History Main / HoratioHornblower

26th Feb '15 12:07:51 AM maxwellsilver
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* Series/HoratioHornblower: The A&E miniseries starring Ioan Gruffudd. Loosely adapted from ''Mr Midshipman Hornblower''', ''Lieutenant Hornblower'' and (''very'' loosely) ''Hornblower and the Hotspur''.

to:

* Series/HoratioHornblower: The A&E miniseries starring Ioan Gruffudd. Loosely adapted from ''Mr Midshipman Hornblower''', Hornblower'', ''Lieutenant Hornblower'' and (''very'' loosely) ''Hornblower and the Hotspur''.
26th Feb '15 12:07:38 AM maxwellsilver
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* Film/HoratioHornblower: The 1951 film adapted from ''The Happy Return'', ''A Ship of the Line'' and ''Flying Colours'' and starring Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo.
* Series/HoratioHornblower: The A&E miniseries starring Ioan Gruffudd.

to:

* Film/HoratioHornblower: The 1951 film adapted starring Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo. Adapted from ''The Happy Return'', ''A Ship of the Line'' and ''Flying Colours'' and starring Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo.
Colours''.
* Series/HoratioHornblower: The A&E miniseries starring Ioan Gruffudd.
Gruffudd. Loosely adapted from ''Mr Midshipman Hornblower''', ''Lieutenant Hornblower'' and (''very'' loosely) ''Hornblower and the Hotspur''.
25th Feb '15 11:55:05 PM maxwellsilver
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* Series/HoratioHornblower: The A&E miniseries starring Ioan Gruffurd.

to:

* Series/HoratioHornblower: The A&E miniseries starring Ioan Gruffurd.
Gruffudd.
25th Feb '15 11:54:49 PM maxwellsilver
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* Series/HoratioHornblower: The A&E miniseries starring Ioan Grifford.

to:

* Series/HoratioHornblower: The A&E miniseries starring Ioan Grifford.
Gruffurd.
25th Feb '15 11:43:57 PM maxwellsilver
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* Series/HorarioHornblower: The A&E miniseries starring Ioan Grifford.

to:

* Series/HorarioHornblower: Series/HoratioHornblower: The A&E miniseries starring Ioan Grifford.
25th Feb '15 11:43:42 PM maxwellsilver
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[[redirect:Literature/HoratioHornblower]]

to:

[[redirect:Literature/HoratioHornblower]]Horatio Hornblower can refer to:

* Literature/HoratioHornblower: The series of novels and short stories written by C.S. Forester.
* Film/HoratioHornblower: The 1951 film adapted from ''The Happy Return'', ''A Ship of the Line'' and ''Flying Colours'' and starring Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo.
* Series/HorarioHornblower: The A&E miniseries starring Ioan Grifford.

If you were led here by a link from another page, please change it so it points at the correct page.
----
6th Feb '13 7:19:13 AM Diask
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->''"I recommend Forester to everyone literate I know."''
-->-- '''Creator/ErnestHemingway'''

A series of stories of a British member of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. Written by C.S. Forester.

Hornblower goes from midshipman to admiral, and from commoner to lord, over the course of the stories, which were written out of chronological order. They lack the exquisitely detailed sailing lore of the {{Aubrey-Maturin}} series, which may make them more accessible to the average reader.

The character of Horatio Hornblower was inspired by the career of real-life Thomas Cochrane.

'''Adaptations:'''
* ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043379/ Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N.]]'' (b&w) (1951). Starring GregoryPeck in his prime in the titular role. Virginia Mayo played Lady Barbara Wellesley.
* A [[Series/HoratioHornblower TV miniseries]] from 1999 to 2003.

'''The inspiration for such modern works as:'''
* A little-known series called ''Franchise/StarTrek'' has been described as "Horatio Hornblower [[InSpace IN SPACE!]]".
* The Hugo and Nebula nominated science fiction work, ''TheMoteInGodsEye''.
* Science fiction writer A. Bertram Chandler based his John Grimes character on Hornblower, even making Hornblower a distant relative.
* Literature/HonorHarrington - A SpaceOpera novel series by DavidWeber with a female version of Horatio Hornblower. The [=HH=] initials are not a coincidence. Author David Weber actually HangsALampshade on this in the sixth book when he shows the title character reading one of the Hornblower books.
* Patrick O'Brian's {{Aubrey-Maturin}} series. Takes place during the same time frame as Horatio Hornblower. Not sci-fi.
** Though, DavidDrake's ''Literature/{{RCN}}'' series, which are Aubrey/female-Maturin InSpace, [[CaptainObvious are sci-fi]].
* Dudley Pope's Ramage series. It's mentioned that Ramage and Hornblower were junior officers on the same ship for a time (Pope and Forester were friends). Not sci-fi.
* Alexander Kent's Richard Bolitho series. Not sci-fi.
* The ''{{Sharpe}}'' series of novels and TV movies, starring a soldier in the Napoleonic wars, sort of a land-based equivalent of Hornblower.
* The ''GauntsGhosts'' series of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' tie-in novels, being based on ''Sharpe'', are thus in turn based on Hornblower.
----
!!These stories provide examples of:
* AccidentalTruth: Hornblower tells one of these about Napoleon's death (and beats himself up about it).
* AGodAmI: El Supremo, who is Hornblower's primary ally [[spoiler: and later the primary villain]] in ''BeatToQuarters''.
* AnachronicOrder: ''Quarters, Line, Colours, Commodore, Lord, Midshipman, Lieutenant, Atropos, West Indies, Hotspur, Crisis'' (unfinished)
** In chronological order, these are books 6-10, 1-2, 5, 11, 3-4.
* AnyoneCanDie: Hornblower himself, obviously, [[ForegoneConclusion makes it to the end of the series.]] There are no guarantees against anyone else being killed or seriously injured.
* AnArmAndALeg: [[spoiler:During the climax of ''Flying Colours'', Lt. Bush loses a leg.]]
* AuthorExistenceFailure: ''Crisis'' was left unfinished when Forrester died.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking
* AwesomenessByAnalysis: This seems to be Hornblower's main method of gambling, seamanship, and war.
** In one incident Hornblower challenges a man known to be a better shot then he to a DuelToTheDeath with the understanding that there will be one pistol randomly loaded, neither will know which one and the contestants will choose it unknowing and fight at point blank. Thus giving a fifty-fifty chance (better than his odds, Hornblower figures, than in any fair fight). [[spoiler:Not knowing that the captain, not wanting to lose either midshipman, arranged for ''both'' guns to be left unloaded.]]
* {{Badass}}
** BadassBookworm: Hornblower is a seadog who uses math skills and meticulous research.
* BadassArmy: The Royal Navy
* BattleButler: Brown was originally Hornblower's Coxswain, became his servant, then became his coxswain again.
* BeAsUnhelpfulAsPossible: You'd think the, say, Spaniards would give the British Navy all possible assistance when trying to retake crucial military positions. Nope. Heck, everyone outside the British Navy seems slightly or greatly incompetent, and a good deal of the people within.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: [[spoiler:Flying Colors ends with Hornblower getting everything he's wanted; wealth, fame, prestige, a title, and the way clear to marry Lady Barbara. He starts hating it before the end of the book.]]
* BeenThereShapedHistory: Inverted. The author deliberately keeps Horatio out of the way of most of the major historical events of the time. One would imagine this gets harder as Hornblower progresses up the ranks, eventually ending up as a Admiral.
** The first Hornblower book written places Captain Hornblower in the Pacific in 1808. This was specifically to avoid him having any involvement with the Peninsular Wars or the war against Napoleon.
*** There is one short story that takes place during the War of 1812, where Hornblower has a brush with an American ship. [[spoiler:Since he's on a barely-armed ship to take the King on a day trip, he evades battle.]]
** He never becomes admiral himself until peace. In ''Commodore Hornblower'' it is implied that he helped bring about the invasion of Russia and thus the downfall of Napoleon. In the (unfinished) ''Hornblower and the Crisis'' he helps lure the enemy into the Battle of Trafalgar with a false message.
* ButIReadABookAboutIt: Hornblower considers constant research both a duty and a pleasure. It enhances his BadassBookworm status.
* ByronicHero: Hornblower is an honorable, dutiful, and humble man who acts with great courage under fire. However, he's also a brooding, melancholic mess whose humility verges on self-loathing, often shocked that people might care about him. Underneath his stoic facade is a world-class worry wort, and his courage under fire (in spite of his fears) is matched only by his cowardice in matters of the heart. He's also tone-deaf and never gets over seasickness, much to his humiliation.
* TheCaptain: Guess who. [[spoiler:Bush is eventually promoted captain at the end of ''Flying Colours'', in keeping with the odd custom of complimenting distinguished captains by promoting their first lieutenants]].
* CatchPhrase: "Ha... h'm." [[spoiler:Lady Barbara's teasing compels him to stop after he marries her.]]
* CardGames: Hornblower is himself a great fan of the game of whist, and will often play it to pass the time during stressful situations, such as during a SternChase, giving him something to think about other than things he currently can't control. Forester often describes the games [[MundaneMadeAwesome in great detail]].
** In ''Mr. Midshipman Hornblower'', Hornblower finds an opportunity to challenge his [[TheBully tormentor]] to a duel when the latter angrily implies that Hornblower is cheating (in front of officers from another ship) and then pointedly refuses to apologize. [[spoiler: The duel is {{subverted}} by the ship's surgeon, who does not load either pistol.]]
* ChildSoldiers: Midshipmen and powder boys.
* CliffHanger: The ending of [[spoiler:Flying Colors and Ship of the Line]].
* {{Conscription}}: Unfortunately, C. S. Forester seems to have fallen for the modern misconception that the vast majority of seamen on British ships were conscripts [[PressGanged dragged from their homes and family-supporting livelihoods by press gangs]] or criminals given a pardon if they join the King's service.[[hottip:*: The actual practise of impressment was strictly limited to homebound merchant crews, with exemptions such as East Indiamen and coal ships. The admiralty, in fact, hated impressment more than anyone, including those affected (who, being legally limited to merchant sailors, considered it an occupational hazard), and only used it because there was no other viable option. Criminals were offered a pardon in exchange for service, although more often than not they were rejected by the Navy, for obvious reasons.]] Hornblower presses outbound East India Company sailors who were legally exempt in ''Ship of the Line'', and he also releases French prisoners he'd promised freedom in ''Flying Colours''.
* DeadSidekick: Hornblower sees the loss of several protégés: [[spoiler:Wellard in ''Lieutenant Hornblower'', Longley in ''Ship of the Line'', Mound in ''The Commodore', and finally, Bush himself.]]
* DeathByChildbirth: [[spoiler:Maria, with Richard, their third child.]]
* DeathOfTheHypotenuse: [[spoiler: [[BookEnds Admiral Leighton and Maria Hornblower]]]] die in ''Flying Colours'', and [[spoiler: Marie Ladon]] is killed in ''Lord Hornblower''.
* DeathSeeker: In the very first ''Midshipman'' story, Hornblower feels that getting shot dead in his duel would be equally as desirable as victory, because both outcomes mean he doesn't have to deal with his tormentor anymore.
* DeusExMachina: Played with by having the [=DXMs=] usually be actual historical events. If the series was an entirely original work, people would doubtless complain about the author pulling them from his unmentionables.
* DieForOurShip: Maria and Lady Barbara's husband. [[spoiler:In-universe.]]
* DirtyCoward: Seaman Grimes, from ''Hotspur''. More sad and pathetic than evil, though.
* DramaticIrony: Hornblower spends a good portion of ''Commodore'' worrying about Napoleon's unstoppable advance into Russia. Any moderately knowledgeable reader knows [[spoiler:Boney gets his rear handed to him by the Russian winter. Though the Russian Czar basically flipping him and his entire invasion off ("Surrender? Never.") helped too.]]
* DressingAsTheEnemy: Hornblower's ruse flying the French tricolour in ''Ship of the Line'', and later when Hornblower himself dresses as a Dutch customers officer in his escape from France.
* DrinkOrder: Contrary to the [[SpotOfTea common English stereotype]], Hornblower prefers to drink coffee rather than tea, or at least whatever passes for coffee depending on supplies (in one book, the coffee is described as being made with crushed burnt bread, with enough sugar to mask the taste.) This was possibly because most of the readers of the ''Hornblower'' series were American. Or alternatively, because tea was expensive and Hornblower was poor.
** Some consideration though should also be given to the hypothesis that Forester knew enough history to be very well aware that coffee was enormously fashionable in England for many years, and London in particular was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffeehouse#Coffee_in_Europe lousy]] with coffee-houses in the 1700s.
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: [[spoiler:Bush dies offscreen while leading a raid on a French munitions stockpile, with no foreshadowing for it whatsoever, after having gone through most of the series at Hornblower's side.]] And he's not the only one. Several likeable characters die entirely off-screen. ''[[JustifiedTrope Because it's a war.]]''
* DuelToTheDeath: An accepted practice at the time the books take place, which allows Hornblower to challenge a bullying midshipman during his first voyage. He asks one gun be loaded and the other not so as to compensate for his dubious aiming skills. However, challenging a higher-ranking officer is illegal ([[KlingonPromotion for obvious reasons]]).
* DuringTheWar: Set during the Napoleonic Wars.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Readers following the series in chronological order rather than publishing order may scratch their heads when the opening paragraph of ''Beat to Quarters'', the first published book, suggests that Lt. Bush has only just gotten to know Captain Hornblower in the last few months.
** CharacterizationMarchesOn: Hornblower is also a lot more ill-tempered and choleric in his first book too, although that can be more easily rationalized by being older and more cynical.
* EmbarrassingNickname: His first wife Maria calls him "Horry", much to his dismay. In the midst of a battle, an unidentified member of Hornblower's crew refers to him as "Old Horny", but the officers are unable to figure out which sailor said it.
** Worse still, Hornblower regards his ''actual'' name as pompous and ludicrous, and avoids using it whenever possible, preferring to sign his personal (as opposed to official) correspondence with a discreet 'H'.
* AFatherToHisMen: Not Hornblower, Sir Edward Pellew.
* GenreSavvy: Hornblower is acutely aware of how his every move will appear, which is strange, because this is the book that started the genre. Hilariously, he has trouble believing anyone could like him, despite evidence to the contrary. Even when he ''does'' believe it, he finds some way to make himself rationalize or downplay it.
** In ''Hotspur'', his ship is being fired upon by shore artillery. He hears noise aloft, and a howitzer shell falls to the deck at his feet. He takes a fraction of an instant to realize that there's about a quarter-inch left on the fuse before he hurries to extinguish it. When he stands up, he sees everyone on the deck staring at him, and realizes he's about to become ShroudedInMyth.
** He has his men dance the hornpipe during a long battle specifically because it will keep morale up. The narration goes on to describe how the battle would become legendary because of it. It also describes how one man kept dancing even after someone's brains were smashed out by a cannon ball and blown onto him.
* GoodWithNumbers: Hornblower is ''very'' good with numbers.
* GuileHero: Horatio steps into this role at different points over his career, but [[BuffySpeak the guiliest]] would probably be ''Lieutenant Hornblower.'' His rank is thoroughly unremarkable (fourth lieutenant), but he's able to persuade his superiors to implement pretty much all of his plans.
* HavingAGayOldTime: Invoked by the author. Every time someone is apparently racist toward French, Spaniards, Italians, or anyone not White and British, take a shot.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Horatio's ship]] at the end of ''Flying Colors''.
** Not to mention [[spoiler:Bush blowing up the powder barge]].
* HonorBeforeReason: Deconstructed, as Hornblower is ''profoundly'' aware of the difference between the right thing to do and the logical thing to do. On several occasions, he's actually dickered over courses of action, then justifiably angsted afterward.
* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace - There are a handful of gun-handling failures throughout the series. At one point, Hornblower narrowly remembers to put his fllintlock on half-cock before putting it into his belt, which would likely have blown his genitals off.
* [[IrritationIsTheSincerestFormOfFlattery Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery]]: In ''Commodore'', Hornblower realizes, with amusement, that Mound is modeling his aloof, cool-under-fire attitude on Hornblower's own.[[hottip:*:Irritation doesn't actually happen, but the trope named 'imitation' doesn't apply to fiction.]]
* ImprobableAge: Inverted, since Hornblower, when the series begins, is improbably OLD to be a beginning midshipsman. He is in his late teens, while his messmates went to sea at age 12 or thereabouts.
* IndyPloy: Hornblower has to make plans up as he goes along to get out of the various scrapes he gets into.
* InSeriesNickname: "Horny" Hornblower, as well as the various other real-life officers with nicknames.
* IronicBirthday: Hornblower was born on the 4th of July 1776, the same day as the United States, which is remarked upon a few times.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Bush is a hardass who brooks no incompetence or disrespect and doesn't question the Navy's draconian discipline, but he takes the first watch after he and his men have gone over a day without sleeping, gives nearly all his pay to his sisters and mother, and extends subtle kindness to Wellard after he's beaten without cause.
* LateArrivalSpoiler: The fourth book wasn't completed by Forrester before his death, and has two short stories, from Hornblower's midshipman days and retirement, added to it. This means that if you flip to the wrong page, you now know [[spoiler:Hornblower marries Lady Barbara.]]
* TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar: In ''Flying Colours'', Napoleon wants Hornblower and Bush executed for a DressingAsTheEnemy maneuver performed in ''Ship of the Line''. (There were several precedents that said what they did was legal. Napoleon didn't care; he needed a propaganda coup.)
* LightningBruiser: Bush in ''Lieutenant Hornblower,'' who is described as immensely strong and lightfooted.
* MeaningfulName: Inverted. Horatio ''Hornblower'' is absolutely tone-deaf, unable, on at least one occasion, to recognize even "God Save the King."
* MutualKill: [[spoiler:The ''Sutherland'' and the French ships at the end of ''Ship of the Line''.]]
* NapoleonicWars
* NervesOfSteel: Hornblower has these, even if he thinks otherwise.
* NeverGiveTheCaptainAStraightAnswer: Inverted. Hornblower doesn't tell his men his plans so it looks better if he succeeds. It works.
* NicknamingTheEnemy: Frenchmen are always referred to as Frogs. Napoleon is often called "Boney".
* NobleFugitive: The German Prince serving as a PluckyMiddie in Hornblower and the Atropos.
* TheNotSecret: Hornblower's sea sickness, which he goes out of his way to keep secret from his men. It takes him years to figure out that his officers and crew are plainly aware of it, and simply choose not to comment on it out of respect.
* TheObiWan: Pellew, though more in the TV series than in the books.
** Admiral Cornwallis is this to an extent in ''Hotspur,'' encouraging Hornblower's innovative tendencies [[spoiler:and promoting him to captain at the end]].
* ObnoxiousInLaws: Mrs. Mason. "His Nibs," the Marquis Wellesley.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: The British Navy might be the greatest enemy besides Napoleon. During the Peace of Ameins, they put Hornblower under complete pay stoppage for months, leaving him to fend for himself (he scrapes along by playing whist). In ''Hotspur'' they try to reprimand him for using too much stuff; Cornwallis tells him not to worry about it.
* OfficerAndAGentleman: It takes Hornblower some time after his promotion to captaincy to achieve the gentleman part, as he rarely has any prize money with which to supplement his pay.
* PaintingTheMedium: Hornblower thinks of Bush as having little imagination. ''Lieutenant'' follows Bush instead of Hornblower, and there's a profound lack of Hornblower's usual metaphors and similes, especially when compared to ''Atropos''.
* ParentalSubstitute: Inverted. Bush loves Hornblower like a son, even if he's too out-of-touch with his own emotions to realize it.
** When they first served together, this was more of BigBrotherInstinct for Bush.
* PluckyMiddie: Subverted. Any time you meet one, [[spoiler:there's about a 75% chance of them dying. The more endearing they are, the more likely this is.]]
** Played straight a few times too depending on which PluckyMiddie you are talking about.
* {{Plunder}}: Subverted. Hornblower is usually unlucky in the matter of prize money, and has a dislike for the entire system. He doesn't mention this in front of others, though, and is aware [[HypocriticalHumor that his views would likely be different once he won a prize]].
** Played straight by the French at the beginning of ''Flying Colours''. They even strip the gold off of his sword.
* PopculturalOsmosis: You've probably encountered the tropes this series popularized long before you ever heard of the series itself.
* {{Privateer}}
* PunishmentBox: In ''Mr. Midshipman Hornblower'', Hornblower, while being held prisoner in Spain, is placed into a small hole in the ground covered by a grate. The hole has neither room to stand upright or lie down, forcing the prisoner to crouch uncomfortably while exposed to the elements.
** The same hole appears in the ''Hornblower'' telefilm ''The Duchess and the Devil''.
* TheQuietOne: Hornblower is naturally inclined towards shyness and maintains a deliberate reserve, beyond what would be typically expected of a captain.
* RecycledInSpace: Got recycled as Honor Harrington and others, as seen above.
* RefugeInAudacity: At one time Hornblower scares away a Spanish ship bigger then his by sailing towards it to while signalling to his nonexistent backup.
* RoyallyScrewedUp: Practically all non-British nobility, royalty, and other civilian leadership. Examples that embody this trope include The Marquis of Pouzauges from ''Midshipman'' and "El Supremo"[[hottip:*:admittedly only "royal" in his own delusional mind]] from ''Quarters.'' Worst of all, ''[[EnemyMine these are England's allies]].''
--> "...England still had allies -- [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_I_of_Portugal Portugal under an insane queen]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_XIII_of_Sweden Sweden under a mad king]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_I_of_the_Two_Sicilies and Sicily, here, under a worthless king]]."
* RunningGag: Not in the series, but on this wiki; Honor Harrington is frequently described as Horatio Hornblower [[AC:IN SPACE!]]
** Bush rubbing his hands together when pleased, and Hornblower's seasickness when setting out to sea after a long period on land.
* ShownTheirWork
* ElSpanishO: There are a number of occasions where British sailors and officers gamely attempt to communicate with Spanish, French, or Italian people (either their prisoners, or their erstwhile allies, depending on what is going on) by speaking slowly and adding vowels to the ends of their words. It generally doesn't work.
* {{Squick}}: InUniverse, Hornblower has a little bit of this when he cuts a wedding cake with his sword because his sword had cut [[BloodierAndGorier other things]] before.
* TheStrategist: Hornblower always comes up with clever schemes.
* StiffUpperLip: Horatio acts like he has one, even if he's panicking on the inside. This is also one of Bush's key traits--at one point he muses that having to endure injustice (such as being beaten without cause) in a world that is essentially unjust is an essential part of growing up.
* TapOnTheHead: Averted in one of the ''Midshipman'' stories. During a cutting-out expedition, when stealth is key, Hornblower has to silence an epileptic sailor and thumps him quite hard with the boat's tiller; he is almost certain that he he killed the man by doing so.
* TemptingFate: Near the end of "Midshipman", [[spoiler:Hornblower attends a banquet where a toast is made to the hope of the Spanish fleet leaving Cadiz. Hornblower is also ordered to convey a Duchess to England in a small sloop. Guess what fleet he sails right into the middle of?]]
* UnbuiltTrope: Even in what's arguably the flagship of the WoodenShipsAndIronMen genre, Hornblower is brilliant captain, and a frequently self-doubting man who has difficulty remembering or believing that people actually ''like'' him.
* UnwantedSpouse: Horatio essentially marries Maria out of guilt because he can't bear to hurt her feelings when she throws herself at him. He spends as much time as possible avoiding her at sea and finds writing letters to her to be a chore.
** UnwantedHarem: Marie (not Maria) points out that he is a very easy man for women to love but a man who finds it hard to love in return. [[spoiler:She's mostly right.]]
* VillainousBreakdown: El Supremo, after being turned over to the Spanish.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: Don't know a halyard from a hawse-hole, a maintop from a mizzenmast, or a sea-anchor from a sea-cucumber? Good luck!
* WarIsHell: Forester goes out of his way to describe what happens to men who are hit by cannonballs, then what happens to them when they visit the surgeon, and then the funeral. Not to mention the [[{{Squick}} weevils and bad water]].
* WoodenShipsAndIronMen - The books are a fairly pure distillation of this trope, most adaptations somewhat less so.
----

to:

->''"I recommend Forester to everyone literate I know."''
-->-- '''Creator/ErnestHemingway'''

A series of stories of a British member of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. Written by C.S. Forester.

Hornblower goes from midshipman to admiral, and from commoner to lord, over the course of the stories, which were written out of chronological order. They lack the exquisitely detailed sailing lore of the {{Aubrey-Maturin}} series, which may make them more accessible to the average reader.

The character of Horatio Hornblower was inspired by the career of real-life Thomas Cochrane.

'''Adaptations:'''
* ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043379/ Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N.]]'' (b&w) (1951). Starring GregoryPeck in his prime in the titular role. Virginia Mayo played Lady Barbara Wellesley.
* A [[Series/HoratioHornblower TV miniseries]] from 1999 to 2003.

'''The inspiration for such modern works as:'''
* A little-known series called ''Franchise/StarTrek'' has been described as "Horatio Hornblower [[InSpace IN SPACE!]]".
* The Hugo and Nebula nominated science fiction work, ''TheMoteInGodsEye''.
* Science fiction writer A. Bertram Chandler based his John Grimes character on Hornblower, even making Hornblower a distant relative.
* Literature/HonorHarrington - A SpaceOpera novel series by DavidWeber with a female version of Horatio Hornblower. The [=HH=] initials are not a coincidence. Author David Weber actually HangsALampshade on this in the sixth book when he shows the title character reading one of the Hornblower books.
* Patrick O'Brian's {{Aubrey-Maturin}} series. Takes place during the same time frame as Horatio Hornblower. Not sci-fi.
** Though, DavidDrake's ''Literature/{{RCN}}'' series, which are Aubrey/female-Maturin InSpace, [[CaptainObvious are sci-fi]].
* Dudley Pope's Ramage series. It's mentioned that Ramage and Hornblower were junior officers on the same ship for a time (Pope and Forester were friends). Not sci-fi.
* Alexander Kent's Richard Bolitho series. Not sci-fi.
* The ''{{Sharpe}}'' series of novels and TV movies, starring a soldier in the Napoleonic wars, sort of a land-based equivalent of Hornblower.
* The ''GauntsGhosts'' series of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' tie-in novels, being based on ''Sharpe'', are thus in turn based on Hornblower.
----
!!These stories provide examples of:
* AccidentalTruth: Hornblower tells one of these about Napoleon's death (and beats himself up about it).
* AGodAmI: El Supremo, who is Hornblower's primary ally [[spoiler: and later the primary villain]] in ''BeatToQuarters''.
* AnachronicOrder: ''Quarters, Line, Colours, Commodore, Lord, Midshipman, Lieutenant, Atropos, West Indies, Hotspur, Crisis'' (unfinished)
** In chronological order, these are books 6-10, 1-2, 5, 11, 3-4.
* AnyoneCanDie: Hornblower himself, obviously, [[ForegoneConclusion makes it to the end of the series.]] There are no guarantees against anyone else being killed or seriously injured.
* AnArmAndALeg: [[spoiler:During the climax of ''Flying Colours'', Lt. Bush loses a leg.]]
* AuthorExistenceFailure: ''Crisis'' was left unfinished when Forrester died.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking
* AwesomenessByAnalysis: This seems to be Hornblower's main method of gambling, seamanship, and war.
** In one incident Hornblower challenges a man known to be a better shot then he to a DuelToTheDeath with the understanding that there will be one pistol randomly loaded, neither will know which one and the contestants will choose it unknowing and fight at point blank. Thus giving a fifty-fifty chance (better than his odds, Hornblower figures, than in any fair fight). [[spoiler:Not knowing that the captain, not wanting to lose either midshipman, arranged for ''both'' guns to be left unloaded.]]
* {{Badass}}
** BadassBookworm: Hornblower is a seadog who uses math skills and meticulous research.
* BadassArmy: The Royal Navy
* BattleButler: Brown was originally Hornblower's Coxswain, became his servant, then became his coxswain again.
* BeAsUnhelpfulAsPossible: You'd think the, say, Spaniards would give the British Navy all possible assistance when trying to retake crucial military positions. Nope. Heck, everyone outside the British Navy seems slightly or greatly incompetent, and a good deal of the people within.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: [[spoiler:Flying Colors ends with Hornblower getting everything he's wanted; wealth, fame, prestige, a title, and the way clear to marry Lady Barbara. He starts hating it before the end of the book.]]
* BeenThereShapedHistory: Inverted. The author deliberately keeps Horatio out of the way of most of the major historical events of the time. One would imagine this gets harder as Hornblower progresses up the ranks, eventually ending up as a Admiral.
** The first Hornblower book written places Captain Hornblower in the Pacific in 1808. This was specifically to avoid him having any involvement with the Peninsular Wars or the war against Napoleon.
*** There is one short story that takes place during the War of 1812, where Hornblower has a brush with an American ship. [[spoiler:Since he's on a barely-armed ship to take the King on a day trip, he evades battle.]]
** He never becomes admiral himself until peace. In ''Commodore Hornblower'' it is implied that he helped bring about the invasion of Russia and thus the downfall of Napoleon. In the (unfinished) ''Hornblower and the Crisis'' he helps lure the enemy into the Battle of Trafalgar with a false message.
* ButIReadABookAboutIt: Hornblower considers constant research both a duty and a pleasure. It enhances his BadassBookworm status.
* ByronicHero: Hornblower is an honorable, dutiful, and humble man who acts with great courage under fire. However, he's also a brooding, melancholic mess whose humility verges on self-loathing, often shocked that people might care about him. Underneath his stoic facade is a world-class worry wort, and his courage under fire (in spite of his fears) is matched only by his cowardice in matters of the heart. He's also tone-deaf and never gets over seasickness, much to his humiliation.
* TheCaptain: Guess who. [[spoiler:Bush is eventually promoted captain at the end of ''Flying Colours'', in keeping with the odd custom of complimenting distinguished captains by promoting their first lieutenants]].
* CatchPhrase: "Ha... h'm." [[spoiler:Lady Barbara's teasing compels him to stop after he marries her.]]
* CardGames: Hornblower is himself a great fan of the game of whist, and will often play it to pass the time during stressful situations, such as during a SternChase, giving him something to think about other than things he currently can't control. Forester often describes the games [[MundaneMadeAwesome in great detail]].
** In ''Mr. Midshipman Hornblower'', Hornblower finds an opportunity to challenge his [[TheBully tormentor]] to a duel when the latter angrily implies that Hornblower is cheating (in front of officers from another ship) and then pointedly refuses to apologize. [[spoiler: The duel is {{subverted}} by the ship's surgeon, who does not load either pistol.]]
* ChildSoldiers: Midshipmen and powder boys.
* CliffHanger: The ending of [[spoiler:Flying Colors and Ship of the Line]].
* {{Conscription}}: Unfortunately, C. S. Forester seems to have fallen for the modern misconception that the vast majority of seamen on British ships were conscripts [[PressGanged dragged from their homes and family-supporting livelihoods by press gangs]] or criminals given a pardon if they join the King's service.[[hottip:*: The actual practise of impressment was strictly limited to homebound merchant crews, with exemptions such as East Indiamen and coal ships. The admiralty, in fact, hated impressment more than anyone, including those affected (who, being legally limited to merchant sailors, considered it an occupational hazard), and only used it because there was no other viable option. Criminals were offered a pardon in exchange for service, although more often than not they were rejected by the Navy, for obvious reasons.]] Hornblower presses outbound East India Company sailors who were legally exempt in ''Ship of the Line'', and he also releases French prisoners he'd promised freedom in ''Flying Colours''.
* DeadSidekick: Hornblower sees the loss of several protégés: [[spoiler:Wellard in ''Lieutenant Hornblower'', Longley in ''Ship of the Line'', Mound in ''The Commodore', and finally, Bush himself.]]
* DeathByChildbirth: [[spoiler:Maria, with Richard, their third child.]]
* DeathOfTheHypotenuse: [[spoiler: [[BookEnds Admiral Leighton and Maria Hornblower]]]] die in ''Flying Colours'', and [[spoiler: Marie Ladon]] is killed in ''Lord Hornblower''.
* DeathSeeker: In the very first ''Midshipman'' story, Hornblower feels that getting shot dead in his duel would be equally as desirable as victory, because both outcomes mean he doesn't have to deal with his tormentor anymore.
* DeusExMachina: Played with by having the [=DXMs=] usually be actual historical events. If the series was an entirely original work, people would doubtless complain about the author pulling them from his unmentionables.
* DieForOurShip: Maria and Lady Barbara's husband. [[spoiler:In-universe.]]
* DirtyCoward: Seaman Grimes, from ''Hotspur''. More sad and pathetic than evil, though.
* DramaticIrony: Hornblower spends a good portion of ''Commodore'' worrying about Napoleon's unstoppable advance into Russia. Any moderately knowledgeable reader knows [[spoiler:Boney gets his rear handed to him by the Russian winter. Though the Russian Czar basically flipping him and his entire invasion off ("Surrender? Never.") helped too.]]
* DressingAsTheEnemy: Hornblower's ruse flying the French tricolour in ''Ship of the Line'', and later when Hornblower himself dresses as a Dutch customers officer in his escape from France.
* DrinkOrder: Contrary to the [[SpotOfTea common English stereotype]], Hornblower prefers to drink coffee rather than tea, or at least whatever passes for coffee depending on supplies (in one book, the coffee is described as being made with crushed burnt bread, with enough sugar to mask the taste.) This was possibly because most of the readers of the ''Hornblower'' series were American. Or alternatively, because tea was expensive and Hornblower was poor.
** Some consideration though should also be given to the hypothesis that Forester knew enough history to be very well aware that coffee was enormously fashionable in England for many years, and London in particular was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffeehouse#Coffee_in_Europe lousy]] with coffee-houses in the 1700s.
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: [[spoiler:Bush dies offscreen while leading a raid on a French munitions stockpile, with no foreshadowing for it whatsoever, after having gone through most of the series at Hornblower's side.]] And he's not the only one. Several likeable characters die entirely off-screen. ''[[JustifiedTrope Because it's a war.]]''
* DuelToTheDeath: An accepted practice at the time the books take place, which allows Hornblower to challenge a bullying midshipman during his first voyage. He asks one gun be loaded and the other not so as to compensate for his dubious aiming skills. However, challenging a higher-ranking officer is illegal ([[KlingonPromotion for obvious reasons]]).
* DuringTheWar: Set during the Napoleonic Wars.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Readers following the series in chronological order rather than publishing order may scratch their heads when the opening paragraph of ''Beat to Quarters'', the first published book, suggests that Lt. Bush has only just gotten to know Captain Hornblower in the last few months.
** CharacterizationMarchesOn: Hornblower is also a lot more ill-tempered and choleric in his first book too, although that can be more easily rationalized by being older and more cynical.
* EmbarrassingNickname: His first wife Maria calls him "Horry", much to his dismay. In the midst of a battle, an unidentified member of Hornblower's crew refers to him as "Old Horny", but the officers are unable to figure out which sailor said it.
** Worse still, Hornblower regards his ''actual'' name as pompous and ludicrous, and avoids using it whenever possible, preferring to sign his personal (as opposed to official) correspondence with a discreet 'H'.
* AFatherToHisMen: Not Hornblower, Sir Edward Pellew.
* GenreSavvy: Hornblower is acutely aware of how his every move will appear, which is strange, because this is the book that started the genre. Hilariously, he has trouble believing anyone could like him, despite evidence to the contrary. Even when he ''does'' believe it, he finds some way to make himself rationalize or downplay it.
** In ''Hotspur'', his ship is being fired upon by shore artillery. He hears noise aloft, and a howitzer shell falls to the deck at his feet. He takes a fraction of an instant to realize that there's about a quarter-inch left on the fuse before he hurries to extinguish it. When he stands up, he sees everyone on the deck staring at him, and realizes he's about to become ShroudedInMyth.
** He has his men dance the hornpipe during a long battle specifically because it will keep morale up. The narration goes on to describe how the battle would become legendary because of it. It also describes how one man kept dancing even after someone's brains were smashed out by a cannon ball and blown onto him.
* GoodWithNumbers: Hornblower is ''very'' good with numbers.
* GuileHero: Horatio steps into this role at different points over his career, but [[BuffySpeak the guiliest]] would probably be ''Lieutenant Hornblower.'' His rank is thoroughly unremarkable (fourth lieutenant), but he's able to persuade his superiors to implement pretty much all of his plans.
* HavingAGayOldTime: Invoked by the author. Every time someone is apparently racist toward French, Spaniards, Italians, or anyone not White and British, take a shot.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Horatio's ship]] at the end of ''Flying Colors''.
** Not to mention [[spoiler:Bush blowing up the powder barge]].
* HonorBeforeReason: Deconstructed, as Hornblower is ''profoundly'' aware of the difference between the right thing to do and the logical thing to do. On several occasions, he's actually dickered over courses of action, then justifiably angsted afterward.
* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace - There are a handful of gun-handling failures throughout the series. At one point, Hornblower narrowly remembers to put his fllintlock on half-cock before putting it into his belt, which would likely have blown his genitals off.
* [[IrritationIsTheSincerestFormOfFlattery Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery]]: In ''Commodore'', Hornblower realizes, with amusement, that Mound is modeling his aloof, cool-under-fire attitude on Hornblower's own.[[hottip:*:Irritation doesn't actually happen, but the trope named 'imitation' doesn't apply to fiction.]]
* ImprobableAge: Inverted, since Hornblower, when the series begins, is improbably OLD to be a beginning midshipsman. He is in his late teens, while his messmates went to sea at age 12 or thereabouts.
* IndyPloy: Hornblower has to make plans up as he goes along to get out of the various scrapes he gets into.
* InSeriesNickname: "Horny" Hornblower, as well as the various other real-life officers with nicknames.
* IronicBirthday: Hornblower was born on the 4th of July 1776, the same day as the United States, which is remarked upon a few times.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Bush is a hardass who brooks no incompetence or disrespect and doesn't question the Navy's draconian discipline, but he takes the first watch after he and his men have gone over a day without sleeping, gives nearly all his pay to his sisters and mother, and extends subtle kindness to Wellard after he's beaten without cause.
* LateArrivalSpoiler: The fourth book wasn't completed by Forrester before his death, and has two short stories, from Hornblower's midshipman days and retirement, added to it. This means that if you flip to the wrong page, you now know [[spoiler:Hornblower marries Lady Barbara.]]
* TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar: In ''Flying Colours'', Napoleon wants Hornblower and Bush executed for a DressingAsTheEnemy maneuver performed in ''Ship of the Line''. (There were several precedents that said what they did was legal. Napoleon didn't care; he needed a propaganda coup.)
* LightningBruiser: Bush in ''Lieutenant Hornblower,'' who is described as immensely strong and lightfooted.
* MeaningfulName: Inverted. Horatio ''Hornblower'' is absolutely tone-deaf, unable, on at least one occasion, to recognize even "God Save the King."
* MutualKill: [[spoiler:The ''Sutherland'' and the French ships at the end of ''Ship of the Line''.]]
* NapoleonicWars
* NervesOfSteel: Hornblower has these, even if he thinks otherwise.
* NeverGiveTheCaptainAStraightAnswer: Inverted. Hornblower doesn't tell his men his plans so it looks better if he succeeds. It works.
* NicknamingTheEnemy: Frenchmen are always referred to as Frogs. Napoleon is often called "Boney".
* NobleFugitive: The German Prince serving as a PluckyMiddie in Hornblower and the Atropos.
* TheNotSecret: Hornblower's sea sickness, which he goes out of his way to keep secret from his men. It takes him years to figure out that his officers and crew are plainly aware of it, and simply choose not to comment on it out of respect.
* TheObiWan: Pellew, though more in the TV series than in the books.
** Admiral Cornwallis is this to an extent in ''Hotspur,'' encouraging Hornblower's innovative tendencies [[spoiler:and promoting him to captain at the end]].
* ObnoxiousInLaws: Mrs. Mason. "His Nibs," the Marquis Wellesley.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: The British Navy might be the greatest enemy besides Napoleon. During the Peace of Ameins, they put Hornblower under complete pay stoppage for months, leaving him to fend for himself (he scrapes along by playing whist). In ''Hotspur'' they try to reprimand him for using too much stuff; Cornwallis tells him not to worry about it.
* OfficerAndAGentleman: It takes Hornblower some time after his promotion to captaincy to achieve the gentleman part, as he rarely has any prize money with which to supplement his pay.
* PaintingTheMedium: Hornblower thinks of Bush as having little imagination. ''Lieutenant'' follows Bush instead of Hornblower, and there's a profound lack of Hornblower's usual metaphors and similes, especially when compared to ''Atropos''.
* ParentalSubstitute: Inverted. Bush loves Hornblower like a son, even if he's too out-of-touch with his own emotions to realize it.
** When they first served together, this was more of BigBrotherInstinct for Bush.
* PluckyMiddie: Subverted. Any time you meet one, [[spoiler:there's about a 75% chance of them dying. The more endearing they are, the more likely this is.]]
** Played straight a few times too depending on which PluckyMiddie you are talking about.
* {{Plunder}}: Subverted. Hornblower is usually unlucky in the matter of prize money, and has a dislike for the entire system. He doesn't mention this in front of others, though, and is aware [[HypocriticalHumor that his views would likely be different once he won a prize]].
** Played straight by the French at the beginning of ''Flying Colours''. They even strip the gold off of his sword.
* PopculturalOsmosis: You've probably encountered the tropes this series popularized long before you ever heard of the series itself.
* {{Privateer}}
* PunishmentBox: In ''Mr. Midshipman Hornblower'', Hornblower, while being held prisoner in Spain, is placed into a small hole in the ground covered by a grate. The hole has neither room to stand upright or lie down, forcing the prisoner to crouch uncomfortably while exposed to the elements.
** The same hole appears in the ''Hornblower'' telefilm ''The Duchess and the Devil''.
* TheQuietOne: Hornblower is naturally inclined towards shyness and maintains a deliberate reserve, beyond what would be typically expected of a captain.
* RecycledInSpace: Got recycled as Honor Harrington and others, as seen above.
* RefugeInAudacity: At one time Hornblower scares away a Spanish ship bigger then his by sailing towards it to while signalling to his nonexistent backup.
* RoyallyScrewedUp: Practically all non-British nobility, royalty, and other civilian leadership. Examples that embody this trope include The Marquis of Pouzauges from ''Midshipman'' and "El Supremo"[[hottip:*:admittedly only "royal" in his own delusional mind]] from ''Quarters.'' Worst of all, ''[[EnemyMine these are England's allies]].''
--> "...England still had allies -- [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_I_of_Portugal Portugal under an insane queen]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_XIII_of_Sweden Sweden under a mad king]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_I_of_the_Two_Sicilies and Sicily, here, under a worthless king]]."
* RunningGag: Not in the series, but on this wiki; Honor Harrington is frequently described as Horatio Hornblower [[AC:IN SPACE!]]
** Bush rubbing his hands together when pleased, and Hornblower's seasickness when setting out to sea after a long period on land.
* ShownTheirWork
* ElSpanishO: There are a number of occasions where British sailors and officers gamely attempt to communicate with Spanish, French, or Italian people (either their prisoners, or their erstwhile allies, depending on what is going on) by speaking slowly and adding vowels to the ends of their words. It generally doesn't work.
* {{Squick}}: InUniverse, Hornblower has a little bit of this when he cuts a wedding cake with his sword because his sword had cut [[BloodierAndGorier other things]] before.
* TheStrategist: Hornblower always comes up with clever schemes.
* StiffUpperLip: Horatio acts like he has one, even if he's panicking on the inside. This is also one of Bush's key traits--at one point he muses that having to endure injustice (such as being beaten without cause) in a world that is essentially unjust is an essential part of growing up.
* TapOnTheHead: Averted in one of the ''Midshipman'' stories. During a cutting-out expedition, when stealth is key, Hornblower has to silence an epileptic sailor and thumps him quite hard with the boat's tiller; he is almost certain that he he killed the man by doing so.
* TemptingFate: Near the end of "Midshipman", [[spoiler:Hornblower attends a banquet where a toast is made to the hope of the Spanish fleet leaving Cadiz. Hornblower is also ordered to convey a Duchess to England in a small sloop. Guess what fleet he sails right into the middle of?]]
* UnbuiltTrope: Even in what's arguably the flagship of the WoodenShipsAndIronMen genre, Hornblower is brilliant captain, and a frequently self-doubting man who has difficulty remembering or believing that people actually ''like'' him.
* UnwantedSpouse: Horatio essentially marries Maria out of guilt because he can't bear to hurt her feelings when she throws herself at him. He spends as much time as possible avoiding her at sea and finds writing letters to her to be a chore.
** UnwantedHarem: Marie (not Maria) points out that he is a very easy man for women to love but a man who finds it hard to love in return. [[spoiler:She's mostly right.]]
* VillainousBreakdown: El Supremo, after being turned over to the Spanish.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: Don't know a halyard from a hawse-hole, a maintop from a mizzenmast, or a sea-anchor from a sea-cucumber? Good luck!
* WarIsHell: Forester goes out of his way to describe what happens to men who are hit by cannonballs, then what happens to them when they visit the surgeon, and then the funeral. Not to mention the [[{{Squick}} weevils and bad water]].
* WoodenShipsAndIronMen - The books are a fairly pure distillation of this trope, most adaptations somewhat less so.
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[[redirect:Literature/HoratioHornblower]]
4th Feb '13 11:44:10 AM LBHills
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Added DiffLines:

** Worse still, Hornblower regards his ''actual'' name as pompous and ludicrous, and avoids using it whenever possible, preferring to sign his personal (as opposed to official) correspondence with a discreet 'H'.
28th Jan '13 4:54:15 PM TuefelHundenIV
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* BoardingParty
* BrokenAce
26th Dec '12 3:11:20 PM eowynjedi
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Added DiffLines:

* LightningBruiser: Bush in ''Lieutenant Hornblower,'' who is described as immensely strong and lightfooted.
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