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Shattering the Illusion
Gerrard: (To Yawgmoth) You're not my Hanna!

A character is being fooled by an illusion, but for reasons that may vary (just two examples: A Glitch in the Matrix or newfound self-confidence), the illusion is finally destroyed.

Said illusion could be the work of a Shapeshifter, a Lotus-Eater Machine, or The Final Temptation. See also Epiphanic Prison, in which Shattering the Illusion allows the character to learn something.

A common consequence of Spot The Thread. Compare A Glitch in the Matrix, in which the illusion isn't necessarily destroyed. See also Shapeshifter Guilt Trip. A Glamour is often dispelled this way, causing Glamour Failure.

As a reveal trope, consider this a Spoiler Warning!

Examples

Anime & Manga

Card Games
  • Magic: The Gathering
    • Gerrard does a Face-Heel Turn in order to win Hanna back from the dead. As he's going to give her Urza's head, however, he suddenly realizes she's nothing but an illusion created by Yawgmoth. He shatters the illusion by slaying the fake Hanna.
    • The trope is represented mechanically in cards like Illusionary Servant and Phantom Beast: targeting them with a spell or ability breaks the illusion, causing them to vanish.

Literature
  • Happens to Ciaphas Cain whenever his aide Jurgen is around to prevent warpcraft from happening. Including rescuing him from a Slaaneshi witch using glamour and from a Chaos warlord with a Compelling Voice.
  • BIONICLE: in "Time Trap", Vakama shatters the illusion by stopping to believe it after firing a Kanoka disk at "Nokama", which just phases through "her".
  • Happens in Shade by Andrew Plotkin
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Ron manages to fight back the illusions created by the Horcrux and is finally able to destroy it.

Live-Action TV
  • Happens literally in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Frame of Mind", in which Riker realises he's actually a prisoner in a virtual reality, and the illusion literally shatters like chunks of glass.
  • An episode of How I Met Your Mother had a comedy variant of this, in which the characters started pointing out each other's flaws. Each "revelation" was accompanied by a sound of glass shattering as the "illusion" was shattered.
    • Also, the episode tag had the illusion of a deaf person shatter by literally putting onscreen "Glass Shattering" in subtitles.
  • House: season 2 finale has House realizing that nearly everything thus far in the episode has been a hallucination. He is only able to shatter the illusion by using a surgery robot to slice his Patient of the Week open lengthwise... and even then there's an agonizing few moments where he isn't sure there was an illusion in the first place.

Music
  • Lindsey Stirling's "Transcendence" music video is themed around her discovering that the projected clothes, backgrounds, places, and so on are not real. When she realises she can step outside the image of a dress to reach for her violin, she is at first hesitant because of the shadows this casts on other projections, but then dances over the scenes like nobody's business, to the anger of the man creating the illusions.

Video Games
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, you do a rather physical form of this: the oni demon Ongyo-Ki summons three illusory copies of himself to fight. Sock the right one and all three copies will be reduced to dust. The catch is that if you attempt to use any move that hits more than one of the oni, it will fail and it will count as a missed attack. Given a missed attack means a loss of two Press Turns, he can easily destroy you unless you know how to suss out the real one.

Western Animation
  • In episode 2 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Twilight Sparkle and her friends are menaced by an illusion conjured by the Big Bad that makes terrifying faces appear on the trees of the Everfree Forest. The happy-go-lucky Pinkie Pie is apparently unaffected, and helps her friends shatter the illusion by singing a silly little song about laughing away your fears.

Real Life
  • Usually, if you suddenly become aware that you're dreaming, you're going to wake up immediately after. If you don't, welcome to the world of lucid dreams.

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