Fridge / Codex Alera

Fridge Brilliance

  • A choice of a horse as the shape of Amara's fury seems odd at first—horses aren't generally wind-associated creatures. But with the series' recurring Chess Motif, it's obvious: Amara regularly overcomes powerful lords by outmaneuvering them, as well as repeatedly penetrating enemy territory through guile, skill and non-linear thinking. In other words, she's a knight.
    • Its worth noting that the Windmanes are naturally horse shaped Wild Furies.
  • In Academ's Fury, Tavi defuses a dangerous moment between guards and the Canim ambassador by bluffing: he pretends to be some important lord or something and pushes both the guards and the ambassador around, assuming that the guards will go along with this Bavarian Fire Drill just out of fear of Varg. This is a clever (and funny) moment, but Tavi spends almost the whole series bluffing or getting the drop on his enemies before they have a chance to react, so the specifics of this meeting don't seem all that important at the time. However, in the third book the reader is informed that Tavi is the legitimate prince and heir to the throne, and in the fourth book Tavi finds out that the ambassador's sense of smell is so good he can tell when humans are related to each other. This means that Tavi's bluff was true, even though he didn't know it, and the ambassador knew Tavi's secret long before he did himself.
  • A lot of things about that reveal become Fridge Brilliance on a reread: For instance, the First Lord's line towards the end of the first book: "A princely gift. Are you sure it is yours to give?" He said that to Fade, regarding a sword taken from the Princeps' Memorium. So he's talking to Septimus's singulare about giving one of the singulares' swords to the prince. Thereby making it very clear to Araris that he knows exactly what's going on. No wonder he agreed to go to the capital.
  • At first, it appears as though Gaius Sextus didn't care for his "wife" because he was so wrapped up in politics and ruling his kingdom. Then it becomes apparent that Gaius Sextus could summon Alera anytime he wished—a superhumanly beautiful and impossibly intelligent and wise and friendly female entity—one with whom he has an equal partnership. Gaius Sextus was, in a way, married to Alera. It's not clear if there was anything sexual going on between them, but Alera would provide a partner, friend, and companion far more fulfilling and far more equal to someone like Gaius than his politically-married wife ever could.
  • Minor one: When Tavi's using fire- or metalcrafting, the sparks and flames are red and blue. The colors of House Gaius.
  • Cursor's Fury is full of these. (1) Magnus (or Max) explains to Tavi early on that anyone competent in the new Aleran legion will be a spy. At the very end of the book, we learn why Alera's version of Sergeant Rock came out of retirement for the job. (2) At the end of that sequence, Butcher reminds us that Gaius Sextus knows who Sergeant Rock really is, that he therefore couldn't come out of retirement without Gaius's approval, and that Gaius set up the whole Aleran legion for Tavi's benefit. In other words, Gaius turned Fidelias back to the cause by showing him Tavi in action. (3) Lastly, Gaius reveals that he knows full well what "Tavi" is short for.
  • Tavi is part of a bloodline of kings, the savior of the world, secretly the (grand)son of a king, and a shepherd. Does this remind you of anyone? In many ways, he is just as evocative of King David, Jesus' ancestor. He grows up as a shepherd in a remote portion of the kingdom, makes use of a sling to protect livestock, regularly takes on foes larger than himself and wins, becomes an attendant to the ruler of the kingdom who is dealing with madness (or stress and anxiety that leads to something akin to madness, as Sextus demonstrates during Academ's Fury), and eventually becomes one of the greatest rulers that their respective kingdoms ever had.
  • The symbolism behind Fade/ Araris' self mutilation by branding himself with the Legion's mark of cowardice. While he did it to disguise his identity from those around him, he also did it because he felt he exhibited cowardice by abandoning Septimus in the field, even though Septimus ordered him to.
  • Since he's almost always referred to as a slave, rather than by his profession, it's easy to miss that Fade, secretly one of the finest metalcrafters alive, works as a blacksmith.
  • The choice of pictures for the cover of these books. Each cover represents a high-level use of each kind of Aleran furycraft. Furies of Calderon - Wind ( the windmanes), Academ's Fury - Earth ( the arms of Earth used to restrain Tavi), Cursor's Fury - Water ( the two water lions sent by Max and Crassus), Captain's Fury - Fire ( the firehounds guarding the Gray Tower), Princeps' Fury - Wood ( the figurehead of the Slive bending over to pick Tavi up), and First Lord's Fury - Metal. The British versions have symbols for what appears to be fire (Gram's Fearcrafting), Water (Max's impersonation of Gaius), Air (The air-lenses used to win the battle with the Canim), Earth (the Legionaires' defenses, on both sides), Wood, and Metal. The German covers are more direct.
  • One would think that "Tavi" is a very weird sounding name. Or at least that it doesn't fit in a world of Awesome McCoolnames. And it appeared as if Butcher was shamelessly rubbing that name in our faces for 3 books. Well, that was until the fourth book, where it was revealed that Tavi stood for Octavian... as in Sextus-Septimus-Octavius.
  • Ever wonder why the Vord Queens are so unconventionally intelligent and such brilliant strategists and tacticians, and how they develop such potent furycrafting? Tavi bled on the Vord Queen's mound in Furies of Calderon. They picked up Tavi's furycrafting talents and intelligence directly from him. It's no coincidence that the primary Vord Queen picks up furycrafting at the same time as her "parents."
  • From Books 2 through 6, the titles all follow a specific pattern. All of them refer to Tavi at various stages of his Hero's Journey ... except the first. Furies of Calderon doesn't seem to fit ... until you remember one detail from the later books. What's Max's nickname for Tavi? Calderon. The working title was Shepherd Boy's Fury.
  • In Book 1, Frederick uses a spade as a weapon. This may seem a humorous reference to his farmboy nature and nothing more... Until one realizes that the Roman word for spade, 'Spatha' is also the word for the Roman Broadsword. (And indeed there's some evidence early Spatha swords saw double use for digging and cutting of both roots and limbs).
  • The way the Lords make lots of small fires rather than just big ones is an example of Tavi's preference for efficiency over the traditional Aleran brute force.
  • How did Tavi manage to anticipate exactly which street The Black Cat was going to rob, not once but twice? Because he's telepathically bonded to her
  • Tavi's alias during his stint as subtribune and later captain of the First Aleran is Rufus Scipio. This is possibly a reference to Scipio Africanus, another badass general.
  • Jim Butcher wrote the Codex Alera by combining what he thought were two bad ideas: The Lost Roman Legion and Pokémon. Now consider that one of the most powerful and dangerous furies in the series is named Garados. There's also Isana, a Mama Bear among Mama Bears, using a Fury she calls Rill (as in "Ma-rill").
  • Further references to Pokémon:
    • Tavi is a farmboy and rises to be First Lord and that Title is reserved for the strongest man is Alera. In Pokémon, the player starts as a kid from the smallest town and becomes champion, the strongest in the game. As a further nod to the games Tavi frequently encounters the Vord and defeats them. The Vord Queen kills the First Lord and becomes the final opponent Tavi must face, as a reference to the rival being the champion at the end of the first set of games.
    • The Vord Queen isn't just that... the Vord Queen is also an immensely powerful being with psychic powers, artificially engineered to be the best and strongest. She's Mewtwo.
    • The colors of Aquitaine, who have some shadowy operatives and continually oppose the main character but are rarely ever main antagonists, are red and black—the same as Team Rocket.
    • Tavi's repeated cases of Defeat Means Friendship mirror how you collect Pokemon — several times, Tavi makes a friend and ally out of someone after meeting them in combat and impressing them with his strength and ability.
    • There are six kinds of furycraft, the same number of Pokémon in a full party...and like in the games, it's rare to see a full, balanced, powerful party outside of the highest ranks. And/or the the Protagonist and Rivals...
  • Why do the archers not wear armor? Most series say it allows them to move and bend better. But in Codex Alera, the archers are woodcrafters. Metal cancels their abilities, rendering them useless. If even a few metal bands can cancel a woodcrafter's skills, imagine what a full set of armor would do.
  • On reflection, Tavi and his close circle of friends all reflect different outsiders from Aleran society. In a culture that prizes furycrafting, Tavi has none and Ehren very little. Kitai is a nonhuman in a humanocentric, xenophobid empire (and she's also an outsider among her own people, for that matter, as she does not have a clan). Even Max, the handsome, likable son of a powerful nobleman, is a bastard and suffers both a degree of social stigma and, more directly, a homicidal stepmother. Of course, that's just where they start, but still...
  • At the start of "Cursor's Fury", Gaius tricks Kalarus into acting too early with a faked letter claiming he's going to adopt Lord Aquataine as his heir. His later actual adoption of Aquataine makes it almost certain that it was his real plan if Tavi hadn't developed crafting. And if you think about it, Attis may be a bastard (in the metaphorical sense) but he's smart, charismatic, relatively young, and a really powerful crafter and he's got the Realm's best interests at heart, though his methods are often questionable at best. Out of all the High Lords, he's honestly probably the best choice for a successor until Tavi develops into someone better.
  • Invidia has more in common with the Vord Queens than she probably realizes—in Academ's Fury, just before she dies, the Vord Queen is completely taken aback by the very idea that the Alerans would knowingly come out to die for the chance to kill her. Later in the series, after Invidia comes into the Prime Queen's service, she defends her actions by saying she had no choice, because she would've died if she hadn't. Like that first Queen, she simply could not wrap her head around the idea of sacrificing herself for a higher purpose.
  • The most powerful forces in the Calderon Valley are the Earth fury Garados, and his wife, the Wind fury Thana. By the end of the series, the people in charge of the Valley are...the Earthcrafter Bernard, and his wife, the Windcrafter Amara.
  • Consider the way Fade acts throughout Furies of Calderon. He's always grabbing Tavi, knocking or pulling him down, and gibbering in fear. Once Fade's true identity is revealed, it becomes clear that he was protecting him, as each time he did something like this it directly took Tavi out of immediate danger.
  • When Gauis Sextus collapses in Academ's Fury, Sir Miles says the only people he trusts died twenty years ago, most likely referring to Septimus, Araris and the others. Who does Tavi fetch to help them? Fade, who is Miles' brother Araris, presumed dead for twenty years.
  • Not sure if this qualifies, but there isn't a Fridge Awesome section, either. At the end of the series, Tavi seems to have made crafting available to everybody, regardless of race. Canim. Earthcrafters. The Vord are screwed. Imagine how monstrous those weapons would be. On top of that, crafting becomes Merit-based rather than bloodline-based. So the more awesome you are, the better you are at all forms of crafting. Canim live longer than humans. Say hello to High Lord VARG, now one of the best crafters in the world.
  • The Vord Queen's offer to protect surrendering Alerans with the "full might of the Vord" seems a little odd when you consider that, once the Vord overrun the planet, there won't be anything left to threaten their lives. That's when you remember that the prime Queen is considered 'defective' by other Vord, that every new Queen she spawns has a genetic imperative to kill her, and that one such Queen is in complete control of Canea and all of its resources. The Alerans would need protecting eventually, because one day the Canea Queen is going to cross the sea and send her Vord against the prime Queen.
  • Back in Academ's Fury, while Tavi's out trying to catch the furyless cat burglar, he bumps into Maximus. He tries to excuse himself by insinuating he's out to meet a girl, and Max laughs it off, saying he couldn't possibly be meeting a woman in that state. Gets a lot funnier when you know the cat burglar is Kitai, huh?
  • In the end Tavi creates the Marat State, the Iceman State, and the Canim State not just because it is the right thing to do, but to make sure the alliance he wants to forge grows strong. He can justify these actions by their actions for the realm. The Icemen agreed to the peace treaty, held their word to not attack, and allowed Tavi the use of the Shieldwall in his time of great need. Varg and his forces, and Doroga and his clans helped the Aleran forces on their respective fronts deal powerful blows to the Vord and saved many lives. Further, much like Romans would give people in places they took over the title of Citizens in order to make them more accepting of Roman rule and want to keep the status quo of Rome strong, giving these once enemies equal standing makes them more likely to keep with Alera. Varg would even have a legit means of becoming First Lord if he finds Tavi failing in his duties.
  • When Fade takes up the sword at the end of Academ's Fury, Sir Miles asks, rhetorically, what would've made Fade stay at the steadholt with Isana and Tavi. Yeah, what would make the late prince's bodyguard and best friend keep guarding an insignificant country boy?
    His voice suddenly trailed off, and his eye widened again... he stared at Tavi. "Great furies," he whispered. "Great bloody furies".
  • In a similar vein, when Valiar Marcus aka Fidelias is demanding why he shouldn't take command of the First Aleran from Tavi when the other officers are out of commission, Tavi explains his position and knowledge about the threat they are facing. Something makes the old veteran change his view and support Tavi. Fidelias just realizes Tavi, with his hair short, looks like a young Septimus, and is likely acting in a similar vein as Septimus would if he was there. Like Miles, he is quick to put together the implications.
  • In Cursor's Fury Tavi and Max are discussing a few Cursor duties while in the First Aleran Legion. Among them is someone beat up a slaver, got past the guards, and freed the captured slaves. What's more, both men deny it was them. They briefly ponder who could have done it. As Kitai is revealed to have been at the legion camp for several days now, it wouldn't be out of character for her to handle such a situation, considering how she loathes the horrible institution of slavery.
  • The Canim year is equal to seven Aleran years. Supposedly, for a dog a year is approximately the same as seven years would be for a human. The Canim are anthropomorphic wolves (related to dogs). Random serendipity, or a deliberate joke?

Fridge Horror

  • The Slave Collars are Pokéball analogs. You can only be released by the one who collared you, and if you're already collared, a second collar will automatically fail.
  • Masha's father turns out to have been the younger Kalarus Brencis. Every time High Lord Kalare threatened her to keep Rook in line, he was threatening his own granddaughter.
  • The Marat clans fight each other all the time, frequently enough that they have a system to stop the fighting quickly and let the leaders talk it out. Marat children are by no means guaranteed to stay with the clan they were born into; they go with whatever their totem is. Family members are likely to meet each other in combat all the time.
  • When Tavi goes to Canea, he intends to make landfall at Narash, but a massive storm blows his ships several miles off course. He winds up having to dock in Shuar, which is decidedly hostile to all Alerans and the Canim of his fleet. Then he learns that Shuar is the last Canim civilization left in all of Canea, because all the others, including Narash, were eaten by the Vord months ago. If Tavi had docked at Narash like intended, neither he nor any of the tens of thousands of others behind him would have survived.
  • At the conclusion of the Vord War, the Alerans avoid starvation by eating the croach, which is both highly nutritious and incredibly abundant. Croach spreads by digesting anything packed into it into a kind of nutrient soup: plants, animals, soil, and people. There's a very good chance that the surviving Alerans are unwittingly eating their dead. This is much like how plants are grown, thus made from, fertilizer, i.e. animal feces. There's a very good chance that people are unwittingly eating animal feces.
  • During Cursor's Fury, Amara finds that that her period is quite late, believing she's pregnant. At the very end of the book, she finds out she isn't when she does have her period after all, and she notes it's bigger than usual. They don't delve further into it than that, concluding there was nothing to it except a late period. But during the escape from Kalare's forces, she conspicuously takes a heavy blow to the abdomen. She may well have actually been pregnant and that blow might have forced a miscarriage.

Fridge Logic

On the headscratchers page.