Created By: shimaspawn on September 18, 2011 Last Edited By: shimaspawn on May 20, 2014

Purgatory

The place between Heaven and Hell

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Alt titles: Limbo. Rolling Updates, Needs More Examples


Purgatory, also called Limbo, is the waiting room of The Afterlife. It's where you get sent if you aren't good enough for Heaven, aren't bad enough for Hell, or you're just waiting around to go somewhere else or get Reincarnated to try again. It's typically depicted as a dull grey space where nothing ever happens.

This is often the first place that people encounter when they die, and is thus often used as a place to sort the souls of the departed.


Examples:

Film
  • In the Van Helsing movie, the priest/bishop at the beginning states that if Dracula isn't vanquished by Anna Valerious, her whole family will stay in Purgatory.
  • In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the "white hotel room" Dave Bowman finds himself in after entering the monolith is a secular version of this, as it is an intermediate step between his existence as a human being and his existence as the immortal Starchild.

Literature:
  • In Dante's Divine Comedy, Purgatorio (the middle work of the trilogy) is set there. Limbo is the outermost circle of Hell. It's the final destination of "failed" souls who never attained salvation but aren't evil enough to merit any worse punishment then simply being estranged from God forever. In contrast, Purgatory is a sort of tough-love reform camp for saved but flawed souls who need to finish the process of becoming perfected enough to enter Heaven.
  • Over Heaven Under Hell by Margo Lanagan is set in a realm where "the only hunger is for hunger", where people who commit suicide or never heard the gospel go, and the inhabitants of which eventually earn entry into heaven by working for the Celestial Bureaucracy.
  • In Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series, Limbo is where the various Incarnations live when they aren't on Earth actively running the universe. Their "support staff", the people who serve and support the Incarnations in their jobs, are all dead people who weren't good enough to get into Heaven, nor evil enough to be sentenced to Hell.

Live Action TV
  • In the Saint Elsewhere episode "After Life", Dr. Wayne Fiscus has a near death experience after being shot. His visions include a trip to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory (which surprises him, since as he says, "I'm not Catholic"), during which he meets the souls of patients and friends who have already died.

Religion and Mythology
  • In Catholic dogma, Purgatory and Limbo are often considered two different places. Limbo is eternal, while the Purgatory is the temporary home of those souls who deserve Heaven, but still needs to be purged by the Seven Sins. In other words, Limbo is eternal, Purgatory is not. Also, souls from the Purgatory don't need to wait the End of the World to get to Heaven.
  • Erebus in Greek Mythology was pretty much a shadowy limbo for "neutral" souls, between Tartarus and Elysium.

Web Comics:

Western Animation
  • Featured in a Cutaway Gag in Family Guy, showing the family floating in a white void, feeling ambivalent about the situation.
Community Feedback Replies: 81
  • September 18, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Literature:
    • In Dante's Divine Comedy, Purgatorio (the middle work of the trilogy) is set there.
  • September 18, 2011
    Lumpenprole
    Not exactly. In Dante's works, Limbo is the outermost circle of Hell. It's the final destination of "failed" souls who never attained salvation but aren't evil enough to merit any worse punishment then simply being estranged from God forever. In contrast, Purgatory is a sort of tough-love reform camp for saved but flawed souls who need to finish the process of becoming perfected enough to enter Heaven.
  • September 18, 2011
    PaulA
    It's not just Dante: in official doctrine Purgatory and Limbo are two distinct and quite different things.
  • September 18, 2011
    kuyanJ
    Over Heaven Under Hell by Margo Lanagan is set in a realm where "the only hunger is for hunger", where people who commit suicide or never heard the gospel go, and the inhabitants of which eventually earn entry into heaven by working for the Celestial Bureaucracy.
  • September 18, 2011
    shimaspawn
    ^^ Write an example. Don't just give links. I've seen some people treat them as one thing. Some people treat them as two things. Some people swap the terms around. Write it out as an example.
  • September 19, 2011
    PaulA
    ^ What I'm saying is that "Purgatory" and "Limbo" have specific, official definitions in Catholic theology. If "some people" swap them around or blend them together, those people have failed to do the research or are deliberately misappropriating the terminology.
  • September 19, 2011
    Ryuuma
    Actually Purgatory and Limbo are often considered two different places. Limbo is eternal, while the Purgatory is the temporary home of those souls who deserve Heaven, but still needs to be purged by the Seven Sins. In other words, Limbo is eternal, Purgatory is not. Also, souls from the Purgatory don't need to wait the End of the World to get to Heaven.

    • In the Van Helsing movie, the priest/bishop at the beginning states that if Dracula isn't vanquished by Anna Valerious, her whole family will stay in Purgatory. Which makes no sense as punishment, as stated above.
  • September 19, 2011
    shimaspawn
    Catholic theology is not the only theology. They are not the only people allowed to have a say on the subject. They can be an example, but their version is no more official than any other version.
  • September 19, 2011
    shimaspawn
    Catholics are not the only religion in the world. They are not the only people allowed to have opinions on things. Their version is no more official than anyone else's. They can be an example but they don't get to define the trope. The people who use the words interchangeably just aren't Catholic and are thus not bound to their dogma.
  • September 19, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    ^If we define this trope as "where you get sent if you aren't good enough for Heaven, aren't bad enough for Hell, or you're just waiting around for Reincarnation to try again" then this would include both the Catholic Limbo, where people who aren't saved but did not lead a sinful life, such as aborted babies and Greek philosophers, end up, and the Catholic Purgatory, where sinners who are saved but too sinful to enter the Catholic Heaven are sent.

    It would also include the Fluffy Cloud Heaven in Order Of The Stick, which fits "you're just waiting around for Reincarnation".
  • September 19, 2011
    Generality
    Featured in a Cutaway Gag in Family Guy, showing the family floating in a white void, feeling ambivalent about the situation.
  • September 19, 2011
    shimaspawn
    ^^ Any version of heaven or hell is not this trope, but some religions have cosmic waiting room type places without having a heaven or a hell.
  • September 19, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    ^The way it works in Order Of The Stick is if you claim to be Lawful Good, you go to Fluffy Cloud Heaven to wait in line to be checked out by the Celestial Bureaucracy to see if you can be allowed into the real Lawful Good Heaven, which is a mountain. If you are a Player Character, however, you usually get reincarnated, so you can just wait there until it's time if you prefer.
  • September 19, 2011
    shimaspawn
    Ok, the line you wait in is this trope. Can you write it all up as one cohesive example that sounds like this trope?
  • September 19, 2011
    PaulA
    shimaspawn, let us consider this statement that Catholics are not the only people allowed to have an opinion on this subject.

    It depends what you think "this subject" is.

    If you mean "the subject of waiting rooms in afterlives", then I agree entirely. If you mean "the subject of Purgatory and Limbo", I'm much more resistant. And the point I'm trying to get you to understand is that these two subjects don't amount to the same thing.

    "Purgatory" and "Limbo" are not just interchangeable labels for "the waiting room in the afterlife"; they're specific concepts, with specific criteria of who's waiting, why they're waiting, and what they're doing to pass the time. And they're Catholic concepts. When it comes to Purgatory and Limbo, the Catholics' version is more official than anybody else's.

    I am not saying don't do the trope; I think it's potentially a good trope. I am saying that you need to find a better, more general, name for it and stop misusing "Purgatory" and "Limbo".
  • September 19, 2011
    shimaspawn
    The Catholics are not the only ones using the terms. Other people use the terms for other things in media which is what we're documenting. In media the terms are used interchangeably. Thus what Catholics believe doesn't matter more than one example.
  • September 19, 2011
    PaulA
    I can't think of a single example of purgatory being used in media that wasn't meant to be the Catholic version (if sometimes a profoundly misunderstood version of it). You haven't collected any examples of it yet, either: The Divine Comedy is tied to Catholic theology, Van Helsing ditto.

    What we're documenting, as I understand it, is "waiting room in the afterlife", whatever it happens to be called. Not all the examples you've collected actually use the terms "purgatory" or "limbo", and I see no reason why the trope name needs to use them either.
  • September 19, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Webcomics:
  • September 19, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In The Frantics' "Heaven is for Presbyterians" a Catholic dead guy (Thomas) goes to heaven and is greeted by St. Peter, only to discover that Heaven is for Presbyterians only, on the grounds that they never started any Holy Wars. Thomas challenges that.
    Thomas: So anyone who isn't a Presbyterian goes to Hell?
    St. Peter: No, no, Baptists go to Purgatory.
    Thomas: Oh, God likes Baptists?
    St. Peter: No, God likes to get their hopes up. Then, just when they figure they're in, dispatched to the nether regions.
    [snip]
    Thomas: Well, wait, hold on a second. Isn't the Ulster Defence League Presbyterian?
    St. Peter: No.
    Thomas: I think they are, I think they are.
    St. Peter: Well, I'm not sure. I'll, go check. ... Why don't you just wait in Purgatory 'til I find this out, okay?
    Thomas: With the Baptists? No, thanks--I'll wait in Limbo. opens door, "Limbo" music plays
  • September 19, 2011
    shimaspawn
    Purgatory and Limbo are the names most commonly used. Them being misused is entirely in the minds of the Catholics. Everyone else is free to use them however they want. We are documenting media. Not divergence from Catholicism. As such, I'm using the name that people know and will be able to find.
  • September 20, 2011
    Worldmaker
    PAUL! Calm yourself, take a step back, and realize you're being a little unreasonable about this issue. As has repeatedly been pointed out, the Catholics do not own this trope. While I (or no one else here, really) would have no problem with you insisting that the Religion and Mythology entry regarding the actual dogma of the Roman Catholic Church says about Purgatory and Limbo be written so as to get the actual Catholic view correct, ''you cannot apply the same standard to how this trope, or even the words Purgatory or Limbo, are used outside of references to the Catholic Church.

    And your insistence that every use of the concept is a Catholic use of the concept is nothing more than Fan Myopia applied to religion.

    Film
    • In Two Thousand One, the "white hotel room" Dave Bowman finds himself in after entering the monolith is a secular version of this, as it is an intermediate step between his existence as a human being and his existence as the immortal Starchild.

    Literature
    • In Piers Anthony's Incarnations Of Immortality series, Limbo is where the various Incarnations live when they aren't on Earth actively running the universe. Their "support staff", the people who serve and support the Incarnations in their jobs, are all dead people who weren't good enough to get into Heaven, nor evil enough to be sentenced to Hell.

    Live Action TV
    • In the Saint Elsewhere episode "After Life", Dr. Wayne Fiscus has a near death experience after being shot. His visions include a trip to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory (which surprises him, since as he says, "I'm not Catholic"), during which he meets the souls of patients and friends who have already died.

    Oh, we need a new redirect.
  • September 20, 2011
    Ryuuma
    The Crossroad from Tales Of Monkey Island is a sort of (Hollywood) Voodoo Limbo for pirates: It contains three main "paths" from which a pirate may carry on his journey to the true afterlife.
  • September 20, 2011
    PaulA
    If I'm getting angry in this thread, it's because people keep trying to rebut arguments I'm not making. I don't mind being disagreed with, necessarily, but I'm not getting the feeling that I'm even being understood.

    It has indeed been repeatedly pointed out that the Catholics do not own the trope. And it's only making me grumpier, because I know that. Of course there are afterlife-waiting-room-things that aren't Catholic. (There's one in Greek mythology, predating Christianity by centuries, which nobody's mentioned yet.)

    My point of contention is using "Purgatory", a specific term from Catholic theology, as a general synonym for "afterlife-waiting-room-thing". That not all afterlife-waiting-room-things are Catholic is precisely one of the reasons why.

    I myself am not an adherent -- and certainly not a "fan" -- of Catholicism, by the way. I'm a pedant; I get narky about careless misuse of words, and the blurring of useful distinctions.

    The word "purgatory" means something. It's derived from the same root as the word "purge", and means a place of cleansing. In Catholic theology, with a capital P, it means the place in the afterlife where penitent souls are cleansed so they can get into heaven -- not, incidentally, at all "a dull grey space where nothing ever happens", as per the trope description -- but the important word in there is "cleansed", not "afterlife". Most dictionaries will have a definition for "purgatory" that includes cleansing and excludes the afterlife, but you won't find one where "purgatory" means a place in the afterlife without the cleansing.

    Once we start saying that it doesn't matter what words mean, anything could banana lutefisk.
  • September 20, 2011
    PaulA
    Regarding my "insistence that every use of the concept is a Catholic use of the concept":

    First, if by "the concept" you mean "the concept of afterlife-waiting-room-things generally", I repeat that I insist on no such thing.

    I'm also not claiming, though I can see I might have given that impression, that any work of fiction that refers to Purgatory must automatically be referring to the Catholic version.

    What I'm saying is that, in my experience, every work of fiction that uses an afterlife thing called Purgatory says itself that it's talking about the Catholic version. This holds true for, at the least, every relevant example this thread has so far collected. The Divine Comedy is based on Catholic theology. In Van Helsing it's a Catholic cardinal who brings the subject up. In St Elsewhere, a non-Catholic is surprised to learn that his afterlife includes Purgatory, explicitly because he's not Catholic and Purgatory is a Catholic thing. And so on.
  • September 20, 2011
    PaulA
    Limbo, to be clear, I don't really have an issue with, as long as nobody's trying to claim it's the same thing as Purgatory. The word "limbo" has a long history outside the Christian sphere, reflected in dictionaries and other places. If you were looking for a title for a trope about a dull grey space in the afterlife where nothing ever happens, you could do worse than "Limbo".
  • September 20, 2011
    Ryuuma
    • Erebus in Greek Mythology was pretty much a shadowy limbo for "neutral" souls, between Tartarus and Elysium.
  • September 21, 2011
    shimaspawn
    Not every work that contains purgatory is talking about the Catholic term. I've frequently seen it completely detached especially when looking at works from other cultures or from people who aren't religious. It's part of the public conciousness. Works made by people who aren't particularly devout tend to blur things. They'll use words however they feel like no matter what some people may think the correct definition is. I understand what you're saying, but that doesn't make it right. Words evolve beyond their etymology constantly. Just because one group has one definition of things doesn't make it the only possible definition.

    You seem almost irrationally fixated on sticking strictly to one definition which isn't consistently used by fiction, the thing we're documenting. That's not helpful. That just interjects large amounts of myopia into the trope and makes people rule out good examples because they don't fit into your narrow mind.

    You're really just acting irrational about this. I have seen the two terms used interchangeably. Even your Van Helsing example does that despite having tentative ties to Christianity. The thing about fiction is, outside of the church, no one cares enough about the issue to worry about the terms besides you.
  • September 21, 2011
    PaulA
    No, no. We've done this bit already.

    You've already said "There are many examples of 'purgatory' being used in a generic non-Catholic way, and I've seen them", and I've already said "I haven't seen a single one, and my experience leads me to believe they don't exist".

    If you just say "There are many examples of 'purgatory' being used in a generic non-Catholic way, and I've seen them" again, we'll be going around in circles.

    You need to say something new now, like "Well, what about [specific example here]? Have you seen that?", and then I'll say "No, I hadn't, but gosh you're right!" (or possibly I won't, but either way we'll have made some kind of progress).
  • September 21, 2011
    PaulA
    Alternatively, can I suggest another course of action?

    Just leave Purgatory out of it. Find another title ("Limbo", as I've said, is not bad), describe the the trope without using the word "purgatory", kick out the Van Helsing example that just has people talking about Purgatory and doesn't actually show an afterlife-waiting-room-place, and you'll have a perfectly reasonable trope and we can put this argument behind us.

    I realise I'm the last person you're likely to take suggestions from, but I hope you'll consider this one anyway.
  • September 21, 2011
    shimaspawn
    If you would stop filling the comments with arguments denying their existence then we'd probably get more. This is the first word that people think of. Limbo is a much much broader term and is a dance, generally anything that's a void if it's the afterlife or not, and what programs that aren't certain if they're going to be renewed are said to be in. It's not a good title.

    Purgatory on the other hand has the advantage of what we as a site use for every other trope on the subject.
  • September 21, 2011
    Ryuuma
  • September 21, 2011
    shimaspawn
    ^ Much too narrow. There are lots of instances where this shows up as an actual waiting room and it sounds like that subtrope.

    There's a fantasy novel I read not that long ago. No mention of Catholicism in the book at all, but it had a place called Purgatory that was basically a beige room with a bunch of chairs in it that looked like a doctor's waiting room. I'm good at spotting patterns, but I'm bad at remembering specific examples.
  • September 21, 2011
    Generality
    Webcomic:
    • At the end of Its Walky! we're shown an afterlife that seems to be this, existing entirely of a black void with all of the dead cast members inhabiting it. Dina suggests a Techno Babble explanation, but is cut off.
  • September 21, 2011
    BooleanEarth
    • In Dr Mcninja, Purgatory is a restaurant with terrible service where the guilty are made to literally eat food representing their sins. Only once they finish can they move on.

    Why does this need a new name? I understand that certain interpretations of both Purgatory and Limbo qualify, but we have plenty of example-named tropes. There would be no confusion on what the trope is. Whatever we do, we definitely need to mention both Purgatory and Limbo in the description, although none of this "Purgatory, also called Limbo" business.
  • September 21, 2011
    lars_h
    I support Paul A's complaint. "Purgatory" is much too specific a term for what this trope seeks to cover. A problem with "Limbo" however is that it isn't always an afterlife.

    Intermediate Afterlife, perhaps? Might mean both "between Heaven and Hell" and "between Life and Permanent Afterlife".
  • September 21, 2011
    Damr1990
    i also vote for Afterlife Waiting Room
  • September 21, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    One of the Thursday Next books has the motorway exit diner type. Thursday goes there to retrieve President George Formby, who was apparently just awaiting his food before crossing the footbridge, with no idea he was so near death. She also meets Spike's assassin girlfriend-cum-wife Cindy there, I think.

    Afterlife Waiting Room could be a subtrope for those examples that seem to have a waiting room setting. Afterlife Waystation or Afterlife Holding Area or Afterlife Stopover for the main trope?

    I concur with the need to mention and distinguish Purgatory and Limbo.
  • September 21, 2011
    KingZeal
    Seconding Intermediate Afterlife. Or, possible variations: Neutral Afterlife, Moderate Afterlife.
  • September 21, 2011
    Generality
    I don't see the problem with just calling it Purgatory and explaining in the text that it includes Limbo, but if people are going to keep squabbling, just call it Purgatory And Limbo.
  • September 21, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    It might make more sense to make a trope for purgatory, a trope for limbo, and a trope about how they get mixed up.
  • September 21, 2011
    Otakukun
    Angle Beats takes place here
  • September 21, 2011
    JonnyB
    There was a 1999 made-for-TV movie called Purgatory. Set in an old west town called "Refuge", where people seem familiar and act strangely; it turns out this is really purgatory, and the "familiar" people in it (Doc Holliday, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, etc.) have to abstain from the evil that got them killed for 10 years in order to move on to Heaven.
  • September 21, 2011
    elwoz
    I also support Paul A. I have seen lots of afterlife-destinations-that-are-neither-Heaven-nor-Hell in fiction. In my experience they get called "Purgatory" only if they are a place of finite punishment, i.e. souls who go there are not so evil to deserve the eternal punishment of Hell, and will eventually enter Heaven, but need to be "cleansed" of sin first. Which is approximately how the Catholics define the place, as I understand it.

    (Sometimes "Hell" is also a place of finite punishment, e.g. in Chinese Mythology most dead souls go there for a while and then get reincarnated, in The Great Divorce nobody has to stay in Hell forever but some souls might never actually move on. Limbo is much more loosely defined but is usually a permanent destination. Often it is where souls end up if the only reason they don't get to go to Heaven is because, through no fault of their own, they missed out on the One True Religion (this is Dante's version, for instance).)

    Now, all this means is that the name of the trope should not be "Purgatory". I like Intermediate Afterlife. It should also include the cases where there's a third final destination that amounts to Taking A Third Option wrt the War In Heaven -- for instance, in some stories Faerie takes in the souls of mortals whom they've grown fond of.
  • September 21, 2011
    kuyanJ
    In Slightly Damned, 'Purgatory' is a realm between Heaven and Hell ruled by The Grim Reaper, where most souls not good enough for Heaven or bad enough for Hell go.
  • September 22, 2011
    Ryuuma
    In the humorous book Elianto, the "Purgatory" is described as a huge building full of rooms.In each room there's a soul who has to do the same thing over and over again (reading the same book, making the same telephone call, eat the same kind of pizza ect) until he's finally released. The character describing it states that after all is even worse than Hell.
  • September 22, 2011
    TTurtle
    I like Intermediate Afterlife or one of the other name suggestions that suggests what this IS rather than getting bogged down in a debate about what it's called.

    If you do name this Purgatory, you have to accept that there will ALWAYS be geeky Catholics coming into the wiki, rolling their eyes at this trope, and protesting "But that's not what purgatory means!" Eventually someone will bring the trope into the trope repair shop and suggest it needs a rename. Wouldn't it be more logical to avoid that issue now, since it is clear that it WOULD be an issue?

    ETA: Go to dictionary.com and look up the word purgatory. The first definition is the specific Catholic definition. The one this trope employs only shows up as the third definition. So, while "any condition or place of temporary punishment, suffering, expiation, or the like" is a definition of a purgatory, it isn't the most common one, and it's not going to be what most people think of first. ETA: Even that definition doesn't actually cover this trope. As Elwoz already pointed out, even the broadest (accepted) use of purgatory is usually restricted to a temporary place of punishment.
  • September 25, 2011
    Worldmaker
    Then the geeky Catholics can get over themselves and realize that they don't have exclusive claim to the title.
  • September 25, 2011
    TTurtle
    To be honest, I think that even if you leave the issue of cranky Catholics out, the answer is still the same: we are better off using the word the way the dictionary does, rather than promoting a nonstandard definition. Purgatory and limbo simply aren't synonyms in the English language, not if you are looking at their recognized uses. (Even the Urban Dictionary, of all things, bears this out.) Using preexisting terms is great, but not if our definition conflicts with the most common definitions of the words.

    In English, the word "purgatory" means a temporary process or place of punishment, suffering, cleansing, etc. It does not mean any neutral afterlife that comes between Heaven and Hell. The word may be used that way colloquially, but that usage is not widely accepted. (Now, Limbo, on the other hand, does have a more general definition: "an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place." This is still only the third or fourth definition, though.) If we want to have a single trope for Intermediate Afterlife, it would be better to give it a neutral and descriptive name, then talk about the different kinds of intermediate afterlife, which include but aren't remotely limited to the traditional definitions of purgatory and limbo.

    Really, what argument can you make for naming the trope after a nonstandard use of a preexisting term? Isn't that setting the trope up for either confusion or conflict? It would be one thing if the trope were named Purgatory before anyone had pointed out the flaw in the name or suggested alternatives, but that's clearly not the case here. And, as I said, you can you leave Catholicism out of it. All you have to do is point out that the dictionary does not support the proposed use of the word. We're not bound by the dictionary, obviously, but I thought that we generally did try to avoid using preexisting words in ways that are different from their primary use outside the wiki.

  • September 25, 2011
    Hadashi
    Catholicism is actually somewhat of an aversion. A couple of years ago Limbo was declared to be (if I remember correctly) non-Biblical.
  • September 27, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    ^ I remember reading that too. I think people finally couldn't swallow the idea that sickly infants who died prior to baptism were categorically shut out of Heaven and shunted into the second-class afterlife of Limbo.
  • September 27, 2011
    FalconPain
    Technically, isn't Purgatory itself non-Biblical? I know I was annoyed to read a well-esteemed Christian blogger (most noted here for reviewing those apocalypse books) claiming that the entire concept of Purgatory has been debunked and anyone who still believes in it is a moron. Not to mention the Jehovah's Witnesses who called me out on it.
  • September 27, 2011
    BooleanEarth
    ^It is not mentioned in the bible, but neither are many things that are near-universally accepted in different denominations of Christianity. It's a concept that goes back to early Christians, and bears resemblance to Gehenna, which is from the Talmud (Old Testament, son). It's about on par with the role the Devil is usually assigned (tormentor of the damned, either God's enemy or God's employee prosecutor) as far as authenticity, to the extent that these things can be assigned authenticity at all (being speculative and theological in nature).

    At any rate, if we're changing the name, we ought to CHANGE THE NAME then. Let's brainstorm, shall we?
  • September 30, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    So let's have a list of the contenders, then:

    • Intermediate Afterlife
    • Afterlife Waystation
    • Afterlife Holding Area
    • Afterlife Stopover
    • Afterlife Waiting Room

    Any others?
  • September 30, 2011
    TTurtle
    Someone suggested Purgatory And Limbo awhile back. If folks really want the word purgatory in the title, some combination name would probably be the only way to go. If we went that route, it would be nice if the title referenced the other kinds of intermediate afterlife. The best I can come up with is something like "Purgatory, Limbo, Etc.", which is kind of lame.

    I still prefer Intermediate Afterlife, myself.
  • September 30, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    ^The nice thing about Intermediate Afterlife is it's perhaps the broadest - sounding term, covering both "waiting room heaven" - intermediate between life and the "real" afterlife, and Limbo / Purgatory - intermediate between Heaven and Hell.
  • September 30, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In Defending Your Life when you die you go to a holding area, the apperance of which varies depending on the person (for the protagonist, it looks like an idealized version of a resort in Southern California). You stay for a few days, during which you defend the life you've lived to a tribunal; if you pass you Ascend To A Higher Plane Of Existence; if you fail you have to go back and try again.
  • September 30, 2011
    BooleanEarth
    Intermediate Afterlife is perfectly descriptive, but feels kind of blah to me. My ideal would be Too Bad For Heaven Too Good For Hell but I'm sure everyone would say that's too long.
  • October 1, 2011
    TTurtle
    Not only is Too Bad For Heaven Too Good For Hell kinda long, it only applies to one kind of intermediate afterlife. It wouldn't apply to the "waiting room" type of afterlife some folks have mentioned, or the going-on-trial afterlife from Defending Your Life.

    Maybe we should consider the possibility of launching a supertrope with a title like Intermediate Afterlife and making subtropes for any particular subtypes that seem distinct enough to warrant their own tropes?
  • October 1, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    This is the setting of DDG where it is also called Offworld, anyone who wasn't outright evil but not overly good either has to hang out there and try to rack up enough karma points to go to heaven.
  • October 2, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    ^^I like this idea. I think there might be enough of the waiting room variety to make it's own category.
  • October 2, 2011
    BooleanEarth
    I agree that the supertrope idea is tenable. There are varied enough examples that I think this could sustain at least two tropes. Do we want to try that?
  • October 6, 2011
    TTurtle
    Shimaspawn's the one who started this YKTTW. What does she think of the idea of a supertrope with possible subtropes?
  • October 6, 2011
    ryanasaurus0077
    Anime And Manga
    • Angel Beats is mostly set in a Purgatory-like setting (the Afterlife School) which may very well be Purgatory itself.
  • October 8, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    @ TTurtle I'd like to know that myself.

    The afterlife travel motif is as old as Greek mythology (Charon's boat ferrying souls across the River Styx) and as recently invoked as Thursday Next.
  • October 13, 2011
    LOAD
    Bump
  • October 13, 2011
    GreatHylianKing
    In Death Note, this, or MU, is where the user of the Death Note goes after death.
  • October 13, 2011
    yogyog
    We have Mundane Afterlife and Afterlife Antechamber. This has persuaded me to look up both Purgatory and Limbo on The Other Wiki. I'm glad it did. It made me realise how little I know.

    Purgatory does seem to be where you atone for your sins, then once you have, you go to heaven. Limbo is where you go if you aren't a christian, but aren't actually dammed, either because you aren't christian or simply an un-baptised child.

    Depictions of both vary wildly. Limbo is also used to mean a place of non-being.

    This is all based of a quick scan of the wikipedia articles.

    I think an afterlife index could also be useful.

  • October 13, 2011
    TTurtle
    Shimaspawn was working on an afterlife index. I don't know if its still in YKTTW or what.
  • October 13, 2011
    AshleyY
    Haibane Renmei (anime) and Jacob's Ladder (film) both seem to be examples, though very different.
  • October 14, 2011
    DaibhidC
  • October 19, 2011
    elwoz
    ^^^ Yeah, Limbo can sometimes be The Nothing After Death.
  • January 1, 2012
    TTurtle
    Bumping, since someone also bumped the Afterlife Index. This was part of the same effort, I think.
  • February 21, 2012
    ccoa
    There is a kernal of a good trope or tropes here, and it shouldn't be discarded because of the arguing.

    Suggestions so far:

    • Make this one trope that covers both "Purgatory" and "Limbo" in the Catholic sense. Possibly name it something other than Purgatory.
    • Make a supertrope about afterlives in general, and make Purgatory and Limbo subtropes.

    I like the second option, but I have a few reservations. One, they'd likely be mistaken for each other and two, Limbo is pretty close to The Nothing After Death. Maybe too close?

    Anyway, we need this, so let's figure out what to do with it.
  • February 21, 2012
    elwoz
    My recommendation would be to have the trope be "afterlives that are neither (Fluffy Cloud) Heaven nor (Fire and Brimstone) Hell", and soft-split it among the various recognized categories.
  • February 21, 2012
    ccoa
    We could do that, although I believe that we are now frowning on tropes that are divided into types.
  • February 21, 2012
    shimaspawn
    We are very much frowning on divided tropes. The initial idea was something that covered Purgatory, Limbo, and other neutral afterlives. I have seen the words used in other than the Catholic sense in media. Most media creators don't do in depth research on Catholic terminology before writing.
  • February 22, 2012
    TTurtle
    What's wrong with going with a title like Intermediate Afterlife, which had some support upthread? That would cover all the neutral afterlives.
  • February 22, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Because neutral afterlives are not always intermediate. In fact a large number of them like the Catholic Limbo are your final resting place. They're just bland.
  • October 9, 2012
    LOAD
    bump
  • May 20, 2014
    jormis29
  • May 20, 2014
    DAN004
    Purgatory And Limbo plz.

    Btw can somebody explain the difference between the two?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=8hazwanzqr1gvx86cjpo65hx&trope=DiscardedYKTTW