Literature: The Sevenwaters Trilogy
The Sevenwaters Trilogy
is a series of Historical Fantasy
novels written by Juliet Marillier
. It is still commonly referred to as a trilogy, despite having more than three books, because the first books actually form a trilogy. The rest of the books are sequels.
The books are set in a fictional version of 9th century Ireland and focus on the Sevenwaters family, the lords and custodians of a mystical forest. The books are written in first person from the perspective of young female protagonists and emphasize romance and family relationships.
The original three books skipped a generation between each book, with the overarching political story dealing with a feud between Sevenwaters and a British family, Northwoods, over the control of a group of mystical islands. While Marillier did not originally intend to write any further books in the series, they proved to be so popular that she eventually agreed to return to Sevenwaters for another three books. The later books begin shortly after the ending of the original trilogy, and are shorter and lighter in tone.
Books in the series include:
This series provides examples of:
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Eilis
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Liadan chooses Bran (aka The Painted Man) the leader of a group of outlaws over the seemingly steady Guy Next Door Eamonn.
- And Your Little Dog Too: Richard (and others) threaten Sorcha by going after her dog
- Arc Number: Seven
- Arranged Marriage: Niamh and Fionn
- Babies Ever After
- Batman-Gambit: The evil plot of Heir to Sevenwaters
- Because Destiny Says So: Johnny's motivation (and his friends' and family's) throughout the third book: he has to win the battle and save the islands because he's the child of the prophecy. (Or is he?) Also the excuse for much meddling by the Fair Folk throughout the series.
- Bittersweet Ending
- Burn the Witch!: Richard's favorite pastime
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: An unfortunate complication that comes with the name Eamonn.
- The Clan
- Cycle of Revenge: The feud between Sevenwaters and Northwoods
- Dead Guy Junior: Niamh, Cormack, Eilis and Finbar are recurring names, and these are just the ones born after their namesakes are dead.
- Death of the Hypotenuse: Mac Dara's murder of Aidan in Heir to Sevenwaters
- In Son Of The Shadows Dog admits to having feelings for Liadan who gently rebuffs him and falls for Bran instead. Dog is slain in battle almost immediately thereafter, preventing his feelings from becoming an issue.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Red says this almost word-for-word
- Everyone Can See It: Sexual tension between main characters is almost always obvious to the observers before the participants
- Evil Matriarch: Oonagh
- Evil Uncle: Red's Uncle Richard
- The Fair Folk: Often as patrons rather then enemies but they are scary and incomprehensible. And they do have the normal amiable habits of kidnapping mortals and returning them years later.
- Feminist Fantasy
- Fiery Redhead: Averted
- Florence Nightingale Effect: Simon falls in love with Sorcha while she's treating his injuries.
- Forever War: Every tribe against, well, every other tribe.
- Friend to All Living Things: Darragh, or at least to horses
- Generational Saga
- Genre Savvy: Sorcha's brothers use this to figure out why she can't speak. At one point, they compare their own situation to The Children of Lir, which the plot of the novel is actually based off of...
- Good Shepherd: interestingly both Pagan and Christian religious leaders often come off well. Conor, Sorcha's brother is studying to be a Druid, Father Brien is Sorcha's mentor and fellow healer and when Hugh returns after finding Sorcha in a pitiful state, some nuns care for her and give Hugh sage advice about the difficulties of dealing with a Shell Shocked rape victim(that is only one of her problems but that is the one they recognize). When Richard tries to Burn the Witch!, a local bishop is one of the ones more skeptical of his charge.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Several examples
- Heroic Sacrifice: Finbar, and arguably Eamonn
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Hugh and Sorcha
- Incest Is Relative: Niamh and Ciaran, her mother's half-brother.
- Infant Immortality: Baby Johnny in Daughter of the Forest is rescued from a fire, and between books survives an outlaw attack and living with a man who had no qualms about killing his own wife. In Son of the Shadows, the guards make clear that they'd take care of baby Johnny after they murdered his parents. And in Heir to Sevenwaters, the villain actually tries to kill Becan, but he's brought back to life.
- This trope is subverted with Sean and Aisling's twin sons, first mentioned in Child of the Prophecy, who were likely born quite premature and were said to have lived less than a day.
- Instant Messenger Pigeon: Fiacha the raven in Son of the Shadows
- It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Fainne and Darragh; she refuses to even tell him that she's interested to divert the attention of her evil grandmother.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bran
- Kissing Cousins: Simon and Elaine
- Lap Pillow: Darragh to Fianne
- Law of Inverse Fertility: In Son of the Shadows, Liadan gets pregnant with Bran's child during her first time having sex, and gives birth later in the book. On the opposite side of the spectrum we have, for instance, Muirrin and her husband Evan. Both fairly young, both wanted children, but she only got pregnant as of Seer of Sevenwaters, after six years of marriage.
- Love Hurts
- Love Makes You Evil: Eamonn
- Lucky Seven
- Magical Incantation
- More than Mind Control
- Never Found the Body: Simon
- Never Suicide: Niamh, who was actually murdered by Oonagh in Child of the Prophecy and Firinne, who was killed by Mac Dara in Heir to Sevenwaters
- Noble Savage: The Irish are a subversion. They may be more In Harmony with Nature but they are still as savage as they are noble.
- Not Brainwashed: Oonagh likes to try this
- Oireland: Averted
- One True Pairing: Every protagonist is in one
- Parental Abandonment: In Daughter of the Forest, Lord Colum's wife is dead and he allows the household staff to bring up his children. Disappeared parents are the reason for Bran's dark past and Cathal's angst. Also happens with Ciaran, although he was probably better off that way...
- Parental Marriage Veto: Since the books are set in the Middle Ages, this one is always a hurdle. Actually exercised by Richard when Elaine wants to marry Simon, and by Niamh's whole family when she wants to marry Ciaran.
- Please Don't Leave Me: Since he's a "tough guy", Bran says it without the "please."
- The Powerof Love
- Private Military Contractors: Bran & Co
- Rape as Drama: Attempted rape, that is.
- And then there's the actual Rape as Drama in Daughter of the Forest
- Ravens and Crows: Fiacha
- Self-Made Orphan: Bran. Okay, he wasn't related to the abusive adoptive father, but coming from a seven-year-old this is still disturbing.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Sorcha
- Snake Oil Salesman: The Master
- Stockholm Syndrome: Liadan falls in love with the leader of the mercenaries who kidnap her. The reverse is also true, with apparently the entire crew experiencing Lima Syndrome.
- Token Minority: Gull
- Twin Telepathy: Liadan and Sean, Clodagh and Deirdre
- The Unpronounceable: Fainne's name is pronounced "Fawn-ya"
- Pretty much all the names, save for Briton names, are hard to pronounce. Likely owing to their Gaelic and Celtic roots, which has sounds and pronunciations not traditionally found in English.
- Trilogy Creep
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Oonagh and Fainne have this power
- Whole Plot Reference: The first book is very heavily based off the ancient Irish fairy tale The Children of Lir. It's also known in versions by The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen.
- Wicked Stepmother: The Lady Oonagh.
- Words Can Break My Bones
- You Can Keep Her: Oonagh's response when Richard tries to get a ransom for Sorcha (although that's not all Oonagh asks for)