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Literature: Septimus Heap
aka: Flyte

The Septimus Heap series is a series of Young Adult fantasy novels written by Angie Sage. Like the Harry Potter books, they take place in a rather whimsical fantasy world resembling a sort of mash-up of Medieval European Fantasy and the modern day. Like the Harry Potter books, they do not skimp out on the Nightmare Fuel for young readers.

One unfortunate evening, an evil wizard and his underlings invade the Castle of a peaceful, unnamed nation. They murder the Queen and The Archmage of the Castle, the ExtraOrdinary Wizard of the time, Alther. On the same night, a family of Ordinary Wizards, the Heaps, down in the castle town awaits the birth of their seventh son, Septimus. His father, Silas, was also a seventh son, meaning that Septimus will have great power. But he is pronounced dead by the midwife and ferretted away. Instead, the Queen's newborn daughter is thrust into their arms for them to raise as her own. They name her Jenna, unaware that she's the Princess. But not for long; the Heap family must now protect their adopted daughter from the evil forces out searching for her.

Cut to ten years later — and now they've been found out. The Heap family is forced to flee their home to protect Jenna. Along the way, they pick up a quiet young soldier boy "named" Boy 412, who joins them in their hideout deep in the marshes. Just from the title of the series alone, you can probably guess who he really is. Overjoyed to have finally found his family, Septimus becomes an apprentice to the most (politically) powerful wizard in the world — and embarks on a slew of adventures with his sister Princess Jenna, his brother Nicko, best friend Beetle, and many, many others. But plenty of ills lurk in the world, wanting to get their hands on either his innate mystic power or his sister's political worth. Including one distressingly close to home...

The series consists of seven books, the final title having been published in April 2013:

  • Magyk
  • Flyte
  • Physik
  • Queste
  • Syren
  • Darke
  • Fyre

An eBook novella, The Darke Toad, and a guidebook, The Magykal Papers, are also available.

A film for Magyk has been considered since 2007, but casting has not yet begun. In 2012, a major step forward was reported when Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to all seven titles in the series, including the final title, Fyre.

Beware of unmarked spoilers. Compare with Discworld.


This series provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: The Port is filled with these warehouses, many the products of the stern Port Customs Office impounding goods and then never get the customs money paid. One of these in Physik has the time travelling Glass.
  • Abandon Ship: In Syren, when the Cerys gets overrun by the warrior jinn, Milo Banda and the others tries to evacuate the ship. He ends up having to use Jim Knee-turned-into-a-turtle as a liferaft because the rest of his crew escape with the Marauder before they can join them.
  • Absent-Minded Professor: Marcellus Pye, especially in Queste, for example by constantly forgetting the reason for Septimus’s visits. Explained as a consequence of his age (about 500 years).
  • Absurdly Spacious Rubbish Chute: The one which Marcia and co. use in Magyk to escape from the Wizard Tower.
  • Abusive Parents: Queen Etheldredda. Marcellus openly states that Etheldredda would prefer her hunting dogs to him.
  • Acceptable Professional Targets: Wizards and Witches are often mocked or plainly distrusted In-Universe.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Jenna is 10 years old when she is called to be Castle Queen. Her coronation, however, isn't until she's 14 during Fyre, which is a significant plot point in Darke.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Septimus runs off in a huff from the camp in Syren, after Jenna has expressed denial at his sighting of Cerys.
  • Action Girl: Quite a few. Jenna is an on-and-off example, but Snorri is also pretty good.
  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: The Grateful Turbot Tavern.
  • Adults Are Useless: Played with. Most of the adults characters aren't useless per se, but the kids are usually the ones who get the important stuff done, and there's been more than one occasion where the adults contribute to problems by refusing to listen to the kids.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: The Darke Domaine. If you get trapped in it, you’ll be knocked unconscious. And you'll stay unconscious until the Darke Domaine disappears. Due to it being a few nights before the yearly Big Freeze, some people froze to death because the Darke Domaine got them while they were out shopping.
  • Aerith and Bob: The Septimusverse features such normal names as Sam and Simon along with more unusual ones as Etheldredda and Septimus.
  • Afraid of Blood: Merrim Meredith is afraid from blood, especially his own, which leads him to fight back in Magyk.
  • After the End: Possibly.
    • Syren has characters discuss old stories about men flying to the moon in white tubes. Later, a relatively modern submarine is encountered, and a tower holds what seems to be a modern elevator, with a light that shows a down-pointing arrow when you, well, go down. The books also talk about Roman temples, and make constant references to real world places, like Peru, China, and Persia.
    • Fyre adds more fuel to the, er, fire of this theory. Septimus writes the date on the snow outside the House of Foryx. It's... quite surprising, to say the least.
  • Age Without Youth: Without the help of a seventh son of a seventh son, Marcellus Pye’s formula gives him this, making him plan to kidnap such a child from a time 500 years in the future. His plan succeeds, and in Queste, Marcellus looks like a man in his late 20's. He's still over 500 years old, though.
  • Agony of the Feet: It is mentioned that Spit Fyre likes to do that with people, so that Jenna cautions Wolf Boy against getting too near when they're fetching the dragon.
  • All There in the Manual: The back of each book has snippets from the Manual in it, explaining the backstories of several minor characters. There's also a full-color illustrated "manual" of backstory and worldbuilding for the series, titled The Magykal Papers.
  • All Witches Have Cats: Both Aunt Zelda and the Port Witch Coven have cats, even though Zelda’s cat Bert takes the form of a duck to live better in the Marram Marshes.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Simon Heap is aiming to become ExtraOrdinary Wizard. When he’s stepped over in favour of Septimus, he’s turns to DomDaniel to get his wish. It doesn’t work out.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: In Darke, the deaths of many castlepeople are only addressed in passing.
  • Anachronism Stew: Especially in Syren, which features such things as submarines and elevators.
  • Ancient Astronauts: The tale of the submarine that flew to the Moon in Syren is clearly a reference to this.
  • Animal Assassin: Queen Etheldredda uses her Aie-Aie as one of these, with his infectious bite.
  • Anti-Magic: The Darke Vortex that DomDaniel uses to incapacitate Marcia Overstand in Magyk.
  • Apathetic Citizens: The inhabitants of the Castle rarely care about even plot-critical and Castle-spanning events like the Supreme Custodian taking over the Castle.
  • Apocalypse How: The Outbreak of the Darke Domaine in Darke leaves a considerable amount of Castle inhabitants dead.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Syrah Syara's diary ends with her reminding herself who she is while succumbing to the Syren's possession.
  • Apron Matron: Sarah Heap becomes this in Darke, keeping the peace between Septimus and Simon in the Heap home and keeping the place in order.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • In Queste, Sarah does not believe in her son's Time Travel.
    • In Syren, Septimus has a hard time of convincing Jenna and Beetle of the Syren's existence.
  • Arc Number: 7.
  • Art Evolution: Illustrator Mark Zug's images of the characters have become progressively more mature over the series, following Character Development.
  • Artifact of Doom:
    • The Questing Stone, since it has allegedly the power to take over the minds of its owners. Drawing the Stone was however originally intended to be an honour rather than a bad thing.
    • The Two-Faced Ring. It grants its wearer immense Darke power, but once it's put on, it never comes off. Ever. Even if the wearer dies. But there is one way to remove the Two-Faced Ring. It's called "the Other Way", and it involves cutting off the finger that the Ring is on and removing it that way.
  • Artifact Title: Inverted — Septimus Heap isn't even called by name until the very last chapter of the first book. In fact, as Boy 412 he plays a secondary role to Jenna and Nicko for most of the first book.
  • Asshole Victim: No one feels particularly sad when Jillie Djinn dies. She was very nasty to Beetle and largely to blame for Merrin's actions through her employing of him in the Manuscriptorium.
  • Atlantis: The Isles of Syren are described to be the leftover of a sunk land.
  • Attack of the Town Festival: The Darke outbreak in Darke occurs right during Septimus's and Jenna's birthday and Longest Night.
  • Author Appeal: Angie Sage likes shoes. A lot. Often the first thing she describes about a character is footwear, in highly elaborate detail.
  • A Year and a Day: An often-seen deadline across the books, e.g. a wizard enters a contract as an apprentice for seven years and a day.
  • Babies Ever After: For Simon and Lucy Heap.
  • Back for the Finale: Fyre involves many of the major and minor characters from pervious books. It's not quite a Continuity Cavalcade, but it's close.
  • Badass Normal: Jenna Heap, despite not having Magykal powers, did knock the Toll-Man and Jakey Fry down in Queste and Syren respectively.
  • Ban on Magic: The Supreme Custodian attempted to enforce one in the Castle, without much success.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: This is how Septimus Heap gets kidnapped in Physik: Marcellus Pye pulls him through a mirror.
  • Barrier Maiden: The safety of the Castle depends upon Jenna’s presence in it.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Lampshaded with Marcia becoming ExtraOrdinary Wizard, since she wished it all the time and it eventually became true... by Alther being shot on the day she became EOW: "Beware what you wish for, lest it come true"
  • Becoming the Boast: Septimus lies about "almost" knowing a spell; later he has to scramble to make the spell work for real.
  • Beneath the Earth: The Darke Halls are subterranean hiding holes for Darke creatures.
  • "Be Quiet!" Nudge: Happens several times, including an example from Syren where Jenna yanks at Lucy Gringe's cloak to tell her to be quiet while they are deciding upon how to take the ship Cerys back from Theodophilus Fortitude Fry.
  • Berserk Button: Don't try to kill Septimus or else Jenna will take you down.
  • Big Bad: DomDaniel in Magyk and Flyte, Queen Etheldredda in Physik, Tertius Fume in Queste and Syren, Merrin Meredith in Darke, and the Two-Faced Ring in Fyre.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Jenna’s Palace is absolutely enormous, to the point that the Long Walk, which crosses the Palace’s forefront, is referred to as being mile long, and most rooms in the palace are unoccupied.
  • Big Labyrinthine Building: The Palace. It’s said to contain many secret rooms.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: Played With, since Jenna is rescued by Marcia just as the Queen dies, and she is adopted by the Heaps just as their child dies. Or so they thought.
  • Boarding Party: Septimus, Jenna, Beetle, Lucy Gringe and Wolf Boy board the Cerys in order to save their friends and relatives, stealthily.
  • Bold Inflation: Magykal words and terms are written in bold in some editions. They can also be identified by their Xtreme Kool Letterz spelling. For some reason, though, this is absent in Darke.
  • Book Burning: That is what is done to Magyk books by the Custodian guards.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Physik is partially about Septimus learning to become a Physician while trapped in a Time past. This becomes useful upon his return to his Time to control an epidemic.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good - How the heroes deal with the Hunter in the first book. And they're particularly nasty about it, giving him memories of a horrible backstory where no one loved him and he was constantly the victim of misfortune and stupid mistakes. When Jenna tries to soften it by giving the Hunter a dog who was his only friend, Nikko cuts her off by adding that the "dog" died. The Hunter ends up working as a buffoon in the circus.
  • Breaking Out the Boss: Simon Heap is breaking out DomDaniel to take over the Wizard Tower and give him the ExtraOrdinary Apprenticeship.
  • Bumbling Dad: Silas Heap.
  • Cain and Abel: In Flyte, Simon Heap is hunting down his younger brother Septimus and trying to eliminate him, to get the ExtraOrdinary Apprenticeship.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Jenna does this to Milo Banda, her father who's always absent, in Syren:
    Jenna Heap: "And you are not my father. Dad is".
  • Calling Your Attacks: Many, though not all spells work like this, like when Marcia Overstrand in Magyk tells DomDaniel to disappear into the Marshes.
  • Cannot Cross Running Water: Darke Magyk and its creatures don't cross saltwater - especially flowing or tide-influenced one - well.
  • Capital Letters Are Magic: Magykal words are always capitalized.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • In Flyte, only Beetle and Nicko trust Septimus when he tells them that Jenna has been kidnapped by Simon Heap.
    • Jenna tries in vain to warn Septimus of the upcoming Darke Domaine in Darke.
  • Cats Hate Water: The reason why Bert, Aunt Zelda's cat, became a duck.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Jenna, the only daughter of the Heap family, after ten years of living within the Heap family is revealed to be the daughter of the Queen and heir of the Castle. She had been adopted by the Heaps after the Queen was shot and Marcia Overstrand only barely managed to rescue Jenna from the Assassin sent out to kill them.
  • Character Title
  • Cat Man: Miarr in Syren.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The green rock Septimus finds in book one is a dragon egg.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Syrah Syara. She's mentioned in the epilogue of Queste and becomes a major character in Syren.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Wolf Boy/Boy 409 is mentioned in Magyk as having been lost in the river, but he's later reintroduced as survivor in Flyte.
  • Chest Insignia: Septimus Heap wears a pentagram, a symbol of Magyk, imprinted on his tunic.
  • Chest Ofmedals: The Supreme Custodian is depicted as this.
  • Children Forced To Kill: In Queste, Septimus and Jenna are forced to throw the InHabited Toll-Man into the Abyss to escape from the Thing that is controlling his body.
  • Child Mage: Septimus Heap is an adolescent who has the makings of becoming a powerful wizard one day.
  • Child Soldiers: The Young Army in the first book. Septimus (back when he was known as Boy 412) was an Expendable, which, unfortunately, was Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Chronoscope: Mirrors that work like this are mentioned.
  • City with No Name: The Castle is never referred to by name.
  • Clock King: Jillie Djinn. She's always punctual to the seconds, and expects everyone else to be.
  • Closed Circle:
    • In Magyk, Draggen Island is the Closed Circle, preventing Silas from returning and also DomDaniel from arriving.
    • Syren island in Syren.
    • The Heaps' room in Darke.
  • Close-Knit Community: The Ramblings.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Witch cloaks are the main source of a Witch novice's Magykal abilities, including protection from the Darke, as experienced by Jenna in Darke.
  • Cobwebs of Disuse: Jenna's Palace is filled with cobwebs, mostly due to the staff being overwhelmed by the sheer size of the Palace and only a few parts being truly used.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: Wizardry is color-coded: Purple is used by the ExtraOrdinary Wizards and their Apprentices, while bright green is associated with other Magyk.
  • Combat Tentacles: These are the main weapons of The Grim. The Task of Keeper's Apprentices entails cutting off part of these tentacles.
  • Contrived Coincidence: By absolutely pure coincidence, Boy 412 happened to be stationed at the mage tower the night they were fleeing, and just happened to be taken in due to being frozen in the snow.
  • Convenient Escape Boat: Both the Muriel and the small boat on the Royal Barge are used in this fashion by the main characters.
  • Cool Boat: The Cerys, sporting among others ventilated safe rooms, lots of fancy equipment etc.
  • Cool Crown: The True Crown. Made from the gold of the spiders of Aurum, it was withold by Queen Etheldredda from her daughter Esmeralda and only taken back by Princess Jenna five hundred years later.
  • Cool Gate: The Great Door Of Time.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Aunt Zelda is, erm, "renowned" for her boiled cabbage sandwiches, jellied eel stew, and haddock-and-banana pie. Only Septimus is a fan of her cooking, but it seems to be Nostalgia Filter for him. All of her dishes are perfectly edible, if rather odd-sounding.
  • Country With No Name: The queendom in which the series takes place is never officially named. The closest thing to a name it has is given in Syren, where Septimus sends a letter there and calls it "The Small, Damp Country Across the Sea". The map in the sixth book also calls it that, so maybe, as odd as it sounds, that is its real name.
  • Contrived Coincidence: So the protagonists flee the city, and on their way they pick up a half dead Child Soldier. Turns out, he's the Heaps' long lost son.
  • Cool Horse: Thunder.
  • Cool Old Lady: Aunt Zelda, being the Keeper of Draggen Island.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Though not in the usual sense — Epheniah Grebe, who can't speak, has a box filled with hundreds of cards, apparently written to apply to any occasion, including one written just for the off-chance that he somehow meets the Queen ("Greetings, Your Majesty"). When his cards fail him, he resorts to a pen and paper.
  • Creepy Doll: The House of Dolls is filled with these, to the point that even the protagonists find it creepy.
  • Damsel in Distress/Distressed Dude/Badass in Distress: Once a book.
    • In Magyk Marcia is captured by DomDaniel's supporters and rescued by Jenna, Nicko, and Septimus.
    • In Flyte Jenna is taken to DomDaniel's Observatory by Simon in order to kill her but escapes on her own before Septimus and Nicko can rescue her.
    • In Physik Septimus is taken to Etheldredda's and Marcellus's time and rescued by Jenna, Nicko, and Snorri.
    • In Queste Nicko and Snorri, who didn't make it back in the last book, have escaped to the House of Foryx and are rescued from there by Septimus, Jenna, and Beetle.
  • Darkest Hour:
    • Queste: When Septimus is taken away from Jenna and Beetle in the House of Foryx.
    • Darke: After Jenna has told Septimus about Sarah being trapped in the Darke Domaine, he is completely broken.
  • Dark World: The Darke Halls in Darke are basically this.
  • Deader than Dead: All people become ghosts when they die. Except Etheldredda, who is killed with a dragon fire-based spell, and DomDaniel, who is eaten by Spyt Fyre.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Flyte: Simon Heap with DomDaniel about the ExtraOrdinary Apprenticeship.
    • Queste: Merrin Meredith with Tertius Fume about a Thing and sending Septimus onto the Queste.
    • Syren: Joe Grub, later Theodophilus Fortitude Fry, with Tertius Fume about gold.
  • December-December Romance: Alther and Alice Nettles, with bonus points awarded for them finally getting together as ghosts, once they're already dead.
  • Deep Sleep: Septimus once sleeps so deeply as to forget Spit Fyre.
  • Demonic Possession:
    • What the Syren does to Syrah.
    • Things have this as one of their standard abilities. In Queste, this first happens to Hildegarde Pigeon and then to the Toll-Man.
  • Deserted Island: The Isles of Syren, which also double as Islands with a Dark Secret.
  • Designated Bullet: There is a magical significance to a named bullet, and sooner or later it will always find its target. The catch, as one assassin finds out, is that this doesn't necessarily mean the target will be shot with it. The way the bullet is named is important too — if the bullet is named 'I.P.', nothing stops it from killing Iona Pot (aka Alice Nettles) instead of the Infant Princess.
  • Deuteragonist: Jenna Heap. Especially in Physik she does get the major plot-driving role.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Magyk: This is DomDaniels reaction when Marcia reveals that the Apprentice the Heaps have just saved is actually him.
  • Died Happily Ever After: Ghosts are a common sight in this universe, so it's quite common to meet your deceased loved ones and find out they're quite OK. This is especially the case in Physik, where Alther and Alice are Together in Death.
  • Die or Fly: In Darke, Septimus must try the Flyte spell without its charm in order to escape from Dungeon Number One, and succeeds at it.
  • Disappeared Dad: So the Queen was killed... but what happened to Jenna's biological father? He's still very much alive, but he's been away for most of her life hunting treasure. They reunite in Flyte, and he attempts to bond with her (somewhat disasterously) in Syren.
  • Discreet Dining Disposal: With Aunt Zelda's food, many people try to dispose of it, by feeding it to dogs, hiding it behind their cutlery, showeling it into their pockets, and allegedly by hiding away in the attic with an excuse and conjuring better food up with Magyk.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin:
    • The Paired Codes, the main MacGuffin in Darke, don't work at all if they're split. Finding the Manuscriptorium part of the Code is a main plot point.
    • The Shadow-Safe in Flyte will only work as a Shadow-Safe and as a Death Trap engineered by DomDaniel when it is complete, and it gaining completeness is the prelude of the climax of Flyte.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted, since DomDaniel actually survives his jump from the Wizard Tower.
  • Distress Ball: Sarah Heap in Darke runs back into the Palace after her duck and is overrun by the Darke Domaine mostly so that Simon can rescue her later.
  • Distressed Dude: Septimus in Physik.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The Custodian Youth — and especially their Tell-Tale hour — is very similar to the Hitler Youth groups in Nazi Germany.
    • The Heap family seems oddly familiar.
  • Don't Go in the Woods:
    • The Forest is filled with carnivorous trees, wolverines, and nasty witches and not a place to enter without caution. Septimus and Nicko get almost killed in Flyte in this Forest.
    • The Low Countries in Queste are also implied to be dangerous.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: This is about Alther's reaction to Jenna touching the time-travelling Glass. Needless to say, she does touch it, falls into it and ends up in a time 500 years before.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Jenna Heap doesn't exactly approve of being pitied by Hildegarde after her mother Sarah was trapped in the Darke Domaine. In fact, she runs away just to get rid of her.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: The main antagonist in the first two books is called DomDaniel.
  • Door Dumb:
    • In Queste, Septimus and Beetle are trying to push a snow-blocked door open. Jenna proposes to open it on her own, and she does it simply by pulling the doorhandle, opening the door.
    • Also happens in Syren, but with a bulkhead hatch and in far more urgency.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Simon Heap serves this purpose in Flyte on behalf of DomDaniel, who is still only a pile of bones.
  • Dragon Rider: Septimus gets a dragon named Spit Fyre in Flyte. You're supposed to ride them if they've bonded with you, or else they're somewhat unstable.
  • Dramatic Thunder: The battle between The Vengeance and the Dragon Boat occurs during a thunderstorm that was engineered by DomDaniel.
  • Dreaming Of Things Gone By: Silas and Sarah Heap dream of Nicko and Snorri as the latter are walking across a snow-covered forest ... 500 years before.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Septimus dreams of his impending kidnapping in Physik.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • DomDaniel simply, suprprisingly and unceremoniously disappears after his bones were consumed by Spit Fyre in Queste.
    • Ditto for Jillie Djinn in Darke, who expires standing up on Marcia's sofa a moment after the climax, without getting much attention.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe: Nicko Heap often gets criticized for this, having an habit of not understanding the seriousness of a situation.
  • Earth All Along: The Twist Ending of Fyre.
  • Eye Color Change: The eyes of a Wizard child will slowly turn bright green as they are exposed to Magykal learing.
    • An early clue that Jenna is a cuckoo in the nest of the Heaps is that she looks very different, including eyes that remain stubbornly violet rather than changing like her brothers'.
    • At the end of Magyk, Sarah Heap notices that Septimus's eyes are becoming green when she identifies him as her child.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The series employs some decidedly family-unfriendly ways to die, of which DomDaniel melting down in a pool of slime or Merrin Meredith being reduced to a hollow skin are probably the worst.
  • Fingore: There's only one to get that two-faced ring, which can never go off the same way it went on, away from Merrin Meredith...
  • First Episode Spoiler: Septimus Heap is Boy 412.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting. All the books have two parallel-running plots that eventually merge into a single one.
  • Free-Range Children: Probably not so unusual for a medieval society such as this, but given how Jenna is the Princess, Septimus is the Extraordinary Apprentice, and Beetle becomes the Chief Hermetic Scribe, and they've all been within a hair's breadth of being killed, you'd think the adults would start to rein them in a bit.
  • Gender Bender: Before he became a genie, Jim Knee was a woman. It's implied that occasional Gender Bending is par for the course for genies.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In Syren, Septimus is given a Water Gnome, which is basically a Magykal watering can. Beetle notes that it's different from the rude ones he usually sees. At first this can just fly over your head as swearing inanimate objects (God knows Harry Potter has enough of them), but once you take into consideration that it's a watering can, it can easily be interpreted as something far worse. Not a pretty thought when you're watering your plants.
  • Good Guy Bar: The Hole In The Wall tavern, where several meetings of the characters occur.
  • Happily Adopted: Jenna, and she doesn't like any implication that the Heaps are not her "real" family.
    • In an odd way, Septimus is treated by the siblings as the adopted child more than Jenna ever was.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: Simon. He's a good guy in the first book, the antagonist of the second book, a non-entity in the third, in the fourth he's grudgingly back to being a good guy, and by the time the fifth comes along, he's back on the Magykal straight-and-narrow.
  • Honorary Uncle: Aunt Zelda to Wolf Boy
  • Hope Is Scary: When Boy 412 realizes that for the first time in his life, he has more Good Things than Bad ones, he is afraid because it means the possibility of loss.
  • Identical Grandson: In Physik Jenna is often confused with her distant ancestor Esmeralda.
  • Implausible Deniability: When Marcia, Nicko, Jenna, Boy 412 and Silas hide from the Hunter in magical fog the Hunter says that they have nothing to fear.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: In Fyre, Septimus thinks that the ghost of Alther Mella would feel that flying through the heavy wind was like being Passed Through by pixies with boots on, though "How Alther knew what being Passed Through by pixies with boots on was like, Septimus had no idea."
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The beginning of Darke: "It is a Darke and stormy night."
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: In Flyte, Septimus insists in Nicko running away without him from the wolverines that are following them after he tripped and twisted his ankle. Nicko doesn't listen and gets trapped along with Septimus.
  • Jerkass: Merrin Meredith.
  • Joker Immunity: Averted. DomDaniel is So Utterly Obliviated He Doesn't Even Leave A Ghost in Queste, since he wasn't fully killed when falling from the Wizard Tower.
  • Last Name Basis: Beetle is only known as "Beetle", since his full name is "O. Beetle Beetle". He was named this because his mother was told that his father (a man named Brian, but everyone, even his wife, called him Beetle) had died just as Beetle was born. When asked for the name of her newborn son, Beetle's mother was half-mad with grief, and could only cry out "Oh Beetle! Beetle!" The people there took that as his name, for some reason.
    • Foxy is another example. It's not until Fyre we learn that his first name is "William".
    • Wolf Boy is horrified when he learns his real name for the first time and finds out that his first name is "Mandy." He decides that he wants to be known as "Marwick."
  • Lighthouse Point: The light from CattRokk.
  • Limb-Sensation Fascination: A millipede is transformed into the shield bug that will eventually belong to Jenna. There's a passage narrating what it feels like for him to lose his many precious legs and instead find himself with just six, complete with fingers. He considers hands useless and clumsy, though he does get used to it.
  • L Is for Dyslexia: Silas is implied to be dyslexic in the first book's epilogue.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Septimus and Jenna. Well, Jenna and all the Heap brothers, obviously, but her relationship with Septimus stands out, since the Word of God constantly mentions their brotherly connection (starting with the second book).
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Are there ever! Even the incredibly minor characters have backstories. The 2009 guidebook provides information on a lot of them.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Fyre the ghost of Jillie Djinn makes a major pest of herself. Unfortunately for Marcia Overstrand, Jillie died on her sofa, and the rules of ghosthood state that a ghost must spend a year and a day in the place where they died. Jillie continues to drive Marcia nuts until Hotep-Ra presents a simple solution— since Jillie Djinn is entirely on the sofa, all that's necessary is to remove the sofa from the study.
  • Lost Technology: Syren displays quite a bit of it, and it is even called "Beyond Magyk."
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: There's a whole heap of Heap children. Discussed in-book as well, when Snorri asks, "How many brothers do you have?!"
  • Magyk A is Magyk A: Magyk has very specific rules that it must follow.
  • Matter of Life and Death: In Flyte, this is thrown around twice.
  • Micro Monarchy: The Castle.
  • Mistaken for Badass: Merrin was thought by DomDaniel to be Septimus Heap, who was the seventh son of the seventh son that was said to have extreme magical talent, so DomDaniel took Merrin in as an apprentice waiting for the talent to arise. It turns he was switched with the real Septimus at birth, so no such talent reveals itself. Merrin doesn't take this well.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: When Sally Mullin sees Silas and Marcia fleeing from the Custodians she thinks they are eloping. Sally also thinks Jenna was conceived by Sarah in an affair (as Jenna is secretly adopted she doesn't look like Silas or Sarah).
  • Mistaken for Quake: In Queste, the loud shaking of the Toll-Man's hut that Jenna first thought was an earthquake turns out to be a pack of Foryx running past the hut.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Downplayed in Fyre. Septimus meets his several-years-older self in the House of Time. He is so shocked that he is rendered completely speechless. Future!Septimus sees that this is for the best, since telling him anything more than the most basic information (like "Marcia is fine. Don't worry.") will cause all sorts of problems. Future!Septimus also has memories of this very meeting, musing that he was wondering when he would meet up with his younger self. After Present!Septimus calms down a bit, Hotep-Ra sends him on his way, quipping that "we will meet again...as you have just seen."
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: New powers, myths, and Bold Inflation terms tend to show up in every book. Since the world itself is pretty big and expansive, this is somewhat justified.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Saving Merrin doesn't make him like you. In fact, it doesn't stop him from trying and nearly succeeding to kill you all.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: There are a number of implied love interests all around ( Septimus and Syrah, Jenna and Beetle, and Nicko and Snorri), but little comes of them on-screen. Even the few Official Couples are not very detailed.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Merrin Meredith in Darke.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Septimus is Jenna's not love interest and vice-versa. Syrah may or may not also be a candidate.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: All witches have pale blue eyes.
  • Official Couple: Strangely, Alther and Alice are the only official non-married couple (or to-be-married, as with Simon and Lucy), as the series normally uses No Hugging, No Kissing. Even the second most strongly-implied couple (Nicko and Snorri) are never officially said to be a couple, and they break up at the end of Darke when Snorri goes home.
  • Our Genies Are Different
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Most, if not all, people who die become ghosts. These are tied to the places they visited when they were alive, and while they cannot touch or grab things, they have the limited ability to Cause things to happen.
  • Our Witches Are Different: Witches in the Septimus-verse mostly work with potions and Magykal items rather than outright spellcasting, and have icy blue eyes. They are often in rivalry with Wizards.
  • Out of Focus: In the very beginning of the first book, at least, we were introduced to Silas and see through his perspective frequently, and it seemed as though he was going to be one of the main characters. But virtually every single Heap besides Jenna, Septimus, Nicko, and Simon are swept away for the vast majority of the series and only get a few scenes at most per book mentioning what they're up to.
  • Panthera Awesome: Ullr — cute kitty in the daytime, badass panther at night.
  • Peaceful in Death: Alice and Aunt Zelda
  • Pet the Dog: It's said in Darke that DomDaniel once gave a bowl of milk for a stray cat. Semi-justified, as it's mentioned that a Darke witch or wizard can never become completely evil simply because he or she is human.
  • Phantasy Spelling: Too many examples to name them all, especially in Magyk words.
  • Princesses Rule: At least for the time being, Princess Jenna is acting as queen without being crowned as one.
  • Recurring Traveler: Stanley the rat has a way of popping up where Septimus and Jenna least expect him.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Simon, though eventually accepted.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: When Simon has told the Supreme Custodian about the location of Zelda's cottage, the Supreme Custodian plans to kill Simon along with the other Heaps.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Tertius Fume does this to the point of being called out for this by Merrin Meredith.
  • Romantic False Lead: Septimus spends a lot of time in Darke checking in on Syrah, who was left in a magic coma, but when she finally wakes up she no longer remembers and actively avoids him, while he starts dating another girl.
  • Room 101: Dungeon Number One.
  • Running Gag:
    • Queen Etheldredda always referring to Jenna as her great-great-great (and then some) granddaughter, which she is as all Queens and their Princesses are directly related. The author, Angie Sage, actually writes "great-great-great and then some" several times in her stories.
    • Wizard Sandwiches and the many, many things they don't believe in.
    • Hamsters come up a lot in The Magykal Papers.
    • Sausages in the Egg-On-Toast Restaurant Guide because of the traumatised assistant's experience with the Meat Pie and Sausage Roll Cart
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Etheldredda, the Big Bad of Physik has spent 500 years trapped in a painting before being released.
  • Sequel Hook: Fyre includes a brief appearance by as well as part of the epilogue mentioning a new character that is to be the central focus of an upcoming series that begins seven years after Fyre.
  • Shame If Something Happened: In Magyk the Hunter threatens to burn Sally Mullin's cafe in that manner before doing so.
  • Shoot The Builder: Builders avoid working for alchemists for this reason.
  • Shout-Out: Fyre, the last book, contains at least contains two:
    • One is to the Harry Potter series, with an Ordinary Wizard named Bertie Bott being among the deceased.
    • Another is made by Hotep-Ra, referencing the Famous Last Words of Captain Oats, one of the men on Scott's Antarctic expedition.
      Hotep-Ra got out of his chair and said to his Apprentice, Talmar Ray Bell, "I am just going outside. I may be some time."
      Talmar looked horrified. "Don't say that!"
      Hotep-Ra smiled at his Apprentice. "Why ever not?"
      "It's bad luck," she said. "Someone said it once and never came back."
      "I'll be back," said Hotep-Ra.
      "Someone said
      that once too."
  • Shown Their Work: The eponymous Fyre is a reference to a nuclear reactor, and gold held near a fission reaction really will be transmuted into lead by the neutrons flying around.
  • Special Person, Normal Name: In a cast of characters with names like Septimus, Alther, Etheldredda, and Morwenna, the princess of the castle around whom a good deal of the plot revolves is named... Jenna. Somewhat justified in that she was raised in a family of ordinary wizards, but given what they named some of their other children...
  • Switched at Birth: Jenna was taken by the Heap family after Septimus disappeared.
  • Taking the Bullet: Jenna is haunted all her life by a "named bullet" — a bullet guaranteed to find the person bearing its name. Initially, it "comes" to her unshot and free of its gun — she owns it, so it "found" her. However, it's stolen from her and fired. Alice Nettles takes it, and due to the way the bullet was named, it accepts her as its target.
  • Taking You with Me: When Tertius Fume is banished by Marcia, he touches Alther so that both are banished.
  • Talking Animal: Stanley the Message/Secret Service Rat. In fact, all message rats can talk, since they convey their messages via voice.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Wizards always have green eyes and Witches have blue eyes (bearing in mind that a man or a woman may be a Wizard). All those embroiled in the Darke have dark eyes. Many heirs to the Castle have violet eyes, as does Jenna, since she has no inherent Magyk.
  • Tell Him I'm Not Speaking to Him: The message rat Stanley is initially relieved when asked to a job for wizards. Before being asked to deliver his message to the Marram Marshes, Stanley the message rat was stuck delivering messages between two feuding sisters in a situation that had descended into this. His job eventually consisted of simply running back and forth between them and not talking, until finally the sisters' mother was shocked by the huge bill and canceled the service.
  • Theme Naming: All the books in the series have Xtreme Kool Letterz in their titles.
  • Thoroughly Mistaken Identity: "Esmeralda".
  • Time Abyss: Jim Knee.
  • Together in Death: Alther and Alice, in what might be considered an extreme December-December Romance.
  • Tsundere: Marcia is a nonromantic variant — she's self-centered and abrasive as all get-out, but she very clearly cares deeply for Septimus (when she slips enough to let it show).
  • Twisted Ankle: In Flyte, it's a twisted ankle that slows down Septimus to the point that he gets almost taken by the wolverines.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Queen Etheldredda the Awful in Physik.
  • Uncanny Valley: An In-Universe example: Syrah when she's possessed by the Syren.
  • Unfortunate Name: Poor Jim Knee. He got his name through Merrin's mispronounciation of "jinnie", and certainly wasn't pleased about it — a jinnie of his status shouldn't have such a common name.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Merrin Meredith.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Silas Heap releases Etheldredda from the painting by opening the locked room where it is.
  • Villain Exit Stage Left: When Alther exposed DomDaniel as a necromancer and took the Amulet of Akhu DomDaniel jumped from the top of the Wizard Tower and escaped into the Abyss.
  • Walking Spoiler: Septimus did not die at birth. He is Boy 412.
  • We Will Meet Again: When Alther drove DomDaniel out of the Wizard Tower DomDaniel said that he would return with the seventh son of a seventh son.
  • What Beautiful Eyes: Green Eyes are often described as this, such as in Syren where Simon is courted by a few women after falling in the harbour.
  • Who's on First?: When Beetle asks Foxy who has been picked as Chief Hermetic Scribe and Foxy answers "You", Beetle thinks he means Barnaby Ewe.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Justified with Septimus's fear from heights, as most powerful Wizards are afraid of heights.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough: In Syren Septimus says that not even Milo would be stupid enough to acquire five thousand warrior jinn without knowing the Codes to control them. Turns out that Tertius Fume deceived him into doing so by promising to give the Codes later.
  • Wild Hair: The boys in the woods
  • Write Back to the Future: Septimus does this in Physik, and Nicko and Snorri do this in Queste.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Inverted; the Arc Number 7 and the way it is scattered through the series proves that Angie can do math.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Magykal words and phrases tend to display this.
  • A Year and a Day: An often-seen deadline across the books, e.g. a wizard enters a contract as an apprentice for seven years and a day.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The titles of the books and most of the terms when they're not Xtreme Kool Letterz or Phantasy Spelling.
  • You Are Number Six: Happens to Stanley the message rat after DomDaniel's heavies take over the rat office. The new head rat reassigns him as Rat 101 and strips away his chartered confidential status. The members of the Young Army also have numbers instead of names.
  • You're Not My Father: A variation occurs in Syren. Jenna screams this at Milo Banda when he tries to prevent her from going off with Septimus and Beetle. The kicker is that Milo is her biological father, but he's been so utterly absent from her life that she has no real ties to him.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Linda starts to pull this on a pair of lovebirds — both the hostage and the bird who obeyed her for its mate's safety. The Witch Mother stops her, not out of the kindness of her heart (she doesn't have any), but because intentionally breaking a Darke bargain For the Evulz falls right into Stupid Evil territory.


SchindelschwingerPages Needing an Entry PimpSime Gen
The SelectionYoung Adult LiteratureThe Seven Citadels
Sense and Sensibility and Sea MonstersLiterature of the 2000sThe Serial Murders
The Seer and the SwordFantasy LiteratureThe Serial Murders

alternative title(s): Septimus Heap; Magyk; Flyte; Physik; Queste; Syren; Darke; Septimus Heap
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