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.
- The Outcasts
- The Invaders
- The Hunters
- Slaves of Socorro
- Scorpion Mountain
Sister series to Ranger's Apprentice
This work provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Lydia.
- 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.
- Berserk Button: Erak's is his ship, Wolfwind.
- 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."
- Early-Bird Cameo: Hal's revolutionary sail plan is mentioned in Ranger's Apprentice.
- Fire-Forged Friends: The purpose of the brotherband programme.
- 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.
- Gilligan Cut:
Hal: He said he never saw the river. Maybe it's better than it sounded.
Stig: This is worse than it sounded.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Stig.
- 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 with whom 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.
- Macguffin: The Andomal. No Skandian actually knows what it is.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sadistic Choice: In The Invaders, Hal must choose between chasing the Raven, or saving Wolfwind from sinking.
- 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.
- Training from Hell: Brotherband training.
- Turn in Your Badge: Hal and the Herons are forced to give up their win because they lost the Andomal.
- You Said You Would Let Them Go: Zavac extracts the information he needs using this tactic.