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** Hornblower himself gets to be one in ''Mr. Midshipman Hornblower''. ([[CaptainObvious He's one of the ones who survives]].)

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** Hornblower himself gets to be one in ''Mr. Midshipman Hornblower''. ([[CaptainObvious He's (He's one of the ones who survives]].survives.)


* CelebrityParadox: No one ever comments on the fact that Nelson and Hornblower have the same first name, even when Hornblower is leading Nelson's funeral procession. Or even when someone is directly comparing him to Nelson. (Forester named the character after the real admiral.)


* MyGreatestFailure:
** Hornblower can never let himself live down the fact that he was seasick in a ship anchored in Spithead on his first day as a midshipman, even though that is probably the least likely thing anyone who knew him as a midshipman would remember next to taking a Spanish galley with one boat, boarding a fire ship to steer it away from the fleet, the cutting-out of the ''Papillon''....
** Buckland's fate in-universe. Despite the ''Renown's'' success on Samana, all that will be remembered is that he was taken prisoner in his bed when the captured Spaniards attempted to take the ship. Bush reflects on the illogicality of this, knowing that Buckland (for all his wavering) would have fought just as Bush if he'd been able.



* NeverLiveItDown:
** Hornblower can never let himself live down the fact that he was seasick in a ship anchored in Spithead on his first day as a midshipman, even though that is probably the least likely thing anyone who knew him as a midshipman would remember next to taking a Spanish galley with one boat, boarding a fire ship to steer it away from the fleet, the cutting-out of the ''Papillon''....
** Buckland's fate in-universe. Despite the ''Renown's'' success on Samana, all that will be remembered is that he was taken prisoner in his bed when the captured Spaniards attempted to take the ship. Bush reflects on the illogicality of this, knowing that Buckland (for all his wavering) would have fought just as Bush if he'd been able.


The character of Horatio Hornblower was inspired by the career of real-life Thomas Cochrane.

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The character of Horatio Hornblower was inspired by the career of real-life [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Cochrane,_10th_Earl_of_Dundonald Thomas Cochrane.
Cochrane.]]


* ObnoxiousInLaws: Mrs. Mason; Hornblower compares living with her after his first child's birth to serving under Captain Sawyer. "His Nibs," the Marquess Wellesley, also outdoes Horatio in the realms of sarcasm.

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* ObnoxiousInLaws: ObnoxiousInLaws:
**
Mrs. Mason; Hornblwer's mother-in-law. Hornblower compares living with her after his first child's birth to serving under Captain Sawyer. Sawyer (a crazy paranoid captain).
**
"His Nibs," Nibs", the Marquess Wellesley, also who outdoes Horatio in the realms of sarcasm.


* HistoricalCharactersFictionalRelative: Lady Barbara Wellesley, Horatio's second wife, is a fictional sister of UsefulNotes/TheDukeOfWellington.



** ''Hornblower and the Hotspur'' features a cameo of USS ''Constitution'', one of the US Navy's first six frigates, on its way to the Barbary Coast. Hornblower seems doubtful the Americans will be successful, but wishes them luck. Commodore Edward Preble would become famous for his blockade of Tripoli during the First Barbary War, which featured, among other things, a daring boarding action to burn the captured USS ''Philadelphia'' and an overland Marine expedition from Egypt to lay seige to the city with a mercenary army.

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** ''Hornblower and the Hotspur'' features a cameo of USS ''Constitution'', one of the US Navy's first six frigates, on its way to the Barbary Coast. Hornblower seems doubtful the Americans will be successful, but wishes them luck. Commodore Edward Preble would become famous for his blockade of Tripoli during the First Barbary War, which featured, among other things, a daring boarding action to burn the captured USS ''Philadelphia'' and an overland Marine expedition from Egypt to lay seige siege to the city with a mercenary army.


A series of stories about a British naval officer set during UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars and probably C.S. Forester's most well-known work. The eponymous character, Horatio Hornblower, starts as an overaged midshipman at the start of the French Revolution, shy and awkward but with a knack for innovation and an inner drive that propels him to attempt improbable and daring feats. Unfortunately, he also has a complete inability to think well of himself, crossing the line from HumbleHero to someone afflicted with genuine, miserable self-loathing who views himself with "a sort of amused contempt" at best.

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A series of stories about a British naval officer set during UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars and probably C.S. Forester's most well-known work. The eponymous character, Horatio Hornblower, starts as an overaged midshipman at the start of the French Revolution, shy Revolution. Though unprepared, shy, and awkward but with a awkward, his knack for innovation and an inner drive that propels a sense of determination propel him to attempt many daring and improbable and feats. While most who meet him recognize him as a daring feats. Unfortunately, he also has a complete inability to think well of himself, crossing the line from HumbleHero to someone afflicted with genuine, miserable self-loathing who views and intelligent officer, Hornblower can only view himself with "a sort of amused contempt" at best.
best, and vicious self-loathing at worst, thanks to constantly overanalyzing and criticising his motives.


** In ''Flying Colours,'' Hornblower sees an American ship and thinks it inevitable that they'll have to give up their neutrality soon--the only question is if they'll fight Napoleon or if they'll decide to [[UsefulNotes/WarOf1812 have another go at the British]].[[note]]As it happens, the Americans ended up fighting the French, with unofficial British support, in the Quasi-War of 1798 to 1800, and more famously fought the British in the later War of 1812.[[/note]]

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** In ''Flying Colours,'' Hornblower sees an American ship and thinks it inevitable that they'll have to give up their neutrality soon--the only question is if they'll fight Napoleon or if they'll decide to [[UsefulNotes/WarOf1812 have another go at the British]].[[note]]As it happens, by the time the novel is set, the Americans ended up fighting had already fought the French, with unofficial British support, in the Quasi-War of 1798 to 1800, and more famously fought 1800. More famously, however, they would fight the British in the later War of 1812.[[/note]]


** ''Lieutenant Hornblower'' being narrated from Bush's POV allows the creation of this in regards to the insane Captain Sawyer falling down the hold. Bush knows that both Hornblower and Midshipman Wellard had the motive and opportunity to push him, which frankly would have been a service to the ship if they had, but any direct questions result in Hornblower calmly asserting that Sawyer must have tripped and fallen. Further complicating things are the fact that Hornblower takes charge of the investigation, and the court of inquiry won't even touch it because they prefer to say that he died in battle rather than reveal that he went insane first. [[spoiler:Wellard dies offscreen near the end of the book, so the only person who really knows the truth is Hornblower]].

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** ''Lieutenant Hornblower'' being is narrated from Bush's POV allows the creation of this in regards to POV. When the insane Captain Sawyer falling falls down the hold. hold and is conveniently incapacitated, Bush knows that both Hornblower and Midshipman Wellard had the motive and opportunity to push him, which frankly would have been a service to the ship if they had, but any direct questions result in if anyone askes directly Hornblower calmly asserting says that Sawyer must have tripped and fallen. Further complicating things are the fact that Hornblower takes charge of the investigation, further complicating things, and the court of inquiry won't even touch it because they prefer to say that he [[spoiler:he died in battle rather than reveal that he went insane first. [[spoiler:Wellard Wellard dies offscreen near the end of the book, so the only person who really knows the truth is Hornblower]].


* FairForItsDay: Invoked with Hornblower's general worldview. He can be quite racist at times, as well as sexist, but he also expresses some anti-slavery sentiments and doesn't share the Navy's general fondness for ATasteOfTheLash. (Interestingly, though the older Hornblower seems more bigoted, the books with a younger Hornblower were written a couple of decades later--so this could also be C.S. Forester moderating Hornblower to bring him in line with changing attitudes.)

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* FairForItsDay: Invoked with Hornblower's general worldview. He can be quite racist at times, as well as sexist, but he also expresses some anti-slavery sentiments sentiments, is disgusted with the [[ATasteOfTheLash brutal discipline of the Navy]], and doesn't share the Navy's general fondness for ATasteOfTheLash. empathizes with pressed sailors. The irony being that while readers recognize Hornblower as being ahead of his time, he himself is embarrassed by his "weakness." (Interestingly, though the older Hornblower seems more bigoted, the books with a younger Hornblower were written a couple of decades later--so this could also be C.S. Forester moderating Hornblower to bring him in line with changing attitudes.)


** ''Flying Colours'' ends in one for the loss of the ''Sutherland'' at the end of the previous book, as the loss of a ship incurs an automatic court-martial no matter the circumstances. Since he lost his ship by taking out ''four'' French ships in a [[HeroicSacrifice heroic and doomed action]], then escaped custody (causing the French to tie up manpower and resources searching for him) and recaptured a British sloop taken by the French as a prize, the government exonerates him and turns him into a propaganda piece.

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** ''Flying Colours'' ends in one for the loss of the ''Sutherland'' at the end of the previous book, as the loss of a ship incurs an automatic court-martial no matter the circumstances. Since he lost his ship by taking out ''four'' French ships in a [[HeroicSacrifice heroic and doomed action]], then escaped custody (causing the French to tie up manpower and resources searching for him) and recaptured a British sloop cutter taken by the French as a prize, the government exonerates him and turns him into a propaganda piece.



* LastStand: The end of ''Ship of the Line''. Hornblower ends up facing four French frigates alone when the rest of the squadron is becalmed, and he can't very well retreat and let them escape the blockade. He makes them pay dearly, crippling three of them and even scuttling one, despite being vastly outnumbered and shot to pieces. He ''does'' surrender, but only when he's wrung everything out of his ship and crew, and he's outraged to read in a French newspaper that he had only "lightly" damaged the French ships when he saw himself that blood was running down the sides.

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* LastStand: The end of ''Ship of the Line''. Hornblower ends up facing four French frigates Ships-of-the-line alone when the rest of the squadron is becalmed, and he can't very well retreat and let them escape the blockade. He makes them pay dearly, crippling three of them and even scuttling one, despite being vastly outnumbered and shot to pieces. He ''does'' surrender, but only when he's wrung everything out of his ship and crew, and he's outraged to read in a French newspaper that he had only "lightly" damaged the French ships when he saw himself that blood was running down the sides.


* ''Mr. Midshipman Hornblower'': 1950. A collection of short stories about Hornblower's first years at sea. It later became the basis of the series starring Ioan Gruffud.
* ''Lieutenant Hornblower'': 1952. Narrated from the point-of-view of Lieutenant Bush. A captain's madness imperils the ship during a dangerous mission in the Caribbean.
* ''Hornblower and the Hotspur'': 1962. Hornblower's first independent command, mostly on blockade duty.

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* ''Mr. Midshipman Hornblower'': 1950. A collection of short stories about Hornblower's first years at sea. It later became the basis of the A&E-[=ITV=] series starring Ioan Gruffud.
* ''Lieutenant Hornblower'': 1952. Narrated from the point-of-view of Lieutenant Bush. A captain's madness imperils the ship during a dangerous mission in the Caribbean.
Caribbean. Adapted into the A&E miniseries.
* ''Hornblower and the Hotspur'': 1962. Hornblower's first independent command, mostly on blockade duty. The final book (loosely) adapted by A&E.



* AmbiguousSituation: ''Lieutenant Hornblower'' being narrated from Bush's POV allows the creation of this in regards to the insane Captain Sawyer falling down the hold. Bush knows that both Hornblower and Midshipman Wellard had the motive and opportunity to push him, which frankly would have been a service to the ship if they had, but any direct questions result in Hornblower calmly asserting that Sawyer must have tripped and fallen. Further complicating things are the fact that Hornblower takes charge of the investigation, and the court of inquiry won't even touch it because they prefer to say that he died in battle rather than reveal that he went insane first. [[spoiler:Wellard dies offscreen near the end of the book, so the only person who really knows the truth is Hornblower]].

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* AmbiguousSituation: AmbiguousSituation:
**
''Lieutenant Hornblower'' being narrated from Bush's POV allows the creation of this in regards to the insane Captain Sawyer falling down the hold. Bush knows that both Hornblower and Midshipman Wellard had the motive and opportunity to push him, which frankly would have been a service to the ship if they had, but any direct questions result in Hornblower calmly asserting that Sawyer must have tripped and fallen. Further complicating things are the fact that Hornblower takes charge of the investigation, and the court of inquiry won't even touch it because they prefer to say that he died in battle rather than reveal that he went insane first. [[spoiler:Wellard dies offscreen near the end of the book, so the only person who really knows the truth is Hornblower]].



* ArtisticLicenseMedicine: In ''The Commodore'', the reference to flea bites after Hornblower's implied tryst with the Countess was originally meant to be how he contracted typhus. Forester realized that the incubation period wasn't quite that long, however, and decided that it happened some time during the siege. (The reason it wasn't edited to reflect this is likely because the novels were originally published as magazine serials and collected into book form later.)



** In ''The Commodore'', as the Napoleon's Prussian forces retreat from the aborted siege of Riga, they leave behind plague victims. Hornblower is told by (actual historical figure) Essen that the Russian army has plague in its ranks too.

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** In ''The Commodore'', as the Napoleon's Prussian forces retreat from the aborted siege of Riga, they leave behind plague victims. Hornblower is told by (actual historical figure) Essen that the Russian army has plague in its ranks too. (There is also typhus, which Hornblower comes down with at the end of the book.)


Added DiffLines:

* OfTheWeek: Although some of the novels have a central, unified plotline, others (like ''Ship of the Line'') chronicle a series of adventures connected only by Hornblower's being posted in a particular spot. This is because they were printed in magazines first, with the next issue containing the next chapter, and collected into novels only after the story's completion.


* FairForItsDay: Invoked with Hornblower's general worldview. He can be quite racist at times, as well as sexist, but he also expresses some anti-slavery sentiments and doesn't share the Navy's general fondness for ATasteOfTheLash.

to:

* FairForItsDay: Invoked with Hornblower's general worldview. He can be quite racist at times, as well as sexist, but he also expresses some anti-slavery sentiments and doesn't share the Navy's general fondness for ATasteOfTheLash. (Interestingly, though the older Hornblower seems more bigoted, the books with a younger Hornblower were written a couple of decades later--so this could also be C.S. Forester moderating Hornblower to bring him in line with changing attitudes.)

Added DiffLines:

* SuperstitiousSailors:
** In ''The Happy Return'', Lady Barbara is so despondent at the lack of wind to get them home that one sailor sticks his clasp-knife into the mainmast, which is ''guaranteed'' to get a breeze into the sails.
** Bush is absolutely convinced that gales happen on the day of the equinox [[RightForTheWrongReasons because night and day are of equal length]]. Hornblower bites his tongue because his own view, which is that gale conditions are just more common at the start of spring and autumn, would be met with the "tolerant and concealed disagreement accorded to children and madman and captains."


* ObnoxiousInLaws: Mrs. Mason; Hornblower compares living with her after his first child's birth to serving under Captain Sawyer. "His Nibs," the Marquis Wellesley, also outdoes Horatio in the realms of sarcasm.

to:

* ObnoxiousInLaws: Mrs. Mason; Hornblower compares living with her after his first child's birth to serving under Captain Sawyer. "His Nibs," the Marquis Marquess Wellesley, also outdoes Horatio in the realms of sarcasm.



** The Marquis of Wellington really was as much of a snob as one scene depicts him.

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** The Marquis of Wellington Marquess Wellesley really was as much of a snob as one scene depicts him.



* StealthInsult [=/=] SnarkToSnarkCombat: Hornblower's conversation with his brother-in-law Richard Wellesley in ''The Commodore''. Hornblower will have a translator, but it will be his problem how the translator is rated on the books, to which Richard adds, "I believe that's what it's called". Hornblower calls him by his Christian name, which he is entitled to use as brother-in-law, and calls Richard a "master of all trades" [[ForTheFunnyz just to annoy him]] by insinuating the Marquis was in a trade. Wellessley makes an equally snarky comment, and Hornblower gives up, deciding it was just too difficult because Richard was so good at it.

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* StealthInsult [=/=] SnarkToSnarkCombat: Hornblower's conversation with his brother-in-law Richard Wellesley in ''The Commodore''. Hornblower will have a translator, but it will be his problem how the translator is rated on the books, to which Richard adds, "I believe that's what it's called". Hornblower calls him by his Christian name, which he is entitled to use as brother-in-law, and calls Richard a "master of all trades" [[ForTheFunnyz just to annoy him]] by insinuating the Marquis Marquess was in a trade. Wellessley Wellesley makes an equally snarky comment, and Hornblower gives up, deciding it was just too difficult because Richard was so good at it.

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