The first book in Peter V. Brett's quintology, the ''Demon Cycle''. ''The Warded Man'' (also known as ''The Painted Man'' in the United Kingdom) is the story of mankind's struggle to survive in a world where demons rise each night to kill those not protected by magical wards. Society has crumbled and humans survive in isolated settlements, ranging from cities to small hamlets. Few will brave the roads to travel between settlements. The book tells the tale of three children, each born in different hamlets, who manage to overcome tragedies and leave the safety of their homes to find their destinies.

''The Warded Man'' was published in 2009(2008 in the UK) and has been followed by the ''Desert Spear''. Brett has also released ''The Great Bazaar and Other Stories'', a collection of short stories set in the same universe. The third volume, ''The Daylight War'', was published in February 2013. [[Film/ResidentEvil Paul W.S. Anderson]] is currently planning to make TheFilmOfTheBook.
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!!This series provides examples of:
* AbusiveParents: Leesha's mom (physical and emotional abuse), and Harl Tanner (sexual abuse)
* ActionGirl - Wonda [[spoiler: and Renna]].
* AdaptiveAbility - ''May'' be the cause of some of the Warded Man's powers, not counting the titular wards. [[spoiler: He has a noticeable healing factor, is able to keep up ''at a trot'' with his warhorse (while on foot) all day without any signs of exhaustion or even breathing hard, and starts to get pulled down into the Core with a demon he's pinning.]] This is explained in the book as being due to the warding magics gaining their strength by siphoning off the magic of the demons and channeling it into their bearer. It could also be at least in part down to him occasionally [[spoiler:eating demons]].
** Confirmed by Arlen in the first few chapters of The Daylight War.
* AdultsAreUseless - [[spoiler: Arlen's dad. His inaction leads to the death of Arlen's mother and eventually leads Arlen to go down a dark path of vengeance. Leesha's dad is a cuckold who allows his wife to walk over him and his daughter. Eventually though, he gets better.]]
** [[spoiler: Don't forget that Rojer's master is a non-functional alcoholic who may have turned to drink in order to cope with the memory of surviving when everyone else in Rojer's hometown died.]]
* AdvancedAncientAcropolis - Anoch Sun, buried beneath the sands, is location of Kaji's (The First Deliver) tomb, crown, and spear.
* AffablyEvil - Ahmann Jardir lays on the "affable" extra-thick when he visits Deliverer's Hollow. In general he has excellent manners for a KnightTemplar warlord; it's sometimes easy to forget during his POV sections that he's the bad guy.
* AndManGrewProud - After the Deliverer helped mankind defeat the corelings, man went to war with himself and the corelings rose up again to destroy civilization.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil - The corelings.
** To be fair, the [[spoiler: drone]] corelings appear to have the same level of intelligence (and personality) as a rabid wild animal - they're smart enough to figure things out ([[spoiler: they can find weaknesses in wards, through experimentation, but they either can't or don't just look at ward-nets and see where the best spot to attack is]]) but they'll attack ''anything'' that seems weaker than themselves - including nominal "allies", like other demons.
** The third book makes it plain that the rank-and-file corelings are simply too dumb to make moral choices, acting entirely on instict with some low cunning to bolster it. [[spoiler: The mind demons, on the other hand, play this very straight]].
* AntiVillain: Jardir, when left to his own devices [[spoiler: rather than trying to fulfil Inevera's prophecies]] is generally a Type III. He's very determined to save the world from the corelings, and decent enough company if you hold to his warrior's ideas- and Everam help you if he thinks you're in his way.
* ArtisticLicenseBiology / AnatomicallyImpossibleSex: in the third book, eunuch pleasure slaves exist among the Krasians: men who have had their testicles cut off, but are still capable of normal arousal and other sexual responses.
* BadassArmy - Definitely Krasian dal'Sharum (warrior caste), especially Jardir's personal bodyguards.
* BadassBeard - Common trait of Krasian men. Jardir encourages Arlen to grow one.
* BareFistedMonk: Krasian ''dama'' and ''dama'ting'' (male and female clerics respectively) are forbidden to use weapons. Since they're the clergy of a ProudWarriorRace they don't let this stop them, and are extremely skilled at unarmed martial arts.
* BattleCouple: [[spoiler: Arlen and Renna]].
* BerserkButton: Nearly every character has one of these.
** Arlen is generally a nice person. Just don't call him the Deliverer.
** Jardir has lots of things that set him off, but never ever disrespect Inevera in his presence.
** Renna Tanner is one giant berserk button. Pretty much everything sets her off, but especially anyone who disrespects Arlen.
* BloodBrothers - Jardir and Arlen are described as being this by one character. It didn't end well.
* ChristmasCake - Leesha constantly has to tell people that she's not too old. Of course when you consider that one of her childhood friends (who's not much older) has a daughter who's about to be married...
** And their culture - due to a scarcity of women - encourages women to start trying for children as soon as they start menstruating, just so that the corelings don't wipe humanity out. Given that Leesha's almost thirty, she * is* old by their standards - at least for someone who hasn't had any kids yet; even she mentions that she's starting to get to the point where "[her] best childbearing years are more behind [her] than ahead".
* ChurchMilitant - Krasia's entire society is one.
* TheConsigliere: Abban for Jardir.
* CoolHorse - Twilight Dancer, the Warded Man's warhorse. His horseshoes and the horns on his barding are warded enabling him to fight corelings.
** The Krasians get their own when they start breaking and taming wild Angerian Mustangs, the same species of horse as Twilight Dancer.
* CrapsackWorld - The two people with the power to fight the demons are a borderline AntiHero and an out-an-out villain. The villain is the one the demons are truly afraid of.
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy - Jardir is smart enough to avert most of the EvilOverlord tropes that might have left his army dangerously unprepared for its invasion, due in great part to his willingness to listen to a lower-caste advisor that most of his inner circle see as beneath them all.
* DarkerAndEdgier - ...than ''Literature/TheRunelords'', which the plot shares a number of similarities with. See FollowTheLeader, below.
* DemonLordsAndArchDevils: The mind demons. [[spoiler: And the Queen whom they serve.]]
* Determinator - Arlen.
** Every Krasian warrior is trained to become one of these.
* DisneyVillainDeath: [[spoiler: Maybe. At the end of book three, Jardir goes over a cliff and definitely hits bottom- but as the book ends right there, it's unclear at this point if he was killed or only seriously injured]].
** [[spoiler: Averted. The extract from The Skull Throne posted on Peter V. Brett's website confirms Jardir survived.]]
* TheDragon - In the second book, Arlen, Jardir and the two mind demons each have one.
** [[spoiler: In the third book, we meet the coreling Consort, the oldest and most powerful mind demon, who is the mate and enforcer for the as-yet-unseen coreling Queen]].
* EngagementChallenge - Leesha gives one to Jardir that he fails miserably after he demands she wed her because [[spoiler:she's carrying his child]] - to name the birthdates of all the children he's already got from his earlier wives.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: Krasia is clearly based on Arabic/Islamic culture, including requiring that woman wear heavy concealing clothing. The Thesan duchies have a more clearly medieval European feel to them.
* FirstGirlWins - [[spoiler: As of the end of the second book, it's not Leesha who finally captures Arlen's heart. As part of Arlen dealing with his past, he goes back to the place of his brith and ends up saving [[ArrangedMarriage Renna]]. They end up renewing their ChildhoodMarriagePromise. Oddly enough Arlen's dad is married to, and has children by, her older sister.]]
** I think this is the only [[spoiler:FirstGirlWins ChekhovsGun]] ever written.
* FollowTheLeader: Man's enemy, a sinister, implacable HiveMind consisting of several different sub-races, is emerging from deep underground, bent on wiping out humankind. The only defenses against them are [[GeometricMagic magical symbols]] based on the enemy's own power. As the attacks grow worse, a hero emerges with the power to fight back effectively. Unfortunately, his quest is hampered by an evil warlord from a desert kingdom, engaged in a war of conquest with the aim of "uniting" (enslaving) all of mankind so he can lead them to victory and win great glory for himself. [[Literature/TheRunelords Sound familiar?]]
** Inevera, on the other hand, as a creepy female magic-user and devout priestess with an initially inscrutable agenda who is the advisor and lover of a KnightTemplar would-be-conqueror, bears a much stronger resemblance to [[Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire Melisandre]] than anyone from ''Literature/TheRunelords''.
* FunctionalMagic: Corelings draw their magic from the earth, which can be used for specific abilities [[spoiler: or a wide range of them in the mind demons' case]]. Wards are special symbols that can be used by humans to leach demon magic from them and turn it against them. Initially we only see wards that are purely defensive, but ones that do a variety of other things are discovered over the course of the series. Demon bone holds residual magic, and when properly warded it can be used in unusual ways, such as Inevera's future-predicting dice and other implements of magic. [[spoiler: The third book shows that mind demons can also use wards when they want to channel their power more precisely or wield it on a grander scale than is normally possible]].
* GeniusBruiser: Arlen and Jardir are probably the two greatest warriors alive, but both men are also highly educated and quite well-read.
* GeometricMagic - The wards. In the backstory mankind had access to both offensive and defensive wards to battle the corelings. The offensive wards were lost. [[spoiler: Until Arlen finds them again.]]
* GlassCannon: Flame demons can breathe fire, which lets them pack quite a whallop, but the actual demon is only about the size of a dog and not physically all that powerful, making them one of the easiest corelings to deal with at close range.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters - The Warded Man, big time. To the extent that he frightens most people who meet him and he questions whether or not he's human any longer. In the end [[spoiler: he begins to get better... maybe]]
** The Krasians devote their entire society to waging war on the corelings. Consequently everyone but warriors and priests are treated as sub-human.
* HiveQueen: [[spoiler: The corelings have one. She hasn't shown up in person yet, but is stated be more powerful than even the strongest mind demon]].
* HumanNotepad - The Warded Man himself. The wards tattooed on his body allow him to fight and kill corelings with his bare hands.
* ImplacableMan - The rock demon from the first book. After Arlen took its arm, it followed him for years, all the way to Krasia, until he finally killed it.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Bruna, a cranky old woman who is devoted to her work as a healer and shows compassion for Leesha when she needs it most.
* LadyMacbeth - [[spoiler: Inevera]] from the second book, so very much.
** The third book goes into her backstory, and reveals that she was every bit the scheming, treacherous, murdering bitch she was portrayed as in the second book, almost from the very beginning.
* MagicKnight: Anyone who gets charged up enough on coreling magic, particularly Arlen, Jardir [[spoiler: and Renna]].
* MagicMusic - Rojer's fiddling has the power to soothe corelings and stop them from attacking. The moment he stops playing, they'll try to kill him again. His music also has the ability to enrage them further, to the extent that they'll throw themselves against wards again and again to stop his playing. [[spoiler: It's hinted in the third book that this ability triggers the ordinary corelings the same way as the mind demons' telepathy]].
* MasterRace - The Krasians see themselves as this, with a horrifying twist: Instead of seeking to simply dominate the rest of the world, when they embark on their war of conquest they deliberately, methodically seek out and rape all the foreign women they can in the hopes of siring more children with Krasian blood.
* MaritalRapeLicense - Common in Krasia, when wives literally swear to be obedient to their husbands.
* MessianicArchetype - The Deliverer. The second novel sets to set up a conflict over exactly who the Deliverer actually is. [[spoiler: Jardir betrayed Arlen in the first novel, because his manipulative wife has been grooming him to be the Deliverer, takes control of Krasia. As the descendant of the first Deliverer, everything points to his being the right man. The people of Deliverer's Hollow believe that Arlen is the Deliverer, because he taught them how to fight and brought the offensive wards. The nobility is less than enthused about allowing Arlen to call himself the Deliverer because it cuts into their power base. For his part, Arlen doesn't care and flat out tells people he's not the Deliverer; no one listens.]]
** There are hints that [[spoiler: they both could be]].
*** Especially since [[spoiler: the Deliverer is suggested to be more of a general than a Messiah]].
* MightyWhitey: Subverted in particularly mean-spirited fashion in the first book.
* MindRape - It's how [[spoiler: the mind demons]] assault their victims.
* MyNaymeIs - Lots of unconventional spellings: Arrick, Rojer, Erny, Wonda, Benn...
* NeverMessWithGranny: Bruna doesn't put up with any shit from anyone, up to and including giant demons.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero - The Krasians, possibly. [[spoiler: Arlen only becomes the Warded Man/the Deliverer because the Krasians - specifically a group of Krasians he thought almost considered him family - tried to kill him repeatedly after finding out that he'd returned from a trip out into some old ruins with a spear that had some of the old combat wards inscribed on it. When tossing him into a pit with a demon in it didn't work, they stripped him of everything they thought had worth (except a small emergency pack and a water-flask) and [[LeftForDead tossed him out into the desert]], hoping ''that'' would kill him. [[TheDeterminator It didn't]]. He made it to an oasis, stayed long enough to heal up and recover from the ordeal of walking across the desert without any of the proper equipment (and nearly dying from dehydration) and then painted wards on himself once he realized that no weapon he could make would really work against demons even if he did inscribe the right wards on it - a spear without a metal head would just break. So he painted the wards ''on his hands'' - and then tattooed them in place, once he realized that would work even better - and [[LikeABadassOutOfHell proceeded to walk across the desert, at night,]] [[InfernalRetaliation taking down every demon who got in his way]] as he made his way back to the ruins where he'd found the spear.]] And all because they couldn't understand the concept of "let's share the Phlebotinum"...
** [[spoiler: At the end of the third book, Arlen duels Jardir and either kills or cripples him. It's heavily hinted that this plays right into the coreling Consort's claws, as he had wanted to keep them and their followers from uniting]].
*** [[spoiler: Can't be sure of that. Prior to meeting Jardir for the fight Arlen claims that he will have to change his plans on what to do about Jardir and then looks towards his daughter, Rojer's wife, Amanvah. Their conversation is not shown in the book. She is one of those who accompany Arlen to the duel and goes off to speak with her mother before it starts. I think, or really hope, that Arlen is playing some kind of long-game here to fool the Mind Demons and gain an advantage over them. Or maybe he really is being stubborn and stupid in which case humanity is doomed with him at the helm...]]
* OneGenderRace: [[spoiler: Ordinary corelings are all neuter. Mind demons are all male. Coreling queens are [[CaptainObvious always female]], though its unknown if more than one of those exists at a time]].
* OneSteveLimit - Averted: there are sure a lot of female characters whose name is a variation on "Mary".
* OurDemonsAreDifferent - The corelings rise up out of the Core at night and are destroyed by the sun. Wards repel them and unless a weapon is warded, it has almost no effect on them. The corelings are also elementally aligned and opposing elements weaken them.
* TheParagon - Arlen is a variation on this. "Folk start looking to me to solve all their problems, they'll never learn to solve their own."
* ParentalSubstitute - [[spoiler: Ragen's wife tries to become this for Arlen.]] He's less than thrilled about it and it damages their relationship until [[spoiler: she]] finally stops. Arrick [[spoiler: Who's at least partly responsible for allowing Rojer's mom to die]] tries to be one for Rojer, but his drinking and jealousy of Rojer's talent [[spoiler: is part of what leads to his death.]]
* PowerTattoo - what happens when people start to tattoo wards on their flesh instead of painting them on wood or carving them in stone.
* {{Pride}}: Jardir's major flaw. Sure, he's about as decent a guy as you get out of the [[TheSpartanWay Krasian millitary training]] and genuinely wants to save the world from the demons- but he also truly buys into his role as [[TheChosenOne the Deliverer]] and its attendant OmniscientMoralityLicense.
* ProudWarriorRace - The Krasian culture is based on combat, primarily against the corelings. A man is either a warrior, which includes the ranged tribes, the warders, and the clerics, or he's nothing. The ''khaffit'' (non-warrior) caste are seen as honorless and are abused and raped by the warrior caste for kicks. The third book deconstructs this, as it's made increasingly clear that the Krasians are teetering on the verge of becoming a culture of straight-up {{Blood Knight}}s rather than the honorable demon-killers they're supposed to be. [[spoiler: Ironically, it's ''Inevera'' who first comes to this conclusion, full-on LadyMacbeth though she is]].
* RapeAsDrama - [[spoiler: Leesha]] , [[spoiler: Jardir]] , [[spoiler: Reena Tanner and her sisters]]
* RapePillageAndBurn - Krasians consider it as traditions and therefore do it after their breakin into Rizon.
* RescueIntroduction: How Leesha and Rojer meet the Warded Man
* SilkHidingSteel - Inevera is portrayed as sublte and delicate, but she proves to be a skilled fighter. Jardir notes (being the only one able to defeat her) that she could kill any of the ''Damaji'' (leaders of clerics, who have spent decades on combat training) before he even realised that he was attacked.
* StartOfDarkness - The first part of the second book is devoted to Jardir's backstory. [[spoiler: The third book does the same for Inevera]].
* StrawMisogynist - Nearly all Krasians. [[spoiler: By the third book, their society has begun to grow somewhat more progressive after Jardir decides he can't just throw away willing warriors because of their gender]].
* TheSpartanWay - Krasian system of military training.
* SquishyWizard: [[spoiler: The mind demons aren't all that tough physically. Unfortunately, they have vast PsychicPowers, knowledge of magic to put any human to shame, and the ability to call up any kind of Coreling they want]].
* ThouShallNotKill - [[spoiler: Leesha is raped by three men just because she cannot bring herself to kill them, which she could easily do.]]
* TrainingFromHell - Jardir's (and supposedly all Krasian boys') experience from ''sharaj'' (training area). During his training they are abused, bullied and even raped by both Masters and older trainees, have to fight for food, are encouraged to fight against each other and are allowed to see their families only once a month.
* UnusualEuphemism - Various forms of Core take the place of most of the typical four letter words, what with the Core being where the corelings come from and all. With demons rising in the night to kill people, telling someone to go get Cored is serious business indeed.
** In Krasia, the ''dama'ting'' (female clerics) are instructed in "the art of pillow dancing".
* WellIntentionedExtremist - Jardir believes all the murder, enslavement and rape his army does serves a good purpose. Particularly the rape: he intentionally "breeds" any physically mature woman to his soldiers in the hopes of raising up a new generation of children of Krasian blood, [[MasterRace which will of course make them superior to ordinary Northerners.]] Same goes for [[spoiler: Inevera]], who helped mastermind his rise.
* WorthyOpponent: Jardir and Arlen. Their relationship is described using the Krasian word ''zhaven'', which depending on context can mean "brother" or "nemesis", or both at the same time.
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