Created By: Eddy1215 on October 6, 2011 Last Edited By: Eddy1215 on October 20, 2011

Unsuspected Shared History

When the Hero realizes the Villain has a connection to his Dark And Troubled Past

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Trope
Do We Have This?, Needs a Better Description

The Hero has finally come face to face with the Big Bad. During the confrontation, the villain lets out an Evil Laugh. But, wait, what's this? It has a shocking effect on the hero. He recognizes that laugh. It was the same laugh he heard as a child when his family perished in a fire at their home. The hero now knows the truth. This villain was the one responsible for that fire! Now It's Personal.

When the hero or some other protagonist has a Dark and Troubled Past, they'll always remember one little thing about that incident that gives them nightmares. When they come face to face with the villain, that little something will come up, and the hero will make the connection between the villain and their traumatic past. It can be anything from a laugh, a phrase, a symbol, even the villain's voice if it haunts the hero's dreams enough.

Contrast with But for Me, It Was Tuesday when the hero doesn't recognize the villain from his past.


Examples:

Film:
  • In Batman, Bruce recognizes the Joker as the killer of his parents when he says "Did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?" which is the same thing the killer said to him as a child.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, what Eddie Valiant remembers about the toon who killed his brother were his burning red eyes and high squeaky voice. When Judge Doom's identity was revealed, he discarded fake human eyes, his real eyes being the same ones that Eddie recognized as belonging to his brother's killer. Oh, and the fact that he started talking in a high squeaky voice helped too.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2: Po is battling the villain's henchmen and is gaining the upper hand until he glances at their insignia, which starts his massive Heroic Blue Screen of Death for the rest of the film and eventually realizes that he became an orphan because the villain destroyed his hometown.
  • This was done in Kung Pow!: Enter the Fist between the Chosen One and Betty.

Literature:
  • For the first eleven years of Harry Potter's life, he had dreams of a green light, which he eventually discovered was the Killing Curse. Following Hagrid's revelation, he realized there was also a cold, high-pitched laughter in his memory as well.

Live-Action TV:
  • In The Shadow Line, when Jonah Gabriel meets Gatehouse for the first time, he flashes back to the shooting that gave him his Laser Guided Amnesia as he realizes Gatehouse was the shooter.

Western Animation:
  • Played with in The Penguins of Madagascar. After being attacked by an unknown assailant, Skipper hears clapping coming from somewhere and says "I know that icy cold clapping", right before having flashbacks of the Copenhagen Incident involving Hans the Puffin.
  • During a case, Kylie is haunted by the rehearing the phrase "Come out and play, Child", leading her on a search where she discovers her history with the Grundel.
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • October 6, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Batman 1989: Bruce Wayne hears the Joker say, "Did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?" which is what his parents' killer said right before he killed them. It doesn't mean anything though, Joker just thinks it's a cool thing to say to people right before he kills them.

    Needs A Better Name.
  • October 7, 2011
    Arivne
    Site owner Fast Eddie has banned new trope names that sound like lines of dialog. If a trope is launched with a dialog name it will be Cut Listed, and he has been discarding such tropes while they're still on YKTTW, sometimes without any warning.

    In other words, this trope needs a new name immediately.
  • October 7, 2011
    kyun
    • Kung Fu Panda 2: Po is battling the villain's henchmen and is gaining the upper hand until he glances at their insignia, which starts his massive Heroic Blue Screen Of Death for the rest of the film and eventually realizes that he became an orphan because the villain destroyed his hometown.
  • October 7, 2011
    TheJackal
    Agreed that it needs a better name. Also, could this benefit from an unmarked spoilers warning?

    Also,

    Live Action TV
  • October 7, 2011
    FadeIntoNight
    This was done in the movie Kung Pow: Enter the Fist between the Chosen One and Betty.
  • October 7, 2011
    Eddy1215
    Well, what would you suggest for the name?
  • October 7, 2011
    Hadashi
  • October 7, 2011
    NESBoy
    In The Lion King, Simba never suspected that his Evil Uncle orchestrated the events that killed his father earlier in the movie, until he finds himself hanging over a cliff with Scar holding his arms in the same manner as when he held Mufasa, at which point Scar tells him his secret.
  • October 7, 2011
    Eddy1215
    Sorry, that one doesn't count. It's suppose to be something that the protagonist remembers from the incident that allows him to piece together the connection.
  • October 13, 2011
    surgoshan
  • October 14, 2011
    surgoshan
    By changing it to Unsuspected Shared History, you open up the possibility that it's a nonvillainous encounter, making it a broader trope, with a number of subtropes, that would probably deserve their own pages.

    Obviously these can have overlap. blood & hero = Luke and Leia, blood & villain = Luke and Darth
  • October 20, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    ^ I like this plan! I even have an entry that overlaps blood relationship and hero connection.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=s7sepz7msu2wp25pkprmahy3