Follow TV Tropes

Following

Book Ends / Real Life

Go To

History

  • The planet Earth's very first moments manifested as a hellish, molten landscape, as will its final moments billions of years from now when the Sun reaches its 'red giant' phase.
  • The American Civil War began with the Union loss of Fort Sumter. Shortly after the war, on April 14, 1865, Fort Sumter had a flag-raising ceremony where the same commander who took the flag down when the Union lost the fort raised the same flag up.
    • The first major battle (First Battle of Bull Run) began on Wilmer McLean's farm in Manassas, Virginia, on July 21, 1861. During the war, McLean moved south to the quiet community of Appomattox Court House, Virginia, so as not to be caught between the armies again. But the war followed him. On April 8, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee finally decided to surrender his forces, and he sent out a messenger to find a place at which to meet General Ulysses S. Grant. The house the messenger found was Wilmer McLean's. Afterwards, McLean reportedly said, "The war began in my front yard and ended in my front parlor."
  • Advertisement:
  • World War 2 arguably began and ended with a blitzkrieg attack, starting with the textbook example in the German invasion of Poland in which mechanized German units overran inferior Polish defenses and ending with the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in which mechanized Soviet units overran inferior Japanese defenses. Hell, some hold onto the view that World War II started with the Soviets fighting Japan over Khalkin Gol, and ended with their invasion of Manchuria contributing to Japan's surrender after years of ceasefire.
  • The first emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire was Constantine I, who founded the city of Constantinople in 330. The last emperor was Constantine XI, who died when the city fell to the Turks in 1453.
  • Rome was founded as a city by a man called Romulus, while the last Roman Emperor (in the west) was called Romulus Augustus. It gets deeper, with the first Emperor of Rome having had chosen the name Augustus. The last Western Roman Emperor shared his name with both founders. Emperor Julius Nepos continued to be recognized by Odoacer as Emperor of the West for four years after Romulus Augustus, but because he didn't rule the city of Rome (his empire was limited to the province of Dalmatia), it's more romantic to ignore him and specifically invoke bookends on the Western Empire.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Roman Republic began and ended with a rebellion and civil war involving a man named Brutus who belonged to the gens Junia, in fact, his participation was also played to evoke the pivotal removal of the Etruscian Kings that began the Republic since Caesar was accused of being a King in all but name, which would then be replaced by the rule of the Emperors, who were, in fact, Kings in all but name.
  • The Roman Empire begins with a single city (Rome) sacked by a powerful neighboring people (the Gauls, in 390 BC). The Romans declared that this must never happen again. It ends eighteen hundred and forty-three years later with a single city (Constantinople) sacked by a powerful neighboring people (the Turks, in 1453 AD).
  • For many historians, the Middle Ages began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, and ended with the fall of the Byzantine Empire (aka the Eastern Roman Empire) in 1453 AD; on the other hand, if we take the concept of the Late Antiquity into consideration then the Middle Ages in Europe began with the rise of a Muslim Empire (The Umayyad Caliphate) who would eventually cut off the trade link between the east and western Europe in the Mediterranean and ended with the rise of a Muslim Empire (The Ottoman Empire) who would eventually cut off the trade link between the east and western Europe in the Mediterranean.
  • Advertisement:
  • The major European conflicts of the twentieth century. To wit: the Eastern Question of what would happen to the newly formed Balkan states after downfall of the Ottoman Empire triggered World War I, as Serbia wished to take over Bosnia which was an Austrian protectorate. WWI caused WWII, as Germany (and other nations) were deeply unsatisfied by the results of WWI. It also caused the Russian revolution, and the first major communist power. WWII caused the spread of communism through Eastern Europe, mostly through the Soviets, but through homegrown communist partisans in Yugoslavia. This led to the Cold War, which contributed to the downfall of communism in Eastern Europe. The downfall of communism in Yugoslavia led to the disintegration of the nation, and The Yugoslav Wars, posing the new question: what would happen to the newly formed Balkan states after the downfall of Yugoslavia? Especially as Serbia wished to take over Bosnia. The history of the twentieth century began and ended with "some damn thing in the Balkans".
  • France and Germany in the 1870-1950 period:
    • The III French Republic was proclaimed during a successful German invasion in 1870. It was dissolved during a successful German invasion in 1940.
    • After the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, which was also the end of the II French Empire, France had to endure the humiliation of seeing a German Empire proclaimed in the Hall of Mirrors of Versailles, just outside Paris, and cede the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine to it. In 1919, after the end of World War I, which was also the end of the German Empire, the nascent German republic had to sign a peace treaty in the Hall of Mirrors of Versailles and cede Alsace and Lorraine back to France.
    • Preceding that peace treaty was an armistice signed in a train wagon outside Compiègne, in 1918. The 1940 armistice between France and Germany was signed in the same wagon and also in the same place outside Compiègne. Once again, France ceded Alsace and Lorraine to Germany.
    • To make sure that it wasn't used again, SS troops burned down that train wagon during the Battle of Berlin in 1945.
  • Michael I of Russia, the first Romanov czar, was elected while he was in the Ipatiev Monastery in 1613. The last Romanov, Nicholas II and his relatives, died in 1918, slaughtered by the Bolsheviks while they were imprisoned in a (otherwise unrelated) building named "Ipatiev House".
  • The Holy Roman Empire both began and ended with the conquest of Germany by a French emperor.
  • In 1066, William the Conqueror sailed from Normandy to conquer England as part of the Norman conquest of England - his troops were led by Taillefer, whose name is French for "Iron-Hewer". In 1945, Nazi Germany was being beaten back by troops sailing from England to Normandy in the D-Day landings of World War II - one of the leaders of the invasion was future POTUS Eisenhower, whose name is German for "Iron-Hewer".
  • The first holy roman emperor to be crowned by the Pope was Charles, Charles the Great or Charlemagne, while the last emperor to be crowned by the Pope was Charles, Charles I of Spain or V of the Holy Roman Empire, another parallel than can be brough out is that each reigns marked the rise (Charlemagne) and decline (Charles I) of the secular power that the Catholic Church used to have on the European monarchs as well as that of of the imperial title.
  • The Spanish American colonial empire began with Ferdinand V/IInote  and ended with Ferdinand VII.
  • The first Habsburg king of Spain was Charles I. The last was Charles II.
  • The first Inca to have ruled from Cuzco was Manco Capac, whose reign marked the start of the Inca Confederacy from which his descendents would eventually rise the confederacy to an empire; the last Inca to have ruled from Cuzco was Manco Inca, who fleed to Vilcabamba to fight against the Spanish invaders and whose failed rebellion and that of his sons marked the definitive twilight of the Tawantinsuyu.
  • The Spanish Civil War began when the army mutinied over the perceived threat of a Communist takeover, in 1936. The Spanish Civil War ended when the (loyalist) army mutinied over the perceived threat of a Communist takeover, in 1939.
  • The first Nasrid king of Granada was Muhammad I, who rose in rebellion against Ibn Hud and collaborated with the Christian King Ferdinand III of Castille and Leon, who was married at that time with Elisabeth of Hohenstaufen. The last king was Muhammad XI, who rose in rebellion against his father Mulay Hassan and collaborated with the Christians before losing it all to the Catholic Kings Ferdinand V of Aragon and Isabel I of Castille and Leon.
  • The first member of the Hohenstaufen to be crowned King of the Romans was Conrad III, father of the first Swabian emperor Frederick Barbarossa; the last member of the Hohenstaufen to be crowned King of the Romans was Conrad IV, son the last Swabian emperor Frederick II.
  • Portugal was the first European power to hold territory in India, setting up shop in the early 1500s. They were also the last to leave, the territory of Goa being seized by India in 1961, well after Britain and France had left.

People

  • Playwright Eugene O'Neill's last words: "I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room, and God damn it, died in a hotel room."
  • There's that Stephen Wright joke that he wished his first word had been "Quote", so that on his deathbed he could say "Unquote".
  • Your parents take care of you when you're younger, and you usually end up taking care of them when they get older.
  • Lee Myung-bak was an engineer working for the Hyundai Group in the 1970s when it was contracted to build the Cheonggye Expressway atop the unsightly polluted wasteland that was the Cheonggyecheon stream in Seoul. Flash forward to 2003 and the same Lee Myung-bak has become Mayor of Seoul and in order to leave a legacy, he ordered the rehabilitation of the Cheogggyecheon stream by demolishing the same Cheonggye Expressway helped build as a younger man. The project was finished in 2005 and is a real life example of Crystal Spires and Togas. Lee's successful undoing of his own work is believed to have aided in his election as the 10th President of South Korea. In short, the Cheonggyecheon stream was "killed" then "resurrected" by the same man.
  • Mark Twain was born shortly after the appearance of Halley's Comet in 1835. He often predicted he'd go out with it and did, dying one day after its reappearance in 1910.
  • Muammar Gaddafi's life: He was born in a small fishing village called Sirte. Later during the 2011 Libyan Civil War, Sirte become the place of his last stand and death.
  • Deliberately invoked by David Cameron. In his first Prime Minister's Questions (as Leader of the Opposition) in December 2005 he said of then-incumbent Prime Minister Tony Blair "he was the future once". In his very last Prime Minister's Questions (as Prime Minister) in July 2016 he said of himself "I was the future once".
  • Stephen Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, exactly 300 years after Galileo Galilei's death, and his death date was March 14, 2018, which was Albert Einstein's birthday and Pi Day. And Hawking, like Einstein, died at age 76.
  • An example pertaining to most people's days- they start and end in a bed.
  • Many people are born in hospital rooms and die in hospital rooms.
  • Actor Cameron Boyce's first role in a Disney Channel Original Movie was in Descendants. His last role in a DCOM, as well as his last major film role before he passed away, was in Descendants 3, which was also the last movie in the series.

Science

  • Should humanity go extinct, then many of our iconic buildings will actually deteriorate in the reverse order of how and when they were built: the more modern skyscrapers will be among the first to crumble away, while structures lasting since the ancient times (such as the Pyramids of Egypt) will take millennia to disappear.

Technology

  • "What hath God wrought?" was both the very first electric telegram, sent in 1837, and the very last telegram sent by Western Union. (Optical telegraphs, using smoke, mirrors, or semaphore, existed long before.) Telegraph is still in use in countries including Bahrain, Germany, Japan, and Sweden, mainly for formal notices (mainly funerals, weddings, and births), and for sheer novelty. It's also still in use in areas of the world without Internet access.

Transport

  • The band Aunt Fortescue's Bluesrockers played at the closure of Lea Bridge station in 1985, and at its reopening in 2016.
  • United Airlines' first flight with the 747 aircraft took place in 1970, flying from San Francisco to Honolulu. The aircraft and its variants served United until November 7, 2017, when the last United 747 completed its final flight from San Francisco to Honolulu.
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report