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Character Narrator

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I did manage to find a few jumpsuits, and a few shirts, mostly of the touristy T-shirt type. You know the kind; "My dad went to the Caribbean and all I got was this crummy t-shirt?"
Whateley Universe: Merry Descent into Madness
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To further the reader into the environment, the characters, and the Aesop of a story, what some do is to have the story be narrated by one of its own characters. That character does the narration, and everything the reader takes in comes directly from his own Point of View. The character is usually also the protagonist, although there are exceptions (such as a First-Person Peripheral Narrator telling the story of a Non-P.O.V. Protagonist).

This can make the story more challenging to understand since you only get to know what this character thinks: if there are other characters, and there is a tension between them and the narrator, not only will you be in the dark about their purpose or morality, but all the info you get about him or her will be biased. Similarly for a person who the narrator specially admires, who will be portrayed as much more heroic and generally better than (s)he really is. In some cases, the narration could be even delusive, and the challenge is to understand the actual situation behind your referent's words.

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Subtrope to First-Person Perspective. Likely to be a Lemony Narrator. Also likely to invoke The All-Concealing "I". If excessively snarky, it's a First-Person Smartass. This person may be Narrating the Present. If they are the narrators but this only is discovered during The Reveal, this becomes Narrator All Along or a Delayed Narrator Introduction. Compare Interactive Narrator, who is known by and converses with the characters, but never appears onscreen, and Private Eye Monologue, which is this, but occasionally and generally more poetic. Rare outside literature.


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Examples

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    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • The Total Drama fanfic Courtney's Crusade for Redemption is narrated entirely from Courtney's point of view.
  • In Amazing Fantasy, lulls in the action get narrated by Izuku's future self. Peter gets narration privileges while going over his life's story to Izuku.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku narrates interludes in the first part of the story. All Might gets privileges during "The Übermenschen" arc and Bakugou gets them during "Deku's Pal, Katsuki Bakugou", which covers their first days at U.A.
  • Manehattan's Lone Guardian is told primarily from Leviathan's perspective, with occasional switches to third-person where necessary. From time to time she addresses "those who are viewing my memories", implying that she's anticipating that someone in the future will have the means of getting a hold of them.

    Films — Animated 
  • 101 Dalmatians opens with narration by Pongo.
  • The Emperor's New Groove plays with this. Kuzco serves as narrator, giving his version of events and snarking about the onscreen action. Eventually he is told to shut up by the onscreen Kuzco, who by this time has realized that it's his own fault he's in this mess.
  • Tangled has opening and closing narration from Flynn Rider, one of the two protagonists.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The narrator of 300 is revealed to be Dilios, who has been narrating the events of the film to his fellow Greek soldiers as they prepare to attack the Persians.
  • A Christmas Story has an adult version of little Ralphie narrating, and he's quite Sophisticated as Hell.
  • Bang the Drum Slowly is entirely from the perspective of Henry Wiggens; the entire tetralogy of books with Henry is written in this way.
  • Bloody Mama shows the passage of time by having Kate narrate over news footage and newspaper headlines from the time period.
  • Deadpool (2016) and Deadpool 2 are narrated by the titular character in frequent, trademark fourth wall breaks. In-universe, it is implied that Deadpool is mentally unstable and the audience is the imaginary friend he constantly talks to.
  • Don Jon is narrated by the titular character, who is the protagonist.
  • Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and its sequel are narrated by Chance, one of the canine protagonists.
  • In Kenny & Company, Kenny's voice-over provides background information, as well as his inner monologue.
  • In Like Normal People, Roger's older brother Bobby narrates at the beginning and end.
  • In Mandy (1952), Mandy's mother Kit narrates the first few scenes, up until the present day.
  • The man narrating the opening scene of Muppet Treasure Island ("I was Flint's first mate, that voyage...") is revealed to be Billy Bones in the next scene.
  • Murder Is My Beat has Patrick narrating as he explains How We Got Here.
  • In Nathan's Kingdom, Nathan's sister Laura provides occasional narration.
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower is narrated by the titular wallflower and protagonist, Charlie.
  • The Phenix City Story is narrated by John Patterson, son of Alabama Attorney General Nominee Albert Patterson.
  • The Rainbow Experiment: After Matty is badly burned in a chemistry accident, his body lies comatose in the hospital while his spirit haunts the school, talking to the camera to provide commentary and information nobody else has.
  • In Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love, Barry narrates roughly the first ten minutes and some scenes after that.
  • The titular character of the Spider-Man Trilogy has some narration, usually at the beginning of each film.
  • Morgan Freeman narrates The Shawshank Redemption as his character Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding.
  • Stand by Me: Richard Dreyfuss narrates as the adult version of Gordie Lachance (Wil Wheaton).
  • In Terror at Black Falls, Sheriff Cal narrates throughout the movie.
  • Bruce from Whitewash narrates his inner monologue as he tries to think of what to do next.
  • In The Wild Child, Itard narrates passages from his diary, describing Victor's progress.
  • ZigZag narrates many scenes of Zig Zag (2002).

    Literature 
  • Dan Abnett uses this in some of his Warhammer 40,000 novels:
    • The Eisenhorn trilogy is narrated to the reader by the titular Eisenhorn.
    • The Ravenor trilogy is a downplayed example. Parts of it are narrated by the titular Ravenor in first-person, but the bulk of it is in third-person, with the point-of-view cycling between various characters.
    • The Bequin trilogy is narrated by the titular Beta Bequin.
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • "Flies": This story occurs in third person, but from Dr Polen's perspective, complete with his Jade-Colored Glasses and memories of the past.
    • "The Callistan Menace": The entire story is told from the perspective of Jenkins, an average crew member of the Ceres in their effort to find out what happened to the previous seven attempts to explore Callisto.
    • "I'm in Marsport Without Hilda": Max is telling this story, about the time he visited his friend Flora without his wife, to an unknown audience. Much of the exposition is delivered directly to the audience in a relaxed, dialogue-like style.
    • "Nobody Here But—": The story is told from the first-person perspective of Bill Billings to an undescribed audience.
    • "Sally": The story is told from the first-person perspective of Jacob Folkers, who is the manager of a Farm for Retired Automobiles.
  • Quite a few Agatha Christie novels use this trope:
    • Hastings is the viewpoint protagonist who narrates the Hercule Poirot novels that he's featured in.
    • Some of the Hercule Poirot novels not featuring Hastings have a suspect doing the narration:
    • Endless Night has a similar narrator to the one in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.
  • Animorphs:
    • Every regular novel in the series is narrated by one of the six titular characters in a rotating order, though some (such as "The Departure") have two Animorphs narrate different chapters.
    • All six Animorphs narrate the Megamorphs novels (and the last regular novel, "The Beginning") in a similar way with different chapters, but without any specific order. However, in two Megamorphs novels and in "The Beginning", a character dies, and while they are resurrected at the end (but not in the case of "The Beginning"), they don't get to narrate for the rest of the novels.
    • The prequel novels also have this, usually with a framing device:
      • The Ellimist Chronicles has the Ellimist narrate the major events of his life to a dying Animorph, who's eventually revealed to be Rachel in "The Beginning".
      • In Visser, the former Visser One narrates the story of her invasion of Earth as part of her testimony during her trial by the Council of Thirteen.
      • The Hork-Bajir Chronicles is narrated by its three protagonists (Aldrea, Dak Hamee and Esplin 9466). The framing device involves Jara Hamee narrating the story to Tobias.
      • The Andalite Chronicles is narrated through a flashback by Elfangor, who is uploading his memory into his ship's computer before his final confrontation with Visser Three in "The Invasion".
  • Bubble2016 is narrated from Joe's perspective.
  • Camp X: The story is told from the perspective of George Braun.
  • Cape is narrated by Josie O'Malley.
  • Crabbe: The story is narrated by the title character, Franklin Crabbe.
  • In The Divine Comedy, Dante is the author, narrator, and main character.
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden narrates his adventures.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Kyon is both the main character and the narrator, and he likes talking about the weirdness around him a lot.
  • In I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, Ted is an Unreliable Narrator.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes franchise, Watson is the typical narrator, though there are stories that don't use him.
  • House of Robots is narrated from the perspective of The Protagonist, Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez.
  • The Last Human (2019) is narrated from the POV of XR_935.
  • In Malba Tahan's book, The Man Who Calculated, the narrator is an anonymous traveler who meets the Man who Calculated.
  • The League of Secret Heroes books tend to be narrated by Josie O'Malley.
  • Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls is narrated by Abigail Hunter.
  • The One and Only Ivan is told from the perspective of Ivan.
  • Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note and its spinoff Genie Team G Jiken Note are narrated in the voice of Aya Tachibana and her sister Nako respectively.
  • Unbelievably Boring Bart: Bartholomew Bean is both The Protagonist, and the narrator of the story.
  • Whateley Universe: Most, if not all, are narrated by their protagonists.
  • Kingdom on Fire: All the books in the series are narrated from the POV of Henrietta Howel.
  • The Land Mine: The story is told from the perspective of Derek.
  • The Proudest Blue: The story is told from the perspective of Asiya's little sister, Faizah.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: After a brief introduction by the announcer, Miss Brooks provides her own brief introduction and a few lines of narration after sponsor breaks or sets up the scene for the episode. This is mostly confined to the radio, however Miss Brooks occasionally provides narration on television as well. Most notably "Who's Who" in the fourth season.
  • Arrested Development eventually did this. Narrator Ron Howard didn't appear onscreen until the very end of season three (also the end of the show's run on Fox). He becomes a recurring guest character in season four.
  • Michael Westen is both the main character and narrator of Burn Notice. His narration mostly explains why spies do what they do in the course of their operations.
  • Dexter features a running narration from the eponymous main character explaining a variety of things from his feelings about what's currently happening to his motivations for the next actions he plans to take.
  • Eerie, Indiana: The series is narrated by its protagonist Marshall Teller.
  • How I Met Your Mother is narrated by an older version of the central character, Ted Mosby.
  • Earl Hickey is the main character and narrator of My Name Is Earl. In one "Rashomon"-Style episode, Randy, Joy, Darnell, and a local librarian get in on the act.
  • Five episodes of The Outer Limits (1995) feature narration from a character within the story as well as the usual opening and closing narration from the Control Voice. Only "What Will the Neighbors Think?" features character narration outside of The Teaser of the relevant episode.
    • "The Grell" features narration from the Grell slave Jesha explaining that his master High Secretary Paul Kohler's plane was shot down by the Grell rebels, which marked the beginning of a struggle for survival for Grell and human alike.
    • Mona Bailey's narration is heard throughout "What Will the Neighbors Think?".
    • "Starcrossed" features narration from Michael Ryan explaining the war with the Hing, an alien race who invaded Earth in 2050, and its aftermath.
    • "Abaddon" features narration from Gwen Hutchinson explaining the manner in which the North American Corporation has controlled the lives of its shareholders, previously called citizens, since its foundation in 2102.
    • "Alien Shop" features narration from the alien shopkeeper explaining that he was sent to Earth as penance and that his mission is to help humans by giving them an item in the shop that they need to improve their lives.
  • The sitcom Saved by the Bell is narrated by main character Zac Morris in frequent fourth wall breaks to the audience which the other characters ignore.
  • If we look at the Captain's Log from Star Trek as a form of narration, then they also count as this as they are recorded by the ship's Captain. Star Trek: The Next Generation expanded this to other crew members as well.
  • Taken: The series is narrated by the nine-year-old Allie Keys in 2002. The identity of the narrator does not become entirely clear until the final scene of the sixth episode "Charlie and Lisa" but it was hinted at in several previous episodes. For instance, in "High Hopes", "Acid Tests" and "Maintenance", she speaks about her grandfathers during scenes showing Jacob Clarke and Jesse Keys.
  • Veronica Mars narrates her show. Like Burn Notice above, she mostly explains why private investigators do what they do in their investigations.

    Radio 
  • Our Miss Brooks: After a brief introduction by the announcer, Miss Brooks provides her own brief introduction and a few lines of narration after sponsor breaks or sets up the scene for the episode. This is mostly confined to the radio, however Miss Brooks occasionally provides narration on television as well. Most notably "Who's Who" in the fourth season.
  • Dimension X:
  • Journey into Space is narrated by Doc Matthews through the medium of his diary.
  • X Minus One:
    • In "Martian Sam", Joe, one of the ball club players, acts as narrator for the story, telling the audience about what he had seen and monologuing his opinions about the characters and settings.
    • In "The C-Chute", Stuart, one of the Supporting Protagonist characters, is the one narrating the events of this story.

    Video Games 
  • All Is Dust 2015: The game is narrated by Thomas Joad during cutscenes.
  • BUCK: Saturday Morning Cartoon Apocalypse is narrated by Buck's father.
  • Almost the first three quarters of Final Fantasy X includes occasional narration from main character Tidus as the story goes along. Eventually the story catches up to Tidus' present, and it's shown that he's actually been telling the story to the rest of the party on The Quest, only now he's being completely honest and giving them his own perspective on what happened.
  • Conquests of Camelot is narrated by Merlin.
  • Conquests of the Longbow has the Troubadour narrating the introduction and ending; during the game, Robin Hood is his own narrator.
  • The Max Payne games are presented as flashbacks of the title character, who narrates his (past self's) thoughts over the gameplay.
  • The title character on Skippy and the Curse of the Temple of Ock (based on the TV series) narrates as the story goes along.
  • The Witcher games are narrated by the protagonist Geralt of Rivia's troubadour friend Dandelion.
  • In Bastion, the narrator is an old man named Rucks that The Kid encounters early on who stays in the hub area.
  • In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, the game is presented as Athena retelling the events of Handsome Jack's rise to power to the Crimson Raiders.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: In the pilot episode, "Ruby Rose", a female narrator describes the world of Remnant; her cynicism and bitterness is countered by a more positive and optimistic male narrator, who is quickly revealed to be Professor Ozpin. Her own response is narrated at the conclusion of Volume 3, which leads to Salem's on-screen reveal. Both of them narrate episodes from the world-building World of Remnant mini-series; Salem takes the Volume 2 segments and Ozpin, the Volume 3 ones. Ozpin also narrates the world-building RWBY: Fairy Tales episodes, appearing on-screen in the fifth episode to conclude his role in the mini-series.

    Webcomics 
  • Homestuck:
    • A fictionalized version of Andrew Hussie appears in the comic as its narrator. He purports to be the author as well, but this doesn't stop the other characters from interacting with him in ways he doesn't like, up to and including killing him.
    • This concept is weaponized in The Homestuck Epilogues. In the Meat timeline, Dirk's ascent to his Ultimate Self has given him the power to control the narration. He can't directly control what other characters say and do, but when he narrates what they're thinking in the second person, that makes them think it. Alternate Calliope has a stronger version of this ability that doesn't require use of the second person and nullifies Dirk's power when they're in the same space. To rerail his plans, he's forced to incapacitate her.

    Western Animation 
  • Gravity Falls:
    • The series is bookended by narration from one of the main characters, Dipper Pines.
    • The episode "Little Gift Shop of Horrors" has the Framing Device of Stan narrating three tales (which form the episode's miniplots) to a late-night customer.
  • Doug has our eponymous protagonist narrating most of his misadventures and experiences during his residence at his new home in Bluffington, and everything is all written in his trusty journal.
  • The travails of John Pettybone in Tex Avery's Dixieland Droopy are remarked upon by a narrator who goes unseen until the closing scene. It's Pee Wee Runt, the lead musician of a band of performing fleas that took up residence in John's fur.
    ... for you see, he, that flea, Pee Wee, is me. See?
    • A similar reveal is used for "The First Bad Man", where the narrator of the story of Dinosaur Dan, the first Texas outlaw, is none other than Dinosaur Dan himself, still in prison after a million years, asking is fellow Texans to let him out.
  • In Blaze and the Monster Machines, there's Bump Bumperman, the announcer of the race competitions in Axle City, that serves as narrator for the crowd about the events that happen to Blaze and his friends to get into the race.
  • KaBlam!'s Life with Loopy has her older brother Larry as the narrator.
  • The title character on Tracey McBean.
  • Art Garfunkel appears as a character in the Arthur episode, "The Ballad of Buster Baxter". For the most part, he simply sings events off to the side, away from the main characters, but at one point, Buster criticizes his happy music as not being very sad, when he's singing about Buster being in a sad mood. At the end of the episode, the characters then uncomfortably realize they have no idea who this person that has been stalking them was.
  • The Tom and Jerry cartoon "Blue Cat Blues" is told from Jerry's narrative as he tells of how Tom's heart was captured and subsequently broken by a girl cat who found greener pastures with the more affluent Butch.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Mindy's Mystery", Sydney narrates most of the episode, describing Mindy's efforts to solve the mystery.

 
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Brandon Was His Name...

Speaking like he is a part of a horror story, Brandon introduces himself within the episode of Elliot Goes Camping as though he is from Alan Wake.

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