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General/multi-book

  • Almost any scene with Halt on a ship, period. No matter how many times he gets on one, he just cannot get used to them.
  • Halt's obsession with coffee is often brought up and is just as often hilarious.
    • Not to mention his preference for honey in his coffee, which is treated by the other Rangers (including Crowley and Gilan) as a Bizarre Taste in Food.
      • Coffee in general seems to be the highest of Serious Business for the majority of Rangers. Halt even admits to Evanlyn at one point that if someone wanted to trap himself, Gilan, or Will, all they'd have to do is bait the trap with a pot of coffee. Take note, Morgarath.
  • Doubling as a Call-Forward to Book 9, in The Tournament at Gorlan, Crowley asks Halt how he plans to get then-Prince Duncan out of the castle he's imprisoned in. Halt responds laconically that he'll go in while Crowley surrounds the castle.
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    • Upon seeing the freezing-cold river he'll have to cross, Halt announces to Crowley that he's changed his mind: Crowley can go in and Halt will surround the castle.
    • Said incident in Book 9 has Malcolm ask Halt how the four of them will deal with the entire 200-strong Outsiders cult. Halt tells him that they'll surround them.
    • Similarly, Book 7 has Svengal telling Erak after having been captured that they've got the Tualaghi surrounded—from the inside.
  • The Running Gag of Skandians, especially Svengal, being completely unable to ride a horse. Most notably in Book 7, when he falls off a horse and insists that it bucked him off by turning suddenly.
    Gilan: Plod hasn't done anything sudden in his life. At least, the last 15 years of it.
    Will: That's why we call him Plod.
  • Any time a Ranger climbs on their new horse...who immediately bucks them off.
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  • Just the fact that, on multiple occasions, instead of coming up with a proper alias, Halt just uses butchered Gallican ("Arratay" being close to the Gallican pronunciation of "stop." Or "Halt").

     The Tournament at Gorlan 
  • Morgarath and Halt fail to hit it off on the right foot:
    Morgarath: You shot him? Where did you shoot him?
    Morgarath: I meant, where in the body did you shoot him?
  • At one point, two Rangers are sneaking up on some guards, who are already drunk and asleep. They need to make sure the guards don't wake up and raise the alarm, but are uncomfortable hitting unconscious people. So what do they do? Wake them up, then knock them out.

     The Battle of Hackham Heath 
  • Crowley, eating a turkey leg, offers it to Halt. Halt eagerly accepts...only for Crowley to admit that he had no intention of sharing. Bewildered, Halt asked why he'd offered, then. Crowley shrugs that he'd hoped Halt would say no, so he could look generous.
  • During the civil war, Duncan makes an offhand comment that perhaps he'll poach Master Chubb from Arald, who gives him a Death Glare. Duncan sits back and considers that perhaps one rebellious baron is enough for now.

     Book 1: Ruins of Gorlan 
  • In Book 1, Will climbs up the outside of the tower in order to discover what the piece of paper that Halt gave Arald said. After being caught and hauled before the Baron, Arald explains that it said that Halt had chosen Will as an apprentice. After talking more about being a Ranger, Arald dismisses Will with one last piece of advice:
    Arald: This time, use the stairs.
  • It's then mentioned that Halt had gone. "At least, he appeared to be. With the Ranger, you could never be quite certain." Which brings to mind the image of Halt standing outside Arald's door the entire time just for kicks.
  • When Halt gives Will his list of chores, he lists where all the various necessary materials are, ending with "...water in the river, and I believe you can see where the floor might be?"
  • At Will's first Gathering, Halt explains that apprentices love to catch their former masters with their pants down, so to speak, and looks meaningfully at Will. Will is about to protest that he'd never do that, when he realizes that he would, too, and at the very first opportunity.

     Book 2: The Burning Bridge 
  • One of the funniest scenes in the entire series comes when Will and Horace team up on Gilan, who's been teaching them to use two knives to deal with a swordsman. Will questions Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?, and Gilan responds that sometimes your bowstring breaks, and you can't run and hide because you're up against a cliff. Then Horace chimes in:
    Horace: What about an axman?
    Gilan: An axman?
    Horace: Yes. What if you're facing an enemy with a battleax? Do your knives work then?
    Gilan: Beat I wouldn't advise anyone to face a battleax with just two knives.
    Will: So what do I do?
    Gilan: Shoot him.
    Will: Can't. My bowstring's broken.
    Gilan: (through gritted teeth) Then run and hide.
    Horace: But there's a cliff. A sheer drop behind him and an angry axeman coming at him.
    Will: So what do I do?
    Gilan: Jump off the cliff. It'll be less messy that way.
    • Becomes a Brick Joke in Book 11, when Will faces exactly that situation, but decides not to jump.
  • A Battleschool apprentice made a remark about Will and Horace being sent off on a soft assignment because that was all they were good for. In Halt's hearing. When Rodney tells Arald about this, Arald asks how the boy is. Thankfully, there's no lasting damage.
  • Book 2 is also where Will and Horace's status as Vitriolic Best Buds is cemented, through exchanges like these:
    Horace: I used to think Halt was a sorcerer.
    Will: A sorcerer? He's nothing of the kind!
    Horace: Well, you used to think the same thing!
    Will: I was just a kid then!
    Horace: So was I!
  • Gilan has captured a pair of robbers in Celtica. Since they've made themselves an inconvenience and have hindered and tried to assault a Ranger, he notes that he could have them hung. He then looks thoughtfully at the mountains around them.
    Gilan: The question is whether I can actually do that here...
    Will: You mean, you may not have the authority to hang them now we're not in the kingdom itself?
    Gilan: I hadn't considered that. I was just thinking it'd be difficult since there isn't a tree tall enough within several miles.
  • Arald, Rodney, and Pauline are discussing Halt's Cowboy Cop behaviour, and agree that something definitely needs to be done.
    Arald: He definitely needs taking in hand.
    Halt: You wanted to see me, my lord?
  • Even Morgarath gets into the snarking:
    Morgarath: Captain Erak, where are you bound?
    Erak: My title, Lord Morgarath, is not 'Captain,' but 'Jarl.'
    Morgarath: Well then. I must remember that, in case it is ever of the slightest interest to me. I repeat, Captain Erak, where are you bound?
  • Rodney's battle strategy: Just throw all the paperwork at the enemy and bury them in it.
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     Book 3: The Icebound Land 
  • Halt's Refuge in Audacity to get himself leave to go after Will: He gets himself (supposedly) drunk, insults the king in public (including saying that he was the product of his father and a hatcha-hatcha dancer), and gets himself banished (and it would have been for life, if not for Duncan's Loophole Abuse).
  • Horace's Motor Mouth as he rides out with Halt.
  • He tells Halt that Sir Rodney gave him his blessing...unofficially, of course.
    Halt: Well, he can hardly give you his official blessing to run off with a banished criminal, now can he?
  • While riding out to confront Deparnieux, Halt tells Horace to relax.
    Horace: Relax? You're going to confront an armored knight with nothing more than a bow, and you tell me to relax?
    Halt: I will have one or two arrows as well, you know.
    • The funniest part is that "one or two arrows" is actually all it takes.

     Book 4: Oakleaf Bearers/Battle for Skandia 
  • The conversation between Halt and Horace at the beginning of this book really has to be seen to be believed.
    Halt: [thinking Horace is about to ask yet another question] WHAT?
    Horace: What?
    Halt: That's what I want to know. What?
    Horace: [bewildered] What?
    Halt: Don't keep parroting me! Stop repeating what I say! I asked you "what" so don't ask me "what" back, understand?
    Horace: [very slowly] No.
    Halt: You were about to ask a question.
    Horace: I was?
    Halt: You were. I saw you take a breath to ask it.
    Horace: I see. And what was it about?
    Halt: That is what I was asking you! When I said "what", I was asking you about what you wanted to ask me.
    Horace: I wasn't about to ask you "what."
    Halt: Then what, if I may use that word once more, were you about to ask me?
    Horace: I forget. What were we talking about?
    • Halt shrugs it off and they continue for another few minutes. Then...
      Horace: Are there many passes through the mountains?
      Halt: What?
  • Halt and Erak are tracking the Temujai army, and Halt approximates the number of horses they have, which turns out to be a good estimate. When Erak asked how he did that, Halt says that he counted the number of hooves and divided by four. It takes Erak a second to realize that Halt is screwing with him.

     Book 5: Sorcerer of the North 
  • The entire scene from the beginning of Sorcerer in the North, where Will defuses a standoff between desperate Skandian raiders and his fief by inviting the Skandians to a feast at the castle. Hilarity Ensues.
  • A later Gathering in Book 5 also has a classic Right Behind You moment:
    Will: [Crowley's] becoming too much of a creature of habit. He's used that hide [to conceal himself with] for the last three Gatherings. It's time he tried something new. Everyone must be onto it by now.
    Halt: Well, perhaps not everyone.
    Will: All the same, perhaps he's getting a bit long in the tooth to be skulking around hiding in the bushes, don't you think?
    Halt: Long in the tooth? Well, that's one option. Mind you, his silent movement skills are as good as ever.
    Will: He's standing behind me, isn't he?
    Halt: *nods*
    Will: He's been there for a while, hasn't he?
    Halt: *nods*
    Will: Is he...close enough to have heard what I said?
  • Despite below mentions of his artistic skill, Will is pretty good on the lute. Actually, it's a mandola. He also made up a song about his mentor, Halt. It's not a very nice one, either. Said song is said to be a parody of an Araluen folk song called Old Joe Smoke and the song Crowley asked Will to perform so they could see if he could pose as a Jongleur or minstrel. Halt is immediately suspicious, of course.
    • Will then accidentally plays the parody version in front of the latter. Crowley finds it hilarious, but Halt is definitely Not Amused.

     Book 6: The Siege of Macindaw 
  • In Book 6, Will's Motor Mouth absolutely (and unintentionally) destroying Horace's and his own cover.
    Will: A cover name? Who gave you a cover name? Who sent you?
    Horace: Didn't you get the message? Halt and Crowley thought you might need some help...
    Horace: (patiently) As I said, they thought you might need a grown-up to look after you, so they sent me along.
  • While riding back to Grimsdell, the boys discuss a potential name for the dog. Horace, being his usual pragmatic self, decides on Blackie. Will objects, but Horace lets out a whistle and tells her to stay (which she does). Will protests that she was only responding to the whistle, and that he could've called her "Bread and Butter Pudding."
    Horace: "Bread and Butter Pudding?" That's your suggestion for a name, is it? Oh yes, that's much better than Blackie.
    Will: I simply meant she stopped because you whistled.
    • As they ride up to the dog, Will mutters, "Traitor."
    Horace: "Traitor?" Well, that's a slight improvement on Bread and Butter Pudding, wouldn't you say, Blackie?
  • Later, they discuss beseiging Macindaw:
    Horace:Catapults. Mangonels. Trebuchets. The sort of things that throw rocks and giant spears and dead cows at the defenders and batter down the walls.
    Will: Dead cows? Why would throw dead cows at the walls?
    Horace: You throw them over the walls. It's supposed to spread disease and lower the defender's morale.
    Will: I don't suppose it does much for the cows' morale either.
    Horace: Forget the dead cows.
    • After this, Horace asks the question Will's been dreading: How many men they have.
      Will: A little less than three to one, as a matter of fact.
      Horace: No matter. I'm sure we can manage. So, how many exactly?
      Will: You mean, counting you and me?
      Horace: Yes, I think we'd better count you and me. How many?
      Will: Counting you and me...twenty-seven.
      Horace: (flatly) Twenty-seven.
      Will: But they're Skandians, after all.
  • Offering lunch to Will and Horace, Malcolm is impressed by their Humble Hero Nice Guy attitudes. Then he watches how much coffee they drink and compares them to a horde of locusts.
  • Will welcomes the Skandians to "Healer's Clearing," promising them that no one means them harm.
    Horace: (under his breath) Unless it's that idiot secretary.
    Will: (equally quietly) Shut up.
  • He then offers to introduce Horace to his men. Horace isn't fooled for a second.
    Horace: I'll command them, as long as we do exactly what you tell us to, right?
  • Horace's "expert grasp of Skandian debating tactics": Grabbing Nil's helmet, slamming it down on his head, breaking his nose with a palm strike, and then calmly holding him at swordpoint.
  • Horace mentioning Will's drawing skills (or complete lack thereof). Even Malcolm gets in on it. Will isn't laughing.
    Will: Now I know why they call comedians "fools."
    Malcolm: Ah, it does you good to start the day off with a laugh.
    Will: It's late morning.
    Malcolm: Better late than never.
  • Also, the whole sequence during the siege where Horace is bored and trying to think up a poem.
    Horace: What rhymes with Macindaw?

     Book 7: Erak's Ransom 
  • Gilan reflecting on his old mentor:
    "Halt had loomed large in his life for years. He was indefatigable. He was all-knowing. He was larger than life. He was also seasick."
  • Evanlyn manipulating Selethen into admitting that there's a large reward out for Iqbal is both funny and awesome.
  • When Will is awarded the Silver Oakleaf, Alyss and Evanlyn are the ones to place it around his neck. Upon doing so, both of them impulsively kiss Will's cheeks and then glare daggers at each other.
    • Before then, the excessive nonchalance with which Crowley awards Will his Oakleaf.
      • In Will's own words, "...Rangers weren't big on ceremony. Maybe Graduation Day was like any other day. Except you graduated.". He couldn't be more correct. In order, Crowley bursts into the room off schedule, then asks Halt if Will is proficient in his skills and answers the question before Halt can respond. He then flicks through Will's formal declaration of Rangerhood making the barest possible effort to read it (he technically has to), rushes Will through signing (while choosing a last name for Will since there are three other Wills in the Ranger Corps), and cheers quickly before asking what they want to drink. The entire process takes less than two minutes.
      • It turns out that this is a hazing that every single Ranger goes through when they graduate, just to mess with them.
      Crowley: "You, Will, have shown the necessary proficiency in the weapons a Ranger uses: the bow, the saxe knife, the throwing knife." (To Halt) "He has shown that proficiency, hasn't he? Of course he has. And so on and so on and hi diddle dee dee..."

     Book 8: The Kings of Clonmel 
  • As he's retiring, Ranger Alun tells his comrades that he'll think of them all. He'll think of them when they're out hunting bad guys and sleeping in freezing-cold fields and ditches and he's tucked up nice and snug in a warm bed in Castle Araulen.
  • Apparently, Jenny once hit Master Chubb over the head with a ladle when the man made a humble suggestion about a dish perhaps needing just a bit more spice. And he apologized. The student truly has become the master.
    • Horace once suggested that he give ladle-whacking lessons to Battleschool students. And wasn't entirely joking, either.
  • Halt explains to Will and Horace that since there is no guarantee that the royal heir to a kingdom will be a good ruler, even if the parent was a good ruler, he prefers the Skandian method of election. Then later in the book after Halt unsuccessfully tries to convince his usurper twin brother, King Ferris of Clonmel to take the threat of a cult seriously, Horace follows Ferris into his dressing room and knocks him out, prompting this exchange:
    Halt: Horace Altman, what on earth have you done?
    Horace [gesturing towards Ferris's closet] I've just elected you King. Start getting dressed.
    • The funniest part is of course when Halt realizes he's lost control of the situation, and to Horace of all people.
  • A similar moment in which Halt loses control to Horace occurs when Halt, pretending to be offended, asks Horace if he's ever lied to the young warrior.
    Halt: Oh...yes.
    • Horace explains, for the benefit of Will, that Halt had once explained that a group of young women were wearing very short skirts so that they could run very fast to carry messages. Will is agog that Horace actually believed that, to which Horace (with an entirely straight face) responds:
      Horace: I did. Because Halt is a Ranger. And Rangers are honorable men. Rangers never lie.
    • Cue one of the very few moments in the entire series when Halt is at a loss for a snappy comeback.
      • Even better is Will's attempt to defuse the situation by pointing out a bird, and Halt's reply.
        "No, it's not. And to hell with it if it is."
  • Halt tells Horace about the huge, magnificent castle of Dun Kilty: It towers over the neighboring village, it's centuries older than Castle Araulen, was there long before the town grew up around it...and it's drafty as all hell in winter, too.
  • When told to leave their weapons behind, Horace notes that although Halt's throwing knife scabbard is lying on the desk, there's no sign of the actual knife anywhere...
  • Horace growing into his Sarcastic Devotee role for Halt:
    Halt: Look haughty. You're on an official mission for the King of Araulen.
    Halt: (proudly) They'll never know. I'm an expert forger.
    Horace: That's not really something to be proud of, you know.
    Halt: Aaah, I enjoy being around you, Horace. You remind me of how decadent I've become. Now, look haughty.
    Horace: I'd rather look enigmatic. I think I've got that down pretty well by now.
  • Will sums up the I Know You Know I Know trope: "Oh, it's a case of they think I'll think that they'll do A, so they'll do B because I wouldn't think they'd think of that but then I might think I know what they're thinking they'll do A after all because I wouldn't think they'd think that way."

     Book 9: Halt's Peril 
  • In the ninth book, we are given what is possibly the most hilarious conversation of the entire series.
  • After Horace gets just a little too pedantic in Book 9, Halt notes that he loves Horace "like a younger brother. Even a second son, after Will. He admired his skill with a sword and his courage in battle. But sometimes, just sometimes, he felt an overwhelming desire to ram the young warrior's head against a convenient tree."
    Halt: You have no sense of drama or symbolism, do you?
    Horace: Huh?
    "Halt looked around for a convenient tree. Luckily for Horace, there were none in sight."
  • In the same book, Horace gets to wear a Ranger cloak, and Hilarity Ensues. He keeps asking Halt and Will if they can see him now that he's got the cloak, and eventually Will just snaps.
    Will: Horace. You're sitting on top of a great big brown battlehorse. It's nearly two meters high and three meters long and it weighs a quarter of a ton. Of course I can see you.
    • Upon further teasing from Horace, Will decides to ignore him and announces that they'll push on for a few more hours before they stop for the night. Horace agrees cheerfully, then worries that they might lose track of him. He could just disappear in the dark...
      • For just a second, Will wishes that his friend would disappear.
  • Upon recounting how he saw Will stealing Master Chubb's pies, Horace spots a logical flaw in the order of proceedings, and asks Halt why he was there if he hadn't yet noticed Will. Halt asks indignantly if they're accusing him of planning to steal the pies for himself.
    Horace: Of course not, Halt! [Beat] I just thought I'd give you the opportunity to confess.
    Halt: You know, Horace, you used to be a most agreeable young man. Whatever happened to you?
    Horace: I've spent too much time around you, I suppose.

     Book 10: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja 
  • This bit of dialogue:
    Halt: Do you ever manage to ask just one question at a time? Or does it always have to be multiple choice with you?
    Will: Do I do that? Are you sure?
    • Halt raises his hands in a "See what I mean" gesture, and Selethen responds:
      Selethen: Halt, I could be wrong, but I think you were just guilty of the same fault. I'm sure I heard you ask two questions just then.
      Halt: (icily) Thank you for pointing that out, Lord Selethen.
  • The end of Book 10, in which Horace proudly states that he has been named "Kurokuma" (Black Bear) by the Nihon-Ja, in recognition of his prodigious strength and mighty prowess on the battlefield. Alyss then punctures his ego by telling him that it's actually because of his prodigious appetite and mighty prowess at the dinner table. As a matter of fact, both are true, but still, it's hilarious.

     Book 11: Lost Stories 
  • More than half of the short story "Purple Prose" might make you laugh out loud.
    • Will tries to prepare a speech for Horace and Evanlyn's wedding, so he goes to Halt and Lady Pauline. Will's speech? Many complicated words tied together to try to make a "memorable" speech. Halt's reaction of disgust makes it even better.
  • One of the items the future historian finds is a cracked ladle. Of course, it might be cracked just due to the passage of time, but given Master Chubb's Weapon of Choice...
  • Jenny gets A Day in the Limelight when she ends up taking out a trio of bandits who elected to hide out in her house while after a robbery. That's not the funny part. The funny part is how she does it: by clubbing one in the head with a roast, incapacitating another with a set of cooking knives, and letting Gilan have the third one when he tries to get away. Chef of Iron, indeed.
    Jenny: (at the end of a long rant) ...And they had your dinner!
    Gilan: (looking over the now-beaten robbers) Well... I don't think they enjoyed it.
  • Crowley and Gilan discussing Halt's The Last DJ attitude:
    Crowley: I sometimes wonder if it was a good idea having Halt train apprentices. He seems to teach them no respect for authority.
    Gilan: Oh, he teaches us to respect authority. He just teaches us to ignore it when necessary.

     Book 12: The Royal Ranger 
  • A couple of guards are discussing how Cassandra used to be a Tomboy who snuck around the forest at night. One of them comments how you'd never guess that-she's so calm and dignified now, isn't she? Cue Gilligan Cut.
    Cassandra: WHERE THE BLIND BLUE BLITHERING BLAZES HAVE YOU BEEN?
  • A tense scene in which Will genuinely believed Maddie to be dead is broken by Maddie sitting up...and asking for breakfast. At Will's utter bewilderment, she shrugs that she is, after all, her father's daughter.

     The Royal Ranger 2: The Red Fox Clan 
  • Maddie being a Large Ham as she pretends to be a Princess Classic with no archery skills. Since she can't show off her Ranger skills, she deliberately aims at the outer edge of the target and gasps when she "accidentally" gets a bulls-eye.

     The Royal Ranger 3: Duel at Araulen 
  • Maddie sneaks into the fortress where Gilan and Horace are trapped. Having helped deliver vital information and make plans, she decides to catch up on some sleep.
    Gilan: Of course, as a Ranger, she could sleep quite comfortably on the hard ground, wrapped in her cloak.
    Maddie: I could do that, as you say. But it's not obligatory.
    Gilan: I could make it an order.
    Maddie: And I would ignore it if you did.
    Gilan: My authority seems to be slipping. Young people just don't have the respect they used to. When I was young, I never would have spoken to my Commandmant with such disrespect.note 
    Maddie: But things were so different in the olden days. I've often wondered, how did you manage before they discovered fire?
    Gilan: Get some sleep. (To Horace) What about you? You were up half the night as well.
  • After Maddie leaves, the following conversation ensues:
    Gilan: She's very good. Will has taught her well.
    Horace: You're all very good. I can never see any of you when you start sneaking around.
    Gilan: "Sneaking around?" We prefer to call it "unseen movement."
    Horace: Call it what you like. To me, it's sneaking around.

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