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->''"I'm sorry to inform that this is not the movie you be will 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, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking 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 Literature/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 ''ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'' gives at the beginning of each book, suggesting that you likely will be much happier if you read something else. [[SugarBowl Perhaps about a happy little elf?]]

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

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[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.]]
* 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.

[[/folder]]

[[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.

[[/folder]]

[[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." ''

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]

* The 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.
[[/folder]]


[[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 {{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/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'' 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 ''Infidel'', as [[spoiler: the intended ending is your character's KarmicDeath]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* TropeNamer: 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...]]
* 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.
* ''Dave Barry'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."
* In Anne Rice's [[TheVampireChronicles Tale of the Body Thief]], 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.
* ''HouseOfLeaves'': "''This is not for you''" is printed on a page before the start of the novel.
* Marcus Zusak's ''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 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 chapty 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 ''Mr B Gone''.
* Chuck Palahniuk's ''Literature/{{Choke}}'' starts out with "If you're going to read this, don't bother."
* The Fae of ''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 ''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."
* ''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.\\
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"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.”
* 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.
* [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/LESMISERABLES Les Misérables]] could work as well. The title translates to "The Miserable", for god sakes. If that's not a warning that this story isn't going to be happy, I don't know what is.
[[/folder]]

[[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..."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{La-Mulana}}'' 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.''
** "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.]]
* All the books in ''VideoGame/OdinSphere'' end happily enough with [[spoiler: Gwendolyn and Oswald together, along with Cornelius and Velvet, while Mercedes finally defeats Odin and wins the war with the Aesir, and the three Wise Men are all dead.]] Then you find out that the last book is called Armageddon and you know right off the bat that [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt everything goes downhill from here.]]
* 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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* 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]]

[[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.
[[/folder]]
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''Now that you've read this, don't say that we didn't warn you.''
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