Created By: CosmicRock on July 3, 2012

Perilous Journey Made Simple

A location that used to be distant or hard to reach is made more accesable by repeat visits within a story

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Much like a once mysterious character that becomes mundane through familiarity, a location that was once far away or remote is made easier to reach with repeated visits in a work of fiction.

What might have been a tiring or dangerous journey for the protagonist the first time is described in less detail with each visit. When used correctly, it simply saves the author and reader the need to repeat details and segments of a story. When used incorrectly it causes inconsistencies and plot holes.

For this trope to truly manifest itself, the location or journey to it should be something that is strange, distant, perilous, or unfamiliar to the protagonist. Describing a mundane or uneventful journey to establish setting or tone would not apply.


Western Literature
  • "The Dresden Files" series of supernatural detective novels feature perilous locations like Chicago's Undercity. With each visit, despite warnings of all the different ways to get lost, trapped, and eaten, Harry Dresden seems to find his intended target more easily each time.

  • In the film adaptation of Stephen King's Pet Cemetery, the first time Louis visits the burial site it is a long and dangerous journey that takes all afternoon even with Jud guiding him. Later on in the film his trips there are glossed over in direction, and don't seem to take nearly as much chronological time.

Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • July 3, 2012
    In the The Elder Scrolls and the Fallout games made by Bethesda, any location can be fast travelled to once the player has reached it once by normal means.
  • July 3, 2012
    • In Piers Anthony's long-running Xanth novels, this ends up happening to every location with time. Some help out better than others. The lost castle Roogna? Weekend trip. The dangerous wilderness in the heart of Xanth? In the latest books, a two-sentence Hand Wave about magically protected roads. Magician Humphrey used to be a reclusive loner where it took three trials to get to him, ask him a single question, and then you have to give him a YEAR of service. It didn't take the author long to create loopholes to keep his heroes from losing out on the action for a year. Eventually, he even has the good magician simply waive the requirements whenever PLOT surrounds the character.
  • July 4, 2012
    There's also the case where the Journey from Point A to Point B is the story, and a lot of adventures happen; then at the end they return to Point A in a brief paragraph or less.
  • July 5, 2012
    ^ This is a form of the trope that might as well be included that I hadn't really thought of. This could also apply to a secondary character making the same trip but without all the struggle and description.

    El Che Viva's suggestion concerning video games is also a good point. Sometimes this is augmented by a world map or location selection screen. "Castlevania: Lords of Shadow" is an example of that.

    planswalker's Piers Anthony example describes the purest form of this trope as it originally crystallized in my mind.

  • July 5, 2012
    thanks. It really struck me when I was reading the latest book one year and I realized that in the course of a chapter, the protagonist had retraced the entire path taken in Quest for Magic.
  • July 5, 2012
    ^ Pokemon is the same way with being able to visit a place quickly (via Fly) after getting there by foot or bike the first time.
  • July 5, 2012
    This is also played with in The Muppet Movie, when they discover Miss Piggy lives in Paris, and they realize they can't drive there. So they press a "Travel By Map" button in the car to play a map montage that gets them there in 30 seconds.
  • July 5, 2012
    ^Do you mean "The Muppet Movie" or "that movie, The Muppets?"
  • July 5, 2012
    ^ Is meaning "that movie, The Muppets".
  • July 5, 2012
    We already have the proposed second type of this as Boring Return Journey. As one of the wiki's most wanted splitters, I'd say the original trope as described is distinct enough to stand on its own, though.
  • July 6, 2012
    I only think of Girly when Otra is searching for the Holy Grail. It has a basic national park idea entrance and in the end the grail is in the Cutetown University amidst other junk in a Treasure Chest.

    Edit: Should have read more the example might be: Played with. Given that Cutetown University is a recurrent location and sometimes it is just walk there and sometimes it is hard.
  • July 7, 2012
    Good catch, Shrikesnest.

    Then I'd agree to keep this trope about the time compression, film direction, or author brevity that occurs as an out of the way or dangerous place is re-visited in a story as opposed to glossing over the return trip which we have.

    Re-visiting places in a video game also may need it's own listing, though it could be argued that the intent of streamlining the experience is the same....up for discussion I guess.

    One last note:

    This might also include crossing over into another world or dimension. The first time a character crosses over into a realm of fantasy or horror, the harrowing or mystical experience is described in great detail and seems to take long enough for the hero to ponder every sensation as he is transitioning between our world and another. Later, he will more or less enter the other realm instantly like he was stepping through a common doorway.

  • July 8, 2012
  • July 8, 2012
    • The Discworld parodies this, pointing out that these things always get easier. It talks about how eventually little old ladies will be wandering to the top of Mt. Everest during their tea.