Created By: bananasloth on July 3, 2012 Last Edited By: bananasloth on October 13, 2012
Troped

Did Not Die That Way

A character finds out they have been lied to about a loved one's death.

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Explaining a death is often an awkward business, especially when the people who must be told are young and/or relatives of the deceased. This is especially true of deaths that are the result of murder or suicide, when the facts of the matter are particularly unpleasant and distressing to relate. Thus, many characters in fiction who have lost parents or other loved ones will not hear the truth of the matter for a long period, and often a deception begun in their past is revealed at a later date. In the meantime, the absence of the dead is attributed some form of accident or illness, so that there is no culprit to blame other than fate or bad luck. Car accidents are a favourite choice, since they are common.

The truth may surface during the hero's own investigations, undertaken because the hero questions the details of the story. An accidental slip by one of the other characters may plant the seed of doubt or even reveal key details. Sometimes those who know decide it is time for the hero to learn the truth, perhaps as part of a Coming-of-Age Story.

Alternatively, deaths attributed to accident after an initial investigation (and presented as truly accidental in good faith) will later prove to have different causes. Perhaps the first investigation was hurried or botched in some way, or key evidence was unavailable to the investigators. In some cases, the hero is still in the angry stage of grieving and insists on reopening the case, hiring a private detective or investigating the details personally.

In some cases, the loved one doesn't actually die, instead going into hiding. This may be done under the auspices of an established program, with the help of one or a few friends, or on their own. Once the truth is revealed (and assuming the danger has passed), they'll likely be reunited with the grieving character.

See also Deceptive Legacy. May overlap with Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You and Luke, I Am Your Father. May also cause or overlap with Innocence Lost, particularly for younger characters.

As this is a revelation trope, beware: unmarked spoilers ahead.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Kohta from Elfen Lied was told that his sister died of an illness, but she was killed in front of him by Lucy.

Comic Books
  • In the Spider-Man comics, Peter believed his had parents died in a car crash but it was later retconned that they were killed because they were secret agents and he had been lied to.

Film
  • Selene in Underworld believed that a pack of Lycans was responsible for killing her family. Near the end of the first film, it's revealed that the true culprit was Viktor.
  • In the Lethal Weapon series, the wife of Martin Riggs, one of the protagonists, was said to have been killed in a car accident. Turns out in Lethal Weapon 2 that the "accident" in question was a deliberate hit-and-run by that movie's Big Bad that was meant to kill Riggs himself but got her instead.
  • In Hot Rod, Rod's hero was his deceased dad, who he believed was a former stuntman for Evel Knievel, dying when he broke away to do his own stunts but the trick went wrong. Years later his mother admits to him that she had just let Rod believe his fantasies of his dad being a stuntman, and in reality his dad choked on a pie.
  • Inverted in O Brother, Where Art Thou?: McGill finds out his wife has told his daughters that he got hit by a train, rather than tell them he was sent to jail.
  • Star Wars: in A New Hope Luke was told by Uncle Owen that his father was a navigator on a spice freighter and died during the Clone Wars, and Obi-Wan Kenobi told him that Darth Vader betrayed and murdered his father. In The Empire Strikes Back Luke learns that Darth Vader is his father, from Vader himself. Luke was lied to so he wouldn't go in search of Darth Vader and get into trouble.
  • On the in-universe eponymous TV show in the film The Truman Show, Truman Burbank was led to believe his father had drowned when he was a child. He later reappeared to the adult Truman.
  • In The Town, Doug's mother turns out to have been a drug addict that committed suicide, as opposed to the story that his father tells him.

Literature
  • Harry Potter lived in the knowledge that his parents have died in a car crash for 10 years, when it is revealed to him by Hagrid that they have in fact been killed by the Big Bad.
  • Marco in Animorphs believed his mom died in a boating accident, but it was a cover so the Yeerks could get her away without a lot of questions.
  • Harry Dresden's mom died giving birth to him, it's later revealed that this happened due to a curse laid by one of her enemies. Also it's implied at one point that his father's death wasn't entirely natural either.
  • In Nightshade, Ren's mother died when he was a year old. He'd been raised to believe - in fact, all the Guardians believed - that she'd been killed by Searchers. Shay discovers that the Keepers have been hiding the truth: she'd led a rebellion against the Keepers, and, along with all the other Guardians involved in the rebellion, was executed as punishment.
  • In the Lois Lowry World War II novel Number the Stars, we are told that Annemarie's older sister Lise was killed when she was hit by a car near the beginning of the Nazi occupation of Denmark. At the end of the book, Annemarie's parents tell her the truth: Lise was a member of La Résistance. She was hit by a car, but it was a car driven by Nazis who deliberately ran her down as she tried to flee from them.
  • In The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, Sookie and her brother Jason were raised by their grandmother after both parents died during a flood. After discovering that their Gran actually had an affair with a fairy that resulted in their father's birth, it is revealed that a clan of water fairies were responsible for the deaths because their fairy ancestors had been at war for quite some time.
  • In the book Letters to Leonardo, the protagonist, Matt, believes his mother's dead. She's not.
  • In The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night Time, Christopher believes his mother died of a heart attack, even though he only has his father's word that she's dead. She's actually living somewhere else with someone else.
  • In Lori R. King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novel Locked Rooms, the protagonists visit San Francisco and delve into Mary's history. Her parents and younger brother died in a car crash a decade earlier which the police officials at the time filed as an accident, and Mary blamed herself, since she was arguing with her brother and thought she had fatally distracted her driving father. The curious terms of her father's will and a series of dreams prompt the couple to make fresh inquiries, and the accident proves to have been caused by sabotage to the car's brakes by a former friend of her father's.
  • In Rainbows End, Robert Gu, Sr. discovers--though we knew it all along--that his wife hated him so much that she faked her own death (with the help of Friends of Privacy) when she learned that a cure for his advanced Alzheimer's had been found.

Live-Action TV
  • In The Pretender, Jarod was told that his parents were killed in a plane crash; his discovery that they weren't is one of the things that prompts him to break out and start Walking the Earth.
  • In Grimm Nick discovers that his parents' car crash 15(ish) years prior wasn't an accident, but rather an assassination.
    • He later also finds out that his mother is still alive.
  • Dexter believed Harry, his foster father and mentor, to have died of heart disease, but he was revealed to have committed suicide after seeing what Dexter was really capable of, and what he had trained him to do.

Theater
  • In Into the Woods, the baker believes that his parents died in a "baking accident". This is lampshaded by the narrator who shrugs in confusion, implying "Hey, I just say what I'm told to." As it turns out, his mother died on the day Rapunzel was born, and his father ran off, too cowardly to face his son. Baking was not involved at all.

Video Games
  • In Secret Files: Tunguska it is implied that the death of Nina's mother was the result of her father's research, while Nina thought she had died in a car accident.
  • That's what JC Denton from Deus Ex was told. They were, of course, put down for protesting the things that Bob Page was doing to young JC.
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness: Laharl believed that his father died choking on a dark pretzel, but in reality King Krichevskoy perished fighting Baal.

Western Animation
  • In the second season of American Dragon: Jake Long, Rose was convinced by the Huntsman that her parents died when she was a baby, but in the episode "Dreamscape", it was revealed that she was actually taken from them by the Huntsclan.
  • The Simpsons: Grandpa Simpson told Homer that his mother had died, and pointed out her tombstone from time to time as they passed by the cemetery. Turns out that Mama Simpson is alive and hiding out from the Feds. The cemetery marker Grandpa points out is actually Walt Whitman's.
Community Feedback Replies: 87
  • July 3, 2012
    JonnyB
    Inverted in O Brother Where Art Thou: McGill finds out his wife has told his daughters that he got hit by a train, rather than tell them he was sent to jail.
  • July 3, 2012
    Bisected8
    May overlap with Daddy Had A Good Reason For Abandoning You and Luke I Am Your Father.

    I have a feeling we also have a trope for telling someone's kid that they're dead, as well.
  • July 3, 2012
    ElCheViva
    Selene in Underworld believed that a pack of Lycans was responsible for killing her family. Near the end of the first film, it's revealed that the true culprit was Viktor.
  • July 3, 2012
    chicagomel
    Animorphs Marco believed his mom died in a boating accident, but it was a cover so the Yeerks could get her away without a lot of questions.
  • July 3, 2012
    MorwenEdhelwen
    The Trope Namer is Harry Potter, right?

  • July 3, 2012
    MorwenEdhelwen
    Bisected8,in the book ''Letters to Leonardo", the protagonist, Matt, believes his mother's dead. She's not. Could "someone believes their parent(s) or other relative (s) is dead but they're not" be a variation on this?
  • July 3, 2012
    CaveCat
    • In the second season of American Dragon Jake Long, Rose was convinced by the Huntsman that her parents died when she was a baby, but in the episode "Dreamscape", it was revealed that she was actually taken from them by the Huntsclan.
  • July 3, 2012
    MorwenEdhelwen
    So what I just mentioned is a variation? In that case: In The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night Time, Christopher believes his mother died of a heart attack, even though he only has his father's word that she's dead. She's actually living somewhere else with someone else.
  • July 3, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • In Grimm Nick discovers that his parents' car crash 15(ish) years prior wasn't an accident, but rather an assassination.
    • The Simpsons: Grandpa Simpson told Homer that his mother had died, and pointed out her tombstone from time to time as they passed by the cemetary. Turns out that Mama Simpson is alive and hiding out from the Feds. The cemetary marker Grandpa points out is actually Walt Whitman's.
  • July 3, 2012
    planswalker
    • In Into The Woods, the baker believes that his parents died in a "baking accident". This is lampshaded by the narrator who shrugs in confusion, implying "Hey, I just say what I'm told to." As it turns out, his mother died on the day Rapunzel was born, and his father ran off, too cowardly to face his son. Baking was not involved at all.
  • July 3, 2012
    Andygal
    Harry Dresden's mom died giving birth to him, it's later revealed that this happened due to a curse laid by one of her enemies. Also it's implied at one point that his father's death wasn't entirely natural either.
  • July 4, 2012
    surgoshan
    You could probably shorten it to Not In A Car Crash, but The Orphaned Lie might (might) be clearer.
  • July 4, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    See also: Deceptive Legacy.
  • July 4, 2012
    Dawnwing
    Literature:

    • In Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, Ren's mother died when he was a year old. He'd been raised to believe - in fact, all the Guardians believed - that she'd been killed by Searchers. Shay discovers that the Keepers have been hiding the truth: she'd led a rebellion against the Keepers, and, along with all the other Guardians involved in the rebellion, was executed as punishment.
  • July 4, 2012
    bananasloth
    @Morwen Edhelwen while Harry Potter is a very prominent example, I didn't really get the name from it. (I actually got reminded of how popular this scenario is by replaying Secret Files). The car crash seems to be really the most popular of the lies, so if the title will eventually still refer to a car accident, I don't think there will be a specific Trope Namer.

    @surgoshan I'm personally still partial to the original name, but I'm open to other ideas, I'll put up a tag when I get around to editing in all the new examples.
  • July 5, 2012
    PaulA
    • In The Pretender, Jarod was told that his parents were killed in a plane crash; his discovery that they weren't is one of the things that prompts him to break out and start Walking The Earth.
  • July 5, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    Could this extend to other loved ones besides parents as well? Because the main example I remember of this trope happening is from the Lethal Weapon series. The wife of Martin Riggs, one of the protagonists, was said to have been killed in a car accident. Turns out in Lethal Weapon 2 that the "accident" in question was a deliberate hit-and-run by that movie's Big Bad that was meant to kill Riggs himself but got her instead.
  • July 6, 2012
    bananasloth
    ^ Yeah I was wondering if this should be extended to other close relatives and spouses. It happens in Gray Matter too.

    Any thoughts? I'm for extending it.
  • July 6, 2012
    Dawnwing
    Yeah, extending it to other loved ones sounds good.
  • July 6, 2012
    Tiiba
    That's what JC Denton from Deus Ex was told. They were, of course, put down for protesting the things that Bob Page was doing to young JC.
  • July 6, 2012
    peccantis
    The name should somehow reflect the revelation/twist.

    The Car Crash Was A Lie? White Lie Car Crash? White Lie About Cause Of Death?

    Also I think this should, as a revelation trope, have a warning and unmarked spoilers.
  • July 6, 2012
    bananasloth
    OK so I added all the examples listed, even the ones where the reveal is that the parents are not actually dead. For the time being these examples are at the bottom of their respective categories, but I'm not sure yet if they should stay. I agree these are very similar, but it still feels like it might be a different (but related) trope. What do you think?

    I don't have the time right now to rewrite the definition, but I did add an unmarked spoilers warning. When we're settled on whether or not to include the 'parents are actually alive' version, I'll rewrite it to reflect that and that other loved ones count as well.

    As for titles, I personally like ^ The Car Crash Was A Lie but it sounds a little snowclone-y/meme-based, no? (The Cake Is A Lie)

    Also, I mentioned Gray Matter might be an example, but I'm not entirely sure now - does anybody remember if David was suspecting since the beginning that the car crash had to do something with the occult? If he was, it's probably not an example.

    And what about the Monk / Trudy example? It's an inversion of the Lethal Weapon one, Monk believes the car bomb was meant for him when in fact his wife Trudy was the target all along. Would this count or is this too far from the trope? It's getting a little muddled in my head.
  • July 6, 2012
    Luigifan
    Heh heh... Was Harry Potter the Trope Namer for this one?
  • July 6, 2012
    Zsuzsa
    In the Lois Lowry World War II novel Number The Stars, we are told that Annemarie's older sister Lise was killed when she was hit by a car near the beginning of the Nazi occupation of Denmark. At the end of the book, Annemarie's parents tell her the truth: Lise was a member of La Resistance. She was hit by a car, but it was a car driven by Nazis who deliberately ran her down as she tried to flee from them.
  • July 6, 2012
    ArtimisWulf
    EXAMPLE, LITERATURE: In the Sookie Stackhouse novels, Sookie and her brother Jason were raised by their grandmother after both parents were killed in a car accident during a flood. After discovering that their Gran actually had an affair with a fairy that resulted in their father's birth, it is revealed that a clan of water fairys were responsible for the water-related death because their fairy ancestors had been at war for quite some time.
  • July 6, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    Hot Rod: Rod's hero was his deceased dad, who he believed was a former stuntman for Evel Knievel, dying when he broke away to do his own stunts but the trick went wrong. Years later his mother admits to him that she had just let Rod believe his fantasies of his dad being a stuntman, and in reality his dad choked on a pie.
  • July 6, 2012
    bananasloth
    ^ I'm so angry at myself that I didn't remember the Hot Rod example, it's one of my all-time favorite idiotic comedies! :)

    @Luigifan: as I noted above, Harry Potter is not the Trope Namer. Though it's probably one of the better known examples, the lie involves car crashes so often that there really isn't one specific namer.
  • July 6, 2012
    telyni
    Reversed in The Chronicles Of Narnia series. At the beginning of The Last Battle, the children from England are pulled into Narnia from a train crash that feels like just a jerk to them. Aslan reveals to them (and the readers) later that they and their parents all actually died in that train crash. Only Susan survived.
  • July 6, 2012
    nielas
    • In TrueBlood it is revealed that Sookie's and Jason's parents were murdered and did not die accidentally in a flood. The same reveal is present in the book series the show is based on.
  • July 6, 2012
    Arivne
    If this is formally expanded to situations where the parent(s) aren't really dead:

    Film

    Edit: added the motivation to lie to Luke (both above and in the OP examples) as per peccantis's request below.
  • July 7, 2012
    bananasloth
    ^^ I'm not sure if I should add the True Blood example because it's already listed under Literature. Should I still add it to Live-Action TV as well?

    ^ I added Star Wars, but I still don't know if we should keep these examples. What do you guys think?
  • July 7, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    • A rather quick version in Thor: Thor accepts his exile after Loki tells him that the stress of banishing his son was too much for their father Odin, resulting in his death. In reality, Odin just fell into the Odinsleep, as Thor's friends inform of the next day.
  • July 7, 2012
    peccantis
    Guys, it would be GREAT if you listed the relevant motivations behind those lies.

    As for the Harry Potter example, his aunt and uncle lied to him about it being a car crash because they wanted to deny and forget about Harry's parents being wizards and just pretend everything was all normal and non-magical.
  • July 7, 2012
    bwburke94
    Harry Potter as a trope namer seems overdone. What about False Cause Of Death?
  • July 8, 2012
    planswalker
    Harry Potter isn't the trope namer, though. Did Not Die In A Car Crash is much older than those books and was widely known before then.
  • July 8, 2012
    OccasionalDragon
    ^^I second False Cause Of Death. It's catchier and shorter.
  • July 8, 2012
    bananasloth
    I like False Cause Of Death too, but only if the trope doesn't get extended to 'still alive' versions, in which case I'd still run with Did Not Die In A Car Crash, because it can be interpreted both ways. And, yeah, I can't stress this enough apparently, the name did NOT come from HP, as car accidents are the most popular among the examples.

    For now, I'd like us to decide on whether or not we should include the 'revealed to be alive' examples. I'm personally for it.
  • July 8, 2012
    planswalker
    I'd say include them, as two different categories.
  • July 8, 2012
    DarkConfidant
    This happened in The Da Vinci Code with regard to Sophia's parents and her older brother. They supposedly died in a car crash, but were really murdered by representatives of Opus Dei and the Vatican for being descendants of Christ.
  • July 8, 2012
    TMOverbeck
    Never Really Got On The Bus? :)
  • July 8, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    In most examples the lie is how they died, not whether they died. Current name is fine.
  • September 17, 2012
    bananasloth
    ok, so I didn't really have the time or energy to get back to this ykttw, but ultimately I think I'm happy with the examples and the title (and at least 5 others are too). However, I still don't want to launch this until we get a better, more detailed description. Would someone more experienced with descriptions care to help? I just don't know where to start.
  • September 17, 2012
    jbrecken
    In the comics, Spider-Man believed his parents died in a car crash but it was later retconned that they were killed because they were secret agents and he had been lied to.
  • September 17, 2012
    teababe27
    Kohta from Elfen Lied was told that his sister died of an illness, but she was killed in front of him by Lucy.
  • September 19, 2012
    Dawnwing
    Nightshade (in the literature section) now has a page: Nightshade Trilogy
  • September 19, 2012
    Tallens
    Possible page quote:

    Aunt Petunia: And then, if you please, she goes and gets herself blown up...
    Harry: Blown up? You told me my parents died in a car crash!
  • September 20, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    In Lori R. King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novel Locked Rooms, the now-married protagonists visit San Francisco and delve into Mary's history. Her parents and younger brother did die in a car crash a decade earlier (Mary herself was thrown from the car before it went over the cliff, so she survived), The police officials at the time filed it as an accident, and Mary blamed herself for the crash, since she was arguing with her brother and thought she had fatally distracted her father, who was driving. The visit with Sherlock, the curious terms of her father's will, and a series of dreams prompt the couple to make fresh inquiries, and the accident proves to have been caused by sabotage to the car's brakes by a former friend of her father's (who looted houses in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake, buried his stash in her family's garden without her father's consent and killed a policeman while acquiring the gems and jewelry).
  • September 20, 2012
    mrincodi
    Real life case: Paul Mc Cartney, who did not die in a car crash, although some believers of the "Paul is dead" hoax thought it so. Mocked with in the mockumentary Paul Mc Cartney Really Is Dead.

  • September 20, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    @ bananasloth I've written a few descriptions. What do you think of this?

    Explaining a death is often an awkward business, especially when the people who must be told are young and/or relatives of the deceased. This is especially true of deaths that are the result of murder or suicide, when the facts of the matter are particularly unpleasant and distressing to relate. Thus, many characters in fiction who have lost parents or other loved ones will not hear the truth of the matter for a long period, and often a deception begun in their past is revealed at a later date. In the meantime, the absence of the dead is attributed some form of accident or illness, so that there is no culprit to blame other than Fate or bad luck. Car accidents are a favourite choice, since they are common.

    The truth may surface during the hero's own investigations, undertaken because the hero questions the details of the story. An accidental slip by one of the other characters may plant the seed of doubt or even reveal key details. Sometimes those who know decide it is time for the hero to learn the truth, perhaps as part of a Coming Of Age Story.

    Alternatively, deaths attributed to accident after an initial investigation (and presented as truly accidental in good faith) will later prove to have different causes. Perhaps the first investigation was hurried or botched in some way, or key evidence was unavailable to the investigators. In some cases, the hero is still in the angry stage of grieving and insists on reopening the case, hiring a private detective or investigating the details personally.

    In some cases, the loved one doesn't actually die, instead going into hiding. This may be done under the auspices of an established program, with the help of one or a few friends, or on their own. Once the truth is revealed (and assuming the danger has passed), they'll likely be reunited with the grieving character.

    See also Deceptive Legacy. May overlap with Daddy Had A Good Reason For Abandoning You and Luke I Am Your Father. May also cause or overlap with Innocence Lost, particularly for younger characters.

    As this is a revelation trope, beware: unmarked spoilers ahead.
  • September 20, 2012
    bananasloth
    Potholed Nightshade, added the Locked Rooms example (slightly shortened if that's all right) and replaced the description with the one above. Thank you Bookworm, I couldn't have come up with such a well-structured one in a million years!

    As for the Mc Cartney example and the Harry Potter quote, I'm not sure about those.

    The Mc Cartney example because this trope focuses on a significant character to whom the death is important, not the character who is believed to be dead.

    My problem with the Harry Potter quote is that even with just the title, people thought this somehow originated from the series, which it did not. I don't want to reinforce this false idea. That said, the quote itself isn't bad, so if someone can argue that having a HP quote wouldn't be somewhat detrimental to the page, I'm good with putting it up.
  • September 20, 2012
    bananasloth
    re: indexes, I think this trope would fit under The Secret Index and one of either Family Tropes, The Parent Trope or Parental Issues. What do you guys think? Any other ideas?
  • September 20, 2012
    LOAD
    So still alive is being included?
  • September 20, 2012
    bananasloth
    ^ Yes, it is.

    The examples aren't sorted into two categories though, as was suggested before. But I'm open to the idea if it gets more support.
  • September 20, 2012
    TBeholder
    It's already growing inclusive. That's not a good thing.
  • September 21, 2012
    bananasloth
    ^ So what is your suggestion? Weed out all "still alive" examples completely or sort them into another category?
  • September 21, 2012
    TBeholder
    At very least, Faking The Dead, Rip Van Winkle, Released To Elsewhere are existing tropes. Even then... at very least, it needs some explicit "what is - what is not" part. Here is a valid trope, but even more strictly defined ones blur and bloat; this one may become nearly all-consuming maw of abyss if left as is. =)
  • September 24, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    @ bananasloth You're welcome. Glad to be of service.

    Once upon a time some tropes had subcategories (Type 1, Type2, ...). You could do a soft split in the examples. At the very least, you have 1) the softening lie that is told to protect someone from the Awful Truth (told by those in the know) and 2) the "good faith" investigation that is incomplete in some fashion, yet is accepted until other info comes to light. Depending on how many examples can be found, and on trends in media, these may be or become distinct subtropes.

    As far as Faking The Dead goes, that could be a subtrope of this, though this one is more about a plot or subplot involving a deceived character being undeceived (by someone else or by their own efforts)--the POV is the other way round ("...this trope focuses on a significant character to whom the death is important, not the character who is believed to be dead. "). This one being a revelation, it can serve as a sequel to Faking The Dead, unless the initial deception is in the backstory. Of coourse, Faking The Dead could simply be for a general audience and no bereaved loved one searches for the truth (in other words, it can stand alone). If I had to call it. I'd plump for Sister Trope or "may overlap".

    Rip Van Winkle can only be tenuously related, if at all. Sure, if you're gone long enough, you might be considered dead, and someone might tell the kids such a tale, but there doesn't seem to be any necessity for the deception inherent in that trope. It isn't covering for a messy gunshot suicide or a murder with embarrassing or gruesome details.

    Released To Elsewhere seems to be related; the revelation of this trope could be that one (in other words, that is one possible answer). This trope is more generally about explaining a death as less distressing and more commonplace and "unlucky", with the more sinister or distasteful truth coming out a a later date. This one may be a supertrope to Released To Elsewhere.

    As far as Sub Trope Super Trope relations, that applies if all examples of the one are examples of the other as well--one trope is a specific subset of the other. Hero Ball and Villain Ball are both types of Idiot Ball. A Sister Trope is when a similar thing in done in different ways or to different characters (Hero Ball and Villain Ball are siblings).

    @ TBeholder This may turn out to be a Super Trope. Perhaps bananasloth has found a Missing Supertrope.
  • September 24, 2012
    IlVit
    What exactly is the Trope Namer here? This name could be applied to so many works.
  • September 24, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    ^That's the point. There isn't supposed to be a trope namer, since those are to be avoided.
  • September 25, 2012
    bananasloth
    ^^^^ I see your point about Faking The Dead and Released To Elsewhere (and in fact I think I was browsing Faking The Dead when I initially started looking for related tropes, it just seems to have been left out), but I'm not buying the relation to Rip Van Winkle. Anyway, as Bookworm explained, the POV is the other way around, which I think is an important distinction.

    ^^ Again, there isn't a specific trope namer. The trope is named such because car crashes seem to be one of the most popular lies.

    Also, I'd still like to hear some thoughts on which indexes this trope should go in. Earlier I suggested The Secret Index and one of either Family Tropes, The Parent Trope or Parental Issues.
  • September 25, 2012
    IlVit
    ^ Sorry. I just didn't know what they were referencing.
  • September 25, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    As far as indexes are concerned, may I suggest (in no particular order):

    You may also consider Older Than They Think (YMMV) and Older Than Feudalism. IIRC, some of the Greek myths involve this kind of deception practised on a character until they Come of Age and/or can do something about it. I'll crack open my copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology and double check, but it seems like Psyche's family was told she was sacrificed to a monster (and so the sisters believed her to be dead) only to learn differently later.

  • September 27, 2012
    FastEddie
    Name is too specific. Trust me, it will get examples of people who did not die in a car crash. Which is the case with most dead people.

    False Cause OF Death is the best offer so far.
  • October 2, 2012
    IlVit
    Can we Just Launch It Already? This YKTTW has been around for almost 3 months and it had 5 hats at the end of August.
  • October 2, 2012
    dotchan
    • Disgaea Hour Of Darkness: Laharl believed that his father died choking on a dark pretzel, but in reality King Krichevskoy perished fighting Baal.
  • October 2, 2012
    dotchan
    • Disgaea Hour Of Darkness: Laharl believed that his father died choking on a dark pretzel, but in reality King Krichevskoy perished fighting Baal.
  • October 2, 2012
    bananasloth
    ^^^ I'd gladly launch it, except there is no consensus on whether not-really-dead examples should be included or not, and what the title should be. I think those are both issues that should be decided before the launch. (I'm personally still leaning towards including the examples, and keeping the current title)

    If nothing happens in the replies by this time tomorrow, I'll launch it as is.
  • October 2, 2012
    IlVit
    ^ Personally, i think that since the description specifically says that it can mean the character is not dead, I think that we can keep the examples where the character did not actually die.
  • October 2, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    @/telyni That. Needed. Spoilers.
  • October 3, 2012
    Arivne
    ^^^ Fast Eddie (the owner and Admin of TV Tropes) has specifically said that the current name won't work. If you launch with the title you should expect him to send it to the Cut List for that reason.

    You don't necessarily have to use the title he suggested, but you can't use the one it has now.
  • October 3, 2012
    DracMonster
  • October 3, 2012
    owlwarrorforaslan5
    Does not actually dying count, or does the person have to have died, just not the way the character was told. If the person didn't die, I have a few examples.
  • October 3, 2012
    bananasloth
    ^^ The Death Was A Lie is much better than False Cause Of Death, since it covers both variations of the trope. It might work, and I'm personally OK with it, but aren't memetic titles kind of frowned upon? Or are those just snowclones?

    ^ Go ahead and list them. It looks like we'll be adding non-dead examples.

    I was also thinking about names, and maybe there's something we can do with deception and death? Like Deceptive Death? I was really happy with myself when I thought of the punny Died Another Way, but again, that only covers half the trope :( Beguiled Griever?
  • October 3, 2012
    sigh824
    You know how your student in Dont Take It Personally Babe, Isabella, killed herself?....Well, she didn't.
  • October 3, 2012
    IlVit
    ^^ Why is that a snowclone? Memes are not included in the defenition of a snowclone. ^^^^^ On what forum did FE suggest this? Can we have a link?
  • October 3, 2012
    bananasloth
    ^ The Death Was A Lie is suspiciously similar to The Cake Is A Lie, which is both a trope name and a meme. That would make the proposed title either a snowclone or an instance of memetic mutation, neither of which make for good trope names.

    re: FE's suggestion, he just said a few posts above that the current name is too specific and that tropers will misunderstand it to mean literally anyone who didn't die in a car crash. While I don't agree with this and think that we should have a little more faith in tropers' language comprehension skills, as in, them being able to read and understand a description, I guess I have to respect that he's FE. He also said that the best suggestion so far was False Cause Of Death, which again, I don't agree with, since it covers just half the trope. There was no talk of Cut Listing the page by Eddie.
  • October 3, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Film
  • October 3, 2012
    bananasloth
    About the example in ^^^^, I'm guessing it's actually referring to Dont Take It Personally Babe It Just Aint Your Story, which is a Visual Novel. I was never really clear on this, and couldn't really find anything about it, so could someone help me out with which category do visual novels go in? I've seen them being put in the Anime & Manga folder or the Videogame folder on various pages, and sometimes they had one for themselves. So which one is it?

    Also, about that example entry itself, something more than "well, she didn't" would be nice.
  • October 3, 2012
    WolfgangAmadeusPenis
    • In The Town, Doug McRae's mother turns out to have been a drug addict that committed suicide, as opposed to the story that his father tells him.
  • October 8, 2012
    IlVit
    Is this thread dead? Does anyone come on here anymore?
  • October 8, 2012
    bananasloth
    I check it regularly, but there's not much I can do if I don't get any more input for the title, since that one seems to be the only big issue left. Like I said, I'd launch it as is, but apparently it'd get cutlisted.
  • October 12, 2012
    bananasloth
    I'm bumping once more, sorry. I'll also try to summarize the title issue here. Feel free to suggest more, or give some input about the names listed so far. So:

    Current title: Did Not Die In A Car Crash
    • pro: covers both varieties of the trope
    • pro: doesn't have a specific namer, isn't a snowclone or meme etc.
    • pro: has had moderate support, BUT
    • con: might get cutlisted, as FE suggested that it is too specific and will attract non-examples (see my argument for why I don't agree with this in ^^^^^^, though ultimately whether I'm right or not doesn't matter. Still a con.)

    Suggestion: False Cause Of Death
    • pro: doesn't have a specific namer, isn't a snowclone or meme etc.
    • pro: more widely encompassing than current
    • pro: has had the most support of the suggestions, including FE's
    • con: only covers half the trope (the bigger half, admittedly)

    Suggestion: The Death Was A Lie
    • pro: covers both types of the trope
    • pro: more widely encompassing than current
    • con: seems snowcloney/memetic, see The Cake Is A Lie - if someone can argue that it wouldn't be snowcloney and it gets more support, I'll go with this one.
  • October 12, 2012
    PhysicalStamina
    If you want another title suggestion, how about Untrue Cause Of Death?
  • October 12, 2012
    bananasloth
    ^ That's practically the same as False Cause Of Death, with the same pros and the same con. Namely, that it only works for half the trope. Thanks though.
  • October 12, 2012
    Xtifr
    How about Did Not Die That Way?

    • In Rainbows End, Robert Gu, Sr. discovers--though we knew it all along--that his wife hated him so much that she faked her own death (with the help of Friends of Privacy) when she learned that a cure for his advanced Alzheimer's had been found.
  • October 12, 2012
    bananasloth
    ^ that sounds good, not overly specific, and can be interpreted as either version of the trope. I like it. If there are no serious objections by tomorrow, I'll launch with that title. Thanks!

    Also, I added your example. It might work better if you specify how he makes that discovery. Feel free to edit it in.
  • October 13, 2012
    bananasloth
    OK, it hasn't been a full day, but since I probably won't have the time to do everything later, I'm launching this, with the title suggested in ^^. This is my first launch, let's hope everything goes well :')
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=en0xv2va0zdzuevuoin4xzmm