Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence

Go To

Basic Trope: A more or less normal character becomes a much more powerful and generally non-corporeal being due to Goal-Oriented Evolution, being Touched by Vorlons, using 90% of Your Brain or something similar. This usually results in a much reduced role for the character, and sometimes that's the goal to start with.

  • Straight: Bob gets killed, but he's the mentor to the hero, so his spirit hangs around giving the protagonist emotional support and cryptic advice for the rest of the series.
  • Advertisement:
  • Exaggerated: Bob gets killed in a significant Heroic Sacrifice - and comes back and proceeds to use his newfound power to easily beat his killers and everyone else.
  • Downplayed: Bob gets killed, but even as a ghost he remains an active principal character.
  • Justified: Ghosts exist in the setting, and they do tend to be more powerful than actual people, and the way they're made is well-explained and strictly followed.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • Ascending to a higher plane of existence is possible in this setting, and Bob should be capable of it... but no, he fails or just plain dies and doesn't come back.
    • Advertisement:
    • Ascending is entirely possible... but Bob doesn't want to. So he doesn't.
    • Alternately, it's possible to Ascend... but it just means joining a Hive Mind, which people really wouldn't want if they knew what they were in for.
    • Alternately, it's possible to Ascend, and a good thing... but Bob was misinformed about how to do it or misunderstood and winds up dying embarrassingly.
  • Double Subverted:
    • It looked like Bob tried to Ascend, but he failed... but then it kicked in much later than it should have.
    • Alternately, the Hive Mind seems unpleasant, but it's not all that bad.
  • Parodied:
    • Bob getting promoted to Regional Manager (or fired) from his desk job is treated as Ascending.
    • Or vice versa.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob prepares to Ascend to solve some problem, but at the last minute it seems he doesn't need to. He goes through with it anyway, but he fails and remains a normal human or dies. But it seems that it did work after all. But he wishes it didn't because now he's stuck at a cosmic desk. Or Is He?
  • Averted:
    • Anyone Can Die, and there is no afterlife in this setting
    • Alternately, ghosts do exist, but there's no way to control who becomes one and they aren't particularly powerful and no main characters ever happen to come back.
    • Alternately, there are no Evolutionary Levels in this setting, despite all the Applied Phlebotinum and Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
  • Enforced: Bob's actor wants off the show. The writers want to leave open the possibility of reusing the character, or just want to give him a dignified, awesome sendoff that completely inverts Dropped a Bridge on Him, so he gets Soap Opera Disease and the main characters manage an Epic Hail so that Sufficiently Advanced Aliens take him back to their planet to convalesce for an unstated amount of time.
  • Lampshaded: When Bob Ascends, a character waves and shouts, trying to get the attention of the aliens taking him so they'll take him too.
  • Invoked: Bob knows or even researches a magic ritual to Ascend, and uses it.
  • Exploited: Bob owes Alice a favor. Bob Ascends. Alice can now ask for practically anything.
  • Defied: Bob is waiting for the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens to come down and help him Ascend. Too bad Alice has been giving him doses of the aliens' Weaksauce Weakness for weeks.
  • Discussed: "Bob died? Really? How?" "It was complicated. I'll ask him next time I see him."
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed: Bob Ascends. His friends still grieve for him, because they may know he's Ascended but it's hard to believe, and they miss him because they don't get to see him anymore or know what he's doing. If he does come back, he now believes wholeheartedly in Blue-and-Orange Morality and/or is now dangerous. If it's too easy to Ascend, the wrong people may do it.
  • Reconstructed: Bob's friends miss him, but he leaves mementoes for them now and then and pops up to offer solace in times of need. A need to Beware the Superman is hinted at, but Bob ultimately does the right thing despite the lure of power, or his actions actually were serving the greater good even though it didn't look that way.
  • Intended Audience Reaction: Bob Ascends; it's set up as a big deal, it comes with powers that might or might not give him Story Breaker Status, the audience is left wondering what it will mean for the character and the show... but it's just because this was just the easiest way to put him on a bus, and he's never discussed again.
  • Played For Laughs:
    • The Butt-Monkey Ascends... and is still Butt Monkey in the new dimension he's now stuck in.
    • Alternately, in a setting where Death Is Cheap, someone Ascends by accident. Or Ascends when they actually wanted to die.
  • Played For Drama: Glowing lights. Alice mourns even if she really should know better. Mad, cackling laughter at Bob's newfound power.

Back to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: