Externally Validated Prophecy

When a character makes a prediction about the future which is not fulfilled in the work, yet an audience aware of history knows will be fulfilled. A Call Forward, but in real life.

Contrast It Will Never Catch On and This Is Going To Be Huge, where the character makes predictions that the audience knows will be invalidated.


  • In the 1983 French-Polish historical film Danton, the title character predicts before being guillotined that the Reign of Terror would collapse in three months. Technically, it took four, but close enough, right?

  • In one of Phillippa Gregory's novels, Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry Tudor (Henry VII) and mother of Henry VIII, gives birth to a girl, also named Elizabeth. In this series (and the TV version, The White Queen), Elizabeth of York and other women of her family have some kind of vaguely-explained magic or psychic ability. Elizabeth says "A girl named Elizabeth will be the greatest Tudor of them all." Her own daughter Elizabeth dies, but the prophecy did come true in the next generation.
  • Throughout his journeys in 1304's The Divine Comedy, Dante is warned about how the people of Florence will betray him; this takes advantage of the fact that the epic takes place in 1300, two years before Dante was exiled from Florence by his political enemies.

  • "Cabinet Battle 3 (Demo)," as released onThe Hamilton Mixtape, features a rant by Alexander Hamilton where he predicts slavery's population will increase the more and more legislators ignore the issue and that future generations will curse the names of the Founding Fathers for their negligence on the issue.

  • The Aeneid by Vergil is an Ur-Example. Since it was sponsored by an emperor, many many asides tell of the glorious emperor/empire that is in the future of the main character's progeny. (The work also serves as a retroactive validation for the empire and dynasty at the same time.)

  • In Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the prophecies about Banquo's progeny inheriting the throne in the future. At the time Banquo was believed to be an ancestor of the Stuarts, the family of James I (James VI of Scotland) who ruled at the time the play was first performed.
  • Hamilton's John Laurens, an avid abolitonist, wonders aloud whether the end of the Revolutionary war really means freedom. Rather tellingly, Commander-in-Chief and slaveholder George Washington tells him "Not yet," as it will take decades for slavery to be abolished in America.

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