History Main / BlackCompany

27th Nov '12 1:16:10 AM Frank75
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->''You who come after me, scribbling these Annals, by now realise that I shy off portraying the whole truth about our band of blackguards. You know they are vicious, vilolent, and ignorant. They are complete barbarians, living out their cruelest fantasies, their behaviour tempered only by the presence of a few decent men. I do not often show that side because these men are my brethren, my family, and I was taught young not to speak ill of kin.''
-Croaker, p.102


What can be said about the Black Company series? That the first book in the series manages to subvert ''BlackAndGreyMorality'', and end up going somewhere far more interesting than it, GreyAndGreyMorality, or any of the other standard options? That the best way to explain the first book is "It's as if a typical fantasy epic is propaganda from the winning 'good' side, and this is the reality"?

The verisimilitude is incredibly high - GlenCook served as a soldier, and the books form a very honest look at a band of mercenaries who find themselves in service to an apparent BigBad. However, while "the Lady" may have the evil magic behind her, the rebels are, if anything, far more ruthless in their tactics, and some of them are incredibly nasty pieces of work.

Unfortunately, the best and most interesting trope-breaking events are such huge spoilers that it would be unfair to even hint at them here.

The series currently consists of ten books, divided into three smaller collections:

''The Books of the North''

* The Black Company
* Shadows Linger
* The White Rose

''The Books of the South''

* Shadow Games
* Dreams of Steel
* The Silver Spike (set between ''Dreams of Steel'' and ''Bleak Seasons'', but not part of either collection)

''The Books of the Glittering Stone''

* Bleak Seasons
* She Is The Darkness
* Water Sleeps
* Soldiers Live

Now complete with a [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/BlackCompany character page]].

----
!The series provides examples of:

* AbsentAliens: No elves, dwarves, goblins, orcs, or other fantasy species. There are some ''very'' weird nonhuman creatures in the Plain of Fear, but they've got a very minor role in the plot.
* ADayInTheLimelight: ''The Silver Spike'' follows the travels of Case, a minor character from ''The White Rose,'' and the adventures of the Black Company deserters.
* AntiMagic: [[spoiler: The White Rose.]]
* AnyoneCanDie: Anyone can, and most will.
** Especially in last two books, their collective edition is not titled ''The Many Deaths of the Black Company'' for nothing.
* ArtifactOfDoom: The Silver Spike.
* AwesomeButImpractical: The flying poles. A heavy-duty FlyingBroomstick capable of transporting two people plus equipment, programable and usable by non-wizards thanks to an internal power source... which just happens to be the strongest explosive known in the setting.
* BabiesEverAfter: [[spoiler: Implied to happen with Darling and Raven's Soldier companion, Case.]]
* BadassGrandpa: Many, as the Company gets older. Outside the Company, ''The Silver Spike'' gives us the mild-mannered but frighteningly badass Old Man Fish. Uncle Doj, a sort of warrior priest, also counts.
* BadassNormal: Damned near every member of the Company, save the Lady and the various mages.
** Though in comparison to their more powerful brethren, the Company mages still qualify.
* BaitAndSwitchBoss: In ''She is the Darkness'', Longshadow is built up as the BigBad [[spoiler: only to have Soulcatcher show up in his inner sanctum and take him down, though he does enough damage to her that she's not really able to savor her victory much]].
* BeigeProse
* BenevolentBoss: Soulcatcher, of all people, in the first book treats the Black Company well for a Taken, generally being helpful and even building up a (limited) level of camaderie with Croaker. [[spoiler: She even spares Croaker and Raven after they witness part of her plot against the Lady. Of course, none of this stops her from repeatedly trying to off the Company once they get in her way...]]
* BigBad: Played with and often subverted - the protagonists are often seen to be serving the BigBad. But there's a lot of candidates for the role.
** Both The Dominator and in later books Kina play this completely straight, though.
** BigBadWannabe - The Shadowmasters, most obviously Longshadow.
* BittersweetEnding: The last chapter of Soldiers Live. - which is still much better than you would expect from the rest of the saga.
* BlackAndGreyMorality: At the BEST of times. But only if you ignore the description of the trope and go a whole lot more subtle.
* BreakTheCutie: Though Croaker hardly qualifies as a "cutie", the events of the series gradually transform him into a [[ShootTheDog pragmatic]], [[ManipulativeBastard crafty]] soldier who [[ImplacableMan will not be stopped]] from reaching Khatovar and [[NecessarilyEvil will do whatever he must]] to protect [[spoiler: Lady]].
** BeingTorturedMakesYouEvil - Averted with [[spoiler: Croaker]], who survives [[spoiler: being enslaved to Soulcatcher]] without turning evil.
** Subverted with [[spoiler: Murgen when he wakes up and finds that he had been tortured, but remembers none of it]]. Of course this may not have happened, who the hell knows with that guy.
* CardGames: The life of a soldier is one of tedium punctuated by short periods of terror, and the Black Company old-timers fill that tedium with endless games of Tonk, an Afro-American version of rummy. The rules are on the Internet, and are playable with standard playing cards. Played for money, but the money's not really as much of the point as it seems.
* TheChosenOne: The White Rose. Subverted when, unable to find the ''real'' chosen one, the Rebel just grabs a random kid to fill the role for a morale boost.
** The Daughter of the Night is this for the Stranglers.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Quite a bit to go around, though [[spoiler: Soulcatcher]] is the queen of this trope.
* CombatPragmatist: The Company as a whole.
* ComedicSociopathy: The Company's main source of entertainment is a "feud" between two of their wizards, One-Eye and Goblin.
* CrapsackWorld: The setting is an arguable one, but the age of the Domination that preceded it is constantly mentioned as one of these. Just having grown up there is said to go a fair way towards explaining Lady's outlook on life.
* CreepyChild: The Daughter of Night.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Shed. ''Everyone'', Croaker and Raven included, are amazed at the feats of cunning, skill, and general badassery the cowardly, self-pitying, unassuming innkeeper is capable of when pressed.
** Also Narayan Singh to a degree.
* CryonicsFailure
* CuteAndPsycho: [[spoiler: Soulcatcher, again. Oh, is she ever...]]
* DeusExMachina: Quite literally at the end of [[spoiler: ''Water Sleeps'']].
* DidMomJustHaveTeaWithCthulhu: Croaker literally makes tea for the Limper, who is so taken aback that he actually sits down and drinks it rather than just blasting everyone.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: It's not easy but it happens a few times, no where near as much as...
* DidYouJustScamCthulhu: Frequently.
* TheDragon: The Lady ''was'' this to the Dominator in her backstory. She herself doesn't have a clear example- Soulcatcher is the strongest Taken, but she's also probably the most treacherous and unstable (and therefore unreliable). In the end, the best fit is probably Limper. In the later books, Mogaba serves as TheDragon to Longshadow and later to [[spoiler: Soulcatcher]].
* DreamSpying
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: Raven gets an honorable mention for having pulled this off no less than three times. With progressively bigger bridges, I might add.
** With the sheer number of characters it is inevitable that some of them die anticlimactically or even without a proper death scene, simply found dead after a large battle.
* TheEmpire: The Lady's Empire in the North, which the Black Company works for for a while.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: The plot of one of the Big Bads, and actually happens to one of the worlds linked to the one most of the story takes place in due to a combination of the arrogance of one of the local overlords and the cunning of the Company.
* EnfantTerrible: [[spoiler: Lady and Croaker's]] daughter, who is [[spoiler: Kina, Goddess of Death]] reborn.
* EpicFail: The attempt to capture [[spoiler: Mogaba]] culminates in the whole team rushing into a bedroom in the dark, setting off a trap and starting a wild shootout that kills nearly all the commandos, [[spoiler: Murgen]], three company wizards [[spoiler: including Howler]] and putting [[spoiler: Lady]] in a coma. As a cherry on top, Croaker knocks himself out during evacuation, trying to ram his flying pole through a reinforced window.
** First Father, setting off SelfDestructMechanism in the pole the Company stole, only to realise [[spoiler: the Company left with a fake and set the real one under the portal that protected his world from being swarmed by millions of murderous shadows.]]
* EvenEvilHasStandards: While the Company as a whole has a tendency to take morally ambiguous contracts, they still have standards: they take exception to killing women and children, even though one of their employers' lackeys doesn't have the same qualms.
** During Soulcatcher's stint as the Protector, it is mentioned that she has a particular dislike of those who sexually abuse children. And like Mogaba and the other outlanders coming to the South with the Company, she tries to combat the South's deep-rooted culture of corruption and looting of one's underlings.
* EvilOverlord: Played with in Lady [[spoiler: before she quits]], who ''is'' ruthless, but genuinely tries to be the lesser of two evils.
* EvilSorcerer: Lots! The Lady, the Dominator, the Ten Who Were Taken, and the Shadowmasters all qualify.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: The Taken: Soulcatcher steals souls, Shapeshifter changes shapes, The Howler howls a lot, The Limper limps... you get the idea.
** Moonbiter will bite you on the ass?
*** It is mentioned that they sounded more scary in their native tongue so perhaps Moonbiter was LostInTranslation
*** Based on his sigil, it's a good bet he was a WereWolf.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: From the Books of the South onwards, the series takes place in a fantasy counterpart of India, complete with pseudo-Muslims and pseudo-Hindus. The latter even have the practice of suttee and their own thuggee cult (neither of which are even renamed). [[spoiler: Not to mention the goddess Kali in the form of Kina]].
* FantasticRacism: The Nyueng Bao don't seem to like non-Nyueng Bao very much.
* GeneralFailure: The Limper.
* {{Golem}}: Shivetya. [[spoiler: Also, the clay body of the Limper in ''The Silver Spike''.]]
* HellBentForLeather - Excluding the probably metal helmet, Soulcatcher is clad entirely in tight leather, from mask to boots.
* HijackedByGanon: Subverted rather amusingly with Longshadow. Given his habit of dressing in robes and a mask and not letting anyone see his face, along with the fact that one of the other Shadowmasters, Stormshadow, turned out to be a renegade Taken, Lady and Croaker assume he's someone they've faced before, probably another Taken. [[spoiler: Once they get the mask off, nobody recognizes him. Turns out he is an OutsideContextVillain]].
* HubLevel: The Plane of Glittering Stone; an artifact created by the gods in times long past to link sixteen worlds together.
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters: Every last bad guy in the series is a human being, and the good guys aren't all that good.
* IfWeSurviveThis: Croaker makes one to Lady before the big battle in The White Rose, which he actually comes through on.
** Another before they take Dejagore. Croaker [[spoiler: tells Lady they're going to bang in Stormshadow/Stormbringer's bed that night. They do. Also that's when the Daughter is concieved]].
* IKnowYourTrueName: The true name of a wizard can be used to destroy their power. Thus, many wizards go to great lengths to make sure that nobody knows it, such as killing everyone who knew them before, and leaving complex misdirections as to their origins.
* ImplacableMan: The most powerful wizards are all but impossbiel to kill. The Dominator only died once his body was completely destroyed, Limper kept coming [[spoiler: even when he was just an undead head controlling a golem body]], and Soulcatcher [[spoiler: survived decapitation and carried her severed head around with her in a box for years before finally forcing Croaker to sew it back on]].
* [[InfinityPlusOneSword Infinity Plus One Spear]]: In this case, two of them: the Lance of Passion, an artifact the Company has carried from its origins in Khatovar. Also One-Eye's spear, a magical weapon that was the masterpiece and legacy of one of the Company's mages, designed to kill archmages and magical beasts, it worked far better than advertised in the end. [[spoiler: It ends up killing a god, albeit with a bit of explosive help.]]
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler: Despite having taken part in a scheme that caused the death of hundreds, and having personally killed several people, Smeds ends up owner of a brewery, with a pile of money hidden for tough days.]]
* KavorkaMan: Croaker, who, despite being far from handsome, [[spoiler: winds up married to former EvilOverlord Lady, and attracting the attentions of her sister, Soulcatcher.]]
* KillEmAll: Though only at a few key points in the series.
* LaResistance: Subverted with The Rebel, who are actually worse than what they're rebelling against. Played straight when [[spoiler: Darling and the Company take over the rebellion.]]
** Also played straight later with Sleepy and the rest of the Company against [[spoiler:Soulcatcher's rule]].
** TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized: Played perfectly straight by the original Rebels, who KickTheDog on a routine basis.
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: The original trilogy is supposed to be Croaker's section of the Annals of the Black Company. Given his central role, his personal appearance in the right place at the right time to observe plot-essential points, and a little conversation in the third book about how his historical writing style is different from the Northern tradition in how much he puts himself into the history (i.e. write in first person), and it seems Glen Cook is trying to raise this idea.
* LoveRedeems: [[spoiler: Lady]], thanks to Croaker.
* MayDecemberRomance: Played with in the relationship between Croaker and [[spoiler: Lady]]. He looks older than she does, but she's ReallySevenHundredYearsOld.
* MoralityPet: Darling for Raven. Inverted in that it makes Raven overall worse, not better. As Croaker muses in ''Shadows Linger'', Raven "concentrates" all the good in him for Darling, and so acts more evil to everyone else.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: The Dominator, Longshadow, Shapeshifter, Soulcatcher, Stormshadow, Howler, Limper, the Hanged Man... Every villain worth remembering has a suitably intimidating name.
* NotQuiteDead: [[spoiler: Most of the original Taken]], although [[spoiler: The Limper]] in particular simply revels in this trope. [[spoiler: Croaker]] also joins the club after ''Dreams of Steel.''
** In fact, [[spoiler: all the magic users]] count to some degree; the more powerful, the more this trope fits, to the point where [[spoiler: they need to be diced up, cremated, and their ashes scattered]] to prevent their revival.
* {{OldSoldier}}: Croaker, and the rest of [[spoiler: the Old Guard after they're resurrected from a decades-long magical imprisonment in Water Sleeps]].
* OneWingedAngel: [[spoiler: The Limper, just before the end.]]
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: ''Everyone'' who's important in this series goes by a nickname of some sort based vaguely on their character, frequently ironically. For example: the company doc is named Croaker, and its nastiest platoon leader is named Mercy. It's a rule in the Company, because everyone enlisted must leave whatever past they have behind them. Most wizards, on the other hand, use a nickname because their true name is the source of the powers.
** Played very straight when Croaker must record his actual name, and has trouble remembering it.
** This becomes a major plot point in ''The White Rose'', when [[spoiler: the Dominator, and everyone else tries to destroy Lady's powers by stating her name.]]
** [[spoiler: ARDATH YOU BITCH!!!!!]]
* OurWerewolvesAreDifferent: The Forvalaka - terrifyingly deadly monsters, generally described as 'undead were-leopards.' Blindingly fast and capable of healing nearly any wound in seconds, they require high order sorcery to have even a chance to defeat. Some wizards can take their forms to devastating effect, most notably Shapeshifter and his apprentice.
** Werewolves and werebears were also mentioned.
* ParentalSubstitute: Raven for Darling, and Croaker for Shukrat and Arkana.
* ThePlan: So very many. Used by the Black Company themselves, as well as many other places. Often results in...
** GambitPileup: The series has several -- in the Books of the North the Dominator's plan slams headlong into the Lady's; in the Books of the South the Company's plans crash into Longshadow's, and ''everyone's'' plans get derailed by [[spoiler:Soulcatcher]].
* PlotHole: A number of fairly serious ones:
** Dominator somehow manages not to know the Lady's (who just happens to be ''his wife'') name and keeps guessing it (incorrectly) throughout the first books;
*** Probably due to the True Name being the universal lynchpin of all wizards' powers in series, therefore all wizards go to great pains to make sure their's is hidden, such as wiping out everyone from their town who was alive when they were born (or worse). The Lady's true name was probably long buried by the time he married her.
** After [[spoiler: The Lady loses her powers, all her Taken]] immediatly die; however, after [[spoiler: Dominator's soul gets sealed in a silver spike and it is acknowledged by characters that he can no longer project his will onto the world, the old Taken (created by Dominator)]] continue functioning perfectly;
*** I would have to double-check, but I believe it mentions that she specifically set up the spell controlling her Taken so that if she died or lost her powers, they would too. The Dominator apparently did not include that clause in his.
** Even though Lady knows True Names of [[spoiler: Howler, Shapeshifter and Soulcatcher]], she never uses them, even though doing so would solve literally every single Company's problem. This problem gets acknowledged ''once'', when she is still [[spoiler: De-Powered]] and Goblin says that she won't ever tell him or One-Eye True Names of their enemies. After she [[spoiler: gets her powers back]]... Well, she still does nothing. And gets [[spoiler: sealed under the glittering plain, along with the majority of the Company]] for her troubles.
* QuirkyMinibossSquad: The Ten Who Were Taken. Much like if the [[TheWheelOfTime the Forsaken]] were actually badass, although prone to the same ChronicBackstabbingDisorder.
** In the Books of the South we get another, the Shadowmasters- less effective overall, both because there are only four of them and because their boss, Longshadow, is too erratic to be any kind of effective leader, so that the end result is that they're ''even more'' backstabby than the Taken. They're still a major headache, though.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: Often subverted interestingly, often averted, occasionally played straight.
* RedOniBlueOni: Soulcatcher, being capricious and more conventionally insane, is red to Lady's blue. It's mentioned that this makes Lady the more powerful of the two when she puts her mind to something, but on the whole it's hard to say which is more dangerous.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: The Prahbrindrah Drah and his sister, as this exchange illustrates:
--> '''Swan''': He's the kind of guy who's got to check things for himself. [...] He's a pretty good old boy. First prince I ever seen that tries to do what a prince is supposed to do.
--> '''Croaker''': Rarer than frog hair, then. I'm sure.
-->-- ''Shadow Games'
* SamusIsAGirl - Soulcatcher, though she's not a very good example, as it's hinted at before it's actually revealed, and [[spoiler: Sleepy.]]
* TheSavageSouth: The main characters spend most of the saga travelling from the north (which is the standard fantasy setting) to the south (India expy) down to their place of origin at the southernmost end of the continent... where things get really weird.
* ScaryImpracticalArmor: The Lifetaker and Widowmaker outfits. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that the whole point is for the outfits to be scary [[spoiler: and Lady has laid on the spellwork to make them protective in spite of their impracticality.]]
* SealedEvilInACan: The Barrowland could be considered to be an aisle in a supermarket for all the evils trapped there.
** [[spoiler: Soulcatcher appears to be this, at the end of ''Soldiers Live''. However, it's hinted that she may be released in the name of balance if Lady decides to become the Lady of Charm again.]]
** This seems to be standard procedure. The Barrowlands have a larger number of sealed evils, but [[spoiler: Old Father Tree and the Plains of Fear]] and [[spoiler: Kina]] both fit the bill as well, and [[spoiler: Shivetya]] may count as Sealed Good in a Can, or at least Sealed Neutral.
* SiblingRivalry - [[spoiler: Lady]] and [[spoiler: Soulcatcher]]. At CainAndAbel levels. To make things clearer: [[spoiler: Lady is the EvilOverlord for the first section of the series. And she's the ''nice'' one.]]
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Waaaaay towards the cynical side.
** [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in ''The Silver Spike'', where a former Imperial soldier gets in a big argument with a former member of LaResistance about whether the Lady's rule was really any worse than TheKingdom that preceded it.
** Lady herself claimed that for [[{{Muggles}} commoners]] their strong law enforcement was a boon, and Croaker (as a healer) noticed and mentioned the Empire's attention to the pharmacy. Of course, she also mentioned that it would be a good idea to just wipe out the whole town (for some necrolatric traditions) even if the Dominator hadn't messed with it all...
* SquishyWizard: Inverted. Low level wizards like Tom-Tom and Goblin live much longer than usual, high level wizards like the Limper are almost impossible to kill due to their unnatural vitality.
* TheStarscream: The Taken are basically a Starscream Squadron. Then there's [[spoiler: Mogaba and Narayan]], who both stab their superiors in the back for their own ends. Subverted by [[spoiler: Blade]], who betrays [[spoiler: his]] employers when [[spoiler: Croaker comes back from the dead...but later it's revealed to be part of a grand military maneuver by none other than Croaker himself]].
* SweetPollyOliver: [[spoiler: Sleepy]]. The Company later finds out, but nobody cares beyond changing the pronouns.
* TookALevelInBadass: Suvrin is introduced as a timid little fat guy leading a poorly trained group of soldiers, who quickly surrenders to the Company because he knows he doesn't have a hope for beating them. By the end of the series, [[spoiler: he becomes the new Captain]].
* TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty: Company military doctrine is based around the concept of fighting dirty. Closely connected with CombatPragmatist above.
* UnfortunateName: “My name is Case. Philodendron Case. Thanks to my Ma.”
* UnreliableNarrator: The tale is framed as excerpts from the annals of the Black Company, as laid down by various members. Most of the narration is by Croaker, the Company's doctor and eventual leader. In later books the pen is held by the standard bearer, Murgen, his understudy Sleepy, and Lady. All of them are, by their own admission, less than totally reliable (though Lady only admits that grudgingly).
* TheVoiceless: Silent, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin as you might expect.]]
** Until he [[TookALevelInBadass speaks ONCE]] after [[spoiler: figuring out Lady's True Name, thus wiping out her power. She gets better.]]
* VoiceOfTheLegion: Soulcatcher. (But serial, not parallel. She only uses one voice at a time, but she's got a lot of them, and switches every sentence or two.)
* WarIsHell: In the world where MightMakesRight and even GreyAndGreyMorality cases rarely come without booby traps attached, it's to be expected.
* WhatTheHellHero: Croaker arranges so that an entire world is invaded by more than a million killer shadows, because he doesn't like the dictators controlling it. Thus arranging the death of more innocents than all Company enemies do throughout the books combined.
* WifeHusbandry: Subverted with Raven and Darling. He loves her and cares for her in place of the children he abandoned, but when she reaches puberty and begins to become sexually attracted to him, [[spoiler: Raven fakes his own death and takes off]].
* WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity: The more powerful a wizard is, the more dangerous their quirks are, usually including being power-drunk and ''always'' including a lot of paranoia (the Lady even acknowledges the latter).


----
<<|{{Literature}}|>>

to:

->''You who come after me, scribbling these Annals, by now realise that I shy off portraying the whole truth about our band of blackguards. You know they are vicious, vilolent, and ignorant. They are complete barbarians, living out their cruelest fantasies, their behaviour tempered only by the presence of a few decent men. I do not often show that side because these men are my brethren, my family, and I was taught young not to speak ill of kin.''
-Croaker, p.102


What can be said about the Black Company series? That the first book in the series manages to subvert ''BlackAndGreyMorality'', and end up going somewhere far more interesting than it, GreyAndGreyMorality, or any of the other standard options? That the best way to explain the first book is "It's as if a typical fantasy epic is propaganda from the winning 'good' side, and this is the reality"?

The verisimilitude is incredibly high - GlenCook served as a soldier, and the books form a very honest look at a band of mercenaries who find themselves in service to an apparent BigBad. However, while "the Lady" may have the evil magic behind her, the rebels are, if anything, far more ruthless in their tactics, and some of them are incredibly nasty pieces of work.

Unfortunately, the best and most interesting trope-breaking events are such huge spoilers that it would be unfair to even hint at them here.

The series currently consists of ten books, divided into three smaller collections:

''The Books of the North''

* The Black Company
* Shadows Linger
* The White Rose

''The Books of the South''

* Shadow Games
* Dreams of Steel
* The Silver Spike (set between ''Dreams of Steel'' and ''Bleak Seasons'', but not part of either collection)

''The Books of the Glittering Stone''

* Bleak Seasons
* She Is The Darkness
* Water Sleeps
* Soldiers Live

Now complete with a [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/BlackCompany character page]].

----
!The series provides examples of:

* AbsentAliens: No elves, dwarves, goblins, orcs, or other fantasy species. There are some ''very'' weird nonhuman creatures in the Plain of Fear, but they've got a very minor role in the plot.
* ADayInTheLimelight: ''The Silver Spike'' follows the travels of Case, a minor character from ''The White Rose,'' and the adventures of the Black Company deserters.
* AntiMagic: [[spoiler: The White Rose.]]
* AnyoneCanDie: Anyone can, and most will.
** Especially in last two books, their collective edition is not titled ''The Many Deaths of the Black Company'' for nothing.
* ArtifactOfDoom: The Silver Spike.
* AwesomeButImpractical: The flying poles. A heavy-duty FlyingBroomstick capable of transporting two people plus equipment, programable and usable by non-wizards thanks to an internal power source... which just happens to be the strongest explosive known in the setting.
* BabiesEverAfter: [[spoiler: Implied to happen with Darling and Raven's Soldier companion, Case.]]
* BadassGrandpa: Many, as the Company gets older. Outside the Company, ''The Silver Spike'' gives us the mild-mannered but frighteningly badass Old Man Fish. Uncle Doj, a sort of warrior priest, also counts.
* BadassNormal: Damned near every member of the Company, save the Lady and the various mages.
** Though in comparison to their more powerful brethren, the Company mages still qualify.
* BaitAndSwitchBoss: In ''She is the Darkness'', Longshadow is built up as the BigBad [[spoiler: only to have Soulcatcher show up in his inner sanctum and take him down, though he does enough damage to her that she's not really able to savor her victory much]].
* BeigeProse
* BenevolentBoss: Soulcatcher, of all people, in the first book treats the Black Company well for a Taken, generally being helpful and even building up a (limited) level of camaderie with Croaker. [[spoiler: She even spares Croaker and Raven after they witness part of her plot against the Lady. Of course, none of this stops her from repeatedly trying to off the Company once they get in her way...]]
* BigBad: Played with and often subverted - the protagonists are often seen to be serving the BigBad. But there's a lot of candidates for the role.
** Both The Dominator and in later books Kina play this completely straight, though.
** BigBadWannabe - The Shadowmasters, most obviously Longshadow.
* BittersweetEnding: The last chapter of Soldiers Live. - which is still much better than you would expect from the rest of the saga.
* BlackAndGreyMorality: At the BEST of times. But only if you ignore the description of the trope and go a whole lot more subtle.
* BreakTheCutie: Though Croaker hardly qualifies as a "cutie", the events of the series gradually transform him into a [[ShootTheDog pragmatic]], [[ManipulativeBastard crafty]] soldier who [[ImplacableMan will not be stopped]] from reaching Khatovar and [[NecessarilyEvil will do whatever he must]] to protect [[spoiler: Lady]].
** BeingTorturedMakesYouEvil - Averted with [[spoiler: Croaker]], who survives [[spoiler: being enslaved to Soulcatcher]] without turning evil.
** Subverted with [[spoiler: Murgen when he wakes up and finds that he had been tortured, but remembers none of it]]. Of course this may not have happened, who the hell knows with that guy.
* CardGames: The life of a soldier is one of tedium punctuated by short periods of terror, and the Black Company old-timers fill that tedium with endless games of Tonk, an Afro-American version of rummy. The rules are on the Internet, and are playable with standard playing cards. Played for money, but the money's not really as much of the point as it seems.
* TheChosenOne: The White Rose. Subverted when, unable to find the ''real'' chosen one, the Rebel just grabs a random kid to fill the role for a morale boost.
** The Daughter of the Night is this for the Stranglers.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Quite a bit to go around, though [[spoiler: Soulcatcher]] is the queen of this trope.
* CombatPragmatist: The Company as a whole.
* ComedicSociopathy: The Company's main source of entertainment is a "feud" between two of their wizards, One-Eye and Goblin.
* CrapsackWorld: The setting is an arguable one, but the age of the Domination that preceded it is constantly mentioned as one of these. Just having grown up there is said to go a fair way towards explaining Lady's outlook on life.
* CreepyChild: The Daughter of Night.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Shed. ''Everyone'', Croaker and Raven included, are amazed at the feats of cunning, skill, and general badassery the cowardly, self-pitying, unassuming innkeeper is capable of when pressed.
** Also Narayan Singh to a degree.
* CryonicsFailure
* CuteAndPsycho: [[spoiler: Soulcatcher, again. Oh, is she ever...]]
* DeusExMachina: Quite literally at the end of [[spoiler: ''Water Sleeps'']].
* DidMomJustHaveTeaWithCthulhu: Croaker literally makes tea for the Limper, who is so taken aback that he actually sits down and drinks it rather than just blasting everyone.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: It's not easy but it happens a few times, no where near as much as...
* DidYouJustScamCthulhu: Frequently.
* TheDragon: The Lady ''was'' this to the Dominator in her backstory. She herself doesn't have a clear example- Soulcatcher is the strongest Taken, but she's also probably the most treacherous and unstable (and therefore unreliable). In the end, the best fit is probably Limper. In the later books, Mogaba serves as TheDragon to Longshadow and later to [[spoiler: Soulcatcher]].
* DreamSpying
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: Raven gets an honorable mention for having pulled this off no less than three times. With progressively bigger bridges, I might add.
** With the sheer number of characters it is inevitable that some of them die anticlimactically or even without a proper death scene, simply found dead after a large battle.
* TheEmpire: The Lady's Empire in the North, which the Black Company works for for a while.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: The plot of one of the Big Bads, and actually happens to one of the worlds linked to the one most of the story takes place in due to a combination of the arrogance of one of the local overlords and the cunning of the Company.
* EnfantTerrible: [[spoiler: Lady and Croaker's]] daughter, who is [[spoiler: Kina, Goddess of Death]] reborn.
* EpicFail: The attempt to capture [[spoiler: Mogaba]] culminates in the whole team rushing into a bedroom in the dark, setting off a trap and starting a wild shootout that kills nearly all the commandos, [[spoiler: Murgen]], three company wizards [[spoiler: including Howler]] and putting [[spoiler: Lady]] in a coma. As a cherry on top, Croaker knocks himself out during evacuation, trying to ram his flying pole through a reinforced window.
** First Father, setting off SelfDestructMechanism in the pole the Company stole, only to realise [[spoiler: the Company left with a fake and set the real one under the portal that protected his world from being swarmed by millions of murderous shadows.]]
* EvenEvilHasStandards: While the Company as a whole has a tendency to take morally ambiguous contracts, they still have standards: they take exception to killing women and children, even though one of their employers' lackeys doesn't have the same qualms.
** During Soulcatcher's stint as the Protector, it is mentioned that she has a particular dislike of those who sexually abuse children. And like Mogaba and the other outlanders coming to the South with the Company, she tries to combat the South's deep-rooted culture of corruption and looting of one's underlings.
* EvilOverlord: Played with in Lady [[spoiler: before she quits]], who ''is'' ruthless, but genuinely tries to be the lesser of two evils.
* EvilSorcerer: Lots! The Lady, the Dominator, the Ten Who Were Taken, and the Shadowmasters all qualify.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: The Taken: Soulcatcher steals souls, Shapeshifter changes shapes, The Howler howls a lot, The Limper limps... you get the idea.
** Moonbiter will bite you on the ass?
*** It is mentioned that they sounded more scary in their native tongue so perhaps Moonbiter was LostInTranslation
*** Based on his sigil, it's a good bet he was a WereWolf.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: From the Books of the South onwards, the series takes place in a fantasy counterpart of India, complete with pseudo-Muslims and pseudo-Hindus. The latter even have the practice of suttee and their own thuggee cult (neither of which are even renamed). [[spoiler: Not to mention the goddess Kali in the form of Kina]].
* FantasticRacism: The Nyueng Bao don't seem to like non-Nyueng Bao very much.
* GeneralFailure: The Limper.
* {{Golem}}: Shivetya. [[spoiler: Also, the clay body of the Limper in ''The Silver Spike''.]]
* HellBentForLeather - Excluding the probably metal helmet, Soulcatcher is clad entirely in tight leather, from mask to boots.
* HijackedByGanon: Subverted rather amusingly with Longshadow. Given his habit of dressing in robes and a mask and not letting anyone see his face, along with the fact that one of the other Shadowmasters, Stormshadow, turned out to be a renegade Taken, Lady and Croaker assume he's someone they've faced before, probably another Taken. [[spoiler: Once they get the mask off, nobody recognizes him. Turns out he is an OutsideContextVillain]].
* HubLevel: The Plane of Glittering Stone; an artifact created by the gods in times long past to link sixteen worlds together.
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters: Every last bad guy in the series is a human being, and the good guys aren't all that good.
* IfWeSurviveThis: Croaker makes one to Lady before the big battle in The White Rose, which he actually comes through on.
** Another before they take Dejagore. Croaker [[spoiler: tells Lady they're going to bang in Stormshadow/Stormbringer's bed that night. They do. Also that's when the Daughter is concieved]].
* IKnowYourTrueName: The true name of a wizard can be used to destroy their power. Thus, many wizards go to great lengths to make sure that nobody knows it, such as killing everyone who knew them before, and leaving complex misdirections as to their origins.
* ImplacableMan: The most powerful wizards are all but impossbiel to kill. The Dominator only died once his body was completely destroyed, Limper kept coming [[spoiler: even when he was just an undead head controlling a golem body]], and Soulcatcher [[spoiler: survived decapitation and carried her severed head around with her in a box for years before finally forcing Croaker to sew it back on]].
* [[InfinityPlusOneSword Infinity Plus One Spear]]: In this case, two of them: the Lance of Passion, an artifact the Company has carried from its origins in Khatovar. Also One-Eye's spear, a magical weapon that was the masterpiece and legacy of one of the Company's mages, designed to kill archmages and magical beasts, it worked far better than advertised in the end. [[spoiler: It ends up killing a god, albeit with a bit of explosive help.]]
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler: Despite having taken part in a scheme that caused the death of hundreds, and having personally killed several people, Smeds ends up owner of a brewery, with a pile of money hidden for tough days.]]
* KavorkaMan: Croaker, who, despite being far from handsome, [[spoiler: winds up married to former EvilOverlord Lady, and attracting the attentions of her sister, Soulcatcher.]]
* KillEmAll: Though only at a few key points in the series.
* LaResistance: Subverted with The Rebel, who are actually worse than what they're rebelling against. Played straight when [[spoiler: Darling and the Company take over the rebellion.]]
** Also played straight later with Sleepy and the rest of the Company against [[spoiler:Soulcatcher's rule]].
** TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized: Played perfectly straight by the original Rebels, who KickTheDog on a routine basis.
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: The original trilogy is supposed to be Croaker's section of the Annals of the Black Company. Given his central role, his personal appearance in the right place at the right time to observe plot-essential points, and a little conversation in the third book about how his historical writing style is different from the Northern tradition in how much he puts himself into the history (i.e. write in first person), and it seems Glen Cook is trying to raise this idea.
* LoveRedeems: [[spoiler: Lady]], thanks to Croaker.
* MayDecemberRomance: Played with in the relationship between Croaker and [[spoiler: Lady]]. He looks older than she does, but she's ReallySevenHundredYearsOld.
* MoralityPet: Darling for Raven. Inverted in that it makes Raven overall worse, not better. As Croaker muses in ''Shadows Linger'', Raven "concentrates" all the good in him for Darling, and so acts more evil to everyone else.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: The Dominator, Longshadow, Shapeshifter, Soulcatcher, Stormshadow, Howler, Limper, the Hanged Man... Every villain worth remembering has a suitably intimidating name.
* NotQuiteDead: [[spoiler: Most of the original Taken]], although [[spoiler: The Limper]] in particular simply revels in this trope. [[spoiler: Croaker]] also joins the club after ''Dreams of Steel.''
** In fact, [[spoiler: all the magic users]] count to some degree; the more powerful, the more this trope fits, to the point where [[spoiler: they need to be diced up, cremated, and their ashes scattered]] to prevent their revival.
* {{OldSoldier}}: Croaker, and the rest of [[spoiler: the Old Guard after they're resurrected from a decades-long magical imprisonment in Water Sleeps]].
* OneWingedAngel: [[spoiler: The Limper, just before the end.]]
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: ''Everyone'' who's important in this series goes by a nickname of some sort based vaguely on their character, frequently ironically. For example: the company doc is named Croaker, and its nastiest platoon leader is named Mercy. It's a rule in the Company, because everyone enlisted must leave whatever past they have behind them. Most wizards, on the other hand, use a nickname because their true name is the source of the powers.
** Played very straight when Croaker must record his actual name, and has trouble remembering it.
** This becomes a major plot point in ''The White Rose'', when [[spoiler: the Dominator, and everyone else tries to destroy Lady's powers by stating her name.]]
** [[spoiler: ARDATH YOU BITCH!!!!!]]
* OurWerewolvesAreDifferent: The Forvalaka - terrifyingly deadly monsters, generally described as 'undead were-leopards.' Blindingly fast and capable of healing nearly any wound in seconds, they require high order sorcery to have even a chance to defeat. Some wizards can take their forms to devastating effect, most notably Shapeshifter and his apprentice.
** Werewolves and werebears were also mentioned.
* ParentalSubstitute: Raven for Darling, and Croaker for Shukrat and Arkana.
* ThePlan: So very many. Used by the Black Company themselves, as well as many other places. Often results in...
** GambitPileup: The series has several -- in the Books of the North the Dominator's plan slams headlong into the Lady's; in the Books of the South the Company's plans crash into Longshadow's, and ''everyone's'' plans get derailed by [[spoiler:Soulcatcher]].
* PlotHole: A number of fairly serious ones:
** Dominator somehow manages not to know the Lady's (who just happens to be ''his wife'') name and keeps guessing it (incorrectly) throughout the first books;
*** Probably due to the True Name being the universal lynchpin of all wizards' powers in series, therefore all wizards go to great pains to make sure their's is hidden, such as wiping out everyone from their town who was alive when they were born (or worse). The Lady's true name was probably long buried by the time he married her.
** After [[spoiler: The Lady loses her powers, all her Taken]] immediatly die; however, after [[spoiler: Dominator's soul gets sealed in a silver spike and it is acknowledged by characters that he can no longer project his will onto the world, the old Taken (created by Dominator)]] continue functioning perfectly;
*** I would have to double-check, but I believe it mentions that she specifically set up the spell controlling her Taken so that if she died or lost her powers, they would too. The Dominator apparently did not include that clause in his.
** Even though Lady knows True Names of [[spoiler: Howler, Shapeshifter and Soulcatcher]], she never uses them, even though doing so would solve literally every single Company's problem. This problem gets acknowledged ''once'', when she is still [[spoiler: De-Powered]] and Goblin says that she won't ever tell him or One-Eye True Names of their enemies. After she [[spoiler: gets her powers back]]... Well, she still does nothing. And gets [[spoiler: sealed under the glittering plain, along with the majority of the Company]] for her troubles.
* QuirkyMinibossSquad: The Ten Who Were Taken. Much like if the [[TheWheelOfTime the Forsaken]] were actually badass, although prone to the same ChronicBackstabbingDisorder.
** In the Books of the South we get another, the Shadowmasters- less effective overall, both because there are only four of them and because their boss, Longshadow, is too erratic to be any kind of effective leader, so that the end result is that they're ''even more'' backstabby than the Taken. They're still a major headache, though.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: Often subverted interestingly, often averted, occasionally played straight.
* RedOniBlueOni: Soulcatcher, being capricious and more conventionally insane, is red to Lady's blue. It's mentioned that this makes Lady the more powerful of the two when she puts her mind to something, but on the whole it's hard to say which is more dangerous.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: The Prahbrindrah Drah and his sister, as this exchange illustrates:
--> '''Swan''': He's the kind of guy who's got to check things for himself. [...] He's a pretty good old boy. First prince I ever seen that tries to do what a prince is supposed to do.
--> '''Croaker''': Rarer than frog hair, then. I'm sure.
-->-- ''Shadow Games'
* SamusIsAGirl - Soulcatcher, though she's not a very good example, as it's hinted at before it's actually revealed, and [[spoiler: Sleepy.]]
* TheSavageSouth: The main characters spend most of the saga travelling from the north (which is the standard fantasy setting) to the south (India expy) down to their place of origin at the southernmost end of the continent... where things get really weird.
* ScaryImpracticalArmor: The Lifetaker and Widowmaker outfits. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that the whole point is for the outfits to be scary [[spoiler: and Lady has laid on the spellwork to make them protective in spite of their impracticality.]]
* SealedEvilInACan: The Barrowland could be considered to be an aisle in a supermarket for all the evils trapped there.
** [[spoiler: Soulcatcher appears to be this, at the end of ''Soldiers Live''. However, it's hinted that she may be released in the name of balance if Lady decides to become the Lady of Charm again.]]
** This seems to be standard procedure. The Barrowlands have a larger number of sealed evils, but [[spoiler: Old Father Tree and the Plains of Fear]] and [[spoiler: Kina]] both fit the bill as well, and [[spoiler: Shivetya]] may count as Sealed Good in a Can, or at least Sealed Neutral.
* SiblingRivalry - [[spoiler: Lady]] and [[spoiler: Soulcatcher]]. At CainAndAbel levels. To make things clearer: [[spoiler: Lady is the EvilOverlord for the first section of the series. And she's the ''nice'' one.]]
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Waaaaay towards the cynical side.
** [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in ''The Silver Spike'', where a former Imperial soldier gets in a big argument with a former member of LaResistance about whether the Lady's rule was really any worse than TheKingdom that preceded it.
** Lady herself claimed that for [[{{Muggles}} commoners]] their strong law enforcement was a boon, and Croaker (as a healer) noticed and mentioned the Empire's attention to the pharmacy. Of course, she also mentioned that it would be a good idea to just wipe out the whole town (for some necrolatric traditions) even if the Dominator hadn't messed with it all...
* SquishyWizard: Inverted. Low level wizards like Tom-Tom and Goblin live much longer than usual, high level wizards like the Limper are almost impossible to kill due to their unnatural vitality.
* TheStarscream: The Taken are basically a Starscream Squadron. Then there's [[spoiler: Mogaba and Narayan]], who both stab their superiors in the back for their own ends. Subverted by [[spoiler: Blade]], who betrays [[spoiler: his]] employers when [[spoiler: Croaker comes back from the dead...but later it's revealed to be part of a grand military maneuver by none other than Croaker himself]].
* SweetPollyOliver: [[spoiler: Sleepy]]. The Company later finds out, but nobody cares beyond changing the pronouns.
* TookALevelInBadass: Suvrin is introduced as a timid little fat guy leading a poorly trained group of soldiers, who quickly surrenders to the Company because he knows he doesn't have a hope for beating them. By the end of the series, [[spoiler: he becomes the new Captain]].
* TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty: Company military doctrine is based around the concept of fighting dirty. Closely connected with CombatPragmatist above.
* UnfortunateName: “My name is Case. Philodendron Case. Thanks to my Ma.”
* UnreliableNarrator: The tale is framed as excerpts from the annals of the Black Company, as laid down by various members. Most of the narration is by Croaker, the Company's doctor and eventual leader. In later books the pen is held by the standard bearer, Murgen, his understudy Sleepy, and Lady. All of them are, by their own admission, less than totally reliable (though Lady only admits that grudgingly).
* TheVoiceless: Silent, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin as you might expect.]]
** Until he [[TookALevelInBadass speaks ONCE]] after [[spoiler: figuring out Lady's True Name, thus wiping out her power. She gets better.]]
* VoiceOfTheLegion: Soulcatcher. (But serial, not parallel. She only uses one voice at a time, but she's got a lot of them, and switches every sentence or two.)
* WarIsHell: In the world where MightMakesRight and even GreyAndGreyMorality cases rarely come without booby traps attached, it's to be expected.
* WhatTheHellHero: Croaker arranges so that an entire world is invaded by more than a million killer shadows, because he doesn't like the dictators controlling it. Thus arranging the death of more innocents than all Company enemies do throughout the books combined.
* WifeHusbandry: Subverted with Raven and Darling. He loves her and cares for her in place of the children he abandoned, but when she reaches puberty and begins to become sexually attracted to him, [[spoiler: Raven fakes his own death and takes off]].
* WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity: The more powerful a wizard is, the more dangerous their quirks are, usually including being power-drunk and ''always'' including a lot of paranoia (the Lady even acknowledges the latter).


----
<<|{{Literature}}|>>
[[redirect:Literature/BlackCompany]]
26th Nov '12 1:28:59 AM Nornagest
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** Which has some interesting WildMassGuessing opportunities mwhahahahahahahha.
20th Nov '12 11:00:19 AM Opunaesala
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* MoralityPet: Darling for Raven. Inverted in that it makes Raven overall worse, not better. As Croaker muses in ''Shadows Linger'', Raven "concentrates" all good in him for Darling, and so acts more evil to everyone else.

to:

* MoralityPet: Darling for Raven. Inverted in that it makes Raven overall worse, not better. As Croaker muses in ''Shadows Linger'', Raven "concentrates" all the good in him for Darling, and so acts more evil to everyone else.



** Even though Lady knows True Names of [[spoiler: Howler, Shapeshifter and Soulcatcher]], she never uses them, even though doing so would solve literally every single Company's problem. This problem gets acknowledged ''once'', when she is still [[spoiler: De-Powered]] and Goblin says that she won't ever tell him or One-Eye True Names of their enemies. After she [[spoiler: gets her powers back]]... Well, she still does nothing. And gets [[spoiler:sealed under the glittering plain, along with the majority of the Company]] for her troubles.

to:

** Even though Lady knows True Names of [[spoiler: Howler, Shapeshifter and Soulcatcher]], she never uses them, even though doing so would solve literally every single Company's problem. This problem gets acknowledged ''once'', when she is still [[spoiler: De-Powered]] and Goblin says that she won't ever tell him or One-Eye True Names of their enemies. After she [[spoiler: gets her powers back]]... Well, she still does nothing. And gets [[spoiler:sealed [[spoiler: sealed under the glittering plain, along with the majority of the Company]] for her troubles.



** Until he [[TookALevelInBadass speaks ONCE]] after [[spoiler:figuring out Lady's True Name, thus wiping out her power. She gets better.]]

to:

** Until he [[TookALevelInBadass speaks ONCE]] after [[spoiler:figuring [[spoiler: figuring out Lady's True Name, thus wiping out her power. She gets better.]]
20th Nov '12 10:50:59 AM Opunaesala
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* AnyoneCanDie: Anyone can, and most do.

to:

* AnyoneCanDie: Anyone can, and most do.will.



* BenevolentBoss: Soulcatcher, of all people, in the first book treats the Black Company well for a Taken, generally being helpful and even building up a (limited) level of camaderie with Croaker.[[spoiler: She even spares Croaker and Raven after they witness part of her plot against the Lady. Of course, none of this stops her from repeatedly trying to off the Company once they get in her way...]]

to:

* BenevolentBoss: Soulcatcher, of all people, in the first book treats the Black Company well for a Taken, generally being helpful and even building up a (limited) level of camaderie with Croaker. [[spoiler: She even spares Croaker and Raven after they witness part of her plot against the Lady. Of course, none of this stops her from repeatedly trying to off the Company once they get in her way...]]



** BeingTorturedMakesYouEvil - Averted with [[spoiler: Croaker]], who survives[[spoiler: being enslaved to Soulcatcher]] without turning evil.
** Subverted with [[spoiler: Murgen when he wakes up and finds that he had been tortured, but remembers none of it]] Of course this may not have happened, who the hell knows with that guy.

to:

** BeingTorturedMakesYouEvil - Averted with [[spoiler: Croaker]], who survives[[spoiler: survives [[spoiler: being enslaved to Soulcatcher]] without turning evil.
** Subverted with [[spoiler: Murgen when he wakes up and finds that he had been tortured, but remembers none of it]] it]]. Of course this may not have happened, who the hell knows with that guy.



* ComedicSociopathy: The Company's main source of entertainment is a "feud" between two of their wizards.
* CrapsackWorld: the setting is an arguable one, but the age of the Domination that preceded it is constantly mentioned as one of these. Just having grown up there is said to go a fair way towards explaining Lady's outlook on life.
* CreepyChild: the Daughter of Night.

to:

* ComedicSociopathy: The Company's main source of entertainment is a "feud" between two of their wizards.
wizards, One-Eye and Goblin.
* CrapsackWorld: the The setting is an arguable one, but the age of the Domination that preceded it is constantly mentioned as one of these. Just having grown up there is said to go a fair way towards explaining Lady's outlook on life.
* CreepyChild: the The Daughter of Night.



* DeusExMachina: Quite literally at the end of [[spoiler:''Water Sleeps'']].

to:

* DeusExMachina: Quite literally at the end of [[spoiler:''Water [[spoiler: ''Water Sleeps'']].



* TheDragon: The Lady ''was'' this to the Dominator in her backstory. She herself doesn't have a clear example- Soulcatcher is the strongest Taken, but she's also probably the most treacherous and unstable (and therefore unreliable). In the end, the best fit is probably Limper. In the later books, Mogaba serves as TheDragon to Longshadow and later [[spoiler: Soulcatcher]].

to:

* TheDragon: The Lady ''was'' this to the Dominator in her backstory. She herself doesn't have a clear example- Soulcatcher is the strongest Taken, but she's also probably the most treacherous and unstable (and therefore unreliable). In the end, the best fit is probably Limper. In the later books, Mogaba serves as TheDragon to Longshadow and later to [[spoiler: Soulcatcher]].



* EpicFail: the attempt to capture [[spoiler: Mogaba]] culminates in the whole team rushing into a bedroom in the dark, setting off a trap and starting a wild shootout that kills nearly all the comandos, [[spoiler: Murgen]], three company wizards [[spoiler: including Howler]] and putting [[spoiler: Lady]] in a coma. As a cherry on top, Croaker knocks himself out during evacuation, trying to ram his flying pole through a reinforced window.

to:

* EpicFail: the The attempt to capture [[spoiler: Mogaba]] culminates in the whole team rushing into a bedroom in the dark, setting off a trap and starting a wild shootout that kills nearly all the comandos, commandos, [[spoiler: Murgen]], three company wizards [[spoiler: including Howler]] and putting [[spoiler: Lady]] in a coma. As a cherry on top, Croaker knocks himself out during evacuation, trying to ram his flying pole through a reinforced window.



** Another before they take Dejagore. Croaker [[spoiler: tells Lady they're going to bang in Stormshadow/Stormbringer's bed that night. They do. Also that's when the Daughter is concieved]]

to:

** Another before they take Dejagore. Croaker [[spoiler: tells Lady they're going to bang in Stormshadow/Stormbringer's bed that night. They do. Also that's when the Daughter is concieved]]concieved]].



** TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized - Played perfectly straight by the original Rebels, who KickTheDog on a routine basis.

to:

** TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized - TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized: Played perfectly straight by the original Rebels, who KickTheDog on a routine basis.
13th Nov '12 2:48:55 PM Opunaesala
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* AwesomeButImpractical: the flying poles. A heavy-duty FlyingBroomstick capable of transporting two people plus equipment, programable and usable by non-wizards thanks to an internal power source... which just happens to be the strongest explosive known in the setting.

to:

* AwesomeButImpractical: the The flying poles. A heavy-duty FlyingBroomstick capable of transporting two people plus equipment, programable and usable by non-wizards thanks to an internal power source... which just happens to be the strongest explosive known in the setting.



* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Quite a bit to go around, though [[spoiler:Soulcatcher]] is the queen of this trope.

to:

* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Quite a bit to go around, though [[spoiler:Soulcatcher]] [[spoiler: Soulcatcher]] is the queen of this trope.



* CuteAndPsycho: [[spoiler:Soulcatcher, again. Oh, is she ever...]]
* DeusExMachina: quite literally at the end of [[spoiler:''Water Sleeps'']].

to:

* CuteAndPsycho: [[spoiler:Soulcatcher, [[spoiler: Soulcatcher, again. Oh, is she ever...]]
* DeusExMachina: quite Quite literally at the end of [[spoiler:''Water Sleeps'']].



* FantasyCounterpartCulture: From the Books of the South onwards, the series takes place in a fantasy counterpart of India, complete with pseudo-Muslims and pseudo-Hindus. The latter even have the practice of suttee and their own thuggee cult (neither of which are even renamed). [[spoiler:Not to mention the goddess Kali in the form of Kina]].

to:

* FantasyCounterpartCulture: From the Books of the South onwards, the series takes place in a fantasy counterpart of India, complete with pseudo-Muslims and pseudo-Hindus. The latter even have the practice of suttee and their own thuggee cult (neither of which are even renamed). [[spoiler:Not [[spoiler: Not to mention the goddess Kali in the form of Kina]].



* {{Golem}} - Shivetya. [[spoiler:Also, the clay body of the Limper in ''The Silver Spike''.]]

to:

* {{Golem}} - {{Golem}}: Shivetya. [[spoiler:Also, [[spoiler: Also, the clay body of the Limper in ''The Silver Spike''.]]



* HijackedByGanon: Subverted rather amusingly with Longshadow. Given his habit of dressing in robes and a mask and not letting anyone see his face, along with the fact that one of the other Shadowmasters, Stormshadow, turned out to be a renegade Taken, Lady and Croaker assume he's someone they've faced before, probably another Taken. [[spoiler: Once they get the mask off, nobody recognizes him. Turns out his an OutsideContextVillain]].

to:

* HijackedByGanon: Subverted rather amusingly with Longshadow. Given his habit of dressing in robes and a mask and not letting anyone see his face, along with the fact that one of the other Shadowmasters, Stormshadow, turned out to be a renegade Taken, Lady and Croaker assume he's someone they've faced before, probably another Taken. [[spoiler: Once they get the mask off, nobody recognizes him. Turns out his he is an OutsideContextVillain]].



** Another before they take Dejagore. Croaker [[spoiler: tells Lady they're gonna bang in Stormshadow/Stormbringer's bed that night. They do. Also that's when the Daughter is concieved]]

to:

** Another before they take Dejagore. Croaker [[spoiler: tells Lady they're gonna going to bang in Stormshadow/Stormbringer's bed that night. They do. Also that's when the Daughter is concieved]]



* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:Despite having taken part in a scheme that caused the death of hundreds, and having personally killed several people, Smeds ends up owner of a brewery, with a pile of money hidden for tough days.]]
* KavorkaMan - Croaker, who, despite being far from handsome, [[spoiler:winds up married to former EvilOverlord Lady, and attracting the attentions of her sister, Soulcatcher.]]

to:

* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:Despite [[spoiler: Despite having taken part in a scheme that caused the death of hundreds, and having personally killed several people, Smeds ends up owner of a brewery, with a pile of money hidden for tough days.]]
* KavorkaMan - KavorkaMan: Croaker, who, despite being far from handsome, [[spoiler:winds [[spoiler: winds up married to former EvilOverlord Lady, and attracting the attentions of her sister, Soulcatcher.]]



** In fact, [[spoiler:all the magic users]] count to some degree; the more powerful, the more this trope fits, to the point where [[spoiler:they need to be diced up, cremated, and their ashes scattered]] to prevent their revival.
* {{OldSoldier}}: Croaker, and the rest of [[spoiler:the Old Guard after they're resurrected from a decades-long magical imprisonment in Water Sleeps]].
* OneWingedAngel: [[spoiler:The Limper, just before the end.]]

to:

** In fact, [[spoiler:all [[spoiler: all the magic users]] count to some degree; the more powerful, the more this trope fits, to the point where [[spoiler:they [[spoiler: they need to be diced up, cremated, and their ashes scattered]] to prevent their revival.
* {{OldSoldier}}: Croaker, and the rest of [[spoiler:the [[spoiler: the Old Guard after they're resurrected from a decades-long magical imprisonment in Water Sleeps]].
* OneWingedAngel: [[spoiler:The [[spoiler: The Limper, just before the end.]]



** GambitPileup - The series has several -- in the Books of the North the Dominator's plan slams headlong into the Lady's; in the Books of the South the Company's plans crash into Longshadow's, and ''everyone's'' plans get derailed by [[spoiler:Soulcatcher]].

to:

** GambitPileup - GambitPileup: The series has several -- in the Books of the North the Dominator's plan slams headlong into the Lady's; in the Books of the South the Company's plans crash into Longshadow's, and ''everyone's'' plans get derailed by [[spoiler:Soulcatcher]].



** After [[spoiler:The Lady loses her powers, all her Taken]] immediatly die; however, after [[spoiler:Dominator's soul gets sealed in a silver spike and it is acknowledged by characters that he can no longer project his will onto the world, the old Taken (created by Dominator)]] continue functioning perfectly;

to:

** After [[spoiler:The [[spoiler: The Lady loses her powers, all her Taken]] immediatly die; however, after [[spoiler:Dominator's [[spoiler: Dominator's soul gets sealed in a silver spike and it is acknowledged by characters that he can no longer project his will onto the world, the old Taken (created by Dominator)]] continue functioning perfectly;



** Even though Lady knows True Names of [[spoiler:Howler, Shapeshifter and Soulcatcher]], she never uses them, even though doing so would solve literally every single Company's problem. This problem gets acknowledged ''once'', when she is still [[spoiler:De-Powered]] and Goblin says that she won't ever tell him or One-Eye True Names of their enemies. After she [[spoiler:gets her powers back]]... Well, she still does nothing. And gets [[spoiler:sealed under the glittering plain, along with the majority of the Company]] for her troubles.

to:

** Even though Lady knows True Names of [[spoiler:Howler, [[spoiler: Howler, Shapeshifter and Soulcatcher]], she never uses them, even though doing so would solve literally every single Company's problem. This problem gets acknowledged ''once'', when she is still [[spoiler:De-Powered]] [[spoiler: De-Powered]] and Goblin says that she won't ever tell him or One-Eye True Names of their enemies. After she [[spoiler:gets [[spoiler: gets her powers back]]... Well, she still does nothing. And gets [[spoiler:sealed under the glittering plain, along with the majority of the Company]] for her troubles.



* UnreliableNarrator: The tale is framed as excerpts from the annals of the Black Company, as laid down by various members. Most of the narration is by Croaker, the Company's doctor and eventual leader. In later books the pen is held by the standard bearer, Murgen, his understudy Sleepy, and The Lady. All of them are, by their own admission, less than totally reliable (though Lady only admits that grudgingly).

to:

* UnreliableNarrator: The tale is framed as excerpts from the annals of the Black Company, as laid down by various members. Most of the narration is by Croaker, the Company's doctor and eventual leader. In later books the pen is held by the standard bearer, Murgen, his understudy Sleepy, and The Lady. All of them are, by their own admission, less than totally reliable (though Lady only admits that grudgingly).
13th Nov '12 2:33:21 PM Opunaesala
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* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Quite a bit to go around, though[[spoiler: Soulcatcher]] is the queen of this trope.

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* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Quite a bit to go around, though[[spoiler: Soulcatcher]] though [[spoiler:Soulcatcher]] is the queen of this trope.
13th Nov '12 2:29:48 PM Opunaesala
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* AbsentAliens - No elves, dwarves, goblins, orcs, or other fantasy species. There are some ''very'' weird nonhuman creatures in the Plain of Fear, but they've got a very minor role in the plot.
* ADayInTheLimelight - ''The Silver Spike'' follows the travels of Case, a minor character from ''The White Rose,'' and the adventures of the Black Company deserters.
* AntiMagic - [[spoiler: The White Rose.]]
* AnyoneCanDie - Anyone can, and most do.

to:

* AbsentAliens - AbsentAliens: No elves, dwarves, goblins, orcs, or other fantasy species. There are some ''very'' weird nonhuman creatures in the Plain of Fear, but they've got a very minor role in the plot.
* ADayInTheLimelight - ADayInTheLimelight: ''The Silver Spike'' follows the travels of Case, a minor character from ''The White Rose,'' and the adventures of the Black Company deserters.
* AntiMagic - AntiMagic: [[spoiler: The White Rose.]]
* AnyoneCanDie - AnyoneCanDie: Anyone can, and most do.



* ArtifactOfDoom - The Silver Spike.
* AwesomeButImpractical - the flying poles. A heavy-duty FlyingBroomstick capable of transporting two people plus equipment, programable and usable by non-wizards thanks to an internal power source... which just happens to be the strongest explosive known in the setting.
* BabiesEverAfter - [[spoiler: Implied to happen with Darling and Raven's Soldier companion, Case.]]
* BadassGrandpa - Many, as the Company gets older. Outside the Company, ''The Silver Spike'' gives us the mild-mannered but frighteningly badass Old Man Fish. Uncle Doj, a sort of warrior priest, also counts.
* BadassNormal - Damned near every member of the Company, save the Lady and the various mages.

to:

* ArtifactOfDoom - ArtifactOfDoom: The Silver Spike.
* AwesomeButImpractical - AwesomeButImpractical: the flying poles. A heavy-duty FlyingBroomstick capable of transporting two people plus equipment, programable and usable by non-wizards thanks to an internal power source... which just happens to be the strongest explosive known in the setting.
* BabiesEverAfter - BabiesEverAfter: [[spoiler: Implied to happen with Darling and Raven's Soldier companion, Case.]]
* BadassGrandpa - BadassGrandpa: Many, as the Company gets older. Outside the Company, ''The Silver Spike'' gives us the mild-mannered but frighteningly badass Old Man Fish. Uncle Doj, a sort of warrior priest, also counts.
* BadassNormal - BadassNormal: Damned near every member of the Company, save the Lady and the various mages.



* BenevolentBoss - Soulcatcher, of all people, in the first book treats the Black Company well for a Taken, generally being helpful and even building up a (limited) level of camaderie with Croaker.[[spoiler: She even spares Croaker and Raven after they witness part of her plot against the Lady. Of course, none of this stops her from repeatedly trying to off the Company once they get in her way...]]
* BigBad - Played with and often subverted - the protagonists are often seen to be serving the BigBad. But there's a lot of candidates for the role.

to:

* BenevolentBoss - BenevolentBoss: Soulcatcher, of all people, in the first book treats the Black Company well for a Taken, generally being helpful and even building up a (limited) level of camaderie with Croaker.[[spoiler: She even spares Croaker and Raven after they witness part of her plot against the Lady. Of course, none of this stops her from repeatedly trying to off the Company once they get in her way...]]
* BigBad - BigBad: Played with and often subverted - the protagonists are often seen to be serving the BigBad. But there's a lot of candidates for the role.



** BigBadWannabe: The Shadowmasters, most obviously Longshadow.
* BittersweetEnding - The last chapter of Soldiers Live. - which is still much better than you would expect from the rest of the saga.
* BlackAndGreyMorality - At the BEST of times. But only if you ignore the description of the trope and go a whole lot more subtle.
* BreakTheCutie - Though Croaker hardly qualifies as a "cutie", the events of the series gradually transform him into a [[ShootTheDog pragmatic]], [[ManipulativeBastard crafty]] soldier who [[ImplacableMan will not be stopped]] from reaching Khatovar and [[NecessarilyEvil will do whatever he must]] to protect [[spoiler: Lady]].

to:

** BigBadWannabe: BigBadWannabe - The Shadowmasters, most obviously Longshadow.
* BittersweetEnding - BittersweetEnding: The last chapter of Soldiers Live. - which is still much better than you would expect from the rest of the saga.
* BlackAndGreyMorality - BlackAndGreyMorality: At the BEST of times. But only if you ignore the description of the trope and go a whole lot more subtle.
* BreakTheCutie - BreakTheCutie: Though Croaker hardly qualifies as a "cutie", the events of the series gradually transform him into a [[ShootTheDog pragmatic]], [[ManipulativeBastard crafty]] soldier who [[ImplacableMan will not be stopped]] from reaching Khatovar and [[NecessarilyEvil will do whatever he must]] to protect [[spoiler: Lady]].



* CardGames - The life of a soldier is one of tedium punctuated by short periods of terror, and the Black Company old-timers fill that tedium with endless games of Tonk, an Afro-American version of rummy. The rules are on the Internet, and are playable with standard playing cards. Played for money, but the money's not really as much of the point as it seems.
* TheChosenOne - The White Rose. Subverted when, unable to find the ''real'' chosen one, the Rebel just grabs a random kid to fill the role for a morale boost.

to:

* CardGames - CardGames: The life of a soldier is one of tedium punctuated by short periods of terror, and the Black Company old-timers fill that tedium with endless games of Tonk, an Afro-American version of rummy. The rules are on the Internet, and are playable with standard playing cards. Played for money, but the money's not really as much of the point as it seems.
* TheChosenOne - TheChosenOne: The White Rose. Subverted when, unable to find the ''real'' chosen one, the Rebel just grabs a random kid to fill the role for a morale boost.



* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder - Quite a bit to go around, though[[spoiler: Soulcatcher]] is the queen of this trope.
* CombatPragmatist - The Company as a whole.
* ComedicSociopathy - The Company's main source of entertainment is a "feud" between two of their wizards.
* CrapsackWorld - the setting is an arguable one, but the age of the Domination that preceded it is constantly mentioned as one of these. Just having grown up there is said to go a fair way towards explaining Lady's outlook on life.
* CreepyChild - the Daughter of Night.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass - Shed. ''Everyone'', Croaker and Raven included, are amazed at the feats of cunning, skill, and general badassery the cowardly, self-pitying, unassuming innkeeper is capable of when pressed.

to:

* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder - ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Quite a bit to go around, though[[spoiler: Soulcatcher]] is the queen of this trope.
* CombatPragmatist - CombatPragmatist: The Company as a whole.
* ComedicSociopathy - ComedicSociopathy: The Company's main source of entertainment is a "feud" between two of their wizards.
* CrapsackWorld - CrapsackWorld: the setting is an arguable one, but the age of the Domination that preceded it is constantly mentioned as one of these. Just having grown up there is said to go a fair way towards explaining Lady's outlook on life.
* CreepyChild - CreepyChild: the Daughter of Night.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass - CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Shed. ''Everyone'', Croaker and Raven included, are amazed at the feats of cunning, skill, and general badassery the cowardly, self-pitying, unassuming innkeeper is capable of when pressed.



* CuteAndPsycho - [[spoiler:Soulcatcher, again. Oh, is she ever...]]
* DeusExMachina - quite literally at the end of [[spoiler:''Water Sleeps'']].

to:

* CuteAndPsycho - CuteAndPsycho: [[spoiler:Soulcatcher, again. Oh, is she ever...]]
* DeusExMachina - DeusExMachina: quite literally at the end of [[spoiler:''Water Sleeps'']].



* TheDragon - The Lady ''was'' this to the Dominator in her backstory. She herself doesn't have a clear example- Soulcatcher is the strongest Taken, but she's also probably the most treacherous and unstable (and therefore unreliable). In the end, the best fit is probably Limper. In the later books, Mogaba serves as TheDragon to Longshadow and later [[spoiler: Soulcatcher]].

to:

* TheDragon - TheDragon: The Lady ''was'' this to the Dominator in her backstory. She herself doesn't have a clear example- Soulcatcher is the strongest Taken, but she's also probably the most treacherous and unstable (and therefore unreliable). In the end, the best fit is probably Limper. In the later books, Mogaba serves as TheDragon to Longshadow and later [[spoiler: Soulcatcher]].



* DroppedABridgeOnHim - Raven gets an honorable mention for having pulled this off no less than three times. With progressively bigger bridges, I might add.

to:

* DroppedABridgeOnHim - DroppedABridgeOnHim: Raven gets an honorable mention for having pulled this off no less than three times. With progressively bigger bridges, I might add.



* TheEmpire - The Lady's Empire in the North, which the Black Company works for for a while.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt - The plot of one of the Big Bads, and actually happens to one of the worlds linked to the one most of the story takes place in due to a combination of the arrogance of one of the local overlords and the cunning of the Company.
* EnfantTerrible - [[spoiler: Lady and Croaker's]] daughter, who is [[spoiler: Kina, Goddess of Death]] reborn.
* EpicFail - the attempt to capture [[spoiler: Mogaba]] culminates in the whole team rushing into a bedroom in the dark, setting off a trap and starting a wild shootout that kills nearly all the comandos, [[spoiler: Murgen]], three company wizards [[spoiler: including Howler]] and putting [[spoiler: Lady]] in a coma. As a cherry on top, Croaker knocks himself out during evacuation, trying to ram his flying pole through a reinforced window.

to:

* TheEmpire - TheEmpire: The Lady's Empire in the North, which the Black Company works for for a while.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt - TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: The plot of one of the Big Bads, and actually happens to one of the worlds linked to the one most of the story takes place in due to a combination of the arrogance of one of the local overlords and the cunning of the Company.
* EnfantTerrible - EnfantTerrible: [[spoiler: Lady and Croaker's]] daughter, who is [[spoiler: Kina, Goddess of Death]] reborn.
* EpicFail - EpicFail: the attempt to capture [[spoiler: Mogaba]] culminates in the whole team rushing into a bedroom in the dark, setting off a trap and starting a wild shootout that kills nearly all the comandos, [[spoiler: Murgen]], three company wizards [[spoiler: including Howler]] and putting [[spoiler: Lady]] in a coma. As a cherry on top, Croaker knocks himself out during evacuation, trying to ram his flying pole through a reinforced window.



* EvenEvilHasStandards - While the Company as a whole has a tendency to take morally ambiguous contracts, they still have standards: they take exception to killing women and children, even though one of their employers' lackeys doesn't have the same qualms.

to:

* EvenEvilHasStandards - EvenEvilHasStandards: While the Company as a whole has a tendency to take morally ambiguous contracts, they still have standards: they take exception to killing women and children, even though one of their employers' lackeys doesn't have the same qualms.



* EvilOverlord - Played with in Lady [[spoiler: before she quits]], who ''is'' ruthless, but genuinely tries to be the lesser of two evils.

to:

* EvilOverlord - EvilOverlord: Played with in Lady [[spoiler: before she quits]], who ''is'' ruthless, but genuinely tries to be the lesser of two evils.



* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin - The Taken: Soulcatcher steals souls, Shapeshifter changes shapes, The Howler howls a lot, The Limper limps... you get the idea.

to:

* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin - ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: The Taken: Soulcatcher steals souls, Shapeshifter changes shapes, The Howler howls a lot, The Limper limps... you get the idea.



* FantasticRacism - The Nyueng Bao don't seem to like non-Nyueng Bao very much.

to:

* FantasticRacism - FantasticRacism: The Nyueng Bao don't seem to like non-Nyueng Bao very much.



* HubLevel - The Plane of Glittering Stone; an artifact created by the gods in times long past to link sixteen worlds together.

to:

* HubLevel - HubLevel: The Plane of Glittering Stone; an artifact created by the gods in times long past to link sixteen worlds together.



* HumansAreTheRealMonsters - Every last bad guy in the series is a human being, and the good guys aren't all that good.
* IfWeSurviveThis - Croaker makes one to Lady before the big battle in The White Rose, which he actually comes through on.

to:

* HumansAreTheRealMonsters - HumansAreTheRealMonsters: Every last bad guy in the series is a human being, and the good guys aren't all that good.
* IfWeSurviveThis - IfWeSurviveThis: Croaker makes one to Lady before the big battle in The White Rose, which he actually comes through on.



* IKnowYourTrueName - The true name of a wizard can be used to destroy their power. Thus, many wizards go to great lengths to make sure that nobody knows it, such as killing everyone who knew them before, and leaving complex misdirections as to their origins.

to:

* IKnowYourTrueName - IKnowYourTrueName: The true name of a wizard can be used to destroy their power. Thus, many wizards go to great lengths to make sure that nobody knows it, such as killing everyone who knew them before, and leaving complex misdirections as to their origins.



* [[InfinityPlusOneSword Infinity Plus One Spear]] - In this case, two of them: the Lance of Passion, an artifact the Company has carried from its origins in Khatovar. Also One-Eye's spear, a magical weapon that was the masterpiece and legacy of one of the Company's mages, designed to kill archmages and magical beasts, it worked far better than advertised in the end. [[spoiler: It ends up killing a god, albeit with a bit of explosive help.]]
* KarmaHoudini - [[spoiler:Despite having taken part in a scheme that caused the death of hundreds, and having personally killed several people, Smeds ends up owner of a brewery, with a pile of money hidden for tough days.]]

to:

* [[InfinityPlusOneSword Infinity Plus One Spear]] - Spear]]: In this case, two of them: the Lance of Passion, an artifact the Company has carried from its origins in Khatovar. Also One-Eye's spear, a magical weapon that was the masterpiece and legacy of one of the Company's mages, designed to kill archmages and magical beasts, it worked far better than advertised in the end. [[spoiler: It ends up killing a god, albeit with a bit of explosive help.]]
* KarmaHoudini - KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:Despite having taken part in a scheme that caused the death of hundreds, and having personally killed several people, Smeds ends up owner of a brewery, with a pile of money hidden for tough days.]]



* KillEmAll - Though only at a few key points in the series.
* LaResistance - Subverted with The Rebel, who are actually worse than what they're rebelling against. Played straight when [[spoiler: Darling and the Company take over the rebellion.]]

to:

* KillEmAll - KillEmAll: Though only at a few key points in the series.
* LaResistance - LaResistance: Subverted with The Rebel, who are actually worse than what they're rebelling against. Played straight when [[spoiler: Darling and the Company take over the rebellion.]]



* LiteraryAgentHypothesis - The original trilogy is supposed to be Croaker's section of the Annals of the Black Company. Given his central role, his personal appearance in the right place at the right time to observe plot-essential points, and a little conversation in the third book about how his historical writing style is different from the Northern tradition in how much he puts himself into the history (i.e. write in first person), and it seems Glen Cook is trying to raise this idea.
* LoveRedeems - [[spoiler: Lady]], thanks to Croaker.
* MayDecemberRomance- Played with in the relationship between Croaker and [[spoiler: Lady]]. He looks older than she does, but she's ReallySevenHundredYearsOld.
* MoralityPet - Darling for Raven. Inverted in that it makes Raven overall worse, not better. As Croaker muses in ''Shadows Linger'', Raven "concentrates" all good in him for Darling, and so acts more evil to everyone else.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast - The Dominator, Longshadow, Shapeshifter, Soulcatcher, Stormshadow, Howler, Limper, the Hanged Man... Every villain worth remembering has a suitably intimidating name.
* NotQuiteDead - [[spoiler: Most of the original Taken]], although [[spoiler: The Limper]] in particular simply revels in this trope. [[spoiler: Croaker]] also joins the club after ''Dreams of Steel.''

to:

* LiteraryAgentHypothesis - LiteraryAgentHypothesis: The original trilogy is supposed to be Croaker's section of the Annals of the Black Company. Given his central role, his personal appearance in the right place at the right time to observe plot-essential points, and a little conversation in the third book about how his historical writing style is different from the Northern tradition in how much he puts himself into the history (i.e. write in first person), and it seems Glen Cook is trying to raise this idea.
* LoveRedeems - LoveRedeems: [[spoiler: Lady]], thanks to Croaker.
* MayDecemberRomance- MayDecemberRomance: Played with in the relationship between Croaker and [[spoiler: Lady]]. He looks older than she does, but she's ReallySevenHundredYearsOld.
* MoralityPet - MoralityPet: Darling for Raven. Inverted in that it makes Raven overall worse, not better. As Croaker muses in ''Shadows Linger'', Raven "concentrates" all good in him for Darling, and so acts more evil to everyone else.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast - NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: The Dominator, Longshadow, Shapeshifter, Soulcatcher, Stormshadow, Howler, Limper, the Hanged Man... Every villain worth remembering has a suitably intimidating name.
* NotQuiteDead - NotQuiteDead: [[spoiler: Most of the original Taken]], although [[spoiler: The Limper]] in particular simply revels in this trope. [[spoiler: Croaker]] also joins the club after ''Dreams of Steel.''



* {{OldSoldier}} Croaker, and the rest of [[spoiler:the Old Guard]] after [[spoiler: they're resurrected from a decades-long magical]] imprisonment in [[spoiler: Water Sleeps]].
* OneWingedAngel - [[spoiler:The Limper, just before the end.]]
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname - ''Everyone'' who's important in this series goes by a nickname of some sort based vaguely on their character, frequently ironically. For example: the company doc is named Croaker, and its nastiest platoon leader is named Mercy. It's a rule in the Company, because everyone enlisted must leave whatever past they have behind them. Most wizards, on the other hand, use a nickname because their true name is the source of the powers.

to:

* {{OldSoldier}} {{OldSoldier}}: Croaker, and the rest of [[spoiler:the Old Guard]] Guard after [[spoiler: they're resurrected from a decades-long magical]] magical imprisonment in [[spoiler: Water Sleeps]].
* OneWingedAngel - OneWingedAngel: [[spoiler:The Limper, just before the end.]]
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname - OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: ''Everyone'' who's important in this series goes by a nickname of some sort based vaguely on their character, frequently ironically. For example: the company doc is named Croaker, and its nastiest platoon leader is named Mercy. It's a rule in the Company, because everyone enlisted must leave whatever past they have behind them. Most wizards, on the other hand, use a nickname because their true name is the source of the powers.



* OurWerewolvesAreDifferent - The Forvalaka - terrifyingly deadly monsters, generally described as 'undead were-leopards.' Blindingly fast and capable of healing nearly any wound in seconds, they require high order sorcery to have even a chance to defeat. Some wizards can take their forms to devastating effect, most notably Shapeshifter and his apprentice.

to:

* OurWerewolvesAreDifferent - OurWerewolvesAreDifferent: The Forvalaka - terrifyingly deadly monsters, generally described as 'undead were-leopards.' Blindingly fast and capable of healing nearly any wound in seconds, they require high order sorcery to have even a chance to defeat. Some wizards can take their forms to devastating effect, most notably Shapeshifter and his apprentice.



* ThePlan- So very many. Used by the Black Company themselves, as well as many other places. Often results in...

to:

* ThePlan- ThePlan: So very many. Used by the Black Company themselves, as well as many other places. Often results in...



* RedemptionEqualsDeath - Often subverted interestingly, often averted, occasionally played straight.
* RedOniBlueOni - Soulcatcher, being capricious and more conventionally insane, is red to Lady's blue. It's mentioned that this makes Lady the more powerful of the two when she puts her mind to something, but on the whole it's hard to say which is more dangerous.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething - The Prahbrindrah Drah and his sister, as this exchange illustrates:

to:

* RedemptionEqualsDeath - RedemptionEqualsDeath: Often subverted interestingly, often averted, occasionally played straight.
* RedOniBlueOni - RedOniBlueOni: Soulcatcher, being capricious and more conventionally insane, is red to Lady's blue. It's mentioned that this makes Lady the more powerful of the two when she puts her mind to something, but on the whole it's hard to say which is more dangerous.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething - RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: The Prahbrindrah Drah and his sister, as this exchange illustrates:



* ScaryImpracticalArmor - The Lifetaker and Widowmaker outfits. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that the whole point is for the outfits to be scary [[spoiler: and Lady has laid on the spellwork to make them protective in spite of their impracticality.]]
* SealedEvilInACan - The Barrowland could be considered to be an aisle in a supermarket for all the evils trapped there.

to:

* ScaryImpracticalArmor - ScaryImpracticalArmor: The Lifetaker and Widowmaker outfits. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that the whole point is for the outfits to be scary [[spoiler: and Lady has laid on the spellwork to make them protective in spite of their impracticality.]]
* SealedEvilInACan - SealedEvilInACan: The Barrowland could be considered to be an aisle in a supermarket for all the evils trapped there.



* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism - Waaaaay towards the cynical side.

to:

* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism - SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Waaaaay towards the cynical side.



* SquishyWizard - Inverted. Low level wizards like Tom-Tom and Goblin live much longer than usual, high level wizards like the Limper are almost impossible to kill due to their unnatural vitality.
* TheStarscream - The Taken are basically a Starscream Squadron. Then there's [[spoiler: Mogaba and Narayan]], who both stab their superiors in the back for their own ends. Subverted by [[spoiler: Blade]], who betrays [[spoiler: his]] employers when [[spoiler: Croaker comes back from the dead...but later it's revealed to be part of a grand military maneuver by none other than Croaker himself]].
* SweetPollyOliver - [[spoiler: Sleepy]]. The Company later finds out, but nobody cares beyond changing the pronouns.
* TookALevelInBadass - Suvrin is introduced as a timid little fat guy leading a poorly trained group of soldiers, who quickly surrenders to the Company because he knows he doesn't have a hope for beating them. By the end of the series, [[spoiler: he becomes the new Captain]].
* TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty - Company military doctrine is based around the concept of fighting dirty. Closely connected with CombatPragmatist above.
* UnfortunateName - “My name is Case. Philodendron Case. Thanks to my Ma.”
* UnreliableNarrator - The tale is framed as excerpts from the annals of the Black Company, as laid down by various members. Most of the narration is by Croaker, the Company's doctor and eventual leader. In later books the pen is held by the standard bearer, Murgen, his understudy Sleepy, and Croaker's love interest the Lady of Charm. All of them are, by their own admission, less than totally reliable (though Lady only admits that grudgingly).
* TheVoiceless - Silent, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin as you might expect.]]

to:

* SquishyWizard - SquishyWizard: Inverted. Low level wizards like Tom-Tom and Goblin live much longer than usual, high level wizards like the Limper are almost impossible to kill due to their unnatural vitality.
* TheStarscream - TheStarscream: The Taken are basically a Starscream Squadron. Then there's [[spoiler: Mogaba and Narayan]], who both stab their superiors in the back for their own ends. Subverted by [[spoiler: Blade]], who betrays [[spoiler: his]] employers when [[spoiler: Croaker comes back from the dead...but later it's revealed to be part of a grand military maneuver by none other than Croaker himself]].
* SweetPollyOliver - SweetPollyOliver: [[spoiler: Sleepy]]. The Company later finds out, but nobody cares beyond changing the pronouns.
* TookALevelInBadass - TookALevelInBadass: Suvrin is introduced as a timid little fat guy leading a poorly trained group of soldiers, who quickly surrenders to the Company because he knows he doesn't have a hope for beating them. By the end of the series, [[spoiler: he becomes the new Captain]].
* TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty - TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty: Company military doctrine is based around the concept of fighting dirty. Closely connected with CombatPragmatist above.
* UnfortunateName - UnfortunateName: “My name is Case. Philodendron Case. Thanks to my Ma.”
* UnreliableNarrator - UnreliableNarrator: The tale is framed as excerpts from the annals of the Black Company, as laid down by various members. Most of the narration is by Croaker, the Company's doctor and eventual leader. In later books the pen is held by the standard bearer, Murgen, his understudy Sleepy, and Croaker's love interest the Lady of Charm.The Lady. All of them are, by their own admission, less than totally reliable (though Lady only admits that grudgingly).
* TheVoiceless - TheVoiceless: Silent, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin as you might expect.]]



* VoiceOfTheLegion - Soulcatcher. (But serial, not parallel. She only uses one voice at a time, but she's got a lot of them, and switches every sentence or two.)
* WarIsHell - In the world where MightMakesRight and even GreyAndGreyMorality cases rarely come without booby traps attached, it's to be expected.
* WhatTheHellHero - Croaker arranges so that an entire world is invaded by more than a million killer shadows, because he doesn't like the dictators controlling it. Thus arranging the death of more innocents than all Company enemies do throughout the books combined.
* WifeHusbandry- Subverted with Raven and Darling. He loves her and cares for her in place of the children he abandoned, but when she reaches puberty and begins to become sexually attracted to him, [[spoiler: Raven fakes his own death and takes off]].
* WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity - The more powerful a wizard is, the more dangerous their quirks are, usually including being power-drunk and ''always'' including a lot of paranoia (the Lady even acknowledges the latter).


to:

* VoiceOfTheLegion - VoiceOfTheLegion: Soulcatcher. (But serial, not parallel. She only uses one voice at a time, but she's got a lot of them, and switches every sentence or two.)
* WarIsHell - WarIsHell: In the world where MightMakesRight and even GreyAndGreyMorality cases rarely come without booby traps attached, it's to be expected.
* WhatTheHellHero - WhatTheHellHero: Croaker arranges so that an entire world is invaded by more than a million killer shadows, because he doesn't like the dictators controlling it. Thus arranging the death of more innocents than all Company enemies do throughout the books combined.
* WifeHusbandry- WifeHusbandry: Subverted with Raven and Darling. He loves her and cares for her in place of the children he abandoned, but when she reaches puberty and begins to become sexually attracted to him, [[spoiler: Raven fakes his own death and takes off]].
* WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity - WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity: The more powerful a wizard is, the more dangerous their quirks are, usually including being power-drunk and ''always'' including a lot of paranoia (the Lady even acknowledges the latter).

30th Aug '12 2:17:15 PM mlsmithca
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* DidNotDoTheResearch- Cook describes Soulcatcher as wearing a morion which covers the Taken's face completely. Pretty much the defining characteristic of that kind of helmet in real life is that it's open-faced and doesn't conceal one's visage at all.
** Not exactly. There are variants of the basic morion that include cheek guards/face plates. Granted, the whole issue could be side-stepped by just picking a different helmet.
26th Jul '12 11:35:23 AM MasterTMO
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Added DiffLines:

*** Probably due to the True Name being the universal lynchpin of all wizards' powers in series, therefore all wizards go to great pains to make sure their's is hidden, such as wiping out everyone from their town who was alive when they were born (or worse). The Lady's true name was probably long buried by the time he married her.


Added DiffLines:

*** I would have to double-check, but I believe it mentions that she specifically set up the spell controlling her Taken so that if she died or lost her powers, they would too. The Dominator apparently did not include that clause in his.
26th Jul '12 8:13:45 AM Dariush
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Added DiffLines:

* PlotHole: A number of fairly serious ones:
** Dominator somehow manages not to know the Lady's (who just happens to be ''his wife'') name and keeps guessing it (incorrectly) throughout the first books;
** After [[spoiler:The Lady loses her powers, all her Taken]] immediatly die; however, after [[spoiler:Dominator's soul gets sealed in a silver spike and it is acknowledged by characters that he can no longer project his will onto the world, the old Taken (created by Dominator)]] continue functioning perfectly;
** Even though Lady knows True Names of [[spoiler:Howler, Shapeshifter and Soulcatcher]], she never uses them, even though doing so would solve literally every single Company's problem. This problem gets acknowledged ''once'', when she is still [[spoiler:De-Powered]] and Goblin says that she won't ever tell him or One-Eye True Names of their enemies. After she [[spoiler:gets her powers back]]... Well, she still does nothing. And gets [[spoiler:sealed under the glittering plain, along with the majority of the Company]] for her troubles.
This list shows the last 10 events of 76. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.BlackCompany