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Quotes / Unreliable Narrator

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Future Ted: (narrating) Kids, pornography is bad, and so I was getting rid of that vile pornography right away.
Ted: (present) I am getting rid of this vile pornography right away.
Future Ted: ...when something terrible happened.
(Present!Ted trips, one of the porn tapes flies around the room and lands in VCR)

There are three sides to every story: my side, your side and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each one differently.
Robert Evans, The Kid Stays In the Picture

"I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth."
Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried

It's my job to tell it like it is...or was... or whatever!
Alan-a-Dale, Robin Hood

"And that's how Equestria was made!"
Pinkie Pie, after telling a story about how she got her cutie mark, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

"The story is told - though who can say if it be true..."
Shari, Gargoyles

"I wasn't really paying much attention to what anyone was saying at this part, but I'm pretty sure I can guess."
Rocket Raccoon narrating the events of What If: infinity: Guardians of the Galaxy (what follows is every character repeating their catchphrase and Star-Lord going on about daddy issues for two pages in the middle of a fight)

"So you lie to yourself to be happy. There's nothing wrong with that — we all do it! Who cares if there are a few details you'd rather not remember?"
Teddy, Memento

Jeremy: [voiceover] We'd only gone a few miles before Richard and James completely changed their minds, and realised that the Excellent was the best car they'd ever been in!
Richard: No, we haven't! Stop saying things in voiceover that aren't true!
The Grand Tour, S1:E9, "Burks to the Future"

Thurl Ravenscroft: Yes, it's Superior Duck! The Duck of Yesterday!
Daffy: Tomorrow. The Duck of Tomorrow.
Ravenscroft: Oh, uh, y-y-yes. Ahem. Superior Duck, the Duck of Tomorrow! Yes, it's Superior Duck! Able to leap the tallest locomotive!
Daffy: There is no such thing as the tallest locomotive. The accepted verb is not leap; the noun is not locomotive. Understandez-vous?
Ravenscroft: Yes, uh, oh yes, yes. Superior Duck! Faster than a speeding building!
Daffy: [to audience] Do you too have trouble with your narrators?
Looney Tunes, "Superior Duck"

Battler:At the end of the 1st game, it was revealed that this story was passed on to people in the future by that message bottle.
......Someone had written about this crime...this tale.
In other words, ......this tale is all part of a world that includes the personal opinions of an observer, namely, the person who wrote the message in a bottle.
In other words the observer isn't God. It's a human.
Therefore, there's no guarantee that this description is truly impartial.
By the end of the first game, it had already been made clear that we had broken the constant premise of the mystery genre: that the story itself must be seen though the eyes of God.

Arnold had no idea what the hell was going on in this movie. His memories were fake, he was his own bad guy, and not a single line of this screenplay involved a character telling the truth. But after his evil wife punched him in the balls and then kicked him in the balls, Arnold was sure about one thing: he's going to shoot this god damn lady in the head.

Within the first five minutes, we see our lead Grant has a bump on the head and is hallucinating things. So immediately we know we can’t trust our storyteller and that the movie is building to a bullshit twist. That is not a good start because at that point I also lost interest.... In the second act you may be partially tricked that the twist has already come. Grant finally (FINALLY) runs into Joey. Joey explains though that he was not trying to kill Grant but Marissa because (get this) Marissa is a demon who lures its prey with sex then drains your life force. Temporarily my interest is piqued as I rather like the concept of Tom Sizemore as a demon slayer who is fighting sex demon Katherine Heigl. Throw in Mel Gibson as Sizemore’s partner and you have the makings of one of the funniest buddy movies ever. So the second half is spend with Joey and Grant hunting Marissa.

But then the final twist comes. Instead of an interesting movie like the one presented in the second act, it turns out Grant is just crazy and everything we know about the movie is completely wrong. So, in actuality, our movie starts properly in the third act of the movie. I say that because nothing in the story before hand can be trusted. Nothing.

Tenebrae: I was bleeding, tired, and the dagger was just out of my reach, and there, lumbering towards me, was the biggest ogre I'd ever seen. Twelve foot tall, [...] with tusks as big as my arm.
Skulduggery: He was half that size. And he didn't have tusks, he just had really bad teeth. Also, he wasn't an ogre. His name was Jeremy.

But then my friend the philologist remarked that, although my ideas were not without interest, they had not been proved by anything.
At first, I was extremely surprised, but when I managed to understand the sense of what he was saying I saw that here, too, he was strictly consistent.
He called proof only a text containing precisely formulated information, but not considerations about the subject raised. Of course, I did not agree with him.
Because then I would have been obliged to assert that Prester John ruled in the "Three Indias"!
[...] In the accounting system offered, a "proved statement" will not be one which has a footnote to an authentic source, but one which does not contradict
strictly established facts and logic, however paradoxical the conclusion based on such principles. Incidentally, this is how all natural scientists work.

This tale shall be like Tiam herself, a creature of many heads. It is in my nature to wear masks, and to speak in a multitude of voices through lips not my own. Even when I had sight, to see through a single pair of eyes was a kind of torture, for I knew – I could feel in my soul – that we with our single visions miss most of the world. We cannot help it. It is our barrier to understanding. Perhaps it is only the poets who truly resent this way of being. No matter; what I do not recall I shall invent.
Gallan, Forge Of Darkness

The warrior and the sorceress rode into Viden-town
For they had heard of evil there and meant to bring it down
An overlord with iron hand who ruled his folk with fear —
Hey Barkeep, shut that minstrel up and bring another beer. And Bring another Beer.

The warrior and the sorceress went searching high and low
That isn't true, I tell you, and I think that I should know!
They meant to find the tyrant who'd betrayed his people's trust
And bring the monster's power and pride to tumble in the dust. Tooo tumble in the dust.

Oh like hell...

They searched through all the town to find and bring him to defeat
Like Hell! What we were looking for was wine and bread and meat!
They found him in the tavern and they challenged him to fight
We found him holding up the bar, drunk as a pig, that night. Drunk as a pig that night

The tyrant laughed and mocked at them, with vile words and base
He tripped on Warrl's tail, then took exception to my face.
The warrior was too wise for him; his blade clove only air!
He swung, I ducked, he lunged — and then he tripped over a chair. He tripped over a chair.

With but a single blow the warrior brought him to his doom!
About that time he turned around — I got him with a broom.
And in a breath the deed was done! The tyrant-lord lay dead!
I didn't mean for him to hit the fire iron with his head! The fire iron with this head.

The wife that he had kept shut up they freed and set on high
And Viden-town beneath her hand contentedly did lie.
I went to find his next-of-kin and to the girl confess —
"Your husband wasn't much before, but now he's rather less —" But now he's rather less.

"He was a drunken bum, and I'll be better off", she said.
"And while I can't admit it, I'm not sorry that he's dead.
So here's a little something — but you'd best be on your way
I'll claim it was an accident if you'll just leave today." If you'll just leave today.

In triumph out of Viden-town the partners rode again
To find another tyrant and to clean him from his den —
The scourge of evil and the answer to a desperate prayer!
Don't you believe a word of it — I know, 'cause I was there!
Mercedes Lackey, "The Leslac Version"

Bir nodded towards Ching. “Lieutenant Leibshott has been filling me in on the recent history of your world, with some help from Lieutenant Katsuragi. She’s taken pains to stress that she was only telling me what was operationally necessary, and was keeping back sensitive details that pertained to you two for both professional and personal reasons.” He threw a wry look at Misato, who was pretending to study the map on the battle table’s display. “Although Lieutenant Katsuragi was only too happy to offer her own observations and speculations on that front at times. Some of them were very exotic and creative.”
Asuka glared at Misato, who gave her a cheerful and unrepentant smile. “I wonder if I can get Kaji to spank you for that.”
“Oooh, promise?” Misato cackled in response.
Asuka rolled her eyes. “Ignore everything she said. Beer-soaked crazy talk, all of it, I’d bet.”
“I’m shocked! You mean you and the First Child weren’t sleepover buddies and pen-pals?” Ching asked with a smile.
“And I’m sure the part about you both flashing the penguin was completely unintentional, no matter what Lieutenant Katsuragi says,” Sergeant Bir said.
Asuka met Shinji’s equally nonplussed look for a second, and then turned back to Sergeant Bir. “Ahem… er, yeah, total nonsense.”

Caption: Knowwhere
The edge of the universe
Located inside the decapitated head of a Celestial
Three months ago Kitty Pryde-Narrated flashback
Kitty Pryde: Knowwhere... about two months ago.
Caption: Historically she is an unreliable narrator

She says I'm only tellin' half of it
That's probably 'cause there's only half worth tellin'”
Nickelback, "Do This Anymore"

A while ago in fiction the unreliable narrator was all the rage. The fixed and to be trusted storyteller of the Victorian novel had been replaced by the dodgy fabulist, con-man, cheat and perjurer. The authorial voice became instead another character, slippery, evasive, as likely to be the hand that struck the blow as any other member of the cast - butler, angry lover, resentful son.
Let me reassure you, you can rely on me, I am no jive turkey fabler, no fabricator of misleading tricks, I'm doing my best to tell it to you straight and only if I do so can there be any hope for me.
The Golden Age Of Censorship, by Paul Hoffman

My great merit as a historian is that I am known to be insane. No court or council can trust my testimony, and each reader may pick and choose what to believe, dismissing anything too unsettling as lunacy. I gave the public what it wanted of the truth, no more, leaving the pundits and propagandists free to shape opinion into faction, and faction into sides and enemies.
Mycroft Canner, Terra Ignota

Nobody in this comic is a reliable narrator, not even God, who tells you this directly.
Abbadon author of Kill Six Billion Demons

A martyr died and said fuck.
His final howl of profanity reverberated through the ages.
It inspired his devotees during the darkest times of a brutal regime.
His lessons were guarded, kept secret, espoused in the shadows of tyranny.
A vision of peace for those who'd never conceived of it.
And though his death was gruesome, it opened the world to a feeling of hope.
This hope echoed through the ages.
It gave his disciples the strength to persist as they perished in droves.
It was the only light to shine on a dark planet for millions of sweeps.
And if you are one so devoted to his teaching, who sees truth in his words,
It may be said with great authority that you are wrong.
You are foolish to believe his lies. His martyrdom is false, his sacrifice hollow.
Repent for your adherence to this illusion now, and perhaps leniency will be your reward.
"What just happened there?"
"I brought to your attention that the story you were listening to had a speaker with a specific identity. And where there is an identity, there can also be an agenda."
Aradia and Alt!Calliope, The Homestuck Epilogues


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