In Which a Trope Is Described

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
  1. In which the Beginning of a Chapter summarises the Chapter's Events, particularly in 18th and 19th Century Fiction and Works attempting to imitate that Style.
  2. In which said Technique is very frequently used for comedic effect.
  3. In which it is very frequently a Non-Indicative Name.
  4. Being often varied with expressions such as "Being" and "Wherein"; wherein Nouns are capitalized and semicolons are present; or the ample using of Gerunds.
  5. Wherein it is the Author's duty to point out that such Titles have always been gently mocked by our illustrious Predecessors, who used them to draw Eyeballs when a Work is published Serially, as will presently be revealed.

Author's Note: Tropes bearing Connection with this one, whether through Similarity or Contrast, include: Antiquated Linguistics; Idiosyncratic Episode Naming, Exactly What It Says on the Tin, Long Title, Either or Title, Excited Episode Title. Any Similarity with Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo is purely unintentional on the part of the Author. By order of T.T., Chief of Ordnance.

In which Examples are listed

Anime and Manga

  • Many anime and some manga use Excited Episode Titles which will most likely sound like this.
    • Baccano!. Memorable episode titles include "Jacuzzi Splot Cries, Gets Scared and Musters Reckless Valor", "Isaac and Miria Unintentionally Spread Happiness Around Them", and "Ladd Russo Enjoys Talking A Lot and Slaughtering A Lot".
    • Dragon Ball Z ("Goku Dies! There's Only One Last Chance").
    • Sailor Moon ("The Sailor Warriors Die! The Tragic Final Battle").
    • Slayers ("GIVE UP! But, Just Before We Do, the Sure Kill Sword Appears!").
    • Yu Yu Hakusho ("Koenma Appears", "Toguro Returns", "Death of a Spirit Detective".)

Comic Books

  • Every issue of The Sandman story arc "Season of Mists"—for example, chapter 1: "In which the Lord of Dreams makes preparations to visit the realms infernal; farewells are said; a toast is drunk; and in Hell the adversary makes certain preparations of his own". The issues/chapters of "Brief Lives" also have something similar.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  • The comic book Fables does it at the beginning of each issue.
  • Alan Moore's Tom Strong comics: "CHAPTER ONE: In which an Origin is Revealed, an Aerial Crime is Attempted, and TOM gains a New Fan."

Fan Works

  • Drunkard's Walk V: Another Divine Mess You've Gotten Me Into by Christopher Angel and Robert Schroeck uses chapter titles in this style.
  • Twoflower's Slayers Chaos has such chapter titles as " which old enemies taunt each other, fortunes are won and lost, strange bedfellows are made, and plenty of clowns are set on fire." and " which breakfast is served, we go once more into the breach of fear and loathing, a chimera goes postal and Xelloss tells a secret."
  • Harry Potter: "Tangled Webs" by adaliseranis has chapter titles of the "not what you'd first assume" variety. For example, chapter 14 is called, "In which Ginny finally gets into Draco's pants, and Ron is jelaous" but involves Ginny ending up in a pair of Malfoy's expensive brand-name Quidditch breeches and Ron wishing he had one of those instead of, um, yeah.


  • Dogville, which starts with "The film Dogville as told in nine chapters and a Prologue." and then proceeds to do exactly that, with a description for each chapter.


  • Flatland A Romance Of Many Dimensions
  • Bulldog Drummond
  • The long epic poem La Araucana by Alonso De Ercilla.
  • Used in Vanity Fair, e.g. Chapter XXVIII: In Which Amelia Invades the Low Countries
  • Stardust, by Neil Gaiman.
  • The Eddie Dickens Trilogy, by Phillip Ardagh.
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis and its inspiration, Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome (the subtitle of which is the title of the former).
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped
  • The Dragon Hoard
  • The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. In which the Victorians rise again; Extensive use of nanotechnology and robot-horses in Post Cyber Punk China.
  • In Which The Author Notes That The Moist Von Lipwig Books From Discworld Have Something Analogous. (Pratchett has said in talks that he did this because he was sick of people claiming he didn't use chapters because he couldn't. He had earlier insisted that a review castigating him for the chapterlessness of Discworld books should be quoted on the review quotes page of one of the novels.)
  • Stephen King in The Langoliers, The Mist, and possibly others presently unrecalled.
  • Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle and its sequels, Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways.
  • This is the Way the World Ends, a novel about nuclear war, uses headings with its characteristic bitter, bitter humor: (paraphrased) "In which the limitations of civil defense are explored in a manner that some readers may find disturbing."
  • As it is a parody of Dumas's work, the Khaavren Romances have chapter titles in this style, sometimes playing off of specific Dumas chapter titles—which are, of course, also in this style. The most memorable was probably "In Which The Plot, Behaving In Much The Same Manner As A Soup To Which Cornstarch Has Been Added, Begins, At Last, To Thicken."
    • Several of the author's Vlad Taltos series books have front-cover blurbs in this format. "In Which Vlad and His Jhereg Learn How the Love of a Good Woman Can Turn a Cold-Blooded Killer Into a Real Mean S.O.B. ..." or "In which Vlad must survive among an alien race: his own."
  • The 18th century Spanish novel Friar Gerund makes fun of this with titles like "In Which We Accomplish The Promise Made By The Previous One", "In Which Something Happens", and "In Which Someone Sneezes And The Story Continues".
  • Ellery Queen's The Roman Hat Mystery
  • A Notable Case, By A Mr Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, Which Was Actually Begun During The Reign Of That Wasteful King George The Fourth Of England.
    • Strongly Illustrative Of The Proposition That No General Proposition Is Without Exception: A Troper Notes That Mr. Dickens Once Avoided Spoilers By Providing A Chapter With The Ingenious Title Too Full Of Incident To Be Described.
    • In Which A Troper Notes Mr. Dickens Also Employed A Form of This Device in David Copperfield.
    • Oliver Twist, In Which Dickens Used It There As Well.
  • Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig.
  • Jules Verne's Around the World In 80 Days
  • William Caxton's printing of Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur. Every one of the 507 chapters is named in this way.
  • Older Than Print: The Nibelungenlied consists of 39 chapters (âventiuren). The first is untitled, the second is called "Of Siegfried", but the other 37 have titles starting with Wie ("How"), starting with "How Siegfried Came to Worms" and ending with "How Lord Dietrich Fought With Gunther and Hagen".
  • In Which the Larklight Books By Philip Reeve, Which Take Place in a Steampunk Version of Victorian England, Are Given Their Due.
  • Every chapter of Don Quixote - interestingly, the chapter's title as it appears at the top of the page is different from the chapter's title as stated in the index, maybe because it is too long to fit.
    • Then It's Inverted in Some Chapters that don’t Summarize really Anything:


In which luck, God's alias and alibi, plays a callous trick on a suitor cast away on an island

  • Umberto Eco's book The Name of the Rose, in part a wonderful pastiche of Sherlock Holmes set in a 14th century monastery, in which most of the divisions are headed with such a description, except for the Seventh Day, "In which, if it were to summarize the prodigious revelations of which it speaks, the title would have to be as long as the chapter itself, contrary to usage."
    • Done largely to avoid having to put something like 'In which it is revealed that go and read the damn book... or watch the movie is the murderer'
      • Trying to kill us all, anonymous troper? Perhaps the murderer is you!
  • The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi. Every chapter is titled with a description. For example, the very first chapter is HOW IT HAPPENED THAT MAESTRO CHERRY, CARPENTER, FOUND A PIECE OF WOOD THAT WEPT AND LAUGHED LIKE A CHILD. Collodi was contemporary with Queen Victoria.
  • Daniel Defoe's The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders Who Was Born In Newgate, and During a Life of Continu'd Variety For Threescore Years, Besides Her Childhood, Was Twelve Year a Whore, Five Times a Wife [Whereof Once To Her Own Brother], Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon In Virginia, At Last Grew Rich, Liv'd Honest, and Died a Penitent.
  • E. T. A. Hoffmann created deliberately misleading chapter summaries for his comic story The Golden Pot; for example, in the section summarized as "How Deputy Headmaster Paulmann put out his pipe and went to bed", that is hardly the most important thing that happened — it's actually about Paulmann's daughter Veronika slipping out of the house after her father is in bed, to pay a visit to a witch for some love magic.
  • The Three Musketeers has some highly amusing examples of this.
  • Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt is divided into several sections, but the first section features chapter headings in this style.
  • How Not to Write A Novel had this as the subtitles to most of their Stylistic Suck segments.
  • Many of the chapters in Thomas Pynchon's V.
  • Used in Lloyd Alexander's The Remarkable Journey Of Prince Jen, with short collections of titles, such as Mafoo Comforts His Toes - The Ear of Continual Attentiveness and etc. However, chapters dealing with the six key items are simply titled, The Tale of the Thirsty Sword, et alia.
  • Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian
  • Percy Jackson and The Olympians uses this, sans the "in which," usually to great comedic effect. The chapter in which our hero Perseus first sees the Fates is entitled "Three Old Ladies Knit The Socks Of Death."
    • Many of Rick Riordan's young adults novels feature this. Such as in the Kane Chronicles: "I Have a Date with the God of Toilet Paper"
  • Fielding's Tom Jones. The book is divided into "Books" which are subdivided into "Chapters." Each "Chapter" is about ten pages and the header summarizes it. The first chapter of each book is an analysis of literary techniques used in the upcoming book. It's worth pointing out that Fielding wrote the book serialized, publishing roughly a chapter a week from 1742–49, so perhaps the clunky chapter titles are necessary for the reader to remember what was going on.
  • Howard Whitehouse's Mad Misadventures of Emmaline and Rubberbones has three books:
    • The Strictest School in the World: Being the Tale of a Clever Girl, a Rubber Boy and a Collection of Flying Machines, Mostly Broken
    • The Faceless Fiend: Being the Tale of a Criminal Mastermind, His Masked Minions and a Princess with a Butter Knife, Involving Explosives and a Certain Amount of Pushing and Shoving
    • The Island of Mad Scientists: Being an Excursion to the Wilds of Scotland, Involving Many Marvels of Experimental Invention, Pirates, a Heroic Cat, a Mechanical Man and a Monkey
  • Occasionally used in A Series of Unfortunate Events.
  • The early novels of The Saint used chapters title in this fashion.
  • The Torchwood novel Risk Assessment, as befits a novel In Which A Victorian Torchwood Operative Named Miss Havisham Plays A Starring Role.
  • A few of the chapter titles of Les Misérables are of this form.
  • Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles uses this trope extensively.
    • Perhaps the height of it would be the chapter "In Which It Is Exceedingly Muddy."
  • Quite a few in The Confidence Man -- "in which the last three words of the last chapter are made the text of discourse, which will be sure of receiving more or less attention from those readers who do not skip it."
  • Telly Brats and Topless Darts: A non-fiction example: Chris Horrie and Adam Nathan do this at length, their history of the notorious cable TV channel, L!ve TV. The result of this is that the table of contents not only gives a pretty decent overview of the subject before you get into the book's content proper, but is also hilarious.
  • Since it's a homage to Victorian serials, many of the chapter titles of Beyond the Western Sea are in this style.
  • The novel Nameless Magery plays with this by giving its chapters titles beginning with "In Which I Don't..." (e.g. "In Which I Don't Keep My Dress Clean").
  • The chapter titles of Forward the Mage by Eric Flint use this. Notable in that several chapters consist solely of their title. See, for example, this chapter: [dead link]The Eastern Front CD/1635TheEasternFrontCD/Forward
  • Gulliver's Travels has such subtitles for each chapter.
  • This Is the Title of This Story, Which Is Also Found Several Times in the Story Itself, because... yeah.
  • Philip K. Dick's A Maze of Death subverts this; the table of contents contains a brief summary-like name for each chapter, but every such "summary" is about one of the fourteen characters doing something that has nothing at all to do with the chapter contents, or even the entire novel. It might be symbolic of how all the events and backstories in the book are just virtual simulations, hundreds of which the characters have already experienced, every of them different.
  • Voltaire uses this in Candide. Given how short the chapters are and the straightforwardness of their titles, a reader can get a pretty solid gist of the book just from the table of contents (though there are a few titles that don't directly state what happens). Considering the satirical nature of the novelette this may very well have been intentional. Chapter titles include:

"How Candide was brought up in a magnificent castle; and how he was driven out of it"
"How the Portuguese made a superb auto-da-fe to prevent any future Earthquakes, and how Candide was publicly whipped"
"Candide and his Valet arrive in the country of El Dorado. What they saw there"

Live-Action TV

  • Private Practice's Idiosyncratic Episode Naming takes this effect.
  • A Television Series, Being A Merry Situational Comedy, Concerning Friends, In Which Some Episodes Are Named "The one with '" and Ross Obtains A Divorce.
  • A first season episode of Fringe is entitled "In Which We Meet Mr. Jones." In it, Wicked Cultured villain David Robert Jones is, in fact, introduced.
  • The Divine Comedy
  • Each episode of the Steed-and-Peel era of The Avengers opened with some cryptic, usually punning statements describing what would happen in the episode. They did not actually contain with the words "in which," but the effect was otherwise similar.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has blunt episode titles about what happens in the episode. Sometimes it's a single event ("Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire"), sometimes it breaks the pattern entirely ("The D.E.N.N.I.S. System"), but usually it just says what the episode is about ("The Gang Finds a Dumpster Baby", "Mac Fights Gay Marriage", etc.).


  • "Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite!," a Beatles song whose lyrics John Lennon adapted from an actual Victorian-era circus poster.

Tabletop Games


Video Games

Chapter I: War Upon the East Frontier: In Which a Settlement is Ravaged by Betentacled Martians Loyal to the Spanish...And a Villain Appears!

Web Comics

  • Darths and Droids episode 69: "In Which Qui-Gon, Jar Jar, R2-D2, and Padmé Seek Shelter From a Sandstorm".
    • And a number of episodes following Pete/R2-D2 taking over as GM for a session.
  • In which it is noted that individual Wondermark comic strips are titled in this manner. Such as this or this.
  • The Penny Arcade strip titled In Which Much Is Revealed.
  • This [dead link] Stickman and Cube comic, In Which Thaddeus J. Cube, Being Without a Story Idea, Finds Himself Crushed Beneath a Large Weight for the Readers' Amusement.
  • The chapter titles of Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name all start with "In Which..."
  • A large number of the comics in Shakespeare Ensues follow this title format.
    • It goes on.
  • Plastic Brick Automaton, In which I immediately regret my hubris.
  • Roommates offers two summaries in this format for most of its regularly numbered pages in the author's notes, such as:

Web Original

  • Tales of MU, in which the chapter subheadings are all ironic.
    • Of course, all are perfectly logical once you read the story. For example, the title "Girly Fight" in conjunction with the subtitle "In Which Mackenzie Gets The Finger", implies that dear old Mack is in a word fight. You're wrong if you think so. In one of the most hillaristurbing scenes in the world, she Mind Rapes one of the adversaries to the point that her corrupted memory had to be removed, and she rips the other's fingers off with her teeth. Perfectly logical. Mack gets the finger, and all of the participating parties are girls.
  • Each new episode of Kevin Smith's podcast, S Modcast, is summarized via this, e.g "Episode #150: In which our heroes meet Melf (aka Sugartits, the antisemitic house elf)."
  • A recent side story of The Descendants used this in the chapter titles combined with Antiquated Linguistics.
  • Docta Watson's ongoing Let's Play of Grand Theft Auto IV follows this rule for each episode, with episode titles like "In Which Niko Gets a Sweet Motorcycle" and "In Which Niko Must Make a Very Important Choice".
  • A lot of screenshot-based Lets Plays on Something Awful forums are like this.
  • The infamous Dirty The Pooh "audio books" usually start with these. Like everything else in the Dirty Potter series, they're full of potty humor.
  • Every chapter of Pay Me, Bug! starts with a subtitle in this format.
  • Fantasy epic parody The Saga of Pretzel Bob uses this format for all of its chapter titles.

Other Media

  • A number of people undertaking NaNoWriMo like to take advantage of the bonus wordcount this trope confers.
  • The classic textbook Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach does this. For instance, the chapter on knowledge representation begins with:

In which we show how to use first- order logic to represent the most important aspects of the real world, such as action, space, time, thoughts, and shopping.

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