''The Brothers Lionheart'' is a children's fantasy book written by Creator/AstridLindgren. The story touches on a number of important themes that are surprisingly deep for a book written for children, such as death, tyranny, rebellion and courage. But the main theme of the book is rebirth.
The story begins by introducing us to the brothers Lejon (Lion), the sons of a poor seamstress some time during the early 20th century. The younger brother, Karl, also known as Skorpan ("Rusky"), is dying from tuberculosis. He describes himself as a homely, foolish and scared boy. The much-admired older brother Jonatan is like a prince from a fairy tale; he is always there to comfort Skorpan, and he even dies saving him when their house burns down.
Before his death, Jonatan told Skorpan about Nangijala, a land still in the time of campfires and fairy tales, where Skorpan can have adventures from morning to evening and at night too. When Skorpan dies he wakes up in Cherry Valley in Nangijala and finds his brother there.
At first Nangijala looks like a perfect place to spend the afterlife, but that is before Skorpan learns about the [[EvilOverlord evil conqueror]] Tengil and his soldiers, and the death that comes from the dragon Katla. The brothers (who soon become known under the name Lejonhjärta - Lionheart - in the afterlife) spend the rest of the book aiding [[LaResistance the rebellion]] against these menaces.
!! ''The Brothers Lionheart'' contains examples of:
* ZeroPercentApprovalRating: Every house and farm in Briar Rose Valley had weapons hidden and forged for the approaching battle to end Tengil's tyranny over the land and its people.
** And they are very determined on that task. The answer of a widow to why she's cutting her long hair, a few hours after her husband was executed:
-->'''Antonia:''' [[TearJerker Bowstrings.]]
* TheAce: Jonatan. He's loved and admired by all in the real world and Cherry Valley alike.
* AdultFear: One wonders how the boys' mother felt...
* AllMythsAreTrue: Let's count the myths presented in this book:
** Nangijala is presented as a myth but turns out to be true. Even stranger was how it was combined with a song their mother used to sing, and the myth was still true.
** Long after Katla's introduction, we were informed that Katla was a myth herself. The myth also told about the serpent Karm. And by the end of the book Karm was a myth made true too.
** Nangilima, the life after death in Nangijala, is proven true by WordOfGod.
*** FlipFlopOfGod as Astrid Lindgren also once said that most of the book is Skorpan's escapist fantasies from his sickbed, until he [[KilledOffForReal dies in the real world]] when they [[DyingDream go to Nangilima]]. (And then she said, "But if any of you ever tell this to your children, I will [[NeverMessWithGranny kill you]].")
* AnnoyingArrows: Averted. It rarely takes more than one for a person to go down for the count.
* BadassGrandpa: Mattias, full stop. Sasses Tengil's soldiers like a pro even though they could kill him for it at any moment.
-->'''Mattias''': I don't think that Lionheart exists. It's something you've conjured up so you can go and create a mess in people's homes.
* BehemothBattle: In the finale, Jonathan rolls a boulder on Katla that pushes her into a waterfall. Karm, the 'lindworm' that inhabits the waterfall attacks Katla, and Jonathan and Skorpan watch in awe as the two monsters fight each other to death.
* ContrivedCoincidence: Chapter eight.
** Skorpan finds himself in the very same cave that Veder and Kader were in. He didn't plan to, he just does.
** Skorpan finds out who was the real traitor.
** Skorpan learns about Katla's mark that was branded on the traitor's body, marking him as a servant of Tengil.
** Skorpan finds out about the password to enter Briar Rose Valley, a feat not even Jonatan had managed.
** Skorpan is captured and forced into Briar Rose Valley, which he would never have been able to do by himself.
** Skorpan meets Mattias, who happens to be housing Jonatan at the time.
** Also, in chapter twelve, they hide their horses in the same cave that turns out to contain the secret entrance to Katla's lair. Later in the same chapter, this and the coincidences from chapter eight are discussed and hinted that they might be the result of some form of DivineAssistance instead.
* ChaoticStupid: Tengil's men are repeatedly shown to be too stupid and lazy to be any real threat. So how did they invade Briar Rose Valley again? Oh right, Katla.
* DeadpanSnarker: Mattias.
-->'''Soldier''': You have two horses you don't need. Put your mark on this.\\
'''Mattias''': Why should I do that?\\
'''Soldier''': It means that you happily give Tengil your horses.\\
'''Mattias''': I feel no such happiness.
* DisappearedDad: No mention is ever made of the boys' father in the movie. In the book he's said to have gone to sea.
-->There are some things you have to do, even if they're dangerous. Otherwise, you're not a human being but just a little piece of dirt.
* DownerEnding: Not only does [[spoiler:Jonatan get burnt by Katla's poison fire, but Skorpan decides (despite being just fine himself) that he doesn't want to live without his brother and together they both "go to Nangilima", i.e. they jump off a cliff to their deaths.]] And the very last shot in the film version shows the "real world" tombstone of the non-nangijalic Jonatan and Karl Lejon, [[spoiler: implying the DyingDream interpretation of the story]].
* [[spoiler:DyingDream. While Astrid Lindgren has [[WordOfGod said]] that the brothers went to Nangilima after their jump in the end, she also said that they never went to Nangijala at all. Skorpan doesn't die at the beginning, he falls unconscious and dreams the whole adventure in Nangijala. "I see the light!" at the end is him dying for real, and apparently going to heaven.]]
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Even though he is on their side, the Tengilsmen Veder and Kader openly despise [[spoiler: Jossi]] for betraying Cherry Valley.
* GoryDiscretionShot: Jonatan prevented Skorpan from witnessing a man getting executed on the village square by pressing Skorpan's face to his chest.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Discussed, even more in the movie than in the book. RebelLeader Orvar seems to be quite fanatic in his cause, and Jonathan has reason to fear that he would become a new Tengil if he was given the opportunity. Jonathan calls him out on it, resolving to finish Katla himself, not risking Orvar getting his hands on ''any means'' to control Katla.
** When you consider that the pass word is "All power to Tengil, our liberator", just consider what Tengil himself was meant to liberate them from in the first place. Orvar is, of course, another liberator (for honest this time - we believe).
* InstantExpert: In Nangijala, Skorpan is able to ride a horse the very first time he tries.
** In the film, upon first arriving in Nangijala, he discovers to his surprise he can swim now, to which his brother replies "of course, this is Nangijala".
* KarmicDeath: Tengil tries to extend his tyranny over all of Nangijala with his dominion over Katla. In the end [[spoiler: he is [[TheDogBitesBack killed by her flames]].]]
* KillEmAll - [[spoiler:''Very'' few characters survive the end of the book. The Brothers Lionheart are not among them.]]
* MostWritersAreAdults: Jonatan Lionheart is the most heroic person in the story, as well as the informal leader of the rebellion who everyone and their dogs' mothers look up to. All that while being just 13 years old.
** The story ''is'' told by his younger brother, who admires him boundlessly.
** Besides, he seems to have spent a lot of time in Nangijala before his brother arrives. He already got the hang of the whole rebellion thing and appears to be rather famous.
* MutualKill: [[spoiler: Katla and Karm.]]
* NaiveNewcomer: Skorpan.
* NonMaliciousMonster: Katla might be a huge dragon. And if she breathes her fire on you, you will soon become paralized. But she was controlled by the evil dictator Tengil, who kept using her to keep his power. And if you only leave her alone, she won't harm anybody.
* OhCrap: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1y5Viz2EsA Katla kommer!]] And this is nothing compared to how it's written in the book:
-->And then came the screams. Katla's screams of hunger that we all knew so well. Then the swords fell down and the spears and arrows, and those who fought could not fight anymore. Because they knew no one could save them.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Katla. [[spoiler: Even a ''touch'' of her flame is deadly]].
* RedAndBlackAndEvilAllOver: Tengil dresses in black, with red feathers on his helmet.
* ReincarnateInAnotherWorld: Skorpan at the beginning.
* TechnicalPacifist: Jonatan refuses to kill. [[spoiler: Siccing Katla on Tengil is a different matter.]]
* ThoseTwoBadGuys: Veder and Kader.
* TooDumbToLive: Whose brilliant idea was it to brand [[spoiler:Jossi]] with the mark of Katla? The whole point of an infiltrator is for that person to ''infiltrate'', which is hard to do when you're walking around with the mark of the enemy branded on your chest.
* TraumaCongaLine: Mrs. Lejon. Her husband goes to sea and never returns (it's implied that he died). Her nine year-old gets tuberculosis. Her other son dies trying to save him but he only lives a short while after that. So she loses her husband and both her sons from three unrelated occurrences. Oh, and her home burns down.