In TV, there are some things that everyone
knows... Well, sorta. As it turns out, people as a whole know less than they think they do. Casual viewers of a series will often come away with their fair share of mistakes. Such fallacies are often used by Real True Fans™
as a yardstick of the difference between themselves and the masses.
All the same, these notions can be so firmly entrenched in the public zeitgeist that they can force their way into adaptations
, much to the annoyance of the aforementioned Real True Fans™
Named for a Saturday Night Live
game show sketch in which the questions were selected by experts reflecting things all high school seniors should know, and the answers were selected from a survey of high school seniors (that is, they were wrong).
Subtropes are Title Confusion
, I Am Not Shazam
, and Beam Me Up, Scotty!
. May result from or lead to Lost In Imitation
, or from any of the subtropes under Time Marches On
. When left unchecked, it can lead to Cowboy Bebop At His Computer
, Analogy Backfire
and Never Live It Down
. See also Reality Is Unrealistic
, The Coconut Effect
, Dead Unicorn Trope
, and Everybody Knows That
open/close all folders
- Space Runaway Ideon's famous ending where it "blows up the universe" never happened. Granted it killed all of humanity (both Terrans and Buff Clan), destroyed hundreds of planets, spawned thousand of meteors that blew up the Earth, destroyed Saturn's rings, and took out much the Milky Way Galaxy, but the rest of the universe is just fine. This was largely a piece of Memetic Mutation as "Ideon blows up the universe" sounds a lot funnier.
- In the other movie, it is stated by one of the Buff Clan protagonists such. This can be dismissed as hyperbolic enthusiasm, however.
- Similarly, the main twist of Haruhi Suzumiya manages to be this and All There Is To Know About The Crying Game at the same time. Namely all the people that specifically think/say "Haruhi is God", when all the audience or any of the characters in the story know is that she's some sort of Reality Warper, and being "God" is just one theory which is stated to not be particularly likely. In fact it's Koizumi who makes the God claim, and we know that a lot of what he says is a lie. He also says that he's working under that assumption mostly because it's the worst-case scenario.
- Many people think that in the infamous banned episode that caused seizures, Porygon was the culprit, when it was actually PIKACHU who was in the scene that caused the seizures. For the record, the scene runs as follows: Everybody is escaping on Porygon's back when some anti-virus missiles (launched by Joy earlier in the episode) start to home in on them. Pikachu jumps out and destroys the missiles, causing the flashes (which appeared earlier in smaller bursts).
- Each region has 8 gyms, and you need every gym badge to get to the Pokémon League, right? Except in the first season, it doesn't work that way. In Kanto at least, the actual number of gyms is much higher and always increasing, you just only need 8 of their badges to pass. The show displays this when Gary shows up in Viridian City to battle against Mewtwo. At the time, he had ten badges from the Kanto region, and wanted another. For that matter, you do not need to earn the badges in any specific order in the anime (or some of the games), contrary to popular belief, and Gyms aren't ranked by "level" or any such nonsense - in fact, multiple characters other than Ash have display their badges, and at times they have various badges Ash also obtained, yet display them in their Badge Case a completely different order to him (most line them up in the order they get them).
- Similarly to Pokémon, many people like to complain about how the Duelist Kingdom arc don't follow the rules, either; that's because at that time, the game was a Plot Tumor that basically had no rules to follow, and needed to be made up wholesale (there's even an obscure version of the game made by Bandai that follows a much different set of rules than the OCG/TCG). In fact, Pegasus even states that "there would be new rule changes" at the beginning of the arc, meaning we don't know exactly how the rules prior to that arc was any different. That being said, the anime didn't start following the OCG/TCG rules until the Battle City arc, when Kaiba instated them, and the rules weren't fully solidified until GX. That being said, a lot of the crazy things that happen in that arc do have some merit in regards to the game; for instance, the "field power bonus" correlates to the real game's concept of a Field Spell, and the former Trope Namer of "New Rules as the Plot Demands'' could've actually worked in the real game, given the effect of Catapult Turtle and the progress of the duel (and the obscenely low LP the players start out with, at the time).
- The Shadow Realm. It is not a place of eternal torment, or an analog to death, and there is actually a place called "the Shadow Realm" in the Japanese anime; it's actually a pocket dimension created around the players of a Shadow Game to enforce the rules of the game and prevent outsiders from interfering, or the players from leaving the game until there is a winner.
- According to most people, Shana of Shakugan No Shana and Louise of Zero No Tsukaima are equals personality wise. Except they're not, at all. Shana starts rather rough but becomes nicer, less tsundere and more Defrosting Ice Queen (this is technically the original definition of a tsundere, but that's neither here nor there). At points she's more of a Type 2 tsundere, but in general she veers towards nice. In the other hand, Louise is a Type 1 tsundere through and through, and a rather harsh one at that (But she has her sweet moments too, mind). Yet despite the obvious disparity, people will treat them as the same. In all fairness, this is more JC Staff's fault, who after the success of Shakugan No Shana decided to play Louise's physical similarities by giving her Shana's voice, despite being completely different kind of tsunderes, as said. It's even better when Nagi and Taiga are thrown on the mix: While Taiga is indeed a lot like Shana (Only not an Action Girl because her show isn't about fighting), Nagi is a regular Type 2 tsundere as well as a Gamer Chick and a Otaku Surrogate; once again, little to do with Shana and nothing to do with Louise. Yet still all four are treated as the exact same character, and all because they're all long-haired, flat-chested, have Zettai Ryouiki and share a voice actress!
- It's gotten so entrenched in the minds of anime fans everywhere, that This Very Wiki has the Shana Clone trope just for this sort of thing.
- In regards to the Digimon series many people will refer to fanfics that are supposed to be a sequel to 02 (or sometimes even Tamers) as "Digimon (Adventure) 03". While technically correct, it's not right for the reason people think it is: "02" in "Digimon Adventure 02" refers to the year in which the story takes place (2002; Adventure took place in 1999, three years before); thus "03" would actually be a story in 2003.
- Ranma ˝. The fact that Ranma and Genma disdain weaponry is common knowledge. In fact, Ranma is shown to be expert with staff, spear, nunchaku and there are some official publicity pieces by Takahashi showing him performing routines with a Jian (the Chinese sword of nobility).
- In Naruto it is common knowledge that the Mist village, during its "Bloody Mist" days at least, had a policy of exterminating bloodline users, and that Madara was the Man Behind the Man in this village and orchestrated these genocides because he deemed them inferior to the Uchiha bloodline. Neither of these things are true- bloodline users were persecuted, yes, but by ordinary people in the Water country and elsewhere, not by the Hidden Mist village (which is only part of the Land of Water as its ninja village); and the idea that Madara has a problem with non-Uchiha users is based on a popular fan theory, due to his Motive Rant to Sasuke where he blames the Senju clan for persecuting and betraying the Uchiha clan, even though it was largely his fault, and tells Sasuke about how superior the Uchiha were. Fans put two and two together and assumed he was an Uchiha supremacist, even though much of his rant was mixed in with Blatant Lies and was transparantly designed to mess with Sasuke's mind. Haku's mother was killed by his father, and Kimmimaro's clan was killed by the Mist only when they attacked it, which they only did because they were a clan of Stupid Evil Blood Knights. Madara has never shown a flicker of hatred for bloodlines in general and the Mist, being a Hidden Ninja Village, most probably had a policy of collecting them- the current Mizukage is actually a user herself (twice over). This one is quite egrarious as even a lot of Real True Fans actually believe this. The fact that Tobi is not really Madara at all and only allowed people to think he was for a time does not help this.
- Iwa is claimed to hate Minato and will kill anytime even related to him despite the fact that he's dead. It's usually the reason why Naruto's parentage is hidden. The Fourth Hokage has never even been mentioned by any Iwa Shinobi. What Iwa had was a "flee on sight" order regarding Minato during the last Shinobi War (when Iwa and Konoha were on opposing sides), because Minato was too powerful for any of them to stand a chance against, with the possible exception of the Tsuchikage. This doesn't indicate any grudge against him, just a tactical judgement that it's never wise to fight the One-Man Army on his own terms.
- To be fair, if Minato had that sort of distinction to Iwa forces, it's safe to assume that he had racked up an impressive body count to get it. Given the whole "cycle of revenge" thing in the show, there probably are Stone ninja who hate his guts for killing their families and friends.
- Kurenai has been claimed to have been in Hinata's life since she was a child. However multiple (anime-only) flashbacks say otherwise.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, the Nazca carrying the Neutron Stampede is commonly assumed to be called the ''Marie Curie''. Except that it's not; no name is given in-series, and the origin of the name is from a fanfic called Birds of a Feather.
- It is common knowledge that Kagura from Fruits Basket is Yandere toward Kyo, constantly beating him whenever she's around him. In canon though it's treated more like a Split Personality. She has no recollection of doing this and it developed due to rather realistic causes.
- People saying that Black★Rock Shooter is a Vocaloid or that her design is based on Hatsune Miku (or even that she's a dark version of Hatsune Miku herself). Miku sang the song, but Black★Rock Shooter is not a Vocaloid and has nothing to do with them.
- As far as most folks know, Spider-Man's chief superpower is his ability to shoot webs. Unfortunately, this is not among his super powers at all. Webshooting was instead the ability of a device Peter Parker had built for himself. Spider-Man's actual super powers are his ability to cling to walls, his "spider sense", superhuman strength and agility. It's only in the movies that he gained the power to shoot webs naturally, although this did make its way to the comics, briefly.
- Some mistake Wolverine's adamantium claws as his mutant power. His mutant power is actually a very powerful Healing Factor (as well as claws made of bone). All of his other "natural" powers (such as his heightened senses) stem from this. As with the rest of his skeleton the military grafted him adamantium claws to him specifically because he had the regeneration powers to survive the process.
- This was actually highlighted in an episode of the cartoon when the X-men were trapped on an island covered by a field that negated all mutant powers. Wolverine proceeded to extend his claws and snarl "Nothing mutant about these!"
- It gets worse. Until Barry Smith wrote Weapon X, it was generally assumed (and described as such in early editions of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe) that the claws were bionic, & implanted with the rest of the adamantium.
- Until Magneto ripped the adamantium out of Wolverine (eventually it was restored), even Wolverine himself believed the claws were implants. Due to memory implants and induced amnesia, he knew nothing about his own life prior to the Weapon X program.
- And in the early stories the claws were telescoping, and contained in his gloves!
- Basically, the evolution of it is, first he had these claws. It was then decided that they should be in his body because then anyone could just wear the claw gloves and be Wolverine. Then, muuuuuuuuuuch later Magneto de-adamantium'd Wolverine, but The Powers That Be didn't want that to mean de-clawing him, so as a Retcon that's actually kind of an Ass Pull (as mentioned before, the claws' mechanical nature has been a plot point before.) the bone claws were suddenly always there. These days, it's a matter of Depending on the Writer of how the claws will be treated; claws working during a period of depowerment (but hurting like hell to use, immensely more so than usual) has been seen this side of the retcon. Long story short, you've got canon support no matter how you think of the claws.
- Similarly to Spider-Man, several casual X-Men fans complained about Rogue not having her flight and invulnerability powers in the movies. This is because the Superman powerset isn't rightfully Rogue's in the comics, either: Rogue semi-permanently stole those powers from Ms. Marvel off-panel prior to her first canon appearance (and has since lost and replaced them with Sunfire's).
- Once upon a time, this was uncommon knowledge, but nowadays, it's common knowledge that Batman, at the time of his creation in The Golden Age of Comic Books, was a much "darker" character than he became in the '50s and '60s. Which is true to a point, but it wasn't long at all before the character was made Lighter and Softer. As Eisner-nominated comics journalist and professional Batmanologist Chris Sims noted, "Sure, he might’ve fought vampires and carried a gun for like three issues, but by the end of that first year, it was pretty much all cat-wrestling and trips to Storybook Land."
- Barry Allen snapped Professor Zoom's neck during his wedding to Fiona Webb, his second wife, not Iris West, who had died several years earlier. The confusion is somewhat understandable, because Zoom also disrupted Barry's first wedding day, albeit unsuccessfully.
- While everyone thinks of Clark Kent changing into his Superman clothes in a Phone Booth, the truth is that he's hardly ever done so in the actual comics. He does, however, do so in the Superman Theatrical Cartoons, which, incidentally, was also where Superman first truly "flew".
- Wonder Woman didn't wear a skirt in her first story (All-Star Comics #8), she actually wore a pair of culottes—a style popular among athletic young women in the 1940s that resembles a skirt, but is actually a pair of loose-fitting shorts. And even those quickly evolved into tight shorts that lost the "skirt" look entirely. Nevertheless, whenever a modern artist wants to evoke a "Golden Age Wonder Woman" look, she's almost invariably drawn wearing a skirt.
- Not only is there no superhero team called "The Watchmen" in Watchmen, the story isn't about a team of superheroes at all. The six characters in the core cast were part of a proposed team that never actually formed (they disbanded after just one introductory meeting), but they spend the bulk of the story as independent and/or retired superheroes who just happen to have some close personal relationships with each other. Rorschach and Nite Owl are the only main characters who ever teamed up to fight crime. The title is a reference to Who watches the watchmen?, a real-life quotation which became an in-universe graffiti meme after a government mandate forced all the vigilantes into retirement.
- The first appearances of some comic characters can count as this. For example, ask a Venom fan what comic he first fully appeared in and they'll say "Amazing Spider-Man #300." Which is false. He actually fully appeared on the last page of #299. Likewise, all X-Men fans know Gambit first appeared in "Uncanny X-Men #266." Although chronologically this is correct, his true first appearance actually was in "Uncanny X-Men Annual 14," which, though taking place after the story from #266, was also released a month before said comic came out.
- Over the years, many non-fans of the Green Lantern have gotten a good laugh from pointing out the apparent stupidity of a superhero having a weakness to the color yellow, believing that yellow is GL's Kryptonite Factor. Actually, none of the Green Lanterns have been harmed by the color yellow, their power rings were just originally said to be ineffective against yellow objects (the same way that Superman's x-ray vision can't see through lead) because of an impurity within the Corps' power battery. And even that part was recently retconned out: in the current comics, the power ring's ineffectiveness against yellow is said to be a rookie weakness that more experienced Lanterns can overcome.
- Zombie Apocalypse movies in general. Everybody 'knows' that zombies eat brains. This only happened in one series of films, Return of the Living Dead. In every single non-parody portrayal of a Zombie Apocalypse, zombies merely want your flesh, not your brain.
- Star Wars:
- A New Hope: Darth Vader didn't use the Death Star to blow up Alderaan; Grand Moff Tarkin did. In fact, Tarkin outranks Vader through the filmnote , in spite of the fact that later films reveal him to be the apprentice of the Emperor.
- Many Bothans died getting plans for the second Death Star, not the first. The Expanded Universe gives a number of conflicting sources for the first Death Star's plans.
- People Rooting for the Empire say the Clone Troopers were Jedi slaves. While they were ordered by a Jedi, it was on behalf of the Republic, from whom both Troopers and Jedi take orders. The Republic led by Chancellor (and future Emperor) Palpatine, without whom there would never have been a war to need Clone Troopers or Jedi generals. Palpatine was commanding both the clone army and (secretly) the droid army that killed vast numbers of the Clone Troopers.
- Many people also think that the Ewoks lived on the 'planet' Endor: they actually lived on a moon of Endor (which is itself called Endor on occasions, adding to the confusion).
- The forest moon of Endor, orbiting the planet Endor, in the Endor system. Some stellar cartographer was really lazy with the names. Which makes sense since our solar system is called Solar System, our moon is called Moon, and our sun is called Sun. If cartographers and astromoners are lazy naming their own nearby celestial bodies here. Then they would assumably do the same in a galazy far, far away where there are also humans.
- Non-Star Wars fans (who are usually only aware of the first film) assume any romance of Luke Skywalker is with Leia.
- Dr. Frankenstein's hunchbacked assistant in the first Universal movie was named Fritz, not Igor (which is spelt Ygor, by the way). Universal's Frankenstein movies only introduced Ygor in the third and fourth movies. Ygor was not very hunchbacked, and he was not Frankenstein's loyal servant. Rather, he was a schemer who wanted to reanimate the monster for his own personal gain. The idea that hunchbacked assistants are typically named Igor was probably made popular by Mel Brooks' Affectionate Parody Young Frankenstein. The Other Wiki proposes the non-hunchbacked assistant Igor from House Of Wax 1953 as another possible influence.
- People going on a trip by motorbike often reference Easy Rider, for the true spirit of the freedom-loving, all-American road-trip... forgetting the Diabolus ex Machina ending. Of course, that may be intentional, since the ending was tacked on to meet with censor approval, allowing them to make the rest of the film glorifying freedom-loving hippy bikers.
- Zeppo Marx is known as the fourth member of the Marx Brothers who added little to their movies besides singing sappy love songs. Actually, the only love song Zeppo sings in the Marx Brothers movies, not counting the Maurice Chevalier impersonation in Monkey Business, is "Everyone Says I Love You" in Horse Feathers.
- The flying saucers in Plan 9 from Outer Space are commonly believed to have been pie tins or paper plates, to the point that it's tradition to throw paper plates around during screenings of it. In fact, they were children's flying saucer toys.
- The James Bond series is the one where Bond manages to seduce the beautiful lady working for the baddies into helping him? This has happened precisely ONCE, in Goldfinger. Most of the rest of the time, the main Bond girl is either on his side from the start (Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Tomorrow Never Dies), an innocent caught up in the adventure (Dr. No, A View to a Kill, Goldeneye) or working with the villains but unaware of their true plans (From Russia With Love, Octopussy). Or they don't turn at all. Octopussy is the nearest example in that the title girl is a criminal, but while in league with the villains she is ignorant of their evil scheme, and is actually a target of it.
- The Friday the 13th series revolves around Jason Voorhees, a hockey-masked, machete-wielding Serial Killer who murders carefree teenagers... except Jason wasn't in the first movie (the killer was his mother), and he didn't wear a hockey mask until the third movie (the second movie had him wearing a pillowcase over his head). Furthermore, though parodies of the movies frequently depict Jason wielding a chainsaw, he has never actually done this in the movies; the closest he ever came was wielding a hedge trimmer in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, and being attacked with one in Friday the 13th Part 2.
- In The Karate Kid, the Training Montage set to "You're The Best" by Joe Esposito is so iconic that it has become the default music for training montages. There is only one problem with this; the song did not appear at that point in the movie. During the montage the song being played was "Moment of Truth" by Survivor. "You’re the Best" did appear later in the film accompanying a montage of Daniel and Johnny competing in the tournament.
- Even if they've never seen it, everybody knows that Brokeback Mountain is "the gay cowboy movie". Even though they were shepherds, not cowboys. It's also left ambiguous as to whether they're both bisexual or outright closeted gays.
- In Iron Man 2, Black Widow has a Three-Point Landing. Except she doesn't. Iron Man himself does it often, but in this publicity image, Agent Romanov actually getting up from a slide along the ground, not landing from a fall. This misconception somehow persists even in people who have actually seen the movie and the scene in question.
- The Sufficiently Advanced Aliens that manipulate human evolution in 2001: A Space Odyssey don't look like giant black monoliths. Though the details about them are left very vague in the Stanley Kubrick film, Arthur C. Clarke's accompanying novel makes it clear that the monoliths are actually vessels used by aliens who have evolved beyond the need for their physical bodies. The aliens themselves are never actually seen.
- In Batman, despite what many people think, Alfred doesn't just reveal that Bruce Wayne is Batman to Vicki Vale. She managed to figure it out on her own after discovering the article about Bruce's parents being killed in front of him when he was a child.
- Mad Max's supercharged black coupe is not the Interceptor. The Interceptor is his yellow patrol car in the first film. The black coupe is designated Pursuit Special. Fans simply started calling the Pursuit Special 'Interceptor' because it sounds cooler. Even the 1:18 model of it was called Interceptor.
- Rebel Without a Cause does feature Greaser Delinquents, but James Dean's character is not one of them.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit?: It's a collaboration and jointly owned effort between Disney, Warner Bros, and other animation studios right? Actually that's only partly true. While animators hailing from various studios did help work on the film, it's officially considered a Touchstone Pictures (alternate label of Disney) and Amblin co-production. Many of the studios only gave permission to use the characters and did not actively work on the film.
- It's often a point of mockery that in Signs, the aliens couldn't open doors, except that they could. There were many scenes in which the characters boarded, blocked and wedged the doors shut just to keep them from getting through.
- The public has unilaterally made "Frankenstein" the name of the monster, not its creator, and the monster usually is named Frankenstein in adaptations not striving for accuracy. This example falls squarely under I Am Not Shazam, but it's such a potent example that it merits mention here as well.
- People typically believe that Victor Frankenstein is a doctor. In the original novel he does not have a doctorate of any sort, and is merely a medical student.
- Almost everyone "knows" that the monster is a bumbling idiot who means no harm, even though he was actually very intelligent and self-aware in the novel.
- Everyone "knows" the monster was brought to life with lightning, or at least electricity. Except the novel specifically avoids saying how it was donenote . There is a mention of Victor Frankenstein being fascinated by the effects of a lightning strike earlier, but that's it.
- Everyone "knows" that the monster is pure evil from the beginning. Even many of the more faithful adaptations involves Victor narrowly escaping as it immediately assaults him. In the original, the monster tried very hard to be accepted and spent an entire winter caring secretly for a poor family. The rejection he faced everywhere he went led to his killing people.
- It is also Common Knowledge that the monster had No Name Given. While it is true the narrator refuses to use it, the monster refers to himself as Adam which, according to Word Of God, is his official name.
- The tale of the Trojan Horse is usually attributed to Homer's The Iliad (or at least assumed to be related therein). In fact, the Trojan Horse incident appears in neither The Iliad nor its sequel The Odyssey — it merits only a brief mention in the latter, occurring between the events of the two poems. The lesson the story teaches us, "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts," which is also usually attributed to Homer, is actually a paraphrase of a quote (original quote was more like "I distrust Greeks, even when they do bring gifts") from Virgil's Aeneid, making this the mythological equivalent of Fanon. Of course, Oral Tradition doesn't really have any "true" authority, but Aeneid was written quite a while later and by a Roman.
- The legend of the Achilles Heel is also not in The Iliad, which implies that Achilles has ordinary vulnerabilities.
- Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea:
- The title refers to the distance the sub travels while underwater, not the depth to which it goes. A "league" is a non-standardized measure of how far someone can walk in an hour, and it's used to measure distance, not depth (depth is measured in fathoms). This SNL sketch parodies this misconception.
- The battle with the giant squid, the most famous scene in the story, also falls victim to this. Though it's the one plot point that practically everyone is aware of (even if they've never read the book), most people remember it as a climactic showdown with one king-sized squid when it was actually a prolonged skirmish with several of them. The 1954 Disney film has a lot to do with this misconception, since it simplified the squid-battle sequence by leaving it at one (presumably because there was only enough money in the budget for one animatronic squid).
- Though he's certainly the most famous character in the novel, Captain Nemo is actually not the protagonist of the story, but the antagonist. The protagonist (and narrator) is a scientist named Pierre Arronax who spends most of the story as Nemo's captive. Nemo himself is a Nominal Hero at best, and a full-on villain at worst.
- Sherlock Holmes:
- Everyone knows that he wore a deerstalker hat, an Inverness cape, and smoked a curved meerschaum pipe. The hat and cape are never mentioned in canon, and they are only featured in a few illustrations to "The Adventure of Silver Blaze". The pipe is a type that did not arrive in Britain until after the Boer War, well past the time when Holmes had retired. Andrew Gillette, who portrayed Holmes on stage more than 1000 times, found that particular pipe easier to use, which is why it became a symbol of Holmes himself.
- Though Holmes' drug use tends to get a lot more focus today than it ever did in Doyle's day, the fact that his drug of choice is cocaine is actually Common Knowledge. Watson specifically says that Holmes frequently uses both cocaine and morphine note , but his 7% cocaine solution is the only drug that we actually see him using in-story.
- Though Holmes greatly admired Irene Adler's intellect, he was never in love with her, and they never had any kind of romantic relationship. "A Scandal in Bohemia", the one story that she appears in, actually ended with her running off to marry another man. Though, because Adler is one of the most pervasive cases of Promoted to Love Interest in literature, people tend to forget this.
- The dramatic scene of Holmes plummeting to his supposed death at Reichenbach Falls, while one of the series' most iconic images, never really happened in canon. In the original story, "The Final Problem", Watson arrived on the scene after Holmes supposedly fell, and put two and two together from a note that Holmes left. It was later revealed in "The Empty House" that Holmes survived his encounter with Moriarty by throwing him down the falls, then chose not to tell Watson that he'd survived so that he could spend some time dealing with his enemies incognito.
- Harry Potter:
- Whenever a non-fan hears about Harry having romance in his life, it's assumed he'll be getting together with Hermione. Because she's the only female character non-fans have actually heard of. This is made all the more hilarious by the fact that Harry/Hermione shippers are considered a bit of a joke in the fandom due their insistence prior to the end of the series that the pairing would be reciprocated despite J.K. Rowling telegraphing Ron/Hermione about as obviously as possible.
- A lot of portrayals of new Hogwarts students other than Harry entering the school have the new character getting their acceptance letter on their eleventh birthday exactly, forgetting that Harry was sent hundreds before his birthday; he just didn't open it until Hagrid gave him it after several days of the Dursleys trying to escape them. On top of that, the final application date was the 31st of July, which would seriously screw over the children who turned eleven in August.
- Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde:
- Hyde was Jekyll's evil, unrestrained side, yes, but Jekyll was not his own good side. It is specifically pointed out in the book that Jekyll is both good and evil, a fact nearly every single story, parody, or adaptation based on it forgets. Moreover, Hyde was not a hulking giant. He was actually smaller and younger-looking than Jekyll, though he was growing taller and stronger, representing Jekyll's slide on the evil side. Alan Moore correctly recognizes the fact in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, along with the possibility of the hulking monster as a further stage.
- Most people think Jekyll is the protagonist of the story. While adaptations always focus on Jekyll himself, the protagonist of the original story was Jekyll's friend Gabriel John Utterson, who is investigating the connection between his friend Jekyll and the mysterious Mr. Hyde.
- The novella is not called Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or even The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is actually called Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, with the "The" left out.
- In-universe in Salamander. The rules for magic are very different from what most people think they are.
- J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth:
- It's commonly believed that almost every fantasy stereotype originated with Tolkien. He was extremely influential on the fantasy genre as a whole, but his descriptions of most fantasy races differ significantly from the stereotypical aspects of the genre. In addition, very little of Tolkien's racial stereotyping originated with Tolkien. His sources were somewhat older. Trope Codifier, perhaps, but not Ur Example.
- The Lord of the Rings isn't Frodo Baggins, nor his uncle Bilbo. It refers exclusively to Sauron. There is only one Lord of the Rings, and he doesn't share his title.
- This is actually mentioned in The Fellowship of the Ring, during the Council of Elrond. One of the people present jokingly says, "Behold! The Lord of the Ring!" in response to Frodo taking the Ring, and Elrond quickly reprimands him.
- "Pipe-weed" is definitely not marijuana; it's the Middle-Earth counterpart of tobacco. It's even explicitly called tobacco in The Hobbit, which was written before the decision to tie it all in to his Middle Earth mythology. He changed the name to pipe-weed because tobacco is a non-English loanword, so he felt it would be inappropriate to use with characters not speaking English.
- The wonderlands of Lewis Carroll:
- Many people are still under the impression that Carroll was either on drugs or a child molester. The former comes from the time and space displacement that Alice undergoes during Alice in Wonderland (as well as the general nuttiness). In fact, Carrol suffered a condition now known as, appropriately, Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, which made him feel like he was growing or shrinking at random times. The general nuttiness comes from the fact that Alice in Wonderland was actually parodying just about everything Carroll could think of.
- Contrary to popular belief, Carroll never actually referred to the Hatter as the Mad Hatter, only the Hatter. And the Queen of Hearts and Red Queen are not the same person. Referring to the Hatter as the Mad Hatter would be redundant, as the Cheshire Cat points out that everyone in Wonderland, including Alice herself, is mad.
- She fell down a rabbit hole, talked to a doorknob and some sentient flowers in the garden, met Tweedledum and Tweedledee...wait, you mean she didn't? Well yes, of course she fell down the rabbit hole, but the talking doorknob was from the Disney animated film, while the talking flowers and Tweedledum and Tweedledee were both from Through the Looking-Glass.
- Common knowledge even gets the title wrong - it was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Not to mention that common knowledge also screws up the sequel's title, as it is correctly Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.
- The title character of Carrie is telekinetic, not pyrokinetic. She never created fire using only her mind, she just managed to start a fire at her school by telekinetically turning on the sprinklers in the gym and ripping apart the wiring in some nearby machinery. The confusion likely stems from people confusing Carrie with the little girl from Firestarter, whose pyrokinesis is her main psychic power. Both books were by Stephen King, and both were about young psychic girls blamelessly victimized by others.
- Eragon isn't the name of the dragon on the cover. It's the name of the farmboy who find the dragon egg.
- H. P. Lovecraft's stories are all about people meeting an ancient Eldritch Abomination (often the centerpiece Cthulhu) and in the end getting killed or insane. Except... Not. To start with, few stories of Lovecraft features an abomination itself (and especially Cthulhu, who is only in his titular story and is mentioned fairly little beyond that) instead often showing smaller races who worship these Old Ones (the most prevalent being Yog-Sothoth and Lovecraft fittingly called his mythos "Yog-Sothothery") and rarely dealing with the direct end of the world, but instead focusing on humanity's lack of importance on a grander scale. And last but not least, very few protagonists of his die and few of them goes insane. Most of them just live... But of course have to live with the knowledge of what they know.
- Most people also assume that Lovecraftian stories were only about the laws of the universe that would drive people mad. However, Lovecraft was racist and also used hybrid monsters as a metaphor for what happens when different races breed.
- Nowhere in the original Dracula novel does it say that the title character is Weakened By The Light.
- A lot of people think that in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 42 is "the meaning of life". Actually, it's specifically referred to as the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. The reason nobody can understand why 42 is the answer is because they don't actually know what the question is.
- Fahrenheit 451:
- Books are not banned. They're very rare, since nearly all books have been banned a la the Qin dynasty, and most "useful" books have been put on foresight's best approximation of digital media, but there exist books that are legal to own; there's even a scene where Montag tries to dramatically reveal that he's preserved a banned book, and everyone present thinks it's a "fireman"'s manual.
- Furthermore, Fahrenheit 451 is not about government censorship but rather self-censorship - Ray Bradbury believed that a decline in interest in literature in favour of other mediums such as TV was a very bad thing, and in fact got very annoyed at people's constant insisting that it was about state censorship.
- And of course, everyone knows the title is a reference to the temperature at which paper catches fire - 451 degrees Fahrenheit. Well, sort of - paper can catch fire at 451 degrees Fahrenheit, but it is only an estimation, and the actual temperature varies depending on the paper considered.
- The Giver is a novel about a futuristic society where everyone looks and acts the same... except it's not. People in the Community have distinct personalities, and government-mandated personality tests are actually a huge plot point. Technically, there are a handful of people in the Community with distinct looks (the protagonist and his love interest stand out for having blue eyes and red hair, respectively) though selective breeding by the government tries to prevent this. The Community's distinguishing features are its strict regulation of people's career paths and everyday lives, and its ban on strong emotions. It's a bit more complex than "Everyone is the same!"
Live Action TV
- The Land of the Lost is not Earth in the distant past.
- Common Knowledge from Star Trek:
- The only thing everyone knows about Vulcans from Star Trek (apart from the pointy ears) is that they have no emotions. They in fact have very strong emotions—often described as more powerful than that of humans, to the point that, when combined with their strength, it led to anarchy that nearly destroyed them. This is why their culture now encourages all Vulcans to suppress emotion and act on logic. Their stoic nature is cultural, not genetic. To see what Vulcans would be like without this cultural aspect, just look to the Romulans, an offshoot of the Vulcans directed their aggression outward and became interstellar conquerors.
- Not only does no character in Star Trek ever actually say the line "Beam Me Up, Scotty!", people often forget that chief engineer Montgomery Scott wasn't the one who usually had the job of beaming crewmen up. That was a guy named Mr. Kyle that no one remembers.
- It has become common knowledge among fans that Scotty never controlled the teleporter and was never ordered to beam any one up. While the exact line Beam Me Up, Scotty! was not used Kirk gave the order “Scotty, beam us up” in at least two episodes.
- Kirk was a hot space cowboy who played by his own rules and seduced gorgeous alien babes, right? What, he didn't? Well, not as much as people like to remember. In fact, while women did seem to fall for him a good bit, he rarely fell for them and even more rarely did he seduce them. Also, he was kind of a hardass about breaking the rules, and came down pretty hard on his crew when they did break them. Of course, in the films he did commit nine violations of Federation law, but this was all in the course of trying to save Spock's life, and he fully expected to be booted from Starfleet as a result. Kirk was emphatically not a space cowboy who played by his own rules.
- Not every Gilligan's Island episode involved the castaways trying to escape the island, only about a third of them. Many episodes dealt with them trying to avoid being killed by tropical storms or some other threat, while a surprisingly large number were about things like having a costume party or a beauty pageant.
- Also, everyone knows that all potential rescues/escapes failed because of Gilligan's screw-ups, and the castaways should've just eaten Gilligan, right? Actually, in the 37 episodes that involve some chance of getting off the island, Gilligan is only legitimately "at fault" for the failure 17 times. Screwing up 17 rescues probably would make you unpopular, granted, but there were also a large number of episodes where Gilligan saves the castaways from disaster, or headhunters, or some other deadly peril. There are also several instances where the escape plan was fatally flawed, but the flaw wasn't noticed until Gilligan had "screwed it up", inadvertently saving their lives.
- There's also the common joke "How come the Professor could build a nuclear reactor out of coconuts, but he couldn't fix the hole in the boat?" In the first place, the Professor never built a nuclear reactor, and in the second place, the boat was completely destroyed in episode 8.
- In 588 episodes of Lassie, Timmy never actually fell down a well.
- Jokes about LOST often ask why "the fat guy," Hurley, never loses any weight on the island despite having a meager food supply. In actuality, the survivors of the plane crash had a variety of food to choose from, including boar and fish, and a research station full of consumer food was discovered in season 2. A Loose Change parody documentary on the fourth season DVD makes fun of this idea by asking how Hurley and the others retained their weight despite allegedly being stranded on a deserted island with little food.
- Also, the show takes place over a much shorter time than it was aired. Seasons 1-4 took place over 108 days (this is specifically mentioned as how many days after Oceanic Flight 815's crash the Oceanic Six were rescued)
- At least one episode shows that Hurley has a horrible food problem; he's eating junk food from the mysterious sources (they got an airdrop once!) left and right.
- It even gets Lampshaded in one episode. Hurley finds a box of crackers and starts wolfing them down, even after Ben tries to stop him by pointing out that they're over 30 years old.
- And before the group found the junk food, Hurley specifically (and indignantly) tells Charlie that he has, in fact, shed quite a few pounds while on the island - it's just harder to notice such changes when they're such a small proportion of his total body weight than it would be if he were thinner.
- The panel show QI has debunking things considered Common Knowledge, then explaining the facts, as its central concept.
- In the show Doctor Who the main character's name is not, in fact, Doctor Who. It's just 'the Doctor'. Admittedly, this is partly the show's own fault for using 'Dr. Who' or 'Doctor Who' as the character's name in the credits over 19 seasons, but it can be rather irritating to fans when people don't seem to know who they're talking about until you add the extra word.
- Also, the TARDIS has the shape of a Police Box, not a Phone Booth (though it does have a non-working phone on the outside, and the Ninth and Eleventh Doctors have been shown operating a working phone attached to the TARDIS console).
- And almost all non-fans of the show know the Daleks as "The evil robots from Doctor Who," unaware that they're actually mutated aliens with robotic exoskeletons. This includes the writers of the Oxford English Dictionary. note
- This may arise from the episode "Destiny of the Daleks" which refers to the Dalek/Movellan War as "two races of robots engaged in a stalemated war". However, the episode was written by Terry Nation, creator of the Daleks, and it shows the Doctor finding a Dalek mutant and has Romana say the Daleks were once humanoid, so the episode is at most implying that these particular Daleks have become robotic and is not claiming that this is a general characteristic of Daleks.
- This is actually related to a more general misunderstanding of what a robot is. Especially (though it doesn't apply in this case) if they're giant.
- On Starsky And Hutch, the heroes' chief informant Huggy Bear had a lot of different jobs over the course of the show, but pimp was not one of them.
- Steve Martin was never a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live; between his first appearance on the show in 1976 to today, he only appeared in 24 episodes. Then again, it's an easy mistake. He hosted the show 2-3 times per season between 1976 and 1980, except for the 1978-1979 season in which he hosted one episode that year. Not to mention, "The Festrunk Brothers" is one of the show's most iconic sketches.
- Despite it being disproven for years, there are still people who are convinced that "Puff The Magic Dragon" is nothing but a long, badly-hidden drug reference, as is Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" (Refrain from Assuming: "Everybody Must Get Stoned").
- According to Word Of God, "Purple Haze" is a love song where Jimi Hendrix describes a dream he had where he was walking under the ocean.
- And similarly, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is what John Lennon's young son titled his drawing, not a thinly veiled LSD reference.
- "99 Luftballons" means "99 Balloons" (there's no direct English translation, but the "luft" part specifies they're toy ones children carry, as opposed to a hot air balloon); indeed, not one line of the German lyrics mentions the balloons' colors. Nena added the word "red" to the English lyrics so it would scan a bit better.
- Ragtime music is sometimes associated with The Great Depression era, but its popularity actually mostly died around around World War I and by the '30s was as far from its heyday of mainstream popularity as Disco music was in The Nineties or Grunge is today. The misconception was largely fueled by the 1973 film The Sting, which featured a prominent ragtime soundtrack and was set in 1936.
- Everyone knows that "Louie, Louie" was the filthiest, most obscene song you could commonly hear on the radio (before such controversy caused people to lash out against it). In fact, it's just a completely unintelligible telling of a simple story. The creators themselves have gotten into screaming matches with fans over what the lyrics "allegedly" are.
- Many people still think that Warrant hated the song "Cherry Pie." This isn't actually true. It is true it was something they wrote quickly, but they don't hate it and have said as much. The songwriter just flipped out during an interview because his life was falling apart at the time during the question about that particular song.
- It is widely believed that "Bad Boys" was sung by Bob Marley. It was actually sung by Inner Circle in 1992, eleven years after Marley's death.
Mythology and Religion
- King Arthur pulled the sword Excalibur from the stone, thus proving he was rightful king of England. Except that in most versions of the legend the sword he pulled out was an entirely separate (usually unnamed) sword. Excalibur was given him by the Lady of the Lake after the Sword in the Stone broke.
- Also, it seems to be Common Knowledge on this wiki that the Sword in the Stone is called Caliburn. It's not. Caliburn is simply an older word for 'Excalibur', and whilst it has been used in some of the original tellings of the legend to mean the Sword in the Stone, that's only in versions of the legend where Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone are the same sword (or, at least, have the same name). The notion of Caliburn and Excalibur being different swords came much later.
- Similarly, in the earlier texts, the Holy Grail was not a cup, nor was it even referred to as holy. It its first appearance, Perceval, le Conte du Graal, which translates into The Story of the Grail, it appeared as a dish.
- It's also worth observing that the King Arthur stories are older than the Holy Grail's inclusion. There are a lot of people who think the King Arthur tales are always about Holy Grails and Lancelot/Guinevere betrayals and don't realise versions exist without them.
- King Arthur is more properly a legendary king of Britain, not England; in early traditions Arthur is said to have fought the Anglo-Saxons who gave the name England ("land of the Angles") to Britain. Many scholars today theorise that he was actually Welsh.
- For Christianity; everybody "knows" that Satan and the demons rule over hell to torment the damned. Except that The Bible plainly says that Satan and his demons will be punished right along with the damned. Hell is Satan's prison, not his kingdom. (His kingdom is actually earth.) Also, Satan, along with every other demon, was once a glorious angel, and they rebelled against God. In Christian belief, nothing originated as evil.
- The word "ha-satan" in Hebrew literally means "the opposer" "the accuser" or "the prosecutor". This is made fairly explicit in the book of Job, where Satan is a angelic minion whose purpose is to test humans to see if they will continue to obey the laws of god when forced to suffer.
- Continuing the Hell theme: fire, brimstone and eternal torment are often described as "Old Testament". The Old Testament does not mention Hell at all. The entire concept is a Christian innovation (maybe inspired by the Zoroastrians, but just as likely as a misconception of the passages in Revelation (it's not called "Revelations", by the way) that describes God throwing death, Hell, etc. into a lake of fire and brimstone, after Judgment Day).
- The word "Hell" is derived from Norse mythology (Hel), and was simply a translation issue- the actual words used in the New Testament are generally Sheol or Gehenna, both of which are used in the Old Testament. Sheol is the land of the dead and equivalent to Hades; Gehenna- the OT sometimes gives it an older name- is a valley outside Jerusalem where apostate Hebrews and pagans would sacrifice their children to the Caananite gods in burnt offerings.
- Also, the Immaculate Conception is not the conception of Jesus by the Virgin Mary, but the idea that Mary herself was born free from original sin. Unlike the virgin birth, which is universal to all denominations of Christianity, the Immaculate Conception is a specifically Catholic dogma that is rejected (or at least left to personal opinion) by a majority of Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican churches.
- Anything covered by Word of Dante qualifies. Paradise Lost especially has greatly changed how people view the basic setup, despite not being intended or recognized as canon.
- Mary Magdelene was never identified as a whore. She is mentioned for the first time in a passage following one about an adulteress. The two women were officially combined hundreds of years later in order to cut down on the number of characters. Mary came to Jesus with "demons in her head," most likely referring to her having some sort of mental illness that he cured.
- In addition, we never see Mary Magdalene anoint Jesus with perfume or wash his feet in the Gospels. The unnamed "woman who was a sinner" mentioned above did that, and much later, just before his death, a different Mary anointed him with perfume again—but that was Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. (Yes, the New Testament has a lot of Marys.)
- On the subject of Biblical whores, the woman to be stoned in John was certainly not one. She was an adulteress, which under Mosaic law, meant she must have been married; a single woman sleeping with a married man was not considered adultery. Non-religious prostitution was still legal at the time.
- The Bible rarely refers to women as being prostitutes. The word often translated as such (זנה) actually means a sexually or religious loose person. While the word could be used for a prostitute and at times it is heavily implied (such as Judah giving a gift to a random woman he picked up) it is never outright stated they are. It is more often used to refer to people that are not committed to their religion.
- At this point nearly everyone knows that the wavy, brown hair seen on the Semitic Jesus is just artistic license, but the idea that he had long hair at all is unlikely, since Paul later refers to long hair on men as "a disgrace," an odd thing to say about your Saviour. It's likely that what constituted "long" hair was different in those days, but the way Christ is usually depicted, with hair well down his back, certainly would have counted. Likewise, the ethereal beauty he's usually depicted with is explicitly contradicted by Isaiah, if it's to be believed that Isaiah's prophecy refers to him. And given that Jesus grew up as a hard-working carpenter, it's unlikely that "ethereal" would in any way apply to him.
- On that note was the fact that Judas had to point out who Jesus was among His followers when Judas sold out to the Romans. Most likely, Jesus would have looked like a fairly average Jew from the Mediterranean of His time. If He was dressed in crimson or indigo and had a shining complexion like He's usually depicted, the act would have been superfluous.
- Of the four horsemen of the first four seals, only Death's role is made explicit. War and Famine are identified by the first carrying a large sword and going off to make war and sow strife, and the second holding a scale while a voice behind him cites hugely inflated grain prices and warns against touching pricier goods. Fair enough. Pestilence is thornier, and indeed, to the Catholic and Orthodox Churches the first horseman is "Conquest," since he identifies himself as a conqueror; other traditions have him as Christ himself or the Antichrist. Since conquest and war are so closely related, however, a minority of theologians came to the conclusion that this is the metaphorical conqueror of "Pestilence," and this idea somehow stuck.
- Everyone knows that the Mark of Cain was a curse placed upon Cain by God. Except that, if you actually read the story, it isn't. God cursed Cain, then when Cain complained that on top of that anyone he met would kill him, God blessed him with a mark of protection such that any who harmed him would suffer vengeance sevenfold. This countered Cain's objection and ensured that he would only suffer the intended curse.
- Many people believe Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of homosexuality, but the book of Ezekiel (16:49 if you're interested) confirms that they were destroyed for greed and selfishness.
- Greed, selfishness, and barbarism; in the passage that most people cite as the source of the homosexuality myth, the mob attempts to get Lot to release the angels visiting him to them so they could "know them". When Lot refuses and offers them his virgin daughters, instead, the mob refuses, threatens Lot with violence, and gets struck blind by the angels when they attempted to make good on their threats. Sadly, this hostility in the mob gets condensed down in most peoples' minds as "they were gay", and are often combined with the Law of Moses stating "man should not lay down with man" as "proof" that the Bible denounces homosexuality.
- Even the "a man should not lay down with a man as they would with a woman" is often interpreted improperly as anti-homosexual, when instead, it more likely meant that men should be treated differently than women when having relations with them (ironically, the full passage is more of a sexist slight against women than a homophobic remark).
- The angel Gabriel was not an archangel. He was a seraph. By definition there can only be one archangel, and the Bible only mentions one, and that is Michael. Michael, Gabriel and Rafael were all seraphs, the highest order of angels, but Michael alone was the archangel - the highest among angels.
- Actually, it's more confusing that that. Some of the listings of angels differentiate archangels and Archangels, with the lower case being a lower, serving set of angels counter to our concept of "arch" indicating highest and the capital being the order of angels that sit closest to God. However, the Bible itself rarely makes any comment more definite than "thousands of angels" and most of the listings are made outside the Bible and have grown to include the various deities of minor villages which were anglicized in order to attract more worshipers to the church by convincing people that their gods worked for the true "God".
- Christians do not become angels when they go to heaven. They just go to heaven. Angels are an entirely separate order created by God, and none of them were ever human. There is a term for a human soul that resides in Heaven- a Saint.
- For that matter, the idea that a person must have died in order to be a saint is not found in the Bible. While there are passages that talk about dead saints, many passages refer to saints who are very explicitly alive.
- Lucifer is Satan. There is heavy evidence that the Lucifer mentioned in the Bible is actually a particular king who was also known as the "Bringer of Light" because he literally brought light to the nighttime streets of his city, but who fell into ignoring his responsibilities later in light. There is no indication that there is an angel named Lucifer in the Bible.
- Noah did not just bring two of every animal aboard the ark. He brought two pairs of every unclean animal, seven pairs of every clean animal, and seven pairs of every bird. After all, birds live in flocks, and if you're going to eat some lamb, you'd probably want to take more than two lambs, right?
- And it wasn't only for eating. Animal sacrifice was part of worship at this time, and Noah sacrificed a lamb when they survived the flood, so they needed the spare clean animals for this as well.
- Also, it wasn't for eating until God gave it to them for food afterward.
- The Magi did not come to visit Christ on the day of his birth at the stable. By then, some time had passed and Jesus's family is noted to be living in a house. Indeed, the story of Herod and the Magi is found in Matthew, whereas the story of the census and the inn is in Luke - nothing in Matthew suggests that Mary and Joseph did not live in Bethlehem before fleeing to Egypt (the two birth narratives, while not necessarily irreconcilable, have very few details in common).
- The Man of Sin from Revelations is considered by many to be The Antichrist. Not only is that a guess, but the Bible itself specifies that there are many antichrists and that they are among us this day, instead of One Big Antichrist.
- Job's wife did not die. His children all died, and his slaves, but his wife is actually a minor character in her own right (Job's misfortunes all come in the opening chapters).
- The sin committed by Adam and Eve is commonly said to be their consummation in the Garden of Eden. Actually, a sin in the Bible is defined as committing any act God says not to, and sex was not among the things they were told not to do; they disobeyed by eating the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
- Similarly, almost any Catholic schoolchild will tell you the Fruit in question was an apple. The Bible, in any language, does not specify what it was. Jewish tradition claims it to be a fig, wheat, or grapes, and Islam sometimes holds that it was a pomegranate. The apple connection came from the Latin words for apple (malum) and evil (mālum), though some say it's because apples are usually the first solid food children eat in the Western world..
- Many/Most of the examples listed under Sadly Mythtaken.
- Oedipus killed his father and slept with his mother. While that is factually true, most people assume that he knew about this fact, which he didn't. He had no clue that the man he killed was his father nor that the woman he had sex with was his mother. His parents in fact had their son's fate foretold to them, so they left him for dead. He was then adopted and, once he reached adulthood, heard a similar prophecy and went to drastic lengths to avoid doing such horrible things to people he thought were his parents. He then got into a fight with a stranger and killed him, not knowing that it was the king of Thebes. He later married the recently widowed queen of Thebes as a reward for ridding the city of the Sphinx on his way to the city; some versions of the story have the queen wearing a necklace that kept her youthful, thus making it even less likely that Oedipus would think she was his mother. It was many years again before anyone learned the truth. The Oedipus Complex which is named after him doesn't help this misconception; in fact Freud might be solely responsible for it.
- There is no singular "the" Buddha. "Buddha" is a state of being that very few can achieve, Siddhartha Gautama being among them, the only one within human history as we know it. This is why some Buddha statues depict an obese Chinese man rather than a thin Indian one; this is a tenth-century monk whose future incarnation is believed to be the Maitreya Buddha, who will end our age.
- Greek mythology does not state that Atlas was forced to hold the Earth on his shoulders. He was actually forced to hold the heavens on his shoulders.
- Loki was a full-blooded jotun, not a half-jotun.
- Also, the common belief that jotun = frost giant. They weren't all frosty and they weren't all giant.
- Many Germans think the Nibelungenlied showcases how Siegfried battles a dragon and thereby wins a huge treasure hoard. In the original, the fight with the dragon is totally out of focus, being related only via flashback and covered in a single four-line stanza. Also, the fight with the dragon in is totally unrelated to the winning of the hoard. Both misconceptions result from Adaptation Displacement.
- Hulk Hogan gets a lot of flack for being an Invincible Hero, like André the Giant, during his WWF title runs. However he jobbed several time note to put his opponent over as a viable threat for the title. Between 84 and 91 the supposedly never losing Hogan jobbed 137 times, and put over 3 dozen superstars note . During his first run he would usually lose once or twice a month. He did even worse during his second run losing over a third of his matches. The only year in which he regularly wrestlednote and had fewer losses then months was 88 which he spent the majority of without the belt. The reason for this misconception might be because champions in the mid-90's did tend to be Invincible Heroes. Contrast Hogan in 84-87 with Bret Hart's run as the top face a decade later note : during that time frame Hogan lost 55 matches and Hart lost 15.
- Hulk Hogan tends to be remembered as much more squeaky-clean (if not boring) than his actions at the time would suggest. For instance, while 1984's Hulk vs. The Iron Sheik is remembered as a cartoonish battle of the All American Face vs. the Foreign Wrestling Heel, it's Hogan who starts the match with a flurry of cheap shots.
- At Over The Edge 1999, no one watching on PPV saw Owen Hart fall to his death. He was being lowered during a pre-taped interview segment, which didn't cut away until he had hit bottom.
- There are a lot of things that are Common Knowledge in the IWC which can easily be disproven by looking at things like ratings and sales would easily disprove. Like that the WCW and ECW Invasion in 2001 was a ratings disaster despite the ratings showing that viewership actually remained steady and even went up a little during the angle until near the end when Real Life events drew people away from it.
- Several people claim that Shawn Michaels gave up the WWF title because he "lost his smile", however they are confusing two very different promos that happened months apart. At Survivor Series 96, Shawn lost the belt to his one time friend Sycho Sid after Sid attacked Michaels' mentor and manager Jose Lothario; a week later, HBK gave an interview where the always upbeat former champion said the event caused to be afraid for his mentor's safety and it hurt him more than losing the belt, it made him lose his smile. Two months later, Michaels regained the belt at the Royal Rumble, but suffered a severe knee injury and needed surgery, so he would be out of action for at least six months and maybe permanently. He gave up the title in a Tear Jerker speech where he made a brief reference to the earlier promo.
- it also became Common Knowledge that he only claimed to have lost his smile so he would not have to lose the title to Bret Hart at WrestleMania and did not even need surgery. This is strange for a couple of reasons: First, Michael's surgery was covered on TV - they even showed footage of him getting the operation done - and he walked with a cane on TV for several weeks while he recovered and returned to his old job as a commentator. Secondly, Hart was at the time the most booed face in the company after his 7 month vacation and feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin, so it is unlikely that they would give him the belt at the biggest event of the year; also, they did give him a brief reign by winning the Final Four and losing it the next night to Sycho Sid, so they could have easily had Hart as champion at Wrestlemania without Michaels, he just was not over enough to justify it.
- Contrary to popular beliefs, Oakland Raiders Owner/GM Al Davis was neither a member of "The Foolish Club", the eight original team owners of the American Football League (AFL) nor was he the Raiders original head coach. Davis did not assume control of the Raiders until 1967. He was an assisant coach under Hall of Fame coach Sid Gillman for the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers for the AFL's first three seasons (1960-1962), and head coach of the Raiders (Hired by actual original Raiders owner F. Wayne Valley) from 1963 to 1965, before handing things over to John Rauch (Which is yet another bit of "common knowledge": John Madden was not Davis' immediate successor.)
- The so-called "Tom Brady Rule" (which prohibited a defensive player from hitting quarterbacks below the knee) was wrongly attributed to Tom Brady after his season-ending knee injury during the 2008 NFL season. It's unofficially called the "Carson Palmer Rule"Note (which Brady calls his knee injury in a interview with WEEI radio), which was passed back at the start of the 2006 season after Cincinnati Bengals QB Carson Palmer suffered the same injury during the 2005 playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The actual "Brady Rule" (which was passed back in 2009) was a clarification to the existing "Palmer Rule" by stating the following:
Note 1: A defender cannot initiate a roll or lunge and forcibly hit the passer in the knee area or below, even if he is being contacted by another player.
Note 2: It is not a foul if the defender swipes, wraps, or grabs a passer in the knee area or below in an attempt to tackle him.
- The general consensus on the 2007 Spygate scandal is that the New England Patriots were cheaters. In actuality, the Patriots were punished for recording the New York Jets' defensive signals from an illegal location (i.e., the sidelines). Also, Super Bowl-winning coaches Jimmy Johnson, Bill Cowher, Dick Vermeil, and Mike Shanahan admitted to doing the same thing, and stated that the filming of the opponents' signals were common practice back then. Finally, the Patriots were punished after the rule prohibiting the recording of signals from an illegal location was passed at the start of the 2007 season.
- Former Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood is forever known for missing a 47-yard field goal ("Wide Right") in the closing seconds of Super Bowl XXV, and is dubbed a choker. Back then, only half of field goals at 40 yards on grass fields were successfully made, and Norwood was one-for-five throughout his career, according to stats shown on the original ABC broadcast.
- Everyone knows that Mixed Martial Arts is the combat sport where there are no rules. Except that there are tons of rules. Just as many, if not more, rules than other combat sports like boxing and amateur wrestling. The misconception stems from the early days of the UFC, which had hardly any rules, but did have a few.
- "Pirate" is never rhymed with "pilot" in The Pirates of Penzance, even in the song about Ruth's confusion between the two words.
- William Shakespeare's plays
- Romeo and Juliet
- While the famous line "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?" is usually quoted right, more or less, most people are unaware of the true meaning, often believing that Juliet is asking "Where are you Romeo?" Note that "wherefore" does not mean "where", it means "why". Compare "therefore". In other words Juliet is asking why Romeo must be who he is, a member of the family with which her own family has a long-standing feud.
- Also, "star-crossed lovers" is not a synonym for "happily ever after". It means they have crossed or defied their fates, the stars. They die.
- Similarly, Hamlet's "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" doesn't mean she complains in a suspiciously over-the-top manner. It means that she promises more than she can reasonably deliver.
- Les Misérables does not take place during The French Revolution, but the song "Do You Hear The People Sing" is frequently assumed to refer to it. It does, however, take place during a French revolution (one of many) just not The French Revolution. A highly unsuccessful French revolution.
- Dungeons & Dragons examples:
- The game was directly inspired by The Lord of the Rings, right? No, it wasn't. Gary Gygax hated Tolkien - he only incorporated elements such as halflings and treants on the insistence of his gaming group, who wanted to play as Frodo. He actually drew most of his inspiration from Fafhrd And The Gray Mouser.
- D&D players gain extensive knowledge of historical armor types such as plate mail, chainmail, ringmail, splint mail, etc. Incorrect knowledge, to the point of Critical Research Failure. There has historically been exactly one type of armor made from interlocking rings, and its name is simply mail. Likewise, the correct term for "plate mail" is plate armor, and the one for "scale mail" is scale armor. But many more people have played D&D and its various derivatives than have a cursory knowledge of real-world armor.
- A Green Sun Prince from Exalted is not necessarily offered their Deal with the Devil after My Greatest Failure. This is nearly always the case, because it's in the nature of mortals to fail — especially in the sort of circumstances that would attract an Exaltation — but if, somehow, against all odds, they manage to succeed, the Infernal Exaltation doesn't just go away. It would take a very unusual person to accept under those conditions, but the offer is still made.
- Final Fantasy II for the SNES was not based on Final Fantasy IV Easytype; it's the other way around. Although Final Fantasy IV Easytype was released first, it was a port back of the changes made in Final Fantasy II to the Japanese version, and also has a few key differences from Final Fantasy II; the most notable being that it has an entirely new version of Zeromus, while Final Fantasy II just had a downgraded version of the original Final Fantasy IV Zeromus.
- Ports cost almost nothing to make, because it's just moving data from one system to another, which is why any port to a more powerful system (or less powerful) is shovelware. Except none of that is true. Even if the systems are nearly identical (like GameCube games to the Wii) they are not actually identical, and you need plenty of testing to catch any unforeseen incompatibilities. If the systems are different, and/or less powerful than what the game is being ported from, you have to rewrite the whole damn thing. That often means the only money saved is on design (since the game is already made). People bashing ports for being cheap clearly don't know the full details. Developers acting like the myth is true is a major cause of Porting Disaster.
- In Fallout New Vegas, choosing the Wild Card ending lets the Courier rule over New Vegas himself, as opposed to being a pawn of one of the main factions. Actually, it's called the Independant Vegas ending for a reason: no-one gets to rule, that's the point. Even if the player has bad karma he won't seize personal power, instead just opting for Anarchy Is Chaos.
- In terms of personal gain, siding with House is probably the best bet.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The series has no continuity or plotline, and is simply the same tale each time. In reality, even ignoring Zelda's needlessly complicated timeline, there have been direct sequels to individual plots. More recent Zelda games, like Twilight Princess and Spirit Tracks have included more and more references to earlier games, indicating Nintendo is aware of this misplaced criticism. note
- On that same note, "Link" is not a singular character, nor is Zelda. There have been many Links (who may or may not be related) and many Zeldas (who are all part of the same royal line * ). Only Ganon(dorf) remains the same person from game to game. You will hit a Fandom Berserk Button for claiming Link or Zelda is the same person in every game.
- A lot of people seem to be under the impression that the multiplayer modes of Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures require four players (probably because of the title). In actuality they can be played with two or three people as well. So you don't have to worry about having to buy four GBA systems and cables if you only really want to play in a two or three player game. And Adventures can even be played single-player; so can the DSi port of Four Swords.
- Many people seem to think that the main character of the games is named Zelda. His name is Link. Zelda is the princess.
- People often think that the Skull Kid is evil. He's actually a typical imp - mischievous and likes to play tricks on people, but not strictly evil (and he even helps Link out in Ocarina of Time, and they become more or less friends in that game). In Majora's Mask, he was possessed by the titular mask, and in Twilight Princess he was just being more of an impish Jerkass than evil.
- Also, the impression that Link found Navi annoying or hated her. While it's true that many players hate Navi, Link actually valued her as a true friend and cherished her companionship, and it's implied that the "friend" that Link is mentioned to be searching for at the beginning of Majora's Mask is Navi.
- Speaking of why players hate Navi, that's also because of a misconception, since many believe that she constantly nags you to get back on track with the plot every five seconds. Actually, her reminders come about every 10-20 minutes real time, and she doesn't force you to view them. She doesn't say "Hey, listen!" as one line either - she says "Hey!" when she has something to tell you, then something else when you press the C-Up button to talk to her - "Look!" when pointing something out, "Listen!" when reminding you what you were supposed to be doing, and "Watch out!" when giving advice on an enemy.
- People saying that Link is incapable of talking. He CAN talk, and it's implied that he is responding to NPCs, we just don't hear his replies (for instance, it's implied he says his name when someone asks it). Occasionally he speaks in the form of player-chosen responses. In the manga adaptations of the games, he talks all the time, and in Wind Waker he occasionally shouts "Come on!" (the only time in ANY game where he says actual words in voice rather than in text). The reason for his lack of dialogue is that he was originally supposed to be just the player's "Link" to the game world (and yes, that's where his name came from), not an actual character in his own right.
- Continuing the Nintendo examples, Pokémon does have a canon plotline within the games. Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen take place during the same time period as Pokemon Ruby And Sapphire; Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver take place around the same time period as Pokemon Diamond And Pearl (three years later). Gold and Silver are perhaps most notable for including the entire Kanto region from Red and Blue with references to the earlier games galore, while Ruby and Sapphire are more subtle with their references to the fact that Gold and Silver haven't happened yet. Abundant references to Johto in Diamond and Pearl led fans to the (accurate) assumption that Gold and Silver would be remade. Pokemon Black And White take place sometime after all other games; Cynthia references the events of Platinum and a Team Plasma Grunt references the failings of Team Rocket and Team Galactic.
- While Pokemon certainly has a canon plotline, Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald have yet to be pinned to a specific time in it, other than likely prior to HGSS.
- Another Pokémon example: Not a single player character in the series is 10 years old. Not one. At least, it hasn't been specified. The only player character to have their age confirmed is Red, who is said to be eleven years old as of Generation I (and III). The reason the whole "ten years old" thing has been engrained in the public consciousness is because of the popularity of the anime, whose main character is 10. Eternally.
- Similar to that, nowhere in the games is it said that you must be ten to be a trainer or that all trainers start at age ten. In fact in the games you see trainers who are way younger than ten - think 4 or 5 years old at youngest and in Pokemon Black And White you begin your journey in your mid to late teenage years. Most trainers in the 4 - 11 year old range don't wander that far from towns or areas with a lot of people, it's the older teens and up who you see on journeys (like Ace Trainers).
- All trainers get Pokedexes.. Except they don't. You're a special case, along with some other select trainers. Along the same lines, not every trainer gets their first Pokemon from the local lab. A few trainers mention that they got their Pokemon from a family member.
- A lot of people, when imitating the style of the game's battles, misuse the phrases "It's super effective" and "It's not very effective". These phrases are only used in the games when attack moves do more or less damage than normal due to a type advantage. They aren't used with moves that only inflict status effects.
- It should be noted that many of the misconceptions about the game are true for the anime, and vice versa. To say nothing of the various other adaptations and derivative works, which may well have completely unrelated canon. So the Common Knowledge in many cases is just a form of "All variations of Pokémon have the same rules and background".
- A huge one for this is Pokémon Speak. It's been decidedly the exception since day one in the games... and even in the anime, it only reaches the heights most people associate with the franchise in the dub version. In the Japanese version, Pokemon do use Pokémon Speak... but also frequently just use animal noises if it's appropriate to the type of Pokemon they are. FourKids inexplicably dubbed over almost every instance of this with more Pokémon Speak, and when The Pokemon Company took over, they were stuck with it for consistency.
- It is Common Knowledge that Red, the first protagonist, is The Stoic, Silent Protagonist through and through. In reality Red has been heavily implied to speak, but we never really hear his dialogue. He also smiles in a good majority of the official artwork. Similarly, it's Common Knowledge that he spent three years on top of a mountain. In the games it's never stated he stayed on a mountain all this time. He could have been on his journey, ended up on the mountain training, and you came along.
- It's an often-held befief among fans that in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Erika and Ephriam get married in the Japanese version's "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue. While the game does have an awful lot of Incest Subtext, this is not true in the slightest. It's just a result of fans believing "any paired ending must be romantic, so the obviously censored it", despite there being several non-romantic paired endings, even in this very game. (Dussel and Amelia comes to mind)
- Yet another Nintendo-related example: the console known as the Wii was never supposed to be called the "Revolution." This was a working production name, just like the "Dolphin" (GameCube) or "Nitro" (DS). However, due to Nintendo revealing a great deal of information about the console before it had a name, media sources were forced to use the name Revolution over and over again until the public loved it so much that when the actual, controversial name was revealed, there was a backlash.
- And now another Nintendo example: Nintendo's consoles are always the weakest in each generation. Actually, the SNES technically surpassed the Sega Genesis in almost every way, it was just that the Genesis marketed its meaningless "Blast Processing" far more than Nintendo marketed any of its console's features. Next, the N64 had many advantages over the Playstation and Sega Saturn: more RAM, pushing more polygons in real time, and some other graphical features, however, it wasn't as developer friendly as its rivals (and its cartridge-based games had much lower storage capacity than the Playstation and Saturn's CD-RO Ms, which proved to be a significant handicap in an era when developers increasingly wanted to include FMV cutscenes in their games), so third parties generally went for the Playstation. The Gamecube was actually more powerful than the PS2 and only slightly less than the Xbox. According to some, it was even easier to program for than the PS2, but since the PS2 already had an established base, and the Xbox was even easier to program for, developers ignored this system, too. The only time that this is correct is with the Wii, whose architecture was built off of the Gamecube's and focused more on innovation than power. The misconception could be due to Nintendo's "Lateral thinking of withered technology" policy on building hardware, but Gunpei Yokoi, creator of the policy, didn't think of it as such.
- The only place there's been a real element of truth to this conception has been with handheld game consoles, given that it took surprisingly long for the Game Boy to be given such basic features as a backlight to play in the dark and a color screen, despite competitors like the Atari Lynx and Sega Game Gear appearing within a year of its release that did have those features. However, the more powerful competitors to Nintendo's handhelds tended to have crippling flaws, like much higher prices and horribly short battery life. Thus, the Game Boy line of handhelds utterly dominated the market until Nintendo voluntarily retired the name in favor of the new Nintendo DS...which followed in the Game Boy's footsteps by continuing to own the handheld market.
- Third party developers choose consoles based on the technical specifications when comparing consoles from the same generation is largely a myth. There are a few developers that choose platform based on specification, but they are the exception not the rule. The two most important criteria are how easy it is to work with the company and regional sales.
- The main misconception is that Nintendo consoles have had the worst third party support since the 16 bit generation because their consoles were inferior. This is incorrect. Nintendo is hands down the worst company for developer's to work with. Nintendo has always been highly restrictive with content on third party games, refused to make compromises over business deals, and used to sue almost any developer that worked with them that remotely touched on anything Nintendo didn't like with their games.
- The Xbox 360 vs PlayStation 3 war is more in the heads of consumers than anything else. Total sales between the two consoles are fairly similar, but this is somewhat misleading. In Japan, PS3 sales far exceed Xbox 360. In North America, Xbox 360 sales far exceed PlayStation 3. Europe is fairly evenly divided between the two. Most developers choose the console to develop for based on whether they think Japanese or North American sales will be higher, not based on specs.
- Who killed Aerith in Final Fantasy VII? Sephiroth, right? Not exactly. It was Jenova, acting as his avatar. Sephiroth actually spends most of the game hibernating in the Whirlwind Maze. Of course, because that part of Jenova changed its form to appear as Sephiroth, and acted as a puppet of his will, you could say "it was Sephiroth" and technically, you'd be right. The "real" Sephiroth is only encountered twice in the entire game: once in the Whirlwind Maze and once as the final boss.
- Similarly, it was the body of Jenova, shape-shifted to look like Sephiroth, which broke out of Shinra HQ and which the party was pursuing throughout Disc 1.
- The various "clones" encountered in the game are actually the former residents of Nibelheim, injected with Sephiroth's cells and exposed to Mako energy in an attempt to create duplicates of the fallen super-soldier (or maybe just to give him some pawns to manipulate).
- Cloud's androgynous bishounen look wasn't introduced until Advent Children, yet he's often spoken of as if said look was always his design.
- Speaking of Cloud, his characterization as "emo" is largely due to Fan Dumb and the Complete Collection. In the game proper, Cloud was a cocky punk who grew into a confident leader at the game's end, and that's after realizing that said "cocky punk" attitude was more of Zack's behavior that Cloud had imprinted onto his own memories. And while Cloud does have some moments of angst in the game (namely about how Sephiroth burned down Cloud's hometown and killed his parents, something Cloud would rightly want revenge for), the worst of it is after a massive Mind Rape that leaves him stuck in a wheelchair, babbling incoherently. And even then, after Tifa helps him snap out of it with a Battle in the Center of the Mind, Cloud stops angsting about everything and focuses on defeating Sephiroth to save the world. Advent Children has Cloud suffering from the effects of Geostigma, and while Cloud is pretty whiny here, it's heavily implied that the disease is messing with his mind and he may even have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Notably, after the Geostigma is cured at the end of the movie, Cloud is seen smiling and happy.
- The Blazing Star "YOU FAIL IT! Your skill is not enough. See you next time. Bye bye!" screen. It appears when you time out a boss, yes, but most people who have not actually seen the screen first-hand think it's part of a Non-Standard Game Over. In actuality, timing out a boss will simply take you to the next stage; the screen is just the game's way of telling you that you lose your end-of-stage bonuses for taking too long.
- Nintendo's fanbase frequently cries that it needs new franchises, instead of just Super Mario Bros (1981, 1983, or 1985, depending on interpretation), The Legend of Zelda (1986), and Metroid (1986). Strangely enough, Pokémon is often included in the list, despite it starting in 1996. Even assuming Pokémon was the last "new" franchise, we still have Custom Robo (1999), Animal Crossing, Pikmin and Golden Sun (2001), The Legendary Starfy (2002), Brain Age, Drill Dozer and Battalion Warsnote (2005), Wii Sports and Rhythm Heaven (2006) and Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (2007). However, all of these either probably made you go "huh?" or are reviled by some of the same people who make this complaint in the first place.
- This can also happen with people who make the complaints and then refuse to play anything but the above popular games, turning this into Hypocritical Fandom.
- Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo paid "X" to make an exclusive to boost console sales is a very common, very erroneous statement in virtually every situation it is used.
- The main source of revenue for console companies is licensing fees. This means developers and publishers pay them for the right to develop a game in the first place. They might offer incentives for companies, such as lower licensing fees or preferential treatment, but actually paying them is a different thing entirely.
- All three companies are also publishers. If they are giving a company money, it is virtually always as a publisher (or at least an investor). They are directly profiting off the game itself regardless of what console it is developed on. While all the companies do consistently only invest in console exclusive games, it is not unheard of for there to be multiplatform releases. Sony used to own a large, but not controlling share of Squaresoft, yet, were unable to prevent multiplatform releases on several major games. Squaresoft was more Sony exclusive before Sony invested in them then after. Publishing and consoles are different divisions with different objectives and goals.
- There is a huge overhead cost for any console development. Most console exclusive games come from developers being unable or unwilling to pay those costs and hire experienced programmers for each console type.
- Some genres of games just do poorly on specific consoles, which lead to companies designing for a specific console. This can be seen by looking at the sales numbers of the large titles that do multiplatform releases. JRPGs, for example, typically do very poorly on the Xbox 360 in comparison to the PlayStation 3 version. Final Fantasy XIII did not sell proportionately between the two consoles based on total sales. The American PS3 version even significantly outsold the Xbox 360 version, despite there being nearly twice as many Xbox 360 owners as PS3 owners in that region. Western Role Playing Games, such as Dragon Age: Origins, show the reverse trend.
- One of the most common complaints about Downloadable Content is that any DLC, especially if it's available at launch, is clearly content the developers removed from the game to make money. Problem is, even Day-1 DLC is usually planned into the development process of the game, and may be announced months ahead of time, yet irate gamers will still insist it was yanked out at the last minute. Of course, most of these complaints are based on sour graping rather than any rationality in the first place. Note that even DLC that is released weeks after the game's launch has been accused of being a cash grab, and the complainants never seem to explain what sort of gap would make it "obvious" the DLC is original content.
- The most vehement griping comes when the DLC is to unlock content that's already on the game disc, though. And many fans consider the very concept of DLC to be a cash-grab and a curse on gaming.
- Of course, people are notoriously loose in defining what counts as "already on the game disc." For instance, the Prothean party member for Mass Effect 3 is frequently cited, because they ended up including the base character on the disc to smooth integration of the DLC with the core game — the fact that said download is over 600 megabytes is a fair indication that not everything from the DLC is on the disc.
- Mortal Kombats Scorpion and Sub-Zero. One of the most bitter rivalries in gaming, right? Well, not really. Scorpion got his revenge over Bi-Han, the original Sub-Zero at the end of the first game. In Mortal Kombat II, we meet Kuai Liang, the new Sub-Zero (and Bi-Han's younger brother). Scorpion actually becomes the protector of this new Sub-Zero, to atone for killing his brother. Aside from briefly attacking him during the fourth game (due to being Brainwashed and Crazy), Scorpion remains watching over for the rest of the series (at least until the reboot, which goes in a different direction.).
- Sonic the Hedgehog is often thought of as being aquaphobic. While this is canon in some adaptations, it isn't canon in the games. He simply can't swim and has the same fear of drowning that everyone else has, especially people who can't swim.
- Also everyone knows that his love of chili-dogs became game canon in the Sonic Storybook Series.. Except it was made canon in Sonic Advance 3's Japanese manual. There's also some common misinformation about where his love for hot-dogs came from - the earliest known reference was in an early Sonic The Comic issue (though it was regular veggie dogs instead of chili dogs).
- For a long time, it was rumoured that Jaleel White, voice actor of Sonic in Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic Sat AM and Sonic Underground, was considered for the role of Classic Sonic in Sonic Generations, but turned down the role or wasn't available. In fact, Jaleel reported on his Twitter account that he was never approached by Sega about voicing Classic Sonic.
- Sonic is the fastest thing alive, right? Well, actually, no. He's never referred to as the "fastest thing alive" in the games - only in the Sonic Sat AM cartoon, which is an alternate continuity and not canon to the games.
- It's common knowledge that Poison and Roxy in Final Fight were made into Transsexual women because Nintendo of America had issues with "violence against women." It happens to also be untrue. Poison was transgender in Japan since her conception, referred to as "new-half", the Japanese term for a transsexual woman.
- Mario does not open blocks by hitting them with his head. If you look closely, he actually punches them.
- Mario uses both methods, but he is mainly seen using his fist to punch blocks in most official media. Mario uses his head to hit blocks when he is holding an object because of the lack of a proper sprite/animation.
- Most online parodies of Double Dragon depict Abobo talking in Hulk Speak, despite the fact that the only time he ever did talk that way was in Battletoads & Double Dragon, a non-canon crossover which got Machine Gun Willy's name wrong and had a made-up villain in the form of the "Shadow Boss" (which was actually Jimmy Lee's title in the first NES game).
- Everyone knows that in every Ultima game, Author Avatar Lord British can be killed using a glitch or an exploit in the rules. Actually, this is only true for some of the early games (and even then, in the first game, you didn't even need to do anything special to kill him as long as you could take on his bodyguards) - in the later games, the ability to kill Lord British is a deliberate Easter Egg. The greatest evidence against the glitch theory is in Ultima VII, where to kill him, you need to drop a specific plaque from on top of his castle walls right as he's walking under it, which is an in-joke to the real Richard Garriot being injured by a falling metal bar - all things that would be impossible to be done in the game unless the developers intended you to be able to do it.
- Final Fantasy X has the infamous laughing scene that had generated a ton of hate from fans. Some fans also believe that the Japanese version of the same scene sounds better. It doesn't. The laughing in the Japanese version sounds just as out of place as the English version; in both cases, the awkwardness is intentional. The point of the scene was to show how forcing yourself to laugh or smile makes you look weird, as evidenced by every other characters' reactions to Tidus and Yuna laughing. In-context, Tidus had just learned that his father, Jecht, had become Sin, and was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. Tidus's laughter, thus, is incredibly forced, because he doesn't have a lot to be happy about.
- Whenever people bring up Super Mario Bros. 2 (the Japanese version which is also known as The Lost Levels in the overseas release), they mention how Nintendo refused to release the game due to its sheer difficulty. What people tend to forget is Nintendo of America wanted a different Mario game and believed the sequel to Super Mario Bros. was simply just a copy of the first game, thus people wouldn't want to play the exact same game again with new tweaks.
- The Nintendo Seal of Quality was widely believed by fans that it meant the game was good and free of glitches/bugs. It didn't mean that at all. The seal meant the game was compatible with your console and it did not contain anything that would damage it. A game is never fully bug free and one is bound to happen while you play at some point, but will rarely hinder your ability to play. People like to state how the Seal of Quality meant the game was supposed to be good, but then they are surprised to learn how Superman64, a game that is considered one of the worst games in history'', got the Seal of Quality. Due to the wide misconception about the seal's meaning and people attempting to sue Nintendo for false advertising, the seal got rid of the word quality and it is simply known as the Nintendo Seal.
- Several people believe that the Kingdom Hearts series is a franchise owned by Square Enix with many Disney characters thrown in as cameos. Well, the truth is that it's entirely owned by Disney. Not only that, all original properties of the series are owned by them, as well (yes. This means Sora is a Disney character). Disney hired Square Enix to develop the games. It's all in the copyrights, which generally reads © Disney. Developed by SQUARE ENIX*. Furthermore, this was acknowledged in a 2004 Official Playstation Magazine interview with Tetsuya Nomura (the director of the KH series).
- The Final Fantasy and The World Ends With You characters are the ones making cameos, as Disney allowed Square Enix to include them in the Kingdom Hearts games. On a side note, anything Square Enix does with their own characters within the KH series is still owned by them, which is why Cloud, Sephiroth, and Squall can have their KH costumes in Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy.
- Something Positive's creator R.K. Milholland gets a lot of complaints grounded in this trope from readers; the most common objection is "Your comic didn't used to be mean," despite the fact that the main character sent a coat hanger to an ex-girlfriend as a baby shower present in the first strip.
- College Roomies from Hell!!!'s trio of male protagonists all acquired a mutant ability: Mike's arm was replaced with a superstrong tentacle, Dave got laser vision, and Roger got an eye in his hand, not his were-coyote nature, even though that's often mistakenly cited: he had that already. The confusion arises because this is what Roger uses when they have to fight, alongside the others' abilities, and because the eye in the hand hasn't been mentioned in a long time.
- Penny and Aggie are not Canadian. In early strips, T and Gisčle put them in a purposefully ambiguous location on the Eastern Seaboard, and due to a previous collaboration by them set in Canada, many assumed this one to be set there as well, some ex-readers or (very) casual readers still so assuming. However, as strip became more plot-driven, T was forced to choose a side of the border, and the setting is now unarguably American even to someone who's only read the comic proper.
- For Homestuck a lot of the time, all non-fans really know is that the main characters/most popular characters are the grey-skinned alien trolls. Nope - the trolls don't arrive until act 4 (after a couple of brief pesterlogs in act 3), and then not in person until act 5, and while they're not all minor characters they are definitely subordinate to the kids. Also, while they're certainly popular with the fandom, the fact that they show up so often in fanart is probably more to do with the fact that there are a hell of a lot of them, and that Andrew Hussie is very, very good at characterisation, so even the Those Two Guys equivalents have quite distinct personalities.
- Casual fans or non-fans associated with the fandom also usually think the series has a lot of gay romance. In actuality, there are two gay characters, and a few bisexual characters, none of whom have their romances anywhere near seriously taken. The most common one, John/Karkat, was immediately sunk as a ship after it was introduced canonically, but to hear the fandom, it's pretty much all the series is about. In fact, the portrayal of the gay characters is not without Unfortunate Implications, since the bisexual characters are mostly But Not Too Bi and the same-sex relationships tend to be portrayed as creepy, hopeless, or Played for Laughs.
- The trolls make a point of saying that they don't see homo/heterosexuality as "a thing", but that turns up surprisingly seldomly in practice.
- Hussie is good with characterization, but the trolls tend to have more fleshed-out characters with the kids, whose personalities are more archetypal. This is because, since there are so many of them, they need to have more to them to distinguish them from each other.
- All Animation Is Disney. Only it's not...
- Despite what anyone tells you X-Men: Evolution did not move the location of the Academy to California. It just took place in a...very California-like New York. Which admittedly is really odd because it's animated.
- The same one from the live-action movies, apparently. Rogue states at one point that it never snows in upstate New York.
- Steamboat Willie is often credited as the very first Mickey Mouse short. However, Mickey and Minnie appeared six months earlier in Plane Crazy, which was produced first, but Disney couldn't sell it. Steamboat Willie was the short that made a star out of Mickey because it was the first short to use sound properly, allowing him to stand out from other cartoons, which is why the short sold. On that note, it's not Pete's first appearance either; he was antagonizing Oswald and, before that, Alice.
- On that note, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is not the first full length animated feature. It is the first to be released in America, the first from Disney, and the first to turn a profit and be successful, but other animated films were released in other countries before it.
- "Girl's Night Out", the episode of the DCAU featuring Batgirl and Supergirl against Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Livewire, is commonly thought to be a Superman The Animated Series episode, but in reality, it's officially a Batman The Animated Series episode, according to both the episode list on the official website and the fact that it was on the B: TAS Volume 4 DVD rather than Volume 3 of S: TAS (which included the last third of the series, including Supergirl's debut).
- Transformers: Optimus Prime actually turned into a cab-over truck, not a regular truck. A cab-over is a special kind of truck which has a flat face and the cab sits above the front axle. A regular truck has the cab behind the axle giving the front an elongated look. The Movie features his alternate mode as a regular elongated truck because the animators found that, with their commitment to avoiding mass-shifting, a cab-over model resulted in an unimpressively-short Optimus; some subsequent adaptations, including Transformers Prime, followed its lead.
- Prior to the live-action movies, several Optimus Prime toys were released in regular truck forms, most notably the Combat Hero Optimus Prime and Laser Optimus Prime from the Generation 2 line. Their only non-toy appearance was a brief appearance of the Combat Hero version at the end of the G2 comic.
- Many people are under the misconception that the creators of South Park are anti-religious. After an episode about Muhammad was made and they received death threats, Bill Maher and Seth Macfarlane defended them for being against religion. They are NOT against religion, as the commentaries for episodes like "Red Hot Catholic Love" and "All About the Mormons" has them clearly state that if you're a genuinely good person, it doesn't matter what you believe.
- Saying that they don't look down on you for having a religion is not the same as saying they don't look down on the idea of religion.
- Krang from the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was not a Utrom. It's true his appearance was inspired by the Utroms, but he is himself a disembodied brain from another dimension. The Utroms are brain like creatures from another planet.
- The Scooby-Doo gang was never called "Mystery, Inc." or "Mysteries Incorporated". The actual "Mystery, Inc." name was derived from the "Mysteries Inc." cartoon block on Cartoon Network (aired back in the early 90s), which showed the Scooby-clone shows, but none of the Scooby-Doo shows.
- In Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony, "Let's Go and Meet the Bronies" has John De Lancie refer to My Little Pony Tales as generation 2. Tales is actually an Alternate Continuity part of generation 1; the real generation 2 is the only generation without an Animated Adaptation.
- Lauren Faust did not create The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. It was her husband Craig Mc Cracken. She was a storyboarder for only a few episodes of Powerpuff and wrote a majority of episodes for Foster's.
- Many people believe that in the U.S. Acres cartoon "Wanted: Wade", Wade rips a tag off of Orson's pillow. He actually ripped the tag off the bottom of Orson's couch◊, and there weren't any pillows on it in the first place! The confusion comes from a reccuring mistake in the episode that occurs right after the song sequence where the characters (including Wade himself) say it's a pillow he ripped it off of. Due to this, many people (including fans of the show themselves who have watched the episode and even the official Garfield website) say this is true.
- One that seems to have started a bit more recently. A lot of people believe that the final episode of Tom and Jerry ends with the pair committing suicide together. While there is a cartoon where that happens it was not the last one.
- The Eskimo language does not have an unusually large number of words for "snow", it has about the same number of root words referring to snow as English does. Part of this misconception comes from the fact that the language expresses many ideas through the use of suffixes and compound words, meaning that a person can come up with a huge number of words relating to any concept, not just snow.
- Vomitoriums are specially designed walkways for entering and exiting stadiums, not public buildings built so that wealthy people in Ancient Rome could vomit up their last meals and keep eating. The term only has the root word "vomit" because the walkways were designed for "spewing out" people. While there is some evidence of extremely wealthy Romans practicing binging and purging, it wasn't a major Roman custom, and it certainly wasn't common enough to warrant entire buildings built just for vomiting.
- Just about everything people today know about King John of England is common knowledge. Specifically:
- He was actually a very skilled diplomat and general. Under him, England was bigger then it had been under any king since the House of Danes ruled, and it would not be that big again until the house of Stewart. He was able to get most of Ireland to recognize him as lord. He also took significant land in Wales and Scotland, which England continued to hold for centuries.
- He did not inherit any French land. His brother King Richard had lost all of it to King Philip II of France by the time John became King. He was able to retake most of them and then lose them again a couple of times (they were finally given up by his son Henry III). He also inherited the Duchy of Aquitaine after his mother died, meaning that he actually had more French land when he died than when he took the throne.
- He was able to re-establish England’s independence from the Holy Roman Empire, which it had become a vassal state of under Richard.
- He was considered to be kind and friendly with the Jews, which was one of the things his enemies used to rally against him.
- He was not "tricked" or "forced" to sign the Magna Carta. It was a peace agreement between him and rebellious Lords that he negotiated because he was preparing to invade France, and wanted to avoid infighting in England. He only had the Pope render it null and void because the nobles changed the terms of the treaty after it was signed, giving them more power than John agreed to.
- The fact that no other king was named John was not a slight against him. It was an unfortunate coincidence, as 3 crown princes were named John.
- To sum it up: he did not receive his Historical Villain Upgrade until about 500 years after he died when somebody decided to make him the antagonist of Robin Hood, who had previously been fighting his grandson King Edward. About the only true fact that people know about him is that he increased taxes on the nobles, which was a necessity, as he needed a bigger army for the bigger kingdom, and also had to pay a lot of people for his brother's mistakes (like getting captured and held for ransom by the Holy Roman Empire).
- King Henry VIII of England also has a lot of "common knowledge" associated with him.
- Many people believe that that he never had a son survive childhood. In truth, he had just as many recognized sons as daughters: 2. The first was Henry FitzRoy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, who was illegitimate and survived into his late teens. The other (and more important) one was King Edward. While Edward was also in his late teens when he died, he was responsible for officially renouncing Catholic doctrine and turning the Anglican church into a Protestant institution, which his father is often given credit for.
- He didn't have all of his wives beheaded because they couldn't produce him a male heir; he beheaded two (one on the pretext of adultery, though she was likely innocent and it was a means of getting rid of her; the other did commit adultery), divorced two (and had the marriages annulled), one died in childbirth, and one was his wife when he died (though his fourth wife was also alive when he died, and indeed lived longer than his final wife).
- The mnemonic for the fate of the wives is Annulled, Beheaded, Died, Annulled, Beheaded, Survived
- He was not the founder of the Anglican church, and he never even converted to Protestantism. He just refused to recognize the current Popes so he could annul his own marriage and marry Anne Boleyn (also gave him a good excuse to start looting the monastaries). He considered himself Catholic, and he even kept the title "Defender of the Faith" given to him by the church.
- He was fit, active, and handsome for most of his life. While he may have gained a lot of weight in his later years (due to a broken leg from a riding accident and subsequent complications that limited his mobility) he was not like that for most of his life.
- Several people believe that the legitimate male line of the House of Plantagenet ended with King Richard III; which allowing the top female line heir Henry VII to become king. However there were other male line decedents alive at the time. The most notable was Richards’s nephew and heir Edward Earl of Warwick (his sister Margaret was the top female claimant). Henry became king in a Coup D'état.
- Speaking of Richard III, any memory people have of him as a murderer and a villain actually stems from the Shakespearean play and Tudor propaganda painting him as a villain. There's no evidence that any of the treachery or murders he was accused of ever occurred, and, in some cases, historical fact proves that he didn't, because some alleged victims either survived his reign, or were already dead.
- Columbus did not prove the world was round. There is no record of a mainstream, educated Christian believing the Earth to be flat, and many to the contrary. Some early civilizations believed it to be flat or rectangular, but in every culture informed by Pythagoras, this has been a fringe theory. Seafaring cultures had long known about the curious phenomenon of not seeing another ship's lower hull if they were far away enough. This is because of the curvature of the earth - and you can see it on land in the right places too. Columbus was actually in the minority that thought the world was oval.
The Chinese held onto the theory much longer, since unlike the Europeans, they didn't travel much by sea, nor have very much contact with those who did; maybe if Columbus had been right about the circumference of the Earth (which, against the science of the time, he conveniently thought was about one Pacific Ocean less - the real reason he couldn't get funding) and the sparsity of Western land, he'd have told them.
- The real reason Columbus couldn't get funding is that he was in fact an Average Joe with fabulous idée fixe. He wasn't a traveler or sailor of any kind (a trader at several merchant ships is the closest thing) and had possessed literally zero knowledge about navigation. In modern terms, he can be easily recognized as a con man, with Queen Isabella being a victim of the fraud. His behaviour when he got to the "West Indies" (ie. he thought he had arrived in Western India) was, even by the standards of the time, appalling- with rampant slavery and outright genocide, which ultimately landed him a prison sentence back in Spain.
- An alternate theory is that Isabella and Philip paid him because they thought he would get lost and wanted to get rid of him.
- He wasn't even the first European to discover the American continents. Nor did he even reach the actual continents until his third and fourth voyages. His now-celebrated first voyage in 1492 discovered only some islands.
- The concept of Drinking the Kool-Aid, as its entry explains, did not originate with the Jonestown Cult suicide. This has led to some confusion about the incident itself, namely The victims drank poisoned Flavor Aid, not Kool-Aid;
- Napoleon Bonaparte was supposedly short, and he has been ruthlessly parodied this way for centuries ever since. A 'Napoleon Complex' is someone who has an inferiority complex based on their short stature, and make up for it in some way (though not everyone has the gifts to conquer Europe to make up for their, ah, shortcomings). However, Napoleon was actually average height (5'5") for men back then, and the misconception sprouted from the fact he often posed for portraits with his Imperial Guard, who were all above average height; plus, the British were always looking for new ways to make fun of the French. This was compounded by confusion between French and Imperial units (by the French units of the time he was 5'2"; Imperial units were the same then as they are now) and the fact that he was nicknamed 'Le Petit Caporal' ('petit(e)' can be used as a term of endearment in French as well as meaning 'little' - a girlfriend is a 'petite amie', for example).
- The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 never condemned any women to be burned at the stake. They were actually hanged; in addition, several men were convicted as witches. Giles Corey was crushed to death for refusing to enter a plea and thereby preventing his trial from starting. His last words were, "More weight!"The trials also didn't take place in Salem, Massachusetts. They happened in nearby Salem Village, now Danvers.
- The idea that during the witch hunts medieval Europe was a hysterical place where no-one was safe, and watching witches being burned or otherwise put to death was a common pastime in every village or hamlet. Do the numbers: 40,000-60,000 witches killed over 3 centuries comes to about one every second day - for ALL of Europe. Even given that the population was much less then, and taking into account that peaks would be considerably higher in some times and places, the average person probably thought even less about it than a person today would worry about getting killed in a traffic accident. The majority of medieval Europeans never saw anyone tried or executed for witchcraft.
- Common Knowledge says the Spanish Inquisition was a brutal campaign that went from city to city rounding up heretics and executing them. It was actually very Fair for Its Day. Enemies were forbidden to testify against the accused, and evidence of witchcraft (and so-called "spectral evidence") was rejected. It was one of the first introductions of the "innocent until proven guilty" concept in its era (though the Inquisition's standard for "proven guilty" did allow for things that are forbidden in non-totalitarian societies today, such as confessions extracted by torture- though, the rules on that were still much stricter than the average secular court....anywhere in the world) and yearly executions numbered in the tens, not thousands.
- The other inquisitions were even better, since "secretly being a Jew or Muslim" wasn't one of the things they were after—only heresies, some of which were pretty Path of Inspiration (Cathars, for instance, denied the validity of all contracts and considered it a sin to have children, because you were trapping spirits in flesh). Also, unlike contemporary secular courts (not just in Europe, either—China and Turkey used torture at least as much), the inquisitions only ever used torture as an interrogation method, not a punishment, and never as an execution.
- The Spanish Inquisition also announced their intentions thirty days in advance to give the alleged heretics the opportunity to confess of their own will. Therefore, not even the one thing even non-historians remember about them is true.
- Israelite slaves did not actually build the Pyramids of Giza. They were not around until a few centuries later and more likely were responsible for the tombs in the Valley of Kings. It's doubtful at this point that there were any Israelite slaves in Egypt; little non-biblical evidence exists for the Jewish Exodus, and no archaeological evidence exists of Canaanite cultural adoption (since they were in Egypt for several generations) or a conquering group coming out from Egypt into Canaan. Given that, for most of its existence, the Kingdom of Israel was a client/buffer state of the Egyptian kingdom, the story may be allegorical in nature.
- There is also a great deal of Values Dissonance since the ancient Egyptian system of slavery was very different from the more common perception of slavery based on the American system of slavery, or indeed the Greek or Roman systems. Much of what was deemed "slavery" would in later times be considered indentured servitude or corvee labor. (There's also documentation surviving that suggests the tomb-building labourers were paid for example.)
- Apes are not monkeys. Apes are related to monkeys on the evolutionary tree (humans in the Primate Hizzay!), and to be precise new world monkeys split off before the divide between apes and old world monkeys, so apes and modern monkeys may have had an ancestor that if it were alive today could be generally called a monkey, but apes (and this includes human beings, mind) are not monkeys.
- Many people know all that, but use "monkey" anyway, with Rule of Funny as a justification. Similarly, "monkey" might be used to ridicule an argument: "Do you expect us to believe that men evolved from monkeys?"
- Depends on how you classify things. An argument can be made that all descendants of monkeys are in fact still monkeys. In particular, there's no trait common to all monkeys that is not shared by at least some apes, making any distinction rather blurry.
- A common rule of thumb used by anyone who isn't a primatologist is "monkeys have tails, apes do not." In fact, some monkeys only have a single tailbone (coccyx) like apes. The distinction is more involved than that.
- Some languages lack different words to distinguish the two. For example, in the Hungarian language, there is no single word meaning "ape" — they are called, in a word-for-word translation, "human-like monkeys". Same thing in French : "singe" is either monkey or ape. "Grand singe" or "singe anthropoďde" is often used for apes specifically, but just calling a gorilla "singe" is valid. Russian is similar.
- This is also true for the English language. "Monkey" can be, and is, used as a generic term even by native English-speaking primatologists. That perhaps adds to the confusion as they will know what they mean when they're using the term "monkey" and a casual by-stander would almost certainly misconstrue the word.
- Speaking of people who insist on using scientific-sounding words, "oxygen" isn't a synonym for "air". Only about 20% of the atmosphere is oxygen. And going above that amount may cause oxygen poisoning.
- The persistent myth that Albert Einstein was a piss-poor student is just that: a myth. Oh sure, his grades varied, just like every other student on the planet who isn't a Type A personality success-obsessive, but he wasn't a bad student across the board. When he lived in Germany, grades were marked one way (1 being very good, 6 being bad), but schools in Switzerland, where he lived later in life, used a different scale (1=bad, 6=very good). That's where a lot of the confusion seems to have arisen. The myth that he was bad at math specifically is as wrong as is possible; he was a prodigy in the field.
- The closest this comes to being true is in his mundane arithmetic calculations. Like pretty much everyone, Einstein might occasionally forget to carry a one or misplace a unit (his genius is in the bold leaps he made, not in being an obsessive calculator) and his work was so important to him that he had contemporaries double-check those parts.
- This is probably connected to the way this trope applies to what most people think of as being 'good' at maths, and the way the subject is usually taught in schools, where many people go away thinking it's more valuable to be able to multiply or add up quickly in your head than understand complex equations (not that that may not be true of everyday life, but being a mathematician is rather different.)
- Possibly it's also connected to the idea that he had a 'menial' job, working in a public library... except that public library work, if you know what actually goes on, isn't as menial as many people think it is.
- Similarly with being a Patent Clerk: he wasn't just a clerk but was responsible for examining potential patents to see if they were worthy of a patent, so he had to be a clever physicist to do this.
- The myth that you don't use 90% of Your Brain is blatantly wrong. You use your entire brain, just not all at once, and the percentage you use at one time is between 15 to 25 percent. And no, you don't get magical powers if you somehow manage to use it all at the same time—that would actually be having a seizure. In early psychology (before access to imaging technologies like MRIs to see brain activity), the usage of a good portion of the brain was unknown, which isn't to say that we didn't use them, just that no one was sure quite what they did (now many of these areas tend to be associated with personality, self-control, planning, and memory).
- At this time, the rough functions of pretty much every inch of the brain is known. Part of the myth also arises from the fact that only a small part of the brain is aware of what it is doing. Much of the brain is running "baser" functions. Imagine walking down the street while you spot and step off the curb without tripping, see an old friend, wave to them, and then talk as you continue walking together, happy to have seen an old pal. Most of your brain is running functions such as visual recognition, memory, language formation and processing, balance, coordination, emotional response, unconcious signals of your emotional state, and so on. You are only aware of the tiny bit of prefrontal cortex that is busy saying, "I!" A good analogy would be to compare it to a naive user who is using a GUI, unaware just how many processes are running deep beneath the surface of point-and-click.
- Two of the most stubborn psychological myths are the above 10% and the idea that some people are "left" brained and some people are "right" brained. Experiments on people who have had their corpus callosum (the cords that allow the hemispheres to communicate) severed has shown differences in how the hemispheres work that has created the traditional definition (for example, someone may be able to draw something with their left hand, but only name it with their right), but not only is it not as cut-and-dried as people tend to believe (that the left hemisphere is logical, the right hemisphere is creative), there is no evidence of hemisphere dominance. Further, it has no association with handedness.
- Another psychological myth is that there is a region of the brain associated with memory, and that damage to it would cause someone to forget everything. In fact, there are several regions associated with memory (since it's so complex), and damage to any one of them may result in retrograde or anterograde amnesia (inability to create new memories) along with a bunch of other memory processing and storage problems.
- Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" was not the first video by a black performer to air on MTV.
- The famous statistic that "1 in 4 women can expect to be raped". The original study was done in 1985 for Ms. Magazine, and included attempted rapes, sexual assaults, and merely having sex while drunk. Not only is it misstating the total number of actual rapes, but it was done over 25 years ago. Incidentally, according to the study, 1 in 6 men can also expect to be sexually assaulted, but that statistic is almost never brought up alongside the female one. The current version is down to 1 in 6 women, according to the National Violence Against Women Survey, "Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women." That survey was published in 1998. Strangely, the numbers on men are down to 2%. That is, 1 in 50. However, 1 in 6 men are sexually abused before age 18.
- Such surveys- such as a British survey which estimated that 1 in 8 children were sexually abused, and most often by another child- also are met with great public misunderstanding about terms like 'abuse', 'assault' or 'rape'. The first two words cover a multitude of actions and don't necessarily imply penetration- even, in the case of 'abuse', any physical contact (for example, exposing oneself to another person with the intent to cause distress is abuse.) There's also the muddled issue of consent, in issues such as marital rape or teenage couples who are often confused about what constitutes 'consent' when with their boyfriend or girlfriend.
- Unfortunately almost all rape statistics are incredibly unreliable, not in the least because some special interest groups are known to greatly exaggerate the numbers for their own political gain (and to match with their own personal beliefs); studies vary considerably on the actual rape rate. The reported rape rate in the US was 27.3 per 10,000 in 2010, or a meager .273% percent of the population being raped per year. Claims that 50% of rapes go unreported is an unknowable (and made up) statistic, and people who are raped once are more likely to be raped again than someone who has never been raped, which actually drives down the percentage of women who have been raped.
- Oh, and everyone knows that women make up the vast majority of rape victims, and most men are raped by other men, right?
- Vincent Van Gogh...
- ...only cut off part of his ear lobe, not his entire left ear. Perhaps not even that; recent evidence suggests that he lost the ear in a duel, then lied and said he cut it off himself because dueling was illegal at the time. Oh, and Rachel, the girl he was pining for and gave it to, was a prostitute.
- ...didn't die by self-inflicted gunshot. He attempted it, but failed. He later died of his illness.
- People will tell you that the idea of spinach as a source of iron is fallout from a nineteenth-century misprint... except there's no known primary source, and every study ever done has shown it and red meat to be reasonably close by mass ratio (although the iron in spinach is less bioavailable). The misprint, if it ever happened, must have listed an order of magnitude more than red meat.
- That 'spinach is full of iron' is a myth is overtaking this in Common Knowledge. While the (copious) iron in spinach is not digestible to humans, it does have high levels of vitamin C, which will help with the absorption of iron from other sources.
- Centripetal force is not just a "smarter" word for centrifugal force, which certainly exists, even though it's what's known as a "fictitious force." Centripetal force is the force holding an object to its circular trajectory when, from an exterior frame of reference, inertia would carry it off into space. The important distinction is that inertia is what keeps the water in the bucket over your head, not centripetal force, which is just the sturdy bucket keeping it from flying up into the air. Centrifugal force isn't the "equal and opposite reaction" to centripetal force, either, which usually affects whatever effects the rotation, or in the example above, you. Rather, centrifugal force is, from an exterior standpoint, the interior object's inertia, but from an interior frame of reference, indistinguishable (unless it's moving, which causes a Coriolis force as well) from a force pushing it to the outside. According to general relativity, the exterior frame is no "better" than this frame. Indeed, by the same standard by which centrifugal force is "fictitious," gravity, being a transformation of inertia, is "fictitious." Mocked in XKCD here.
- A good number of forces are by definition "pseudo-forces" in that they must be clearly defined as the composite of various other forces to be used. Centrifugal is by far the best known example (it's a construct of inertia in an accelerating reference frame, as mentioned above).
- Gravity is still counted among the "four fundamental forces" because (apart from the Added Alliterative Appeal), "the three fundamental forces, plus this weird quality of space's geometry" takes too long to say. Leaving to one side that electromagnetism and the weak atomic force are probably the "electroweak" force.
- Chameleons don't change color to blend in with the environment; they change color in accordance with their mood. Their default color scheme is already designed to blend in with the environment.
- Many people believe chameleons change their color for the purpose of camouflage. Others reason it for mood. While social character of their ability to shift color pattern has of most importance, they use it to a lesser extend for blending too. Let's not forget heat regulation: darker colors are able to absorb more light, thus generating more heat, while brighter colors are able to reflect it.
- Octopuses on the other hand, do. When one thinks about the ability to camouflage, the octopus is by far the best at it.
- The U.S. Department of Defense was never called the Department of War. Until 1947 the U.S. had two separate cabinet departments for the armed forces—the Department of the Navy and the Department of War, with the latter agency controlling the Army. The Department of War became the Department of the Army in 1947 when it was combined with the Department of the Navy and the new Department of the Air Force into the National Military Establishment (NME or “enemy”). NME became the Department of Defense in 1949.note The Department of the Army Seal even includes the words "War Office."
- The belief that the introduction of guns rendered Samurai obsolete, or that Samurai disliked guns in some way. The Samurai were actually much more progressive with weapons and tactics than they are usually portrayed. In fact, they were one the first groups to use and develop tactics for guns. The Book Of Five Rings, the classic Japanese work on swordfighting, even mentions tactics involving firearms. Granted, guns never became "traditional" samurai weapons, but almost any Samurai who had access to firearms would be proficient with them. Part of this misconception may come from the fact that the role of archery (which was considered one of a samurai's most important skills) was diminished by the arrival of firearms, though the role of the samurai themselves was not.
- In fact, prior to the Edo period, a samurai's sword was his sidearm, not his primary weapon. On the battlefield, samurai primarily acted as horse-archers rather than swordsmen, only dismounting and fighting survivors on foot after they'd thinned out enemy ranks with arrows (they were essentially light cavalry, but heavy infantry). Similarly, European knights' swords were also sidearms, while their primary weapons were their lances (they were heavy cavalry, distinguished by the size of their horses and the fact they performed lance-charges rather than archer-sweeps).
- Glass is not a supercooled liquid, and it does not flow. Glass is considered an amorphous solid, which is why it melts under high temperatures. The reason some old windows are thicker on the bottom is because they were made that way (though not on purpose).
- To clarify - glass thickness varied uncontrollably due to pre-modern manufacturing techniques. When glass arrived on a building site, glaziers would install it thick side down for maximum stability.
- Another variation of the myth is that glass pipes bend over time - because bent pipes (existing due to the same techniques) were the last to be used.
- Ninja as oppressed peasants fighting against the samurai. In reality, most (if not all) ninjas were samurai specially trained in espionage, mercenary, and assassination tactics and hired by the daimyo against their enemies. This misconception is likely due to the fact that there were a number of rebellions of peasants against samurai (especially in newly-conquered Okinawa, where most of the "traditional" ninja weapons originated), and the fact that real ninja wore peasant clothes when doing their job, not the "black pajamas" that we often see in fiction. note
- The emphasis on ninja being primarily assassins or warriors is also largely incorrect. Espionage was far and away the most important and common task performed by ninja. Assassinations did occur, but they were fairly rare. When they did occur, poison was far and away the most common method used.
- Ninja combat was largely focused on escaping from rather than killing opponents. The misconception that ninja were trained to easily dispatch multiple opponents is a slight misunderstanding of this. The main emphasis was to keep every opponent outside weapon's range while waiting for an opportunity to escape.
- If someone were to create a real life Jurassic Park, they would need to alter the dinosaurs to fit the dozens of misconceptions caused by that film in order to avoid disappointing the public:
- Velociraptors were two feet tall and covered in feathers. When Michael Crichton wrote the novel in 1990, Deinonychus, the five foot tall raptor-like dinosaur, was believed to be a member of the Velociraptor genus by the one researcher (Gregory Paul) whose book was used by Crichton as a reference, and this is stated in the novel. By the time the movie was released in 1993 this belief had been revoked, but Steven Spielberg kept the raptors at five feet tall because they liked the name so much. Some like to argue that the raptors in the films are really Utahraptors, a type of dromeosaurid discovered shortly after the movie came out, and are the appropriate size. In reality, Utahraptors were actually even larger. The lack of feathers is the result of Science Marches On, as feathered dromaeosaurid fossils had not yet been found and described at the time. There is also no evidence suggesting raptors hunted in packs, and while they were smart for dinosaurs, they weren't half as intelligent as primates.
- There is no reason whatsoever to believe Tyrannosaurus rex was unable to see unmoving objects. Once again, the novel explains this by noting that many of the dinosaurs had the DNA of frogs spliced in, and that this frog species had vision based on movement. The film throws this out the window when Alan Grant claims that T. rex as a species could not see unmoving objects. The sequel novel (but not the second film) pokes fun of this by having a character mock Grant's newest hypothesis, that a T. rex would be confused by a powerful thunderstorm. Another freezes in the vicinity of a T. rex... and still gets eaten.
- Dilophosaurus was nearly six feet tall (in reverse of the raptor situation) and did not have a frill or the ability to spit poison. Michael Crichton admitted this was an example of creative license, although he did get the size right in the novel — and didn't give it a frill; this was added for the movie, along with the size change, to make them more visually distinct from the raptors. More specifically, he stated that he outright made the poison spitting up in order to show how limited our knowledge is, because at the time it was purely from skeletal records, and thus there could be all kinds of things we don't know about dinosaur biology. The size meanwhile has since been handwaved by some fans as it being a juvenile.
- We really have very few fossil remains to work with on dinosaurs, and our knowledge of them is largely based on guesswork of the remains of the very few that died in specific circumstances. The people doing the official guesswork are very educated, but the fact remains that the fossils we have to work with are usually a small fraction of the whole of a species. We can never know if the one example we have of a species simply a big or a small example, just as human heights and sizes vary considerably.
- The "Twinkie defense" used by Dan White when he was put on trial for the murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone is viewed in pop culture as the original Chewbacca Defense: people think White and his attorneys claimed that eating Twinkies drove him insane. In reality, the defense used his massive consumption of junk food, (Twinkies were mentioned only in passing), despite previously being a health nut, as evidence of his declining mental state. They didn't claim or even imply that the Twinkies themselves were a contributing factor.
- The entire order of the Knights Templar were wiped out overnight is an example of the trope. The few that were not captured completely disappeared, which leads to many of the conspiracy theories related to them. Only a fairly small percentage of the French orders were actually killed and captured.
- Most of the Knights Templar orders, especially those located outside France, were renamed or officially became part of other orders.
- Many of the people actually arrested were arrested before the mass attack.
- The members that disappeared most likely fled to Switzerland and aided the rebellion taking place there. While there is no official mention of the Templar, immediately after the Knight Templars officially disbanded, the rebels, which consisted of poor farmers with no education or support from any nobles, suddenly had large quantities of money, advanced weaponry, armor, displayed advanced military tactics, and both sides reported seeing a group of white knights aiding the rebels in a few battles. Even more odd because the only knights that would actually have a uniform appearance would be church orders, while the nobility and mercenaries would have their own coat of arms. In addition, the country founded afterwards was based on high military preparedness, secrecy, banking, and engineering and essentially operated exactly like the Knights Templar ran their own empire before being disbanded.
- Not to mention that the Swiss flag, which first appeared not long after the Templars vanished, bears a distinct resemblance to a color-inverted Templar shield.
- The use of the similarity between the Swiss flag and Templar symbol is actually an example of the trope. While the origin is not entirely known, it could not have been a color flipped Templar flag.
- The symbol for the Swiss was a white cross, which was an extremely common symbol. White was selected to distinguish Swiss troops from other nearby countries. The red background was never actually selected. However, one of the founding cantons of Switzerland, Schwyz, used a red flag with no adornments. Originally, the white cross, the actual symbol for Switzerland, was placed onto Canton flags for a long time. The most common variant of the Schwyz flag places the cross off center, but this was not a consistent practice. In addition, the flag of Unterwalden, another founding canton, is red and white, so the white cross was placed in the red field. The actual flag known today didn't show up until 1889, as well.
- In addition, it being a color flipped version of the Templar symbol is tenuous, at best. The Templars almost never used that shape cross. The cross wasn't the actual symbol of the order. The Dome of the Rock or picture of two knights on a single horse represented the order. The red cross was used on the battlefield because it was easy to identify and represented martyrdom. In addition, the Templars often used a white and black field, not just the solid white one normally identified with them.
- The idea that the Templars were racist fanatics who wanted to commit genocide on the Muslims in the name of Christianity is what named the trope Knight Templar...only it isn't true. They eventually became more of a diplomatic organisation, doing business and trade with the Arabs, and helped introduce elements of Arab culture to Europe. The religious fanaticism idea was closer to the other crusader orders, who hated the Templars for their tolerance.
- Senator Joseph McCarthy was never a member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
- George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter, although he did discover over 300 uses for peanuts.
- The Titanic was never said to be unsinkable, the first mention of the ship being unsinkable is to be found in an article published the day after she sank and was basically meant to be a figure of speech.
- Actually, it was.
- The Titanic "unsinkability" claim is a bit difficult. Most of the claims that it was "unsinkable" are quotes from people, while most of the "official" uses of "unsinkable" add modifiers like "practically."
- Of course we can only go by written accounts this long after the Titanic as even the babies born in 1912 are almost all dead of old age by 2012, for all we know it was common to say a large, state-of-the-art craft was unsinkable.
- Wikipedia has a list of common misconceptions.
- The salting of Carthage is not found in any source before the nineteenth century. It likely stems from confusion over a thirteenth-century bull, which called for a rebellious Papal city to be ploughed over "like Carthage," then salted as well, but in Carthage itself, only the first order is known to have been given.
- A few of the well-known "translation gaffes" never actually happened - specifically the mistranslation of Pepsi's slogan, "Come Alive, You're in the Pepsi Generation" as "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead" and the belief that the novel The Grapes Of Wrath was translated into Japanese with the title of "The Angry Raisins".
- Nathan Bedford Forrest's original Ku Klux Klan did not burn crosses, they did not conduct elaborate fraternal rituals, they often wore rectangular white sacks on their heads instead of the infamous "Klan hoods", and they were only active for about a decade (they were crushed in the 1870s after Ulysses S. Grant authorized the use of military force against them). Most of the features that we associate with the Klan (like the cross burning, the identical white hoods and the elaborate nighttime rallies) are actually features of the second Klan, which was formed during World War I and was unaffiliated with the original. The second Klan, which was far more widespread and long-lived than the first, was a militant White supremacist fraternity opposed to any and all non-WASPs, whereas the original was a vigilante group that generally focused its violence on newly-freed Blacks.
- Ask someone about the lady who sued McDonalds over their hot coffee and they'll probably tell you that she spilled coffee into her lap as she drove through a drive-thru. In reality, she wasn't driving, or in the driver's seat, or in the drivethrough. She was parked and in the passenger seat of the car. She also suffered third-degree burns. The documentary Hot Coffee examines the Common Knowledge aspect of the case and charges McDonalds with spreading misinformation to turn the incident into a punchline.
- The Great Wall of China is the only man-made object that can be seen from space. Or, at least that's what people thought before anyone ever went to space. In reality, it's not very wide, so it is only about as visible as a highway.
- It's commonly believed that it's dangerous to wake a sleepwalker. In reality, while they may be confused and disoriented upon waking, it's usually more dangerous not to wake them, as they might bump into/trip over things and injure themselves. The best thing to do is to gently guide them back to bed. The way sleepwalking is often depicted in media is usually inaccurate, too; in media, sleepwalkers typically move with their eyes closed and their arms stretched out in front of them, and will often walk in a straight line heedless of any obstacles in their way. In real life, people who sleepwalk tend to have their eyes open and move fairly normally, though generally more slowly and tend to appear sleepy, and they demonstrate a reasonable degree of spatial awareness and ability to navigate around obstacles. The reason for the misunderstanding is because the name itself is used wrongly. Technically, "sleepwalking" refers to any movement performed by someone who is asleep, which does not always include getting up and walking around. The phenomenon where someone walks around while apparently asleep is more correctly referred to as "automatic behaviour". They aren't, strictly speaking, asleep during it, either - it's more like a unique level of consciousness somewhere between asleep and awake. In other words, they are awake, they just aren't awake enough to be fully aware of what they're doing. Also, the fact that sleepwalkers never remember what they were doing while sleepwalking is also a myth - many of them don't, but some of them remember it as if it was a dream.
- The Brontosaurus was not an Apatosaurus that was classified as a new dinosaur because it had the wrong head. It was spuriously declared a new genus when it only qualified as a new species of Apatosaurus, and it was mistakenly given the head of a Camarasaurusnote , but these are two different problems with the fossil.
- Two things about bees are Common Knowledge - that they die after they sting something, and that they shouldn't be able to fly. Bees only die when they sting humans - our skin is much tighter than that of other animals, so it traps their stinger and rips it out when they try to fly away, usually taking all their insides with it. Other animals have looser skin that doesn't trap the stinger, so the bee doesn't die if it stings, say, a cat. Secondly, the only thing we know about bees is that they can't fly without flapping their wings - in other words, they can't glide like birds do, they have to keep flapping their wings constantly to remain airborne, which is different from saying that they shouldn't be able to fly at all.
- Not all frogs go "ribbit" - they actually have a wide variety of vocalisations, which vary from frog to frog. Many communicate with songs - the song of the American toad reminds many of the opening movement of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata". The Colorado River toad's call resembles a ferryboat whistle. Others sound like pigs, like hounds or squirrels, like two carpenters banging in nails out of synch. The distress call of the bullfrog is endlessly mistaken for a human scream.
- It's commonly believed that a duck's quack does not echo (and no one knows why). Somebody made this up (and no one knows who, when or why). Thankfully, in 2003 the good people at the University of Salford took the trouble to test it by placing a duck in a reverberation chamber; sure enough, the quack echoed just like every other sound.
- The average person does not consume four spiders per year in their sleep. This 'fact' was dreamt up by journalist Lisa Holst of PC Professional magazine in 1993, in an experiment to test the degree of absurdity people will accept simply because they come across it on the net.
- The blue whale does not have blood vessels so broad that a child could swim through them. Its largest blood vessel, the aorta, is only 9 inches (22.5 cm) across: quite a squeeze for even the tiniest newborn baby, and certainly too narrow for any child old enough to swim.
- Contrary to popular belief, tarantulas actually do leave tracks on sand. Fortuitously enough, a 2005 paper published by the Geological Society of America looked at this very subject. Effects of Slope and Temperature on the Morphology of Experimental Scorpion and Spider Tracks (J. Azain & J. Wright) concluded that tarantulas do not leave tracks on damp or slightly moist sand because the animals are too light, but on dry sand they certainly do.
- It's often thought that The Goodies was the only British comedy to have killed someone, but there was actually another. On 24th March 1975, Alex Mitchell, a 50-year-old bricklayer from King's Lynn, England, died laughing while watching "Kung Fu Kapers", an episode of The Goodies. But the syndrome struck again in 1989, when Danish ear doctor Ole Bentzen died of a heart attack after an extreme laughing fit brought on by John Cleese's A Fish Called Wanda.
- People who know anything about boxing often think that the shortest bout in history was 10.5 seconds, which included the 10-second count, but there was actually one even shorter than that. When Al Carr fought Lew Massey in 1936 in New Haven, Connecticut, the contest was stopped (without a count) after 7 seconds.
- It is often believed that more Monopoly money is printed in a year, than real money printed throughout the world. This is not true. There are 200 notes per game and, according to the manufacturers Parker Brothers, 200 million games have been sold worldwide to date. This means there have been about 40 billion Monopoly notes produced since 1934. As the US alone produces 10 billion banknotes per year, this factoid fails to pass go.
- Maybe they meant that "value". Monopoly has $5000 banknotes, so...
- The most common name for a pub in the UK is not Red Lion. A survey carried out by Campaign for Real Ale in 2007 found that Red Lion was only the second most popular pub name: there were 668 of them. The winner was Crown with 704 examples. However, this may already be outdated. Since the smoking ban in 2007, so many pubs have gone bust that, in 2008, CAMRA claimed that more than half the villages in England are 'dry' for the first time since the Norman Conquest.
- The statistic that says 50% of marriages end in divorce (and, of course, the other half in death) is a real shame right given that our species is monogamous right? Well, that is sort of true. We are monogamous, but not in the way that you would think. Our species still instinctively engages in subtle selective breeding, but medical and science has given us the ability to help those who would otherwise not be able to breed or survive to breeding age. Also, scientists believe we are "serial monogamists" as this answers.com points out. The reason for switching partners every few years is to increase genetic diversity. Most intelligent animals even the ones closely related to us, fight for mates and choose the most capable ones. Many "monogamious" species have break-ups that happen after years of being together. E.g. a pair of homosexual penguins in a zoo broke off their relationship after years of being together. That is why you always get applause when talking about a couple that has stayed together for decades while keeping their love alive. It's because it is VERY hard to do (and makes for a good romance story).
- There is no evidence whatsoever that Walt Disney was anti-semitic.
- German did not almost become the official language of the United States by one vote. The United States today currently has no official language; some states do, however have official and recognized languages. The myth actually comes from a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1794 on whether to translate federal laws for German speakers, which failed, 42—41. The deciding vote was House Speaker, Frederick Mulenberg.