Opinion Whiplash
When one character's opinion of something or someone abruptly reverses.


(permanent link) added: 2011-07-17 16:22:09 sponsor: IndigoBook (last reply: 2012-03-24 03:44:50)

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Sometimes, Character A will go through an entire book, movie, or episode absolutely hating (or loving) Character B, or a particular book, movie, or something of a similar nature. It seems to be an established fact. Then, suddenly, a single event causes A's opinion to completely reverse. From then on, Character A will keep this opinion, often without mention of the change. This can also be influenced by the opinions of other characters, and the opinion in question may pertain to something other than another character.

When done well, there will be reasonable buildup or background to the change, other characters will react to it, and/or Character A's past feelings may occasionally come up. If it happens with no explanation at all, it's just Bad Writing.

Can lead to Mood Whiplash. A supertrope of Favouritism Flip Flop, Like a Weasel, and Easy Evangelism. Compare Changing My Mind Alongside You.

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Examples:

Literature
  • Used by the government in 1984, seemingly just to fuck with the citizenry and give Mini True more work to do. (We have always been at war with Eurasia.)
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Greatjon Umber has no use for 15-year-old Robb Stark giving him orders, and when Robb promises to burn his castle to the ground if he does not comply, he draws his sword. Robb's direwolf knocks him down, bites off two of his fingers, and Robb says that while it was death to bare steel against one's liege lord, doubtless Umber had just meant to cut his meat. The Greatjon sucks at his fingers, laughs, and replies that Robb's meat is "bloody tough." After that, he becomes Robb's staunchest supporter and is the one to propose they declare him King.
  • Occurs in Harry Potter, when Ron immediately begins to hate Viktor Krum for being stalked by fangirls and dating Hermione. Reversed at the end of the book when Ron asks for his autograph.
    • The Weasleys are extremely critical of Fleur's engagement to Bill, believing it to be a shallow relationship (as they are both exceedingly attractive), until Bill is mauled by a werewolf and Fleur sticks by him. Molly Weasley extends an olive branch as soon as she recovers from the shock.
  • His Majesty's Dragon has Captain Rankin, whom Laurence befriends early in the book. Laurence also befriends a dragon, Levitas, who has a horribly neglectful and abusive captain. Imagine his reaction when he finds out that Rankin himself is Levitas's captain.

Real Life
  • Writer and political pundit David Horowitz went from being a far-left Marxist in the 70s to being a far-right Republican from the 80s onward. The turning point experience (as he wrote in his autobiography) was that he had become convinced that the radical Black Panthers had murdered his colleague, a female fellow writer. The change was virtually immediate.

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