Bruno, The Penguin, And The Grandfather Paradox

Bruno, the Penguin, and the Grandfather Paradox

Did you watch the TV series The Umbrella Academy, which explained what a “grandfather paradox” is using a simple story and a diagram? It was essential to the plot, and viewers needed to understand the term better. On the other hand, the German series DARK leaves the viewer confused and asks many questions about time travel and parallel universe existence and how certain things are possible even in a fictional world. In his article, Kornhaber (2017) called this the entertainment world offering “wait-there’s-more-ism” instead of escapism to the viewers. 

Growing up, I wondered if other realities have been hiding from our naked eye since the Harry Potter books came to be. So I tried to find connections between the magic mentioned in the books to the magic people in my culture kept talking about in everyday life. People believed some people had extraordinary powers to communicate with the dead and other powerful beings. Those people made it a livelihood by becoming a messenger and helping exchange gifts in return for favors. Some people have the power to curse and ruin people with a simple dark magic spell. People feared such malicious acts and often believed any misfortune results from an enemy’s dark curse. Those beliefs and practices are part of the culture I grew up in. And religions play a significant role in deep-rooting such things. Now that I’m exposing myself to more international cultures, I find similar beliefs with uniqueness in each country and religion. Nevertheless, I still question the reality and realness of those things and wonder if the Metaphysical references from pop culture result from such cultural phenomenons.

What is the grandfather paradox in time travel?

The grandfather paradox is a classic conundrum of time travel. It goes like this: if you could travel back in time and kill your own grandfather before he had children, then you would never have been born. But if you were never born, then how could you travel back in time to kill your grandfather? It’s a classic paradox because it’s impossible to resolve without creating some kind of inconsistency.

There are various ways to try and get around the grandfather paradox. One is to say that time travel is only possible if it’s not possible to change the past. So even if you went back in time and tried to kill your grandfather, something would happen to prevent you from doing so. This doesn’t really solve the problem, however, as it just pushes the inconsistency back one step further.

Another way to try and get around the grandfather paradox is to say that when you travel back in time, you create a new timeline in which your grandfather dies before having children. So again, you would never be born, but in this new timeline, someone else would take your place. This also doesn’t really solve the problem, as it just creates another inconsistency (namely, that there are now two of you running around in the world).

 Bruno, the penguin in the time travel

Bruno, the penguin, travels back in time to kill his grandfather before having any children (Rayo, n.d.). Similar plots like Bruno’s being explored in pop culture discuss the time travel and grandfather paradox. TV series such as Travellers and Timeless and multi-platform storytellers such as the widely popular marvel cinematic universe or Bangtan Universe of the popular boy band BTS explore the possibilities of time travel and want to prevent something from happening in the present by changing the past. But most of those stories end up in parallel universes or other timelines.

The protagonist creates a new timeline by making a change to the flaw of the timeline. In my opinion, Bruno will succeed in killing his grandfather. Still, that mere action will erase him and his parents from existence, creating a new reality where his grandfather didn’t live to affect the penguin community. Of course, my answer could be biased to my massive interest in time-travel-related stories. 

Check the following references to know more about Bruno, the penguin, and the grandfather paradox

Kornhaber, S. (2017, January 5). From ‘Westworld’ to ‘stranger things’ to ‘the OA,’ what’s with pop culture’s metaphysical moment? The Atlantic.

Rayo, A. (n.d.). Metaphysics: The grandfather paradox. Khan Academy.

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