Follow TV Tropes


Color-Coded Eyes

Go To

"In her eyes I see the sky and all I'll ever need
In her eyes time passes by and she is with me."
Josh Groban, "In Her Eyes"

Since eyes are the window to the soul, many times the look of the eyes themselves will tell you everything you need to know about a character. This trope is when color symbolism in the eyes is used for characterization.

For instance, someone who is very peaceful or innocent might have blue eyes, or someone who is sinister or supernatural might have yellow eyes. While there are general patterns as to what colors mean, these aren't absolutes. It's up to the authors what certain eye colors mean in context. Recurring patterns include but are not limited to:

  • Brown Eyes: As the most common Real Life eye colors, these are often given to Muggles or down to earth, grounded characters. Also make great Puppy-Dog Eyes. Since the majority of people have these eyes, take more note of those with other eye colors to know if color symbolism is at play.
  • Red Eyes: When it's not Red Eyes, Take Warning, it may just point out otherness, or some sort of deficiency, as albinos may have naturally red eyes. If on an animal that normally has red eyes, like a loon, that doesn't play Red Eyes, Take Warning, Elemental Eye Colors, or other color symbolism tropes, then it is not tropeworthy.
  • Green Eyes: Characters with this may be wilder, display more uncontrollable tendencies and enjoy being outdoors. Since green is a rare eye color, it's often seen as exotic and sexy. Often complimentary to natural Red hair and carries some similar connotations. However, if your eyes turn green, it's often a sign of enhanced power or literal Green-Eyed Monster jealousy. In other cases, it may just signify magic.
  • Hazel Eyes: Characters with this may be either wilder and display more uncontrollable tendencies like green eyes or more grounded and down to earth tendencies like brown eyes or oscillate between the two portrayals.
  • Gray Eyes: Often used to portray purity of spirit. Whitish eyes are used to show people who are beyond the normal ken of human understanding. They may have sight beyond sight or be blind with no vision at all. Gray eyes can also characterize a cold, strong-willed, and unapproachable character often with an "ideas above people" mentality. In Real Life, an unusual number of Ace Pilots and extremely successful Snipers have grey eyes, lending credence to the 'sight beyond sight' belief. Grey eyes used to have the same portrayal as Innocent Blue Eyes.
  • Purple Eyes: Violet or Purple eyes are far out of the range of "normal" eye colors and typically only appear in fantasy shows or fantastic characters (although in real life, certain intense blue eyes can look violet in certain lighting). Here it's important to note that the character must be special in ways that many other characters aren't. If everyone is special and has fantastic eye colors, you may just be in a Technicolor Eyes design style. Orange, pink, and other bright saturated colors are similar.

A Super-Trope to:

If you're seeing a bunch of eye colors that don't fall into the above, then it may just be a design choice. Some artists slap around eye color like hair colors, with no storytelling purpose at all. In that case, don't list it here.

Examples (not covered in the sub tropes):

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach: Yumichika has wisteria-coloured eyes. Zanpakutou represent their shinigami's true nature and his hates the colour of wisteria-purple...which itself raises questions about Yumichika's true personality, as his true strength and nature is a mystery. Superficially narcissistic, he's hiding the fact he's sacrificing everything he is to adhere to his division's martial philosophy. The very few times his true abilities have been used, he's won in a single strike, meaning his full strength has never been tested or even acknowledged. And he's working hard to keep it that way.
  • Certain Code Geass characters, specifically the Royal Family of Britannia have unique variants of purple eyes. The purple eyes are in fact a trait of the Royal Family. Several royals (Schneizel, Euphie, Nunnally) and several non-royal characters (Nina and Leila - the latter also fits the special trope due to her Geass) have them but true amethyst purple eyes are much rarer - Lelouch has them; it's worthwhile noting he could be considered the most "special" of them all as the lead character and all he does. Notably, Rolo's eyes are also amethyst purple - adding weight to the fan theory that he might have actually been Nunnally's twin, separated at birth, or the idea he's a illegitimate member of the royal family.
  • Death Parade expresses this trope in many different ways. Human characters all have realistic eye colors and shapes, while the Arbiters have unnatural eye colors and more exaggerated shapes.
    • Arbiter’s eye colors are all unique and often match the character’s personalities. Decim has Icy Blue Eyes to match his cold and distant personality, Nona has mystical purple eyes and is one of the most powerful and high-ranking characters in the show, Ginti has sharp Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness and is the least trustworthy Arbiter we’ve seen.
    • Decim’s pale blue eyes contrast with Chiyuki’s darker magenta eyes, emphasizing their Red Oni, Blue Oni dynamic
  • Hyouka has Eru Chitanda who sports a very vibrant pair of violet eyes that seem to get very sparkly when she's curious. While not possessing any magic powers per se, they do signify her uniqueness in belonging to a very prestigious family of wealthy farmers, she also has Super-Senses.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • Karen has lavender eyes that help represent her primary character trait: being a hardcore Shipper on Deck for the blue eyed Shirogane and red eyed Kaguya.
    • Maki has pink eyes, which -along with her brown hair- represent her being a less extreme version of of the red eyed, black haired Kaguya (whom she is a Shadow Archetype for).
  • Tomoe from Kamisama Kiss has them. Since he's a Kitsune, he qualifies as special and mysterious.
  • Ouran High School Host Club:
    • Honey-senpai has light brown eyes, which not only helps him look even more innocent and childlike but gives him heartbreakingly adorable puppy-dog eyes when he chooses to wield them. However, don't make him mad, because those typically adorable eyes can also be TERRIFYING.
    • Tamaki, the Host King, has purple eyes. It's also very fitting for his princely personality.
  • All Claymores have silvery-gray eyes. In fact, their eye color is what most commonly gives them away when they go undercover. Needless to say, they are mostly very stoic (except for Psychopathic Woman Children).
  • Fakir from Princess Tutu has green eyes to match his hair. He definitely fits the "exotic and sexy" implication of the trope... and he inherited Drosselmeyer's Rewriting Reality powers, so he fits the magical implications as well.
  • Edward, Alphonse (when he's human), and Hohenheim of Fullmetal Alchemist all have gold eyes. This is an ethnic trait of the Xerxesian race, of which Hohenheim is the last full-blooded member; his sons, though only half-Xerxesian, inherited their coloring from him.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-:
    • Kurogane is a complete subversion of this trope as his eyes are red but he is neither evil nor associated with fire. He's actually the only one completely there of the main cast and the only human member of the initial party who's not a spy and his element is ice.
    • Fai from has blue eyes that are on the lighter side, which go with his gentle and sensitive nature, and further contrast with partmember Kurogane. He ultimately losses the blue color because they were the source of his magic, which was stolen. Then they turn into Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness from turning into a vampire. This reflects all the secrets he was keeping from the group, and how he was a spy the whole time for the Big Bad.
  • Michiru from Uta∽Kata has purple eyes, which match her hair, underlining her mysterious aura.
  • In The World God Only Knows, Keima's teacher, Nikaido has them. In the Heart of Jupiter arc, Keima travels back in time and meets a girl named Dokuro, who is the human incarnation of Chief Dokuro of the Runaway Spirit Squad, who also has them. It is later revealed that Nikaido is the adult present day Dokuro.
  • Kamui in the X/1999 manga has blueish purple eyes (they are hazel in the anime for some reason) and certainly fits the very special and mysteriously badass criteria.
  • Different characters in Yu-Gi-Oh! have different eye colors (and different hair colors, too, even though most of them are Japanese), but what's notable is the differences in the shine of the eyes. Characters who are female (Anzu, Mai, Ishizu, Isis, Kisara) or childlike (Mokuba, Bakura, except Yugi himself) have more shine (one area at the top and one area at the bottom of the iris), while evil ones have no shine at all. Marik only has the shiny area at the bottom, while most other male characters have the large shiny area at the top that covers most of the pupil. Also, during the Duelist Kingdom and D.D.D. arcs, male characters that are characterized as strong shounen don't have shine, or except Ryuuji Otogi's case, not even pupils. Other minor characters have very small irises and usually no shine. Some characters also fall into colour tropes - Yugi and Atem both have unusual violet eyes, with Atem's sometimes being red or even having hellish flames in his irises in adaptations and early art when he was more of a vigilante and Yugi's unknown alter ego. Kaiba has the classic pale blue eyes and is the colder, more emotionless foil to his rival Atem.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU
    • Tempest, the former Aqualad, young partner of DC Comics' Aquaman. His eye color was actually a plot point for a while, since it hints at his genetic ancestry, and it was considered a bad omen around that same time.
    • Batman:
      • Catwoman has always had green eyes canonically, though she has been played by non-green-eyed actresses; she fits the concept, being mysterious as she is, and associated with cats, who sometimes have vivid green eyes.
      • Poison Ivy usually boasts the typical green-eyed redhead combo, showing not only her exotic, mysterious beauty, but also her association with plants.
      • With respect to different artists, The Joker is often portrayed with green eyes (the shade varies) when a close-up of them is shown. This is going more with the "untrustworthy" and "spitfire" aspects of his personality, since he doesn't technically have any superpowers besides insanity (or sometimes, "super-sanity"). It could also be to match his hair color or to tie him into his chemical bath-based origin...
    • Oliver Queen, a.k.a. Green Arrow, a modern-day Robin Hood, has green eyes, which he has passed on, somewhat improbably, to both of his sons, including the adopted one. The sexy-connotations certainly apply as well, just ask Black Canary or one of his other love interests.
    • Several different but related heroes have held the mantle of The Flash, and with the exception of the first one, Jay Garrick, they all wear basically the same costume. However, if you look closely at their eyes, you can tell which Flash you're dealing with.
      • Barry Allen, the most well-known Flash, has Innocent Blue Eyes, fitting with his role as The Heart of the Justice League. (Coincidentally, he was also deputized as a Blue Lantern during Blackest Night, wielding the Blue Light of Hope).
      • Wally West, Barry's nephew, original sidekick, and successor, has Green Eyes, which coupled with his hair make him a Significant Green-Eyed Redhead. He's got a wilder, feistier temperament than his uncle, too.
      • Bart Allen, Barry's grandson, has very striking Supernatural Gold Eyes. He was born in the 30th Century, time-traveled back to the present, and aged unnaturally rapidly due to having an inherited connection to the Speed Force since birth, as opposed to getting it in adulthood (like Barry) or mid-childhood (like Wally).
    • Teen Titans rogue Cheshire has bright green ones, evoking her toxic nature as both a Master Poisoner and a Manipulative Bitch.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Doctor Strange: Stephen Strange officially has gray eyes, to show the depth of his understanding of the Mystic Arts, and many other subjects from his great age. They're often depicted as blue or even green, but both of them reflect his status as Sorcerer Supreme.
    • The Incredible Hulk: The Hulk is often shown with green eyes, which are more of a reflection of the gamma radiation that turned his hair and skin green too. In the past, they've been red for the associations of danger. Bruce Banner, on the other hand, is more often shown with brown (muggle mode indicator) or blue eyes (more gentle than his alter ego), with the change to green being the signal that running might be a good idea.
    • Spider-Man: Among the many green-eyed redheads from the Marvel universe, Mary Jane Watson is given these to make her not only more attractive but giving her a safely exotic yet still familiar girl-next-door flair.
  • In the comics, it's revealed that Demona from Gargoyles has green eyes, reflecting her mysterious and exotic nature. (It was hard to tell in the animated series).
  • In Sword of Sorcery featuring Amethyst, Princess Amaya's blonde hair and purple eyes indicate that she is Royal Blood of House Amethyst.

    Fan Works 
  • Princess Zelda has purple eyes in Blind Courage. Ganondorf has Past-Life Memories of various lives but has never seen a purple eyed Zelda before. Zelda's unusual eye colour, hair colour, and friendly personality signifies her as different from the previous incarnations of Zelda who all feared him from the start.
  • Child of the Storm has a lot of this:
    • Green: Harry, Jean, and Maddie all have very distinctive emerald green eyes, as did Lily. It's the one trait that everyone immediately fixates on, it indicates that they're related beforehand (as that specific shade seems to only run in that family), and indicates their mystery, slightly eerie aura, and supernatural power - to the point where Sinister implies that every single other superhuman in the family's history has had that particular eye colour. It doesn't hurt that all of them bar Harry are Significant Green Eyed Redheads, either.
      Natasha's green eyes are also worth noting, with more of the 'exotic beauty' and 'mystery' aspects emphasised - she is, after all, a super-spy.
    • Yellow: When a supernatural character connected to the Phoenix is very angry, upset, or especially when they are in danger of getting Drunk on the Dark Side, their eyes change color to "burn with golden fire".
    • Red: Annihilus, one of the big bads of the third book, has red eyes - and is a Humanoid Abomination with largely Blue-and-Orange Morality. Largely, but not quite: what few human thought patterns and emotions Annihilus has to offer are those which no eldritch abomination would be evil enough for.
    • Blue: Steve's cornflower blue eyes are a typical case of Innocent Blue Eyes, mixed with his golden hair, and are likewise inherited, including by his great-granddaughter, Carol. They're a bit less distinctive, so no one initially notices the exact shade until they start looking, but in both cases, they underline the characters' heroism and idealism.
      Diana, meanwhile, is explicitly noted as having slate-blue eyes - being a powerful Empath from an early age and surviving numerous assassination attempts means that while she's incredibly kind, her innocence is tarnished.
      Bucky's noted as having Icy Blue Eyes - apt for the Winter Soldier, a Cold Sniper (later, a Friendly Sniper).
      Unlike his comic book counterpart (whose eyes are grey), The Dreaded time lord supersorcerer Doctor Strange is also repeatedly noted as having Icy Blue Eyes
    • Brown: In a setting where nearly everyone has strikingly significant, flamboyant, or outright unnatural eye colors, Joshua is a guy whose eyes are a completely mundane shade of average brown. The narration noting this is an inversion of the usual eye color trope - as when nearly everyone's eyes are significant, unlike in real life a warm ("kind") brown is very unusual by sheer contrast (much like Captain Carrot's completely mundane sword and for many of the same reasons).note  It's so unusual that whenever someone is the POV-character who hasn't seen Joshua before his eyes are nearly the first thing they notice. This inverted trope fits Joshua, who's the in-story embodiment of both Hidden Depths and Downplayed Tropenote . He fits the description on this trope's page as down-to-earth, kindly character, too.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Beauty and the Beast, when the Beast is restored to his original human form, Belle does not recognize him until she looks into his deep blue eyes, the exact same shade they were while he was the Beast, and then recognizes him immediately. Word of God confirms that his eyes are specifically designed to tell viewers that there really is a fundamentally good man trapped inside his monstrous form.
    • Belle has hazel eyes and is the town outcast.
  • Doctor Calico, the villain of the Show Within a Show from Bolt has green, catlike eyes, and is often referred to as "The Green-Eyed Man".
  • Cinderella II: Dreams Come True has a non-human example: Pom-Pom has purple eyes. Especially remarkable for a cat, and they seem to be a symbol for her evilness. Also fits nicely in how she is Lucifer note 's white-furred, purple-eyed, female counterpart; he being black-furred, green-eyed, with yellow sclerae indicating his evilness. Interestingly, Pom-Pom has the very rare feline eye color (violet) that symbolizes evil in Disney works, while Lucifer has the very common feline eye color (yellow with green) that symbolizes evil in the Disney works. She also accentuates them with purple eye-shadow, and mascara.
  • Hercules: Megara has violet eyes, and wears a violet dress to match - they also go well with her Femme Fatale charms. Interestingly, in hindsight they are a clue to her allegiance to the bad guy Hades, since in the Disney universe purple mostly stands for evilness and she turns out to work for Hades. She turns out good / good-hearted in the end though, reversing the trope of purple eyes representing evilness in Disney.
  • Esmeralda from the Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame possesses the positive, exotic qualities associated with green eyes, which correspond her name. Even though she's the heroine, she was actually also modeled after several female villains from earlier Disney films, who all have green eyes, so that she will actually be portrayed as being evil by Frollo, the Big Bad, while, to the viewers, she's actually on the side of good. This is actually done to show the fact that she is hated by the villain because he thinks that she is evil even though she really isn't.
  • According to The Jungle Book 2, Shanti (the girl who led Mowgli back to the Man-village with her singing) has "big, brown eyes." This is possibly to show that she is the one who returns Mowgli to his roots, grounding him in the fact that he is human, and nothing can change that. Granted, none of the human characters in either movie appeared to have any color other than brown, so it was possibly just because of their race.
  • Scar from The Lion King (1994), who was jealous of his brother's power, particularly after Simba was born, which ensured that he would never take the throne by reasonable means, had vivid green eyes to show his jealousy.
  • The Little Mermaid (1989): An example of purple eyes representing evilness in the Disney world: Vanessa (Ursula's human alter-ego) has violet eyes. This also is one of the first signs that she isn't what she appears to be.
  • Megamind: Megamind, an alien from another world who is decidedly different, has bright green eyes to show how unique and unusual he is, though it's hardly necessary. It also becomes a way of telling it's him when he's sometimes disguised.
  • Rise of the Guardians: Toothiana, a powerful wealth-bringing fairy, has pinkish-purple eyes with a crystalline pattern in the iris.
  • Aisling from The Secret of Kells has green eyes and is one of The Fair Folk. She's also something of a Nature Spirit, being fiercely protective of the forest outside Kells.
  • Sleeping Beauty: Princess Aurora has violet eyes (though in the actual film it is sometimes brown or black), which are meant to symbolize rare beauty along with her sunshine golden hair and rose red lips. She's the only Disney Princess with an abnormal eye color. An exception / subversion of the trope in the sense that in the Disney universe, violet mostly indicates evilness, but Aurora of course is as good / innocent as a person can be. Her beauty was a gift from one of her fairy godmothers at her christening, so presumably the violet eyes are supernaturally given.
  • The Evil Queen from Snow Whiteandthe Seven Dwarfs has green eyes and is jealous of Snow White's beauty, and is later revealed to be a Wicked Witch, thus beginning the trend of green eyes being the default "evil" eye color in Disney movies.
  • Odette from The Swan Princess has Innocent Blue Eyes in the original film but purple in the sequels. She fits the "special" interpretation as she spends a good chunk of each film as a Forced Transformation who transforms into a swan. According to A Royal Family she is also The Chosen One. This is possibly a Shout-Out to the above, as well as adding to Odette's own beauty and her swan motif.
  • Mother Gothel from Tangled was cold, manipulative and filled with a steely determination to keep her youth and eternal life no matter what, and was given gray eyes to show this. Rapunzel, an earthy young woman who becomes a bit wild (at least for the time, and compared to what she was before) with her first taste of freedom, has green eyes and also runs around barefoot.
  • Zootopia:
    • Judy Hopps has purple eyes, distinct from all other members of her rather large family. She, too, is an exception to the typical Disney purple eyes = rare or special evil.
    • Likewise, Nick Wilde has green eyes. He's considered... well, wild because of his species, but also by virtue of being sly and easily finding a way to get want he wants or needs from others. His eyes also go well with his fur.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Mad Hatter, in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010), has extremely bright green eyes, though they turn a disturbing reddish-gold when he's agitated. The Cheshire Cat also has unnervingly huge green eyes, both showing how wild the characters are.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Hulk. Rather than a sign of her personality, Betty Ross has green eyes to symbolise her being a Love Interest for Bruce Banner, who has a tendency to turn green at inopportune moments.
    • Loki, from Thor was given artificially bright, almost glowing Green Eyes for the promotional posters, both to highlight his unpredictable mischievousness and to lampshade his envy of Thor. In the actual film his eyes are blue, which is probably a racial trait for frost giants, but it also fits how cold and ruthless he can be.
  • The eyes of a Sith from the Star Wars franchise turn yellow when unleashing the power of the Dark Side.

  • Anne of Green Gables books by L. M. Montgomery have an in-universe example: Anne writes a story in which one of the ridiculously beautiful heroines has purple eyes; she says she never heard of anyone actually having them but wanted something out-of-the ordinary.
  • The Beast Player:
    • The Ahlyo have green eyes, a dominant genetic trait that makes both them and their descendants easy to identify. Their ancestors, the Toga mi Lyo, are named after the color of their eyes.
    • Jeh and her people had golden eyes, which her royal descendants inherit.
  • Polgara of The Belgariad books tends to have gray eyes (that can change to blue with her mood). She certainly fits the first example of someone wise beyond their years (though she's 3000 years old), and when they're "steel gray", it usually means she's determined enough to fit the second type...not to mention royally pissed off.
  • The elves in the Bordertown Shared Universe all have silver eyes, and nearly all of them are relatively cold and intellectual.
  • The Children of Man: In this setting, everyone is born with green eyes, but those who have an affinity for one of the six color magics eventually develop eyes in that color. Brown eyes signal that you can use several different colors of magic, while the Grays (those who have used black magic and then rejected it) are marked by reflective silver eyes.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses: Rhys has violet/blue eyes that are often remarked upon as unique and striking. He is also noted to be the most powerful High Lord in history, and the first who isn't of "pure" High Fae blood.
  • The Daevabad Trilogy: The persecuted Daeva tribe of djinn have distinctive black eyes. People who don't like the Daeva often disparage their eyes; one who sees Manizheh describes her eyes as inhuman and predatory before he even realizes who she is.
  • The Day of the Jackal. The cold grey eyes of the Jackal are noted by several characters, and are often linked to either his role as a Professional Killer, or the impenetrable personality that fits his Mysterious Past.
  • From the Dark series.....
    • Gregori is a healer with an unapproachable personality and the ideas-above-people mentality. A great deal is made about his silvery eyes.
    • Incidentally, Xavier, the main villain of the series, shares the grey eye color with Gregori. It is implied that silver eyes are a consequence of experimenting with darker or forbidden forms of magic.
  • In Devon Monk's Dead Iron, Wil's eyes are still copper even in wolf form. The precise color is not so significant as what it shows about Wil's ability to keep his human mind in wolf form.
  • Deryni novels:
    • The Haldane kings in the all have gray eyes. Prince Nigel (Heir Presumptive and frequent Regent), his sons, even cousin (and Queen by marriage) Araxie. In Conall's case, the cold and strong-willed aspects of his character could be signaled by this.
    • Alaric Morgan has gray eyes and blond hair. He serves as a mentor for Kelson, and he's actually innocent of the evil motives (and most of the deeds) ascribed to him. Danger and ruthlessness also factor into it, however, since he actively cultivates a dangerous reputation, and he has plenty of martial and magical skills to back it up. To top it all off, he's a devoted servant of the House of Haldane, so having the same color eyes serves to point up that association.
  • Discworld:
    • Tiffany Aching and Agnes Nitt are both sensible and brown-eyed. It is something of a subversion in that sensible, down-to-earth people often make for talented witches such as Agnes and Tiffany.
    • In one of the early books, Pratchett states that Lancrastrians, emigres often becoming very successful witches and wizards among other things, are very down to earth, saying that only those who are firmly grounded can build castles in the sky. One could say this reflects magical power until you realize that Granny Weatherwax has blue eyes. Though this could have something to do with the fact that she tends to ignore expectations.
  • Senna Wales, of the Everworld series, has "the color of rainclouds" and a personality to match. Her mother, who briefly appears in the ninth book, also has gray eyes but doesn't really fit any of the personalities associated with it.
  • The protagonist of the children's novel The Girl With The Silver Eyes is telekinetic, and she and other children who received strange powers because of a medical experiment performed on their mothers all have this eye color.
  • Harrow the Ninth: Augustine is a grey-eyed Time Abyss who makes no secret of the fact that he's emotionally cold and detached beneath a thin veneer of civility. Harrowhark observes that he's right to liken his eye colour to ash, since ash is also "insubstantial filth" that only looks solid from a distance.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The fact that Harry Potter and his red-haired mother Lily both have vivid green eyes is emphasized repeatedly, and with good reason.
    • Albus Severus Potter, Harry's middle son, is described as the only one of his children to have inherited their grandmother's green eyes, completing a triple-Generation Xerox.
    • Hermione Granger has brown eyes, showing that she is one of, if not the most down-to-earth character in the series, grounding the rest of her group and often being the mediator between Ron and Harry's scuffles. She also happens to be the most muggle-y of the group, having been born to muggles and raised in their world.
    • Luna Lovegood has protruding silver eyes, probably meant to be reminiscent of a full moon (hence lunacy).
    • Draco and Luscious Malfoy both have gray eyes of the cold, steely variety, which reflect how ruthless they are, and how committed to their idea of purebloods being better for magical knowledge than muggles.
  • Purple eyes have very dark connotations in House of Many Ways. Offspring between a lubbock (an evil, magical creature that can change its size and is purple with the body of a man, fuzzy wings and the grotesque head of an insect, which either tears people apart or lays its eggs inside them depending on the season) and a female human are distinguishable often only by their purple eyes and violent tempers.
  • Hurog: In Dragon Bones, most members of the Hurog family have purple eyes. Probably because they're descended from dragons. They are special in that their family is associated with dragons ... and they have a chained dragon skeleton in the basement, which is kind of embarassing as they should be protecting dragons.
  • In Death series: Innocent In Death has a little girl named Rayleen Straffo, who is noted to have purple eyes as these a few times. This turns out to be Foreshadowing for the fact that she's the murderer the police are looking for.
  • N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy: Yeine's "faded" green eyes mark her in several ways. To her native Darre people, they're a reminder that she's half-descended from the hated, intensely green-eyed Arameri dynasty; to the Arameri, the shade is a sign that she's not truly one of them. They're also the precise eye color of the dead goddess Enefa, whose soul Yeine carries.
  • The people of the Human Empire capital world of Mithra (including the Villain Protagonist, among others) in Yulia Latynina's Inhuman tend to have violet eyes, because of their incredibly bright sun; apparently it greatly reduces light sensitivity, which allows the character to carry out an over-the-top version of Perp Sweating.
  • In Peter S. Beagle's novel The Last Unicorn, Schmendrick the Magician is often mentioned as having green eyes, covering the magical aspect of his character.
  • The title character of R. A. Salvatore's The Legend of Drizzt has lavender eyes, which represents the fact that he's a living subversion of his entire race.
  • The Lord of the Rings: since stoicism is the norm for heroes in the Tolkien's Legendarium, gray eyes (said to be a racial trait of, among others, the Noldor elves and the Númenóreans) take up a very large chunk of the good guy population. The fact that Tolkien's beloved wife Edith was gray-eyed is probably also pertinent.
  • Aurelia Cotta, mother of Caesar, is described in the Masters of Rome series as having not dark blue eyes but purple making her a "living, breathing omen." Like maybe the woman destined to be the mother of the greatest Roman of all time?
  • In Moonflowers, the leader of The Wild Hunt is aptly-titled as the Hunter. His green eyes are frequently referred to as "cat's eyes" or catlike, alluding to both his literal job as a hunter and how he loves to yank humans around for amusement. In an extremely dark twist on the "green eyes = nature" connotation, it's revealed that he's the Horned Hunter of Celtic Mythology and a literal force of nature. The force he represents? Predators.
  • In My Ántonia, a Scandinavian beauty and Dude Magnet Lena Lingard has deep violet eyes. She's one of the four immigrant hired girls who work in town and who are considered great beauties. Jim the narrator is of the opinion that the eldest daughters in the first generation of settlers like Ántonia Shimerda or Lena were extraordinary and actually the most interesting people of the family, even though their families often favoured younger daughters. Later in the story, Jim and Lena are in an implied sexual relationship.
  • The Herons (Geoffrey, Christopher, and Cecily) have gray eyes and "tawny-yellow" hair in Elizabeth Marie Pope's The Perilous Gard. Geoffrey's are described as "level and rather forbidding", and he is described several times as resembling granite and steel in character. Christopher eventually reveals himself to possess a warmer, rather impulsive, nature, but he too is cold and remote when the protagonist Kate first meets him.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: It is common for the half-bloods to have eye colors that reflect their divine heritage.
    • Percy has sea-green eyes because he is the son of the sea god Poseidon.
    • In a similar fashion, Annabeth has the same stormy grey eyes as her mother, Athena.
  • The ruling Queens in the Septimus Heap series mostly have violet eyes. It is very distressing to Princess Jenna that her eyes never turn green to match her (adopted) brothers'.
  • Sherlock Holmes possesses Gray ( or 'steely') eyes of the piercing variety. His brother Mycroft's are of a "peculiarly light, watery gray". It's part of how they are super-geniuses standing above the rest of humanity (with the only one smarter than Sherlock being his older brother).
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Gray eyes are a genetic trait of the Stark family line, reflecting their stoic nature and the hard life up in the North. Ned Stark and his illegitimate son Jon's eyes are frequently focused on. Jon and Arya are the only two kids out of the six Stark children to have inherited the Stark look — including the eyes — and Arya is the only one of Catelyn's children not to inherit the blue-eyed Tully look, as Robb, Sansa, Bran, and Rickon have.
    • Purple eyes were common in Valyria, and characters that have them (particularly the Targaryen dynasty) can usually trace their lineage back to Valyrian ancestry. They are associated with the dragon-affinity and occasional prophetic powers of the Targaryens.
  • Stardust: The woman at the fair (also known as Princess Una) has violet eyes and furry ears to show that she's from Fairy. Oddly, none of her brothers seem to have these traits.
  • Stravaganza: Arianna has violet eyes, as does the Duchessa of Bellezza. For a while Lucien believes it must be a common trait in Talia. Actually, it's foreshadowing that they're mother and daughter.
  • Thalia's Musings: Apollo, Artemis, and Athena all have silver eyes. Apollo is a prophecy god, his twin sister Artemis is a deadly huntress and a sworn virgin, and Athena, also a virgin, is the Goddess of Wisdom and Battle Strategy.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, in its dissertation on colour-coding in Fantasyland eye colour, says that people with black eyes are evil, green eyes display magical talent, grey eyes display healing talent specifically, silver eyes belong to beguilers and hypnotists, brown and hazel imply good humor and niceness but not necessarily Goodness, white eyes show immense wisdom, violet eyes mark royalty and, and along with gold, people destined to lead "uncomfortably interesting lives", and red eyes are a mark of especially potent evil.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan has gray eyes, of the storm/sea variety, foreshadowing her soon to be infamous temper. In her later years, she becomes renowned for her strength and calm, not to mention her marriage to a man named for a sea (Aral Vorkosigan).
    "Look at her eyes. A man could drown in those sea-gray eyes." (Aral, in Barrayar)

    Live-Action TV 
  • Niles Crane's brown eyes on Frasier in contrast to his brother's blue eyes — while he is more rigid, neurotic, and fussy than Frasier, he is more down-to-earth and practical, (not to mention Woobieish), and often plays Straight Man to his brother's overblown, self-deluding shenanigans.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Arondir has striking green eyes, befitting his status as an Elf belonging to a culture of nature lovers.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Last Supper" the immortal Laura/Jade's eyes are shown to be a very striking jade-green to signify that there's something unnatural about her.
  • Djaq, from the BBC's Robin Hood had large brown eyes, was a wise and stabilizing force in the outlaw camp, and had a wounded puppy-dog look that could tear your heart out. Notable mainly because almost everyone else in the cast had Blue Eyes.
  • The Vorta of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine have pale skin and purple eyes, and the vision problems associated with Real Life albinism. As the Vorta are a genetically engineered Henchmen Race, this was by design.
  • In Supernatural, the two Winchester brothers, who are humans and represent earth, have green eyes and brown eyes, while Castiel and many other angels have blue eyes. Demons can have black, red, or yellow eyes, depending on their roles.
  • In Tin Man, the Queen's lavender eyes are her best-known feature. So much to the point that when the Mystic Man mentioned that DG's mother had "lavender eyes", both Cain and Glitch are left with their jaws on the floor.

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Age II, Hawke's younger twin siblings fall into this with their default appearances. Older twin Carver has Icy Blue Eyes, indicating his more aloof personality, while younger twin Bethany has brown eyes, indicating her warmer nature.
  • Karliah from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has purple eyes, whereas all other dunmer in the game have red eyes. Her ancestry might be the reason, as she's the granddaughter of Queen Barenziah.
  • In Fallen London, Millicent Clathermont used to have blue eyes but they turned violet after her frequent trips to the Cave of the Nadir, a secret place that contains a lot of purplish radiation called "irrigo", purged away part of her memories/self and turned her into the Lady in Lilac.
  • Final Fantasy X: In one of many, many associations with the water-element, Tidus has deep blue eyes. Yuna has a green eye and a blue one and suffers quite the identity crisis half-way through the game due to being half-Al-Bhed. The most mentally stable and down to earth party members — Auron and Lulu — have deep brown eyes.
  • In Halo, Commander Miranda Keyes from Halo 2 and 3 has gray eyes, and is portrayed as being extremely calm and controlled.
  • Damas from Jak and Daxter has purple eyes. While appearing only in Jak 3, he had a major role and ruled Haven before Baron Praxis. And he's Jak's long-lost father.
  • In a setting that is filled to the brim with blue, green and yellow eyes, the only two original characters that have brown eyes in the Kingdom Hearts series are Hayner and Pence, who are, fittingly, a pair of Ordinary High School Students.
  • Silver from Pokémon Gold and Silver has gray eyes as of the remakes. It gives his name some meaning, and alludes to his cold personality.
  • Most of the cast of the Professor Layton games have relatively small, dark eyes. Flora, however, has huge saucer-like deep brown eyes, which just serve to further remind the player that she's the resident personification of sweetness and innocence.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
    • Knuckles the Echidna has purple eyes. They go with the fact he's the Last of His Kind, as well as a recluse who lives in a legendary floating island guarding the Master Emerald.
    • Cream the Rabbit has big brown eyes, most likely to show how innocent she is amongst her admittedly violent surroundings.
  • Rose, the heroine of Sword of Mana, is the only character in the game with purple eyes. She's The Chosen One.
  • In Tales of Graces, people possessed by the Big Bad Energy Being usually have one red eye. When Asbel is possessed, his eye turns purple instead, signifying that Lambda has become dormant, and is on the way to a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Mikleo of Tales of Zestiria has violet eyes. As a powerful water seraph, as well as the best friend of The Chosen One, it fits. It also is possibly a hint to the role he unwillingly and unknowingly played in starting the Age of Chaos and creating the Lord of Calamity.
  • When soldiers in XCOM 2 become Psi Operatives, their eyes turn purple and their hair turns white.
  • A certain character in Xenogears has purple eyes. This is an important plot point. Whoever is being 'possessed' by Miang tends to get purple hair and eyes.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Shall We Date?: Wizardess Heart, purple eyes apparently run in the famous Goldstein family. Elias Goldstein and his older brother Klaus - both very talented wizards who are considered the "royalty" of the school - have them.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Blake is a cat-Faunus and her black colour scheme, with her black hair and cat-ears, means she's effectively a black cat. As is very common for black cats, her eyes are gold, and more almond-shaped than the other characters to give them a more feline shape.

  • Drowtales:
    • Members of the Val'Beldrobbaen clan often have gray eyes. They have a goth-like attitude.
    • Tainted characters have red eyes because it shows that they've merged their aura with a nether being, willingly or unwillingly. The "danger" association is definitely merited.
  • The Regional Fairies who become humans in Gunnerkrigg Court have gray eyes as a sign of their origin. They're strong-willed, but hardly cold or unapproachable (and certainly not stoic), varying in their personalities between smiling tricksters and borderline-psychotic Tsunderes.
  • PepsiaPhobia uses purple eyes to indicate Amazonian ancestry along with brown skin. Three of the main characters have them, Phobia, Gastro, and Philia.
  • Mira in Seven Days In Silver Glen has green eyes and loves being outdoors and is very energetic. It also represents her connection to nature as a dryad.

    Western Animation 
  • In Animal Mechanicals, the Mechanicals get a coloured sheen in their eyes when they use their abilities, each one matching their signature colour (green for Rex, pink for Unicorn, red for Komodo, yellow for Mouse, and blue for Sasquatch).
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Fluttershy has soft blue-green eyes, probably indicating her connection with nature and healing, as well as her innocence and gentleness.
    • Twilight and the Great and Powerful Trixie have purple eyes. Twilight is the embodiment of the Element of Magic itself and ultimately becomes an alicorn. Trixie's talents are also magical in nature, albeit magician magic rather than more practical stuff, but the color still shows her as having a more magical nature than other ponies. She picked up teleportation pretty quickly after all.
  • In R.O.B. the Robot, the robots all have a yellow tint to their eyes; something that is noticeably missing from non-robot characters (ex. Ema).
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated:
    • The show's retro art style gave the characters back their Black Bead Eyes rather than the more realistic ones (with whites and pupils) of previous recent incarnations. In particular, Daphne and all the women in her family have purple eyes instead of black ones, showing off their wealth and social standing, as well as matching her outfit.
  • The Simpsons: Marge's eyes are revealed to be hazel; a lot of episodes focused on her revolve around some sort of identity crisis stemming from feeling unfulfilled or unappreciated. She also borrows cues associated with both brown and green eyes; she's (usually) the most emotionally grounded in the family, but she has moments when she veers into exotic and wild behaviors (generally during one of the aforementioned identity crises).
  • On Transformers, most Autobots have blue eyes and most Decepticons have red eyes.

  • In Romania there is a short folk poem that talks about the color of the eyes and their meanings: "Ochii caprui fura inima oricui; /Ochii verzi, niciodata sa nu-i crezi;/ Ochi albastri ca seninul,/ Te imbata precum vinul;/ Ochii negrii sunt frumosi,/ Dar sunt si periculosi". In English: "Brown eyes steal anyone's heart;/ Green eyes, never believe in them;/ Blue eyes like the sky,/ Get you drunk like the wine;/ Black eyes are beautiful,/ But they are also dangerous".

Alternative Title(s): Colour Coded Eyes