[[quoteright:200:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/denouement.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:200:Pictured: the Dénouement in her element, unraveling plot threads.]]

Denouement (pronounced day-noo-mahn) is French for "unknotting", and denotes the point in the story when mysteries are unraveled, fates are determined and explanations made. It is not synonymous with [[TheClimax climax]]: This is the aftermath of the action, not the peak. It is usually the scene ''after'' the climax -- although it can happen in such close proximity to the events of the climax that it may appear to be part of it. An equivalent English expression would be "tying up loose ends".

It is fairly [[UniversalTrope ubiquitous]], though not all stories have dénouements. How final and extensive it is depends on the scale of the plot -- and whether there may be a sequel. For a HappyEnding or even BittersweetEnding, this is generally where the happiness is shown. As a consequence, [[RuleOfDrama many usual rules -- directed at keeping conflict and suspense going]] -- are suspended here. The LawOfInverseFertility, for instance, does not apply; if TheHero and the LoveInterest married at the climax, a dénouement may show them [[BabiesEverAfter happily anticipating the birth of, or cooing over, their first child]].

In the DownerEnding, or even the BittersweetEnding, the tragedy may taper off. TheHero died at the climax; the Dénouement shows his MeaningfulFuneral, or his friends raising a glass ToAbsentFriends. The StarCrossedLovers had to part; the Dénouement shows them going on with their lives, however sadly.

In television writing, this is usually TheTag, sometimes a DenouementEpisode. A SequelHook may feature. If the Dénouement is very long, it's EndingFatigue. If it's missing, there's NoEnding.

Not to be confused with {{Detournement}}.

'''EndingTrope. Spoilers follow.'''
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* After the end of ''Manga/FruitsBasket'', we see a scene with Tohru's granddaughter talking to her mother, and her grandparents walking together, holding hands.
* ''Anime/HeartcatchPrettyCure'' (which has a BittersweetEnding) has a particularly poignant dénouement, implying that Futaba succeed her big sister as a Pretty Cure.
* Similarly, in ''Anime/KikisDeliveryService'', the ending theme shows such images as Jiji and Lily having kittens, Tombo flying an airplane, and a little girl dressed up as Kiki, wrapping up their arcs, and showing the entire city's acceptance of Kiki.
* At the end of ''Anime/MyNeighborTotoro'', we see scenes from the future, such as Mother's return home, rolling alongside the credits.
* ''Anime/{{Popotan}}'' ends with the sisters arriving in a new time period, inhabited by an older Mai (Konami's daughter). This after they've decided to continue travelling in the episode's climax.
* For such a hot-blooded series, ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' has a mellow, [[BittersweetEnding melancholy]] dénouement.
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[[folder: Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/AllFallDown'', a FlashForward at a funeral reveals the fates of several main characters:
** [[spoiler:Paradigm]] saves lives as a paramedic.
** [[spoiler:Portia]] fights side-by-side with the Ghoul.
** [[spoiler:Pronto]] seeks counselling and rehabilitation in {{prison}}.
** [[spoiler:Plymouth]] forgives [[spoiler:Pronto]] and visits him frequently in {{prison}}.
** [[spoiler:Grace]] happily marries the woman of her dreams.
** [[spoiler:Phylum]] writes a bestselling autobiography.
** [[spoiler:IQ Squared]] ends up in prison, but with his father's respect.
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[[folder: Fan Works]]
* The last real chapter of ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'' (there are two postscripts) has the four talking with Shag and Varx about being sent back to Earth—but without their magic, which has John and Paul overjoyed but George disappointed and Ringo heartbroken. They also learn a little bit about the Fans (which turns out to be lies, though they never find that out) and decide not to tie up their last loose end by rescuing Lyndess.
* In the ''[[WesternAnimation/TotalDramaIsland Total Drama]]'' story, ''Fanfic/{{Legacy}}'', the last chapter is entirely dénouement, with the climax coming at the end of the preceding chapter as Heather reveals her gesture of remembrance.
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[[folder:Film]]
* At the end of ''[[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbean Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End]]'', after the credits, "ten years later", [[spoiler:Elizabeth and her nine-year-old son are walking to the shore; when they reach it, they look out to a ship at sea.]]
* ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine'' not only has this trope, but two SequelHook segments as well, one of which has just been greenlit by Hollywood. That's right, folks: [[{{Deadpool}} the Merc with the Mouth]] is getting his own movie.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{WALL-E}}'' uses a series of animated scenes to document what happened to the characters [[spoiler: after returning to a revitalized Earth.]]
* ''{{Clerks}}'' took out all the guesswork for its audience -- "Dénouement" was the final title card.
* ''Film/ForAFewDollarsMore'' climaxed with Mortimer shooting El Indio, and the dénouement was Manco figuring out and showing to the audience [[TheReveal why Mortimer had wanted Indio dead so badly to begin with]]. And leaving with the loot.
* The sequel of ''MissCongeniality'' starts with Gracie broken up and Cheryl kidnapped.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''Literature/HarryPotter'', the dénouement actually happened before the climax. In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'', Harry [[spoiler:meets with Albus Dumbledore in an ethereal place, and Dumbledore explains most of the mysteries that are still left unanswered]]. Although the fates are still undetermined at this point.
** Some fans, however, criticized the final book because of its rather meager and somewhat rushed post-climax dénouement before the DistantFinale.
* In the twelfth ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'' book there is a hotel aptly named this. The Dénouement is run by triplets (also named Dénouement), and it answers a ton of the questions in the series, but still leaves a treasure trove left unsaid.
** This is a DiscussedTrope in book 12, as Snicket explains the difference between the dénouement and ending of a story, in traditonal Snicket style.
* In Creator/JRRTolkien's ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' trilogy, ''The Return of the King'' probably had a higher percentage of dénouement than any other story ever written. After the the climax is over, and the characters journey to their homes, saying goodbyes on the way, a new conflict is introduced. A new conflict. After TheClimax.
* In Creator/JaneAusten's ''PrideAndPrejudice'' the final chapter recounts how the two marriages occurred, and the happy life of the couples thereafter.
** In ''{{Persuasion}}'' Anne Eliot and Captain Wentwrorth actually marry, and Captain Wentworth acts on behalf of her friend Mrs. Smith.
** In ''Literature/NorthangerAbbey'', General Tilney relents, and Catherine and Henry marry.
** In ''MansfieldPark'', Edward and Fanny marry and after a few years move to a better living.
* In Anthony Hope's ''ThePrisonerOfZenda'', after the heroine marries the king, and the heart-broken lover leaves, it recounts how every year, the new queen would send him a messenger, telling him of her.
* In JamesSwallow's TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Literature/BloodAngels novel ''Red Fury'', after the battle has dealt with the Bloodfiends, and the other Chapters have decided to tithe to the Blood Angels so that chapter will survive -- they learn that Fabius Bile has stolen some "sacred vitae". Rafen is charged with [[TheQuest recovering it]] [[SequelHook in the last scene]].
** In ''Black Tide'', Noxx comes to see Rafen and talk, before they part to bring back the escaped Space Marines to their chapters.
* In Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs's ''[[JohnCarterOfMars Warlord of Mars]]'', Thuvia's hopeless crush on John Carter is [[LoveFatherLoveSon showing every sign of being cured by meeting his son Carthoris]]. (Things go wrong after so that she and he get their own book, ''Thuvia, Maid of Mars''.)
* The Literature/PhilipMarlowe books by Creator/RaymondChandler frequently end with a dénouement, which occur during [[ChandlersLaw the villain's confrontation]] and/or in a closing scene (where Marlowe explains anything missed).
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[[folder:Videogames]]
* VideoGame/MetalGearSolid always does this. 1 has it right before the final fight, 2 and 3 have it place with the ending and [[spoiler: 4 has it after the credits]].
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' has an entire level set after the FinalBattle, where you can talk to your Companions and significant Origin characters to learn about their future plans, while the cheering crowd outside waits to see their savior. If the Warden dies, there is a MeaningfulFuneral for him/her instead. Additionally, there is a slide show epilogue detailing the fates of your Companions and some [=NPCs=]. ''And'' there is the ''Witch Hunt'' {{DLC}}, which wraps up Morrigan's storyline, which was LeftHanging in the original game. Yeah, ''DA'' likes this trope.
* On a similar note, the [[NoEnding abruptness of the end]] and thus lack of Denouement in the final ''Franchise/MassEffect'' game... well, the fan outcry isn't pretty. It was so bad that {{Bioware}} went back and patched in a more detailed version. Not exactly done to satisfaction for some, but at least it finally explained a few things.
* The slideshow/text epilogue, with voiced narration, was used for all ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' games and ''{{Arcanum}}''.
* In the ''Franchise/WhenTheyCry'' series, it usually happens in the 7th out of 8 episodes. [[UnreliableNarrator Except for all of the lies and new questions that get added in during that time.]]
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[[folder:Webcomics]]
* A major plot element for dealing with ScienceRelatedMemeticDisorder in ''Webcomic/AMiracleOfScience''.
* Lampshaded in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'': [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0670.html Elan tells Haley about Therkla]], and she explains that he insisted because it was dénouement.
* In ''BobAndGeorge'', [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/070728c the final strip was an animation of denouement.]]
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* The UnreliableNarrator of ''HowToKillAMockingbird'' gets it wrong:
-->''...the dénouement. That's French for 'the end', and is a literary device, like the [[InstantAwesomeJustAddNinja ninjas]].''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* At the end of ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'', scenes from Radiator Springs' future are run, along with the credits.
[[/folder]]
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