Built Upon Lies
Where lies serve as the foundations for something that's actually tangible.
Needs Examples Tropeworthy? Description Needs Help Already have? Better Name Needs Examples

(permanent link) added: 2012-10-20 19:36:32 sponsor: Bakazuki (last reply: 2012-11-21 15:24:25)

Add Tag:

Current Issues:

  • Is This Tropable?? Or Too Rare to Trope? Also, I asked the Lost and Found beforehand and got nothing, but just in case, Do We Have This One??
  • The wording in the description probably needs to be revised in order to avoid confusion of the Meta tropes Based on a Great Big Lie and Dan Browned. The focus on this one is in-universe, and is supposed to be about how one lie be the single foundation for what occurs in the liars life afterward and/or the results of such a lie.
  • Open to suggestions for alternate titles and indices this may belong in.

Possible Alt. Titles: ?
Indices: Truth and Lies

Most of the dishonest statements we make in life are inconsequential in the long run. After all, it's not like lying about stealing from the cookie jar is going to cause an emotional rift between you and your parents later on in life. However, a single lie can still be a powerful thing, even the simplest and whitest of lies. There are lies that will land a person into trouble. Lies that will infuriate people. Lies that will hurt people. And then there are these.

Something big -- be it someone's entire life, a theology, a corporation, or something else entirely -- can founded upon lies -- even a single lie -- that a person makes. Some people who tell these lies may not even be expecting it, as the lie initiates a domino effect, affecting their own lives and perhaps the lives of the people around them. Others, however, may know exactly what they're doing when they tell these lies, especially when the effects of telling the lies benefit them.

The end result may be something that's irreversible such as the course of the liar's life, or worse, something that comes crashing back down on the liar and those who are affected by it.

Not to be confused with Snowball Lie, where the lie itself grows and travels from person to person, and Based on a Great Big Lie, where a fictional work is sold to people as a true story.

No Real Life Examples, Please!.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Sangatsu No Lion: Rei's life after his family's death is built upon a single lie he uttered to avoid being placed in an orphanage. By telling this lie, he becomes part of a family that's devoted to the game of shogi and changes the course of his life. By becoming the best player in the family despite his lack of real love for the game, the lives of his new foster siblings are affected as well as they begin to receive less attention from their father. This culminates into Rei eventually becomes a professional player of the very game that he only played to get close to his real father. The story remains ambiguous whether or not this lie became the truth over time.
    Kouda: ...Do you like shogi?
    Young Rei: ...Yes.
    Rei (narration): ...For the first time in my life, I lied in order to survive...and there was no turning back. Since then the god of shogi and I have been wrapped together by that ugly lie.

Film
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, crime has nearly been eradicated with the power of the Dent Act, which came into existance as a testament to Harvey Dent's crime-fighting efforts and his supposed sacrifice. This, however, is just a lie, as the public doesn't know that Harvey actually murdered the people in The Dark Knight as Two-Face, the murders being blamed on Batman instead to uphold Harvey's image as Gotham City's white knight. The lie later becomes a point of conflict between John Blake and James Gordon.
  • In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Senator Ransom Stoddard's political career is kickstarted by a feat he never achieved, the demise of the dreadful ruffian Liberty Valance. It becomes a positive Never Live It Down example to everyone, except to him and to the real hero, Tom Doniphon. A newspaper editor discusses how the lines between fiction and reality are easily dissolved
    When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.
  • The Invention of Lying takes place in a universe where lying does not exist until the protagonist develops the ability and creates the first lie. Later in the film, he tells his dying mother, who is fearful of the nothingness she believes will come of death, about an afterlife and Heaven to allow her to die in peace. This lie eventually spreads throughout the world, which eventually leads him into lying about other things to bolster the his previous lie, such as "ten rules" and the "Man in the Sky." Since no one understands the concept of lying, they believe everything without question, and religion is born out of his lies.

Literature
  • This is the basis for The Postman. In a post-nuclear Pacific Northwest, what started out as a simple con -- telling people that enough of the government survived that postal service is being restored -- is enough to stimulate scattered communities of survivors to begin rebuilding a central government.
  • In The Warrior Apprentice, Miles is trying to arrange to run a cargo of supplies into a war zone and states that "were professionals" with the intent to imply he is a professional shipper (which he isn't, this being his first run ever). The listener interprets him to mean he is a professional mercenary instead, which Miles decides not to correct since it shouldn't matter either way so long as he gets the mission. By the end of the story Miles finds himself repeating the lie after he accidentally takes over one ship, and slowly captures or receives more ships until he ultimately is the admiral of his own mercenary fleet. Though he didn't exactly want the fleet so much as it just sort of happened.
  • In The Toynbee Convector by Ray Bradbury, a man named Stiles claims to have traveled a hundred years into the future and seen an Earth that is a virtual utopia, providing documentary evidence from the future to back up his claims. With a vision to work towards, humanity starts striving to reach the future Stiles has described, and by the time 100 years have passed, it is a reality. On the day he is supposed to arrive from the past, Stiles grants an interview to a reporter. He admits that the time machine never worked and that his proof was all fake. He just wanted to give humanity a goal worth striving for. Stiles dies and the reporter decides to keep his secret.

(Rolling Updates)
replies: 16

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy