|“||You see, I want to watch every long second you try to puzzle this out. After all, it should make sense, right? The timer, the nuclear detonation, the mysterious facility, it's all here. This is a video game; except for one thing, hero. You've got no weapon. No vehicle. You don't even know where you're going. When you saw that timer, you instinctively tried finding an exit, didn't you? In fact, I bet you're still looking for a way out.||”|
–The Narrator in the original mod's Explosion Ending
The Narrator is the voice heard constantly in The Stanley Parable, who serves a general purpose of guiding Stanley. Depending on Stanley's actions, the Narrator can serve as the main antagonist, the deuteragonist, a neutral/misunderstood character, or even Stanley's friend.
The Narrator is a transcendental entity that exists independently from the game-world and manifests himself as a voice in Stanley's head. It is unknown what the Narrator truly is, but his powers, alignment, and motives vary per ending.
The Narrator is voiced by Kevan Brighting.
The Narrator's personality depends entirely on the choices Stanley makes and may develop into several different personalities, such as sad, angry, obnoxious, happy, and confused.
In several endings such as the Freedom Ending or the Confusion Ending, the Narrator serves his role in the game as the player's guide and even friend (the "Freedom" ending is also ironic though, as it only happens if you never question the narrative and always follow all instructions to the letter). However, the Narrator can also display a cold, ruthless demeanor. This is showcased in the Explosion Ending and the Museum Ending, where he willingly lets Stanley slowly die. (However, in the Museum ending, he tried to warn Stanley about entering the escape route, which seems to suggest that in this route, his ruthlessness is caused by annoyance or some other exterior emotion.)
The Narrator also displays a great deal of sarcasm; in the Serious Room, he exclaims that most rational people would say that the Narrator spends an absurd amount of time doing nothing but looking at tables. Also, in the Games Ending, the Narrator sarcastically remarks that he "doesn't need the validation of a man whose job is to push buttons". The Narrator is also impatient; if Stanley stays in the Broom Closet, the Narrator will get bored and angry quite quickly. He does the opposite of this in the Demo, where he says he'll wait for the player if they wait in the waiting room, and play the Eight game.
In some endings, the Narrator will also make fun of Stanley. For example, in the Games Ending in the original Half-Life 2 mod, he will call Stanley "fat, ugly, and really, really stupid". The same line is used to mock Stanley if he stays inside the Broom Closet long enough.
The Narrator shows an antagonistic personality in the following endings:
- Explosion Ending - He reveals his plot about erasing Stanley's co-workers and expecting to see Stanley die in many ways. He also taunts Stanley while the countdown goes down.
- Cold Feet Ending - He pressures Stanley into jumping off the platform, and then makes a sarcastic remark about making a miscalculation.
- Apartment Ending - He tricks Stanley about the existence of his wife. (However, the Narrator was trying to prove a point.)
- Reality-warping: The Narrator has a massive degree of control over the game-world. He can completely alter the game-worlds to varying degrees and extents. The Narrator can even take control of other game-worlds, such as the ones of Portal and Minecraft.
- Plot manipulation: To the Narrator, the game is but a story he wrote. The Narrator can create entirely new plot elements and can alter the game's script.
- Spatial manipulation: The Narrator possesses advanced ubicokinetic talents, having complete control over the game's space. Examples of this power include re-arranging, creating and modifying rooms, adding or removing doors, and creating infinite loops in space, such as in the Mariella Ending.
- Time-reloading: The Narrator can freely reload the game's time, jumping back to the opening scene of the game. He can also rewrite the game's timeline from there, such as re-arranging rooms or conjuring the Stanley Parable Adventure Line™.
- Telekinesis: The Narrator can interact with objects in the game-world without touching them, such as opening or closing doors and maneuvering Stanley through the air.
- Pyrokinesis: The Narrator is described as having pyrokinetic abilities. In the Explosion Ending, he mentions that he has burnt the office to the floor in an unseen version of the story. In the Games Ending, he also conjures fire during the Baby minigame.
- Nonexistence: The Narrator could freely decreate anything, wiping it from existence. This was done to erase Stanley's co-workers.
- Empathic manipulation: The Narrator can influence Stanley's emotions. This is used in the Mariella Ending to drive Stanley to madness.
- Necrogenesis: The Narrator can force Stanley to die in certain endings, like the Mariella Ending.
- Resurrection: Contrary, the Narrator can also bring Stanley back after certain deaths.
- Light and darkness manipulation: The Narrator can summon light, both outside the Office and in the Zending's space area, and shroud areas into darkness, such as the Phone Room.
- Telepathy: The Narrator is described as being a voice in Stanley's head, and the Mariella Ending confirms that Stanley hears the Narrator, meaning he must be talking to Stanley through the mind.
- Technopathy: The Narrator can take control of electronic devices, such as initiating the self-destruct system in the Explosion Ending, creating his own electric contraptions in the Games Ending, and activating a mechanism to reveal a hidden passage in the Boss's Office in multiple endings.
- Summoning/Conjuration/Instant creation: The Narrator can freely create, conjure and summon anything, such as new objects and furniture, rooms, the Baby/Puppy minigame and the Stanley Parable Adventure Line™ This ability is also seen in the apartment ending where if Stanley tries to flee a brick wall created by the narrator blocks stanley
- Nigh-omnipresence: The Narrator is seemingly almost everywhere at once, seeing everything Stanley does. However, he is not truly everywhere, whenever and nowhere, as seen in the Escape Pod Ending where the escape pod requires the Narrator's presence.
- Perception manipulation: The Narrator can alter what Stanley perceives, such as applying a red shader of his point of view, making him hear music, or making him see the words "You win!".
- Weather control: The Narrator is able to make it rain outside the Office, which can rarely be heard after some restarts. Another possibility is for the Narrator to comment on how Stanley hears the wind blowing outside.
- 4th wall awareness: The Narrator is well aware that The Stanley Parable is but a game and that Stanley is controlled by the Player. He even comments on this at certain moments in the game such as in the Broom Closet Ending.
Despite his near-absolute control over the world, the Narrator has some weaknesses as well:
- Incomplete foresight: The Narrator is not always able to predict Stanley's moves. During the Not Stanley Ending, the Narrator fails to anticipate that Stanley could unplug the phone, leading to the Narrator scrambling to respond - despite attempts to improvise, he fails to restore the world's structure, causing the player to lose control of Stanley, making the Narrator unable to proceed with the story.
- Disorientation: The Narrator can become disoriented in unfamiliar locations. In the Confusion Ending, after Stanley chooses to go down the elevator in the maintenance room, the Narrator becomes disoriented upon reaching an obscure room in the building - the directions he then gives end up unintentionally pointing Stanley to a part of the game which spoils his intended ending.
- Inability to control Stanley's decisions: Since Stanley is controlled by the Player, the Narrator can not stop Stanley from deviating from his intended script. This drawback is apparent throughout nearly every ending, with the sole exception being the Freedom ending. However, it is possible for the Narrator to limit Stanley's pool of options - during the Apartment Ending, if Stanley attempts to walk away from the Apartment, The Narrator blocks him with a brick wall and tells him that he is in his story now.
- Powers higher than him: Despite his seemingly god-like power, The Narrator is still shown to have things higher than him that he cannot control. The Female Narrator from the Museum Ending is capable of essentially silencing him and narrating over him. In both the Confusion Ending and Zending, he is unable to prevent the game from reseting. While the Narrator (depending on the ending) seems to be the game's creator, he also is held back by the game itself. Stanley can abandon him in a room in the Escape Pod Ending and even skip his dialogue in the Skip Button Ending. The latter is something he implemented himself, so it's possible these higher powers were created by him.
- Temper: The Narrator has been shown to get overly upset from things like petty criticism of his game design as seen in the Games Ending and the Skip Button Ending, or from Stanley's (or the Player's) inability to follow his directions like in the Not Stanley Ending.
- Sensitivity: In the Bucket variant of the Not Stanley Ending, he seems sensitive and under confident about his comedic ability. He also doesn't like the idea of leaving the Starry Dome in the Zending, to the point of audible sadness.
- The Bucket: It seems even the Narrator, like most characters, cannot resist the implied allure of The Bucket, as seen in the Bucket variant of the Apartment Ending. He goes from confusion over Stanley's obsession with it, to screaming at him to give it to him.
- Some have theorized the Narrator to be Stanley addressing himself in third person and with everything being Stanley's imagination.
- This, however, seems unlikely to be true since numerous factors suggest otherwise, such as the Mariella Ending.
- The Narrator has claimed to rely on Stanley to exist. This contradicts his decisions in some endings, in which he seems happy to let Stanley die, and even went as far as abandoning Stanley in the Games Ending. It is possible he requires a protagonist featuring in a story to exist, not necessarily Stanley or his story, indeed The Narrator is himself the subject of the story on some occasions such as the confusion ending.
- Depending on the ending played, the Narrator can be considered a supporting character, a deuteragonist, or an antagonist.
- In the original Half-Life 2 mod, the Narrator is more rude and impolite in the endings.
- The Narrator will be at his most evil in the Countdown Ending, exclaiming various sadistic quotes (which differ between the mod and full game) and forcing Stanley through a literal countdown to his death.
- The Narrator is the concept of divorce. (
- around the 00:44:49 mark)
- The Narrator makes a guest appearance in Please Don’t Touch Anything 3D, mistaking the player for Stanley in one of the endings. However, he does not appear in the original Please Don’t Touch Anything.
The Narrator • Stanley • The Essence of Divine Art • The Stanley Parable Adventure Line™ • Female Narrator • Mariella • Stanley's Wife • Employee 432 • The Boss • Steven • Player • Employees • Settings Person • The Stanley Parable Reassurance Bucket • Gambhorra'ta • Bucket Destroyer