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If the baptised Booker (Comstock) is killed in the end, why don't all versions of Elizabeth/Ana disappear as opposed to all but one version remaining?

We see that all Elizabeths disappear. Except for one. She is the daughter of Booker. Booker is killed before he is baptized.

Given the plot twist explained above, how can she even exist?

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This question has been edited to mask spoilers from appearing in the question list. –  Shaun Apr 11 '13 at 17:51
    
@badp Your variant of the title still tastes vaguely of spoiler. It hints that there's something "abnormal" about Elizabeth and that's not something that's evident at the beginning. –  Shaun Apr 11 '13 at 18:02
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@Shaun regardless of the fact that our efforts to avoid accidental spoilers is more of a courtesy than a requirement I've tried again making it extra obvious that if you don't want spoilers you don't want to click through. Posts that are almost completely spoiler protected are bad –  badp Apr 11 '13 at 18:05
    
how can she even exist? Simple. She was given birth by her dad, was brought into another dimension and killed her father from that other dimension. Logically speaking, how can you prove that it's not logical? Have you ever seen someone travel through time or dimensions? Do you know what happens, if you kill your past self? As Lutece said Comstock misunderstands the Lutece Fields. He believes, what he sees is the future, when in fact it is only probabilities. –  Nolonar Apr 11 '13 at 20:49
    
Could someone edit the title to hide the spoiler as it is visible on the front page? I dare not edit myself lest I accidentally read the body (it's been hard enough to get this far without reading any of the comments / answers). I could be mistaken of course, but to someone who has not yet gotten to play Infinite the question at this time looks a hell of a lot like a spoiler (since now if I reach a point in the game where it appears that that character has died I will believe that they have not thanks to this question's title). –  Ian Apr 16 '13 at 12:30
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8 Answers

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Needless to say, SPOILERS


"Your" Elizabeth is not present in the drowning scene. If you look closely, she is not wearing the necklace which you gave her at the beginning of the game. I quote here a good explanation which I came across on the 2k forums:

Elizabeth's fate is still rather up in the air. It's possible she exists within the probability space like the Luteces. As far as I understand it:

  1. The first sea of lighthouses you encounter, with all the "stars" (which are really tears) represents the Bioshock multiverse.

  2. From there you enter the Columbia megaverse, a subset of possibilities within the entire multiverse all having to do with Columbia/Elizabeth/Booker.

  3. You enter a final light house where you're drowned by parallel universe Elizabeths.

  4. But Elizabeth never enters that lighthouse with you. The Elizabeth in this lighthouse/universe doesn't have the bruises and scratches from being recaptured by Comstock, and she isn't wearing the bird/cage pendant. Booker even says "wait, you're not, who are you?"

  5. So Elizabeth is still outside, hanging out in the Columbia megaverse. If drowning Booker eliminates the Comstock timelines, this could be visualized as all the lighthouses(universes) containing Comstock popping out of existence in that sea of lighthouses.

    Elizabeth doesn't necessarily disappear, because she's shown to be detached from the Bioshock time/space continuum by having the ability to open/enter tears and megaverses at will.

  6. The question is, what's she doing now? Sitting around in that endless sea of lighthouses? Knowing the constants and variables of each one? Sounds akin to purgatory. Or even hell. But I guess that's the implication of immortality. Can she visit Booker, and would she even want to? The ending tangentially opens new questions, infinitely, so to speak.

By the end of the game, the Elizabeth with whom we traveled was omniscient and quasi-omnipotent. It seems reasonable to conclude that she was able to remove herself from the Comstock timeline, to survive the erasure of the Columbia universe.

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What would you to say with respect to the answers posted below? Apparently, each chime refers to the disappearing of one Elizabeth. The screen blacks out, and then we hear another chime signifying the disappearance of the final Elizabeth. FURTHER implying that BioShock Infinite never happened at all. –  Abhishek Sha Apr 12 '13 at 10:37
    
I would say that the posts below are conjectural. Also, whether or not the "final Elizabeth" disappears is unimportant, in my opinion. As I stated above, Booker/Comstock is killed by parallel universe Elizabeths. "Your" Elizabeth never enters that lighthouse with you. She is not present at the drowning. –  Sevean Apr 13 '13 at 20:17
    
In my headcanon she meets up with Eleanor and they go have adventures together. –  Shadur Nov 10 '13 at 9:10
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The ending is somewhat ambiguous in this regard:

As each note of the final song is playing, another Elizabeth fades away. The final note is accompanied by the entire screen turning to black - it's possible that at this point the final Elizabeth has disappeared as well. You can watch it here. Obviously - massive spoilers, so no one-boxing :)

However, practically all time travel and inter-dimensional travel science fiction stories have their fair share of issues:

How can Elizabeth even drown her own father before she was born? Doesn't drowning all the possible Booker/Comstocks mean that Elizabeth never existed in the first place? Then, who drowned him? Further, if there are infinitely many worlds, there's not a single one where Booker perhaps never had a daughter? There's a lot of hand waving about "constants" here that they use to get away with it, but it's still a bit silly.

I think that any story which includes these types of elements is highly likely to fall afoul of some type of similar paradoxical situation. (See also: Looper, Doctor Who, Back to the Future, etc)

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If you listen carefully during the ending, everytime an Elizabeth dissapears from a certain world, a piano key chimes, signalling the end of existence for that Elizabeth. Right after the camera fades to black, you hear one final "plink", indicating that the last Elizabeth ceases to exist, and everything in Bioshock Infinite never happens.

As such, your question isn't actually correct, because the "Elizabeth" that has powers all dissapear.

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Warning, spoilers ahead!


I think all answers here are missing a key point, which is (in short): If Booker is never baptized, he never turns into Comstock, so Booker will never give up Anna to Comstock in return to erase his debts. As such, killing the Comstock timeline (by rejecting the baptism) also removes all Elizabeths.

The following graph (source) very clearly explains what happens to the different timelines enter image description here

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Woah nice infograph. –  ヴァイシャリ Mar 26 at 12:45
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The Elizabeth you know disappears along with the other ones you see in the water. From that moment it will be one universe, with one Booker and one Anna. With the final decision all universes disappear and becomes one (post credits scene). Anna will never be sold and renamed Elizabeth; Comstock doesn't exist any more and neither does the Booker who is picked by the Luteces at the beginning of the game.

All this is possible because destroying the siphon and controlling Songbird with the song from the future Elizabeth breaks the loop of the universes.

That's why at the beginning the Luteces know you won't row the boat and they have a tally of 122 heads at the fair. The Booker you're playing is the 123rd and the only one that survives.

They have the same powers of Elizabeth but they can't do anything because the only way to make Booker's death count in order to "reset" the multiverse is for him to decide to not become Comstock or Booker. The third choice he makes is wanting to go to Paris with Elizabeth. And the only way to make that choice is for him to rescue Elizabeth.

Without the events of the game if you bring Booker directly at the end he would become Comstock or would still be a desperate Booker. In order to break the loop the Luteces bring the 123rd Booker in the "game's universe", he creates his own memories for the different reality (message at the beginning of the game and explanation by Rosalind Lutece at the end), he succeeds in the rescue, he really wants to change, he breaks the loop and only after dying under these conditions the universe is restored.

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"Your" Elizabeth still somehow survives at the end of infinite. The Elizabeth in Burial at Sea is "your" Elizabeth as she is still wearing the necklace that you gave her at the beginning of infinite. As it is said above, Elizabeth doesn't go into the final lighthouse with you. Instead the parallel Elizabeths are the ones that drown booker.

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Some clever posts. However, all seem to be making the assumption that the baptism happened before Anna/Elizabeth was born. I don't think that's ever clearly stated in the game. Why couldn't it just have easily have been that Booker's ordeal at Wounded Knee caused him to become alienated from his wife (but in this story, the issue of his wife is a red herring)/become distraught, ensuing gambling issues, resulting in debt and left him unhinged enough to give his daughter away... At which point he hit "rock bottom" and found himself at the baptism?

This way the original Anna would continue to live. But because Booker never became Comstock, he would never set the plan in motion to take her away from Booker, spurring multiple timelines, and multiple Annas/Elizabeths. This might also explain how COmstock knew about the existence of Anna to begin with. And as mentioned already, of course there are always paradoxes with these types of plots.

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If you haven't played Burial at Sea, don't reveal the spoilers please.

One has to keep in mind that each choice made creates a new set of universes. This does not mean an either/or choice - as many universes/paths will diverge as there are options. Also, remember that each either/or choice always has not two, but actually three choices - there's the option to abstain from choosing. From there, choices explode (how was the choice bypassed? A clever line? An event? etc.).

It is also very worth noting that the only universes seemingly "erased" from existence were universes that dealt with Elisabeth being tortured/tormented in any way (thus giving her cause for correcting them). Other realities remain unaffected.

Of course, this can all be "waved away" by assuming that each subsequent choice is in fact - subsequent. As in, "you can change time, but you cannot change history". Consider: you eat a burger, you feel sick, you go back in time, you don't eat the burger. Time was changed, but history (cause - effect) still stands and chronicles what occured. You still didn't eat the burger because you felt sick after eating it previously - you didn't erase history by changing the past. (this theory is also known as the subjective timeflow theory)

This, of course, allows Elisabeth to continue existing. Her past torment is now gone, but she will still remember it.

(as she clearly does in Burial at Sea)

She didn't break the chain to stop herself from being tortured - she meant to void the entire phenomena set, so that it wouldn't perpetuate any further, and no more lives would be affected as hers was.

Of course, there's another massive hole in the plot - Burial at Sea itself, or how did Comstock escape to Rapture when all realities related to his existence at all were erased? But that's a different story altogether.

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