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Unreliable Narrator / Fan Works

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  • In the Rugrats fanfic Angelica's Diary, Angelica is the narrator, but, being delusional and three years old, she is very unreliable. For instance, she claims Charlotte goes for long runs, but the implication is that she's cheating on Drew with Jonathan. Angelica also claims that there are rocks everywhere with the babies' names on them, but really it's a cemetery and the babies are dead.
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  • The Bolt Chronicles: In the first person point-of-view story "The Box," Bolt has no idea what has happened to him (he's trapped in the title object), thinks his show is real, and believes he has superpowers. Between his confusion and mistaken assumptions, his account of what is occurring bears little resemblance to reality.
  • By the Sea: Obi-Wan narrates the majority of the story, and the entirety of the first installment of the series, Flotsam and Jetsam, which chronicles the development of his relationship and eventual romance with the merman Cody. Obi-Wan's perspective is heavily tinted by his own preconceptions of merfolk (most of which are not applicable to Cody's kind), his own stubborn obliviousness and internalized homophobia preventing him from noticing Cody's growing affection for him, his general unfamiliarity with merfolk culture, and the language barrier between the two preventing either one from using their words until much later. Rereading this story, especially the first installment, is a lot of fun because with the added context from Cody's POV sections in the sequel and snippet collection, the reader is able to pay careful attention to Cody's reactions and decipher what is actually going through his head and just how wrong Obi-Wan is at the time.
  • Code Prime: Megatron is this during a conversation with Suzaku regarding the War for Cybertron - while he acknowledges that neither side is completely good or evil, he implies that the planet becoming uninhabitable was a result of the conflict getting out of control, rather than him deliberately poisoning the core with Dark Energon to try and gain planetary domination. He also insinuates that he gathered the Decepticons and rose up against the ruling council because they refused to accept Optimus' peaceful solution to dealing with planetary unrest, when in actuality, they stepped down willingly and named Optimus the new leader, causing the envious Megatron to rise up over not getting what he wanted. And lastly, Megatron indicates that he tried to reach out to Optimus and seek some form of alliance, only to be rejected, conveniently leaving out that Megatron was turned away because he was a despot whose own actions are the entire reason Optimus turned against him.
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  • Concept Road. For a character preemptively familiar with all the worlds he goes to, Louis Starsky sure doesn't always have his facts together. For example, he believes that Miku Hatsune was the first Vocaloid preceding Meiko Sakine and Kaito. He's also convinced that Kino from Kino's Journey is a dude. It should also be noted that several context clues within the same chapter(s) strongly suggest that this is not a critical research failure on the actual author's end.
  • A Crown of Stars: In chapter 49 a character is being filled in on the history of the Angel War and the post-Impact world. However Misato had some creative interpretations of the events. Asuka suggests him that he ignores everything Misato said.
  • The Steven Universe fic Dark Dark Ocean Dark is tagged with "unreliable narrator", but it's unclear what Jasper is being unreliable about.
  • Navarone is an in-universe example in Diaries of a Madman, as he often leaves stuff out or puts misleading information in his journals. Discord is a straighter example, as he flat out lies to the reader.
  • Similarly, Dogbertcarroll's stories on Fanfiction dot net include one where Xander Harris has a cosmic event happen and gets dropped into the Justice league, literally during a meeting. He describes Batman as being possibly the most sociologically driven man in the DC Universe but also deadly necessary. Of course, this is Xander's viewpoint, and the man has been somewhat unreliable narrating himself, as anyone who's ever watched/critiqued "The Zeppo" can tell you.
  • Elementary Particles: reprinted from the reminiscences of Professor Bernice S. Summerfield by Paul A is a retelling of parts of the Doctor Who New Adventures Sherlock Holmes crossover All Consuming Fire, which uses the facts that a) the book itself clearly states that Holmes and Watson weren't their real names and b) Benny is well known for re-writing her diary on post-it notes, to present a version that instead features Madame Vastra and Jenny. And a coda in which she rewrites it again so they're a couple of Pakhar named Basil and Dawson.
  • Loose Change, the narrator of Equestria: A History Revealed, has a tendency to present her conspiracies as fact, which is both disorienting and highly amusing. She often makes unbelievable, sometimes asinine leaps in logic in an attempt to twist what she finds to fit her own theories, and any holes in her logic are Hand Waved away by Loose Change with strange explanations that poke even more holes in her logic. But it is this nature of hers that the entire concept of the fic centers around. It is possible to get a glimpse of actual Equestrian history through her eyes, once one wades through the enormous fallacies and insane conspiracy theories she presents. But the fic mostly consists solely of Equestrian history as seen through Loose Change, whether the reader wants to accept it as accurate or not.
  • Played for Laughs in Game Theory, in which Vesta's narration is filled with Suspiciously Specific Denials and I Meant to Do That.
  • The Getting Back on Your Hooves side story "Another Happy Mother's Day" is told from the perspective of Checker Monarch after her defeat and fall into insanity at the end of the original fic. Considering she's insane to the point she's suffered a Loss of Identity and created False Memories, it's impossible to tell what details of her past she gave are real and which are false.
  • Home with the Fairies downplays this. Maddie is not trying to lie, but her misunderstandings affect the narration, especially in the early chapters, when the Language Barrier is still a major problem. For example, Maddie visits the town of Fornost, but it might not be Fornost; Maddie later uses the name "maybe-not-Fornost". Then in chapter 13, Maddie believes that Lord Kinsey will fire her if "gossip gets out", but this might not be true; Lord Kinsey might or might not believe the gossip. A writer's note on chapter 14 declares Maddie as an unreliable narrator.
  • Hunting the Unicorn makes liberal use of this—though there isn't any intentional misleading, there are two instances that make use of this for huge impact: "The Hunters" reveals that Blaine isn't a virgin, and it's elaborated very painfully in the following chapter. "The Butterfly" is where David tells a counselor that Blaine has a stalker and has no idea of it.
  • All over the place in I'm Here to Help. Emerald's narration portrays Crystal Tokyo as a Crapsaccharine World where everyone is brainwashed and the senshi rule with an iron fist, but the only reasons actually given for how the kingdom is bad boil down to "it's boring". It doesn't help that Emerald is several hundred years old and insane. (Pluto's interference near the end could indicate some truth to his argument, but she gives no reason for her actions beyond "I don't like how Crystal Tokyo turned out", which still gives nothing solid to go off of.) Meanwhile, the two sections told from the point of views of the future senshi depict Emerald as a dangerous murderer, while the past senshi and Luna see him as shifty and untrustworthy. It's difficult to say exactly how much of this was intentional. The author's notes at the end say that there was a lot more going on than we see, but we're never told what it was. The possibility of everything being revealed in a sequel was mentioned, but that never came around.
  • The museum curator from the King Superman story The Courier Who Had Cheated Death]] averts this trope. On one hand, every detail from the story he told was true. On the other hand, he was the murderous psychopath from the story, and the 'display dummy' he mentions offhandedly is implied to be another of his victims.
  • Brett's mother in The Legend of Total Drama Island recounts long-past events with inhuman precision, but she also embellishes some details, fills in gaps with informed guesswork, and lets her biases influence some characterizations. Indeed, those cartoonish elements in the original that are retained in the reimagining could well be chalked up to her embellishments. It’s called a “legend” for a reason.
  • let's go out with a bang! downplays this with Miu. Events from her perspective are not distorted in any way, allowing the reader to see details that she's missing or overlooking. For instance, a key part of her issues stem from the blatant Double Standard in how she and Kokichi are treated: she's The Friend Nobody Likes who is constantly berated for retaining all her nastier habits from the game, while Kokichi seems to get a free pass for all his casual cruelties. The reader can see that while there is a bias at play, things aren't quite as unbalanced as she believes; Kokichi is called out on his shit far more than she realizes, and just ignores it.
  • Elspeth of Luminosity narrates the second book, and whenever under Allirea's power sees her as "not important". This leads to glossing over some important dialogue, with a little Unspoken Plan Guarantee.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku's perceptions can color the third-person narration. It calls Katsuki Bakugou a "stand-up guy" right before he begins threatening to beat up another kid for taking the last cupcake.
  • All over the place in The New Retcons since for most of the story it's written in the style of the characters writing letters. Including an insane Elly. In the comments for one of the letters, the authors and fans discussed this trope with regard to Liz, and whether she was one about the going after.
  • The Pokémon fic Obsession shows Corbin as a caring father who simply doesn't know how to care for his strange son. Said son is narrating, however, and describes his father as a heartless fool and constant embarrassment. He's also narrating as an adult, so this isn't just a child's perspective.
  • In the Batman fanfic A Piece Of Glass, the story is sandwiched together from the POV of the Joker, his Original Character accomplice, Breech Loader, and Batman himself. The Joker sees his demented social experiments as perfectly acceptable. Breech repeatedly insists that morals and sanity are moot points, being a matter of perspective. Neither is sane, but Through the Eyes of Madness both are convinced they are right. Interestingly, through Batman's POV, he's not that different...
  • The regrettably now-unplayable Ace Attorney Online fan-game Phantasmagoria of Betrayal, in its quest to mock the then-current fan-game-making community's statistically significant portion of murder mystery enthusiasts and the resulting deluge of games that are just complex mystery novels you click through with the occasional impossible evidence prompt, parodies the The Killer in Me trope by revealing that Phoenix Wright was actually his impostor from the third game, Furio Tigre, so the trial didn't actually have a genuine attorney. Not only that, but the Judge was actually his girlfriend, Viola, in an impossible disguise. It was all a sham to get someone to confess to a crime. Also, Godot was actually a literal pigeon.
  • Phoenix's Tear: Reignition: Golem doesn't fully trust his own memories in Reminiscence, wondering whether he's recalling certain details correctly or if his mind is embellishing or exaggerating in places. Like whether the sky actually was so gray and dismal when he was shown the grave of lost discs for the first time. He also struggles to recall what the 'fortune hunters' looked like, which may be connected to how much damage he dealt to them during his Extreme Mêlée Revenge.
  • Possibly Dominic in Pink Personal Hell And Altering Fate. Early in the story, he tells the reader how bad he has it, such as how his group doesn't bother to communicate with him and dumps half the project on him. However, when he arrives to give a presentation with Gummy attached to his finger (It Makes Sense in Context) they actually laugh with him. Granted, later on, the mirror shows moments he'd rather not see...
    • One thing that also makes a bit of sense with the story's main twist is Pink Personal Hell is revealed to be In Medias Res to Altering Fate - it can be read in a way that Dominic is remembering his so-called "Pink Personal Hell" during the events of the "Altering Fate" narrative from his perspective - which still plays true to this trope as Dominic glosses over a lot of events.
  • Pipeline is primarily told through third-person limited, using Kevin's thoughts and perceptions of things to tell the story. Kevin's kind of a... self-informed guy, so this has interesting results. He's got the best of intentions, really, but his perceptions of the way Ben is acting towards him are much harsher than Ben means them to, and his irrational dislike of Dexter makes the boy genius out to be the bad guy sometimes when they really have similar values and goals.
  • Suggested in The Power of Seven; Snape reflects that Harry's current multiple relationships are similar to James's reputation when he was at school, but considering Snape’s views of James there is no way to be sure if he’s exaggerating just how many women James was actually involved with.
  • In the Pokémon fanfic Revenge of the Narrator, the replacement Narrator tells the reader halfway through that everything the original Narrator had said was a lie.
  • A Splitting Of The Mind: The main character Gerard is schizophrenic and we are told that "they" were after him. It is later revealed that it was all a hallucination
  • Carlos in his chapters of Compliance and Procedure. His narration includes, for instance, domestic abuse, emotional manipulation not being mentioned as such, and sexual assault/rape being seen as consensual sex (the following chapter proves that it very much is not).
  • The Sassgardian is the worst offender in Superhero RPF. He insists, for example, that Loki is a Lovable Rogue with a heart of gold; he even has his Tumblr to prove it! He is Loki. But several other characters are super heroes or villains too, protecting their secret identities, so being unreliable narrators is pretty much unavoidable.
  • Two of Six: The entire fic is from Dick Grayson's point of view and starts when he is not in a happy place mentally, shortly after his little brother was killed and right around the time his wedding to Starfire went to hell, she dumped him and he was kicked of the Titans. This means that he makes some hilariously wrong assumptions about the little bossy secretive stalker kid that breaks into his apartment, reminds him of the night his parents died, and tries to force him to make up with Bruce.
  • In The War is Far from Over Now, most of the characters' points of view is colored by their own biases regarding a current situation and/or simply not having all the information. Notably, Tony Stark doesn't view himself as an official Avenger, merely a consultant, and doesn't understand why everyone acts like he's the leader of the Avengers. Others' viewpoints make it clear that Tony has been handling pretty much everything regarding the Avengers, especially after action clean up and the media, and Fury viewed the whole "consultant" thing as merely a formality and is genuinely confused as to why Tony doesn't realize he's the leader of the Avengers.
  • When In Doubt Go To The Library: As Zuko realizes the Fire Nation's historical records might not be entirely truthful, Wan Shi Tong explains him the historical national narrative — since countries and peoples want to be the best and feel best about themselves, they will build a narrative fitting their ideals, with everything they approve emphasized and the events going against their favored mindset downplayed or outright ignored. Hence the importance to be open-minded when studying history, as there might be an unknown variable lurking somewhere in another nation's records.
  • With Pearl and Ruby Glowing: In several stories, some details shown in the movie fragments are left out, sometimes on purpose, other times because the speaker doesn't have all the details, and villains deliberately omit certain parts of their story to make them seem more innocent. The collection Heat of the Heart has it as a running theme, with the speakers either outright lying, being uninformed, being in denial, or suffering from delusions.

Alternative Title(s): Fan Fiction