Warning!All spoilers for previous books are unmarked on this page!After a year or so of peace and quiet, Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness, comes back into Harry's life with a request. She demands he act as her Emissary, and he isn't exactly given the option to refuse. Worse yet, Summer found out about this before he did, meaning they're now trying to kill him before he does Mab's work.Small Favor is book #10 in The Dresden Files. Now has its own Shout Out page.
Small Favor provides examples of the following tropes:
Michael really tries not to laugh when he hears Harry's nickname for members of the Order of the Blackened Denarius. Wanting to take away that impressive title, Harry calls them "Nickleheads."
Harry telling the Eldest Gruff, when the Gruff asks him what he thinks is going through Mab's head regarding her wanting to save Marcone and protect Ivy, Harry replies he has a hard enough time with mortal women. It would take a wiser man than him to understand a fae woman. After a minute, the Eldest Gruff erupts with a baying laugh.
Almighty Janitor: Harry meets one of the strongest of the Archangels in the form of a janitor.
Always a Bigger Fish: Harry is running like hell to get away from Magog and off the island. The giant gorilla-from-hell-Fallen Angel is about to catch him when Eldest Brother Gruff shows up and literally blasts a hole through Magog just so that he can get to Harry.
Harry being this, at times, confuses Michael. Michael is used to the idea that he as a Knight would bear and suffer burdens so others do not. However, Harry lies by omission to the White Council in order to gain their support against the Denarians, just to give Michael and Sanya an edge against these ancient enemies knowing that Michael would never and could never lie to get help. Michael considers the fact Harry would risk his body, as if the Council found out he lied it could be called treason, for Michael's principals and goal a messianic act.
Later, Harry references this side of himself again when he had incapacitated Nicodemus by strangling him with the Judas Noose. A man like Michael would have stopped as Nicodemus couldn't fight back. Harry just kept going. Nicodemus is one of those people in the world he could kill and never loose a minute of sleep about it.
The Archive. Using only the magic she could draw in before all magic was cut off at the Shedd, she held her own against half a dozen Denarians effortlessly. Harry watched her use two different spells at the same time in each hand. If not for the limits of her child-size body, she would have outlasted all of them and left more dead on the floor.
Tessa The mastermind behind constructing the Greater Circle which bound the Archive, tapping into the power of the ley-line. At the Shedd, she was able to throw powerful but clean and efficient lightning bolts with barely any energy usage.
The Eldest Gruff. Despite standing only 5 feet tall, this ancient powerful fae holds three purple stoles he claimed after defeating three different Senior Council members in what was most probably duels to the death. Harry watched him effortlessly kill the Denarian Magog. Standing before him in battle, Harry knew he had no chance against the Gruff in a straight fight.
Armor-Piercing Question: After a great many questionable events Michael, fearing Harry had his mind altered, asks "Where is your blasting rod?"
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Nicodemus' possible plans for destroying civilisation according to Harry: Use nuclear weapons, biological or chemical weapons, crash the world economy or change everything on tv into a reality show.
Artifact of Doom: The coin of a Denarian. Considering what is inside, Harry wants the ones he took from dead Dearians in a contained space. He worries there could be some affect of the Fallen to ensure Murphy's luck hits and the coin "just happens" to land on open skin or roll away from capture.
The Atoner: Sanya admits this is his quest since becoming a Knight of the Cross as he was once a Denarian.
An Axe to Grind: Gard is seen with one early on. Harry grabbed it to use and found it heavy for even him to wield.
Badass in Distress: Marcone and Ivy are badasses on various levels, but both get held hostage by the Denarians and tortured as well.
Balance Between Good and Evil: Lucifer twice gave his agents Super Hellfire in order to bind the Archive. Because of this fact, the Archangel Uriel was able to endow someone on the side of good with a greater power. Uriel selected Harry and gave him Soulfire, the fires of creation.
Nicodemus' plot with Lasciel is spelled out in this book. By tossing her coin at Harry Dresden and Harry Carpenter a few years back, he planned on one of them becoming infected with Lasciel. Either it was a toddler, who would have Lasciel whispering in his ear and turning him into his parents' worst nightmare or gain a powerful Wizard in his ranks. The only thing he failed to take into account was just how thick and stubborn Harry Dresden was when he grabbed the coin to save Little Harry. It is implied by Michael, this wouldn't be the first time he made such plans.
Titania has played one since Proven Guilty.That silver oak leaf she had Harry given was something she knew he would keep on him, in the event of needing it in the war but valuable enough to not waste frivolously. So it would provide her and her people an ideal tracking method when Mab eventually comes to Harry with another favor to ask of him. Even with the strongest blizzard going around Harry, the leaf's signal still gets through.
Batman Grabs a Gun: Harry's strange behavior, from lacking the blasting rod and barely using any fire magic, to a few other quirks made Luccio grab it by permitting Molly to come close to breaking he Fourth Law of Magic, using mind magic, to enter Harry's mind and see if he has been rewired.
Bat Signal: Harry asks Michael if the Home Office has made any flaming crosses in the sky telling them where the Denarians are keeping Marcone and Ivy.
Battle Cry: Michael Carpenter calls out phrases in Latin as he smites dark creatures.
Berserk Button: Harry pressed it with a Denarian by using Soulfire on the Fallen. In Harry's defense, he had no idea what was happening.
Beware the Quiet Ones: Mab considers the Archangel Uriel the quietest of the Archangels and also the most dangerous. According to Bob, he's personally responsible for the Tenth Plague of Egypt.
When Harry, Michael, Sanya, Marcone, and Ivy are trapped and surrounded by Nicodemus, his Denarians, and his cult of followers, they know they have little hope of getting out and trusting Nick keeping his word is about as smart as breathing in a vacuum. So as the five huddle in the cold, Miss Gard arrives in a helo gunship with Hendricks and Luccio to save the day.
God and Murphy play this, of a sort. Because of complications, Harry didn't make it out on the helo mentioned above. So Harry raced back to the boat to make it to the reef surrounding the island. When Thomas' boat arrives, Deidre catches up with Harry and circumstances make Karrin draw a bit of Fidelacchius and the Light and Power of God shined so bright, Deidre swam away in terror.
Big Entrance: A literal example when Bigger Brother Gruff walks through the wall of the train station.
Harry works out that the Prince of Darkness was involved in the plot by pumping enough power to the Fallen twice. First to test out the greater circle they used on Marcone and later to bind Ivy at the Shedd.
Nicodemus makes vague reference to the Black Council and the contagion, later called in Cold Days behind them as a counter group to his efforts but still someone Harry would want stopped.
The Black Death: The last time Nicodemus and Tessa worked together, this was their attack.
The Gruffs are smart enough to avoid necessarily doing this by waiting for Queen Mab to depart before continuing their attacks on Harry Dresden. Had they attacked him when the Queen was there, in the middle of a blizzard at night, she could have floored them with a wink.
The torture of Archive, a being on power between the youngest Fae Queens and Titania or Mab, can be seen as this. Genre Savvy Nicodemus even allowed Tessa and Rossana to do most of the torment in the event Archive breaks free or is rescued, it won't be his back with the target.
Invoked by Harry. When he faces the Denarians before the climax, he realized the entire situation was a near identical to when he faced Lea at the graveyard in Grave Peril. Like there, he is lawfully holding a Sword of the Cross. Like there, there is an event that could make him strike the antagonist. And like then, doing so would be a bane to the sword, for like using Amoracchius to renege on his deal with Lea weakened its protection, striking Nicodemus with Fidelacchius, the Sword of Faith, after promising to give the Sword to Nicodemus to save a child's life would be breaking his word, and so the sword. Harry, however, learned from his mistakes and uses the fact Nicodemus doesn't know about the first event to his advantage.
Harry monologues about what Kincaid taught him involving shotguns and what can be put into them. This is because Harry made the same modifications and using them to disrupt Nicodemus' plan.
Miss Gard listens to "Ride of the Valkyries" again when she pilots the rescue helo to the island and save the heroes.
Inverted, when the absence of any mention of Harry's blasting rod becomes a significant plot point later, when he realizes that Mab took it away from him and blocked his memories of it, making all of his friends very suspicious of him for most of the book.
By extension of the above, Harry using powerful fire magic on the island combined with Tiny's note that the Eldest sibling was coming, Eldest Gruff's arrival isn't that much of a surprise.
When Nicodemus and Harry are speaking of the assault on Arctis Tor, Nicodemus says the only question remaining is "contamination" is in his group or the Church. Not mole or any other term but "contamination." In Cold Days it is learned there is a force to which "contamination" is an appropriate description.
With one gun leading to another gun. The Summer Fae were revealed to be tracking Harry by his Silver Oak Leaf. So Harry screws with them, making them chase after plenty of Red Herrings. Later, when in the middle of Lake Michigan, Harry and company are attacked by Summer Fae. Considering Harry is far from his beaten path, it seems unlikely this was a random chance. It subtly hints that Harry grabbed the Oak Leaf before heading out.
Chekhov's Skill: The pain blocking techniques Lasciel taught Harry a few books back comes in handy when Sanya cuts his leg to remove the kelpie bit on it.
The Children First: When Harry rescues Marcone, the man insists Harry free the captured Ivy first. Later, when the rescue helo arrived, he insisted Ivy gets taken up first. This is in-spite of Harry assuring Gard and Hendricks it would be Marcone first. Marcone does not put children before his own life.
Harry, being the guardian of Fidelacchius, is this for the next Knight of the Cross. He ends up choosing Nicodemus. See You Will Know What to Do for why.
In a dark version, Nicodemus sees himself as one who must rightfully choose which coin to give a new recruit so the Fallen Angel and human would work well together. He considers giving Lasciel to Harry a good choice, not realizing Harry had redeemed the Shadow of Lasciel.
At the end of the book, Michael retires and gives Harry his sword to select the next bearer of it.
While Harry is always willing to fight smart/dirty, he really shines in this book during his fight with Tiny Gruff and his non-magical brawl with Nicodemus.
Murphy shows signs of this as well when she points her gun at Tiny Gruff in Mac's bar, where he cannot fight without violating the neutrality of Mac's. As Murphy isn't a member of the Accords and neither is the Chicago PD or Chicago government, she isn't bound by that neutrality.
Kincaid is also this as he has no qualms about sniping Denarians from cover and shadows.
The Denarians show this by planning on gassing the Shedd with a light sedative. Not enough to knock out a adult-sized human, but the Archive is still in the body of a child, and when the magic was cut off from her, this would be the best way to detain her.
Contrived Coincidence: Wouldn't you know, the moment a couple of Denarians get into town, Sanya's flight is canceled and he is stuck in Chicago. What are the odds?
Cordon Bleugh Chef: Molly did not inherit her mother's cooking skills. She once burned Harry's boiled egg. Harry really isn't sure how, but she did. So Harry approaches her pot roast with hesitation, two slices of bread and mustard. Lots and lots of mustard.
Cool Sword: The Swords of the Knights of the Cross.
The Corrupter/The Corruptible: Nicodemus is an expert at the art of corruption and destruction. It is for this reason, Harry wants to keep Molly from his sights and safe at home. Considering her close brushes with Dark Magic and her still struggling to resist the urges to do things the easy way, Harry doesn't want her to be taken and potentially turned.
Corrupt Politician/Dirty Cop: Discussed. It is acknowledge Marcone has plenty of people in Chicago's government and police in his pocket. He can make inconvenient investigations go away. Harry suspects that because Michael played a key role in saving his life, Marcone will make sure any investigation into the gun shot wounds Michael received from the escape vanish as a means of paying back Michael.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Eldest Gruff's fight with a massive (yet none-too-clever) Denarian is over in a single second (after he gave him several chances to walk away). There is little doubt that he could end his fight with Harry in much the same way.
Daddy's Little Villain: Dierdre is this to Nicodemus, being a cunning but loyal to her father. When she finds Harry on the verge of killing her father, she is enraged and orders the fanatics to not fire as they could hit her father. When Harry dumps Nicodemus into the water, she goes to rescue Nicodemus rather than killing Harry then and there.
Physically, Harry versus "Tiny" Gruff in the train station. Tiny stands near 20 feet and Harry must use inertia, drawing the attention of the hobs to attack the Gruff (as they are Winter and hate all things Summer), and finally Gard's security ward to blast Tiny.
Magically and Physically, Harry against the Eldest Gruff. As an archmage who has defeated three Senior Council members, the Gruff trumps Harry. Physically, Harry, 6'9", towers over the 5 foot tall Gruff. Harry only wins by using his brain.
Physically, the 5 foot tall Muggle Murphy versus a shrunken Tiny, so he's only 8-10 feet. See Loophole Abuse.
Besides the general actions of the Knights of the Blackened Denarius, Nicodemus had to make a deal with Satan himself to get enough power to drill through Marcone's safe house defenses and later bind the Archive.
Queen Mab tells Harry her interest on offering the Winter Knight position to Thomas should Harry die by the Summer Court's hands guessing he would want revenge and give him a chance to be with the woman he loved.
Despite the unseen amounts of torture Marcone suffered, he neither gave up nor gave in to the Denarians. He even had some wounds from when he tried to fight them back despite being overpowered on so many levels.
Invoked by Harry. When trying to negotiate a deal to free Ivy and Harry offers Fidelacchius, Harry cites the determinator aspect of the Knights of the Cross. Harry notes that even if Nicodemus can bring the Apocalypse, does he really thing Heaven will stand back and watch? No. Men and women will come and pick up the swords. They will fight Nicodemus with everything they have. And then Harry makes Nicodemus consider all the near wins which were stopped by the Knights in the past. Simply put, the Knights are good people on a good cause. They will work to fight evil and protect the innocent.
Nicodemus first didn't see Harry as the one holding Fidelacchius and Harry offering it to get back Ivy. It sweetens the deal just enough to make Nicodemus agree to make the switch.
Nicodemus later and his Fallen never saw the idea that Harry could be free of Lash's Shadow without him taking up the coin as even possible.
Harry tells Helen Demeter the only reason Marcone didn't realize she was the one to leak Marcone's information to the Denarians is he wouldn't expect it from Helen and he had more overt candidates.
The Gruff mentioned in Loophole Abuse didn't foresee Murphy owning him so badly he had to leave Harry alone for now or risk suffering being shot several times, and if he retaliated at all, shame his Queen and Court for fighting on Neutral Ground. He was most impressed by this action none the less.
Don't Make Me Destroy You: Eldest Gruff genuinely tells the Fallen Angel Magog his quarrel is not with him and would allow the Denarian to live. Magog does not listen. He attacked the Eldest Gruff and was killed in one attack.
Nicodemus and his lot are this to Harry and his friends. The fact there are so many in town only makes things worse. Harry consciously strives to subvert this trope, by calling them "Nickelheads" to diminish their formidable image.
Word of God is after nearly killing Nicodemus at the end, Harry is now this to Nicodemus.
Noted below in OOC Is Serious Business, when Toot tells Harry to run, it is serious. At first it seems like he meant Queen Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness, who just happened to appear before Harry. Terrified as he was of the Winter Queen, she explains her business and her "favor" for the book. She then moved to depart with a singular note: She wasn't the dreaded Toot was screaming about.
Enforced Method Acting: Because no one has access to Harry's thoughts he cannot tell Michael he has seen through Nicodemus' trap on the island when seeing a tortured Ivy is supposed to enrage Harry enough to improperly wield Fidelacchius and destroy it. Harry uses his rant as a chance to scout around and see where Marcone is being kept.
Epic Hail: Harry uses two Fireball shotgun rounds, which produce fire blasts about 200ft long and of decent width, to produce a tower of fire on the top of the hill on the island, giving Gard's helo a precise location on the island.
Eternal Love: Nicodemus Archleone and Polonius Lartessa, although their relationship may be a warped version of this trope.
Mouse is able to tell who is a good person and who is most certainly evil. No surprise, he doesn't like Nicodemus.
When trapped in the Shedd Aquarium with some Denarians, Harry is hiding by the dolphin tank. Some of its occupants come by and then move down the way, start screeching and and making a ruckus before rushing off. Harry smiled as he now knows the Denarian's location.
Evil Only Has to Win Once: Discussed between Harry and Nicodemus. When trying to bargain for Ivy's life, Harry brings up this idea and dismisses it. Sure, Nicodemus might turn Ivy and bring about the Apocalypse but that won't stop Heaven from fighting back as much as the rules allow and won't stop good people from rising up to fight the darkness, namely by becoming Knights of the Cross. They will fight him with all the power of the Swords.
Evil Order Versus Evil Chaos: Nicodemus and Tessa are this respectively. Nicodemus concerns himself with the long game while Tessa enjoys causing immediate discord and chaos. So when the two of them work together on a joint project, the situation is a whole lot worse.
Evil Overlord List: Nicodemus read most of it, but skipped the part which makes him cut the tongues out of his followers. They may be loyal guards but they cannot use radios to communicate.
Fighting from the Inside: Given the concerns Michael, Luccio, and Molly have about Harry being controlled by something, Molly scans him when he sleeps. When she reported something was wrong, just as Harry was waking up, Murphy was dismissive but in a groggy state, Harry said to trust Molly. Later, it was revealed this statement was Harry's subconscious fighting the control in this brief moment.
Fisher King: Discussed by Harry and Sanya. There is an ancient concept of the King is connected to the land and the supernatural connection one has to the other. When the King is well, so is the land. Harry wonders if this is a requirement of becoming a Knight of the Cross as the three knights he has met are of Royal Blood going back many years. And so being asked to tend to the Denarians is part of the "tend to the land" especially in a land when there are few kings left.
Fire-Forged Friends: At the first crime scene in the book, Harry references this idea on how close he and Murphy have become. Several years ago, when she asked about the big magic spell used she would have implied she considered Harry a possible suspect. Similarly, Harry would have freaked about this implication and held back several pieces of his exposition. Now, he trusts her to not just know but know when she should stay back, and so tells her everything he can about the spell.
Get It Over With: When Harry defeats the gruff at Union Station, it tells him to finish it. Twice. Whereupon Harry says he does not kill unless necessary, much to the shock of the gruff, who had assumed he was actually in Winter Court.
Good Hurts Evil: When Harry inadvertently uses Soulfire, the fire of Creation, against a Denarian, it adds a boost to Harry's attack and does more damage. When Harry sees the guy later on the island, he is still suffering the injuries.
Groin Attack: Harry does this to the gorilla-like Denarian Magog, attacking his "cocoanuts." It's quiet effective.
Guns Are Worthless: Averted. Against fairies, Valkyries, and even Denarians, guns have the power to do them harm. The fairies have the strongest weakness. However, enough bullets from enough guns could take down even a Denarian. Or one good shot to the head.
Hannibal Has a Point: As truly terrible a person as he is, even Harry finds it hard to argue against Nicodemus when he talks about how the Black Council are disrupting things and causing trouble for everyone, or when he talks about how the Red Court needs to be destroyed.
Hannibal Lecture: Harry receives one from Nicodemus about how his own friends no longer trust him because of Lasciel's influence upon him and the fact they don't concretely know what has happened in the Aquarium.
Heel-Faith Turn: Sanya recounts how he started off as a troubled youth in Moscow. When Rosanna came along, he fell into her charm and ways and took up the Denarian. He did many evil things but also genuinely cared about Rosanna. However, when he heard she saw him only as a tool, he left them asking himself "My God, What Have I Done?" He dropped his coin in a river and soon ran into Shiro and later Archangel Michael, who gave him Esperacchius.
He Had a Name: A variation as the one who died was Harry's enemy. When Nick was tempting Harry to join up outside the Carpenter House and mentioned how some hosts have too weak spirits to be a partner with the Fallen and so the being is only called by the Fallen's name, Harry referred back to Rasmussen, the host for Ursiel, who Harry Soulgazed back in Death Masks. Because of that, he cannot forget the man and will always remember him being a prisoner in his own body. It takes Nicodemus takes a minute to even recall the man and only noting whose host he was.
Hell Is That Noise: In-universe. When the Eldest Gruff is closing in on Harry, he hears a heavy Thump getting closer and closer. Considering this Gruff's first younger sibling was about twenty feet tall, Harry is seriously worried about these Thumps. Turns out the Eldest Gruff is five feet, five-two tops. The noise is his Magic Staff as he puts it down on the ground.
Hero Antagonist: Summer plays this role for the book. By their nature, they are kinder and more compassionate than Winter. They try to protect humans from Winter's actions. And in most cases, Winter seeks to wound, maim, or destroy. Here, however, by the dichotomy of their warring relationship, when Mab moves to protect Marcone and do an action which would protect the world, Summer must act against Winter. Harry is not amused by this fact.
The Swords of the Cross are this against the Denarian coins.
Soulfire, the fires of creation, is a power booster to that which it is applied to.
Hopeless Boss Fight: When Harry sees the Eldest Gruff kill a Fallen Angel-possesed human in one shot and is wearing three purple stoles worn by members of the Senior Council (He could only have them as trophies from victories) Harry knows he is in one of these in terms of power. Thankfully, he is owed a favor from the Summer Court. See Mundane Wish below.
Hope Spot: A particularly devastating example occurs for Michael of all people in Small Favor. After the battle in the aquarium that resulted in the deaths of several Denarians, with their coins being subsequently collected, Michael realizes that combined with the other Denarians that they know are in the area, along with the Denarians who have already been defeated and their coins collected he, Harry and the others are within a hair's breadth of defeating the entire order of Denarians and putting an end to their war with the Church once and for all. Unfortunately, Harry is forced to use the coins they captured to barter for a meeting so that they can have a chance rescue Marcone and Ivy, during which the coins are stolen by Thorned Namshiel, setting the good guys almost all the way back to square one. And that's not even counting what happens to Michael himself.
Hope Springs Eternal: Discussed between Harry and Nicodemus. Harry points out that even if Nick wins today, then the Knights Michael and Sanya would likely be dead. However, the Swords still exist and so would good people who would pick them up to fight him. The next generation of Knights will ensure to avert the idea that Evil Only Has to Win Once. And Nicodemus realizes it.
Humans Are Warriors: Invoked by Murphy when she wants to bring the full force of the police system against the Denarians. Using words such as "terrorist plot" and "automotive bio-armor" (to explain the shapeshifting) to put everyone from the traffic cops to FBI and military on high alert. This will get her a small army in terms of manpower and arsenals of weapons. Harry briefly considers it to be a plausible action as humans, when angry and focused, could do serious damage to most every Supernatural entity, Denarians included. But the idea is put down as a mental fear-inducing attack could make things that much worse.
I Did What I Had to Do: Harry is this when he lies by omission to Luccio and letting her assume a false idea in order to gain the White Council's help in dealing with the Denarians. He risks his own life and morals so Michael and Sanya get an edge in fighting the Denarians.
Idiot Ball: Harry is quick to realize that if the Denarians cannot grab Ivy herself, they would draw her out by holding Kincaid hostage and threatening him. So Harry moved to fight them to stop them from looking, but gets captured. Then Ivy reveals herself to protect him and he realizes there is one other person who she cared for: himself.
I Have Your Wife: Because of the contingency plan the Archive and Kincaid set up stopped the Denarians from grabbing her, Tessa orders Kincaid to be captured and tortured to bring out Ivy.
When Harry is facing Magog, the giant ape-beast Denarian on the island for the climax, the Denarian charged at Harry. Harry, knowing even his best wind spell would only stall and leave himself open, using his magic to cause Magog to fly into the air, over his head, and down a long hill.
Tiny Gruff is also the victim of this (though less painfully,) as Harry realises that although he can run incredibly fast for his size, his momentum is too great to change direction quickly.
In Mysterious Ways: Used as justification for God only partially undoing Mab's mental block on all things fire magic and blasting rod in the mind of Harry. Harry only gets a calming effect as he comprehend that someone did play with his mind, recovers his fire magic spells, but still lacks the knowledge of who took the blasting rod and why.
Irony: Nicodemus finds it amusing the only person he can talk to about his family issues is Harry because he is the one person he knows for certain isn't part of the Black Council.
I Surrender, Suckers: Nicodemus, not realizing Lasciel's shadow was no longer inside Harry, believes she took over Harry and made him go limp. Harry decides to go with the order to get the jump on him.
Harry has a nice sack made from the scrotum of a real African lion. Don't ask.
After Harry talks with Jake (who is the janitor — really), Jake vanishes, leaving behind a copy of The Two Towers, which opens on some — interesting passages.
Kill Me Now or Forever Stay Your Hand: When Harry notices that Michael has been giving him sideways looks for the entire story he has Michael place his sword at his (Harry's) throat and tell him (Michael) to either cut or reveal where the sudden distrust comes from.
Knight in Shining Armor: Michael is this once more. The a key moment is when he and Harry are fighting against Hobs in a dark train station and one woman is praying to God for help and then enters a man holding a glowing sword.
Rather than risk fighting, the Archive knew when the Shedd was compromised the best option was to run and hide. Unfortunately, seeing Harry caught and about to be tortured made Ivy choose to save her friend.
Invoked by the Eldest Gruff to ask Harry to not fight him because it was obvious just how outclassed in terms of power the young wizard was and, in return, the Eldest Gruff would make it a painless death. Harry refuses and calls in his trump card.
After suffering critical injuries in his escape, Michael decided it was time to hand up his sword and retire from the Knights of the Cross.
Last-Second Word Swap: When Harry learns that Nicodemus is likely in town, he starts saying, "Fuuuuuu..." looks at the two Knights of the Cross sitting at the table with him, and finishes, "...Fudgesicles."
Lightning Bruiser: Several of the Denarians are much faster than they look. Tiny Gruff is also extremely fast for his huge size, but his massive momentum prevents him from stopping or changing direction very easily once he has built up any speed.
Little Miss Snarker: Ivy tries to be this but doesn't quite get it right. None the less, Harry is touched as he realized she was emulating him.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Early on, Harry and Thomas are looking for an address, and find it on a street marked with a "Dead End" sign. Harry takes a moment to mutter out loud about the foreshadowing.
Living Emotional Crutch: The White Council fears Harry's close relationship with Ivy, given the facts he gave her a nickname and treats her as a kid, and how she was willing to do the dumb but human action of protecting him over staying hidden (as the Archive should have done), has become this. The Merlin and a few others want him to back away from her. Harry won't. And when he learns Luccio was keeping Ivy asleep until either Kincaid or Harry got there to make sure she didn't blow up the house with a freakout, he calls them out on the hypocrisy and bull of not wanting to be close unless it suited the situation.
Long Game: Michael notes this is Nicodemus' strong suit. For a man who has lived for nearly 2000 years, fifteen years is nothing. See Batman Gambit above.
While sitting on Neutral Ground, a seven to eight foot tall Gruff tells Harry he will wait patiently until Harry leaves to fight him. Scared at the prospect of facing such a powerful Gruff Murphy steps in and tells the Gruff he will not touch Harry with her around, and if need be shoot the Gruff there. The Gruff is shocked at the idea she would use iron against him, knowing the harm it would do him, and confused why she would interfere with an affair that wasn't hers especially as fighting is forbidden on Neutral Ground. Murphy replied that as a tax payer, Harry has the right to police protection (her) and the Gruff is threatening him so the shooting would be justifiable. Add to that as the City of Chicago is not a signatory to the Accords, she could shoot him inside Neutral Ground and if Titania wants to try this again inside city limits, she is declaring war against the whole of Chicago who have plenty of iron to use against any attack. The Gruff reluctantly agrees to not fight there and retreats, also impressed with Murphy's wit.
The Eldest Gruff serves the Summer Court before the Queens orders. Harry abuses this by calling in a favor he is owed from the Court and a simple task that will take the Eldest Gruff plenty of time for Harry to finish Mab's request and thus no longer be attacked by Summer's forces.
Magic Wand: Harry's Blasting Rod. Which vanishes early on but isn't mentioned too much.
Manchurian Agent: Michael and the others suspect Harry to be one because of Lasciel in his head and he is helping the Denarians in their game plan. It is not the case, but Harry is the victim of a Memory Gambit.
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It is never fully explained just how Harry had the speed or dexterity to capture a Denarian coin in midair when he was getting his bearings before it could touch his open skin.
Memory Gambit: Harry is the victim of one because of Queen Mab. She strips Harry of any and every memory about his fire magic and his blasting rod. He doesn't even notice the missing memories. Only when the occasional reference to the memories come about does his mind his something akin to a static wall and causes him to "short circuit", for lack of a better word. It is only when he is just waking up does his subconscious have enough power to say something is wrong.
Mercy Kill: Harry suspects that the host of Magog died from one of these by Eldest Gruff's hand.
Meaningful Name: Janitor Jake's name. According to behindthename.com it either comes from a variant of John or Jacob. "John" means "Y-H-W is Gracious". "Jacob", though debated, is believed to mean "May Y-W-H Protect". Either one is befitting a man of his position.
The Mole: Helen Beckett sells out Marcone's safe houses to the Denarians. Thankfully for her there are more ambitious members of Marcone's men who are more plausible in Marcone's eyes.
The Mourning After: When Harry finally reveals to Murphy about Lash, how she was inside of him, how she helped him, and eventually how she died for Harry, Murphy considers this trope. She knows Harry doesn't commit to relationships by halves and if a close physical friend took a bullet for Harry, he would be devastated. So she can only guess how badly he must be mourning Lash, who was closer with him than any friend he had before.
Mundane Wish: Subverted, when Harry "wastes" his single wish, which could make the entire Summer Court of Faerie do whatever he wants of them, on a doughnut. The point, however, is who he commands to get his doughnut. Namely, the Implacable ManMage Killer after his head, who now abandons his deadly mission to find one particular doughnut after agreeing to fight only on the island, the Eldest Gruff knows this will take him a while and Harry should be off the island by then.
My God, What Have I Done?: Harry postulates to Michael the reason the Fallen Angels avoid churches isn't because Good Hurts Evil and just standing there is uncomfortable, as Michael suspects, but it makes them feel and remember and feel sad. They question their choices in their existence, and after a 1,000,000 years or more of steadfast belief you were in the right, and it turns out you were wrong and everything you did was for nothing, it is not an easy revelation to handle on one's conscious.
My Master, Right or Wrong: The Gruffs and Fix really do not want to kill Harry, but are loyal to Court and Queen. Fortunately, the former serve in that order.
Nicodemus likes to inspire this sort of fear from those who know him.
When one's resume include, but not limited to, the murder of all the first born of Egypt and the fact Mab actually likes him makes Archangel Uriel someone Harry would be wise to run from.
No MacGuffin, No Winner: Mab, knowing why the Denarians want Ivy, sends a horde of hobs to kill her, or try at any rate, simply because if she was dead, she couldn't become a Denarian.
Not Himself: Harry's friends reached their limit on how much they can stand by and do nothing when things about Harry include he plans to give back the coins to save Marcone and Ivy after apparently being saved from downing by the Denarians. His previous behavior is riddled with off aspects, such as missing his blasting rod and not using fire magic in any form. They fear someone or something has messed with his head. Turns out, they are right.
Not Me This Time: Nicodemaus is very surprised to learn about the usage of Hellfire on Arctis Tor. Shocked enough to attack Harry in his momentary rage.
The Oath-Breaker: The bane of the Swords of the Cross. To use a Sword against its purpose is to weaken it to the point of being just a sword, at which point somebody could smelt it down and destroy it. For Fidelacchius, if Harry wielded the to break a an armistice where the sword would be traded to save a child's life, then it would be a sufficient violation.
Not So Different: Nicodemus tells Harry they are this. And even some of his goals would be things Harry strives for as well.
An Offer You Can't Refuse: Tried by Harry. To free Ivy, Harry offers Nicodemus the coins Harry and his comrades had collected from the dead Denarians. Nicodemus doesn't bite. He notes he is very Genre Savvy and won't give up potentially his biggest win for these coins. So Harry, unexpectedly, ups the ante and offers Fidelacchius. He offers Nick a chance to remove one of the three banes to his plans for good. This seals the deal.
Offhand Backhand: Ivy pulls off one of these, vaporizing a Denarian jumping at her back without even looking at it.
When the otherwise-fearless Toot-toot tells Harry to run, he's cautious. When always-hungry Toot tells him to forget the doughnut and run, Harry knows it's something dreadful.
Harry lacks his blasting rod, barely does any fire-base magic (only the tiny face-melting sun trick) and never makes mention of this to anyone. And all his friends noticed this problem. They feared his mind had been altered by some force, Michael assuming Lasciel's work. In the end, they were right about him being mind altered. But wrong on the culprit.
Discussed with the Fallen, how they can offer their host a long list of amazing powers, at the cost of accepting the coin. When Thomas dismisses this because he already has one demon in his head, Harry counters this "power" for Thomas would be giving him the chance to be able to touch Justine once more. Thomas is visibly affected by this idea.
Discussed later with Harry and Queen Mab. Mab noted should Harry have died doing her this favor, she would have turned to Thomas to be her new Winter Knight and offer him the power to avenge his brother and touch Justine, with the price being to become her knight.
Mab considers Thomas having true love with Justine to make him mortal enough to be her Winter Knight and not an immortal vampire.
Precision F-Strike: Michael utters "God's Blood" upon learning exactly what Nicodemus could do with Ivy if he can turn her to his side. Namely have access to the activation code of every nuclear missile and location of every biological agent.
The Promise: Harry swears by his power to not misuse the samples of Marcone and his men Gard is allowing Harry access too and to return them in their box when asked. Later, when Luccio inquires about the box, Harry tells her to leave it be because of he made a promise. After a moment, Luccio drops the matter.
Fix was ordered to stop Harry, or kill if possible by Titania. He gets around this to help Harry by making a half-ass assassination attempt and ends up giving Harry crucial information.
The second eldest, once beaten by Harry, departs with his life content he tried his best to kill Harry.
The eldest Gruff is very affable to Harry, even enjoying the fact the Three Billy Goats Gruff is still known to children. He even agrees to postpone the fight because Harry is owed one favor by the Summer Court, knowing by the time he fulfills the favor the fight will no longer be needed.
Rage Against the Heavens: After Michael is seriously injured and might die, Harry rages in a chapel for God's ineffectiveness, questioning how could he care about one person and letting Satan give the other fallen Angels a power boost. Turns out, Heaven was listening as Uriel, in human guise, talked Harry about his problems and assumptions.
Red Herring: An in-universe instance. Harry is being tracked by the Summer Court Gruffs via the silver oak leaf pin which he was previously given as a symbol of the boon Summer owes him. When it wasn't in an unwarded area, Summer knows where he is and can stage an attack. Even through the heavy snowfall Mab has created. So to confuse the heck out of them, Harry activates Little Chicago and hangs the leaf in a bag of catnip above Little Chicago on an elastic cord, with Mister the cat in the room. Every time the oak leaf pin went within one foot of Little Chicago, it would "read" as being in the corresponding area of real Chicago and Summer would rush off in search of Harry there. The Eldest Gruff is very impressed with how thoroughly Harry kept Summer chasing their tails.
Refusal of the Call: When Murphy takes up Fidelacchius to protect the sword from Deirdre, Murphy unsheathes the blade just a few inches when a bright light shone from it, scaring Deirdre away. When Murphy asks what that was, Harry calls it a job offer. Murphy refuses, citing she was still a cop and couldn't become a Knight of the Cross.
Religion Is Magic: The exact nature of Michael's faith power is still unexplained, but Harry witnesses many times that when Michael is acting on the Lord's path, there is a great power about him. Later, after Michael asks Harry about the missing blasting rod, instigating a freakout by Harry over it missing and how someone really screwed with his head, Michael lays Harry down and prays to the Father to help Harry. Harry described Michael's hands growing hot and then most of the bindings on Harry's memories had vanished. He remembered only what He considered Harry needed for the moment.
Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: Used by Harry when he is trying to get Luccio to bring the White Council in on the meeting between Marcone's side and the Denarians. When Luccio noted some of the trouble he caused, Harry points out the good things he has done which have helped the White Council in the war against the Red Court and groups of Warlocks.
Right for the Wrong Reasons: Michael and company fear Harry's mind has been altered. Michael suspects it is the Shadow of Lasciel that has made Harry not use fire magic and leave his blasting rod somewhere. A covert exam by Molly confirms his mind was altered and his panicked reaction to the Armor-Piercing Question affirms it. However, it wasn't a Fallen who altered Harry's mind. It was Queen Mab aiming to Harry survive.
Sanctuary of Solitude: Harry ends up in the hospital's chapel to not so much talk with the big G but yell at him for what an ass He would be if He let Michael die after all the man did in His name. Then JanitorJake shows up and they discuss things a bit more.
Screw Destiny: Harry notices that Gard was staring at Michael in a foreboding manner and decides to alter his actions to prevent what he thinks is coming. Uriel later reveals that, despite current appearances, Harry did change things for the better, since if he had acted differently, both he and Michael would have died on the island instead of Michael only being injured.
When all things go south, Tessa and Rosana scurry off with the recovered coins.
Dierdre, upon seeing the bright light shining from just an inch of Fidelacchius exposed when held by Murphy, wisely swims away screaming.
Shock and Awe: Harry uses non-magic electricity to zap Tessa by getting her to bite on a copper whip and then reveal the other end is an outlet plug. Insert plug and one fried Tessa coming up.
Snowball Fight: The beginning of Small Favor has one involving the entire Carpenter family and Harry.
Something Only They Would Say: When Harry first meets Mab in the story, he finds the fact she is speaking with a malk as an interpreter strange and doubts who she is. Mab replied that Harry doubted who she was the first time they met. She then recites the terms of their deal. She later refers to her winking at him in Proven Guilty a scene only Harry was witness to. Harry agreed and believed she was the real deal.
Speak of the Devil: Besides Lucifer himself, Mab does warn Harry to not call "Uriel" by his name.
Star-Crossed Lovers: Thomas and Justine are still apart from each other due to his inability to even touch her. Harry warns him that by becoming a Nicklehead, the fallen angel could offer to end that issue to coerce him into taking up the coin. Later, Mab noted should Harry had failed and died, Thomas could become her Winter Knight for both vengeance on Harry's killers and her power ending the same problem.
The Starscream: When word gets out on Marcone's vanishing, Torelli, a mid-level lieutenant, and implied to be in charge of drugs in the business, tries to take over the Velvet Room from Helen Beckitt Demeter.
Super Speed: Several of the Fallen, including Magog, the giant ape-beast, and the stone golem, have this power.
Talking Is a Free Action: Averted. Harry realizes his "chat" with Nicodemus at the aquarium is a delaying tactic to set a plan into motion.
Technology Marches On: Discussed by Michael. In the old days, or even ten years ago, collecting information and storing it on Nicodemus usually led to the man attacking every 20 or so years, burning all records, and leaving the Church with no substantial information. With computers, the ability to transfer data around the world faster than even Nicodemus can move, Michael notes this will become a crucial advantage in storing information about him and the other Denarians.
They Have the Scent: Summer-aligned forces track Harry by his fire magic, as he once absorbed Summer fire and the taint is still there, so using it alerts them, and the Silver Oak leaf of the Summer Court. Mab "helps" with Harry keep them from tracking the first method. The second way was stopped by Mister. See Red Herring above for more.
Time Abyss: When Harry is describing the advantages the Denarians have, beyond the super strength, shapeshifting, and powerful magic, he considers the Fallen Angels themselves the strongest advantage for this trope. Not only do they likely predate the Creation of the Universe, they have had 2000 years living in a human mind and knowing how it ticks. They would know all the ways to tempt a person and what pains to make them feel, all in the name of converting someone to their cause. And then once they have a partner, they can give this wisdom to them and make the host a truly terrifying force.
To Be Lawful or Good: Murphy suffers this dilemma through much of the book. On the one hand, she knows what is at stake not just for Chicago but the world if Harry gets found at a scene when some mob hitters just tried to take them out. That said, the harm Harry did them was in self-defense and he could be cleared, in time. But by that time the world would be destroyed and Harry likely dead and whatever the Denarians had planned would have been done. Begrudgingly, she picks Good. She doesn't like it as she still has a deep faith in right and wrong and following the law.
Harry gains Soulfire thanks to the Archangel Uriel.
Harry was previously touched by Summer Fire in Proven Guilty. This allows Summer to know his location when he uses fire.
Training from Hell: Harry uses a family snowball fight at the Carpenter house to teach Molly how to create a defensive shield. Charity comments on this and Harry remarks that it's good training. Charity asks if that's how Harry was trained and Harry replies that Justin used baseballs.
Traumatic Haircut: The Denarians, namely Tessa and Rosanna, did this to Ivy by cutting off her beautiful hair, leaving only bits of it as part of their torture.
True Companions: At the end of the book Charity tells Harry to sit with her and Molly to wait on Michael's status. As she said, family should stay. And reminds him Michael would stay for Harry.
Underestimating Badassery: Harry underestimates Ivy's true power and is amazed and terrified when seeing her use only a fraction of her power to hold her own easily against the Denarians. Later, it is noted the White Council estimates her on par with the like the youngest Sidhe Queens Lily and Maeve. Harry guesses she is stronger than that.
Unreliable Narrator: Harry's usually pretty straight with the readers, but on this occasion it's played with when he leaves out a minor, but significant event in the plot because he had his memory of it blocked. Also used as a handwave for inconsistencies from early in the series, such as one minor character whose name changes in between books (Harry heard it wrong the first time), or when Butcher gave Wrigley Field a parking lot that it doesn't have in real life.
Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Harry's big plan for the Denarians and the contingencies are left unsaid. save for Michael being critically injured, losing most of the coins, and Nicodemus still being alive, the plan works very well.
Harry unleashes Pyrofuego in a beam of destruction that blasts straight through one of the Denarian's hearts, and even apparently negating their Healing Factor.
A little before this, the Denarians attempt to turn Harry's Unstoppable Rage against him by showing him the tortured body of Ivy, which they knew would push him to an unthinking fury and break his promise, which in turn would unmake the Sword he had promised in exchange for her. Fortunately, Harry figures out the plan just before his rage gets the better of him, mostly because he had already been manipulated into almost getting the sword destroyed and is not dumb enough to make that mistake twice.
Up to Eleven: Harry finds mortal women confusing. He has a real hard time understanding their thoughts much of the time. He knows this and openly admits it. When Eldest Gruff asks him to try and consider some of Mab's current actions of late, Harry replied a Sidhe woman, especially one such as Queen Mab, is this trope to all other women. Eldest Gruff laughed at the comment.
Gard considers the fact that Marcone told Helen Demeter and others about the location of the safe houses to be this. As she said, it defeats the purpose of a secure place if too many people know about it.
Gard's method of rectifying too many people knowing even a whiff about the safe house in the suburbs is to kill everyone, from the people like Helen to the union contractors. Marcone vetoed that idea, likely considering it a very foolish action.
Nicodemus holds it when he brings all his fanatics to the island. Not only do the fact they have human-shape feet makes the heroes' footprints easier to blend with (compared to the monster-prints the Denarian forms would have). And the fact that tongueless men and women can be tricked by Harry just acting like he lacks a tongue and makes them inefficient at using radios.
Nicodemus agreeing to the deal to trade Ivy in the first place. Even with Fidelacchius on the table, he should have backed away and not risked everything to destroy this sword.
Weakened by the Light: The dark creatures Hobs shun all forms of light. They will attack any source to destroy it. So they are not too pleased when Michael's blade shines through their myrk that blocks all other light.
What the Hell, Hero?: Harry calls out Eldest Gruff, the Champion of Summer. Harry asks why Titania would want Ivy in the hands of the Denarians and when Gruff replied it wasn't his place, Harry countered that as champion, it should be his place to challenge and question Titania. The old Faerie is unfazed and replied the question back asking if Harry understood Mab's reasoning for wanting to save Marcone.
Xanatos Speed Chess: The Denarians play a mean game. Harry and Michael note on several occasions that the Denarians seem to plan things out so that no matter what happens they can still come away with some advantage. Fortunately, in Small Favor Harry proves that he is also becoming quite an adept player of Xanatos Speed Chess and manages to play the Denarians to a draw at the end of the book.
Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The Gruffs who speak in the book speak with this inflection. Harry notes that it isn't that they go back to speaking this way. It's that they have never stopped talking in this style since the Middle Ages.
You Are Not Alone: When the Denarians have Ivy, Harry writes her a letter that he knows will become part of Archive's vast knowledge. The letter assures her she isn't alone and they are looking for her.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Harry knows, and Michael affirms Nicodemus, would have no trouble killing one of the six remaining Denarians to secure a coin for Ivy or Marcone. Later Nicodemus affirms this when he planned on killing Namshiel as he was so mangled after Harry hit him with soulfire-infused attack.
You Killed My Brother: Mab notes to Harry that had he died by Summer's hand, or even the Denarians and thus could not be her Winter Knight, she would approach Thomas to become the Winter Knight with this trope in mind. She assumed the man would enjoy seeking vengeance against his brother's killers.
You Will Know What to Do: Five years ago, Shiro gave Harry Fidelacchius and told him he would know who he should offer it to when the time is right. Harry realized he was meant to offer it to Nicodemus. Harry realized that with this sword, one of the banes to Nicodemus' plots, as a bargaining chip he could get the edge in the negotiations and save Ivy.