->''“I had just been born. What did you expect of me?”''
->''“Enormity,” the black-haired prince replied. “You were small, but far-famed. We were in Oldtown at your birth, and all the city talked of was the monster that had been born to the King’s Hand, and what such an omen might foretell for the realm.”''
->''“Famine, plague, and war, no doubt.” Tyrion gave a sour smile. “It’s always famine, plague, and war. Oh, and winter, and the long night that never ends.”''
-->-- '''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'''

The writing on the wall. A mystical phenomenon that tells of a dire future for those who witness it.

Specific types of portents include:

* BadMoonRising: A celestial event foretells doom.
* CometOfDoom: The arrival of a comet as a bad omen.
* DeadMansHand: A poker hand with two Aces and two Eights means death.
* DreamingOfThingsToCome: When nightmares are soon to come true.
* TheEndIsNigh: Those doomsayers and signholders know what they're talking about.
* FlyingDutchman: Just seeing the TropeNamer was a portent to an unlucky crew. Even worse if the GhostShip tried to hail them.
* ForDoomTheBellTolls: A church bell foretells death.
* ForebodingFleeingFlock: Animals in large numbers are fleeing something ominous.
* {{Hellhound}}: The Portent variety spelled death or grave misfortune for whomever saw them.
* OminousFog: Something is coming, but no one will be able to see it.
* OurBansheesAreLouder: The scream of a banshee is a portent of death.
* RedSkyTakeWarning: Evil clouds foretell doom.
* AStormIsComing: ...so does the rain.
* TheStarsAreGoingOut: The stars blinking out foretells the end of the world.
* SignsOfTheEndTimes: The portents point to TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
* TarotTroubles: The Tower, Hanged Man, and Death cards are used for this purpose in fiction. In reality, it's the Ten of Swords that is a portent of death.
* VaguenessIsComing: The MadOracle is speaking in riddles, again, and these [[{{seers}} visions]] and [[DreamingOfThingsToCome dreams]] won't make sense until its too late.

Compare with {{Foreshadowing}}, the out-of-universe equivalent. Compare with MagpiesAsPortents, which can involve both negative and positive outcomes.

Only place examples here that do not belong on one of the subtropes.


* At the end of the ''Judge Anderson'' storyline "Postcards from the Edge", Anderson has a vision of the eagle of ComicBook/{{ju|dge Dredd}}stice being attacked by the pterodactl of death, and being saved by a Franchise/{{bat|man}}. This foretold the {{crossover}} story ''Comicbook/{{Die Laughing}}'', which ultimately came out three years later, and involved Batman helping save Mega-City One from the Dark Judges.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* [[Fanfic/TheWritingOnTheWall The Writing On The Wall]] features the eponymous writing in dozens of unknown languages inside an AncientTomb, which AdventurerArchaeologist [[MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Daring Do]] [[WrongGenreSavvy dismisses]] as a curse on anyone who would disturb the sanctity of the tomb, meant to scare away superstitious tomb robbers.
--> "'This is the tomb of the great and terrible So-and-So! Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair! Whosoever steals the treasure will face the gods' curse, and the sky will fall on their heads, et cetera'."
** Daring Do is absolutely correct - there is no curse on the place. [[spoiler: Unfortunately for her, when the writing is eventually deciphered, it turns out to be a warning about the [[FridgeHorror true nature]] of the building.]]
--> [[spoiler: This is not a place of honor. No great deed is commemorated here. Nothing of value is here.]]

* In ''TalesFromEarthsea'', the sightings of dragons fighting is taken to be a sign that the balance of the world is greatly upset, perhaps irreparably.
* In ''Film/PracticalMagic'', the chirping of the death watch beetle foretells the death of a loved one.
* ''DarbyOGillAndTheLittlePeople'' had a banshee (evil spirit) that appeared and wailed mournfully when someone was about to die.

* In the first few chapters of ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'', the end of the Han dynasty is seen in some very bad portents (a horrible plague among one of those things), kicking of the chain of events that leads to decades of war.
* ''I Heard The Owl Call My Name'', in which the protagonist is subjected to the named portent of death (and in this case survives, as it's autobiography.)
* Any time Stormwings start to flock in the ''Literature/TortallUniverse'', at least after ''Literature/TheImmortals''. Since they feed on fear and live to desecrate war dead, you can bet that trouble's a-comin'.

* In ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', we find that certain ghosts can be death omens and groups of Reapers appear before disasters. In addition, demonic signs (crop failures, storms, and cattle mutilations) are often apparent before the forces of Hell act and there are many signs associated with the Apocalypse including the rising of the 4 Horsemen.

[[folder:Myth, Legend, and Religion]]
* In [[Literature/TheBible the book of Daniel]], supernatural writing foretells the demise of the Babylonian Empire. It is the origin of the phrase "the writing on the wall."
** The phrase written, ''Mene, mene, tekel, u-Pharsin'' and its translations "numbered, numbered, weighed, and divided" (figuratively) and "You have been judged and found wanting [by God/the Persians (unwittingly acting for God)]" are also used.

* In ''Theatre/JuliusCaesar'' Portia urges Caesar not to go to the Senate because of the various omens she's either witnessed or heard about from reliable sources. Caesar poo-poos it and goes anyway.