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"Frodo woke and found himself lying in bed. At first he thought he had slept late, after a long unpleasant dream that still hovered on the edge of memory. Or perhaps he had been ill? But the ceiling looked strange; it was flat, and it had dark beams richly carved."
The Lord of the Rings, "Many Meetings"
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Something bad happens. A character gets into a car accident, or they get attacked by an assailant, or some other situation that results in them been seriously injured, to the point of unconsciousness.

Cue transition. The character drowsily awakens sometime later, usually hours but sometimes days or even weeks. The character can now briefly serve as The Watson by learning how long it was, where they are, and what they missed. Often, the character will receive tragic or otherwise unwelcome news upon regaining consciousness, for the sake of drama. (This is sometimes Subverted as the "helpful" character turns out to be playing a joke on the recently awakened character.)

Subtropes include Abandoned Hospital Awakening, Undressing the Unconscious, Waking Up at the Morgue, You Wake Up on a Beach, and You Wake Up in a Room.

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Because this trope usually marks a major turning point in the story... beware of SPOILERS!


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

  • Berserk: After being rescued by the Skull Knight during the Eclipse, Guts wakes up to an unfamiliar cave ceiling, which turns out to be Godo's mine (which was previously inhabited by elves, so evil spirits attracted to his brand can't follow him).
  • Bleach: When Uryuu fought Tousen in the Soul Society Arc, he was knocked out by Tousen's Shikai power. Uryuu wakes up manacled and in prison with Sado and Ganju. They update him on what's been happening before the 11th division rescues all the ryouka in one act, allowing them to go on to cause havoc in Soul Society.
  • A Certain Magical Index: At the beginning of the Agitate Halation Arc, Touma wakes up and finds himself in a box. He breaks free... and finds himself in a girl's locker room, forcing him to fight for his survival and escape the enraged girls. Motoharu calls him and reveals that he knocked Touma out and smuggled him into the locker room somehow without anybody seeing him.
  • Claymore:
    • When Raki travels through the desert trying to look for Clare, she passes out from exhaustion and lack of water. Clare finds her and brings him to an inn in a nearby town.
    • When Clare narrowly escapes being killed by Ophelia after Ilena saves her, she passes out from over-expending her energy to reattach her hand. Clare wakes up in Ilena's house, hidden by a secluded valley.
  • Code Geass: In the second episode, Suzaku is shot right in his... father's pocket watch, and wakes up to Lloyd and Cecile, who promptly hand him the keys to the Super Prototype Lancelot.
  • Cowboy Bebop: At the end of the fifth episode, Spike has a near-death experience, complete with seeing his life flash before his eyes. He is promptly informed by Faye that he's been asleep for three days. The last thing he sees in his dreams/coma visions is his lover Julia singing a song as she cares for him, he then wakes up to Faye singing that same song. (Although according to Spike, Faye is singing it off-key).
  • Gintama: Yamazaki references the Neon Genesis Evangelion show by and specifically saying "unfamiliar ceiling" after waking up in the hospital from food poisoning.
  • In Hellsing Ultimate: Seras Victoria wakes up in the Hellsing manor after being turned into a vampire by Alucard to save her life.
  • In Episode 9 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Teana wakes up in the infirmary after being shot down in a fight against Nanoha, and is shocked to find that it's already 9 at night; according to Shamal, her taking this long to wake up was a result of not getting much sleep.
  • In a second-season episode of Mushishi, Ginko passes out on a snowy mountain. A man from the nearby village finds Ginko and takes him home to care for him.
  • Naruto: At the end of Part I, Naruto wakes up in the Leaf Village's hospital and learns that he and his team failed to stop Sasuke from defecting to Orochimaru. After collapsing after Itachi's death, Sasuke wakes up in Tobi's hideout.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has Shinji waking up in the NERV sickbay after his first combat. It eventually becomes a familiar sight to him.
  • Princess Mononoke: Ashitaka falls unconscious in the aftermath of his gunshot injury. San moves him into safety underneath a tree by the forest lake, so the first thing he sees on waking up is the crown of the tree. He tries to get up but falls back because he is too weak. The next time he wakes up is in a bed of leaves in San's cave.
  • In Re:Zero, Subaru tends to wake up in a location he's been to some time before he's died. Since it is more of a "save Point" than a healing factor, he's never actually woken up in a morgue.
  • Saiyuki: Hakkai's first conscious impression of Gojyo is the sight of the other man hovering over him as he wakes up.
  • Vampire Hunter D:
    • When Leila is injured, D gives her first aid and moves her to the side of the road.
    • In the first movie, D manages to bring Doris home after rescuing her. She had been either unconscious or in a trance the entire time, but her first question is if D is okay.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • In Batgirl Year One, Batman and Robin stop Batgirl's first attempt at roof-jumping. Then Batman uses a sleeping gas on her. When Barbara wakes up, she is lying on a slab on the Batcave, and Batman is looming over her, demanding answers.
    • Red Robin: After dealing with Ra's al Ghul's plan to kill Bruce's loved ones and passing out mid-fall, Tim wakes up stripped out of his costume. He immediately needs reassurance that he's in the Batcave's medical area for his injuries to be tended to and then asks how long he's been out because he saw the headline claiming that he is engaged to Tam Fox.
    • Robin Series: Tim Drake wakes up after having nearly drowned and watches as the concerned people over him slowly come into focus, before realizing he's in the cave of the monster that grabbed him along with its other victims.
  • Blue Beetle: Peacemaker waking up after ripping a scarab out of his back with a broken bit of armor. Also stands up, then falls down, and is funny.
  • In Mickey Mouse Comic Universe, Mickey is at a high risk of this. Stories to do this to him include "The Midas Ring" and "The Past-Imperfect". A special mention goes to "An Impish Bad Birthday" for having Mickey wake up not elsewhere, but a day later, thereby missing his birthday.
  • Superman:
    • In Bizarrogirl, Jimmy Olsen is captured by Bizarrogirl and knocked out. When he comes around he is chained to a wall in Bizarrogirl's lair.
    • In Who Took the Super out of Superman?, Clark Kent gets struck by a speeding car while his powers are blocked off, and loses consciousness. When he wakes up he's lying on a hospital bed, and two doctors are hovering over him. As his blurry vision is clearing, Clark asks: "What's going on here...? Who are you... Where am I—?"
    • In Red Daughter of Krypton, Bleez manages to flee from Atrocitus and makes it back to the Red Lanterns' headquarters before collapsing. When she wakes up, she's lying on a bed in the Kaalvar's medical bay.
    • In The Killers Of Krypton, Supergirl has just fought and beaten Splyce among the radioactive remains of Krypton when she is suddenly teleported away. Supergirl passes out, and when she comes around, she finds herself in the Citadel, captured by war-mongering tyrant Harry Hokum.
    • In Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, Kara passes out after knocking out a bounty hunter who was trying to steal a little girl called Ruthye. When she wakes up the next morning, she is lying on a bed in Ruthye's inn room.
    • In The Great Darkness Saga, a Legion Cruiser gets destroyed by a Servant of Darkness while the team is in route to planet Daxam. White Witch quickly uses her magic to keep her friends alive and ask for help, and then she passes out. When she comes around, White Witch finds herself lying in the Legion HQ infirmary.
    • In Reign Of Doomsday, Superboy gets knocked out by Doomsday. When he comes to, he finds himself trapped in an invisible space station on the far side of the sun together with other members of the Superman Family.
  • X-23 has a "trigger scent", which causes Laura to black out and rage against everyone nearby. She reawakens in a different place and can't remember what happened.

    Fan Works 
  • In Between Minds, a Half-Life X Portal fanfiction, the first chapter begins with Chell waking up to see the ceiling panels in the Extended Relaxation Center. She soon figures out how to escape.
  • A Breach of Trust: Waking up after his first night at Reigen's place leaves Mob bewildered by the softness of his bedding before he realises where he is.
  • Chrysalis Visits The Hague: ICMP investigator Edith, UN representative Pierre, and Royal Guard sergeant Golden Dirk are about to inspect a supposed secret archive located inside the old Castle of the Royal Sisters when the chapter cuts to Edith waking up in a smoke-filled room, partially blinded, with no memory of where she is or what just happened.
  • Doing It Right This Time can't resist lampshading this one either:
    Shinji stared up at the ceiling. It was as far from unfamiliar as a ceiling could possibly be, which would have been vaguely reassuring if it hadn't been the ceiling he had last seen shortly before getting That Letter and starting down the slow but inexorable path to... Well, whatever the hell had happened.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami has the protagonist, Sailor Mercury (who would later be Keeper Mercury) waking up in an abandoned dungeon with a Horned Reaper who was left behind as well.
  • In Echoes of Yesterday, a Worm crossover, Kara wakes up in a dumpster in the back of an alley. She doesn't remember how or why she ended up there, and her only clue are blurred recollections of cities burning and a massive battle.
  • In Golden Threads Tie Us, a Fire Emblem Awakening story, Lucina passes out after taking an arrow for Severa. When she wakes up the next day, her wounds have been properly bandaged up and she's lying on a bed in the abandoned fortress her team is using as a temporary camp.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Supergirl passes out after fighting against Satan Girl in the vicinity of a star. She wakes up in a bedroom, and after some confused seconds, she recognizes her old room in the Legion of Super Heroes headquarters.
    Supergirl awoke with a start. She took in her surroundings in a glance, realized she was in the room she used at Legion headquarters and that she was in bed with her uniform on, except, thankfully, for her boots, which had been taken off and placed thoughtfully by the nightstand.
  • In Here There Be Monsters, Freddy Freeman reminisces how he passed out when he was knocked into a river by a supervillain. When he came around, he found himself in a hospital where he had been brought by Captain Marvel.
    He remembered the blonde man who had killed his grandfather and given him the lamed leg.
    He remembered waking up in a strange place, with Captain Marvel in front of him.
  • Just an Unorthodox Thief
    • Sakura wakes up in the church after recovering from having the crest worms taken out of her. She thinks she dreamed the night before until Risei confirms that Assassin brought her there.
    • Waver wakes up in a hideout while recovering from having his arm blown off. Rider explains where they are and why.
    • Irisviel wakes up in a hideout and learns that she's been kidnapped by Assassin and Kirei.
  • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, after the four's boat falls apart and George drowns, he wakes up in a hut with the others, all asleep. They soon find out they've spent nine days in a telepathic MMORPG, and the problems they had in there were nothing compared to the problems they really have.
  • In Naruto Vengeance Revelations, Ronan and Sakura had fallen asleep after drinking and using drugs. They wake up in Madara's lair with no memory of how they arrived.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: In the last scene, Shinji wakes up, stares at the ceiling above him, and realizes that he doesn't recognize it. Rei is present to update him on the events since he fell unconscious.
    The darkness slowly resolved itself into light and blurry shapes, and Shinji realized he had opened his eyes. He lay on his back, staring at a ceiling he didn't know, hearing the gentle, rhythmic sound of his own breathing. His mind was blank, and it seemed as though his body was made out of lead. He was warm, covered in a thick white blanket and lying on something soft and surrounded by walls on three sides like a kind of bunk.
  • New Beginnings (Smallville): After unearthing Kara's ship, Clark takes her to the Fortress of Solitude so they can wake her up in a familiar environment where her uncle's hologram can explain everything to her. Kara gets shocked anyway when she comes out of her stasis sleep and finds herself in a Kryptonian-styled chamber.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Canon Breakage begins with Mike waking up in a forest as opposed to his bed. He is none too pleased about this.
  • The Portal, a The Legend of Spyro fanfic:
    • Thomas Smith wakes up in the Dragon Temple after he faints from the realisation that he isn't dreaming that he's now a dragon.
    • Some time after he changes his name to Blizzard and joins the Academy, he rescues Storm from drowning in a river, then passes out from exhaustion. He then wakes up in the infirmary with Storm.
  • A Prize for Three Empires: After Carol falls unconscious during her brutal battle against gladiator Iva Kann in a Kree arena, she wakes up in the infirmary of a Shi'ar starship, surrounded by her friends.
  • Starchaser:
    • After Earth gets destroyed, Connie wakes up in a hospital room in the Destiny Islands, horribly traumatized and physically scarred.
    • Happens again after the Islands get nommed too, where Tari wakes up in an alley in Traverse Town and Connie wakes up in the upper floor of Bismuth and Peridot's shop.
  • Thousand Shinji: In chapter 14, Shinji wakes up in a hospital after a month-long coma.
    His eyes fluttering open to see an unfamiliar ceiling, Shinji feels the rough texture of the hospital sheets first before he notices the sticky coldness of the sensor pads across his body and the uncomfortable pressure of the IV line in the crook of his arm. He also notes the abrasive coarseness of the straps about his wrists, ankles, and across his thighs and chest.
  • Tomorrow's Romance Dawn: Roronoa, after being tranquilized in the jungle, wakes up aboard the Going Merry. He thinks he is on the Thousand Sunny until he recognizes the galley.
  • In The Unfantastic Adventures of Bizarro No. 1, Bizarro comes around in a hospital room after being knocked out cold by the Blue-Kryptonite Men.
  • With Strings Attached:
    • The story starts out with the four protagonists waking up on another planet.
    • Ringo is thrown off a garage roof in New Zork and wakes up in the Plaza Hotel, where he'd slammed into a bed there and been in a healing sleep for several hours. That's when he first finds out that bad shocks cause him to teleport to safety.
    • When Ringo is scared out of Ehndris, he wakes up in the room of the abandoned inn in Ta'akan where the four had spent the previous night. Some 400+ miles away from Ehndris.
  • With This Ring starts with Paul waking up in space and having no idea how he got there or where the glowing ring on his finger came from.
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    Films — Animation 
  • Frozen (2013): Elsa is knocked out by a falling chandelier of ice. She awakens in a dungeon cell in the Arendelle castle.
  • The Simpsons Movie has Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie gassed while imprisoned in a government truck and they wake up back inside the encased Springfield.
  • White Snake (2019): After Blanca is defeated by the "Little Daiost", she is thrown into the water and passes out as she sinks. The next time she wakes up she's at snake catcher village, having been rescued by Xuan. Curiously she's wearing the exact same robe despite it probably being wet after Xuan rescued her, Averting Undressing the Unconscious.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane: After her car accident in the beginning of the film, Michelle wakes up in an unfamiliar room which turns out to be an underground bunker of a Crazy Survivalist.
  • In the Apocalypse film series movie Tribulation, Tom Canboro passes out into a coma from an automobile accident that he couldn't avoid, and wakes up in the hospital a few years into the Tribulation and with a Time-Passage Beard.
  • Back to the Future film franchise:
  • Barbarella: Our heroine wakes up after getting knocked out and thinks she's dead. Not surprisingly, since the first person she sees is Pygar the angel (or ornithanthrope).
  • In The Best Years of Our Lives, Fred ends up going home with the Stephenson family because he's drunk, and because he hasn't been able to find his wife. Peggy ends up putting him in her room, and when he wakes up, he not only has no idea where he is, he doesn't remember who Peggy is at first.
  • At the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers wakes up in a hospital recovery room in New York City after landing the Valkyrie in the ice. However, after escaping from the recovery room, he soon learns that he's been asleep for nearly 70 years in the ice.
  • The premise of The Hangover is the cast waking up in Las Vegas with no memories of the previous night's debauchery.
  • James Bond films:
  • In Kiss the Girls, when Kate wakes up after her kidnapping, she looks up to see her dreamcatcher hanging from the ceiling but on further inspection the ceiling turns out not to be her home's. The villain had taken that, too.
  • In The Lost Weekend, the hero awakes at the alcoholic hospital ward after a Staircase Tumble, wondering where exactly he is and looking up at the ceiling.
  • The Korean film Marrying The Mafia opens with the protagonist waking up in bed with a Mafia Princess, with neither of them knowing how they got there. The girl's family assumes they had sex. Hilarity Ensues. In the end, it's revealed how they got there: the girl's family put them there as a ploy to make her marry a man they approved of.
  • When Neo awakens in The Matrix after being ejected from the Matrix, he looks up to see the unfamiliar faces of Trinity and Morpheus and asks if he is dead.
  • In Misery, based on Stephen King's work, an author wakes up after a car accident to find he has been rescued by his No. 1 Fan and installed in her remote cabin - a situation that isn't as fortunate as it first appears.
  • In P2, the heroine is tasered unconscious by Thomas, and wakes up in the trunk of a car.
  • In Pulp Fiction, Butch and Marsellus confront each other in a gun store, only for Butch to be knocked out by the owner and Marsellus to pass out on his own. They wake up in the shop's basement, gagged and tied to chairs. It only gets worse from there.
  • RoboCop (2014) has Alex Murphy nearly killed by a car bomb. He awakens weeks later to some serious Body Horror.
  • Silence of the Lambs: After spending weeks stalking a victim, Buffalo Bill lures them into his van, knocks them out, handcuffs them, examines their skin, changes them into a jumpsuit, and puts them in the well in his basement.
  • In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Chekov has a near-fatal fall and is taken to the hospital. McCoy, Kirk, and Gillian infiltrate the 20th-century hospital to administer 23rd-century care. Though he comes to in the operating room enough to give name and rank, he doesn't seem to regain full awareness until he's being frantically wheeled away from the pursuing guards and sees the fluorescent lights zoom by.
  • Suspect Zero: FBI Agent Thomas Mackelway is ambushed by O'Ryan and drugged into unconsciousness. When he wakes up, he is tied on the floor of the killer's apartment, where a smiling O'Ryan casually threatens to torture him to death.
  • In Unknown (2011), the hero wakes up at the hospital after having been Asleep for Days. The ambient sounds are muffled at first and the camera mimics his eyes slowly opening and adjusting to the brightness of the room.
  • In XXX, Xander Cage is shot with a tranquilizer dart at a party, waking up a diner just before a robbery occurs. After diffusing the robbery, he reveals he knew it was just a simulation when he noticed some discrepancies. Then he's shot with another tranquilizer dart and wakes up on a plane bound for South America. He initially figures it's another simulation before realizing that it's real that time.

    Gamebooks 
  • You notably starts your adventure in this manner in at least two Fighting Fantasy books, Creature of Havoc and Black Vein Prophecy, with absolutely no memory how you ended up in your current predicament. An empty chamber in the former (because you are a Baleful Polymorph, a human transformed by magic into a ferocious mindless monster), and in a freshly-opened sarcophagus in the latter (you're a Human Popsicle frozen by your father, an immortal tyrant, having attempted to oppose him and was subsequently punished for your actions).

    Jokes 
  • Holmes and Dr Watson, from Sherlock Holmes, go on a camping trip. After a good dinner, they retire for the night, and go to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see." "I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes" replies Watson. "And what do you deduce from that?" Watson ponders for a minute. "Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. What does it tell you, Holmes?" Holmes is silent for a moment. "Watson, you idiot!" he says. "Someone has stolen our bloody tent!"
  • A tourist is exploring the Australian outback and suddenly takes a bad fall over a cliff. When he regains consciousness, he's in a strange room in someone's cabin. "Was I brought here to die?" the tourist asks. "No, mate," replies his host, "you were brought here yester-die."

    Literature 
  • Malinda Lo's Adaptation: Reese blacks out after a car crash. She wakes up to find herself in a hospital, 27 days later.
  • In The Borrowers, Arrietty and her family had been sleeping in a boot, but wake up to the underside of a camp bed, which had been picked up by Mild-Eye.
  • A Brother's Price:
    • Ren is a bit confused when she wakes up after her first night at the Whistler home, until her brain boots up enough that she remembers why she's where she is.
    • Near the end of the book, Jerin panics a little. His memory of the last night is fuzzy since he almost drowned and got knocked about after going over that Inevitable Waterfall, but soon he recognizes it as his cousin Dail's room.
  • In City of Devils, Nick Moss is knocked unconscious by Cacophony Jones and wakes up bound in the storeroom of a biker bar. This presumably happened "offscreen" earlier, when Harley, a member of Cacophony's band the Disasters, wakes up in Imogen Verity's basement in a mummy coffin wondering what the hell happened.
  • Charles Dickens's Great Expectations: After the death of the old convict, Pip runs home and falls into his bed in a fever, only to discover on his waking that he is now at Joe's house.
  • The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya combines this with Timey-Wimey Ball. Kyon wakes up after experiencing being stabbed by Asakura, but by the time he wakes up, the past has been rewritten so that he fell down a set of stairs and hit his head.
  • Discworld:
    • In Night Watch, Vimes is knocked out or kidnapped by people who want to get him alone for a conversation so frequently that by the third or fourth time he wakes up in an unfamiliar room, he's not so much scared as just exasperated.
    • In Guards! Guards!, Vimes falls unconscious after jumping off the roof of the Watch House to escape a dragon attack. When he wakes up, he takes the bed and presence of a ceiling as possible evidence that he's not dead. The presence of Nobby Nobbs is less conclusive. When he asks the obligatory question ("Have I already said 'Where am I'? Did I get an answer?") Nobby leeringly informs him he's in Lady Ramkin's boudoir.
  • Dragon Calling: After Laeka’Draeon passes out from his forced transformation, he wakes up on his back, looking up at Madam Lume’s thatched cottage ceiling.
  • The Dresden Files 's Ghost Story: After being shot at the end of the previous book, Harry spends most of this one as a ghost. When everything is wrapped up, he's fully prepared to move on to the afterlife, but instead wakes up in a cave on Demonreach with his head in Mab's lap. Alive though, so that's probably a step up (though he doesn't think so).
  • Emerald Prince: This happens to Julien in the beginning, when he's been Kidnapped by the Call. He wakes up in a bath, so, yes, he's shirtless.
  • Frontier Wolf: Alexios wakes up from wound fever in the Onnum infirmary, which he doesn't recognise per se but which looks exactly the same as every Roman army building the length and breadth of the empire.
  • Good Omens: Newt lost consciousness after he crashed his car on the side of the road, and when he wakes up, he realizes that he can't be in his own room because there are no model planes hanging from the ceiling.
  • Harry Potter's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: After Harry falls unconscious fighting Quirrell in the titular chamber, he wakes up in the hospital ward with Dumbledore nearby.
  • In Heart of Steel, Julia is attacked by Scarface the shark-man while she and her boyfriend are scuba diving off the coast of Shark Reef Isle. She is knocked out and wakes up in a very posh guest room with a new leg.
  • Ellen Hopkins's Crank Trilogy: In Burned, Pattyn is knocked out cold and wakes up in the hospital some time later.
  • In the Hurog duology, there is a variant where the person waking up immediately knows where she is, and compliments the main character on the beautiful room. It is not clear whether she pretended to be asleep until she was sure she was safe, though.
  • In the Illuminatus! series novel The Widow's Son, lead character Sigismundo Celine is consigned to the Bastille. He ends up under a heavy security regimen after escaping and being recaptured, effectively confined to his cell where he has ample opportunity to memorise all the details of his room. One day he wakes up after a deeper sleep than normal to realise he is on the ceiling and looking down at his room - the floor has become his new ceiling. Gravity has semingly reversed itself in the night. But he looks carefully and sees small inconsistencies in placement and arrangement of furniture. He also realises the window has suddenly been boarded over. He deduces he has been drugged and moved to an elaborate hoax set-up.
  • The Lord of the Rings: In the first book, Frodo loses consciousness after battling with the Nazgul on a hill. While asleep, the characters race to get him to Rivendell before the poison kills or transforms him. He has to get the escape explained to him by Gandalf once he wakes up in one of the bright medical rooms of the elves.
  • Mr Blank: Our hero gets knocked out and awakens tied to a chair in some bunker in San Pedro to be interrogated by a government spook, a dirty tricks specialist, Freemason, an elephantine Russian Mobster, and a Man in Black. It's the first indication he gets not only of people double-dipping in conspiracies (besides him, of course), and that they might not all be communicating with one another.
  • Andre Norton:
    • In Ice Crown, Roane and Princess Ludorica are drugged in the coach and wake up indoors.
    • The Stars Are Ours: Dard Nordis wakes up and immediately asks "Where is here?" The attending human praises him for coming up with an alternative to "Where am I?"
  • Christopher Paolini relies on this trope a lot in Eragon, using it instead of actual scene transitions in many instances. Examples include: Eragon fainting after finding a wounded Garrow and waking up in the care of the village healer, Eragon fainting of exhaustion after using magic against an Urgal, Eragon fainting again after using too much magic against Urgals, Eragon blacking out when attacked by the Ra'zac, Eragon blacking out again while Murtagh rescues him from said Ra'zac, and Eragon getting knocked out in an Urgal ambush which allows him to be captured.
  • In the Percy Jackson and the Olympians book Battle of the Labyrinth, Percy is blown out of Mount St. Helens and loses consciousness as he's plummeting back to Earth. When he wakes up, he's on Ogygia, being tended to by Calypso. He is conscious for a few moments before passing out again. When he finally comes to, he finds himself sleeping on a fine bed in a geodesic cave.
  • Most of Tamora Pierce's heroines do this at least once. Per book.
  • H. Beam Piper: In the story "Time and Again", the protagonist wakes up in his old room in his childhood home... also in his childhood body, thirty years prior to being knocked out.
  • Septimus Heap: Boy 412, falls asleep in a heap of snow outside of the Wizard Tower, wakes up in the rooms of the ExtraOrdinary Wizard up in the tower.
  • A Wizard of Earthsea: Turns up surprisingly little, given Ged spends an absurd amount of time being generally passed out. This specific trope only occurs once, at Osskil.

    Live-Action TV 
  • American Gothic (1995): In the episode "Strong Arm of the Law", a drunken thug is given something that knocks him out, only to wake up and find himself inside a coffin, laying next to the body of the man he killed; the coffin is in the process of being buried.
  • Blackadder: In the episode "The Archbishop", Lord Graveney signs a will on his deathbed, leaving his lands to the church to avoid going to hell, and falls asleep, expecting to die. Then Edmund (as the Archbishop) bursts in and desperately wakes him.
    Graveney: Am I in Paradise?
    Edmund: No!
    Graveney: Then this must be hell!
    Edmund: No you're all right, it's England.
    Graveney: And you are not Satan?
    Edmund: No, I'm the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • Bones
    • Hodgins and Brennan wake up in a car buried underground in “The Aliens in the Spaceship.”
    • Bodgins also wakes up in the desert after Angela’s dad tattoos him.
  • CSI
    • Catherine wakes up in a motel after being given roofies in her drink at a bar.
    • Nick probably counts too; he was knocked out at a crime scene with chloroform and woke up buried alive.
  • In Day Break (2006), Hopper gets knocked unconscious in county prison and wakes up Bound and Gagged at the rock quarry, where he is told to confess to Garza's murder.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Tsuranga Conundrum", after accidentally setting off a sonic mine in a junkyard, the next thing the Doctor and her companions know, they're waking up in a medical facility.
  • The Drew Carey Show: Drew once wakes up on the Great Wall of China, thanks to Mimi.
  • In the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Infiltrated", Olivia Benson (working undercover as Persephone James) is involved in a fight between police and the ecologists' group she is working with. She is hit by a police officer and knocked out cold, and awakens some time later to find herself handcuffed to a hospital gurney and a police officer informs her that she has been arrested.
  • Monk: While Monk is investigating information about his wife's death at a truck stop in San Francisco, he gets attacked and stuck into one of the trucks. When he finally wakes up (with amnesia), he's in a tiny town in Wyoming.
  • In Noah's Arc, Ricky passes out due to an infection, waking up in a hospital.
  • In a later episode of Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, Tyzonn gets rendered unconscious in a battle with the Fearkats, waking up later on his home planet with his presumed dead fiancé, Vella, who tells him his experiences have been All Just a Dream. Turns out that she's really one of the Fearkats, and he never left Earth at all.
  • The Prisoner (1967): In the opening credits of the first episode, the title character was knocked out via sleeping gas. He wakes up in The Village, where the series is set.
  • There are at least three episodes of Psych where Shawn is struck in the head and wakes up somewhere else. Lassiter's apartment, tied up in a chair, and strapped in a bed respectively.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), Sam is abducted from a diner in Iowa, waking up in Cold Oak, South Dakota.
  • Tropical Heat: In the episode "Alive and Kicking", Nick passes out from blood loss after being shot. When he comes to, he finds himself in the care of a beautiful lady, who turns out to suffer from severe delusions and doesn't want to let him go.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "Stopover in a Quiet Town'': Two people try to drive home drunk. When they wake up the next morning, they're in a completely deserted town.
  • Like in the comic, the beginning of the series The Walking Dead has an injured Rick waking up in the hospital, only to find that while he was sleeping, the Zombie Apocalypse has started and humanity has been almost completely wiped out.
  • The X-Files: In episode "Anasazi":
    • Agent Mulder gets really sick after he's been systematically drugged and after he sort of witnessed his father's murder. He manages to get to his partner's apartment because his own place became too dangerous. When he wakes up alone in his underpants at Agent Scully's, he doesn't quite recollect where he is.
    • Later in the same episode, Scully intentionally shoots Agent Mulder in the shoulder to stop him from killing his father's murderer. He's been put out to let the drugs wore off and they have driven for two days to New Mexico. He wakes up at Albert Hosteen's, their new ally and a translator from Navajo code. Obviously he wonders what happened and he thanks Scully for taking care of him.

    Music 
  • Steely Dan's "Do It Again" has a verse that vaguely implies this; even if the fellow wasn't necessarily unconscious upon arriving, he definitely finds his presence unexpected and a bit unnerving:
    Now you swear and kick and beg us
    That you're not a gambling man
    Then you find you're back in Vegas
    With a handle in your hand
    Your black cards can win you money
    So you hide them when you're able
    In the land of milk and honey
    You must put them on the table

    Myths & Religion 
  • In The Achilleid, Achilles goes to sleep in a cave under a mountain and wakes up in bright daylight with waves crashing right next to him as an unfamiliar woman looms over him. He's frightened at first and it takes a second for him to realize the woman is his Missing Mom, who explains how she abducted him in the night.

    Video Games 
  • Alan Wake: The protagonist wakes up with amnesia in a crashed car after diving into the lake to save his wife. A week has passed and she's nowhere to be found, the cabin they were staying in apparently doesn't exist, and shadow creatures start attacking Alan. Most of the game is spent trying to figure out exactly what happened in that week.
  • After slaying a certain boss in Bloodborne, hooded Snatchers start to appear around the Cathedral Ward. Should one of them kill you, instead of respawning next to the last checkpoint, you wake up inside a hypogean gaol in a wholly different part of town, to the sounds of extremely unsettling Latin chanting.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: After winning the fight at the top of the tower in Ostagar, The Warden loses consciousness while King Cailan and his forces are slaughtered. When they wake up, it is in the cottage of a Witch of the Wilds, who has healed The Warden's injuried. Morrigan walks in just in time to asnwer their questions and to show them to Alistair.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
    • Once you reach a certain level, the next time you enter a bar you'll find a nice guy named Sam who challenges you to a drinking contest. Regardless of where the party starts, you wake up in Markarth, having trashed the Temple of Dibella (and fondled the statuary) in a drunken stupor. The quest that follows indicates that your alcohol-fueled adventure led you across the breadth of Skyrim.
    • If you pose as a Dark Brotherhood assassin and kill Grelod the Kind for Aventus Aretino, the next time you sleep, you'll wake up in a locked shack in the middle of nowhere, to have a little chat with a real member of the Dark Brotherhood.
  • In Full Throttle, you black out after an accident with your motorbike and wake up at Maureen's place. She tells you that she took care of you and that she fixed your bike.
  • In the first Golden Sun, during the Inevitable Tournament, dying in battle makes you wake up in the infirmary, surrounded by your friends, who will then inform you that you were just dreaming. Then you have to restart the tournament from the beginning. And if you win... you wake up in the infirmary, surrounded by your friends, who will then inform you that you won.
  • A possible outcome of gameplay in Grand Theft Auto V, especially in Trevor's case. No stranger to waking up in strange places in the aftermath of drunken rampages, one of the optional activities available to this particular character is - wait for it - huffing gas from a sock; actually doing so will result in Trevor passing out and waking up in a random location. One particular random encounter also results in this: players have the option of inspecting a suspicious-looking van in the street... only to get tased by the driver and wake up naked and lying in the path of an oncoming train.
  • In Half-Life 1, Gordon is ambushed by hostile marines and wakes up in a trash compactor.
  • This happens a lot in the Kingdom Hearts games. It's not uncommon for Sora to enter worlds unconscious if he's taken there by force; for example, in the first game, he's passed out in an alleyway in Traverse Town, with Pluto shaking him awake upon being discovered. His entry into Space Paranoids in Kingdom Hearts II had him fall unconscious while he's being "arrested".
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, the player character escapes a doomed ship and wakes up in an apartment on an unfamiliar planet, with an ally dropping the news that they've been Asleep for Days.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II: This happens after the dramatic events of the ending of the first game, in which the protagonist, Rean Schwarzer awakened a massive combat robot known as a Divine Knight and fought his classmate, Crow Armbrust, who was secretly a terrorist leader and another Awakener. Rean's Divine Knight, Valimar, is badly damaged and he is forced to flee. He awakens a month later in the Eisengard Range, near his hometown, as the Awakener shares the damage taken by the Divine Knight and it's taken almost all of the Knight's mana just to recover him.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Link is knocked out by a volcanic blast as he tries to land in the Eldin Volcanic region. He wakes up with no items and only three filled hearts, in a jail cell.
  • Max Payne:
    • At the end of the first part of the first game, Max is knocked out with a spiked drink in a bar full of corpses and wakes up tied to a chair in the basement of another building, talking to Frankie "The Bat" Niagara. Frankie proceeds to use Max's head for batting practice. Averted later, though: after he's knocked out with an overdose of Valkyr, he wakes up in the same place, since he was left for dead.
    • In Max Payne 2, after Max is shot by Winterson, he wakes up in the hospital, barely alive.
  • During the introduction to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Big Boss (Or, at least, the person assigned to impersonate Big Boss) wakes up from a years-long coma to find himself in a military hospital in Cyprus.
  • Myst: After completing each Age, the player is sent back to the Library, looking up at the ceiling. It may well be unfamiliar the first time, as many players may not have thought to look up. This implies that the player has lost consciousness, but it isn't explicit.
  • In Persona 3, after awakening to his Persona, the protagonist is Asleep for Days and wakes up in Tatsumi Memorial Hospital.
  • Ratchet: Deadlocked begins with Ratchet, Clank, and Big Al being taken from the Starship Phoenix by DreadZone warbots. After the opening cutscenes, we learn that Ratchet has been unconscious for hours as Al places him in armor, and now they're stuck as contestants in the Shadow Sector.
  • In Resident Evil 4 after Leon attacks Bitores Mendez and gets his butt handed to him, he wakes up in a dead-end area of the village, chained to Luis, and with an inbound Mook dragging an executioner's axe.
  • The Secret World: Shortly after gaining control of their powers in the prologue, new recruits to the Dragon then receive a visit from one of the Silent Monks, who promptly knocks you unconscious with a touch. You then wake up alone in Seoul, with no money, no passport, no explanations, and no umbrella. Suffice to say, the Dragon like tossing their recruits in the deep end.
  • Happens a lot in Silent Hill, with characters waking up near or in the titular town. If they're already there, it often happens again when coming across an important bit of information, after defeating a boss, and when the Otherworld takes over yet again.
  • Super Paper Mario begins with Count Bleck kidnapping Princess Peach, Bowser, and Luigi. Peach and Bowser wake up and are shocked to find themselves standing at an altar in wedding garments and then Bleck officiating their wedding, though Bowser quickly goes along with it. Luigi was left on the floor and wakes up a few minutes later, equally shocked.
  • In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Nathan passes out from a gunshot wound and the cold of the Himalayas, then wakes up in a Tibetan village.

    Web Comics 
  • Awaken: After Piras passes out upon being rescued by the Athena the reader gets a first person perspective of the med-bay ceiling coming into focus for him before it hops to normal perspective and he starts to ask where he is and is quickly reminded of his situation by the crew.
  • Awful Hospital: Fern starts out waking up not in her own bed, but the hospital bed. Bears some resemblance to Abandoned Hospital Awakening, but as becomes clear, The Hospital is anything but.
  • Blade Bunny: After the titular character is badly injured, her first words are to wonder why heaven is so poorly decorated. Needless to say, she's not dead.
  • The Fox Sister: The opening sequence closes with a classic example when Yun Hee wakes up in the hospital.
  • In General Protection Fault, during the Flashback arc explaining how Ki and Fooker know each other, Fooker gets so drunk that he hits on Ki, who kicks him in the groin. When he wakes up, he finds out that she's taken him to hospital and she helps him to quit his alcoholism by threatening to kick him again.
  • In Gifts of Wandering Ice, on page 97, Elie wakes up while Tim carries her away from the cliff she nearly fell off. She is not herself and says eerie things.
  • In Girl Genius, when Gil wakes up in Mama Gkika's, he assumes he's been out of action for days when it's only been a few hours.
  • In Godslave, after Edith is knocked out by Turner, she spends a moment staring blankly at the museum library ceiling and wondering where she is.
  • In Impure Blood, Roan asks where they are as soon as he regains consciousness.
  • In Kid Radd, Radd, after taking some infected code, wakes up in the Moderators' infirmary, initially believing that he's in hell before he opens his eyes.
  • Times Like This: Joan Of Arc passes out at her execution in 1431... and then wakes up in a modern-day hotel room, having been rescued by Cassie and Matt.
  • Tower of God - Edin after being sedated by a guy hired by Khun, wakes up in Khun's house, with Nobic sitting next to him.
  • In WTF Comics, Annashi notices an unfamiliar ceiling in a bit of a Shout-Out to Neon Genesis Evangelion in the first panel here. When she wakes up after being knocked out and enslaved.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Yokoka passes out going through Betel's barrier at the end of chapter 1 and wakes up in Yin's home at the start of chapter 2. Yokoka is beaten unconscious by Hurricane at the end of chapter 8, and wakes up bandaged and being cared for by Grace at the end of chapter 9. Both times she lost her clothes, though for different reasons.

    Web Original 
  • Sahmad has one in BIONICLE, where he is told he has been asleep for 750 years. However, it turns out to be All Just a Dream.
  • Red vs. Blue: Recreation: Subverted/played for laughs when Donut keeps passing out and coming to, and each time he's told strange stories about what has been happening while he was asleep, which makes him wonder and ask how long he's been out. Turns out he's only been out for a few minutes, and the stories sound strange because it's Caboose who's been telling him the news.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has Aang waking up six weeks after getting struck by lightning, in a fire nation ship, and panicking.
  • Family Guy: One episode has Peter, Brian, Joe, and Quagmire getting into an accident and waking up in the hospital with no memory of who they are. It's all a simulation by Stewie, who does the same thing to Lois, Meg and Bonnie.
  • My Friends Tigger & Pooh: In "Eeyore Sleeps On It", Porcupine finds Eeyore sleeping by a stump in a meadow. When she and the Super Sleuths finally wake him after much effort, he says he doesn't know how he got there and that he went to sleep at home the night before. They discover that he's sleepwalking and it turns out it's because he's being lured in his sleep by Porcupine practicing her flute music, which he considers the most beautiful he's ever heard. She always practices right before she goes to sleep.
  • Regular Show has a slightly more comedic variant in the episode "Marvolo the Wizard." After Pops panics and runs into a wall, he groggily comes to, and asks Skips if he's back home. A similar scene occurs near the end of the episode.
  • The Simpsons: "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind" opens with Homer passed out outside in the snow with no memory of the past 24 hours.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Nomad Droids", after running out of power, R2 and 3PO are salvaged by pirates and wake up in the hold of their captors' ship.
  • Street Sharks: The protagonists apparently drop over dead in a lab. They wake up in a flooded storm drain, very confused.


Alternative Title(s): Waking Up In Vegas, Unfamiliar Ceiling

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