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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/ThePhantomMenace http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/s-shadow_4693.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"[[Podcast/{{Rifftrax}} Foreshadowing]]... [[TheShadowKnows Literally!"]] ]]

->'''Snape:''' Now before we begin, I'm going to give you all your very, very first pop-quiz. Can anyone tell me what a portkey is? Yes, Ms. Granger.
->'''Hermione:''' A portkey is an enchanted object that when touched will transport the one or ones who touch it to anywhere on the globe, decided upon by the enchanter.
->'''Snape:''' Very good! Now can anyone tell me what ''foreshadowing'' is? Yes, Ms. Granger.
->'''Hermione:''' Foreshadowing is a dramatic device in which an important plot point is mentioned earlier in the story, to return later in a more significant way.
-->-- ''Theatre/AVeryPotterMusical''

A clue or allusion embedded in the narrative that predicts some later event or revelation. It could be a wayward comment or action, an event that doesn't make sense until later, a MeaningfulName, a rare blood type... so many things can warn us of the future. The foreshadowing may be [[Administrivia/InternalSubtrope ominous]], or mildly suggestive, or it could merely be obvious in hindsight.

Good foreshadowing doesn't spoil the surprise, yet seems an obvious clue in retrospect. Bad foreshadowing either deflates the suspense or is too obfuscated (such as an IceCreamKoan) to predict anything, and [[TropesAreTools capable of being overused]]. Foreshadowing may establish something to avoid an AssPull. Or it may put a viewer off as introducing a needless supernatural element to the story.

In literature, foreshadowing is commonly done when a possibility is mentioned, but almost immediately dismissed or disproved. Some readers will dismiss the suggested possibility just as the unsuspecting characters do. More experienced readers will immediately call the author's bluff and know what to expect.

DreamingOfThingsToCome often foreshadows. ChekhovsGun is often used as a foreshadowing tool. If it makes no sense, it may be StrangeMindsThinkAlike. If this is done in a {{Prequel}} (such as in the page image), it's a CallForward.

Two specific variants are {{Futureshadowing}}, where the shadowing comes ''after'' the actual event chronologically but is still seen before it, and ForeseeingMyDeath, where a character has foreseen, prophesied or predicted his/her own demise.

When there's only a tiny gap between the foreshadowing and the actual foreshadowed event, that's FiveSecondForeshadowing.

Contrast PlotPoint. Compare AND contrast FunnyAneurysmMoment, HilariousInHindsight. Contrast {{Fauxshadow}}. ProductionForeshadowing is this trope's meta version. ThisIndexWillBeImportantLater covers foreshadowing tropes. This trope is a good RewatchBonus.

Not to be confused with TheShadowKnows, which the picture to the right uses to do this trope.

'''Naturally, the examples are ''full'' of spoilers. [[Administrivia/YouHaveBeenWarned Consider yourself warned]].'''
!!Example subpages:

* Foreshadowing/AnimeAndManga
* Foreshadowing/ComicBooks
* Foreshadowing/FanWorks
* [[Foreshadowing/AnimatedFilms Films Animation]]
** ''Foreshadowing/{{Frozen}}''
** ''Foreshadowing/TheLEGOMovie''
* [[Foreshadowing/LiveActionFilms Films Live-Action]]
* Foreshadowing/{{Literature}}
* Foreshadowing/LiveActionTV
** ''Foreshadowing/GameOfThrones''
* Foreshadowing/{{Theatre}}
* Foreshadowing/VideoGames
* Foreshadowing/WebComics
* Foreshadowing/WebOriginal
* Foreshadowing/WesternAnimation
** ''Foreshadowing/GravityFalls''
** ''Foreshadowing/StarWarsRebels''
* Foreshadowing/RealLife

!!Other Examples:


* ''Art/TheLastSupper'': Peter, the second apostle from Jesus's right, is seen holding a knife. As Literature/TheFourGospels depict events, Peter will cut off the ear of a Roman centurion within a day.

[[folder:Card Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'': The Infernoid archetype's existence has been mentioned in Qliphort Monolith's flavor text. They're known as the Fire Flood in the OCG text and as the Scourge in the TCG text.
** Qliphort Scout's flavor text explicit mention of Infernoid Tierra (the Infernoid's boss monster) and mentions "C:\sophia\zefra.exe." "Sophia" refers to Sophia, Goddess of Rebith, a monster that can be summoned when you have [[AllYourPowersCombined Ritual, Fusion, Synchro and Xyz]]. "Zefra" refers to the Zefra archetype released two sets later, which are a Pendulum-based deck that works on bringing out all the summoning methods in a similar vain to Sophia.
* ''Tabletopgame/MagicTheGathering'': The ''Future Sight'' set, as the name suggests, featured many cards from potential futures of the game, differentiated by a different frame. Many of these cards have since been printed in other sets.
** Notably, the group of Planeswalkers called the Lorwyn Five[[note]]Ajani Goldmane, Jace Berelen, Lilliana Vess, Chandra Nalaar, and Garuuk Wildspeaker[[/note]] were originally meant to debut here, but appeared in the next set, Lorwyn, because [=WotC=] wanted to take the time to develop the new card type correctly. The five have nothing to do with the story, the cards are just there as, well, this trope.
** A particular note is [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=243486 Ghostfire]]. Seemingly a red anti-protection spell, it never has technically seen a reprint. It has, however [[spoiler: been a major plot point in that it was the key to the lock sealing away the Eldrazi, and the card itself foretells of Ugin, a major figure revealed later.]]
** Happens with individual cards in other sets, too. For example, [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=380440 Interpret the Signs]] from Theros block displays the set symbol for Dragons of Tarkir, which was released about a year later.

* Music/DanielAmos's ''The Alarma Chronicles'' was a series of four {{Concept Album}}s, with an ongoing story (about an apocalyptic vision) in the liner notes linking them together. The first album, ''Music/{{Alarma}}'', has a scene where a one-eyed giant threatens the narrator; the third album, ''Music/VoxHumana'', reveals the giant is a symbol for the dehumanizing effects of the modern world, which serves as that album's major theme. ''Alarma'' also has one song, "Shedding the Mortal Coil", written from the perspective of a dying man; the final album, ''Music/FearfulSymmetry'', reveals that the entire series was the narrator's DyingDream.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* A darkly funny one in Gary Larson's ''ComicStrip/TheFarSide'': Some Natives are bidding farewell to a group of European explorers, when one of them turns to the man just to his right and asks: "Did you detect something ominous in the way they said 'See you later'?"
* Two 1989 ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty'' strips foreshadowed the ending of the strip later that year, in which Bill the Cat with Donald Trump's brain fires all the characters. In the first, Milo says to Binkley that he has been feeling really secure around here and that around Bloom County, he feels a real sense of...permanence. Binkley responds "[[LampshadeHanging Dabbling in a little bit of ironic foreshadowing, are we?]]". In the second, Opus spots a shooting star, and after wondering what to wish for, he then says "I wish I knew if I'll have meaningful employment after August 6th" (August 6th was the day the strip ended).
* Subverted in ''ComicStrip/ForBetterOrForWorse''. Elly, discussing her daughter Elizabeth with a policeman, says "I suspect it will be a few more years before she meets Mr. Right!" [[http://catalog.fborfw.com/indexid.php?q=9686&Submit=Search A caption]] points out the MeaningfulName on the policeman's office door: "Constable Paul Wright." Paul and Elizabeth do begin a romance within a few weeks after that -- but he doesn't turn out to be Elizabeth's Mr. Right and she winds up marrying someone else.

[[folder:Web Games]]
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Bionicle}} Mata Nui On-Line]]'':
** Numerous hints are made toward the Bohrok Saga, which begins after the game's conclusion:
*** One of the prophecies placed under the Great Telescope shows the silhouette of a Bohrok
*** A rock in the jungle area has "Wake one and you wake them all", the Bohrok Saga's TagLine scribbled on it in ''Bionicle'' writing.
*** Similarly, the message "Beware the swarm" is engraved into one of the rocks in the snowdrifts, which triggers a cutscene about the player having an illusion, during which the text and the Bohrok symbol appear on screen
** When you talk to Turaga Vakama, he says something vague about "expecting the arrival of another...". At the end of the game, he compares the player's (who we then learn is called Takua) adventures to those of the Toa heroes. Takua, two real-life years after the game's story, becomes a Toa himself.
** The Onu-Koro miners talk about hitting an impenetrable rock strata that has organic properties. Seven years later, it's revealed that what they had reached was [[PhysicalGod Mata Nui]]'s face.
** The ''MNOG II'' also had a few. When you (this time controlling Hahli) talk to a scholar in Ko-Metru, he says something about her losing her loved one and reuniting the island. These all happen in the ''Mask of Light'' movie, which the game was a lead-up to, although Jaller's death was undone by the end.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/War13thDay'' has this all over the place. That snowfall in summer? That out-of-place background and some of the characters' odd anatomy? The fact that everything hasn't died despite the sun having supposedly vanished? That's all right. [[AllJustADream You're trapped in a dream.]] A DyingDream. You have to play through MultipleEndings to reach the True End. All those routes you just went through? Well, that was her life flashing before her eyes.
* At the beginning of ''VisualNovel/NineHoursNinePersonsNineDoors'', Zero, over loudspeaker, says: "Some of you, I know, are familiar with this game. The Nonary Game". [[spoiler:Everyone except Junpei, Seven and Lotus has first-hand experience with the Nonary Game and even Seven and Lotus are closely related to it.]]