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''Tigana'' is a 1990 fantasy novel by Creator/GuyGavrielKay. It takes place in the Peninsula of the Palm, a FantasyCounterpartCulture for medieval Italy. Two foreign conquerors occupy the Peninsula: Brandin, king of Ygrath, and Alberico of Barbadior. They have carved up the land between them, and hold it in an uneasy balance of power. The main focus of the story is on a group of rebels who seek to liberate the area, but must defeat both tyrants at the same time, lest one overrun the Peninsula. We also see the viewpoint of Brandin, as well as Dianora, a [[RoyalHarem concubine]] bent on assassinating him.

During Brandin's conquest, his son was killed in the province of Tigana. In retaliation, he razed the area flat, and put a curse on it that no one outside Tigana would know of its [[TakeAwayTheirName name]] or [[{{Unperson}} history]]. He turns out to be a competent ruler, cultured, if arrogant, and likable... but is that enough to erase his prior sins?

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!!This work contains the following examples:

* ZeroPercentApprovalRating: Nobody seems to approve of Alberico (whereas Brandin is actually quite a good ruler) but they're afraid to say so, with good reason.
* AffablyEvil[=/=]AntiVillain: Brandin is cultured, benevolent, an excellent ruler, and an all-around great guy. However, he'll never be dissuaded from seeking revenge against those who have wronged him, no matter who (or what) it harms (or who actually wronged whom in the first place), and so for the good of the entire Peninsula, he's got to go.
* AirStripOne: See PleaseSelectNewCityName below; it's a city-state.
* AlienSky[=/=]WeirdMoon: Their world has two moons, Vidomni and Ilarion. The former is white, and the later blue.
* AndThisIsFor: ''"In the name of my sons, I curse you forever."''
* AntiHero: Alessan. Few would argue his cause isn't noble, but he's willing to do some pretty dark things along the way, forcibly binding wizards into his service and manipulating the two Tyrants into outright war with one another being chief among them.
* ArcSymbol: A trialla singing in the night
* BecomingTheMask: Dianora worries that she's starting to fall for the man she swore to assassinate, Brandin. [[spoiler:She's right, and ends up saving his claim to the Peninsula because of it.]]
* BestServedCold: Dianora. [[spoiler:[[BecomingTheMask Initially]].]]
* BigBadEnsemble: Brandin and Alberico, who are the main antagonists of the novel but also oppose each other. The rebels end up exploiting this by manipulating them into fighting each other, knowing that just overthrowing one will leave the other sole ruler of the Palm.
* BigDamnReunion: [[spoiler:There are times when seems like there might be a moment at the end where Dianora and Baerd would meet again. It's bitterly subverted.]]
* BloodMagic: A limited case. Magicians of the Hand can't fully use their power until they cut off two of their fingers, symbolically linking themselves to the peninsula.
* BrotherSisterIncest: [[spoiler:Dianora and Baerd]]
* BuryYourGays:
** [[spoiler:Tomasso doesn't last very long.]]
** [[spoiler:Isolla of Ygrath, the lover of Brandin's wife; the latter sent her to assassinate him.]]
* TheCaligula: Alberico is constantly on the edge of this trope; he starts going downhill pretty much from the moment he [[spoiler:very nearly gets assassinated.]]
* CanonWelding[=/=]ShoutOut: Finavir, or Finvair--as Brandin explicitly points out, spellings vary--is very close to to [[Literature/TheFionavarTapestry Fionavar]]. The context it's mentioned in makes it very easy to believe they're one and the same.
-->'''Brandin''': In Ygrath the tale is sometimes told and sometimes believed that this world of ours, both here in the southern lands and north beyond the deserts and the rain forests--whatever lies there--is but one of many worlds the gods sent into Time. The others are said to be far off, scattered among the stars, invisible to us.
* CampGay: Tomasso. [[SubvertedTrope Except not really]], he's actually [[InvokedTrope purposefully playing up the stereotype]] in order to [[ObfuscatingStupidity make people underestimate him.]]
* CassandraTruth: Nobody believes Alberico when he claims that the heads of three rival families with rich estates, led by the most CampGay guy that ever camped, all got together in a conspiracy to kill him. Especially since everyone involved is conveniently dead (when standard practice is to wring out a confession and then horribly execute) and it gives him the perfect pretext to take their stuff.
* CoolOldGuy: Sandre.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Whilst the Barbadian sky-wheels are pretty nasty, it's [[spoiler:Isolla]]'s death that really stands out. Brandin's magic ''rips her apart from the inside'', giving us our first glimpse of him not as a charming, benign AntiVillain, but as the man who obliterated a country all the way down to its ''name''.
* CynicismCatalyst: Residual grief over the death of his son is what drives Brandin to do what he does.
* DeadpanSnarker: Approximately fourth fifths of the cast.
* DisproportionateRetribution: His habit of doing this is what makes Brandin an AntiVillain rather than a straight-up hero. To use the most notorious example (though others exist), his reaction to his favourite son dying in a war ''that he himself started'' is to annihilate the defenders' country so hard that it [[spoiler:poisons the entire Peninsula]].
* TheDogBitesBack: [[spoiler:How Brandin dies, assassinated by his own court fool--aka, Prince Valentin of Tigana]].
* DontFearTheReaper: The goddess Morian, associated with transitions and death, is thought of as a figure of peace and guidance--but not before one's time has come.
* {{Epigraph}}: Two. One from Creator/{{Dante|Alighieri}}, ''[[Literature/TheDivineComedy The Paradiso]]'', and the other from George Seferis, "Stratis the Sailor Describes a Man".
* EunuchsAreEvil: Averted with Scelto. Vaguely hinted at with Vencel, but it never amounts to anything.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Pretty much the incentive for the entire plot. Brandin ''really'' loved his son Stevan. So much so that he's willing to go to [[DisproportionateRetribution utterly extreme lengths]] to avenge him.
* EvilerThanThou: Brandin is a ruthless conqueror, but he's got [[AffablyEvil redeeming]] [[EvenEvilHasLovedOnes qualities]]. Alberico... doesn't.
* EvilOverlord: Two of them, opposed to each other as well as the people they conquered [[note]]though Alberico is in some ways more like an Evil Governor, as he's technically answerable to an off-page Emperor [[TheStarscream whose throne he'd love to usurp]], in direct contrast to Brandin, who was a king in his own right even before coming to the Palm[[/note]].
* EvilSorcerer: Alberico. Brandin is definitely a ''ruthless'' sorcerer, but [[AmbiguouslyEvil it's up for debate how evil he actually is]].
* EvilVersusEvil: The two sorcerer-kings occupying the Peninsula absolutely ''loathe'' each other.
* FakingTheDead: [[spoiler:Sandre, at the very start]]; Catriana later fakes a bridge-dive for propaganda purposes.
* FeudingFamilies: Nobles are just like that.
* FieryRedhead: Catriana
* {{Fingore}}: To become a wizard, with power bound to the Peninsula, it is necessary to cut off two of the fingers on your left hand.
* GenocideBackfire: It wasn't genocide so much as [[IncrediblyLamePun countrycide]], but it still led to a small bitter group seeking sweet revenge.
* FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator: It would be fair to claim this is more Alessan's story than Devin's. Or Baerd's. Or Dianora's. Or Brandin's. The point is, there are lots of strong candidates for "main character" of this story… and Devin isn't really one of them.
* GlamourFailure
* GoodBadGirl: Alienor is kind, helpful woman who kisses Alessan and flirts with both Catriana and Devin ''all within her first scene''.
* GrayEyes: Much is made of the grey eyes of Alessan, Brandin, and Rhun the fool, all of which are exactly the same colour. A character explicitly notes that Alessan's eyes look just like Brandin's, which seems to be foreshadowing some reveal or another. [[spoiler:It's a red herring. If Alessan's eyes look just like Brandin's, and Brandin's eyes look just like his Fool's, then [[FridgeBrilliance Alessan has the same eyes as Rhun--his father.]]]]
* GreyAndBlackMorality[=/=]TheGoodTheBadAndTheEvil: Alessan is pretty grey AntiHero, Brandin is is somewhat darker grey AntiVillain, and Alberico... is freaking TheCaligula.
* TheGreatestStoryNeverTold: [[spoiler:No one will ever know who Dianora really was and her original mission--not even her only surviving family. No one will ever know the true identity of Brandin's Fool.]] Only one man, [[spoiler:Scelto]], realizes these truths, and he decides that revealing the truth would help no one, and he keeps them secret for the sake of peace.
* HandicappedBadass: Marius, who killed half a dozen would-be assassins while hamstrung.
** Scalvaia gets an honorary mention for almost killing Alberico with a walking stick, of all things.
* HeroesWantRedheads: Catriana.
* HistoricalFantasy: The Palm is pretty recognizably Fantasy Italy, though it's not as firmly a historical counterpart as some of Kay's other works.
* IGaveMyWord
-->'''Rhamanus''': My name is Rhamanus. I offer it to you in pride, for no dishonor has ever attached to that name. You will have no oath from me though. I swore one to the King I love before I led his Guard here. I told him I would stop you or die. It is an oath I will keep.
* ImportantHaircut: Catriana
* TheJester: the King's Fool in Brandin's court is magically linked to him, acting out his master's subconscious urges.
* JerkassHasAPoint: Erlein never passes up an opportunity to needle Alessan and company, but--as Alessan himself points out--he ''is'' being held captive, and his people ''are'' in great danger from what Alessan plans to do. (And Erlein gets better, anyways.)
* KickTheDog: Alessan binding Erlein
-->'''Erlein''': And what part of that little speech gives you rights over ''my'' life and death?\\
'''Alessan''': I have a duty. I must use what tools come to hand.\\
'''Erlein''': ''I am not a tool!'' I am a free and living soul with my own destiny!
* KissOfDistraction: Exaggerated. Catriana and Devin are stuck in a tight secret passageway, and she has sex with him in an (unsuccessful) attempt to stop him from hearing a conversation in the next room.
* LaResistance
* LightFeminineDarkFeminine: The two goddesses of the Triad, Eanna and her daughter, Morian. Eanna is the creator of the stars and the heavens; she names and loves all things in creation. Morian--although no more evil than Eanna is--is associated with darker, more dread forces, including transitions, crossroads, death, and the afterlife.
* ALighterShadeOfBlack: Brandin. Sure, he's a decent guy in person... too bad this decent guy is a foreign invader, and would be plainly AffablyEvil (or even FauxAffablyEvil), had he been the sole invader of Peninsula. Next to Alberico, though, anyone comes out looking good.
* LoveHurts: Oh boy.
* LoveLetterLunacy: Devin gets a very fragrant, rather ''forward'' love letter from Alais's sister.
* MercyKill: [[spoiler:He gives poison to his captured son Tomasso, to save him from being tortured and killed by Alberico.]]
-->'''Sandre''': This is the last thing I can do for you. If I were stronger I could do more, but at least they will not hurt you in the morning now. They will not hurt you any more, [[spoiler:my son]].
* TheMole: Herado reports on his family, the Sandreni, to Alberico.
* MoralMyopia: Brandin obsessively seeks vengeance for his son's death without stopping to consider that, since said son ''was'' the leader of an invading army, the Tiganese may have been right (or at the very least justified) in killing him.
* MurderSuicide:
** Seconds after killing his nephew Herado, Taeri kills himself.
** [[spoiler:After killing Anghiar, Catriana throws herself out the window so she cannot be tortured.]] [[spoiler:{{Defied|Trope}} when Erlein uses his magic to save her.]]
* MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning: See: ThanatosGambit
* NoOntologicalInertia: A DiscussedTrope, as it is an important plot point that drives part of the story. The curse Brandin laid upon Tigana only exists so long as Brandin himself lives. Upon his death the curse will end and people will be able to speak of Tigana once more. That is why he is staying in the Palm and prolonging his life through unnatural means... for his vengeance to be complete he needs to outlive ''everyone'' who was born in Tigana before it fell.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Sandre and his son Tomasso together planned parallel cases of this for each of them, so they would both be underestimated. Sandre pretends to be a GrumpyOldMan and a drunk. Tomasso is known to be gay and deliberately plays himself up as a stereotypical hedonistic fop to disguise the fact that he's actually highly intelligent and a member of LaResistance.
-->'''Tomasso''': There are advantages to being seen as aimlessly degenerate.
* OffingTheOffspring: A particularly [[{{Tearjerker}} upsetting]] [[MercyKill variant.]]
* OffIntoTheDistanceEnding: Subverted. At the end, the protagonists ride away around a bend in the road--and then there is one more sentence about what happened to them around the next bend to make the point that just because the story ends here doesn't mean the characters have nothing left to do with their lives.
* OffstageVillainy: All of Brandin's evil deeds occurred years before the book even starts. We'd never know he was supposed to be evil if those actions didn't have repercussions in the present.
* TheOneThatGotAway: Dianora to Baerd
-->''He lay silent in the grass thinking of her, and then, after a time, perhaps predictably, of Elena. And then, always and forever, certain as dawn or dusk or the turning of the seasons, of Dianora who was dead or lost to him somewhere in the world.''
* ParentalFavoritism: Brandin loved his younger son Stevan more than his eldest and heir Girald, to an absurd degree. As Isolla of Ygrath puts it...
-->'''Isolla:''' You exalted a dead child above a living one, and revenge above your wife. And more highly than your own land. Have you spared a thought, a fraction of a thought, for any of them while you pursued your unnatural vengeance for Stevan?
* PleaseSelectNewCityName: Brandin renaming Tigana to Lower Corte is a major driving force in the main plot. He magically ''erases'' the name Tigana from the consciousness of anyone who didn't live there when it was Tigana, so that it seems the name, and the memory of the city-state, is destined to die with that generation.
* {{Pride}}: Pride is a big theme in the book, and the pride of the people of Tigana in particular. See [[{{Analysis/Tigana}} Analysis]] for more. This Tiganese pride is established very early on, in the prologue, when Valentin talks about it:
-->'''Valentin''': Oh, our pride. Our terrible pride. Will they remember that most about us, do you think, after we are gone?
* RedemptionEqualsDeath
* RevengeBeforeReason: Brandin. Even his ''wife'' thinks he's taken it too far. His quest for revenge for his son Stevan is unending--even though Brandin started the war in which he died, and Stevan, furthermore, was a soldier--not a helpless innocent killed in the crossfire. [[spoiler:Up to the very last, when he exhausts his magic entirely, he's most upset about the fact that his revenge will be incomplete.]]
* RightfulKingReturns
* RoyalHarem: Brandin has one, called a saishan. One of the concubines, Dianora, is actually planning to kill Brandin in revenge for what he did to Tigana, [[spoiler:but changes her mind]].
* RoyaltySuperPower: The Princes of Tigana can bind wizards to them. This comes to them via DivineParentage.
-->'''Alessan''': You will have heard the legend. It happens to be true. The line of the Princes of Tigana, all those in direct descent, can bind a wizard to them unto death. […] It is our primal story: Tigana is the chosen province of Adaon of the Waves. The first of our Princes, Rahal, being born of the god by that Micaela whom we name as mortal mother of us all. And the line of the Princes has never been broken.
* StupidityInducingAttack: The Court Fool creation process, providing a Ygrathi king's least favourite enemies with a particularly nasty FateWorseThanDeath. [[spoiler:As Brandin found out, though, it only works so long as you've got enough magic to sustain it, and once you're out of magic, your revenge is standing close at hand, whole in mind, and very angry.]]
* SexForSolace: Dianora and Baerd's relationship was founded mostly out of their shared grief for the loss of their province, their city, their father, and Naddo.
-->'''Baerd''': ''What are we doing?'' What have we done?\\
'''Dianora''': Oh, Baerd. What has been done to us?
* SexIsLiberation: The relationship between conquered peoples and an "unstable sexuality" is one of the themes of the book; how people rebel when they ''can't'' rebel. See [[{{Analysis/Tigana}} Analysis]] for more.
* ThanatosGambit: Sandre's death and subsequent funeral [[spoiler:at first appears to be this, with the twist that Sandre is actually FakingTheDead.]] Later [[spoiler:Catriana invokes this trope when she assassinates Anghiar and jumps to what she assumes to be her death. [[NotQuiteDead It doesn't take.]]]]
* TitleDrop:
** The momentous first time "Tigana" is said, when Baerd tells it to Devin.
--->''In the darkness they heard the trialla one more time, a long, descending note, and then Baerd spoke, and for the first time in his days Devin heard someone say:''\\
“Tigana.”
** Part One is titled "A Blade in the Soul"
--->'''Alessan''': I only spoke a prayer of my own. I always do. I said: ''Tigana, let my memory of you be like a blade in my soul.''
* TwistEnding: [[spoiler:Of the Snap Ending variety on the very last paragraph. Possibly, anyway, since we never discover which of the three got which fate. Many chapters before, Dianora sees a riselka (a fairy-like creature, something like a banshee). She repeats to herself the old prophecy about the riselka, including the lines "one woman sees a riselka / her path comes clear to her" and "three men see a riselka / one is blessed, one forks [comes to a crossroads in his life], one shall die". At the very end of the book, Sandre, Baerd and Devin are walking to meet Marius when they spot a riselka sitting by the side of the path. While there's clear hints at who ''should'' get which (Sandre is an old man, Baerd is deciding which of the women in his life he should go to see, and Devin is a young man with a vast array of opportunities ahead of him), it's left up to the reader what actually happens.]]
* {{Unperson}}: Performed on the entire country of Tigana, kicking off the novel's plot. WordOfGod says that the author was inspired to write the story by the instances of this during the Soviet purges.
* WackyWaysideTribe: Possibly the Night Walkers. On the one hand, they pop up with no foreshadowing whatsoever, and receive little mention afterwards. On the other, they provide significant CharacterDevelopment for one member of the heroes' party, as well as showing that there are rather more serious, immediate reasons to restore Tigana than just addressing past grievances.
* WhatTheHellHero: Kay explores this motif, having his heroes take several morally dubious choices in their quest. Were they justified by necessity? It's up to the reader.
* YourHeadAsplode: [[spoiler:Isolla of Ygrath, following an attempted assassination on Brandin.]] It's ''awful.''
* YouRemindMeOfX: The riselka reminds Brandin of Dianora.
-->'''Brandin''': ''[as if it had just occurred to him]'' In fact, she reminded me of you.

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