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Kidnapped While Sleeping

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A cat 'nabbed during a catnap.
When asleep, people are inherently at their most vulnerable. Life passes on outside, but to the sleeping person, there's very little chance of even being aware of anything happening beyond what may be occurring in their dreams. Unfortunately, villains like to take advantage of this state, and choose to torment an innocent character while said character is snoring away. This villain may choose to murder them outright, or if they're supernatural, they can take it to their dreams and grant them awful nightmares. But what if murder is too messy, and giving nightmares too impractical?

A character can be easily kidnapped from their bedroom. Even if they manage to wake up in time, they'll be too tired or shocked to fight back, and God help them if they suffer some form of sleep paralysis, or if their kidnapper is supernatural in origin. In fact, they're more often than not just dragged straight out of bed by their ankles, giving the audience a shot of their body sliding off the bed.

This isn't always Played for Drama, however; Lighter and Softer works could use this as a simple prank, or even as someone being Kidnapped by an Ally while they're in slumberland.

Sister Trope to Slain in Their Sleep. Note that this is when a character sleeps of natural causes. If the kidnapped character is rendered unconscious with chloroform, Knockout Gas, Slipping a Mickey, a Static Stun Gun, a Tap on the Head, or a Tranquillizer Dart, then it's just a normal kidnapping and not this trope.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • A flashback in Naruto shows a young Hinata being kidnapped by a cloud ninja while she's asleep in her room. Hiashi manages to catch up with them and kills the cloud ninja to save Hinata.
  • Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle: This is how the Demons captured the titular princess prior to the events of the story. It's also how the other demons capture her later on. Given how much time she spends sleeping this isn't much of a surprise

    Comic Books 
  • Valhalla: In the final volume, Freya goes missing while sleeping through the winter. As Freya is revealed to be a Composite Character with Sönna, goddess of the Sun, her kidnapping and being drained by Surt in order to empower Laevantein also caused Fimbulwinter.

    Fan Works 
  • In the infamous fanfiction of The Lord of the Rings titled legolas by laura, Laura is taken by Orcs in her sleep.
  • Subverted in Thieves Can Be Heroes!. Izuku initially believes he's been kidnapped when he wakes up in a prisoner's garb and chains after tucking himself into bed a while earlier. In fact, he'd only been transported to the Velvet Room.

    Films— Animated 
  • This is what happened to Rapunzel as a baby in Tangled. Mother Gothel at first only wanted a single tendril of her hair so she can stay young, but when the tendril was cut, it turned brown and became powerless, so Gothel stole Rapunzel while she was still asleep and isolated her in a faraway tower, leading to the plot of the film.
  • Subverted in Thumbelina (1994). While Mrs. Toad does kidnap Thumbelina while she was sleeping like in the original fairytale, Thumbelina immediately wakes up right when Mrs. Toad slams her walnut shut.

    Films— Live-Action 
  • In Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Matthew Benell breaks into his coworker Elizabeth's room while she's asleep and takes her somewhere else. He (and the audience) know that he did it to save her from one of the duplicating pods, but from the police's perspective, it looks simply like a delusional man kidnapped a sleeping woman.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Japanese comedy live shows there are some Candid Camera Pranks where they made jokes to normal people as well celebrities. One of these jokes is to kidnap someone where he's sleeping to make him pranks like throwing him to water ramps, roping his feet to running horses and elevating his bed with rockets, to name some. There're only emitted in Japan, fortunely there're some compilations uploaded to YouTube.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Schisms". Several Enterprise crew members are abducted from their rooms while sleeping and taken through a subspace rift into an alien laboratory. Once there, they are experimented on by the aliens.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Dr Bashir is abducted via transporter in his sleep on two separate occasions.
    • In "In Purgatory's Shadow", Worf and Garak are taken prisoner and are surprised to find Bashir a prisoner too, having been replaced with a Changeling doppelganger some weeks before. Bashir tells them he went to bed as normal and woke up a prisoner.
    • In "Inquisition", Bashir spends the episode in what turns out to be a Virtual-Reality Interrogation, having been abducted the previous night.

    Video Games 
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, this is how the Dragonborn may be drafted into the Dark Brotherhood. Should they kill Grelod the Kind after meeting with Aventus Aretino, or kill her and then interact with the child, they will find themselves stolen from their bed the next time they go to sleep. The local chapter of Murder, Inc. does not take kindly to Kill Steal.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers, Palkia kidnaps you and your partner while you are sleeping and makes you go through the Spacial Rift to face him.
  • Wario Land II has this as a hidden start. Neglect to wake up as the pirates storm Wario's house, and they will just throw him out as he sleeps.

  • Girl Genius: While Tarvek is sleeping off the effects of not sleeping at all during the siege of Mechanicsburg and getting poisoned and painfully healed twice he gets kidnapped by the Immortal Library and doesn't wake until he's secured on their ship and far away.

    Web Original 
  • Chadam: The first person we see Viceroy capture is an innocent artist he'd been stalking until the night, and who he'd ambushed and kidnapped in bed; the artist woke up, but wasn't able to save himself from Viceroy's tentacles, and wound up Strapped to an Operating Table in the next scene.
  • Tribe Twelve: This happens to Noah twice, both times caught on camera and with a shot of the Observer pulling his body from the bed while he remains asleep. The first time, it led to him going crazy and murdering Kat, and the second time, he remained taken for several days while the Observer took over his Twitter account, and returned with mocking phrases written all over his body.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of Adventure Time shows the Ice King sneaking into the Candy Kingdom and trying to do this to Princess Bubblegum. She wakes up while he is putting tape over her mouth and has him thrown out.
  • Family Guy: In "New Kidney in Town", Stewie kidnaps a sleeping Brian to prevent him from donating both his kidneys to Peter, since it would kill him.
  • In episode four of Josie and the Pussycats when Valerie is posing as a decoy for an Arabian princess, she gets captured this way. Lucky for her, she wakes up just before the villain's slaves grab her and is able to call out to her friends.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: The Crossover special with Sonic the Hedgehog had Rad and Enid sleeping through the whole ordeal, even after they get accidentally kidnapped by Lord Boxman. Only after they're saved and Boxman is defeated do they finally wake up.
  • Total Drama: It happens relatively often that the campers are moved in their sleep to start a challenge elsewhere.
    • Chris orders rain in "Camp Castaways" to plague the Final Four with boredom. Instead, so much rain falls that the entire camp drifts away. Duncan awakens in his floating cabin, Heather and Gwen awaken in their floating bunk bed, and Owen finally is done in the confessional when he realizes it's gotten afloat. The result is that they're stranded in the middle of nowhere. Chris rolls with the situation and lets the contestants figure out their own survival as the day's challenge.
    • The Final Four awaken in their bunk beds in the middle of the forest in "Are We There Yeti?". This is Chef's doing and he joins them soon after by helicopter to give them duffel bags with tools to make it back to camp. When he leaves to let the campers get on with the challenge, he takes the bunk beds with him.
    • After the Final Five get to sleep in "Crouching Courtney, Hidden Owen", Chris has them brought over back to the forest of Wawanakwa. The campers awaken amidst nature, which makes for a perfect introduction to the spiritual martial arts challenge.
    • Chris has all the sleeping contestants and two paddle boats dragged over to the trapdoor of the Total Drama Jumbo Jet in "Niagara Brawls". With everything in place, he opens the trapdoor. The contestants awaken mid-fall and grab onto the paddle boats for a somewhat safe landing in the Niagara River.
    • The campers are fed mutant turkey to ensure they stay asleep for a long time in "The Treasure Island of Doctor McLean". During that time, they are moved to two rafts in Lake Wawanakwa. An alarm clock rings them awake and after the initial shock, Chris and Chef join them to inform them that the first part of the challenge is to make it back to the island.


Video Example(s):


The cats kidnapped

Edgar kidnaps the cats when under the effects of sleeping pills.

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