Heartwarming in Hindsight

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Some event happens in a work, and then a later event, in either another work or Real Life (often through Reality Subtext or Life Imitates Art), comes along and makes that first event give you warm and fuzzy feelings. Even if the event was already meant to be heartwarming, this makes it even more so. Heck, some works that Taste Like Diabetes at first have something come along and make them truly heartwarming.

Compare Heartwarming Moments (which are heartwarming upon first watching), Hilarious in Hindsight, Fridge Brilliance.

Contrast Harsher in Hindsight, Funny Aneurysm Moment. Compare and Contrast Heartbreaking in Hindsight.

Do not put examples that are Foreshadowing. Nor moments that came just a handful of episode later. Those are clearly intended heartwarming moments later in the same work.

Examples of Heartwarming in Hindsight include:

Anime and Manga

  • At the end of Speed Grapher, Saiga lost his sight but still remained an excellent photographer. Recently, a real life blind photographer, Tara Miller, won an award for photography.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, Maaya Sakamoto's character Haruhi has a male Unwanted Harem. One of the members is a boy named Hikaru, who's voiced by Kenichi Suzumura. Some years later, Maaya and Kenichi... got married.
  • While it's listed in Hilarious in Hindsight, it could be an example of this as well: in Gurren Lagann, when discussing the logistics of Combining Mecha, Kamina decides that a combination of 16 mechs at once would be a stupid thing to do, since a true combination would require everyone involved to be deeply connected to each other in spirit. In The Movie, not only do they pull that off, but the resulting Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is none other than Kamina reincarnated. And it works.
  • In One Piece, Luffy asking Jimbei to join his crew becomes even more heartwarming when you realize that Jimbei was there to pull Luffy out of his Heroic BSOD and supported him when the rest of the crew couldn't be there.

Comic Books

  • One that was mentioned in Linkara's review of Action Comics #1: Superman rescuing Lois for the first time and bounding away with her in his arms does indeed become even more adorable now that they're married.
    • Of course November 2011 came along and now they're not.
  • A large part of Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man dealt with the idea of fiction and how fictional characters "exist" in those stories. At one point the book shows a purgatory where all the forgotten and unused comic characters exist in limbo, and one of the characters that is shown is Mr. Freeze, questioning whether or not he'll ever get out of that place. It took about a decade later, but his revival in Batman the Animated Series cemented him as a major member of Batman's Rogues Gallery.


  • In This Is Spinal Tap, the experience of making this film actually helped Tony Hendra, who played the manager, get over his suicidal depression.
  • Space Jam: The producers built Michael Jordan (then retired from basketball) a custom court so he could practice his moves to look good for the movie. He credits this with helping him make his comeback when he un-retired.
  • In the British film Victim, released in 1961, Dirk Bogarde plays a homosexual barrister who decides to fight criminals blackmailing gay men (blackmailing homosexuals with threats of revealing their true inclination was common in the era when homosexuality was still a crime). Bogarde, who at the time was a major star in British cinema, took a big risk by accepting the lead role in this pro-gay movie, since in Britain in 1961 homosexuality was illegal and carried a significant social stigma. It wasn't common knowledge at the time, but it's been later revealed that Bogarde himself was gay. Seeing Victim with this knowledge, knowing how personally Bogarde must have felt his role, certainly adds an extra level of heartwarming to the movie.
  • The La Marseillaise scene in Casablanca was already a tearjerking scene of patriotic pride. It gets all the more heartwarming when you learn that most of the extras in the movie who were singing along were exiled from Europe because of the Nazis and World War II.
  • In The Producers (1968 version), there was a scene where Leo agrees with Max to partake in the "creative accounting" idea which was done at night along the Lincoln Fountain (the last scene to be filmed). This is a bit of a send-up of movie cliches Leo says that he wants what happens in the movies followed by the fountain suddenly going off. It's funny and kind of heartwarming, but what makes it even more heartwarming is learning that this was the scene that convinced Gene Wilder to stick with acting.

Live Action TV

  • In Doctor Who series 5 and 6, the friendship between Amy Pond and River Song becomes even more heartwarming following The Reveal that River is Amy's future daughter.
    • Meanwhile, River and Rory's relationship becomes a mix of this and heartbreaking.
    • Particularly when Rory comes to meet her in prison in A Good Man Goes to War. She sounds so unbelievably happy, yet sad, to see him, and goes on to tell him all about how the Doctor had just taken her ice skating for her birthday. The Reveal throws the scene into a new light. It's basically a young woman happily telling her father about a date with her boyfriend.
  • An interesting example happens in the first episode of Sherlock. John Watson is kidnapped by a somewhat sinister man claiming to be Sherlock Holmes' archenemy, who offers him money to spy on him. When John asks why, he simply says, "Because I worry about him. Constantly." At the time it sounds vaguely threatening, until the end of the episode when you find out that the supposed archenemy is Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's older brother.
  • In Volume 1 of Heroes, Lindermann ends up healing Heidi Petrelli of the paralysis that his men caused in an assassination attempt on Nathan. At first glance, it seems like a ploy to get her to trust him. However, after the events of Volume 3, especially the flashback to the event as well as Lindermann's reaction to the event and his role in "killing" Arthur Petrelli, it seemed to be doing it out of genuine guilt.


  • "Speechless", by Lady Gaga, is a pretty sad song. However, the knowledge that it did persuade her dad to give up drinking and get the heart surgery he needed makes it this.
    • Similarly, Martika's Toy Soldiers goes from tear jerker to heartwarming once you learn that not only it was written for a friend who was knee deep into drugs... but that said friend actually went into rehab and got better.
  • P!nk's "Family Portrait" is a song about how parents constantly fighting affects the children. The song encouraged many kids in troubled homes to speak up to their parents about their feelings.
    • Not to mention "Please Don't Leave Me" when you realize that she and Carey Hart got back together.


  • Several of the people who participated in the making of the Broadway version of The Lion King were black South Africans who had left their country due to persecution. In the musical's original playbill, they expressed their sympathy with Simba, who, like them, was exiled but eventually able to return to his homeland.


  • In Bionicle, Mata Nui has the following line:

Mata Nui: It is said that some endings are really beginnings waiting to be born.

    • The end of the Bionicle line was announced a few months later. The creators had no idea it was coming when they wrote that line.
    • Then, nine months after that, Greg Farshtey (the head writer), announced that his wife had given birth to a beautiful baby girl. Turns out Mata Nui was right after all!

Video Games

Visual Novels

  • Late in Lilly's route in Katawa Shoujo, as she is preparing to go to Scotland permanently, she tells Hanako about how they became friends. Lilly says she did not befriend Hanako out of pity, but out of a desire to know more about her, and she considers her a strong person at heart who will be able to take charge of her own life even after Lilly is gone. Lilly's statement becomes even more powerful when you consider that in Hanako's route, Hanako believes that Lilly and Hisao pity her.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • In their failure date, The Nostalgia Critic breaking down and asking The Nostalgia Chick if she cares about him. She doesn't answer and they both run off by the end of the episode, but by this point we know he's basically the only guy who she unselfishly cares for.

Western Animation

  • In the DVD Commentary for the Futurama episode "Anthology of Interest II", when it was still uncertain if the show would stay on, one of the guys talking asked "What if we had a fifth season?"
    • The episode dealing with Robosexuality seemed like wishful thinking, in that this analogy for gay marriage becomes legal, but now New York state allows gay marriage in real life.
  • "New Kidney in Town", an episode of Family Guy, involved Chris plagiarizing a speech about hope from Meg, and getting an interview for it with a local anchor (because the essay won a contest to introduce Barack Obama when he came to town at the end of the episode). Chris says, rather plainly, that he got the essay from an angel. He was speaking more in a religious sense, but think for a second about from where, or rather who, it actually came.
  • In the Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy episode "It's Way Ed," the Eds kept falling behind on the latest fads. Edd tries cheering Eddy up by saying fads come in a cycle and that they'd be back in style in ten years. Ten years after that episode aired The Movie ended with the Eds being accepted by the kids of the Cul-De-Sac.
  • Optimus Primal of Beast Wars said as Dinobot's eulogy "May his spark join the Matrix, the greatest of Cybertron" for his Heroic Sacrifice in Code Of Hero. Years later, when they had the Transformers Hall Of Fame and would induct memorable Cybertronians based on fan votes (the rest were preselected), Dinobot was one of the choices, and beat out G1 veterans such as Soundwave, Grimlock, Jazz and Shockwave, truly joining the Greatest of Cybertron.
    • To add to this, he was the first fan-inductee and a massive underdog candidate. The Greatest of Cybertron will be joining him, as well.
  • Alvin and The Chipmunks episode "The Wall" have Alvin, Simon, and Theodore, plus the Chipettes, supposedly pull down the Berlin Wall during a concert through the Power of Rock/Power of Love. Alvin then wakes up, sees the wall still standing, and sadly notes, "It was all just a dream... but it doesn't have to be." And eleven months later, it wasn't.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, Numbuh One's father Monty is shown as being adamant in being a good dad to his son. Then The Movie reveals he had an absolute shitty excuse for a father (who is an Evil Overlord, by the way) who made him and his brother's lives a living hell until he rebelled against him, and he didn't want his son to suffer the same way he did. This makes the heartwarming scenes between him and his son all the sweeter.
    • Numbuh Three and Numbuh Five are shown to be very close, and their friendship moments are sweet on their own, but they become even sweeter when taking into account they have utterly horrible and traitorous biological sisters, meaning they have found a substitute sisterly bond in each other.