''The Blue Sword'' by RobinMcKinley is a fantasy novel that follows Angharad "Harry" Crewe as she adjusts first to life in the Homelander colony of Daria -- called Damar by its native inhabitants -- and then to being kidnapped by the Damarian king, Corlath. There is also a prequel, ''The Hero and the Crown'', which tells the story of Lady Aerin, Dragon-killer, one of Damar's greatest and most legendary heroes, who is mentioned with some frequency in ''The Blue Sword''. There is ''also'' a midquel short story, "A Pool In The Desert," which has less swords and horses than the other two.

[=McKinley=] has said she wrote the book after reading (and being completely horrified by) ''Literature/TheSheik''. She's referred to it as 'the anti-Sheik'.
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[[folder:Tropes in ''The Blue Sword'']]
* AbductionIsLove: Subverted. The Riders suspect this with dismay when Corlath kidnaps Harry, but he makes it very clear that's not the case. He only keeps her around because of a premonition too strong to ignore, and later because of her magic and sword skills. [[spoiler:They do fall in love, but not until she's fairly adjusted to her new home and on more or less equal terms with him.]]
* ActionGirl: Senay and eventually Harry.
* AffectionateNickname: Harry calls her brother Richard "Dickie", which doubles as {{Have A Gay Old Time}}. Jack calls Harry "Captain". The Hillfolk call her "Hari," which is later lengthened to "Harimad". [[spoiler:And after they get engaged, Corlath calls her "my heart".]]
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking
* AwesomeButImpractical: The Damarian style of riding involves a padded saddle, no reins, and no stirrups.
* [[spoiler:BabiesEverAfter: Tor Mathin and Aerin Amelia.]]
* BadassNormal: Jack Deadham, Mathin, and the rest of the King's Riders
* BigBad: Thurra
* BigBrotherInstinct: Richard, much to Harry's annoyance.
--> "He takes the man's responsibility to his frail female relations very seriously, does Dickie. Drat him."
* ColonelBadass: Jack Deadham
* CompleteImmortality: Luthe, although it may be TheAgeless, instead.
* CoolHorse: Tsornin, Isfahel, ''all Hill horses''...
** Corlath recounts a story of Tsornin's ancestor, who was able to bring her master home after he'd been tortured and gone partly insane. That's right, even the horses get a HeroicLineage.
* CompletelyUnnecessaryTranslator: Corlath to the Homelanders.
* EasingIntoTheAdventure: The story begins with Harry's efforts at adjusting to life in Homelander-occupied Daria; after she's kidnapped by Corlath, she goes through another adjustment and training period.
* EccentricMentor: Luthe, to a certain extent
* EmbarrassingFirstName: Angharad "Harry" Crewe
* EmpathicWeapon: Gonturan
* EnemyMine: Corlath sees an alliance with the Homelanders as this; the lesser of two evils compared to the Northerners.
* FantasticHonorifics: "Sola" for for men and "sol" for women.
* FantasticRacism: Homelanders vs. Hillfolk, in both directions. And both of them hate the Northerners.
* TheFederation: The Homelanders
* GlowingEyesOfDoom: Corlath, Thurra and [[spoiler:Harry]]
* HiddenElfVillage: The Filanon.
* HistoricalFantasy: The Homelander Empire's expansion into Daria/Damar bears some resemblance to the British Empire's expansion into India.
* TheHorde: The Northerners
* HorsebackHeroism: Yep.
* ImpoverishedPatrician: Harry joins her brother in Daria/Damar because there's nowhere for her to go in their Homeland: her parents are dead, their home and property sold off, and as a "penniless blueblood of no particular beauty" she is not regarded as prime marriage material.
* InTheBlood: The ''kelar'' (magic) of the Hillfolk runs strongest in the royal line and their close relatives. [[spoiler:[[SecretLegacy Harry's maternal great-grandmother was a Hill noblewoman "of some rank"; and is the source of her Gift.]]]]
* TheKingdom: Damar
* MagicVersusScience: The magic of the Northerners and the Damarians interferes with Homelander technology like guns.
* MagicWarrior: Corlath, Thurra, and [[spoiler:Harry]]
* MentorOccupationalHazard: Mathin [[spoiler:although he survives.]]
* MightyWhitey: Subverted. [[spoiler:Harry actually has Hillfolk blood.]]
* NaiveNewcomer: Harry, after she's kidnapped.
* NeverWasThisUniverse: The Homelander Empire is a fairly obvious {{Expy}} of the old British Empire, colonial possessions and all, but what we learn of the world makes it clear that it's not really an AlternateHistory.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Sir Charles, sympathetically.
* OldMaster: Mathin
* OnlyTheChosenMayWield: Gonturan, the titular Blue Sword, which will only work for women of any age and men younger than 20.
* OvershadowedByAwesome: Harry at first has this reaction about Tor the Just, husband to [[RedBaron Lady Aerin, Dragon-killer]]:
--> "It must be very dreary, being Just, when your wife is out killing dragons."
** However, she later decides he can't have been all that boring if he was also a noted general, able to hold off the Northern army for 9 consecutive days of battle.
* PlotInducedStupidity: [[spoiler:Ignoring the northwest pass and letting the Northerners destroy Istan "to keep them amused" without even warning the town?]] Really, Corlath?
* RainOfArrows: In the climactic battle against Thurra's Army
* ScarsAreForever: The King's Riders all have ritually scarred hands, with the aid of a special salve.
* ShoutOut: Corlath telling Harry if she's so worried about sneak attacks, she might as well [[Literature/TheHobbit keep an eye out for eagles carrying rocks.]]
* SupernaturalGoldEyes: Using the inborn magical talent called ''kelar'' turns the user's eyes temporarily bright gold.
* SwordFight: many
* TimeAbyss: Luthe is at least 2000 years old by the time of ''The Hero and the Crown'', and has not changed a bit however many hundreds of years later it is when we meet him in ''The Blue Sword''.
* TomboyishName: Harry, whose real name - Angharad - isn't revealed until a good ways into the story.
* {{Uncoffee}}: Malak.
* VaguenessIsComing: Lampshaded by Luthe, who points out that he's given Harry a much straighter answer than she has any reason to expect from any ancient oracle on a mountain.
* YouALLShareMyStory: [[spoiler:Senay, Terim, the Homelanders and the Filanon all get credit for stopping the Northerners. Aerin explains that she arranged this for Harry, because in her own lifetime, she found that the people at home don't like being left out of the adventure.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tropes in ''The Hero and the Crown'']]
* ActionGirl: Aerin.
* ArtifactOfDoom: [[spoiler:Maur's skull, which radiates depression over the whole city, almost causing them to lose the final battle against the Northerners.]]
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: [[spoiler:Aerin is implied to do this at the end of her reign, to become a sort of patron spirit for Damar.]]
* BreakTheHaughty: [[spoiler:Galanna, who is widowed and very much subdued by the end of the novel.]]
* BrokeYourArmPunchingOutCthulhu: Aerin suffers a great deal through her heroics. [[spoiler:After the fight with Maur, she was severely burned and would have died from the aftereffects if Luthe hadn't turned her immortal.]]
* BlackSheep: ''Aerin.'' The only people who don't dislike her for her mother's sake are her father, cousin, and nurse.
* BodyToJewel: The last drop of a dragon's blood shed when it dies becomes a gemstone. In the case of most dragons, it's too small to bother looking for, but one that comes from a great dragon is a very valuable treasure.
* CoolHorse: Aerin inherits her father's retired cavalry charger, Talat. Somewhat played with in that she only gets him because he's crippled and useless to everyone else. At first.
* DeathByChildbirth: assumed to be the reason behind Aerin's mother's death.
* EvilSorcerer: [[spoiler:Aerin's uncle Agsded.]]
* FantasticRacism: Against the Northerners. Aerin's Northern heritage on her mother's side is often held against her; and sure enough, in ''The Blue Sword'' nobody in Damar even remembers that their national heroine was related to their worst enemies.
* GentlemanSnarker: Perlith.
* TheGloriousWarOfSisterlyRivalry: The cousinly version, with Galanna.
* GlowingEyesOfDoom: Aerin and the royal family, Luthe.
* HannibalLecture: [[spoiler:Agsded does his level best to destroy Aerin's confidence by telling her that her people despise her, her father finds her merely a useful tool, and Tor only loves her because she bewitched him without knowing it. When he starts belittling Luthe, however, who Aerin knows perfectly well is a great wizard, she sees right through him and delivers the following retort:]]
** ShutUpHannibal: "Now that is nonsense. If you can do no better than cheap insults, {{The Prophecy}} overestimates you."
* TheHorde: The Northerners
* IFellForHours: Aerin climbs an insanely long staircase, then falls back down. Both the climbing and the falling take quite a long time.
* IncurableCoughOfDeath: [[spoiler:Aerin, after her lungs are burned in the fight against Maur. She survives, but at a high price.]]
* {{Immortality}}: Luthe has either Type I or Type II.
** Aerin might possibly have Type XI following her dip in the Lake of Dreams.
*** It might also be Type II, depending on how you interpret her climb and fall.
* TheJeeves: Teka, Aerin's maid and the closest thing she has to a mother, who feels free to scold and fuss over her mistress even when the rest of the court reveres her as a heroine.
* ImportantHaircut: [[spoiler:After Maur scorches most of Aerin's hair off, it grows back thinner and darker. Teka cuts it shoulder-length and it stays that way.]]
* JerkassHasAPoint: It's [[spoiler:''Agsded'']] who first points out to Aerin that Tor is in love with her.
* TheKingdom: Damar
* LateArrivalSpoiler: Aerin kills a dragon.
* LoveTriangle: [[spoiler:A rare example in that Aerin actually gets ''both'' men: first an ordinary lifetime ruling Damar with her husband Tor, then an immortal one with Luthe.]]
* MagicWarrior: Aerin
* MamasBabyPapasMaybe: Aerin tweaks this, reflecting that the only evidence that she's her father's daughter is that her father's wife bore her -- but not even Aerin's worst enemies think that badly of her mother.
* MayflyDecemberRomance: [[spoiler:Aerin and Luthe, which makes his {{Anguished Declaration Of Love}} particularly touching.]]
--> [[spoiler:'''Luthe:''']] "I will love you until the stars crumble, which is a much less idle threat than is usual for lovers on parting."
* MushroomSamba: non-comedic version. Aerin is tricked into eating the herb, which is supposedly poisonous to non-Royals, and spends several ''months'' being frightened of purple smoke demons.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Used, in that most Damarian dragons are little more than dumb beasts which are considered pests (although they do breathe fire). Averted by the great dragons, which are evil, ancient, and generally fit the description of classic Western-style dragons, although without the piles of gold or kidnapping of maidens.
* RapunzelHair: Aerin's hair is originally around knee-length (actually, it's ankle-length when wet). Galanna also has waist-length hair.
* RebelliousPrincess
* RedHeadedHero
* SecretLegacy
* SleepCute: Aerin watches Luthe this way [[spoiler:during their last night together.]]
* TomboyAndGirlyGirl: Aerin versus her cousin Galanna.
* TimeAbyss: Luthe.
* VictoriousChildhoodFriend: Aerin and Tor.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Aerin and Tor both feel this way about King Arlbeth, although in Tor's case it's "well done, nephew".
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[[folder: Tropes in "A Pool In The Desert"]]
* AbusiveParents: Hetta's father is domineering and emotionally manipulative. Hetta's mother is an IllGirl only slightly less self-centered than him.
* TheCaretaker
* HoldingHands
* PromotionToParent: she raises her younger siblings.
* TheStoryteller
* TalkingInYourDreams: How Hetta and Zasharan meet.
* ThatWasNotADream: after waking up the first time around, Hetta finds sand in her bed.
[[/folder]]
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