[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/6048478_2652.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:[[CoversAlwaysLie This]] scene [[SubvertedTrope actually happened]] in the book.]]

->''"Earth is dead. Humanity is hiding. Invention, Progress, Change... are all forbidden. \\
It's time to change all that."''
-->-- '''Tagline from ''Off Armageddon Reef'' '''

When a spacefaring humanity discovered evidence that a hostile alien race was likely to try and annihilate them, they spent the next ten years preparing for the inevitable war.

It wasn't enough.

In the face of extinction, the human race played a last desperate gamble. They secreted a fleet away to terraform and colonize a new homeworld and prepare for Round Two. To remain hidden long enough to make sure the Gbaba wouldn't find them, those in charge of Operation Ark decided that on this new world, humanity would abandon its technology so the Gbaba couldn't track them down by their emissions.

That's when the ''[[FromBadToWorse real]]'' trouble began.

[[TimeSkip Nine hundred years later]], Terran Federation commander Nimue Alban wakes up in a robotic body called a PICA; inside a giant, strange cave, with no memory of how she got here. An AI updates her with the bad news: Ark's chief administrative staff brainwashed the colonists into forgetting everything. Technological progress was banned under punishment of painful death. Opposition was wiped out in a kinetic strike. The planet of Safehold is now stuck in MedievalStasis, with the universal [[CorruptChurch Church of God Awaiting]] suppressing most progress. The current Grand Inquisitor is a megalomaniac and control freak. The web of lies woven by Ark's chief administrator is bound to be unraveled sooner or later, and with no knowledge of the Gbaba humanity is sure to be annihilated again - this time, to the last man.

Desperate to reveal the truth and avenge the Terran Federation, Nimue allies with the small island kingdom of Charis, a nation too independent in the eyes of Church. Under the identity of a mythical warrior, a ''seijin'', called Merlin Athrawes, she starts to steer Safehold slowly but surely towards the improvements it needs to survive — improvements the Church strictly prohibits.

The ''Safehold'' series by Creator/DavidWeber consists of eight books to date:
* ''Off Armageddon Reef''
* ''By Schism Rent Asunder''
* ''By Heresies Distressed''
* ''A Mighty Fortress''
* ''How Firm a Foundation''
* ''Midst Toil and Tribulation''
* ''Like a Mighty Army''
* ''Hell's Foundations Quiver''
* ''At the Sign of Triumph'' (forthcoming)

Has a [[http://safehold.wikia.com/wiki/Safehold_Wiki Wiki]] all its own, and a [[Characters/{{Safehold}} Character Sheet]] that NeedsWikiMagicLove. For similar series, see David Drake's Literature/BelisariusSeries and S. M. Stirling's ''Literature/TheGeneral''.

----
!!This series features examples of:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:A to H]]
* AbsoluteXenophobe: The Gbaba instinctively try to kill any other sentient species they find. It's possible that they do ''everything'' instinctively, and have stopped being sentient themselves.
* AccidentalTruth: Clyntahn and the rest of the Group of Four claim that Charis's schism with the church as the result of a long term plan by Shan-wei worshipers in Charis to subvert the authority of the Church of God Awaiting. Considering what the church sees as demonic and the tools Merlin brings to the table...
* AGodAmI: Langhorne, Bédard, and their fellow "Archangels."
* AfterTheEnd: Every other human world except Safehold is presumed destroyed.
* AlasPoorVillain: [[spoiler:Hektor]]'s death is surprisingly moving, as he's [[spoiler:abruptly shot down]] along with his partly estranged son, and realizes that he's always loved him.
* AltarDiplomacy:
** King Cayleb of Charis marries Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm in what was originally a cold-blooded political move to unite their kingdoms. When they finally meet, it is LoveAtFirstSight.
** Prince Nahrmahn of Emerald and his wife Princess Ohlyvya were betrothed at a young age, and eventually ended up falling in love, much to their mutual surprise. (And benefit, as the practically-minded Ohlyvya tempers some of Nahrmahn's... more volatile characteristics.)
** Done deliberately with Irys and Hektor. [[EveryoneCanSeeIt They clearly like each other]] but both are unwilling to make a move due to the circumstances. Sharleyan decides to deal with it by making their arranged marriage a condition of the peace treaty between Charis and Corisande.
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: Clyntahn and the rest of his Inquisition are explicitly compared to the SS in ''Midst Toil and Tribulation.'' There's also mentions of pogroms in the Temple Lands and camps set up for Reformists caught behind enemy lines in Siddarmark to hold them until the Inquisition gets around to torturing them to death. They are routinely called "concentration camps" in ''Like a Mighty Army,'' where the Temple Loyalists start using them as forced labor to help with the war effort.
* AmbiguousSituation:
** Some characters wonder whether Clyntahn is cynically playing a KnightTemplar to gain power or is he really a fanatic [[BelievingTheirOwnLies Believing His Own Lies]].
** The War Against The Fallen is a great pile of ambiguity, with only certain things being the fighting itself, its starting point, the victors and the fact that ''seijins'' were used. We don't even know who the factions fighting really were, what were their agendas and, alas, whether the victors were who they claimed to be. More answers seem to be forthcoming in ''Hell's Foundations Quiver''.
** The discrepancy between Book!Schueler and Key!Schueler goes unexplained so far.
* AmnesiaMissedASpot: The original seijins were Adams and Eves who had useful skills before their memories were reprogrammed, and then had their memories of those skills returned so they could fight more effectively against Kau-Yung's followers. However, this caused some of them to start recalling things they weren't supposed to remember as well. [[spoiler:When Seijin Kohdy started remembering his life as Sergeant Major Cody Cortazar and asked the Archangels what was going on, they murdered him.]]
* AncientTradition:
** The Brotherhood of St. Zherneau's was founded in Charis after reading knowledge about the true history of Safehold left to them by an Adam. From that point on they become the safeguard of that history and knowledge and work to ultimately bring that knowledge back to Safehold. Most of Charis' previous kings were part of the plan. Upon revealing themselves to Merlin and Cayleb, they become a check-and-balance for the Inner Circle, vetting new candidates to be inducted.
** ''Hell's Foundations Quiver'' introduces the Sisterhood of Saint Khody, led by [[spoiler: Aivah Pahrsahn]]. They've been active much longer than the Brotherhood, but the source of their knowledge is a journal left behind by one of the original ''seijins'', who had only begun to suspect what had been done, so they lacked the full knowledge of Safehold's past that the Brotherhood possessed.
* AntiMutiny: Shan-wei's goal before Langhorne killed her.
* AntiVillain:
** Vicar Rhobair Duchairn starts becoming this early in ''By Schism Rent Asunder'' after he starts to rediscover his faith. Though still a member of the Group of Four and still committed to the war against Charis, by ''By Heresies Distressed'' he has grown enough to warn the Wylsynns that Clyntahn must have found out about their secret organization. At the end of ''A Mighty Fortress'', he's a full AntiVillain. The only reason he's not moving openly against the other members of the Group of Four now is that he knows he wouldn't accomplish anything but becoming one more victim of the Inquisition without building a new political power base. And he's using his position as the Church's treasurer to make sure the Church run hospitals, soup kitchens, orphanages, and schools are fully funded to take care of those affected by the war and trying to become a GoodShepherd in general.
** Earl Thirsk is a WorthyOpponent motivated by genuine belief in God and the Archangels and loyalty to his kingdom, and is disgusted at many of his allies' tactics. There's also the fact that his family is being "protected" by the Inquisition.
** Rainos Ahlverez is essentially Thirsk's equivalent on the army side. A Dohlaran commander who is endlessly frustrated at the incompetence of his Desnairian allies and is concerned above all else with the welfare of his men, determined that they not die pointlessly in battles they can't win.
* BadassBeard: Cayleb grows one in ''By Heresies Distressed.''
* BadassMustache: Merlin Athrawes has a BadassBeard too, but it always takes second place to his ''fierce mustachios.''
* BayonetYa: Rifle with bayonet eventually becomes weapon of choice for Imperial Charisian Army and they're so good with it, it's said that any Charisian force could take on four times as big enemy unit and win.
* BelievingTheirOwnLies:
** Pei Kau-Yung feared this was happening to Langhorne and the other "Archangels," that they liked the idea of being gods so much they convinced themselves it was true.
** Frequently remarked as one of the single most dangerous and creepy traits of Zhaspahr Clyntahn. It's noticed by others as early as ''By Heresies Distressed'', and at Clyntahn can say things about the heretics that just as much apply to him with complete sincerity without acknowledging the hypocrisy.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled:
** Some of Clyntahn's potential targets did this in ''A Mighty Fortress.'' [[spoiler:Hauwerd Wylsynn]] forced this on his brother before committing SuicideByCop.
** [[spoiler: Gwylym Manthyr]] kills one of his young midshipmen, rather than see the boy tortured in front of him and then executed in public. Also doubles as an extreme tearjerker.
** This is true for any enemy of Mother Church, especially after Clytahn had over ''two thousand'' people tortured and killed in Zion for being part of the Reformist movement within the church or merely related to them. No exceptions were made for women and children.
* BigDamnKiss: Cayleb plants one on Sharleyan at the end of ''By Schism Rent Asunder'', just before his departure to invade Corisande and in front of everyone gathered to see them off. The crowd loves it.
* BlessedWithSuck: How Nimue/Merlin views her/his condition. He's superhuman and immortal, but lonely and faced with considerable self-doubt over how much he counts as a person and who he really is.
* BoltOfDivineRetribution: Safeholdians view the ''Rakurai'', an automatic kinetic bombardment last used to kill Shan-wei, as this. It hangs over the protagonists' heads because they fear if they go too far too fast they could inadvertently trigger it on Charis. When Merlin sets up a test to see how far they can push things without triggering it, he does so as far away from civilization as possible to avoid ''any'' chance of someone seeing it and interpreting it as God's Wrath against one side or another.
* BrainUploading:
** Nimue's personality and memories until just before Operation Ark are implanted in her PICA.
** Merlin does the same to [[spoiler:Prince Nahrmahn]] following him being fatally wounded.
** In ''Like a Mighty Army'' Merlin builds [[spoiler:a new PICA and uploads a new "from scratch" copy of Nimue Alban, soon named Nimue Chwaeriau]].
* CallASmeerpARabbit:
** Many local Safehold animals are named after mythical creatures from Earth, such as the kraken.
** Or even just regular creatures and plants from Earth. Such as titan oaks, near-pines, and spider-rats. Makes one wonder why the Archangels didn't change the names to completely original or more innocuous names to avoid questions like "What is a near-pine supposed to be near to?"
* CatchPhrase: For Merlin: "One tries." For Cayleb/Sharleyn: "Here I/We stand. I/We can do no other."
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Grand Duke Zebediah. Cayleb and Nahrmahn enter into dealings with him knowing full well he'll attempt to betray them if it looks like a better opportunity. Their response is to keep an eye on him with [=SNARCs=] while he collects enough rope to hang himself with.
* ChurchMilitant: The Order of Schueler.
* CommonTongue: Everyone on Safehold speaks English, or at least a language that started out as English (With a few loan words derived from Japanese) before going through a thousand years of lingual drift. [[spoiler:This makes the diary of the late Seijin Kohdy rather fascinating to those who have read it, as parts of it were written in Spanish]].
* ConflictBall: One of the conflicts in ''By Schism Rent Asunder'' and ''By Heresies Distressed'' is the fact that Cayleb and Merlin can't tell Sharleyan anything about Merlin, because the Brotherhood is dragging its feet... ignoring the fact that they could easily have given her the "visions" story while leaving out the high-tech details. The inconsistency is highlighted by the fact that they bring [[spoiler:Clareyk and Nahrmahn]] in on the "visions" on their own initiative in ''By Heresies Distressed''. In those cases [[spoiler:Clareyk]] had already begun to suspect ''something'' was up so they needed to satisfy him; while [[spoiler:Nahrman]] was told about "visions" because they needed informed advice ''right then.'' Further, he was given the "vision" story immediately before the visit where Sharleyan was told everything. Still, not bringing in Sharleyan even on the "visions" is still a conflict ball, only justifiable by the fact Merlin wasn't even ''there'' for very long before they headed to Corisande, rendering visions specific to Merlin a moot point.
* ConspiracyTheorist: The Inquisition comes to the conclusion that a gunpowder barge exploding (Purely by accident) and destroying a critical canal lock had to have been done by heretic saboteurs through a mixture of paranoia and circular logic. They then use this as grounds to purge and/or relocate ''seventy percent'' of the population of the nearby town.
* CoolShip: HMS ''Delthak,'' an improved copy of the CSS ''Virginia,'' otherwise known as the ''Merrimack.'' She and her sister ships deliver so many OhCrap moments that The Army of God thinks they are ''demonic'' in origin.
* CorruptChurch: The present day Church of God Awaiting.
* CrazyPrepared:
** Madame Ahnzhelyk plans ahead - with a vengeance. Many of the actions she takes in the story, such as her evacuation of potential targets of Clyntahn's from Zion, utilize plans and preparations set up long before Clyntahn himself was Grand Inquisitor.
** The Archangels themselves. As noted by Doctor Mahklyn, they had to be able to give a divine explanation or justification to just about every single thing Safehold's descendants might possibly encounter to prevent the development of things like the scientific method or the very advances they wished to hold off.
** Decades before the main plot, back when he was still Crown Prince, Hektor successfully [[spoiler:planted a double-agent inside the ''Inquisition'']]. Years later, this ends up crucial to securing the safety of his children Irys and Daivyn.
* CurbStompBattle:
** The final battles of ''Off Armageddon Reef,'' during which Charis takes on the combined naval might of the entire rest of the world and wins handily.
** Any swordfight involving Merlin, thanks to Merlin's superhuman capabilities.
** Merlin... ''versus [[MixAndMatchCritters alien squid-sharks]]''!
** Pretty much the entire invasion of Corisande, which takes up most of ''By Heresies Distressed''. Despite the fact that the Charisans are only just starting out in actual land warfare with their marines, the tech advantage and well-trained troops make up more than enough of the difference.
** The introduction of steam-powered ironclad gunboats in ''Midst Toil and Tribulation'' versus, well, anything.
** [[spoiler:Nimue Chwaeriau]] completely ''destroys'' the sexist jerk Lieutenant Charlz Sheltyn in ''Like A Mighty Army'' after he [[BullyingADragon picks a fight]] with her. Merlin finds the recording [[PassThePopcorn very entertaining]].
* DefiantToTheEnd:
** Surprisingly, Erayk Dynnys, combined with DoomedMoralVictor and a {{Facing The Bullets|OneLiner}} FinalSpeech as he's about to be executed as a scapegoat for the events of ''Off Armageddon Reef''. He was offered a painless death if he said the right thing but instead guaranteed a horrific and painful death by speaking the truth.
** [[spoiler:Hauwerd Wylsynn]]'s Crowning Moment of Awesome, effectively a SuicideByCop as he fights the Temple Guard while denouncing Clyntahn all the while.
** [[spoiler:Gwylym Manthyr]] gets to spit in Clyntahn's face before being put to the Punishment of Schueler. Also a DyingMomentOfAwesome. Merlin even has prints of the moment distributed as part of his propaganda campaign.
* DistaffCounterpart:
** The Sisterhood of Saint Evahlyn and [[spoiler:Sisters of Saint Kohdy]] to the Brotherhood of Saint Zherneau. Both {{Ancient Tradition}}s which strive to maintain what they know about the truth of Safehold's origins.
** [[spoiler:Nimue Chwaeriau]] to Merlin Athrawes, the former being [[spoiler:A second PICA created and given Nimue's pre-Safehold BrainUploading but remaining female]].
** Aivah Pahrsahn/Nynian Rychtair to Nahrmahn Baytz. Both supreme chessmasters who work to upend the Church of God Awaiting using the less savory tools of assassination and political plotting.
* DividedWeFall: In Army of Justice, Dohlaran and Desnairan high command is at each other's throats almost as often as they are on Charis' and it comes to bite them when they start losing and only one side can admit this.
* DoorStopper: They're thick, alright. The shortest book in the series is just short of 500 pages.
* DoubleAgent: [[spoiler:Rhobair Seablanket. Book 4 reveals that he's an agent of the Inquisition. Book 5 reveals that he was ''planted'' in the Inquisition by Prince Hektor, having a very valid personal grudge against the Church.]]
* TheDreaded: The Inquisition learns to fear Merlin's alter ego Dialydd Mab very quickly.
* DyingMomentOfAwesome:
** King Haarahld's defense of Midshipman Hektor Aplyn. Young Hektor was prepared to take the bullet for Haarahld, only for Haarahld to do it for ''him'' instead, insisting it's a king's duty to protect his people.
** [[spoiler:Soldier-turned-devout-priest Hauwerd Wylsynn]] doesn't want to give the Inquisition a chance to haul information out of him or his brother through torture, so he instead chooses to die after killing his brother. He takes at least four armed and armored soldiers with him.
--->"Oh, ''fuck'' you, Kahrnaikys! You always were a prick! And fuck ''Clyntahn'', too!"
** In ''How Firm a Foundation'': [[spoiler: Gwylym Manthyr]] is the last to be tortured to death on a rack, and has had his tongue cut out so he wouldn't be able to speak in his own defense. So when Grand Inquisitor Zhaspahr Clyntahn performs his 'cow the heretic' act before the crowd, knowing Manthyr can't speak, Manthyr [[SpitefulSpit finds a way.]] And as he dies, he gets to savor the look on the Grand Inquisitors face.
** Also doubling as a HeroicSacrifice, [[spoiler:Nahrmahn]], upon realizing he and his wife have just pulled up next to a suicide bomber driving a gunpowder-filled wagon, throws her out the other side and shields her from the ensuing explosion with his own body. Especially badass because he was in the middle of a very serious (read: distracting) conversation about an identical suicide bombing that had happened mere hours before all the way over in Tellesburg, but was still aware enough of his surroundings to notice it. And unlike some others [[spoiler: among the royalty, Nahrmahn never served in the military, so he had no battlefield instincts to warn him.]]
* DystopianEdict: The Proscriptions of Jwo-Jeng, which forbids technological advancement of too high a level and which the protagonists have the dance around to avoid upsetting their own population with the innovations they're introducing.
* EasyLogistics: Oh so averted. A sizable number of Duchairn's scenes center around his effort to figure out how he's supposed to fund and supply the Church's forces. The initial campaign to conquer Siddarmark is thwarted when the Charisian Navy blows several key canal locks, making it impossible for the Church to ship supplies to the front lines, which bought the defenders a desperately needed year to reinforce and resupply. Charis has its own logistical problems on occasion, mainly centered around being able to make enough guns and ammunition to equip its forces.
* TheEeyore: Rhobair Seablanket, Earl Coris's valet. [[spoiler: Though that could just be the face he presents to keep Coris from suspecting that Seablanket is really one of the Inquisition's agents.]] [[spoiler: [[DoubleAgent Except he's not.]] ]]
* TheEmpire:
** Inverted when the protagonist countries of Charis and Chisholm form an empire in ''By Schism Rent Asunder''
** Played straight by Harchong, which has a terrible reputation for how it treats serfs (which are, more often than not, slaves in all but name). Corruption is so rampant that grafts are factored into the budget as a matter of course.
** Mother Church could also be considered TheEmpire. Or at least the Temple Lands and its secular rulers the Knights of the Temple Lands (who just happen to also be the leaders of the church).
* EnhanceButton: Merlin mentions in book 5 that Owl doesn't have enough processing power to watch everything, so Owl just stores away the raw images (which don't show individuals) and enhances them later once they need more detail.
* EpicFail: The Church of God Awaiting's attack on Charis in book one. Mind you, they had no way of accounting for Merlin's satellite recon abilities, and little of accounting for the new artillery, but the people planning the thing didn't even understand how naval warfare normally worked, and didn't account for the weather, the limitations of ships designed for coastal waters, and the effects of wear and tear on the ships. And neither did several officers that were put in command of the fleets.
* EternalEnglish: Averted. Nimue has to learn Safeholdian English before she can venture out among them. Also, many names have changed in spelling and/or pronunciation over the near millennium of Safehold's history.
* ExponentialPlotDelay: Seems to be heading this way as of the fourth book, thanks to the cast list increasing faster than characters are killed off. Even major characters like Nahrmahn can go hundreds of pages without an appearance.
* {{Expy}}: The entire planet of Safehold is one for the planet Pardal from the third book of Weber's ''Literature/EmpireFromTheAshes'' series, written 11 years earlier.
** A technophobe theocracy that rules over many small, divided kingdoms? Check. Engineered to hide from a threat which nearly wiped out humanity? Check. Treats its precursors as angels or demons? Check. Holds itself together by a communication advantage via semaphore towers, acting as the world's creditor with money from tithes, and the threat of brutal inquisition & purges? Check. A revolt initiated by a kingdom the church hierarchy is already wary of because of its physical distance from the church capital and reputation for (relative) inventiveness? Check. Inability to use advanced technology to penetrate said church capital because it contains advanced sensors? Check. The highest members of the church hierarchy are decadent and corrupt? Check.
** It looks like Weber wrote Safehold to further explore the concept behind Pardal and find out how such a world would ''really'' work. Or at least try it again on a bigger scale and getting into more detail.
** The Gbaba are also an Expy for the Achultanni (also from ''Empire from the Ashes''), in that they are a xenocidal alien race who periodically wipe out all other sentient life they can find. Weber has said he wrote the aforementioned book mostly because he didn't have time to make it a full series back then. (Weber has a bit of a problem with juggling too many epic series at once.)
** Earl Thirsk, who is a) a dedicated Navy man trying to give his sailors a fighting chance of survival while hampered by a nation (or in his case ''planet-wide church'') going mad with its own power around him, b) a genuinely honorable man, c) a WorthyOpponent to the protagonist Charisian Empire, and d) determined to treat his prisoners of war with all due respect and dignity while terrified as to what will happen to them if the Inquisition gets its hands on them, has a few too many parallels with the Literature/{{Honorverse}}'s Thomas Theisman for it to be a pure coincidence. Time will tell if he turns out as well as Theisman did -- or if he's even given the chance to do so.
* TheFederation: The Terran Federation is implied to be this in the backstory. Back when it still existed anyway.
* [[{{FiveManBand/Literature}} Five Man Band]]: Charis' upper leadership. Later the "inner circle."
** TheHero: King Haarahld, later Cayleb
** TheLancer: Earl Grey Harbor, later Sharleyan
** TheSmartGuy: Baron Wave Thunder, later Nahrmahn
** TheBigGuy: Earl Lock Island, later, given his abilities, Merlin comes closest.
** TheChick: Maikel Staynair
** TheSixthRanger: Merlin, later [[spoiler:Nimue Chwaeriaeu]].
* FantasyCounterpartCulture:
** Charis as England and Emerald as Ireland are only a couple of examples. Merlin himself makes the comparison to 17th or 18th England or Holland for Charis, and the audio books' narrator reads Emeraldian dialogue with an Irish accent.
** Thanks to the relationship between them and Charis, [[spoiler:Corisande may be a better fit for Ireland, especially considering the resentment they have for Charis after being conquered.]]
** Harchong, from what little we know, seems to be based on medieval China. Among other things, they invented gunpowder and have a corner on silk. They are also notorious for their gigantic bureaucracy.
** Siddarmark has ''some'' similarities to the United States, especially as of ''Midst Toil and Tribulation.'' Specifically it can be compared to Civil War era America. It's also the only powerful republic[[note]]exaggerated to the point of being the first and ''only'' republic[[/note]].
** Raven's Land and the Raven Lords who live there are Scotland and the Scots, respectively.
* FriendlySniper: Sergeant Edvard Wystahn is a good country lad and a really nice guy; he helps out his comrades in learning to read or with words of reassurance or comfort as they need it. He also has no problem putting a bullet through an enemy officer's [[BoomHeadshot head]] from under cover at 500 yards.
* FunWithAcronyms:
** '''P'''ersonality-'''I'''ntegrated '''C'''ybernetic '''A'''vatar (PICA)
** '''S'''elf-'''N'''avigating '''A'''utonomous '''R'''econnaissance and '''C'''ommunication platforms (SNARC)
** '''N'''eural '''E'''ducation '''a'''nd '''T'''raining machines (NEAT)
* GameChanger:
** This is the main role of Merlin Athrawes. By {{Technology Uplift}}ing Safehold, Merlin strives to break the planet Safehold's enforced MedievalStasis. Approximately every other book features the Church of God Awaiting and its forces getting hammered by the Empire of Charis due to various innovations that were brought in thanks to Merlin's influence. Starting with farther-ranged and more accurate artillery in the first book and introducing ironclad warships in the most recent.
** On a more individual scale, Merlin had been acting alone in this plan for the first book and a half. The GameChanger to this strategy was the revelation midway through the second book that [[spoiler: there were others who knew the history he did]], enabling him to bring more people in on his ultimate plan.
* GodGuise: Langhorne's group used their technology to fake their various Archangel abilities, and also meticulously craft their own holy book.
* GoodIsNotSoft: The Charisan leaders often have to make decisions in this vein. Most prominently when facing defeated enemies and forcing them to surrender. They'll often try to negotiate a relatively peaceful surrender with any prisoners treated honorably, and threaten that there won't ''be'' any prisoners if that surrender is refused or betrayed. To date, no enemy commander has tried to call their bluff (mostly because they realize while speaking face to face with the Charisan commander in question that it ''isn't'' a bluff).
* GoodShepherd:
** Maikel Staynair and Paityr Wylsynn are both often noted for their serenity and confidence in their faith and are frequently good sources of advice for the other characters.
** Ducharin is making an effort to become one of these, as atonement for his role in bringing about the war with Charis. He largely succeeds, as it's often noted he's become a favorite among the populace and the more charitably minded members of the priesthood.
** Archbishop Zhasyn Cahnyr of Glacierheart, though a relatively minor character, is shown through the entire series as a Good Shepherd. As early as ''Off Armageddon Reef'' he's presented as a foil to the more corrupt Erayk Dennys. Later, when Dennys is on death row, Cahnyr is the one to offer him comfort and helps smuggle messages to Dennys's family, despite the prior bad blood between them. While initially fleeing Glacierheart to escape Clynahn's purge of the Zion Circle, he soon returns to offer what moral support he can during the Siddarmark civil war.
* GratuitousJapanese:
** Although all of Safehold writes modern English and speaks a slightly shifted version of it, the multicultural founders borrowed foreign terms like ''seijin'' (Japanese for holy person) and ''rakurai'' and used names from Asia for both places and people.
** "Archangel" Chihiro used Japanese names for many supernatural concepts in the Holy Writ, such as ''Anshinritsumei'' ("lesser touch of God's fire" in Safeholdian, "enlightment" in Japanese) or ''kyousei hi'' (Japanese for "great fire", Safeholdian for light accompanying the archangels). Justified as Maruyama Chihiro was of Japanese descent.
* HappilyMarried: Cayleb and Sharleyan. Nahrmahn and Ohlyvya. Any number of others. [[Literature/HonorHarrington Once again]], despite the various other kinds of hell he puts his characters through, this really does seem par for the course in your average Weber novel.
* HaveYouToldAnyoneElse:
** Subverted, since [[spoiler:Duke Tirian]] really ''wouldn't'' have hurt his father-in-law given any other alternative when he was confronted by him over his treason.
** Played completely straight in ''How Firm a Foundation'' when [[spoiler:Urvyn Mahndrayn, Baron Seamount's assistant]], tells his cousin, Trai Sahlavahn, at the Hairatha powder mill about 45 tons of missing gunpowder. Trai is actually responsible for this and stabs him in the back when they go to check it out. Minutes later [[spoiler:the entire powder mill explodes]].
* HeartDrive: Merlin's mind, memories and consciousness are not in his head, but in a small, fist-sized computer in his torso, hidden behind enough many layers of battlesteel to withstand everything short of nuclear strike zeroed on it. If the body's destroyed, this computer can be plugged to another PICA or VR unit.
* HeelFaceTurn:
** Prince Nahrmahn in ''By Schism Rent Asunder''. He goes to Charis to offer his surrender, fully expecting that Cayleb will want his head over his role in past schemes against Charis. Cayleb instead drafts him into an Intelligence role and, to his own surprise, befriends Nahrmahn as the series progresses.
** King Gorjah of Tarot plans one in ''A Mighty Fortress.'' He eventually does so and, though we haven't heard much from him personally since, we do see Tarotian commanders in the Imperial Charisian Navy, suggesting the integration seems to be going rather well.
** Corisande as a whole makes one, though it takes a while. They grow to accept the Church of Charis and tolerate the Empire of Charis's rule. As of ''Midst Toil and Tribulation'', [[spoiler:Prince Daivyn has decided to swear fealty and make Corisande an official and equal member of the Empire]].
* HeelFaceDoorSlam:
** Corsidande's Prince Hektor and his son are murdered on Clyntahn's orders to make them martyrs when his agents discover Hektor is planning to surrender.
** In the fourth book, we get [[spoiler:several members of the clergy who don't like how corrupt the Group Of Four has become. Most of them are subjected to the cruel torture/execution of the Punishment of Shueler. So are the clergy's families... including the [[MoralEventHorizon women and children]].]]
* HeKnowsTooMuch:
** A constant danger for the Inner Circle. Every time they bring someone new in they run the risk that person may not react as they hope and will betray them. Thus, each character we see informed about it from about the fourth book onward also gets a warning of what they'd have to do in case of such a betrayal. By later books, the Inner Circle removes murder from the equation after Merlin sets up Nimue's Cave to act as a GildedCage for those who need time to think the situation over or to use cryo-sleep on anyone who simply can't accept what they're doing.
** A specific instance also occurs in ''By Heresies Distressed'' when Merlin arrives at the scene of [[spoiler:Sharleyan's attempted assassination]]. Merlin kills every enemy present [[spoiler:because they absolutely ''cannot'' be allowed to realize Merlin was in Charis when he was supposed to be in Corisande]].
** Also, in ''Midst Toil and Tribulation'', Merlin has to slaughter [[spoiler:a bunch of civilians (who are manning legit wartime targets)]] to make absolutely certain that his plan works and that [[spoiler:the HMS ''Delthak'' doesn't get trapped in the canals]]. He doesn't mention this to anyone beforehand (even afterwards, the only person who is confirmed to have learned about it is Nahrmahn) and suffers some serious HeroicBSOD, both during and after.
* TheHeretic: Everyone who isn't a pure Temple Loyalist, including not only the Church of Charis but also the Reformists. Even the Loyalist Charisians who emigrated to escape their kingdom's heresy are given the label thanks to association.
* HeroicSacrifice:
** King Haarahld becomes a martyr via this, when he sacrifices his life to save a young midshipman who had been about to do the same for him.
** The original Nimue Alban is also noted as one. She had herself transferred from one of the ships going to Safehold to one of the ships sacrificing itself to let them escape in order to set up the plan.
** [[spoiler:Prince Narhmahn]] saves his wife from an assassin's bomb by [[TakingTheBullet throwing himself on top of her]].
** One archbishop along with two others [[JumpingOnAGrenade throw themselves on a grenade-wearing suicide bomber]] at a mass in book 5, saving the crowd.
* HiddenInPlainSight:
** In ''How Firm A Foundation'', rather than lay low, Madame Ahnzhelyk assumes a false identity in Siddarmark and openly lives the high society life.
** This is also how several Wylsynns, including Paityr, hid [[spoiler:the Key, which is described in the book as a suitable size and shape for a paperweight.]]
* HighClassCallGirl: Madame Ahnzhelyk Phonda and her girls, which we later learn was Ahnzhelyk's way of getting information while in Zion.
* HoldYourHippogriffs:
** Wyverns are the subject of a number of bird related sayings, which is a bit odd as they still have Terran birds, like chickens.
** "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Goose_That_Laid_the_Golden_Eggs To kill the wyvern that fetched the golden rabbit]]."
* HufflepuffHouse:
** Trellheim, which is mentioned once or twice as being inhabited, and Raven's Land, which forms the land border of the country of Chisholm, which is only noted in the world map.
** Raven's Land has gotten an upgrade as of ''Midst Toil and Tribulation''.
* HypercompetentSidekick: Wyllym Rayno is growing into this as Clyntahn spirals deeper and deeper into a VillainousBreakdown. If something happened to the Archbishop, Zion would probably turn into charnelhouse, all the competent Church officers would be put through Punishment along with their families and Army of God's funding and supplies would break down completely.
* {{Hypocrite}}: The Group of Four decides to wipe Charis off the map in the first book, claiming the handful of innovations they've recently made were heretical. Failing that, they proceed to implement as many of those innovations as they can in an effort to destroy them. They claim that the Charisian versions of the innovations are powered by black magic, while the Church has managed to get the same effect ''without'' demonic help.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:I to Y]]
* ImplacableMan: Merlin is this one, as he's lightning fast, made of metal and possible to destroy only by high-tech Federation gear. Visible especially in ''Like A Mighty Army'', during his [[spoiler: Inquisitor-killing trip as Dialydd Mab]], when he shrugs off pistol and rifle rounds. Complete with MookHorrorShow.
* InsaneTrollLogic: Clyntahn claims that Siddermark ''had'' to have been planning to rebel against the Church. If they hadn't, they wouldn't have had the military strength to prevent the total takeover he launched without any warning. The same also goes for Charis--there's no way they could have survived this long if they hadn't been planning their heretical rebellion for years. Many of his other explanations for his actions/plans can come across as this as well, since the ''Writ's'' statement that "[[KnightTemplar Extremism in the pursuit of godliness can never be a sin]]" means that everything he had done up to that point was always justified as far as he's concerned.
* InterfaithSmoothie: The religion of the Church was created as a mash-up of various actual religions although it mostly comes off as a CrystalDragonJesus of Medieval Catholicism.
* InterserviceRivalry: The Army of God is a multinational force formed from nations that had been rivals for centuries before Clyntahn launched his Jihad. As a result, there tends to be a great deal of friction when the overall commander of one of its armies is from one nation but some of the subordinate units are commanded by someone from another. Each nation also has a rivalry between the infantry and cavalry, and different doctrine as to how each should be used, which doesn't help.
* InventedIndividual: Zhevons, Mabb and Slayter are all Merlin's guises used by him when he has to be someplace that, by Safeholdian standards, he shouldn't be able to reach quickly. It goes UpToEleven when Owl starts writing reports to a spymaster who's LockedOutOfTheLoop -- it creates an entire host of fictional ''seijins'', each of them with their own style and handwriting.
* JesusWasWayCool: Inverted. Most who learn of the "Archangels'" lies still hold God Himself in high regard.
* KillSat: The orbital platforms above Safehold remain a looming threat.
* KnightTemplar: The passage in the book of Scheuler stating "Extremism in the pursuit of godliness can never be a sin" appears to be a license to act like this. The Inquisition certainly takes it as one.
* LaResistance: [[spoiler:The Fist of God, AKA the Helm Cleaver, Nynian-sponsored guerilla organization working for justice in Zion.]]
* LensmanArmsRace: As other nations try to emulate the innovations Merlin helped Charis discover.
** Merlin wants to encourage this because forcing Charis' enemies to embrace innovation means victory for his ultimate goal of killing Safehold's technophobia.
** By ''Midst Toil and Tribulation'' it has come full circle in that Earl Thirsk and his officers are actually starting to come up with new and innovative warship and weapon designs instead of just copying Charisian tech. Merlin now has mixed feelings about this as this development supports his long-term goal of destroying Safehold's technophobia but on the other hand its going to make winning the war more difficult for Charis.
** Gets even more pronounced in ''Like A Mighty Army'' when Earl Thirsk and Captain General Maigwair's men come up with a breech-loading rifle design they can mass-produce that is even better than the ones Charis has issued to its army.
* LivingRelic: For a [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman given value of "living"]], Merlin and Owl are both relics of Terran Federation and humanity's high-tech SF past, and their aim is to bring this past back.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: When your list of characters by the second book takes [[UpToEleven ten pages]], you know you've hit this.
** As of the sixth book, the character list now occupies ''[[SerialEscalation forty-one]]'' pages.
** In book seven, it takes up pages 585 through 651-- that's 66 pages. Given the also-growing size of the Glossary, this is beginning to avert SpoiledByTheFormat: there's a good half an inch of pages left, it can't be almost over yet! No, it's ending with a {{Cliffhanger}} on the next page.
** Said character list consists of everyone in every book who speaks a line or is mentioned in the text, so some inflation of it is to be expected. That being said, it still counts. And even then, most people are only given names if they are of some importance, so there isn't as much inflation as one might think.
* LockedOutOfTheLoop: Plays a major part in the plot from ''By Schism Rent Asunder'' onward as the protagonists have to decide who to allow into their Inner Circle due to either how trustworthy an individual is or how they might react to the crisis of faith the truth would inevitably cause.
** Baron Seamount is a unique case in this. While his abilities would be incredibly useful combined with access to Owl in the short term, his status as a OneManIndustrialRevolution ''without'' access to Owl's records is far more valuable in Merlin's long term plans to get Safehold's people to embrace technological innovation. Sharleyan, at least, is very displeased about the consensus being to keep him locked out.
* LogicalWeakness: Just because the Church of God Awaiting doesn't know ''how'' the Charisians stay one step ahead of them doesn't mean they can't work out countermeasures against it, as the fourth, fifth, and sixth books demonstrate.
* LoopholeAbuse: The Charisian leadership have to be very careful about dancing around the Proscriptions. Though doing so is made ''much'' easier once [[spoiler:Father Paityr is inducted into the Inner Circle and cheerfully ''helps'' abuse said loopholes.]]
* LostTechnology: Federation tech is this for both sides, although only one side is aware of it. Charis has ultimate spying bugs, invisible recon machines, laser weapons and Merlin, ImplacableMan android. Church has the Temple with it's code-breaking capabilities and ''Rakurai'', KillSat nobody would like to awake.
* LoveAtFirstSight: [[spoiler:Cayleb and Sharleyan]] upon their first face-to-face meeting. Played for laughs, really.
* LuddWasRight: WordOfGod says that Langhorne and Bédard genuinely believed the Gbaba were punishment for humanity's technological hubris.
* MajorlyAwesome: Lt. Commander Nimue Alban. Merlin is eventually promoted to Major.
* MathematiciansAnswer: Owl, Nimue/Merlin's AI, stubbornly sticks to literal answers for the first three books, despite its supposed learning ability. Only when it starts interacting with living Safeholdians does it improve with colloquial replies.
* MeaningfulName: The best example is Nimue, already a name from ArthurianLegend, going by Merlin and naming Cayleb's sword Excalibur.
** Also Athrawes is Welsh for "teacher."
** Dialydd Mab means "Avenging Son"
** Chwarieau is Welsh for "Little Sister"
* MedievalStasis: Strictly enforced by the Proscriptions of Jwo-Jeng.
** In Harchong they move ''backwards'', technologically speaking, from where the Archangels started them. This is mostly due to a preference for abusing their massive population of serfs/ slaves rather than using more efficient draft animals, because serfs are cheaper. They are Mother Church's favorite secular power.
** Now that Charis has broken with the Church, they've broken out of this quite spectacularly. In book one, the world's tech level ranged from fifteenth to seventeenth century level. In book six, which takes place a mere six years later, Charis is introducing mid to late ''nineteenth'' century technology.
* MercyKill: [[spoiler:Samyl Wylsynn, Lainsair Svairsmahn]]. Both to escape the Punishment of Schueler. In the first case, his brother killed him and [[SuicideByCop himself]] so that they wouldn't reveal [[spoiler:that Anzhelyk saved their families under torture.]]
** In ''Midst Toil and Tribulation'', this gets done [[spoiler:en masse, to the survivors of an entire company of Siddarmarkians who fought to the finish despite impossible odds]]. Given that their fate would otherwise have been the Punishment of Schueler, they were grateful. It should be noted that officer who ordered the MercyKill was aware that ''he'' may be put to the Punishment himself for sparing them when he ordered it. In this case, there's even a name for it: "Pasquale's Grace," when it is more merciful to end someone's life then let them live in whatever painful condition they were in.
** In ''Hell's Foundations Quiver'', Dialydd Mab snipes an Inquisitor who had been defrocked and was being put to the Punishment for providing decent food to sick prisoners in an Inquisition concentration camp to spare him further pain. He also snipes the people who ordered the Punishment in the first place, for less merciful reasons.
* MookHorrorShow: The entire [[spoiler:attack on the barge carrying the Inquisitors who ordered the Punishment of Manthyr's crew]] in ''Like A Mighty Army'' is narrated by the bad guys attacked, showing just how ''terrifying'' Merlin can be when [[spoiler: he [[SuperpoweredEvilSide turns off]] his internal limits]].
* MoralityKitchenSink: In ''Off Armageddon Reef'' it's definitely presented as BlackAndWhiteMorality with the Charisians as the good guys and the Church of God Awaiting and it's supporters as completely evil. Later books are more nuanced but with the Church forces as still far darker and no real bad guys in the Charisian Empire unless they turn traitor.
** While we don't see it directly in the narrative, it's cleartly stated that the battered civilians on ''both'' sides of the conflict in ''Midst Toil and Tribulation'' have commited atrocities and counter atrocities, including widespread murder, torture, and rape.
* MundaneUtility: Among the many more practical things Cayleb uses Owl for: keeping track of baseball games.
* MyCountryRightOrWrong: Prince Nahrmahn of Emerald. Earl Thirsk is another potential example, [[CharacterDevelopment though that seems to be changing at least a little]] after his fleet got [[CurbStompBattle obliterated]] in book 1.
** The ultimatum that Cayleb issued in ''Off Armageddon Reef'' is the biggest sticking point for Thirsk in ''A Mighty Fortress''.
* MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning: Shan-wei, ''all'' the [[IncrediblyLamePun wei]]. Her plan continued to develop and unfold long after she was killed.
* MyNaymeIs: All over the place, as the result of 800 years of language drift.
* NamedWeapons: Cayleb's battlesteel, eternally sharp katana that Merlin gave him is named Excalibur. The late Seijin Kohdy had a sword named Helm Cleaver, [[spoiler:which the Sisterhood of Saint Kohdy still possesses, and it is still sharp enough to cut granite]].
* {{Nepotism}}: Often a problem with the Army of God's senior officers. Far too many of the high ranked officers got their posts by being related to someone important at court, and have useless aides who were chosen because they are related to the officers they serve.
* NiceJobFixingItVillain: Clyntahn's actions often do a lot of short-term damage to Charis, and long-term damage to the Church.
** His assassination of [[spoiler:Prince Hektor and his heir]] ultimately results in the sincere loyalty of [[spoiler:Irys and Daivyn]] in what would otherwise have been a tenuous EnemyMine.
** His purge of the vicarate Reformists definitely cows the bulk of the population into obedience, but also makes all but the most zealous realize just how brutal Clyntahn is, if they hadn't already known, and prompts a lot of reconsideration of events that had been blamed on Charis (which directly results in the above example with [[spoiler:Irys and Daivyn]]).
** His Sword of Schueler attack did much the same, devastating [[spoiler:the Republic of Siddarmark]], sparking a civil war within it, and forcing it to ally itself with Charis when it would otherwise have remained neutral, at worst, and giving Charis a much needed mainland ally. It's compared, in-universe, to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.
** In ''Hell's Foundations Quiver'', Clyntahn's insistence that the Army of God's troops not give ''any'' ground, no matter how practical the reason, essentially makes Charis and Siddarmark's jobs significantly easier since it forces the [=AoG=] to defend positions that are far less defensible than other places they could go or maintain position on the wrong end of a cut supply chain. Magwair even flat out ''tells'' Clyntahn that his threat to have the Inquisition take direct control of the jihad would doom everything they've worked for, but Clyntahn's zealotry means he may well do it anyway, damn the consequences, if he thinks Magwair and Ducharin aren't doing their respective jobs to win the war.
* NumberTwo: Langhorne had two: Chihiro was the author of Holy Writ and his chief administrator while Bedard was responsible for keeping colonists in the dark.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Prince Nahrmahn is far more intelligent than he lets himself be known for. Many characters are aware of this and ''still'' underestimate him.
** Duchairn begins using this to keep Clyntahn from viewing him as a threat.
* ObviouslyEvil: Earl Coris on Clyntahn: "There ought to be a law that villains shouldn't be allowed to look like ''stereotypical'' villains."
* OhCrap: There are many instances of this on the Temple Lands part, especially when Charis manages to produce some new weapon.
** Special mention goes to the steamboat HMS ''Delthak'' and her sister ships. They even scare the crap out of their allies.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted hardcore, but sometimes played with. There are people with the same first name, but ''sometimes'' with different spellings and/or pronunciations (e.g. Erayk and Erek).
** One of the aversions combines this with EmbarrassingFirstName: Midshipman Aplyn, who is introduced in ''Off Armageddon Reef'', shares a given name–Hektor–with the Prince of one of his kingdom's enemies.
** A ''particularly'' unfortunate Charisian officer has the surname Clyntahn.
* OnlySaneMan: As the things go awry for Army of Justice, Alvahrez turns out to be the only person who can see the situation for what it is. Everyone else considers it defeatism and thinks they're on their way to victory.
* OurFounder: The main dome of the Temple has a giant statue of Langhorne on top of it.
* OverlyLongName: The fresh and new Harchongese army, titled "Mighty Host Of God And The Archangels". When noncom from another country complains about the name, his Harchongese friend replies that outlanders have no sense of poetics.
** There's also royal family of Charis: Cayleb Zhan Haarahld Bryahn Ahrmahk, Sharleyan Alahnah Zhenyfyr Ahlyssa Tayt Ahrmahk and their daughter, Alahnah Zhanayt Naimu Ahrmahk.
* PassThePopcorn: Merlin's reaction to a fist fight between [[spoiler:Nimue]] and an insubordinate lieutenant.
* PathOfInspiration: The original Church of God Awaiting.
* PerfectlyArrangedMarriage: Most arranged marriages, especially among the good guys, are this.
** [[spoiler:Cayleb and Sharleyan]]. Made as a cold-blooded strategic political decision, but turns out to be LoveAtFirstSight.
** Also happened with Prince Nahrman and his wife Ohlyvya.
** Seems to be the case with newly betrothed [[spoiler:Princess Irys and Hektor Alpyn-Ahrmahk]]. This example's played with, though; the marriage was, in part, arranged ''because'' the two were clearly attracted to each other anyway.
* PillowPistol: Earl of Coris keeps a dagger under his pillow. Not that it did him much good [[spoiler: when Abraim/Merlin paid him a night visit]].
* ThePoliticalOfficer: The Inquisition agents in the Army of God serve this role. And they provide ample evidence as to why allowing someone who doesn't understand military matters to override those who do in the name of ideological purity is a very bad idea.
* PowerPerversionPotential: [=PICAs=] possess the ability to [[GenderBender Gender Bend]] and are ''fully'' functional.
** Merlin takes advantage of that "functionality" once to maintain cover in ''A Mighty Fortress''. It's the source of some (very minor, never brought up again) {{Gayngst}}.
* PreAssKickingOneLiner: From ''Off Armageddon Reef''
-->'''Tirian:''' After all, what do you think the odds are of you managing to defeat fifteen of my best?\\
'''Merlin:''' Better than average.
** Also doubles as a ShoutOut to CrocodileDundee
* PrecisionFStrike: Most recently: "Oh, ''fuck'' you, Kahrnaikys! You always were a prick! And fuck ''Clyntahn'', too!"
* {{Privateer}}: Charis puts these to good use in early books. They start having some problems with other privateers in ''Midst Toul and Tribulation''.
* ProperlyParanoid: Clyntahn of all people, but for all the wrong reasons. It should be noted that some characters theorize he is actually paranoid by medical definitions.
** The Brotherhood itself is described throughout ''A Mighty Fortress'' as being "insanely cautious." But this insane level of caution is also regarded as completely justified.
* PunishedForSympathy: An Inquisitor working in one of the concentration camps is sentenced to the Punishment for providing decent food to sick detainees who hadn't yet been convicted of anything. Dialydd Mab executes the people who sentenced him, then grants the Inquisitor a MercyKill.
* PuttingOnTheReich: Merlin expressly compares the Inquisition to the SS at one point.
* RabbleRouser: Corisande sees an increase in these, courtesy of the Northern Conspiracy, after Charis takes over.
* RagingStiffie: "Oh, my God! ''That'' was why you stayed in the water! Why you were so damned careful about that towel!" (Averted afterwards, once Merlin turns off that feature.)
* RagnarokProofing: Federation tech seems to have reached this level, as everything is in perfect or almost-perfect state after nine hundred years. Partly justified, as Merlin's equipment was kept in neutral atmosphere specifically to defy aversion of this trope, and defied with medicines, which Merlin doesn't dare use after such a long time.
* RapePillageAndBurn: Cayleb does everything in his power to avert this trope out of a combination of his decent nature and an unwillingness to give the Church more fuel for its propaganda machine. As a result, his military has ''very'' good discipline and rarely does anything dishonorable. The few times they do cros the line, the perpetrators are promptly and publicly dealt with.
** This was the Group of Four's plan for Charis in ''Off Armageddon Reef'', or at least the pillage and burn parts. The rape would be a side effect that they really wouldn't have bothered worrying about anyway.
** Happens a lot, on ''both'' sides, in ''Midst Toil and Tribulation''. [[spoiler: That's what you get when you mix a holy war with a civil war....]]
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Back to back in ''How Firm a Foundation''. Rhobair Duchairn gives the good guy version to Zahmsyn Trynair when the latter pleads with him to attend a public torture/ execution. Then it cuts to Zhaspahr Clyntahn who gives a more traditional, villainous one about Duchairn to his underling, revealing that he has a perfect understanding of what's going through Duchairn's head, how little it matters, how HobbesWasRight, and how [[BatmanGambit everything he does just plays into Clyntahn's hands]]. Also, at the end of the same book Hektor Aplyn-Ahrmanhk (who is 16 Safeholdian years old, or about 14 1/2 Earth years) delivers one to an Inquisitor before turning his head into PinkMist.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Haarahld and Cayleb both are pretty understanding. Haarahld especially when [[spoiler:his own cousin]] was a traitor. Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm fits this as well. Among the clergy is Paityr Wylsynn, the intendant of Charis, who is perhaps the only member of the Inquisition who can make this claim.
** Earl Thirsk and perhaps Father Maik may also qualify, but their hands are often tied by their superiors.
* RecycledINSPACE: The series is very similar to the UsefulNotes/ThirtyYearsWar, especially in religious aspect and the land war technologies introduced.
** A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, anyone?
** The scene where Gray Harbor confronts Duke Tirian in the first book bears a strong resemblance to the description of Howard Clinkscales confronting Jared Mayhew in ''[[Literature/HonorHarrington Honor of the Queen]]''. In both cases, upon discovering that the cousin of the current monarch is a traitor, one of said monarch's advisors confronts the traitor, who admits his treason and tries to recruit the advisor.
* RedHerring: More than a few {{Chekhovs Gun}}s have gone unfired. The first book had both Hektor and Narhmahn potentially plotting to kill Merlin, but nothing came of either instance. Clyntahn put the Circle of Reformists plotting against him to a horrible end. Nahrman's overly indulgent diet and the associated health risks were mentioned repeatedly. Princess Irys' vow of revenge against Cayleb was cast aside throughout ''How Firm a Foundation'' and ''Midst Toil and Tribulation''.
* RefugeInAudacity: Cayleb loves to use this to maximum effect, to the occasional consternation of Merlin.
** Cayleb is ''nothing'' compared to Madame Ahnzhelyk. In fact, Cayleb's reaction to her [[spoiler: smuggling over two hundred potential Inquisition victims to safety ''in Grand Inquisitor Clyntahn's own smuggling boats'']] is described as "almost reverent." Admiral Rock Point wants to marry her based on her reputation alone.
* RememberTheAlamo: Remember King Haahrald!
* RescueIntroduction: How Merlin Athrawes introduced himself to then Crown Prince Cayleb in the first book.
* RestrainingBolt: Autonomous [=PICAs=] are normally only able to remain active for ten days. This feature had to be hacked out of Nimue's PICA so it could perform the task needed of it, and doing so damaged the [=PICA's=] data port, so the PICA has to learn everything the old-fashioned way instead of just downloading it into his head. [[spoiler:This does not apply to Nimue Chwaeriau, who was designed without said feature from the start.]]
* RevolversAreJustBetter: Merlin uses two revolvers in ''How Firm a Foundation.'' Let's just say they make quite an impression. They were the first repeating firearms fired on Safehold.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Dialydd Mab's retribution against those who committed the atrocities at Sarkyn. Said revenge includes the Inquisitors who carried it out and every officer in command of the Sarkyn garrison at the time.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: The Ahrmahk dynasty of Charis, and a few others. Cayleb's third scene in ''Off Armageddon Reef'' reveals he wanted to go hunting a slash lizard because the beast had been killing farmers and he wanted to make sure it was stopped before it did more damage. Also, as a man of action, he prefers to be on the field of battle with his soldiers and resents when he has to be relegated to staying behind even as he's fully aware he's doing just as much if not more good where he is.
* RulesLawyer: Upon receiving an order from the Inquisition to stop accepting Charisian-flagged ships into their ports, the merchant houses of Siddarmark respond by buying the ships and hiring their Charisian crews to sail them for their new owners, thus making them ''Siddarmark''-flagged ships which were legally permitted to trade in Siddarmarkian ports without violating the letter of the Church's order.
* RulingCouple: Cayleb and Sharleyan, who make a point of being equal co-rulers, each able to act with the full authority of their Empire on their own. Of course, it helps that Merlin's tech let's them actually confer with each other in real time, but they made this decision before they had access.
* RunningGag: What ''is'' it with Merlin, assassination attempts, and thunderstorms? When Sharleyan survives an assassination attempt she even points the thunderstorm out.
* SaintlyChurch: The Church of Charis under Archbishop Maikel Staynair.
* SatanIsGood: Played with a bit; while Shan-Wei ''is'' the Satan-analog for the Church of God Awaiting and is definitely on the side of good (not that this is known to the majority of the population), she and the other "Archangels" were never supernatural beings and are all long dead by the time the main plot starts.
** At one point, Cayleb considers that the accusations of Shan-Wei worship made against him are pretty close to the truth - he now considers Shan-Wei someone worth venerating.
* ScamReligion: The Church of God Awaiting is a scam created by Langhorne and co. to keep mankind on Safehold. It managed to last nearly a thusand years, but went completely {{corrupt|Church}}, which is likely not what creators intended.
* ShapeshifterBaggage: No matter how much Merlin changes the appearance of his PICA body, he can't change its basic dimensions. [[spoiler:The fact that all of the seijins who are popping up have the same height and shoulder breadth is part of the reason why Aivah is able to figure out that they're all the same person.]]
* ShipperOnDeck: Cayleb, Sharleyan, and Lady Hanth seriously discuss the merits of bringing together Hektor Aplyn-Ahrmahk and [[spoiler:Princess Irys]]. As much for political reasons as the fact they seem to genuinely care for one another. (Incidentally, this happens while on board a ship- they are literally [[IncrediblyLamePun on deck]].)
* [[{{ShoutOut/Literature}} Shout Out]]:
** Nimue's alternate identity of Merlin. She also eventually gives Cayleb a sword and names it Excalibur. Justified because her father was Welsh, which explains her own name. Weber also likes to use Safehold's naming conventions to slip in references.
** Merlin makes several deliberate shout outs to historical events, reasoning that since he's the only one who knows the true history of Earth he might as well "crib all of the best lines." Most notable is during ''Off Armageddon Reef'' when he suggests that Prince Cayleb flies the message "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/England_expects Charis expects that every man will do his duty.]]"
** [[Film/{{Psycho}} Nahrmahn Baytz]] is the prince of the [[{{Oireland}} Emerald Island]]. Judging from the text, he doesn't have [[FunetikAksent the accent]], though.
** In ''A Mighty Fortress'', Lock Island says "It's time we were about it", a reference to Literature/HonorHarrington's catchphrase.
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Smoltz Zhan Smolth, the star pitcher on the Tellesberg Kraken's]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafael_Furcal Rafayl Furkal, the Kraken's leadoff hitter]] in ''Off Armageddon Reef'', both of whom are named after Atlanta Braves stars of the late nineties and early naughties. Considering that Weber lives in South Carolina, it's not unlikely that he's a fan.
** Brigadier Kynt Clareyk ([[{{Superman}} Kent Clark]]), and his second in command is named Layn (Lane)
** Gahvyn Mahrtyn, Baron Whiteford, has a valet named [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeeves Zheevys]].
** Keeper of the Seal of the Kingdom of Charis, Baron White Church, [[Creator/PeterSellers Paityr Sellyrs]].
** From ''By Heresies Distressed'' we have a Chisholmian delegate to the committee to set up the Imperial Parliament: Sir [[Series/TheAvengers Paitryk Mahknee]]
** Several of the various fiefs are shout outs as well: the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Grey_tea Earldom of Gray]] Harbor, the Barony of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Castle_%28restaurant%29 White Castle]], the Barony of [[http://www.greenmountaincoffee.com Green Mountain]], the Duchy of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hal_Holbrook Halbrook Hollow]]
** Corisandan resistance member Paitryk Hainree (Patrick Henry).
** The titles of the fourth and fifth books (''[[http://youtu.be/Snj9yR5Ae_k A Mighty Fortress]]'' and ''[[http://youtu.be/OTqRiP2w0_8 How Firm a Foundation]]'') are also the titles of Protestant hymns.
** The titles of the second, third, and sixth books (''By Schism Rent Asunder'', ''By Heresies Distressed'', and ''Midst Toil and Tribulation'') are from the lyrics to the hymn [[http://youtu.be/t1GQVX4J8d4 "The Church's One Foundation"]] by Samuel J. Stone.
** ''Like a Mighty Army'' gets its title from [[http://youtu.be/mG78M7g9wRo "Onward Christian Soldiers"]].
** Bishop Maikel Staynair's words declaring the schism with the Church of God Awaiting by the newly founded Church of Charis: "Here we will stand, for we can do no other..." are a shout-out to Martin Luther's famous statement at the Diet of Worms: "Here I stand; I can do no other." This phrase is quoted a number of times, usually credited to Cayleb.
** There's a ''Series/BabylonFive'' reference in ''How Firm a Foundation'': "There're good men enough standing behind me. And ''you're'' standing in ''front'' of me. If you want to survive this night, Colonel, be somewhere else. Now."
* ShutUpHannibal: Delivered to Zhaspahr Clyntahn by Allayn Maigwair of all people.
* SilkHidingSteel: Sharleyan is a skilled diplomat, a dedicated ruler, and a caring wife and mother. [[spoiler: She's also perfectly willing and capable of helping her armsmen shoot a horde of attacking fanatics and later continuing to sentence traitors to death after getting ''shot by an assassin.'' The bullet didn't penetrate her armored clothing, but it ''did'' crack a couple of ribs.]]
** Madame Ahnzhelyk Phonda is another: a highly-cultured courtesan who caters to the most prestigious members of the [[CorruptChurch Church of God Awaiting]]. Behind the scenes, she's a master [[TheChessmaster spy and schemer]] who manages to [[spoiler: [[RefugeInAudacity sneak hundreds of people out from right under Clyntahn's nose.]] And did we mention that she later trains and leads a small army of counter-revolutionaries?]]
* SinisterMinister: Quite a few, but Grand Inquisitor Zhaspar Clyntahn is the standout.
* SlobsVersusSnobs: Dohlaran and Desnairan nobility. The former think that latter are delusional, out of touch with reality, posh and snobbish, while the latter think of former as sort of poor, unfashionable cousins of theirs.
* SpaceAgeStasis: The Gbaba are suspected to be stuck in this, with evidence suggesting next to no technological advancement for hundreds or thousands of years. Unfortunately they're so advanced and numerous that they don't need any. Tragically for humanity, it's mentioned that if they'd only had a few more years, the pace of human advancement would have allowed them to hold back the Gbaba, and shortly thereafter handily defeat them. The original plan for Safehold was to have a refuge where they'd get those few more years.
* SpaceAmish: Though the folk of Safehold aren't aware of it.
* SpeakNowOrForeverHoldYourPeace: [[spoiler: Clyntahn objects to Irys' wedding by sending a suicide bomber to the reception. Irys and Hector survive, two hundred innocent bystanders don't.]]
* SuccessionCrisis: The dispute over the Earldom of Hanth in the first book, which is resolved by bribery rather than any actual examination of the evidence presented by the two claimants.
* SuicideAttack: Project Rakurai, using gunpowder-filled wagons as terrorist bombs.
* SuicideByCop: How [[spoiler:Hauwerd Wylsynn]] chooses to go out.
* SurveillanceAsThePlotDemands: The [=SNARCs=] give the protagonists an unbeatable ability to spy on their enemies. The only times it's ever failed them is when there's simply so ''much'' information that something gets lost in the shuffle, when dealing with agents acting on their own that they had no prior idea of, or when the planning is done within the Temple itself where Merlin doesn't dare send remotes for fear of setting off an alarm.
* SweetPollyOliver: Nimue is the most effective cross-dresser in history. It helps that she can ''actually'' change physical sex as many times as she needs with her PICA.
* TeethClenchedTeamwork:
** Alvahrez and his artillery officer, as one hates Thrisk and the other supports his policy. Over time, however, they get friendlier with each other, as Raynos realizes that his cousin's death wasn't Thrisk's fault and Desnairans and Charisians get too problematic.
** Desnairans and Dohlarans have to work together as the Army of Justice, but both would much prefer they didn't. The two's nobility is locked in a SlobsVersusSnobs situation and two countries were at war with each other multiple times.
** Vicars Rhobair and Zhaspair would be much grateful if the other one popped out of existence in some painful and bloody manner, but while they prepare the plans to finish each other off (well, we assume Rhobair does as well), they need to cooperate, as Finance and Inquisition are the only things keeping the Church from falling over.
* TechnicallyASmile: As in [[Literature/HonorHarrington some of Weber's other works]], this trope appears a ''lot''.
* TechnologyUplift: Nimue's/Merlin's goal is giving back to the humanity of Safehold the technology that was effectively stolen from them by Langhorne and his ilk.
* ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks: Bonus points for taking the time to point out that the wielder hadn't been in any sort of combat in decades, the knife wasn't very fit for throwing, ''and'' the thrower was just coming off a drinking binge. He still nails the shot.
* ThemeNaming: With the intention of provoking an OhCrap moment with Clyntahn, Charis has decided to name the lead ships of its new class of ocean-going ironclad battlecruisers after people Clytahn had killed.
* TitleDrop: Guess where a major naval battle takes place in ''Off Armageddon Reef''.
** More obliquely in ''A Mighty Fortress,'' when Cayleb recalls his ancestor's words that the walls of Charis' fortress are its wooden ships.
*** This, itself, is a [[ShoutOut Shout-Out]] to 2nd President of the United States John Adams (Especially considering that the man who said it was King Zhan II), who said that the wooden walls of the navy were his country's first line of defense.
*** Which itself might have been a ShoutOut to the [[OlderThanFeudalism Oracle of the Wooden Wall]], where the Oracle of Delphi supposedly told Athens to "look to your wooden wall" for protection, and Themistocles decided that the wooden wall meant Athens' ''fleet.''
** Similarly in ''How Firm a Foundation,'' Cayleb talks about how he wants Charis to be a refuge from persecution and a foundation for human freedom and dignity -- one firm enough to weather any storm.
* TookALevelInBadass: Allayn Maigwair has grown up at the end of ''In Midst Toil and Tribulation.''
** Hektor Aplyn-Armahk goes from a midshipman with a very minor role in book one, to leading his own company while still in his teens.
* TurbulentPriest: Maikel Staynair, Samyl & Hauwerd Wylsynn, and other members of the Circle.
* {{Unperson}}:
** All regiments of the RSA that sided with the Temple Loyalists in the Sword of Scheuler campaign. Their battle honors have been erased, and their centuries of contributions to their nation over centuries of war have been struck from the history books as punishment for treason.
** Some of the heroes of the War of the Fallen suffered this posthumously when the surviving Angels or Archangels learned that they were doubting the cause. Seijin Kohdy's legend survived as fairy tales, it's possible that others weren't so lucky.
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: Merlin flat-out wonders if Haarahld and Cayleb have some genetic defect affecting their "fight or flight" instincts as they both fail to flip out when he does something obviously high-tech. [[spoiler:[[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in the case of Haarahld]].
* VirtualGhost: Nimue/Merlin is technically this, a mind of ancient terran commander downloaded into a computer and equipped with a robotic body she uses to move around. [[spoiler:Nahrmahn Baytz]] also becomes one following [[spoiler:his death in terrorist attack.]]
* VitriolicBestBuds: On Safehold, friendship is defined as being able to freely insult one another. Merlin himself is deeply grateful for having people who are comfortable enough with him to give him grief.
* VocalDissonance: Merlin speaks to Sharleyan in Nimue's voice in the opening scene of ''A Mighty Fortress.''
* VoteEarlyVoteOften: Many people find it very interesting that the person in charge of validating the vote count in the election that made Zaspahr Clyntahn Grand Inquisitor instead of Samyl Wylsynn was the man who would become Clyntahn's second in command. But given that this happened before the start of the main story, the reader never sees anything that would prove or disprove the speculation that Rayno rigged the election. Even if he did, any evidence proving this would likely have been long since destroyed.
* WarIsHell: Acknowledged in every battle, but especially in ''Midst Toil and Tribulation'' with the [[spoiler:religiously inspired civil war in Siddermark, following the Sword of Schueler.]]
* WeHaveReserves: In ''Midst Toil and Tribulation,'' the Army of God eventually resort to a human wave attack when the Bishop decides that he has to take a fortified position ''now'', before the Charisian armies can get any closer.
* WeNamedTheMonkeyJack: Maikel Staynair named his pet cat-lizard after his late wife. The name was never changed, even after finding out the critter was male, since the late Mrs. Staynair would've found it hilarious.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Zhaspar Clyntahn is especially dangerous because he has himself convinced that he's merely this.
** Also Merlin himself, who is, for all intents and purposes, helping along war that will kill millions in order to bring humanity back to its old technological level as quickly as possible. Unlike others on this list, he at least struggles with it.
*** In order to help along war that will kill billions, to hopefully wipe out the Gbaba.
** Also, WordOfGod says that Langhorne and Bedard honestly believed that locking Safehold in MedievalStasis permanently would ensure humanity's survival.
* WhamEpisode
** Book 2: The Order of St. Zherneau.
** Book 5: Paityr Wylsynn's revelation.
* WhamLine: "That's why I'm speaking to ''you'' about it... [[spoiler:Ahbraim." Aivah to Merlin, book seven.]]
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: The fraudulent Earl of Hanth, who had a major storyline in ''Off Armageddon Reef'', and was last seen heading to Zion in ''By Schism Rent Asunder'' in order to be "the only legitimate Charisian noble to declare for the Church" has vanished completely. No mention of a ship sinking, of being killed simply for being a Charisian, or of making it there either to be tortured by the Inquisition, or to actually be part of their plans. We don't even know if they just ignored him or not.
* WhatMeasureIsANonhuman: Self-inflicted for Merlin. While everyone who learns the truth about Merlin is convinced that he's a living person, Merlin entertains constant doubt about his identity, and the reader is frequently reminded that he doesn't have a real heart when he feels strong emotions.
* WillfullyWeak: Merlin usually keeps governors in place to keep from betraying his superhuman nature too obviously, he removes them in emergencies when massive carnage is called for.
* WillNotTellALie: A significant factor in the propaganda battle between the Empire and the Church. The Charisians have done their best to restrict their propaganda to provable facts, regardless of whether anyone will believe them or not. On at least two occasions (Ahnzhelyk's files regarding Church corruption and the murders of vicars within Zion itself), Charisian leadership chose not to publish anything because they only have copies and not the original evidence (in the case of the former) and because there's an off-chance of Clyntahn's pulling a fast one and can disprove their claims (in the case of the latter).
* TheWomanWearingTheQueenlyMask: Sharleyan.
* WoodenShipsAndIronMen: The Charisian navy after Merlin's innovations take hold.
* WorldOfCardboardSpeech: Merlin on several instances after and during combat, thanks to his [=PICA=] body and battlesteel sword. Especially near the end of ''Midst Toil and Tribulation''.
* WorthIt: Said by Merlin after his prank on Sharleyan at the start of ''A Mighty Fortress.''
* WorthyOpponent: The Earl of Thirsk is consistently said by the Charsian characters to be the single most dangerous commander the enemy has. He proves them correct, too.
** More importantly, the only reason they don't have him assassinated is because he actually tries to treat his prisoners of war honorably.
* WrittenByTheWinners: The official history of Shan-wei's fall and the War Against The Fallen was written by the Archangel Chihiro, who had fought the war on Langhorne's side. All documentation that portrayed Shan-wei and Kau-yung sympathetically was systematically destroyed, [[{{Unperson}} often along with any evidence as to the existence of the person who produced it in the first place]].
* WrongGenreSavvy: Rayno comes to conclusion that the only way the LaResistance in Zion could accomplish all it does would be for it to have demonic assistance. Legitimate guess - if it was a fantasy setting. As it is, he doesn't even imagine he's in science fiction.
* YearZero: Initially Creation, but in ''How Firm a Foundation'' Merlin notes that the end of Shan-wei's rebellion became the new YearZero by which the "Years of God" are counted.
* YouCantMakeAnOmelette:
** Zhaspar Clyntahn says the entire phrase word by word more than once, either to justify his megalomania and increasing hold over the Church or as a sign that he's deep in the territory of BelievingTheirOwnLies.
** Oddly enough, the phrase is in universe attributed to "archangel" Chihiro before engaging the fallen.
* YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters:
** Helm Cleaver, the Zion resistance organized by [[spoiler:Aivah Parsahn]], which uses methods such as assassination and blowing up churches, while avoiding innocent causalities.
** The Church always maintained that all the seijins fought for Mother Church during the War Against The Fallen. This is only true because they labelled all warriors with seijin abilities that fought on the other side as demons.
[[/folder]]
----