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Playing With / Chained to a Railway

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Basic Trope: The villain ties a sympathetic character to the railroad tracks as torture or attempted murder.

  • Straight: The moustache-twirling Bob chains innocent barmaid Alice to the rails when she rejects him and threatens to leave her there unless she agrees to marry him.
  • Exaggerated:
    • The evil Bob chains Alice to the rails for criticizing the hero's suit, feeling it's an Even Evil Has Standards moment.
    • Bob chains Alice to the rails alongside Carol, Diane, Eve, Francesca, Gillian and Hannah.
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  • Downplayed: Bob dangles Alice from a tree over the tracks.
  • Justified: Alice has magic powers she could use to free herself but she cannot use them if she is touching cold iron.
  • Inverted:
    • The virtuous Alice chains the evil Bob to the rails.
    • The villain ties the protagonist's priceless toy train to a street right before a marathon.
  • Subverted:
    • Bob chains Alice to the rails... but the train hasn't run on that line for at least a decade.
    • The person operating the train sees Alice tied to the track and promptly brings the train to a grinding halt.
  • Double Subverted:
    • ...but the disused line is next to a busy highway, and while Alice is distracted, she is run over by a car.
    • ...but then the front end of the train breaks off and falls on top of Alice.
  • Parodied:
    • Bob chains Alice to a miniature railway and little electric trains bump harmlessly into her body.
    • On a train journey into town, the hero sees the track liberally strewn with helpless tied maidens.
    • Advertisement:
    • Bob can't find a spot to tie Alice to the tracks because other villains go there first with their victims.
    • Announcements at the railway station say that the train will be delayed due to maidens tied to the track. Everyone acts as if this is a regular nuisance, like signalling failures.
  • Zig Zagged: The train gets put into reverse before reaching Alice. Then starts going forward again. Then backward again. Then forward again....
  • Averted: Bob does not tie Alice in such a way as to leave her in the path of something that could run her over.
  • Enforced: "We're in an Old West cartoon. It's tradition."
  • Implied: Only the engineer's cab is visible when the train passes through. A call from the conductor in the back mentions body parts trailing behind the train.
  • Lampshaded: "I love tying people to the railway tracks; the classics are always the best, I tend to find..."
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  • Invoked: Bob always wanted to be an evil enough villain to actually tie someone to the railroad track.
  • Exploited: Bob ties Alice to the tracks to distract the hero while he sets about on another evil scheme.
  • Defied: Bob glances at a railroad track and instantly decides against putting Alice to such an obvious and overly dramatic death.
  • Discussed: "Well, you're just a regular Snidely Whiplash, ain't ya? Whatcha gonna do next, tie me to some tracks somewhere?" [Cue Gilligan Cut.]
  • Conversed: "Railroad, maiden. Maiden, railroad. What else is he supposed to do in that sort of situation?"
  • Deconstructed: Bob is a Yandere who keeps the heroine tied to a disused rail line near his home so that she cannot run away from him.
  • Reconstructed: Alice is the daughter of a railroad baron who fired Bob and left him homeless, so he is murdering her in this way to symbolically injure her father.
  • Played For Laughs: "I'm going to TIE you to the RAILROAD TRACK!!" "What, again?"
  • Played For Drama: Used straight to make a murder look like a suicide, with full emphasis on how painful and frightening it would be to die that way.

Go back to Chained to a Railway, my pretty, or else!

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