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Suddenly Speaking

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Tom: I'm Tom.
Jerry: I'm Jerry.
Both: [gasp] You talk!
Tom: Well sure, I talk! What do you think I am, a dummy?
Jerry: You said it, I didn't.
Tom: Hey, you little pipsqueak, I oughta... Hey! How come you never spoke before?
Jerry: Well, there was nothing I wanted to say that I thought you'd understand. And there still isn't!

So, you have a character who spends most of the time without talking. It can be for whatever reason: they can be a Heroic Mime, they may have lost the ability to speak, or they're just shy. As time goes on...

They finally break the silence.

The Heroic Mime finally gets a line, The Speechless got their voice restored, the meek one finally got the courage to speak up, or someone finally breaks their vow of silence.

The trope can be lighthearted if done for a main character, or ominous if coming from a villain.

Compare Baby's First Words. See also The Silent Bob, a character who rarely speaks, but when he does, it's something profound, and this trope comes into play.

Not to be confused with Suddenly Voiced, which is a character who can talk finally gets a voice behind their words. See The Singing Mute for a temporary break from muteness.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Monsters normally don't talk and merely do noises or cries. The fourth season of the anime turns the Black/Dark Magician Girl into a major supporting character, thus she started to talk frequently as opposed to all her other appearances. Since then, later iterations of her character would talk as well. This also applies to Black/Dark Magician after his origin story is revealed.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, Elf Swordsman/Celtic Guardian and Black/Dark Magician infrequently speak to Yugi, and Mystical Sands speaks quite a bit.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL starts the trend of giving monsters Pokémon Speak. A very prominent example is Gagaga Girl, who goes beyond that and occasional calls Gagaga Magician "senpai".
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: In his debut episode, BB only grunts, reflecting his "wild savage" imagine. But in the next episode, he talks just fine.
  • Pokémon:
  • Bakuten Shoot Beyblade: In the final episode of the first season, Dragoon suddenly talks, which surprises Takao/Tyson since there was no hint that Bit-Beasts could even do that (aside from the dub's Canon Foreigner Dizzy). During the second season, Dragoon talks to Takao again when they were having their final match with Ozuma.
  • Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force:
    • The Cute Mute Lily-Strosek breaks her silence when she calls for Thoma's name. Since then she talks normally, albeit with a quite voice.
    • Similarly, Rosalia, Lily's counterpart, starts to talk when she stops Veyron from leaving.
  • Elfen Lied: Nyu starts out by communicating only via Pokémon Speak, but she learns how to talk as the story progresses. After the time-skip in the manga, Nyu is able to talk like a normal person.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Despite his perpetual Heroic Mime status being an iconic trait of his, the manga adaptation gives Link his own personality and Character Development.
  • In Manga/Needless, Cute Mute Kuchinashi manages to trap the cast in her Lotus-Eater Machine after catching them off-guard by suddenly calling her attack.
  • Fairy Tail: Acnologia is perfectly capable of speech like other dragons, but spends his earliest appearance choosing not to speak to humans, a sign that they are insects and not worth the effort. Once he finds himself his first Worthy Opponent, however, he becomes a whole lot more talkative to just about everyone he comes across.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: After Rose's Implied Rape at the hands of Amestrian soldiers, she became mute from the trauma. When she sees Ed freezing up in his fight against Wrath and Sloth, she manages to speak for the first time in years, crying out to "get up, Ed!"
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Hyper Metal Sonic is silent throughout the movie, but speaks a single line near the end when refusing to let Sonic save him from falling into lava.
    Hyper Metal Sonic: There is only one Sonic.

    Comic Books 
  • It was eventually established in the X-Men books that Lockheed the dragon can speak English, but he prefers to keep the fact a secret.
  • The Cassandra Cain version of Batgirl, who Never Learned to Talk, learns to speak over a gradual (albeit less so than in Real Life) period.
  • The scarab from the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle was The Unintelligible, at least as far as the readers were concerned, speaking with incomprehensible symbols that over time became increasingly reminiscent of English characters, before changing to a legible font in its viewpoint issue. For a period during the transition, the scarab's symbols became a form of Wingdinglish.
  • For the entirety of his run in Thunderbolts, Man-Thing said not a word. When the title switched to Dark Avengers, Man-Thing was reborn and gained the ability to speak, to the shock of his teammates.
  • Completely inverted in the Tintin series. Tintin's dog Snowy converses with him in the earlier adventures (a holdover from the sillier, less realistic Early-Installment Weirdness that came with the original newspaper strip), tones it down after the introduction of Captain Haddock, and then by the end of the series is a fully voiceless dog both in means of communication and in behavior.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW): As it turns out Changelings do talk outside of transformations. Issue #2 has one speaking in Snake Talk mid-transformation, and the following issue has one having a full-on conversation with Chrysalis.
  • Secret Path (2016): Chanie Wenjack spends most of the comic not saying a word. When he does, it's to say "goodbye" to his dead body.
  • The Star Wars has R2D2, who in main continuity only communicates with beeps and whistles, talk normally, Volleying Insults with C3PO.
  • During John Byrne's run on The Thing, Lockjaw of The Inhumans spoke for the first time when Quicksilver tried to pressure his wife Crystal into allowing their daughter Luna to be placed in the mutating Terrigen Mists, revealing that he was not always a dog. Later subverted/retconned in Peter David's run on X-Factor, when Quicksilver learned that it was actually Karnak throwing his voice.
  • Lex Luthor: Man of Steel: Superman remains silent throughout the story, until the climax, when he answers Lex's speech about how he can't "see his soul".
    Lex Luthor: Your silence speaks volumes. You understand my words but you refuse to believe what they mean. Is that because you see something in humanity that in truth isn't there, or that you're blind to what truly is?
    Superman: (silence)
    Lex Luthor: Say something, goddamnit!
    Superman: You're wrong... I ''can'' see your soul.

    Comic Strips 
  • B.C.:
    • Gronk the dinosaur originally could only say his name (in the form of bellowing), but in later strips he started speaking fluently like the other animals.
    • Grog also spoke in a strip from January 24, 1977.
  • Walter Cephus Austridge in Krazy Kat. Strips vary as to whether he's a fluent and eloquent English-speaker or whether he merely says "Geevim, geevim", requiring translation by other characters (or by the author's captions).

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction, when Lubyov speaks for the first time, it's a pretty shocking moment.
  • In Hail to the King (Thuktun Flishithy), Godzilla was able to communicate with the psychic Miki Saegusa, but he only shared emotions and mental images. When he is about to die, he tells her "Goodbye, Miki."
  • In the The Legend of Zelda fic Never After, when Dark Link overpowers Link and holds a sword at his throat, the latter speaks for the first time in the story.
    "Been waiting for a long time," said the dark hero soothingly (the edge of the sword scraped his throat in worrisome manner), "to kill you." He whispered, "Are you ready?"
    Link swallowed once and then:
    "Behind you," the Ordonian said softly. It was a voice, you could tell, unaccustomed to saying anything.
  • In Queen of All Oni, as a result of the increased sentience that comes with the Shadowkhan's natural evolution from generic Mooks to Mook Lieutenants, Left and Right suddenly gain the ability to talk. This catches Jade completely off guard (though apparently the Enforcers had a bet going on it).
  • In Persona EG, Sonata Dusk is rendered mute from a car accident that damaged her throat. However there are two instances she gains a voice: First when she is pulled into Zodiac on her birthday and Fluttershy "hacks" her to turn her thoughts into a voice, and later in the real world on 5/17 she gains a little voice back while at the Doctor, not enough to sing or speak loudly, but still enough to say a few words now and then.
  • The Flash Sentry Chronicles: Springer spent all of Season 1 voiceless, with only Flash able to understand him and needing to translate what he said to the others. In Season 2 though, after a training exercise with Flash he is finally able to speak properly and can now communicate with everyone around him.
  • Total Drama All-Stars Rewrite: In My Big Fat Total Drama All-Stars Wedding, Silent B, a character whose distinguishing trait is being The Voiceless, finally breaks his silence to give a speech summarizing the cast's collective experience of being on Total Drama.
  • The Legend of Miraculous, Link eventually starts to overcome his selective mutism around Zelda, taking the opportunity to tell her he loves her.
  • In the Firefly fic “Salvage Mission”, Jayne is tortured by the Alliance and sold into slavery when they decide they won’t get anything out of him. He spends the 5 years Mal spends looking for him not speaking at all and the overseer is surprised when he talks to Mal. Mal wanted to shoot the guy for saying they should have beat him harder, but he was alone and couldn’t do much besides buy Jayne and get out of there.
  • So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, A-D'oh ends with Maggie finally saying her first word: "D'oh!"

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Bean, Mr. Bean was changed from being a combination of The Voiceless and The Unintelligible to speaking freely, and gave a speech before a crowd near the end. The premise of the movie sort of forces it, though, since Bean interacts with several characters who speak directly to him (no one ever really did in the original program). The second sort of upholds the status quo, in that he spends most of the movie in France and has little occasion to speak English.
  • In Clockwise, Brian has a conversation with a monk, who only nods or shakes his head with his hands together, and is startled when the monk does speak.
    Brian: (After a long one-sided conversation) I'd be happy to enter a monastery and never speak again.
    Monk: We speak. (Brian looks up sharply)
    Brian: I'm sorry, I just assumed...
    (Monk smiles and shakes his head)
  • Descendants: Dude the dog was originally a normal dog, but in Descendants 2 when he takes a snack of a truth gummy meant for Carlos, it gives him the ability to speak verbally, in addition to always saying the truth.
  • Godzilla:
    • A few brief scenes in the dubbed version of Godzilla vs. Gigan has Godzilla and Anguirus speaking thanks to an alien plot device.
      Godzilla: Hey, Anguirus!
      Anguirus: What?
    • The film All Monsters Attack also features Minya being able to speak. In the dub, he sounds like a mix between Goofy and Barney the Dinosaur.
  • In the first The Santa Clause movie, Comet the reindeer had the most screen time of Santa's reindeer. He looked like a normal deer and mostly grunted and and snorted. In the sequels he looks goofy and cartoony, and can suddenly talk with the speech patterns of Scooby-Doo.
  • Charlie Chaplin's tramp character remained silent until the film Modern Times in which he sang a song made up of meaningless lyrics.
  • The title character in The Bellboy played by Jerry Lewis, was silent throughout the film until his last few minutes. When other characters asked if he could speak he eloquently explains of course he can. When they wondered the reason he didn't tell them before, he responds... "You didn't ask me."
  • Bride of Frankenstein has the Monster learning to speak, although this is discarded in Son of Frankenstein and the rest of the Universal Frankenstein films.
  • The View Askewniverse:
    • This was a running joke in with Silent Bob. He almost never talks, going well out of his way not to, except for one or two lines near the end of the movie that triggers some great revelation for all of the characters.
    • Lampshaded in Clerks II: Jay, Randall, Silent Bob, and Dante are all in a prison cell. Jay turns to Silent Bob, expecting some sage advice.
      Jay: C'mon, this is when you're supposed to say something.
      Silent Bob: ...I got nothing.
    • It was lampshaded as far back as Chasing Amy, where as Bob is about to speak Jay says something like "Great, he's gonna fuckin' say something. He thinks just 'cause he never says anything that when he does talk it's supposed to be important or something." And Bob even retorts by pointing out that everything Jay says is worthless bullshit.
  • Lampshaded in Postcards From the Edge, when Suzanne's stepfather says, "Like war buddies."
    Suzanne: SID SPEAKS!
  • Michael Myers was a silent (possibly mute?) killer for over seven Halloween movies. But the director's cut of Rob Zombie's Halloween II (2009) actually has Michael scream "DIE!" before killing Loomis. The previous film showed him talking, but only as a child.
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon features a Laserbeak who can speak, in contrast to the previous incarnations. All in all, it makes him even creepier than other Laserbeaks.
  • In the Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) remake, the character of 'The Sphinx' is mysterious due to his muteness, when he suddenly speaks very philosophically at the end of the film with a British accent (actor Vinnie Jones' natural accent). When one of the others says they thought he was from Long Beach, he merely shrugs.
  • Aversion: Harpo Marx was purportedly offered a large sum to speak one word (murder) in At the Circus, but turned it down. In the same film, Harpo does sneeze — clearly saying "A-chooo." In Monkey Business, we hear four-part harmony coming from the barrels, so we can assume he's singing (baritone).
  • The Mel Brooks film Silent Movie has one word of dialogue in the whole movie. The word is spoken by Marcel Marceau, a famous mime. The word? No!.
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction: KSI's drones are supposed to be unable to speak, so naturally their creator is alarmed when Galvatron responds to something Optimus says. This is because he's Megatron reborn.
  • Caesar the chimpanzee from Scary Movie 5 is clearly more intelligent than any human character, with his first word being a hearty "IDIOTS!" He turns out to be the Lemony Narrator in the final scene.
  • At the end of the James Bond film Moonraker, Jaws, the inexplicably nigh-invincible former silent henchman cracks open a bottle of wine with his girlfriend, toasts the both of them, and says, "Well... here's to us."
  • In Pixels, Q*Bert is inexplicably talking in understandable words, even though in the original game his language was limited to robotic noises and Symbol Swearing.
  • For a brief period during the 1927-29 transition from Silent Films to sound, movies were often released as "part-talkies", with dialogue scenes interpolated into what were otherwise silent films. Someone sitting down to watch 1928 film Lonesome may be surprised when, after thirty minutes of silent film go by, Jim and Mary start speaking out of nowhere.
  • Sidewalk Stories (1989) is a remake of Charlie Chaplin's The Kid set amongst Manhattan's homeless, and appropriately, it is a Silent Movie. Up until the last minute of the film, that is, when a group of homeless can suddenly be heard, some begging passers-by for change, some with the raving of the mentally ill. It's a harsh reminder of the grim existence of the homeless.
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes had the character of Nova (silent in the previous film and up to this point in this film) speak her first word, "Taylor".
  • In The Golden Child, the title character is a Living MacGuffin who gives his only line of dialogue ("I know") about six minutes before the credits roll.
  • During all three The Hobbit films, Bombur is The Voiceless due to constantly having food in his mouth and Bifur is The Unintelligible due an axe stuck in his head, which leaves him only able to speak the Dwarvish language Khuzdul. Then, near the end of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and only in the Extended Edition Bifur's axe gets removed and each of two Dwarves gets a single line.
  • Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday: Jason Voorhees gets his first and only line to date (outside of hallucinations in the first and eighth films) when he is possessing a cop, in order to keep the protagonists (an audience) from recognizing that it's him.
    Jason: Freeze! Get the hell away from her, Ed!
  • In Hook, Tinkerbell (who is usually depicted as The Unintelligible) can speak intelligibly, and has the job of explaining the plot to Peter. Could be a Translation Convention, since Peter is the viewpoint character in this one and he always could understand her.
  • In Silent Night (2012), the killer Santa is silent throughout the film until the showdown at the police station. After Jim punches him in the face, Santa yells "Not nice!"
  • In his first appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Hulk only had one or two lines per movie. In Thor: Ragnarok, he talked a lot more albeit still in Hulk Speak.
  • In Monster Mash (1995), the Frankenstein monster is mute for most of the film, but at the very end remarks "I'm surrounded by idiots".
  • In Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold, Flores—the leader of the comacheros—is described as mute in his introduction, and does not speak for the entire film. At the very end of the film, Colonel Torres and his have Yellow Hair and the Pecos Kid cornered when the badly wounded Flores staggers in and screams "Kill them!"
  • For most of Critters Attack, Jake refuses to communicate in any way other than texting, but eventually talks when trying to point out something about Bianca to Drea.
  • Logan: Laura spends the first half of the movie not saying a single word, causing Logan to assume she is mute. He gets a shock when Laura replies "De nada" ("you're welcome" in Spanish) to him beforing throwing a diatribe of Spanglish at him (Bilingual Bonus reveals that Laura willfully chose to remain silent around Logan; when she blows up at him she pointedly asks why he expects her to talk to him, when all he's done the entire film is yell at her, insult her, or try to abandon her.)
  • Winterskin: The skinless man that invades the cabin gets one line in before Billy kills it.
    Skinless Man: Billy?
  • Going Bananas already had the chimpanzee Bonzo act like a human child, but one scene out of nowhere has him speaking "Banana!"

  • A couple adopts a German baby. As the baby grows, he never begins to speak, and the couple fears he is mentally handicapped. Doctors say that, other than not speaking, there is nothing wrong with him and he is developing normally. Then one day, when the boy is eight years old, he eats a strudel and says, "It is a little tepid." His parents exclaim, "Wolfgang! Why have you never spoken before?" The child replies, "Up until now, everything had been satisfactory."

  • Land of Oz: The third book Ozma of Oz establishes via retcon that animals from normal lands can talk as soon as they reach magic land. Several books later, Dorothy (and Baum) finally realizes that Toto can talk. After correctly surmising that he doesn't speak because he never did in Kansas and doesn't see the point of starting now, she demands that he speak. He says "Satisfied?" and runs off. Where this trope comes into play is the eleventh book, where he is constantly chatting up a storm for no reason. After the book ends, he's back to being Silent Bob for the remainder of the series.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Beren and Lúthien: When Lúthien is captured by Celegorm, Huan -the horse-sized wolfhound of Valinor who serve to obey Celegorm loyally- speaks for the first time in millennia to help her escape.
  • In The Dresden Files novel Changes:
    • The heroes are temporarily turned into hounds (something like greyhounds, according to Harry). While in this form, Harry is shocked to discover that his dog Mouse can speak. According to Harry's scary-faerie godmother, Lea, Mouse could always talk, but as a human, Harry didn't know how to listen.
    • Harry is laying out his personal crisis to Mac the bartender, who is famous for responding in grunts or one word sentences. One Mac understands, he addresses Harry with a short speech, leaving Harry stunned that "He... used grammar!"
  • The Dragonslayers Apprentice: Ron, the dragonslayer's assistant, does not talk. At all. He could, if he wanted to, he just doesn't, and has mastered the art of nonverbal communication. So the dragonslayer is shocked one morning when his apprentice tells him that Ron got so drunk at last night's party that he spoke a whole sentence in order to proclaim that he liked the sausages.
  • In The Diamond Throne, the first book of The Elenium, the child Flute doesn't speak at all, but it's made clear that this is because she chooses not to. In the second book, things become dire enough that she decides she has to speak, and from that point onward, she hardly shuts up.
  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: In The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Vain, an ur-Vile, never speaks, and simply acts, until the very end of White Gold Wielder, when Vain tells Findail that becoming the Staff of Law is a part of his purpose.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: Mordak gains a voice when he evolves from 'walking armor' to 'evil spirit'. He explains this after Kalak expresses surprise at hearing his voice.
  • Ky Sahra from The Black Company doesn't actually have any speaking lines in Bleak Seasons, the book she's introduced in. She has only a few in She Is the Darkness, but probably has the most dialogue outside of the narrator in Water Sleeps.
  • Boo Radley spoke only one, barely audible line at the conclusion of To Kill a Mockingbird: "Will you take me home?" (This is due to years of social isolation and crippling shyness rather than inability to talk.) In the film version, however, Robert Duvall plays the character as completely silent.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Crabbe and Goyle get on-page dialogue for the first time in the entire series, not counting when Harry and Ron impersonated them in the second book. Harry is surprised at Crabbe's Vocal Dissonance, while Goyle, who gets only one line, sounds about how you'd expect. In the same book, the gargoyle that guards Dumbledore's office speaks when it never had before, which passes without comment. (Though by this point it had been established that other gargoyles could speak.) Also in the final book is the only occasion when Nagini speaks in Harry's presence.
  • In the first Twilight book, James and Victoria are completely silent in their first scene. James speaks sometime after it's become clear that he's the first book's Big Bad, while Victoria doesn't speak until the climax of the third book... which, to be fair, is only the second time that she and the viewpoint character actually meet, despite having been the Big Bad of the last two books. Marcus is similarly silent when he appears in the second book and for most of his appearance in the fourth, only speaking up when he is asked to vote on the proceedings.
  • ZigZagged in Worm with the Siberian, who talks to Rachel in her first appearance, and then does not speak in story again. In universe, however, the trope is played straight; the Siberian is known for never speaking and it is a surprise to most characters when they find out she actually said something to someone.
  • In Ward, Love Lost is a villain whose primary power is a scream which induces extremely strong feelings of rage and grief in anyone who hears it. She wears a special mask she constructed to manage the effect of the scream, and is almost never seen without it, usually communciating with her teammates and minions via a combination of gestures, writing, and text messages. However, about 12 arcs into the story, she takes off her mask and speaks for the first time since gaining her power in order to clearly and emphatically deliver a warning to a teenage minion that she is concerned about but also angry at.
  • The Wrath of God by Jack Higgins. The first person protagonist Emmet saves an Indian girl who is mute (due to Rape as Backstory) until she cries out his name to save his life. Afterwards Emmet wants to hear her speak again, and with some effort she's able to say, "What do you want me to say?" Which is enough for him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Up until near the end of Season 1 of Skins, Effy didn't say a word. After this, however, the second season gave her her own episode, where she was quiet but talked a fair bit. Seasons 3 and 4 made her a main character and she wasn't particularly less outspoken then any other character.
  • In the Grand Finale of Newhart, the two Darryls, who have been married to two very talkative women, suddenly yell "QUIET!!" to shut them up, much to everyone's surprise. When asked why the two brothers have never spoken before, Larry quips that "they've never been so PO'd before."
  • Tiny finally says something in the final episode of series one of Raw.
  • Blue from Blue's Clues went through most of the series' run as The Unintelligible, but in 2004 she got a live-action puppet segment, Blue's Room where she could speak perfect English as long as she was inside a special room. This was later made into the short-lived series Blue's Room.
  • Clarabelle the Clown was the silent helper of Buffalo Bob on The Howdy Doody Show for years— until this closing shot on the very last show.
  • Dumbo (who normally did not talk at all) actually gained the ability to talk in the short-lived children's puppet show Dumbo's Circus, which aired on Disney Channel during the early 1980s.
  • On Sesame Street, there are rare occasions that Bruno the trashman talks. This includes a scene in Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird (where he remarks to Oscar the Grouch: "Sure, Boss!")
  • In Star Trek: Voyager, despite being an recurring extra for all seven years of the series, including being in the pilot, Lieutenant Ayala never actually speaks until "Basics Part II", the first episode of Series 3. He says, "Yeah!"
  • At the start of the first season of Jesse, one of Jesse's brothers had taken a vow of silence. Part way through the season, he suddenly abandons the vow and starts talking (the producers presumably deciding that they had milked the 'vow of silence' angle for whatever limited comic potential it possessed).
  • The second season of Better Call Saul has the first non-flashback example of Hector Salamanca speaking (outside of two flashbacks in Breaking Bad) and first case of him speaking English.
  • The Defenders (2017): After her resurrection, Elektra doesn't speak that much, other than very short sentences. Encounters with Stick and Matt cause her to begin regaining her old memories from prior to her resurrection, and after she kills Alexandra, Elektra begins to speak a little more freely.
  • For most of his appearances in Blade: The Series, Charlotte's bodyguard Thorne doesn't speak, but in the penultimate episode "Monsters", he quits the silent treatment and demands to hear Blade scream before Blade kills him.
  • The Outpost: After being silent for all her prior appearances, Ilyin does so in the season one finale to identify herself as The Dragman.
  • The Cigarette Smoking Man on The X-Files was an ominous but silent figure for his appearances in the first season, up until the end of "Tooms". After that he became downright verbose.
    Skinner: You read this report? Do you believe them?
    CSM: Of course I do.
  • The Professionals: In "Blind Run", Bodie and Doyle are assigned a Live-Action Escort Mission for an Arab dignitary who is visiting the country incognito. He keeps his face wrapped in a keffiyeh, saying nothing until the mission is over, whereupon he removes his keffiyeh to reveal himself as an imposter, acting as The Bait to lure potential assassins out of hiding. His speaking to Bodie and Doyle is a professional courtesy from one agent to another, as they've risked their lives to protect him.
  • During the KTMA era of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Gypsy only made noises and wouldn't speak until "The Crawling Eye".

  • In The Protomen's rock opera, in Act I, Dr. Wily has no spoken lines; when he gives orders, they are described in the third person. This changed in Act II, where he had lines and a Villain Song all to himself.
  • GaMetal songs are mostly instrumental, but "02" has a version With Lyrics by Cecily Lopez which, while initially posted on her YouTube channel, was later remade with the vocals better mixed in and reposted on the GaMetal official channel. Her vocals are also included in Sonic Fan Medley alongside some by Jonny himself.
  • An odd example with Katatonia: The 10th anniversary remaster of Viva Emptiness gives the previous Instrumental track "Inside the City of Glass" lyrics, which was stated by the band to have always been the intent, they just didn't have enough time in studio to add them when the album was initially released.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • X-Pac and Jim Cornette tried really hard to stop the WWF from pulling this trope on Kane, but relented eventually with the compromise Kane would only speak with an electrolarynx. Now with them out of the way, Kane became a little(big?) chatterbox and spoke without the electrolarynx.
  • The normally silent Gangrel started speaking toward the tail end of his WWF run, then went back to being silent after he left.
  • Orlando Jordan had never spoken a full sentence on WWE television prior to joining John "Bradshaw" Layfield's Cabinet on WWE SmackDown.
  • Tursas, the mysterious monster controlled by Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes suddenly broke his silence at CHIKARA The Mint Condition by demanding Eddie Kingston fight him.
  • This was the tell tell sign that something was not quite right with the normally silent Sin Cara. (Even more suspicious was his sudden mastery of the English language, since his coworkers remarked that his first language was Spanish.) Hunico was impersonating him.
  • After Deucalion injured Kobald at the CHIKARA return show You Only Live Twice, his teammates in The Batiri, Obariyon and Kodama, both spoke in English to threaten The Flood.

    Puppet Shows 

  • Barbara the harpist in The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show after several episodes of enduring Phil's insults in silence.
  • I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue:
    • Similarly, Colin Sell in spoke up (faintly) during a round of "Just a Minim" much to the teams' amazement and Humph's disapproval.
      Colin: Who's starting, Humph?
      Humph: You decide. You've taken over the bloody show!
    • The faintness would continue when he spoke later, because he didn't have a microphone. This becomes a plot point in I'm Sorry I Haven't a Christmas Carol, when Ebenezer Scrumph is too mean to supply his assistant Colin Crotchet with a mike, but he turns out to have one at home.

  • The character of the king in the musical Once Upon a Mattress is voiceless because of a spell, which is broken in the end.
  • "Susan the Silent" of Finian's Rainbow gains the ability to speak as the result of a leprechaun's wish. Guess she needs a new nickname.
  • Shrek: The Musical gives Dragon the ability to speak, and even her own song ("Donkey Pot Pie" in the original Broadway production and "Forever" in all subsequent productions).
  • Disney's 1979 Radio City Music Hall production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had Dopey surprise everyone by saying "Goodbye, Snow White!" at the end as Snow White rode off with her prince. He also yells "Ready" after the The King invites them to ring the wedding bells for Snow White and The Prince.

    Video Games 
  • 96: After spending most of the game not speaking due to his zombification, Sixten starts making coherent words after Elise kills Niles.
  • Zig-zagged with Jack, the protagonist of BioShock. He talks in the beginning cutscene, where he briefly recounts how his parents told him that he was destined for greatness. After that, you don't hear a word from him for the rest of the game. Later on, you pick up an audio tape, and once you turn it on, you realize it's of Dr. Suchong talking to Jack when he was a child, and Jack answers him multiple times. He speaks much more than he did when you knew him as an adult and with much more emotion, considering how he's being forced to kill his beloved dog because he's being given his Trigger Phrase to listen to whatever the person instructing him tells him to.
  • At first, Jak of Jak and Daxter was a Heroic Mime. Then Jak II: Renegade came about, complete with a voice. It's lampshaded repeatedly, even before it's invoked: "Say something! Just this once!" The most amusing moment might be when the duo escapes from prison. The first thing that Jak does is walk up to the first person he sees and yell for answers, prompting Daxter to say, "Uhh... Sorry. He's new to the whole 'conversation' thing." His first words? "I'm gonna kill Praxis!"
  • Rayman. In the first Rayman game, he could not talk (except for a single line in the intro). In Rayman 2: The Great Escape, he used unintelligible grunts in a "Raymanese" language (at least in the PC, N64 and Dreamcast version). He finally got full English dialogue (or in whatever language you choose in the menu, which includes the "Raymanese" option) in the PSX and PS2 versions of Rayman 2: The Great Escape and Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc provided by David Gasman (who did Rayman's "Raymanese" speech).
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • This happens to characters who wind up in Brawl. The Pokémon Trainer (aka Red) even speaks a bit, despite traditionally being a Heroic Mime so much so that even when you fight him in Pokémon Gold and Silver and Pokémon Stadium 2, all he ever says is "..."; all his lines, though, are taken from the "Pokémon entering battle"/"Pokémon leaving battle" dialogue boxes used in the games (which are supposed to be spoken by the player themselves).
    • Kirby also started to talk in the first game, if only to imitate other characters calling their attacks or saying "Hiiii!" as a taunt. This was toned down from Melee onward, however. It should also be said that Kirby did have previously extensive (text-only) dialogue in Kirby's Avalanche—though he comes across as very Out of Character as a result—as well as several non-canon appearances where he spoke full sentences in Japanese.
    • Ness was also given soundbytes, and loud ones at that, despite being a Heroic Mime formerly (though he did have the occasional line, such as in Lumine Hall). Same can be said for the Ice Climbers.
    • This is also inverted in the case of Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, King K. Rool, and Bowser, who have human-sounding voices in their home series, but are reduced to animalistic grunts, roars, and screeches in the Smash series. Also inverted for Olimar and Mega Man, who spoke in full text boxes in their own series, but are completely unvoiced in Smash Bros.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Sheik's a borderline example. She has almost unnoticeable vocal sound effects in her source game, maybe used once or twice, but come Melee and she has a large (and loud) array of sound effects. She even has a line of dialogue in the Japanese version of Melee ("Moratta!", meaning "I got it!")
  • Borderlands 2: Midget enemies merely did wordless squealing in the first game, but they have actual lines here-midget psychos have their own lines, while other midget enemy types have higher-pitched versions of their normal counterparts' lines. Similarly, Badass Psychos only growled and snarled in the first game, but the second game gives them the same wacky lines as regular Psychos.
  • Golden Sun makes the lead character in each game that you're playing the Silent Protagonist. However, given that the two games (GS and GS: The Lost Age) are connected and form a single story together, that causes the silent protagonist of the first game to become Suddenly Voiced, and the inverse happens to the silent protagonist of the second game (suddenly silenced). At the ending, both characters can speak.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • In Shin Megami Tensei IV, protagonist Flynn is your typical voiceless SMT hero. In Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, he's no longer the main character, and is thus able to speak freely.
    • In the PlayStation 2 Devil Summoner games, protagonist Raidou Kuzunoha was a Heroic Mime, which is par the course for Shin Megami Tensei games. However, in the 3DS port of Soul Hackers, he appears as a bonus boss and is given fully-voiced lines. In the Updated Re-release of Nocturne, the HD Remaster specifically, Raidou finally has dialogue and is also Suddenly Voiced like most of the cast, but only in battle as he calls out his attacks, hinting that this instance of Raidou otherwise chooses not to speak.
    • Although the Persona series's protagonists make battle grunts and incantations, they are usually otherwise Silent Protagonists. However, there are a few exceptions:
      • Persona 2: Innocent Sin and its sequel Persona 2: Eternal Punishment have two different protagonists, each of which takes turns being the silent one in different titles. In Eternal Punishment, the silent protagonist of the first Persona has a brief cameo, and he also gets a few lines.
      • In the audio dramas, the protagonists are fully voiced. The Persona 3 hero is still pretty quiet and only speaks when spoken to, but the Persona 4 hero is downright chatty, making sure his younger cousin eats well, inspiring his buddy Yosuke and so forth.
      • The P4 protagonist only gets chattier in spin-offs Persona 4: Arena, Persona 4: Arena Ultimax, and Persona 4: Dancing All Night, along with gaining a canon name (Yu Narukami).
      • In Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, either the Persona 3 protagonist or the Persona 4 protagonist becomes a voiced character depending on who you choose as your main character.
      • Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth is the same as the above, and includes the female protagonist of Persona 3 Portable getting voiced too.
      • The protagonist of Persona 5 is practically an inversion, frequently making comments in gameplay and having a few lines of spoken dialogue in cutscenes too, though only a handful in the whole game.
  • In Dragon Quest IV, the main character of each chapter is silenced. When they all meet up in the last chapter, each has something to say. This appears to be the model that MOTHER 3 followed.
  • The rule in Mother 3 seems to be that the "main character" of the current chapter isn't allowed to talk on the job. This leads to some jarring moments in later chapters when you encounter former party leaders and find that they not only speak, but have distinct personalities. This is actually one of the more artistic aspects of the game since it forces you to identify a character as yourself before seeing how other people view them. It also fits in well with the ending where it's implied that the "Dragon," who is being "passed Lucas's heart" is actually the Player. There's a single exception in Chapter 5 of the story — a Pigmask gives Lucas a gift, thinking that he's the Masked Man and given that Lucas is implied to be much more amiable than the person he's disguised as, he seems nervously awkward about him accepting this gift and tells him it's "strictly in a friend sense". Talking to him again has Lucas mimic back, "Strictly in a friend sense!", which is very easy to miss—the intent is for you to think the Pigmask is just repeating himself as most NPCs do. Most players don't notice this unless it's pointed out, but the dialogue box has Lucas's name and his mouth even moves.
  • In Digital Devil Saga:
    • Serph is a Heroic Mime for the majority of the games, but during a flashback his past self has quite a lot to say, and everything he says establishes how much of a monster he is. It's actually a subversion however, as it's not the same Serph, but rather the base from which the protagonist is created. Serph himself actually speaks once he fuses with Sera to become Seraph.
    • In the novel adaptation Quantum Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner, Serph speaks full sentences and, unlike most Megaten protagonists in adaptations, isn't even The Quiet One (Heat speaks much less than him), and instead of being Demoted to Extra due to him not speaking without a player playing him, he receives a new, revamped character arc. Justified, as he's a Composite Character of him and Gale from the game.
  • The Social Leader in Ogre Battle doesn't talk... until Chapter 10, where he/she suddenly appears and talks to the enemy boss. He appears in Ogre Battle 64 as Destin Faroda, as a fully speaking character.
  • Command & Conquer: Renegade gives common soldiers the chance to speak up other than their default responses to move and attack orders in the RTS, often Enemy Chatter (though friendly soldiers also get to speak a bit).
  • One of the bonus endings for Chrono Trigger has this happen for Heroic Mime Crono. Even Marle and Lucca are surprised.
  • Happens to Serge in Chrono Cross. Justified in that when it happened Lynx had traded bodies with Serge, and it's actually Lynx talking, not Serge. Even so, Serge's party members don't seem to catch on that he's suddenly very talkative...
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • A borderline case happens in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. While the game already features a lot more voice-acting than the previous games in the series (it's however still limited to "Hey!"s "Oy!"s and various grunts.) Link himself stunned quite a few players when he suddenly screamed "Come on!!" at one point in the game. Not that it's the first time he had any dialogue.
    • A cross-game version happens in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Link is well-known for always being a Heroic Mime. However, the Hero of Time incarnation of him appears as the Hero's Shade and is very vocal. In the Twilight Princess manga adaptation, both the current Link and the Hero's Shade are capable of speaking, and Link even got character development ad a revamped backstory.
    • Also in Twilight Princess, after never speaking for the entire game, King Bulblin finally speaks during his fourth and final fight with Link in the final dungeon. Before the battle, he says "I have come to play!" and after Link defeats him he says "Enough. I follow the strongest side! …that is all I have ever known." and gives Link the key he needs and retreats. Midna is more shocked at King Bulblin speaking than surrendering.
      Midna: Link... He... He spoke.
    • A text-based example occurs in Hyrule Warriors. The game itself only features Voice Grunting, using text boxes only for character dialogue. However, one unexpected example comes in the form of Lizalfos having dialogue as enemy captains. Even though it's riddled with broken grammar, it's surprising because this is the first time in the whole franchise any Lizalfos has displayed any type of communications ability, having been portrayed as just mindless screeching blade-wielding monsters in all previous appearances.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Metal Sonic gains a voice in Sonic Heroes, but goes back to being speechless in every appearance afterwards.
    • ...until Sonic Generations, where he speaks in a text box when spoken to in the hub. Word of God says he can speak, but is "a man of few words" and prefers to be silent most of the time.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses gives female Byleth one line that is said without player's input and it only occurs during her S-Support scene with Dedue. She expresses her surprise to hear him ask Dimitri to release him from his position as vassal, so that Dedue can marry Byleth, which is a severe change from his usual stance.
  • Tekken:
    • Aside from a few kiais and grunts, all of the characters before Tekken 4 were not very talkative (it was especially jarring in their ending sequences). Julia Chang from Tekken 3 was the first to break the silence in her not-quite standard ending. After that, everybody got into the act in Tekken 4 and every succeeding game afterwards.
    • Yoshimitsu could also count, as in Tekken 3 he is heard to recite "Shikisokuzeku" in one of his winposes — part of the Heart Sutra.
  • Final Fantasy X: Tidus viably starts the first time Kimahri talks to him, since the Ronso had been The Voiceless up till that point.
  • Final Fantasy VI: For the whole prologue in Narshe, the protagonist is a green-haired girl called ??????, who never speaks and seems to be a Heroic Mime. Things however don't go that way, and after the prologue, ??????'s name is revealed as Terra Branford, and from then on, she becomes a fully speaking character. Justified: she had a mind-control device called Slave Crown attached on her head, which got removed after the prologue allowing Terra to be herself again.
  • Torque, the main character of The Suffering never spoke in the first game (aside from yelling and grunting), but was given a deep voice in the sequel, The Suffering: Ties That Bind. Even then he seldom spoke and usually only spoke when the camera was in first person view.
  • Dead Space. Protagonist Isaac Clarke was a Heroic Mime in the first game. Come Dead Space 2, and Isaac suddenly has a voice. It's probably for the better, seeing as how Isaac's got quite a lot of backstory for someone who didn't talk.
  • Michael Becket, the protagonist of F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, spent the whole game without saying a word, even right at the end where he's raped by series antagonist Alma Wade, but shows up in the sequel F.E.A.R. 3 with a voice and rather angry personality. Understandable, given what Becket's recently gone through.
  • Supposedly, at the end of Portal 2, Chell was supposed to have a single voiced line right before credits rolled. However, during playtesting no one realized that it was Chell who was speaking, so the line was scrapped.
  • Call of Duty
    • "Soap" MacTavish from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare follows the tradition of being a Heroic Mime. In Modern Warfare 2, he, along with newcomer Pvt. Allen, can speak, but only when the player is not controlling them.
    • Captain Price is in the same boat as Soap, where he's talkative as an NPC but silent as a player character, but in his case it's more of an inversion because he's only playable for two levels in the first game. He finally takes a leaf from the Black Ops games for the final level of Modern Warfare 3, however, where he is playable one more time yet remains just as talkative as he was across the rest of the game.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops: The game has a flashback mission set months after the "official" end of World War II. Dmitri Petrenko, the Russian protagonist of World at War, appears in it and is now voiced.
  • Pokémon:
    • Subverted with the protagonists in the main series. Pokémon Red and Blue has multiple lines that imply Red is quite talkative (including Copycat copying him), however come his reappearance in Pokémon Gold and Silver and he only "talks" in ellipses. By Pokémon Sun and Moon he's seemingly become The Stoic and literally doesn't talk. The protagonists of Pokémon Black and White were meant to reappear fully-voiced in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 however they were ultimately scrapped in development.
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon:
      • The protagonist is a standard Heroic Mime, with the twist that they do internal monologues relating to the situation at hand. The protagonist finally does speak out loud at the ending of both games, but goes to being quiet and thoughtful afterwards.
      • Unlike the previous installments, which only have the player say one or two lines, usually at the end of the game, Gates to Infinity has the player speak regularly during plot important scenes, but most of the time he/she will do internal monologues rather than vocally speaking.
      • Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon also has this that could catch players off guard. When the screen is black before the player character finds out that Mew is missing and prior to finding out someone (which turns out to be Nuzleaf) knocked the player out, the player character is given a line of dialogue. The game even goes far as to give the player their own nametag during said dialogue.
    • Detective Pikachu has a Pikachu who can actually speak—although only one character can understand what Pikachu is actually saying. To everyone else, usual Pokémon Speak applies.
    • Pokémon Masters features several older player characters with full dialogue... including Red, who gets a single line among all of his ellipses. (And that line is "Words are unnecessary!", to boot.)
  • A non-serial case occurred in Bastion. The entire game is fully narrated by the character Rucks — even when you talk to other characters, it's just Rucks narrating what you talked about. However, right at the end, just before you're asked to choose your ending, the potential love interest, Zia, suddenly gains a voice when you talk to her. The effect is both shocking and striking... and may serve to push you towards a particular ending.
  • Remember Mathilda, the Black Baron's mute assistant from MadWorld who would always demonstrate the Bloodbath Challenges using the Baron as an example? Well, as of Anarchy Reigns, she is no longer mute. And she's no wallflower, either.
  • After eleven different Silent Protagonists in previous games, the Ace Combat series suddenly gave us a fully-voiced one in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon's William Bishop.
  • In the God Eater games, your created avatar/the protagonist only speaks during gameplay with grunts, orders and observations when hunting Aragami. However, your character will have a spoken line during the final act of the story.
  • In Code Vein, being inspired by and a Stealth Prequel to God Eater, the same thing happens.
  • The protagonist in the first Saints Row would only have a one liner at the end of each campaign and only male voice-overs. They more than make up for this in Saints Row 2, with not one but six different voices to choose from, male and female, and unique dialogue for each. Saints Row: The Third and IV add more diversity to the options (including a thicker accent for the male British voice and a Russian-accented voice for women) and even each have a seventh gimmick voice, the Third having zombie grunts and IV having Nolan North as Nolan North.
  • Linear Cannon stays mute until the end of Evolution: The World of Sacred Device (or the first half of its port Evolution Worlds).
  • After seven years of Voice Grunting, starting from LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, the LEGO Adaptation Game has used full voice-acting with proper dialogue.
  • At the end of the second Dragon's Lair game, Dirk, having previously only grunted, screamed, and laughed but never actually uttered a spoken word, finally gets to speak when reunited with his wife: "D-Daphne?! YAHOO!"
  • Crash Bandicoot:
  • Yuu Kajima from the Gundam video game Blue Destiny originally went voiceless to reinforce his status as a stand-in for the player (hence his name, a homophone for "You"); this even extended to his appearances in early SD Gundam G Generation games, where his "dialog" consisted of nothing but ellipses. When he started turning up as a guest character in later video games like Encounters in Space, Yuu was given a voice (in fact, he's had two: Kōichi Yamadera and Jun'ichi Suwabe).
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, Strings the Mime ends up saying a single line after you beat him.
  • In his first appearance in the second episode of The Walking Dead: Season 2, Troy had no speaking lines whatsoever. In his second appearance, he is anything but quiet.
  • The Sole Survivor (their default names are Nate/Nora) of Fallout 4 is fully voiced and can even have their name be recognized by NPCs (mainly their Mr. Handy robot butler Codsworth), in contrast with other protagonists of the series. Codsworth will refer to the Sole Survivor from a very large list (no matter how bizarre the name is), going from Al to Asimov to Marcus to Plissken to Fuckface.
  • The otherwise silent protagonist of System Shock 2 speaks a single word in the infamous ending cutscene.
  • In South Park: The Stick of Truth, the New Kid gets exactly one voiced line in the whole game. "Screw you guys, I'm going home."
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole has the New Kid silent again, but Kenny McCormick gets fully voiced lines as the superhero Mysterion. Timmy is able to "speak" outside of Pokémon Speak due to being a Professor Xavier parody who communicates via telepathy.
  • Kao the Kangaroo: Nobody talked in the first game, which was changed in the later games.
  • The player character of Granblue Fantasy are mute in-game, with only a special costume released as a bonus with an anime BD boxset giving them voiced lines. Gran is a speaking character in the anime.
  • In SMITE, Grover was The Unintelligible mount for the god, Sylvanus. In Paladins, Grover has gone solo and now speaks coherently, if slowly.
  • Happens twice in Live A Live.
    • Pogo is a Heroic Mime because he predates the invention of spoken language. At the end of his chapter, he gets to speak humanity's first word: "Love".
    • Oersted is a rather traditional Heroic Mime. At the end of his chapter, he gets a short speech detailing how far over the Despair Event Horizon he's gone before turning himself into the next Lord of Dark, making him neither a mime nor a heroic individual. He is then fully talkative during the final chapter.
  • For the first entries in Scribblenauts, Maxwell was a silent protagonist and dialog was restricted mostly to the instructions and hints on the levels. In Unlimited, the opening and ending cutscenes are narrated by Maxwell's sister Lily. Come Unmasked, everyone suddenly is having dialogue, including the until-then mute Maxwell.
  • MediEvil 2 has skeletal hero Sir Dan being able to speak short sentences, despite lacking everything from lungs to a lower jaw. Sure, A Wizard Did It, but still...
  • Many of the animatronics from the Five Nights at Freddy's series finally gain voiced dialogue in Ultimate Custom Night, saying a line after the player gets killed by them. The only one of the original four to gain a voice was Foxy, though Freddy was originally intended to have dialogue too (his lines were given to Fredbear, who is in the game as part of an Easter Egg). Afton/Scraptrap, Mangle, Puppet, Toy Chica, Toy Freddy, Nightmare Freddy, Nightmare BB, Nightmarionne, Nightmare, Nightmare Fredbear, Rockstar Freddy, Rockstar Bonnie, Rockstar Chica, Rockstar Foxy, Withered Chica, Withered Bonnie, Funtime Foxy, Mr. Hippo, Pigpatch, Nedd Bear, Happy Frog, Orville Elephant and even No. 1 Crate all gain voiced lines, despite not saying anything in their debut games. Some of the "player death" lines, particularly those spoken by the Mediocre Melodies, also have a child's voice audible faintly in the background, which MatPat of Game Theory theorises is the voice of Golden Freddy.
  • Tales of Xillia 2:
    • Barring dialogue choices, Calling Your Attacks, and his Fractured counterparts, the only line Ludger is intended to speak occurs when he screams Elle's name while running to save her. In the international version, he's given a couple more spoken lines where in Japanese he was only Voice Grunting. However, his appearances in spinoff titles, Drama CDs, as well his home game's manga adaptation, all have him speak normally.
    • An unused voice line features Ludger speaking in the game's Bad Ending. Specifically, after killing the rest of the party he asks Julius what he wants for dinner. If there were no other plans for him to speak, this would have been the only full sentence he says as a playable character in the entire game.
  • Most of the main characters in Suikoden are silent, however they almost always have one or two non-choice lines or "forced" choices where you only get a single dialogue option. Tir McDohl talks three times in Suikoden 1 (when selecting him in war battles he speaks a short sentence, and in two plot-critical moments) and likewise in Suikoden II. Riou in 2 has a single forced choice before the final level, and his younger self in a flashback is a talking character (even when the flashback retreads part of the plot, Riou speaks there). In Suikoden III all three protagonists speak full dialogues, in Suikoden IV Lazlo has one line after getting the Dauntless, and in Suikoden V Freyjadour speaks a single sentence right before fighting the final boss. Tir actually speaks full sentences in a Japan-only light novel adaptation.
  • The Arisen from Dragon's Dogma is a silent protagonist, while in the anime adaptation, he's named Ethan and non-silent.
  • Purgatory (RPG Maker): In Purgatory 2, after spending the first game as a Heroic Mime, Enri interacts with new protaonist Abel and says actual words. This is justified as her coming out of her shell since the first game.
  • The Neverhood: Klaymen is a Heroic Mime, and the only way he communicates through the game is through burps, grunts and screams. He speaks up in both endings, but he only has two voicelines to his name.
  • Throughout the Doom series, the Doomguy is traditionally a Heroic Mime. In DOOM Eternal, the Doom Slayer actually gets a couple of lines in flashbacks and delivers a "No" to the Dark Lord Davoth when asked if he has a Pre-Mortem One-Liner to give.
  • Downplayed in the LittleBigPlanet spinoff, Sackboy: A Big Adventure. In the original games, Sackboy never made any vocalizations, other than holding his breath during the "hold to retry" or while drowning. He still doesn't speak properly in the spinoff, but the vocalizations are much more frequent.
  • In Dawn of War II Retribution's Space Marines campaign, the Ancient has taken a vow of silence to atone for some past misdeed. Late in the campaign, when Captain Diomedes is at his lowest point after learning a terrible truth, the Ancient breaks his vow of silence to deliver an inspiring speech.
    Diomedes: There is nothing left to say.
    The Ancient: No... There is much left to say. And I will break my silence to say it.
  • OMORI has two examples that only happen on the game's true route. When Omori confronts Sunny at the very end, he cuts his Heroic Mime act to convince Sunny to give up and kill himself. And if you manage to defeat him, the epilogue shows Sunny walking into Basil's hospital room where all of his friends are waiting. The screen cuts to black and Sunny says "I have to tell you something."

    Web Animation 
  • The Poopsmith from Homestar Runner has taken a vow of silence, and rarely speaks. The only time he actually said something was in "email thunder", in which he sings. And sounds exactly like one of the Johns of They Might Be Giants fame. He also says "hello" in the email "different town", as part of Strong Bad's fantasy about things he wishes were different. Once again, TMBG was involved. He speaks once more in Marzipan's Answering Machine 17.2. In fact, he actually has an entire MONOLOGUE where he questions his career choice, sings a little bit, and even LAMPSHADES the fact that he's talking at the very end!
  • Foamy the Squirrel and Germaine in Neurotically Yours; especially the latter, who never said a word for the first couple of episodes.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • At first, Lopez is just a voiceless mechanic character. Towards the end of the first season, Sarge reveals that Lopez is a robot and that he had ordered a voice chip that would allow full speech. Sarge decides not to ground himself before installing it and static electricity breaks the chip. For the rest of the series, Lopez can speak, but only in poorly translated Spanish (except for one PSA where he speaks French, one episode of Family Shatters where he speaks Latin, and one episode in Singularity where it's shown that Lopez's worst nightmare is being both human and capable of speaking English).
    • The Meta speaks entirely in low growls and snarls. In the prequel sections of Season 9, he speaks on extremely rare occasions... and promptly gets shot in the throat, leading to his later speechless behavior. This makes it a bit of an Inversion.
  • In the Father Tucker short "Truly He Has Risen", Father Tucker's victim Jimmy doesn't say a word until the very end of the short, where he lies that his ass is bleeding because he fell down the stairs.
  • Hero High, a High School AU based on The Legend of Zelda, ends an episode being Lincoln, who was being true to Link in not talking, express "She took my headphones!" (on the video's comments, the creator notes that if the show hadn't been Cut Short in that episode and lasted a whole season, he would've spoken only once more)

  • In The Dragon Doctors, Tanica, the assassin-turned-tree, is initially inaudible to the readers, though the characters can hear her 'speak' with the aid of magic. After several chapters where all that was seen was one-way conversations with a mostly-inexpressive tree, the author introduced first a representation of Tanica's human form to convey body language, then allowed the readers to hear her dialogue.
  • In Girl Genius, Punch/Adam Clay, a mute construct made by Agatha's birth father and uncle that acted as Agatha's surrogate father for the latter part of her childhood, suddenly has a voice after Gil reconstructed him and Judy after they were torn apart by Von Pinn. In Heterodyne Shows (plays about the adventures of Agatha's legendary father and uncle and their companions), Punch was always portrayed as the Dumb Muscle, despite in real life being quite intelligent (and eloquent once he finally gains speech).
  • The animatronics in Five Kids at Freddy's can suddenly talk, although their speech is pretty rudimentary, presumably because they were programmed to say predetermined phrases rather than make up their own. The toy animatronics seem to be more advanced in this way than the withered ones.
  • Homestuck plays with this. Characters can communicate with each other, but not directly face to face unless certain gimmicks are in place (such using a chat client, talking to a Sprite, or are in a walk-around flash). One of the special abilities God Tier players can get is the ability to talk face-to-face with someone.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Vaarsuvius' Familiar, a talking raven who never actually talked, finally speaks in strip 672, to reward him/her for recent Character Development.
    Vaarsuvius: I thought you informed me some years ago that you considered speaking in Common to be demeaning?
    Blackwing: No, I said speaking to YOU in Common was demeaning. Try to not remind me why.
  • The Red Queen from Wonderlab doesn't say a word when it was first introduced back in Episode 7. However, Part 3 of the "A Party Everlasting" arc marks the first and only time that Red Queen ever speaks.
    Red Queen: A party. A party everlasting.

    Web Videos 
  • The entire basis of If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device is that the Adeptus Mechanicus installs a text-to-speech device into the Golden Throne so the God-Emperor of Mankind can guide Imperium once more. Instead, he spends his time becoming increasingly furious at what has become of it in his absence.
  • Noob zig-zags this. Précieux talked exactly once in Season 1, then had to resort to Talking with Signs with the game's chat function after breaking his microphone in Season 2. This basically became the main gimmick of the character's live-action version all the way up to Season 5. Noob: Le Conseil des Trois Factions had him stay silent on both channels through most of the movie, then have a spoken line near the end that startles one of his acquaintances. Noob: La Quęte Légendaire has him back to Talking with Signs, then get voiced again when a Non-Player Character Body Snatcher uses him as a host.
  • In Undertale the Musical, Frisk remains as silent as ever throughout the play, even while literally everyone else is singing all around them. But then, during "Hopes and Dreams", they actually start singing and continue to do so for what little remains of the play, even getting to show up in The Stinger for "Bring It In, Guys!"

    Western Animation 
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series: Scorch, Cruella's pet ferret usually doesn't speak. He usually growls and makes other sounds but in the episode "Slipped A Disk" he speaks twice: He says "Hey!" when trying to get Cruella's attention to show her the disk containing a computer game Roger made to mock her, and later when he swipes the disk from Lucky he says "Thank you".
  • One of the characters from Arthur is a blonde rabbit girl named Maria, she was basically a Living Prop who very seldom spoke and when she did it was in unison with the other students, she was finally given a major speaking role in her A Day in the Limelight episode "Maria Speaks" in which Arthur admits he never actually heard her speak, it is revealed that she rarely speaks because she is embarrassed by her stutter.
  • Longshot from Avatar: The Last Airbender spends most of his time silent. The one time he did talk, he was serious.
  • In one episode of The Batman, The Joker's two henchmen appear to speak for the first time in the series. It's revealed a few seconds later that Clayface has morphed into Joker's Henchmen in order to foil his plot, and was unaware that his two henchmen were mute.
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Katana of the Outsiders remains silent until the end of her debut episode, when she calmly handed out instructions to save Wildcat's life. We also hear her talk in a Journey to the Center of the Mind flashback, which reveals that she speaks so little because she accidentally revealed a secret that got her sensei killed.
  • The Busy World of Richard Scarry: Lowly Worm talks in this series, but not in Richard Scarry's Best Videos Ever. He also did talk in Busytown Mysteries.
  • Cubix: Robots for Everyone: For the first season, the title Cubix could only repeated words he had heard, much like a parrot. Then, at the beginning of season two, he gains a full vocabulary after being brought back from his Heroic Sacrifice by The Power of Friendship.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog went all over the place on this trope. He pantomimes to his owners, but in later seasons talks to outsiders and the audience on occasion.
    • In his pilot episode, he was voiceless throughout most of the cartoon, but at the very end, he looked directly at the 'camera', and said, "This should not be happening to a dog." Indeed, everyone was voiceless, even Muriel and Eustace, while in the series proper dialogue was always a big part, whether or not Courage was a part of it.
    • In general though, this trope was inverted. Courage had a lot more to say in the earlier seasons (including a catchphrase), but eventually ended up pantomiming everything (with a few exceptions).
  • While Monkey from Dexter's Laboratory typically made chattering noises like a normal monkey would, "The Lab of Tomorrow", where he is is revealed to be the narrator, shows him as inexplicably capable of human speech. Oddly, he is voiced by Corey Burton rather than his usual voice actor Frank Welker.
  • On The Fairly OddParents!, Timmy pulls a "Freaky Friday" Flip with Doidle, Vicky's dog. Near the end, Doidle-in-Timmy's-body surprises the group by speaking perfect English, he simply didn't because he's a jerk.
  • In the original Heathcliff strips and comics, the orange cat never talked. In both cartoon adaptations, he speaks regularly and is voiced in both by Mel Blanc.
  • Chernabog actually got this treatment in the Disney animated show House of Mouse.
    • Also, this show actually marked the first time we ever get to hear Peter Pan, the only character from the main cast of his debut film that didn't sing at all, get a song.
  • Subverted in Infinity Train. Alan Dracula seems to be speaking near the beginning of "The Parasite Car," which surprises MT and Jesse, but doesn't seem implausible given his ever-changing power set. It turns out to actually be a parasitic creature living in his mouth.
  • In one episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, Jackie and the others encounter a blind Chinese Vampire that followed them by smelling their breath. After it absorbs the chi of Tohru, Jade, and Uncle, it became strong enough that when Jackie tries to avoid it by holding his breath, he discovers that the vampire has gained a few new tricks.
    Chi Vampire: I see you.
    Jackie: You can see? You can talk?!
  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes has Jasmine, a seemingly ordinary dog who suddenly spoke the last line of that episode.
  • Kaeloo: For the first three seasons, the sheep were just regular sheep that couldn't talk and served as little more than props. Starting from season 4, the sheep are capable of speech and are Funny Animals like the other characters.
  • King of the Hill: Buck Strickland's mistress Debbie Grund never spoke in most of her onscreen appearances, until the episode "Hanky Panky" where she was voiced by Reese Witherspoon and the plot centers around Buck's wife divorcing him and taking him for everything he has. Debbie ends up accidentally shooting and killing herself when trying to kill the Stricklands.
  • The series adaptation of The Land Before Time voiced Spike, though he was speaking inside his head.
    • The fourth movie, Journey Through the Mists, play is straight: when Ducky is thrown into peril towards the end and causes a Say My Name moment amongst her friends, Spike goes, "Duuuhh… duuuhh… duuuhh… DUCKY!!!" Lampshaded immediately after with everybody else doing a collective gasp directed at him.
    • The carnivorous dinosaurs in the movie series always grunted and roared whereas the herbivorous ones had full speech (except Spike)—until Chomper's re-introduction. In the second movie, Chomper made animal noises just like any of the other tyrannosauruses; but when he was brought back in later movies, he could talk and converse with the main characters. He remains the exception to the rule though. It turns out that said grunting and roaring is simply a different language: By hanging out with Littlefoot and his crew for some time and with his parents the rest of the time, he became bilingual. At one point, they changed them to speaking Spanish for some reason.
  • Daisy's nieces (April, May, and June) have speaking roles on Legend of the Three Caballeros after making a silent cameo on House of Mouse.
  • Happens in the Legion of Super-Heroes episode "The Substitutes". Stone Boy never speaks during the two acts, but in the third act after landing back on Earth, he speaks about the cause of the crisis, and the Legion of Substitute Heroes are surprised that he talks.
    Stone Boy: "LUCKY! I had to calculate the trajectory of my descent while vectoring an air pressure, wind speed not to mention…"
    (Long pause)
    Stone Boy: "What?"
    Porcupine Pete: "You’re talking."
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Wile E. Coyote is a notable exception to the rule:
      • He was given an intellectual New England accent for four or five cartoons, and it wasn't made permanent so much as a running joke (also referenced in Tiny Toon Adventures), so fans weren't too incensed. Most of the time, he uses Talking with Signs if he has to make a point. Presumably this is because the Roadrunner is a non-speaking foe, but Bugs isn't.
      • Curiously, the episode "Hare-Breadth Hurry" had Bugs against a silent Wile E. Coyote. On the other hand, Bugs was explicitly replacing the Road-Runner in that episode.
      • In the series Loonatics Unleashed, their descendants (Rev Runner and Tech E. Coyote) had the ability to speak.
    • A rare example would be Penelope Pussycat in "Carrotblanca". It was also when she was given her aforementioned moniker, as she was anonymous in the Pepé Le Pew cartoons for which she is mostly known.
  • Marsupilami from Disney's Raw Toonage is givin the ability to speak and does not only say "HOUBA!" (In the original comic book, He can only say "HOUBA!").
  • Toodles of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse usually communicates with mechanical noises until the Birthday Episode "Happy Birthday, Toodles" where he not only gained a face, but guess who voiced him near the end. He continues to have them in the specials "Road Rally" and "Space Adventure" and most of the episodes of the fourth (and final) season.
  • Several background characters in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, a couple of the most prominent examples being Amethyst Star in the episode "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" and Derpy Hooves in the episode "The Last Roundup" (after which she became The Voiceless until "Slice of Life").
    • Derpy's Equestria Girls counterpart is voiceless throughout all of her appearances except for a single line in Legend of Everfree ("And I'm all out of arrows!").
    • Lyra Heartstrings and Minuette (aka Colgate) get voices for the first time in "A Canterlot Wedding". The former is voiced by the same actress as Cadance and her imposter. Minuette speaks again in "Trade Ya!", this time with a masculine voice for some reason.
    • Sassaflash finally got a voiced role while playing Admiral Fairy Flight in "Testing, Testing, 1-2-3" after nearly four seasons of silence. Ditto the two unnamed background ponies portraying Purple Dart and Easy Glider, the former being the first time Tara Strong has had a credited role other than Twilight.
    • Helia ("Sorry we couldn't fly with you on the Aerial Relay"), Crescent Moon("There's Rainbow Dash, she's an awesome flyer!"), and Sprinkle Medley ("I hear they're flying for Cloudsdale") in "Rainbow Falls".
    • Zig-zagged with Big Macintosh; in "Applebuck Season" he has several full lines of dialogue, but most other appearances have him only saying "Eeyup" and "Nope." When the love potion in "Hearts and Hooves Day" results in his spouting no end of pet names is jarring because of his customary lack of dialogue. Later episodes return Big Macintosh to his customary two phrases (we do see him singing in a couple of episodes, but never solo or in a context where you could really pick out his voice) and he is often prevented from becoming Suddenly Voiced by other characters (cutting him off to insist they already know exactly how he feels, because they disagree with him, etc).
      • In "Ponyville Confidential", we get another O.O.C. Is Serious Business moment with him: when he of all ponies speaks full sentences to read you the riot act for what you pulled, it makes an impact.
    • Despite the fact that Octavia already had spoken in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, in "Slice of Life" she gets a lot more dialogue.
    • "Slice of Life" also gives a voice to Gummy of all characters.
    • Featherweight, a young colt who first made a major appearance in "Ponyville Confidential" and made background appearances in later episodes, was kept mute until "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows".
    • Most of the Wonderbolts aside from Spitfire and Soarin' are just there to fill the background for the team, but Fleetfoot managed to receive a speaking part in "Rainbow Falls", both Blaze and Misty Fly received dialogue one season later in "Rarity Investigates," and Surprise and High Winds had lines in "Newbie Dash."
    • Twilight Sparkle and Shining Armor's parents finally get speaking parts in Part 2 of "The Crystalling."
    • Aloe, one of the two main ponies who run the town spa, received speaking lines in the fifth season episode "Castle, Sweet Castle." Then she proceeded to get a full supporting role, along with a European accent, in "Applejack's Day Off".
    • King Sombra had only a few lines in this first appearances, but in the Season 9 premiere, he talks constantly in complete sentences.
  • Mostly averted on Phineas and Ferb with Perry the Platypus. Even when the title characters create a special animal translator just to talk to him he goes the entire episode without making more than his usual chattering noise, despite the boys having a conversation with every other animal in town. The closest he ever comes to real speech is one episode where his animal noises are clearly meant to sarcastically imitate Candace yelling at him.
    • In the above episode with the translator, they actually did use the translator on Perry, but it just repeats the same thing back. Evidently, it doesn't mean anything. Maybe he simply didn't mean to speak so as to not reveal his identity...
    • Later parodied; while posing as a human, Perry is forced into a situation where he needs to speak, and then suddenly does in a refined, cultured accent. Then it's revealed he's just mouthing the words to a recording hidden behind his back, which ends up jamming, which forces him to drop the act. Another episode has someone suggesting he can talk treated like an idiot.
    • In "Night of the Living Pharmacists", he finally speaks one phrase: "Lots of me…"
    • Not to mention Ferb who has a line Once per Episode.
  • The 1993 reboot of The Pink Panther has the titular character himself able to speak.
  • Jess was mostly a regular cat in Postman Pat. Then he gained the ability to talk when they spun him off to his own show, Guess with Jess.
  • In the 1985 Pound Puppies television special, Howler didn't speak and only howled. The television show spun off from the TV special made him capable of speech, with his howling becoming a Verbal Tic.
  • Sunspot from Ready Jet Go! is usually The Speechless, but in “Sunspot’s Sunspot", when under the effects of the sunspots on the sun, he says "No, thank you" and "I am lovable, aren't I?".
  • Robot Chicken: At the end of season 10, the mad scientist from the intro—whose only previous lines had been given via Talking with Signs—finally speaks, giving a presentation on the findings of his experiment.
  • Venus, Iris' pet venus flytrap in Ruby Gloom, learns to speak the morning of the episode "Venus of Gloomsville."
  • Sheep in the Big City had this happen in the season one finale "To Sheep, Perchance to Dream", where the twist ending of Sheep actually being the real villain the whole time (which was disregarded in the second season) has him speak instead of just bleating.
  • The Simpsons: Several non-canon episodes have used this trope with Maggie, including a few Halloween specials that give her a deep, masculine voice. She actually does speak on the show on two occasions, though: the episode about Lisa's birth and a much-more-recent episode where she says "Ja" in imitation of Springfield's recent migrant workers. She also said "Daddily-doodily" in the episode where Ned Flanders temporarily adopted the Simpson kids. But her first "official" word, at the end of an episode featuring flashbacks to the horrors of Bart and/or Lisa as toddlers: "Daddy."
  • In the Sooty animated cartoon, Sweep and Scampy went from making squeaky noises (as they did when they were puppets) to being able to talk. Sooty also gained a gimmick: sound effects as per every move of his neck.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, a Running Gag has minor character Hobie get cut off every time that he's about to speak. He finally gets to talk (quite a bit) during the School Play, in what wound up being the show's penultimate episode.
  • Tak and the Power of Juju (2007): The episode "Joy Ride" revolves around Tak and Keeko trying to avoid getting in trouble for running over a Juju by carrying the body around and moving its limbs while speaking in different voices. The episode ends with the revelation that the Juju they ran over is Roadkill Juju and that they didn't actually kill him. In fact, Roadkill Juju likes getting run over and speaks after Judge Juju runs him over and asks how he liked it.
  • A slightly different idea around the same concept: the Teen Titans characters Mas y Menos are regular chatterboxes, but only speak Spanish. An episode near the end of the series features them speaking English when supervillain Control Freak changes the setting on his superpowered remote.
    • When Cinderblock spoke, it made the villains suspicious. As Jericho speaks with the voice of the victim, that means Cinderblock has the ability to talk.
    • In the first episode he appeared, Monsieur Mallah was silent until the end and talked through the entire series. This came off as rather funny to people who weren't familiar with the comics, as many viewers assumed he was just never a Talking Animal.
  • Thomas & Friends:
    • All the characters were all originally voiced by Ringo Starr back when the show was still done using models, but eventually got their own voices when the show was starting with the 2000 film Thomas and the Magic Railroad. And later, the CGI animation starting with "Hero of the Rails." In the Japanese version, they were always voiced by individual voice actors, even when they were all filmed using models.
    • At the end of "New Crane on the Docks", Big Mickey from TUGS, who had been used as set dressing on Thomas since the '90s.
  • Inverted with Furrball on Tiny Toon Adventures. In one early episode ("Duck Trek"), he was voiced by Rob Paulsen, but was later replaced by Frank Welker. For some of the first-recorded episodes (including "Buster and the Wolverine"), Welker just gave Furrball an actual voice, but it was later reduced to Furrball either being silent or just meowing.
  • Justin in Total Drama only spoke one line in the first episode of the first season and was eventually voted off after having said and done absolutely nothing at all since then. When the second season began, he started talking as much as the other characters, with absolutely no questions asked as to why he's so vocal now.
  • The first season of Tractor Tom had all the vehicle characters mute and communicated in engine noises, in the same manner of how Lassie communicated with humans. They gained voices by the second season.
  • Transformers:
    • Blurr of Transformers: Animated does not speak or transform during his first appearance while under a human criminal's control. When he does speak in the season 2 finale, he speaks very, very quickly in a call back to his original G1 incarnation.
    • Predaking of Transformers: Prime is seemingly unable to speak while in dragon mode, this changes when he eventually demonstrates the ability to transform in "Evolution."
      • The Insecticons do not have any lines other than screams and shrieks until the episode Armada, where they break free of Airachnid's control and speak to profess loyalty to Megatron.
      • Bumblebee's voicebox is restored by Cybermatter during the series's final climatic battle and he is finally able to speak with his own voice, rather than beeps, for the series finale, voiced by Will Friedle. He keeps this voice for the follow-up Grand Finale movie.
      • In the episode "Minus One", Soundwave is taken prisoner by the Autobots and, after having spent the entire series not saying a word, he finally uttered his famous "Soundwave superior" line from G1.
  • On Wishfart, the Gum King simply spoke in snarling and roaring when he made his first appearance. In his reappearances, however, he had inexplicably gained a sophisticated and aristocratic-sounding voice. It's completely possible that he learned to speak some time between, given that he had been spontaneously created by a backfired wish in his debut.
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum: Helen Keller doesn't speak for the majority of her episode. However, with help, she sounds out the letters of her dog's name, Belle.

    Real Life 
  • Some animals that have been thought to be silent actually do make noise, they just do so at frequencies we can't hear.
    • The giraffe was discovered to be one of them. Turns out they hum/groan very creepily at night like some sort of zombie.
    • Fish also. Many species are actually very noisy.
  • Rabbits are usually silent animals, but they do make some sounds, they scream when they’re in pain or scared, squeak when excited, and growl when agitated.


Spike speaks

Because of Eliza Thornberry's ability to talk to animals, Spike communicates orally for the first time ever.

How well does it match the trope?

4.89 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / SuddenlySpeaking

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