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- Absent-Minded Professor: A lot of the Smedrys are intelligent academics while at the same time being eccentric, absent minded or just plain strange.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: The name Smedry actually means "Oculator". It comes from Old Nalhallan Smead-dary, meaning "Lens-wielder."
- Badass Family: They fight Librarians with their cousins.
- The Clan
- The Conqueror (Inverted): Back in the days when there were a bunch of small kingdoms, most about the size of the city, they were all more of vulnerable to the Librarians. King Leavenworth Smedry the Sixth believed they should be combined so he abdicated, letting the small kingdom of Smedrious become part of Nalhalla.
- Lethal Joke Character (Exaggerated): All the Smedry Talents seem like a stupid and annoying hindrances at first, but turn into something useful and epic by taking it Up to Eleven.Sing: There was Libby Smedry — she was quite the capable one. [ ] She could get impossible amounts of water on the floor when she did the dishes. She single-handedly ended the drought in Kalbeeze during the fourth-third century — and she did it while keeping all of the dishware sparkling clean!
- Named After Somebody Famous: They reuse names a lot, and name their kids after awesome ancestors of theirs.Sing: You were named after someone, Alcatraz. A famous Oculator from long ago. Among people from our world — and among our opponents — names is tend to get reused. We're traditional that way.
- Old Money: The Smedrys used to have their own kingdom, before one king abdicated. They still keep their status and wealth, though.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something (Zigzagged): If by "do something" you mean "ruling," then no: They abdicated generations back because (a) ruling is an absolute pain, and (b) it was better for everyone if the tiny kingdoms got consolidated into something bigger. Now they enjoy many of the perks and privileges of royalty, without any of the work of ruling. So in that way, they're royals who do nothing. But if by "do something" you mean "do something that helps the people," then yes: Without ruling, they have time to fight the Librarians, which benefits everyone.
Alcatraz SmedryThe Protagonist. A Smedry, whose Talent is that he can break things.
- Action Survivor: Alcatraz survived a library infiltration, the Library of Alexandria, the war in Mokia and the Highbrary.
- Broken Ace: A powerful Oculator, a Smedry with a potent Talent, and a war hero. His father's death breaks him and slowly forms him into the author he eventually becomes.
- Changeling Fantasy: Played straight, though repeatedly lampshaded. Alcatraz is a poor orphan who is constantly thought to be worthless, only for it to turn out that he's from a famous family of aristocratic magic wielders.
- Deadpan Snarker: He's a First-Person Smartass, but he can also be snarky in-universe, albeit less frequently.Bastille: You did that on purpose.
Alcatraz: Yes, Bastille. I keep trying to get killed because it's inconvenient for you.
- Determinator: If Alcatraz sets his mind on something, he will do it. No matter how bleak the odds.
- Failure Hero: Alcatraz considers himself to be this, because he chose his father to die in his place.
- First-Person Smartass (Exaggerated): He's the narrator, and incredibly sassy. He's also a Deadpan Snarker as a character within the story, but as a narrator he's even more so.
- Foster Kid: He spends the first 13 years of his life bouncing around from foster home to foster home because no of his foster parents could deal with his talent for very long.
- Freakiness Shame: His social worker/mother often berated him for breaking things, as though he was doing it on purpose.
- Friendless Background: Alcatraz never mentions any friends, and it's implied he pushed anyone that tried to get close to him away out of fear of being abandoned.
- The Hero's Birthday: His 13th birthday kicks off the story because he gets his inheritance then, as is the custom.
- The Hero's Journey: The Call to Adventure is Grandpa Smedry. He Crosses the First Threshold when he enters the room behind oil can door at the gas station. The Road of Trials are everything that happens in the library. He wins a decisive victory when he breaks the lenses. He returns to the "normal world" when he goes back to Joan and Roy's house with the intent of staying with them a while longer. He is a grown and changed person.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Hates his Talent and frequently wishes he had been born without it.
- This leads to two Be Careful What You Wish For moments: the first in Book 3, when he's held down by the Inhibitor's Glass and cannot use his Talent. The second is in Book 5, when he is completely without his Talent and must rely only on his wits.
- It's All My Fault: Blames himself for his father's death.
- Lady and Knight: Alcatraz and Bastille, though Gender Inverted and much sassier than usual for this trope. But still: Lord Smedry and the Knight of Crystallia sworn to defend him.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Has a moment of this whilst king in Tuki Tuki, when he realizes none of the runners he sends into the tunnels are going to come back.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: If he'd simply left his father alone, the plot of the final book would not have come to pass.
- Not Afraid to Die: Tragically inverted.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Alcatraz's Talent is breaking things. This is a great and epic Talent, but he still does quite a bit of collateral damage in the process.
- The Remnant: The only remaining pureline Smedry by the end of Book 5.
- Single Line of Descent (Zigzagged): As the eldest child of Attica, who is the eldest child of Leavenworth, Alcatraz is the heir to the pure Smedry line. But he has a lot of cousins.Draulin: As the oldest child of Attica Smedry, you are the heir to the pure Smedry line. You outrank both your cousin and your uncle, which means you are in command of this vessel.
- The Social Expert: Surprisingly, his childhood of breaking people's treasured possessions leads Alcatraz to be very good at saying what people want to hear when they want to hear it.
- Spotting the Thread: Alcatraz is good at noticing the little things that don't add up. This leads to him piecing together mysteries by the climax of each book.
- Survivor Guilt: He does nothing but hate himself after the events of Book 5, when he allows his father to die in his place.
- Trademark Clothing: His green jacket, which stays with him until the end of Book 4.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Inverted; he absolutely hates fish sticks.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Bastille.
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: With Bastille. She insults him a lot (mostly for his lack of Free Kingdom knowledge, sometimes for his Smedry impulsiveness) and hits him sometimes.
Leavenworth SmedryA Nalhallan man. Smedry grandfather whose Talent is that he can arrive late to just about anything.
- Badass Mustache: A powerful Oculator with an impressively bushy white mustache.
- Bold Explorer: Leavenworth loves to infiltrate libraries, places most sane people wouldn't dare go. Then again, most Smedrys aren't fully sane.
- Boom, Headshot!: Biblioden takes him out this way.
- Brutal Honesty: He doesn't mince words when it comes to telling family members they're nigglenuts.
- Cool Old Guy: Undeniably one of the coolest old guys in the series.
- Eccentric Mentor: Grandpa Smedry is about as eccentric as they get.
- Fearless Fool: His solution to getting rid of traps is to purposely fall into them.
- Hidden Badass: Though he may not look like much, he's the expert on Hushlands infiltration, and a very powerful Oculator.
- Hidden Depths: There's a lot more to this wacky grandpa than meets the eye.
- Large Ham: Chews the scenery as much as possible.
- No One Could Survive That!: Able to survive injuries that would kill the ordinary person, by arriving late to the wound a bit at a time.
- This comes to a head when he survives a point blank headshot.
- Not Quite Dead: [[Thanks to the timely return of his Talent, he survives a bullet to the head.]]
- Older Than They Look: He's been arriving late to his own death for quite some time now.
- Only Mostly Dead: True, he has a bullet in his brain, but he can arrive late to it for a while.
- Parental Substitute: He's more of a father to Alcatraz than Alcatraz's actual dad.
- The Patriarch: Father to Attica, Kaz, and Patty, grandfather to Alcatraz, Quentin, and Folsom, and uncle to Sing and Australia. A powerful Oculator and head of the Smedry clan.
- Time-Delayed Death: The bullet in his head will eventually kill him, but he still has some time left.
- Trademark Clothing: A tuxedo. Alcatraz even asks for a matching on in Book 5.
Sing Sing SmedryA large Mokian man, and a professor of anthropology. (His expertise is Hushlander cultures and weaponry.) A Smedry cousin, whose Talent is that he can trip and fall to the ground.
Quentin SmedryA Nalhallan man, and a graduate student (a language specialist who focuses on Hushlander dialects). A Smedry cousin, whose Talent is that he can say things that made absolutely no sense whatsoever. He's also really sneaky.
- Talkative Loon: His Talent. It makes him an excellent spy, since he can arrange to be literally unable to reveal information no matter the torture.
Kazan SmedryA short Nalhallan man, and a scholar of arcane studies. A Smedry, whose Talent is that he can get lost.
- Little People Are Surreal (Inverted): Despite this being a very strange story, Kaz is just a person who has dwarfism. That's it. When Alcatraz first sees Kaz, he thinks he's a leprechaun or something. He finds the fact that Kaz is just short rather stranger than any supernatural explanation would've be.
- No Sense of Direction: Literally his Talent. He gets lost a lot.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: He tends to have a theme to his swearing every book he appears in, whether it's birds or shellfish.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Kaz tends to think quite a bit about himself.
Australia SmedryA 16-year-old Mokian girl. A Smedry cousin, whose Talent is that she can wake up looking incredibly ugly.
Attica SmedryAlcatraz's father. A Smedry, whose Talent is that he can loose things.
- Action Dad: An accomplished Oculator who has seen his own fair share of action.
- Create Your Own Villain: Attica wouldn't have been able to continue his research if Alcatraz hadn't rescued him from the Library of Alexandria, and thus wouldn't have made plans to give everyone Smedry Talents.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Sacrificed in a ceremony to create a blood-forged Lens.
- Dating Catwoman: Attica is the heir of the Smedry clan, a family of once-royalty with magical talents who lead the fight again the evil Liberians who now rule more than half of the world. Attica marries Shasta, a Librarian. A rather more deconstructed version. By the time of the books, they've been separated for almost 13 years although they're not actually divorced. It's clear why they don't work as a couple, but it's also clear that they still have some love for each other.
- Death Equals Redemption: The first and only fatherly thing he did towards Alcatraz was take his place on the chopping block.
- Defecting for Love: Grandpa Smedry suggests that Attica though he could invoke this with Shasta. It didn't happen.Leavenworth: He fell in love with a Librarian, lad. Marrying her wasnt the wisest decision he ever made. They thought they could make it work.
Alcatraz: And they were wrong?
Leavenworth: Apparently. Your father saw something in her — something that Ive never been able to see. She isnt exactly the most loyal of Librarians, and your father thought that would make her more lenient our side. But I think shes only interested in herself.
- Disappeared Dad: Vanished sometime before the story begins. Alcatraz later finds him in the Library of Alexandria.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Sacrificed in a ceremony to create a blood-forged Lens in front of his wife and son.
- Glory Hound: Attica seeks to be the most important Smedry by bringing fame to his name with discoveries such as new types of glass and bringing Smedry Talents to everyone.
- It's All About Me: Attica is extremely self-centered and only thinks of how his work will benefit himself and his direct family.
- Parental Neglect: Doesn't really do... anything to thank Alcatraz for saving him from the Library of Alexandria. As soon as he gets back to Nalhalla, he spends his time socializing at parties and working in his office.
Pattywagon SmedryA Nalhallan woman, and a professor of silimatics. A Smedry aunt, whose Talent is that she can say inappropriate things at awkward moments.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: She actually weaponizes it.
Folsom SmedryA Nalhallan man, and a critic for the newspaper. A Smedry cousin, whose Talent is that he can dance really poorly.
- Big Damn Kiss: Folsom and Himalaya get one near the end of The Knights of Crystallia. Himalaya has just used her new Smedry Talent for the first time—she saved the day in a Big Damn Hero moment, and Folsom is absolutely in awe. The way the kiss is described, you know it would look great if it was a movie. And not only is it their first kiss since being married, but it's their First Kiss ever—before, they were in an Everyone Can See It situation where they both assumed their feeling were unrequited.
- Kung-Fu Wizard: Folsom's Talent turns him into a One-Man Army, attacking everyone in sight with expert kung fu moves. This translates to dancing poorly.
- Strong Family Resemblance: To his brother, Quentin. Alcatraz recognizes him this way.
Aydee Ecks SmedryA 8-year-old Mokian girl. A Smedry cousin, whose Talent is that she's really bad at math.
Dif SmedryAnother Smedry cousin who joins the Smedrys on their infiltration of the Highbrary, with the Talent of memory loss. He's actually Biblioden, hiding in plain sight.
- Flanderization: Of all the traits that make Smedrys, Smedrys. He's very over the top, suggests brainy schemes, and constantly makes messes that the others have to clean up after him. This is because he's purposely parodying what a Smedry is in order to fit in.
- Forgetful Jones: His power is to forget things. This is an act.
- The Mole: Not only a Librarian spy, but the Librarian to fear above all others.
- Walking Spoiler: It's hard to talk about Dif without spoiling how he's actually Biblioden in the flesh.
Other Free Kingdomers
Bastille Vianitelle Dartmoor the NinthA Knight of Crystallia assigned to guard Leavenworth.
- Action Girl: Bastille is a perfect example of this. She is a 13-year-old knight and an expert fighter. Specifically, she's of the Little Miss Badass variety.
- Big Damn Heroes: In book five. After Bastille is awoken by the antidote, she wreaks havoc and charges up to save Alcatraz and his parents. Unfortunately, she doesn't get there in time to stop Attica's sacrifice.
- Bodyguard Crush/Lady and Knight: Alcatraz and Bastille, though with a few deviations from the usual. Its Gender Inverted. These tropes are often somewhat respectful ones, but Alcatraz and Bastille are ridiculously sassy. And because Alcatraz is a Smedry and an Oculator, theres shades of Bodyguarding a Badass going on too—in terms of how often they save each other, theyre roughly even. But the trope is still there: Lord Smedry and a Knight of Crystallia sworn to protect him. And theyre Love Interests.
- Child Prodigy: The youngest Crystallian knight, sworn in at thirteen. This is somewhat of a subversion, as she was sworn in to make her fail, but she brings this trope back by proving her worth.
- Combat Pragmatist: Bastille will do anything and everything to win a fight.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Over the course of the first book, she gradually warms up to Alcatraz.
- Determinator: Nothing, not even being in a coma for several weeks, will stop Bastille from kicking Librarian ass.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: She's the daughter of King Dartmoor.Alcatraz: [pointing an accusing finger at Bastille] Youre a princess!
Bastille: [grimacing] Yeah, kind of.
Alcatraz: How can you "kind of" be a princess?
Bastille: Well, I cant inherit the throne. I renounced claim on it when I joined the Knights of Crystallia. Vow of poverty and all that.
- King Incognito: When Alcatraz finds out, he remarks that "stories such as this one always have at least one hidden member of royalty among the core cast. Its, like, some kind of union mandate or something."
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Bastille desperately wants to be an Oculator. But its a genetic ability, not something that can be learned, and the trying in the world cant change her lineage.Bastille: I learned that studying can't change a person, Smedry. I've always wanted to be something I wasn't — and the thing is, everyone supported me. "You can be anything you want, if you try hard enough!" said. Well you know what, Smedry? They lied. There are some things you just can't change.
- Little Miss Badass: She's thirteen, a fully-fledged Knight of Crystallia, and can kick your ass into next week.
- Made of Iron: Though the glassweave jackets she sports help, Bastille still takes hits that would put anyone else in the hospital. This is mostly due to her being a Knight of Crystallia.
- Major Injury Underreaction:Bastille:: It's not like I'm dying or anything. I just broke a few ribs and bit my tongue.
- No Social Skills: She admits that she's not great with people, unless it's hitting them really hard.
- Really Royalty Reveal: Something that takes Alcatraz by surprise, since Bastille doesn't act like a princess at all.
- Royal Blood: Technically, Bastille is a princess, since her father is the king. However, she took a vow of poverty and relinquished her right to the throne.
- Tomboy Princess: The daughter of a king, as well as a kickass knight who isn't afraid to rough it.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Alcatraz.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: She believes her mother is ashamed of her, and carries the pain of that close to her heart.
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: With Alcatraz. She insults him a lot (mostly for his lack of Free Kingdom knowledge, sometimes for his Smedry impulsiveness) and hits him sometimes.
Draulin DartmoorA Knight of Crystallia. Bastille's mother.
- Lady and Knight (Gender Inverted): Draulin, a Knight of Crystallia, and her husband Brig, King of Nalhalla.
- Ice Queen: Draulin is as cold as you can get, to the point that she is the one that suggests the harshest consequences for her daughter.
- Iron Lady: She's one tough cookie.
- The Stoic: It's only rumored that she may have laughed once. It could have been a sneeze.
- Not So Stoic: Even she's embarrassed by Alcatraz's order for her to hop on one foot, but it really shows when she joins Alcatraz on his quest to get an antidote for her daughter.
- Reverse Arm-Fold: She adopts this stance when on guard duty.
King Brig DartmoorKing of Nalhalla. Also Draulin's husband, and Rikers and Bastille's father.
- Lady and Knight (Gender Inverted): Draulin, a Knight of Crystallia, and her husband Brig, King of Nalhalla.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite literally just being about to sign a peace treaty, Dartmoor is still willing to listen to whatever the Smedrys have to say, since he knows their input is invaluable.
Prince Rikers DartmoorThe King of Nalhalla's heir. Draulin and Brig's son, and Bastille's elder brother.
Angola DartmoorA Nalhallan princess by birth, and Queen of Mokia by marriage. Also Bastille's elder sister.
- The High Queen:Alcatraz: Wow. Is she always so...
Bastille: Nauseatingly regal? Yeah, even before she was married.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She has golden hair and is one of the purest, most genuine characters in the series.
- Informed Attractiveness: Alcatraz says she's incredibly beautiful, in a way akin to macaroni and cheese. For most people, this is a rather difficult simile to understand. However, considering Alcatraz's deep love of mac and cheese, one can only assume it's quite complementary.
- Proper Lady: Directly contrasts Bastille's tomboyish qualities.
Biblioden/The Scrivener/Cousin DifThe Librarian, whose teachings are enforced by all other Librarians.
Shasta Smedry née FletcherAlcatraz's case worker and mother. A Librarian whose allegiance is... unclear, to say the least.
- Abusive Parents: She emotionally abuses Alcatraz throughout his childhood. She's his mother too, although Alcatraz didn't know that then.
- Ambiguously Evil: Shasta's real motivations are fairly obscure for most of the series, but she generally acts antagonistic towards Alcatraz, using him and the Librarians to her own ends. It's only at the end of book four that her true motivations are revealed, landing her squarely into the Anti-Villain category.
- Archnemesis Dad (Gender Inverted and Downplayed): Shasta isn't the Big Bad, but rather one of a few major antagonists.
- Cruel to Be Kind: She claims she did this to Alcatraz, to keep him from learning about his legacy. It backfired into nothing more than emotional abuse.
- Dating Catwoman: Attica is the heir of the Smedry clan, a family of once-royalty with magical talents who lead the fight again the evil Liberians who now rule more than half of the world. Attica marries Shasta, a Librarian. A rather more deconstructed version. By the time of the books, they've been separated for almost 13 years
although they're not actually divorced. It's clear why they don't work as a couple, but it's also clear that they still have some love for each other.Shasta: I'm his wife!
Alcatraz: You're his enemy.
- Gold Digger: Some people suspect she married Alcatraz's father to get control of his Talent.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: At the end of the first book, she is revealed to be Alcatraz's mother.
- Prim and Proper Bun: Always has her hair tied back in a severe bun. It's one of the immediate ways you can recognize her as a Librarian.
- Villain Has a Point: The Librarian's big shtick is power via controlling information. The climax of The Shattered Lens is when she makes Alcatraz realizes that—sometimes—they're right. If everyone had a bomb, that would be really bad... and it'd be the same if everyone had a Smedry Talent.
- Wild Card: In the end, Shasta is only on her own side. Not the Librarian's, and not the Free Kingdoms. She's willing to betray both sides to get what she wants.
Order of the Dark Oculators
- Eyepatch of Power (Invoked): He put out one of his eyes to make the remaining one twice as powerful.Bastille: He's a very powerful Oculator, Alcatraz — they say he put out his own eye to increase the power focused through his single remaining one.
- Eye Scream: Alcatraz breaks the way the Firebringer's Lens works so it shoots backwards, into Blackburn's remaining good eye.
- Handicapped Badass: Though he's missing an eye, this actually makes him more dangerous — at least until Alcatraz blinds him in that eye too.
Order of the Scrivener's Bones
KilimanjaroA user of blood-forged Lenses that stalks Alcatraz and his friends through the Library of Alexandria.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: He manages to follow them through Kaz's Talent, which is getting lost.
Wardens of the Standard
She Who Cannot Be Named
- Affably Evil: She Who Cannot Be Named actually makes great chocolate chip cookies when she's not plotting the downfall of her enemies.Grandpa Smedry: We shouldn't eat these.
Alcatraz: Are they poisoned?
Grandpa Smedry: No, they'll spoil our dinner.
- The Noun Who Verbed: Her epithet "She Who Cannot Be Named" is a loose example.
- Say My Name: Grandpa Smedry calls her by her real name.
- The Scottish Trope/Speak of the Devil] (Subverted): She's called "She Who Cannot Be Named" and so Alcatraz immediately thinks it's a Voldemort-type scenario. It's not.Alcatraz: She Who Cannot Be Named? Why can't we say her name? Because it might draw the attention of evil powers? Because we're afraid of her? Because her name is become a curse upon the world?
Himalaya: Don't be silly. We don't say her name because nobody can pronounce it.
- The Unpronounceable: Her name, Kangchenjunga Sarekgjåkkå, is viewed as such.
Himalaya Smedry née RockiesA defected Librarian from the Wardens of the Standard. Also, Folsom's wife.
- Accent Interest: Has a Boston accent, something that immediately grabs Alcatraz's attention the first time he meets her.
- Ambiguously Brown: Described as having dark skin.
- The Big Damn Kiss: Folsom and Himalaya get one near the end of The Knights of Crystallia. Himalaya has just used her new Smedry Talent for the first time—she saved the day in a Big Damn Hero moment, and Folsom is absolutely in awe. The way the kiss is described, you know it would look great if it was a movie. And not only is it their first kiss since being married, but it's their First Kiss—before, they were in an Everyone Can See It situation where they both assumed their feeling were unrequited.
- Defecting for Love (Inverted): She falls in love with Folsom after she defects from the Librarians.
- Took a Level in Badass: Himalaya is pretty cool already in The Knights of Crystallia. But when she shows up again in The Dark Talent, she's leading a militia of reformed Librarians.
- I Am What I Am: After defecting from the Librarians, she has a lot of shame about her Librarian traits, such as her desire to sort things. When Alcatraz takes her to the Royal Archives (Not a library!) and she has to sort through all the books there, she realizes that there's actually value in that, and she embraces her Librarian traits while still not being evil.