YMMV / Ranger's Apprentice

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In Book 10, is Alyss being an unreasonable Jerkass and Territorial Smurfette towards Evanlyn, or is she just being protective of her boyfriend and putting her through a Secret Test of Character?
  • Broken Base: Of a sort. Book 12 got a mixed reception, to say the least. Some shrug it off and say it's not so bad, others are very displeased. Complaints include Alyss' death, the abrupt unlikability of most of the main cast, the rather poor handling of mental health issues, and the Darker and Edgier tone of the book as a whole.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The Skandians. For a people that started off as just an Always Chaotic Evil Viking Expy, they end up getting a ton of focus. And the sequel series actually involves them more than the Araulen.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Halt taking honey in his coffee. The other three recurring rangers (Will, Gilan and Crowley) make it clear that it's considered incredibly weird, and nobody else does it. But Halt having a private sweet tooth makes sense. He grew up as the crown prince of Clonmel. So, unlike the other protagonists, he would have grown up having sweets on a near daily basis. He's more used to sugar than the other rangers. What's unpleasantly sweet to them is probably delicious for Halt. That's just how his palate developed.
    • Furthermore, lots of nobles practice archery when they're young. No wonder he's already an expert shot by the prequels-he's probably been practicing since well before he met Pritchard, who just "tightened up his technique."
    • Also, Horace's knighting is a much bigger deal than may be immediately apparent to the modern reader. In our world, squires were usually knighted by the knight they served under, meaning that an Araulen apprentice would presumably be knighted by the Battlemaster or one of the Battleschool instructors. Getting knighted by the king is, in and of itself, a huge honour, let alone the fact that he's being knighted early and assigned to the Royal Guard.
    • In Book 12, Halt brutally condemns Will for wanting to focus on finding Alyss' killer over his orders from the top, despite having done the very same thing in Book 3, and when the country was in much greater need of all hands on deck. On the other hand, Halt ensured that someone would take over his responsibilities instead of just ignoring the country's need entirely, and his mission was also to benefit Araulen by bringing back a highly-talented Ranger apprentice.
  • Fridge Horror: Warmweed is extremely addictive and essentially mindwipes its users, and was apparently distributed to every Skandian yardslave for years. Look how long it took Will to break free after only a few weeks of usage. For that time, he was more or less a zombie. It isn't a stretch to say that a few years of usage would be enough to induce that state permanently. And, I repeat, it was distributed to every Skandian yardslave.
    • Of course, as a yardslave you are very unlikely to last more than a month, let alone a year, but the Warmweed makes it worse by taking away every chance of recovery.
    • In Book 4, imagine Will's situation. He's just come back to the cabin, and Cassandra-one of his best friends, a possible Love Interest, the person who's nursed him back to health, and almost the only friend he has in the entire country-has disappeared. He finds that she's been kidnapped, and follows her...only to realize that she's guarded by four well-armed and trained men, and all he has are a knife and a low-powered bow. Oh, and he himself is fairly out of shape. And just to make it worse, he watches them decide to kill her, and they very nearly succeed. If not for Horace and Will showing up just then, the most likely scenario is that Cassandra and Will would both have been dead.
  • Growing the Beard: The series becomes increasingly well-written, original, and funny, with a major leap in stylistic quality, between books six and seven.
  • Narm: The Kalkara. They're actually described in-universe as bear assassins.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Warmweed. This is a plant that essentially mindwipes you after a few doses, is apparently quite common and easy to get, and was distributed to most of the Skandian yard slaves for a very long time.
    • The numerous Family Unfriendly Deaths in the series, for some people, leading into What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?. For example, the Kalkara in the first book are so dangerous because massive layers of hardened oil make them virtually invulnerable. When the characters get access to fire arrows, they ignite in blinding pillars of flame, ''and are completely disintegrated.
    • The barrow wight in Book 9 also counts.
  • The Scrappy: Dear God, Madelyn. Doesn't help that she's something of a Creator's Pet.
  • Sequelitis: Many feel that Book 12 was by far the weakest, due to unpopular Character Development and Maddie's nature as The Scrappy.
  • What Could Have Been: In Book 3, many fans were expecting Horace to have a final duel with Deparnieux, echoing Book 2. Instead, Halt duels him (and beats him pretty easily).