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Jul 4th 2021 at 9:13:38 AM •••

The main page now directs to the video examples

Mar 22nd 2021 at 6:42:11 AM •••

Linking to a past Trope Repair Shop thread that dealt with this page: A time travel trope that has real-life examples?, started by KaiserMazoku on Feb 15th 2012 at 7:15:55 PM

Mar 20th 2021 at 11:05:22 AM •••

Previous Trope Repair Shop thread: Unclear Description, started by SeptimusHeap on Aug 28th 2013 at 6:28:21 PM

Dec 12th 2016 at 12:04:48 PM •••

"* Neon Genesis Evangelion... Well, briefly put, the vast majority of the entire plot could have been avoided if the main cast had been open and honest with each other, instead of being stuck in Cannot Spit It Out."

This was one of the examples given, but I think this one creeps into YMMV territory too much - especially given what can be said on its mental illness.

But also, it comes off too much as X Just X

It probably can be made into an example, but should that be done or should something else be done?

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Dec 12th 2016 at 12:32:41 PM •••

That's like saying "Star Wars could have been avoided if Anakin had just not turned evil and become Darth Vader." It's wholly unrelated to this trope.

Good cut.

Edited by Larkmarn
Mar 18th 2015 at 5:08:39 PM •••

Can we delete the analysis page? It's completely blank.

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Jun 27th 2013 at 3:16:42 PM •••

Question: In stories dealing with these nails, it strikes me that the "Nail" seems to be an Instant-Win Condition. e.g. Protagonist travels to a Bad Future, his True Companions turn into a Decapitated Army (and The Federation or La Résistance writ large being a Keystone Army). 'Command & Conquer: Red Alert'' seems to be similar at least with the political geography of that time, (though I could drum up a justification for having Oder–Neisse line be the frontier in that game, though it would require previous Russian Aggression followed by a cease-fire).

In reality, things get a bit more complicated. For example: It's just plain unknown whether Eli Manning would've gotten to Super Bowl XLVI if he hadn't won Super Bowl XLII, let alone won it. Conversely, it's unknown which Super Bowls the Patriots may or may not have participated in had they gone 19-0. (The other long-term cases would likely have played out mostly as depicted with minor variations... Then again, changing Terry Bradshaw's Two-Pair into a genuine Four-peat might not be minor...)

The point is that while what is lost from the timeline from a lost nail is apparent, what replaces it becomes unclear the longer between nail and kingdom.

In fact, I just had a thought that sums it all up:

Remove a wall from a house, and the house collapses. Place that wall next to another wall, and all you have is a corner.

Mar 11th 2012 at 1:08:00 PM •••

What about the new DirecTV ads they have out now? "When you pay too much for cable, you get angry," devolving into things ranging from taking in too many stray animals to getting a grandson with a dog collar.

Feb 22nd 2012 at 1:17:03 PM •••

I'm having trouble seeing how the poem for which this trope takes its name has anything to do with the time travel implications in the trope's description. I had no idea what the trope was until I read the page and laconic about 3 times each, and the title still seems entirely non-indicative. The name and poem seem to suggest a general snowball effect within a plot, but the trope is about... Time travel effects and AU's? This really needs a rename.

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May 14th 2013 at 11:46:10 PM •••

Agreed, what's wrong with "Butterfly Effect"? It's more commonly known than that poem, at least.

Nov 14th 2013 at 4:20:11 PM •••

Possibly the fact that Butterfly Effect seems to link to Butterfly of Doom which is very much a different (although related) trope. Also, while I hadn't heard the poem before, I had heard the "for want of a nail, (the kingdom was lost)" part almost as far back as I can remember. It seems to be fairly common to me.

Edited by
Jan 2nd 2012 at 3:58:23 AM •••

Why was the bolded Everything Ever removed from the Real life tab? I thought it was a pretty cool and poignant example of how Everything Ever, without exception, can be traced back to a single seemingly ininfluent decision if you look back hard enough. It shows how this trope occurs at all levels, and I think it'd be better to keep it in the page.

Oct 23rd 2010 at 7:51:32 AM •••

I'm noticing a lot of examples that don't involve any alternate timelines but simply present some relatively small event which touches off the events of the story and without which presumably those events would not have happened. Can these really be counted as examples of the trope if canon never examines any alternative sequence of events?

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Nov 14th 2013 at 4:32:41 PM •••

I think that if it is very clearly only due to a seemingly inconsequential thing that everything else happens, it still counts, whether or not there are alternate timelines. Particularly solid examples would be those kinds of movies where just before (or after) the climax or conclusion, we're treated to a flashback/summary of the chain of events that lead up to it. Again, assuming that chain was all based off of the first event, and not a series of different events that pile up. In that case it would be more of a Rube Goldberg Plot, or perhaps BatmanGambit/GambitRoulette/AllAccordingToPlan if planned - which it could possibly also be if it is still For Want of a Nail.

Edited by
Oct 21st 2010 at 9:18:46 PM •••

Playing with:

Subverted: A slave gives a piece of his bread out of charity to a hungry soldier The soldier has an epiphany due to that random act of goodness, so he forgives his enemy The enemy so happens to be the son of the lord of the land The lord of the land is so happy to have his son back that he decides to free a slave... Guess which slave.

Dunno how to make the "Playing with" section and today i thought of this. Its mine so no need for sources

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Nov 14th 2013 at 4:26:33 PM •••

I'm not really sure that's a subversion. Probably more like Downplayed. At least, if the slave is the original one who gave the bread to the soldier, which is what most would probably guess with "Guess which slave." It might be subverted if it was a completely unrelated slave, but really when For Want of a Nail is subverted, it generally just becomes In Spite of a Nail. Also, I've only looked at a few Playing With pages, but they tend to spell everything out rather than use phrases that lead the reader to draw their own conclusions. Viewers Are Morons, perhaps?

Also... the enemy bit kinda makes things very hazy and hard to follow along. Is the slave a member of this "enemy's" side? The same general thing happens if you remove that bit and just make the soldier the son of the lord or something.

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