-> '''Hilbert:''' I've written papers on "little did he know." I've taught classes on "little did he know." I once gave an entire seminar based upon "little did he know." Son of a bitch, Harold. "Little did he know" means there's something he did not know. That means there's something you don't know. Did you know that?\\
'''Harold:''' No.
--> -- ''Film/StrangerThanFiction''

Uttered by the main character/{{Narrator}} to the audience, to indicate that a major plot is about to happen.

''"I was just an OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent, that normal, peaceful day. LittleDidIKnow that this was all going to change."'' or ''"I thought it was over. LittleDidIKnow, it had only just begun."''

This line probably originated in 19th Century English romance/gothic novels. The heroine innocently takes a "position" or visits some place where evil lurks or adventure looms behind a calm, civilized veneer. She begins the narrative of the novel, with classic British understatement, something like this: "If I had but known that I would soon be facing a madman with an axe in those dank catacombs, I would never have had the courage to get on the train to Sussex that fatal day last summer . . ."

Related to HowWeGotHere if it gives away unlikely-sounding details of the plot ahead of time. Found only in first-person narration and omniscient narration with a chatty narrator. Since it's basically a way to invoke {{Foreshadowing}} without any actual, you know, ''foreshadowing'', it's a DiscreditedTrope.


[[folder: Anime ]]

* Happens in ''Manga/HighSchoolOfTheDead''.


[[folder: Comic Strips ]]

* In a ''Comic/{{Peanuts}}'' strip, Lucy tells Snoopy he should start one of his novels with "unbeknownst to everyone" instead of his usual "it was a dark and stormy night". "Unbeknownst to everyone, it was a dark and stormy night".


[[folder: Film ]]

* Dawson's last line of narration in ''Disney/TheGreatMouseDetective'' is "Little did I know that my life was about to change forever." From there, he meets Olivia, and the plot proper kicks off.
* ''Film/StrangerThanFiction'', in many ways a movie about stories and tropes, features a literature professor who explains that he's taught "entire seminars on 'little did he know.'"
* Appears in the OpeningScroll of ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'', regarding Luke not knowing about the construction of the second Death Star.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* There are about two or three of these, played absolutely straight, per ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' novel.
* Literature/CiaphasCain is prone to using this at the end of chapters.
** He loves to describe how "if only he knew" what fantastically lethal enemy awaited him, he would freeze/run away as fast as possible, and frak whoever's around/[[JustEatGilligan just shoot the character about to get him in trouble]], while proceeding to do the exact opposite. Even [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis Amberley]] isn't sure how serious he is sometimes.
* Derided in the Creator/OgdenNash poem "Don't Guess, Let Me Tell You."
* In ''Literature/AngelsAndDemons'', when Robert Langdon hears in passing a factoid about how a reasonably small piece of cloth can significantly reduce an object's falling speed, he remarks (in narration) that he didn't then realize this information would later save his life. The payoff doesn't come 'til near the end of the book, when the reader has probably forgotten it.


[[folder: Radio ]]

* ''Radio/TheGoonShow'' has used this for comedic effect.
-->'''Seagoon:''' ''(after two other characters have made asides to the audience)'' Little do they know how little I know about the little that they know. If only I knew the little they know about the little that I know, then I'd know a little. I'll have to keep my little ears open, you know.
* The ''Radio/LuxRadioTheatre'' adaptation of ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}'', Jiminy Cricket uses the phrase during a transition between scenes.
-->'''Jiminy:''' ''(narrating)'' Yessir, there we were, free as the air and on our way back to Mister Geppetto's. But little did we know, ''little did we know'', that even then, new deviltry was hatching. Down in a waterfront dive known as the Red Lobster Inn, Honest John and his crony Gideon sat drinking beer. With them was a companion, an evil-faced, leering Coachman...


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/{{Gothic}}'':
-->''Another convict was brought to the cliff. He did not know, but [[TheChosenOne he would change everything]].''


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'' that took place in Medieval times subverts this. Darkwing's public persona was working in the royal castle. After watching the King and Queen acting like fools, he turns to the camera and says, "Little do they know... And I do mean ''little''."
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckDodgersInTheTwentyFourthAndAHalfCentury'' has Dodgers (Daffy Duck) accosted by Marvin the Martian, brandishing a disintegration gun.
-->'''Dodgers:''' (''to camera'') Little does he realize I have on my disintegration-proof vest. (''to Marvin'') You may fire when ready, Grisly. (''he does; Dodgers is disintegrated; the undamaged vest hangs in midair for a moment then plops into the pile of ashes'')
* Ed says this when narrating his RashomonStyle sequence in the ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' episode "[[Recap/EdEddNEddyS3E3OnceUponAnEd Once Upon an Ed]]".
-->'''Ed''': And so it went! Little did Ed, Edd, and Eddy know that...