Created By: CounterBlitzkrieg on May 24, 2011 Last Edited By: CounterBlitzkrieg on September 5, 2011

Erased From the Records

Records of a fictional event were removed to justify Artistic License History

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Trope
Do We Have This One?, Needs More Examples, Rolling Updates

So you are watching a movie based on a historical event. As a history buff, you have a particular interest in this historical period but at the same time you know almost everything about it. As you watch you notice how much Artistic License History is used, how blatantly hollywood their historical narrative is. You just can't wait for the film to end so you can rant on the internet about how historically inaccurate the movie is. But in the end, someone said to "erase the records" or "we may never speak of this again" regarding the events that had just happened. That phrase made sure that it made sense why our history books never record it.

Basically an attempt by Historical Fiction writers to justify their Artistic License in history and allow them to either ignore historical stuff that would get in the way of writing the story or fill in the historical blanks. When done badly, it can look like a cop-out by the writers.

Compare The Greatest Story Never Told, Written by the Winners

Being an often time an ending trope, spoilers abound.

Examples

Film
  • The film Centurion had this about the destruction of the Roman 9th Legion in Britain.
  • At the end of Princess Of Thieves, Philip of Cognac ovethrows King John and becomes King of England. John's last words to him is that history will not remember him; presumably as a sort of Hand Wave as to why there is no King Philip in the historic record. (One could argue that John eventually reclaimed the throne and removed all record of Philip as king.)

Live-Action TV
  • The Tudors did this in regards to the death of Cardinal Woolsey who was depicted as having committed suicide and the event was covered up by King Henry and Thomas Cromwell.

Video Games
  • In L.A. Noire LAPD detective Cole Phelps and his partner Rusty managed to discover and killed the real murderer of the Black Dahlia case. However, the whole thing was covered up by the LAPD because the murderer was the half-brother of a high ranking official in Los Angeles.
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • May 24, 2011
    hevendor717
    Trope title is not specific enough. For example, in a fictional piece where the people in control erase governmental atrocities from the records to protect their reputation and power.
  • May 24, 2011
    X2X
    Like an Unperson on a wider scale, perhaps?
  • May 25, 2011
    Tulling
    Sounds like Secret History (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_history).
  • May 25, 2011
    foxley
    At the end of Princess Of Thieves, Philip of Cognac ovethrows King John and becomes King of England. John's last words to him is that history will not remember him; presumably as a sort of Hand Wave as to why there is no King Philip in the historic record. (One could argue that John eventually reclaimed the throne and removed all record of Philip as king.)
  • May 25, 2011
    Arivne
    This trope is the Secret history thrillers and Fictional "secret" versions of historical events sections on The Other Wiki's Secret History page that Tulling mentions above.

    They each have examples that can be added here.
  • May 25, 2011
    Duncan
    Many fictional stories about Area51 have this, though it's usually inverted, since there was a cover-up, most stories ponder just what it was.
  • May 25, 2011
    TwinBird
  • June 5, 2011
    TBeholder
    Crypto History? It's almost a full-on genre in itself - or would be if it wasn't used as a plot device for established ones.
  • June 5, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • Allegedly happened in The Invention Of Lying, when Mark reads the ancient manuscript he "found." Since there's no lying in this world there's no concept of fiction.
      The moment the bride and groom kissed, King Xardon performed a mind-wipe on all of the humans, thereby erasing all knowledge of these events from their minds, and sent them back to Babylon. For seven hundred years these events would be forgotten by mankind until one day, a great writer by the name of Mark Bellison, would stumble upon them in the desert, after being fired by his shit boss Anthony and mocked by Rob and Shelly, two huge douche bags.
  • September 2, 2011
    Prfnoff
  • September 3, 2011
    Arutema
  • September 3, 2011
    CaveCat
    • In Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones, it was revealed that the reason for the records of Kamino not appearing in the Jedi archives was because they had been erased by a Jedi master, who turned out to be Count Dooku.
  • September 4, 2011
    PaulA
    ^ Fits the title, but not the trope description.

    Which suggests we might need a more precise title.
  • September 5, 2011
    deuxhero
    I suggest using this in a Prequel to explain lack of references in the original also be part of the trope.
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