main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Literature: Iron Druid Chronicles

"Woah. He had ghouls on speed dial. My lawyer kicks so much ass.''

An urban fantasy series by Kevin Hearne. Atticus O'Sullivan, a 21-century old Druid living in Tempe, Arizona just likes to peddle fake magic items to hippies. Unfortunately, his peaceful life keeps getting interrupted. Then he gets out his Absurdly Sharp Blade and his iron necklace and proceeds to take names, often with the assistance of his lawyers, a firm made up of a pack of werewolves and a vampire.

The main series is:
  • Hounded (2011)
  • Hexed (2011)
  • Hammered (2011)
  • Tricked (2012)
  • Trapped (2012)
  • Hunted (2013)
  • Shattered (2014)
  • TBA
  • TBA

Additionally, there are several other stories available:
  • "Two Ravens and One Crow": A novella set between the events of Tricked and Trapped. It is available on the Kindle or included with Hunted.
  • "A Test of Mettle": A short story, found here, that takes place during the events of Hammered.
  • "Clan Rathskeller": Another short story, also on Hearne's website that takes place about ten months before the beginning of Hounded.
  • "Grimoire of the Lamb": A novella set four years before the start of Hounded.
  • "The Chapel Perilous" Set around fifteen hundred years before the events of the main series.

This series provides examples of:

  • All Myths Are True:
    • Thanks to Clap Your Hands If You Believe, anything that enough people believe in becomes real, though not necessarily to the point where they can appear on Earth.
      • Odin explains that the comic book version of Thor can't manifest at all. Apparently plenty of people believe in him, but because nobody worships Marvel's Thor he has no power whatsoever.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Laksha's ruby necklace can apparently enhance her powers enough that she can take on an entire coven of witches by herself.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Played with in Trapped. Atticus traps Bacchus in an area of slow time. He's effectively trapped, but as far as he knows time is passing normally and not even a single second has passed.
    • A more straight example, Atticus does this to Artemis, Diana and Mercury in Hunted. He lops off their limbs and encases them in tar and has the local elemental bury their bodies. As they are immortal, they remain alive and fully aware during this.
    • A more positive example in Laksha. After she transferred her spirit into her ruby necklace she had nothing to do but reflect on her life and the circumstances of her death so she resolved to work on collecting as much good karma as possible if she was ever freed.
  • Anything That Moves: Zeus expresses interest in Hel, despite the left half of her body being a disgustingly putrescent rotting corpse.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Atticus notes that the villain in "Grimoire of the Lamb" needs to die because he's messing around with really dark magic that could kill part of the Earth, and because he has a way of undoing Druidic bindings and because he punched Atticus.
    • When the witch Emily held Oberon and his lawyer hostage, Atticus cited he was going to kill her because she dognapped his friend, held him for ransom, and made Wizard of Oz jokes.
  • Artistic License - Biology:
    • Elephant headed Ganesha using his trunk as a straw. As Atticus observes, he's a Physical God and they are talking in a dream, so it really doesn't matter if it shouldn't be possible.
    • Also Oberon (the Irish wolfhound) seems to think that poodles are an all female dog breed.
  • Artistic License - Geology: This is invoked by Atticus when Coyote asks him to magically create a gold vein under some land where Coyote wants to build a mine. Atticus protests that this would be geologically impossible and will probably result in geologists all over the world questioning all they know about geology.
  • Ass Shove: Coyote shoots a demon in the butt because it's funny.
  • The Atoner: Laksha Kulasekaran, an Indian witch who made bargains with Vedic demons and learned some really nasty magic and was generally evil...until Laser-Guided Karma happened to her. After getting a new body she decided to work on cultivating good karma to make up for all the bad things she'd done in her life.
  • Author Avatar: Oberon, bizarre as it may sound. Hearne stated in an interview that most of Oberon's dialogue is not even planned, but simply comes from Hearne's own snarky thoughts on the scene as he is writing. Oberon's quips often contain numerous Shout Outs to Hearne's own geeky interests.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • The Morrigan told Aenghus Og that she had promised not to take Atticus, knowing he would use his connections with Hell to summon the Christian Death, so that when Aenghus died the Morrigan wouldn't have to take him, just leave him for Death to take to Hell.
    • Turns out Ganesha's group has been manipulating Atticus for years, correctly predicting all of his actions and setting him up to follow the correct path.
  • Berserk Button: Atticus tells Bacchus he's "a pale imitation of a better god" just to piss him off.
    • Granuaile gets really angry if you patronize her.
  • BFS: Brighid's huge sword looks like it came straight out of a manga.
  • Big Bad: Aenghus Og in the first book is really the only antagonist that fits the trope effectively. At least, until Loki reveals that he has been faking his insanity all this time and is actually quite a schemer.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Theophilus and Loki. Theophilus is pulling on a grudge against Druids (who tended to kill vampires on sight back in the day) while Loki is just an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Atticus thinks he killed the last two Bigfoots during his time in the Everglades. He also says he was the figure in the Patterson Film because he was bored at the time. Sasquatch and Yeti are still very much alive, though. To make a long story short, the Yeti speak Old Irish and Old Norse and their mother had a penchant for saying "Graah".
  • Black and Gray Morality: Hell is evil, most gods are jerks (if they don't cross the Moral Event Horizon), the viewpoint character is kind of a jerk, who tends to not get involved unless he's forced to.
  • Blow You Away: An ability of Fragarach is that it allows the control of wind so long as you have the power.
  • Body Surf: One of Laksha's primary abilities. She'd done this several times in her backstory before finally surfing into her ruby necklace to escape a Laser-Guided Karma based death. After she was exorcized from the ruby she took up residence in Granuaile's head and finally into the body of a comatose woman who didn't want to be revived.
  • Bystander Syndrome: As mentioned, Atticus doesn't like getting involved or trying to put down any sort of crime unless it affects him. He had to be blackmailed into helping Coyote kill a demon, and was willing to let the Bacchants do their thing before learning they were walking Emotion Bombs that would have devastated the city.
  • Can Not Tell A Lie: Anyone caught in the effect of Fragarach, the Answerer. It forces them to speak nothing but the truth.
    • The goddess Brighid can speak in a powerful three-tiered voice, which not only has an aura of command, but she cannot lie while using it.
  • Charm Person: Melina, a witch, has a spell on her hair that gives her this ability.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Toward the beginning of Hunted, the Morrigan gives Atticus the address of a Time Island where someone he may want to retrieve is frozen in time. Eventually, he does have the person pulled out of there, and on the very last page we find out who it is: his old Archdruid.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: This is partly how gods work, though to what extent is kind of vague. When Atticus asks the widow MacDonagh to pray for Mary with a very specific image and place in mind, he mentions that it's up to Mary to choose to appear in that place with that image.
  • Cold Iron: More specifically Meteorite Iron. It's antithetical to magic so the best imaginable protection against it. It's also outright poisonous to beings of pure magic (The Fair Folk). Makes spellcasting extremely hard, though. Atticus' mastery of Cold Iron earned him the title of the Iron Druid. However, iron of any kind pretty much cancels out magic under normal circumstances (It is possible to combine the two if the smith is talented enough) resulting in the Iron Age bringing an end to magic in the world.
  • Contemptible Cover: Has shades of this at times, particularly Trapped, whose cover art could probably be mistaken for a stereotypical romance novel at first glance. The fact that all the novels are paperbacks doesn't help.
  • Contrived Coincidence: By his own admission, Atticus' Soul Catcher probably shouldn't have worked. It'd require that he die while in contact with the earth, that his body would fall in such a way that his tattoos were actually touching the ground, that his binding would actually keep his soul in place at all and a whole slew of other requirements that the odds of it saving him once were wildly improbable and unlikely to happen again.
  • Cool Old Guy: Manannán mac Lir lets Atticus keep Fragarach because it pisses off Aenghus Og and helped Atticus get to North America long before that schmuck Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
  • Cool Old Lady: The widow MacDonagh is a good example. Atticus sits and drinks with her fairly often.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Atticus has had twenty centuries to improve his magic and craft powerful defenses against his enemies. He resides in Tempe, Arizona specifically because it is the place in North America where a Tuatha Dé Danann would be at his/her weakest and thus least likely to look for him.
    • The Morrigan accurately predicted her death at the hands of the Olympians two thousand years before it happened, and put Owen on a Time Island with a message for Brighid to ally herself with the dark elves against Loki.
  • Crossover Cosmology: Gods from any mythos you can think of appear or are at least mentioned, including Mary and Jesus.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Jesus warned Atticus about going to Asgard with the Thor Revenge Squad, citing incomprehensible forces as a consequence. When pressed, he would only say that he can't tell Atticus what would actually happen because that would be cheating.
  • Cultured Badass:
    • Leif Helgarson, vampire, attorney at law, a match for Atticus in a Shakespearean quote duel, wears a tailored suit like he was born in it, and can tear you, witches, or other vampires limb from blood-pumping limb.
    • Atticus is no slouch either, being an Omniglot scholar with a habit of killing whichever supernatural that decides to pick a fight with him.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Atticus' has a dead wife, children crazed with immortality and gods dicking around in his.
  • Day Walking Vampire: Theophilus is said to be so old he can not only stay awake during the day but even walk around outside if the weather is sufficiently overcast. For reference, Leif, who is a thousand years old and has the power to match a Physical God, has great difficulty remaining awake after sunrise.
  • Deadpan Snarker: At the end of Tricked when the Morrigan shows up and calls Atticus Siodhachan (his real name), Granuaile asks if that's old Irish for "Dumbass".
  • Deal with the Devil/Bargain with Heaven/Religion is Magic: Gods run on belief and magic runs on belief and deals. Atticus' is with Mother Nature and for lesser extent with the Tuatha Dé Danann (as he is their last true priest/believer). Witches tend to make deals for power with less savory types. Which is the very reason his apprentice chooses him.
  • Deity of Human Origin: The Tuatha Dé Danann were originally regular druids whom the ancient Celts started worshiping as gods. Somehow this turned them into "real" gods, but they are basically just super druids.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: A lot. Lampshaded by Atticus' narration that literally describes the morality of the Tuatha Dé Danann as "Bronze Age" and his own as "Iron Age". He also creeps out his young apprentice several times with his callous disregard of modern sensibilities.
  • Domino Revelation: Magic animals, witches, gods & goddesses, werewolves, vampires, ghouls, demons, angels, and so more!
  • Doom Magnet: Pretty much Atticus' raison d'etre. His actions have, directly or indirectly, caused most of the disasters that pop up in the series, most notably Loki's being freed from imprisonment and trying to start Ragnarok. Only the vampires have no direct beef with his actions; they're working on a grudge against all Druids in general.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal: Judging from her Intimate Healing stunt the Morrigan seems to buy into this, even if her victim's reaction was less than enthusiastic.
  • Druid: Atticus is the last remaining mortal Druid ( until Trapped where his apprentice graduates, and then Hunted where it's revealed his own Archdruid is still alive.), thanks to a Roman-led pogrom against them back in the day.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: The Morrigan. Death goddess natch.
  • Elemental Embodiment: Atticus, as a druid, is friendly with several of these. He's friends with an iron elemental who is particularly useful to him whenever he goes up against the Fae.
  • Expy: The Roman gods for the Greeks. Atticus even lampshades this when pushing Bacchus's Berserk Button, calling him "a feeble echo of Dionysos" and "a weak copy of a better god".
  • The Fair Folk: They're the children of the Tuatha Dé Danann. They're frequently mentioned, but rarely have any significant presence.
  • Faking the Dead: Atticus does this at the beginning of Tricked, so as to disappear from the backlash of previous hijinks.
  • Fallen Angel: They're the first and strongest demons from the Christian end of things.
  • Fiery Redhead: Brighid. Emphasis on fiery. She's a fire goddess after all.
  • First-Person Smartass: Atticus, which has led to many comparisons to The Dresden Files.
  • Flanderization: In Hunted, Zeus' sexual appetite. His first thought is to comment on an attraction to half-rotted Hel, has a constant erection, and has to be called out by Jupiter to focus on anything besides sex.
  • From Bad to Worse: And how! The bad: He agreed to transport an expedition to Asgard to avenge millennia of jerkassery by Thor. Standing in his way? Only most of the Norse gods. The worse: Having succeeded in killing not only Thor but the Norns, Heimdall and Freyr, he's chased down by Thor's brothers and a bunch of other thunder gods. The shit that hits the fan: With the Norns dead, their prophecies are null, meaning Ragnarok can start early. With Thor dead there's no one to fight Jormungandr. With Heimdall dead there's no one to fight Loki. Who it just so happens has broken free and is bat-shit insane. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!
  • Gaia's Vengeance: In the direct sense, Atticus calling on Sonora as Gaia's champion when he's attacked by a demon at his house. Less directly, this is one of the primary schticks of Druids, but since Atticus was the only one for something in the area of two thousand years, he can't take a very active role in the whole avenging business.
  • Genre Savvy: Atticus survived twenty-one centuries by being very savvy about the events around him and gathering any information he can about his enemies and allies. This allows him to create powerful defenses and know when it is time to move to a new location.
  • God Is Good: In sharp contrast to most mythological figures who make appearances, there are a few who stand out for being good.
    • Jesus, notwithstanding his invocation of Omniscient Morality License. His mother Mary even more so.
    • Coyote is a bit of a mix. He's definitely good towards the Diné (even if they don't believe it), but he's indicated a lack of compassion towards non-Diné, only intervening to stop a demon when it attacks one of his people.
    • Goibniu and Manannán mac Lir of the Tuatha de Dannan.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly:
    • Well, not really prayer. The mere fact of knowing and thinking about them is sufficient, but active worship is needed for them to manifest, and how they do so depends on how those praying view them. Jesus notably dislikes manifesting because he always ends up looking pretty horrifying.
    • This can also cause multiple versions of the same god. There's several Coyotes running around Arizona.
    • The degree to which gods are shaped and empowered by believers is kind of inconsistent. In Hammered, despite apparently having no believers, Perun remains a viable fighter compared to the Norse, who are explicitly described as being much stronger because they're still remembered thanks to the Prose and Poetic Eddas. Similarly, the Morrigan matches Freya effortlessly in Two Ravens and One Crow and outright kills Vidar in Tricked.
  • Grand Theft Me: Laksha did this for a few hundred years. Since then she's gotten a lot more polite about it.
  • The Grim Reaper: Shows up on his pale horse and everything in the first book. He's a decidedly creepy person and takes Aunghus Og to Hell when he died.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Challenging a death goddess to a sword fight turns out to be one of Vidar's less intelligent decisions in Tricked.
  • Hellfire: Aunghus Og gained this through a Deal with the Devil.
  • Hidden Depths: The Morrigan, while outwardly not too far off from your average Jerkass God, secretly hated being a Jerkass God and made numerous attempts to change that about herself. When she finally decided she wasn't capable of change, she allowed herself to be killed by Artemis and Diana.
  • Home Field Advantage: Druids are very Genre Savvy about this. Atticus has some very powerful enemies looking for him so he spent at least a century setting up his defenses. He befriended all the local nature spirits, allied himself with the local vampire lord and the local werewolf pack and put multiple layers of magical and mundane protections on his home and workplace. His ultimate home field advantage comes from an arrangement he has with Morrigan, one of his pantheon's Death Gods. As long as any battle he is in takes place under the jurisdiction of that god, Atticus cannot die in it. Unfortunately Aunghus Og was just as Genre Savvy and went to extraordinary lengths to nullify all those advantages including making sure that the final battle happened where Morrigan has no jurisdiction and could not (officially) interfere.
  • Honor Before Reason: Atticus insists on keeping his word to take part of an assassination attempt on Thor despite being told repeatedly from reliable sources that no good will come of it no matter how things turn out and his own personal judgement agreeing with them.
  • Hot Witch: Nearly every witch in the series. Most of them are actually extremely old and ugly, but are magically altering their appearance.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Atticus really likes puns, so he uses them for names for various tea blends. There's Virus Immuni-tea, Humili-tea, Mobili-tea and Immortali-tea among others.
  • I Let You Win: The Morrigan allowed herself to be killed by Artemis and Diana.
  • Immortality: The various mythological figures cover almost every subtrope of immortality.
  • Immortality Begins at Twenty: Played with in Atticus' case. He was already an old man when he first came across Airmid, who taught him the recipe for his Immortali-tea, which reduced his age to how he looked in his mid-twenties. In Shattered it is implied that it's merely a matter of dosing, as the archdruid Owen chooses to only reverse his age to about his 40's, with the logic that he'd always been Atticus's elder so looking the same age would be weird. Subverted with witches, as they use magic to hide their real age.
  • Immortal Immaturity:
    • Pretty much all the gods can come off as petty children or teenagers with few exceptions.
    • Atticus himself often acts immature for someone of his age and life experience. Part of it is an act to make people think he is really only twenty years old. Often though it isn't.
    • Actually something of a plot point in Hounded: Emily, on the of witches in a local coven acts like a spoiled teenager despite being over ninety years old. Atticus uses her as an example to Granuaile, advising her to think long and hard before becoming a magic user, because it's a risk inherent in having an extended life.
  • Immortality Inducer: Atticus stays young thanks to drinking Immortali-tea.
  • It's Personal:
    • Atticus didn't take well to Hel, the Norse goddess of the dead confronting him wearing the skin of the widow Macdonagh.
    • Before that, Aenghus Og first kidnapping Oberon and Hal, then drawing power from the Earth to open a portal to Hell, which killed the surrounding land for about twenty square miles. Both HUGE no-nos in Druidic law, and a personal blow for anyone intimately connected to the Earth (as all Druids are).
    • Similarly, Oberon being injured during the fight with Zdenik is what turned Atticus completely against Leif, since the latter had orchestrated the whole thing.
    • Fand, as self-declared queen of the Fae, takes Atticus' and Brighid's obsession with Cold Iron personally, as it turns out
  • Jerkass Gods: A few. Thor and Aenghus Og stand out in particular. Most believe in Might Makes Right and would murder for rudeness (The Morrigan for example) if the culprit isn't on their power level. Lampshaded in the "Clan Rathskeller" short story, though in that case it was actually a subversion.
    Atticus: Gods can screw anything and anybody. For reference, see history.
  • Jerk Jock: Thor pretty much personifies this. He is a bully who will do as he pleases and only seems to obey Odin. He likes to play cruel practical jokes and sees nothing wrong with killing humans and supernatural beings for petty reasons.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold/Jerk With The Heart Of A Jerk: Thor is supposedly the former, not that you would know from looking, since the jerk part is all that is shown and talked about (and there is rather alot of it) which makes Thor come across as the latter despite the tales of him being one of the friendlier gods to humanity.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Coyote is working on pulling this off in Tricked, after a fashion. He's actually being totally up front about wanting to help the Diné, but notes that no one will believe that he's being altruistic, so the greatest trick of all is that he isn't tricking them when they think he is.
  • Killed Off for Real: Subverted with Thor and the other Norse who died in book 3. They're gods, and they're worshiped enough that they have the power to come back to life. The only reason they haven't is because Odin told them to lay low, just in case Loki can make Ragnarok happen, where they would really be Killed Off for Real.
  • Knight Templar: The Hammers of God, a multi-religious military organization that targets Atticus because he was present when Aenghus Og opened a portal to Hell.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Aenghus Og summoned the Christian Death for his fight with Atticus, because he knew that the Morrigan wouldn't come for him. When Atticus kills him, Death takes him to Hell instead of Tir na Nog.
    • Laksha is Indian, so she explicitly believes in karma and works to subvert this. Having spent most of her life messing around with evil demons, she's working on collecting good karma to balance the scales.
  • Last of His Kind: Atticus is the last of the ancient Celtic druids. Only the Tuatha Dé Danann still follow the ancient traditions and they're gods. Atticus can train new druids but the training takes years and over the centuries none of his apprentices lived to complete the final rituals. Except Granuaile, who becomes a full druid in Trapped.
  • The Legions of Hell: Recurring bad guys and frequently show up in large numbers. They smell like ass.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • A druid's offensive magic is based on this. Druids cannot directly harm a living being using their magic or the magic will kill the druid on the spot. However, the rules of druid magic do not prohibit indirect harm. So while you cannot just stop an enemy's heart with magic, you can have a hole appear under him to trap his legs so you can cut his head off with a sword.
    • Atticus' discovery of a loophole in the interaction of magic and iron resulted in his creation of a powerful amulet that lets him resist many types of magic. This makes him way more powerful than a normal druid and able to fight gods.
  • Magic A Is Magic A:
    • Atticus' magic has very specific rules lined out, but most of the magic seen follows specific rules even if they aren't explicitly stated.
    • A big part of why Atticus is so powerful is because he experiments with the rules of druid magic and was able to find solutions to problems that seemed impossible to the much older and powerful Tuatha Dé Danann
    • Averted by Jesus who's strong enough to do whatever the hell he wants with his miracles.
  • Magic Music: Väinämöinen is capable of it when he shows up in the third book. Also, Frank's Blessing Way in the fourth book.
  • Master of Your Domain: Atticus has gotten very good at this over the years. Morrigan teaches him a useful related technique in the third book.
  • Memetic Badass: Atticus is this in-universe. As the "iron druid" his touch is deadly to the Fae, creatures composed entirely of magic. Not only that but his mastery of Cold Iron represents a direct challenge to Brighid's authority, even if he himself has no interest in usurping her.
  • Moral Myopia:
    • Atticus is part of a group that goes after Thor for his crimes against them like murdering their families, pets, making fools of them or just generally being a murderous thug who destroys innocent lives. Yet, they show no reservation at invading his home, killing his family and friends and their pets. One member, Leif, confessed that at least he himself to having killed innocents during his time as a vampire. None of them care. By the end of Hammered Atticus is a thief, having stolen golden apples from Idunn, and Odin's spear (which to be fair he did later return), a murderer, having killed several members of the Norse pantheon who had nothing to do with Thor's actions, and technically an animal abuser too, since he killed Sleipnir and one of Odin's ravens, and a liar, having claimed to have been sent by the dark elves and to be Bacchus, thereby risking a war between the Norse and Roman and Greek pantheons, who willingly agrees and allows the goddess Freya (who has committed no crime) to be kidnapped by Frost Giants knowing full well they are going to rape her and blames the whole mess on Thor for not fighting the group despite said group not even announcing who they are or why they are attacking (although on that point, they assumed that Thor would remember. He didn't). All Atticus feels is a little bad about the whole mess and a little sorry for Freya.
    • In general, this seems to pop up an awful lot in magic users. Atticus said as much to Granuaile at the end of Hounded; the world of magic isn't exactly filled with sunshine and rainbows, even the benign practitioners are often forced to make terrible choices, and tend to regard muggles as an inconvenience to be exploited as necessary, and it sometimes smells as awful as it is and you better be damn sure you know what you're getting into before you join up.
  • Mother Nature: The elemental spirit of the entire earth. Atticus communes with her every decade or so. Takes a few weeks because her concept of time is severely disproportionate to his (fondly reminisces about the time of the dinosaurs like it was just last week).
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Durga, who shows up in India armed with five different divine weapons to help Granuaile fight a sorcerer that's summoning a bunch of rakshasas.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Laksha took the name Kulasekaran in honor of the king that ruled India when she was young.
  • National Stereotypes: The widow MacDonagh is terrified when she sees Atticus kill a man but becomes quite accepting when Atticus tells her the man was British. She is old school Irish about such things.
  • Nature Spirit: The elementals that Atticus can talk to. They range from a local iron spirit to the Sonoran Desert.
  • Nested Story: In the third book, the participants in the raid on the Norse plane tell their stories about why they hate Thor and want him to die.
  • Nominal Hero: Atticus fights because It's Personal, or because his loved ones are threatened, or because of mutual interests and old deals... and occasionally to deal out Gaia's Vengeance, but he makes no claim to being a hero. He spent two thousand years running away from a confrontation with Aenghus Og, only finally deciding to after Brighid and Flidais conspired to force his hand, and even then he might not have gone through with it if Aenghus hadn't opened up a portal to Hell.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Theophilus, whose name means something to the effect of "loved by God", is a vampire, who are generally regarded as Always Chaotic Evil. It's suggested he may have intentionally named himself that as an Ironic Nickname.
  • Noodle Implements: Atticus never explains how he intends to use granny panties and a bag of marshmallows to punish Coyote for his duplicity. We do find out, however, that there was also some Icy Hot and a gopher snake to that recipe.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Mercifully averted. As the series makes heavy use of Irish (and later, Old Norse) words and names which are not pronounced anything like they look to English-speakers (For instance, Atticus' original name is Siodhachan O'Suileabhain, pronounced roughly "Sheeyahan O'Sullivan.") the author provides a translation guide for most of the non-English names at the start of the book.
  • Occult Law Firm: Leif and Gunnar with his pack run one. They are open 24/7 as Leif is in at nights and the werewolves can be reached when the sun is up.
  • The Older Immortal:
    • Pretty much every significant character has an extended lifespan. Some try to use this as a gauge for threat level (Atticus is probably X hundred years old, but I'm surely older, and therefore stronger!)
    • In the Thor Revenge Squad, Gunnar is the youngest, being around three hundred years, while Atticus' 2100ish is the highest confirmed age with Leif being just over a thousand. Zhang Guo Lao's age is never specified, but he should be over 4000 years and Vainamoinen (Finish culture hero) and Perun (Russian god) are probably older.
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Ganesha's group, a collection of gods from various pantheons. Ganesha is the only identified member. In Shattered, we get the entire list: Jesus, Ganesha, Odin, Inari, Buddha, Guanyin, Shango, Perun, and Brighid. We also find out that the reason they banded together was because Rebecca Dane prayed to them for Atticus' wellbeing.
  • Omniscient Morality License:
    • By and large Atticus ascribes to the position that the Earth and her servants (I.E. Druids, I.E. Him) trump most other concerns; if it's a choice between his life and the life of Bob Q Somebody, then Bob better update his will because if Bob dies no big deal in the grand scheme of things. If Atticus dies there's no one to protect the Earth and various Genius Loci from evil sorcerers and suchlike.
    • Jesus pulls one of these when he warns Atticus not to go to Asgard. He even goes out of his way to specify that he knows better than Atticus what a humongous mistake it would be, but refuses to elaborate, citing incomprehensible forces and his belief that "that would be cheating".
  • Our Demons Are Different: They're basically the standard medieval Christian demons, but they smell really, really bad.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: They're immune to most magic, communicate with telepathy, and can transform any time.
  • Pals with Jesus: In the third book, Atticus has lunch and drinks with Jesus. They briefly reminisce about moving the treasure of the Templars and planting false clues.
  • Percussive Prevention: The Morrigan is not shy about using violence to remind Atticus not to do anything stupid. Not that it helps much but...
  • Physical God: All of them, but the Irish and Norse, and to a lesser extent, the Romans, play the largest roles.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything:
    • Malina and her coven are on the payroll of several companies as consultants. They mention that they don't actually do anything (just like real consultants), but get paid very well for what they don't do. Justified since they're using magic to convince people to give them free stuff.
    • Atticus is a Druid, his job is being the protector of Earth. Outside of that one Aenghus Og-caused catastrophe he doesn't seem to care or at least is never shown to do anything environmentally conscious (closest he comes is relegating his apprentice to do it as training), though he does mention a number of times where's he's intervened to save an Elemental (local Nature Spirit). In the general sense, he justifies his lack of action as pointless. He's just one guy and could spend days sabotaging mining equipment and things like that, but the mining companies would just replace the equipment and continue right along and he'd have to start all over again.
      • On the other hand he does take his other canonical job as bookshop owner much more seriously.
      • Tricked expands on this quite a bit: Atticus could spend all his time being environmentally active, but a) it wouldn't help and b) the earth will survive most any non-supernatural threats. Kaibab Unleashed and Grimoire of the Lamb show us what Atticus does when something supernatural threatens the earth. He isn't gentle about it...
  • Poison Is Corrosive: Manticore venom.
  • Police Are Useless: The police quickly zero in on Atticus as the suspect in the death of a park ranger but are in fact manipulated by his enemies. However, on their own they still prove to be a constant problem to Atticus who has to use his lawyers and various illusions to get them to back down. In the second book it is played straight because the police simply are not trained to handle rampaging supernatural beings that are immune to bullets.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Ghouls with refrigerated trucks, car chases with chariot riding gods, werewolf attorneys, handgun wielding Nazi witches and military weapon sporting Draugr.
  • Psychopomp: Several show up, but the main one is the Morrigan who made a deal with Atticus that she will never choose him and take his soul beyond which no longer applies now that she's dead.
  • Public Domain Artifact: "The Chapel Perilous" focuses on the "true" story behind the search for the Holy Grail, which is actually Dagda's Cauldron.
  • Rage Against the Mentor / Heavens: Granuaile gets angry at Atticus after she meets the Tuatha de Dannan because they're mostly assholes that don't meet her ideal of a god, and she believed that being a Druid would require her to worship them. Atticus is quick to assure her that just because he worships them doesn't mean she has to; the only extra-human entity she is beholden to is the Earth itself.
  • Red Shirt: Any muggle or unnamed supernatural character to run into the gods, vampires and other assorted supernatural threats, except the Morality Pets, whose clothing is mauve colored.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Atticus and Granuaile, almost as soon as she is a full druid.
  • Respawning Enemies: Coyote threatens to gather up all the other Coyotes and become this for Atticus if he doesn't do what he wants.
  • Running Gag: "You know, X would be a great band name. Think of the merchandise possibilities!" So far, we have: The Algae Shirts, Handsome Phantoms, Emo Douchebags (It's already the unofficial name of more bands than I can count) and Beefy Hairy Women.
    • Subverted by Sasquatch on a Leash: Oberon thinks it makes a better name for a musky cologne. "Sasquatch on a Leash: Control your smelly beast."
  • Sacrificial Lion: The Morrigan is killed at the beginning of Hunted by Artemis and Diana.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Owen is not shy about exercising his vocabulary of curse words, usually aimed at Atticus for being a screw-up.
  • Self Fulfilling Prophecy: The Norns attacked Atticus the second he arrived in Asgard because they foresaw that he would kill them. Which he did, because they were trying to kill him. They really should have known better.
  • Series Continuity Error: A number of these pop up with some being major and some minor. For example, Perun's lightning works fine in Asgard, but later Atticus doubts Zeus and Jupiter's lightning would work in another realm besides Olympus and Earth.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous. Atticus and Oberon are both One of Us.
  • Snarky Nonhuman Sidekick: Atticus' dog Oberon generally makes humorous remarks to him psychically; frequently while he's talking to someone who can't communicate with animals.
  • Soul Jar: Laksha used a Ruby Necklace as one for 160 years under the sea.
  • Spiritual Successor: To The Dresden Files. While they share a similar premise, they approach this premise from different sides and in different ways, perhaps most notably in that while Harry Dresden is altruistic, Atticus usually only goes out of his way to help people if he's forced to, otherwise he's perfectly content to let things go their own way.
  • Squee: We are treated to a somewhat extended discussion of this in Hexed when Atticus finds out that Leif is famous in the Vampire community. Atticus asks Leif if other vampires squee when they see him, and confesses that he has squeed over meeting "Neil Fucking Gaiman". And no, Leif, "Fucking" is not his middle name.
  • Straw Misogynist: The gate guard at Granuaile's mother's mansion, whom Granuaile arbitrarily designates as "casually sexist", despite his only words being "Can I help you?" because she for some reason imagines him appending "little lady" to the end.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: After his first trip to Asgard resulted in the deaths of the Norns and Sleipnir, Atticus still decides to aid the others in the raid to kill Thor because he'd already traded one set of problems for a much larger set and didn't see any way to trade down for something more manageable without just pulling up stakes and running away.
  • Super Speed: The Skinwalkers
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Druid magic cannot be used to kill or harm directly. It is okay to give yourself super-strength and do it with a sword.
  • Time Dissonance: The spirit of the Earth fondly reminisces about the time of the dinosaurs as if it were just last week.
  • Time Skip: A 12 year one between Tricked and Trapped.
  • Too Stupid To Live:
    • Vidar, big time. Challenged the Morrigan, a goddess who can choose who dies in battle, to a sword fight. You can imagine how well that went.
    • Gods in general are plagued by this. Brighid tries to kill Atticus with magic despite knowing Atticus has an amulet that makes him immune to magic (well, she thought she was strong enough to overcome it, but still) and a sword that can cut through anything. According to Perun, Thor tricked virtually every other thunder god, and by extension nearly every other god on the planet, to not have their stories written down in print, but in stone statues or oral traditions that are worn away or lost, causing them to be largely forgotten in modern day compared to the gods whose stories were written down like the Greek and Norse. Thor himself is repeatedly stated to be a brutish thug and moron.
    • Atticus' horse in the Chapel Perilous has this opinion of Atticus.
    Apple Jack: I don't understand why you're in charge when you are incapable of making decisions in your own self-interest. "Oh, look!" you say. "A slain human! Instead of running away from this obviously perilous chapel, I think I'll stick my neck in and see if it gets chopped off!"
  • Trickster Archetype: Coyote plays shows up frequently and Loki is mentioned, and is a major antagonist starting in Tricked.
  • Trickster Mentor: Atticus' old Archdruid was prone to smacking him with his staff when he wasn't paying attention or concealed something from him, and is mentioned to have thrown a pissed off rooster at Atticus. Nevertheless his tutelage allowed Atticus to survive for the last two thousand years, and it's implied that he himself may still be alive as well, as Atticus mentions never having seen him in Tir na Nog. At the very end of Hunted, it's revealed that he is alive because the Morrigan preserved him on a Time Island and gave Atticus its location at the beginning of said book.
  • The Unseen: Thor until Hammered.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Bacchus, being the Roman god of madness. Doesn't help that Atticus took a hammer to his Berserk Button.
  • Valkyries: They show up in the third book. Morrigan is apparently friends with some of them.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Many characters can shapeshift.
    • All Druids have a different set of animals they can turn into: A hoofed animal for speed, a clawed predator for fighting, a bird to fly around as and an aquatic animal for swimming.
      • Atticus can assume the form of a stag, a hound, an owl or an otter at will.
      • Granuaile can turn into a horse, a panther, a falcon and a sea lion.
      • Owen Kennedy can turn into a black bear, a ram, a red kite and a walrus.
      • The Morrigan turns into a "battlecrow".
      • Manannán mac Lir can turn into a killer whale or a great shearwater.
      • Aenghus Og is mentioned to be able to turn into a swan.
    • Werewolves are werewolves.
    • Coyote is Coyote.
    • Skinwalkers can change into different animals as long as they wear cloaks woven from that animal's skin. They take on the abilities of that animal, which is the main reason that Coyote doesn't want to risk dealing with them himself.
  • Weird Beard: The Hammers of God use magic to turn their beards into Combat Tentacles.
  • Weirdness Censor:
    • Atticus is very careful not to attract too much attention to himself so people are more likely to dismiss anything strange going on around him. It is a constant source of frustration that his neighbours are too inquisitive.
    • Leif, a thousand year old vampire, is very confident that people will dismiss the events at the stadium as just gang warfare. Considering that Leif killed over sixty rival vampires during one night and left all of their bodies for the police to find, Atticus is not so sure but does not have time to worry about it too much.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Druids like Atticus or the Tuatha Dé Danann can handle immortality fairly well due to their training and bond with nature. When Atticus tried to share his immortality potion with some of his children, after a few lifetimes they started going insane.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: The Time Islands in Tir na Nog. People trapped in there experience time normally, but relative to the rest of the world it takes several millennia for them to so much as blink.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: The widow MacDonagh, otherwise unlikely to give a British person the time of day in a clock shop (to put it mildly), considers William Shakespeare to be quite brilliant, being quite possibly "the only Brit worth the milk he sucked out of his mother's tit."
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Atticus killing Thor leads Odin to demand he take on Thor's role in Ragnarok, or at least find a suitable replacement.
  • Your Vampires Suck: After Jesus manages to convince the Hammers of God not to curbstomp Atticus, he tells them about Leif's impending absence, which would result in other vampires showing up to lay claim to his territory, so the Hammers can get their jollies killing vampires instead of him, saying:
    Jesus: "Now go and stake some vampires. Especially the sparkly emo ones."

The Intercontinental Union of Disgusting CharactersComic FantasyJason Cosmo
Inspector PekkalaLiterature of the 2010sThe Iron King
The Iron DreamFantasy LiteratureThe Iron King
Instinct RisingUrban FantasyJakub Wędrowycz

alternative title(s): Iron Druid Chronicles
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy