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 He didn't know it yet, but by the end of the page, Tropey the Wonder Dog... would be dead.

When an author says a character will die way before they do, thus revealing an important part of the plot. This is used mainly for emotional buildup and to change the audience's focus. Rather than "Will this person die?" the audience will wonder "How and why does this person die?"

Subtrope of Foregone Conclusion. Compare Spoiler Title, where for some reason you're still meant to be surprised, or to In Medias Res where they establish some event (might be dying or might not) by showing it and jump back to show how they got there. For the more vague version see: Tonight Someone Dies. Might overlap with Posthumous Narration.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Oh, and X Dies include:

Anime And Manga

  • Shiki appears to combine this with Spoiler Opening once the characters who'd been shown Stripped to the Bone in the opening theme start dying. However, two of them actually survive.
  • The trailer for Neon Genesis Evangelion episode 23 stated that Rei will have to choose sacrificing herself, or allowing Shinji to be attacked. Well, actually it's not the most important event in this episode.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: the beginning of Onikakushi-hen and Watanagashi-hen showcase the double murder of Mion and Rena and Rika's suicide respectively, leaving the audience to wonder exactly how things get that bad. Also partially subverted by the fact that Rika's suicide doesn't happen in the arc that shows that clip (at least on screen), but instead an alternate version of that arc told from Shion's perspective.


Comic Books


Film

  What? What? Hey! Hellloo! What? Why? Why my death? Hello? Excuse me? When?

    • It's an interesting example in that the narrator changes her mind and spares him.
  • The narrator of the MST-ed turd The Dead Talk Back simply will not shut up about the upcoming murder in Act 1. Crow even points out that it won't be all that suspenseful once it happens, and whaddaya know; he's right.
  • It was Francis Ford Coppola's intention to do this with The Godfather Part III -- he wanted to call it The Death of Michael Corleone.
  • Gojira Shizu in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.
  • Played straight and inverted at the same time in Fallen. The movie begins with "let me tell you about the time I almost died. The twist is twofold: a) who's speaking b) you will most likely have forgot about this entirely until it is repeated at the end.
  • In Moulin Rouge, Christian says that the woman he loved is dead.
  • Love Story: "What can you say about a girl who died?"
  • In the beginning narration of Tangled, Flynn states, "This is the story of how I died." He got better, though, so this is something of a subversion.
  • Gnomeo and Juliet. A supporting character clearly believes this is going to happen and states it many times because the troubles of a new-found friend resembles a classic story he once wrote. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • At the beginning of Rango, the mariachi owls declare the story is about "the amazing life and untimely death" of the title character. At the end, when he's still very much alive, they clarify that "he will inevitably die someday" - just not in that story.
  • The film I Miss You opens with Tina telling the audience that her twin sister Cilla will die soon and that the story is about what happens to the sister who is left.
  • Averted in Reservoir Dogs. The original script called for a placard to be displayed onscreen saying that all but one of the main characters will die before the end of the movie, but Quentin Tarantino was talked out of it.
  • The film noir classic Sunset Boulevard opens with a shot of a corpse floating in a swimming pool, while the narrator informs us that he is that corpse.


Literature

  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak runs on this trope. This does absolutely nothing to prevent falling in love with the characters anyway.
  • Indirectly used in the Warrior Cats book Twilight which says one character will face their end, it is left ambiguous in the prologue, but revealed to be Cinderpelt at the end.
    • Also, before the release of the Warrior Cats novel The Last Hope, the author revealed that Firestar would die in it.
  • A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
  • Lamb: The Gospel According To Biff uses this in the home of the first wiseman.
  • Old Yeller, with the dog.
  • There is a book titled My Brother Sam Is Dead. The narrator has a brother named Sam. Guess what happens in the final chapter? Yeah, Sam dies.
  • And then there's John Dies at the End. Guess what happens to John? He dies at the end ... of chapter 1. Kind of.
  • Inverted in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where, before a dramatic and dangerous scene, we are informed (supposedly to relieve the painful suspense) that all the characters survive the scene, and that the worst any of them suffers is a bruise on the elbow. It preserves tension by not specifying who receives the bruise.
  • In The Princess Bride (the book, not the movie), William Goldman's father tells him in advance about Westley's death.

 "What do you mean 'Westley dies'? You mean dies?"

 Grandpa: She doesn't get eaten by the eels at this time.

The Grandson: What?

Grandpa: The eel doesn't get her. I'm explaining to you because you look nervous.

The Grandson: I wasn't nervous. Maybe I was a little bit concerned but that's not the same thing.

      • Appears in the book as well, although it's a shark, not an eel. Goldman then remarks upon how obvious it is that you can't really make shark kibble out of your heroine.
    • Inverted in the movie as well, when it is revealed that Humperdinck lives.
  • In Sienkiewicz Trilogy, during Longinus' Crowning Moment of Awesome the narrator states how his deeds in the battle made his ancestors proud... while also explicitly calling him Last of His Kind.
  • Stephen King's The Stand
    • Granted, The Green Mile is set on death row, but King still makes free and easy with various details of characters' deaths long before they happen. Somehow, he manages to do it in such a way that it only intensifies your urge to read more.
      • King apparently has a strong fondness for this trope. He does it at least twice in Pet Sematary, and there are probably other instances in other works of his.
        • This trope is present in nearly every King book. Seriously, pick a book of his with a large cast and you'll probably find some form of "And that was the last time she ever saw him alive".
  • In Kurt Vonnegut's Galapagos, if a character will die soon, there will be an asterisk by their name. But then, it also has a mild case of Anachronic Order, since it's being narrated by a ghost a million years later. Which just makes it better, since soon is measured in pages.
  • Subverted in One Hundred Years of Solitude, which, early in the novel, describes the feelings of Colonel Aurelino as he's facing the firing line. As it turns out, the soldiers in the firing line are so afraid of the backlash of executing the Colonel in his home village that they defect to the other side.
  • Inverted in Dan Brown's Angels and Demons where he says how a character will survive.
  • The BRIEF Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
  • The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy.
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather.
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, in detailing the deaths of Johnny's brothers, reveals that he too will die young.
  • Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur, or The Death of King Arthur. Of course, the book is also about his life, growing up, becoming King, forming the Round Table, and so on, but it ends with his death.
  • Used many times in A Series of Unfortunate Events. The death of Uncle Monty is spoiled this way in The Reptile Room.
    • Beautifully used in The Wide Window. "Aunt Josephine was not dead. Not yet."
  • The Drowning of Stephan Jones. Guess what? Stephan Jones. . .drowns. It still made this troper cry. They strip Stephen, tease him about his genitalia, and then throw him over the bridge. Totally accidental murder, right?
  • The Kate Atkinson novel Behind The Scenes At The Museum mentions, only a few pages in, that the narrator's sister Gillian will be run over and killed on Christmas Eve several years hence. Also averted hard, in that the narrator has a dead twin sister she's forgotten about, whose death is never explicitly mentioned until the narrator remembers it in her teens. The fact that Gillian's death is dealt with so matter-of-factly throughout the book means this revelation hits even harder.
  • A rather odd pseudo-example or maybe subversion occurs in Dostoevsky's otherwise wonderful The Brothers Karamazov. We are told multiple times that Dmitri is going to perish in a horrible way; but he is very much alive at the end. Sentenced to Siberia, yes, but his friends have a good plan to bust him out. Possibly Dostoevsky was just using it as a metaphor for being sentenced to hard labor. Or maybe Dmitri was going to die horribly in the planned sequels. Or maybe he was just messing with our heads.
  • About halfway through The Poisonwood Bible, Orleanna mentions almost in passing that one of her daughters died in Africa. It isn't until much later that you find out which one. It was Ruth May.
  • The back cover of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency mentions that the cat dies. The cat, however, is practically irrelevant to the story.
  • The Death Of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave. There are actually three people in the book with that name, but it's still more or less obvious who the title is referring to.
  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold, in addition to containing all the relevant information eponymously, does this repeatedly throughout the book in buildup for the murder at the very end. The very first sentence of the book is "On the day they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on."
  • Skippy Dies by Paul Murray.
  • In the Lord of the Rings parody Bored of the Rings, Boromir-analogue arrives at the Council of Orlon with a prophecy that states "You cash in your chips around page eighty-eight." It's off by a few pages.
  • Go Mutants: "A shame he [J!m] didn't know he would be dead before the weekend was out."
  • "I Miss You I Miss You" starts by telling you about identical twins Cilla and Tina and how Cilla won't live to see their next birthday because she's soon going to die in a car accident.
  • In the second book of the Alcatraz Series, Alcatraz casually mentions that Bastille will die by the end. He lied. What did you expect?

Live Action Television

 Rose (VO): This is the story of how I died.

    • Subverted in that she didn't actually die, but got stuck in another dimension, and as a result is officially presumed dead in "ours".
    • The series of specials with the Tenth Doctor hinted then explicitly stated that he was going to die at the end. In this case, it came in the form of vague prophecies rather than stating anything outright. The show tried to heighten the suspense by implying that the Doctor might actually die instead of just regenerate, but given his successor had already been announced, no one was really fooled. In the end, the attempt was explained away by him telling another character that regenerating feels like dying.
  • A flashforward in Lost reveals in advance that Jin never makes it off the island and even shows his gravestone. However, he survives the explosion that you're meant to think killed him. Another at the end of Season 4 reveals John Locke dies as well.
  • Played for Laughs on the Tonight Someone Dies episode of Arrested Development, when the one non-recurring, non-celebrity character from the trailer montage says GOB could "charm the black off a telegraph boy," and the narrator chimes in with "OK, we'll just tell you right now: she's the one that dies."
  • In Babylon 5's fourth-season finale, we see future historians watch some video footage of Garibaldi at the mercy of terrorists; Sheridan refuses their demands, and the video cuts to black, followed by the sound of gunfire. All this comes to pass in Season 5, but Garibaldi's not the one who gets shot.
  • In the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise, the final adventure of the Enterprise NX-1 is shown as a holographic recreation by Will Riker and Deanna Troi. At one point, they sadly look at Trip, and Troi mentions that he didn't know he wouldn't make it back. Trip performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save the Enterprise and Archer.
  • On an episode of Cinematech that crossed over with Gamespot, Jeff Gerstmann finished up a summary of Final Fantasy VII as such: "And oh yeah, Aeris dies."
  • The final episode of the second series of Sherlock opens with Watson tearfully stating that Sherlock Holmes is dead. The rest of the episode is a flashback telling us the circumstances of his death. In a subversion, the final moments of the episode suggest Sherlock may have somehow faked his death.
  • In Season 4 of Fringe, September, an Observer, appears from the future when he gets shot by Jessica he tells Olivia that, "in every possible outcome you have to die" when she is waiting for Lincoln and Peter to return from the other side. In the season finale she is shot and killed by Walter to prevent the collapse of both Universes, however, she is resurrected by the Cortexiphan in her system (debatable fullfillment of September's prophecy).


Theater

 From forth the fatal loins of these two foes

A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life.

Whose misadventured piteous overthrows

Do with their death bury their parents' strife.

  • Bertolt Brecht does this in the play Mother Courage and Her Children by telling you exactly what is going to happen at the beginning of each scene.


Video Games

  • In the intro to The Elder Scrolls Four, Emperor Uriel Septim remarks that his death is only a few hours away.
  • Final Fantasy XIII: The first line of narration acknowledges that the world will never be the same, and subtly forshadows the narrator's death;

  Vanille (in narration): The thirteen days after we awoke were the beginning... of the end.

    • Of course, the narrator is not as blunt as to say she will die by the end of the story, but several of her lines heavily lean towards this:

 You said it made you happy when I smiled, didn't you?

Although we didn't know it... our final journey had just begun.

    • Also, the very nature of being a l'Cie means you will inevitably die (or end up in a horrible situation) in one way or another; ignore your focus - you're a Cie'th - or complete it - you're an elaborate crystal paperweight. Since the party are made l'Cie very early on in the story, it becomes this trope, and the contemplation of this fate is what creates most of the dramatic tension between characters.


Web Comics

  • Concerned: The Half-Life and Death of Gordon Frohman.
  • Homestuck: During the Alterniabound update on 10/25/10, it was revealed that Aradiabot would eventually explode. This didn't actually happen until 12/28/10. However, it's ultimately averted, as the reason Aradia exploded was because her dreamself died on Derse, which, due to the conditions of said death, wound up bringing her back as a GOD.
  • Dominic Deegan has Jayden repeatedly saying she's going to die it's metaphorical; then again that story has barely begun.


Western Animation

  • Less than two minutes into The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie, we find out that Princess Clara is going to die.


Real Life


 Oh my God, Tropey! Look out for those falling... *Splat* ...rocks.

 Oh, Tropey... *sob*... we'll miss you... wait... Where did this medal come from?

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