Literature / Brotherband

In Skandia, there is only one way to become a warrior. Boys are chosen for teams called brotherbands and must endure three months of gruelling training in seamanship, weapons and battle tactics. It's brotherband against brotherband, fighting it out in a series of challenges. There can be only one winner.

Hal Mikkelson, son of a Skandian hero and an Araluan slave, is a young boy who finds himself the skirl of a brotherband made out of the outcasts of Skandia. The other brotherbands are far superior in both strength and numbers, but Hal has one thing nobody else does: ingenuity.

Books include

  • The Outcasts
  • The Invaders
  • The Hunters
  • Slaves of Socorro
  • Scorpion Mountain
  • The Ghostfaces

Sister series to Ranger's Apprentice.

This work provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Lydia, and Evanlyn, though the latter's more of an Informed Ability for those who haven't read her series.
  • Almighty Janitor: The town drunk, Thorn, was once the Maktig three times consecutively, a feat never been done before or since. He would rather keep it under wraps.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Hal takes the sword of his father. However, it's seldom mentioned again, unlike most instances of this trope.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: In both the Skandian and Scorpion assassin cultures, the more badass you are, the higher you can rise.
  • Bad Boss: As in Ranger's Apprentice, this is a defining mark of the bad guys. Tursgud shows little care or respect for the boys in his brotherband or his crew, and Zavac is even worse. The Shurmel, meanwhile, is only at the top of the Scorpion assassins because they practice Klingon Promotion.
  • Bash Brothers: The brotherbands are this, although it would be more true to say that the Herons are a Bash Brother and Sister.
  • Berserk Button: Erak's is anyone implying that any ship is better than his ship, Wolfwind. For Thorn (and Stig, before he matures), it's anyone insulting Hal.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Hal makes Ingvar a pair of spectacles later on in the book, keeping him from leaving the Brotherband. Before this, Ingvar was extremely short-sighted.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: This is basically the Skandian's hat. Gilan also has moments of this.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Gilan, naturally. Lydia also has a variation of this with her atlatl and dagger.
  • Chekhov's Armory: If a skill is mentioned in a book, expect it to come into play at a pivotal moment. Even Edvin's knitting in The Hunters.
  • Curse Cut Short: During the Saga of Hal and the Heron Brotherband, Stefan and Jesper originally planned to include a line rhyming with "as bold as brass", preceded by "plan to kick his-". Svengal cuts them off, and they change to an amended version.
    "We've come to challenge Zavac, and he's going to breathe his last."
  • Dark Is Evil: Zavac and Tursgud both have very dark-colored ships.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Hal's revolutionary sail plan is mentioned in Ranger's Apprentice.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The purpose of the Brotherband program. Hal's rescue of Stig also applies.
  • Foregone Conclusion: A mild one. In Ranger's Apprentice, Gundar Hardstriker boasts about the Heron sail design, mentioning its designer with little impunity. Hal's redemption in the eyes of Skandia is Played for Drama, and the mention of Hal before he recovers the Andomal is taboo.
  • Gentle Giant: Ingvar. However, his poor sight makes it hard to avoid people. He becomes much less gentle when he gets his spectacles.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    Hal: He said he never saw the river. Maybe it's better than it sounded.
    Stig: This is worse than it sounded.
  • Guile Hero: Hal, to the point where the Herons basically just expect him to figure out their problems for them. Gilan, as a Ranger, is also this to an extent, and Lydia has her moments.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Stig, although he grows out of it.
  • Hufflepuff House: The Wolves. They do not even make it to the final tasks.
  • Impossible Thief: Jesper is able to steal the armband of a man he is talking to.
  • Insult Backfire:
    Tursgud: Herons? Herons aren't dangerous. Unless you're a fish!
    Edvin: And, or course, that's just what a shark is. A big, dumb fish.
  • Interquel: With Ranger's Apprentice. Erak is the Skandian Oberjarl, elected in Oakleaf Bearers. However, Hal's sail plan is used in The Emperor of Nihon-Ja.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Thorn and Hal and Stig (and eventually the rest of the Heron brotherband). But especially Hal.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Tursgud. It particularly shows when he takes up slave trading.
  • Macguffin: The Andomal. No Skandian actually knows what it is, but they consider it a great treasure.
  • Master Swordsman: Gilan and Thorn are both this. Subverted for the Shurmel, who only thinks he's this.
  • Nice Guy: Rolond is a genuinely kind person to Hal and Stig, even rounding up his crew to stop Tursgud from attacking them.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Pretty much said word for word by Sigurd. He encourages Hal to come up with the cleverest way to get points for his undermanned team.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Heron brotherband. There is a half-Araluan, a temperamental first mate, eternally bickering twins, a short-sighted Gentle Giant, a joker and excellent mimic, an Impossible Thief, a bookworm/Team Chef, and later on, the town drunk and an Action Girl. And even later, a Team Pet. Erak lampshades this.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Erak, though YMMV (he did give the Herons the Sadistic Choice of going after the Andomal and possibly getting killed, or living in shame, but they did allow it to be stolen). Thorn is also this in his role as Team Dad, and so is Duncan.
  • Remember the New Guy: Not for people, but for concepts. Despite their deep roots in Skandian society, neither the Maktig nor the Andomal are mentioned in Ranger's Apprentice. The Andomal may be justified, as Skandia's most valuable treasure, but the Maktig's absence has no In-Universe excuse.
    • In fairness, the Araulens probably aren't too interested in Skandian culture, and there's no particular reason for it to have been brought up.
  • Sadistic Choice: In The Invaders, Hal must choose between chasing the Raven, or saving Wolfwind from sinking. He chooses the latter.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Hal jumps town with the Herons and Thorn in order to take back the Andomal, despite the fact their weapons (and ship) are actually forfeit to Erak as punishment. Somewhat subverted, actually, in that Erak expected them to try and get it back.
  • Took a Level in Badass: All of the Herons, but Ingvar specifically goes from bumbling Big Guy to dangerous warrior once he gets his glasses.
  • Training from Hell: Brotherband training. Thorn also puts his crew through a not-quite-so-hellish version of this.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Hal and the Herons are forced to give up their win because they lost the Andomal.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: All of the Herons are this, but special credit has to go to Hal and Stig, and Thorn and Lydia.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Hal, Edvin, and Jesper are this compared to many of their physically stronger enemies. Gilan also shows the value of this trope when fighting the Shurmel.
  • World of Snark: It's the same universe as Ranger's Apprentice, what do you expect?
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Zavac extracts the information he needs using this tactic.