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Five-Finger Fillet

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Bronn: There's a Braavosi knife game I can teach you.
Tyrion: Does it involve loss of fingers?
Bronn: Only if you lose.

The Five Finger Fillet is when a character places their hand palm-down on a table, spreads their fingers, and begins stabbing between them with a knife, trying to go as fast as possible without hurting themselves. Screwing this up, which gets easier as the 'game' goes on, can certainly result in fingore.

This can be a way to establish a character as a hardened criminal or a Knife Nut, or just generally badass. However, if the work is farther to the silly side on the Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness, it's more likely to be done by a character who doesn't fit the usual stereotypes, playing the contrast for humor.

The game is also called "the knife game", "nerve", "stabscotch", and "bishop.".



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  • Baccano!: Claire Stanfield does this for fun with Chic's scissors in "Drugs & Dominoes".
  • Parasyte: When Shinichi first tries to confirm whether his right hand has been taken over by an alien, he places his palm on the table and prepares to stab a knife between his fingers, reasoning that it will dodge of its own volition if it isn't his. That's how he meets his parasite, Migi.



  • A variation occurs in Neverwhere. Mr Croup places his hand against a wall and throws several razor blades at it, landing in the spaces in between. Mr Vandemar is unimpressed with the fact that he missed all his fingers.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire. The Ironborn have a game in which they catch an axe thrown at them. This has a tendency to result in missing fingers.


     Live Action Television  

  • In the BBC documentary series Simon Schama's Power of Art, Pablo Picasso meets his future mistress Dora Maar when she cuts her fingers doing this.
  • In Boardwalk Empire, Jimmy expertly plays the game with his old trenchknife in "Family Limitation," establishing him as a Knife Nut who's still not over the war. Capone's unfamiliarity with the game tips Jimmy off that he wasn't really in the war.
  • Eerie, Indiana: In "Heart on a Chain", Devon does this in the classroom. When Marshall tells him to slow down, Devon replies, "Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse." After Devon's heart is transplanted into her body, Melanie does the five finger fillet herself in the World O' Stuff and uses the same phrase.
  • The IT Crowd has Moss do this with a screwdriver in one episode with surprising skill, while connected to a machine that measures stress levels.
    Moss: The needle is flipping out!
  • The unaired pilot of Fearless has a bad guy do this to Gaia, in order to get some reaction out of her. Presumably fear, but this is Gaia we're on about.
  • In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in the opening episode of Red Dwarf, Chen can be seen doing this (badly) with a pen.
  • Great News: Played for Laughs when a drunk Carol, who is 60 years old, does this at the office party in "Snowmageddon of the Century".
  • A sketch by Brazilian comedy group Casseta & Planeta had a prison inmate doing this with himself, and then demonstrating on another who asked. The other's fingers are notably skinnier afterwards.
  • In Inside No. 9 episode "The Bill", the game used to settle the bill when things really escalate out of control. Namedropped along with a number of other names the game goes by.

     Video Games  

  • A hidden minigame in Full Throttle
  • Red Dead Redemption offers this as an optional Rhythm Game, complete with wagers.
  • In Chapter 4 of Tales of Monkey Island, a minor character can be seen doing this at a local bar.
  • In the thief's guild in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood a thief plays this at one of the bar tables. Sometimes he wins and admires his hand and other times he loses and licks his wound.
  • The Sniper and Assassin in Super Monday Night Combat have this as one of their taunts. The Assassin uses her iconic dagger, while the Sniper uses a sub-machine gun. While doing a one-hand-stand. And while spinning.
  • One of the minigames in Work Time Fun.
  • It's a Simon-says mini-game in Rage.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, a villager can be seen doing this in the Tavern at white Orchard.
  • Roxanne does this in the menu screen of Trials of the Blood Dragon.
  • A subquest in Yakuza 0 has Goro hook up a man looking for a counterfeit necklace with a Chinese forger. Unfortunately, the forger forgot to tell his Triad associates about the deal, so when the man arrives at his office, they wind up doing this to him until Goro intervenes.
  • One of the minigames in Later Alligator is a three-fingered variation of this that plays like a "Simon Says" Mini-Game. In the first round, the player character and Bobby Blue Eyes use spoons, and in the second round, the player character switches to a knife. In round three, the player character uses a scary-looking combat knife, which unnerves Bobby to the point his first move in round four was hitting his finger with the spoon, making the player automatically win after they put a band-aid on his "fingey".

     Web Animation  


  • Marilith: When Dim and Vics are introduced, Vics stabs himself while doing this.
  • In Cwen's Quest, one of the new villains shows off by performing this on a fairy.
  • In Gnoph, Abbey injures her fingers doing this and laments that she used to be able to do it perfectly.
  • Spoofed in this Camp Weedonwantcha strip.
  • In Manly Guys Doing Manly Things the Commander plays this game with Robert. Robert loses.
    Commander: Look, Jones, I gotta take this guy to the ER, you might not wanna wait up.
    Jones: Okay! Have fun trying not to marry him!
    Robert: You think it'll help preserve it if I put the finger in whiskey?

     Web Original  

  • Rusty Cage's Knife Game Song (first version, full version) has gone viral and was followed by many copycats singing the song while playing the game.

     Western Animation  

  • Homer attempted this in an episode of The Simpsons, and managed to stab his fingers every single time.
    Marge: Homer! No knife games on the kitchen table!
    Homer: It didn't hit your precious table.
  • Samurai Jack: Occurs in the episode "Jack versus Mad Jack".
  • In Stressed Eric, a man in the hospital queue does this with his hand resting on his thigh. He seems quite happy to repeatedly stab his thigh but screams in pain when he misses and hits his finger.
  • One episode of King of the Hill brings up the game, with a prison inmate saying that he doesn't know what it's called. Peggy suggests the name "Stab Scotch".
  • An episode of SpongeBob SquarePants has one fish doing this to another fish. The first fish ends up going faster and faster while the fish holding his hand out starts sweating bullets. Eventually, he lands on a finger, although he acts like he won whatever they were doing.
  • Beavis can be seen briefly doing this in an episode of Beavis and Butt-Head. Naturally, he ends up poking himself.
  • Rico can be seen doing this in the Madagascar short The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper, with the visual gag that, as a penguin, it's really more of a one flipper fillet. Skipper tells him to stop as this is inappropriate behavior for the dinner table, so he grudgingly does, but takes a moment to rub his flipper over the serrated edge of the knife when he makes sure no one is looking.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "The Last Mabelcorn", a gnome is seen playing it with an acorn instead of a knife.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Be Careful What You Fish For", one of the kids at Stewie's horrible daycare center does this and some other kids bet on whether or not he can pull it off.
  • In Adventure Time, a candy person is seen doing this with a spoon.


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