I've met a few of these but the most recent instance was two characters discussing buying a third character a drink when they all got home, on the first reading this is a simple moment of comradery and thanks giving for what they owe that person. When reading the series again this moment takes on a more poignant note, the character dies in a later book, and knowing they never get their bottle of booze makes the moment very different.

I'm wondering if there's a specific name for these moments that are simple the first time and sad when reread because of the ultimate fate of the characters involved?

2 Answers 2


I would say Rewatch Bonus or The Ending Changes Everything.

As a discovery writer, I often don't know my ending until I have written 50% or even 70% of my first draft. So when I am done I actually go back through and look for moments in which I can rewrite a scene for foreshadowing, or add Rewatch Bonuses, sometimes just by modifying dialogue or adding an observation of an action.

While I write I am on the lookout for new ideas or justifications that can tie some things up in a neat bow, or add a twist to the ending. That often is not discovered until late in the writing. Once I know it, I still finish the book (to make sure it all works), but on the second draft, I re-align my characters to make sure they fit (what I now know is) their core-personality traits, at their stage of development in the story.

That kind of rewrite can automatically generate some Rewatch Bonuses, and even more if you are willing to tweak the scene to cause them (as I am).

Another example of where Rewatch Bonuses abound is when The Ending Changes Everything; as in The Sixth Sense. I immediately rewatched that movie and it was filled with Rewatch Bonuses.

  • As I said to Liquid it might be a Rewatch Bonus but as it doesn't bear on the story as a whole I'm not sure it qualifies. The ending changes nothing at all though it's only when you read the story again that a moment that had one meaning still have that same meaning but is also saddened by knowledge of how a particular's characters story doesn't end well.
    – Ash
    Jul 12, 2019 at 14:50
  • @Ash I think you will have to invent one. Perhaps "Rewatch Wistful" for something that is NOT a Rewatch Bonus.
    – Amadeus
    Jul 12, 2019 at 16:00
  • @Ash It is certainly a recognizable condition; in the first John Wick movie, John is grieving his wife (died of disease), and this is shown by him watching the same phone video selfie of him and his wife on the beach in a happy time. Nothing prophetic is revealed by this video, it is just John wistfully reliving a happier time.
    – Amadeus
    Jul 12, 2019 at 16:04

What came to my mind immediately is


Foreshadowing is the art of giving "hints" of what is about to happen in order to build tension, and a pretty common literary device.

In your example, there may be multiple moments building up to the eventual death of that character.

I'm stretching the definition here, and i'm aware of it. When you show the close bond between two characters, you are not making it in order to foreshadow one dying in the future. You usually do face-value, no literaly device intended. Yet, arguably, the death that happens later is so much more important if the relationship between those characters has been well portrayed before.

Under the umbrella term of foreshadowing, * gives an interesting, more specific definition:

Rewatch Bonus

Rewatch Bonus is a detail or a set of details that grow in significance when the reader already knows the ending*. It reminds me of Supergiant's videogames, namely Bastion and Transistor. In those games, tid bits of previously harmless dialogue become really significant when the player knows the ending.

  • 1
    Yeah direct foreshadowing needs to actually hint at the fate of the character in the passage which these moments never do. I might give you Rewatch Bonus though I'm not sure it really fits as the entry seems to indicate that the incident needs to have later significance to the story which isn't the case either these are moments that are just more emotional after the fact than they are when you don't know what's coming.
    – Ash
    Jul 12, 2019 at 13:59

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