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Literature: Deltora Quest

Deltora Quest is the collective title of three separate series of Fantasy novels written by Australian author Emily Rodda, with cover art and other illustrations by Marc McBride. A series written as a mix of fantasy, mystery, interactivity, horror, romance, action and adventure, it definitely has a following. Also, quite Troperiffic. The fifteen-book series chronicles the adventures of Lief, Barda and Jasmine as they fight to defend their land from the forces of evil, going on a series of quests and adventures across the country in the process.

The first series, Deltora Quest, follows our heroes as they journey to find the seven long-lost gems from the Belt of Deltora and search for the heir to the throne so that the land of Deltora can be freed from the reign of the Shadow Lord.

  • The Forests of Silence
  • The Lake of Tears
  • City of the Rats
  • The Shifting Sands
  • Dread Mountain
  • Maze of the Beast
  • Valley of the Lost
  • Return to Del

Deltora Quest 2, alternatively called Deltora Quest Shadowlands, further chronicles these adventurers as they journey to find the three pieces of the long-lost Pirran Pipe to rescue Deltorans held captive in the Shadowlands. Notable for making the third-person narration sympathetic to Jasmine's thoughts almost as frequently as Lief's.

  • Cavern of the Fear
  • The Isle of Illusion
  • The Shadowlands

In Deltora Quest 3, also known as Dragons of Deltora, our heroes must journey across Deltora to awaken the seven sleeping dragons of Deltora and destroy the Four Sisters, which are secretly poisoning the land. Notable for ramping the Nightmare Fuel Up to Eleven in its last book, where seemingly everything that can go wrong at once does. (But it all works out in the end, of course.)

  • Dragon's Nest
  • Shadowgate
  • Isle of the Dead
  • The Sister of the South

Currently has a anime adaptation, a manga adaptation and also a game on the DS. The anime has aired around the world, on The Hub, on ABC3, and in Italy.

The anime has its own page.

There's also spinoff books with additional illustrations by McBride, such as The Deltora Book of Monsters, Tales of Deltora and Secrets of Deltora.

Recently, a second series set in the same universe has been released. This series, titled The Three Doors, shares many of the plot elements and mythologies of the first series, and directly references the past history of Deltora.

Set in the city of Weld in a land across the sea, The Three Doors follows the quest of a boy named Rye on his quest to save his city from the mysterious Enemy who has begun to attack his home.

The three books in The Three Doors are:
  • The Golden Door
  • The Silver Door
  • The Third Door

The characters.

Be warned: This series RUNS off of plot twists. There are many spoilers ahead, including some unmarked.


The series exhibits the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Take a wild guess. (It's Jasmine.)
  • Achilles' Heel: Grade 1 and 2 Ols can only be killed either through stabbing them through the heart or with the power of the Belt of Deltora.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Jasmine having green hair in the anime (she has black hair in the books), while Lief turned blond in all the adaptations.
  • Adaptation Expansion: There's certain events that don't seem to be in the book, that get added to the anime. The inverse trope is also true.
  • Adventure Towns:
  • All There in the Manual:
    • Tales of Deltora, which depicted the legends that proves important for the series, such as showing how the Shadow Lord's dark greed began, the Masked Ones' beginnings, as well as telling how King Adin united the Seven Tribes against the Shadow Lord's army, complete with Deltora Quest's artist giving his depiction of the scenes.
    • The Deltora Book of Monsters, a monster book about the monsters living in Deltora, including those owned by the Shadow Lord.
    • Secrets of Deltora, the travel guide/diary of Doran the Dragonlover, who goes around Deltora and writes about the land, civilized area and people under the order of the current King at the time, hoping that his book would educate the heir on the world beyond Del. It also has the series' pseudo-interactivity of using riddles and foreshadows Doran's doomed journey for the Sisters.
  • Aerith and Bob: There are made up names. There are unusual, but used, English names. Then there are Anna, Tom, Ava, Jack and Steven.
  • And I Must Scream: The fate of Doran the Dragonlover. Then there are Laughing Jack's horses
  • Animated Adaptation: Anime.
  • Animated Armor: Gorl
  • Anyone Can Die: Mostly averted. A few deaths hit us hard, but the core group is always the same, and there are no Sacrifical Lions or anything like that. Main characters can be tortured, poisoned, drugged, permanently scarred, or Left for Dead, but that's about it.
  • Arc Number: Seven. Seven gems, seven tribes, seven dragons, seven letters in 'Deltora', seven Ak-Baba, the Shadow Lord re-invades Deltora exactly seven years into Endon's reign, Jasmine was seven when her parents were taken, etc.
  • Arc Words: "The Enemy has many plans"/"I have many plans".
  • Ascended Extra: Neridah, Thaegan and the Enigmatic... Bird in the anime.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: At the climax of Return to Del, it looks like all hope is lost. The rebellion has been captured, Jasmine, Barda and Doom are caught, and the heir still hasn't been found. Believing Jasmine to be the Heir, Lief has to jump across a gap holding both the Belt and his sword. Realizing he cannot make the jump, he sheathes his sword and puts on the belt. This causes the Belt to glow, revealing Lief as Adin's Heir and King of Deltora.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Lief and Jasmine. Also, Barda and Lindal. Jasmine and Doom have these moments, as well, but not in a romantic way.
  • Babies Ever After
  • Badass:
    • Doom.
    • Damn-near everyone in the series, and don't you deny it!
  • Bait and Switch: Doom is fond of this trope, as is the author.
    • An example: The second series revolves around finding the pieces of the Pirran Pipe so Lief can use it to fight the Shadow Lord in the Shadowlands. After two titanic fights in the first two books, Leif and co arrive at the third island, and the reader expects another monster fight. Nope. The Kerons are the only Pirrans who managed to keep their piece of the Pipe, and so Leif simply explains what's going on, asks for the Pipe, does a trade and then it's off to the Shadowlands.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • The Shadow Lord's plan in the third series turns out to be one of these. He just didn't count on the dragons being convinced to come together. Although he did try to kill them off anyway, fortunately Doran the Dragonlover prevents this. Best summed up by the Shadow Lord's own words, "I have plans within plans."
    • Oh so many plans indeed. Just looking at the first series: not only was there the main plot of scattering the gems of the belt, but also the lie about the Guardian of the Diamond being King Endon to demoralize would-be heroes and the fake bodies of Endon and his wife and child, again to demoralize, and the gripper field itself and sending Dain to fake being the heir, Ichabod and other Ols adding further tricks and threats. The second series shows even more of his plans, both those to bait the king, and the nasty new creatures he's cooking up. Then there's the third series... as mentioned above, it deals with the last of The Plan. The epilogue deliberately restates that he will never, ever stop planning and plotting.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Jasmine only agreed to go on The Quest with Lief and Barda because her mother's ghost appeared to her and told her to.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Do not hurt people Lief of Del cares about, if you value your life.
    • Also, do not mock Jasmine or her family, or she'll cut you.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension:
    • Lief and Jasmine in all three series.
    • Jasmine and Glock in the beginning of the second series.
    • Barda and Lindal in the third series.
  • The Big Guy: Barda is the last of the palace guards, some of the greatest warriors in Deltora.
  • Bishōnen: Whenever Dain shows up in the books, emphasis is placed on his fine features and "delicate" looks.
  • Black Knight: Gorl.
  • Body Horror:
    • Claw and quite a few characters trapped in the Shadowlands.
    • The Guardian's pets turn out to be this as well.
    • And then there's what the Masked Ones almost did to Lief...
    • We can assume that the real Anna was ripped apart by a Vraal.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Glock and just about every member of the Jalis tribe. Also, most if not all of the population of Broome.
  • Book Ends:
    • The first book ends with the reveal that Gorl was long dead and that he only existed as Animated Armor held together by his own willpower which survived his own death. At the climax of the final book, Lief has the realisation that the Shadow Lord was of a similar nature, existing merely as will, and can never be truly defeated.
  • Broken Bird: Jasmine.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Jasmine initially had absolutely no intention of joining Lief and Barda in the first series. Then, after they get the topaz, it draws her dead mother's spirit, who bids her to join them.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • Jasmine.
    • Barda in the dub of the anime.
  • Character Development: Lief gets more mature and thinks before he acts (mostly). Barda learns to like Lief and Jasmine, and they form a little makeshift family. Jasmine learns to be (a bit) more trusting and (a bit) less wild.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Tiny details in a previous book or even earlier in the same book can be crucial later on. Many are directly related to the puzzles e.g. the names of the Guardian's pets.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Well, the heir takes the throne at about seventeen years of age.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Three guesses...
  • Circus of Fear: The Masked Ones.
  • City in a Bottle: The island of Auron in the second series. Except that it's not a city in a bottle because you need more than just one person in it to have a city...
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Josef is viewed as this in-universe in the third series, much to everyone else's mistake.
    • It's played exactly the same way with Doran the Dragonlover.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The Granous' idea of fun is gruesomely torturing their victims and dismembering their fingers and toes.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Anything directly belonging to the Shadow Lord is generally colored grey with scarlet markings.
  • Contrived Coincidence: As often noted by Lief or someone else.
  • Crapsack World:
  • Crazy-Prepared: Doom.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In The Cavern of the Fear Glock proves that he's much more than a gambler, gossiper and alcoholic.
  • Curse Is Foiled Again: Partial subversion in the third series. When each of the Four Sisters poisoning the land is destroyed, the region it affected heals up immediately (crops grow again, poisoned wells clear up, et cetera)... but once all four are destroyed, disgusting grey gunk starts rising from the ground to flood the land. Fortunately, the main characters manage to destroy that too. With dragons.
  • Cute but Cacophonic: Prin's dub voice. Nails on a chalkboard is far too kind a phrase for that voice.
  • Cutting the Knot: The guardian of the diamond offers Lief, Barda, Jasmine and Neridah a chance to play his game for the diamond. Neridah declares that it's pointless and leaves. Later, while Lief and co are playing the game and the guardian's asleep, she comes back, breaks in and steals the diamond. Thing is, we're told earlier that a stolen diamond only brings bad luck, so while she tries to escape, she slips, hits her head on a rock and dies.
  • Dangerous Sixteenth Birthday: Lief's potentially lethal journey starts on his sixteenth birthday.
  • Darker and Edgier: Each series is definitely darker than the one before it. Each book within the individual series gets progressively darker, as well.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Jasmine, Doom, Ranesh, Manus, Fardeep, all of the Dread Gnomes, Tira and the rest of Noradz, and the Torans probably qualify now too... This is the sort of thing that happens when you live in a Crapsack World.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Kirsten and Paff.
  • Deadly Game: The ones in Rithmere, as well as the Shadowland Arena.
  • Dead Guy Junior:
    • Lief and Jasmine name their daughter after Jasmine's dead mother and name one of their twin sons after Lief's father - in a subversion, the other is named after Jasmine's father, who is very much alive at the end of the series - but no longer uses his birthname. (Those would be: Lief's father Endon, former king and later blacksmith, and Jasmine's parents Jarred and Anna.)
    • Ranesh and Marilen name their son after Josef.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Barda. Jasmine, Doom and Ranesh sometimes qualify.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Although Jasmine never really defrosts, compare her in the first few books to the rest, and she's way different.
  • Determinator: The Vraal. Once it decides that you're it's opponent, it will never rest.
  • Doomed Hometown: Subverted! Del may have taken a great deal of damage during the years when the monarchy stopped working, but it's definitely still standing when everything is said and done. (The anime tried its damnedest to play this straight, utterly demolishing the palace and much of the surrounding city in the climactic battle. It also gets rebuilt very quickly.)
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Doom, the leader of La Résistance.
  • Downer Ending: Yay, the series ended, the belt was completed, the prisoners got freed from the Shadowlands, they've found dragons of all 7 tribes and woken them up, the land isn't dying anymore, everyone's getting married and having babies! They have new festivals and there are fireworks and trade is happening and everything turned out great! Except, hey, remember that guy, the Shadow Lord? The guy who we've been told for the entire series is obsessed with taking over Deltora, and who we've repeatedly been informed has an anger and a jealousy that makes waiting 1000 years the same as acting now? The one who has endless plots and plans and whose main character trait other than being evil seems to be an absolute refusal to give up on his goals? That guy? Yeah, he's still around. Moreover he still has 2 of his Ak-Baba to breed and refine further, his grade 3 Ols are perfected, his conversion project is perfected, and he knows what went wrong last time. The series doesn't have a happy end where it tied up all of the knots and ensured a happily ever after - the only thing that all 15 books managed is to hit the reset button. Deltora was effectively restored to the way it was in Adin's time - now all the Shadow Lord has to do is sit back and wait again, until the Kings start to get careless. And once they do... well, like I said. The Shadow Lord knows what it did wrong, last time. It will make things even more impossible for round 2.
    • Unless Deltora can pull a Muggles Do It Better and develop, for example, gunpowder. They already have one-way glass...
    • Though it that may not be the case in the anime. Where it pretty much states outright that the Shadow Lord's gone for good.
  • Driven to Suicide: Paff.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Glock. It also was a Heartwarming Moment.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Jasmine and Doom in the second and third series. It's not that they don't like each other, it's just that their family is unusual. It's often pointed out by other characters. In fact, even Jasmine and Doom point it out in ''The Sister of the South''.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • The scarred man they meet in Tom's shop reappears a book later and becomes one of the main characters - Doom.
    • Lief and Barda run into the sleeping topaz dragon in the second series, but it doesn't reappear until the third.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Or, in this case, earn it three times...
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Sharn, Zeean, Marilen and the rest of the Torans.
  • Encyclopedia Exposita: Text from The Belt of Deltora crops up regularly.
  • Enemy Within: In the Animated Adaptation, within the mirror of fear Lief fights a pair of Theagan's Children impersonating his.
  • Evil Chancellor: The Chief Advisors to the King of Deltora, most notably Prandine. They turn out to all have been Grade 3 Ols.
  • Evil Overlord: The Shadow Lord, duh.
  • Evil Sorcerer: The Shadow Lord's origin, also Sorceress Thaegan, and a few of the Shadow Lord's other servants also turn out to be this.
  • Fate Worse Than Death:
    • Dragonlover Doran becoming a Sister's Guardian many years ago.
    • Laughing Jack also gets one.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Lief, Barda and Jasmine.
  • Genki Girl: Prin
  • Giant Flyer: The Ak-Baba, the Shadow Lord's pet deathbirdies. Deathbirdies about a fourth the size of your average dragon... which is still something for any sane person to give consideration to. Also, dragons, in the third series.
  • Glass Cannon: Grade 3 Ols are incredibly strong, cunning and can transform into literally anything with no way of detecting them. But unlike their brethren, they can be killed by anything that would kill a human.
  • The Good King: Lief goes on to rule Deltora 'long and wisely' after the events of the books. In the second and third series he actively takes part in freeing his people from the Shadowlands and awakening the dragons.
  • Good Hurts Evil: Anyone evil who drinks from the Kin spring is turned into an identical, non-growing, immortal tree. It's not clear whether the ego's still in there; if so, you could argue the And I Must Scream makes this Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars:
    • Doom, grizzled face and complete with a scar over his eye. And good guy.
    • After a run-in with the Masked Ones, Lief ends up with scars over part of his face and neck, as a result of Jasmine preventing Body Horror via transformation with the Masked One's special animal mask. He continues being a good guy.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The main quest in the first series. And the second series, but to a much lesser extent.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: The main quest in the third series, killing all four Sisters.
  • Gray Goo: The ending.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • Jasmine gets hit by this in the series 2 book The Shadowlands after finding out that Faith isn't real.
    • Lief gets it as well, in the series 3 book Sister of the South.
  • Heroic Lineage: King Adin's bloodline
  • Hive Mind: The Hive, the boss of The Shifting Sands.
  • Holding Hands: Lief and Jasmine do this often in the third series.
  • I Am Who?: Lief is the heir. Jasmine is Doom's long-lost daughter. Doom is the real Jarred.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Doran the Dragonlover wants the Amethyst Dragon to kill him for a very good reason.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Almost every single location the gang went to, the majority of them being the plot-relevant location providing the title of the book. Lief was understandably worried upon hearing their names.
  • Identity Amnesia: Doom's secret in the first series. He gets it back at the end of series one.
  • Invisibility Cloak: The special traveling cloak Lief's mother, Sharn, gave to her son, which can render anyone hidden underneath it invisible, or near enough that it makes no difference. This cloak saves the gang on more than one occasion.
  • It's All My Fault: Lief's father King Endon invokes this trope when Deltora and the palace are attacked by the Shadow Lord, feeling that if he had been a "stronger" king, it never would have happened.
  • Jerkass: Doom and Glock, but only in the first series. Glock remains a Jerkass in the second series as well, and so does Jinks, but Glock makes up for it with his Dying Moment of Awesome.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Doom in the second and third series. Although he's tough, he truly cares for his friends and his daughter. Glock also counts, until his death.
  • The Juggernaut: 3-19, and presumably all the other Grade 3 Ols, despite their tradeoff of dying as humans do. 3-19 himself casually walks around in the middle of a gale that pins down even the Grey Guards.
  • Jungle Princess: Jasmine
  • Kick the Dog: The ending to the Shadowlord's Faith Gambit was just a big kick in the face to a certain wild girl.
  • Kid Hero: Lief. Also sort of a Warrior Prince.
  • King Incognito: Let's just say it ties into the spoilered bit next to I Am Who? above.
  • Lamarck Was Right: Jasmine is basically a female Expy of her father.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In the Animated Adaptation Jasmine asks how many times they'll have to fight her, lampshading her status as a Recurring Boss.
  • Last of His Kind: In the first series, it appears that Glock is the last of the Jalis tribe. In the second series, Lief is the last heir of Adin, until The Reveal, in the last chapter, showed otherwise.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The back of each book spoils the previous book. The backs of the books in the second and third series spoil who the heir is.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Long-Lost Relative: In the final book of series one, it is revealed that Doom is Jasmine's father. Neither knew this, even though they had spent a lot of time together. This was because Jasmine was so young when her parents were taken that she couldn't recall their faces. Doom lost his memory in the Shadowlands, and didn't regain it until he smashed his head, thus realizing that Jasmine was his daughter.
  • Logic Bomb: The heroes come upon a monster guarding a bridge. Barda and Jasmine pass its tests, but the Lief fails the riddle, and the monster allows him to say one last thing to determine how he die. If the statement is true, he will be strangled. If it's false, his head will be cut off. He says "My head will be cut off." Fortunately, a paradox was exactly what was needed to defeat the monster in the first place, as the monster was condemned to guard the bridge "Until truth and lies are one." The monster is returned to its original form, a black bird, and freed.
  • Lost Woods: The Forests of Silence, of course.
  • Love Makes You Evil: In Shadowgate we get Kirsten
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Doom.
  • Made of Indestructium: The gems cannot be destroyed, period, nor taken beyond Deltora's borders without giving their carrier a very nasty death. The Belt itself supposedly cannot be (completely) destroyed as long as an heir lives, but that's yet to be proven.
  • Meaningful Name/Theme Naming:
    • The seven dragons are all named after their respective gem's associated trait. This is also the foundations for their personality. Lampshaded in the final book:
      Honora: Now we know each other's true names ... for any fool could guess which dragon name is which.
    • Also, Lief means heir.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The gems.
  • The Mole:
    • Dain turns out to be a Grade 3 Ol.
    • Paff in the third series.
    • Kree in the third series is an unwitting example.
  • Mordor: The Shadowlands. Heck, you could even call the Shadow Lord an Expy of Sauron.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Not people, but places. The Forests of Silence. The Lake of Tears. City of the Rats. The Shifting Sands. Dread Mountain. The Maze of the Beast. The Valley of the Lost. Need I say more?
  • Morphic Resonance: Whatever form an Ol may take, it will always feature the Shadowlord's mark somewhere on its body, though all but the Grade 1 Ols are clever enough to keep them out of plain sight.
  • Nature Heroine: Jasmine, Wild Hair and all.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Not used often, but when it is, it's usually referring to something Barda or Doom wouldn't be allowed to say in front of the target audience.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: While the Sisters' song was poisoning the land, killing everyone slowly through drought and famine, it's also acting as a seal on an ancient terrible monster that'll devour and turn everything it touches into hard grey crust. A fine example of The Plan of the Shadow Lord if it weren't for the dragons.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The only reason Jarred survives after fleeing the palace and the Belt is repaired is because Jarred and Endon were taught smithing as part of the Rule, a series of traditions set down by the Shadow Lord's servants, the Chief Advisors, as a way to weaken the royal family.
  • Nobody Thinks It Will Work: He's the handsome, brave, heroic and renowned king of a massive country. She was raised by trees.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Lief and Jasmine. Although by series 3 Rodda's normally spare narrative mentions a lot of little affectionate gestures between the two of them, and the epilogue proves that they soon end up doing much more than that...
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Filli and Kree.
  • Not Just a Tournament: In The Shifting Sands, Lief, Barda and Jasmine enter in a tournament for money to continue their travels. The problem is, the tournament is a trap. After Jasmine wins, they are kidnapped by the grey guards to be taken to the Shadowlands where they would be expected to fight in the Shadow Arena for the Shadow Lord's entertainment. The tournament is used to find the best fighters with the prize money as bait.
  • The Obi-Wan: Barda fits this a bit. Could also in part be applied to Josef, regarding how he raised Ranesh...
  • Odd Name Out: The Os-Mine Hills is the only infamously dangerous location in Deltora that does not have a book named after it. It also does not have a particularly scary sounding name.
  • Official Couple: Lief and Jasmine (to no one's surprise), Barda and Lindal, Ranesh and Marilen...
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Doom. Even his daughter calls him Doom, even to his face.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Rodda seems to love this trope. Pick a book and you can be almost guaranteed to find puzzles, secret codes and other what-nots. Word of God is that she looked to video games to get an idea of what might get kids to read, hence the high degree of pseudo-interactivity.
  • Only One Name: Everyone, with the exception of Queen Bee and her sons, Steven and Nevets Bee.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Deltoran dragons correspond to and are representative of the seven gems, breathe fire in corresponding colors, and have personalities determined by the properties ascribed to the gem they are associated with. There's a reason that the third series is called Dragons of Deltora. It has dragons. And it's awesome.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: The Dread Gnomes. The weirdest thing about them is that have many qualities one would expect to see from dwarves. Except they are not dwarves. They are Dread Gnomes.
    • In fact, their only features that are not all that dwarf-like are their mischievous nature as well as their distinct love of archery, a skill more associated with elves.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Where do we begin to describe, let alone categorise, half the monsters in this series. The beautiful yet terrifying illustrations of Marc McBride don't help.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Queen Sharn and King Endon.
  • Plot Coupons
  • Pragmatic Hero: Lief, Barda and Jasmine spend most of the series tiptoeing around potential threats. Badass Normals they may be, but that doesn't take you very far in a land that has Everything Trying to Kill You.
    • Barda in particular tends to take this approach to long term plans, often thinking through if heroic actions are possible or would even accomplish all that much and save people in the long term.
  • Pregnant Badass:
    • Sharn in the Forests of Silence prologue. Anna, at the same time, but to a lesser extent.
    • Marilen also qualifies when in the third series she defies her father's orders, takes supplies from Tora's tradeship to aid Del and uses Toran magic to transport herself to Del while it is scourged with disease and the people believe the Torans caused the plague. That's pretty damn Bad Ass.
  • Prolonged Prologue: Takes up half of the first book.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Doom has learned to be this, and tries to enforce it onto everyone else.
    • Knowing that Ols exists will lead to this.
    • As Sha-Ban said to Josef "I can trust you," "You eat, and you are warm." Considering what happened after that, she should have been more paranoid, and Josef learned that so should he.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Glock, last of the Jalis. Until more Jalis are found in the second series.
  • Puppet King: In the third series, Paff starts spreading rumours that Marilen is part of a Toran plot to seize the throne and rule over Deltora as the puppet queen. It's untrue, of course, but a lot of people end up believing this.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Conversion Project slugs.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The Animated Adaptation featured the song "In This Life", by Delta Goodrem, as its 3rd opening theme (at least in the original Japanese version).
  • Red Herring: Used twice in the final book of the first series, when they are looking for the heir. At first it is believed to be Dain, then Jasmine, before it was revealed to be Lief. It is used again in the final book of the third series, in regards to the Sister of the South's Guardian. It is heavily implied to be Doom, but it is actually Paff.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Reeah, the vraal, and the snake pit at Shadowgate. But the lattermost was actually responsible for killing the Guardian of the Sister of the North, Kirsten.
  • Rightful King Returns
  • Road Sign Reversal: In the third series the main characters are caught out by one of these.
  • Romantic False Lead:
    • Marilen for Lief, Dain and Glock for Jasmine.
    • Dain is more so in the anime. In which Neridah also flirts with Lief.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Once the competent royal takes the throne, he certainly qualifies. His father had tried to be this, but too late. Luckily, he'd married a very quick-witted woman...
  • Running Gag: Jasmine searches bodies. It's an old habit. Barda doesn't approve.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Jasmine. She can put her ear to the ground and tell you if anyone is approaching. And, if so, how many. And how big they are. She can also talk to trees.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: Nevets, Steven's 'brother'.
  • Shapeshifting: Ols. They can all shape shift into just about anything. Grade 1s are obvious if you know what you're looking for. Grade 2s briefly show their true forms after a long amount of time. Grade 3s are pretty much indistinguishable from whatever they are trying to mimic.
    • Though in the books it's implied that Grade 3s are limited to a specific set of forms (Dain only transformed in his "normal" self, a knife he normally "carried", and its true Ol form), and also take the same weaknesses of that form.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: At one point in the first series, Jasmine has gone incognito and traveled away from Lief and Barda because, as a wild girl accompanied by animal friends, she's the most recognizable member of their party. She washes, puts on a dress, covers her Wild Hair with a scarf, and puts on make up. When she later (accidentally) meets up with Lief and Barda, it takes them a long time to recognize her.
  • Shining City: Tora, at least compared to Del.
  • Sigil Spam: The Shadow Lord brands everything with his mark. Equipment, Ols, loyal servants, insurrectionists, evicted houses, the night sky above his domain, etc.
  • Significant Anagram:
    • Deltora is spelled with the first letters of the gems on the Belt of Deltora, arranged in the order King Adin the blacksmith managed to convince the Tribes to give him their Gems.
    • Dain deliberately chose his name to trick everyone else into thinking he's the heir, since the name's an anagram of Adin.
  • Single Line of Descent: By custom, every king or queen has only one child. This turns out to have been a plot by the Shadow Lord to make it easier to kill off the royal line. Ultimately, subverted as Adin (the first king) himself had several children, which allows a distant relative of the throne to show up as a plot point.
  • So Proud of You: Anna says this to Jasmine when her spirit is momentarily drawn back by the topaz.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: The Shadow lord fits this better than Evil Overlord alone since he is also a powerful sorcerer and infact derives much of his power from that fact.
  • Spock Speak
  • Squishy Wizard: Exaggerated with Sorceress Thaegan. She has the power to make an entire species mute, turn a whole town into the Lake Of Tears, and made some very strange and powerful children... And she can be defeated by getting a cut on her finger which instantly kills her.
    • also averted, strangely. She can be killed by drawing a single drop of her blood. Knowing this, she magically armors her body to the point of complete invulnerability... except the finger she uses to cast spells.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Jasmine and Doom. There's a reason for it...
  • Switching P.O.V.: Several times throughout the second series, the point of view shifts to Jasmine whilst she grapples with how Lief has evidentially lied to her.
    • Sharn, Josef and Jinks also briefly get the story told through their perspectives over the course of Isle of Illusion, in which times the events back in the Palace take place.
    • During the chapter 'Messages' of Return to Del, the point of view moves across several secondary characters as word of the meeting at Withick Mire spreads.
    • Both times that a Vraal has appeared and attacked the protagonists, there it a seamless shift about midway through the encounter to the Vraal's perspective.
  • Theme Table: Seven tribes, seven dragons, seven gems, etc.
  • Third-Person Person: Tom the Shop Keeper.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: The Three Doors Trilogy turns out to be this. The Gold door leads to the past while the Silver door leads to the future. The Wooden door just leads to the outside of Weld. Actions made by those in the past change what happens in the future. Those who have travelled through the doors are seemingly immune to the changes and retain memories of alternate timelines.
  • Team Dad: Barda. He's like a brother to Lief and Jasmine, but is always there to stop the inevitable squabbling between the two of them.
  • Team Mom: Sharn. Granted, she's the king's mother, but she pretty much adopts all his close friends after series one... including several former members of the Resistance who are her own age, if not older.
  • Team Pet: Filli and Kree.
  • There Are No Therapists: But if there were, Jasmine and Doom would be a lot better off.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Lief and Jasmine name their twin sons after their fathers, Endon and Jarred, who were also best friends.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Over the course of several generations, but when the series starts, the royal family of Deltora. They have a magic belt that gives them increased intelligence and thought, helps the wearer see through illusions, brings good luck, gives glimpses of the future, etc, etc. And somehow, they're persuaded into only wearing it once in their entire lives, during their coronation. King Endon is talked out of this by Jarred just before the Shadow Lord invades.
  • Tragic Monster: Many. Notable example was Doran the Dragonlover, who became the Guardian of a Sister.
  • Treacherous Spirit Chase: There is one of these spread across the entire of Deltora Quest Two, and across a magic communication crystal.
  • Tsundere: Jasmine fits this pretty well.
  • Two-Headed Coin: Reese tries to do this with a supposedly random drawing to determine whether the companions will be imprisoned or executed. Lief outsmarts him by destroying the card he drew, then saying that they can check the other one to see which it was.
  • Undying Loyalty: The Torans swore an oath to the line of Adin and carved it on a stone which would banish them from their home should they break it. They weren't so loyal a few hundred years later.
    • The Jalis, despite their belief that they are the superior to every other tribe, are fiercly loyal to the crown.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Lief and Jasmine, but it's resolved by the end of the second series.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Everyone in the second and third series, especially. But Lief and Jasmine get hit by this pretty hard in the second series.
  • Vain Sorceress: Theagan
  • Was Once a Man: The Shadow Lord is revealed to be this. His original form, Malverlain, presumably died centuries ago, before even the time of Adin. The only thing left of him was his will to rule over Deltora, Dorne and pretty much everywhere else.
  • Weak, but Skilled:
    • Jasmine's general fighting style, due to her small stature, especially in the fourth book of the first series, The Shifting Sands, where she's classified as 'agility'.
    • Lief falls under this. Despite being of average height and strength for his age, most of his opponents are generally bigger and stronger.
  • The War Has Just Begun: The final book ends with this trope.
  • Where It All Began:
    • In the first series, the gang began their journey in Del and concludes it there.
    • In Dragons of Deltora on a large scale. Opal the Dreamer first foresaw the Belt when she lived on the Hira plain, and said Belt was finally completed there for the first time as well, marking the end of the first Shadowlands invasion in Adin's time.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Neridah's favorite tactic.
  • Xanatos Gambit: "I have many plans"/"The Shadow Lord has many plans" - recurring.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Paff is actually surprisingly good at this.
  • Yandere: Kirsten.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: The Shadow Lord is never fully described in the book, just as a sort of darkness whenever a description is called for. In the anime, when it could actually be pictured, this is nicely done as well, shrouding most of it in shadow except for its red eyes, even in broad daylight.


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