[[quoteright:296:[[http://www.brothershildebrandt.com/ http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/HaroldShea.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:296:Actually, that's probably Astolph...]]

The ''Harold Shea'' series is a set of fantasy short stories and novellas. (The series is sometimes referred to as the ''Enchanter'' series or ''The Incomplete Enchanter'' series, from the names of the collected volumes.) The first three stories were written in 1940-1941, and the subsequent two in 1953-1954, all of which were co-authored by Creator/LSpragueDeCamp and Fletcher Pratt. A further nine stories were written from 1990-1995, two of which were written by L. Sprague de Camp and the rest by other authors. One more story (by Creator/LawrenceWattEvans) was published in 2005 in a tribute anthology dedicated to L. Sprague de Camp after his death.

In the stories, Harold Shea and other characters visit various [[TheVerse settings]] from mythology and fiction. Each story has one primary setting that is visited, although some visit other settings briefly. The primary setting for each story is: Myth/NorseMythology, ''Literature/TheFaerieQueene'', Ludovico Ariosto's epic poem ''Orlando Furioso'', ''Literature/TheKalevala'', [[Myth/CelticMythology Irish mythology]], ''Orlando Furioso'' (again), ''[[Literature/LandOfOz Oz]]'', ''Literature/JourneyToTheWest'', ''Literature/DonQuixote'', ''Literature/TheAeneid'', ''The Tale of Igor's Campaign'', ''Baital Pachisi'', ''Literature/JohnCarterOfMars'', ''Theatre/TheTempest'', and finally Creator/SamuelTaylorColeridge's poem ''Kubla Khan''.

The original five stories from the forties and fifties were collected in three volumes:
* ''The Incomplete Enchanter'' ("The Roaring Trumpet" and "The Mathematics of Magic")
* ''Castle of Iron'' (expanded version of the third story)
* ''Wall of Serpents'' ("The Wall of Serpents" and "The Green Magician")

Some of the later stories were collected in:
* ''The Enchanter Reborn'' (five stories)
* ''The Exotic Enchanter'' (four stories)

An omnibus edition containing the first two stories plus the expanded version of the third was released as ''The Compleat Enchanter''--somewhat ironically, as it was released long after the fourth and fifth stories had been published. A later omnibus containing all five original stories was released as ''The Complete Compleat Enchanter''. Another omnibus containing all the original stories, plus all of de Camp's stories from the nineties, was released as ''The Mathematics of Magic''.
!!Tropes featured include:

* ActionGirl: Belphebe/Belphegor, Britomart/Bradamant
* AffablyEvil: [[EvilSorcerer Busyrane]] in ''The Mathematics of Magic''. He even looks saintly.
* AllMythsAreTrue
* AndIMustScream: In ''The Mathematics of Magic'' the wizard Dolon keeps his former apprentice Roger naked and immobilized as a living torch-holder, having discovered that Roger was actually a spy for Queen Gloriana.
* BalefulPolymorph: Shea's colleague Vaclav [[spoiler:gets turned into [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent a wolf]] whenever he tries to use magic to change his shape. It's because of his East European ancestry.]]
* BawdySong: Shea and Chalmers are forced to recite an epic poem or else be killed, but the [[ClosestThingWeGot closest thing]] that either one of them has memorized is ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ballad_of_Eskimo_Nell The Ballad of Eskimo Nell]]''.
** This becomes [[HilariousInHindsight doubly funny]] when [[ViewersAreGeniuses one learns]] that in Spenser's political allegory, the Blatant Beast represents the Puritans.
* BigDamnHeroes: Belphebe makes her first appearance rescuing Shea and Chalmers from the ape-like Losels who are attacking them.
* BlackMagicianGirl: Duessa, in "The Mathematics of Magic."
* BoisterousBruiser: Many heroes and warriors met by Shea, including Thor in his very first voyage.
* ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve: The scientist who is immune to magic since he doesn't believe in it,
* ClingyJealousGirl: Gertrude Mugler
* DamselInDistress: Subverted in the third story, when Harold breaks into the tent of Belphebe's captor to rescue Belphebe, finds a BoundAndGagged person there... [[spoiler:who is Belphebe's would-be captor, who had been tied up by her]].
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: between the characters from the modern world and the inhabitants of the alternate universes they visit.
* DisproportionateRetribution: In ''The Castle of Iron'', our heroes come upon Roland massacring a peasant village. The reason? The peasants boiled his venison instead of roasting it.
* EvilSorcerer: A whole Chapter of them work to bring down the kingdom of Faerie in ''The Mathematics of Magic''.
* {{Expy}}: In-story example: ''Literature/TheFaerieQueene'' has expies of characters from ''Orlando Furioso''.
** However, is there really any such character as "Belphegor" in ''Orlando Furioso'' that is an expy of Belphoebe? I [[http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/615 looked]] and didn't find any character name resembling that. And the names don't seem to be related, either; "Belphoebe" is from the the name of a Titan from Greek mythology plus a prefix meaning "beautiful", whereas "Belphegor" is from the name of a Moabitish deity "Ba'al Pe'or" mentioned in the Torah (or so says Wiki/ThatOtherWiki).
*** In this case the "Phoebe" in "Belphoebe" is probably not the Titaness, but another name for the Moon-Goddess Artemis, who, as a virgin goddess, represents for Spenser the chastity of "UsefulNotes/ElizabethI" (as Gloriana represents her "glory" and Mercilla her "mercy").
* ExtremeOmniGoat: In the first story, one of Thor's goats takes a big bite out of Shea's coat and swallows it. According to Thjalfi, the goats once ate a pile of human corpses as well.
* GenreSavvy: When Harold visits a world that inspired our work of fiction -- oddly enough, he manages to do quite well by running with the tropes that he (or the people he's with) remembers. At times, this has even been used for prophecy -- he remembers how the story came out.
* HeroesWantRedHeads: Belphebe
* InsufferableGenius: Ras Thavas from the ''Literature/JohnCarterOfMars'' setting
* LiteralGenie: Magical spells sometimes give results different than what Shea or Chalmers intended, but which fit the literal meaning of the words they used.
* TheLoad: Shea himself is a slight example in the first novella. He is less physically capable than his more battle-hardened companions, and his 20th century science turns out not to work at all in the world of Myth/NorseMythology. This changes once he starts figuring out how to use magic.
* MagicAIsMagicA: Magic is stated to act this way, although how consistently the rules are applied [[BellisariosMaxim may be debatable]].
* MassiveMultiplayerCrossover
* MisplacedADecimalPoint: One of the characters has to prove his magical skills by invoking a dragon. The guy accidentally shifts the decimal point two places to the right and summons 100 dragons. Luckily they're vegetarian.
** A later attempt to perfect the spell produces a dragon approximately 0.01 times the size of a normal dragon. It's ten inches long, breathes fire, has a sting in its tail...and was summoned into a cage made for the normal-sized dragon the characters were hoping to get. It promptly escapes by flying '''between''' the bars...and it's not happy.
* NotSoHarmlessVillain: Grantorto in ''The Mathematics of Magic'' seems like an AffablyEvil SmallNameBigEgo and doesn't even do anything particularly villainous. [[spoiler:Then at the end, after the rest of his Chapter is killed, he traps Shea and Belphebe and would have tortured them to death, had they not been sucked into other dimensions.]]
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: The wivern that Busyrane rides in ''The Mathematics of Magic," described by Harold as "some kind of a long-tailed pterodactyl."
* OurGryphonsAreDifferent: The Hippogriff, Buttercup, in ''The Castle of Iron''.
* PeopleJars: Dolon in ''The Mathematics of Magic'' has a collection of small faery folk imprisoned in bottles.
* PublicDomainCharacter: ...and public domain settings, too.
* SamusIsAGirl: Britomart (as in ''Literature/TheFaerieQueene'')
* SharedUniverse: Orginally the character belonged only to Pratt and de Camp (with one unauthorized use (''See'' TakeThat, ''below'')); many years later, de Camp, the surviving partner, allowed other authors (so far, Roland J. Green, Creator/HollyLisle, Frieda A. Murray, John Maddox Roberts, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Tom Wham, and particularly Christopher Stasheff) to play with the ''Enchanter'' universe.
* TakeThat: "Sir Harold and the Gnome King" has one directed at [[Creator/LRonHubbard a certain other author]] who wrote Harold Shea into one of his stories without permission--and ''[[DroppedABridgeOnHim killed him off]]''. ([[NoOneCouldSurviveThat He got better]].)
* TheTourney: In the ''Faerie Queen'' world.
* TrappedInAnotherWorld: The characters sometimes are prevented from returning to the "real" world until they've accomplished something.
* WarriorPoet: Lemminkainen from ''The Wall of Serpents''.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: The story from 2005, "Return to Xanadu", is about what happened to a minor character from "The Wall of Serpents".
* YouNoTakeCandle: The trolls in ''The Roaring Trumpet'', Odoro the Imp in ''The Castle of Iron''.