Follow TV Tropes

Following

Broken Masquerade

Go To

Are you comfortable? Good. What we are about to reveal to you will shock you to the core. The truth that has been hidden from all humanity will now be revealed to you. You see, the world you inhabit, perhaps even your very nature as a human, is not as it seems.

We cannot reveal more; you must discover for yourself the true nature of your deception.

Choose a Pill:

  • Tomato in the Mirror: It is not the world which is wrong, but you. Perhaps you are — or have become — a ghost, a robot, a clone, a magician, or something stranger. In the end, you are not actually in or rightfully a part of the normal world. The world is normal (more or less) and works as you know it, but not you.
  • The Masquerade: The world of humans is real enough, but we're not the only ones who inhabit it. Aliens, wizards, vampires, werewolves and other beings coexist with us in the same cities, schools, and jobs as we do. Sometimes peacefully, other times less so. If they're nice, then you'll be Welcomed to the Masquerade. If they're mean, then they'll force you to Join or Die. If they're really mean, they'll just have you Killed to Uphold the Masquerade.
  • Hidden Realm: There is a Spirit World, magical dimension, or other realm hidden but coterminous with "The Real World" that people can go into. The world is isn't so much false, as that our understanding of all that's in it is incomplete. You may have to Save Both Worlds.
  • Artificial Realm: The world literally isn't real; you live in a Lotus-Eater Machine, magical illusion, or are in a comaor worse. In this case, you must either destroy or escape the illusion to return to the real world. But… is it worth it?
  • Fake World: The paranoids are half right. The world is real, but not for you. Everyone around you, from childhood friend to complete stranger, even the news anchor, is putting on an act to fool you into thinking you live in "the real world". Sometimes they're all in on it, other times everyone is being Mind Controlled or manipulated with Fake Memories. Reasons for this vary, but may be as disgustingly mundane as setting up an elaborate reality TV show, pseudoscientific experiments, to the chillingly bizarre community of refugees from the real world.

This knowledge is not without price, however. If you wish to keep it you have no choice but to join us. You may at least take pride in that, much like a pauper who discovers she is a princess and other changeling fantasies, you are yourself an intrinsic part of this the world behind the Broken Masquerade. Perhaps you are an heir to a kingdom, a rebellious product of its mad science, the child of a powerful sorcerer, a Half-Human Hybrid, or destined to bring it into balance with the "real world".

In any event, we hope you like to wear black.

Endangering News Broadcast is the dilemma about preventing this from happening. Contrast The Unmasqued World, where the Masquerade is broken for everyone. Compare Welcomed to the Masquerade.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Fan Works 
  • The Arithmancer: Played for Drama as a focus of the last few chapters of the second sequel, Annals of Arithmancy. Hermione realizes that keeping up the Statute of Secrecy will soon become mathematically impossible due to the proliferation of Internet-connected cameras storing data on remote servers. She publishes her work, is immediately arrested for treason, and ultimately has to defend her conclusion in front of the International Confederation of Wizards.
  • A Child's Innocence breaks the masquerade of the Transformers when the Decepticons broadcast a (false) message worldwide that if the Autobots leave Earth, they will leave the planet unharmed. It's broken even further when the Decepticons lay waste to Chicago and the Autobots arrive to stop them.
  • The Chosen Six:
    • In chapter 7, Sirius tells his new girlfriend Diane about magic. And she's mostly worried about the Parental Abuse he suffered as a child.
    • In Chapter 20, Mark Evans and Sirius's twins are first told about magic after witnessing Dobby.
  • In The Search for Victory, obviously the Battle of New York revealed alien life to the rest of humanity, but the campaign against the Ori leads to Cassie Frasier revealing the existence of the Stargate Program to the general public, followed by General Hammond taking part in a press conference to explain the full details.
  • In To Hell and Back (Arrowverse), the first thing that Zoom does during the Metapocalypse is publicly go on television and inform the entire planet about the existence of the multiverse, showing off some of his minions who are doppelgängers of Earth-1 celebrities and politicians. It's stated that the public was still slightly unsure of if it was true until it turned out that the President of the United States on Earth-2 is Malcolm Merlyn, the Big Bad who nearly destroyed Starling City the year before.
  • In What You Already Know, as in canon, Alec Colson's efforts to go public with alien knowledge prompt Sam Carter to suggest they tell him the truth anyway. However, unlike in canon, Colson is convinced to keep quiet on his own after Daniel shows him a vision of what would happen if he told everyone the truth.
  • What if Tom was never a Controller?: During the events of The Capture, Tom accidentally sees Ax demorph from Jake in the bathroom. Ax knocks Tom out and takes him to an unoccupied house so he, Marco, and Rachel can explain to him that aliens are real and they're fighting in a secret war.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The 6th Day, the mere existence of two Adam Gibsons threatens to expose Drucker's illegal operations in human cloning.
  • In Cats & Dogs, evil cat Mr Tinkles causes Sophie (the caretaker of his official owner) to pass out from shock by revealing he can speak.
  • In Dog Soldiers, the squad's training is brutally tested by towering bipedal wolves capable of strategy. Eventually, Cooper is unable to write them off as escaped unshaven psychopaths.
    Megan: Up until today, you believed there was a line between myth and reality. May have been a very fine line sometimes, but... at least it was a line. Those things out there... are real. And if they're real, what else is real? You know what lives in the shadows, now. You may never get another night's sleep as long as you live.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sees the Masquerade being at least cracked. Thanks to the Scourers and one particularly dim witch, there are Muggles in America who know that wizards and witches exist and want them exposed. They only make up a small portion of America's non-magical population, but are a big enough threat that MACUSA forbids relationships with Muggles.
  • At the end of Ghostbusters (2016), it may not be a full Unmasqued World yet — the mayor is still denying everything to the public for one thing — but the Ghostbusters are starting to get respect and belief, and the mayor's aide admits the cover up is "not working".
  • Glass (2019) sees the main characters discover that there has been an elaborate conspiracy concealing the existence of superhumans from the general public for years, convincing people that their belief in their superpowers is just delusional. Although the battle at the mental hospital ends with the deaths of David Dunn/the Overseer, Elijah Price/Mr. Glass and Kevin Wendell Crumb/the Horde, their associates—David's son Joseph, Kevin's acquaintance Casey and Elijah's mother—complete Mr. Glass's plan and blow the Masquerade wide open by broadcasting multiple recordings of the battle at the mental hospital.
  • In Godzilla (2014), the military initially attempted to keep a lid on Godzilla and the MUTOs, but quickly writes that off when it becomes clear they can't stop them from reaching population centers.
  • Men in Black features a look back at K's introduction to aliens on Earth back in 1961, with the Men in Black basically starting when Earth made official contact with alien races.
  • By the time of Underworld: Awakening, humans are fully aware of the existence of vampires and lycans, with the lycans in particular manipulating events so that they can go into hiding while the vampires are prosecuted.

    Literature 
  • In Animorphs, most of the time the heroes are keeping the Yeerk invasion secret from the rest of the world to minimise civilian casualties, but ultimately they have to tell their parents the truth to get them to safety. The kids' parents have a very difficult time adjusting, except for Eva (Marco's mother and the former host to Visser One), who adjusted a long time ago. This escalates to the entire world when open war is declared, especially in the last book of the series.
  • In Lost Voices, girls turned into mermaids use their enchanted voices to lure sailors to their deaths. As queen of the tribe, Catarina is careful to only let the mermaids sink a ship every few weeks in order to avoid human attention. But after Anais takes over, she and her followers recklessly sink every ship they can find, attracting the attention of the government, which starts hiding underwater cameras in the area. Luce destroys the camera she finds, but it isn't enough. At the end of Waking Storms, the entire tribe is massacred by government agents, with the exception of Anais, who is taken prisoner so she can be interrogated, and a few girls who managed to escape. As the government has other tribes killed, Luce decides that going public with the existence of mermaids is the safest option, and at the end of The Twice Lost she signs a peace treaty with the U.S. government.
  • The Mermaid Chronicles: In Quest for Atlantis, humans start catching mermaids and selachii (merfolk with shark tails) on film. Then Nerida is captured and held in the lab Cordelia's dad works for. Cordelia, Wade, Trent, and Dylan help her escape, but other mermaids are being captured all over the world, and Cordelia can't do anything about most of them. One baron in Spain even attempts Superhuman Trafficking of a captured merman, although the government makes him let the merman go before he can actually be sold.
  • In The Vazula Chronicles, merpeople think humans are a myth, and the government of the triple kingdoms tries to keep it that way to keep everyone inside the kingdoms and under their control. But in A Kingdom Discovered, mer guards see the human Heath and tell the other merpeople that humans are real. As damage control, the government kills some of the guards and fakes the deaths of the ones who escaped, then tells the citizens that humans are murderous beasts and anyone who goes near land will fall deathly ill.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Alphas, Doctor Rosen outs the existence of Alphas in the season 1 finale to spite Parrish, whose plans hinge on Alphas being a secret, and to stop the government from sticking Alphas into secret jails and forcibly recruiting them to use their powers. Unfortunately, season 2 shows that, by and large, he failed miserably. The government discredited him as insane and while there are increased rumors about Alphas, people who spread them are generally treated as crazy.
    • And as of "Alphaville", it is shown this didn't appear to cause as much good as Rosen hoped it would.
  • In iZombie, season 3 ends with thousands of people being deliberately infected with the zombie-virus through a tainted flu vaccine. With no alternative, Liv has Johnny Frost break the masquerade on live television, informing the people of Seattle what's about to happen to many of them.
  • In Supernatural, several times over the course of the series an innocent extra with an ordinary life has had an encounter with the supernatural that they can't brush off with a logical explanation and has stayed alive. Most hunters were originally ordinary people who went into the business when a supernatural creature killed a loved one and shattered their life.

Top

Auntie Roons' Big Entrance

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / InvisibleToNormals

Media sources:

Report