Created By: BelfagorApril 17, 2011 Last Edited By: BelfagorApril 23, 2011
Troped

Shattering The Illusion

An illusion is revealed and destroyed.

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Trope
Gerrard: (To Yawgmoth) You're not my Hanna!

A character is being fooled by an illusion, but for reasons that may vary (just two examples: A Glitch In The Matrix or newfound self-confidence), the illusion is finally destroyed.

Said illusion could be the work of a Shapeshifter, a Lotus Eater Machine, or The Final Temptation. See also Epiphanic Prison, in which Shattering The Illusion allows the character to learn something.

A common consequence of Spot The Thread. Compare A Glitch In The Matrix, in which the illusion isn't necessarily destroyed. See also Shapeshifter Guilt Trip. A Glamour is often dispelled this way, causing Glamour Failure.

As a reveal trope, consider this a Spoiler Warning!

Examples

Anime And Manga

Card Games
  • Magic The Gathering
    • Gerrard does a Face Heel Turn in order to win Hanna back from the dead. As he's going to give her Urza's head, however, he suddenly realizes she's nothing but an illusion created by Yawgmoth. He shatters the illusion by slaying the fake Hanna.
    • The trope is represented mechanically in cards like Illusionary Servant and Phantom Beast: targeting them with a spell or ability breaks the illusion, causing them to vanish.

Film
  • A non-violent example in X2: Wolverine is able to recognize that Mystique has faked Jean's appearance in order to seduce him thanks to the scars he had previously left her. Mystique, then, gets back to her true look.

Literature
  • Happens to Ciaphas Cain whenever his aide Jurgen is around to prevent warpcraft from happening. Including rescuing him from a Slaaneshi witch using glamour and from a Chaos warlord with a Compelling Voice.
  • BIONICLE: in "Time Trap", Vakama shatters the illusion by stopping to believe it after firing a Kanoka disk at "Nokama", which just phases through "her".
  • Happens in Shade by Andrew Plotkin
  • In Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Ron manages to fight back the illusions created by the Horcrux and is finally able to destroy it.

Live Action TV
  • Happens literally in the Star Trek The Next Generation episode "Frame of Mind", in which Riker realises he's actually a prisoner in a virtual reality, and the illusion literally shatters like chunks of glass.
  • An episode of How I Met Your Mother had a comedy variant of this, in which the characters started pointing out each other's flaws. Each "revelation" was accompanied by a sound of glass shattering as the "illusion" was shattered.
    • Also, the episode tag had the illusion of a deaf person shatter by literally putting onscreen "Glass Shattering" in subtitles.
  • House: season 2 finale has House realizing that nearly everything thus far in the episode has been a hallucination. He is only able to shatter the illusion by using a surgery robot to slice his Patient of the Week open lengthwise... and even then there's an agonizing few moments where he isn't sure there was an illusion in the first place.

Real Life
  • Usually, if you suddenly become aware that you're dreaming, you're going to wake up immediately after. If you don't, welcome to the world of lucid dreams.
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • April 17, 2011
    randomsurfer
    See also Lotus Eater Machine, and the various "see also" tropes there.
  • April 17, 2011
    KyleJacobs
    Anime And Manga
  • April 18, 2011
    Speedball
    I think this is covered by Spot The Thread, but good idea.
  • April 18, 2011
    SonofRojBlake
    Happens literally in the Star Trek: Next Gen episode "Frame of Mind", in which Riker realises he's actually a prisoner in a virtual reality, and the illusion literally shatters like chunks of glass.
  • April 18, 2011
    Chabal2
    Happens to Ciaphas Cain whenever his aide Jurgen is around to prevent warpcraft from happening. Including rescuing him from a Slaaneshi witch using glamour and from a Chaos warlord with a Compelling Voice.
  • April 18, 2011
    Koveras
    In Nanoha As, the Book of Darkness traps Fate inside a Lotus Eater Machine but Fate soon realizes that this reality is way too good for her and shatters it. In process, it is revealed that she had a special illusion-breaking spell ready for just such occasion.
  • April 18, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw
    • An episode of How I Met Your Mother had a comedy variant of this, in which the characters started pointing out each other's flaws. Each "revelation" was accompanied by the sound of glass breaking as the "illusion" was shattered.
  • April 19, 2011
    FreezairForALimitedTime
  • April 19, 2011
    jaytee
    There is an episode of House (season 2 finale, i think) where House realizes that nearly everything thus far in the episode had been a hallucination. He is only able to shatter the illusion by using a surgery robot to slice his Patient of the Week open lengthwise..... And even then there's an agonizing few moments where he isn't sure there was an illusion in the first place.
  • April 19, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In the season 1 finale of Eli Stone Eli realizes he's in a coma having a dream when he notices that he's been wearing the same suit for a week and hasn't interacted with anyone outside of the plot.
  • April 20, 2011
    dalek955
    • Happens in Naruto whenever anyone has to break an opponent's genjutsu.
  • April 20, 2011
    KZN02
    BIONICLE: in "Time Trap", Vakama shatters the illusion by stopping to believe it after firing a Kanoka disk at "Nokama", which just phases through "her".
  • April 20, 2011
    thewriter
    To add on the How I Met Your Mother example, the episode tag had the illusion of a deaf person shatter by literally putting onscreen "Glass Shattering" in subtitles.
  • April 20, 2011
    AXavierB
    Happens in Pokemon if Zoroark is damaged while using the move Illusion.
  • April 20, 2011
    ralphmerridew1
    Shade by Andrew Plotkin
  • April 21, 2011
    Earnest
    A Glamour is often dispelled this way, causing Glamour Failure.
  • April 22, 2011
    Glucharina
  • April 22, 2011
    troacctid
    • Magic The Gathering:
      • Gerrard does a Face Heel Turn in order to win Hanna back from the dead. As he's going to give her Urza's head, however, he suddenly realizes she's nothing but an illusion created by Yawgmoth. He shatters the illusion by slaying the fake Hanna.
      • The trope is represented mechanically in cards like Illusionary Servant and Phantom Beast: targeting them with a spell or ability breaks the illusion, causing them to vanish.

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