- Alternative Character Interpretation: Did Lord Pumphrey really think Astrid and Skovgaard were a threat to British interests, or did he want to murder a potential romantic rival for Sharpe?
- Probably both.
- Award Bait Song: The official soundtrack features Broken Hearted I Will Wander and The Spanish Bride.
- Complete Monster:
"A liar. A thief. A rapist. A murderer. That's not a man. Take it away."
- Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill, from "Sharpe's Company" and "Sharpe's Enemy", lacks any of his book counterpart's redeeming qualities, however minor, while still maintaining his heinousness. Sharpe's Arch-Enemy, Hakeswill was a Sociopathic Soldier who was responsible for sentencing Sharpe to a flogging he knew would be a death sentence, before Sharpe was saved after receiving 200 lashes. An abusive bully to his men, Hakeswill regularly subjects soldiers to floggings to extort sexual favors from their wives and tries to rape Sharpe's wife Teresa. When Sharpe's best friend Harper stops him, Hakeswill frames him for a theft, resulting in his brutal flogging. Murdering one of his own soldiers to use his body as cover in the heat of battle, Hakeswill kills another soldier and tries to rape Teresa again. Hakeswill deserts the army before raping and murdering Sally Clayton, an innocent woman he's lusted after. Becoming the leader of a group of vicious bandits, Hakeswill waylays a group of noble women and is only stopped from raping them by warnings that it will damage the ransom value. When he learns Sharpe is bringing the ransom, Hakeswill doubles it at the last minute and allows his men to rape the non-noble women and tries to rape the nobles anyways. When Teresa stops him, Hakeswill fatally shoots her before being captured and facing the firing squad for his crimes. A beast of a man who lives only for rape and murder, Hakeswill is perfectly summed up by Sharpe when his luck comes to an end:
Well, you've had your fun, Sharpe. But it'll be over in the next few minutes when the Frogs come over that wall. Then you'll need a friend. I'll be your friend, Sharpe, but you're going to have to beg. Because they'll torture you, they'll torture you and they'll torture Ross. You'll be begging me to make them stop. And by god, I'm going to make you beg, Sharpe!
- Colonel Brand, from "Sharpe's Mission", is a double agent who starts his career by personally killing an injured British officer, then carrying him back to the British lines and being hailed as a hero for trying to save him. This is the first of several acts of so-called heroism arranged by his handler French Colonel Cressan, who wants Brand to lure Sharpe and Ross into a trap. Brand murders a Gypsy couple who saw him meeting Cressan, then slaughters a Gypsy camp in a failed attempt to kill the couple's daughter, who also witnessed the meeting. He leads his men in massacring a group of French ex-deserters set up by Cressan and given faulty gunpowder so they were effectively unarmed, making a point of sadistically garroting the one who ran furthest. Despite giving them the self-aggrandizing name Brand's Boys, he has no loyalty to his men, calmly telling Sharpe that he abandons anyone who is injured. Even after being exposed and arrested, he tries to convince Sharpe to let him and his men massacre a fort garrison who have also been set up Cressan. Smug, arrogant and believing himself invulnerable right up to the end, he can't resist Bullying a Dragon:
- Colonel Count Vladimir Dragomirov, from Sharpe's Peril, is a cavalry commander in India, who also has a foothold in the opium trade. To cover his tracks, Dragomirov slaughters the village that had been growing the plants needed to make opium, as well as a garrison of British soldiers, leaving their commander tied up naked and Exposed to the Elements. Dragomirov and his men "save" a baggage train led by Colonel Richard Sharpe, but only to make scapegoats of a group of bandits opposing them. When Sharpe is separated from the baggage train along with Marie-Angelique, the fiancé of Dragomirov's dragon Major Philippe Joubert, Dragomirov threatens to have her gang-raped by his men unless Sharpe gives up the train, then has Sharpe tied up in a pit of snakes. When Sharpe and Marie-Angelique escape, Dragomirov pursues them to a village where the train has stopped, murders a priest that tries to dissuade him while telling the man "God does no work on a Sunday", and attacks the village with the intent of murdering everyone there. Greedy and treacherous, Dragomirov didn't care who he murdered as long as he gained something from it.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Captain Leroy, one of the only two competent officers on Sir Henry Simmerson's staff, and Sharpe's advocate in Sharpe's Eagle, is also a man whose money is derived from the slave trade.
- Ear Worm: "Over the Hills and Far Away" - also a Leitmotif, Ironic Nursery Tune, "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune and Source Music.
O'er the Hills and O'er the Main,
To Flanders, Portugal and Spain,
King George commands and we obey
Over the Hills and far away.
- Fan-Preferred Couple: The women of Sharpe's Gold (Ellie Nugent), Sharpe's Battle (Lady Kiely) and Sharpe's Sword (Lass) are quite popular with viewers, preferring that Sharpe wound up with them instead of Jane Gibbons.
- Funny Moments: Just about everything General Calvet says to Sharpe after taking him prisoner, but in particular his version of Not So Different:
For a change, Englishman, you and I will be on the same side. We are allies. Except that I am a General of Imperial France and you are a piece of English toadshit, which means that I give the orders and you obey them like a lilywhite-arsed conscript. So stop gawping like a novice nun in a gunners' bath-house and tell me where we're going!
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- In "Sharpe's Eagle", Sharpe gets into a fistfight with Lt. Berry, played by a young Daniel Craig, so we have future Bond villain Alec Trevalyen sparring against a future James Bond, respectively.
- In "Sharpe's Battle", Sharpe's adversary, General Loup, has an Animal Motif of a wolf. Then Sean Bean plays a nobleman, Eddard Stark, whose family has a wolf as their Animal Motif.
- Ho Yay: In universe, invoked and discussed with relation to Pumphrey and Sharpe:
Sharpe: He's not...stuck up.Hogan: Richard, there is nothing Lord Pumphrey would like more than to be stuck up with you.
- Magnificent Bastard: Wellington, in the TV series. In the books, Wellington acts in a more historical role, taking occasional interest in Sharpe's career and giving him patronage when he deems fit. In the TV series, however, Wellington treats Sharpe as his personal attack dog- when confronted with a problem he smiles archly and goes about his business, quietly dispatching Sharpe and the Chosen Men to kill people until the problem disappears. Arguably Wellington was a Magnificent Bastard in real life too.
- In the books, it's Major Hogan, Wellington's spymaster, who provided most of the Magnificent Bastardry. He appears in the first two episodes of the series, played near-perfectly by Brian Cox, before having to be replaced by a Suspiciously Similar Substitute or two and leaving Wellington to pick up the Magnificent Bastard role. Numerous exchanges in the books have Wellington as more the uptight one and Hogan as a sly, cunning SOB, only for the TV adaptations to swap the roles and have the spymaster-of-the-week be the stuffy one while Wellington acts like... well, like a Magnificent Bastard.
- General Calvet and Chef du Battalion Dubreton as well.
- Lord. Pumphrey. He's practically a one-man Government Conspiracy, and would probably rub along well with Varys of A Song of Ice and Fire fame. There is nothing he won't do to protect British interests, but he cements his status in Sharpe's Fury: Not only does he fight alongside Sharpe and Harper (and quite well too), when Sharpe discovers Lord Pumphrey's killing of Astrid, Pumphrey mocks him to his face and saunters away scot-free.
- Lord Fenner skirts the penumbra of this trope. His beautiful schemes and effortless charm are certainly worthy of this trope. On the other hand, his disgusting treatment of Lady Camoynes, which ultimately ruins him, does not befit a true MB. Lady Camoynes herself outdoes him in the end.
- Memetic Badass: Sharpe is already ridiculously badass, but any discussion of his abilities on forums will inevitably result in all agreeing that the English and Spanish didn't really need the rest of their armies, they could have just sent Sharpe himself and had done with it.
Richard Sharpe: The man so badass being played by Sean Bean couldn't kill him.
- Moral Event Horizon: Hakeswill murdering McCandless after the Battle of Assaye was over. All so he could 'arrest' Sharpe.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Major Blas Vivar carries a strange object which looks like a pistol without a barrel, and at one point uses it to set a piece of paper on fire. The object is in fact a flintlock lighter, of a type that was the height of fashion among tobacco smokers during The Napoleonic Wars.
- Retroactive Recognition: To give a few:
- Ron the Death Eater: While the French were infamous for their brutal treatment of civilians in Real Life, Cornwell often exaggerates their atrocities to the point of nigh-identicality to World War I-era anti-German atrocity propaganda.
Then we get things like Tippoo Sultan practicing Human Sacrifice— Tippoo Sultan the devout Muslim. Um...
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Cornwell himself has stated that he regrets killing off Hakeswill, as he's had difficulty coming up with an equally depraved and personal arch-nemesis for Sharpe.