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->''"I'm sorry to inform that this is not the movie you will be watching. The movie you are about to see is extremely unpleasant. If you wish to see a film about a happy little elf, then I'm sure there is still plenty of seating in theatre number two. However, if you like stories about clever and reasonably attractive orphans, suspicious fires, carnivorous leeches, Italian food and secret organizations, then stay, as I retrace each and every one of the Baudelaire children's woeful steps. My name is Lemony Snicket, and it is my sad duty to document this tale."''
-->-- '''[[TropeNamer Lemony Snicket]]''', ''Lemony Snicket's Film/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents''

So you're watching, reading, or listening to a work of fiction, and it's pretty much wrapped up. The good guys win, the hero and his significant other are getting married, and all that's left is to dot the "i"s and cross the "t"s in this HappyEnding.

All of a sudden..."Stop watching. Now. We mean it! It's for your own good!" The narrator has intervened to warn you about an upcoming [[DiabolusExMachina unpleasant plot twist!]]

If the work in question [[SpoiledByTheFormat has more minutes/pages/episodes left]] than strictly necessary to write "And they lived HappilyEverAfter" over a beautiful sunset as they ride into the distance, [[YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle odds are that it won't]]. Whether it's a MandatoryTwistEnding or a DiabolusExMachina, the end result is a supreme DownerEnding as the heroes' good fortune is [[YankTheDogsChain yanked out]] from under their feet. Normally, this happens without warning, but a Snicket Warning Label will politely inform you beforehand that if you prefer the happy ending, perhaps it's best for you to quit now.

The Snicket Warning Label could also occasionally be used as a 'meta' form of SchmuckBait. Because really, after a warning like that, who ''doesn't'' want to find out what ''really'' happens?

A variant can occur when characters are viewing a ShowWithinAShow, and one character delivers a warning to the other.

'''Note:''' Unless there is a warning in the work itself, it is ''not'' this trope. "This-or-that movie would have been less tragic if it had ended 10 minutes early" is not this trope. A narrator telling you to stop watching? That's this trope.

This trope is named for the warning the "[[LiteraryAgentHypothesis author]]" of ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'' gives at the beginning of each book, suggesting that you will likely be much happier if you read something else. [[SugarBowl Perhaps about a happy little elf?]]

'''Warning:''' As an EndingTrope, here be '''SPOILERS''', potentially unmarked! Stop reading now or have your favorite stories spoiled!!!



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The end of the 13th episode of ''Anime/PrincessTutu'' appears to be a bog-standard romantic happy ending to the series. Except it's only half finished. The (in-universe) author from beyond the grave gives off the warning.
* ''Manga/{{Saikano}}'''s fansub had a variant of this. Episode 10 of this [[TwelveEpisodeAnime Thirteen Episode Anime]] ends with "A friendly warning from the team: This is the ending of happiness in ''Saikano''. If you would prefer the anime to have a happy end, consider stopping here and pretending there are no more episodes. Continuing will only bring misery and pain. You have been warned." at the bottom of the credits. Boy howdy, [[KillEmAll are they right.]]
** It's even worse in the manga, where a similar warning is placed. In the middle of the second volume. [[FridgeHorror Out of seven.]]
** The above warning in the fansub was so notorious that English releases of the DVD booklet referenced how Chise and Shuji's Blade Runner style running into the distance together had been passed around the fans as the unofficial happy ending.
* In ''Anime/CowboyBebop'', in the little preview for "Black Dog Serenade", Jet Black says that most shouldn't watch the episode because it's depressing.
-->'''Jet:''' So I have to admit: the next episode of ''Cowboy Bebop'' is... kinda depressing. Very depressing, actually. The only characters that show up are a bunch of musty old guys. I hate to say this, but it's kinda heavy-handed. Children shouldn't watch it. Ladies should avoid it too. On top of that, it's better if you young guys don't tune in either. Next episode, "Black Dog Serenade". Oh, all you old guys, I wouldn't miss this one if I were you.
* This happens pretty early on in [[MurasakiiroNoQualia Qualia the Purple]], where we get a page saying "Be warned. The story hereon will take a sharp turn." This is the point at which Hatou, according to her own words, stops being human.
* A variant of this happens in Episode 9 of ''Anime/PlasticMemories''. Michiru delivers such a warning to Tsukasa after she learns that [[spoiler:he knew Isla only had a month to live when he confessed his love for her]].
-->'''Michiru''': You know you’re just going to end up hurting yourself! You know there can’t be a good ending to this! Do you ''still'' think you can face it without running away?!?

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The "Season of Mists" story arc of ''ComicBook/TheSandman'' ends with a (fictional) Creator/GKChesterton quotation about how any story can have a happy ending if you just stop reading in the right place -- and if you want ''The Sandman'' to have a happy ending, that's not a bad place to stop reading.
* ''ComicBook/TheMultiversity'' was advertised with warnings not to read the comic, with the fate of the universe depending on it. The end of the first issue also has the narrator shouting that it's not too late if you stop reading ''right now''. [[spoiler: The plot is about a multiversal invasion by [[EldritchAbomination Eldritch Abominations]] coming through comic books, which are actually windows into different universes. By the way, ''it is too late'']].
* Kieron Gillen's run of ''Comicbook/JourneyIntoMystery'' is "comedy in 30 parts, and tragedy in 31" which also has the courtesy to tell you in the narration to stop reading around the end of the 30th issue (and express its disappointment that you won't).
* And ''Comicbook/TheUnbeatableSquirrelGirl'''s footnotes advise you to not read the later parts of ''Comicbook/LokiAgentOfAsgard'' if you want the happy feeling considering Thor and Loki to last.
* The Twelfth Doctor tries this in year 2, issue 5 of his Titan Comics range.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''[[Fanfic/MarieDSuesseAndTheMysteryNewPirateAge Marie D Suesse And The Mystery New Pirate Age]]'' starts off with this encouraging note from the narrator:
-->''"Now before I go any further, I should mention that if you are looking to read one of those stories where a girl from the real world falls into a fantasy world and maybe falls in love with one of the characters there, you are probably looking at the wrong story." ''

* The film ''Film/FiveHundredDaysOfSummer'' begins with the narrator stating "This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know up front, this is not a love story."
* The film ''Film/IStandAlone'' is interrupted before the climax by a full-screen caption saying 'YOU HAVE 30 SECONDS TO LEAVE THE CINEMA.' It then counts down the 30 seconds on screen before proceeding with the plot, which takes a turn for the worst.
* In the framework of ''Literature/ThePrincessBride'', the grandfather abruptly stops reading right before [[spoiler:Westley's (temporary) death]] and tells his grandson that it might be a good idea for him to stop here.

[[folder:Interactive Fiction]]
* A variant: Creator/AdamCadre's ''VideoGame/{{Varicella}}'' has an EasterEgg which allows for the only even remotely happy ending in the game. One can have Primo Varicella dispose of all those horrible rivals, and then type WAKE UP to get an ending where the whole scenario is AllJustADream. If you don't, then you're stuck with a ShootTheShaggyDog ending where Primo Varicella is tortured to death by the prince, whose nasty experiences at the hands of the rivals has caused him to cross the MoralEventHorizon himself and become a horrible, Caligula-like monster who, in addition to torturing Varicella, kills his own mother and starts bloody wars on other nations.
* The 2006 Interactive Fiction Competition game ''Deadline Enchanter'' (not to be confused with Creator/{{Infocom}} games of similar names) has a warning in it towards the end, where the text implies that completing your mission will result in the death of the being who sent you on the mission in the first place. You're then told that there won't be a happier ending, and that if you can't handle it, you should turn the game off and go do something else.
* The 6th arc of ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'' is the closest the story gets to an outright happy ending. The seventh arc then provides ''two'' different warnings that to continue reading is to get a much more depressing end. The first is in the description when the game is opened. "Things you become able to see with love. Things you become unable to see because of love. By knowing love and believing in magic, the door to the Golden Land was opened. However, the tale of love ends here. What will be told from now on is only a tale of cruel tragedy and harsh truth..." At the end of the seventh arc, just in case the audience was still holding out hope for a happy ending to be yanked out of everything during the final arc, Lambda and Bern then warn you in red that [[color:red:This story will not have a happy ending.]] The ending of the eighth arc itself is an improvement over the seventh, but only from "bad" to "bittersweet."
* ''The Book of Adventure Games,'' a third-party hintbook to multiple InteractiveFiction titles, suggests the player create their own "alternate ending" for ''VideoGame/{{Infidel}}'', as [[spoiler:the intended ending is your character's KarmicDeath]].

* TropeNamer: Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents {{lampshades}} this by pointing out where you can stop reading and imagine a happy ending. See SchmuckBait.
** And fandom was split on the actual ending of the series in ''The End''. [[spoiler:Many plotlines were unresolved at the end, but on the other hand we ''had'' been warned all along...]]
* OlderThanPrint: The last part of ''Literature/TheDivineComedy'' opens with a warning to readers not to follow the journey further unless they have already turned their minds to the "bread of the angels." Anyone who hasn't done that should turn back and not get lost in the vast ocean of [[{{Heaven}} Paradise]].
-->''"O you who are within your little bark,\\
eager to listen, following behind\\
my ship that, singing, crosses to deep seas,\\\
turn back to see your shores again:\\
do not attempt to sail the seas I sail: you may,\\
by losing sight of me, be left astray."''
* In the last book of ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'', Creator/StephenKing tells the reader to stop right before the coda because the story is really about Roland's journey to get to the Dark Tower, and not what happens within. It's also used several other times in that book: just before [[spoiler:the deaths of Eddie and Jake]] King warns the reader that they should stop because the next part was very painful to tell, and will be very painful to hear.
* ''Literature/BlackHouse'' by Stephen King and Peter Straub suggests at the end that the reader stop and not read the epilogue.
* ''Creator/DaveBarry's Book of Bad Songs'' has one of these at the ''start'' of the book. He warns you that the songs within will get stuck in your head and drive you insane, so please don't do it!
* ''Literature/SoLongAndThanksForAllTheFish'' contains a section in which Creator/DouglasAdams advises the audience to skip ''the middle'' of the book if they aren't interested in Arthur's love life, and instead go right to the end "which is a good bit and has Marvin in it."
* The original ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' has an inversion of this trope: Due to the innumerable health and mental wellness concerns caused by the increasingly large accumulation of narrative tension, the narrator is quite pleased to note that the two missiles heading towards the Heart of Gold will not, in fact, kill anyone, and in fact things will turn out quite well for the cast. Of course, someone will get a bruised arm, but you can't remove ''all'' the tension.
* In Anne Rice's ''Literature/TheTaleOfTheBodyThief'', the second-to-last chapter is only a few paragraphs long and consists of Lestat warning the readers that they really ought to stop now, and if they don't, will probably wish they did. He says that the book should end here, and although it doesn't, the reader is welcome to pretend it did.
* Marcus Zusak's ''Literature/TheBookThief'' has a horribly depressing EverybodysDeadDave sort of ending, in which, yes, [[spoiler: ''everyone'' in the book except for two characters die suddenly and without meaning]]. Luckily, the book gives ample warning from chapter one - namely, by telling you the setting is World War Two Dresden, and by having [[TheGrimReaper Death]] narrate. The first chapter is Death listing off all the times he'll meet the Book Thief, so you have time to turn away.
* In Creator/LloydAlexander's ''Literature/TheRemarkableJourneyOfPrinceJen,'' the point after which Prince Jen and Voyaging Moon have declared their love for each other is the point when the narration says "You can stop here if you want." Fittingly, the next chapter starts with a) reminding you that it's dangerous to read the book, b) deciding that he's going to stop writing but then being threatened/bribed into continuing, or c) reminding you that the names of all the characters have been changed for their own safety.
* ''Literature/CatsCradle''. Seriously, that Bokonon is [[SarcasmMode ADAMANT]] about preventing people from reading his [[spoiler: real-deal]] world-ending book.
---> Bokonon: STOP! DO NOT READ THIS BOOK! This book contains only lies.
* Some copies of ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfThePrincessAndMrWhiffle'' bear the label: "Warning! This shit is not for kids!". [[NightmareFuel He's not kidding]].
* The entire plot of Creator/CliveBarker's ''Literature/MrBGone''. To summarize, the demon narrator tells the reader to close the book and burn it, at first asking, then begging, then moving into genuinely terrifying threats. Given what he does for the whole second half of the book, his descriptions of what he will do to torture you and [[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou his noting that he could be right behind you]], that you could turn around and not have time to scream are not easily shrugged off. No reader, even the firmest of cynics, would want to finish the book. In the end [[spoiler:he admits it was all a trick. He WANTS you to burn the book, and set him free. He can't really do anything to you after all. He even asks if you will give the book to someone you don't like.]]
* Chuck Palahniuk's ''Literature/{{Choke}}'' starts out with "If you're going to read this, don't bother."
* The Fae of ''Literature/TheKingkillerChronicle'' series have a custom whereby dark, tragic plays begin with the malicious oracle known as the Cthaeth depicted in the scenery as a warning to the faint of heart. The Cthaeth appears in ''Literature/TheWiseMansFear'' which [[SchmuckBait just happens]] to end at a HopeSpot. Kvothe also tells the Chronicler in before telling his story that it can be boiled down to, "I lived, I loved, I lost."
* ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'' has one on the very first page. Hardback copies of ''The Lightning Thief'' also have this on the back of the book/as the blurb:
-->"Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood. If you're reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now. Believe whatever lie your mom or dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life.\\
"Being a half-blood is dangerous. It's scary. Most of the time, it gets you killed in painful, nasty ways. If you're a normal kid, reading this because you think it's fiction, great. Read on. I envy you for being able to believe that none of this ever happened. But if you recognize yourself in these pages-if you feel something stirring inside-stop reading immediately. You might be one of us. And once you know that, it's only a matter of time before they sense it too, and they'll come for you. Don't say I didn't warn you."
* ''[[Literature/WaysideSchool Wayside School is Falling Down]]'' begins chapter eight, "Warning: Do not read this story right after eating. In fact, don't read it right before eating either. In fact, just to be safe, don't read this story if you're ever planning to eat again.”
* Creator/RogerEbert's [[BrokeTheRatingScale zero-star review]] of ''Film/TheHumanCentipede'' warns the readers multiple times before describing what happens to the victims.
* Just before the ending of Creator/LordDunsany's short story "The Two Bottles of Relish," the narrator suggests that the reader stop reading so as to imagine a better ending and not learn the truth behind what happened to Nancy Elth.
* In ''Literature/GoodOmens'', a baby is switched at birth with TheAntiChrist by a cult of Satanists, and the narration pauses for a moment to allow the reader to contemplate the possibility that the cult had this child discreetly adopted by a perfectly lovely family, whereupon he grew up to be a perfectly normal and lovely boy who developed an interest in tropical fish. Because you don't want to know what could have happened to him. [[spoiler: It's subverted; we do in fact meet that boy later in the narrative... and he's a perfectly normal and lovely boy with an interest in tropical fish. Because the Satanists had him discreetly adopted by a perfectly lovely family, because of ''course'' they did, what were you ''thinking''?]]
* ''Creator/MachadoDeAssis''' novel "Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas" ("Posthumous Memoirs Of Bras Cubas"), has the narrator saying that Chapter VII will be only about his own delirium, so the reader may skip it and go straight to the narrative.
-->''"If the reader isn't given to the contemplation of these mental phenomena, he may skip this chapter and go straight to the narrative. But if he has the slightest bit of curiosity, I can tell him now that it's interesting to know what went on in my head for some twenty or thirty minutes."''

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* When showing something graphic like the aftermath of a bombing, some news stations will say "Some viewers may find the upcoming images disturbing" or something like that.
* Mike Rowe from ''Series/DirtyJobs'' has done this on occasion, such as during the episode on rendering, where a dead cow is lowered into a grinder where...
--> "I don't ever want to tell you not to watch this show, but..."
* Future Ted in ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' does this on occasion: for instance, he warns the reader about the breakup of Ted and Victoria in "[[Recap/HowIMetYourMotherS1E16Cupcake Cupcake]]" and the breakup of several couples in his reference to the "Autumn of Breakups" in "[[Recap/HowIMetYourMotherS8E02ThePreNup The PreNup]]".
* The first trailer of the Netflix Series ''Series/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'' features a literal Snicket Warning: Lemony Snicket warning the readers that, when the series does come out, they should not watch it. As a MythologyGag, a clapboard in the scene is labeled "The Littlest Elf", which is what Snicket offers as an alternative in the book's Snicket Warning (the show suggests ''Series/FullerHouse''). Snicket also gives Snicket Warnings in many of the episodes.
** The theme song of the series is essentially a two-minute, musical Snicket Warning from Count Olaf, of all people, in which he implores the viewers to look away in a surprisingly out-of-character moment.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/LaMulana'' warns you against [[spoiler:entering the final room of Hell Temple]]:
--> ''The one that must not be seen. The one that regrets seeing. Leave before thou becomes such. Before thy time comes to naught.''
--> [[spoiler:It's a provocative bathing suit for the protagonist.]]
** "The one that must not be seen" [[BrainBleach is certainly]] [[FanDisservice right.]]
* ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersia2008'': Leave Elika deceased, honoring her HeroicSacrifice, or suffer the consequences.
* In ''VideoGame/FallenLondon'', these warnings precede almost every action relating to [[spoiler: Seeking Mr. Eaten's Name]], begging the player to stop, and telling you that the quest only leads to ruin and death. [[DownerEnding The warnings aren't lying.]]
** ''VideoGame/SunlessSea'' also has a couple of options that bluntly tell you "Do Not Do This". Appropriately enough, they're at a place that may or may not be where [[spoiler:Mr. Eaten was betrayed]].
* There's a very quiet one in ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine''. The first thing in the game that you see is a big red "STOP" sign. About halfway through the game, you find another one, this one filled with bullet holes. This comes immediately before the first huge twist that reveals the true, deconstructive nature of the game, [[spoiler:the white phosphorus shelling and its civilian casualties. "[[FromBadToWorse None of this would have happened if you had just]] '''[[GenreSavvy stopped]]'''." indeed]].
* [[VideoGame/{{Persona4}} "There will be dramatic turns in the story from this point. It is strongly recommended that you save. Save your game now?"]][[labelnote:Context]]This appears after you realise the fog that is covering the world is from the TV world.[[/labelnote]]
* In one ending of ''VideoGame/TheStanleyParable'', the narrator repeatedly warns you that going down a particular hallway will lead to your violent death. This is completely true, although it takes long enough to get there that there's time for some other stuff to happen. When you eventually get to the point where you're about to be crushed into oblivion by a piece of industrial equipment, the [[spoiler:second]] narrator urges you to turn off the game instead of letting it kill you.

* In-universe example in the webcomic ''Krazy Larry''. Vicious misanthrope Larry idolizes [[WesternAnimation/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas the Grinch]], so his friends go to great lengths to make sure he never sees the last five minutes of the TV special.
* Applied in the author comments in [[http://mortifer.smackjeeves.com/comics/1017841/chapter-38-the-curtain-call/ this]] chapter of Mortifer.
--> "No one is going to like this chapter. No one. Its going to be horrible."
* In the authors notes for [[http://asherhyder.deviantart.com/art/Roommates-206-Return-266360157 penultimate strip]] of the zombie Halloween arc of ''Webcomic/{{Roommates}}'' we get the warning that those who want it to have an unequivocally happy ending should "cue credits here." The [[http://asherhyder.deviantart.com/art/Roommates-207-Immutable-266360821 ending]] is a [[MoodWhiplash rapid switch]] from humorous to [[TearJerker heartbreaking]]. (Warning for Film/{{Zombieland}} spoilers!)

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' features one of these at the beginning of every episode, not warning of a sad ending, but of offensiveness:
--> All characters and events in this show-–even those based on real people–-are entirely fictional. All celebrity voices are impersonated.....poorly. The following program contains coarse language and due to its content it should not be viewed by anyone.
* In the first through fifth HalloweenEpisode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', the episode starts with Marge (or Homer in the third) coming out with a message urging the parents not to let their children watch the Halloween episodes as they will all suffer from nightmares; however she soon gives up, saying that none ever listens to her. (This was discontinued starting with the sixth, partially because the length of each episode has been reduced since the first few seasons, and also partially because the current writers were sure that everyone was aware that the Halloween episodes were scary by then.)
''Now that you've read this, don't say that we didn't warn you.''