Unfamiliar Ceiling

Frodo woke and found himself lying in bed. At first he thought he had slept late, after a long unpleasant dream that still hovered on the edge of memory. Or perhaps he had been ill? But the ceiling looked strange; it was flat, and it had dark beams richly carved.
The Lord of the Rings, "Many Meetings"

When a character has been seriously injured or has overextended themselves, magically or physically and passes out, they will often be Asleep for Days after getting medical attention. When they do wake up, it will generally be a slow process with some blurriness and overly-bright lights. Bonus points if the first thing the character sees is a love-interest's face. The character will often ask:
  • Where they are
  • What happened
  • How long they've been unconscious
  • If they're dead/in heaven.

The more heroic ones also have a tendency to try to get out of bed or sit up, and then either fall over or get pushed down by an angry medic (or loved one). This is often played for comedy.

Oh yes, and they will usually be shirtless if male. In the more modest ones, this will result in an amusing attempt to cover themselves, which will somehow culminate in falling over. Often the setup for a I Found You Like This. May involve a Hospital Surprise.

A kinder, gentler subtrope of Waking Up Elsewhere.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach: Happens a lot to several characters, but most notably Ichigo.
  • Gintama: Yamazaki references Evangelion and specifically says "unfamiliar ceiling" after waking up in the hospital from food poisoning.
  • Princess Mononoke: after being either healed or returned from the dead (it's a bit vague), Ashitaka is passed out for at least several days.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion is quite a subversion, even though it is the Trope Namer: Shinji is peeved because the NERV sickbay's ceiling is becoming too familiar to him.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Spike, a few times — most notably at the end of the fifth episode, where he had a near death experience complete with seeing his life flash before his eyes, and although he doesn't ask he is promptly informed by Faye that he's been asleep for three days. Sort of bonus points: the last thing he sees in his dreams/coma visions is his lover Julia singing a song as she cares for him, he then wakes up to Faye singing that same song. (Although according to Spike, Faye is singing it off key).
  • In Episode 9 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, Teana wakes up in the infirmary after being shot down by Nanoha, and is shocked to find that it's already 9 at night; according to Shamal, her taking this long to wake up was a result of not getting much sleep.
  • Happens twice in Claymore, the first being when Raki travels through the desert trying to look for Clare only to pass out from exhaustion and lack of water, so Clare brings him to an inn at a nearby town. The second happens to Clare, when she narrowly escapes being killed by Ophelia after Ilena saves her - but after she had an arm and a hand cut off - and she passes out from over-expending her energy to reattach her hand. Clare wakes up in Ilena's house in her secluded valley.
  • After being rescued by the Skull Knight during the Eclipse, Guts wakes up to an unfamiliar cave ceiling, which turns out to be Godo's mine (which was previously inhabited by elves, so evil spirits attracted to his brand can't follow him) in Berserk.
  • Saiyuki: Hakkai's first conscious impression of Gojyo was the sight of the other man hovering over him as he woke up.
  • Happens to Ginko in a second-season episode of Mushishi, after passing out on a snowy mountain and being found by a man from a nearby village.

    Comic Books 
  • Peacemaker waking up after ripping a scarab out of his back with a broken bit of armor. Also stands up, then falls down, and is funny.

  • In Between Minds, a Half-Life X Portal fanfiction, the first chapter begins with Chell waking up to see the ceiling panels in the Extended Relaxation Center. She soon figures out how to escape.

  • In each Back to the Future film, Marty wakes up with his mother (or great grandmother) ministering to him.
  • Barbarella: Our heroine wakes up after getting knocked out and thinks she's dead. Not surprisingly, since the first person she sees is Pygar the angel (or ornithanthrope).
  • Played in Mulan, as one scene gives the general impression of this, although no indication is given of how much time has passed.
  • Slightly subverted in Vampire Hunter D, with Leila waking up in the road after D bound her wound. Weirdly averted in the first Vampire Hunter D movie — Doris wakes up in her house after being rescued — she was unconscious or in a trance for the entire rescue, so she should have no idea how she got there—but the first thing she does is asks if D is okay.
  • At the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers wakes up in a recovery room in New York City after landing the Valkyrie in the ice. However, he soon learns that he's been asleep for 70 years in the ice after escaping from the recovery room.

The trope is played with in this joke:
  • Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip. After a good dinner, they retire for the night, and go to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see." "I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes" replies Watson. "And what do you deduce from that?" Watson ponders for a minute. "Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. What does it tell you, Holmes?" Holmes is silent for a moment. "Watson, you idiot!" he says. "Someone has stolen our bloody tent!"

  • Near the end of A Brother's Price. Jerin panics a little, his memory of the last night is fuzzy since he almost drowned and got knocked about after going over that Inevitable Waterfall, but soon he recognizes it as his cousin Dail's room.
  • The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya combines this with Timey-Wimey Ball. Kyon wakes up after experiencing being stabbed by Asakura, but by the time he wakes up, the past has been rewritten so that he fell down a set of stairs and hit his head.
  • Happens to Harry Dresden enough that when he's there for Ramirez after a particularly daunting fight, he internal monologues that the reversal took its time.
  • Good Omens: Newt wakes up after a car crash and realizes he can't be in his own room because there are no model planes hanging from the ceiling.
  • Guards! Guards!!, where it happens to Captain Vimes.
  • Happened in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, with Harry waking up in the hospital ward after defeating Quirrell. He asks Dumbledore what happened to him. In fact this happens to various characters rather frequently.
  • Many, many times in the Inheritance Cycle.
  • The Lord of the Rings does this several times — once in the first book, a few times in the third.
  • In the Percy Jackson and the Olympians book Battle of the Labyrinth, Percy is blown out of Mount St. Helens and loses consciousness as he's plummeting back to Earth. When he wakes up, he's on Ogygia, being tended to by Calypso. He is conscious for a few moments before passing out again. When he finally comes to, he finds himself sleeping on a fine bed in a geodesic cave.
  • Redwall: This happen to a main character at least once per book.
  • In the story "Time and Again" by H. Beam Piper, the protagonist wakes up in his old room in his childhood home... also in his childhood body, thirty years prior to being knocked out.
  • A Wizard Of Earthsea: Turns up surprisingly little, given Ged spends an absurd amount of time being generally passed out. This specific trope only occurs once, at Osskil.
  • Most of Tamora Pierce's heroines do this at least once. Per book.
  • Gently spoofed in one Andre Norton novel: A character wakes up and immediately asks "Where is here?" The attending human praises him for coming up with an alternative to "Where am I?"

    Live Action Television 
  • The X-Files: It happens twice to Agent Mulder in "Anasazi".
    • He gets really sick after he's been being systematically drugged and after he sort of witnessed his father's murder. He manages to get to his partner's apartment because his own place became too dangerous. When he wakes up alone in his underpants at Agent Scully's, he doesn't quite recollect where he is.
    • Later in the same episode, Scully intentionally shoots his shoulder to stop him from killing his father's murderer. He's been put out to let the drugs wore off and they have driven for two days to New Mexico. He wakes up at Albert Hosteen's, their new ally and a translator from Navajo code. Obviously he wonders what happened and he thanks Scully for taking care of him.

    Video Games 
  • In the first Golden Sun, during the Inevitable Tournament, dying in battle makes you wake up in the infirmary, surrounded by your friends, who will then inform you that you were just dreaming. Then you have to restart the tournament from the beginning. And if you win... you wake up in the infirmary, surrounded by your friends, who will then inform you that you won.
  • This happens to The Warden after the slaughter at Ostagar, right down to the questions and the shirtlessness.
  • Implied in Myst. After completing each Age, the player is sent back to the Library, looking up at the ceiling. It may well be unfamiliar the first time, as many players may not have thought to look up.
  • In Persona 3, after awakening to his Persona, the protagonist is Asleep for Days and wakes up in Tatsumi Memorial Hospital.

    Web Comics 
  • In Girl Genius, when Gil wakes up in Mama Gkika's, he assumes he's been out of action for days when it's only been a few hours.
  • In Kid Radd, Radd, after taking some infected code, wakes up in the Moderators' infirmary, initially believing that he's in hell before he opens his eyes.
  • In General Protection Fault, Fooker comes to in the hospital several days after getting kicked in the groin by Ki and passing out from that and the amount of alcohol in his system.
  • In WTF Comics, Annashi says the tropes name in a bit of a Shout-Out to Neon Genesis Evangelion in the first panel here.
  • After Blade Bunny is badly injured, her first words are to wonder why heaven is so poorly decorated. Needless to say she's not dead.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has Aang waking up six weeks after getting struck by lightning, in a fire nation ship, and panicking.
  • Mulan gives the general impression of this, although no indication is given of how much time has passed.

    Web Original 
  • Sahmad has one in BIONICLE, where he is told he has been asleep for 750 years. However, it turns out to be All Just a Dream.
  • Red vs. Blue: Recreation: Subverted/played for laughs when Donut keeps passing out and coming to, and each time he's told strange stories about what has been happening while he was asleep, which makes him wonder and ask how long he's been out. Turns out he's only been out for a few minutes, and the stories sound strange because it's Caboose who's been telling him the news.