I am the hammer! I am the hate! I am the woes of daemonkind!
Series by Ben Counter about the titular Grey Knights chapter of Space Marines. It follows the exploits of Justicar Alaric and his squad battling various daemonic and chaotic enemies of the Imperium.The series currently encompasses three novels: Grey Knights, Dark Adeptus, and Hammer of Daemons, which have since been collected in an omnibus.There is also an unrelated novel by Aaron Dembski-Bowden entitled The Emperor's Gift which chronicles the Grey Knight's role in the first war for Armageddon.Please resist the urge to put examples on this page or link to this page on tropes unless you are citing from 40K novels in which the Grey Knights feature. Examples which are specific to rulebooks or other in-universe fluff should go on either the 40K page or in the Space Marines section of the Imperial factions page.
Tropes connected with the Grey Knights themselves include:
Badass Creed - The Canticle of Absolution is pretty long (666 words, to be precise), so different parts get quoted throughout the novels.
I am the Hammer! I am the Hate! I am the woes of Daemonkind!
The fandom has produced several approximations, though this one at least is a few words too short.
Bling Bling Bang: See below. Not only their armor is blingy, but their guns as well.
Bling of War: While Grey Knights don't paint their armor at all, sporting a grey gleam of a polished ceramite (a rarity among Space Marines), they more than enough make for it with various purity seals, sacred engravings, votive chains, blessed skull ornaments, holy unguents and other bling to end as one of the more fabulous chapters. And the funniest thing here is that it all works.
Church Militant: Not exactly church, as they are formally allied with Ordo Malleus of Inquisition, which is formally a secular organisation, but still the one of the most pious and religion-heavy chapters. In fact, they even view their piety as a weapon.
Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: As they are specialist chapter geared to fighting Daemons, their armory fully reflects this and includes all the manners of anti-Daemonic weaponry, including literal Holy Water-charged bolter shells.
Determinator: One of the premiere examples in the setting. Only Black Templars, Blood Angels (during the Black Rage) and Necrons might be consistently in the same league. It's also noted that Inquisitors, while not in the same league, are also much stronger-willed than most folks.
Elite Mooks: You can hardly get more elite than that, after all said.
When your Primarch is possibly the Emperor himself...
This is even discussed in the codices and comes into play on the tabletop. It is entirely possible to end up fielding only fifteen models. This will not stop them from carving through several times that number, but if somebody gets lucky with his lasgun it's going to hurt you a lot more than it would with a different army.
Well minus Space Wolves, as censuring the wolves proved to be too costly to pursue.
Hopeless War: They are 5000 super soldiers versus an infinite number of immortal Eldritch Abominations, the most powerful of which are Demi-Gods who can shape entire worlds to their will. Add human allies that number in the billions, and you can start to see the problem.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Basically their whole schtick. They're so incorruptible that not one of them ever fell to Chaos. Of course, the way they achieved such honor was... Well, it's40K after all.
To be fair the Grey Knight with the daemon weapon isn't using it power, only keeping guard of it.
And YMMV on the rest of it. The Grey Knights keep tainted artefacts and Chaos texts so that they can know their enemy, the better to defeat them. Some artefacts, like Castellan Crowe's blade, can't be destroyed so the Knights have to keep them locked up. And they may have to tolerate a Renegade Inquisitor but there are limits, and the tolerance comes from the fact that the GK serve the Inquisition, they do not have the right to judge them. Only another Inquisitor can do that. And yeah they make deals with aliens, like the Eldar, Necrons and Jokaero, because they recognize that Chaos is the ultimate enemy and that the xenos are a far lesser threat and may even be fighting Chaos in their own way. The GK concern themselves with Chaos, nothing else. And as for the Sisters of Battle incident that can be explained in a certain way; the GK kill the Sisters of Battle so that their innocent blood will provide a shield against the Bloodtide that has been unleashed in that battle, without it even their armour would falter before it and they wouldn't have been able to approach the Daemon. Killing those Sisters is a smaller scale example of what the Imperium does all the time, sacrificing something for a greater good. If the Sisters had been told they probably would have volunteered for it.
Initiation Ceremony: Fairly standard for more pious chapters, but the preparations for it, and especially tests the aspirants get subjected to are such that hardly anything could be compared to it for sheer unpleasantness — see The Spartan Way below.
Ironic Hell: Supreme Grand Master Kaldor Draigo is trapped in the warp, where he is forced to battle all of the forces of Chaos for eternity. He has performed many deeds there that are clearly impossible, from dueling Greater Daemons and winning to tearing down entire fortresses. No matter what he does or how hard he fights, winning victories beyond even the Primarchs, everything is undone and reset to normal as soon as he moves on. Interpretations are divided between this making him a Mary Sue of staggering proportions or a sign that the Chaos gods are just screwing with him.
No Such Agency: The Grey Knights are officially an urban legend, with only a couple of other Space Marine chapters (the Space Wolves and Blood Ravens) aware of their existence. In addition, they are considered the militant arm of the Ordo Malleus, making them soldiers of the Inquisition. Anyone else who fights alongside them are either killed or mind-wiped after the war is over in order to preserve their secrecy.
The Grey Knights are also Chapter Number 666, of (an estimated) 1,000. Since there were only a few dozen when they were founded, this caused significant confusion and was probably a joke by their founder Malcador.
Given the Imperium's penchant for covering up their existence either by mind wiping or plain executing those who've encountered the Grey Knights, it's a safe bet that if somebody with the authority to call them in is involved, things have already gone horribly downhill.
Tropes connected with the Grey Knights book trilogy are:
"We do not know what our chances of survival are, so we fight as if they were zero. We do not know what we are facing, so we fight as if it was the dark gods themselves. No one will remember us now and we may never be buried beneath Titan, so we will build our own memorial here. The Chapter might lose us and the Imperium might never know we existed, but the Enemy — the Enemy will know. The Enemy will remember. We will hurt it so badly that it will never forget us until the stars burn out and the Emperor vanquishes it at the end of time. When Chaos is dying, its last thought will be of us. That is our memorial — carved into the heart of Chaos. We cannot lose, Grey Knights. We have already won."
Five Rounds Rapid: Alaric is aware that even bolter shells aren't much good against St. Evisser reanimated. Before him, there was Grand Master Mandulis, who recognised the futility of using his storm bolter against Ghargatuloth's physical body.
Gambit Roulette: Ligeia's Face-Heel Turn was a painful risk to learn Ghargatuloth's true name and hope that Alaric would trust her enough to not discount the supposed gibberish she kept saying when she was questioned, and then to use that name to weaken the Daemon Prince enough to be able to kill him. You'll be able to guess that she never really turned on them if you remember how Ligeia described her death cultists' beliefs and devotions.
Genius Bruiser: Alaric is one, if only in comparison to his fellow Space Marines.
Bad Ass: Logan Grimnar butchers a Grey Knight Grandmaster before the latter can even draw his weapons. He can also run in Terminator Armour and is pretty much the only person to ever tell the Inquisition to go fuck itself and actually get away with it.
Cold War: Between the Inquisition and the Space Wolves after Armageddon. It turns hot after the Inquisition fires on the Space Wolf flagship under the guise of a truce.
The Corruption: Chaos, natch. The taint surrounding the demons invading Armageddon is so great that itís enough to corrupt even inanimate materials like the metal hull of a spaceship.
Hero Killer: Angron, who along with his daemonic honour guard slaughters his way through over a hundred Grey Knight Terminators like it was nothing, including several of the main characters.
I Did What I Had to Do: The Inquisitionís, and also Hyperionís, excuse for slaughtering the civilians and guardsmen who took part in the campaign to retake Armageddon.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness: No Grey Knight has ever fallen to Chaos. According to Hyperion the Grey Knights themselves are uncertain why this is, although most think that their gene-seedís source has something to do with it.
Lack of Empathy: Hyperion repeatedly mentions that he finds reading normal peopleís expressions and understanding their motivations extremely hard.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: Every Grey Knight has this done to them before their training begins. Also the fate of anyone who actually sees a Grey Knight in the flesh, assuming they arenít simply murdered outright.
Long Dead Badass: Many of these are witnessed by Hyperion when he passes through the Dead Fields on Titan, where the fallen Grey Knights are laid to rest.
Old Shame: The Grey Knights refer to the months spent hunting down and slaughtering the fleeing guardsmen (And the billions of innocent people who came into contact with them) the Months of Shame.
Pure Is Not Good: The Grey Knights fight against Chaos and are incorruptible, but they also actively take part in the subsequent purge of Armageddon and the system-wide Exterminatus operations in pursuit of the Space Wolf-aided guardsmen.
Protectorate: One of the first things Logan Grimnar does when he meets the Grey Knights and Inquisitors sent to Armageddon is make it explicitly clear that the guardsmen and civilians there are under his protection, and that he will brook no purges of them after the battle is over. When the Inquisition initiates a purge anyway it sets the stage for the war between the Space Wolves and the Adeptus Terra.
The Magnificent: Hyperion is given the epithet ĎBladebreakerí by the Space Wolves after he psychically shatters Angronís Black Blade.
This Is Unforgivable: Logan Grimnar ordered his forces to never return fire during the campaign to shield the loyal guardsmen from the Inquisition and the Grey Knights, and was even willing to attend an armistice to discuss terms of de-escalating the conflict. All of this goes out of the window when the Inquisition fires on his flagship during said armistice, after which Grimnar vows to fight to the death.