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It's no surprise that I got lost
—Lady Gaga, "Brown Eyes"
Brown eyes make the best Puppy Dog Eyes, and if they're particularly dark, they can be mysterious and sensual. Very dark, and they border on Black Eyes and often even reach it in cheaper art styles. Very light brown eyes are striking, and can get into Hazel Eyes or Eyes of Gold territory.
The majority of humans, except Caucasians, have only brown eyes. So where this is true, brown eyes are seen as the norm and don't symbolize any special personality traits. In fact, a common way of showing that a non-white character is special in some way is by giving them non-brown eyes, which does happen in real life, but is extremely rare and just as bad as Purple Eyes as a Mary Sue marking.
Even in predominantly Caucasian populations, brown eyes are still the most common and therefore the most normal eye colour, and may be used to symbolize that a character is not naturally special. As such, brown-eyed characters are only notable when their personalities are particularly matching, so No Real Life Examples, Please.
It should be noted that these eye color tropes are not just for characters who have eyes of this color, but when the color actually stands for something significant to that character, like blue for water, green for earth, red for evil, ect. Please do not add characters who just happen to have eyes of this color without a substantial reason behind it.
Anime and Manga
- Ken Hidaka from Weiss Kreuz, at least in the original manga. After that, all bets are off.
- Luna (as a cat in the anime) in Sailor Moon has brown eyes and is the (supposedly) down-to-earth mentor to the main heroine.
- Ryou Bakura (in the anime, at least) has big, brown puppy-dog eyes. They're Blue Eyes in the manga.
- Misato Katsuragi, Kozo Fuyutsuki and Toji Suzuhara from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- Pokémon's Ash Ketchum has HUGE brown eyes (usually, they appear to be black as a reference to the original game character design for Red) and he has the best puppy-dog eyes an anime character can have.
- As of Best Wishes/Black and White, they're brown all the time. Have a look.
- The wise, calm and caring healer Tanda from Guardian of the Sacred Spirit.
- Seiya in Saint Seiya.
- Rocket from Ginga Densetsu Weed has rather striking light-brown eyes.
- Yamamoto Takeshi has brown eyes, but he's not exactly down-to-earth like Tsuna, who is most likely the only sane man in his group. He also has brown eyes when not in dying will mode. Tsuna's mother also has brown eyes (sadly, she does not fit this trope)...eyes must really run in the family.
- Bleach: Sado and Ichigo are both down-to-earth and trustworthy and they have the brown eyes to go with it (slightly different shades of brown to each other).
- Fujioka Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club has moderately dark brown eyes. Honey has lighter brown eyes and blond (or very light brown) hair.
- Misao Kusakabe from Lucky Star has big brown eyes.
- Lucy Heartphilia of Fairy Tail has brown eyes, which lampshades her tendency to play the Only Sane Woman of her team.
- Nami and Robin from One Piece are also, in individually different ways, the Only Sane Women of their group, Robin being the stoic one with no exaggerated facial expressions nor Large Ham tendencies, while Nami is probably the one with most common sense - and both of them have brown eyes. Throughout most of the series, Nami's irises are drawn completely black and only shining with brown colors in moments of strong emotions, but recently she is drawn with obvious brown eyes most of the time thanks to Art Evolution.
- In the X Wing Series comics, Plourr Illo is brown-eyed and a rare female Boisterous Bruiser. She's a pilot, a brawler, a mechanic, and secretly a princess with a dark, Anastasia-inspired past. Rather awesome.
- Peter Parker's brown eyes are frequently mentioned in the comics. He's a notable exception to the rule, since white superheroes tend to be pictured with Blue Eyes or Green Eyes.
- Note that his eyes were originally blue until changed by a coloring error. These days, they are officially Hazel Eyes.
- Midnighter of The Authority, the only brown-eyed Caucasian on his team.
- Essentially, every main character in Sonic the Comic. However, Knuckles has Blue Eyes, Sonic was eventually retconned into having Green Eyes once he turned Blue, Tekno has Green Eyes and Tails was eventually retconned into having Blue Eyes.
- Storm of the X-Men, as a minor sign of her genetic mutation, is a black woman with blue eyes.
- Gambit has been shown to have brown eyes when his mutation is switched off.
Film -- Animated
- Half of the official Disney Princesses, e.g., Snow White, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan and Tiana. Pocahontas's and Mulan's are slighty darker and not very obvious. However, the majority of animated female human Disney characters (official or otherwise) actually have Blue Eyes.
- According to Rattlesnake Jake from Rango, Beans (Rango's girlfriend) has brown eyes.
- According to The Jungle Book 2, Shanti (the girl who led Mowgli back to the Man-village with her singing) has "big, brown eyes".
- Hermione Granger has brown eyes. Mad-Eye Moody has one brown eye. Don't forget about Ginny and Molly Weasley. It even becomes a minor plot point in the seventh book.
- Discworld's Tiffany Aching and Agnes Nitt are both sensible and reluctantly brown-eyed.
- 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.
- Granny's Icy Blue Eyes work well with her public (and private, most of the time) persona, though.
- Please remember that Phedre no Delauny of Kushiel's Legacy has eyes that are, not brown as you plebes would describe it, but bistre.
- But it is not their colour that marks them as important, no, they might be passed over entirely but for the scarlet mote that has stricken one of them.
- Bella Swan is insecure about her big, beautiful, chocolate brown eyes, though Edward finds them fascinating. She loses them when she becomes a vampire, but not before she passes them on to baby Nessie.
- Elene from The Night Angel Trilogy has brown eyes, in accordance to her calming and patient role in the story.
- Gregory Maguire subverts this in Wicked, giving dark brown eyes flecked with gold to, of all people, the Wicked Witch of the West.
- In the Anne of Green Gables series, Anne and Gilbert's son and daughter, Shirley and Nan, both have brown hair and brown eyes. It's ironic, as their mother had always wanted this combination in her youth. Shirley, especially, is nicknamed "Little Brown Boy" by the familiy's hired help, Susan, for his brown hair, eyes and dark complexion.
- Samwise Gamegee is the only character in The Lord of the Rings who isn't described as gray-eyed (other than maybe a few minor bad guys). He's pretty much the designated closer-to-Earth character.
- In Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom novel Magic to the Bone, Zayvion has brown eyes with flecks of gold—until he leaves the magic grid, whereupon they are brown. When he drives back, his eyes turn pure gold with only flecks of brown.
- Djaq from the BBC's Robin Hood had large brown eyes, was a wise and stabilising 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.
- Emily from Skins has huge brown eyes and puppy dogs the hell out of them on several occasions.
- With the exception of JJ's baby blues, the whole BAU team, even Garcia, have brown eyes, but Spencer Reid truly has Puppy Dog Eyes. How many times have you looked into the Boy Genius' caramel brown orbs and went "Awww"?
- Glitch of SyFy's Tin Man has big brown eyes. They're a sign of his trustworthiness and bravery, since he's anything but stable.
- Neil and Mike of The Young Ones both have brown eyes. Out of the four flatmates, their personalities are the most low-key and down-to-earth—well, as down-to-earth as you can get on the show—and contrast wildly with those of the noticeably younger, Hot-Blooded Rick and Vyvyan (who both have Blue Eyes).
- Niles Crane on Frasier, in contrast to his brother's Blue Eyes — while he is more rigid, neurotic and fussy than Frasier, he is also more down-to-earth and practical (not to mention Woobieish) and often plays the Straight Man to his brother's overblown, self-deluding shenanigans.
- Hurley of Lost has brown eyes and is one of the most stable of the Losties. Jack, the physician and leader, also has brown eyes.
- Cameron of The Sarah Connor Chronicles (played by Summer Glau, the same actress who portrayed River above) also has brown eyes, which do fit with the notion of stability and trustworthiness; since she's a machine whose primary purpose is protecting John, she is pretty much incapable of not being trustworthy. Until her processor gets damaged.
- Jim Moriarty from BBC's Sherlock has large brown eyes that can be haunting, (the flashback scenes of him being tortured by Mycroft Holmes's men in Reichenbach Fall are a good indicator of this), threatening, really, really cute, and even dead-looking.
- The eyes being so dark brown you can't see his pupils adds a sense of creepiness to the character. They tend to have an empty look which reflects his lack of empathy or emotion.
- Lady Gaga has a song "Brown Eyes" on her debut album, allegedly dedicated to Freddie Mercury.
- "Brown Eyes" is a song by Destiny's Child on the album Survivor.
- Van Morrison. "Brown-Eyed Girl".
- The Pogues, "A Pair of Brown Eyes".
- Chuck Berry's "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man"
- In the "Another Day" number from Rent, Roger mentions Mimi's brown eyes as another attribute of hers that he's trying in vain to ignore. Mimi, meanwhile, is trying to encourage him to enjoy what time he has on earth.
- In a setting that is filled to the brim with Blue Eyes, Green Eyes and yellow eyes, the only two Original Generation characters that have brown eyes in the Kingdom Hearts series are Hayner and Pence, who are, fittingly, a pair of Ordinary High School Students.
- Most characters in Half-Life 2.
- Cream the Rabbit from Sonic the Hedgehog has brown eyes.
- A few Pokémon protagonists, all others have Blue Eyes or Gray Eyes. Red, Leaf, Lyra, Brendan and Hilbert, specifically.
- There's also Prince Fluff from Kirby's Epic Yarn.
- Ron from Kim Possible, subverting the trend of universal color combos, as he's a blond.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, each group of people has a certain eye colour associated with them: gray for Airbenders, green and brown for Earthbenders, blue for Waterbenders and brown/golden brown for Firebenders. In the latter case, the personality associated with brown eyes is turned on its head, because of the Always Chaotic Evil way the firebenders use their powers.
- In Sequel Series The Legend of Korra the rise of mixed marriages and burgeoning multicultural centers sees certain characters avert Elemental Eye Colors. Ikki and Jinora, children of a mixed Air Nomad, and Earth Kingdom Muggle marriage have their father Tenzin's Airbending talent and their mother Pema's Brown Eyes. Pema herself is very down-to-earth, and makes reference to being harried by her quite literally flighty children when her mother-in-law predicts her fourth child will be another Airbender.
Pema: All I want is one child like me, a nice non-bender who doesn't blast wind in my face every five seconds.
- Noah and Tyler from Total Drama Island both have the same type of eyes, although Noah's are notably darker.
- Deconstructed and Inverted in ThunderCats (2011), where two Catfolk characters with this eye color in common are both noted for being neither fully trustworthy nor down-to-Earth. The Dragon, Grune, is a Turncoat former general who always had ambitions of becoming King of Thundera through a military coup. Tygra, who, as a boy, admired and was tutored by Grune, is a Happily Adopted member of Thundera's royal family, who struggles with resentment and jealousy that his younger brother Lion-O's Royal Blood guarantees him the throne and a sword that Only the Chosen May Wield. Both Tygra and Grune are driven to succeed and dislike that the throne is a special privilege reserved for Lions (all of whom have Occult Blue Eyes Green Eyes), instead of more typical hardworking Cats, like themselves.
- Dib from Invader Zim has brown eyes; somewhat fitting, since he is possibly the sanest character in the show.
- While Recess is drawn with the Black Eyes style, it's been mentioned in "The Pest" that Gretchen has brown eyes, and Word of God says that Spinelli has brown eyes.