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The End of the Beginning
"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Yeah, what he said.

When a writer tells a story, it usually involves some sort of significant change in the universe of the story, some kind of conflict which finds a resolution. After all, if there's no conflict, there's no story! We like reading about evil emperors getting overthrown and seeing their 100-year reign of oppression come to an end; reading about a peaceful nation with a peaceful king and citizens who are smart enough never to get into any trouble would be just as fun as watching paint dry.

But the story has to end somewhere, usually soon after the big climax and resolution. Thus, we are left to imagine how the world and its characters will live on after the story is over. The end of the story is the beginning of a new era.

For some reason, writers just love to point out this fact wherever possible. Expect a lot of them to mention "the beginning" with some sort of heavy significance.

Oh, and to make it even better—by the same token—sometimes the beginning of the story is referred to as "the end". It can get quite confusing.

See also: My Death Is Just the Beginning. If the story undergoes this kind of shakeup and doesn't end there, it's Nothing Is the Same Anymore. Bears only a passing relation to the B-Movie Beginning of the End.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Alien Nine's final anime episode was literally titled this trope, and it makes sense considering that, despite the series coming to a close, it reveals little pieces of what could be a possible intergalactic conspiracy.
  • At the end of Princess Tutu, the series narrator states that Fakir is writing "a new story full of hope." (However, the title card shown right after this says "the end".)
  • This trope is invoked in Macross Do You Remember Love. At the end of the film, Britai and Exsedol are discussing the fact that they won out over two massive Zentradi and Meltrandi fleets, but that there are still 1,000 fleets of Boddol Zer and Lap Lamiz's type roaming the galaxy. Britai calmly states that with them and the humans in possession of culture, things will turn out all right.

    Comic Books 
  • At the end of Chapter 8 of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Scrooge was busy shooing off intruders of White Agony Creek, when his arm suddenly gives way of the weight of a big rock he lifts up.
    Scrooge's thoughts: Great honk, this rock is heavy! how could it weigh so much unless...
    Scrooge: ...Unless it's gold! Gotta rinse off the mud! A nugget this big would make me the richest man in the Klondike!
    Scrooge's thoughts: But if it is gold, that will mean my quest is finished! I'll be rich! I'll never be the same again! Will clean air smell any sweeter? Will sunny days be ever brighter? Will starry nights hold any more wonder? Or will I lose all that? Do I really want to be... rich?
    (Beat Panel...)
    (He gains a glint in his eyes...)
    Scrooge: Yes!!!
    (He rinses off the mud. The rock is indeed a huge nugget of gold.)
    Scrooge: It's gold! Solid gold! As big as a goose egg! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! I'm RICH!
    (The last word echoes throughout the creek as Scrooge skips about in excitement.)
    Random observing bird: ?
    Narration Box: The Beginning...
  • Watchmen: "Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends."

    Films — Animation 
  • At the end of Anastasia: "It's a perfect ending!" "No. It's a perfect beginning."

    Films — Live Action 
  • Oliver Stone's JFK, ends with "What is past is prologue."
    • The phrase is taken from William Shakespeare's The Tempest, and is engraved on the National Archives building in Washington, DC.
  • The sci-fi B-Movie The Phantom Planet ends with the narrator stating that, as humanity continues to explore the cosmos, they'll discover even more amazing wonders. "This is only the beginning!"
  • Literally: At the end of the apocalyptic/time-travel sci-fi B-Movie Millennium (not related to the eponymous TV series), a solemn voice-over proclaims: "It is not the end! It is not the beginning of the end! It is the end of the beginning!"
  • Jerry Lewis' The Nutty Professor ends, after a fake ending, with the words "the beginning", when Professor Kelp and Stella finally got together.
  • Star Trek: First Contact closes with the first meeting between humanity and the Vulcans, starting a brand new era in human history and marking the beginning of the Trek Verse.
  • The ending of The Dark Knight Rises (and The Dark Knight Saga, for that matter) has Bruce Wayne retiring as Batman and passing the mantle on to Robin John Blake. With the Bat-signal restored, it is implied Bruce thinks Gotham will still need a Batman.

    Literature 
  • The final book in the Animorphs series was titled "The Beginning".
  • The first chapter of the first book of The First Law trilogy is titled The End. The final chapter of the last book is titled The Beginning.
  • The final chapter of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was titled "The Beginning".
  • This was how The Last Battle (last book of The Chronicles of Narnia) ended.
  • Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu, is in four parts: "We begin in the middle", "Now the beginning", "The end of the beginning" and "The beginning of the end"
  • The Star Trek Expanded Universe novel Imzadi commences with a page reading "The End," then goes through "The End of the Beginning," "Epilogue," "The Beginning," "The Middle," and finally "The Beginning of the End." This comes of a story with a nonlinear narrative that also involves time travel.
  • The final chapter of the third book in the Han Solo Trilogy features Han sitting in a cantina on some backwater planet and worrying about their financial debt to a crime lord. Chewie walks over to his table and tells him that he may have found the solution to their problems in an old man and a kid who need passage to Alderaan. Where most books say "The End," it says "The Beginning."
  • At the end of the first Dark Tower novel, the Man in Black tells Roland "You haven't reached the end of your quest merely the end of the begining."

    Live Action TV 
  • The first episode of LOST's fourth season is entitled "The Beginning of the End". Fitting as it was the first season to premiere after the announcement of the show's 2010 end date.
  • The pilot of Red Dwarf said "The End" at the beginning of the episode and "The Beginning" at the end of the episode.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise ends with a Distant Finale in which the Enterprise is decomissioned. But the point is made that Archer and his brave crews exploits laid the foundations for the Starfleet (and later ships called Enterprise) to "boldy go where no man has gone before..."

    Music 
  • The final song on Forgive Durden's album Razia's Shadow is titled, "The End and the Beginning" in this fashion.
  • Nightwish: The first words of The Poet and the Pendulum are "The End" and the last words are "The Beginning".

    Newspaper Comics 
  • The Newspaper Comic Flash Gordon kept going for decades after Ming the Merciless was overthrown, while the characters continued finding new and mostly non-Ming-related adventures to have.

    Video Games 
  • End of the Beginning is level 1-10 of the Impetus area of BIT.TRIP RUNNER, which signals the end of the tutorial levels. This is mirrored by Middle of the Middle and Beginning of the end in Tenacity and Triumph respectively.
  • This is word-for-word the title of the first BF in the C path of Blaze Union.
  • "This isn't the end. Another dream is waiting to begin."
  • All of the Mass Effect games do this:
    • Mass Effect 1: Sovereign is just the vanguard of the coming galactic invasion. Shepard, after being hailed as a hero by the powers that be, vows to find a way to stop the invasion and walks off, continuing his/her quest.
    • Mass Effect 2: The Collectors are defeated and the Reaper plot thwarted for now, but the Reapers are descending upon the galaxy—the battle is not over yet.
    • Mass Effect 3: The Reapers are defeated, but at great cost to the galaxy. However, Shepard's actions through the third game set the stage for the futures of all of the races and characters.
  • Subverted in The Reconstruction. By the end of the story, the world is almost completely annihilated and has to be rebuilt practically from scratch — it is definitely the beginning of a new era. However, it's never actually said anywhere that it's a new beginning — even the phrase "reconstruction" is never mentioned.
  • In Resident Evil 2's ending, the main characters exchange this dialog:
    Leon: "It's finally over."
    Claire: "It's not. I've got to my brother."
    Leon: "You're right... this is just the beginning."
  • The Gears of War Trilogy has invoked this, They defeated the Locust and the Equally as destructive Lambent Locust. However it's made clear that they are still far off from a happy ending. But for now they have earned their "Tomorrow".

    Visual Novels 
  • In the "Blooming" ending of Saya no Uta, where Fuminori narrates how Saya dies in his arms, as she releases spores that will mutate every human into beings of her species:
    "......Is this goodbye?" I ask her, careful to keep the sorrow out of my voice.
    "——No, it isn't. This is——the beginning——"
    Saya's pain must have already left her, for her expression is infinitely peaceful and content.
    "The beginning——of our world——"

    Web Original 
  • After the Deathly Hallows title was released, the following episode of Muggle Cast was called "The Beginning Of The End". When they got the release date, Andrew states that it was "the end of the beginning of the end".
  • The final panel of The Order of the Stick prequel book On the Origins of PCs simply says, "The Beginning."

    Real Life 
  • What Churchill is referring to in the above quote is that the worst part of World War II appeared to be over at that point; the threat of invasion of the UK by Germany was over, the United States entered the war full bore and a powerful alliance of those nations with the Soviet Union was established to give the Axis what for.
  • Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan frequently invoked this phrase motivationally during training for the final moon landing mission, believing that it should not be thought of as the end of the moon program, but just the "end of the beginning" of such exploration. Technicians would frequently tease him about this ("Hey, Geno, I keep forgetting — is this the end or the beginning?"), and the phrase was humorously inserted (along with variations and subversions) at strategic points into the checklists Cernan would use on the lunar surface.

End of Episode SillinessEnding Tropes'End of the World" Special

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