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Good Morning, Crono! Happy birthday! Come downstairs and open your presents!
This trope is when the story more or less begins with the announcement that it's the main character's birthday. Often it isn't just any birthday, either; it's the day the hero finally reaches adulthood.
Why is this? Well... birthdays represent the start of a new chapter in one's life, which is suitably fitting for the beginning of the story itself. And it's a convenient way to establish how old a character is.
This can let the story start off with people deciding that it's time for the hero to learn an important secret about themselves. Or a mysterious character giving a bizarre, plot -related birthday present, amongst other things.
- In the Marvel Universe, most mutants gain their powers during puberty. In a surprising number of cases, this happens specifically on their fourteenth or fifteenth birthday.
- Sixteen Candles. Subverted in that everyone in her family forgot Samantha's birthday.
- Lord of the Rings begins with Frodo's 33rd (and Bilbo's
111thEleventy-first) birthday. Since hobbits are long-lived, 33 is their coming-of-age year.
- In the YA novel The Silver Crown, the heroine gets the titular crown for her birthday.
- Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series. The events of book 2 (which has the same name as the series) start shortly before Will Stanton's 11th birthday.
- Harry Potter learned he was a wizard at more or less the hour he turned 11, and most of the other books started on or near his birthday.
- Lirael's book opens on her fourteenth birthday. However, to her it's a humiliation because she has not yet had the Sight, or been Seen with the Sight, and is therefore still a child among the Clayr. However, the events of the day do change her life dramatically.
Live Action TV
- Once Upon a Time opens on Emma's twenty-eight birthday.
- The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, where it also justifies Link's classic green tunic: He would normally be wearing something else, but village tradition dictates that on their birthday all boys must dress like the hero of legend.
- Skyward Sword downplays this, as it is the 25th anniversary of the Knights' Academy that Link is attending, but it is also the day he graduates to the Senior class. Much like the Sonic Generations example below, it is also the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda series.
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link takes place on his sixteenth birthday, when the mark of the Triforce suddenly appears on his hand.
- Fallout 3 starts with the hero's birth, and continues through several more birthdays before it really gets going.
- Loom starts with Bobbin's seventeenth birthday.
- Dragon Quest III begins on the hero/heroine's sixteenth birthday, and their being summoned for an audience with the King. The King basically tells them "Okay, you're old enough now to pick up where your father left off and Save the World."
- Played with in Portal 2 - GLaDOS claims the day Chell woke up was her birthday, but this may just be a lie made up to hurt Chell, and give GLaDOS an excuse to give her a "surprise".
GLaDOS: I made it all up...surprise!
- Players of The Neverhood learn that the game begins at Klaymen's birth (well, seeding) through Willie Trombone's video confession.
- Sonic Generations' plot starts with a party for Sonic's birthday (and meta-wise, the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise's 20th Anniversary).
- Car Battler Joe starts on Joe's sixteenth birthday.
- Homestuck. See the page quote above.
- In El Goonish Shive, the Before The Party arc starts with the announcement that Grace's birthday is coming up which is followed by the Grace's Birthday Party arc.
- Survival of the Fittest: The start of Version 1 is Jacob Starr's sixteenth birthday, though he counts more as a villain than a hero. Also, according to her profile the day of the Version 4 abductions was Anna Chase's eighteenth birthday. And finally, played with in regards to Cillian Crowe, who after being taken out of the asylum assumes that they're letting him out because it's his birthday, and sings Happy Birthday to himself. Again, he qualifies more as a villain than a hero, seeing as he slaughters the next character he sees after cheerfully telling him that it's his birthday.
- At the start of the Underdog story "Pain Strikes Underdog", Sweet Polly Purebred told Underdog that she was planning a party for his birthday the next day.