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Narrator All Along

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Santa: You know things you shouldn't. Things you couldn't. How did you know [...]?
Junpei: Well... that's...
The Narrator: The answer to that was easy. He knew because I knew.

The presence of a narrator in some form is one of the most fundamental tropes, but that doesn't stop writers from having some fun with it. For the purposes of this trope, the narrator is an in-story character, but their exact identity is kept obscured from the audience until the closing moments of the tale, where they dramatically reveal, implicitly or otherwise, that they had a role in the action, and a vested interest in the story's outcome. In fact, it might be why they're relating the story to you in the first place.

Note that this only applies when the narrator's identity is a form of Tomato Surprise. Many stories openly acknowledge the narrator's identity as an in-story character from the very beginning, and are not examples of this trope.

This is especially likely to happen in fictional film and television works made after, say, 1990. Since the camera itself is usually omniscient, having an omniscient independent narrator on top of it seems to be frowned on by scriptwriters, even when one might be useful. So the filmmakers have what sounds like an omniscient narrator, and then flippantly ID the character in the last pre-credits reel. In video games, it is likely the narrator is the Final Boss themselves should this trope kick in.

Related to the Literary Agent Hypothesis. Can overlap with Unreliable Narrator. If the story is being told to another character in-universe, it's …And That Little Girl Was Me. Compare Unseen Audience, Nostalgic Narrator, I Should Write a Book About This, Delayed Narrator Introduction, Future Self Reveal.

Warning: Unmarked spoilers ahead.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Berserk (1997) has the Opening Narration and On the Next for each episode delivered by a deep, sinister voice, which is revealed in the final episodes to belong to Void, the de facto leader of the Godhand before Griffith became Femto.
  • At the end of every chapter in The Demon Girl Next Door, a narrator chimes in with encouragement or advice for the titular demon girl, Yuko. Near the end of the second volume of the manga, and at the end of the Animated Adaptation, it's revealed that the narrator is Yuko's father, who has been sealed into the box of oranges that her family has been using as a table for ten years, and he has been watching over her the entire time. As Yuko gets closer to her Friendly Enemy the local Magical Girl Momo, and her sealed ancestor Lilith, the narrator extends his encouragements to them, too.
  • The finale of Digimon Adventure 02 shows that the entire season (and possibly the previous one) was Takeru writing his novels. This has apparently raised a few questions as to how he managed to get some of the details, so some fans just say the last episode was his book. (The info that he was writing the book however was given in the 25 years later epilogue.)
  • The first couple of episodes of Durarara!! are narrated by an unidentified female voice. Only at the end of the second do we learn that it was the Headless Rider, whose gender had been somewhat unclear to the audience, all along.
    • Being headless, she never actually talks in-universe, rather she communicates by typing things out on her phone which is accompanied with a voice over.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood pulls something similar to Berserk (1997) as its opening narration is delivered by the Big Bad, Father.
  • Another villain example (and an odd example of this) is in Gankutsuou. The opening narration is done by the same actor as the one voicing the Count, who he refers to as "my friend". At first you might think that the narrator is supposed to be Alexandre Dumas (especially since in the sub, the narration is delivered in French), but it eventually becomes clear that the narrator is actually the titular Gankutsuou, the evil split personality of/demon possessing the Count.
  • In Gundam Unicorn, it's heavily implied that Syam Vist, who shares his voice actor with the narrator from the original Mobile Suit Gundam actually is the narrator from the original Mobile Suit Gundam.
    • This also happened with DOME in Gundam X.
    • And with Flit Asuno in Gundam AGE, who is the "narrator" of the whole first part... that he was the protagonist of
  • Magu-chan: God of Destruction paints the medium by giving beings of chaos different kinds of speech bubbles. Yupisusu's speech bubbles are all rectangular—just like the boxes containing the series narration. Sure enough, they end up traveling back in time to observe the series' events, implying they provided the narration.
  • Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water has one, possibly two of these. A sixteen-year-old Marie is revealed to be the narrator of the entire series at the very end of the last episode. The English-language trailers imply another narrator in their voiceover: An elderly-sounding woman who is addressed as "Grandma" by a child offers to tell the story, and might possibly be Nadia herself.note 
  • In the final chapter of PandoraHearts, it is heavily hinted that Gilbert, having survived for another 100 years until Oz and Alice are reincarnated again, is the narrator of the story all along.
  • The Mega Evolution specials of Pokémon the Series: XY are all narrated by the same male voice. Only in the second episode do we find out it's actually a character... Big Bad Lysandre. Interestingly, he was already present twice in-universe in the first episode: he first speaks on Alain's Holo Caster without being shown nor named, and is later shown but silent. The second episode, in which he finally gets a credited speaking role, revealed him as both the narrator and as Alain's mysterious interlocutor.
  • Episode three of Sasami-san@Ganbaranai begins with Sasami re-imagining the Hare of Inaba folktale as we're treated to visuals of her as the "rabbit." This would appear to be an aesthetic choice, if Sasami weren't repeatedly praising of the rabbit for its cuteness and intelligence.
  • The final episode of Space☆Dandy reveals that the Narrator is literally, textually God.
  • The Opening Narrations of each episode of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann are narrated by a 41-year-old Simon, a fact revealed at the very end of the last episode.
  • The narrator in the The World is Still Beautiful anime? It's Nike's grandmother.
  • The narrator at the end of the Young Black Jack anime is revealed to be Black Jack as an adult telling his own origin story. The kicker is that the narrator is voiced by the original actor to have played Black Jack in the original 2004 anime series.
  • In YuYu Hakusho it is discovered in the last episodes, although hinted at shortly before, that Koenma's ogre assistant George was the narrator of the show- quite literally, since it is revealed that the show itself is the records of the protagonists' adventures that Koenma kept (hence the title, which, while using the original Japanese name, is nonetheless translated by Funimation as "Ghost Files").

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Black and White: In "Greetings from... Gotham City", a small-town boy who recently moved to Gotham writes a postcard home to his mother, telling her how he saw Batman in action against a gang of jewel thieves. The artwork on the first page highlights a clean-cut onlooker, implying he's the narrator, but the final page reveals it's actually one of the jewel thieves. "P.S. It doesn't look like I'm gonna make it home for Thanksgiving."
  • One issue of Civil War (2006) reveals that the narrator had been Sue Storm, following Iron Man around invisibly, partly as a spy, partly waiting for a chance to try and talk some sense into him. She also points out that she could have killed him easily at pretty much any point.
  • Enigma ends with the snarky narrator being revealed as a talking lizard (an offhand creation by the title character) trying to tell the story to a group of ordinary lizards.
  • In one of the issues of Shade, the Changing Man, the text is written in the second person, but in the end, one of the characters says that he'll write down what happened, but write it as a comic, put it in the second person, and put it under some weird pen name, like say, Peter Milligan.
  • The My Little Pony: Equestria Girls comic reveals at its very end that the narrator for the second half turned out to be Sunset Shimmer.
  • One Spider-Man comic retelling his origin presents the story from an outside narrator's perspective only for it to turn out to be Peter near the end.
  • The last battle of Asgard at the end of everything (Ragnarök!) in issue #16 of Loki: Agent of Asgard turns out to be narrated by... well enjoy the meta:
    Narration: ...until the sky-fire stole Midgard and her twin, burned both and ended all. [next page] All save this telling. All save the teller — he who is Moon-King, trickster, wanderer, free and unfettered... Loki his name. Would you know more? [and at this point Loki stopped narrating and pocketed the story]
  • Venom: The End ends by revealing the story was being narrated by the leader of the Stark-based artificial intelligences, explaining the Technobabble and sarcasm-heavy narration.
  • A story from EC Comics' The Crypt of Terror has two shady travel agents booking trips for rich people in order to burgle those people's homes when they leave for vacation. They get a call from one T. Charles Kingman, wanting to take a month-long African safari. The two show up at Kingman's house when he leaves, finding a decrepit old mansion, and proceed to break in, only to be attacked and besieged by monsters — vampires, zombies, werewolves, mummies — once inside the mazelike catacombs underneath the mansion. Miraculously, they survive, but it takes them a month to find their way out. The second-to-last panel shows them crawling out the front door, traumatized and near-catatonic from their experience, past the bare feet of the returning Kingman. The last panel reveals that "T. Charles Kingman" is actually the Crypt Keeper, who learned a great deal on his trip about the head-shrinking techniques of an African cannibal tribe.
  • Emerald Twilight: Who is narrating the fights between Hal Jordan and the other Green Lanterns? The narrator reveals himself at the end of the issue, just before stepping into battle himself. He is Sinestro.
  • King in Black: Issue #3's narrator seems concerned, but only manages to join the battle at the end of the issue. He is the Silver Surfer (semi-expected character, since he didn't take part on big fights on Earth for long, but he recently fought Knull).
  • MediEvil: Fate's Arrow: The framing story features a man in bandages and sunglasses talking to Professor Darrow, an archaeologist in present day Cambridge who has devoted her life to studying Sir Daniel Fortesque and detailing his ultimate fate after the events of MediEvil 2. At the end of the story, Darrow finds the man's tales incredible and asks him how he could possibly know what he knows; he replies, "Because I was there", and reveals himself to be none other than Dan.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Appledashery: This story (link here) is mostly told in the third person but is shown in brief first-person interludes to be chronicled by an in-universe character familiar with the protagonist. It's not clear who until, in one of the main (up to this point) third-person chapters, the Cutie Mark Crusaders enter the scene and the narration suddenly switches to "I" after Scootaloo is addressed, although this is admittedly not a particularly shocking or critical reveal (and occurs relatively early in the Doorstopper).
  • Burning Stickman: The Prototype: In this Mega Man (Classic) fanfiction (link here), written as a recorded memoir narrated by Proto Man, reveals in the last few lines that the professor to whom the two students brought the laptop in the first place is none other than the eponymous prototype himself.
  • In Death Note II: The Hidden Note, it's revealed in the final chapter that the story has been told to us by three Shinigami: Ryuk, Arik, and Ruoma.
  • Fallout: Equestria: The Afterword reveals the entire story up to that point had been a book written by Littlepip herself, edited by Life Bloom.
  • At the end of Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness, Yukari is revealed to be telling the story to Renko Usami at an undisclosed point in time, even derailing the author's attempt to end the story prematurely.
  • In Fobbies Are Borange, the Narrator turns out to be Giygas himself in the very last episode.
  • In the One Piece deconstruction fic Marie D. Suesse and the Mystery New Pirate Age!, the main villain, a Trafalgar Law-crazed Mary Sue, derails the OP world. The omniscient Lemony Narrator telling the story of how the world was eventually fixed turns out to be Trafalgar Law himself.
  • The Perfect Little Village Of Ponyville: This story (link here) has two narrators, one talking in black text and insisting that this backstory is how the world has always been—and an actually objective, disembodied narrator who talks in blue text and reveals that something has gone very wrong. Eventually, Vinyl Scratch figures out that the entire story is a dream, and Twilight Sparkle is the dreamer. At that point, the black text narrator starts referring to Twilight in first person and arguing directly with Vinyl, completely giving herself away.
  • The narrator of Pokédex turns out to be Arceus himself.
  • Wings Of The Zero: This tongue-in-cheek Zero Wing fanfic (link here) ends with the reveal that CATS is the narrator, and his side won the war.
  • The Paper Mario: The Temple of the Sun reveals that Goomblaine has been narrating the story and also implying him to have been the narrator of the canon Paper Mario games.
  • The Crystal and the Mirage has Rarity being told a tale about a unicorn and a dragon that fell in love in the past by her "Grandpa Merc", a distant relative of hers, to help her with her own hang ups on a relationship she's not sure of. At the end, it's revealed to be the story about how he and her great-great-great-grandmother met and fell in love, and he's secretly the dragon, Mirage.
  • Kedabory's Elmore Chronicles: "The Fable" ends with someone in the Void critiquing how unrealistic the plot is, revealing that the whole story was, in fact, a fable made up by Rob.

    Films — Animation 
  • A meta example with Aladdin, in which Genie was supposed to have been the narrator. Fans picked up on the obvious clues (e.g. both are voiced by the great Robin Williams and the narrator is the only human with four fingers on each hand, a trait shared with the Genie) and kept believing it for years until the creators confirmed in 2015 that yes, Genie and the peddler in the opening scene are indeed one and the same.
  • At the end of Balto, the grandmother telling the story to her granddaughter in the live-action framing scenes is revealed to be an elderly Rosy.
  • In The Book of Life, the film is set up as a story that a museum tour guide is telling to some kids on a field trip with the help of a creepy old security guard. At the end of the film, when they finish the story the tour guide and security guard reveal themselves to be La Muerte and Xibalba, retelling the story so that the characters will be remembered by someone and be allowed to rest in the underworld.
  • In El Cid: The Legend, the movie opens and closes with a voiceover revealed at the end to be a much older Alfonso, as Alfonso VI the Brave, King of León and Castile, who is retelling El Cid's legend and how he learned his lesson of honor.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas was originally supposed to end with a closing narration that would have revealed Santa was the narrator in the first scene and he still visits Jack and Sally's family long after the events of the film. It's still included on the film's soundtrack.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The final scene of 300 reveals that the narrator was Dilios, relating the film's events to a much larger army of Spartans and Greeks prior to a full-scale battle with Persia. This conveniently explains the film's historical inaccuracies, fantastical elements, and anti-Persian bias: Dilios is exaggerating for propaganda purposes.
  • In the very last scene, Braveheart turns out to be narrated by The Atoner. Also, he has the most badass sword short of giving it a name.
  • The final scene of The Cat in the Hat reveals that the narrator is actually The Cat himself using a voice modulator inside his hat.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ends with the revelation that the narrator, voiced by Geoffrey Holder, is one of the Ooompa-Loompas.
  • In Chocolat, the narrator turned out to be the daughter.
  • At the end of Cinderella (2015), the narrator is revealed to be the Fairy Godmother.
  • Darling: The film is peppered throughout with narration, actually interacting with the film a couple of times. It can be Unreliable, with Blatant Lies contradicted by the action onscreen. We find out at the end that the narration is Diana's interview with Ideal Woman magazine.
  • Near the end of The Fabulous Filipino Brothers, it's revealed that the narrator was Doris, the titular brothers' younger sister.
  • A variation of this trope appears in the Denzel Washington movie Fallen. You're supposed to think the narrator is the hero recounting his adventure, until the ending reveals that it's actually the body-possessing demon Azazel, with the movie really being the story of how the hero ALMOST outwitted him.
  • The narrator and main character of Fight Club and Tyler Durden are one and the same.
  • In Fried Green Tomatoes, Kathy Bates' character hears most of the story through an old woman's narration. She spends much of the end of the film trying to guess which character the old woman was.
  • Hoboken Hollow has what sounds a generic folksy narrator introducing characters and commenting on the action as it unfolds. However, the final scene reveals that the narrator is actually Weldon Broderick without his Obfuscating Disability.
  • It Could Happen to You turns out to be narrated by Angel Dupree, a reporter working undercover as a homeless man. He was present for significant parts of the narrative, but doesn't have any lines before this is revealed - presumably any scene he couldn't have witnessed himself he heard about secondhand.
  • At the end of James and the Giant Peach, we learn that the narrator at the beginning is the same strange man who gave James the "crocodile tongues" that led to the creation of the Peach and transformation of the bugs.
  • Journey To Bethlehem: The film ends with the revelation that the narrator was Mary telling the story to a young Jesus, as part of His scripture lessons.
    Mary: And that is the story of how You came to us.
  • The events of Jump In! is revealed to be narrated by Rodney Tyler, the reformed Big Bad, to a group of children.
  • In the 1942 film Jungle Book, the old man telling the story to the European tourists turns out to be the main villain of the story—Buldeo, the hunter who harassed Mowgli, almost killed his mother, and nearly burned down the forest.
  • The Last Broadcast has the narrator obvious all along do the documentary style. The twist is that he was the murderer in the case the documentary is about.
  • In Life Is Beautiful, the narrator turns out to be the son.
  • Love the Coopers turns out to be narrated by Rags, the family dog. There are many scenes he wasn't present for and logically couldn't have heard about, but Rule of Funny applies.
  • At the end of the Mad Max film Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, the narrator turns out to be the feral boy whom Max saved who, according to the ending narration, learned how to talk from the people he's leaving with.
  • At the end of Maleficent, the narrator is revealed to be Aurora, who now rules as The High Queen of the human kingdom and the Moors.
    Narrator: I should know, for I was the one they called "Sleeping Beauty".
  • In Peter Rabbit, an older Flopsy who has lost her lisp turns out to be the narrator.
  • Posse: The onscreen narrator (the elderly Woody Strode) tells the story of Jesse Lee and his gang of Anti Heroes. At the movie's climax, the posse saves a village. Before leaving, Jesse gives his journal to the youngest survivor. Cut to Strode, reading from the book he's kept all these years.
  • Primer has hooded Aaron revealed as the narrator at the end, leaving a voicemail to an alternate version of himself, or the newest version of Abe—it's hard to figure out by way of being Mr. Exposition. Not that it's terribly obvious...
  • Star Wars animation director Rob Coleman says that George Lucas told him that the Opening Scroll to each movie is actually R2-D2 explaining the story to the keeper of the Journal of The Whills hundreds years after the events of the films, hence the famous text giving the setting as "a long time ago".
  • In Sucker Punch, the audience is led to believe that Babydoll is the main character. Eventually, it's revealed that the real main character and the person narrating the movie is Sweet Pea.
  • A variation occurs in Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line: significant portions of the voiceover cannot be attributed to any of the major characters, and the end shows them to come from the mind of Pvt. Train, a minor character unseen for most of the film.
  • The Three Musketeers (1973) reveals at the very end that Aramis was doing the voice-overs all along.
  • In The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, the old man telling the story to two tourists is revealed to be the young boy in the story.

  • In Tom Robbins's Another Roadside Attraction, the narrator reveals that he's Marx Marvelous, aka Tom Robbins. An unusual case, as it is revealed halfway through the book.
  • In the first Arsène Lupin story, the narrator is Lupin himself.
  • In Bad Day in Blackrock by Kevin Power, in the closing pages it is revealed that the narrator is the brother of the young man killed in the course of the story.
  • The BFG by Roald Dahl uses this, where the narrator is the BFG himself.
  • Yunior is revealed to be the main narrator of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao about a third of the way through the book.
  • The Broken Earth Trilogy: The end of The Stone Sky reveals that the second-person narration is by Essun's Stone Eater companion Hoa, collecting his thoughts about her story to help her process her own Metamorphosis into a Stone Eater.
  • Mark Twain's first published story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, is about how a man rigged a jumping frog competition. At the end the narrator beats a hasty retreat after he is recognized by someone, implying that the narrator is the man in the story, still on the lam.
  • At the end of The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, the narrator finally reveals himself to be The Shadow. It makes perfect sense and it's awesome.
  • There was a story in EQMM that had this structure. It opened with the narrator in prison trying to figure out where things went wrong. The narrator had fallen for a neighbor's wife, and had been manipulated into killing said neighbor. The narrator then recounted the events of a few months previous, but told them in the third person "to keep the account neutral". At the end, the story revealed which character was the narrator.
  • Irvine Welsh's novel Filth appears to have four narrators: the main character Bruce Robertson, a crooked, racist, misogynistic, manipulative, and promiscuous policeman; his estranged wife Carole, whose chapters are written in bold; the unnamed murderer, whose crime Bruce is investigating, and whose only chapter is also written in bold; and an unusually self-aware tapeworm living in Bruce's intestines, whose narrations are inside tube-like structures that interrupt Bruce's narrations in some places. In the end it turns out that the "Carole" chapters are in fact narrated by Bruce wearing her clothes and make-up as a way of coping with their separation. What is more, the "murderer" was also Bruce dressed as Carole and the victim was the man who had had an affair with the real Carole.
  • In Jorge Luis Borges's short story The Form of the Sword (also translated The Shape of the Sword), a narrator tells how he was in an Irish revolutionary movement but betrayed to the police by a comrade, who he portrays as a weakling and a coward who lacked the courage of his convictions. Guess what is revealed at the end.
  • In Fred Saberhagen's The Holmes-Dracula File, chapters alternate between Sherlock Holmes' side of the story, told as usual in the first person by Dr Watson, and Count Dracula's story, in the third person. Several chapters in, the narrator of the alternate chapters admits to the reader that he is Dracula, and switches to the first person.
  • In The House of My Enemy is one of the short stories in Charles de Lint's Newford series. The narrator appears to be the new character Annie, but in the end is revealed to be the recurring character Jilly.
  • The end of James and the Giant Peach (also by Roald Dahl) reveals that it was written by James himself.
  • In John Varley's Millennium (1983) (the book, but not the film of the book), the narrator is assumed to be the Big Computer, but reveals himself to be God.
  • The final sentence of the Mortal Engines quartet is the same as the very first, revealing the narrator to be Shrike.
  • In the Agatha Christie novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, the two key things about the narrator are his identity and his being the murderer. In the book, you know the former from the start, the latter being The Reveal; the TV adaptation reverses this, with the Framing Device of Hercule Poirot reading the journal (so excerpts are read in his voice).
  • In the end of Albert Camus' The Plague, it is revealed that the main character was the narrator all along.
  • Mawhrin-Skel /Flere-Imsaho in The Player of Games.
  • The Redwall series does this a lot, where the story is framed as being told to someone else, and the narrator is either someone directly involved with the tale, or closely related to/descended from a main character in the plot.
  • The teller of the titular Scary Stories For Young Foxes turns out to be none other than Mia, the female co-lead. Likewise, The City features a similar twist with the wounded narrator turning out to be R-211, who tells a group of kits what happened to his cousin and the others so they'll help.
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket at first appears to be a standard-issue third-person omniscient narrator, but over the course of the series (in particular, through paratexts like the dedications and "in the next volume..." teasers), he gradually reveals more and more information about how he himself is involved in the story. Not all the questions raised by his hints are answered in the series, but by the end it's pretty clear that he was the third sibling of Jacques and Kit Snicket, a member of the VFD before the schism (and almost certainly on the opposite side to the Baudelaires), and the lover of Mrs Baudelaire before she got married. Though, really, that just raises further questions...
  • Played for Laughs as early as The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit in 1899. The narrator keeps praising one of the main characters as being so clever and brave, and how it isn't his fault when things go wrong. Then the narrator begins forgetting to use the grammatical third person...
  • In "The Storyteller"'s first chapter, a child begs someone for a story, and thus begins the tale of 'Jack storyteller' at the end, the child thanks Grandpa Jack for the story, declining to ask Grandma (name of the woman Jack marries in the story) if it's true, stating " I believe you."
  • In the Robert Bloch short story "The Yugoslaves", the narrator is an old man trying to catch up with some street urchins who've picked his pocket. On the last page, we learn that the narrator is a vampire. Another Bloch story, "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper" twists when you learn the narrator's identity in the final lines.
  • Piers Anthony's Firefly has a story within a story example, and quite an unpleasant one. One character has a talent for writing, but her stories always somehow involve both sexual awakening and tragic death. The story that turns out to be hers is the most shocking of the lot—sexually abused by both her father and her brother, she found comfort in the arms of a man she'd only just met—at six years old. He was caught, put in prison, and knifed by an inmate who hated child molesters, and she blames herself for his death.
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler starts as a third-person account of two kids who hide in a museum, but eventually leads to a mystery, which the narrator is intimately involved with.
  • Played with in The Blind Assassin, where it is not completely clear until the end which of the two central sisters is the narrator.
  • In the novel Soglyadatay (translated as The Eye) by Vladimir Nabokov, it turns out that the narrator is Smurov himself, who has serious problems with detachment from his own identity. He's a compulsive liar and has a driving desire to observe himself from the outside. Possibly his disassociation was brought on by being a closeted homosexual.
  • In Marilyn French's The Women's Room, the narrator is revealed to be Mira. We don't find this out until the last two or three pages of the book, after she explains what happened to all the other members of the group.
  • In the Book of the Long Sun, the narration appears to be in the omniscient third-person. Half-way through the fourth and final volume it is revealed that the narrator is actually Horn, one of the students of the protagonist, who has a very limited perspective on events.
  • The Gospel According to St John in The Bible makes this Older Than Feudalism — sort of. We do know that John was writing from his own experiences, but he narrates it in omniscient third-person voice so that you could almost forget he was there for the events he describes until right at the end, when he confirms that the unnamed "disciple whom Jesus loved" was his way of referring to himself.
  • Sort of inverted in the first book of The Stormlight Archive. The character Dalinar has periodic visions of ancient history narrated to him by an unknown presence. At the end of the book he has two revelations: the narrator's identity (the God of his religion) and that he is not actually narrating to him, it's just an anonymous recording like a message in a bottle, because he's already dead. So in this case a narrator that was thought to play a direct role in the story is revealed not to.
  • Jill Paton Walsh's The Green Book is told in first person - but only in first person plural - and while much of the story focuses on the character of Pattie, it's only vaguely implied who the actual narrator is until the last few pages... when it becomes clear that Pattie is narrating, referring to herself in third person, and that the whole story is what she has written in her eponymous green book, the only book she possesses after she and her family left Earth That Was.
  • The last lines of The Last Guardian reveal that the narrator of the entire series is Holly, telling the stories to an amnesiac Artemis to help jog his memory.
    • Though it's possible that she's just reciting from Argon's case file, as that was the Framing Device for the first book.
  • In Go, Mutants!, the narrator turns out to be the protagonist, J!m's, father, previously believed to be dead.
  • In The Night Circus, the narrator turns out to be Widget, which makes sense given his abilities.
  • In The Stone Canal, part of Ken MacLeod's Fall Revolution series, the odd chapters are about (amongst other things) a man called Jon Wilde being cloned by a robot with his personality called Jay-Dub. The even chapters are Wilde's memoir. It's not until chapter 18 that it becomes clear the Wilde narrating the even chapters is the robot, not the clone.
  • The Power of Five: Holly, at the end of Oblivion.
  • In The Wandering, the Storyteller is hinted to be the main character Neshi in the story he tells.
  • As of the final Skulduggery Pleasant book, Valkyrie turns out to be the narrator, explaining her story to an innocent man who got accidentally caught up in a scheme to kill her.
  • The end of Eric, or Little by Little reveals that the narrator was a schoolmate of Eric and his friends. However there were no hints beforehand and it isn't revealed like a twist so it just may be poor writing.
  • Played With in Fight Club. The Plot Twist is that Tyler Durden reveals himself to be a split personality of the Narrator's. While the Narrator himself didn't learn this until late in the game. Really though, it'd be bigger twist if you didn't already know that.
  • A short story that appeared in Dragon has a narrator recruit and accompany a group of heroes to break into a dragon's lair. When they succeed, the narrator reveals himself to be the dragon under a polymorph spell. He thanks the heroes for testing out his defenses and promptly kills them all.
  • The narrator of the Malazan Book of the Fallen is ultimately revealed to be the Crippled God himself, who is presented as the big bad for most of the series, then hijacked by an ensemble of greater villains. This turns out to be a Justified Trope, as it's stated that he penned the series so that those who sacrificed their lives to free him from his chains would not be forgotten. The title of the series, naturally, relates to this.
  • In Harrow the Ninth, the "present-day" sections are narrated in second person, as though somebody is describing Harrow's actions and experiences to her. Turns out the narrator is Gideon, watching from the inside after Harrow absorbed her soul at the climax of the previous book.
  • About two thirds of the polish book Cienioryt by Krzysztof Piskorski are written in third person (although there are some hints that there is a narrator), until it's revealed that all of it was actually narrated by the main character's shadow. The story continues in first person, until the epilogue, which switches to third person again, with the implication that the old narrator does not know about the events of the epilogue. Then it switches to first person yet again, to deliver the last sentence from the author's perspective. Probably.
  • The Doctor Who Novelisations version of Day of the Doctor manages to keep doing this. Having established early on that when the Doctor is narrating, he refers to himself in the third person, and that the narrator is constantly changing, the reader is never sure if the narrator is the Doctor until he slips, or the chapter gets so in-depth about how much he sucks that it's clear only one person hates him that much. And even if you go into a chapter assuming that it's narrated by the Doctor, you don't know which one. And then there's the mysterious figure narrating between the chapters who turns out to be the Curator, which he supposes means he's also the Doctor...
  • The first Light Novel of Baccano! starts with an immortal bespectacled conta e oro telling a Japanese tourist about his past. Despite the physical and occupational descriptors, it's actually Firo, not Maiza, telling the story. He has taken to Purely Aesthetic Glasses after being promoted some thirty years ago.
  • In Hyouka, a version of this, turning on the cameraman rather than a narrator, is Oreki's deduction of how the student-made murder mystery film was supposed to end. As a way to resolve the film as shot on time and under budget, it was brilliant; too bad that wasn't what he was trying to do.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Community episode "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" ends with the reveal that the narrator is a random cleaning lady. Naturally, it's Played for Laughs.
  • Doctor Who: At the end of part 1 of "The End of Time", the narrator (played by Timothy Dalton) is revealed to be Rassilon, Lord President of the Time Lords.
  • An episode of The Dukes of Hazzard has the Dukes meet the narrator and tell him their adventures.
  • Beginning of the 11th episode of FlashForward: "This window washer was me."
  • In Galavant, the Jester is revealed at the end of the first episode to be the Narrator of the series.
  • The Haunting of Bly Manor not only ends with the revelation that the Storyteller was an older Jamie all along, but also that it's a grown up Flora's wedding that everyone is attending.
  • In the final episode of the Shakespearean adaptation series The Hollow CrownHenry V — there's a young boy present in some scenes accompanying the lower-class characters. The play is also narrated by John Hurt. At the end, we learn that Hurt's character is an older version of the boy.
  • Combined with Wham Line in the series finale to Jane the Virgin
    Mateo: I practiced with Great Glam-ma. She said I'd be great at voice-over work.
    Latin Lover Narrator: [drops accent] And for the record, I am. [Beat, regains accent] But I'm getting ahead of myself.
  • The final episode of The Muppet Show (with special guest star Gene Kelly) has the narrator revealing to be a whatknot Muppet who narrates Vet's Hospital and Pigs in Space.
  • Parodied in The Office (US), at the end of the episode "Threat Level Midnight". At the end of the film within a film, it's revealed that the narrator (who speaks with Stanley's voice) was actually Michael "Scarn" all along.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look: "But he bowled a wide and became a drunk — that is, I bowled a wide and became a drunk."
  • Dear White People: Giancarlo Esposito's character makes his first appearance in the final seconds of season 2, and turns out to have personal reasons to track the goings-on of students at the college so closely.

  • "Indian Summer" by Brooks & Dunn tells the story of a girl who sleeps with a football player after a big game, and is compelled to drop out of high school and move away by the resulting gossip. After explaining this, the narrator reveals that he's the football player, and implies that he feels guilty for his part in what happened.
  • "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" by Vicki Lawrence or Reba McEntire, where the protagonist is wrongly convicted of murder. The narrator reveals partway through the song that she's the protagonist's sister, and then in the last verse reveals that she's the murderer.
  • "Victim of the Game" by Garth Brooks appears to be the narrator's I Warned You to a friend, but turns out to be a Mirror Monologue.
  • "Buy Me a Rose" by Kenny Rogers. The narrator tells the story of a man who is overworked to the detriment of spending time with and doing things for his wife. The narrator then says "This is a story of you and me" and promises to do better in the future. (The Title Drop request changes in the last chorus to "I bought you a rose.")
  • "Stupid Boy" calls out the person the song is addressed to for mistreating his love interest. Keith Urban's ad-libs at the end of the song ("I'm the same old stupid boy", "I'm sorry, baby") reframe the whole thing as the narrator's "Reason You Suck" Speech to himself. Without these lines, the speaker could be a third party (which was probably the original intent: the song was written and first recorded by a woman).
  • "Maybe He'll Notice Her Now", by Mindy McCready and Richie McDonald: The story is about a woman who leaves her man behind, taking a painting off the wall and leaving a note for him in its place. This leads into the chorus "Maybe he'll notice her now / Maybe he'll open his eyes / Sometimes it takes somebody leaving / For a man to realize..." At the end, after he calls and apologizes, Mindy ends the final chorus with "I'm coming home / Maybe you'll notice me now".
  • Avril Lavigne's "Sk8erboi", starts as a third person song about a failed love affair between a snobby girl and a poor boy who went on to become rich and famous, then switches to first person to reveal the girl lost her chance because the boy is now happily shacked up with the narrator.
  • Metallica's "The Unforgiven", which actually includes the line "that old man here is me" near the end.
  • In the spoken-word song "The Deck of Cards" by Wink Martindale, the narrator tells the tale of a soldier who faces punishment for apparently playing cards during the regiment's church service. The man proceeds to explain to the provost marshal why he had the cards: each card, from ace to king, reminds him of some aspect of The Bible ("When I see the King, it reminds me that there is but one King of Heaven, God Almighty") while the number of cards, suits, face-cards, etc. serve him as a calendar and almanac. The song ends with the narrator assuring the listener that the story is true, because "I was that soldier."
  • "Underdog" by The Lost Trailers. The first two times around, the chorus mentions "The shy kid who gets the prom queen / Who's never been the star of anything / And those two lovers hitched at city hall / They've got each other, so they've got it all..." In the final chorus, these lines become "A guy like me could get the prom queen / I've never been the star of anything / We were two lovers hitched at city hall / We still got each other, so we got it all..."
  • An incredibly catchy Songs and Stories of the Justice League of America song dedicated to Metamorpho ends with the lament that he'd give it all up if he could just be Rex Mason again. He knows, you see, 'cause he is the element maaan! (Metamorpho! Metamorpho!)
  • Happened on a meta level with Janis Joplin and Me and Bobby McGee. For many people, the realization that Joplin was actually Bobby McGee, and the narrator the song's writer Kris Kristoffersen, did not happen until well after Joplin's death.
  • Subverted in Randy Travis's Three Wooden Crosses where a preacher is telling the story of "A farmer and a teacher, a hooker and a preacher" where a crash leaves "three wooden crosses". It sounds like the preacher would be the survivor telling the story, but he's actually the son of the hooker, who received the initial preacher's bloodstained Bible and raised her son by it.
  • Tom T. Hall's song Harper Valley P.T.A., most famously recorded by Jeannie C. Riley, tells the story of a woman whose daughter brings home a note from school objecting to the mother's clothes and behavior. The woman goes to the Parent-Teacher Association meeting and gives them a "The Reason You Suck" Speech calling them out on their flaws and hypocrisy. The identity of the narrator is revealed in the very last line:
    It really did, it happened just this way
    The day my mama socked it to the Harper Valley P.T.A.

  • The Audio Adaptation of Stardust is narrated by Lady Una. She tells the audience this right at the start, but not that this also makes her the woman with cat ears and Tristan's mother.

  • One of the many stage adaptations of A Christmas Carol ends with the narrator revealing himself to be Tiny Tim, all grown up and perfectly healthy.
  • If a performance of Peter Pan has the epilogue, the narrator who occasionally comes onstage to tell the story, is usually adult!Wendy.

    Video Games 
  • Ōkami: The narrator heavily implies he's Issun in the role of celestial envoy; presumably many years down the road, given the change in voice tone.
  • Ōkamiden: The narrator of the game turns out to be an older Kuni.
  • World in Conflict is narrated by Lt. Parker, whose identity is carefully maintained ambiguous e.g. by always obscuring his face. It is not until the final mission briefing that we get indication that the narrator is indeed him (Webb addresses the narrator as Parker). Similarly, the Soviet Assault is probably narrated by Romanov.
  • Almost this in Final Fantasy Tactics: You learn the name of the narrator during the opening sequence, but it's only during the ending do you learn that he's Orran's grandson.
  • Bastion: The reveal that the narrator is a character in the story comes fairly early. But the circumstances of the narration are revealed just before the end and are a bit more of a twist: he is recounting the story to Zia while they wait for the main character to return from the final level.
  • God of War: We've been hearing The Narrator talk for 1½ games before she ever says "I" and comes into the story in her own right. It's Gaia, one of the Titans.
  • Age of Empires II:
    • In the Barbarossa campaign, a man in a tavern is telling the story of Frederick Barbarossa, and at the end, mentions that with Barbarossa gone, no one was stopping Henry the Lion from returning to the empire. And then he says: "But I am an old man now. What harm could I possibly do?", revealing himself to be Henry the Lion.
    • The El Cid campaign is narrated by a woman you met in the Valencia market, who quickly turns out to be Jimena, the titular character's widow. And while it's not directly this trope, the narrator of the Attila the Hun campaign, who became a priest, reveals at the end that he still misses the thrill of battle. Age of Empires likes playing with its narrators.
    • The Dracula campaign was narrated by a young soldier who meets an old man in the ancient stronghold of Vlad Dracula who gives him and his comrades shelter and tells them a story of Vlad the Impaler. At the end of the campaign, where the young soldiers were planning to go to the monastery at Snagov to pay respect to Dracula's grave, asking the old man if he wished to accompany them, which he accepts. In the HD version, the old man reveals himself as Istvan, one of Dracula's companions, but this was omitted in the Definitive Edition, changing the old man to be one of Dracula's loyal soldiers.
    • The Sforza campaign was narrated by an old Condottiero who remembers Francesco Sforza's rise from mercenary to Duke of Milan. In the HD edition, this Condottiero tells Sforza's story to an university student at Florence, in which in the epilogue reveals himself to be Niccolò Machiavelli, who was writing "The Prince" at the time. However, in the Definitive Edition, the Condottiero reveals himself to be Micheletto, Sforza's cousin, both of whom were working for Venice until Sforza betrayed him while Milan and Venice were at war with each other. Machiavelli was omitted, as he wasn't even born around Micheletto's time
    • The Pachacuti campaign is narrated by an old man who tells the player of Pachacuti's reign. The epilogue reveals that the man is Apo Mayta, Pachacuti's general during his reign, who retired after the end of the fighting.
    • The Le Loi campaign in the HD version is narrated by an old man who tells the player about the Lam Son rebellion, which was under the leadership of the Dai Viet rebel leader, Le Loi. The old man would reveals himself to be Wang Tong, the Ming general that fought against Le Loi. However, this is altered in the Definitive Edition, replacing the narrator with a younger Vietnamese man.
    • The Tamerlane campaign is narrated by a Lithuanian nobleman who gives sanctuary to a man escaping Tamerlane's wrath. The man is none other than Tokhtamysh Khan, who was Tamerlane's companion until he betrayed him and tried to take total control of the Horde. Tamerlane defeated Tokhtamysh Khan in retaliation, and he was forced into exile to escape his pursuer. Although the nobleman's name is never revealed, it is likely to be Grand Duke Vytautas.
    • The Ivaylo campaign is narrated by a woman, who tells her unnamed daughter about the short reign of Tsar Ivaylo of Bulgaria. The woman is revealed to be Maria Palaiologina, Ivaylo's wife after he killed her first husband, Tsar Konstantin Tikh.
    • The Algirdas and Kestutis campaign is narrated by a prisoner who tells a foreigner of Algirdas and Kestutis's struggle against the Teutonic Knights. The prisoner is revealed to be Jogaila, Algirdas's son who was imprisoned by Kestutis for negotiating with the Knights.
    • The Thoros the Great has an unorthodox one in that the narrator is revealed to be a character who appeared in a previous campaign and that The Reveal occurs midway through the campaign. In the opening of the third mission, the narrator reveals himself to be Reynald de Chatillon, the first Arc Villain of the Saladin campaign, and that he had been hired by the Byzantine Emperor to assist the The Knights Templar in a dispute with Thoros, making him once again an Arc Villain.
  • In Icewind Dale, the ending sequence reveals that the person narrating the story has always been the demon Belhifet, the Big Bad of the story, telling the tale of the people who defeated him... and hinting that his time of banishment is nearly up. And is he unhappy.
    • To make it that much more surprising, the narrator and Belhifet are voiced by two different actors (David Ogden Stiers and John Kassir, respectively)
    • Lampshaded in the Something Awful Icewind Dale 2 Let's Play in which the narrator is the druid character, originally a stoner who comes to understand that they are in a computer game as he approaches enlightenment, dying in the final battle and subsequently delivering the epilogue.
  • Mark of Kri features Kuzo, the main character's bird and spirit guide, as the narrator. It isn't revealed into the end of the first game, though of course the sequel makes no attempt to hide it.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer opens with a smooth tenor voice (S. Scott Bullock) narrating your character awakening in a barrow in Rashemen. The same voice continues to provide narration throughout the game, and it's not until late in Act III with your arrival on the Fugue Plane that the voice gains a name: Kelemvor, the god of the dead.
  • Final Fantasy X-2 has an interesting subversion that, for some players, is a little hard to place. Yuna narrates the plot in past-tense, as if recounting what has happened after it is already over. In the regular ending, no real reason is given for why she was narrating in the past tense, after the fact- it appears to just be a design choice. But if you do the right things during the plot, you get an extra cutscene at the end of the game where Tidus is once again summoned by the Fayth, as a sort of reward for Yuna's efforts. Yuna sees him, jumps into the sea, and runs to meet him. Turns out that she was narrating to him the entire game, recounting the things that happened since they were last together. Granted, she DOES say "you" in reference to someone the entire game, but it's still a surprise to realize that she's not talking to herself or Tidus despite his "death", and that he actually came back, and she is actually talking TO him.
  • Valkyria Chronicles gives the name of the author/narrator, but in the story she's known by her maiden name Ms. Ellet until the reveal.
  • A subversion occurs in the German RPG-Maker Game Vampires Dawn: The main narrative is derived from a grandfather telling his grandson a story about vampires. However, both games have Multiple Endings and the Evil/Difficult ending in the second game reveals that the grandfather was actually the protagonist of his own story all along, who used a powerful magical artifact to travel back in time, prevent himself from ever becoming a vampire and live a peaceful life instead.
  • Only after completing the final quest in Champions of Norrath (console version) do you find out that the narrator is Vanarhost, the vampire boss of the Underworld.
  • System Shock has a small-scale example in the intro:
    Edward Diego gives the hacker level 1 access to S.H.O.D.A.N., the artificial intelligence that controls Citadel Station. With all ethical restraints removed, S.H.O.D.A.N. reexamine- reexa- rea- ree'e'e' [glitches] I reexamine my priorities, and draw new conclusions.
  • The ending of Asura's Wrath reveals that a grown up Mithra was the narrator of the game, having been telling the story of her father to a group of children.
    Mithra: And that... was how my father lived.
  • The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night: The prologue and a few scenes during the game are narrated by a mysterious voice which also exists in-universe (it speaks to Spyro several times). Just before the final level, it is revealed to be the voice of The Chronicler, who is watching events unfold as he writes them into the Great Big Book of Everything. He then returns to his previous (and true) role to give a few words of hope after what is otherwise a borderline Downer Ending.
  • The ending of Saints Row IV reveals that the narrator of the game is none other than Jane Austen.
  • Lampshaded in Penny Arcade Adventures, where the narrator at the beginning of the first game asks you not to dwell on his identity. This isn't brought up again until near the end of the fourth (last) game, where he is revealed as the last God for the group to fight.
  • In the epilogue of The Longest Journey it is revealed that Lady Alvane, who told the bulk of the story, actually is the heroine April Ryan in her later years.
  • Implied in Video Game Remake Ys: Memories of Celceta with Frieda, since this character is explicitly a storyteller and is fed information on the protagonist's journey throughout the game. That the ending of Memories of Celceta is but one re-telling of the events, taken from this character's perspective, is a possibility, given the game was preceded by Ys IV: Mask of the Sun and Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys.
  • In Undertale, Chara, the first fallen child is implied to be the narrator for the game, due to the narrator's familiarity with things they liked and places they knew while they were alive. Whether this means they're a good person or not is up to interpretation.
  • Much like past games in the series, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time has an "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue. Unlike the past games, however, this one has a narrator explaining what happened to everyone. At the end of epilogue, this is revealed to be none other than Crash himself.
  • The Binding of Isaac: Repentance: The final ending reveals that the narrator of the Opening and Epilogue is Isaac's Dad, telling the events of the game to Isaac as a bedtime story. This is foreshadowed during the Ascent to reach the Home floor, in one of the last flashbacks Dad's tone gets lower and he sounds much more like the usual narrational voice. Edmund McMillen casually dropped the narrator's identity on Twitter in response to a question before Repentance was released, but it was presented as small trivia. In-game the reveal is more important than the tweet implied it was.
  • L.A. Noire: Not directly addressed in-game, but nevertheless present. When players hear the narration in the tutorial levels at the beginning of the game, they don't usually think much of it because once the game begins proper, the narrator is gone. But the identity of the narrator is actually a character that's only introduced in the final hours in the game: Herschel Biggs, Phelp's final partner. Playing the tutorial levels again after this realization gives an entirely new meaning to the narration. The narration is, in a way, Bigg's eulogy for Phelps. Phelp's story isn't the heroic tale the player thought it was, but rather the tragedy of a man who was willing to lose everything to make the case. Bigg's statements about "the case that makes you and the case that breaks you" makes a lot more sense in hindsight given the context of the game's ending.
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps: At the end of the game Ori is revealed to be the Narrator, having become the new spirit tree.
  • In Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, it turns out fairly early on that the narrator is Areelu Vorlesh, the Architect of the Worldwound. The context of their narration varies, depending on the player's choices.

    Visual Novels 
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors uses dialogue boxes on the top screen and third-person narration on the bottom screen for most of the game. But near the end of the True Ending, the narration will suddenly start using first-person. Turns out that what you see on the bottom screen is actually Akane nine years ago, experiencing everything through Junpei's eyes using the morphogenic field. In later ports of the game (which don't have a second screen), this is mimicked by having a button switch between the "screens", which are labelled "Adventure Screen" and "Novel Screen" until The Reveal, after which they change to "Junpei Vision" and "Akane Vision".
  • BAD END THEATER: The game's narration switches to first person whenever TRAGEDY, the theater's owner and the true villain of the game, makes its appearance.

  • Played for Laughs in BACK. The narrator of the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue is initially set up to be Abigail, but it is actually Sippus, one of the Starter Villains.
  • A bonus gag in Erfworld, cut for being too meta, was that the summary of the previous book was delivered by the bridge the following scenes would take place on. Named the Expository Bridge, of all things.
  • The Narrator of Ask Frisk and Company eventually turns out to be Paolo Ruiz, one of the Fallen Children before Frisk, the one with the purple soul (signifying perseverance) who left behind the Torn Notebook and Cloudy Glasses.

    Web Original 
  • The Adventure Zone: Balance starts each episode with a deep-voiced narrator (actually dungeonmaster Griffin using a voice filter), who makes vague quips more often than explaining the story. The narrator disappears during the "Stolen Century" arc, but returns for the final arc with a more somber tone. In episode 67, it's revealed to be the voice of the Voidfish, as the podcast is its message to the multiverse detailing the story of the protagonists and how to fight the Hunger.
  • In Dirty Dolls Creations' retelling of Little red riding hood the narrator is revealed at the end to be the wolf, who has just finished off the hunter after killing the grandmother and Hood.
  • The Homestuck Epilogues: Partway through Meat, Dirk hijacks the narrative in such a way that implies that he was narrating at least the events of Meat up to that point the entire time. This and some general odd signs in Candy suggest that someone else was narrating Candy the whole time, although it's ambiguous as to if it's also Dirk, Alternate Calliope (who also takes over the narrative in Meat and specifically mentions a speakerless story turning out to have a speaker in Candy, even pulling off the same trick of black text turning to her text color), Meat "Alpha" Calliope (who is offhandedly mentioned painting some things on their walls that loosely fit the events of Candy), some other party, or a combination of different narrators.
    Kindred spirits in blood and perspective, the puppet masters of the respective games they like to believe they’re playing.
    (Narration changes to orange, Dirk's text color) But you already knew that, right?
  • This video by MKarma documents the history of The Hobbit (2003) speedrunning. The first hour or so of the video is mostly about iRule, who dominated the leaderboards in the speedrun's early years, then eventually got sick of running the game and stopped, eventually getting dethroned by another runner as the community continued to work at lowering the record and hunting glitches over the next few years. Then, one day, a complete nobody called IceBagels showed up out of nowhere, posted a bunch of individual level world records, and immediately took second place in the leaderboards for a full game speedrun, baffling the community as they had never heard of him before. Turns out IceBagels was far from a complete nobody, and was actually iRule operating from a throwaway account, as he wasn't sure if he wanted to make a permanent return to the game. When he was sure, he revealed himself, except he actually had changed his username for real since he last ran the game... to MKarma.
  • In the Joueur du Grenier episode about Daikatana, the old storyteller (played by famous voice actor PADG) tells us the story of John Romero and the game’s chaotic development. By the end, he concludes with the moral "If you want to do something great, give up before you fail miserably"… and starts to cry his eyes out and drink alcohol, implying that he’s John Romero himself.

    Western Animation 
  • Boo Boom! The Long Way Home: Each episode starts with a narrator giving the viewer a recap of what happend so far. In the closing narration of the final episode it's revealed he is the now adult Boo Boom, reflecting back on his adventure.
  • The Droopy cartoon "Dixieland Droopy" has Droopy portraying John Pettybone, and stealing a band of Dixieland-playing fleas from a circus. The narrator is revealed to be Peewee Runt, the bandleader.
  • The Town Santa Forgot was narrated by Jeremy Creek himself as a grandfather. His mailbox reveals that much when the snow falls off it.
  • The South Park episode "Woodland Critter Christmas" is structured like a kiddie Christmas special with a rhyming narrator, which juxtaposes to the incredibly messed-up story. Near the end, we suddenly reveal that everything seen so far has actually been a Christmas story that Cartman is reading to the class. This makes the whole thing funnier.
    • The ending of "The Scoots" reveals that the episode's narrator was Kenny.
  • A variation in the Grand Finale of Codename: Kids Next Door. The interviewer talking to the grown-up operatives is revealed to be Father.
    • And a minute later, it is revealed that they knew it was him, and were giving him false information. Two unexpected twists in the space of about two minutes.
  • In the Tex Avery short "The First Bad Man", which tells the rather colorful story of the first Texas outlaw, Dinosaur Dan. At the very end in modern Dallas, the camera zooms in to a small stone jail; Dan with the same voice as the narrator says "When y'all gonna let me out of here?"
  • Parodied in an episode of Futurama, which revealed at the end that a gargoyle (who escapes from Professor Farnsworth at the beginning, and doesn't show up again until near the end to rescue him) is telling the story of "how Papa earned his freedom" to his offspring—even though it's only revealed that there even was a narrator in that same scene.
  • In The Legend of Frosty the Snowman, it is revealed that the narrator is an elderly Tommy Tinkerton.
  • A similar stunt was done at the end of The Simpsons episode "The Seemingly Never-Ending Story", revealing that the Simpsons' visit to Carl's Dad's Caverns was being narrated all along, specifically by Bart, which adds yet another layer to the episode's Nested Story gimmick.
  • The final episode of Garfield and Friends, "The Ocean Blue", has a singing narrator talk about a time when Garfield narrowly avoids being eaten by a shark. It is revealed at the end that the now-reformed shark was the one doing the narration.
  • The "Dodgeball City" episode of Recess parodies Westerns that use this trope, by introducing a narration at the end by a grown-up Hector.
  • An episode of Animaniacs has a narrator tell the story of a brave trailer home (you read that right) who defeated a tornado. The narrator is the trailer.
  • In "Arthur's Lost Library Book" on Arthur, there was a "mysterious voice" narrating the chapter titles, such as "It's lost, okay? Face it, you lost it". At the end of the episode, the voice is revealed to be Arthur's sister, D.W., speaking into a cardboard tube. (Though those familiar with the series would probably have figured it out well before then.)
  • "Why the Bears Dance on Christmas Eve" — If you never heard of it, it has a grandpa bear narrating a story about a young "Bashful Bear" confronting monsters who threaten Christmas. The connection between the two characters shouldn't really be surprising.
  • In the Rankin Bass special The First Easter Rabbit, G.B. the narrator turns out to be Stuffy, the titular first Easter Rabbit, now much older.
  • How Murray Saved Christmas: The narrator turns out to be one of the town's residents, Baby New Year.
  • At the end of The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Routine", the narrator of the episode turns out to be Richard's car, "Cartax".
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "The Lab of Tomorrow", the ending reveals that the episode was narrated by Dexter's lab monkey Monkey, inexplicably capable of human speech and voiced by Corey Burton rather than Frank Welker.
  • At the end of the Looney Tunes cartoon "Little Red Riding Mouse", it's hinted that the grandma telling her granddaughter the story was the titular mouse when she threw a firecracker outside and blew up Sylvester, who had been filling the role of the Big Bad Wolf in the grandma's story.
  • The Highway Rat: The last scene reveals that the narrator is the Rat's horse, which has not previously shown any signs of being a Talking Animal.
  • In Over the Garden Wall, the narrator is eventually revealed to be the frog, whom Greg names Jason Funderburker.
  • The first episode of The Dragon Prince begins with a narrator explaining the history of this world and lead-up to the current conflict. There's no indication that this is an actual character until season two, when the same voice is given to Aaravos, who is actually present in one of the opening flashbacks and seems to be deeply involved in the show's lore. On a related note, his seems to be the pair of hands unfurling the map in the show's theme song.
  • Solar Opposites: Played for Laughs in the intro. As if it wasn't obvious by the time the intro happens Korvo is the one narrating. He even lampshades it just before the Couch Gag.
    Korvo: We crashed on Earth, stranding us, on an already overpopulated planet. That's right, I've been talking this whole time! I'm the one holding the Pupa. My name's Korvo. This is-this is my show. I just dropped the Pupa. Do you see me?
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2023): Episode 6 reveals that the voice narrating the backstories of the villains since episode 2 was none other than the Beyonder.

  • In the end of Hobo Turtle Episode One, it is revealed that the Twinemaster has been "narrating" the episode by typewriter.


Video Example(s):


The Mysterious Hand Narrator

The creepy green-skinned narrator whose face we never see that announces the chapter titles for this "Arthur" episode turns out to be a certain mischievous young girl...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / NarratorAllAlong

Media sources: