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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: amnesia fic
Related: Disability Fic, Mental Disorders in Fanworks
See Also: Hurt Comfort
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Giving a character amnesia is a popular fanfiction story trope. The amnesia is usually temporary with the cure and the aftermath as the climax of the story, but sometimes it is permanent.

The amnesia is usually a plot device, and often the real pain and fear a memory loss can cause is glossed over and the point of the trope is creating angst, h/c, or having the character reevaluate their life by giving them an outsider POV. In pairing-centric fanfic, amnesia is also most frequently used to enable or to create conflict in a relationship.

Sometimes the character forgets the anxieties and objections they had to starting a relationship. This is a popular device in slash fic where a character might have a canon history of homophobic behavior or discomfort around gay people. This is also a very popular device in incest fic as a way to get a more unlikely couple together.

The amnesia can also be used to make a character forget their existing relationship and be open to a new partner. This is an easy way to generate angst especially if the two have nothing in common at first glance but had grown closer over the course of a series through shared experiences as is often the case in buddy shows with unlikely partners. This is also a handy way to get around canon relationships.

Canon amnesia

Many fandoms provide instances of amnesia in canon which can may make it easier for fans to use the trope in episode tag fic or to use canon mechanisms that produced the amnesia that wouldn't work in real life (such as magic, mindwiping technology or other handy sci-fi devices). However, additional instances of amnesia may stretch suspension of disbelief, unless the protagonists are exceptionally unlucky and prone to have run ins with the same clichés over and over again.

Fandoms with canon amnesia include Buffy, Dark is Rising, Gundam Wing, Harry Potter, Lois & Clark, MacGyver, Miami Vice, Mirage of Blaze, Smallville, Stargate Atlantis, SG-1 and nearly all superhero comics.

Many video games use amnesia as a plot device to allow the hero (or sometimes the heroine) to discover superhuman powers at a crucial point in the plot. Often, the rediscovered powers are accompanied by recovering memories of causing or participating in destructive acts, so there's potential for angst or h/c in the aftermath.

Examples in Fanworks

Thematic Lists for amnesia fic

External Links


  1. 221B Recs
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