Trivia

Hard

The Term “Cliffhanger”, To Refer To A Suspenseful But Unresolved Ending Originated With?

Mountaineering Slang
Depression-Era Movies
A Victorian Novel
Greek Epic Poetry
A photograph of A.E. McConnell and his daughter sitting on the precarious Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park, 1901.
Charles C. Pierce/Wikimedia

Answer: A Victorian Novel

Even if you’re unfamiliar with the term, a cliffhanger is a plot device that we’ve all experienced at one time or another. Cliffhangers are a plot device found in episodic TV shows and serialized fiction that hinge on putting one or more characters in a precarious and suspenseful position in order to hook the viewer or reader into continuing to consume the media. Who can resist tuning in next time to see what lies behind the door the protagonist just opened (but which clever camera work didn’t reveal to the viewer)?

Make no mistake about it, the concept of the cliffhanger has been around for centuries. Perhaps one of the most famous historical examples of a cliffhanger is the collection of Middle Eastern folk tales, One Thousand and One Nights. The collection of stories is linked together through the narration of the protagonist Scheherazade who ends each story she tells the king on a cliffhanger in order to delay her execution.

But the term “cliffhanger” can be traced back to a particular serialized Victorian-era novel: A Pair of Blue Eyes, by Thomas Hardy. The novel was published in serialized format (as was common during the time) between September 1872 and July 1873. In one of the serialized chapters, one of the protagonists, Henry Knight, is left literally dangling from a cliff face.

Trivia

Hard

Placebos Work Better If They?

Trivia

Hard

The Term “Dungeon Master” Belongs To Which Company?

Trivia

Hard

The Only Albino Gorilla Ever Discovered Was Found In?

Trivia

Easy

Marvel Created Superhero “The Blue Ear” To Support What?

Trivia

Hard

The Only Non-Human To Testify Before Congress Was?

Trivia

Hard

Bathing Machines Were An Integral Part Of What Victorian-Era Activity?

Trivia

Hard

Skyrim Features An Easter Egg Homage To The Developer Of Which Video Game?

Trivia

Very Hard

In The First Half Of The 20th Century Which Of These Was An Olympic Sport?

Trivia

Hard

The Movie Studio Behind Which Movie “Hacked” Their Own Website To Promote The Movie?

Trivia

Hard

Samsung’s First Products Weren’t Electronics But?