Never Live It Down/Literature

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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"No, senor, that's not true," said Sancho, "for I am more cleanly than greedy, and my master Don Quixote here knows well that we two are used to live for a week on a handful of acorns or nuts. To be sure, if it so happens that they offer me a heifer, I run with a halter; I mean, I eat what I'm given, and make use of opportunities as I find them; but whoever says that I'm an out-of-the-way eater or not cleanly, let me tell him that he is wrong; and I'd put it in a different way if I did not respect the honourable beards that are at the table."

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  • Ginny Weasley of the Harry Potter series has a reputation in the fandom for being a little tart who can't keep her knickers on. In the canon, she dated three guys (no, not at once) over a period of four years before marrying the last one. Interestingly, Hermione has also dated exactly three people, one for rather petty reasons, and no one accuses her of being a slut.[1]
    • There's also Dumbledore, who was gay. He did some other stuff, but mostly, he was gay. You can understand why Rowling didn't insert this fact into the books, since Dumbles' primary characteristic since the Word of Gay announcement is that he was gay. Man, people who refuse to read a sentence from the books or watch one minute of the movies are more likely to know that than any other detail of this importance inserted in the books!
    • Draco Malfoy is often called Ferret, Ferret Boy or some form of that insult in the fandom, referring to an incident in which Mad-eye Moody turns him into a bouncing ferret. In the book, there is not much mention of the incident after the fact.
    • Ron tends to be described by people as a slob and flat-out idiot, who gobbles food nonstop and is horribly abusive to his angelic wife, Hermione. In the books, Ron was more laid-back and certainly not as driven as Hermione, but it was mentioned that he and Harry did about equally well in their classes (Harry was mostly forced to learn extra things to save his own life). And Belligerent Sexual Tension aside, there was never any indication that Ron was or would be abusive towards Hermione, or indeed that he'd be capable of it if he wanted to be. The worst he ever did was when he abandons Hermione and Harry in Deathly Hallows, and that was done in a moment of anger, after enduring Mind Rape by the horcrux, and he wanted to return immediately, only to be foiled by circumstances. Oh, and his first act upon returning was to rescue Harry from drowning in a frozen pond.
    • James Potter won't live down being a jerk to Snape. People who've suffered bullying in the past would see James as a spoiled brat that got everything handed to him while Snape had to suffer his whole life.
      • Mind you, Severus was hardly any better. He purposely invented a spell whose sole purpose is to slash a person "as if with a sword" and was getting friendly with the the Death Eaters whilst he was in school, and became a Death Eater in later life. But thats the Power of Fangirls! who ignore these little details.
  • Alanna from the Tortall books suffers from a similar reputation, despite having had relationships with a grand total of three guys in her life, each of them long-term and serious, one of which became a marriage. Yet that's still more than any of Tamora Pierce's other protagonists (except Briar in the Circle of Magic universe), so she gets stuck with a Slutty McSluttington image in some readers' minds.
    • The books were banned from a few school libraries as a result of her supposed sexual promiscuity, which probably didn't help.
  • An in-universe example is Kyp Durron, a powerful young Jedi who once got either possessed or heavily influenced by an ancient and very evil ghost, and who then fished out an indestructible superweapon that had been dropped into the heart of a gas giant and proceeded to use it to cause a supernova that destroyed a rather populated planet. He was then very quickly and easily brought back into the light and put the superweapon into a black hole, then got off basically scot-free in the trilogy where he originally featured. Basically every book to feature him since then has called him on it, particularly I, Jedi, a sort of Fix Fic trying to get the trilogy to make sense, where the main character leaves in disgust after this mass-murderer is welcomed back into the Jedi Academy for training. Other books paint Kyp as the perpetual Atoner, having it and his lack of punishment constantly brought up.
    • Sometimes (including in I, Jedi) the death toll of Kyp's attack is vastly exaggerated, because apparently killing a few million people isn't bad enough; it's necessary to falsely claim he killed billions so that it can be put on the same level as the destruction of Alderaan (bonus fail points: said destruction is attributed to Darth Vader instead of the man who actually did it, Grand Moff Tarkin). The fact that the majority of the population were Imperial soldiers also tends to be ignored. Of course, Kyp himself doesn't consider that much of a comfort, given that many of those soldiers (including his own brother) were conscripts. And to make it worse, from New Jedi Order onward, Kyp is a Jerkass who's no longer interested in atoning for his sins.
  • A few of the people in the Bible have traits they'll never live down. "Doubting" Thomas springs to mind.
    • Yeah, and in his case, I think part of it is that he wasn't there the first time, according to John, so he got some focus on him for that reason, as well as his own "text bite". Mark records that they hadn't believed Mary Magdalene or two of the others when they told the disciples about it, and that Jesus "upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen." Luke and John record that He showed them His hands; Luke says feet as well while John says side. So yeah, they also didn't believe, and also needed it proven; maybe another factor was that he didn't believe them.
    • Bible researchers have also pointed out that the characters of those who told Thomas weren't impeccable either: John, who had an awful temper, and Peter, who denied Christ thrice.
  • This happens in continuity in the Wayside School book series. There were three kids in the class named Eric (Fry, Bacon, and Ovens). Eric Bacon and Eric Ovens were bad at sports so everyone just assumed Eric Fry was bad at sports when he was actually great. The only time people noticed him playing was when he caught a ball that slipped out of his hand. Everyone called him "Butterfingers" after that.
    • This happened with both of the others as well. Eric Bacon is much skinnier than the other two, yet he's called "Fatso;" Eric Ovens is easily the nicest and most easygoing, but he gets nicknamed "Crabapple."
  • In universe example with the Discworld character, Sam Vimes. One of his ancestors, Stoneface Vimes, led an army of rebels against the insane, murderous, pedophile king. But after their victory, no judge or jury could be found that would dare stand up against royalty. So Stoneface took matters into his own hands and performed the execution himself. Despite thus being one of the most important figures in Ankh-Morpork's history, the one thing everyone remembers about him is that he was a "regicide". The modern Vimes dislikes that term, saying "It was only one king. It's not like it was a habit."
    • It probably doesn't help that the modern Vimes reminds everyone of Stoneface.
    • Another in-universe example comes in Thud! when Vimes describes the painter Methodia Rascal as "Painted famous painting, thought he was a chicken, died."
  • Josella Playton in The Day of the Triffids writes a novel which her publisher ends up titling Sex Is My Adventure. Even years after civilization has collapsed and the eponymous killer plants are running amok, people she meets are still mentioning this book.
  • Richard Rahl, protagonist of the Sword of Truth, once led his troops to cut through a peace protest staged by Too Dumb to Live political strawmen to get to the Complete Monster villains they're guarding, during the book that even fans acknowledge is best ignored. The key word here, of course, is "once". A good chunk of the times it's mentioned on this wiki, though, it's phrased to make it sound like he spends all eleven books doing nothing but slaughtering pacifists.
  • In-Universe example in A Song of Ice and Fire: Jaime Lannister is forever known as the Kingslayer for murdering the man he was supposed to protect. What is forgotten is that the king in question was a Complete Monster who was killed to prevent him from roasting an entire city full of people alive. The reason this became his defining moment was because only a few people knew that, and most of them were killed in the uprising going on that same night, or deliberately chose not to mention it.
    • Also in A Song of Ice and Fire, Catelyn Stark, despite being a kind and caring mother and a woman with a strong sense of honor and duty, is often remembered for being a stone-cold, callous bitch for her poor treatment of her husband's bastard son, Jon Snow: her son lies unconscious, forever a cripple, and in a moment of mad grief she tells the bastard, "it should have been you" before breaking down in tears. She never lives that one down, it seems. It's a big Kick the Dog moment, but let's be perfectly honest: who doesn't get one of those in this series?
  • Twilight may be popular for other things, but now thanks to the movie, everyone associates the entire saga with sparkly vampires.
    • Baseball-playing sparkly vampires.
    • The sparkly vampires were already infamous (at least among Fan Haters) before the movie, but the movie definitely compounded it.
    • The sparkling emphasis was overblown for the first installment, in which Edward's glistening skin got exactly one chapter in which it was referenced (chapter thirteen). Things were taken to a bit more of an extreme in New Moon, when the glittery skin played a key part in Edward's suicide plan...somehow. By Breaking Dawn, Bella talks about her glittery skin like it's a stigmata in one scene.
    • Fan Haters now have the Ho Yay between Edward and Jacob.
  • In Nursery Crime: The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde, Chief Inspector Spratt is constantly having to defend himself against a reputation for killing giants ("Technically, only one of them was a giant; the others were just tall.") Of course, his full name is Jack Spratt. As in 'Jack the Giant Killer', which might have something to do with it.
  • The titular Jacky Faber in the Bloody Jack series seems to live this trope. "It's the talk of London!" "It's on all the Broadsheets!" "There's even a song about it!"
  • While Sherlock Holmes used cocaine in a more than a couple of stories, he was an addict, not of that drug, but of mental exercise. His brain had to be constantly working or else it would "rebel." When on a case or any other activity that he would consider mentally challenging, he would stop using for as long as his brain was entertained. If one only knew Holmes from fanfics and pastiches (professionally published fanfics), he turns into a drug-addicted genius who needs a constant high to function. In such stories, his drug of choice is usually changed to opium for whatever reason, even when it was specifically stated in the canon that he doesn't do opium. This is also carried over to more official adaptations.
  • Another good Sherlock Holmes example is the famous: Elementary my Dear Watson. He never actually said that in any of the books...the numerous remakes are another case though.
  • In universe example in The Black Company series. In the first novel, Croaker writes romantic fiction about the Big Bad who is employing them. Almost two decades later, people are still bringing it up. This turns into a Crowning Moment of Funny in the third book when the same people find out that the person they thought was his girlfriend is the Lady incognito.
  • In the first Sweet Valley Twins book, Jessica shows up for ballet class decked out in sparkles and ribbons. The teacher proceeds to publicly humiliate her, blasting her for this, and for several months afterwards, acts completely oblivious to the fact that Jessica is the best dancer in the class, instead, blatantly favoring the less skilled Elizabeth.
  • Good luck finding a hater of the Inheritance Cycle who doesn't notice the Ho Yay. Constantly. Admittedly, even the people who like the books notice this too.
  • Perhaps it's safe to say that Johanna of The Hunger Games fame won't be living down stripping down naked in an elevator and casually chatting with Katniss and Peeta any time soon.
    • Or Katniss agreeing to the Capitol Games. Some people ignore the fact that Prim was blown up horrifically. Try putting those people in the same situation, and just lets see how they react.
  • Yes, in Percy Jackson and The Olympians Nico summoned the dead with Happy Meals. And Thalia torched New England.
  1. Note that some people claim that nobody (or hardly anybody) actually believes Ginny is a slut, and that anyone calling her a slut is merely doing so to piss off Ginny fans.