- A meta-example would be how the series came to be in the first place. Butcher got involved with an internet argument on a writing forum. The argument was over whether craft or idea was more important to a good novel - basically whether or not a good writer could make a bad idea into a good novel. Butcher took that as a challenge and told the other poster to give him not one but two bad concepts, and he would write a novel with them. The poster responded with Lost Roman Legions and Pokémon. That's right, the Furies have their roots in the canon that spawned Pikachu. And he has indeed made it work.
Furies of Calderon
- Amara asks Tavi why he went and collected flowers upon Beritte's request, knowing it would make it difficult to track down the sheep he was supposed to be looking for in time.Tavi: It wasn't until nearly the end of the day that I realized I was going to have to pick between getting all the sheep in and those hollybells, and I'd promised her.
Amara: Ah. *dubious stare*
Tavi: ...All right, she kissed me and my brains melted and dribbled out my ears.
Amara: Now that I can believe.
- Isana's first look at Amara."This isn't anything to trifle with, or let Gram's stiff neck—" Isana frowned and leaned to look past her brother. Without changing expression, he moved a bit more to block her view with his body. Isana let out an impatient breath and shouldered her brother a bit to one side, looking past him.
"Bernard," she said, "Why is there a girl in your bed?"
Her brother coughed and flushed. "Isana, when you say it that way-"
She turned to blink up at him. "Bernard. Why is there a girl in your bed?"
- When Tavi and Fade wake up after being kidnapped by the Marat, Tavi tries to come up with a plan to get away.Fade: Trouble, Tavi. Trouble.
Tavi: I know. Don't worry, we'll find a way out of this.
(Fade stares expectantly)
Tavi:...Well, not right this minute. You could at least try to help me come up with something, Fade.
Fade:....Marat eat Alerans.
Tavi: I know, I know. But if they were going to eat us, they wouldn't have given us blankets and a place to sleep. Right?
Fade: Maybe they like hot dinner. Raw dinner.
Tavi: That's enough help, Fade.
- Amara and Bernard have been locked up by Pluvus Pentius after Count Gram is attacked. That night, Garrison's healer and Centurion Giraldi take a sleeping Pluvus to get the two of them out, with the healer blatantly (and cheerfully) shaking Pluvus' head up and down so that he can officially say Pluvus "agrees" with what Bernard and Amara are saying. As Amara starts to give orders (using her Cursor position), she tells the healer that Pluvus needs a bed, and he promptly dumps him into the cell's pallet.
- Fidelias and Aldrick go to visit Atsurak, and fly over the troops of Marat ready for battle, a collection so large the campfires stretch for miles and miles in the night.Aldrick: Hungh. I'm not sure I can handle that many.
Fidelias: We'll make that the backup plan, then.
- When Doroga and his Marat come to stop the other Marat, and Tavi's riding on Walker (for all intents and purposes, a mammoth) behind him.Tavi: Uncle Bernard, Uncle Bernard! He followed me home! Can we keep him?
- Doroga and Atsurak are fighting in deadly earnest, the winner being the one who will decide the fate of Calderon Valley. Then Amara notices the Marat talking to each other..."Are they betting on the fight?" Amara asked, incredulous.
Tavi nodded. "Yeah, they do that. Doroga won his daughter betting on me."
- Doroga's teasing of Tavi as he realizes a few things are... ahem, developing between the young man and his daughter. You practically read the anime-esque heart at the end of this sentence."[You are] Doomed, young warrior. Doomed. But her mother and I started off the same way."
- Better is Tavi's reaction when he realizes just what Doroga is implying. As the Marat grins and walks away, Tavi freaks out and just yells, "What? Her mother what? Doroga, WAIT!"
- The entire mess begins because Tavi went out of Bernardholt in order to seek a bunch of sheep that had been lost earlier. At the end of the book, when Amara calls him forward so that First Lord Gaius Sextus can publicly offer him what he wants, he is nowhere to be seen... because he left earlier to find the sheep.
- Maximus is a walking funny moment. This is possibly because his Chivalrous Pervert ways (One word: twins) are more than slightly reminiscent of Thomas Raith (The Dresden Files by the same author), another wisecracking, longsuffering and Hypercompetent Sidekick to a main character who specialises in Crazy Awesome and Indy Ploy.
- Almost everything Doroga says, especially in the later books. For example, his very first lines in Academ's Fury, in response to Kitai telling him to hurry up to reach the valley of the Wax Forest:"We must hurry, because the valley is running away from us. I see. Maybe we should have stayed downwind."
- Tavi has to take his exams while under immense pressure to secretly save their country from falling into a bloody civil war.Tavi: It gets too hot in there after a long test. The air gets all squishy.
Ehren: It's called humidity, Tavi.
Tavi: I haven't slept in almost two days. It's squishy.
- Doroga's anecdote about a severe case of foot-in-mouth:Doroga: I praised it to the skies as the best soup any woman ever made for a man.
Amara: Your wife hadn't made it?
Doroga: She did not. Hashat had.
- Max asking Tavi about something when impersonating Gaius Sextus.Max: What if they start talking about some kind of theory I have no clue about?
Tavi: Just do what you do when the Maestros ask you a question during lecture and you don't know the answer.
- And later on...Max: How am I doing?
Tavi: Stop looking down Lady Erusmus' bodice.
Max: I did not!
Tavi: Yes you did. Stop it.
Max: Tavi, I'm a young man. Some things just aren't in my control.
- Plus, shortly afterward, Max unexpectedly runs into Gaius's (ignored and only married for political reasons) wife, Caria, who is extremely angry at her husband for forgetting her even more than usual. Max, still shapeshifted into Gaius Sextus, panics and then defuses the situation by making out with and hitting on her.
- And later we hear from the real Gaius Sextus that she appreciated it perhaps a bit too much for his liking when she comes into his bath, and Gaius has to, well, do something difficult for an eighty-year old man to manage.Gaius: I adjusted to the demands of my station, of course, but when you speak to Maximus, you might mention to him that in the future, should this situation arise again, he should seek some course other than to fondle my wife .
- And later we hear from the real Gaius Sextus that she appreciated it perhaps a bit too much for his liking when she comes into his bath, and Gaius has to, well, do something difficult for an eighty-year old man to manage.
- And later on...
- Can't forget when Tavi first met Varg:"What do you know of my people?"
"That they have bad breath, sir, if you are an indication."
- Bernard finally finding out the full story of what Tavi did in the Wax Forest.Doroga: Maybe you have not noticed. Tavi does things big.
Bernard: How so?
Doroga: He saw how Keepers see the heat of a body. Saw how they they respond to damage on the croach. So he set it on fire.
Bernard: (blinks) Tavi... set the Wax Forest on fire?
Doroga: Left out that part, did he.
Bernard: Yes he did.
- Captain Cyril explaining that the First Aleran Legion isn't like the others:
- And that's not even the worst of it:Tavi: Most Legions would kill to have [sixty] Knights Aeris, sir.
Cyril: Yes ... if they could fly.
Tavi: They can't? ... I thought that was what you had to be able to do to be one of those, sir.
Cyril: Oh, they can get into the air, for the most part. Getting down again in one piece has proven something of a problem...
- And that's not even the worst of it:
- Chapter 21 has a cold opening between Max and Tavi:Max:Are you insane?
Tavi:This isnt complicated. Take this hammer and break my crowbegotten leg.
- The scene just gets better when Marcus walks in on them, and Tavi blames the sleeping cart-horse for his broken leg.The old horse let out a snore. Tavi hadn't known they could do that.
- Made even more Hilarious in Hindsight when you remember Marcus is Fidelias, and knows perfectly well why Tavi broke his leg.
- The scene just gets better when Marcus walks in on them, and Tavi blames the sleeping cart-horse for his broken leg.
- Lady Antillus (Max's Wicked Stepmother) is part of the Legion Tavi (incognito) and Max have joined. After Tavi breaks his leg (see above) and the Legion's medic heals it, she pronounces him capable (as part of her plan to prove Tavi's identity), but when she forces him on his broken leg he drops in pain. When the medic tells Tavi the bribe he'll need to ride in the wagon, Tavi pulls out the money he has stolen from Lady Antillus and hands him the cash. When he tells this to Max, the latter can only be amazed.
- Amara and Bernard going over their plans to infiltrate Kalare's citadel.Amara: It's not Kalare or his Knights or his Legions or his Immortals or his bloodcrows that I'm worried about.
Bernard: You're not? I am.
- Amara Out Gambits Lady Aquitainus Invidia, leaving her and her retainers stranded in the woods. Amara calmly and rationally explains to Bernard why they didn't kill her and how she could have made it impossible for them to get charges of treason to stick, and that therefore, this was their best option. Then we get this...Bernard: Though I feel I must ask... why did we leave them naked? To slow them down?
Amara: No, because the poisonous bitch deserved it.
- This exchange:Kitai: In that time, have I ever attempted to deceive you?
Tavi: The first night I met you, you gave me that [scar] with one of those stone knives. And I thought you were a boy.
Kitai: You are slow and stupid. We both know this. But have I ever deceived you?
- When Isana notices how much Tavi has grown since the last time she's seen him.Isana: If you got much taller, they'd have to raise all the ceilings in here.
Tavi: Nonsense. This is the Legion. The ceiling is at regulation height. It is the responsibility of every legionare to be sure that he is at regulation height as well.
- Ehren in response to a Crazy Enough to Work plan:Tavi: Are you in?
Ehren: The plan is insane. You are insane I'll need some pants.
- Isana seriously tells Tavi they need to talk (about him being Gaius' grandson). Tavi assumes she's talking about the rumors that he's having orgies with the Marat women.
- Every time Isana and Kitai have a private talk is hilarious because of how frank the Marat is about her... relationship. Such as when Isana asks Kitai to talk about Tavi, and she launches into a whole spiel about her and Tavi's activities, including what he can do with his mouth, sending Isana stammering and trying desperately to get Kitai to stop talking.Kitai: He didn't know what he was doing at first. Except with his mouth. But then, he was always quite clever with that.
- Becomes a Brick Joke a few pages later when Tavi is talking with the two of them and makes an idle comment about "running his mouth". Both Isana and Kitai are rendered helpless with laughter for several minutes.
- Ehren overhears Tavi say Isana is the First Lady of Alera, leading him to assume at first that she's a glamored Caria.
- Straight from the Humans Are Insane mindset comes this gem:
- At one point, Araris and Isana are talking and Araris mentions how he dislikes being on the ship with the Canim; they smell like wet dog. A little while later:Varg: *growls something in Canim, causing Tavi to laugh.*
Isana: What did he say?
Tavi: That hes glad to get off this ship. He says it smells like wet people here.
- Near the end, we read from Isana's POV as she leads the troops in a saying Tavi's name Moment of Awesome, and then switch to Tavi's POV where his reaction is simply exasperation that they're too busy chanting his name to hear him trying to tell them that the bad guy's getting away.
- Before the prologue is featured a poem found inscribed within the ruins of Appia. Clearly authored by a legionare, it is a solemn elegy; a lament for Rome, their lost mother. And then, scratched in crude lettering, theres the addendum:Good riddance, gluttonous whore! Victory Germania!
- On the subject of sailing around leviathans:"Respect is elder to convenience."
"And if you didn't respect them, they'd eat you."
"Survival is also elder to convenience."
- The beginning features a rather hilarious sequence in which a couple of former members of Kalarus' army are traveling, along with a third who turns out to be Ehren. One of them is babbling incessantly while the other gets more and more annoyed... until eventually Ehren, who has apparently had enough, quietly comes up behind him and breaks a tree branch over his head. Too bad about what happens next.
- Valiar Marcus is giving language lessons to a Canim officer, and is trying to tactfully explain the difference between telling someone they have a weak sense of smell and telling them that they smell bad. The Canim takes the criticism badly, and lunges at Marcus. The old Centurion is prepared, however, and body slams the 9-foot-tall wolfman into a daze... and then continues correcting his grammar as if nothing had happened.
- Tavi serving food on the Slive after the storm.Demos: You really don't have any idea at all how to be a Princeps, do you?
Magnus: Extra mash, please, Your Highness.
- A minor but hilarious scene where Max shows the Shuarian Canim the power of watercrafting by healing their leader's leg wound. The Canim warriors are immediately and intensely interested, and when Max tells them he needs a healing tub, they almost instantly grab a barrel, fill it with water, and dump their leader inside, all because they just want to see watercrafting at work.
- Afterwards, Anag thanks Tavi for the use of his healer (aka Max). Tavi notes his actual healers would be mildly offended at the comparison.
- The bit later, when Max curses at the Canim in Canish is hilarious, as is how Gradash and Max apparently teach each other dirty words in each others' languages.
- Just before that, Max reveals that he read up on furycrafting theory, and tells Tavi that Aleran scholars believe that furycrafting is impossible away from Alera. Tavi orders him to forget everything he read, invoking Achievements in Ignorance, which Max cheerfully agrees to do.
- Magnus declares that it would be the duty of every Aleran in Canea to die as quickly and efficiently if possible if that's what it took to get Princeps Octavian safely home. Kitai tartly points out that given the aforementioned's non-existent skills at sea, the death of every Aleran in Canea could not possibly get him safely home.
- Max complains about the Canim cavalry mounts, which are bull-sized mules called taurga."Legionaires do not fear dinner. Dinner fears legionaires."
- In light of this statement, the name of Max's mount is also pertinent: "Steaks and New Boots".
- At one point, during a deadly serious and secret conversation about the Vord, Max is loudly cussing out his Taurga as a distraction. It wraps up with "And not even SHE would do that with you, no matter how much gold or how many burlap sacks were involved."
- He has plenty to complain about: Tavi's mount behaves admirably... which means it only tries to kill him an average of twice between meals.
- But it DOES interrupt a tender moment between Tavi and Kitai. By rearing up and tossing them both 20 feet away. Into a small swamp.Kitai: I am stuck. I blame you.
Tavi: Max, shut up and catch that stupid taurga before it runs into the ocean.
- Lararl has the little party of ambassadors, including a Knight-level windcrafter WHO CAN FLY, imprisoned... by stranding them on a rooftop with no way down.Max: They cannot possibly be serious.
- Tavi's snarky reply to Max's complaining about being given work on top of Lararl's Tower.Max: You aren't going to last long as First Lord if you go around handing your singulares compulsory homework, my lord.
Tavi: I know. But if I'm forced to spend my time listening to all their complaining, I'll knife myself and save the assassins the bother.
- As they are travelling towards the Vord Queen lair, Tavi's group makes camp in a Canim farm. As they watch Varg's Hunters set up camp, Tavi shows his upbringing, commenting on the cleverness of the Canim's portable enclosures. Durias has no idea how to react.Durias just blinked at Tavi.
- Doroga turning the snark on centuries of Aleran tradition when mediating a Duel to the Death."I am the Master of Arms. I read up on your combat law. It means I come over here and tell you all the rules, even though everyone here knows them better than I do. Lord Antillus, there, is the challenged. He gets to choose how the duel will be fought. He's chosen steel and fury, which basically means anything goes, which is how fighting ought to be done in any case. Isana is the challenger, which means she gets to choose the time and place of the duel. She has chosen here and now. Obviously. Or none of us would be standing out here in the wind."
- Earlier in that same book, Doroga had been very impressed by Isana using snow to defend against a very powerful lightning attack:"I ever invade Calderon again," he said, "it will be in the summer."
Isana stared wearily at him, and said, "I'd see to it you never got those sweetbread cakes you like. Ever again."
Doroga gave her a wounded look, sniffed, and said to Walker, "Alerans don't ever fight fair."
- Earlier in that same book, Doroga had been very impressed by Isana using snow to defend against a very powerful lightning attack:
- The culmination of Kitai's running gag about how she wanted a horse, but got Tavi. After using Tavi as bait to draw out a Vord Queen, Kitai remarks that Tavi makes a great "stalking cow". Tavi wearily corrects her that the term is "stalking horse", and Kitai then pauses to ask what kind of idiot would risk harming a perfectly good horse.
First Lord's Fury
- In the prologue:
- Kitai has discovered her relationship with Tavi is considered equal to be at best a concubine and at worst a whore to the Citizenry of Alera. She is furious with Tavi for neglecting that, for leaving him open to an attack by which she is the weapon, and when he stammeringly admits he just thought they would get together anyway without him courting her by her people's ways, it infuriates her to no end, she cuts off all their pleasure together.
- At the end of the scene, Alera, the ancient fury who has seen mountains become valleys of rivers and grass, who would feel no real sadness in Tavi's death the following conversation happens:Tavi: You're taking her side because she's a girl.
Alera: Yes. I may be no expert, but I have learned enough of your ways to know which side of this debate I am obliged to support.
- Phrygia's stammering son. Seriously, the boy is awesome. And Tavi and Kitai realize this. Which is why Tavi thinks, "If I survive this, I have to give this kid a job," and why they start arguing about who saw him first. The only ways the scene would have been more awesomely hysterical would've been if the boy had miraculously happened to speak Canish, the language they were using to discuss him right in front of him, or if Varg had joined in on the argument.Cyricus: Y-you are w-welcomed as a guest, sir. B-but if you hurt anyone under my lord f-father's protection, I will kill you myself.
Varg: It will be as you say in your house, young Master. (to Tavi, in Canish) Does the pup remind you of anyone, Tavar?
Tavi: (in Canish) As I recall, I had a knife to your throat at the time.
Varg: It did give you a certain credibility.
- And:Kitai: Oh my. I might be in love.
Tavi: I saw him first.
Varg's ears: (quiver, quiver)
- We get a little gem within an otherwise serious chapter. During the briefing for the final defense at Calderon Valley, Senator Valerius continually complains about the fact that Bernard built all kinds of fortifications without telling anyone, and wonders out loud where the money came from. Despite High Lord Antillus' objections, he continues to question Bernard and Amara's integrity and reliability until High Lord Placida simply picks him up and hurls him bodily from the tent."Ass," muttered Raucus.
"Thank you, Placida," the Princeps murmured in a dry voice. "Countess, please continue."
- The real kicker to this scene? Placida follows up the tossing by dealing with Valerius' bodyguards too. He doesn't even need to do anything to them. He just gives them a Death Glare and points at the door. They take the hint.
- Preceding that Amara gets her own Crowning Moment of Funny and/or Awesome when a pompous Knight, who's also an ally of Valerius and a friend of Brencis (which should tell you all you need to know about him) refuses to let Doroga into the Princeps' tent and she decks him so hard that she breaks her wrist. She says it was Worth It.
- Canim giving legionares piggyback rides. Very effective for speedy transportation, but not a popular idea. A slightly loopy-from-exhaustion Fidelias had this to say:How different would the role of cavalry be if horses could talk?
And draw swords.
And eat their riders.
He thought there might be a great deal less running about.
- Max throwing a belligerent Cane through a building, while Marcus muses that Max must have been learning diplomacy from Tavi: he threw the Cane through a wooden building instead of a stone one.
- The Vord Queen uses watercrafting to send a message to everyone in Alera. This means that a life-size replica of her appears wherever there is enough water. How does Varg disrupt it? He takes a helmet, uses it to scoop the image's head off, drinks it down, and then shouts:"I AM STILL THIRSTY! WHO WILL DRINK WITH ME?"
- After that, Tavi sends his own message back, giving a rousing speech and words of kindness and empathy to those civilian Alerans who will die from starvation, giving them empathy and love, while holding any "Citizen" to task. A heartwarming and awesome moment made hilarious as it was also a distraction. The message awoke the sentries around her imprisoned holds filled with captured people, and she silenced them to hear the message, allowing Tavi's knights to swoop in, take care of these sentries, and bring back the people. Crassus also took the time to take every bit of food and even the livestock just to spite the Vord Queen. The Vord Queen was so furious, they could hear her scream of fury ten miles away.
- Lord Gram's reaction to seeing the Vord Bulks for the first time. As the other High Lords and assembled Citizens discuss what to do about them, Gram's only lines for about three solid pages are a repeated, "Bloody crows", occasionally mixed with, "Blighted bloody crows."
- The absolutely hilarious conversation between the various high lords and ladies at Calderon. For example:Antillus Raucus: Well. There it is.
Phrygius: Brilliant last words. We'll put them on your memorium. Right next to, "He died stating the obvious."
Placidus Sandos: Ah. It begins.
Phrygius: See? Sandos knows how to go out with style.
Antillus Raucus: You want to go out with style, I'll strangle you with your best silk tunic.
- Attis takes time out of his duel to the death with Invidia to serve her divorce papers.
- Doroga bursts in on the Vord ambush on the lines of fleeing refugees from Riva. He's very cheerful about it, all the while doing grievous harm to the Vord around him.Doroga: Good day!
- And when he finally meets Gaius Aquitinus Attis:Attis: You must be headman Doroga.
Doroga: Yes. You are the man whose people convinced Atsurak to lead thousands of my people to a bloody death. (...) I will have your promise not to do it again.
- And when he finally meets Gaius Aquitinus Attis:
- Tavi gives a stream of orders to Schultz, Max, and Crassus. None of them have all the information Tavi has, and since Tavi finds being mysterious like heroin for commanders, he doesn't give it to them, so the orders don't make much sense anyone but him. The reactions:Schultz: I have no idea what you're talking about, sir. On my way.
(After Tavi has issued orders to Max and Crassus)
Crassus: At least it won't be more ice ships.
Tavi: Not... exactly, no.
Max: Does he know how annoying that is?
Crassus: Oh, absolutely.
Max: You think we should say anything about it?
Crassus: The burden of command is heavy. We should probably let him have his sick fun.
Max: Especially since he's going to do it anyway.
Crassus: He is the mighty First Lord. We are but lowly legionares. We obey without question.
Max: We do?
Crassus: That was a question. You're questioning.
Max: Right. Sorry.
- There's something hilarious about how the narration specifies that Marcus orders the Knights Aeris to, "Keep those bloody bug men off my roof!" It makes perfect sense in context and it's a serious, deadly context but the wording and implied tone just makes him seem more annoyed than worried he's going to get torn limb from limb.
- Tavi has just had a huge Moment of Awesome by destroying Riva's nigh-impenetrable wall by bringing up and freezing giant plants around the gate, and then using a fireball to shatter it. What's his reaction upon seeing this work? "Crap, I didn't mean to THAT much damage. I'm gonna have to pay Riva a LOT to fix this mess."
- Tavi notes that the Icemen owning the Wall will make them "considerably less likely to attempt to demolish it on a weekly basis".
- For a supposedly quick thinker, Tavi takes some time to get a hint.Kitai nodded in satisfaction. "Come. You need to get back to your wagon and rest. Varg has things well in hand."
"I should stay," Tavi said. "Watch. Who knows, there might be something here, some clue as to their weakness."
Kitai looked at him with what looked like enormous patience that was nonetheless clearly being tried. "Aleran," she said between her teeth, "you should rest. In your wagon. Your enclosed, covered wagon. While nearly everyone else is busy with the battle."
Tavi blinked at her owlishly, then his eyes widened. "Oh," he said. A sudden smile lifted his mouth. "Oh."
- After the battle:Lord Placida had approached as they spoke, and he smiled briefly as they both turned to him. "In point of fact, dear, all of us owe her our lives."
Aria arched an imperious eyebrow. "You are not going to hug the pretty little Parcian girl, you goat."
Placida nodded gravely. "Foiled again."
- Tavi and Kitai getting married Aleran style. More precisely, Kitai's reaction.Kitai: [to her infant son] It is foolish, but we must endure this Aleran nonsense. It will make your father happy.
Tavi: It's a necessary formality. That's all.
Kitai: (ignoring him) Like many Alerans, he places undue value upon acts performed in front of witnesses in which all manner of ridiculous things are done that would be much more simply done at a desk or table than here. But we love him, so we will do these things.(After Tavi explains the ceremony)
—>Kitai: You... are quite serious, aren't you?
—>Tavi: That's... the wedding ceremony. I mean... granted there's no swordplay or arson or rock climbing, but what were you expecting?
- The challenge from Book One when they were both kids included all three of those things, which they would subsequently claim as an Accidental Marriage.
- Gaius Primus' reaction upon first meeting the Great Fury Alera: "Bother, I've gone mad."