Imagine this… you’re reading a story and start noticing after a little while that some things… don’t add up. Facts start to contradict reality, or established canon, or even one another, and you get the sense that the entire narrative structure may be attempting to “pull one over” on you. Now, it could be that you’re just losing your mind… or, it could be that you’re reading a story with an Unreliable Narrator. Today on the Tropecast, it’s “The Lies Authors Tell”. Or… is it?
Adam Smithee, Alex Heberling, and Jules Rivera are here to run this episode of The Tropecast!
TV Tropes Links: Unreliable Narrator – Through the Eyes of Madness, Unreliable Voiceover, Unreliable Expositioner | Lying Creator – Exact Words, Covers Always Lie, Flip Flop of God | Retcon – Hand Waive, Ass Pull, Lampshading
Break Song: Liar by Buck Brothers.
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In regards to the LOST comment, JJ Abrams, Lindelof and Cuse never denied that the story was created as they went along. It wasn’t until the 2nd season when they decided to develop deeper storylines to extend the life of the series. BUT – they did have a concrete beginning and end to the story. All the stuff in between was made up on the fly.
Maybe the biggest repository of retcon in the world is the Marvel Univers, where every time a major villain is killed it turns out to be a doombot, a crazy clone or and alternate reality duplicate. And don’t get me started on Wolverine.
By the way, if you want to see a great example of an unreliable narrator (or at least one that does not give away all of the facts to the audience) check out Mike Norton’s Battlepug.