A series of fantasy books with shades of romance by Creator/MercedesLackey. The main premise of the series is that a realm exists called the Five Hundred Kingdoms, and these lands are governed by a magical force known as The Tradition which causes the inhabitants to live out Traditional plotlines from fairy tales, fables, fireside tales, morality plays, and even bawdy bar songs.

Within this intriguing setting live the Fairy Godmothers -- women in possession of magical power as a result of the Tradition trying to force them into a role that either circumstances or their own personalities made impossible. They use their experience and a moderate touch of magic to minimize the damage the Tradition can do, steering characters out of tales they know will end tragically and into ones with a happier ending. Also on the side of Good are the Wizards, Sorcerers, and Sorceresses, who work the larger magics when a Godmother's efforts are not enough; similarly the Champions take on the Traditional tasks of physical heroics, epic quests, and the wielding enchanted blades. Opposing them are Evil Sorcerers/Sorceresses, Wicked Stepmothers, cruel rulers, and all sorts of woe, which the Tradition enables because every story needs a villain.

The books provide a relentless and quite entertaining send up of most of the standard FairyTaleTropes, both as they play out straight and as the active figures try to avert or subvert them.

The TropeMaker for RomanticPseudoFantasy.

The books in the series are

* ''The Fairy Godmother'' (2004)
* ''One Good Knight'' (2006)
* ''Fortune's Fool'' (2007)
* ''The Snow Queen'' (2008)
* ''The Sleeping Beauty'' (2010)
* ''Beauty and the Werewolf'' (2011)

There is also a story in the anthology ''Harvest Moon'' which is a sequel of sorts to ''The Sleeping Beauty.''
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!!This series contains examples of:

* AcquiredPoisonImmunity: The Tyrant that Godmother Aleksia checks up on goes to his Alchemist daily for a concoction of thirty common poisons, which gives him an immunity to all but the truly exotic poisons (and the reason why he doesn't need to employ a taster). For the exotic ones (which are slow-acting), the alchemist has the antidotes handy.
* AdamAndOrEve: The Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve variation is used in ''The Fairy Godmother'' to refer to humans, when she talks about the cottage growing:
--> It knows that budding unsettles the Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve[.]
* AlmightyIdiot: The Tradition, which forces tropes to be enacted regardless of the harm it does.
* AncientGrome: Acadia.
* AnIcePerson: The Snow Queen. [[spoiler:Both of them.]]
* AmplifiedAnimalAptitude: Mostly averted, intelligent animals are typically explicitly magical, ordinary animals are generally no brighter then you'd expect, except cats, though this may be because CatsAreMagic (and AuthorAppeal).
* ApothecaryAlligator: In ''One Good Knight'', a character comments that The Tradition ''requires'' Acadian Sophonts to have a stuffed crocodile hanging from the rafters. If they don't have one, it supplies one. Whether they want it or not.
* ArtifactTitle: In-universe example. Fairy Godmothers were formerly all True Fae, but now they are usually just humans approved by the Fair Folk. They are still called 'Fairy' as an honorific: the Rose Fairy, the Lilac Fairy, etc.
* AtTheCrossroads: We get to see both sides -- the one being tested and the one doing the testing.
* BadassAdorable
** Unicorns in a fighting mood. So dumb, so pretty, so pointy.
** Also Katya, tiny, white-blonde, cute as a button, and the King's secret agent and spymaster.
* BackgroundMagicField: The Tradition. Unusual for this trope, it makes both heroes and villains, since every story needs an antagonist.
* BalefulPolymorph: The white doe that Sasha and Katya encounter.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Smart characters make it a point to never wish out loud for anything. It invites The Tradition to cause mischief galore. Kay especially got his wish.
** The Snow Queen's major job is essentially to be this personified, especially for self-centered little tossers like Kay who are convinced that all they want is time to work and be left alone.
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: The Tradition in a nutshell
* BegoneBribe: After being kicked out of the family castle, Leopold has pretty much made a living by going to other kingdoms and being his usual LoveableRogue self, which results in nobles and monarchs paying him to stay away once their daughters take an interest in him.
* BettyAndVeronica: ''The Sleeping Beauty'' has Rosamund's two main suitors, the honest and chaste Siegfried as Betty, and the roguishly charming and flirtatious Leopold as the Veronica. [[spoiler: Rosamund picks Betty, while Leopold gets a Valkyrie that arguably counted as ''Siegfried's'' Veronica and makes a good match out of it.]]
* BigDamnHeroes: Champions, Good Sorcerers/Sorceresses, and Heroes have this as a job description: they show up when things are dire and save the day. [[spoiler: The Queen of Copper Mountain also pulls one in the climax of ''Fortune's Fool''.]]
* BiggerOnTheInside: In ''The Fairy Godmother'': Bella and Elena's cottage, explained by it being "one of the Palaces of the Great Fae". It even 'buds' out more space as needed; it's left somewhat ambiguous whether this means creating new rooms or merely bringing old ones out of storage.
* BitchInSheepsClothing: Queen Cassiopeia full stop. She looks like the TheHighQueen but in actuality is a classic GodSaveUsFromTheQueen. [[spoiler: In ''The Sleeping Beauty'', Prince Desmond is one too. He is secretly an evil Sorcerer that kickstarted everything in the book by sending the Huntsman against Princess Rosamund.]]
* BlessedWithSuck: Many people whose lives The Tradition is attempting to steer, especially when their Happy Ending can't occur for one reason or another -- or their story doesn't ''have'' a happy ending. The Fair Rosalinda and Ladderlocks girls get it particularly bad.
* BlindWithoutEm: Princess Andromeda.
* BloodBrothers: A way to invoke certain Traditional paths. Andie does it with Sir George in ''One Good Knight'' to fend off the RescueRomance that The Tradition is pushing on them, claiming that The Tradition never allows BrotherSisterIncest except in cases where the siblings don't recognize each other.
* BloodMagic: Blood and the shedding of blood in certain circumstances has Traditional force. Also, drinking a bit of dragon blood conveys the ability to speak with animals. (It also tastes terrible).
* BornLucky: The title character of ''Fortune's Fool'', for one.
* BreakTheHaughty: Many, many arrogant, discourteous people have this done to them by Godmothers, Wizards and Sorceresses. Example: Prince Alexander of Kolhstania. Actually is a good thing for them, since The Tradition would ensure they have a very sorry end if they don't repent and redeem themselves. The good Magicians at least ensure that nothing truly horrible happens to people in need of redemption. Aleksia engages in this more than the average Godmother; Kay is only the latest in the line of those needing redeeming.
* BreakTheCutie:Well, more Silly than Cutie, but Aleksia has to do this to Gerda, the love-blind sweetheart of Kay, in order to open her eyes to the reality.
* BrainlessBeauty: There are exceptions, but as a rule, beautiful magical creatures will also be dumb as a post (intelligence, beauty, magic -- pick two). Exhibit A: Unicorns.
* BrotherSisterIncest: Tends to happen in Traditional paths where the siblings in question are [[SurpriseIncest unaware of the relation]].
* CallingTheOldManOut: [[spoiler:After being woken up by Leopold and married to him, Brunnhilde]] does this to her father [[spoiler:Wotan in the Royal Palace garden of Eltaria. With an audience consisting of her own husband, her nephew Siegfried, his queen Rosamund, their Firebird companion and her father's own two ravens and eight legged horse. The ravens snicker and the old man leaves with his tail between his legs]].
* CanisLatinicus: In ''The Fairy Godmother'', it is said that "dragonets [...] were the much smaller, unintelligent subspecies of Draconis Sapiens". ''Draconis Sapiens'' is presumably the designation for sapient dragons, which appear later in the series.
* CapitalLettersAreMagic: Many, many things dealing with The Tradition are capitalized. The first book alone capitalizes not only "The Tradition" but Sleepers, Questers, Failed Questers, Witches, Godmothers, etc.
* CatsAreMagic: Not to mention quick, stealthy, wise, secretive, and susceptible to flattery.
* CastFromHitPoints: The first book mentions that it's possible to transmute life-force into magical power. Presumably this also applies to Traditional stories where someone makes a HeroicSacrifice.
* ChainedToARock: A whole line of maidens in ''One Good Knight'', including the princess.
* CinderellaCircumstances: Elena at the beginning of ''The Fairy Godmother'' (Unfortunately, the only prince in the area is a young child, so the Traditional Happy Ending for those circumstances can't happen) and countless other girls in many other kingdoms.
* ClingyMacguffin: If it's Traditional for someone in your role to have something, you'll have it -- whether you want it or not. Acadian Sophonts, for example, always have a [[ApothecaryAlligator stuffed crocodile]] in their offices, so The Tradition will supply one. No matter how often one throws out or destroys the thing, it will always come back.
* CurseEscapeClause: The Tradition doesn't like unbreakable curses, so it almost always finds a way to leave an 'out'. Generally, the more dire the curse, the more simple the escape.
* CoolHorse: Several, especially the Sons of the East Wind.
* CombatPragmatist: The self defense Siegfried teaches Rosamund consist of this. Also Prince Sasha's fighting style when it comes down to it. Even [[MagicKnight Champions]] are taught to fight with what they have on hand, unless there's a Traditional reason to use some particular weapon.
* CostumePorn: At least once a book.
* DamselOutOfDistress: Andie in ''One Good Knight'', bordering on GuileHeroine. She doesn't fight any dragons, but she does learn to pick locks in preparation for her ChainedToARock moment. Later, she becomes adept with a sling.
* DancesAndBalls: Princess Rosamund and Queen Sable throw a few of them during the EngagementChallenge period. Elena also attends a Royal Christening.
* DangerousSixteenthBirthday: Significant birthdays tend to be deadlines for the Tradition; if the story hasn't reached a certain point by then, it will give up and leave that person alone (at least until s/he starts on what could be the plot of another story).
** The twenty-first birthday is particularly significant: in ''The Fairy Godmother'' it's mentioned that it's only after that birthday that Elena can be safely trained in magic and in ''Fortune's Fool'' Katya's father tells her that now she's past her twenty-first birthday they know that her magic is stable and she has free rein to use it when appropriate.
* DarkIsNotEvil: The Tradition encourages Evil Villains to take on certain motifs. Some decent figures, like Arachnia, adopt the same symbols to fulfill the villain's role in a tale without having to be evil herself. She even keeps a fairly polite troll as a stablehand.
** The formerly human Rusalka that Sasha meets is an example too, after a talk with him she promises not to drown young men but scare them into good behaviour and also warn and educate girls on how to recognize blackguards. The second time Sasha encounters her she has kept her promise.[[spoiler: She even keeps guard on him while he sleeps and tells him he is a good man.]]
* DarkMagicalGirl: Arachnia and a few others.
* DeceasedParentsAreTheBest: Step-parents, particularly stepmothers, will become wicked due to The Tradition unless they are very careful to avert it.
* DeconstructedTrope: Oh yes. Godmothers are well aware that Traditional stories, romantic or poignant as they may be, can be tragic when they actually play out. The girl in the tower with the long hair may win her Prince -- but only after any number of young men are murdered to increase the power of the Evil Witch holding her captive, and presuming she doesn't go mad from the loneliness first.
* DeconstructorFleet: Increasingly as the books go on. By ''The Sleeping Beauty'', the beautiful princess is captured and enslaved by seven ugly, brutish dwarves; the WickedStepmother is the Fairy Godmother in disguise; the poisoned apple is a scheme for FakingTheDead; the prince who wakes her with a kiss has both hands in places they really shouldn't be... and that's the ''beginning'' of the story.
* DefiantCaptive: Princess Kylia in ''The Fairy Godmother'' leaves a trail of damage when captured by the Koschei, which impresses Godmother Elena.
* DefrostingIceQueen: The Snow Queen. Again, [[spoiler:both of them, though one features a slightly more literal example]].
* DesignatedVillain: GenreSavvy Godmothers can do this InUniverse, setting themselves up to be the villain that a tale requires so that they can control the story and direct it down a less-harmful path than it might otherwise take.
* DestinationDefenestration: Seven-year-old Witch-killer Arachnia pushed the EvilSorceress that had kidnapped her out of a window.
* DistractedByTheSexy: This is the official duty of Katya's very beautiful sister Galya. Many beautiful evil Sorceresses and Witches do this to random kings, but magic enters the equation here as well. The witch that plagued the Kingdom of Nippon used this as her main shtick to power.
** Queen Cassiopeia uses this as a political tactic.
* DistressedDamsel: It's Traditional. Though most of the young women in these books can keep their wits enough to do something toward their own escape, even if they can't get out without help.
* DontTouchItYouIdiot: Basically what the bird told Siegfried about the Niebelung ring. In an aversion to the trope, Siggy was smart enough to listen.
* DragonHoard: Gold for most dragons, but we meet two Bookwyrms [[note]]dragons said to be descended from a scholarly wizard who transformed himself into a dragon)[[/note]] whose "hoard" is their libraries.
** One of the challenges in ''The Sleeping Beauty'' is for the suitors to get golden items bearing minor curses into a dragon's hoard without harming him. The dragon agrees to this because 1) gold, 2) he's immune to the curses, and 3) once word gets out that his hoard is cursed, most treasure hunters will leave him alone.
* DudeWheresMyRespect: Sometimes Sasha feels this way but shakes the thought off pretty quickly.
* DoubleStandard: Virgins, especially when found attracting unicorns. Virgin girls don't get much of a reaction for their unicorn problem, other than a raised eyebrow on the Rusalka's case. Virgin boys, on the other hand, are sources of humor. When three unicorns bond with three new (male) knights, one godmother laments at how difficult it will be to keep them virgin.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: Part of the role of the good magic users is to put the heroes through enough difficulty that they lose their flaws and become more appreciative of their reward once they finally achieve it. Aleksia, the Snow Queen, particularly resents that her "clients" never appreciate what she does for them.
* EngagementChallenge: Invoked by at least one clever monarch who wanted to find a strong, brave, and compassionate man to be a husband for his daughter and heir to his throne.
** Also invoked in ''The Sleeping Beauty''. This one does double duty -- the Kingdom of Eltaria is wealthy, and has greedy neighbors with armies. The princes are not only contenders for Rosamund's hand, but hostages keeping said neighbors from invading until a long-term solution is found.
* EnthrallingSiren: Mostly mentioned and not shown, but Katya has siren blood on her mother's side and the most beautiful of her sisters shows it more than most. [[spoiler: King Vladislav has not bothered to manipulate The Tradition on their behalf since they do not recognize his authority as King of the Sea. The mermaids, who do, have had different paths forged which protect them.]]
* EroticDream: In ''The Fairy Godmother'', as Elena and Alexander start to fall for each other, they [[RecurringDreams have increasingly sexual dreams]] about meeting on "a shore of purple sand by an amethyst sea beneath a silver sky with three azure moons".
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Again; Tradition.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: When Cassiopeia's adviser Solon lies and says her daughter was butchered by a dragon, even he is disgusted at her gleeful reaction.
* EvilChancellor: Again, it's Tradition.
* EvilGloating: Present and [[LampshadeHanging naturally lampshaded]] in ''Beauty and the Werewolf'':
--> '''Elena''' Thank you for that quite Traditional monologue...
* ExactWords: The typical CurseEscapeClause tends to depend on this.
* ExplainExplainOhCrap: Princess Andie realizing she had given her mother a reason to want her dead.
* TheFairFolk: Played arrow straight. The King and Queen of the True Fae are explicitly beautiful yet morally unencumbered -- Elena realizes at an instant that they have the power to indulge any whim they choose. However, they seem to prefer to stand by and not interfere with human affairs unless asked.
* FairyGodmother: The central concept of the book -- other than the Tradition -- is that a small army of women with at least a touch of magic are out there, keeping an eye on things and trying to steer all the various stories to the happiest possible endings.
* FairestOfThemAll: A few unlucky princesses. Rosamund is the fairest in her kingdom, albeit in a small kingdom. The Queen of Copper Mountain is said to be the loveliest creature upon the earth.
* FakingTheDead: Rosamund in order to escape the dwarves.
* FantasyKitchenSink: Both straight and subverted; AllMythsAreTrue, but when elements from one culture turn up in Traditional storylines from another it usually means someone else has introduced them.
** One of the best examples of this is in the short story "A Tangled Web" from the ''Harvest Moon'' anthology: it's a combination of Greek and Norse mythology with a prince of European background that was introduced in ''The Sleeping Beauty.''
* FateWorseThanDeath: Several, of which one is to be completely cut off from The Tradition and condemned to live a completely ordinary, entirely non-magical life. (Unless that's what the person actually ''wants'', and some do.) Rosalie being a prime example, after finding out what The Tradition intended to do with her she practically begged Godmother Bella to take it from her. As her life would have mirrored that of Fair Rosalinda, no one can blame her.
* FinancialAbuse: A tactic of {{Wicked Stepmother}}s to keep their exploited stepchildren under control, especially stepdaughters. In Elena's case, her stepmother held authority over her inheritance, and spent it on her daughters and herself. But Madame Klovis also ensured that Elena would have nowhere else to go, by making sure that no one would hire Elena. The laws of Otraria which make a parent or stepparent ultimate authority over a girl's life until she has married are fodder for that. Likely many other kingdoms have similar laws given the prevalence of Ella Cinders girls.
* FisherKing: Kingdoms with benevolent rulers tend to be more pleasant and fertile, with nicer weather, than kingdoms with evil rulers.
* TheFool: A Traditional role, and one which tends to convey a great deal of blind luck. Fortunately, stupidity is not a requirement; anyone in the right circumstances can ''act'' the Fool and get all the benefits.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Thanks to The Tradition, if something looks like the setup for some kind of fairy tale, it almost certainly is. For instance, when the female lead of ''Beauty and the Werewolf'' puts on a red cloak before going to visit the old lady who lives in the woods, it's pretty obvious that she's going to be attacked by a wolf that evening.
* FracturedFairyTale: All over the place and often {{invoked|Trope}} since a confused Tradition is more biddable for those who want to manipulate it.
* TheGenericGuy: Leopold's older brother Theodore, the heir to the throne, is completely average despite being basically a nice guy. Leo got kicked out because his natural charm was eclipsing and outshining his brother.
* GeniusBruiser: Siegfried, which kept him from going through the tragic tale he was supposed to. [[RegularCaller Not that it isn't persistent.]]
* GiantFlyer: Including the coolest of them all: the dragon.
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: [[spoiler:Cassiopeia in ''One Good Knight'']]
* GoodBadGirl: At least one Good Sorceress is shown as rather lusty but she and others fight in the side of good. The Rusalka is a zigzag example. She is supposed to be a murderous seductress revenging herself upon men but she is a virgin and she agrees to be a ScareEmStraight ploy rather than murder young men for real. Likely the Sea Princess Galya, who is the official sexy distraction of the Sea Court but is dutiful and devoted to the good of her kingdom.
* GoodIsDumb: The straight-up heroes, virtuous maidens, etc. also tend to be naive compared to the cunning, experienced villains. Fortunately they have intelligent allies.
* TheGoodKing: From various paths:
** As a rule, the kings that started out as valiant peasants or that won an EngagementChallenge.
** Those born to the throne if they had a Godmother to guide them or were otherwise made aware of The Tradition.
** Redeemed Arrogant Bully oldest princes.
* GracefulLadiesLikePurple: Goodmother Bella
* GreenEyedMonster: The Tradition almost twisted [[spoiler:Aleksia]] into one.
* GroinAttack: Prince Leopold gets a little too touchy-feely while trying to wake up the sleeping Rosamund. She promptly knees him in the royal jewels. Lily practically busts a gut laughing. Siegfried is impressed at her spirit and good sense. [[spoiler: Later while getting some self defense training Rosa accidentally kicks Siggy in the danglies too. It impresses her that he does not get mad at her but rather he points out that it is the most effective way of disabling any man trying to attack her.]]
* GuileHero[=/=]GuileHeroine:
** Prince Sasha of Led Belarus and The Sea King Vladislav.
** Effective Godmothers
** Most of the major focus characters of the books are {{Guile Hero}}es in fact.
* HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: The Tradition gives this to many princesses or destined princesses, and a few Heroes in keeping with the trope's roots in Traditional fairy tales.
* HeartIsAnAwesomePower: Sasha has small magics being a Songweaver, [[MagicalSeventhSon Seventh Son]] and Fortunate Fool, but used creatively and wisely he has kept Led Belarus peaceful and prosperous, which is more than one can say for powerful magicians.
** The Drachenthal girl carried off by the Jinn was more impressed with Lesser Skalds, who guide and manipulate paths and are her homeland's equivalent of Songweavers, rather than Greater Skalds or Bards who forge new paths that might bring about lots of grief.
* TheHedgeOfThorns: Practically every evil stronghold.
* HeelFaceTurn: Happens to characters on the path of redemption (JerkAss princes who mess with the wrong elderly woman in the woods, for example).
* HideYourLesbians: There aren't many Traditional stories involving a homosexual couple, and as a result The Tradition has trouble figuring out what should happen when it inadvertently creates a situation where a Traditional romance should arise when both parties are of the same gender. Elena takes advantage of this at the end of the first book by going herself to rescue a married DamselInDistress while her boyfriend (who happens to be said damsel's brother-in-law) leads the charge against the BigBad, to ensure that none of the established relationships get screwed up by The Tradition.
* HollywoodToneDeaf: Bad singers and other horrid musicians are acceptable targets for humor in Lackey's works, and this series is no exception.
* ICallItVera: Both averted and played straight: Champions are able to make any weapon in their hand a magic weapon, but owning a sword called Haeldrin the Wyrm-slayer would surely give you an advantage should you meet an actual Wyrm.
* ImpossibleTask: All too often, especially issued from {{Wicked Stepmother}}s.
* IncestIsRelative: Siegfried was supposed to fall in love with his aunt Brunnhilde due to the path assigned to him by his homeland's JerkassGods. Every time he sees her sleeping on her slab of stone, surrounded by a ring of fire, he runs as fast as he can in the other direction. He is on a personal quest to find another Prince to shove across the flames to wake her, while he finds some maiden who isn't Brunnhilde who happens to be inside a ring of fire. [[spoiler: After Siegried rescues Rosamund from a castle surrounded by flames, Leopold happily wakes up Brunnhilde off screen, and they end up getting together.]]
* InvokedTrope: How Godmothers, Champions, and other smart characters steer circumstances to their advantage.
* ItsAllAboutMe: The general attitude that marks an unsympathetic character. Queen Cassiopeia and Prince Alexander (pre-CharacterDevelopment) are not-so-shining examples.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Prince Octavian. It is revealed that the reason he was awful to his brother Julian was because he was trying to help him in a misguided way. And after he fails his quest he gets on the path of redemption a lot quicker than his brother Alexander.
* JerkAssGods: The Drachenthal pantheon, which mirrors the Norse pantheon, is a prominent example but also the Olympia gods.
* KarmicTransformation: Elena turns Prince Alexander into a jackass to teach him to stop behaving like one.
* KidHero: Seven-year-old Witch-killer Arachnia killed her EvilSorceress via [[DestinationDefenestration pushing her out a window]].
* KidsAreCruel: The stepsisters of every Ella Cinders come to the household as children. Also the witch killer sociopaths were cruel to animals and younger children.
* TheKingdom: Five hundred of them, to be precise.
* KnightInShiningArmor: Champions, who are armed fighters with a touch of magical ability who ride forth when the Tradition requires it. The most smart of them associate with Godmothers, who can help them decide which tactics to use to keep the Tradition on their side.
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: In ''The Snow Queen'', when a minor character needs to be made to forget that he just blabbed the villain's plot to Godmother Aleksia.
* LaserGuidedKarma: Another thing the Tradition can enforce on certain people if they meet certain requirements, usually the punishing kind. Fairy Godmothers and Wizards do their best to keep it in check or it will go for DisproportionateRetribution. They also make sure people get this, either in a good way or a bad way.
* LoopholeAbuse: A major weapon in the arsenal of Godmothers, White Wizards, etc. in trying to subvert the Tradition.
* LotteryOfDoom: In ''One Good Knight,'' to select the weekly virgin sacrifice.
* LovableRogue: Prince Leopold from ''The Sleeping Beauty''. He would never break his word or betray his host and would be on the bucket brigade if the town burns down, but his penchant for wild parties, wilder women, and general mischief has kings paying him off to stay away.
* LovePotion: Various love potions and love charms get an offhanded mention. ''One Good Knight'' features a lust spell which works wonders to distract Queen Cassiopeia.
* LoveRevelationEpiphany: In ''The Sleeping Beauty'', Godmother Lily doesn't realize she's developed feelings for Jimson until Jimson accidentally calls her "my love".
* LowerDeckEpisode: Some subplots are full fairy tale stories in their own right, seen from the perspective of the characters who assist the heroes and heroines to their happy endings.
* MachineWorship: A possible fate of Kai of ''The Snow Queen'':
--> given his turn of mind, he would have become a Clockwork Artificer, one of those repellant individuals who tried to reduce everything to a matter of gears and levers, and tried to [[ManInTheMachine imprison life itself inside metal simulacrums]]. While not usually dangerous to the public at large the way, say, the average {{necromancer}} was, Clockwork Artificers could cause a great deal of unhappiness—and in their zeal to recreate life itself, sometimes resorted to murder.
* MagicalSeventhSon: Sasha has some small magics, in part because he's a seventh son. Also, in ''One Good Knight'', Gina mentions that three of her siblings have magical abilities.
-->"That kind of startled my parents, they had no idea that there was magic in their blood, but the sibs in question are the seventh born, the ninth born, and the thirteenth born, so that probably explains it."
* MagicKnight: Champions.
* MagicMirror: Mirror slaves are popular for both Good and Evil magic workers; the Good ones, of course, do not actually treat them as slaves.
** The Snow Queen is a Mirror Magic specialist.
** As is Godmother Lily, in ''The Sleeping Beauty''; it becomes plot-relevant.
* MagicWand: Used by Godmothers and other magic users. They are mostly a focusing device for magic; breaking the wand does nothing at all.
* ManInTheMachine: May be inflicted by some Clockwork Artificers, as "imprison[ing] life itself inside metal simulacrums" sounds like this trope.
* MassiveNumberedSiblings: Both Sasha (a seventh son) and Katya ('''thirteen''' siblings) from ''Fortune's Fool''. Also Gina (like Katya, one of fourteen) from ''One Good Knight''.
* MeaningfulName: Useful in certain circumstances, especially if a Traditional Hero with the same name as you succeeded in doing something you're trying to accomplish. Terrible at other times, such as when your name sets you on a Traditional path that ends badly.
* TheMindIsAPlaythingOfTheBody: Characters subjected to a KarmicTransformation will start to lose their humanity to whatever they've become unless they get occasional 'breaks' as a human again. This complicates Elena's program to reform Alexander.
* MinimalistCast: ''Beauty and the Werewolf'', since almost all of it takes place in Sebastian's deserted castle. Unfortunately, this makes the identity of the HiddenVillain obvious by default.
* MoralMyopia: Prince Alexander in ''The Fairy Godmother''. It takes an extended BreakTheHaughty sequence to snap him out of it.
* MundaneUtility: As with most Lackey books, generally averted. Characters with magic typically do their work by hand and save magic for things only magic can do. Played straight in ''One Good Knight'' where a group of virgin girls use volunteer unicorns to purify mushrooms so they can eat them.
* MyBelovedSmother: Demeter, Persophene's mother in ''A Tangled Web''.
* MyMasterRightOrWrong: This is how unicorns feel about virgins. [[spoiler: In ''Fortune's Fool'' a male unicorn shows up to protect a malicious spirit from the protagonist because she is a virgin.]]
* NatureAdoresAVirgin: Unicorns are attracted to virgin humans: stallions to virgin women and mares to virgin men. This can be embarrassing if your virginity (or your gender) is not something you want announced to the world.
* {{Necromancer}}: Unseen, but they exist, as mentioned in comparison to Clockwork Artificers:
--> not usually dangerous to the public at large the way, say, the average {{necromancer}} was, Clockwork Artificers could cause a great deal of unhappiness—and in their zeal to recreate life itself, sometimes resorted to murder.
* NeutralFemale: Openly defied in both ''One Good Knight'' and ''The Sleeping Beauty''.
* NiceToTheWaiter: The Tradition enforces this trope, rewarding those who honor it and setting up those who ignore it for a few rounds of BreakTheHaughty. So it's a very good idea to be nice to the old beggar woman at the crossroad and give her food, she may very well be a magician in disguise.
* NobleDemon: Arachnia before her HeelFaceTurn, Adamant and Periapt the Dragons (on first appearance -- they turn out to be straight-up Heroes once people stop trying to slay them and actually listen to what they have to say).
* NoHarmRequirement: In ''The Sleeping Beauty'', one of the [[EngagementChallenge challenges]] for Rosamund's suitors is to add a (cursed) item to a dragon's hoard without harming the dragon in any way. It weeds out a lot of suitors who can't come up with any methods that don't involve violence.
* NoManOfWomanBorn: The Tradition tends to leave loopholes like this, and a clever White Wizard or Fairy Godmother will look for them and exploit them.
** In ''One Good Knight'', the EvilVizier quite literally cast a spell that said "no man" could cross the border of his kingdom to save Princess Andromeda or the other virgins being sacrificed to the dragon. Fairy Godmother Elena solves this problem by sending a female knight.
* ObviouslyEvil: Arachnia, especially after her HeelFaceTurn. She likes the appearance of evil more than she likes causing actual pain.
** Godmothers make use of this when they need an "Evil" force to try the heroes but do not want to put anyone in real danger.
* OfCorsetHurts: Daphne, Elena's rather plump stepsister has to be fitted into one in ''The Fairy Godmother''. Elena even has to put her foot on the back of Daphne's back to make it lace. But since Daphne gained the weight by eating everything in sight so Elena would not get it, it is hard to feel sorry for her discomfort.
* OffTheRails: The only way to guarantee The Tradition won't mess with you is to take a violent swerve off the normal path.
* OffingTheOffspring: [[spoiler: Queen Cassiopeia in ''One Good Knight'' makes sure her daughter's name is drawn in the LotteryOfDoom, shutting down claims that the drawing is rigged and terminating the kid's research into certain things in one fell swoop. Also King Henrik in ''The Fairy Godmother'' hints that he would not feel particularly sorry if his [[TheUnfavorite Unfavorite]] third son dies in his quest for Princess Kylia's hand in marriage. Elena makes sure he suffers for it.]]
* OneSteveLimit: In ''Fortune's Fool'', Galya is the name of one of Katya's sisters and a unicorn.
* OverprotectiveDad: King Stancia.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Most dragons are intelligent creatures, not rampaging monsters. However, if they get co-opted into a Traditional tale that requires a ferocious beast, the Traditional force will make them act against their better natures at least a ''little''.
* OurMermaidsAreDifferent: Katya and her sisters are the daughters of the Sea King, but they have siren ancestry to give them legs instead of tails (which neatly averts the MermaidProblem). Only Katya and her father are comfortable on land, however.
* OutdoorBathPeeping: Discussed in ''One Good Night'', when warrior Gina and naive princess Andie contemplate a bath in a stream. Gina is ''not'' amused by Andie's innocent questions about what could possibly go wrong.
* OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions: Some Kings oust The Tradition from their kingdoms, thus weakening its power, but the cost is the loss of magic in the lives of their subjects. And of course if something Traditional ''does'' go wrong, no one knows what to do, meaning that even a small problem can quickly grow into a catastrophe.
* PairTheSpares: In ''The Sleeping Beauty'' after [[spoiler: Prince Siegfried]] wins the engagement challenge and Rosamund's hand, [[spoiler:Leopold wakes up Brunnhilde, the woman Siegfried was fated to marry, and marries her himself.]]
* ParentalFavoritism: Both played straight and subverted. Particularly wise parents can invoke this, as Sasha's father did, and make his seventh son TheUnfavorite in public because it's a very lucky Traditional role.
* PlotInducedStupidity: The Tradition can ensure that this happens ''in-universe'', since some fairy tales rely on characters picking up the IdiotBall. For example, the husband of a woman who was getting set up to be the mother of a Rapunzel ''knew'' the mysterious woman who moved in next door was a sorceress, but such was the power of the Tradition that he was compelled to steal lettuce from her garden ''anyway''.
* PokeThePoodle: In ''The Fairy Godmother'', the Evil Sorceress who comes to a royal christening is more lonely than evil, and once Godmother Bella introduces her to a potential boyfriend she loses most of her interest in carrying out her Traditional role. She eventually casts a half-hearted curse that the Princess will wake up on her DangerousSixteenthBirthday with... incredibly tangled hair. It's [[DeconstructedTrope Deconstructed]], however, as without Elena's judicious interference in setting up a CurseEscapeClause, the Tradition could (and most likely would) make this a truly horrific curse.
* PoweredByAForsakenChild: Since The Tradition invests a great deal of magic in those it is trying to control, evil magic users benefit from attracting Questers and Abandoned Children in the Woods, and from kidnapping certain would-be protagonists so that they can continually drain off the power that The Tradition is shoving at them.
* PropheticName: Can be useful or a burden, depending on the prophecy.
* PungeonMaster: The Tradition itself. It loves puns.
* TheQuest
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: Elena in ''The Fairy Godmother''. Most characters who really understand The Tradition come to resent how it interferes with the lives of others.
* RagsToRoyalty: Happens routinely -- there are a lot of FairyTaleTropes about commoners marrying the Prince or Princess, after all.
* RapunzelHair: Women on the "Ladderlocks" Traditional path.
* RecurringDreams: One way for the Tradition to give characters a nudge. In ''The Fairy Godmother'', Elena and Alexander share a series of {{Erotic Dream}}s once conditions are right for them to fall in love.
* RescueRomance: Traditionally mandatory... which can be awkward if the two characters don't want to fall in love, and ''really'' inconvenient if either party is already intended to end up with someone else.
* RomanticPseudoFantasy: Toward the fantasy end of the spectrum, but the TropeMaker.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Some Kings and Queens, but more Princes and Princesses. Katya's family in ''Fortune's Fool'' is a good example.
* RuleOfThree: As per tradition, the third of something is likely to be significant: the third daughter, the third day, etc.
* RuleOfSeven: Same as the above -- a Seventh Son is Traditionally lucky, and the Seventh Son whose father was also a Seventh Son is luckier still.
* SaveThePrincess: Shows up particularly in ''One Good Knight'', where Sir George arrives just in time to save Princess Andie from a dragon. She has a big enough heart to feel sad for all the other girls who ''weren't'' saved (though they turn out to be okay).
* SacredHospitality: A Traditional force, with Traditional loopholes. Offering a guest a meal that does not include bread or salt means that you have not technically broken bread or shared salt with him, so that guest is not bound by the laws of hospitality.
* ScrewDestiny: The Tradition will irresistibly force a path on characters and cannot be blocked. The only escape is to change circumstances until they no longer fit the fairy tale.
* SecretTestOfCharacter: It's common for Traditional encounters to check the character of a potential hero.
* SerpentOfImmortality: Invoked in-universe in ''The Sleeping Beauty''. When Godmother Lily is undoing the "look like she's dead" spell on Rosa, one component of the ritual is a snake ring on Rosa's hand to symbolize rebirth.
* ShoutOut: In ''The Fairy Godmother'', when the main character is at the hiring fair, Discworld/{{Mort}} is the last person waiting, even after she leaves. His name isn't mentioned, but Mercedes Lackey is a fan of Creator/TerryPratchett and [[WordOfGod has confirmed outside the book]] that yes, that was Mort.
* SimpleYetOpulent: Solon in ''One Good Night'' loves things that are more costly and fine than they look.
* SpareToTheThrone: Some princes.
* SpeaksFluentAnimal: Dragon's blood can be used to give somebody this ability; diluted dragon's blood gives the ability temporarily while the pure stuff makes it permanent.
* SpoiledSweet: in ''Beauty and the Werewolf'', Bella's stepsisters Amber and Pearl, who are rather frivolous and prone to care more about fashion than anything else, but are also sweet-natured and well-intentioned. At a masked ball that the Wool Guild was holding, Bella notes that girls who put on airs would sniff in disdain at the gathering. Amber and Pearl, on the other hand, sees people having fun and are more than happy to join in.
* StandardHeroReward: The father of one character was a kingdom-saving hero who was offered the 6-year-old princess. He married one of her bodyguards instead.
* SuperheroParadox: The Tradition sometimes causes this. Siegfried finds himself having to fight fantastic beasts on a regular basis purely because it's Traditional for a warrior hero king to fight fantastic beasts or invading armies. Since he'd already set it up so that his neighbors would have to be insane to invade his kingdom, the Tradition creates beasts that he has to deal with.
* SweetPollyOliver: Not only a good way to exploit loopholes but a source of mild comic embarrassment when it requires saving the fair maiden, who will Traditionally [[SweetOnPollyOliver fall in love with her rescuer]] unless drastic measures are taken.
** One of the Princes in ''The Sleeping Beauty'' is in fact a Princess.
* TalkingAnimal: All animals can talk, but only those with intelligence and a touch of magic have anything useful to say.
* TeensAreMonsters: The sociopathic Witch Killers are teenagers. Also many wicked step-siblings.
* ThemeTwinNaming: Bella's twin stepsisters are named after gems, Amber and Pearl.
* TheoryOfNarrativeCausality: The Tradition, which is pure magic, so those who are affected by it are sources of magic that can be harnessed.
* TheTragicRose: Girls with the name "Rose" or similar are likely to find themselves on a poignant or even tragic Traditional path.
* TooDumbToLive: Discussed in ''The Fairy Godmother'':
--> Elena had gone out of her way to get both [Alexander] and Octavian into situations where, even if they were brought down lower than the humblest commoner, they were not in any danger of dying. Except, perhaps, by being monumentally stupid.
* TwentyFourHourArmor: Worn by Sir George in ''One Good Knight''. Justified several ways, including the fact that it is enchanted with spells that make it comfortable to wear.
* {{Twincest}}: Siegfried's parents, who met as adults and didn't know they were brother and sister.
* UnderdogsNeverLose: Provided you can set up the "RagtagBunchOfMisfits restore the lost heir to the throne" story and not "heroic castle defenders repel the murderous peasant uprising."
* TheUnfavorite: Invoked in ''Fortune's Fool'' by the king of Led-Belarus. He had studied The Tradition enough to know what benefits the disdained seventh son of a king would bring; so while in private Sasha was the treasured young trickster and luck maker, insofar as the court and boyars [[AbusiveParents knew....]]
* UrExample --> TropeMaker --> TropeCodifier: The trope-making sequence exists ''in universe''. The discussion of "Robbin' John's Army" in ''One Good Knight'' is the clearest description of one person's heroics becoming a well-worn Traditional path as others imitate him.
* VirginPower: In some Traditional lines.
* VirginSacrifice: In ''One Good Knight'' to mollify a rampaging dragon. Subverted in that none of the women are killed, and by the second act it's plain that some of them aren't even virgins. Even the dragon isn't what he seems.
* VirginityFlag: Again, unicorns.
* TheVerse: The Five Hundred Kingdoms.
* TheWomanWearingTheQueenlyMask: Aleksia in ''The Snow Queen''; Elena for much of ''The Fairy Godmother'', Lily [[spoiler: playing the role of Queen-Consort Sable]] in ''The Sleeping Beauty''. Single women in power must beware of loneliness in case The Tradition sends them a Cad, a Rake, or some other betrayer who will take advantage of them.
** Making sure that the elements aren't in place for The Tradition to do this plays an important part of ''The Fairy Godmother''. The would-be Cad is turned into a Knight Protector, ensuring that The Tradition is now more interested in making sure that he lives up to ''that'' role rather than keep trying to shove him into the Cad role. This also ensures that Elena can have a successful relationship with him, which stymies The Tradition from sending any more Betrayers after her.
* [[WickedStepmother Wicked Mother]]: [[spoiler: Queen Cassiopeia sacrifices her own daughter to a dragon via a rigged lottery when it looks like Andromeda is becoming a threat. Even her co-conspirator Solon the Evil Sorcerer is disgusted at how eager she is to murder her own child.]]
* WickedStepmother: Played straight and averted. The Tradition can turn previously decent women bitter when they become stepmothers unless outside forces act to help. Aleksia's stepmother just barely averted it thanks to counseling by Godmother Veroushka.
** In ''Beauty and the Werewolf'' [[spoiler: Belle is told by Elena that she, by being so controlling of the household, accidentally saved her stepmother from that fate.]]
* WinterRoyalLady: All the Snow Queens qualify, but Aleksia in particular, having been born a Royal.
* WomanInWhite: Aleksia the Ice Fairy, Snow Queen and Godmother of the northern lands. Also Guiliette the Wili wears a white dress reminiscent of a wedding dress at all times. Likely snow maidens as well.
* WomanScorned: Rusalkas, Wilis. All are young women used and discarded by men who after their deaths walk as otherworldly beings bend on revenging themselves on all men that cross their path. They are capable of redemption if they truly forgive the man that caused their pain and despair, but it is very difficult to forgive both the men and themselves. [[spoiler: Guiliette the Wili manages it in a CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming combined with a CrowningMomentOfAwesome.]]
* WorldsMostBeautifulWoman: The Queen of Copper Mountain is a contender for the title.
* WouldHurtAChild: When two teenage siblings run around killing good witches because they like to kill and cause pain, even the mildest Godmother would not hesitate to send a dragon after them by invoking the threats mothers give to children when they misbehave. Which are as valid a Traditional path as tales are.
* YouCantFightFate: The main dramatic tension of the series occurs when characters are stuck in a tale they don't want to be in.
* {{Youkai}}: When Katya travels to Nippon she encounters Lady Tamiko the Kitsune. And gets her father an alliance with the Twelve-tailed Kitsune.
* YoungestChildWins: Since that's how it generally turns out in stories, well...

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