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Grayson in General
- Achievements in Ignorance: Because of Grayson's relative isolation from the rest of the galaxy, much of their technology before joining the Manticoran Alliance was built on them experimenting, during that period, with technologies and techniques long abandoned in the Galaxy at large. Despite that or, probably, because, as nobody was around to tell them that "it's impossible" Graysons managed to achieve several rather spectacular technological feats.
- Most notable is their fission technology, which — because they lost fusion technology during their dark years — kept improving to the point they could make them more efficient, smaller scale, and higher output than anyone else thought was theoretically possible.
- As nobody told them how to build an inertial compensator, they invented it on their own, in a way that most of the galaxy "knew" was wrong. It turns out to be a big help in developing more powerful and efficient compensators, allowing ships to accelerate more quickly. And since they developed it independently, they didn't have the generally accepted data on the device's safety margin, so they determined the limits from scratch. As Manticore and the rest of the galaxy found out, the "80% of maximum power" adhered to by every navy in existence was ridiculously overzealous. Knowing this allowed Manties and their allies to shave as much as 15% off the "safe acceleration" limit, even for the ships with non-upgraded compensators.
- Badass Army: By book 10 or so, Grayson's navy is almost as badass as Manticore's. They went straight to building the most advanced ships made available through the huge technological leaps achieved during the Havenite-Manticoran War, so they don't have to use older ships like the Manticorans, and they didn't slow construction during the four year armistice. They end up with as many bleeding-edge ships as Manticore.
- Eagle Squadron: The Protector's Own Squadron starts off as one of these, and the GSN in general has elements of this trope, due to their dependency on loaned crew from the Royal Manticoran Navy early on due to their lack of experienced naval crews.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: While the Grayson Space Navy is nothing to scoff at, special attention is given to the Armsmen that protect each Steadholder, as well as the Protector's Own Squadron, an elite squadron of the GSN which answers directly to the Protector, and which doubles as an Eagle Squadron (even moreso than most of the GSN already does).
- Exotic Extended Marriage: Polygyny is firmly embraced, though that is rooted partly in practical concerns, since a quirk of genetic tweaks that saved them from being poisoned to death by the planet has caused Graysons to survive at a rate of three girls for every boy. Fortunately, since it's universal on Grayson, there appears to be very little jealousy; most sister-wives get along very well, and in fact do think of themselves as sisters. Honor also notes the tremendous family strength of Grayson's traditional family structure; Grayson children have very secure childhoods, because there is always an adult around willing and able to help them.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Meiji-era Japan, right down to Katanas Are Just Better, despite being outwardly a bunch of fundamentalist Utah Americans, with hints of The Deep South.
- The Fundamentalist: Very serious about their brand of extreme-right Protestantism (which, oddly, has some pretty strong parallels to Catholicism), to the extent that their government is fairly theocratic (and which allows women little independence and rights), though their Church proper stays mostly out of politics, after having partly caused Grayson's hugely destructive Civil War and the expulsion of the extremist element that proceeded to take a nicer planet nearby and threaten them with genocide for the next few hundred years. The Church has moderated itself since then, and actually aids the rapid modernization brought about by Grayson's alliance with Manticore.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Grayson has come up with ideas and techniques no one else thought possible.
- Had to Be Sharp: Grayson is, outwardly, a paradise, but the planet's crust has a high concentration of heavy metals. Its wildlife is well adapted to this reality, with their plants fixing mercury like our plants fix nitrogen, but even after a thousand years on the planet the average Grayson is still short, brittle-boned, and short-lived. When they arrived, the Graysons had planned to abandon all technology as evil (which had been the main tenet of their religion), but just surviving required backbreaking labor and sophisticated technology, and so they embraced an alternate view, holding that man's use of technology, not technology itself, was evil. And despite the harshness of their environment, the Graysons have managed to positively thrive and have re-developed for themselves much technology that they lost in their first few years on the planet.
- Religion of Evil: Averted, despite the Church of Humanity Unchained being set up this way (unlike their Evil Twin Masada, who play this straight). Honor Harrington comes to have a deep respect for both the Graysons themselves and their religion, despite its overt (though, as of Manticore's alliance with Grayson, quickly diminishing) inherent sexism. Namely that men are supposed to protect, and therefore rule over, women. Initially even the (relatively) open-minded officers are nearly physically ill at the thought of women in the military. But that doesn't mean they were slaves, denied education, don't lead lively private lives, or suffer incessant abuse; on the contrary, they have tremendous influence on their menfolk and are as well-educated as the men themselves. Grayson goes out of its way to protect its women, in part because of the extremely deleterious effect Grayson's environment has on women's ability to reproduce, and because it was thought necessary for Grayson to survive at all.
Protector Benjamin IX Mayhew.
Benjamin IX Mayhew is the hereditary head of state of the Protectorate of Grayson and the liege lord of the planet's feudal system of government. Educated in the Solarian League (at Harvard University no less) he is often portrayed as an extremely intelligent and shrewd politician. During his reign he advocated for and later successfully reformed and liberalized Grayson society and oversaw the modernization of its industrial base. He also entered into a military alliance with the Star Kingdom of Manticore, and Grayson has remained Manticore's staunchest ally ever since. He is based very heavily on Japan's Meiji Emperor and Grayson in turn is based largely on Meiji-era Japan.
- Author Avatar: Speculated to be Weber's.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Benjamin is an accomplished horticulturalist in his spare time, and often used his greenhouses (with their respective climate) to disturb and pressure friend and foe alike. This is especially Bunny-Ears, because, as stated below, horticulture is more of a feminine art on Grayson.
- The Chessmaster: He turned the whole conclave of nobles who usurped the power from his ancestors centuries before around the finger through the sheer force of intellect. And a little help from his friends.
- Expy: He bears too many similarities with the Emperor Meiji of Japan for it to be a coincidence.
- Happily Married: As per Grayson custom, he has more than one wife. His are Katherine, a forceful, intelligent, and politically-minded type, and Elaine, the more traditional and retiring homemaker sort who nevertheless manages her children — all of them — with the grace and sublety of the best Yamato Nadeshiko. Like most sister-wives on Grayson, they get along very well.
- Manly Tears: When Honor finally makes it back from Hades, he gives the metaphorical finger to a thousand years of Grayson protocol and sweeps her into a bear hug with definitely teary eyes.
- Praetorian Guard: In addition to his personal Armsmen (which all Steadholders on Grayson have), beginning in Ashes of Victory he has The Protector's Own Squadron, effectively a Praetorian Fleet.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Fellow Graysons don't always consider his love for horticulture to be the manliest of hobbies. He could not care less.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Grayson Constitution makes the Protector a sort of fully empowered hereditary President. And oh boy, does he use it to his and his planet's advantage.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: At one point, it is suggested that it will take time to convince the Keys to send reinforcements to Manticore. He angrily replies that he is the Protector and the fleet will go wherever he tells them to. He's right.
Colonel Andrew LaFollet.
Andrew LaFollet is the head of Harrington Steadholder's Guard and Honor Harrington's personal armsman. He is a close friend of Honor and for the longest time he was her personal bodyguard. Now, though, he has become her son's bodyguard. Do not harm Honor when you are in his presence if you wish to remain intact. It is a Very Bad Idea.
- Battle Butler: Not exactly, for Honor has a butler and it's another man entirely, but close enough.
- Badass Normal: He's nothing special, in fact, and really is much weaker in a hand-to-hand fight than his patron. But it doesn't make him any less effective as a bodyguard, and he has floored Honor for her own protection more than once. Also note that "weaker in a hand-to-hand fight" disclaimer: in a gunfight, LaFollet is so fast and accurate that Honor Harrington, the woman who contemptuously destroyed a feared Manticoran gunman-for-hire in a duel, has twice been struck dumb by just how horrifically lethal LaFollet is when the pulser darts start flying.
- During the POW escape at the end of In Enemy Hands, LaFollet finds it necessary to do a suicidal charge down a hallway full of Peeps armed with automatic weapons, while armed only with a shotgun. By the time he reaches the other end, he and Honor are the only two living things left in the corridor. And there isn't a single scratch on him. And Honor wasn't even armed (that is, LaFollet had killed everything in his path single-handed).
- Bling of War: Not to the extremes, but the uniform of the Harrington Guard (personally designed by Honor herself), with its striking green-on-green color, is rather distinct.
- Bodyguard Crush: Unrequited, sadly, but he learned to cope.
- Bodyguarding a Badass: In addition to her tactical prowess Honor is a master-level martial artist and a mean shot, but that doesn't mean that she didn't need a dedicated and professional protection at all times.
- The Champion: Is this to Honor.
- Cool Old Guy: Relatively. He's about 20 years younger than Honor, but when Grayson allied itself with Manticore he was already too old for prolong, so in 1922 p.d. he looks like he could be her father.
- Colonel Badass: Pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Deadpan Snarker: A past master at deadpan sarcasm.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Saves Honor's mother and son by shoving them into an escape pod mere moments before a massive blast wave hit. Honor still doesn't take losing him well.
- It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Non-romantic version, but there in its essentials. A time comes when he's the only one of Honor's twelve original armsmen still drawing breath. To keep him out of the line of fire, she reassigns him to guard someone whose life she cares about even more than her own: her son Raoul. It doesn't work.
- Nothing Up My Sleeve: Kept a small pulser up his left sleeve in Field of Dishonor.
- Old Retainer: Actually younger than Honor, but ages faster due to his lack of Prolong and fits the trope very well in his later appearances.
- Undying Loyalty: To Honor herself — his devotion to her is absolute and unbreakable.
Armsman Jamie Candless
Another of Honor's ever-present Grayson bodyguards, Jamie is characterised for being quiet yet persistent when things get difficult.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He shocks himself with this, when he and Honor are both captured and he believes himself unable to prevent her execution. Instead he finds himself resolving to wait until he can kill enough of their captors to force them to kill him.
- Heroic Sacrifice: While escaping captivity he resolves his inner conflict at not being able to prevent Honor's capture or die with her, by volunteering to hold a position against pursuers while she escapes.
- The Stoic: Often observed to be in pain, never complains, never lets it slow him down.
General Howard Samson Jonathan Clinkscales, retired.
Howard Clinkscales was a Grayson soldier and security official. During his lifetime he served three Protectors, Benjamin IX being the last of these three. Prior to the Mayhew Restoration he was in command of Palace Security at the Protector's Palace. Later, after Protector Benjamin IX Mayhew ascended to the Protectorship, he served as the minister of security. Despite being initially opposed to having any role other than mother and wife or maid in Grayson society he eventually changed his mind and became a close friend and confidant of Honor Harrington. He served as her first regent, and came to regard her as a daughter.
- Cool Old Guy: Frigging 92 (which is impressive for a pre-prolong Grayson, especially considering all the heavy metal poisoning they are subjected to just by living on their planet) in At All Costs, when he finally passed away — and all those years were full of one awesome feat after another.
- Due to the Dead: His Memory, a portion of the Grayson funeral where all of the deceased's loved ones and those he influenced recite a brief story about his life (essentially, an extended serial eulogy). Normally a ritual lasting about twenty minutes. Clinkscales' Memory lasted for over three hours.
- HeelFace Turn: He was downright vicious in Honor of the Queen initially, until Honor proved her badassitude. He then got the point and warmed up to her.
- Retired Badass: Retired as a soldier. Still badass as a politician.
Adam Gerrick, Chief engineer, Grayson Sky Domes Ltd
The inventor of the sky domes which become commonplace across Grayson after the alliance with Manticore results in new materials becoming available.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Tracks down and identifies a child-killer using nothing but a schematic of a half-built structure and a video of how it was damaged. The differences between how the damage affected it and how the damage should have affected it allowed him to identify the role the killer had played in constructing the building and how he'd caused the damage to happen. Lord Clinkscales had thought it was impossible, but once they knew which equipment the saboteur had handled they had fingerprints.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Dies when the pinnace Honor was previously on exploded before he could be rescued.
- Precision F-Strike: Swears twice ever, both times referring to the saboteur.
Lieutenant (SG) Abigail Hearns, Miss Owens
The first native-born female officer in the Grayson Space Navy, Abigail is the daughter of Steadholder Owens, a stalwart progressive and longtime ally of Benjamin Mayhew's. An incredibly gifted tactician — she graduated fourteenth in her class overall and sixth in the tactical curriculum under Admiral Honor Harrington — she is currently serving aboard Manticoran warships, so she can get more experience and seniority in a navy that is used to female officers before returning to Grayson service. She is a major character in the Saganami Island series, and as of Shadow of Freedom holds the post of Tactical Officer aboard the destroyer HMS Tristram. One of the best tactical minds of her generation, she is generally considered to be Honor's protégé.
- Badass Adorable: Noted in-text as "cute as a button". Can kick ass and take names with the best of them.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Abigail is adorable, and normally quite a lovely person — but she is still a Grayson, which means she has no problem doing whatever it takes to meet her Test. "Grayson granite" indeed!
- Big Sister Mentor: Becomes this to Helen Zilwicki in the Talbott Quadrant.
- Brainy Brunette: Tactical genius with long brown hair.
- Catchphrase: "Let's be about it," picked up from her mentor Honor Harrington.
- Daddy's Girl: Honor strongly suspects that Abigail is her father's favorite daughter.
- Determinator: She spent ten years taking hard science courses and begging her father to let her go to Saganami Island, and despite everything in her way, when she finally made it, she shot to the top of her class and stayed there. Aivars Terekhov later noted of her that she was "constitutionally incapable of giving less than a hundred and ten percent effort."
- Expy: Her relationship with Honor Harrington bears some resemblance to that between Honor herself and her own mentor, Admiral Raoul Courvosier. In fact, she seems to be filling the role originally intended for Honor's daughter, Katherine.
- Girly Bruiser: Abigail retains her femininity despite serving in the Navy. She always remains essentially a girly girl, insofar as practicality allows.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: While firing missiles was one thing, properly raised Grayson ladies were not supposed to engage in anything so gauche as fisticuffs — and Abigail is very much a Grayson. This made learning unarmed combat a bit difficult for her. She gets over it — quite well, actually.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: A non-romantic example. By law, as a steadholder's daughter, she must be accompanied by her armsman at all times. Abigail, like most Graysons, is on the short side. Her armsman, the San Martin-born Mateo Gutierrez, is two meters tall and weighs in at 200 kilogramsnote .
- The Knights Who Say "Squee!": At age nine, she watched from a balcony on Grayson as then-Captain Honor Harrington made a defiant, heroic last stand against a far more powerful enemy force (in The Honor of the Queen) to save her planet and its people. As a result she not only caught a serious case of hero worship for that same captain, but spent the next ten years doing her best to get to Saganami Island. Not only did she succeed, but she placed sixth in her class in the tactical curriculum (out of eleven thousand), was taught by Honor herself, and is generally considered Honor's protege.
- Long Hair Is Feminine: She can't bring herself to cut her hair, even though it's difficult to manage as a serving Navy officer, because of this trope — becoming the first native-born Grayson woman to become a naval officer is one thing, but properly raised Grayson women do not cut their hair short.
- Plucky Middie: In "The Service of the Sword", she commands an away party that comes under heavy fire while still a midshipwoman.
- Pretty Princess Powerhouse: The Grayson equivalent of a princess (her father, Steadholder Owens, is a head of state in his own right), who is as a cute as a button and still pulls off increasingly badass feats as the series goes on. Including wiping the floor with an entire platoon of Solarian Gendarmes.
- Rapunzel Hair: Has waist-length brown hair, which she refuses to cut despite its inconvenience.
- Religious Bruiser: Though she usually does her bruising from the tac console, she definitely fits. Her faith is a fundamental part of her, and more than once she has Scripture running through her mind when she annihilates someone who made the mistake of killing or injuring any of her comrades.Mother Church says vengeance is the Tester's, she reminded herself, and I believe that. But I also believe He can use anyone He wants as the instrument of His vengeance. And right this minute, I'm not feeling very forgiving.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: She's a steadholder's daughter, which makes her the legal equivalent of a princess.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Like most Grayson women, especially Grayson aristocrats, Abigail conceals a steel fist in a velvet glove.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Noted to be very cool and controlled in public, but with a warm heart in private.
Torch in General
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The initial overthrow of the Mesan masters resulted in massive bouts of revenge slaughter against anyone in any way connected with Mesa, regardless of their actual culpability in the abuses of the slaves. Afterward, however, as the Kingdom of Torch was specifically founded to provide a place for ex-slaves to build a civilized star nation of their own, it insists that anyone who joins it agree to follow the rules of civilized warfare and not just wantonly slaughter foes.
- Single-Biome Planet: Torch the planet is pretty much all jungle and ocean.
- Spice of Life: Torch's jungles generate a number of exotic organic compounds, which are valuable enough that Torch isn't short of cash.
Queen Berry Zilwicki
Berry was born on the streets (or, more correctly, tunnels) of Old Chicago, but was saved (together with her younger brother Lars) by Helen Zilwicki during the course of the "Manpower Incident" and then adopted by her father Anton. Later becomes Queen of Torch after the events of the Crown of Slaves.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: Became Queen of Torch while still in her teens.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Her coronation is certainly one of the...ahem...crowning moments of the novel.
- Happily Adopted: By a semi-retired superspy and an extremely wealthy politician.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: She's not really all that tiny (well, she's fairly petite, due to her often starving childhood, but nowhere near Allison Harrington levels), it's just that her boyfriend Hugh Arai is positively enormous, being former Mesan heavy labor slave.
- Modest Royalty: Takes this trope about as far as it's possible to push it while still retaining actual authority. On the other hand, that probably helps a lot with her popularity among her ex-slave subjects.
- The Pollyanna: Has one of the best claims to a bad past, but remains genuinely cheerful.
- Rags to Royalty: Started out as a street urchin and, a few years later, becomes a queen.
- Royal "We": Defied. Berry refuses to use it and no one is willing to press the issue to convince her otherwise.
- Straight Man: Or Straight Woman in this case. Berry has a remarkable ability to never lose her cool whatever happens around and remains a voice of reason in her constantly squabbling team.
- Street Urchin: Grew up not simply on but under the streets of Old Chicago's slums.
Jeremy X is an escaped Manpower genetic slave and leader of the Audubon Ballroom, the most notorious band of anti-slavery terrorists/freedom fighters around. Later becomes Secretary of War of Torch.
- A Father to His Men: In many cases — almost literally. He raised a lot of other escapees, including Hugh Arai.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A self-admitted evil bastard, but he'll still try to do the right thing whenever possible.
- Large Ham: Manpower Inc. bred and trained him to be an entertainer - specifically, a court jester. It shows in his hand-eye coordination and his tendency to chew scenery whenever he gets the chance. His first appearance begins with him somersaulting out of a hidden bookcase (in front of an audience of only two, both friendly) and just gets hammier from there.
- Monster Clown: He basically looks just like a bastard lovechild of the Joker and the Punisher.
- Sociopathic Hero: Doesn't hesitate to do horrible things to slavers, but is still definitely on the heroic side.
- At one point was willing to execute the children of slavers just to make a point, but was talked down.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: This trope is frequently invoked, discussed and lampshaded regarding him in-universe.
Major Thandi Palane, ret (Solarian Marines), General (Torch Armed Forces)
Well, the one simple fact that she's Victor Cachat's girlfriend should say volumes about the woman. A Marine officer in Rozsak's squadron, she was the one who usually was the business end of Barregos and Rozsak's schemes. That is, until she finally got too disgusted by their latest gambit, and decided to retire. Fortunately, in the process of that gambit, she got hooked with Cachat and joined the bandwagon as Torch's most senior uniformed officer.
- Action Girl: Super-soldier physique, marine training. One of the most directly lethal characters in the series.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Attracted to ruthless men. Starts out with a crush on Luiz Rozsak, then ends up falling for Victor Cachat.
- Aggressive Submissive: As Victor muses, "Dominating her had been like a mortal dominating a goddess, a feat possible only because the goddess herself willed it."
- The Brigadier: Eventually takes over this role for the Kingdom of Torch.
- Even the Girls Want Her: Berry lusts after her on sight; sadly, Thandi's straight.
- Four-Star Badass: Commander-In-Chief of the Torch Army after Crown of Slaves...and, as Cauldron of Ghosts proves, still quite capable of some truly spectacular acts of up-close-and-personal violence.
- He Knows Too Much: Defied. Being connected to Cachat, Anton Zilwicki and Jeremy X proved enough discouragement that her former comrades decided against trying to silence her.
- Lady of War: Quite capable of gracefully moving in high society.
- Space Marine: Quite literally — she was a Solarian Marine before.
- Super Soldier: See above. People of Ndebele were both genetically engineered, and environmentally conditioned to be tough as nails. Too bad that they came under the OFS umbrella.
Emperor Gustav I Anderman
A mercenary who came upon the planet Kuan Yin, where the original colonists were about to starve due to the local microbes finding Earth's vegetation unexpectedly tasty some of the local bacteria developed an appetite for chlorophyll, leading to massive and regular crop failures. Sensing an opportunity, he took it over and brought in modern science to save them. With this he created the foundation of the Anderman Empire.
- Big Book of War: Wrote a military tract Sternenkriegnote , reportedly influential in-universe.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Believed himself to be the reincarnation of Frederick the Great. Many of his descendants were just as eccentric. Still a very successful individual, and dynasty.
- Please Select New City Name: The people of Kuan Yin, thankful for the help, renamed their planet Potsdam in his honor.
- Pragmatic Hero: Known for his "Realpolitik", a tradition his descendants held up.
Großadmiral Chien-Lu Anderman, Herzog von Rabenstrange
Current Emperor's cousin and Commander-in-Chief of the Andermani Navy, the Herzog is a leader of a pro-Manticore faction at the Imperial court, and thus a major figure in Manticoran-Andermani relations. A shrewd and reasonable politician, he's not above using his position as the Emperor's best friend and confidante to promote his agenda and manipulate his more stubborn and suspicious cousin to the course he deems most appropriate, though in his case it is usually in the best interests of the Empire and its people.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Third in the line to the thronenote , and a highly-ranked military officer.
- Guile Hero: Being a Royal Prince, he's a politician first, and an officer second.
- The Man Behind the Man: Emperor Gustav XI might sometimes be too stubborn and suspicious for his own good. But that's what his saner relatives are for.
- The Knights Who Say "Squee!": He's a pretty obvious fan of Honor, both as an officer and a stateswoman.
- Officer and a Gentleman: Well, he's a prince of the blood, after all.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: His main goal has always been to do what's best for the Empire and its people.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: The historical Ducal title implied a nobleman of a Royal blood as a supreme military leader which is precisely what he is.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: He grew up together with the Emperor and doesn't hesitate to take advantage of the fact — though almost always for the right reasons.