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Unusually Uninteresting Sight / Literature

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Unusually Uninteresting Sights in literature.

  • In his book The Age of Reason Thomas Paine wrote that, assuming this happened, the mass rising of the dead described in the Gospel of Matthew at Jesus' death must have been one, since no one appears to have written down any other accounts. Matthew is also the only Gospel that mentions it. Nor does it say what had happened afterward-did they return home to their families, attempt to reclaim their property, or just go back into their graves?
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  • Referenced by Dickens in his account of his journey to America, American Notes. A few days into his trip over the seas, he's utterly bored to the point that "if Neptune himself had walked in, with a toasted shark on his trident, I should have looked upon the event as one of the very commonest everyday occurrences".
  • None of the humans in Animal Farm seem to be bothered by the fact that farm animals are somehow capable of organizing a revolution, running a farm on their own, and even read, write and possibly talk. They are kind of shocked about Mr. Jones losing his farm, but otherwise, act as if they knew animals were always somewhat sapient.
  • Justified in The Belgariad: no one thinks Garion's BFS is at all out of place, because the Orb attached to the pommel gives it a built in Weirdness Censor that makes people ignore it.
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  • In Ben and Me, Ben doesn't seem to find it odd when Amos starts talking to him.
  • Another noteworthy instance from The Bible is the account of Balaam and his donkey. You'd think a donkey asking you why you're hitting it in your own language would at least throw you off a little, but the story just has Balaam answer the donkey like it'd always been speaking to him.
  • Bored of the Rings describes one minor character as
    ...a stranger to the boggies of the Bag Eye, a stranger they had understandably overlooked because of his rather ordinary black cape, black chain mail, black mace, black dirk, and perfectly ordinary glowing red fires where his eyes should have been.
  • Discworld
    • The Librarian of Unseen University has been an orang-utan since a magical accident in the second book, The Light Fantastic. They never got around to changing him back, mostly because the Librarian has grown to like his new form. It's gotten to the point that if someone were to tell the faculty about the 300-pound ape wandering around the campus, they would ask the Librarian if he'd seen it.
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    • In Wyrd Sisters, it's said that there's so much magic in the Ramtop Mountains that weird things are always happening. When the citizens of Lancre hear about or see something that would be regarded as an omen anywhere else (like geese walking backwards, moving trees, or two-headed calves being born), they just roll their eyes and say to themselves "Oh, it's just another bloody portent." It's only when the portents stop happening that people get worried. At a later point, the Fool ends up with Greebo perched on his head. The guards who see this just assume that walking around with a cat on your head is one of those things you do when you're a professional jester.
    • In Unseen Academicals, everyone seems more focused on the results of the football game than the floating, glowing golden woman. Admittedly, it was a pretty close game, and weird manifestations of gods really do happen a lot. In The Discworld Almanak we're told that the God of Astrology regularly visits the publishers with the rays of the sun coming out of his head, a belt of stars, one foot resting on a lion and the other on a crocodile, and carrying nine daggers in one hand and the crescent moon in the other. The only reason he turns heads when walking through Ankh-Morpork is that the lion moves faster than the crocodile.
  • The Divine Comedy: Farinata, a heretic who believed the soul died with the body, seems to find everything uninteresting, even the eternal pain he suffers. At most he expresses mildly annoyance over the flaming tomb of spikes he rests in and when his conversation is interrupted by a father who realizes his son is dead, he doesn't move his face an inch until the father shuts up and then Farinata continues as if nothing had happened.
    "[T]hat great-hearted one, the other shade
    at whose request I'd stayed, did not change aspect
    or turn aside his head or lean or bend;
    and taking up his words where-he'd left off..."
  • In The Dresden Files, the protagonist at one point reveals himself to his True Companions to be alive despite having seemed dead for over a year. They take a good deal of time verifying it's him, but once convinced, they're not all that surprised. At least one person even figures it out, figures out what he's doing, and comes to help without even being told it's him. They, too, are completely nonchalant about it. Of course while coming back form being dead is probably one of the more surprising things he's done, it's also probably not at the top of the list, so their lack of surprise makes sense.
    • And in the book after that, when the protagonist has (seemingly) returned to being dead, his apprentice is not only completely unsurprised when he shows up again, but actually assumed it would probably happen sooner or later and set up a bedroom with some spare clothes for him.
  • In the Earthsea series, Roke Island is home to the School of Magic which results in all sorts of bizarre occurrences such as flying houses, people transforming into an animal (or vice versa), etc. The locals are used to this and barely give a second glance.
  • Justified in The Eyes of Kid Midas, incidentally going one step creepier than a Weirdness Censor. Whenever the eponymous Reality Warper makes a change, everyone else's memories change to match, and furthermore what changed will seem normal to them. (There's a memorable scene where a teacher has it pointed out that one of his students is four inches tall, and he ponders it, says he never noticed, and asks why it's being brought up.)
  • Harry Potter:
    • Happens in both directions between Wizards and Muggles. Students raised among muggles (for example, Harry himself) are taken by surprise at the many magical-related things that go on around them while most witches and wizards don't even look up when they see people with strange hair colors, students getting changed into badgers, or people visiting the hospital wing as cat-human hybrids. However the magical community has basically no understanding of things in muggle society and are consistently surprised by things like aqua lungs or stationary pictures.
    • When Harry stays with the Weasleys for the first time, he finds it strange that the sounds of explosions coming from Fred and George's room is considered normal. This gets subverted eventually when the twins open their toy shop, and the rest of the family is shocked that they were actually inventing things the whole time instead of just randomly blowing things up.
  • The Heroes of Olympus: Lampshaded in The Son of Neptune when Percy runs through traffic with "June" (Juno), most of the drivers, "just swerved and looked irritated, as if they had to deal with a lot of ratty teenagers carrying old hippie women across the freeway." It's the Mist again.
  • This principle is so well understood in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy universe that it has been weaponized as the SEP (Someone Else's Problem) field. If something is so unusual that it doesn't make any sense for it to be there, people will just pretend it isn't.
  • The character of Clara in The House of the Spirits has telekinesis. It's mentioned that when she was young and people came over for dinner her family worked out a system to prevent people from noticing plates and saltshakers randomly rising into the air. When she's older, her husband and children are utterly unfazed by seeing her sitting in a chair that's zooming around the room and playing the piano with the cover closed.
    • It's at least partially a Magic Realism novel, so that's par for the course.
  • In The Long Dark Teatime Of The Soul, Thor the Thunder God has a spectacular fight with a huge golden eagle in a Primrose Hill neighborhood, in which thunderbolts and hammers are tossed and the opponents Roof Hop between the tops of lampposts. When it's over, an elderly lady who'd paused under one of the lampposts simply resumes her dog's evening walk, content to move on without comment now that the ruckus isn't in her way.
  • Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis does this with Gregor Samsa: when he's turned into a giant insect, nobody among his family seems to recognize it for the miraculous event that it is. Instead, their reaction is mostly annoyance that Gregor can't go to work or do his job anymore, and resentment at having to keep feeding him. One of the more popular interpretations runs with this, suggesting that Gregor isn't actually a giant bug, but has become mentally ill and is hallucinating, delusional, or in the throes of self-loathing and thinks he's a bug, which would explain why his family didn't decide to sell him to a zoo.
  • Mercy Thompson: Subverted in an early chapter of Iron Kissed. Mercy and her friend Kyle hire a lawyer named Ms. Ryan to represent Zee in a murder case. But Mercy is forced to show the lawyer that she is a coyote shapeshifter in order to understand the story. Mr. Ryan does not appear surprised at all at the sight of Mercy stripping naked, in fact she just casually asks if Mercy is a stripper. What does finally shock Ms. Ryan is seeing Mercy shift into a coyote, whom the lawyer thinks is a werewolf.
  • Justified in the Nightside series, where overtly gawking at the bizarre sights and extraordinary characters on the streets only marks you out as a tourist.
  • Paddington Bear: No one bats an eye at the talking bear in the hat and raincoat walking around town. It applies here just as it applies to the movie based the books.
  • Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain:
    • Hardly anyone reacts to Lucyfar and The Inscrutable Machine duking it out in broad daylight in the middle of the city. Heroes and villains also routinely spend time on the subway in full gear, and no one ever bats an eye.
    • In Please Don't Tell My Parents I've Got Henchmen, the various super kids at Penny's school stop hiding. Since there are a lot of them, people only find it weird for a couple days before they just accept it as the new normal. Charlie spends a day in full fish monster form without anyone saying a word, when a student passes out tests telekinetically everyone just groans about the test, and when a glass Cat Girl transfers in everyone remarks on her impeccable manners.
  • In the Principia Discordia, in the story of how the Honest Book of Truth was discovered, Lord Omar is told by a servant of Eris to go to a sacred mound and dig up the book there. He digs for five days and five nights and finds no book, so he decides to take a rest, using a giant golden treasure chest he found on the first day as a pillow.
  • In the Prostokvashino franchise by Eduard Uspensky, hardly anyone bats an eyelid at a six-year-old boy living completely by himself with a sentient, talking dog and a sentient, talking cat. All three of them are able to keep house, make purchases (including a tractor and an experimental heating device), and everyone’s perfectly fine with it.
  • In the The Railway Series story "A Close Shave," a barber seems unfazed by the fact that a train just crashed through his shop. It's only after Duck speaks that the barber is upset that he frightened his customer.
    "Oh, it's only an engine."
  • In one scene in Relativity, two of the superheroes board an elevator. At the second floor, a man in a suit joins them, but he's apparently too tired to notice who he's riding with. He casually gets out at the third floor.
  • In John T Sladek's satire Roderick, none of Roderick's schoolteachers believe he's a robot. They all assume he's a disabled kid in a mobility suit who's fantasizing about being a robot.
  • David Weber's Safehold:
    • Built up in book one, Off Armageddon Reef. King Haarahld and Prince Cayleb each work out that seijin Merlin Athrawes is much more than the already extraordinary person he appears. So much so that when Merlin has to expose some of his full ability to deliver a warning from Cayleb to Haarahld in a single night (when normal methods would have taken two weeks), neither are especially shocked. When Haarahld in particular fails to react to Merlin's sudden appearance, Merlin ponders if their family has some kind of genetic defect since something is clearly wrong with their "Fight or Flight" instincts.
    • The second book, By Schism Rent Asunder, reveals the reason that Haarahld was less than shocked was because he knew about the falsehood of the Church of God Awaiting all along, and suspected Merlin to be the second of two known gambits to overthrow it.
  • The Satanic Verses: When Saladin Chamcha is detained by officers just as he starts turning into a devil, he is the only one that gets freaked out about it: the officers mock his goat-like appearance, but they treat it as something completely mundane instead of a supernatural occurrence.
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: "Aaron Kelly's Bones" is a story about a dancing skeleton. When the man died, his skeleton comes out of the grave and goes back home. His widow is more annoyed that the corpse came back, thinking that she won't collect his life insurance if he keeps hanging around.
    Aaron Kelly: What's goin' on? You all act like somebody died. Who's dead?
    Widow: You are!
    Aaron Kelly: Well, I don't feel dead, I feel fine!
    Widow: (annoyed) You don't look fine, you look dead. You better go back to the grave where you belong.
  • In The Sorcerer's Daughter, the king and princess whom everyone thought long dead are revealed to be alive and well, and hardly anyone even comments on the fact (except when a formerly Angry Mob erupts into cheers upon finding out, and even then they are more overjoyed than shocked). Justified, since The Reveal happens when the ruling princess has just been kidnapped by an evil wizard, and after she is rescued, a plague epidemic begins, so people simply have no time to worry about anything else.
  • Tortall Universe:
    • The Song of the Lioness has Alanna followed around and helped by a supernatural cat. He's black with startling purple eyes, talks, does magic, is generally very intelligent and knowing, and does such very uncatlike things as traveling across the world and joining his mistress in battle. People notice his eyes, and are startled the first time he speaks to them, but largely his strangeness is not remarked upon, although such cats are not otherwise seen in the story. Even Alanna, though she once wonders if he's a god or something, quickly concludes that he's just a cat.
    • Four hundred years prior, he helps a young Provost's Guard named Beka Cooper, and everyone notices that he's strange. Other constables joke that he should get pay, like the scent hounds, for taking shifts. He's accepted, but Beka's friends speculate about him and actually figure out what he is. This discrepancy can partly be attributed to Tamora Pierce growing and changing significantly as a writer in the time between the two series, but there's some in-universe reasoning too: with Beka, the Cat is far more flashy and willing to use strange abilities, while with Alanna he usually keeps to advice and standing guard; he speaks more to Beka's friends than Alanna's, and in Beka's time the gods forbid him to visit the mortal world for one hundred years thanks to his interference. He seems to have learned to be less flashy. And since the end of Mastiff has him spelling George so he doesn't remember that Beka's cat was anything other than ordinary, he may just be using magic to keep too much attention from heading his way.
  • Twilight:
    • The Cullens and Hales in Twilight. For the most part they don't claim to be related by blood, but they're all very pale, young-looking, hot (specifically, they are all breathtakingly beautiful and snow white, with gold—not brown—eyes) people whom Muggles (with the exception of Bella) have a tendency to avoid, but no one seems to find it strange. To be fair, they do find them strange. They simply have stopped caring way before Bella came to the town.
    • In the first book, Edward stopped a runaway van in the school parking lot from hitting Bella, using his bare hands. The book specifically says that a "sea of faces" in the parking lot turned to look. But nobody except Bella noticed anything unusual, including the van driver.
    • Eclipse alludes to a vast amount of death and destruction going on in Seattle thanks to the newborn army, and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner confirms that it reached levels where one would think national security would take interest (especially seeing as the timeline set it at not long after 9/11). While some people are mildly concerned, most of the citizens of Forks pay little attention to the fact that countless people are dying or disappearing, and the streets are filled with fires and car wrecks (and, oh yeah, an entire ferryboat of people die). In Breaking Dawn, no one at all comments on the incident. Of course, it could also be that it's a result of Bella telling the story and being too disturbingly self-centered to care.
    • In New Moon, Charlie doesn't seem to notice Bella coming home with stitches and a huge bandage around her arm. She tries to handwave it as normal for her to come home with injuries from her clumsiness, but one would think such a huge cut would get some attention from the Forks Police Chief.
  • Several characters in Wicked don't think much of Elphaba's unnaturally green skin. When Galinda and Elphaba's Ama Clutch meets Elphaba, she is more interested in her height than anything. She admonishs Galinda for caring about Elphaba's skin and suggests that being around Elphaba will teach her to be more worldly:
    Galinda: Ama, are you blind? That Munchkinlander girl is green.
    Ama Clutch: Odd, isn't it I thought all Munchkinlanders were tiny. She's a proper height, though.
  • According to The Zombie Survival Guide the Romans considered the zombies just like this: a (creepy) problem requiring a practical solution (namely, cut the head off the monster and burn the whole thing as soon as they are all beheaded). They also wrote their own manual to dispatch zombies that allowed them to neutralize all outbreaks in their territories before they became actual threats (the one that did was outside of their territories and prompted both the building of Hadrian's Wall and the creation of the Roman manual).
    • After a certain point, the Historical section states about the Romans, "This was the last Roman Recorded Zombie attack of note, as others were so short or not well enough described to count." Basically, by the end the Romans were curbstomping zombies so effectively they weren't even taking them seriously anymore.
    • This trope was also invoked near the end of the Roman empire, where an old, retired legionnaire saves a woman and child by walking up, decapitating the zombie and walking away.


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