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Indian Summer

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The last rose of summer, is blooming on the lawn
All her lovely companions are faded and gone...
Thomas Moore, "The Last Rose of Summer"

In any setting where exists a standard four season climate, there will always be an episode or chapter where it is unseasonably warm and beautiful. This will always occur at the beginning or end of summer (depending on whether summers in the area are known for being oppressively hot and humid, or blessed and carefree, respectively.)

Indian summer weather is always important to the plot, as it signifies the beginning of the last chapter in the characters' relationship — a romance, a road trip, etc. The characters are able to enjoy some carefree time together right before things start to go south.

If it is a Coming of Age Story, the last time the characters get together to have fun before going their separate ways will always be an unseasonably warm and pleasant day. Some huge relationship battle will invariably occur and separate the tight-knit group of characters by nightfall, only to have them reunite (possibly years later) in more depressing circumstances, usually in the rain. There may be a Summer Romance occurring slightly later than usual.

Compare Bittersweet Ending. Inverse of It's Always Spring. Closely related to First Snow.

Contrast Dreaming of a White Christmas, Heat Wave.

Not to be confused with the weather in India, although the trope fully applies to works set in South Asia on unseasonably cool days, or with a certain anime of the same name (alternately known as Koharu Biyori).


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  • Attack of the Clones, natch. That romantic episode on Naboo is set during a warm, gentle summer, and then suddenly Anakin's mother dies on Tatooine and the Clone Wars are kick-started.


  • From the backstory to The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn's season with Arwen in beautiful, dreamlike Lothlórien, at the end of which they get their Relationship Upgrade, and after which all the real hard work and war kicks in. It's the one time between the discovery of his lineage and destruction of Sauron that Aragorn allows himself some respite, and the summer is remembered very fondly afterwards.
  • The first Redwall book takes place during what the Abbey residents call the Summer of the Late Rose. The aptly named Methuselah says he can only remember three summers in his lifetime when the roses bloomed so late.
  • The fourth chapter of Yukikaze is called "Indian Summer" and introduces the Canadian Native American character Tom "Tomahawk" John as they investigate the silent Banshee-IV carrier. John and Rei end up making actual physical contact with the JAM, ending in John's death. It's likely this chapter took place in summer, considering the next chapter is called "Faery - Winter."
  • Although the world of A Song of Ice and Fire doesn't have a normal seasonal cycle, instead having summers and winters that last variable numbers of years at a time, at the beginning of the series, Westeros has had an unusually long (about a decade) and peaceful summer, with the characters worried this will mean a particularly long and harsh winter. The end of the summer coincides with the breaking of the peace and the reemergence of the Others, who threaten to bring eternal winter, never mind an unusually harsh one.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: In the Distant Prologue, Galadriel remembers her idyllic childhood in Valinor, where the Two Trees kept the realm in a state of perpetual summer. Child Galadriel and Finrod share some heartwarming moments before Galadriel starts to narrate how things went immediately south because of Morgoth. Everything she narrates after Morgoth destroyed Laurelin and Telperion takes place in Middle-earth, her brother's death and the War of Wrath all happen among flames and heavy rain, contrasting the earlier warm climate of Valinor.
  • This is the title of a masturbation-themed episode of Mad Men. The Indian summer causes Betty to consider buying an air conditioner from a door-to-door salesman, whom she invites into the house and later fantasizes about while she has an unplanned intimate moment with her washing machine.


  • "That Summer" by Garth Brooks
  • "Strawberry Wine" by Deana Carter
  • "All Summer Long" by Kid Rock
  • "L'été indien" by Joe Dassin
  • Indian Summer by The Doors
  • "Indian Summer" by the Dream Academy. YouTube video here.
  • "Indian Summer" by Brooks and Dunn
  • "A Summer Song" by Chad and Jeremy
  • "Indian Summer" by The Saw Doctors
  • "Indian Summer" by Tori Amos
  • "Indian Summer" by Joe Walsh (of Eagles).

    Western Animation 

  • In the South Park ep. "Summer Sucks" when the boys got out of school for Summer Vacation all the snow melted. This was implied to last about a month.

    Real Life/Other 

  • The old name for this was St. Martin's Summer, named for the feast-day of St. Martin of Tours, November 11.
  • Britain had glorious weather in October 1986. (Exactly one year later, though, there was a horrendous storm.)
    • In Britain if you even get nice weather for one day you WILL have cold and wet the next. For at least a week.
  • In the Midwest United States, Indian Summer refers to a period of warmer weather after the first killing frost. However, it doesn't happen every year.
  • Southern California sometimes has a weather condition known as the Santa Anas, winds from the northeast that for a number of reasons tend to be very dry and very warm, usually occurring in fall. The record high temperature recorded in San Diego is 111 degrees Fahrenheit; it has occurred twice, both times only a few days before the end of September during Santa Ana conditions.