''Hard to Be a God'' (Russian: "Трудно быть богом" ''Trudno byt' bogom'') is the fourth novel by the Creator/StrugatskyBrothers to be set in the Franchise/NoonUniverse.

The novel follows Anton, who goes by the name Don Rumata on his job as an undercover Earthling observer (not a "progressor", the institute of progressors was only created later) on a [[TheDungAges Dung Ages]] planet going through a Renaissance and a religious backlash, just starting to border on a full-blown Inquisition. Notable as an exploration of the AlienNonInterferenceClause concept.

The novel was adapted into two films and was followed by a [[http://www.hardtobeagod.com/en/ computer game]] that served as a sequel.
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!!Tropes found in the novel:

* AlienNonInterferenceClause: [[spoiler: Not exactly, the novel is in between the non-interference era and the progressors era. Rumata is saving scientists from prosecution, but isn't allowed to influence political matters.]]
* BecomingTheMask: In morality level. The greatest fear of all human watchers.
* BerserkButton: [[spoiler: Never, ever hurt Kira.]]
* BlackShirt: The Grey Stormtroopers.
* BoisterousBruiser: Baron Pampa.
* CatchPhrase: "I see no reason for noble dons not to do X" by Don Sera. X can be anything from playing dice to getting whipped by the inquisition. Achieved memetic status in Russia.
* TheChessmaster: Don Reba.
* ChildrenAreInnocent: Prince, Uno.
* ChurchMilitant
* CorruptChurch
* CrapsackWorld: And how. After a series of ill-advised wars that all ended in loses, common people in Arkanar are living in extreme poverty and the nobles struggle to hold on to their wealth. The king is incompetent and the kingdom's educational system is in shambles. The kingdom is surrounded by hostile powers on all sides. The only people who really thrive are the Grey Stormtroopers and the local criminal gang. You can pretty much count on everything that shows the slightest hint of goodness being twisted, corrupted, used in the service of darkness or outright destroyed.
* DeathByGenreSavvy: [[spoiler: Reba, who counted too much on Rumata's ThouShallNotKill.]]
* [[spoiler: DownerEnding]]
* DualWielding: Anton/Don Rumata is famous for his AwesomeYetPractical fighting style. So AwesomeYetPractical, in fact, it was seen as evidence of his supposed DealWithTheDevil.
* TheDungAges
* TheEmpire: The entire Gulf region (which the Kingdom of Arkanar is part of) is officially ruled by one of those. The problem is that Empire has been on a slow decline for centuries, gradually losing control of all of its outlying "provinces." By the time the novel opens, most outlying provinces are acting as independent powers in all the ways that matter. So long as they never formally break their ties from the Empire, the emperors seem content to let them do that (though the novel strongly suggests that the Empire couldn't rein in its former subjects even if it wanted to).
* ExecutiveMeddling: Arata was absent from early draft, only added because censor demanded "to show the Revolutionary Movement".
* EvilChancellor: Don Reba.
* {{Expy}}: WordOfGod claims that Don Reba is an Expy of Lavrentiy Beria, StateSec chief during the [[JosephStalin Stalinist era]]. The character was even called Don Rebia in an early draft.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: A mixture of Late Medieval / Renaissance Italy, Spain, and France, complete with Romance-sounding names and titles.
** WordOfGod states that Arkanar was designed with Japanese flavor: for example, the "Don" honorific stems not from Spanish "don", but from Japanese "dono". Two swords of noble Dons remind of samurai swords...
* FromBadToWorse: and worse and worse.
* FromNobodyToNightmare: Don Reba.
* GodGuise: Rumata attempts to avert this, but people who know him well enough realize that he cannot be human and ClarkesThirdLaw [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien corollary]] applies. Still, while some (Dr. Budakh, Kira) see a god in him, others ([[spoiler:Don Reba, Arata]]) think he is a devil.
* AGodIAm: Rumata. Far from the usual use of this trope, however, which usually overlaps with DrunkWithPower, Rumata is instead nigh incapacitated by the responsibility and duty that comes with being a god and that is, quite obviously, too much for an individual who is most definitely a human.
* GoodIsNotNice: Arata.
* HumansAreBastards
* [[spoiler: KillTheCutie. Twice. ]]
* ImplausibleFencingPowers: Don Rumata, justified by the facts that his [[WeWillHavePerfectHealthInTheFuture physical condition is superior to any native]] and that his swordfighting techniques wouldn't be discovered in Arkanar for another couple of centuries. Still, even the best swordsman cannot hold long [[RealityEnsues against multiple attackers, all of whom are larger than himself]]. Especially when he is hampered by ThouShallNotKill rule.
* TheIngenue: Kira, probably the most innocent (and, more importantly to Anton, Earthling-like) girl in Arkanar.
* InherentInTheSystem
* MagicalAccessory: Don Rumata's camera circlet, from the natives' POV.
* MoodDissonance: The narrating style is somewhat lighthearted, with many funny moments thrown in. The overall story... isn't.
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: The Grey Stormtroopers.
** The Monks supplanting the Grey Stormtroopers works like the SS supplanting the SA.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Nice job helping Reba [[spoiler: to kill a king]], Rumata!
** Also, Rumata's [[spoiler: RoaringRampageOfRevenge]] will only make the situation worse, and he himself at one point explains why.
** And before the book's events, other humans tried to interfere, with disastrous results.
** And the dialogue between Rumata and Budakh implies that '''everything''' Earthlings could do would result in this.
* OutGambitted: [[spoiler: Tsupick, Aba, and Rumata--all by Don Reba. However, ultimately Reba makes a fatal mistake and is killed by Rumata.]]
* RebelLeader: Arata.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge
* TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized
* SmugSnake: Don Reba.
* [[SufficientlyAdvancedAliens Sufficiently Advanced Earthlings]]
* ThouShaltNotKill: Most Earthlings strictly follow this rule (as an exception, we hear about an Earthling, who, posing as a guard officer, tried to stop witches' burning by ordering his soldiers to shoot the executioners. He failed).
* ThoseTwoGuys: Don Sera and Don Tameo.
* TitleDrop
* UnstoppableRage
* UpperClassTwit: Don Sera, Don Tameo and the other nobles
* UrbanLegendLoveLife: Rumata has to keep up the reputation of the real Rumata, who was, it appears, a bit of Casanova. Alas, Rumata cannot bring himself to sleep with local ladies--because of his morality and because they're so damn ''dirty''. He manages to arrange matters so that noble women lie about their affairs with him because of their pride.
* VestigialEmpire: On paper, Arkanar is still a province of the Estor metropoly, but nowadays it doesn't mean much. Notably, once Rumata claims that he is of much nobler birth that even Arkanarin king.
* WhatMeasureIsAMook: [[spoiler: Subverted. Rumata's slaughter of the soldiers is portrayed as a total moral failure.]]
* WhatTheHellHero: In the finale, Rumata [[spoiler: goes berserk and slaughters dozens of people to get to Don Reba and kill him off.]]
* {{Zeerust}}: Back when the novel was written ''nylon underwear'' seemed to be futuristic...
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