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Blatant Lies / Literature

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  • The Monster at the End of This Book, in the Sesame Street Golden Book children's literature series. The story is about Grover, who tries to convince the reader to not finish the book because there is a horrifying, evil monster lurking on the final page. A series of obstacles (e.g., tying the pages together with Army rope, brick walls, etc.) of course don't work. The trope comes at the end: the "scary" monster at the end of the book is merely Grover! ("Oh, I'm so embarrassed!" he says sheepishly.) One of the earliest and most successful Sesame Street books to date, a rewrite was commissioned in 1996, with Grover finding Elmo as the "horrifying monster" at the end of the updated version. (Although to some, Elmo would avert the trope, believing him to indeed be a scary monster.)
  • In Duumvirate, Sarah raids and kills a pervert, then "found" a will on his hard drive that everything he owned was to go to her son. More a Take That! than a lie meant to be believed.
  • Gone:
    • This is Caine's expertise.
      Emily: You can get the lights back on?
      Caine: I can. It would take about a week.
    • Astrid does it a ton. There's a REASON she's on the cover of the book called Lies.
    • In Plague, Drake told Sam, Dekka, and Jack that he had killed Brianna. This wouldn't be too blatant of a lie, had he not been in the presence of a Living Lie Detector.
  • Harry Potter
    • The Dursleys claim Harry has gone to "St Brutus' Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys" to their fellow Muggle neighbors to explain his long absences at Hogwarts. Aunt Marge approves, and asks whether they still use the cane. And Harry, needing the Dursleys' to sign a permission form, jumps in on the blatant lying to the point Marge offers that if he can talk so lightly about St. Brutus, then they're not beating him hard enough.
    • The Dursleys also told Harry that Lily and James Potter died in a car crash. They seem to have told Marge that as well.
    • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: When Harry is upset with Ron:
      "'I dreamed I was watching you lot play Quidditch,' Harry lied brutally. 'I was trying to get you to stretch out a bit further to grab the Quaffle.'
      Ron's ears went red. Harry felt a kind of vindictive pleasure; he had not, of course, dreamed anything of the sort."
    • When asked directly by Harry what he saw when he looked into the Mirror of Erised, a mirror that shows one's greatest desire, Dumbledore claims to see "a pair of thick, woollen socks." It's actually his dead sister, whom he may or may not have accidentally killed, alive again.
  • In the classic novel Gladiator, when his Army superiors ask for an explanation of his superhuman powers, Hugo Danner does NOT speak of his father's medical experiments. Instead, he simply says, "I'm from Colorado." His superiors believe him.
  • Clockpunk tells The Vitalizer she's the Bull. The audience is well aware that she is not, in fact, the Bull; it's being shipped elsewhere as she says it. The Vitalizer is not so knowledgeable.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Because most of the people are deeply in denial, large amounts of crap can be made up without anyone noticing. For example, a magical diagram to redirect a curse onto its originator is "Feng Shui", and Murphy once suggested calling in Homeland Security on the Denarians' demon-possessed asses by saying they're "terrorists with advanced biotechnology suits." However, this also gets Double Subverted in "Turn Coat" when a security guard insists on taking Harry's staff, which he says is "traditional Ozark folk art": not because he knows that the staff covered in mystic runes has, in the past, been used to blast a rampaging hell-werewolf all the way through two buildings, but because he thinks Harry could smack someone with it. Harry has been known to do just that at times.
    • And then there's this little gem from Harry's narration in Ghost Story:
      I'd dealt with a ghost named Agatha Hagglethorn once, and she'd had her own little pocket dimension filled with a Victorian era copy of Chicago.
      (It burned down.)
      (I was not responsible.)
    • Murphy's job with Special Investigations is fifty percent solving supernatural crimes with Harry, and fifty percent concocting lies to explain away the resulting chaos to her superiors without acknowledging the supernatural exists. Which her superiors know does exist, they just don't want their cops to admit as much on public record. Harry's remarked that Murphy could've had a successful second career writing Speculative Fiction.
    • A Running Gag in the series is buildings being on fire or having burnt down and it not being Harry's fault.
      First line of the 6th book: The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault.
  • Discworld:
    • Men at Arms: When the rest of the Watch finds out Angua is a werewolf, they ask Colon if Vimes knew. Colon cagily claims he "sort of implied it," but when pressed admits his exact words were "She's a bloody werewolf, Fred."
    • In Making Money, Moist asks why Mrs. Lavish keeps two loaded crossbows on her desk. The answer is "family heirlooms". He notes that a lie so blatant is clearly meant to make a statement rather than be believed. Considering the rest of her family, it's more of a Jedi Truth. If any of her family tries anything funny, the crossbow bolts will be heirlooms, after they've been...forcibly gifted upon the family member in question.
    • In Thud!, a fight nearly breaks out between a troll and a dwarf officer. Commander Vimes enters the room to find a table overturned, and the potential combatants being restrained by their fellow officers. He asks who's going to be the first to "tell me a huge whopper". Nobby Nobbs obliges by offering up an utterly preposterous explanation about how the dwarf almost drank some (dangerously chemical) troll coffee, and the others rushed to stop him. Vimes pretends to buy it, and the others pretend to believe that he buys it. Much of what Nobby Nobbs does involves this trope. He has been seen using the excuse that his "granny died" in order to get out of work. When directly asked by Colon, he says that this is about the twentieth one it happened to (although three of them were genuine; Granny Nobbs was Only Mostly Dead the first time). Watchmen seem to be expected to have that particular excuse, having been given three afternoons off for grandmother's funerals a year.
      • The "grandmother's funeral" excuse comes up again when two troll constables are given an order to apprehend another troll, Acting-Constable Detritus. This exchange promptly occurs (which showcases genius-level thinking, for a troll):
        Sergeant Colon: Lance-Constable Coalface! Lance-Constable Bauxite! Apprehend Acting-Constable Detritus!
        Lance-Constable Bauxite: [salutes] Permission for leave to attend grandmother's funeral, sir?
        Sergeant Colon: Why?
        Lance-Constable Bauxite: It her or me, sarge.
      • Nobby Nobbs only used the Grandmother's Funeral excuse twice...per year.
    • Feet of Clay has Vimes and Detritus discussing who possibly could have threatened Chrysophrase's drug smuggler, Hardcore, while a new applicant looks on in disbelief as Detritus's assurances that none of HIS trolls would ever do such a thing (and yet he knew who was threatened and why) are accepted.
      • This is also a Metaphorically True case since none of Detritus' trolls actually did the deed. It was Detritus himself.
    • Monstrous Regiment. Roughly every other spoken line (though one specific character technically only lies about one thing...).
      Sgt. Jackrum: Upon my oath, I am not a dishonest man.Spoiler 
  • Johnny and the Bomb shows that it's possible to appear out of thin air, claim you're looking for the pottery club, and let everyone's Weirdness Censor do the rest.
    • Earlier, Johnny notes that the phrase "We're doing a school paper" seems to grant you all sorts of access, and that Hitler could probably have conquered all of Europe by claiming it was school research.
  • In Black Legion, Khayon reassures Lheor that travelling through sorcerers' gate is "just like teleportation". As it turns out, it's not, as you have to fight your way through scores of daemons. Upon passing the gate, Lheor decks Khayon for this.
  • Twice in the X-Wing Series novel Wraith Squadron:
    • The Wraiths, pretending to be the crew of a warship, are on that warship's mission, touring planets aligned with Warlord Zsinj. The captain dies while they are capturing his ship, and at some point a planetary governor hails them and wants to talk to that captain. Improvising, the squadron's actor coats a pair of goggles with fluorescent paint, sticks one end of a tube in his nostril, the other in his ear (to disguise his distinctive features), and pretends to be a lieutenant and says that the captain is in the bath, dictating his memoirs. When the governor states his confusion, the actor roars that Captain Darillian has to budget his time; he's not some planetary governor who can skim taxes with one hand and pick his nose with the other!
    • Later, the Wraiths' actor, "Face" Loran impersonates that captain with the help of his full-holo Captain's Log. Most of the people who they met either hadn't known the man or had barely met him and knew little of him other than his melodrama and ego. But then the actor talks in depth to Darillian's immediate superior, making him suspicious when they turn out not to know something the captain should. He gets out of this by furiously improvising, again, and telling the admiral, as the captain, that it's been a very long time since he was home. The admiral knows that, and that the captain's family died thanks to Isard. The actor, as the captain, continues to improvise and tells the admiral that he was in love with Isard, and was wildly conflicted and distracted by this. Going off on a tangent about her, the actor fascinated the admiral long enough that he forgot about his suspicions and almost fell into the Wraiths' trap. This was helped by the fact that Loran had met Isard in person, and his particular talents allowed him to notice and remember very subtle details about her.
      Face: Thank you, thank you. Performances every hour, on the hour. Imperial madmen a specialty.
    • In Solo Command, during Wedge and Han's "mutiny of anonymity", the various crew off-duty refused to refer to one another by their proper name and rank, or allow people who did into their section. The preferred address was "person who looks like [so and so]". Wedge explains:
      "not-Wedge": Who do you think I am?
      Face: Um... Commander Wedge Antilles, New Republic Starfighter Command?
      "not-Wedge": No no no no... if I were Antilles, I'd be wearing proper rank insignia, wouldn't I?
    • Another from Wraith Squadron, when Wedge breaks up a fight:
      Phanan: We were discussing the finer points of a specific hand-to-hand combat maneuver...
      Wedge: Flight Officer Phanan, how many times do you think I've heard that "we were talking about a boxing move" excuse?
    • There's Starfighters of Adumar.
      Wedge: We'll need a wheeled transport, one of the flatcam units our pursuers are carrying, and four sets of women's clothing.
      Hobbie: Boss, please tell me you're not putting us in women's clothing.
      Wedge: Very well. I'm not putting us in women's clothing.
      [in the next chapter, the four pilots are in women's clothing]
      Hobbie: You lied to me.
      Wedge: I did. With my brilliant achievements in the diplomatic profession has come the realization that lies can be powerful motivators.
      Hobbie: My faith is shattered.
      Wedge: You knew, when I said we needed four sets of women's clothing, that we were going to end up in them. You knew. So any hopes you had to the contrary were just self-delusion.
      Hobbie: I understand that. But I'd rather blame you than me.
  • In the Robert A. Heinlein novel Starman Jones, the main character questions one of his friends about the contents of some boxes the friend has smuggled aboard. The friend claims they're tea cosies, which he's importing as "skullcaps for pinheads". Not so much.
  • In Callahan's Secret, by Spider Robinson, Mike Callahan recounts how, after a dimly-remembered alcoholic event, he woke up naked in New York and wound up riding a police horse, using the horse blanket as a toga. He averted attention by galloping boldly through the streets and periodically shouting, "Attack of the Horseclans! Coming soon from United Artists!"
  • In Drugs & the Dominoes, when Luck Gandor pulls himself together after near-decapitation in front of a witness, there's no possible plausible lie, so he goes for a blatant one:
    Luck: [grabs magazine with a red cover off shelf] Oh my, that was dangerous. If not for the timely rescue of this book, I would have died.
    Shopkeeper: Uh... that... no... blood.
    Luck: [rips magazine] It was the cover of this book scattering everywhere. You saw wrongly. It was too sudden.
    Shopkeeper: But—
    Luck: Oh right, I have to repay you for this book...
  • Everything Shin-tsu of The Longing of Shiina Ryo says is taken as this, even though he's telling the truth. It's not his fault the Universe made him its plaything.
  • The Anti-Christ in Left Behind, despite supposedly being the agent (and later, living avatar) of the Prince Of Lies, uses a lot of these. It only works since he has some ill-defined Mind Control powers to back him up, and more importantly because the authors portray the entire population of the planet after the Rapture as morons.
  • In the first Star Trek: Millennium novel, when Dr. Bashir asks Garak to aid him in identifying two recently-discovered bodies (referencing Garak's expertise), Garak responds: "Oh, Doctor, I'm afraid that in matters of mysterious deaths, I am entirely bereft of experience". No-one is amused. Bashir then clarifies he wanted Garak to examine their clothing..."I meant your expertise as a tailor".
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire the Frey's excuse for the Red Wedding is that Robb's forces attacked first, transformed into wolves and they were forced to kill them in self defense. Unsurprisingly no one really buys this, but they're relying on people accepting it for political reasons. It's not proving very effective.
    • One observer sarcastically notes that it looks like the Freys realized that nobody was going to believe them no matter what excuse they gave, and so they decided to go all out and at least come up with something creative.
  • An Elegy for the Still-living: Francis Church convinces a prisoner to play a game where they take turns asking and answering questions. Either player can accuse the other of lying. If the accuser is correct, he wins the game. The prisoner spots a loophole in the rules and decides never to make an accusation. Almost everything Francis says from that point on is a lie. Some of what he says is actually pretty subtle, but "I am not afraid of anything," is obviously untrue.
  • In Twilight, after Bella is hurt by James, the Cullens are somehow able to pass her injuries off as her falling down some steps and smashing through a window. Everyone buys this. When Bella is dropped off at the hospital, she has a broken leg, four broken ribs, cracks on her skull, bruises all over her skin, and severe blood loss. There is no mention of lacerations or injuries from impact, nor of bits of glass in her hair or clothes, and she was jacked up with morphine before being put in the hospital. In Breaking Dawn, Bella and Edward try to pass their daughter off Edward's previously-unmentioned niece from a previously-unmentioned brother, who suddenly fell over dead and left his daughter in the care of the officially-underage Edward. From all of this, the only thing that clues Charlie in on the lies is the fact that Renesmee's eyes look exactly like Bella's.
    • In the movie, when he sees her, he even says "So, this is your kid, Edward?" and rolls his eyes knowingly when Edward insists on "niece" with the obligatory "Oh, right".
  • In A Brother's Price, Jerin tells the Porter sisters that he will marry them willingly, pleasure them in bed, and care for their children if they just don't kill Cira. Later Cira is surprised to find that he was lying, but like he said earlier in the book - "You have to be very careful [with lies], but we Whistlers have always thought it was a good thing to know how to do it well."
  • George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. The Party has browbeaten and conditioned its citizens to believe even the most blatant lies that it spouts. The Party's lies often contradict its own previously told lies. And it's not enough for citizens to simply say that they believe the lies. They have to genuinely believe them.
  • In the poem "Who Am I" from Raving Lunacy, the author claims, among other things, to be "the sunshine, the moonlight, the good times and the boogie" (an obvious reference to Michael Jackson) and "the reason why some believe the moon landing was a hoax" (a subtle lampooning of (ridiculous) conspiracy theories).
  • In Seanan McGuire's October Daye novel Ashes of Honor, Chelsea tells her mother that Toby's turning her into a full fae didn't hurt.
  • In The Hot Gates the entire Horvath diplomatic position is built on these. They even have the gall to demand compensation for the ships lost to "human pirates" when those ships were carrying out a Colony Drop on several Earth cities, after their Depopulation Bomb failed, and the humans decided to fight back. This is on top of demanding a restoration of their "protectorate" over Earth. Fortunately, not even their Rangora allies are supporting this position.
  • In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, Jack's first attempt to get Jenny to go back is this, plus illusion to back up that he and Puck are not The Fair Folk.
  • The Zombie Knight:
    • In the beginning, it's mostly Hector (sometimes with Garovel's help) coming up with excuses to explain his absence or physical exhaustion, but later on, it happens with other characters as well. There's one conversation between Gina and Roman with several examples.
    • They begin talking on the phone:
      Gina: Master Roman! Where are you? You haven't contacted me for weeks.
      Roman: Yeah, my phone kind of blew up. It's no big deal. I've got a new one now.
      Gina: How did your phone get destroyed?
      Roman: Oh, um. I dropped it.
      Gina: You dropped your phone, and it exploded.
      Roman: Yeah. That's a thing that can happen. I don't see what's weird about it.
      Gina: Master Roman, why are you lying to me? And moreover, why are you sucking at it?
    • Later, about the jet:
      Gina: Wait. What happened to your private jet?
      Roman: Oh, um. Yeah, don't worry about the private jet. It's fine.
      Gina: It's not fine at all, is it?
      Roman: It's at the bottom of a swamp.
    • ... which may both be related to this:
      Gina: They attacked you?
      Roman: No.
      Gina: Master Roman...
      Roman: Okay, maybe a little.
  • In The Baby-Sitters Club book Stacey's Mistake, Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Dawn visit Stacey in New York. After their first night, Kristy sends her family a postcard describing the fun party Stacey hosted for them and all her New York friends, saying how much fun they had, how easily they fit in, and how Claudia and Stacey's New York best friend Laine were "like sisters." In reality, the party was a disaster, the New York kids either ignored or made fun of the baby-sitters, no one had a good time, and the only siblings Claudia and Laine resembled were Cain and Abel.
  • In A Wolf In The Soul, Joey attempts to defend Greg (in wolf form) from a hunter by claiming, rather ridiculously, that he's his pet dog. A part Labrador, part Golden Retriever named Muffin. "He's very tame. Does tricks and everything."
  • In Emily The Strange The Lost Days, Earwig doesn't want to talk with her seatmate on the bus who just regaled her with his business at Witchita, where they are going.
    Normal Guy: So, what are you doing, riding the Red Rabbit all by yourself?
    Me: Sorry, I don't speak English.
    NG: What? You sound like you speak English.
    Me: Nope. I don't speak a word of English, and also, I have a speech defect, so if you don't mind, I'm going to sleep now.
  • In We Are Not All Made Of Colour, Magnum Brunel asserts that Aristotle was Socrates' father, that gravity causes cancer, and that Samuel Wilberforce wrote The Origin of Species.
  • Winnie-the-Pooh has Piglet tell a lie in "Pooh and Piglet Go Hunting and Nearly Catch a Woozle" when he's scared at the prospect of the Woozles. What makes his lies blatant is its highly unlikely specifics.
    Piglet: "I think...I think that I have just remembered something. I have just remembered something that I forgot to do yesterday and shan't be able to do tomorrow. So I suppose I really ought to go back and do it now."
    Pooh: "We'll do it this afternoon, and I'll come with you."
    Piglet: *quickly* "It isn't the sort of thing you can do in the afternoon. It's a very particular morning thing that has to be done in the morning, and, if possible, between the hours of—What would you say the time was?"
    Pooh: *looking at the sun* "About twelve"
    Piglet: "Between, as I was saying, the hours of twelve and twelve five"
  • Journey to Chaos: Everyime Nolien says, "I'm not part of the Heleti family" he's wearing the medalion that is given to the heir of the Heleti family. Nobody believes him, but they play along.
  • In The Amulet, Sarah asks Jo where she got a cursed amulet that's been slaughtering its way across town. Jo says she bought it in a Sears-Roebuck catalog. Sarah checks anyway and confirms that Jo is lying.
  • This is a mainstay in the Pigeon Series of children's books. The Pigeon would try all kinds of shenanigans to convince the reader to let him do what he wants, from telling them that "their moms would let him do it" to outright bribing the reader with five bucks.
  • In Watersong, Gemma and Harper's mother, Nathalie, suffered a traumatic brain injury that turned her into a compulsive liar. She is constantly telling blatantly obvious lies, and grows upset when they are pointed out.
  • Peter, who is from Candor, claims he is not murderous when being held at gunpoint by Tris in Divergent. He had previously claimed that he was only trying to scare her by throwing her down the chasm and molesting her.
  • Redwall: Fangburn and Sela come up with a pathetic story to explain to Cluny why Redtooth is missing when he gets killed by Constance. They claim he fell in a mysteriously-appearing swamp, and they can't agree on the direction it was in.
  • Played straight by the villains and their propaganda in Victoria. Averted by the heroes, though interestingly more for Moral Pragmatist reasons than because of Honor Before Reason: Lies backfire when they are found out, whereas a true propaganda is invulnerable.
    John Rumford: The first rule of good propaganda is to make sure the facts are accurate.
  • In Ratburger, the villain Burt claims to be his own twin brother with the same name because "his parents couldn't afford a name each."