Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

  • Subverted in Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, when the fate of an important secondary character is seemingly left completely up in the air. However, it becomes abundantly clear what happened to him when his final scene is read in the context of an off-hand remark made by a completely unrelated character several hundred pages prior. (It's Neal Stephenson; what the hell did you expect?)

Could someone explain this more specifically? I must have missed it in the book, and now it's driving me crazy.
I thought the fate of the mouse was rather famously violent? Was this cut from some versions or is there a second mouse? -Leushenko
Actually, IIRC, the Kids Next Door episode "Op. FUGITIVE" is an example of Fake Defector: the spy was posing as a rogue operative escaping decommision to deceive the bad guys. - Andyroid

Actually, no, it wasn't. In one scene the decomissioned operative, who's male, runs through a hall and pants. A second later, someone dressed exactly the same runs in the other direction and pants in a higer pitch. This is the spy, who's female.

Amethyst: Umm.. I have the long version of "The Last Emperor" and it DOES show what happened to the mouse—it wasn't very pleasant. It splatters against the door of the palace gate. (I wonder if they cut that part for theatrical release and then added it back on for the video release?)
Seven Seals: This is a dupe of Left Hanging, unless something can be found to distinguish it with.

Andrew Leprich: More like a mishmash of that and Brother Chuck and Aborted Arc. The title is interesting, but this does seem to be a duplicate.

Ununnilium: Possibly, it's a supertrope to all of these?

Kilyle: Love the title, very graphic, easily can see it in future conversations ("And five minutes before the movie ended, I'm all like, What happened to the mouse??"). After reviewing Left Hanging, it seems clear that LH is about many unresolved issues, whereas WHTTM is about a single unresolved issue. It may be possible to phrase LH as something like "What happened to all those mice?" or "There sure are a lot of mice running (flying?) around" but I don't think it'll be renamed to that effect. I could see WHTTM as a supertrope, yes. Would be nice to have a page like this to discuss the different ways in which this problem can crop up.

Antheia: This seems awfully closely related to Elephant in the Living Room as well.

Ununnilium: Pulling out:

Compare Gecko Ending, where there is a solution, just not a very good one.

...because it's not really related.

In the original fairytale The Frog Prince, the only reason the princess went to the pond (where she met the frog) was to retrieve her golden ball. She meets the frog and forgets all about the ball, making this one of The Oldest Ones in the Book (if the example fits.) This point was brought up in Tom Robbin's novel Still Life With Woodpecker.

  • The "don't bring it up until it's answered version" is common in Avatar.
    • Suki's fate is a big one. We didn't know if she's dead (probably not) escaped, captive, injured, comatose, hypnotised or wandering off somewhere with amnesia thinking she's a panda-duck or something.
    • Jet could count for this. Any mention of him actually dying is Word of God, or just not thinking that He's Just Hiding!.
    • Also Zuko's mom, and to a lesser extent Iroh's escape (which was only briefly covered in Second-Hand Storytelling).

Yet another example of the I Can See Why Ya Thoughgt That But Not Quite It. None of these are WHTTM, or the loose "don't bring it up until it's answered version" they're just plain ol' unresolved storylines. Going by your logic, virtually every single plot element in a series that isn't the main focus 24/7 constitutes as What Happened to the Mouse?.

That Other 1 Dude: So then why is that thing about Beast Wars doing that listed?

As a side note, sign what you're doing and try not to be so snide about this.

wiki: Musta forgot. Can't quite figure out why I went with "wiki" to begin with. For the snide thing, think I'll I'm gonna say is that if there's anything forums and junk have taught me, its that determining/expressing one's personality/tone through text can be kinda, can't think of anything better than "really hard" right now.

As for the trope, just take a look at the first, Suki. As I'm sure your aware, her current position has been explicitly addressed even though it has yet to be resolved. Same thing goes for Ursa. I honestly feel I don't need to touch on that Jet and Iroh thing. Frankly, the person who originally put it down admittedly wasn't even sure themself. Think I'm going with Fast Eddie one this one, this entry seems kinda sketchy as a whole.
Fast Eddie: You know, this is just not a good entry. A rename and redraft without all the anecdotal phrasing is called for.

Cassius335: The name seems fine to me.


  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, at the end of "Battle City," we see Yugi dueling Jounouchi to give him a chance to win back his Red Eyes Black Dragon. Next season he just has it back.

...then Joey won. It's not a difficult conclusion.

Idle Dandy: Funny. I didn't write the bit about the brick joke in the description, but I could have, right down to being told the joke long ago by my dad and not remembering the details. Whenever my dad sees one of these in a show or movie, he shouts, "The brick joke!"

Later: Snipped

Of course, the writers might just be waiting until you forget about the plot element, so that they can reintroduce it by surprise. E.g., this editor's dad refers to (but has never actually told me) a string of jokes where one character throws a brick into the air early on, but that joke ends with the brick just gone... only several jokes later, a joke ends with the brick breaking a window (or knocking a character out, I forget which). If well executed, this is a superb device.

because of splitting into Brick Joke.

Freezer: When I deleted the Takahashi Character Death entry, the referenced trope should've been Brother Chuck, not Put on a Bus. Sorry about that.

i8246i: Rozen Maiden Traumaend referece removed. Megumi's fate, as well as everyone else's, is left intentionally vague. Just be glad that the anime didn't follow the manga, as it ends with that damned rabbit leaving us on a cliffhanger, then shutting a door so we can't see what happens. There's no backstory for any events that happened before Jun picked up Shinku, no reference to why Suigintou is such a cold, heartless doll...just do yourself a favor and don't pick up the manga.

Haven: Cleaned up the Code Geass example, which had started to develop some natter. Also, its first question was "what happened to the hundreds of soldiers Lelouch geassed to be his slaves", which, as the poster below that said: they were the ultimate Red Shirts, who cares?

Regarding Cain's wife, since when did he or Abel have one? As I remember the story, there were 4 people on earth, then three, then for all intents and purposes two again, because Cain killed Abel and went off to die alone. God put a mark on him to make SURE he stayed alone for the rest of his life to think about what he did. Then Adam and Eve tried having -better- kids this time, and yes, those kids did marry each other. The entry should really say "Seth's wife"

Matthew The Raven: Since about when the Torah was written.

Genesis 1: 15 Then the LORD said to him, "Not so! If any one slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.