Internal Retcon


(permanent link) added: 2010-02-21 13:54:18 sponsor: SomeGuy (last reply: 2010-02-24 13:30:13)

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Let's face it. Facts are rather inconvenient things. If people know exactly how some really bad things went down in the story, they might freak out a little bit, realizing that they live in a Crapsack World and are liable to be killed senselessly and pointlessly for ridiculous reasons.

Enter the Internal Retcon. This trope allows the reigning authority figure (typically determined by Might Makes Right) to force everyone to pretend like something else is what really happened, simply because the consequences of the truth coming out are really dangerous.

Most popular as a way of ending either a story arc or a story proper. Naturally, spoilers are rather unavoidable in describing this phenomenon as a result.

Examples:
  • One of these is integral in making the ending of Watchmen work - and the one character who refuses to go along with the plan is naturally killed.
  • This is how the first issue of Sin City concludes. For obvious reasons it can't come out that a member of the Roark family was involved with a cannibal serial killer, so the police force Marv to confess to all of the crimes committed by Roark and Kevin.
  • An open-ended example occurs in The Order of the Stick where Haley agrees to act as if her "leaving" the Thieves' Guild was a highly elaborate ploy to make adventurers everywhere hesitant to accept a non-Guild sanctioned Thief in their party lest they turn out to be a secret assassin. It's open-ended because Haley kills Crystal and leaves the Thieves' Guild again- but it likely isn't in Bazzok's current interest to undo the Retcon since it would also undo the public relations scheme.
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