History Literature / BridgeOfBirds

10th Jan '16 11:52:20 AM SilverDragon
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* EvilMatriarch: The Ancestress, who corrupted the Sui dynasty to ruin, slaughtered millions of peasants for the vanity of having people die on her extravagant projects, and [[KarmaHoudini ultimately, using her weak-willed step-son as a scapegoat, got away scot-free to live a life of decadent luxury and bitter plotting to restore her reign]]. [[spoiler: Fortunately, once her tenure as an ArcVillain is over, Henpecked Ho settles with her and her evil clan off-page.]]
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* EvilMatriarch: The Ancestress, who corrupted the Sui dynasty to ruin, slaughtered millions of peasants for the vanity of having people die on her extravagant projects, and [[KarmaHoudini ultimately, using her weak-willed step-son as a scapegoat, got away scot-free to live a life of decadent luxury and bitter plotting to restore her reign]]. [[spoiler: Fortunately, once her tenure as an ArcVillain is over, Henpecked Ho settles with her and in quite a gruesome fashion, after dealing with her evil clan off-page.]]
15th Dec '15 5:53:37 PM Discar
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Mac Guffin Girl is no longer a trope.
* NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: Subverted. Master Li thinks that this is what the Duke has done with the MacGuffinGirl... when the truth is far simpler and more brilliant.
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* NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: Subverted. Master Li thinks that this is what the Duke has done with the MacGuffinGirl...girl... when the truth is far simpler and more brilliant.
17th Oct '15 9:07:08 PM GammaCavy
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* DisplacedDeity
17th Oct '15 9:06:44 PM GammaCavy
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* DisplacedDeity

* ReallyGetsAround: Moon Boy.
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* ReallyGetsAround: Moon Boy. [[spoiler: Although as he is the former goddess of prostitutes, this comes to make more sense.
12th Sep '15 4:26:24 PM SpectralTime
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* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Neo-Confucians are Always Lawful Evil. Not a single one is ever anything less than a complete asshole who feel entitled to treat other people like dirt and expect to be praised for it, and their hyper-conservative influence is killing China by inches. [[spoiler: In the end, however, they are ''not'' the main antagonists. The BigBad is driven, at least partially, by a desire to ''escape'' their influence and create art outside their stifling strictures.]]
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* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Neo-Confucians are Always Lawful Evil. Not a single one is ever anything less than a complete asshole who feel feels entitled to treat other people like dirt and expect expects to be praised for it, and it. The book opens with Master Li lamenting that their hyper-conservative influence is killing China by inches. [[spoiler: In the end, however, they are ''not'' the main antagonists. The BigBad is driven, at least partially, by a desire to ''escape'' their influence and create art outside their stifling strictures.]]
12th Sep '15 12:22:10 PM SilverDragon
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* ScoobyDoobyDoors
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* ScoobyDoobyDoorsScoobyDoobyDoors: They feature prominently in [[ShowWithinAShow the play within the story]].
12th Sep '15 11:33:54 AM SpectralTime
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* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Neo-Confucians, while less apparent, are still frequently vilified by the plot, particularly the "ghost scheme" that is attributed to Confucius himself. * CoolOldGuy: The Celestial Master, an old friend of Master Li's who makes even ''him'' look young, is one of the most brilliant and powerful minds in China, and a stalwart force for good in the face of Neo-Confucian opposition. [[spoiler: His [[OutOfCharacterAlert later behavior]] is an indicator that something terrible has gone wrong.]]
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* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Neo-Confucians, while less apparent, the text is a bit subtler about it, are still frequently vilified criticized by the plot, particularly the "ghost scheme" that is attributed to Confucius himself. * CoolOldGuy: The Celestial Master, an old friend of Master Li's who makes even ''him'' look young, is one of the most brilliant and powerful minds in China, and a stalwart force for good in the face of Neo-Confucian opposition. [[spoiler: His [[OutOfCharacterAlert later behavior]] is an indicator that something terrible has gone terribly wrong.]]

* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Confucius was generally seen as virtuous, if stuffy, teacher in previous books, but in this one the horrible "ghost scheme" is attributed directly to him.
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* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Confucius was generally seen as virtuous, if stuffy, teacher in previous books, but in this one the horrible "ghost scheme" to deprive all the poor of China of basic political rights is attributed directly to him.
5th Jul '15 11:23:06 AM SpectralTime
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* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Neo-Confucians are Always Lawful Evil. Not a single one is ever anything less than a complete asshole who feel entitled to treat other people like dirt and expect to be praised for it, and their hyper-conservative influence is killing China by inches. [[spoiler: In the end, however, they are ''not'' the main antagonists. The BigBad is driven, at least partially, by a desire to ''escape'' their influence and create art outside their stifling strictures.]] * AuthorTract: It's not hard to see where Barry Hughart thought the corruption that destroyed the Tang dynasty came from, in spite of the fact that the first novel took place ''before'' the Neo-Confucian movement was anything more than a fringe group!

* CoolOldGuy: The Celestial Master, an old friend of Master Li's who makes even ''him'' look young, is one of the most brilliant and powerful minds in China, and a stalwart force for good in the face of [[AlwaysLawfulEvil Neo-Confucian]] opposition. [[spoiler: His [[OutOfCharacterAlert later behavior]] is an indicator that something terrible has gone wrong.]]
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* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Neo-Confucians, while less apparent, are still frequently vilified by the plot, particularly the "ghost scheme" that is attributed to Confucius himself. * CoolOldGuy: The Celestial Master, an old friend of Master Li's who makes even ''him'' look young, is one of the most brilliant and powerful minds in China, and a stalwart force for good in the face of [[AlwaysLawfulEvil Neo-Confucian]] Neo-Confucian opposition. [[spoiler: His [[OutOfCharacterAlert later behavior]] is an indicator that something terrible has gone wrong.]]

Added DiffLines:
* CoolOldGuy: The Celestial Master, an old friend of Master Li's who makes even ''him'' look young, is HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Confucius was generally seen as virtuous, if stuffy, teacher in previous books, but in this one of the most brilliant and powerful minds in China, and a stalwart force for good in the face of [[AlwaysLawfulEvil Neo-Confucian]] opposition. [[spoiler: His [[OutOfCharacterAlert later behavior]] horrible "ghost scheme" is an indicator that something terrible has gone wrong.]]attributed directly to him.
5th Jul '15 11:15:54 AM SpectralTime
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* DeusExMachina: [[spoiler:Half-literally, although GodsHandsAreTied.]]
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* DeathbringerTheAdorable: Zig-zagged. Doctor Death turns out to be a very sweet old man, who just happens to be obsessed with chopping up corpses to resurrect his beloved wife, [[spoiler: who died horribly long ago as an indirect result of his conning money out of a wealthy man for the money to continue his studies.]] He's a bit creepy, in spite of his complete lack of malevolence, but he still helps the protagonists [[spoiler: and, in the ending, is [[MercyKill unceremoniously freed from his earthly obsessions by the Eagle]], [[TogetherInDeath only to be happily be reunited with his wife in the afterlife.]]]] * DeusExMachina: [[spoiler:Half-literally, although GodsHandsAreTied.[[spoiler:Half-literally. Although GodsHandsAreTied in the matter of Jade Pearl, the August Personage of Jade ''can'' help Number Ten Ox and Master Li in their quest, and if it ''just so happens'' to right the ancient wrong in the process...]]

** Also subverted: [[spoiler:His love for Lotus Cloud later moves him to squander all his wealth on gifts for her, which makes him go sane again.]] * MadScientist: Doctor Death.
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** Also subverted: [[spoiler:His love for Lotus Cloud later moves him to squander all his wealth on gifts for her, which makes him go sane again.again, and ultimately results in his happy reunion with his family in the afterlife.]] * MadScientist: Doctor Death.Death is an extremely sympathetic and very kind example.

* MasochistsMeal: Porcupine meat, if improperly prepared, will kill you horribly.
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* MasochistsMeal: Porcupine meat, if improperly prepared, will supposedly kill you horribly.

* TogetherInDeath: Several instances.
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* TogetherInDeath: Several instances.instances in the ending.

* AffablyEvil: Envy is a cruel, ruthless killer hoping to destroy the universe out of spite, but he is also, as a former cavalier, courteous, brave, and [[spoiler: somewhat supportive of Number Ten Ox's relationship with his daughter, in his own way]].
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* AffablyEvil: AffablyEvil: ** Envy is a cruel, ruthless killer hoping to destroy the universe out of spite, but he is also, as a former cavalier, courteous, brave, and [[spoiler: somewhat supportive of Number Ten Ox's relationship with his daughter, in his own way]].way]]. ** Sixth Degree Hostler Tu just really, ''really'' wants to share the finer points of whatever cuisine pops into his head with you, while murdering you with his hands. He also [[spoiler: willingly aides Ox and Li in saving the universe from Envy, pacifies the ancient demon gods of his people from aiding their brother, and ends up becoming a god... all while remaining a crazy murderous bastard.]] * CoolOldGuy: The Celestial Master, an old friend of Master Li's who makes even ''him'' look young, is one of the most brilliant and powerful minds in China, and a stalwart force for good in the face of [[AlwaysLawfulEvil Neo-Confucian]] opposition. [[spoiler: His [[OutOfCharacterAlert later behavior]] is an indicator that something terrible has gone wrong.]]

* DrivenByEnvy: The character [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Envy]]. [[spoiler: He recounts a famous parable about a cycle of wishes bringing someone right back to where they began to illustrate the nature of the curse that wracks him]]
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* CuteMonsterGirl: Envy's daughter madness, [[spoiler: the shamaness,]] is part human and part water-dragon in her true form. [[spoiler: She uses this form to save Ox, Li, and the universe from her father, though doing so means leaving the mortal world forever to become a goddess like her mother.]] * DemonicPossession: [[spoiler: The Celestial Master]] is subjected to a gruesome mix between this and PuppeteerParasite, as Malice possesses him by literally burrowing into his chest cavity and controlling him from within. * DivineDate: Long ago, the ever-restless cavalier that would become Envy courted and won the heart of the most dangerous death-goddess in the pantheon, before his wild nature drove him to spurn her. [[spoiler: They had two children together first, Madness and Malice, and their double-nature drives part of the story.]] * DrivenByEnvy: The character [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Envy]]. [[spoiler: He recounts a famous parable about a cycle of wishes bringing someone right back to where they began to illustrate the how his nature of the curse that wracks him]]drives him, and how he can never, ever rest, be satisfied, or enjoy anything he has.

Added DiffLines:
* DrivenByEnvy: EunuchsAreEvil: The character [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Envy]]. [[spoiler: He recounts a famous parable about a cycle of wishes bringing someone right back to where original conspiracy, before the supernatural elements get involved, is being run by the palace eunuchs. Even the ones who ''aren[='=]t'' criminals are still first-degree jerks. At one point, when Ox and Li are travelling through the palace, they began to illustrate see the nature of sad, sad women whom the curse Emperor has tired of, forced to live at the eunuchs' whim in the shadow of a [[CompensatingForSomething a huge pink tower with a brown dome on top, from the tip of which a stream of water filled with white lilies flows]]. Li comments that wracks him]]any man who thinks that a eunuch's "treatment" makes them more subtle is [[LampshadeHanging clearly fooling himself]].

Added DiffLines:
* DrivenByEnvy: The character [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Envy]]. HumanSacrifice: A cornerstone of Envy's plan, to stage what looks like [[spoiler: He recounts a famous parable about a cycle of wishes bringing someone right back to where they began to illustrate the nature of Celestial Master]] sacrificing a human being to the curse that wracks him]]gods on the solstice, provoking the August Personage of Jade to rage and leading to mass destruction on Earth.
11th May '15 6:49:16 PM SpectralTime
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* EatTheEvidence
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* EatTheEvidenceAffablyEvil: Envy is a cruel, ruthless killer hoping to destroy the universe out of spite, but he is also, as a former cavalier, courteous, brave, and [[spoiler: somewhat supportive of Number Ten Ox's relationship with his daughter, in his own way]]. * CruelAndUnusualDeath: Each of the demonic gods of the aboriginal Chinese specializes in a different bizarre form of murder. Somewhat more down-to-earth is the Imperial Slow-Slash Execution. [[spoiler: It turns out [[HitmanWithAHeart Devil's Hand]] has been {{Mercy Kill}}ing anyone sentenced to it for years, and faked their cries of pain with a pig's bladder.]] * DrivenByEnvy: The character [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Envy]]. [[spoiler: He recounts a famous parable about a cycle of wishes bringing someone right back to where they began to illustrate the nature of the curse that wracks him]] * EatTheEvidence: Well, when you ''really'' need to get rid of a body, there's always [[ImAHumanitarian cannibalism]].
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