Created By: LysytheMay 21, 2010 Last Edited By: LysytheMay 22, 2010
Troped

Two Aliases One Character

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Trope
I think I did this before but it died for lack of examples.

Basically you have two characters. Maybe you never see one of them, or one's only mentioned in passing, or one of them is always in shadow, or since it's a book it doesn't matter what they look like. They never meet, are never in the same scene and/or never interact with the same characters. Eventually it's revealed that they're actually the same person under different names.

Examples:

Title suggestions are welcome.

Launching 22 May
Community Feedback Replies: 35
  • May 9, 2010
    Solle
    Scylla/ Henry Levy in Marathon Man. The novel makes a big secret out of it.
  • May 9, 2010
    randomsurfer
    The Strange Case Of Doctor Jekyll And Mr Hyde. Originally it was a big twist to discover at the end that Jekyll and Hyde were the same person. (Ninja'd for snarky spoiler.)
  • May 9, 2010
    Stratadrake
    Chekhovs Alias?

    Compare Awkward Ability, which can be applied to the superhero/alter ego variety.

    Another example: In the third Sly Cooper game, Penelope and the Black Baron.
  • May 9, 2010
    LeeM
    Another Foundation example: Preem Palver, farmer/First Speaker of the Foundation. If you know Latin you could figure it out.
  • May 9, 2010
    Jordan
    The first Foundation one is also a pun Cheeter Hummin- he's not really human- he's an android.
  • May 9, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanov/Agent Romanov from Iron Man 2
    • There's one in Wild Cards, who is a shapeshifter. Name escapes me at the moment.
  • May 10, 2010
    yinyang107
    L isn't just in the top 3 detectives, he's all of them under separate aliases in Death Note.
  • May 10, 2010
    Cidolfas
    King Krichevskoy and Mid-Boss in Disgaea.
  • May 11, 2010
    Edgukator
    The entire team of Thunderbolts in their first run.
  • May 12, 2010
    Stratadrake
    Another title suggestion:

    Because other characters are wondering about the person's sudden absence, which constitutes the Chekhovs Gun for revealing that the character has two identities. Not to be confused with Chekhov MIA.

  • May 12, 2010
    Tats
    • In Agatha Christie's Murder On The Orient Express, Mrs. Hubbard is actually Linda Arden, Daisy Armstrong's grandmother!. This is, to the best of my recollection, not foreshadowed in any way.
    • Another Christie: in One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, Mabelle Sainsbury Seale is actually Mrs. Albert Chapman, who herself is really Alistair Blunt's first wife, Gerda, who's been posing as his cousin! This is convoluted even by Christie standards.
  • May 12, 2010
    Lysythe
    Because other characters are wondering about the person's sudden absence, which constitutes the Chekhovs Gun for revealing that the character has two identities. Not to be confused with Chekhov MIA.

    Sometimes, as in the Foundation examples, the characters interact with the TAO Character only briefly, or only at specific times of day.
  • May 13, 2010
    Farmelle
    Tina and the Roadie from The Umbilical Brothers.
  • May 14, 2010
    TooBah
    The Westing Game does this, with more than two aliases. That's all I'm going to say about that.
  • May 14, 2010
    Percon
    • In Tales Of Vesperia, it is revealed that Raven, trusted member of your party and the guild Altosk, is actually Captain Schwann of the Imperial Knights.
  • May 15, 2010
    sunksunk
    In The Secret of My Success the view knows the whole time that Brantly and Whitfield are the same person. The other characters, however...
  • May 15, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Tyler Durden, anyone?
  • May 16, 2010
    ThisTemporaryLife
    Henry Gale/Ben Linus on Lost.
  • May 17, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Zuko/Blue Spirit from Avatar Last Airbender
  • May 17, 2010
    Mozgwsloiku
    Real Life - one of the famous Iga ninja is rumored to have done this to confuse his enemies, even going as par as having his subordinates pretend along with him (his alias was... a competing ninja leader in the same area)
  • May 18, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Henry Gale is not an example, that was just an ordinary alias Ben used. This trope would be if we had seen or heard about Ben in a different way and then it was a surprise that him and Henry were the same person. A better example from the series is the revelation that Fake Locke/Man in Black and the Smoke Monster were the one and the same, and in addition equal to Fake Christian.
  • May 18, 2010
    Jordan
    Been re-reading The Count Of Monte Cristo, and he probably counts for this. Obviously, he's really Edmond Dantes, who everyone thinks is dead, but he also has a bunch of other personas. Some people know him as more than one, but for instance, the Count's servant Bertuccio has had confession with Busoni, an Italian priest (and one of the Count's identities), and doesn't realize they are the same guy.
  • May 18, 2010
    sxizzor
    Robin/Red X in Teen Titans.
  • May 18, 2010
    AnnaTitania
    Do Tyler and the main character in Fight Club count?
  • May 18, 2010
    randomsurfer
  • May 18, 2010
    Rottweiler
    Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious, if you watch the movies in chronological rather than production order.
  • May 19, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    We might want to keep superhero Secret Identities separate from this trope. Just sayin'.
  • May 19, 2010
    Kayube
    This is often a source of Wild Mass Guessing, with fans trying to argue that two different characters are really the same person, usually with no given reason why this person would have another identity.
  • May 19, 2010
    bbofun
    If I read the O Ps post correctly, one rule is important for this trope to apply. Either the characters in-universe or the reader/viewer (or both) need to be aware, at some point, of the two aliases, believing them to be separate people, until The Reveal.

    Of course, all super-hero secret identities count, but that should probably be a single entry, except for particular examples that are unique, e.g. the Thunderbolts example above, and, IIRC, a character called Silverhawk, where the actual identity of the hero was kept secret from the reader for a full year of the comic's run.

    The Iron Man 2 example wouldn't count, as the multiple names (one of which is never used in-movie) are never thought of as separate people. That's just using an alias.

  • May 20, 2010
    RawPower
  • May 21, 2010
    Roarke
    Tyler Durden does not count. It was the main twist of the movie, but Tyler was a fragment of the Narrator's persona who nobody else even knew existed as an independent entity within his mind.
  • May 21, 2010
    IlGreven
    Masquerade/Alice in Bakugan. This is a shock even to her.
  • May 21, 2010
    Lysythe
    I think Tyler/the narrator counts; even though they are mentally not the same person, physically, they are. At one point, the narrator even wonders if Tyler and Marla are the same person, invoking this trope.
  • May 21, 2010
    Tewgon
    Anticipating that there would be many examples, do both aliases have to coexist (Multiple personalities versus character development)? Do characters have to be completely clueless, or can there be individuals who suspect they're the same/act to uncover the alias? Same question applies to the audience, as this trope can be used to build suspense. Say, for example, Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker. If so, this could be a sub-trope, since character's would frequently speak about that person's history. Often they would discuss the period before the character adopts the alias. Or are super heroes with secret identities (where Bob says "I'm gonna go call the police!" when his Alice friend falls off a skyscraper, and returns as the hero in disguise to save her) more appropriate?

  • May 22, 2010
    Lysythe
    The audience and/or the character(s) must be unaware that they are the same person. They should be heard of as separate persons. They must physically be the same person. All superheroes with secret identities automatically count. If one alias is considered 'dead' or 'status unknown', it still counts under this trope.

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