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  • The 39 Clues
    • The Black Circle: The previous four books established that there were four branches in the Cahill family: Ekaterina, Janus, Lucian, and Tomas. However, when both the front cover and book codes are deciphered, they reveal two phrases that imply that there is a fifth unknown branch.
      Remember Madeleine. (Front cover code)
      Olivia had another. (Book code)
    • The Viper's Nest: Grace's journal says that she can't listen to the music of Orlando di Lasso because it's "a sad reminder" of Hope and Arthur's branch, which is unknown to Amy and Dan. When the two have some of di Lasso's music, they find out that they belong to the aforementioned fifth and dangerous branch because of the title and the above fact.
      Mon coeur se reccomande a vous by Orlando di Lasso.
      A Madrigal, in Four Parts.
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    • The Emperor's Code: Certain words have been circled in the book, and when put together in the order of appearance, it reads this:
      Madrigals are behind everything. They lay out the path the others will walk. The end is coming.
    • Storm Warning:
    • Into the Gauntlet: Many.
      • To gain Alistair's trust, Sinead reveals that she and er brothers robbed the Ekaterina leader, Bae Oh, someone that Alistair hates.
        "There's something else you might want to know. We stole Bae Oh's Clues!"
      • When Isabel is threatening the safety of Ned and Ted for Sinead's Clues, exposing both their disabilities in the process.
        Sinead: Which brother did you find hiding in my aircraft? I can't quite tell...
        Isabel Why — do you love one brother more than the other? Which cripple do you prefer?
      • If the codes in the pages and last page are solved, they form two unnerving sentences that hint at the second series.
        The Cahills aren't the only ones looking for the Clues. The Vespers are coming.
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    • A King's Ransom: An acronym, to be exact. At the end, Dan receives a text message from a person believed to be Amy's and Dan's father.
      Suspend judgement. The whole story is always more complex than its parts. Wait. AJTnote 
    • Trust No One: After Amy gives Gideon's ring to the Vespers as their last offer, Atticus does some research based on the ransoms they were repeatedly given throughout the second series. The discovery horrifies him and Amy, which is this:
      "The Vespers have been stealing plans and parts to make Archimedes’ doomsday device."
    • Flashpoint: Amy has drunk the Master Serum, meaning she has about a week to live. On the sixth day, the Serum antidote is finally made, and Nellie asks Amy to roll up her sleeve in order to inject it into her. Instead, she replies "No", wanting to use her Serum abilities at the last minute, essentially throwing her life on the line to stop the Big Bad, J. Rutherford Pierce.
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    • Mission Hindenburg:
      • When Hamilton muses on not being able to reach his date due to the upcoming Hindenburg disaster recreation the Outcast will orchestrate:
        Jonah: I don't think your boyfriend would be impressed by a heap of burning metal.
      • Vladmir begins to confess to Nellie and Sammy the murder of Grace's husband, revealing he still failed in his mission.
        "For the one killing I was called to do and did not."
      • After watching the news regarding the Lucian airship explosion, the Outcast opens a vault to take out a vial filled with a certain substance. This indicates that he is searching for the Clues again, for a yet-unknown purpose.
      • To hammer home the aforementioned Vladmir quote, Nellie's last lines finally tell us the Outcast's real identity: Nathaniel Hartford, aka Grace's husband.
    • Outbreak:
  • Anathem: "In my world, we call it a Faraday cage." The first half reveals that Zh'vaern is an alien; the second reveals that the aliens are from Earth.
  • Blindsight has one of the most terrifying wham lines in science fiction. At first, the characters believe they're in a particularly tricky First Contact until two characters figure out the truth. The story is constructed as a report from team observer Siri Keeton. After repeating several famous quotes from Earth's history, Siri asks us to imagine what these mean from the aliens' point of view: the declaration of a virus' existence.
    Siri: There are no meaningful translations for these terms. They are needlessly recursive. They contain no usable intelligence, yet they are structured intelligently; there is no chance they could have arisen by chance. The only explanation is that something has coded nonsense in a way that poses as a useful message; only after wasting time and effort does the deception becomes apparent. The signal functions to consume the resources of a recipient for zero payoff and reduced fitness. The signal is a virus. An attack. And it's coming from right about there.
  • From Lois McMaster Bujold's World of the Five Gods series:
    • In The Curse of Chalion, "It's Caz! It's Caz!" - Royse Bergon, revealing that he and Cazaril have met before.
    • In Paladin of Souls, "Lord Arhys, how long have you been dead?" - Ista, as a piece falls into place in the puzzle of the two brothers, and "I wasn't expecting You here." - Ista again, on suddenly encountering the Father of Winter.
    • In The Hallowed Hunt, "It wasn't your wolf" - Ijada, refusing to run away from Ingrey despite his involuntary attempts to kill her, and "...you are the heir of my blood, should you be living when next I die." - Earl Horseriver, in response to Ingrey's threat to kill him.
  • Agatha Christie:
    • Why Didn't They Ask Evans? A man falls off a cliff, and his last words are "Why didn't they ask Evans?". Two amateur detectives, Bobby and Frankie, assume he's been murdered, and in the course of investigating, find themselves looking into the will of a man who'd committed suicide several months prior. Frankie wants to know why the man had the gardener called in to witness the will, when there was a parlormaid in the house who could have done just as well:
      Frankie: Why didn't they ask the parlormaid?
      Bobby: Funny you should ask that...The parlormaid's name was Evans.
    • And Then There Were None: After Vera, supposedly the last person left alive on the island, hangs herself, the epilogue cuts to a police inspector talking about the ten dead bodies on Soldier Island to his superior several days later. The inspector's reply to his superior regarding Vera hanging herself: "But the chair wasn't found kicked over. It was, like all the other chairs, neatly put back against the wall. That was done after Vera Claythorne's death — by someone else."
    • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: After Poirot explains everything he knows about the murderer, he then abruptly addresses the narrator... who is the actual murderer.
      Poirot: In fact - Dr. Sheppard
  • In The Dragon's Path, book one of The Dagger and the Coin series, when Geder Palliako announces that it is impossible to hold the city of Vanai, the reader, along with Geder's advisers, is inclined to think that he means merely to withdraw. Then, when they ask him if that is his intent, he says, "No, we're going to burn it." Up until then, Geder had seemed an entirely likable, sympathetic character. Then you realize he is capable of ordering the slaughter of an entire city out of pique.
  • In the web-novel Domina, the Composer is finally temporarily defeated (again), everyone has powers, the screamers have awoken, and then someone who looks exactly like the Composer walks through the city gates. "Hello. I am here to negotiate the release of my sister. Take me to your leader."
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Blood Rites: Thomas shows Harry a room with portraits of all the women who have borne a child for Lord Raith, and Harry is shocked when the last of them is of his mother, Margaret LeFay Dresden.
      Thomas: Not yours, Harry. Our mother.
    • Proven Guilty: Harry puts the pieces together and confronts Charity Carpenter about the secret she's been hiding from her whole family.
      "Charity... how long has it been since you've used your magic?"
    • Small Favor:
      • Our heroes figure out who the Denarians are really targeting: "They're coming for Ivy!"
      • Michael, having noticed that Harry's been acting a bit strange recently, has a question for him: "Where is your blasting rod?"
    • Changes:
      • The first line is one for the series as a whole: "I picked up the phone and Susan Rodriguez said, 'They've got our daughter.'" Even whammier in context, particularly for Harry, as he hadn't been previously aware of said daughter's existence.
      • Perhaps one of the whammiest, halfway through the book, from Harry, after falling off a ladder when trying to rescue people when his house is set on fire: "I can't feel my legs." This is then followed up a few chapters later, with Harry calling on someone to help him: "Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness, Queen of the Winter Court! I bid you come forth!"
      • A line whose whamminess resulted in fist-pumping during the Battle of Chichén Itza: "It was the Grey Council. The Grey Council!"
    • Ghost Story: Molly has an admission for Harry.
      "They've been like this since they killed you."
    • Cold Days: The Winter Queen has an order for her new Knight:
      Mab: Kill my daughter. Kill Maeve.
  • In Spanish teenage novel ...en un lugar llamado Tierra: "Briar". The person that says this uses it to prove a high-ranking robot that he knows the victim (another robot) discovered Earth and committed suicide rather than let humanity destroy the planet again.
  • In the Hugo Award winning short story "Even the Queen" by Connie Willis, a young woman joins a cult called "the Cyclists", much to the distress of her family. They spend a lot of time discussing whether the Cyclists brainwash people, how she is ruining her life and whether they should accept her choice as an adult or try to do something about it; but for several pages they never say what the Cyclists are, until the following exchange:
    Mother: The Cyclists do not ride bicycles.
    Twidge: They menstruate.
  • Everything, Everything: Madeline is an Ill Girl with a disease that makes her so susceptible to illness, she can't even leave her house without risking death. She's spent the first eighteen years of her life inside her germ-proofed home, being cared for by her mother — not happy with her situation, but resigned to it. Then comes the chapter "For Your Eyes Only," which is a Wham Episode all around. A doctor Madeline met briefly sends her an email about her health, and Madeline gets a slowly creeping Oh, Crap! feeling as she reads it. She doesn't believe what she's reading at first, but slowly, pieces fall into place... but it's the reaction of her mother that clinches it, both for Madeline and the reader. Madeline then realizes, "I'm not sick. And I never have been."
  • In The Girl from the Miracles District, when Robin is near death and Nikita, right after her bout of berserkerism, is close by, he utters a sentence that invalidates his whole backstory as provided until nownote :
    "I haven't felt that smell in two hundred years..."
  • The Giver: At some point The Giver mentions that there used to be another receiver named Rosemary. She was given sweet memories most of the time, but when she started to get the really painful memories, she asked to be released. After she died, her memories were let out, and there was chaos. Only with The Giver's help did people return to their normal lives. Later on, you also learn that The Giver has a daughter. Jonas, eager to help, asked what her name was. The reply? "Her name was Rosemary."
  • Gormenghast: Steerpike shouting out "And the twins will make it five" while in a feverish delirium is the real beginning of the other characters' suspicion of him and his motives.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Harry enters the final chamber, he realizes that the person attempting to steal the Stone isn't who he thought it was.
      It wasn't Snape. It wasn't even Voldemort. It was Quirrell.
    • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has one both in-universe and out, as a disguised Harry and Ron confront Malfoy about the identity of the Heir of Slytherin.
    • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Harry overhears some adults mention that his father was best friends with the traitorous, racist, and insane murderer Sirius Black. This is especially uncomfortable for Harry since he only knew about Black because he conspired to kill Harry's parents, so to find out he used to be one of their greatest friends is to make Black more personally sinister than any of Potter's earlier foes.
      Madame Rosmerta: Quite the double act, Sirius Black and James Potter!
    • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Harry barely escapes the Big Bad alive and is quickly taken aside by one of his most trusted mentors. However, the mentor reveals that he, not any of the many Red Herrings littered around, was The Mole for the Big Bad despite having spent his whole life fighting the forces of darkness. After that sentence, everything the audience assumed about Moody is revealed to be wrong.
      Harry: Karkaroff's gone? But then... he didn't put my name in that goblet?
      Moody!Barty Crouch Jr.: No. No, he didn't. It was I who did that.
    • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Aunt Petunia knows more about the wizarding world than she'd like to admit.
      Uncle Vernon: And what the ruddy hell are dementors?
      Aunt Petunia: They guard the wizard prison, Azkaban.
    • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Trelawney is casually explaining to Harry the circumstances of her job interview with Dumbledore, which unbeknownst to her was the moment when she made the prophecy about Harry and Voldemort; Harry and the reader both know that the meeting was being spied on by a Death Eater who was caught in the act and missed half of the message, but the identity of that spy had not been revealed...until this exact moment:
      Trelawney: ...but then we were rudely interrupted by Severus Snape!
    • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: The characters are celebrating a wedding in a brief rest from their war to stop the Dark Lord from overthrowing the Ministry of Magic. Then a magical warning in nine words announces that, while our heroes were resting, the bad guys have won seven chapters into the book and are going to use their newfound tyrannical power to hunt down the heroes. Instead of being a war story, The Deathly Hallows becomes a desperate Fugitive Arc.
      Patronus Messenger: The Ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming.
      • As the final battle draws to a close, Harry explains the nature of the flaw in Dumbledore's plan, as well as the reason why Voldemort can't control his wand.
      Harry: The true master of the Elder Wand was Draco Malfoy.
  • The Help: "That was horrifying even to me." To explain, this is the moment when you realize that Skeeter is a segregationist.
  • In Jorge Luis Borges' "The Immortal", a Roman soldier goes looking for the Fountain of Immortality. His journey - across hostile lands only inhabited by mindless and speechless troglodytes - is for naught: the City of Immortals he finds is an abandoned, incomprehensible labyrinth in the middle of nowhere. And just as the protagonist has lost all hopes, a troglodyte recites a line from The Odyssey. When asked how much more he knows of it, he answers "Not much - it's been more than eleven hundred years since I wrote it."
  • The Invisible Man: At first, it is not impossible for the reader to sympathize with Griffin, despite his being a Jerkass, because he seems driven to his worse actions by the suspicion and mistreatment of the rural provincials. Then he reveals himself to be more horrible than anything before had indicated when, in a single line, he admits he stole from his elderly father and led him to kill himself.
    "I robbed the old man—robbed my father. The money was not his, and he shot himself."
  • James Bond
    • After a lenghty speech about the greatest criminal undertaking ever, Goldfinger reveals what exactly is his Evil Plan:
      Goldfinger: Mr. Bond, we are going to empty Fort Knox.
    • Role of Honour has two: First the reveal whom Dr. Joe Antem Holy is working with ("Our principals are a group who call themselves SPECTRE") and the second one comes when the supposed Evil Plan is put to action, the novel's real Big Bad tells how it is really going to go down ("You didn't think we were really going to allow the Soviet Union to suffer the indignity of being stripped of her assets as well?").
  • John Dies at the End: For most of the last third of the book, Dave has a dead body wrapped in a tarp and stored in his shed, with no idea who it is and no memory of killing them. At the very end of the story, he returns home to find Amy standing in his shednote  with the body unwrapped at her feet.
    "And that was the second thing: The body on the floor was me."
    • In the framing device, Dave is telling this story to Arnie Blondestone, a journalist with an interest in publishing it. When Dave warns him of the dangerous attention this could bring his way, Arnie assures him that he can hold his own, and relates a story of being assaulted by skinheads at a segregation rally. However, Dave notices something off about his story:
      "They-they called you 'nigger'? Even though you're white?"
      • This leads him to realize that Arnie is actually a ghost, whose appearance is based on what Dave expected him to look like.
  • L.A. Confidential has one of the whammiest of Wham Lines: "Captain Dudley Liam Smith for the Nite Owl." Notable for being whammy not because we didn't know who the villain was, but because Exley, Vincennes, and White putting it all together and saying it out loud is so powerful. As Ed says, they're crossing the only man on Earth more dangerous than Ed himself.
  • In one chapter of Shirley Jackson's family comedy Life Among the Savages, her son Laurie, a new kindergartener, is constantly telling stories about a mischievous classmate Charles whose inventively naughty behavior fascinates both parents. The narrator sets out for her first parent-teacher conference eager to meet Charles' mother. The teacher remarks that Laurie has had some trouble adjusting and his mother blames it on Charles' influence. The teacher is confused and makes it clear Charles' horrible actions were Laurie's the whole time.
    "Charles? We don't have a Charles in this class."
  • Looking for Alaska: The second half of the book, "After", opens with the Dean delivering some very bad news to the students of Culver Creek that turns the book into a long struggle with mortality.
    Mr. "The Eagle" Starnes: Last night, Alaska Young was in a terrible accident. And she was killed. Alaska has passed away.
  • Mistborn:
    • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy: Book 2, The Well of Ascension, quoting the etching that Sazed has been studying the entire book... except that there are tiny differences between the etching and Sazed's copy.
      Kwaan: Alendi must not reach the Well of Ascension... for he must not release the thing that is imprisoned there.
      • And when Vin goes to the Well and does exactly what she shouldn't, releasing its power:
        Ruin: I am free!
    • Wax and Wayne:
      • In Shadows of Self, Paalm (a shapeshifting kandra) digs up the bones of Wax's wife. He is enraged, and puts her in a situation where her only choice is suicide. She then says something that only his wife would know, and he realizes she was a kandra all along.
        Lessie: You're... you're as surprising as a... dancing donkey, Mister Cravat.
      • The Bands of Mourning: The Southerns tell of a "Sovereign", their God-Emperor from centuries ago, who was king and god of the Northerners first. Wax and the others quickly realize they're talking about the Lord Ruler, Rashek, though they can't imagine how he survived the events of the original trilogy. At the end of the book, Wax finds a coppermind memory of the Sovereign's, and hears the first word he spoke to the Southern elders. He also sees some very distinctive scars on his arms...
        Kelsier: Survive.
Warrior Cats
  • Long Shadows
Squirrelflight: They are not my kits.
  • Sunrise
After most of the book was spent looking for Ashfur's killer, Leafpool is talking to one of the protagonists, Hollyleaf.
Leafpool: Why did you kill Ashfur?
  • A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift starts out as a rather dull essay about the problem of widespread childhood poverty in Ireland (then a rather poorly treated possession of the United Kingdom). Then the speaker of the essay casually includes a sentence that makes it clear he's proposing cannibalism, exposing the whole essay as a bitter satire rather than an actual proposal.
    "A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled..."
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society: The Big Bad Mr. Curtain has one towards the end, revealing the extent of the improvements to his Whisperer machine, that it has recently been made capable of brainsweeping people (erasing their memories) even if they aren't seated in it.
    Mr. Curtain: Obviously, Reynard, you were unaware of the extent of my improvements. You needn't be seated in my lovely Whisperer to experience its most powerful effect. In this room you are all quite within range.
  • Arthur C. Clarke's short story The Nine Billion Names of God: A religious group has hired a computer and two technicians to compute and print out the nine billion names of God, which they believe is the purpose of the universe. The technicians decide to leave a bit before the computer is scheduled to finish, to avoid any unpleasantness when the world fails to end. Only he glimpses upwards and tersely notes that all the worlds are ending.
    "...overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out."
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four: Julia slips Winston a note, and he fears what it might contain, such as an order to kill himself. It says "I love you," the polar opposite of what the novel would have the reader expect.
  • Our Chemical Hearts is a book that has a lot of twists and turns, but what is arguably the biggest wham comes at the end, with the line "Before you were born, Mom left Dad for, like, three months," spoken to the lead character Henry by his older sister Sadie. She then goes on to reveal that their parents' Sickeningly Sweethearts marriage, which has in turn given Henry an idealized view of love that has caused most of his relationships to fail, is actually a nearly two-decade-long sham they were putting on for his sake - they'd fallen out of love long ago, but were forced back together by an unexpected pregnancy (that is, Henry) and have been keeping up the charade ever since.
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower:
    • "Kiss the prettiest girl in the room." Charlie is drunkenly dared this by his best friend Patrick at a party, and, having No Social Skills, chooses his longtime crush Sam over his current girlfriend Mary Elizabeth, setting up the big Third-Act Misunderstanding.
    • At the end of the book, everyone has made up again, Charlie and Sam have revealed their feelings to each other, and they attempt to have sex, only for Charlie to panic and faint. We had up until this point assumed that Charlie's childhood trauma was the death of his favorite aunt on his birthday, but as he sleeps he has a very, very vivid dream about said aunt... "And she was doing what Sam was doing." Yup, Charlie's aunt was not Too Good for This Sinful Earth, but the traumatic instigator of his hitherto unknown Rape as Backstory.
  • In The Prometheus Crisis, a nuclear power plant starts to have a meltdown, threatening its California town. The narrative is broken at various points to show the "testimony" from a Congressional inquiry into the event, with it hung in the air how something major happened. In the final scene of the regular narrative, one of the plant's managers, thinking it's all contained, mentions to a co-worker how he's going to visit his brother in Santa Monica. She just stares before asking "no one's told you?" The final page has a radar operative at LAX telling the Congressmen how the plan to cut off the cloud of radiation didn't work as expected and by the time it was finally sealed off, the cloud had already spread out.
    Congressman: It covered the entire Los Angeles basin then.
    Operator: Yes, Congressman. Eventually, it did.
  • The Queen's Thief: In the first book, main character Gen seems to be an overconfident commoner who is recruited because of his bragging that he can steal anything. Then, after he and the group he's in are captured and brought to the royal court of Eddis, this is the queen's reaction, revealing that she already knows him:
    Eddis: Oh. It's you, Eugenides.
  • Caitlín R. Kiernan's The Red Tree, a book replete with Mind Screw, about half of which consists of the reaction of two women living in a farmhouse to very disquieting, seemingly supernatural phenomena and their mutual slow Sanity Slippage, has this one at the very end. It does not look like much... until one pays attention to the dates given for each of Sarah's journal entries.
    Sarah: No one’s been in the attic since I was up there in June.
  • Rachel Griffin: In The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin, revealing to the heroine that all her efforts so far have only just scratched the surface of the conspiracy and that there are many, many more still affected by it:
    Through the woods leading to the Infirmary, a little porcelain doll walked of its own accord, dragging the unconscious Magdalene Chase.
  • In the early stages of The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., Melisandre begins to take the strange woman who messages her claiming to be a witch much more seriously when the woman name-drops multiple things she couldn't possibly know about.
    Melisandre: [over online messenger] Sorry. Will be with you tomorrow evening.
    Erszebet: Why the delay?
    Melisandre: Technical difficulties.
    Erszebet: With the ODEC?
    Tristan: [reading over Mel's shoulder] Jesus. Who is she? Tell her you can't discuss it online. [Mel does so]
    Erszebet: Will you come with your Mr. Tristan Lyons?
  • Room:
    • It's early on in the book, but this line does clue us in on exactly what the relationship between Old Nick and Ma is, and Jack, who's narrating, is too young to realize what is actually going on.
      "When Old Nick creaks Bed, I listen and count fives on my fingers. Tonight it's 217 creaks. I always have to count until he makes that gaspy sound and stops."
    • Much later in the book is the revelation that Ma has tried to kill herself.
      "Then I see Ma's pill bottles open on the table, they look mostly empty. Never more than two, that's the rule, how could they be mostly empty, where did the pills go?"
    • There are two lines that are shocking to Jack, but not to the reader. "What we see on TV, is... it's pictures of real things." And later, "Oh, Jack, we're never going back."
  • Chris Crutcher's debut novel, Running Loose features a pivotal scene where the lead characters, narrator Louie Banks and his girlfriend Becky Sanders, attempt to have sex but decide not to, then confide in each other that they're both terrified of what their lives after high school will be like. Afterwards Louie's narratorial voice gets a monologue on the subject and about all the ways his and Backy's lives and relationship might go, which proceeds to abruptly conclude with the following:
    Louie Banks: Anyway, that's all rhetorical now, as they say, because Becky's not alive anymore. I mean, she'd dead. Things didn't work out.
  • Safehold:
    • Book 7, Like a Mighty Army, ends with Aivah Parsahn asking Merlin to do something impossible: get her from Siddar City to Zion and back in the span of three days. He's naturally surprised, and tells her that's impossible.
      Aivah: That's why I'm speaking to you about it... Ahbraim.
    • Book 10, Through Fiery Trials, ends with the congregation of a church dedicated to the "Archangel" Schueler getting a surprise "supernatural" visitor, who has some interesting things to say regarding Safehold's official history:
      Hologram Schueler: This is my Testimony, the Testimony of Schueler, and I leave it with you so that all who see it may know I truly appeared before you, that this is truly my word. And that word, my children, is that it was not Shan-wei who Fell, but Chihiro who lied.
WondLa: For the majority of the first book, Eva has believed she is on an alien planet called Orbona. Then she finds some ancient ruins...
  • The Skulduggery Pleasant series has a few. Most obviously, both of the most influential villains in the series have their true identities revealed this way:
    • The very last line of Dark Days where Valkyrie says her her True Name aloud, outing herself as Darquesse, the woman who prophesies say will end the world.
    • In Last Stand of Dead Men, the last line of the chapter "The Man with the Golden Eyes", where the reader suddenly realises they've never been given a detailed description of Erskine Ravel's face until now. With three words, the chapter establishes that the golden-eyed Hidden Agenda Villain is really the leader of the heroes and most powerful mage, Ravel himself.
      "Those golden eyes."
  • "The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty seems only to be an account of a sniper duel, only for the last line of the story to reveal that the rival sniper our protagonist killed was in fact his brother, turning the story into a warning about the folly and evil of war.
    ''"Then the sniper turned over the dead body and looked into his brother's face.""
  • Throughout The Soddit, the narrative appears to be following mostly the same pattern as The Hobbit - albeit interspersed with plenty of comedy and parody. However, the rug is neatly yanked out from under both the audience and Bingo when it's finally revealed why the dwarfs are still carting around the senile and increasingly-useless Gandef. In one short sentence, we learn that the dwarves aren't seeking Smug the Dragon to kill him, but to seek his help in guiding Gandef through his metamorphosis into, well...
    "He's turning," said Mori in a low voice, "into a dragon, look you."
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • A Game of Thrones: After Bronn and Tyrion leave the Eyrie behind, Tyrion tells Bronn about how his first love was a whore hired by his brother to give him experience. As punishment for marrying her, their father gives her to his guards, letting Tyrion go last.
      Bronn: Thirteen or thirty, I would've killed the man who did that to me.
      Tyrion: You may still get your chance. A Lannister always repays his debts.
      • Joffrey overruling his council's plans and going through with the execution of Ned Stark:
        Joffrey: But they have the soft hearts of women. So long as I am your king, treason shall not go unpunished. Ser Ilyn, bring me his head!
      • While Robb's war council debates which king to swear fealty to, Greatjon Umber decides that Robb would be best.
        Greatjon Umber: There sits the only king I mean to bow my knee to, m'lords, the King in the North!
      • After the eggs hatch.
        ...and for the first time in hundreds of years, the night came alive with the music of dragons.
    • A Clash of Kings:
    • A Storm of Swords:
    • A Feast for Crows: The new High Septon appears to be completely loyal to Cersei, but then when she prepares to leave Baelor's Sept after plotting their latest scheme, she denies her and craters their alliance in the bluntest way possible.
      High Septon: No.
      • Arya learning the price of breaking the Faceless Men's rules:
        The next day when she woke up she was blind.
      • When winter finally comes:
        It was snow, drifting through the window.
      • Doran revealing his true objective:
        Doran Martell: Vengeance. Justice. Fire and blood.
    • A Dance with Dragons:
      • Ramsay's letter to Jon Snow, which claims that a major character died offscreen.
        Ramsay Bolton: Your false king is dead.
  • Spells, Swords, & Stealth:
    • At the end of the second book, when Cheri suggests Russell look into who created the SS&S modules he's grown concerned about after events in the first book, he sees that the manufacturer's name is Broken Bridge Publishing. Russell makes no comment about this name and the previously encounter in-game artifact called the Bridge but the narration in Split the Party notes he might've gone pale had he noticed a reference to it in his group's current quest.
    • In the second book, Timuscor adopted a boar that had been summoned by a wizard ally but never disappeared when it was supposed to. Later, when Thistle refers Mr. Peppers while speaking to his god, Grumble is confused. He explains that he'd been keeping tabs on Thistle's party and never once saw a boar.
    • The climax of the third book goes into full swing when Russell's group joins the battle in Rathgan's treasure hoard alongside the NPC protagonists and are introduced to Timuscor, Tim's character from the first book. Tim and Russell, the only two who were part of that first game, are in utter shock at the sight of that particular name in the module book.
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • From The Way of Kings:
      • Sylphrena: "I am honorspren." The reason she's attracted to Kaladin, the reason she keeps pushing him to help people, the secret of the powers the Knights Radiant held... all revealed three words.
      • Shallan: "I killed my father." Her house's troubles and her role in them suddenly take on a whole new turn, now that we know that this shy girl is a killer and the source of so much pain.
      • Kaladin: "I will protect those who cannot protect themselves." The Second Ideal of the Windrunners, marking the return of the Knights Radiant to the world after thousands of years—and granting Kaladin the power to fight off most of the Parshendi army to save his men.
        Moash: Something just changed. The world just shifted.
      • Honor: "I am... I was God. The one you call the Almighty, the creator of mankind... And now I am dead. Odium has killed me. I am sorry." Dalinar has been hoping his visions were a message from God, sent to help and guide him. They are, but they are posthumous, an Apocalyptic Log made in a last desperate attempt to save mankind. There is no god coming to help them.
      • Jasnah: "We didn't destroy the Voidbringers. We enslaved them." Explaining the origins of the Slave Race Parshmen—and more specifically, pointing out that there is an army of demons acting as sleeper agents across the entire world.
    • From Words of Radiance:
      • Kaladin: "I will protect even those that I hate, if it is right." Third Ideal of the Windrunners. The Words revive Syl, who not only returns to Kaladin his Surgebinding powers—healing his wounds—but transforms into a Shardblade.
      • Kaladin: "You sent him to the sky to die, assassin, but the sky and the winds are mine. I claim them, as I now claim your life." Kaladin, flying down from the sky, revealing his status as a Windrunner of the Knights Radiant—and the only person who can fight the Assassin in White.
      • Adolin: "My father thinks I'm a better man than he is. Unfortunately for you, he's wrong." Adolin rejects the redemption built up for him with these words and confirms his coming murder of Sadeas.
      • Shallan: "There is something wrong with your Blade, and with all Blades. [pause] All but mine. Pattern!" Shallan not only officially reveals her status as a Knight Radiant to everyone, but reveals her living Shardblade—and uses it to activate the Oathgate and save the army.
    • From Oathbringer:
      • "Beware the otherworlders. The traitors. Those with tongues of sweetness, but with minds that lust for blood. Do not take them in. Do not give them succor. Well were they named Voidbringers, for they brought the void. The empty pit that sucks in emotion. A new god. Their god. These Voidbringers know no songs. They cannot hear Roshar, and where they go, they bring silence. They look soft, with no shell, but they are hard. They have but one heart, and it cannot ever live." The Eila Stele, the oldest written record on Roshar, revealing that humans were the first Voidbringers, invading the world of the parsh and bringing Odium with them.
      • Odium: "I need someone stronger than Amaram. A man who will win no matter the cost. A man who has served me all his life. A man I trust. I believe I warned you that I knew you'd make the right decision. And now here we are." Here, Dalinar agrees to a Combat by Champion with Odium... and Odium names Dalinar as his champion.
      • Dalinar: "You cannot have my pain." With this line Dalinar refusing to give Odium his pain—and his agency—accepting responsibility for all he has done, and resolving to fight against Odium regardless.
  • Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note: In the anime adaptation, expect the third episode of every arc to contain at least one of them. However, among those the straightest example would be the one in the twelveth novel The Backyard Knows, animated as Episode 11. Up to this point, while the rest of the cast have been concerned about Uesugi's recent performance drop and withdrawal from from their activities, they assume it as a problem of time management. Only when he comes to Aya's house to say farewell he incidentally blurbs out the real reason for his own behavior.
    Uesugi: I can't see.
  • Vita Nuova: The second line of Chapter 28 abruptly announces that Beatrice is with the Virgin Mary in Heaven, dead before Dante could ever express his love to her face. The entire course of the Vita Nuova and of the poet's life shifts in accordance with this single sentence.
  • Worm:
    • At the end of Prey 14.8, Bonesaw, who is impersonating Tattletale, drops an Out-of-Character Alert line that Skitter doesn't recognize because of the prosopagnosia fog. Fortunately, the reader recognizes it enough to learn that that essential character is not who he says he is.
    • Later, in Scarab 25.5, Doctor Mother, leader and founder of Cauldron drops another one in response to Weaver calling her out on her crimes:
      Weaver: You know how the world ends.
      Doctor Mother: Of course. We already saved it once.
    • Another one (all four words of Interlude 27b): "You needed worthy opponents." Casts doubt on everything you thought you knew, or didn't know, about the Endbringers.
  • Zombie Apocalypse! by Simon Jones is pretty much made of this trope (and others). For an example: the first segment is a letter from a man to his mother, which seems to show the beginning of the titular occurrence. Two-thirds of the way through, we discover what we thought was a pre-disaster segment is being written during the disaster; the mother he was writing to has been dead for years; and as soon as the letter is finished he's going to go down to his zombie wife and burn the house down around the two of them. The letter cuts out mid-sentence, and we are told by a coda that it was recovered from a laptop whose battery ran out, which itself was recovered from the ruins of a burnt-down house months after the fact.
  • In the first book of the Nyctophobia series, The Makings of a Monster, Selwyn's parentage is danced around and hinted at, but the closing lines of the book make it explicit: "What is your name, precisely?" "Holmes. Selwyn John Holmes."

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