Playing With / In Spite of a Nail

Basic Trope: Despite changes in the past, improbable events still have occurred in the present.
  • Straight: Bob goes in back in time to kill Hitler before World War II and succeeds. He still exists in the new timeline that results from this event, despite his dad's parents having met in the war.
  • Exaggerated: Bob destroys the asteroid that killed off all the dinosaurs. Humanity still evolves.
  • Downplayed: Bob creates a minor obstacle in the way of his grandparents' courtship. They still get together.
  • Justified:
    • There are mysterious forces that try to keep the timeline on track.
    • Alternatively, since Bob changed history, he still exists in order to prevent a paradox.
    • When Bob travels to other universes, he ensures his machine can only send him to realities where he exists. Since there's an infinite number of worlds, he could find a version of himself where the Nazis won WWII.
    • When Bob kills Hitler, he creates an alternate timeline where Hitler died before World War II. This isn't tied to his own timeline, in which he's still alive.
  • Inverted: For Want of a Nail
  • Subverted: Bob is shocked when discovers he prevented his father from being born.
  • Double Subverted: It turns out that his father was born in a different part of the world. And his father is even somehow the exact same person in spite of this.
  • Parodied: Bob causes many changes during his time travel trips, but no matter what, his parents will still meet and his favorite movies still exist.
  • Zig Zagged: While the new present appears to be very different from the old one at first, there are still inexplicable similarities.
  • Averted: History changes in the way that one would expect it to happen.
  • Enforced:
    • "We don't want to scare people into thinking that they might accidentally wipe themselves from existence."
    • Conservation of normality and detail are more important to the work's creators than realism, so they simply decide to rely on Willing Suspension of Disbelief for the sake of storytelling.
  • Lampshaded: "I can't help noticing how some things remain the same in this new timeline."
  • Invoked: Bob says that he knows that if he kills Hitler, his paternal grandparents will still meet.
  • Exploited: A time traveler or a group of time travelers explicitly made changes in some way with the past to their liking, knowing full well that they themselves won't change in any way.
  • Defied: Bob made sure to change every single thing he can think of to make sure the present he came back to will be completely different.
  • Discussed: "Time Travel does not work that way. If you managed change something in the past, there are bound to be some unexpected consequences!"
  • Conversed: "Why is it that whenever these characters succeed in changing something, there aren't any unexpected consequences?"
  • Deconstructed:
  • Reconstructed: The world is much better and everyone is happy.

You know, even if you went back in time and made sure nails were never invented, you'd still be able to go to In Spite of a Nail.