The Night That Never Ends

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Sure, it's romantic now... but how about in 50 years?

"We need its light
We need its heat
We need its energy
Without the sun, without a doubt
There'd be no you and me"

They Might Be Giants, Why Does The Sun Shine

The big brother of Total Eclipse of the Plot, who crashes on the couch for a 'few' days.

This trope usually involves a Big Bad's attempt to bring about either an eternal or extremely long night, for whatever reason. He could be trying to put out the sun,[1] block it or just find a metaphorical light switch. The only requirement is that the darkness is supposed to last a ridiculous length of time, ranging from a hundred years to an eternity. It rarely does, though, thanks to those pesky heroes, who somehow manage to get past all of the looting, panic and mooks to Cue the Sun.

In Real Life, the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the Earth has been dimmed by dust thrown up by major volcanic eruptions (volcanic winter), the asteroid strike at the end of the Cretaceous (helping to kill off the dinosaurs) (impact winter), and in theory, the fallout of a nuclear war (nuclear winter).

Often the setting for a literal Darkest Hour, and can result in widespread Darkness Equals Death. Don't be surprised if a Dark World happens to have a bad case of this.

See also Color-Coded for Your Convenience, The Stars Are Going Out, Total Eclipse of the Plot and Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Death. Contrast with Cue the Sun. Inverse of Endless Daytime.

Examples of The Night That Never Ends include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Darkstalkers OVA has Demitri inflicting this upon the Earth, driving humanity to desperation—and setting up Light Is Not Good symbolism when Big Bad Pyron drives the night away with his presence.
    • Incidentally, if the sky's perpetually covered with clouds, how can Jon Tailban turn into a wolfman if there's no moon?
  • Hades in Saint Seiya wants to bring the Greatest Eclipse which would darken the earth forever.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • This is the whole premise of DC's Final Night crossover event, when the Earth's superheroes are completely and totally unable to keep the Sun from being eaten, even with help from the villains. Only the Heroic Sacrifice of Hal Jordan saves the day.
  • Obsidian attempts to spread darkness over the entire world in an arc of Justice Society of America.
    • He does it again with the help of Mordru and Eclipso in the "Princes of Darkness" arc...and succeeds.


Fanfiction[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • In The Matrix, the sky is darkened not by the villainous machines, but by the humans who sought to cut off their supply of solar power.
  • The Strangers from Dark City die when exposed to sunlight, so they keep the titular city in a constant state of night.
  • The Day the Earth Froze (based on The Kalevala, seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000) has the witch Louhi cause this by stealing the Sun, resulting in a neverending winter night.
  • Subverted in 30 Days of Night, in that the vampires don't cause the absence of sun, they take advantage of the fact that it's naturally absent.


Gamebooks[edit | hide]

  • In the backstory of the Lone Wolf series, Agarash the Damned's reign of terror was called the "Age of Eternal Night". In the series proper Agarash's lieutenant Deathlord Ixiataaga used his powers to maintain a permanent cloud cover over the city of Xaagon which prevented any sunlight from reaching it.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In The Bible, one of the ten plagues God punishes Egypt with in Exodus is darkness.
    • Hell has a literal example of this trope.
  • Heir to the Shadows sees Jaenelle create an illusion of this in order to force the government to let her stay with her guardian.
  • In Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, one of the villain's names is Starsnuffer for a reason.
  • In Simon R. Green's Blue Moon Rising, the titular evil moon also brings with it a side order of eternal night.
  • The ultimate goal of the vampire bats in Sunwing is to free their god from imprisonment and bring about eternal night.
  • The Night Land: Millions of years in the future, the sun has burned out and all of the other stars in the universe are dead as well. The last few million humans still alive stay warm by means of the the "Earth Current," or geothermal heat.
  • Garth Nix's The Seventh Tower series: unusually, done by the good guys in backstory to wipe out a race of evil shadows; without light, there are no shadows. The villains want to restore the sun, and the heroes have to stop them.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Have Space Suit—Will Travel, the intergalactic security council decides to punish a race by sending the race's planet to a separate universe...without their sun. Earth avoids this fate only by the hero's Patrick Stewart Speech and actions.
  • In Stationery Voyagers, Varikton plans to do this...muellexically!
    • And in Ciem Tomorrow, follow-up to the Ciem Webcomic Series, the Meethlites actually succeed at creating an eternal night in Gerosha.
  • In The Courtship of Princess Leia, an ex-Imperial warlord punishes a rebellious planet by employing an "Orbital Nightcloak", a system of satellites that not only keeps all sunlight from reaching the surface, but also blocks all signals they send to other planets asking for help. He's a jerk like that.
  • Sauron does a minor version of this in The Lord of the Rings, for morale reasons, and because a lot of his armies consist of creatures such as orcs and trolls which can't go out in daylight or are at least seriously impaired by it.
    • Morgoth does a stronger version twice in The Silmarillion, by destroying the light sources.
      • The first time he knocked down the Two Lamps, which alters the geography. The Ainur are the only sapients existent then (This was before the Awakenings of Elves and Men), and they end up moving to a different continent.
      • Later, after the Awakening of the Elves, he kills the the Two Trees, the new light sources, and Ungoliant spreads clouds of "Unlight" which hide the stars. The effects probably wouldn't have been quite so bad if Morgorth hadn't previously been sowing dissent among the Noldor, and/or hadn't stolen the Silmarils. During the period of darkness following that, we have, in short order: the Oath of Fëanor, the (first) Kinslaying, the Declaration of the Doom of the Noldor, the Burning of the Ships at Losgar, and the Crossing of the Grinding Ice (after which the moon rises for the first time).
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, a character tells about the Long Night back in the Age Of Myths, which lasted a generation when The Others almost overran all of Westeros. And now, they're rising again...
  • An old folk story, adapted as The Moon in Swampland by M.P. Robertson, reverses the trope to have the Moon vanish, but with a similar effect. The Moon visits a swamp out of curiosity about the world below, where she's quickly captured, chained up and thrown into a sealed well by the bogies. Once her light's gone, they completely rule the night; every sunset ushers in hours of horror for the miserable humans, until a hero returns the world to normal by finding and freeing her.
  • Let's not forget the classic: Darkness by Lord Byron. Long story short, society collapses as all people panic and unsuccessfully try to save themselves. Biblical imagery is repeatedly introduced, but any related tropes are deconstructed, and the overall tone is one of cynicism.
  • A Russian children poem "Stolen Sun" by Korney Chukovsky narrates about how the crocodile consumed Sun and how the bear gave him a proper pummeling and forced to release the star back into the sky. No, it doesn't make sense in context either, but it does takes on the motives of Slavic myths about a dragon stealing the Sun and imprisoning it for thirty three years, cuing global night and cold.
  • Robin Jarvis' The Deptford Mice: Jupiter intends to put out the sun and cause eternal winter.
  • In Fritz Leiber's story "A Pail Of Air", Earth has frozen over after being pulled out of its orbit and cast into deep space.
  • Where The Bible mentions an anomalous eclipse following the crucifixion, The Book of Mormon goes it one better and drops the American continents into three days of darkness (as was previously prophecied by Samuel the Lamanite).
  • In 'The Sword of Shannara' the Warlock Lord turns the Northland into this.
  • Nightfall by Isaac Asimov depicts a world with several suns, where normal night never falls and people are completely unaccustomed to darkness. Which is why, when every two thousand years total solar eclipse occurs, the ensuing darkness drives everybody insane and makes them burn down their cities in a desperate craving for light. How long the eclipse actually lasts is unknown, but apparently everybody decides, that The Night That Never Ends has fallen.
  • F. Paul Wilson's Adversary Cycle ends with the threat of this trope, as every day the sun inexplicably rises later and sets earlier than the last.
  • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel Goth Opera, vampires use a 'time freeze' to bring this about so they can go about their plan to vampirise humanity without having to worry about getting caught in the sunlight.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In Angel, The Beast blocked out the sun over Los Angeles, giving vampires and other demons a chance to come out and play without worrying about their curfew. After a few days or weeks of this, L.A. begins to look distinctly After the Endish. If not for Angelus, the block would have spread all over the world.
  • In Tin Man the Wicked Witch planned on locking the suns behind the moon during a solar eclipse.
  • Doctor Who has used this trope a couple of times:
    • The Doctor, Martha, and Jack travel to the end of the universe in "Utopia". All the stars have burned out by then.
    • The night caused by the Daleks' theft of Earth in "The Stolen Earth". The theme is even called "The Dark And Endless Dalek Night". Everyone not freezing is explained as the Daleks using an "atmospheric shell".
  • Every planetary surface visited in the original Battlestar Galactica was cloaked in night for at least the first 14 episodes.
  • The TOS Twilight Zone episode "I Am the Night--Color Me Black" has darkness enveloping regions of the world where hatred reigns.


Music[edit | hide]

Remember when there was a you and me?
When there was such a thing as gravity?
And the tides came in and the tides went out again
But the water got too high
And the sun began to die
And I tried to make you stay
But the world pulled you away
And now there are darker longer colder nights
And the sun has gone for good and so here we are.

  • The Kovenant's (formerly Covenant) debut album In Times Before the Light had this as a recurring theme in many of its songs, with lyrics referring to the "forevernight". They're from Norway, which might explain a few things.
  • The Cat Empire has a song titled "The Night That Never Ends."

As long as I am living
I never forget
That the sun is never rising
And it never set.

Our flesh is cold and theirs is hot,
But youth we hold while they do not,
We don't grow old but the humans rot
Before each other's eyes,
For they see each sunrise.
Douse that light and we'll stop the clock,
Hey! for the life eternal-o!
Endless night and deathless stock,
Ho! for the death of Time!
And when the darkness fills the sky,
Hey! for the life eternal-o!
We'll seize the world and bleed it dry,
Ho! for the death of Time!


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Vampire: The Masquerade's "Crucible of God" Gehenna scenario features the Antediluvian/ancestor of the Clan Lasombra blanketing the Earth in darkness for three weeks while it consumes its childer/descendants. No explanation is given as to how or why the darkness abates.
    • During The Week Of Nightmares, Kuei-Jin elders created a supernatural storm to shield them from the sun to battle Ravana, the Antediluvian ancestor of the Clan Ravnos—who was practically a vampire-god at this point. Then the Technocracy bombed them all, killing everyone who joined the battle; werewolves, Kuei-Jin and their own Agents. After storm dissipated, they scorched Ravana with orbital mirrors, a spirit nuke and then some more end-world scenario weapons. The battle damaged the reality so much that it started the events that nearly ended the world. Perhaps letting the night from never ending was the better idea in the long run?
  • In Magic: The Gathering:
    • The dual plane of Lorwyn/Shadowmoor switches between the two settings every few decades. Lorwyn never gets darker than dusk, while Shadowmoor never quite sees dawn. It's also very unpleasant, since most of the creatures that were nice in Lorwyn are monstrous in Shadowmoor.
    • The plane of Diraden (inspired in part by Shadowmoor) in The Purifying Fire was put under a curse of eternal night by the evil vampire Prince Velrav.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Ganondorf casts a curse onto the Great Sea that prevents dawn from ever coming. Fortunately, this does Link more good than bad, as it ensures that Link will always get Nayru's Pearl first due to the pirates taking time off at Windfall Island until morning. This same curse is also used in a more-localized fashion in the Forsaken Fortress, Ganondorf's base of operations. When Ganondorf abandons the joint to go after Zelda, however, the curse is lifted there, as well.
  • Imperishable Night sees the fugitive Lunarians in Gensokyo using powerful magic to seal the land from their home world, with a false moon placed in the artifical sky created as part of the spell. This causes lots of problems for humans and youkai alike, which in turn requires the heroines to help solve the problem.
    • Subverted big time; The Night That Never Ends is caused by your heroines to buy time. The false moon only appears at night, and if you fail to reach the source of the problem and fix it before the supposed time for dawn, the game ends. Also, Keine Kamishirasawa (who defends the humans) and either one of Reimu Hakurei (who enforces law) or Marisa Kirisame (who is pissed off with your unnatural magic) will fight you to stop your heroines' madman scheme. Let's You and Him Fight, definitely. Supplemental material even indicates that most people in the land were completely unaware of the true threat and just assume the heroines actually solved the problem of the unending night.
    • In fact, during the True Final Battle, once you defeat Kaguya, she uses her power over "eternity" to tear apart your spell causing the imperishable night. Every time you die to a section of her final spell card, the time advances 30 minutes. If it reaches 5:00 during that time, the sun rises and the game ends. That doesn't cause a bad end, but losing all your lives during her stage will speed time all the way to 5:00 in one go and triggers the bad end, presumably due to her power. Cue the Sun is subverted big-time here.
    • Let's not forget the original Windows Touhou game, Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, where Big Bad Remilia Scarlet's scheme was to block out the sun with a thick red mist, just so she could go outside whenever she wanted (she's a vampire).
  • In Ouendan 2, the sun is growing cold and it's up to the Ouendan team and the entire population of the earth to cheer up a Combined Energy Attack big enough to restart it.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness, the Bad Future was stuck in an eternal night because time had stopped.
  • This has already happened in Advance Wars: Days of Ruin: the meteorite impact kicked up a ton of dust which blotted out the sun.
  • Master of Magic has a spell that does this. Yes, you can cast it. It's not as dramatic as it sounds though...
  • In Final Fantasy III, Xande sinks most of the world into perpetual darkness and suspended animation because he does not wish to die after being blessed with mortality.
  • Partly used in Okami during the 'Day of Darkness', when the monsters get stronger. Amaterasu being the sun, may also have something to do with it.
  • In Quest for Glory IV, the vampire Big Bads want to release Avoozl the Dark One in order to permanently cloak the world in the eponymous Shadows of Darkness.
  • The Crows in Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg have already succeeded in bringing eternal night to Morning Land. Billy's job is to bring the day back.
  • A neverending winter night is the setting of Arx Fatalis. Luckily, sun was slowly dimming for five years, giving the population enough time to move underground. In the end, it's revealed that sun is obscured by a giant space dust cloud and is barely visible even out of the atmosphere.
  • In Ninety-Nine Nights, the King of Ninety-Nine Nights is so named because during his last reign he caused darkness to fall for ninety-nine straight days.
  • The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night. It's right there in the title.
  • In Dark Souls, the First Flame that originally brought forth life is slowly dying, and sunlight is dying with it. There are already regions of the world that are covered in permanent darkness such as Anor Londo, which only looks sunlit thanks to an illusion. While the ostensible goal of the Chosen Undead is to rekindle the First Flame, the Primordial Serpent Darkstalker Kaathe claims that The Night That Never Ends won't necessarily be a bad thing for everyone in the long run.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Aurora Danse Macabre is set in The Night That Never Ends.
  • In the Two Moons comic, the sun hasn't risen in 500 years, and life sucks. Much later it does rise, and it's hinted that it won't set for another 500 years.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The dark future in Spes Phthisica: "a carmine ember that could once have been a sun burns coldly in the sky, giving scarcely any light or warmth."
  • Terramirum Starts with the sun imploding and the moon getting blown away, and works from there.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • My Little Pony: The Trope Namer. Causing neverending night was the plan of the bad guy in the very first My Little Pony animated adaption, a television special from 1984. Said bad guy, an demonic-looking centaur, quotes the Trope name word by word.

Nightmare Moon: Remember this day, little ponies, for it was your last. From this moment forth, THE NIGHT. WILL LAST. FOREVER!!!

      • Because of the hands-on nature of... well, nature in this series, some fans have grossly underestimated the threat level of this. Word of God has made clear, however, that this would cause the death of every living thing in Equestria, by starvation if nothing else.
      • The Fandom has taken this to new, terrifying extremes of terror and Fridge Logic. The Pony Psychology series has an entire chapter of What the Hell, Hero? dedicated to Luna confronting Celestia over this, and Celestia painting the horror for her. In addition, several webcomics portray in gruesome detail just what a slow death eternal night would be.
  • When The Emperor's New Groove was in its conceptual stages and called The Kingdom of the Sun, Yzma's original plan involved summoning an Eldritch Abomination to snuff out the sun and plunge the kingdom into eternal darkness.
  • The Powerpuff Girls, "Boogie Frights": the Boogie Man blocks the sun with a giant mirror ball so that monsters can stay outside forever.
  • The Simpsons two-part season cliffhanger Who Shot Mr Burns? had Mr Burns funding the construction of a sun-blocking device in order to force increased energy consumption by the town... just one of the many reasons people had to shoot him.
  • Happens in Rock-a-Doodle... sort of?
    • Not exactly night, but the sun does go into hiding, and the weather is perpetually gray, rainy and miserable, resulting in dangerous flooding and other nastiness.
  • Thanks to TMNT: Fast Forward Big Bad Sh'Okanabo and his progeny's weaksauce aversion to Earth's sun, part of his ultimate plan for world domination involved preventing the sun from reaching Earth via a series of satellites. It worked, too...for a few minutes.
  • Samhain attempts to bring this about (along with eternal Halloween) in an episode of The Real Ghostbusters.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • A scientific journal detailed a "death world" simulation where they took a standard climate simulation model, shut off all solar input and saw what happened. It took less than a week for the continents to reach 270 K (i.e., freeze over); the equatorial oceans lasted a few weeks longer because of their large heat capacity.
  • Places in the far north or far south such as Longyearbyen, Svalbard or Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station have a polar night that last for up to 4 months bracketed on either side by 1 month of polar twilight.
  • One of these probably occurred after the asteroid impact that killed off the dinosaurs. Dust thrown into the upper atmosphere partially obscured the sun for years (volcanoes can do a lesser version of this). While it wouldn't have actually been dark as night all the time, it would have been enough to kill off many plants (the things which support the entire food web) and reduce ocean temperatures (many marine organisms are vary sensitive to temperature changes).
  • A planet that is tidally locked to its sun would have Endless Daytime on the side facing the sun and The Night That Never Ends on the side facing away. It used to be thought that Mercury was like this, but that turned out not to be the case.
  1. It takes 8 minutes for light from the sun to get to earth