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On Basilisk Station

  • The narration's description of Dame Estelle Matsuko's... irritated reaction to being told, essentially, to stop regulating trade with the natives of the planet Medusa and performing customs inspections on incoming and outgoing cargo, as doing so upset the Corrupt Corporate Executives in charge of the trading cartels. Dame Estelle's response to these directives is awesome, yes, but the way that reaction is described is simply hilarious.
    [Dame Estelle had] snapped the unlucky messenger's head off and sent him home with it under one arm and a detailed account of the nature and severity of recently discovered violations of Her Majesty's Medusan Protectorate's laws under the other. And, she'd told Honor with grim delight, she'd concluded her report with the observation that the discovery of those violations had been made possible solely by the "dedicated, professional, persistent, and outstandingly successful efforts, both in their own right and in association with the NPA" (that was a direct quote) of Commander Honor Harrington and the crew of HMS Fearless. Under the circumstances, Dame Estelle had added, she had no intention of striving to abate Commander Harrington's activities and every intention of aiding and abetting them in any way she could. And if Her Majesty's Government disapproved of her intentions, she would, of course, submit her resignation.
  • Part of Honor's overwhelming duties at Basilisk Station is to hold customs inspections. The NPA, the local police organization, is mainly ex-Army and ex-Marines and so they have almost no experience finding smuggling compartments or the like. (Which is why it's supposed to be the Navy's job to handle customs in the first place, a duty the previous Basilisk Station commander had been ignoring.) During the meeting with the head of the NPA, she calls in the Bosun.
    "I'm not going to ask you to betray any secrets, Bosun, but what I'm looking for are people who — from their own experience, let us say — would be intimately familiar with the best way to hide contraband aboard a shuttle or a starship."
    • After the Bosun leaves, Major Isvarian, the head of the NPA customs, intrudes on the conversation:
      "Excuse me, Captain, but did I just hear you ask the bosun to find fifteen smugglers to man our customs flights?"
      "Of course not, Major. This is a Queen's ship. What would we be doing with smugglers on board?"
  • After Harrington takes out the impeller nodes of the Havenite courier boat by violating its drive safety perimeter with her own (essentially, she moved too close to the other ship), and its commander coms her to protest:
    Courier Boat Commander: Captain Harrington, I protest your reckless, illegal shiphandling! You almost destroyed my ship! Our entire after–
    Captain Harrington: I'm very sorry, Captain. I'm afraid I wasn't watching where I was going.
    Courier Boat Commander: Weren't watching wh–?!

The Honor of the Queen

  • Allison Harrington is a barrel of laughs, essentially a Pretty Lech. For instance, the first time we meet her, upon meeting Honor's new executive officer, she tells Honor how gorgeous the guy is. And how Honor needs to tap that, pronto. Fittingly, her treecat name is Laugh Dancer.
  • Some responses to idiocy transcend millennia, as Sir Anthony Langtry proves. His response to Reginald Houseman's spectacularly uninformed attempt at diplomacy? Why, nothing other than the time-honored Face Palm.

The Short Victorious War

  • The scene where Honor is floating in a pool, and Nimitz starts bombing her with tennis balls. Her warning "Throw it and you're bedroom shoes!" and subsequent retaliation (treecats like water about as much as do the Earth felines for which they're named), is a fun little lighthearted moment. Especially given what happens later. (This leads to a Brick Joke a dozen books later when Honor's best friend Mike Henke is shown to have been given fluffy slippers by Honor — slippers styled to look like purple treecats.)
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  • When Honor Harrington asks her old friend Michelle Henke for help with makeup:
    Mike: Our coloring is just a bit different, you know.note 
    Honor: Does that matter?
    Mike: [mental facepalm]
  • When a pair of Peep battlecruiser divisions assigned to ambush a light cruiser accidentally run into a Mantie dreadnought, an inverted Description Cut occurs as the narration jumps from the Mantie bridge — where we see the watch officer (a communications officer, and self-admitted tactical ignoramus) nervously running down a checklist, culminating in an order for the ship to swing to port simply because the starboard sidewall came up first — to the Peep flag deck:
    Admiral Pierre swallowed a groan as the dreadnought snapped around and her sidewall swatted his broadsides contemptuously aside. He'd never seen a ship that size maneuver so rapidly and confidently. She'd taken barely ten seconds to bring her sidewalls up and get around — her captain must have the instincts and reactions of a cat!
  • As it turns out, everybody ships Honor and Paul Tankersley. Including Honor's executive officer-slash-best friend. And the admiral for whom Honor is serving as flag captain! Even an Admiral who dislikes Honor for her reputation winds up making sure that Paul is a passenger aboard Honor's ship for their voyage home.

Field of Dishonor

  • In a humorous bit of world-building, it is mentioned that Honor is familiar with powder-fired cartridge weapons (such as 20th century semi-automatic pistols) because when she was younger, she was active with the Society for Creative Anachronism, which to 20th and 21st century readers is better known for dressing up in armor and fighting with swords.
  • A discussion after the Hephaestus CO finally agrees that one of Nike's graser mounts should be completely replaced on the damage surveyors who made the initial assessment, leads to this exchange between Honor and Paul Tankersley.
    Paul: Most survey specialists toss and turn all night, bathed in cold sweat, clutching empty bottles of cheap rotgut in their palsied hands as futile protection against nightmares about their next cost accountability inspection. The last thing they need is some captain with an ironclad case for spending money on his ship.
    Honor: Poor babies. I weep for them.
    Paul: Bless you, child. Such sympathy becomes you.

Flag in Exile

  • During a period of political unrest in Harrington Steading in which a number of demonstrations had led to fighting in the streets, Honor tries to get her apparently-blind chief armsman to call in an alert about a group of men armed with large clubs entering a park. LaFollet, when he's done laughing, explains to his poor ignorant Manticoran boss that what she's seeing is a pickup baseball game. (On Manticore, the main team sport is Association Football.) It only gets funnier when, after LaFollet explains bats are used on the ball (not the players), the first idea that springs to Honor's mind is a demented variation on golf. Turns into a Brick Joke later on in War of Honor, explained in more detail below.

Honor Among Enemies

  • "Thank you for your cooperation and excellent response time, but this concludes our unscheduled exercise."note 
  • The phrasing Harold Tschu chooses when informing Honor that Samantha (his treecat) is pregnant.
    Tschu: I'm afraid I'm going to have to put in for maternity leave.
  • Peep CL engages pirate ships that outnumbers her 3-to-1 to save a Mantie merchantman, only to see two of them evapourated by a single salvo from the "merchie". And to receive an order to surrender from none but Honor Harrington herself!
    Narrator: Foraker's shocked exclamation note  burned across the bridge like a buzz saw.

In Enemy Hands

  • Nimitz (he shows up a lot here, doesn't he?) keeping in hunting practice via counting coup. Poor chipmunk...
    • Of course he shows up a lot here. His name in the treecat language is Laughs Brightly.
      • And his human nickname is Stinker, as in "Ain't I a stinker?" - pretty much a direct cultural translation.
    • The incredibly helpful description of the Sphinxian Chipmunk given by the narration is worth a mention: It has six legs (like most fauna from Sphinx), and looks nothing like a Terran chipmunk. This sort of disconnect between something's name and its Terran analogue would eventually turn into one of the franchise's Running Gags.
  • Andrew LaFollet trying to coax Jason the treekitten out from under shuttle seats. LaFollet is way too big to fit beneath the seat, and can't quite reach Jason. Jason is enjoying the game, LaFollet is wordlessly daring anyone to say one word, and Honor is stifling a highly-inappropriate giggle fit.
    • The way it gets solved is hilarious, too: Samantha looks at a relaxed Nimitz, and Nimitz tiredly stands up to get his son out from under the seat. You can almost imagine him rolling his eyes, too.

Echoes of Honor

  • Nimitz's telepathic picture show showing treecat-Honor (a brown-eyed treecat, wearing an eyepatch, a naval beret, and Commodore's shoulderboards) chasing down a chipmunk with a face patterned after a particularly obstructive admiral. It makes Honor laugh uproariously, and then chide him for his low sense of humor.
  • Some of the delicious banter between members of Honor's crew:
    • When they're scanning the jungle canopy trying to find Camp Inferno:
      Harkness: 'Scuse me, Mr. Tremaine, but I think I see something.
      Tremaine: And where would that happen to be, Chief? You really ought to be a bit more precise in making these minor sighting reports, you know.
      Harkness: [earnestly] Yes, Sir. Sorry 'bout that, Sir. Guess I'm just getting old, Sir. I'll try not to let it happen again, Sir. Maybe next time I can find you a younger, fitter flight engineer, Sir. And then–
      Tremaine: And then you can tell me where you saw whatever you saw before I come back there and have Master Chief Ascher take care of you for me, Chief!
    • In Camp Charon, Honor is discussing Admiral Styles with McKeon when Solomon Marchant interrupts:
      Honor: Yes, Solomon?
      Marchant: I'm sorry to burst in on you like this, My Lady, but Senior Chief Harkness and I just cracked another security code, and I thought you'd want to know what we found.
      Honor: [dryly] No doubt you're right.
  • For anybody British, Honor's mental reference to an M&S (maintenance & service) depot for skinsuits.
  • During a routine mail-drop from a Havenite courier-ship, the courier ship's captain is being questioned over the comm. because the local State Sec detachment is claiming that they haven't given them all their mail. The courier explains that they have, and State Sec demands remote access to their computers to double check. Once they do, they start demanding to know why the courier ship deleted their mail. The courier, harried and scared out of their wits, tries to explain that they couldn't have done that, because they don't have the access codes. Then the State Sec Colonel who was talking to the courier-ship switches over to his commander: a Lieutenant General, who similarly demands to know what the courier ship is playing at. Terrified, the courier ship explains that it is physically impossible for them to have deleted, altered, or otherwise gotten rid of this phantom message that General Chernock wants to see. Finally, General Chernock dismisses him, and turns to his second-in-command, and asks if he thinks that the courier was telling the truth. The second-in-command says that he does, and the reader finally learns what the important message had been about:
    "But that's impossible," Chernock said. "It was Dennis' move."
    "Sir, I realize how important your chess games are, but—"
    • Even funnier when you consider that, in this case, Citizen General Chernock is entirely correct to be so concerned about the missing mesage, given that the only reason Dennis didn't send the expected message was because Honor had seized control of the planet without the Havenite authorities off-world catching wind of it — and didn't learn about Warden Tresca and General Chernock correspondence chess matches because Dennis Tresca was brutally killed by the prisoners he abused long before the Manties reached his quarters.

Ashes of Victory

  • An advisor informs Queen Elizabeth of an urgent matter which demands her attention — presumably, more important than the card game she is losing against the Prince Consort and the Crown Prince (read: her husband and son). The Royal Family proceeds to engage in a light-hearted session of tinfoil hattery, accusing each other of devious machinations and high treason, all over a Pinochle game.
  • When Honor Harrington is mulling on the ultimate fate of the former Citizen Commander Caslet, and contrasts the attitudes of "us cynical Manticorans" with that of "we Graysons".
  • While everyone in both the Star Kingdom and on Grayson is quite glad to see Honor Harrington back from the dead, this doesn't stop them from preying upon her natural humility for their own amusement:
    • First, the decision is made to return her from Trevor's Star to Grayson aboard the senior Grayson ship present... which, besides being the perfectly logical choice, allows Admiral White Haven, Captain Greentree, Admiral Yanakov, and the rest to enjoy watching her reaction when she discovers that the superdreadnought she just boarded is the GNS Honor Harrington. Which, as she gripes about, they absolutely refuse to rename.
      "I argued myself blue in the face, you know, but Benjamin says he can't overrule the military, the Office of Shipbuilding says it would confuse their records, Reverend Sullivan insists that the Chaplain's Corps blessed the ship under her original name and that it would offend the religious sensibilities of the Navy to change it now, and Matthews says it would offend the crews' belief that renaming a ship is bad luck. Every one of them is in on it, and they keep playing musical offices. Whenever I try to pin one of them down, he simply refers me — with exquisite courtesy, you understand — to one of the others. And I know they're all laughing in their beers over it!"
    • Second, when she returns to Steadholders' Hall to find a four-meter-tall bronze statue of herself atop an eight-meter polished column right in front of the main entrance — a statue which they don't merely refuse to take down upon her return to life, but whose recasting is fully covered by the insurance should any desperately-mortified Steadholder order her armsmen to demolish it one dark night.
  • Honor, having rejoined the Royal Manticoran Navy, proceeds to return to semi-active duty as an instructor at Saganami Island, where her loyal chief steward, James "Mac" MacGuiness, naturally joins her. She reflects that this is slightly peculiar given that Mac is retired and did not choose to reenlist... making him the only Chief Steward in the Royal Manticoran Navy who is not actually in the Royal Manticoran Navy.
    She'd dragged him into and—barely—out of far too many battles, and she'd wanted him safely on the sidelines.

    Unfortunately, that was an option she didn't appear to have. She still wasn't sure how he'd gotten his way... again. They'd never argued about it. There'd been no need to. By some form of mental judo which put her own skill at coup de vitesse to shame, he'd simply avoided the entire discussion and appeared aboard the Paul Tankersley for the trip to the Star Kingdom. Nor had the Navy been any more successful at imposing its own, institutional sense of order on the situation. MacGuiness had never reenlisted and showed no particular desire to do so ... yet no one in the Service seemed aware that he hadn't. Honor was positive that, as a civilian, he must be in violation of about a zillion regulations in his current position. The security aspects of the ATC materials to which he had access alone must be enough to drive a good, paranoid ONI counterintelligence type berserk! But no one seemed to have the nerve to tell him he was breaking the rules.

    Which, if she were going to be honest, was precisely how she preferred things.
  • Michelle Henke's succinct evaluation of Honor's plan to escape from Hades, which required everything to go right and only worked via a massive stroke of luck, in Ashes of Victory:
    Henke: All things considered, Her Grace's plan may not have been the single rashest, most foolhardy, do-or-die, all-or-nothing throw of the dice in the history of the Royal Manticoran — or Grayson — Navy. If it wasn't, however, I have so far failed to find the plan that was.
  • Sometimes the narration comes up with lines that are just downright hilarious. Case in point, after the first truly successful military operation in nearly three years:
    Narrator: Hamish Alexander stood on Benjamin the Great's flag deck with his hands clasped behind him and tried very hard not to feel a sense of godlike power.
  • Ties in with CMoA, but in Ashes of Victory, the discussion about the San Martin government. San Martin had recently been liberated, and was having massive difficulty electing a new leader. After two years, with no progress, Commodore Jesús Ramirez, the officer who led the doomed last stand against the original Havenite invasion and the nephew of the last President of San Martin, returns. Every other candidate (except one, and even that one seems to be in it just to have an opposition) instantly drops out of the race. Ramirez wins with 86% of the vote.
    Narrator: Jesús was drafted, almost without being consulted...
  • Honor's mother's inner musings on religious fanatics:
    Nuts didn't need religion to make them nuts, Allison had long since decided, but it did seem to give them a certain added sense of commitment to whatever goals their nutdom decided to embrace.
  • White Haven's reaction to Honor reappearing in a stolen, broken-down fleet: "Why can't she ever bring a ship back in one piece?"

War of Honor

  • The baseball tomfoolery that opens (well, opens with the main characters, anyway) War of Honor, in which Honor, who had never so much as heard of the sport until she saved a star system and got herself adopted by a planetful of Graysons, plays the role of "long-suffering old-time fan suffering the ignorance of newcomers" to the hilt as she introduces the sport to Michelle Henke. Capped off with a ridiculously funny exchange between Honor and Andrew LaFollet when she asks him to explain to Mike why baseball fans measure distances in feet instead of converting to meters:
    LaFollet: Because this is baseball, my lady!
    Honor: [smugly] You see? There's a perfectly logical reason.
    • Similarly, Henke learning that the Harrington Steading team almost got named the Harrington Salamanders. Honor got it changed to the Harrington Treecats.
    • This exchange:
      Henke: Somehow, the discovery that the founder of your religion was also a baseball fanatic doesn't really surprise me.
      LaFollet: I wouldn't say Saint Austin was a fanatic about baseball, My Lady. "Fanatic" would probably be much too mild a term, from everything I've ever read.
  • Honor and Michelle Henke are discussing the political situation in Manticore with the High Ridge administration, and they aren't optimistic. They're both very confused by how things have worked out politically both at home in Manticore and over in Haven.
    Mike: Do you think Pritchart and Theisman understand what's happening any better than I did?
    Honor: I certainly hope so.
    [End of chapter, followed immediately by...]
    Pritchart: What the hell do they think they're doing?
  • After her deployment to Sidemore, when Honor is brooding about the gross inadequacy of her assigned order of battle to her job, and catches herself being entirely too cynical about the matter:
    She scolded herself again, although a bit less forcefully. She really should be careful about imputing sordid motives to the First Lord. Not because she doubted that he had them, but because not even Sir Edward Janacek could have only sordid motivations. That would have completely devalued his ability to do such things out of simple stupidity, instead of calculation.
  • Eloise Pritchart's long and highly romantic (in the Classical sense) reflection on the events of the past several years, and how Thomas Theisman basically handed her the Presidency of the Republic on a silver platter after determining she had no intention of misusing it... which comes to an abrupt and funny halt when she notes that there are times she's highly tempted to shoot him for it.

At All Costs

  • Alfred and Allison Harrington in some scenes.
    Alfred: I think someone needs a spanking. And not our daughter.
    Allison: Oooooh, promise?
    • Later in the same scene, Allison jokingly starts waxing poetic about her excellent qualities.
      Alfred: [deadpan] Definitely a spanking.
  • During the scouting for a Cutworm mission, the commander of the destroyer HMS Ambuscade converses with her tac officer:
    Lt. Harcourt: I haven't picked up any grav-pulse transmissions. Anything they did get on us, aside from our footprint itself, has to be coming in light-speed. So whatever it might be, they won't have it for another twenty-five minutes or so.
    Lt Cdr Estwicke: By which time we'll have cut even the laser links and be very tiny needles in a very large haystack.
    Harcourt: Exactly, Skip. [cocking her head] By the way, Skipper, there's something I've always meant to ask.
    Estwicke: And what might that be?
    Harcourt: What the hell is a "haystack", anyway?
  • The literary version of a Funny Background Event, where, during some playful banter and conversation, Emily Alexander gives her husband Hamish (at this point, First Lord of the Admiralty and one of the highest ranking people in the Kingdom of Manticore) a Dope Slap.
  • Honor begins running raids on Havenite systems as the CO of Eighth Fleet, and the Republican admirals are baffled by how the target selection is being done:
    Havenite Admiral Marquette: There has to be some sort of underlying pattern to their target selection. I can't believe someone like Harrington is just reaching into a hat and pulling out names at random. For that matter, the spacing on this cluster of raids demonstrates she isn't. So try to get inside her head. Run it through the computers, kick it around, try to get some sort of feel for what kind of tendencies or inclinations may be pushing her choices.
    [later on]
    Mercedes Brigham: My idea of how to assign the task forces was to pull system names out of a hat. For some reason, neither Andrea nor Her Grace thought that was a wonderful idea.
    Honor: What I said was that it didn't seem very professional and it wouldn't do very much for the public's confidence in the Navy if we did it that way and word got out.
  • Queen Elizabeth's reaction to Emily Alexander's tranquil admission that she and Hamish had secretly married Honor.
    Elizabeth: [nonchalantly] Oh, how my trust in all three of you has been betrayed! Woe and lamentations. And so forth.
  • The Exact Words way Admiral Tourville opens the briefing on Beatrice for his subordinates.
    Tourville: I'm well aware of the sorts of rumors which have been circulating around the fleet. Some of them have been so wild as to be outright ridiculous. For example, the one that says we're going to launch a direct attack on the Manticoran home system in response to Lovat. The very idea is preposterous.
  • A few treecats play a rather evil prank on the gardeners at Harrington House, burying the halves of a stuffed treecat doll so as to make it seem as if the gardeners accidentally ran over and killed a treecat with a cultivator.

Mission of Honor

  • When Admiral Crandall arrives in Spindle, she waits for a while before opening communications, intending to make the Manticorans sweat. When she does hail them, instead of the terrified Manticoran officer she expects, she gets Gregor O'Shaughnessey, idly reading a novel at his station, not even noticing the Admiral at first. It's a wonder that Crandall doesn't suffer an apoplectic fit.
  • When Eloise Pritchart is trying to decide what to do about a pair of troublesome members of her own delegation, she starts to fantasize about having Honor strangle them, noting that Harrington could probably do it without breaking a sweat, and afterward she could just give her a presidential pardon. Then she realizes, hey, Honor has diplomatic immunity anyway!
    • Honor herself fantasizes about the ex-La Résistance assassins in the Pritchart Administration — starting with Pritchart herself! — and wonders if they might be convinced to return to their old methods one last time...
  • Pritchart's memorable lampshading of the Mesan Alignment's Up to Eleven Deep Cover Agent strategy:
    President Pritchart: There's got to be at least some contact if they aren't going to lose their assets simply because someone dies before she gets around to telling her son or daughter "Oh, by the way. We're actually secret agents for the Mesan Alignment. Here's your secret decoder kit. Be ready to be contacted by the Galactic Evil Overlord on Frequency X with orders to betray the society you've been raised all your life to think of as your own."
    • Doubly ironic because Harringtons themselves are just that — a Mesan Alpha line that eventualy lost their connection to the Alignment.
  • Toward the end, a lowly ensign has the watch as Admiral Harrington's ship comes docking back in with her flagship, and he begins going through the usual motions. Only to stop as the Queen herself follows Honor out of the ship. Cue centuries (and a dozen books) worth of military tradition coming to a sudden, abrupt halt at the unexpected arrival. (Can be summed up as: military tradition encounters Queen Elizabeth, and loses.) Despite the gravity of the situation, it's easily the funniest thing in the book.
    • Naval protocol covers such occurrences just fine (a few more sideboys, basically), but the officer of the deck — not to mention his captain — would have appreciated a heads-up. And naval protocol is also for the seniormost person to board last and leave first, so Queen Elizabeth should have preceded Honor out of the hatch precisely to avoid leaving the poor officer of the deck confronted with a mid-ceremony switch.
    • Then again, there is a sort of Running Gag in the series discussing the relative seniority of Grayson and Manticoran nobility, including the occasional argument in favor of a Grayson Steadholder being senior to the Queen of Manticore on the basis of them being heads of state and many Steadings (though not Harrington Steading) being older than Manticore itself. Honor's dual Manticore-Grayson status has on many occasions served as sand in the machinery of both military and social expectations.

A Rising Thunder

  • One of the security measures Manticore takes in response to the Mesan threat is to pair up critical personnel with volunteer treecats to gain advance warning against stealth assassinations. Admiral Lester Tourville's assigned minder pointedly objects to his habit of lighting cigars at dramatic moments by sealing up his space suit as soon as a cigar is unwrapped.
    • In the same scene, Tourville is amused to note that the entire bridge crew, most of whom know him primarily by reputation, are poised in anticipation as he unwraps his cigar, because they know it means things are about to get serious. For the note — Tourville himself started smoking cigars entirely for the image.
  • Emily Alexander gives Honor a Dope Slap. While the two are watching an episode of Into the Firenote  and exchanging snarky commentary about it.
  • Meanwhile, back on Old Earth, a group of conspirators are poking around in one small part of the Navy Archives... which includes countless filing cabinets full of decades old paper documents, despite the distant-future setting. One of them, a Marine Intel officer, demands to know if the Navy ever throws anything out at all.
    • Another one of them, a Gendarmerie officer, has the basics of the plot the League finds itself in outlined for her, along with the request that she help investigate and find evidence of it...
      Colonel Okiku: You are so going to get all of us killed.
  • Albrecht Detweiler, during his epic Oh, Crap! while Benjamin runs down just how badly recent developments have screwed them over, stops to point out that they actually weren't responsible for Arnold Giancola.
    Benjamin: In fact, they're busy telling the Manty Parliament — and, I'm sure, the Havenite Congress and all the rest of the fucking galaxy! — all about the Mesan plan to conquer the known universe. In fact, you'll be astonished to know that Secretary of State Arnold Giancola was in the nefarious Alignment's pay when he deliberately maneuvered Haven back into shooting at the Manties!
    Albrecht: What? [blinks in surprise] We didn't have anything to do with that!
    • And then, just to top it all off, Albrecht sums up the situation with all the prose and eloquence one expects of a Chessmaster such as himself:
      Albrecht: Aw shit.
  • Honor Harrington shoos the Republic of Haven's Secretary of Warnote . Better yet, he obeys her.
  • Anton Zilwicki's and Victor Cachat's response to being called immature:
    Victor: Hey, he started it.
    Anton: Did not.
    Victor: Did too!
    Anton: Didn't!
    Victor: Did!

Crown of Slaves

  • Michael Oversteegen unloads with both barrels on his cousin Deborah Fraser, the Ambassador to Erewhon. Despite the severity of the situation, his assessment of her (complete lack of) mental competence is rip-roaringly hilarious, not to mention a verbal double broadside that, if translated to actual missiles, would have Honor Harrington applauding.
    Oversteegen: I will just take the opportunity t' tell you, since I don't believe I've ever done it before at one of our family gatherin's — not precisely, I mean — just how brainless you are, Deborah. Truly brainless. Not simply stupid. Bar-ain-less. As in: brains of a carrot... I will remind you, Madam Ambassador, that as the senior naval officer in the system, I am obliged to "coordinate" with you but am in no way under your authority. So, Deborah, consider us havin' "coordinated" — you are a cretin and I told you so — and I will attend t' the Queen's business.
  • Michael Oversteegen has no patience for his cousin whatsoever:
    Deborah: What is it, Captain Oversteegen? And I would appreciate it if you'd stick to the proper formalities.
    Oversteegen: Get screwed, Deborah.
  • Ginny Usher gets plastered during Stein's party and then sees a bunch of Solarian people she knows are complicit with (or, at least, implicitly supportive of) genetic slavery (she was one). She proceeds to go to them, tell them they make her sick and pukes all over them. Victor Cachat's first thought is his surprise that one of them actually escaped being puked on.

Torch of Freedom

  • At the end of the book, two main characters of this book only finally upgrade their relationship. Since they are both barely out of puberty, this involves her letting him put his arm around her, which is a world-changing experience for them both.

Shadow of Saganami

  • When Midshipman Aikawa Kagiyama is standing watch after their return to Montana from Kornati and, figuring that the rating in CIC is probably as bored as he is, orders an analysis performed on a freighter that had just entered orbit ... which, by sheer coincidence, is the same one that delivered an enormous load of Solarian military arms and equipment to Kornati's terrorists.
    Terekhov: Good work, Aikawa. Very good work.
    Kagiyama: Skipper, I wish I deserved the credit. But it was just one of those things. I can't even say I had "a feeling", because I sure as heck didn't!
  • When the diminutive Provisional Governor makes it very, very clear that Manticore will support the local governments who had requested annexation:
    [Estelle Matsuko] was the smallest person at the table by a considerable margin, but every head nodded very quickly indeed.
  • Queen Elizabeth III's reaction to the news of Terekhov's unauthorized adventures in Monica:
    Elizabeth: What sort of raw meat do you people feed your cruiser captains, Hamish?

Storm From the Shadows

  • The Milholland Relationship Moment after Admiral Khumalo summons Terekhov to his battleship post-Monica, wherein Terekhov expects Khumalo to be infuriated and Khumalo explains what he really thinks.
  • The entire sequence in which Joanna Agnelli, Commodore Terekhov's steward, and Helen Zilwicki, his flag lieutenant, have to wrangle him into mess dress. Just... the whole thing. He sounds like an eight-year-old boy reluctant to wear a suit, and is frustrated as all get-out by Agnelli and Helen silently invalidating every excuse he can find not to wear it. Three or four excuses in, he finally just gives up. Apparently taking on a bunch of modern Solarian battlecruisers with a ragtag squadron is just fine, but taking on two very determined women is a different story...
  • Michelle Henke gleefully trolling her flag lieutenant, Gwen Archer, about his blossoming relationship with Helga Boltitz.
    ..."I mean, I understand that you actually subjected yourselves to the hardship of dining at Sigourney's just so you could set up that 'dinner party' of mine." Her eyes radiated soulful gratitude as she gazed at him. "I do hope that we're not going to be forced to demand any equally painful sacrifices out of you this time around."

Shadow of Freedom

  • Michelle Henke's comment on the intelligence or lack thereof amongst the Solarian Navy's officer corps:
    Michelle: You know, I’m beginning to wonder exactly what qualifications the Sollies look for in candidates for their naval academy. I mean there has to be a filtering process. You couldn’t just go out and pick middies at random and get such an invariably stupid crop of flag officers. There has to be some kind of system. If you just picked names out of a hat, for example, somebody would have to have a functional brain.
  • Augustus Khumalo and Estelle Matsuko have just been hit with yet another piece of unexpected news. So what else is there for them to do but to break out the snark?
    Matsuko: Should I assume Lady Gold Peak sent a recommendation along with her report?
    Khumalo: She did, Madame Governor.
    Matsuko: And you're not going to tell me what it was unless I pull it out of you with a pair of pliers, right?

Cauldron of Ghosts

  • In a case of Strange Minds Think Alike, while watching the exposé on Victor Cachat, Thandi looks to Victor and thinks to herself "Buster you are so getting laid tonight." Elsewhere in the room, Zilwicki is noticing the extra attention he's getting from his lover Cathy and thinks to himself "I am so getting laid, tonight."
  • The naming of Torch's elite military force of the "Royal Mouser Corps.", which includes a debate on the heraldry and making sure the word "corps." is included to satisfy the soldiers' dignity, since they'll call themselves "Royal Mousers" on their own anyway.
  • Cachat and Zilwicki return to Manticore to present their findings on the Mesan Alignment in person in a scene that could have been written by Terry Pratchett. When the two super spies point out how little they actually know about the Alignment, they immediately propose returning to Mesa to find more data. They assume the Queen of Manticore will think it suicidal. They do not assume Eloise Pritchart, Tom Theisman, Benton Ramirez y Chou, Protector Benjamin, and Hamish Alexander will share the Queen's thinking. Simultaneously.
  • The repeated fumbling of Berry's underlings to find a title she likes. They eventually settle on "Your Mousety".
  • Berry needs to get to Manticore with pretty much her entire Cabinet. When it is pointed out that she has to leave someone behind to actually run the planet, she appoints her boyfriend Hugh to be in charge, despite his having no official place in the government. Evidently it causes something of a constitutional crisis.
    Hugh: There really was a guy who went into exile in protest against what he called constitutional irregularities. He posted a long list of them on a public web site. It's still up, if you're curious.
    DuHavel: Constitutional irregularities, is it? Interesting concept — given that Torch hasn't yet adopted a formal constitution.
    Hugh: Yup. He listed that as Irregularity Number One.
    • To be able to leave him in charge she had to grant him an official title, but she wanted it to seem as un-threatening as possible to avoid people seeing it as a power grab. Hence how a genetically engineered strongman ended up appointed Minister of the Posterior.
  • Anton Zilwicki to Yana Tretiakovna:
    You're still holding a grudge about the tits aren't you?note 
  • One minor character is suddenly recruited into the "Oh look Victor's improvising again!" club. The narration swings back a paragraph or two later to clarify: It is not a fan club.
    • Said character, several pages later, joins another Victor club: the "Victor you're fucking insane" club. "Also not a fan club", clarifies the narration.
  • Anton needs to leave Victor on Mesa so he can get to Manticore to summon reinforcements, he and Victor have a long meaningful moment between two men too stoic to express such emotions as they're feeling... and Yana goes ahead and hangs a lampshade on the Ho Yay between them and kisses Victor on Anton's behalf so it doesn't get weird.

Shadow of Victory

  • Everything that has to do with Charlie O'Daley, Aivars Terekhov's insufferable layabout brother-in-law and Special Intelligence Service's finest field agent. It's as if Byerly Vorrutyer decided to visit a sister series. The fact that the list of the favors he did to the Crown is no shorter than his brother-in-law's doesn't change tha fact that he's a pompous, overbred and silly Upper-Class Twit, and The Prankster of the higherst order to boot… except that he's not actually a twit, just like his associate and friend Michael Oversteegen (with whom he shares the same annoying aristocratic accent, a first person to do so in the series).
    • A case in point of his questionable sense of humor: after Sinead Terekhov has chased her husband about the whole Star Empire, on the day they'd finally have met, Charlie decided to give his sister "a pleasant surprise", so he went and hacked her comm account to block Aivars' number.
      You are so going to die, Charles Travis O'Daley!


  • In "Fanatic" from Service of the Sword. Victor Cachat has spent the last few months terrorizing, beating, and torturing the naval staff of a Havenite sector headquarters so that he could neutralize and dismantle the State Sec keeping an eye on them. This includes nearly beating the local commander and his Number Two to death, more than once. When Ginny Usher (Cachat's boss's wife and Cachat's Cool Big Sis) shows up, Victor tells her he's very tired and "just wants to leave". In what the narration describes as proof that there is no justice in the universe...
    Ginny: Victor Cachat is the sweetest kid in the world! And you– You dirty rotten bastards! You were mean to him.
  • Also from Service of the Sword, we have "A Ship Named Francis". An alleged ship in the Grayson Navy, the GNS Francis Mueller is so old it might as well be a sailboat compared to every other vessel in the Honorverse. Everything about this story runs on Rule of Funny, including (but not limited to):
    • The Bunny-Ears Lawyer Captain Zemet, who rose through the ranks so quickly he was effectively Reassigned to Antarctica. The captain likes to spend his downtime on the ship going sledding through a cargo chute via potato sack, only to be horrifically injured and put into a coma...
    • Thus installing Lieutenant Commander Green as the acting captain of the vessel, as he prepares to sentence half the crew to death for insubordination and a general "slackness".
    • The Dr. Feelgood Warrant Officer Robert Kearns, who solves most crew disputes and shockingly frequent cases of space dementia via tranquilizer. It's Kearns and newcomer Sean Tyler who save the crew from Green's mass executions by convincing the madman that the crew are actually all dead (and not tranquilized in the sick bay at all).
    • The ship's Chaplain Olds suffering both from insomnia and over-imagination, giving morning prayers that feature more and more imaginative ways that their aging ship could explode, or worse, stop working, leaving them to cannibalize one another and slowly suffocate in the maddening darkness of space with no one ever finding them and no way to fly back home...
  • In "Obligated Service" from Beginnings, Ensign LeCroix has been micromanaging the equipment maintenance schedules for the ship's various departments. The Lieutenant she works for explains that she needs to back off and let the noncoms do the jobs they were trained for, and not to worry if the occasional piece of equipment breaks. One paragraph break later, it is mentioned that the machine which fabricates medication on the ship has broken just in time for the entire crew to come down with a nasty stomach bug, and the same Lieutenant takes a break from dry heaving to contact LeCroix and inform her that she is to micromanage the medic's equipment maintenance schedule to within an inch of his life from now on.
    • From the same story, the male crewmembers learn that the other female officer aboard, Ensign Rustin, routinely suffers menstrual cramps on par with the symptoms they temporarily suffered under due to the stomach bug, not that you'd ever know it from her incessantly cheerful attitude. She thus develops a reputation as a Memetic Badass amongst her male subordinates.
      • Those same subordinates also start giving the ship's medic a hard time due to him not bothering to stock the medicines she needs to prevent this. What makes it funny is that Ensign LeCroix's subordinates start giving him a hard time as well in what is essentially female solidarity by proxy.
    • When LeCroix finds her career in trouble due to her immature family patriarch's shenanigans, her superiors briefly toy with the idea of exploiting an unintended intersection in Grayson laws to have her legally declared a Gentleman. She won't have any of it and finds another way.
  • In "Beauty and the Beast", also from Beginnings, Allison Chou, curious about new transfer student Alfred Harrington (most particularly, why her ex has taken such a hate-on for him), engineers a Crash-Into Hello with him so she can get to know him. She miscalculates just how fast Alfred is moving, and how much inertia he's carrying due to his Heavy Worlder status, and the petite woman is nearly sent tumbling ass over kettle by the resulting collision.


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