Created By: SomeSortOfTroper on June 11, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on June 28, 2017

Narrating Their Own Death

Narrator at the beginning says that the story will be about how they died.

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People die in stories often. Stories are fraught with danger. We never know whom or when death will strike ]]. Nobody will tell us...except for when they do, right at the beginning, in the narration, saying "This is the story of how I died".

Massive spoiler for everything with this trope: They're lying. They never really die. Saying this line is practically a guarantee that they'll live, especially because they are saying it as the narrator, in the past tense which indicates that they lived or at least will make it to the end of the film to connect with the closing narration.


Examples

Film - Animated
  • Mr. Rider in Tangled says "This is the story of how I died", before he admits that it's not actually his story. although he does die. For a bit. Magical healing powers are involved.

Film - Live Action
  • At the beginning of Fallen, beginning narrator man say "I wanna tell you about the time I almost died...." well he did say almost but y'know, it turns out that the narrator isn't the hero like we thought it was

Live-Action TV
  • Rose Tyler in Doctor Who, new series two finale, she say "This is the story of how I died". she doesn't die. Gets sent to another dimension.

Community Feedback Replies: 38
  • June 11, 2011
    Micah
    Compare Did You Die.
  • June 11, 2011
    KTera
    I think Twilight starts like this.
  • June 11, 2011
    CrowTR0bot
  • June 11, 2011
    ElleWednesday
    Why are we reffering to Flynn as Mr. Rider?
  • June 11, 2011
    bluepenguin
    See also Posthumous Narration for when the character really does die. (Which the Grave Of The Fireflies example would fall under.)

    Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey begins with the protagonist in the process of being devoured by a carnivorous plant and narrating the circumstances that led him to this pass. Naturally he gets rescued before he's digested.
  • June 12, 2011
    FastEddie
    Any other title would be better. We need to name this thing, the trope, not parrot a line of dialog.
  • June 12, 2011
    nshady
    Dying To Tell You?
  • June 13, 2011
    jaytee
    Pretty sure this is just the subversion of Posthumous Narration. Not sure it really needs a split.
  • June 14, 2011
    SomeSortOfTroper
    Well there's the Stock Phrase, it's also uniquely a Beginning Trope and it often has some particular literal genie or back from the dead twist to deal with outright saying they died.
  • June 14, 2011
    Hadashi
    • Discword Noir, Lupin (the main character) dies in the opening cinematic. This is not overtly encouraging.
  • June 14, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    • ''The Western Mysteries starts out with "My name is P.K. Pinkerton and before this day is over I will be dead."
  • June 16, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • Genesis II (1973). The opening line is "My name is Dylan Hunt. My story begins on the day on which I died." Hunt is the victim of a suspended animation experiment that causes him to wake up 150 years later, when the story really begins.
  • June 16, 2011
    yogyog
    Can't remember the exact phrase, but this happens in Grave Of The Fireflies.
  • June 16, 2011
    LarryD
    No one's mentioned Mega Mind?
  • June 16, 2011
    ralphmerridew1
    An episode of Murder She Wrote was like this: It opens with two guys shooting each other. One of them pulls out a tape recorder and starts dictating a flashback.
  • July 24, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    Bumping because I want to link to this!
  • July 24, 2011
    TexasDex
    • The Lovely Bones movie has this. Includes lines to the effect of "yeah, that guy looks creepy, but he isn't the murderer."
  • July 24, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    Sunset Boulevard opens that way.
  • July 24, 2011
    KhazemiElmirAmarna
    Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones starts out this way.
  • July 25, 2011
    Arivne
    The title needs to be changed so it doesn't sound like a line of dialogue. If not, Fast Eddie will discard the whole YKTTW (or Cut List it if it's launched).

    Story Of How I Died Beginning? Story Of How I Died Opening?
  • July 25, 2011
    FastEddie
  • July 25, 2011
    Kharonthe
  • July 25, 2011
    Arutema
    The Video Game of The Darkness opens with Jackie narrating "That was the first time I died." This became a running gag on Unskippable.
  • July 26, 2011
    donald
    Steve began one episode like this on AmericanDad. We hear him talking in voice over and see his dead body drifting in the pool. In the episode he got famous, and got a stunt double, and that died.
  • July 26, 2011
    noblesix
    Subverted in Centurion. Also serves as a bookend.
    Quintus Dais: My name is Quintus Dais. I am a soldier of Rome. And this is neither the beginning nor the end of my story.
  • July 26, 2011
    noblesix
    I'd also recommend shortening the title. Instead of "The Story of How I Died," I'd just cut it down to "How I Died." But that's also personal opinion.
  • July 26, 2011
    noblesix
    Babylon A.D. opened with one of these from Toorop.
  • July 26, 2011
    LordGamblortheGreat
    Would American Beauty count?
  • July 26, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    Live Action TV
    • The pilot of Dead Like Me opens with George telling us a cheery little tale about Toad and Frog and how they released death onto the world. She then moves onto her own story, ultimately prefacing her entrance with this:
      "We all die. Some of us sooner than later. For me, it's going to be much sooner. But that's only the beginning of my story."

    EDIT: Forgot about this one.

    Literature
    • Skinned opens each chapter with a sentence from that chapter. The first quote of the book is "As last days go, mine sucked" and Lia then goes on to describe her last day as living human being.
  • July 26, 2011
    TBTabby
    The Punisher describing the shootout that killed his family: "On that day, Frank Castle died...on that day, I was born."
  • July 31, 2011
    RedWren
    In the instances where the line in question is the first line in a work, why is it spoilered?
  • July 31, 2011
    warpy
    This would overlap with Foregone Conclusion.
  • August 1, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Related to Dead To Begin With.
  • June 27, 2017
    AmourMitts
  • June 27, 2017
    Twiddler
    The Red Vs Blue season 13 trailer is a message sent out by Epsilon in his final moments. The trailer ends with him explaining that this is the story of how he died.
  • June 27, 2017
    Getta
    See, this is how "too much fixating on the phrase" is bad for you.

    Which exactly is the trope? If the narrator dies, or if they don't?
  • June 27, 2017
    MetaFour
    • Fallen opens with Denzel Washington's voiceover: "I wanna tell you about the time I almost died..." The twist is that Denzel Washington's character, the heroic John Hobbes, isn't the film's narrator. That's the villain Azazel speaking, but using Hobbes's voice.
  • June 28, 2017
    Arivne
    • Changed the title to make it legal.
    • Changed the Laconic to match.
    • Examples section
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
      • Added the word "Examples".
      • Added media section titles.
      • Alphabetized media sections.
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