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Plot Hole / Literature

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  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: The first chapter of Huck Finn states that Tom Sawyer was more or less accurate. Huck then spends the rest of the chapter recapping the ending of Tom Sawyer, only with a mind-boggling number of trivial details changed. Notably, over the course of about a week in-story, Tom Sawyer apparently forgets what ransom means and that he ever knew it. There are a fair number of other little differences.
    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
    Huck: What's ransom?
    Tom: Money. You make 'em raise all they can off'n their friends...
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, sometime in the next few week:
    Ben Rogers: Ransomed? What's that?
    Tom: I don't know. But that's what they do.
  • Twilight is full of 'em.
    • The Cullens move away and Bella finds their property to be empty. She doesn't hear from them again until she returns home and sees their distinct car in front of her house. Alice has come with grim visions of things to come, revealing that she took the first plane back when she thought Bella was going to kill herself. Taking all of this and the vampires' supernatural speed into account, apparently the car took the same plane as Alice.
    • In the beginning of New Moon, Jasper goes absolutely apeshit over a paper cut on Bella's hand. However, he goes to high school. How in the heck does he avoid smelling blood at school? Kids are bound to fall and scrape themselves/get papercuts/pick old sacabs/get bloody noses/any number of ways the human body can bleed harmlessly, but he never seems bothered by it.
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    • Also, Meyer's explanation for why menstrual blood doesn't attract vampires is totally implausible (she claims it's "dead blood"). It's just as much live blood as the blood running through the jugular vein. Oh, an even larger plot hole is Alice's powers, period. It is repeatedly stated that she can only see the future outcome of someone's decisions — so if someone decides to shoot themselves, she can see it occur. However, she is apparently able to play the stock market with her powers, and in fact, her powers are pretty inconsistent throughout the entire series.
    • And what about the mere existence of Renesmee Cullen? Meyer states repeatedly throughout the series that vampires are "frozen in time" at the time of their turning; she says female vampires can't get pregnant because their bodies cannot grow or change to accommodate new life, yet Edward can still get it up. Which is completely leaving aside the fact that he has been dead for a century, yet somehow his sperm survived, and he was able to ejaculate. Even if we accept the fact that he can get it up and impregnate Bella with his vamp sperm, how the heck was she not vamped during sex? She was bruised and had fractured bones from the sex, it's implausible that she (being a virgin, by the way) didn't have any vaginal tearing. And considering that Word of God says that the vampire venom replaces all fluids in a vampire's body, it should have been present in the seminal fluid, so Bella should've been vamped just from the sex (which would still negate the existence of her demonspawn child).
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    • And the resolution of the novel relies on a vampire running around and spawning half-vampire children on a regular basis!
    • When Bella and Alice arrive in Italy near the end of New Moon, Alice runs off to steal a car and comes back with a bright yellow Porsche. Questions like "who leaves a Porsche sitting in an airport parking lot?" can be ignored in the face of a real big problem. How did a vampire manage to steal a car in broad daylight? This can't even be Handwaved away by saying it might still have been nighttime, since it's mentioned the that the sun was rising only a few paragraphs earlier.
  • In And Then There Were None, Judge Wargrave successfully fakes his own death with the help of Dr. Armstrong. Armstrong waves everyone else to keep back as he examines the "corpse" and pronounces him dead. So far so good... but then several people carry Wargrave upstairs.
  • Marie Michon, the "seamstress" in Tours, signs her name as "Aglaé Michon" in one of her letters. Of course, this could be some kind of code, but it's never explained.
  • In the Discworld novel Feet of Clay, Pterry introduces golems to the reader by having Angua have to explain them to Cheery, who had never seen one before. However, the final piece of the mystery was solved when Cheery offhandedly mentions that golems were so ubiquitous in the city that no one notices them, even in the Alchemist's Guild where she used to work, where they tended to get coated with the chemicals they used to handle.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe has a conversation take place between Stump and Idgie in October 1947, with Stump asking where his mother is and Idgie saying Ruth is at the school. A later moment reveals that Ruth died in February 1947, meaning she would have been dead for 8 months by the time their conversation took place.
  • The Harry Potter series:
    • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, it is stated that the Chamber of Secrets was opened before, which led to similar attacks that are happening during the events of the book and eventually the death of a student. Assuming the attacked students were petrified in a similar manner to the students attacked during the second opening of the Chamber, one would assume the students - once unpetrified - would've been able to provide at least some clues as to what sort of a creature the Monster of Slytherin was. Furthermore, one would think that someone would've interviewed the ghost of the dead student during the 50 years between the first and second openings and made the connection between the dead student having heard a boy being in a girl's bathroom speaking a different language, her having seen a huge pair of eyes and dying right away, Salazar Slytherin being a Parselmouth and there being a monster loose inside the castle. At least Dumbledore, possibly the greatest wizard alive, would've been able to figure it out, especially since he knew that Tom Riddle was a Parselmouth.
    • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Fred and George somehow know how to work the Marauder's Map, including the exact phrases necessary to make the map show up on the parchment and then disappear. This, despite the fact that they stole it from Filch who obviously wouldn't have known the magic words (and wouldn't have told them even if he did). Of the four people who did know the code phrases, one is dead, one is missing 12 years and presumed dead, one was serving a life sentence in Azkaban when Fred and George got the map, and the fourth, Lupin, wasn't at Hogwarts when Fred and George got the map and never knew they had it. On the other hand, there are spells of revelation (such as the one Snape whips out that the map basically laughs at) and it's not hard to imagine Fred and George examining magic items they "liberated" and not giving up until they cracked it (as they tried to crack getting at the Goblet of Fire in the next book).
    • The fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, establishes the existence of Veritaserum, a magical potion that makes everyone who drinks it tell the absolute truth. Well, if veritaserum exists, why does the wizarding world have trials? Why did Sirius Black spend 12 years in Azkaban when the Ministry could have just had him chug some veritaserum and find out whether or not he killed Peter Pettigrew and all those Muggles? Rowling was asked this, and claimed that wizards would do things like seal their throats with magic to prevent them being dosed etc. However, this is implausible as a reason for them not using the serum. A) Why can't the Aurors simply undo a spell like that and then dose the suspect? B) The Goblet of Fire itself showed how to circumvent such trickery-just stun a suspect, then dose them. Barty Crouch Jr. had this happen to him, and then confessed everything. C) While guilty parties would obviously avoid being dosed, certainly some of those who are on trial, but innocent would happily take the potion to prove their innocence. Of course, considering Sirius never had a trial thanks to Barty Crouch Sr. railroading him to Azkaban, Veritaserum would probably be skipped over as well.
  • In the case of Dead Souls just because parts of the second half of the novel are literally missing, since Gogol originally wanted to destroy the whole text. Sadly, the complete story is now lost forever.
  • In Death: Here's a big one...the story Glory In Death has Roarke killing off Morse to save Eve and Nadine's lives at the end. However, Immortal In Death, the book that comes after, has Eve and Nadine talking about Morse is going to be put on trial and that Morse was not insane. How do you put a dead person on trial?
  • In Mass Effect: Retribution, Kahlee Sanders mentions never hearing of the Reapers before, despite a major plot point of the previous book involving her discussing the Reapers with the quarian Admiralty Board. Here's a list of every single plot hole in Mass Effect: Deception. If we listed every example on here it would break the page. This one got bad enough that Bioware went so far as to declare the entire novel non-canon pending a massive rewrite.
  • Ender's Game:
    • Clearly it's both possible and desirable for the Buggers to relocate a queen off the home world, since one is in the ship Mazer Rackham destroyed in the Second Invasion. So explain why all the queens are on the home world? Especially when they see the invasion coming enough to ship out an egg. How about a few queens instead?
    • This hole is closed in one of the sequels, where it is revealed that the Buggers gathered their queens as a form of mass suicide, in a combination of knowing that the humans would never accept a peace with them and the hope of Redemption Equals Death that would allow them to make amends for the humans that they killed.
    • Even later, in Shadows in Flight, it's shown that the Buggers did evacuate multiple queens, though the one Bean finds died before arriving anywhere, leaving only the drone pilots alive. This makes more sense, but it also opens up other plot holes in the later Ender books, turns the Hive Queen into a liar when she's supposedly not really able to lie at all and makes Ender's whole journey to find her a new home rather pointless.
  • The Legend of Rah and the Muggles is the absolute king of plot holes in all of literature, period. The most blatant examples being fantasy elements in a supposedly realistic world, a character that ages only ten years in the span of twenty-two years, characters changing sizes throughout the story, elaborate flower ceremonies in a land that never had sunlight in the first place, and sunlight being blocked by a purple cloud of nuclear fallout that somehow lets the moonlight shine through.
  • As pointed out in a certain Warrior Cats Abridge series Yellowfang had no idea about the Dark Forests' plans to destroy the clans, despite her telling Jayfeather about it in the previous book.
  • A minor one in The Fear Index but it turns out all of the events of the book were manipulated by a computer program. So how did the computer manage to stick a bookmark into the online ordered book it sent to Alex? It couldn't have been an instruction as we see the email and it makes no mention of it.
  • The Black Company:
    • After The Lady loses her powers, all her Taken immediately die; however, after Dominator's soul gets sealed in a silver spike and it is acknowledged by characters that he can no longer project his will onto the world, the old Taken (created by Dominator) continue functioning perfectly;
    • Even though Lady knows True Names of Howler, Shapeshifter and Soulcatcher, she never uses them, even though doing so would solve literally every single Company's problem. This problem gets acknowledged once, when she is still De-Powered and Goblin says that she won't ever tell him or One-Eye True Names of their enemies. After she gets her powers back... Well, she still does nothing. And gets sealed under the glittering plain, along with the majority of the Company for her troubles.
  • In Upper Fourth at Malory Towers, Gwendoline tells Clarissa about how Ellen tried to cheat by finding the exam papers and reading the questions in Second Form; however, there is no way Gwendoline could have known about this because Ellen was caught by Darrell, and she and Miss Grayling decided that the rest of the class needn't know about what Ellen had tried to do. Unless Gwendoline was eavesdropping on the two of them back then, this makes no sense whatsoever.
  • In the third Chrono Hustle story, Jack Masterson hums a lullaby that his mother used to sing to him when he was a kid. The only problem is that it's later revealed that he has no idea who his parents are, having grown up in, and occasionally out, of the foster system.
  • Maximum Ride:
    • In The Angel Experiment, we discover that the Flock had parents, and Iggy's mom died, but his dad is alive. Fast-forward to School's Out — Forever, when who should show up but both his parents, alive and well and ready to make money off of him.

      There is a sort of throwaway line from Jeb in one of the books, where he mentions that they information the bird kids found at the Institute was probably planted by the Director. Still never mentioned again...

      In fact, most of the explanations they get from Angel on their parenting either don't exactly fit with or go directly against the information they get from the Institute.
    • Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports:
      • Right near the end the Director claims to be a successful, viable hybrid creature: A cross of Human and Galapagos Tortoise. She states that she is 107 years old. The problem with this is the implication that the technology for gene splicing existed in the year 1900.
      • The fact that a supposedly world-spanning (and possibly controlling) corporation simply VANISHES without a trace after getting busted by the German police and a bunch of civilian kids with a Hummer...
    • Fang:
      • The book starts off with Angel predicting that Fang will be the first member of The Flock to die, prompting much angst from the other members because "Angel is never wrong." This is somewhat bizarre as while Angel has manifested many abilities over the course of the series, the ability to see the future has not been one of them, leading this idea to come almost completely from nowhere. Max even jokes/notes in an earlier book that she hopes Angel hasn't gained the ability to predict the future.
      • It's stated that Dylan is 8 months old, and he acts pretty normally. He shouldn't be able to speak English fluently at 8 months, not to mention possess all of the capabilities that your average 15-year-old has (social skills, etc.)
  • In the beginning of the novelization of Back to the Future, unlike the movie, Doc says he got the idea for the time machine by having a dream about the DeLorean many years ago. (This brings up a LOT of questions regarding what relationship Doc had with John DeLorean, by the way.) However, later on, when Marty meets 1955!Doc, he says he got the idea for the flux capacitor, not the DeLorean, which admittedly makes much more sense.
  • The Han Solo Trilogy: In the first book, Teroenza thinks of how he made up the Ylesian religion. However, in the next book his boss Aruk does the same thing. It's possible they both had a hand and don't give the other credit for it though.
  • Area 51: When the first nine books were reprinted in e-book form, the author added references to make their setting updated. Unfortunately, they conflict. For instance, a reference is left to the Pathfinder launch "a year ago" (in 1997). Che Lu is seventy eight, taking part in Mao's Long March (1934-35) at age seven. This would put Area 51: The Reply in 2005. However we then hear Viking 2 had been launched to Mars "over thirty years" ago. Since that was 1976, this would put things somewhere past 2006. It seems like this could have been avoided by simply keeping the original setting, or omitting such references entirely.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Somewhat subverted or averted, depending on the point of view of hardcore Tolkienites. Many claim that the Fellowship could have just used the Eagles to fly into Mordor. The Eagles were established as friends of Gandalf and Radagast and also opposed the orcs. There are several arguments why this would not have worked, such as the plan depending on stealth and secrecy, and Mordor having its own flying creatures, not to mention tons of archers and catapaults (the previous book The Hobbit established that the Eagles avoid mere human bowmen guarding sheep). Part of the confusion can be traced to certain changes in the film trilogy, like where the Eagles are actively summoned by Gandalf with the aid of a moth. But nothing of the sort happens in the books, where their arrival at the right place at the right time is instead through providence. In a letter discussing an animated adaptation that never came to be, Tolkien complained that the script had the Fellowship using Eagles to fly everywhere. He described the Eagles as a "dangerous 'machine'" which he had used only "sparingly, and that is the absolute limits of their credibility and usefulness". In The Silmarillion and other works written before The Lord of the Rings but only published after his death, the Eagles are described as servants of the higher powers governing Middle-earth, the same ones who sent the Wizards. And since the Wizards were restricted in their actions, many fans assume the same must hold true for the Eagles, whose help at crucial moments now feels like divine intervention. A half-serious(?) theory holds that Gandalf's line in Moria, "Fly, you fools" was him telling the Fellowship to use Eagles. The writing style of the books clearly shows this cannot be true, as "fly" is used several times to mean run or flee.


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