Created By: Thecommander236January 15, 2013 Last Edited By: Thecommander236February 19, 2013
Troped

Fantasy All Along

You had reality ensue... Then it ended in fantasy.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

After a work goes through a reality check, it hardly ever stays there. After all, this is fiction. If there's magic in the world, you know a wizard will eventually do something to get things back to where the work belongs. Fantasy All Along is the way a work gets back to its story in a way that is consistent with the content of the work before reality ensued. If something started realistically and then turned to fantasy, then it may be All Just A Dream. If done poorly, this can become an Ass Pull. Beware the return to fantasy.

Obviously, no real life examples, please. Real life examples of people doing stupid and/or dangerous things goes on Dont Try This At Home and/or Do Not Attempt. Compare and contrast to Maybe Magic Maybe Mundane, Or Was It A Dream, and Deus Ex Machina.

Examples:

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[[folder: Comic Book]]
  • In Grant Morrison's final issue of Doom Patrol, Crazy Jane is living in a realistic world with no superheroes, and it's implied the events of the whole series were just a fantasy she cooked up in her brain. Then, just as she's contemplating suicide, a portal opens, Cliff comes out of it, and the two walk through the portal, hand in hand, back to the DC Universe.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film - Live-Action]]
  • Done ambiguously in Pans Labyrinth. Are the faeries real, or just cooked up by the imagination of a lonely and scared young girl? Is her return to the land of the faeries at the end real, or just her last dying thought?
  • In the Eddie Murphy movie The Golden Child, one of the heroes is an acrobatic young woman who has a Bare Your Midriff outfit and does some standard She Fu throughout the movie. The villain simply shoots her in the gut during the final showdown with a crossbow, and she dies pretty anticlimactically. She didn't do THAT good a job at dodging or because She Fu is not suited to use against the Big Bad. Good thing that the titular 'Golden Child' is capable of healing people... which he does when the last battle is finished.
  • Spock dies on Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan because, well, he walked into a reactor with no protection whatsoever as a Heroic Sacrifice (and Reality Ensues because, final speech aside, it wasn't a pretty death (he had burns and everything))... and then came Star Trek III The Search For Spock where we discover that he used a variation of the Vulcan Mind Meld as a memory back-up and his resurrected body is on the "Genesis(!?)" Device-created planet.
  • The Matrix Reloaded. At the end of the movie, Neo is outside a ship in the real world, with inbound enemy robots. They close in, death an absolute certainty..... and then Neo mind zaps them. Using his Matrix powers. In the real world. Apropos of nothing. Might be closer to Sci-Fi All Along, but nevertheless.
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[[folder: Literature]]
  • A dark example from John Dickson Carr's novel The Burning Court: The detective comes up with an rational explanation for the murder mystery in the penultimate chapter. But in The Stinger chapter, we learn that Marie Stevens is most likely a witch, quite probably the reincarnation of a 19th cenrury murderer, and that she framed the woman who was arrested for the murder.
  • The last book has a typical Narnia plot of the characters being called to Narnia while they were on a train, going around, slaughtering bad guys.... and the final reveal by Crystal Dragon Jesus Aslan that they were dead, there was a train wreck at the very beginning of the book and none of them survived, and Narnia's either Purgatory or Heaven.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live-Action TV]]
  • In an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer it seems that Buffy isn't really a vampire slayer, she's a teenage girl in a mental institution who just thinks she's a vampire slayer. In the end she denies that reality in favor of her vampire slaying reality - but it's very strongly implied that the "girl in a mental institution" scenario is the real one (Word Of God notwithstanding).
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comic]] [[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
  • In the last episode of Harvey Birdman Attorney At Law, the judge FINALLY figures out that every trial since the start of the series has had the same jurors. Since this is illegal in the real world, the judge has to throw out all of the cases Harvey did (except the first?) All the criminals that were put away are immediately released and, predictably, start destroying the city. Harvey then has to prepare every case and combine and make one big speech in one single trial... which he does while juggling two of the clients. The judge leaves all the cases decisions unchanged.
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 44
  • January 16, 2013
    Tuomas
    • In Grant Morrison's final issue of Doom Patrol, Crazy Jane is living in a realistic world with no superheroes, and it's implied the events of the whole series were just a fantasy she cooked up in her brain. Then, just as she's contemplating suicide, a portal opens, Cliff comes out of it, and the two walk through the portal, hand in hand, back to the DC Universe.
  • January 16, 2013
    nitrokitty
    • Done ambiguously in Pans Labyrinth. Are the faeries real, or just cooked up by the imagination of a lonely and scared young girl? And is her return to the land of the faeries at the end real, or just her last dying thought?
  • January 16, 2013
    JonnyB
    Page quote?
    "This isn't reality, mister; this is fantasy."
  • January 16, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Added, added, and added. Cool.
  • January 16, 2013
    Stratadrake
    I'm not liking the title here, it is not a proper inversion/counterpart of Reality Ensues.
  • January 16, 2013
    Thecommander236
    That's the point? The inverse of Reality Ensues is fantasy occurring in Real Life. There's a reason there are no real life examples in Reality Ensues. Another way to go would be if the series started normal and then turned into a fantasy, but since it is already fiction, you really shouldn't be surprised by this happening. The only exception would be if the series was about normal people for as long as seasons, then fantastic events started to occur... We have a trope for that called Jumping The Shark.
  • January 16, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Reality Ensues simply means "realism happens", a sort of Deconstruction if you will, and whether the work is set in a realistic or fantastic venue is irrelevant (but mostly the latter). Your Example As A Thesis (try to avoid those, btw) reads "Fantasy All Along as a Deus Ex Machina".
  • January 16, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Okay then. Here's something. If Reality Ensues is a Deconstruction, then why wouldn't this be a Reconstruction of the setting as a whole?

    Also, to quote Reality Ensues: "Defied Trope may lead to this, as may Deconstructed Trope." It doesn't have to be a Deconstruction in the first place.
  • January 17, 2013
    Tuomas
    I agree with Stratadrake, Fantasy All Along would be a better title for this. As a title, Fantasy Ensues could also cover examples where a story that was previously completely realistic changes to include fantasy elements, and that is a far broader trope than what you're describing here. That broader trope would be the true counterpart to Reality Ensues. The trope described here, on the other hand, requires two changes (first from fantasy to realism, then back to fantasy), so Fantasy Ensues can be a misleading title.
  • January 21, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Fair enough. Fantasy All Along it is. And no this is not Up For Grabs. I'm bumping this so you know I'm still alive. I've just been... well, busy isn't exactly true. Name changed.
  • January 29, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Maybe the Anime 'Martian Successor Nadesico' fits here. Dunno.

    The series just loves to showcase Super Robot tropes and then do to them a near-Gears Of War-style curb-stomp... but the titular ship IS a Super Prototype, the crew ARE a Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits, and the moment The Jovians' real identities are known, Time Travel Tropes (and some amount of Aliens Steal Cable and discussion about Stop Having Fun Guys) galore.

    Or Firefly, as well:

    Wash: Psychic, though? That sounds like something out of science fiction. Zoe: We live in a spaceship, dear. Wash: ...So? — Firefly, "Objects in Space"
  • January 31, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Reality has to ensue and then go right back to fantasy.
  • January 31, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    OK, got it.

    So, in a work of fantasy Reality must ensue somehow, and then something happens that showcases that fantasy is still predominant?

    If so, there is an example I can think of: the Eddie Murphy movie 'The Golden Child' (which has an example on the Reality Ensues trope, BTW). One of the hero characters is an acrobatic young woman which has a Bare Your Midriff outfit and does some standard 'pirouette towards bad guy and kick his ass' She Fu throughout the movie.

    The villain simply shoots her in the gut during the final showdown with a crossbow, and she dies pretty anticlimactically (because, well, she's not packing any kind of armour or doing THAT good a job at dodging or because She Fu is not the best kind of martial arts to use against the Big Bad-take your pick).

    Good thing that the titular 'Golden Child' is capable of healing people... which he does when the last battle is finished.
  • January 31, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Yes, that is correct and, yes, that would be an example of this trope. Realistically, she would have died from those wounds, but the movie's version of "magic" healed her.
  • January 31, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer it seems that Buffy isn't really a vampire slayer, she's a teenage girl in a mental institution who just thinks she's a vampire slayer. In the end she denies that reality in favor of her vampire slaying reality - but it's very strongly implied that the "girl in a mental institution" scenario is the real one (Word Of God notwithstanding).
  • February 1, 2013
    AP
    Compare and contrast to Maybe Magic Maybe Mundane and Or Was It A Dream.
  • February 1, 2013
    Tuomas
    I noticed you have a typo in your page quote: the name of the Star Trek character is Uhura, not Uhuru.
  • February 1, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Pretty close to launch. I would like a few more examples, but I should be able to launch it soon.
  • February 1, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Spock dies on 'Wrath of Khan' because, well, he walked into a reactor with no protection whatsoever as a Heroic Sacrifice (and Reality Ensues because, final speech aside, it wasn't a pretty death (he had burns and everything)).... and come the third movie, we discover that he used a variation of the Vulcan Mind Meld as a memory back-up and his resurrected body is on the Genesis Device-created planet.

    As good an example as any.
  • February 1, 2013
    LokIago
    • The Matrix Reloaded: At the end of the movie, Neo is outside a ship in the real world, with inbound enemy robots. They close in, death an absolute certainty..... and then Neo mind zaps them. Using his Matrix powers. In the real world. Apropos of nothing. Might be closer to Sci-Fi All Along, but nevertheless.
  • February 1, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Added and added.

    Can I get a link to the Wrath of Khan?
  • February 1, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
  • February 2, 2013
    Tal63
    This sounds like a subversion of Reality Ensues, an Ass Pull and/or Deus Ex Machina
  • February 2, 2013
    Thecommander236
    If it is a subversion of all three then I believe it has a right to be a trope. Some examples will NOT be a subversion of those three tropes. Besides, we have tropes already that are subversions of other tropes because they are very common.

    And thanks for the namespace marcoasalazarm.
  • February 3, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    You're welcome.

    BTW, possibly 'The Matrix Revolutions' would also fit here... maybe. The final fight in the real world between Neo and the (Smith-possessed) Bane is described in 'Reality Ensues' as a very dirty brawl (because the Kung Fu they know depends greatly on Matrix-bending shenanigans). There has been no evidence about Neo's new Matrix powers being useful in the Real World beyond destroying Machines and entering the Matrix wirelessly.

    So then Smith destroys Neo's eyes, he's crippled and Trinity is trapped and things look pretty grim, right?

    No... he develops some kind of 'Matrix Vision' and continues battling (and defeats) Bane.

    'Fantasy All Along' or 'Fantasy Ensues', like all other tropes, is in the eyes of the beholder (maybe it *is* an Ass Pull, maybe it *is* a Deus Ex Machina. The important thing for this trope's definition is that it happens immediately after a Reality Ensues moment and reinforces the fact that it's *still* a fantasy tale).
  • February 3, 2013
    captainpat
    Please rewrite the description without the example scenario. That's an Example As A Thesis. You don't need an example in your trope description when you have an example section right below it.

  • February 3, 2013
    Thecommander236
    True, true. The problem is, that there are pages that use vague examples like that in the description. The example is all there just for the Title Drop, nothing else. I don't like specific examples in descriptions (naming a work and giving the details on how it fits) since there is no such thing as notability, but I built the description around that Title Drop and I have no idea about how to go about changing it.
  • February 3, 2013
    captainpat
    Will, I'd hold off on launching this until you can rewrite without the Example As A Thesis. Just write as much as you need to explain what the trope is. Short description are fine too.
  • February 3, 2013
    Thecommander236
    *sigh* I reread it... You were right. It works just fine without the example. I did add additional information, mentioning that something that starts out like a normal show then became fantasy also count (say some Digimon series) so we don't have to make a trope for both types of examples.
  • February 3, 2013
    captainpat
    Alright looks good. The only thing I would recomend is that you change the sentence about Ass Pull and Deus Ex Machina. Least with Deus Ex Machina, that is a trope and Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • February 3, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Okay that one I can argue, but you are right Tropes Are Not Bad and a poorly done Deus Ex Machina is already an asspull, so yes. I will remove that. I adding it to the compare and contrast section, because an example of Fantasy All Along can be a Deus Ex Machina (it isn't always and the reverse isn't always true either).
  • February 3, 2013
    AP
    Not sure if this one counts:

    • In Vanilla Sky and the orignal film Open Your Eyes (Abre Los Ojos), the setting seems to be mostly set in reality with only a few hints that some science fiction elements are taking place. Towards the climax, things get surreal and it is soon discovered that the events that took place were all Just AD Sream of the main character while he was frozen in stasis for several decades.
  • February 3, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Just AD Sream links to nowhere...
  • February 5, 2013
    Tuomas
    I don't think the Vanilla Sky / Abre Los Ojos example counts, because it simply goes from realism to fantasy, not from fantasy to realism and back to fantasy. The proper trope for that plot twist is good ol' All Just A Dream, where it's already listed.
  • February 5, 2013
    Thecommander236
    "Just AD Sream" Just a dream... right. deleted
  • February 6, 2013
    Kinswaous
    A dark example from John Dickson Carr's novel The Burning Court: The detective comes up with an rational explanation for the murder mystery in the penultimate chapter. But in The Stinger chapter, we learn that Marie Stevens is most likely a witch, quite probably the reincarnation of a 19th cenrury murderer, and that she framed the woman who was arrested for the murder.
  • February 6, 2013
    TMOverbeck
    Would The Chronicles of Narnia count? The very last book has the human characters spending the rest of eternity in Aslan's Country, though their Earth forms were killed in a train wreck.
  • February 6, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Uuuuuhhhhh. I have no clue. Write up a description and I'll check.
  • February 11, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    The last book has a typical Narnia plot of the characters being called to Narnia while they were on a train, going around, slaughtering bad guys.... and the final reveal by Crystal Dragon Jesus Aslan that they were dead, there was a train wreck at the very beginning of the book and none of them survived, and Narnia's either Purgatory or Heaven (can't remember).
  • February 13, 2013
    rodneyAnonymous
    "If something started realistically and then turned to fantasy, then it may be All Just A Dream. If done poorly, this can become an Ass Pull. Beware the return to fantasy."

    So this is the same as All Just A Dream then?
  • February 14, 2013
    Thecommander236
    No, I'm saying that it may not be this trope and may instead be All Just A Dream when it "something started realistically and then turned to fantasy".
  • February 18, 2013
    Speedball
    Actually Still Fantastic would be my title for this trope.
  • February 18, 2013
    Thecommander236
    I don't know, it kind of sounds misleading.
  • February 18, 2013
    randomsurfer

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable