Created By: DracMonster on September 29, 2012 Last Edited By: DracMonster on January 19, 2014
Troped

Rerouted From Heaven

Dead souls are going to the wrong afterlife.

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Trope
The Always Lawful Good Chronic Hero has died after a life of stopping to help. He Goes Into The Light and... wait, it's Fire And Brimstone?

"Cower, mortal! Your Soul Is Mine!"

The dead are not ending up in their correct afterlife. The forces of evil may be nabbing good souls, either before they complete their journey to their final reward, or actually kidnapping them from paradise after they arrive. Souls have so many uses, after all, and even if they didn't, this is a great way to snub the Council of Angels. And when Hell Invades Heaven, there'll be that many less enemies to deal with.

Alternately, it may not be specifically malicious. The Obstructive Bureaucrats running the Celestial Bureaucracy may have cocked things up or perhaps the Afterlife Express hit the wrong switch-track. In these cases, you can also end up with unrepentant Complete Monsters trashing Fluffy Cloud Heaven.

Compare This Isn't Heaven, where a character's personal heaven turns out to be an Ironic Hell; Hell of a Heaven, where it's not as enjoyable as advertised; and Barred from the Afterlife, where a soul can't even pass on in the first place.

ALERT! Death Trope ahead! You will be Spoilered Rotten! Hit the back button, hit the back button!

Examples:

Comic Books

Film
  • At the end of Constantine, the titular character dies and his soul is finally judged worthy of entering heaven, but the devil is so annoyed at being cheated out of his soul that he brings Constantine back to life and cures his cancer so that he has at least a few more years to screw up and get himself damned to hell.

Jokes/Humor
  • A joke recycled every time a celebrity gets caught in a sex scandal: X and the Pope die at the same time, but there's an error and they go to the wrong afterlife. The error is fixed, and they cross each other going down/back up. The Pope asks X if he met the Virgin Mary, X smirks and says they don't call her that anymore.
  • An Evil Lawyer Joke uses this as the setup, where a guy gets sent to hell when he should have gone to heaven. When the Devil refuses to give him back, God threatens to sue, countered by "And where do you think the lawyers are?"

Literature
  • In Ghost Story, Harry Dresden encounters an angel sent to a critically wounded Father Forthill to escort him safely to Heaven if he dies. She explains that Hell would steal even the souls of saints if they could get away with it. And the nether zone of the afterlife is unsafe enough that the souls working there need an angel security guard.
  • In the Incarnations of Immortality series, the system for processing souls is rather messed up, due to God slacking off. Zane, the new Death, is unsatisfied with babies going to Purgatory, and manages to get the system adjusted to send them to Heaven instead. Later on, when Parry takes over running hell in For Love Of Evil, he realizes a large portion of souls arriving there don't deserve it, and tries to show the A Hell of a Time instead. Eventually he instigates a Plan to get God replaced.
  • The Detective Inspector Chen novel Snake Agent begins when a young woman scheduled to go to Heaven is photographed by a brothel in Hell. Turns out that she's not the only one, and the villains plan involves doing it wholesale.
  • In Mark Twain's story, "Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven", Captain Stormfield initially winds up in the "wrong" heaven, an alien one.
  • In The Salvation War, Heaven has been closed off for centuries. Everyone who otherwise would have gone there has gone to Hell instead, no matter how Faithful they were.

Live-Action Television
  • In the episode "Dead Run" from The '80s revival of The Twilight Zone, a truck driver takes a job delivering dead souls to Hell. However, the people he's delivering there seem way too nice to deserve damnation. It turns out the new Celestial Bureaucracy that has taken over is using an overly-literal fundamentalist interpretation of The Bible, mainly due to them being paper-pushing Obstructive Bureaucrats rather than actual malevolence.
  • Bobby Singer in Supernatural went to hell after his death because Crowley, the King of Hell, had it in for him, which we discover in "Taxi Driver" (S08, Ep19).
  • Subverted (or Inverted?) in Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6. At the end of season 5 Buffy dies. At the beginning of 6 her friends are worried that her soul may have been sent to a hell dimension so they bring her back from the dead. Turns out she was in heaven. Oops.

Newspaper Comics

Tabletop Games
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons module A Paladin In Hell, during the funeral of a powerful paladin, the entire temple hosting the service is dragged into hell to claim his soul. The players have to travel to hell, find the temple and free his soul. Oh, and the module was close to Tomb of Horrors in terms of unfair difficulty.
  • In the Forgotten Realms setting, souls that end up in the Fugue Plane (those that were religious but didn't devote themselves to a specific patron deity, those who betrayed their creed, and atheists) can have this happen to them courtesy of fiends. The baatezu (a.k.a. devils, Lawful Evil fiends) have an agreement with the Fugue Plane's administration that they can try to talk unclaimed souls into going with them, while the tanar'ri (a.k.a. demons, Chaotic Evil fiends) simply resort to mass kidnapping.

Video Games
  • Kodlak in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim wants to go to the Nordic afterlife of Sovngarde, but since he's a werewolf, knows that the Daedra Hircine will claim his soul after death instead. Kodlak is killed when his home is attacked by werewolf hunters, but the Dovahkiin is able to break his curse after his death, freeing his soul from Hircine's realm.
  • Grim Fandango: Big Bad Hector is stealing tickets to the Number Nine express, a luxury train that takes the most virtuous souls directly to the next underworld, and selling them to people who don't deserve them. However, the tickets he's selling are counterfeit, he's hoarding the real ones for himself in a desperate bid to balance out a life of evil.
  • In The Legend of Dragoon, the Wingly civilization built a machine that reroutes all human souls to hell (because they could, apparently). By the time of the game, the device has largely broken down so that now it only snags those souls who are in great emotional turmoil, including a main character and several bosses.
  • In Dante's Inferno, Beatrice, who is the wife of Dante is dragged into hell because Dante cheated death. Dante has to descend into hell to save Beatrice's soul.
  • In Final Fantasy IX, souls return to The Lifestream of the planet they came from. The Evil Plan of Garland is to reroute the souls of the entire population of Gaea through an artificial tree which will "cleanse" them (purge them of identity) and then reroute them to his planet, Terra, so that the long-dead Terrans that created him will be reborn.

Web Animation

Web Comics
  • pictures for sad children: Paul, after being a ghost for about a year, receives a letter admitting him to the afterlife. He should have gotten it immediately after his death, but it got lost in the mail. This causes problems when Paul decides he'd rather not pass on: since he was informed of the afterlife so late, he has much less time to fulfill the requirements to stay on Earth as a ghost.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • South Park: In an early episode (later retconned?) we learn that only Mormons get into Heaven, everyone else goes to Hell. But Satan, having had it up to here with Saddam Hussein, gets God to send Hussein to Heaven along with all the Mormons (because to Hussein, that is hell).
  • At the end of one episode of The Simpsons, The Rapture happens and Lisa (but no other Simpson) is being lifted bodily into heaven. Homer grabs her ankle and makes her go to hell with the rest of the family.
  • An episode of Eek! The Cat has Eek dying and winding up in the Celestial Bureaucracy. This shouldn't have happened in the first place, because Eek hadn't used up all nine of his lives yet. Then, a damned soul asks Eek to hold his rap sheet while he "goes to the bathroom", so Eek winds up getting sent to Hell in his place. However, Eek is so optimistic that the torments of Hell don't affect him at all, and he succeeds at all the Sisyphean tasks the Devil sets for him.
Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • September 29, 2012
    SAMAS
    • In The Salvation War, Heaven has been closed off for centuries. Everyone who otherwise would have gone there has gone to Hell instead, no matter how Faithful they were.

  • September 29, 2012
    nitrokitty
    • Grim Fandango: Big Bad Hector is stealing tickets to the Number Nine express, a luxury train that takes the most virtuous souls directly to the next underworld, and selling them to people who don't deserve them. However, the tickets he's selling are counterfeit, he's hoarding the real ones for himself in a desperate bid to balance out a life of evil.
  • September 29, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    In Ghost Story, Harry Dresden encounters an angel sent to a critically wounded Father Forthill to escort him safely to Heaven if he dies. She explains that Hell would steal even the souls of saints if they could get away with it. And the nether zone of the afterlife is unsafe enough that the souls working there need an angel security guard.

  • October 2, 2012
    Generality
    • In Legend Of Dragoon, the Wingly civilization built a machine that reroutes all human souls to hell (because they could, apparently). By the time of the game, the device has largely broken down so that now it only snags those souls who are in great emotional turmoil, including a main character and several bosses.
  • January 28, 2013
    randomsurfer
    At the end of one episode of The Simpsons The Rapture happens and Lisa (but no other Simpson) is being lifted bodily into heaven. Homer grabs her ankle and makes her go to hell with the rest of the family.
  • January 28, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    Speaking of Skyrim, it's revealed that after you defeat Alduin, the Big Bad of the game, for the first time, he heads into Sovngarde, the Warrior Heaven of Tamriel, in order to regain his lost power -- by feasting on the souls of the dead that are winding up there as a result of the war going down in Skyrim.
  • January 28, 2013
    Chabal2
    • The Far Side has a cartoon of a man and pigs in Fluffy Cloud Heaven, captioned "Through an unfortunate celestial error, Ernie is sent to Hog Heaven".
    • A joke recycled every time a celebrity gets caught in a sex scandal: X and the pope die at the same time, but there's an error and they go to the wrong afterlife. The error is fixed, and they cross each other going down/back up. The pope asks X if he met the Virgin Mary, X smirks and says they don't call her that anymore.
    • An Evil Lawyer Joke uses this as the setup, where a guy gets sent to hell when he should have gone to heaven. When the Devil refuses to give him back, God threatens to sue, countered by "And where do you think the lawyers are?"
  • January 30, 2013
    MetaFour
    • An episode of Eek The Cat has Eek dying and winding up in the Celestial Bureaucracy. This shouldn't have happened in the first place, because Eek hadn't used up all nine of his lives yet. Then, a damned soul asks Eek to hold his rap sheet while he "goes to the bathroom", so Eek winds up getting sent to Hell in his place. However, Eek is so optimistic that the torments of Hell don't affect him at all, and he succeeds at all the Sisyphean tasks the Devil sets for him. The episode ends with the Bureaucracy realizing the mistake and sending Eek back to Earth.
  • January 30, 2013
    StarSword
    Tabletop Games:
    • In the Forgotten Realms setting the demons periodically mount raids on the Fugue Plane to steal souls from the Wall of the Faithless. Frankly neither option is particularly appealing: being taken by the demons means being used as currency and/or being turned into one, and staying on the wall means you're gradually eaten by it.
  • January 31, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Subverted (or Inverted?) in Buffy The Vampire Slayer season 6. At the end of season 5 Buffy dies. At the beginning of 6 her friends are worried that her soul may have been sent to a hell dimension so they bring her back from the dead. Turns out she was in heaven. Oops.
  • January 31, 2013
    SKJAM
    The Detective Inspector Chen novel Snake Agent begins when a young woman scheduled to go to Heaven is photographed by a brothel in Hell. Turns out that she's not the only one, and the villains plan involves doing it wholesale.
  • April 2, 2013
    adrianleverkuhn
    Bobby Singer in Supernatural went to hell after his death because Crowley, the King of Hell, had it in for him, which we discover in "Taxi Driver" (S08, Ep19).
  • April 2, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    In "The Saga of Biorn" by The Animated Workshop, the eponymous viking is seeking honorable death in battle in order to gain entrance into Valhalla. After many failures at finding a worthy opponent, he suffers a mortal blow while defending a convent of nuns from a giant. As Biorn ascends the stairs to his reward, the nuns repay him posthumously with a Christian burial, causing him to wind up in Fluffy Cloud Heaven which turns out just as boring as the Helheim he was desperately trying to avoid.
  • April 3, 2013
    MetaFour
    • Pictures For Sad Children: Paul, after being a ghost for about a year, receives a letter admitting him to the afterlife. He should have gotten it immediately after his death, but it got lost in the mail. This causes problems when Paul decides he'd rather not pass on: since he was informed of the afterlife so late, he has much less time to fulfill the requirements to stay on Earth as a ghost.
  • September 12, 2013
    JonnyB
    In Mark Twain's story, "Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven", Captain Stormfield initially winds up in the "wrong" heaven, an alien one.
  • September 12, 2013
    DAN004
    Would "Rerouted From Hell" count as this trope, or an inversion?

    BTW this can also be done when God Is Evil.
  • September 12, 2013
    randomsurfer
    South Park: In an early episode (later retconned?) we learn that only Mormons get into Heaven, everyone else goes to Hell. But Satan, having had it up to here with Saddam Hussein, gets God to send Hussein to Heaven along with all the Mormons (because to Hussein, that is hell).
  • September 12, 2013
    ChunkyDaddy
    Video Games
    • In Dantes Inferno, Beatrice, who is the wife of Dante is dragged into hell because Dante cheated death. Dante has to descend into hell to save Beatrice's soul.
  • January 18, 2014
    GuyWeknow
    In US Being Human, dead souls are being redirected by a witch for her own purposes

  • January 18, 2014
    StarSword
    Tabletop Games:
    • In the Forgotten Realms setting, souls that end up in the Fugue Plane (those that were religious but didn't devote themselves to a specific patron deity, those who betrayed their creed, and atheists) can have this happen to them courtesy of fiends. The baatezu (a.k.a. devils, Lawful Evil fiends) have an agreement with the Fugue Plane's administration that they can try to talk unclaimed souls into going with them, while the tanar'ri (a.k.a. demons, Chaotic Evil fiends) simply resort to mass kidnapping.
  • January 18, 2014
    IndirectActiveTransport
  • January 18, 2014
    DracMonster
    Hey, wow I forgot about this old thing and now suddenly it rises from the grave! Guess I should get rollin'.
  • January 18, 2014
    KingZeal
    • In Final Fantasy IX, souls return to The Lifestream of the planet they came from. The Evil Plan of Garland is to reroute the souls of the entire population of Gaea through an artificial tree which will "cleanse" them (purge them of identity) and then reroute them to his planet, Terra, so that the long-dead Terrans that created him will be reborn.
  • January 18, 2014
    DAN004
    Launch plz.
  • January 18, 2014
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Cleaned out the "Web Original" category since it's supposed to be deprecated; The Salvation War is now in Literature and The Saga of Biorn is Web Animation.
  • January 18, 2014
    Dawnwing
    Literature:

    • In Warrior Cats, when Flametail dies and goes to StarClan (the feline equivalent of heaven), he ends up lost and winds up in the Dark Forest (hell). The Dark Forest cats are planning war on the Clans, so Brokenstar orders Ivytail to prove her loyalty by killing Flametail's spirit.
    • In The Skinjacker Trilogy, children who get lost on their way to heaven end up in Everlost, somewhere halfway between Earth and the afterlife. They each "wake" in Everlost with a coin in their pocket, and when it is their time to move on, they will do so when they hold the coin.
  • January 18, 2014
    StarSword
    ^^It's the Web Original namespace that's mostly deprecated. AFAIK Web Original is still acceptable for use as a folder category (though there's nothing wrong with what you did).
  • January 19, 2014
    NESBoy
    In the DK Vine feature Bitching About Brawl, the recently deceased Tom Poston and Chris Benoit had ended up in Hell and Heaven respectively. Pit was in the middle of bringing Benoit to Hell to exchange him with Poston when he first visits Bob O. Friend.
  • January 19, 2014
    DAN004
    Launch?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=6l0wjbx6eualts48i9dnduz9&trope=ReroutedFromHeaven