair by Savory and Taxi during their failed ransacking of the barbershop.
- In The Most Happy Fella, Pasquale leads a group of workers in pulling a prank on Herman, tying his arms up with a string of light bulbs and putting a basket over his head, which causes him to stumble around blindly. Since he's not gagged, he can talk to Cleo, but he stubbornly refuses to complain about his situation.
- In Arsenic and Old Lace, Mortimer Brewster describes how a not-too-bright character in a play he's recently seen just sits down in a chair "waiting to be trussed up and gagged," and a moment later has exactly that happen to him. The first policeman who finds him is less interested in untying him than in reading the second act of the play he's written.
- In Urinetown, the start of Act Two finds Hope gagged and bound to a chair in the rebel hideout.
- In the Mrs Hawking play series: At the end of part IV: Gilded Cages, Mary and Nathaniel are captured by Frost's henchman and dragged in with their hands tied.
- In the climactic scene of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Antonio is bound to a chair (and sometimes gagged, depending on how kinky the director is) in preparation for having his pound of flesh cut off.