YMMV / The Chocolate War

  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Obie and Archie. Jerry is the main character of the first book but the narration follows the other two far more often.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The first book teaches the world is run by awful, corrupt people who abuse their power because they can. But don't try to buck the system because you'll end up getting hurt, and nothing will meaningfully change anyway. (It's been speculated by some that this was done in response to the "Fight the power!" sixties, seeing as the book was published in 1974.)
  • Foe Yay: Jerry/Janza and especially Obie/Archie.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Archie's actions at the end of Beyond The Chocolate War. Before he graduates from Trinity, he manipulates the Vigils to become little more than a violent gang of Drug Dealers, which is strange considering his former leadership. His motivations for doing so are much clearer viewed as a final Take That! to Brother Leon. Early in the book Brother Leon smugly brags to Archie about how little effect he actually has the school, and threatens to destroy the Vigils if he disrupts the status quo. The finale shows Archie retroactively setting up the downfall for both the Vigils and the school.
  • Magnificent Bastard: In the second book, Archie finally draws a black marble and is forced take his own assignment to be "The Fool" on Fair Day. One responsibility involves sitting on a chair of a dunk booth, where his presence and reputation dissuades everyone from even trying. Only one student dares to play and misses Archie on purpose.
  • Moment of Awesome: Henry Malloran gets one in the second book when he throws a tomato into Brother Leon's face in front of the entire school. He becomes the unanimous class president.
    • Another moment belongs to Carter, also in the second book - he riggs the the Assigner's box with four black marbles and one white right under Archie's nose. When Archie draws a black marble for the first time, there is only a shocked silence. Downplayed when Archie later admits to knowing about the rigging the entire time.
    • Also in the second book, Jerry stands up to Janza without fighting back. He gets the crap kicked out of him and yet Janza gets no satisfaction out of it. Considering throughout the book Janza mentions how horny he gets beating someone up, the fact he didn't feel it at all fighting Jerry was a moral victory. It also ties into the fact Jerry decides to go back to the Trinity instead of running away. Determinator, indeed.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Archie crosses it in the end of the first book when he manipulates the whole school into turning against Jerry even though the chocolate sales are over.
    • He crosses it over again in the second book, when he persuades his successor Bunting into moving the Vigils towards becoming a violent gang, with extortion, drug dealing, and outright rebellion the norm. "If I can't rule the school, then no one will."
  • Values Dissonance: In the first book, the Vigils get Jerry to fight Janza by accusing him of being gay. Jerry says in the narration: "The worst thing in the world - to be called queer." Errr...
    • Slightly mitigated by the fact that the Vigils are clearly supposed to be in the wrong here.