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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

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.


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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    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In Total Drama fanfic Courtney's Crusade for Redemption'' The whole story is narrated 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.

    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 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cape is narrated by Josie O'Malley.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Veronica Mars narrates her show. Like Burn Notice above, she mostly explains why private investigators do what they do in their investigations.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • How I Met Your Mother is narrated by an older version of the central character, Ted Mosby.
  • 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 a penance and that his mission is to help humans by giving them an item in the shop that they need to improve their lives.
  • 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.
  • Eerie, Indiana: The series is narrated by its protagonist Marshall Teller.


    Video Games 
  • 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 

  • ''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.

Video Example(s):


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.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

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Main / CharacterNarrator