Word of Dante

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"Now that I have said it, it must be Canon!"

Word of God is stuff the creators have said is true about their universe, even though it's not in the actual work.

Word Of Dante is stuff the creators haven't said is true about their universe—but everyone assumes it is true because an independent authority, scholar of the work, or Big Name Fan has said it—often with supporting arguments. It's a kind of ascended Fanon. A more literary criticism friendly technical term for it would be deuterocanon.

Why does it matter? Because everyone thinks the Word Of Dante applies to the original work, and so it gets mixed into future adaptations and popular allusions. It can even overrule original canon (if that isn't known as much as it's known of) or Word of God. Take our Trope Namer: if it weren't for Dante Alighieri, later writers wouldn't speak of hell having circles with specific Karmic Punishments. Hell is depicted in broad strokes in The Bible—a place of darkness and wailing and gnashing of teeth, a lake of fire—but doesn't even really say there actually is a Hell beyond that. That there are specific places in hell to send the unchaste, the literal infidels, and the betrayers is Dante's idea.

This is especially likely to happen if there is no one who can unambiguously provide Word of God. Without Word of God, Word Of Dante is the strongest authority you have on how to interpret the canon. Often created when an Expanded Universe claims to be "official" and thus canon, but is ignored by the primary canon. If there is a Word of God, however, then what Word Of Dante does get produced is just as likely as Fanon to be Jossed at some point.

Frequently creates Adaptation Displacement. May also help create Misaimed Fandom if the Dante's ideas contradict true canon or Word of God.

May be the cause of Newer Than They Think, especially if Dante is much younger than the work. Again, it's easier to have Word Of Dante if there is no longer anyone to give Word of God.

Beam Me Up, Scotty is a version of this, where the Word of Dante is a phrase.

Also related is the Death of the Author, a concept from the field of literary criticism which states that all theories about a work (regardless of their source) can be equally valid. See also God Never Said That.

Examples of Word of Dante include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Quite a few Dragon Ball fans (including some on this Wiki) believe that the name of Lunch's blond gun-crazy alter ego is "Kushami". The name was coined by an American translator in the mid-1990s in order to distinguish between "Good Lunch" and "Bad Lunch", using the Japanese word for "sneeze".
    • Most fans treat the "Toriyama intended to end the series at the Freeza saga, but his editors stopped him" rumor as unquestionable fact. Many fans do the same to the "Toriyama abandoned his plan to make Gohan the hero of the Boo saga because he was sent death threats by Goku fans" rumor. In actuality, both of these rumors were started and perpetuated by fans, and they have never received official confirmation.
  • The fangame Fullmetal Alchemist :Bluebird's Illusion was a source of something like this among some Fullmetal Alchemist manga fans back when Pride hadn't been introduced. There were quite a lot of fanworks based on the game.
  • At no point in Code Geass canon is it ever stated that Lamperouge (the last name Lelouch and Nunnaly take after faking their deaths) was Marianne's maiden name.
    • Action Girl Kallen Kouzuki goes by her Britannian father's surname "Stadtfeld" when in public due to the social stigma against Japanese. Fans often assume that she also "westernizes" her first name to "Karen" at the same time, or occasionally that she really is named Karen, and "Kallen" is her attempt to reject her "slave name". None of this reflects on canon; in fact, characters who only know her in her Stadtfeld identity still call her "Kallen".
      • 'Karen' being a Westernization of 'Kallen' doesn't even make sense - if 'Kallen' is supposed to be pre-Westernization, then why does it have Ls, a sound which doesn't appear in Japanese?
  • The Director's Cut films of Death Note are not canon, and not generally regarded as such... except for the funeral scene. (And, more controversially, the scenes in the shinigami realm.)
  • Recently, some pre-Sainthood "real names" for the main cast of Saint Seiya have been popping up in fics, particularly the last name "Amamiya" for Ikki and Shun. This in spite of the fact that only their constellation-based Saint titles have ever been used in the series proper.
  • The FUNimation dub of Soul Eater uses male pronouns to refer to the character Crona, leading many who watched the anime to believe that Crona is officially male. At the same time, an early online fan translation of a Soul Eater chapter refers to Crona as Medusa's "daughter" causing many of those who read the manga to believe that Crona is officially a girl. Unfortunately, neither is right. FUNimation had to settle with male pronouns by default and the translation in the manga is wrong. Crona, in both the original anime and manga, is referred to using genderless pronouns and as Medusa's "child". There is no definite answer to his/her gender as of yet.
  • In Elfen Lied, Number Three (The Silpelit who infected Kurama, causing Mariko to be born a Diclonius) is often given the name Sanban by fans, even though that is simply the Number Three's Japanese translation, unlike Number Seven Nana, which is both a name and number. Further, a listing that only says it is from an official site states that Three is Nana's older sister. Nothing said in the manga or anime supports this.
  • The Puella Magi Madoka Magica fandom has more or less unanimously decided that Homura is Conveniently an Orphan, given that there is no indication that she has any sort of parent or caretaker. It is also an absurdly common piece of fanon that Charlotte was a cancer patient.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia fandom has tons of these, partly because of Real Life being something of an alternative source material, partly because the webcomic is scattered between the site, the author's blog and—in some cases—only on fansites because strips were removed or lost from the main site. And let's not even get to the scanlations with often questionable quality translations, although they have been easier to find as of late. You can find examples in the Fanon page.
  • In Fairy Tail, an early online manga translation translates the character Yajima's name as "Shitou", for whatever reason. Subsequent chapters call him "Yajima", leading people to believe he is actually called "Shitou Yajima". Seriously, it's everywhere; he's even credited as "Shitou" in the English credits of the FUNimation dub of the anime. The thing is, the chapter that gives his name in the collected manga volume calls him "Yajima", not "Shitou". The only logical explanation is that the original version of the chapter called him "Shitou", but the author changed it to "Yajima" for the manga volume. But because a the original Japanese version of the chapter likely doesn't exist online, the issue may never be clarified.


Computer Programs[edit | hide]

  • Lots and lots of fan characters from the Vocaloid fandom have achieved popularity status with the main characters, and in videos and songs featuring them, you'll almost certainly find people in the comments wondering if Haku (the Anthropomorphic Personification of clumsy new users), Neru (the personification of Image Board trolls) or Sai (whose creator can be clearly identified outside of image board masses and does all her own songs) is an official member of the cast. It goes the opposite way, too—because the English-speaking programs like Miriam are older and given less attention, far too many people forget they exist.


Film[edit | hide]

  • The Star Wars Technical Commentaries fit this trope so well that much of their information overrides canon in the eyes of fans. The best example is the class name of the Star Destroyers from the original trilogy. Canonically, they're Imperial-Class according to the EU, the official website, and Word of God. Dr. Saxton, who wrote the technical commentaries, dubbed them "Imperator-Class" on the grounds that "Imperial" is a stupid name for a warship; he assumed that the Empire followed American and British tradition in naming ships and classes. Many fan works use "Imperator-class" and the name was eventually canonized in Revenge of the Sith: Incredible Cross-Sections (penned by Saxton as an author for Lucasfilm Licensing). Go, Roman naming-schemes!
    • Though it's still established that, presumably out of pure ego, the Emperor changed the name to Imperial-class after he turned the Republic into The Empire.
    • Probably the most widely accepted piece of fanon (even on this very wiki) is the idea that Palpatine, Thrawn (and sometimes even Revan) were actually Well Intentioned Extremists, uniting the galaxy under a single powerful rule to best prepare them for the arrival of an even more powerful foe, specifically the Yuuzhan Vong.
      • Not mentioned explicitly as the Vong, but Palpatine's agent in Outbound Flight tells Thrawn that the Emperor is trying to unite the galaxy in an attempt to stand against an (at the time unnamed) enemy from beyond the Galactic Rim. This is what first convinces Thrawn to side with the Emperor, as he had encountered an unknown extra-galactic enemy before. Kreia in Knights of the Old Republic II makes a similar comment about Revan, but that later turned out to be the True Sith, members of the order that fled into solitude sometime around or before the Great Hyperspace War.
  • Inception shows the agents to have Reality Warper powers within a dream allowing them to alter it as they see fit. Many fans have since adopted the belief that this altering is what's allowing them to use the various action movie tropes, like the Pin-Pulling Teeth or the Bloodless Carnage. This would make the use of almost any trope justified by the narrative, at least in the scenes that take place inside a dream. (And as for the rest...)


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The Cthulhu Mythos includes various authors contemporary and after H.P. Lovecraft whose stories are considered canonical. Some works written previous to the original Mythos are also considered canonically part of it, like some of the works of Ambrose Bierce and The King in Yellow.
  • Charles Perrault and The Brothers Grimm, by committing oral traditions to print in standard versions, are as guilty of this in print as Disney has been in film.
    • Before Perrault got hold of the "Sleeping Beauty", the prince found her asleep in the forest and raped her without waking her. It was only one of their children sucking the splinter from her finger that finally woke her. Whereupon the prince went home to his wife...
    • In the best-known version of "Rapunzel", the old witch learns that Rapunzel has been visited in her tower when Rapunzel foolishly answers her, "Mother Gothel, why are you so much harder to pull up than my prince?" In the first printing of their story collection, Rapunzel's question is, "Mother Gothel, why have my dresses grown so tight around the waist?"
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is often taken as canon for Hamlet, even if incorporating a postmodern look at the nature of theater into a straightforward if rich story about revenge makes no sense. (It helps that Tom Stoppard is careful about making sure when in Hamlet the various events of his own play happen.) Even people who can't consider the events canon "know" that they must be either allowed for or explicitly ruled out, which gives Rosencrantz and Guildenstern importance they would not otherwise have. Since Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is recent, it's easy to trace the effects: the film of Hamlet with Laurence Olivier cut the pair entirely because they were minor characters with little effect on the main plot—which is why Tom Stoppard wrote his play in the first place. In modern versions, even ones that don't consider Stoppard canon, this is all but unthinkable. (The Mel Gibson version shows their execution, for instance.)
    • Though it has become accepted that Hamlet speaks his lines to Yorick's skull in the famous graveyard scene, Shakespeare's First Folio (the first authorised publication of the play) makes no mention of it in the stage directions. In fact, Shakespeare used very few stage directions, so the ones that appear in modern editions have usually been added by subsequent editors.
      • That said, it's pretty clear from the lines that he is, in fact, intended to be talking to a skull. In particular, there's the darkly humorous pun, "Not one now, to mock your own grinning? Quite chap-fallen?" Chap-fallen figuratively means looking dejected, but literally means "jaw-dropped"—or in this case "jaw fell off".
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never described Sherlock Holmes as wearing a deerstalker cap or smoking a meerschaum pipe.[1] Those elements that were popularized by illustrations—including the pictures printed with the stories—and stage productions. So many people consider them canon that the 2009 film got criticized for dropping those elements.
    • However, many people forget that the stories were originally published in The Strand, accompanied by Sidney Paget's illustrations. Those illustrations do show Holmes in deerstalker cap and occasionally with a pipe. It wasn't until the books were reprinted that these illustrations were left out, and forgotten by many readers. Conan Doyle specifically asked for Paget to continue doing illustrations for his stories, making the illustrations canon. The cap and cape weren't all he wore, but it was certainly part of his wardrobe.
    • Similarly, it's generally accepted these days to present Mycroft Holmes and the Diogenes Club as some sort of cover organisation or outpost of the British secret service. This is largely an invention of later pastiches; aside from a few hints that Mycroft's job in the British government is a bit more extensive than he likes to admit ("on certain occasions he is the British government"), it's never really suggested in the original canon that either the club nor Mycroft are anything other than what they appear to be (a near-silent club for reclusive eccentrics and a Brilliant but Lazy civil servant respectively).
    • Holmes' relationship with "The Woman", Irene Adler, has largely been expanded from a healthy respect for the one person we ever see outsmarting Holmes to a Dating Catwoman-like UST situation at the very least, thanks more or less to this trope combined with Promoted to Love Interest.
      • This gets even weirder when one remembers that Irene married her own lawyer during that case and had no romantic interest in Holmes whatsoever.
      • And there's the fact that he only has any contact with her once (briefly) when he's casing her house under an assumed identity. The closest that they come to even having a conversation is when Irene leaves an extended letter for Holmes after she's already escaped.
  • Tolkien never explicitly stated that Elves inThe Lord of the Rings and related works had pointy ears—in fact, no special physical traits are given except that they seem to be more slender, more elegant, and taller than men (thus implying that they might, apart from that, look more or less alike).
    • He made the connection in some very early works, mainly to explain the similarity of "ear" and "leaf" in the Elven language. The pointy-ear thing actually goes back to fairy stories, though.
    • It's also widely accepted in Tolkien fandom that Smaug was the last dragon. In fact, this is never stated anywhere in the books, and indeed some of Gandalf's dialogue with Frodo implies that there are still dragons out there—Smaug was merely the greatest of his age.
  • Arthurian legend has gone through many cycles over the centuries, so that many of the familiar features may be newer than you'd assume. The character of Lancelot, his affair with Guinevere, Mordred's incestuous parentage, and the quest for the Holy Grail all came about during the legend's resurgence in popularity during the late middle ages. Some of them likely came to us by way of Le Morte Darthur, which appears to be one of the older in-depth codifications of the legend. The best-known version of the "sword in the stone" story, as well as many now-common attributes of Merlin, were introduced in the 20th century with T.H. White's The Once and Future King.
    • The entire concept of the Holy Grail is this trope from start to finish, as there is nothing in The Bible that even suggests any piece of tableware was blessed or holy in any way, and originally Arthur and gang were searching for a fairly standard magical MacGuffin, and a cauldron at that.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: these books are among the few fantasy epics that does not have any Doorstoppers among its volumes because CS Lewis, while not neglecting Character Development and worldbuilding, didn't take it as seriously as either Tolkien or modern Young Adult fantasy writers. As a result, the live-action films from the 2000s have more of such activity than the books do. The Prince Caspian film deviates enough from the book that the film continuity is considered an Alternate Continuity from the books, but even Fanfic writers who explicitly reject film continuity may unconsciously accept film characterization for the Pevensies. There is subtle Values Dissonance between the two.
    • When there was just one film, the fandom started to accept the film's version of life for the Pevensies before going to Professor Kirke's place, since CS Lewis didn't consider it relevant. Technically, it wasn't, but modern fans enjoy that sort of thing. Thus, the Pevensies come from Finchley, since it's nice to narrow it down from "England".
    • World War II in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is simply there to get the Pevensies where they need to go. The live-action film pushed what was implied to the foreground, reminding people that you can't ignore that war if you have been in the warzone. Fanfic post-film reflects this, and is likely to include Mr. Pevensie at war rather than at university (which Voyage of the Dawn Treader implied). The second film similarly reminded writers that the war had not stopped during the intervening year.
    • Lots of people think Caspian/Susan is canon, when actually they barely talk to each other in the Prince Caspian book. The movie, however, did make it canon.
  • The Terrible Dogfish from The Adventures of Pinocchio is a shark. The popular misconception as a whale parallels that from the story of Jonah (see "Mythology and Religion" above), but this time we can blame Disney.
  • Some critics find Plato's writing of Socrates to be this, since Socrates was emphatically opposed to writing any philosophical wisdom. Which statements were genuinely Socrates' and which ones were put in his mouth by Plato is a subject of much analytical debate. Plato certainly backpedaled on the statements that led to Socrates' execution.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the demon in the Musical Episode is never named, and in the credits is listed as "Demon." However, fanon has named him Sweet, after a line in the credits saying "Sweet makeup provided by..."
    • Either in confirmation or appeasal, the character was credited as Sweet on the episode's soundtrack.
  • A fan reviewer referred to an unnamed, silhouetted character in Star Trek: Enterprise as "Future Guy" and, let's just say, the name caught on with the writers.
    • There are quite a few Trek examples, leading to cases where newer Trek—particularly Star Trek: Enterprise—was accused by many of being "inaccurate". Many aspects of fanon were confused with canon. Whether Enterprise did or did not deviate from established canon (and keeping in mind Trek has never been 100% consistent anyway, simply by virtue of how big it is), many of the more frequent claims were in fact based on widely-accepted but non-canonical fan assumptions. Among the biggest Word of Dante was the whole "Spock was the first Vulcan in Starfleet" idea. Another is the "2218 Klingon First Contact". Neither was canonical, but were widely accepted along Word of Dante principles for years. In these two aspects at least, Enterprise didn't deviate from canon.
    • Of course, since Enterprise's major first arcs involved large scale time-fuckery anyway, you have to wonder how valid the claims would have been in the first place.
    • Among the biggest Word of Dantes, used in authorised but non-canon reference books and the Expanded Universe, is that many of the major races such as Klingons and Romulans come from the rarely-mentioned-in-canon Beta Quadrant. Less prevalent is the theory that each episode covers two weeks, used as the basis for a published chronology of the series. When the writers of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager indicated all the main races came from the Alpha Quadrant or had five episodes taking place over a month, many fans jumped on these as mistakes.
  • In Blake's 7 it is generally believed that Avon survived the events of the final episode. This is probably due to the fact that at least two different sources (an Expanded Universe novel, and the actual attempt at a continuation—spearheaded by Paul Darrow) both used this as a premise for further stories. Therefore this has a bit more traction that theories about other characters surviving, which haven't managed to rise above fanon.
  • Glee: Puck's little sister doesn't have an official name. However, a number of fanfic have given her the name Sarah.

Music[edit | hide]


Mythology & Religion[edit | hide]

  • Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy is the Trope Namer, and the most famous example. Pretty much anything you think you know about Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory was probably popularized by Dante, though much of it was based off actual Church positions. There are also some Real Life people (such as Francesca da Rimini and Count Ugolino) that we only know of through Dante's work and the early commentaries explaining it. Note that many of them, especially the souls found in the Inferno, could probably have gone without being mentioned. (Many among that group had wronged Dante in some way, and the general consensus among modern critics of Inferno is that Dante included them for personal reasons. There are so many of these people that Inferno is 40-50% political satire and requires extensive knowledge of current Italian politics to understand.)
  • This trope is older then the actual Bible we know today, with various other religious texts not included in canon but occasionally influential, known as Apocrypha. First there are the various deuterocanonical books which you might find after Revelation in your Bible (in Catholic and Orthodox Bibles, however, they'll simply be in the Old Testament- there are seven, not counting the codicils of Esther and Daniel and the appendix to Daniel). These are considered by Biblical scholars(in varying degrees) to be not canon, but not heretical. Why? A Serious Business but often some of it is as simple as obvious errors. Generally not found in modern Protestant Bibles but still available in common versions.
    • Beyond this there are Apocrypha not found in any widely available version of the Bible. One of the oldest and most referenced is the Book of Enoch, which is possibly the Ur Example of Word of Dante for The Bible. It notably has a lot of info dumping about angels and fallen angels and either started various beliefs or at least shows they go back into ancient times. The Book of Enoch was lost to Western scholars for a time but turned up in Ethiopia and archaeological finds.
    • Other texts called Apocrypha were consciously discarded as Christianity took shape, some for being considered total fiction and others for being outright heretical. This category includes the Gnostic Gospels which get into very divergent beliefs compared to what Christianity became. Incidentally they contain no revelations as shocking as certain disreputable modern authors may claim to sell book.
    • "Apocrypha" has a specific meaning in terms of biblical studies; it refers to Old Testament books present in Greek sources (such as the Septuagint) that aren't present in the Hebrew Tanakh.
    • Some people have said that Mary Magdalene wrote a gospel, though this is generally considered non-Canon by the church. A book of it was put out a few years ago, however.
  • These are only a few examples related to The Bible:
    • Paradise Lost is like this for the entire book, especially Satan. Satan only gets a few lines in the Bible, and not much that you could use to establish a sympathetic character.
    • Lots of retellings of the nativity story shows us Jesus in a stable. The Bible never mentions any stable.
    • "...and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7.
      • December 25 is not mentioned as the date of the nativity. Many scholars believe it was in September.
    • The names and number of Wise Men who visited Jesus were not mentioned in the Bible; they come from 6th to 8th century sources.
      • What's more, they likely did not visit Jesus on the day of His birth or twelve days after. It could have been up to two years.
    • The Bible also never specifically singles out the Seven Deadly Sins. That set comes from later saints and Church Fathers (and originally, there were 25 of them.)
    • Mary Magdalene is often identified with other females from the Gospels, including Mary the sister of Martha, the woman who washes Jesus' feet with her tears, and the woman caught in adultery. That is, she is considered to be one or more of them. However, there is no support in the Gospels themselves for these. Some of them are Church tradition, though. The originator of this idea is the sixth century Pope Gregory the Great, also the man responsible for the Seven Deadly Sins (before him, there were eight).
    • Similarly, the Antichrist, who is mentioned only in the first epistle of John in the context of "many antichrists" (who are more likely general oppressors and heretics rather than specific apocalyptic enemies), is often identified with various apocalyptic figures, such as the Beast from the Sea from Revelation, the Man of Sin/Lawlessness from Second Thessalonians, and the Little Horn from Daniel.
    • After Saul's conversion, he didn't deliberately change his name to Paul. Has birth name was Sha'ul (Saul is the closest the Greek alphabet can come to rendering that name) and he never abandoned it. However, like many Romanized Jews he had a Latin name that he used when dealing with Gentiles--Paulus or "Paul." So basically, the author of Acts called him "Saul" so long as that's what his main associates (the Pharisees) called him; he got referred to as "Paul" once he began moving mainly in Gentile circles.
    • Nowhere in the Garden of Eden story does the Bible mention the name of the forbidden fruit, commonly accepted as an apple by people who aren't Biblical scholars. In fact, Jewish sources debate five or six possibilities, which include everything from fig to grapes to wheat, but no apple.
      • The word for "apple" in Latin is "malum" (long 'a') similar to the Latin word for "bad". Latin being the language of the Catholic Church, someone illuminating a manuscript probably thought "evil apple" to be a rather clever pun. (It wouldn't be the first time.) The Church says nothing either way, only in art does this tradition exist. Secondly, in early modern English apple was used to mean fruit in general (in the same way that "corn" meant the grain of an area, not any specific grain). When the meaning of "apple" got narrowed down, the picture of the fruit of the tree of knowledge was narrowed with it. In any case, the apple did not actually exist as an edible fruit until the Romans domesticated them, so Eve eating one is a bit of a stretch, to say the least.
    • Jonah never spent time in the belly of a whale in The Bible; it is simply described as a big fish. At the time the story was written there was no specific Hebrew word for whale, apart from various words for large fish. The metamorphosis into a whale comes from translations. In some languages, "big fish" is a term used to refer to both whales and sharks, with little or no distinction. In later mentions of Jonah's story in the New Testament, the Greek word used for the big fish was literally "sea monster", a term often applied then to whales. The King James Version, among others, decided that a whale made more sense than just a big fish, since no known ordinary fish is that big. (That whales aren't actually fish is another, unrelated issue.)
      • Speaking of Lucy, the popular image of a red-skinned, horned, goat-legged devil with a pitchfork is neither biblical nor has it ever been mainstream Christian teaching. The picture is an steady amalgamation of pagan symbols attached to Satan over the years in order to discredit them.
      • In fact, in many early paintings he's represented as a goat that walks on his hind legs.
    • There is only a single, fairly cryptic mention of "Lilith" (Isaiah 34:14). The idea of Lilith being the first woman before Eve comes from medieval Judaism.
      • Some traditions also hold that Lilith then had children of her own, from whom Cain's wife (also a bit of an explanatory difficulty) came.
    • Naturally, Cracked.com has an entire list of this trope for Christianity. Along with those already mentioned is the entire concept of any of the fallen angels ruling Hell, as Hell is just as much a prison for them as it is for the sinners.
  • Virgil's Aeneid and Ovid's Metamorphoses are like this for Greco-Roman myths. Ovid cobbled together different Greek sources and added his own imaginative touches to create the definitive versions of most of the Greco-Roman myths we have today. The Aeneid standardized the story of Aeneas, which had previously existed in a bunch of variations and hadn't been as popular as, say, Romulus and Remus.
  • The popular image of Santa Claus is taken from A Visit from St. Nicholas ("'Twas the night before Christmas..."). Before the poem was published in the 1820s, pretty much everyone had their own idea of what he looked like and how he traveled around. The popular modern image also owes a lot to Thomas Nast's cartoons of Santa in the 1860s.
  • The modern perception of Norse Mythology and religious practices is mainly based on Christian or Muslim sources, such as the chronicle of Adam of Bremen from the 11th century, Ibn Fadlan's brief depiction of life among the Norse in Russia, or various texts by Icelandic skalds in the 13th century (such as Snorri Sturluson's manuals on how to write poetry).
  • Stories about King Arthur have been told and retold to the point where this happens. T. H. White's The Once and Future King is probably the best known these days, although most people are at least aware it's based on an older set of legends. Malory's Le Morte Darthur (or, more recently, his Complete Works) is usually the main "canon" but Malory makes no secret of drawing from other books... some of which scholars today can't identify for sure. And, even then, these books are following mostly off of Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain and the romances of Chretien De Troyes and others, and not the often forgotten (and often missing) Welsh folktales... which may or may not predate the accounts of Roman historians from not long after the time that mention Arthur (confused especially since Gaius, who was present for this part of history, is the one person who never mentions Arthur).
  • The Hadiths of Islam can be seen as an example of this: a huge body of phrases attributed to the Prophet but not actually part of the Quran, a sort of Ascended Fanon.
  • The more fundamental differences between the sects of most major religions are largely due to separated groups coming to consider Word of Dante as Word of God due to prolonged lack of contact or as a deliberate decision.

Theme Parks[edit | hide]


Videogames[edit | hide]

  • Bungie imported the concept of rampancy from Marathon into the Halo series, and made it part of an AI's natural life cycle after seven years of existence. Nowhere, however, is it stated that Halo's AIs follow the same rampancy pattern of "Melancholia - Anger - Envy" as Marathon's AIs, or that there is a possibility for AIs to advance past those stages and become Metastable. Regardless, this has become a basic concept in the fandom, and appears commonly in post-Halo 3 fanfiction surrounding Cortana.
  • Herobrine is a character from a Minecraft creepypasta. Many people now think he's a real character, either Notch's dead brother or a dead miner.
    • It has recently (sort of) become Ascended Fanon by constantly appearing in official release notes. Herobrine has now been removed several times from the game and "all ghost entities under the command of Lord Herobrine" have been removed.
  • Touhou runs on Word of Dante. A character can say something once and have it become their Catch Phrase. Several of the Fan Vids and Fanfic spawn Alternative Character Interpretation that has little to no canonical basis. The biggest example of how prevalent Word of Dante is in Touhou is probably the two nameless mid-bosses from The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil: Fans were the ones responsible for giving them names and distinctive appearances. Their Fan Nicknames were then acknowledged by the author, and the fan depictions of them seem to have made cameos in supplementary material.
    • Hisoutensoku, the third fighting game in the series (numbered 12.3) had no official English title, a first for the series. For a few months after its release (and intermittently afterwards) the game was referred to as Unthinkable Natural Law, after a loose translation of its Japanese title.
  • 8-Bit Theater has led to many people assuming characterizations and personalities in the comic are canon to the Final Fantasy games. In particular, that White Mage is a girl (though many people already assumed this long before 8-Bit Theater existed), to the chagrin of male White Mage cosplayers everywhere. Or that black mages in general are psychopathic murderers, which is hinted at in Captain SNES, even though no appearances of playable black mages in the rest of the series have portrayed them as anything even close (worst would probably be Palom, who was a little bit rude, but definitely not evil). And no, despite his ears, Thief is not an elf.
    • In the original Final Fantasy, the White Wizard was either a male or a Bifauxnen with the latter being more widely believed. However, since most healers in the series since have tended to be female, and 8-Bit Theater had White Mage as a female, most fans assume the original NES White Mage is also a female. The developers seem to gone with this, since in the remakes the White Mage's higher-resolution sprites are female or otherwise androgynous, and the games that suggest names for the party members pick mostly female names for the White Mage. In addition, Square-Enix-developed Mario Hoops 3-On-3 and Mario Sports Mix, in which White Mage is a playable character and is undeniably female.
  • The two main writers of in-game books of The Elder Scrolls, Ted Peterson (who was also lead designer of the first game and lead producer of the second) and Michael Kirkbride, sometimes post new lore on the forums. While not officially canon (since most of it isn't in the games themselves), it is seen as such by the fans. A collection of the works can be found here.
    • Among the fandom, there's the notion that Sheogorath is the only person in the Shivering Isles allowed to grow a beard, which is generally agreed upon to the point where it was stated on the wiki. The evidence for this one comes from the fact that Sheogorath has a beard and that if the player goes to the place Sheogorath teleports you to when you try to attack him, where he drops criminals from multiple feet in the sky, there's a body with a note saying that the man was executed for having a beard. However, the note doesn't specify anything other than that he had a beard - for all we know, the crime could be that it was longer than Sheogorath's, not that it was there in the first place. This being Sheogorath, he might just have made up a random baseless excuse to kill the guy.
  • People who found Mega Man through Bob and George are often confused by the fan-character "Ran", usually asking which game he came from. A lot of this has to do with the fact that, for a while, Ran's creator let just about anyone who asked use the character, meaning he showed up everywhere. This (and the very large sprite-sheet leading to him having as many or more poses as game characters) led people to believe so ubiquitous a character must have come from the games.
    • If Ran himself is asked, he will often answer that he is from Rockboard, an obscure Japanese only Mega Man themed NES board game video game.
  • Reno's backstory is never mentioned in Final Fantasy VII or Advent Children. Nor is it mentioned in any related promo material. Yet most fanfiction has him depicted as a former Street Urchin who later became a government assassin. This probably originated by someone attempting to use Rule of Drama to make for a Darker and Edgier story or a Hurt-Comfort fic. And since this popular character had a past that was (at best) sketchy, everyone just went along with it, not only because it provided the Angst for whatever Ur Example fanfiction that was/might have been, but because it somehow became one of those things that "Everybody knows." Thus it is still a popular motif for many a fanfic that involves Reno.

Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • Enkidu's appearance or character have never been brought up in the Fate series proper. Instead, fans almost universally take reference from Fate Strange Fake, a scenario setup written by Baccano! and Durarara!! creator Ryohgo Narita as an April Fools joke.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • MSF High suffers from this at times. Since the Question and Answer threads are sometimes answered by people other than Wraith, they run the risk of being Word of Dante. Also, a lot of people use elements that haven't fully been fleshed out, which can lead to embarassments in the forum roleplay. Such as thinking Legion have green blood.
  • For Homestuck, this has gotten to the point where if you ask just about any fan what the currency of the Alternian Empire is, they'll answer "caegars". At no point in the comic are caegars used as money - the sole mention of them is a single coin used for flipping to make decisions. They're explicitly based on ancient Roman coins - the name is adapted from "Caesar", and the coin depicts Julius Caesar with horns, so it's fairly likely that caegars were intended to be ancient, obsolete coins from an ancient civilisation and no longer in circulation. However, since Nepeta Quest 2011 features an instance early on where the titular character uses caegars to pay for a map, anyone who uses any other term for Alternian currency will inevitably be "corrected".
    • To a lesser extent, Nepetaquest 2011 also discusses how some trolls use their hives as "waystations", which function as shops. This was more or less made up by the author entirely, but it's still cropped up in other fanfics.
    • Speaking of troll society, there's also the idea that the troll deity is named "Gog", thanks to trolls referencing "Gog" and "Jegus" in conversations with the kids. This has gotten so prevalent that the fantroll community had to point out that the trolls using the term "Gog" are intentionally referencing a Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff misspelling - they otherwise say "Oh my God" as normal.
    • In fact, the fantroll community has a lot of popular fanon that they take as canon for troll society, making it especially annoying when the "Stop Having Fun!" Guys call Canon Defilement on a fantroll that contradicts these assumptions. Among them are that trolls see themselves as a Master Race and wipe out any species they conquer (when canon never states why or how they invade planets); that trolls are drafted when they reach 10 sweeps (when canon never specifies the exact point); and that they are visited by the Imperial Drone and this time and this time only (also never specified in canon, which, in fact, seems to imply it's a regularly occurring event.)


Web Animation[edit | hide]

  • Homestar Runner: On its fansite, the Homestar Runner Fanstuff Wiki, many aspects of the 20X6 characters added in the more popular fan works seem to be thought of as canon by many of the wiki's members, such as Stlunko not using contractions (only appearing in the game Stinkoman 20X6, Stlunko only had one line in the manual which had no place for a contraction in it), the most major example being 1-up's obsession with pudding, whereas in the canon pudding appeared in a single toon, and 1-up said "I want pudding" once. It also influenced the creators, giving names to the minor characters (the Visor Robot, for example) among other things.


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Michael Demcio was the first to use the names Chip "Maplewood" and Dale "Oakmont" in his epic Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers Fanfic Rhyme and Reason, released in 1996 as the first of its kind. Ever since, these names have been established as fanon.
  • In the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon proper, only first names are used—except for Presto, who is only known by his nickname. An early fanfic by Victoria Bishop, "The Gathering," gives everyone full names, since it's depicting how they all met. The story in full is not part of general Fanon, but most of the invented names have been reused. Two naming concepts in particular are widespread:
    • Eric having the last name Montgomery. He must just look it. This concept is so established in Fanon that it can easily be mistaken for Canon.
    • "Presto" being short for Preston. This one is probably because of elegance—making a double meaning, making the nickname a Line-of-Sight Name, and explaining why everyone uses it when names are used in true Canon. The main reminder that this isn't canon is there still being disagreement on whether Preston is a given name or surname...
  • Total Drama Comeback gets this often for the Total Drama series. However, whether the creators are acknowledging (a "TDC" logo appeared in the second-season special) or subverting it (Ezekiel and Bridgette's personalities third season and their early eliminations) it is still unknown.
  • Overlapping with Creator Worship, comments about My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic made by Lauren Faust after leaving the show are often taken as canon despite her disclaiming them as such.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • A lot of phrases assumed to originate in the U.S. Constitution are actually from contemporaneous letters, speeches, or Supreme Court decisions.
    • The Declaration of Independence is probably the most frequent victim of this. It seems to run together with the Preamble to the Constitution in a lot of people's heads. One of the most common examples of this is its use by religious conservatives to uphold the idea that the Christian faith is enshrined in the Constitution. While the Declaration does contain mention of "Nature's God" and a "Creator", it is highly debatable whether or not these are references to the Christian God (many of the Founding Fathers were deists), and even if they are, the Declaration holds as much legal standing as the Articles of Confederation do.
    • The phrase "separation of church and state" (and variations thereof) is possibly the single most prominent example within the Constitution itself, being derived from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists describing his intent for the First Amendment's Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses[2] and upheld through precedent by the Supreme Court, but assumed by many to be part of the Constitution. Whether Jefferson's view is an accurate representation of how the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses should be interpreted is much debated, but this page is not the place for such a debate.
    • The Supreme Court's power of judicial review (i.e. deciding whether or not a law is constitutional) is not enshrined in the Constitution, but was created in 1804 via the landmark decision Marbury v. Madison.
      • This isn't to say that judicial review was created out of thin air by the Supreme Court: the Constitution is (obviously and by its own admission[3]) a law, and laws have always been subject to judicial interpretation under The Common Law, which the US follows. Marbury is simply the Supreme Court (or rather John Marshall) explaining the consequences of that system interacting with an entrenched, written constitution.[4] So subverted in a way.
    • The interesting thing is that the Supreme Court does, in fact, rely on these papers for a hint on how to interpret the Constitution, and that in The Common Law tradition, this is perfectly acceptable. The Federalist/The Federalist Papers is considered particularly persuasive. These have no real standing but being written by the same men that wrote the Constitution itself can be considered a meaningful window on their intent, and therefore how pieces of it should be interpreted.
  • A lot of what people "know" about King Richard III is actually propaganda Shakespeare made up. He certainly wasn't an ugly cripple, and the informed opinion on whether he actually killed the Princes in the Tower is split about 50-50.
    • And Shakespeare got much of that from earlier Dantes who had an equal disregard for reality.
    • The first Tudor, Henry VII, beat Richard III for the throne; to make himself look good, he put out a lot of propaganda to make Richard III seem like an evil bastard. It had become so entrenched by Shakespeare's time that he wouldn't've been able to get away with writing anything good about him. As an example of the sort of thing invented in propaganda: The Duke of Somerset, who Richard III killed in Shakespeare's play, died when Richard III was three years old.

Notes

  1. The closest he came was in "Silver Blaze", where Holmes is noted as wearing a cap with earflaps, but that's because of the illustrations, not vice versa
  2. The former clause prohibits the US government from establishing a religion or creating a state church, while the latter prohibits it from restricting the free exercise of religion.
  3. The Supremacy Clause, or Article VI, Section 2, which states that "This Constitution...shall be the supreme law of the land.... (Emphasis added)
  4. In a nutshell: The common law says that the judiciary gets to decide what the law means; when laws conflict, they get to decide which law trumps which. Because Britain has no written, entrenched constitution, all laws can be changed by a simple majority vote in Parliament: if a Statute A passed in 1789 seems to abrogate Statute B passed in 1779, then Statute A trumps Statute B (generally speaking). However, the Constitution is a law that cannot be changed by a majority vote in the legislature--the bar is way higher. This means that a statute that conflicts with the Constitution cannot be valid, because Congress alone cannot change the Constitution. And since the judiciary decides what laws mean--including the Constitution and statutes--and the Supreme Court is the highest organ of the judiciary, the Court gets final say on what laws are valid and invalid.