"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."Something bad happens. A character gets into a car accident, or they get attacked by an assailant, or some other situation that results in them been seriously injured, to the point of unconsciousness. Cue transition. The character drowsily awakens some time later, usually hours but sometimes days or even weeks. The character can now briefly serve as The Watson by learning how long it was, where they are, and what they missed. Often, the character will receive tragic or otherwise unwelcome news upon regaining consciousness, for the sake of drama. (This is sometimes Subverted as the "helpful" character turns out to be playing a joke on the recently awakened character.) Subtropes include Abandoned Hospital Awakening, Waking Up at the Morgue, and You Wake Up in a Room. Because this trope usually marks a major turning point in the story... beware of SPOILERS!
— The Lord of the Rings, "Many Meetings"
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- A Certain Magical Index: In the beginning of the Agitate Halation Arc, Touma wakes up and finds himself in a box. He breaks free... and finds himself in a girl's locker room, forcing him to fight for his survival and escape the enraged girls. Motoharu calls him and reveals that he knocked Touma out and smuggled him into the locker room somehow without anybody seeing him.
- Berserk: 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).
- Bleach: When Uryuu fought Tousen in the Soul Society Arc, he was knocked out by Tousen's Shikai power. Uryuu wakes up manacled and in prison with Sado and Ganju. They update him on what's been happening before the 11th division rescues all the ryouka in one act, allowing them to go on to cause havoc in Soul Society.
- When Raki travels through the desert trying to look for Clare, she passes out from exhaustion and lack of water. Clare finds her and brings him to an inn in a nearby town.
- When Clare narrowly escapes being killed by Ophelia after Ilena saves her, she passes out from over-expending her energy to reattach her hand. Clare wakes up in Ilena's house, hidden by a secluded valley.
- Code Geass: In the second episode, Suzaku is shot right in his... father's pocket watch, and wakes up to Lloyd and Cecile, who promptly hand him the keys to the Super Prototype Lancelot.
- Cowboy Bebop: At the end of the fifth episode, Spike has a near-death experience, complete with seeing his life flash before his eyes. He is promptly informed by Faye that he's been asleep for three days. 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).
- Gintama: Yamazaki references the Neon Genesis Evangelion show by and specifically saying "unfamiliar ceiling" after waking up in the hospital from food poisoning.
- In Episode 9 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Teana wakes up in the infirmary after being shot down in a fight against 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.
- In a second-season episode of Mushishi, Ginko passes out on a snowy mountain. A man from the nearby village finds Ginko and takes him home to care for him.
- Naruto - At the end of Part I, Naruto wakes up in the Leaf Village's hospital and learns that he and his team failed to stop Sasuke from defecting to Orochimaru. After collapsing after Itachi's death, Sasuke wakes up in Tobi's hideout.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion has Shinji waking up in the NERV sickbay after every EVA combat. It eventually becomes a familiar sight to him.
- In Princess Mononoke, Ashitaka falls unconscious in the aftermath of his gunshot injury. San moves him into safety underneath a tree by the forest lake, so the first thing he sees on waking up is the crown of the tree. He tries to get up but falls back because he is too weak. The next time he wakes up is in a bed of leaves in San's cave.
- Vampire Hunter D:
- When Leila is injured, D gives her first aid and moves her to the side of the road.
- In the first movie, D manages to bring Doris home after rescuing her. She had been either unconscious or in a trance the entire time, but her first question is if D is okay.
- In Supergirl story arc Bizarrogirl, Jimmy Olsen is captured by Bizarrogirl and knocked out. When he comes around he is chained to a wall in Bizarrogirl's lair.
- Red Robin: After dealing with Ra's al Ghul's plan to kill Bruce's loved ones and passing out mid-fall, Tim wakes up stripped out of his costume. He immediately needs reassurance that he's in the Batcave's medical area for his injuries to be tended to, and then asks how long he's been out because he saw the headline claiming that he is engaged to Tam Fox.
- X-23 has a "trigger scent", which causes Laura to black out and rage against everyone nearby. She reawakens in a different place and can't remember what happened.
- Chrysalis Visits The Hague: ICMP investigator Edith, UN representative Pierre, and Royal Guard sergeant Golden Dirk are about to inspect a supposed secret archive located inside the old Castle of the Royal Sisters, when the chapter cuts to Edith waking up in a smoke-filled room, partially blinded, with no memory of where she is or what just happened.
- In Just An Unorthodox Thief, Irisviel wakes up in a hideout and learns that she's been kidnapped by Assassin and Kirei.
- In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, after the four's boat falls apart and George drowns, he wakes up in a hut with the others, all asleep. They soon find out they've spent nine days in a telepathic MMORPG, and the problems they had in there were nothing compared to the problems they really have.
- In Naruto Veangance Revelaitons, Ronan and Sakura had fallen asleep after drinking and using drugs. They wake up in Madara's lair with no memory of how they arrived.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: In the last scene, Shinji wakes up, stares at the ceiling above him and realizes that he doesn't recognize it. Rei is present to update him on the events since he fell unconscious.
The darkness slowly resolved itself into light and blurry shapes, and Shinji realized he had opened his eyes. He lay on his back, staring at a ceiling he didn't know, hearing the gentle, rhythmic sound of his own breathing. His mind was blank, and it seemed as though his body was made out of lead. He was warm, covered in a thick white blanket and lying on something soft and surrounded by walls on three sides like a kind of bunk.
- Thousand Shinji: In chapter 14, Shinji wakes up in a hospital after a month-long coma.
His eyes fluttering open to see an unfamiliar ceiling, Shinji feels the rough texture of the hospital sheets first before he notices the sticky coldness of the sensor pads across his body and the uncomfortable pressure of the IV line in the crook of his arm. He also notes the abrasive coarseness of the straps about his wrists, ankles, and across his thighs and chest.
- With Strings Attached:
- The story starts out with the four protagonists waking up on another planet.
- Ringo is thrown off a garage roof in New Zork and wakes up in the Plaza Hotel, where he'd slammed into a bed there and been in a healing sleep for several hours. That's when he first finds out that bad shocks cause him to teleport to safety.
- When Ringo is scared out of Ehndris, he wakes up in the room of the abandoned inn in Ta'akan where the four had spent the previous night. Some 400+ miles away from Ehndris.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Back to the Future film franchise:
- The original film has Marty hit by a car after saving his father from the crash. When he wakes, he drowsily assumes the past several hours have been a bad dream when he finds himself comforted by his mother, reassuring him he's safe in 1955. The news shocks him awake and leads to a brief freakout as he finds himself in her bedroom.
- Back to the Future Part II has Marty waking up after being knocked out by some bullies. Again, he drowsily assumes that the past several hours have been a bad dream when he finds himself comforted by his mother, reassuring him he's safely home with Biff. Once again, the news shocks him awake and leads to a brief freakout.
- Back to the Future Part III has Marty fall, exhausted, near the McFly ranch. While waking up, he, again, drowsily assumes the past several hours have been a bad dream when he finds himself comforted by his great-great-grandmother, reassuring him he's safe in 1885. For the third time, the news shocks him awake and leads to a brief freakout.
- 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).
- In The Best Years of Our Lives, Fred ends up going home with the Stephenson family because he's drunk, and because he hasn't been able to find his wife. Peggy ends up putting him in her room, and when he wakes up, he not only has no idea where he is, he doesn't remember who Peggy is at first.
- At the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers wakes up in a hospital recovery room in New York City after landing the Valkyrie in the ice. However, after escaping from the recovery room, he soon learns that he's been asleep for nearly 70 years in the ice.
- After her car accident in the beginning of 10 Cloverfield Lane, Michelle wakes up in an unfamiliar room which turns out to be an underground bunker of a Crazy Survivalist.
- The premise of The Hangover is the cast waking up in Las Vegas with no memories of the previous night's debauchery.
- James Bond films:
- Diamonds Are Forever has two examples.
- In The Living Daylights, James Bond is drugged in Tangier and wakes to find himself on a plane bound for Afghanistan.
- In The Lost Weekend, the hero awakes at the alcoholic hospital ward after a Staircase Tumble, wondering where exactly he is and looking up at the ceiling.
- The Korean film Marrying The Mafia opens with the protagonist waking up in bed with a Mafia Princess, with neither of them knowing how they got there. The girl's family assumes they had sex. Hilarity Ensues. At the end, it's revealed how they got there: the girl's family put them there as a ploy to make her marry a man they approved of.
- When Neo awakens in The Matrix after being ejected from the Matrix, he looks up to see the unfamiliar faces of Trinity and Morpheus and asks if he is dead.
- In Stephen King's Misery, an author wakes up after a car accident to find he has been rescued by his No. 1 Fan and installed in her remote cabin - a situation that isn't as fortunate as it first appears.
- In P2, the heroine is tasered unconscious by Thomas, and wakes up in the trunk of a car.
- In Pulp Fiction, Butch and Marsellus confront each other in a gun store, only for Butch to be knocked out by the owner and Marsellus to pass out on his own. They wake up in the shop's basement, gagged and tied to chairs. It only gets worse from there.
- RoboCop (2014) has Alex Murphy nearly killed by a car bomb. He awakens weeks later to some serious Body Horror.
- This is part of Buffalo Bill's MO in Silence of the Lambs. After spending weeks stalking a victim, he lures them into his van, knocks them out, handcuffs them, examines their skin, changes them into a jumpsuit and puts them in the well in his basement.
- In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Chekov has a near-fatal fall and is taken to the hospital. McCoy, Kirk, and Gillian infiltrate the 20th-century hospital to administer 23rd-century care. Though he comes to in the operating room enough to give name and rank, he doesn't seem to regain full awareness until he's being frantically wheeled away from the pursuing guards and sees the fluorescent lights zoom by.
- Suspect Zero: FBI Agent Thomas Mackelway is ambushed by O'Ryan and drugged into unconsciousness. When he wakes up, he is tied on the floor of the killer's apartment, where a smiling O'Ryan casually threatens to torture him to death.
- In Unknown (2011), the hero wakes up at the hospital after been Asleep for Days. The ambient sounds are muffled at first and the camera mimics his eyes slowly opening and adjusting to the brightness of the room.
- In XXX, Xander Cage is shot with a tranquilizer dart at a party, waking up a diner just before a robbery occurs. After diffusing the robbery, he reveals he knew it was just a simulation when he noticed some discrepancies. Then he's shot with another tranquilizer dart and wakes up on a plane bound for South America. He initially figures it's another simulation before realizing that it's real that time.
- In Burned by Ellen Hopkins, Pattyn is knocked out cold and wakes up in the hospital some time later.
- Paolini relies on this trope a lot in Eragon, using it instead of actual scene transitions in many instances. Examples include: Eragon fainting after finding a wounded Garrow and waking up in the care of the village healer, Eragon fainting of exhaustion after using magic against an Urgal, Eragon fainting again after using too much magic against Urgals, Eragon blacking out when attacked by the Ra'zac, Eragon blacking out again while Murtagh rescues him from said Ra'zac, and Eragon getting knocked out in an Urgal ambush which allows him to be captured.
- Seems to happen to Katniss more and more frequently as The Hunger Games series progresses, particularly as Mockingjay is basically one long Heroic B.S.O.D..
- In Night Watch, Vimes is knocked out or kidnapped by people who want to get him alone for a conversation so frequently that by the third or fourth time he wakes up in an unfamiliar room, he's not so much scared as just exasperated.
- Septimus Heap: Boy 412, falls asleep in a heap of snow outside of the Wizard Tower, wakes up in the rooms of the ExtraOrdinary Wizard up in the tower.
- Ghost Story: After being shot at the end of the previous book, Harry spends most of this one as a ghost. When everything is wrapped up, he's fully prepared to move on to the afterlife, but instead wakes up in a cave on Demonreach with his head in Mab's lap. Alive though, so that's probably a step up (though he doesn't think so).
- In Andre Norton's Ice Crown, Roane and Princess Ludorica are drugged in the coach and wake up indoors.
- In Adaptation by Malinda Lo, Reese blacks out after a car crash. She wakes up to find herself in a hospital, 27 days later.
- Mr Blank: Our hero gets knocked out and awakens tied to a chair in some bunker in San Pedro to be interrogated by a government spook, a dirty tricks specialist, Freemason, an elephantine Russian Mobster, and a Man in Black. It's the first indication he gets not only of people double-dipping in conspiracies (besides him, of course), and that they might not all be communicating with one another.
- Nick Moss in City of Devils is knocked unconscious by Cacophony Jones and wakes up bound in the storeroom of a biker bar. This presumably happened "offscreen" earlier, when Harley, a member of Cacophony's band the Disasters, wakes up in Imogen Verity's basement in a mummy coffin wondering what the hell happened.
- In Heart of Steel Julia is attacked by Scarface the shark-man while she and her boyfriend are scuba diving off the coast of Shark Reef Isle. She is knocked out and wakes up in a very posh guest room with a new leg.
- In the Illuminatus! series novel The Widow's Son, lead character Sigismundo Celine is consigned to the Bastille. He ends up under a heavy security regimen after escaping and being recaptured, effectively confined to his cell where he has ample opportunity to memorize all the details of his room. One day he wakes up after a deeper sleep than normal to realize he is on the ceiling and looking down at his room - the floor has become his new ceiling. Gravity has seemingly reversed itself in the night. But he looks carefully and sees small inconsistencies in placement and arrangement of furniture. He also realizes the window has suddenly been boarded over. He deduces he has been drugged and moved to an elaborate hoax set-up.
- This has happened to Sydney Bristow in Alias several times.
- In the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Infiltrated", Olivia Benson (working undercover as Persephone James) is involved in a fight between police and the ecologist's group she is working with. She is hit by a police officer and knocked out cold, and awakens some time later to find herself handcuffed to a hospital gurney and a police officer informs her that she has been arrested.
- In the opening credits of the first episode of The Prisoner, the title character was knocked out via sleeping gas. When he woke up, he was in The Village (no, not M. Night Shyamalan's version).
- The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "Stopover in a Quiet Town''. Two people try to drive home drunk. When they wake up the next morning, they're in a completely deserted town.
- There are at least three episodes of Psych where Shawn is struck in the head and wakes up somewhere else. Lassiter's apartment, tied up in a chair, and strapped in a bed respectively.
- In the episode "Strong Arm of the Law" of American Gothic (1995), a drunken thug is given something that knocks him out, only to wake up and find himself inside a coffin, laying next to the body of the man he killed; the coffin is in the process of being buried.
- Drew Carey, in one episode, wakes up on the Great Wall of China, thanks to Mimi.
- In a later episode of ‘’Power Rangers Operation Overdrive’’, Tyzonn gets rendered unconscious in a battle with the Fearkats, waking up later on his home planet with his presumed dead fiancé, Vella, who tells him his experiences have been All Just a Dream. Turns out that she’s really one of the Fearkats, and he never left Earth at all
- Like in the comic, the beginning of the series The Walking Dead has an injured Rick waking up in the hospital, only to find that while he was sleeping, the Zombie Apocalypse has started and humanity has been almost completely wiped out.
- Happened on Monk, with Monk being attacked in San Francisco and waking up (with amnesia) in a tiny town in Wyoming.
- In Noah's Arc, this happens with Ricky following passing out due to an infection, waking up in a hospital.
- CSI Catherine wakes up in a motel after being given roofies in her drink at a bar.
- Nick probably counts too; he was knocked out at a crime scene with chloroform and woke up buried alive.
- Lost, many many times, with little explanation.
- White Collar has this in the last episode of the second season after Neal and Peter have been drugged.
- In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), Sam wakes up in Cold Oak, South Dakota after being abducted in a diner in Iowa.
- In fact, this has happened to Sam and Dean a number of times.
- The episode “Alive and Kicking” from Tropical Heat is another example. Here, Nick passes out from blood loss after being shot. When he comes to, he finds himself in the care of a beautiful lady, who turns out to suffer from severe delusions and doesn't want to let him go.
- In Day Break, Hopper gets knocked unconscious in county prison and wakes up Bound and Gagged at the rock quarry, where he is told to confess to Garza's murder.
- Steely Dan's "Do It Again" has a verse that vaguely implies this; even if the fellow wasn't necessarily unconscious upon arriving, he definitely finds his presence unexpected and a bit unnerving:
Now you swear and kick and beg us
That you're not a gambling man
Then you find you're back in Vegas
With a handle in your hand
Your black cards can win you money
So you hide them when you're able
In the land of milk and honey
You must put them on the table
- Alan Wake: The protagonist wakes up with amnesia in a crashed car after diving into the lake to save his wife. A week has passed and she's nowhere to be found, the cabin they were staying in apparently doesn't exist, and shadow creatures start attacking Alan. Most of the game is spent trying to figure out exactly what happened in that week.
- After slaying a certain boss in Bloodborne, hooded Snatchers start to appear around the Cathedral Ward. Should one of them kill you, instead of respawning next to the last checkpoint, you wake up inside a hypogean gaol in a wholly different part of town, to the sounds of extremely unsettling Latin chanting.
- Happens a lot in Silent Hill, with characters waking up near or in the titular town. If they're already there, it often happens again when coming across an important bit of information, after defeating a boss, and when the Otherworld takes over yet again.
- In Half-Life, Gordon is ambushed by hostile marines and wakes up in a trash compactor.
- Happens three times in Fallout: New Vegas, once in a doctor's office at the start of the game, and twice at the start of the first and third DLC. It would be funny, considering the trope title, but the Courier never wakes up anywhere near Vegas itself.
- Before the Cass romance was cut for a time, she and the Courier were going to wake up in Vegas and find out they got drunkenly married the night before.
- In Knights of the Old Republic, the player character escapes a doomed ship and wakes up in an apartment on an unfamiliar planet, with an ally dropping the news that s/he's been Asleep for Days.
- At the end of the first part of Max Payne, he is knocked out with a spiked drink in a bar full of corpses and wakes up tied to a chair in the basement of another building, talking to Frankie "The Bat" Niagara. Frankie proceeds to use Max's head for batting practice. Averted later, though: after he's knocked out with an overdose of Valkyr, he wakes up in the same place, since he was left for dead.
- In Max Payne 2, after Max is shot by Winterson, he wakes up in the hospital, barely alive.
- In Skyward Sword, Link is knocked out by a volcanic blast as he tries to land in the Eldin Volcanic region. He wakes up with no items and only three filled hearts, in a jail cell.
- Happens pretty much every time Alice wakes up from her Wonderland hallucinations in Alice: Madness Returns.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
- Once you reach a certain level, the next time you enter a bar you'll find a nice guy named Sam who challenges you to a drinking contest. Regardless of where the party starts, you wake up in Markarth, having trashed the Temple of Dibella (and fondled the statuary) in a drunken stupor. The quest that follows indicates that your alcohol-fueled adventure led you across the breadth of Skyrim.
- If you pose as a Dark Brotherhood assassin and kill Grelod the Kind for Aventus Aretino, the next time you sleep, you'll wake up in a locked shack in the middle of nowhere, to have a little chat with a real member of the Dark Brotherhood.
- In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Nathan wakes up in a Tibetan village after passing out from a gunshot wound and the cold of the Himalayas.
- A hero is captured along with his friends by a strange villain, and is taken to an unknown location while unconscious, and wakes up to find himself wearing strange armor and forced to fight for his freedom. Now are we talking about Sora, or are we talking about Ratchet?
- In Resident Evil 4 after Leon attacks Bitores Mendez and gets his butt handed to him, he wakes up in a dead-end area of the village, chained to Luis, and with an inbound Mook dragging an executioner's axe.
- A possible outcome of gameplay in Grand Theft Auto V, especially in Trevor's case. No stranger to waking up in strange places in the aftermath of drunken rampages, one of the optional activities available to this particular character is - wait for it - huffing gas from a sock; actually doing so will result in Trevor passing out and waking up in a random location. One particular random encounter also results in this: players have the option of inspecting a suspicious-looking van in the street... only to get tased by the driver and wake up naked and lying in the path of an oncoming train.
- New recruits to the Dragon find themselves subjected to this in The Secret World. Shortly after gaining control of their powers in the prologue, Dragon players then receive a visit from one of the Silent Monks, who promptly knocks you unconscious with a touch. You then wake up alone in Seoul, with no money, no passport, no explanations, and no umbrella. Suffice to say, the Dragon like tossing their recruits in the deep end.
- Super Paper Mario begins with Count Bleck kidnapping Princess Peach, Bowser, and Luigi. Peach and Bowser wake up and are shocked to find themselves standing at an altar in wedding garments and then Bleck officiating their wedding, though Bowser quickly goes along with it. Luigi was left on the floor and wakes up a few minutes later, equally shocked.
- In Gifts of Wandering Ice, on page 97 Elie wakes up while Tim carries her away from the cliff she nearly fell off. She is not herself and says eerie things.
- In Impure Blood, Roan asks where they are as soon as he regains consciousness.
- The Fox Sister: The opening sequence closes with a classic example when Yun Hee wakes up in the hospital.
- Times Like This: Joan Of Arc passes out at her execution in 1431... and then wakes up in a modern-day hotel room, having been rescued by Cassie and Matt.
- Tower of God - Edin after being sedated by a guy hired by Koon, wakes up in Koon's house, with Novick sitting next to him.
- Awful Hospital: Fern starts out waking up not in her own bed, but the hospital bed. Bears some resemblance to Abandoned Hospital Awakening, but as becomes clear, The Hospital is anything but.
- In WTF Comics, Annashi notices an unfamiliar ceiling in a bit of a Shout-Out to Neon Genesis Evangelion in the first panel here. When she wakes up after being knocked out and enslaved.
- In Street Sharks, the protagonists apparently drop over dead in a lab. They wake up in a flooded storm drain, very confused.
- An episode of Family Guy had Peter, Brian, Joe and Quagmire getting into an accident and waking up in the hospital with no memory of who they are. It was all a simulation by Stewie, who did the same thing to Lois, Meg and Bonnie.
- The Simpsons episode "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind" opens with Homer passed outside in the snow with no memory of the past 24 hours.