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-we came in?

Matching scenes at the beginning and end of a story, often to show how things have changed through the course of the episode, or to demonstrate that they haven't changed at all.

This is extensively used in kid's shows to illustrate the characters applying the lesson they learned today, which happens to apply to the issue presented in the beginning. Ya'know, just in case they didn't catch it. In any work, bookends are a way to show whether Character Development has occurred.

Compare and contrast Here We Go Again, How We Got Here, Where It All Began. See also Call Back, Ironic Echo.

Warning: Bookends don't always spoil the ending, but usually they do. So, watch out for spoilers ahead!

Examples of Book Ends include:


  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck begins and ends in the same setting where Scrooge is introduced- in the timeframe where "Christmas On Bear Mountain" takes place.
  • Part of the opening scene of Bone has Smiley Bone unexpectedly charging Phoney Bone a dollar for a random tattered map he found on the ground. Phoney's angry reluctance to pay this impromptu fee causes Fone Bone to chide him that they're lost in the middle of the desert, so he should cough up the dollar. The very last scene repeats this occurrence, with the map replaced by one of their food rations.
  • In the first set of Elf Quest, there's a book end that occurs within the main storyline while Cutter and Leetah have been struck by "Recognition", a biological imperative that's trying to force them to mate and have kids. In one scene Cutter knocks on the window of Leetah's hut to demand why she's continuing to resist, and she angrily rebuffs him. It's probably not a spoiler-worthy surprise that she eventually gives in, and the scene is bookended by Cutter knocking at her window again, only this time it's to invite her to make love under the stars. Aaaah.
  • Watchmen begins and ends with a red-stained smiley. (And every chapter ends with a panel visually reminiscent of the first panel of the chapter.)
  • The Sandman, more subtly than most examples, begins and ends on the words "wake up".
  • Cable and Deadpool begins with Deadpool sitting alone in his shitty apartment, watching TV and lusting after Bea Arthur. The scene is revisited in panel-for-panel recreations a couple of times throughout the series, and then the final issue ends with Deadpool sitting alone in his shitty apartment, watching TV... and then being joined by his friends.
  • A one-issue set of bookends happened in the first part of The Phantom Affair, in the X Wing Series comics. "When you are a child, the world is full of wonders. When you grow up, though, wonders tend to have more mundane explanations." "The world is full of wonders when you're a child. But sometimes, just sometimes, even a grown-up can meet with one."
  • Titans (as in grown-up Teen Titans) #15 has this example of Aquaman at the start of the book, an outcast of his people, leading Atlantis, and Tempest, Aquaman's former sidekick Aqualad, as an outcast of his people, leading Atlantis.
  • The Astro City story "In Dreams" starts and ends with Samaritan dreaming about flying.
  • Rising Stars begins with a burst of energy hitting a small town, giving unborn children super powers. By the end of the series, the last surviving member of The Specials (who now has all the energy of all the deceased specials combined) has built a spacecraft, and uses it to find another inhabited world and crashes down like a fireball, starting the whole process over again.
  • The most recent Punisher: War Journal's first issue involved Frank killing Stilt-Man. The last issue was about Frank deciding not to kill the Stilt-Man gang.
  • Transmetropolitan: The first issue is Spider driving down from the mountain, the last issue is Royce driving up the mountain. Some of the panels are staged almost identically, with Royce in Spider's place. Additionally, it incorporates an off panel Brick Joke involving a beating Spider promised to a tollbooth attendant in issue 1.
  • Marvel Zombies begins with the Zombie Sentry going into Earth-2149 from his dimension. Marvel Zombies Return ends with him leaving his dimension to Earth-2149.
  • Y: The Last Man begins with Yorick in a straitjacket (practicing to be an escape artist) while on the phone to his girlfriend, asking her if she knew that Elvis had a stillborn twin brother. In the last issue, he poses the same question to one of his clones, who doesn't even know who Elvis is. He's in a straitjacket again, this time because he's been placed on suicide watch.
  • Starling Gates started and ended (for now—hopefully) his run on Supergirl by using a Cat Grant news piece.
  • In-story example in Edward Gorey's illustrated short The Unstrung Harp; or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel. The titular author, C(lavius) F(rederick) Earbrass, begins the first draft of the manuscript for The Unstrung Harp with "It had begun to snow" and finishes with "It was still snowing."
  • 52 begins and ends with similar covers (emphasizing Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman's absence during the Time Skip that took place after Infinite Crisis).
  • Tintin and the Picaros uses two very similar panels to show that despite Alcazar's regime replacing Tapioca's, nothing has changed for the ordinary people.
  • Blackest Night begins and ends with Hal Jordan and Barry Allen talking in front of Batman's grave. Likewise, the cover for Blackest Night #1 is the Batman clone's skull spewing Black Lantern Rings, while one of the covers for Brightest Day #24 is a similar image of Swamp Thing spewing White Lantern Rings.

Fan Works

  • The Star Trek: New Voyages episode "World Enough And Time" has beginning and ending scenes that take place about 30 years from the time of most of the episode, all based around the character Hikaru Sulu.
  • The Harry Potter Fanfic After the End begins and ends with a group hug surrounding Harry. Everyone is in a dark room, lit by a bluebell flame, which someone kicks out.
  • This Axis Powers Hetalia USUK kink meme fill about a bulimic Arthur/England starts with 'He felt cold', and ends with '“Alfred,” he murmured as he nodded to sleep, “You’re warm.”'
  • The Digimon Tamers fanfic Digital Prey begins and ends with Ruki Makino riding a train.
  • A Very Potter Musical begins with the musical number "Gotta Get Back To Hogwarts." Fast forward to the end of the sequel, when Harry finishes a moving speech and the whole cast breaks into song. Guess what they sing?
  • Two in With Strings Attached:
    • At the very beginning of the First Movement, Paul and John nervously walk along the beach, completely new to the world, wary of each other, and frightened. At the end of the Second Movement (in the chapter “Full Circle, Moebius-Style”), they walk together along another beach, back to being friends, more or less accustomed to the world (if not to their new magic), and enjoying sharing this utterly unique experience.
    • When the four first arrive in Ta'akan, they have a frightening experience in the Owner's Head Tavern when an enormous Bar Brawl erupts around them. When they leave the city for the last time (not counting when Ringo accidentally teleports back there), they have dinner in the Owner's Head and laugh at how tame the nightly brawl seems now.
  • Taki Gaiden: The Kunoichi Who Leapt Through Time:
    • The story begins with the retelling of Taki and Sophitia's fateful battle against Cervantes, the very first wielder of Soul Edge. Cervantes is the story's Final Boss Taki and Zi-O fought before Inferno.
    • The story in the present day begins and ends with Goro and Taki returning home to Japan from Europe. In the latter case with Taki waking up from a dream; said dream in question are the events of the story after Taki resetting the timeline, while keeping her memories of the whole ordeal intact..
    • Metroid: Kamen Rider Generations Vol. 3 Fates Intertwined: Taki's journey in the Kamen Riders' universe begun with her and her apprentice Natsu ended up 400 years into the future and Taki desperately trying to find her way back to her time. Taki Gaiden ends with Taki deciding to remain in the present day after finally getting a deserved closure with Toki, and is Happily Married to Goro.


  • Older Than Dirt: The Epic of Gilgamesh starts with a narration that extols the might of the walls of Uruk, which seem to be meant to emphasize the glory of their builder, the king Gilgamesh. Until, of course, Gilgamesh fails to gain eternal life, and in the final line of the epic, he speaks the same passage to his new traveling companion Urshanabi. (Scholarly opinion is divided whether this is intended as Ironic Echo, or an affirmation that true immortality is found in lasting greatness of a man's works.)
  • The Hebraic multilingual poetic device called a chiasmus is this trope defined.


  • "The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert Service both begins and ends with the same stanza, referring to the queerest sight ever seen by the Northern Lights (namely the eponymous cremation). The poem in between these stanza's describes the events of Sam's death, his subsequent cremation, and what the narrator saw when he looked into Sam's funeral pyre. He saw Sam sitting up "looking cool, and calm", happy to be warm for the first time since leaving his home in Tennessee.

 There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men that toil for gold

The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold

The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see

Was that night on the marge of Lake Labarge that I cremated Sam McGee

  • Jabberwocky (largely nonsense):

 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe,

All mimsy were the borogroves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.


Professional Wrestling

  • "Ladies and gentlemen, Shawn Michaels has left the building."
  • The Season 3 episode of WWE NXT that introduces the comedy gold commentary team of CM Punk, Heel Michael Cole, and Josh Matthews begins and ends with CM Punk telling his fellow commentator to "Shut up, Josh".
  • The final match in the final episode of WCW Monday Nitro was a rematch of the first match on the first episode, Ric Flair Vs Sting.
  • In Edge's final match, he won the match with a Spear. The very first move he used in his very first match? The Spear!
  • Tom Billington, better known as The Dynamite Kid, passes away on December 5th, 2018 at his 60th birthday.


  • This is a staple of Theater of the Absurd , especially Eugene Ionesco.
  • Aria da Capo, a one-act play by poet Edna St. Vincent Millay is interesting in having only three scenes, the first and last of which are nearly identical.
    • In music the term "da capo" means exactly this: a piece that begins and ends the same, with something very different in the middle.
      • Not exactly. "Da Capo (al Fine)" means "return to the start and play again until the "Fine" (an indicator in the music where it should end).
  • God (A Play) by Woody Allen ends with a closed loop - the dialog is the same as the beginning, it is suggested that the play could go on forever (like The Song that Doesn't End).
  • Wicked begins and ends with mostly the same scene ("Good news! She's dead!"), but the tone is very different.
  • Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in The Park With George begins with an artist musing about the blank piece of paper on which he is about to start sketching: "White. A blank page, or canvas." A hundred years later, his great-grandson sets out to create a new piece of art, and ends the musical with the exact same words.
  • The first and last words in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods are "I wish", sung on the exact same notes.
    • More than that. The play opens with the Narrator saying, "Once upon a time, in a far-off land..." And the last words spoken (not sung) is the Baker saying those same words to his own son.
  • Orff's Carmina Burana begins and ends with "O Fortuna."
  • In Parade, the finale reprises "The Old Red Hills of Home" showing nothing has changed for the next generation.
  • "Dites Moi" points out what has changed since it was first sung in South Pacific.
  • No Strings begins with "The Sweetest Sounds" to show that the Official Couple has not met up yet, and ends with the same song after they've agreed to break up and forget that they ever met.
  • Rent begins and ends with Mark and Roger in their apartment, the former narrating as the latter tunes his guitar, right before Collins comes home after some time away. The Movie shows this by having him call from a payphone outside asking for the key. Mark even lampshades this by yelling, "Don't get your ass kicked this time!" as he tosses it from the balconey (Collins was mugged in the beginning).
    • An alternate ending included on the movie's DVD shows that it was originally going to have Book Ends: the movie begins with the lead characters singing "Seasons of Love" on a bare stage, and the alternate ending depicts them singing "Finale B" on the same stage. However, even though that opening still appears in the final film, the ending was replaced because the director felt that seeing Angel return would ruin the emotional impact of his death about 15 minutes earlier.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street does this, both beginning and ending with the "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd".
  • The Skin of Our Teeth ends with Sabina starting her first scene of the play over again. She stops midway through to tell the audience the end hasn't been written yet. The play ends.
  • The overture to Mozart's Don Giovanni begins with a short, somber song fragment that is actually rather boring. The end repeats this song, but with the Don, Leoporello, and the Commander all singing, in such a way that sounds much more awesome.
  • Janácek's opera The Cunning Little Vixen opens with a frog leaping into the laps of a dozing forester, and ends with the forester returning to the same spot, a frog—the grandson of the original frog—leaping into his laps.
  • The Solid Gold Cadillac begins with a meeting of the board of directors of the General Products Corporation, and ends with another General Products board meeting, except that McKeever and Mrs. Partridge have replaced the Corrupt Corporate Executives. A little old lady tries to ask a question, but Mrs. Partridge says, "Oh, no! That's how I got my start!" and bangs the gavel to conclude the meeting and the play.
  • Oklahoma begins and ends with "Oh, what a Beautiful Morning."
  • The musical revival of Vanities introduced a fourth act, set at least 10 years after the previous (which makes it 20+ years after the first act), with the women reuniting in the town they grew up in. "Looking Good", one of the closing songs, reprises the title of "Hey There Beautiful", the opening number of the Theatre Works version. The characters also remove their makeup at the beginning of the final act/scene, mirroring the opening scene. The off-Broadway version of "Looking Good" also adds a reprise of the scat-singing intro of "Setting Your Sights".
  • ACT's seasonal play of A Christmas Carol begins and ends with the company singing "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen".
  • The play "Porches" begins and ends with the song "On My Porch". Set in the working class railroad city of Altoona, Pennsylvania during its heyday, it chronicles the lives of people in four different houses. The happy sounding "On My Porch" is a bit jarring at the end and a bit bittersweet after the death of one main character, a Slap Slap Kiss romance forms, and a boy you keep seeing finds his long lost mother. The message changes from "it's a nice day to watch it from my porch" to "our lives may change but we still have our sense of community", even though the lyrics remain exactly the same and the only difference with the song at the end is that the main character who dies is not participating in the song.

Tabletop Games

  • Many World Of Darkness sourcebooks both old and new begin and end with information related to a specific event. Mage: The Awakening has a diary in the front from a student, and ends with a letter from the mage who's teaching said student to that mage's last student, who went bad and was responsible for Awakening the student writing the diary. Promethean: The Created has the first and second halves of Mr Verney's interview with a psychiatrist.
  • The Eclipse Phase intro fiction 'Lack' begins and ends with Sava waking up in a new body and asking what the date is.

Web Animation

  • Red vs. Blue has one of the three possible endings as an inverted book end—whereas Episode 1 features the Blues spying on the Reds, who are chatting atop the base, here we have the Reds spying on the Blues doing the same thing.
    • This is also the canonical ending.
    • Grif and Simmons also once again call shotgun on the new vehicle, this time in reverse.
    • This happens again in the Recollection Saga. Reconstruction began with a soldier looking at the dead body of a Freelancer as the camera panned up in Valhalla, showing a huge number of characters (so many that the creators actually had to run several games and use splitscreen to get that many). Revelation ends with a soldier looking at the body of Agent Texas in Avalanche and the camera pans up to show a similar shot.
  • The first scene of There She Is is Nabi being harrassed by Doki at a drink machine. The final scene is Nabi wiping racist graffiti off of it while sharing a drink with Nabi.
  • The Strong Bad E-mail "theme song" from Homestar Runner actually begins and ends with Strong Bad singing "When E-mail Comes to Town, It's Like a Rainstorm in your Browser."
  • Bowser's Kingdom episode 1 ends with Mario beating up Hal and Jeff because a Shy Guy betrayed them and The Movie ends with Mario and Luigi beating Hal and Jeff because Steve betrayed them.

Web Comics

  • This happened in the first story of Honeydew Syndrome (the first five chapters).
  • In the second panel of the first strip of 1/0, "Let there be light!" In the second panel of the last strip, "Let there be darkness!"
  • David Willis loves this trope. Compare the first and second Roomies! strips with the final Roomies! strip, and (to a lesser extent) the first two Roomies! with this Joyce and Walky! which debuted two days after the Walkyverse's tenth anniversary.
  • Each volume of Ménage à 3 begins and ends with similar NSFW scenes. The first volume opens with Gary walking in on Matt and Dillon having sex on the couch and ends with Dillon walking in on Matt and Sandra having sex in about the same position. The second volume opens with Gary having an Erotic Dream about Zii in which she turns out to be a man and ends with Yuki having an Erotic Dream about a girl who turns out to be a female Gary. The third volume opens with Sandra waking up on Di Di's boobs, and ends with her waking up on Senna's.
  • Eight Bit Theater begins with Black Mage and Fighter lost while searching for a MacGuffin in the beginning. In the epilogue, they're once again lost while searching for another quest, and Fighter suggests they continue looking for the very same MacGuffin.
  • The Noob Nerfageddon (an event in which lead developer Lord Saxon ruins Clichequest for everyone in retaliation for being humiliated) starts and ends the same way, with Lord Saxon falling into a lake. It could have gone on longer but then the other developers decided to throw him a surprise party, which results in him being drunk and forgetting about his vengeance.
  • Concerned: The Half-life and Death of Gordon Frohman begins and ends with a snide joke about Valve's constant delays in releasing games.
  • Though not in the chronologically-first strips, Girly created these with the New First Comics and the Grand Finale.
  • Problem Sleuth begins with a particularly hard-boiled Private Eye Monologue delivered by the titular Problem Sleuth. After Problem Sleuth has performed Sepulchritude and used The Final Flip-Out, he's on the verge of death, where the original monologue's structure is used, except this time, it's talking about how he's in limbo.
  • The first Concession comic is mirrored by the appropriately-titled fifth-to-last comic. The Alt Text confirms that it is indeed the same customer.
  • The Phoenix Requiem begins with a celebration of "All Souls' Night" (in that setting it has similar importance than our Christmas/New Year's Eve). The comic ends with the same celebration 2 years later. The first scene begins with Jonas arriving. The last one ends the same way.
  • Homestuck did a variation at the end of its fourth act - the final scene of the end-of-act Animation Bump is of a meteor from the Reckoning passing through one of Skaia's defensive gates and striking John's house, which is exactly what happened in the conclusion of Act 1 and what kickstarted the adventure to begin with.
    • The end-of-Act 5 Animation Bump did the same thing: to represent all of the kids' reality being fundamentally reset by the Scratch, when Jade is enlarging the Fourth Wall for her and John to travel through, it displays a rapidly-reversing slideshow of many of the earliest panels of Homestuck, ending with the very first page of John standing in his room before cutting to white.
    • The first pesterlog of Act 5 Act 2 ended with John telling Karkat "See you soon". The last pesterlog starts with Karkat repeating the same line to Jade.
  • Irregular Webcomic: "Hey, there's comics on the Internet!" Keep in mind that 2011 David Morgan-Mar's soul was transported back into his 2002 body and Death made him forget everything that happened over IWC!'s run. Also, #3182 is only the Grand Finale of the main arcs; guest comics and Annotation comics have been posted since.
  • Darken both starts and ends with a character being resurrected to serve a demon lord.

Web Original

  • Sailor Nothing has the following at the start and end of the Web Novel. "My name is Shoutan Himei. I'm sixteen years old/seventeen years old, going on eighteen in two months, and I'm very tired."
  • Broken Saints begins and ends with a voice-over monologue by Shandala, starting with "I dream". Both start off much the same, but grow gradually different to reflect the change from the beginning and ending of the story.
  • The pilot of Cause of Death begins and ends with a shot of the sunny street, which counters the horrible things that happened inside that house...
  • Awkward begins and ends with the same discussion between Alex and Lester. The context and roles have changed, but the location and dialogue are the same.
  • Kickassia begins with The Nostalgia Critic knocking on President Kevin Baugh's door and telling him he plans to invade Molossia. It ends with a defeated Critic knocking on the door and giving Baugh his country back.
    • And speaking of The Nostalgia Critic, most of his reviews actually begin and end with him saying, "I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it, so you don't have to!"
    • Suburban Knights begins with Angry Joe believing he's won a free car. It ends with Chester A Bum believing he's won a free car.
  • A Very Potter Musical opens with the song "Gotta Get Back to Hogwarts" and A Very Potter Sequel ends with a reprise of the same song.
  • Yogscast has one in their first season of Yogscast Minecraft Series. A bit before discovering the town full of NPCs, Lewis and Simon build a portal to the Nether (which doesn't work). At the end of the season, they are at the same portal, preparing to venture into it. However, they end up not trying to enter until the start of season three, with season two being more of a breather season. And the portal still doesn't work.
    • Season three starts with almost the entirety of Simon and Lewis's old world on fire, and them trying to reclaim items from the wreckage. Much later (though not at the end of the series, but at the end of an important part), they find Mistral City also on fire, and are trying to reclaim items from the wreckage. This time, specifically the Holy Record from the church.
    • In Survival Island (a custom map that eventually starts having slight relevance to the main plot that is billed as Season 2), they are in a slight hurry at the start to get coal for torches. Near the end, they again go looking for coal, this time to fuel the airship that will take them home.
  • Volume 3 of Dial B for Blog began with this image and ended with this one. Both are based on the cover to Strange Adventures #162.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd's 100th review ends with a shot of Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (the first game he reviewed).

Real Life

  • The Montana Meth Project has some chilling public service announcements, with these two having the Book Ends. The first video shows a girl trying meth with her friends, saying she's only going to do it once. Cut to the next scene, where she uses meth again, still saying it's only once more. This was repeated a few more times, with the girl getting worse by the use of meth. At the end, the girl dies on her bed. Her younger sister then takes some meth from her older sister's jean pocket, saying she's only going to do it once.
    • The next video shows a young man trying meth, also saying that he'll only do it once, as he doesn't want to be like 'That guy', a meth-addicted psycho, which scarily resembles him. He then tries meth once again, also with the same promise. Repeat a few times with the man getting more addicted, and he ends up being exactly like 'That guy'. In the end, a young girl buys some meth with the promise of only trying it once, as she doesn't want to be like 'That guy'. Which is obviously the guy before.
  • In a similar vein, an Australian alcohol awareness advertisement opened with a father asking his son to get him a beer at a party, followed the son's descent into alcoholism, then ended with the son as an adult, asking his son to get him a beer at a party, with the implication that his son's life would follow the same course as his own.
  • The War on Terror has beginnings and endings:
    • Starting with the September 11 attacks, perpetuated by Al-Qaeda under Osama bin Laden, and ending the decade long manhunt of the terrorist leader on May 2, 2011 where Bin Laden was killed by SEAL Team Six, who raided his compound in Pakistan.
    • The War in Afghanistan started with US forces overthrowing the Taliban regime a month after 9/11, and ended with US troops withdrawing from Afghanistan during mid-2021, allowing the Taliban to launch an offensive and retake the country in August of that same year.
  • Everyone is still sleeping during the day start and wake before they sleep again. This is too common in real life to trope.
  • River Phenoix's first movie Explorers was from Paramount Pictures. His last completed movie The Thing Called Love was also from Paramount.
  • Many people born and die in hospitals.
  • When people move in the home is bare. When people move out and strip its things, the home is bare again.
  • Your parents raised you and took good care of you when you were born. By the time they get older, it is you who has to take care of them until their final moments.
  • During the 2010 presidential campaign of then-candidate Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, songwriter Regine Velasquez performed the song "Hindi ka Nag-iisa" (You Are Not Alone) during the campaign. When Aquino is laid to rest on June 26, 2021, two days after his passing due to renal failure secondary to diabetes, Regine and her husband and fellow singer Ogie Alcasid perform the same song during the former president's wake.
  • A tragic variation comes in the form of the "birthday effect", a phenomenon where an individual's likelihood of death increases the closer it is to their birthday.

Isn't this where-